13 Moments in 2013

IMG_04142013 was a year of extremes – the highs were high and the lows were extremely low. It was a roller coaster this year, and while a lot of changes happened I felt that I’ve grown tremendously from them. Here are thirteen moments of 2013

1. Spotted celebrities in the Golden State! I attended KLG and Hoda’s (The Today Show’s 4th Hour) on location shoot in Hollywood, CA (blog post) – yes that’s Jaleel White otherwise known as Steve Urkel (!!!), Alton Brown during his “Edible Inevitable Tour,” Youtube make-up guru Ben Green (blog post) at the LA IMATS (blog post), and Giada De Laurentis at South Coast Plaza for her book tour (blog post). It was a star-studded year!  

2. Chopped off my hair and donated it “locks-of-love,” an organization that gives wigs to children with cancer (blog post).    

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3. Growing up I went to a language school on Saturdays, so this year I relieved my childhood memories by watching tons and tons of toons (not ashamed of it!) – including (in no particular order) 6 or 7 seasons of Pokemon, All Batman the Animated Series, Batman & Beyond, My Little Pony, and Justice League episodes.  I’m up to season 4 for Sailor Moon (I was Sailor Mars for Halloween) and currently… I am on Season 3 of the Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles! They don’t make cartoons like they use to.

4. A promise was broken. My heart shattered and I couldn’t comprehend the abandonment and betrayal. I felt helpless and naive for believing the best in people and while I was no saint in this marriage, the decision to have it end was already made for me. Divorce is a difficult process, but tackling it all while enduring tremendous health, financial, and family problems during the day and nightmares at night – I just couldn’t handle it. I couldn’t keep it all together and I honestly felt doomed. I’d never felt so hopeless than I did during that month.

I never like asking for help, but I extended my hand out – ashamed – but God was merciful and showered me with love and compassion. He knew that I couldn’t carry the burden myself and sent brothers and sisters to pray for me, hug me, spend time with me. I slowly regained my strength and confidence and while that extremely vulnerable moment could have easily consumed me, my God is good gave me light through the darkness.

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5. Visited the “Happiest Place on Earth” twice and attended the D23 Expo (A Tradeshow for Disney Enthusiasts.) There’s something magical about this theme park and while the tickets are outrageously priced, Disney sure knows how to create a moment.

6. Drove across the United States from Boston, MA down to Pensacola, FL all the way west to Orange County, CA.  My favorite spots included: Belgium Beer & Mussels from Monk’s in Philadelphia, PA, Coconut Cake from Peninsula Grill in Charleston, SC (Yelp Review), Red Royals from Joe Patti’s Seafood in Pensacola, FL (Yelp Review), Real Rootbeer from Tombstone Sarsaparilla  in Tombstone, AZ, (Yelp Review) just to name a few.

7. I’d been a dance teacher for 15+ years, but completely stopped all forms of this art. This year I took it upon myself to learn and teach the iconic Michael Jackson Thriller routine to my most difficult students – teachers, ahh!! But it was a success

8. I had the best meal of my life (and most expensive – blog post) at O Ya (Yelp Review) in Boston, MA. The food is out of this world and while my teacher’s salary can’t justify the bill, it certainly is a once in a lifetime place to appreciate amazing food.

IMG_1299 IMG_13049. Received two “Review of the Day” (ROTD) features on Yelp’s Homepage for my write-up for Deli-licious (Yelp Review) & IKneadLove (Yelp Review); completed “2013 Yelp 100 Reviews Challenge” – just barely; and reached an enormous milestone – 500 reviews!

10. After sending many resumes, cover letters, and enduring “thank you for applying” letters/emails – I finally secured a job as a school counselor. Thank you God for trusting me to help these students.

11. I lost my German Shepard, Boomer. He passed away in his sleep. I miss you!   photo (14)

12. I spent nearly every other day with my grandma who had two major surgeries. She’s getting older and spending time with her priceless. No one every said that they regretted spending time with loved ones.

13. I made the switch over to wordpress, achieved over 90+ “likes” on facebook (facebook page), and hosted my first blogger event at Deja New (Yelp Review).

No one every said that growing up was going to be easy, but I hope that I’ll be able to take on the new adventures in 2014 with more courage, confidence and savvyness. My goals for 2014 include: laughing more, worrying less, and taking every opportunity to enjoy the moment. Here’s to 2014!

What are you looking forward to in 2014?

XOXO

Rockstar

Yelp Review of the Day: REPOST Gourmet Sandwich at Deli-Licious @Huntington Beach, CA

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Hi YuBargainRockstar Fans!

I’m excited to announce that my Yelp review on this Deli-Licious was selected as today’s  ROTD (short for Review of the Day) for the Orange County spotlight. Woohoo! It’s a great honor and as my first ROTD, I thought I’d also repost my original entry for your enjoyment. This restaurant truly deserves all the credit in serving excellent food and outstanding customer service. Check it out if you haven’t done so already! – Irene

 

Sandwiches are the quintessential lunch food and while mom’s sandwiches are made with love, there’s something special about eating a gourmet sandwich from Deli licious (Yelp Review) in Huntington Beach.  With over 300 reviews and a staggering 4.5/5 average on Yelp, I had to investigate the validity of these positive endorsements.  And yes this definitely lived up to the hype.

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I was looking for a cute shop, but after only seeing rows and rows of boring gray buildings I stared down at my GPS and realized that I missed the shop. Hmm… that’s peculiar. However, unlike many restaurants, this small mom n’ pop shop was located among the rows of gray buildings. This is definitely not the type of shop that you’d casually drive by and stop to check it out, because it was not visible from the street!  Nevertheless the restaurant was pretty busy for a weekday afternoon. So I thought that it must be good if next-door-neighbors are frequenting this shop.

Upon looking at the chalk menu I decided to order their top seller “Sue’s Chicken-Avocado Caprese” while my girlfriend tried the same sandwich with a ½ southwest salad. ImageMmm… The ingredients used for the salad were fresh and crisp it was a solid choice for a mid-day meal. And the sandwich, wow… tender roasted chicken with sliced avocados, fresh mozzerlla, plump roma tomatoes, and a light lemon caper mayo all between a ciabatta roll. Mmm.. makes me hungry just thinking about it.  I wonder if my mom could replicate this masterpiece. Hehe…

Additionally, I loved that it was also a nice sunny day and we had a lovely conversation out on the patio. Good food, great company, you really can’t ask for much more.

What’s inside your favorite sandwich?

XOXO

Rockstar