Zooshoo

Holy Matcha San Diego: Is It Worth The Visit?

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You know those Instagrammable cafes that look like all the fun and rage, but when you get to the ordering process, the must-have Iced Caramel Latte and overpriced Avocado Toast actually sucks balls? Honestly, I’ve been through my fair shares of disappointed cafe runs and let me just say, I’ve gotten better at deciphering which cafes I’ll end up enjoying versus those that I know I would never go again.

With overhyped cafes, I tend to stray away from the hipster AF ones that you see all over social media that sell overpriced coffees that only offer syrups as sweeteners - just failed experience after failed experience, I just know that these are not my cup of tea (or coffee, in this case - bahaha).

But despite what I’m saying, you never truly know what a cafe will be like unless you try it for yourself. Despite every Yelp review ever written and despite what your mother says, your only best critic is yourself.

So, that brings us to today’s question of the day - is the Instagrammable Holy Matcha in San Diego worth the visit? Yes, yes, and YES! Now, it’s time to share with you guys WHY Holy Matcha has won my interest.


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Instagram goals in every corner.


Okay, let’s be honest here - who visits a cafe with their main intention of getting an Instagram-worthy shot before you leave? Luckily for you, this mindset is pretty much the norm these days. In the past, we often looked to Yelp for trustworthy restaurant reviews and aesthetic AF entrees. Nowadays, millennials have shifted their focus towards approving what the interior of a cafe looks like before even categorizing it in their “to-visit” list of Instagrammable cafes.

Oh boy, isn’t it funny how times have changed?

So for those of you who prioritize the appearance of a cafe’s interior before actually making a trip there (cough, I’m also guilty as charged, cough), you will be pleasantly surprised to learn that Holy Matcha in San Diego has incorporated aesthetic spots into every corner of their cafe. From a cute neon light sign to pink couches adjoined to leafy wallpaper to Pigment-looking hipster AF chairs that you would only find in Barbie’s mansion, you’re pretty much set for Instagram content for the next few days if you dine here.

Also, if you really wanna cross the line of #shameless and #bossassbitch, you might as well bring 2-3 outfits with you and change in the bathroom. Don’t worry, we all do it these days - no one’s judging ;)

P.S. The bathroom is probably as aesthetic as the cafe itself.



The menu carries matcha-infused entrees that actually look as good as they taste.


Fun fact - did you know that I disliked matcha for years before I actually fell in love with it? Honestly, I think matcha is one of those acquired tastes that you have to get used to, similarly to how I feel about beer (LOL).

If you look at the menu, you will notice that almost every drink, dessert, or entree has matcha incorporated into it. Their menu consists of various tea selections, desserts, lemonades, toasts, and pastries. If you’re a first time visitor looking for some decent bites, I’d highly recommend their Matcha Horchata, Avocado Toast (it comes with flowers!), and Full Waffle Bouquet. In fact, I’ve personally tried all of these menu options and loved them for their aesthetic presentation and exquisite flavors!

Also, their Full Waffle Bouquet is made using vegan and gluten-free vanilla waffles and tastes ABSOLUTELY AMAZING! Not only does this menu option serve as a great dessert to split with a friend or boothang, but it’s also not too sweet or heavy on the stomach!

In regards to price point, I will be honest that Holy Matcha San Diego is pricier than your average cafe, but you’re pretty much paying for the quality of the ingredients and dope presentation of your tablespread. Trust me when I say you won’t be disappointed with your order!


So, I already know that I’ll be visiting Holy Matcha San Diego soon because my best friend keeps talking about dragging me here sooner or later to fulfill her must-shoot-at-this-Instagrammable-cafe desires, LOL! Thus, we will be making a whole day trip out of this and I’ll keep you guys updated on other San Diego hotspots that we’ll be visiting soon to the gram and blog ;)

Additionally, Holy Matcha recently opened a second location in North Park - you can see more photos and read about their grand opening here.


Have you heard of Holy Matcha San Diego before? Is this a location you would add to your “to-visit” list of Instagrammable cafes? Talk to me in the comments below - let’s chat!


Outfit Details:

Top: Showpo

Necklaces: Gorjana & Shop Bexo

Jeans: Bongo

Booties: Zooshoo


Photography By:

Huyen Tran (@huyentxo) of www.huyentxo.com


June 2018 Skincare Favorites

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Boy, is this heat wave weather driving anybody insane these days or is it just me?! If you're spending the next few days under the beaming sun, be sure to layer your face & body with SPF. Honestly, I already know a good amount of family members and friends who avoid this necessary everyday skincare step and suffer the consequences through the form of an unwanted farmer's tan. Don't be like them and be sure to take any necessary precaution to protect your skin from the sun's harmful UV rays ;)

In today's blog post, I want to share with you guys the trustworthy products that I've tried and loved throughout the month of June. This product review includes the latest additions that I've made to my skincare collection (ex: cleansers, creams, Vitamin C products, etc.) and softening/plumping lip products. Any products that I've liked and would use more than once - I've included in this review. If you haven't seen my May 2018 Skincare Favorites blog post, be sure to check it out here. So without further ado, let's go over my June favorites!


Cleansers


Rose Cream Cleanser:

Recently, I've tried the Rose Cream Cleanser from Pixi Beauty and absolutely LOVE the smooth texture of this product. It reminds me of those Club Mud days at Glen Ivy Hot Springs, as that was the first time I've ever experienced applying mud to my face. Although it doesn't have the foamy, bubbly texture that typical cleansers carry, I love how soft it makes my skin feel. The Rose Cream Cleanser is definitely a treat-yo-self type of cleanser that I will be incorporating into my morning skincare routine.

Even though I was told by my dermatologist that even splashing solely water on your face works in the morning, I've read enough skincare blog posts that mentioned that cleaning your face in the morning is important to eliminate the bacteria/dirt that you get throughout the night when you toss and turn in bed. Thus, the Rose Cream Cleanser will definitely be a part of my mornings from now on.


