Thursday, February 19, 2015

Sephora Birthday Gift 2015: NARS

This year Sephora is offering two NARS lip pencils for free on your birthday. You just have to be a Beauty Insider, which you can sign up for free on their website.

The NARS lip pencil includes a bold velvet matte lip pencil in cruella and a satin lip pencil in Rikugien, rose pink color.

Check it out!

Sephora NARS lip pencil birthday gift
NARS lip pencil from Sephora
Inside: Two Lip pencil one in rose pink and another in velvet matte
Inside: Two Lip pencil
one in rose pink and another in velvet matte
Enjoy! Happy Birthday
Enjoy! Happy Birthday

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Last minute planning. What to do on Valentine's Day?

The city of Davis, also known for their UC Davis campus, has an Arboretum that runs along the side of Putah Creek, estimating about a 3-mile distance.

It was interesting to see that the students here in Davis started a trend of love locks on the small fence of the overpass bridge, similar to the London bridges. This would be a great place to take your significant other here to place a love lock on the fence. It may be silly but this is a great valentine day spot if you still have not decided what to do yet.

Love Locks

Love locks

Davis Arboretum

Thursday, February 12, 2015

New Orleans Style Coffee

With the ever-growing growing love of coffee, many variations have emerged. There's the pumpkin spice latte, caramel macchiato, and flat white to name a few. But Blue Bottle company opened up their shop to recreate the love of pure roasted coffee. They focus on taste and aroma of high quality coffee beans. 

If you have not tried Blue Bottle Coffee, you will definitely need to take a visit. Blue Bottle emerged from the Bay Area in Oakland and is now seen in parts of San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, and even one cafe in Tokyo, Japan.

Blue Bottle Coffee
Blue Bottle Logo
Blue Bottle Coffee
Take it home with you
A first-timers must-try is the New Orleans iced coffee. You will thank me for recommending this to you.You may ask for soy milk as alternative if you choose.

They also have their brew coffees and lattes if you want a hot drink instead. If you're a busy person and need one on the go, they also sell coffee in a carton.

New Orleans Iced Coffee
New Orleans Iced Coffee

Wall Decor

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

LA Bound: Mini Trip Day 2

Foodie Day 2
A day trip visit to Little Tokyo and Koreatown. The weather was just as hot as the day before.

Cool lantern decor

Hello Kitty
Always a hello kitty when you're around Japan
We stopped by the Lette store for some macarons. The store really knows how to attract their customers with the popping colors.

Awesome wall decor
Sample display
More display
I bought some for a treat back home. I believe it was 6 macarons for $11. Pretty good deal.

Lette Macarons
A very white box
It wasn't my intention but the macarons I chose turned out to be really beautiful in terms of the range of colors. The macarons were soft and chewy and the filling were not too sweet.

Lette Macarons --- From left to right: Hazelnut, columbian coffee, pistachio, earl grey, rose, passion fruit
From left to right: Hazelnut, columbian coffee, pistachio, earl grey, rose, passion fruit
We headed off to Daikokuya, that was right around the corner across the street. The place was very small so the wait was at least an hour long. This was a popular ramen place in Little Tokyo.

Daikokuya Ramen
Really hot in here! Why no AC?
Started the meal with an appetizer of fried gyoza for $5.95. They were perfectly pan-fried to a golden brown topped with green onions and it contained pork and vegetables.

Fried Gyoza
Fried gyoza
I ordered a daikoku ramen combo, which came with a side of cabbage salad and a small plate of fried rice for a total of $12.95. The salad was great with their special secret dressing but I wasn't a fan of the choice of vegetables they used...cabbage.

Cabbage Salad
Cabbage Salad
The fried rice was mixed with onions, green onions, egg, corn, imitation crab, and chopped chashu pork. It may not look like it, but this was one of the best fried rice I ever had.

