Youth and Beauty Culture In Seoul

Pale faces. Straight eyebrows.

Girls walk around with rollers in their hair in public.

Guys walk around with masks covering their nose and mouth (and I’m not sure it’s for the air pollution).

Guys wear foundation.

Girls’ hairs here are impeccably blow-dried, waved, or flipped.

Red-orange lipstick is very popular here.
I walk down the road, and I see a visible, consistent, pattern of young adults staring at other young adults doing the down-up, check-out thing.

There is a pressure to be “thin,” 105 – under thin. In a moment of relapsed insecurity and all things folly, I think to myself, “thank god I’m tall. It stretches me out.

Speckled on the streets, faces pass me by, similar to the ones I’ve seen on the ads which have accompanied me up the escalators many a commute in Gangnam.

In good humor, I ask myself, “would I have survived in this environment of intense scrutiny over appearance?”
(as a young girl, surely not.)

The Wynwood Guide: Miami

Everyone has probably visited Miami once in their life, if not for Spring Break, or for the lovely beaches. If you’re tired of hanging out in the loud or sheltered parts of Miami, and want to venture out of South Beach and Collins Ave., here are some recommendations for you to explore the blossoming neighborhood culture of Wynwood.

Art:

Being the art lover that I am, I made it a mission to visit every mappable gallery in the design district; these are my recommendations for galleries that impressed me with their representation of artists and newness of objects that I would not see if I was in New York:

Art by God : A wonderful store and gallery that I can spend hours in. There was an amazing $4000 Queen of Congo piece I wanted to leave with on my last trip, but I contented myself with buying a small bust of an African boy made of serpentine stone and crafted by an artist from the Shona Tribe (for those interested, the Shona are a people from Zimbabwe, whose ancestors built great stone cities in Southern Africa in days long past!).

Tresart Gallery

To note: It’s a pleasure to hit up art galleries in Miami because they have such a fair representation of Latin American artists, something I haven’t seen much of in concentration in Chelsea or the UES.

Design:

Ranivilu Gallery – functions as part gallery, part design store.

 

There was also Glottman, which was very popular amongst the people there, but it didn’t do much for me. The products it carries look like that of every other design store, but perhaps you might enjoy it.

 

Ice cream:

Dasher & Crank: For ice cream tourists, this is a must.

 

Coffee (or avo-toast for the women):

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Dr. Smood: Great interior and awesome cafe concept. Healthy, but with a twist. They offer cashew milk as an option for their drinks, and it’s a great addition to the coffees I’ve drank in New York. I think in New York the extent to our coffee explorations are Nitro brews, grass-fed butter bullets, propolis/bee additive brews, and Australian concept brews.

If anyone knows of a coffee shop in NYC that offers cashew-milk based coffee, I would love to know.

 

Food:

KYU: A modern asian style eatery. Good for drinks.

Coyo Taco: A very popular taco joint. If you are into tacos. Me– not so much.

 

Stores:

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Plant the Future Wynwood: Recommended by my lovely friend, Thier, and I loved it. I’m not sure if the staff knows what they were doing and I certainly did not think they had a service mindset, but the interior concept of this plant store is cute and fun to walk through. The store has everything from modern potted plants to plants potted in animation characters.

ANTIDOTE: A sustainability focused womenswear concept shop. Owned by a stylish woman who owned a boutique in France and decided to open another concept in Miami.

 

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Inside My Tulips

When something so simple can give you so much joy:

Start: Pot + 5 tulip bulbs

Flower Bloom:

The beautiful prints and propeller shapes formed by the overlapping petals.
Can you see the pretty fuzz on top of the tulip? It’s supposed to be mold though. 😦
The richness of the flowers’ robes.

13 hours time:

Inspired, so I paint (acrylic and watercolour):

Another day:

Chop chop :

I placed the flowers in a mason jar and headed to my sister’s to surprise her.

2 Days Later: My sister, inspired like me by their beauty started drawing as well.

She is the best drawer in our family by far. 🙂

Burgers of New York

So here we are.

I have a professed love for burger that has burgeoned into a near weird obsession and I thank my friends for bearing with my interest and passion for these cute little potato bunn-ed/brioche bun things for the last couple of years.

Here are nyc burgers that a vast majority of New Yorkers or I have strongly liked for your perusal and fancies.

Curious as to know which burgers are my favorites in the city? (HINT: I love those verging on the salty, savory, packed styles, and I most certainly love a thick, tall patty, YUM!)

On a scale of the basic to the experimental:

My Homily to Burgers

Savory Experimental;

Le Rivage

Dudley’s

Comments: Patty is on the sweeter side

LIC Market

Comments: Very good, it’s worth venturing into another borough

Savory: 

Bar Sardine

Comments: Vertical burgers

The Spotted Pig

Comments: Burger is on the salty side because of that delicious cheese. You’ll either love it or hate it.

Barneys New York – Chelsea Downtown

Comments: Not fond of the fries, “pomme frites,” that come with it, but the burger is delicious.

