+bread+

Before I started getting into the gym life grind, the first health “adult” decision that I made was dropping juice from my diet.  I noticed that I would feel indigestion after even a little bit of apple juice, and orange juice made my insides feel very acidic.  While there are various types of juice (cranberry, organic, etc.), I would always feel gross after drinking some juice.

 

Over a year ago, soda was added to that list of taboo food and drinks.  Personally, I never drank a lot of soda because I didn’t really like it.  Drinking Coke was a necessity in a sense that it was my last resort if my indigestion and the consequent indigestion-induced headache wouldn’t go away.  And honestly, it was easy to swap out the soda because bubbles in seltzer or sparkling water also get the job done.

During this past summer, because I was responsible for cooking a lot of my family’s meals, I began to be more conscious of food prices.  Grocery shopping made me aware of why that “cheap” meal at Wendy’s wasn’t that affordable.  $20 of groceries, if spent and used properly, can feed you for a few meals.  On the other hand, $20 of junk food only lasts one meal, two if you’re being real economical 😬.  And I get it, cooking take time and labor, things that are hard to sacrifice when you’re busy.  For me, one of the most important things is eating tasty foods, so I’m willing to sacrifice my personal and/or sleep just to make my taste buds happy and get the dopamine running.

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I ♥️ B R E A D

I would say that I’ve generally been pretty successful about living healthy, but recently, one this has really been irking me – bagels.  I’ve been craving a good bagel for a while now, good as in a NYC bagel because we all know that the bagels from home actually taste right.  Honestly, the only reason why I’ve staved off on eating bread is because of the promise that I’ll be home in a week.  Once that week is upon us, you’ll probably find me eating my way through the bakeries and bagel shops near me.

♓️

I’m not a huge carbs person, and I’ve been on a low carb diet for a few years now.  I know that things should be eaten in a balance, but I feel like I get my carb filling through potatoes and Korean rice.  I love making home fries with a ton of garlic and onions, sprinkled with parsley, and when you eat Korean food, you need a bowl of steaming white rice to complete the meal.

People say that carbs (i.e. pasta) are a girl’s best friend, but I completely disagree.  I do eat pasta, but unlike most people, I like to load up on my vegetables.  Call me weird, but the bitter taste of vegetables has gotten quite sweet to me.  Salads are best enjoyed without dressing, especially when you have chicken breast cooked with a lot of garlic (garlic emoji).

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Honestly, I’m not quite sure where this post is going, but does anyone have some helpful tips on how to deal with carb withdrawal?  I feel like I’m struggling to make it to the end of next week to purge my soul with bagels.

IMAGE CREDIT: Diabetes UK
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+wrecking+

Note: I noticed that I haven’t written a soul-bearing post recently, so here’s one to chew on.  x ec

Growing up, I remember this constant feeling of unhappiness and low self-esteem because no one seemed to take my pain seriously.  When you’re little and adults always attribute your pain to “acting out,” it really takes a toll on your psyche because you start questioning and second guessing yourself.  As an adult on the other side of the spectrum, I do find myself getting annoyed when children complain because I also immediately think it’s because they don’t want to do something.

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The Pain Threshold

Nowadays, there’s a new scientific study published each week, exposing something that we thought to be true as false.  Don’t get me wrong – I love reading science journals, partly because I’m a science major, but mainly because nature is so fascinating, and who isn’t amazed by our bodies and the world we live in?  However, I feel like every week, distinguished lab #1 releases the “truth about something,” from a 10-year study, but then a week later, reputable lab #2 publishes a contradictory message from their 20-year study.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think many recent studies show a new perspective of the things we’ve “figured out.”  One obvious example is ADHD diagnoses in America in comparison to France: the study inferred that it wasn’t that France had less children with ADHD, but rather French doctors’ rationale to attribute their young patient’s hyperactivity to their age, rather than placing blame on a greater problem.  American doctors are pressured by well-meaning parents who must be given a concrete answer to their children’s behavior, even if there might not be a problem at all.

Similarly, one thing that I’ve always heard was that people have different tolerances for pain.  Obviously, getting shot will hurt everyone a lot, though maybe not if you’re a magician 🤔, but I do know that with smaller things, we cry out for pain at different rates.  This reminds me of a childhood game called “Chicken” (this was before cellphones and fast computers were a thing), where two people would hold hands by their thumbs, and would slap the other person’s hand until someone pulled their hand back.  By the end of the game, you would have bright red knuckles – I know this game sounds stupid, but it was a game to see who had the highest pain threshold.

