At-Home Beauty Treatments to Substitute Your Monthly Facial

If you, like me, are one of the many people in the free-world, locked inside your home to protect yourself and others from a virus that seems little more dangerous than the common flu and normal mortality rates….you too can find entertainment in at-home beauty treatments for self-care and maintenance.

Here are a combination of products I use to give me the same feeling as a light facial (sans the extraction portion).

  1. After my regular evening shower routine and wash, I used  the Konjac Sponge with Activated Charcoal by Jean Pierre Cosmetics to exfoliate my skin. These reusable charcoal sponges are a healthy, inexpensive alternative to the Clarisonic and less abrasive on the skin
  2. My next step was my go-to face mask. I have moderately oily skin and this mask is drying yet not harsh. I’ve been using Mary Kay products for years but these used to be difficult to acquire without a distributor and reasonably many were turned off by MLM cosmetic companies. Nevertheless I really can’t find a mask that is as balanced with my skin as this particular one.
  3. After every clay mask I like to do a sheet mask for cleansing moisturization and nourishment. I used Yes To Tomatoes Detoxifying Charcoal Bubbling Paper Mask
  4. When my masking was over I gently wiped my skin with a cleansing toner. I like Clean and Clear’s Lemon Exfoliating Slices. These are quick, easy and convenient.
  5. After thorough cleansing/exfoliation/toning is the time for leave-on topical products that need to be absorbed. If you are using any type of acne cream or skin treatment serum I recommend applying this prior to a moisturizer but make sure there are no contraindications. I decided to apply one of my daily-use moisturizers Watermelon Glow Pink Juice Moisturizer by Glo Recipe. This is a light refreshing moisturizer that I use after my common cleansing routine. It has a refreshing smell and does not leave any odd residue as some moisturizers tend to do.
  6. I finished my at-home mini-facial with a finish from Citrus-Honey Aqua Glow by Peach Slices this product is ideal in lieu of moisturizer or serum but after this treatment I felt a little extra moisturizing was necessary and this is another great nourishing product

Overall I believe that skin care is like a workout – you have to switch up your routine for optimal results. These products are fairly easy to obtain and cost effective if you’re looking for a nourishing facial feeling during your time at home.

Pretty in Portland

I can’t believe last Thanksgiving was almost one year ago….time is such a crazy concept.

In any case last Thanksgiving I decided to stray away from traditional family gatherings and ventured alone to Portland for the weekend (it was just a quick flight from Northern California where I was staying at the time so it seemed like one of the most reasonable places to be).

I’m super late posting this but here are my top five favorite spots from my Portland adventures

  1. Lan Su Chinese Garden- you can totally fool your Instagram following into thinking you’re in a Shanghai temple… or at the very least in SF’s Chinatown. This Chinese garden is actually a collaboration between Portland and its sister-city Suzhou, reflecting a 2,000 year old Chinese tradition. The garden is complete with flower arranging rooms and select classes, art displays, and a “study room” that one would use if they were fortunate enough to be an ancient Chinese intellectual (think of Confucian utilizing this type of study). The facility also boasts a tea-room that serves moon pastries, dried fava beans, and fermented egg snacks.                                       239 Northwest Everett Street, Portland, Oregon 97209


2. Bagdad Theater and Pub- this theater dates back to 1927 and true to form, it boasts an air of Europeanism mixed with Alhambra tiling and design. The venue now has select showings of recent releases, and an excellent restaurant and bar selection, allowing theater guests to dine in style while they watch the latest film (I happened to catch the tear-wrenching Coco) while I munched on a salad adorned with pickled bean salad and a side of hummus.

3702 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd., Portland, OR 97214

(503) 236-9234

3. Powell’s City of Books – there is no greater heaven for a bibliophile than Powell’s. You can get lost in this venue, both literally and metaphorically. It would take lifetimes over to finish every book in this venue yet there is something so intriguing about wanting to hoard them all so grab a coffee at the interior cafe and choose from multiple translations of the Communist Manifesto to start your day right

1005 W Burnside St.
PortlandOR 97209



4. Lakewood Theatre Company – this way-off-the-strip venue is totally worth the uber ride. I happened to catch “To Kill a Mockingbird” while it was making its debut at this local, independent playhouse. I was impressed at the wide range of actors (for those of you who know the story, getting the right child-actors to grasp a heavy topic is extremely important). The venue is small giving a more intimate setting while the on-stage props are limited yet professionally arranged.