Minetta Tavern

Salvation Burger

Comments: Sadly closed. (RIP)

Savory Traditional:

Bar Luxembourg

The Jane Restaurant

Comments: Solid, greasy shoestring fries

The Breslin

L’Aile ou la Cuisse

Ruby’s

The Wren 

Comments: Eh.

Minimalist Traditional: 

Nectar Cafe

Comments: Very good, but I think the patty is very fatty or something. I get sleepy quickly whenever I go here to have their burger.

Mel’s Burger Bar

Park Avenue Tavern

Minimalist:

J.G. Melon: Not really a fan, (gasp) sorry.

P. J. Clarkes: Not really a fan, (gasp) sorry.

Wilfie & Nell: Not really a fan, sorry.

Comments: From the times I went to get burgers here (more than a few times), all of them had a weird aftertaste smell. Maybe it was just me, or the times I went. Either way, a good burger joint’s burgers should be consistent, non?

Eli’s Market:

Comments: Eh. It is clean. Not bad.

Note 1: I know I’m forgetting a lot, but there were just too many burgers!

Note 2: Maybe you’re all right. Maybe I’m eating too many burgers. 😀

Note 3: I’ve purposely omitted Shake Shack, and In-N-Out. Those aren’t the point of this.

Note 4: If you have suggestions for burgers in the city, please, please send them my way.

Bon exploring good burgers :).

Home Secrets

I don’t call myself the ideal homemaker, and my friends know I rarely cook. I’d also prefer to use FlyCleaners, but they “don’t yet service in my area”.

However, thanks to the Amazon savvy lady that is my mother, combined with my penchant for taste, I have picked up some tips and tricks à la “Health, Household, and Baby Care

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that make me feel somewhat better about my aforementioned failures.

 

  1. Dry Shampoo

The Harmless One

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk

 

My All Time Personal Favorite

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warning: it does have a strong English garden-like smell to it.

Batiste Instant Hair Refresh Dry Shampoo: Floral & Flirty Blush. I found this at Boots back in England. It will be a staple for life. I only recommend this scent. I’ve tried the others and I wouldn’t say I recommend.

What The People Say

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Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray: People have recommended this to me as one of the best on the market, but frankly the smell really irritates my nose and affects my sense of smell. Perhaps you might enjoy it. After all, we are all different.

 

Stains, the bane of white blouses.

If you are busy, sometimes messy, and selectively lazy like me, you’ll need something quick, effective, and something that won’t frustrate you for taking so long to remediate.

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Shout Wipes is your man (your men?). Many people swear by Tide Pens, but this is has taken out more stains for me from experience, and I also appreciate the fact that it’s technically impossible for the treatment to “dry” out before you use it because they sell these in single-use AIR TIGHT packs that retain all that good moisture and active chemicals. That’s what I primarily don’t like about Tide Pens. The pens aren’t dependably juicy. I like consistency.

Start with a 24 pack (I’ve linked you to that one), but I’d say go for the 80! No regrets.

 

Do you even know how humid your room is?

If you don’t believe me, take a look

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While the current humidity level of your rooms won’t affect most of you, you should care because your clothes are the ones that will receive the brunt of all the moisture. Save yourself the emotional pain that comes with a moth having eaten away at your $2,000 mohair knit sweater and buy these miracles that are the Damp Rid Hanging Moisture Absorber.

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The smell is also quite nice.

 The end.

But wait!

One more.

This isn’t really a home – grooming hack– it’s really just a life hack that’s made my life incrementally happier this past month:

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Limitless Coffee, an lllinois based coffee and tea company, has created some of the best flavored coffee I’ve ever tasted in The United States of America. For context, I’m a big coffee enthusiast, and while I don’t regularly go to cupping classes and such, I feel I have sufficient experience to tell you that this truly is different [a gem!] from any of the coffees that you or I’ve ever tasted— even judging against the big coffee names and my favorite coffee makers such as Toby’s Estate Coffee. I don’t know how else to say it.

It’s not sold in Whole Foods yet, but I hope a buyer finds it and places some big orders for New York, and quick!

 

Complement this homey read with some splish-splash music by Caravan Palace, a fairly unique electro-swing French band. My favorite song of theirs is Aftermath.

 

Lessons in Nature: England

Today is my last day in England and I’m honestly a bit sad to leave.

England ended up being the perfect place for me to rest and freshen up– in part because nothing felt new here.

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[For context, often times when you are traveling to a new country and it’s too unfamiliar (whether it be from the transportation style, interpersonal behaviors, lifestyle pace, or type of cuisine), the trip ends up feeling more exhaustive than healing, especially.. when you’ve decked out a week’s itinerary befitting a music band on tour]. Fortunately now, due to the the rampant innovation, cultural and people exchange, and systemic adoption of technologies that have lead economic centers to operate and appear fairly similar to one another, one can expect a growing predictability for navigation and assimilation in any urban or cosmopolitan city. You will quickly feel that New York reminds you of London, London of Seoul, and that Seoul reminds you in turn of a bit of Paris.
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Shoreditch Grind – I really appreciate the energy of this neighborhood.

 

Coffee shops were frequented, a disgusting amount of desserts were dabbled in, and dance floors conquered. I ate this delicious cheese that tasted like caramel fudge (The Gjetost! Mon dieu!). I even danced my first Scottish dance, and met a gentleman in full Scottish garb with dagger.