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My Life, My Migraines

I would consider myself someone with a relatively high pain tolerance – I’ve never cried getting a shot 😏.  However, when it comes to migraines, all that’s thrown out the window.  I’ve had migraine spells where I would have to lock myself in my room, go under the blanket, and stuff my ears because I became so sensitive that just a little push would have triggered me to vomit.

For the longest time, I didn’t know how to deal with these attacks because oftentimes, I wouldn’t be at home, where I could easily shut the door, turn off the light, and just block out my senses.  Tylenol (acetaminophen), aspirin, or ibuprofen also don’t cut it because it’s basically over the counter medication abuse that damages your liver in the attempt of alleviating your head pain.  Personally, I know I don’t want to lose a liver just because of my pain.

I’ve definitely learned how to live with them, by training myself to push through my migraines.  Obviously, this isn’t a perfect solution because when I get a particularly severe migraine, I feel like my brain is under attack, like a wrecking ball plowing through a concrete wall.  I’ve also been eating healthy, cutting out migraine triggers like bananas and avocados, though I think avocados are gross 🙄.

♓️

I guess the moral of this post is that I wish society was more accepting and kinder to us migraine sufferers.  Frankly, if we didn’t have our migraines, I believe that we would be even more productive than people who don’t.  I also wish that there were more conclusive results on treating migraines because at times, these migraines are isolating.  You can’t join in on the fun with your friends because even though you’re physically present, all you can do is focus on the throbbing pain in your head.

Image Credit: Wealthy Doctor

+beans+

 

Korean 101

Before I get into today’s recipe, I just wanted to have some helpful translations for anyone who wants to try out this recipe.  As this is a Korean dish, not every term will have an English counterpart.  Some words will just have romanced versions of the Korean word, but there are some rough translations that describe what each item is.

  • 뚝배기 – ttukbaegi, an earthenware bowl coated in a brown colored glaze
  • 멸치 – dried anchovies, Japanese variety
  • 다시마 – dashima, kombu, a type of seaweed used for flavoring
  • 된장 – doenjang paste, fermented soybean paste
  • 고추장 – gochujang paste, red chili paste
  • 고춧가루 – gochugaru, red chili powder
  • 진간장 – Jin-ganjang, soy sauce
  • 애호박 – Korean baby zucchini
  • 청양고추 – Cheongyang chili pepper

♓️

So today, I’ll be making 된장찌개, pronounced doenjang-jjigae, which is a Korean fermented soybean paste stew.  Like kimchi, and many other Korean fermented foods, doenjang has numerous health benefits, like anti-aging nutrients, keeping your organs healthy, potentially lower blood pressure, etc.  Doenjang-jjigae is also packed with various vitamins and minerals, like iron, potassium, calcium, Vitamin C, and many more, thanks to the nutrients found in anchovies, tofu, and other vegetables.

Disclaimer: In this recipe, I will be using clams, though there are many recipes that use red meat.  This is more of a personal preference, as I like the cleaner flavor clams have in comparison to meat.  Not to mention, seafood is healthier than red meat!

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Ingredients: 3 servings

  • Broth
    • 2 ¼ cups of water
    • handful of dried anchovies (gutted if you dislike a slightly bitter taste)
    • palm sized piece of kombu, cut into strips
    • 3 tablespoons of doenjang paste**
    • ½ tablespoon of gochujang paste
    • 1 teaspoon of gochugaru flakes
    • a splash of soy sauce
  • Stew
    • ½ cup of Korean zucchini, though green zucchinis also work, cut into centimeter cubes
    • 2 ½ cups of shellfish, specifically clams
    • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
    • garlic powder
    • ½ pack of firm tofu, cut into centimeter cubes
    • ½ cup of a sweet onion, cut into centimeter pieces
    • ½ cup of potato, cut into centimeter cubes
    • 1 long hot green pepper, or a Cheongyang chili pepper, cut diagonally
    • 1 scallion, sliced
** Note: For extra flavor, I recommend using two different types of paste with a 2:1 ratio.

