Friday, August 31, 2012

Blue moon...

...You saw me standing alone. Without a dream in my heart. Without a love of my own.

Snapped this of the second full moon in the month of August as we went to pick up my brother at his college dorm about hour and half drive away. Just thought I'd share it with you lovelies ^.^

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

SK-II Starter Sets via Aeon Shop

I've been curious about SK-II for a long time, six years or so, ever since they brought Cate Blanchett on as a brand spokesmodel. Excellent move, in my humble opinion, at least it caught my attention and I usually don't even look at the ads in the magazine. Cate Blanchett perfectly embodies grace and elegance, and if that is what SK-II is aiming for, well, bullseye! The down side is that in all these years, I haven't seen SK-II offering any kind of trial or travel sets, at least not for the American market, and I wasn't about to drop some serious dough for full sizes of something I've never tried before.

Fast forward several years, and I totally forgot about SK-II. Gee, there are only about a gazillion other lovely cosmetics and skincare products out there to keep me occupied, and until I read about SK-II Facial Treatment Essence and Clear Lotion on one of Yumeko's Friday photo memes, it didn't occur to me that SK-II is a Japanese brand and, well, heeeeeeey, I was also in Japan! Yeah, talk about a duh moment. Somehow, all the ads I saw on TV, in the magazines, at the mall, etc. for SK-II promotion sets and trial kits just didn't register within the past 2 years. Double duh moment. I guess Japan was a bit of a sensory overload, even if I was none the wiser xD

Aeon SK-II Starter Set with 2.5g sample of Skin Signature Cream

The newer Aeon SK-II Starter Set with 7mL sample of Cellumination Essence EX

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Oshima Tsubaki Oil Part II

Spotted this 40mL bottle of Oshima Tsubaki Oil for 798yen at Don Quixote, and of course I bought it because of that cute little travel sized 20mL spray bottle Hair Water. I was packing at the time and probably shouldn't add more weight to my suitcases, but I didn't care. I wanted to try that Hair Water, even though I already have a 250mL bottle of Tsubaki Water from the Tsubaki Shining Water Gift Set, just so I have something to compare ^.^

I've already reviewed the Oshima Tsubaki Oil, so this is just a quick picture post :) I haven't used the Hair Water either, so I'm looking forward to it and will review after a good trial.

See my previous Oshima Tsubaki Oil post.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF50+ PA+++

Hubby only has 2 requirements for sunscreens. The first and most important is that he will put it on himself if and only if he cannot feel it on himself. Unfortunately, 98% of all the sunscreens out there fail this test (thank you, Nivea Sun Protect Water Gel SPF30 PA++ and Mentholatum Skin Aqua UV Moisture Gel SPF32 PA+++!). The second is that the sunscreen does not require an oil cleanser to be removed, because he will not be bothered to wash his face before getting into the shower, because he is going to wash his face in the shower already. He should, but does not care much for the SPF or the PA ratings and will happily wear the same sunscreen on his face and body. His lucky butt has normal skin, which does not get oily or sweaty. He doesn't sweat much on the body either (double lucky, urgh). 

My requirements for sunscreens are a bit different. On the body, SPF30 is okay since I dress conservatively to begin with. On my face, however, ever since my first venture into Japanese sunscreens, Sofina Perfect UV SPF 50 PA+++ Lucent, I have stopped settling for anything less than SPF50 PA+++ for daily use. With that in mind, I was scheming to get hubby to apply a stronger sunscreen on his face ^.^ It's incredible he is willing to put any sunscreen on himself to begin with (thank you thank you Nivea and Mentholatum!), yet here I was pushing my luck, trying to get him to use not one but two different sunscreens, one for his face and one for his body. Muahaha *evil shifty eyes, hands rubbing together* xD

So I read around on the same website with the awesome lists of best spring and summer sunscreens for 2011 and found this Best Pick post for Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF50+ PA+++. It immediately made its way into my shopping basket as a test-run candidate for hubby's stronger facial sunscreen mission. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Last Hoorah, Yokohama, Kanagawa (Picture Heavy!)