368 S State St, Lake Oswego, OR 97034

5. Portland City Grill – Last, but certainly not least, is this wonderful 30th floor seafood/Asian inspired restaurant that allows viewers the opportunity to have one of the best views of Portland. Catch happy-hour for reasonable prices on high-end dishes

111 SW 5th Ave, Portland, OR 97204

(503) 450-0030


Hungary: My favorite restaurants in Budapest [you can thank me later ;)]

I speak to tourists and other visitors on almost a daily basis and I get the common question “where should I go to eat?”

Because food is a priority when experiencing a new location, I decided to make a list of my top five choices in the gastronomical department.

You may find this list helpful whether you’re living in Budapest or planning a trip in the not-so-distant future.

1. Spoon the Boat

This stationary boat is a great alternative to dinner cuises on the Danube. To be honest, the food on those cruises is garbage, so save yourself the effort and take a bite from Spoon. The menu is extensive, and in the summer time, the top deck is open to diners, giving patrons the open-air feeling of floating on the Danube to fully enjoy the views of Buda Castle and the various bridges.

Reservations recommended during high season

Appetizer choice: Mango and Avocado Salad

Dinner pick: Salmon Steak and Tiger Prawns

Wine selection: Tuzk Birtok premium Merlot

1052 Budapest, Vigado Ter 3-as kikito +36-1-411-0933


2. Icon

Located in the Buda Castle district in the prestigious Hilton Hotel, this restaurant has one of the best dining views in Budapest (since Citadella Panorama closed, unfortunately). Although elegant, any dress code is acceptable as tourists and hotel guests trapse through at any given occasion. Ask in advance for a window seat.

Appetizer choice: Grilled garden Vegetables and Salads with Humus and Tokaj wine-raspberry vinagrette

Dinner pick: Salmon Steak on Spinach Bed, yoghurt sauce

Wine selection: Villany Merlot

Budapest 1014, Hess Andras ter 1-3

+36 1 889 67 57


3. Jaimie’s Italian Restaurant

I know, I know, everyone hates Jaimie’s worldwide and some of the other Zsido holding group  restaurants in Budapest, but I have to say I constantly crave the offerings at this location. Unlike some other Italian restaurants, this one is more stylized similar to the US but they have a unique selection of fusion dishes. Also located in the Buda Castle District, Jaimie’s can offer a quaint option after sightseeing.

Appetizer choice: World’s Best Olives on ice; Crispy Polent Chips

Lunch/Dinner pick: Classic Superfood Salad

Cocktail Selection: Caipirinha

1014 Budapest, Szentháromság utca 9-11


4. Hachapuri Restaurant

….because when have you tried Georgian food? (the Eastern European country, not to be mistaken with the US city)

This cute ethnic restaurant on Budapest’s boujee Andrassy utca is filled with friendly staff, warm decorations, and deliciously spiced food. Like, the kind of spices that have no English name.

Appetizer choice: Veggie Degustation Menu- Includes Mushroom stew, eggplant stew, eggplant salad, variegated beans with marinated paprika, tomato cucumber salad with yogurt sauce, georgian bread-tonis puri, steamed basmati rice or couscous


Glekhuri – Country Side Selection

Spinach and walnut, beetroot and walnut, eggplant blended with homemade herb mayonaise and chicken salad blended in light herb sauce. Served with tomato-cucumber salad, Lavash bread, cheese and various herbs

Dinner pick: Lobio – Red beans with selection of marinates and corn bread, served in traditional clay pot

Wine selection: Saperavi Cabernet

Budapest 1061, Andrassy Utca 3

+36 30 822 03 65

5. Japanika

Last, but not least, Japanika. I would eat here everyday of my life if calories and salt weren’t such a diet spoiler.

This sushi chain originated in Israel and blends typical Japanese cuisine with western options, and also features some typical Chinese and Thai food on their lengthy (and heavy) menus.

Maneuver your chopsticks while sitting with a view of Hungary’s magnanimous St. Stephen’s Basilica.

