Friday, October 29, 2010

BB Cream and All in one make-up tubes

This cream taken the other side of the globe by storm last couple of years.  I hadn't learned about this until recently.  It has not been thoroughly sold in the U.S. market yet, but you can find this cream online.  You can also find some BB cream now from local Korean and Japanese cosmetic counters, but the choice might be still limited at this point. 

What is BB Cream? Why is it the hottest beauty product in the Asian market now?  Here is what I learned:
BB stands for "Blemish Balm" and have said originated in Germany as an ointment dermatologists initially used it to help laser surgery patients protect, soothe and regenerate their highly sensitive skin while also providing good coverage for post-laser scars and redness.

Popular Korean celebrities were the first to start using the cream for beauty purposes,  then the beauty trend has now spread from Korea to Japan to South East Asia and is quickly making its way to Europe and the USA.   BB cream protects the skin and correct skin tone, and simultaneously offer as a  make up base or foundation, serving as a multi-effect product. There are many brands now available on the market, to learn more about BB cream brands and how to apply it,  You can read the details from this website about BB cream .

My friend bought me this cream from Hong Kong recently.  She told me this was about US$38 or so. 
Although the color seemed dark when I squeezed the cream out, it actually blends very well with my skin.  I am fair to medium with yellow/pink tone.  It's very easy to spread the cream out.  I felt the moisture and instantly lifted my skin and moisturized it at the same time. Best of all, it doesn't have any fragrance.

Although it did not cover all my dark spots but it did cover some of the blemishes and redness.  It gives me a glowing, more even tone and I feel my face is packed with moisture all day long.   I also like the fact that it has SPF 36 so that I did not have to worry about the sunscreen protection.  This is truly nice to have to go out without feeling naked on days I don't feel like putting on make up.  You are supposed to wash and clean it off as make up before going to bed.   It is  in my opinion a necessity when it comes to beauty product.  I will definitely purchase this again.

I had my heart set on this when I saw this from Real Simple magazine.  It has all the things you need for eye make up. This one comes with eyeliner, highligter and eye shadow.  It's small to pack to go anywhere.

All in one eye make-up tube, $17

They also have one for lips, which comes with lip liner, lipstick and lip gloss.  I like them because I can have everything in one small pouch and not carry so many cosmetics with me when traveling..

 All in one lip make-up tube, $17

For more information, you can check out this wanderlovebeauty website.

If you are a fan of Shiseido skin care products, or wanted to try out their products, there are great gifts with purchase offered at Macy's and Nordstrom's this season.  I got my GWP from Macy's and I think they are offering better deal then Nodrstrom.  I am trying out their White Lucent line.  The GWP still available this week and while supplies last.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Dim Sum at Koi Palace鯉魚門

We were at this nice restaurant for some dim sum last week.  It was considered an upscale restaurant.  It provided a modern and nice feeling once we entered the restaurant.

Koi Garden
4288 Dublin Blvd.
Dublin, CA 94508
(925) 833-9090

The dim sum here was a little pricier compared to other dim sum places in the area.  Since there were only two of us, we only ordered a few dishes that were not commonly found in other dim sum places.

Stir fried raw sweet rice

Fried durian pastry - Sweet creamy durian wrapped and deep fried in golden brown flaky pastry.

Duck pancake - shredded duck, cucumbers,scallion wrapped in fried pancake, served with hoisin sauce.

 X.O. sauce shrimp dumpling

 Fried taro cake

Shark fin dumpling in chicken soup

Our total bill came up to $38 plus tips.  We were actually full and took home the left over of sweet rice and a piece of taro cake. We were disappointed with the sweet rice as it lacked sufficient taste.  The shark fin was not intact and only a small amount was found in the soup.  It was not as tasty as we thought it should have been.   Other than that, the rest of the dim sum was quite good.  

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Cleaning Out The Refrigerator

I have been wanting to clean my refrigerator for awhile.  The weather has been up and down these past few weeks.  The temperature would soar up to 90 degree at some points, then lower to 65 on other days.  It has been much cooler these past few days.  I decided to start my my fall cleaning today.  The task for today is to work on my refrigerator (this has been way overdue for some months).

