FFF: Elbows Mac N’ Cheese

It’s my first Frugal Foodie Friends review! Be sure to check out Esther’s review too! If you missed it, here’s the post with our bucket list. And here is our list on Yelp if you want to check it out!

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Elbows Mac N’ CheeseBrea, CA
Instagram: @elbowsmacncheese

Arrived: 4:37 p.m.
Overall rating: 5
Ambiance: 4
Timeliness: 5
Service: 4.5
Quality of food: 5
Cost of meal: $14 each
Time spent: 1.5 hours

Although I had passed by Elbows many times on Brea’s main downtown strip, I had never stopped to try their mac n’ cheese. But I’m so glad we decided to make this our first stop! We arrived fairly early in the day, which was nice because the restaurant wasn’t crowded at all – only one of the 7 tables was occupied and there was plenty of counter space as well.

As soon as I walked in, I was delighted that although the place was small, it had a great ambiance. Brick walls, wooden tables, bright pillows, and lights with geometric wire balls around them made it feel modern and comfy.

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After taking a quick look at the menu, we decided to try one recommended mac n’ cheese dish from yelp and another that we hadn’t heard of. Thanks to Yelp, we got 10% off our order! We ordered at the cash register and less than five minutes after we sat down, both our appetizers were brought out. Our mac n’ cheese was brought about five minutes after that – I was impressed by the fast service!

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Vanilla Sweet Potato Fries – $4.95
I LOVE sweet potato fries, but I think I have to say these are my favorite. I could definitely taste the vanilla coating, which was a fun twist! They were also dashed with a little sugar and another spice with a bit of a kick – maybe chili powder. Either way, it was delicious! The fries came out steaming hot and there was plenty to share.

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Bruschetta – $4.95
I was expecting a small plate of bruschetta, but as you can see, this is a sizable appetizer! The ingredients were all very fresh and it tasted great. I liked that there was a good amount of cheese baked on. The only complaint I have is that the crostini wasn’t very sturdy, so the toppings fell off a few times because it folded. But other than that, it was a great dish.

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When Pigs Fly –  $8.65, regular size
Swiss, gruyere, and smoked applewood bacon are the delicious toppings for this mac n’ cheese. Several yelpers recommended this one, so we thought it would be a good one to try. I really liked the gruyere in this mac n’ cheese – it made the dish taste very smooth and almost sweet. There were some good chunks of bacon in it, but not overwhelming. Both Esther and I really liked the baked cheese on top!

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Fun Guy – $8.95, regular size
This fun combination had mushrooms, white truffle oil, and garlic – so fancy! This one was a little richer and saltier. I don’t get to eat mushrooms often since Matt doesn’t like them, so this was a treat for me! And the truffle oil was the perfect touch! Out of the two, I think this one was my favorite.

I would say we ate about 80% of the food between us and I’m glad that we shared all the dishes so we could eat a variety of things. The restaurant started getting a little busier around 5:15 or so, but we didn’t feel rushed to leave. We stayed until around 6:15 when it was getting really crowded.

I really enjoyed our time at elbows and hope to visit again soon! I hope you enjoyed our first Frugal Foodie Friends, and don’t forget to check out Esther’s review! See you next month!

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MC 11.3: (Water)color me an artist!

Hey friends! This week I had more time to watercolor since I had Good Friday off, and I really enjoyed challenging myself to do some more substantial projects. Watercolor is so relaxing, if you’re looking for a new hobby I would definitely recommend it!

The first thing I did this last week was watch Jess Park’s 3rd watercolor class – Painting Botanicals. Jess did a great job in quickly demonstrating how to do a variety of leaves, flowers, and cacti. It was a fun project! Here are the instructions if you’re interested.


Of all the things I wanted to try in watercolor, I really wanted to learn how to do wreaths. I LOVED this tutorial by Shayda Campbell. She broke it down into simple steps and encouraged her viewers to not worry about it being perfect. Being a perfectionist, that is hard for me to do, but I’m learning it’s hard to be a perfectionist in watercolor! I’m really pleased with how it turned out and I’m excited to do some more wreaths.