Appetizer choice: Edamame (quel surprise)

Dinner pick(s): Avocado Maki, Special Veggie, Unagi

Drink Selection: Hot Sake (house)

Budapest 1051, Szent Istvan Ter 11


Internationalistic in Ireland

Internationalistic in Ireland

So I had the opportunity to cross one off my bucket list this year and spend St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin…. the St. Patrick’s capital of the world.

***side note: I loved Ireland so much I ended up back the next month

If you want an authentic experience here are some of my suggestions, for the record.

1. The Church

Contrary to popular belief, this is not a church… anymore. Formerly St. Mary’s church, this converted building is now a thriving three story venue with a poppin’ nightclub in the basement, a bar on the ground floor and an elegant restaurant on top. The structure is complete with a Renatus Harris organ and stained glass windows. Closed in 1964, it was repurchased in 1997 after laying stagnant for many years and started its conversion process to the masterpiece it is today.

2. Murray’s

This two story bar is an authentic local joint devoid of the tourists on the other side of the river. For St. Patrick’s weekend they were equipped with nightly Irish bands and packed with people of all ages.

3. Amir’s Delight’s

I visited this late-night hookah and dessert spot on my second trip in April. As a shisha fiend and middle eastern, uh…connoisseur, I had to try a local spot. The owner was very friendly and even gave complementary baklava and namoura with the shisha order. The location is tucked on a hipster side street near downtown, equipped with a modern street art rendition of the last supper, reflecting immigrant diversity.

4. The Hilton Dublin Airport

Not only is this my go-to hotel spot, but their bar and restaurant is vast and superb and features evening singers in the spirit of Michael Bublé, hot bartenders, and gastronomic delights.

Dublin is definitely my new Las Vegas 😉

My Favorite Latinx Brands

A few weeks ago my brand @themacandcheeseeffect was featured on a ShopLatinx.

In honor of the work they do, I decided to compile a list of my top five favorite Latinx brands.


  1. Bella Dona – because I’m always in need of a Virgen or Mazapan inspired sweatshirt, Bella Dona is here for my Chicana needs. Keeping up with the best of us in East LA, their Instagram page @belladonala features real life Latinx models and all kinds of other cool inspiration and products. Shop the line at                                                                                     
  2. Mujerista Market – filled with La Virgen products and Rosaries, this handmade line satisfies everything I like to see. Their IG also features cool local real models from across the gender spectrum and breaks fashion and lifestyle barriers. Visit their instagram @mujeristamarket or buy directly at 1154790-r2-010-3a
  3. Mesheeka Brand – as a native San Diegan, I am so onboard with this local art and clothing shop that doubles as a cafe in a converted house in our very own Barrio Logan. My fav products are the trucker hats with striped traditional Mexican print brims and Frida caricature shirts. Check out more styles @mesheekabrand or shop Mesheeka Hoodie Pullover
  4. Oh Comadre – it’s the US where you can get Thai tea flavored ice cream, margarita flavored cupcakes, and pan dulce scented candles. If the latter appeals to you, try your luck at where their scents aren’t limited to your usual vanillas and tropical breezes, rather they transcend your deepest appetites for things like Pan Dulce, Horchata, and Cotton Candy. Follow them for more cute and appetizing candle pics at @ohcomadrecandles    Grape 🍇 Soda
  5. Viva La Bonita – If LA chicana is your swag, Viva La Bonita is full of must-have wardrobe choices with T-shirts reading “allergic to pendejas” and mugs saying “cafecito and chill”. This snarky brand will have you wanting every item from their online store Follow @vivalabonita for cool updates and new products              MEXICAN PROVERB WHITE T-SHIRT

Weekend in Wien

If Budapest can be compared to San Diego, a sleepy small town esquive big city, Vienna is surely like Los Angeles, the ugly, bigger stepsister of the antique Austro-Hungarian capital.

Both cities have uncanny commonalities and spending a weekend between them will make you wonder if you actually ever really arrived at or left either city.

There’s the Operahaz and Staatsoper and fashion streets laden with similar architecture and international brands like Zara and H&M.

Both cities have large squares dedicated to Cathedrals for the same saint – István if you’re in Budapest, Stephan if you’re in Vienna.

However, the Viennese version of St. Steven’s cathedral is characteristically gothic, while the Hungarian counterpart is more Byzantine.

Meanwhile if you’re looking for cultural diversity, Vienna is the place to encounter groups of new and old immigrants and cultural diversity in the population.

