It never fails

IMG_6919(Taal Lake, Philippines)

I’ve noticed that every time I return home from a trip abroad, I always get sick. It’s most likely from the plane trips and schedule changes (time zones) but I always seem to catch a cold even though I load up on Emergen-C packets and Airbone tabs before the flight and during the flight.

Well, I’m sick again and I’m dosing myself with oil of oregano (people say it tastes nasty but to me, it tastes like pizza sauce minus the tomatoes) and a mixture of water with several drops of Peppermint Cure:

ricqles-peppermint-cureI picked this up in Hong Kong for $31 HKD. I wanted to get this last time I was there but didn’t so I got it this time around. Before knowing what this stuff was, I mainly drawn to the old school packaging and bottle. It just looks like it was found inside a time capsule. It’s supposed to help relieve stomach issues and headaches but I feel like it can’t hurt if I use it for colds just because it’s minty and smells refreshing.

OH and here’s a useful tip: It’s about 2 oz and even though it’s 80 % alcohol (it does look like airplane liquor), I removed it from the box and put it in my TSA clear liquids baggie with no problems.

I was only in HK for 2 days. Believe it or not, I only visited ONE Sasa store and for about 10 minutes since it was right before closing. I only got a few items (Biore sunscreen and Heroine Make mascara) since I got a ton of makeup on my last visit in December so I didn’t really need any new items. Our stay in HK was supposed to just be one day but we didn’t make it on our Sunday flight since it was overbooked so we tried for Monday and made it on. The bulk of the trip was spent in the Philippines where I saw my parents again, met up with my relatives from Hawaii and attended the 50th wedding anniversary/ceremony of my uncle (mom’s brother) and auntie. We were only there for a week and every single day was jam packed with activities. We really had no “rest day” on this “vacation”. We even did stuff up until we were dropped off at the airport. There was no such thing as leisure time or sleeping in. More like staying up late and waking up at the butt crack of dawn every day. The only “real” sleeping in I’ve done was in HK when I woke up at a late 8am!

IMG_7126Reunited with my Hawaii family!

Since I knew we’d have limited time in HK, my only real goals were to eat at Ichiran ramen again and take a picture at each stop on the MTR Island line. Happy to say I accomplished my goals:

IMG_7335Level 16 spiciness at Ichiran (Causeway Bay). You can go up to level 10 for free but 11-20 level is an extra $10 HKD. In December I tried level 10 and decided that I can go higher. This time, I settled on 16x spicier even though I wanted to do 20x. 16x was decently spicy but because there was so much chili powder, it made the soup a bit gritty and I didn’t like that. The soup was still very delicious. I don’t know if I’ll go up to 20x if I ever go back because of the grittiness. Still, my favorite ramen I’ve ever had. We even had Butao ramen the next day (I ordered their spicy Red King ramen) and it was “meh” in comparison.

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Here is a collage of all the MTR Island Line stops in order from the Chai Wan station located on the eastern side of Hong Kong Island westward to Sheung Wan. This was accomplished by getting off at each station, snapping a quick picture (all shots are one take except for Central since we were hanging around that area beforehand) and jumping back inside the train before the door closed. It was a little tricky because we had to snap the photo before it became too congested with people. If I knew I’d be staying in HK longer, I would’ve brought coordinating outfits to match with each station. That’ll be my next goal.

 

To Serve Man (and YES Galactic in Pearl)

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My Pee-Wee Herman babies, the “Galactic” by YES in Pearl. On the website, it looks like a pearly white patent but they’re actually a dingy pearly white. Still, they’re very cool. I am so going to find me a grey blazer to wear with my grey pants and do a Pee-Wee Herman look with these shoes. If only I had permission to stand up on a bar counter and dance to Tequila.

(see my red “Galactic” shoes here)

So lucky to have gotten these shoes on sale because last week, Solestruck had this March Madness thing going on where people got to vote online for the shoe brands they wanted on sale. It started off at 30% off with 4 winners and from those 4 winners, 2 were going to be at 40% off then between those two, one brand would be sold at 50% off. During the 40% off voting, it was between Miista and YES and I was voting the shit out of YES the whole day (well, not the WHOLE day) and for a while it was in the solid lead then all of a sudden the votes for YES were not registering and Miista votes started coming up out of nowhere. Even in the poll comments, people were complaining that they couldn’t get any YES votes in. Strange, right?

So anyway, Miista became the winning brand (though, unfairly I may add) but there was a “glitch” and the website suddenly switched the winner to YES and I jumped on it immediately and ordered the shoes. Out of curiosity, 20 minutes after ordering, I checked on Solestruck to see if YES was still the winner but they switched it back to Miista, while YES back to full price…so score!!

Speaking of sales, this dvd box set of the entire Twilight Zone (including the hour-long season 4 episodes) was on sale on Amazon so B ordered it over the weekend and it arrived today. What’s your favorite episode?

