Friday, December 17, 2010

Free Diet Plans & Weight Loss Programs from FitClick!

We would usually watch GLEE on TV every Tuesday but since they were showing reruns, we decided to flip through the channels to see what else was on. We stumbled upon the finale of The Biggest Loser, so we watched it for a bit. I have to admit that out of the 10 seasons of the Biggest Loser, we have never watched a single episode. I think that's because the air time always clashes with another program that we really like. The finale was rather interesting actually. Not only did the participants manage to lose a whole lot of weight, but each and every one of them went through a total lifestyle transformation. They had such determination and drive to lose weight as well as to live healthier, I must say that it was rather inspiring.

Talking about living a healthier lifestyle, Kevin and I have been trying to do that since the middle of this year. We are beginning to eat healthier and exercise more. Way more. It might be baby steps, but we are getting there. Sometimes I feel that yes, diets and exercise is good but if you do not know the proper way of doing it, it might not be as effective as you would want it to be. I was surfing the net, looking at some weight loss programs there other day and came upon FitClick. It's an awesome weight loss and healthy living site, for people like me. We want to live a healthier lifestyle but we do not know where to start. At FitClick, you can look through various free diet plans as well as weight loss programs. Since there are so many weight loss programs out there, FitClick gives depth reviews as well as helps explain the pros and cons of various programs. You can also check out the calorie counter as well as workout routines on there. Go check out FitClick and see for yourself. It is indeed a one stop shop for everything you ever want to know about getting fit.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Je'bon Sushi & Noodle House - East Village, NYC

I'm not sure if you noticed, but there is no official Japantown in NYC. Tourist can find Chinatown as well as Koreatown on the map of NYC but Japantown is nowhere to be found. However, if you were to ask somebody relatively familiar with the city, they would tell you that there IS an unofficial Japantown in NYC. It is located in the East Village, between 2nd and 3rd Ave on St Marks Pl (another name for East 8th St). All you need to do is take the 6 Train to Astor Pl and walk along 8th St towards St Marks Pl. You will find all kinds of yakitori houses, sushi restaurants, Japanese grocery stores and quite a few karaoke bars located along that short stretch.
We heard quite a lot about Je'bon and also read quite a number of positive reviews about this place. When we found out that Groupon was running a '$20 for $40 worth of food and drinks' deal a few months ago, we took advantage of that and bought that Groupon. We finally found some time to head out to the East Village a couple of weeks back to use that Groupon as well as to check out Je'bon. The best way to get to Je'bon is by subway. Just take the 6 Train and get off at Astor Pl. There is also street side parking if you choose to drive but just like any other place in the city, parking is really limited.
We arrived at around 3pm, so the place was pretty empty. I was told that it gets really packed during peak hours. The waiters were really friendly and I was pretty impressed with the fast service. I also liked the decor. Exposed brick walls with simple wooden furniture and rather cool lighting. Very very nice. They also have a special room for private parties downstairs. The menu was mainly Japanese but they also have a small selection of Pan Asian food.
After taking our drinks (green tea is on the house) and food order, our server brought out some complimentary miso soup. Nothing really to shout about but I cannot find anything bad to say about it either. Just your regular miso soup. It was nice though, especially on a chilly day.
For our appetizer, we shared a serving of their famous Smiley Buns ($4). It was so so so yummy! A thick slice of stewed pork belly in soy sauce, a slice of cucumber and leek on a Chinese style steamed bun. It came with a small dish of sweet sauce, somewhat similar to the sauce that is usually served with Peking Duck. I kinda regretted that we only ordered one serving, cos it was so good, one piece each just wasn't enough!! :P
Since it's a sushi place, we had to try one of their rolls. There were so many different types of rolls to choose from and everything looked so good. We finally decided to share a Black Dragon Roll ($10). Crab, avocado, cucumber and masago with yummy eel and sesame seeds on top. Mmmm mmmm mmmmmm, it was really good. A nice balance of different textures and the hint of sweetness in the sauce just adds to the entire dish. Out of everything that we ordered, I believe that this was Kevin's favorite.
For my main, I ordered the Salmon Lover Combo ($18). It consist of 3 pieces of salmon sushi, 5 pieces of salmon sashimi and one salmon avocado roll. I am a huge salmon fan, so this was perfect for me! The fish was really fresh and the meat was really firm. Also, the cut of the salmon was really thick (unlike some other places that serves paper thin salmon on their sushi). I must say that it's been a while since I had such yummy and fresh salmon. Two thumbs up.
Kevin ordered the Je'bon Noodle Broth ($14). Fresh homemade fish noodles, fish noodles fish paste, sea scallops, crab, shrimp, mussel, chicken, mushrooms,vegetables and bamboo shoots in a delicious broth. The seafood was really fresh and they were really generous with the portion too! The fresh homemade fish noodles can be a little bit 'fishy' smelling and might need some getting used to (especially if you have never tried it before) but both Kevin and I loved it. Just sprinkle on some chili powder and slurp away. Very yummy dish too. Overall, we both loved the food at Je'bon. It might be a little on the pricey side but trust me, it's worth every penny spent. We will most definitely return in the near future.

Je'bon Sushi & Noodle House - East Village, NYC
15 St Marks Pl,
New York, NY 10003
Tel: (212) 388 1313

Friday, December 10, 2010

Store Brand vs. Name Brand Formulas

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of PBM Products. All opinions are 100% mine.

Store brand formula or name brand baby formula? That question has been asked repeatedly by new parents (and even some not so new parents!) nationwide. You have to admit it. I am sure all of you with kids have asked this question at least once before. Really, are they all that different? It has to be right? Name brand formulas are way more expensive compared to store brand formulas. They must be better. If not, why would they cost so much more?

Well, I got some news for you. Did you know that according to the Infant Formula Act of 1980, all baby formulas sold in this country must meet minimum nutrient requirements and FDA regulations? Author Sandra Gordon as well as the editors of Consumer Reports also agrees with that fact and adds that all formula marketed in the U.S. must meet the same nutrient specifications, which are set (by the FDA in 1980) at levels to fulfill the needs of infants. Wow! You know what this means? That's right, all baby formulas are pretty much the same!

If that is so, then why are name brand baby formulas so much more expensive compared to store brand formulas? The answer is simple. One word, advertising! Store brand formulas typically cost less because they are not heavily marketed or advertised. Also, they are not given away to hospitals for free. Because of that, the cost saved is passed along to the consumer. It is estimated that as much as $600 can be saved by new parents each year. I think it makes sense. I totally agree with the new 10th Edition of the Consumer Reports Best Baby Products when they say that “they see no need for parents to choose expensive national brand infant formulas over their much more reasonable store brand counterparts sold at retailers like Walmart, Sam’s Club, Target, CVS, Kroger, Walgreens, and Babies R Us”. If the formulas are the same, why should you pay more just because the name brand formulas spend more money on advertising, right?

Talking about name brand formulas, have you heard about the recall of certain Similac powder infant formulas because of the possibility of the presence of a small common beetle in the product recently? I really couldn't believe it. Granted, the FDA determined the formula poses no immediate health risk but some babies experienced symptoms of gastrointestinal discomfort as well as refusal to eat as a result of irritated GI tracts! Parents are paying premium price for brand name formulas, hoping that they will be getting better formulas for their children. However, they are getting tainted formulas instead. That's just horrible! So, with all that said, if you were to ask me to choose between store brand formula or name brand formula, you can count of me getting store brand formulas over name brand ones any day. What about you?

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Pizza Hut's Cheesy Bites Pizza!

