NEW STUDY: Instant Ramen Linked With Heart Disease Risk

 

A recent American study is targeting one beloved South Korean food as a factor in one’s cardiometabolic risk for diabetes, heart disease or stroke: instant ramen noodles.

The Associated Press reports that the study was based on South Korean surveys (the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey IV) that looked at the overall diet patterns of more than 10,000 men and women ages 19 to 64. Two major dietary patterns were identified: the “traditional dietary pattern” (TP) of rice, fish, veggie, and fruit, and the “meat and fast-food pattern” (MP), rich in meat, soda and processed foods.

Those who followed the MP diet, which includes instant noodles on its food chart, were associated with an increase in abdominal obesity, blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels — all potential triggers for heart disease and diabetes.

 

Women, in particular, who ate instant noodles at least twice or more a week were associated with a higher prevalence of metabolic syndrome. This association was not found in men, and Dr. Frank B. Hu, a Harvard professor of nutrition and epidemiology as well as one of the researchers behind the U.S. study, says this might be because women keep a more accurate record of their diet or because postmenopausual women have higher sensitivity to carbohydrates, sodium and saturated fat, according to The New York Times.

Sodium is certainly one of the key ingredients in instant noodle packages and cups, and one serving of instant ramen exceeds South Korea’s recommended daily sodium intake by more than 90 percent, reports the Associated Press.

The results probably don’t come as a completely surprise to most instant ramen noodle-consuming folks. And it would take a superhuman amount of willpower to ban the comfort food from our diets completely.

 

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South Korean pitcher for the L.A. Dodgers, Ryu Hyun-jin in a commercial for a popular South Korean ramen. (Photo Credit)

For many South Koreans and Korean Americans, instant ramen noodles are a mainstay in their diets, and for myself in particular, the food is a nostalgic reminder of home and childhood. I distinctly remember the joy I felt every time I watched my mother crack an egg over bubbling ramen soup, mesmerized as it disappeared inside the broth, only to resurface in delicious clouds of creamy goodness. My brother and I would take advantage of those 10-for-$1 deals, crushing the noodles inside the packages, and coating the pieces with the seasoning for a delicious, crunchy snack. And, now much older, my brother will never leave California back to the East Coast without packages of ramen tucked snugly inside his suitcase, my mother’s gift symbolizing love and affection.

Needless to say, it may take more than a study to convince ramen-noodle lovers to join the noodle boycott.

Feature photo courtesy of Maangchi.

This story was originally published on iamkoream.com 

Listen Up! Asian American Singer Z. Woods Talks Music And Identity

 

Take a cruise down an open street with your windows down, and turn up Z. Woods on your stereo. You’ll be slowly head-rocking to his smooth, silky vocals that float effortlessly over soulful beats and fluid piano riffs and melodies. You might even break a sweat listening to his passionate, sensual lyrics. And you’ll wonder which celestial planet sent such heavenly music to grace our earthly ears.

The man behind the music holds an air of mystery, too. Only known as Z. Woods, the singer (who identifies as Asian American) was born and raised in the city of Malmo, Sweden, and later made the move to Los Angeles by himself, leaving behind his life, family and friends to pursue music. Since then, the singer has collaborated with MC Jin, Paul Kim and David So, with Swedish Grammy award-winning hip-hop artist Stor and has worked with Korean Jungle Entertainment’s hip-hop group, M.I.B.

Woods just released his first original EP, “Songs About You“, on Aug. 19, and the impressive debut features five soulful tunes written, mixed and produced by the singer himself. Audrey got the chance to ask Woods a few questions about his background, his biggest influences, and his vision for music in the Asian American community.

 

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Q: What was it like growing up in Malmo, Sweden?
A: Growing up in a small country like Sweden was challenging at times as there were frequent occasions where I didn’t feel like I’d quite fit in. The Asian population in Sweden is extremely small compared to other nationalities/ethnicities, and so I had to always find a balancing point to navigate between the various cultures that I’d be exposed to. Life wasn’t necessarily difficult, but figuring out who you are as an individual proved to be much harder that I thought it was, looking back at it now retroactively.

