Jun 24, 2014  •  In Personal, Travel

Korea-Bound!

Yesterday was our last full day at home before I leave for Korea. 8-)  

The reason for my week-long (9 days with travel time) trip back to the motherland is a cousin’s wedding. I was actually supposed to visit Korea earlier this year for another cousin’s wedding, but decided to cancel the trip in light of the $6k we owed in medical bills.

But now, with the bills paid off, my mother volunteering to watch the kids while I’m gone, and J encouraging me to take a vacation as well, I decided to go for it.

(J thought about coming along and making it a 2-week trip, 1 week in Korea and another in Hong Kong, but his office needed him. We’ve both traveled a bit these past couple of years — including his 3 trips to Hong Kong and my 2 to Los Angeles — but we haven’t taken a vacation together since our babymoon 4 years ago!)

I’m excited but admittedly a bit nervous. The last time I visited Korea was January 2001 — more than 13 years ago! — and despite my trying to keep up online, I know a lot has changed since then. I’m worried that I’ll stick out like a fat (literally, because I would be considered overweight in Korea), sore thumb. Additionally, my Korean isn’t nearly as good as it used to be.

SCN_0028
Me donning my hanbok, walking down the street I grew up on
in Daegu (circa 1984).

But I look forward to it more and more as my departure time draws closer. Family (about half my extended family lives in Korea), food (my mouth is watering just thinking about all the glorious food I will gorge on), shopping (I really want to get some nice Korean children’s books for the girls), and so forth!

What’s more, the aunt with whom I am staying and I get along extremely well. I stayed with her the last time I was in Korea, and I’m pretty sure that we would be pretty close if we didn’t live so far apart. In fact, even my own mother admits that sometimes, she feels like my aunt understands me better than she does.

The girls will be staying with my parents while I am away, and J will visit them over the weekend. We’re all a bit nervous as to whether my mom can handle C&A, but the girls love their halmeh and will undoubtedly have a ball in the suburbs.

I’m not sure what the blogging situation will be like during my trip. I will be bringing my laptop and South Korea is one of the most well-connected nations in the world, but I really have no idea what I will be doing (aside from the wedding) or what my schedule, if any, will be.

So if you don’t hear from me until my return, adieu!

P.S. — If you have any non-touristy suggestions for Seoul, I’d love to hear it! TIA!

Jun 23, 2014  •  In Books, Entertainment, Funny, Geek, Infographics, Personal, Sports

3 Flowcharts [Sleep, GoT, and World Cup Edition]

My head is a royal mess right now. Packing. Cleaning. Making sure the girls don’t kill each other. Laundry. My 15th rendition of “Do-Re-Mi” (C&A’s favorite song at the moment) today. More cleaning (because I can’t leave for a trip without cleaning first).

In case you have more free time than me today, here are three flowcharts you may enjoy…

This first flowchart/quiz, brought to you by Simmons, is titled “Is Your Sleep Personality Messing With You?”. And just as I expected, I am an “Plugged ‘In’somniac.” I know that I should cut down on screentime before bed, but it’s hard when it’s the only uninterrupted free time I have to goof off online, and to catch up TV shows and movies. :-P

sleep_personality_flowchart
Via Design Milk.

The next flowchart comes courtesy of the comics over at Dorkly, and simply predicts whether you would survive in the world of Game of Thrones. I would stay alive — would you?

would_you_survive_game_of_thrones

The last chart is useful for non-soccer fans like myself. J was livid and depressed that his beloved England team was kicked out after the first round, but I could care less. Are you following the World Cup? Who are you rooting for?

which_world_cup_team_should_i_root_for
Via imgur.

Jun 19, 2014  •  In Books, Entertainment, Geek, Infographics

“Why Did They Have to Die?”, Game of Thrones Edition [Infographic]

Although the most popular complaint against A Song of Ice and Fire series is the callous and unexpected ways in which George R.R. Martin kills off beloved characters (have you seen this?), my biggest complaint is that there are just too. Many. Damn. Characters.

And as someone who is horrible with names — especially names that are difficult to pronounce (you should hear how I butcher some Westerosi names in my head) — you can bet that I have trouble keeping track of everyone.

At least now, I have this handy infographic to help me keep track of the deceased. Sat TV Depot has combed through the many deaths in the first four seasons of HBO’s Game of Thrones to succinctly present the major deaths, and the reason(s) for their demise. 

It should go without saying that the below infographic contains some major spoilers. ;-)  Enjoy!

got_why_did_they_die_infographic

Via GeekTyrant.

Jun 16, 2014  •  In Beauty, Food, Personal, Reviews, Sports

More Products I’ve Been Diggin’

You know me — whenever I come across an item that enriches my life, I want to tell everyone about it! So here it is: five more products I’ve been enjoying lately.

1. Jergens BB Body Perfecting Skin Cream

jergens_bb_body_creamI’ve been reading (and seeing great before-and-after photos) of this cream online, so I decided to give it a try once the weather warmed up and my limbs were no longer covered in thick clothing.

