Sunday, January 27, 2013

Delightful Teppanyaki Time at Benihana

Konni-chiwa! ;-D My belated 2012 Birthday fancy meal was at Benihana in Torrance, California. It's such a fun experience. It's definitely a must try! 

One Fine Meal at Benihana. 
My son with the friendly service crew. Excited for the Teppanyaki Show! ;-D 
What is Teppanyaki at Benihana?   
In Japan, the preparation of food is an art form. At Benihana, we have elevated it to the art of entertainment, with chefs skilled in the teppanyaki — or hibachi — cooking tradition, to the delight of diners and their appetites.   
Characterized by an intricate combination of presentation and knife skills, teppanyaki cooking has developed into a highly refined and beautiful form of expression. Benihana is proud to have introduced the elegant art of teppanyaki cooking to America when our first restaurant opened in New York in 1964.
We ordered, upon recommendation, one of the Teppanyaki Specialties, Rocky's Choice. See Benihana's full menu here

Benihana Kabuki Kids Menu. For my son, we also got him Hibachi Steak. 
Ramune!!! Welcome to the world of Ramune. True to the concept of fun dining experience, this completes a kid's fancy drinking experience. More than the taste, I think it's the opening that is truly fun and unique. So just for this time, he was allowed to have his share of carbonated drink. 
And let the show begins...

Guess who? Spongebob! It started with preparing the fried rice. So hai (yes!), everyone needs to order fried rice, otherwise you will miss on the show. *LoL 
Hidden Mickey! ;-D 
Appetizer, Hibachi Chicken, and Veggies.
Oh look, it's a volcano!!! Delightfully entertaining! 
Hibachi Steak cook to your specification. 
Oishii! Teppanyaki Specialty-- Rocky's Choice includes a serving of Benihana onion soup, Benihana salad, shrimp appetizer, Hibachi vegetables, homemade dipping sauces, steamed/fried rice (I recommend Fried Rice for a more entertaining meal! ;-D) , Japanese hot green tea and HΓ€agen-Dazs ice cream, sherbet or sorbet. It was a treat, but I think it's at $30++ per person. 
It's a place of celebrating birthdays, *LoL, I think the birthday song was the mainstay theme song of the venue. I was too enamored with everything...the food and the entertainer chef, I passed on them singing a birthday song for me (it was 5 days over anyway), but I just had to have a birthday photo taken as a get a insta-print.

Overall, mighty delighted and thankful for the lunch treat. Arigato gozai-masu! It was awesome! For that price, it's fairly reasonable, it's your average fancy hotel meal treat here plus plus (a little less or over...think Spiral Buffet of Sofitel). But the entertainment sets it apart, it's our first! So it's remarkable and memorable. I consider is as a tourist must-do when in California. Anyhow, having tried this in California, I look forward to the Japanese Teppanyaki experience, that is when I set foot to the Land of the Rising Sun...Japan, it's my must-do! Kampai! ;-D

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Love: The BeautyBlender

For my Birthday 2012, it's a day dedicated to pure retail therapy... no singing, no fancy meal, but a whole lot of shopping. And so sweet, my search for the Original Beauty Blender ended, when I finally got myself, not one, but three pretty BeautyBlender makeup applicators in pink, white (Pure), and black (Pro) sponge trio pack. Oh happy day! ;-D
BeautyBlender 3-piece Gift Set from Planet Beauty Ontario Mills
It was love at first try with this handy, pretty and functional BeautyBlender sponge, It's one of my must-buy from my recent trip to California. I found it at Planet Beauty. I initially bought the Trio gift set, but found the store promo of Buy $50, less $10 irresistibly tempting , so I got the BlenderCleanser (glad that I did...will do a review post separately) as well.