♓️

Steps

  1. Inside the ttukbaegi, cook the anchovies and the kombu in the boiling water for ten minutes, on high heat. This is to get the base ready – the tastier the broth, the better the overall stew will be.
  2. Add in the doenjang in the boiling broth, along with the zucchini, clams, and garlic. To make the stew taste cleaner and more garlicky, sprinkle in the garlic powder.
  3. Stirring, add in the tofu, onion, and potato into the stew. Make sure that the doenjang is completely dissolved into the broth.
  4. Add in the gochujang, chili flakes, soy sauce, and green pepper into the stew. Stir to dissolve the gochujang, then let it simmer on low heat for a minute.
  5. Turn off the fire and sprinkle in the scallions on top. Enjoy!

♓️

Notes

  • Unlike other recipes for this dish, I prefer to use a long hot green pepper, a trick that my mom taught me. The reason for this is because unlike the preferred Cheongyang chili pepper, the green pepper has a thick skin and will not break apart when cooked.  Also, it’s just as flavorful, so it’s a great alternative!
  • In Step 2, I know this is self-explanatory, but for people who doesn’t wash their seafood, especially their shellfish: the clams must be washed thoroughly, or else you will be eating sand.
  • In Step 4, there were a lot of “spicy” ingredients added to the stew, so if you’re uncomfortable with spice, there are three ways to deal with this:
    • Skip this step entirely – it won’t be spicy, but it won’t be lacking either
    • Add these at the very end with the scallions, after the stove’s turned off
    • Add either the gochujang or the green pepper.
Note: I didn’t mention the chili flakes because they don’t make the dish as spicy as the other two – it’s more of a garnish to add some color to the dish.

♓️

Pictures

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+mask off+

F*** it, mask off

Future, Mask Off (2017)

Using the right facial masks can really make a difference to your skin, so I wanted to share some of my favorite masks, explaining why I love these products.

Just as a reminder, I have normal, but very sensitive skin, so my recommendations are based off what worked well for my skin.  That being said, I don’t have skin issues like oiliness or dryness.  However, I am a victim of dry winters and such, so these are also products that worked for my skin.

♓️

The Groups

For each mask type, I’ll be sharing recommendations at varying price points.  Skincare’s an investment, and you shouldn’t feel pressured to buy the crème de la crème.  Besides exfoliating and sheet masks, each section will have masks targeted towards specific conditions in different mask mediums.  Listed below are the mask types I’ll be focusing today

 

  • Exfoliating
  • Sheet
  • Oily skin (includes Clay)
  • Dry skin (includes Hydrating)
  • Firming & rejuvenating skin (aka “anti-aging”)
  • Detoxifying
  • EXTRA: Overnight

♓️

Exfoliating Masks

Skinfood Black Sugar Mask Wash Off – $10.00 (100 g)
I just love this product.  It’s cheap and relatively effective, and the instructions are quite simple: its massaged onto a cleansed damp face and left in for 10-15 minutes, before it’s rinsed off.  This mask uses sugar as its microbeads to exfoliate, so your skin not only feels smooth, but smells great too.
Click here to purchase.

Lancôme Énergie de Vie The Illuminating & Purifying Exfoliating Mask – $55.00 (2.6 oz/75 mL)
I’ve heard that Lancôme’s products were on the harsher side, so I was initially reluctant to try this pretty green product.  However, I was wrong, as I quickly learned that this is a lazy person’s dream.  All you do is lather it onto your face, then let the magic happen, as you relax.  If this price tag is a practical option for you, this is definitely something worth investing in because you feel great afterwards, knowing that your pores are no longer clogged.
Click here to purchase.

♓️

Sheet Masks

Innisfree It’s Real Squeeze Mask – $1.00 (single use)
This mask is one of the many cheap Korean sheet masks that every regular mask user on a tight budget should use.  Using sheet masks frequently adds up, and just because it’s cheap doesn’t mean that it won’t get the job done.  My friends who visited Korea said that Innisfree sheet masks, among others, can sell for only 2 for $1, which sounds even better!  Also, who doesn’t like a mask that’s soaked in rosewater?
Click here to purchase.

Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin™ Skin-Friendly Nanoskin Sheet Mask – $6.00 (single use)
According to many Korean beauty users, Dr. Jart+ makes exceptional products.  Friends with dry skin love using this all year round, while “normal” skinned friends (aka friends with little to no skin issues) also love to use this mask during the winter.  Dr. Jart+’s masks also have a great perk: the remaining serum in the pouch is more than enough to revitalize your décolleté area.
Click here to purchase.