Precleanse (Travel Size): 

Love love loveeeee the travel size of this Precleanse from Dermalogica! Additionally, I adore how it comes with a mini "facial scrub brush" (sorry that I don't have a better name for it) so that my precleanse turns into a foamy mixture once combined with lukewarm water. I've added this travel-sized Precleanse to my travel bag whenever I sleepover at a friend's house or travel away from home for a couple days. Definitely recommend this baby for any traveler who needs a deeper cleanse to get rid of all of their makeup at night before bedtime! You can read my review of the traditional sized Precleanse in my May 2018 Skincare Favorites blog post here.


Vitamin C


The only two Vitamin C products that I have recently tried for the month of June are Dermalogica's Biolumin-C serum and H2V's Triple C Accelerator. Personally, if I had to choose a favorite Vitamin C product, I am still hooked on on the Kiehl's Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate  - I won't lie, the slight tingle (which feels like a tiny pinch!) that I receive from this specific product makes me feel like it's truly working its magic on my skin! However, the Dermalogica and H2V products also serve as great options for getting your external dose of Vitamin C and I've switched between the two often throughout the month of June. 

The H2V product has more of a sticky gel-like texture, but absorbs rather quickly into the skin - which I like, since personally I'm not a fan of skincare products that take forever to be absorbed! Meanwhile, the Dermalogica product has a more watery base compared to the H2V product and smells absolutely amazing! Actually, let me put it this way - ALL Dermalogica products smell amazing!


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Moisturizers & Creams


Although other people might think I'm crazy, I actually take pride and LOVE every second of my evening skincare routine! Yes, applying each and every skincare product on to my skin may take a while when you add up the total amount of time of the routine, given that you need to wait at least 10 minutes for each product to effectively absorb into your skin for the full beneficial effects. However, I find my evening skincare routine to serve as one of the best destressors before I go to sleep and it allows me to focus on just ME for once (and not things like Instagram, work, emails, etc.).

I've tested two products throughout June and these are from two of my favorite go-to skincare brands that you've probably already heard me talk about before - BABOR and Dermalogica.

BABOR is absolutely amazing at what they do and I can vouch that I am literally in love with every one of their products. Not only do I use their Rose Essence Toner every single night for MONTHS, but I recently tried out the BABOR Skinovage Moisturizing Cream. Can I just say that BABOR's packaging is freakin' classy AF? Every container they have is minimal and sleek, and just using any of their products  makes me feel like I'm treating my skin like royalty. The BABOR Skinovage Moisturizing Cream is very moisturizing and lightweight - you can call this perfect kind of cream when it comes to texture and density, as it is not too thin nor is it too heavy and thick.

On the other hand, I've been using Dermalogica's Pure Night treatment cream for the last couple nights and again, the smell of their products are very soothing...soothing enough to put me to sleep. Zzz....whoops, can't sleep on you now! Additionally, I like to add five drops of Pixi Beauty's Jasmine Oil Blend to this specific treatment cream and mix them together for a very moisturizing concoction that I can safely call my own. Also, another reason why I decided to combine the two products upon application is because I would go HAM with the Pixi oil blend drops and apply 10 drops or more to my skin, LOL. When I told the Pixi Beauty team about my infatuation for their oil drops, they started laughing and thought I was silly. Welp, I aim to please anyways.


Mist


When I attended Pixi Beauty's intimate dinner event a couple weeks ago at Pelican Hill Resort, they taught us all about their collection of products - including their famous Glow Mist. I believe they included the Glow Mist in our goodie bags to take home that night, so that gave me the perfect opportunity to try it out!

Only the girls who attended the dinner will understand this, but there was one moment in time where we passed around a Mist product and started spritzing ourselves like crazy, haha. Now, whether I'm make-up free or wearing my makeup of the day, I always try to sneak a couple sprays on to my face. It also serves as a great way to cool down from this crazy heat! The Glow Mist contains 21 natural oils, propols, aloe vera, and fruit extracts to help hydrate your skin as a pick-me-up in the morning or adds glow all the while setting your makeup look.


Lip Products


I don't know why the magic number is TWO in this blog post, but for some reason, it coincidentally ended up that way - I've tried TWO lip products this month and both are awesome in their own ways! First, we have the COOLA Liplux, which is an amazing lip balm with SPF 30 for that extra suncare protection - thanks COOLA ;) It's not too sticky and doesn't taste bad at all (trust me when I've "tasted" some lip balms that I couldn't handle the taste of), and comes in a convenient size to throw in your purse or travel bag! Honestly, I keep one near my nightstand at all times so I can do a quick coat before going to bed.

Another lip product that I absolutely LOVE is the Algenist Genius Liquid Collagen Lip. It's a new product that Algenist released, and it is amaaazing. Although I am not a huge fan of the look of plump lips (even though it's the "rave" these days), I don't notice a hugely different plumping effect, which makes me a happy camper. The reason why I love this product is so much is for the fact that it moisturizes and softens my entire lips. I will be honest that the taste isn't my favorite, but who says you should be eating lip products anyways, Michelle? Regardless of the taste, I still use this every night as the last step of my evening skincare routine and it's my current go-to lip product. If you're looking for a trustworthy and quality lip product that will keep your lips moisturized and unchapped, this is the product you need!


I hope you guys enjoyed reading my second skincare blog post series! If you have any favorite skincare products of your own, I'd love to hear about them in the comments section below - let's chat!



Photography By:

Sharon Litz (@sharonlitz)

www.sharinaone.com


A Travel Packing Guide Checklist For Bloggers

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Here's a few questions I always ask myself while preparing for an upcoming trip - what should I pack? How much do I need to pack? Am I packing too much?

And truth be told, I always overpack...and my friends make fun of me so much for doing so. They always exclaim phrases such as, "Did you pack for an entire month?!" or "What the hell did you bring?!" but hey, at least yo gurl comes prepared, LOL!

Because I overpack or bring essential after essential with me, I thought it'd be useful to write a blog post revolved around a to-pack guide for bloggers, since bloggers specifically bring items or equipment that the average person doesn't bring on vacation. So without further ado, let's get to the packing guide!


