Products, Restaurants and Experiences Worth a Buy in 2021
It’s that time again, a monthly recap of my favorite purchases, restaurants, wines and recipes and if they’re worth a buy or a try! February was full of discovering new products (at least new to me) and some yummy eats. Keep scrolling to read my thoughts on Supergoop Glow Screen, EltaMD So Silky Hand Crème, the Pure Enrichment Weighted Warmth Lap Pad, Skinny Cow’s Skinny Mini line and Nespresso’s new chocolate fudge pods!
Scroll past the product reviews to find my mini reviews on my favorite restaurants I tried in February including Local Tap House and Dija Mara in Oceanside, CA and Mision19 in Tijuana, Mexico. Finally, I reveal my favorite wine and recipe of the month, Walter Hansel Pinot Noir and the TikTok famous Feta Pasta!
1. Supergoop Glow Screen 40spf
Supergoop Glow Screen is perfect for those days you want radiant looking skin peeking through your daily makeup routine. I use this 40spf as the last step in my daily skincare routine before I start applying makeup. One of the key ingredients is hyaluronic acid which happens to be one of my favorite skincare ingredients. Raise your hand if you’re team dehydrated skin like I am! The hyaluronic acid gives the skin a nice drink of moisture and provides the perfect base for makeup.
Once I slather on a good-sized amount and blend it in, I let it sit for a minute or two to fully sink in and dry before I start with my foundation or tinted moisturizer. This is key to avoid peeling! Obviously, this also depends on your skincare routine but I find allowing sunscreen to fully dry down makes most peeling for sunscreens avoidable. The end result is a subtle youthful shine that reflects beautifully in the daylight!
I’ll be honest, in my opinion, I feel this is a tad too shiny for wearing on its own. Others will say they absolutely love it by itself but to me, I just feel too reflective and it doesn’t match the rest of my body. If I’m going for a super natural look at the beach or to run errands, I would probably mix it with a tinted moisturizer or your regular moisturizer to tone down the shininess a bit.
Is it worth a try? Yes, the Supergoop Glow Screen is definitely worth a try. It adds that extra uumph underneath your makeup and lasts beautifully throughout the day. This product is also vegan, cruelty-free and reef friendly which is a major plus when going swimming in the ocean!
2. EltaMD So Silky Hand Crème
The EltaMD So Silky Hand Crème is an absolute delight to slather on my hands each morning and night. The advertising does not lie. This product does keep your hands silky smooth for 12-hours even after washing your hands. Hence why I only feel the need to use it morning and night. My skin absorbs the product pretty quickly and I’m not left standing there scared to touch anything for a few minutes which is nice and my hands did not feel greasy at all after application.
This product also promises to enhance skin luminosity against everyday pollution, brighten the appearance of skin tone and reduce the appearance of skin discolorations. I can’t really speak on those promises as I am still relatively young and don’t have much of a skin tone issue or skin discolorations. However, I’m all about preventing such things so I will continue to use this lovely hand cream for the foreseeable future.
Is it worth a try or a buy? Yes! The EltaMD So Silky Hand Crème is worth a try and a buy! I love how this has become a staple in my daily skincare routine. I put it on right before bed and right before I walk out the door in the morning. However, while this product does keep my skin smooth, I wouldn’t recommend it to provide relief from dry cracked skin. At least not on its own. You would definitely need something thicker to help with that but then maybe use this product as a topper? I’ll have to test it out in the winter.
3. Pure Enrichment Weighted Warmth Lap Pad
The Pure Enrichment Weighted Warmth Lap Pad has been a game changer during that wonderful time of month us ladies have to endure. I recently switched off the pill to the copper IUD due to a long, long history of breast cancer in my family. I was warned switching to the copper IUD could make your period heavier than you’re used to so as I prepared for my first real period in eleven years, I ordered this bad boy after seeing it on Nordstrom Rack.
Ok, first of all, the weighted bit? Genius! I’ve heard about the hype of weighted blankets but add the heating element to it? Game changer. I got the pad size, 20”x12” so it’s not that big which I’m fine with as I’m only wanting to use it on one specific area of my body.
The weighted part comes from beads inside the fabric. This is interesting because the beads kind of fall around you when you lay the pad on you so the pad actually hugs you which is very nice. I found to like more weight up top instead of falling to my sides so I just shook the pad around until the beads were centered in the middle and then laid it back on me. Easy peasy!
Is this worth a buy? If you’re looking for some relief from some slight pain or discomfort, I highly recommend The Pure Enrichment Weighted Lap Pad. It does exactly what I want it to. It also comes in a variety of sizes so you can pick which one best fits your needs. One of my favorite parts about the pad is that it has a safety thermal switch. This prevents the pad from overheating and switches off automatically after an hour of use. This feature definitely puts my mind at ease as my mom has told me horror stories of heated blankets catching on fire. Thanks mom.
4. Skinny Cow Skinny Minis
How am I just now jumping on the Skinny Cow Dessert train?? I was obviously missing out. More specifically, I want to talk about their 90-100 calorie Skinny Minis. I recently purchased their Vita Vanilla Snackers and Simply Amazing Salted Caramel Pretzel Bars. Holy moly, both are so, so good!
My favorite part about these mini desserts is that they are truly the perfect size. I don’t feel guilty after eating them and I’m not left sad after consuming the serving size wishing there was more. These are the perfect after dinner treat to satisfy that sweet tooth I get most nights.
Are these worth a try or a buy? 100% yes! I will say the Skinny Cow Simply Amazing Salted Carmel Pretzel Bars have a slight lead compared to the Vita Vanilla Snackers. I’m a sucker for a sweet and salty combo.
5. Nespresso Chocolate Fudge Coffee Pods
The Nespresso Chocolate Fudge Pods are just what I needed to mix up my morning coffee! I’ve been religiously drinking the Melozio and Caramel Cookie Pods in the mornings but I was starting to get a bit tired of the same old same old. I went onto Nespresso’s website and while browsing flavors, I noticed they had a new flavor called Chocolate Fudge. I decided to give it a try since I already knew I like their flavored coffees like caramel cookie (they’re not sweet, they just have a slight flavor).
Boy, were my taste buds in heaven after the first sip! The coffee is smooth and well-rounded with a slight dark chocolate flavor. Pair that with a little splash of cream and you have yourself the world’s skinniest and tastiest mocha! Haha.
Is it worth a try? If you like chocolate and are looking to mix up your Nespresso coffee pods, I highly recommend giving the chocolate fudge pods a try. The only downside is that they’re too good. And by this I mean, the Nespresso website is often sold out of chocolate fudge. If you’re patient and wait for the restock, I promise it’ll be 100% worth it!
Local Tap House Oceanside
Ahhh, Local Tap House is a local gem here in Oceanside, CA. The best way I can describe their food is either, “gourmet bar food” or “bar food on steroids.” I think both are pretty fitting.
Local Tap House or more commonly known as LTH has all the comfort foods you can think of but they put a very unique twist on each dish that makes it completely their own. The twists definitely involve more Asian flavors which I really love.
This is one of those places I would go with a group of friends or family and order a bunch of appetizers to share. I’ve honestly have never had a bad appetizer here, they’re all so dang tasty! The atmosphere is also great. During COVID, they transformed their parking lot into a covered eating area and it actually has character! They’ve put TV’s inside the tent so you can still catch whatever sporting event you’re into.
However, during normal operating circumstances, I much more enjoy eating inside their restaurant. It’s the perfect spot to watch a football game and enjoy ridiculously good bar food and yummy curated cocktails! Don’t worry beer lovers, they have a whole bar length line up of beers on tap!
- Kung Pow Cauliflower: spiced peanuts, crispy wonton strings, green siracha aoli, shaved cucumber, pickled fresno chile, scallions and white soy sauce.
- Thai Fry Calamari & Shishito Peppers: coconut panko fried calamari, crispy shishito peppers, spicy mayo, ponzu, thai basil, cilantro and shaved vegetables.
- Tuna Crudo Ceviche: avocado, pico, corn, pepitas, salsa verges, lime, serrano crema and taro root chips.
- Mexican Street Corn Empanadas: grilled chicken asada, roasted poblano peppers, corn, mayo, queso blanco, lime and salsa verde.
When Anthony Bourdain was asked what his favorite restaurant in San Diego was, he responded that he would skip SD altogether and continue on to Tijuana to have a meal “that will definitely rock your world” at Mision19.
