3 Ways To Upgrade Your Skin Care Regimen, Korean Style

 

Your skin feeling a little … meh? Are you bored with your basic skin care regimen of wash, moisturize, sunscreen? Or have you been fairly diligent about your skin care routine, but feel like the results have plateaued and need a little boost?

Well, look no further than to the skin care experts of the world — Korean women. They’ve nailed the 17-step skin care regimen, made BB cream a household name and mastered the no makeup-makeup look. In fact, they’re so far advanced in their skin care, they make us Americans look like Neanderthals.

Thankfully, we’ve got three easy ways for you to upgrade your skin care regimen. Make these switches and you’re bound to get some of that glow back into your complexion.

 

1. Bored with BB cream? Try the AIR CUSHION.

 

Screen Shot 2014-09-12 at 3.16.12 PM

 

When Korean cosmetic brand Dr. Jart+ debuted its BB cream to the U.S. market in 2011, it caused a sensation. Every cosmetic company rushed to put out its own version of BB cream and every alphabetic permutation thereof (CC and DD, anyone?). Now there are BB creams at every price point and in a much wider range of shades. But women in Korea are so beyond BB cream at this point; they’re obsessed with something even better (and no, it’s not EE or FF).

Enter the Air Cushion. The first one, Color Control Cushion Compact Broad Spectrum SPF 50+, was introduced by venerable Korean brand AmorePacific last year, but didn’t really take off. This summer, however, with all eyes on Iope (the Korean cosmetic line was featured prominently in the hit K-drama My Love From the Stars), their Air Cushion XP just exploded.

Inspired by a sponge-like “parking stamp,” the Air Cushion solved the problem of having to reapply sunscreen every two to three hours for effectiveness. Press on the sponge with a special ruby cell puff, which holds 1.6 times more water than a synthetic latex puff, and simply “stamp” (don’t smear or rub) on the liquid sunscreen onto your face, on top of your makeup. Since it’s tinted, the product blends in well even if you have foundation or powder. And a bonus: the Air Cushion imparts a perfectly mul gwang (“water sheen complexion” — that chok chok wet look Korean stars favor) look with one application.

Wanna try it out for yourself? Check out some of our favorites here.

 

14MKT_IW_728x90

 

2. Toner too tight? Switch to a HYDRATING LOTION.

 

Screen Shot 2014-09-12 at 3.27.37 PM

 

A hydrating lotion — sometimes called “skin lotion” or just “lotion” — is different from the toner that we here in the States may have grown up with: that harsh, alcohol-based liquid we swept over skin with a cotton ball to wipe off any residual makeup that our cleanser may have missed. Rather, “lotion” is a post-cleansing hydrator, usually applied by sprinkling into hands and pressing the palms over the face to ensure proper penetration. Not only does it hydrate, it preps skin so that subsequent treatments can more effectively penetrate skin’s top layer, allowing all those expensive serums and creams to work more effectively with less.

Lucky for us in the States, we  don’t have to fly to Korea to get a hydrating lotion onto your bathroom shelf. Asian skincare companies available in the States already have a hydrating lotion in their line, and recognizing the brilliance of Asian skincare products, a number of non-Asian companies are coming out with their own versions. With a broad price range, these lotions are something everyone can get on board with. Check out some of our favorite hydrating lotions at all price ranges here.

 

 

3. Mask feeling meh? Go for a HYDROGEL MASK.

 

Screen Shot 2014-09-12 at 3.10.24 PM

When we think of old-school masks, we may think of thick, green-colored goo that we smear on our face while we wait for it to dry into a crusty mess. But that’s so 1980s. In Korea, sheet masks elevated the mask game, with cotton masks made to fit your face, complete with eye, nose and mouth cut-outs, infused with all manner of skin care ingredients. Apply for 20 minutes and your skin is left glowing, plumped and hydrated.

And while sheet masks are gaining popularity now in the States, a true skin care baller forgoes paper or cotton for the next evolution in sheet masks: a hydrogel mask.

