Saturday, June 29, 2013

We’re back!

Hi everyone. We are back. We got back yesterday from Honolulu. Our flight arrived in Narita about 2pm-ish. And we were home by 3:30-ish pm. It was a wonderful week and wonderful trip. My mom flew out to Honolulu, from California to spend time with us and that was amazing and awesome and fun. Anyway, I just wanted to touch bases here really quick. We are indeed back. And I have about a zillion pictures to go through, and back up first. I have laundry to do (from our trip) boogie boards to put away upstairs still. The trip was so fun and relaxing and we really enjoyed our down time (relax time), and our beach time and family time.... we come back feeling energized and ready! : )

Branden came back with 2 new pair of shoes (1 sneakers and 1 Crocs), Noah with 3.... only because he was in between sizes with 1 particular pair (2 Crocs, 1 pair of sneakers). Noboru came back with a new pair of Crocs. And I came back with 7 new pairs of shoes for myself ( to be fair, it's harder for me to get shoes in Japan for myself where as the rest of my family have no trouble buying shoes in Japan for themselves while I do, so while I had the chance I had to stock up, just made sense). They just have great shoes, amazing quality in America and fair prices. So, I came back with a pair of flip flops from Nordstrom, a pair of super cute with big floppy bow sandals from Macy’s, 3 pair of shoes from Famous Footwear. And 1 from the Croc store (not typical Crocs, more like ballet flats type but different) and a pair of sneakers. So yeah 7 total. But, I needed new shoes anyways.... Anyway, I’ll share pics and stuff later. But....will definitely take me a few days still to upload pics and go through everything first. Just so much stuff to unpack and put away and stuff.

Umm, what else. Oh yeah I did go to The Face Shop (it was fantastic and fun to be in there, the ladies working there were so nice and friendly) picked up 2 tubes of face wash from The Face Shop, 2 different types to try and one exfoliator and 1 pack of cleansing wipes and some masks, and they gave me about 5 free samples on top of that. And I did get to Tony Moly (bought 2 things from Tony Moly and they gave me 2 whitening masks for free). Anyway, I don’t want this tiny blurb update to get too overly long. So I’ll just end it here for now. : )

PS, we saw Monsters University, it was great!  Oh well, I have about a million things to tell you guys and funny stories to share, but like I said, this is getting a little too long already, so I'll end this for now. But posts coming soon, I promise but yes, we are indeed back home in Japan. Later alligators!  : )

