Summer Picnic at Short Stay (Sat, 7/19/14)

Yesterday, Dallin and I drove up to Short Stay in Moncks Corner for his department picnic. Short Stay is an outdoor recreation center located on Lake Moultrie and is operated by Joint Base Charleston-Weapons Station's MWR department. It's available to the military, retirees, DoD civilians, and guests.

Moncks Corner is "out in the sticks" compared to where we currently live. Took us about an hour to drive there, but it wasn't that bad! When we first got there, we drove around looking for the pavilion of where the party was located. We saw the different campsites, villas, and cabins available. It seems like a nice place to go on a staycation. I will see if we can stay here for a 3-day weekend!

Anyway, the party was surprisingly fun. There were a lot of things for the kids to do (bounce house, games, cornhole, swimming, rockclimbing, etc). We don't have children yet, so we just ate food, chatted with friends, and walked to the lake. It was so hot today, y'all! I wore jeans again. Mistake. Again! That's what happens when you're too lazy to shave your legs. Oh, summer. How I both hate and love you. :)

Here are a couple photos that ended up on my phone:
Sticky Fingers pulled pork sandwich, beans, cole slaw, and lemonade at Short Stay Moncks Corner
Food catered by Sticky Fingers!

Food was catered by Sticky Fingers. I had a pulled pork sandwich with beans and cole slaw. I was starving, so I thought it was extra delicious. ;)  There was even a table serving 3 flavors of ice cream with different toppings! *droool*

Pair of ducks at Lake Moultrie, Moncks Corner (Short Stay)
Thought this pair of ducks was cute. :)

Short Stay: Lake Moultrie, Moncks Corner. Beach.
The "Beach." You can see the villas across from here

I don't want to be snarky, but lakes kind of creep me out, though I guess some people feel the same way about the sea. I'm totally an ocean beach girl though and it's what I'm used to. I like being able to see what's in the water. But I will get over it eventually. I guess I'm just completely spoiled after growing up in Hawaii!

Short Stay Moncks Corner Lake Moultrie

Short Stay Moncks Corner Lake Moultrie Boat Pier
Boat Pier

Sun was so bright, I probably should've also worn sunglasses with the big hat! :) My eyes don't even look like they're open at all! *squint*

This is me trying out the rockclimbing wall!

They had a rockclimbing wall and I decided to try it out after watching all the kids do it. It was harder than it looks! I got to the top of the "easy" side, but only got half-way up the "difficult" side. Haha. My arms were burning after. I definitely give the kids a lot of credit because their arms and legs are way shorter than mine! I think one of the difficult parts for me was letting go. I was trying to climb back down the "easy" side, but they told me to just let go. My mind was like, "you want me to do WHAAAT?" So, letting go of the wall was a leap of faith for me. I'm scared of heights, so knowing for sure that I would be safe made it a lot easier for me. Safety first! :) Kind of makes me wonder what goes through the minds of people that do this without a rope though. Hopefully confidence! :)

Driving back home!

The party was really fun. I love picnics and company parties. It's always good for everyone's morale to get away from work and just unwind. There were a lot of things to do for everyone and it was a great location, despite the distance. We had so much fun, we both took surprise naps when we got home. Thank you to whoever planned all of it! I'm already looking forward to next summer's department picnic! :)


I first heard about Ringly a couple months ago and really wanted to pre-order it back then. However, I couldn't justify a $145 purchase of jewelry, even if it is wearable tech, while we were living off of one paycheck. I eventually forgot about it... Until now! When I heard about the Tory Burch for FitBit news, I suddenly remembered Ringly and put in my pre-order!

Ringly is a cocktail ring made from semi-precious and precious gemstones set in gold-plated brass and manages to house a light, motor, battery, and accelerometer. Using Bluetooth LE-technology, Ringly connects to your phone and sends you customized notifications through four vibration patterns and five colors. It is quite big, but not obnoxiously so (at least in my opinion). Actually, I think it looks sleek and pretty!

Some might say that the Ringly will still make people dependent on their phones because the whole point of putting away your phone is not getting notifications. It could be equally, if not more, distracting than just having a phone in your hands or on the table. However, being able to customize the notifications eliminates that. You can set it to only get notifications of important calls or texts or whatever you decide that you want to know right away, and you can forget the rest and focus on dinner or conversations with your friends.