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Toiletries


- Electric toothbrush or toothbrush
- Toothpaste
- Floss
- Travel-sized Listerine


Personal Care/Hygiene


- Tampons/pads/pantyliners
- Deodorant
- Razor + Shaving Cream (sometimes, hotels provide complimentary razors)
           - Pro Tip: I like to bring disposable razors on trips that you can find distributed at gyms or spas, or you can purchase one for a cheap price.
- Nail Clipper
- Bandages (hotels provide these)


Skincare


Although this one may not seem like an ESSENTIAL to a bunch of people, having access to trustworthy and quality skincare products will make a huge difference in the texture and elasticity of your skin throughout and after your trip. If you don't properly take care of your skin during a trip, you will surely see the negative after-effects as soon as you arrive home - especially there is a huge climate change/difference at your travel destination compared to your hometown.

With skincare, it's best to carry convenient travel-sized products with you so that you don't take up so much space in your luggage! I've linked a few travel-sized products that I love bringing with me throughout my media trips.

- Vitamin C
              - Current Fave: Kiehl's Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate
- Face Sunblock
              - Current Fave: CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion
- Body Sunscreen
              - Current Fave: COOLA Organic Suncare
- Body Moisturizer
- Makeup Removing Wipes
              - Current Fave: Bioderma Sensible H2O Biodegradable Facial Cleansing & Makeup Remover Wipes
- Precleanse + Sponge
              - Current Fave: Dermalogica PreCleanse Balm-To-Oil Emulsifyer
- Cleanser
              - Current Fave: Dermalogica Gentle Foaming Cleanser
- Toner
- Serum
               - Current Fave: Instytutum Anti-Wrinkle Brightening Serum
- Face Moisturizer
               - Current Fave: Dermalogica Calm Water Gel
- Eye Cream/Moisturizer
               - Current Faves: Pixi Beauty 24K Eye Elixir, Dermalogica Stress Positive Eye Lift, BABOR Anti-Wrinkle Eye Cream
- Lip Balm
               - Current Fave: Algenist GENIUS Liquid Collagen Lip
- Facial Sheet Masks
- Eye Masks
               - Current Fave: DHC Skincare Revitalizing Moisture Strips


Individual Pouches (For Storage Purposes)


Until I watched Bellywellyjelly's YouTube packing videos, I was always that messy packer that just threw shit everywhere in my luggage. Nowadays, I realize the importance of dividing essentials into various pouches for easy access. Additionally, I used to (and sometimes still do) pack my essentials in a ghetto way through reusable Ziploc bags, but somewhere along the way, I realized that having unique and different pouches can really help you differentiate what essentials you packed in which pouch. A pouch can range from a bag with a zipper, button, or clasp - as long as you can close it and it offers ample storage space, it works!

I use individual pouches to store these various essentials:
- Skincare
- Makeup + Makeup Brushes
- Blogging Necessities (USB Memory Card Reader, multiple USB port, external hard drive) 


What's In My Bag/Backpack 


- Wallet + ID + credit cards + cash
- External portable charger
- Laptop + charger
- 1-2 pens
- Eyeliner
- Lipstick
- Lip balm
- Floss
- One pair of sunglasses
- Reusable water bottle
- Planner to organize collaboration deadlines
               - Current Fave: Erin Condren's LifePlanner (Vertical Layout)
- Earbuds or headphones
- Neck pillow (recommended for long flights)


Blogging Necessities/Equipment


When Sharon and I shot these photos during our San Francisco trip at the luxurious InterContinental San Francisco, you already know that we brought all of our blogging equipment to create content! One of the most important things is to have your DSLR on you at all times to capture the perfect moments in time, such as when you scout out the ideal photoshoot location! The staircase and wide windows of InterContinental San Francisco naturally let in enough light to make this an aesthetic place to shoot - plus, there was enough space where we got to play with the angles a bit! I already miss staying at the InterContinental San Francisco and I loved how we had our own individual beds to watch Friends from while editing the day's photos on our laptops. Additionally, our hotel suite was very aesthetic and spacious to shoot additional content, and you can find other photos that we've posted from this hotel on our Instagram pages!

For those who don't like or are uncomfortable with carrying around a DSLR openly in public (plus it's not that safe to do so in sketchy areas), it's best to always bring a spacious and comfortable bag with you so you can put your DSLR away from the public eye.

- DSLR + memory cards + spare battery + charger + extra lenses
- Vlogging Camera + memory cards + spare battery + charger
- Google Pixel 2 (to take quick scenery/tourist photos)
- Laptop + charger
- External hard drive
- Multiple USB ports
- USB Memory Card Reader
- Planner to organize collaboration deadlines


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Makeup


Obviously, everybody has a different way of doing their makeup and to be honest, you don't NEED to bring every makeup essential out there - especially when you're a light traveler. Personally, these are the makeup essentials that I pack all in ONE pouch, but to each their own. You can bring as much as I do (or even more!), or you can limit your makeup stash to just simply eyeliner and mascara!

- Makeup Brushes
- Foundation
- Concealer
- Bronzer
- Blush
- Eyeliner
- Highlighter
- Transluscent Powder
- Mascara
- 1-2 Makeup Palettes
- Eyelash glue
- 1-5 pairs of falsies
           - Pro Tip: I like to bring one pair of mink lashes so that they last me all-trip long! If you want to be safe, bring two pairs just in case you lose the first pair or they get damaged!
- Lipstick or lipgloss
- Makeup Setting Spray


Fashion Pieces


- 1-5 dresses + rompers
- 1-2 pairs of jeans
- 1-2 tops
- Five Panties
- Five pairs of socks
- One pair of athletic shoes
- Three pairs of workout outfits (hey, at least you brought them!)
- 2-5 pairs of sandals, wedges, booties, boots, and/or heels
- 3-5 pairs of sunglasses
- 1-3 purses, bags, and/or totes
- 1-3 pieces of jewelry (something that is easy to wear or pack!)