Fried Rice
Fried rice
This is the store's famous tonkotsu soup base. Their soup based has their secret blended soy sauce, boiled chijire style egg noodles topped with kurobuta pork belly chashu, marinated boiled egg, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts and sprinkled with green onions and sesame seeds. The ramen was delicious and their creamy broth was great.

Tonkotsu Ramen

We did a quick stop at Koreatown and browsed around. There wasn't much so we decided to head out to our next destination which was a bit farther out, about an hour and half drive to Irvine spectrum, which is an outdoor shopping mall.

Nice rest place

Beautifully built fountain
More fountain
Carousel for the little ones
We did some light shopping. I didn't expect to see a ferris wheel in the mall.

It was my first time going on it as I'm dreadfully scared of heights! I believe the ride was $4 per ride.

Ferris Wheel
Gigantic ferris wheel
Ferris Wheel

Ferris Wheel

I'm not sure if I can ever go on another one...eek. 

Irvine Spectrum
Irvine Spectrum Light Sculpture
The last meal of the day ended up being the best meal ever for the entire trip. It was to Boiling Point. They serve individual Taiwanese hot pot. Each pot cost around $12.99 or $16.99, depending on the flavor of broth.

The beef hot pot was served with napa veggy, beef slices, enoki mushroom, tomato, firm tofu, tempura, corn, meatball, kamaboko, fired tofu skin, and imiation crab stick. It comes with vermicelli or rice.

Beef Hot Point
Beef Pot
The seafood and tofu pot that I chose comes with pork slices, enoki mushroom, iced tofu, calamari, clam, cuttlefish ring, fish fillet, and Foochow fishball. This also comes with either vermicelli or rice.

Seafood and Tofu Hotpot
Seafood and Tofu Pot
Boiling Point has a variety of drinks and desserts to choose from. I'm not much of a drink person so I opt for water. As for dessert, they had macaron ice cream, which looked delicious. We didn't get it because we were going to go to Milk on day 3. I sort of regret not trying it. Instead, we tried their snow cube.

It was $0.69 each, 3 for $1.99, or 5 for $3.25. They come in these flavors: strawberry, sesame, matcha, chocolate, Hokkaido with brown sugar konjac.

I'm not a big fan of these snow cubes. They taste like hard flavored ice cubes. Even though the presentation and concept was good.

Snow Cube
Left to right: Matcha, strawberry, and matcha flavor
Highlights of Day 2:

  • Little Tokyo
  • Koreatown
  • Irvine Spectrum
  • Boiling Point

Check out:
LA Bound: Mini Trip Day 1
LA Bound: Mini Trip Day 3
LA Bound: Mini Trip Day 4

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

LA Bound: Mini Trip Day 1

I am back my fellow bloggers! I just came back from my trip to Seattle, you can see it here (when I post it). I completely skipped out on my post for the Christmas holidays which I will make up for hopefully. The good news is that I have a few trips a couple months back to share and will be posting them regularly.

Around September, I had a mini trip to the city of Los Angeles. It was four days of fun. First day was the 626 night market, followed by little Tokyo and Koreatown on the second day, relaxing at the beach and going to the city of Irvine on the third day, and a visit to Griffith observatory on the last.

LA Bound: Mini Trip Day 1
It's been quite some time since I flew on the plane so I was mucho excited.

Ready for take off
Leaving the bay
To infinity and beyond
First meal of the day
Here's our ride for the next couple of days. A very nice white car. Our first stop was our hotel for checking in.

Toyota Corolla 2014
Our Hotel
The fun begins at the 626 Night Market! I believe this is only the 3rd annual event that they had, so it's relatively new. Its comparable to Eat Real Fest in the Bay, except more Asian fusion delicacies. You can check out the vendors here. There's so many to count. To name a few that I did try: Miister Potato, Miniyaki Fusion Grill, Tastea, Main Squeeze ~

The admission fee was $3 per person, a good price for the entire day.

626 Night Market
626 Night Market
Front Gate
At this point, the weather was so hot that I didn't have much of an appetite.

