Five Favorites (Vol. 8)

My boyfriend, Matt, and I had a great time exploring San Francisco a couple Sundays ago.  Here’s where we went and what we did:

1. Brava Theater

 One of the women in our Bible study/home group is a theater artist, playwright, and arts administrator.  She wrote Love Balm For My SpiritChild, a play featuring the testimonies of Bay Area mothers who have lost their children to acts of violence, and it was playing last weekend, and will be playing this weekend, at Brava Theater in The Mission, SF.  We’re both so proud of our sister in Christ and the work of healing and love that God is doing through her!


2. Bi-Rite Creamery

(Clockwise from top-left) Matcha Green Tea, Basil, Balsamic Strawberry, & Peach.  Matt really loved the basil ice cream, and I still think the balsamic strawberry is the best.  This is such a great spot for quality ice cream!


3. Dolores Park

It’s been a looooong time since I last slid down a slide or swung on a swing.  Dolores Park has both, along with a number of other fun play structures, and I had lots of fun getting to be a big kid!


4. Palace of Fine Arts

Interestingly enough, the last time we were here together in 2013, we ended up getting into a big misunderstanding.  We got through that little rough patch, but thinking about this particular place always seemed to bring back some funky feelings.  I’m glad that we had an opportunity to come here again, walk around, talk, snap some great photos, and just make a new memory.


5. Beach Chalet

A coworker friend of mine who lives in the city recommended the Beach Chalet to me a while back.  I bookmarked it on Yelp and when my Matt and I were trying to think of a place to go for dinner, I was able to finally cross this off the list!  Luckily enough, we got a table for two right next to the window, and were able to eat great food and watch the sunset together.


Five Favorites (Vol. 7)

Five Favorite Photos from this Fourth of July Weekend with my Family.  I’m really glad I got to spend time with my Dad again.  Can’t wait to see him when he comes back in September (God willing)!

1. SFO

 Self-um-father-daughter-ie!  Even though this photo was snapped at 2 in the morning last Friday, we’re all SMILES =D


2. Happy Belated Birthday

My aunt ordered a cheesecake, my Dad’s favorite, from Junior’s.  Ten candles just for fun and making-wishes-sake!


3. Opera at the Ballpark

My Dad happens to really love the opera, so we went to AT&T Park on Saturday to watch Verdi’s La Traviata.  My brothers and I like garlic fries – yum!


4. Sunday Brunch

After church, we headed to Lake Chalet near Lake Merritt in Oakland for brunch.  It was a beautiful, sunny day and the food was great!


5. Fortunes

We had Chinese food for dinner on Sunday, but my mom and brothers didn’t want their fortune cookies so my Dad and I split them.  My two fortunes are on the left; his are on the right – he got the same exact ones!

Five Favorites (Vol. 6)


For this edition of Five Favorites, I decided to take a look through the little makeup bag that I carry with me in my purse.

1. Tide-to-Go Pen

Tide-to-Go Pen

Tide-to-Go Pen

No, I do not use this on my face.  🙂  I do, however, think that this is one of those “better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it” products.  I’m serious.  Last December, I borrowed a dress, from one of the high schoolers in the Youth Fellowship, to wear to the wedding of a couple in my home group.  I’m still serious.  During cocktail hour, a friend standing across from me accidentally dropped a small cup containing an hors d’oeuvre on the ground.  And it happened to be the kind with lots of marinara sauce in it.  I looked down and could see an arc of red splotches from the hem of my full length dress up to around my knees.  My friend was mortified, but I assured her that it was alright because I had come armed with my Tide-to-Go pen!  I excused myself and went to the restroom.  After 5 minutes of blotting out the stains with the pen, I returned to the group with a dress as good as new!


2. Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge

BB Pot Rouge in Rose

BB Pot Rouge in Rose

I don’t like carrying a lot of different products around with me during the day, so I really value multipurpose makeup like Bobbi Brown’s Pot Rouge for Lips & Cheeks.  I’m currently using it in Rose, a great matte shade, but there are many others to choose from.  It is a pricier blush, but a little goes a long way in terms of color and staying power.  I wear it almost every day, and I’m still working through one that I bought at the end of 2012!


