Jul 20, 2015  •  In Asian, Beauty, Korean, Personal, Reviews

Some More Product Raves

Let’s start the week off with some product reviews, shall we?

Whamisa Organic Flowers Creamy Foam Cleanser

whamisa_cleanserI had been eyeing this item for a while because I ❤ Whamisa products and I had read some especially good things about the cleanser. I picked up a bottle when Glow Recipe was having their July 4th weekend sale, and WOW have I been impressed!

There are a bazillion facial cleansers out there, so what sets this apart from the rest? It is a low-pH cleanser (read here to see why the pH of your cleanser matters) that has the textural consistency of a high-pH cleanser. In other words, it is lush and foamy and cleans incredibly well…without stripping your skin of its moisture barrier.

The Whamisa Organic Flowers Creamy Foam Cleanser is everything I’ve wanted in a facial cleanser. It feels so luxurious and creamy as you massage it into your face, and rinses off to reveal super-clean yet soft skin. It is hands-down, the best foaming cleanser I have ever used!

Price: $35 for a 200ml/6.7oz bottle at Glow Recipe. A bit expensive, yes, but the bottle is huge and you only need a teeny amount at a time. Use this link (affiliate) to get $5 off your first Glow Recipe order!

Dr. Jart+ CTRL A Spot Cover

dr_jart_ctrl_a_perfect_coverA few weeks ago, I decided to start taking some evening primrose oil to help alleviate my horrible PMS symptoms. Big mistake. While EPO really helps some women with PMS (along with a slew of other issues), it did not agree with me and all I got were breakthrough bleeding and cystic acne. 😥 

I knew the acne had to have come from my taking the EPO, because the spots were all on the lower half of my face — near the mouth and chin, where hormonal acne occurs — and I had not been using any new products that could be breaking me out. Additionally, my skin almost immediately started to get better as soon as I stopped taking the EPO.

I got lucky in that I only sustained a few spots from this ordeal. But they were large, red, painful spots and my usual concealer just wasn’t cutting it.

Enter the Dr. Jart+ CTRL A Spot Cover. This is an antibacterial concealer chock-full of beneficial ingredients: angelica acutiloba root extract, salicylic acid, arbutin, lemon extract, and vitamin C. These are all known to help treat blemishes or help prevent/fade hyperpigmentation from acne.

The texture and color are pretty darn good too! It is heavy enough to cover my acne but is not cakey, and the cool undertones really help counteract the redness associated with acne.

Price: $23 at Memebox.

BBIA Last Auto Gel Eyeliner

bbia_last_auto_gel_eyelinerThese liners are the shiz. Seriously. I think I may have found my HG eyeliners!

The BBIA Last Auto Gel Eyeliners have three benefits working for them:

1.) They glide on incredibly well.
2.) Once set, they stay and stay and stay. (Even on the waterline!)
3.) They’re affordable, at about $8/pop.

No sharpening required! All you need to do is twist the bottom of the pencil and more product slides up. But if you require a sharper point, the bottom pops out to reveal a sharpener too!

The downside? They only come in 10 colors. It’s no problem for someone like me who prefers natural colors, but I personally think BBIA could be reaching a bigger audience by releasing some brighter, vivid colors like turquoise.

I love the BBIA Last Auto Gel Eyeliners so much that I already ordered replacements for my 2 most-used colors, 02 Mellow Brown and 20 Jazz!

Price: $7.98 at Jolse, ₩10,000 (approx $8.69) at TesterKorea

VDL Naked Facial Exfoliant

vdl_naked_facial_exfoliantI first learned about this product in an old Pony’s Beauty Diary video. (Does anyone else love Pony as much as I do?) It is a physical and a chemical exfoliant, meaning that it contains granules that physically help scrub your skin as well as chemicals that penetrate into the skin to help remove dead skin and other impurities.

As such, you can use this product in three ways: (1) scrubs and rinse; (2) apply, let it sit a few minutes, then rinse; and (3) scrub, then let it sit a few minutes, and rinse. The third method will obviously yield the most effective results, but it may be too harsh for those with more sensitive skin.

I like to use this product every 2-3 days using the scrub+sit method, and it always leaves my face unbelievably soft and smooth. And I swear that all my products absorb better after using this! This is another product I immediately fell in love with, and decided I’d need to make another purchase before I run out.

Price:₩17,500 (approx $15.21) for a 100ml bottle at TesterKorea, $24.53 at W2Beauty.

Mario Badescu Buffering Lotion

mario_badescu_buffering_lotionRemember the cystic acne I talked about above? Well, I was honestly at a loss as to what to do about them because I hadn’t gotten cystic acne since I was a teenager.

(Only now do I know how lucky I should consider myself — I had forgotten how deep, inflamed, and painful they can be! I now have so much more sympathy for those who regularly encounter cystic acne.  I want to give each and every one of you a hug.)