 

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Smelly Trees and Nail Polish

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Yesterday while out and about, I noticed a small walkway of trees with pretty white blossoms so we decided to walk through it and snap some photos. The closer I got to the trees, I started to smell something awful. It smelled rotten or rancid like unwashed body parts or old food. Turns out the smell was coming from the trees. It reminded me of high school and how there were these bushes around one of the buildings and every spring the blossoms would emit this really nasty odor that many have likened to “that time of the month” smell that some people have (disclaimer: I have never encountered that sort of smell on a person before). I personally thought the bushes smelled like the rubber soles on cheap canvas shoes.

 

On a lighter note, here are some nail polishes I’ve worn recently. I try to make an effort to take a picture of each new paint job but that is not always the case.

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Essie “Fashion  Playground” from their 2014 spring collection. The color in the bottle shows flecks of silver shimmer but on my nails, it barely (if at all) showed up. I like this mint green shade because it is dustier than the bright, fresh pastel mints I’ve seen in the previous years.

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Wet n Wild “Too Hot For You” spring 2014 shade. I haven’t gotten a WnW polish in a while and they’ve changed their brush. It’s wider and the formula on this was pretty nice and smooth. For a pearly shade, there were no visible brush strokes, yay! It is a nice punchy pearly almost-neon red coral.

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REVIEW: Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pink Transformer

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I’m finally getting around to talking about this product that I got in Hong Kong back in December. I started using it a few weeks ago because I wanted to see how it worked. I mainly got it for a sunscreen because it was decently priced (I don’t remember how much it cost but I believe it was under $10 US). Currently this product isn’t sold in the US, otherwise the Youtube beauty community will be ALL OVER IT the way they were ALL OVER the Maybelline Baby Skin Pore Eraser when it was released stateside beginning of the year.

I don’t believe their claims that my skin will be transformed in 4 weeks; I was mainly drawn to the the small portable size and the decent spf and the illuminating properties.

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It is a pale pink lotion with a pearly finish. Think Benefit High Beam or Revlon Skinlights illuminator.

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It is supposed to leave your skin baby pink and fairer. As you can see the top of my hand does look a bit pink.

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Here it is on my face complete with my nervous “i have no makeup on” face (side note: I hate taking selfies!!!!!! It makes me feel so awkward). The effect is very subtle. It doesn’t leave my face pink and fair (I’m nowhere near pale but I can imagine on already fair skinned pink toned faces, I can see this product enhancing that) but it does leave a slight highlighted finish (bleh–not so noticeable in the photo). I can get the same effect if I mixed one of those liquid illuminators with my face sunscreen.

As far as texture goes, it feels like a creamy lotion. I much prefer the texture of my face sunscreen to be milky and liquid (like Shiseido sunscreens–my favorite) because they’re extremely lightweight.

Also I kind of stopped using this because I think it might have congested my skin around my chin area and am going back to using my other sunscreen I picked up in HK.

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Boots Botanics Shine Away Ionic Clay Mask

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Here is another item I received in my Influenster J’adore VoxBox. I got a nice-sized sample of Boots Botanics Ionic Clay Mask. It’s supposed to keep your oily skin shine-free.

I only tried this once so I can’t really say if this did anything to improve or help my skin. I do have really oily skin and I am breakout prone. The current masks that I use are Aztec Secret (mixed with Braggs ACV) and Queen Helene Mint Julep mask…oh wait, I got a new mask last month by Freeman because I read a blog where this gal said she liked it loads better than Queen Helene and I loved her straightforward no-BS blogging style so I had to give that mask a try.

I love clay masks because I want to believe that it’s pulling out all the breakout causing crap out of my skin and I like how clay feels (gah, for the longest time when I was about 10-11 I wanted to own a potter’s wheel and a kiln) but I haven’t noticed any great improvements really. It doesn’t do anything bad to my skin either (no new breakouts or redness or anything) but I do believe that in some cases that some pimples shrink a bit which is why I continue to use these products.

Anyway, back to the Boots mask. When I first opened the tube, it poured out all over my arm. I didn’t realize it was liquidy. I re-capped it and shook it well because I thought that it was just product separation (the Queen Helene mint mask sometimes does that) but after I shook it to death, it was still pretty liquidy so it maybe the mask is really that way OR I just got a dud.

It has no noticeable smell and it’s a dark gray-green color that dries to a minty green. It wasn’t super tight on my face, it dried relatively quickly and washed off very easily (a plus!). I used it at night so I can’t really speak for the shine-away properties because I applied my regular moisturizer afterward. Good thing is that I didn’t break out the next day so I guess I like it because it is similar to the other masks I already use. Would I buy a full size? No, because at almost $10 for a full sized tube, I can get a tub of Aztec Secret for about $6 that will last me years. I’m actually almost finished with my first tub that I got back in 2008. Granted, I didn’t use it regularly but it did last a while!

(I received this product complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes)

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Kale, Brussels and Bacon = MMMM

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I haven’t done a food video in a while. I made a really easy warm salad using brussels sprouts, dino kale and chopped bacon. I dressed it with salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar and garnished with shredded parm.

