Thursday, March 31, 2016

Pieces of March | Monthly Round-Up

KoJa Kitchen | San Jose

KoJa = Korean + Japanese. Mix these cuisines together and you get drool-worthy inventions. Let me introduce you to a koja burger, which is like a burger but with fried rice buns. My friend brought me to the fast-food place when I visited her for a weekend and it was pretty life-changing. I usually don't crave meat, but I ordered the short rib koja (pictured above) and it was AMAZING. The meat was tender and packed with flavor, and the rice buns were sticky and delicious. It was absolute perfection. I couldn't stop thinking about how good it was after and was already planning my next visit. 

Philz Coffee | San Francisco 

I've been wanting a mint mojito coffee from Philz since the beginning of February and finally got around to treating myself to a cup on the friday before Easter weekend. I got myself a rather large one without realizing, needlessly to say, i got my caffeine fix for that day. The barista made mine sweet and creamy, it hit the spot on an unnaturally warm day in the city. I'm not a coffee drinker, but I'm always down for Philz mint mojito :p

In the very beginning of the year, I told myself I wasn't going to fall for this "trend" and get a pair of Adidas Superstars like everyone else was. And yet, here I am, obsessing over my new pair of Adidas. As I kept seeing everyone wearing them - whether it be on Instagram or at the mall - I eventually grew to really like the classic and sporty look. I got mine in a kids size and I feel like i'm back in middle school again, it's great. 

[ ..and other things ]

Rose gold for sandal season.

Pastries know the way to my heart.

Procrastinators unite. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Money Diaries: The One with the Smoothie Bowl Party

Parents are away for the week and I'm left with a half empty fridge and a pantry full of Quaker Oats granola...Welcome to my first post of the Money Diaries Series! In these posts, I give you a run down of my spendings throughout a 7-day period.
(Money Diaries Series inspired by Refinery29)

Occupation: Administration 
Location: San Francisco
Age: 22

Monthly Expenses
Loans: $650
Transportation: $90
Savings: $500 into savings account
Rent: $0, lives with parents 

Day One
6:40am - Breakfast is greek yogurt with granola, blueberries, and a banana sliced in. (I always keep these things stocked in the house). I also help myself to homemade banana bread (it's sugar-free and butter-free!). Someone has to finish them before they go bad since my parents aren't here to help. 

9:30am - The kitchen at work has a large selection of fresh fruits and snacks, so it usually takes me a while to decide on what I want. I choose to go with Belvita crackers today.

12:30pm - Lunch with a friend at Freshroll. I order a Vietnamese bowl with brown rice, grilled chicken, and standard toppings. $9.50

4:10pm - Late afternoon snack is Noosa yogurt that I brought from home. I have way too much yogurt in the house. Since most of my meals are eaten in the office, I try to bring the things that I can't finish from home so those foods won't go to waste. 

6:00pm - I go to Trader Joe's to buy bread to prep lunch for tomorrow. $3.49

7:00pm - For dinner, I eat leftover kimchi fried rice that I made over the weekend. I also eat steamed zucchini and roasted chestnuts on the side.

7:46pm - Remembering that I still have girl scout cookies in the freezer, I have two thin mints. My post-dinner sweet craving is satisfied.

Total: $12.99

Day Two
6:40am - Greek yogurt with blueberries, kiwi, and a banana sliced in. And more homemade banana bread.

10:00am - Need something to power me through the rest of the morning, I eat a z-bar, which is basically a cliff bar for kids. The bar is from the office kitchen. I also eat an orange brought from home.

11:00am - Homemade avocado and egg sandwich for lunch. 

2:00pm - I spy new snacks in the office. They're sesame snaps, so naturally, I have to give it a try. They're crunchy and sweet, not bad.

4:20pm - I snack some more. I guess the sandwich from lunch didn't cut it for me. I eat cocoa roast almonds from the office kitchen.

7:30pm - I make sushi hand wraps for dinner using baked salmon, avocado, and roasted seaweed. Think sushi but without the rice. (I keep salmon fillets in the freezer for lazy nights like these).

8:10pm - Noticing that I have random cut up fruits in the fridge, I have half an orange and 1/3 of an apple. 

9:00pm - I'm low on makeup remover and face moisturizer, so I stock up and end up buying a few more things than I need to (and also to meet the $75 minimum purchase for free shipping). $82.20

Total: $82.20

Day Three
7:00am - I stay in bed a little longer than I should this morning, so I'm running behind schedule. I have a mouthful of banana bread before I rush out the door and head to work.

8:30am - Greek yogurt from office kitchen and milk honey cookies brought from home. Second breakfast? I think yes.

11:00am - Avocado, egg, and turkey sandwich brought from home and an orange, also from home. 

2:40pm - Snack is a red delicious apple from the office kitchen. 

6:30pm - I stop by Trader Joe's on my way home to buy red Thai curry sauce for the veggie stir fry I'm planning to make for dinner. I also buy blueberries and bananas. Earlier in the office,  I read an article about Trader Joe's infamous frozen veggie patties, so of course it ends up in my basket. $10.81

8:00pm - Dinner is quinoa and veggie red thai curry with zucchini and red bell peppers. 

8:45pm: I eat a banana before getting ready for bed.

Total: $10.81

Day Four
6:40am - Chia pudding with granola, blueberries, and a banana sliced in topped with cinnamon. How I have time to make these elaborate breakfast foods on a weekday, I'll never know. I eat more banana bread.

11:00am - Lunch is avocado and turkey sandwich brought from home.

