Winter Break To Do List!

December 30, 2010

I've got 2.5 weeks, let's see how this goes!

- catch up on my blog entries
- get my shoes topy-soled
- fix my laptop that crashed
- watch tons of movies!
- clean up my closet, donate my old clothes!
- pick up a new winter jacket
- wrap all Christmas gifts
- Make truffles
- Make a cheesecake
- Make cream puffs
- Host a party!
- Buy a new yoga mat
- Yoga at least 3x
- Take Andrew to try Basil Leaf
- Hit up Mikado for some tataki & dragon eyes
- Print vacation pictures
- Clean my room!!
- Catch up on all the shows I missed (Glee, HIMYM, House, CSI, Gossip Girl)
- Get my Jeans Hemmed
- Christmas Party with the Girls
- Hot Pot with Cherry & Jodi
- Mount TV on the wall

I will italicize everything I have done!

ETA January 10, 2011 .. I think I was pretty productive, don'tcha think? ;)

Home Cooking

Christmas Truffles :)

December 29, 2010

When Christmas comes along, you will find me in the kitchen, working away and baking goodies to give to friends and family! This year, I chose to make truffles for the very first time, to see how they would turn out.

I made two variations - one was a chocolate chip cheesecake truffle coated in shredded coconut, while the other was a oreo cookie truffle, covered in chocolate. Mmm, they both turned out to be so delicious, or so I thought! What I didn't think, however, was how messy it was to make truffles! My hands were COATED in cream cheese, I don't think I want to make these again for a while.. hah!

Contact me for the recipe if you are interested :)


Merry Christmas Everyone!

December 25, 2010

Hope you're all enjoying the holiday season and spending it with family :)

As per family tradition, we usually open presents on the night of the 24th, right around midnight. I really am blessed to have my family and friends, I could live without presents! But I always do appreciate them, teehee!

I'll just post up some of what I got, thanks to everyone who got me something!

From Vince I got .. a bumblebee pillow pet, new headset & Bailey Button UGGs! Yay, I'll be keeping nice & warm for the rest of our cold winter!

From my baby sister I got .. a Philosophy Holiday Greetings gift set & Hello Kitty pj's! Looove the pjs, they're so soft!

From Lucy I got .. fondue chocolate, a heart shaped baking tin, cute note papers, a face mask pack, a card reader, shampoo hat & a costume for my hamster, LOL Thanks bb

Crystal got me lots of goodies for me to use when doing my nails! I'm excited to try them out :)

Belinda gifted me with a beautiful shirt, sheet masks, lip balm & hand sanitizer + a cute little coca cola ornament (not pictured cause I used them already HAHA). Thanks b!

Lisa got me another pillow pet!!! Ahh the duck is so cute & fat. Love it! :)

Lorraine picked up a brush set & body butter for me. Mmmm, funny thing is that I picked up the exact same body butter as part of her gift too, hehee

From me to you, Merry Christmas! Stay safe & have fun!


Another Pho Joint: Nha Trang

December 25, 2010

Yesterday, Vince, Andrew, Crystal, Ronald and I headed to Basil Leaf, hoping to have a delicious bowl of pho. But to our disappointment, they were closed! Since when do Asian restaurants close on Christmas Eve?? I swear the only time asian places close is on Chinese New Year! What the heck? It was so cold too! Such a disappointment...

Quickly, we logged onto Urbanspoon to try to find a replacement other than Pho Tau Bay (I'm not a fan like many people are!!). The closest restaurant with the highest rating was Nha Trang.

Is it really #1?

The place was relatively easy to find, located conveniently by the Glenrose Hospital, so I'm sure they get a large amount of traffic in the restaurant. When we walked in, we were greeted by a friendly Vietnamese lady, who promptly sat us at our table in the humble little restaurant.

Like most pho places in the city, Nha Trang offers two sizes of pho - regular & large. Most of the time, I find that there isn't a big difference in the amount of food you are receiving, but the large tends to be filled with lots of soup & a little extra noodle. Considering it was 1:30 pm and none of us had eaten yet, we were pretty hungry and ordered the different sizes for comparison.

My pho!

Basil and lemon slices were served atop ice to keep them fresh, while the bean sprouts arrived on their own in a huge pile.

Keepin' fresh!

I went with the beef & beef ball noodle soup, while the others tried out the pho dac biet. The verdict? The large DID have quite a bit more in the bowl, hurrah!!

regular size

large size

The beef broth was generally tasty, but a little too oily for my liking. Noodles were cooked al dente, but I found the beef was a little on the tougher side. I understand that beef will vary from time to time, but I feel that good restaurants will have consistency and good quality meat, no matter when you go and eat. Last of all - Vince's bowl of noodles was garnished with a long piece of hair on top - yummy!! The waitress was happy to take it back to the kitchen and prepare a new bowl though, all which took two minutes. Not bad.

I'd still say Basil Leaf is my go to place for pho in this city - but I still have yet to pursue them all.

For dessert, we headed over to Dream Tea House to grab some shaved ice. My winning combo includes condensed milk, green apple syrup, tapioca & mango jelly. Delish!

best shaved ice!

Nha Trang
10120 111 Avenue
Edmonton AB
Nha Trang on Urbanspoon

Dream Tea House
7912 104 Street NW
Edmonton AB

Girls Night

Christmas with my girlies :)

December 23, 2010

Christmas is one of my favourite, if not my favourite holiday of the year. Everyone coming together, seeing old friends, and just chillin' by the fireplace is really just when I have the best time.

our little Christmas tree :)

After our lovely Lucy headed to Vancouver for school, us girls haven't been together as one for about 5 months! Once our lady was home, it was time to get together for some gift giving, catching up, and sleepover time. All four of us crashed on my bed - just like old times.


xoxo love you ladies


Hello Kitty for Sephora

December 18, 2010

For those of you that are a little out of the loop (don't worry, I was too! Sephora didn't do a very good job of letting everyone know about this fantastic collaboration!), Sephora will be launching a collection in collaboration with Sanrio to bring Hello Kitty into the spotlight.

After a collaboration with MAC a couple years back, it's nice to see Hello Kitty back in the makeup world. However, unlike MAC, this collection will be full of bling and colour, unlike the toned down, black packaging that was featured in the MAC collection.

Sephora is holding a two day private event for Beauty Insiders this weekend from December 18-19 on their website. It seems as though you need an email invite to preview and pre-purchase the items. As of right now, the only information I have is that the collection will be released officially in mid January, both online and in stores. The collection is limited edition, and I predict it will sell out fast, if the pre-sale is any indication at all.

The items range from shower caps to nail polish, to eyeshadows and makeup brushes. Below are some images of the items available on the website right now, available for purchase.


Happy Fun Say Hello Palette

Super Fun Say Hello Palette

Apple Cheeks Blush

Apple Balm

Sweet Gloss & Big Smile Gloss

Charmmy Kohl Eyeliner Set

Glittercute Eyeliner, Charmmy Eyeshadow Stick, Pen Pal Eyeliner

Liquid Nail Art

Nail Art Stickers


Hand Held Mirror

Compact Mirror

Bling Mirror

Blotting Papers

Shower Cap

Brush Set


Fragrance Rollerball & Body Splash


I myself have picked up the fragrance rollerball, large fragrance, and the two palettes with eyeshadow and lipgloss. I will post them up & review when I receive them! I'm really hoping that the formulas will be good & that I'm not paying for packaging!

Nail Polish

Festive Holiday Nails!

December 06, 2010

Just thought I'd make a nail polish post! Maybe I should do these more often.. I usually have my nails done with french tips, because one of my jobs requires me to do so, or have plain jane nails with no polish. Boooo!

When I have a week off work, I like to sit down and paint my 10 fingers with something unique. Since Christmas is just around the corner, I decided to do something festive with pink & gold.

The pink colour is 'Party in my Cabana' by OPI, and the gold flakes are from Sephora by OPI's top coat called 'Only Gold for Me'. The formula for both is fantastic - long wearing, chip resistant. The gold flakes in the top coat are a combination of hexagonal glitter and smaller circular pieces. All in all, a beautiful top coat over any colour!

Only thing I would complain about? The gold is IMPOSSIBLE to get off! Those things stick to you like they require your nails to live! Hope you have a lot of patience if you try this top coat out :)


Best lippies!

December 06, 2010

This past week, Kiehl's sent me an invitation to head into the store to pick up a free Lip Balm #1 as a Christmas gift. I've always loved their lip balm in a tube, not because it's extremely moisturizing, but because it's clean! No need to dip my fingers into a little jar and spread my germs around :)

While I was there, I stocked up on a couple actually, because they had a promo where spending $30 would earn a $15 giftcard to use in January. Good deal, right? So naturally I picked up coconut, pear, and mango to add to my collection! They have the consistency of vaseline, and SPF 4, so you get moisture & sun protection all in one. Don't be surprised if you receive one from me this Christmas! These are the BOMB.


Never Have I Experienced Anything Worse: Lazia Downtown

November 29, 2010

This past Saturday I think I found the one restaurant in Edmonton that has the worst service I have ever experienced. And as much as it pains me to say it, this restaurant was Lazia inside City Centre.

