Category Archives: Reviews

Hibachi Review

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Kawa Sushi in Livermore

Kawa Sushi in Livermore (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you like the hibachi experience? I hadn’t been to one in years but always remember thinking that it was so fun as a kid.

Recently Living Social had a deal for Ichiban Hibachi Steakhouse & Sushi Bar. The deal was spend $15 and get a $30 gift certificate to spend on food and non-alcoholic beverages. I had never been here so I thought this would be a good time to check it out. While they have several locations the certificate was only good for the Village Run Rd location, this is north of Pittsburgh. My kids had never been to a hibachi restaurant so I thought they would get a big kick out of them cooking food right in front of them. Well I have to say this was the worst restaurant experience we’ve ever had. I must say that my kids had been having a rough day, so they were not at the top of their game. They were still well-behaved but didn’t enjoy the experience as much as I expected.

It all started when we sat down at our table. There were four of us so they paired us with another family of four. They also had two kids. Just as we were sitting down the waitress was bringing their drink order. She spilled and broke a glass of wine all over the lady’s dress. Luckily nobody got hurt, but since there were small pieces of broken glass everywhere they had to move us to a new “table”.

We placed our order and then I had to listen to the girl next to me watch SpongeBob on their iPhone. (Not the restaurant’s fault, but definitely didn’t help my experience.) My husband ordered Spicy Tuna Roll from their raw sushi menu. We are not sushi experts, we are starting to expand our horizons into the sushi world, but this thing that was delivered to our table was disgusting! To those of you who know sushi better than us, when you order a spicy tuna roll it is supposed to contain a slice of tuna fillet or is it supposed to have some sort of ground tuna consistency? This one had the later. I seriously thought my husband was going to be sick at the table. Of course we could not finish our appetizer. The waitress took it away and at no point asked if we had liked it or made any comment about how we had left most of our appetizer on the plate.

The chef came out to make our meal. My children were completely terrified of the big fire! The meals come out with soup, salad, rice, noodles and whatever meat you pick. We had shrimp, scallops and chicken. The soup wasn’t horrible but pretty much tasted like salty, chicken flavored water. The salad was a small bowl of lettuce with a thousand island type dressing on top. I’m guessing my husband asked for chop sticks because they were never offered to me. The waitress brought water to refill the other lady’s glass but never asked if I wanted more water in my empty glass, so I had to stop her to get my water. The shrimp, scallops and chicken were well cooked, but the food in general didn’t have a lot of flavor. The portions were all VERY big, but it’s not the quality that you expect from an $$$$ expensive restaurant.

This place is advertised as a steakhouse/sushi bar and they charge you like a steakhouse/sushi bar. The quality of the food and service is on par with a chain restaurant like Chili’s. (actually I think you get better service from most chain restaurants) This was a terrible overall experience for us. I would have much rather spent the same amount of money and gotten a high quality steak at Morton’s. Needless to point out that we will NOT be returning to this restaurant and can NOT recommend it to anybody else. Maybe the fact that this place has these issues is why they offered Living Social deal to try to get more people in the door. We went on a Friday night, the certificate said to make reservations. When I called the girl said that there was no wait and reservations were not needed. I guess I should have known then.

Oh and to finish the story about our table mates, the girl who had wine and glass all over her… they brought the bill and charged her for all the drinks. Her husband had to ask the waitress if they could please not charge them for the drinks they spilled all over his wife!

Bottom line… Ichiban Hibachi Steakhouse and Sushi Bar is NOT a recommended restaurant.

Until next time…

Mariel

Lego Time

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The best thing about having kids is that it gives you an excuse to be a kid again. Preschool age is great because the toys get more fun and they still need your help. My kids are getting into that Lego stage. Now the blocks are getting smaller, they are more fun, but easier to loose and more painful when you step on them. My son loves Star Wars, my daughter likes anything her big brother likes, but she loves pink. Recently, as a reward, we told the kids they could go to the store and pick out a Lego set. My son went straight to the Star Wars sets and picked the Sith Nightspeeder set. My daughter went for the Olivia’s Tree House set. My son and husband were so excited about his that they went to work on it right away. My father-in-law started helping my daughter with hers but they never finished it. We kind of put them away and forgot about them… until today.

The kids really wanted to play with their Lego sets today, so I decided to sit down and finish putting hers together. I hadn’t played with Legos in a while. They have one of those Lego bins full of different blocks, but I am not very creative when it comes to these things. I must say though, I had a great time and loved putting this Olivia’s Tree House set together. I guess I’m a follow instructions kind of gal. (Note to self, must work on the whole outside the box concept.) The set had a ton of tiny pieces and to my surprise, we still had all of them. The instructions were great and very easy to follow. The recommended age group for these sets is 6 – 12 years, it’s good to know I can follow directions meant for a 6 year old.

The nice thing about these sets is that they can play with them after they are done with the building. The Star Wars set comes with lightsabers, missiles that shoot out and two detachable pods. The Olivia set comes with the Olivia doll, a cat and bird.

Luckily my kids play well together so Anakin Skywalker was friends with Princess Leia (Olivia was quickly renamed). Together they protected the tree house from the bad guys!

Did you get to play with Legos today? Were you a big Lego fan as a kid? What is your favorite Lego set? It’s great to know that after more than 60 years this company is still making fun, high quality toys.

Until next time!

Mariel

A New BzzReview From Me to You – The Razor

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I belong to a great, fun group called BzzAgent. Through BzzAgent you get to try fun new products and share your opinion about them. Usually they will send you some sort of free sample and coupons to share with friends. This is my first campaign that I’m sharing on here.

