Monthly Archives: January 2016

#WCW

I feel compelled to write a #wcw post as I just got back from visiting my favorite Mick, Crystal, in Philly. Though advised not to travel while Mercury was retrograde, I had booked my flight over a month ago and was not going to change it, and thus was lucky enough to be engulfed by snowstorm Jonas. I was actually looking forward to it – I always enjoyed the snow in Detroit, and seeing as how we rarely get it in the South, it was a fun experience! That said, trekking through 2 feet of snow for approximately 6 miles each day was definitely challenging. Crystal gets a special s/o for putting up with my ass for insisting we travel 45 minutes to get Polish food across town, getting naked in the snow, and hoofing it through the city to sled down the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

After getting off of work at VStreet (where Crystal saved me a cruise ship sundae, which I’m now craving constantly), we were both starving, so she took us to David’s Mai Lah Wah, where we promptly ordered everything off of the menu and destroyed the restaurant with duck sauce.

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right before she squirted duck sauce all over herself

I arrived on Thursday night, and had almost all of Friday to explore before the snow started. By Saturday morning, her roommate had to shovel out a path to leave the house and we began the search for warm beverages and brunch. The storm was intense – we might as well have been in the Eastern Bloc, the way everything looked.

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the virgin mary of south philly

After hemming and hawing as to whether or not we should go to the museum, we decided that we had to go, because why not? How many times does one get to sled down the famed “Rocky” steps? Since we weren’t able to get into NYC, we had to do SOMETHING. The expedition over there was a little daunting, but we were prepared with sledding materials and beer – all the necessities. Not only was the local ABC affiliate shooting footage, but The Weather Channel was at the museum as well! We could hear yelling and laughing several blocks away, as tons of people of all ages had come out to sled. Many thanks to the 90’s ravers who opened our bottles for us!

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the path to a Dateline episode

Once we got home, and because we have no boundaries and no shame, we stripped down and ran around naked in the snow with the cats for a few minutes. A space heater and down comforters have never felt better! After all of those shenanigans and multiple mile slogs in the slush, we pretty much collapsed for the night.

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assholes

Sunday night was a Very Important Night as it was the premier of the new season of “The X-Files.” I mean, I was legit crying over my pierogis earlier in the day in anticipation. I ordered us some Santucci’s while the wife set up the cable box, but of course, Comcast was fucked up due to the storm. It was nearly a disaster, but I luckily found a live stream on the internet and the crisis was averted, spaghetti enjoyed.

There will be a food post upcoming, as I still managed to eat some crazy good food despite Snowmageddon. The only thing I didn’t get to eat was a 31 cent pretzel (so sad, Ainsley!) BUT I will be back there in no time, and devouring one as big as my face.

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Thanks for letting me crash, Flanagan. Next time, I’m stealing Loaf.

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*Kawaii BB*

As every little girl in the early 80s, I was IN LOVE with Sanrio & Hello Kitty. My dream job was to wear the Hello Kitty costume at Sanrio Surprises in the mall (lofty goals, I know), and I distinctly remember being distraught over the loss of my “sea foam green” (the seven year old artist!) Little Twin Stars pencil. They were my favorite, alongside My Melody and Spottie Dottie, with Tuxedo Sam rounding out the group. Did anyone else watch Furry Tale Theatre on Saturday mornings? Wasn’t it the best?! I may or may not have bought the newer versions on DVD in the 2000s… 🙂

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my sweet mama surprised me with a stuffed Totoro last Valentine’s Day

Fast forward a few years to the English release of My Neighbor Totoro & life would be forever changed. I was fortunate enough to have a friend whose uncle designed stickers in Korea, and he would send us tons of Japanese and Korean stickers, with lots of Miyazaki ones included. Practically wearing out my VHS, all I dreamed of was living in a giant Camphor tree and eating bento boxes with that fluffy giant! I settled for collecting Bonsai trees and gobbling up noodles, though, and to this day, think of Totoro every time I pick up an acorn or see a soot sprite. A couple of years ago, Cine in Athens had a Miyazaki fest, and I finally got to see my beloved film on the big screen (although it was the newer, Disney dub which I do not love quite as much). It was hard not to cry, being able to experience a childhood favorite the way it’s supposed to be seen. One of my best friends, Karen, is also a huge Japanese/anime fan, and I recently lent her a copy of the film so she and her kids could watch it.  It’s been so rewarding to hear how much her little sprites love it as much as we do!

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special birthday presents!

Karen gifted me some Totoro items from Japan for my birthday two years ago, and we shared some snacks from Okinawa just recently. Making the food from all of our favorite Miyazaki films and a day full of Studio Ghibli screenings is next on the list!

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treats from Okinawa

Another one of my besties, Savanna, and I joke about “finding our people.” Thus, she is also a lover of all things Kawaii! When we went to see one of our most treasured bands, Eisley, back in October, we made sure to dress up in our “Lolita” best – braids, bun-buns, swan socks, gold shoes, ruffles, & pink! In our excitement, we neglected to get full photos of ourselves, but we did get a little one with Christie Dupree, so that’s what counts, right?! Savanna and I hit up our favorite local Asian markets last weekend to stock up on snacks and other necessities for making pho, rice bowls, and the like. My mom and I have always loved the strawberry & chocolate wafer sticks, but I picked up some ube flavored ones this time – and boy, are they are delicious!!! I did get some more strawberry ones, but the tin is not as cute as the one they’ve been in in the past. First world problems!

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strawberry wafer sticks and lychee candy from last year. also, these Sucre shop utensils!

Yesterday, I received one of the best things ever – my first Kawaii Box! This adorable company sends you 10-12 Japanese and Korean items each month from their shop, Blippo, ranging from brands such as SanrioPockyAlpacassoPony Brown, and, of course, Totoro! I was squealing with delight as I opened each item – the package arrived in perfect time, too, as I am getting ready to hop a plane to Philly and NYC to see my loves, Crystal & Zach, and now I will have a new coin purse, notebook, & stickers to take with me! At under $20/month plus free shipping, you just can’t beat receiving a pink and purple wrapped box in the mail each month full of the cutest treasures. Alongside these boxes, the company also has Japan Candy Box, a similar box full of sweets and treats – also under $20/month! Splendid gifts for the Kawaii lover in your life….or for spoiling yo’ self! Thanks so much, Kawaii Box!

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Kawaii Box + blush pink Kanken + Rosehound pins

It’s safe to say I am ready to visit PurolandHarmony Land, the Ghibli Museum, wander the luscious Biei lavender fields, hunt for Morizo & Kiccoro, and look for my very own Camphor tree. I also wouldn’t mind taking home a capybara! Rosie even has some friends in Japan – George & Mimi Shugasuki, to whom we would love to say hello!

幸せな一日、友人

Jjimjil

I hope everyone’s holidays were wonderful! It was a VERY busy month in the lands of television and the arts – numerous gallery openings, luncheons, parties, & parades – I was definitely ready for a much needed break!

I ended up taking the afternoon off of work the Monday following Christmas in order to go to Jeju, the Korean bathhouse, and to get my hair done by my friend & stylist extraordinaire, Rami, of Ludlow Blunt in NYC.

Jeju was, for lack of a better word, amazing. While savoring a bowl of deliciously spicy ramen, I texted my boyfriend that we were just going to have to have a long-distance relationship; I was never leaving the spa.

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spicy ramen & kimchi!

Upon entering the bathhouse, one goes into the segregated locker rooms and undresses, either staying nude to go to the wet area or putting on the traditional Korean spa clothes in order to sit in the communal saunas. Attached to the locker rooms are the steam & cedar saunas, the massage, body shampoo, and hip bath areas, and the cold, medium, and hot tubs. I considered being brave and stepped into the cold bath first – quickly regretted that and went off to find much warmer temperatures. Few things are as liberating as being completely naked with a bunch of other strangers. Having posed nude for painting classes, I was already accustomed to it, but this was much more enjoyable (sorry, Tom!). Within the wet area, the steam jade sauna was by far my favorite part. A little hard to breathe at first, but once the steam started relaxing my ever-stiff and aching joints (hello, neuropathic pain & Gaucher disease), I was able to really inhale the aromatics and sweat it out. After realizing I was probably going to faint if I didn’t eat something, I threw on the regulations shirt and shorts and headed off for the common area.

As mentioned above, the ramen was straight up epic, and the side of kimchi didn’t hurt, either! And not only that, it was dirt cheap -$6! One of the best parts about the common area and restaurant was that the floor is heated. I am always, always freezing, so this was literally a warm welcome. After satiating my appetite, it was off to check out each sauna. The jade, charcoal, and baked clay saunas were slightly smaller and not quite as hot, though they each came with their own benefits – helping to increase metabolism & circulation, relieve arthritis pain, eliminate toxins and build up resistance to disease, and flush out impurities & release dead skin cells.

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charcoal sauna

I then moved on to the larger, more intense kiln saunas: Rock & Salt, Gold & Silver, & Jewels. The Rock and Salt room, full of pure crystal rock salt, is  utilized to relieve stress and tension, the Gold and Silver room is supposed to help with nerve stability, and the Jewel room emits calmness and healing powers. I definitely felt some release in the Rock & Salt room, and the Jewel room helped me cleanse both my mind and body.  They were all so relaxing that it was hard to decide in which one to spend the most time!

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Rock & Salt room

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sweating out the toxins in the Gold & Silver room

Unfortunately, I hadn’t brought a bathing suit in order to take advantage of the heated, saltwater Jade swimming pool, but that didn’t stop me from dipping in a toe. I’ll be hitting it up next time, for sure! I also peeked into the Ice room -had to try it all, you know? That was definitely NOT for me. After a brief appearance there, I ducked back into the Jewel room to warm up again!

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how beautiful is that pool?!

Being on a deadline to meet Rami, I couldn’t spend as much time as I would have liked there, though those few hours were definitely magical. Next visit, I plan to stay overnight (it’s $25 for 24 hours -WHAT!), nap in the sleeping rooms, add on some extras, and really just let go. One of my best friends is flying into Atlanta next week and will be visiting Jeju while there – I am Jade green with envy!

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stone starburst

 

Detoxing and purifying at Jeju helped wash out the last bits of 2015 (I even washed out my hair color by having Rami dye it blonde!) and prepare me mentally, emotionally, and physically for 2016. So far, it’s been looking pretty damn good (even with Mercury Retrograde!) Happy New Year, friends! xo!