Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Noro Fingerless Gauntlets


I was on a knitting hibernation for the longest time. In fact, the last time I finished a knitting project was more than a year ago. I got so lazy, I didn't pick up the needles nor go yarn shopping at all. I still bought knitting magazines but they were just for collection purpose.

The first time I stepped into a yarn store this year was to buy yarn for my friend's mitts but I didn't have the mood to knit until I saw these mitts from the latest issue of the Noro knitting magazine. I've always had a love/hate relationship with Noro yarns. I love their colorways but they do not make the softest yarn in the market. In fact I find most of their yarn scratchy and do not feel soft at all. They aren't the cheapest yarn in the market. At that quality, I do find them being overpriced but they do have amazing colors in their yarn. Other self striping yarn just can't beat Noro in their colors.

When I saw these I had to make them. I'm never a big fan of knitting nupps as they take forever to make but I love how these mitts turned out even though they are a little too big.

I did modified the mitts to make them a better fit for my hands. I have to say the instructions are written for people with very big hands. I followed the instructions and made them and my friends with large size female hands still find them too big. So if you have average sized hands, modification is necessary.

I made it smaller by casting on 40 stitches instead of 44 stitches. I also increased less stitches at the thumb gusset. I did a 16 stitch increase instead of 20 stitch increase. But these mitts are still a little too big. If I'm making them again, I will cast on fewer stitches, using smaller needles and I will also make them shorter. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Aoyama Sushi

I love Japanese food and it's something I never get bored of. I don't mind having Japanese food every single day. One advantage of being in Toronto is there are a lot of decent Japanese restaurant.

Aoyama sushi is my current favorite since it's so close work. It's only 10 minutes drive from work so  it  became my go-to weekday restaurant. It's close to Le Cafe Michi but it seems that it's easier to get a reservation at Aoyama. I haven't tried every single item from their menu but the following set is definitely one of my favorite.

You start off with their seafood soup. They put the soup in the teapot and you pour the soup into tiny bowls. After you finished the soup, you can open the cover and eat the seafood inside the pot. 

You then get some Japanese appetizers. I'm never a big fan of their appetizers. I prefer their sashimi and sushi. 

For the sushi in this set, you get 4 pieces of toro, 2 pieces each of the following fishes- Hamachi belly, salmon belly, snow crab leg, egg, scallop, amaebi, uni, eel and a set of salmon rolls. 

Their sashimi is fresh, they offer one of the best hamachi belly in town. The toro is impressive, one of the better toro offered in town at a decent price.   

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Fine Collagen Powder vs Meiji Collagen Powder

I'm currently taking Fine collagen powder even though I still have half a can of Meiji collagen powder left. This is the only time I will have two different kinds of collagen powder on hand at the same time so I've decided to do a comparison post between the two.

So both are popular collagen powders from Japan. With Meiji, each spoonful of collagen powder provides you with 5000mg of collagen which is enough for daily consumption. With Fine collagen, each spoonful provides you with 5250 mg of collagen. For me, I take 2 spoonfuls a day if I'm taking powdered collagen.

Left: Fine Collagen,  Right: Meiji
the packaging is different. I expect this to be different from the Japanese package as the Fine collagen is sold under's the name Japanese Secret.  I personally prefer the packaging of Meiji over the Fine Collagen. For Meiji, I don't have to open the lid completely.

Fine collagen powder

Meiji Collagen powder. 

Left: Fine Collagen, Right: Meiji Collagen

From the powders, you can tell that the Fine powder is much finer than the Meiji one making it easier to dissolve than the Meiji one. I would say the Meiji collagen powder is on a grainier side than the Fine powder. If you dissolve it in hot beverage, you won't have a problem dissolving it. But if you dissolve it in cold juice, I find it quite hard for the Meiji collagen powder to dissolve completely. 

For the taste, I would say the Fine collagen powder is a much better choice. It tastes like vanilla, so I enjoy added it to my soy milk or coffee in the morning. It tastes awesome. But for the Meiji one, it has a fishy taste, I can only add it to my coffee or soup to cover up the fishy taste. 

Are you currently taking any collagen supplements? 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Ole Henriksen Power peel Review

This has become my favourite peel after trying it out the first time. I've tried other peels before but the results aren't that great. My friend tried it a few months ago and she praised the peel set stating that it gave her baby soft skin after using it. So this has been on my watch list for a while. I was reluctant to pick up the peel set due to its price. It's just a lot more expensive to get it in Canada than in the states. The set of two peels costs $20 at Sephora in Canada while it costs $16 in the states. The price for the set of 6 peels is $56 in Canada and $45 in the states. As I was curious about this product so I finally picked up the set just to test it out and I'm impressed with the results. After using it, it left my skin clear and soft. And currently, they came out with a bigger size which is a much better deal. I picked up a set when I was ordering an eye shadow palette for my sister.

