When I was a wily youth, I would make mix CDs for others, usually scrawled with something like “X-tina’s Cool Mix.” We’d have mix battles and mixes for boyfriends. Mixes to show off the cool new songs we’d burn off of the CDs we bought from the store and then throw them into slim jewel cases. We’d then either keep the jewel cases for passengers to step on and crack or we’d transfer them all into enormous dirty binders that sat on the floor or the backseat of the car. Once we all got iPods, we’d play the mixes through shitty FM radio contraptions that were delicately balanced on dashboards or plugged into cigarette lighter sockets. The signal was spotty mostly always and it was okay.

Then your car gets stolen when you’re working at an office job. You stop making mixes for friends but start making podcast playlists to make your days more interesting. You wear sensible shoes. You buy a commuter rail pass. You start drinking coffee at exactly 2:30pm every day so you can feel something.. You wonder what’s happened to you and how you’ve gone from CD books to Quickbooks..

Smash cut to six years later when you’re living in South Korea and find yourself making mixes again mostly for yourself but that’s okay. Thinking of days gone by. Staring at a WordPress dashboard.. THUS I present Music for Today, a semi but not really Valentine’s Day playlist of some music I’ve been collecting over the last year.

Most of the songs have been on my saved songs on Spotify (for Spotify playlist, click here) just waiting to be shared with others. Some songs I enjoy a lot but maybe don’t play all that much (The Shirelles, Air) or play way too much (Majical Cloudz, Natalie Prass.) Either way, happy middle of February to all. May your car forever be in your chosen possession.

Life in Korea

Korean Skincare

As someone who has worked for a major skincare brand in the past… As someone who has always struggled with skin problems… There are more than a few consistent habits I’ve picked up since moving to Korea.

Rice almost every day? Sure. Winter coat indoors? Most definitely. Brushing teeth three times a day? Sure, I try. But the one thing that is consistent and actually enjoyable for me is skincare. Yes, that’s right folks. I have adopted a multi-step Korean skincare regimen.

Not quite 10-14 steps as some people do, but I always put, let’s count it — 6 products on my face nightly.

It’s admittedly ridiculous but I enjoy every bit of it. Join me, on this self-care journey – will you?


Oil cleansers help remove most of your makeup. I’ve tried a few different kinds but currently, I use TonyMoly Wonder Apricot Seed Deep Cleansing Oil. It’s slippery and smells nice but I’m pretty sure it’s been discontinued. It gives you that terrifying raccoon face until you use a…


Though my current second cleanser is technically a gel cleanser, I’ve used different types over the course of time. Gel/foam cleansers help remove the rest of your makeup and make your skin feel squeaky clean. My favorite is Cosrx Low PH Good Morning Gel Cleanser. It smells like tea tree oil, which is a little stinky but not bad.


Now if you didn’t think my skin wasn’t clean enough already then here comes the toners! I use It’S SKIN Clinical Solution Pore Powder In Toner that removes the rest of my makeup and is good for what K-Beauty folks call “trouble skin.” Because it’s a little drying (and I got it for free), I use It’S SKIN Hyaluronic Acid Moisture Toner so my face feels a little less stiff. *shrug* Who knows if it does anything.


Next up – Vitamin C Serum! dear KLAIRS Freshly Juiced Vitamin C Serum helps fade some old acne spots and people swear by it. I feel like it’s helped a bit and it makes me feel fancy. I keep it in the fridge next to the sad fruit.


Lastly, I put on my night moisturizer, Holika Holika Honey Sleeping Pack in Canola, which is basically like putting creamy honey on your face. It dries pretty quickly and smells like honey and magazine perfume. I look like a very shiny monster after applying it and that’s okay.

What I enjoy about Korean skincare is the affordability and cuteness of it all. My sleeping pack comes in a honey jar and if I want to treat myself to a sheet mask I can look like this.


For when I’m feeling like my skin is looking dull but also need to channel some middle school juggalos/want to look like a terrifying panda person.

So, doggone it (panda-gone it?), give it a try if you’re interested. I don’t know if any of it works or is necessary, but it makes me feel nice and advertisers have taught me that I’m worth it.


One of the many perks of living in Korea vs. back home is the living situation. A place.. all to myself.. before 30? In a big city that I like? How is this possible?

I’ve had my fair share of (mostly pleasant) roommates, but these days my only roommate is non-human.

And that roommate is…THE MOSQUITO.


Like another roommate (human) I had in NYC, I only see him when he wants to eat, when we lock eyes and he quickly disappears.  And despite the cold, cold temperatures here in Busan, he and his family still thrive somehow. Just waiting. And watching.

Let’s take a look at some of my other past roommates who still owe me rent.


Started squatting in my first apartment ever in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. This little turd kept me awake at night playing games and actually caused me to move out in my weakened state.  An old boyfriend of mine managed to trap him in a box and without thinking of step two, threw him into the hallway in a panic. I thought the problem was solved but of course, he came back and settled in.


Like the quarter full bottles of Advil and expired vitamins that have traveled with me to almost every new apartment, Cockroach Jr.and his friends have made appearances in most of my city apartments. Despite a consistently empty sink and regular trash emptyings, they always manage to find their way into the old buildings I’ve lived in. I’m pretty sure it has something to do with generations of cockroaches living with rent control.


Arriving through a hole in our alleyway, this rude dude Kool-Aid man style broke through my closet wall and was seen sitting on my office window sill in a rowhome I lived in, in Philly. Eventually lured out with orange slices, it turned out that two of his brothers were also in tow, scratching and clawing, like a terrible nightmare that was my waking life for a few weeks.

It’s been more than ten years since I’ve lived on my own and considering overpriced rents, inflation, and interest over time, I think some money is due back to me from these greasy little creatures. Pool your money together and pay up, ya weasels.*

*Thankfully, no real weasels crashed in my apartments. The thought of an evil weasel face staring at me in the night sends a chill down my spine.

After a hectic journey of overnight bus rides, begging bus drivers for stand-by seats, staring forelornly, and chicken nugget breakfast, we finally arrived at Seoraksan National Park in the northeast part of the country on a Saturday morning. Boy was it all worth it because Mama Mia, look at that view.


I turtled behind my friends for most of the hikes, but kept a good pace. Wonderfully, I was rewarded for my efforts by some strangers with a Korean pumpkin fruit leather (that I have never seen before and loved) and tangerines. The kindness of strangers is a beautiful thing.

Currently busy with holiday festivities, but I have some drawings up my sleeves and will see you in 2018!


While I was in Hanoi, I discovered a new love for something I thought already held enough space in my heart.

That love was for my new best fruit friend, lime. A fruit I am ashamed to admit, I never thought of much before.

It was an OK fruit.

A fruit that was nice to squeeze onto some tacos or in a drink. Key lime pie was all right, but if you were to tell me that key lime pie was your favorite pie I’d think you were most certainly lying. To my face. Lying straight to my face.

But then, here I was, sitting with a friend in Vietnam over a bowl of pho and my tune changed quickly and forever. How could I have ever doubted you my sweet and sour green pal? You were hiding right in front of my eyes just waiting to be loved. A quality I’ve never prescribed to a food but I am now prescribing to you. I am now a lime girl. You’ve made me spiral very quickly, dear lime. I will squeeze your guts out of you until one of us goes first, and I hope it’s me.













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Japan, Life in Korea

The Vest