I wore my favorite blue dress to the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve last weekend.

Okay, this is my only blue dress but we’ll gloss over that fact. 

To my non-local readers, the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve is a sprawling park about an hour’s drive outside of Los Angeles. Every year between March-April the poppies in this huge field all bloom at once, appropriately called a superbloom. Being surrounded by miles of golden wildflowers was a nice relaxing break from the bustle of L.A. life.

The dress I’m wearing here is from Forever 21 [similar here]. I’ve had it for a few years and it’s one of those dresses that I don’t wear often solely because I love it so much and don’t want to overdo it. Does anyone else do this? 

By the time you read this the superbloom may be over, but here’s some advice on how to enjoy it when it rolls around again this time next year:

  • Get there early. We left L.A. at around 11 AM on a Saturday morning and there wasn’t a lot of traffic, but there were wayyyy more cars coming in as were were leaving in the afternoon.
  • The official address of the poppy reserve is 15101 Lancaster Rd, Lancaster, CA 93536, but here’s a tip: put this address in your GPS but don’t enter the park. There are huge fields of poppies on the drive right up to the park that you can frolic in for free. A lot of people, present party included, just pulled to the side of the road and walked around the fields on our own. This way you avoid the $10 parking fee and the long line of cars trying to get in.
  • Bring water. It was quite hot when we got there, and the fields with the thickest groups of flowers were quite a walk away from the road. We avoided the crowds of people by walking a little bit and had a nice sprawl of poppies to enjoy to ourselves. 
  • Don’t step on/pick the poppies! Respect Mother Nature 🙂

I only just recently figured out how to save money. It’s super simple, really.

The key to saving money is to have a goal. Goals keep you motivated. They keep you going when the going gets tough.

One of my resolutions this year was to get better at saving money, so I decided I needed to make a small goal in order to make it come true. My goal was to save $300 by March so I could use it to travel more this year. Believe it or not, this was a hard goal for a girl who forgets to transfer just $50 into her savings account each paycheck. But, I’m glad to say that I achieved my goal in February, a full month earlier than I anticipated. 

Here’s how I did it.

First, I recognized that I am generally unreliable when it comes to saving money on my own, so I turned to modern technology for some help. I tried out a couple of different apps to help me keep track of my finances so I could find ways to trim down spending and grow my savings. I tried Mint, I tried You Need A Budget, but I didn’t stick with any of them for more than a few days. And then I stumbled on Digit

Digit is a money saving app that automatically transfers small amounts of money from your bank into a savings account. The automatic withdraw is usually between $5 – $50, depending on your savings goal and how much money you have in the bank at the time. The app is smart, so it never saves more than you can afford. You can also set a limit for it to stop saving money when your account reaches a certain point. I also love how it texts me how much money I have, and how much money I’ve saved, every day. I used to be one of those people who dreaded checking my bank account, but now that I have realistic expectations about spending and savings I get excited to see how much closer I’m getting to my goals. 

I’ve been using Digit for over a year now, and it is my favorite savings app by far. I wouldn’t recommend it if I didn’t love it. The app is FDIC insured so I don’t have to worry about security issues or having my banking information compromised. If you’re interested in trying out Digit, check it out here and let me know what you think!

Happy saving!

Sam

San Francisco Colorful Houses

It is totally possible to explore San Francisco in three days if you plan it smart. Over the long weekend, my mom and I went to San Francisco to celebrate her birthday. It was her first time there, and I think my fifth. But this was the first time I felt that I really got a chance to experience the city as a tourist. If you’re looking for things to do in San Francisco over a weekend, look no further. Here is your 72 hour San Francisco travel guide.

Day One

Tartine Bakery Croissants and Cappuccinos

Tartine: we stopped by Tartine Bakery for breakfast to enjoy some delicious croissants, scones, tarts, and fancy artsy coffee. Tartine was a top stop on my list because it’s been called the best bakery in SF. The croissants were fantastic, on par with the ones we devoured in Paris. 