SK-II Facial Treatment Mask – $17.00 (single use), $135.00 (pack of 10)
SK-II’s a high-end comestic brand, known for its exceptional service.  Despite its high price point, SK-II really delivers whatever they advertise.  This mask is no exception, with a common conclusion: you feel like a beauty fashion model after using it.
Click here to purchase.

♓️

Oily Skin Masks (includes Clay)                       

CLINIQUE Acne Solutions™ Oil-Control Cleansing Mask – $25.00 (3.4 fl oz/100 mL)
From my experience, CLINIQUE products generally works well with sensitive skin at an affordable price.  Though I don’t have oily skin, my friends who do all talk about this product because it’s great, given its price, in comparison to other brands.
Click here to purchase.

Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask – $27.00 (3.4 fl oz/100 mL)
Regardless of skin type, this Origins mask is a popular choice.  My old roommate who had dry, not oily, skin loved this product, which serves to show that this is an extremely versatile product.  The only downside about this mask, like all charcoal products, is that it can be hard to completely wash off in one sitting.
Click here to purchase.

GLAMGLOW SUPERMUD® Clearing Treatment – $69.00 (1.7 oz/50 g)
If you’re willing to splurge, GLAMGLOW’s the brand to choose.  It’s said that celebs love using GLAMGLOW products because it truly gives a glow to the user.  I’ve also noticed that in general, beauty vloggers and such all love using this product.  And though dermatologists say that it’s impossible to shrink pores, this product really makes your pores seem smaller.
Click here to purchase.

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Dry Skin Masks (includes Hydrating)

Kiehl’s Calendula & Aloe Soothing Hydration Mask – $45.00 (3.4 fl oz)
Kiehl’s is a brand that really lets its products do the talking instead of heavily advertising their stuff.  This product is no exception, as the combination of hydration and pleasant smelling calendula and aloe really wakes your face up.
Click here to purchase.

Perricone MD Cocoa Moisture Mask – $69.00 (2 oz/59 mL)
If you ever wanted to smell like chocolate, or love anything chocolate, this is mask to use.  Perricone MD provides a spatula in the packaging, so you don’t have to contaminate the product with your hands germs, and decrease the longevity of your mask (i.e. especially if you’re a slow mask user, or want to frugally use this product).
Click here to purchase.

fresh Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask® – $92.00 (3.3 oz/100 mL)
fresh products consistently smell great and get the job done.  I’ve only reacted poorly to one fresh product (a cleanser), but their rose, black tea, and brown sugar lines are very effective.  However, it’s a hefty price for a face mask, so proceed with caution, as the (relatively cheaper options shared above) are just as effective.
Click here to purchase.

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Firming & Rejuvenating Skin Masks (aka “anti-aging”)

Dr. Hauschka Revitalising Mask – $51.00 (1 oz)
The beauty industry definitely takes advantage of the fact that women are scared of aging.  Obviously, creating new anti-aging products time time and money, and those labor costs eventually factor into the final price of any product.  Dr. Haushka’s mask is actually on cheaper side for a rejuvenating mask because anti-aging products usually contain chemicals not included in other masks.  Thankfully, a small amount of mask goes a long way, shrinking your pores and smoothing your skin.
Click here to purchase.

Shiseido Benefiance WrinkleResist24 Pure Retinol Express Smoothing Eye Mask – $65.00 (12 packettes x 2 sheets)
One of the largest markers of aging is crows’ feet, regardless of your age and how much you smile.  Shiseido knows this, and that’s why they created this product that somehow relaxes the harsh, aging lines around your eyes, making you look younger.
Click here to purchase.

AMOREPACIFIC MOISTURE BOUND Intensive Serum Masque – $90.00 (6 treatments)
AMOREPACIFIC’s a high-end beauty conglomerate beloved by celebrities and beauty lovers all over the world.  Besides relaxing even the most noticeable wrinkles, this mask leaves you glowing.
Click here to purchase.

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Detoxifying Skin Masks

Caudalie Instant Detox Mask – $39.00 (2.5 oz/75 mL)
To me, Caudalie can be a hit or a miss.  However, this mask gets the job done for my sensitive skin.  It isn’t harsh, and it leaves behind a pleasant and smooth feeling.
Click here to purchase.

