Saturday, March 28, 2015

Lush Life: Spring

It's been a bit since my last visit to Lush, so my sweet husband treated me on his day off! 
(true love, folks!)
It's been a while since I've visited a Lush in the states, so I'm not sure what they are giving out these days. Here in Japan, I have gotten an adorable poster calendar with my purchases! Featured for spring is none other than Bubblegrub! (He was promptly claimed by my little).

Alright, on to the goods!!

First up: products for my husband! It makes me happy that Lush offers products that my entire family enjoys, especially since we deal with sensitive skin issues.

This trip, my husband scooped up 2 toners & a shaving cream. Buying completely new items was a slight challenge, as we faced a language barrier... but the girls at the shop were adorable and patient as we each tried to understand the other.

Funny shopping story.. the adorable little clerk was trying to explain "Breath of Fresh Air" to us. (There was lots of smiles & giggles & nodding... the Japanese are amazingly polite!) She kept saying "sea water". So i asked "salt water"? The answer was "no, sea water" & found a picture with waves on it. So I felt silly & said "oh! sea water!".. She replied "yes! sea water.... salt".. LOL

Breath of Fresh Air -- Fresh seawater glently cleanses, while carrageen (seaweed) extract softens and provides essential vitamins and minerals. And all the while, rose absolute and aloe vera are soothing dry areas.

My husband loves this! I haven't used it yet, but I think it smells like bubbles. Totally bizarre, I know, since it's supposed to be sea water.. but it smells like bubbles... I like bubbles, but not sure if I want to smell like them.

Tea Tree Water -- Cleansing tea tree, juniper berry and grapefruit waters keep skin looking fresh and balance skin tone. Light and refreshing Tea Tree Water reduces redness and clears excess oil without drying so you can put your best face forward.

Have not tried this one yet, but I am a lover of tea tree oil! It works wonders with my skin when I have break outs. Another great thing about both of these toners is that they are alcohol free. Alcohol can be very drying and damaging, so I am excited to see that Lush has taken that into account.

Dirty Shaving Cream -- Lavender and Sandalwood shaving cream for sharp looking chins.

Husband has already used this product & loves it! I have the stick perfume of this scent, so I am a fan as well. The shaving cream contains Oat milk, shea butter & honey, so it softens and soothes as you shave. It's also advertised for girls, so I'm sure I'll be giving it a whirl soon!

Ok, so this little guy is the whole reason for this Lush trip!

Bubblegrub -- Inspired by the very hungry caterpillar. Sweet vanilla, tonka and sandalwood with vanilla pod antennae.

As soon as I saw Julie's Lush Haul that included this little guy, I had my heart set on owning him!
Bubble bars are a big hit with my little & they last us quite a while. I'm guessing I can get 6 baths out of him. I'm also pretty sure his eyes are made of chocolate.

(update: for the sake of science, i had to know if his eyes were chocolate... so I did what anyone would do when they're looking for answers... I licked him. haha.. i tasted only soap.. but a followup read of the Lush site says yes, they are indeed chocolate.)

These next two are my favorites from this trip!

Sakura bath bomb -- When the blossoms burst forth in spring, its a tradition to take a picnic and bottle of sake and enjoy the beauty. Noriko, one of our product inventors, hails from Japan and this beautiful bath bomb represents what its like to be in a park while hte breeze blows through the blossoms in the trees. Instead of heading to the park, lay back in serene waters while the gorgeous scents of mimosa and jasmine envelop you to give you the joyful feeling of springtime. Sakura: simple, elegant, and enduringly beautiful bathing.

I am really excited about this one! Sakura season is a HUGE deal here in Japan & I hope that this bomb will deliver the strong floral notes that I smell already. 

*Limited edition - Japan only*
"Hanami' scrub -- salt scrub with lavender, damask rose, ylang-ylang, and fresh sweet orange. Bits of dried cherry blossom enhance the experience.

The above description is the best I can do with using google translate, as this item is only sold in Japan Lush stores. The clerks at the store washed my hand with this product and I immediately fell in love! It's creamy and a lovely scent. They kept asking me if I knew "Noriko", but alas I didnt... however a quick google search let me know that "Noriko" is a Japan only Lush soap (created by the product inventor, Noriko) that is extremely popular! It wasn't currently in store, but I will be on the lookout for it. This scrub shares the same scent & it is marvelous. The ylang-ylang seems to help ground the other florals, so it does not come across as super light floral. I found it to lean toward a light musk.

These two are staples in our house... 
Big Blue -- a sea salt & seaweed bath bomb for the husband &
Ickle Baby Bot -- a lavender bath bomb for the little to help settle at the end of the day.

My final two picks were all about glitter!! 
Anyone who knows me, knows that I absolultely LOVE glitter!! 

Dragon's Egg -- Unleash fire and bathe in a whirlpool of magnificently vibrant, sizzling color and a spectacular explosion of sights, sounds, and scents. Inhale the refreshing sherbet-y citrus scent of lemon and bergamot; you'll feel like you're up and away on the back of your own dragon.

I have been wanting this particular bath bomb for a while. Sadly, this will not be a repeat. First, let me say that this was a spectacular bath bomb! Upon being dropped in the water it immediately began to spin & emit waves of orange & white which turned my bath water a glittery orange. The silica glitter is gorgeous! It is in a constant state of motion that mimics fire & it easily washes off. The downside.. there are these neat little colored polka dots that pop out as it fizzes. They promptly become gelatinous little floating dots... kinda like little jelly fish... or boogers. I could honestly get past that, but my biggest issue was the scent. In the store, it was not a heavy scent.. but once activated, I felt like I had bathed in lemon pledge. The lemon was entirely overwhelming & even a followup shower did not rid me of my lemony scent. If Lush ever recreates this design with a different scent, I'd be willing to give it another go.

Golden Egg -- This spectacular invention has combined a bath bomb and a luxury bath melt to create...the bath bomb melt! Its creamy, moisturizing cocoa butter exterior encases a fizzy bath bomb center, and the whole egg is dusted in a delicate golden luster. It has the classic honey toffee fragrance of Honey I Washed The Kids.

This was another Lush product I heard about through Julie. I would like to point out that Lush may not know the exact meaning of "delicate"... as this is some pretty intense glitter. I picked up the sample in the store & my hand was immediately covered in thick glitter. The clerk told me that you are supposed to rub this all over to use the cocoa butter at the beginning of your bath before you reach the fizzy part. She also followed that statement with "messy" & proceeded to giggle...haha. I love glitter.. but I find myself a little hesitant to use this.. what if I end up permanently glittered?! On second thought... permanent glitter sounds kinda fun.... 

Have you tried any of the products I've featured? What Lush products are staples in your home?

Friday, March 27, 2015

Japan Eats: Starbucks Sakura

I've fallen off the blog'o'sphere for a bit.. but its mainly because I've been having such a fantastic time!! Japan is always offering me something to see or eat! I could happily live here forever and never grow tired of the food... or the people... or the atmosphere.. i just love it!

Anyways, moving on... It is no secret that I love Starbucks! On our journey here, we got to stop & visit the birthplace of Starbucks -- Pike's Place. I swear the special Pike's Place coffee i bought there is the most magical coffee ever!! Or maybe its the memories... either way, I'm a Starbucks kinda girl!

So I was super excited upon arriving in Japan to hear about the fun 'limited edition' flavors that come out! My first experience was the Orange Chocolate Mocha... superb!! However, what everyone really raves about is the yearly release of the Sakura line!! Every year, Starbucks joins the celebration of "Hanami", the cherry blossom viewing season, with a new latte/frapp recipe & an amazing line of mugs/tumblers/cards! They also decorate all the 'to-go' cups with sakura blossoms! such a fun touch!

Stock photo: Google

This years flavor was Carmelly Sakura Chocolate! YUMM!!
Both the latte & the frapp feature a drizzling of rich cherry and caramel sauce topped with shavings of subtly cherry-flavored white chocolate.
Doesn't that sound divine??
This had to be the sweetest coffee I had ever had. I like my coffee sweet, but this was so sweet your teeth hurt! The cherry caramel is ridiculously sweet & combined with the richness of the white chocolate, it caused us to wince at the sweetness. I tried both the latte & the frap, but this was not a repurchase for me. I'm sure I'll return next year to try the newest sakura coffee.

So now that I've raved about the coffee.. lets move on to cake!!

"Cake! Everybody loves cake!" ~Donkey

Sakura Chiffon Cake
I wish I had even the slightest clue how to create a cake this soft & decadent!
It was like eating a cloud. 
At first glance, I thought it would be like angel food cake, but it was softer! The subtle sakura notes, the fluffy whipped icing, the pickled cherry blossom on top.... heaven!

I have to rave about this pickled cherry blossom for a moment.
I'm sure it may not sound all that appetizing... I am willing to try anything once, but even I was a little hesitant to eat a flower. Even more so, one that had been pickled.
The verdict? -- some one please find me a jar of these!
Seriously... I could happily snack on these any day of the week. 
Lucky for me, my family didnt really care for the blossom, so our second trip for cake left me with the blossom all to myself!

I chose this beautiful pastel-hued coffee mug from the Sakura 2015 line.
There was a rather large selection of sakura themed mugs, tumblers, & cards, which all sell out within the first week, so I had to make my choice carefully. The line changes every year, so I am excited to see what my collection will look like at the end of our time here.

Have you tried any new Starbucks flavors lately? Fill me in on what's happening with Starbucks stateside!