Japan Vlog: Kura Sushi, Old Castle and Anata No Warehouse

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I’m back with another Japan video. This vlog will cover our first full day in Tokyo.

The vlog opens with us preparing to board the N’EX (Narita Express) from Narita Airport. This train ride was included in the Japan Rail Pass so we were able to board for “free”. You do have the option to reserve your seats ahead of time but we didn’t plan ahead so we had to ride in the unreserved cars – which had plenty of room. The train was immaculate! It was clean, spacious, had hooks for your coat, a drink holder and plenty of leg room. It was honestly nicer than our flight in!

Once we arrived, we spent some time wandering Shinjuku Station because, well, we were lost. We eventually found our way to our AirBnb and dropped off our things.

After dropping off our things we wandered around the Shinjuku area to see what was near us and then headed to Ikebukuro area to grab some sushi at Kura Sushi. Ok, I have an confession: I am not a sushi fan. Whew, so glad I got that off my chest. My whole life I just figured that I never ordered the right sushi roll or I just wasn’t getting the “good stuff.” Now that I have had sushi in the homeland of sushi, I can honestly say that sushi is not for me. So I will let the Mr take over from here.

Discovered this place as we were waiting for the Alice in Wonderland Cafe and thought it would be fun to check out. Walked in, got a waiting ticket, then got seated relatively fast. It is a conveyor belt sushi place but is pretty unique due to the fun casino like game you can play with your empty plates – more about that in a bit!

In regards to the food, definitely would say it has great value – decent tasting sushi at a relatively cheap price!

Back to the casino like game – once you collect 5 plates, you can insert them into a slot and have the tablet above you “run” a game. We had no idea what the different games did but it was pretty fun watching the animations! Unfortunately, we didn’t win anything as our characters fell off cliffs or got crushed by boulders…haha crazy right!?

Ok, I’m back. One of the themed cafes I really wanted to check out was the Alice in Wonderland Cafe. I was under the impression that the different themes were all housed under one roof only to find out that they were all spread out around Tokyo. We ended up visiting Alice in an Old Castle in Ikebukuro. The cafe was down a flight of spiral stairs and shared the basement with 2 other equally amazing themed restaurants. The host was gracious enough to quickly explain the rules of the restaurant which were: 1 food, one drink item per guest and a 500 yen sitting fee. Since we already ate beforehand, we only ordered a couple drinks, fries and parfait. What the cafe lacked in taste, they made up in presentation. The attention and detail that was put into the decor and food was impressive! Take a look for yourself!

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Adorable parfait

After the cafe, we made the trek to the Anata No Warehouse arcade. The Mr was compelled to visit because he saw something that paid homage to Mortal Combat?

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Unfortunately, they banned video and photography (obviously I snuck some in) so I will do my best to explain. The arcade was 3 floors of sensory overload. The first floor had several large arcade games and a TON of claw games – MY WEAKNESS.  2nd floor was full of arcade games, pool tables, darts and ping pong tables. Lastly, the third and top floor had all the pachinko games and other games for cash rewards. We put in 100 yen in some game that dropped balls similar to “plinko” on the The Price is Right — apparently we were doing ok because we were playing for a solid 15 minutes. Not bad for 90 cents of entertainment!

This pretty much sums up our first full day in Tokyo and I have so much more show/tell you so hang tight! Watch the vlog below:

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Journey to Tokyo!

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We have been back from Japan for a couple weeks now and I’m just getting around to editing the footage we compiled during the trip. I’ve been avoiding them but the longer I wait the less likely I will edit them so here I am with the first vlog from Japan! Actually, more like our travel day vlog but it contains footage from our flight and the footage from the capsule hotel!

We flew Japan Airlines on a Boeing 787 on the usual sunny San Diego day. As we were boarding the first thing I noticed was how cramped it was. I realize that because we were flying economy I wasn’t going to get a luxurious lounger but I was pretty bummed at how little leg room we got considering it was an international flight. I’ve heard a lot of good things about Japan Airlines so maybe I had set my expectations a little too high? Other than that, I was still under the weather so I was extra stuffy and extra gross. I usually can’t sleep on flights so I stayed up almost the entire flight. All in all, my time on the flight was horrible.

