Celebrate the Lunar New Year with Kee Wah’s newest bakery branch in Arcadia

Gong hei fat choy!  And for my non-Cantonese speaking readers – Happy New Year (again!!). The Lunar New Year is just around the corner (January 28th) and what better way to celebrate than by stuffing our face with yummy Cantonese food. Mmmm…

Now it’s a tradition in the Chinese culture to gift rice pudding to family and friends during the Lunar New Year, and while making it from scratch is a very laborious process, Kee Wah Bakery has them packaged and ready to go!

They offer five different flavors including the Original, Maltitol (a sugar substitute), Coconut Juice, Ginger Juice, and Red Date and the gift boxes range in size and assortment. The single gift box set starts at $15.

But if you’re like me you probably will be hungry just by waiting in line and lucky for you the baked goods at Kee Wah Bakery is authentic and delicious. They offer three different styles of egg tart – the Portuguese Egg Tart being my favorite, as well as savory and sweet breads. Yum!           I love eating fresh bread and coming to this bakery gives me access to a ton of yummy treats. Salty? Sweet? Crispy? Soft? There’s a ton of variety to eat carbs and it’s very true to authentic Cantonese style baked good. nom nom….

Whats your favorite carb?

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

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2013 Delicious Gender Neutral Gift Ideas

It’s that time of year again- holiday shopping for all your family, friends, co-workers, etc. I’ll be the first to admit that holiday shopping for others can be quite stressful… and expensive (yikes!) But I’ve come up with a short gender neutral list to appease almost everyone on your list. You’ll see that my inspiration stems from my foodie side, which will make for a delicious list! So, lets get started!

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Food brings people together and I absolutely love gourmet gifts that I can share. But creating a dish is just as fun as eating with your loved one. So why not hand-select colorful noodles or fun-shaped characters (for the kids of course :P) to accompany your favorite Marinara or Alfredo sauce. If you want to be extra fancy you could also add in a large festive bowl so that the entree has a new home to sit-in, wrap clear saran-wrap around the items and voila! Not only is this gift idea easy on the eyes, but also yummy for the tummy. I found these at my local TJ Maxx and Big Lots, but of course you can support small local mom n’ pop shops too!

Now you can always expand past the entrees and go straight into dessert realm as well. Recently I purchased two Sprinkles Cupcakes mix  from the Newport Beach store and had it wrapped in a traditional Sprinkles Cupcake box sealed with their signature sticker. This special person has a sweet tooth for Red Velvet and her kids do too! 

ImageThe Multi-tasker 

I love multi-functional gifts that look and smell great, but are also practical as well. The Herb Garden from Trader Joe’s is just that (oh and it’s affordable too!). Can you believe this pot has 13 different herbs for less than 7 bucks. Craziness! These plants not only help liven up a kitchen counter top but also add so much flavor to your dishes as well. Rosemaries are my favorite, because they are just fragrant- they taste great with potatoes!

 

 

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If it seems that time is not on your side and finding the perfect gift is not something you look forward to perhaps you can consider treating your spe

cial person for a meal. Grab a business card from your favorite restaurant and on the back of it, write “lunch with your favorite _________” (ie. cousin, sister, daughter, foodie), and pop it into a festive card. Not only will this person fully understand your immaculate taste, but also get to spend some quality time with you.

If separate meals for all your family and friends seems unrealistic, perhaps picking your favorite family-style restaurant would do the trick. I absolutely love the Stimulus Packagefrom Stonefire Grill (Yelp Review) in Fountain Valley, the AYCE BBQ at Cham Sut Gol Korean BBQ  (Yelp Review) in Garden Grove, and the enormous portions at Hash House A-Go-Go (Yelp Review) in Las Vegas. If you want ideas of other frugal but filling restaurant locations, leave a comment below 🙂

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The Rich 

The word of God is gold and giving someone a copy with their own name on it is really special. I especially love this NIV Trimline Snap Flap from Christianbook.com (Link) because it’s very sleek and the perfect size for many of my handbags. The online store also sells it in navy and black, which are classic colors for everyone. Though appearance aside, this truly is a transformational gift and out of all the gifts that I’ve mentioned this one will never leave you hungry again. 

“Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” – John 3: 35 (NIV)

 

What are some other great gift ideas?

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

 

“30 Days of Thanks” Reflection

This month I participated in the “30 Days of Thanks” where I focused on a single blessing for the entire month of November. I posted daily on my Facebook page and tried to write something new and different each day. Some days were harder than others, as I struggled to find the ray of sunshine through looming dark clouds on those “everything that could have gone wrong went wrong” days. Yet, I survived and successfully completed my 30-day mission. I have my last day to write up and thought I’d unveil Day 30 on my blog. But before we jump to the end, here’s the first 29 days. 

Day 1: Jesus, my lord and savior, for loving me (flaws and all)

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Day 2: I am thankful for a job that allows me to play a role in kids future as their School Counselor

Day 3: I am thankful for an extra hour to sleep-in, woohoo daylight savings rocks! 

Day 4: I am thankful for my strong grandmother. She has a lot of medical complications and it breaks my heart to see her in so much pain, but I’m lucky that I get to spend time with her.

Day 5: I am thankful for Taco Tuesdays. I love fish tacos, and Rubio’s has it for half-off today (after 2:30pm)! Woohoo!

Day 6: I am thankful for my brothers and sisters in my Wednesday large small group. God brought us together, but the food served at all our bible studies, holiday gatherings, and random “I just feel like throwing a party!” moments couldn’t keep us apart! I also am thankful for all the prayers and random acts of kindness. They’ve been there for me in thick and thin and I am blessed to be a part of the family. 

Day 7: I am thankful for great hard-working coworkers, because I know they’re hard to come by.

Day 8: I am thankful to K-USC for playing beautiful classical music. It’s the only station I listen to on my daily commute to work. What kind of music do you listen to?

Day 9: I am thankful for youtube and hulu (plus other misc site), because now I can watch (almost) anything anytime 

Day 10: I am thankful for new adventures and that I get to spent it with a family member who always has my back- love you cousin Larry!!

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Day 11: I am thankful to our troops and all the men and women in uniform who fight to protect our rights. The United States would not be a land of opportunity without your service and dedication. Thank you.

Day 12: I hate shots and going to the hospital, but I am thankful for health insurance. I remember a time period when I couldn’t see the doctor and boy was that a crummy time. I won’t take regular check-ups for granted again.

Day 13: I am thankful to my brothers & sisters who open their beautiful home and welcome me in as one of their own.

Day 14: My kids drive me crazy, but I am thankful that I get to work. Actually, I have a pretty sweet gig- a nice large office, AC, new equipment/furniture etc. Now I just need to figure out how to extend all these college deadline, hmm…

Day 15: I am thankful that I live in a place where I can wear boots and scarves one day and shorts and flip flops the next. Gotta love SoCa

Day 16: I am thankful that my church offers Saturday service. I am definitely in dire need of some rechargin’. It’s been a long day

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Day 17: I am thankful that I can fill my weekends with fun activities including book signings from celebrity chefs

Day 18: There were problems galore at work today, but I am thankful that my superiors have my back (at least so far :P).

Day 19: I am thankful for good health and a fast metabolism 

Day 20: I am thankful for people who lift me up when I feel down.

Day 21: I am thankful for random acts of kindness from people in my life. (FYI, It involves foods) *smiles* I just feel very loved  

Day 22: Even though I get cold very easily, I am thankful for the rain because without it our plants and trees would not be able to grow and bloom. The fresh smell of flowers and herbs not only help me relax when I’m stressed, but they’re beautiful as well.

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Day 23: I am thankful that I have become a stronger, wiser person from the struggles I’ve endured this year. While some of the challenges still sting, I’m thankful that God has delivered me through betrayal, abandonment, deceit, and corruption. I am beautiful, because I am created in God’s image and no one can take that away. Thank you God for your beacon of light during those darkest moments.

Day 24: I am thankful for teachers (in and out of the classroom) who invested in me and helped me become the person I am today.

Day 25: I am thankful for fluffy pillows and warm blankets to snuggle up in on cold nights.

Day 26: I am thankful to the woman who carried me for 9 months and selflessly put my needs ahead of her own. Love you mommy!!

