Believe the Hype

image

Chalk it up to my being a cynical millennial but the more hype a product gets the less likely I am to want to try it. My skin condition of late, however, has left me no choice but to try only things that have been tried, tested and proven to work (no room for hipster imitations here) which then means my most recent skin purchases have been the most hyped and in some cases overhyped products I could find. Here are some that have been good to me.

After cleansing morning and night I use the Missha First Treatment Essence sometimes using a rosewater spritz beforehand. I wasn’t impressed when I first got this, as I wondered how something that so closely resembled water could do anything miraculous for my skin. Boy was I wrong. Though thin, colourless and mostly odorless (sometimes I get that yeasty smell, most times I don’t) the product is a skincare heavyweight. Hyper-pigmentation seems to fade faster, my skin glows and my other skincare products seem to absorb better AND work better when using this.

Who doesn’t wear sunscreen every day? As my life now extends between two very hot, sun-beaten locales I always need a good sunscreen, preferably one that doesn’t make me oily nor ghostly. Every beauty person ever (in America, at least) has probably mentioned the Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch sunscreen and I finally know why. First off, It smells like the night-cream of an Advanced Style subject, meaning classy, elegant and not at all like sunscreen (at least I think so). It also has the smoothest, creamiest texture I’ve experienced in any skin care product. Most importantly, it doesn’t make me oily but manages to leave my skin dewy and fresh-looking.

Although I double-cleanse at night, sometimes during the day I like to do a quick cleanse using wipes and refresh my sunscreen. Since most facial wipes irritate my skin baby wipes were my only option, that was until I discovered Ole Henriksen The Clean Truth cleansing cloths. I’m not sure how they managed to get cleansing cloths to make my face feel double cleansed but not stripped but I’m glad they did whatever they did. These are also perfect for inflight use, when my skin tends to spring oil (gross, I know). Side note though, I also purchased the brands “Grease Relief” cloths (’cause you know…springing oil), but the smell alone told me they would be too strong for my very reactive skin and indeed they were.

Once a week I massage either the Skinfood Black Sugar Wash Off and Kate Sommerville Exfoliate  unto my face, wait a while, rinse and follow with Missha’s First Treament Essence then the Laneige Water Sleeping Mask or a my Beauty Diary Mask sheet mask. When I wake up the following morning my skin is plump and pore-less.

First Taste | Dim sum

Dim sum -Miami-tropical-china

I’m always surprised at how much I didn’t do while I lived in New York. I feel robbed when I think that it was only to the end of my four year stay that I really started exploring all that was on offer in one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world. All this to say… why am I only trying dim sum now?

My sister and I recently went a restaurant hunt to fill the gaping hole left by our beloved Soo Woo and after being turned away from another Korean restaurant that was closing at 2 pm (really?) Google led us to Tropical Chinese Restaurant & Dim Sum.

(The name was intimidating at first because it sounded like fusion cuisine and we all know “tropical” usually means warm pineapple which is high on my list of foods best left uncooked. I later realized it’s located in the Tropical Park Plaza; phew.)

Tropical_china_miami

The interior had all the usual suspects, including cliched red lanterns but it felt authentic and I could tell I was in for real Chinese food. This feeling was probably helped by old laminated articles on the wall singing the restaurant’s praises, one I read was dated 1994 which also informed me that the Chinese eatery was established in 1984. So I figured any business that had the staying power to last longer than my entire lifetime must be pretty good. And…I was right.

According to half of the internet Tropical Chinese has the best dim sum in Miami, according to the other half it’s subpar at best, pretty awful at worst. My taste buds (and my sister’s) agree with the former, I would even go so far as to say my Siu Mai was one of the tastiest things I’ve ever eaten… so if this was subpar I’m excited to taste dim sum at its best.

More food adventures await!

