Bay Area Eats

Ramen Hajime – 5229 Stevens Creek Blvd, Santa Clara, CA 95051

I’ve ordered from Ramen Hajime a few times and I’ve found that flavor-wise their Kiwami Tonkotsu ramen blows other pork ramen in the South Bay out of the water. It is mouthwatering perfection no exaggeration in my opinion. Perfectly balanced, rich tasting, craving satisfying egg noodle ramen. I’ve ordered the seafood ramen as well but I prefer the pork ramen because the broth remains hotter in the pork soup for a longer amount of time. Check out this spot for hot soup during the cold winter months and maybe try or share a Kiwami Tonkotsu soup as well.

Jacob’s Restaurant ~ Sonoma wine country quick bite – 1266 Broadway, Sonoma, CA 95476

We stumbled upon Jacob’s Restaurant during a Sonoma wine country trip when things were open for outdoor dining and we were impressed by the professionalism and hospitality of the waitstaff. The pizza and clam chowder soup tasted great. I highly recommend this place for some food before winery visits in the area.

MCourse Bakery – Santa Clara

Mcourse Bakery is run by twin sisters with gifts in baking. They have excellent customer service and are wiling to adapt whenever necessary. The bakery offers $8 delivery to locations close to Santa Clara. I ordered a custom birthday cake for my mom’s birthday and they modified their guava cake to fit the roses theme of her celebration. What stood out the most was the complimentary macaroon they gave with my cake order. I never tasted a better macaroon.

They make all their macaroons made-to-order because they don’t have a store. Luckily for customers the macaroons remain soft and fresh because they don’t harden from store display. I ordered the raspberry chocolate macaroons for Christmas and they threw in extra ones to sample other flavors and delivered it too me for free because I couldn’t make it down to pick it up at the scheduled time. They are superheroes in professionalism and sweets. I highly recommend ordering macaroons from this bakery. ❤

Roses cake decoration to match the b-day roses theme

The Dark Edit 🌙 🌙 🌙

How are you all doing and feeling this holiday season? I’ve been a bit busy with my PhD and graduate studies planning however I still feel super grateful for so many things in my life.

In this part of the two part series I have two recommendations for skincare Elemis Superfood Blackcurrant exfoliator and Elemis Peptide Plumping Pillow Facial and one candle recommendation Foundry Mistletoe.

What I appreciate about the blackcurrant exfoliator is that it is gentle enough for every day use, nondrying, nonirritating because it does not leave my skin red, its vegan, and it effectively gets rid of any gunky oil or impurities on the skin with gentle circular motions. Additionally, it does not require aggressive scrubbing and it is currently on sale on the site Mankind for $28, this is the link.

Elemis Peptide Plumping Pillow Facial feels pillowy unsurprisingly. I love the subtle relaxing smell sweetened by jasmine and sweet orange for the ultimate at-night destress experience. I am a sucker for gel moisturizers because they instantly absorb into the skin rather than sit on top. This overnight face mask does not disappoint because it provides that instant hydration. A key ingredient is Peptide4, as we all know from basic biology peptide chains naturally occur in amino acids and the peptide4 ingredient derived from yeast helps add more of it to the skin to boost the overnight skin revitalization process.

My candle recommendation smells like a winter forest, the mistletoe candle from the brand Foundry. I purchased mine from Bed Bath & Beyond. I recommend this $6 candle because the throw is fantastic for the cost. The scent is christmassy, warm, and woodsy. I love the mercury glass jar it comes in and the size of the candle. It is about the size of a large navel orange. I’d make a great last minute gift for yourself or a friend.

Happy Holidays, take care of yourself ❤

My Puppy’s (Estrellita’s) Favorites

Pawfume Blue Ribbon Premium Grooming & Finishing Spray – This dog perfume is unisex and has a fresh clean scent. It beats her previous baby powder cologne she used beforehand because this scent is less chemical smelling and it lasts longer. I also have noticed it makes her fur softer too. I purchased the cologne from Amazon and many reviews rave about this cologne for bigger dogs, messy puppies, and regular use in-between baths.

Gentle Wipes Baby Powder for Puppies – These wipes are sold at several pet shops. I love using them on her paws after walking outside. The baby powder scent is not overpowering and they effectively clean her light colored fur.

Tent Room with a lamp from Target – I’ve wanted a pet tent room for some time but I had a dilemma. I struggled to find one that was big enough to fit her crate. The dog tent that were extra large on Etsy were $250-400 on average. The pet tents sold online were either too small or too low in height for a crate or sold out. Then I thought why not use a kid’s tent instead because the width should be large enough to fit a crate and the cost was typically only $35-60. I decided to get this pink play tent from Target with a fairy lights chandelier for $45. The lamp comes with batteries. Her crate fit in perfectly and she immediately loved her new room.

Petco sweater dress with plaid skirt bottom – I find Petco clothing a bit hit or miss in sizing because my maltipoo is long but too small for size small clothing sometimes. However, the sweater dress fit her well though a little loose at the top but its a good thing because I’m sure her neck felt more comfortable with the extra space.

The Bear & the Rat Pumpkin Cinnamon Frozen Yogurt cups from Petco – My puppy LOVES these yogurt cups. They soothe her sore gums because she’s been loosing so many baby teeth these days. So far I’ve found three of her teeth on the floor. I let her eat half of the cup and then pop it back into the freezer and give her the other half another day.

Etsy Christmas dress and hand knit sweater dress pictured above – I love the craftsmanship of both dresses above. Both were delivered promptly at great prices, custom-made, and have excellent customer service.

Christmas photo competition photos, she won the contest!

Hair Care for Bleached, Blonde & Honey Brown Natural Hair 💜

Blonde Shampoo Non-Drying

I recently blenched my hair and dyed it honey blonde-brown to match my hair extensions. I started using purple Shiny Silver Ultra Conditioning Shampoo and I was pleasantly surprised by how soft it made my hair. My natural hair can become very fragile and dry easily and most shampoos even ones made for natural hair are often too drying for me. However, this conditioning shampoo works as directed, it reduces yellowness, brassiness and it leaves my hair soft. I bought both the shampoo and Hawaiian Silky conditioner from Sally’s in-store. I purchased the shampoo for $13 but I found out in my online search that it is sold for only $5.59 at Bed Bath & Beyond so I recommend purchasing it cheaper online than in-store at Sallys. My mother has bleached hair as well and she also uses the same hair products. The shampoo works for both of our natural hair textures.

The Hawaiian Silky conditioner I like but I was not extremely impressed with. I would describe the conditioner as hydrating but not hydrating enough for my hair texture to rinse out completely. In other words, I have to leave some of it in to maintain softness. Overall, its an excellent affordable conditioner for only $5-6. What are your top choices for blonde hair care products? ❤

The Bright Edit

TODAY is a Beautiful day ~

This is the start of a two part series consisting of The Bright Edit & The Dark Edit blog posts. In this post I share reviews of morning related products.

Here’s my morning playlist that consist of upbeat songs to sing in the shower and while getting ready.

A great way to wake up your face in the morning is to double cleanse with cold water. A scrub mask can exfoliate and brighten the complexion in the morning. I’ve been using three different face scrubs recently. One of which is the Klairs Youthful Glow Sugar Mask. This vegan mask has grapefruit extract, raspberry seed oil, and shea butter. What I like about this mask is that you can control the exfoliation amount with the dampness of your face. The instructions state to apply the product on a damp face, I find that if my face is super damp the mask acts as a moisturizer and if it is less damp the sugar crystals remain harder and the mask acts more as a physical exfoliator.

The mask is on the course side as a sugar scrub so I do like and prefer to use it on my upper body. I love using it on my underarms and upper body as it leaves it with a sugary grapefruit clean scent and exfoliates the skin effectively.

I can see a difference in how bright my completion looks after using this mask for 10 minutes.

I hit the jackpot and Sokoglam sent me the Missha Time Resolution serum for free with my purchase. I’d been eyeing this serum for a while so I was super excited to try it out. Surprisingly, the product actually turned out more impressive than I anticipated. The serum makes my face feel extremely soft. I’m unsure why it works so well for me. I typically find that Korean serums on Sokoglam are kind of hit or miss for my sensitive skin because many products have fragrance. Sometimes my skin reacts super negatively to fragrance others times it just slightly gets irritated or not at all. But this product does not have any fragrance.

The key ingredient is mugwort extract for hydration. Mugwort also has anti-inflammatory properties as well. This serum is the perfect morning skincare product because it hydrates and calms redness. It leaves my skin with this butter-baby soft feeling, that does not feel weighted or as if it is just sitting on top of my face. It is the perfect 1st step skincare. ❤

Pictured wearing Venessa Mooney Skort-Dress – THE ORIGINAL ELISABETH and For Love and Lemons pink cover dress

What are your favorite morning skincare products?