The Friday before we made our big move back to the US of A, our friends N., M., and K. took off from work to spend a day with us in Yokohama. Despite the melting heat and humidity, we walked all around town and had a blast. There were a few spots we wanted to visit, one of which was the Cup Noodles Museum, where you can create your own cup noodles to bring home as souvenir. However, when we got there at mid day, all the tickets were already sold out. It is August after all, the peak travel/vacation/tourist season in Japan. If you ever wanted to travel to Japan, avoid the entire month of August (and perhaps April, when the sakura blooms). Not only the heat and humidity would be at their highest, you will also be battling huge crowds and lines in addition to paying double or triple for everything (transportation, lodging, etc.). 

Anyway, so we went ahead and had lunch first at Keawjal. Yes, again. Hey, they had beer, and K. runs on beer so that was that. After lunch we turned to the next big attraction in town - the Yokohama 2012 Dinosaur Exhibition featuring specimens (replicas) from the best dinosaur museum in the country, the Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum

Kamatora Encore ^.^

Our last food delivery order in Japan was Kamatora, because their food is so yummy ^.^ (or should I cry?). Have to have something delicious to remember my time in Japan with, right? Got hubby to try my favorite, the Beef Stamina with Side Set B and it was heavenly!

The Beef Stamina comes with beef, snow peas, a quail egg, soft boiled egg, shiitake, boiled carrots and bamboo shoots. The Side Set B comes with marinated beef, teriyaki chicken, and kimchee. Soooo good.

Close ups of Beef Stamina and Side Set B ^.^

This is one person's portion. A good amount of food and we both were stuffed afterwards ^.^

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Dr.Ci:Labo Gold Lift and Super Moisture Sample Sets

While surfing around on Dr.Ci:Labo's official website, an ad for a Gold Lift Sample Set popped up onto my screen. In addition to the gel and the bb cream I already have from the Gold Lift Trial Set, this sample set had 2 other products in the Enrich-Lift range, all free with free shipping. Ooohh...interesting. So I followed the link and what do you know, there was not one but two different sample sets they were giving away, the second being the Super Moisture Sample Set with samples of 5 different products in the Super Moisture range. You bet I'd try them!!!

This ad popped up at me. The huge green button says, "Try it now, free of charge!" OKAY!!! They don't need to tell me twice :P

Since I was already registered with the website, all I had to do was click one button and that was that. I just checked the website again and these 2 free sample sets, and the Gold Lift Trial Set too, both with free shipping are still available, one each per household. So if you have a current Japanese address, quick, go get yours before they run out!!! ^.^

Gold Lift Sample Set

Super Moisture Sample Set
***Pictures from Dr.Ci:Labo JP.

Dr.Ci:Labo Gold Lift Set

Have you ever clicked on one of those pesky ads that appears on your emails, the blogs you read, the websites you surf, the online shop you browse, etc.? I never pay attention to any of them, until one caught my eyes, this free Dr.Ci:Labo Gold Lift Set with free shipping

My first reaction was that it was a scam. After all, they are giving away trial sized jar and tube of the new Aqua-Collagen-Gel Enrich-Lift-EX and BB Perfect Cream Enrich-Lift SPF35 PA++, in addition to a nice gold makeup pouch. They even listed the retail value of the set, 1,575yen (~US$20), and yet they're giving, and shipping, it to me for free? Why would they do that? I mean, sure, Fuji Film sold me the Astalift Moisture Trial Kit for only 500yen (~US$6) with free shipping, but at least I'm still paying something. Dr.Ci:Labo is going to just give this to me for nothing? 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief

Update Friday August 24, 2012.

After I finished up hubby's travel sized tube of Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel, I got him started on this GWP 0.5 oz./15mL jar of Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief. Hubby used to love this, and so did I. However, after the umpteenth GWP jar and a couple of full sizes (yes, despite my protest with the price tag I caved), we both got bored and branched out a bit to experiment. Fast forward a couple of years, we are ready to go back ^.^

Good stuff, I tell you. Very light but provides effective hydration. Absorbs very quickly and leaves behind no traces of itself, not even slight stickiness in this humid weather. No wonder hubby prefers it over everything else he's tried. I get bored easily though, so after this jar I will probably move on again.

Astalift Moisture Kit

Read about the Astalift skincare line from Rouge Deluxe (and she from Yumeko, who listed it among her HGs in one of her Friday photo memes) several weeks ago. Naturally, I got curious. What, a skincare line from Fuji Film? Cool. 

