Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Daiei daisuki!

Other than Daiso, Daiei is the store to hit for discount household items. They're not so big on furniture, but they've got everything else that I couldn't find at Daiso or Ikea, and at much better prices than Ikea too (nothing beats Daiso prices so far ^.^) ! It is also a few blocks down from the West Entrance of the Yokohama Station, right next door to Don Quixote, in fact.

I think I like Daiei much much much better than Ikea. For one, it doesn't involve this massive maze-like display floor that just drains energy out of you. Daiei is just like any other department store, minus the department store prices. The ground floor is a supermarket, then each of the several floors up is departmentalized for clothing, shoes, household items. They even have a book store that spans 2 floors, to which hubby made a bee line (for me it's cosmetics, for him it's books LOL). But check this, of those 2 floors, one is for general books and the other is almost entirely dedicated to manga!!! Holy crap I've never seen so many manga in my life! It was row after row after dizzying row of manga. If I were a better otaku I probably would have camp out on that floor for a while. Make that a looooooong while.

With all that said, the major major selling point for us is that Daiei offers next-morning home delivery for just another 330yen per purchase, regardless of weight. You don't want to carry home those 3 heavy book cabinets you just bought? Pay an extra 330yen and you can have them delivered right to your door the very next morning! Compare that with the 980yen Ikea charges for packages less than 20kg, 1,980yen for up to 30 kg, and 2,980yen for heavier things, and they took a few days too! Beat that, Ikea!

Because of that nifty delivery service, within the past week hubby and I have paid the store some 6-7 visits :D The store clerks are probably thinking we're obsessive compulsive.

Botejyu versus Yacchin's = Epic Fail!

Had okonomiyaki (Japanese pancakes with various meat, seafood, and vegetable toppings inside) at Botejyu on the first floor of the Sotetsu Joinus inside the Yokohama Station.

I ordered the Osaka-style "Modern-yaki"


Hubby ordered the pork Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki

This is the ridiculous grid that was the ordering sheet. Mind you, the young waitresses took orders from customers by filling out this massive puzzle. Nuts!

Although Botejyu was good, I wasn't too impressed. For now, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt as they are the first okonomiyaki restaurant we've eaten at so far since our arrival to Tokyo Friday night, plus the location we ate at had a limited menu.

I know I sound like an okonomi snob, but you would become one too if you had spent a year eating at Yacchin's like me. Yacchin's is an itty bitty, hole-in-the-wall place tucked away in a quiet corner of Takaoka, Toyama. And as it stands, I am not confident there will be an okonomi-ya out there that serves better Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki than they do. The husband-wife owner team both speak decent English and take annual vacations in NYC, so naturally Yacchin's becomes a beloved local JET haunt. But that absolutely does not take away from the fact that they serve ass-kicking, spatula-licking, f*ckin' delicious okonomiyaki.
So if you are ever passing by Takaoka and have a couple of hours to spend, find Yacchin's and grab a bite. You won't regret it.

As my teenage brother would probably say, Botejyu VS. Yacchin's = Epic Fail!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Don Quixote

No, not the novel, the store a few blocks from the West Entrance of the gigantic Yokohama Station.

Entering the place, passing 1 row and smack dab to our right was this whole shelf displaying "colorful" intimates for men. Next to them was a column hanging big cushy pillows in the "fun" *cough* shapes of bananas and, more explicitly, ladies' crotch shot covered in black panties. Note the red g-string with the character "kane" (gold). Above it is a yellow one with, if you look closely, a feminine hand cupping the "precious." To the left of "kane" is a black g-string with the character "ai" (love). The sight was too good to pass up so I made hubby take this picture, much to his protest. I would probably draw too much unwanted attention if I were to take the photo myself and hubby can get away with some things I can't in this country. Didn't I tell you I'm immature? *giggles*

If we didn't know better, we might have thought we had mistakenly walked into an adult toy store. Not so. Don Quixote is actually a well known multi-floor discount store, though I must say with such first impressions, it might be better suited with the name Don Juan instead.

After browsing around, we bought our set of Japanese futon there for a reasonable 10,000yen ($120). Ahh...finally, a bed! Lugging the big futon home on foot, we both took a shower and subsequently passed out cold.

Yoshinoya

Yoshinoya's motto of "tasty, low priced, and quick" is dead on. Holy cow it's good! And super cheap too!!! Apparently the fast food chain has gone international and there are hundreds of locations in California with another handful scattered else where (1 in NYC!), though I can't vouch for those in state sides :P

I ordered my gyudon (beef bowl - beef stir fried with onions, though not as greasy as it sounds) with a side of a soft boiled egg, kimchee, and pickled cabbage.

Hubby ordered his beef bowl in a set with cole slaw, miso soup, and a side of kimchee.

Yes, we love kimchee and yes, we subsequently inhaled our dinner. It was truly delicious and we are now on the hunt for one closer to our apartment :)

Busy Monday

We met our landlady for the first time, and after meeting her sister who speaks French and drives a BWM station wagon, we expected our landlady to be one of the swanky and fashionable Japanese ladies that crowd the street. Well, she turns out to be quite different.

She showed up at our door on foot, in khaki colored trousers with cut-out at the hem, a matching color blouse, long black gloves that goes almost to her armpits (Asian women, in general, are deathly afraid of tanning in the sun), black sneakers, a wide brim straw hat, and a brown backpack. In fact, she reminds me so much of a Japanese teacher with whom I used to teach during my JET days, very friendly and personable, outgoing, speaks quickly, and prone to outbursts of laughter. She says she was born right on the site where the apartment complex is standing as it used to be her parents' home. She grew up here in Yokohama and recently moved to Hokkaido because she likes the slow and relaxing life in the country side much better (and the weather is much cooler there). For a hobby, she does organic farming, canoe-making (yes, from scratch via carpentry - she's got pictures to prove it!!!), and climbs the tree house that she built, all of which are in Hokkaido. Add in a real estate business in Yokohama and traveling frequently between the 2 locations, she sounds nothing short of a superwoman, doesn't she?

After presenting our omiyage to our landlady (in Japan, it is customary to present a gift to put yourself in good grace of the people you meet, especially in the case of an ongoing and reciprocal professional relationship), she took us to the city ward to apply for our alien registration. The city ward gave us a temporary issue so that we can go on to get a bank account and other necessities that require alien registration info. Then our wonderfully helpful landlady took us to the bank to open a bank account, whereupon we learned we couldn't open a bank account without a phone number. We promptly returned to Yodobashi Camera to buy a phone.

This generic little phone looks innocent enough, but it set me back a humble 9,980yen (~ 120usd). Being one of the cheaper if not cheapest models (generic, like I said!), I was shocked to learn it actually retails for 23,515yen (~ 280usd)! The only reason why I got it for so cheap is that I had signed a 2 years contract with a "deluxe" plan with all the extra toppings possible (all of which I can cancel later by logging into my account online - phew!).

When I was in Japan last they still had those nifty promotions where you sign a 2 years contract and get a free phone like in the states, and upon inquiring what had changed I was told cellular network providers did away with the free phone promotions 2 years ago. Nowadays, a phone in Japan can cost upwards of 70,000yen (~850usd with the current rates) and I'm not even talking about an iPhone or Blackberry! Instead, to make up for the huge upfront phone cost, the monthly plans are much cheaper and basic plan with no extra options can cost as little as 980yen (~11usd) a month. This basic plan includes free texting within network, family plan subscribers talk for free 24/7, and same network talk for free between certain hours. So if you do the math, comparing getting a free phone and paying $60-70/month for 2 years with paying $280 for a phone and then $11/month for 2 years, you will actually end up saving a whole lot of money with the latter! I guess that was a good change after all.

At this point our landlady had to run to attend to her other matters so we saw her off with a deep bow expressing our gratefulness to her help. No really, we were very fortunate she was so willing to go out of her way to help us as most other landlords are more "hands-off." We returned by ourselves to the bank to set up a bank account. Hooray!!!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Yakitori Club

On the 1st floor of the same Cubic Plaza in Shin-Yokohama Station.

Hubby and I ordered several different things, all smaller dishes of course but we left the place feeling stuffed.

