Fancy Brown Rice Porridge Recipe & The @mangerseul Revival

If you follow my culinary adventures @mangerseul, you might have noticed that my posts dropped off in July 2018. 

A lot changed, a lot happened. 

It was difficult, heartbreaking, tragic. 

All in all, 2018 was a very tough year. 

But it’s officially 2019, and I’ve spent a lot of time over the last 6 months healing, breathing, living, mediating; and I’m ready to make it up.

Inspiration for the Manger Seul Revival

These first days of 2019 have been rainy ones here in San Francisco.  So I decided to start off the year with a #mangerseul revival that would be ultra comforting in multifaceted ways. 

Rice porridge is a common comfort food that my mother, grandmothers, and aunties have made throughout my life (& for generations before I’m sure).  Using varied meat, seafood, and vegetable stocks, a common theme to them all is that they were slowly cooked, full of love to nourish and ginger to warm the body & soul.

On the other hand, one of my favourite things to eat in one of my favourite SF-fog-escapes – Los Angeles – is the savory long-cooked chicken & rice porridge at SQIRL in Silver Lake.  (Go there if you haven’t. Order the savory porridge.  Share a ricotta toast too. OMG.)

So, from those inspirations, tonight I put together a savory long-cooked chicken, ginger & brown rice porridge with tuscan kale sautéed with rosemary roasted garlic in coconut oil, a tomato sauce cooked down in himalayan salt ghee, fresh avocado, green onion, a poached egg & a sprinkling of Maldon sea salt flakes & nutritional yeast.

I really just winged this one, but y’all I even surprised myself – it was really freakin’ delicious!

There’s a big pot here now (I’m not really sure how to cook porridge, stews, etc. for just one serving); so if I know & love you, come over, leave happy. 

A loose recipe for a delicious meal!

The following are general instructions for how I made this batch (sorry it’s not a really well thought out recipe at this point – I completely winged it; though I’m sure I’ll do many more specific & prescriptive fancy rice porridges this winter!). If you’d like a better idea of what I’m describing below, there’ll be an Instagram story @mangerseul (called “January 2019 🍜”) with some photos & videos of what this all looks like.

  • I actually started cooking down the base of the porridge last night when I couldn’t sleep #yay. I was using fresh chicken thighs that I wanted to cook for so long enough that it’d become melt-off-the-bones shredded chicken (without having to actually shred it).  
  • Combine 3 cups of already-steamed/cooked brown rice with a quart of unsalted chicken broth, 3 chicken thighs, 3 cups of water, and a ~6 inch long (perhaps 3/4 inch in diameter) piece of fresh ginger (peeled & smashed with a meat cleaver or mallet).  
  • Simmer that down on low heat for a few hours, stirring occasionally so that the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom.  
  • Add water as needed for your desired consistency (I like my rice porridge more soupy) and salt & pepper to taste. (*FWIW I was up late last night feeling a little heartbroken so there might’ve been additional salty teardrops flavouring this base… hah or nah?)
  • Once the chicken thighs are at the aforementioned consistency, remove the bones, and mix in the chicken.
  • In a separate pan, sauté together ~1 tablespoon of coconut oil, 4 cups of chopped organic tuscan kale and your pre-roasted & peeled bulb of garlic (I like to roast my garlic by: 1.) cutting the top off of a bulb of garlic, putting it on a piece of aluminum foil, drizzling with extra virgin olive oil, adding fresh rosemary and a teaspoon of butter, 2) wrapping that all in aluminum foil all around the bulb, 3) throwing it in the oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees or until the garlic is soft and can be squeezed out of its peel into a paste-like consistency).  Remove the sautéed garlicky kale from your pan.
  • In that same pan with all the garlicky remnants, add ~1 tablespoon of himalayan salt infused ghee & 4 medium-sized coarsely chopped tomatoes & ~1 tablespoon of chili pepper oil (I use a Burmese kind with actual chili flakes in it that my cousin’s grandfather likes). Cook down until it’s a thickened tomato sauce.
  • Stir the tomato sauce into the brown rice porridge.
  • To serve, top the porridge with some of the sautéed kale, sliced avocado, a poached egg, & a sprinkling of Maldon sea salt flakes and nutritional yeast.

I think I’d like to try adding different grains – maybe quinoa or chia – for some more texture next time.  I really do love rice porridge though – it’s such a tasty & comforting breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Let me know if you have any tips or if you try it out! Also, keep an eye out for some extra #mangerseul posts as I try to make up for those few missed months. Always looking for new inspiration, so send me ideas too!

Love,

Huckleberry Kim

Huck’s Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

I’ve spent years now trying to make the perfect chocolate chip cookie, and here it is friends, a recipe that I think is pretty perfect.  I’m actually not really into cookies myself, so why did I spend all of this time and long trips hauling heavy bags of flours & chocolates from the market through some lackluster and weird experiments?…

Love.

(#barf I know, once a hopeless romantic, always one, right? Don’t worry this one’s not a fairytale ending.)

Like everything I try to do in this life, this perfect chocolate chip journey was borne of love… after I’d fallen swiftly and deeply in love with a man who really, really loves chocolate chip cookies.  What was strange & part of what inspired me was that he generally was not into sweets at all (plus, we both ate quite healthily); so I found his idiosyncratic obsession with chocolate chip cookies very endearing.  And for better or for worse, I’d pretty much do anything for the ones I love…so off I went to bake hundreds of cookies.

I tried to think of the best chocolate chip cookies I’d ever had (t’was a challenge since I don’t eat them often), and of course, I thought to Levain Bakery in NYC (where folks wait around for hours, outside, in the rain & snow to get these cookies).  Then I thought of the other people in my life who really loved a good chocolate chip cookie, and my sweet auntie Diem was one who loved to bake chocolate chip cookies with her two daughters Audrey & Natalie.  She actually pointed me in the direction of the perfect chocolate for these cookies after I’d explained to her all of my experimenting with different types (dark, milk, semi-sweet, etc), cacao percentages, shapes (chips, chunks, etc.), and combinations (10% this, 20% that, etc.).

Anyway, long story short, my relationship with cookie man didn’t last, but this recipe is finally ready, y’all!  There’s a lot of love that went into it, so if you try it out, I’d love to hear what you think.

Served warmly (with a glass of cold milk on the side),

Tiny Huck

 

Huckleberry Kim’s Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 2/3 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
  • 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cold
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, cold
  • 2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
  • 1 Trader Joes “Pound Plus” Dark Chocolate Bar coarsely chopped up
  • Maldon sea salt flakes & charcoal infused sea salt crystals

Instructions:

1. Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.

2. Using a paddle attachment on your mixer, cream together your cold butter cubes & all 3 types of sugar together until very light, about 5 minutes.

3. Add cold eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

4. Add in the vanilla.

5. Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

6. Drop chocolate pieces in and fold them into the dough. Make sure you use all of the chocolate (the large chunks mixed with the sandy chocolate shavings from chopping it up with a knife are key to this recipe!)

7. If you have time, wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for up to 24 hours (or as long as you can) You can use the dough in batches.  Sometimes if I have extra, I’ll freeze it & it still bakes wonderfully after a quick defrost.

8. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees.

9. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat.

10. Scoop mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet – make sure each is in a rough spherical ball shape (but try not to roll them). Each ought to be placed about 2 inches apart on the baking sheet.

11. Add a light sprinkling of the Maldon flakes & charcoal sea salt on the top of each cookie, & pat the top of each one ever so lightly with a lot of love in your heart (to flatten them just a bit).

12. Bake until light golden brown but still soft (depending on your oven this can take 15-20 minutes. Watch them closely. DO NOT OVER BAKE THIS RECIPE!  When in doubt take the cookies out early (they continue to cook as they cool), and it will ruin them if you overcook.

13. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool for at least 10 minutes.

14. Enjoy warm!

Huck’s Autumn 2018 Lip Care Review 💋

When considering experimenting with fun lip colours – 

liners, sticks, liquids, glosses, etc. + see one of my favorite classic matte reds below –

you’ve got to start by taking care of what’s underneath,

so, let’s 👏 talk 👏 about 👏 lip 👏 care! 👏

The skincare-first movement has taken the US beauty market by storm over the last few years – undoubtedly inspired by gracefully aging parents (hat-tip to my mama & aunties 🎩) and a self-care information diaspora (especially from cultures through Asia & Europe more focused on long-lasting preventative measures rather than quick, cosmetic fixes), which has made best-practices, product reviews & recommendations available at all of our finger tips. If you zoom in from that lens, there’s also an incredible, growing natural & organic beauty movement as well that is specifically focused on products crafted with the best natural & organic ingredients.  If we’re going to put a lot of care into the quality of foods we consume, there’s no reason we shouldn’t have similar considerations for products we use that we breathe in or apply to our skin right?

[For a great resource on natural & organic beauty, check out my friend, Mikaela’s, site & her YouTube channel; she shares a lot of great information on the topic!  What I also love is that with her background as a makeup artist, she draws a great balance between natural & organic wellness regimens while still sharing fun looks & occasion ideas from her full kit that she uses on clients.]

 Anyway, from what I’ve seen, lip care can often be an overlooked detail of this “skincare-first” movement.  “Lip care too?!” one might think – after all, skincare alone can be a big investment and also daunting when you don’t know if a product will work for your skin type (I’ve had girlfriends who’ve dropped $$$ on luxury products that have caused allergic reactions like hives & swelling).

*Also to be clear, I think lip care is important for guys too.  No one wants to smooch your crusty lips, dawg.

So, as a full-lipped gal,

I wanted to contribute my 2¢ into the lip care information diaspora

because I’ve really come to appreciate the significance of

our too-often-neglect lips

despite their central existence on our faces

from which we speak to each other, eat & drink to nourish our bodies, and of course, smooch with 😘 

🙊 I haven’t always been so pro-lip though… 🙊

When I was just a wee baby Huckleberry, one of my nicknames was “mỏ chu”, which loosely translates to “pouty lips” but in a playful way because “mỏ” is usually used to describe a bird’s beak or snout 😹.  So I’ve always had full lips, but I definitely spent many years trying to hide them.  I never used to put anything on them – not even a balm & especially not any colours or glosses – and actually went through a phase during my teens of kind of concealing them because I just thought they were too big & stood out too much for my face.

Baby Huck with big bro:

⚡️ And around I came, struck by the bolt of self-love I needed to embrace my “mỏ chu” smoochers ⚡️

Over the last few years, I’ve had a lot of fun experimenting with many bold to natural lip looks as a way to play around with my creative physical expression.  And through these experiments, I have really learnt the significance of quality lip care and wanted to share a few of my lip care best practices & experiences with products.

Huck’s Lip Care Best Practice #1: Stay hydrated!

Ok, this one’s kind of an obvious one – like any part of your body, if your lips are dehydrated you’ll be able to both feel & see it so drink up that H2O y’all!  The amount of water a person should consume per day to stay hydrated varies a lot depending on the environment you live/work in, your level of activity, what other things you consume, your physiological uniqueness (e.g. weight or fluid retention).  If you’re like me and a frenzied schedule or forgetfulness can contribute to your dehydration, there are a lot of fun (and/or basic) hydration apps you can use on your smart phone.  Here are some easy to use examples:

+ the native iOS Apple Health app

+ many fitness trackers like MyFitnessPal (iOS) include a water tracker

+ Daily Water is an iOS app that specifically focuses on hydration & Gulp is a good Android option.

+ Personally, I’m loving Plant Nanny which is a fun hydration app that lets you grow a sweet lil virtual plant on your phone as you hydrate IRL!

Huck’s Lip Care Best Practice #2: Exfoliate!

A lot of folks skip out on this step but it’s a really important one especially for our lips that are getting a lot of use between talking, eating & drinking.  Again the frequency by which you should add an exfoliating step into your lip care routine will vary depending a lot including your unique body, hydration levels, environment, or season.  A super low-maintenance way to start exfoliating your lips a few times a week is with your toothbrush (apply any kind of balm to your lips, wet your toothbrush a bit & just brush away!).  You could also go down the lip scrub route – either DIY (this PopSugar article has a simple recipe of sugar & Vaseline) or a pre-packaged sort.  The following are a few notes on some great lip scrubbies I’ve tried lately:

