Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Favorite Shopping Buys from Korea

I must admit, researching for what to buy from the country which I am going to travel to is an essential part of travel planning and making me more excited and ready for my trip way before my trip. If it makes sense ;)

After lugging back 25.4 kilograms of new products, these are some of my favorite purchases from my trip to Seoul which I have personally tried and liked and like them enough that I would repurchase again. Please bear in mind that product reviews are always subjective and this list is gonna be heavily skewed towards beauty (cosmetics / skincare) products though, and I will be adding on more stuff to the list as and when I start using my purchases :)

All products can be found in their respective outlets in Myeong Dong, and it's generally cheaper in Myeong Dong as compared to Seoul Incheon Airport.

1. Innisfree
This brand is not available in Singapore yet (why why why?) and I recall reading good reviews on many of their skincare and cosmetic products from various blogs and Taiwanese magazines. The brand ambassador is popular Kpop group SNSD's Yoona.

(top clock wise)

Innisfree Mineral Moisture Fitting Base  - This is not a typical silicone-y makeup base and a god send if you have dehydrated skin or if the climate is cold / dry. It's watery in texture and skin looks and feels moist throughout the day with this gem and maybe this product should be classified as a cosmetically elegant hydrating moisturizer. Or a good partner with your foundation and highlighter to fake the glowy skin look.

Innisfree Sheet Masks  - I love Innisfree sheet and capsule masks. Their masks are richly saturated with essence and gives great result for cooling  (cucumber), hydrating (honey, royal jelly). The capsule masks are great for travelling too.

Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Pore Clay Mask  - Great for pore refining and clear skin in my case and from online review (MUA), they are great for oily and congested skin. Innisfree has also introduced a new "super" version for oilier skins and "jumbo" tube size version. I bought the normal version of the pore clay mask since I have dry combination skin but I have recently tried the samples of the "super" version given to me- and - I prefer the "super" version more. I like that the super version as it dries up faster and gives a better results in shorter time - I just have to note that I couldn't put them on for too long or my skin will feel really tight and dry.

Innisfree Olive Real Moisture Nail and Cuticle Cream - If you are prone to dry, peeling cuticles like me, where your usual hand cream doesn't seem to help, this is a lightweight cuticle cream that works well without being oily or overly greasy. I find myself reaching out for this way too often during the day.

2. Laneige
Alright, Laneige is available in Singapore and many other countries and endorsed by the popular Korean Actress Song Hye Gyo internationally. But - the deals are indefinitely sweeter when the same products are like 30% cheaper than in Singapore.

(top, clockwise)

Lanegie Snow BB Soothing Crystal  - SPF50, hydrating, whitening, BB, lightweight, glowy finish. What I like is the cooling effect on skin when the bb was applied. In their Myeong Dong store, the face puff was sold seperately too. Grab!

Laneige Moisture Lip Balm - I'm a fan of fluid type lip balms and this gem acts well as a lipshine and non sticky lip balm treatment and also as a lipgloss over your lipstick. It's so handy during my trip where the normal lip balm does nothing to hydrate my lips from the harsh cold wind.

Laneige Silk Intense Lipstick - I love their lipsticks - the colors are vibrant, photogenic and the texture are not drying. Personally, i'm loving the shade Beige Chiffon which gives a flattering "my lip but better" color. I was watching a recent episode of "Queen - Nu Ren Wo Zui Da" and the makeup artist (Kevin) recommend this product as a blusher too - just dab on using ur finger and the result is a glowy natural blush. According to him, this lipstick contain high definition pigments and therefore looks great in pictures - which I totally agree.

Laneige Firming Sleeping Pack - One word, GREAT. This is the firming sister of the famous Laneige Water sleeping pack and I always wake up to hydrated, lifted, soft skin with this gem. A tip though - Watsons around Seoul carries Laneige skincare and does run promotion 20% promotion from time to time.

3. Masks, Masks & Masks 
Seoul has this huge variety of masks from face masks, neck masks, eye masks, neck masks, foot masks, elbow masks, hair masks, finger masks, heel masks, sleeping masks etc. One of the more unique masks that I saw was the peeling foot mask which should be worn for approx 1-1.5 hr before washing off. The dead skin from your feet will slowly shed off (painlessly) a few weeks later and viola - baby smooth feet. I like the Etude House Bebe Peeling foot mask and there's also one from Face Shop too.

4. Skinfood Egg Hair Moisture Pack
This is meant to me a hair mask, which I used it daily as a conditioner and it leaves hair soft, moisturized and bouncy without any oily residue. It works great when you rinse it off with warm water (doesn't work as well with cold water). Inexpensive as well, though it can be bulky in luggage.

5. Etude House Drawing Eyebrow Pencil
One distinct Korean ulzzang look is thick, straight eyebrow. This eyebrow pencil comes in 5 shades for all, a rectangular shaped pen, and a brush/spoolie at the other end. It gives a natural, powdery finish that's not reddish or over yellowish.

6. Too Cool for School McGirly Rice Face Scrub

This is something I almost neglect to mention. A face scrub that leaves skin smooth is a basic prerequisite requirement. Bonus point if it's gentle and non irritating. What this is so much better about this product is that this magic product is not only gentle, it also brightens up, even skin tones, shrink pores, leave skin firm and elastic - just like an egg white. All these without drying the skin (which causes skin to be even more oily for days after which). The smooth and brightening effect last for days too.

7. Lotte Dream Cocoa Chocolate Cubes (crunch, 56%, 72%)
Beary recommends this and their dark chocolates are really good! My personal favorite is the 56% dark chocolate which is excellent for a perk me up during sleepy afternoons. They can be found in Watsons around Seoul.

8. Socks
Everywhere in Seoul, you can easily see socks for sales - be it in makeshift stalls or brick and mortar store itself. They have an amazing variety of socks everywhere from 1000won that will sweep your feet off. From plain solid shades, logo, cutesy cartoon, crew, low cuts, no show, tube, ankle, calve etc, whatever style you like, you will find it. Good quality too.

9. Mobile Phone Cases
Mobile phone casings are everywhere in Seoul - from pushcarts in streets of Myeongdong, underground shopping area, mobile accessories shops - for Android models (Samsung, LG) or iPhone models. If you are looking for cheap mobile phone cases, Seoul may not be the correct place to find (prehaps Qoo10, Hongkong, Shenzhen and Zhuhai are)

But for nice, innovative and good quality phone cases, Korea do have many well made brands that are not readily available in Singapore yet. In my last trip, J discover a nice Koean brand (forget its name) in a sleek leather flip design for iPhone 5 that till now they are not readily available in Singapore. This time round, Egg spotted a super sleek iPhone 5 bumper case that someone is using in the subway and after looking around, we discover Pleomax

It's very sleek, comes in 5 pretty colors and yet well designed to protect my phone from falls (I have dropped my phone in this casing for more than 10 times from the highest 1.2m height and despite being a bumper case, my screen didn't cracked). 

10. Others, Accessories, Bags, Clothing, Shoes, & Stationary 
Well, it's not exactly feasible to post pictures of all my new loots since I took an easy way out then and packed everything in my luggage instead of arranging and taking pictures. Seoul is definitely a shopping haven and afterall, it's well known that they are wholesaler in Asia for these products - for females and males (yes, males too). Don't forget to check out their impressive selection of good quality earrings and accessories. And if you are still schooling, check out the cool notebooks and stationary supplies from Art Box when you are in the country.

Shopping is always highly subjective and probably the best gems can be the one that you discover yourself in the country. I hope this post helps to increase your excitement for a trip (back) to Seoul.

The most important thing is to enjoy your trip. The best thing out of your travel trips should be the precious memories of the place you visited.


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Fireworks on Genting Highlands

Maybe I can simply classify this post as a happy case of "Lost & Found" =)

I thought I lost this video through all my phone replacements & upgrades and I was simply over the moon to find it back yesterday by chance.

Fireworks on Genting Highland 2010 Sept 

it's the first video taken by my few days old iPhone 4 then.

It was a 4D3N Cruise & Genting trip over Hari Raya Puasa holiday during my busy work-school days and we were sitting in the Arena of Stars and looking at the magnificent view of fireworks just above our heads. The fireworks are really close to us as they couldn't launch the fireworks higher since we are already on mountain.

What an awesome feeling~

Happiness is not a goal - it's a by-product of living well every moment
 - Marc & Angel 


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Instagram Pics Vol. 4

Some daily pics again =)

Basically, I went into  hyper busy mini mode recently with the small important things in life like celebrations and gatherings with family, friends, colleagues over familiar faves haunts (imagine lotsa steamboats & TCC pastas), resting, moving stuffs, looking at home reno ideas, mini cooking episodes, catching up on my piano classes, and still attempting to find time to read my latest copy of Dan Brown's inferno.

Black Ginseng Chicken Soup in Myeongdong
Warm comfort food for the cold weather and I just have to post this since Egg praise over my improved camera skills (hehe!). But seriously, now that I'm back, I realized that it's really not easy to find a good ginseng chicken soup in Singapore. Any recommendations?

T.G.I. Friday Affogato 
I tried this in Hongdae and I really enjoy this serving of expresso with vanilla ice cream. Yumz! Seriously good stuff. For the time being while I try to find good one in Singapore, i'll stick to my TCC's expresso frappe.

Tokyo Banana Snacks 
The sponge cake with caramel fillings snacks made to look like a leopard print banana.

Soaps from Lavender Cottage Taiwan 
Another lovely surprise from my bro. My favorites kind of scent.

Coffee & Pies 
This is the Laksa Seafood Shepherd pie from Coffee & Pies at Rochester mall.

Bodeul Bodeul Cheese Ramyeon 
One of my recent cheese addictions. This is so much creamier and cheesier than the normal cheese slices on instant noodles - mainly due to the fact that there's a pack of cheese powder that can be added to the instant noodles after you cooked it. Highly recommended!

Tiramisu Class
We have a tiramisu workshop held by our Chef Ang. In total, we made 1 big tin and 2 smaller tins of Tiramisu. It's a success! *Pat Pat* the shoulders of the tiramisu team

First Tiramisu
This is our first thin of Tiramisu. Operation success =)
Second session coming up~


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Korea Trip, Seoul May 2013 - Hongdae

We check out Hongdae (the shopping area around Hongik University area) on a Saturday.

This is my sole picture of the area (the non shopping part). Haha.. I almost mistaken this picture as one I took along the street of Edae. So I can safely conclude that this is a typical Korean university shopping area look.

Aspiring artistes performing along the along the streets. It kind of reminds me of *Scape in Orchard during a weekend.

There's quite a number of tarot card reading stalls. And the stalls are packed.

There's a sandwich store with a super long queue.

The cotton candy stall along the road with a really huge dog! The poor dog did look really sleepy and bored though.

Finally - it woke up for a few minutes before...

going back to sleep again! haha!

Then, we walked towards the end of one of the street towards the a food alley.

The queue to get into this japanese eatery at level 1 starts from across the shop and it's is really long! There's are really many eateries to explore in Hongdae.

We walk by Hello Kitty cafe but we are just too full for any more drinks / food. Next time then =)

We also went into this bookstore called Book.com

Polaroid fans alert - They have a nice collection of polaroid cameras.

Thanks for viewing!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Korea Trip, Seoul May 2013 - Seoul Tower

During our last evening, we caught the free shutter bus to the cable car station from our hotel.

A quick snap on the sunset before we head to the cable car station.

We are really lucky to get an unobstructed view in the cable car.

Another quick snap as we make our way up the slopes to Seoul Tower.

Walls of Love
The love locket walls leading to Seoul tower

Seoul Tower Lighting Show
We are just in time for the lighting show at 7pm

Night View from Seoul Tower
We hang around after the lighting show to enjoy the night view of Seoul city. It's simply mesmerizing.

We had our dinner in Seoul tower and I really enjoy their kimchi tofu and pork soup. It's a nice warm addition to the stomach in the chilling night.

The Teddy Bear Museum Shop

Due to time constraint, we head back to our hotel at 9+pm. I will definitely plan in half a day at Seoul tower next time to check out the Teddy Bear museum and observatory the next time round.

Have a great week ahead everyone!