BeautyBlender Product Description and Feature:

 Invented by top Hollywood make up artist Rea Ann Silva, Beautyblender has been created to leave you with a professional finish and a flawless complexion.
Beautyblender’s patent-pending elliptical shape makes application foolproof by allowing you to access hard-to-reach areas with stunning ease. Its suede texture is sensual to the touch and its unique curves fit the contours of your face, leaving your make up dazzling and undetectable. Beautyblender is latex free, non-allergenic and odor free. 
To use,  place it under  running water, squeeze it for a couple of times, then it will start to expand.  It has to be damp, not soaking wet, squeeze out excess water using a towel. The sponge expands to nearly twice its original size (please see above photo before and after). 
Truthfully so, the expanded sponge is fluffy and bouncy for that perfect stippling makeup applicator. Stippling is described as blending make up without creating changes in the texture or tone of your skin, generally known as flawless, free of line and streaks. So yes, it appears natural, make-up free look a la my most coveted Hallyu-esque Korean lead drama actress FOTDs (face of the day). I love! The pink functional sponge perfectly delivers. 

A monthsary review post so to speak, the sponge still holds its pristine elliptical shape. Although, I make it a conscious effort to squeeze it with my fingertips not my nails to avoid accidentally pinching the surface. Also, I use the BlenderCleanser to clean it, although it takes a couple of drops to clean the surface, to get rid of the BB Cream and foundation stains (I'm using alternately Innisfree Jejubija Anti-Trouble BB Cream and Innisfree Glow Melting Foundation). Not to preempt, I tried regular facial foams, makeup cleansers to clean it, but only the BlenderCleanser does the job really well.
Photo above. Initial application of Benefit Cosmetics Bella Bamba blush using the accompanying brush. Photo taken using the front camera of iPhone4s so the colors are a bit pronounced. vs. the rest of the photos.  Bottom picture, blended. Main Photo: FOTD Innisfree Jejubija Anti-Trouble BB Cream. Benefit Cosmetics Bella Bamba Blush, Majolica Majorca Blood On Lip. It requires a bit of order on how to use it with, first BB Cream/Foundation, the big end opposite the pointy tip. For the creases, side of the nose, eye lids, use the pointy end. If you have a shiny/glittered blush/makeups, do not reuse the side used to blend it. As you would not like to make your forehead glitzy too. To set, I use a  powder pact also using the BeautyBlender.
Beautifully flawless. With BeautyBlender as a go-to makeup applicator (I use it for BB Cream/Foundation, blending blush, highlighter, powder pact), I can wear makeup everyday, the beautiful, no frills way (seguing to my love for Korean dramas...* LoL) a la Hallyu drama star. 

The drawback is it's made available in the Philippines from online sellers (eBay and Multiply), and as expected price is a bit even higher. That was actually what I had in mind when I decided to dive for the 3-piece gift set. But it's worth it!!! 

Overall, for a 3-piece sponge gift set, a regular blender cleanser, I paid about $40++. Hmmm, a bit pricey, but I'm considering it as an investment. It looks and seems durable. (I wonder when will I ever get to open the white (Pure) and the black (Pro) BeautyBlender sponge.) Unlike two years back when I started exploratory "beauty" posts, I only use makeup once or twice a week, but now, I have to do it everyday for work. And I can't go out without BB Cream/Foundation on! Considering the frequency and necessity plus the ease of usage, a BeautyBlender is a worthy, highly recommended beauty tool. 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Loving these: Bath and Body Works Few of our Favorite Scents plus Coupon

Here's an update on my BBW addiction. ;-D I'm halfway done from what we brought home from last time.  Of course, I shared the love and gave away a couple. I hope they'll love them as much as I do. ^^ Oh fret not, I have more coming from a balikbayan box that we shipped to Manila, and all for me! *Yay Oh my, if I'm still there, I'll be definitely getting more. See below latest offering from Bath & Body Works.