The triangular things are onigiri (rice balls with a dollop of stuffing in the middle, usually fish, roe, etc.).

The colorful items in the bowl are Japanese pickled vegetables.

Various yakitori items: chicken wings (left), white meat with leek (middle), and dark meat.

Japanese style fried chicken, eaten with a dollop of mayonnaise and a slice of lemon.

Soba and Udon for lunch

Had soba (buck wheat noodles) and udon (wheat noodles) at Nagasaka Sarasina (talk about a tongue-twisting, memory-loss inducing name) on the 9th floor of the Cubic Plaza in Shin-Yokohama Station.

Hubby ordered a soba set with tempura (shrimp, slice of eggplant, and slice of jalapeno pepper) and canned fruits and jelly desserts. He loved it.



I'm not too keen on soba and favor udon more, so I ordered a chikara (stamina?) udon that has half a boiled egg, a ball of pork dumpling, and 3 pieces of mochi.

It was alright. The broth was nice and light, but I'm more used to a heartiness of the nabeyaki (clay pot) udon with a soft boiled egg and shrimp tempura on top.

Ikea on a Sunday afternoon...

...is utterly, completely packed. I am shocked how well Ikea is doing in Japan considering their furniture is fun to look at but, well, leaves a lot to be desired in terms of quality. Yes, it's discount furniture, but for discount furniture it's quite expensive still!

Hubby and I went to the Kohoku location nearest to us and spent 4+ hours being herded around the massive maze of the second floor furniture display. Thankfully, we made out alive (phew!) and with only a few things, among which are 4 large Malla boxes and 2 Nordby canvas drawing cabinets. For the life of me I cannot find a picture of the Nordby on Ikea Japan's website, so I took a picture of the one in the corner of our bedroom instead. We carried the smaller items home and had the larger ones delivered right to our door for an extra $12 or so for under 20 kg.

Large Malla boxes
***Picture from Ikea Japan.

Nordby Canvas Drawing Cabinet

Like every other shopping center/department store in Japan, there's a cafeteria/food section inside Ikea too. On the 2nd floor, it was more of a self-serving buffet style, and there wasn't anything appetizing to us, so we snacked on some vegetable juices and ice creams, both of which were way too sweet for my taste. On the first floor, there's a section of food that sold soft serve ice cream and hot dogs. And I spotted this funny arrangement of condiments. Yes, you squeeze them like you would milking a cow. *giggles* I'm so immature ^.^

Anyway, if you are moving to Japan and are looking to furnish your empty apartment, I would say skip Ikea and go straight to Craigslist Japan as there are always Sayonara Sales, i.e. expats/foreign students leaving Japan and are looking to get rid of their furniture quickly. These Sayonara Sales are always dirt cheap, and occasionally the furniture are just given away free of charge! You're probably thinking tattered, ratty, falling apart things, but you'll be happy to know the vast majority of those furnitures are in very good shape with many less than 6 months old!

So then why are those almost new furniture sold for dirt cheap or given for free?
A few reasons:
1. The owners are leaving Japan permanently and are in desperate need of getting rid of their things asap (and perhaps get some money back for them)!
2. Unlike shopping at a store where you can have your items delivered for a small price, you will have to pick up the furniture yourself. If you don't have a car, which you most likely won't since everyone's on foot or bike using public transportation, you will have to arrange for pick up service, which will be more costly. Even if you're game to hand carry furniture onto the subway trains, you can only do so with smaller items. Imagine dragging a sofa onto the train. Not going to happen.
3. Garbage disposal system in Japan is a bit complicated (more on that later), and you cannot just put your furniture out onto the street with a "HELP YOURSELF" sign and hope they'll disappear like in NYC. Nope. Doesn't work that way.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Denny's for dinner

I think in all my life, I've been to Denny's only once during college and decided it was yucky. Then I was told that Denny's in Japan served better food, although I never tried it during my JET stay.

Well, there's a first for everything, and being starving and delirious helped me dragged hubby to a nearby Japanese Denny's for dinner. Again there are no pictures, but the pictures from Denny's website are pretty close to what the dishes actually look like.

