Case of the Empties/Beauty Shout Out – September 2016

This month just sped by for me with my vacation and other things going on that I nearly forgot about a few products that I’ve either reached for often or finally used up.


The empties

Pantene Pro-V Intensely Strong Repair Creme – Yet another awesome product I’ve tried that’s sadly been discontinued. I applied this mainly to the ends of my hair after showering, and its helped kept them from drying out. I’ve mentioned it in a past post, but it’s products like this that are the main reason why I barely get a trim. I would have definitely purchased this again.

Murad Clarifying Cleanser – I’ve used this on and off for several years and it’s always done a great job of leaving my face clean without leaving it tight or dry. I’m currently using something else at the moment, but may come back to this at a later time.

Two Faced Shadow Insurance, sample size (not pictured) – I have no idea where this went. I most likely tossed it out. This tiny tube of eye primer lasted way longer than I expected it to. It did a great job of making whatever shadow or liner I layered over it last. The Urban Decay primer I’m currently using will last a while, so this would be a “maybe” for repurchase.

Shout out to…

Benefit Cosmetics Browvo! Conditioning Primer – I got a deluxe sample of this from Ulta during their promotion of the brand’s new brow line. My brows don’t need too much maintenance after the occasional waxing I get for them, but this helped them stay put throughout the day. I usually just wear it by itself, especially at night before bed. It’s surprisingly helped with a sparse area that I had on my right brow. I’ll be sure to upgrade to a full sized one once it’s finished.

Ulta 21 Days of Beauty Picks

Ulta’s 21 Days of Beauty event was back this month from the 4th through the 24th. Each day would feature select items priced at 50% off for either in-store or online purchase. The ones I really had my eye on were available towards the end of the event, so I stopped in twice this past week to snag them.




So what did I go home with? First was the bareMinerals Marvelous Moxie lipgloss in Maverick. I’ve had the mini size of this that came with a set for a while, but never considered a full size one until I saw it in their ad. This is one of my favorite gloss shades and was featured in a previous post I did on MLBB (aka My Lips But Better) shades. On the last day of the event, I got the tarte lights, camera lashes mascara. This has been my higher end HG mascara since I discovered it about 2 years ago in one of my ipsy bags. For a formula that isn’t waterproof, this hasn’t caused me any issues with flaking or smudging. The next event won’t be around again until Spring of next year, so hope you were able to check it out!

Cruisin’ Alaska and BC – Part 2

Part 1 of my trip can be found here.

The ship didn’t have a port of call for Day 5. It was to sail through the Tracy Arm Fjord, but had to take a detour due to high ice density in the water. Instead, it took another route through Endicott Arm, and stopped briefly at the Dawes Glacier. I managed to see a few pieces of floating ice as we approached the glacier. On either side of the ship, you could see waterfalls along the mountains. Beautiful! A good number of people came to the end of the ship as it faced the glacier. This was even closer than the view I had of the Mendenhall one a few days ago. The experience would have been better if it weren’t for the rainy weather.

After warming up and having lunch, my mom and I checked out and ice skating show at the ship’s ice rink. Later was the second formal dinner night. The swell of the ocean caused the ship to rock a little, but unfortunately it was enough to make me feel a bit dzzy. Dramamine to the rescue! I was able to make it through the evening so that my family and I could check out the 60s and 70s dance party in one of the ship’s lounges.


Day 6 was spent at sea again as we made our way towards Canada. I woke up feeling much better from the night before, but could have ran late for the sushi making class I signed up for. Luckily I made it. In fact, I was the first person there. They had announced over the PA system that there would be a time change, so I wondered if that might have been the reason why the others were a bit late. A chef from the ship’s Japanese Restaurant Izumi taught our group how to make 2 rolls (California and Crispy Shrimp roll), ebi (shrimp) nigiri, and a hand roll. I had taken a sushi making class a few years ago, so I had remembered certain parts about putting some of these together. Of course, once we were done making our masterpieces, we were able to sit down together and eat them. I had a blast and also met fellow cruisers. One of them and I passed by another ship lounge before heading our separate ways. She showed me the ship’s pool view and also told me about viewing the Northern Lights as I mentioned in my previous post. I later took my family so that they could also check it out. I actually forgot to pack a swimsuit (D’oh!), but it wasn’t a big deal since the weather made me feel too cold most of the time to go in there.




