Saturday, 20 September 2014

End of Summer Recipe: Bulgogi in a Bowl!

Good morning everybody,

did you sleep as well as I did? If not, I know a good way to cheer you up: home-made food! And even better: home-made Korean food! I love to cook and after moving countries forever I of course picked up a lot along the way. Most of my friends in Japan were actually not Japanese but Korean exchange students which is why I have a lot of friends now since I moved to Korea :) I personally think it's most of the times easier to be friends with Koreans than Japanese because they are much more direct and open. Although I lived in Japan for almost 2 years I don't really have very close Japanese friends - but I have at least 10 very good and close Korean friends!

One thing my friends love as much as I do is cooking. I love how, in Korea, people are always gathering to enjoy some food together. I did a lot of cooking together with my Korean friends in Japan and everyone in my dorm is surprised that I can cook Korean. It's really not that hard if you learn the basics (which is: everything needs to be fried in sesame oil, use honey instead of sugar and get your hands on gochujang, Korean chili paste.) The rest is just doing what you'd usually do. So are you ready for a dish that is perfect for the end of summer? Refreshing and fiery at the same time, this is a treat when the seasons transfer from hot to chilly temperatures.

Bulgogi is, hands down, my favorite dish of Korean cuisine. I like marinated beef and I love the mixture of a tad spicy and sweet. This Bulgogi in a bowl dish was created because I don't own any plates so I always eat out of that one bowl I brought from Japan. So in order to cut on dishwashing and time I squeezed the bulgogi meat, a fresh salad and rice together in a single bowl and voilà: created was a wonderful dish. It's at the same time hot & cold, spicy, salty and sweet. I love it. Oh I also love bulgogi because it is superduper easy to make yourself at home! You don't even need much fancy sauces. Sesame oil and soy sauce should be sold at every major supermarket now and gochujang in Asian corners or Asian markets of your local town. If you can't get your hands on the Korean chili paste don't worry: You can also use fresh chillies or even chili powder. 

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Japanese Skincare Review: Shu Uemura Porefinist Cleansing Oil

Good evening y'all,

I hope you're ready for a serious review. Because this product is seriously amazing. But let's start at the beginning: Not a while back, I would use any cleanser that looked fancy enough to me. I didn't have any preferences and wasn't even aware of the differences every type of cleanser has. In preparation to my move to Korea I searched the web and found out about the Korean Skincare Routine and it's first essential step: Double-cleansing.

Double-cleansing was designed to effectively get rid of make-up and sunscreen which can be quite tricky to remove by just one cleansing step. However, if you clean your face twice it's very important that both cleansers are gentle enough so that you won't hurt your skin barrier. The most common combination is an oil cleanser paired with a foaming cleanser and today I'm gonna share with you my thoughts on the Shu Uemura Porefinist Cleansing Oil.

Although I lived in Japan twice, I never tried anything from Shu Uemura while living there - mostly because it was not sold where I lived and because the brand is really expensive. Eventually I learned that the Shu Uemura cleansing oils are very raved about in the internet and as I wanted to establish a somewhat Korean skincare routine I was set on trying them. It wasn't until my move to Korea though that I finally get to try them - luckily for me, moving to Korea involved a flight to Seoul and therefore a visit at the duty-free counter! I had rougly 6000Yen left when went to Korea and as wasn't enough to exchange it my mother gave me the permission to spend it all at the dury-free counter (not that I need permission with my 25 years but it feels better to spend the money when someone approves of it. Simple psychology.)

And there it happened: Love at first sight. But it's not like you enter the store, grab an oil and leave: At least for me I was overwhelmed by the choices of different oils that I had so I did the logical thing and let me educate from the friendly staff.  Shu Uemura has a variety of oils for different purposes: Whitening (blue), anti-aging/antioxidants (green), balancing (beige), special luxurious formula (gold), pore-minimizing (pink) and the classic one in a yellowish bottle. Since I have a lot of breakouts and oily skin she recommended me the pink porefinist oil which, as it happens, is also the newest one in the family and has a scent of sakura. Bet it's a bestseller in Japan: If it's pink and smells like cherryblossom, it will be sold. Everywhere. (Yes, that strategy still works.)

Shu Uemura sells their oils in two sizes; 150ml and 400ml. While you get a better deal with the bigger version I decided on 150ml to try it out first. I paid 2200Yen at duty-free and I read that it usually retails for 60$ and a whopping 155$ for the full size. However! I checked ebay and other sources and it is definitely possible to get it for almost duty-free prizes online, so don't be devastated yet.

Claims of the pink formula: oil & sebum control, anti-shine and pore-minimizing.