On that night, I was heading out with my friends for my birthday dinner, which had been planned 3 weeks in advance. When I was making my reservation, the man I spoke to over the phone informed me that I could have a group booking for 5:00 or 8:00 pm. The only catch was that for the 5:00 reservation, I would have to be finished dinner & out of the restaurant by 7:45. I understood that this would require following a pretty strict timeline, as the dinner rush would be during that time slot. Therefore I booked for 8:00 and the gentleman assured me that I would have my table at 8:00 pm, and that I could have all the time I wanted to dine there that night.

With my girlies, waiting for our table

And the gentlemen

Fast forward three weeks, and there I am inside the restaurant at 8:00, and the hostess tells me that the table before my reservation is still at the restaurant. What happened to the whole "you must be finished and out of the restaurant at 7:45" rule that they wanted to enforce on me? I was slightly frustrated, but she said that they were asking the table to leave in order to allow my party to be seated. My friends arrived within the next 5 minutes, and we were left sitting in the little waiting area, wondering when we would be seated. Time passed, and more time passed, and soon enough, it was 9:00. We saw a large group of individuals leaving the restaurant, and the hostess told us we would have to wait a little longer in order for them to clean & set the table. Ridiculous.

We sat down at the table, and hastily ordered our food as we were STARVING. Our waitress wasn't really too efficient of a person, but I tried not to let that get to me. As we sat and waited some more, she came by with our drinks, and disappeared shortly after. Time passed again, and it was 9:35. There was still no food at our table, and I was starting to get extremely frustrated. We finally flagged down the waitress, and she came over saying she would try to get them to bring out our food as quickly as possible.

At least she brought our drinks!!

A couple minutes later, she brought out warm puffed pieces of bread to our table. It really wasn't that delicious, but at that point, any food in my mouth was good enough.

Puffy bread

By the time 10:00 rolled around, the first plate of food finally reached our table. I swear my stomach was rejoicing and jumping around inside my body because it was so excited to receive dinner!!

I ordered the 'not your average nasi goring', which actually tasted pretty good. The dish was a spicy Indonesian fried rice, served with chicken, shrimp, red pepper, baby bok choy, and peanuts. The heat in the dish was quite mild at first, but with each successive scoop, it gradually became pretty spicy.

Nasi Goring

Vince ordered the 'Secret BBQ side ribs', served with steamed potatoes and green beans. He said that one side of the ribs was tender and juicy, but the other was dry. Weird, right? You would think it would be the same the whole way through.

BBQ side ribs

For dessert, I ordered the 'Chocolate Overdose', which was a dark Callebaut chocolate mousse cake. I wanted to test the waitress, to see if she really had good customer service skills, and to see whether she would try to turn our horrible dining experience around, by asking her whether or not they do anything special for birthdays at their restaurant. To my dismay, she said that they don't and that she could try to find me a candle for my dessert.

Chocolate Mousse Cake

Once the bill arrived, it REALLY got me thinking about how terrible of an experience I had at this restaurant. By booking 3 weeks in advance, being fully aware of their policies, I expected to have my table ready for me to be seated at 8:00 pm, and NOT shortly after 9:00. Secondly, why did the food take so long to arrive at the table?? Many people that were seated after us received their food and ate it before we got ours! Third of all, the waitress really wasn't attentive, and I did not have an enjoyable time at the restaurant. Now, the icing on the cake: because we had 8 guests in our party, we had to pay a mandatory 15% gratuity just to receive terrible service. Talk about worst restaurant in town. We never even received a single apology the whole time we were there, nothing. How difficult is it to say "I'm sorry this is happening, we are trying our best to get everything ready for you"? NEVER ever again will I go to this place nor recommend it to other people. No one needs to experience this type of service.

Am I being irrational? I think I have all the right to be upset with how my night turned out. So before anyone bashes me for this, put yourself in my shoes. I'm not saying that the food at this restaurant is bad, it's the service at this restaurant that makes me put this location on my blacklist. Is it too much to ask for quality service at restaurants these days?

Since the dinner took so long, my post-dinner plans had to be cancelled. One of my guests flew in from Baltimore and I wanted to make sure he could attend my dinner at a reputable restaurant. Well, their respectable reputation no longer stands in my books.

Best people to experience a terrible night with. I love you guys!!

*PS - Vince was actually quite upset with how this dinner turned out, and sent a lengthy, disgruntled email to Lazia's downtown location. To this very day (January 11, 2011) we still have not received a follow-up reply. The irresponsibility of the management to follow up on this experience goes to show their quality of service. I hate this place.

