"I should stop posting food to my Instagram Story," RIP appetite 2014, and other food-related ramblings.

I'm 100% serious about instagramming food, in case you took that as a lighthearted "stop being such a millennial lol!!" self-jab. No one who partakes in the Internet and social media is dumb enough to think that someone's social media presence = a 100% accurate representation of their life. Yet, I feel like I'm lying the most when I upload a photo or video of a yummy meal onto my Instagram Story (my most "active" platform, weirdly or not). 

Here's the thing: eating fucking sucks — there I said it. But because eating is the most common form of ~social outing~, it's inevitable that I eat out. It's moreso the company I enjoy, but I still get sucked into showing off all the "drool-worthy" food I'm eating. Is it actually yummy? Sure. For the first five seconds. After that, every bite feels like the last mile of a marathon. I just feel nauseous. Disgusting. Like throwing up. Like I just finished an eating competition and feel like I could do without food for a long time...but after 1/4 of a meal. I try not to post permanent pictures of food on my Instagram at all. A rare exception to that is a recent compilation of my favorite food from my California trip, which included a casual-but-actually-quite-serious "I don't have the best relationship with food" note in the caption, if mostly to comfort myself and "justify" the post. Like, what? Tell me if that makes sense. It shouldn't. 

Time to start going backwards in time because this is my blog and I can give context whenever I feel like it!!! In college, when my depression hit full force, I drowned myself in food and my unlimited dining plan. I couldn't say I didn't feel sick after each dining hall visit, but the sheer volume I ate proved I could at least physically stomach it. Now, you couldn't force-feed me a normal amount of food if you tried (also, don't you dare). And then I came back from a quarter abroad in Paris, the rest of junior year happened, and my appetite shrunk to mouse portions. Eating became a bothersome chore. I became dependent on frozen meals, preferably Lean Cuisine because I couldn't let myself go, oh no. From then on to now — almost four years later — it's remained the same. Going entire days eating one meal, feeling RAVENOUS only to stop eating and feel totally full after a few bites, boxing huge portions from a meal out — whatever the case it is on a particular day, it doesn't amount to much. Sometimes, it's just enough so I don't feel faint or to make my brain feel more grounded and like it has juice to run on.

I don't check my weight, except for a few times out of curiosity when there's actually a scale in my vicinity (aka my old roommate had one and there's one back home in Illinois), but now that I think about it, I'm pretty sure I weigh the same now as I did in high school, at my lightest ever. That's extremely weird to process. Me at 16 and me at 24...the same. The only time I went through a crazy diet and exercise phase was during junior year of high school when, despite the free school lunch I got thanks to my hardworking mom, I instead ate a measly salad (and you should understand that I despise 99% of all salads) with a few pieces of grilled chicken that, BECAUSE DRESSING IS SOOO FATTENING (**sarcasm**), I just dipped separately in ketchup. That's right, folks. Lettuce, grilled chicken, and ketchup. Minus most of the lettuce — because past Sarah hated lettuce just as much as present Sarah. ::upside down smiley emoji:: I'd leave lunch period basically starving and spend the remaining few periods thinking about the apple I'd make my mom peel and slice for me when I got home. I read labels (mostly calorie counts) more carefully than my required school readings. I actually took advantage of daily gym classes and pushed myself during cardio days, even though I fucking hated treadmills (and still do). During badminton season in the spring, I tried to eat as little snacks as possible, because there were plenty of them being passed around on the bus, during games and tournaments, etc. 

The point is, that year was an anomaly. The year I actually cared about the ~health content~ of what I ate. The fact that I eat at all is a mountaintop climb-worthy feat nowadays. Despite that, I still occasionally feel fat/blubbery...at my very consistent 107-8 pounds (based on when I weighed myself last). Going home makes me happy because I do genuinely miss my mom's bomb-ass cooking, but I feel pressure to eat more than usual. Like my usual portions won't go unnoticed, which they don't, and which I try to explain without freaking out my always-food-first mom. I keep telling my parents (and everyone else, silently) that I'm not purposely restricting myself from food — that's the furthest from the truth. I just...can't eat enough most days. Instead, I shovel in (pretty unhealthy) food whenever my body absolutely can't go without it. The concerning part is not really how much I eat, but how sick and gross I feel when I should feel satisfied and happy. I'm constantly left wishing and hoping I had a normal appetite, but truth is, it's been too long for me to remember what that feels like and maybe I'm accustomed to this now.

I don't know what the purpose of this post is besides simply checking off something that's been weighing on my mind for the past few days. For the amount of time food has been a problem for me, I haven't really taken the time to record anything about it. So here it is, being open or whatever. Maybe one day my body will learn how to enjoy food again. It's not that dramatic but yes, it's still pretty concerning sometimes.

P.S. In my dismal drafts section there is a post titled "Food Poem" and it just says
"mental emptiness is magnified when i'm empty physically sdfjdlkfdkfjdfddfldflkdfjfdfeerieerewrerereeirjerkerjerwerdkfj"
LMAO who knows what I was thinking. A gem the world will never see.

Many months later.

Would you believe me if I told you I'll post once a month from here on out? 
*slaps knee and laughs nervously*
Yeah ok, I don't believe me either.

So, as I sit here in my apartment maintaining my paleness while I stare at the intense sunlight out the window, let's dive into what songs (new! and maybe a little outdated! but they were new when I "started" this draft in April!!) I've been listening to:

"I'll Be Yours" by Girls Day

Jazzy, catchy, confident. GO GIRL GROUPS. What a long-awaited comeback, and they did not disappoint. "Don't Be Shy" is probably my second most-listened-to song off of the album.

"Clouds" by Before You Exist

Ok, so maybe I discovered this song through a K-pop artist, but I'm so glad I found it. The lyrics are so raw and beautiful, and when I found out it was dedicated to Christina Grimmie (a YouTuber and singer who passed away almost a year ago), I almost started bawling. 
"Please just tell me you're alright / Are you way up in the sky / Laughing, smiling, looking down / Saying "'one day we'll meet in the clouds'"

"Wake Me Up" by B.A.P

I'm not sure if I can really get into their earlier music, but starting with "Skydive" I've become a huge fan of B.A.P. And now with leader Bang Yong-guk back from his break (he withdrew from the last round of album promotions due to anxiety and panic disorders), wow, that husky rapping is 💯. Peep this Billboard article for more insight as to why "Wake Me Up" disrupts the industry norm of skimming over mental health issues that many K-pop idols surely face at some point in their careers. After all, this is a group that went on hiatus for ~9 months to settle unfair working conditions and profit distribution with their management/label.

"Wine" by Suran ft. Changmo

Do I like this song because: 
1) the title is a big part of my life
2) it's produced by BTS's Suga
3) it's chill and low-key, like having a glass of wine on a Thursday night?
All of the above. I have a feeling Suran's music (hello, Beenzino and Zico collabs) will become regulars on my Spotify playlists.

"Really Really" by Winner

I'm not sure if it makes sense, but I think that having an unexpectedly upbeat song as a title track has made me appreciate their usual more mellow/serious sound a little more. Anyways, here's a cool interview I wrote up about Winner on BuzzFeed. #selfpromo
Also, please give us more music soon; THANKS.

"Last Scene" by Psy ft. Lee Sung-kyung

I honestly never listen to Psy but I listened to all the songs on his new album and there are some serious bops. "Last Scene" takes it slow, but "Fact" (DO YOU KNOW BULGOGI???) and "We Are Young" are my favorite dance-y songs. And of course Lee Sung-kyung (who's also managed by YG) has an angelic voice...in addition to being a gorgeous model and a talented and very animated actress — she played the main character in my most recent K-drama obsession, "Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo," which I highly recommend if you just want to watch something cute/funny/lighthearted.

