May 2013 archive

Is a BB Cream the Right Product for You?

I get so many questions about BB creams, and sadly I can’t answer them. I have yet to find a BB cream in Korea, Korean brand or otherwise, that matches my skin tone. I’ve seen darker toned women on YouTube mixing BB creams with their foundations to achieve the right shade, but that just seems like too much work/sort of defeats the purpose of a BB Cream in the first place. So, if you’re on the fence about buying a BB cream, or you aren’t sure what one is in the first place, I have a great guest post by Amanda from SkincareHQ.org. She’ll explain everything to you that I can’t!

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Fighting!

I’ve been in a bit of a slump.

Nothing bad has happened. Nothing great has happened. Nothing has really happened at all. I’m not happy. I’m not sad. I’m just merely existing. And I don’t like it one bit. I’ve found that I’d rather be emotional rather than not feeling anything at all.

It’s been 2 weeks since I posted my last blog. I try to write at least once a week, but I just….I just haven’t been motivated. To be honest, my life is not really that exciting. Going into my second year, things that I once thought were weird or difficult are normal and easy. I really and truly feel like I “live” in Korea. I bought an oven. I have clothes and furniture and nice baking utensils. I have a routine. All of this means I’m comfortable. Which means I’m not really motivated to do anything. Which means I feel like a giant blob just floating around. Basically, this “meh” feeling has been happening for weeks now. My days go a bit something like this:

wake up
shower
make breakfast
eat while watching Golden Girls/doing my makeup
realize I’m going to be late if I don’t leave my house in 3 minutes
rush out of the door
walk to school
drink a coffee
teach 4 classes
have lunch
click around the internet
come home and eat
workout
click around the internet
go to sleep.

I’m not doing anything. And coming from someone with mild depression, this is a big warning sign. I get into these slumps where I’m just going through the motions, and that equals a disaster for me.

So, I started taking MMA classes last week, in an effort to lose these last stubborn 1o lbs and change up my routine. Not going to lie, it’s been tough. Johnny’s also taking classes, but he’s actually a fighter, so he knows what the hell to do. And yes, I know it’s a class, and I’m there to learn, but everyone in the classes seems so advanced and I can barely do a front roll. And that brings me to my mini breakdown a few nights ago.

After stretching and doing a bit of cardio, we had to do front rolls, or somersaults. Ever since I was little, I’ve been terrified of doing somersaults. It’s a completely irrational fear and I don’t know why I’m still afraid. I just always felt like I was going to break my neck or bust my head open or something.  The teacher, though, being the kind soul that he is, helped me do some a few days earlier, and I was super proud of myself.  But when it came time to do it  by myself, in front of a bunch of people who could probably roll for miles, I clammed up. I couldn’t do it. I tried to. And I failed. I felt the tears welling up in my eyes…so I ran to the bathroom, choking back tears. I finally got into the bathroom and let out the most loud and ugly sob. Why was I so upset about not being able to do a front roll?! That’s what class is for…to learn! But it was also a sort of emotional release of all the pent up “blah” from the past few weeks. As I stood near the sink crying my eyes out, a woman walked in. Surprised, she looked at me, made the gesture for “don’t cry”, and said in the softest, kindest voice, “Fighting!”

For those that may not know, “Fighting” in Korea means good luck, cheer up, you can do it…basically it’s a phrase used for encouragement.

Something about that word…Fighting, touched me. It’s so simple. It used for encouragement here, but to me it meant so much more. I AM a fighter. I can fight this! I pulled myself together, and marched back into MMA class and finished it like a champ. I’ve pulled myself out of depression once, and I’m not going to let it happen to me again.

I love lists (and really, who doesn’t love lists?!). So, I made a list of all the things I can do to make myself feel better, to get out and do things, to break free from my comfort zone. I thought I’d share a few with you:

1. Write a new blog post at least twice a week. I love blogging. I really do. Writing is therapy for me. I need to start writing everyday, even if I don’t hit the publish button.

2. Stay in touch with family and friends back in the States. I’m so bad at calling my family (HI MOM!). I talk to my younger sister almost everyday on Kakao, but I need to actually call or Skype people. Just because I live overseas doesn’t mean I should neglect my friendships back home. I gotta work on it!

3. Take at least one picture a day, with my actual camera, not my phone. I love photography. I usually keep my camera on me at all times, but lately it’s just been sitting on my desk, collecting dust. Time is flying by, and pretty soon I’ll be leaving Korea. I want to document as much of my life as possible.