View of Golden Gate Bridge from Crissy Field

Crissy Field & Golden Gate Bridge: instead of walking across the famous bridge (we were both underprepared in terms of shoes and clothing) we viewed it from Crissy Field. This is definitely one of the best places to view the Golden Gate Bridge. 

Fishermans Wharf Fishing Boat Tour

Fisherman’s Wharf: this tourist hot spot by the San Francisco Bay is a great place to sightsee and load up on every form of Dungeness crab. Walking through the wharf, we passed by a small fishing boat that offered a tour under the Golden Gate Bridge and around Alcatraz and decided to take an impromptu trip through the Bay. We hopped on just as the boat was about to take off, crammed with dozens of other tourists. and were rewarded with gorgeous views of the city that we would have missed otherwise. I highly recommend that anyone who travels to San Francisco for the first time to take a boat ride through the Bay – just be sure to dress warmly.

San Francisco Chinatown Street View

Chinatown: the last time I visited SF, I ate the most amazing dim sum a grab-and-go restaurant called Good Mong Kok Bakery. I’ve been dying to go back ever since. However, Good Mong Kok Bakery has no indoor seating, and it was a particularly cold and rainy day. So we took our chances at another dim sum place that we happened to pass just to get out of the rain. Unfortunately, the food there was very disappointing. The dim sum came out cold and tasted as though it had been sitting for hours. When we got back to our AirBnb, we ate some leftover pastries from Tartine to end the day on a good note.

Day Two

Four Barrel Coffee San Francisco

Four Barrel Coffee: we started our morning at this industrial local coffee joint for some strong caffeine and pastries. We got our coffees to go and stopped at a few cute boutique clothing stores on our way to Burma Love, a Burmese lunch spot that was just two blocks away.

Burma Love Restaurant review San Francisco

Burma Love: I don’t recall ever having Burmese food before, and was curious to try Burma Love after reading great reviews of it online. My mom ordered the Superstar Shrimp dish, which was plump shrimp tossed in a sweet-and-spicy sauce. The Beef Curry I ordered was melt-in-your-mouth tender and absolutely delicious. If I lived in SF, I’m pretty sure I would eat here every week. This place offers great vegetarian options as well.

Ferry Marketplace: this large, indoor market along the Bay is filled with small boutique shops and fresh produce, not unlike Chelsea Market in New York. We spent a lot of time poking around in every little store. We got more croissants and turnovers from Acme Bread (if you haven’t caught on by now, we love pastries). This was such a fun little spot to explore and gave us time to get away from the rain.

Palace of Fine Arts Visit

Palace of Fine Arts Theater: the Palace of Fine Arts was originally built in 1915 for the World Fair, and it remains a huge architectural statement in the city. We spent a ridiculously long time here walking through the massive columns and following the journey of two swans swimming in the nearby lake. After leaving we walked around the neighborhood along the marina to feel like locals and soak up the views of the city.

Sutro Baths San Francisco

Sutro Baths: clearly we have a thing for old historical landmarks. Sutro Baths used to be six indoor swimming pools by the beach, but the complex has since burned down and all that remains are ruins. We didn’t get too close to the Sutro Baths themselves because it was incredibly cold and windy, but we saw them from the top of the hill and used this time to watch the marvelous ocean. The waves were tumultuous and loud. If it was a warm day, I could have spent all day there looking at the water.

La Taqueria Tacos

La Taqueria/ Mission Pie: on our way to dinner, the girls we shared our Lyft Line with recommended we stop by Mission Pie after dinner since it was right next to La Taqueria, a well-known Mexican spot with a line that hit the door. After standing in line for a while and devouring two delicious pollo and carnitas tacos each, we made her wish come true. We went to Mission Pie and ordered a banana cream pie and some pastries to enjoy later. 

