Monday, January 15, 2018

FIRST TIME IN SEOUL, KOREA | Autumn in Korea 2017

What to expect on your first time in Seoul? Here are some of my tips plus few mishaps and adventures when I went to Seoul for the first time and had to travel alone.


I never thought I would someday be able to travel to South Korea. I have been reading travel blogs about South Korea since 2010. I know you are reading this because you also dream of traveling or are already planning your trip to Korea. I hope you find this blog post useful for your trip. Don't forget that you can also check out my YouTube vlogs to see more of my Korea adventure! 



TRAVEL DATE : November 3 to November 12, 2017
SEASON : Autumn / Fall
PURPOSE : Blogger event in Seoul

I went to Korea from November 3 to November 12, 2017. It was the perfect season because I came in Autumn, which was my ultimate dream season to visit Korea! I originally went to attend a blogger event happening in Seoul sponsored by Charis. But they were kind enough to allow me to extend my stay in Seoul so I could explore the city and visit some tourist spots. I went by plane through Philippines Airlines. My departure from NAIA was at 1:00 AM and my arrival at Incheon Airport was at 6 AM.



I was exhilarated to take the plane! The feeling got even more intense when I noticed 80% of the passengers were Korean. It's as if I was on a "warm-up" period before the real adventure!


I got so lucky because I got window seat and I was positioned near the comfort room. I flew alone so I couldn't really sleep and relax on the way because I have to be mindful of my stuff, check the correct gates, make sure I follow flight rules, etc. But I was really feeling excited. It takes 4 hours from Manila to Seoul, but I landed at 6 AM because Korea is 1 hour ahead. 

Oops, this is not Korea yet! This is Manila at night! It's so pretty, isn't it? 


I was the most excited to find out how cool/cold the weather is during Autumn season so I was ecstatic when I finally got out of the airport! It's the perfect weather!

For a reason I couldn't disclose yet until after I upload the video I did for it, I was picked up by a service from the airport going to my first stop in Seoul. My service was a black SUV, which made me feel like an instant "K-pop Star". I mean, K-pop stars ride black SUVs, don't they? Hehe


 After ahjussi dropped me off my first stop was where the real "ALONE IN KOREA" adventure began. To save you from hassle, here are some things I advise you to prepare before your flight :
  •  Enough Korean Won so you have money to purchase necessities : food, bus/train ticket
  • Address of your destination. Have it written on a paper in both English romanization and Korean writing. 
  • Local phone number of your hotel/Airbnb contact
  • A nice and warm jacket or coat
  • Wifi router or local sim card for phone data
  • Few Korean expressions to help you get around

Hotels and Airbnbs in Korea don't accept check-in until around 3PM. I checked in at an Airbnb in Jongno. Unlike hotels where you could leave your luggages at the reception, Airbnbs usually do not offer it so you have to look for nearby luggage storage units/centers. 

Because it was my first time in the city, I had a difficult time finding the Tourism Center/Luggage storage in Myeongdong. I wasn't familiar with train stations either so I was a clueless girl with 34-KILO baggage wandering alone in Myeongdong on a cool morning.



 After about 2 hours of walking and going through every corner and asking every ahjussi I see, I finally saw the Myeongdong Tourist Information Center!


 Since I really had hard time finding this center, it would be best to refer to their website for more information. 
Click here to go their site. 

The Myeongdong Tourist Information Center offers different services for the convenience of tourists and locals : luggage storage, maps and guide, information, Hanbok rental and a whole lot more!

Their Luggage Storage service is open from 9:00 AM to 7:50 PM. If you leave your stuff here, be sure to claim it before 7:50 PM! Else, you will only be able to claim it at 9:00 AM the next day. Koreans are very precise when it comes to time.


Each BIG unit costs W 4,000 each or around Php 200. The SMALL units are around W 2,000 or Php 100.


It felt so good to finally be able to roam without tugging alone 1 20-kilo and 1 10-kilo luggages! 

After leaving my luggages, the next problem was to find local sim card so I could have internet data on my phone. The attendant at the Tourism Center recommended a nearby telco place where I could purchase one.  

What you have to take note about Korea is that their internet is really top class! No wonder, 1GB costs W 35,000 or around Php 1,670! Here in the Philippines, we have affordable data packages that often come down to 20 to 50 Pesos for 1 GB!


Because I am such a lame solo traveler, I only had W 50,000 when I flew. I thought it would be best to exchange my Peso directly in Seoul. But when I paid for 2 units of luggage storage and for my local sim, I knew the next thing I must do was to find a money changer! 

IMPORTANT! Unlike other Asian countries (like HK) where money changer is almost everywhere, Korea is different. I had a hard time finding money changer. The few ones are in Insadong, Myeongdong, Gangnam and at the Airport. I was starving but couldn't eat because I didn't have enough money, Guys, please don't be like me. hehe


So with an empty stomach yet joyful heart, I explored Myeongdong! 

The first spot I saw was the Myeongdong Cathedral Church. If you think this is familiar, it's because this is often used a K drama filming location. 


I am sorry that the photo does not do justice to how beautiful it is i real life. The trees were vibrant red, orange, yellow and brown! The church facade is also breath-taking!



A cute father and son moment. You will surely squeal and die every moment if you are a Kpop or K drama fan. Every corner feels like a live Korean drama scene! I hope you get what I mean. 


This was the FIRST-EVER selfie I took in Seoul! Finally, my dram came true and I couldn't be any happier. I was the happiest person in Myeongdong that day!!!


It's really lovely in Seoul, especially in Autumn! You don't need any phone photo editing app as every place is truly Instagram-able!


If you are wondering, here is the inside of the Myeongdong Church. It is a Catholic church where masses are held.


At 12 noon, I had to meet a Korean friend to do a YouTube vlog. I haven't posted about it yet so I hope you guys stay tuned for it!

I was still starving at 12 noon and I swear I would have eaten 2 huge rolls of Kimbap if only I had money. Anyway, my watch is from Daniel Wellington! Hehe



I remembered Peppero Day was coming soon so I got excited. Peppero Day is celebrated on 11-11 or November 11. On that day, people, usually lovers, gift each other Peppero stick biscuits. It started as a marketing strategy which later became a regular celebration in Korea.


At night, I went around Gangnam. I wanted to have my photo by the famous Gangnam Style hand but I didn't find it. 

I thought my day was coming to an end when lo and behold!!! MY CAMERA GOT BROKEN. I MEAN, ON THE FIRST DAY OF MY TRIP!!! The Korean friend I was with tripped it with her hand while I was vlogging. It dropped dead on the floor, with it's screen dented and broken. The first thing I thought was "OH NO, MY VLOGS! HOW WILL I SURVIVE WITHOUT A CAMERA?!"

But guess what, Korea will be Korea! In Gangnam, they have a camera rental shop where you could rent any camera unit imaginable. Because the camera I have is a Canon G7Xii, my Korean friend rented for me the same camera unit. She said she will take my camera to Canon Korea and have it fixed there. She handled everything from the camera rental to the camera repair fee. Ahh, Koreans are on a different level when it comes to professionalism. 

The shop is called SLR RENT. It is located in Gangnam. My Korean friend said she paid 100,000 Won or Php 5,000 for the full 5 days t he rented G7Xii was with me. This could be useful tip when you are traveling to Seoul and your camera breaks, too. (I hope it doesn't because that's really inconvenient!)


After all the adventure, my Korean friend and I ate at a Jjajangmyeon shop in Myeongdong. BTW, we almost didn't make it on time from Gangnam going back to the Myeongdong Tourist Center. We left Gangnam, at 7:00 PM but because it was rush time, we were caught in traffic and almost didn't make it. Good thing, we arrived in the nick of time. 

Ending, because the Jjajangmyeon shop was located on the second floor and they didn't have elevator or escalator, I had to carry and lift the 20-KILO luggage all by myself up! 

Good thing, the food was sumptuous so it compensated all my lost fats and calories due to extreme luggage carrying that day. hehe


After dinner, my Korean friend was even kind enough to take me from Myeongdong going to my Airbnb in Jongno-gu. We got lost in the cold streets and only found the place after 30 minutes of looking! Hehe 

I did a vlog on my Airbnb so be sure to watch that as well. Blog and more photos of my pretty room will be up here on the blog soon, so please stay tuned!



WHAT AN ADVENTURE FOR A FIRST-TIME, RIGHT?

But it was really fun and memorable. I wouldn't trade or change anything that happened that day. All the mishaps made this trip even more memorable. 

I stayed in Korea for 10 days. This is just PART 1 of my Korea blog series. Check back on this blog from time to time to read the next parts of my story.


If you liked this post, please don't forget to FOLLOW me on my social media accounts!
YOUTUBE - YouTube.com/User/RealAsianBeauty
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INSTAGRAM - @RealAsianBeauty




Kristine  

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Contact Lens Guide for Dark ASIAN Eyes

Colored contact lenses transform any face and look in an instant. That is why celebrities and even YouTube vloggers resort to wearing them. They come in various colors, designs and sizes to match any skin tone, hair color, look and of course, natural eye color. 


I personally love wearing colored contact lenses. Even though I have almost perfect vision, I still wear them for aesthetic purpose. I love experimenting and trying various styles and colors, depending on my current hair color, my mood for the day and the look I want to go for. 

Here in the Philippines, there are only limited shops that sell contact lenses. Most of them only have limited styles while the others sell them for really high prices! But when I was in Seoul, Korea, I noticed they have a lot of contact lenses shops. They even have a lot of stores that only specializes in selling circle and color contact lenses!

I know what you are going to say next, we can't all go to Seoul to shop for contact lenses. Well, that is the reason why we have the internet, don't we?

I discovered a Korean online shop called COLORCL.COM. They specialize in contact lenses. What's good about this shop is that they are based in Seoul and all of their products are authentic, safe and Korea-made!



There are a lot of things I like about this online shop! 

  • I love that their products all fit the Korean standard in beauty.
  • I love the packaging of their lenses.
  • I love the fact that even though they are an online shop, they ship the parcel straight to your home. If you don't like going to the post office to claim parcels, you will get me.
  • I love that their items arrive to you in less than a week after ordering.
  • I love that they give Korean masks as freebies.
  • I love that their lenses are light, airy and comfortable.
  • I love how they have a lot of products on their shop therefore allowing me to have several styles to choose from.





To see how the contact lenses look on me, WATCH the vlog below.



CONTACT LENS SWATCHES (Dark Brown, Asian Eyes) 

I ordered 10 pairs of lenses from their shop. But if I must choose my favorite, I have to say it's the HENRY'S BLOSSOM in Cherry. I'm more inclined into using the uncircled lenses. But this pair of lenses, though circled, still gives natural vibe and decent color. Not overly dramatic, striking nor fake. 

*click the name of the lens for more information*













Their lenses cost around $15 to $30 per pair. I would say that is a decent price for a pair of contact lenses considering they are made and shipped directly from my beloved Seoul, South Korea!

If you liked any of their contact lenses I showed on this post, go ahead and check out their website COLORCL.COM! Like what I always say I will not recommend anything I do not personally like. And these lenses are really of great quality! 


If you liked this post, please don't forget to FOLLOW me on my social media accounts!
YOUTUBE - YouTube.com/User/RealAsianBeauty
FACEBOOK - Facebook.com/RealAsianBeauty
INSTAGRAM - @RealAsianBeauty




Kristine 

Thursday, December 28, 2017

BLK COSMETICS by Anne Curtis | Review & Tutorial

BLK Cosmetics is one of the most sought-after and talked-about makeup brands in 2017. Not only because of it's catchy name and packaging but also because it's owner is one of the top celebrities here in the Philippines - Anne Curtis. 

BLK Cosmetics promises nothing but uncomplicated beauty. Meaning, their cosmetics are perfect for women on the go as their commitment is that it is simple and easy to use. 


One of the things I like about it is the PACKAGING! Let's give props to the team behind it as they were able to come up with something simple yet remarkable. 

BLK Cosmetics offer everything you need to build up a basic, everyday makeup kit!

  • Eyebrow pencil
  • Powder Foundation
  • Liquid Eyeliner
  • Contour, Conceal and Highlight, Palette
  • Liquid Lipsticks
  • Matte and Velvet Lipstick




Watch the video below to see the full review and tutorial of BLK Cosmetics.



MUST-TRY ITEMS

I have to be honest that while most BLK Cosmetics are likeable, some still need a bit of work. With that, let me recommend the ones that I loved.


  • Powder Foundation - Because I have flawed, acne-prone skin, my skin often tends to appear thick and cakey with most powders. When I used BLK powder, I was impressed at how smooth it was and how it didn't cake on me.
  • Contour, Conceal and Highlight Palette - Because I have flawed skin, it's almost impossible for me to wear highlight and shimmer because it will make my acne scars and my pores to appear more visible. But what I liked about this palette is that the shade is perfect, especially for my morena skin. The highlight in particular does not make scars more visible but it just creates beautiful glow.
  • Matte Liquid Lipstick - I wouldn't say this is the best matte lippie but I like the formula of this more than other matte lippies that came out the same time as BLK.



BLK Cosmetics are available at local department stores in the Philippines. 

Don't forget to check out my YouTube channel and SUBSCRIBE for more makeup reviews and tutorials. 


If you liked this post, please don't forget to FOLLOW me on my social media accounts!
YOUTUBE - YouTube.com/User/RealAsianBeauty
FACEBOOK - Facebook.com/RealAsianBeauty
INSTAGRAM - @RealAsianBeauty




Kristine 

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

UKAY-UKAY in CUBAO | Affordable Autumn & Winter Outfit

UKAY-UKAY is a shop where pre-owned (and some brand news yet thrifted items) are sold. The term is derived from the Filipino phrase "halukay" which literally means to dig or to go through something. It is because most Ukay-ukay shops have a lot of items that one must really have to "halukay" to be able to find nice stuff.


I, for one, am really a fan of ukay-ukay or UK, especially those shops that sell trendy pieces in low, low prices. I know quite a lot of UK places as I have been shopping for thrifted items ever since I was in high-school.

TOP PLACES TO GO FOR UKAY-UKAY :
  • Anonas
  • Munoz
  • Makati
  • Quiapo
  • Cubao

Out of all the places I have mentioned, the best place I must say is Cubao. Not only because it is accessible no matter where you are coming from, but also because there are numerous shops to choose from. One can start from Aurora Boulevard all the way to the area around Farmers market up to EDSA!

I decided to take my friend and co-blogger Joyce Sola to one of the UK shops I frequent. 




UKAY-UKAY LOCATION :
The UK shop we went to was beside the Duterte's Kitchen, right along EDSA going to North Avenue. The landmarks should be MRT Cubao and Farmer's Market.


PHOTO CREDIT : Covert Geopolitics

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT UKAY :
Unlike conventional apparel shops, ukay do not have sizes, certain stocks and certain prices. The quality of their items depend whether they are on "new items" promo or if they are just selling off old news to prepare for new boxes that will arrive. 

The items are more trendy if you shop when they have new boxes/arrivals. However, prices also vary depending on whether they are on "new items" promo. Items tend to be steep when they are fresh from the box while they tend prices tend to go really low when they are just finishing off old stocks. If you do not have much patience to go though all the racks just to find a good deal, I suggest you go when they have new items. But if you are the type who really want to save money, I suggest shopping when they are finishing off items. 

You can always ask them for their schedule or ask for their number so you could ask when they have new items or when they will go on sale.


Luckily, we visited when they were on SALE! 



As you see in the picture, most items go as low as Php25! The coats and jackets are all on Php100 each! 




WATCH MY VLOG to see the full UKAY SHOPPING experience! 




TIPS WHEN SHOPPING IN UKAY :
  • Avoid buying shirts, blouses or anything that have touched the underarm area. Not to be judgmental towards the original owner of the item. But it is better to be safe than sorry. 
  •  JACKETS, COATS and WINTER stuff are the best items UKAY has to offer! -Because most boxes come from developed Asian and Western countries where the weather is quite chilly, UKAY always has the trendiest winter items as compared to some local Filipino shops.
  • Instead of shopping when new items have arrived, it is better to shop a few days or weeks after. 
  •  Wash the items thoroughly before wearing them. Some people even go to the extent of boiling the clothes before wearing them.
  • Be patient when shopping. It may look overwhelming just looking at the racks and racks of clothes. But if you are patient enough, you may be able to find branded and unworn items for just a few bucks.
  • Bring you own eco-bag. -Aside from caring for mother Earth, most UK shops do not have decent plastic bag so it is better to bring your own.


* * *

After our UK adventure, we went to one of my favorite places ever, Farmers Market! 

Because we were preparing (and excited for) our Korea trip, Joyce and I decided to have Korean food for dinner. I am not sure if you are following me on Instagram already but I always post about this Korean resto on my story. It is an authentic, Korean-owned fast-food located at the food court of the mall.  FOLLOW me on Instagram @RealAsianBeauty to see whenever I'm eating here. 

After that, I toured Joyce around the humble mall and showed her some cool shops. 

Here's a cute pug in pink onesie that we saw at Mumuso. We didn't buy but we just thought it was cute so we took a photo. Hehe


* * *

UKAY-UKAY is really a fun place to shop at!



Aside from Divisoria and Tyannge, UK is where I usually get my OOTDs from. I used to be so ashamed of it knowing how other bloggers and vloggers often showcase top-of-the-line and branded stuff. But later I figured that shopping at thrift shops is who and what I really am and that there is nothing to be ashamed of. Brands don't make you, it is YOU who make the outfit special and stand out. I hope that somehow, this post encourages you or someone you know that shopping thrift and being a wise-spender is something to be proud of. 


If you liked this post, please don't forget to FOLLOW me on my social media accounts!
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INSTAGRAM - @RealAsianBeauty





Kristine 

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

SHINEE Kim Jonghyun's Death | A Shawol hurting...

Yesterday I told myself I was going to be busy and productive today. So I went out, did some errands and went home. When I got home, my Mom told me a very shocking news! She went "Who is that Shinee member... The one that died today... Sung.. Hyun..?" Of course, we have to understand that she is not really into K-pop so she won't remember all the names. Then, I went ahead and said all the members names. And she said "Yes, that! Jong Hyun died today."

I was confused so I searched on the internet. I thought she was just mistaken. I thought it was fake news. And then I saw all the articles on the internet. 
SHINEE Kim Jong Hyun died around 6 PM today at the age of 27I SCREAMED. WHY?! Why would he die? How? Why? Why did he do it? What happened? What made him do it? Why?! A lot of questions...

Hence today, I couldn't be productive. I can't focus. I can't function well. I can't be me. 



If I am feeling this sad over the news, I can not imagine how painful it must be for his family, his friends and for the people that knew him personally. I only knew him through his songs, his performances and through his TV shows yet I am greatly saddened. On top of that, I really couldn't imagine how tough it must have been for him to try to smile, be okay and perform in front of people though he was shattered inside. 

SHINEE was the second K-pop group I got obsessed with back in 2009. ( First was U-KISS, then SHINEE, then SUJU, then INFINITE then EXO.) Corny as it sounds but the group also helped me get to where I am now. I remember the days I couldn't show my face on my YouTube channel so I just did a lot of SHINEE inspired nail art videos. 

Here are some of them :







Making these videos somehow helped me gain further confidence to pursue my YouTube career. Their music was also my healing and source of joy back then. I listened to a lot of their songs, memorized the lyrics, stayed up late to watch their variety shows, watched tutorials of their dance routines, influenced some of my friends to watch SHINEE music videos, talked to my Korean students about SHINEE. And back then when not a lot of K-pop groups visited the Philippines, I photoshopped myself in a SHINEE concert photo. I did that so to inspire myself to save money and to believe that I will someday see them in person. What's sad is that, after I photoshopped that photo, I was able to watch a lot of K-pop concerts with VIP tickets that let me sit right in front...but I never once saw a SHINEE concert. 




I saw this video this morning on Facebook. I do not, in any way, mean to disrespect Jong Hyun or the other SHINEE members... But I just want to share with you guys the video. It's disturbing to see how much he cried and hugged the other members on stage. Like he was craving for help... Like he was saying goodbye.


DEATH always has a great impact on me. I can remember I have also written a couple of times here about how I feel about death. DEATH is inevitable. It's something we can't alter, change or run away from... But making your own death is another thing.

I do not condemn Jong Hyun for doing what he did. It's really difficult to take a side when depression comes in. Like what I have said on my Instagram post, DEPRESSION IS REAL. It doesn't matter whether you are good looking, talented, rich or famous. When depression hits, it hits. And often times, it hits hard. 

I have to be honest and say that I also feel it sometimes. That feeling of wanting to give up... Hence, my random posts about wanting to quit YouTube and stuff... We really can not explain why we feel what we feel. People can go on and say "You are so blessed, you have this and you have that..." But people who haven't been there will most likely not understand.

It's not like I will take my own life, though. I think it helps so much that you have GOD in your life. (If you are not Christian and you are reading this, let's just say God is your family/your friends/your pet/your hobby... something that makes you want to hold on.) But let me speak in a Christian's point of view. I honestly believe having God in your life helps you not to quit and to just hold on. That no matter how immense the emotion is or how great the problem is, God's love for sure is GREATER than anything else.

If  you are reading this and you are going though something at the moment, please know that ending your life is not the way out. Someday, somehow, things will get better. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but one day for sure. Also know that there are people around you willing to be there for you. I guess the thing about depressed people is that they feel they are alone. They feel the darkness, they feel the loneliness, no matter if there are people around. But if you are going through rough time, never feel burdened that you have to talk to people about it. Cry if you must. I am sure someone is out there for you. You are important, you are loved. You are worth the love and you have a purpose in this world. You may not see it now, BUT YOU SURELY HAVE. Someday, when you get better, you will discover that that purpose it and you will be glad you made it through the dark days.

I am just so sad right now. I can't believe someone as talented as Jong Hyun felt that he still wasn't enough and that he wasn't doing things right. I don't know how to end this post. My heart aches as I'm typing each word. 

But, thank you for reading!

If you liked this post, please don't forget to FOLLOW me on my social media accounts!
YOUTUBE - YouTube.com/User/RealAsianBeauty
FACEBOOK - Facebook.com/RealAsianBeauty
INSTAGRAM - @RealAsianBeauty





Kristine 
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