I ordered:
- Chinese noodles (whatever, I felt like ramen, and the tiny ramen shop we walked by was completely full!) with a mini pork fried rice on the side.

- French onion soup: this one was heading in the right direction, but unfortunately lacked some flavor and was a bit on the bland side.

- Coffee jelly in milk drink (on the right): this was so good I swallowed the entire thing in a matter of seconds. Hubby wasn't too keen on the coffee jelly. He said the texture reminded him of slugs. Umm...as if slug tasted that good...

- Fresh peach and sorbet dessert: this one was the highlight of our meal with hubby's stamp of approval. In fact, he ate most of it! It had fresh cut white peach chunks with a scoop each of peach and kiwi sorbet in a very light jelly-like syrup with milk jelly. Yum!!!

Hubby ordered just a plate of spaghetti in meat sauce, which resulted in the waitress's oddly awkward smiles at me. The stereo typical expectation here is that women are supposed to eat much, much, MUCH less than men. Screw that.
***Pictures from Denny's Japan.

In conclusion, perhaps I'll go to a real ramen shop next time, but I'd come back to Denny's for that fresh peach dessert, if they still serve it.

I love za Daiso!

If you are furnishing your Japanese apartment from scratch, I would really recommend visiting a local Daiso, a popular 100-yen chain ($1 store, although with the current exchange rate, it's more like $1.20 store).

Of course, there are items with quality reflecting their low prices, but for the most part, you can get almost all household items (with exception to larger furniture, electronics and appliances) with very decent quality there. Hell, I would even say same quality as any other Walmart/Target item as they are all made in China anyway! I have read that their eye shadows are super nice, but I didn't look. Serious restraint there, mind you. We ended up with 2 bags full of ceramic plates, bowls, chopsticks, forks, spoons, bamboo cooking utensils, laundry baskets, plastic trays and organizers, etc.

Our apartment is slooooooooowly taking shape :D

Kai is the new [insert trendy name]?

Yes, a random mumbling, and by no means a critique.

Just that I think hubby and I have spotted a naming trend. We have now met several Eurasian boys, aged from toddler to adolescent, all of whom share the name Kai. A bigger conincidink is that they all have Caucasian mothers and Asian fathers. Interesting.

Yodobashi Yokohama

Yodobashi Camera is a multiple floor electronic chain store, each floor specializes in a type of electronic (personal computers, cameras, cell phones, household appliances, etc.). Our closest store is the Yodobashi Yokohama, in front of the Yokohama Station. Man oh man it's huge and the range of selection on each floor is just mind numbing!

I'm still kicking myself for forgetting to bring my camera, but our landlady says she will take us back to Yodobashi on Monday to look for a cell phone, so I promise I'll take pictures then. In the mean time, I'm preparing myself mentally to again face the onslaught of choices we saw today. Imagine an entire floor dedicated to cell phones and accessories. Eeep. I think I might just go eenie meenie meinie moe on Monday before my head will explode.

Anyway, hubby and I were looking for electrical converters and, ironic enough, even with all the choices we couldn't find one for the life of us. They had a section full of converters on the 2nd floor, but all of them were for use when traveling outside of Japan and not the other way around. We even enlisted the help of a rep and after trying her very best, she could only give us a "May be this one will work." Fine, just that "may be" frying my brand new digital camera, Sonicare toothbrush, and T3 hair dryer (not the Overnight Dryer, which is why I'm looking for a converter) is just too big of a risk so we deferred to Amazon Japan instead for cheaper prices and free domestic shipping :P Thank you Amazon.

Lunch at Saikabo Takashimaya

Yes, the first meal we had in Japan was Korean :P Saikabo is located on the restaurant floor ofTakashimaya.

And it was decent. We were both hungry so it tasted much better than it actually was, although I must admit the kimchee was truly good even when we got, like, 4 bites of it. Too bad I forgot my camera so there are no pictures :( I went on Saikabo's website, but their pictures were tiny as you can see. Oh well...

We ordered a combination set of Bibimbap in a stone bowl with beef Bulgogi. The set came with a house salad and seaweed soup.
***Pictures from Saikabo.

Touchdown in Tokyo...

