Monday, April 14, 2014

#173: Olay/Priceline Prize Package

Hi guys...Although it's only 9pm I'm on the verge of falling asleep...I've had such a busy week (I had work 5 days a week and 4 days of uni last week....I wonder how I did it) and had zero down-time let alone time to blog properly. But since I'm on mid-sem break it should be I'm doing some much delayed blogging and there should be some more coming in this week and next as I go out and eat, play and shop some more. So for now, we can look at what the Priceline and Olay gave me for one of their previous competitions!
My beautiful prize package!
Pretty obvious from the picture (above), they've practically taken care of most of my needs all in one go! So from right to left: the new Pantene iceSHINE shampoo and conditioner, Olay deep cleansing face wash (infused with aloe), Olay Regenerist CC Cream, Gillete Venus and Olay razor with a refill cartridge.
Olay Regenerist CC Cream/Moisturiser  RRP $52.99
I had no idea this thing is 53 bucks...(I wonder why I've never considered this thing an option for my makeup...too much for a cheapo like me)
The pretty inside of the the CC Cream
I'm a really big sucker for pretty packaging and I guess this one sucks me right in! I really like the swirls in it..but apparently there's a whole scientific explanation about how it allows all three components to blend and therefore it works miracles on your skin...yet to know if that's the truth though...
Olay deep cleansing foaming face wash with aloe
I've only bought an Olay face wash once before I can't say I'm a had a very strange smell to it that I don't like but can't say what it is... This one smelled pretty good in the tube - rather addictive in my opinion.
cleanser swab...why did I even do that?
And this is what it looks like on the back of my ugly time means no hand cream (argh!) The more I look at this photo, the more it looks like a wad of gum...ewww. Anyway, after I washed it off my hand I take back my comments about the good still smells like my other Olay cleanser...not good.
Shampooo and conditionerrrrr~
I've been loving the clear shampoos that Pantene has released! I mass bought their Aqualight one a while ago when I got sent batches of samples. I'm really excited to try this, but I still haven't finished my 'never-ending' supply of Aqualight.
Sugarberry scented razor
I've been quite lucky for a while now with razors of all sorts and kinds sent to me! And this time, I get to try this sugarberry scented one...I remember seeing it, but never too keen to try it out because it just sounds so sweetly sick...but I'll try it!
What I really love are the cartridges that come with! They normally just give you the razor so I always just throw it away despite being refillable. Makes me feel bad but then again...I'm too cheap to go buy the refills. So I'm so happy that they gave me 3 refills!!!!

Anyway, this is all I have to say... and I'm going to drop offline and go sleep now....good night people!

Saturday, April 05, 2014

#172: University Blues

Hi guys....I know I've gone AWOL for a while - so much for that "one post a week" thing....and this is once again..totally different to my usual genres...but after "letting it out" last time, it just felt so much better that I've decided to do it once again...

For those who wonder what the freak is wrong with me...I think I'm just in a very emotional stage where I might just have too much on my plate. So just as I'm about to sleep, I go on my friend's blog and I see this video (you know who you are, my friend ^^):
I'm watching the video and reading the lyrics and it just hit me - why people follow religion. (OMG. This sounds really bad and it feels like I'm going to offend the world here. ) The lyrics are somewhere along the lines of him saying how that the path of a actor/singer/public figure is really unstable but they continue to do it no matter how many times they fall etc. just because they want to see 'you' smile. It was like, despite the uncertainties in life, I'll continue on this path because it is THE path. To me, that is the reason why people are of certain religions - it gives them a path and reason. Often you hear, that God or "The Sky" (as in Buddhism) has given them a path and all the challenges and hiccups on this path are part of the experience and one should embrace it.
I've always been a believer of the whole "your destiny is in your hands" mentality as I'm a total control freak and the idea that someone/something higher up there is controlling my fate is scary. But I'm currently in this phase where I'm doing all these things...but I don't have a goal - I don't have an aim (or maybe it's just unclear to me). Like if you ask me why am I making myself so busy (and I'm hell busy right now), I wouldn't know what answer to give other than "I just am" or "I need to keep myself busy".

I swear I've gotten nowhere with this rant....sorry for making you guys read it all...

