Live. Learn. Love.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Supermarket goodies

Normally, I get my skincare items at drugstores or department stores. But for the past year or so, I've been trying out products from Trader's Joes (TJ) and Whole Foods (WF), and have been pleasantly surprised.

TJ has a great selection of skincare products, and they are reasonably priced. Their Nourish Antioxidant Facial Serum is amazing! It is loaded with vitamins and oils to hydrate and nourish your skin. At $10 for 1 ounce, it is a bargain. Normally, serums go for $40 and up at other places, though I'm not sure why. I think I will stick with TJ's serum since it does the job of moisturizing my skin.


I've also recently tried their Grapeseed Oil to moisturize my skin. Apparently it is good for acne-prone/oily skin. I'm always looking for a good hydrator since whenever I go get a facial (not very often), the facialist always tell me that I have dry skin. But I'm always in a dilemma because I have combination skin - very dry in some places and super oily in other places.

Yesterday, I smoothed the oil on my face, and went about my day. My face felt soft and supple, and surprisingly my face wasn't as oily as it normally is. The only downside is that I smelled like French fries the whole day. So I think I will stick to using this at night. Or if I use it during the day, I will put a thin layer or mix it with another lotion/essential oil.

Whole Foods also has a great selection of products. But since they have a greater selection of brands, the quality is hard to tell. I've had some misses/hits. I really like the Alba Botanical line - their scrub is really good. I wasn't a big fan of the MyChelle line - their serum doesn't really do much for my skin. But their skin analysis is super fun! You should get a free skin analysis if you are ever in a WF. They tell you everything about your skin from sun damage to wrinkles and pore size. You basically get a rank on how you faired - quite intimidating. But it encouraged me to wear sunscreen every day.

WF also has bath bombs by Hugo. They are amazing. If you like Lush bath bombs, you should try Hugo's. Their scent is long lasting. I've only tried their Lavender & Chamomile, but their Grapefruit Orange one smelled good as well. They are currently having a sale at 2 for $8. Tip: I cut them into smaller pieces (around 4-8 pieces) to use it for several baths.

Do you have any skincare favorites at your local supermarket?

Inspiration from Actresses

Happy Friday! I am excited to start the weekend.

Lately, I've been watching the TV show, Once Upon a Time, on Netflix. It stars Ginnifer Goodwin and Jennifer Morrison. Morrison plays Snow White's daughter, Emma Swan. Emma is a tough kid; she grew up thinking that she's been abandoned by her parents. One day, she runs into a kid who happens to be her son, and the story unravels. I love the show, and I love the style on Emma and Snow White (played by Goodwin). Emma has a very edgy look with her signature red leather jacket. But she also softens it up with loose waves and sheer sweaters and t-shirts.


 I like to take style advice from characters on TV shows and movies. Costume stylists are very creative and try to exude a certain personality through the clothing. If it weren't were these fashion role models, I would probably just stick to what I wear best: t-shirts and jeans.

I was browsing through Uniqlo the other day, and I stumbled upon a sheer sweater. It was thin and made of linen. I instantly fell in love with it and bought it. This sweater is great for the spring/summer when it's too hot to wear a full-on sweater, but ideal for when you are indoors/in the subway where the A/C is blasting.

Another character I've been inspired by is Tessa Scott, played by Dakota Fanning, in the movie, Now is Good. Tessa is a girl battling leukemia, and she has a list of things she wants to do before she dies. Her character has a serious demeanor, yet it is offset by the crazy activities that she wants to do such as break the law and do drugs. She wears layers of sheer shirts and sweaters, which complement her pixie haircut.

Uniqlo has a great selection of lightweight shirts in summer material. I bought the shirt below as a layering piece. They have many different styles and colors in stores and online. Uniqlo is one of my favorite stores - such good prices, good quality and classic styles.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


In the winter, I prefer hot dishes and soups to warm my body. But in the hotter months, I enjoy light and refreshing dishes. Lately, I've been cooking with a lot more veggies and making fruit/veggie smoothies. In Korea, we have a vegetable called kenip (also known as sesame or perilla leaves). It is a dark green leaf that is loaded with antioxidants to promote good health. It's very easy to use as a garnish, side dish, or a wrapper.

One of my favorite things to make is Korean sushi rolls (aka kimbop). I like to add a variety of veggies/meat to create different rolls. My favorites are spam/kimchi, tuna/kenip, and beef (with the traditional veggies). (I am still working on making them look more presentable).

Here is a recipe for Tuna/Kenip Roll:

1 can of tuna in water base, drained
2-3 sesame leaves
2 T of mayonnaise
2 tsp. of mustard
a few slices of fried zucchini
1/2 cup of sweet brown rice
1 T of sesame oil
a pinch of salt
1 sheet of seaweed laver

In a small bowl, place the 1/2 cup of cooked brown rice. Add in the sesame oil and salt. Mix it up.

Then, in another bowl, add the can of tuna, mayo, and mustard. Mix.

Lay the piece of seaweed on a cutting board. Shiny side on the bottom. Place the rice on the lower third (or half) of the sheet, depending on how much rice you want to add. Start adding the tuna, zucchini and sesame leaves on top.