 

Q: When and what was your first exposure to music?
A: I was essentially spoon-fed music from the day I was born. Although musical talent is not a common trait in my family, my sister was always a big fan of music and since she had to take care of me for the majority of the time, I would have to listen to whatever she forced me to listen to. That ranged everything from the latest Madonna and Michael Jackson records of the day to traditional Asian music or Asian pop music. I remember my sister constantly trying to record my attempts at singing along on her cassette player.

The quality and general spirit of musicality [in Sweden] has definitely influenced me, but also the situation of balancing cultures above made me seek comfort in music. Music, specifically R&B/Soul music, made me feel as if I was a part of something, as if I could relate to some of the stories I would hear. … My interest for music eventually became passion, passion became love and now my love for it has become an extension of my existence.

Q: What kind of music did you listen to growing up?
A: I listened to a lot of urban music. Anything hip-hop and R&B was (and still is) dominating my playlists. Some of my biggest influences from an artistic standpoint include Brandy, Musiq Soulchild, Marvin Gaye, Craig David, Joe and Donell Jones. As a producer/writer, some of my biggest influences are The Underdogs (a production team), Darkchild, Ryan Leslie and Kanye West.

 

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Q: Did you face any challenges in your experience as an Asian American singer?
A: The biggest challenges have been to get people to look beyond their stereotypes and not make any preconceived notions about the quality of my art prior to giving it a chance. I find that our — the Asian American community’s — output often gets quickly dismissed as irrelevant and uninfluential. More emphasis is put on our “weirdness” than our ability to excel and influence. We are and have been easily marginalized, but a change is coming and I intend to be a part of that change.

Q: Where do you draw inspiration from for your songs?
A: Inspiration comes to me from circumstances. It could either be personal situations or me drawing elements from situations that my friends/family share with me. Regardless of what it is, I emphasize on capturing the emotion behind it all. I believe at the foundation of every story, feeling, situation, etc. lies emotion. And being creatively involved in the entire creation of a song enables me to do just that. The words, melodies and music are all just elements to this vessel that seeks to speak to your spirit, the center of your emotions and to make you feel.

 

 

Q: What kind of message, through your music, do you want to give to your listeners and fans?
A: I want my audience to be able to find comfort in my music. I want it to be a soundtrack to their lives. If they need a mental break from whatever they might be dealing with, or if they seek to know that they are not alone in how they feel, etc., whatever it may be, I want my music to serve them and help them either get through what they’re going through or enhance any joyful moment. In short, I want my music to emotionally engage with people.

Q: What are your goals for the future?
A: I want to change the world! (Big statement, I know.) I want to make the world know that we, as an Asian American minority group, are MORE than capable and able to create art that is relevant, pertinent and does not cater to a certain demographic. I want the world to know that we are not weird, but that we are the same in that we have feelings and emotions too. I want the focus to be taken off “who” I am and instead be put on “what” it is I am doing. I want to be a part of that movement that will change this global perspective and allow more creative people (from all ethnic backgrounds) to have a voice.

 

Amen, brother. Now, play and repeat.

 

 

Keep Cool In White: Jamie Chung’s Top 5 Summer Looks

 

The heat of summer is slowly waning for those living in actual seasons, but for us residing in Southern California, the sun is still shining (and beating down on us with sickeningly hot rays). So while East Coasters can begin to plan enviously adorable outfits for sweater weather, Los Angelenos can still, rest assured, wear crop tops and flirty skirts until December rolls around. So here are five summer looks in the crispest color on the rainbow, and actress Jamie Chung shows us how to rock it.

 


1. White, from head to toe.

 

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Jamie Chung’s style is always on point, and her look at the Marc Jacob’s Daisy Dream Fragrance event in New York City was no exception. Chung looked sweet and chic as ever in an all-white ensemble that simply radiated summer. Gracing Jamie’s slender body from head to toe, the outfit boasted a mix of patterns and styles that the Korean American actress pulled off effortlessly. While the high-waisted, criss cross-patterned pants billowed loosely around her legs, Chung showed off some skin — and some physique — with a pure white bustier. She completed the look a summer must-have, ban.do’s adorable Twist Scarf in Black + White Polka Dot, for a perfect, flirty vibe.

 

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2. A pale palette.

 

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Chung looks super chic with another white ensemble in this gorgeous pale dress that floats just below the knee. She drapes the dress with a light pink vest to give the outfit more structure.