Ingredients: Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Isopropyl Myristate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Polyglyceryl-6 Dicaprate, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Polyglyceryl-10 Dioleate, Phenoxyethanol, Polybutene, Polyglyceryl-2 Oleate, Dicaprylyl Ether, Tocopherol, Squalane, Simmondsia Chinensis Oil, Menthoxypropanediol, Carthamus Tinctorius Oil, Capryloyl Salicyclic Acid, Propylene Glycol, Capryloyl Glycine, Sarcosine, Prunus Cerasus Extract, Cinnamomum Zeylanicum Extract, Prunus Yedoensis Leaf Extract, Parfum.

Man, that took quite some time to type. Reason why I typed that out is a) it's not printed on the bottle and as I threw away the package I wouldn't know the ingredients and as I know you, my readers, might probably do the same you can check it here. Also, I wanted to check the ingredients via Cosdna for possible acne triggers and irritants.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

KOREA TRAVEL DIARY POST: Day 5: Hiking up Namsan hill

Good evening everybody!

In the last two weeks I have already experienced and seen so much in Korea that I really need to hurry with my blog posts in order to catch up with the present. My boyfriend really wanted to hike up one of the hills/mountains that are in Seoul (Seoul is basically a huge mountain-infused area. It's going up and down and up and down no matter where you go) but it rained almost the whole time when he was visiting me. On the 5th day we gave in and decided to go no matter what as it was only slightly raining but not pouring cats and dogs.

There is a cable car that you can use to go up and down again; we only purchased one-way tickets up because we wanted to decent on our own to see a bit of the landscape. With a little bit of luck we were able to find the cable car as we missed the shuttle bus exactly and the shuttle bus only runs once every hour. (Not really much shuttle if you ask me.) As it was raining it was not really much crowded. I heard from a friend she had to wait one hour(!!) just to get on top by cable car. We didn't even have to wait 5 minutes so I highly advise you go on a day where it's not the most pretty weather and inside the week to avoid the masses. The view is still stunning :) I'm really glad we went there as it was by far the best day we spend in Seoul. <3

In case you're wondering about my weird hand placing: It was super windy and I somehow had to prevent my hair to float in front of my face everytime we took a picture. I really like the picture on the left :) On the right side Niko looks almost like a giant.... he's actually not that tall. Really.

View from a top Namsan. You can see the whole city, even on a rainy day.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014


Dear readers,

Are you ready for a fight? Because today we're going to have an epic battle between all the blemish patches and/or hydrocolloid bandages that I've tried so far in my journey to clear up my skin. As most of you know, my skin condition is pretty bad. I get breakouts a lot, especially when I am stressed and you probably can imagine what moving from Japan to Korea has done to my skin. I was so stressed out that my skin looked like a battlefield. I am still in the process of clearing it up but what has helpes me tremendously were blemish patches.

What are blemish patches? For me, discovering blemish patches was like a jackpot. For some reason, these little helpers are non-existent in Europe so I was thrilled once I moved to Asia to discover these. I am touching my face a lot (trying to get rid of that bad habit) or pick at blemishes so these have really helped me a lot to clear up my skin. Most bigger cosmetic brands carry blemish patches; they are mostly clear and come in various sizes. Some brands sell them per sheet or in a box which usually contains enough patches to last you a while. They do range in quality, ingredients and price which is why we're having this battle tonight.

And what are these hydroco...something you're talking about? Hydrocolloid bandages or dressings are traditionally used for wound healing. The dressing is applied to a clean wound absorb water and swell, forming a gel which is held within the adhesive. The moist conditions underneath are intended to promote wound healing without causing softening and breaking down of tissue. They are sometimes used on the face for acne and lately have become very popular for treating pimples and blemishes due to skincare communities like the one on Reddit that I frequent on a regular basis.

Now, not every blemish patch you can buy out there works like a hydrocolloid bandage. Some are attempting to dry out the wound in order to promote healing and are very harsh; others have hydrocolloid properties and are a lot more gentle to the skin. It took me a long journey of trial and error to find "the good ones." Today I am sharing all blemish patches that I have tried so far and my impressions of them.

#1 Hifu Night Pack (ひふナイトパッチ) :  Unfortunately, blemish patches are not as popular as they are here in Korea. While I was in Japan I was desperately searching for some but these were the only ones that I could find. They are white and very thick in contrast to the usual very thin and clear film :( Needless to say, these are for night time use only as you look kind of ridiculous with them on. I once skyped with my Mom while I had two of those in my face and she couldn't take me serious during the whole call.

Adhesive: The adhesive in these things is a joke. They kept moving around my face and sleeping without losing them completely was just impossible.
Effect: No effect at all. These were my first patches to try and they disappointed on every possible layer. After a whole night my skin underneath was moisturized but the blemish was as big and inflamed as the evening before. Would never ever recommend to purchase.
Rating: 0/5. These have done nothing for me.
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