Thursday, October 22, 2015

Travel Guide | A Day in LA

outside LACMA
It has been so long since my last post, and I have missed blogging so badly! I just started as a college freshman this fall, and life has seriously been so much fun but also very busy at the same time. I absolutely love university life whether it be hanging out with my hall mates or getting "breakfast" at midnight with my church friends. I won't go into college life too much because I plan to devout a future post to this exciting topic! Now that I have settled in and just taken my first midterm, I wanted to put up a post on my exciting day in Los Angeles last Saturday. Also, picture credit to Emily Sugiyama for a few of these pictures along with a huge thanks to her for letting me use her wonderful camera!


Brunch at Republique | For some stellar ambiance and french inspired architecture, Republique is the perfect place to have a nice brunch. You won't be disappointed with any of their pastries, especially their bombelini's! 

Coffee at Alfred Coffee and Kitchen | Talk about hip, the Melrose location of Alfred's is at the center of all the high-end (read as: Emily can't currently afford) stores. If you're lucky, you might even spot a celebrity here! I really enjoyed their iced caramel latte if you're looking for a midday pick me up. 

Dinner at Grand Central Market | Since the two places mentioned about are quite pricy, dinner at Grand Central Market is a great choice. They have everything from Egg Slut to cheap and delicious Mexican food for you to devour. 

Dessert at The Pie Hole | If you're a pie fan like my friends and I are, you will loveee The Pie Hole. Located in LA's Art District, The Pie Hole features some of the most unique pies around. If you're a fan of earl grey tea, give their earl grey pie a sample!

beautiful French architecture in Republique
the bombelini's are a must try

so much love for the seniors
creme brulee cheesecake


midday coffee and devo break


LACMA | If you're a tourist and you're looking for the classic lamp post photo op, LACMA is the place to go! Only one of us actually went inside, but it's a classic museum to check out if you're an art addict. 

Muji | Muji is literally stationary heaven. They sell everything from minimalistic pens and notebooks to acrylic cases for makeup. I'm seriously in love with this place. 

The Broad | If you're into modern art, The Broad is museum to go to. Their exhibits featured everything from giant sized table and chairs to chromatic tulips. 

Kirbi and Elise are so cute!
"The Emily's" 
The Broad
the seniors are too cool for me

 Have you ever been to Los Angeles? If so, what do you like doing there?



Friday, September 18, 2015

Travel Guide | San Diego, California

Earlier this summer, my best friends and I took a short road trip to the beautiful San Diego. It's about a two to three hour drive from Los Angeles and it's a great coastal destination for a road trip. I remember coming here quite often as a child, so it was wonderful to visit with my best friends.


After hearing countless friends talk about the famous Phil's Barbecue, we knew this was a place we had to try. Let's just say the long line at 2 p.m. was a testament to its popularity. We waited for about 50 minutes before we could order and sit down, but my oh my were the ribs filling and delicious! The barbecue sauce was a bit on the tangier, spicier side, but the overwhelming amount of meat on each rib sure made up for it.

Tips: They serve huge portions (even from an American's standpoint,) so I would definitely recommend splitting a dish with another person. Also, the line seemed to die down a bit at 4 p.m., so if you want to dine in, I would recommend going there at that time. You can also order on the phone and pick it up (thereby skipping the long line) which can be a great timesaver.

Now on to the part everyone wants to hear about, dessert. We didn't go to Extraordinary Desserts on the road trip, but I was able to go a week later when I went to my church's retreat held in San Diego. They certainly earn their name as they are one extraordinary place. These top tier desserts are both beautiful in appearance and exquisite in taste. They have a large seated area where you can order drinks and desserts, but since my dad and I were on our way home, we opted to grab a mini clipboard and pick out our desserts. Every dessert is decorated with some type of beautiful flower, gold leaf, or fresh fruit. I promise you that there will be something to your liking. We chose the apple strudel and strawberry scone this time around, but I hope to try many more desserts next time!

this is a little over half of the dish
the beautiful interior inside Extraordinary Desserts
the apple strudel and the strawberry scone with glaze


The San Diego Zoo is a great place for both young kids and giddy adults. We had such a great time looking at all of the animals, and it was even one of the panda's birthday that day! The San Diego Zoo Safari Park is also a great place to visit if you are interested in taking some safari tours or going zip-lining.

Tip: AAA members get a discount, so make sure to bring your card if you have one.

A gorgeous location to end your day is Sunset Cliffs Natural Park. Everything is so nice and serene by the water and watching the sun set over the ocean is beyond gorgeous.

Tip: Make sure you arrive there a couple hours before sunset or else you will have trouble finding parking. Be warned, there are no bathrooms anywhere within walking distance, so empty your bladder before parking! (We learned this the hard way and walked in circles looking for a bathroom.)

It's so much fun to go down the cliffs (the safe parts of course), so be a bit adventurous! (I bravely joined my friends down there a little after I took this picture.)
We wanted to take a picture with our college sweatshirts!
Have you ever been to San Diego?


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

DIY Pamper Night + GIVEAWAY!

Hello everyone! I took a little break from blogging during the past couple of months, but I am so, so happy to be back now. While I've had the time to relax, I'm not sure all of you had, so I wanted to do a post on a DIY pamper night. Let's face it, spa's are mighty expensive, so here are a few of my tips to host your own spa night right from the comforts of your own home!

