Wednesday, December 11, 2013

My Little Brick Shop

My Little Brick Shop is officially opened. "For Lego fans, by Lego fans", it's a toy store with a different approach.

Showcasing various original creative works of several AFOLs (Adult Fan of Lego), it is both a gallery and a retail shop. Fans of Lego, young and old, get lost in their imaginative world as they walk around the store.

I love that Mario. Hope I can make one too in future.

The shop also feature a wall of tubes filled with bricks where you can purchase loose bricks by weight, similar to "Pick a Brick" found in Lego stores overseas.

My Little Brick Shop is now having the Christmas countdown sale where everyday there will be new promotions. Each of these unique promotions are good for 2 days. Today is Day 10 and Technic sets are 15% off. Do remember to check their facebook page daily for new promotions.

They are also having a roadshow at AMK Hub, Basement 1 Atrium (near The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf) from now till 22nd December 2013. Spend a minimum of SGD50 at the atrium fair and get a free gift. Additional 10% discount with a minimum spending of SGD100. Check with their friendly staff for more details.

200 Victoria Street 
Bugis Junction, #03-10C
Singapore 188021
Monday to Friday: 11.00am to 9.30pm
Saturday & Sunday: 10.00am to 10.00pm

Saturday, November 16, 2013

USA SF/LV 2013 - Day 6: Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas!

Day 6 begins the loud, bright and exciting part of the trip, as we arrived in Fabulous Las Vegas!

Las Vegas is a super-charged city. Everything here is bright and loud and big and exaggerated! Check out the McDonald's sign and you know what I mean.

There are so many things to see, so many things to do, so many things to eat that five days do not seem enough. The number of world class shows available on the Strip, the number of world class restaurants waiting to be dined in, its just mind boggling.

But first, let check out our amazing hotel room at Vdara Las Vegas.

This has got to be one of the best hotel rooms I have stayed it. I shouldn't call it a room. Its a suite! It has a kitchen, a dining area, a living area and a King size bed. Not forgetting the wonderful bathroom and an awesome view.

Situated just beside Bellagio Las Vegas, we could actually view Ballegio's fountain performance all night from our room. What's unique about Vdara is that it does not have a casino in the hotel. Its linked to Bellagio though if you wish to pay lady lucka visit.

Tonight, I have pre-booked a popular show. On the way, we couldn't help but drool over these yummy cakes and tarts, and the wonderful chocolate fountain at Jean Philippe Pastisserie.

Las Vegas has a high concentration of world-class entertainment. The strip has at least seven Cirque du Soleil shows, chart topping singers' concerts, world class magic shows and many many more. Initial we wanted to catch David Copperfield at MGM Grand but there were no shows during that week we were there. What a pity.

After some searching and shortlisting, we decided to go for The Beatles LOVE at The Mirage. We watched O at Bellagio almost 9 years ago when we were at Las Vegas for our honeymoon, its so good it took our breathe away. LOVE, its different, and very enjoyable.

Mixing Beatles well loved songs with acrobats, stunts, dance and you have before you a well-chronograph show that you will definitely sing along in between the oohs, aahs and wows. So many things happening at the same time that you are not sure if you caught everything the show is presenting to you. So much so that you might want to watch it again. Highly recommend you catch this show when you are there.

Night time is where you see the biggest difference between San Francisco and Las Vegas. While we would have got ready to head back to the hotel and rest after a show in San Francisco, the night is still young in Las Vegas.

Shops in Las Vegas remains open to at least midnight. We went shopping around Ceasars Palace Forum after the show and the streets were still filled with people. Plus there are various free shows provided by various hotels as you stroll down the Strip, like the Volcano in front of Treasure Island.

Ended the night with supper at The Cheesecake Factory.

There are so much to do and see that we do not feel like going back to the hotel to rest. But we have to as tomorrow, we are going for something we are excited about!