Monday, June 17, 2013

Bits and Pieces

Fruit is pretty affordable where we live! Great for us, because we eat tons of fresh fruit all Summer long. We also have a freakishly good cheap meat store also. I think groceries are cheap in our area because we live way off in the countryside. Or maybe a lot of fresh farm produce comes from Ibaraki and we live literally teeter tottering along the border between Chiba and Ibaraki. Or I don't know really...but I do know our veggies, fruit and monthly grocery bill in general is quite low. 500 yen for 3 cantaloupe. It says the name for cantaloupe in Japanese and in parenthesis it says where it came from, it says in parenthesis Ibaraki. Remember the cantaloupe ice cream we had during Golden Week. Well melons in particular are dirt cheap around where we live, since Ibaraki and melons go hand in hand : ) Anyway.... 
Three farm fresh large sized cantaloupe, for 500 yen. We buy this a lot. And a few days after this, they had small watermelons 3 for 500 yen also. And of course they have 1/4 of a big watremelon always for dirt cheap also. The 3 mini watermelons fit in this box type size. : ) They were *so* sweet. They have honey dew and all sorts of yummy melons. : )  Anyway moving on....
I buy a head of lettuce twice a week. And wash it real good, rinse it and throw it through the salad spinner to dry it. Ykwim. Chop of a cucumber and green pepper and then place the mix into a ziplock. And when anyone wants salad it's there already basically (I make salad twice a week). I have been having salad for lunch off and on the whole past week. The 2 zucchini in this pic are from the garden. Oh and this avocado had a few bruises so that's why this avocado was not diced up cute like. Hahaha. : )
Lunch one day for me.
With us about to leave on vacation, I am trying really hard to get the house in order before we leave. And with the rainy season here and some days are rainy and some days aren't. I try to take advantage of the nice days. So one day after the laundry was brought in from outside. I decided to use some sunshine and so I threw the couch cushions outside to get sun. Meanwhile I vacuumed under the couch cushions. Boy did they need it! : )
After these 3 were done and fluffy, I tossed out the rest. And just rotated them out.
Diced fresh pineapple is so cheap and really in season. So we've been eating lots of fresh pineapple, many types of melons. Just lots of fruit basically. : )
Fanta Ume. remember the jam Noah and his class made the other week? Now there is, plum flavored soda. : )
When Old Navy and Gap had a sale, I bought a few things and didn't get a chance to post them until now. Kool Aid T for both Branden and Noah.
These short sleeve T shirts from Gap, I really liked.
This color is my favorite for the boys.
I meanwhile picked up a Rolling Stone T, 1 pair of jean shorts and 1 pair of olive green shorts. That's all.
All these are just from 1 zucchini. These were so good. All of us loved these.
1 navy blue rash guard for Noah. Swimming at the shogakko/elementary school starts this week. And I had the boys try on their swim stuff from last year. Noah could wear his swim trunks from last year, he's just that skinny. Too skinny. @.@ Branden meanwhile needed a new pair of swimming trunks for school. So between getting ready for our trip, I also have to make sure, the boys are ready to start swimming at the school. And all the little bits and pieces in between. Which isn't bad. Piece of cake actually, it's just I need to write myself lists, notes. And it all manages to get done. Knock on wood. : )
I made homemade pizza from scratch. We had that before movie night.
About once or twice a week, we'll make an evening trip to 7-11 or Mini Stop and pick up some ice cream. What do we have here.....minty choco chip Crunky (for Branden), Kiwi Garigari (Noboru), says Black Thunder but it's like a triple chocolate ice cream clearly Noah the chocolate lover of the family had picked that one on the top. : ) And I had the choco banana ice cream. Very good. : )
Okay, not the most good looking picture of breakfast. Granted. Just a simple bacon, egg and skillet fried potato breakfast. The reason I'm sharing the pic, is because those potatoes came from? Yep, our own potatoes. : ) I tell ya, we've been eating them so many different ways. We had french fries, added in curry...baked...steamed (jaga butta)....we're indeed using them. : )
Usually I just vacuum the binds with a vacuum attachment and it's easy peasy. But last week, I just manually wiped all the blinds down with a hot wash rag (and it wasn't so hard either). And kept ringing it out and rinsing it again. Again...just trying to make sure the house is in order before we leave on vacation.
Two Wii games arrived via Amazon.com. Just Dance 4 and The Hip Hop Dance Experience. We've been having fun with this, this past weekend, since the weather was rainy and the boys couldn't play outside with friends, in the day time. They're so fun! : )
We watched this movie and loved it. The only other DVD, that's on it's way to our house right now, is Oz the Great and Powerful.

Any other tid bits to throw out here. Hmmm. Oh yes! I do. My feet started peeling like crazy last night. My feet look like brand new feet underneath the parts that have peeled. So, I really am happy with that foot treatment.

Also, Noboru, took the boys for their haircut on Sunday. I mentioned to Noboru the boys have to get their haircut before we leave on vacation, their hair was getting way too long. And so I asked what day was best for him, he said Sunday, so he took them Sunday morning. They look much better now. Phew. : )

Also, I am really iffy on that Innisfree face cleanser right now. I have now used it for a week. Maybe 5 days. I am worried that it could be too gentle on my skin. And what I mean to say is.... I like a face cleanser that makes my face feel squeaky clean. Granted not too overly stripped and tight. But yeah a nice squeaky clean face is what I personally prefer. And point blank, my face can tend to be a grease pit in Summer. Otherwise, Fall, Winter and Spring I'm combination skin, but Summer I'm grease pit central. So, anyway....I wash my face with the Innisfree apple face wash. And no it doesn't feel squeaky clean, but it feels so so. But this is the kicker, about 30 minutes to an hour afterwards, my face feels moist...sticky, dare I say greasy? So the past 5 days or so. I rub my pointy finger near my nose area, creases around my nose to feel for grease. Let's put it that way. So yeah....5 days later and I don't want to say...straight up.... I love this cleanser and I don't want to say I hate it. Blech blech, but I am saying....I'm not convinced of a match as of yet. And I am starting to think I will use this up.... but replace it with something else. The cleansing oil and makeup remover are fine though.....and yep, I'm still testing them and deciding still too. But...the cleanser....nah. Not crazy about it (I need something stronger, I think). An considering what my face will feel like mid Summer. Hmm. yeah not 100% convinced on this one yet. I'm thinking about replacing it with Etude House Happy Fresh Foaming in Witch Hazel. For Summer since like I said, I'm a grease pit in Summer, face wise. lol. And also am considering Etude House Melgem Fresh oil control toner, since again we all know how my face is in Summer. ;P Again nothing life threatening to report or say granted. But, yeah I think I need a stronger face wash and I might switch to the brand Etude House. Because 2  women who have combo to oily skin in Summer (like me) both swear by Etude House. And 1 guy on Youtube also says the same. So....again I don't want to jump the gun here. But, not 100% sold on the apple face wash. Plus throw in the whole going to be near a Face Shop and Tony Moly etc. gah, so I hope I don't get too side tracked. With all the choices. And I'm also really worried about making a wrong purchase also, if that makes sense too. Gah!!! But then I know...I am human and it happens : ) Anyway, just thought I should update that.