One of my favorite projects this week was making cute little watercolor cards with tutorials from K Werner Design! I made a fun flower watercolor card for a friend at work, and another birthday cake card in honor of my friend Sav who is turning 25 this week! They both were so simple but turned out so cute – I may never buy cards again!




Lastly, I tried another Jay Lee flower tutorial. I’m finding watercolor is getting a little easier and I care a little bit less about it being perfect every time I do it! I don’t love the flowers on this one, but I do really like the variety of leaves!


That’s all for watercolor this week, but make sure you check back later this week for my first Frugal Foodie Friends review! If you missed the announcement, read all about it on this post. Have a great week!

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Introducing… Frugal Foodie Friends!

Friends, I’m so excited to announce a new monthly segment I’ll be doing with my coworker and friend, Esther, from Paul’s Kitchen: Frugal Foodie Friends!fff headerEsther has recently started doing a food and travel blog on Chef Paul’s website, and we thought it would be so fun to link up and do a segment for both of our blogs – that way our readers can get two perspectives! We’ve been working hard for the past few weeks and are so excited to share a little bit about our new segment.

What is Frugal Foodie Friends?

We’re calling ourselves the Frugal Foodie Friends because we both love good food, but like most people (especially in the 20s like we are), we are ballin’ a budget!

Each month, we will visit a place in the LA/OC area and spend $30 or less on our meal. We’ll review each place we visit and score it based on a few factors, like ambiance, service, quality of food, and some other things. We aren’t experienced food critics by any means, but like most people just want to find great food that won’t break the bank. And hopefully in reading our thoughts on each place, you can know what to try (or not to try) in the LA and OC area, or are inspired to do go on some food-ventures yourself!

Why I’m excited for the Frugal Foodie Friends segment

I’m so excited to branch out and try new food places near me – I LOVE going to new places to eat! Yelp is my best friend when trying to find new places, and most of the time it hasn’t steered me wrong. I usually go out to eat with my wonderful hubby to eat, but we usually stick to a few places that we know and trust. So I’m excited to branch out and do some exploring with Esther!

What place I’m most excited to try

I’m excited to go to Amaya, which is an Indian restaurant in Buena Park. I’ve driven by it many times on the way to Knott’s Berry Farm and always thought to myself that it looks like a really fun place to go. Some of Esther’s and my coworkers recommended it as well, so I have some pretty high expectations for this place!

To see Esther’s thoughts about Frugal Foodie Friends and check out her blog, click here!

And now, here is our Frugal Foodie Friends bucket list!!! If you want to follow along, here’s our list on Yelp, too.

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  1. Elbows Mac and Cheese, Brea
  2. Les Amis, Fullerton
  3. Amaya, Buena Park
  4. Kettle Black, LA
  5. Pita Hot, Fullerton
  6. Phlight, Whittier
  7. Hidden House Coffee Roasters, Santa Ana
  8. Cauldron, Santa Ana
  9. Federal Bar, Long Beach
  10. Gjelina Brunch, Venice
  11. Brussel’s Bistro, Laguna
  12. Slapfish, Brea
  13. Playground, Santa Ana
  14. Mama D’s, Newport Beach
  15. Lock and Key Social Drinkery, Downey
  16. Thai Basil, Fullerton
  17. Mendacino Farms, Brea
  18. Milk and Honey, Costa Mesa
  19. Sqirl, LA
  20. Snooze AM, Tustin
  21. Gabbi’s Mexican Kitchen, Orange
  22. Union Market, Tustin
  23. Wurstkucke/Pie Hole/Amazebowls, LA
  24. Fourth Street Market, Santa Ana
  25. El Mercado, Santa Ana

I hope you guys are as excited as I am! We’ll be releasing our first review on Thursday, so be sure to check back then! Have a great week!