Other songs on rotation:

  • "Ready or Not" by Monsta X — This edges out "Beautiful" for me, which is a shame because they've only performed shortened versions on the live performances circuit. But anyways, I prefer Clan pt 2.5 much more than the first two mini-albums of the series, which is saying a lot because I still listen to "Hero" (that rooftop dance performance just k i l l s me every time) the most out of all Monsta X songs. I wish they were coming to KCON NY this year (I thought there was a good chance they would!), but alas.
  • "dlwlrma" by IU — So it's true that I can't really stand her acting, but she has an undeniably pretty voice and I really like this happy-go-lucky song. If you type out the "dlwlrma" in Korean, it'll give you the phrase for "right now" or "in the moment" (thanks, Joyce). Also, "life is cool cool cool" lolol — no objections there.
  • "Most Girls" by Hailee Steinfeld — I'm not IN LOVE with the lyrics, but I love Hailee's voice. Sometimes when I'm feeling particularly unaccomplished, I'll remember the fact that Hailee was nominated for Best Supporting Actress at 14 and then feel worse about myself HA HA HA. 
  • "A Supplementary Story: You Never Walk Alone" by BTS — I'm never not listening to BTS, but this song has been getting a lot of love recently whenever I've been feeling stressed (which, if you know me at all, is a lot).
  • "Dream in a Dream" by Ten — This is pretty much just an instrumental track with the same short English verse repeated a few times, but HELL YEAH is it dreamy-sounding or what. I've said this before, but I love the amount of cool songs (and unlikely collaborations) that SM Station churns out (and every week too!). 10/10 would've listened to this on repeat during my hardcore (lol, scoff) college studying days. I wish I could pick out exactly what instruments (traditional Asian string instruments, I assume) are being used.

Hopefully more cool stuff coming up in the near future! And maybe one day my blog posts won't 100% be about K-pop but like, I'm just trying to be real about about how I spend my time. Besides binge-watching Master of None season 2 and stuffing myself with way too many cupcakes (thanks, wonderful friends). But as always, check out all the fun product posts I write on BuzzFeed here (like cute things that'll make your day better or cheap things to treat yourself to)! WOOOOOOOOW ooh-ahh etc.

ALSO YAY HAPPY ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH!!!!

Someone make spring happen, like now.

What I've been listening to this month:

I swear, Dean can do no wrong with his collaborations. I included his track with Zico and Crush two posts back, but this track showcases his dreamy voice more, and it's with Baek Yerin, whose voice is also so incredibly soothing (my favorite song of hers is "Across the Universe"). The simple space-themed, moving-scribbles music video is entrancing in its own right too. All in all, a perfection addiction to my "Take A Breather" Spotify playlist.

Have I talked about how low-key obsessed I've become with Red Velvet? Now I have. I think my obsessions with boy groups will always be more intense (lolol), but Red Velvet's slowly making their way up there. It makes sense too cause Red Velvet hasn't "boxed themselves" in to the traditional girl group concepts of overtly sexy or cute explosion — their quirky, colorful sound (same goes for outfits + hair) have drawn both girl and boy fans, which is pretty rare from what I can tell (like the majority of Korean fans are the opposite sex of the group they stan). This interview from Dazed goes more in-depth on all of that. I have a thing with disliking songs when they first come out only to listen to them nonstop ~4 months later. "Russian Roulette" might be my fav (I currently have a YouTube "russian roulette dance tutorial" search tab open, but TBD if I actually try to learn the choreo), but I like their b-tracks just as much, like "Lucky Girl" and "Happily Ever After" (the latter more than the title track, "Rookie"). Also, I've decided I'm going to dye my hair like Irene's, so look forward to that, I guess.

