Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Carpenters - We've Only Just Begun

I noticed that today is the last day of April, so I need to upload my favorite song on my blog. It's because I try to study lyrics of English song twice a month. :)

Today, I chose the song, We've Only Just Begun by the Carpenters. As I mentioned in my previous entries, the songs of the Carpenters are more likely to be found at Karaoke in Japan. I would like to sing their songs next time I visit to Japan. :)

The Carpenters / We've Only Just Begun


We've only just begun to live
White lace and promises
A kiss for luck and we're on our way
(We've only begun)

Before the rising sun, we fly
So many roads to choose
We'll start out walking and learn to run
And yes, we've just begun

Sharing horizons that are new to us
Watching the signs along the way
Talking it over, just the two of us
Working together day to day

And when the evening comes, we smile
So much of life ahead
We'll find a place where there's room to grow
And yes, we've just begun

Sharing horizons that are new to us
Watching the signs along the way
Talking it over, just the two of us
Working together day to day

And when the evening comes, we smile
So much of life ahead
We'll find a place where there's room to grow
And yes, we've just begun

Monday, April 29, 2013

Japanese American National Museum

Last Saturday, my husband and I went to Japanese American National Museum. My teacher told students that he would give extra credit for our writing class if you go there and write an essay for it. I didn't plan on going to the Museum because that assignment was not required. I thought getting extra credit as much as possible was beneficial for my final grade though. I finally decided to go there with my husband. It's because if I missed that opportunity, my husband and I would never think to go there. Therefore, I thought it would be a good opportunity for us to learn more about Japanese American.

It was our first time to visit there. The admission fee was $9 for adult and $5 for student.

Because I am currently learning that Japanese Americans were interned in camps for three years during World War II, I explained what I had learned to my husband.   

After that, we took a walk for a while in Little Tokyo. There were many Japanese restaurants and miscellaneous goods stores, but I didn't see Japanese at all. It was very crowded with customers though. I thought that Japanese people do not prefer living near Little Tokyo nowadays because security is poor in that area. However, we could see many Japanese articles, and some artists who are not Japanese were performing Japanese songs there. Because we can see many Japanese cultures there, people who love Japan have been visiting in Little Tokyo.  

It has been a long time since we visited there, and we enjoyed our day trip. :)

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Free Bagels at Bruegger's Bagels

This morning, I received a Bruegger's Bagels free bagel paper bag from newspaper.

My husband and I went to Bruegger's Bagels, and we chose three kinds of bagels, which were Blueberry, Everything, and Chocolate Chip. Yay! I remember that they provided the same offer last year as well. Today, I found the poster in the store, and it read that they offere 25 cent bagel for students every Monday (limit 2). Someday, I should go there on Monday with my student ID. :)

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Haul - DSW and Old Navy

Today, my husband and I went to DSW because I received an email for two $10 off coupons from DSW. I thought those were the best coupons I've ever received from DSW. I really wanted to use them.

I looked through the store today but couldn't find one I really want to buy. I finally picked up three pairs of Hot Sox socks. The socks were originally $16.00, but these were on sale for $12.95. These ended up being $2.95 plus tax by using a $10 off coupon.

My husband also bought three pairs of Dockers socks. Those were originally $14 but were on sale for $10.95. He ended up paying $0.95 plus tax with using a $10 off coupon.

Then, we went to Old Navy because I won Old Navy SnapFive, which is a $5 off coupon with any in-store purchase. :)
I purchase two pairs of socks. These were originally $8.50 but were on clearance for $2.49.

 I also purchased a neon yellow colored stripe long sleeve tee. It was originally $16.94 but was on clearance for $3.99.
Total regular price was $25.44, but the total sale price was $6.48. I ended up paying $1.48 plus tax with using my SnapFive.

I was glad that I got many socks today because some of my socks were already worn out, and I really wanted to get new ones. I need to wear socks when I work out everyday. :)

Friday, April 26, 2013

What Do You Think about Imitation Handbags?

   While I was traveling in Las Vegas, I was surprised that many copied items were selling in everywhere. I found that cpad, which looked like iPad, was publicly selling in our hotel. I was wondering if cpad is legally sold there.