Friday, June 14, 2013

TGIF! My hair appointment today, our bbq ribs tonight, and DVD later tonight, Idenity Thief

My hair straightening and cut went really well today. OMG! It took forever, like 3 hours! @_@ But on the bright side, my hair is as straight as a pin and so freaking shiny. I asked my stylist to barely barely cut any length off. I said less then a trim, type of trim and she "got me" exactly (she has long hair, so she knows).  And she took literally the tiniest dot off my hair. She said I didn’t have many split ends at all this time anyway. Plus she knows I’m growing it out. Anyway, as usual I now can’t wash or wet my hair for 24 hours. So, I will wash it tomorrow night. I usually wash it every night. Aw well, I have a couple shower caps from past hotel stays, so I' guess I’ll just throw on a shower cap tonight when I shower. Hahaha. : )

Right now we are bbq’ing the ribs out in the backyard. It is lightly sprinkling rain right now, not a down pour, but a light mist. It’s fine anyway because we eat inside anyway. We will have baked potatoes from the potatoes we grew and also some veggie, some zucchini (we grew) and corn.

Tonight we will be watching Identity Thief after the kiddos go to sleep. With Jason Batemen and Melissa McCartney (she is so hilarious!) I ordered this from Amazon.com and it arrived this week. : ) Am not sure which movie the boys picked for the family movie tonight, we will watch after supper and showers of course first though. : )

Foot peeling pack/treatment update: Today marks, day 2 on the feet and I see no peeling but I have read and heard it’s normal and that I shouldn’t see any peeling until day 3 or 4. So, I’m being patient.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Korean beauty products! Innisfree, Nature Republic, The Face Shop and Tony Moly


Korean skincare, as many of you probably know, has such a great reputation. Noboru, Branden, Noah and I went to Korea once, Noah was about 9 month’s old at the time or so. I blogged our trip on this blog. We had a great time. We tried food from street vendors, enjoyed yakiniku. We shopped, I bought an amazing scarf, lol. However, sadly at the time, I wasn’t in the "know" at all about how great Korean skincare was, because I bought absolutely none while there and yes even now years later, I’m still kicking myself about it. : ) And yes with the online ordering era upon us, we can get just about anything beauty wise online. Anyway, I love skincare and makeup. And all girly things like that. I mean, I just can’t wait to get to Sephora. However, my skincare has always been pretty simple. I use DHC cleansing oil (used to use Shu Uemura before kids), Basis face wash. And I use Kiehl’s The Ultra facial moisturizer. Really simple. Anyway with getting ready to go to Hawaii. I started to think about skincare. And if I should just go and buy my old stand-by’s. A couple bottles of my usual face wash and a new Kiehl’s lotion. Or if I should try something new. Hmm, decisions, decisions. I did try some face wash from Sephora a few years back, it was a glycolic face wash from DDF. It was quite expensive, $30-ish something dollars US for it. And I found the product sorta meh! If I’m to be honest and the smell was really not my most favorite although it said fragrance free, I have to disagree because I didn’t care for the smell of it at all. Anyway, I was talking to a good friend of mine who lives in Hawaii, via Skype about 2 month’s ago, she is a dear friend from back in the day when we lived there. Anyway, she told me, that a couple of the skincare/beauty products lines from Korea are in Hawaii now. And that was like music to my ears! So, for the past month and a half, I have been searching YouTube, watching beauty hauls of Korean beauty products. Researching specific brands. Double checking reviews from makeupalley, where I’ve been a member forever! : ) And going back and forth trying to figure out what I'm interested in and also what I’m *not* interested in. The Face Shop store is in Guam at Micronesia mall (yay!!!), so if I do fall in love with their beauty stuff I can always repurchase easily there since I’m in Guam often. But, yeah I am wanting to check out the Face Shop while in Hawaii this time. There are a few items I am interested, but of course I want to smell them and figure out which one I’d like to buy.