Spotify has been an obsession of mine these last few months, and one of my favorite features is their playlists. A few great playlists for relaxing are Relax & Unwind, Evening Chill, Evening Acoustic, Totally Stress Free, and The Most Beautiful Songs in the World.

I love to take out my face masks on pamper nights, and a favorite of mine at the moment is Maple Holistic's Dead Sea Mud Mask to tighten up pores and remove any excess oil on my face. I then like to prepare a nice warm bubble bath while my mask has time to work its magic. If you're not too much of a bath person, take some extra time in the shower to pamper everything from your hair to your skin. I get a bit lazy with conditioner on regular days, but I always make sure to use my Maple Holistic Silk 18 Natural Conditioner for soft, smooth hair on pamper nights.

If you really want your body to unwind, it's best to set your phone on airplane mode and to close your laptop for the night. The blue light from your technology will make it hard for your brain to relax, so a great alternate is reading a good book or magazine. Any Nicholas Spark book should be a great accompaniment to a relaxing night, and my current favorite is The Choice, a cute story about two neighbors, Travis Parker and Gabby Holland, who slowly develop an attraction to each other but are ultimately led to the question: "how far would you go to keep love alive?"

Milk has properties to help you fall asleep, so a great bed time drink is a warm cup of cinnamon vanilla milk. To make this simple recipe, pour a cup of almond/soy/regular milk and mix in a teaspoon of vanilla extract along with a teaspoon of agave nectar/honey. Warm up the milk in the microwave for a minute and then sprinkle a dash of cinnamon on top.

Maple Holistic is a great hair, skin, and bath brand that focuses on creating natural, holistic products, and they have generously offered to giveaway their Hydrate Shampoo and their Silk 18 Natural Conditioner to one lucky winner. Unfortunately, this giveaway is U.S. only, but I will try my best to have an international giveaway in the future! This giveaway will be open for two weeks (closes on September 23, 12 am EST.) will email the winner once the giveaway closes, and they have 48 hours to respond. If they don't respond by then, I will randomly select another winner.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What are your tips for a nice at-home pamper night?

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*Maple Holistic kindly offered to send me these products to try out, but all my opinions are my own.


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Travel Guide | Santa Monica

Shifting very quickly from the east coast to the west coast, my next travel guide is on the beautiful Santa Monica. Located in sunny Southern California, Santa Monica has some of the best shopping (and sun-tanning) around. If you ever visit Los Angeles, Santa Monica is one city you will not want to miss out on! 


I can't say that I'm a food expert in Santa Monica, but I can say for certain that I enjoyed my meal at Blue Plate Taco. With a gorgeous oceanfront location on Ocean Ave., take a seat on the patio and enjoy some delicious Mexican food with a coastal influence. I couldn't stop staring at the interior decoration! I ordered a delicious steak quesadilla that came with guac and salsa. Absolute perfection let me tell you. A few other places on my Santa Monica food bucket list are DK's Donuts and Cookie Good.

the beautiful lanterns in Blue Plate Taco
some stunning flooring
steak quesadilla = ooey gooey beautifulness


If there's one thing you must do, it's spending some time on the Santa Monica Pier, the classic landmark in pretty much every beach pier music video. Most of the rides aren't worth it in my opinion, but the ferris wheel is a must. Although $8 is pretty pricey for one ferris wheel ride, the view is stunning from the top. Going down to the beach is a must as well, and make sure to go under the pier when the sun is setting because it really quite pretty! Another place you don't want to miss is Third Street Promenade. I literally can't think of a more perfect outdoor shopping area that has such a wide array of stores from Nike to Madewell, and the best part is that it's a 15 minute walk from the beach.

view from the ferris wheel on the Santa Monica Pier

stolen from Instagram
It's so beautiful underneath the pier!
spotted Cameron Dallas on the beach

Have you ever been to Santa Monica?


Saturday, July 11, 2015

Recipe | Iced Coffee with a Twist

When summer comes around, it's hot, hot, hot in California. I always like a nice cold drink, but as much as I would love to go to Starbucks everyday, it's just not the best thing for my wallet. Here is a recipe that I saw on Buzz Feed (and then all over the internet) that I think is the perfect summer drink, especially for those who need a summer slump boost. If you ever need a light caffeine boost, this is definitely the way to go. The best part of this iced coffee recipe is that you can prep it one day and then you'll have iced coffee for a good week!

You will need: (each tray makes approx. 8 servings)
  • one cup of strong black coffee (I tried this with chai tea and it worked great too.)
  • one to two tsp. of sugar or agave nectar
  • milk of your choice (I love almond milk!) 
  • ice cube tray

1. Brew your coffee/tea.
2. Mix in the sugar or agave nectar while it's still hot.
3. Pour the coffee/tea into a pitcher or pyrex cup if you're clumsy like me and can't get the hot liquid into the tray without spilling it everywhere. 
4. Pour the coffee/tea into your ice cube tray.
5. Let it freeze for at least 5 hours or overnight. 
6. Place a few ice cubes in a glass and fill the rest of the glass with milk. Stir it around a bit and watch the coffee slowly seep into the milk. This is definitely my favorite part!

What is your favorite summer drink?

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