Luggage


- One medium or huge luggage or duffel bag
          - Pro Tip: Every time I go on a trip, I cannot live without the 360 mobility feature. Essentially, a luggage with 360 mobility is able to be easily transported and getting it from airport to hotel feels practically effortless. DELSEY USA is a GREAT store to purchase luggage pieces from - I currently use the 25" Bastille Lite Expandable Luggage in Black and 29" Titanium Expandable Spinner Luggage from DELSEY USA.
- One Purse
- One Backpack


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Have an upcoming trip soon? Be sure to take a look at this packing guide to help you pack efficiently and effortlessly with time to spare ;)


Outfit Details:

Hat: Dynamic Asia

Sunglasses: Sunglass LA

Earrings: Baublebar

Dress: Bongo

Purse: Kate Spade

Luggage: DELSEY USA

Wedges: Zooshoo


Photography By:

Sharon Litz (@sharonlitz)

www.sharinaone.com


Much Love,

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Eight Healthy Changes I've Implemented Into My Everyday Life

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After reading a book called "Sleep Smarter" by Shawn Stevenson every single night before my bedtime, the contents of this book have literally changed my life for the better. Not only do Stevenson's life tips provide me with a fresh new perspective of how we should treat sleep as a luxury and not as a dreaded chore, but this entire book made me rethink about the quality of my entire life as well. If you need a good read or want to improve your sleep, I highly suggest purchasing this book that I'll link for you guys here (psst, "Sleep Smarter" book review coming to the blog later - stay tuned!).


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For the last few years, I have always been sucked into this vortex that is social media and to be honest, I was not too happy about it. By staring at my phone screen almost 24/7 for work-related purposes, I did not like how people (this includes strangers, a few family members, and various friends) labeled my work field, and thus me, as "superficial" and "vain", without really getting to know me or knowing what the responsibilities of my field entails. When people see multiple selfies or #ootd shots on my page, they think "she's full of herself" or "why can't she get a real job" versus what really goes down. As hard-working influencers, we do not capture photos of ourselves for superficial or ego-boosting purposes (okay, I'll be honest - some people do...but that's just lame if that's their only reason to be on social media), but we do it to continuously create content and build a strong portfolio so that we can partner up with various brands where we can help promote a product, service, or location to our target audience. In other words, social media marketing is the new form of advertising these days and it really works - just not a lot of people know about it still. Also, it's part of our job to be taking photos all the damn time, although those who aren't social media savvy wouldn't understand this task at all. 

Also, by working as a content creator, there is no real break unless you create one for yourself. People would often tell me, "Why don't you just take a break? It's not that hard to do" but no, it's much harder than you think. It's not a job where you can clock-in at 9:00AM and clock-out at 5:00PM - it's just not that simple. In fact, social media is one of the most emotionally draining fields to work in, and if you're in it, you know just how much responsibility it takes to manage a business Instagram account or juggle collaboration emails, photoshoots, and blog posts. However, enough of my mini rant - let's just get to the main point about why I'm writing this post.

Because of the reality behind working in the social media industry, I'll be honest that it's definitely a difficult career choice to stick to because this is one of the fields that follow you from when you head home from a coffee shop or when your head hits the pillow. As a social media influencer, your brain is hardwired to create content 24/7, and thus, it is hard for us influencers to easily separate when to enjoy the moment versus when to document it on Instagram for work-related reasons. Because of the freelance lifestyle of this industry and the self-discipline that comes with it, I'll be honest when I say that I allowed several factors to fall out of my control just so I can manage my Instagram account on the daily - sleep, diet, exercise, you name it.

By discovering this book per a recommendation from a good friend, "Sleep Smarter" has opened up my perspective of the world in which we live in and how so much has changed throughout generations (for example, compare how the beginning of humanity never used electronics versus how everybody cannot live without their phones today). Furthermore, this book has taught me to become more aware of my actions and what I need to do to gain control of my life again. Long story short, let's just say that this book made me a lot more zen. After reading this book, I suddenly had this "wake-up call" that urged me to change a LOT of my current actions and to allow myself to steer the direction of my life again, not social media. At the end of the day, just one little change can make a huge difference in the long run. As soon as I improved my sleep thanks to this helpful novel, I was motivated enough to change other aspects of my life and now I feel like I'm on an all-time high to continue implementing the most healthiest changes for both my body and mind. If you're interested in what changes I've made to my life to make me my most healthiest self today, keep on reading! Remember, just a little bit goes a long way.


1. Get more massages.


I know, I know - massages are PRICEY. I get it. But, just because something is pricey, does not mean it is unattainable. When it comes to investing on something grand that costs more than 15 McDonalds Happy Meals, you need to consider a few questions:

  • Is the money I invest in this purchase benefitting me in some way?
  • Is this purchase going to elevate my mood or improve my health?
  • Is my body stiff/sore from constant exercise or from a 9-5 cubicle job?
  • Can I budget my finances accordingly to save up for this purchase? (Ex: Can I sacrifice a Starbucks coffee per day and make my coffee at home to treat myself to a luxurious and therapeutic experience by the end of the month?)

If you can answer YES to all of these questions, then sure enough - a massage is calling your name! It just all comes down to prioritization and budgeting. If you value your health and care about your body, you will make a bigger effort to treat yourself to the spa once in a while versus spending mindlessly on unnecessary purchases that you don't really need in your everyday life.

Also, quick tip for those who love massages, but don't want to break the bank - I often look on GroupOn for discounted massage vouchers. Let's just say that I've been a very happy camper with every GroupOn purchase that I have made when it comes to massage vouchers, and I have purchased anywhere from 3-5 massage vouchers on GroupOn from various businesses that had 4 stars or more on Yelp. Just be sure to look up the business name on Yelp for legitimate and trustworthy reviews from other customers so that you know you will be treating yourself to a stress-free and memorable experience.


2. Invest time and money in an exercise routine that you enjoy.


From Planet Fitness to LA Fitness to my current membership at LifeTime, I've seen it all. I've bounced among three gym memberships within the last year and that tells me something - I was not satisfied with my gym experience. Although I was hitting the gym for hours per week, I was not seeing the results I wanted. And as much as I know that diet plays a HUGE role in losing weight and being healthy, deep down, I still wasn't satisfied with my current exercise routine. I worked out aimlessly, without a dire motivation to challenge myself with every strength training routine. I did not sweat as hard as I did from my previous hip hop practices and no matter how much I dedicated myself to hitting the gym four to five times a week to endure a 1.5-hour strength training & cardio sesh, it wasn't enough.