   Today, I watched a Youtube video and was surprised that there are many imitation handbags in the U.S. Some of them are that I can't tell the difference.
   She always uploads useful, helpful videos. That's why I like her Youtube channel. Specifically, this video was very interesting to me because I didn't know that fact before. Frankly, I don't like imitation handbags because those leads to face down the value of the pioneer brand's handbags. In most of cases, I prefer buying designer brand's handbags since those are affordable, but I am not interested in imitation handbags at all. It's because I feel like that they are stealing others' design. Some companies might have the permissions though.
    When I lived in Japan, I saw some copied products were secretly selling on the streets. I didn't see it everyday though. Sometimes I watched the news that the owners of the stores were caught by police, and the news casters always said that not to buy those copied products because customers were actually helping their illegal businesses by buying those. If I bought a imitation one, I would feel guilty...
   I started thinking I might be a weird girl, but it can't be helped.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

People's Lives

These days, "Draw My Life" videos have been popular on Youtube. Many youtubers have been uploading videos which are for introducing their histories. Today, I watched this video and was really moved.

     She is the one of the most successful girls on Youtube now and often appears on fashion magazines. She is an ideal fashion and beauty icon for many girls. Today, I knew about her more. Her life has not been easy, and she had to overcome many difficulties so far. She was born in Mexico. Her family illegally moved to the U.S. from Mexico when she was 6. She explained how tough and scary those days were. Her family jumped fences to cross the border and secretly slept in people's garages for many nights. They crossed a river in the middle of the night and ran. After successfully moving to the U.S, her family started living in a trailer. When she was in elementary school, she experienced a death from her friends. When she was in high school, she attempted suicide after breaking up with her boyfriend and was depressed for a year. After high school, she joined the U.S. army because she didn't have enough money to go to college. After she got trained at stations in some states, she stayed in Iraq for 15 months. When she was driving a combat car, her team was attacked by a bomb. She was very close to dying. After getting out of the U.S. military, she found a liking for Youtube. She started uploading Youtube videos, and she finally appeared on Seventeen magazines. Now she is a wife, a mother of a beautiful boy, and CEO. She is truly a successful woman.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Carpenters - Rainy Days and Mondays

While my husband and I were traveling in Japan, we went to Karaoke, which was one of the places I had wanted to go to in Japan. It's because I have been trying to write about two song per month on my everyday blog ever since I started my blogging. As I had expected, there were only very famous English songs available at the Karaoke in Japan, such as the Carpenters and Mariah Carey's songs. In my earlier entries, I was trying to find songs which I was familiar with in Japan, so I was able to sing many songs in Japan. :)
In order to go to Karaoke in Japan next time, I will study about lyrics of my familiar songs. :)

This song, Rainy Days and Mondays by the Carpenters, is the one of the songs I used to listen when I was in middle school because the Carpenters was my music teacher's favorite artist. The carpenters' songs were played at my school everyday during lunch break.

The Carpenters / Rainy Days and Mondays


Talking to myself and feeling old.

Sometimes I'd like to quit;

Nothing ever seems to fit;

Hanging around, nothing to do but frown;

Rainy days and Mondays always get me down

What I've got they used to call the blues:

Nothing is really wrong;

Feeling like I don't belong;

Walking around, some kind of lonely clown;

Rainy days and Mondays always get me down

Funny, but it seems that I always wind up-a here with you;

Nice to know somebody loves me.

Funny, but it seems that it's the only thing to do:

Run and find the one who loves me.

(*) What I feel is come and gone before:

No need to talk it out;

We know what it's all about.