Clean out the freezer side first

 Store frozen goods in a bin; toss any unused or expired frozen food

Wash refrigerator with warm soapy water, then rinse with clean water with another cloth.

Once done, store back the frozen goods immediately

 Now, clean out the refrigerator side

Put all goods in a bin, toss any unused or expired items

Put items back into the refrigerator
It took me three hours to clean the refrigerator.  It's best to remove all shelves and bins from the refrigerator because you will be surprised what went behind the shelves.  It is also easy to clean any sticky stains that have been there for a long time.  For a harder to clean area, you might want to soak the area with warm soapy water for few minutes before cleaning it to make it easier on yourself.  Put in half of lemon and baking soda in both sides of the refrigerator; it will help eliminate the refrigerator odors.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Southern California - Lincoln Plaza Garden, Monterey Park

We had our brunch at this dim sum place called Lincoln Plaza Garden the next morning.  The restaurant was located inside a hotel.  It opens bright and early morning at 7:30 am.  When we got there, it was already 10 o'clock, there was no line but many customers already  inside the restaurant. 

Lincoln Plaza Garden林肯海鮮酒家
123 S. Lincoln Ave.
Monterey Park, CA  91755
(626) 571-0018
What was amazing about this place was they have great selection of dim sum and their price was also unbeatable.  Every dim sum was only $1.80 per plate regardless of its size.  They were all steaming hot and delicious.

Even the roasted duck was only $1.80 each plate.

These noodle wraps were so fresh that the fried doughs were still crunchy inside the soft noodle wraps, accompanied by sweet soy sauce.

Fried twin doughs wrapped with wide noodle sheet

Minced beef over rice with dark soysauce

 Beef tripes (top left),  Ha Gow (steamed shrimp dumpling, front)

Pork wrapped with bean curd skin

 Steamed shrimp tofu and stuffed bell peppers 

 Fried taro cakes, stuffed with pork and chives

All kinds of baked buns

We usually don't ordered buns at dim sum place as it would fill us up eaily.  We rather have more other dim sum.  These were pineapple buns stuffed with pork or chicken, which the top layers of the buns were more crunchy.  They are different than cha siu bao (pork bun) type of buns.  The sizes of the bun were big.  Although these buns were good, but they tasted too sweet to be stuffed with meat.I would prefer to get the standard kind of pineapple buns without any filling.

These huge fried doughs just came out from the kitchen.  The honey and oil were still dripping on the plate.  Nowadays it's hard to get them freshly made!
Fried twisted doughs with honey

We were so happy with the price and food that we even ordered some buns to go.  This is definitely a place to visit again.  Whenever you go to dim sum place, remember to always have some hot tea, the darker the better to help burn off the calories from these greasy food.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

San Diego - Extraordinary Desserts

The waiter at Buon Apetito told us the Extraordinary Desserts closed very late at night.  We went there after dinner.  Look at the modern design of the front. 

Extraordinry Desserts
1430 Union Street
San Diego, CA  92101
(619) 294-7001

Luscious cakes decorated with edible flowers

 There were plenty of sitting area inside.

 See the price of each dessert? $8.50 per slice, really pricey.

Even though these desserts look so beautiful and delicious, we were just too full to try any of them.  We left and drove back to Los Angeles and stayed at the luxurious place for another night.

Monday, October 11, 2010

San Diego - Buon Apetito Restaurant

We had traveled to San Diego several times in the past.  We loved the vicinity of the area.  We spotted this big and white church along the freeway..  This is a Mormon church as I later found out.

  I love the scenic drive along the freeway.

I wanted to go to Little Italy again for several reasons. One was to buy some art supplies which I couldn't find from our local store. Secondly I wanted to visit a place called Extraordinary Desserts because I heard they have beautiful desserts there.  My daughter also wanted me to buy some pastries there to bring home. .

We went to the same places we visited last time for pastries first, then went across street to get some art supplies.   There was no line at Buon Apetito, so we decided to have our dinner there again.  We ordered something different but one of my usual whenever I was at a Italian restaurant.