It normally costs $10 for each set of peel and each sachets comes with 3ml of each product. The new set costs $27 and comes with 15ml of each product. So it's only costs $5.4 for each set of peels. at this price, it's definitely worth trying. It's currently sold out on their website, but you might still be able to get the starter set in store.

The power peel consists of a three step treatment. So far I've only seen two of the individual products come in full size format.

The first one is the walnut scrub. It's a grainy scrub and I think if you have sensitive skin, you might find it a bit harsh on their skin. I have oily combination skin and I have to say I love the scrub. It's on the grainy side but it's not too coarse on my skin. From its instructions, you scrub it on your face for a minute and then you'll wash it off. I really enjoy using this scrub and I will consider buying the full size scrub for regular use.

The second product in the kit is the lemon strip which is the aha peel. This is the second product that you can purchase on its own. You will have a tingling sensation once you apply the mask but you get used to it fairly quickly. It doesn't irritate my skin at all.

The last step that came with the set is the camomile comfort mask. It's a soothing cream mask that calms down your skin. It's a soothing moisturizing mask that provides moisturize to your skin. I think this product only comes in the power peel set and I haven't seen the full size product on its own.

For the lemon strip I do have questions about it because the instructions is different in the full size product and in the peel set. In the full size product, it says you're supposed to use it after the scrub and leave the mask on for 10 to 20 minutes then wash it off. But from the power peel set, it's says you leave it on your skin for 2 minutes then you apply the camomile comfort mask on top of the lemon strip mask for 15 minutes and then you wash it off. So does that mean the camomile comfort mask is optional? Or you just apply your own moisture soothing mask on top of the lemon strip? Or you can just do the lemon strip for 20 minutes and then do a soothing mask afterwards?

Have you tried any Ole henriksen's products?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Clarins Double Serum

Clarins is one of the brands I trust when it comes to skincare. I do prefer Asian brands over western brands as they just work better on my skin but when it comes to a western skincare brand that I like, it has to be Clarins. I've tried a few Clarins products and I do enjoy using all of them.

Clarins Double Serum is a product launched earlier this year and I got a bottle to try out during one of the shoppers mega redemption days as I don't want to spend $85 on a serum I've never tried before. This serum is different from the serums I've used before. It's half oil and half liquid. I've never tried a serum with oil in it.

It comes in a bottle with a pump and with each pump, it will dispense 1 unit of oil and 2 units of liquid serum. I love the idea of how it mixes the oil and serum together. I've almost finished using the bottle of serum so I've been using it long enough to start seeing results.

First of all Clarins has been selling this as an anti-aging serum and they call it a complete age control concentrate. It claims that it will make skin look firmer, wrinkles look smoother, complexion look even and pores look smaller. I don't have a problem with my skin firmness nor wrinkles so I don't expect to see improvements. But for evening out my skin complexion, I don't see  any result. When I was trying out this product, I kept the products I used on a nightly basis at a minimal, I was using cleansing soap, a regular hydrating toner, double serum and night cream. I even skipped my favourite whitening serum to check out the results of this serum. I also used regular exfoliants and masks during the period. The result was my skin looked dull. I had to add back an exfoliating toner and whitening serum to make my skin look bright and even. For the pores, I don't see any improvements.

It does an amazing job in hydrating my skin and I love the smell of this serum. To me, this serum did nothing but provide hydration to my skin and I do not need to pay that much for a serum that does nothing but to hydrate my skin. This is better than your average $15, 20 dollar serum but for serums at this price range, there are better options out there. At this price tag, I expect more than just a hydrating serum. Speaking of hydration, I would say the Give & Give lotion is doing a better job than this serum at a fraction of its cost.

Have you tried the double serum? What are your thoughts on this serum?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Jabistro tasting menu

Jabistro is one of the newer Japanese restaurants in town. It is one of the hype restaurants and it seemed like a lot of people like it. But is it worth the hype? I don't think so. I've had one of the worst experiences at this restaurant.

We went there to celebrate my friend's birthday and we ordered their fisherman's choice tasting menu. It's their once a month special tasting menu that's only available once a month on the last Sunday. And I have to say this is one of the worst tasting menus ever. This is not what I consider an authentic Japanese tasting menu. The fisherman's menu was $400 for 6, if you have extra people, it'll be $75 per extra person.

Menu of the day. We didn't choose wine pairing as we prefer ordering our own drinks. 

Lobster and toro sashimi. It tasted good but I don't like my sashimi being salted. I prefer having control over the amount of soy sauce I use. I wasn't given any soy sauce at all. 

A piece of over fried black cod. It was over fried and some parts of the fish tasted burnt. 

Roasted duck breast tasted alright

marinated tako salad. This tasted fine but was nothing special.

This isn't something I expect to find at a Japanese restaurant especially given the price tag. We've been given a whole fish and we had to serve ourselves. The boston lettuce even came with the root just to show its freshness. The fish didn't taste special at all. There were scales stuck to the fish. And this is not the kind of fish where you can actually eat the scales. To me this is worse than having fish at home. At least for the fish I eat at home, my family ensures there is no scale on the fish. 

Lobster sandwich with mussels and there weren't even enough mussels per person. for the lobster sandwich, this tastes like a lobsters sandwich you get from McDonald's from the PEI. Again we have to serve ourselves and distribute the food among ourselves.  

Sushi that came in a huge platter. The way they put it does look nice but there wasn't enough sushi. We each had 4 pieces of sushi and for some pieces of sushi, the fish wasn't big enough to cover the rice. 
We were given two pieces of smoked fish sushi and two pieces or traditional sushi. For the traditional sushi, the fish was seasoned with salt. That is not how I prefer my sushi, I prefer adding soy sauce and wasabi to my sushi. The chef's skill wasn't that good as some pieces were falling apart. Given the chef's skill wasn't that good, the sushi should be served on your individual plates not in a platter. I did not order a sushi boat. 

Dessert was awful, we bought our own cake and the strawberry cake on the side was what they served. They made their cake in house but it tastes like regular pastries you get from those average Chinese bakeries. The cake was dry and tasteless. We didn't have to serve ourselves because we brought own cake and they had to serve us our cake. They wouldn't give us a knife for us to cut the cake. They knew it was an ice cream cake and by the time they finished cutting up the cake and started serving us, it was another 10 minutes and my ice cream cake started to melt. After the meal we still felt hungry. It wasn't so bad because of our own cake. 

Overall this is not a restaurant I would go back and I would not suggest my friends to try this place.  When we made the reservations they knew it was for a birthday gathering and they said they would do something special and in the end we did get something special which was a terrible meal that we had to serve ourselves. We arrived early while the birthday girl came a little bit late, they actually asked us to start our meals before the birthday girl arrives. I've never been asked to start my meal before the whole party arrives. Never at any other restaurants and starting the meal before all your friends arrive is just rude. We were charged 18% for gratuity when we were basically serving ourselves for the entire night. The waitress only came by to pour you two cups of sake and bring you the food from the kitchen. 

Given the meal wasn't cheap at all and with the food served, it's not worth it's price tag at all. For the same price, you're better off to try the omakase at Kaji Sushi which is the best omakase in Toronto and it's an authentic Japanese restaurant and run by Japanese. 

Murale beauty Haul

I don't go to Murale often as there aren't a lot of shops that interest me at Shop at Don Mills. But after this shopping experience I will go back more often. I went to Murale during one of their promotion events to pick up some new products to try out. After reading Hakme's review on on two Erno Laszlo's products I've decided to go pick them up. I'm a fan of cleansing soap and I'm almost finished with my silver soap so it's about time to go look for a replacement. I've heard a lot of great reviews about Erno Laszlo's soap. Several people I know uses them and they all love them. It's great to pick up items during special events as you get extra optimum points.

So during the visit I picked up two items from Erno Laszlo and one item from Natura Bisse. From Erno Laszlo I picked up the Hydraphel Skin Supplement ($49) and Firmarine face soap ($49). I also picked up the Oxygen finishing mask ($43) from Natura Bisse. I actually bought the wrong mask. I was supposed to pick up the essential shock mask but I picked up the oxygen mask by mistake. There are several items from Natura Bisse that I wanted to try but none of them were in stock. The items I wanted to try are all from their diamond white line. I'm not even going to comment on their stock level. More than half the Natura Bisse display is empty. None of the new products are here. I know Natura Bisse was available at certain The Bay counters but it seemed that they all got closed down. I do wish they will restock products from Natura Bisse as they are highly recommended by my friend. 

The generous samples given to me by the beauty advisor. This allows me to try out an entire Erno Laszlo night time skincare routine.

The beauty advisor at Murale was so nice she offered me samples from Erno Laszlo so I could try out their products. Regular sample sizes are 2 ml a tube and even when they say they are giving out deluxe samples, they are around 5ml so when I saw the samples she gave me I was shocked. I was given deluxe samples of the Firmarine night cream and Transphuse night serum sample. There is 15ml in each sample. The samples will at least last me a month and the total value of the samples are worth $192. That's already more than what I spent at Murale and I also got $25 dollars worth of optimum points from my visit. So I definitely had a great haul from Murale.

What's your latest beauty haul?