Hanging around, nothing to do but frown;

Rainy days and Mondays always get me down

Funny but it seems that it's the only thing to do,

Run and find the one who loves me

Repeat (*)

Hanging around, nothing do to but frown;

Rainy days and Mondays always get me down

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Hit-and-Run Accident

Yesterday, my husband told me that he found a dent on his car that morning. Unfortunately, he was in a hit-and-run accident. He was legally parking on the nearest road from my apartment throughout the night. Someone hit my husband's car and ran away without leaving any note. A hit-and-run is a serious crime. I was wondering the hit-and-run driver's conscience doesn't ever bother him/her. :(  My husband told me that police would never investigate the hit-and-run driver without any evidence. It is a waste of time to report it to the police and the insurance company. He told me that he wouldn't fix the dent because it doesn't bother him a lot. We discussed a lot about that, and I was unhappy with his decision. However, I have to give it up. :((

Monday, April 22, 2013

Most of My Classmates Are Always Worn Out

I got the result of the midterm in-class essay today. My score was not very good but was better than I was expecting. I was little bit relived.

Today, one of our classmates told our teacher that she had been very tired these day because she was taking 18 units this semester. She stayed awake throughout the night because of the assignment. My teacher said, "How could students possibly take 18 units with full time job? I think 12 units is maximum to handle student's study without job." He explained if you take 12 units, you need to take your class for 12 hours a week and do homework for 36 hours a week. In her case, she needs to study for 72 hours a week. She said that she didn't have time to cook due to arduous assignments. For ESL students, it is not easy to keep up with the regular classes. I know they are very smart though. Most of my classmates are planning on transferring to the UC, and they try to take as many classes as possible. Even though they are tired from school works now, they won't slow down for the next semester. If I were them, I would be completely worn out. I am taking only 5 units this semester because I need to focus on studying nursing now.  

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Carlsbad Premium Outlets Haul - Wilson Leather

Today, my husband and I went to Carlsbad Premium Outlets. It's been a while since I went there last time.

We bought a faux-leather jacket and a handbag at Wilson Leather.

My husband bought Wilson Leather black faux-leather moto jacket. It was originally $250 but on sale for 69.99.
I bought this Black Rivet handbag. This was originally $140 but was on sale for 38.99. :) I think color block items are more and more popular nowadays. This is my first color block handbag. :)

The total retail price was $390, and the total discounted price was $108.98, but we ended up paying $88.98 plus tax. :) It's because we printed out a coupon, which was $20 discount with purchasing $100 more at Wilson Leather. These came out 77% off. I think these were great deals.
Every time I go to Premium Outlets, I check premiumoutlets.com to seek some additional discounts. There are always many coupons. Before going to shopping, I print out coupons, which are more likely to be used there. If you are planing on going to Premium Outlets, you should check it out. You need to register for VIP CLUB before getting coupons, but it's free.

      My entries related to Premium Outlets Hauls can be seen here.

     My entries related to my shopping can be seen here.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Costco Photo Center

Today, my husband and I went to Costco to get my photos developed because I took many photos with my niece and nephew in Japan. I am going to send them to my sister in Japan next week. Getting photos developed cost 13 cents each photo. I think it is good price. It took only 15 minutes to finish it. The size of photos was little bit bigger than ones I am familiar with in Japan.
We took the USB memory for the photo data, but later I found out that Costco is offering online photo service. I will do it online next time. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Having Many Credit Cards

Today, I went to a cafe to meet my friend as usual Friday morning. She excitedly told me that she was finally able to make her own credit cards. She had not been accepted to make new credit cards before because she just got her SSN last year. She told me that she had already made three new store credit cards. I asked her how many credit cards she owns. Now, she has six credit cards, and three of them are joint credit cards. I was surprised that she has a lot of credit cards because I only have four credit cards. Every time I go to retail stores, cashiers ask me to make new store credit cards to get some rewards and discounts, but I refuse them. It's because I don't want to handle so many credit cards. Besides that, my husband doesn't like to have too many credit cards. He told me that we shouldn't make any more new credit cards. Even if we don't use the credit cards every month, we need to check the detailed statements for all credit cards every single month. It's because someone might be skimming our credit cards. Long time ago, one of our credit cards was used to purchase an airplane ticket, which was about $3,000, by credit card fraud. My husband was luck enough to notice about that and called the credit card company, so we didn't have to be required to pay for it. However, if you can handle all your credit cards properly, I think it is okay to make as many credit cards as you wish. It depends on you and your credit score. Frankly, I want to get discounts from each store though. :P