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MC 11.2: Swatches and Succulents

Hi friends! My post this week truly is short and sweet, but I hope you enjoy it! I’ve had so much going on the past week that unfortunately I haven’t had much time for watercolor. But hopefully I can do more over Easter weekend!

This week, I tried one of Jess Park’s Strathmore classes – Week 2: Watercolor Basics with Jess Park. In these classes, she goes from basic watercolor techniques to actual paintings. I thought it would be good to play around with my brushes and learn what they can do, so I watched her 30 minute video. It even comes with these wonderful instructions outlining what she does in the video! I really liked doing the variegated wash with 2-3 colors.

For my second painting, I wanted to do this cute little cactus I saw on Jay Lee’s youtube channel last week – Easy Simple Cactus Painting for Beginners. Although at first I was annoyed that I couldn’t control the paint very well, I have come to appreciate this little painting in all its flaws. It was fun to see how the different shades blended together to create this unique cactus. It’s definitely a great video tutorial for beginners!

That’s all I have this week! Like I said, short and sweet. BUT there is going to be a special announcement early next week – make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss it! See you then!

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4/17 Friday Favorites

Hey friends, it’s another Friday Favorites! I’ve got some great new things lined up this month, so I hope you enjoy!


Yoga studio

I got this app a little over a month ago and I love it! It has 24 hours of ready-made HD video yoga classes you can do in your own home. And another great thing about this app is you can build your own classes with whatever poses you want! It has super calming background music and is so refreshing. I never spend money on iphone apps, but this $4 spend was more than worth it!


Fruit Infuser Water Bottle

Fun fact about me: I really don’t like drinking water. I’d much rather drink coffee. It just has no flavor! So to help myself drink more water (and to qualify for amazon’s free shipping), I ordered this fruit infuser water bottle that I’ve had my eye on for a while. While it was a little bigger than I expected, it fits a ton of fruit in it! My first water fruit combo was cantaloupe, cucumber and lemon – which sounds a little strange, but it was actually pretty good! And it was the only stuff I had in the fridge. I have to say, I have drunk a ton of water since I’ve gotten this water bottle. It makes the water so much more flavorful, even after I’ve filled it up for the third time. If you don’t like water like me or just want to make it taste more fun, try this water bottle!


Shelly Ray Blog

I had the pleasure of meeting Shelly through Haley Marie’s post Why I Chose My Major and she even interviewed me for her Table Talk series! I asked Shelly to give me a little more info on why she started her blog and how she came up with her topics. Check out her mini-interview!

I started Shelly Ray during my junior year at college, when I studied abroad in Seville, Spain for one semester. I wanted a way to document my experience for both myself and my friends and family who wanted to know what I was up to. I knew travel blogging was popular, and thought it would be a fun hobby. I managed to write at least one blog post every week during my semester in Spain, and you can read all of them in the Study Abroad section of my blog.

When I returned from Spain I knew I wanted to keep blogging, but it took me a while to figure out what I should write about, since I wasn’t traveling to different cities and countries every week anymore. I finally decided I would just write about my life, while also giving advice along the way. I’ve always liked helping people, so I thought my blog would be a great outlet to talk about things that are important to me, and hopefully help someone who is going through something similar. So far I’ve written posts about positivity, handling stress, handling criticism, and more.

As I began blogging more I also found a few other topics I enjoyed writing about. I’ve always loved reading, so book reviews seemed like an obvious choice to add to my blog. More recently, I came up with the idea to start an interview series, where I talk to other bloggers and entrepreneurs. I love hearing people’s stories and learning more about how they got to where they are today, so this has been a lot of fun. You can check out my interview with Jess here!


Alexo Ballet Flat

If you can’t tell already, I love Kelly and Katie shoes. So when my much-loved cutout flats started falling apart and I had to admit myself it was no longer acceptable to wear them out of the house, I knew it was time to get some new Kelly and Katie’s. Thankfully, I found some adorable lasercut flats online at DSW and promptly ordered them! I love lasercut shoes and the pattern on these are so fun! The soles of these shoes are so comfy, and once the heel was broken in I found them to be great shoes. And they go with so many things!

