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Seoul Searching | Hey, Hongdae!

I fell in love with Hongdae the moment I stepped on the platform of Hongik University Station. The place was bustling with energy, and you'll get a feel of this as soon as you join the throng of people making their way out of exit 9. You'll literally rub elbows with strangers as you ascend the stairs to get to the main street. Take note that we visited on a Saturday, Hongdae's busiest, liveliest, most crowded day of the week.
Hongik University Station.
Once you escape the nightmare that is exit 9, you will be greeted by a warm and youthful, oftentimes artistic vibe. Hongdae, after all, is the home ground of Hongik University - one of the best art institutions in South Korea.
Little man ready to explore Hongdae!
More of our trip to Hongdae after the jump!


Spotlight | Beyond Alice in Blooming Skin Tone Sun Base.

When you live in a tropical country such as the Philippines, it feels like summer all year round. Today's weather, for instance, was unbelievably hot and humid (31 degrees, but it felt more like a scorching 39 outside) - to think it's already the rainy season.
Beyond Alice in Blooming Skin Tone Sun Base.
And this is exactly the reason why I bought this Alice in Blooming Skin Tone Sun Base when I visited Korea last spring. This sun base, which sells for 17000 won (around Php 700 or $14), is part of Beyond Cosmetics' and Disney's Alice in Wonderland collaboration collection.
Lovely illustration on the side panel.
Now I'm all for primers with SPF for three good reasons. Primers, for one, keep your makeup intact and last for an entire day at the most. With the added sun protection factor, you don't have to apply another sunblock to your face. And since I can skip wearing sunblock, I don't have to worry about break-outs or allergies (hello, sensitive skin) or that heavy, greasy feel on my face all throughout the day.
And pretty prints on the other side.
Aside from the sun protection factor - a whopping SPF 50 PA+++ - the packaging is another reason why I purchased this product. Just look at the pretty details! Even the tube itself is pretty, with its frosted pink cap and gold details that give this sun base a very elegant vibe.
The 50 mL tube.
It comes with a screw cap for easy use, and a small nozzle which allows sufficient control on the amount of product being dispensed.
Screw-off cap.
However, both the box and the tube hardly have English text written on it. Save for the name of the product, everything else is written in Hangul.
Back of the box.
Back of the tube.
Now let's take a look at the product itself. 
Just the right amount of the sun base...
The Alice in Blooming Skin Tone Sun Base is a lightly-tinted primer that evens out the skin tone as it moisturizes and preps your skin for makeup. It also functions as a sunblock to protect the skin from harmful UV rays.  
... and how it looks like when applied.
This sun base contains red algae extracts known for its antioxidant properties and its ability to neutralize free radicals that can cause damage to the skin in the form of fine lines and wrinkles. It also contains True Eco Complex, which hydrates and brightens the skin.
Left without sun base, right with sun base.
This product has a slightly thicker consistency, similar to that of regular sunblock but without the sticky, greasy feel. I love its lightweight, easy-to-blend formula and its subtle floral scent.
Bare face.
Once applied, it makes the skin look a bit shiny which eventually turns into a nice, glowing finish as it blends into the skin.
With the Alice in Blooming Skin Tone Sun Base.
I love how this sun base preps my skin for makeup application. You know those soft focus filters work on photo editing apps?  This product sort of does the same thing, only in real life. And with sun protection, at that!
And all dolled-up! :)
Products used:
FACE: Beyond Alice in Blooming Skin Tone Sun Base,
Missha Wrinkle Filler BB Cream,
Ever Bilena Liquid Concealer in Light,
Peripera Snow White Pride Up Pact.
EYES: Etude House Tint My Eyebrows,
Clio Kill Black Pen Liner,
Tony Moly Simply Style Slim Curling Mascara.
CHEEKS: Ever Bilena Cheek Blush in Raisin.
LIPS: Beyond Rich Color Tint Balm in Tok Wine.


Sneak Peek | Missha x Minions.

Oh. My. Bananas.