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Japanese Restaurant

Yesterday, my husband and I went to a Japanese restaurant, Makino, for lunch on our way home from the airport. We were very hungry, so we picked up a lot of sushi. :)

Their sushi was pretty fresh and delicious, so we were satisfied with their foods. The only problem was that I ate too much food because it was a buffet. I know I tend to eat a lot, but I can't help myself every time I go to buffet restaurant.
At the end, I ate small cakes and chocolate fondue with strawberries. :P

Makino Sushi Seafood Buffet

1818 Main St
Irvine, CA 92614
(949) 724-1204

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

American Airlines Flight Cancellations

     My husband finally came back home from his business trip this morning. He was supposed to fly back to California yesterday evening, but his flight was canceled. American Airlines were having nationwide problem with its computer system. It delayed his flight again and again, and they finally canceled the flight. Many people needed to stay at the airport throughout the night. He told me all passengers looked very exhausted, but most people didn't complain against American Airlines. I thought that day was just the day after the bomb attacks in Boston, so most passengers were trying to understand the unusual situation to be safe. The cause of American Airlines flight cancellations was not related to terrorism though. He also told me that some people couldn't understand what was going on because they didn't speak English. Two Chinese people asked him if he speaks Chinese. My husband only speaks Japanese and English, so he was not able to help them out. Because he had to change his flight, his checked baggage was sent to another airport. :( They told my husband on the phone that they would send the baggage to my home until 6 p.m., but I still haven't received it...   Did he get in trouble again?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Relax and Refresh

Last night, I soaked in a lavender mineral bath. I used Aura Cacia Lavender Harvest Aromatherapy Mineral Bath, which my friend gave to me last year.

I love aroma of lavender very much, and it made me relax. :) I poured this mineral bath salt into running bath water. Then, the sent of lavender filled in my bathroom. I was soaking in a bath for 30 minutes or so. I drank plenty of water so that I won't dehydrate while giving ample time for the hair treatment . Then, I scrub my body with Korean exfoliating scrub bath mitten.
Korean Exfoliating Scrub Bath Mitten

Because my dead skin cell became softer by soaking bath for long time, I was able to exfoliate my entire body easily. If you never use it, you may be surprised how it works well. You will notice that your dead skin cell is visible.

I was able to relax by lavender bath and refresh my entire body by exfoliation. :)

Monday, April 15, 2013

Studying for NCLEX Has Become My Daily Habit

     I accomplished my 30-day challenge, which was studying for NCLEX everyday for 30 days in a row. It has become my daily habit. The only problem is that I don't spend enough time on study on a daily basis. I study about for 1 to 3 hours for it. When I didn't feel well, I studied only for 10 minutes. :P My friend told me that I should study for seven hours a day. I know she is right, but I think I couldn't do that because I need to work for my English assignment which needs great deals of effort at the same time. I know I should take her words seriously. Anyway, I have 15 more weeks until the day of NCLEX, and I need to keep up with my study.
     I will continue this challenge for the next 30 days as well. In addition, the my next 30-day challenge is that I will read my pharmacology textbook and review my study notebook for 30 days in a row. I bought my pharmacology textbook a few weeks ago, and I tried to read it in my bed before I fall asleep. However, I didn't do it everyday. I also want to review my study notebook everyday. I wrote down what I should memorize on my notebook, but I hardly review my notebook. That's why I forgot what I have written in beginning of my notebook. :P
     Therefore, in the next 30 days, I'd like to study for NCLEX just the way I have studied in the past 30 days, read my pharmacology textbook, and review my notebook. I hope I will accomplish my goals.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Target Haul

My husband went on a business trip this morning. I gave him a ride to the airport at 6 a.m. After coming back home, I went back to sleep for a while. My husband will come back home two days later. In the mean time, I will study for nursing as much as I can. :)

This morning, I checked all advertisements as usual Sunday morning, and I found out that Target was having a sale for cardigans for $15. I decided to check them out in store. :)

 I tried on three cardigans and purchased the black and white polka dot cardigan. This cardigan was originally $19.99, but it was on sale for $15. :)

 I thought that the polka dot is basic pattern nowadays and can much many outfits. I like the fact that it is also girly. I love my new cardigan. :)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

How to Wash Ikea Mattress Cover

My husband and I have washed our Ikea queen-sized mattress cover, SULTAN HOLMUSTA. We were able to wash it without shrinking it. :)

I'm going to share with you how we have washed our mattress cover.

