SEOUL SECRETS :: DIY KOREAN SCRUB

What Americans call a Korean spa, I call a tortuous childhood bathtime ritual. Nowadays, people pay good money to get scrubbed down by a Korean woman until their epidermis is beet red and every ounce of existence is exfoliated. But Korean kids got that every day, for free, by our mothers.

DIY KOREAN SCRUB

But instead of dreading that hour, now it’s a nostalgic routine I miss — and I, too, find myself at the KSpa for a scrub down. However, because it’s so difficult to get ourselves to a Korean Spa on the regular these days – I decided to write this post for you to layout the easy basics for a DIY Korean Scrub that you can do in the convenience of your own home!

SOAK IN A TUB FOR 20-30 MINUTES

Not only will this be luxuriating and destressing in itself, but it will also prep your skin for the exfoliation process. Stay in there for at least 20 minutes and until your prune.

DIY KOREAN SCRUB

WASH YOUR BODY

Soap down your body and wash your hair as you would during any normal bath or shower. Soap won’t be used during the scrub down – so wash up beforehand.

I strongly urge you to use bar soap, rather than the shower gel variety – as the latter will make your body too slippery and smooth rather than leaving you with a squeaky clean and rubbery feeling.

KOREAN SCRUB TOWEL

The Salux ones you find at the Korean markets (which I use daily) aren’t rough enough to do the Korean scrubbing. You need this one which is what they use at the Korean spas. Just rub your soft skin until dead skin (which resembles eraser shavings) literally and visibly rolls of your body. This process is called seshin.

Not only are you making your skin glow like a baby’s bottom, but the process of exfoliation boosts circulation and is great for lymphatic drainage.

Sometimes what I find works even better is using a plain ol’ washcloth. It’s what my mother used on us and currently uses on herself.

DIY KOREAN SCRUB

DON’T FORGET TO MOISTURIZE

Apply oil to your damp skin to seal in the hydration and softness. Oils have a locking and protective nature which means it prevents transepidermal water loss. I love slathering Seoulfull Skin Food on my damp skin — which is a trusty favorite of Lauryn Evarts / The Skinny Confidential.

Seoulfull Skin Food
Seoulfull Skin Food

Lucky for us, she has raved about it on her IG stories which I have added to my highlights!

Or you can always opt for organic coconut oil from your kitchen if nothing else is around. (And as you know, coconut oil has as a slew of benefits!)

I like this brand.


DIY KOREAN SCRUB

And that’s it, ladies and gents. I hope you enjoyed my writeup on how to do your DIY Korean scrub. It’s super simple and easy to do. Just SOAK, SOAP, SCRUB and then SLATHER on body oil.

I think I’ll do one this weekend and then treat myself to a spray tan. Korean scrubs provide the perfect clean and exfoliated canvas for one!

spa towels


Best korean restaurants in los angeles

SEOUL SECRETS :: 12 OF THE BEST KOREAN RESTAURANTS IN LOS ANGELES

:: WELCOME TO THE NEWEST SEGMENT OF SEOUL SECRETS!  THE BEST KOREAN RESTAURANTS IN LOS ANGELES!  ENJOY! ::
CHOSUN GALBI |

This is where you go when you’re experiencing Korean food for the first time — or where you bring your non-Korean friends if they’re experiencing it for the first time.  It’s clean and modern and Westernized enough to not intimidate the first timers.  For sure it’s on many people’s list as one of the best Korean restaurants in Los Angeles!



SSAM |

This stop is one of my all time faves and I forget about it for some reason.  The food is so flavorful and fresh and I love that they give you ssam (a variety of tasty, crisp lettuce leaves) to scoop your rice and fish/meat/chicken/tofu in.


PARK’S BBQ |

This is Jonathan Gold’s favorite Korean BBQ joint!  You can’t go wrong with it.

best korean restaurants in los angeles
best korean restaurants in los angeles

MOODAEPO II |

This is one of most popular all-you-can-eat BBQ restaurants in Koreatown!

