An Adorable Dog Shopkeeper, China’s McDonalds Meat Scandal, and Other MUST READS OF THE WEEK

1) This adorable dog is our most favorite shopkeeper in all of Japan (READ HERE)


2) SHOCKING: Australian couple abandons their baby after discovering he has down syndrome, leaves baby with Thai surrogate. (READ HERE)


3) An in-depth look into the internment of Japanese Americans in Hawaii (READ HERE)

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4) Meet the newest K-drama star: Sazal Kim, a.k.a Sazal Mahamud (and yes, he’s Bangladeshi) (READ HERE)


5) An inspiring update from conjoined twins who were separated 10 years ago (READ HERE)


6) You may not want to know why China’s McDonalds had to stop serving hamburgers (READ HERE)


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7) The harsh reality of trying to become a K-pop star (READ HERE)


8) Get to know volleyball player Sabina Altynbekova who is apparently so beautiful, she is now a viral sensation  (READ HERE)


9) First their were cat cafes, then there were vampire cafes. Now you can line up for Japan’s new Owl-cafe (READ HERE)


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10) These peaches wearing sexy underwear kinda give us the creeps (READ HERE


Asia Street Style: Yes, You Can Do Bomber Jackets In Summer

Some people love shoes while others love handbags. As for me, I have a terrible obsession with jackets and especially the diversity of bomber jackets. This creation from aviation history is continually being revamped for mainstream pop culture. New cuts are constantly seen on the runways at fashion week and in collections by contemporary designers. Southern California weather is not very conducive to this infatuation of mine, but it seems warm weather doesn’t stop Asia stylesetters from donning outerwear.

Image Courtesy of

Image Courtesy of

There’s nothing like an awesome childhood throwback to get my attention.  I love Peanuts, so seeing a jacket with Snoopy splashed all over has me on Google trying to find who designed it. Prints are a great way to make your personality shine. It’s human nature to want to express ourselves and some of us love to do so through what we wear.

Image Courtesy of

Image Courtesy of

Minimalist styles are always a smart option if you’re not into flamboyant prints.  Textures like quilting and woven jacquard can add some punch to an otherwise quiet design. I appreciate the bright contrast of the collar on this jacket as a standout feature against muted blue.



Photo Courtesy of

Photo Courtesy of

Here’s a perfect example of a more contemporary approach, perhaps even a bit on the avant garde side. While keeping the standard clean lines and solitary zip closure, this jacket forgoes the shorter length and elastic bottom hem. The longer cut and flowing fabric is reminiscent to sporting a lightweight trench coat. With this you get the best of both classics in one.

Photo Courtesy of

Photo Courtesy of

Finally, a superb way to combine my love for jackets with this SoCal summer heat is a completely sheer bomber. Not only does it provide a creative gateway to showcasing fun prints and colors underneath, a cool breeze can still be felt, making this style of bomber jacket ideal for warm climates.


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ASIA STREET STYLE: Street Smart Suits For Men!

Womenswear trends tend to be my go-to when sharing Asia’s street fashion, but I often find myself examining menswear distinctions between the United States and Korea. Suits are a timeless classic that I’ve grown accustomed to seeing the standard dark solids and ties being worn, but check out these diverse approaches to suiting found on streets of Seoul. I can’t help but appreciate the adventurous styling choices.

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When summer temperatures along with humidity are unbearable, consider going for shorts.  The thin, woven seersucker facilitates heat away allowing air circulation, and despite the fabric’s natural wrinkled appearance it still provides a polished, clean look.


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Well mixed prints always catches my attention, but in this case what drew me first to this street portrait was the lapel pin.  Sometimes simply using a small accessory can add prominence among the already bold motifs.

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Certain rules are meant to be broken.  Conservative suiting conventions call to cut the pant hem so it slightly skims the shoe and laces, but the higher cut hems on this suit give an ultramodern feel.  Opting for bright socks outside of the coordinating colors is daring and brilliant in this fashion forward style.


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Rescue Beauty Lounge Nail Guru Ji Baek Is Enjoying the Good Life in Paris … Because She Can


There was a time when Ji Baek’s salon, Rescue Beauty Lounge, was the place you went to get your nails done in New York City. The commitment to hygiene was unparalleled, prices weren’t outrageous, and Baek, the petite, stylish woman behind the business, knew how to take care of her customers (W Magazine once described the clientele as a “continuous conga line of high-powered editors, well-heeled bankers, and Park Avenue wives”).

When she opened in 1998, Baek says there was nothing like Rescue out there. “Every entrepreneur looks to provide something or make something that doesn’t exist,” she explains. “Back then salons had, you know, the fluorescent lights. They were chop shops, basically. They were dirty. Everything seemed cross-contaminated.”

Baek, who worked in the restaurant business at the time, was on her feet, often in heels, for 15-hour shifts. She just wanted “an amazing pedicure” to help get her through, but the salons she visited fell short. Eventually, she had an epiphany. She would open one herself.

Her family was shocked by her decision to go to nail school. But Baek recognized the potential of the salon industry. She knew there was money to be made. “When I opened, people said, ‘Oh, you’re going to touch people’s feet? That’s so gross.’” Baek remembers. “And I said, ‘I’m going to do it like you’d do it in a doctor’s office.’ So I want to have an autoclave. I want all the girls to wear gloves. I don’t want to have a whirlpool. I want to have a cool setting, cool music. I wanted to defend the technicians because there are owners who won’t give them gloves, and they contract all these skin diseases from other people. I’m all for protecting the client and the technicians.”

Word traveled about Rescue’s methods, and business grew. One store became two. In 2008, they expanded to the Meatpacking District. “We were the first ones to open there, before Theory or any of those other stores came in,” she says.


But physically, it was becoming very demanding. So Baek and her husband, happily married for 18 years, reached a mutual decision. “We said, ‘You know what? We work so much. We really need the weekends off. We don’t need so much money,’” she says. “We had an offer to open another place that would have been this money-making machine.” They turned it down and soon after, closed their doors altogether. Some clients cried when they found out.

“I still get emails saying ‘I hate you. I’m sitting here, getting a manicure and my cuticle’s bleeding.’ And I’m like, ‘Thank you. Thank you for hating me,’” she says.

But Baek, who turned 44 in April, insists she’s happy with the decision. She’s since turned her attention fully to her product line, Rescue Beauty Lounge. Her nail polishes are long- wearing, free of toluene, formaldehyde, DBP and animal testing. It took her two years of hard work to get it exactly right, but she’s done it.

Today, Baek lives in Paris for half the year because — well, because she can.

There’s nothing tying her down anymore. “I can work anywhere in the world now,” she says. “It’s very freeing. In Paris, I see these bundled-up American tourists — they’re in their 70s, freezing in the rain — and I tell my husband, ‘How lucky that we’re doing this now!’ Why do this when you’re 70, when you can do it now?”

Baek’s own parents emigrated from South Korea when she was 12 years old. “In Korean families, the girls have to do music,” she says. So she learned to play the piano and viola. Music was her life until, junior year of college, Baek developed tendonitis. Her dream of being a musician quickly ended. “It was devastating in the sense that I had my whole career path laid out for me,” she remembers. “I was supposed to audition for the Philharmonic, and then all of a sudden, I couldn’t play.”

But looking back, she calls the change in trajectory a blessing in disguise. “After it happened, I saw my life open up in a way I couldn’t have imagined,” she says, insisting that everything happens for a reason. “And I’m so lucky. Every day, I just feel so blessed.”

Want the inside scoop on Ji’s picks from Rescue Beauty Lounge’s summer collection? Click here.



This story was originally published in our Summer 2014 issue. Get your copy here



Ji Baek’s Nail Picks From Rescue Beauty Lounge’s Summer Collection


The summer collection from Rescue Beauty Lounge gets its inspiration from the world of Korean dramas, says Baek, who admits to being a diehard fan of the genre. She started watching the television series Boys Over Flowers a few years ago, as a way to improve her Korean. The plot (“Basically, Gossip Girl for Koreans,” she explains. “I recommend it for first-timers”) pulled her in immediately. Soon enough, she was introducing clients to her new passion. “I got so many beauty editors in New York into it. And they don’t even speak Korean,” she says.

“The spring/summer runways featured the ubiquitous floral print, wearable art from Prada, and even Celine’s minimalist queen Phoebe Philo opting for heavy prints,” says Baek. “So taking a cue from Alexander Wang’s play on dark grays with pastels, nails are all about weighing down and counterbalancing. Go dark with Rescue Beauty Lounge Nail Polish in Stormy, A Lonely House or Small, Dim, Summer Stars.”


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Small, Dim, Summer Stars.


“If you’re allergic to the print trend and you want to add little attitude to your usual urban palette of neutrals, black and white, pair it with a surprisingly neutral mustard yellow like Rescue Beauty Lounge Nail Polish in Footpath or the gray-green Mosses Mars,” says Baek.


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Mosses Mars.

