Bay Area Eats Series (3 price ranges)

This food series reviews restaurants in the Bay Area at three price ranges: low, medium, and high (or high-ish?). At the end of this series, I hope to compile a list of the best places to eat in the Bay Area.

Lower Price Range:

Pho Huynh Hiep 6

Pho Huynh Hiep 6, located in Walnut Creek, has quick food service and fresh ingredients. I ordered a seafood pho and taro bubble tea. The broth tasted light and simple. I recommend this spot for a light lunch.

Napa Taco Truck – La Condesa

La Condesa taco truck is just spot on. It has perfect prices, great customer service, and fresh ingredients. There are also plenty of spots to park in the Napa neighborhood to eat. I ordered carnita and lengua (tongue) tacos, horchata, and ceviche.

Los Gallos Taqueria

Los Gallos Taqueria, located in Redwood City, has the highest rated food for this post in my opinion. Super fresh seafood on the tostadas, which are loaded with octopus and shrimp, and topped off with avocado. The tacos (intestines) tasted perfectly crispy and extra delicious with extra spicy salsa. I highly recommend this spot and specifically the seafood tostadas.

Medium Price Range:

Korean Souel BBQ

The seafood pancake was flavorful and not as oily or doughy as others at this Oakland based Korean restaurant named Korean Souel BBQ. I enjoyed the taste of ample green onion, squid, and imitation crab meat. The wings tasted were served hot but they were a bit too sweet and lacking in spice. I do recommend visiting this restaurant for the haemul pajeon (seafood pancake), though it is not packed with seafood, there’s enough in the dish to taste filling. For only $18, the seafood pancake is a nice shareable light meal. The owner is super kind and talkative as well.

Miramar Beach Restaurant at Half Moon Beach

I ate a super light salad at the oceanfront restaurant Miramar at Half Moon Beach. I highly recommend this restaurant for the view alone. It’s a very relaxing lunch spot. I also recommend trying the Bomba dessert made with white chocolate and tropical flavored sorbets.

The day we ate there it was super warm but generally, it is recommended to bring a sweater just in case the water makes the area a little chilly. I had a jean jacket with me that I put on before walking near the ocean after lunch. There is free valet parking. I’d recommend getting valet if the restaurant appears full. We tried to park ourselves and ended up having to loop back because there were no spaces.

Slanted Tree

Slated Tree in Fairfield always seems packed. This restaurant has excellent bottomless Mimosas. I recommend this place as a quick brunch spot if you’re in the area. I’ve found it is one of the best places to eat in Fairfield.

Higher Price Range:

Bistro Don Giovanni

I can recommend this restaurant for the surrounding wine vineyards alone. The restaurant’s Napa Valley location is beautiful. Even the parking lot is pretty as you can see from the last picture. The pizza was very balanced in cheese, meat, and vegetables. The best part was the crust. It was harmoniously crispy and chewy. I only wished the menu had more variety and a seafood pizza option. ❤

Aztec Secret Clay Mask

Have you tried this popular clay mask? I finally tried the Aztec Secret clay mask that was favored on Youtube years ago. It is an inexpensive mask made up of equal parts of clay powder and apple cider vinegar. I have liked using it on my face and body to clear up or prevent breakouts this past month. I love this mask because its both affordable and effective at drying down early breakouts. This mask also functions as a shampoo alternative. I’ve used it in my hair and it felt super soft and not stripped or dry afterwards. I plan on purchasing the Korean Exfoliating Bath Mitt Scrub Washcloth for dead skin cells on my body. I think a combination of using the exfoliating mitt and this mask will help make the skin appear softer and clearer. I purchased the Aztec Secret clay and silicon mask brushes from Amazon, and the Apple Cider Vinegar from my local supermarket. ❤

Aztec Secret Clay: https://amzn.to/2t5jxYq

Silicon Mask Brushes: https://amzn.to/2S1T5r0

Korean Exfoliating Bath Mitt Scrub Washcloth

An Ode to California ~ Planning My San Diego Trip

Have you ever moved somewhere and find that you fell in love with the location? I first fell in love with California almost ten years ago. It happened when I flew into Los Angeles International Airport, LAX, at night. My family moved from the East Coast across the country to the West coast with little money and no concrete plan. It was the adventure of a lifetime! From my window seat on the plane, I vividly remember the view of the shimmering Los Angeles skyline. I was enchanted, spellbound by the city’s magic, and incredibly nervous to embark on this new adventure. I associate LA with self-discovery and tasty food. I remember the late-night tacos made with craved meat marinated in pineapple (carne asada con piña es la mejor) for $1.50. Since then I’ve moved to other states, and then back to CA (pictures from the Bay Area featured on this post).