I'm curious about this product from The Face Shop, but of course I want to see it first hand before I know if I really like it or not yet. They also have a lemon cleanser and acerola one too, that look interesting but of course seeing and smelling them first hand might change my mind also, so I am keeping that in mind too.
I'm also curious about this product also from The Face Shop too. I'm trying to decide if I want a manual exfoliator with actual granules or a chemical exfoliator. Ykwim.
Nature Republic is also in Hawaii, and I know their Aloe vera gel is quite famous if you see the videos on YouTube. But I'd like to check out their face masks. Because Korea is known for making fantastic skincare masks. So, I would like to check out the Face Shop and also Nature Republic for face masks also. : )
And last but not least, Tony Moly is also in Hawaii. And I know their apple peel is quite popular. But, I'm more interested and curious about the 2 products down below from Tony Moly. Again not sure if I'll even buy anything from there. But I do know I'll at least check it out though. : )
A lady who reviewed this stick on YouTube, made this sound pretty good. She said when you're tired, just rub it around your under eye area. And it made me think it would be great for a long flight or perfect for travel.  Boscia has something very similar to this but for a hefty price of $26 US according to sephora.com where as this is just a few dollars. I'm also interested in Boscia but the prices I'm not so crazy about. Where as stuff from Tony Moly, The Face Shop and Nature Republic seem quite affordable.
Tony Moly foot pack, that leaves you will shiny and new feet afterwards, I'm interested in this one too after seeing the videos on this one.
Innisfree, is also supposed to be pretty good. I read many fantatsic reviews about them online. Although it's not in Hawaii. However we are lucky in Japan, there is online ordering. And they had these great deals when I ordered. For 1,200 yen about $12 US. You can get the eye and lip makeup remover plus a bottle of the green apple cleansing oil. Or get the other duo, of cleansing oil and face wash. All in the green apple scent. I had read countless reviews on this and I really wanted to try this badly. So, I ordered this and within 2 days I received my items.
Very quick shipping from the Japanese website.
Nicely packaged inside, with catalog.
Three free samples. And thanks for the samples, because if I like it, yes I will buy a full sized, so yes I appreciate the samples. 1 is an oil control sunscreen. And the other 2 are whitening creams. And after living in Japan all these years, yes I could definitely be into whitening products. Though I'm pretty glow in the dark fair anyway, lol. But yeah I can be down with that. Plus it just fades any discoloration like sunspots or freckles. I don't have either, but I wouldn't turn down a brighter complexion. : )
Clearly I picked both sets. And like I said, on my top paragraph, I use cleansing oil anyway. And so, buying these 2 is fine because I double cleanse at night anyway. The cleansing oil smells amazing! I used it for the first time last night It melted my makeup right off my face instantly. Of course, you know, you need to use it on dry skin and with dry hands of course. And then after my makeup was off, I washed with the juicy apple deep cleansing foam far right. Again it smells divine. Very very lightly of green apple, not overpowering knock you down type scent. I have yet to try the eye makeup remover, because I wasn't wearing mascara yesterday. All, in all I'm pretty happy with my purchase.
The bottom line says, apple delight scent. They smell fantastic. It also says penetrates deep down into pores. So it's great for a person like me, who has combination skin. Not sure it would work for someone with dry skin. Could be too harsh. But, for me it feels great. Also it foams like crazy, and I enjoy a product that gives tons of foamy lather. : ) Especially with summer coming up, I like a deep down clean feeling on my face.
The products are very pretty and I smiled when I went to brush my teeth early this morning and saw them all lined up all cute near my sink upstairs. : )  Anyway....
I went and bought this yesterday at a drugstore near the bakery I go to. This was only 900 yen. The bigger name brand one was/is Baby Foot and it was 1600 yen. If I can save a few hundred yen I will, so I bought this one for 900 yen. I must say though that there was no twist tie for the booties. But, I just used a strip of tape to tie up the booties and put a pair of socks on afterwards like a girl/lady online in a video suggested to do,  it worked fine and it saved me 700 yen so I'm fine with the tape and pair of socks. If you absolutely need the special tie, then just get the Baby Foot brand. I watched TV while waiting for the 90 minutes and then washed my feet with soap and water afterwards upstairs. The video on YouTube about Baby Foot, was very helpful. She said you will see no difference for 3 or 4 days and then your feet start peeling like crazy and then you are left with smooth brand new feet like a baby's foot. lol. : ) I'm only on day 1 right now. So, we'll see. And for the record, I have nice feet, but I do like taking care of my feet though. : )

I'd also like to try the brand Skinfood. But since I'll probably be buying some stuff from Nature Republic, Tony Moly and the Face Shop, while in Hawaii, I am holding off with placing an order for Skinfood. Anyway, just thought a post on skincare and beauty products, might be a good or interesting read. : )  And I'm not saying, rush out and try it, I'm just saying simply, what I'm into these days. : )

Anyway tomorrow at 10am, I have my hair appointment at the salon. I'm getting another hair straightening treatment. The Japanese ionic thermal hair straightening thing. And a hair trim. Haven't been to the salon since March. I'm currently growing my hair out long again. And so just a trim.