Day 27: I am thankful for my father for giving me a childhood filled with many wonderful memories and experiences that broaden my horizon. He taught me that spending quality time with the people you love is priceless and that money wasn’t everything. Thank you daddy for teaching me right

Day 28: I am proud to be an American and thankful that I get to celebrate a holiday to give thanks.

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Day 29: I am thankful for lazy days so that I can rest and recharge.

And finally…

Day 30: I am thankful to all my readers and fans for supporting this blog and encouraging me to keep going.  This blog has been a great outlet to share my strengths and struggles, and I hope that these posts can bring hope, laughter, and tears (of joy… obviously!) from my home to yours. Here’s to a strong finish and to all the adventures ahead!  

What are you thankful for?

XOXO

Rockstar 

Celebrity Chef Giada De Laurentis Book Signing at Williams Sonoma in Costa Mesa, CA

photo 2I’ve always loved to eat, but I didn’t always love Food Network- now before you come and strangle me on how I could make such an outrageous statement, hear me out! I didn’t grow up with cable television, and I certainly did not know about a station dedicated solely to food. I was young and naive, what can I say?!

It wasn’t until I moved out to New York City for graduate school that I really got exposed to this culture and was drawn into it. On the hours when I couldn’t cram any more book knowledge, I plopped right in front of the TV in our community room and flipped through the channels. I started watching various programs on the Food Network and got hooked. Giada was one of my favorite tv chefs and I especially loved her radiant smile. Her exaggerated enunciation of words is extremely characteristic of her and she just seemed so down-to-earth. I loved her along with her chef buddies Robert Irvine, Bobby Flay, and Alton Brown on “The Next Food Network Star” and “The Best Thing I Ever Ate.”

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While these shows were entertaining, I will admit that these chefs helped me momentarily escapes some really difficult moments during graduate school and refocus my energy towards good food and great times. A few years later I relocated back to sunny Southern California and while it’s a far cry from the mecca of eclectic food options in New York, my adventurous spirit still drives me to find some of So Cal’s best finds.

Recently, one of my yelp buddies informed me that Giada was going to be make an appearance at South Coast Plaza to promote her new book. I was ecstatic. This was not my first celebrity chef book signing (I have an autograph of Alton Brown’s Good Eats book!!), but I had no idea what this event was going to be like. I dropped by Williams Sonoma to pre-order my book (approx. $35) and inquired about their past book signings. I was told that though the event started at 1pm, fans start lining up at 8am! Now I wasn’t going duke it out with Giada’s #1 fan, but I’d heard horror stories of fans who came in late and not get to see their idol because the authors were shuffled off to the next book signing gig. Scary thought. Anyways, for my readers interested in participating in a future book tour (William Sonoma does a ton of them!) I decided to compile a short list of tips to help maximize your book signing experience, but minimize your spending. Enjoy!

1) Wear comfortable shoes because you will be standing the entire time.  This can help with bunion prevention and future doctor visits. I’d also advise wearing pants because you may be squatting a lot and doing that in a skirt or dress, just isn’t very lady-like 😛

2) Eat breakfast. Not only will your tummy thank you, but you will be much less inclined to make impulse purchases. While promoting consumerism is a noble cause, we want to minimize impulse purchases when prices are high. Yes, the food at the deli next door may look mouth-watering, but your wallet and stomach will be happy if you go to the event full and fully energized!

3) Bring water. You will want to keep hydrated

4) Bring something that can entertain you for several hours. I was able to write up a few yelp reviews for Portos Bakery (Yelp Review) in Glendale, CA, and Bonerts Slice of Pie (Yelp Review) in Santa Ana, CA. Feel free to check it out 🙂 I saw a few other patrons browse around the mall and came back with bags of goodies. Remember, when you’re bored, you’re more susceptible to impulse buying. Don’t do it!

5) Come early. Not only will you essentially be guaranteed a spot, but many businesses are not open yet and you’d be less likely to engage in impulse shopping.

What other tips would you find helpful to save money in an event like a book signing?

