MY RECIPE ↠ GREEN SMOOTHIES #GOGOGS

As I’m getting older, I’ve been trying to make some adjustments to my lifestyle and one of the ways I do this is by choosing a healthier diet. I just turned 23 last month and I’m really set on losing some weight and toning my body because “If not now… when?” A super easy way to get a bunch of nutritious goodness in your body is packing your favorites fruits and leafy greens in a good ol’ glass of green smoothie #GOGOGS. I sometimes post on my Snapchat and Instagram story when I make these smoothies and I always get messages from friends asking for my recipe. I figured I would make a separate blog post for this so more people can try it out. This recipe is obviously super customizable — it just takes trial and error to figure out what works best!

I like to prepare a couple of servings at a time so I don’t have to make them every morning/night. I recommend drinking them within 3 days and storing them in mason jars to preserve the freshness. Here’s my recipe to make about 3 servings (1 serving = ~1.5 cup) of #GOGOGS —

1 banana
1 avocado
6-8 handfuls of spinach
1-2 tablespoons of chia seeds
1.5 cups of almond milk (sub. milk, coconut water, or water)
1 tablespoon of almond butter (optional)
Chunks of frozen mango (optional for sweetness; sub. for favorite fruit)

Disclaimer: This is a rough estimate for my recipe. I don’t use exact measurements and just eyeball it

You can definitely play around with the ingredients, but the key for this green smoothie is not putting too much sugar (even if it is from fruit!). This is a nutrition-packed smoothie — you get your fiber, vitamin C, potassium, omega 3-fatty acids, antioxidants, and overall improvement in your digestive system. They’re also super refreshing for a post-workout smoothie or just a quick grab-and-go breakfast for your busy morning.

What are your favorite ingredients in your healthy smoothies? Curious to hear other recipes 🙂

P.S. How do y’all like my illustrations? I’m trying to get more in tune with my artistic side so you’ll be seeing more of my drawings in the future!

MONTHLY FAVORITES ↠ AUGUST 2017

Ah, my sorry attempt to post my monthly favorites on time has failed yet again. But they are my favorites post to read and write about, so I hope my late favorites will still inspire you to grab a thing or two from what I’ve been loving last month in August! I added a little twist to the end too, just keep reading to see what.

Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Liquified Lipstick in cava & caramelized ($24 sephora)

Liquid lipsticks have always been my weapon of choice in the past, but the Bite Liquified Lipsticks are outside my usual ammo. Matte foundation, matte blush, and matte lipsticks were my go-to and this time around I’ve started to lean more towards a glowy and glossy finish. Bite Beauty is starting to become one of my favorite brands with their great lip products–  they even use natural ingredients! I fell in love with the online swatches of these lipsticks and I quickly made the purchase when the opportunity arose. They leave a creamy, satin finish with great lasting power and pigmentation. My lips don’t feel dry at all when I apply them, and I always keep one by my desk at work. The packaging is also super sleek. I have 4 different shades but my favorites so far are cava (a lilac pink) and caramelized (a peachy nude) — they are perfect as everyday lippies!

Cargo HD Picture Perfect Pressed Powder in #30 ($32 ulta)

I know, I know– I was totally raving about the BareMinerals foundation in July, but I think I like the Cargo pressed powder just a little more. It does a great job at reducing the appearance of my pores, while also hiding any extreme texture on my skin. Although the BareMinerals powder provided good coverage, it did have a slight tendency to accentuate texture if I didn’t apply it correctly. I also really appreciate how my Cargo powder is a lot more travel-friendly, so it’s perfect for touch ups. Additionally, I wanted to note that this maintained a matte finish for much longer than BareMinerals.

Benefit Goof Proof Brow Pencil Easy Shape & Fill in #3 ($24 sephora)

Oh, the eyebrows– they can either make or break your look. Thankfully, the Benefit eyebrow pencil is here to make your look. For the past year, I’ve been using powders, rather than pencils, to fill in these caterpillars I call eyebrows in. I initially thought powders had a longer lasting power, until this eyebrow pencil came into my life! Its waxy texture is not too rough, making it long lasting and easy to apply — typically I find most pencils difficult to use. Unlike other pencils, it has a triangular shape that makes application a smooth and easy process. I’ll be buying a back up of this very soon.

Beauty Protector Protect & Detangle ($23.50 birchbox)

I received a deluxe sample of this detangler in my July Birchbox and didn’t really start using it until August. My only disappointment is that I didn’t try it earlier! My hair has always given me a difficult time– I have naturally thick, frizzy, and wavy hair, not to mention I’ve dyed it numerous times for the past 10 years. I struggled with finding a perfect leave-in spray/cream that would tame my lion’s mane without making it too heavy or left with little results. But this completely changed the game for me! Not only does it smell divine, but it really does get the job done. When I’m done washing my hair, I just towel dry my hair and spray this on. It makes my hair silky smooth without weighing it down. I will definitely be purchasing a full size of this when I run out.

Klairs Supple Preparation Facial Toner ($19.90 amazon & $25.50 sokoglam)

When it comes to Korean skincare, two terms that people can be easily confused with are hydration vs. moisture. Contrary to popular belief, these terms are actually not interchangeable and are used to describe different states of your skin. Without going into a complicated explanation, I’ll put this as simply as I possibly can — ‘hydration’ = water and ‘moisture’ = oil. A good balance of the two is usually recommended in your skincare routine, while others argue that hydration is important mostly for those with oily skin. The Klairs Toner distributes just enough hydration to my skin without making it greasy. It makes me skin bouncy and soft, and if you need extra hydration you can add multiple layers and it won’t get heavy! I would recommend this product for my oily skinned guys and gals with dehydrated skin.

“The Little Book of Skincare: Korean Beauty Secrets for Healthy, Glowing Skin” by Charlotte Cho ($15.94 amazon)

My growing knowledge of skincare started to kick-off with me roaming around reddit and other beauty blogs. But I wanted a more credible source to learn about the craft, so a book by an accredited aesthetician was right up my alley. Charlotte Cho’s book on skincare is packed with tons of helpful information, not only on skincare but also Korean culture, which I enjoyed a lot. She explains different topics from suggested products and ingredient uses to expectations of Korean beauty and a recommended diet, and yet it is still an easy read with the cute illustrations and casual tone she uses. I would highly suggest giving this book a read if you are just getting into skincare, I can honestly say I’ve learned so much and I can’t wait to get another book on skincare.

Chung Jung Won Organic Brown Rice & Barely Tea ($4.99 galleria market)

Not much to say here, but damn this tea is amazing! It’s has no caffeine in it but it is still rich in antioxidants. It has other health benefits as well, so I don’t have a problem drinking 2… maybe even 3 glasses of this a day. It has a delicious, slightly smokey taste to it — I usually like sipping this over ice. It helps me with my food cravings, so I find myself not snacking as much. You can probably find this at your local Korean or Japanese market.

And that’s the end of my favorites! Now on to my little twist. Okay, it’s not that crazy but I thought I could add an ‘unfavorite’ or two in each of my monthly favorites post. I did just want to make a disclaimer though — these are just products that personally did not work out for me. It is totally fine if you use these products! Here we go–

MONTHLY UNFAVORITES ↠ AUGUST 2017

Benefit Boi-ing Airbrush Concealer ($20 sephora)

I received this product as a free deluxe sample in one of my Sephora packages. Benefit claims that this concealer is lightweight and undetectable with sheer to medium coverage. It had a faint peachy undertone, so I thought it’d be great for color correcting the darkness under my eyes. Unfortunately, the formula of this concealer was way too dry and it made it pretty difficult to blend. It was super obvious I was wearing makeup with this concealer on, which is a no-no for me.