You should be careful about the following when you wash the mattress cover...
* never to use hot water. (I think that it causes to shrink your mattress cover.)
* use oxygen bleach. (Washing with chlorine bleach causes to leave bleach smell on your mattress cover.)
* make sure to have at least two people to carry soaked mattress cover as it is extremely heavy.
* dry your mattress cover as fast as possible. (If you take too much time to dry it up, yucky bacteria will grow! Which means the terrible smell stays in it.)

Ikea Queen-sized SULTAN HOLMUSTA

 As you can see, this mattress cover is very thick and pretty large.

 The care instruction reads, "Clean with upholstery shampoo only." In addition, it seems non-washable and non-dry cleaning. However, we were able to clean our mattress cover with water and oxygen bleach without any problem.

We used OxiClean to wash our mattress cover.

1. How to Wash :  Place the mattress cover in a bath tab. Turn on the water facet and add OxiClean into the bath. Soak the whole cover in water. Let it sit for an hour. Then, step on it for several minutes. Let the water out of the bath. If you can not remove stains enough, do it again until it becomes clean. We did this step four times.

 2. How to Rinse : Fill up the water in bath, and step on the mattress cover. Then, let the water out of the bath. Do it again until water becomes clear. We did this step once.

3. How to Drain Water : Fold the mattress cover in as many as possible. Get on it to remove water. You should remove water as much as possible because it is very heavy due to water. Then hang it on stable pole or something.

I hanged it on our bath room. The mattress cover was still logged. We were very careful not to break the glass.

Adjust the position in order to be taper. In this way, the water comes efficiently out from the mattress cover. Place a bowl underneath the mattress cover.
Effective Way to Drain

If you place the mattress cover like the picture below. I think it takes more time to drain water and your floor will be flood like that.
Ineffective Way to Drain

 While draining water, we blew air at the mattress cover by using a fan to evaporate water as fast as possible. After five hours next morning, the water was drained well. :)

3. How to Dry : This is the most important progress. Hang the mattress cover on a stable table. Then, blow air at the mattress cover by using fans. Move fans around the mattress cover every several hours. We dried it up mostly within 24 hours. We were finally able to dry it up in the next 12 hours completely. If you have place to hang it out and outside temperature is high enough, you can dry it outside. (We didn't have enough place to hang it out.)  If you want to dry it inside home, you should use fans because this will speed up evaporation. Drying it up as fast as possible is very important to prevent bacteria growth, which causes terrible odor.

I think you can wash your Ikea mattress cover by yourself, I don't guarantee it though. Be careful because if your mattress cover shrinks, your cover will never fit your mattress.

These are my episodes related to our mattress cover.

(3/9/2013) We Took Our Mattress Cover to the Dry Cleaner
(3/18/2013) Terrible Smell

(4/7/2013) Washing the Mattress Cover

(4/11/2013) We Were Finally Able to Finish Cleaning Ikea Mattress Cover

(4/12/2013) The Cause of Stench from Half-dried Cloth - How to Dry Up the Thick Mattress Cover Properly-

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Cause of Stench from Half-dried Cloth - How to Dry Up the Thick Mattress Cover Properly-

As I mentioned in my previous entry, my husband and I took our mattress cover to the dry cleaner to get it cleaned. However, they left strong stench on our mattress cover. :( It smelled like bleach and half-dried cloth. I guess that the dry cleaner left the wet mattress cover for many days because the mattress cover was pretty thick and too big to dry up. I know it was not easy for even the professional dry cleaner to clean up the mattress cover, but who can sleep on a foul mattress cover? :(

I guess that many people never know how half-dried cloth smells because they never have experience about that. While most American people usually use dryer machines after washing clothing, most Japanese people hang laundries out to dry. It's because you can save energy and expect ultraviolet sterilization effect by hanging them outside. However, if you do not dry them properly, it will smell horrendously. During raining season, most Japanese people have to hang the laundries inside home. It obviously takes time to dry them up inside home completely. When I lived in Japan, I always tried to avoid hanging the laundries inside home. I know the smell of half-dried cloth. It is terrible and yucky!