A hydrogel mask or gel mask (Koreans pronounce “gel” with a hard “g”), “is made of polymers that are very absorbent and hold water against your skin,” says Jessica Wu, M.D., Los Angeles dermatologist and Assistant Clinical Professor of Dermatology at USC Keck School of Medicine. “The mask traps water more effectively than a sheet mask because water evaporates more slowly from a hydrogel mask.” It feels different, too — like a solidified gelatin that is “more flexible and conforms to your face better than many cloth or paper sheet masks,” says Wu.

A favorite of Dr. Wu’s is Dr. Jart+ Water-Full Hydrogel Mask ($9). We like Korean brand Missha’s Prime 24K gold Collagen Caviar Hydro-gel Mask, about $22 for 3, which has a nice golden hue, so you look a little less freaky as you soak in the benefits. For a real upgrade, try When Mask, $28 for 4, which is made of a more eco-friendly bio-cellulose material — the fit is unsurpassed.

 

Korean Beauty: The Best, Most Wearable K-Makeup Trends To Try

 

Everything out of Korea seems to be hot these days, from K-pop to kimchi to K-dramas. Add to that list Korean makeup trends that are a fun way to switch up your look. Here, easy how-to’s to get the K-makeup look.

 

IL-JJA BROWS

Korean women are all about the dong-an (baby) face, and the quickest way to get this look is with the il-jja brow. Named after the number “1,” il-jja brows are straight across the bottom, without a pronounced arch, and with a shorter and fuller taper at the end. Contrast this with a “western style brow, which typically has a high arch with a skinny tail end,” says makeup artist Christina Choi. “The il-jja brow gives you a more youthful look.”

 

jun brows

 

The color is important, too. Use a brown powder one to two shades lighter than your natural brow color, like Christina Choi Cosmetics’ Chai Eyeshadow. (Korean vlogger Dayomi uses Smog from Urban Decay’s Naked palette for her brows.) “Using a firm angled liner brush, dip your brush into the shadow and start outlining the top part of your brow using feather-like strokes,” says Choi. “Avoid creating a high arch — keep the line straight. Next, fill in your brows and then outline the lower part of your brow.” If your natural arch is too high or you don’t want to look too cartoon-y, do a modified il-jja like Jun Ji-Hyun’s, which has a slight curve.

 

14-0510_EDU_Multicultural_Parent_Banner_HS_AudreyMag_BD1

 

 

 

WATER SHEEN COMPLEXION (MUL GWANG)

 

song face

 

Another Korean beauty requirement is mul gwang — that super-shiny, almost wet-looking complexion. But don’t go overboard and look, as one Korean woman put it, like you have Pond’s cold cream smeared all over your face. To get just the right balance, Korean vlogger Dayomi applies a mixture of liquid foundation and a dollop of Vaseline with a foundation brush, finished with a touch of mineral powder. For less over-the-top luster, replace Vaseline with a face balm or try a cushion compact — a BB cream in a liquid sponge compact — that’s currently all the rage in Korea. To prevent slippage, Choi recommends finishing with a light dusting of translucent loose powder, focusing on the outer perimeter of the face, then lightly dusting towards the center.

 

 

GRADATION LIPS

 

jeon lips

 

The last step in a perfectly dong-an look is the “gradation” lip. Also called the gradient lip, it’s an ombré effect with the strongest color on the inner lips, gently fading to a soft, blurred effect at the lip line. It’s not as extreme as you see on runways — it’s a more subtle gradient effect that just makes the lips look airbrushed. To achieve the look, apply a matte-ish pink on the entire lip (don’t use a beige or nude, lest your lips look super thin) and then apply a hot pink gloss along the inner edge of the lips. Gently press lips together to blend the color out, almost to the edge of the lips, but not quite.

 

This story was originally published in Audrey‘s Fall 2014 issue — get it here.

Choi Siwon Rescues A Puppy and Makes Us Fall in Love With Him… Even More

Just when we thought we couldn’t love Super Junior’s Choi Siwon any more than we already do, he goes and does some heroic act like this.

Siwon has been in Taiwan filming a new movie, To The Fore, directed by Dante Lam. Although he has only recently arrived, he has already been all over Taiwanese TV news. For what? Stepping out into traffic and saving a lost puppy from the pouring rain.