This is not to say that Budapest is lacking in gastronomical options or that diversity is non-existant, but comparatively it’s slim.

Strangely, in a 2014 census, the population of both cities clocked in at just below 1.8 million inhabitants, each.

Somehow, Vienna just seems larger with an extensive metro system and all the modern conveniences that Budapest is lacking such as English signs, nail technicians who offer acrylics, and a city skyline complete with skyscrapers.

If you find yourself in this little cement jungle, here are some random places to check out.

1. Shiki Sushi What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of Austria? Probably not sushi, but if you’re in the area this Michelin starred restaurant is worth visiting. Created by Joji Hattori a conductor and violinist who was born in Japan and raised in Vienna, Shiki combines a love of cuisine with a family history of entrepreneurship. Reservations are recommended but open seating is available at the sushi bar.

2. Om Bar Looking for a cool spot to end the evening? Om bar is an underground bar and with a mini dance floor playing all the top US and reggaeton hits. They offer a full bar with inexpensive drinks and even hookah where smoking inside is allowed. Om also doubles as an Indian restaurant in the day lending credence to Vienna’s diversity.

3. The Belvedere Palace

Built in the late 17th century, during the Habsburg dynasty by Prince Eugene after concluding wars against the Ottomans, this dynamic palace serves as walking grounds for locals and an art museum housing the paintings from Vienna’s own Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, and even Western Europeans Monet and Manet. Take a tour of the museum or just stroll the grounds with your morning coffee.

4. Art Corner Restaurant Just across from the Belvedere grounds is an authentic Greek restaurant called Art Corner. Choose from a series of dips to gyros plates or halloum salads after your brisque walk through the Belvedere.

5. Gasometer Planning your trip to Vienna in advance? Check out the concert schedule at the gasometer, a converted former gas tank that now provides a sleek concert venue for local and international bands.

Roaming in Reykjavik 

I won’t venture to say that Reykjavik was my favorite destination, at least not following a weekend in Miami and another in Portland before this departure…but anywhere can be a new experience.

If you find yourself in the area braving the cold winter, Game of Thrones style, here are some cool places to stay warm.

1. Konar Restaurant

Dine on fresh fish with an ocean view at the old harbor.

Picks: Icelandic Ceviche, Cod Tongues (the complimentary smoked lamb is pretty good too)

2. The Phallological Museum

Can’t get enough penis? This is the place for you. I think even Samantha from Sex and the City would be satiated. 

But seriously the collection of mammal, er specimens, is pretty educational.

3. The American Bar

Friday night looking glum? Go wild at the American Bar and listen to all the top hits in the US, and Iceland while the crowd gets wild.

This bar is a vast juxtaposition from the next-door “British pub” as well as the Irish bar across the street.

(You’ll know you’re in the right place because Uncle Sam is outside to greet you and steal your tax dollars)

4. The Blue Lagoon

Almost entirely filled with tourists from all over the world, this man-made lagoon is destined to calm your inner chill.

5. The Reykjavik Spa at the Grand Hotel Reykjavik

First of all just skip everything else and stay at this hotel. While you’re there make sure to book a massage or facial with the amazing masseuses and estheticians. Located discreetly on the bottom floor of the hotel, this high-end facility is equipped with a jacuzzi, steam room, and infrared sauna as well as various quiet areas for designated naps between services. (Try to avoid the mob of Russian tourists though who keep saying things that sound like “borscht” in the nap room)

Girls Trip to Miami 

We all need a weekend getaway…from work, school, or just life in general.

My friends and I decided to hop on a plane to Miami last weekend and even though I’ve been there a few times, the 305 never runs out of places to offer.

After a rough red eye plane ride where a passenger passed out on the floor next to me, we took off right away to breakfast at Waffle House, a Southern Chain with some of the best grits I’ve ever had.

The rest of our first day was spent on the beach and checking into our Air B & B in the design district.

Our second day was when things got wild and cultural.

We started out at a fab and reasonably priced Puerto Rican restaurant called El Bajareque (having been to PR I can vogue for the authenticity.

Next we went to the cultural areas of Little Haiti and Little Havana, experiencing two very different sub communities that give Miami its Caribbean and Latin American flair. We sampled a ginger papaya drink from a generous Haitian shop owner in Little Haiti and ate chili chocolate with Cuban espresso at an art gallery in Little Havana.