So I went to Fuji Film skincare website to check it out and stumbled onto this amazing trial set, Astalift Moisture Kit, which includes Lotion 30mL bottle, their star product Jelly Aquarysta 0.5g x 10 packets, and Day Protector White 0.7g packet. The best part? It was only 500yen (~US$6) with free shipping! I just had to sign up for membership with the website, pick a payment method, and it's mine. Of course the trade off is that they now have my demographic information in addition to email and (no longer active - ha!) Japanese snail mail address, but still, I scored! 

Left: Astalift Moisture Kit
Right: Astalift skincare regiment
 ***Picture from Fuji Film Skincare Japan.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel

Recently finished up my 0.5 fl oz./15 mL GWP tube of Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel and finally realized I still haven't reviewed it. I forgot to take a picture of it too prior to using :X Woopsidoo.

This is a supposedly lighter and gel-like version of the Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion that I used way back before the start of this blog. Figured it would be a nice and light gel for hubby, especially because it's unscented, but he didn't care much for it and only use a tiny dollop every now and then. So I *helped* him out a bit and ended up using most of it ^.^

***Picture from Clinique USA.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Elixir Superieur Travel Kit

When hubby and I visited Nagoya a few weekends ago, we stayed at a discounted hotel chain, the Hamilton Hotel Red - Nagoya, which was quite basic and decent in my opinion. There were no in-house restaurants or bar, just straight up nice and clean rooms for a decent price, which is really how most hotels should be. What else do you think is running up the tab for us travelers?

Anyway, aside from the room amenities, the hotel's front desk also has a small basket with these nifty Elixir Superieur Travel Kits for sale, 500yen (~US$6) each. Of course I had to buy one, and not because I didn't pack my own toiletries at all :P 

Elixir Superieur Travel Kit

The Body Shop Vitamin E Cream Exfoliator

Started using this Body Shop Vitamin E Cream Exfoliator a few weeks ago. I didn't expect much, given the Aloe Gentle Exfoliator was pretty much a slightly ticklish cream cleanser and so was pleasantly surprised when this Vitamin E one turns out to be more like the efficient Jack Black Face Buff Energizing Scrub, which I really enjoyed using ^.^

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

X-Girl Spring 2011 Collection Mook

This X-Girl Spring 2011 Collection was another mook I never got around to posting. It was an impulse buy at the time. When I looked back, I wasn't so excited about it anymore and so eventually I forgot it even existed. When I finally opened it up, I was pleasantly surprised to find a very nice denim tote bag inside. From the picture on the cover it didn't look anything special. In fact, it probably doesn't look anything special from the pictures I took either, so you'll just have to trust me that it's a lot nicer in real life than in pictures.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Croon a Song Meets Hello Kitty Spring 2011 Mook

Of course, moving house means unearthing things you've forgotten about for ages. My (hardly) skeleton in the closet includes a few magazines and mooks that I never got around to posting. So here goes.

First up is the Croon a Song Meets Hello Kitty Spring 2011 Mook, which comes with a black tote with white polka dots and charm.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

A Late Afternoon Stroll, Chiyoda, Tokyo

After our afternoon tea date at Ekki Bar & Grill on the 7th floor of the Four Seasons Hotel Marunouchi, hubby and I took a long walk around the area since I never get to see it and we'll be leaving Japan soon.

The grand Marunouchi entrance of Tokyo Station on a late and cloudy afternoon. Too bad it was partially closed up for maintenance and even then, hubby said it was almost entirely boarded up back a couple of months ago.

Walking around this area of Tokyo, I couldn't help but notice these sakura manhole covers. It seems each part of town does their own thing too as the ones in Yokohama have different designs. I wish the ones at home were as nice looking as these!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Afternoon Tea at Ekki Bar & Grill

In my Nagoya post I lamented about not knowing a place serving afternoon tea in Yokohama, and that I never go up to Tokyo in the afternoon to be around for afternoon tea. Well, I fixed that ^.^

I googled around found a fervent afternoon tea fan who's hell bent on visiting every venue in Tokyo that serves afternoon tea and documented each occasion on her blog. She gushed about her tea sessions at the Four Seasons Hotel Marunouchi in Tokyo, that their Ekki Bar & Grill served her some of the best afternoon tea in Tokyo, and in all the Four Seasons Hotels she'd been to around the world too for that matter. Okay, she sold me, so I booked a 3PM reservation this past Saturday and hubby gamely went along.

