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Seoul Searching | Hyundai City Outlets.

We visited Hyundai City Outlets last winter upon the recommendation of my Korean friend, Bong Sun unni, who owns the Filipino store in our neighborhood. Knowing my penchant for sneakers, she told me to drop by 'this new mall in Dongdaemun' where there's a crazy sale on shoes. And so off to Dongdaemun we did, with hopes of finding a pair of Jordan 11 Space Jam in my size.
Hyundai City Outlets.
Huge Christmas tree near the entrance.
Huge tops that kids can sit on and play with. 
More of Hyundai City Outlets after the jump!


Fashion Pulse | Spice Up Your Look.

When you’re trying to create, you can be bogged down by the sense that it’s all been done, and it pretty much has. However, originality can still come about when you take what you’ve seen before and combine it in new and novel ways. With that in mind, why not take one of the most inspiring and lasting infatuations mankind has ever had to inspire your new look? Why not use flowers to take your look to the next level? Flowers are beautiful and elegant, and there’s a reason they’ve remained a part of human culture throughout all of history.
Photo credit: Coco Rosa.
First and foremost, consider floral print. This is an easy way to make any outfit more interesting, as long as you don’t go into garish territory. Nothing spoils a look faster than trying to do too much. Avoid designs that are too “loud” or “busy.” Keep it simple. Find a pattern that consists of a small selection of prominent colors, such as an array of sunflowers, against a dark background. You can also consider a design that pairs flowers with bees or butterflies, both of which are striking insects in there own way and have a deep connection with flowers.

Another way to spice up your look with flora is by wearing flowers, themselves. Wearing flowers in your hair has a sort of whimsical and mystical feeling to it that it sure to make for a memorable look. You can also along the top of a tube top dress to create a floral border along the chest. There are a number of ways to incorporate flowers into your look, so don’t be afraid to experiment. Fortune favors the bold, as they say. And, whatever floral needs you may have, 1800Flowers can help you build your new look.


Big Win for Human Heart Nature's Anna Meloto-Wilk!

From its humble beginnings as a fledgling social enterprise, Human Heart Nature continues to grow by leaps and bounds - and rake in awards and recognitions along the way. Earlier this month, Human Heart Nature achieved another milestone as its president and co-founder Anna Meloto-Wilk has been named as the winner of the Global Beauty Industry Woman of the Year Award.
Anna Meloto-Wilk.
The Global Beauty Industry Woman of the Year Award honors female beauty industry professionals whose pioneering spirit, leadership and mentorship is shaping the future of the cosmetics and personal care industry. This award is given by Cosmetics Design, a London-based beauty industry publication led by award-winning journalists.
Winner of the 2017 Beauty Industry Awards!
Over 250 companies joined the inaugural Beauty Industry Awards, with Anna Meloto-Wilk competing against Sarah Champman, founder of Sarah Champan's Skinesis, and Nanette de Gaspé Beaubien, CEO of Nannette de Gaspé Beauté.

When we started Human Nature, I never imagined that we would one day be noticed by Europe’s beauty industry giants! Since the beginning, our incredibly hard working little team just tried to stick to what we believed was right – loving the Philippines through our ingredients, loving the poor as a social enterprise and making safe, natural products affordable for ordinary Filipinos,” shares Anna.

This award is proof that ‘Made in the Philippines’ can truly be just as good as ‘Made in France’ or ‘Made in the UK’ and I hope it will encourage other Filipinas to never give up on our country and our talented, heroic people.”

At present, Human Heart Nature is the first and only Southeast Asian beauty and personal care brand with products certified by the US Natural Products Association (NPA). It also holds the distinction of having the highest number of NPA-certified products in the world. Human Heart Nature is also the first Filipino cosmetic brand certified cruelty-free by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

Congratulations, Anna! And more power to Human Heart Nature! :)

To know more about Human Heart Nature and their advocacies, visit their official website


Pucker Up! | Chanel Rouge Allure Gloss.

And we're down to the last Monday of the month!
The month of April sure went by fast, considering that we're mostly stuck at home, staying indoors, and avoiding the scorching heat as much as possible. In a few days, we'll be flying to somewhere more temperate (take a guess where, haha) and I can't wait to feel that blustery spring breeze once again!

I've actually began packing over the weekend - most of our clothes and toiletries are already inside the luggage bags, our medicine kit is good to go, even my vanity is ready and packed with the usual makeup items that I bring whenever I go on a trip. This includes the Chanel Rouge Allure Gloss, which I know for sure will not budge during my four-hour flight.
Chanel Rouge Allure Gloss.
Chanel describes this as a 'colour and shine lip gloss in one click'.
Brief product description in different languages.
This was bought in Korea. I actually received this as a gift from my Korean unni.
For starters, can I just say that this product's packaging is absolutely gorgeous? The box alone exudes elegance with the gold lettering and gold side panels, while the black lacquered tube is nothing short of chic.
Chanel logo on top.
Shade number and color reference at the base.
The tube's sleek and modern packaging comes with a unique 'one-click' feature. Simply click the top portion (the one with the Chanel logo) by pushing it down, and it springs back up to reveal what is actually the base of the lip gloss wand.
'Push to click'.
It comes with a beveled, double-sided, flocked applicator which allows easy, breezy application and precise definition.
It looks like a paddle from this angle.
From another angle, you can see the applicator's sloping edge.
The lip gloss has a rich, somewhat creamy texture which glides on smoothly when applied. Its consistency is rather thick but not goopy, slightly sticky - yes, but does not feel heavy on the lips. It has a semi-opaque formula with gorgeous and intense color pay-off.
Indoor lighting. Swatched once on the left, twice on the right.
Natural light. Swatched once on the left, twice on the right.
Chanel Rouge Allure Gloss comes in ten different shades, and this one is #17 Supreme. It's a bright fuchsia pink with a sophisticated, glassy finish.
Shade number indicated on the top flap.
Ingredients listed at the back of the box.
I absolutely love how crazy pigmented this lip gloss is! Add to the fact that it's hydrating and very comfortable to wear. Best of all, it stays put on my lips for almost seven hours. I've had my morning coffee, several glasses of water, plus my afternoon tea, and the color is still there! Seven freaking hours. For a lip gloss. How amazing is that?!
Chanel Rouge Allure Gloss in #17 Supreme.
The Chanel Rouge Allure Gloss retails for $37 (around Php 1800), but I got mine as a gift last Christmas. I won't usually spend that much for a lip gloss, but I guess it's okay to splurge on something like this every once in awhile. On that note, somebody stop me from buying another shade of this lip gloss! Haha!
Products Used:
FACE: Beyond Alice in Blooming Skin Tone Sun Base,
Ever Bilena Liquid Concealer in Light,
Laneige Milkyway Fantasy BB Cushion Whitening.
EYES: Shiseido Eyebrow Pencil in  Brown,
Clio Kill Black Waterproof Brush Liner,
Clio Salon de Cara Backcomb Cara.
CHEEKS: Tony Moly Cristal Blusher in Pleasure Peach.
LIPS: Chanel Rouge Allure Gloss in Supreme.


Seoul Searching | Revisiting SMTown: SUM Liverary Cafe.

I'll let you in on a secret. I almost always chance upon a Korean celebrity whenever I go to COEX Mall right after visiting Bongeunsa Temple. I call it the 'Bongeunsa magic'. Like last spring when I saw some of the IKON members in passing during the 2016 C-Festival.

A few weeks later, I chanced upon Park Seo Jun's meet and greet event for the shoe brand that he was endorsing. And this happened after Yue accidentally toppled over one of the snow globes in the temple's souvenir shop. Can you imagine how I went from mad to glad after seeing one of my favorite Korean actors up close, in the flesh? It was crazy, I tell you.

Last winter was no different. Yue and I went to the temple for our usual visit, crossed the street afterwards to get to COEX Mall, and headed straight to SMTown because I wanted to grab a bite at the SUM Liverary Cafe. Lo and behold, I saw a throng of teenagers waiting excitedly at the SMTown Square! I knew right then and there someone was coming because almost all of them had their camera phones ready, and some of the girls even had DSLR's with long-range zoom lenses.
EXO For Life event, December 2016.
As Yue and I joined the crowd, I asked one of the girls who was coming. With a huge smile, she answered, "EXO!" And I was like, "Oh my God, EXO?!" even though I was not really a fan. I mean, it's not everyday that I'll get to see Kpop idols at a close distance without having to spend an arm and leg so I might as well make the most out of this opportunity.
Kai and Suho (I think).
Minutes later, the boys emerged from this huge metal door across the Square, and the crowd went in a frenzy! Turns out they had an event at the SMTown Theatre and stopped by briefly at the Square to say 'hi' to their fans.
Chanyeol and Baekhyun.
As soon as the group left the area, Yue and I made our way to the fourth floor of SMTown, where SUM Liverary Cafe is located. In one of my previous posts, I've mentioned that this floor is a cafe, art gallery, souvenir shop, and mini grocery all in one place.
SMTown Liverary Cafe.
The mood was quite festive when we entered the place. Most of the customers were EXO fans who were still on a high after the fan meeting. 
Christmas feels on the eve of New Year's Eve. :)
Yue and I checked out their goods and we discovered that the SUM Market has gone beyond popcorn, potato chips, and instant noodles. They now have chocolates, trail mixes, laver, and even cereals, too!
Premium chocolates.
Trail mix.
Laver on the top shelf, cereals on the bottom.
They were even raffling off EXO merchandise signed by the EXO members themselves. You get a raffle ticket if you buy a pack of the EXO Laver, EXO Cereal, and EXO Gourmet Popcorn.
EXO Winter Album event.
Meanwhile, at the SUM Cafe, they still have these cute macarons and cupcakes on the menu.
Their 'Artist Ade Bottles' (lemonade in drink bottles bearing the logo of SM Town artists), on the other hand, now have a new look.
Artist Ades! :)
These clay figures of EXO were also on display. They're not for sale, but the albums can be bought at the Celebrity Shop on the second floor.
More EXO.
Almost all seats at the cafe were taken so Yue and I decided to buy food to go instead of eating there.
Busy day at the SUM Cafe!
I bought a Super Junior Yummy Box which contains a bagel, butter, and strawberry jam. It's housed in a reusable container designed as a CD. 
Super Junior Yummy Box.
On our next trip, we'll try to visit the SUM Cafe in Cheongdam-dong. It's located on the underground floor of SM Entertainment's building so there is chance of bumping into Leeteuk or Taemin, or maybe even Siwon! I hope the Bongeunsa magic will still work wonders the next time around!
Hite x Shinee!
Celebrity Shop, second floor.
Guess who? :)
SMTown Floor Guide.
Inside the Celebrity Shop.
Siwon merchandise! :)
To get to SMTown, take the Seoul Subway Line 2 and get off at Samseong Station, Exit 5 or 6. The station is directly connected to the mall, with entry at the Millenium Square.

SMTown at COEX Artium
513, Yeongdong-daero, Gangnam-gu, Seoul


Spotlight | Laneige Milkyway Fantasy BB Cushion.

As I did my usual rounds of Myeongdong's shopping street last winter, I tried my very best to resist the temptation of Laneige's Milkyway Fantasy Holiday Collection. I may have resisted the urge to buy another tub of the Water Sleeping Mask (because I still have one waiting for me back home), but alas, I could not do the same for the BB Cushion.
Laneige Milkyway Fantasy BB Cushion.
I mean, just look at the picture above. How can you resist such a thing of beauty? You can not.
Especially if your favorite color is pink and purple and you love pretty, shimmery things.
Laneige Milkyway Fantasy Holiday Collection.
I must admit, I bought this product mainly for the packaging - aside from the fact that it's from Laneige, one of my favorite Korean cosmetics brands.
It's about this big, and easily fits in my makeup kit.
One of the brand's best-selling products, the Laneige BB Cushion comes in four different varieties - the standard BB Cushion, the Pore Control Cushion, the Anti-Aging Cushion, and the Whitening Cushion. Mine is the latter, since the Milkyway Fantasy BB Cushion is limited to just one variant (Whitening).
Comes with an instructional pamphlet.
The Whitening BB Cushion doesn't 'bleach' your skin or make your skintone lighter, if you're thinking along that line. Rather, it brightens the skin and evens out your complexion to make your skin clearer, and give it a lovely, healthy glow.
Product information and usage instructions.
One of the key points of this BB Cushion is the Sparkling Coat, a color technology applied to this product which uses micro-sized pearl particles to improve dull, uneven skintone. It also contains hydro ion mineral water to keep the skin moisturized and quinoa extract which improves skin elasticity and provides exceptional skin hydration.
Back of the box and cushion case.
The Milkyway Fantasy BB Cushion is limited to three shades only: #13 Ivory, #21 Beige, #23 Sand. If your skintone does not match any of the shades above, I suggest you get the regular Whitening BB Cushion instead since it comes in 11 different shades.
Shade number and expiration date indicated on the back of the cushion case.
The cushion is housed in a sturdy plastic compact. Inside is a large mirror, an air puff sponge, and a flip-out tray to hold the sponge and keep the cushion from drying out.
Here's how the compact looks like when opened.
The sponge and the tray.
Underneath the tray is the cushion; here it is still sealed.
As for the cushion itself, it now comes in a diamond honeycomb texture which Laneige calls as '3D Skin Fit Cushion'. This design allows you to pick up the product more evenly with the puff, and gives you better control of the amount being dispensed into the puff. Compared with other cushions that I have tried, this one feels a tad firmer, and has more resistance when you push it down.
3D Skin Fit Cushion.
Here's how the BB Cushion looks like on my skin. I read somewhere that this particular cushion runs slightly darker, so I was worried that shade #23 would be way too off for my skintone. But I was left with no choice since the only shade available during that time was #23. And I just had to buy this darn cushion by all means, haha!
#23 Beige - swatched, indoor lighting.
#23 Beige - swatched, under natural light.
I use shade #23 with my Missha Magic Cushion so I figured this could still be within my skin's range. And thankfully, it was! The cushion adjusted nicely to my skintone after blending, and leaves the skin with a semi-dewy finish.
Left - without BB Cushion; Right - with BB Cushion. Indoor lighting.
Left - without BB Cushion; Right - with BB Cushion. Natural light.
Its formula is light and sheer, but it gives the skin just enough coverage without looking too made up. If you have skin imperfections that would require heavier coverage, this BB Cushion might fall short of your expectations. I'm all for dewy, glowing skin so this product works fine with me.
Missha x Line Friends Magic Cushion on the left; Laneige Milkyway Fantasy Whitening BB Cushion on the right.
Missha x Line Friends Magic Cushion on the left; Laneige Milkyway Fantasy BB Cushion on the right.
As you pat the product on your face, you will feel a nice, cooling sensation. It's a welcoming feature, considering how hot is it in the Philippines these days and how wearing makeup can be a pain in this humid weather. The product's soft, soapy scent is also impossible not to notice - not that I'm complaining.
My skin is not in a very pretty state right now - a sign that my period is due.
As for the staying power, the product stays put for about 5 hours or so, with a bit of touch-ups mostly on my T-zone. Do note that I have sensitive skin and my face hardly greases up, except during this time of the year (aka summer in the tropics). If you have oily skin, this might not work well for you, but if you have sensitive skin, you'll be glad to know that I did not have breakouts or allergies while using this product.
Laneige Milkyway Fantasy BB Cushion on my face.
I love how this BB cushion lives up to its promise of making your skin bright and glowing. It gives enough coverage to hide my skin blemishes (not that my face has a lot, lol) without the heavy feel, and without looking too made up. It's easy to apply, does not cake or patch, and has sun protection (SPF 50+ PA+++), too!

My only gripe is that this BB Cushion does not come with a refill. Laneige's BB Cushions usually come with one refill, but this holiday release - which I got for 27000 won (around Php 1200 or $23) - does not.
Products Used:
FACE: Beyond Alice in Blooming Skin Tone Sun Base,
Ever Bilena Liquid Concealer in Light,
Laneige Milkyway Fantasy BB Cushion #23.
EYES: Shiseido Eyebrow Pencil in Brown,
Clio Kill Black Waterproof Brush Liner,
Clio Salon de Cara Backcomb Cara.
CHEEKS: NYC Cheek Glow Powder Blush in West Side Wine.
LIPS: Innisfree Glossy Lip Lacquer in Burgundy Pink.

I think I'll just buy a refill of the Anti-Aging Cushion next time and use it with the Milkyway Fantasy case. I've been wanting to try that cushion since it was released! :)