Lazia Restaurant
Suite A113 10200 102 Avenue
Edmonton AB

bubble tea

Taste of Taiwan

November 26, 2010

Today after school, I was excited to try out this place I spotted not too long ago called Hong Kong Cafe. It's a little hard to spot when you're driving down 82 Avenue, but it's right next door to the Mandarin Restaurant.

I was hoping for this place to be a Hong Kong style cafe, with things like macaroni in soup, vermicelli noodles, and french toast, but boy was I wrong. Walking in through their doors, the feel wasn't quite right. The walls were bare, and there was nothing Asian-feeling about this place. They had a sheet of paper with their menu written on it, and once I saw the first thing, I was ready to leave. The first item on the menu was a hamburger! Like, what is that?! That has nothing to do with Asian cuisine if you ask me.. so out the door we went. As we left, I noticed there was a doorway in the wall, which led into the Mandarin Restaurant. Guess it's owned by the same people.. and catered to Caucasians.

Being completely frazzled, I had no idea as to where we should go to eat. We were running out of time since we had to work at six, so the only thing that came to mind was Taiwan Express! It was somewhat similar to what I had in mind, and I had been meaning to sit down and try out the food that they offer. This place has also been changing a lot in the past couple months. They've been changing their interior decor and doing renovations. Not to mention, they have also changed their name a couple times! Right now, I think they're going to take a break from all that.

Inside Taiwan Bbt

When we walked into the restaurant, we were greeted by their interesting decor. The place is dimly lit, with a black & red theme, giving the impression that the owners are trying to give this place a romantic vibe. Each table also has a vase with a red carnation sitting in it. Forget the colours, I'm not convinced it's a place to go for a romantic date.. I still see it as Asian central.

As we sat down, we looked at the food menu and the various items they had to offer. It wasn't a lot, but the selection was way better than what was available at Hong Kong Cafe. We ended up ordering one bubble tea and one bowl of noodles each, and the Taiwanese crispy chicken, as per Carson's recommendation. I don't quite remember the exact name of the noodles, but I'll try my best!

Yummy drinks!

I got my usual lychee green tea, but with aloe vera. Aside from Tea Bar in Chinatown, I haven't come across a bubble tea cafe that had it as an option. I love that the chunks are juicy and crisp, yum! Vince ordered the 'Sweet Kiss' whcih was a mix of taro & coconut. I've never been a big fan of the powdered, artificial tasting drinks, because they're so bad for you! Full of sugar, cream, and sweeteners, the powdered bubble teas really shouldn't be consumed on a regular basis. Good thing he gets one every 3-4 months, haha.

Crispy Chicken

The first dish to arrive was the crispy chicken. It wasn't extremely crisp to the point that the batter encased the dough so much that it wasn't flexible (think KFC popcorn chicken & chicken fingers/nuggets), but the outside had a softer crisp, and the chicken was 'flexible'. The chicken was marinated with a unique mix of spices, reminiscent of those used to season BBQ pork. It was quite yummy, but a little on the salty side. The dish remained hot even after sitting for a couple minutes, so we were able to enjoy it at our own pace instead of chowing down before the food became cold!

Taiwan Soup Noodles

I ordered the Taiwan Express Soup Noodles, while Vince ordered the BBQ Duck Soup Noodles. When they arrived, the looked quite different from one another, but tasted very similar. I don't really know what exactly was in my noodles, because there were various little chunks of meat, and multiple chunks of fat mixed in. It was unbelievably oily! Without the chunks of fat, I'm sure this noodle bowl would have tasted equally as good. Thank goodness for the shredded lettuce, it helped absorb A LOT of the oil. Man, I felt like my face was drenched in oil!

Oily aftermath

One thing that I didn't really like, which has nothing to do with taste of the food, was the chopsticks that came with the bowl. They were extremely wide set on the top end, and extremely narrow on the other end, making them SO difficult to use!

Ridiculous Chopsticks

Vince's duck noodle soup was different fron what I imagined it to be. I thought it would be presented like a chewy BBQ duck "lai fun" (noodles), but the noodles were relatively soft, and the broth was quite peppery, with other spices mixed in. His bowl was much less oily, but I wasn't a big fan of it's taste.

BBQ Duck Noodles

I think this place has a lot of potential to develop into a popular bubble tea place in Edmonton. The owner is very friendly, and it's a nice lounge type environment to be in to hang out with friends. There is a wide variety of board games available to play as well. The best part of this place is that they have many food options available for those who are hungry. Unlike Dream Tea House that has stopped serving hot food for well over a year now, this place definitely has a competitive edge. Check them out too, at

Taiwan Bubble Zone
8025 104 Street
Edmonton AB
Taiwan Bubble Zone on Urbanspoon


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