At this point, anything Taeyeon sings is magical, but I'll be hard-pressed to find something that beats 11:11 in my heart. While I'm not so much of a fan of "I Got Love" (I think artists can and should experiment with different images/concepts all they want; I'm just not particularly drawn to an edgier Taeyeon), "Fire" is more my style (especially with that guitar riff at the beginning — is that the right term?) reminds me of an early 2000s Michelle Branch or Vanessa Carlton song (I feel like there's an even better songstress to reference and it bothers me I can't think of one). Anyways, I'll need to delve more into her album to find what other songs I like. I've been listening to the title track "Fine" quite a bit too, but it's just...fine. I don't have any strong opinions, but I think "Fire" is stronger and more diverse vocally. I think Taeyeon mentioned that this is her first music video filmed entirely in Korea, which makes sense just watching it. It's simple, but makes me want to visit all the more. 

UPDATE: I listened to the rest of her album and I also really like "Love in Color" and "Cover Up." K, bye.

Ok, how can I not add this? I won't ramble on about it, but the choreography/cinematography (the bird's eye view on them dancing on that huge reflective surface...I can't) is killer and fight me if you think otherwise. I might have played this MV upwards of 20 times the day it came out (it's almost at 50 million views now, daaaang). I also haven't been feeling the best lately, so as one Tumblr user said, "self-care is listening to 'Not Today' until you go deaf." Actually.

Here's one more to round out the list — so fun and upbeat. More of the image I have of Block B in general, and kind of the polar opposite of "Toy" (although I like that song more).


Btw, this video makes me want to investigate K-pop's popularity in Korea vs. the world even more. Is the music more charming to foreigners than Koreans? If I grew up in Korea, would I think K-pop is overrated and roll my eyes whenever I hear it playing at the gym (though I'd probably not be at the gym to begin with...a shopping mall or beauty shop would be more accurate)? I do think being an ~outsider~ lends itself to a level of ~fascination~ that comes with not being bombarded with it, if that makes sense. Anyways, what I hope to show through my blog / general whatever, is that my fascination goes beyond a surface-level type of thing that's just like, "oooh, flashy music videos."


Yoooo, I'm also so excited about the film adaptation of Crazy Rich Asians, mostly because Constance Wu is playing Rachel Chu but also because this cast is clearly being very thoughtfully chosen, so big shout-out to Jon M. Chu. 

At least there'll be one post in February.

Hi!! It's been a while. (Unsurprising.) Just wanted to say I whipped up a post about Americans in K-Pop, because why not. I appreciate the fact that K-Pop is so internationally-focused, and hopefully one day, they'll be more of these faces ~killing it~ stateside. 

My bbs are back again! Though the whole learning Korean thing is going terribly (lol, hopefully a better update later on), I'll at least know how to say "I miss you" because of this song. It's interesting what words/phrases I've picked up from watching K-pop music videos and K-dramas. It's not much, but it's something. 

In my never-ending quest to listen to different and/or lesser-known groups (I have a large capacity for listening to the same few songs for months and years on end), I picked up this song recently. I literally know nothing about them, but this is quite a bop. I do associate anyone with a slightly whiny (idk how else to put it) voice with Hyuna though, and I think Hyuna pulls it off better cause of her killer, sexy stage presence. Also, try saying "hobgoblin" five times fast. I kept saying "hobglob," lol.

Not a terribly new song, but I've been listening it more lately. I've obsessed with the totally ethereal vibe of this song — Punch's voice is perfect for it, and I have a soft spot for playful giant Chanyeol. He's one of the most active EXO members on social media, and I also feel like he's always in his studio working on music...and he has a Soundcloud account (which I generally find cool, like any K-Pop stars having one, like BTS and GOT7's JB <3) and a newly-opened YouTube account!

Mid-Week Blahs

I'm far too stressed to write a full post, but I'M DETERMINED to keep this blog up, no matter what stupid shit I fill it up with. Hahaha jk, everything's valid. That's. the. point. of. a. blog. Also, what's a "full" post anyways? I could write three words and it'd still be a post. Nothing I say makes sense.

