Friday, November 24, 2017

HD Beauty - Find out your skin care type and more!

Skin care is something that I have been more and more interested in as I get older. I have noticed my skin becoming more dry with an uneven tone over the years and wanted to do something about it. 

I was recently introduced to the HD Beauty skincare line created by Ms. Melanie Trehan. She is a certified master esthetician and known by many celebrities as their personal skin care guru! Melanie has a full feature website where one can easily book spa appointments and/or purchase HD Skincare Products directly!
Recently, Melanie launched a HD Beauty personalized skin care quiz on her website

I decided to get a facial at the HD Beauty boutique and took the skin care quiz in the comfort of my home before my appointment. It took me just a minute, take a look...

I turned out to be skin type 3 which I think is accurate with my dry skin and red cheeks! 

The day came for my appointment! Melanie greeted me warmly and the boutique is very welcoming! After a little bit of paperwork, we discussed the results of the skin care quiz. Melanie used the information to select customized products for my facial.

This is the treatment room, isn't it nice and cozy?
A robe and slippers awaited me! I got changed and was ready for my treatment!
I asked Melanie whether people should come in with or without makeup. She said it didn't really matter because she starts each facial with a cleanser.  
Part of the facial is making sure your pores are nice and open. She accomplished this with a warm towel and also some steaming!
Melanie then used a bristle wand to scrub dead skin cells and vacuum them up. My face felt so clean after this brusque technique.
Throughout the treatment, Melanie was massaging my face either when she was applying a product or taking it off. In any case, for me massage is one of the best parts of a facial! 
Melanie cleaned my skin thoroughly and then applied a blueberry antioxidant mask, good for hydrating and my redness. The scent was delightful too!
I then had the LED light treatment for about 7 - 10 minutes. The lights helps to reduce pores, shrink hyper-pigmentation and promote collagen building! 
After the mask treatment, Melanie also gave me a light peel application.  It was tingly! The whole process from start to finish took about an hour. 

Here I am after my facial, bare-faced (with bedhead!) and feeling refreshed! My skin was soft and the redness on my cheeks was noticeably lighter!
Melanie's recommendations for me were to wear sunscreen every day and to drink lots of water. She also set me up with some products to try from her age reverse system.
To get the best results, Melanie suggests coming in for a facial every four to six weeks. Her hands are like magic and my results were immediate! Treat yourself and book an appointment with her today.
Remember, find out your skin type by taking the quiz on her website! 

Just in time for the holidays, Melanie has released some specially-priced discounts which make great gifts for you or your loved ones!

24K Gold facial with limited edition 24K Gold take home Mask $250 reg $280 
Pumpkin Mask 20% off

All skincare kits 15% off

HD Beauty offers gift certificates and Melanie also does "peel" parties for groups and skincare lessons for all ages!

    Disclosure: I received a complimentary facial and sample products in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own.

    Tuesday, November 7, 2017

    2017 San Diego Asian Film Festival- See What's Cooking!

    18th San Diego Asian Film Festival Announces Lineup of More Than 150 Films in 30 Languages

    Festival showcases Asian and Asian American stories told through award-winning cinema for its 18th year

    SAN DIEGO (October 17, 2017) - Pacific Arts Movement is proud to present the 18th Annual San Diego Asian Film Festival (SDAFF) from November 9-18, 2017. SDAFF, the largest platform of Asian cinema on the West Coast, will present more than 150 films from 20 countries in 30 languages to delight and intrigue audiences around San Diego.

    “This year’s collection of films revolves around stories of home and stories of heroes within the Asian and Asian American community. These films bring to the table stories of everyday life: exhilaration, heartbreak, struggle, and the comfort that lies in sights and smells of home,” says Pacific Arts Movement’s Artistic Director, Brian Hu.

    Festival goers will enjoy a multitude of films, Q&A’s with filmmakers, opportunities to meet cast and crew and, new to this year, podcast panels. Additionally, for the sixth year in a row, SDAFF will present the Taiwan Film Showcase at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), the biggest annual presentation of Taiwanese cinema outside of Asia. This year, the Showcase will continue to highlight the diversity of perspectives, languages, stories, and genres by feature-length and short filmmakers in Taiwan today.

