Wednesday, April 25, 2012


I was feeling adventurous one day on my way to find something new to try out. I found this interesting looking bottle that stood out to me amongst the rest, its Yokaichi Mugi Shochu. It is a type of Japanese barley spirit and the use of Shochu is very similar to how we use Vodka in our mixed drinks.
Upon my purchase I couldn't wait to get home and check out some kool recipes on how this can be used. So while searching I took a very small shot of it just to test the waters (I don't do so well drinking shots) but it was surprisingly smooth, it was quite strong but it was actually smooth to the taste and I found out that it also mixes well with other drinks too. One recipe that I was dying to try using this Shochu was the Strawberry Shochu. It entailed a variation of fresh strawberries or strawberry liqueur and Shochu. Some of the fancier recipes included things like Sprite, Cointreau, and even yogurt or some other mixture that would sweeten the drinks taste. I opted for the Shochu Strawberry Margarita to try out and it worked perfectly. This drink is of course nicely priced for those who just want to experiment with something different to tickle their palettes. When I found this Shochu it was roughly about $13.99 if I am not mistaken. There was not too much of a need to go all out to buy a new drink that I would potentially not enjoy so I opted for this and have not really been disappointed in my choice. I've posted a view Shochu recipes below (courtesy of to give a jump start on how to work with this drink. I was also told that this beverage can be consumed warm so feel free to experiment with it any way that suits you! Oh and also check out
this site as well. Its drinks are for "Haamonii Shochu" but I am certain that the recipes will do well with any brand of Shochu.

Shochu Margarita
2 ounces Shochu
1/2 ounce Cointreau
1 1/2 ounces fresh lime juice
*Mix and pour into a salt-rimmed margarita glass. Garnish with lime wedge.

Shochu Strawberry Margarita
1 1/2 ounces Shochu
1/2 ounce strawberry liqueur
1 1/2 teaspoons Cointreau
1 1/2 ounces fresh lime juice
*Mix all in blender with ice. Pour into a salt-rimmed margarita glass and garnish with a fresh strawberry.

Shochu Gimlet
2 ounces Shochu
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
*Mix together and garnish with a lime wedge. 


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Out and About in Philly: To-Kai Sushi & Hibachi Steak House

Attention! Attention! Attention! Sushi lovers, foodies, and lovers of great restaurant atmospheres!
Napkin at To-Kai (Pretty cute, huh?)
I must fill you in a very quaint and tranquil restaurant located in the North East section of Philly on Grant Avenue. Its called To-Kai. (They do not have an official web site but you may click here to view their menu page)  About 2 or 3 Saturdays ago a friend and I journeyed to this hidden little gem. I remember a while back she had been telling me about a highly suggested sushi restaurant that she previously had gone to for a date and that the food was excellent. So she contacted me and we hit the road and decided to go stuff ourselves on a mid afternoon for our sushi fix. I wanted to try everything... but I controlled myself and settled for one of the popular signature appetizers: the Avocado Blossom which was made from a half of an avocado shell: containing baked avocado, crab meat, surf clam and masago sauce. It was delish and I might have to try this recipe at home one day. We then ordered the Pineapple Shrimp Fried Rice. This dish came in a half of a pineapple and contained fried rice with shrimp. And of course we could leave it at just that. We also ordered sushi rolls such like Shrimp Tempura, Salmon roll, California roll, Spicy Tuna Roll and the Crunch Roll which contained shrimp tempura, cucumber, massago, tempura flakes & avocado At To-Kai, presentation is definitely key. I see that I'll be coming back to this place for my future sushi fixes. The menu prices were very reasonable and you'll get a lot of food for your dollar so I can almost promise that you will not regret trying out this new little spot. Oh, and the cherry on top is: its also a BYOB place. So grab your wine bag and your finest saki (Okay, it doesn't have to be your finest saki but remember to bring something!) And if you happen to forget your wine, saki, or bottled adult beverage, then they have a pretty lengthy cocktail list to choose from.
Pineapple Shrimp Fried Rice

Salmon Roll and Crunchy Roll
This may not be the most flattering pic but it was delish!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Getting Chocolate Skin Summer Ready!

Small Tub of Shea Butter
Okay, so the weather is officially warming up here in Philly and I am excited! Warm weather to me means trips to the sandy shores of Altantic City, ice cold drinks on a roof top lounge with friends, sun dresses in bold bright colors and getting your face sun worthy and ready for summer fun. I get excited just thinking about it!
When getting your face summer ready you should have a regimen in mind that works for you. In almost all cases (no matter what your skin tone is) it is suggested that you incorporate SPF into your regimen. Sun protection factor (SPF) protects your skin from the sun's harmful UVB's. If you are on the beach, taking an extended walk or doing any outdoors activities, try to find products that contains SPFs in it. Nowadays products like concealers, primers and lotions contain SPFs so you don't have to just settle for one method of staying protected from the sun!
Coconut Papaya Soap
Another key to having a "warm weather face" is keeping it hydrated and smooth. Using natural products like Shea Butter is great. It comes in a tub thats a variety of sizes. The cost of Shea Butter can range from $5.00 for its smallest container to $20.00 for its largest container. It can also be unscented or scented with items such as lilac, lemongrass or ginger. Shea Butter can also come in two colors: white or yellow. There is no real difference in its effectiveness when choosing a color, but I prefer to use the white Shea Butter because of its smoother texture. It goes good on your skin when getting out of a warm shower or hot bath and it hydrates
your skin right on contact.

The mentioning of showers and baths brings me to another recommended product that is a great edition to any bathing regimen: Coconut and Papaya soap by Nubian Heritage. This soap smells so very good! I know some products "advertise" that the scent will have you smelling like "this or that" but this soap actually holds true to its name. It actually does smell like coconuts and papayas. Its so refreshing and its scent lasts very long. The Coconut and Papaya soap is gentle. I have eczema (which is dry skin) and it does not irritate me at all. This soap contains small flecks of the coconut in it and small flects of papaya which helps exfoliate any dead or flakey skin. The cost per bar ranges anywere from 2 bucks and some change to 5 dollars, and it is well worth it. Nubian Heritage also makes soaps that comes in other varies like Black soap, Olive and Green Tea, Goat's Milk and Chi and many more.

Fruits and Veggies
Last but not least a great way to beautify your skin is through eating fruits and veggies. I got this 7 dollar haul from the Market Reading Terminal in Center City Philly. By eating right and drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated, you will be doing your face and body a great service. Try it for at least one week and I will bet that you will see a change!  

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Excited about Eyes Lips and!

Beautiful day in Philly! Although its Thursday, to me this is actually considered a Friday because of the Easter holiday weekend. And woo hoo!
My package from Elf has arrived!!
My Happy Face

So I've been on my make up venture to see what brands, shades and styles I like the most. I'm not really big on purchasing online makeup because it limits your ability to get a good idea of how it will look on you but I recently went out on a limb and purchased a mini haul of Elf products. Those of you that are familiar with (Eyes Lips & Face) Elf make up knows that it is a pretty standard, inexpensive makeup brand. 
Those of you who aren't very familiar with it, please give Elf a try if you are just starting out using make up, looking to expand your make up collection or just want a few good products by this brand. In my most recent Elf purchase I got 4 blushes, 1 bottle of brush cleaner (which works like a charm), 1 kabuki face brush, an eyelash kit (which comes with a set of lashes & glue) 2 lip tints and 5 lip sticks in summer/spring colors. 
I have had a chance to use some of the products. I've found the lip sticks to last pretty long through out the day without too much reapplying. The kabuki face brush is one of Elf's best sellers and is great to use with a bronzer or powder. Its really soft and has gotten a lot of good reviews. A really nice thing about Elf is they always have a deal going on, whether it be free shipping, discounted products, half off certain items or very low priced offers. They always send reminders to your email address and announcements about their deals. I think its pretty safe to say that they've earned my business and I'll be a returning customer. Give Elf a try! You won't be disappointed!
Elf Brushes
My Elf Products


Wednesday, April 4, 2012


Photography by Khai

Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God's handwriting. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson