Monday, January 20, 2014

Smitten Ice Cream

Here's one of the local and tourist top hits - Smitten Ice Cream. What's so special about this place, you ask? It gives you ice cream, as in, iced cream, the creamiest ice cream ever, and they make it right then and there at the front counter, in your presence at your witness (behind a fiber glass protective wall, of course). 

At anytime on any given day you can expect a line here, because it's sunny California and the winter here is like a beautiful and warm spring day everywhere else. Urgh.  

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Hong Kong Lounge

Been to Hong Kong Lounge a few times for both dinners and weekend dimsum brunches. Dinner was good but not great. Dimsum was okay. The best dimsum I've ever had was still in, umm, New Jersey LOL! Anyway, the times we went to have dimsum were with friends and I couldn't take pictures. So there are only pictures of dinner dishes in this post.

Ordered a cold appetizer plate that came with cold jellyfish and cow tongue, and room temperature BBQ pork. The pork and the jellyfish was good. Cow tongue's not really my thing, but it wasn't horrible, heavily seasoned with five spice though.

I did like their crabmeat soup. It was very flavorful and does have chunks of crabmeat in it! The dry fried string beans were decent. I wish it had a little more flavor and pickled radish in it - that's my favorite part of this dish after all!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Blowfish Sushi To Die For

...but I wouldn't. That would just be silly, although I'm sure some folks would beg to differ. 

But the name Blowfish Sushi To Die For was intriguing for us to make a super early reservation, like at 5:30PM, to avoid the rush. One thing I learned about SF is that people LOVE to line up here. There's always a line somewhere for something. In trendy neighborhoods like the Mission where Blowfish Sushi is located, as we drove around past 5:00PM to look for a parking space, where were already lines wrapping around block for hip clubs and restaurants. Argh!

And if you're wondering, no, we didn't have fugu. The restaurant does serve fugu, but you would have to make a special reservation way ahead of time. It's a fixed menu of 5 fugu courses for 2 for something like $280, and it's not on the menu. Those who signed up will enjoy their fugu dishes in a private room. 

Friday, January 17, 2014

Avene TriAcneal

Almost done with my first tube of Avene TriAcneal! This is my second retinoid product, and it completes my cocktail of youth in conjunction with trusty Differin Gel (Adapalene 0.1%). Unlike Differin, this is an over-the-counter product and requires no prescription. It goes for $60 on Dermstore but you can most certainly get it for much much cheaper elsewhere - consult the Google. I got mine for $18 ^.^

Despite TriAcneal being an OTC product, disclaimers are still abound:
READ THE PRODUCT FACTS on the included pamphlet for all the cautions, warnings, etc.
- In case you missed this on the product facts, DO NOT USE IF PREGNANT OR NURSING. This warning applies to ALL retinoid and BHA (salicylic acid) items regardless of prescription or over-the-counter, spa or professional treatments! Just stay far, far away for safety's sake. 
DO YOUR DUE DILIGENCE. Consult your doctor, research and read up about it online, etc.
PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK. It's been iffy to my skin, and may be even worse to yours. 
CAUSES PHOTOSENSITIVITY. While on any retinoid treatment, and AHA and BHA too for that matter, sunscreens of minimum SPF30 is a MUST. No if, and, or but about it. If you don't care for sunscreens, you should NOT play with retinoid, AHA, or BHA. These products are for night use only.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Differin Gel (Adapalene 0.1%)

Finally, finally, finally, reviewing this Differin Gel (Adapalene 0.1%) after some 6+ years of religious use every 3rd night. Talk about procrastinating! But there is a reason for my long reluctance in posting about this product - it's a prescription item meant for acne treatment. 

This makes it a drug, which means disclaimers are abound: 
- READ THE DRUG FACTS on the included pamphlet for all the cautions, warnings, etc.
- In case you missed this on the drug facts, DO NOT USE IF PREGNANT OR NURSING. This warning applies to ALL retinoid and BHA (salicylic acid) products regardless of prescription or over-the-counter, spa or professional treatments! Just stay far, far away for safety's sake. 
- DO YOUR DUE DILIGENCE. Consult your doctor, research and read up about it online, etc.
- PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK. It's been good to my skin, but may be terrible to yours. 
- CAUSES PHOTOSENSITIVITY. While on any retinoid treatment, and AHA and BHA too for that matter, sunscreens of minimum SPF30 is a MUST. No if, and, or but about it. If you don't care for sunscreens, you should NOT play with retinoid, AHA, or BHA. These products are for night use only.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Coit Tower, San Francisco

We went to take a peek up at Coit Tower too ^.^ There is a bus that will take you up to the tower, but we walked up, taking a shortcut through some interesting neighborhood. 

Here's looking at the street level, the highest point with car access, because going up those cement steps. 

The homes along the way are pretty high up. Every time people want to go somewhere, they'd have to hike down the steps to street level where they parked their cars. And yet the real estate here is through the roof!  

Monday, January 13, 2014

First Giants Game, San Francisco

These pictures were actually taken last fall when we saw our very first Giants game at the AT&T Park. For the game, they were giving out these plaid fedoras that were made out of 100% paper in shades of orange, gray, and black ^.^ And oh, if hubby's hat looks big, that's because he has a really big head LOL!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco

Opposite with the marina and the yacht clubs, on the other side of Marina Boulevard where the street veers left and Mason Street begins is the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre. When we were there, we saw at least 3 different wedding parties taking wedding photos against the Greco-Roman architecture backdrop ^.^ Can you blame them?

Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Marina, San Francisco

Been neglecting on the sightseeing posts, so here's to lighten things up with the clear blue sky and the sunny Marina of San Francisco. There's not much to say, except for head north on Fillmore Street and then turn left onto Marina Boulevard when you cannot go straight anymore. Staying on Marina Boulevard you'll pass by the Marina Green Park. Enjoy the view along the way! :)

Friday, January 10, 2014

Stila Prime Pot

After neglecting eye primers for years they've made a comeback, and with a vengeance as I've been obsessed with them this past year! I have very oily lids, and I'm on the hunt for a drier eye primer for use under liquid, cream, gel, damp eye shadows in general. May be that's silly of me, since many liquid, cream, gel eye shadows themselves can be used as a base and primer. It does give me excuses to try out new primers though ^.^

One of the more promising ones is this Stila Prime Pot. I picked up the color Caramel during the Stila warehouse sale last fall out of curiosity, and it turns out to be the winning dry texture I've been looking for! That said, it's far from perfect. First off, the color Caramel is just wrong on my lids, but I'll start with the good stuff first ^.^

All pictures taken in natural light without flash.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Maikohan Loose Powder N

Been using these Maikohan Loose Powder N off and on for the past year since moving to SF. I love the UV Compact version which I've been using since 2009, so these were a must-try for me. There are 2 sizes for this loose powder, Small and Large. The Small jar has 10g of product that comes in 2 colors Sakura and Natural. The Large jar has 30g of product, and like the compact it's only available in Sakura.

Bottom 2 photos taken indoor with flash. All other pictures taken in natural light without flash unless otherwise noted. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

DHC Q10 Face Powder Part III

My stash of highlighters and brightening powders gets heaviest usage during the gloomy winter months, and I've been reaching for these DHC Q10 Face Powders in Pink 01 and Yellow 01 a lot lately. I've had these for a long long long time and have been using them off and on but never remember to review them until now :(

All pictures taken indoor with flash.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Aqualabel Moisture Milky Mousse Foam

After Aqualabel White Clear Foam didn't work out so well for me last spring, I wanted to try their Moisture line in the red packaging instead. However, I didn't want to get the full size - they're huge! After some searching, I found this nice Aqualabel Moisture Kit on Adam Beauty and nabbed it for $16.50 which is about the same as the Japanese retail. When I was still in Japan, I saw this trial kit all the time at my local HAC drugstore and it went for about JPY1,200 I think.

This Aqualabel Moisture Kit comes with 20g each of Creamy Oil Cleansing and Milky Mousse Foam, and 20mL each of Lotion R (Softening) and Emulsion R (Softening). I have only tried the Milky Mousse Foam so far.


Monday, January 6, 2014

Shiseido Eudermine Revitalizing Essence

With the holiday travels, I finally got a chance to try the two 8mL sample bottles of Shiseido Eudermine Revitalizing Essence I got from two separate Shiseido GWPs. I brought them with me on my visit to my folks ^.^

Ignore the "essence" in this product's name as it only serves to confuse. This is not an essence in a sense that you apply after toning as a facial treatment, before moisturizer. Rather, it's a moisturizing toner, one you splash on after cleansing and before the essence/serum/facial treatment. It's an unscented viscous clear liquid, similar to Japanese lotions (toners). 

two from a Shiseido fall 2012 GWP (left) and a Best of Shiseido GWP spring 2013 (right).

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Jurlique Herbal Recovery Night Cream

I started using this 5mL/0.17oz. tube of Jurlique Herbal Recovery Night Cream a few months ago in late October, taking a 3-weeks break to try new stuff during the holiday travels. Now that I'm back home, I'm also back to using this at night ^.^

Saturday, January 4, 2014

SkinMedica Dermal Repair Cream

For my short trip, the Phytomer Hydra Original Thirst-Relief Melting Cream was my daytime light moisturizer and this 7.4g/0.25oz. travel size tube of SkinMedica Dermal Repair Cream was my nighttime moisturizer. It came from the Dermstore Fall 2012 Super Luxe Grab Bag #4.

I have to say, I'm really enjoying these Dermstore mystery/grab bags! They're getting me to try (and like!) many products I would never know about otherwise. However, I'm less inclined to shell out the $35 for the monthly mystery bag from Blush.com, much less paying for a whole year's worth of subscription. That's a hell lot of skincare products! As you can see, I'm still getting through my 5 bags (4 Super Luxe and 1 Black Friday Mystery) from 2012!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus

Used this 15mL Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus as a daytime serum for the week I was on vacation. I picked it solely because it says wrinkle and UV damage corrector - there was much sunshine where I was ^.^ This generous deluxe sample (worth around $20!) came from the same 2012 GWP as the All About Eyes Serum and the Chubby Stick 04 Mega Melon. It is *not* the reformulated product that came out fall 2013!


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Clinique Moisture Surge Face Spray

Happy New Year!!!

I got this freebie 30mL/1fl oz. Clinique Moisture Surge Face Spray also in 2012, although I don't remember from where. I was thrilled when I got it though, because I've been wanting to try this spray since it came out! I also brought this with me on my short trip as one of the layering products.

This is pretty much a light layer of oil-free and unscented hydration. After Astalift Jelly Aquarysta, SK-II Facial Treatment Clear Lotion and Essence, I sprayed this on, let dry, then apply a light serum or essence (Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus, will review next), then seal in with a light moisturizer (Phytomer Hydra Original Thirst-Relief Melting Cream, will also review next).

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