For like two months, I used to scroll through Soompi every night in bed and jot down all the new songs that I came across in my iPhone notes for playlist curations on BuzzFeed, but I've stopped doing that because I'm realizing I'd rather write slightly more original K-pop posts with my limited time and strangely perfectionist work ethic...a terrible combination, imo. BUT ANYWAYS THE POINT IS I haven't been keeping up with K-Pop as much of lately, here are some things I've been listening to / watching a lot:

B.A.P's "Skydive" live performances — jumps, dance solos, and flips, oh my! lol. I was initially "meh" about this song but am now, months later, growing to like it (this is a very common pattern when it comes to my music-listening habits). Probably mostly bc I like the yelling parts, i.e. "WE CAN SKYDIVE, FREEFALL." I like yelling in my head — 9/10 would recommend. If you have 10 mins to spare, you can watch the very intense "Skydive" music video. Betrayal is gr8.

Also YESSSS for more Asian American artist crossovers!!! Ailee's coming out with English music via a U.S. label, Westside Entertainment (official FB and Twitter). "Fall Back" makes the (proud) mainstream pop-obsessed me very happy, but it isn't a unique song in any sense. Ailee has such powerhouse vocal abilities (like in "Home," "U&I," and "Mind Your Own Business") and they aren't really showcased here, but this is just the first of many English songs and hopefully they'll be better ones down the pipeline. This is still hella catchy though. 

HOWEVER, and normally I wouldn't care, but beyond whatever drama went down with one of her Twitter admins shading CL's U.S. debut (that person has since been let go), Ailee needs better admins, period. It's like a tween is running her account.

Also, why acknowledge stuff like this? Then what's literally the point of having an alias? Which, by the way, I'm not a huge fan of — I understand it to a degree, but I'm not gonna delve into that right now, haha.

Screenshot 2017-01-17 22.55.24.png

NON K-POP STUFF (but still Asian-centric content!!!):

Watched this and *clap clap clap*:

 

Which led to me re-watching this video and re-crying (lol) thinking about my own parents (dammit, this is at least the second or third time I've cried this week; I'm on a roll):

ENDING ON A SOMBER (but grateful) NOTE, YAY! My next (or just general / eventual) post will be about languages oooOoooOo, k bye.

P.S. "Short" posts don't exist in my repertoire. I'm fooling myself.

P.S.S. If you want to treat yourself without spending major $$$, check out this post by yours truly. ;)

No.1

From start to stall

I wonder if my whole life will be a series of
i'm not good enough and
i have no talents and
i lack passion and drive and
my voice doesn't matter

and all that will be left at
the end of the day is
doubt scribbled
across my gravestone.


Curtain

I am not a trustworthy
judge
of my own worth —
I am a disgruntled
audience member
booing and causing fits
whenever the script
falls short.

Hello, 2017. And hello again, blog.

HELLO!!!!! Officially re-birthed my janky website & blog as part of my efforts to write more in my free time though tbh, this is probably just an excuse to ramble about K-Pop.

So, because I have nothing prepared to talk about, here are some of my current favorite songs:

"11:11" by Taeyeon

I’ve been listening to this song at least 5 times a day since it was released. I love softer songs but I generally tend to gravitative towards upbeat songs because my brain needs a constant reminder to wake tf up, so it’s been a while since I’ve found a ballad that I love THIS much. Whenever I’m feeling the least bit stressed (pretty much always lol), I play this song and it instantly relaxes me (just the right amount of sadness and feels, ya know?).

Taeyeon has become one of my favorite solo artists (she won best female artist at MAMA this year, and she's also who I voted for), and a lot of her other songs like “Why,” “Starlight,” and “I” are on constant Spotify rotation. 

 

"Last Goodbye" by AKMU

Omg, I’m really starting to get into this brother & sister duo (Lee Chanhyuk and Lee Suhyun). They won a reality competition show called K-Pop Star 2 in 2013 and soon after signed with YG, which is super cool cause they’re more folksy than straight-up K-Pop...and very evidently not your typical K-pop group.

Anyways, I'm obsessed with their cute sibling chemistry and Suhyun's beautiful voice. And Chanhyuk composes most, if not all, of their songs.

