Cometeer Coffee Pods: G and I take our coffee prettttty seriously. We only buy beans from two different roasters in California (Go Get Em Tiger and Tulip House) and either use a rather tedious pour-over method or a machine that blooms it for us while brewing. So it's all to say that even I was surprised by how much I loved Cometeer, flash-frozen pods of coffee from the best roasters around the country. You keep them in the freezer and drop them into a mug and top with boiling water and you have instant coffee that tastes incredible.
Archive 81: I took a screenshot of someone's Stories a few weeks back that featured Archive 81 on her TV with a brief synopsis and I knew we'd be starting the series that same night. It's hard to explain without giving away too much, but it's sort of like Lost-meets-Rosemary's-Baby and is smart, unnerving, and haunting in the best way.
RuPaul's Drag Race: Aside from my more recent Bachelor fandom, I've never considered myself a reality TV person. Friends and family members of mine *love* The Amazing Race, Project Runway, the Housewives, Survivor...and I've never gotten into them. At the end of December, my best friend initiated me into the RuPaul's Drag Race (and All Stars) universe, and I vastly underestimated just how obsessed I'd become. I've since watched a collective 11 SEASONS in roughly six weeks (...I have a problem, I know). The show has been on the air for over a decade, so I'm well aware that RuPaul isn't new – but if you're searching for an addictive, uplifting, inspiring, and long-running show to binge, give it a shot (and start at Season 4!). My DMs are always open to discuss your favorite queens. If you're joining me, to you I say: shantay, you stay.
Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr: When I read for pleasure, I solely gravitate towards fiction, but I get intimidated by anything over 400 pages. Only my book club could convince me to take on this 600-page novel by the author of All The Light We Cannot See (which I haven't read but plan to soon!) that centers around five protagonists in different eras, whose lives are interwoven by an ancient Greek story. It doesn't sound thrilling – but the themes of resilience, the animal-human bond, and the loss of innocence are heart-wrenching and worth investing a bit of time in.
Crispy Rice Bowl from sweetgreen: So far, my biggest gripe with Minneapolis (other than the weather...) is that sweetgreen seems to be entirely absent from the Twin Cities, which is surprising! This means I can't get my beloved crispy rice bowl while I am there, and this has resulted in many trips to sweetgreen when I am in LA just to reunite again and again with this delightful salad/bowl hybrid. I know this is a lofty statement, but I don't think I've ever found a salad I enjoy more than this one–with chicken, crispy rice, a ton of vegetables, wild rice, cilantro (sorry Jess), arugula, and spicy cashew dressing, this bowl has my whole heart. ❤️
Maeve 'The Colette' Ponte Pants from Anthropologie: Well friends, I finally did it. I finally purchased a pair of non-demin/non-lounge pants in... a very long time. My love affair with denim and yoga pants runs deep, and I have a hard time justifying buying other kinds of pants because I know in my heart of hearts it will be a bit of a struggle to wear them, especially now that we work from home. However, I have been feeling lately like I need to try to get myself out of this rut, and I happened upon these lovely pants completely by accident. After feasting on Din Tai Fung at The Americana, my friend and I wandered into her favorite store (Anthropologie) and I tried these pants on "just for fun." I went to show her and she informed me I wouldn't be leaving the store without them, and I'm glad I listened!! Stay tuned to find out whether these will actually enter my regular rotation of leg-covering items, or if they will just end up collecting dust in my closet...
Maison Louis Marie No.04 Bois de Balincourt Perfume Oil: In my life, there's one person I go to for beauty advice that I actually follow. Her skin is always glowing, makeup always effortless, and in general is a beauty product encyclopedia. A few years ago we were on a trip together and in between runs to the beach and drinks at night, she always managed to smell incredible. Her secret? Maison Louis Marie's No. 04 perfume oil. I remember taking a photo of it on my phone to come back to later. It wasn't until the Shop started carrying Maison Louis Marie that I was re-introduced to the magic that is No. 04. It's one of our best selling candles for a reason (my candle is actually running dangerously low actually...) so I knew it was time to get my hands on the perfume oil. The bottle size might surprise you but I love that it's compact enough to fit into all of my purses. You'd be surprised at just how far a little dab of it goes - even when I'm not being complimented by strangers, wearing it has become a ritual that feels luxurious no matter where I am or what I'm doing.
