33 Last-Minute Halloween Costume Ideas!

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays because it’s the one night you can dress up as whatever you want to be. Whether you’re feeling extra sassy, whimsical, or brave, you can channel your new personality for the night. I came up with 33 last-minute Halloween costumes from clothing from my closet. With a few easy to find materials, I was able to transform my clothes into a fun costume! Here are a few of my favorites from the video:overalls_halloween_costumes_fashionbyallymagical-halloween-costume-ideas-fashionbyallyanimals-halloween-costume-ideas-fashionbyallycartoon-disney-halloween-costume-ideas-fashionbyally

Thank you for reading!

Hot San Francisco Restaurants & Cafes :: September 2016

Here’s a recap of what’s hot in the San Francisco food scene in September. I ventured out to different neighborhoods to research local flavors and hidden gems. These are the spots worth checking out to impress your #foodie friends.

Tartine Manufactory
Mission District
img_6725fullsizerender-16Tartine Manufactory is currently the MOST talked about cafe in the San Francisco Blogger world. It opened its doors in mid-August with many people extremely eager to try this new Californian cafe and bar. I would recommend arriving during odd hours from 3-5pm to avoid a wait (popular pastries may be sold out by then). I would recommend the buttery Liege waffle!

Bernal Star
Bernal Heights
best-sanfrancisco-restaurants-blog-fashionbyally7Tucked away in the Bernal Heights neighborhood is Bernal Star. The brunch menu is not only fresh but full of vibrant flavors and comfort foods. Skip the long wait at over-hyped brunch spots and try out this gem (you won’t regret it). Try out the Huevos Rancheros, Waffle topped with fried plantains and berries, and Ahi Tuna. Definitely don’t miss out on the mimosas or fresh squeezes juices.

Tēo Restaurant & Bar
best-sanfrancisco-restaurants-blog-fashionbyally9best-sanfrancisco-restaurants-blog-fashionbyally5To be completely honest, it’s a struggle to find authentic Chiu Chow food in San Francisco. Luckily, I don’t have to travel far to try this type of Chinese cuisine. I checked out the new SOMA restaurant with Toshiko from Itsnotheritsme.

The restaurant has a modern vibe, but don’t be fooled because the food is not Americanized Chinese food (my parents would approve of this spot). We loved the Pine & Chicken Soup, Oyster Omelet (reminds me of the street food in Taiwan), In-House Goose Meat (flavorful), and the Teo Stir Fried Rice Noodles (so silky). I can’t wait to go back!

Inner Sunset
best-sanfrancisco-restaurants-blog-fashionbyally3My friend Cristina once told me, she ate here every night for 2 months. Now I understand why! Nabe is a tiny Japanese hot pot restaurant in the Inner Sunset. I ordered the Shabu Shabu set that came with thinly sliced beef and an assortment of veggies (YUM). At the end of the meal, the server will make a rice congee out of the remaining broth in the pot. This is the perfect meal for a chilly San Francisco night.

Nob Hill
Photo Credit: Cristina Viseu
A new-American restaurant using modern and fresh ingredients in a casual environment. I attended a media dinner to try out the new Family-style dinner menu ($65 per person/ $35 with beverage pairing) before it launches next week. The highlights include: the Ocean Trout Crudo (so fresh), Crispy Octopus (I have this thing for tomatoes), and Bavette Steak (the perfect cut of beef with creamy green farro). You must try the Pear-Shiso cocktail, its tastes as good as it looks!

Marina/Cow Hollow
dsc01158dsc01119Photo Credit: Cristina Viseu
The Dorian is quite possibly the cutest happy hour spot in the Marina district. From the rustic book shelves to the leather seats, the Dorian is a cool hang out spot to catch up with friends. I enjoyed the deviled eggs, oysters, and truffle fries.

Boba Guys
Hayes Valley
Photo Credit: Sofala Ntweng-Knapton
Boba Guys is a trendy high quality milk tea spot in the Hayes Valley. This new location has a beautiful Scandinavian design. My go-to drink is the lychee rose milk tea. Bring your laptop or books because this is a great spot to hang out or catch up on work.

Photo Credit: Kevin Lessy
I celebrated Souvla’s new private label wines at the NoPa patio party. Souvla is a fine-casual Greek restaurant with the MOST delicious pork and lamb sandwiches. Treat yourself with their Frozen Greek Yogurt with honey syrup and baklava crumbles.

Thanks for reading! Which spot are you excited to try?

The Most Romantic Stay in Paris :: La Clef Louvre

Wandering the streets of Paris in a romantic ball gown, with a bunch of roses in hand, and wearing quite possibly the biggest grin on my face. Let me explain. I discovered the BEST time to shoot at the infamous Louvre without other spectators gawking or tourists walking into my oh so glamorous shot. This was all possible because the Louvre was just minutes from my residency. What a dream!

During my last 3 nights in Paris, I stayed at La Clef Louvre, a luxury boutique residency located in the cultural heart of the city.
8 rue Richelieu
1st Arr., 75001 Paris, France

_MG_1123What I’m Wearing:
Dress :: Boohoo
Heels :: Public Desire
Photo Credit: Cynthia Linh
_MG_9965At La Clef Louvre, I stayed in a Premier Suite on the 5th floor. I adored the contemporary color palette of the room with tones of grey, plums, and white. The fresh roses really pulled the room together. The king sized bed was extremely comfortable and cozy. At night, I was able to stay connected and work using the room WIFI.
The bathroom came with the best complementary skincare products from L’Occitane: lotions, soaps, essential oils, vanity kit, and even a tooth brush. On the hanger, I found a pair of soft slippers and a luxurious robe. I felt extremely relaxed.🙂
_MG_1328In the morning I enjoyed a complementary gourmet buffet breakfast in the beautiful lounge area. The residency is truly a beautiful work of art with fine tableware. Around the corner of the breakfast lounge is the gym! (You know it’s the place to be after eating your weight in pastries and bread in Paris). I appreciated the bottled water for my long adventures walking around Paris. _MG_1337_MG_1341_MG_1420On the second day, I decided to sleep in. I was able to call ahead of time and have breakfast delivered to my room, completed with fresh fruit from the local market and buttery pastries. Here on the balcony outside of my room, I enjoyed a delicious breakfast with a view. How divine!_MG_1356_MG_1424img_4223Palace Royale
This palace and garden is just 1 block away from the residency. It features Daniel Buren’s striped columns in courtyard. Here I’m wearing a custom pastel blue tulle skirt from Altana Danzhalova, with a stripe top, and straw hat.
img_4293The Louvre
The Louvre, one of the largest’s historical museums in the world and a historic monument of France. I would suggest going at 7am to photograph the Louvre! Since this is an extremely popular monument, it is usually packed with tourists. You will get the best undisturbed view and lighting for your photos in the morning.

Thank you to the La Clef Louvre for having me! I throughly enjoyed my stay and would highly recommend this romantic boutique residency to anyone staying in the area. Thanks for reading!

Highlights of the Week :: San Francisco Visual Diary

It’s been awhile since I’ve sat down and had a chance to catch up with you. Life has been a whirl wind of events, days spent filming YouTube videos, and nights exploring San Francisco. Here’s a recap on what’s hot in the San Francisco food and fashion scene.

Saturday, August 20

Brunch at Fiorella
Brunch with blogger babe Sarah from Sassyredlipstick at the most stylish restaurant in San Francisco, you might NOT have heard of! You must try the wood-fired pizzas, avocado toast, and the grapefruit mimosa!

Sunday, August 21
Partnership with Microsoft Surface
For the back to school season, I was interviewed by Microsoft Surface. In our collaboration video, I discussed the influence of technology on my life as a Fashion Blogger. Check out the video here.

