Good Eats: Republic Ramen + Noodles

  It’s official: El Niño is my sworn enemy. It has turned AZ into a wasteland of rain, clouds, & gloom. Along with all of that, it has stirred up something that I’m allergic to or something. I am currently going through round 2 of a lost voice. For a loud mouth such as myself, this is rough.

One particularly dreary evening, I knew I needed something that would warm me up from within. My normal choice in this situation would be pho- specifically at unPhogettable on Dobson in Mesa. But I decided to branch out and try something in my hood: Republic Ramen & Noodles!

I called them up & it was ready in less than 10 minutes. When I went to pick it up, the place was packed for a week day night. There was also a girl eating wearing cat ears. That has nothing to do with the food, but it felt worth noting. When I went up to the counter, they handed me my food and swiped my card through a square card reader connect to a phone that-you guessed it- had a cat shaped case on it. 

But back to the food! I ordered the Sapporro Ramen with original toppings & beef. It was brothy, salty deliciousness. The noodles were hearty. The spinach was fresh. I think next time I’d pick something a little spicier or add some chilli pepper or something. It was the perfect treatment for a stuffy nose & scratchy throat. 

  
They also had a great selection of boba. I got the Thai Tea with boba….it was great. People on Yelp were saying the boba was hard but mine was perfect.

  
I’m not sad because it was yucky. I’m sad because I felt like butt. Clearly also sick-loopy. 

I slurped that ramen right down. You read that right- slurping is the appropriate way to eat this dish. I read on Yahoo Answers or some other reputable site that slurping aerates the environment around the noodles and enhances the flavor. Either way, we can all agree that slurping is the grossest word ever. 

If you’re in Tempe, this is a great spot to check out. The inside had a cool vibe and there’s lots of options on the menu. Stay tuned for the next time I go and try out their karaoke rooms! 

Think Less. Risk More.


Today, Cailey gave us the opportunity to set an intention for 2016 at The Madison Tempe & put it on the tree. After sweating my life away through class, I decided on one:

Think Less. Risk More.

Now, I love a good plan. I love pre-Yelping every new neighborhood I end up in. I think plans are good- but sometimes I don’t do things because I spend so much time THINKING about possible outcomes. I can talk a good game- but what actions am I taking?

Here’s a small example (and a risk to share publicly): I follow this choreographer on Instagram. I secretly really want to take one of his classes. He teaches literally less than a block from where I live. But why haven’t I done it? Fear. And a swirl of over thinking. “Is it even appropriate to go if I have no skill?” “Will I be put on the spot?” “What do the cool kids wear??”

But I’ve resolved to take the risk and take his class this year. (I’m sure it will make it to the blog.) And now you can all hold me accountable.

With my new Facebook page, goals I’ve set for my blog, & plans for new ventures there is so much opportunity for risk in 2016. Risk means growth. I’m ready for all that comes with that! I hope you are too!

 

PS: Remember when I did the Summer of Risks? This is sort of that but 2.0.

4 Inspirational Instagram Accounts To Follow

I love all that Instagram has to offer. I follow my friends, bloggers I like to stalk, people I like to stalk, celebrities I like to stalk………….but I also like to follow a handful of accounts for inspiration. These four accounts have beautiful images, great branding, and something to hold my attention. 

  1. @wildfoxcouture

If you’re familiar with Wild Fox, you know they’re famous for their cheeky graphic T’s & high end fashion with a youthful twist. I love following them for feminine, fun inspiration….with some sass thrown in.

2. @sainthoax

I feel like I’ve written about them before on my blog, but I’m semi obsessed with Saint Hoax. They mix pop culture, Disney, history, and classic images in a really hilarious way. They call themselves “pop-litically incorrect” and I think that’s perfect. 

3. @vibes

Okay I’m not even sure what Vibes is or what they do- but I love their IG account. They post cool architectural pictures one day and then avant garde fashion photos the next. It’s definetly out of my box- but I think that’s why I like them.