Eventually, I learned with time that the only way I am super excited to workout is when I attend cardio or strength training CLASSES and this is offered all at LifeTime. To reiterate, I have taken classes at LifeTime spontaneously throughout the last couple of years, but could never get myself to join due to the high price point of $139/month. I just couldn't justify it. I mean, that's a lot of money for a gym - not gonna lie! However, when I broke everything down to how I felt before/after class to how much I sweat per class to the positive vibes I got upon entering LifeTime, I knew that this was the gym I was looking for all along. Even after just one hour of class, I can guarantee you that I am always sweating like a pig. Not only do I love the positive and supportive vibes from each instructor, but I enjoy the feeling of a good workout sesh in the presence of good company (my friends signed up for this gym as well, making it all the more fun!). Because I am finally happy to workout and FEEL a miraculous different with each class, the overall investment is worth every penny in my opinion.


3. Set your bedtime by 10:00PM & stay away from your electronics one hour before bed.


After I finish reading "Sleep Smarter", I am SO excited to write a book review on this life advice novel because every chapter has seriously changed my life! I will not go into major detail about sleeping smarter because a recap of the book will come soon in a future blog post, but what I can say is that your mobile devices, laptops, and TV screens play a huge role in disrupting your normal sleep cycles. Long story short, as soon as I put away my phone around 9:30 - 10:00PM, started reading from 10:00PM - 11:00PM, and head to bed at 11:00PM, I have always slept like a baby without insomnia getting the best of me. And trust me, this is coming from who I thought was an incurable insomniac (cough - I'm talking about myself) who kept rolling around in her bed from 10:00PM - 2:00AM. By ditching the electronics, I am able to successfully fall asleep almost instantly and wake up every day feeling energized and ready to tackle the day!


4. Satisfy your hanger with healthy, real foods.


Hangry? We have all been there before. Whenever I am with friends or family, I constantly joke that I am hangry, but little do they know...I'm somewhat serious, LOL. When it comes to eating healthier or dieting, I would never, ever suggest starving because starvation will eventually lead you to eat unhealthy junk foods that your brain craves for a quick energy boost. If you are truly hungry, reach for real foods - aka things that grow outdoors or in Mother Nature versus being processed in a factory or combined with a lot of other artificial ingredients.

I have added a lot of healthy recipes to my blog as of lately, but one homemade recipe that I highly suggest hopping on is the Grain Bowl. Find the recipe here to get your daily dose of protein, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. Yum!


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5. Take real breaks.


A real break does not include going to the bathroom or scrolling through your Instagram feed to see if you got 10 new likes on your most recent photo. Instead, a real break means temporarily getting away from your office and putting yourself in a whole new environment.

As much as I used to count "Instagram scrolling" or "bathroom breaks" as part of my work break, it really isn't a real break if you come to think of it. By taking these useless "breaks", I felt burnt out and drained throughout the work day because I never properly assigned myself an official, legitimate break.

A real break includes eating a meal at your own pace without the use of your cellular device, chatting with friends/family, walking outdoors around the neighborhood or your office building, taking a quick nap, and much more. 

Since I work from home, my work breaks differ a little from the average 9-5 person. Various examples of work breaks I take include helping cook lunch or dinner for myself or the family, hitting the gym for an hour, walking the dogs around the neighborhood, just literally sitting on a couch with Muffin doing nothing for 15 minutes, throwing a ball in the pool for JB to swim to, etc. Honestly, just a little break away from your office can do wonders in improving your work efficiency and productivity. Because we look at our cellphones or laptops a lot these days, I try my best to ditch the electronics during my break so that my eyes feel more refreshed and rejuvenated when I have to return back to my devices for work.


6. Drink more water.


As if health experts or your mom has not advised this enough, stay hydrated friends. I noticed on days where I did not drink enough water, I felt dehydrated, which led to annoying headaches and dizziness that only interrupted my work productivity. Thus, if you are trying to stay focused and energized throughout your entire day, keep a reusable water bottle by your side at all times so that you reach for water - sometimes I drink water without even thinking about it! Now that's the beauty in owning a reusable water bottle.

Recently, I've been using my Contigo and take it with me EVERYWHERE - my desk, the gym, my nightstand, you name it. You can purchase my Contigo here in a beautiful mint color.


7. Clocking out of work at a certain time (if you work freelance or are an entrepreneur).


This seventh point goes hand-in-hand with Tip #3. Before, I always used to wonder why I constantly felt burnt out and drained - this was because I had no "off" button and used all of my free time trying to catch up on "extra" deadlines. In the end, this is actually counterproductive because the quality of my work just decreased, despite giving my work so much time. By knowing when to clock out each day and give yourself a break for the remainder of the day, you allow your body and mind to rest and prepare for the next day ahead. If you continue to overwork an individual and don't provide proper rest/breaks, there's only so much that he/she can do before his/her work productivity, creativity, and efficiency begin to decline.

As an entrepreneur or freelancer in the creative field, you must remember that there will ALWAYS be work to take care of and there will never be an end to it. But don't think of this negatively - think of this realistically instead. Instead, what you can remind yourself of is to work as hard as possible every single day, reward yourself with a much necessary break and leisure time (gym, massages, mani-pedi, meditation, dinner with friends, etc.) and you'll eventually get to where you want to be. 

The most successful formula in life is work-life balance. If you surround yourself with too much work or playtime, you won't get very far in what you're trying to accomplish. However, if you learn to balance the two well, then you'll only leave room for more window of opportunities and success. 


8. Pick up yoga (or meditation) whenever you have free time.


Honestly, I used to correlate yoga with the terms "slow" and "boring" because that's how I viewed the movements (sorry yogis of the world!). But, that is coming from an oblivious and ignorant Michelle back then. After taking my first yoga class this previous weekend with friends at LifeTime, I honestly enjoyed every minute of my one-hour yoga class. Yes, yoga is a very "slow" and "chill" class, but a yoga room creates a very tranquil and problem-free ambiance that one needs when surrounded by a high-stress job or environment.

