Saturday, September 26, 2015

Culture Chat: Mid-Autumn Festival

Why am I posting pictures of mooncakes, you say? It's in the spirit of Mid-Autumn Festival this Sunday! The cultural festival is one of the main holidays celebrated in Taiwan, China, Vietnam, and by anyone of Chinese ethnicity. In Korea, it's the Chuseok holiday (Korean Thanksgiving). In mainland China, it's commonly known as the Moon Festival, because it's on the night of a full moon. The holiday is originated from tales of worshipping the moon, as people in the ancient times believed the moon and water brought rejuvenation. In the modern day, people keep the traditions alive by giving offerings to the moon and making mooncakes from scratch. Though traditions vary from family to family, the meaning of the holiday is simply about bringing people together and to celebrate a harmonious union. It's the Asian edition of Thanksgiving, as people give thanks for being with loved ones and wish good fortunes among family members.

Mooncakes are widely eaten during the festival season. They're round pastries with a sweet or savory center, and come in an assortment of flavors. In the picture above are tea mooncakes in the flavors of oolong, jasmine, Chinese dates, green tea, lotus bean, and chestnut. The custom is to cut the mooncakes into tiny pieces and share it among family members. This is related to the round shape of these pastries, which represent wholeness and unity. 

My family and I are naturally low-key when it comes to these cultural celebrations. We typically just buy the mooncakes and eat them together to celebrate the festival season. (We keep it super minimal). In fact, we just finished the box of mooncakes (pictured above) a few days ago. Though the mooncakes are oily and full of unhealthy fat, for something that's enjoyed once a year, it's worth it.

There goes my tiny bit of a culture chat! Now excuse me while my family and I debate whether we should buy a second box...

This year's Moon Festival falls on the the Supermoon Lunar Eclipse, which won't happen again until the year 2033. Will you be watching?

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Korean Beauty Review: SOKOGLAM

High-quality ecommerce shops for Korean beauty products have made a big name for themselves in American pop culture, as they have quickly become one of the hottest trends. From snail creams to gel masks, the Korean beauty industry seems to be way more advanced all the while keeping the products at an affordable cost. I haven't done much shopping for Asian beauty products since my Memebox haul in March, and being that the site reduced its selection of skincare products since then, I decided to try a different shop. 

Sokoglam is a Korean beauty and lifestyle site that offers quality skincare and makeup products - all hand-picked by beauty experts. Read below to see what I purchased from the trusted brand: 

Comes in a sleek design, with the twistable pencil on one end and the spoolie on the other. The pencil is easy to use, and the dark brown shade goes on smoothly. It adds definition to my brows, while creating a soft and natural look. 

Nature Republic Super Aqua Max Cream

A lightweight moisturizer that claims to lock in hydration all day long. I was a bit thrown off when I opened the lid and it looked like 1/4 of the formula was missing. It could've simply been a design flaw. A little goes a long way with this lightly scented cream. It has a cooling effect, and makes my skin feel fresh and clean. It also absorbs quickly and gives my skin a dewey look that unfortunately lasts about 5 minutes after applying. The airy consistency is similar to Etude House's Collagen Sleeping Pack. The Super Aqua Cream has a long list of ingredients, as the formula contains 30 different extracts for deep hydrating purposes. I recommend using this cream at night for deep hydration.

Klairs Supple Preparation Toner

Formulated for those who have extremely sensitive skin. The product claims to reduce irritation and provide hydration. This may be strange to point out, but I'm so used to seeing the gunk left on the cotton pads from my previous toner that this one doesn't seem to collect as much dirt and oil after each use. Not sure if it works differently or that it's just not as effective. Though it contains fragrance, the toner doesn't have a smell upon use. Even though it's a simple and gentle product, it's nothing impressive compared to other toners that I've used. I especially enjoyed the Holika Holika toner from awhile back.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Re:Make Festival | Making DIY projects & more presents RE:MAKE FESTIVAL 

My creative side was in full swing on Saturday when I attended the 3rd annual Re:Make festival by

Being an avid reader of, an online platform that inspires creativity in every day life, I was beyond excited to find out they were hosting an all-day event open to the public. And without question, I just had to go. The free festival was held in a large indoor center with a high ceiling, decorated with's bright and colorful theme of living creatively. The festival featured a wide range of artisans, DIY stations, and musical performances. There were also photo booths with patterned backdrops that were scattered throughout the venue. It was a family-friendly event, as there were lots to see, create, and experience!

My eyes always light up and I end up looking like I'm on a mission whenever I find an opportunity to make DIY things. So imagine my face when approaching tables covered with all different types of arts and craft materials at the DIY stations. One of the sponsors was Michael's craft store, which has been my favorite place to go to recently. I think it was all just meant to be really (hehe). At the DIY stations, you could make necklaces; design cards, bags, and t-shirts; and go wild with coloring books. There were also DIY projects for making facial scrubs and instagram-like magnets. Needless to say, the festival was a a very popular event and surely it got chaotic fast, but everyone was extremely respectful and friendly. We were all mindful and shared materials of all sorts with one another. As for my mini DIY collection, I made an oatmeal-honey facial scrub and several photo magnets, and  designed a reusable bag. It was amazing to see everyone bringing out their creative side and seeing different creations of the same project. Of the projects I made, the magnets were my favorite! I now have them lined up in a row on my fridge, they give the kitchen a nice and fresh touch.

DIY projects aside, there were much to explore as a variety of artisans showcased their products. Startups and independent sellers in areas including beauty, home goods, accessories, clothing, paper goods, tech, and food took part in the annual festival. From macaron-shaped gel nail kits to chic homemade jewelry, every table was worth stopping for. There was start-up company that made custom orders on shoes, called Walkinthese. Though their shoes look like Toms, I don't believe they are associated with the popular brand, as all orders from Walkinthese shoes are designed and hand-painted in the U.S.A. Another was a drink company called Ficks, which are basically cocktail fortifiers that provide balance and restore lost nutrients when consuming alcoholic beverages. In short, it reduces the likelihood of getting a hangover. I'm not a huge fan of alcoholic drinks, but it seemed very clever.

The creativity didn't stop when it came to the food. From the delicately marbled meringues to fancy assortments of s'mores that were toasted on the spot, everything looked incredible. In the midst of the heavenly sweet treats, my friend led me over to a table displaying red fiery jars. Turned out it was a local company specializing in sirarcha-style sauces, called Sosu.  They commit to bringing the healthiest creations of flavorful sauces, as their products are organic and GMO-free. The condiments are Asian-inspired with a healthy twist. After sampling their products, I purchased a jar of Barrel-Aged Sirarcha for my dad, as he would appreciate its bold and smokey flavor. The sauce only consists of four ingredients: chili peppers, garlic, brown sugar, and sea salt, which I thought was really cool. Apart from the samples, there were tons of free goodies given out - a Hershey's candy bar upon entrance, a collection of Izze soda displayed on sleek bookcases. and a LunaBar table featuring their mini-bars in a variety of flavors. I love their energy and protein bars ever since discovering the company's philosophy on women empowerment and quality ingredients.

From this long post, you'd probably guessed that I had a blast at the event and enjoyed every minute of it. were right!! From making free DIY projects to browsing cute and dainty home goods, it was like being in a wonderland for anyone who's arts & crafts obsessed. It was amazing to see creative minds turn their ideas into reality and to witness a community of artisans who are passionate in their craft. So much creativity and talent all in one room!

 a coloring wall upon entrance

one of the many DIY stations

SOSU sauces :: samples

a collection of honey-based products from kendal's bees

s'mores roasted on request..


To make these photo magnets all you need are wooden squares, high-quality photos, magnetic tape, and mod podge.

What's your favorite thing to make for DIY projects?

Monday, September 7, 2015

Happy 2nd blogiversary + cupcakes to celebrate!

You have no idea how excited I am writing this post. I don't know if it's because of these amazing fudge brownie cupcakes with peanut butter frosting or that it's my blog's second anniversary! (It's both!). Truth is I'm actually a day late on the whole blogiversary front...but it's been exactly two years (and one day) since I wrote my first post. TWO YEARS! It's such a cliche to say this, but it feels like it was just yesterday when I decided to share bits and pieces of my lifestyle to the world. Back in 2013 was when I really got into watching Youtube videos on lifestyle and beauty, which exposed me to the blogging platform. I remember being immensely absorbed in what others had written especially when it comes to health, beauty, and food. I loved looking at the flawless visuals and aesthetics of each blog, as they are all very different and unique. The flawless photography reeled me in, and it's one of the reasons I started this blog. Through my own photos, I wanted to connect with others and bring them the same positive and bright feelings I get when looking at other peoples' blogs. Every post that I do is a learning step toward what I hope to accomplish on my blog: a visually appealing and genuine outlet that highlights the beauty and appreciation toward the things I adore and enjoy talking about. I have a lot of fun playing around with my blog and brainstorming ideas of what to share next. 

It's embarrassing to say, but it slipped my mind that yesterday marked the second blogiversary of the little thing and more, I even reminded myself that the special day was approaching earlier last month. I don't know how I can forgive myself, but these homemade cupcakes is a pretty good start. 

I made these fudge brownie cupcakes quite spontaenously today, and in the midst of all the mixing and whisking, it dawned upon me that I had missed my second blogiversary. Now comes in these yummy cupcakes to save the day and to celebrate the occasion! Initially, I wasn't too excited about the peanut butter frosting because I'm not a fan of chocolate with peanut butter. (Reese's pieces are the worst). But I decided to give it a try because they looked scrumptious on Sally's Baking Addiction, which is my favorite blog to go to for dessert recipes. I took my baking skills to the next level and bought my first set of piping tips! I used the 1M piping tip for these cupcakes, which made them look very pretty and dream-like almost. The swirls are everything. The cupcakes were simple and quick to make. I'm super happy with how they turned out and for someone who doesn't like the chocolate-and-peanut-butter combo, these were such a treat! The smooth peanut butter frosting complements the fudge brownie cupcake wonderfully! The cupcakes are incredibly delectable, and the warm, earthy colors remind me of the upcoming colder months. I'm going to exert some self-control here and not go off topic talking about everything that is great and joyous about the festive season. Instead, here's the recipe for making these cupcakes that may or may not make you excited for autumn. 

{ makes 12 brownie fudge cupcakes }

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, room temperature
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

{ peanut butter frosting }

5 tablepoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup creamy peanut butter
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 heavy cream
chocolate sprinkles (optional)

 >> Preheat oven to 375 F. degrees <<

1. For the { cupcakes } in a glass bowl, melt the butter in the microwave. Mix in the brown sugar until smooth and microwave for 1 minute. Stir the mixture until smooth. Add vanilla extract and eggs. 
2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, soda, and salt. Gradually add in the wet ingredients from previous step and stir until the dry ingredients are completely blended.
3. Fill the muffin tins 2/3 way full. bake for 8-10 minutes. let it cool for a few seconds before inserting a toothpick in the center. the toothpick should come out clean. 
4. For the { frosting } using a mixer, beat softened butter until smooth and fluffy. add the peanut butter and mix until combined. Add confectioners' sugar, vanilla extract, salt, and heavy cream. Beat from low to high for about 2 minutes. 
5. Frost cooled cupcakes, and top with chocolate sprinkles

For { storing } keep leftover cupcakes in an airtight container in the fridge or at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Adapted slightly from Sally's Baking Addiction