Apparently, Siwon was in a vehicle when he noticed the puppy and didn’t hesitate to chase after her and dry her off with a towel. He then dropped the puppy safely off to a vet’s clinic. How do we know all this? Well the good (and very, very handsome) samaritan was unaware that his entire act of kindness was caught on video. Was it filmed by a random passerby? Paparazzi? Crazy fan girl? We’ll never know, but we’re very thankful for the footage either way.

Additionally, Siwon had posted this adorable photo on twitter moments after the rescue.

csiwon2

Although this story is heartwarming, we can’t say it comes as a complete surprise. After all, the Korean artist is well-known for his kindness and gentlemanly ways. According to Taiwanese fans, the artist has never denied a fans request to shake hands and is extremely friendly.

This act of heroism isn’t the only thing that has us in love with Siwon. He’s a triple threat: a singer, actor and model. He’s known for his strong faith and his reputation for kindness is unyielding. Oh, and let’s be honest here– if we looked up “handsome” in the dictionary, let’s just say I wouldn’t be surprised if I found his picture there. After all, he did rank #7 on The Independent Critics “100 Most Handsome Faces of 2013.”

csiwon

Oh, did I forget to mention the abs? We shouldn’t forget that.

Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 2.44.03 PM

Choi Siwon, I would say there’s no way for us to love you even more, but you’ll probably go and prove us wrong again.


(Source)

This Korean Makeup Vlogger Shows You How To Achieve the Perfect Dewy, Summer Look

With the summer heat bearing down on you, it’s easy for your makeup to look and feel, well, under the weather. You need a makeup regime that will boost the brightness level of your face so you can keep on shining all day long — by choice, and not by sweat.

South Korean girls seem to have mastered how to balance the dewy-and-not-clammy look, considering that they live in terribly humid conditions all throughout the summer. Popular South Korean vlogger, Dayeong Kim, shows you how to achieve this glowing look in her tutorial for a makeup routine that she calls “a natural, daily look.” Featured on her YouTube channel, Dayomi page, the video shows a step-by-step rundown of her makeup routine, with tips to follow — but it’s all in Korean. Well, if you’re not a native Korean speaker, then you’re in luck, because we’ve brought you a translated run-through of how to pull off this natural, glowing look in 12, relatively easy, steps.

Here’s what you’ll need …

makeup

Step #1: Dab an ample amount of Botanic Hill bob Radiant Youth Ampoule Essence into your hands and vigorously rub it in between your palms. Then, gently press the essence into your cheeks, spreading it around your face in an upward fashion. (She applies this twice to show you how it’s done, but one application should be fine.) Dayeong says this essence gives your skin a sense of firmness, but it still allows the skin to be moist and flexible.

Step #2: Take Giorgio Armani’s UV Master Primer Mauve and apply to your cheeks, chin, nose, and forehead. Lightly spread and blend into your face. This orchid-hued primer doesn’t clog your pores, says Dayeong, and it provides a nice, dewy sheen all over your face.

Step #3: Dayeong explains the four-part process in applying her foundation. You’ll need Giorgio Armani’s Fluid Sheer (in 7), Giorgio Armani’s Lasting Silk UV Foundation (in 4), Vaseline Pure Petroleum Jelly Original, and L’Oreal Hydra Fresh Masking Lotion. Using the back of your hand as a palette, dab a little bit of each item into one large blob and blend well. These four components work together to bring out the bright, pearliness in your skin, and creates a smooth, natural finish.

step3.1

step3.2

step3.3

Step #4: Use Bobbi Brown’s Mineral Powder to help set the foundation and keep it from unevenly melting off.

Now, remember to take many moments during your makeup session to admire yourself in the mirror in interesting poses.

pose

Okay, let’s get back to it.

Step #5: With a small brush, lightly apply the smokey color in Urban Decay’s Naked 1 palette for eyebrows that are not too light, nor too dark. Fan out as you apply for an even finish.

Step #6: Next, take your eyelash curler and start curling from the bottom of your lashes to the top in a gradual, upward motion. Dayeong says that since this glowing makeup look doesn’t highlight your eye points, it’s imperative that you give your lashes plenty of support for a beautiful, wide curl.