Trip links:
Day 1: San Francisco - Fisherman's Wharf
Day 2: San Francisco - Mama's
Day 2: San Francisco - Exploring San Francisco City
Day 3: Yosemite - Day trip to a National Park
Day 4 & 5: Enjoy San Francisco

Friday, November 15, 2013

USA SF/LV 2013 - Day 4 & 5: Enjoy San Francisco

Day 4 was the day Lilian look forward to. It's Outlet Shopping Day!

As there isn't a Premium Outlet in San Francisco itself, I plan to bring Lilian to Livermore Premium Outlet, some 40miles east of San Francisco. I figured the easiest way would be to rent a car and drive there. Thoughts of cruising the highway in a Ford Mustang or Chevrolet Corvette did come to mind but that's where it stayed.

As we would probably be shopping till late, I decided to rent a car from airport as late return is possible. Pre-booked Hyundai with GPS so hopefully we do not get lost. As it turns out, driving left-hand drive takes quite a bit of getting use to. I constantly find myself drifting to the right.

I did get lost as the GPS could not locate the address of Livermore Premium Outlets. Ended up in somebody's farm (see the above picture). Eventually found our way to the shopping paradise.

Outlet shopping is really great for shopaholics. If you bother to go the extra mile, the discounts can be pretty good. Be sure to check online and on brochures and travel booklets for coupons. Very often the coupons will stack with the store discounts.

USA brands do seem to offer higher discounts in these outlets, brands like Coach, Levi's, Polo Ralph, etc. We spent almost the whole day at this outlet.

We spent Day 5 enjoying our last full day in San Francisco. Started breakfast at Mum's, followed by a stroll towards Fisherman's Wharf, eventually reaching Ghirardelli Square.

We take a slow walk around the Wharf area, soaking up the warm sunshine. No agenda, no rush.

We then visit Ghirardelli, the home of delicious chocolate. The shops are packed with chocolate of so many favours, all screaming for you to eat them.

We were behaving like children, grinning from cheek to cheek as we choose and packed different chocolates into gift bags.

Many chocolates and ice-cream sundaes later, we are back on the streets heading towards the main wharf area one last time. Along the way there are several people who tries to ask for some loose change from you in various ways. Some just comes up to you and ask directly while others display their talents. This guy's effort gets my tumbs up. He camouflage behind some bushes he gathered and scares people. He brings a smile to everyone else, except of the ones he was scaring.

No visit to Fisherman's Wharf is complete without lobsters and clam chowder with sour dough. With that, we ended our last night in San Francisco.

On the way back to our hotel, we saw Grand Hyatt calling for Batman. Actually it was for the city's effort to realise a boy's wish to be Batman for a day.

Trip links:
Day 1: San Francisco - Fisherman's Wharf
Day 2: San Francisco - Mama's
Day 2: San Francisco - Exploring San Francisco City
Day 3: Yosemite - Day trip to a National Park
Day 6: Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

USA SF/LV 2013 - Day 3: Yosemite - Day trip to a National Park

Today, we take it slow and easy as we visit the beautiful Yosemite National Park. I had booked the trip from Do Google if there are discount coupons or codes that you can use.

As we opt for a day trip, most of the time were spend on the bus. We started the day very early as the tour bus goes around to pick up passengers from different hotels. Along the way to our first stop, we just sit back and enjoy the landscape.

The first stop was to an area affected by the recent wildfire. You would not feel the effect of the devastation done by the fire thus the photos. But when you stand there and see with your own eyes, its sad. The colour of ashes, the feeling of sadness.

As our tour venture deeper into Yosemite, greenery comes back in sight. The tour's next stop is Tunnel View. This is where you can get one of the iconic postcard scenery of Yosemite. Here you can see El Capitan, the big white vertical rock on the left and Yosemite Valley.

We went tree hugging too. City kids like us have never seen such big trees before.
The tour bus stops at Yosemite Village. Here, you can take a leisure stroll through the park, or set up a picnic by the woods. There are also lodging, eateries and mini-mart. We opt for a bicycle tour and it was awesome. The weather was cooling, even chilly in some parts, so you don't break a sweat while cycling leisurely.