...Around 6-ish on Friday. The bus ride from Narita was nice and Yokohama is beautiful at night, especially the view of the downtown area, Minato Mirai and the Cosmo Clock ferris wheel. No pictures, unfortunately. I was so exhausted I slept most of the way home and only had enough energy to take a peek as we drove by.

Got home to a completely empty (and itty bitty) apartment about the size of our old apartment's living room, roughly 250 square feet (23 square meters). It's decent though, and hubby and I are determined to turn it into a cozy little place. Our landlady is super nice. When we arrived the she sent her sister (who speaks both French and English!) to pick us up from the bus terminal because she had last minute commitment and could not come meet us herself. In the mean time, Mrs. landlord arranged for NTT (Japan's virtual landline monopoly) to come wire our cable and thus we got internet up and running the very next morning ^.^ The last time I was in Japan, I went through a communication black out period of about 6 weeks and let me tell you, technological isolation in the age of the internet is just unbearable. So glad we didn't have to go through that again. Phew.

But boy oh boy 5 years made a difference in technological advancement. My internet provider back then was Yahoo Broadband Japan (Yahoo BB), and the speed was something crazy like 100Mps dowload and 15Mps upload. This time it's through NTT and the speed is now 200Mps download and 100Mps upload! Holy crap I can download everyone and their brothers in minutes!!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Asience Nature Smooth Shampoo

Bought a bottle of this Asience Nature Smooth Shampoo to use during my last month in the states. Even though the original Asience Shampoo & Conditioner were way too moisturizing for my hair (and way, way too perfumy for me), but I saw this new Nature Smooth line at the local Asian store and though, heck, I'd give it another try.

Forgot to take a picture prior to leaving for Japan, sorry!

***Picture from Kao.

This Nature Smooth shampoo wasn't so bad. It was alright, didn't make my hair as smooth as Super Mild, but it was much better than the original, at least scent wise. It smelled more fruity than flowery and a bit on the sweet side. A friend bought it at the same time I did and she likes it much better than I do. I guess my hair is just picky, or rather, I am ^.^

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Plump Perfect Lipstick

This Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Plump Perfect Lipstick in Perfect Rose is another stick-around lipstick in my bag.



Admittedly, I think I like this one better than the Estee Lauder Pure Color Lipstick in Bois de Rose. The formula is a bit thicker, so on my lips it feels more substantial and more moisturizing while being just as pigmented. It has a very faint chemically smell and no discernible fragrance, which again, doesn't bother me. As for the "Plump Perfect" claim in its namesake, I can't vouch for anything there as I don't pay attention and don't really care for lip plumping anything :)

The color's name is Perfect Rose, and while it looks warmer in the picture, it's actually even cooler than the Estee Lauder Bois de Rose. I would say it's closer to a lotus pink with some violet and very fine pearlized silver shimmers. It's very pretty, at least it looks better on me than the other one :P But again I don't wear full-on lipstick so I would generally apply it over gloss to sheer it out. It gives me a youthful sheer pink that doesn't make me look like I'm trying too hard. In the end, it found a appreciator in form of my mum-in-law, so I handed it over to her.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Estee Lauder Pure Color Lipstick

I've had this Estee Lauder Pure Color Lipstick in Bois de Rose in my bag for a long time and have been using it off and on.



It's okay, not my favorite lipstick, and I'm not that big a fan of lipstick to begin with. I guess I wasn't impressed with the formula. It's pigmented, but in my opinion it's too thin to be smooth and moisturizing like Lancome Le Rouge Absolu. In fact, if I press my lips together slowly, I would feel some very fine grit on my lips and not because my lips are chapped. Scent wise it smells like all other Estee Lauder lip products - a chemically fruity scent that doesn't really bother me. My sister, on the other hand, hates this scent. She says it gives her a headache and she stays away from all Estee Lauder lip products.

The color is a cool rosy pink, a tad too cool for me so I usually wear it over a warmer toned gloss (with gold shimmers, for example). Of course, when I apply it over the gloss, the color gets sheerer and I always end up with a my-lips-but-better color (that's how it probably stayed in my bag for so long...). Oh well...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

DHC Mild Touch Cleansing Oil

This DHC Mild Touch Cleansing Oil caught my eyes with its cute and princess-y pink packaging. Even the box itself was pretty, being pearlized pink and feels rather thick and substantial.


