Hey, hey, everyone.
I'm back from my spontaneous and short trip to Viet Nam. I used what little time I had there very wisely spending a lot of quality time with my family, eating amazingly good stuff, avoiding the relentless heat, and... going to the hair dresser.
Of course I had to do such a thing, can you imagine how much cheaper it is even if you go to a salon that's expensive for their standards?
That's me being economical.
Anyway, did I hear someone in the audience once tell me I can't go much lighter with my hair if I am only to dye it, not bleach?
Well, look at this. I had it dyed again, and I'm not too far from blonde. It's hard to take accurate pictures of the color. But, well, my friends say it's blonde. I say it's a bit orange. Who knows, who knows.
posted under: Travel Diaries
Viet Nam, 2008.
I have been posting every day over the last month, so I feel it appropriate to announce a short hiatus over the next few days until Wednesday or Thursday. I am leaving for a very short trip to Viet Nam today, and will have neither time nor opportunities to post once I arrive. Since I carry around my iphone everywhere, though, I hope to find some wifi here or there to at least update my A photo diary tumblr. So please stay tuned for pictures from the trip, I hope I get some up, but I might as well not be able to do that either. Well, who knows. Bookmark it anyway or follow me :)
Foreign cuisine, even Asian fare, is incredibly hard to come by here in Korea. Especially so if you are looking for the least bit of authenticity. So finding an affordable place that does foreign food well is a rare and welcome find in Seoul.
Burger B in Hongdae is one such precious find of ours. A cool and cosy burger joint which has now moved into a bigger venue and transformed into a pub, Burger B is our go-to burger place ever since we moved to Seoul and it's never let us down!
Some days ago, it was our first time in the new venue, which is almost right next to the old location.
Let me say the burgers are still supremely delicious! My favorites are the Gorgonzola burger, the mushroom burger, and one they took off the menu but substituted with an equally fine feast, The Ultimate BB Burger. So! Good! What I love the very most about Burger B, though, is its fries. So crispy and wonderful!
Since moving to the new place, they have altered the menu to fit its pub theme better. I have yet to try the other snacks on the card. However, Burger B is absolutely worth the visit for its burgers alone, and that's what I love it for.
Can you believe that I own only one single belt?
This sounds incredibly banal, but I thought that that's great!
When I realized that I own only one single belt, I had to chuckle to myself a bit. Only one year ago, I still owned like ten or twenty, who knows. I also owned a whole lot of other junk I once used to call my wardrobe. But then I threw it all away, and I haven't regret it once. To now own only this one single very simple not to write home about belt and be absolutely fine with it, no, actually be quite happy about it, is a major upgrade.
As many shops there are in Seoul, equally as many shops there seem to be online in Korea, too.
Korean online shops are booming so much, it seems their numbers are countless. In fact, there are so many that when I misspell a website's adress I get to yet another Korean online shop even by mistake.
Yes, that happened to me twice. Actually, it's what happened to me with coi.co.kr.
Of course, I was thrilled to find coi.co.kr and its cool, nonchalant styling in this way and immediately saved it in my bookmarks for later perusal.
I like Korean online shops a lot because they put in a lot of effort into their styling and the pictures they take. So it's not only a pleasure to browse through their selections for windows shopping, but they're a wonderful source of style inspiration, too. Even if you are broke or cannot order, these shops are always worth a look. Of course, just like the real shops in Seoul their wares are stylish and a lot of fun.
coi.co.kr particularly specializes in urban cool and casual, offering comfortable and relaxed clothes with an eye for details. Click here to find the simple knit earplug, suede platform loafers, white netting crochet and soft geometric blouse.
A manicure idea from German blog teetharejade.
A lovely color combination! It's fresh, but still everyday friendly. You could even sport this to the office.
Click here for the original post on the pastel nails.
Currently, I am watching old We got married episodes with the "Adam Couple", Ga-in and Jo-gwon.
I liked the pair a lot even back when I barely knew hangul (Korean alphabet). I would watch the show together with my boyfriend and had to make do with the few translations and explanations he threw in here and there for my better comprehension. Now that I know some Korean, I re-visit these old episodes not only for fun but also for practice.
Ga-in from Brown Eyed Girls and Jo-gwon from 2AM have a great chemistry going on between them, and they seem to be really fun together. I especially like Ga-in for her style, and her cool, almost icy personality.
Check pictures and gifs of her tagged at tumblr.
I just love going cafés.
Just sitting down, slurping a warm milk beverage (anything from hot chocolate, café latte, or matcha latte is absolutely fine with me), and snacking a little something like a rich cake or a panini is my idea of a mellow afternoon bliss.
Today, we did exactly that.
I have been passing by this café called Möbssie several times already. Only today I made it our mission to go in. The interieur is a mix of wood, glazed tiles and turquoise walls. The specialty is rich chocolate-y goodness, the must-try item the Moelleux Chaud au Chocolat, a hot chocolate cake in a cup, inside being all molten chocolate rich in flavor, not too bitter, not too sweet - perfect! The blueberry cheesecake we had, too, by the way, was excellent as well.
Anyway, if you happen to be in Seoul, try this place for superb chocolate cakes, and when you're done, wander up and down the street it's in as I find it a quite lovely little area of Seoul to be.
I am surprised that Jeffrey Campbell gets attention mainly for its Litas. The selection that is available on solestruck has a lot more to offer than that, but no one ever mentions that Jeffrey Campbell actually brings great avantgarde designs to the wider masses.
Now, I know that Jeffrey Campbell shoes are not seldom "inspired" by designer creations. Do you know if the shoes shown above are exactly such cases?
If not, it's neat shoes, and you have to give them that.
I particularly like the center ones.
All pictures via solestruck.com.
Dr. Jart is a Korean skin care brand that is also making waves in the US recently for introducing their BB Creams to the American market.
Some info from the label of the Soothing Intensive Mask:
This intensive soothing mask hydrates deep down with exceptional penetration. With sea water, sweet almond oil and marine collagen. Provides immediate relief and visible improvement for severely distressed skin.It's even well suited for skin acting up due to eczema or allergies according to the description.
That certainly won me over!
Upon application, it feels fresh and relieving, while upon taking the mask off, my skin feels smooth and relaxed! The next day, I might not have been able to stop a break out I was getting from a cream I tried out, but my skin felt more supple, soft, and well nourished the day after. The redness that had been showing was gone, too.
Personally, I loved this mask! This will be a nice skin care addition for the harsh winter months.
If there is one recommendation I would give a female visitor to South-Korea: Get lash extensions here!
They're usually like $30. Or $50 if you also want them even fuller.
They're the best investment you can make!
I have seen different end results in overall look depending on the person, OK. However, on my eyes, longer and fuller lashes really make my eyes pop while still looking surprisingly natural! Even without absolutely zero make up and photo processing like in these pictures I feel completely comfortable and made up just enough, it's truly amazing!
I have been asked if I have experienced increased lash loss because of the extensions. Frankly, I might. However, I haven't noticed it at all. Maybe that is also because they are so cheap I get them done every other month anyway, so I wouldn't even be able to tell.
As far as I understand it, the fake lashes are attached to your real lashes with special glue individually. They drop off with the natural loss of your own lashes with time.
Over time, your fake lashes will look a little bit disheveled. That is because even though the lashes can partly come off, they will partly still be stuck to your natural lash. Do not pull, because this will cause your real lash to come off, too.
Anyway, I can absolutely recommend it. In comparison: Getting extensions in Japan will be a little more more expensive. According to my friend from China, the lashes they apply in China aren't as good and natural looking as the ones she got here. The lashes I got in Thailand, however, were similarly good, and the prices were the same, too.
Speaking of selca (see previous post), let's hear it from the pros.
Hyomin, here selca-ing away, is part of the six member K-pop group T-ara. Their most recent smash hit that's currently on Korea's heavy rotation is called Roly Poly, but they have been making waves with songs like Bo Peep Bo Peep for example since 2009. Out of all six members in T-ara I like Hyomin the most. Her stage and video outfits always look the best, and I do like her style. Besides, she's cute. The pictures show some of the more recent looks of her to promote Roly Poly.