For me, the Ringly will also be useful for when my phone is in my bag. I end up missing a lot of phone calls and texts because I can't hear or feel my phone. So, it will be very useful to know when someone is trying to reach me.

These are all the reasons that I used to justify my purchase to Dallin. Haha. I don't think he cared, but at least it makes me feel better about it!

You can still pre-order! Early supporters get 25% off the retail price. :) They're supposed to ship sometime in Fall 2014. I can't wait to get mine!

Btw, I just started a full-time job on Monday after being unemployed for 2 years (hurray!). I've been feeling exhausted so far, so sorry for the lack of posts. (I just started blogging recently!). Hopefully I'll feel recharged after the weekend. :) In the meantime, I'll try to find the energy to write about stuff that I care about.

Thanks for reading!

*all opinions are my own! photo via ringly's facebook. links are non-referral/un-affiliated.

Curent Facial Mists

I'm not one to want to waste my money on a product that I don't need or something that I think is useless. So, y'all should just know that I think facial mists are a necessity! :) At least for me.

I use facial mists for three things, mostly:
  1. A step between cleaning my face and applying moisturizer. Applying moisturizer after spritzing my face with a facial mist helps keep my face stay hydrated for longer (at least that's what I tell myself). Also, it just feels good and refreshing. It's probably my favorite step in my skincare routine.
  2. Setting make-up. I use a translucent powder to set my foundation and concealer. Sometimes it can look a little "too matte," so after I apply all my make-up, I use a spray with a fine mist and lightly spray my face. I actually have skin that tends to get oily, so "matte" should be a look that I strive for. The facial mist actually helps me out, in my opinion, because first my face loses hydration and gets dry, and THEN the oil comes. The facial mist helps delay that, I think. :)
  3. A refreshing pick-me-up in the middle of the day. If I start to feel gross in the middle of the day because of the humidity (or whatever), I use a facial spray to freshen up. I lightly spray it on my face and use a tissue to blot off the excess. And voila! I feel like new again!

One Love Organics Pretty Pores Complexion Toning Mist and Boots Botanics Rosewater Toning Spritz
One Love Organics Pretty Pore Complexion Toning Mist & Botanics Rosewater Toning Spritz

The facial sprays that I'm currently using are the One Love Organics Pretty Pores and Botanics Rosewater Spritz.

One Love Organics Pretty Pores Complexion Toning Mist (link)
This facial spray is part of OLO's summer 2014 collection, so I'm not sure how long it will be available for. I splurged and bought it for $28 (2 fl oz). I love it! It's made from "100% pure fruit water extracted from the heart of organic pink grapefruits," as stated on their product site. Not quite sure what that means exactly, but this facial mist is really refreshing and smells great. Even though it's made from grapefruits, it's not super acidic or anything. In fact, it's incredibly gentle. If anyone can give me any insights on how they made this, please comment below! :)

Botanics Rosewater Toning Spritz (link)
This is actually my third bottle of this product. It's only about $8-9 for a 5 oz bottle at the drugstore. I think that's super inexpensive and a good value for your money! I use this everyday. It's refreshing and I'm glad that I took the chance on buying it when I saw it in Target. Since it's so inexpensive, I don't even care about how much I use a day. I estimate that one bottle lasts 2 months for me (and I use it a lot). $8 every 2 months? Worth it! The OLO Toning Mist above is great, but I notice that I only use it sparingly and when I want to feel "luxurious." It's probably just subconscious considering how much I paid for it (and also since it's limited edition). But I love them both. :)

The following are facial sprays that I have used in the past (pictures/links via Sephora)

Caudalie Beauty Elixer, Jurlique Rosewater Balancing Mist, Boscia Balancing Facial Toner, Evian Facial Spray
1. Caudalie Beauty Elixir ($18/49), 2. Jurlique Rosewater Balancing Mist ($35), 3. Boscia Balancing Facial Toner ($24), 4. Evian Facial Spray ($12/17)

I would buy all four of those products again. My favorite is the Caudalie Beauty Elixir, but it's super expensive. Maybe I'll have it one day again! T__T The Evian one is just a simple mineral water facial spray. They also have a travel-sized spray. Even though it's an aerosol, I'm pretty sure that you can bring them in your carry-on using TSA's 3-1-1 rule. They are super refreshing! The air up there, while flying, tends to be really dry, so having a facial spray would help a lot to keep your skin hydrated. I have a travel-sized spray that I will be taking with me to work. :)

BONUS: My cat!
Wedge, cat, smelling One Love Organics Pretty Pore Complexion Toning Mist and Boots Botanics Rosewater Toning Spritz
Wedge inspecting the goodies

Do you also use facial mists? Which one is your favorite? :)

*all products were purchased by me and all opinions are my own. links are for convenience.

Summer Block Party @ Frothy Beard (Sat, 7/12/2014)

Frothy Beard Brewing Company Sign

Frothy Beard Brewing Company Mail Box

Yesterday, we got a lot of heavy rain and lightning in the afternoon. Pretty lame for semi-outdoor activities, but great for the grass! Homeowner Problems. However, the rain went away after an hour and we decided to go to The Frothy Beard Brewing Company where we met up with some friends.They were actually having a Summer Block Party, but I had no idea until we got there. It was also my first time at this brewery, but I did have a pint of their Irish Red at the Flag Day Burger and Beer Festival a little while back. Delicious. This time I had a pint of the Zingiber Pale Ale which uses ginger instead of hops to flavor the beer. I actually can't handle hoppy beers AND I love the flavor of ginger, so I thought this beer was great. Very refreshing.

There was two different food trucks (Pep Rolls and Grill Kings), a popsicle stand (King of Pops), and live music! Grill Kings and King of Pops were cash only which was devastating because I didn't have cash and I really love BBQ and popsicles. Also, King of Pops had some really good flavors available this time. Boo! Lesson learned: carry cash everywhere just in case? I don't know. :) So, we got food from Pep Rolls, which is short for pepperoni rolls. They make whole wheat rolls that are baked with pepperoni in them. YUM! They also have a bunch of different toppings you can add. I had the Tommy D, which had marinara and mozzarella, and Dallin had the Sleazy Cheesy, which had jalapenos and nacho cheese. So NOT healthy, but they're pretty damn delicious.

The Deer Creek Sharpshooters at The Frothy Beard Brewing Company
The Deer Creek Sharpshooters

me in front of pink flowers
Me, cheesin' by these pretty flowers. They are blooming all over Charleston lately! Anyone know what they are?

View of the Cooper River from the Ravenel Bridge
View of the Cooper River from the Ravenel Bridge

Afterwards, we went to Trader Joe's to pick up some weekly groceries. We've been buying watermelon and stone fruit every week lately! So sweet and delicious! The picture above is from when we were driving back home over the Ravenel Bridge. The day was so nice! Such a stark contrast from the earlier rain and thunder.

Apologies for not taking any pictures of food or drinks. I'm the worst Asian ever. ;) But seriously, I'm not used to documenting anything. I do think it's quite fun though! :) I just have to make more of a conscious effort.

Thanks for reading! :)

Happy Caturday!


Morning Cat Yoga

"That felt good"

"Let me stretch again for good measure!"

I enjoy waking up in the morning and getting ready to start my day because my cat is always there to keep me company and make me laugh! If I accidentally wake him up from his mid-morning nap, he always has this grumpy look, like, "What the heck, human?!" Sometimes, if it was a particularly good nap, he can barely keep both his eyes open. But he always feels better after a really good stretch or two, as seen in the pictures above.

I just found out a couple days ago that I officially got the job that I applied for months ago. I start on Monday! I won't be able to have the same lazy late-mornings with Wedge anymore, but maybe we will start a new and earlier "wake-up-and-get-ready" routine. Plus, we will always have the weekends! :)

A part of me will be a little sad on Monday while I think of my poor kitty alone at home. But a part of me also knows that he will be just fine looking out the window at the birds, squirrels, and bugs, making his hourly rounds around the house, and perhaps jumping on the forbidden kitchen counters all day. I just want my little furball to be happy!

Have you seen this video of a man being greeted by his cat after being gone for 3 days? I'm pretty sure that I watched it a hundred times already! Plus, this cat reminds me of my Wedge. :)


Anyway, this weekend the humans and the cat will probably just be a bunch of lazy bones. There is laundry to do, of course. (The bane of my existence). But we also hope to visit a brewery called Frothy Beard Brewing with some friends later today. Other than that, we don't have any plans. But I like it that way. :)

What are you guys planning to do? Hope y'all have a great weekend! Stay safe!

Making Faux-Lattes with a Moka Pot

I love lattes, but going to a coffee shop everyday to buy one can get expensive. So, I started researching how to make them at home. I quickly found out that espresso machines are very expensive, and so are burr grinders which provide a consistent grind. Totally out of my budget right now. So, I searched for other options to make coffee at home. I found out about pourovers, the aeropress, the french press, and other methods to brew coffee. Eventually I decided on the moka pot due to the small initial cost and ease of brewing. I bought a 3-cup Bialetti Moka Pot, a Hario Ceramic Coffee Mill, and a milk frother for about $60 total. You'll also need coffee beans, almond milk (or whichever type of milk you prefer), agave (or other/none), and a mug.

Hario Ceramic Mill Skerto & Bialetti Moka Express 3-cup Stovetop Espresso Maker
Hario Skerton & Bialetti Moka Pot

IKEA Mug and Milk Frother
The mug and milk frother

Trader Joe's Almond Milk and Agave Nectar
Almond Milk and Agave

How to make a faux-latte using a moka pot:

Making a faux latte is easy and takes less than 10 minutes! First, I grind the coffee. In this post, I use Modest Coffee's The Enthusiast (which is $15 for 12 oz). They roast to order and ship via 2-day shipping, so it comes super fresh and smells so good. I also love Trader Joe's coffee which is cheaper and still delicious. Since I use a manual hand-grinder to make my coffee, it takes a while. Probably no more than 1-2 minutes though. I have my grinder set between a fine and medium grind (finer than drip, but coarser than what you'd use for espresso).

Trader Joe's Coffee: Kenya AA Medium Roast & Kenya Peaberry Medium Roast
These are the coffee beans that I like to buy from Trader Joe's: Kenya AA and the Kenya Peaberry

Modest Coffee The Enthusiast
Modest Coffee's The Enthusiast in my alien hand

Freshly ground coffee!

The moka pot is made up of three parts: a bottom chamber (that holds the water), a basket (containing the coffee grounds), and the collecting chamber. I fill the bottom chamber with filtered water up to the bottom of the relief valve. Some say to add hot water to the bottom chamber (like Stumptown) and others suggest the opposite. I add cold water and it works well for me.

Water added to just below the relief valve

Coffee grounds in the basket, leveled off and ready to brew!

I place the moka pot over the smallest burner on my gas stove and set the heat to medium-low (a little below medium). It took me a couple tries to figure out the grind and heat setting that gives me a good brew, so play around with it! Those are pretty much the only variables you can play with, in addition to using either hot or cold water at the start.

Bialetti Moka Pot on stove

It typically takes only 5 minutes to brew, so in the meantime, I prepare the milk! I put a little agave nectar at the bottom of a mug and then I add almond milk. I leave around an inch or more of space at the top to make room for the coffee. Then I microwave it for 1 minute. I use a milk frother from IKEA which does the job well. It doesn't take long to froth the milk at all. It takes me less than a minute, but it also depends on how much foam you want. :)

Frothing Almond Milk
Milk Frother in action!

You'll probably be finished frothing the milk before the brewing is complete. At this point, I usually just wait by the moka pot. When it starts sputtering, remove moka pot from the heat. I actually try to catch it before it starts sputtering. :)

Moka pot brewing
Coffee just started coming into the upper chamber

It's about to start "gurgling"

Basically all you have to do now is pour the coffee from the moka pot into the mug of frothed milk. I like to give it a stir at the end.

frothed almond milk in a mug and brewed coffee in moka pot
Mug of frothed milk and brewed coffee in the moka pot

The finished product!

To recap:

  1. Grind your coffee beans between fine to medium. (Finer than what you'd use for drip)
  2. Add water to the bottom chamber of moka pot up to the bottom of relief valve.
  3. Place basket in bottom chamber. Add grinds to basket and level off. Screw on top chamber.
  4. Heat moka pot on stove over medium-low heat. (Takes about 5 minutes for me.)
  5. While moka pot is heating/brewing, add agave and almond milk (or whatever you prefer!) to a mug. Heat in microwave for 1 minute.
  6. Use milk frother to froth milk, 30 seconds to a minute.
  7. After coffee is finished brewing (it'll make a gurgling sound), remove moka pot from stove. Add coffee to mug of frothed milk.
  8. Stir and enjoy!

It may not be a real latte, or even pretty, but it's still definitely delicious! And it's so nice to not even have to leave the house or change out of your pajamas. #hermit ;)

Hope you enjoyed this tutorial! Let me know how you prefer to brew/drink your coffee. :)

all products were purchased by me. all links are there for convenience. 

Current Facial Cleansers

I have acne-prone skin which is mostly triggered by stress and hormones. It got really bad during my last few years of college and then again while I was working at my first job out of college. I used to try all sorts of different cleansers and treatments geared toward clearing skin and treating breakouts. It actually took me a while to figure out that the problem was originating within me and not really on the surface. I realized that it was the stress that was affecting my health, I took certain steps to manage it and keep it under control. I started doing yoga, meditating, and eating healthier foods. It sounds too good to be true, but meditation actually really helped with my stress and anxiety which in turn helps with my acne! And it still does. Nowadays, I still deal with breakouts around my period, but I don't let it stress me out. I just treat it, cover it up, and try to forget it! Which is hard, I know!

For my acne-prone skin, my favorite facial cleansers are those that are gentle, yet effective. It's important to cleanse the skin, but not strip it completely of its natural oils. It's what has been working for me!

These are the current cleansers that I'm using:
Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser, Boots Botanics Age Defense Microdermabrasion Polish, One Love Organics Easy Does It Foaming Cleanser
Liz Earle Hot Cloth Cleanser, Boots Botanics Microdermabrasion Polish, One Love Organics Foaming Cleanser

Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser (link)
I got a sample of this in one of my Birchboxes. I was a little skeptical at first, but after using it for a week, I have learned to love it! It says that it can remove make-up, even waterproof mascara and eyeliner. However, I'm not sure how well it works in removing make-up because I usually just use it in the morning. It's very gentle, cleans well, feels good, and smells refreshing. I think it smells a little like pine or herbal, but it is not a strong scent in my opinion. I use a nickel-sized amount and massage it onto my dry face and neck. Then I run warm/hot water onto the muslin cloth and use it to gently remove the cleanser and any dirt or oil from my skin. It's easy and feels like a mini-spa facial every morning. I am definitely buying the full-sizes product.

Boots Botanics Age Defense Microdermabrasion Polish (link)
This one sounds like it is harsh, but it isn't really. However, I do only use it once a week because it's a physical exfolliant and I don't want to overdo it. I've tried two other similar products: Dr. Brandt's Microdermabrasion Scrub and Vasanti's Brighten Up! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator. I actually prefer Vasanti's version out of all three because the microparticles that it uses are finer than Botanics', but it's also cheaper than Dr. Brandt's. And I love the way that it makes my skin feel! But for now, the Botanics Microdermabrasion Polish does the job and for only about $13 at the drugstore.

One Love Organics Easy Does It Foaming Cleanser (link)
This is probably my favorite cleanser. It is super gentle, makes my skin feel soft, and it smells really good. Even though it's gentle and "natural," it is really effective at cleansing. I have actually been using this for a couple of years and love. I used to even buy the family size because I would use it as shampoo. That was back when I was still working at the shipyard though! Haha. Nowadays, I use it just as a facial cleanser. It is pretty pricey (in my opinion) at $29 for 8.8 fl oz. So, I also use Botanics All Bright Cleansing Foam Wash which is about $8 at the drugstore. It's also gentle and effective! I've actually been using it a lot more than the Easy Does It cleanser because I don't feel so guilty about the amount I use. So, the price is definitely right for the Botanics. However, Easy Does It does make my skin feel softer and a little goes a long way.