We were watching our usual Thursday night NBC marathon (30 Rock, The Office, Outsourced, The Apprentice) on TV last week when we saw the ad for Pizza Hut's new promotion. Looks like they have brought back the Cheesy Bites pizza! Oh what joy! I have tried it once, a very very long time ago and I remembered it to be totally awesome. I am not saying that it's the healthiest thing around but it sure tasted great! Since we already had dinner that night, we said that we MUST head out to Pizza Hut to pick up one for dinner the following day. Yes, I know. The powers of advertisement! :P
The Cheesy Bites Pizza comes in only one size and it's going for $11.99. That gets you one large (total of 28 cheese filled bites!) one topping pizza. For an additional $2, you can upgrade it to a specialty or three topping pizza. So, on Friday night, we ordered the Cheesy Bites Pizza online and headed out to the Pizza Hut in Belleville, NJ to pick it up. It kinda sucks that Pizza Hut doesn't deliver to our area :( Anyways, they said that our pizza will be ready in about 25 minutes (at 6:50pm). We arrived at around 6:55pm and that particular Pizza Hut was filled with people. It was seriously in total chaos! We had to stand there for a good 15 minutes before anybody asked us if we wanted a table, to order take out or if we wanted to collect our pizza. The phones were ringing off the hooks, customers were just getting all impatient (many of them ended up leaving), it was just horrible. When we told them that we had already ordered our pizza and it should be ready at 6:50pm, they said that it wasn't ready and we had to wait another 20mins to half an hour!! Seriously, how long does it take to make a pizza? To make things worse, we didn't see many pizzas coming out from the kitchen. I really don't know what they were doing in there. We finally got our pizza at around 7:35! Very horrible service.
Ahhhhhh, here is our yummy Cheesy Bites Pizza. Since we were utterly disappointed with our Bacon Chocolate Bar the other day, we needed our Bacon fix. So, we ordered a Bacon Cheesy Bites Pizza. Mmmmm mmmmm mmmmmmm, I can feel my arteries clogging just by thinking about it but it really tasted oh so good! Each bite was filled with tons of melted ooey gooey cheese and the garlic butter seasoning was awesome too. One bite and you are in heaven. Definitely worth the long wait and bad service. If it wasn't so fattening and unhealthy, I would eat it every single day! Hmmm, maybe we should order it again this weekend :P

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Medical Uniforms by Blue Sky Scrubs

Guess what we did yesterday? Well, we finally made it to the dentist to get an oral exam as well as to get our teeth cleaned. We are not proud to say this but it's been 10 years since we last went to the dentist for an exam! It's really bad, I know. I am just not a fan of going to the dentist and we have been putting it off. I'm glad we finally went. The good news is, all our teeth are great, no cavities and such. Just a whole lot of tartar and plaque. I bet our dentist had a great workout in trying to get all those off! Anyways, to make sure that we don't wait another 10 years before returning, we have already made an appointment for the next visit in 6 months time. Hopefully we will not slack off and continue to visit her once every 6 months.

While waiting for our turn at the dentist's office, I noticed that many of the nurses as well as the dental hygienists were wearing really nice looking scrubs. Gone are the days of ill fitting green or blue colored scrubs. The scrubs that they wore were a perfect fit and came in many colors and designs. I must say that it looks really professional yet fashionable. When we got home, I did a quick look up online to see where one can purchase such nice scrubs (I don't think you can just walk in to your local departmental store and get such nice ones).

After browsing through the Internet for a bit, I found Blue Sky Scrubs. You can get some of the finest and most fashionable looking looking medical uniforms from there. They offer a whole of range medical uniforms, from scrubs (for men, women as well as kids!), scrubs hats, jackets to even lab coats for doctors. Not only are they available in a variety of designs and colors, but they all also made using the highest quality fabric. Therefore, you can be sure that not only will you look great but you will feel really comfortable too! So, the next time you are looking for some healthcare uniform, just head over to Blue Sky Scrubs. I am sure you that you will find all that you are looking for and more!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Mo's Bacon Bar by Vosges Haut-Chocolat

We were invited to attend Norton Lilly's Holiday Celebration at the New York Yacht Club a couple of days ago. It was quite an experience, since the New York Yacht Club is a very exclusive club and no way would we have had the opportunity to even step foot in it without an invitation from one of it's members. The cocktail/dinner was held in the Model Room and I must say, the room itself was rather breathtaking. Hundreds of model ships lined the walls of that room. It is said that the Model Room holds the record for the largest collection of model ships in the world! We had a great time meeting various people from the maritime industry but the highlight of the night (well, at least mine :P) was the door gift that we got. Check it out!
Mo's Bacon Bars! We have heard so much about it but never got around to trying it. Come on, how can you go wrong with two of the best things in the world? Bacon and chocolate...mmmm mmmm mmmmm! :D However, bacon and chocolate together? Hmmm, I don't know but we were pretty stoked to try it! We first heard of Mo's Bacon Bars from Marc Summer's Unwrapped, the TV show from The Food Network. It seems the creator of this chocolate bar graduated from Vanderbilt and went on to attend the famous Le Cordon Blue in Paris. Upon completion, she traveled the world, learning about various indigenous cuisines and cultures. After her return, she founded Vosges Haut-Chocolat with the concept of 'Travel the World through Chocolate'. She is known to combine high quality luxury chocolate with all kinds of spices, herbs, roots, flowers, fruits, nuts and the obscure.
So, what is Mo's Bacon Bar actually? Is there really bacon mixed into the chocolate bar? Yes, there is! It's basically a huge solid bar (divided into 8 pieces) of deep milk chocolate with bits and pieces of Applewood smoked bacon and just a sprinkling of Alderwood salt. When we first opened the packaging, the first thing to hit us was the smell! It really smelled like bacon! However, I am not sure if it's a good thing or not. The smell somewhat reminded me of Abby's (Kevin's dog) bacon flavored beggin strips or some really old and stale bacon bits. Seriously, the smell was rather overpowering.
So, what does it taste like? Truthfully? Well, bacon bits mixed with chocolate :P As you can see from the cross section of the chocolate bar, there are really huge chunks of bacon bits in the chocolate bar. It also has a crunch to it. The chocolate tasted heavenly. You can tell right away that it's high quality chocolate. However, I find the mix of the salty bacon and sweet chocolate a tad bit weird. Don't get me wrong, I love the concept of combining chocolate and bacon together. I know that the combination of those two items work. It's just that I feel that maybe she needs a little adjustment to the taste of the bacon. There is just something not right about it. Maybe the flavor is too strong or it is a little too salty. I can't place my finger on what the problem is exactly but the bacon's aftertaste wasn't really pleasant. Because of that, I think that Mo's Bacon Bar failed to hit a home run in my books. It's unfortunate though, cos I firmly believe that with the right combination of taste, flavor and texture, this product could potentially be a huge hit.

Pier 1 Imports - Your One Stop Holiday Shop!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Pier 1 Imports. All opinions are 100% mine.

We were in the city a couple of days ago for dinner and I noticed that all of the holidays lights were up. Boy, NYC is so beautiful during Christmas. Just walking down the streets while looking at all those decorations definitely puts you in the Christmas spirit. After getting back from the city, we were really motivated to start putting up our Christmas decorations too. We really want to do a good job cos this Christmas will be a little bit more special. My parents and kid sister will be visiting us from Malaysia and it has been years since I last spent the Christmas holidays with them.

We needed some new Christmas decorations, so I headed out to Pier 1 Imports to look for some. I just love Pier 1 Imports. It's basically a one stop shop for all of our holiday shopping. Apart from having a wide range of Christmas decorations to choose from, it is also my 'go to' place for all my holiday entertaining supplies. If you will be hosting a dinner party this holiday season, you should definitely check out Pier 1 Imports. Since we will be hosting Christmas dinner this year, I went online to their website to see if there are anything good. Big mistake on my part. I simply loved everything! Everything looked so nice. Check out the lovely snowflake place mats and beautiful table runner. Isn't it nice? I also love the wine glasses, wine charms as well as the napkin rings! I think that they are just perfect for our Christmas dinner. Nothing too loud or tacky, just enough to give that little hint of Christmas to the dinner party. I kinda like the Mrs Claus Apron think that it's really cute!

Apart from decorations and holiday entertainment supplies, Pier 1 Imports is also my stop for holiday gifts. There are a wide variety of gifts for him and her, both young and old. You can be sure to find something for even the most difficult person to shop for. You could also get all kinds gift wrapping supplies from Pier 1 Imports. Yup, I told ya. It's a one stop shop for everything! You can even visit their website for more gift ideas as well as check out their special value tab for clearance items, specials savings as well as their Daily Dealy. For example, today's Daily Dealy is for $5 off flat brocade wallets. What a deal! They would make perfect Christmas gifts or stocking stuffers.

Another thing that I like about Pier 1 Imports is that they are all about giving back. Christmas is a time for celebration but it is also a time to remember those who are less fortunate then ourselves. For the month of November and December, you can support Toys for Tots by dropping off an unwrapped toy and/or making a cash donation at the register. Also, do your part by liking Pier 1 Imports on Facebook. You can get updates on all their specials but more importantly, Pier 1 Imports will donate $1 to Toys for Tots for every new fan that they get! So, what are you waiting for? Head out to Pier 1 Imports for all your holiday shopping today!

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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Lu Lu's Noodles - Pittsburgh, PA (Revisit)

We were back in Pittsburgh for Thanksgiving last weekend. It's been a while (nearly a year) since we were back. Apart from spending time with the family as well as catching up with friends, we also managed to go out to eat at some of our favorite places in Pittsburgh. Some places were as good as we remembered them to be but some places were a total letdown. I will be writing more about those places in the coming posts.
The first place that I am going to write about is Lu Lu's Noodles. I have written a review about this place like two years ago and from that review, you can see that we truly adore this noodle house. It's located right in the middle of Oakland, somewhat close to the University of Pittsburgh. When we were still going to school in Indiana, PA, we would always visit Lu Lu's whenever we are back in Pittsburgh. We thought that they served the best noodles ever! When we walked into Lu Lu's last weekend, we were greeted by the familiar red walls and wacky black and white posters of people posing with noodles. Looks like nothing has changed....or has it?
We brought Kevin's mom along with us, since she has never eaten at Lu Lu's before. We have been raving about that place since forever, so we thought that she might like to try it. There were not that many people there and we didn't have to wait for a table (we did however have to wait quite a while before the server decided walk over and bring us to a table). After taking our orders, the food arrived rather quickly. However, we didn't have any cutlery set up. I had to actually walk over to ask them for some and it took quite a while for them to bring it over. Is it really that difficult to bring over 3 forks, 3 spoons and some napkins? Looks like the service is not as good as it used to be. Kevin's mom ordered a vegetable egg roll ($1.45) and the three of us shared a portion of Crab Rangoon ($2.95) as our appetizer. I didn't try the egg roll but it looks just like any other egg roll. The crab rangoon wasn't really the greatest. There wasn't any traces of crab in the stuffing. Out of the 5 pieces, I believe we only saw one tiny red speck of crab in one of them! Like seriously, only one? The rest of the filling was just some sweet mixture of mayo and errmm cream cheese I guess.
Since we were always raving about Lu Lu's Wonton Noodle Soup ($5.95), Kevin's mom decided to give that a try. She added on some extra shrimp ($1.75) to go along with it. The shrimp and pork wontons were good and but noodles were not as great as we remembered it to be.
Kevin also ordered the Wonton Noodle Soup and added on some Asian sausage slices ($1.75). He too agreed that the noodles were not as good as he remembered them to be. I wonder if they changed their noodle supplier (it's supposed to be flown in from San Francisco) or if our taste buds has changed over the years. The soup base wasn't that great either. It tasted like some MSG laden hot water soup.
I ordered the Wonton Braised Noodle ($6.75) and added on some Roast Duck ($1.75). Yes, I have to agree that the shrimp and pork wontons were still rather good but the noodles were horrible. My noodles were stuck together in a clump and I had quite a difficult time in trying to separate them. Also, there were not enough sauce on my noodles. I only wished they had poured on more sauce. The duck taste alright, nothing really to rave or complain about.
Our total bill came to $37.51. I guess that's rather affordable for all that food. However, we were really disappointed that the Lu Lu's that we went to that night wasn't the Lu Lu's that we remembered so fondly of. Mediocre tasting food coupled with mediocre service. I don't think we will be returning to Lu Lu's anytime soon. That's really sad though, cos we really did enjoy many lunches and dinners at Lu Lu's back in the day. Up til now, I cannot really place my finger on it. Have our taste buds really changed that much or has the quality of food in Lu Lu's really declined that much over the years? I really don't know.

Lu Lu's Noodles - Pittsburgh, PA
400 South Craig Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Tel: (412) 687 7777

Share your Wicked Fresh! moments with us!!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Tom's of Maine. All opinions are 100% mine.

Not many of you know this, but I'm terribly picky when it comes to buying oral care products. It doesn't matter if we are talking about toothpaste, mouthwash or even dental floss. I just find it really hard to find a brand that I really like using. Once I find something that I like, I would just stick to it. This might sound a little silly, but for the longest time, I have been getting my toothpaste supply from Malaysia. There is this particular brand that I like and I refuse to use anything else. Yes, I know. I told ya I am picky! Up til a couple of months ago, I couldn't find anything that I liked using, no matter how many different brands I tried.

I received a small sample tube of Wicked Fresh! Toothpaste by  Tom's Of Maine one day and I must admit, my search for a brand of toothpaste that I like here in the US was over. There was just something about the taste of it that I totally love! Not only does it taste good, but it also gives you cavity protection as well as uses powerful natural flavor oils and a patent-pending botanical extract to provide long-lasting fresh breath. Very cool! For those of you who don't know, Tom's of Maine is a leading natural products company focused on oral and personal care. For 40 years, Tom’s has been committed to supporting people, communities and the planet. I'm surprised that I haven't heard of Tom's of Maine til recently. I only wished I have heard of it earlier. Their oral care products are really good. Since I liked their toothpaste so much, I also went out to get their Wicked Fresh! Mouthwash to try. You know how certain brands of mouthwash just burns? Well, this doesn't! It has a really pleasant minty flavor that leaves your mouth feeling really clean. I just love it!

Talking about Tom's of Maine, I just wanna give you a heads up about a contest that they are currently running. You can stand a chance to win a $500 Target Gift Card as well as other Wicked Fresh! Prizes. All you need to do is share your favorite Wicked Fresh! Moment, experience or discovery by tweeting at or you can write your own tweet. Just remember that all text tweets must include and #WickedFresh. What's my Wicked Fresh! Moment, you ask? Well, we were visiting some friends up in Michigan for New Years Eve a few years ago and it was snowing hard. In the spur of the moment, we all decided to head outdoors in the sub zero temperature to soak in the hot tub with a couple of beers, while ushering in the New Year together. Now, THAT'S a Wicked Fresh! Moment!!! So, what's your Wicked Fresh! Moment? Just head over to Tom's of Maine's That's Wicked Fresh contest page  and tweet about it. Remember to follow @TomsofMaine on Twitter to complete your entry. You could also get a bonus entry if you 'Like' Tom's of Maine on Facebook!

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Steam Team - #1 Choice for Carpet Cleaning in Austin,TX!

Wow, I can't believe that today is already the first of December. Ahhh, December. It's definitely my favorite month of the year. I just love all the holiday celebrations and parties going on around this time. As much as I love to attend holiday parties, I also love to host them. Nothing beats a house full of family and friends, coming together to celebrate the holidays. There is one thing I do not like about hosting parties though. Yup, it's having to clean up all the after party mess. Washing a few dishes and cleaning up is not too bad, but the worst are carpet stains! Somebody spilled wine on your prized Oriental rug or tracked mud and grass stains all over the beautiful white carpet. Arrghh, don't you just hate that?

To all our readers who are living in the larger Austin area, I've got something to share with you. If you are ever caught in the same situation as me and need some help with carpet cleaning in Austin, just call The Steam Team! With over two decades of experience in cleaning, servicing and maintaining commercial as well as residential flooring and upholstery, they are the carpet cleaners that you know you can trust! Not only do they pay attention to minor details but you can also count on them to do a good a reliable job. If you were to go to their website, you would be able to find a whole lot of specials as well as discount coupons too.

When visiting their website, you could also look up professional carpet cleaning tips as well household remedies in lifting stubborn carpet stains. I found that to be really helpful. So, the next time you are looking for Austin carpet cleaning services, look no further. Just give The Steam Team a call (you can even order online!) and they would be more than happy to give you a quote or schedule an appointment for you.