Wednesday, May 15, 2019

the BACKPACKSQUAD BONDING AT FANTASTIC CHEF


As a mother of two teens, my greatest challenge in life right now is how to spend quality time with them. Monday to Friday, they devote their time to school. During weekends, they still go out to finish projects or hang out with friends. This is the time, when I feel that I don't see them anymore at home.  And that they have totally a "life" of their own. 

It is a struggle now how to "connect" with them. To share their interests. Unlike when they were small kids, we just bring them to the mall and playground areas, and they can be both happy as a bee!

Not anymore... especially when gadgets are winning their attention! 



QUALITY TIME WITH THE TEENS


I am no expert in dealing with teens. But I have some tips on how to at least achieve quality time with them. 

1.  Step into your teen's world. What do they like to do? What is interesting for them?
2.  If you cannot take away the gadgets and social media away from them, use it to make
     bonding more exciting
3.  Talk about random things while enjoying lunch/dinner



So last May 1, since it is a holiday, we had this idea of bringing the teens to the National Museum. They were excited about it. They learned a lot of things, while we bond.

And I tested my tips on them.

1.  While exploring, I randomly asked, what seems to be interesting for them in their museum experience.  Chatted with my eldest about nature and environment -- because she will soon take Environmental Planning and Management in college. I want her to be excited to study the Philippines' environment.

2.  Lately, my son was particularly interested in photography. So I urged him to take a lot of photos in the museum. And since I would also be needing photos for this article. So instead of taking away his gadget from him, I encouraged it to use his for his advantage.











3.  An awesome trip to the museum, is made more special, because we spent more quality time at Fantastic Chef.  My son is a big fan of unli Korean barbecue. Shall we say, he is the family's unli Korean barbecue expert!



OUR FANTASTIC CHEF EXPERIENCE


Located at Remedios Circle Malate, Fantastic Chef is just one jeepney ride from the National Museum. You won't miss its bright yellow facade. And a lot of people waiting outside at 4pm  :)

I got excited when I saw the crowd outside, and lots of people inside enjoying -- proof that Fantastic Chef must be offering good quality meats.  

It is now time to experience it with the #BackPackSquad!

 Unli-side dishes
the Japchae was my favorite :) 


For Php449 you will get unli pork, chicken and beef plus side dishes. We enjoyed the  the thinly sliced pork and beef, perfectly seasoned for grilling. Altho I am not a big fan of spicy food -- the husband and the teens loved the slightly spicy meat.




At the start of the food trip, my son was in charge of grilling. But when he got busy eating, the husband took over the grilling. Before I knew it, my son has already devoured 3 cups of rice!!!  He was really satisfied with experience!


  

Mrs.Wise was mission accomplished. We had a good bonding experience. The museum tour was capped with the perfect unli Korean barbecue meal!  The #BackPackSquad was happy!  It was also a celebration of my daughter's graduation from senior high school.  It is officially vacation time for my two teens, yey!



FANTASTIC CHEF
590 REMEDIOS CIRCLE, MALATE MANILA
OPERATING HOURS:  11AM - 6AM

 

 






Monday, May 6, 2019

UNIVERSAL STUDIOS JAPAN - A MAGICAL PLACE EVERY FAMILY SHOULD VISIT


Mrs.Wise was given a special mission last January 2019.  To travel to Japan... and experience the world class theme park in the heart of Osaka -- Universal Studios Japan.

At first -- I must admit, I was afraid to say "yes" to this mission. Why? Because, it will be my first time to travel to Japan, and I will be ALONE. Yes, dear readers --- solo travel in Japan.

First, I am afraid of the language barrier. There are only three words in my very limited Japanese vocabulary -- Arigato Gozaimasu, moshi moshi and sayonara!  

Second, will I be able to survive Japan's network of railways? 

Third, by the time I reach Osaka, it is already spring. But gosh... the temperature can still drop to 8 degrees at night and as low as 12 degrees during daytime. I know a lot of you will LOVE this cool Osaka weather -- but I am sensitive to cold. An airconditioned room with temperature of 21 degrees can make me shiver to the bones. 

But of course, my innate hunger for adventure and travel put these challenges on hold. Tried as much to prepare to combat them one by one. Downloaded google translate so I can somehow understand some Japanese words;  Downloaded google maps to be able to navigate Japan's train system (and yes, google maps will be your BFF in Japan);  and lastly, thermal clothing FTW!

Now, I am ready to conquer Osaka Japan!!!  (fingers crossed from take-off to landing hahaha)



GOING TO OSAKA: JAPAN's 2nd LARGEST METROPOLITAN AREA AFTER TOKYO

My 9am flight was delayed. I was supposed to touchdown Kansai airport at around 2:30 pm, but reached it around 6pm. It was getting dark at that time. Before going out of the airport's lobby, I tried to find where the JR booth is, because I had to buy my ICOCA card and my bullet train ticket to Fukuoka.  Why? The reason will be discussed in my succeeding articles.

Good thing, my driver who was supposed to pick me up at 2:30pm was still there at the airport waiting for me. With his ready smile - he urged me to ran to the vehicle, because the weather is very cold when I arrived.  
     
It was a good 30-minute drive from Kansai airport to the hotel. There was no traffic. The sceneries changed from industrial to cosmopolitan as I reached my destination. New Oriental Hotel will be my home for two nights. I was happy that it is just a few steps away from Awaza station. It will be easier to navigate the train system, from Awaza.

Eager to explore Osaka on my first night -- I mustered all the courage that I can get - with my 3 layers of clothes, to travel from my hotel to Dotonbori District. Again, this story is the subject of my succeeding blog articles :)  But I felt accomplished, because my Dontonbori mission was a success -- I did not get lost  :)  

TOUCHDOWN JAPAN. MY FIRST NIGHT.

MRS.WISE UNIVERSAL STUDIOS JAPAN EXPERIENCE

I was so excited that after my authentic Japanese buffet breakfast at the hotel, I was ready to explore USJ Japan.  My driver picked me up at around 9am. On my 2nd day in Japan, I was already amazed at how prompt the Japanese are. Their train system and buses are always on the dot. 

Enjoyed the 20-minute drive to USJ. Passed by some residential area. The weather was sunny, but it is still 13 degrees. Saw some bikers on the street ready to go to work. But I loved the mommies on their bikes with their cute babies.  How I wish the Philippines could also be a haven for bikers... and some local parks still with traces of the cherry blossoms.

 

And before I knew it, I reached Universal Studios Japan. Because I was traveling alone, I needed to get that mandatory selfie by the spinning globe. One word: I was damned excited to explore!

First, met up with Universal Studios sales and marketing representative, Shiori Tatebayashi, as she gave me my express pass for the day. After the short meeting, I was on my own -- to explore this magical theme park.

 


REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD BRING YOUR FAMILY TO UNIVERSAL STUDIOS JAPAN

As a mother, I want to be sure, that when we travel as a family, I will be able to give my teens the BEST. I want to make our trips MEMORABLE.  And this is what I experienced at Universal Studios Japan.






STATE OF THE ART ENTERTAINMENT.  The 4d experience of Harry Potter's The Forbidden Journey Ride and  the Amazing Adventures of Spiderman 4K3D Ride were awesome. The sensation was like riding a roller coaster,  but the truth -- seat moving, the smoke and water effects, synchronized with the movie I am watching -- felt very real.  I got the express ticket, but I waited in line for another round of both rides - because both were too awesome not to repeat!!








SUPER IMPRESSIVE VIDEO MAPPING AT HARRY POTTER'S WIZARDING WORLD


VERY COURTEOUS STAFF.  The downside of traveling alone, you have no one to take your photos. But the staff at USJ, were always more than willing to take your photos and assist all your needs.

FAMILY FRIENDLY FACILITIES.  If you are traveling with babies, USJ has facilities for breastfeeding, baby feeding and diaper changing. The theme park really makes extra effort to make your visit worthwhile even if you have small kids with you.  Like other amusement parks, Universal Studios Japan is a stroller-friendly and family-friendly place. You can even rent a baby stroller for a day for 1,000 yen.



MRS.WISE TIPS:

I know you are all excited to visit Universal Studios Japan. A few reminders though: 

> The best time to go is during  weekdays, Friday to Sunday can get too crowded
> Ideal time to go is very early in the morning, and usually gates open at 8:30 am        
   (weekends at 9am).  But you can start queueing at around 7:30 to be safe.
> Once you entered the park, you cannot go out and re-enter again.  
> Aside from purchasing a Studio Pass (for 1 or 2 days) which includes park entrance and 
   use of all the facilities in the park, consider to buy Express Pass to skip the long lines to 
   some of the rides
> Plan your exploration. As for me, as soon as I entered the park, I surveyed the whole 
   area, and concentrated lots of hours on my favorite area -- Harry Potter Wizarding world. 
   I spent a total of 4 hours inside. And yes, as I posted in my instagram... I will not deny it, 
   but was close to tears when I finally set foot at Hogswart. It was a dream come true :)






IT WAS NICE SEEING MARLYN MONROE :)


I DID NOT TRY ANY EXTREME RIDES (AFRAID OF HEIGHTS)  BUT ENJOYED
SIPPING MY COFFEE IN  THE COOL OSAKA WEATHER 
enjoyed the flowers




and the butterbeer was really worth the trip to USJ

I managed to experience pretty much all of the attractions I was interested in, and still have time to take in the spectacular views of the park. And this is the highlight of my experience! Enjoy watching guys  :)



Big thanks to https://www.facebook.com/hismnl/  and https://www.usj.co.jp/e/ for making this once in a lifetime trip possible!!! 






















Wednesday, May 1, 2019

ALTHEA A'BLOOM: FOR SKIN PAMPERING THIS SUMMER


It is the first day of May -- and in the Philippines, May is the month of flowers.   Where colorful and vivid blossoms BLOOMS everywhere.  May is also the peak of summer where fruits abound. 


But there is a new "bloom" that I am excited about!  Althea's A'Bloom >> the newest, cutest and most refreshing product to touch your skin this summer!




A'BLOOM MASKS:  RECIPE FOR SPARKLING SKIN




I think you can never go wrong with using fruit/veggie based beauty products. Fruits and veggies are always good for our health. It is a perfect way to pamper and take good care of your skin




The lemon and lime ingredient will make dark spots and skin dullness go away. Who can argue with the power of Vitamin C to boost your skin's health. Perfect for people who don't want mask sheets with sticky feeling. If Vitamin C boosts your immune system, Vitamin C in Sparkle-Me-Bright mask will make your skin bright and even skin tones.



  
Avocado is my favorite summer fruit. I call it a "superfood" because this fruit is packed with nutrients and antioxidants. Summer in the Philippines can be harmful to the skin because of the heat and dust - so among the four mask variants, this is my favorite. Regular use prevent wrinkles and dry skin. 




When summer temperature can go as high as 40 degrees - you must keep your body hydrated. Drink lots of water. Or eat fruits that are high in water content - like watermelon. So imagine what this Water-Me-Long mask can do to your skin -- instant hydration and its lavender ingredient has a calming effect. 




Is your skin irritated and sensitive? Then I highly recommend this Ac-Me-Peach mask because of its anti-blemish power. The blend of vitamin A in peach and tea tree oil extract helps balance oil and moisture to get that soothing feeling on your skin.

What is more exciting, you can get these fruity mask sheets for only Php20 at Althea. There is also a promo you have to take advantage of. Just apply the promo code ABMASKS upon checkout to avail of the GET 10-10 sheet masks. 



BHA BLACKHEAD BLASTER


Part of the latest Althea Box that came is the BHA Blackhead Blaster.  I know that the problem with blackheads, it is quite painful to remove it. With all the pricking involve - ouchie!  

With the BHA Blackhead Blaster, all you need to do is to cleanse your face (remove makeup residue), apply the BHA Blackhead Blaster to problem areas and massage thoroughly, then rinse off with lukewarm water. So easy peasy!  All you need is an average of 1 minute!  



A'BLOOM GIANT AND BABY MERINGUE PUFFS

Lastly, the A'Bloom Giant and Baby Meringue puffs. They are so cute to look at, that you might be confused if its a sponge or a dessert :)

But these cuties will do your skin wonders -- for your everyday makeup application.




Perfect for beginners, but I am sure, the makeup experts will love these puffs. Just a reminder, puffs should be replaced after 1-3 months of use.

So my verdict on Althea's latest A'Bloom products: the masks were all very refreshing on my skin when I tested it. The BHA Blackhead Blaster worked perfectly when my teens used it, blackheads gone in an instant. 

Kuddos to Althea for always coming up with innovative beauty products that deliver its promise!!!