Cocola | Santana Row – San Jose, CA [Best Coffee Spot in San Jose]

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Cocola is my favorite coffee shop and bakery to go to in the South Bay! On the weekdays, I love coming here because it is quiet enough to study from. In the evenings and weekends, I love coming here to people watch and for the lively vibe. I am currently typing this review as I sit inside Cocola at their beautiful marble tables.

There are so many drinks that I recommend from Cocola. On a hot day, my go to is the iced Chai. It is not overly spiced but not underdone. They do a wonderful job with the chai. On a cold day, I recommend anything from a chai latte to a hot tea. Since the coffee shop is open so late, I recommend drinking their decaf teas in the evening so you are not up all night.

My favorite thing to eat from Cocola is Tomato, Mozzarella, and Basil sandwich. The sandwich is served on a crispy but soft little baguette and is drizzled with vinegar. The side salad along with the sandwich is enough to fill you up for lunch.

For dessert, you can honestly eat anything here and be happy. The macarons are delicious, the tarts are mind numbing, and the cakes are fluffy. Your sweet tooth will be satisfied when you get dessert here.

Cocola can get extremely busy at times which can irritate a person like me. Finding the right time to go is key to your experience. There have been so many stressful school nights that I have gotten a decaf tea and walked around a deserted Santana Row to clear my mind. This place has been my savior during my 1L year at law school. So many of my friends and classmates rave about Cocola. I have never heard a bad thing about the coffee shop and bakery other than “I wish I was capable of eating all of these desserts and not getting fat”.

Cocola is bae.

Tacolicious | Santana Row – San Jose, CA

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This taco place is a rather new addition to Santana Row. So many of my friends have raved about the tacos here so I decided to give it a shot. While I was disappointed at first, I definitely ended the dinner on a good note.

As a lover of Mexican food, I was sad to see that the vegetarian options for tacos included asparagus and mushroom. Is this normal for a taco? Not in my experience. The tacos at Tacolicious suddenly became a hard no for me. Since I only eat halal meat, my limited food pallet was thrown off with the confusingly off vegetarian options.

Instead of tacos, I opted for the empanadas from the appetizer menu. First, I was irritated that I was not eating tacos at a restaurant that had ‘taco’ in the name and second, I was lucky I had just finished Ramadan and did not have a normal appetite.

The empanadas were delicious. They were stuffed with chard, sweet peppers, goat cheese, and covered in tomatillo salsa. My friends each had a meat filled taco that they were clearly satisfied with. Though I was salty that I didn’t eat the tacos, I’m glad that they at least would. Service was normal and nothing above the norm for a restaurant that was not busy.

I would not go again only because their vegetarian menu was depressing and odd to see. For those who are not vegetarian, I would recommend coming since all my meat-eating friends rave about the tacos. I cannot speak per se what they love exactly but my friends are at Tacolicious at least twice a month to eat.

Smitten | Santana Row – San Jose, CA [Cute Ice Cream Spot in San Jose]

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This cute ice cream shop is tucked behind the main row of shops at Santana Row and in its own little courtyard. The reason why I love this ice cream spot so much comes down to location, uniqueness, and flavor.

The location is perfect since its located in Santana Row. Not only is there ample parking, but the vibe is perfect for girls night, family outings, and dates. The ice cream shop is located outside so it forces you to enjoy the summer weather after you have been cooped up al day.

Smitten isn’t a normal ice cream shop. It is unique because the cold treats are made with liquid nitrogen. A technique that is not traditional and quite new. The glass panes around the shop give a chance for people to watch as the ice cream is made using this new technique. Not only does it look like a science experiment but you can taste the quality in the ice cream.

The flavors at Smitten are wonderful, my favorite being Earl Grey. Unlike many traditional ice cream shops, Smitten offers 3-4 ice cream flavors and a limited amount of toppings. For some this can be restrictive however, for someone who has trouble deciding what they want, this is perfect. My most recent trip to Smitten involved Early Grey ice-cream in a waffle cone with caramel sauce drizzled on top (pictured).

I would recommend Smitten to anyone who is craving a sweet treat but doesn’t want to go the normal route of choosing between 24923 flavors of ice cream and toppings from a shop in a run down strip mall. As a person who loves ice cream, I would recommend Smitten on a summer day and on a cold winter evening (yes, I love ice cream that much).

I Tried on an Engagement Ring for ‘Fun’  & Kinda Completely Regret It

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I’m a hopeless romantic and the worst thing I could have done as a single cat lady was try on an engagement ring. It all started when my best friend and I took a trip to Cartier to discuss what she would like in the event of an engagement. She was listing out everything I needed to tell her significant other and I took the appropriate notes to make sure he knew what to get.

As we were looking at the gorgeous, sparkling rings, the sales woman Maria approached us. She already knew my best friend and her boyfriend since they are regulars at the boutique. After a quick introduction, we got back to the engagement rings. During the course of our conversation with Maria, I say on the side “oh, that’s a pretty one” while pointing to a simple round cut diamond on a gold band. It was nothing that I would have ever liked or wanted as my own engagement ring, but it was beautiful. Maria took the ring out and my best friend started asking questions about the cut, clarity, cost, and carats of this ring. Maria looked at me and asked if I wanted to try it on. To which I replied, “no, no, I couldn’t! I mean I’m not even looking for a ring! I’m single, no no.”

My best friend nudges me on and mentions that it couldn’t hurt.

Little did we know.

I took off the rings I wear every day. For once, my hand was bare.

I picked up the beautiful ring and slipped it onto my ring finger. It was the perfect fit – like they knew I would be trying it on today.

Once the ring was on, I didn’t want to take it off. I flicked my wrist in and out of the light, held my hand in the air, looked at it from afar, looked at it up close… It was magical.

It wasn’t magical because it was Cartier, though, that did add to the dazzle of the magic. It was magical because the ring symbolizes so much to me. The past three years have been a rollercoaster of husband searches. Yes, I was (tbh I don’t know anymore) on the hunt for a husband. I grew tired of the notion that people date for the sake of dating. There was no build up or end goal and I really hated that. I needed to find someone who wanted the same end goal or was willing to work toward something similar. The past three years have been constant strike outs of potentials.

The ring represents so much to me.

I regret trying the ring on because it reminded me of many things I don’t have, yearn for, and looked for.

Yet, I don’t regret trying the ring on because it humbled me.

I’m a princess, I could never hide that fact. The ring was “smaller” and less elaborate than I had ever wanted. Yet, wearing this simple ring humbled me. It showed me that no matter what I have on my finger, whether it’s a ring pop or a diamond the size of China, it would give me the same feeling. It would symbolize everything I wanted and hoped for. And when it comes down to it, that feeling is what’s most important.

So here I am, the single cat lady who tried on an engagement ring and kinda sorta regrets it.

Things Won’t Go to Plan and It’s Ok

I’m an A-type, planning, to-do list writing woman. On my 20th birthday, I came up with a ten-year plan. The plan would dictate my life from when I would finish college, start law school, get married, and have kids. Not only did I create the plan to ensure a sense of control in my life, it was there to guide me from year to year and life event to life event.

Today I’m 24, things won’t be going according to plan and for once, I am okay with that.

Here is the breakdown of what my plan was supposed to be and how it went:

  • At 20, I would graduate university one year early. ☑
  • At 22, I would apply to law school. ☑
  • At 23, I would start law school. ☑
  • At 24, I would be engaged. ⍰
  • At 25, I would be married. ⍰
  • At 26, I would be graduating law school and taking the bar. ⍰
  • At 28, I would start a family. ⍰

Do I sound crazy yet?

Keep in mind, I wouldn’t stick to the plan exactly, but it was a good way to guide where I was going in life.

Was I behind?

Was I ahead?

It didn’t matter.

At least I knew where I was in my life plan.

Here’s the thing – I’m 24 and nowhere near to getting engaged, married, or having kids. It’s not that I don’t want to be at that place, it’s just that certain things haven’t happened for me to be at there. A year or two ago, this would have driven me crazy. My close friends tried to reason with me and they were completely right – things will happen when they are supposed to happen. While it is wonderful that I know what I want in life, I cannot control things like I attempted to.

Turning 24 has been bittersweet for me. I acknowledge my accomplishments thus far – I graduated university a year early, worked at a top law firm for two years, started attending a law school that is ranked top 10 for IP, and didn’t get cut from law school. This all due to the support, encouragement, love, and solace from my phenomenal family and friends along with blood, sweat, and many tears on my part.

For someone who is A-type, plans to the minute, and makes to-do lists for everything, it has been hard to let go of my plan. The more I held onto it, the more upset I got. It wasn’t until I completely stopped focussing on when I wanted things to happen that I was truly happy.

Some days, it gets to me that there is a possibility that I’ll get married after 30 (I want to get married on the younger side, but that’s for another blog post) but that’s ok. Reaffirmation with my faith has taught me that it’s ok. God has a plan, not me. Things will happen when they are meant to happen. Until then, I will live life to its fullest and enjoy all the cake I get to eat today.

Things won’t go to plan and it’s ok.

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