Playing with Lavshuca Eye Jelly for much of the earlier part of the year reminded me of how much I adored Laura Mercier Metallic Creme Eye Colours. So what did I do but dig them out again, only to discover that I actually have 2 more colors other than Platinum and Gold that were never opened!!!
Scored this Neutrogena Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover from my sister who is vacating her apartment, getting ready to move home now that her contract is up. It's going to be sad when she's gone because we always have lots of fun traveling together and hanging out in general. And texting all day too, of course. I want her to move to the big city where I am and hang around for another year and may be even come with me to Taiwan after Japan, but I think she's ready to go home to the US of A, having been away for 3 years now *sniffs* T.T I'm going to miss her :(
I was really indecisive about getting this With June 2011 issue. It comes with an Earth Music and Ecology tote bag featuring Snoopy and the Peanuts characters but from pictures online, it looked just like any other cheap and super thin and wimpy nylon eco bag.
But then the design won me over I think, gray dots on a powder pink background. I finally gave in and bought it.
I grabbed this InRed June 2011 issue as soon as it went on sale as I've been wanting to get my hands on this beautiful Salvatore Ferragamo wristlet!
The wristlet was to promote the new perfume Incanto, but while I could not care less for the perfume (not really a perfume person...), the wristlet itself is a stunner! Very simple but elegant and striking, like a black ink painting on white canvas of what a dandelion clock in the process of dispersing its seeds.
After the errands, hubby and I decided to stop by Denny's for a nice afternoon dessert ^.^
Hubby ordered a raspberry sorbet.
I wanted to order my usual favorite Mixed Fruits and Milk Pudding Parfait, but they discontinued it and put a seasonal one in its place - the Fresh Peach and Mochi Parfait, which was similar similar to the Fresh Peach and Sorbet Parfait that was the seasonal item last September. Oh hell, one look at the picture and I quickly forgot all about my usual favorite and happily went along with the new addition ^.^
Does anyone know what tree this is? Hubby and I ran some errands today on the other side of town that we never go to otherwise, and stumbled on this beautiful flowering tree and had no idea what tree it was!
It was a quiet and otherwise slow Saturday afternoon for hubby and me when we started hearing drumming, then minutes later, folk singing. We blew it off, that was, until it went on, and on, all the way until dusk. By then, we were hearing kids squeaking, tween girls squealing, and tween boys shouting.
The center stage flanked with a large Taiko drum and adorned by pretty lanterns.
When hubby and I were invited to dinner with his professor and a fellow PhD colleague up in Ikebukuro, little did we know we were going to get treated to the best yakiniku meal we've ever had! And it wasn't just the food but also the company that made meal fantastic - the whole time, we were chatting about anime, manga, and Korean dramas xD
Caught hubby unsuspecting on the train ride ^.^
After dinner, hubby's colleague A-san further invited us out for a few drinks at his favorite Hibiya Bar. The bar is in a building right in front of Ikebukuro Station, but is hidden in the second basement. Apparently not too many people know about the place, and I was told on weekdays the place is frequented by only a couple of patrons. A-san took us here because according to him, the bartender, K-san, is a cocktail master and he makes excellent drinks. And plus Ikebukuro is his college town, so to speak, so he knows all the nooks and crannies of it and wanted to introduce to us the best of its corners.
This is probably the only time since last September that I was able to snap a picture of what I ordered from our neighborhood Chinese Restaurant. Don't get me wrong, hubby and I go there quite often, just that every time, we dove in before I could even remember to take a picture and when it did, the food was gone ^.^
Can you tell I'd actually started eating before remembering to take a picture? LOL!
Check out this beautifully red ruby grapefruit I got from my local grocery! I've never seen a grapefruit this red! It was gorgeous, almost too pretty to eat...though hubby and I gobbled it all up anyway :P
It was itty bitty, fitting into our rice bowls, and it set us back about 125yen (about ~$1.50).
And 8-year old girl told me she prefers healthy snacks over candies when I offered her some fruit gummies (that had 100% vitamin C and fat free!), and when I asked her what would be considered healthy snacks in Japan, she produced a bag of dried seasoned seaweed snacks.
I was skeptical at first. Sure I've eaten tons of seaweed, savory or sweet (in the Cantonese sweet tonic 清補涼/六味湯/Sâm Bổ Lượng), and I've also eaten copious amounts of season seaweed (nori and gim) as snacks, but these didn't look like anything but just dried seaweed! She urged me to try some, and I did, and what do you know, they were...yummy! ^.^
The result was yummy, though I put in one too many chile peppers so hubby and I were half crying while we ate it LOL!
And turns out, it tasted just like a different recipe for Shanghai Basil Chicken that I replicated from a Chinese restaurant in Denver. We visited the restaurant only once but the dish was so delicious I was hell bent on replicating it at home. The restaurant recipe calls for the chicken thigh meat with bones in and is on the sweeter side, but the 2 dishes taste very similar nonetheless.
Hubby and I went to visit my sister again over the weekend, and after two karaoke sessions over 2 consecutive nights, we ended each night with a few shots of purikura.
The machines in this particular karaoke parlor was a lot of fun. It does background effects and everything, like out in space or ghostly appearance LOL! I really love that it has some really freakin' hilarious little add-ons, like bananas, blood squirts (bwahahaha!!!), upside down undies (I kid you not!), and poopies (OMG!). Scroll down and you'll see xD
Hubby and I held out on pizza delivery for the longest time, given how rather grotesque pizza can get in Japan. We spent 4 years in New Jersey and had some of the best pizzas around, and so not being able to walk a few blocks for a hot and crispy slice that melts in our mouths really hurts us. Then come my busy work season and after getting sick of Chinese delivery, we finally broke down and started shopping around for the most "American" looking and pizza xD (mind you, I didn't say most "Italian" looking, now did I?).
We ordered 2 different sizes from Domino's, a large and a medium.
I've been using this Softymo Super Eye Makeup Remover for a while now, not wanting to bother with rinsing my face after wiping off eye makeup with BeautyMate Aqua Makeup Removing Wipe. Plus using a whole sheet of wipe for just my eyes seems wasteful.
Softymo Super Eye Makeup Remover is an unscented milky emulsion that's supposed to be gentle, taking eye makeup off without drying or irritating the eye area. Also, there is no need to rinse my face afterwards, which is what I look for in an eye makeup remover (otherwise I wouldn't bother with it and just wash my face off with an oil cleanser!). And although it says eye makeup remover, it can also be used for lips. Other pluses include the fact that it's more affordable, being a few hundred yens for a huge 230 mL bottle that will probably take me months to use up since I only need a small dollop at a time. Despite the fact that I prefer the dual-layer liquid eye makeup removers like Lancome Bi-Facil, between this big bottle and several others that were half the size and twice the price, I couldn't help but giving this a chance. The Cosme Award (from Cosme.net, a sprawling Japanese cosmetics and skincare information and reviews site) sticker on the bottle definitely helped my purchasing decision!
After having had the most unbelievable Black Pork at Arisan last month, I was determined to learn how to make it myself. After all, it is the Chinese cousin of the Vietnamese Caramelized Pork (Thịt Kho, and I know the first link will take you to the Caramelized Tofu & Eggs recipe, but I also made a pork version). There's a Japanese cousin too, called Nihon ni Buta (日本煮豚), or Japanese Simmered Pork, which I've had at a Japanese get together but didn't like as much.