1. Sara Happ’s Lip Scrubs (Trio of 2 scrubs + “Lip Slip” balm for $44 at QV)  ♥️HUCKLEBERRY FAVORITE! ♥️

+ I’m in L👏O👏V👏E👏 with both the pink Grapefruit & sparkling Bellini lip scrubs from Sara Happ – the sugar is a lovely fine grain but still tough enough to get the job done, while the flavours are bright & fun but not overly perfume-y or artificial (this is important for my personal tastes, but also one of my ex-boyfriends really hated strong flavoured things – esp. the cherry version of balm dotcom I used to use often from Glossier 😿)

+ I just started testing out the Lip Slip, which is their super luxurious feeling nourishing balm (*this should actually go in the next “Nourish” section below); TBD how I feel about it.  Though I like how thick it is, which I think will be good for chillier & drier seasons, the formula is a little too sticky for my liking.

This is what it looks like once you’ve worked the scrub into your lips:

And this is after using the balm “Lip Slip” by Sara Happ:

2. Fresh Sugar Lip Polish ($24 at Sephora) + This lip polish was my saviour during a weekend in LA this past summer.  It’s an effective product with great ingredients – like most of what I’ve tried from Fresh.  I only haven’t purchased it myself (I’d borrowed my friend’s while we were in LA) because it wasn’t available the last time in-store when I was at Sephora).

3. Beauty by PopSugar’s Be Smooth Sugar Scrub ($22 at Ulta) (*or in this $27 kit that includes the scrub + their Be Well nourishing balm)

+ Love the twist up format (unlike most lip scrubs that come in little pots), but it can get a bit messy with application due to this design choice.

+ Formulated with a finer grained sugar, I think this is a good option if your skin is more sensitive & you’re newer to the lip exfoliating game.

+ The designs on the outside of the packaging started to bleed/fade a bit after I carried it around in my bags for a while, which isn’t terrible but but also not ideal.

+ Havent tried their kit which includes the balm, but would be curious to check it out too!

Huck’s Lip Care Best Practice #3: Nourish (then protect)!

A lot of popular lip care products – like lip balms are meant to nourish and protect (though usually more geared towards the latter I think – but I think calling out the nourishing element is super key in taking care of your lips.  You don’t just want something that’s going to sit on top; to nourish your lips better, you should use something that will absorb well – like creams & oils – in addition to your balms.  Here are a few of my favourite lip nourishing products:

1. Drunk Elephant’s Luxury Marula Facial Oil ($40-72 depending on the size you get) ♥️HUCKLEBERRY FAVORITE! ♥️

+ Marula oil has become much more well-known for its skincare benefits – but what many don’t know is that this can extend to your lip care.  I use this all over my face a few times a week, but most nights I’ll dab a bit on my lips to absorb in and make them super soft when I wake up in the mornings.

2. Aesop Rosehip seed Lip Cream $15 (on sale for $9 from End Clothing right now, but spend at least $60 there for free shipping) ♥️HUCKLEBERRY FAVORITE! ♥️

+ This lip cream is a game changer if you don’t like the feeling of a balm sitting on top of your lips like a film (balms are more for nourish+protect in my opinion).  As an amazing nourishing step, Aesop’s lip cream will absorb into your lips and you can apply it before a more protective balm.  I use this multiple times a day because it feels so nourishing & luxurious.

+ Who doesn’t love Aesop’s branding and packaging, right (see following photo)? but I will admit that the flexibility of the aluminum/tin? packaging for the lip cream did cause the end to burst while bumping around in my bags (so that was annoying when it leaked a bit, but I dealt with that by just rolling up the end like a tube of toothpaste)

  3. Glossier’s universal balm dotcom ($12) *they’ll also often do a trio pack at a slightly discounted price

+ Despite my ex’s aversion to the cherry flavour of this product, I love the slight pink tint it provides to your lips (also great for cheeks in a pinch).  And as a bit of a Glossier fanatic, I have all the flavours – original, rose, cherry, mint, coconut & the birthday cake collab with Momofuku milk bar – and use them depending on my mood.  It’s like the modern version of the ’90s kids’ Lip Smackers but with great ingredients.  Additionally, the “universal” factor is great – you can use this on your lips, skin, cuticles, anything (I’ll usually reserve the fragrance free “original” one for non-lip usage).
+ After reading the reviews on this item, it was a bit of a luxe splurge for me since it’s pretty small and $30 for a single lip balm.  I love Tatcha’s position as a clean beauty brand – and they use really high-quality ingredients in all of their products (in addition to the really nourishing camellia oil in this very nourishing balm, there are also flecks of real 23-karat gold that provides a light sheen which is nice.
Alrighty, that’s it for now!
I would love to hear about what you’re using to keep your smoochers soft & supple through the seasons!  Scroll to the bottom for some fun highlights of my favourite lip colours (which I 100% know that I’m able to play with because I’m taking care of what’s underneath first!)

& as the Glossier slogan goes:

^ Just don’t forget about the lip care part of that too! ^

♥️ Huck

😘 Bonus: for fun, my current colour go-to’s:

+ Stila All Day Liquid Lipstick in Beso (Regular price $22 at Sephora | on sale for $13.50 now at Ulta)

+ Mac’s lip liner in Spice (Duo with lipstick & liner $34 from Harrod’s)

+ Glossier’s Generation G sheer matte lipsticks in Crush & Jam ($18 each from Glossieruse this link for 10% off)

 

Why I Love Halloween : A Huckleberry Perspective

Since I was a child, Halloween has always been a favourite holiday of mine. A lot of people in my life know this, but they don’t really know why; so I thought I’d write it down ☺️

First, to share a bit about my “Huckleberry” background:

I grew up in a very small Northern Californian town – formerly a Gold Rush town turned ghost town according to Wikipedia.com – with my parents and older brother.  Though my parents were an engineer & artist by trade, they decided to raise us on a small farm in the country after a sports car nearly hit my brother on his tricycle in the suburbs where they first started nesting.  I’d probably be very different now if not for the universal synchronicity of some fool showing off his new whip making my parents decide to move.  

Anyway, last quick stroke to paint the picture: 

  • there were more animals than people around, our pastures had grazing lambs, goats, piggies, chickens, dogs & cat (Dan) and the occasional visiting alpaca (*I always think my personality today can be rather lamb-like since I had more lamb-friends than human-friends growing up),
  • nighttime was actually dark & quiet with the skies sprinkled with starlight, 
  • I made fresh jam with my mother during the summertime from berries I’d picked from the property
  • my brother and I would go fishing up at our neighbor’s pond just about every week when the weather was nice

I know, it sounds all really delightful and picturesque through that lens; though nothing in life is perfect right?

Growing up in a really small town, with all that comes with the homogenous “redneck” country stereotypes, had its own implicit drawbacks as one of the few minority families of colour. For example:

  • I explicitly remember the first time I was bluntly called a “stupid chink” by another child at school.  My innocent, lamb-like sensibilities couldn’t understand why this boy was calling me a derogatory word for a Chinese person; I wasn’t even Chinese after all.
  • Even from a young age, I noticed how people treated my mother differently when we’d go into the town.
  • For most of my childhood, I didn’t go by my given name since it too difficult for a lot of people to wrap their heads around.
  • Though, technically speaking, English wasn’t my first language (my grandparents spent a lot of time babysitting when we were little & mostly spoke to us in Vietnamese), I remember being called into the counselor’s office senior year of high school & being asked if I was having trouble understanding my teachers & classmates (please note: I was pretty much top of my class at the time…)  

So yes, wonderful but not perfect. 

You know that scene in Beauty & the Beast where Belle describes her “Little town, it’s a quiet village… Every day like the one before… Little town, full of little people” and her yearning that “There must be more than this provincial life!” – yeah that’s pretty much what drove me to daydream of growing up and moving to New York or San Francisco, where I figured people had to be more open-minded & accepting of human differences & weirdnesses.  (Come to think of it, that story’s a pretty great representation of my love life too…more on that some other time.)

All that being said, the culturally ingrained “otherness” or “weirdness” I experienced as a child was the first slow but big catalyst for my love of Halloween.

I love Halloween because: It’s A Platform for Equitable Weirdness (that can connect strangers in a positive & inspiring way)

The modern Halloween I’ve experienced is such a special time where we all get to celebrate our weirdness & creativity on the same platform; and of course the children have the extra perks of getting to adventure around asking strangers for treats. 

Not only are the more macro-cultural traditions unique in creating this platform for equitable weirdness to bring strangers together, Halloween can also help bring one closer with friends & family through the development of shared traditions.  

As a child, I loved having the privilege of dreaming up ideas and bringing them to life in creative ways with the help of my parents & brother.  My deep fondness for group-themed costumes developed from an early age when my brother and I dressed in synchronized costumes as odd-coloured M&Ms (he was turquoise & I was pink) one year (*This was before Mars started producing the custom candies).  As an adult, that shared tradition I loved grew into me helping my aunt come up with creative ways to bring her daughters’ creative dreams to life. 

I love Halloween because: It’s A Way To Create Shared Traditions With Loved Ones

Many ancient Halloween origin stories associate the holiday to a day to spend remembering the dead (similar to Dia de los Muertos).  Though I didn’t grow up religiously at all, this concept has always resonated with me because my family did keep certain Buddhist traditions from our ancestry, such as đám giỗ (also observed but called different names in other cultures, e.g. Meinichi (命日) in Japan, Śrāddha in India, or Yahrtzeit in Judaism) – which is a time where we commemorate loved ones who’ve passed away.

This year will be the first year in a long time I won’t get to sync up with my aunt, Diem, on Halloween ideas as she passed away earlier this past summer.  I already miss her so much regardless of our shared love of Halloween.  Though rather than thinking of today as really difficult for that reason, I’d like to use it as another opportunity to remember all of our great shared memories.  She was an extraordinary person who lived a beautiful life, and I’ll take every opportunity I can to commemorate & celebrate that and to keep & share the love & creativity she embodied during her lifetime.

http://bit.ly/rememberingDiem

I love that Halloween comes from a place of love & creativity.

So yeah, I love Halloween & I’ll probably keep loving it until forever-o-clock. 

I hope that sharing my “weirdness” on the regular – but especially on Halloween – can make some minuscule impact in the universe by inspiring connections between people, inciting human creativity, and chipping away at the basic notion of “normal”.  Nothing is normal – especially not people; and if you think about the “normal” things in human history, we’ve actually spent a lot of time and energy to make progress, innovate, create new things, ideas, values, experiences, etc. to improve the world!  So keep up the weird y’all & as always, let me know if you need Halloweird ideas or guidance – I love to help!

Happy Halloween, ya filthy animals.

♥️ Love, Huck

BTW, I started a Huckleberry Halloween Archive – check it out and leave a comment to let me know which ones are your favourites!

*** Halloween 2018***

👸🏻 SNOW WHITE & HER POISONED APPLE ☠️🍎

#BiteMe 

☠️ 💀 ☠️ 💀 ☠️ 💀 ☠️ 💀 ☠️ 💀 ☠️ 💀 ☠️ 💀 ☠️ 💀 ☠️ 💀 ☠️ 💀 ☠️ 💀 ☠️ 💀 ☠️ ☠️ 💀 ☠️ 💀 ☠️ 

* this post was edited on 11/01/2018 to include photos from Halloween 2018.

You’re Not My Boyfriend

My best friend and I were in a “band” in high school.

We called ourselves Trendy Wendy, for obvious reasons, which have yet to change.

We had one die-hard fan; his name was Kyle.

He drew this for us and posted it on an old website called MySpace.com:

Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 10.01.43 AM

This song’s called You’re Not My Boyfriend.

It was written in the summer of 2006 and released in 2007.

My 16-year-old self definitely wrote this before I’d truly experienced what I’d consider to be a real relationship / boyfriend,

but I still think some parts are fun / relevant.

And that’s what makes it magic.

It is an over-share, & I’m ok with that.

Please, enjoy.

(And leave funny comments.)

xx,

#huckleberrygrooves

An Unexpected Love Letter

I felt compelled to write this because of the difference in responses I’ve received over the last 6 years doing what I do.

I felt compelled to write this because of the good press, viral bad press, in-the-middle press Influencers have gotten over the last many years.

I felt compelled to write this because my team launched a huge product update today that I’m really freakin’ proud of.

We rebuilt an entire platform –

from the countless financial models I created, to the thousands of lines of code my team wrote and the endless designs sketched & copy written.  This platform serves thousands of Influencers, all around the world, who have bootstrapped businesses that inspire others with their creativity and help pay for their (or their employees’) student loans, rent, for their kids’ educations, to care for aging loved ones, and yes, sometimes for an extravagant Prada bag.

I’m a product manager; in my current role, my main objective is to use innovative technologies & creative strategies to help Influencers monetize their influence.

The thing is….when I say,

“I build tools to support a global network of entrepreneurs to develop & scale growth of their businesses.”

I get very different reactions from when I say,

“I build tools for Influencers.”

For me, they’re synonymous.  But I’m also really close to it.

The former gets a response of approval, awe, & validation.

And the latter response I get, when I say “Influencer”, usually evokes a negative reaction as if I’d used a dirty word, and ugh, I’m sick of it.  

Green-with-envy isn’t a good color on anyone y’all, and “Influencer” is not a dirty word.

How can we chip away at the negative stigma surrounding this subset of hard-working & creative entreprenuers?

What if we all just started being more empathetic to each other at a basal level?

Regardless of our different interests, focuses, backgrounds, sexes, body-types, educational achievements, bank accounts, et cetera.

Don’t we want our children to have more and more diverse role-models to look up to – not simply a select 1% of industry titans & 6’2″ air-brushed supermodels?

___

When a tall, handsome, white man achieves professional successes

– in finance, engineering, gaming, entrepreneur-ing, whatever else –

he is admired & applauded for his courage to take risks, his mental tenacity, his unique smarts & savvy.

And when he celebrates his success by buying a Tesla,

we cheer him on.

___

So, my dear Influencers – you’re not always the easiest to work with nor to build tech for – but I applaud & celebrate you & your achievements.

I am really freakin’ proud to build tools that help men & womyn,

anywhere in the world,

with the courage to take risks bootstrapping their entrepreneurial endeavors,

with the mental tenacity to get through the growing pains (& all the haters),

with the most unique smarts & savvy – technically, creatively, strategically,

to subsist & thrive independently, supporting their families, contributing to the passion & inspiration of others, and yes, sometimes celebrating their achievements with

a Prada bag.

Love ya, mean it.

xo, Huckleberry Kim

Farewell, My Love | A Bronchitis-Epiphany of Self Love

If you’ve spent any notable amount of time with me in the last 10 years, you’d know how I feel about New York.

It didn’t take long for me to fall and to fall hard.

A self-proclaimed Brooklyn-girl I’d quickly become, after dragging my suitcase between West Chelsea and East Williamsburg for six months.

Baby, I’d become elated to find any reason to be with you –

if just for a quick weekend

or half of a fashion week.  

I’d cry on every car ride out of the city to the airport –

missing you before I’d even gone.

Back in California, I yearned to be reunited with you, my sweet babe… my darling New York…your streets I could not walk but only float down.

“All I want is a real NYC bagel,” I’d yearn.

“New York taught me how to be a strong-ass independent woman – full of pride and power – who don’t take not crap off of nobody,” I’d fondly reminisce.

New York saved me,” I believed with such certainty.

And then it hit me, while walking through Central Park this week, recovering from one of the worst colds (#bronchitisEpiphany) I’ve experienced in years:

I love you New York, my sweet babe,

but you did not teach me how to be a strong-ass independent woman, full of pride & power.

You did not save me.

I did that. 

Yes, I did that all by my damn self, playboy.  Because I have been a strong-ass independent woman, full of pride & power for a long time before you and will continue to be after.

Your bagels certainly helped, but no amount of specialty carb can truly save someone.

That warmth and magic that I thought was all you, well it was actually coming from me.

So as I am grateful for what we shared and as I will always love you,

I’m not in love with you anymore, baby.

I’m actually finally falling in love with me. ✌

photo of a NYC photo in my California home, by my favorite photographer.

 

 

manger seul

 

i’ve spent a lot of time putting together complex recipes & extravagant menus for others – from perfecting a chocolate chip cookie for a boy i fell in love with (down to number of granules of volcanic sea salt i sprinkle on top) to going to barcelona for one day to learn how to make paella for a family feast.

my mother calls me a word in vietnamese that i cannot actually spell, but all that’s relevant is that it effectively translates to “being v extra”. it’s just who i am – i’m an all-in kind of girl.

i truly love cooking for others. to feed the ones i love is an innate instinct for me – a demonstration of care & love that i undoubtedly inherited from the endless matriarchs who raised me. i was pretty much born to become an overbearing grandma

conversely, i rarely cook for myself. if i actually have dinner, it’s most often a glass of some red varietal paired with a handful of something produced by Haribo.

we’re going to change that.

my last lengthy personal challenge was to practice playing guitar until i had enough confidence to play in front of another human (shout-out to that housekeeper in mykonos for helping me succeed). this time i want to practice some over-effing-due #selflove. i can’t recall the last time anyone cooked for me (except my homegirl mckittrick who makes me easy mac at the office with so much love). so now, i’m going to take a day at least once a month to make myself a balls-out incredible meal, and no one else is invited. keeping accountable: one fancy meal at a time @mangerseul

what should I make next?

 

Dream Denim: RE/DONE

If you’ve been following Huckleberry Kim (Hi, Mom!), you’ll know that I have this weird thing about pants.  And you know what,

I was right all along.

When the right pants come along y’all…

Last week, I stumbled into Curve on Fillmore with no intentions of meeting anyone, but there they were…these great patchwork RE/DONE jeans that happened to be in my size (FWIW, that so seldom happens for me).  I went right for them; it was nothing short of love at first sight.

We got together in the fitting room.  They fit like they were tailored for me – not too snug, just the perfect heavy drape of vintage denim and killer construction.  They were just unique and weird enough to accept my own unique weirdnesses while still nestling my bum in a way that actually made me walk with a little extra bounce, ha.  I didn’t take them home with me; I was “being good.”

Everyday for the next week,  I thought of them and how our life would be together.  And this last Saturday, after hiking and basketball, I just had to know if they still felt the same way about me.  Sure enough, they hadn’t left the shop with some other harlot, and here we are.

Meet my ride or dies, babes.

xx, Huck

“…you’re the one that I wanted to fiiiiiind…”

Other cool patchwork denim styles from other brands:

Easy & Delicious Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe

After a long Sunday afternoon at Lake Temescal, I wanted to prepare something really comforting and tasty for our Sunday supper, but I didn’t want it to take too long or require too many ingredients. Drumroll… so since I had some chicken broth & thighs waiting already at home, I decided that I’d try a new recipe for Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup.  And if B’s jumping in for seconds counts as anything, I think it was a success for my first attempt!  Try this recipe and let me know what you think!

Huckleberry’s Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 teaspoons of vegetable oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh ginger, minced
  • 6 oz. tomato paste (one of those small cans)
  • 14.5 oz diced tomatoes with liquid (one regular sized can)
  • 4 teaspoons of chili powder (I used this one from Frontier Co-Op – purchased at Berkeley Bowl.)
  • 32 oz. concentrated chicken broth (I used this one from Roli Roti – purchased at Berkeley Bowl.)
  • 1 lb. skinless chicken thighs
  • Sea salt & ground pepper to taste
  • Ghost pepper powder to taste (optional, I’m obsessed with this one from Trader Joe’s – thanks Korey!)
  • 3 corn tortillas, cut into thin strips
  • 1 cup of sweet corn (I used some frozen corn, you can use whatever works for you)
  • 1 cup of black beans
  • 1 avocado, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup of cotija cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • Key lime wedges, for serving

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

  2. Slice tortillas into strips and toss with 2 teaspoons of oil. (I also added a few turns of the ghost pepper powder for some extra kick.) Bake them until crisp and golden (about 5 minutes – tossing them halfway through). *Note: the tortilla strips will crisp up quickly, so keep an eye on them!
  3. In a large pot, heat 1-2 teaspoon oil over medium-high. Add garlic & ginger and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. (To make my life easier and to save time, I threw the garlic & ginger into my mini food-processor to mince). Add tomato paste, diced tomatoes and liquid, corn, black beans, and chili powder and cook until most of liquid is evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes.

  4. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil; season with salt, pepper, and optional ghost peppers.

  5. Add chicken thighs and cook for at least 20 minutes.

  6. Remove chicken thighs and let cool.  Once cool, shred the chicken using two forks in a separate bowl. Return bones to the broth.
  7. To prepare: Scoop a generous helping of soup into a bowl, add chicken, avocado, cotija, and cilantro.  Top with some more broth and tortilla strips, and serve with key limes (cut in half).

Bon appétit!

Huckleberry Kim

…savor every moment slowly…