Victoria, British Columbia was our port of call for Day 7. It was my fist time in Canada! A photo-op of the welcome sign was a must. Our excursion that day was a visit to Butchart Gardens. My mom had actually been there before, but it was the first time for myself and the rest of my family. There are 5 gardens that can be seen, but due to our limited time there, we were only able to see 4.


My favorite parts were the Sunken Garden and Japanese Garden. After walking around for a good while, I stopped at the Gelato Benvenuto for a treat before heading to their shop to pick up souvenirs. During the summer months, the live performances can be seen at their concert stage, and a nearby field puts on fireworks displays. I loved seeing so many different flowers that aren’t common here in California. I wish I had held on to the pamphlet I was given so I could figure out what they are after looking at the photos I took. I later found out that the gardens are lit up at night since they close a bit late. Hopefully I can plan another trip here to experience it.




I wandered around the ship later in the afternoon and finally got myself a drink of the day, which changed with each day of the cruise. The appropriately titled BC’s Breeze had orange and pineapple juices with Captain Morgan rum, grenadine, and blackberry brandy, served in a keepsake glass. I happily sipped on it before the ship pulled away from the dock to head back to Seattle. It was a little bittersweet in the evening as we had our last dinner in the dining room. The staff sang a farewell song to us and we thanked our personal servers for a great experience on our trip. We were up early once we got to Seattle, as passengers were to be off the ship before 10am so that the crew can prepare for the next cruise.



The withdrawal from the past 7 days hit pretty quickly once I was back home, despite having to go to work the next day. However, I was able to see the ship again since it started a new route 2 weeks after my trip. One of the ports of call was in San Francisco, so it was very nice to see it again. Many of the staff that my family and I talked to had mentioned it would be their first time in the city, so we suggested they explore the area if they were given time since it would be a overnight stay.


Visiting the ship at Pier 27.

Another awesome trip in the books for this year. Definitely looking forward to my next one.

Cruisin’ Alaska and BC – Part 1

About a week ago, my family and I went on a cruise to Alaska and Victoria, British Columbia. I haven’t been on a cruise since 2008, so of course I was excited. This would be my 4th cruise, and my 3rd one taken with Royal Caribbean. One of their ships, the Explorer of the Seas, would be our home for the next 7 days. It departed from Seattle, WA, which is about an hour and a half flight from SFO.


The cruise kicked off with a sail away party, complete with DJ and some of the cruise staff leading line dances. Travelers were quick to get in on the festivities. After getting some rest in our staterooms/cabins, we had the first of many dinners at the main dining room. Two seating times were offered at 5:30pm and 8:00pm. We chose the latter since we normally have dinner around 7 at home. After roaming around the ship afterward, we decided to wind down early for the next day since we had been up since 5 in the morning.


The first full day of the cruise was spent at sea, as we were on our way to our first stop in Juneau, AK. Several events were scheduled throughout the day. My mom and I attended a discussion about the excursions being offered for the ship’s ports of call. I later stopped by the dining room to see a sushi demonstration by one of the chefs who worked at the ship’s Japanese restaurant. Following the demonstration, the chef informed us of a sushi making class taking place later on in the week during the next day at sea. Spots were limited, so I made sure to sign up for it. More roaming around the ship for me after meeting up with my family for lunch at the Windjammer Cafe, which is a more casual dining room on the ship’s 11th deck. I found the locations of the  ship’s rock climbing wall, mini golf course, and wave generator called the Flow Rider. They’ve definitely made some awesome changes since my last cruise.


Sitting in on the sushi demonstration.

Later in the evening was the first of two formal nights. Almost everyone got dressed up for the occasion. Professional photographers were scattered between the 4th and 5th decks to take photos of cruisers before or after dinner. We stopped by a Michael Jackson trivia session following. I actually tied with another group for the highest score. The breaker was to guess his time of death. The other team won, but I still won a prize! Last stop for the night before turning in was a dance show at the ship’s theater. I  returned to my room to find a cute towel critter on my bed. Might be silly to say, but I’ve actually missed these guys.


