Japan Crate Mini, Volume 9

For those of you that love Japanese snacks or candy, this subscription delivers them monthly within the US and internationally to select countries. The crate for March included 2 snack items and 3 candy items.

What’s inside:

20160323_160042.jpg

Yuki No Yado Chips – If you’ve had Japanese rice crackers, these are pretty much like those. Nice mix of sweet and salty. The name of the chips means “snow inn”, and the triangular shape supposedly gives the illusion of a snow topped roof.

20160323_160349.jpg

Yaokin Roll Candy, Strawberry and Green Apple – These are basically a gummy candy version of Fruit by the Foot. The Green Apple was my favorite.

20160406_174811.jpg

7 Stick Choco Cream – Loved these wafer sticks filled with chocolate cream.

Monster Stamp Candy (Dagashi Kashi) – Playing with your food is highly encouraged with this! Moisten the image on the piece to use as an actual stamp. When you’re done, you can eat it. The flavor reminds me of those Wonka Bottle Caps. They’re a bit hard, so I had to let it dissolve for a bit before chewing.

20160418_171740-1.jpg

I never know what to expect with these boxes, which makes them all the more fun to receive. I received the box for Volume 10 last week, so I’ll be digging into it to review real soon. If you’re interested in trying out Japan Crate, use code MSA5 to receive $5 off your first Original or Premium box (code courtesy of My Subscription Addiction).

Sephora Play: I’m In!

Sephora had announced the concept of a beauty box subscription late last year. I had signed up for a notification once it became available, but of course I let it slip my mind. My friend had informed me that she received an invite, so I checked my inbox just in case. Low and behold, I got one too. Since discontinuing my subscription with ipsy last year, I had been on the fence about joining another one. But after checking the information about Play, which amounts to $10 USD plus some cents per month, who am I to say no to that? Plus Sephora is one of my top go-to places for beauty.

My sub should kick in next month. Each box contains 5 deluxe samples and a bonus fragrance sample. It is currently only available for select states in the US. Spots for the sub are limited, so be sure to sign up here to reserve yours.

Project Life – March 2016

These pages were put together using Studio Calico’s Homespun Documenter Kit and other miscellaneous elements.

Highlights:

I get my car back!

Movies watched – Only Yesterday and The Boy and The Beast

Visit to Exploratorium

In Memoriam – Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest

Silicon Valley Comic Con

Food adventures – SoFA Market in San Jose, Off the Grid at Fort Mason Center, Milk Cow in Fremont, Teaquation in Redwood City, National Macaron Day

Check This Out: Miami Culinary Tours

While in Miami last week for a friend’s bachelorette party, part of the itinerary included a food tour of South Beach. I would recommend this to anyone who’s interested in trying out local cuisine or visiting the area for the first time.

We met up with our guide Lana and the rest of our tour group at Manolo. Here we had the churros, one of their specialties. Crisp on the outside, soft on the inside, and filled with caramel. Needless to say, it was delish!

churro.jpg

Stop number 2 was Bolivar. Their menu includes various South American dishes with a Colombian flair. We were served ceviche (sadly, I don’t remember what type of fish was in it) and empanadas filled with meat and potatoes with a side of spicy aji sauce. I only tried a bit of it since it contained habanero, which is over my heat tolerance. These pheNOMenal bites were washed down with the restaurant’s signature drink, the refajo. It’s a mix of beer and Columbiana, a carbonated drink similar to cream soda.

emandcev.jpg

Sudden rain caused us to rush to the next part of the tour, Larios on the Beach. This was opened in 1992 by Gloria and Emilio Estefan, and features award-winning Cuban cuisine. Here we sampled a shredded beef dish called ropa vieja, which came with mariquitas (sweet plantain chips) and mojo (a sauce with a base of garlic and lime juice). Simply dip one of the chips in the mojo, then top with the beef and enjoy. Such a fun dish!

 After the brief period of wet weather had passed, we were on our way to The Tides. This hotel had been a popular stop for celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe and Frank Sinatra. The inside features the Art Deco style that parts of Miami are known for. The dish we had here was chicken with a tomato based sauce, topped with a fried plantain.

polloplantain.jpg

At this point, most of us were on the verge of being full. But we still had 2 more stops to go! While walking along Ocean Drive, our guide showed us The Villa Casa Casuarina, also known as the Versace Mansion. In the years following Gianni Versace’s untimely passing, the estate has been converted into a luxury hotel.

casacasuarina.jpg

Our last piece of savory fare was had at Blocks Pizza Deli. The Sun Dried Hippie pocket contained sun dried tomatoes, feta, baby spinach, basil pesto, and kalamata olives.

blockspocket.jpg

Our tasty tour ended on a sweet note at Milani Gelateria. The shop offers both dairy and non-dairy based gelato. My choice was the Ferrero Rocher. It tasted just like the candy!

 

This was my first guided food tour, and I really enjoyed it. South Beach is one of 3 area food tours that the company offers. You can also schedule a private tour if you happen to have a large group. Feel free to visit their site for more information.

SDCC Contests – Australia & US

Found another contest for SDCC! This one’s for those in Australia who are interested in attending. JB Hi-Fi is giving away a trip for 2 with flight, badges, and accommodations included. After making a purchase on their site, you can fill out the entry form here. Contest runs through May 5th.

There are 2 contests for US residents that are still accepting entries until next month. You can keep up to date with them by visiting the SDCC Unofficial Blog contest hub. This site is one of my top sources for any information for the event. Good luck!

Dark Horse SDCC contest

Yesterday, one of my sources for SDCC released information for another contest. The prize includes a trip for 2 to the event with accommodations, a pair of 4-day passes, spending money, and VIP perks. All you need to do is fill out a short survey here to enter. The contest will end on May 30th, and the winner will be announced June 30th. Entry is open to US residents only. Good luck!

Beauty Shout Out – March 2016

No empties have surfaced this past month, so I’ll be highlighting a few products that have been life savers for me.

20160330_171650-1.jpg

Lush Grease Lightning Tea Tree Cleanser – After hearing good things about this, I grabbed a sample of it on my most recent visit to the store to try out. One word to describe this is amazing. As soon as I noticed/felt a breakout about to happen, I just dabbed a bit on and it was as good as gone the following day. This isn’t the usual facial cleanser that you would apply and rinse off. Rather, it’s formulated to be used as a spot treatment or on areas that tend to get oily. I prefer the former as it can be a bit drying. A 1.5 ounce bottle is $14.95 USD. Might be steep to some, but as a spot treatment, it will last a good while.

NYX Chunky Dunk Hydrating Lippie in Hibiscus Tea Punch – I regret not purchasing this initially when it had a short run at my local Ulta. Finally got my redemption when I saw it again at their store in San Jose (this can also be ordered on their brand’s website). Not to mention this was my “welcome back to gloss” product after testing out multiple mattes in January. It provides sheer yet buildable color, moisturizes, it’s retractable, and under $10 USD. Why didn’t I stock up on this?!

Pixi Glow Tonic – Formulated with 5% glycolic acid, aloe vera, and ginseng, this soothing toner helps to brighten and even out skin tone. I only use this at night since glycolic acid can make skin sensitive during sun exposure. I like the scent and it’s helped lighten a few of my post acne marks a bit when I use it with Clinique’s Even Better corrector. I thought $15 USD for a 3.4 ounce bottle seemed steep, but it’s lasted me almost 3 months.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on these products if you’ve used any of them. Speaking of products for dark spots, I’m looking for any suggestions/recommendations. My face has more acne scars than I’m used to lately. :\