From my general experience, California is most popularly historically related to stories of the Wild West, the Gold Rush, Alcatraz, and the Transcontinental Railroad or ‘Chinese Railroad.’ In a way, I found gold in California when I first traveled here years ago. The location pushed me to find the gold within myself. Today, I remain in awe of the state’s natural beauty, friendly people, and endless delicious food options (the most important detail for me honestly lol). Also, the history is fascinating here too, did you know the city Los Angeles had more racial discrimination in schools in the 1950s than most states in the South? This state always undergoes major shifts and change, pun intended for the earthquakes that happen here too. The bottom line of the story is that I’m grateful for my slice of California.

I’m currently planning a little staycation in San Diego. We embark on the 5-hour drive down to the area soon. Since I need to think of places and beaches to visit I’m using a favorite blog and Youtube channel of mine called California Through My Lens to brainstorm. ❤

https://californiathroughmylens.com/day-trip-ideas

https://californiathroughmylens.com/san-diego-guide

I’m for sure going to Tacos El Gordo (12:57 timestamp in video), my mother has been there and said the tacos are delish!

My Top Three Restaurant Recommendations in Dublin

1.) Celtic Nights Traditional Irish Dance Show

The price is a steal, for only $38 you get a three-course meal and a chance to see a traditional Irish dancing show with a live band. This show and food stood out during my stay as a worthwhile Irish cultural experience. The fish main course I picked from the set menu was fresh and flavorful, especially the buttery fingerling potatoes! The vegetable soup appetizer was served hot. The soup had a turnip flavor and tasted well-seasoned. Additional drinks were available for purchase at the event space. I got confused by the time slots online with my ticket purchase. I thought perhaps many shows were scheduled at different times, but there is only one show. The show begins around 9-10 pm and if you pick an early time slot you eat before the show. If you pick a later mealtime your food is served as the show begins. https://tickets.celticnights.com/

2.) Kimchi Hophouse

This restaurant has Korean and Japanese fusion foods and more (spring rolls, croquettes). I loved my hot tofu and beef stew served with rice and beans. My friend and I also ordered fried chicken to share. That dish satisfied my craving for well-done yet, non-oily crispy fried chicken. This is a great spot to eat the famed Korean combination of fried chicken and beer. https://www.facebook.com/kimchihophouse/

3. )Michael’s Mount Merrion

Micheal’s blew me out the water, what amazing flavor! I’m no food expert, but I know if something tastes expertly flavored and this restaurant has that standard. The kitchen is partly open and the chefs prepare the seafood in the open section of the kitchen. They were super friendly and welcomed me as I came in. There is excellent customer service here. My waitress was also super sweet. The tuna tar tar was simple and fresh. My fries were perfectly salted and addictive. They were some of the best fries I’ve ever had. The warm bread and cinnamon butter tasted like the perfect combination of salty and sweet. I love warm bread and dislike when restaurants serve it cold. The lobster and shrimp main course tasted divine in the rich seafood sauce. I wish I could swim in a pool of that sauce, so delicious! https://www.michaels.ie/

Travel & Food

Panama 🇵🇦🇵🇦🇵🇦 Recommendations (En español y ingles)

Que bello es mi Panamá, centro del mundo corazón del universo. ¿Porqué Panamá es especial? Porque esta en el centro del mundo donde lo acompaña el océano Pacifico y el océano Atlántico es el único país del mundo con los dos océanos.

Panamá tiene comidas muy deliciosos como el arroz con pollo, tamales, carimañolas, empanadas, Sopa de Gallina, como muchas otras delicias. Puedes disfrutar de frutas muy deliciosas como el marañón, mamey, guayaba, guanábana (jugo de guanábana), pejibaye, entre muchas mas. Puedes disfrutar de estas frutas en los mercados públicos donde también puedes obtener enyugado, koka. La Koka es hecha con coco, azúcar y jengibre. Cuando quieras disfrutar de una noche de música y una cena exquisita, puedes visitar el casco viejo.

En el Casco Viejo hay un lugar llamado Diablicos donde puedes disfrutar y bailar al son del tambor de la música panameña. Un plato muy sabroso el arroz con coco y la ropa vieja, patacones y jugo de Tamarindo. El chicharrón y yuca frita es una delicia y no olvides el postre dulce de tres leches. Panamá cuanta con la bendición de ser una nación que, a pesar de ser territorialmente pequeña, tiene varias de las playas mas hermosas del continente americano.

San Blas compuestas de 365 islas desaminadas en el archipiélago de San Blas. Puedes rentar una de estas islas donde puedes disfrutas de la privacidad y hermosa hospitalidad.

Isla Bastimentos esta ubicado en el archipiélago de Bocas del Toro, en esta playa puedes disfrutar de diversidad de aves marinas y anfibios.

Isla Grande, una de mis favoritas, esta localizada en la provincia de Colon. Se caracteriza por sus playas de arena blancas y arrecifes coralinos.