The cleansing oil itself is very similar to FANCL Mild Cleansing Oil in texture, feeling more like a translucent emulsion than a cleansing oil. Where as other cleansing oil requires a dry face to begin with, according to DHC you can start with either wet or dry face with this Mild Touch Cleansing Oil, so I found this oil a bit more flexible than others I've used. Also, it rinses clean and does not leave behind any films.


So why am I luke warm about this Mild Touch Cleansing Oil? Because it has a very strong lavender fragrance. I thought it was my imagination, but nope, it does have lavender oil in it indeed. This leads me to wonder why they would label this cleansing oil "mild" in the first place. When you think of a "mild" product, you would think it is geared towards sensitive skin and would be completely unscented to avoid irritation. But lavender oil? Sure, the scent has soothing and calming effect, but the oil is definitely not for everyone and can irritate sensitive skin. I don't have sensitive skin and my skin didn't react negatively with this cleansing oil, but even so I did find the scent a bit too much to take. Quite contradictory for a "mild" product, don't you think?

DHC Mild Touch Cleansing Oil:
cetyl ethylhexanoate, ethylhexyl palmitate, polyglyceryl-10 dioleate, water/aqua/eau, isononyl isononanoate, polyglyceryl-2 sesquicaprylate, glyceryl behenate/eicosadioate, dextrin palmitate/ethylhexanoate, phytosteryl/octyldodecyl lauroyl glutamate, phenoxyethanol, sodium dilauramidoglutamide lysine, moringa pterygosperma seed oil, caprylic/capric triglyceride, lavandula angustifolia (lavender) oil, tocopherol, dequalinium chloride, epigallocatechin gallate, linalool.
***List of ingredients from DHC North America.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Happy Moving...

Hubby and I are relocating to Tokyo in less than 3 weeks. I have lived in Japan in the past (about a year before I started this blog), so this is not completely new to me and I definitely won't be complaining since I will be in my cosmetic and skincare heaven.

That said, this blog has totally shifted from mainly focusing on Japanese cosmetics and skincare onto makeup and skincare in general, so hopefully this won't change. If you haven't figure it out by now, I am currently in the US of A so relocating means I won't have immediate access to some items and brands. But hey, that's what the internet is for ^.^

Anyway, while moving is technically not a horsing, but the fun toys that come with it are :P

For our up coming trip I had some things made for the gadgets we'll be toting around, and let's just say I was so lucky to have found an awesome Etsy seller who specializes in laptop/gadget covers - Bee Yourself Designs.

Jan's Etsy shop is temporarily closed until August 18, but check out her gorgeous creations after that if you are in the market for the likes. She was very friendly, excellent at what she does, and was quick to correspond to all my inquiries. All the covers I bought from her are very well-priced even though I customized some, requesting certain designs, wide flaps, etc.

Hubby and I both love love love what she made for us: they are all quilted, lined with fleece, well padded with secure velcro closure, and their craftsmanship is excellent! Care instructions were super easy - the covers are all machine wash and dry-able!

The few things Jan cautioned me about were:
1. Fabrics do shrink a bit in the wash.
- I washed all my covers and machine dried them (pretty hot too!) and didn't have any problems. In fact, all my covers arrived a bit loose to begin with, so they actually fit perfectly after the wash!
2. Do not iron directly onto the velcro as they will melt. Ironing the rest is okay but with light pressure or the batting will flatten.
- This I don't really worry about at all because, well, I've never ironed a thing in my whole life and I don't think I will start anytime soon. I don't even own an iron :P
3. The quilt will look puckered.
- Mine all turned out fine.

By the way, did I mention the covers are cute as hell? See for yourself!

- 15-inch MacBook Pro Sleeve #1: in quilted Poppy Lane fabric, though you can't really see the quilt from the picture. It has red fleece lining, wide flap with red/white stripe fabric and white velcro closure. I originally bought this for hubby, but it turned out so cute that I claimed it as mine :P

The sleeve is quite thickly padded and my MacBook feels super cozy and protected in it.