EcoTools Perfecting Blender Duo ($9.99 ulta)

I heard some positive reviews for this sponge, and since it’s a drugstore product I thought it would be a great replacement for the well-loved Beauty Blender Sponge. I got it for 20% off of Ulta, so I didn’t have much to lose. I really wanted this sponge to work out for me, but sadly it didn’t. Maybe it’s just the shape of my face, but the way that the EcoTools sponge is angled does not blend foundation very well onto my skin. Unlike the Beauty Blender, it has a flathead-like point, which made it difficult for me to apply my under eye concealer. The texture is also more firm and not as soft as its competitor, making some applications of liquid products to be a bit splotchy. Maybe I’m just using it wrong, but I’m going to continue using the sponge with different techniques — still rooting for you, EcoTools!

Did you like my short section of unfavorites last month? Let me know your thoughts. Figured it would add some variety to these monotonous monthly favorites posts. I’m trying to brew up something new for my next post– just keep an eye out!

  Calamari, out.

A TRAVEL BLOG ↠ 12 HOURS IN SEATTLE

No typo here folks, you read that right — just 12 hours. One round trip, one 90+ degree day, and one infamously delayed airline to complete my Summer trip to the rainy city, Seattle. You might be wondering, “Why would anyone spend just a half day in a city full of hustle and bustle?” And to that I answer, “Why not?” It was a spontaneous decision, but being a young 22-year-old fairly fresh out of college I didn’t think I had much to lose. So let me tell you all about my quick trip up north.

To answer your first question, Matt (my boyfriend) is currently in the application process for physical therapy schools and the University of Washington is one of his top picks. We decided on a mini trip to Seattle since A) tickets were cheap B) we wouldn’t need to pay for an overnight stay and C) the majority of our mini vacation was dedicated to visiting Matt’s hometown in NorCal, so we wanted to spend more time there instead. Even though we didn’t spend that much time in Seattle, I would say we made our trip well worth the money!

Our first stop — The University of Washington. It was a quick stop at the school, but visiting here was the main reason behind our trip. Sadly, we didn’t get to explore much of their campus since the PT department was fairly small and we wanted to see other places as well. I think what made this trip a little more enjoyable was the fact that both Matt and I have already visited Seattle in the past, so there wasn’t so much pressure to go from destination to destination or having the fear of missing out. All the stress mostly accumulated towards the end of our trip, but I’ll explain that later.

I was actually super proud of Matt when we visited the department. He built up the courage to walk into the office of one of the professors there and talked to him for a solid hour. I don’t think I would have the guts to do that! Made our trip worth it even more since he was able to get some info and tips on the whole application process straight from the source. Now that the serious business was over, it was time for us to head over to Pike Place Market.

I didn’t mention this earlier but our flight was at 6:00AM and by the time we got out of the university, it was roughly almost noon. So you could imagine, we were freaking hungry! Aside from some snacks at an airport lounge, we hadn’t eaten anything all day and Matt was craving some chowder from the award-winning restaurant, Pike Place Chowder. Thankfully, we beat the lunch rush and got there around 2:00PM, so the wait wasn’t anything more than about 15 minutes. We decided to share a lobster roll and a sampler platter with 4 mini bowls of the New England Clam Chowder, Market Chowder, Seafood Bisque chowder, and Smoke Salmon Chowder. Let me save you the trouble– the Seafood Bisque Chowder is the way to go! Oh, and don’t get the lobster roll, just… don’t.

After our chowder-full lunch, it was time for a little dessert at Ellenos Real Greek Yogurt and boy did we make the mistake of not sharing a cup. Not saying their serving sizes are exceptionally large, but the chowder from earlier had us feeling some type of way. Matt got the marionberry pie and I just got the marionberry (it didn’t have the bread bits like the pie version, but I wish it did). Once we finished stuffing ourselves, we walked around the rest of the market and eventually hit the Gum Wall, where I made my mark in the town.