3. Avon Ultra Luxury Brow Liner

AVON Ultra Luxury Brow Liner

AVON Ultra Luxury Brow Liner

Back in middle school, I knew a couple of female classmates whose older siblings were AVON representatives while they themselves were meetmark reps.  I used to enjoy poring through their ever-changing brochures, looking at all of the different types of makeup and the various shades that they would come in.  AVON has an Ultra Luxury Brow Liner and Eye Liner, but I like to use the Soft Black Brow Liner for both my brows and as an eye liner (even the softest black shade of their eye liner is wayyy too harsh for my brows).  It does smudge a little, so I have to remember not to rub my eyes, lol, but it gets points for gliding on so smoothly and quickly. Perfect for creating the cat eye look!


4. Burt’s Bees Replenishing Lip Balm w/ Pomegranate Oil

Burt's Bees Replenishing Lip Balm w/ Pomegranate Oil

Burt’s Bees Replenishing Lip Balm w/ Pomegranate Oil

I love the original Burt’s Bees lip balm, too, but for those of you who aren’t too thrilled with the mintiness and want just a hint of color, this is the right BB balm for you!


5. Boscia Green Tea Blotting Linens



Boscia Green Tea Blotting Linens

Boscia Green Tea Blotting Linens

I was a high school freshman the first time I stepped into a Sephora store, and this is the very first thing I ever purchased from there.  It was the only thing I could really rationalize spending money on, lol, since I figured that paying 10 cents per blotting linen wasn’t really all that bad.  My skin can get kinda oily a couple of hours after I apply makeup and get into my day, but one little linen easily takes care of the oil and shine for the rest of the day.  Highly recommended!

Five Favorites (Vol. 5)

Five Favorites, hosted at

1. My New Officemate

Last Tuesday, one of my coworkers came by with the Chun Li Hello Kitty that you see above.  As it turns out, his girlfriend is a fellow HK-lover and she asked a friend of hers to grab that for me at a recent gaming convention.  Such a sweet, generous gesture!  Total solidarity among HK fans!


2. Clinique

My boss, G, loves Clinique and will go to Macy’s every so often during lunch to pick something up.  At times, they have special bonus offers going on and she’ll bring back the cute little sample gifts (like what’s pictured above) for me.  I’ve used some of their cleansers and lotions in the past, and I really like how gentle their products are on the skin.  And how bright and cheery their packaging is!


3. Easter at The Office

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Last Thursday, I was greeted by a festive basket of assorted candy when I walked into the kitchen on my floor.  After I opened Outlook, I saw the cute email alert pictured above.  I joked with some coworkers about spending most of the day hunting for eggs, but it didn’t actually take that long.  😉


[NOTE: So I guess this volume of Five Favorites will be office-related.

That wasn’t my original intent, but I feel inspired now.]


4. AM View from the Kitchen

Good Morning, SF!

I know.  Woah.  Back in January, I got to the office at an unheard of 7 AM.  I remember berating myself for not forcing myself to go back for at least another hour of sleep, but watching the sunrise with a hot cup of tea in my hand made it so, so worth it.


5. PM View of Downtown SF

Goodnight, SF!

Goodnight, SF!

When I first visited The Office last year, I remember falling head over heels for the views of San Francisco that the huge glass windows on various floors afforded.  After I finished testing, and was escorted to the elevator, I remember saying prayer after prayer for God to open a door for me to work in such a lovely place.  Little did I know, though, that as great as the views still are (they haven’t grown old!), they’re nothing compared to the beauty apparent in the kindness of my boss and coworkers.

Five Favorites (Vol. 4)

Five Favorites, hosted at

1. My Cousin’s New Baby

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I would like to introduce you to Turbo.  And yes, he does have his own Instagram account, lol.  He is just so, so adorable.  Can’t wait to visit and meet him in person!


2. Mehndi

Last Saturday, I went to the Stanford Night Market with my friends JQ and LL.  The Sanskriti student organization had a woman at their booth who was doing a number of different mehndi designs for just $2.  I went to a number of Indian weddings growing up, and had always wanted to get it done, but was always too shy to ask.  This time, however, I took the plunge and I am so happy with the way it turned out.



Because my last Five Favorites post was all about food, I was trying to keep this one free of it, but I couldn’t.  Such is life.  My friend, O, and I had a great time catching up after the Saturday Women’s Bible study at Regen.  One of our stops was the new-to-Rockridge outpost of Robyn Sue Fisher’s Smitten ice cream shop.  What’s so great about it?  Well, every order of ice cream is made right before your eyes with fresh ingredients and… liquid nitrogen.


4. Lake Merritt

Last Sunday was a beautiful day in the Bay Area.  After meeting up with some folks from my home group, I took a walk around Lake Merritt in the afternoon and managed to get a shot of the sun filtering through just one of the many trees that border this Oakland treasure.  There are lots more photos where that came from.  Check out the ones attached to the Lake’s Yelp page.


