Spring is my favorite season - not only because summer on Jeju Island and South Korea, in general, is a heat fest. And bug fest. But let's not go there. (Yet.) So spring is that perfect moment when everything's in full bloom, nature is pretty and survivable, and spring colors are back!
I've got lots of things that made me happy during April, so here we go!
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First up: Skincare!
Spring is so kind to my skin. Winters in Korea are brutally cold and dry (with an extra dose of winds here on Jeju), and summer is humid and hot.
Since I'd run out of pretty much all of my basic skincare products like cleansing foams and moisturizers, I went to my trusted brand Sidmool. They have a wide range of products with natural ingredients, from very basic and cheap to luxurious.
My skin loves green tea as an ingredient in anything (it seems to calm my redness!), so I went with the Sidmool 'Green Tea' skincare line.
The Green Tea cleansing foam is a low-ph, gentle one that foams up really well!The tube is huge for the prize and whenever I test with cleansing water/pads after foam cleansing, there's no residue of anything. I definitely recommend this if you've got sensitive skin and a tight budget!
The Green Tea Lotion... smells bad. But it's moisturizing, sinks in quickly and doesn't leave any sticky residue. A nice, no-frills layer of moisture after applying ampoules or essences. I like everything about it but the artificial smell and will continue using it.
Then, the Sidmool Green Tea Wrinkle Repair Cream:
This cream has a bit of a scent, too, similar to the lotion but a lot less obvious. Texture wise, this is the perfect transitional cream between the two extreme seasons: Not overly heavy, but still very moisturizing, so I'd probably get away with using this even in summer. Also, let's face it: Now that I'm approaching my thirties (in Korean age, I'm 29), anything that says "wrinkle repair" for less than ten bucks, I'll love. Tube packaging for creams is also a point in favor since it's a lot more hygienic and travel-friendly than tubs.
Last but not least, I smuggled this Green Tea Seed Oil into my order. I'd previously tried the Innisfree Green Tea Seed Oil and generally enjoy that ingredient. It has the calming effects of green tea while being very moisturizing. The Innisfree version is a bit heavier and takes longer to sink in, so I prefer the Sidmool one for spring/summer or day use.
I've been using the Mamonde Oil Shine Stick lip tint in winter, too, but the shade Coral Star is perfect for spring! These oil lip tints are a lot less oily than the name implies, but go on so smooth, light and hide any sign of chapped lips.
I'm waiting for a 1+1 sale to grab two more colors I've already swatched - Nude Rose and Jealous Red. These just look so beautiful, no matter the state of your lips!
My husband and I are marathoning all of The Good Wife! It's just such a well-made show, and since everyone is ALWAYS TALKING, I can sketch or layout (or blog - I'm watching now as I type haha) on the side.
Also, Julianna Margulies! I'd been staring at the promotional picture on Netflix before starting the show and wondering over and over again why she looked familiar. Turns out, she was Morgaine in The Mists of Avalon back in 2005! I absolutely love Marion Zimmer Bradley's Arthur saga and I'm waiting for Alicia Florrick to summon mystical powers. Not that she needs them.
And Christine Baranski is a joy to look at and draw! I painted a couple of quick portraits of Diane Lockhart, Kalinda Sharma and Alicia for my #100daysofportraits challenge.
Book recommendation: The Fifth Season, N.K. Jemisin
Speaking of great female characters: The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin was so much more than I'd expected! I went in hoping for complex apocalyptic high fantasy and was instead thrown on an emotional rollercoaster. Can't really say anything more than that since I consider pretty much everything about the plot or characters a spoiler...
I think this book is best read (or listened to) without knowing anything. There are no info dumps. N.K. Jemisin writes gorgeously, experimentally and doesn't pull her punches. The second person POV worked so well for me, it pulled me completely into the mind of the character, and the narrator of the Audiobook does a great job with it.
I'm now devouring the second book. :)
You can sign up for a free 30 day trial on Audible and download this book or any other for free here.
I noticed that I still haven't used the chia seed package I bought back in August! I was so scared I'd use them up too quickly that I didn't use them nearly as often as I probably should. #nutritiongoals
So now I'm using them more liberally, and love a mix of chia seeds, oats, non-dairy milk, water and Matcha green tea powder!
Endangered Species Chocolate Bites: Dark Chocolate
These chocolates were a bit of an accidental purchase - I just craved dark chocolate and there was a 3$ gap to fill for free shipping. It happens. :)
BUT! While I'd normally not purchase single-packaged foods, for a chocolate lover like me these were actually great for portion control. And delicious! Just dark enough for me, and not too bitter for my husband, so I had to share...
In Korea, wearing only leggings or yoga pants isn't really a thing. They're always combined with oversized t-shirts, dresses or skirts.
But since I love my leggings - working from home does that to you - I just throw on this simple gray dress whenever spontaneous visitors arrive or I need to go out quickly. Gray works with pretty much every other color I own, and the simple style goes well with both cozy, lazy-day looks or more pulled together looks with tights and a blouse.
I want to get a version out of lighter material for summer, too! When I'm looking for simple, budget-friendly clothing I mostly use Korean online retailers like Gmarket or Ticketmonster. This particular dress was from Dailyshop.
I've been obsessed with 'Study With Me' videos on Youtube!
Due to a client project that required me to be very concentrated while layouting I had to avoid my beloved audiobooks and music for a week during April and discovered the Study With Me culture. Especially the videos with just paper & pen sounds and white noise are so helpful in getting me going!
A bit like the Tide app I recommended before, but longer and with a sense of 'we're in this together'.
That's it for my April favorites!
I like way too many things!
Did you ever work with Study With Me videos playing in the background? Do you need music or silence to concentrate? Is Diane Lockhart's lipstick on point?
I made these cute little Netflix stickers out of the illustration above. Just download the file and print on your favorite sticker paper to then mark Netflix marathons in your calendar! Hope you like them! <3