BEST KOREAN RESTAURANTS IN LOS ANGELES - | MOODAEPO II |



KANG HO DONG BAEKJEONG |

This is a super popular Korean BBQ restaurant with both Korean Americans and non-Koreans — and the food is super yummy.  Fresh, flavorful and always with a variety of textures!

best korean restaurants in LA | KANG HO DONG BAEKJEONG |
best korean restaurants in LA

KOBAWOO HOUSE |

I don’t eat pork — but KOBAWOO is famous for their pork dish called “boss am.”  I love their spicy buckwheat noodle dish!

BEST KOREAN RESTAURANTS IN LOS ANGELES | KOBAWOO HOUSE |
Best Korean restaurants iN Los angeles

YONG SUSAN |

If you’re looking for authentic Korean royal cuisine, stop by Yong Susan.  They feed you like a prince so come with an appetite.  This was one of the first ‘fancy’ Korean restaurants in Los Angeles.  And by fancy, I mean one of the first non-hole-in-the-walls.  I love their food — and we celebrated both of my daughters’ DOLs here.  The best part is they wrap up your meals with sweet delicious sikhye (sweet rice beverage).

Best Korean restaurants iN Los angeles | YONG SUSAN |

Best Korean restaurants iN Los angeles
Best Korean restaurants iN Los angeles


| Ma Dang Gook Soo |

This is a simple place that specializes in noodle dishes, but has my go-to vegan/vegetarian dishes like bibimbop as well.  This is located at the same place as the BCD Tofu House on Western + 9th.


best korean retaurants in los angeles | Ma Dang Gook Soo |


| Kyo Chon Chicken |      

Excellent fried chicken imported from Korea!

best korean restaurants in LA - | Kyo Chon Chicken |      


| WI SPA |

The food was shockingly delicious at the tiny restaurant located inside the popular Korean spa, WI SPA.  In between ice rooms, ice baths and scalding hot clay room saunas – you can indulge in dduk mandoo guk (rice cake soup), sullungtang (ox bone broth soup), kim chee fried rice – or some refreshing bingsu (Korean shaved iced)  – my all time refreshing treat!  My Korean mother, in the Korean fashion, has very high standards — and she too was super pleased!  Soup, sauna, steam room, repeat!

BEST KOREAN RESTAURANTS IN LOS ANGELES - WI SPA.


++ If you’re like me and a gigantic fan of hot and comforting tofu soups and dishes, these two places are delicious and super popular!

BCF TOFU HOUSE |

We go here and get take out from this place VERY often.  They only use organic tofu!  My go to dish is the yah chae soon dooboo.  (i.e., the vegetable tofu soup).  Super healthy and super comforting.

BEST KOREAN RESTAURANTS IN LOS ANGELES - | BCF TOFU HOUSE |
BCD Tofu

BEVERLY SOON TOFU RESTAURANT |

This is another great place – but it’s not a chain like BCD.  This is the favorite of many.  It’s for sure tasty — and was featured on Anthony Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown.”

BEST KOREAN RESTAURANTS IN LOS ANGELES - | BEVERLY SOON TOFU RESTAURANT |
Beverly Soon Tofu

++ All photos courtesy of the respective awesome Korean restaurant.

+++ Thank you for reading!  Stay tuned for my interview with ARIANNA HUFFINGTON!

Check out Seoul Secrets: How To Make Homemade Bone Broth In A Crockpot (Gluten Free And Paleo!), and Seoul Secrets :: Healthy Korean Snacks For The Family.

 

 

 

BONE BROTH IN A CROCKPOT

SEOUL SECRETS: HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE BONE BROTH IN A CROCKPOT (GLUTEN FREE AND PALEO!)

BONE BROTH IN A CROCKPOT

BONE BROTH is all the rage these days and rightfully so.  It’s a staple in the Korean traditional diet — and it’s a staple in many ethnic cultures.  BONE BROTH is especially making the rounds in LA these days with celebrities toting their cups of bone broth from Erewhon rather than their previous go-to cups of lattes!  The best part is it’s so easy to make homemade bone broth in a crockpot!

I talked about bone broth as one of the health trends last year – and this nurturing and nutritious ritual is still making its mark.  It has a lot of bang for its buck so to speak!  It’s super inexpensive to make while offering up innumerable benefits — from beauty and skin first aid to healing ailments in the gut, improving joint health, remineralizing teeth, boosting the immune system, overcoming food intolerances and reducing the appearance of cellulite!  Talk about nutrient density!  


 courtesy of cognitune.com


WHAT IS BONE BROTH?

First and foremost, it’s (chicken/turkey/beef) soup for the soul and the body!

It was a way my ancestors used every part of the animal – from the neck and skin and tendons.  The parts would be simmered over many days releasing healing nutrients like collagen (which helps form connective tissue) and glutamine and a variety of minerals from magnesium, calcium and so on.  (Thank goodness today’s crock pot takes the tediousness out of it!)  The best part is it tastes so darn delicious and is super healing during this cold and flu season!



HOW TO MAKE BONE BROTH IN A CROCKPOT

INGREDIENTS

3-4 lbs of chicken meat with bone

3-4 carrots, chopped

3 celery stalks, chopped

2 onions sliced in half

4-5 garlic cloves

1 tsp celtic sea salt

1/2 tsp pepper

2-3 T apple cider vinegar (This is crucial!!  It helps pull the minerals from the bones!)

2-3 sprigs of thyme, parsley, oregano (optional, but it tastes so good!)

collagen (optional, but I love the added boost)

20 cups of water


bONE BROTH IN A CROCK POT
bone broth in a crock pot
bONE BROTH IN A CROCK POT
BONE BROTH RECIPE INGREDIENTS

INSTRUCTIONS ON MAKING BONE BROTH IN A CROCKPOT

Place everything in a crockpot and let it simmer on low for 24 hours.

(My mother in law just bought me this one and I love it!)

Remove from heat.

Remove liquid from solids.

Drink up!!


BONE BROTH IN A CROCK POT


+++ That’s it!  Super easy peazy.  That’s how you make homemade bone broth in a crockpot!



+++ AND STAY TUNED READERS!  Coming up on the blog are interviews with ARIANNA HUFFINGTON, wellness and yoga junkie and lifestyle guru, THE BALANCED BLONDE (JORDAN YOUNGER) AND THE STUNNING ASHLEY BORDEN, CELEBRITY TRAINER TO RYAN GOSLING,  REESE WITHERSPOON AND CHRISTINA AGUILERA!


 

 

SEOUL SECRETS – KOREA IN THE SUMMER 2017 :: MY PHOTO JOURNAL

KOREA IN THE SUMMER

I love Korea so much that I visited my motherland three times in the last two years. In APRIL, there were breathtaking cherry blossoms and crisp, cool weather. In October, the trees were blanketed by the most stunning and richly colored autumnal leaves. And in June / July, there were fun music concerts in the parks, loads of bingsu cafes to indulge in and vibrant tourism stirring about! It’s the perfect land to visit all year round!  Korea in the Summer is hot and humid indeed, but it’s still fab. Check out some of my photos (taken from various places in South Korea) and be sure to add Korea to your bucket list!

I made my most recent trip with my Taekwondo school and brought along my entire family.



{ and away we go… lax  –> seoul }


KOREA IN THE SUMMER



{ first stop… seoul. sometimes it was rainy and muggy, other times hot and dry. }



{ underground shopping. oksa, anyone? }



{ k-beauty (my obsession) is poppin’ everywhere! }



{ we visited the lotte world tower which is 123 floors and the 5th tallest building in the world. and yes, we headed straight to the top! }



{ spotted this building in the middle of seoul at cheonggyecheon. i can’t make this up. }



{ gyeongbokgung palace. where modern meets tradition }



{ i showed my daughter the history of her predecessors at the korean war museum }





{ taken outside of the museum of korean history in seoul }



{ we headed to jeju island where tourists and residents flock. it’s a stunning island where you can eye the waterfalls, walk the sands and bathe in lushness. It’s a quick 45 minute flight from seoul. }



{ beach swimming at 9:00 pm }



{ this was taken at jeju island’s national stone art museum. }



{the interior of a traditional home in jeju island }



{ traditional jars used to make kim chee }



{ we stayed at the shilla hotel where everything is clean, artistic, adorable and intentionally done. this is their poolside sleeping pod. }



{ poolside food for the kids }



{ food fare … here is a photo of our friend cyrus enjoying ramen with gatorade. east meets west? }


KOREA IN THE SUMMER    


{ we visited this amazing michelin approved restaurant }



{ and this happened }



{ we found a beautiful tea shop in Insadong that served green tea shaved ice (below) and chilled mitsugaru, a heavenly treat!)



{ also in insandong was this hilarious turkish ice cream man. ice cream comedy! }



{ the beautiful bulguksa buddhist temple }


   

    


{ north chungcheong }



{ we visited pyeongchang, where the winter olympics will be taking place! they’re already beginning to prep.}



{ alas, the trip ended. and we headed back to cali..cali…cali. until next time. 안녕}



INFRARED SAUNA BENEFITS

SEOUL SECRETS | INFRARED SAUNA BENEFITS

Everytime I see someone smoking, I think….really?!  I do everything to leech impurities and toxins from my body — and people are voluntarily sucking it in.  Anyway, I drank the Kool Aid — and I’m obsessed and in love with my infrared sauna.  There are too many infrared sauna benefits to mention!

If you need a brand recommendation, Healthmate’s Infrared Sauna is a good one — but be sure you shop around for yourself and read all the various reviews of the competing brands.  Find the one that is best for you.  Research is the best insurance!



I was in Seoul, Korea (the land of my peeps and where I discover all the beauty and fashion and health trends) — and this anti-aging secret was all over the place.  Malls, gyms, you name it.  I’ve been eyeing for one since — and I finally caved to the splurge.  Because it’s a financial and house space commitment, I kept waivering and researching all the different options and brands.  But my Utopia in a Box arrived last May —   and I’ve been using it everyday.  It targets the feet, legs, knees, lower back – while achieving the same detoxifying benefits as the traditionally sized models.

I start my day in it.  Every.  Single.  Day.  After drinking my lemon water, I have my black coffee (or my bulletproof coffee) — and sit and detoxify while sitting in my infrared sauna with my lap top and all my pending blogs waiting to be written.  And I’m good to go!  It’s also a great place to sit during meditation — or a a great place to catch up on reading, especially all of those magazine subscriptions that have been stacking up.




I love that my face is out of it (so I don’t feel overheated) — and that my hands are free to work, write, type.

And infrared saunas are great because the infrared rays heat up your body from the inside out!  They penetrate deep into the body (a couple inches through the dermal layer), hitting your organs rather than the air.  And with that, they’re great in terms of energy efficiency.  (I didn’t even notice our bill go up!)

And because the rays penetrate at such a deep level, they deliver these favorite benefits of mine.

INFRARED SAUNA BENEFITS
My Infrared Sauna

Pain reduction:  This was the #1 reason why I bought this.  I was feeling knee tenderness (from my torn ACL), lower back pain that made getting out of bed a 5 minute process (a result of 2 toddlers and being kicked HARD in the back and ribs area during sparring on one special day), hip pain (I have no idea why – but probably because of the aforementioned), and blackberry thumb/carpal tunnel (from typing and texting).  No joke, all of this pain is gone now.  I don’t know if it’ll return once I stop using the sauna, but there’s no reason to find out.  (Many athletes use this as a form of therapy for strength and endurance training.)

On one Sunday, my legs were so sore and tight – I couldn’t even fathom making it through my 8am Black Belt training that was to take place in a few hours. I was totally fine (!) after 15-20 minutes in the box!

Increases circulation.  Infrared saunas deliver oxygen rich blood throughout the body and brings relief to muscle and soft tissues.

Detoxification:  Because infrared saunas improve circulation and elimination through the skin, detoxification is enhanced and accelerated.  And it does wonders for our digestive organs.  It induces up to 2-3 times the sweat volume!

Reduction of the appearance of cellulite.  Cellulite is fat, acidic waste and trapped water.  Gross.  The sauna helps you shed the toxins and the fat!

Increases heart rate:  You can sit passively but get a workout at the same time.  My normal resting heart rate is 50-55.  It elevates to almost double that just by sitting  – which is great for boosting your cardiovascular endurance and burning calories.   These contraptions have been proven to burn 400-600 calories in 30 minutes, depending on your body weight.

Improves immune system:  I must say I haven’t been sick since May and I’ve missed 2 rounds of my kids’ and husband’s colds!

Weight loss:  The more you detoxify, the less your body needs to store fat to protect your organs.

Great for sun damage.  Helps pull out the UV radiation.  Sign me up, right?!



Should you get one?  Heck ya!  It creates the perfect balance of calm, serenity and energy!  I feel limber and pain free.

If you can’t afford to get your own or you don’t have the space for it, then for sure check out any of the infrared sauna salons around your town.  You can even get a groupon for it.  That’s how I tried my first one.  And I’ve been obsessed since.

And that’s it for my most recent SEOUL SECRET!


INFRARED SAUNA BENEFITS
Personal Infrared Sauna


+++ AND STAY TUNED READERS:  Coming up on the blog are interviews with KIMBERLY SNYDER (holistic nutritionist and author of 3 NYT BESTSELLERS), the one and only ASHLEY BORDEN + CELEB MAKEUP ARTIST GILLIAN WHITLOCK!  OH, AND OUR INCREDIBLE KIM SHAPIRA, M.S., R.D. WILL BE COMING BACK TO VISIT US.  SO STAY TUNED FOR THAT!  GOOD TIMES ARE A’COMIN!  


 

 

 

 

SEOUL SECRETS :: HEALTHY KOREAN SNACKS FOR THE FAMILY

JayOne How do you keep your family healthy, nourished and satisfied?  Well, we’re huge fans of healthy Korean snacks that pack a nutritional and flavorful punch!  Below are some tasty treat ideas that keep all of us satiated and pleased — by satisfying our sweet, salty and crunchy cravings in one mouthful!

(My suggestions below are available at Whole Foods, Amazon or Asian markets.)



SEA’S GIFT ROASTED SEAWEED SNACK

This is our ALL TIME go-to!  The kids devour it and eat sheet after sheet, package after package.  They take the seaweed to scoop up rice or they just eat them up on its own.  (I’m a huge fan of their Sweet ‘n Salty and Onion flavors.)  These snacks are organic, iodine-rich and abundant in minerals and vitamins — and so easily portable.  What’s not to love!? I order these by the boatload from Amazon.L_21019

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L_21025



CRUNCHY RICE ROLLS

These crunchy rice rolls are another ginormous win.  Gluten-free, vegan, non-GMO, crunchy and delicious.  We eat them on its own or with some PB or almond butter smeared on top!  It’s our answer to the tasteless rice cakes from the 90s.  (If you want to be really bad and make it really good, add a touch of Nutella.)

L_20407

L_20405


As you can see, my kids are really into them!  They can eat half a pack in one sitting which I’m totally fine with!  There are no preservatives and they’re almost calorie free!  But somehow JayOne has managed to make them mmm mmm GOOD! Ask my daughters below!


IMG_1263
Mmm. Mine!
IMG_1266
No, MINE!

SWEET SEAWEED SNACKS

These are ridiculous.  They’re great sprinkled over a hot bowl of rice —  but my girls love to dig in with their hands.


IMG_1345

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There are tons of brands out there these days — but I like these.  JayOne / Sea Gifts is Korean owned, they’re the OG – and I can trust their ingredients and its manufacturing.

It’s so easy to feed kids with nutritious and delicious treats these days.  Seaweed and rice can really be altered into some super crunchy and satiating yumminess!  The best part is that they’re portable and can be easily stashed in your purse or diaper bag!  Let me know what you think!


 

KOREAN SEAWEED SOUP

SEOUL SECRETS | KOREAN SEAWEED SOUP (FOR THE SEOUL) 미역국

KOREAN SEAWEED SOUP 

WELCOME BACK TO SEOUL SECRETS!  The second in a series of all the health, beauty and lifestyle treasures from the city that’s sweeping the nation.  SEOUL!  Bone broth is all the rage these days — however my go-to miracle soup has always been Miyeokguk – Korean Seaweed soup.

It’s super easy to to make — and it’s nutritious and delicious (and brings good fortune) to boot!  Miyeokguk – Korean Seaweed Soup is a big part of the Korean cultural tradition.  Women have been known to eat vats of this during pregnancy — as well as immediately after giving birth as it stimulates breast milk production and overall health.  Korean students, too, are known to eat this up as it boosts brain power and kicks those scores up a notch!  

You devour it on the morning of your birthday since it’s the food your mom ate on the day you were born.  (To this day, my mom still makes it for me (and my babies) every birthday morning!)  It’s a reminder to be grateful of the care given to you by your mother.  (Lots of guilt in the Korean culture too!)

Seaweed is rich in iodine and calcium and delivers its promises – so it’s no wonder that Koreans are drinking the Kool Aid.  My two girls love it and always ask my mom to make the Korean Seaweed Soup no matter the day or time.

This is how my mom and sister make it – ish.  (They don’t measure anything — so they’re guesstimations.)  

Enjoy!


KOREAN SEAWEED SOUP
KOREAN SEAWEED SOUP

INGREDIENTS FOR KOREAN SEAWEED SOUP

1 cup of dried brown seaweed (which can be purchased at any Korean store)

1 lb. organic chicken with bone  (you can go without if you want a vegan version)

1-2 T of gook gan jang (which is Korean soy sauce with a strong, fermented salty flavor and comes from bean paste)  (you can use tamari sauce if you want a gluten free version)

6-7 cups of water

1 teaspoon minced garlic (or more per your preference)



DIRECTIONS FOR KOREAN SEAWEED SOUP

Clean the seaweed and soak in water until soft.


IMG_0372


Soak the seaweed for about 15 minutes.  (It expands into approximately 4 cups of seaweed!)
 
Clean it well as it may have some sand in it.
 
Then drain and chop it so they’re the size of your finger.

 KOREAN SEAWEED SOUP
KOREAN SEAWEED SOUP

 Bring the chicken to boil.  Boil it long enough to make a tasty broth.


 KOREAN SEAWEED SOUP


  Add garlic while boiling chicken.




When the chicken is done, peel the meat off the bone, shred it — and put it into a bowl.

Add a little bit of gook gan jang to the shredded chicken.  (You only need a little to flavor the meat.)
 
Then add gook gan jang to the broth (teaspoon by teaspoon to taste). You don’t need too much.
 
Add seaweed to the broth.  Boil for a few minutes to soften and flavor the seaweed.
 
Get a bowl and ladle the broth and seaweed.  Add the seasoned chicken (that you set aside earlier) on top and sprinkle with roasted sesame seed.

CHAP SOO SAY YO! (ENJOY!)


 KOREAN SEAWEED SOUP