5. Timehop

TimehopI’ve always been fascinated by time capsules, but not enough to have ever actually taken the time to fill up a box, dig up a hole in the backyard, and then wait.  But as it turns out, there’s an app for that!  A woman in my home group just introduced me to Timehop.  According to their website, every morning, the app will show you “old photos and posts from Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Instagram, Flickr and your camera roll photos.”  I think it’s a great way to savor old memories, be reminded of the many blessings there are in life, and just take in how much you can change and grow over time.

Five Favorites (Vol. 3)

Five Favorites, hosted at

All five of these favorites are food-related.  Hope you’re not hungry!  =)

1. Ohgane’s AYCE KBBQ

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My brothers both had Spring Break last week, so on Tuesday, I asked them if they would like to go watch a movie and then have lunch.  I guess it’s no longer embarrassing to be seen with their big sister and mom, so they agreed.  Well, the movie I chose, completely bombed with my mom, who fell asleep in the middle of the movie, and my youngest brother.  His exact words to me at the end of the movie: “How could you do that to us?”  T_T

Luckily for me, they had a great time having lunch at Ohgane off Broadwin in Oakland.  This was only my second time having AYCE KBBQ (all you can eat Korean BBQ), but their first.  They all took to it like fish to water, though, and pretty soon my younger brothers were expertly handling the grill and partaking of all the different ban chan.

I don’t think my dad has ever done this before, so now I can’t wait until he comes back so we can go as a whole family.  =)  For those of you with family and friends around, make sure you GO and do things together; you really never know how quickly those circumstances can change, or if you’ll lose those opportunities forever.


2A. SF Chocolate Tour

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When I checked my purse upon returning home after Youth Fellowship a few months ago, I found a handmade envelope with two pieces of paper inside.  On one piece of paper was a really thoughtful, encouraging letter, and on the other piece of paper was information on a 2-hour Chocolate Tour in Downtown SF.  My boyfriend, Matt, really knows me, haha.  We took the tour last Thursday and it was great to just take some time to stop into places that I rush by on a weekly basis.  I work nearby, but you can only do so much with your lunch break.  =)  My favorite stop was definitely Spicely.  They have such a unique selection of tea and spice-infused chocolates, whole and ground spices, and tea blends (from caffeine free herbals to strong black teas, and everything in between).


2B. Old Weang Ping

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After the chocolate tour, Matt and I headed to USF for their 12th Annual Human Rights Film Festival.  We watched Jose Antonio Vargas’s moving documentary which really gave me a new perspective on the things I would hear my mom discussing with her siblings when I was younger (we immigrated to the US from the Philippines when I was 1.5 years old).  That can be an entire post, or series of posts, so I’ll fast forward to say that after the film, the two of us ended up heading to Old Weang Ping for an extended discussion over dinner.  We had the “Barbarian Soup,” trout w/ smoky eggplant sauce, sticky rice, and chicken pad see ew (no photo, sorry!).  If you live in the Bay Area and like Thai food, it’s a definite must.


3. pinkberry


My mom’s new favorite thing is froyo, so I took her out to pinkberry last Sunday.  I normally stick to chocolate with mochi and/or gummy bears (plain, not coated with those sour sugar crystals), but they only had a chocolate chip flavor, so I opted for mango with mochi.  She went for salted caramel and coconut with mochi, strawberries, blackberries, and mango.  I’m not a fan of salted caramel, but I thought the coconut was really refreshing.

All in all, I’m so, SO grateful for that moment last Sunday.  I’m struggling really hard with being patient and loving towards my mom because I really hate all the things I hear her tell my dad when they talk on the phone.  It’s nice to know that we can connect with similar interests in food and dessert, and in those semi-neutral moments, when we’re enjoying something together and have our guards against one another down, can also finally have the space to talk about the heavy things.


4. Ben & Jerry’s Free Cone Day

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My friend, JQ, and I have been friends for over a decade (since freshman year of high school).  I started working in SF last June, and then at the beginning of this year, she started a new job in SF, too!  Neither of us ever dreamed about this being a possibility when we were in high school, so it means a lot to be just a few city blocks away from her now.  She’s got a sweet tooth that rivals mine, and has been the best lunch buddy a gal could ask for.

Yesterday, we hit the Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop at the Macy’s in Union Square.  I got Chunky Monkey in a cone, and she got the new Hazed & Confused Core ice cream in a cup.  The line was long, but sooo worth it.  Yum!