I certainly did not see this makeup collaboration coming! While I knew it was within the realm of possibility for 'Minions makeup' (something like flavored lip balms for kids or tweens, if you get my drift) to exist somewhere in this planet - with these cute yellow creatures' popularity and all - it never crossed my mind that a Korean beauty brand would actually release an entire line of it. And Missha, at that!
Missha x Minions!
I haven't even opened the stuff that I bought from the Missha x Line Friends collection, and now this! Anyone trying to resist the urge of busting their budget on new makeup will have a hard time doing so. I mean, how can you say no to these adorable yellow munchkins jazzing up your runoff-the-mill makeup routine? 

Let the Minions mesmerize you!
View the entire collection after the jump!


Seoul Searching | Bongeunsa Temple.

Located smack dab in the middle of the Gangnam - amidst tower blocks, high-rise apartments, and the hustle and bustle of city life - is a place of peace, calm, and tranquility. This seemingly peculiar site (and I say peculiar because it's located right across COEX Mall) is the Bongeunsa Temple, a Buddhist temple with more than 1000 years of history.
A stark contrast against the bustling city.
Originally known as Gyeonseongsa Temple, Bongeunsa was founded in 794 during the reign of King Wonseong of the Shilla Dynasty. Its founder was National Master Patriarch Yeonhei, the highest ranking monk during that time. With orders from Queen Jeonghyeon, the temple was refurbished in 1498 and was then renamed as Bongeunsa.
A monk statue located near Jinyeomun Gate, the first main entrance. 
Temple run!
Explore the beauty of Bongeunsa after the jump!


Spotlight | Innisfree Green Tea Balancing Skin.

I have a growing fondness for green tea-infused skincare products, which stemmed mainly from my continued use of Innisfree's Green Tea Mineral Mist. I love this product so much that I decided to try the other products from Innisfree's Green Tea line and incorporate them into my daily skincare routine, starting with the Green Tea Balancing Skin.
Innisfree Green Tea Balancing Skin.
It's actually a toner, made with green tea and green tea seeds from Jeju Island. It's rich in minerals and amino acids that give nourishment to the skin and keep it moisturized. It also contains betaine, a natural moisturizing agent derived from amino acids, which provides intense moisture for combination skin to restore its natural balance.
Balancing = for normal to combination skin.
And much like any other Innisfree product, this toner is made with organic ingredients, and free from these five harmful ingredients - parabens, mineral oil, synthetic colorants, animal material, and imidazolidinyl urea, an antimicrobial preservative that acts as a formaldehyde releaser.
Product description at the back of the box.
It's also packed in an eco-friendly box, another trademark packaging of Innisfree.
Hangul text on the side panels.
As for the toner itself, it comes in a 200 mL twist-top bottle. Nothing fancy with its packaging, but I do find the debossed text on the bottle cap quite pretty. 
Twist-top bottle.
This toner, however, has a pretty unusual texture. It has a bit of viscosity to it, but it's neither sticky like gel-type toners, nor is it watery like most liquid toners. To apply, simply pour an adequate amount on your palm (two to three drops will suffice), and pat it on your face. No need for cotton pads!
Has a fairly wide opening on the bottle.
I love how this toner has this sort-of cooling effect on the skin. It's easily absorbed, and does not leave any sticky residues behind. It smells wonderful, too! Its scent is a mixture of green tea and zesty citrus notes, the kind that perks you up on lazy Monday mornings. 
Can you see the toner on the palm of my hand?
In terms of effectiveness, this toner does a good job of moisturizing my skin and keeping those pores and blackheads at bay. I started using this product two months ago while I was still in Korea, and my husband would compliment me every so often that I need not put on makeup since my bare skin looks healthy and glowing. I guess it's the antioxidants working wonders for my skin?
Three different lines for different skin types.
Well, if that's the case, then I certainly got my 14000 won's worth. I wouldn't mind spending a few more bucks for the rest of the products in the Green Tea Balancing line if it means having healthy, glowing skin. :)

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