Thursday, April 19, 2018

Mini Review: Yes to Pomegranate Lip Balm with SPF

It leaves a white cast to my lips so it is not a low-maintenance option.

I won't be repurchasing.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Mini reviews: Lumene dual-phase makeup remover and Vichy micellar water

Lumene dual-phase makeup remover: thumbs down. It burns!

Thumbs up on the Vichy micellar water - works well and gently.

Things I am loving: Uniqlo

Right now I am really loving Uniqlo clothing: great quality for the price, consistent sizing and solid basics. 

Uniqlo U items are my jam right now; particularly their cotton tees. I have multiple versions of their crewneck short sleeve t-shirt - and I even bought one in white! It has been years since I bought a white t-shirt, since they're usually pretty see through at the price point I shop at. But these Uniqlo U cotton tees are thick and soft and comfortable - the perfect relaxed fit for me.

Other faves:

I always check out the Ines De La Fressange collection, and this summer one is a hit with me. Her french terry items sold out pretty quickly, but I did get her linen blended round collar long sleeve shirt and it is the perfect summer topper that I have been looking for; a heavier weight than their regular linen shirts.

I am currently enjoying the 3D cotton crewneck short sleeve sweater but I may need to size up for my preferred loose fit.

I also live in a Uniqlo U sweatshirt from the winter collection, and have a few of their slacks - great for work. Their regular supima cotton shirts are great for layering, so I just picked up a few more long-sleeved and 3/4-sleeved shirts. Their pants consistently tend to fit me well - I like their jeans a lot.

Also, a thumbs up to their Karakami, ramen, and Gudetama t-shirt collaborations, and a thumbs down for their mobile app. Their website needs to speed up too. Informative, and the reviews are great, but so slow.

All photos taken from

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Happy 2018! And Why Does Breastfeeding Need to be Exclusive?

This exclusive breastfeeding initiative bothers me for several reasons:
- The goal is a healthy baby. Demanding a specific path to that goal is unnecessary and produces rules and policies in line with exclusive breastfeeding that are not necessarily in line with the real goal of a healthy baby. It's like locking 3 out of 4 exits in a burning building. Sure, maybe it's not ideal that people go through the kitchen to escape the building, but the goal is that they get out alive, right?
- Is there any evidence that supplementing with formula in addition to breast milk is not as good as exclusive breastfeeding? Why this emphasis on exclusivity?
- An unknown percentage of women are unable to breastfeed for various reasons. This unnecessary emphasis on exclusivity sets them up for disappointment and feelings of failure, during a particularly challenging time both physically and mentally.
- When studies controlled for factors like economic status, education, and mother's IQ, there was very little difference between exclusive breastfeeding vs formula feeding.

Much more info here at

Friday, March 10, 2017

Laneige Good Night Kit (trial size) on Clearance at Target

I went to pick up a few of the Laneige Good Night Kits (trial size) at Target as they're only available in stores although you can see them online. Although they're listed as $5 on the website, they rang up as $1.50 and the cashier remarked that they were on clearance.

Even at $5 it's a great way to try out the well regarded Water Sleeping Mask, and at $1.50 it's a steal! I'm not supposed to be buying more skincare but at this price, I might pick up a few more as gifts. Target says that my store is now out of stock though, which is odd since there were a lot in stock when I picked them up. I did tell the cashier to try them; maybe she spread the word.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Tokyo Food Highlights

AKA "so much food, so little time."

Here I have my particular favorites for Tokyo; the places I try to visit every time I am in Tokyo.