Monday, August 22
KitTea Cat Cafe
Cuddle with a cute kittens while sipping on a soul warming cup of Japanese tea or fruit waffle. All the cats are rescued from the shelter are available for adoption.
Screen Shot 2016-08-27 at 9.40.28 AM
Cooking class at Sur La Table and Whole Foods
Kiss the chef! I explored the wonderful world of Alpine cheeses with Certified Cheese Professional Hazel-Rue Woodies. I’m pretty sure I fell in love with the Gruyere with it’s flavorful caramel and nutty notes. Then, we embarked on a cooking competition led by Chef Mia Chambers, incorporating the cheeses into 3 simple dishes. Stop by Whole Foods Market on September 13 for Cheese Night, sample cheeses and have all your cheese related questions answered!
FullSizeRender 10IMG_6036FullSizeRender 12

Tuesday, August 23
Filming with Chef Kathy Fang
As you may know, I’ve taken a behind the scenes role in producing Kathy’s YouTube videos. We’re exciting to move onto a bigger project that I can’t wait to share with you!

Wednesday, August 24
Cafe Reveille
Coffee date with my Mom at Cafe Reveille (her first time trying a latte).
Summer Soirée at Ampersand with Bare Snacks
I wore my Bohemian Morning Lavender dress to a blogger event at the cutest flower shop in San Francisco. Special thank you to Bare Snacks and Women and Whiskies for hosting the lovely gathering and feeding my obsession with Bare Snacks!

Thursday, August 25
Tamarind Hall
The mission of Tamarind Hall is to serve street-style Thai food in the comfort of the San Francisco, North Beach neighborhood. All of the dishes were packed with flavor, vibrant colors, textures, and a level of tender care you don’t find at a lot of Thai restaurants. Highlights include the Phuket-styled Crab Meat Khanom Jeen and the Yam Woon Sen salad. (I’m salivating thinking about these dishes).
Space NK Apothecary Store Opening in the Fillmore
Welcoming the most luxurious beauty store carrying cult products from all over the world. I recognized a few products that I saw in Europe and now it’s right in my neighborhood.
IMG_6239Photo Credit: Sophia LiuIMG_6229IMG_6231

Friday, August 26
Levis Store Opening in Emeryville
Get ready to customize your denim for the Fall! You know I’m all about DIYs and customizing clothing to match your personal style. I took Cristina out of the city to Emeryville to check out the new store launch and picked up a couple of pieces for an upcoming Fall Lookbook!
Galeto Brazilian Steak House
Galeto is an all-you-can-eat steakhouse with a full service salad bar (honestly, the BEST  salad bar I’ve ever seen). It is a unique and authentic Brazilian culinary experience located in Old Oakland. Be sure to make a reservation because the restaurant gets really busy on the weekends. For appetizers, we started with the pao-de-queijo, polenta, and fried bananas. Servers walked around with different cuts of fire-roasted meats.
_MG_0250_MG_0271_MG_0279Thank you for reading! Be sure to follow along on Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat @FashionbyAlly!

My Instagram Style :: FashionbyAlly

Let’s take a look at my favorite Instagram looks from August. It’s been pretty foggy here in San Francisco so I rounded up my favorite Summer to Fall transitional outfits.
Follow me on Instagram http://www.instagram.com/FashionbyAlly
Get cash back shopping online for all of these looks with Ebates. Sign up here.
Instagram-Style-Outfit-Blog-FashionbyAlly41Photo Credit: Daniel Fabia
Top :: Forever 21 (Similar)
Jeans :: Madewell
Sandals :: Public Desire (Similar)
Hat :: Forever 21
Instagram-Style-Outfit-Blog-FashionbyAlly42Photo Credit: Sofala Knapton
Top :: Forever 21 (Similar here and here)
Wine Jeans :: Zara (Similar)
Sandals :: Just Fab (Similar)
Purse :: Chloe
Hat :: Forever 21 (Similar)Instagram-Style-Outfit-Blog-FashionbyAlly39Photo Credit: Daniel Fabia
Top :: Boohoo (Similar)
Skirt :: Finders Keepers (Similar)
Heels :: Just Fab (Similar)
Instagram-Style-Outfit-Blog-FashionbyAlly40Photo Credit: Kelly Egan
Top :: Madewell
Jeans :: DSTLD
Sandals :: Nine West
2016-0812-Ally-Sophia-Liu-Photo-11Photo Credit: Sophia Liu
Top :: Black Swan
Shirt :: Madewell
Jeans: Gap
Boots :: Zooshoo (Similar)
Hat :: Boohoo
Purse :: Just Fab (Similar)
Purse :: Just Fab
Instagram-Style-Outfit-Blog-FashionbyAlly43Photo Credit :: Cristina Viseu
Top :: Forever 21
Bomber :: Zara
Jeans :: DSTLD (Similar)
Heels :: Madewell
Hat & Purse :: Boohoo

Check out my exciting video collaboration with Microsoft Surface!
Thanks you reading!
FTC: This is not a paid sponsored post.

DIY Healthy Breakfast and Lunch Recipes!

Ugh, we’re all sleep deprived these days! Why wake up early and make breakfast when you can sleep in for an extra 5 more minutes?! Well, I find that if I skip breakfast, I feel extremely slow and sluggish throughout the day. Worst of all, I end up over eating at lunch! Here’s 5 easy and healthy breakfast and lunch for school or work inspired by BuzzFeed and Pinterest! Enjoy!

DIY 1. Acai Bowl
An Instagram Story worthy breakfast!
IMG_9807– Combine in blender: 2 frozen Acai Superfood packets, 1/2 banana, 3-4 frozen strawberries, and 1/4 cup soy milk.
– Blend and top with figs, strawberries, blue berries, golden kiwi, chia seeds, and coconut flakes.

DIY 2. Easy Fruit Pastry
My easy way to upgrade any store bought pastry.
– Transform your store bought pastries with fresh fruit
– Add sliced strawberry and kiwi

DIY 3. Bell Pepper Salad
A flavorful side packed with Vitamin A and lots of fiber!
– Cut red and green bell peppers
– Marinade in 1/2 tbsp of sesame oil
– Shake and serve

DIY 4. Avocado Pesto “Pasta”
Vegetables noodles are an easy, fun, and delicious way to sneak extra fiber into your diet!
– Combine in blender: 1 cup fresh basil, 1/4 cup pine nuts, 1 ripe Hass Avocado, 1 tsp water, optional 1 tsp olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Makes about 2 cups of Avocado Pesto sauce.
Spiralize 2-3 cucumbers and cook to desired tenderness. (the Spiralizer I used: here)
– Cook vegetable noodles over high heat for 3-4 minutes and combine with sauce. Serve and enjoy right away to avoid oxidation of sauce because of avocado.

DIY 5. Tilapia n’ Mango Salsa
Make lunch colorful and festive with this light and flavorful tilapia dish!
– Marinade 3 ounces of Tilapia with salt and pepper for 10 minutes.
– Cook until golden brown about 5-8 minutes on medium heat.
– Mango Pico De Gallo: Combine 1/2 cup mango diced, 1 cup tomato, cilantro, onion, squeeze lemon juice, and salt + pepper to taste.
– Top fish with a side of avocado.

What are your thoughts on the whole Spiralized noodle trend? Thanks for reading!

Napa Valley Wine Country :: Travel Guide

One of the perks of living in San Francisco is the short drive to wine country. I took a road trip with Kelly (@Asideofsweet) in our cute Fiat for a girl’s get-away weekend in Napa Valley. Here’s a 48 hour travel guide to my favorite wineries and restaurants to grab a bite between each tasting, and where to stay in Napa. Please enjoy the photography by Kelly!

White House Inn

_KEH4684Chic, modern and sophisticated! The White House Inn has well-thought-out design elements throughout each room. Every inch of the space is photogenic and nothing short of a spectacle. I would highly recommend this boutique inn as a posh place to stay in Napa.
_KEH4599fabulous breakfast in bed with beautifully crafted small plates and baked goods. And they had a variety of healthy options too! Yes please!_KEH9994

Favorite Restaurants
1. Sunflower Caffe

_MG_0079_MG_0072Sunflower Caffe is a true Californian cafe that serves vibrant and colorful foods! A must-try if you’re in the area looking for a delicious lunch spot.

2. Crisp Bake Shop
_KEH2472_KEH2482Crisp Bake Shop has the most heavenly fresh-baked chocolate chip sea salt cookies you will ever taste. Period.

