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?

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Fine Collagen and Amino Acid Powder Review

Fine Collagen and Amino Acid powder is my latest collagen supplement haul. I've been taking the Meiji Collagen for a while and I do find that my skin is more hydrated with less dry patches appearing on my skin. Collagen helps improve skin elasticity and diminish fine lines. The problem with Meiji is I have to buy it online and I always get hit with duties when I buy them from Sasa. I normally get charged $30 for every $110 I buy from Sasa. Unless my Sasa order is under $50 otherwise I always get taxed. Meiji collagen powder are always on buy 2 get 1 free promotion at Sasa. Average cost is $32.27 a can/bag. $32.27 is cheap for collagen but once you factor in all the taxes, it comes out to around $42 a can so I've been looking at alternatives.

Fine Collagen powder is from Japan and it's produced by Fine Co. a company that's been around for almost 40 years. Like the Meiji collagen powder, you mix a teaspoon of the collagen powder with any liquid to consume it. From my visit to the local dry goods store I remember seeing three kinds of collagen powder from Fine. One is the regular collagen powder, one is regular powder but 30 day prepackaged one and the last one is the collagen from the Japanese Secret Line. This was actually my first time seeing the Japanese Secret Line collagen. Most of the time I only hear about the regular collagen powder. There might be more but I was already drawn towards the fine collagen powder so I didn't pay attention to the other products.

regular collagen powder- $45 but currently they have $9 cash back

30 day prepackaged collagen powder-$49 ( not sure if there is any special promotion) 

Japanese secret line collagen powder-$45 a can but they are on buy 4 get 1 free promotion. So after discount is comes out to $36 a can

I would say if you don't get taxed, it's cheaper to get it from Sasa but being a person that gets heavily taxed on all my regular Sasa orders, it's cheaper for me to buy my collagen at the local store. 

What's the difference between these three collagen? the regular and 30 day prepackaged ones are actually the same just in different packaging. the 30 day ones are great for traveling but if you're not traveling, buying the can would be a much better deal. But is there a difference between the Japanese Secret collagen powder and the regular collagen powder? I'm not sure as the ingredients from their website is different from the ones I see on the can. The content is also different. The one I bought in store has 200g while the one showed on both the US and Japanese website stated that there is only 180g. But one thing is for sure the Japanese Secret Line is made for western market and the regular one is for Asian market. 

Copied from the Fine Website:

Regular Collagen ingredients list: 


(7g x 30sachets)

231g (refill)
Beautiful Skin is built from within...

In the FINE laboratories we have blended the finest extracts, essences and natural elements to enhance the body's natural ability to build beautiful, flexible skin and joints. We are confident you will love the effect of Hyaluron & Collagen on your body.
Supplement Facts: 7g
Hyaluronic acid
Fish collagen
Pearl coix extract
Vitamin C

The Japanese Beauty Line Collagen ingredients list

Supplement Facts: 6g
Vitamin C100mg
Hyaluronic acid60mg
Pearl coix extract450mg
For Younger-looking skin
This Original blend of extracts, essences, and natural elements helps the body build beautiful, flexible skin and joints FROM WITHIN. HYALURONIC ACID: nourishes and hydrates collagen based tissues, joints, and eyes. Low molecular fish-peptide COLLAGEN: maintains strength and flexibility in skin, as well as in connective tissues; ligament; bones; joints; muscles; tendons; gum;teeth; eyes; blood vessels; nails; hair. ELASTIN: keep skin resilient and firm. VITAMIN C: vital for collagen production in the body. BIOTIN: essential to skin, hair, and nails. PEARL COIX: strengthens joints, hair, and skin, and provides digestive support. These vital ingredients, enhanced with wheat germ and aquatic calcium, provides a total skin support program.

Ingredient list from the can
As you can see the ingredient list is quite different from the website so I'm not sure which one to trust. Other than the ingredient list and content being different, this can is straight from Japan. 