Spring in Bloom. The decor we adore are nicer and prettier. Bath and Body Works  Novelty Flower/Butterfly shaped Wallflowers Fragrance Plugs. 
Ours. It's a nightlight and a fragrance diffuser in one. Since it works on a110v,  and we don't have it in Manila, (but we have it in Angeles City), we use a voltage converter. 
Super loving this scent. Bath and Body Works Signature Collection Coconut Lime Verbena Wallflowers. A pleasing and light coconut and lime scent leaves our room smelling divinely pleasant. ;-D
Scents we reached out first. Loving these much, few of our favorite scents. Bath and Body Works White Citrus. Twisted Peppermint. Butterfly Flower. Paris  for Men. Summer Escape. 
Bath and Body Works January 2013 20% Off Coupon. Shop wisely, use a coupon. Click here for the official BBW site link to print or you can just save it on your mobile and refer to it during your store check out. 
Just beautiful! Cheers! ;-D 

Press Release: Coco Martin for Max's

Oh wow! Coco Martin is the new brand ambassador of the truly sarap to the bones Max's fried chicken. Indeed, good things come to those who wait. Read on to know more about the endearing history behind the partnership of the ever so handsome and talented, Coco Martin, and Max's. 

Unknown to many, Coco worked as a young server at Max’s Fairview in 2001 before he became the illustrious actor that he is today.  It was his experience at Max’s that has actually paved the way for this unassuming talent to be discovered.  One of Coco’s customers saw great potential in him while he was busy serving Max’s delectable home-cooked dishes to diners. Coco’s ‘customer’ turns out to be a talent scout from one of the leading television networks in the country. He invited Coco for an audition and to explore acting as a profession.
Coco Martin's road to fame tells on a great Filipino story of perseverance and hope, which Max's was similarly and fondly built on. The shared inspiring success stories reinforce the bond between him, and Max's.

So yes, this is a partnership with a lot of heart on it. ;-D Cheers! ^^

About Max's Restaurant...
Max’s, one of the country’s leading fast-casual dining restaurant traces its roots to a family’s generosity and passion for good food. Max’s, “the house that chicken built,” continues to innovate and expand worldwide with plans to open branches outside the United States. Today, Max’s Restaurant has established itself as a household name, an institution, and a proud Filipino tradition, zealously upholding the values passed on from its early beginnings in 1945 to the present-generation food aficionados.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

More Outlet Shopping: Michael Kors, Juicy Couture, Ralph Lauren

Oh well, truthfully, up until last time, I never thought that I would say that shopping is more fun in California. Now, hands down, it's retail therapy at its finest...yay! ;-D All we did is shop! Perhaps since we're done with most of the theme parks, and it was either raining or too cold to go to an outdoor soiree, we ended up in malls or outlet stores. One late night, an impromptu trip to San Diego, we found ourselves at Carslbad.

Few of my favorite things...Juicy Couture. Ralph Lauren. Michael Kors at Carlsbad Premium Outlets. 
I haven't found my one true MK Bag, What to do, no bag, but I want a MK paper bag, so bought these. .. 2-pack MK Studded Logo Tops.
Bright Cobalt  and Black Studded with MK Logo on SALE for $49.99 + tax
Juicy Love. Juicy Couture The Cameo Daydreamer Small Velour Tote Bag and matching Cameo Wallet. 
I bought 2 more Ralph Lauren Skinny Polo Shirts. Oh goody, there's further price reduction, vs. last time. That brings my RL shirts to lucky 7 pieces. Nice one! *LoL

Ralph Lauren. I am a fan! ;-D #BasicTees #SkinnyPolo #SuperSale 
I've been to Carlsbad before, since it was on the way to Legoland and Seaworld. There are more brands to see compare to Ontario Mills. But I didn't know that we'll still find time to visit since we've been to several stores already. Still, we made it!  Problem was, I was almost at my maximum spending threshold. But it's that season to be jolly, so yes, spend it all! *LoL

Polo Ralph Lauren at Carlsbad
 I have more live shopping updates for you, please do follow me on Twitter @chicsassymom. Cheers! ;-D

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Travelogue: One Fine California Day

Oh well, I take it back, depending on the timing of your USA trip, shopping can actually be more fun in California. Thanksgiving Sale is something we have yet to see, but the after Christmas Sale, the semi-annual sale that retail stores call it, is in full bloom on that time of the year. So yes, read on to my several shopping posts here, and here. ;-D But on some days, considering that we're done with most theme parks and other tourist destinations (Disneyland, Legoland, SeaWorld, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam etc.), here's what made it to my list of to do tourist and not so tourist-y activities, but some still involve shopping though.*LoL
One Fine California Day. #No Filter

Shop at Costco. Costco is such a haven of great shopping finds, you know the usual stuff that you would love to see in your Balikbayan box. *LoL 
Shop at Marukai. Marukai is another membership store that sells mostly Japanese, some Korean brands, (I saw Missha, Lioele, Skin79) plus a whole lot more.
Watch a movie at one of the AMC theaters. There's a lot of movies to choose from, super comfy plush seats, plus great snack choices (Frito-lays, Orville Popcorn, Mozzarella Sitcks...yum!, my kind of thing!) ;-D 
Come aboard  Battleship USS Iowa. Exciting for my son, since he's into soldiery stuff and games, plus he saw the Battleship Movie.
A tourist destination is a visit to the Hollywood Boulevard. Here's Chase with a Darth Vader Cosplayer. Oh my, heads up, there's a lot of them (Cosplayers), and when you take your picture, some would actually  trick  convince you to take your pictures with them, only to ask you for donation/fee. Careful. But since my son is so into the dark side of the force, *LOL, we gave him $5.  #TouristTrap
Own a Oakley, visit Oakley's Interplanetary Headquarters located at Foothill Ranch.  This is where you claim warranties, some repairs, adjustments, change lens, etc. BUT! I'll save another post, but my prescription Oakley glasses, were deemed out of warranty since I got my lens from a local optometrist in Manila. And guess what, a set of Oakley prescription lens starts at $300, that's a lot!!! 
A leisure stroll at the Downtown Disney. Rainforest Cafe is here, which is an exciting and fun dining destination for kids. And a big Lego store is also here. So yes, my son's a happy one after a trip here. ;-D
So far, that's how some of our days went by on our California Holidays 2012. If we're not outlet stores and mall shopping, we went on to do these things, plus some tourist stops along the way. Food posts coming soon. Cheers! ;-D

Outfit of the Day #OOTD
On Chase: Debenhams Jeans, Uniqlo Jacket, Nike Kobe 7
             On Me: Accessorize Scarf, Gap Beaded Sequined Top, Debenhams Coat, Uniqlo Leggings, NAVA Boots

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Fly Asiana Airlines

Annyeong! ^^ I'm so back with another Seoul-ful post. Perhaps I have a theatrical fancy to almost anything Korean, but truly, oh my, Incheon (Seoul) Airport is truly the nicest airport ever. (Next to my favorite airport, Singapore Changi Airport.) I'm not sure with other airlines, but Asiana offers a connecting flight to LAX with an extended hours (10 hours) that allowed me to take advantage of a Visa-Free Best of Seoul transit tour. So it actually made my California Holidays extra-sweeter since I made it to Seoul!!! Anyhow, my flight included four segments, MNL-ICN, ICN-LAX, LAX-ICN, ICN-MNL. My LAX flight segments were the longer ones. Except for severe turbulence every so often, the midnight flight hours actually allow you to sleep, then arrive at the morning, minimizing jet lag, methinks. Compare to my son and hubby's Air China flights, I'm more adjusted.

