Sometimes, you just gotta improvise!

I had been craving sushi for a few weeks now and when I realized there was still an abundance of sushi rice and nori wrappers at my house, I decided I was going to make some myself. But the problem was the only thing I had ever made were California rolls and we were fresh out of imitation crab and cucumbers. So I set my self on a journey to find a sushi recipe that I had all the ingredients for. Turns out, that couldn’t be done either. Thankfully, I have exceptional improv cooking skills.

If you are a sushi lover and would like to try your hand at making your own sushi rolls, I definitely recommend www.sushirecipes.org. This site has all kinds of sushi recipes, even fruit sushi, which I had never heard of prior to visiting the site!

When I planned on making sushi I was under the assumption that I had most of the ingredients need to make some spicy tuna rolls. But it turned out that the bottle of wasabi in my refrigerator had dried up and there were no more carrots because my mom’s been having an obsession with making carrot juice.

I took this picture before I found out about the wasabi. I was going to replace the carrots and cucumbers with radishes. As it turned out, the lack of wasabi wasn’t all that horrible because the radishes have a similar kick to them. I also mixed a little ginger miso dressing into the tuna mixture to make it more “Japanese.”

My plating isn’t the best but these sure tasted good. I made a few variations according to the tastes of my siblings, some vegetarian, and added roasted almonds to a couple rolls for myself.

When I had no more fillings left other than tuna, I tried making an onigiri. I’m not really sure what exactly onigiri are or how to make them, but I did read a little about them. Basically, they are rice balls filled with something.

Hope you enjoyed reading about my sushi making adventures! I love all types of Asian food, and after basically all Vietnamese food, sushi is the runner up. I really want to go to Japan one day and eat some authentic sushi and not just the stuff I come up with after perusing my refrigerator and pantry.

Music on My Mind: June 2012 (part 2)

A while ago I posted about some awesome “Western” music that I’ve been listening to lately, and this time I want to share with you my other musical obsession – Kpop.

Now, sometimes I’m reluctant to sharing this very closeted part of my life because I don’t want people to thing I’m some crazy, obsessed fangirl, but I have to admit I can be at some times. I only spend hours in front of my computer screen wishing I could teleport halfway across the world. Korean music is definitely a guilty pleasure of mine, but sometimes you just need to kick back, let it hang loose, and listen to music that doesn’t make any sense to you. I mean I think “Call Me Maybe” is pretty catchy, but it makes little sense and it’s in English.

So for this installment of Music on My Mind, I’m gonna be reviewing two albums that I’ve been listening to nonstop – f(x)’s Electric Shock and After School’s Flashback.

Electric Shock by f(x)

Release Date: June 2012

f(x) has been sweeping the Korean music charts with this single and album. And it’s no wonder, it’s their best so far! f(x) of SM Entertainment, which also houses big acts such as DBSK/TVXQ, Super Junior, Girls’ Generation, SHINee, and their latest debut EXO. Of all these groups, f(x) seems to always get the short end of the stick. Their promoted singles tend to be generic and the songs that fill their albums seem lackluster. But in my heart I have a soft spot for f(x) because they bring something unique to the Kpop table. While most girl groups switch off between cute and sexy concepts, f(x) has been consistently edgy, spunky, and rebellious. Some people may not like this, seeing them as a one trick pony, but I think some credit must be given for staying so true to an original concept and not deviating from it too much.

When it was announced that f(x) was making a comeback this summer, I was really hoping for something amazing, and I got it! Electric Shock is a 6 track minialbum/EP and each track is amazing! I think the members really got a chance to showcase vocal and musical ability in this album, especially Amber, who has been previously the “rapper” of the group. They finally let her use her amazing voice to sing! With that being said, my top 3 from this album are “Electric Shock,” “Beautiful Stranger,” and “Let’s Try.” But like I’ve already mentioned, all 6 tracks are awesome and if you are a fan of electronic, dance, or hip-hop/RnB, you should give this album a try.

Flashback by After School

Release Date: June 2012

Flashback is After School’s first album without former leader Kahi, who has “graduated” the rotating system to pursue a solo career (congrats to Kahi on the career move!) and with new member Gaeun. I wasn’t sure what to expect since Gahi played such a huge role in the group being one of their main vocals, rappers, and dancers, but I think After School held up well without her. There is no doubt though, that After School has definitely changed since their debut days. In contrast to f(x) who has remained with the same concept since their debut, After School has undergone many changes, and the number of members is only one of them. They went from a rebellious concept with “AH” to a more serious one with “Because of You” and now with “Flashback” they seem to be playing it safe with a sexy concept.