 This story was originally published in our Summer 2014 issue. Get your copy here

TOKiMONSTA On Being A Female DJ In A Male-Dominated Industry

Just as she steps onto the red carpet to pose for a row of photographers, what had been a light sprinkle suddenly turns into a downpour. A member of the press rushes to grab an umbrella, but TOKiMONSTA, one of the four stars being celebrated that night for the premiere of the Mnet America reality show Alpha Girls, laughs and says, “Good thing I have this hat on.” A black fur-trimmed hat sits atop her shock of blond hair — she’s been known to experiment with color over the years, mixing blues and purples at one point — and though a pair of oversized black shades cover 50 percent of her face, TOKiMONSTA stands out. It’s a part of a life she’s become used to, especially now that she’s one of the few well-known Asian American female DJs in the music industry.

Jennifer Lee, better known by her aforementioned stage name, has risen to the forefront of the electronic dance music scene with two albums, a number of EPs and high-profile appearances at festivals like Coachella and SXSW. The Torrance, Calif., native, who is of Korean descent, was ranked by LA Weekly as L.A.’s top female DJ in 2010 and was a part of the Full Flex Express Tour in 2012 that had her performing alongside electronic music gods Skrillex and Diplo. Not too shabby for a girl who began producing music in her college dorm while studying business at the University of California, Irvine.

In a crowded L.A. beat scene, Lee’s music stands out, like the recently remastered “The World Is Ours,” with its softer, chiller beats (it’s the stuff midnight dreams are made of). But what also makes Lee unique is her success in an industry that has always been dominated by males, and non-Asian males at that. It’s what made her the perfect candidate for the Asian pop culture channel Mnet America’s new web reality series, Alpha Girls.

Alpha Girls, which premiered in February, follows Lee, Korean artist and illustrator Mina Kwon, Korean American supermodel Soo Joo Park and Filipina American fashion designer Lanie Alabanza-Barcena in a series documenting their journeys in the worlds of art, music and fashion. “I joined [the show] because I loved the idea behind it,” says Lee of her Alpha Girl status. “Alpha Girls shows the rest of America that, hey, Asians can choose careers outside of the medical field, and they can still be successful.”

TOKiMONSTA (Jennifer Lee)

Lee’s segment on Alpha Girls follows her as she takes South Korea by storm, performing in her motherland for the first time. She jets around the country in stylish streetwear and looks completely at ease performing in the middle of jam-packed, ear-numbing clubs. “It was scary because I didn’t know whether Korean audiences would be used to my music,” she says, “but I ended up having a blast. I hope girls can watch this show and see us all doing our thing and know that they can succeed at whatever they want to. I didn’t discover the underground scene until college, and now here I am in Korea playing my own music!”

Catch full webisodes of Alpha Girls on Mnet America’s YouTube channel or at 


–Story by Taylor Weik

This story was originally published in our Summer 2014 issue. Get your copy here


Asia Street Style: Overalls Are Back! Why They’re a Fashion Favorite and How You Can Rock Them


What started out as practical workwear for agricultural and industrial careers has been revived this summer, but as a new fashion statement. Yes, I’m talking about overalls. I know some people cringe at the thought of buying a pair, but it deserves some attention.

Celebrities have been spotted all over Los Angeles and New York stepping out in their favorite denim one-pieces, and designers have taken a stab at reinventing them for the runway. Simple tanks seem to be the favored companions in the United States, so we took to the streets of Seoul to find out how trendsetters are working this interesting comeback in Korea. While the overalls remain a common factor, individual personalities and styles shine through. Who knew something quite simple could be worn in so many ways?

Check out some favorites below to find inspiration for working a pair into your own wardrobe.

Go for urban cool with a skinny leg or vintage chic with wide legged denim:


Photo Courtesy of

Photo Courtesy of

Mix denim cut-offs and floral prints for summer:


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Pair head accessories like hats and scarves with overalls (and don’t forget to roll them up for the ultimate in casual chic):


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For a bit of edge, rock a colorful pair with a black fedora and a blingy fanny pack casually slung like a crossbody.


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Excited to try out this current street trend? We found some options from light to dark, patterned to classic, and priced right for some summer retail therapy.


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An extremely light wash plays down the boldness of the cobra print on this shorts option. RES Denim’s Corn Kids Overalls features adjustable straps, button closures and patch pockets. Available at: for $106.



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Paige Denim’s Sierra Overall in Vintage Black offers a sleek and slimming tailored cut that provides comfort, while keeping to their expected feminine silhouettes that the brand is famous for. Available at: for $279.