4. Try one new recipe a week. I really enjoy cooking. And now that I have an oven, my options for cooking have increased significantly. I want to experiment with baking my own breads, making different types of cookies and cakes, and stop being afraid to cook meat other than chicken.

5. Work out 5 days a week. I want to start working out not only to lose weight, but because it’s just something I should do to take care of myself. Without fail, working out always makes me feel better. I hate the process of going, but once I’m here, I feel 100x better.

There’s a few more in there, but that’s the basic jist.

I can get through this. I know I can.

Fighting!

So Just What The Hell is a Serum? An Intro into Korean Skincare

This post is long as fuck. Grab a snack and get settled.

Given all of the cosmetic stores and endless options for skincare in Korea, is it any surprise that many Korean women typically use up to 14-18 different products DAILY on their skin? When it comes to skincare, less is definitely not more. It’s none of this, “I just use a face wipe and that’s it.” business. So what are all the different products that women use? How do they use them? What do they do?! And how do I apply them? Well, I’m here to give you the biz-nass.

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Cherry Blossoms, Delicious Burgers, and Twix Chocolate Chip Cookies

It’s been about a month at my new school and apartment, and I can finally say that I’m somewhat adjusted. I know where the local grocery stores are. I know the bus routes to my apartment. AND a subway stop just opened up near my house! I’m also finding a routine within my classes and getting used to making lesson plans from a book. Sometimes I get a little frustrated because I feel like there’s just not enough time to cover everything we need to in a 40 minute class, but what can you do? If you go too fast, the students that are behind just keep getting left behind. I know there has to be a balance in there somewhere. It’s only been a month, so I’m giving myself a bit of time to figure it all out.

I’ve started to figure out which classes will be my problem classes, and which classes I’m going to adore. My 6-4 class is full of pre-pubescent, sulky, pre-teens who just stare at me, while my 6-5 and 6-1 classes are super energetic and SO excited to see me. Thankfully, I’m used to the students who aren’t that energetic (coughmyfirstyear9thgraderscough). I’ll win them over soon enough.

It’s actually, finally, spring here in Korea. I know I said that earlier, but then it just ended up being super freezing everyday since then. Now, it’s actually in the mid to upper 60s in the day. I’m just hoping we have just a tiny bit of a real spring before it jumps into SUMMERHUMIDITYDEATHMOSQUITOES.

About 2 weeks ago, Johnny and I hit up the cherry blossom festival in Yeouido. Sadly, the blossoms weren’t in full bloom, but we still had a great time…until it was too cold, so we went shopping at IFC mall instead.

cherryblossoms2 chucks hanriver2

The cherry blossoms by my house were a different story. GORGEOUS! Sadly, they’re all gone now, but they were so beautiful while they lasted.

cherryblossomsgangnamuni cherryblossomsuni2 cherryblossom

And I’ve found one of my new favorite restaurants, Salt and Butter in Apgujeong. It is INCREDIBLE. How incredible? I’ll show you.

spinachdip dallasburger saltandbutter saltandbuttermenu

Spinach and artichoke dip?!?!?! An amazingly juicy, bacon, bbq sauce and onion ring burger? With a fresh, buttered bun?! A delicious mojito?! TRUFFLE FRIES?!  A honey sriracha aioli?!?!?! It is heaven. The owner is Korean-American and seriously one of the nicest people I’ve met in Korea. It’s so good, I made the trek into Seoul two weekends in a row. They also have a great wrap around, 2nd level patio that’s just perfect for hanging out during the spring and summer. Check out their website here for directions!

And in VERY exciting news, I finally decided to buy an oven. Now I’m wondering why I waited so long! I’ve been baking up a storm since I’ve gotten it. I also got a tiny hand mixer, vanilla extract, parchment paper, yeast, and dark chocolate chips…all from gmarket.com. Tonight, I decided to make Twix chocolate chip cookies. Johnny is a bit in love with Twix candy bars, and homemade chocolate chip cookies are my favorite things in the world, so I decided to combine them.

twix cookies

They were DELICIOUS. Once I really start baking, I’ll work on my food photography to make everything look a little more beautiful. Baking is one of my passions, and I’m SO glad I finally have an oven. Cupcakes for everyone!

I have a ton of beauty reviews in the works, but obviously I like to test things out for a few weeks to give you a real, honest opinion. I broke down and got some Aesop products. The packaging is just so beautiful!

Also, how is it already MAY?! I swear, the time is flying by. I’m planning summer vacation now, and I think it’s pretty settled that Johnny and I are going to go to Malaysia and Singapore. I’m SO excited to go and relax on a beach. Let the countdown begin!