I'm currently listening through the rest of the songs off of their latest full album Winter and digging "Will Last Forever" and "Live" especially.

They also released a sweet, beautifully-shot short film that previews all of their songs. Check it out below!

Such a tease pretending to break up and all. (Seriously, don't play with my heart!)

"Bermuda Triangle" by Zico, Dean, and Crush

Jam x 100000. This trio (dubbed Fanxychild) is fire and needs to release more tracks, though they've collaborated in pairs in the past.

"Slow Down" by Matthew Heath & Grady Griggs

An rare English song! ...that's the theme song of a Japanese reality show called Terrace House on Netflix that I can't stop watching (Thank you, Christina & Jeff). It's hard to describe why it's so addicting but this article's title puts it best — "finds meaning in mundane human interaction." Anyways, I actually look forward to the show's opening segment, which is very unusual and also great.
Also...no one asked, but one of my favorite scenes from the show is this one.

"Oh NaNa" by K.A.R.D

You can watch the official music video here, but I don't think it's that special / I actually prefer this choreo version. As far as I know, K.A.R.D haven't officially debuted yet —they're just releasing singles as ~teasers,~ I guess. I also don't totally get the whole "hidden member" thing, like whether or not they're permanent members or just one-time features. Idk, I haven't looked that much into them yet. I think one of the guys (BM) is from L.A. though, which is cool. Well, the fact that they're a co-ed group is the coolest. I'm not super well-versed in K-Pop history, but they're the first I've come across (or at least there hasn't been a successful one in *recent* years, and I'm not counting co-ed duos or "projects" like SM's Younique or The Ballad). K.A.R.D seems promising though, so I hope they last!


Misc "resolutions" cause why not let's welcome 2017 with halfhearted determination!!!!!!! —

  1. Stop rubbing my goddamn nose (I've been telling myself this for maybe five years; I'm not optimistic. That being said, if you see me doing this, SLAP MY HAND AWAY. It's literally muscle memory now; I've already done it twice while writing this little blurb.)
  2. Maybe keep a clean desk and not have it be cluttered with makeup 24/7 so I'm not always forcing myself to use my computer at the dining table like a coffee shop hobo in my own apt.
  3. Organize said makeup. And don’t buy more. Ok, I'm definitely gonna buy more but I'll think reeeaaaaaallly hard about it beforehand.
  4. Don't feel shy/embarrassed about pushing for the (few) things I love to do.
  5. Stop freaking out about my skin. *glares at prescription gels* Literally no one cares if I'm not wearing foundation on any given day. Though maybe drink more water / eat less crap / sleep more, the usual.
  6. Be less of a scared little peanut. 

P.S. Sanrio officially introduced a character named Aggretsuko (which literally means “aggressive rage-girl”) and this lil' beer-chugging red panda is all of us.

Also, P.P.S. I have one of those five-year journals where you're supposed to answer one question a day for a whole year, and then repeat for another four years. I think I got it in 2014, and it's barely filled in (aka, some of the pages don't have anything recorded). Taking bets on how long I'll take to finish it. Maybe 2020?

KBYEEEEEEE.

Week In Review 2.21.16 - 2.27.16

First round of weekly favorites! Leggo.

Favorite...
Song(s): 'This Isn't Who We Are' by J-Reyes ft. Jordan Lorenzo
               'I Need U' by BTS (kpop phase not ending anytime soon ¯\_(ツ)_/¯)
Read: The uproar within the Asian American community in response to NYPD cop Peter Liang's conviction of second degree manslaughter - here.
Place: Google office/building/world of its own. Of course I instagrammed.
Outfit inspiration: This. And to think I once hated black. Does this mean I'm a real adult now?
Most intriguing beauty product: This green-tinted lip crayon from Son & Park.
Food eaten: Instant ramen. Nostalgia = all the feels. Taste = all the sodium.
Video: 2016 Oscar-nominated animated short "We Can't Live Without Cosmos"  (Joyce's rec :3) So touching.
Whatever: Piece of news? I got an internship at BuzzFeed, wheee.

Goal for upcoming week/life in general: Sleep and get up on a normal person's schedule.
Bye.

I look cool cause I'm wearing a hat.

Sunday brunch at Calle Ocho = bottomless sangria = happiness.

I don't know how to take 'fashion blogger' pictures and I'm not going to pretend like I do. I just asked my friend to snap a quick picture of me post-brunch and full-belly, wherever I happened to be standing. I think the taxis add a nice burst of yellow-orange. It was a lovely day, so of course I decided to go straight home and nap for a few hours. Looking back I'm very surprised 1) I made it out of bed and 2) went through the effort of piecing together a more-elaborate-than-usual outfit (weekends = pajamas). 

Also, a quick shoutout to http://isthelrunning.com/. Fickle, fickle L train.

 I felt like an idiot clutching my hat every five seconds to prevent it from flying off my head, but add a smile and it makes for a nice shot.

I felt like an idiot clutching my hat every five seconds to prevent it from flying off my head, but add a smile and it makes for a nice shot.

 Cardigan: Zara; Printed Top: Loft; Skirt: Urban Outfitters; Hat: also UO; Purse: H&amp;M; Tights: Express; Booties: Aldo

Cardigan: Zara; Printed Top: Loft; Skirt: Urban Outfitters; Hat: also UO; Purse: H&M; Tights: Express; Booties: Aldo

Toodles,
Sarah

At First Sight: Korean Skincare

 Highlights:&nbsp;Soft, fluffy foam.

Highlights: Soft, fluffy foam.

 Fermented green tea leaves chilling in the bottom compartment.

Fermented green tea leaves chilling in the bottom compartment.

 Love the minimalist bottle design and the faint/not-overpowering rose scent.

Love the minimalist bottle design and the faint/not-overpowering rose scent.

 #squadgoals

#squadgoals

Hello! A goal of mine for this year is to take better care of my skin, as in not being lazy about removing makeup and washing my face, always wearing sunscreen, giving my skin lots of hydration, and whatever else I don't know of yet because skincare confuses me. Sometimes I'm not even sure if I buy into skincare products, period. I've never been blown away by any product I've used and usually become suspicious that they're doing more harm than good. However, there's a billion other factors to consider - high levels of stress (almost always), lots of coffee, unhealthy diet (I basically only eat frozen food; it's a problem), bad sleep habits (always), dirty pillowcases (I switch between two of them and then wash both of them every two weeks!), etc.

But there's a few main reasons for why I've been reading more into skincare products, and Korean skincare in particular:
1) I use makeup on a fairly regular basis so it'd probably be a good idea to take better care of my skin, given all the (wonderful) gunk that sits on top of it. 
2) Koreans know their shit when it comes to skincare. And Korean products would theoretically be nicer to my skin because it's targeted towards Asians and I'm Asian and all that.
3) Cute packaging (Not that I base my decisions on packaging alone, but um, http://www.buzzfeed.com/sarahhan/23-korean-beauty-products-so-adorable-youll-cry-1na8j#.gpNlrQm4B.)

I'm pretty much the least qualified person to talk about skincare, but it's all about learning along the way, right? Or it's really my way of justifying the money spent on this stuff. Either way I'm going to give a little spiel about my most recent skincare product purchase from Soko Glam, one of the biggest e-retailers of Korean beauty/skincare in the US and the only one I've bought from. (There's also Peach & Lilly, Glow Recipe, Memebox, Birchbox, Urban Outfitters, Sephora, etc.) It's only been about a week since I started using the Neogen Green Tea Real Fresh Foam Cleanser and Son & Park Beauty Water (which I use as a toner after washing my face to rebalance pH levels) but I think I can already tell that my skin hates me a little less than before. After I wash my face my problem areas are not as red/visibly irritated, so that's a big plus. 