Estée Lauder NightWear Plus 3-Minute Detox Mask – $47.00 (2.5 oz/75 mL)
Estée Lauder’s detox mask’s a winning combination of great smell and its gentle, yet effective design.  This should be pretty obvious because for a mask that costs almost $50.00, you’ll want to see actual results, and this product doesn’t disappoint.
Click here to purchase.

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EXTRA: Overnight Mask

Shiseido Ibuki Beauty Sleeping Mask – $40.00 (2.8 oz)
I love Shiseido products, especially the Ibuki line, because they work well on my sensitive skin.  As a NYC girl with relatively normal skin and daily pollution exposure, this overnight mask’s efficient for a person of the city.  It’s like a vitamin pill and an energizer bunny in one that gets to work as you sleep – even a tired face will look well-rested in the morning.
Click here to purchase.

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If these options are not practical for you, no worries!  I’ll be sharing some DIY masks that you can make from the things you have at home in the near future, so stay tuned!

Image Credit: Vogue

+mask on+

Mask on

Future, Mask Off (2017)

Wearing sunscreen is extremely important to me.  It provides a valuable service, keeping most of the sun’s harmful UV rays away from our precious skin cells.  And according to friends, tanning with sunscreen actually helps achieve a nice glow without the fear of skin peeling.  Though I wouldn’t know, because I dislike staying out under the sun for more than five minutes.

Despite all these great benefits, sunscreen tends to make your face feel clogged and greasy.  Even after thoroughly washing my face with an oil cleanser and a regular cleanser, I still feel like there’s some sunscreen residue left.  So, to combat that, I turned to masks, which makes skin feel great.

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Mask Mediums

Face masks come in many different forms, each catering to a different need.  While it’s hard to definitively categorize the types, I would say that there are seven types of ways masks are presented.  And to note, while these are the general standards for each type, it’s also very important that you read the instructions first!

Cream
Cream masks are designed to brighten, hydrate, and/or rejuvenate skin.  A thin layer is applied to a dry and cleansed face for a few minutes before you remove it, using a wash cloth, or something similar.

Exfoliating
Exfoliating masks are designed to give your face a good scrub.  Chemical or physical exfoliators, like glycolic acid or microbeads, do away with dead skin cells that lay on top of the fresh skin cells.  Exfoliating helps the skin be more accepting of other skincare products and makeup, by evening out the skin.  This should only be used about once per week because once you start to over-exfoliate, you lose the beautiful glow hidden underneath the dead skin cells.

Food Based
Food based masks are designed to use the natural properties found in fruits, vegetables, plants, etc. to revitalize the skin.  Common food based masks are cucumber, oatmeal, honey, rose.  However, if you have sensitive skin or allergies, it’s best if you skipped on trying out this method because it’s not worth breaking out in hives and having trouble breathing, just to get healthy skin.

Peel-Off
Peel-off masks are designed to fight blemishes, fight stress-induced blotchiness, tighten skin, amongst other things.  It usually comes in a gel, plastic, or paraffin wax form that hardens after application.  This type of mask is recommended more for people with mature skin, as opposed to younger skin, but if you’re in the latter group that’s interested in trying this, proceed with caution!

Sheet
Sheet masks are sort of the lazy way to juice up your skin with essential nutrients, a method that originates from South Korea.  These are serum soaked, face-shaped sheets (i.e. made of fiber, hydro-gel, pulp, or biocellulose), in individual packages, typically for one time use only.  They are extremely easy to use because all you need to do is slap on a sheet masks and let it do its job for about half and hour, before removing.  Pro tip: the serum remaining in the bag can be used on your neck, décolleté, and hands.  These areas also need to look young!

Thermal
Thermal masks are designed to open your pores and encourage your skin to breathe by warming the surface tissue through a chemical reaction.  The process begins by exposure to water, which causes it to heat up.  Think steaming your face, but much more penetrative.

Warm-Oil

Warm-oil masks are designed for softening the skin and increasing blood circulation.  They are typically used in spas, though it’s possible to make your own using an extracted oil, like olive oil.  Like peel-off masks, it’s most effective on mature skin, so buyer (or DIY creator) beware!

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Mask Targets

As seen in the previous section, different mediums are more effective for certain skin treatments.  When you buy a mask, they generally come with four different taglines.

Oily Skin (e.g. Clay)
Clay masks are one of the most advertised mask for people with acne prone, oily skin.  They’re great for people with these skin concerns because it absorbs oil without stripping the skin completely.  Clay masks are designed to bring out impurities to the skin’s surface, as it dries with the clay, and tightens as well.

Dry and/or Mature (Aging) Skin (e.g. Hydrating)
Hydrating masks, though they are most effective for people with dry and aging skin, is actually something we should all use.  During cold and dry weather, like the winter, your skin takes a toll because it becomes easily dehydrated.  If you don’t take proper measures, then you can be a victim to white flakes, itchiness, and makeup that never looks right.  Hydrating masks pump your skin with much needed hydration and nutrients, to maintain that glow even when the weather sucks!

Firming & Rejuvenating Skin
Rejuvenating masks are designed to smooth fine lines, give a healthy glow, lift skin, and slow down any signs of aging.  This is a typical “anti-aging” product, though many beauty experts agree that it’s never too early to start using these things because we’re all bound to get wrinkles.  The question is, how many years will it take for that to happen?

Detoxing Skin
Especially for city gals like me, daily pollution exposure, compounded by the sun’s rays, sweat, etc. definitely slow my skin down.  Detoxing masks are like a chance to start a game again with a fresh slate, free of any irritating obstacles.  These masks are most effective when used bi-weekly, or every two weeks.

♓️

Later, keep your eyes peels for my mask recommendations, ranging from a “luxury” option, to a cheaper method!

IMAGE CREDIT: Faviana NY

There’s nothing more important than our good health – that’s our principal capital asset.

Arlen Specter, American lawyer, politician (1930-2012)

+detergent+

This summer has been quite a pleasant one in the mosquito front.  Up until recently, I was one of the lucky few who hadn’t been attacked by these tiny menaces.  I contributed this to my healthier lifestyle, cutting back on junk food and unnecessary added sugars, fats, etc.  Instead of giving up on snacking completely, I now snack on carrots instead of chips, as snacking provides a lot of joy in my life.

This lifestyle has only been successful until August, when my lovely neighbor started flashing these extremely bright lights into my bedroom window at 3:00 a.m. (don’t you just love NYC apartments?)  Thanks to said neighbor, in five minutes, I went from mosquito-free, to a victim of six bites, all by a clearly visible vein.  To avoid getting more bites, I migrated into my living room, but to no avail.  By 4:00 a.m., I now had three more bites.

♓️

Mosquito Love

According to the Smithsonian, there are eight reasons why a person is more susceptible to getting bitten than others.

Bacteria
A 2011 study has shown that certain types and volume of bacteria that naturally live in our skin can affect the frequency of getting bitten.  People with large amounts of a few types of bacteria was more appealing, while bacteria diversity in their skin actually made mosquitoes less attracted to them.  For this reason, there is speculation that ankles and feet are common biting grounds, as these areas naturally have more robust bacteria colonies.

Beer
A 2002 study has discovered that just one 12-ounce bottle of beer makes you a lighthouse to mosquitoes.  Scientists aren’t exactly certain why this is the case, but some suggestions have been because of increased ethanol excretion in sweat, or higher body temperature.  However, neither factor has a definitive correlation to mosquito landings.

Blood
Mosquitoes need our blood to harvest proteins – without it, female mosquitoes cannot lay eggs.  For this reason, a 2004 study has shown that mosquitoes are more attracted to certain blood types than others.  Mosquitoes were attracted to Type A blood individuals the least, followed by Type B blood individuals; mosquitoes were twice as attracted to Type O blood individuals than Type A.  We also have other genes that tell mosquitoes what kind of blood we have – 85 percent of people release this chemical signal through their skin.  Interestingly, mosquitoes are more attracted to people who secrete this information than not, regardless of blood type.

Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
Mosquitoes have a maxillary palp, an organ responsible for detecting CO2; they can lock on their targets that stand as far as 164 feet away.  Larger people, who generally release more CO2, attract more mosquitoes simply because they exhale.  Children are bit less often than adults partly because of this reason.

Color
According to medical entomologist at the University of Florida, James Day, wearing certain colors make you more attractive to mosquitoes.  Mosquitoes can use their vision to locate people who wear striking colors like black, dark blue, or red.

Exercise & Metabolism
Besides CO2, mosquitoes love sweat and high body temperatures.  Not exactly sweat, but what’s in the sweat.  Besides cooling us down, our bodies produce sweat to regulate itself from toxins, like lactic acid, uric acid, ammonia, etc.  People who engage in strenuous exercise are treats for mosquitoes because of lactic acid buildup in their muscles and body heat.  On top of this, there are genes that can influence the amount of uric acid and other chemical substances a person naturally emits, so you can easily become a delicious five course meal to a lucky mosquito.

Genetics
85 percent of the variability between people’s attractiveness to mosquitoes is due to their genes.

Pregnancy
Many studies have shown that pregnant women attract about twice as much mosquitoes as others, possible because of CO2 and body temperature.  Pregnant women exhale about 21 percent more CO2 and are typically 1.26º F warmer than non-pregnant women.

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The Future of Mosquito Bites

Besides looking at people who attract mosquitoes, scientists have turned their attention to those who rarely attract them.  Using the latter’s genetic information, they hope to create an effect mosquito repellent.  Through chromatography, a UK lab has taken apart these people’s chemical secretions.  They have discovered that these individuals excrete a natural repellent that mosquitoes dislike.  Soon, Type O pregnant women who like to wear black with the perfect number of bacterial colonies can exercise without being bitten.

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But for Right Now…

While scientists are working hard to prevent future bites, we aren’t there yet.  So, for any individual who has been bitten, I introduce to you my mom’s unconventional solution: liquid dish detergent.  It seems out of the blue (no pun intended), but dish detergent works like a charm.  We have tried all sorts of solutions like tea tree oil and liquid Pepto Bismol, but nothing works quite as effectively as the thing you use to wash your dishes.

When I get bitten, I’m careful to only use three things only: cold water, soap, and dish detergent.  First, I immediately wash the area with cold water and soap.  I then pat the area dry and apply a layer of dishwashing detergent and let it dry completely, forming a cover over the bite.  If you’re pressed for time, you can just put on the dish detergent and let that dry, but it just feels refreshing to wash your bite in cold water.

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There are probably other solutions out there, but as a person who gets hive sized mosquito bites (even if I don’t touch it), this is the most effective method out there.  Obviously, it isn’t perfect, but it’s cheap and beats going out to by creams and essential oils that you normally don’t keep in your medicine cabinet.

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Click here to explore some dish detergent brands.

IMAGE CREDIT: Shoise

It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.

János Hugo Bruno Selye, commonly referred to as Hans Selye, CC, pioneering Austrian-Canadian endocrinologist (1907-1982)

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.

Lao Tzu, ancient Chinese philosopher, writer; author of the Tao Te Ching, founder of philosophical Taoism, deity in religious Taoism and traditional Chinese religions (604 BCE-531 BCE)

+blot+

I use products from my dermatologist but the best things you can do for your skin are not smoke, always use sunscreen, and drink a lot of water.

Sela Ward, American actress, author, producer (1956-present)

I hate the summer.

There I said it.  Honestly, I dislike it when it’s over 70 degrees, Fahrenheit obviously.  Though, imagine if it was 70˚C – well, can you even imagine that?

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The reason why I dislike it so much is because for most of the year, we easily live a lie.  We say that we don’t need sunscreen when it’s snowing out.  We also tell the same lie when it’s partly cloudy out.  Deep down, we all know that we shouldn’t live like this, but we still do anyways.

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The Unwanted Truths

Dermatologists and untrained beauty lovers all agree that there is never an excuse to not put on sunscreen daily.  And this shouldn’t be a surprise, considering all that we learned about the sun back in elementary and middle school.  The weather never actually deters UV rays from penetrating our skin, even if it may seem like the clouds cushion us from its dangerous effects.

Regardless of the weather, UV rays will find a way to damage your skin.  We trick ourselves into thinking that the pristine white snow protects us from the sun during the winter, but that’s not true.  Case in point: people getting sunburns and momentary blindness from the sun reflecting from the snow.

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Summer Solstice

Unlike winter, summer is much more obvious about sunscreen application because of its ties to the beach.  We all had the same antsy 10-minute routine of lathering ourselves n a thick coat of protectant because our parents refused to let us go into the water otherwise.  In hindsight, I feel like parents mostly did that to hear less complaints about getting sunburnt, but maybe that’s just me 🙃.

As we end June and approach July, living wrinkle-free is a concern for many, including myself.  Crow’s feet, age spots, etc. are all things I want to stave off for as long as I can.  Studies have shown that increased sun exposure triggers early onset wrinkles, as well as increase your chance for skin cancer.  I’m all for a healthy tan, but I don’t find looking old to outweigh looking constantly beach ready.

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Summer Skincare

The downsides of my trusty cleansing method is that it’s always humid in NYC during the summer.  Wiping off makeup, dirt, and sunscreen after a long day never feels satisfying because there’s a lingering greasy and sticky feeling, even if my face is completely clean.

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Steps to Having a Protected Face

Note: many of the products mentioned and explained will be the same as my cleansing method – sorry for the redundancy!
  1. Working up a generous lather using your cleanser, wash your face in lukewarm water, then cold water, before patting it dry with your hands. I use the Shiseido® Ibuki Gentle Cleanser, which works well with my sensitive skin.
  2. Next, use a swipe and pat method to effectively get your toner into your face; swipe a bit of toner onto your face, then pat it in.  I use the Shiseido® Softening Concentrate.
  3. Massage in the serum into your face, then put on your eye cream with your ring fingers. I’m currently trying the Caudalie® Vinoperfect Radiance Serum, though I’m experimenting to see which serum works the best for me.  I also use the Shiseido® Ibuki Eye Correcting Cream.
  4. **Put on the sunscreen before putting on the moisturizer.** Think of moisturizer as the top coat of your face, which locks in the polish you just put on your face.  I use the Shiseido® Urban Environment UV Protection Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 40 For Face/Body, which is watery, rather than the Shiseido® Urban Environment Oil-Free UV Protector Broad Spectrum SPF 42. For Face, though both work well because I don’t like creamier makeup products.  I also use the Shiseido® Ibuki Refining Moisturizer.
  5. After every two hours, blot your face, then apply a new coat of sunscreen. I just use the cheapest blotting tissue available.  TIP: If you’re in a bind, you can also use toilet seat covers; they work just like blotting tissues in collecting excess oil.

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Despite the sunscreen’s watery consistency, I still dislike its vaguely oily feeling.  I wish someone had a product that didn’t leave that lingering feeling, without causing me to break out.  Hint hint, Shiseido®, you’re breaking my wallet, but no one else seems to do the job so please create a better sunscreen product 🙏🏻!

xoxo,

the girl who’s scared of getting wrinkles (and getting old)

p.s. I forgot to mention this in the steps, but you must apply proper care to your neck as well!!  Everyone says that the easiest markers of aging are found in your hands and neck, so take good care of them!

p.p.s.  Here are the links to the products mentioned in this post!  Hopefully these products work well for you too 😁!

  • Shiseido® Ibuki Gentle Cleanser – Shiseido, Macy’s, Sephora (The Ibuki line is targeted for millennials with relatively steady complexions, who need normal protection from the harsh environment)
  • Shiseido® Softening Concentrate – Shiseido, Macy’s, Sephora (The Ibuki line is targeted for millennials with relatively steady complexions, who need normal protection from the harsh environment)
  • Caudalie® Vinoperfect Radiance Serum – Caudalie, Sephora (Not much to say about this as of right now, but we’ll see after I’m done with my sample.)
  • Shiseido® Ibuki Eye Correcting Cream – Shiseido, Macy’s, Sephora (The Ibuki line is targeted for millennials with relatively steady complexions, who need normal protection from the harsh environment)
  • Shiseido® Urban Environment UV Protection Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 40 For Face/Body – Shiseido, Macy’s, Sephora (Has a watery consistency.  The Urban Environment line is targeted for the similar age group as the Ibuki line.)
  • Shiseido® Urban Environment Oil-Free UV Protector Broad Spectrum SPF 42. For Face – Shiseido, Macy’s, Sephora (Has a creamier consistency.  The Urban Environment line is targeted for the similar age group as the Ibuki line.)
  • Shiseido® Ibuki Refining Moisturizer – Shiseido, Macy’s, Sephora (The Ibuki line is targeted for millennials with relatively steady complexions, who need normal protection from the harsh environment)
IMAGE CREDIT: Nordstrom