The Real Star: Jeannie Mai

Story by Natalie Do

Photos by Jack Blizzard

Ramy Brook New York jumpsuit, Windsor Smith shoes

 


 

A women full of confidence, beauty, and success, Jeannie Mai once again proves to be a role model to look up to.  Born to immigrant Chinese and Vietnamese parents and raised in the Bay Area, the co-host of “The Real” kick-started her career immediately after high school and gradually worked her way up.  

Starting off as a makeup artist for MAC, she eventually found herself dressing the faces of celebrities such as Alicia Keys and Christina Aguilera.

Mai’s beauty, fashion, and style expertise landed her many hosting roles on networks such as E! and Style Network. She also hosted the Miss Universe pageant for many years.

Beyond her success, what captured our attention was her motivation, words of wisdom, and inspiring story.

Here, Jeannie keeps it raw and “real” and shares everything from her inspiration to her tips and advice.

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Photos by Jack Blizzard; Ramy Brook New York jumpsuit, Windsor Smith shoes


 

Audrey Magazine:  What most inspires you?

Jeannie Mai:   Two things: My faith — believing I was created uniquely and purposefully to do good works.

And my heritage — the fact that my mother and father had to escape to America, earn their citizenship, and work so hard to give me a future makes me thankful for every day that I have.


Audrey: How did your parents first react to your career choice and path, considering you grew up in an Asian household?

JM:    Let’s keep it 100. My parents had the rude awakening that I wasn’t going to be their champion pianist when they learned that most of time they heard songs coming from my keyboard, [the music was coming] from the “demo” button I played to pretend I was practicing. Dad realized I wasn’t going to be a doctor since I fainted at the sight of my own blood. And I knew I wasn’t going to have anything to do with law when I saw how badly courtroom lighting ages everyone.

So as soon as I showed, not just told, my parents what I wanted to do in television, they sat back to see what would happen next. Look, Asian parents just want to know that in life, you are financially secure. I wanted to show them that I need to be happy. As soon as I kept my family in the loop with email updates of what steps I was taking to accomplish my goals and showed them pictures to show that I was actually fine and happy, they couldn’t help but to support me along the way.


Audrey: And now, what’s it like being able to have your mom be so popular as a guest on “The Real?”

JM: Today, seeing Mama Mai loved makes me so proud to have her as my mother. I don’t take that lightly for one bit. And yes, she has changed. She sends every one of us pictures of her fans and reminds us all who is the OG star.

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Photos by Jack Blizzard


Audrey:   What do you credit for your success?

JM:     Heartbreak, haters, and everything that scares me. Those were my biggest motivators I would never remove from my life.

 


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Photos by Jack Blizzard

 

Audrey:    How does it feel to be surrounded by such powerful women, like yourself, on “The Real” and being able to share real life experiences and thoughts?

JM:  It feels the way it should in life: empowering! I’m in love with all my sisters on “The Real.” Each of them teach me something that make it so much fun to be around them all. For myself, I can’t believe some of my crazy or embarrassing stories are appreciated by others out there. I am so thankful for our fans, for being “real,” and coming back to show their support through their comments to us. It means the world when women who watch and engage with us and it feels like a small tight knit group of friends.


 

 

AD:   How did you learn to be so open about life on “The Real” in this age and day where everything you say can get dissected? How do you stand up against negative comments from the public and media, especially when sometimes things are misconstrued, and continue to stand up for what you believe in?

JM:  I never really learned how to become more “open”, it just comes with the responsibility of being a TV personality. I take my role very seriously. I know I’m going to be welcomed into the homes and minds of other people. I have no choice but to be straight up and be honest with them. People are just like you and I — we can smell a fake a mile away and we long for honesty. A lot of things I say do get misconstrued, especially when I’m describing an upbringing or culture that isn’t common. But I grew up with enough of not fitting in to not care. I remember my aunties and mom would ask me to speak quietly, and cross my legs like a lady. This totally pissed me off. Am I less of a lady when I ran, skipped, and spoke my mind? As long as I’m not purposely being offensive to anyone and I’m just being honest, I can back up the truth behind my experiences.


Audrey:   Do you have a favorite story from a fan or reader that you like to share?

JM:      One time a fan wrote to me about how a bullying situation really made it rough for her to get through school. She sounded like myself writing this if I were back in middle school. Then she described how my own positivity taught her to look at the bright side of things so that the negative didn’t control her day. I didn’t even realize something I did as a defense mechanism turned into a valuable trait I still need today.

 

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Photos by Jack Blizzard


Audrey:    Was there ever a moment on the show where you had a guest that made you star-struck in some way?

JM:   Method Man from the Wu Tang Clan. It will never make sense to anyone but me, my subwoofers in my 94 purple Golf, and the streets of San Jose.


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Photos by Jack Blizzard; Ramy Brook New York jumpsuit, Windsor Smith shoes


Audrey:   What’s the trick to working the red carpet, both as an interviewer and a celebrity?

JM:   As an interviewer, be thoughtful. Imagine these celebs get asked the same question, all day. And imagine the viewers watch the same answers all day. So I do my research to ask the celebs things I know they’d want to share that the viewer will find interesting.