Ingredients:

- one bunch of dino kale, de-stemmed and torn into bite sized pieces

- a pound of brussels sprouts, sliced thin until it resembles shreds (Trader Joes sells a bag of shredded brussels if you’re so inclined)

- half a package of any bacon you like. Chop them into small pieces

- evoo, salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar

- shredded parmesan

Heat up skillet. Add bacon and fry until crispy. Set aside. Using the bacon fat still in the skillet, add the brussels and sautee 1-2 minutes. Add the kale and toss together until it’s wilted. It shouldn’t take longer than 3 minutes. The longest part of the cooking process is frying the bacon.

Transfer to a serving dish, drizzle with a bit of balsamic and season with salt and pepper. Top with bacon bits. Serve with grated or shredded parm on top!

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Happy International Womens Day

mlp(this was the closest, most recent picture of me with other “women”)

 

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Nail Polish Spam

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IMG_6329Sinful Shine in “Go Glossy” (3 coats because it applied sheerly; texture wise it is a crelly formula, very smooth and shiny. I have a coat of Milani Glossé top coat)

IMG_6107OPI “I don’t give a Rotterdam”

IMG_6121IMG_6111Forever21 nail polish in “Safari”

IMG_6120IMG_6112Forever21 nail polish in “Natural”

IMG_6122IMG_6113Forever21 nail polish in “Grape Shake”

IMG_6123IMG_6115Forever21 “Popping Pink” confetti nail polish . I know it’s over bare nails but I wanted to just show the glitter.

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Some pearly peach polish I got at Daiso last year. The formula was surprisingly good. It didn’t leave brush stroke marks which is common for pearly nail polish.

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Revlon Sandstorm Lipstick

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I got another color from the limited edition Revlon Super Lustrous lipstick collection. It’s Sandstorm, which was released in 1999. I’ve never heard of this color because in 1999, I was done wearing brown toned shades and I was wearing MAC “Carnal” the majority of the time. Why MAC discontinued that shade, I’ll never know. Even to this day, I don’t think that MAC has a red that even comes close to the deep, blue based blood red shade. I actually still have my tube but too keep around as a reference in case I find another color that looks similar.

Anyway, Sandstorm is a shimmery copper that can with peach and bronze tones. It does appear dated but it looks surprisingly refreshing today since all I see today are pale pinks, nudes, reds, vampy colors. I wasn’t sure about getting this shade only because I don’t really wear shimmery/pearly lipstick colors  but I’m glad I picked it up.

Anyway, since I have 3 colors from the vintage re-released shades, I made a quick little swatcheroo video:

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Picture Heavy Porktastic Pork Belly

Sometimes I like to internally debate which I love more: chicken, pork, beef and while chicken is entirely versatile and I love rare steak and prime rib, pork is my favorite meat of all. Maybe because pigs are smart and pork has a monopoly on the majority of a lot of things I enjoy eating such as pork belly. In the most recent Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer (I love the FF!!), it mentioned pre-cooked pork belly so I sought out to find a box. I already had some dino kale in my fridge that was nearing its due date so I sliced up the pork belly, seared it on both sides and used the rendered fat in the skillet to wilt the kale (de-stemmed and torn into pieces) and toss it with lemon juice, salt and pepper then served the pork belly on top: IMG_6206

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IMG_6210Ta da!

I also made Red Cooked Pork (Hong Shao Rou) with a package of pork belly from the Asian market. I haven’t made it in about 2 years and it’s pretty easy even though it takes a while.

IMG_6214Browning about 2 inches of ginger, sliced in some cooking oil

IMG_6215Browning each side of a package (1-2lbs, I think it was) of pork belly that I cut into cubes. I added it to the skillet with the ginger underneath.

IMG_6216Nice and browning (I used med-high heat)

IMG_6217one bunch of green onions, sliced into thirds, to be added later

IMG_6218The usual suspects: shaoshing cooking wine and dark mushroom soy sauce

IMG_6219after the pork is browned, add about 1-1.5/2 cups of shaoshing wine into the skillet. I don’t measure but I did add a lot so that it would boil and bubble.

IMG_6220Drizzle the dark soy sauce over the pork. It was roughly 3-ish tablespoons if I actually measured it out. Mix the liquid with the pork so that it’s evenly coated.

IMG_6221Top with all the green onions, turn the heat to med-low/low, cover and simmer for at least 2 hours.

IMG_6229It should look like this after 2 hours. (Confession: I let it go longer than 2 hours because I got into an argument and so by the time I took this picture, it was more like 3 hours later)

IMG_6230Sweeten the sauce with 2-3 tablespoons of sugar. The recipe I learned this dish from used rock sugar which I don’t have anymore so I used coconut sugar since I never use the stuff.

IMG_6238Let it simmer for a few minutes to allow the sugar to dissolve and once it’s finished, increase the heat a little bit to let the sauce reduce and thicken. At this point, I gather all the green onions and pile them in the center and discard once the sauce has thickened. I don’t eat the onions because they’re mushy from having been braised for a few hours.

IMG_6239For my veggie side dish, I sautéed some bok choy with garlic, ginger and a splash of soy sauce.

IMG_6240I ate it with brown rice. Doesn’t that look lovely????

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