Panama and Panamanian food (as well as Colombian) is painfully underrated. The cuisine is ignored just like our soccer teams lol. I think Panamanian food is some of the best in the world and I’m not biased of anything, 😉(just kidding).

Fruits and Foods Recommendations:

Toasted cashews and the fruit of the plant (called marañón – my family toasts the cashews at bonfires), guava, and mamey sapote fruit. Tamarindo drinks are amazing! They taste sour and distinct. Panamanians make tamarindo drinks with lemon, and panela or cane sugar. Pejibaye (pronounced pi-va, its a fruit, typically eaten in Panama boiled with salt. My great-grandmother had several pejibaye trees in her backyard, they remind me of childhood), guanábana ( try out guanábana juice, the fruit is slimy and ugly but it tastes delicious and sweet yet tangy. Panama has a zillion fruit drinks, so explore the world of fruit flavors and fresh fruit smoothies.

Other dishes to try include rice and chicken ( arroz con pollo, Panamanian style ja ja), coconut rice with gandules ( don’t disregard plain looking rice and beans, the dish is likely packed with flavor), carimañolas (yucca stuffed with tasty ground beef and fried, empanadas (Panamanians make zesty flavorful empanadas because the meat is cooked well in sauces like a strew before being encased into the corn), chicken soup made with female chicken or hen (hen tastes sweet in my opinion and the bones are harder), the dish is called Sopa de Gallina. Also, try frituras (fried breakfast foods like corn tortillas with Panamanian coffee called Café Duran). ❤

Ted Baker Bow Detail Bag

I purchased the Ted Baker Bow Detail Zipped Leather Tote Bag on sale. What made this bag catch my eye was its gold hardware, structured shape, and the Ted Baker little bow in the front. I was pleasantly surprised to discover the inside of the bag is pink with a small pocket.

The color white is trending this summer. White trended last winter and is again this summer, especially when paired with other neutrals like black for a monochromatic look. I do not partake trends that much but the fabulous thing about this bag is it both fits a trend yet looks simple and classic.

I can fit my sizable handbag organizer pouch inside with no problem. The bag has an additional crossbody strap. It was delivered packaged inside a drawstring bag. All in all, I love the shopping experience at Ted Baker. He’s one of my favorite designers. I hope to purchase one of his wrap coats this fall (so excited for fall). I’ve seen them on people in Dublin before and they look even better in person! The small gold details, craftsmanship, and quality make Ted Baker stand out.

My Panama travel recommendations post is next. ❤

https://www.tedbaker.com/us/Womens-Sale/All-Sale-Accessories/Bags-Wallets/CALA-Bow-detail-small-leather-tote-bag-Black/p/149653-BLACK

Sephora Haul & Pixi Products Update

Sephora Collection Holy Sheet! – There are 14 different sheet masks for the face, eyes, hands, feet, and hair. The package also includes two face wipes sets: one cleansing and the other exfoliating, a lip balm, and two sleeping masks. I haven’t tried every mask, but I have used some like one of the foot masks, the hair mask, and a nose mask. I really loved the hair mask, it made a massive difference in my dry chemically treated hair. The foot mask is lovely as well, very hydrating. I did not like the nose mask, though, because I did not see any difference. I love the lip scrub tube. I’ve purchased it separately in almond before, and I think it’s great to use before bed. The exfoliating wipes are fantastic, perfect to use before facial tweezing to remove build up. This set makes a great gift. The cost is $48 (currently out of stock)

Love this Dior Capture Youth Plump Filler age-delay plumping serum. As soon as I started using this product, I was complimented that my skin looked youthful! This product’s scent smells like perfume in a way that’s akin to fragranced high-end hair products. I personally like the scent. I think it smells elegant and feminine. I’m really happy I’ve already begun to see results! https://www.sephora.com/product/capture-youth-plump-filler-age-delay-plumping-serum-P427732?keyword=dior%20filler

This SOL DE JANEIRO Brazilian Bum Bum lotion is formulated to minimize stretch marks, body acne, and cellulite. I thought the reviews seemed too positive, but I have to agree with the overwhelming positivity. It really does smooth out the skin and prevent acne. I’ve noticed a major difference in my skin. It now feels super soft and I no longer get breakouts. Sometimes I use some Vitamin C too (from Amazon) to lighten up existing blemishes along with this lotion. I really like using it at night before bed because it feels so special and luxurious. I’ll for sure repurchase this product! https://www.sephora.com/product/brazilian-bum-bum-cream-P406080

I got these Facial Radiance Pads because they were recommended by one of my favorite YouTubers named Elle Florence. She suggested using them anywhere on your body to prevent ingrown hairs or to get existing ingrown hairs to come out. It really does work for ingrown hairs. I like using it on my face too to brighten up and wake up my skin. I was surprised the pads are somewhat small. https://www.sephora.com/product/facial-radiance-pads-P278317