The cause of odor is bacterial growth because wet cloth is suitable for culturing bacteria. The key to avoid that is to dry up your laundries as fast as possible before bacteria growth.

However, we didn't have enough space to hang out our mattress cover. Our balcony has little space. Beside that, we only get little sun in our room for four hours or so everyday. It clearly shows that there was no way to dry up the mattress cover in such a short amount of time. How could we dry up the mattress cover?

We used two electric fan, and it worked very well! We hanged the mattress cover on a table inside our home. We rotated position of the fans around the mattress cover every several hours. We dried it up mostly within 24 hours. We were finally able to dry it up in next 12 hours completely! :)
The consume power of the fan is little, so it is worth while to use it for drying.

I'm going to write how to wash the mattress cover next time. :)


Thursday, April 11, 2013

We Were Finally Able to Finish Cleaning Ikea Mattress Cover

We were finally able to finish cleaning our mattress cover without shrinking it yesterday. :) We washed four times to get rid of the odor, which began to smell by getting it dry cleaned. Then, it took two days to dry up the mattress cover completely. (In fact, it almost finished drying within a day, but we continued to dry it just in case.) We tried to dry up as fast as possible to prevent bacteria growth, which causes terrible smells. Now, our mattress is cleaner and doesn't smell at all. :) Even though we are not professionals for cleaning, we were able to accomplish what the dry cleaner failed to clean.  For me, it is easy to imagine if the washed clothing stays wet for too many days, bacteria growth on it and it begins to smells terrible. :( We paid for $60 to the dry cleaner, and I thought that it was a very expensive lesson to learn.

Anyway, we were glad that we finally didn't have to throw away the mattress cover.

Next time, I am going to share with you how to wash Ikea mattress cover properly.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

CVS Haul - Wet 'n' Wild

I bought Wet 'n' Wild MegaSlicks Lip Gloss at CVS last week. Their lip gloss was on sale for $3 for two in previous week. I hadn't seen any review on it before I purchased it. I became interested in Wet 'n' Wild products more and more because my Wet 'n' Wild nail polish and cream eye shadow, which I mentioned in my previous entry, became my favorite. While their products are very inexpensive, they make pretty good cosmetics! I am impressed with their products.

This Wet 'n' Wild MegaSlicks Lip Gloss 566, Strawberry Ice, was originally $1.99, but it was on sale for $1.50 at CVS. :)

MegaSlicks Lip Gloss 566 Strawberry Ice

The color Strawberry Ice is nude pink with a slight shimmer. This is well pigmented, so I don't have to apply a lipstick underneath the lip gloss. :)  The texture is smooth, and this lip gloss instantly moisturizes my lips and lasts long. The only concern I have is its smell. It smells fruity but also slightly chemical. Overall, I love the lip gloss, and this is obviously my current favorite lip gloss. :) I am impressed with Wet 'n' Wild, and I want to try more other their products. :)

     My entries related to beauty can be seen here.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Pronunciation Practice

     Today, I took tutoring to practice my pronunciations. My tutor told me that she had noticed that I had been improving my pronunciation skill. :) I still didn't recognize difference between some sounds by listing, such as r and l. However, I have noticed that I pronounced some sounds much more naturally. I took pronunciation class for two semesters long time ago, but it was difficult to recognize whether or not I pronounced words correctly by checking with non-native peers in class. Now I practice pronunciations at home, and my tutor checks my pronunciation at school. I always try to pronounce correctly by checking pronunciation symbols. Regardless, I still make pronunciation errors and also do not recognize until my tutor point it out.
     I used to feel bored by studying and practicing pronunciation, but now I enjoy them. I hope I will improve my pronunciation skill!