Here's Buon Apetito's menu in case you want to know what these are:

My favorite - Cioppino

Orrecchiette alla Barese

Cognilio alla Mamma Pina

Caspesante al Porcini

My favorite was the first one (Cioppino) and the last one (scallops with porcini mushrooms).  The second and third one (braised rabbit which tasted like chicken) I wasn't too excited about it.   We were really full with the addition of the freshly baked bread.  We needed a walk to burn off the calories and it was a nice day to walk a few blocks to Extraordinary Desserts.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Luxurious Living in Southern California

After the hot and spicy meal at the Korean restaurant, we drove to our relative's place and stayed there for the night.   We had stayed at this luxurious condominium previously, but I never had a chance to take pictures of the place before.  Let's begin with the tour of this resort style place which offers a 24 hours full service amenities.

A valet parking service was provided for visitors at the front of the condominium.  We dropped off our car at the front and walked into the grand lobby.  The first thing we saw was a 24 hours concierge desk and relaxing area where you can unwind at anytime.  There was a cappucino machine with which you can make your own gourmet coffee.  All sorts of tea bags and cocoa also provided at the lounge area.

On the other side of the lobby, there was a pathway to the pool.  The pool area had all the fancy amenities, including jacuzzi, cabanas, outdoor terrace with BBQ grill and lounge area.

Located on the second floor, there was a  recreation lounge, kitchen, library and gym.  There was also a guest suite which you can reserve and pay ahead of time.

The view inside the condominium was spectacular.  It was built with floor to ceiling glass wrapping along the corners for maximizing the outside views.  To respect the privacy of the owner, I did not post the interior of the place. It was just nice to stay in a lavish place like this.  Here is a slideshow I made to show off the fabulous building, just so you can get a better idea of the place.
Click to play this Smilebox slideshow

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Mirak Korean Restaurant, Los Angeles

From USC, we drove to Korean town and stumbled on this hot pot style Korean restaurant. 
1134 S. Western Ave.
Los Angeles, CA

As soon as we walked in, we felt compelled to try the Korean style hot pot, for almost every table had ordered it.  The place was so busy when we arrived.  The friendly atmosphere suggested that it was a family-run restaurant.  We waited awhile to be seated and were given a menu.

A waitress finally came and showed us how to order.  Apparently the place is famous for its goat meat stew.  For small hot pot it was $15 per person.  We ordered the bigger hot pot that was good for two people.  It was more than enough for the three of us.  As we conversed with the waitress, she told us that the stew was cooked with goat meat and spices for one whole day, then they deboned it and meat was served with the stew on the table.  It came with fresh green vegetables.  More vegetables were available for an extra charge of $5.

We also received traditional Korean kimchi as well as other salty side dishes.

Boiling spicy goat meat stew

After we finished eating the meat and vegetables, we still had some soup left in the pot.  Our waitress poured most of the soup out onto three bowls for us to drink.  We were so afraid that it would be too spicy to drink it.  She had told us it's good for us.  So we took small sips; it wasn't as spicy hot as we thought.  It was quite salty, but it tasted delicious.

Look at this; it was so red and looked so spicy, but it wasn't that bad!

There was still some soup left in the pot; she added some white rice and started to fry it with  kimchi.  She left the heat on while the fried rice cooked in the pot for awhile.  We were not sure if it was supposed to be left to cook like this or we should serve ourselves while it was still hot.   We waited for awhile, then another waitress came and mixed up the rice and left it like this again. 

At this point we assumed we should wait until they came to serve us.  We had to get one of the waitresses when we saw that it started to burn, and she scooped the fried rice into rice bowls like this.

We were really full because of the stew, but we felt we still had to try the rice.  It was moist and salty.  I assumed it was fried with sticky rice and kimchi.  Our waitress was very friendly and told us there were only two restaurants in the area that served goat meat stew.  It was a fun experience and a very different way to eat hot pot, compared to Chinese-style hot pot.  Overall, if you like spicy food, this is a place to try for fun.