The staff at Mision19 was incredibly gracious and accommodating, the cocktails were creative and delicious and the food was fresh and delightful! Mision19 was an exciting fine dining experience but I wouldn’t say it rocked my world.
I’m not sure how long ago Bourdain said this, but San Diego’s food scene is slowly getting better each year and I think there are a few spots here that are just as good without the hassel of crossing the border.
I will say though, you definitely can’t get a meal of this caliber here in San Diego for as inexpensive as we got it in Tijuana. The exchange rate is popping right now!
If you find yourself across the border and looking for a nice meal, I do recommend Mision19. I would definitely go back for the octopus appetizer and duck breast! Oh, and the Butterscotch Mousse was *chefs kiss*.
- Tuna tartare: burnt serrano dust, cucumber tartar, avocado and chicken cracklings.
- Grilled Oysters: beef tortita, fried noodles and salsa verde.
- Grilled Octopus: garlic jam, pistachio, burnt habanero oil and sweet pear tomatoes.
- Pan Roasted Duck Breast: mezcal-guava and piloncillo sauce, Anaheim chili, banana chips, asparagus and plantain.
- Pressed Suckling Pig: roasted tomatillo sauce, pickled cipolline onion and black bean puree.
Dija Mara Oceanside
If I could eat at Dija Mara in Oceanside every day, I totally would. Their food is absolutely incredible. They currently hold a spot in my top 5 favorite restaurants in North County San Diego!
When it comes to their cuisine type, Dija Mara explains it as, “…Southeast Asian flavors with Western flair and Japanese cooking techniques to create something unique.” And create something unique they did! Each dish transported me back to my adventures in Malaysia and Singapore.
We ordered quite a bit of food as we were eager to try as much as we could. They have more of a sharing concept so food gets delivered as it is ready in no particular order. This made it a perfect opportunity for everyone at the table to try a few bites of each dish.
Dija Mara is a small restaurant so I highly recommend making a reservation in order to secure a spot. You’ll be blown away as soon as you set foot in the door and not just by the food. The ambiance is so unique! There’s funky murals and paintings on the walls and it’s dimly lit inside. It’s definitely a vibe. You’ll have to just go see it for yourself!
- Laksa: tiger prawns, egg noodles, sous vide egg.
- Beef Tartare: black garlic, curry aioli, parmesan, candlenut and sourdough toast.
- Ceviche: makrut lime, coconut and black sesame.
- Nasi Goreng: wok-fried rice, bay shrimp and confit chicken.
- Ayam Penyet: fried chicken, coconut rice and house sambal.
Wine of the Month: Walter Hansen Pinot Noir
You’ll quickly learn that I’m a huge Pinot Noir fan. It’s definitely my favorite wine to drink. I like how it’s lighter then other red wines and pairs well with almost anything. Pinot Noirs are so easy to drink!
I discovered Walter Hansel’s Pinot Noir at Giaola Italian Kitchen in Carlsbad. I decided to try this wine with my go-to dish at Giaola, the bolognese. Holy moly was this a match made in heaven. This smooth Pinot balanced out the acidity in the meat and tomato sauce perfectly. I will forever order a glass with whatever Italian dish I eat.
This pinot has all of my favorites, dark cherry, plum and a little bit of spice. I also love how vibrant and well rounded each sip is. I’ll definitely be on the look out for this when shopping for wines for home. For when you know, that time comes when you start getting judged for how often you find yourself at Giaola ordering a glass of Hansel and the bolognese haha.
Recipe of the Month: Feta Pasta TikTok Trend
For the month of February, how can I not choose the Feta Pasta Tik Tok trend as my recipe of the month?? It was so surprising and so dang good!
If you haven’t seen this trend yet, it’s basically just cherry tomatoes, olive oil, salt, chili flakes, a block of feta and garlic all thrown into a baking dish to bake. Once you pull it out, you mix everything up and add a bit of pasta water to make a sauce and then mix your noodles in. Viola! Feta Pasta. It was so, so good. I added some grilled shrimp to mine for more protein.
If you want to look for the full recipe head on over to Grilled Cheese Social’s Instagram or website and she has all the information there. I HIGHLY recommend making this if you haven’t already.
Well there you have it, my February 2021 recap of my favorite purchases, restaurants, wines and recipes! I hope you enjoy these. They’re quite fun to make and it’s always nice to take a trip down memory lane of the last month.
See you next month for more!