It's been a while since I listed my monthly favorites,
so when I needed a little break, the moment was perfect for
this sketch in my art journal!
April went by so quickly but with lots of creative drive - and as I'm trying to balance that creativity with work, daily life, and health, I came up with these favorite little things here.
This post contains affiliate links which means that if you shop through one of the product links, I may receive a small commission. None of the products are sponsored. You can check out my full disclaimer here.
Crystal Pendant Necklaces
I'm not a jewelry person.
Except for my wedding ring. Rings and bracelets get in the way whenever I draw or do chores (never knead bread with delicate rings on...) so I usually just ignore them. Earrings are doable, but only on special occasions because Jeju Island has the magical ability to tangle my hair in whatever earring I'd be wearing. Turbulent winds, all day, every day.
But recently, I've fallen in love with simple pendant necklaces! They're sturdy enough to survive a Yoga class, go with nearly every outfit, and are light enough to not bother me as I move through the day.
I love supporting small businesses so I'm extra happy I found these on Etsy! Many shops had high international shipping costs but this shop wasn't only cheap but had a huge selection to pick from! My final choice was four pendants, two of which fit very much with my love for all things moon-related.
Also, they make for the most adorable flatlay decor, so you'll see them pop up here on the blog a lot!
Korean Beauty Meets DIY Skincare
A couple of natural at-home facial masks~
I introduced you to my skincare routine here. In April, with fine dust pollution plaguing South Korea and the weather doing whatever it wants, I took special care to calm down my sensitive skin!
No need for fancy products. I like to keep my facial masks simple and natural.
All I used was this:
Mixing water (... or the water left over from washing rice for more of a brightening effect) with oats or rice bran powder makes for a nourishing and calming wash-off pack that doubles as a gentle peeling. Just massage gently when you apply the paste and rinse off after it dries.
Green tea powder calms down redness and smoothes small wrinkles.
- Mix with water until you get a paste, then apply to sensitive area (my cheeks!) with a spatula or brush.
- Mix with more water - no need to go too dense! Soak cotton pads in the green tea liquid, then use those like a small sheet mask under your eyes for about 10 minutes. This saves me from puffy eyes in the morning!
You can use my code ZCC500 to get 5% off your first iHerb order.
I'm so late to the Yoga pants train!
While leggings have been a staple in my wardrobe since... forever, in Korea, they're always worn underneath a dress or long shirt that covers the butt and at least parts of your thighs. That means: Most Korean leggings are quite flimsy and definitely not see-through-proof - they aren't meant to be worn as pants, after all.
But for my Yoga class, I was in dire need of actual workout clothes and so I finally gave in and bought a couple high-waist sports leggings. I'M IN LOVE. The wide waistband and airy textile make these so much comfier than my usual leggings fare. I've been pretty much living in Yoga pants last month...
Korean Yoga Pants - I got the blue patterned #11 and the sleek #43. At the moment I'm mostly using the gray pair since its material is a bit thicker, but the blue pair will be perfect for summer!
Also, definitely using my foreigner status to get away with wearing just the leggings instead of those with shorts or skirts attached (you can see examples for those at the link above, too). For the walk home, I throw on a long hoodie so no one is the wiser.
But there's definitely been an uptick in Yoga pants here lately. I remember looking for similar leggings a couple years ago and they all came with attached shorts or skirts, and no fun patterns at all...
Amateur Gardening :)
Spring has been strange here. I've been using the same clothes since the beginning of March - one day it's warm and sunny, then temperatures drop all of a sudden. We've had so many weeks of rain and heavy winds... That one day of cherry blossom watching is my only memory of spring weather this year!
But there's a positive note to this: I wasn't too late to start gardening.
I've sprinkled seeds into planting pots, trimmed back a rosemary bush that's crowding in on our door, and behind the house in what's supposed to be no-man's-land, a rogue squadron of tomatoes is growing...
There's something deeply satisfying about getting your hands dirty and growing at least a small part of your food and herbs and the strange spring weather made for a long and flexible planting season. Do you have potted plants or a small garden?
The Killing Moon by N. K. Jemisin
I love N.K. Jemisin - her Broken Earth trilogy did not only make me cry and fist-pump and gape in awe, but it also won pretty much every Fantasy book award out there.
Now, I've got a wonderful task ahead of me: Reading her older books! I'm so glad that she's got a whole bunch of series out there, or I wouldn't have known what to do with myself (except re-listening to The Fifth Season, which I will soon anyway...) in the near future!
The Killing Moon is the first book in the Dreamblood Duology, and it definitely feels like an N.K. Jemisin book from the very first chapter!
Which means: Be ready to fall in love with a whole cast of deeply flawed characters and to have your heart shattered at least thrice per book.
There's something uniquely raw and intense about her writing; even the most optimistic scenes are full of melancholy, and even the darkest moments are beautiful.
I don't want to spoil anything, but if you're into historical settings (inspired by ancient Egypt!) and like being conflicted about which character's side you're on, and if you love antagonistic relationships... read some Jemisin!
Books Read in 2018...
Like last year, I'm working on a collection of all the books I read (or rather, listened to) in my bullet journal.
I really love how these more detailed book cover doodles look so far and can't wait to draw more!
- Muji Extra-Fine Ballpoint Pen (with a tiny 0.25 tip perfect for the small calligraphy...)
- Uni-Ball Signo DX Pen in Black with a 0.38 tip - this one goes on so smoothly!
- My Midori MD art journal with blank paper. I keep my yearly collections separate from my usual bullet journal entries and really enjoy the thin, high-quality paper for this one!
- For the "Monthly Favorites" illustration I used a waterproof ink pen by Staedtler, combined with my cheap Shinhan watercolors and a couple shades from my Winsor & Newton set. As long as you don't use too much water, the Midori paper works surprisingly well with watercolors!
The Girl in The Tower by Katherine Arden
I gushed about the wonderful The Bear and the Nightingale in a previous favorites line-up, so I'll throw in the second book in the (still on-going!) Winternight trilogy here. Usually, the second book in a trilogy is my least favorite. They are often slow, building on the first book and leading up to the finale, but without much of consequence actually happening.
The Girl in the Tower, though, reads like a stand-alone in the best way possible!
The characters return and the story continues just after the climax of The Bear and the Nightingale, but it's also a story of its own, with a focus on different facets of the same world. In this trilogy that feels part dark fairytale, part Russian historical fantasy, the first book focused on life in the remote countryside, folktales, and childhood.
The Girl in the Tower has our main character Vasilisa out in the wide world on her magical adventure and we get to see court and city life in old Moscow through her eyes. The restrictive rules there smother both her and us readers, and it's a fascinating intermingling of intrigue, family life, history, and identity.
Oh, and there's a certain frost demon that just can't stay away...
You can get a month of Audible with two free books with my referral link, so enough to read both of these if you like the first one!
I hope you liked this little art journal entry!
What were your April favorites and memories?
Has spring where you live been as crazy as here...?