Friday, December 27, 2013

My Influenster Holiday VoxBox!

I recently received my Holiday Voxbox from Influenster and I must say I am LOVING it! If you don't know, Influenster is a totally free website that sends out "boxes" (aka Voxboxes and what not) filled with goodies and products for you to try out and review! The more social networks you have to use to spread the word, the higher your "score" is and the higher score you have, the more products Influenster will send you! I love being a part of Influenster because I've received products that weren't even out on the market yet like the Rimmel Lash Accelerator Mascara!

I was super excited when I opened up my Holiday Voxbox this time because the first thing I saw was a Skinny Cow box that was the same width and length of the box! It contains six (6) little chocolate treats and mine are filled with peanut butter creme! I'm not sure if everyone gets the same flavor but let me tell you, these are the bomb diggity! I've heard about Skinny Cow from my friend and tried out their caramel clusters, but these are sooo much better! They're basically like a healthier version of a Godiva chocolate (except I don't think Godiva makes chocolates filled with peanut butter filling?) - but they still taste just as good! The Holiday Voxbox also includes Ducktape with a floral Hawaiian type pattern (a little random for the holiday season but I don't mind because who doesn't need a good tape when wrapping presents right? :D), the NYC HD Color Trio Eye Shadow in Long Beach Sands (a nice set of neutrals), a packet of Puffs tissue (great for these colder days and my boyfriend who keeps getting the sniffles), and the Rimmel London Show Off Lip Lacquer in 500 Luna. I definitely freaked out a bit when I saw the Rimmel Show Off Lip Lacquer, which is also known as the Apocalypse Lip Lacquer in the UK, because so many UK beauty gurus have raved about this product and I've seen what great pigmentation and lasting power it has!! The color I received was more of a neutral shade and I would have liked the red shade, but hey it's free and I can't complain because I've been dying to try this product out since I heard about it. I'm pretty sure it was released in the US at least a month and a half ago but I could never find it when I went to CVS or Target or any other store for that matter /: That's why I'm so grateful and thankful that Influenster and Rimmel allowed me (and other Influensters) to have the opportunity to try out this product!! ^__^

Overall, I'm super duper happy with my 2013 Holiday Voxbox from Influenster. Makeup, chocolate, tissues (a must have in this cold winter time!), and Ducktape for wrapping presents - what more could a girl want? :) I would highly recommend anyone to try out Skinny Cow products if you haven't (they make ice cream bars and sandwiches in addition to chocolate snacks) because they're great for those of us sweet addicts trying to watch our calories. The Rimmel London Show Off Lip Lacquer is also crazzzy good so def pick one up if you can get your hands on it, but the NYC HD Color Trio .. well let's just say after trying out Urban Decay and Smashbox shadows, it's hard to please me when it comes to eyeshadows. I think NYC is a great affordable line and has great nail polishes, but I've never been a fan of their eyeshadows or powders (had a bad experience with a mosaic powder that just completely shattered when I dropped it on CARPETED floor from a height of like 2 feet -_-) and the trio was no exception. The shadows just aren't as pigmented or soft as I would like them to be, but I definitely like the color appearance and idea because a girl can never have enough neutral palettes. I like using all the colors together to create my everyday natural look using the darkest shadow for my liner and the lightest for highlighting the inner corners and browbone and because they aren't as pigmented, they're more forgiving and easier to blend out haha! As for the Puffs tissue, I've been a long fan of Puffs brand tissues because they're always super soft and padded so they're great for those sick days because they won't make your nose all red and dry like the cheapo brands do after you've been blowing your nose all day.The little packets of Puffs are also just perfect to throw in my purse and take anywhere so I don't ever find in a situation where I don't have a tissue!

So that's my short take on the 2013 Holiday Voxbox. I hope you guys enjoyed or found this helpful and try out any of these products (hint hint GO TRY SKINNY COW IT'S SERIOUSLY AMAZING). Do you guys (I mean girls really) know any new products or foods that have come out this holiday that I should try? Please leave me a comment below on what I should try out next~! Love you all and hope you're having a wonderful holidays <3

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Adventures in Seoul, Korea: Day 6

Our last full day of Korea was Day 6.. :( But I tried not to concentrate on that fact and focus on the wonderful planned out day we had before us! We started our day around 8 AM and after breakfast in our room, we headed to Insadong to do some window shopping and visit Beautiful Tea Garden (Address: 193-1 Insa-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul) which my sister wanted to see for some reason.

Entering the Insadong area, we saw a long street with shops lined up on each side that continued almost endlessly and it just looked so nice and peaceful. There were lots of cultural shops including tea shops and shops filled with glass figurines and statues and of course, food shops~! They had these cute twisty crunchy and hollow tubes that they would fill with frozen yogurt and everyone was walking around with them so when we found the shop selling them, we had to get one to try! While it is basically just a normal vanilla frozen yogurt inside a cone (except that the cone is a long tube so you get more than usual), it's definitely a fun snack to eat and something to try out when in Insadong! There were also lots of other random food carts around the area that we passed by and tempted our tummies :(

One of the food stands we passed by. I'm not sure exactly what these were but they looked yummy!
After walking around for a bit (and picking up a modest amount of items ^__^), we came to Beautiful Tea Garden which turned out to be a quaint and peaceful tea cafe garden. Apparently my sister thought it was a tea museum, which I suppose it kind of was because they had an area with many different teas and flowers used to make the tea leaves, but they also had a dining area that had an open roof so the natural light spilled in, and it was just amazing! It was super pretty and relaxing and we enjoyed sitting down with a nice cup of freshly brewed tea. I forget the name of the tea (sigh) but it was super delicious and it was supposed to be good for your throat (which is why we ordered it because my mom's throat had been feeling a bit sickly) and it actually did help my mother's throat! Right after drinking the tea and the next day she said she felt much better! We took tons of pictures (I made mine my Facebook profile picture~! ;3) and felt super fancy sipping our tea ^__^

Yummy tea in cute fancy teapots plus complementary green tea rice cakes (the rice cakes didn't really taste like much but still a cute addition to our tea time ^__^)
After relaxing at Beautiful Tea Garden, we walked around Insadong casually taking in all the interesting sights and foods around. We walked around picking up small food goodies to bring back for our friends and family back home before it was lunch time. We also made sure to try out their little poop red bean snacks which were absolutely delicious despite their somewhat not so yummy appearance (see some pictures below!). I wish I could remember what the restaurant we ate at was called, but I forgot to take a picture or write it down /: It was located on the outer edge of the shopping streets with two other restaurants next to it. We had no idea if the food at the restaurant would be good or not, but there were so many people inside it, we decided it had to be at least decent... and it was that and more! We ordered  a hot plate dish that had freshly cooked beef bulgolgi and rice cakes which, as all restaurants in Korea do, came with side dishes and I must say, their potato fruit salad was deliciooouuus <3 The waiters were super nice and understanding of our lack of Korean speaking skills and if I could, I would totally recommend you guys all check the restaurant out. Unfortunately I can't, but I will say, stop by Insadong if you have time because it is a nice peaceful place in Seoul to visit (especially the Beautiful Tea Garden!).
Definitely a must try. They have these little shops all around Seoul so it's not like this is unique to Insadong, but you definitely need to pick some up if you come by a shop. The workers take a ball of honey or some sticky sweet mixture and mix it with some flour mixture and stretch it out so that it becomes a tiny ropes and they do this repeatedly until the one string of honey&flour becomes more than a 100 fine strings like web! Then they wrap some sort of filling - either peanut, chocolate, almonds, etc - and make a sort of chex-square shaped snack and package them. They're super yummy!
This lady mixed nuts or rice cracker puffs with some honey and other sweet spices together and bagged them right on the spot. We even got to sample a few before we got suckered in and bought a back of honey rice puffs. Absolutely yummy and even my mom liked it (who's not a big fan of sweet stuff so that's saying something!)

The poops~! They're only about $1 so I highly recommend picking one up if you can. I guess it is just a normal red bean pancake but it's yummy and warm and perfect for any occasion~!

Here's another food item I would highly recommend. It's not really about the taste for this, but more the presentation. If you can't tell, this is a little ice cream cart! They have them around Seoul too and they'll ask you if you want ice cream and if you say yes, you buy one and they'll give one to you ... after doing a few magic tricks with it and making it disappear! It's quite funny to watch and who can say no to ice cream right?

Our lunch meal~! Doesn't that look good? I loved how they had the rice cake rolls but they also had rice cake eggs (see those round rice balls?). Super yummy and more than enough for my sister, mom, and me!
After our lunch in Insadong, we moved onto the nearby traditional village of Bukchon Hanok Village which is a small community made of traditional Korean style houses and nearby Gyeonbokgung Palace and Samcheong-dong (if you're planning on visiting either of those two places). Because there are normal citizens who live in these houses, they ask you to be respectful and not too loud or rambunctious while walking around the village, but this wasn't too much of a problem because the whole area has just a nice quiet peaceful feel to it that you can't disturb without feeling guilty. The view from some areas of the village is also quite stunning as it looks down onto the rest of the neighboring area.

Once we finished walking around the village, we decided to move onto our next location - Apuejong~!!!! Now of course my sister and I had been looking quite forward to this day to go here and can you guess why? Well if you don't know already, SM Entertainment, JYP, and Cube have their main headquarters all located here! (Why YG doesn't also have a building in this area I have no idea why but it pains me because we didn't have time to go visit it Q.Q) We found directions online and I'll link it somewhere later (I actually can't find it for some reason but er.. if you google SM, JYP, CUBE directions you should be able to find something helpful! >__<;)  because they were actually really accurate and helpful in directing us to the buildings. The only one thing I'd say is that if you're walking down the street that JYP is supposed to be on, don't bother looking down every cross street because it's literally going to be right on the side of the street and you CAN'T miss it LOL. Plus, Cube is like right next to it so you really can't miss either of them. Unfortunately we didn't see any Kpop stars but it was nice just being able to ooggle (yes I made up that word) at their giant beautiful faces plastered on the walls *__* Now I'm not sure if it's done yet but I know when we went to visit SM's building, it was actually under construction but hopefully the next time I visit Korea, it'll look amazing and beautiful and I'll get to see Kyuhyun~! ^__^;

Once we found all 3 entertainment buildings, we decided to stop by the Grill 5 Taco owned by Super Junior's Donghae. He had actually very recently opened it up and yea okay, maybe we were hoping to see one of his friends stopping by to support his business (unfortunately that didn't happen =3= ) but the food was still yummilicious. We weren't too hungry since lunch had kept us quite full, but we ordered some Seoul Fries and they were very good! I was a bit disappointed that the building wasn't decorated with Super Junior signatures or posters and what not, but it still felt good to go and support him as a fellow ELF :)

How it looks on the outside - hopefully this will help you if you're having trouble finding it :P
Our celebratory photo of victory - we found it~!
Our yummy fries! It does look like quite a mess, and it kind of is.. but it's worth it!
After our "taco pit stop", we had a bit of extra time to kill (it was about 3:30 PM), so we decided to go to the Coex Aquarium. We arrived at the aquarium just a bit after 4 so the admission price was a bit discounted and because we had our passports, we also got an extra discount! (So make sure you bring your passport if you want a tourist discounttt ^__^) I'm glad we decided to make this spur of the moment trip because the aquarium was definitely amazing and tons of fun. It's totally different from any other aquarium I've ever visited and much cooler! They keep the fish in cute and unique tanks and there was even an alligator!! (See an awesome close picture of it below :3). The aquarium is also incredibly kid friendly and there's an area where you can touch the starfish and coral :)

So this ends day 6! I don't think I'll be writing a post for day 7 because it was our last day so we didn't do much and had to leave for the airport quite early /: I hope you enjoyed my Adventures in Seoul series and I hope my random ramblings will help you in some way if you ever visit Seoul or wish to! I'm so lucky to have been able to travel there last summer with my family and hope to return back someday! Until then, I will be revisiting my photos often as a way to keep the memories fresh in my mind! I hope you all have a lovely day and thank you so much for reading :) Feel free to leave a comment below and tell me what you thought was most interesting!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Adventures in Seoul, Korea: Day 5

Day 5 out of 7~! As usual, we woke up a bit behind schedule and quickly ate breakfast in our room (oh the amazing things having a kitchen in your room can do.. warm eggs and toast mhm mhm~!) before we headed off to see the Guard Ceremony at Deoksugung Palace. The palace is located pretty close to the City Hall subway station and wasn't hard to find, so we arrived just on time to see the ceremony starting. It was actually quite cool to watch the guards standing on their horses or in line and it was a pretty elaborate process with a speaker explaining what was going on during each step (in both Korean, Chinese, and English!). After the ceremony, we took some pictures, got a waffle from a nearby shop that's supposed to be pretty popular, and headed into the palace. Admission was only 1000 won for adults and 500 won for children (ages 7 - 18)! I really enjoyed looking around at the palace and the architecture and we took a good amount of photos. There was even an app that my mom downloaded that you can listen to so as to have a self-guided tour - pretty nifty if I do say so myself.

This horse kept derping and moving around and the guy sitting on top of the horse was like super annoyed haha.

The yummy waffle we got from the nearby shop~! It was super tasty and I would definitely recommend you check it out if you stop by :)

City Hall~! Located right next to the Palace (well across the street but still really close). We didn't go look at it but I'm sure it's somewhat interesting haha.
After the palace tour, we moved on to Namdaemun Market! This market is known for it's more traditional items and wholesale products so we didn't buy too much but mostly just looked around. We did eat lunch in the market which was absolutely delicious, but that's about as much of the photos that I got. I think I was too distracted just enjoying myself to take photos :)

Ginseng chicken soup
Traditional Bimbambap
My favorite ... Seafood Pancake~! This was sooo yummy :)
After our lunch, we walked around a bit more before we went to go find "Sillo Fire Pot Sauna JimJilBang".. This is a Korean bathhouse or sauna, however you call it, and was something I had been looking forward to the whole trip. It was a bit hard to find and we did get lost, but thanks to the kind folks who knew a bit of English, we managed to find our way there. It's located behind a supermarket and up a hill and you should see the giant red sign saying "Fire Pot Sauna" from a good distance away. (Sorry I wish I could give better instructions but I don't remember exactly sigh -_-) The sauna was a great place to relax in the indoor hot spas and the "hot room" or "cold room" or "marble room".. there were just so many different things to try out! Okay, sorry if that makes no sense at all but basically the Sillo Fire Pot Sauna is a bath house with separate shower rooms for men and women where you can stay overnight (!!) if you want. There are also lots of different special rooms where you can take naps in that are supposed to be good for your health or skin (ie. a salt room that was literally filled with huge chunks of salt and you could rub yourself with it and it felt superr good :D). If you're interested, click here to get linked to their website. We spent the rest of our afternoon at the sauna, relaxing and resting our tired feet and bodies from all the walking we had been doing on the earlier days. Unfortunately, I don't have any photos because well you have to be completely unclothed and naked in the shower rooms and everywhere else I didn't want to carry my camera around so I had locked it up in a locker. However, I think their website has a ton of great photos and probably a much better description haha. You could even get your nails done or get  massage (kind of awkward since you're naked imo, but hey if you're cool with it then go for it!) but you had to pay extra for those things so we passed on it.

After our relaxing time at the sauna, it was basically night time so we headed off to Seoul Square to check out the famous giant LED screen building and eat dinner. Turns out the LED show really isn't that cool.. I'm not even sure what it was supposed to be since it jut showed faces of a bunch of random people.. (you'll see in the photo below) so we quickly got bored of it and went into the shopping mall. The mall is pretty nice, but more importantly, has an awesome food court haha! You order your food a registrar and then they give you a number and you pick up your food from a certain "booth" when your number shows up on the screen. I was really craving Kimbap so I ordered that and my sister ordered an omelet while my mom ordered another soup (didn't get a good picture of it though D: )

After dinner, we decided to get an early night's sleep and headed back to our hotel in Myeongdong. Day 5 was definitely one of our more relaxed and chill days, but I'm glad we did have a more calm day to rejuvenate our bodies for the last upcoming days of our trip! Sorry if this post wasn't as interesting as the others (I know I'm lacking in photos sigh), but hey, the spa took up a good chunk of time and was fun fun fun~! Nevertheless, I hope you enjoyed and come back for Day 6~!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

NYC New York Color Big Bold Gloss Review

Woohoo, once again Influenster swoops in and let's me try a new awesome product. Or well somewhat awesome. I received my Varsity Voxbox a little while back but didn't get to fully try out all the products till now. One of them that I got was the lip gloss by NYC called "Big Bold Gloss". The shade I got was 467, Pleasantly Plump Pink which was a nice peachy pink with some coral hints and shimmer in it. The first thing I noticed when I opened it was how big the applicator is. It's definitely not your average lip gloss doe shaped or footed applicator but more like one you might see on the concealers that are slanted foam brushes that have the product come out from the middle of the applicator? Does that even make sense haha. Anyways, the large applicator isn't too big of a problem for me and my medium sized lips but I can see some problems for people with less full lips. It distributes the product well, but I think I would prefer a typical doe shaped applicator like the Loreal ones as those are better at staying in the lines and precisely outlining your lips.

The product itself is actually quite decent. Normally I'm iffy about NYC makeup products since I had a bad experience with one of their mosaic palettes, but I was pleasantly surprised with this one. It is a bit gloopy in the tube, but when you apply it on, you can get a nice color coverage without it being too sticky. You definitely need to be careful about putting on too much (which is pretty easy with the large brush) and it's better to smooth everything out by spreading the product around using your lips or fingers (hopefully that doesn't sound too weird -_-). There is also actually a nice sweet vanilla scent that I really liked, but if you're not into fragrances then I wouldn't recommend this. The lipgloss has a nice glossy finish that makes your lips look fuller without being disgusting and sticking to everything and I would recommend ya'll to give it a shot if you're looking at trying a new lip gloss product on the market!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Adventures in Seoul, Korea: Day 4

For day 4, we had planned to start off by going to the War Memorial of Korea before heading off to Lotte World, but we came across some unexpected bumps early on. Day 4 of our trip was actually a Monday and due to some accidental slip-up, we didn't realize that the War Memorial is actually closed on Mondays! -o- Therefore, it was an unpleasant surprise as we walked up the stairs towards the entrance to realize that the doors were locked. It was quite disappointing as the War Memorial is supposed to be one of the top places to check out in Korea and admission is free! Luckily, there are quite a number of attractions outside of the museum itself such as actual planes that were used during the war that you can take pictures of/with so we had a good time looking around the outer perimeter of the museum.
Main entrance of the War Memorial of Korea

One of the many planes surrounding the War Memorial that you could take pictures with!
Because the War Memorial was closed, we finished looking around it before we ran out of our "allotted time" in our itinerary so we decided to stop by the Noryangjin Fisheries Wholesale Market (aka Noryangjin Fish Market) and eat lunch there. The place was huge and not too far from the subway exit - though we did have to go into a GS-25 to ask someone for directions - and the fishy smell tells you you're going the right way. The bad thing about the fish market is that if you're a tourist or don't speak Korean fluently, you're bound to get ripped off. We went in knowing that, but we didn't realize how badly we would be jipped until it had already happened! Q.Q We walked around looking at all the seafood items they had displayed out in the water or on ice until one lady who spoke in Mandarin managed to convince my mom to buy her items. Most of the sellers have the same thing so it's hard to really decide where to buy anything, but it's best to walk around and see who's willing to give you the best deal. Most of the sellers also speak Mandarin quite fluently (like the lady we bought our food from) so it wasn't hard for my mom to communicate with them. We ended up getting sucked in and buying a enormous King Crab for 50,000 won (something me and my sister strongly advised my mom NOT to do but she wanted to try it out -_-;), three live octopus for about $3000 each (if I remember correctly), and 3 abalone. The lady was nice enough to give us some free clams too! After we purchased our live seafood, the lady directed us to a restaurant right outside the fish market where they cooked our food for us. She had told us it was only going to be like 5000 won per person (a "dining" fee) but our total bill turned out to be like 35,000 won!!! Total rip off and we were super confused why and when we asked them to explain, they couldn't really because (1) their Mandarin/English was definitely not up to par or (2) THEY DIDN'T HAVE A GOOD REASON >:( It wasn't like they even really did much when they cooked it.. they just grilled the abalone, chopped up the octopus (you eat it just raw o_o), and steamed the octopus.. sigh so yea we were definitely not happys. But what could we do? So we payed them and went on our way back to the fish market to go back to the subway station to our next stop. Luckily for us though, the lady who had sold us our seafood asked us what we thought and my mom, feeling ripped off, mentioned how it was way too expensive! Haha it was kind of funny because once my mom explained how much it cost, the lady got super upset too and actually ended up calling the restaurant owner and convincing him to give us 5000 won back LOL. Not that much but it was better than nothing. Walking back into the restaurant to get our money back was SUPER awkward though. The owner was soo mad and since the fish lady wasn't with us and he couldn't speak Mandarin, he was just glaring at us and blabbering away. Some of the workers there did speak some Mandarin and attempted to translate to us/him but we got our money and walked out of there. Ain't going back there anytime soon. So yes, lesson learned, go somewhere else and cook your own seafood unless you want to pay for a $100 mediocre meal.
The view from the second floor right when we walked in. Endless seafood shops~!
My sister and the giant King Crab we ended up buying for 50,000 won. You think it's worth it?

Fresh cooked clams!
The tiny octopuses we bought all chopped up .. yea not that pretty of a sight. They still moved too! Not because they were alive, it's something to do with the neurons firing still which makes it move but it's dead so yea. Still.. THE SUCTION CUPS STICK TO YOUR TONGUE BLECCCK. It's a weird feeling =3=
After our less than pleasant lunch experience, we headed off to Lotte World. By the time we arrived it was just past 4 PM so we were able to get the discounted price 21,00 won for people over 18 and 18,000 won for "children" (18 and under, if only America was like that). I didn't realize that Lotte World was an indoor amusement park but it was really quite amazing just stepping in and ..well basically a giant playground. I would HIGHLY recommend Lotte World to anyone visiting Korea. My mom is definitely not a rollercoaster person but Lotte World is filled with lots of younger kid/older adult friendly rides that are more gentle and has lots of shows and things to look at it. You think that might be boring but don't worry, there are definitely a good amount of those thriller roller coasters, water rides, and there's a sort of "Drop-Zone" ride if any of you know Great America. The lines for some rides weren't that long but the more adventurous/exciting rides like the roller coasters, we had to wait about an hour or so. There is even an outdoor portion of the park (so it's not entirely indoor) which is really quite nice but we didn't go out until late at night (we stayed until 9 or 10 PM I think) so we didn't get to see all the rides since some of them had already closed (including one of the roller coasters sigh)

THERE'S EVEN AN ICE SKATING RINK! But it's like a separate part of the park so I think you have to pay extra for it.

THIS WAS THE RIDE THEY WENT ON IN RUNNING MAN WHERE THEY HAD TO DO KARAOKE. It's really not that bad LOL but it was fun knowing that I was riding the same ride Yoo Jaesuk or Song Jihyo went on haha <3
The water ride! This line took quite a while but it was definitely fun. There's like two crazy drops!
View of the whole indoor park from the air balloons that circle the entire indoor park.
There's even an area that's like a mini Trick-Eye Museum (if you don't know what I'm talking about, go read my Day 3 post~!)
The outdoor portion of the amusement park! They have a castle that's lit up like Disneyland! Super pretty :)
After we got kicked out of Lotte World (they literally were like "Thank you for visiting us but it's time for you to go now!" hahaha) because it was closing time, we headed back home. I think it was the earliest we had gotten back to our residential home since all the previous days we had gotten home superr late. It definitely took a bit of time though since Lotte World is so far from Mapo, but it was well worth the trip. If you couldn't tell from the pictures, Lotte World is definitely a must go to stop on any tourist's itinerary and I would lovee to go back next time I visit Korea :)

Anyways, that's it for Day 4. Past the half way point :'( But keep out for Day 5 where we explore a palace and Namdaemun~! <3