3. El Molino Central
IMG_3724I had a craving for tacos before I stumbled upon this cute Mexican restaurant. I enjoyed the outdoor seating and whimsical green wooden picnic tables. Try their tostadas, tacos, and basically anything with avocado.🙂
Photo credit: Ryan Chua

Favorite Wineries
Some of my favorite wineries include:

1. Domaine CarnerosIMG_3685Domaine Carneros is best known for their award-winning sparkling wines and Pinot Noir. See the menu here. I personally enjoyed the 2012 Brut Rosé among the three styles of sparkling wines. I would recommend this for anyone who enjoys bubbles! Daily tastings start at $30.

Patz & Hall
_KEH2377Patz & Hall is truly a winery that feels although you are at a home away from home. What elevates this winery is the sommelier, who will teach you about the wines (which is perfect for someone who is new to wine). In celebration of National Pinot Noir Day which is on August 18, we focused on Pinot Noir. I enjoyed the Chenoweth Ranch, a 2013 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir that is oaky, medium-body, and full of lush fruit flavors.

3. Viansa Sonoma
Screen Shot 2016-08-04 at 6.52.23 PMViansa Sonoma is a gorgeous winery where you can enjoy a private tasting of reserve wines while overlooking the vineyards. Accompanying the wines, is a charcuterie board with delicious cheeses. The private tastings cost $75 per person and can seat from 2-6 guests.

What are your favorite types of wines? Good luck and don’t hesitate to ask any questions! Follow on Instagram & Snapchat @FashionbyAlly for live updates.

Photography by AsideofSweet and Ryan Chua

Hotel La Lanterne :: Where to Stay in Paris

Oh the city of love, how I’ve always dreamed of visiting.. now I’m finally here! I took a late afternoon flight from London to Paris which I regret now. I realized that it would have been much cheaper and economical to take the Eurostar! Trains can go as cheap as $29 one way and I paid $140 for a one-way flight. Just be sure to book in advance!

During my first two nights, I stayed at Hôtel La Lanterne, a modern boutique hotel in Paris, France. It’s located in the Latin Quarters, minutes from the Notre-Dame Cathedral and a 10-minute car ride to the Louvre.
1-34Photo Credit: CynEats

FullSizeRender 6 Location:
Hôtel La Lanterne
12 Rue de la Montagne Sainte-Geneviève
75005 Paris, France

The hotel has modern lanterns and fashionable magenta chairs.
When I checked in, I was given a room key (how novel, many hotels have switched to key cards but having the key reminded me of home, great touch). I also borrowed an android phone with wi-fi, so I was able to roam around the city without fear of getting lost!
IMG_3910 I stayed in room 1 on the first floor with direct access to the indoor garden. I love the turquoise accented pillows and tall windows. The walls are decorated with monochromatic photographs by local artists. Very chic indeed.
IMG_3800The bathroom follows a similar monochromatic theme with charcoal tiles, white towels, and silver accents. I found a pair of robes and slippers hanging on the wall. The bathroom has a rainfall shower stocked with soap, shampoo, conditioner, and other toiletries. (darn forgot to take a picture!)
IMG_9846In the morning, I ventured downstairs to enjoy my breakfast. There was a buffet of eggs, hams, a lot of fresh baked goods (quintessential in Paris), jams, fresh fruit juices, and coffees.There was a sweet French woman taking breakfast orders. I opted to have my breakfast brought to my room because I couldn’t resist the idea of having breakfast in bed (ultimate luxury in my book). _MG_9932_MG_9914Breakfast with a view of the indoor garden which was quite peaceful and relaxing.
Screen Shot 2016-07-31 at 5.27.13 PMAfter breakfast, I ventured back downstairs to the indoor pool. The air was warm like a sauna. It was nice to have a few hours of relaxation after a long day of walking and getting lost in Paris. Boy did we walk a lot!
ally-2ally-11_MG_0073Overall, I really enjoyed my stay at Hôtel La Lanterne and would recommend this hotel! Note that the Charles de Gaulle Airport is about an hour away from the hotel (plan accordingly when you arrive or leave). I will have a follow up post for another hotel I was lucky enough to check out for the remainder of my stay.

What are you favorite places to visit in Paris? Leave me any questions or comments, and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can! Thanks for reading!
AllyChen_SignatureFTC: This post is made in collaboration with Hotel La Lanterne.