Aboard Asiana Aircraft.  This was from my MNL-ICN flight segment. Hmmm, surprisingly personal monitors for the inflight entertainment system were not available. But this did not hold true for the ICN-MNL segment.
My midnight meal from Manila to Incheon. Fruit Platter. The option was for a Rice Porridge or this one. The fruits were  nice, sweet, and juicy. 
Ssam bap meal. I love! ;-D This meal I had on my ICN-LAX segment. There's always an option between a Western and Korean. Of course, I chose thee! ;-D It's eaten like how you eat a lettuce wrap, put the rice, beef, bean paste onto the leaf on your palm, roll/wrap. Voila! Yum! 
But of course, omelette for breakfast! I chose this for both to and from LAX segments. 
Bibimbap. Just lovely! To my excitement, I didn't take anymore photos, but my meal from ICN to MNL was actually equally superb. It's a beef meal, but they provided Gochujang or Hot Pepper Paste. 
The meals were just nice. The Korean dishes came with guides on how to enjoy them. I highly encourage you to explore. I have a strong penchant for the Korean cuisine that I call them my happy food. So I look forward to all the meals!

Inflight! Inflight entertainment, except for my MNL to ICN segment, which had no personal monitors, the movies were updated. One flight segment even has a touch screen monitor. Although, I was too sleepy since I took Nafarin A to the long haul flights, so I only used it every so often. My humble economy seat were comfy enough, plus they're all nicely reclinable! Although, I would have wanted a stepping bar in front, like how I remembered having one from a couple of my Singapore Airlines flights. Cabins were fully dimmed, plus it seemed actually quieter than what I had before for most long haul flights. It's that or the Nafarin A worked its wonders! ;-D Toilets were kept clean most of the times. But I especially like how they put coffee beans in the bathroom to the LAX-ICN flight as scent neutralizer. Anyhow, customer service is also commendable although I only had the usual interactions, no additional requests and assistance were necessitated on my part. But they were friendly, and efficient. For all segments, slippers were provided. I was hoping though that there will be an eye mask provided, I remembered getting one from Philippine Airlines (PAL). Although, I didn't request, so I couldn't tell if they have it on a per request basis. No toothbrush too was included as amenity. I didn't need one since I have a Colgate Wisp with me (I love this product, superbly functional! Have you tried one? It's a travel must have!) So yes, not only because Lee Min Ho took this airline, and I love almost everything Korean, but also for the commendable service and inflight amenities, I would love to take Asiana Flights as much as possible. *LoL BUT it's a bit pricey even it was supposedly on a promo fare, I got mine for 1360+ USD. Oh well, it's that holiday season, so it must be it. It pays to plan ahead, I didn't! I booked a flight a month before. My PAL US Summer ticket costed me much lesser, considering it was a direct flight. Anyhow, I don't want a direct flight, I want a Seoul stopover! So Asiana is it! ;-D 

First Impression: Makarizo Salon Spa

Annyeong! ^^ Oh so sweet, I found a salon with a Korean couple as stylists just a block away from where we live. I needed just a pedicure, but the Korean ahjumma, Ms. Becky (I think!) was doing all sorts of pretty hair styles to her customers. Albeit my short hair, I still decided to get a hair cut for Php 500, just so it can get styled after.

Makarizo Salon Spa Ortigas Center
Nail Color Selection, Haircare, Styling, and Hair Coloring at Makarizo Salon Spa
Ms. Becky doing various Korean hair styles. I like. 
Layers and Side Swept Bangs. 
New Hair Do + FOTD (Majolica Majorca, NYX Cosmetics, Hera, Kanebo). Ready to party. 
The Korean Ahjussi senior stylist will do the hair cut for Php 1000, the Korean ahjumma costs Php 500, and a Filipina stylist will cost Php 300. The Ahjumma can speak some tagalog, she's so sweet! One thing I really love from Korean hair stylists is the intricate and elaborate after-haircut-styling. It makes me want to get hair cut all the time. And that's why I can't seem to grow it any longer. *LoL I tried the pedicure, it's okay, but have only limited nail color options. But the accompanying massage both from the pedicure and the haircut speaks nicely of their spa services. Great customer service too. Plus, walking distance from our place, so yes, this is a keeper! ;-D

Makarizo Salon is located at Ground floor, Pearl Plaza Condominium Pearl Drive corner Lourdes Drive, Ortigas Center, Pasig City. 
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