Soo Woo Japanese and Korean Steakhouse

pajun

If you haven’t been able to tell from my previous post, I am one of the millions of people around the world that have been sucked into the allure of Korean culture. So it should come as a surprise that my first several visits to Soo Woo Japanese and Korean Steakhouse were for sushi especially considering that I spent my first few months post college (and in Miami) binge watching Kdramas. Being creatures of habit, my sister and I simply went for what we already knew but one evening we bit the bullet and tried Korean cuisine for the first time. korean side dishes

We went all out the first time and ordered the Gochu Pajeon. Korean side dishes were a given and after years of watching kimchi being made, eaten and fought over in Kdramas, I finally got my first taste. I ordered the Bulgogi which was surprisingly sweet and is now one of my favourite (of the few I’ve since tried) Korean dishes.

bulgogiWe’ve hardly had sushi at Soo Woo since the first Korean experience and after taste testing much of the Korean menu my sister have grown loyal to both the bulgogi and bimbimbap. Sadly, our final visit while I was in MIA may be the last ever, since we discovered that night they were moving to a new location and come December, so are we…again.

Hoarder

kbeauty

There are many things to love about living on the island namely beautiful views and delicious food and then there are things that frustrate me like lack of access to stuff especially skin and haircare and high customs fees (especially for skincare and haircare products!!) So since I’ve been back in Miami, I’ve become the biggest hoarder particularly where skin care is concerned. I did the Sephora and drugstore runs, but most exciting to me are the Asian skin care products that I’ve been meaning to try…forever.

By now you may have noticed that the current Asian beauty craze since the internet is ablaze with articles like The Best Beauty Wonders From Korea and 5 Of Korea’s Hottest Beauty Trend And How to Try Them  as the American media plays catch up to the cult of Asian beauty. My experience with Asian products actually started on a trip to Chinatown back when I was living in New York. My sister and I picked up these strange (at the time) paper masks drenched in serums that supposedly would have transformative effects on the skin. I was doubtful, but after a good exfoliation session and 15 relaxing minutes of mask time, I was sold. Despite the success of that initial purchase, I was hesitant to venture more deeply into Asian skin care on account of my drama queen skin. But after about two years of Youtube stalking…err researching, I’ve deciding to dip my feet in again. So here’s what I got:

The Face Shop Foot Peel- It’s like a mask but for your feet and apparently causes your all the dead skin on your feet to peel off over the course of a week or so. I’ll admit it, I’ve been scared to try this, I always imagine myself having an occasion to wear sandals soon after using this.

Nature Republic Aloe Vera Gel- This is by no means a ground-breaking product but I love gel moisturizers for my oily skin at night time and figured fewer ingredients make a better product. Nature Republic is one of Korea’s well-known natural skin care lines. I’ve been using this over the past week and have been waking up to plump dewy skin.

DHC Deep Cleansing Oil- I’ve heard a lot about this and always wanted to try it. I double cleanse at night first with an oil cleanser then a foam to really take the day off. I currently use Dermologica’s precleanse on recommendation of my facialist and love it. So hopefully this is as good.

Etude House Good-bye Pore-Ever Pore Primer Essence- If you’re an oily girl you know primer=life. On the days that I skip my tinted moisturizer I use a mattifying sunscreen or moisturizer, but for the says that I don’t (which isn’t often) I like a good primer. I’ve used this a couple times now and have no complaints. In may even be better than my Laura Mercier old faithful. 

Innisfree No Sebum Mineral Powder- A translucent powder is another oily girl essential. I’ve used Make Up Forever’s setting powder in the past, but slipped up and done a RihRih as a result. I’ve heard great things about this, I only wish I had gotten the pressed powder because these tubs can get messy.

Laneige Water Sleeping Mask- Another cult product that I have been dying to try. When the brand came stateside to Target, I decided that now is the time to give it a try. I used it one night but it has fierce competition from my Nature Republic Aloe Gel which I love more for its simplicity. When I used this more in the future I may get back to you about the effects.

Etude House Collagen Eye Patch- Eye creams usually make my eyes watery and puffy, I bought this hoping that less contact would mean less irritation. I haven’t tried it yet so we’ll see.

Skin Food Black Sugar Wash Off Mask- I love exfoliators, especially those that use natural exfoliants rather than those environment killing microbeads that are made of God knows what.

Missha Time Revolution Essence- I’ve heard this is a good dupe for SKII which I have no intention of dropping $$ on anytime soon.