Step #7: Take Innisfree’s Creamy Tint Lip Mousse 3 (an item that Dayeong says she is currently obsessed with) and dab a little onto your hand-palette. Then dab some Urban Decay Eye Primer, and combine the two together. With the blended mixture on your finger, dab gently onto a napkin, and then proceed to apply the color to your eyelids. Dayeong’s tip: the key is to apply the color, dab lightly, blend out, and repeat as needed to create a subtle pink sheen that delicately fans out on your eyelid.

Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 4.59.55 PM

Step #8: Instead of using a black color for her liner, which Dayeong says is too harsh for this look, she uses a more natural brown hue for a softer touch. Take your eyeliner pencil and use Bobbi Brown’s Gel Liner in Espresso Ink. Lift your eyelid slightly and lightly apply the liner along your eyelash line, being careful not to go over the line. Finish it off by applying a very tiny wing to the corner end of each eye.

Step #9: Maybelline’s Falsies Mascara creates long, rich eyelashes that almost look like false eyelashes. As you’ll see in the video, Dayeong first applies the mascara downwards on the top eyelash first, and then applies upwards, for a more dramatic eyelash.

Step #10: Using Nars Love Blush, lightly apply to cheekbones as you would with any blush for a subtle, but romantic finish. It helps if you smile a little during the application, so your cheekbones are raised.

Step #11: Tone down your lips. Although many people use concealer to tone down their lips before adding color, Dayeong says that concealer reveals too much of the creases on her lips. If you struggle with this too, then use a lightly tinted lipstick instead. Dayeong uses Clio’s Diamond Lipstick in Pretty Pink to create a smooth under layer before applying her lip color.

Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 4.52.14 PM

Step #12: Using Innisfree’s Creamy Tint Lip Mousse 3 again — she did say she was obsessed — smear a small dab in the middle of your lips. Spread the color by pressing your lips together for a gradated look, applying more color as needed, and then dab the edges with your pink finger to fill in any spots.

Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 4.52.43 PM

Throw your hair up in a high pony, and voila, it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3 … 4, 5 …12 steps!

featureddayeong

With all jokes aside, this natural, glowing makeup routine is simply perfect to wear daily. And the best part is, it stays on all day long. Dayeong’s makeup in the beginning of the video was filmed more than two hours after she had applied her makeup, and it still stayed so fresh and so clean (clean).

 

(Photo credit: Screenshots from the video and the Kim Dayeong website.)

4 Ways The Korean “Ajumma” Is Becoming The New Style Influencer

 

Ajumma: noun, \’a joom ma\ A middle-aged Korean woman, typically identifiable by a mop of tightly curled short hair; loose, mismatched clothing; and a no-nonsense, out-of-my-way attitude.

 

Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 8.42.56 AM

Cartoon by Emiko Sawanobori.

 

For some time now, the stereotypical Korean ajumma has long been thought of as the antithesis of style — something, as a young Korean woman, you never wanted to become. In Korea, you see them hawking their wares from food carts or squatting on the side of the road, picking weeds. In Los Angeles, I’m being jostled left and right by all manner of ajumma in the produce section of the Korean market. Travel almost anywhere in the world and you’re likely to see a whole swarm of ajumma, dolled up in brightly colored North Face windbreakers and talking super loud over one another. It’s a cringe-worthy sight.

And yet, I’ve been noticing that ajumma style is slowly seeping out into the real world, the non-ajumma world of the rest of us. It’s something Valerie Luu and Andria Lo noticed about San Francisco’s Chinatown senior citizens. Whether intentional or not, it just goes to show — those ajummas might actually know a thing or two. Here, four ways the ajumma is the new style influencer.

 

1. Mismatched prints

Print clashing has been a thing on fashion runways for several years now. But when restaurateur Roy Choi took the mismatching prints ajummas are famous for wearing and turned it into the wait staff uniform for his new Korean restaurant Pot at The Line Hotel in Los Angeles, I knew the ajumma had reached icon status.

 

Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 7.15.51 PM

Mismatched prints from the fall/winter 2014 runways of, from left, Acne, Duro Olowu and Viktor & Rolf.

Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 8.38.46 PM

The mismatched prints worn by the hostess at Pot, left, and the wait staff, right, are styled after a typical ajumma, says restaurateur Roy Choi.

 

2. Sun Umbrellas 

 

Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 8.27.22 PM

Sun umbrellas among the young are already a thing in China.