I decided to do some research on /r/skincareaddiction, and saw a product that repeatedly get mentioned for the treatment of cystic acne: the Mario Badescu Buffering Lotion.

The directions for the Buffering Lotion tell you to shake before use. But the product is so runny and the nozzle so small that application can be tricky. The interwebz came through for me again after I read a review stating that the nozzle head can be easily popped off with your thumb.

So this is how I use the Buffering Lotion: do not shake, but let the ingredients settle and naturally separate. The heavier, white zinc oxide will be at the bottle of the bottle. Take a q-tip and dip it directly into the zinc oxide. (The q-tip will grab onto the rest of the ingredients on its way out of the bottle.) Use the q-tip to directly apply to the spots.

The Mario Badescu Buffering Lotion really helped bring my troublesome, deep-rooted zits to the surface, and helped heal the skin more quickly. I hopefully won’t need it as often in the near future, but will keep my leftover bottle in my medicine cabinet and continue to recommend it anyone with cystic acne.

Price: $19 at Ulta, Nordstrom, or MarioBadescu.com.

You may also like:

Jul 19, 2015  •  In Books, Geek, Star Wars, Wishlist

Star Wars Meets Little Golden Books

Be still, my nerdy, book-loving heart!







These first six books will be released on July 28, and a boxed set will be available for purchase on September 1. You can bet I’ve already placed my preorder!

P.S. — Did you notice the details on the golden spine of each book? I die.

Via EW.

You may also like:

Jul 18, 2015  •  In Personal, Web

What’s Your Shade of Introversion?

How many times have you seen one of the numerous “how to understand introverts” cartoons floating around online? Or came across another article extolling the secret power of introverts?

Intentional or not, we introverts have been receiving some extra attention in the past few years. Society is finally starting to understand that introversion is not just about being shy and introspective, that extroversion is not just about being talkative and social. Rather, it is about how and where you derive your energy — from others or from within yourself?

And today, I’ve learned that it goes even deeper still. According to a model developed by psychologist Jonathan Cheek and his colleagues, there are actually four types of introversion: social, thinking, anxious, and restrained. Many introverts are a mix of all four types.


Embedded at the bottom of the article is a quiz you can take to see what shade of introvert you are. The above graph depicts the results of my test; it seems that I have no strong inclination for a particular type of introversion, but I am more socially introverted than anxious.

Be sure to head on over to the NYMag article for a more thorough description of each type, and if you have a spare few minutes, take the quiz yourself!

You may also like:

Jul 16, 2015  •  In Beauty, Funny, Geek, Personal, Reviews

Will Rohan Answer?

This webstrip made me LOL today because I can relate all to well! You know you’re pale when a friend makes a remark about your pale legs and you show them your tan lines to prove that this is your tan skin.


In all seriousness though, I’ve learned to accept my pale skin and now wear sunscreen every day, even when I don’t go out. I always tell my friends that Asian — especially Japanese! — sunscreen is the way to go, because the sun protection technology is more advanced, with better formulas that are usually a lot cheaper as well.

(Don’t believe me? Go read Why You Shouldn’t Be Buying Your Sunscreen in America.)

My favorite sunscreen, the Innisfree Eco Safety No Sebum Sun Milk SPF50+/PA+++, has sadly been discontinued but you can bet that I picked up a couple of extra bottles when I first found out.  😉  I’ve gotten J to start wearing sunscreen every day too; I bought him the Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence Sunscreen SPF50+/PA++++ for its light formula with no whitecast. And the Nivea Sun Protect Super Water Gel SPF 50/PA+++ is a great option for the body!

As for the girls, they love their Sunkiller Mild Baby Milk Sunscreen Lotion SPF38/Pa+++ for its cute, pink packaging. Now, they’re the ones who remind me that they need to apply sunscreen before we go out!  :mrgreen: 

For more information and reviews on Japanese sunscreen, be sure to check out RatzillaCosme!

Via Reddit.

You may also like:

Jul 13, 2015  •  In Aerin, Art/Design, Claire, Personal

5-Minute Pencil Studies

Once upon a time, I considered myself an artist.

I attended studio art classes twice weekly. I even considered attending an art college — and in preparation, I devoted the summer vacation before my senior year in high school with 5-hour portfolio classes every weekday.

I was accepted to some of the best art schools in the country. However, I decided to pursue a more “stable” future and decided to attend a traditional college instead. That being said, one of the reasons I chose JHU was for its affiliation with the prestigious Maryland Institute College of Art.

I only ended up taking a couple of classes at MICA, and haven’t done much drawing or painting since college. I subconsciously put that part of my life behind me.

So last week, when I felt a sudden and overwhelming urge to draw something, I first became confused…then excited! I quickly grabbed a #4 pencil and a gum eraser from my dust-covered ArtBin and turned my attention to a subject I know, cherish, and study every day: my children.


It was only a 5-minute sketch, so it’s not perfect. But I like to think that I captured Aerin’s essence well.

I showed the portrait to its subject and she immediately recognized herself and smiled, which was the greatest compliment I could’ve asked for. I then turned to Claire, but my shy older child asked not to be drawn.

But the next day, she agreed.


Claire was considerably more difficult to capture, as her features are less pronounced than her younger sister’s. Just as I had concentrated on Aerin’s strongest feature — her eyes — I decided to concentrate on Claire’s hallmark: her slightly smiling, pursed lips.

My ability to draw doesn’t seem to suffered as much as my skills with the piano or violin, and for that I am both glad and grateful. I think I will continue to draw and paint more in the future; I had almost forgotten how much joy it can bring me!

You may also like:

Jul 12, 2015  •  In Entertainment, Geek, Personal

She Saved the World….A Lot

Did you guys hear that there’s a little thing called Comic-Con happening this weekend?

No? Don’t care? Well, then…carry on.

If you’ve chosen to keep reading, let me take this moment to once again lament my not being able to attend this year. I will make an appearance in the near future. I will dress myself, and my girls, in adorably geeky costumes. (They began practicing long ago!)

As per my usual fashion, I have been closely following my favorite sites for Comic-Con coverage…and while this year’s convention seems unsurprisingly kickass, the most anticipated panels do not seem to have revealed much. 🙁  (See: How ‘Star Wars’ won Comic-Con 2015 — while revealing nearly nothing) However, I did read about one little proceeding which I believed warranted a mention on this blog…

Yesterday, when a fan asked Joss Whedon — probably my favorite writer/producer/director — who his favorite character creation is, he replied, “My answer would change daily. It could never stop changing.”

But if he had to make a choice?

“How can I not say Buffy? She is the very distilled essence of everything I’m not, and want desperately to be or be around.”

Then he took it a step further by adding that Buffy is “sort of the nexus, the beating heart, of everything that I have done — or will. She gets the nod.”

Oh, the feels!


I ♥ you, Buffy! And I ♥ you too, Joss!

And if you’ve never watched Buffy, take a look at this 5-min video to see why you totally should:

You may also like:

Jul 8, 2015  •  In Asian, Beauty, Korean, Personal, Reviews

Shangpree Mega-Review

A few weeks ago, Korean beauty e-tailer Peach & Lily reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in trying some of their products.

Um…yes please? For, you know, *cough cough* research purposes. Can I have them all?

All kidding aside, I have shopped from P&L in the past and I love their product offerings. And while I would’ve loved to stock up on some tried-and-true items, I asked if they wouldn’t mind sending me an item from Shangpree, a brand that had intrigued me since I first spotted it on their website.

Here’s some background info on Shangpree from the P&L brand page:

Seoul’s highly demanding spa-going elite have been flocking to the iconic Shangpree Spa for a first-class beauty experience for 25 years now. Every Shangpree esthetician must complete an incredibly lengthy and rigorous training process to ensure that they embody the spa’s high standards (even an esthetician with 20+ hands-on experience is required to train the Shangpree-way for 3 years before being able to provide client services)— and when Shangpree launched their product line, that same level of perfectionism was expected in every formula.

P&L hand-delivered an incredible beauty package to my front door, and I was delighted to find not one, not two, but three Shangpree items nestled among its contents.


First up is the product that excited me most: the Shangpree Bitgoa Hue Essence Toner.


As you can see from the picture above, the Bitgoa Hue Essence Toner comes in a luxurious pump bottle. It’s not glass, but it’s weighty and solid, with a beautiful pearlescent white finish. I personally prefer transparent bottles so that I can see how much of the product is left, but I have read that many beauty companies forgo this route because it can lead to oxidation of the product.

Continue reading »

You may also like:

Jun 29, 2015  •  In Art/Design, Entertainment, Funny

How Archer is Just Like Futurama



Via Reddit.

You may also like:

Jun 9, 2015  •  In Art/Design, Cute, Funny, Science, Web

Website of the Day: Sad Animal Facts

Here are my favorites. Enjoy!




Continue reading »

You may also like:

Jun 6, 2015  •  In Asian, Beauty, Depression, Korean, Personal

On the Upside…

I’ve been battling some health issues as of late. And with the addition/subtraction of various meds and therapies in an effort to properly treat the problems, I’ve predictably been in a bit of a funk.

I’ve made no efforts in the past to hide my struggles with depression, and I am not about to now. However, at this present moment, my situation is precisely what I’ve described above — a funk — and not a relapse into depression. The reason I wanted to bring up depression, however, is to point you to an article penned by one of my favorite beauty bloggers, Fifty Shades of Snail aka The Crazy Snail Lady, titled “How My Elaborate Korean Skincare Routine Helps Me Fight Depression.”

Research. Controlled experimentations. Routines and rituals. Active participation in a supportive community. I’m not sure about other sufferers of depression, but these have all been great forms of therapy for me in the past. I just hadn’t realized that my recent obsession with Korean beauty products and practices had been acting as a form of therapy — whether depressed, in a funk, or just plain having a bad day.

And on the upside? My skin has never been better. I’ve always had okay skin thanks to genetics, but now…

Well, take a look.

I’ve done and gotten all dolled up for y’all, using mostly Korean makeup. (List of items below.)
I was too lazy to use a proper camera so the image quality isn’t the best, but you get the idea.

This picture was taken eight hours after first applying my makeup in the morning…and I made NO TOUCHUPS, not even blotting paper! (Yes, good skin really helps your makeup look better and last longer!) In case you’re wondering, here’s the full list of makeup worn:

  • IOPE Air Cushion XP Matte Finish in M21
  • Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz in Dark Brown
  • Clio Waterproof Pencil Eye Liner Kill Brown in #2 Brown
  • Peripera Ah Much Real My Cushion Blusher in #4 Shy Pink
  • The Saem Saemmul Tint Aque in Red
  • Tonymoly Petite Bunny Gloss Bar in #4 Juicy Cherry
  • Innisfree No Sebum Mineral Powder

What have I been doing differently since the last time I shared my skincare routine? Mainly, more science. Researching ingredients and using what works best on my skin whilst staying clear of chemicals/additives that do not play well with my skin. The addition of acids and vitamin C. Being more pH-aware.

SCIENCE, guys. There’s a reason it works!  😎 

Here is my current skincare routine:


  1. SU:M37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick
  2. OST C20 Vitamin C Serum*
    (wait at least 20 mins afterwards to allow my skin to fully absorb the serum)
  3. Mizon AHA & BHA Daily Toner
  4. LJH Vita Propolis Ampoule
  5. Goodal Super Seed Oil Plus Balancing Emulsion
  6. Innisfree Eco Safety No Sebum Sun Milk SPF50+ PA+++


  1. Banila Co Clean It Zero**
  2. SU:M37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick
  3. Mizon AHA & BHA Daily Toner
  4. COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid
    (wait at least 20 mins afterwards to allow my skin to fully absorb the acid, and for my skin’s pH level to normalize)
  5. COSRX AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid
    (wait at least 20 mins afterwards to allow my skin to fully absorb the acid, and for my skin’s pH level to normalize)
  6. Mizon AHA & BHA Daily Toner (only if the acids have left my skin sticky)
  7. LJH Vita Propolis Ampoule
  8. Shara Shara Honey Bomb All-in-One Ampoule
  9. A mask, mostly sheet masks but occasionally wash-off masks (I’ve been on the #1일1팩 train for a few weeks now)
  10. Whamisa Organic Flowers Water Cream
  11. Nature Republic Saccharomyces Ferment The First Eye Cream

* My current bottle of C20 is running low, and I have ordered the C21.5 as a replacement. The C21.5 is supposed to be an upgrade from the C20 and supposedly absorbs faster, which I’m very much looking forward to!
** I JUST starting using a new cleansing sherbet, the Botanic Farm Grain Ferment Cleansing Sherbet, this week and I’m LOVING it so far! I actually like it better than the Banila Co, but since it’s only been a week I decided to put the Banila Co on the list instead.

I am fully aware that this is A LOT of steps. Especially when you consider the fact that I used to only use a cleanser and maybe a lotion (only if my skin felt dry) before I got into Korean skincare. And the 20+ extra minutes of waiting time in the morning and 40+ extra minutes at night? It’s a good thing I hardly ever go out!

BUT. It’s so worth it to me. To have some semblance of control in a life that too often seems out-of-control. To keep myself distracted (in a good way). To force myself to pamper myself. The glowing skin is just an added perk at this point!

Besides, it’s not like I lie around doing nothing during those waiting times. 🙂  I actually like to use the 20-30 mins after applying the BHA at night to clean the kitchen and do the dishes. And the 20-30 mins after AHA are usually used to tidy up the living room and get the girls ready for bed.

I also like to chase my daughters around the house with a sheet mask on, pretending I’m a monster or a ghost. They used to be scared of me whenever I used a sheet mask, but now they love it! Additionally, both girls enjoy helping me apply lotion, or assist me in other ways like Aerin has recently with the Lindsay Modeling Rubber Mask.

Please let me know if you have any questions about my current skincare routine, the products in it, or are having trouble locating any of the items on this list. As is the case with practically any product review, YMMV, but most of the products in my routine are those that are beloved by many over at /r/AsianBeauty and I can’t recommend them enough!

You may also like: