Monday, April 29, 2013

OTD - Out the Door (Vietnamese Fusion Cuisine)

Hanging around Japantown so much, hubby and I eventually ventured into the surrounding restaurants. This one is a poshy Vietnamese fusion place called OTD - Out the Door. And out the door indeed, both the line and myself. Really, the place was so "hip" I immediately started dreading whether all the good reviews online were mostly hype. Well, let's just say there are times I hate being right.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Osha Thai Restaurant

While I spent a week out at my company's conference downtown SF back in February, hubby and I ate  at Osha Thai a few times. To be more precise, hubby ate there twice (dinner and lunch) and I thrice (dinner, lunch, and lunch take out). Yes, I know, Thai food three times a week sounds like a lot, but that just shows how much I love the cuisine. Unfortunately, I didn't love Osha Thai so much. It was more poshy (and overpriced) than tasty.

The first dinner was for Chinese New Year, and it started out great! So we ordered a few neat things, like this bacon wrapped scallops appetizer, and it was good.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Fillmore Street, San Francisco (Picture heavy!)

Being the close vicinity of Japantown, inevitably Fillmore Street is my second favorite part of town, which means every time I visit Japan Town, I have to visit Fillmore Street also ^.^ While there are numerous fun streets in SF, Fillmore is quite special. There's the ollection of neat little shops lining both of its side. And then there's the slow rise slowly to a high point (Broadway Street) before the steep drop all the way down to the ocean, directly to the Marina Green with a spectacular view of the Golden Gate Bridge at left, Alcatraz Island at center right, and Fort Mason at far right. 

So, the shops. My favorite is probably Fillmore Bakeshop, food, of course :P Fillmore Bakeshop is home my favorite buttercream filled French cookie sandwiches, the colorful macarons. I do agree that the food coloring is a bit too garish and the macarons themselves can look bulky, but be rest assured they're yummy, you bet because I've tried macarons from several other places and those didn't quite hit the spot. My favorite from Fillmore Bakeshop is the Irish Coffee macaron, which has the best coffee cream ever! Hubby's favorite is the coconut macaroons (no, that's not a typo, and yes, they're two different cookies).

Friday, April 19, 2013

Urban Decay Lip Junkie Lipgloss

Got a mini 3.6mL/0.12fl oz. tube of Urban Decay Lip Junkie Lipgloss in Midnight Cowboy as part of Ulta Spring 2012 GWP.

Midnight Cowboy

Ulta Spring 2012 GWP

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Maybelline Baby Lips Part III

More limited edition colors of Maybelline Baby Lips in 60 Melon Mania and 90 Yummy Plummy. ^.^ These are the latest release, and unfortunately are hit and miss. I love one (60 Melon Mania) and could not care less for the other (90 Yummy Plummy). At least I don't hate it as passionately as I did 80 Pink Wink. Sigh...


- 60 Melon Mania: smells more like cotton candy than melon, which is actually a plus for me. This balm is nowhere as bright as it looks in the tube and I love it! It gives me a very nice bee-stung pink tint that's pretty but cannot be overdone no matter how much I layer on. It is a balm after all. Bought backups of this one, that's for sure ^.^

Monday, April 15, 2013

Coffret D'Or Beauty Face Shadow

Even with many complaints, I was still quite happy with the two Coffret D'Or Total Designing Sets EX-2 and EX-4 released last fall. So when they released two more limited edition Beauty Face Shadows, I was happy to indulge in both.

Beauty Face Shadow in limited edition 07 Orange Beige and 08 Pink Bordeaux. All pictures taken in natural light without flash.

It also helps that the compact case is quite elegant looking, with faux jewels encrusting the upper left and lower right of the reflective metal strip running vertically long the compact. Very different from the pretty and feminine rose vines of 05 Lavender Purple and 06 Lime Khaki. 

Coffret D'Or Total Designing Set (Picture heavy!)

Long review post ahead. Took me forever, sorry :(

I've been drooling over this Coffret D'Or Total Designing Set ever since I saw it on Rouge Deluxe last fall (who, by the way, is on hiatus *sniff*). Each set comes with a Beauty Face Shadow palette, 2 from the permanent line (EX-1 with 01 Peach Brown, EX-3 with 02 Cream Brown) and 2 limited editions (EX-2 with 05 Lavender Purple, EX-4 with 06 Lime Khaki) in a special rose compact, a mini Color Blush in either RS-17 or PK-22 housed in an adorable tin can with rose print, and a mini Bright Up Rouge (Creamy Liquid) in either BE-202 or PK-262.

The sets were released in later September 2012 while I was in Taipei, which sent me on an immediate hunt from Watsons to Watsons since not all branches carry Coffret D'Or items. When I finally found a Watsons branch that offers the set, they only had EX-1 and EX-2, while EX-3 and EX-4 were not available to them at all! Since I only wanted the 2 sets with the limited edition Beauty Face Shadows, I grabbed EX-2 from Watsons and stalked Adam Beauty like a psychopath and pounced on EX-4 as soon as it was listed - at a promotional discount, no less - scored! Good thing EX-2 and EX-4 each comes with a different set of blush and lip color, so it was perfect xD

Coffret D'Or Total Designing Set EX-2 and EX-4. All pictures taken in natural light without flash.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Tarte LipSurgence Part II

The last from the 2012 Sephora Give Me Some Lip trial set is this full size Tarte LipSurgence Natural Matte Lip Tint in the color Hope.

All pictures taken in natural light without flash.

From left to right: Sephora Collection Glossy Gloss 03 Precious Pink full size (gifted to my sister), Fresh Sugar Rose Mini Tinted Lip Treatment 0.08oz/2.2g, Bite Beauty Lip Shine Vintage 0.1oz/2.72g,  Laura Mercier Lip Glace Baby Doll 0.1oz/2.8g, Hourglass Extreme Sheen High Shine Lip Gloss Child 0.12oz/3.5g, and this Tarte LipSurgence Natural Matte Lip Tint Hope full size.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Tarte LipSurgence 5-piece Collector's Set 2012

I've been wanting to try the Tarte LipSurgence pencils for a long time but missed out on the 2011 Lip Service Collection, which sold out in a flash at a super reasonable $29 (the pencils are $24 each!). So last year, I made sure to snatch up the LipSurgence 5-piece Collector's Set 2012 before it too sells out.

From left to right: Natural Lip Luster EscapeNatural Lip Tint EnchantedNatural Matte Lip Tint ExposedLip Luster Sweet, and Lip Tint Elite. All pictures taken in natural light without flash.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Hourglass Extreme Sheen High Shine Lip Gloss

This 0.12oz/3.5g tube of Hourglass Extreme Sheen High Shine Lip Gloss is another mini from the 2012 Sephora Give Me Some Lip trial set, and the color I have is Child.

All pictures taken in natural light without flash.

From left to right: Sephora Collection Glossy Gloss 03 Precious Pink full size (gifted to my sister), Fresh Sugar Rose Mini Tinted Lip Treatment 0.08oz/2.2g, Bite Beauty Lip Shine Vintage 0.1oz/2.72g,  Laura Mercier Lip Glace Baby Doll 0.1oz/2.8g, this Hourglass Extreme Sheen High Shine Lip Gloss Child 0.12oz/3.5g, and Tarte LipSurgence Natural Matte Lip Tint Hope full size.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Laura Mercier Lip Glace Part II

This is my second mini 0.1oz/2.8g tube of Laura Mercier Lip Glace, with the first in the color Rose from the 2010 Sephora Give Me Some Lip trial set. This time, I got the color Baby Doll from the 2012 set.

The 2012 Sephora Give Me Some Lip trial set. All pictures taken in natural light without flash.

From left to right: Sephora Collection Glossy Gloss 03 Precious Pink full size (gifted to my sister), Fresh Sugar Rose Mini Tinted Lip Treatment 0.08oz/2.2g, Bite Beauty Lip Shine Vintage 0.1oz/2.72g,  this Laura Mercier Lip Glace Baby Doll 0.1oz/2.8g, Hourglass Extreme Sheen High Shine Lip Gloss Child 0.12oz/3.5g, and Tarte LipSurgence Natural Matte Lip Tint Hope full size.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Bite Beauty Lip Shine

This 0.1oz/2.72g tube of Bite Beauty Lip Shine in Vintage is part of the 2012 Sephora Give Me Some Lip trial set. Bite Beauty is a new brand for me and I'm happy for a chance to try something new ^.^

All pictures taken in natural light without flash.

From left to right: Sephora Collection Glossy Gloss 03 Precious Pink full size (gifted to my sister), Fresh Sugar Rose Mini Tinted Lip Treatment 0.08oz/2.2g, this Bite Beauty Lip Shine Vintage 0.1oz/2.72g, Laura Mercier Lip Glace Baby Doll 0.1oz/2.8g, Hourglass Extreme Sheen High Shine Lip Gloss Child 0.12oz/3.5g, and Tarte LipSurgence Natural Matte Lip Tint Hope full size.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Fresh Sugar Rose Mini Tinted Lip Treatment

Read some really great things about these Fresh Sugar Tinted Lip Treatments but been refraining due to their atrocious pricing. Which is why these Sephora Give Me Some Lip trial sets are a great idea ^.^

I don't remember whether Sephora has been releasing a different set every year, but I have to say this 2012 set is way better than the 2010 set both in terms of value as well as selection! I was already curious with that Fresh Sugar Rose Mini Tinted Lip Treatment, not to mention the full size Tarte LipSurgence alone is $24! The bonuses are Bite Beauty and Hourglass, two brands I have never heard of and will happily try ^.^

All pictures taken in natural light without flash.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Sephora Hot Hues Neon Lip Balm Part II

This review is overdue, since I've been using these new additions of the Sephora Hot Hues Neon Lip Balm last December. I hunted down two more colors of this balm, Paradisso Purple and Funky Fuchsia after good experience with the color Hot Pink, even though I don't love the formula.

Paradisso Purple and Funky Fuchsia. All pictures taken in natural light without flash.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Herbacin Wuta Kamille and Glycerin Hand Creme

Using this 20mL travel sized tube of Herbacin Wuta Kamille and Glycerin Hand Creme now. Wanting to spend my last few Taiwanese dollars I bought it at a random drugstore at Taoyuan International Airport on my way home from Taipei ^.^

From left to right: this Wuta Kamille and Glycerin Hand Creme, Wuta Kamille Soft Mild Hand Cream, Wuta Kamille (White Line) Hand and Nail Balm, 20mL each.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Dermstore Lip Quench

I received a bunch of these full size 0.28oz. Dermstore Lip Quenches, 5 in total, from the four Fall 2012 Super Luxe Grab Bags and the 2012 Black Friday Special Mystery Grab Bag. A new lip balm to try? Sure, why not!

All pictures taken in natural light without flash.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Japantown, San Francisco (Picture heavy!)

Long post ahead!

After spending two memorable years in Japan, are you surprised that my most favorite part of San Francisco is Japantown? It speaks to my fondness of Japan, and how much I miss the place, that I roam Japantown and its surrounding areas at least once a week! Of course it's nothing reminiscent of the sprawling underground shopping mazes mall at the major Japanese train/subway stations, nor is it anything particularly special or nice or even culturally authentic. It's really just your average mall with shops selling overpriced let's-pretend-Asian things. And don't even get me started on the pathetic "Japanese" food they try to pass off there. Just thinking about it makes me mad. But I like the place anyway :P When my cousin J. visited from out of town, we spent a day and a half there exploring all the shops ^.^

Let's start at the intersection of Buchanan and Sutter Streets, where Buchanan Street turns into a pedestrian walk with mostly restaurants lining both sides. This Buchanan pedestrian walk goes one block south towards Post Street, crossing which you will arrive at the Peace Plaza with the concrete Peace Pagoda. The Peace Plaza joins the Kintetsu East and West Malls, pretty much the center of all the attention in Japantown ^.^ And by the way, it was a Monday afternoon in mid March when J. and I were there, which is the reason the whole place looks like a ghost town in these pictures.

Looking back at Sutter from Post on the Buchanan pedestrian walk, with Post Street directly behind me.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Skin79 The Oriental Gold Plus BB Cream SPF30 PA++

Since bb creams became all the rage first in Japan and now here in the US of A, I've been buying a tube here and there as presents for my friends. ...And got loads of samples in the process, including two of these 5g tubes of Skin79 The Oriental Gold Plus BB Cream SPF30 PA++. Each actually comes with a cellphone strap, but I think that's kind of...weird. If I were to tote these around, I'd carry them in my makeup bag, not keep them dangling on my cell phone. I can understand if it were a mini gloss or lip balm, but a bb cream?

Anyway, I've been using this on my stay-at-home days. The sun protection in this product, no, all other skincare and cosmetic products that are not actual sunscreens, is useless and shouldn't even be a part of the consideration. Again, to get that labeled SPF and PA protection, I would have to goop a 1/4 teaspoon of the stuff onto my face. For skincare products like moisturizers, I might as well go fry an egg with the oil slick. For cosmetics like foundation or bb cream, forget it. I doubt they use that much for the stage or even HDTV. And don't think you'll get half the protection using half the amount required. It just doesn't work that way.

All pictures taken in natural light without flash.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Clarins UV Plus HP SPF40 Day Screen

After L'Occitane Immortelle Brightening Shield SPF40 PA+++, I moved on to testing this 3mL/0.1fl oz. sample of Clarins UV Plus HP SPF40 Day Screen. According to Clarins, this is a 100% physical sunblock lotion with active ingredients of 8.1% Titanium Dioxide. It's actually not my first time using this particular product - I had used up a few bottles of its former carnation aka the UV Plus Protective Day Screen SPF40 about 7-8 years ago.

I have to say, this product has come a long way since and it now feels significantly different than its old self, and for the better too! While it's still a milk, it's no longer runny and is slightly thicker and, as far as I can tell, requires no shaking. Again, for each application I applied about 1mL's worth, a third of the sample tube. At this amount, it took 10 minutes or so to dry completely. Once absorped, I got a comfortable and completely matte finish that left no visible white cast. I have no doubt it would make an awesome makeup base. What's more, it felt much more substantive than the previous version and seemed to have some oil control function as my t-zone did not get oily after a few hours. Thinking back to the old version that turned me greasy, this is a huge improvement! In other words, this day screen now looks and feels no different than my favorite Japanese sunscreens! Shall I remind you again it's supposedly 100% physical sunblock? It's quite an impressive feat for a physical sunblock to be so elegant!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Interstate Driving

***Warning: this post may bore you ^.^

You already know hubby and I temporarily moved to San Francisco. We didn't actually "move" all our things. Rather, we just packed up our car with what we thought we'll need for a few months' stay and drove ourselves over. Now that I have a moment to take a breather, I thought I'd share some of the pictures we took along the way during our drive. We had specific goals for our rest stop by the end of each day: Salt Lake City by the first night, Reno by the second, then straight into San Francisco bay by the third. So these pictures were taken by me or hubby while the other was driving, because at no point could we stop for photos.

How do you like my fashionable interstate driving? xD Actually, the hat was to help with the sun, because sitting behind the wheels for hours will get you toasted to a crisp if you don't cover up properly.

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