4. @wildercalifornia

I love following Wilder for their beautiful botanical photos. The colors are soft & subtle. As a desert girl, I love their shots of succulents too. They sell prints too- absolutely gorg. 

Do you have any favs you follow?! I’m always looking for more! 

Good Eats: Darling Donuts

  
I woke up on January 2nd craving donuts. Like I had to have one or I was going to combust.  #NewYearSameMe. I had spent the night at my parent’s house in Gilbert and thought I’d Yelp a new donut shop near by. After a recent not-so-great experience at a trendy donut shop in Scottsdale, I didn’t have high expectations. 

I decided on Darling Donuts. They had great reviews- the only negative reviews complained that they run out of donuts! Uh, sounds like a good problem to me! If they’re selling out, I want them. Anything for the love of a trend….

I popped in and the girl behind the counter was the sweetest. She helped me  pick out a chocolate long john for Dad, a maple bacon for me, and a maple bar, chocolate sprinkle, glazed for good measure.  Oh! And a chocolate filled donut because those are my other fav. 

  
Say what you will about bacon & desserts but my response to the matter is “Yes & Amen!” I loved it.  All the donuts were fluffy & fresh. They even go my dad’s donut loving stamp of approval.  There was a sign for red velvet donuts….but they were all gone. ☹️ Guess I’ll just have to go back!

  
 
Who doesn’t love a pink donut box?! 😍 I got to enjoy their Boba Tea too- they also had smoothies and other fun things!  If you find yourself around Baseline & Gilbert road, I’d highly recommend checking out Darling Donuts!

PS: I can’t wait to share even more new (to me!) restaurants this year. I love trying new local places partly because I’m a bleeding heart millennial who loves to support start ups and also partly because food is an excellent way to bring people together. Let me know if you have any good suggestions! 😘

So You’re Going to Disneyland as a Non-Child….

MONDAYSWe’d been planning Christmas at Disney since July. As I scoured what felt like the whole World Wide Web, there was very little about a 20 something’s trip to the Happiest Place on Earth. Most tips were for families with kids…..imagine that. ;-) I thought I’d share some things that worked well for me- a full grown adult- at Disneyland

  1. Use a cross body bag. Fashionable, easily accessible, and hard to leave behind on a ride or bench. I had this one. My sister & my mom used this one.
  2. Pack snacks. This one might be a bit of a “duh,” but we didn’t pack snacks because we thought we’d just buy them. We quickly realized we wished we had little snacks to munch on between meals. While we still heavily indulged in park food (#corndogsarelyfe), we didn’t always want to spend time hunting for the nearest snack stand. Things like almonds, non-chocolate granola bars, and cheese sticks would have been good to have.
  3. Make use of the Magic Hour.                                                                           e85ad8a9-ca9c-425a-9b6f-b77001c5894aIf you stay at a Disney hotel or have an Annual Pass, you get in the park a whole hour earlier than the rest of the crazed Disney fanatics. This allowed us to walk on to rides we expected to wait hours for.  I felt like it really enhanced the value of our park admission. We got on tons of rides and were able to have a leisurely afternoon on the busiest day of the year. The best tip I read was to get in line a half hour before the Magic Hour actually starts because you have to go through security and you don’t want to eat up 30 mins being “randomly selected” for a search. (FYI- our whole family was “randomly” selected.)
  4. Make dining reservations 60 days in advance & do the World of Color Dining Package.108dedac-a36e-4923-b383-48946435ba22 We literally walked right front & center of the viewing area for World of Color because we did the dining package. While we were in the “splash zone,” we didn’t get wet at all. If you’ve never seen World of Color, it is so worth it. I am HARD to impress and I was awestruck. We did dinner at Ariel’s Grotto because the other restaurants were booked, but it ended up being great! Their dessert is delicious and (as far as a dinner at Disney goes) was fairly reasonable for a 3 course meal. You can find all of the participating restaurants here.
  5. Flo’s V8 Cafe is the perfect oasis for indoor rest. This is actually a great tip for people of any age. While we were at California Adventure, it was FREEZING. While my sisters & dad went to ride Tower of Terror, mom & I sat at a table inside Flos. It’s in a good location, you can order hot coffee, and you can sit there for as long as you’d like.
  6. Don’t buy bottled water. Any place that sells food will give you a cup of water with a lid & straw for free. It’s east to get dehydrated while you’re having the time of your life- pop in and ask any counter.
  7. Surrender to the kid inside of you. f8c96f81-467a-43c6-b563-5fc89e677e42 I don’t know about you, but Disney was a huge part of my childhood and it was so fun to revisit that. My sister and I sang our lungs out at the Frozen Sing-A-Long. I squealed when it started to snow when I was meeting Olaf. The Disney Cast members got excited along with me. I laughed, I skipped, and I screamed. Get lost in the magic of the world Walt created. It will enhance your visit- I promise!
  8. Eat a Corn Dog. 4ce63b21-a2ee-4f9d-b323-e28763ce0c87Seriously. You will never eat a more delicious food. I think they sprinkle magic in the breading. Or they fry them. Either way…..get one in your mouth as soon as possible.