Day 3 was spent partly at sea until we reached Juneau in the early afternoon. We took an excursion to the MacAulay Salmon Hatchery and Mendenhall Glacier. At the hatchery, a tour guide gave us some information about their operations with preserving the salmon population and how the employees help care for them while they grow there. Inside the hatchery are large holding tanks with what look like a couple hundred small fish. The hatchery’s main purpose is to assist with the salmon’s growth before they make their migration to the outside world. In another building was an aquarium with some full grown salmon and other fish, petting tanks, and a small shop that sold salmon products and souvenirs. Got a few bags of their jerky, which was really good. We then hopped on our tour bus to head to the glacier and the visitor center. There are different trails leading to both the glacier and Nugget falls right next to it. Those visiting the center could purchase more souvenirs, and check out exhibits, which included a piece of glacial ice over 100 years old that could be both seen and touched. Pretty cool (pun intended)!


The excursion lasted about 2 hours before we headed back to the ship, which left for our next port of call after 9pm. One thing I regret not knowing this day was the opportunity to view the Northern Lights. A cruiser I met later in the week told me about it and even showed me photos. They informed me that they weren’t as bright since the sky wasn’t very clear. Still, it would have been great to have witnessed it.

Day 4 was spent in Skagway, which is located in southeast Alaska and along the route of the Inside Passage. Although a small city, there’s quite a bit that visitors can do. Some options were dog sledding demos, gold panning, and seaplane, railway, or street car tours. My family and I decided to explore on our own and instead took a shuttle to their downtown area. Although it only runs about 7 blocks, it houses a variety of shops and restaurants within its small vicinity. This was where majority of mine and my family’s shopping was done. I regretted not getting more than one bag of salmon jerky in Juneau, so I was able to grab a few more here. We were in the area for just over an hour, then headed back since the weather was drizzly. I later warmed up a bit at the ship’s pub with some Alaskan beer. During diner later that night, the dining staff was introduced by their director, and they sang a rendition of an Italian song, O Sole Mio.


And that’s part 1 of my trip! The second one will be up shortly. 🙂

My Visit to Facebook Farmers Market

Since the beginning of August, Facebook has held a weekly farmers market on their campus every Saturday. For the most part, the event is free to attend, but the one I visited at the end of the month was a bit more on the larger scale. In addition to the market, they also put together a small “county fair” with rides, games, and kid/family friendly activities. Reservations had to be made via Eventbrite for crowd control. I believe this may be the only time that would be needed.


Local Bay Area vendors set up shop selling various types of produce. There was even a cooking demonstration, florists, food trucks, areas selling craft beer and wine, and live entertainment. I sampled some tasty berries and got an ear of grilled corn. It was either that or Kettle Corn. I had to go for the former.



The market’s theme changes every week. It’s not as big in size compared to other markets I’ve seen, but hey, any excuse to visit the Facebook location is a good one in my opinion. There’s also free parking available, but early arrival is highly suggested. Visit their site here for their current schedule.

Project Life – August 2016

Much of last month was spent catching up with friends, checking out a few Summer events, and of course, more food spots.



Archery practice at SF Archers

Catching up over KBBQ and soju

More catching up in SF

Stanford Summer Jazz Series

Facebook Farmer’s Market

Pokeball sighting!

RCubed Eats: Kula Sushi limited Japan Fair menu, Lemonade Palo Alto, It’s It new Green Tea flavor

Speaking of eats, I’ve made a separate Instagram account for keeping track of old and new pheNOMenal finds.

Quick Update

Slowly creeping back to reality after being out of town for a week. If you’ve seen my Instagram posts, you’ll have an idea of where I’ve been. I’ll be posting about that within a week or so, plus last month’s Project Life pages and another Japan Crate review before the month’s end. Under 2 weeks to go before Fall hits. I’m actually pretty excited about it since the weather will (hopefully) cool down.