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· Consumer Diaries: Winter 2009

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Consumer Diaries: Winter 2009
by Anne

Image by 무적핑크 (Super Pink); captions translated by Anne.

My favorite webcomic is "Realistic and Objective Fairy Tales," which is the doing of art student Mujeok-Pink, or "Super Pink" in English. Super Pink takes canonical tales and puts a fresh spin on them, taking the narrative in a totally unexpected direction; her repertoire includes the Grimms brothers, traditional Korean folktales, Aesop's fables, works of fiction such as Oscar Wilde's "The Happy Prince" and O. Henry's "The Last Leaf," as well as cultural idioms such as Tetris. New episodes are posted weekly, and are by turns cynical, silly, profound, or even tragic... but always side-splittingly funny.

I've recently become a huge fan of Jaurim and have a bit of a girl-crush on their lead singer Kim Yoon-Ah (not to be confused with the equally beautiful and talented Kim Yuna). Lest you take soulless bubblegum/sexed-up K-pop for Korean music, I tell you, this is the real thing, and I was elated to discover it. Since Jaurim began on the indie scene in 1997, their unique sound has been described as "elfin" or "catlike," due in large part to Kim Yoon-Ah's keening, expressive voice—in my humble opinion, a voice none can listen to and stay indifferent. Plus, the woman really rocks a wine-stained lip.

I bought a knit piece this last fall that can only be described as "a scarf with sleeves," or "two sleeves knitted into a scarf." I regretted the decision at first, wondering where I would wear a scarf with sleeves. As it turns out, everywhere. It goes around the neck like a normal scarf and also slips over the hands for immediate warmth—no need to fiddle with taking gloves on and off. And it looks chic enough, as it drapes like a shawl without the fuss of trying to keep one on your shoulders. If you plunge your entire arm into the slit of the sleeve, you can even create a shrug (as seen above on the model).

Since the weather has grown dry I apply body moisturizer after showering, but of late, my skin has become dry and flaky. No amount of moisturizer I use seems to make a difference: indeed, the rougher my skin gets, the worse the moisturizer absorbs. So yesterday, I went straight to The Face Shop and picked up their Sweet Body Moisture Exfoliator. I like that it's an all-in-one product—a "moisturizing" body wash with exfoliating microbeads—and it did help smoothe my winter-chapped legs and ankles, but it didn't give me the "skin-like-silk" feeling I expected from an exfoliator (maybe I'm just picky). It may help to leave the skin to soak and to use very generous amounts of the stuff—at any rate, I plan to be using this product up fast as possible so that I can move on to L'Oreal Exfotonic, which gets very good reviews, though twice as expensive.

While I was there, I also picked up this "natural jelly cleansing puff," which I am much more impressed with. It's a round sponge made from a plant-based jelly, and is consequently so soft and soothing on the skin that you'd never guess it exfoliates as well. I also have my eye on Scholl Rough Skin Removing Foot Cream.

I recently had occasion to visit "Bakseok Gogae," a restaurant specializing in north-of-the-DMZ-style food—and considering that North Korea borders on the windswept plains of Northern China and Siberia, it makes sense that North Koreans do winter comfort food like nobody's business. The pancakes (topped with egg and done to the perfect pitch of golden-brown) and dumplings are delicious, but the keystone of the menu is the "kalgooksoo," handmade noodles served in a rich beef bone broth and garnished with succulent zucchini and kimchi.
Besides that, nothing is more comforting in winter than a blanket and a hot cup of tea. I'm growing very fond of mint tea, its quiet piquancy providing another kind of pick-me-up altogether different from the tarred rush of coffee.

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12/17/2009 [4]

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