“Flashback” itself is quite a generic song. When I first listened to it I didn’t find it unique or extremely catchy, but after a few more listens the chorus kind of sticks with me. The weird rap in the beginning threw me off but I just learned to ignore it. The dubstep breakdown in the middle is cool, but Pledis Entertainment really needs to end its dubstep obsession. While the title track is bleh for me, I really like “Ripoff” and “Eyeline,” Nana’s solo. “Ripoff” is much more unique and catchy to me and I think the dance choreography to it is awesome. And while I don’t think Nana has the best voice, she is one of my favorite members and I quite enjoy her solo song. All in all, After School did okay with Flashback but I would prefer if they reverted to their “Because of You” sound.

And that’s it for Music on My Mind June edition! Hope you enjoyed my rational fangirling, and if you want to see anymore, not-so-rational-and-quite-borderline-obsessed, you should probably follow my personal Tumblr.

My Skin Care Adventures

I have been struggling with acne since I was 12 and here I am 8 years later still dealing with it. Over time, my problem area has traveled from my nose, my forehead, my temples, between the brows, my cheeks, and most recently my chin area.

You know, it sucks that whenever I see any of my relatives at a family gathering that the one thing they must comment on is the condition of my skin. Is that typical Asian-ness or what? And every time, I seriously just want to tell them off. It’s not your skin and I do the best that I can. Sorry I’m not as shallow as you all that taking care of my acne is not my most important priority at the moment. I have other things to worry about. And I’m sorry my skin is just so hideous that you can’t look at my face without commenting on it. Sorry that I’m too lazy to wear makeup to cover it up, too. I’m just comfortable the way I am.

They are always recommending things for me. My one aunt consistently tries to tell me to see a dermatologist or offer to give me what hers uses. Sorry, been there, done that, didn’t work. I was never one for seeking professional treatment anyways. There’s no use in paying someone to tell you to buy something that won’t work anyways. And I don’t like the fact that I’m introducing foreign substances in my body. I don’t even take Advil unless I can’t stand my headaches. That goes for drinking alcohol and taking recreational drugs. Never doing either. That’s just a personal quirk of mine, but I digress…

Back on subject – I have tried so many treatments from prescription, over-the-counter, seeing a dermatologist, taking anti-biotics, and somewhat pricey skincare lines but I never got any results that worked the way I wanted them to. Very recently I have gotten into DIY, natural treatments, and lifestyle changes and I think I have finally found the solution to my problem. Of course, my parents still feel the need to comment on my skin; however, they are saying its getting better now. I can’t wait until I can rub it in my aunt’s face that I can clear up my skin without seeing a doctor.

So here’s my routine so far (I think I’ve been following it for about 2 weeks now and I’ve been seeing results):

  • After I wake up I wash my face with Neutrogena Pink Grapefruit Foaming Scrub. I’ve actually been using this on and off over the past year but I use it everyday now.
  • Then I apply Burt’s Bees Natural Acne Solutions Spot Treatment and Moisturizing Lotion.
  • Every morning I drink this “green juice” my mom makes. She’s been a health freak lately and she bought a juicer to makevegetable drinks. It doesn’t taste so bad but she says it’s supposed to be good for your skins on the account of the vitamins and minerals in it.
  • I exercise everyday. I either go to the gym or a Zumba class. I’m a bit appalled at myselffor actually wanting to exert energy. I’ve always been a
    brains over brawn person.
  • After my physical activity I go home and wash my face with the same Neutrogena scrub. Then I follow up with a baking so
    da and lemon juice mask (1 tablespoon of each) which I let sit 
    on my face for about 15 minutes or until I start shedding flakes of baking soda all over the house. I wash that off in the shower and apply my Burt’s Bees products when I get out.

There are two problems with my routine. Firstly, I started doing everything at the same time, so I don’t know what exactly is having the most effect on clearing up my skin, although I do believe they all contribute. Secondly, it’s going to be hard to keep up when I go back to school in the fall. I will most definitely try to make an effort to exercise everyday, even though I will have little free time because I’m in the marching band and also planning on joining more extracurriculars. And I will just have to bring a stash of baking soda and lemons with me to my dorm room. I won’t be able to drink any green juice but I won’t mind that much. But on top of that, going back to school will just be a lot more stressful than chilling out at home for the summer which will inevitably lead to break outs. I guess I’m just going to have to try to wean myself off some of these treatments to see what is worth keeping up.

I really wish I had before and after pictures but I didn’t think to take any! Hopefully in a few more weeks my skin will be all clear.

Get ready for a Bow Tie Affair!

Hello Internet!

I just listed my first three items in my Etsy shop from my first and new collection of knitted accessories, which I’m calling Bow Tie Affair.

Here’s a few photos of the items I’ll be listing within the next few days:

The Blue Bow Cuff Bracelet, Black Peter Pan Collar, and Red Bow Tie are currently listed! Please check them out and stay tuned for more cute listings :)