Farallon :: San Francisco Restaurants

San Francisco is best known as The City by the Bay with fresh seafood. I had the opportunity to check out Farallon, a snazzy underwater themed seafood restaurant with my #foodie friend Cristina! Honestly.. any reason to dress up for dinner is always a plus🙂
The restaurant is conveniently located a few blocks from Union Square in Downtown, San Francisco. When I think of Union Square, I immediately think of tourists and shopping malls, not exactly an innovative food scene (boy was I wrong)!
450 Post St.
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 956-6969
Farallon-FashionbyAlly-Blog-Post51Outfit Details
Top :: Zara (similar here)
Skirt :: Zara (similar here)
Octavia Sandal Heels :: Madewell
Leather Jacket :: Nordstrom
Farallon-FashionbyAlly-Blog-Post41Farallon-FashionbyAlly-Blog-Post40I caught a glimpse of the chefs carefully assemble platters of superrr fresh lobster, crab, and shrimp! Farallon-FashionbyAlly-Blog-Post42Right when you walk in, you can see the Jellyfish Bar on the right and whimsical jellyfish lamps hanging from the ceiling. You feel instantly transported into an underwater escape, quiet, dim lighting, and intimate setting.

Chill out with a friend during Happy Hour, 4:30pm to 6:00pm daily! They have $5 bar snacks, $7 seafood apps, and $7 cocktails. See the menu here.
Farallon-FashionbyAlly-Blog-Post39After we wandered around the restaurant and soaked in the decor, we were seated for dinner. To celebrate a recent successful work week, Cristina and I toasted with champagne and a wine pairing matched by Wine Director Luke Kenning (it’s always wine-o-clock)! We were excited to try the new revamped menu by Executive Chef Jason Ryczek. I sat close to the kitchen, and I enjoyed watching the chefs cook!Farallon-FashionbyAlly-Blog-Post43We started off with a palate cleanser (how pretty)!
Then for appetizers, we had the Tuna Tartare with salty crisps. I’m really a sucker for fresh fish, which you will see soon after reading this post.
DSC00357Squid ink fettucine, silky pasta with an explosion of flavor! One of the most unusual dishes, I’ve ever tried.*side note, this dish could have easily been an entrée. A bit on the heavy side for us.
Farallon-FashionbyAlly-Blog-Post44Farallon-FashionbyAlly-Blog-Post46Sablefish from Farallones with sweet herb aioli and cherry tomatoes. Can we just talk about how the plating for a sec? It’s artfully done and the fish was buttery!
FarallonAlways save room for dessert, especially at Farallon.
Marbled blueberry cake baked by Eleana Rosenthal. Moist and fluffy!Farallon-FashionbyAlly-Blog-Post49The Strawberry Rosemary Panna Cotta with pine nuts and white chocolate (it was almost too pretty to eat, almost..)
IMG_4929IMG_2969IMG_4930Special thanks to Farallon for inviting us in, I can’t wait to come back for happy hour (but do I really need an excuse to have a yummy cocktail under the cool jellyfish lamps?) The service was superb and the restaurant was definitely fancy (but not stuffy at all). Can’t wait to come back for dinner when I’m in the neighborhood. Cheers!
Photography by: Cristina Viseu

Back to School Supplies Haul + Giveaway!

Back to school season is here, yayyyy (said no one ever)! With summer coming to an end and a new school year beginning… I’m kick starting my #BacktoSchoolwithAlly YouTube Series with a quintessential ‘School Supplies Haul‘ video. Hopefully, this video will make you a little bit MORE excited and less stressed. 1 lucky winner will receive the school supplies shown in the video. Another giveaway will be coming soon!!

I invited my friend Cristina to react to these weird (but still super cute) school supplies I purchased from Ichibankan and Daiso, two very popular Asian stationary stores.

1. Must be Subscribed to my YouTube Channel.
2. Follow me on Instagram @FashionbyAlly.
3. Leave a comment telling me “when you start school and what grade you’re in”.
Please comment your Instagram username.

Giveaway ends August 9, 2016!
1 Winner will receive the school supplies shown in this video.
The winner will have 48 hours to respond! Open Internationally! Enter once a day!