Anyway, thanks to almighty YouTube and it's suggested videos at the end of the video I came across this video that just made me cry from start to finish...(I'm very emotional right now...judge all you want)
It's quite an old song...and I do remember being all emotional about it when it first came out, so here I go again..
Guise (you know who you are once again), I don't know how I can express my gratefulness to you guys...seriously. Going from seeing you guys multiple times in one day (even to the extent when I got sick of seeing you) to not knowing if I'll see you guys in the next month or two is really daunting for put it bluntly, I'm scared I'll lose you guys. I know there's that whole thing where you're meant to make new friends, get a new life and more or less start over again, but I don't think I can do least not yet.
You guys stood by my side (and had my back) through my whole life as far as I can remember. You guys were the first ones I turn to when I had trouble - whether it was a bad day or just to rant about my hectic 13 unit life. I now realise how important it is to have such a strong backup. I still rant and spout nonsense at you guys for the random annoying, troubling and weird things that turn up in my life - but it's different. It feels more distant (I don't know why).

And I guess the fact that I'm about to step into adulthood just makes it a whole lot scarier. I can't just lean on you guys and 'reason' it to be because I'm a kid.

This feels like the little rant/emotion-filled post I had up after the HSC. I don't even know train of thought has kind of been stopped thanks to these endless litres of tears spouting out.  Great - now I'm going to have swollen eyes at work tomorrow...

Thursday, March 27, 2014

#171: Stress, Success and High Achievers

Hi guys,
I know this is out of my normal timetable and the content isn't really what I talk about. But I just started feeling really...agitated/moved/idek about the content. You can catch up on this week's episode of Insight on SBS here. Call me boring, but watching Insight, Q&A and other show like these has become what I do in my free time....

So this is all about being a high achiever, pushing yourself or being pushed to become a high achiever.
I've come to the conclusion are two categories: the internally motivated ones and the externally motivated people.
Internally motivated people are brilliant - they will strive for what they want actively. So parents and other people don't need to push them.
On the other hand, most of us externally motivated - we need something to make us to do something. If there is no one/nothing pushing people, like me, I will be perfectly lying around and do nothing everyday. The reason why some of us aren't internally motivated is because we don't know what we want to do: we've been following a really set path and we've become comfortable with it. According to the psychologist on the show, it's perfectly fine for us to not know what to do (since our brains our still developing...not really understanding it though...)

Moving onto the HS kids on the show - there's been memes all over FB so I think you've seen it already. Well if you haven't seen it, it's practically just a guy who topped 2U maths in the HSC, and got an ATAR of 98.65. He wasn't too happy with it because it was under average. The live audience was more or less outraged with it, but I totally understand that feeling. When you're in such a competitive world - we've put most of NSW kids on a scale - we had to be wary of every single mark and half mark. Although a 98 and a 99 sounds so close to the perfect score, it's actually a very far way (0.05 is 60-70 kids). Just using myself as an example, I did well in the HSC and the ATAR, but it was obviously not good enough. Straight after the results came out, I was (and still am at times) plagued with this horrible wave of emotions where I the feeling that "I've just fell short" as I literally did.

People are always saying that having money, status and material goods is not success. But I disagree to some degree because of a saying that came across some years ago in a drama. In Chinese it's 錢不是萬能,但是沒有錢就萬萬不能.When translated back to English, it goes along the lines of "money isn't everything, but without money, there is nothing". I've been living by this saying for quite some time now (of my extremely short life). I do understand that money isn't everything, but in reality, money is essential, it's crucial to survival.

Some people say happiness is success - that may be true in some place in the world, but I definitely don't think it's true here in the competitive 21st century we live in. Some people say they'll be happy without money, as long as they're doing what they love. The first reaction I get is, what about food? So what if you are doing you love, you'll be hungry. I don't know about you, but I can't be happy when I'm hungry. We need money to satisfy the human needs - reference to Maslow's hierarchy here! ^^

Maybe we all just need lessons about accepting to be mediocre. We've all (at least I have) to strive for the best, and never settle for just ok. I think, when you have a grading system in place, it means you should aim for the top. In my opinion, I think it's intrinsic in human nature. It may not be aiming to be dux of your school, or the 99.95 or being a millionaire, but we all want to be the best in something. It just may be getting a new high-score in a game you're playing. For me, while I am aiming for HDs and Ds in my first semester in uni, I'm also aiming to get to 2048 in the 2048 game.

Now that my rant's over, I'm going to hit the books and study for my assessment tomorrow! See you guys soon!