5. The Most Important Meal of the Day


I have some (fairly) unhealthy eating habits.  I know that I eat wayyy too many sweets.  I know that I don’t eat enough fresh vegetables and fruits.  I know that even though I am not hungry, I shouldn’t be skipping a meal (or two) in a day… and definitely not breakfast.  I know that on other days it isn’t good to be snacking for hours on end.  Blegh.

Well, when I was getting ready to leave work yesterday, I checked my phone and saw a missed call and voicemail message from my Mom.  It’s not unheard of for her to call and ask me to stop by the store on my way home from work, but those things are few and far between.  She knows that she’ll see me when I get home, so she doesn’t call unless it’s important and can’t wait until then (i.e. the last time she called me, was at 8:30 AM in February to tell me that my dad had been laid off.  Good Morning, right?).  Anyway, she called to let me know that Matt had dropped by with something and that they had talked.

I really thing teleportation would be the best superpower, y’know?  The first thing I did when I got home was ask what she had said to him and what they had talked about.  She shrugged and said they just chatted.  Mmhm.  I bet.  She brushed off every question and just pointed at a Trader Joe’s bag near the dining table.  I looked inside and found everything in the photo above.

He even made sure to buy CHOCOLATE breakfast items.  So sweet.  =)

Five Favorites (Vol. 2)

Five Favorites, hosted at

1. SF Privately-Owned Public Open Spaces (POPOS) 


Last week I read an article on SFGate that talked about POPOS (Privately-Owned Public Open Spaces).  Does anyone else have this in their town/city?  I’m excited to go out and explore during my lunch breaks!


2. Bubble Umbrellas

ImageI live in the Bay Area and we’ve seen some much-needed rain in the past week.  Some people seem to hate the rain, but I love it.  I always crave more ice cream when it rains, I’m lulled to sleep by the sound of it beating down against the walls of our house, I love the way it turns the hills a deep, lovely green.  And I loveee getting to break out my bubble umbrella!  I’ve had many over the years (the first one was a gift from my friends when we were all in high school and they were sick to death of hearing me pine for one – I wasn’t as adept with the ways of Amazon just yet).  This year, however, I’ve gone with a more colorful version by Totes from Macy’s.  It’s great!


3. Heads Up!


I played Heads Up! for the first time at a friend’s housewarming party last year.  Before going to a youth conference with my boyfriend’s church (he’s the Youth Director and Worship Leader), I made sure to download the app.  Sure enough, it was a hit with the middle and high school girls that I roomed with; it was such a great catalyst for interaction and teamwork.  Soon enough, some of the guys in the youth group had it on their phones as well.  The app itself is $0.99, and you get a basic set of “decks.”  Sometimes free decks will pop up (i.e. one for the Oscars, etc.), and there are others available for sale as well.


4. “Clear the Stage” by Jimmy Needham


A sister in Christ went to the Linger Conference in February and heard Jimmy Needham perform “Clear the Stage” live.  Here’s the first part:

Clear the stage and set the sound and lights ablaze
If that’s the measure you must take to crush the idols
Jerk the pews and all the decorations, too
Until the congregations few, then have revival
Tell your friends that this is where the party ends
Until you’re broken for your sins, you can’t be social
Then seek the Lord & wait for what He has in store
And know that great is your reward so just be hopeful

And it just keeps getting better.  I found it very convicting and very powerful.  The rest of the lyrics are here, and Jimmy’s testimony and explanation of the background to this song is profound.  Enjoy!


5. Oaklandish

ImageThe church that my family and I have attended for the past 3 years is located near Lake Merritt in Oakland, CA (Regeneration).  In that time, I have only just begun to explore this place.  I grew up with a picture of Oakland in my mind that was a composite of every negative news story I had ever seen on TV; Oakland was a place to be avoided at all costs.  However, as an adult, while I can see that grittiness for myself, my eyes can also see so much life.

Oaklandish seeks to capture that pulsing, tenacious spirit primarily through textiles, but in other artistic mediums as well.  Their Spring 2014 line just dropped today both online and in their brick and mortar stores.

About a month ago, an old high school friend who has worked at their Downtown store for some time, encouraged me to respond to their model call.  I had never done anything like that before, but I said “what the heck” and sent in my Instagram tag.  They contacted me, I went in for a quick shoot of this shirt and this one, and then I walked out with a voucher for a free shirt (and I love their designs – like this one).  Check them out!