Sugar Factory – Dallas

Sugar Factory – Dallas

A Sugar Factory has opened up in Dallas.

Does that mean Texas is low key coming up in the world? As far as a melting pot of food? Or am I just jumping ahead of myself since it is just Sugar Factory. It’s located in Uptown in a really cute area. We went for Valentine’s Day dinner and it wasn’t as packed as I thought it was going to be. There weren’t very many parking options, especially if you’re not familiar with the area. Valet is only $10 so it’s not super horrible (then again I’m from San Francisco, anything under $20 for parking is “not that bad”).

I’ve been to the Sugar Factory in Las Vegas but never to eat at. Just to browse. I was curious to see that they opened one in Dallas recently and honestly didn’t think it was actually here. We didn’t make reservations and it worked out. The place has 3 huge dining areas filled with all these pretty walls that are prefect for photo ops and people definitely didn’t skip that part! They also had a small candy and ice cream shop where you can find the candies they put in their drinks and shakes as well as the iconic Sugar Factory lollipops.

Read more about this on my food blog; herloveforfood.co

Top 4 April Releases I’m Looking Forward To

Does anyone else go on bookish pre-ordering spree’s just so they get reminders of book release dates…? Just me…? I know it’s not just me!

Actually, I just checked my pre-order list and it’s not as bad as I thought it would be… for once. I actually only have 3 titles I’m super excited for in April and one I’m really really excited for in May (and probs my most excited title of the year).

| Part of Your World by Abby Jimenez

After a wild bet, gourmet grilled-cheese sandwich, and cuddle with a baby goat, Alexis Montgomery has had her world turned upside down. The cause: Daniel Grant, a ridiculously hot carpenter who’s ten years younger than her and as casual as they come—the complete opposite of sophisticated city-girl Alexis. And yet their chemistry is undeniable.

While her ultra-wealthy parents want her to carry on the family legacy of world-renowned surgeons, Alexis doesn’t need glory or fame. She’s fine with being a “mere” ER doctor. And every minute she spends with Daniel and the tight-knit town where he lives, she’s discovering just what’s really important. Yet letting their relationship become anything more than a short-term fling would mean turning her back on her family and giving up the opportunity to help thousands of people.

Bringing Daniel into her world is impossible, and yet she can’t just give up the joy she’s found with him either. With so many differences between them, how can Alexis possibly choose between her world and his?

I fell in love with Abby’s writing after reading The Friend Zone; I have yet to finish that series… I should really get on that, soon. Her newest novel is releasing in April and I suppose it’s the start of a new series? Or a stand alone? Either way it sounds like it’s going to be amazing. I miss reading my rom-com’s and I have no idea why I stopped!

| Sisters of Moonlight by Katherine Livesey

Each step was like an old familiar song…
 
Still recovering from the inferno that consumed Kelseth lighthouse, apothecary Lily Knight, powerful witch Alice Blackwell, and their newfound family find refuge in a mysterious mist-wreathed castle to regroup and draw up a plan of action.
 
Because the shadows are closing in and Hecate Winter, High Priestess of the notorious coven that almost cost Alice her life, is only getting stronger…
 
But there are murmurings of an even more sinister threat brewing on the horizon – and it has something to do with the castle.
 
When Alice’s nightmares begin to bleed into her daily reality, everything changes.

This is actually the second installment in the Sisters of Shadow series which I seemed to have picked up earlier this year. The covers for this series are gorgeous! I tried not read the blurb as I posted this because the first book sounds so good and I don’t want to spoil myself! I’m really looking forward to picking up this series soon!

| All The Best Liars by Amelia Kahaney

Tic-tac-toe, three girls in a row. Nine years old and inseparable. Friends for life, or so they think . . .

Best friends Syd, Rain, and Brie grew up on the wrong side of the tracks in the stifling California desert, desperately wishing for a way out.

When a deadly fire is set two weeks before the end of high school, nothing will ever be the same. In the end, each of them will escape—but not in the way any of them expects. One will do it by dying, another by lying, a third by taking the fall.

With gorgeous, taut prose and twists to the very last page, All the Best Liars alternates between the present and the past to unravel the truth behind the fire and the cost of the secrets at the heart of their friendship.