- 15-inch MacBook Pro Sleeve #2: in quilted Snow Falling fabric and black/white polka dots bottom band and flap. This particular sleeve also has a "Beeyourselfdesigns" label affixed whereas the Poppy Lane above does not. The fleece lining is pastel pink, with the flap lined by green stripey fabric and black velcro closure. This original design also came with a narrower flap but I requested a wide flap like the Poppy Lane above.

Hubby ended up with this one after I claimed his Poppy Lane above but says he doesn't mind. He spoils me so much ^.^

- iPad Sleeve: in quilted Asian fabric with turquoise/green/white polka dots bottom and top bands. You can sort of see the quilting on this picture. The lining is not fleece but quilted fabric in the same polka dot design as the outside bands, only the polka dots are on white background instead of green. I also requested the wide flap for this sleeve, and it comes with white velcro closure.

Even though the lining is not fleece, it is still very thick and feels very well-padded.

Hubby is absolutely pleased with this sleeve for 2 reasons:
1. The iPad is his toy
2. The Japanese calligraphy on the fabric is from a travel diary and he actually has fun reading it :)


- Digital Camera Cover: in quilted Sweet Tooth fabric, which suits me perfectly since I have a major, major sweet tooth! The digital camera comes with a clasp on a pastel pink ribbon, so I keep it clipped to the inside of my handbag and have my camera ready with me everywhere I go. Very convenient, no? I also requested that Jan double up the clasp ribbon because it will probably be traveling outside of my bag often as well.

The flap and inside lining are of pink polka dots fabrics (yes I have a thing for polka dots) with pastel pink velcro closure.

I requested 2 inside pockets as storage for extra memory cards.

View on the back of the cover. Adorable, no? By the way, these pictures are taken with my new digital camera and, as you can see, I'm haven't quite figure it out yet and my pictures all come out with inconsistent lighting.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Naive Peach Body Wash

I didn't think I would ever use these Naive Body Washes again as both the Aloe and the Grapefruit were so crazily drying, but hubby and I needed a break from our bar soaps marathon, you know, just to keep things interesting. So I dug out this Peach bottle from the closet and boy am I happy I did because, surprise surprise, I like it a lot!

This picture is of the bottle I'm using, but I believe Kracie has repackaged the Naive Body Washes differently now. I'm not sure if they reformulated them too, but the bottles definitely look different the last time I saw them at the supermarket.

***Picture from Amazon.com.

First the similarities - just like the Aloe and the Grapefruit, this Peach Body Wash is light and runny in texture and is extremely foamy. Now the differences - most immediately noticeable is that it does not smell of generic soap. I opened the bottle expecting the same old Naive body wash generic soap smell again but nope, none of it. In fact, I'd have to say this Peach Body Wash smells pretty amazing, a powdery peachy but clean scent, very similar to L'Occitane Shea Extra Gentle Soap Milk (I still haven't reviewed it, but I've used a couple of bars already...sorry...), only fruitier.

Now, the second most significant difference is that this Peach Body Wash isn't drying at all, even though I am now at much higher elevation and in a much drier environment. So yes, this Peach Body Wash takes me by total surprise and I can't believe I waited so long to use it!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Lancome Renergie Microlift Eye R.A.R.E.

A few months ago, I started using this Lancome Renergie Microlift Eye R.A.R.E. as a nightly moisturizing treatment for my eyes after running out of the regular Renergie Eye. And while I think the name is a bit corny and too lengthy, I have to say I like it much better than the Renergie Eye.


***Picture from Lancome USA.

This Renergie Microlift Eye R.A.R.E. is a light pink cream (where as the regular Renergie Eye is a beige-colored cream) and it has the same nice powdery fragrance Renergie Eye does. I still can't vouch for how effective Renergie Microlift Eye R.A.R.E. is when it comes to lifting, but it absorbs much faster and is not greasy at all. Also, I do notice how soft and supple my eye area feels the next morning.

Of course, the price tag is a bit hefty at $60 (same with Renergie Eye), so if you just want to sample it I would recommend waiting for it in a GWP as these usually come in very generous deluxe sample sizes that would last for months with nightly use!

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