Nihon ni Buta
But oh heck, I tried making them both just for the hell of it. Citrine had kindly sent me a couple of Youtube links to cooking videos for the Chinese version called Dongpo Rou (東坡肉, see them here and here, both are in Mandarin), and hubby helped me dug out the Japanese Nihon ni Buta recipe from Cookpad. You can also see drool-worthy pictures of Dongpo Rou from Almost Bourdain, and the blog author also has much better pictures the Vietnamese Caramelized Pork too by the way! Since the recipe for Dongpo Rou is already aplenty from both the Youtube links as well as the blog link, I won't list again what I used. The Nihon ni Buta recipe is similar, only a whole lot simpler than Dongpo Rou ^.^
A couple of weekends ago, my sister dropped by for a brief visit after having attended an Arashiconcert in Tokyo. Having recently discovered Kua 'Aina, I promised to take her there for a little taste of home so her visit was a good occasion for all of us.
Kua Aina is a chain serving burgers and sandwiches like it's nobody's business. Mos Burger? Ha! Though technically it's not really fair to compare this chain to Mos Burger since Kua 'Aina is an American chain started in Hawaii :P Anyway, the place was an small discovery. On my way home from work one day, I complained to hubby I'm craving for a sandwich, a *real* American sandwich and not a Japanese double-whammy-quasi-carb-sandwich in the form of a glob of potato salad in between 2 slices of super processed white bread. I didn't even feel like a teriyaki shrimp burger ala Mos Burger. Mind you, I have nothing against Mos, and I love their creative and delicious their "burgers." In fact, Mos is Japan's proud and esteemed answer to McDonald's solely because those burgers have a little bit of a Japanese flavor thrown in and are clearly not American.
I used to use Vidal Sassoon shampoo and conditioner for as long as I can remember, until the brand disappeared completely from the local US drugstores and supermarkets during my college years. It was not until years later that I stumbled onto this article and learned why. Which was why when I got shipped off to Japan after college and found Vidal Sassoon at the Japanese local drugstore, I felt a bit, erhh...jilted. I can't find Vidal Sassoon at home but they're aplenty here? What? That's not fair!
Anyways, fast forward to the present and I got bored with both Macherie as well as Kracie Umi no Uruoiso, I decided to give Vidal Sassoon a shot. There are 2 types within the hair care line, the Base Care and Color Care, and I got the Base Care Shampoo since neither hubby or myself colored our hair.
Lala is a monthly manga magazine, and normally hubby and I only collect volumes of specific mangas instead of buying monthly magazines that includes installment of many different mangas from that publisher. That said, Lala June 2011 issue came with a Nyanko-sensei (from Natsume's Book of Friends - Natsume Yujincho) pen pouch that I couldn't resist picking up ^.^
Another reason why I love living in Japan - there are plenty of fancy parfaits around ^.^
Check out my caramel cream parfait! It comes with cheese cake biscuits and a rougher version of cotton candy, to create the "cloud" effect. It was nice, but a bit dangerous to eat since it's like having a mouth full of sharp wires that are melting very slowly. I had to be careful not to puncture my tongue and cheeks while eating it. Sheesh! This sort of thing wouldn't fly too well in my lawsuit-happy homeland, but hey, it's Japan and [almost] anything goes here.
Revisiting Saikabo, the Korean restaurant where hubby and I had our very first lunch in Japan ^.^ Hubby likes this place a lot while I think it's just ho hum and way overpriced. I ordered sundubu jjigae, and what do you know, Tokyo Sundupu is better :P
Unlike Lucent, which is a matte translucent powder, Glow is pink and shimmery. But don't worry, the shimmer is very, very fine and understated, so it won't be a disco powder in any way. In fact, for most people it wouldn't even suffice as a highlighter since the shimmer factor is so muted. I would say it's more of a brightening powder, for the days when your skin needs a bit of a lift.
My sister and I bought this Tabibijin Tea Peeling Gel sort on a whim after trying it at Oedo Onsen back in December.