This def gives me We Were Liars vibes and that book blew my mind when I finished it. It was such a good book. I luckily got it for review back when it was released and that novel has stayed with me since! I’m always looking forward to similar plots. I’m also such a sucker for alternating timelines!

| Family of Liars by E. Lockhart

The prequel to We Were Liars takes readers back to the story of another summer, another generation, and the secrets that will haunt them for decades to come.

A windswept private island off the coast of Massachusetts.
A hungry ocean, churning with secrets and sorrow.
A fiery, addicted heiress. An irresistible, unpredictable boy.
A summer of unforgivable betrayal and terrible mistakes.

Welcome back to the Sinclair family.
They were always liars.

My most anticipated title for 2022. I can not wait for this one! I do feel like I need to revisit We Were Liars before this one is released!

What is your most anticipated title for April? Or for 2022?

Brain Dump | March

Typically July and December are my depressed months. The months where the most traumatic shit has happened to me and I just am not in a good mood or the best person to be around. And it’s not like I mean to be like that, it’s just those months make me weird. If that makes sense.

Tums birthday is this week and I got NOTHING literally N O T H I N G prepared. I’ve been in a super dark depressed funk all month and I noticed… this happened last year as well. The only birthday I really tried to make memorable for her was her 1st birthday. Even if it was just us. And I remember his family threw her birthday party (which I obviously didn’t go to cause I was no contact with them already at that point); I told her dad I didn’t want to see anything about it. Yet I still did and I remember feeling like shit. I felt like shit cause I wasn’t able to throw my own daughter a proper birthday party. I’m not from here. My family and friends are in California.

I felt like shit because I felt like I fuckin failed as. Filipino mom. There was no pancit. No lechon. All I wanted was to throw her this birthday party like every fuckin Filipino child gets…. and I fuckin couldn’t even do that. And it hurt.

Continue reading “Brain Dump | March”

Cozy Gaming: 5 Games I’m Excited to Try

I’m so glad cozy gaming is a term these days because that’s what I’ve always been drawn to. The perfect games to just wind down with in bed after work. Animal Crossing: Wild World was that for me in 2006 and I even made a blog to keep track of everything I caught and did. I wish I could remember what that blog was called now.

But that’s what got me into cozy gaming! Before then I was a puzzle, MMORPG, fighting games kind of gamer. I’ve always loved Nintendo but it wasn’t until I got the Nintendo DS that I started playing calming games and I noticed they had a way of relaxing me to the point where I could drift to sleep. Zenses was one of these games and I miss that game so much! Donkey Kong vs Mario: March Of The Mini’s was also a game I loved!

The Nintendo Switch and ironically mobile gaming are now filled with soothing relaxing cozy games and it truly makes me wish I had the free time I use to have to jump into these new games I want to try!

So here are 5 that are at the top of my to try list;

| Cozy Grove

I actually saw a friend of mine on my Switch playing this game and thought it sounded cute so I went to check it out. It’s been sitting on my Switch for awhile but I finally gave it a try when Stardew was pissing me off and I was hooked. It’s such a cute game with such a dark story. Literally everything I loved bundled into one. The graphics are so cute and the quests they take you on are interesting enough to keep you engaged. You pretty much have to help these souls remember who they are by doing quests.

Honestly, it’s the skulls on the stakes and the temperamental bonfire for me.

| Stardew Valley

I honestly don’t know how you guys think this game is cozy or relaxing. The only thing relaxed in this game is my lazy ass cat who just plops down randomly. I thought she died at first. This game stresses me out lolol. I don’t know how to make a good amount of money and I don’t know how to explore without passing out. Like why is the map so big if you’re just gonna pass out?! I have so many questions.

My BFF however has a sick ass farm. He downloaded it on Xbox for funsies and hated it. Then the next thing I know he’s fighting slimes and has a whole ass like… farm. It was so organized! I’m like how? when? I’m super jel. But I still can’t figure out how to play this game lol.

| Kingdom Hearts

I already know this game is going to piss me off. But to be fair, I haven’t played this since like… 2004 in its entirety. So here we are, hella years later, about to give this another go/refresher. Only now my ex husband isn’t here to beat Ursula or Sephiroth when I rage quit. To be fair, at the time I hadn’t played FFXI yet so I’d like to think playing FF MMO’s has taught me to rage quit less and enjoy the game more. I love that this version includes both 1.5 and 2.5!

