Samstag, 8. August 2015

Summer Must-haves

Hi Pandas,

How are you doing? I'm just starting a week-end in Düssedorf, the city where I studied. It will be the last time for me visiting this city before I leave for Japan. So strange, I have so many memories here and I truly love this place.
Since I have some time to kill before meeting a friend I thought "why not relax at Starbucks and type something for my blog, while watching the city wake up?!".

So, depending on where you live, summer has officially started. Actually already for a while. In Germany, summer is strange as always. Some days are unbearably hot (aircons seem to be almost non-existant in this country....) and others feel much more like a rainy fall day than summer.

I've actually wanted to write this entry for quite a while and I'm probably almost too late but those unbearbly hot days combined with having a room on the 3rd floor without any air-conditioning and 8-9 hours working days have made me quite lazy.
Maybe (hopefully?) this post can be still useful to some nevertheless, even if it's just for next summer.

I'm more of a winter person. Maybe it's because I was born in November or because Germans are considered a "cold" People (I'm quoting my Chinese boyfriend here XD) and our climate is rather cold than hot, but I've always loved winter and snow. Give me enough clothes and I can stay outside in the snow for hours.
Summer has always been kind of a torture for me. I feel hot, I feel dizzy, I sweat, no appetite and no matter how few clothes I wear I still feel hot and uncomfortable.

Then I was in Japan. And compared to a Japanese summer a German summer - no matter how hot or humid - is a piece of a cake. I wasn't prepared at all for Japanese / Asian summer. It hit me full force. I even developed a heat migraine.

On the bright side I had to really look for things that help me deal with the heat better.
And I must say, that I actually feel like I can tolerate the heat a bit better this year.

This is something I already own for about 10 years. With my parents I went on vacation to La Réunion once. La Réunion is a very small island next to Madagascar and also an oversea department of France. This was probably one of the most fantasic journeys in my life. It's such a small island yet so many cultures and religions co-exist.
At that time my mom was still working for the police and was part of an international police organization. She made contact with a local police officer and he showed us various things. One of them was this piece of clothing.
It is a huge cloth made out of very thin and flowy fabric. He showed us various ways to tie and wear it and also the name.
Sadly I forgot the name. According to my Research it is called Sarong, Lung(h)i or Pareo. In this case Pareo is the correct name I guess since it appears on a lot of French sites.
Those types of cloth are worn by many Islands Folks.
And let me tell you, this is such a bliss on hot summer days!
I usually wear it the easiest way. Drap it around my back, cross the ends over my breasts and tie it behind my back (it Looks a bit like Daenary's dress). This way it is very flowy and open. Of course this is nothing you can wear to work or outside. But it|s already so refreshing to put this one when you come back from work or when at the beach. I'm not showing you a picture of me wearing it because it is quite see-through XD

If you get the chance to buy a Pareo, do it! You won't regret it!

The next one is probably a no-brainer: sunscreen.
Ever since I started using chemical peelings I have become a little obsessed with sunscreen. People already make fun of me for using sunscreen every day and talking about it at every given chance (unknowing fools! You will envy me in 40 years when my skin is still awesome and yours wrinkly *shakes fist*).
Sunscreen does not only protect you from harmful sunrays and from (the most obvious consequence) sunburns but can also help prevent wrinkles. And let's be honest, who wants wrinkles?
My problem was always finding a sunscreen that I was okay with putting on my face everyday. A lot of the sunscreens here in Germany are the typical "beach/vacation" sunscreens. Heavy, oily and greasy.
But fear not, there is hope: Asian sunscreen. Asians do wear sunscreen everyday. I noticed that the sun was a bit harsher in Japan than it is in Germany so I can totally understand wanting to protect your skin. So naturally the Japanese/Asian market does demand sunscreens that can be worn daily. The result = nice, lightweight sunscreens. For now I have been only using Korean sunscreens but as soon as I'm back in Japan I plan on trying the oh-so-famous Biore sunscreens.
Both, the Innisfree and Ciracle ones here are really nice to spread and sink in rather fast. I really like using them because it doesn't feel like I'm drowning and clogging my face in heavy layers of oil and crease. We will go on vacation to France soon so I ordered a sunscreen with higher SPF but these two are definitely nice for winter/fall/spring.

Sunglasses, another no-brainer. My eyes are quite sensitive and since I also do have migraines I can't really go outside without sunglasses on a sunny day. These are cheap ones from Korea but perfect for my way to work and at work since I won't be sad if they break. I would advise anyone to get a pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun. The same with skin you might not immediately notice the harm of the sun but a lot of sun can be very tiring for the eyes.

My mom always says "wear a hat or else you'll get a sunstroke!". I never really believed it but now that I have a hat that I also wear quite frequently I do notice the difference. A hat can make you sweat  bit more because it will trap the heat underneath but I wouldn't do our after-lunch-walk at work without a hat anymore. I also thinks it looks quite cute and reminds me of vacation and beaches, that's a plus.
There are so many types of hats and basecaps, I'm sure everyone can find something. So, go wear a hat! (Now I sound like my mom XD)

I still remember the first time I was "forced" to use a mist.
We were at a Sumo fight in Japan with all the exchange students. Suddenly one of the Korean girls pulled out a mist from her bag, all other Korean went crazy ("Me, too! Me, too!") and then she turned to me and said: "You want something, too? Close your eyes!". I was kinda shocked so I just closed my eyes and she sprayed my face. That was my first experience with facial mists XD
We do have mists in Germany but they are pretty boring and have a "beach / vacation" label so I never really see anyone using them. I also get weird looks when I use one in public.

But, they are so awesome, I don't really mind. The mini bebe one is for my bag and on hot days I'm really thankful for it. It's just so refreshing to use a mist when it's hot and sticky. It also does smell nicely like peaches, everyone always comments on that as soon as I use it XD
The Innisfree one is new so I can't say much about it yet. Since I'm drawn to anything green tea I had to get this mist. It does feel really nice, the distribution is very even, the spray is fine and the scent is really, really nice. I have a feeling this will become an all-time favourite.

Deo-water is something that I saw for the first time when I was in Japan. Do not confuse this with deodorant. For me, as a sweaty white person, this does not really provide any protection from sweat or smell.
This product is basically water infused with powder. I got to love it as an in-between refreshment spray. You could basically see it as a mist for the body. Those I used all had a minty / tingly feeling so it cooled down my skin immediately and made me feel refreshed. This is really nice when I come home from work and I feel hot and sweaty but don't want to shower yet. Spray it on and feel less disgusting.
This does however contain alcohol and mint so do not use it on your face (well, you can try...I wouldn't advise it however) and refrain from using it if the skin on your body is sensitive towards alcohol or mint.

Insect repellent spray is a must. This one is especially against mosquitos. This year it feels like Germany is overflowing with mosquitos and insects. That my hometown is directly at a huge lake doesn't exactly help either. And I'm bloodtype B. A perfect combination for mosquitos to bite me.
So I like to have insect repellent spray around and I often spray it on my ankles, wrists and torso before sleeping.

Seeing baby powder here might seem strange at first. I got this tip from a German-based Phillipino youtuber. She said that it's common in her family to powder yourself with baby powder before sleeping in summer. If you think about it, it does make sense. Baby powder is supposed to trap moisture. And sweat is a kind of moisture.
And boy, it does feel good to powder yourself with baby powder. It makes my skin feel smooth, soft but dry. I sometimes even powder myself before work. This dry and smooth feeling doesn't last too long but it does help falling asleep on hot summer nights. I'd advice you to give it a shot.

A fan is a staple for me in summer! This one is quite old. I got it from my friend and since we're both big fans of 2PM she painted the 2PM logo on it and I added the names XD
It is so nice to be able to cool yourself down with a fan, especially since a lot of public places in Germany don't have air-conditioning as well (for example trains....the horror).
If you want to be more practical you can get one of those folding fans, they really don't take up a lot of space in your bag and can be a savior. Also great for parties!

The pretty red thing you see here is a Tenugui (手拭い). This may or may not be another thing that is exclusive to Japan. The literal translation would be "Hand + wiping" - this also already indicates one of the main uses: wiping your hands after washing them.
A lot of public toilets in Japan I've been to had no paper towels or towels in general provided so bringing along your own towel was really handy. A Tenugui has other uses as well: headband, washing cloth in the shower, gift wrapping, bento box wrapping, etc.
I also liked to use it to wipe off the sweat of my face during summer. There is some discrepancy on the internet whether wiping off sweat should be done with a Tenugui or a handkerchief. Honestly, if it works, it works! And for me a Tenugui does work. The cloth is really light so it does feel nice and lighter than a towel. and those nice colors and patterns are so nice to look at.

Last but not least: my favourite drink in summer, Mugi-cha.
This is barely tea and screams just plain "summer" to me.
In summer it is essential to drink enough. Through sweating you "lose" quite a lot of liquid and should try to compensate this amount by drinking. However, just drinking plain water all day can become really boring.
Cold teas are my go-to in summer when I need some diversity but don't want to drink juices (they sometimes feel "heavy" and too sugery for me).
Mugi-cha does have quite a unique taste and I've had a lot of people tell me, that they don't like it.
I personally really enjoy it.
This one are pre-made little bags. I just put one bag in about 0,5-1 Litre of water, pop it in the fridge and after a few hours it's done. The longer you let the bag in the water, the stronger the flavor so you can decide by yourself how strong you want the Mugi-cha to be.
I couldn't imagine summer without Mugi-cha anymore.

This was it. Of course this list is not extensive and not universal.
So, tell me, what are your summer must haves? Things I mentioned in this post or something completely different?

With this, I hope you enjoy the summer and have a lot of fun =D


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