Day Three

Millbrae Pancake House blueberry waffle, california omelette, buttermilk short stack, eggs and bacon

Millbrae Pancake House: on our last day we stopped by a well-known local diner called Millbrae Pancake House, which is a restaurant very close to SFO. If you’re trapped as SFO for a long layover and are looking for things to do, this is a great place to stop to get a bite to eat. The food we ordered was buttery and over-portioned (just the way we like it). I recommend the California Omelette and short stack of buttermilk pancakes, a combo not for those watching their waistline too closely.

Union Square Nordstrom

Union Square: we had some time to kill after eating breakfast and decided to go back into the central part of the city for some light shopping and sight-seeing. Union Square is an outdoor shopping plaza with every name brand store you can think of. Although it was raining heavily at this point, it was still surprisingly crowded. We stopped in a few stores and I bought a cute pair of Steve Madden flats from Ross. After this, we went back to our AirBnb to pack up and headed for home. 

Overall, this trip was a huge success and I miss the city already! Have you been to San Francisco? If you have any recommendations on places to visit in the future (especially where to eat), comment down below so I can visit next time!

x Sam 

TravelMakeupBagPackingList

I’m currently on a family vacation in London (and soon Paris) with family, and one of the surprisingly least stressful things I’ve had to worry about is what to pack in my makeup bag while travelling for 10 days.

I approached this task with the attitude that less is more and variety is cumbersome. I didn’t plan to photograph any makeup tutorials or do anything too creative, so I only packed the basics. In all, I have 26 makeup items in my small travel bag. This may sound like a lot, but I know I’ll use each product more than once, which makes it worth it in my opinion. 

The hardest thing to whittle down were the lipsticks. I am a lipstick hoarder but decided to bring the top 3 that I’ve been reaching for the most lately. 

So here are the 26 (!) things that I fit in a travel makeup bag:

  • 2 BS Mall foundation brushes (check out my review of BS Mall brushes here)
  • 2 Estee Lauder Double Wear foundations (1 had only a few drops left, so I brought a backup)
  • 1 Sephora powder brush
  • BS Mall blush brush
  • Anastasia Beverly Hills #12 brush
  • ELF “C” brush
  • ELF Defining Eye Brush
  • Morphe B81 brush
  • Too Faced Primed and Poreless loose face powder
  • ELF Pressed Mineral blush in Wanderlust
  • Tarte Fearless blush
  • Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow in Dark Brown
  • Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz in Medium Brown
  • ELF Smudge Pot in Brownie Points
  • Urban Decay Naked 1 Palette
  • Estee Lauder Matte Perfecting Primer
  • Revlon Colorstay eyeliner in brown
  • Rimmel Exaggerate eyeliner in nude
  • Maybelline The Falsies waterproof mascara
  • Estee Lauder Sumptuous mascara
  • Maybelline Eyestudio gel eyeliner
  • Maybelline Touch of Spice lipstick
  • NYX Suede Matte Lip Cream in Soft Spoken
  • Rimmel lipstick #104

Grand Canyon South Rim photos

A few weekends ago I took a three-day trip to the Grand Canyon. It was without a doubt one of the most jaw-dropping, humbling, awe-inspiring places I’ve visited. I know this may sound cliche, but the Grand Canyon is so unexpectedly…huge! And deep, and old, and forever. I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that something like this exists, so physically close to civilization but so separated from us by years. 

We started out our trip in Phoenix and drove through Sedona and Flagstaff on the way to the Grand Canyon. It was my first time in Arizona, and the long drive was so scenic, calming, and green. Arizona is a beautiful state. And Sedona, with its tall red rocks and tufts of green shrubs, is probably one of my favorite places ever.

A picture speaks a thousand words. Three days wasn’t close to enough time to see the Grand Canyon and take it all in. I look forward to visiting again sometime in the future!

 

Red Rocks SedonaSedona ArizArizona Scenic Drive Mountains ViewGrand Canyon South Rim HikeGrand Canyon Yavapai Village  Grand Canyon Desert View Grand Canyon Colorado River Grand Canyon Mather PointGrand Canyon South Rim Colorado RiverGrand Canyon SunsetGrand Canyon Sunset Hopi Point