Thai BBQ
Thai BBQ
Miister Potato
Lemonade and Potatoes!
I tried the miister potato stand and got myself a sour and cream flavored twisted potato chips. There's something about potatoes on a stick that makes it mouth-watering. I got to say that the ones in Santa Cruz beach boardwalk are still the best. They are bigger portion and you can add any flavor you want and how much you want. Miister potato sold it as one flavor and it was a bit soggy. Sorry!

Twisted Potatoes
Coffee & Tea, not good for a very hot day...
Boba Bear
Gotta have boba. Notice mason jars everywhere
Ramen Burger
Ramen burger!
Flipping burgers
The ramen burger will be mentioned later in the blog. The hot weather made it hard to have an appetite for anything sizzling.

The cotton candy stand was pretty entertaining. The cotton candy were creatively crafted into a shape of a flower or a top with different shades of colors. Too bad I'm not much of a cotton candy eater.

Cotton Candy
Unique cotton candy
Another cool stand was the nitro pop. Popcorn made with nitrogen. I didn't try it but I assumed it tasted like cold popcorn?

Nitro Pop
Nitrogen popcorn...interesting
Popcorn rotating in nitrogen -- live demo
Dragon Whisker Candy
Dragon Whisker Candy
I couldn't pass up the chance to try some dragon whiskers, even the name sounds cool. 

Live demo!
They have strawberry flavor
We bought a box to try. It was good but the size of it was very small, not a lot of filling in it. I definitely tried better ones.

I tried the peach me sweetea, it was nice and refreshing for the hot day. Thanks Tastea!

Peach Me Sweetea
We pass by several takoyaki stands and finally decided on this one.

More Takoyki
Working the grill
Sizzling Takoyaki
I'm really disappointed in both the takoyaki and okonomiyaki, it wasn't that great. Both were a bit raw, must have been because they had to make them quick to feed all the hungry customers.

Mediterranean Kebab House
Fermented Tofu
Stinky...fermented tofu!
We came back the second round to try out the main squeeze, by this time the long grew longer than before. Since it was getting darker, they added some light effects to the bottled jar. How fun and festive!

Main Squeeze
Main Squeeze Lemonade!
Putting in the light
Awesome drink! Strawberry lemonade
As mentioned, we walked back to the ramen burger stand to try it out. I could smell the beef patties as I waited in long. The burger was good but nothing too crazy about.

Flipping patties
Flipping ramen
Ramen Burger
Voila, a ramen burger
After grubbing, we saw that there were lots of other vendors selling merchandises. I also snagged some free earphones sponsored by AT&T for playing a game app about a bunny catching moon cakes. Cute.

Carved-in design iphone cases
Pokemon Art
Gotta Catch'em All
Hip Hop Dance Performance
Cute Minions
We walk by a flower souvenir stand. These flowers were called forever love flowers. They are very low maintenance to take care of and can live without water for a long time. They are specially made through a drying process that allows these flowers to close when there's moisture and open when dry.
I couldn't help but buy one and they were 40% discounted! Great deal! You can check out their site here. If you're wondering which one I got, its the M smush with purple and white flowers.

Forever Love Flowers
Forever love flowers
Aren't they gorgeous?
Beautiful colors
Great for valentine's day
The night market was a great place to try food and to take a night walk. If I lived in Southern California, I would definitely visit annually.

After the night market, we headed off for a midnight snack at Half & Half. I got the green tea since I was pretty full already. I love the drink but was really disappointed in the food and shaved ice.

Half and Half Tea House
Half & Half Tea House
Green Tea
Forgot what this was, some kind of Taiwanese noodles
Not the shaved ice we expected it to be, but it was huge
Complimentary dessert
Highlights of Day 1:
  • 626 Night Market
  • Half & Half Tea House

Check out:
Foodie Day 2
Foodie Day 3
Foodie Day 4
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