There are two versions of this cream: light skin, and medium-deep skin tones. Although my skin is pretty fair, I decided to get the darker version because I had read that this produces more visible results.

And…I love the Jergens BB Body Perfecting Skin Cream! I apply a generous amount to my legs after showering, and its effects seem to last until my next shower. While the cream is thick, it absorbs and dries quickly (with no transfer to clothes). My skin is soft and more even and just looks better.  :-)

I have read that this BB body cream contains trace amounts of self-tanner — I’m not sure if this is true or not — but after about a month’s use, my legs seem slightly darker.

The only thing I don’t like about the Jergens BB body cream is the smell. I’m pretty sensitive to scents in beauty products, and while some reviewers have stated they love the smell, I hate it. It’s not a big deal though, because I just wash my hands immediately after applying, and the scent no longer bothers me.

2. Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer, Eden

urban_decay_eyeshadow_primer_edenI know that the UD eyeshadow primers have been around for a while and that it is a stable in many women’s makeup collection.

However, I hardly have time to apply eyeshadow anymore so I don’t need an eye primer. What do I use this product for, then?

A concealer. :lol:

I had been looking for a good concealer for years. Since I hardly break out, I don’t need to cover up pimples; I require the coverage under my eyes and around my nose.

The Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer is obviously not meant to be used as a concealer. But because it is formulated to provide light coverage and stay put, it is the ONLY “concealer” that lasts the entire day for me. I am very lucky that Eden’s “matte tawny” color is slightly lighter than my skin tone, which is what you should use for concealers.

3. Aurorae “Synergy” Yoga Mat

aurorae_synergyIf you practice hot yoga, or if you sweat a lot doing an activity that requires a yoga mat, I highly recommend these yoga mats.

It’s a no brainer that your mat can get pretty slippery when you’re contorting your body to unnatural positions in 100°+ temperatures and sweat flows out of your every pore in protest. Most hot yoga studios require a towel on top of your mat for this purpose, and there even exist microfiber towels — like the popular Yogitoes — that are designed to lie on top of your mat and collect sweat.

When I began to go to hot yoga regularly, I purchased one of these towels and immediately noticed how they were superior to the beach towel I had been lugging to class. However, as I began to explore other styles of hot yoga in addition to Bikram — styles that require more movement — the microfiber towel became a nuisance as it kept sliding and bunching under my body.

The Aurorae “Synergy” Yoga Mat is different in that the towel is bonded to the mat. Additionally, it is designed so that the more you sweat, the better your grip becomes! My practice has gotten so much stronger now that I no longer have to worry about what’s going on under my feet.

The Synergy mat dries quickly and is machine-washable as well. It’s an investment, for sure, but completely worth the money in my opinion.

4. Essence Long-Lasting Eye Pencil

essence_long_lasting_eye_pencilLong-time readers will recall that I prefer long-lasting makeup. And although I am, for the time being, perfectly happy with my Milani Infinite Liquid Eyeliner in Unlimited (to replace my discontinued HG eyeliner, MAC Liquidlast), sometimes I just don’t have the full minute required to carefully apply the thick liquid eyeliner.

And on those days, I turn to pencil liners because let’s face it, they’re the easiest to apply.

I have used pencil liners since I first started wearing makeup at the age of 16, and I’ve probably tried dozens of different brands and formulations over the years. Hence, you know that a liner needs to be exceptional to shoot to the top of my favorites list.

While the Essence Long-Lasting Eye Pencil certainly does not have the staying power of the Milani Infinite or the MAC Liquidlast, it is the best pencil eyeliner I have tried. It glides on easily and lasts a long, long time…even requiring an eye makeup remover at the end of the day. It performs just as well — if not better — than department store brands, and it costs less than $2.50!

That’s right. You can purchase one for $2.49 on Ulta. If my endorsement alone doesn’t persuade you, the price surely should!

5. Starbucks VIA Ready Brew Coffee, Italian Roast

starbucks_via_ready_brew_italian_roast

While we have a nice coffee maker at home, I don’t like using it much because I’m the only one who drinks coffee at home. (J gets free gourmet coffee at work.) Instead, I prefer the convenience of instant coffee — in conjunction with our trusty Panasonic Electric Thermo Pot.

The only problem is that instant coffee usually tastes like crap.

My taste in coffee is not too discriminate, so I used to purchase, and experiment with, whatever instant coffee was available at the grocery store. However, I couldn’t deny that whenever I drank store-bought coffee then returned to my instant coffee, I would cringe in disapproval.

That’s when I decided to research instant coffee, and continually found that the Starbucks VIA line usually rated the best.

And I can verify the reviews. Because the Starbucks VIA Ready Brew Coffee in Italian Roast is, by far, THE best instant coffee out there. Even J, the coffee snob, commented with a “Hmm, not bad…” when he first tasted it.  :-)