What I love most about yoga is the fact that you can temporarily get away from all the stresses of life (work, relationships, finances, etc.) and focus on what truly matters in that 60-minute time frame - the words of your instructor, the tranquil music, your body/mind. Not only does the calm, soothing music allow you to enter a very zen state of mind, but yoga is a great way to work out all of the kinks in your body when you spend the majority of your life working in front of a computer or working out. After dying from two one-hour classes back-to-back last Sunday, yoga was the third class that saved my aching muscles from collapsing on me that day. With yoga class, I was able to give my body the time and place to stretch and recover from the daily stresses of life and felt rejuvenated right after.

Regarding meditation, you have to be really disciplined and be in a quiet environment to do this consistently. I've only tried meditation once and I'll be honest that it's not for me (in other words, I can't picture myself meditating alone unless a friend joined me), but what I can say is that it really works. If you allow yourself 10 minutes to meditate, you allow your mind to approach internal stress factors or problems that you are currently dealing with and accept these problems for what they are. In other words, meditation allows you to be at ease and helps you approach problems in a calm, accepting state versus reacting in a panicked frenzy.

If you have 10 minutes in a day to meditate or an hour to head to a nearby yoga class, I'd highly recommend it to improve the health of your body and mind.


Ever since I've implemented these positive changes to my health and everyday lifestyle, I love sharing with you guys what works for me, with you! Let me know in the comments section below which tip resonated with you most - let's chat!

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Outfit Details:

Blazer: THACKER NYC

Jumpsuit: Julia Jordan NYC

Shoes: Zooshoo



Much Love,

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Where To Take Bae On Your Next Date In OC/LA

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One of the greatest satisfactions I get from being a freelance lifestyle blogger is being able to listen to requested topics or feedback from my followers and fulfilling these requests to the best of my ability. By being able to engage and interact with my audience on the daily, I always strive to write helpful articles that give back to the community because nothing makes me happier than putting a smile on your face. As cheesy as that sounds, it's nothing but the truth! Thus, from the request of one particular follower who personally messaged me asking about various date spots to go to with her significant other and majority's vote from a recent Instagram poll that I initiated, this post is for ALL of you who are looking for recommendations on popular date spots or ideas in the Orange County and/or Los Angeles area! Also, I made sure to categorize each date based on the type of couple you are, whether that revolves around traveling, adventure, photography, or food. So without further ado, are you ready to surprise bae with one of the most fun and memorable dates of his/her life?! If so, let's get planning!

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Outfit Details:
Hat: Nordstrom
Sunglasses: Sunglass LA
Romper: Irene's Story
Shoes: Zooshoo


Photography By:
Sharon Litz (@sharonlitz)
of www.sharinaone.com


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1. The Foodie Fans

Ever spot that one couple where the man takes fifty photos of the woman holding her warm (but about to go cold) Vanilla Latte, or the woman who shoots her man doing a noodle pull from his ramen bowl while straight flexin'? Or if you both aren't active on social media but know how to savor the flavor of each dish, that counts too! If you're one of these couples, then props to you! Below, I've listed my favorite restaurants in the OC/LA areas that you both should dine at if you love food as much as I do! ;)

Orange County:
7 Leaves Cafe (Irvine) - Coffee, Tea, Boba, Macarons  [Affordability: $]
Almond Haus (Garden Grove) - Boba & Tea  [Affordability: $]
Anepalco (Orange) - Mexican Food  [Affordability: $$]
Bo De Tinh Tam Chay (Westminster) - Vegetarian Vietnamese Food  [Affordability: $$]
Brodard Restaurant (Garden Grove) - Nem Nuong & Vietnamese Food  [Affordability: $]
Cafe Maji (Artesia) - Asian Fusion Food, Coffee, & Tea  [Affordability: $$]
Cauldron Ice Cream (Santa Ana) - Ice Cream & Puffles  [Affordability: $]
Gen Korean BBQ House (Tustin) - AYCE Korean Barbeque  [Affordability: $$]
Milk Box (Tustin) - Boba & Tea [Affordability: $]
Mint Leaf (Westminster) - Dim Sum & Chinese Food  [Affordability: $]
Poke Me (Irvine) - Poke Bowls  [Affordability: $]
Project Poke (Fountain Valley) - Poke/Sushi Burritos, Poke Bowls, Musubis [Affordability: $]
Puesto (Irvine) - Tacos & Mexican Food [Affordability: $$]
Sushi Damu (Tustin) - AYCE Sushi [Affordability: $]

Los Angeles:
Again Cafe x Chibiscus Ramen (Pasadena) - Ramen, Desserts, Coffee, & Korean Food [Affordability: $$]
Bardonna (Los Angeles) - American Brunch Food [Affordability: $$]
Marugame Monzo (Los Angeles) - Udon [Affordability: $$]
Night + Market Song (Silverlake) - Thai Food [Affordability: $]
Din Tai Fung (Arcadia) - Dim Sum & Chinese Food [Affordability: $]


2. The Traveling/Adventurous Duo

Do you two enjoy hiking through the outdoors, visiting beautiful attractions, or love trying out new activities together? If so, you might as well call yourself the traveling duo as you embark on your next destination together by visiting one of these recommendations below! 

Orange County:
CorgiCon - check Facebook events for available dates.
Irvine Spectrum (Irvine) - Shopping Mall
Noguchi Museum (Costa Mesa) - Museum
OC Night Market (Costa Mesa) -  Food Event & Vendors [Affordability: $$]
Plant Nite (at respective locations within Orange County) - Plant Nite Activity [Affordability: $$]
Red Rock Canyon (Lake Forest) - Hiking
Sip + Colr (at respective locations within Orange County) - Paint Nite Activity [Affordability: $$]

Los Angeles:
Americana At Brand (Glendale) - Shopping Mall
626 Night Market (Arcadia) - Food Event & Vendors [Affordability: $$]
Hollywood Sign (Los Angeles) - Hiking
La Brea Tar Pits & Museum (Los Angeles) - Museum
LACMA (Los Angeles) - Museum
Urban Lights at LACMA (Los Angeles) - Architecture


3. The Instagram Husband And Wife

Let's forever take pictures of each other for da gram - till death do us part? Yeeeaahhh, this pretty much sums up the relationship of an Instagram couple. If you are the ambitious couple who strives to improve your photography skills and constantly scouts out dope photoshoot locations, these are just a few of the many places that you HAVE to visit to take your Instagram game to the next level! #Instagramgoals #couplegoals

Orange County:
Bardot Bars & Coffee (Tustin) - Aesthetic Coffee Shop [Affordability: $]
Coffee For Two (Huntington Beach) - Aesthetic Coffee Shop [Affordability: $]
Downtown Disney (Anaheim) - Vendors
Hopper & Burr (Santa Ana) - Aesthetic Coffee Shop [Affordability: $]
Laguna Beach (Laguna Beach) - Beach
Noguchi Museum (Costa Mesa) - Museum

Los Angeles:
Coffee For Sasquatch (Los Angeles) - Aesthetic Coffee Shop [Affordability: $]
Griffith Observatory (Los Angeles) - Architecture
Pasadena City Hall (Pasadena) - Architecture
Rodeo Drive (Beverly Hills) - Shops
Santa Monica Pier (Santa Monica) - Beach/Pier & Vendors
The Bates Motel (Silverlake) - Hotel
The Beverly Hills Hotel (Beverly Hills) - Hotel
Urban Lights at LACMA (Los Angeles) - Architecture


4. The Competitive Couple

Ever feel that rush of adrenaline or stream of sweat trickle down your forehead when you're trying to beat bae at basketball? Competitive dates can get pretty hot and heated when you both share a competitive edge and refuse to lose. Here are a few places to battle it out against each other - just be sure to refrain from beating each other up when one person ends up losing, heh!

Orange County:
Boomers (Irvine) - Amusement Parks, Go Karts, & Mini Golf [Affordability: $$]
Irvine Lanes (Irvine) - Bowling [Affordability: $$]
Dave And Buster's (Irvine) - Arcade [Affordability: $$]

Los Angeles:
Karaoke At Music Box (City Of Industry) - Karaoke [Affordability: $$]
Round1 Puente Hills (City Of Industry) - Arcade, Karaoke, & Bowling [Affordability: $]


With this blog post, I hope that you will be able to check out one (or a few) of these recommendations that I've listed above when it comes to potential dating spots to take your boo! I've compiled these list of locations based on personal preference or word-of-mouth and made sure that these places were worth visiting - after all, I only include nothing but the best for my followers ;) If you found this blog post handy, I'd love it if you could click the heart button at the bottom of this post and don't forget to send a link of this post to your friends as well! ;) Happy Holidays & stay safe everybody!

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Much Love,

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#MeToo: A Victim Of Date Rape

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Have you ever been sexually harassed or abused, but never had the courage to speak up about it or confide in a close friend or family member?

If your answer is yes, just know that you're not alone - I've been there too, as well as countless other women who choose to share their story or not. #MeToo


Outfit Details:
Top: Kut From The Kloth
Jeans: Kut From The Kloth
Purse: StyleWe
Shoes: Zooshoo


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After observing the #MeToo movement becoming viral on Twitter from actress Alyssa Milano's sexual assault and reading a sexual assault experience from a fellow blogger, I knew I had to share MY story too. To be honest, I never felt 100% comfortable talking about any topics related to sexual abuse or harassment on my platforms because it drifts heavily away from my blog's main focus of positivity stories, career advice, and inspirational topics.

However, the longer I've suppressed this feeling, the more I wanted to express the frustration and pain I was going through. Thus, I've gathered up the courage to write about this topic because I want my platform to be a safe place where we can talk about anything, grow from our mistakes, and learn from each other. After all, the last thing I want is to have another woman go through the same hell that I've been going through and to live with this mentally scarring experience every passing day for the rest of your life.

This is the story that continues to give me nightmares that jolt me awake at 4:00AM. This is the story that haunts my very thoughts whenever I'm driving in the car alone. This is the story of how I was a victim of date rape.


He was the perfect catch - or so I'd thought.

A successful career in one of the top consulting firms. A gorgeous, private studio overlooking the city view of Los Angeles. A die-hard passion to constantly travel and develop his photography skills. A good conversationalist with a frequent use of emojis and laughs. A cute smile and a decent dresser (although my friends deem him a solid 3/10 for being an asshole - we'll get to that later, LOL).

"How could a guy like this be single?", I thought to myself. "And how did we manage to squeeze in time for a date throughout the week when we're both such busy people?"


We talked from one to three times per day on Facebook messenger, exchanging anywhere from 1-6 detailed paragraphs long per chat. Right from the start, I saw potential to become something more with him because I couldn't imagine a "player" devoting so much time to get to know me on a deeper level through text - to invest time and effort into a long, meaningful conversation, to ask me questions about my personality, dream career, and lifestyle, to answer every question that I asked him in precise detail. I wanted our first date to secure this potential, but it very well did just the opposite.

My friends warned me about his "stereotypical" player features, but I just assumed that they were being the typical overprotective girlfriends that we all know and love. I assured them that I'd be okay and proceeded to excitedly drive to the designated dinner spot while feeling like I was on Cloud Nine.

Over Korean food and soju, we got along well and shared a few laughs throughout the night. Like any other date, you talk about friendly topics such as family, travel, career, passions, and so on. Honestly, I wanted to ask him more serious topics about relationships, but refrained from doing so on the first date to avoid scaring him off. All I knew is that he was definitely somebody I wanted to see again, or at least get to know better with time.

By the end of the date, it was past 10:00PM, we were an hour away from my house, and I was tipsy AF from the soju shots we had earlier. Let's keep in mind that this is the first time I have ever drank on a date, or drank alcohol in a while. Nice going, Michelle. I will never, ever condone drunk driving so I ended up telling him that I couldn't drive at that very moment - which was 100% true. In response, he suggested that we could either wait at the restaurant or we could head back to his place while I sober up since I had a long drive back home to OC.

My gut feeling told me two things - he was either a thirsty player trying to get it in, or he was a considerate gentleman for realizing that embarking on an hour-long car ride home past midnight was not the best idea in my current condition. I hesitated a bit before I took him up on his offer to crash at his place for a little bit, whether it be for 1-2 hours or overnight in a separate room. If I did feel better, I replied that I would drive home for the night after sobering up. On the other hand, if I felt that it was too late to drive home, I would accept his offer to stay the night and leave the very next morning. Thus, he drove us to his place with his car, UBER'd back to the restaurant to pick up mine, then drove my car back to his place as well. Would a player really go through this much effort to get laid? I personally didn't think so.

As I was admiring the beautiful city view from his apartment, he poured one more drink for the each of us. At that point, I should have realized that he was up to no good, but I was still too inebriated to think straight. Our glasses clinked as we drank the last alcoholic drinks of the night and we ended up sharing a conversation about various board games (yep, I'm a total gamer girl geek and proud of it, haha). After realizing that the rules of the game were way too complicated to go over near midnight (we were debating on playing) and with a drunk Michelle, I excused myself to use the bathroom and that's when it happened.

I opened the bathroom door to find that he turned ALL of the lights off. He approached me quickly, knowing exactly what to do (kind of like a rehearsed script) and started undressing me. On any first date, I knew exactly where my boundaries stand and I never schedule sex to be a part of the agenda. Little did I know that our agendas were on complete ends of the spectrum, and he ended up getting what he wanted - his way. That entire night, he fulfilled his own selfish needs against my will. He continuously dismissed my request to use protection and kept trying to pressure me to do it without. Even when I told him to stop and attempted multiple times to shove him off, he didn't let my forceful pushing bother him one bit. When he was done, he knocked out immediately and I ended up not getting a wink of sleep that night. It was the worst sleep I've ever had, and he was the worst date I ever had. I felt used. Traumatized. Disgusted.

How could somebody who appeared so proper and mature at dinner turn into such a disgusting, disrespectful animal at night? Honestly, he was the most selfish, appalling, and pathetic man I have ever encountered in my life and just thinking about that night makes me extremely clammy and uncomfortable.

I ended up telling a few of my close girlfriends what happened, and they were all disgusted beyond belief. "That's not okay", "he's a rapist", "what a hoe", and more negative feedback about this man literally filled my text chatrooms and all I could do was feel empty and lost inside.

To confirm if he was a player or not, I wanted to see if he treated me differently afterwards. I sent him a follow-up message, continuing our chirpy conversation from where it last left off - to see if he was the "hit it and quit it" type of guy or if he was remotely interested but a DTF type of guy. My worst fear was confirmed when it took him two full days to get back to me with a shorter, effortless message - that's when I knew, he was a player and he was a rapist.

Realizing that I had allowed this disgusting rapist to take advantage of me, I felt weak in the knees and experienced fluctuating emotions of anger, sadness, bitterness, and confusion for the next two weeks. Why would he spend so much effort talking to me, just for that one night? Was all that effort really worth the chase? Was he even remotely interested in getting to know me?

The answer to these questions, I'll never know. People act the way they act based on a series of life events, and you'll never know why somebody does something until you get to know them on a personal level. Based on his actions, I personally felt that he was trying to fill this empty void in his heart through meaningless one-night stands. I'll never know the truth, but that's just an assumption I have. But regardless of his intentions, he is, and always will be, a rapist.


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Now, I'm sharing my traumatic experience with you guys because I personally learned that opening up about an issue is one of the healthiest ways to move on from emotional torture. Of course, everybody has a different comfort level when it comes to discussing sexual-related topics and I totally respect each and every one of you and how you choose to grieve over a sensitive subject like sexual harassment. However, if you have experienced a similar sexual harassment situation and find yourself angry, upset, or uneasy about the situation, trust me when I say that talking to another trustworthy individual will make you feel ten times better. To suffer agony alone is a terrible feeling, and you should never have to go through life's obstacles alone. As soon as I told my friends about this predicament, they made me feel loved and cared for, unlike that disgusting pig.

Also, I learned that staying passive in life or not taking action does not make me happy at all. If I ever experience a life-changing lesson that can help others, I will almost always write about it on my blog in hopes that I can better another individual's life. Thus, I'm doing the same with this blog post and strongly encourage any of you to speak up if you've ever been sexually harassed or abused. By coming together and uniting as a community, we can make a universal effort to eradicate the world from sexual harassment and abuse, one story at a time. If you feel that you're ready, join the #MeToo movement by speaking up for yourself and for the ones who aren't ready to tell their stories yet.

To gain closure, I realized that I couldn't hide these feelings any longer and had to share it with my friends, and now you guys. A couple days later after that night, I privately messaged him a collection of my raw and honest thoughts - how disgusted he specifically made me feel and how what he did was not okay. To this day, I know that he's purposely avoiding my message, but what matters is that I was strong enough to communicate how I felt with him. Now that that's out of the way, I can move on with less weight on my shoulders and a strong desire to move forward from this horrific event.

All in all, I am extremely thankful for the important family members and friends that I have in my life, but I am still mentally torn till this very day. At the end of the day, I realized that it's not healthy to live in regret or anger, so I'm taking this personal experience and using my story to share my learning lesson with you guys.

The learning lesson is this...don't ever expect an individual to act the way you want him/her to act and don't ever put him/her on a pedestal. What you see may not always be what you get, and only time can really tell you what a person is really like deep down inside.

With that being said, I'm saying #MeToo and hope that none of you will ever have to experience this kind of suffering alone. If you are currently experiencing emotional pain from a previous sexual harassment or abuse situation, remember that you are strong and that each passing day will bring you one step closer to strength and happiness. Let's turn these negative incidents into positive life lessons and do the best that we can to move forward together - after all, I'll be with you every step of the way.

Much Love,

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