Growing up in the land of facial scrubs, the common peeling gels in Asia are unfamiliar to me, which makes the purchase of this Tea Peeling Gel even more of an impulse buy ringing in at 2,100yen (about $25) a bottle. But my sister and I both tried it at the onsen and it was interesting, and plus there was a 3-pack for 4,200yen, which is like getting bottle for free. So we bought it, me one, her one, and one for our mum ^.^
Good thing this 3-pack is also available Tabibijin website (in Japanese), because I started using this peeling gel weekly about 2 months ago and am now considering buy backups. In short, I like it. A lot.
It's been that time of the year, as in the peak season of my work, and when this time comes usually our regularly home-cooked diet is out the window. Yep, it's delivery time!!! Haa...what do I do without my hubby? ^.^
Everyday around lunch or dinner time, my neighborhood is rumbling with delivery scooters, anything from pizza to ramen to Chinese food to trusty good ol' Japanese food. One particular scooter we see zipping back and forth constantly was Shanghai Square, a delivery-only service for restaurant-style Chinese food. During a walk through the nearby park, hubby stopped by their delivery junction and asked for the menu. We spent a good half an hour perusing through the myriad choices and decided on a course dinner for 3 (we were hungry!). Hubby called and half an hour later our food showed up ^.^
We paid about 5,000yen for all this food, which was a freaking deal in Japanese standard. Had we dined out, we would have paid around the same per person!
As a faithful Lancome Juicy Tubes fan, I'm never really curious enough to buy any full size glosses just to try out, but since it came in this set, I didn't really have much expectations. I guess I should be more open minded next time, because this Plum Blossom Lip Gloss is unexpectedly excellent! It feels identical to Lancome Juicy Tubes in terms of texture, moisturizing factor, and lasting power! It is thick and super smooth, not sticky, moisturizing, and last for quite a long time.
You know the BB Cream invasion has hit home when you see this Sephora Insider issue in your email! I'm not surprised, since the BB Creams are reaching their saturation point in the Japanese market. Where else would they go but jumping over the big pond?
Roll out your red carpets folks, the BB Creams are coming!
Browsing around for cosmetics on Rakuten (the Amazon of Japan, like Amazon JP, but a whole lot messier lol!), I spotted these simple bottles with a cute logo of a bean with a sprout growing out of it. Then I saw Rosette and remembered I had seen something like that on Lotus Palace back in December. Alas, it was a Rosette Soys product, the Soys Lotion, so I decided to give it a try.
This is an unscented and oil-free toner (in Asia, when they say lotion they almost always mean toners). However it does contain alcohol, as one would expect from a toner, and since it has no oil ingredients, it is effectively a hydrator.
There's a Tokyo Sundupu shop near hubby's school, and we have eaten there several times since they have a pretty decent lunch deal (sorry...the stuff's so yummy it always gets wolfed down before any pictures are taken, may be next time ^.^).
I love Korean food, and sundubu jjigae is probably one of my most favorite Korean cuisine discoveries. It is a seafood stew with silken/soft tofu and vegetables, and it is surprisingly easy to make. The Sundubu Jjigae recipe below is a combination of what I found on the internet blended with what I ate at Tokyo Sundupu.
I'm in luuuuurv with these Mark Earth Face Glow and went crazy looking for more backups but they're no longer available, anywhere. Boo. Hiss.
I'm so glad I gave these a chance when they came out. At first I scoffed at them, because, well, they're itty bitty. I know Mark makes their cosmetics on the smaller side, and I appreciate that because I hate gigantic bulky stuff, but these blushes have diameters that are a mere 1.5 inch! They're the size of a single eye shadow!
But that's about all I can rant about with these blushes, as they are fantastic otherwise. They come in 3 colors, Solar, Pebbles, and Quartz, and I'm so happy I bought all 3 colors. I must say though all 3 colors are quite sheer, so many folks out there must hate these, but I love them to death. They're baked and so not as smooth as they could be, but they're gorgeous going on.
Solar: marbleized champagne and pale fleshy pink and makes a glowing highlighter. As you can see, this is no blush at all.