That’s all I got for now! Disney really does such a superior job at creating a magical experience for every guest. You don’t need many tips to have a great time.

Ballin’ on a Budget: Drug Store Favs

I love luxury as much as the next girl. (See my love of comfort here.) Sometimes a girl’s gotta balance that with ballin’ on a budget. While I would love to bathe in Armani Liquid Foundation a la Kim K, that’s just not in my game plan right now. I’ve found a good mix of drug store & high end make for the best beauty regime. Here are some of my fav drug store go to picks that work as well as the fancy dancy things:

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  1. Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso If you’ve ever read any beauty blog ever you know this old classic. It’s a great dupe for Orgasm by Nars and about $20 cheaper. I notice it doesn’t last quite as long as Nars and I have to make sure I use a setting spray- but it’s still a great one! I love that it’s a little shimmery but not like Limited Too sparkle spray status.
  2. Maybelline Dream Bronze BB SPF 25 You know when you have a spray tan and your normal foundation doesn’t match and it’s really frustrating? Enter this BB cream! It’s really like a slightly tinted moisturizer that gives even pale ol’ me a subtle glow. I used the Light/Medium shade and it was perfect.
  3. CeraVe Cleanser & Moisturizer As I was explaining my skin care woes to the best brow artist on the planet, she was like, “Yeah you need something that’s like…nothing.” I have crazy sensitive skin that doesn’t tend to break out. My mom’s dermatologist suggested she use CeraVe and turns out it’s perfect for me too! I’ve used Cetaphil in the past and I feel like CeraVe leaves me feeling a little cleaner.
  4. NYX Matte Lipstick in Siren I love this shade for winter! It’s like bright red’s cooler cousin. I actually love all of NYX’s lip stuff (esp the Butter Lipsticks and the Matte Lip Cremes). I like that these are so affordable that you can be as trendy as you want.

Those are my favs! For things like foundation, brows, & shadows, I like to stick to higher end items. Sometimes, I switch it up- I have an Urban Decay blush that I love. For the most part, though, there are some things I stick to. Do you have any secret drugstore favs? Those perfect little budget buys?! Let me know! I’m always looking to expand my collection.

Hot Chocolate 5k!

Last weekend was like the craziest weekend of my life. Ugly Sweater Party (so fun), Chi Alpha Christmas Party (until 2am), and then we topped it off with the Hot Chocolate 5k! Maggie and I signed up for this race a billion years ago with grand plans to train and be able to leap like gazelles through the 3.whatever miles.

Yeah……that didn’t happen. Instead I stayed out until 2am the night before. Ha. The only not positive thing I have to say about this experience was that it was FREEZING COLD that morning. Everything else was awesome- the packet pick up was well organized & they had tons of chocolate samples. There was also chocolate at the 1 mile mark of the actual race on race day. The finishers mug was surprisingly delicious- chocolate fondue & hot chocolate. The zip up is cool & I’ll wear it lots. The whole vibe was just fun. Most of all, it was really great to challenge myself with my sister. The environment at a race is always so inspiring and encouraging. I would highly recommend this as a first or 50th 5k! Or if you’re really brave- the 15k!

Here are some snaps from the day (shout out to my parents for coming & cheering us on & taking pics!):

Found these cuties at the Packet Pick Up Expo:

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The cute jacket:

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At the freezing cold starting line:

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Post Race & the Finishers Mug:

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IMG_0554Overall, it was a great experience & we’re already planning our next one: The Froyo Run in Tempe!

My Top 3 Fav Life Lessons from Yoga.

Tonight, I went to CorePower Yoga‘s free class at The Graduate Hotel. For those of you who only knew this space as the building behind IHOP, it’s totally worth a visit. They’ve transformed it into a total destination. The rooftop made for the perfect space for an evening practice.

  
It’s been a minute since I’ve taken a yoga class and I got to break in my new yoga mat that I almost got murdered over. Okay, I’m being dramatic but I bought a brand new Lulu yoga mat off of OfferUp and somehow convinced myself I was going to get murdered by picking it up solo…turns out the girl was a totally normal Scottsdale girl with purple nail polish.

Anyways, heading back to yoga reminded me of all of the things I love about it and I thought I’d share a few here.

1. To stabilize yourself , you have to have singular focus.
When you’re in a balance-y pose, if you focus on a single spot on the wall, you will have an easier time balancing. I love this. When things get hard, go back to the singular focus. It reminds me of Proverbs 4:25-27: Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.

2. When something feels overwhelming, don’t stuff it down. Feel it and breathe through it.
When you try a new pose or your body is freaking out, you have the power to calm your mind. I know that sounds hippy dippy- but it’s true and your breath brings you back to reality. Try it next time you’re nervous.

3. Rest is part of the practice.
The last few minutes of every yoga class when you get to just lay there are so rich. Some people say it’s the hardest pose in all of yoga because you have to completely “let go” to get the benefits. I’m not the best rest-er so ending practice and celebrating the hard work I just did reminds me that I need that in real life too.

As someone with a busy brain, I want to get more in the practice of yoga and translating the lessons to real life. Plus it feels great to strengthen my body + mind! They’re doing classes every Thursday for the next little bit- let me know if you’d like to come. :)
   
 

And this time, I wore a hat. 

You may recall that this summer, I had a complete bathroom melt down at Instagram Summer Camp. Read all of the grizzly details here. Last night, I had the opportunity to go to another Bloguette‘s Event: The Round Robin Mini! There were 2 rounds of discussions & you got to pick from 4 stations: Photography, Branding. Social Media, & Marketing. I got to go to Marketing & Branding.

Round 1: Marketing with Anita Walker, VP of Marketing at Fox Restaurant Concepts. Holy Wow. This was a total dream come true. Do you know how obsessed with Fox Restaurants I am? Their service, branding, and don’t even get me started on their pretzel bites… She shared openly and honestly about their creative process, the importance of mentors, and asking for outside help when necessary.

My big take away: Spend more time building trust than trying to express your creative vision. People will let you do just about any crazy idea if they trust you.

Round 2: Branding with Lorena of The Bloguettes I was really excited about this table because I’ve been thinking about branding as I start to pursue a new creative project I’ve been tossing around. It was great to hear from someone who lives & breathes branding. Everything is brand-able: from pens, to the way you answer the phone, down to who you are!

My big take away: It’s okay for brands to evolve. Select branding that is classic to you and let it grow with you. Get a moment of clarity and don’t wait to execute.

Overall, this event was fun because I could come and just be me! There were some familiar faces- which was so nice! And once again everyone was so welcoming and generous with information. Last time, I was scared of the girls in hats, and this time I was one. Oh how the tables have turned. The more I pursue creative opportunities, the more confident I feel in my vision. I’m so thankful that there is a community in Arizona that promotes creativity, girl power, and entrepreneurship. I’m excited for what’s to come! Now to bring some vision to life….stay tuned!