The interweaving storylines of the Kingdom Hearts series is tew much sometimes so I’m excited to start over and relive the magic! And of course, run into my favorite video game character ever: Axel.

| Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town

I’ve always tried to get into Harvest Moon but I think because my first farming sim Nintendo game was Animal Crossing, I didn’t give it a fair chance because it wasn’t like AC. I saw they redid the series into Story of Seasons and the promo was so cute. I didn’t get the whole box edition but I did get the game. I haven’t tried it yet but I’m excited to see what this is like.

… as I search up the hashtag on Instagram. Anyone else do this? It’s so satisfying.

| Greak: Memories of Azur

This is a random cute game I came across on the Nintendo shop. You play as 3 siblings. It’s a side scroller and the art looks so cute! I don’t know much else about it besides that.

I’m such a sucker for spending a ton of time just scrolling through the Nintendo shop or the Apple Arcade menus. I also love watching cozy gamer TikTok! If I could only get my streaming stuff to work. I just wiped my desktop so I’m going to try again to get it to work. I love finding chill downtime cozy games to play. If it’s a side scroller, even better!

What are some of your favorite cozy games?

Brain Dump | Depressed

As someone who’s dealt with depression since they were 13 you’d think I’d have like a million ways to cope by now but truthfully, when my anxiety showed up at 19/20, the depression took a back seat. For so long in fact that sometimes I don’t even know I’m showing signs of depression unless someone points it out to me. And it always amazes me that my friends all the way in California, though they don’t see me every day, can still spot when I’m not myself. That’s the beauty of having people in your life who know you and who accept you exactly 100% as you are.

Lately I’ve had a hard time getting out of bed and end up not even getting up until 4pm just to get back in bed at 7 or 8. Like okay that’s enough life for today. The last time I pulled this shit I ended up dropping 80 pounds and a friend of mine had to literally pull me out of my apartment. But it was also around the time I had started taking Zoloft the first time.

I blamed Texas weird ass weather at first, which the weather here has sucked. It’s like a never ending fuckshit of winter. I’m over it. Then when I fly to Cali it’s perfect and 80 degrees.

I’m reminded of just how alone I am in Texas and wonder how did I put myself in this position. It’s not like it’s hard for me to make friends, at all. But it seems like most people I’ve run into in the years I’ve lived in Texas just haven’t been the best people or if they’re family members suddenly I’m fooling around with them. Bubba’s family has made my life a special kind of hell since I’ve moved here and I regret ever moving here to begin with.

I gave up my life of magic at Disney and beach days for this shit?!

Literally should had just moved back to California after I broke up with Nick, like I had planned to begin with. I also need to stop dating people who take me wanting to move back to California as just blasphemy because their hometown is “the best”. And they’ve never even lived anywhere else. I don’t know how someone comes up with that conclusion but it’s a thing people do.

I feel like since moving to Texas I’m completely forgotten who I am. I subconsciously tried to fit this mold of someone I wasn’t. Just to hopefully please people. Spoiler: didn’t work. I never understood what my friends were saying when they said I got soft until I set foot in NorCal and it’s like snap what have I been doing the last few years?!

Giving birth and suffering through postpartum depression while feeling completely isolated and alone was the worst and so freakin traumatic. To the point where I literally NEVER want to give birth again. I never want to go through that ever again. And I lost even more of myself for years. While the Zoloft helped, I couldn’t get my insurance to work something out enough for me to get help with therapy. And believe me, between PPD and losing my dad within months of each other? I desperately needed therapy. Zoloft isn’t easing my mind as good as it did the first time around, but I’m also not on the max dose.

I’m losing my train of thought… I thought putting on The Descendants would make me feel a little better. A little closer to Disney? Something? It’s kinda working.

Monthly Recap; Feb 2022

For being the shortest month, Feb sure felt like one of the longer ones. I don’t mean that in a bad way… I’m glad at least one Feb in the last few years felt longer than usual. And so far, it’s been my favorite month. Full of trying a shit ton of new eats, seeing new cities, finding new favorite things, seeing some of my favorite people. My Feb was full of insane love from my friends, my support circle who’s been rockin with me for over 21 years. If I know what boundless unconditional love is, it’s because of them. They’ve loved me through all the rough and smooth stages of life from the jump and I’m so very thankful for every single one of them. Not having to feel like I’m being judged or having to censor myself is a feeling I took for granted, for sure.