 

According to the Korean newspaper Joongang Daily, small sun umbrellas, or yangsan, have officially become a must-have among the younger set. In Korea, portable parasol sales jumped by 35 percent compared to last year, with almost half the purchasers in their 20s and 30s. It’s really no surprise, given the obsession with skincare in the country. It’s only a matter of time before this trend spreads to the States. After all, the ajumma has mostly bypassed the sun umbrella these days in favor of the …

 

3. Oversized Visor

 

Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 7.25.49 PM

 

I’ll admit — this one threw me for a loop. Sure, visors came down Marni’s spring 2014 runway, but they were so hyper-embellished and sleek, they were actually cute. Sure, golf superstar Michelle Wie wears amply sized visors on the green, but come on, she’s an athlete. Yeah, OK, so Donald Sterling ex V. Stiviano piqued curiosity about the welding mask-like visor that ajummas have worn for years. But I realized visors might actually become a thing when, on a business trip to Korea with other magazine editors, a prominent beauty editor of an American fashion magazine (she’s white) fell in love with the giant visor worn by some ajummas gardening on the side of the road. Oblivious to the so-not-chic connotations, she promptly declared it genius and went out and bought one to wear herself. It truly opened my eyes to the possibilities.

 

Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 7.45.06 PM

Visor chic at Marni’s spring 2014 show.

Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 7.26.27 PM

Oversized visors are already catching on in Asia.

Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 7.28.03 PM

V. Stiviano and the infamous visor.

 

4. Arm sleeves

 

Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 7.34.36 PM

 

This ajumma trend has been going on in Asia for some time, and not just among the ajummas. Young women in Asia now regularly wear arm sleeves to protect their skin while driving. But when I saw my Chinese Honduran sister-in-law casually put on fingerless gloves one morning before starting the car, I knew the trend had officially crossed over. Needless to say, I promptly dug out my fingerless gloves, circa 2004, and now keep them in the car. Just in case.

 

Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 7.34.51 PM

 

So, is the short, tight perm (or pamma in Korean) next? (It does look like an Asian ‘fro, after all.) I say, when it comes to the Korean ajumma, don’t count anything out.

Proof That Kpop Isn’t Just For Koreans

It’s officially summertime and you know what that means– it’s time for another KCON. KCON is the first ever Southern California K-pop convention that allows fans to celebrate Korean entertainment and culture. 

We still have a few months before KCON 2014, but the recent confirmation of appearances by Girls Generation, CNBlue and IU have us sitting on the edge of our seats. We can’t help but reminisce about our experience last year and how much it opened our eyes. KCON showed us that it’s perfectly fine to be a Kpop fan even if you’re not Korean.

For today’s #FBF (Flashback Friday), we’ve decided to show you why you should be excited for this year’s KCON. Here is what we learned a year ago:


Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 12.59.14 PM

I first became interested in Kpop with the release of DBSK’s Hug in 2004. Like any young fangirl, I blew up my social media sites with pictures and videos of my newfound love. However, I received an overwhelming amount of criticism from friends:

“But you’re not Korean?”
“Why are you into this? You don’t even speak Korean.”
“Korean music is really weird.”
“But you don’t understand what they’re saying.”

Fast forward 9 years and the rise of Kpop has become a world-wide phenomenon. The very same people who questioned my interest in Kpop are now jamming to Big Bang and criticizing me for not hearing the latest song.

The point is, times have changed and this weekend was quite the eye opener. It had not yet hit me that many of the Kpop fans I knew weren’t actually Korean. In fact, when a Korean co-worker told me that most of the hardcore fans aren’t Korean at all, I assumed she was joking.

I was obviously proved wrong.

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 12.59.24 PM

This past weekend was the 2nd annual KCON– a Kpop music festival held in the United States which presents an opportunity for American fans to come together and share their love for Korean Music. I expected the crazy fangirls, the intense cosplay, the neon-colored fan signs and the korean food galore. What I didn’t expect, and was pleasantly surprised to discover, was the cultural diversity of the event.

Upon entering the festival, I was met with a sea of color. No, not the bright pink Mnet bags and the neon green Bibigo balloons. The palette of ethnicities was beyond impressive. Because of my initial experience with Kpop, I had expected this festival to largely consist of Koreans along with a handful of Pan-Asians. I assumed that I would meet the same criticism that my friends initially gave me about being unable to understand the language, but a visit to the dance workshop area proved otherwise.

The stage was covered with every race you could think of: Caucasians, Latinos, African Americans and various other non-Asian folk. Not only did East Asians show their presence, but Southeast Asians and South Asians did as well. Fans who clearly stated they were not Korean were singing every single word of their favorite songs and impressively showcasing the intricate dance moves to these songs. Yes, these fans took time out of their lives to memorize lyrics to Korean songs without actually knowing Korean. Now that’s dedication.

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 12.59.49 PM

The more time I spent at the festival, the more I came across cultural diversity. I came across a Caucasian man, well into his 30s, who excitedly purchased a heart-shaped fan with the pictures of 2am printed on it. I came across a group of Latina girls sporting G-Dragon hats, shirts and even sneakers. I came across a non-Asian boy, who couldn’t have been older than 12, perform the choreography of Growl so well that even EXO would have been impressed.

I came out of this KCON experience realizing that the beauty of this festival was not in the performers and the pretty concert. The beauty was in the fans who attended. Never once was anyone criticized for their racial background or their inability to speak Korean. This was a place for fans, whatever color they may be, to get together and celebrate their fandom. This was a place where it didn’t matter where you came from and how you looked — you were accepted because you loved the same thing.

As Korean American rapper, Dumbfounded, mentioned during his panel “Asian Americans in Hip-Hop”, Kpop is special because of the different kinds of people it can bring together. Clearly, Kpop should be applauded for the array of fans it has been able to captivate.

Good job, Kpop, you’re doing it right.

 

 


This story was originally published on Aug. 27, 2013.

Photo courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter. 

 

Judy Joo’s Korean Food Made Simple

Story by Ada Tseng.

The Cooking Channel’s Korean Food Made Simple, hosted by Korean American chef Judy Joo, is the latest installment of a culinary television series that previously included Mexican Food Made Simple and Chinese Food Made Simple. Part travelogue, part how-to guide, Korean Food Made Simple sent Joo all over Korea to gather inspiration, from fish markets in Seoul and the streets of Busan to the small islands off the coast of Korea. (“I’ve been to more places in Korea than my relatives, who have lived there their entire lives!” says Joo.) After exploring different foods around the country, she returned to London, where she’s been based for the last several years, to show audiences how to re-create Korean flavors in a regular home kitchen.

Joo was thrilled when she was approached to do Korean Food Made Simple, as she’s proud of her heritage and has brought a lot of Korean influences to the menu at the Playboy Club London, where she has been the executive chef since it opened in 2011. Some of the dishes that appear on the show — like the Spicy Mussels with Bacon and the Steamed Ginger Infused Sea Bass with Zucchini — have actually been served at the Playboy Club. “We also make our own kimchi at the Club,” says Joo. “And we have a version of the Korean fried chicken in our sports bar.”

Growing up in New Jersey, Joo was no stranger to the local disco fries or fast fixes at Taco Bell, but she mostly ate Korean food at home. Her mother taught her how to cook authentic Korean food, but she jokes that helping out in the kitchen as a kid felt more like slave labor than fun.

“This was when there was nothing pre-made,” says Joo. “So it’d be me and my sister in front of a mound of meat making dumplings. I remember brushing sheets and sheets of dried seaweed with oil, salting them and then having to fry them. Then going to the garden to pick sesame leaves. It felt like chores.

“Also, [traditionally] you’re supposed to cook each vegetable separately to keep it from getting infected by other ingredients,” continues Joo. “And you want to keep the integrity of the color, so if the vegetable is light, you’re not supposed to use soy sauce. But no one has time to cook seven different vegetables separately in one pan to make one dish!” She laughs. “So I say, just cook it all together, and if the carrots are a little brown, it’ll be OK.”

She also shares tips and shortcuts for any home cook who might not live near a Korean market. For example, if you can’t find mirin, a sweet rice wine that is common in Korean cooking, Joo says it’s perfectly fine to substitute Sprite or 7-Up. And if you can’t find thinly sliced beef, partially freeze it and cut it with a knife. “I don’t think that you have to be completely authentic or traditional in order for people to get a good taste of a cuisine,” says Joo. “Food is always dynamic. Food in Korea has changed tremendously in the past years and decades. It’s like languages; it’s always evolving.”

One of Joo’s favorite meals to serve at a dinner party is do-it-yourself kimbap. Instead of pre-rolling the Korean sushi prior to guests arriving, Joo gives each guest their own squares of seaweed and lets them make their own. Joo is also a big fan of do-it-yourself bibimbap, where she encourages guests to choose their own vegetables for the mixed rice dish.

Screen Shot 2014-06-19 at 12.42.15 PM

Judy Joo with Seoul chef and restaurateur Lucia Cho.

Though Joo is now a recognizable TV food personality — she is one of the few who can claim to have been on Iron Chef as a competitor, an official Iron Chef (the only woman in the Iron Chef UK lineup) and a judge — her road to success was a winding one. Born to a physician father and a chemist mother, Joo initially aspired to a career in the sciences and ended up working in banking for many years before she had what she calls her What Color Is Your Parachute? moment and began to soul-search about what she really wanted to do with her life.

“My parents were not thrilled,” says Joo of the prospect of her giving up her prestigious gig on Wall Street. But to contextualize, she grew up in a stereotypically overachieving Asian American household where her parents were also “not thrilled” when she only got into Columbia and not Yale, where her sister went. She toyed with the idea of joining the Peace Corps (“My dad was like, ‘Why do you do that? That’s why I left North Korea!’”), but eventually enrolled in the French Culinary Institute in New York. Soon after relocating to London with her husband, she ended up working at Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant and worked her way up from there.

But it wasn’t until she got into television that her parents started to understand the significance of her new career path. “When I got invited to the Blue House in Korea —the White House of Korea — that’s when my parents were like, ‘Oh, maybe you are doing something interesting and important,’” she says. “That’s when they realized I wasn’t just a line cook, I guess.”

Episodes of Korean Food Made Simple can be seen on the Cooking Channel, and a cookbook with recipes featured on the show will be available next year. 

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

Marissa Webb Named Banana Republic’s Creative Director

Story by Steve Han. 

Mega-brand Banana Republic has hired Marissa Webb, a former womenswear designer at J. Crew, as its new creative director and executive vice president of design, it was reported in the Los Angeles Times this week.

Webb replaces Simon Kneen, who was in charge of the store’s design department from 2009 to 2013, during which time the retailer lost ground to competitors J. Crew, H&M and others. Gap Inc., Banana Republic’s parent company, revealed earlier this week in its financial reports that the retailer’s sales declined by 4 percent from the year before.

A graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, Webb was adopted by an American family from Korea at age 4. She also previously worked for Polo and Club Monaco. In 2011, she launched her own eponymous label, a casual contemporary clothing line that is sold at retailers like Barneys New York.

“I’m thrilled to be joining the extremely passionate, talented design and creative teams at Banana Republic,” Webb said, according to the Fashion Times. “This is an amazing opportunity for me to combine my unique vision with a brand that has such a strong legacy.”

Established in 1978 in San Francisco, Banana Republic has more than 600 stores in 32 countries around the world.

Webb’s first collection for Banana Republic will debut in the summer of 2015.

This story was originally published in iamkoream.com.

The Adorable Ye-bin is Back!

Do you remember this adorable little face? We’ll give you a hint. She isn’t afraid of strangers.

Yes, this is little Ye-bin. This cutie became a viral sensation when her video “Mom Tries to Teach Adorable Girl Life Lesson” hit YouTube and gathered nearly 9 million views. During the video, Ye-bin’s mother tries to teach her about strangers and being safe, but we get the feeling Ye-bin is so friendly that she would accept all sorts of sweets from strangers.

This time around, Ye-bin’s mother is trying to teach her how to say the phrase “I am scared.” Simple enough right? As it turns out, even the most simple of tasks becomes adorable with this little girl.

Throughout the video, Ye-bin struggles with the pronunciation of the phrase, but she isn’t bothered. In fact, she’s giggling the entire time. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a child say “I’m scared” with such a cuteness.

The video was only uploaded yesterday, but it has already gathered over 30,000 views. Check it out below.