The can was sealed air tight.

It didn't come with a spoon. I still have 2 cans at home so hopefully there is a spoon in those cans. The regular version comes with a 7g spoon. You can also see that it has a creamier color than the Meiji Collagen powder. 

Taste? I have to say it tastes quite good. I have no problem mixing it with water. It has a hint of vanilla flavour and makes it easy to drink. It doesn't have the fishy flavour like the Meiji collagen. Since I've been taking collagen on a regular basis so I don't notice any difference in my skin. I heard that people see improvements in their skin after taking it for a few weeks. But since I'm already taking collagen so I don't expect to see any results with it. 

Do you have the habit of taking beauty supplements? 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Vivienne Westwood Watch

I have always loved Vivienne Westwood jewelry and accessories. I used to buy one or two items from her jewelry line each year as a little treat to myself. I would buy more but it's not readily available in Canada so it had always been hard for me to get her items. I used to buy from Hervia but they stopped carrying Vivienne Westwood products and it took me a while to hunt down online stores that carry her products. I was so excited when I found out that Amazon US carries some of Vivienne Westwood products. I immediately ordered a watch I always wanted as none of the other UK sites were willing to ship to Canada. This has to be the biggest disappointment I've ever had with Vivienne Westwood.

I was so excited when I saw the watch and I even paid for express shipping to Canada. Well the watch did arrive in one piece in a nice Vivienne Westwood box and the watch was also nicely packed. But the quality of the watch wasn't up to the expectation. If you look at it in the box. It looks very pretty but once you try to use it, it's a different story.

You can already tell it's a pendant watch and it's a pendant hanging from the leather strap. The pendant fell off. It wasn't attached to the clasp properly. The clasp was twisted and there was no way I could fix it. And being a watch, I certainly want to look at the time. The watch wasn't working. There was mechanical problem with the minute hand and it kept on twitching before it stopped. I do work with watches but there was no way I could fix this on my own. Even with the tools I have at home if I open it, I might probably damage it. I had no choice but to return the watch. 

Lesson learned. Don't buy watches that don't look like traditional watches as you can't fix it without damaging it. But this does not stop me from buying her products. I still buy her accessories and jewelry. 

Have you heard of Vivienne Westwood? Do you own any of her products?  

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Review: Shiseido Anessa whitening uv protector

Shiseido has always been a brand I like and use. I prefer their Asian lines over the ones we get at the high end counters. I'm not saying the products in the counter aren't good. It's just that they are not that suitable for me. 

I've always loved the Anessa UV Protector line from Shiseido. I find them affordable and works great. They are also non-greasy which is something I look for in a sunscreen. I hate the chemical smell from most sunscreen in the market and most of them give you the sticky and oily feeling. 

There are different lines from the Anessa line and I normally use their Perfect UV sunscreen. I received a sample size of the whitening UV protector when I purchased the full size Perfect UV sunscreen. This is a perfect way for me to test out a product. I don't need to buy it and there is enough product for me to truly test out the product. 

  Like the Perfect UV sunscreen, this has a milky lotion texture and it's light enough to be used on both the face and body. Even it's a milky lotion, I find it providing enough moisture to my skin and it doesn't leave my face looking oily. With SPF32, it provides enough protection for daily use. 

After you apply it, it might feel a little sticky for the first two minutes, but once it gets absorbed into the skin, you don't really notice it being there.

This doesn't leave a white cast on your face and like other Anessa sunscreen, it's wet proof and sweat proof. As with all sunscreen I do use a cleansing balm to remove it. As with the whitening effect, I personally don't notice a difference to my skin tone. 
But there is something about this sunscreen I don't like or from there's something from their whitening line in general. When I apply it to my face, it doesn't irritate my skin but I can smell the alcohol in the product. I never had this problem before and I've tried using the other sunscreen from Shiseido and none of them gave me this problem. I also tried Shiseido's brightening toner and all I could smell was alcohol so I blame it on their whitening line.

Other than the smell I would say this is a great sunscreen. Perfect to use during the warmer months. It is even suitable for using on your body.

What is your favorite sunscreen?   

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Face Q Beauty and Bebe Foot Review

I love using foot masks. I'm the lazy type of girl and I love the idea of how I don't need to use a pumice stone and spend hours to scrub off the dead skin on my foot so I enjoy using foot masks since all I have to do is sit for an hour or two and let the foot mask work its magic.

I was so excited when I saw the Face Q Beauty and Bebe foot mask at TnT supermarket since it claims that you only need to leave it on for 1 to 1.5 hours compared to leaving it on for 2 hours (Baby foot from Japan). I love using Taiwanese products and I've tried masks from Face Q before and for the prices they charge, the quality is decent. It's from the same company, so these foot masks shouldn't be that bad.

Well, I'm not sure was it just the package I got or every package is the same. Everything was nicely packed in the box. I had to open up the foiled package and inside I find the two foot masks. The mask wasn't leaking but it felt so sticky I had to sit in my washroom for the entire time as I was afraid that the serum would leak and I would get it on my carpet. I normally put it on and I walk around the house as they are made of plastic and never leaked. That was the first disappointment.

The fitting of the mask isn't that great. This is a one size fit all mask and I have petite feet so it felt like it was falling off and they didn't give you any tape so I had to find my own tape to keep the mask in place.

The smell wasn't that great either. It smelled very strong and it wasn't a pleasant smell so I had a hard time using the mask. The smell from the Baby foot brand smelled a lot better than. I always wanted to remove the mask as I hated the smell. But I still managed to keep them on for an hour. The smell wouldn't bother me as much if the mask actually worked but to me this mask did nothing.

When I use the baby foot masks, I normally notice peeling after the 3rd day. But with this mask, there was no sign of peeling at all. You're supposed to notice dead skin flaking off gradually and you will have soft skin in 2 weeks time. But two weeks passed and I didn't notice any peeling on my feet.  So it turned out to be a waste of time and money for me. I'm better off using other brands. There is also a foot cream that came with the foot mask. A cream is a cream so I don't think there would be any disappointment with the cream.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Le Cafe Michi omakase dinner

Le Cafe Michi is one of my favourite Japanese Restaurant in town since it's within reasonable driving distance for a weeknight dinner. I go there often but this was my first time trying out their omakase menu. I normally enjoy having control over my own food. most of the food in the omakase menu were good but I just prefer ordering my own food.  Every time I go to this restaurant it's always packed so it's necessary to make reservations if you're going on a weekend.

Appetizers. Something I hate about omakase is their appetizers. Most of them aren't that good. The only good appetizers I've tried at a omakase were from Kaji Sushi. Others all failed to impress me.

This was good. I love the walnuts in the salad. But a salad is a salad so it's nothing special.

Assorted sashimi plate. You have saba, ika, tobiko, salmon, hamachi, amaebi and tuna. As usual the quality of the sashimi was great. This is one of the few places where I will eat their tunas as most places don't offer fresh tuna sashimi. The best part is they give you good quality wasabi not the ones that come straight from a tube.

Japanese style steamed egg

Steamed egg with assorted mushroom and leek. This is offered most of the time if you have omakase at a Japanese restaurant in Toronto. 

simmered fish as one of the hot dishes

assorted sushi. They have great futomaki here. The uni are also good. I've had my best uni don at this place. They gave me 3 different batches of uni on my uni don. 

For dessert, they have lots of choices. They normally have around 6-7 kinds of dessert you can choose from. This time I chose their sugarless chocolate mousse cake. It's not too sweet so it was good but I do prefer their other cakes over the mousse cake. 

For the other dessert we chose the regular cream brûlée.  I didn't try it so I don't know how it tasted. 

Address: 1802 Pharmacy Avenue, Toronto