For this campaign I got to test the new BIC Soleil Savvy disposable razors.

I am a very simple girl when it comes to razors. I usually use men’s disposable razors. Nothing fancy but they do the job. I have tried all kids of women’s razors from the Venus to women’s disposables and have always been very unimpressed. So when I received this in the mail, I said “Ok why not.”, but wasn’t expecting much out of it.

Well ladies and gents… I love this razor! The package comes with one handle and four cartridges. When you are done with your cartridges you dispose of the whole thing and buy a new package. To me it seems this part is a little wasteful, they don’t sell the replacement cartridges by themselves. But they are not too expensive, Walmart sells them online for $6.27. The refills have three blades on them and a moisture strip with Vitamin E. The handle is nice and big so it’s easy to hold. It will leave your legs feeling so smooth.

Thanks to the people at Bic and BzzAgent I received this nice little care package.

I have a few $3 off coupons, if you live in the US would like to try out this wonderful razor, I will mail out a $3 off coupon to the first two people to comment on the post. You have until Friday the 13th to post a comment.

Do you have a favorite razor? Have you used the BIC Soleil Savvy before? What are you doing to stay cool during this very hot summer?

Until next time!

Mariel

Trader Joe’s

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I feel that this is a “hot” subject to write about as most of the people I know, that have visited this store, have very strong feelings about their favorite foods from Trader Joe’s. The bottom line though, everybody loves this store.

Trader Joe's next to the Hampshire Mall Hadley...

Trader Joe’s next to the Hampshire Mall Hadley Massachusetts. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today we made the trip out to Trader Joe’s. We are lucky enough to have one relatively close. The only thing is that, it’s not easy to get to, so we only make the trip out there about once a month.

It took me a while to check it out. I have heard many people talk about it and how wonderful it is. I have one VERY picky eater, which is part of the reason this trip is worth it for me. My 4-year-old will only eat Trader Joe’s cheese sticks and fruit snacks, he also really likes their breakfast bars and mac and cheese. One of the reasons I love shopping there, aside from their great prices, is their promise to offer quality products. (this is quoted directly from their website – http://www.traderjoes.com/about/product-faq.asp)

“If you see Trader Joe’s on a label, then you can know that the product contains NO artificial flavors, colors or preservatives; NO genetically modified ingredients; NO MSG; and NO added Trans Fats.”

They have a great selection of “gourmet” frozen foods. These are great if you need a quick meal, especially if you are “cooking” for one. Their frozen mac and cheese is the closest I have found to “homemade”. They use a mix of cheeses including Havarti and Gouda making it stand out from your normal microwave mac and cheese.

Unfortunately I live in Pennsylvania so the liquor laws here don’t allow the store to sell alcohol. Have you tried their $2 wine? I believe it’s nicknamed “Two Buck Chuck”. It really isn’t bad, especially considering it’s only $2!

Have you been to Trader Joe’s? What are some of your favorite Trader Joe’s foods?

These are some of our favorites…

I would love to hear your thoughts!

Until next time!

Mariel

*Please note that this review expresses my personal opinions on this subject. Trader Joe’s in no way sponsored my shopping trip today.

The Library

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Have you discovered all the wonderful things your library has to offer? I love our library, but I must say it took a while for me to realize how wonderful libraries are.

Growing up the only library I knew was the one at my school. I found it so intimidating and somewhat uninviting with rows and rows of tall stacks full of all kinds of books. If I thought that was intimidating I should not even mention my college library. There are even super spooky stories of the basement stacks being haunted by the ghost of a girl whose murder was never solved. Not to mention librarians patrolling the aisles making sure we are being quiet.

That being said my feelings about the library changed after I had kids. The library is truly a wonderful place to spend cold winter days with your kids. They have everything from toys to story time, and while the librarians still like some level of quiet, they don’t mind kids being kids. Our library has such a big selection of children’s books that we rarely walk out with the same book twice.

Libraries have everything from the newest movies (VHS, DVD and Blu-ray), CDs, magazines and audio books to the classic novels. The best part is, at least in most cases, you can find the book online from the comfort of your own home and if it’s not available at your library you can request it and pick it up when it’s ready. They will even send you email reminders when your book is ready for pick up or when you need to return a book and you can renew your books online.

The newest thing I have discovered is that I can even borrow Kindle books from the library. This process is all done from home, all you need is a Kindle and a computer.

If you are not sure what the closest library is, here’s a link that lists every library by state and city.

http://www.publiclibraries.com/

So needless to say, I’m in love with our library! My kids love the big fish tank and the little hamster that lives in a tank in the children’s section. They have a table with printouts and crayons for them to color, a kitchen and a puppet theater area. I love all the wonderful programs they offer the kids from story time to craft time.

When was the last time you visited your library?  What’s your favorite thing your library offers?

Until next time!

Mariel

Puzzled by the Puzzle

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So today we were puzzled by a puzzle, imagine that.

So far all the puzzles I have put together with my kids have pieces that that are all the same size. My daughter got a Disney princess  puzzle for Easter. I believe it was one of those dollar ones. It was made in China and the company is called Cardinal. On the box it says it’s a 50 piece puzzle.

When we started putting together the outside border we noticed it was 9 pieces by 6. According to our math it was NOT a 50 piece puzzle, then I decided to count them all. Turns out that this puzzle does indeed include 50 pieces. They made the outside border pieces smaller than the inside pieces.

Very strange indeed, but I’m glad we solved that mystery! Have you been puzzled by a puzzle lately?

Until next time!

Mariel