Greek Lemon Chicken Soup

Although I planned on making this soup for a while, I happened to get sick the exact same night I was going to make this soup, so my sweet husband made it for me. Let me tell you, this was the perfect soup for a sickie! The lemon was great and the red pepper flakes added the perfect amount of spice to help clear you up. The cous cous and feta were nice and soft for a sore throat. And the recipe made lots of leftover soup to eat throughout the week. Whether you’re sick or not, I would definitely recommend this recipe!

Hope you enjoyed this month’s roundup! See you next Tuesday for my watercolor update!


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MC 11.1: First Strokes

Hey friends, hope you are having a great week! I can’t believe we are already a quarter of the way through 2017. It feels like New Year’s was last month. For those of you that missed my announcement, I’m doing watercolor this month! And like basically any new hobby I try to do, I realize quickly that it’s a lot harder than it looks.

For my supplies, I ordered:

After watching a few videos, I decided that it would be best to test the colors and try to figure out what colors they create when mixed. Just to show you how much of a newbie I am, I kept trying to type in “palette” to help me figure out how to set it up, when I should have been searching for mixing chart. Anyways, I decided I could probably figure out this part on my own at least, so I made a grid and decided to combine each and every color.

I made a few mistakes, namely not writing the colors before painting (see how it blended into white), outlining the grid with pen instead of pencil, smearing paint (oops) and losing track of which colors were next. Hence all the arrows all over my chart. Although it looks messy, it took me over an hour to do, so I didn’t want to redo it! This chart will just have to do.


Once I got the color chart, I decided to try out a variety of flowers. The tall roses are from Wonder Forest’s Watercolor Roses Tutorial. I also tried Jay Lee’s tulip video – I love his channel because he plays relaxing music while he paints and titles his videos with the expertise level you’re at. He also paints while holding his baby! I attempted to do Crafty Sue Lau’s watercolor rose tutorial, but it didn’t turn out the way I thought it would. I’m still learning my way around the brush pens! The blue flower was something of a trial of my pen, so just pretend that isn’t there 🙂


Lastly, I did this watercolor basic painting of flowers from Jay Lee – I really liked how it turned out for my first week of painting!


In case any of you are interesting in learning watercolor with me, here are a few of the resources I’ve checked out (many of which have been recommended to me by people who actually watercolor).

Online classes:


I hope you guys enjoyed my first watercolor post! I think I have a lot to learn this month, but I’m excited to see what I can do! See you on Friday for Friday Favorites!

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MC 10.4: Last Stand

Hey friends, it’s my last yoga update! I’m so glad I was able to do this, even though I had such a busy week. Check out my favorite poses below!

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Day 22: Full Body Awareness

Although this was a simple pose, it was a great ankle stretch and good for balance.

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Beginner Strength – Yoga Studio

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Intermediate Combination – Yoga Studio

As you can see, I love these side stretch poses!

2 break days because I was a busy girl this last weekend!

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Day 27: Flexible, Fearless, Fun Yoga

This pose was so relaxing yet a really good hip stretch.

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Day 30: Find What Feels Good

Ok ok I’m not going to pretend I balanced on my arms like this. BUT I did do a similar balancing pose with my head on the mat. It’s a lot harder than Adriene makes it look!

Overall, I had a great month doing yoga! It was such a nice relaxing practice that helped me re-center myself. And I think I became more flexible through it all. I definitely want to continue doing this a few times a month or so and I would highly recommend trying out 30 days of yoga with Adriene or getting the Yoga Studio app!

And for my next month, I’ll be doing…

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I’m so excited to do watercolor and maybe even incorporate some of my lettering skills!

P.S. Another new surprise will be coming to the blog in April, so keep an eye out!

See you next Tuesday!

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MC 10.3 Strength Conditioning

Hey friends! Hope you enjoyed your first day of Spring yesterday! It’s scheduled to rain here in California this week, but I’m hoping the sun will come back soon! I was a little sick this past week, so I’m not going to lie – it was a little hard for me to get up and do yoga. But I’m still glad I did it! It’s definitely getting a little more challenging and I feel like I’m getting a restful workout in. Check out my favorite poses from this last week below!

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Yoga Studio: Beginner Relaxation

This pose is literally called “one legged king pigeon with forward fold.” How in the world do they name these things?

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Day 16: Easy Breezy Beautiful Yoga

I’ve done this stretch several times this week, and it’s one of my favorites.

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Day 17: Happiness Boost Yoga

This one was really hard to balance but it was a good stretch!

I rested for 2 days – I finally had a free weekend to take advantage of!

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Day 20: Heart Practice

Although this pose looks simple, it reeeeeally stretches your hips!

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Day 21: Joyful Home Practice

I call this “holding a beach ball.”

If you’ve never done yoga before, Adriene’s 30 days of yoga series is a great way to start! I’m not sure I’ll be able to balance on my head by next week, but stay tuned to see how my last week of yoga is! See you next Tuesday!

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MC 10.2 Balancing Act

Hey friends, hope you are enjoying your week, even with daylight savings! I found out yesterday that March 13 is National Nap Day, which might be one of my new favorite holidays.

This last weekend, my sister visited for her birthday, and we spent the whole day at Disneyland so I didn’t get to practice as much yoga as I would’ve liked! BUT I did get over 33k steps – thanks fitbit for making me feel better about myself. Anyways, here are a few of my favorite yoga poses from this week. If you haven’t joined me in this challenge, it’s not too late, you can start any time!

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Day 8 – Yoga for Healing Meditation

This one is really good for your hips!

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Day 9 – Full Potential Detox Practice

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Day 10 – 10 min Sun Salutation Practice

Definitely not this flexible yet, but I’m working on it.

Break day AKA at the most magical place on earth.

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Day 11 – Shakti Yoga Practice

This was actually a fairly fast-paced one, but it was nice to be in a routine. I like that this pose is called Lizard 🙂

Skipped a day because I wasn’t feeling well.

Yesterday, I decided to do something a little different. I was inspired to do yoga this month after my friends Kelsey and Christina led our high school girls staff through one of Yoga Studio‘s classes, and it was so relaxing. I had gotten the app after our retreat, and love the variety of classes and that you can download it and take it wherever you go. I decided to be ambitious and do one of the intermediate balancing classes, which proved to be a bit over my head. But I really liked this One Handed Tiger pose – it was a great stretch!

That’s all for this week, I would love to know what your favorite yoga poses are! Catch my next update next Tuesday!

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MC 10.1 Basic Poses

Hey friends, happy Tuesday! In case you missed it, I’m doing yoga this month! My friend told me about 31 days of yoga revolution with Adriene on youtube, and I thought I would give it a shot! She has short 20-30 minute videos and is super easy to follow. Below are my favorite poses from each of the videos. I would love for you to join me in this challenge!

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Day 1 – Practice Ease

Started off with the good old downward dog!

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Day 2 – Stretch and Soothe

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Day 3 – Forget What You Know

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Day 4 – Yoga For Your Back

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Day 5 – Practice Rhythm

It was at this point that my friend and I were talking about the yoga video we did that morning and found out we were talking about completely different videos. I realized I was doing Adriene’s challenge from 2015, while he was doing her current 2017 version! Needless to say I felt really dumb (especially since I signed up for her daily newsletter with the links in it that I didn’t use).

I skipped Sunday – wanted to rest!

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Day 7 – Stability Practice

I have to admit, I think I like the 2015 series better so I might go back, but we’ll see! Starting off the day with yoga is so nice and relaxing. I really hope I get some good flexibility and tone this month doing yoga every day. I hope you guys decide to join me!

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