Monday, March 24, 2014

#170: Blue Angel, Surry Hills

Hello hello world. It's been another week. I'm trying into get into the habit of scheduling my posts to help me manage my schedule (I'm procrastinating a couple of my assessment tasks by typing this one...).
A few weeks ago I went to Blue Angel (thanks to a family friend's wedding) - which I'm very grateful of since it's a $$$$ restaurant that I can't afford myself. Anyway, congratulations to Jun and Candy!!! Enough of this stuff, time to get on the serious stuff!
Garlic Bread ($4)
I arrived last since I had to go park the car and parking in Surry is a pain in the ass! So by the time I settled in, garlic bread was already served! For a $$$$ restaurant, $4 a serving is pretty good. However, I don't know how many servings is in the basket - I had no input in the ordering, I just sat and ate. The garlic bread was done brilliantly! Crispy on the outside, soft and pillowy on the inside; seriously strong garlic smell and taste. WONDERFUL! Especially for someone who doesn't like bread, like me.
Blue Angel Antipasto ($35)
After I practically wolfed down all the garlic bread by myself, the antipasto arrived. The Blue Angel Antipasto is described as "Traditional Italian treats includes cured meats, olives, crostini, roasted vegetables, Italian cheeses" and more. The carnivore in me loved the meat, especially paired with the crispy bread. But I didn't 100% dig the olives and cheeses - but I think that's just me being me.
Blue Angel boss in action!
Apparently we had 6 huge lobsters - around 10kg that night...I swear it was more than that though. Anyway, there you not only get to watch him catch the lobsters, you're also allowed to hold the lobster and become all tourist-y and snap all the shots you like before the lobster becomes your dinner. I'm personally not a fan of it, but it's all part of the show here, where a large amount of the customer base are tourists. The boss is really friendly - loved talking to him!
Misto Crudo Ver.1 ($135 for 2-4 people)
Misto Crudo Ver.2 (4135 for 2-4 people)
I was lucky enough to be seated in between the two different Misto Crudo dishes. They both came with:
lobster sashimi, freshly shucked oysters, fresh sea urchins and sea kelp. The only difference between the two versions is that one comes with a plate of mixed sashimi ($25 if ordered separately); and the other had a lobster carpaccio ($85)  and some fish sashimi (snapper maybe?)  Everything was really fresh, but one thing I don't get about the sashimi was that it wasn't cold - particularly the fish was rather room temperature. I personally like my fish sashimi kind of chilled, not room temperature.
Just look at those oyster babies!!! And that sea urchin in the background - I nearly ate all the urchin on both platters.....
And yeah...we ordered a lot....We had 6 platters....such fatties we are!
Lobster Bisque ($28)
Lobster Bisque is one of specialties there at Blue Angel. After you've eaten as much as you can with the sashimi, they take what's left and turn it into a brilliant bisque. As you can see from the picture above, not only is it a beautifully creamy bisque, it's also accompanied by a generous piece of lobster.
Head chef in action
Next came the red meat - Char-grilled Wagyu tenderloin ($30/100g). It says char-grilled action at your table, but sadly it wasn't. As far as I know it was cooked in the kitchen then brought out for some slicing and last minute sizzling before serving it to us.
Wagyu served with porcini and rosemary potatoes
I was already so full, so I requested the smallest piece they could do and still managed to get such a massive piece. I really liked the porcini mushrooms, which had just arrived from France that morning. Potatoes were also really good - I liked it better with the black truffle, so fragrant!
And then this thing got wheeled out - I've eaten here before, but with less people so I didn't get to see all these props. But guess what, it's not a prop - it actually forms an element in the next dish...can you guess what this is?
No need to guess. It's actually a gigantic block of cheese - hugee!!! size of a car tyre at least.
And this is what it's all for! Risotto!!!! After cooking the risotto, thy pop it in the cheese for some stirring. The heat from the risotto melts parts of the cheese so the risotto becomes more and more creamy. We had the Porcini Risotto ($40/person). Looks cool and but I'm confused as to whether there is "cleaning" of the cheese...
Porcini risotto ($40/person)
Once again, I requested a little bit, but this happened. Huge serving, but the good thing, LOTS OF TRUFFLE!!! It was delicious - creamy and fragrant!