Finally we ended our time at El Patio Wynwood, a Latin hipster bar and club in a district of warehouse venues reminiscing downtown LA. 

After a bottle of a Colombian-Arak I was done for the night and the weekend (had a flight out the next day) but I’ll forever look forward to future Miami adventures. 

I can’t make you care about other people

I can’t make you care about other people

Many of you, like your predecessors during the Roman empire, have fallen into the trap of division under a divisive government.

I see you. I hear you.

What you fail to acknowledge while you’re either defending Trump or shaming Trump supporters is the need of society for people with humanity – a humanity sans political views.

San Diego has one of the country’s largest homeless populations, and while some of these individuals may attribute their current position to a poor economy [due to politics], very few of them actually care enough to debate these trivial things.

Because the thing is, when you’re worried about where you’re getting your next meal, you really don’t have time to give a shit about some white guy in a white house, far removed from your current state. It’s the fundamentals of Maslow’s hierarchy.

Many of you on social media express disdain for social funding. While a complete social economy may not be the solution in the United States (due largely to the individualist culture resulting from extensive diversity), the need for certain social assistance is nevertheless eminent in these scenarios.

I hear you when you say you don’t want your income going to support drug addicts. I hear you when you say you worked hard for everything you had. What I don’t hear is your appreciation for the advantages you were blessed with, if you will.

You may be against a socialist system, but are likely pro-public education to some degree. Public education, however, bases its funding on local property tax – a genius way to prevent impoverished areas from accessing the same resources as wealthier neighborhoods.

So now picture yourself as a child in a low-income neighborhood, trying to attend school. Sure you worked hard in your life, but did you have to walk through streets of gangs and drugs without personal safety just to try to make it to your eighth grade homeroom? Did you go without three meals because your parents couldn’t afford food, and your school didn’t offer a lunch program? Did you lack access to healthy food at any point, or a safe place to sleep?

If you did, your struggle would be great and you would understand the disadvantage at which many of these homeless individuals were born into. Others had even worse situations – single parents, abusive parents, violence in the home, being expelled from the foster system at the age of 18 with nowhere to go, no skills (thanks to the local public school), and no means of support.

We like to think we control our lives, but our circumstances control us. We cannot choose the fundamentals of what sets us up for success or failure; we cannot choose our family, our birthplace, or the local values that shape us as children in our most formative years.

You can still say you’re not paying to support people on drugs, and that’s fine, that’s your prerogative, but next time you see someone on drugs, ask yourself how bad was their reality that they are addicted to escaping it. Ask yourself how many traumas they overcame before they started to give up.

So, no, I can’t make you care about people; caring is not a requirement to live on this earth. Just know next time you see someone in a position of need that if you were born just one house next door, that person might have been you.

Desert Rose: Top Picks for Palm Springs

There’s nothing better in SoCal than a relaxing weekend in Palm Springs. After spending significant time visiting this former Hollywood hotspot, here are my top picks.

Stay – The Saguaro

Hotel, pool, and spa in one, The Saguaro is there for all your relaxation needs. This retro-inspired resort hosts lit pool parties on the weekend that put Vegas to shame. They also offer daily yoga for hotel guests, a full spa menu, and amazing gym on site. Best of all, they have a vintage Barbie display that’s more sought after than any work of art.

Play – Morongo Casino

Palm Springs would be nothing if you didn’t stop at Morongo on your way in…or out. This resort and casino has great plays for gamblers, and a crazy mall of outlets. Their buffet is one of the best in the area.

Eat – Palm Greens Cafe

If casino buffets aren’t your thing, try your luck at a heathier location. Palm Greens Cafe is a local spot loaded with vegan and macrobiotic options (think Thai/Indian inspiration). With not a tourist in site, you’ll be eating with Palm Springs’ best and healthiest crowd. 

See – Palm Springs Air Museum

Adjacent to the airport is a great air museum with retro F15s chilling outdoors. When shopping and lounging gets boring, refresh your brain with some military and aircraft facts while taking selfies with fighter jets.

Drink – Tonga Hut

A weekend holiday wouldn’t be complete without a tiki bar. This cute drinking space is in the heart of downtown Palm Springs and is one of the few acceptable bars for millennials in the area.