Going a bit off topic here, but the first time I went on the Four Seasons Hotel Marunouchi's website I started giggling uncontrollably - the hotel refers to itself as a "boutique hotel" on its very front page. Seriously? Is the Four Seasons anywhere a boutique hotel? Pffft, don't make me laugh! Oh wait, they already did.

Left: the entrance to the Four Seasons Hotel Marunouchi, Tokyo
Right: hallway outside Ekki Bar & Grill on the 7th floor

Friday, August 17, 2012

Ojori (Korean Cuisine) Part II

Went back to Ojori middle of last week for lunch with Mrs. H. (whom we now endearingly call K.-obasan) who was mum-in-law's college roommate. We wanted to see her one last time prior to leaving Japan but couldn't arrange to spend a day with her family at Zushi where she lives. I had to work, and so do her 3 sons. When we found out she loves Korean food, we thought getting together for lunch would still be better than not seeing each other at all.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Canmake Whip Mousse Lip

You think I'd leave Japan without getting a hold of these Canmake Whip Mousse Lips? Ha! As if I'd pass up a multi-purpose lip/cheek cream color! These are brand new releases as of July, and they are available in 3 colors, 01 Raspberry Red02 Honey Orange, and 03 Misty Peach

Canmake Whip Mousse Lips in 01 Raspberry Red, 02 Honey Orange, and 03 Misty Peach.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Mini September 2012

Mini September 2012 issue comes with a MilkFed x Peanuts tote and zipper pouch set. I have to admit this was an impulse buy. I saw this online and it looks meh, but Snoopy tricked me anyway.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

With August 2012

With August 2012 issue came with a Clear Impression x Disney thermal lunch tote and bottle case set. Although I've never needed a thermal lunch bag before, I suddenly needed one now, especially when  it's white polka dots Mini Mouse print on black background. Yes, I should have grown out of this phase at least two decades ago. No, I don't care if you laugh at me. How can I ever resist Mini Mouse and polka dots at the same time?

Monday, August 13, 2012

More August 2012

Finally picked up a couple of magazines since the last May issue of Liniere. This issue of More August 2012 comes with a Ray Beams x Peanuts mini tote, and Snoopy has a sneaky way of tricking me ^.^

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Keawjal (Thai Cuisine) Part III

Had to take care of somethings in the Minato Mirai area and so stopped by Keawjal for lunch. Haven't been there for ages, and I'm talking about at least half a year!

My noodles lunch set with fried rice, salad, and dessert.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Skin Aqua UV Moisture Gel SPF32 PA+++

I ran out of the 80g Nivea Sun Protect Water Gel SPF30 PA++ bottle a couple of weeks ago and moved on to this 2012 reformulation of the Skin Aqua UV Moisture Gel I started using in 2009

This new formula marks an important change in the sunscreen, making it photostable in addition to offering slightly better protection with SPF32 and PA+++ (the old formula had SPF27 and PA++). Supposedly, the feel of the sunscreen changed as well, and the big round sticker on the lower half of the outer packaging gasps, "It's just like lotion!" By lotion they meant toner, and remember that Asian made toners are seldom runny water but instead more viscous like a runny gel. The hygienic and nicely sized 150g pump bottle supposedly retails for 1,260yen and the 130g refill pouch 1,050yen, but you can get it for cheaper. I got mine for 945yen and 745yen, respectively, and I'm sure some places have them for even cheaper.

Skin Aqua UV Moisture Gel SPF32 PA+++ 150g pump bottle and 130g refill pouch

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Canmake Candy Wrap Lip Part II

I was totally giddy to get my hands on the new releases of Canmake Candy Wrap Lip, especially when in pictures 07 Hot Marmalade looks very much like a yellow based red versus the blue based red that is 04 Strawberry Lady. I was so excited I didn't even play with the tester, wanting to reserve the element of surprise when I get home. Totally dorky, I know :P

Canmake Candy Wrap Lips in 07 Hot Marmalade and 08 Pomegranate Jam

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