Black gold! It was really funny because when the owner said it was very fragrant, everyone tried sniffing it...I sort of laughed...funnier in real life - reminded me of this truffle documentary I watched..the pigs sniffing out truffle..hahahah...I sound so mean.
Marco Polo ($135/kg)
Don't think the lobster ended after the sashimi and bisque...still more to come! The Marco Polo is another specialty of Blue Angel - it's a special recipe developed by the owner (Marcellus) and cooked at your table! It was so interesting watching him prepare all the ingredients! It smelt so good too! I was already full to the top and then the smells of the onion, herbs, mussels etc. Despite eating very little of it, the very little was really really good!
Close-up of the pasta. So many delicious ingredients!!!
And guess what. There's more to come. We had the very last finale of the lobster - char grilled lobster! This was the only slight disappointment - it was rather dry after all the grilling...
Fruit platter ($10)
I was thinking that we'd had some awesome desserts, because western cuisine always comes with brilliant desserts. I was looking forward to something fancy, but this fruit platter was really good for my UBER full stomach.  Chilled fruit is the best!!!!

Well this ends my post for today...just looking at these photos make me feel full. I'll see you guys next week with more of my adventures! 

Blue Angel on Urbanspoon

Monday, March 17, 2014

#169: Black Star Pastry, Newtown


Hi guise! It's been another week! Hope you are well and everything is going right for you!
As you guys all know, I'm one of the last people to join the trend/bandwagon when it comes to going to new and trendy food places. So...I finally decided to visit Black Star Pastry a few weeks ago (end of Feb.) when I was heading home from the city. And my conclusion from the visit is....rather conflicted. Here's why.

Having going there with high hopes of getting a taste of the renowned Watermelon and Strawberry cake, I earnestly went and lined up in the queue that went out the door the small shop. As I inched closer and closer to the counter of cakes, my expression darkened as I saw the pieces of the famous fruit cake diminish one by one. However I held onto that one sliver of hope as there was still that one piece that remained untouched for a few customers. But then disaster struck. Despite my overly-zealous stares at the remaining slice, the lady in front of me bought it...along with a billion pieces of everything else. So in a puff of anger, I decided to buy all the types of cakes in the fridge they had to spite the people after me.
Raspberry Creme Brulee Tart ($6 I guess)
Sorry about the bad lighting....I don't normally buy raspberry tarts as I'm not a big fan of raspberry's tartness. But since I impulse bought, must eat lahhhh...The tart is not huge, but definitely not small. For $6-$6.50 I still think it's a tad overpriced..but then again, we are buying for the brand name and hype.
Close up of the Raspberry Creme Brulee Tart
This picture should compensate for the bad lighting in the photo above lah...even though it's not a lot better. Well I think this picture really shows you the amazing-ness of the caramel/sugar top.
Inside of the tart
I'm really sorry about how horribly I cut the tart - the top of the tart split unexpectedly as I cut it. But seriously, the tart was still magnificently gooey despite being the car for quite a while. Whilst I didn't really appreciate the sourness of the raspberry, my dad preferred it compared to the other chocolate-based desserts I bought. 
Amedei Chocolate and Hazelnut Torte ($6.50 from memory...not sure though)
This cake reminds me closely of Lindt's Opera Cake, which matches it similarly in terms of its price. The chocolate ganache is put of perfectly and the top and then finished off with a speck of gold.
Close up of the layers in the cake
Texture wise it resembles a chocolate version of the Napoleon cake (a.k.a. mille-feuille) but not the official one, more like the ones you see in Asian bakeries such as 85 Degrees. I liked the chocolate flavour (mainly dark chocolate) but it was so dense. I was done after one bite. But then the chocolate monster, JB, wolfed down the rest of the cake...ONE SHOT.
Black Star Eclairs($6)
I can't find it on their website, so I'll just call it the Black Star Eclair. To be honest, it look really good, no? But....that's about it....sorry.
Inside of the eclair
I normally find chocolate eclairs too sweet but it wasn't the case here because they chose to use dark chocolate for both the creme filling inside as well as the sauce over the top. However, there's no wow factor...tasted like an eclair should..nothing special.

Along with the desserts, I also picked up two small cappuccinos ($3.50 each) and boy! was I disappointed. I'm no coffee expert, but just coffee school experience made me cringe as I watched the 'barista' make coffee. She firstly used too much coffee powder. So despite the good quality of the beans and the automatic machine, the coffee couldn't be saved. And don't even get me started on the wasn't frothed was put through the steam wand for less than 5 seconds. I gave them the benefit of the doubt at first thinking that "maybe they have some awesome milk frothing machine that makes brilliant milk in record speed". But then all fantasies were wiped as she poured out the milk. There was no froth. Might as well just used microwaved milk. Maybe microwaved milk would be better as that frothed milk wasn't even hot we ended up getting crappy, lukewarm coffee. But I was already in a bad mood so quickly drove away as I needed to prepare for dinner later that night. 

Black Star Pastry on Urbanspoon