    SDAFF’s programs span six venues across the county during the 10-day festival, with its home base at Ultrastar Cinemas Mission Valley at Hazard Center. Opening and Closing Night will be shown at the San Diego Natural History Museum in Balboa Park, the 2017 SDAFF Awards Gala and various panels will take place at Marriott Mission Valley, the 6th Annual Taiwanese Film Showcase will be presented at the UCSD Price Center Theater, indie films will be playing at the Digital Gym Cinema in North Park and Balboa Park’s Museum of Photographic Arts will be the home of Encore Screenings Saturday.


    Opening Night Film: OH LUCY
    West Coast Premiere
    San Diego Natural HIstory Museum | November 9, 7 p.m.
    A middle-aged woman in Tokyo escapes droll office life when she chances upon an English class taught by a charming American. Soon she’s renamed Lucy, she develops a penchant for hug-hellos, and she’s following a postcard from San Diego to find love, adventure, and her spunky niece in Southern California.
    Filmmaker scheduled to attend

    Centerpiece Film: MON MON MON MONSTERS
    West Coast Premiere
    UCSD Price Center Theater | November 12, 6:30 p.m.
    In high school, there are victims and victimizers, enablers and bystanders. There are monsters too: figurative ones that feed on trouble, and literal ones that feed on human flesh. When some of the former inadvertently capture one of the latter, the real monstrosity materializes. From Taiwan’s most popular novelist-turned-director comes a savage comedy of adolescence run amuck.
    Director Giddens Ko (δΉζŠŠεˆ€) scheduled to appear

    Closing Night Film: A BETTER MAN
    San Diego Natural History Museum | Friday, November 17, 7 p.m.
    Twenty years after they were together, Attiya confronts Steve, an ex-boyfriend who used to abuse her every day. With Steve’s permission, Attiya films them in conversation as they acknowledge a painful past and lay out a path for healing. Viscerally intimate, A BETTER MAN is an inspiring work of courage with few peers in contemporary personal documentary.
    Director Attiya Khan scheduled to appear

    Marriott Mission Valley | November 11, 5 p.m.
    The red carpet event brings together more than 500 entertainment, business and community leaders to celebrate the SDAFF’s top independent films, enjoy the spectacular live entertainment and meet celebrity guests. Proceeds support Pac Arts’ year-round education programs, such as Reel Voices, a documentary filmmaking program for San Diego and Tijuana high school students. Special performances include Grammy Award-winning artist and actress Tia Carrere.


    West Coast Premiere
    Ultrastar Mission Valley | Monday, November 13, 6:20 p.m.
    6,000 miles from America is Kosrae, a Micronesian island that has become a “recruiter’s paradise” for young men looking to leave behind their fishing boats for armored tanks. ISLAND SOLDIER takes us from the Pacific Islands to Afghanistan and even San Diego, revealing the heartache of a community and its weary ties with the United States.

    International Premiere
    UltraStar Mission Valley | Saturday, November 11, 1:30 p.m.
    Former enemies of the Iran-Iraq War are now best of friends living in Vancouver. Decades after they left their homelands, they return – one for family, the other for love. An astonishing true story of shared fates and life-long promises, MY ENEMY, MY BROTHER finds abounding humanity in the empathy of war's survivors.
    Filmmaker Scheduled to attend

    San Diego Premiere
    UltraStar Mission Valley | Wednesday, November 15, 6 p.m.
    The ardor of youth and the aromas of romanticism, tucked safely in the haven of a Cultural Revolution dance troupe, get blown into the wind in Feng Xiaogang’s poignant epic of lithe bodies, fleeting fancies, and the callous weight of China’s turbulent political history. The craft and the critique are as sweeping as they are impeccable.


    West Coast Premiere
    Ultrastar Mission Valley | Sunday, November 12, 3:45 p.m.
    A girlfriend who wants plastic surgery, a gangster with a cell phone, and a hitman with a hammer encircle a bag of a million RMB. Not everyone’s making it out of this stormy night, and the question is: who will make it out with the money? Coldly nonchalant, this crosscutting noir finds in internet cafes and desolate hotels a cruel undercurrent of greed.

    US Premiere
    UltraStar Mission Valley | Wednesday, November 15, 6:45 p.m.
    In a post-apocalyptic world of toxic ash, humans have retreated underground. Young Aki and friends, including the mute Fuyu, dream of the outside world through courageous conviction and Fuyu’s increasingly colorful paintings. At once dark and emotionally uplifting, COCOLORS blends traditional printmaking and 3D aesthetics to capture youth in search of light and color.
    Director Toshihisa Yokoshima scheduled to appear

    Ultrastar Mission Valley | Saturday, November 11, 4:00 p.m.
    To contextualize this year’s shattering new film HAVE A NICE DAY, we present two earlier examples of Chinese 2D animation: PIGSY EATS WATERMELON (1958) and THE LITTLE SISTERS OF THE GRASSLAND (1965). Both family-friendly shorts are presented in new digital restorations and are preceded by a short lecture by Chinese animation historian Sean Macdonald.

    UltraStar Mission Valley | Sunday, November 12, 5:50 p.m.
    Memories of childhood and visions of the timeless come to life through diverse animation styles in this series of shorts from Japan, Taiwan, India, and the United States.


    New Digital Restoration of SHOPPING FOR FANGS (1997) (World Premiere)
    MY ENEMY, MY BROTHER (International Premiere)
    THE GIRL FROM YESTERDAY (North American Premiere)
    LAND WITHOUT PEOPLE (North American Premiere)
    ONE DAY (North American Premiere)
    SOMEWHERE BEYOND THE MIST (North American Premiere)
    THOSE LONG HAIRED NIGHTS (North American Premiere)
    COCOLORS (US Premiere)
    A DAY (US Premiere)
    THE FIRST LAP (US Premiere)
    A FISH OUT OF WATER (US Premiere)
    THE FOOLISH BIRD (US Premiere)
    THE LAST VERSE (US Premiere)
    SHINJUKU SWAN II (US Premiere)

    Tickets are available online for all shows. For screenings at UltraStar, tickets can be purchased at the Ultrastar Box Office starting November 3. For shows at all other locations, tickets can be purchased at that venue’s box office one hour before showtime. General admission tickets are $9 for members and $12 for non-members. Student, military, senior and group discounts are available at the door with valid ID. Opening and closing films are $30 for members and $40 for non-members. Limited All-Fest Passes are available for $195 for members and $295 for non-members.

    For ticketing info, full film details and schedule, please visit, call (619) 400-5911 or email

    Major sponsors of the San Diego Asian Film Festival include AARP, Barona Resort & Casino, Sharp Health Plan, KPBS, Wells Fargo, Proven Recruiting, Sycuan Casino, McGregor and Associates, Qualcomm and Union Bank.

    The Taiwan Film Showcase is sponsored by the UCSD Chuan Lyu Foundation for Taiwan Studies, the UCSD Taiwan Studies Lecture Series, the Taiwan Academy Los Angeles, and the Taiwan Ministry of Culture.

    Pacific Arts Movement (Pac Arts) is one of the largest media arts organizations in North America that focuses on Asian American and Asian international cinema. Located in San Diego, Pac Arts is the presenter of the annual the San Diego Asian Film Festival (SDAFF), the largest platform of Asian cinema on the west coast, and the SDAFF Spring Showcase.

    For more information about Pacific Arts Movement, visit Follow online via social media at #SDAFF2017 @pacartsmovement

    Sunday, October 1, 2017

    Starting off Filipino American Heritage Month with the FABNetwork!


    With Filipino Americans being the second-largest population of Asian Americans in the United States, the purpose of the FABNetwork is to be a collective organization made up of Filipino-American digital influencers that brands can access to hear our unique voice, utilize our consumer power and exponential publicity of their products or events. We hope the Filipino American Blogger Network,FABNetwork, will be THE resource for brands and public relations firms to reach out to the Filipino American communities across our country.


    Founded in 2016, our mission is two-fold: to create connections within the Filipino American influencer community and to be a Public Relations powerhouse that connects brands with the global online community.

    Our first goal for the FABNetwork is to connect with other bloggers and social media influencers. If you haven’t already, please join our private influencer Facebook group where you will be able to interact and network with our FABNetwork team of influencers and grow our network together: This group page will be a way for us to learn from one another, as well as share resources to increase our social media presence.

    Feel free to use this image and invite others to join our team! Here is a quick pitch you can use:
    We'd love for you to be a part of the #FABNetwork!  We're just getting started and we think you be a great addition to our network of influencers.


    As we build our FABNetwork, another goal is to increase our social media presence. To encourage the FABNetwork to support each other’s social media posts, please tag @_FABNetwork_ and use the hashtag #FABNetwork. Let’s support each other and show some social media love with FOLLOWS, LIKES, and COMMENTS.  

    Again, we hope the FABNetwork will be a useful resource for brands and public relations firms to reach out to the Filipino American communities across our country. If you already have an established relationship with a particular brand(s) that would benefit from working with the FABNetwork, please encourage them to fill out this form! We can start pitching to these companies!

    Again, come join us at the FABNetwork! We look forward to “meeting you” online!

    Lora Bumatay Lysabeth Luansing-Garcia
    @LoraSaysSo @LovelyLysa      

    Thursday, September 28, 2017

    Trade Winds Tavern - Fresh. Eclectic. Delicious!

    (Update:  Unfortunately this restaurant is no longer in business.)
    With two restaurants under her belt, owner Sylvia Le is a veteran restaurateur!  It was a pleasure to meet her and learn about the development story of Tradewind Taverns, a new neighborhood eatery on the Balboa Block of the Convoy area. Sylvia owns SipZ, two vegetarian restaurant locations, so opening a tavern serving Asian fusion tapas was a new venture for her.  Members of the San Diego Filipino Blogger Network recently attended a tasting and interview with Sylvia.
    Owner Sylvia Le is third from left.
    Our conversation ebbed and flowed as we talked about her experience in the industry and her wanting to fuel others' passion, especially her brother's as he is the Executive Chef  of Trade Winds Tavern and a Culinary Institute of America graduate! The creation of the menu has been a joint collaboration over the past few months with the chefs experimenting with new flavors.  She said you'll find the veterans mentoring the newbies until a dish is just right. With that, it was apparent to me that Sylvia wants to have the type of place where customers AND staff are happy and content.  I was impressed that for only being opened since March 2017, she already greeted some of her customers by name.

    One of the new options is Trade Winds' brunch menu featuring $12 bottomless mimosas available on both Saturday and Sunday. This mascarpone stuffed french toast dribbled with a caramel / vanilla sauce and topped with berries is on the brunch menu. It was like a savory dessert and had enough crispiness to make each bite pop through the sweet sauces. So good!

    This cocktail flight is also available and includes a Bloody Mary shot, a Strawberry Lemon Drop shot, a Mega Mule shot and a Creamy Soju shot! Soju! I love Soju!
    Another one of their brunch specials is chicken skin chicharrones, Filipino style! Oh my! I could have eaten these like a bag of salty chips! They were light and melted in the heat of your mouth!
    Staying in the category of Philippine cuisine, Chef Marvin Elauria took us to the province with his take on Bicol Express, using mussels! I could eat that silky coconut milk broth on its own any rainy day!
    We also tasted the popular salted pepper chicken wings.  Let me tell you, these rival any found in the Chinese restos in National City / South Bay area! Go see and taste what I'm talking about!
    Next, these Japanese-inspired mushroom gyoza with shisito peppers are a vegetarian option!  I liked that they used mushroom in lieu of pork or shrimp!
    Another Chinese dish were the pork belly bao buns.  The fried jalapenos gave each bite a robust punch of heat!
    From Hawaii, we got a taste of local onos with their version of Loco Moco served over fried rice with Chinese sausage.  The Chinese broccoli and bacon stayed crunchy and perfectly balanced the texture of the soft egg and meat patty. My husband would LOVE this!
    Not really from Asia, ... let's say the land of the free, the Messy Burger served with taro chips!
    Another bar food favorite of customers is their dirty fries! They can make their filthier if you want by adding a fried egg on top! This was the talk of our table.  The pork and sauce mixed up with creme freshe and some fries, Five Star Bar Food!
    To wash this deliciousness down, we sipped on a lychee mint spritzer,
    a strawberry sojutini,
    and my favorite, plum wine!
    In addition to serving drinks and food, Trade Winds holds Trivia Nights on Wednesdays, a recent one dedicated to Game of Thrones! In addition, there are game nights and also an Instagram contest with the prize being a Golden Ticket, the ability to purchase unlimited beers for $3 for the next three months!
    Our group ate, (but first took pictures of the food, hahaha), drank, interviewed Sylvia and it was an amazing time!

    The food was not what I would expect from a place with Tavern in the name. It felt like we ate carefully thought out meals cooked from a dear friend who knew what we would enjoy.  Sylvia made us feel so welcome in her new place.  Please go visit Trade Winds Tavern soon!
    A few members of our SD blogger group!
    I was treated to a tasting menu in exchange for this blog post. All opinion are my own.

    Saturday, September 23, 2017

    Ten Tips if You're Planning a Trip to Great Wolf Lodge!

    1.  There are so many promo codes out there, don't ever pay full price! We used a code for 40% off sixty days in advance and paid  $417 for two nights! I think the deposit was non-refundable but even the check-in guy said, "How'd you get that price? Some people pay that for one night!" After your initial stay, you will receive offers via email to come back at even more discounted prices. Depending on the season, they may have extra activities. We went in Fall, Howloween time! Tip: Do some research for offers before you book your stay.

    2. Let's face it, eating out on vacation can really put a dent in your wallet. A donut from Dunkin' donuts, which is there on site, is more than a dollar.  We got a half-dozen from a place up the street for less than $5. McDonald's is right across the street too. That was our breakfast place. Lee's Sandwiches is also next door in the strip mall. Banh mi for days at $3-4 dollars a sandwich. You can't beat a freshly baked hot baguette for a buck and some butter chips!  We went there twice! I heard someone say that Garden Grove is the mecca for Vietnamese food. We had pho at Saigon 9, in the same strip mall. We enjoyed huge bowls of savory soup for less than $7 per bowl.  I also saw a mercado there in the mall as well, but didn't go in.  I paid $12 for 3 street-sized shrimp tacos and fries at Great Wolf Lodge. I'm sure that's a whole meal with rice and beans in that store. They do have a sit-down restaurant and a buffet, but we didn't eat there. Tip: If you are on a budget or want other food than the usual amusement park food, go out of Great Wolf Lodge to eat!

    3.  The Nickel Nickel Arcade next door was so fun! Just a hop, skip, and jump from the wolf lodge!  $2 admission price per person but a yelp check in gets you a dollar off. Group of six or more gets you in for  $1.25. Then you buy bags of nickels from $3 to $10. They have a good range of games from Free to six nickels! I played my childhood games, Frogger and Centipede for free! Open until 11 pm. Tip: For a change of pace, get your arcade game on at Nickel Nickel! 

    4.  Great Wolf Lodge also has a convention center upstairs.  Ralphs sponsored their floral holiday training there. They had the whole second floor and then booked the buffet to feed the employees.  Tip: Great Wolf is not just a water park and hotel, host your next company event there!
    5. They were so considerate!  There is a little welcome basket with candy, coffee, and I forgot what else in the room.  Even some deep conditioner for pool hair! Nice touch Great Wolf! Tip: I don't really have one, but isn't this nice?

    6. It's like a sauna in the water park and the chlorine hits you in the eyes and nose! Just be prepared. The slides are long and topsy turvy too! I enjoyed the non-slide areas much better as I had a headache after each session of being in there. Tip: Bring some pain reliever meds and hydrate often!

    7. They have a fridge and microwave in each room.  This was great for keeping drinks cold and heating up popcorn or leftovers from meals! They do check your bag when you enter the water park. I wasn't sure if they allow non-park food because they asked me about some candy I had. I just told them I needed it to keep my sugar level in check. Tip: Bring some disposable paper goods if you want to bring food from outside or home but you probably need to eat in the room or in the common areas.

    8. They have packages which include Disneyland tickets! I think that's really smart of them.  Don't have the budget for Disneyland tickets? Tip:  Downtown Disney is not too far if you need a Disney fix and it's free! Well parking you may need to pay for.  Go watch the fireworks in the area outside the entrance! It is still spectacular!
    Photo from
    9.  The parking gate makes you tap in and out with the bracelet. We went out of the structure quite often, to go to the store or eat. We even explored Huntington Beach on one of our days there! Tip: Wear the bracelet on the left wrist if you're the driver.  This just makes it so much easier when you are coming and going.

    10.  Although check out time is at 11 am, you can still enjoy the water park and kid activities until closing on the day you check out, typically 8 pm. Tip: Pack a day bag with extra clothes and shower supplies (towels are provided) to maximize your stay!

    Hope these tips helped! Have one I didn't share? Please comment below!
    High Paw for a Howling Good Time at Great Wolf Lodge! AAAWOOOOOOO!
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