Spring Forward

Spring is near! I'll say it again: spring is near! I'm increasingly aware of its approaching reality with the rising temperature and late sunsets. My heart dances in joy for the season to bask in colors and sunshine all day. 

Though my color preferences change by seasons, blush pink and baby blue are my go-to favorites. Unfortunately, the dreary East Coast winter didn't leave much room for this palette, but I managed to get my color satisfaction from cold-weather lifesavers (hint: bubblegum), lip colors, and Philly architecture.

If you ask me to choose between form and function for style, I would choose the former any day. That's a question of individuality or conformity for me. Would you blend in or stick out? Spring is the perfect platform to break out of muted palettes (ugh black and navy winter puffers) into color and print overload. Hence the #pieana color legend will march on in Spring 2016.

Remember my adventure attire and fall inspo posts? Here are #pieana curated picks for spring! 

For more #pieana color inspos, check out my Pinterest boards or Instagram feed of #pieanapalettes.


Embroidered Bomber Style Jacket $149, Zara

Ladies and gentlemen, Zara has done it once again! I've been wanting pink bomber for days. This is even better than the version I saw in a dream (*gasp*).

Mandalay Dress $198, Reformation

If my love for blue dresses is a flower, it would now be a forest. This will make the top of the list any day.  

Jumpsuit $70, Zara

"One can never have too many jumpsuits" -@pieana. Especially with a color like this, how can you say no?

 6397 Daffodils Tee $95, Need Supply Co.

I'm not a huge fan of graphic shirts, but wouldn't mind lounging around in a loose, beautiful piece like this one from Need Supply Co. Their newest spring lookbook is worth checking out for inspiration.

Wyatt Biker $540, All Saints 

I'm a real sucker for outerwear. Leather and blush pink? My wallet is yours! Take it all!!!

Fragment Dress $169, Gorman

Sweetness from Gorman Autumn '16 collection. But hey, what screams SPRING more than seafoam green?

Peach Hat $32, UNIF

My roots are growing out as I'm deep in hair dilemma. Let's fashionably cover up with a peachy snapback. 


Son & Park Beauty Water $30, Soko Glam

More sun unfortunately means oil control. I heard raving reviews about this magical toner-primer water. It was sadly sold out in my last Korea trip. Hope to get my hands on this baby to replace morning cleansing. 


Pink + Blonde, @ireneisgood

I went blonde exactly a year ago. I don't want to part with my bleached strands just yet, but I'm ready for a change. I've been following Korea-based model Irene Kim for awhile, and she is major #hairgoals.


I'm all about mellow, smooth jams with a little spark of funk and pop. This music video by Oh Wonder is wonderful to the ear and eye with its splash of spring pastels. Hope you enjoy this playlist!

1. Oh Wonder "Without You" 
2. Yuna "Crush" 
3. Kae Sun "Ship and The Globe" 
4. Lianne La Havas "Wonderful" 


And off we go into spring! 


Guilt Free Bakery

Let me introduce you to a sweet baker friend of mine! Her name is Lisa. She went to FIT to study fashion, and switched tracks when she decided that baking is her passion. While her peers stayed up with their design projects, she truly felt alive when she baked the night away. Her bakery is called Guilt Free Bakery. Gluten-free and vegan products are fairly new "Western" trends in South Korea, so her goods made without white flour, sugar, butter, diary, egg, and preservatives are pioneers in the food industry.

1. Gluten-free classic choco-chip cookies made w/ chickpea flour
2. Whole-wheat banana cupcakes w/ vanilla frosting
3. Brown rice fudge brownies   
4. Gluten-free plain & deep chocolate cake donuts made w/ chickpea flour   
5. Blueberry cake & earl grey muffins (my faves!)

We met in a formal business setting, but quickly became friends when we connected through our similar interests and passions. During the two days I spent time with her, I discovered that:

- We were born on the same year, and our birthdays are only two days apart
- We both wanted to be a fashion designer when we were little
- We bonded over our love for healthy food. We both love Native Foods in California. Hence our first meal together was at a quaint vegan place called Plant in Itaewon #datveganlife #ilovemeattoo
- Lisa's sister and I both went to UCLA (Go Bruins!)
- We are both on a journey of learning what it means to unveil Beauty in spirit and in truth


Check out her bakery if you are in Korea! It's currently located in Hwasung, which is about an hour away from Seoul. She hopes to expand into Seoul in the near future. For now, she's holding a pop-up shop at Toss & Turn, an American-style resturant in Itaewon from Halloween through the month of November. Come by for a meal and grab some of her guilt-free, delicious goods for dessert!


Bottled Roses

South Korea's beauty industry is rapidly growing as the pioneer of innovative products going beyond textbook routines and beauty basics.

So why are women worldwide flocking to the world of K-Beauty for the newest makeup trend or skincare tips? Mix top quality and drugstore prices together, jampacked with functions and benefits to last 10-step routines, wrapped with genius packaging - and you get the babies of K-Beauty empire.

Did I mention the exotic ingredients? Koreans aren't afraid to put benefits found in foods and animals to multiple uses, including their diets and skincare. Ever heard of creams made out of snail slime? Sounds strange, but heard the stuff works! Its regenerating and firming properties make it a top-selling skincare ingredient on the Korean market. 

Before I get to horse oils and bee venom serums though, let me introduce you to a K-Beauty product with a universally loved beauty ingredient: roses.

#1. Mamonde Rose Water Toner 

A lovely rose toner you can use in 3 different ways!

1. Toner
After cleansing, apply on your face with cotton pads to prep for skincare.

2. Mist
Keep in a mist bottle for a daytime refresher. 

3. Mask
Drench 4-5 cotton pads and apply on your face as a brightening mask. After 10-20 minutes, or when the pads start drying, remove and gently pat the face to absorb the nutrients. Proceed with lotion.


My favorite use is the mist! I keep the bottle in my bag and spray throughout the day. It immediately refreshes and hydrates - and takes me to an imaginary rose garden for a moment. 

Killer scent and super hydration. Contains 90.89 rose water. Loaded up with nutrients that smells good and works wonders on summer skin. Great for calming and hydrating. 

This just might be your next alternative for your favorite rose toner.

#2. Mamonder First Energy Serum 

Koreans are all about fermented products. This serum contains 60-day fermented flowers, or "flower vinegar." It has anti-aging and brightening benefits. It sets the face for skincare, with an extra dosage of nutrients. (Y'know, fermented superpowers!) Read more about benefits of fermented beauty products here.

This serum is a unique product that I haven't found likes of in the States. Instead of a typical sticky liquid you associate with serums, the formula is non-sticky and clear with a lotion-like texture. You apply it as the first step in your skincare (even before toner) not to wipe away excess dirt, but to boost the skin before thicker lotions and creams. You can use a cotton pad or apply directly and pat to absorb.


When I first saw these products in Korea, I fell in love with their packaging. During the holiday season, Korean beauty brands release redesigned versions of their best-selling products, often with more product and same price. These limited "special edition" babies sell out immediately once they hit the market.      

I happened to be one of the lucky ones when I scored these two items. Holiday or not, both products continue to fly off the shelves of a well-known Korean beauty brand, Mamonde. 

I'm just as in love with these two items as the first day I laid eyes on them - and it doesn't look like my affections will run out anytime soon. 

What are some of your favorite K-Beauty products? 

An Ode to K-Beauty

"Cleanse, tone, moisturize...Repeat.

The skincare mantra widely used by girls and women of America. 
The three-step process tested and approved by skincare experts for decades.

During my teen years, I adopted theses steps into my routine, as well as weekly exfoliators and face masks. The major players of my beauty collection were from drugstores, with the exception of occasional splurge in back-then beauty hub of wonder, Sephora. I recall the glee when I purchased my first Purity Made Simple cleanser. I proudly grabbed the 16oz bottle and milked that thing for months. 

While I sometimes abandoned weekly "luxury" treatments from laziness, I remained faithful to the three-step routine for years. Then, during my visit to Korea last summer, the growing empire of K-Beauty flipped my world upside down - and my beauty routine has never been the same. 

Long before my visit, I had access to K-Beauty products through relatives who brought back five-step skincare sets from recent trips. The problem was my naivety that gladly abandoned its tediousness to the good old three-step skincare. I thought, "why use an essence (Korean toner) AND emulsion (Korean lotion) AND cream when I can just slap on do-it-all lotion?!". Blasphemy. 

In recent years, K-Beauty inventions like BB and CC creams rose to fame in American beauty circles. The once exotic beauty experiments from Asia quickly became the most-coveted beauty trend. Makeup brands produced imitation products left and right while mainstream brands like Sephora and Urban Outfitters endorsed and sold K-Beauty items. 

I knew Korean beauty lingos and tried few essences and BB creams. I thought I was somewhat familiar with K-Beauty, but my first-hand experience in Korea presented a whole new world to me: 

Beauty stores, known as "road shops", line up in every main and local street corner - as accessible as Starbucks or 7-Eleven in the States. The overly friendly and enthusiastic saleswoman who knows exactly the cure to your skin problems. In her hand, the golden solution to your skin, among an overwhelming collection of products of various names and colors with functions for just about every skin need. A handful of skincare and makeup samples stuffed in the bag with your purchases. Echoing reminders about membership deals and discounts on your way out. Advertisements on subway stations, grocery markets, fliers and TV screens enticing your wallets open to get your hands on the newest product endorsed by an A-list celebrity...  

I returned home, overwhelmed and enlightened, with a suitcase full of K-Beauty products. South Korea proved worthy of the buzz in the beauty department - and drastically changed my perspective on beauty. As K-Beauty continue to climb the ladders of the international beauty scene, I don't doubt it will quickly alongside the thriving global markets of music and technology in Korea.

Stay tuned for posts covering K-beauty tips and products!