Then roll the kimbop from the bottom until it is neatly packed. Quickly slice the roll into small pieces. Enjoy while fresh and warm! This is a very easy recipe and filling!

I also tried adding kenip into burritos. I'm a bit obsessed with these leaves - can you tell? On a whole wheat tortilla wrap, I placed Trader Joe's Sweet Basil Chicken & Turkey Sausage, fried egg, fried zucchini, freshly sliced kenip, and a pinch of salt and black pepper. Quite delicious!

I love the texture and taste of kenip. It's not for everyone, but you should definitely try it if you get the chance!

Botanical Gardens - Spring 2014

One of my favorite activities to do in the spring time is to visit botanical gardens in the NYC area. I love the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) in the Bronx because of the landscape and the ever-changing exhibits they have going on.

This spring, NYBG is having their Orchid Exhibit. The flowers they have on display are so beautiful and exotic; they come from all over the world. I really enjoyed going through the conservatory and observing all the orchids.

 Another favorite garden of mine is the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. This one is not nearly as big as the NYBG, but they have the cherry blossom trees in the spring, which are a must-see if you are in the area! I went a little early this year, but they still have quite a few trees blossoming.

Hope you take advantage of the wonderful weather and the spring flowers!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Spring Fragrance 2014

Normally I do not wear perfume on a daily basis. I prefer to just have a no-scent approach. But lately, I've been looking into a perfume for special occasions. I don't like heavy scents so I tend to lean towards light, floral fragrance.

I am a girlie girl at heart so I love the smell of roses. Crabtree Evelyn's Rosewater Eau de Toilette is a combination of classic rose and English flora fragrances. I love the scent as it is very light.

I also stumbled upon Fresh's Fresh Life Eau de Toilette, which was refreshingly citrusy and light. I think this is a more youthful fragrance than Crabtree's Rosewater. I now kind of regret buying Rosewater because it is more of a mature fragrance. I guess it doesn't hurt to have more than one perfume. We'll see. ;)


Strappy Sandals

I look forward to summer when I can put aside my winter shoes and sneakers and break out into my sandals! I have gathered quite a few sandals over the past few years, and I look for a particular style. I like sandals with a little bit of height to them so that they give arch support. I also prefer ones with comfy straps for easy walking around the city.

The salt water sandals have been making a comeback in the last one or two years. They look super comfy and cute; plus they come in so many different colors. The only downside is that they look a little flat, so I don't know how they'll mesh with my flat feet. I definitely do want to try them out though.



Another pair of sandals that I've been eyeing are these from American Eagle. I bought a similar pair a few years ago, and I still wear them because they are comfy and stylish. Mine are wearing down so maybe it's about time that I replace them.

Toms also came out with a great spring/summer collection. Their wedges look so pretty and comfortable. I like the chambray platform wedges. The 2.5 inch heel height does not seem too bad considering there's about an inch of height in the front as well.

Do you have a favorite pair of sandals that you enjoy wearing during the summer month? If so, I'd love to know!


One easy way to jazz up your look is to change your nail color or wear jewelry. With warmer weather coming, painting your nails is a great way to show off some color.

I recently purchased Sally Hansen's Hard As Nails Xtreme Wear in Mint Sorbet and Lacey Lilac. The colors are light pastels, and very fun and youthful. I usually apply two coats and then a top coat to make it last a bit longer. I like that these colors are not too bold for the office yet colorful for the weekends.

Another fun piece to wear is a statement necklace. I've been on a hunt for a simple yet bold necklace. I was browsing through Talbots, and I found this great chevron style necklace. It's very easy to pair with blouses and dresses. Normally, I don't like to splurge on costume jewelry so I usually buy necklaces at Forever 21. But I decided to invest on this necklace because it's classy and simple.
Happy accessorizing!

Sunday, April 6, 2014


The weather is warming up - this means goodbye to winter and hello to spring! Spring is one of my favorite seasons - sadly it is also one of the more short-lived seasons. I love viewing the cherry blossom trees and shedding all the winter layers in turn for lighter and more airy clothing.

Here are some of my picks for this season.

Jeweled Striped Sweater from LOFT.
This sweater is perfect for a casual day in the office or on the weekends. I love the blue color and the delicately placed jewels.

Low Heel Flats from Talbots
I've been looking for low heel flats for awhile now. I think these flats are ideal for everyday walking in the city. I love how it looks put together so you can wear it on special occasions as well as everyday ones. Since I'm on the petite side, I always look for a little heel for extra height. Plus, it's better for the posture to have a bit of an arch support. I dislike heels higher than 2 inches - that can get uncomfortable very quickly especially when you have to walk a lot.

Dot Shirtdress from Gap Kids
Sometimes I'll find the cutest outfits from the kid's selection. Gap Kids has a good selection of cute, trendy clothing at a reasonable price. I bought this dot shirtdress a week ago at 40% off the regular price. I can't wait it to wear it when the weather gets warmer.


This winter has been brutal; we've had so many snowstorms in the Northeast. And not to mention the wind chill factor. Yikes! Well, one thing is for sure - we New Yorkers appreciate good weather when we have it. C'mon, spring!