Tina Made a Shark Costume

I’m pretty apathetic when it comes to Halloween, so “Happy Halloween!” would be a fake greeting on my part. More like, “MEH. Halloween.”

I know I’ve mentioned somewhere on this blog that I’m working part-time (I just couldn’t bear the responsibility of being fully unemployed. SO MUCH PRESSURE. Of people asking, “What are you doing with all your time…?” and me having to come up with an answer other than, “Sleep……………..?”). So about a month ago I started working part-time in pediatric OT– same population of special needs kids, different setting (in a clinic).

Anyway, so work sprung on us pretty last minute that this week would be SPIRIT WEEK. I ain’t spirited about Halloween, damn it. Thankfully, I’m only there 3 days a week. Monday was “Sports Day,” and I fudged it by wearing a UCLA sweatshirt and saying that the Bruins were my favorite sports team. My boss, who happens to be a close friend, gave me this face: -___- and said it didn’t count. Wednesday was “Crazy Hair/Crazy Hat Day.” I brought a Minnie Mouse hat, just so I wouldn’t get the -___- face again, but boss-friend didn’t have crazy hair OR a crazy hat, so I was off the hook.

Unfortunately, I also work Thursdays. Thursday the 31st. Sigh. I decided a few days ago that I would have to at least try, so I threw together a costume that: 1) I’d be able to wear and actually treat kids in (my job is super physical), 2) wouldn’t require me to leave the house to purchase anything (I’m lazy).

Clearly, the best option was to be a shark. By wearing a shark hoodie. The idea was inspired by a friend’s costume from a few years ago, though if you do a simple Pinterest search you’ll find various takes. Here’s mine:

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Yup. Tutorial below, for anyone who still needs a costume and has a hoodie, felt, and 1.5 hours on hand.

Materials needed:

  • sheets of 9″x12″ felt in red, black, and white
  • needle + white thread
  • scissors
  • grey hoodie
  • tacky glue
  • hot glue gun (optional)

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I love it when I have already have all the materials on hand for a given craft project. Felt can be bought at Joann’s or Michael’s for about a quarter a sheet. My plain grey hoodie is from American Apparel.

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Cut 2 strips of white felt 12″x3″ (lengthwise down the sheet of felt). Cut 2 strips of red felt 12″x1.5″ (lengthwise as well). Glue the red strips onto the white strips, lining up the edges.

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Cut out an eye shape from a piece of paper– mine was about 4.5″x2.5″, but obviously you can customize size and shape. If you want your shark to look more menacing (as menacing as a hoodie shark can look), cut the eye into a flattened-“U” shape.. like a smile. Trace your stencil x2 onto your remaining piece of white felt. Cut out two black circles for the irises, and two U shapes from the white felt to add some dimension to the eyes. Tacky glue it all together.

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Measure and mark every 2 inches down the red piece of felt (so it’s divided into 6 equal segments). This measures the base of each tooth. Measure the midpoint of each of the six 2″ segments and mark at the top edge of the white felt. These marks will guide where you cut the triangles for the rows of teeth– start at each of the points on the outer edge of the white felt, and cut diagonally into the felt, stopping at the marks you drew by the red felt (see picture on the right). Repeat for both strips of felt.

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Left picture shows what your finished strips should look like. You want the two strips to be one long continuous strip, so flip the strips over and line them up. Use a scrap triangle from the teeth you just cut out and use it as a “sticker” to glue the two strips together. I ended up using hot glue because I didn’t want to wait for the tacky glue to dry. Impatient.

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Left: The pieces you should have so far! Right: Figure out where you want the eyes to be placed by wearing your hoodie, slapping the felt eyes on your head, and gingerly taking it off while keeping the eyes in place. Sew eyes onto hoodie with a simple running stitch.

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Line your strip alongside the inner edge of your hood, with the red side obviously facing out. Left: The teeth should be lined up in such a way that when the hood is on, white triangles are showing from the sides. Sew your strip, again with a running stitch, into the inner part of your hood. Because I was using white thread, when I get to the red portions, I sewed into the bottom layer of the white felt only (like a blind stitch) so the thread wouldn’t show.

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ALL DONE! Left: side view. Right: Top view.

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What it looks like on!

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Clearly the scariest shark in all the land. Duh-Nuh…Duh-Nuh…DUH-NUH-DUH-NUH. (Jaws music, get with it).

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Or not.

Anyway, nothing fancy but definitely work-appropriate and easy to work in. If you’re into dressing up in costumes that end with “ho” (e.g. nurse…ho, angel…ho, cowgirl…ho), then I guess you can wear it with a short grey skirt and zip it up only halfway. Shark……ho. Just sayin.’

Will end this post with the cutest costume ever. My niece… dressed up as a stalk of corn.

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‘Til next Halloween…

Inside A-Land

Before I left for Korea, a friend told me to look out for the store “A-Land.” I’d never heard of it but it has 9 locations in Seoul, so I came across it pretty immediately. It sells women’s and men’s clothing, accessories, as well as vintage/thrift clothing. The store in Myeongdong had 4 levels of goodness; the one in Garosugil had 5! The products/prices seemed to be comparable to the U.S.’s Topshop or Urban Outfitters. Here’s a peek inside….

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Outside the store in Myeongdong.

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Shoes and bags galore

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Renee browsing the “flea market” floor

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Menswear + more vintage clothing

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Loved the assortment of leather pouches and wallets in every color

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Having fun with all the glasses. 🙂 I felt like Harry Potter.

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Vintage fur-lined leather jackets

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Vintage dresses + plaid

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Women’s shoes, men’s shoes

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More leather goodies + stationary

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Wall decor. Nerd alert– I LOVE the picture on the left.

Check out their online store here— or if you’re lucky, one of their stores in Seoul. 🙂

Lurvin: “Hood Goods”

As I mentioned in this post, I recently met Elizabeth of the blog Flourish in Progress at a makeup workshop. If ya’ll read her blog (which, if you don’t, please improve your Quality of Life and do; you’re welcome), you’re probably familiar with her self-describing phrase, “part hood, part good.” Having spent a few solid hours with her at lunch on Tuesday, I can see how these four words perfectly embody her “(t)hug life” (once again, her words, not mine).

E was sweet enough to gift me with these laser-engraved pencils (below), which are similar to the things she sells as part of her “HOOD GOODS” collection that she releases in limited quantities each month.

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I know many people go through their days without using wooden pencils, but working with kids for the past 4 years (and continuing to do so part-time right now), I use wooden pencils nearly err’day. Can’t wait to use these with my kiddos. And teach them these phrases. Of course, here are some other uses, as articulated by E for her original (sold out) set of Hood Good pencils:

“Perfect for writing down important information:
Bitches you want to holler at
Shit you need to do
Money you’ve loaned out at exorbitantly high rates”

I know. You’re sold. These specific pencils (the ones pictured above) aren’t for sale, but the original ones may be making a comeback next year. Her current Hood Goods for sale are these magnets:

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She happened to have them in her purse and she pulled them out to show me.

E: “This one is my favorite.” (points to a magnet)
Me: “Aww I like that.. ‘Love always in all ways.'”
E: “Not that one, THIS ONE.” (points again)
Me: (Pause) *blinks* “Oh.”

Well, I guess “SHIT BITCH YOU IS FINE” can make someone say “aww” too.

Buy them here before they’re sold out.

Home (bitter)Sweet Home

I’m home from my 2 week trip to Korea! It’s been a few days but I’m still in a hazy daze from the jet lag. Trying to snap back into “real life” is proving to be harder than expected. It’s nice to sleep in my own bed but I’m already thinking about my next vacation….

I’ve always been somewhat of a hater when it comes to the Motherland, mostly because my past trips to Korea have been, well.. less than enjoyable. But this trip flipped my opinions on Korea upside down, probably because it was my first time experiencing the place with close friends, and also because the country itself has changed so much since the last time I was there (7 years ago)– e.g. in terms of social norms, sanitation, style/fashion, etc. The country as a whole has become so open-minded compared to just a few years ago… it’s bizarre and refreshing.

I basically ate my way through Seoul, visited every major (shopping) area at least twice, saw each of my family members at least once, became an aunt (my cousin had a baby while I was there!), and completely forgot about life in LA. Vacation success.

I’ll be doing a shopping/’haul’ post soon but here’s a few highlights via pictures! Check out my Instagram for more. 🙂

FRIENDS:

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L: Ice cream with Mitch & Renee in Myeongdong
R: Hanging out at the Leeum Museum in Itaewon on a rainy day

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L: At Ewha Womens University with Sunghee
R: Waiting for our patbingsoo at a cute cafe in Hongdae

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L: Delicious pseudo-pizza in Hongdae
R: Subway shenanigans. Surrounded by people obsessed with their phones. :X

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L: Ready to shop in Myeongdong!
R: Mitch with a creepy-ass girl at Garosugil. Why?!

FOOD:

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L: Ddukboki (rice cake), tempura, and odeng (fish cake) soup in Apgujeong
R: Stone-pot rice with beef + bean sprouts in Gangnam

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L: Lamb skewers in Insadong
R: Raw seasoned crab + tons and tons of banchan (side dishes) in Samchungdong

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L: Rappoki (ramen/ddukboki) with mussels and odeng in Hongdae
R: Brown sugar lattes with green tea custard cake in Samchungdong

FAMILY:

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L: My grandparents!
R: Uncle, aunt, and cousins

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I saved the best for last. My niece. ❤ ❤ ❤

Maccheroni Republic

[Note: This is a scheduled post while I’m away in Korea!]

Too many restaurants in DTLA. A good problem to have, I suppose. My friend Meesh celebrated her b-day last month at Maccheroni Republic, and the two of us went back the other night and ordered the same exact dish we both got the first time.

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Maccheroni Republic is an Italian restaurant tucked away on Broadway and has been open less than a year. You can choose to sit indoors or in the outdoor covered patio area (with white lights strung above!). The patio area is surrounded by greenery, hiding the (not so attractive) street view.

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The weather was perfect the evening we went, so we sat outside.  We both ordered the spaghetti vongole (“spaghettini with Manila clams in a garlic white wine broth”).

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Left: A pretty wooden archway at the entrance of the restaurant. Right: More from the menu, boasting of daily homemade pastas.

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We ordered the calamari and devoured that (and the bread + oil/balsamic) as an appetizer, even though we had just talked about how we should be careful with our cholesterol levels. Oops.

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Left: A view of the DTLA buildings. Right: The spaghetti vongole, YUM! They give you SO many clams, which pleases me. While I was telling Meesh a story, she devoured 3/4 of her dish and I had to eat pretty much by myself the rest of the meal. Hahaa.

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Indoor decor– exposed brick, antiquey furniture. Also– this restaurant is BYOB, which is always an awesome perk.

Maccheroni Republic
332 S. Broadway
Los Angeles, 90013

Tina Made Beef Donburi

[Note: This is a scheduled post while I’m away in Korea!]

You guys. I have a recipe for beef donburi (rice bowl) that’s BETTER than the beef bowl at Yoshinoya. I know, I know. IMPOSSIBLE, you say. Dear reader, today I am going to blow your mind.

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Okay seriously though, I only eat it like once a year, but the beef bowl at Yoshinoya is one of my guilty pleasures. Admitting I go there at all ranks up there with the fact that I’ve watched every single episode of The Bachelor/Bachelorette in the last 7 (to 10) seasons, including… wait for it… Bachelor Pad. Also the fact that I like to dip my flaming hot cheetos in cream cheese. Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it.

The recipe is from Just One Cookbook (tagline: “Quick and Easy Japanese Recipes”) and this dish was the first I’ve cooked from this site. I actually rarely cook any Asian dishes (in my mind they are all difficult) so this was my tentative foray into A Whole New World.

I stuck pretty close to the original recipe but made a couple modifications, noted below. I’m positive your dish will turn out yummy using either the original version or mine– but as always, tons of pictures below for you step-by-steppers.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 lb. (1 pkg) thinly sliced beef for Shabu Shabu (bought from Asian market)
  • 1 medium white onion, thinly sliced
  • 12 shiitake mushroom heads (increased x6 from original recipe)
  • 2 small yellow potatoes, peeled (or 1 small russet potato)
  • cooking oil
  • 1 T sugar (halved from original recipe)
  • 1 T corn starch
  • 3-4 servings of Japanese rice
  • red pickled ginger (optional, added from original recipe, bought from Asian market))
  • 3 T soy sauce*
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced*

*Substitute the soy sauce and garlic with this recipe for shiso garlic soy sauce, which is what the original recipe used

Seasoning Ingredients:

  • 1 T mirin (substituted for sake in original recipe)
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp. sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

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Cook rice. Wash potatoes and mushrooms. Peel skin of potatoes and break off stems of mushrooms and discard. Slice onions, potatoes, and mushrooms into strips. BTW, if you’ve never learned how to properly/easily chop an onion, you need to read this right now– this is the best way.

UNPICTURED STEP (out of sequence, but do NOW): The original recipe uses shiso garlic soy sauce (recipe linked above) to add to this dish towards the end. Because I couldn’t find shiso leaves at the Asian market I went to (and also because you’re supposed to let it sit for at least 24 hours), I ended up combining just the soy sauce (3 T) with 2 cloves of minced garlic in a tupperware container, and shaking it vigorously. Do this step now, and set aside for later.

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In a MEDIUM sized bowl, make your seasoning by mixing together the sea salt, mirin/sake, pepper, and garlic powder. Cut meat into strips, or do what I did and just shred it with your hands (the shabu shabu meat is super thinly sliced). Add meat to the bowl of seasoning, and mix well with your hand(s).

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Add corn starch to the meat and continue to mix with your hands (do what Just One Cookbook did and sprinkle it, instead of dumping it like me -_-). Set aside. Heat cooking oil to medium high heat in a large non-stick pan/wok. Sauté potatoes and onions until they are soft.

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Add the meat and shiitake mushrooms and continue to saute until meat is cooked. Add sugar and (shiso) garlic soy sauce. BTW, though the first picture way above shows only 6 shiitake mushrooms (already tripled from the original recipe), as I was cooking this I added… more. And by more I mean I doubled them to 12. I love them, okay?! Geez.

I don’t know why I’m so sensitive about these shiitake mushrooms right now. Maybe because they remind me of the time in college my ear got severely infected after I pierced my cartilage. When I asked my roomie Sarah to take a look at it, she examined it and thoughtfully said, “It looks like a shiitake mushroom.” She’s also the one who told me about Just One Cookbook, so all is forgiven Sarah. All is forgiven.

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Scoop white rice into a bowl, and top with your beef + veggie mix. As an option, garnish with red pickled ginger. ENJOY.

PS-  My ear has since returned to normal appearance (sans cartilage earring). Thanks for caring.

Marugame Monzo

[Note: This is a scheduled post while I’m away in Korea!]

Added another Little Tokyo staple to my list of go-to restaurants in LA. Marugame Monzo, an udon restaurant with fresh noodles made right in front of you! Let the pictures speak for themselves.

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Choose an udon, and choose tempura toppings. The second to last picture is of tempura hard-boiled eggs. They make it with the yoke just slightly undercooked (like Daikokuya‘s eggs, if ya’ll know what I’m talking about– which happens to be next door). I got the most basic udon (Kake udon) and it was a solid 4 stars with perfectly chewy noodles. They also have a bunch of different udons beyond the basic (e.g. curry udon, uni cream udon, squid butter udon), as well as non-udon dishes (e.g. pork belly bowl, beef tataki).

Looking at these pictures makes me want to go again (and again). Anyone?!

Marugame Monzo
329 E 1st St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012