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Want a true throwback? Check out Current/Elliott’s The Ranch Hand Overall in Bedford. With a dark wash and ability to roll the hems, this classic version is perfect for mixing with printed tops and summer’s ubiquitous Birkenstocks. Available at: for $348.


Story by Min A. Lee.



Asia Street Style: Stylish Parents With EVEN MORE Stylish Children


We’ve seen street style in Asia of couples or best friends sporting complementary looks in an effort to show their solidarity with each other, but while browsing through current street portrait photographs from Seoul, I was instantly drawn to these fashionable parents and their children. There isn’t a single trend shared between them; rather, the looks are a reflection of very different style personalities that are unbelievably cool and still completely embraceable by their mini-me’s. Raising children can be demanding and hectic, so when I find parents who manage to keep great style in their lives, it becomes an instant inspiration!


1. Mother and son keeping an edge with moto-styling!

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Matching leather biker jackets and aviator sunglasses already have a fab factor, but tossing up the trademark peace sign makes me smile at the cuteness overload from a future fashion-savvy mind.


2. Mother and sons show us how urban wear is done!


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I love seeing a little bit of the Los Angeles urban vibe in Asia. Bold prints and a youthful appearance make this fashion-forward trio the epitome of Tom Hirota’s ideal of “casual-rich,” often used to describe the unique Joyrich brand that was founded in California.


3. Father and son looking quite dapper!


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Men in Korea take fashion seriously with their neat styling and clean looks. Flawlessly paired accessories for both father and son make them an extremely eye-catching duo. Mixing blues and yellows are picture-perfect for long summer days.


Story by Min A. Lee.


Have a cute parent-child street style photo? Share with us and you may see it here on!  Want to see more stylish children? Check out Adorable Asian Babies Who Dress Better Than You

Who Called Model Chrissy Teigen Fat, Jeans Designed By Lions, And Other Must Reads of the Week

Our must-reads of the week.

1) Thai American model Chrissy Teigen says Forever 21 once fired her for being “too fat.” (READ HERE



2) Chinese shoppers spend their naptime in IKEA, create hilarious pictures. (READ HERE)  



3) Traditional Korean-style study rooms reinvented in America. (READ HERE



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4) Oh look, a hideously racist necklace. (READ HERE



5) Activist Malala Yousafzai’s 10 greatest contributions to to humanity. (READ HERE




6) Will the British historical drama Downtown Abbey add an Indian character? (READ HERE




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7) MIXED BLOOD: Take a closer look at the “typical American family” with this photo series. (READ HERE



8) Meet Yang Lan, the “Oprah of China.” (READ HERE)



9) This is what happens when a Japanese zoo recruits its animals to create a collection of jeans. (READ HERE



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10) #NailedIt : Documentary following the history of Vietnamese-owned nail salons. (READ HERE

Get To Know Model Irene Kim, Rising Fashion Icon


Korean American model, Irene Kim, has graced the pages of Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire and Glamour; walked for several designers including Gwen Stefani’s L.A.M.B. and Rachel Comey; and she’s landed some solid advertising campaigns.  With a growing modeling career, she’s definitely on her way to becoming a serious style icon. Hailing from New York and a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology for Textile Design, her career began in the concrete jungle working as a style consultant. She then did creative direction for a multimedia platform fashion website before joining VNY Model Management in New York City. Kim is currently represented in Seoul by ESteem Model Management under the women’s division.


A quick view into her Instagram world (@ireneisgood) gives us an idea of her playfulness, from the rocking rainbow hair she currently sports to her artistic street shots. What makes us love her? Her style posts are carefree, fun and urban, while her personal blog proves she’s always had an eye for presenting fashion trends in more thought-provoking aesthetics. Below are a few of our favorite shots.


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Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of


We love the how she pairs her Rag and Bone Talia V-neck with distressed denim. She also sports a pair of heavy duty hiking boots for some “tough girl” attitude, while standing tall among the crowd in London.


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When it comes to finding a bridge between femininity and street, Kim has it down to a science. There’s no error in her mastered stylings of sportswear and lace. Mixing feminine with edge will always be a great statement maker, and she makes it look so simple and chic.


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Photo courtesy of


Finally, a lush, green soccer field seems like the perfect setting for Kim’s image. Her style sense will always carry notes of sportswear and city life. The ability to combine all these different elements into a solid force is something fashion lovers can respect and appreciate in a world that’s flooded with daily outfit posts and blogs. Kim’s unique taste makes her stand out and will continue to elevate her as an rising style icon.

Story by Min A. Lee

Feature image courtesy of Seoul SS2014 Fashion Week by Park Jimin.