The grapefruit scent of the soap is subtle but present enough to make the shower experience aromatic. I love how big and weighted the bar is. Also, the packaging is charming with the metal tie around a small stone. The soap provides ample lather and is foamy. I think it makes a really nice gift. I plan on making a little spa basket with Fresh soap and more as a present for an expecting mother. ❤ https://www.sephora.com/product/hesperides-grapefruit-oval-soap-P178410

I received these Drunk Elephant samples as a birthday gift from Sephora (I picked them out with my points). The Jelly Cleanser is nice, but I really love the Protini Polypeptide Cream the most. This face cream has a jelly quality to it. It’s nourishing and leaves your face looking dewy. I think it is perfect for hot weather because it is not too thick.

Pixi Products Update:

I love Pixi Vitamin C toner! I think anything Vitamin C is a win to keep your skin blemish mark free. It beautifully clears up marks and balances the skin’s PH to prepare it for serum and lotion. The toner is yellow and has a slight citrus scent that is not too strong. The Pixi Glow tonic is also excellent. I use it on blemishes, and within one to two days it clears it up or, at least the blemishes begin to flatten down. ❤

4th of July Makeup, Dress, & Skincare

Hey all, hope you had a lovely Fourth of July! ❤ This post details the makeup, skincare, and dress I wore and used for the holiday.

The dress is from Réalisation Par, The Teale in Wild Cherry. I wanted this dress for months, and I was happy to wear it on the perfect holiday for red and blue clothes. I paired it with black van sneakers.

After pictures with makeup and final image without makeup before – This is the skincare I used:

After washing my face, I applied Glow Vitamin C and Rose Water from the brand Mamonde. My skin was super bright and alive-looking afterward. Also, my make up did not look greasy like it did in the past by the end of the night. I really love the rose water toner, I have a sample size and want to get the full-sized product. Under my eyes, I used my Kiehl’s avocado eye cream, and the face lotion I used was Kiehl’s Rosa Arctica. I also used a few drops of Dior Youth Filler plumping face serum (a more detailed review in upcoming Sephora and Glow post next). I added some Supergoop sunscreen to my neck too.

Makeup used:

I did not put on primer, because for some reason I feel like it always makes my face look oily.

I put on Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Cushion Compact with SPF 35 only on my T-zone. I followed it with Black Up bronzer below my cheekbones, on my forehead, and chin.

I used Supergoop sunscreen eyeshadow all over my lid. I added dimension on my eyes by adding shimmery brown in the crease of the eyelid and a little shimmery white with pink on the bottom half of my lid too from Pat McGrath. Then I lined my eye with Marc Jacobs gel eyeliner in the color Ice. On my cheeks and nose, I used Fenty Killawatt Girl Next Door and Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Rose Gold.

For my brows, I used Benefit Ultra-Fine Brow Defining Pencil in the color 5 and Benefit 24-HR Brow Setter Gel. I finished my eyelashes with Lancome Gandoise 40RB mascara. ❤

Sokoglam Favorites

$10 Black Sugar Mask Wash Off

I’ve used this Black Sugar Mask since my undergraduate studies. Back then I purchased it because it’s inexpensive and it has enough product to last about 2.5 to 3 months of one semester (which typically lasts about 15-16 weeks). It’s a sugar face scrub that deeply cleanses the skin. I stopped using it for a while because I did not want to damage the skin on my face with abrasive scrubs that can cause tears or small cuts. However, after repurchasing, I can see the scrub is not too rough or damaging. I rinse it off slowly in circular motions with wet hands before thoroughly washing face with water. I recommend this product if you’re in the market for an inexpensive weekly exfoliant scrub.

This product isn’t a favorite, I just decided to test it out because it’s highly reviewed. I put the box of sheet masks in the fridge and use it chilled. I like using it, but I do not plan on repurchasing because I see no difference in my skin.
$11 Egg White Pore Foam Face Wash

I’ve also used this product for years. It’s the best, and the fact that it’s sold out at the moment speaks volumes. A little product goes a long way. It thoroughly cleans make-up and grime in a way that’s similar to the Origins Checks and Balances Frothy Face Wash, but for half the price.

$27 Neogen Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Lemon

Another favorite that I’ve used for more than three years ~ these lemon pads are both physical and chemical exfoliants. I love using it weekly or as needed to clear up any problems on my skin. It always works like a charm (notably in unison with Neutrogena – On-the-Spot Acne Treatment)

$10 Rice Mask Wash Off

This mask leaves your face feeling clean but not stripped. It helps clear up and brighten the skin. This is a milder exfoliant alternative to the black sugar mask and equally effective.

Honorable mention – MISSHA sunscreen is the best (besides Supergoop), in my opinion. It’s hydrating and dries on clear rather than grey-ish like most sunscreens. ❤