Frankly, I don't like T-ara too much, but you cannot deny that they are highly popular in Korea right now. Eunjeung, another member of the group has come out with an actually truly scary horror flick called White this summer that I can recommend, though.
Do you know selca?
Selca is a term that has been coined in Korea. It mixes two English terms together: self and camera. Basically, it means taking cute pictures of yourself.
Asians in particular like to do it a lot! A lot of Korean stars do it, too, and then publish them on their "mini-homepages" for their fans to admire. I also always see a lot of Korean girls and women do it in public. Alone or with their friends in the picture as well. Just look at the google image search results for selca.
I usually find selca a little silly.
But then again, I also hate looking at myself in a mirror in public or in front of other people.
You know what I mean!?
I admit that of course I like flattering pictures of myself, though. I am quite unphotogenic. No fishing for compliments here, really. For good pictures for my blog it usually takes several tries, and sometimes I don't post at all because of it. So mirror-pictures or selca-ing is a good last resort once in a long while.
So above is the few selca I did when I just got my new hair color. I think the color made me feel particularly Asian to do it!
Bet you do selca, too, sometimes, dontcha?
A few looks I have saved in my so-called "inspiration folder" on my notebook.
The two street style pictures happen to be Giorgia Tordini. Unfortunately I have no idea where I picked these up. I like her loose looks. Very chic, yet comfortable and effortless in demeanor. I especially like the black look as it's absolutely something I would wear myself.
The center picture is from the current French Vogue from Oct 2011. For some reason, I am all enchanted by the velvet skinny trousers pictured. Together with the heels, it's a really sexy look.
Today: cake buffet.
Cakes. All you can eat. Cakes.
That thing on my head isn't the newest It-head-accessory on the streets. It's just a towel. Yes, everything's very banal like that.
Tonight, we'll go up to my rooftop watching fireworks in Yeouido.
A nice sunny Saturday it is.
Some days ago, I tried out the My Beauty Diary Bulgarian White Rose Mask.
I know a lot of my friends from Asia just love these kind of sheet masks, and so do I. They are extra nourishing but from my own experience never lead to break outs despite the great richness they provide!
I have been meaning to try out the My Beauty Diary sheet masks for a while now. My Beauty Diary is a Taiwanese skin care brand and its sheet masks have a huge following in Asia. I think not without good reason.
The Bulgarian White Rose Mask has "Brightening & Soothing" features. The mask is for normal but dull skin that lacks radiance and is also supposed to have firming, softening, moisturizing and a soothing effect on the skin.
There are a lot of Asian products out there that claim to have brightening or whitening features. However, I wouldn't take those claims too narrowly, but from my own experience I rather seek out brightening products for their ability to even out the complexion by lighting up red or darker spots. I wouldn't say that if you are already pale you only get paler.
I liked the Bulgarian White Rose mask a lot as it did exactly that, brightening up my complexion as well as leaving the skin supple and refreshed, and I will try out more soon. I hear a lot of good things about their Natto mask.
Another designer brand hailing from Korea, Paul & Alice, has only recently caught my attention.
Wandering through Lab5 in the NoonSquare lifestyle mall in Myeongdong the long, drapy blouses had me already stop in my tracks. Looking at their looks online reveals they have even more to offer. Their wares are available in several different boutiques strewn all over Seoul, as well as in their own Paul & Alice online store, though I guess not internationally.
I remember kittenmasks wearing and mentioning the brand before, too!
What I like the most about Korean designs in general, I guess, is the simplicity and versatility of the clothing, just as if the pieces were nicely cut basics, yet with beautiful twists and in such fresh color combinations that they keep you constantly interested and looking out for more.
When I got this Skin Food Fresh Fruit Lips & Cheek balm in Pomegranate, I was soooooo happy!
OK, first of all, I love Skin Food. Their packaging is always so cute, and their products all feature food based ingredients, though as far as I know, they are neither organic nor natural ingredients. Still! I love Skin Food!
I have been looking for the right pink for the lips that is perfect for everyday for so long now. I am so happy to have found it in the Skin Food Fresh Fruit Lip & Cheek balm. It's such a nice color with a slight feel of purple. I love it so much, and application is a real breeze, you basically can do almost nothing wrong. Just apply with your fingers like your everyday lip balm in a tin and you're good to go! Of course, those overly concerned with hygiene can also apply the balm with a lip pencil. The balm applies sheer but you can build up color very, very nicely until you get a deeper purple that has a really beautiful sheen! The smooth texture is easy to blend out and doesn't dry out the lips at all, and let me tell you, I usually have very dry and chapped lips!
It comes in a tiny flat tin with a sliding lid which can be unhandy. But as I think it looks extremely cute I'll overlook that as I love the product in it too much anyway. The size is extremely convenient for on the go, too.
Other colors of the range feature Peach, Apricot, Grapefruit, Lychee and Berry. I am thinking of trying out more of them!
I don't know what it is with purple lips, but I love them!
I never wear anything purple. No clothes, no accessories, no other make-up of mine is ever purple. Only give me purple lip color and I'll buy into it almost immediately. I would seriously wear any shade of purple if it's on the lips. I own deep purple and berry shades and a funky lilac one called Airborne Unicorn by Lime Crime, and I absolutely love them all!
This picture is a portrait of Adair by Jeff Tse off fashiongonerogue.
I love department stores and malls.
Everything you ever needed and also never needed and more under one roof for a leisurely stroll through the aisles. Filled with food courts, deli corners, and fast food chains alike, it's a feast not only for your eyes. Good for me, Seoul is full of department stores and malls, too.
Adjacent to the Jamsil station on the green circle line, you find the Lotte department store, mall, mart and theme park Lotte World all under just one roof. Sure enough, you can spend here all day.
Anyway, I wore a cardigan from Myeongdong, Seoul, a T-shirt off a street shop in Hongdae, Seoul, basic white tank from H&M, blue jeans from a boutique in Ewha, Seoul, and my black leather Converse Chucks for a casual day of eating and shopping.
By now, this might be old news to you already, but COS has finally opened its online shop!
Shipping is available only within Europe, as far as I can see. But it's something! And I am happy about any online shop there is.
I love COS. I don't always come out of the stores with a hell of a lotta things, but when I do it's the most lovely things. I cherish my COS items a lot.
However, it's always a little risky not being able to try on the clothes when you shop online. With COS, I feel it's particularly so as from my own experience a lot of COS items can turn out completely different on the body than how they appear flatted out or on a hanger. It would thus have been much nicer and, what's more, more informative had COS decided to present the clothes on models or mannequins instead of just that: hangers.
Fortunately, you can still return items to the online shop if they are not to your liking, so it really shouldn't be a problem. Just thought I mentioned it to those who haven't had the pleasure to shop in a brick and mortar COS yet and are interested in an honest opinion.
The items above are of course by COS. From left to right: stand-up collar tunic, wide leg culottes and leather pocket dress.
It's sunny, but it's gotten pretty cold here in Seoul all of a sudden.
I don't particularly mind. It means I can pull out my coats and layers again, and that's generally a good thing. It also means that a wardrobe overhaul is in order soon. Coats, jackets, boots, hats, gloves, thermal underwear... you name it. Yay!
The light trenchcoat is by Weekday, the blouse from the Platinum Fashion Mall in Bangkok, the jeans from yesstyle, the bag from Spicy Color in Myeongdong in Seoul, and the shoes from ASOS.
I am watching so many J-doramas lately I am even beginning to think in Japanese sometimes.
A particular gem of J-dorama I stumbled upon is called Osen. The stories circle around Isshouan, an old restaurant serving traditional Japanese food prepared the old-fashioned way, and its people cooking and eating in it. It teaches a lot about Japanese traditions and meals, and is interesting and entertaining to watch.
The star of the show is the food, but I couldn't help noticing something else at least similarly eye-catching. Handa Sen, who is played by an adorable Aoi Yu, is the proprietress (okami) of Isshouan, and always decked out in beautiful kimonos in lively colors and patterns. The kimonos themselves are already very pretty to look at, yet Handa Sen also manages to wear them in a nonchalant and quite modern way different to how I think most of us know kimono. I am certainly no expert in terms of traditional Japanese dress, but as an unknowing outsider the costumes in Osen are certainly a nice thing to look at.