3:00pm - Noosa yogurt brought from home

5:10pm - I go to Ann Taylor after work and pick up a shirt that I asked the sales lady to put on hold for me when I visited the store yesterday. $32.61

6:30pm - I have dinner plans in an hour, so I do some shopping downtown. I remember I have a $25 gift card from American Eagle, so I go there and end up buying two t-shirts. Total comes out to $30.00, but I only have to cover the rest after using the gift card. $7.54

9:00pm - I'm at an all you can eat sushi buffet to celebrate a friend's birthday. The eight of us split the bill and pay for the birthday boy. $38.50

Total: $78.65

Day Five
6:40am - Greek yogurt with granola, blackberries, and chia seeds for breakfast. 

8:30am - Manager brings in bagels for everyone. I have an onion bagel with veggie smear. I love having a second breakfast. 

2:05pm - Even though the office closed at 1pm for Easter Weekend, I stay in the office a little longer to do some work, and also because my friends that I made plans with haven't come into the city yet. I go to Philz and treat myself to an iced mint mojito coffee. I'm not a coffee drinker but I am in a serious need of a pick-me-up after getting only 5 hours of sleep last night. $4.50

4:10pm - My friends and I go to a boba place called Plentea near Chinatown before heading to separate dinner plans. I order an iced lemon green tea with egg pudding. $5.28

7:20pm - I meet a different friend for dinner. He pays. $0

7:50pm - I join the same group of friends from earlier and we watch Zootopia. $13.50

Total: $23.28

Day Six
11:30am - I spend the day with a friend who's home from spring break. We go to Trader Joe's to get ingredients for our smoothie bowls that we're making later. We buy spinach mix, baby kale mix, shredded coconut, greek yogurt, and frozen mango chunks. I pay. $12.55

3:00pm - We go to Costco and scout for samples. We buy ingredients for tonight's dinner (We're making quinoa with red thai curry, cauliflower fried rice, and cucumber slices topped with avocado and salmon). We buy avocados, mixed bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, and cucumbers. The friend pays because she has a membership card. $0

4:20pm - We stop by Trader Joe's on our way home for quinoa and zucchini. I pay because I'll be keeping what's left over. $6.98

8:00pm - After spending four hours in the kitchen cooking and baking up a storm, we eat. Dinner is cucumber slices topped with avocado and salmon, cauliflower fried rice, and eggie red thai curry. We also make a mix of mini banana breads and muffins. We make a quite a selection of choices for dessert, which consists of banana bread, oranges, thin mints, and Trader Joe's milk honey cookies. We share everything. 

Total: $19.53

Day Seven
11:30am - Late breakfast. I have warm oats with cocoa powder, banana, kiwis, and peanut butter. 

1:10pm - I eat yogurt and homemade chocolate banana muffin. 

2:30pm - After doing some lazy sunday procrastination, I go to Trader Joe's again (it feels like my second home now after the number of times I've gone there this week) for weekly groceries. I buy bananas, blueberries, blackberries, baby spinach mix, panic bread crumbs, scallions, shallots, sweet potatoes, and organic popcorn. $17.74

3:00pm - I make a quick safeway trip to pick up paper towels. It's hot today so I also get a small tub of vegan ice cream. $7.06

4:00pm - Oh boy, late lunch. I have leftover quinoa and veggie curry from last night. Avocado fries on the side. 

6:30pm - I'm craving comfort chinese food, so dinner is mapo tofu with noodles. Leftover cucumber slices with avocado and salmon from last night.

8:00pm - Dessert is So Delicious' mocha fudge almond ice cream and sliced bananas.

Total: $24.80

The Breakdown
Beauty: $82.20
Clothes: $40.15
Entertainment: $13.50
Food: $116.41
Home: $2.00
Total: $254.26

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Trader Joe's Tuesday: Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread & Muffin Baking Mix

I didn't realize these were gluten-free until I got home and looked at the box carefully for its baking instructions, that's how excited I was to see a pumpkin-themed item in the store in the middle of February. Though I don't have dietary restrictions, I get very curious about gluten-free, dairy-free alternatives and am always interested in trying them. I actually looked forward to these because a. pumpkin-flavored things are hard to find in February; and b. I was in the mood to do some lazy baking. I split the mix and made half muffins and half mini bread loaves. They came out extremely moist and had a gooey consistency. I seriously thought I had under-baked them, as they were dense and lacked the fluffiness texture. Flavor-wise, the muffins and breads were packed with flavor and brought me back to all the times I spent in the kitchen in the fall time. But texture is everything when it comes to food so I think I'll stick to the gluten-free baked goods that I get from cozy bakeries instead of from my kitchen. 

{ rating }
2 out of 5

Previous Trader Joe's Tuesday posts:

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Pieces of February | Monthly Round-Up

Happy March! I completely let Leap Day pass by without a mention, so I'm thinking about watching the movie Leap Year just to comfort me from the fact that the next one will be in four years. 

Honestly, February felt like a slow month, yet it went by in a blur. A few things that stood out included me going on a solo business trip to Arizona, putting away the Christmas tree, and getting a haircut. My trip to Arizona was for work, but I had a great time there nonetheless. It was my first time flying out of state on my own and I was very excited about it. I treated it like a mini getaway. Aside from the heat and exhaustion on the trip, I enjoyed getting away for a short while and even managed to sneak in some exploring after work hours. As for finally getting down the Christmas tree, every year I put up the artificial tree two months before the actual holiday and it's always the getting it down part that takes forever for me to get around to. If I do the calculation, I would say the tree has been on display in the house for about four months. I know, this was a long overdue task. Onto the haircut I got this past weekend, this isn't really worth mentioning, but do you ever walk into a salon for a trim and end up getting 4-5 inches cut off? That's wha happened to me and let's just say those few inches that were cut off made the biggest difference to my appearance. 

Fell completely and utterly in love with this cute country song.

Put snapchat and kawaii together and you get this cool app.

A spur of the moment purchase - the gal at the counter said the color looks different on everyone!