     These are vocabularies I need to work more.
 police ( pəlíːs )
 criminal ( krímənl )
 record ( rɪkˈɔɚd ) as a verb
 record ( rékɚd ) as a noun
 solve ( sάlv )
 flat rate ( flˈæt - réɪt )
 flaw ( flˈɔː )
 flour ( flάʊɚ ) without any pause
 flower ( flάʊɚ ) (with the distinct w (ว) sound in the last syllable AND distinct pause between w from the first syllable and w in the last syllable)

Monday, April 8, 2013

Reviewing Our In-class Essay Exam

Today, our class discussed our previous in-class essay exam. I thought the exam was more difficult than I expected, but today I found out that I wasn't the only one who thought that way. Most students found it difficult to write in-class essay in 90 minutes. Some students said that they were not able to concentrate well because a student started typing 20 seconds after getting writing prompts. The typing noise made them confused. I think we were supposed to create outline of the essay at the first 10 minutes. However, we should focus on our own essay during the exam. Our teacher said that he would allow students to bring ear plugs or ear phones if we preferred it in order to focus on our own essay. I didn't care about how well other students were writing during the exam, so I don't have that problem. Some students had a difficult time to figure out the format and had the computer's technical problems. One of our classmate said that her typing was slower than she came up with ideas of the essay, so she preferred handwriting to typing. In the final essay exam, we can chose either handwriting or typing. Most students felt that the exam was difficult even though a few students said the in-class exam was easier than what they had experienced before. I think I was able to concentrate well, manage my time, and type fast enough during in-class exam. I was not satisfied with my in-class essay nonetheless. I analyze that my problem was that I don't have enough expressions in English. It's been four years since I started learning English from very beginning level. I have noticed my English improvements many times so far, but I still have difficulty in English. I think learning English is an endless process for everyone, but I don't want to give it up. I hope I will become more comfortable and confident with English.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Washing the Mattress Cover

Yesterday, my husband went to the dry cleaner to receive our mattress cover, but it still has a strong stench. It still smells like bleach and half-dried cloth. Before we asked them to get it dry cleaned three weeks ago, it didn't smell like this at all. He asked the dry cleaner to refund us, but they didn't accept it at all. While we had paid $60 to the dry cleaner, the mattress cover became like a big trash because of strong stench. :(  He brought it back to our home. Today, we tried to wash it in our bath tab. We are afraid that it might shrink, and the terrible smell might not be removed. However, we want to try it before we give it up.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Old Navy Snap Five

I played Old Navy SnapAppy with my smart phone two days ago. I ended up winning Snap Five, which is a $5 off coupon with any in-store purchase. :) Today, my husband also played Old Navy SnapAppy with his smart phone, and he won Snap Five as well. :) That's why we went to Old Navy today. He wanted to buy some boxers, and we found some boxers at the clearance section. We bought three boxers for $3.75! (The regular price was $26.97 for three!)
From my experience, nowadays, it is not as easy to win Snap Five as last year. I didn't win at all for very long time. I am glad that we both won Snap Five this week! :)

Friday, April 5, 2013

Progress Report of My 30-day Challenge

I have been studying for NCLEX everyday since I tried to establish a new habit for it by my 30-day challenge. So far, I have been doing well. I have never skipped studying for it. I am glad that studying for NCLEX finally became my daily habit. :) However, now I am still not confident with my knowledge. I have 16 more weeks until taking NCLEX, and I need to keep up my study.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Pronunciation Skill

These day, I have been practicing English pronunciation with my tutor. I have noticed that I pronounced many vocabularies in the wrong ways. :( I have had many communication problems because of my terrible pronunciation so far. I though that correcting my pronunciation would take forever. If I was able to go back into the time when I started learning English, I would have taken a pronunciation class and would have been continuing it till now. I have been pronouncing many vocabularies for four years, and now it is very difficult to correct them. I searched how to improve pronunciation skill on Internet, and I found that someone says, "Pronunciation skill is very important because your wrong pronunciation leads to misinterpretation, and all ESL learners must master it. However, it is not as hard as you think, and it might probably take only three months or so until you master it." I don't think I can improve it in three months, but I will try to improve my pronunciation skill. Today, I learned "f" sound, and my tutor gave me a lot of homework. I hope I will master "f" sound. :)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Midterm In-class Essay Exam

