Got some goodies from an impromptu shopping trip to Atlantic Times Square (Monterey Park.) First, the Face Shop. Love this place, everything is reasonably priced and the service is attentive but not overbearing. I’ve started wearing more eye make-up so figured these wipes would be helpful. It’s a small package, perfect for slipping into your purse. However, I was disappointed when I saw how small the wipes actually were. These aren’t full-size face wipes, they’re small, thin strips designed specifically for removing make-up from your lips and eyes. However there’s not much surface area so it’s awkward to use. Only pros I guess for this product would be the nice herbal smell, and the moisturizing factor — they won’t strip strip your face of essential oils. My brows have a nice arch but they can get unruly sometimes so I figured it was time to finally get a proper eyebrow pencil. The sales clerk was really helpful when I asked her to help me select a natural looking color. Can you tell which eye has brow pencil and which doesn’t? Yeah, not much of a difference. I guess it’ll come in handy if I want a dramatic brow and need to fill the arch more. I do like using the eyebrow comb on the other end of the pencil, it helps tame strays and makes the eye look neater in profile shots. For the record, the eye on the left has make-up, and the one on the right is bare. Best part about shopping at the Face Shop? Samples! After the Face Shop, I walked over to another Asian beauty store called Image and got a Mediheal face mask to add to my growing collection. I love shopping at Image…but word of advice, they prefer cash and only accept credit card if you buy more than $10 worth of product.Last stop of the day was to Daiso, a dope Japanese dollar store chain that has everything from slippers to soy sauce saucers. Picked up a cute box of blotting papers. My skin’s very oily in the T-zone, and summertime means an extra slick deck. These papers are also good for cleaning eyeglasses and computer screens! And last but not least, got some handy spiral flashcards so I can learn more Hangul. 파이팅Hwaiting!
hey hey! So this post will be a hodgepodge of what I’ve been up to lately.
I’m super excited about KCON15 LA this year, but I don’t know if I should get a 1 or 2 night concert pass. I’m bummed because Girls Generation is only performing in NYC. But I’m stoked that we finally have an indoor venue for KCON… no more standing under the sun for two hours while we wait to get in!! Who else is going?
Recently I got to eat some fresh from the ocean abalone and sea urchin courtesy of the boy. He really likes diving nowadays. It’s dangerous so I’m not happy about it, and I’m not a huge seafood fan, but apparently abalone is a big deal in Asia. The larger the better —
And finally, I’m hooked on two kdramas. My Love for Eun Dong is an epic love story about first love, memory loss, and family deception. It stars one of my new favorite actresses Yoon So-hee. You might remember her from Let’s Eat. Did you know she used to be a Biochem Engineering Major?
The other drama I’m kinda half-watching is a silly teen vampire show called Orange Marmalade. The acting is overly dramatic and the vampirism is more Twilight than Dracula. But everyone is so cute! Especially CNBlue’s Lee Jong-hyun.
And that’s it for now! I’m probably going to obsess for a couple more days over my KCON ticket buying strategy.
Hwang Hae Do is an unassuming KBBQ restaurant with a plethora of side dishes. I’m a big fan of the rice paper they provide so you can wrap everything up into a yummy package.
I went for lunch on a weekday so it wasn’t very crowded, which meant the service was prompt.
According to yelp, when it gets busy the waiters are less attentive.
You get lots of veggies. A huge bowl of salad plus extra lettuce for wrapping. Here are some sprouts.
Hwang Dae Do Korean Restaurant
429 N Western Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90004
Pros: Lots of traditional dishes. Valet parking for $2
Cons: It’s an older-style restaurant hidden in a strip mall, expect things to be a little run-down. The decor is drab.
Gangnam Blues (also titled Gangnam 1970) is a gorey gangster noir. Fans of Lee Min Ho will be pleased that he’s grown out of his cheesy chaebol loverboy roles, and into a full fledged movie star.
This dark period piece takes place during the politically corrupt 1970’s. Hard to believe that Gangnam – the Beverly Hills of Seoul, used to be farmland forty years ago. All those fancy stores and high-rises were built by greed and bloodshed. Lee Min Ho plays Kim Jong-dae, an orphan who makes his living picking up garbage. His fellow “ragmen” and bro-for-life is Baek Yong-ki (Kim Rae-won). After their shanty is destroyed, the two decide to join a local gang, but are split up after a bloody raid goes south.
Jong-dae is accepted into Bossman Kang’s family. There is a limited love interest with Kang’s daughter Sun-hye (AOA’s Seol Hyun) but it doesn’t go too far since Jong-dae keeps getting drawn into the gangster’s life.
Bossman Kang desperately wants to live a normal life for the sake of his daughter. He disbands his gang and takes out a loan to start a laundromat, but goes further into debt. Jong-dae joins another gang to make more money, and is eventually reunited with Yong-ki, who has joined a rival gang. Yeah, there are a bunch of gangs in this movie and it’s kinda hard to keep track of them all. When they have full-on fights where everybody’s wearing the same black suit. I wonder how they know who to punch.
Since this is a period piece, most of the women are in traditional roles. Sun-hye is the obedient wife and daughter. Most of the gangsters’ girlfriends are onscreen mainly for sex appeal. And yes, there is a lot of sex. Quite a bit of nudity and fornication, which surprised me since I’m so used to k-dramas where you don’t see the main couple kiss until five episodes in. The one lady in power is a conniving Madame (Kim Ji-su). She introduces Jong-dae to the real estate game and uses him to help cheat gullible farmers out of their land.
Gangnam Blues is dark and gritty. However, the plotline is at times formulaic and confusing. I honestly don’t think this movie would’ve held my attention without Lee Min Ho’s charisma. It’s the third installation in director Yu Ha’s “street series” trilogy. You’d think the third time would be the charm.
*Spoiler Alert* You can see the ending a mile away. Apparently Lee Min Ho is such a huge star in China, that an alternate ending for his character was shot for the Chinese version.
Bottom line for Gangnam Blues – watch it if you’re a Lee Min Ho fan and want to support him. You won’t be disappointed by his acting. The cinematography in this film is quite beautiful and the attention to historical detail is amazing. Just don’t expect to be blown away.
Pros: Excellent acting all-around, especially from Lee Min Ho. A great way to watch history come alive in a quality period piece where everything from the cars to the slacks are spot-on 1970’s. An engaging storyline that is predictable but intriguing. Solid soundtrack.
Cons: Run-of-the-mill fight scenes. A plethora of gangsters and corrupt politicians that you won’t get emotionally attached to. A conventional story arc.