 

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3. Mix and match.

 

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White seems to shine brighter on Jamie Chung, and it’s the best color to keep cool in the summer heat. Wear a simple white top to complement a great, eye-catching skirt, and don’t hesitate to mix styles that seem to clash. The purse’s fringe gives this look more texture and a completely trendy vibe.

 

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4. It’s all in the details.

 

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This outfit proves that a simple white tee and jeans can go a long way with the right details. The burst of turquoise and the red accents pop even more vibrantly against a plain palette of white and blue.

 

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5. Whiteout.

 

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This is another great example of letting those colors shine against an all-white ensemble. Just don’t sit on a dirty chair!

 

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[Photos courtesy of WhatTheChung.com]

 

 

‘Yokohama Ratchet Pop’: Crystal Kay Debuts New Sound

 

“Yokohama Ratchet Pop”? Sign me up.

That’s what Crystal Kay calls her new sound debuted in her latest single, “Dum Ditty Dumb,” and it’s the perfect jam to end your summer playlist.

Born to an African American father and a Korean mother in Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture in Japan, Kay is a multicultural artist who’s been performing since she was 13 years old. And with such a colorful background, it’s no wonder that her music features an energetic and nuanced sound, totally unique to itself.

 

 

“The reason why it’s called ‘Dum Ditty Dumb’ is because this girl is going crazy over this guy, and she wants him so badly that she feels the need to rap it in Japanese, too,” explains Kay, laughing, in the behind-the-scenes clip for the music video.

Sexy bass lines and rhythmic beats are juxtaposed with the traditional sounds of Japanese koto, and Kay’s sultry voice floats effortlessly between English and Japanese. Basically, the track is Beyoncé meets J-pop meets your favorite EDM staple. And the music video is equally riveting, combining 2D animation with live action for refreshing visual eye candy.

Aaaaand, replay.

 

[Photo via angryasianman]

 

The Lipstick That Sold Out Worldwide Thanks To K-Drama ‘My Love’ Is FINALLY Back

 

Hallyu stops for no one. Also known as the “Korean Wave,” Hallyu — that sweeping flood of catchy K-pop bands and heart-wrenching Korean dramas — has left a crazed world in its wake, leaving a multitude of screaming fans incoherently babbling through tears as their favorite star graces the stage.

Needless to say, Hallyu is a bit overwhelming, and its influence, mind-boggling. You might be familiar with a recent example of the mania — the worldwide shortage of one lipstick color that went viral. Now you may be wondering how a lipstick could possibly get so popular. Apparently, all it took was a rumor that the lipstick was worn by the main character of the popular K-drama My Love From The Star. Yup, K-drama influence can get that crazy.

After the rumor spread, YSL’s Rouge Pur Couture No. 52, which boasts a coral-pink shade, universally sold out online and in-stores. It was virtually impossible to get the lipstick unless you wanted to dish out $100 on eBay for a tiny tube of color.

But we have some great news for you — the lipstick is back in stock (and you should probably act fast).

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While No. 52 is still selling for up to $70 on eBay, a quick click of the refresh button on the YSL store page shows that the color is up for sale at the original (and more reasonable) price of $35. You no longer have to mix four different shades of lipstick to achieve the perfect coral-pink hue.

 

Behind all this marketing madness is My Love From The Star, a romantic Korean soap opera with a sci-fi twist. An alien disguised as a human landed on Earth 400 years ago during the Joseon Dynasty and eventually falls in love with a haughty actress in modern South Korea. Twenty-one episodes of hilarity, romance, and an unhealthy amount of chicken and beer ensue. The show was widely and positively received. In particular, viewers in China are die-hard fanatics of the show; one fan reportedly ended her relationship with her boyfriend because he was not as romantic as the show’s leading man.

Predictably, the show’s success has brought much fame to the the stars, actress Jun Ji-hyun and actor Kim Soo-hyun. And while one completely obsessed fan underwent the knife to resemble Kim Soo-hyun (I mean, understandably. Just look at the guy), millions of fans emptied out YSL’s stock of Rouge Pur Couture No. 52  when it was rumored to be the popular lipstick color worn by Jun in the show.

 

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However, the major plot twist of the drama still remains: the lipstick that Jun wore was not made by YSL.

“The color of her lips [during the show] cannot be produced by a single product. The make-up artist mixed a number of different [products], and YSL was not one of them,” said an industry source, according to the Korea Herald.

In fact, it was Korea’s largest beauty company, AmorePacific, who officially sponsored My Love From The Star and had many of their products promoted in the drama. The sales of their skincare products and lipsticks used by Jun skyrocketed 75 percent and 400 percent, respectively, according to Chinese media.

Other companies who sponsored the show have also gained profit. Jun and Kim’s characters used Samsung’s Galaxy Note smartphones and all visible consumer electronics, including computers, cameras, TVs and refrigerators were Samsung products in the show.

YSL, however, was not a sponsor.

“AmorePacific had considered filing a lawsuit against YSL, which is choosing to remain silent on whether June is using their products,” said a source, reported the Korea Herald.

With all of the craze surrounding this lipstick, you’d think that it had fallen from the stars.

Photo courtesy of Korea Herald and Drama Fever.

 

Song of Style’s Aimee Song Shows You How Celebs Vacay In Ibiza

 

It seems like every high-profile celebrity scheduled a sweet vacay to Ibiza this summer (Kimye, Bieber and Lohan, to name a few), and we weren’t invited (cry). But it’s OK — as long as we can live vicariously through the plethora of Ibiza-hashtagged photos littering Instagram and E! News, we’ll manage.

One of our favorite fashion bloggers who joined in the Ibiza festivities this summer was the lovely face behind Song Of Style — Aimee Song. Pronounced “aw-mee” according to her Instagram, Aimee lived it up on the star-studded Ibiza beaches with her sister and friends, and lucky for us, the popular Korean American fashion blogger documented her trip through an endless stream of enviable photos. As summer is winding down and fall is, well, falling right around the corner, we thought it’d be nice to daydream about cocktails on the beach and adorable bikini attire with a little help from Song of Style before sweater weather sets in.


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Monique Lhuillier Designs Wedding Gown For Her Fashion Role Model, Her Mother

 

Wedding gown guru and highly sought-after fashion designer Monique Lhuillier takes frequent trips to visit her family back in her hometown, Cebu City. But when she made the 16-hour flight this year, it wasn’t just to soak up some Philippine sun. Instead, it was for a rather special — and golden — occasion.

This year marked her parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. Her father Michel Lhuillier, a Vietnam-born Filipino entrepreneur of mixed French descent, and her mother Amparito Llamas, a Filipino with Spanish roots and a background in modeling, celebrated the occasion in a grand ceremony and bash at the Cebu Cathedral.

 

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(Can we just take a moment to drool over how gorgeous Amparito looked on her wedding day?)

For an event alternatively called the “Golden Anniversary,” the festivities and, of course, the attire could be nothing less than pure gold. Lhuillier took matters into her own hands to create a wedding gown that was as uniquely special as the first one her gorgeous mother wore. (The perks of having a designer in the family, am I right?)

“What I wanted to do was take elements of her original [wedding] gown, so we took it out of the box after being there for 48 years,” said Lhuillier, who said she began prepping designs for her mother’s gown around a year ago. “We found it in really great shape, and there was something so beautiful and timeless about that dress. So I had her put it on and the wonderful thing is that it still fit!”

Using the lace from the original dress, which featured a Watteau train that flowed from the shoulders down to the floor, Lhuillier designed a new gown with a slimmer silhouette and long sleeves.

“Then I did this beaded antique gold overlay covering the entire outfit to incorporate gold into this dress. I dusted beads on her shoulders, her sleeves and then it trickled down the waist and the sides of the skirt. In the back, I drizzled it all over the entire train,” explained Lhuillier. “After all, it was a golden wedding anniversary!”

 

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The beautifully redesigned wedding dress was the perfect way to pay homage to the lady Lhuillier calls her fashion inspiration.

“I grew up with a very glamorous mother. Her elegance and chic style were my earliest influences. I was naturally inclined to design specialty dresses and gowns,” Lhuillier said in a ShopBop interview in 2013. “I’ve always gravitated toward a more glamorous aesthetic. My mother is such a sophisticated, regal woman, and when I was growing up, I didn’t know anything different. I thought all women lived life that way! My sister and I loved watching her get ready and transform.”

To this day, Lhuillier loves to see her mom get dolled up for an occasion, and the Golden Anniversary was no exception. “My mother looked like a queen that night,” she gushed. (And don’t worry, her father looked equally dashing in classic black-and-white attire with a winning bow tie.)

 

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Nine Months and Fabulous: Glamorous Pregnancy Photos of Rihanna’s Stylist Nini Nguyen

“It’s not what you wear, but how you wear it.”

That’s Nini Nguyen’s philosophy. With over ten years in the fashion industry, Nini Nguyen has made a name for herself as a model, a high-profile stylist and a designer, working as a fashion consultant for companies the likes of Banana Republic, Neiman Marcus, Oscar de la Renta and Barneys New York. Her on-point style even caught the eye of Queen Riri, who personally contacted Nguyen through Instagram over a year ago, and ever since then, the two have become a power couple in the fashion industry. Just look at them rock it.

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Now, several years down the road, Nguyen is still chanting that same mantra–but in a different context. About some nine months ago, the fashionista became pregnant with her first child, which she excitedly gushed about on her popular style blog. Ever since then, she’s been sharing beautiful photo after photo of her growing baby bump. Her new, updated motto (or so we’d like to think): “So what if I’m pregnant? I’m going to make it look fabulous!”

Here’s a chronicle of Nguyen’s glamorous, intimate, and inspiring pregnancy.

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Best wishes to Nini, her husband Loc, and their newborn baby Sage!

 

Photos courtesy of ninistyle.net and @ninistyle on Instagram

 

Stubborn Straight Eyelashes, Be Gone! How To Get a Lasting Curl

 

To all of my beautiful Asian ladies out there, I come to you with a serious struggle: My stubborn and inflexible, uncompromisingly flat, straight-as-an-arrow eyelashes. And I know many of you out there are fighting the same fight. We at Audrey just want you to know, we’re here for you.

I voiced my concern in the office today, and I was met with resounding solidarity in the movement against straight eyelashes. Being able to curl your lashes will not only result in beautiful and evenly mascara-clad curls, but it will also brighten up your face, tug at those smiling muscles, put you in a better mood, transform you into a pleasant person, and ultimately make the world a better place.

Obviously.

All jokes aside, East Asian and even Southeast Asian women generally do struggle with curling naturally stick-straight lashes. As a result, there’s been plenty of makeup tutorials and suggestions. So here’s a rundown of the best-reviewed products and tips for you to add to your daily makeup routine that will keep you and your eyelashes extra lifted.

 



1) Find the perfect eyelash curler.

Since East Asian eyes are usually monolidded, they have a less prominent brow ridge, causing the eye sockets to be less deeply set, according to Refinery29. It’s important to find an eyelash curler that will be the perfect fit to your eye shape, without pinching and missing any eyelash hairs.

Three popular favorites are the famous Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler, the favored Shiseido Eyelash Curler, and the latest Bobbi Brown Gentle Curl Eyelash Curler.

 

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Bobbi Brown Gentle Curl Eyelash Curler

 

While the first two Japanese brand eyelash curlers have been fighting Stick Straight Lash Syndrome for ages, the latter product has just entered the market. Refinery29 did everyone a favor and asked Senior Editor Sharon Yi to test out the Bobbi Brown Gentle Curl Eyelash Curler. Yi explains in the video below that the curler is specifically designed for almond-shaped eyes.

 



2) Wear waterproof mascara.

Makeup vloggers and beauty experts all over the Internet swear by this simple tip: For beautifully curled lashes with staying power, wear waterproof mascara. Stay away from wet mascaras that will only weigh your lashes down, and stick to dryer, waterproof mascaras for an all-day type of hold.

Makeup blogger Jen at the popular YouTube channel From Head To Toe has a great, informative video titled “Mascara 101: Tips for Short, Straight Lashes.” Need I say more? Check it out below.

 

 

(In the video, she recommends a few affordable drugstore waterproof mascaras. Out of the suggestions is Maybelline’s The Falsies Black Drama Waterproof Mascara, a brand that was also mentioned in this vlogger’s tutorial. I decided to take one for the team and try out The Falsies, and I’ve been a fan ever since.)



3) Now walk it out
(west side walk it out, south side walk it out …).

Lastly, walk your curler up and out as you curl your lashes. Head To Toe’s makeup tutorial above gives a great demonstration of how to curl your lashes this way. This will guarantee a natural curl for your lashes, not an awkward L-shaped bend if you were only to curl your lashes at the base of your eye.

 

 



4) Extra tips!

Heat things up a notch — just like many of us use hot curling irons and straighteners to style hair, we can also use heat to give our lashes a lasting curl. Heat your eyelash curler for 10 seconds with a blow dryer, let it cool for a bit, and then proceed to curl your lashes (but be careful not to burn your eye!). Or you can get a heated lash curler like the one used in, again, the video above. And if all else fails, you can follow the advice of one co-worker — use the back of a heated spoon lightly pressed up against her lashes for that desired curl.

Now, curl on.

Photos (in order) via fromheadtotoe.com, girlwithmakeup.com, and bobbibrowncosmetics.com.

 

 

Lee Hyori’s Behind-The-Scenes Photos of Her DIY Wedding on New Lifestyle Blog

 

Gathering greens from her homemade garden at her quaint, new home on Jeju Island, South Korea, former Fin.K.L leader Lee Hyori has come a long way from her glamoured-up K-pop star days. On her new blog, she sheds her sexy pop star image and reveals what’s underneath — her organic, vegetarian lifestyle, her undeniable love for animals, and her insight on what it’s like to be a new housewife, as told by text and photographs.

“It’s been a long time since my friends from Seoul have come down [to Jeju],” she wrote in Korean, in her most recent blog post. According to Korea Times, the name of her blog, “so-gil-daek”, refers to her home in Sogil-li, Jeju Island. The site, which went live on May 29th, has already amassed more than 8 million views as of Thursday.

Scrolling through 20-some pages of her Naver blog reveals photos of her friends wandering the woods, her latest embroidery ventures, her adorable dogs (and her imaginary conversations with them) and what’s on her dinner plate, all accompanied by short and sweet blurbs about her day. There’s nothing glamorous about it. She’s almost — dare I say it? — one of us.

Surprisingly, Hyori has received some backlash from critics who say that she is making a fuss, using her fame to glamorize her “simple” life — a life that many ordinary people lead. Characteristic of her rather humble and honest demeanor that is apparent throughout her blog posts, Hyori responded to this criticism in her blog post titled, “Irony.”

“I am famous, but I want to live a quiet life,” she wrote. “I am living quietly, but I don’t want to be forgotten. I’m simple but rich, and I’m rich but nothing is really different. I confess to my ironic life.”

Don’t worry, Hyori — we’re all for it. Even without her fame and popularity, her blog holds its own. Imbued with an overall artsy, bohemian, hipster-esque aesthetic, her photos tell the story not of Hyori, the K-pop Queen, but a down-to-earth human being who just loves adventure with her husband, friends and dogs. She shares her life in simple and candid terms.

Speaking of her husband, here’s what you’ve been waiting for (unless you just skipped to the photos, because I wouldn’t blame you): the adorably adorable wedding photos of Hyori and Lee Sang-Soon! The two talented musicians tied the knot last September in a very private, intimate wedding at their home on Jeju Island, and Hyori recently uploaded exclusive behind-the-scene photos on her blog early July. The whole affair gave off strong vibes of DIY decorations and accessories — from floral crowns to homemade backdrops — that just may inspire your own bohemian, outdoor wedding.

 

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The caption under this last photograph reads: “When night fell, we were all exhausted. Everything that I was worried about fell away, and after drinking beer, my body just collapsed. ‘How will I live from now on, on this foreign ground bearing my husband’s name?’ I thought to myself, and my heart felt heavy. Then I saw a small light flying around a nearby bush. It was a firefly. It felt like it was the first time I saw a firefly since childhood, and it seemed like the firefly was dancing, flying in between and around us and shining its light all over the place. If I believe that the firefly was telling me that it will all be OK and that I will do a great job, would that be too sentimental? But I looked at the scenery around me, and I realized that there was nothing more that I could ask for. Then, my heart seemed to feel a little lighter.”

Damn. Leave it to Hyori to be beautiful, down-to-earth and poetic all at the same time.

All photos courtesy of Lee Hyori’s blog.