Missha First Treatment Mask- Like the Essence, this mask should also apparently rival SKII’s mask. If it promises yummy, plump, dewy (not oily) skin I’m in.

 

 

 

 

Remnants

estate house
While on the island, I work in the family business 8-5, Monday-Saturday and since “home” is just upstairs, it’s safe to say that I don’t get to see much during the week. That’s why I look forward to  Sunday afternoon drives, these almost always mean going to the countryside at the far north of the island where I spent most of my youth.

When we aren’t accompanied by a family member or two,  it’s mostly happy chatter between my mother and me, other times it’s pensive serious talk about things like climate change and local politics (nice, light conversation for a Sunday, no?) In one of those serious moments though we noticed how run down certain parts of the country side had gotten. Many beautiful properties from the golden years of the once capital Georgetown are run down, their owners now living abroad and many others have been demolished and in their stead stand big, gaudy, brightly coloured houses. It made me remember one of the greatest struggles of developing countries; the constant competition between development and conservation for attention and resources. Too often, in order to play catch up with global power houses, developing countries sacrifice their past to build a shiny new future.

This isn’t my first time noticing the rundown old structures though, they are all over the island. Many of the still-standing structures come from old colonial estates, like the building pictured  above but some are just old family homes, often made of stone or wood mostly abandoned, some lucky ones still in use (image three is the house of a distant relative/family friend- it’s still in use and is IMO one of the most beautiful properties on the island.)

For a while I have been wishing somebody would document these, the only possibly way I see to preserve them all. But since no real photographers have thought of it, I decided to take pictures myself, armed with a Canon G15, an iPhone5 and sometimes VSCO cam. (I’ve decided to call this series Remnants, ’cause that’s what real photogs do right? ;) ) Expect more from this series when I get back to the island, but for now I’m enjoying a short vacation back in Miami.

photo3photo2remnants of svg

 

La Soufriere

photo (3)photo (10)la soufriere st vincent

It’s amazing how much a change in environment can affect your thinking. Recently, I found myself back on my island for a couple months with no ideas for posts and no desire to post. I’ve always been a little weird about sharing my home (for very vague probably nonsensical reasons) but was inspired by fellow island lady Shala who has been flooding my instagram feed with images of my beautiful neighbor St. Lucia.

I took these images on a Sunday afternoon drive to the country side, when the sky was clear enough for me to catch a glimpse of the island’s highest peak which is also its volcano, La Soufriere. The volcano is dormant and hasn’t erupted since 1979. I hiked to the top only once when I was in high school and need to go back sometime soon.

 

 

Food Truck Invasion, Fort Pierce

food truck invasionfood truck invasionfood truck invasion food truck invasion IMG_0516Last Friday, my family and I headed to the Food Truck Invasion in Fort Pierce. We arrived early as we were told that it’s usually crowded but thankfully for us (not the food trucks) it was obscenely cold, so the turnout was not too big and we had little to no waiting time. Feeling particularly carnivorous, I scarfed down juicy hot honey ribs from Famous Wings and followed that with BBQ chicken on a stick from Bea’s Heavenly Wings. Later on to salve my conscience I had a berry yum juice from the Vegan Love truck which was indeed yummy. 

Vizcaya

vwaterteaphoto 2

throughyouphoto

A couple of weeks ago my sister and I finally visited the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. The property was once the summer  home of American industrialist John Deering, who had it designed to emulate the Italian Renaissance style villas he saw on his travels. We spent over an hour exploring the vast gardens before going into the main house which still has the original furniture Deering shipped from Europe along with other little bits like monogrammed cigarettes.

Images from 2nd to end by NAENL 

 

 

An Intro and A Picture

A year ago, I unwillingly packed up and moved from New York City to Miami-my fifth move since moving to the US in 2006. Although it had always been on my list of places to visit, Miami was never a place I would consider calling home. Since the move was unavoidable, I decided to make it better by spending as little time as possible here. For the better part of the year I was back and forth between Miami and the Caribbean but now that I’ve been grounded for a couple months I’ve decided it’s time to let go of my resistance and get acquainted with my not-so-new home. Here goes.

mverintroMiami Beach September 2012