XOXO,

Rockstar

Celebrity Chef Giada De Laurentis Book Signing at Williams Sonoma in Costa Mesa

From Sad to Glad- Quick Tip to Brighten Your Day!

Hi Yu Bargain Rockstar Fans! So sorry that I’ve been out of the loop for so long! I’ve been sick for the past two and a half weeks and my pup passed away during this time, so it’s been an extremely difficult time for my family and me. I miss Boomer and while I know that he’s lived a long life, I’m sad to come home and not have him follow me around (even though it’s only because he wants food- I still miss him).

With so much sadness and illness around in Casa De Yu, I decided to add a pop of color to brighten up my mood and from the looks of it I think I actually got carried away. What do you think of my masterpiece?

From Sad to Glad- Quick Tip to Brighten You Day!Vibrant colors are a simple and easy way to help elevate your mood and painting your nails with fun colors can add personality to an even a gloomy day. As you can see from my very apparent rainbow thong-tan, these toes definitely show!

But this trick works for apparel as well! So for all you gents out there, consider wearing a bright shirt or tie or. You’d be surprised at how a simple change in garment choice can help lighten your mood. I think fuchsia and warm colors (like yellows and orange) are great! But I know it’s not for everyone

What’s color helps you put a smile across your face?

Rockstar

New Blog Announcement on Youtube!

It’s definitely been a while since I uploaded a youtube video. Please show me some love and “like” the video or leave me a comment on what kind of videos you’d like to see. I’m thinking about doing the “Colors of the Rainbow” tag for bargain items I purchased.  It’s essentially a challenge to pick your favorite items in each color category (ROYGBIV). Seems fun! but am open to other suggestions.

What kind of blog posts/videos would you like me to publish?

XOXO,
Rockstar

Perks of Being Elite! Free Yelp Tube Socks!

Yesterday I went to my first Yelp Elite event for the summer at Yori Modern Japanese Restaurant in Brea, CA. The 8 course tasting menu was fit for a king, but until I figure out how to better navigate this system you’ll have to patiently wait for my next tantalizing post! But today I wanted to share with you what I took away from the event (aside from an enormous belly filled with yummy goodies)

Courtesy of Yelp OC, our SWAG (Stands for Stuff, We, All, Get) consisted of Yelp Tube Sock! What?!  

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Now, with the weather in SoCal ranging from the 90’s -100’s it may not be the opportune time to bust out these trendy fashion accessories. However, I cannot wait till I get the chance! Britney Spears school-girl anyone? lol

Tube sock for summer- fashion faux pas or trend setter? 

 

XOXO

Rockstar

New Beginnings

Last month I took a trip a cross the country with the hopes of uncovering some of life’s best kept secrets. There were butterflies in my stomach as I anxiously anticipated about what the adventure would bring, but was optimistic about the journey. And while I did hit a few bumps (actually it was more like hitting cement walls) in the road before arriving, I was completely shocked by my destination. Definitely not how I envisioned it. Actually, it was the exact opposite!

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@Jesus’ Empty Tomb in Israel

I felt completely crushed, broken, robbed, cheated. The feelings of vulnerability and helplessness just consumed me. This was not how the story was not suppose to end! How could this happen to me? Why?!  Can I fix it? Please God, will you please make things right? But alas, the destination I wanted so desperately was not what God had in mind. God has something bigger and greater than I can imagine, though I still don’t know what that looks like. I know that God has blessed me immensely and that I am highly favored. Everything happens for a reason and only in our broken-ness God can make things perfect.

So that brings me here. A new journey with fresh beginnings and a new Blog.

But like trying anything for the first time, I feel anxious and worried. I want to retreat back to what’s comfortable and what I know! But taking the next step with God’s grace is scary but necessary to move-on.  It will take some time to adjust to the new format, but I welcome you all to my new blog! I will still share with you my adventures for fabulous frugal living and my passion for food, photography, travel, fashion, Jesus.  If you’d like to see my work from my previous blog, check it out here (www.yubargainrockstar.blogspot.com).  I won’t forget the past and while my direction forward is taking a slight detour, I pray that I will grow and that you will join me on my new adventure.  Add your email on the side bar to get the latest updates!

xoxo,

Rockstar