If you know me at all, you probably know that I absolutely despise beer (although I do find myself ordering a glass when my options are limited — hello, Guinness!). So what’s the next best thing? You guessed right if you went with a cold glass of hard cider, and what do you know — Schilling Cider House was not too far from the Pike Market (cheers internally)!  Yes, this bar was totally made for me, a shameless beer-hater and, to no surprise, our first order was a flight of 6 uniquely-flavored ciders. I can’t particularly remember the exact names of the ones I enjoyed the most (not because I was hammered or anything, there were just so. many. flavors), but I can tell you my favorite ones were the peach and pomegranate ones. Probably my least helpful tip, since they do seasonal flavors and we’re falling into autumn now. Other than the cider, I did really enjoy the setting of the bar itself. It had a ton of card games to choose from, and I guess I’ll insert here that I beat Matt 3 out of 5 in a game of Speed, ha! But we set aside our rivalry with a friendly game of Mad Gab. After a couple of more glasses and fruitless attempts at the ‘difficult side’ of Mad Gab, it was time to meet up for dinner with an old coworker of mine, Kevin.

Matt spoke very highly of the Amazing Thai Lao Cuisine restaurant, so highly that I would have felt like a damn fool if I skipped out on a meal here. If you couldn’t tell by now, we’ve had a lot of food on our trip so far. I’m actually amazed I was able to make room for our dinner, and boy was it worth it! We first shared an appetizer of  kao nam tod, a crispy rice salad — this is a crunchy, savory must-try! For our main orders I went with my safe Thai meal, a yellow curry with shrimp, while Matt surprised me with his order of kao poon. I didn’t feel too bad about my food of choice, seeing Kevin order the basic of the basic, pad thai. After a quick little game of catch-up and full stomachs, we made our way over to Kevin’s house for a brief tour and from there he drove us to the airport (true homie right there!).

Our first mistake planning this whole trip, and I failed to mention this earlier, was booking with Spirit Airlines. If you know anything about flying, you would know that Spirit is infamously known for delayed flights. Our original flight was scheduled to depart at 9:45PM but with all the inevitable delays, we didn’t take off until about 12:30AM. Matt and I were incredibly exhausted by dinner time, I had been awake since 4:00AM! With all the flight delay notifications, we took a little nap at our gate waiting for boarding times to be announced. I guess with us being so burntout, we didn’t hear our boarding time and completely missed it (by this time the departure time was 11:30PM). The front desk people were very short with us, rude, and didn’t even look us in the eye during our little fiasco! You get what you pay for. I was way too tired to express how stressed I was so I just sat there in awe, trying to figure out where we’d sleep for the night and how much we’d have to spend to get a new flight. After about 10 minutes, the Spirit employees told us we can board because, wait for it… THE FLIGHT WAS DELAYED AGAIN FOR AN HOUR. At this point I really wanted to express my frustration but I was just glad to have a flight back home. If there’s anything I’ve learned on this trip at all, it’s that I’m never booking with Spirit ever again, no matter how ‘affordable’ they are.

That ends my short trip to Seattle! I decided to try a different style with this post in particular, so let me know your thoughts. I’m going to try to make a set schedule for my blog posts, so please bear with me. Thanks for sticking around this far.

  Calamari, out.

p.s. thanks Matt for the pictures 🙂

 

MONTHLY FAVORITES ↠ JULY 2017

I think I’m already beginning a trend with these better-late-than-never posts, but 7 days into August isn’t so bad to post my July favorites. This month, I tried to focus more on finding a skincare routine that best suited my skin type and wearing less makeup. Finding the right skincare routine is definitely a long process, and I have to admit I’ve been testing products on and off for the past year. But this month, I finally discovered a couple of products that really made a difference, so let’s start off with skincare first.

COSRX Acne Pimple Master Patch ($5 sokoglam & amazon)

image provided by sokoglam

This pimple patch is a hydrocolloid bandage that kills bacteria and heals whiteheads.  I just slap a couple of these on my face overnight, and I am not exaggerating at all when I say there is a SIGNIFICANT improvement the next morning when I wake up. The main trick on using this is that it only works on whiteheads with an open wound (so right after you pop that bad boy), it does NOT work on cystic acne or closed comedones. What this miracle product does is speed up the healing process of an open wound — so after about 7-8 hours of keeping this on your blemish, it is a lot flatter and less inflamed. This patch is the last step of my evening skincare routine. After I apply my serums, essences, and moisturizers, I take a cotton swab and wipe off any excess product on the blemish so that the patch can stick on properly.

My Beauty Diary Sheet Masks (~$14-$22 for 10 amazon)

image provided by amazon

I was always a wash-off face mask kind of girl, until I realized that there is such a thing as having dehydrated skin. I always thought the main skin types were normal, oily, combination, and dry skin and I labeled myself as a member of the oily skin club. Thanks to /r/asianbeauty  I realized that my oiliness may be rooted from dehydration due to overexfoliation. Put simply, when you exfoliate your skin too often and constantly use oil-eliminating products, it causes your skin to dry out and overproduce oil — thus making you shine like crazy! Ladies and gents, oils can be good for you. That being said, sheet masks have been extremely helpful in helping me restore my moisture barrier and the My Beauty Diary ones are packed with tons of serum! They have various types of masks suited for different skin types but my favorites so far are the Imperial Bird’s Nest Mask and Apple Polyphenol Mask — one for firming and hydrating and the other for brightening and clarifying, respectively.

Daiso Silicone Moisturizing Mask ($1.50 daiso)

image provided by amazon

This goes hand-in-hand with my sheet masks! I think I have an oddly shaped head, so sheet masks tend to fall off my face. I put the Daiso Silicone Moisturizing Mask on top of my sheet mask (beware — you’ll look like Freddy Krueger) to keep it in place so that I can also do other tasks while I’m waiting for it so soak in. It also prolongs the effect of my sheet mask since it prevents the serum from evaporating into the air too quickly. It’s made out of silicone, so I just rinse it with water when I’m done using it and let it air dry until I’m ready to use it the next time — affordable and reusable.

BareMinerals Original Foundation Broad Spectrum SPF 15 ($29 sephora)

image provided by sephora

Foundation is my favorite makeup product to test out — liquid foundation to be exact. So it was a little difficult for me to turn a new leaf and get on the powder foundation game. This month I tried to steer clear of using liquid foundation, since it can get a bit heavy and clog your pores. The thing about most powder foundations is that they can easily get too powdery and cakey, but the BareMinerals foundation doesn’t do that! I get medium coverage with a satin to demi-matte natural finish. I don’t feel like I’m suffocating my skin when I use this, so it’s perfect for everyday use. It also makes me feel a lot better knowing that it doesn’t have too many ingredients in it. I use shade golden medium 14, it’s a pretty good shade for me and I’m in between a NC30 and NC35 in MAC.

2017 Sephora VIB Rouge Brush (free after becoming VIB Rouge)

image provided by sephora

I love using this brush specifically with the BareMinerals foundation. Initially, I used a large fluffy face brush to apply powder foundation, but now I actually prefer using a small brush. It’s not too tightly packed and it’s not too fluffy — it’s right in between. I find that using a smaller brush helps me get more precise in areas where I need to add a 2nd layer of powder for more coverage. Plus, it’s travel friendly so it’s perfect for touch-ups!

Colourpop’s Nail Polish in One Wish, Two Wish ($6 colourpop)

image provided by colourpop

The “holo” trend has been in the beauty community for a while now, but it took me a while to find the perfect holo nail polish until Colourpop came out with their new nail polish line this month. With just two coats, you get a metallic rainbow sheen — perfect for summer! I keep my jewelry fairly simple, so having this pop of holographic glitter adds a colorful accent to my hands. Its lasting power is nothing impressive, it typically lasts about 5-6 days until it starts to chip with a base and top coat. But I am mainly in love with it for the color!

That’s it so far for my July favorites this month! It’s a couple of days late, but that doesn’t mean these products should go unmentioned. I’m still testing out some other skincare products, and I need to wait a couple of more weeks until I decide how I really feel about them — so I’ll save those for my August faves if they make the cut. Keep an eye out for my next post, I’ll either be talking about my trip to Seattle from last week or do some unboxings. Leave a comment if you had a preference and what your favorites were for July  :).

P.S. I just wanted to give a special thanks to my friend, Leslie, for making my logo! Isn’t it just the cutest?

A TRAVEL GUIDE ↠ THE LAND OF THE RISING SUN

It’s been a long time coming, but one year later and I finally decided to compile a concise list of tips and suggestions for traveling to Japan – so welcome to my first blog post! Being the crazy, Japanese enthusiast that I am, I did tons and tons of research for Japan travel, so here’s my personal take on travel tips so YOU don’t have to spend hours researching yourself.

Japan isn’t just about their sushi and ramen. Be adventurous and go outside the typical Japanese dishes you see (but I won’t hate you if you went to Ichiran Ramen more than once). Vegans, be warned– the “craziest” thing that I ate in Japan was an uncooked horse dish… I’m not telling you to straight up order a platter of raw horse meat once you hop off the plane, but just don’t be the basic tourist that just eats 2 or 3 different things. You might want to try okonomiyaki, yakitori, omurice, and if you have an extra penny or two, wagyu beef.

Their cafes are a huge culture shock. Whether you’re an animal lover, an otaku for anime, or a robot fanatic, there will most likely be a cafe for you! I was able to fit in not one, not two, but three different cafes during my stay in Japan – the hedgehog cafe, the robot restaurant, and a maid cafe. The Robot Restaurant definitely screamed tourist trap but it was surely a unique experience. There is an endless selection of cafes in Japan, like vampires, owls, gundams, etc., so be sure to add the best one that fits your interests to your schedule.

You need to go to Tokyo Disney. No, no I’m not suggesting you go, I’m actually TELLING you to go. You’ll understand when you see the prices. You can purchase a 1-day pass to Disneyland for what is roughly equivalent to $74 USD. Yeah, that’s  about $100 cheaper than the overpriced park hopper ticket for a single day at the Anaheim location. Need I say more?

Japan doesn’t play with their seafood. I’ll keep this part short, since the Tsukiji Fish Market is actually scheduled to change locations, but I’d say paying a visit to the largest seafood market in the world is a must. I took a tour (not recommended, you’re better off on your own) that gave me access to the restricted inner wholesale market, and it really opened my eyes to not only the culinary arts of seafood but also the hard work and dedication that is put into this business. There’s also lots of free samples, can’t say no to that!

Don Quijote will probably take most your money. Alright, I’m exaggerating but let me tell you, this discounted chain store will do your wallet some damage. Being the shopaholic  that I am, I paid multiple visits to Don Quijote and you’d understand too once you walk in there! It’s basically a one stop shop to find your snacks, toiletries, clothes, souvenirs, home goods, and Waldo (joking- but I wouldn’t be surprised if they had something of the sort). Wish we had one of these in Cali, but target will do for now!

Google images do not do their gardens and shrines justice. Heck, this blog post won’t do them justice so here’s a couple of my favorite ones – Kasuga Grand Shrine, Fushimi Inari Shrine, Hama Rikyu Garden, and Kiyomizudera Temple.

Their festivals do not disappoint. Depending on the date of your travel, you may get a chance to check out some really cool events! Luckily for me, I went during the Obon season, which is basically their annual celebration to honor the spirits of those who have passed. These festivals were probably my favorite part of my visit to Japan so here are the ones I attended – Asakusa Lantern Festival and Mantoro Lantern Lighting. Make sure to check an event calendar before you go!

Now, if you wanted to completely ignore all these tips and suggestions for your vacation or if you were just too lazy to read, why are you even on this post? Just kidding. If you’re more of a visual person, you can watch my little video compilation of my 10 day trip to Japan last August here!

Feel free to shoot me a DM on Instagram if you wanted me to share my way-too-detailed-it’s-almost-unnecessary itinerary sheet with you! It’s complete with addresses and prices for food and transportation.