March 3, 2015

3 Little things I miss about Korea


Here is a short list of little things that I’ve been missing about Korea! These aren’t physical things, more like general attitudes. ^^



1. Selca is totally common and totally ok.


I don’t think I need to tell anyone this, but selca is completely normal in Korea. It’s common to see people selca in public, whether it’s in a café, in a restaurant, alone, or with friends. (Or sitting with friends but selcaing alone.) It’s old news and nobody bats an eye if you pull out your camera and go all posey posey.



In America, selfies have come a long way (thanks to Instagram), but it’s still not the same level as in Korea. People in America would probably look at me if I whipped out my phone out and started pouting…I may even end up on Imgur. -_- But in Korea, they probably wouldn't even look!




2. Freedom to take photos.


Going along with the selca situation, taking actual photos of things (like I do for my Snippets and café posts) is also no big deal.

Take my café posts, for example. I take pictures of everything! Can you imagine, e running around the entire cafe, scooching into each and every little booth to take pictures of each and every little thing…and all the while, the baristas are fully aware of what I’m doing—and ignoring me while I do it, too. They may look once to see what I’m doing, but other than that, they really don’t care. The same goes for everyone else around me.

In America, I reckon it’d be much more conspicuous to run around taking photos like that. But in Korea, people don’t seem to mind having pictures taken of their store—unless it’s a tourist attraction—nor do they mind accidentally being in one. It’s just not a big deal!

And you know what else isn't a big deal? Outfit photos! You know those street snap-style photos where people just stand and stare the camera? I’ve never done it myself in Korea, but I’ve seen other people do it for each other, even during busy hours. I’ve also seen several instances of a boyfriend carrying a large DSLR, snapping photos of his girlfriend while she poses in front of a doorway or cafe. And throughout all this, I was probably the only one staring ^^;





3. Sun protection is normal and accepted.


Here in America, I feel a bit dorky protecting against the sun. Nobody else does it. People hardly even wear sunscreen! At least, they don't in California, where people seem to prefer the tan, sun-kissed look. This means that girls who are pale and cover up diligently are pasty, dorky vampires. And if they’re Asian, then it means they’re one of those Asians…the weird fobby kind who are supposedly desperate to be white.

But in Korea, it’s all fair game! Sunscreen, umbrellas, gloves, visors, all okay! Well, I should note that it’s mostly old ajummas that use gloves and visors, but at the same time, nobody seemed to care when I did it. For young people, it's more common to see umbrellas, although not everyone uses them.

My favorite part of this is that guys are understanding of suncare, too. Korea seems to have less restrictions on what a guy can do without being gay. A lot of guys I knew in Korea used sunscreen before going out. And although I never saw a guy use an umbrella, they were at least understanding of me doing it. I’m sure a lot of guys in America would feel embarrassed of me.


To give you an example, I was walking with a guy friend once. The sun was in our eyes, so I tried to use my hands to shield my face. Suddenly, my friend held his bag up in front of my face to block the sun for me. I was so surprised! I didn’t tell him to; he did that on his own.

We continued to walk like that, with him hoisting the bag 5’5” in the air, still talking, for about 20ft until we reached shade. I thought that was very considerate and understanding of him. My impression is that Korean guys understand girls’ desire (and pressure) to be beautiful. But I imagine many American guys would lose patience with me for being so uptight.


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Okay, so technically this list is a bit old! I wrote it when I had just arrived back from Korea. So while everything I said is definitely true, I’m now at a point where I don’t care if these things are uncommon or weird in America. Selca, outfit photos, sun protection…I do it anyway! But I’m also lucky that where I live most people are well-mannered and don’t care that much when I do it. Although I can definitely see some other cities being less open-minded!

What’s your city like?

February 25, 2015

Bird’s Nest sheet mask: SNP Bird’s Nest Aqua Ampoule Mask Review

This mask is interesting because it contains bird's nest—yes, bird's nest! Bird's nest is an age-old ingredient used for skin elasticity. But more on that in a bit. The mask itself is moisturizing and contains an immense amount of serum. As far as elasticity, it’s hard to say anything definitive because it is a sheet mask after all, and I’m hesitant to draw conclusions after only using it twice. That being said, the unique point of this product is definitely in its ingredient list.



About bird’s nest: It is an actual bird’s nest, but not the twigs-and-sticks kind. It’s saliva. It’s saliva from the swiftlet bird. Their saliva is hard and cement-like, and the birds build their nests with it.

Bird’s nest dates back to traditional Chinese skincare and medicine, where it was documented to heal infections and help maintain youthful skin. Nowadays, it’s included in products as “swiftlet nest extract,” likely just a cleansed, powder version. The components of this extract are shown to stimulate cell regrowth, wound healing, and improve the skin barrier. This in turn affects skin elasticity, water loss, and ultimately, suppleness. To put it simply, bird’s nest is for skin texture and anti-aging.

This mask was generously sponsored by my long-term sponsor Honest Skin. Thank you to Honest Skin! You can use the code HQ4K6I41U9 for 3% off after signing up.




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Brand: SNP (Shining Nature Purity)
Name: Bird's Nest Aqua Ampoule Mask
Expiry: ~3 years (Expiration date is Dec.13, 2017)
Price at Honest Skin: $34.20 for a pack of 10

Ingredients: (I’m not an ingredients pro yet, but I starred some that might be of interest.)
    water
    glycerin
    swiftlet nest extract*
    alcohol*
    hydroxyethylcellulose
    polysorbate 80
    betaine
    centella asiatica extract (antibacterial, healing)*
    hamamelis virginiana (aka witch hazel) extract*
    camellia sinensis (aka green tea) leaf extract
    anthemis nobilis flower extract (chamomile)
    ceramide 3*
    sodium hyaluronate*
    carbomer
    triethanolamine
    disodiumEDTA
    phenoxyethanol
    flavor




Link here










Mask front:


Cover closeup:


Mask back:


Closeup for anyone who wants to read:


English instructions (although they seem to be a misprint):










Texture: It’s a thin, slimy serum. It’s slippery and water-based, so it spreads thinly and washes off with water. If you were to apply it to your hands and wash them shortly thereafter, it would wash right off.


It absorbs quickly on my arms and neck. It’s slower on my face because of how much is on the mask.

Amount: There is a lot of serum in this mask. Not only is the cloth itself plenty saturated (enough to be slippery), but each side of the packet is lined with a thick coating of excess serum which can be easily applied to the neck, both forearms, and more. Although to be fair, part of this is actually due to the fact that the serum spreads so thinly.

The mask opened up:


The saturated and slippery mask:








The Cloth: The cloth is a bit on the thin side for cotton sheet masks:


Fit: I have a small face and it fits well on me. The cloth is thin so it’s able to match my curvature well, even around my eyes and nose. And unlike many masks, the mouth hole is not excessively long. However, there is not a lot of extra slack, just a bit on the chin.







Moisture: It felt wet and moisturizing, though not too different from other sheet masks. After removing the mask, my face was wet for about 5 minutes before the serum dried up. Then, it was sticky for a few more hours. Again, not too different from other sheet masks.

Texture: As far as skin texture, I didn’t notice or feel anything. It’s possible that my skin was a liiiitle smoother and my pores smaller, but if that was the case—that is, if I’m not imagining it—the difference was ever slight.

Here are some before and after photos, just for completion (although I don’t think there’s any difference between the two):

Forehead:


Cheek 1:


Cheek 2:








Would I buy it with my own money? Mmm…Perhaps.

In all honesty, it doesn’t feel much different from any other mask. That’s why I say the selling point of this mask lies in its ingredient list And in this mask, bird’s nest is quite high on the list, unlike some masks that have it towards the end.

As for me, I am intrigued by bird’s nest and would be interested in using it more. However, this mask also contains alcohol which is kind of iffy, too.

Long story short, I'd say it's as good as any other cotton sheet mask!



▼ Link here ▼



Thank you very much to Honest Skin for sponsoring this review!

February 24, 2015

Friendly reminder to THROW OUT YOUR CLOTHES!




My problem


So, I have a lot of clothes. A lot of clothes I don’t wear, that is! My closet looks full, but the amount of clothes that I actually wear frequently (or even just occasionally) makes but a small fraction of it.


Nope, nothing to wear. #justgirlythings


As for the rest, it’s usually one of these reasons (let’s see if you can relate to any of these!):
  1. The most obvious reason: I’m not into that style anymore.

  2. Fail purchase. This usually happens when I buy online from cheap vendors and the product ends up looking nothing like the image.

  3. The cut is unflattering for my body type. Although I didn't notice until after wearing it a few times.

  4. It's not bad or anything; it just doesn't look great on me (perhaps the color washes me out, for example.) And if I'm going to dress up, I want to look good, not mediocre, you know?

  5. I don’t know what to wear it with, or I don't own anything to wear it with. Sometimes I buy things on a whim because the item itself is unbelieeevably cute, but I forget to think of the entire outfit. Cuteness of that level can be hard to pair.

  6. I bought it in a size too small. I thought I could use it as weight loss inspiration, but a.) I never lost weight, or b.) By the time I did lose weight, I wasn’t into that style anymore.

  7. There's seriously nothing wrong it, at all. The quality, style, and sizing are all fine. I just don't wear it for some reason!





Why it’s important to get rid of clothes


The obvious answer is that it clutters your closet. But it also holds you back and puts a damper on your mood! At least, it does for me.

When I see all those clothes stuffed in my closet, I feel bad. I don’t want to buy new clothes because I already have so many, and it makes me feel guilty for being so wasteful. And then I think: Well, I don’t wear these clothes because I can’t. I’m too fat because I never lost weight, or I’m too ugly because my skin doesn’t look good in that color. And then I feel sad and bad at the same time! I stop going to the mall, I stop browsing internet shops, and I stop looking at inspiration altogether. And that feels bad. :(

So instead of suppressing myself to hog these clothes, I've decided to let it go. If fashion is what I like, so be it! Dressing up is essentially a hobby, and hobbies are going to cost money. But I can't keep going if I have all this baggage holding me back...which brings me to my next section!






Solution


Take all those old clothes and sell them, donate them, or give them away! I know it's old news—I am just reminding after all—but I can't tell you how good it feels to do this! It clears your closet, clears your mind, and gives you a fresh new start. A fresh new start to enjoy yourself and further your personal style. And, you're giving back to the community! (Kind of? I think?)

I was too lazy to bother with selling, so I decided to give mine to Goodwill. (Goodwill is a thrift store.)


Most of these clothes are chiffon and knits, two fabrics that are quite hit or miss on me.





I felt like Santa!


Take all my clothes, rawr!!

*unflattering face* ><




Lastly, some tips to minimize wastefulness:


I know I sounded a bit hippie-ish back there (Let it go! Be free! Embrace yourself!), and there's no denying that we have to be realistic. Buying and tossing clothes at your every whim is expensive, and not wearing the clothes you buy is wasteful. And while I do think that some amount this is inevitable—I mean, even unfashionable people do it, too—there are still many ways to minimize how much we waste. So if you’re anything like me, here are some criteria for you to shop by!

1. Don’t buy too cheap when it comes to Chinese retailers (i.e. Taobao, Aliexpress, etc.)
There's nothing wrong with cheap clothing, but go too cheap and you run the risk of looking nothing like the photo. It might cost more, but it’s either pay $25 for a dress or throw away $15 on nothing.

2. Only buy clothes you LOVE. Not just like. LOVE!
Liking something because it’s cute is not enough. Make sure you love the design and love how it looks on you. This is obviously hard when buying online, but I recommend doing research (reviews, nitpicking product image details) to ensure that it will fit you well.

3. Only buy if you know what to wear with it.
And if you don’t know, pull out your phone and Google it really quick! After you find an outfit you can emulate, then buy it.

4. Only buy sizes you can wear now.
Don’t buy something thinking that you will lose weight in time to wear it. Buy things that fit you now—as in, if it were to arrive this very instant. Don’t worry, there are clothes that look great on every body size. (And that’s coming from someone who admittedly prefers thin figures.) Your weight loss will come, but don’t bank on a piece of cloth to propel you through it.


Abiding by these 4 things should bypass many of the issues that I listed above. I know I'll be following these! It's hard, but it definitely feels better to save your money for sommething you do love, something you'll actually wear, and not deal with the regret of being wasteful.



So, do you have clothes in your closet you need to clear out?

February 22, 2015

Korean lenses, straight from Korea. Klenspop Bunny Color Brown Review (on dark eyes)

These are my new favorite lenses! They're the closest I've ever gotten to "everyday lenses." Small, natural, comfy, and yet still enlarging—for when you want to look dolly, but not too scary! Perfect for everyday activities!





These lenses are kindly sponsored by Klenspop!



About the store: Klenspop is interesting because it’s actually the English version of Lenspop, a Korean store—as in, a store that actually caters to Korean people in Korea. I don’t know about you, but I’m always curious about what Korean people in Korea actually wear! Because as much as I like the Malaysian-based stores, and nor do I doubt their authenticity, I just couldn’t help but notice that what was being sold in Korea was totally different. The packaging, branding, and manufacturers were completely different from what we see online. And since with I’m dying to know how some Korean girls can (supposedly) wear lenses every single day even though I find them so tiresome after 5 hours…Well, perhaps Klenspop holds the answer! Klenspop carries a lot of small-size lenses, just like in Korea. Many of them (including this pair) are also no more than $13! This is not to say that “cheaper is worse,” it’s just that lenses are not expensive in Korea. ^^






Brand: Bunny Color
Diameter: : 14.0mm (color diameter only 13.8mm)
Water Content: 38%
Base Curve: 8.6mm
Price: $13.00




Link here









It comes in a box:

The back of the box had a diagram with instructions, although it’s nothing too new, just explaining to pull your eyelids apart.

Inside the box were the lenses, tweezers, and a lens case:


plastic tweezers, case, box, vials:
The tweezers are pretty handy for taking the lenses out ^^

Here are the vials:
front:


back:


top:







The lenses themselves are an array of brown, dark brown and orange brown intertwined together. There is no white backing, so the lenses are more or less the same on both sides:


On dark eyes: On my dark brown eyes, they basically look brown—a warm brown. The brighter the light, the more orange brown it becomes, resembling the color of the lens itself. On the other hand, in yellow light, it leans towards a greenish brown. But for most situations and from most normal distances, it just looks like a natural brown, slighter lighter than my own eye color.







Comfy!

Lens thickness: These are extremely thin lenses, probably one of the thinnest circle lenses I’ve tried. It’s so flimsy that I actually have a little difficulty putting them in as they keep folding over on themselves!


Comfort on me: They’re solidly comfortable, and I could easily wear them to class or for an afternoon out shopping. I occasionally feel sore when inserting them, but removing them and re-inserting them fixes that.

When I wore these for 8 hours I felt minor soreness twice, each lasting about a minute or so. Otherwise, I usually wear these for 3-5 hours and feel nothing—no stinging, no scraping, no soreness. The only thing reminding me that I have lenses in is the small downgrade in clarity from 1080p to 720p. It’s still clear, though. It’s not to the point that I need to blink or stare hard to focus.

Nonetheless, I still wouldn’t wear these lenses while using the computer. As with all lenses I wear, using the computer makes my eyes tired and uncomfortable.









Would I buy these with my own money? Yes, I would! These are one of my favorite go-to lenses because of their everyday versatility. The truth is, I don’t like wearing big colorful lenses for everyday activities like school or running errands. They’re just too intense and too uncomfortable. But these are amazing!

They’re big enough to still give me a blank dolly stare, but not enough to attract negative attention. I’ve worn them around crowds and nobody seems creeped out. On top of that, they’re thin and comfortable. I would wear these to class, shopping, a part-time job, and any other time I want to look cute. (But maybe not to studying or anything longer than 6 hours.) And lastly, let’s not forget that they’re only $13!

So if you’re like me and want what Korean people in Korea have, Klenspop could be your answer! Check out the rest of their selection at Klenspop.com.






Here is a mix of close-up and "normal distance" photos so you can get an idea of what it looks like in real life ^^ (I've snuck in a few outfit photos too, teehee~)

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A big thank you to Klenspop for making this review and look possible! Check out their store for tons of other lenses straight from Korea:






Thanks for reading! ^^