Girlfriend Collective's Tommy Cropped Bra: Girlfriend Collective is easily one of my favorite activewear brands (pretty sure I'm in their bike shorts 70% of the time and no, I'm not a biker) so when they reached out to send me a few products to try, it was a pretty easy yes. As someone with a bigger bust, Girlfriend's are some of the best workout bras I've tried. I even wear them as tops because I like how supportive they are. A friend of mine was talking about how flattering square necklines are on our body type so I was instantly drawn to the Tommy. The cropped length and low back make this really supportive bra still feel fun. I've worn it both to workout and for fun, can confirm it's a 10/10 for me.
P.S. It’s bittersweet but I want to share that my time at cupcakes and cashmere has come to an end. I’m closing this chapter filled with nothing but gratitude and love. This team and community is full of so much heart, it’s been an honor to share even a little part of my life with you all. Excited to see what’s next! xCass
LES candle from Boy Smells: At the end of January, I had the pleasure of taking a quick trip from San Diego to LA to stay with cousins and spend time with the marketing team (for Cass’ last day…love you, Cass!). I rarely get to see them in person, but whenever I do, it’s always such a fun time, and I’m reminded of how lucky I am to work alongside such gems of human beings! Our little marketing soiree consisted of lots of catching up and laughs, and my first time eating food from the holy grail that is Din Tai Fung. (After hearing the team rave about it for so long, I’m happy to announce that it did not disappoint. I mean wow.) After devouring every dumpling in sight, we sorted through some of Kelly’s knick knacks that she had put aside to give away after a deep apartment clean out. Let’s just say I left LA with a giant box of goodies and a big grin on my face. Of everything I brought home with me, my favorites by far have been the candles she gave me. We must have the same taste in candle scents because I never knew what truly loving a specific candle was like until getting my paws on these. I haven’t gone a day without lighting LES by Boy Smells. I’d never heard of the brand, but will no doubt be ordering myself a new one as soon as this one’s out…which will probably be soon. I keep it on my desk, and even when it’s not lit, I’m still pleasantly hit with subtle whiffs of its black currant, peach, and cardamom notes, even from other areas of my bedroom. Kelly, your candles have earned a special place in my heart. Thank youuu!
NYX Liner Stick in Periwinkle Pop: As I’ve said in the past, I’m always on the lookout for new skincare and makeup products to try, and 99 percent of the time I end up finding them at Target. You know, because in that establishment it’s pretty much required to go in for one thing but then get distracted by anything you lay eyes on and then somehow, unintentionally, end up with the entire beauty section in your cart. It’s a struggle we all face. On my last Target run I stocked up on new lipstick shades to try and a couple other replacement makeup products, including this eyeliner. In one of my past recommendations for Our World I wrote about how I had been trying the NYX white eyeliner on my waterline, which quickly became part of my everyday makeup routine...that is until my dog chewed it up. That little mischievous thing! To my dismay I couldn’t find the white shade when looking for a replacement, but this beautiful light periwinkle one caught my eye. Close enough! After using this subtle pop of color for a couple weeks now, I definitely won’t be going back to the white. It still gives my eyes the same effect, but the subtle hints of metallic purples and violets really makes them pop! I’d definitely recommend this to any of my other fellow brown-eyed ladies looking to spice up their eye makeup.
Saltair Body Wash: I learned Saltair existed from an Instagram ad, and once I dove deeper into the brand and saw the beautiful imagery on their website along with unique scent notes on their body washes, I was all in. This woman-owned, vegan, and cruelty-free body wash brand offers a large 17oz. pump bottle for just $12, so I bought three scents; Santal Bloom, Expotic Pulp and Lagoona. The wash is absolutely gorgeous; they all smell unbelievable, make me feel like I am showering outside in a tropical locale, and truly make my skin feel soft after using them. If the brand expands into body creams or perfume sprays, I'm all in.
Ozark Season 4, Part 1: This Netflix series is often compared to Breaking Bad, but picture Breaking Bad darker, far more brutal, and every single character is an anti-hero. Choosing who you want to succeed is a real Sophie's Choice; they are all bad people. The difference between each is, there are a few bad people who had no choice in their journey to survive, which is why Julia Garner as Ruth Langmore is my pick to come out "unscathed". Garner is a sight to behold; every scene between her and Jason Bateman's Marty Byrde is a lesson in tragedy, profanity, and self-preservation.
Beaumont City Bike: Now that we are in the start of a new year my inner fitness clock starts to tick and my itch to get healthier and more active is stronger than ever. One of the ways that working out for me is actually fun and adventurous is getting on a bike and hitting the Marvin Braude trail at the beach. Being an LA resident for eight years now, I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to invest in my own bike rather than spend a pretty penny renting a bike for the day. Maybe it was due to lack of storage space, no garage, roommates, etc., but I finally pulled the trigger and figured out a way to get my own bike, store it and transport it (all of which was much easier than I prepared for btw). I am no bike expert but I did spend the majority of my childhood and adolescent summers riding a bike with friends and family and I knew that a $2000+ bike wasn’t for me but I also knew a beach cruiser wasn’t for me either. I wanted something sleek and stylish but also practical with plenty of gears to change in and out of for those hills we all know and love. I found the Beaumont City bike on Retrospec and instantly fell in love with….the color! Beyond the beautiful olive green it also has seven speeds to change in and out of quite easily (just a flick of the wrist they say), a sleek design that is easy (and not clunky) to store on my balcony, and landing just under $400 was enough to read through all 310 five-star reviews but without breaking the bank. Needless to say, my Saturdays from here on out (or until my doctor tells me to no longer force my pregnant self onto a bike) will be spent on a trail with the breeze going through my helmet.
‘The Comforter’ Bubble Bar: To be quite honest, baths have never really been my thing. The idea of them sounded great but for most of my life the thought of spending 45 minutes to an hour in my bathroom tub always felt like a huge waste of time that could be spent doing something else. Enter Covid-19 and also getting pregnant, baths have become the absolute best 45 minutes of my day. Being forced to slow down and quarantine inside my 700 sq. ft. apartment, I needed to examine all of my options for entertainment and to pass the time. I also suffered from pretty severe morning sickness during my first trimester late last year and baths quickly became the only thing I wanted to do and the only thing that would give me 45 minutes of relaxation and escape from throwing up. My husband actually suggested I try a Lush bath bomb during my pregnancy because I had never tried any Lush cosmetics before. They always seemed a little pricey and not worth it. I can confidently tell you, they are worth every penny. WOW! I was blown away by their bath bombs and how luxurious and fun they made the entire experience. My favorite by far is their Bubble Bars which can be broken up and used multiple times. I honestly have loved every scent that I have tried but their ‘comforter’ is a standout - scents of bergamot and cypress wrapped in a sparkly pink bar, yes please. Trust me, these won’t disappoint, the 1000+ reviews will agree with me!
Silicone Collapsible Water Bottle: Last year I decided to treat myself to a Disney Annual Pass (or Magic Key as they are now known) and it was probably the best thing self-care purchase I could've made after surviving 2020. However we have to remember that the Key is not an all inclusive experience and if you're wise with your budget you quickly start to realize that going to Disney that often means meal prepping and being strategic with parking. With that, the first thing to remove from my list of purchasing needs is buying bottled water. Not only is it unnecessarily expensive, we all know how badly our environment suffers for it. So I usually have a water bottle with me at all times. However this too, started being very impractical for someone that travels light, hates big handbags and loves being handsfree. I knew that somewhere out there in the Cyberverse was the answer to all my problems – and voila, this little BPA free silicone water bottle was exactly what I needed. Unlike other collapsible bottles, it rolls tightly to fit the palm of my hand or roughly the size of an iPhone XR. It comes in four pretty colors and holds up to 20oz. Needless to say, my Disney days have been made more enjoyable (who knew that was possible)...I guess it's always the little things!
Hummus Republic: Is it just me or does anyone else truly enjoy a quality QRS (quick service restaurant) experience? Yes, there's Chipotle and Panera, both great alternatives to most fast foods, but being a Southeast Asian immigrant, I sometimes miss the flavurs and spices of food found at home. If this resonates with you in anyway I might just have found you your new favorite quick lunch spot! I stumbled upon Hummus Republic when I was strolling through Downtown Burbank looking for something to eat that would help me resist binging on a bucket of large popcorn at the movies. And it was love at first bite! Their build-your-own style menu is perfect for someone who wants a pita or a bowl but don't always want everything that comes with it. So far I've tried their shawarma chicken, mushroom and falafel bowls, served on a bed of spiced couscous with all the fixings and I literally cannot get enough. The food tastes incredibly fresh and I leave feeling full and not weighed down, thinking about when I can go there next. So if you're in LA and around the Burbank area, I promise you won't regret it if you try it out!