For other recommendations, see these other pages:
For sushi, definitely make reservations for Sushi Yajima (鮨 やじま) in Shibuya (渋谷). It's delicious and inexpensive, and you don't have to decide what to order because the chef will pick for you. Supposedly the chef will get upset if you don't eat your sushi in 15 minutes or so, but I haven't experienced this personally. It’s a small place so reservations are highly recommended.
  • If you have time, visiting a conveyer-belt sushi place (回転寿司) is super fun, plus you don’t have to try to decipher the menu. Just be careful about pouring the hot water into your tea cup - I have accidentally gotten hot water on my hand instead of the cup.
To experience the wonder that is Japanese fried chicken at lunch (it's only offered at lunch, and the shop is closed Sundays), check out Yakitori Tori BomBon (焼とり 鶏梵梵) for the best chicken katsu curry (チキンカツカレー) ever. Check out the specials too. It's a little out of the way, but totally worth it. Try avoiding the rush by going around 1:30 pm or 2 pm. But even at peak times, it's not too bad a wait, as it's not that well known. Hopefully it is more popular now, because I want to continue to be able to eat it!
I love tori soba (鳥そば), which is usually a chicken variation on pork-broth/tonkotsu (豚骨) ramen, rather than a type of buckwheat noodles. My current favorite is 156 Ichikoro in Azabu Juban (麻布十番) near Roppongi (六本木).
  • Ramen is also referred to as Chinese soba (中華そば), so I wonder if soba originally just meant any kind of "noodles" in Japan, rather than buckwheat noodles. Yakisoba uses ramen noodles, as opposed to buckwheat soba noodles.
I first discovered tantanmen (坦々麺) in Japan, before realizing that it originated in China, but the Japanese have a creamier, richer take on it. Sasazuka station (笹塚) is a bit out of the way - about 5-10 minutes by train/taxi from Shinjuku station (新宿) - but it is home to 豪快 Gokai - the best tantanmen I've ever had.  Cheap all the time, and pretty fast.  Counter space only (12 seats).  They don’t speak English, but just order the tantanmen (坦々麺) with thin noodles (細麺).
For awesome hamburg steak (lunch only), go to Boucherie AmiaBras.
The restaurant is actually between Aoyama and Shibuya, so it’s pretty convenient while you're wandering around either area. I posted a review of this place earlier.
If you go here, tell the chef (the guy with the newsboy hat) that I said hi!

In Shibuya (渋谷), the Japanese coffee roaster SS&W operates a coffee stand called The Coffee Hangar; the barista is an expert. Originally this coffee stand was only open 9-6 on weekdays, but since 2015 they've been open on weekends also, so hopefully you'll have a chance to drop by.  My friend raves about this place.

It's a bit out of the way, but in Nakameguro (中目黒), I cannot fail to mention Miyabian (雅庵) a traditional Japanese dessert place with some Western innovations - their seasonal specialties are always so good!  If you get a chance to try their fluffy cakes you are super lucky. Take-out only.
They have a little shop inside Shinagawa (品川) station too, inside the gates, so a good stop-over if you're riding around the Yamanote (山手) line.
And finally we come to the beef choices.  This is difficult, as I didn’t focus on beef in my time in Japan, so unfortunately I have limited experience here.
  • For teppanyaki I like Colza in Ginza (銀座), an old-school Japanese place actually owned by Kikkoman, the soy sauce producer. The potato hash browns made in front of you are great if you like potatoes in butter, and the ice cream w/ crepe is lots of fun. Excellent salad, garlic rice is tasty. Lunch specials are a deal. I usually just got the Australian beef, but they do have wagyu too. Very nice to foreigners. Good to make reservations, but if you go early not usually a problem. However, some TripAdvisor reviews make the valid point that dinner here is not very good value. I’ve personally had wonderful service here, and fully enjoyed all my meals, but in general I haven’t tried very many teppanyaki places.
  • For wagyu, I've never been to Tsukiji Sato (築地さとう) near Ginza (銀座) but it was featured in the French documentary Steak (R)evolution. I have gotten the menchi-katsu at the Kichijoji (吉祥寺) shop, but I didn’t try eating upstairs. 
  •  I have been to Imahan (今半), which is famous for sukiyaki and shabu shabu. They do a wagyu nigiri sushi - tasty! They have 2 restaurants in Shinjuku, and more around the city. 

Monday, February 06, 2017

Highlights of Tokyo food, and an update to the original Tokyo Food Recs page

At long last, I've published some of my highlights of Tokyo food.

I've also updated the original Tokyo Food Recs page so it's a bit more readable. It's going to take a bit more work though!

I leave you with some new music from Nelly Furtado: