Jun 1, 2015  •  In Claire, Parenting, Personal

Claire’s First Boyfriend

Last week, Claire asked me for some plain white paper. “I want to make a drawing for my friend,” she told me. I happily obliged, and didn’t think much of it until she finished her work of art.

“Umma, can you help me spell Kyle?”

Okaaay. What was going on here? I helped her spell, and watched on as she carefully wrote, “To Kyle. Love, Claire.” on her drawing.

The next day, she bashfully handed Kyle her drawing at morning dropoff. Her head was down, and she could barely look his way as he accepted the gift. (How stinkin’ cute is that???)

And the day after that, Kyle reciprocated! He knew of Claire’s love for giraffes, and he had helped his parents choose a picture of two giraffes to print it out for Claire.


“Claire, do you like Kyle?” I teased her later that day.

“Yes, he is my boyfriend.”

“Oh ruuullllly? What makes him your boyfriend?”

“I drew him a picture, and he gave me a picture too. Now we are girlfriend and boyfriend!”

Oh, the innocence of youth…  :mrgreen: 

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May 31, 2015  •  In Personal


We all need a reminder of this from time to time.


Via Doghouse Diaries.

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May 13, 2015  •  In Baby, Information, Personal, Random, Web

What Would Your Name Be If You Were Born Today?

I’m sure many of us are familiar with the Social Security Administration’s annual list of most popular baby names. The database, which dates back to 1880, can also be used to look up popular names by state and territories, as well as track the popularity of a name over time! (The name Jenny was most popular in 1977, when it was the 108th most popular female baby name of the year.)

Well, Time.com has taken it a step further by utilizing the SSA database to tell you what your name may be if you were born today…and every decade since 1890.

Is it a foolproof prediction? Absolutely not. After all, it only compares the rank of your name’s popularity, not your parents/guardians’ preferences, cultural and/or familial factors, etc. But it’s still a fun tool, wouldn’t you say?


My results are even less accurate for 2 reasons: (1) my legal, originally given name is Hyojin, not Jenny; and (2) I was not given the name Jenny until the year 1988, when my family immigrated to the United States and the secretary at the school where we were registering could not pronounce my sister or my names and so gave us our English names. (True story!)

“Hyojin” is, predictably not in the database. However, I was able input “Jenny” for 1988…


Personally, I like the 1980 results much better. However, I’m drawn to the name Mona from the 1988 results (from the 1970’s), since my sorority nickname was Mona Lisa. 🙂

What would your name be if you were born today? Do you like any of the names from the results? 

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May 12, 2015  •  In Aerin, Motherhood, Parenting, Personal

My 3.5 Year Old Still Isn’t Potty-Trained

I know that she’s ready, both mentally and physically. She meets all the requirements for potty-training, and more.

But at 3 years and 6 months old, my Aerin is still in diapers.

It is not for lack of trying. Books and videos. Pretty underwear she chose herself. Setting schedules. Going without diapers or underwear. Going full-on nude. Having her older sister (whom she shadows and copies all the time) demonstrate. Bribing. Begging. If you’ve seen it or read it online, I guarantee I’ve given it a go.

By this point, I know that it’s just a battle of wills. Because on the few occasions I have made her sit on the toilet — for up to FIVE hours — she still refused to go. And as soon as I gave in? She stood up and gleefully peed everywhere.  😕 


I’m frankly embarrassed, because I do not know any other kid in real life who still was not potty-trained at this age. Granted, she was developmentally delayed due to her illnesses and hearing impairment. And she is small for her age, clocking in at the 13th percentile for height and 8th percentile for weight. But this shouldn’t matter that much at her age, no?

This is honestly one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do as a mother — it’s just taking so long with no progress!

And I’m exhausted. I’m not doing so well physically myself with a bunch of health issues, one of which may involve surgery.

Aerin currently is, and has been for the past few months, full into her “threenager” phase. As such, she can get pretty sensitive and overly emotional even with the most mundane tasks and events. And I do not want her to associate the potty with negative emotions or memories.

So my plan for now is to keep trying, once a week. Let her go at her own pace. Hopefully in the near future, she will realize that peeing and pooping in a toilet is preferable to soiling her diaper.

That’s all I can do, right?

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May 11, 2015  •  In Entertainment, Korean, Music, Personal

Let’s Get Some Kpop in Here!

Once upon a time (from the time I first got into Kpop as a teenager, and all through my twenties before popping out my fist kid at the age of 29), I used to stalk the top Kpop tunes on Naver Music and Mnet Chart every week.

Before YouTube was a thing — yes, I’m that old — I remember sharing (via burned CDs and Zip drives) and repeatedly watching Kpop music videos with my friends. And man oh man the Korean music videos these days got NOTHING on those classics from the late 90’s to early 00’s. Who doesn’t remember shedding tears over Kiss’ “여자이니까” (Because I’m a Girl)? Or calling their mom to tell her “I love you” after watching G.O.D.’s “어머님께” (To My Mother)?

And we can’t forget the king of sappy MV’s: 조성모 (Jo Sung Mo). His “To Heaven” video may have been the one that started it all, don’t you think? 😉 (And yes, that’s actor Lee Byung Hun in the music video below! He actually starred in a few Jo Sung Mo videos.)

Anyways, enough digressing. As mentioned at the beginning of this post, I haven’t had much chance to keep up with the Kpop scene since becoming a mother. And the little exposure I did receive failed to impress. 🙁

But a few months ago, I came across an article saying that Korean songwriters have been really upping their game with the nation gaining extra international attention via its dramas and beauty/skincare breakthroughs. So I decided, “Why not?” and began to look up the charts again.

And this time, the music made me feel like a teenager/early-twentysomething again. :mrgreen: 

I figure that there must be others like me amongst my readers — once ardent fans of Kpop who have fallen astray due to changing lifestyles, new responsibilities, little time, and whatnot.

So please indulge me for this blog post as I share with you my top 5 Kpop songs from the past few months…

The first up is “FM” by Crayon Pop, and this song — along with the one below it — may just be my favorite Korean song from the past 5 years. It’s catchy without being overly cutesy, and while it’s different from the overly-energetic, sometimes-silly tunes that Crayon Pop is known for, it still remains true to the group’s image via unmistakable references to Power Rangers and Sailor Moon

The second song on my list is one you’ve probably heard if you live in Asia, or have frequented Asian establishments in the past month, because IT’S EVERYWHERE!!! And it’s brought to you by none other than Jinusean, a rap duo whose popularity peaked in the late 1990s.

“한번 더 말해줘” (Tell Me Once More Time) is a throwback to Jinusean’s most popular single, “말해줘” (Tell Me) which was released EIGHTEEN YEARS AGO. 😯  As a nostalgic fan of old-school Kpop, I can’t help but love this song for its references to Jinusean’s older hits. Not only that, the music video pays homage to older music video styles and trends (even those of Puffy!) while poking fun at themselves for being old!

Not to mention, the song is catchy as hell. It’s such a fun song that makes me so happy to hear it.  😆 

While the original track and the MV for “한번 더 말해줘” is accompanied by 장한나 (Jang Hanna), a trainee from YG Entertainment, in the past month Jinusean has been performing the song with various popular female artists. How AWESOME would it be if they could get 엄정화 (Um Jung Hwa) — the original female vocalist from “말해줘” to perform “한번 더 말해줘” with them???? Oh please of please make it happen!

Moving on…

A.KOR’s “Always” is another catchy song that randomly find myself humming when I’m in the middle of a mundane task, or dancing along to it whenever it comes up on my iPod. (Claire likes this song too!  😛 ) I had never heard of this group before, but apparently they were involved in a scandal last year for dissing a senior group. (And this is why the YouTube video for “Always” has so many downvotes, a full 6 months after the scandal. ::rolls eyes::) Meh, just as long as the song is good, right?

4Ten released “왜 이래” (Why) early this year and although it’s not a great song, I am once again attracted to it by the fact that it reminds me of old-school Kpop — classic girl groups like Fin.K.L. and S.E.S., in particular! I also like how the music video was filmed in NY amongst people who probably had no idea who they were. 😉 

This last song is from one of my favorite female Korean artists, 가인 (Gain), a member of the group Brown Eyed Girls who also has a successful solo career. “Apple” is the first single from her latest mini-album Hawwah which was released in March. It is playful with jazz undertones, and expresses the desires for the “forbidden fruit” in a cute and colorful manner.

I really like two other songs from Hawwah too…so I’m gonna blame Gain for this post becoming longer than I originally intended it to be. 🙂  Here’s a list of some other recent Kpop songs I’ve been diggin’. Hope you enjoy them too!

I know that Big Bang has been killing it the past couple of weeks with “Loser” and “Bae Bae” but I don’t like either song much. 😕  Have you guys been listening to any good Kpop lately? Please, do share!

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May 7, 2015  •  In Asian, Beauty, Korean, Personal, Reviews

Battle of the Long-Lasting, Matte Cushions: Innisfree, Laneige, and IOPE

Earlier this week, I received my IOPE Air Cushion XP Matte Finish in the mail. I had been pretty excited to try this new offering from the IOPE Air Cushion line, since it was the cushion compact that had started it all — selling a unit every 30 seconds in Korea at the height of its popularity — and I had found the original too dewy for my tastes.

The trend in Korea for the past couple of years has been dewy, bordering-on shiny skin. As such, I held off on buying a cushion ‘pact at first because they would only leave my combination/oily skin a greasy mess by the end of the day. So imagine my delight when both Innisfree and Laneige released matte (at least by Korean standards), long-lasting versions of their popular cushions last summer: the Innisfree Long Wear Cushion and the Laneige BB Cushion Pore Control.

And since I already own both, I decided to face them off against my new IOPE Matte Finish!


As you can see from the photo above, all three cushion compacts are of similar sizes. (And although I haven’t a picture to show you, they’re similar widths too.) However, I have read that while the Laneige and IOPE refills can fit in each others’, as well as in other cushion compact cases made by their parent company AmorePacific, the Innisfree refill can not.

Just based on product packaging alone, I would crown Laneige the winner. The case is sturdy and feels luxurious, and although the IOPE case is just as fancy, I personally prefer the light blue, incased-in-glass look of the Laneige.


Open the cases and you won’t notice much of a difference either. Each compact comes with the typical blue cushion applicator. (I clean my sponges weekly with the Daiso Detergent for Puff and Sponge. Nothing else gets these sponges this clean for so cheap!) The sponge holder acts double-duty as a snap-on lid for the makeup-soaked cushion.

The texture of the cushions may look different in the photo below, but please be assured that they’re very, very similar. The Laneige cushion looks a bit weird because it was upside-down in my bag, and the texture of the IOPE cushion is what’s typical of a new cushion ‘pact. (In other words, it will look more like the Innisfree cushion with continued use.)


Continue reading »

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May 6, 2015  •  In Geek, Personal, Reviews, Web

What Crystal Knows About Me

Have you heard of Crystal?

In short, it’s a web app that attempts to analyze and summarize your personality through your web presence. Its main objective is to help improve communication — you can look up anyone you wish and their Crystal profile will tell you how best to communicate with them.

Some have found the service “eerily accurate,” while others find it problematic.

Intrigued, I requested an invite and was granted access a couple of days later.

I felt weird creeping on anyone I know — even J — so I decided to try the algorithm on myself.


I wouldn’t say that my Crystal profile is “eerily accurate.” (But then again, it’s only 40% confident that its analysis of me is correct.) For example, I practically let out a laugh at the part where it says, “Don’t trust that they will follow specific verbal instructions” — most of my professional acquaintances will agree that I usually follow instructions and requests to a T.

Also, “Don’t get frustrated if they is a few minutes late”? The grammar mistake notwithstanding, I’m one of those people who places a very high value on punctuality and would rather be 30 minutes early than 3 minutes late.

That being said, most of the other stuff seems pretty descriptive of me. And at first, I took some offense to being called “scatter-brained,” but after further introspection, I realized this is correct! I think this comes out more naturally in my online presence — especially here on my blog — as I tend to type my thoughts exactly how they materialize.

I also found it interesting that Crystal suggests people use emoticons when emailing me. I never gave this much thought before, but it makes sense given that I use emoticons in my social media accounts and I find it frustrating when I, or others, have a hard time discerning jokes and sarcasm in written communications.

As you can see, there is a “How to write an email to ____” section at the bottom of the profile. However, this is a premium option that requires a paid subscription.

Crystal is a fascinating concept for this blogger who’s into psychological analyses. (Ahem, Star Wars MBTI chart!) Since I am currently job-hunting, I definitely want to try it out on my future interviewers!

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May 1, 2015  •  In Asian, Beauty, Giveaways, Korean

Giveaway: Win One of THREE Tubes of SU:M37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick!

The SU:M37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick is a cult product among Asian Beauty enthusiasts, and holds HG status for many who’ve tried the luxurious lather of fermented rose.


Don’t believe me? Check out the glowing reviews from these trusted sources in Asian Beauty:

I won’t do a full review on this blog because the ladies above — in addition to troves of other bloggers — have already done such fantastic jobs of it.

Instead, I’ll be quick and get right down to the reason for this post…

I am giving away THREE tubes of the
SU:M37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick!

Yep, you’ve read that correctly. You will have THREE chances to win a MRCS! Even if you’re not interested in this sensational cleanser for yourself, it would make a great gift…especially with Mother’s Day coming up!

And, because I love the MRCS so much — it’s really as great as everyone says it is! — this giveaway will be open worldwide. (Or, at least anywhere that the USPS can ship.) 🙂 


To enter this giveaway, simply use the Rafflecopter widget below. Not sure how to use Rafflecopter? Watch this 52 second video for a tutorial on how to enter a giveaway using Rafflecopter. There are 7 methods of entry, with the first method (commenting on this blog post) being mandatory while the third (Tweeting about the giveaway) and fifth (sharing this post on Facebook) methods can be used once per day:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway will end on Saturday, May 8th, 2015, at 12:01am EST, at which point a winner will be randomly chosen and announced here. If the winner has won the drawing via a questionable or illegitimate entry (i.e., not commenting on this post, using different accounts to enter multiple times, using the same Tweet URL to enter multiple times) I have the right to choose another winner.

This giveaway is open only to individuals who are 13 years old and older.

Please use a valid email address and/or Twitter handle so that I can contact you if you win! If the winner fails to respond within 48 hours of my contacting them, another winner will be selected.

Good luck, and thank you for entering!

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Apr 30, 2015  •  In Entertainment, Funny, Movies

Famous Movie Directors as Chefs

I confess that I had to look up Uwe Boll, but it all made sense once I realized I’d watched a few of his C movies (when insomnia hits and I’m purposely looking to watch bad movies)!


Via Blame It on the Voices.

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Apr 28, 2015  •  In Asian, Beauty, Korean, Reviews, Shopping

My New Favorite Korean Beauty Products, Part 3

Read part 1 here
Read part 2 here

And now, for the conclusion of this series, I present to you: the Korean beauty products that are on their way to me, if customs will pretty-please hurry up so that I can get my greedy paws on them!


First up is the IOPE Air Cushion XP Matte Finish.

iope_air_cushion_matteYep, the cushion compact that started it all — at the height of its popularity, one IOPE Air Cushion XP was sold every 30 seconds in Korea, and it still remains a best-seller in Asia — has just released two new versions: the XP Matte Finish and XP Intensive Cover.

IMHO, this is a great move on IOPE’s part, especially with cushions gaining steam in Europe and North America, where women generally prefer additional coverage and/or a matte finish.

And with the warmer months just around the corner, you know that this combination/oily skinned blogger has to try it out!

Continue reading »

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