Foodie Review: Master Inn Asian Fusion Restaurant in Valencia (Santa Clarita)

One of my favorite things to do is go out to lunch, and this week, I was treated to a yummy Asian Fusion lunch by the kind people of new Valencia restaurant, Master InnMaster Inn has been in the Santa Clarita Valley for just about four months, and you can tell, because the restaurant itself is spotless, very clean and modern. My friend Kelly joined me for lunch and also noted how nice and clean the restrooms are — such an awesome thing to see when we’re usually toting our germy toddlers and tiny babies. Master Inn has family recipes over 2 decades in the making, and for this Mother’s Day, Master Inn has curated a special menu to enjoy with Mom & the family! Kelly and I are both moms to wild toddlers and babies, so it was a welcome break for us to enjoy adult conversation with delicious food.

Open, Sesame! Delicious Honey Sesame Chicken

Veggie Deluxe at Master Inn

Now, let’s talk about the FOOD! First of all, you HAVE to get the Honey Sesame Chicken. YUM! It was dripping with honey flavor and a slight crunch of sesame seeds, with nice high quality chicken. The portions are huge, and each meal includes white rice, brown rice, or fried rice, an egg roll, and a choice of soup – egg corn, or borscht (a Russian beet soup! there’s that fusion part we speak of.) The egg roll had a perfect crunch, and the egg soup was delightfully sweet and thick. I’d love to have that next time I’m sick to soothe the throat. Now let’s talk prices. Master Inn caters to a wide range of budgets, which in particular, include students. Their student lunch menu is hands-down one of the best priced lunch menus in the SCV! At only $4.50, students can order a range of delicious items, such as; Kung Pao Chicken/Beef, Orange Chicken, Mongolian Beef and their Vegetable Deluxe. Sure, you can get a sandwich for under $5, but who wouldn’t take a deliciously cooked meal for under $5? Wish I had that when I was in college! If you’re not a student anymore, the lunch specials range from $7 to around $11, so it’s definitely super affordable.

Master Inn’s Lemon Chicken

Kelly had the lemon chicken, also perfectly seasoned and lightly tangy, and then we ordered the vegetable deluxe to share. I often order vegetarian when I’m out, and I was so impressed with the fresh vegetables and lightly garlicy sauce. The veggie deluxe was loaded with fresh mushrooms, crunchy water chestnuts and bok choy, carrots, baby corn, and perfectly cooked broccoli – so yummy! I topped off my meal with a Thai Iced Tea Boba, because mama needs caffeine. The service was also great — we were helped by two young men who were very polite and efficient. I’ll definitely go back to Master Inn, and you should check it out too. In fact, go in the next few days, because Master Inn is offering two wonderful Mother’s Day specials.

  • Buy One, Get One FREE from Mother’s Day lunch menu- No Beverages included and no coupons can be applied on this promotion
  • Get a $15 Gift Card (for future purchase) with your $50 dinner purchase on Mother’s Day.

So – check out Master Inn if you’re near Valencia! Now, I’ll just cross my fingers they come over to the Canyon Country side of Santa Clarita — but if not, I’ll gladly go back for lunch to Master Inn anytime!

PS: Look at this adorable monkey light fixture hanging in their restaurant. I want one!


Life update: As You Wish Pottery, BABIES, and ShiftCon!

I blinked — and suddenly my newborn is two months old, I’ve become acclimated to sleeping about 6 broken hours each night and it seems to be sunset right after the sun rises. Such is life with two kids, haha! I’ve been wanting to write this blog post for a solid eight weeks but at the end of the night there are bottles to wash, bills to pay, and Reddit posts to catch up on — so it’s been waiting impatiently in the corner of my brain for a night like tonight. Baby is currently bundled up in her Rock n’ Play (seriously, best invention ever. Get all your friends one (yep, that’s an affiliate link, so if you click it, I make a penny), Holly is dreaming of shoes and string cheese, and Matt is sleeping, preparing for his day on set. I’m wearing leopard leggings and just came back from Yoga. It was my first exercise class in a looooong time and let’s just say I have some work to do in terms of getting back in shape. But anywho, I digress. Let’s talk about two things I’ve had on my mind lately.

I was invited to a girl’s night out at As You Wish Pottery here in Valencia. I had just had Hadley six days earlier – and while people were surprised I was out, I had a great time taking a break from babying and nursing, and painted an adorable stemless wine glass. Several of my blog buddies were there too, and the class was lead by the awesome Marketing Director, Liz, who was a very talented artist (she used to create all the display pieces) and a patient and fun teacher.One thing I loved about the class was that it was structured yet there was still plenty of opportunity to be creative and make the piece my own. One trick we used was to trace the lettering with a sharpie on to the pot through tracing paper, and then filled it in with the glaze. I felt like a real “Artiste” (say it with a French accent to add some flair) and I loved getting to be creative. Liz kept telling us the theme of the night was whimsy – something I felt as I learned how to make puddle flowers, which is where you puddle the paint in one area to create an abstract, round flower shape. Isn’t it so cute?!

I’d definitely consider bringing girlfriends here for a girl’s night out, and I’m thinking this might be a fun Mother’s Day activity to take my mama to. (Fun fact: Mother’s day is on my birthday this year!) I also want to take Holly and let her just go wild on one of the cute cat statues or plates they have. There’s a HUGE variety of things to choose to decorate, with prices starting as low as $6. Be sure to check out As You Wish near you – here in Southern California, we have three locations: Valencia, Simi Valley, and Palmdale. If you happen to be in Arizona, you’re in luck because there are many more locations in Arizona, too! When Holly is older I may very well host a birthday party here for her – prices start at $175 for eight kids and they each get to paint one item. Thinking about it now, I think I actually might take my bestie this weekend so we can catch up and gab while also unleashing our inner artistes. Thank you so much to As You Wish for hosting me and my blogger friends!

One thing that’s quickly approaching is the end of my maternity leave (Waaah!). While I can admit I’m in some ways looking forward to getting back to work because it feels good to use my brain in ways other than mothering — (I’m doing a little freelance work here and there in product naming and it’s been refreshing to get creative with words again (yep! fun fact: I name toys!)), I am sad to leave my little Haddie. (But – our daycare is just a mile away and she’s with her sister Holly, so that will be great). However, one thing that will soften the blow is attending Shiftcon the last weekend in January! Shiftcon is a conference founded by my friend and business-savvy social media pal, Leah Segedie. Leah is a pioneer in the green wellness space, and her conference is a really cool medley of social media and tech workshops, health and wellness presentations, and an expo with hundreds of natural and organic care leaders. While I’m “light green” in that I’m not super educated in green stuff like non-GMO and chemtrails and stuff, I am interested of course in learning how to adapt my lifestyle and keep my children’s diet and environment as natural as possible.

Kia, me, and Leah rocking our Twitter skillz at Shiftcon 2016!

I’m attending Leah’s conference as a volunteer, and I am really looking forward to some of the workshops like “Exploring the Hidden World of Fragrance” and ” Old School Promotion–How to Get a Book Deal & Media Coverage.” One thing that’s really awesome about Shiftcon is all of the meals are non-GMO and organically sourced. I volunteered at Shiftcon last year in New Orleans, and had a blast leading their Twitter Party, taking photos, and helping organize the mannequin challenge in a gigantic expo hall. Can’t wait to have fun and learn in February! Interested in joining me? The conference is in Irvine from February 1-3, and there’s just a few passes left!

Ok – little miss just woke up for her nightly feed, so I better tend to my child. Hopefully I’ll be back soon and hope your 2018 is off to a swimmin’ start!



Six Things Sunday

I just ate a super delicious dinner of ribs, sweet potatoes, and broccoli, and I’m lying in my bed thinking, “Hmm, what do I want to do with my Sunday night?” And then I heard this sad little voice call from the corner of my mind, “Blog! On lalalyssa!”. So here I be, regaling you all with exciting tales from my life. Or, six things on my mind this Sunday. Whatever works, right?!

1) You should enter to win a yummy little prize package of pot de creme and cookies from San Francisco based company Petit Pot! I’m hosting this on my other blog and believe me when I tell you these desserts are luxe and well worth every single “my jeans are tight” moment.

2) This meme made me LOL for real, not just in my head. It’s pretty much how I felt on Friday after a super busy week.

3) I’m seeing Radiohead on Thursday night! I somehow got lucky and was able to buy tickets in the lottery they held, and I can’t wait! I’ve never seen them before, and my dear sister is graciously watching our kiddo. If you haven’t heard any of the new Radiohead, here’s one of my favorite new songs. (The video is a little bit sinister, but it’s really cool claymation.)

4) I was one of the 215,000 people who bought an Instant Pot Pressure Cooker on Amazon Prime Day, and I am in love. I was skeptical before I hit the buy button and wondered if it would collect dust in the corner of my cabinet like the ill-fated panini press or even my industrial sized food processor, but this thing is magic. I made Spaghetti Squash in 8 minutes start to finish, sweet potatoes tonight in 7, Rice in 12 minutes, a bolognese pasta in 30 minutes (including meat), and a pot roast in 40 minutes. I’ll write a blog post later on about the full wizardry of this appliance, because despite initial fears about blowing up the house, this appliance deserves a spot in kitchens across the country. Thanks to What I Run Into for helping me make the decision to invest!

5) I had the opportunity to watch From Fat to Finish Line, and I was so happy to see a documentary about a team of people from all across America who lost a ton of weight running the Ragnar Relay together. (Side note: two of my blog friends have run the Ragnar, and it looks so fun! Maybe one day if I find enjoyment in running I’d consider doing it… today is not that day 🙂 )  I think what I loved most is that the group had two people on their team who were still in their “during” phase of weight loss, and they spoke candidly about how it felt to be on a fitness journey surrounded by “afters”. I found their stories to all be really inspiring when many obesity documentaries can come off too dramatic and sinister. The fact is obesity is a serious problem many of us are facing (yours truly) and while there’s no denying the health risks or dire state of emergency we’re in, I like it when a documentary or film can add some levity along with the overall “This is why you need to change” message. I’d highly recommend From Fat to Finish Line, especially if you’re into running!

Here's one of my favorite people from the doc, Carly.

Here’s one of my favorite people from the doc, Carly.

6) It took me an embarrassingly long time to find this cat. See if you can do any better.

Find a cat from pics


That’s all, folks. Happy Monday to ya!

Four Favorites on Friday

Howdy, y’all! Happy Friday from sunny Los Angeles. And when I say sunny, boy do I mean sunny. It’s almost cruel to talk about when parts of the country are so cold they’re experiencing Frost Quakes. I’ve been soaking up the sun by eating my lunch outside, and I even found a great deal on a used wrought iron chaise lounge for my backyard. And yes, I will wear sunscreen because I’m whiter than Olaf. Here are a few of my favorite things from this week, for your reading pleasure.


1) Love him or hate him, you gotta admit that Obama has some slick social media moves. Today, he announced on social media that fourth graders and their families will get free admission to National Parks, in the Every Kid in a Park act. That’s frickin’ cool! If you don’t already follow the White House on Instagram, do it. It’s a fun (and I’m sure carefully cultivated) look at life behind the scenes in the Oval Office and beyond.

2) Lately I’ve been all about yogurt for breakfast because it fills me up and some brands taste like ice cream (I’m talkin’ about you, Chobani Key Lime and Coconut). This week I tried two new stand-outs in the yogurt world, imo: Stonyfield Organic Petite Creme in Vanilla Bean, and Elli Quark in Blueberry. The funny thing is both of these aren’t even yogurt: Stonyfield is ‘spoonable cheese’ and quark is also a type of cheese that is less tart than Greek yogurt. The Stonyfield was super rich and decadent, and the vanilla bean had nice specks of vanilla in every bite. The quark is slightly less rich but more light feeling, perfect for accompanying some fresh fruit. It’s also less calories (80) and more protein than Greek yogurt, with way less sugar. I’m looking forward to trying Quark in some of their fun flavors like Bananas Foster. Right now, Whole Foods has a coupon in their store circular for Stonyfield, and you can find Elli Quark at Gelson’s in SoCal. It was  a little bit of a wild goose chase to find the Elli and I only found two flavors, but I’m hoping to find more soon!

3) I’ll be celebrating my 30th birthday in NYC this year, and I’m pretttttty sure catching Pitch Perfect 2 on opening night will be in order. Rebel Wilson? In her words? Crushed it.

4) The Sims 4 for Mac has finally come out and it’s only $39.99 right now. Well, there goes my free time. I’ve been waiting for this for years. Fun fact: when Sims City first came out, I was addicted to it and built a bustling metropolis that I named Elma after the city in the movie the Big Green. My dad had to reformat our computer, and Elma’s existence was wiped clean. The world’s smallest violin is playing for Elma. Maybe now in Sims 4, I can rebuild! (PS: Love that the Sims now have tattoos and different body types and wrinkles! Yay!)

Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 11.29.56 PM

That’s all I got — hope you’re having a fabulous Friday.


Day by Day and Hour by Hour

“Just take it day by day.” We hear this phrase all the time as adults, and it applies to so many situations; stress, change, grief, relationships, medical problems, fitness, health, eating… It’s a helpful term, in some ways, because it reminds us that really, we don’t have control over everything, and sometimes we need to just wait until the next day to tackle a problem (or discover it wasn’t really a problem, after all).

In the past few years as I’ve explored my eating habits, I’ve heard this phrase uttered from all sorts of wellness professionals — nutritionists, doctors, therapists, personal trainers, yogis, serial dieters, trusted friends. It’s good advice, really, it is — but it doesn’t work for me. The relationship I have with food is complex. Everyone has a complex relationship with food (except for maybe one person who I used to work with who said that he’d rather take a pill each day than have to eat. But I guess that IS a complex relationship with food, in its own way, right?). Complex doesn’t necessarily mean conflicted, but most of us celebrate birthdays with cake and Fridays with bagels or doughnuts. And that’s exactly the type of thing that make foods complex; it’s not only a way to sustain your body — it’s a celebration, a reward, a fuel, a nourishment, a punishment, a ceremony, a rite. See what I’m saying?

hour by hour day by day new lalalyssa blog graphic double chin diary pancakes

Why doesn’t “Take it day by day” work for me in relationship to food? Because I can’t take it day by day. I have to take it hour by hour. I need more minutia, more detail, more irritating, annoying fastidious thought to the act of eating and the difference between satiating hunger and negotiating an emotion. I don’t think I’m alone here. A lot of my friends who have successfully lost weight or are losing weight also live on an hour by hour basis. I see it in the neatly arranged stacks of Tupperware filled with chicken breasts and brown rice, the shopping lists of Greek yogurt and baby carrots, the hidden baggie of pistachios and Diet Coke at the theatre.

I felt this frustration of having to live hour by hour with my diet tonight. I had planned on grilling up a turkey burger, baking sweet potato fries, and steaming broccoli. However, I got a random burst of motivation to clean, and I ended up reorganizing our silverware drawer, junk drawer, and two other drawers in the kitchen. It felt awesome to finish up a project I’ve been putting off for months, but at the end of it, I was tired and felt too lazy to cook. The husband came home and we decided to go out, him suggesting Vietnamese or Ramen, two things I’ve been craving the past month. The irritation of living hour by hour crept in when I weighed those cravings against my current eating plan (low carb, heavy veggie, moderate fat). Both of the dishes I like at Vietnamese and Ramen are very heavy with noodles; delicious, delicious noodles that are made purely of starch; the very stuff I’m trying to avoid. We ended up going to a Greek restaurant instead, where I had a delightful and satiating salad topped with feta cheese and cucumbers and parsley and chicken. To me, that was a clear example of not being able to live day by day when it comes to diet: I need to be thinking about my food choices and diet more actively, more often, and more frequently, because a day doesn’t usually go exactly as planned. Hopefully one day, it will become intuitive — less of a process, more of a natural inclination.

What does it feel like to not make choices about food on an hour by hour basis? What does it feel like to not plan, to not wonder, to not worry? I don’t know if anybody actually lives in that care-free state of mind when it comes to food, because I’m sure that even people who don’t have weight issues have some lingering thoughts about nutrition and wellness as it relates to food. We all know the difference between quinoa and Cap’n Crunch.

So, dieters of the world, don’t take it day by day if you can’t. Take it hour by hour. Let the overtime or the burst of cleaning or the mold on the bread or the laziness guide you, but not derail you. This very act of needing to be so finely-tuned when it comes to food choices is annoying, but I have to remember that nobody ever achieves their wildest dreams by staying in their comfort zone. As long as I demonstrate instead of anticipate, I can make peace with food; day by day, hour by hour.