one love organics bamboo charcoal heart konjac cleansing sponge
One Love Organics Bamboo Charcoal Heart Konjac Sponge
One Love Organics Konjac Sponge (link)
In addition to using a foam cleanser, I also like to use a konjac sponge which offers gentle exfoliation. I first bought and used the Boscia konjac sponge. Not sure what I did wrong, but it disintegrated after a month. It cost $18, so it kind of made me feel bad. But I did like it while I was able to use it. Recently I bought One Love Organic's Bamboo Charcoal Cleansing Sponge for $10. I've had it for a couple weeks and no signs of disintegration so far! I do make sure that I hang it out to dry and I only use it once a day (when I remember). I really like it. I used to use a clarisonic mia, but konjac sponges are more gentle.

What are your favorite facial cleansing products? Also, does anyone have suggestions for an acne spot treatment? Can't believe I don't have a go-to product yet! My skin doesn't like benzoyl peroxide, so I've been using a product with salicylic acid. Go away, pesky hormonal breakouts! :P

update: i've updated my current facial cleansers in this post (feb 2016).

*all opinions are my own, and all products were purchased by me! links are there for convenience.

Summer Inspiration

Lanikai Beach, Oahu (Hawaii)
This was actually taken in December in Hawaii!

When I close my eyes and try to imagine the perfect summer, I see sandy beaches, bikinis, sunny days, salt water, and comfortable style. In Hawaii, I had all those things year-round, even in December if the weather was nice. It's interesting to finally live in a place that goes through seasons. It seems like the summer weather here in Charleston is either super sunny and hot or rainy and humid. There have been a lot of thunderstorms and rain, but we also have sunny days. It feels quite random. However, I think the bad weather helps me appreciate the nice days even more. I know that I took the tropical weather in Hawaii for granted. I miss those sunny days and the tradewinds. I miss being able to swim, snorkel, and dive 365 days of the year. Ah, my heart! One of these days I'm gonna have to try scuba diving off the coast here. :)

summer hammock beach
via pinterest
via joie

via madewell

madewell swim
via madewell

j.crew summer swim beach
via j.crew

via pinterest

girl on bike
via pinterest

via pinterest

rachel comey dress
via rachel comey

 Beach days and sunshine forever! Summer isn't over yet.

Happy Caturday!

wedge resting after a night of fireworks

Last night, a lot of people were popping fireworks. It was kind of nice. Reminded me of Hawaii before they banned fireworks in 2011. However, my poor cat thought that the world was ending! He wouldn't even eat his Fancy Feast which is unheard of in this house. We had to reassure him that nothing bad was going to happen by speaking to him in soft, sweet voices while wrapping him up in his favorite blanket. Hahaha. We are seriously THE crazy cat couple on the street. How did this happen? O_O

Anyway, today is back to normal! We are still being lazy and watching Law & Order though. It's funny how easily we can become addicted to certain shows (like Orange is the New Black!). We end up binge watching all the episodes. Thankfully there are 20 seasons to go through! I really doubt that we'll run out anytime soon. It'd take years, I'm guessing!

Sweet Wedge is just cat-napping the day away. Have a great Saturday!

Happy Fourth of July!

fireworks taken in hawaii 2006
Fireworks in Hawaii, 2006.

statue of liberty, nyc 2010
Taken in NYC, 2010.

What are you guys up to this weekend? Even though Hurricane Arthur passed by our state just yesterday, today's weather is pretty nice and sunny! However, the beaches here are crowded and we are feeling like a bunch of lumps. So, we're just spending Independence Day eating junk food and watching Law & Order. Actually, that is probably what we're gonna do the whole weekend. Haha! (We seriously need to get out of our funk. Started after we got rear-ended in MAY.)

South Carolina was actually ranked #1 for the most patriotic state recently (according to a real estate blog). Makes me feel extra unpatriotic for not really "celebrating" today. But I'm actually thankful for being born American everyday. And I like how we all have the freedom to celebrate however we want! So, mini bratwursts, sauerkraut, and Law & Order episodes all day for me! :)  (Though I'm kind of regretting the lack of burgers in the house today.)

Hope you all stay safe this weekend doing whatever you plan to do! :)