Bay Area Eats Series

Here in another installment of the Bay Area Eats series two restaurants are featured:

14486 Big Basin Way, Saratoga, CA 95070

Sipan Peruvian restaurant is upscale in pricing but family style and humbled in service and atmosphere. We ordered ceviche mixto with sweet potatoes. As my mom says Peruvians do ceviche and chicken the best in our opinion. They add variations of corn and red onion to the ceviche with calamari, fish, octopus, shrimp, and muscles.

I also had the corn soup of the day as an appetizer. The corn flavors reminded me of Panama and stirred nostalgic feelings. We ordered seafood paella and aji de gallina (chicken in chili sauce with cheese and pecans). What makes Peruvian interpretations of the Spanish paella different is the softer consistency of the rice. The service is top of the line because I went there to celebrate something and our waitress insisted on dessert on the house and packed us some to go. I will definitely come back to the restaurant and I recommend them.

The sourdough bread bowls from SF Boudin always make for a pleasant meal at the end of a long day. SF Boudin is a well known bakery chain founded in 1849 originating in San Francisco. The breads, and famously the sourdough bread, is made fresh and tastes great warmed with some butter. We ordered the tomato bread bowl, clam chowder, and two pumpkin breads. As a disclaimer, I don’t think the bread bowls from here are unique. However, both the bread and the soup are always made perfectly and to standard.

The soup tastes like slightly more elevated Panera Bread. The combination of hot bread and soup on a cold autumnal day is expectedly satisfying. I first ordered from the Santa Clara location but that one is temporarily closed now so most recently we went to the San Jose location and the food quality tasted equal at both establishments.

Collagen Beauty Powder

Vital Proteins Beauty Collagen in Strawberry Lemon flavor tastes delicious and it makes my hair and skin softer. The price is $25 and the container lasted me a month and a half. The directions state to use two spoons and mix in water but I typically only added one generous spoon and a half of spoon more. I did not take it every day, more like 2-3 times a week, and I made two servings each time to share with my mom.

I love mixing it with some filtered water store bought ice and drinking it in the morning after a cup of hot water with lemon. It tastes refreshing and somewhat sweet. There is no vitamin, cardboard-like taste nor is it overly sweet, it simply makes water taste slightly fruity. I once added it to a smoothie and I do not recommend drinking it this way because the fruit and veggie flavors clashed and tasted unpleasant. Its best as directed in fresh water for a light drink with a collagen boost!

This collagen powder is solid online at Walmart, Target, Walgreens, Sephora, and more. Now that I’ve tested the waters I will surely buy more to continue drinking it throughout the late fall and winter.

Fenty Beauty Products 🌰

*Pictured above wearing SPF eyeshadow not Fenty, wearing Fenty mascara and setting powder

I purchased a box of Fenty goodies in October. I got Pro Filtr Instant Retouch Setting Powder in the shade chestnut, Full Frontal Volume, Lift & Curl mascara in Cuz I’m Black, Match Stix Shimmer Skinstick in Beach Bum, the Moroccan Spice Eyeshadow palette, and Total Cleans’r Remove-it-all face wash.

To start off with the setting powder I love that it easily blends into my skin. My face suddenly got too dark for my foundation from the sun so I wanted this to make my face match my current complexion with this powder. I like that the powder looks natural on and I can still see my skin underneath. It also is light enough in coverage to achieve the glass skin, dewy face look.

The Total Cleans’r Remove-it-all face wash is non-drying and fragrance free. I like to use it with other products for a double cleanse. Not much to say about it besides the fact that it is in line with Fenty’s universal one-for-all brand in that it does not irritate my skin and effectively washes my face and makeup off.

The Shimmer Skinstick in Beach Bum is orangey and peachy in color. The pigment is buildable and shimmery.

As for the Moroccan Spice palette, the eyeshadow is sheer. Its an everyday light coverage palette with subtle buildable pigment. The perk this palette has is its range of colors, it truly is a one-stop-shop for day to night looks.

This is awesome given that I got it on sale for only $29. Though I expected stronger pigment from the colors on par to Pat McGrath, I actually now appreciate this palette for daily use. I especially appreciate that Fenty included solid plain colors without glitter because many others from popular brands like Pat or Tom Ford in my experience only offer glitter shadows in palettes.

some of the glitter shadows on my mom’s arm

Pictured below is a day and night eye look only using Fenty. I am not good at makeup so I usually prefer more pigment to use one color all over my eyes. I also prefer little fall out because I frequently make mistakes and struggle to blend as my nervous Gemini energy really jumps out while doing makeup. I did experience some fall out but it is was not extreme.

The mascara is just the same as the palette light but buildable. See mascara close and eye shadow close up below. In short, all of the makeup products I tried are light and buildable and excellent for natural everyday looks.

Thanks for reading!

Fenty Review

Skin Cottage Spa & Eminence Skin Probiotic Moisturizer Review & Spa Shower tips 🌿

https://theskincottage.com/

I visited a small spa in Los Gatos, CA called The Skin Cottage. I highly recommend this spa because the owner Donna uses Eminence products for her facials. The spa is open now with the protocol of signing a health form beforehand and she offers online booking. I love that her spa is a small single room space with an entrance lobby and restroom because it makes the facial experience more relaxing.

I dislike day spas with full hair salons and other services because they tend to be louder by nature of the other activities happening at the same time. Her small space ensures privacy and cleanliness. The spa room has a heated bed and small storage space for your belongings. She does extractions and only offers one basic facial as of this post.

Eminence is a brand I’ve used since I was a teenager and I think this brand is special because of their emphasis on using natural plant ingredients and fruits in their products. In addition, the vast range of products they carry is also an asset.

Anything you need, you can get from Eminence from heated body lotion for cellulite to face mist, from sour cherry masks to face lotion like the one reviewed here made with yogurt! The pricing is also a bonus because though the brand is luxurious prices are not exuberant.

Eminence Clear Skin Probiotic Moisturizer is cooling. Only a pea size amount is needed for application and it can be mixed with water. A key ingredient is cucumber water for hydration. I like this product because my forehead tends to breakout easily from hair products and daily stress and this helps prevent regular irritation. It is a great buy for hormonal, acne prone, or teenaged skin.

Affordable Spa Shower / Bath Guide

Have you taken a spa shower and bath at home yet? I highly recommend you do because it can promote relaxation. The smallest thing you do for yourself in the week and can have a major impact. One great tip to have a spa shower is to use essential oils. Adding about three-to-five-drops of lavender oil to the sides of your shower creates an aromatic experience.

Another great thing to use in your bathroom during a shower or bath is eucalyptus oil. Inhaling eucalyptus promotes respiratory health and relaxation, try mixing some water and eucalyptus oil to burn on an oil burner.

This is the lavender oil I use from Amazon and this is the eucalyptus oil

A bath bomb I like using is the Dove lavender ones that can be purchased from most supermarkets or drugstores in the US. It makes a great addition to a bubble bath liquid of your choice. Additionally, as previously recommended St. Ives has great affordable body washes for under $4. The most recent one I purchased is sea salt and kelp, this wash has gentle exfoliation.

I got more rose water from Nandi Care since I love using it on my face and in my hair to refresh. This business was kind enough to send me a new body soap bar sample before its released and I ADORE it because it has the perfect amount exfoliation. I used the bar on my shoulders during a bath and it clarified my skin perfectly and is not too rough or too soft.

Additionally, though the bar is brown it did not leave a stain behind in my shower after use. I really hope this store releases this product soon because I want to purchase two more.

One last spa bath tip is to always finish off with some lip balm. I recently picked up Vaseline Rosy Lips and I love how hydrated my lips feel with use. What do you do for yourself to relax during the week? ❤

Revitalizing Face Serum ~ 80s Beauty Resurrection Playlist 🎃 🍁

HAPPY MONDAY! ❤️ 

I made my first blog playlist devoted to upbeat self-care music. There’s a strong retro wave happening in music right now from American pop to k-pop. I thought an 80s style beauty playlist would perfectly compliment fall leather jacket weather and hydrating skincare recommendations.

Here is my Cannabliss Revitalizing Face Serum review:

Have you tried the face serum from the line Cannabliss?

The organic skincare line Cannabliss is awesome because they use organic ingredients. This face serum specifically produces actual results in one bottle purchase from my experience. Some products only work with continual use and may not even kick in until after two purchases but this serum is on par with Honeymoon Glow in that the results show in the first week.

Starting with the bottle itself, it has an airless pump to keep bacteria out and promote a longer shelf-life. This is an excellent feature for those who like to use minimal skincare and prefer to stretch the use of pricey products.

Secondly, the ingredient list is top notch and free of synthetic fragrance, dyes, and parabens. The serum is clear and lightweight. It absorbs into my skin rather than just sit on top of it. After using this serum for three days pigmentation disappeared from the side of my face and my cheeks became plumper.

My skin also feels smoother. I wanted this product to recoup after breakouts and skin sensitivity and it helped my skin bounce back. I no longer have texture from the breakouts or skin sensitivity. I think this is a solid product to use for a skin “bounce-back” after any issues. ❤