Despite not really having a place to stay this trip, my BFF made sure I was comfortable. I literally didn’t have to worry about anything the whole week. He also had me drive and while I was SUPER nervous because it was a freakin nice ass car, it felt so good to drive through the streets of my hometown again. You don’t realize how free and liberating driving can feel after years of not feeling comfortable enough to do so. I also appreciate that if I’m PMS’ing he just feds me, tells me I’m funny and let’s me yell lol. I had the best week.

| WATCHED

I know I’m supposed to be working my way through my streaming queues but it’s kinda hard when you have a toddler who wants to watch Dinosaur videos lol. I’m not gonna knock her urge to learn things.

Attempted to watch In the Heights but I just… got lost.

I watched Crazy Rich Asians the first night I was in Napa and there’s just something iconic and inspiring about that movie every time I watch it. Def made me want to work harder on my business; I wanna build something that’s going to outlive me.

Watched Cars… while in a 2 hour queue line for the Cars ride. I forgot how the first movie even went. But Lightning McQueen was a little shit head.

Watched Hamilton on the plane ride home to kill time since I couldn’t sleep. The girl next to me was watching In the Heights. Yeah even watching the little snips I did, I still couldn’t vibe with it.

| DID

Finally got to try Sugar Factory since they opened up one in Dallas and honestly, it was more instagrammable than the one in Vegas I always walked into. The food was amazing and the drink I got didn’t even taste like a drink. Def coming back here.

Continue reading “Monthly Recap; Feb 2022”

Hello March

I can’t believe how fast 2022 is moving. Then again I’ve been traveling (and it feels so good to be able to again) so that might also be why it feels like it’s going super fast for me.

Feb was full of trying places I had on my foodie wish list for way too long. Road trips with my BFF’s and being spoiled by my BFF’s and my cousin (for once lol). I was reminded of how loved I am back home and I wonder why I even left… I mean I don’t wonder but I do wonder why I stayed away for so long.

Never let a relationship get in the way of your life and who you are.

I have no idea how March would be able to top Feb, honestly. But here are a few things I hope to achieve;

| Take Tums to Disneyland for her birthday
As much as I would love to go to Disney World, there really isn’t much there for toddlers like there is at Disneyland. She hasn’t been to Disneyland yet and she’s been to WDW twice already lol. I can’t believe I’ll have a 3 year old soon. She’s already like a whole ass human being. I just assume the smarter she gets, the more she will talk back. She’s already started lol.

| Hit Vegas with my cousin
This is the year of doing things I miss and getting back to my roots. It’s been a decade since I’ve been back to Vegas and I miss it so much. I’m hoping to squeeze in a weekend trip to Vegas this month with my cousin or my BFF Dru; even if he’s next level on some shit lol.

| Read 2 books
I just picked up 2 new audiobooks while I was on my trip; they’re both autobiographies. One is by Leslie Odom Jr and his time doing Aaron Burr in Hamilton. I have no excuse to be so far behind on my TBR for this year but here I am. So hopefully I can at least read 2 books this month.

| Take 30 mins every day to do Yoga or some kind of ab work out
I need to be better at my health. And I really need to start being better. It’s hard to set aside time to just do certain things. Obviously working out and reading seems to be it for me this year. But I really want to work on getting my abs back and I really want to get back into eating right again. Even just setting aside 30 mins every day can make a difference.

| Start a skincare routine
My BFF and cousin are begging me to do this. It makes me feel old lol. I admit though, my skin could use some help. So at the advice of my cousin, I picked up a few things that were a lot more than I expected. Shit better do something.

| Work on shop things
My shop needs a huge refresh. I really want to put up more apparel and new sticker designs. I also want to be more active on social media and marketing. I always say I’ll work on some stuff while I’m in Cali but I get so caught up with hanging out with my friends that it doesn’t happen lol. I’m not sure when I’m jetting off next this month so I might as well work on my shop until I figure that out!

| Jump start on Spring cleaning
Spring cleaning has always been the bane of my existence. My mom made it look so effortless. But as I’m low key kind of on the quest to live a more minimalistic life, I figure this is going to be an even bigger task. Let’s hope I start this in the Spring and finish it in the Spring as well lol.

What are some things you’re hoping to start, finish or attempt this month?

Monday Mindful Manifestation

You are free to be you.

100% without apology you. And I know I stress this a lot on my blog — but the people who make you feel like you’re hard to love are not your people.

Emotions always tend to never fail to amaze me. The way they work. The way we respond to things or don’t respond to other things. Noticing which one of our toxic traits or boundaries we refuse to compromise. And seeing how those around us respond to that as well.

I’m thankful for putting myself into a different situation/outcome. The thing about life is paying attention to the moments that force you to grow. Which I’m learning most adults seem to avoid, even at the expense of their own happiness. I can’t relate. That could never be me; gotta thank trauma for something I guess.

This week I’ll remind myself that I am free to be me; whoever I decide to be that day. And I no longer have to feel bad about it.

Hello February

February always reminds me of when I really started to write in this blog. I had originally called it Places & Peonies and it was suppose to be a safe place for me to blog. I needed somewhere I could be transparent and unfiltered. I had just suffered a miscarriage and everyone around me (minus my BFF Xyl) was telling me that “it’s not something to blog/post about” but blogging has always been my therapy. Since 1999. So to tell me I can’t talk about this life event that hurt me so deeply?

I created this as a secret blog. With the hopes it would help me heal. With the hopes I could fill it with pretty pictures, adventures and be a place I can look back on and remind myself of how hard the journey was, but how I survived it. That was 5 years ago. It’s crazy to see how this blog has shifted and changed since then. I still don’t know wtf my niche for it is. And sometimes I stop myself from posting because I think “is that blog post even helpful?”

And while I do love writing the *insert number here* ways to stay calm or whatever; I also love writing my brain dumps. Because sometimes I just need to write some shit out. And we relate through experiences others share. It helps us feel less alone. So I hate the times when I stop myself from writing how I feel just because I don’t think it’s what blogging is about anymore. I’m trying to be better at it.

Here are a few things I want to accomplish this month;

Continue reading “Hello February”

Brain Dump | Back in Texas…

I got to spend a week back home in Cali and I honestly forgot just how much I loved NorCal. I left 10 years ago saying I’d never come back… I was also a really angry and angsty young adult at the time. I was determined to get my dream job (which I did) and make a life for myself (which I did). I’ve always loved being independent but I was also low key obsessed with it to prove to other people I was capable of everything they kept telling me I wasn’t capable of.

But in reality; NorCal is a beautiful place to visit. There’s literally so much to do and see. You’d rarely ever get bored. Between Silicone Valley, San Francisco and Napa Valley, there’s a lot to do. I forgot how loved I am there. How much my childhood friends love me. How much they only want what’s best for me and want to see me truly happy. Ten years can change a lot of things but one thing that hasn’t changed is the epic convos, adventures and love that they have for me and that I have for them. I’m so glad I got to see my friends while I was there. I’m glad I got to spend a week hanging out with one of my best friends; we have a pretty dope story of how we ended up friends and there’s a lot of irony in it now that we’re adults. But he’s always been the sweetest guy I know, since we were kids. And he’s still just as sweet. And yay for a foodie adventure friend!

I loved seeing my friends with Tums and seeing that they love her just as much as they love me. I loved that she had people to play with and other kids to play with — she got along SO WELL with my friends kids! All of them!

California air just hits different, for sure.

And now I’m back in Texas… where it’s effing snowing right now and something ridiculous like 19 degree’s or something. My eczema is already acting up. Did move into the new apartment and while it’s bigger than the last one it’s also much more expensive and I honestly don’t know what to do about it. I mean I love this complex but at the same time… I really want to move back to Cali to be closer to my friends and family. Especially seeing just how much older my mom is now… it’s really kicking up my anxiety big time. And having someone tell you you’re stuck in Texas and can’t move back to Cali or be with your family is just a new level of audacity. At the end of the day, this is still my life and it’s my choice to do what I want when I want. That shouldn’t be anyone else’s choice but my own. And it’s definitely hard to protect your peace when you’re arounds someone who seems to challenge that every chance they get.

Hoping for some clarity in Feb and some solutions.