The typhoon seems to be a no show today, as expected....yep it's not going to be coming our way afterall. And it's just going to be a rainy day today, here, minus the typhoon. Branden and Noah swim tonight. Alrighty, the treadmill is calling my name now, so to speak. : )

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Aloha, heading to Honolulu, Hawaii at the end of the month

I'm sure many of you reading have already made Summer plans. If you're reading in Japan, maybe you'll be going back "home" for a visit. Or if you're reading in the US. Maybe you'll travel abroad or hang out stateside some place fun. Awesome camping trip maybe. Or maybe a trip to Hawaii.  What I'm trying to say is, wherever you may be, you probably are starting to think vacation and what not. : ) We think the same stuff here too. : ) As for our family, we as you know try to get ourselves to Honolulu, Hawaii, once a year for a very nice long relaxing vacation. And of course that's what we planned to do this Summer also. Back in February, we reserved our hotel. So this June, Honolulu vacation, is a trip planned long in advance. But we've been keeping it on the down low all this time. Well until now. : )  As many of you know, we used to live in Hawaii, for a few years when Noboru was sent there by the airline my husband works for. In fact as most of you know, Branden was born in Honolulu and spent his baby time there. : ) However, since living in Japan, we still like to go back like I said, once a year and just relax unwind, swim, soak up all that good sun. And just chill for the time we have. Here are some pics from trips before, In Honolulu, Hawaii. This picture is of Noboru and Branden and Noah at the Dole Pineapple Plantation. Noah looks to be about 1 year old by the pic. Maybe 18 months at the most. We carried both our kids in a Baby Bjorn when they were wee babies, but when Noah got a little older, we bought this cool  and sturdy backpack carrier. It looks like a backpack from the back and even had a backpack to carry diapers, spare onesie etc. Noah loved being carried by his dad in this! : )
Baby Noah enjoying his day out at the Dole Pineapple Plantation wearing his navy and red hibiscus sun hat. : )  What a lucky baby, we cruised Noah everywhere with us, same with Branden too, he cruised everywhere with us also. And we still do take them everywhere with us and to enjoy travel as a family! : )
And now they are getting a little older. But right back to Hawaii we went! Awww! : ) At this age, I had them carrying their own backpacks (1 spare change of clothes and their swimsuit and DS games and stuff, light but still a help) to save me from carrying everything myself. I figure it would be good training for when they're older and I'm glad I did that. Because they carry their own stuff now, no problem. : )
At Kailua beach having the time of their lives. Who wouldn't want to grow up getting to go here once a year! Ne~: )
And yes we will spicy garlic shrimp ourselves like crazy when there. : ) I can't wait! : )
Noah needing a "big hug" that's what Noah used to call it when he wanted to be carried at that age. : )  At the Dole Pineapple Plantation.
Between all the family pictures and family movies I make, they will have a ton of memories of our family trips taken. And this year we will be back there to make some more! : )
We will no doubt bring a lunch with us everyday we hang out at the beach. And just chill basically.
Pineapple ice cream. We're ready.
And this was taken March 2012, just last year. For Noah's graduation from yochien trip. Both Branden and Noah were holding a very large size coconut ice cream. OMG! That ice cream is so amazing. Anyway, last week-ish of June that's where we will be. Noboru already requested and was given, 11 or 12 days off. We will fly to Guam for 1 over night and spend a day/night with my dad. And then we will head to Honolulu, via KIX (the flight is a little full to go directly from Narita to Honolulu if you're wondering and it's dead open going via KIX in Osaka to Honolulu, no worries though we know the flights we can get on and that's why we're going this route and when we come back to Japan we can fly directly back to Narita, plus the boys get to see my dad for a day and me too, so that's actually sorta cool the way it works out, plus the seats in first class/business class are very comfortable and the meals are mostly pretty good, heck the flight to Honolulu we get icecream sundae's even and the free on demand movies so the extra flights are fine and comfortable for us). We will be in Honolulu, for 7 full and fun nights. 8 tropical days.  We will be swimming and being at the beach most days. We also will be heading back to Dole. Target too, lol. Bath and Body Works. Sephora. We also will be going to a movie or two. Monster's University for sure. : )   Things we want to eat are Bob's BBQ,  and of course lots of spicy garlic shrimp too.  The Red Lobster, no doubt also. But most importantly to enjoy our down time and have our beach time, which is like something we enjoy a lot as a family.  Anyway that's the family plan for the end of June. : )