As a celeb, never talk while you’re taking pictures. I actually learned that from Jennifer Aniston. She’s right: it never ever turns out good!


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Photos by Jack Blizzard; Ramy Brook New York jumpsuit, Windsor Smith shoes


Audrey:    Lastly, what’s the single life advice you follow or would like to give to young Asian American women who look up to you?

 JM:  Make a list about yourself: of all the things that rock and all the things that don’t. Be painfully honest. Do you talk too much? Do you have no butt? (Oh wait, that’s my list.) Are you super creative? Keep that list around and work on emotionally owning those traits — one by one.

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Looking For The Perfect New Year’s Eve Outfit? Check Out These Dresses From Some Of Our Favorite Asian Designers

New Year’s Eve and all the celebrations that come with it are right around the corner. Take a quick break from the Christmas holiday craze, and check out these stunning dresses we rounded up from a few of our favorite Asian and Asian-American designers.  Whether you are looking for something that shimmers and exudes glamour or flies under the radar with sleek, cool lines…we’ve found it all!

1. Little Black Dresses From Alexander Wang’s 10-Year Capsule Collection

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Image Courtesy Of Alexanderwang.com

The Fall 2007 Gathered Jersey Dress, available here for $358.

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Image Courtesy Of Alexanderwang.com

The Spring 2009 Mesh Detail Dress With Graphic Detail, available here for $574.

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Image Courtesy Of Alexanderwang.com

The Spring 2009 Draped Jersey Dress, available here for $358.


 

 

2. Jewel Tones And Asymmetry From Vivienne Hu’s Fall 2015 Collection

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Image Courtesy Of Viviennehu.com

The la Découpe Dress, available here for $400.

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Image Courtesy Of Viviennehu.com

The Noir et Nude Dress, available here for $550.

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Image Courtesy Of Viviennehu.com

The Dimanche Dress, available here for $650.

 


 

 

3. On-Trend Metallics From Tadashi Shoji’s Cocktail Dress Collections

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Images Courtesy Of Tadashishoji.com

The Park Dress, available here for $398.

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Image Courtesy Of Tadashishoji.com

The Paillette Embroidered Lace Cap Sleeve Dress, available here for $328.

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Image Courtesy Of Tadashishoji.com

The Neoprene And Paillette Embroidered Sheath Dress, available here for $348.


 

 

4. Little White Dresses From Opening Ceremony By Humberto Leon And Carol Lim

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Image Courtesy Of Openingceremony.us

The Talene Crepe Cascade Sleeve Dress, available here for $450.

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Image Courtesy Of Openingceremony.us

The Bodycon Wavy Stripe Dress, available here for $395.

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Image Courtesy Of Openingceremony.us

The Lotus Wavy Stripe Dropped Ruffle Dress, available here for $395.


 

 

5. For The Ultimate Splurge: Son Jung Wan

==Rodin Banica © 2014 All Rights Reserved==

Image Courtesy Of SonJungwanshop.com

The Multi-Sequined Dress With Leather Waist Detail, available here for price request and international shipping.

 

 Feature Images Courtesy Of Alexanderwang.com, Tadashishoji.com And Viviennehu.com

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Christmas Gift Guide for the Makeup Lover in Your Life

So you have to buy a Christmas gift for someone who loves make up, but you don’t know a thing about a make up. This can get a bit tricky. What brand do you choose? What will look good on her skin? What does that cream even do?

Well, have no fear! Here at Audrey, we shared our absolute favorite make up items. If we love these so much, we hope she will too. Check out Ask Audrey Staff | Whats In Our Make Up Bag below to get some Christmas gift ideas for the make up lover in your life.

 


EOS Lip Balm

“Dry lips annoy me and I usually have to choose something that tastes yummy. For the most part, EOS has a pretty decent selection of delicious flavors (not saying that I eat my lips…)” 


 


NYX (The Curve) Eyeliner

“On the days when I have a million meetings to attend and then a function at night, this eyeliner makes touching up my eyes pretty easy- especially when I want to do a dramatic tail. ” 

 


 

 

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MAC Studio Finish SPF 35 Concealer

“It hides all my blemishes and evens out my skin tone.” 

 

 


 

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Revlon ColorStay Eyeliner (Black)

“So I don’t look like I’m sleeping. Its (Revlon ColorStay) the only one that stays” 

“This has made it onto my list of HG (Holy Grail) products for me. I’ve sworn by this eyeliner since I’ve started wearing makeup. Glides on smoothly – and yes, it really does stay put. ”

“My daily must-have. Really easy to apply and it doesn’t take much effort to get a lot of color out of it. As everyone else has said, it definitely stays on.” 


 

 


SENSAI Lip Treatment

“It’s way beyond a lip balm. It totally makes me feel like I have sumptuous Angelina lips.” 

 


 

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Aerin Rose Balm Lipstick

“The chicest, most minimal lipstick tube ever. It makes me feel stylish just pulling it out of my bag.” 

 


 


MAC Mineralize Skinfinish (Porcelain Pink)

“I could swirl this on with IT Cosmetics super plush powder brush all day long. Adds the perfect hint of sheen and flush to my wan winter pallor and reflects away from my many sunspots!” 

 


 


NYX HD Studio Photogenic Grinding Powder (in Soft Beige)

“I was introduced to this over the summer and it gives me the most flawless (and very natural) coverage, without feeling heavy. It’s cool to grind the makeup!” 

 


 

 


Kanebo Sensai Rouge Intense Lasting Color (in 113)

“Enough to last me the entire work day. The red is the perfect shade for me to wear on regular days – just enough color, without going too bold. The formula also feels great on my lips! ” 


 

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Urban Decay Naked Palette 3

“When my brother gave me this for my birthday, he said all the workers in the shop wouldn’t stop talking about how perfect this gift would be. As expected, I fell in love. It has enough variety for a chill day in the office to a crazy night out.”

 

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Holiday Gift Guide and Giveaway: 2016 Haikus With Hotties Calendar

Shannon Kook. Photo by Lane Dorsey.

Audrey Magazine’s popular Haikus with Hotties series is now a limited-edition 2016 calendar!

Part sincere inquiry and part tongue-in-cheek spoof, Haikus with Hotties is a series that celebrates Asian male hotness in all forms. The full list of the 2016 calendar hotties include Eugene Lee Yang, Godfrey Gao, Randall Park, Yoshi and Peter Sudarso, Chris Dinh, Yen Chen, Saksham Ghai, Dante Basco, Freddie Wong, Hari Kondabolu, Viet Pham, Shannon Kook, and Daniel Henney.

Get yours now at www.haikuswithhotties.com before they sell out! All proceeds go to the KoreAm Audrey Foundation, an independent, 501(c)3 nonprofit media organization that supports Asian American journalism.

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For January, Eugene Lee Yang is photographed as five different members of a K-pop group, and he has documented his transformation in a Buzzfeed music video.

 

Here’s a behind-the-scenes glimpse of our shoot with August’s Peter and Yoshi Sudarso:

And the calendar was recently featured on NBC News Asian America: “‘Haikus With Hotties’ Wants to Help You Ring in the New Year

We are giving away TWO FREE COPIES of the 2016 Haikus with Hotties calendar to one lucky person. To enter, like us on FacebookInstagram or Twitter and tell us who your favorite calendar hottie is OR who you’d like to see in a future calendar. Make sure you tag #HaikusWithHotties and @audreymagazine.

You have until FRIDAY, December 18TH to get your submissions in!

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5 Lessons Learned From Online Dating

Story by O.D.D. (Online Dating Diary) Girl

When Audrey unleashed its new look last fall, it was also the beginning of this column. Around the office (and to some of my close friends), I became known as O.D.D. Girl. What I didn’t disclose one year ago was that I had had my heart broken and was wavering on the idea of going online to find love. Nonetheless, it didn’t take too much convincing for my editor to get me to chronicle my adventures as an Asian American woman trying online dating for the first time.

Of course, it wasn’t easy. For the first time in my life, I was forced to look at myself and come to terms with what I really wanted in a partner. I’ve had my share of short-lived flings and semi-relationships, but I’ve never been in a long-term exclusive relationship. But after months of exchanging online messages and even going on dates, I realized it was time for me to think about getting serious with someone — and to be more serious about myself as well.

Over this past year, I managed to convince some of my peers and friends to try online dating for the first time, too. As I was coaching some of them, I gleaned some lessons from my experience. In no particular order, here they are.

1. Don’t let the creeps get to you.
I know that online dating sites have horrible reputations for the kind of men on them. They’re slimy, they’re looking for hookups, they have weird fetishes — I won’t go on and on, but I’m sure you all know what I’m trying to get at. Just remember, they’re there. They will always be there. But the site is not 100 percent full of horrible men. For example, if some guy is projecting his Asian fetish onto you, you can (1) reply back with a sassy remark (with dignity, of course) to let him know he’s a racist prick, and (2) block him. Don’t allow one bad egg to ruin your entire experience, just like you shouldn’t allow the douchebag you met at the bar to define the rest of your love life either.

2. Dating does not get any easier as time goes on.
Whenever I tell my editor about my dates (from both online and offline), she always looks over to another married person and says, “I’m so glad I’m not dating in this age.” I’m realizing that as I get older, I’m running into guys with a lot of baggage because they’ve also had hard dating experiences, just like me. It’s not like my early 20s when we all pretty much had clean slates. So accept it — you’re not always going to meet perfect guys with perfect backgrounds, but it doesn’t mean that they’re not nice people or haven’t learned from their dating past.

3. Don’t be afraid to tell your Asian parents you met someone on an online dating site.
Not too long ago, my mother asked me if I was a lesbian. I suppose she had every right to, since I hadn’t brought anyone home to meet her. I then told her that I was talking to someone online — and she didn’t try to disown me. Perhaps it helped that one of my older aunts married a guy she met online recently. Either way, don’t be ashamed to let your parents know how you met the guy — it’ll help open them up if they haven’t already.

4. Don’t just go for the guys who look good on paper.
I was really surprised to see how many Asian guys were on these online dating sites — and how many of them looked really good on their profiles. There were so many guys who were tall, handsome, working professionals (with an income of six figures!), did just about every activity in the book, were well traveled, and were quite charming in their messages. Does that make them Prince Charming in real life? Of course not! My point is, take a chance on the guys who may not seem so perfect on paper because I’ve learned that some guys were intentional in not creating the perfect profile — they wanted to see if they could attract the right kind of girl. I actually did that once, and I found a pretty good guy in real life.

5. Be absolutely honest with the guys you date (and yourself, too).
Don’t ever tell a guy the opposite of what you’re looking for because you want to go along with what he wants. It won’t do you any good. Instead, communicate well and let him know what you’re looking for from the get-go — it will save you trouble and time. Trust me.

So how have my dating adventures fared to date, given the first anniversary of this column? I don’t want to give away too much now, because I feel like I’ve gotten into something that’s just starting. However, I’ll leave you with this: I think I’ve found one guy who’s got a hold on me.

Until next time.

 

This story was originally published in our Fall 2013 issue. Get your copy here

 

 

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Our Top 5 Hot Pot Restaurants

The weather has been quite bi-polar in California these past few weeks; one week we get warm spring weather and the next week, it’s like we went backwards into winter! For those chilly, gloomy days, what better way to warm up your bodies (other than cuddling and staying in bed) than going for some hot pot?

Although they are similar, there are many versions of hot pot. The more common versions that we are familiar with are Chinese and Japanese. The main difference between the two are the dipping sauces and the vegetables that are served. In Chinese hot pot, sesame oil or sesame paste are common dipping sauces while traditional Chinese vegetables, such as bok choy, are served. In Japanese hot pot, a raw, pasteurized egg or ponzu are common sauces while udon and Japanese vegetables, such as shiitake mushrooms, are served. Below, you’ll find our frequently visited and favorite hot pot restaurants:


 

1. Yojie Shabu Shabu, Japanese 

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Courtesy of yojie.com.

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Courtesy of yojie.com.

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Courtesy of yojie.com.

The food presentations are always on point, slices of meat are consistent, veggies are fresh and delicious, and who can resist green tea fondue for dessert? If you’re a regular at Yojie, they also have a membership called the Swisher Society!

 


 

2. Boiling Point, Taiwanese 

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Courtesy of bpgroupusa.com.

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Courtesy of bpgroupusa.com.

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Courtesy of bpgroupusa.com.

If you like more variety, Boiling Point is the place to go. They have several hot pot combos and options to choose from and no two dishes are the same! Although this is Taiwanese style hot pot, they fuse other flavor, such as Thai and Korean. You can’t forget the infamous mini macaron ice cream sandwiches!

 


 

3. Jazz Cat, Taiwanese 

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Courtesy of Jazz Cat Shabu on Facebook.

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Courtesy of Jazz Cat Shabu on Facebook.

With so many delicious choices, it may take a while to pick your broth and your sides. Their portions are quite large, so come in with an empty stomach. If you’re feeling like a carnivore, they have options of having more meat and less veggies!

 


 

4. Kariya Shabu-Shabu and BBQ, Taiwanese

Courtesy of Kariya Shabu-Shabu and BBQ on Yelp.

Courtesy of Kariya Shabu-Shabu and BBQ on Yelp.

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Courtesy of Kariya Shabu-Shabu and BBQ on Yelp.

Can’t decide whether you want hot pot or barbecue? Now, you can have both! Kariya developed this clever idea of having your hot pot boil in the middle of a hot grill! You better come hungry because the vegetable, meat, and seafood options here seem endless.

 



 

5. Shabu Shabu House, Japanese

Courtesy of Shabu Shabu House on Yelp.

Courtesy of Shabu Shabu House on Yelp.

Sometimes simple and less frills is the best way to go. Although there aren’t many varieties, Shabu Shabu house gives you the option of ordering how you want your meat (marbled, lean, or fatty?). That’s quality, in our opinion!

 


 

Did your favorite place make our list?  If not, feel free to share your favorite, go-to hot pot place!

 

Feature image courtesy of discoverhongkong.com.

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Bizarre Trends in Asia

 

Everyday, it seems as if we come across products, trends, and even holidays from Asia that gets us quite confused. From fuzzy-hair stockings to an actual single awareness day, Asia never seems short of these bizarre creations. Check out our list of 18 of Asia’s Most Bizarre Products & Trends below. Weird or awesome? You be the judge.


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1) The “Liberation Wrapper”
“For years, Japanese culture has encouraged women to strive for “ochobo”, which is described as small and modest mouths… [The liberation wrapper] is a large burger wrapper with the image of a women’s face. The wrapper is meant to hide women as they take big bites out of their burger and to maintain the appearance of ochobo.” Read the full story here.

 

 


 

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2) Finger Trap Beauty Test
“The concept is simple: Touch the side of your index finger to both the tip of your nose and your chin. If your lips don’t touch your finger, congratulations! You’re pretty! If they do, well, er … there’s always Photoshop?” Read the full story here. 

 


 

 

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3) Surgical Masks
“Apparently, there are 5 main reasons for the popular mask trend: for health purposes, to avoid social awkwardness, for warmth, for the lazy, and also apparently in the name of fashion.” Read the full story here. 


 

 

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4) Black Day: Korea’s Single Awareness Day 
“As you may have guessed, Black Day is practically the opposite of [Valentine’s Day and White Day]. This is a day for those who did not receive gifts on Valentines Day or White Day. Yup, this unofficial holiday is for single people.” Read the full story here. 

 


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5) Double Eyelid Training Glasses
“The glasses are a non-surgical option to create the illusion of a double eyelid. The Eyelid Trainer is worn like any other pair of glasses. Apparently, 5 minutes a day with this contraption will give you the double eyelids you desire. ” Read full story here. 

 


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6) Tokyo Street Fashion 
“While many people find popular Japanese fashion styles, such as Harajuku and Lolita confusing, New York-based photographer Thomas C. Card was so intrigued by the street fashion that he spent months in Japan to document the various styles.” Read the full story here. 

 


 

 

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7) Edible iPhone Case
“The Survival Senbei Rice Cracker iPhone 5 Cover is handmade by “Mariko” using only brown rice and salt. For $64, you can have a phone cover that doubles as a tasty snack in case of an emergency.” Read the full story here. 


 

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8) Cosplay Graduation
“But the Kanazawa College of Art is not like other colleges. Graduates are apparently allowed to wear absolutely whatever they would like. So what happens when Japanese students have no dress code for graduation? Some of the best cosplay ever.” Read the full story here.

 


 

 

 

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9) The Virtual Girlfriend
“Thousands of men and women of all ages have been captivated by this real life dating simulator, which offers three girlfriends to choose from– Rinko, Nene, and Manaka. All of the choices have different backstories and adjustable personalities.” Read the full story here. 

 


 

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10) The World’s Longest Kiss
“The world’s longest kiss lasted a whomping 58 hours, 35 minutes, and 58 seconds. The record was set by Ekkachai Tiranarat and Laksana Tiranarat during an event organized by Ripley’s Believe It Or Not in Thailand. The annual kissathon competition happens during, you guessed it, Valentine’s Day.” Read the full story here. 


 

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11) Snail Facials 
“Although some of us may see snails as pesky and slimy or even a delicious delicacy, Japan is definitely transforming the use of these creatures and women are paying a pretty big price for this treatment. One session costs approximately 10,500 Yen, which is about $107.” Read the full story here. 

 


 

 

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12) Sex Ed For 30-Year-Olds 
“The tutorials cost more than $400, but women have been lining up to learn and lessons are booked weeks in advance. Many of these students are 30- to 40-year-olds seeking to decrease their anxiety before their first sexual encounter.” Read the full story here. 

 


 

 

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13) The “True Love” Bra
“Makers are claiming that the bra is able to analyze how a woman truly feels and will only pop open when the user finds her true love. The lingerie company is marketing the bra as a safety device. Apparently, the bra will ward off unwanted sexual advances and will make sure that all people, except your true love, will not have access to your breasts.” Read the full story here.

 


 

 

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14) The Study Cube
“Last year, South Korea’s environmentally-friendly furniture manufacturer, Emok, unveiled the Study Cube, a wooden box just big enough to seat one person in front of a built-in desk. The box comes with a bookshelf, whiteboard, LED light, outlet, and ventilation grill. There’s even a massage bar under the desk that also serves as a footrest.” Read the full story here.

 


 

 

 

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15) Strange Asian Hairdos
“Whether its creepy, funny, or just intriguing to look at, all of these hairstyles are undeniably strange. Although strange hairdos are certainly not something people are born with, a quick google search of “strange Asian hair” is enough to let us know that this is a pretty common search.” Read the full story here.

 


 

 

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16) Anti-Rape Stockings
“The most recent fashion creation from China are hairy-leg stockings designed to ward off men and decrease the possibility of rape. The theory behind this creation is that the male will be so disgusted with the appearance of your legs that you don’t have to worry– they wouldn’t want to have a sexual encounter with you anyway.” Read the full story here


 

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17) Plastic Surgery Television Shows
“The purpose of this show is to “help those with special circumstances or people who are too ugly to feel confident in their life.” The participant facing “special circumstances” will have their plastic surgery sponsored by the television program and audiences follow along during the transformation.” Read the full story here.


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18) New Elementary Desks 
“Wuhan City, China has introduced these bars into an elementary school’s first grade classroom. Each bar is drilled into the wooden tables of school children in an effort to preserve the eyesight of the students.” Read the full story here. 

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How Men REALLY Feel About Trading Bachelorhood For Married Life

In his regular column for Audrey Magazine, published in the Summer 2014 issue, Paul Nakayama talks about dismantling the man cave and other life changes he’ll have to make as he (finally!) bids farewell to bachelorhood. 

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In my 20s and early 30s, I did my share of dating. Mind you, I didn’t have one night stands or a monthly swap-out of girls, but rather a steady string of long-term, monogamous relationships. I was generally considered a Nice Guy, and while Nice Guys do often finish last, I met some Nice Girls who found me at the finish line. But then I debunked the myth about Nice Guys being nice; and when things got hard, I ended up screwing up the relationship. Now after a few years of mostly being single, I’m hanging up my bachelor hat again. I’ve met an amazing girl who makes it seem easy — I mean not easy easy — but easy. In fact, it’ll be the first time I live with a woman other than family. And therein lies my new dilemma: as I approach 40, I’ve kinda settled into the bachelor life.

For example, I’m a writer and I tend to keep graveyard hours — less people to bother you at night and it doesn’t seem so weird to drink during work. While most of the world is sleeping, I’m sitting at my computer thinking of new ways for evil masterminds to destroy the world or, in my most ironic of gigs, doling out really bad relationship advice to all of you. My girl is in Japan, so our hours coincide. When I go to bed around 8 a.m., it’s midnight over there. But when we start living together, I have to start functioning like a normal human being. She even says that I need to be under the sun occasionally, despite my complaints that it’d be impossible to look at my iPhone or iPad and then I’d spontaneously combust from digital withdrawal.

I’m also deprogramming my brain and eyes to not check out girls anymore at restaurants and bars. After years of conscious and subconscious honing of my babe radar, I have realized that I’ll need some time to shut it off. It’s certainly not a deliberate action when I leer at a girl, particularly one that is exposed to the elements, but I don’t want to risk having my girl think I have eyes for anyone but her. To counter the programming in my internal detection systems, I have started to spend a lot more time reading menus, counting ceiling/floor tiles, and staring deep into my girl’s eyes without blinking and ignoring all peripheral motion. Sadly, the only thing that seems to work well is to take excessive photos of my food and drinks. And my leftovers and empty dishes even.

The biggest visible change is probably going to be the dismantling of my man cave. Over the years, I’ve collected a serious treasure trove of video games, comics, DVDs, books, CDs, and geeky art prints — and I love all of it. I can’t just abandon them when I make a new friend. That would just be wrong. But spatially, there’s no way for her and her “supposedly essential goods”, like clothes, to fit into my apartment with all of my stuff. So in trying to be a good, accommodating boyfriend, I’ve come up with an alternate plan. I’ve studied the blueprints, sketched out some ideas and will be constructing a secret man cave by tearing down a wall in the broom closet. That way, I can sneak in a few minutes here and there to spend with my precious lovelies. UPDATE: I was informed by my neighbor that he doesn’t appreciate me busting a hole into his living room; he said I was encroaching on his personal space. I suppose he may have a point, but I think that’s why he doesn’t have friends.

Speaking of living together, I’ve been told that it takes a system of compromise and sharing to make it work. I’ve heard a competing theory that it’s more about giving up all personal freedoms and just saying yes. But let’s operate off an optimistic presumption for now. That means that I probably can’t watch Game of Thrones in my underwear while swinging a sword anymore. (I’ll try subtly tossing out the idea, but I have my doubts.) It means I’ll have to give her at least half of the DVR space, which is why I’m convinced that most BitTorrents are downloaded by husbands and boyfriends and not cheapskates. Meals will now have to be more nutritious than my usual fare of beer, steak, and Red Vines. I’ll now have to take my music playlists more seriously and not “experiment” with One Direction and Taylor Swift songs … or maybe include more 1D and Taylor. Or something. I don’t know what “good” boyfriends are doing these days.

I’m sure there’s a lot more to consider in the days ahead. I’m getting all of the cautionary tales from my friends, and there are a lot of them. But somehow, I’m still really excited. I’m looking forward to having a partner in my life. You know, someone to watch movies with or have spontaneous cocktails with or share my meals with, other than my pal, Netflix. Someone to bring me toilet paper, instead of me having to waddle into the hallway. You know, really romantic stuff that’ll change my life for the better. Thankfully, I’ve been writing these columns for Audrey for 10 years now, talking about my bachelor life, so I’ve got a whole record of how I’ve messed up with girls … and I can save all my successes for this one.

 

— STORY BY PAUL NAKAYAMA

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

 



 

The Ultimate Travel Guide to New York’s Meatpacking District

Story by Kanara Ty.

Before I went to New York City this past summer, I asked a colleague for some tips on her
favorite spots in Manhattan — best cheap eats? Favorite rooftop bar? She told me to completely immerse myself into the Meatpacking District, perhaps Manhattan’s trendiest neighborhood right now. While the name doesn’t exactly scream glitz and glamour, I assure you that you can’t just make one visit to the Meatpacking District during a vacation in the Big Apple — it packs a whole lot of punch, with high-end boutiques (Alexander McQueen, thank you very much!), critically acclaimed dining destinations (Buddakan and Morimoto), and swanky nightclubs with the toughest doormen in the world (Wass Stevens of Avenue — we’re talking about you!).

Before it became one of NYC’s hottest social spots, the Meatpacking District was known for its various industries throughout the years. In the mid-1800s, you would have found carpentry and woodworking manufacturers. After the beginning of the 20th century, the neighborhood became a huge meat market, literally: approximately 200 slaughterhouses and packing houses abounded (hence the name), in addition to cosmetics, printing, and automobile companies.

During the ’70s and ’80s, the area went into decline, transforming itself into an entertainment and nightlife mecca for the gay and bondage/S&M crowd. Interestingly enough, it’s alleged that the Mafia and some members of the NYPD protected some of these after-hours establishments, which allowed them to flourish. This included The Mineshaft, which was shut down by the Department of Health in 1985 at the height of the AIDS epidemic (20 years later, the space was reopened as a Chinese restaurant).

Despite, or perhaps because of, its lurid history, the Meatpacking District is one of the most fascinating neighborhoods in Manhattan today. Here are some highlights:

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S T A Y

-Gansevoort Meatpacking NYC
It’s known as the Meatpacking’s first luxury hotel and remains an iconic location since it opened in 2004. The Gansevoort added a different kind of character to the grittiness of the neighborhood, helping to transform the area into a hip entertainment district. If you’re easily star-struck, beware — the hotel’s been featured on MTV and Vh1, and you’re sure to run into a celebrity or two (we spotted Will.i.Am in the lobby).  If you’re looking to go all out, consider booking the Gansevoort’s Duplex Presidential Suite. It’s the ultimate experience: the 1,700-square-foot duplex features 30-foot floor-to-ceiling windows, a state-of-the-art sound system, dining area, pool table, cardio machines, full bar, and custom furniture. Our favorite part? The step-out balcony with extraordinary views of the Hudson River. Not convinced? Check out our Summer 2013 10th anniversary issue’s cover editorial with Rinko Kikuchi — trust us, it’s quite a treat. Details Gansevoorthotelgroup.com.

 

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E A T
The Meatpacking District is a foodie heaven for those looking to experience something out of the ordinary. We’ve got two Stephen Starr restaurants on this list — enough said.

-Num Pang Sandwich Shop
Long after I’ve left New York, this Cambodian sandwich shop still lingers in my mind. I can’t forget the Five-Spice Glazed Pork Belly sandwich, topped off with some Ithaca Ginger Beer or Ginger Pineapple Ginger Tea. Also, try their delicious Grilled Coconut Corn with Chili Mayo. Note that some of their sandwiches are seasonal, so be sure to check what’s available. For you non-meat eaters, the Roasted Cauliflower sandwich is flavorful as well. Details Numpangnyc.com.

-Buddakan
When you enter Buddakan, it doesn’t exactly feel like a restaurant. In fact, you think you might have walked into a large nightclub. The interior is just remarkable, with oversized chandeliers, high ceilings, golden bookshelves, and yes, even a banquet table large enough to seat 34. The eats to check out? Duck and Foie Gras Dumplings, Dungeness Crab Sticky Rice, and Singapore Chili King Crab. Don’t forget the dessert — get the Sichuan Peanut Semifreddo. Details Buddakannyc.com.

-Morimoto
You know the name — Masaharu Morimoto is quite synonymous in celebrity circles with anything Japanese. Honestly? He lives up to the hype. All you need to do is get the Morimoto Omakase ($125 per person), and you let them take care of the rest. Details Morimotonyc.me.

-The Lobster Place
Fresh seafood right at your fingertips — and it’s prepared in front of you! I can only imagine my facial expression when I saw the fresh uni before me. But if you’re not sure what to get, go for the popular Lobster Roll. Details Lobsterplace.com.

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P L A Y 

-Avenue
It’s got a reputation for being one of the toughest nightclubs to get into in the world — primarily because the doorman, Wass Stevens, is one tough cookie to break. If you can make it past the velvet ropes, you’re in for quite an experience. Basketball phenomenon, Jeremy Lin was sighted here at a Knicks aftergame party. Details Avenue-newyork.com.

-PH-D
Located at the Dream Downtown hotel, people say this is quickly becoming one of the hottest new spots in NYC. The short moniker actually stands for Penthouse at Dream Downtown, which is the rooftop lounge at the hotel. If you can get in, you’ll feel like you’re in a secret garden with beautiful people, good music, and a majestic view. Details Phdlounge.com.

-Provocateur Café + Nightclub
There’s something for everyone here: the nightclub for those who are looking for an evening of debauchery (drinking and dancing all night long) or the café for those who want something more chill (drinking and talking all night long). Be sure to check out their calendar for the most updated list of upcoming DJs if you’re into the EDM scene. Details Provocateurny.com.

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E X P L O R E 

-High Line
Despite all the clubs and eateries in the Meatpacking District, this was at the top of my list to check out. A cool public park, Originally an elevated freight rail line facing demolition, the High Line was transformed by some community residents into a cool public park.  The park was recently used for a top-secret Alexander Wang event (he gave away free clothes and caused all sorts of pandemonium). Check it out after dinner or for your pre-party — it’s a nice spot to walk off those calories and catch some good scenery. Details thehighline.org

This story was originally published in our Fall 2013 issue. Get your copy here

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Top 10 Last-Minute Holiday Gift Ideas

Tis the season…to google “best holiday gifts for someone who has everything.”

It’s almost Christmas and it’s time to start gift searching.  Let’s admit it though, most of us will probably hold off until the very last minute.  Well when you’re scrambling for last-minute gift ideas, we’re here to help you out!  Here are 10 Asian goodies for all the people on your list.

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Photo courtesy of sriracha2go.com

1. Hot sauce to-go
For the co-worker who keeps a messy car, but an organized food life.
Sriracha2go is an idea that’s probably on the list of top ten greatest inventions this decade. One bottle costs $6, three bottles costs $15, and a whopping ten bottles costs $35. It’s a solid price point to buy in bulk as a stocking stuffer or as a smaller gift for an acquaintance. After all, who doesn’t like Sriracha? This handy stocking stuffer is both a novelty item and useful. Done, done, and done.

 

 


 

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Photo courtesy of hanaemoriparfums.com

2. Perfume
For the mother/grandmother who likes all things pretty.
Hanae Mori Parfums is a brand named after Japan’s most successful female fashion designer (and also the first Japanese woman to dominate fashion runways all over the world), Madame Hanae Mori. The Butterfly fragrance is the brand’s most popular line and known for its blend of strawberries and jasmine, with a lingering impressions of vanilla. If she’s interested in exploring a step outside of her usual perfume comfort zone, this could be the one.

 


 

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Photo courtesy of muji.us

3. Framed photos
For the adventurous friend you went hot air-ballooning with.
Fact: when looking for home-related things for gifts, you can’t go wrong with the refreshingly simple Muji ($5.75 for the frame, $0.25 to print a photo). Choose one or two of your favorite photos, print it out, and voilà — you’re giving the gift of priceless memories to display on a bookshelf.

 


 

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Photo courtesy of eBay, Seller: kpopworldonline

4. Fun socks
For the teen in your life who likes to Instagram cheeky things.
Again with the food…but who could say these Shin Ramyun Ramen Instant Noodle socks ($3) wouldn’t make you smile every time you looked down at your feet? If you had a pair, you would walk around all day in sneakers with a huge smile on your face and your own little secret.

 


 

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Photo courtesy of teasenz.com

5. High-quality green tea
For the dad/grandpa who has hectic mornings and a worn-out coffeemaker.
Yes, Tazo to-go might cut it sometimes, but spoil someone this holiday with China’s best this season: West Lake Dragon Tea ($10.95) from the Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province. Critics rave about its saturated green color and strong fragrance, set against a mellow, calming taste. Want to personalize the gift? Make a cup for them, bake some mild-flavored cookies and present a bag with an offer for an afternoon date.


 

http://www.metmuseum.org/collection/the-collection-online/search/48974

Photo courtesy of metmuseum.org

6. A gorgeous Japanese art poster
For the teacher/mentor who watches history documentaries and has a comprehensive “Dream Home” Pinterest board.  Stray from the famous wave poster of cultural art history appreciation and opt for a piece just as gorgeous ($24) (or its shirt adaptation!). Poppies represent a gorgeous pocket of time in Japan’s extensive art history, and choosing home decorations as gifts can feel even more personal when it’s not a poster the recipient has already seen many times before.

 


 

http://www.dhgate.com/product/ziyu-doug-bear-triangle-bear-hold-plush-pillow/160911727.html

Photo courtesy of dhgate.com

7. A plush pillow
For your favorite niece or nephew (or one you don’t know so well because let’s be honest– who wouldn’t want a plush pillow?)  Okay, are you freaking out yet? You should be. These bear plush pillows ($13.52) have the best instant reaction impact. And truthfully, this is a universal gift and should not be limited to children. These plush pillows are the kind you see and instantly know who you want to gift to (yourself included). If you’re looking for a higher price point, plush pillows know no financial boundaries. Especially with adorable egg sushi pillows. TV nights just got ten times better.

 


 

http://www.amazon.com/Big-Little-Man-Search-Asian/dp/0547450486

Photo courtesy of amazon.com

8. A good read
For the guy in your life who likes Yo-Yo Ma, Jeremy Lin, and Ken Watanabe, but can’t really pinpoint what the common thread is.  Yes, they’re all Asian, but it’s more than that. Instead of getting him a tie this year, you can get him some good literature, such as Alex Tizon’s popular book,  Big Little Man – a work that bends taboos and is so fiercely relevant. Giving a nonfiction book might seem boring at first, but really it’s an opportunity. Asian men aren’t always represented, so this, delivered with a homemade bowl of ramen, can make for a good afternoon.

 


 

https://amritasingh.com/shop/product/meenal-bangle-set

Photo courtesy of amritasingh.com

9. Luxe bangles
For the lady in your life who has five favorite fashion bloggers.  Sometimes there’s something you would love to have, but would never really buy for yourself. That might include $50 bangles. She can decide to wear one or two some days, and the whole shebang the next. The designer draws upon the Mughal dynasty of India and mixes it with contemporary touches.

 


 

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10. Sushi class gift certificates
For someone you’d like to catch up with over some yellowtail craft-making deliciousness.
What do you get someone who has everything already? Get them an experience! In this case, nothing says “a good time” like a few hours making something that’s both art and delicious. Sushi class gift certificates start at $80 (and there are sake classes as well.)

 


 

Have you ever given or received a gift that you’ll never forget?   Let us know!  Who knows, it could inspire someone else to gift it.

 

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