For reference, before I was using First Aid Beauty's Face Cleanser and Pixi's Glow Tonic (which is a cult favorite in the U.K. or something). Even though the beauty water and green tea cleanser both have a ridiculous laundry list of ingredients they're a lot more gentle on my skin, which I'm attributing to what I can only guess to be lower concentrations of various alcohols and acids and higher concentrations of natural extracts like willow bark, papaya and rose oil. I'm not a fan of Witch Hazel (irritates my skin) so I thought maybe that's what was wrong with the Glow Tonic, but turns out the beauty water also has Witch Hazel in it so WHO KNOWS? Bottom line is I really like using these two products in conjunction (with my Banila Co Clean It Zero as the first step). High-quality, calming products make washing up way less of a pain.

Oh, and I purchased the green tea sheet mask because it was only $2 and I wanted free shipping (>$50) but was a dollar short. I have nothing to say about it other than the fact that--as with all other sheet masks I've tried (which hasn't been many)--yeah, my face felt a lot more hydrated and slippery afterwards.

Until my next random post,
Sarah (:

Sense of Self

If you were to just ask me what “sense of self” means, I’d laugh in your face and then have an existential crisis while simultaneously stuffing my face with chocolate. So I’m not going to answer that. But I am going to play off of YouTuber Ingrid Nilsen’s ‘Sense of Self’ series; the basic rundown is she visits the home of her featured guest and said guest shares five objects that represent each of the five senses to them. Ok, readysetgo.

SIGHT
I’m just now coming back to this one after finishing the rest. Future me says hi! I’m cheating and putting down three: anywhere in Paris, the 2005 version of ‘Pride and Prejudice,’ and the inside of la Sagrada Familia. I’m warning you, don’t make me choose just one.

1)   Paris because I’m a cliché. But in all honesty I think the City of Lights lives up to its hyper-romanticization. Also, bread. Lots of amazing bread.
2)   I’ve lost count on how many times I’ve watched this movie and I refuse to watch any other version because Keira Knightley is forever Elizabeth and Matthew Macfadyen is forever Darcy—no ‘ifs’ or ‘buts’ about it. #whereismydarcytho
3)   See pictures below.

SOUND
The initial answer is easy; it has to be a song. If I’m on my laptop (which is always) I’m listening to music and if I’m walking anywhere outside I have my earbuds in, without fail. Thank you, Spotify Premium, for not letting ads ruin my happiness (#notsponsored).  

By now most of my friends involuntarily know I’ve been batshit crazy about... completely obsessed with... listening to KPop music as of lately, but I’m going to choose both a Korean and English song (painful to choose just one for each, asdflkjsffff).

~Korean song~
'Blue' by Big Bang
This song literally soothes my nerves; I can’t even describe it. It has a super melancholy undertone but it makes me so happy. Not going to analyze what that means.

~English song~
'One Call Away' by Charlie Puth
What else to say besides I'm in love with this guy's velvety voice. *heart-eyed emoji*

TOUCH/FEEL
My bed? Blankets smothering me when it’s winter and I’m back home and every upstairs room feels like being trapped inside a tundra? Strong contenders for the true potato that I am. It may not have much meaning behind it, but I’d say currently it’d be a skincare product that you spray on your face: MISSHA’s Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence Mist. Try saying that three times fast. It’s cooling, calming, and generously treats my skin; love it.

SMELL
HANDS DOWN the smell of my Mom’s ‘tian su bing,’ or 甜酥饼 (shout out to Claire for proving I haven’t retained much from 8 years of Chinese school), baking in the oven. Tian su bing are only the most heavenly, perfectly sweet and flaky Chinese pastries to ever exist—but let’s be clear, only those made by my mom qualify. I devour these so quickly that my mom has actually tried to stop me from eating too many in one day. Like that’d ever work.

*Note to self: Learn how to make them, or have Mom mail a bunch over every two months. The latter seems more likely.
**Honorary shout out to our current bathroom soap. Sugar cane husk, mmm.

TASTE
See above. In addition, mashed potatoes and chocolate chip cookies will never let you down.

That's it. That's all.
Toodles,
Sarah