   I took the midterm in-class essay exam this morning. I needed to read an article and write a summary and my opinion in 90 minutes. My teacher had told students before that the test would not be so difficult and that he would give shorter story than one he had handed out in class in order to make the exam easier.
   However, the article was long enough for me. I thought it was just as long as the one he had handed out. In the first 10 minutes, I just scanned the article and tried to find main idea and organized my thought what my essay would be. In the next 75 minutes, I wrote introduction with theses statement, its summary and my opinion with topic and conclusion sentences, and conclusion paragraph. In the last 5 minutes, I checked my essay to find and correct grammar mistakes. I tried to manage my time during the exam, but it was difficult to finish up writing the essay in 90 minutes. Even though I was able to finish it in time, I was not satisfied with my essay. The exam reminded me again the fact that my writing skill is not good enough, and I thought my writing level is far from the next writing class. I need to improve my writing speed and know more various expressions in English.
   After the exam, my teacher handed back our previous essay assignment, which I was working on last month. I was glad that my grade was pretty good, but there were many comments from my teacher on my essay. My writing class will remain one more month. Is it possible for me to improve my writing skill before the final in-class essay exam?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

My Favorite Skincare Products

I have told my sister how I loved Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion. Even though I have dry combination skin, I don't feel dryness on my skin by using it. It is the most effective moisturizing lotion I've ever used. :)
Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion

When I was 22 in Japan, I started using the lotion. Before that, I used to use affordable, inexpensive skincare products because I didn't have skin trouble. However, as I grew older, I started thinking that I should use high-end products to keep my skin younger. Some of my friends always used Clinique skin care line. That's why I became interested in their products. Clinique products are about three times more expensive in Japan than in the U.S. At the time, I had a comfortable income by working as a nurse, so I could afford to purchase their products. I used many Clinique skincare products, such as facial soap, Clarifying Lotion, Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion, Turinaround Overnight Moisturizer, All About Eye and some other night cream and serum. At age 25, I was probably using seven or eight Clinique skincare products on a daily basis. I know that I used to use too many products. Now, I don't use their products expect for Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion. I still love their All About Eye and Turnaround Overnight Moisturizer, but their products are pretty pricy for me now. These are much cheaper than I used to purchase though. Haha. :)  When I was 25, I was coaching my less-experienced coworker, who was 10 years older than me, everyday for a year. Her skin was very beautiful and looked like around 25 years old. I was curious how she kept her skin younger. She told me that she had used so many skincare products in different brands so far. She advised me that it was not always true that high-end brands would be effective, and that I didn't have to use a lot of products. The most important things to prevent aging your skin are sufficiently moisturizing your skin and using a high effective sunscreen all year round because ultraviolet ages your skin. At that time, I only used sunscreen in summer. :P I started using sunscreen everyday. Even when I stay at home all day, I apply sunscreen in order to protect my skin from sun from windows now.

Anyway, now my skincare routine is very simple, and I don't usually have any trouble on my skin. :)

In the morning, I use my homemade water-based lotion, StriVectin eye cream, Olay Compelete All Day Moisturizer, and Aveeno sunscreen (SPF 30).

In the night, I use my homemade water-based lotion, StriVectin eye cream, serum (Roc or Physician's Formula), and Clinique moisturizer lotion.

Whenever I become interested in other skincare products, I can change eye cream, serum, and sunscreen. However, I can not replace my homemade lotion and Clinique moisturizer lotion because I have noticed that these are more effective for my skin than any other products, and I love them so much. :)

     My entries related to beauty can be seen here.

Monday, April 1, 2013

I Got Fooled by My Classmate

As soon as I came into my class this morning, my classmate told me that a student who was always sitting behind me would have to go back to her home country. I was very shocked and asked her why. She told me that her visa couldn't be renewed, so she had no choice but to return home. After a while, she told me that that wasn't a true story because today was April Fool's Day. I was totally fooled by her!