After a grueling 11 hour flight, we landed in Tokyo at Narita airport around 5pm. After checking in at the 9h capsule hotel, we walked around the restaurants and shops at the airport in an attempt to stay awake until 9pm.

The 9h capsule hotel was an awesome experience. It’s the perfect place to stay if you have a flight during the wee hours of the morning. They provide you with a bag that contains a towel, toothbrush, toothpaste, slippers, and the most unflattering pajamas ever made. Men and women are in separate quarters with separate bathrooms, separate showers and separate pod areas. The capsules themselves are spacious but I’m also only 5’3″ so it may be a squeeze for the taller folks. 9h capsule hotel is a no frills sort of place that provided just what we needed, a place to sleep. To be honest, it was nicer than some of the Airbnb’s that we stayed at during the remainder of the stay but we will come back to that later.

Enough of my babble, here is the vlog to fill in any gaps.

Roarr! Ittybot turns four!

ittybotbdaylogoThis past weekend we celebrated Ittybot’s FOURTH BIRTHDAY!

This is his first birthday back in the states so we decided throw him a little birthday party. We went with a lumberjack theme because it coincides with the rustic, adventure theme I planned for his bedroom. Most of the decorations for his birthday party can later be utilized as decoration in his new bedroom! Pretty genius, right?

When I started to plan his birthday, there were still some post- Christmas sales to take advantage of at Michaels so I found a lot of the decorations there for 80%-90% off. SCORE! I really wanted some rustic elements so I ordered a couple wooden centerpieces that I found for a decent price on orientaltrading.com. While I was perusing their selection, I found inflatable axes. I personally thought the axes would be a great touch for the lumberjack theme but I knew some parents may not agree. Well…too dang bad! At $10 a dozen, I just had to. A lumberjack party would not be complete without some mustache blowouts. So naturally, I got some of those from Oriental Trading too ($4/dozen). Another item I had envisioned for the party and his bedroom was a little red lantern. Amazon had several options but I ultimately went with the cheapest option ($6). I found some fake moss at the dollar store and I was able to put together adorable centerpieces at an affordable price.

The party was held at the clubroom at our complex because there was enough space for our guests and the space itself is pretty amazing. Luckily the space was already well decorated that I didn’t need to do much to it at all.

Lumberjack Birthday PartyFor games, I made a bean bag toss game out of presentation board purchased from Michaels and printed out some forest animal pictures I found online. I called my MIL to sew some bean bags for me because I was too cheap to purchase them LOL. The game ended up being a hit with the kids! Another game we did was a simple ball toss game. I purchased 3 buckets in various sizes and some plastic balls from Daiso. Ended up being a simple carnival game that challenged guests of all ages.

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Food was probably the easiest part of the party. To stay true to the theme, we decided on simple camping inspired food such as burgers, brats, chips and a chili bar.

I really wanted to put together a photo booth for the party but I ended up being too busy with work that I had little time to prepare. That is definitely something I’d like to do for his next birthday party.

We are so thankful to have such a great turnout. We really didn’t expect to have that many people show up and and we were so excited that Ittybot was surrounded with so many friends and family. Being so new to San Diego, we weren’t sure how long it would take for it to really feel like home-luckily, it took no time at all. This is home.

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Empties Review: Innisfree Green Tea Seed Serum

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Hi world, I’m a k-beauty aka Korean beauty/skin care-aholic. It all started with a trip to Shanghai that got me hooked on sheet masks. One thing led to another and here I am, a full-blown Korean Beauty addict. I’m no expert but I do hoard…a lot. I have an absurd amount of sheet masks that I had to purchase a cart to house (I’m both proud and embarrassed about it – it is a confusing feeling, really).

Today, I will talk about an Innisfree product. I was introduced to Innisfree in Hong Kong. The store lured me in by their sheer popularity. There were so many people crammed in their store, I had to see what the fuss was about. Innisfree is known for being eco-friendly and their mostly natural products. While in Hong Kong, I purchased a few of their sheet masks. Ok, at only $1 each, I purchased ten. In short, I ended up liking it SO much I purchased another 120. Yes, like I said before, I am a hoarder and an addict. Moving on.

Because I’m constantly experimenting with new products, I rarely finish a full-sized product. However, I managed to finish TWO bottles of the Innisfree Green Tea Seed Serum and I’ve almost emptied out the Innisfree Green Tea Seed Eye Cream (post to follow).

Today, lets start with the Green Tea Seed Serum. You can purchase one for yourself for $20-$23 on Amazon.

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PC: Amazon.com

Ingredients
(The green Tea Extract (75.9%), Propanediol, Biosaccharide Gum-1, Ethanol, Glycerin, Betaine, The green Tea Seed Oil (208mg), Prickly Pear Extract, Orchid Extract, Tangerine Peel Extract, Camellia Leaf Extract, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia Extract, Grapefruit Extract, Orange Extract, Tangerine Extract, Bis-PEG-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Cetearyl Olivate, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Sorbitan Olivate, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Ethylhexylglycerin, Cocoa Extract, Dextrin, Potassium Hydroxide, Disodium EDTA, Fragrance)

The product’s main ingredient (almost 76%) is green tea. Green tea is an antioxidant, with anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties – to top it all off, it’s great for calming and hydration. Well DANG, OK THEN!

One little minor issue though. The product contains ethanol (i.e. alcohol) which can irritate sensitive skin. So if you fall in the sensitive skin category, I would maybe do a test run before diving in head first.

My first impression when I started using it was that it was really light. Almost too watery to be a serum? I eventually grew to appreciate it because it made layering products a breeze! It all makes perfect sense to me now. Well played, Innisfree, well played. On particularly warm days, I only use the serum and skip the moisturizer for fear of being too oily. All in all, it helped reduce some of my redness and fixed my minor dry patches.

Rating:
8/10

I had two bottles in my arsenal because I received one for free (spent so much money that they gifted me one). Now that I have burned through both bottles, I’m not sure if I love it enough to purchase another? I mean, I do like it, but do I LOVE it? I liked it enough to finish two bottles but I’m still hesitant to consider it a “holy grail”. I’ll be trying out other products so we will see how I feel then!

Do you know of any products I should try out? If so, drop me a little note and I will more than likely give it a try!

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Up next: The Innisfree Green Tea Seed Serum Eye Cream.

 

 

Plan with me: How to Plan a Trip to Japan

How to Plan a Trip to Japan

As you can see by the title of this post, we are going to Japan! To celebrate 10 years of being stuck, er, madly in love with each other we are jetting off to Japan to celebrate. In addition, we will be spending a few days in South Korea! Mainly because we procrastinated and all the award seats from Japan were full but we were able to book award seats from Seoul instead. It was really a blessing in disguise. Our trip is planned for the end of March through mid-April, just in time for Sakura season!

Many people have asked how we plan our trips so I decided to write this blog series to illustrate how I normally plan our trips. Now, don’t get it twisted–I don’t claim to be a travel expert nor do I have aspirations to become a travel agent so don’t get all judgy on me because if that’s what you’re here for, you can get on outta here.

Before we get into the gritty details, I’d like to give a brief description of what our travel style is in case our interests don’t align, you don’t have to continue wasting your precious time here. We like to be organized when we travel but we do love a little spontaneity. We don’t like to plan our trips down to the minute because to us, that’s more stressful than enjoyable. We enjoy to eat, sightsee and I LOVE to shop. We also love our gadgets so don’t be surprised if cover a lot about them.

I’ll start with how we booked our tickets because that usually is the first step to planning a trip, right? Like I said earlier, we booked our business class flight from Seoul to Los Angeles using reward points. We paid $122 in fuel surcharges for the both of us. We decided to wait to for a deal to pop up before we purchased our outbound ticket. I set a deal alert via airfarewatchdog to email me whenever there was a dip in prices in the route we specified. Luckily for us, that delightful day came on a not-so-breezy day in October and we booked our direct flight to Tokyo from San Diego for $770. Let me calculate our total cost for travel thus far: $892 for the both of us. We still need to book our tickets from Japan to Korea once we decide how many days we want to spend in each country.

We have looked into the Japan Rail Passes (JR Pass) which retail for $279 for a 7 day pass and $445 for a 14 day pass but we are holding off until we figure out how many days we will be in Japan–so we’ll come back to this topic.

What we like to do as we plan out a trip is to pin all the places we want to visit on google maps. That way we get a visual of which area we need to stay in and in this case, figure out how many days we will spend in each city.

Here is our map so far:
How to Plan a Trip to Japan Google Map
Google Maps helping me visualize all the places I want to visit

As you can sort of see by the map, we have mainly looked into Tokyo, Mt Fuji, Kyoto and Osaka with a few other places sprinkled in there. I will go into detail about what we have planned for each city on the next post because I’m still unsure myself!

There you have it! This will be the first of many blog posts about how I am planning out my trip. Is there anything you want to see next? Let me know in the comments!
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Happy Fall!

Wow, is it really October already!? I blinked, and the next thing I knew it’s fall. Well, the California version of fall which is sun, sun and some more sun. I can’t really complain though because we LOVE it here so far.

A lot has happened lately and I just don’t know where to start. We have been keeping busy by exploring sunny San Diego. And by exploring, I mean we have been doing a lot of eating. There are so many good eateries within a few short miles of us that it is often times very difficult to resist the temptation. So we usually don’t. HA!

The eternal sunshine allows us to be able to do a lot of outdoor activities with Ittybot. Whether it be a walk in the park, a trip to the playground, cute picnics or even movies in the park! And we have definitely been taking advantage of our gorgeous community pool.

While San Diego still feels like an extended vacation we are so incredibly blessed and happy to call this place home.

But enough of my jibber jabber, lets get you all up to speed with a couple vlogs.

We will try to be better about this blog but seriously, no promises.

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Cheap Coffee Sugar Scrubs

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Because our container STILL has not arrived, I decided to try something new to keep me occupied. The other day, the Mr. brought home a jumbo bag of used coffee grounds from Starbucks. The grounds are meant to be used for planting purposes but since we don’t have any plants just yet, I figured I can make some coffee sugar scrubs in the meantime! Genius, right? So, let me tell you how I made my coffee sugar scrubs for dirt cheap.

Here are a few things you’ll need:

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Coconut Oil – I managed to snagged this little guy for FREE when Thrive Market was running a promotion. But you can find inexpensive coconut oil at Trader Joe’s for $6.
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Coffee Grounds – FREE courtesy of my trusty Starbucks
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Soap Base – I used a 50% off coupon to Michaels and snagged this Shea Butter Soap base for $5.25. I heard goat’s milk is also a great option but I was nervous about the way it would make my apartment smell.
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Molds – I got mine from Ikea for $1. The flamingos are from Hollar for $1 as well!
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(OPTIONAL) Essential Oils: I got my oil from Michaels with a 40% coupon. The oil cost me $2.40 but I will never, EVER purchase it again because it smells like wet dog. Consider yourself warned.

I try not to purchase crafts without a coupon or a considerable in-store markdown. So imagine my excitement when I saw that there was a 50% off coupon for Michaels when I started this project!!

The best part of this project was that I got to use my pretty copper measuring cups and spoons I ordered from World Market! Aren’t they preeeetty??

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I made the soap scrubs while Ittybot was taking a nap so I was trying to do it quickly and quietly to avoid any grimy little fingers dipping into the soap mix.

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It looks like dirty sand once it’s all packed in. Look closely, you can see some soap chunks because I wasn’t working fast enough. Who knew they’d harden fast?!

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Aaaand voila! I got my little panda holder from Daiso. I really don’t know what it’s intended for but if it’s a Panda, I gotta have it!

I managed to make the scrubs for around $10! Not bad, right?! And I still have enough materials to make many more batches.

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Ingredients:
1 cup of granulated sugar

2 tbsp of coffee

1/2 cup of soap base

1/4 cup of coconut oil

25 drops of Essential Oil {OPTIONAL}

Directions:
1. Melt your soap base. You can do this in the microwave according to directions but I chose to melt mine in a hot bath using a pyrex bowl.

2. While the soap base is melting, mix sugar and coffee in a large mixing bowl

3. Prepare your molds because once you mix the soap base and dry ingredients you will need to work fast.

4. Once the soap base is melted add in your coconut oil and essential oil.

5. Next, pour the base into your large mixing bowl that contains your sugar and coffee.

6. Mix thoroughly and pack mix into your molds – work fast because the soap will harden quickly!

7. Let sit for about 4 hrs before removing them from their molds

 

Next time, I will skip the essential oil entirely and embrace the coffee smell!

Give it a try and tag me in the pictures! IG: @MeetTheBots

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