 

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What is life without dancing to techno in a room full of old master paintings?

 

Amidst the buzz of catching up with old friends and partaking in some good old entertainment, I was able to spend a great chunk of my stay exploring and appreciating all that nature had to offer unique to the terrain [and sheer size] of its country.

 

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Out to see a boat race on the River Cam.

 

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It was the first time in my life experiencing first-hand so many kinds of birds (they were everywhere, omnipresent, realy all about England) and I’m certainly leaving Heathrow with a newfound affinity for them. Watching their activity across various environments, feeding,

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Imagine seeing a horde of birds feeding and sticking their butts in the air as if under a spell of strange choreography, and seeing this against a backdrop of some beautifully landscaped park or skyline– it’s comical.

and passing so gracefully through the weeping branches of willow trees all lent me feelings of relaxed freedom and calm. I felt very glad.IMG_9721.JPG

The pigeons and the geese here were also surprisingly cute here and I sympathize a bit for the ones back home (perhaps if we didn’t treat ours like termites, they might appear more clean and endearing like the ones in England, I don’t know).

I also saw herds of cows in their natural habitat during my walks which was really nice.

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Like Gustav Klimt’s The Park. I grew up in a suburban area and close to New York, the city of cities, so I was never exposed to much of anything nature outside of grass, skinny trees, and mountain trails my family would take road-trips to. And half of my childhood interaction with nature was spent in the shelter of a car, with me looking through a window.

 

I walked nice trails in well protected parks multiple-vehicles-wide. And oh! Everything was so well gardened and trimmed.

I smelled flowers with aromas so strong and heavenly I became overwhelmed with feelings of different shades I’ve never felt before.

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Captured in a 4 x 6: Me becoming overwhelmed by nature.

 

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This is a beautiful plant I saw, although I have no idea what it is. It reminds me of the skin of freshly picked Concord grapes. Lusciously juicy.
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My favorite. If a flower was a pretty song.

Overall, this trip was a good time for me to re-center myself, slow down, and to re-learn an appreciation for the things right in front of me.

I am leaving re-charged.

Bises, Soo

 

Rituals

 

  1. On Sundays, I will allot 2 hours of my afternoon to read in a cafe with good lighting that makes me happy and keeps me alert. I try not to switch around locations.
  2. Every morning, as soon as I wake up  and before I reach for my phone,  I run a motto through my head: it usually rotates from these three:
    1. By the grace of God I am worthy.
    2. Thank you God for this day.
    3. God, help me to give my day to you.
  3. I read at least a chapter of the Bible every day. Currently I am working through Isaiah. Usually I will read Psalm 95 and dedicate a prayer to God before, so that I can prepare to give my heart and attention wholly to the reading.
  4. I go in for a  video call with my family once a week. Objective: To hear what my mom and my sister has been up to and to actively engage in listening to the people most important to me.
  5. I drip coffee every morning. Grinding coffee and hand-pouring coffee is a therapeutic experience on its own. Having the consistent and dependable reward of drinking better than average coffee always leaves me coming back the next day ready to go into the routine regardless of how snoozy I am.
  6. Before my foot injury, I would wake up at 6 or 6:15 (depending on the day) to run a route of 4 miles at Central Park (north – south from my place to the south entrance cleanly amounts to that much). It was one of the most rewarding and helpful routines I’ve developed in my adulthood. Unfortunately, due to my present state, I satisfy myself with long walks back home from my work place (about 4 miles), and I always work to stretch out my body for about 15 minutes either in the morning or before I head to sleep. I’d like to walk more often.
  7. In the mornings, if I’m extra productive, I try to get to text messages that I haven’t responded to in the previous days.
  8. Throughout the week, I task myself to read the book I am currently on if I ever find myself still fully alert post-work hours. If I’m less than fully alert (had wine; burgers!, tired out of my mind, or feeling unfocused), I will pick up a lighter book (if I have one by the side and at the ready), read articles and studies I’ve pocketed (my go-to sites are on the website tab), or a short essay.

It’s hard to get into a routine, because the word itself implies that you are blocking off a finite resource, time, of yours for an extended amount of time to invest in a variable reward, and sometimes starting one for the sake of doing it for accomplishment or because it aligns with your value-based identity just isn’t that sexy of a pull.

From my personal experience though, investing in the time to develop these practices has probably contributed to the greatest positive changes and developments in my life.

They keep my character, spiritual, physical & mental life strong.

Getting to a point in which you regularly exercise habits that require little to no cognitive effort to initiate (holla heuristics) is also a great reward in itself (less work for increasingly more rewards!).

They also help me keep my positive, optimistic, and energetic demeanor (which are arguably my most marked characteristics)  in a way that’s as close to 100% authentic and sincere.

Anyways, it’s 9, I’d best start my day. Happy Memorial Day. I remember and honor those who gave their lives up for us.

“Don’t  just fill up on things that you’ll have forgotten the next day”- Jonathan McReynolds

“What is the value of a fine watch if you don’t keep winding it and it can’t keep time.?