Below are some photos we took along the way. Tried out hands on "Levitation" shots, very amateur as you can see. Deer and ducks roam around freely. There was even an outdoor classroom lesson on the dried up lake.


By the time we went back to return the bicycle, it was time to leave Yosemite. The tour guide was kind enough to stop by a spot where we can marvel at the beautiful lights of the San Francisco Bay Bridge. Beautiful.

When we reach back at our hotel, it was already 9+. Starving, we headed to the Macy's nearby where on the top floor there was The Cheesecake Factory restaurant. The cheesecake menu is simply awesome. Food was pretty good and service was top-notch. Its no wonder the place is packed.

Trip links:
Day 1: San Francisco - Fisherman's Wharf
Day 2: San Francisco - Mama's
Day 2: San Francisco - Exploring San Francisco City
Day 4 & 5: Enjoy San Francisco
Day 6: Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

USA SF/LV 2013 - Day 2: San Francisco - Exploring San Francisco City

Day 2 in San Francisco is about exploring the city, based mostly on Time Travel's San Francisco: 10 Things to Do.

After the wonderful breakfast at Mama's, we headed towards Coit Tower for some elevated view of the city. San Francisco city is pretty hilly. Where were a few streets that were pretty steep. This is probably where you would use the full range of gears on your bicycle if you cycle around. Looking at the street below, it reminds me of a scene out of the movie Inception.

The route to Coit Tower is a pretty steep one too.

The view from Coit Tower was awesome. You could see the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz from there.

We then head toward the Wharf area to where Levi Strauss & Co. is. Along the way, we chance upon a fire engine.

Frankly before this trip, I didn't know Levi's originated from San Francisco. It was born during the Gold Rush era of San Francisco.

We visited the Levi Strauss Museum and had a little history lesson. The row of jeans in the photo below are all "501" from different era, from the "XX" it started to the current "501" style.

A short stroll and we reach the Wharf area. We were waiting for the streetcar F Line to take to Castro but somehow 2 streetcars went pass us without stopping. We asked a local who came to the streetcar stop after that and she too were puzzled. Thankfully the third streetcar did stop.

You could see the Bay Bridge from the Wharf too. And the same fire engine. Must be a busy day for them.

Once you reach Castro, you would notice a number of rainbow flags around the area. Castro is currently the largest gay neighborhood in USA and the rainbow flag is LGBT pride flag or the gay pride flag (source from Wikipedia). Seems like a nice place to sit down, have a cup of coffee and just people watch.

From Castro, we walked to Haight and checked out Amoeba Music. This place is huge with heaps of CDs, Vinyls, DVDs, Blurays and collectibles. How huge? Like Takashimaya B2 Concourse area, times two, maybe even two and a half.

From Haight we took a bus to Golden Gate Bridge. Having seen it featured in a number of movies, you have to see it in person to see how magnificent it is. Truly beautiful.

We end the day with dinner at Umami Burger. Lilian read about this burger joint. For me, burger in USA, hell yeah! We went to the joint at Soma and the extremely friendly staff got us a nice table.

There were so many choices, we just wanted to try them all. In the end we settled for the Tuffles fries, Slash Burger for me and Triple Pork Burger for Lilian. The Slash burger is the mohawk looking burger, with super thick beef patty done "medium", braised shiitakes, carmalised onion, cheese, avocado spread and parmesan crisp as the mohawk. Triple Pork Burger has thick fresh ground pork patty, applewood smoked bacon and the works.

We find the flavours very rich, almost overwhelming for us. But that's the general sentiments for rich food in USA. Once you get pass that, you will find that each bite is very exciting. As you bite in and munch, the explosion of different flavours inside is fun.

From Kings St., we took a bus back for an early nights rest. Tomorrow we have an early bus to catch for our day-trip to Yosemite.

Trip links:
Day 1: San Francisco - Fisherman's Wharf
Day 2: San Francisco - Mama's
Day 3: Yosemite - Day trip to a National Park Day 4 & 5: Enjoy San Francisco
Day 6: Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas!