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7.31.2018

Spotlight | Althea Real Fresh Skin Detoxer.

If you've been following me on social media, or have been following this blog, then you probably know that I'm a fan of all things Korean - pop music, dramas, variety shows, food, and most of all cosmetics. I reckon it's this great fondness for Korean beauty products that landed me a stint in Althea's Beauty Ambassador Community. I was over the moon with excitement when I learned that I've officially become an Althea Angel, and even more so when I received my Welcome Gift from Althea with these lovely surprises inside.
Yay! Welcome Gift from Althea! :)
One of the (many) things that I love about being an Althea Angel is getting first dibs on new products and Althea exclusives, such as the Althea Real Fresh Skin Detoxer.
Real Fresh Skin Detoxer set.
A collaboration between Althea and Get It Beauty, Korea's number one beauty show, the Real Fresh Skin Detoxer is a 2-in-1 cleanser pack that deep cleanses the skin while boosting it with an array of nutrients. It comes in two variants - Rose and Green Tea.
Green Tea and Rose.
The Rose Variant contains natural extracts from the May Rose which bloom once a year in Grasse, Southern France. These roses are then handpicked to create this special formula that soothes, smoothens, and deeply hydrates the skin. This product also contains real rose petals which gently exfoliate the skin and gives it a sweet and subtle fragrance.
English text on the side of the box. Everything else is written in Hangul.
Contains real rose petals. :)
The Green Tea Variant, on the other hand, is made with Green Tea goodness from Jeju Island. This product is formulated with green tea extracts and finely grounded green tea powder that are rich in vitamin C and antioxidants to help purify and brighten the skin. Each tube also contains real green tea leaves which exfoliates and leaves the skin with a nice, refreshing scent.
English text on the side of the box.
A closer look at this green tea goodness.
To use these products, simply apply a generous layer onto your face and leave it for ten seconds. Then add a little water and massage in circular motions before rinsing off. The Rose variant is recommended for morning use, while the Green Tea is recommended to be used at night.
Green Tea (left) and Rose (right).
I've been using both products for a little over a week now, and I love how my skin feels squeaky clean and super smooth after every wash. Both variants are gentle enough for daily use, but I prefer using the Rose on a daily basis (the scent is definitely a pick-me-upper in the morning) while the Green Tea as a twice (or thrice) a week deep cleanser. I also prefer applying a thin layer on my face, as the texture of both products are already thick to begin with. If you have sensitive skin, you'll be glad to know that these cleanser packs are hypoallergenic, and they're cruelty-free, too.
Bare-faced, after-shower selfie. :)
Even greater news - the Real Fresh Skin Detoxer is now available on the Althea website! They're currently sold as a set for Php 1100 - eligible for free shipping to the Philippines! :)

7.23.2018

Spotlight | Human Heart Nature Pollution Defense Hydrating Emulsion.

If you're a fan of Human Heart Nature's Pollution Defense Face Mask or Pollution Defense Face Cleanser, you'll be delighted to know that there's a new addition to the family - the Pollution Defense Hydrating Emulsion.
Human Heart Nature Pollution Defense Hydrating Emulsion.
What's an emulsion, you ask?
Emulsions are moisturizers that are typically water-based. Unlike most face creams, they have a thinner consistency, and go on lighter on the face. In a typical Korean skincare routine, emulsions are the in-between product between essences and creams. However, you can always tweak the order of usage depending on your skin type or the current season.

For those with oily skin, emulsions can be the final moisturizing step, right before you apply sun protection. Since they're lighter and easily absorbed by the skin, people with oily skin prefer emulsions as a way to keep their skin hydrated without adding more 'grease' to their skin. Similarly, if you're living in a tropical country or it's currently summer in your area, an emulsion can keep your skin cool and light, and hydrated all at the same time.
Protect + Restore + Moisturize.
Now what makes this product noteworthy is its ability to protect the skin against air pollutants. Like the Pollution Defense Face Mask and the Pollution Defense Face Cleanser, the Human Heart Nature Pollution Defense Hydrating Emulsion contains moringa seed extract, which is exceptionally good at lifting out dirt and grime from the skin and has excellent anti-aging properties.
Ingredients list.
It's also infused with Vitamin E and passion fruit seed oil which provides protection from free-radical damage and promotes healthy skin and cell growth. In addition, this product contains cocoa butter which nourishes the skin and gives this product a subtle, sweet scent - a far cry from the Pollution Defense Mask's earthy, herbal scent.
Product description and usage instructions.
Like the Pollution Defense Face Cleanser, this emulsion comes in a 50 mL pump bottle. To use, simply pump the product out and spread it gently and evenly on the face. 
One pump of the Human Heart Nature Pollution Defense Hydrating Emulsion.
Spreads thin and light on the skin.
As you can see, this product has a light and milky consistency, allowing for easy skin absorption. I use this emulsion as the second-to-the-last step in my daytime skincare routine (the last step being the sun base), and I love how this product keeps my skin hydrated and moisturized all day long without turning my face into a grease ball. This product is also ideal for night time use at it boosts the skin's ability to absorb nutrients. At night, I apply this right before the Innisfree Orchid  Enriched Cream, which I will review in this blog later on.

I've been using this emulsion since it was launched two weeks ago, and so far, so good! Looks like this product will give my Korean brand emulsions a run for their money!

The Human Heart Nature Pollution Defense Hydrating Emulsion retails for Php 350 per bottle and can be purchased online, and at Human Heart Nature branches across the country. As an introductory offer, you can purchase this emulsion together with the Pollution Defense Face Cleanser for only Php 545 - that's Php 50 off the regular price!


7.22.2018

Seoul Searching | BT21 at Line Friends Store.

While walking along the streets of Hongdae, Yue and I came across a group of girls holding cute character balloons in their hands. Recognizing the characters right away, Yue gasped, "Mommy, it's BT21!!!" BT21 is a line of animated characters created by Kpop group BTS, in collaboration with Line Friends.

Just then, another group of girls - mostly foreigners this time - showed up, also with BT21 balloons in tow. "Where did they get those balloons?" I wondered, almost on the verge of asking one of the girls that we ran into. Before I could even unravel the mystery, Yue already figured it out, pointing at the huge Line Friends Store across the street.
Line Friends Store in Hongdae.
Almost every individual that walked out of the store had a BT21 balloon, and Yue wanted one for himself. Well, I wanted one, too - never mind if I'm already an ahjumma who's already in her late 30's. Lol.
BT21, the brain child of BTS in collaboration with Line Friends.
As we entered the store, I asked one of the staff how can I avail of the balloon. "Just buy anything, and we'll give you a balloon," he said. "Anything? Even a small item like that?" I asked, pointing to a Brown hair tie worth 5000 won. "Yes, anything!" he said with a smile. And with that, we made our way to the second floor to check out the BT21 goods.
Cute and cuddly pillows.
The BT21 characters were officially introduced in September last year, but it wasn't until December when Line Friends started selling BT21 merchandise. They were such a huge hit among BTS fans, that not even freezing winter temperatures could stop them from lining up in front of the Line Friends store to get their hands on BT21 items.
Yue with the BT21 gang!
He's standing beside his favorite character, Chimmy.
Thankfully, there was no pandemonium of that sort when we visited, nor did we have to fall in line to enter the store. Sure, the place was still crowded with shoppers (and I reckon most of them are BTS fans) but Yue and I were able to look around and take photos without a hitch.
Yue wanted them all, but baggage allowance does not permit, lol.
Kooky, Chimmy, and Mang.
RJ the alpaca.
Plushies!
Prices for the BT21 merchandise range from 2500 won to 55000 won. Plastic folders printed with BT21 characters were the cheapest, while black hooded sweatshirts with patches of Tata, Cooky, and Shooky were the most expensive. As far as I'm concerned, these items are still within the affordable price range, and if you're a hardcore BTS fan, the price really wouldn't matter anyway. Haha.
Passport cases, 12000 won each.
Tata is my favorite, because this represents V. :)
Yue and I finally settled on getting a gel pen, because that's the only thing we had a need for at that moment. Surprisingly, the staff gave us two balloons even if the Cooky pen that I bought (Tata was out of stock) only costs 3000 won! 
En route to Digital Media City. Yes, we went all the way to DMC with those balloons, lol.
A few weeks later, we visited the Line Friends Store and Cafe in Itaewon. We were in the neighborhood to pick up the husband's sneakers at the Under Armour store and I asked the boys if we could swing by Line Friends because I wanted to see the cafe, which the Hongdae store did not have.
Line Friends Store and Cafe in Itaewon.
The cafe is located in the third floor, and their menu now includes BT21 drinks and desserts such as Chimmy's Pineapple Smoothie and Tata's Berry Sundae. We didn't get to try them though, as the place was packed (we went on a Sunday) and we wanted to eat at Dairy Queen anyway.
BT21 drinks and desserts.
The stairs leading to the third floor.
If you're a BTS fan, you'll find the Itaewon flagship store a lot more interesting since they have BTS memorabilia on display. For instance, these sketches of Koya by his creator, RM.
Koya by RM (also known as Kim Nam Joon).
And the statue of Space Robot Van, signed by all BTS members.
Signed statue of Space Robot Van.
In addition, the Itaewon store has more photo zones and carries more BT21 merchandise than its Hongdae counterpart. Now if you're an ARMY, I'm sure you won't leave either store empty-handed. We left Itaewon with another BT21 gel pen, lol.
Still no luck with Tata, huhu.
To get to the Hongdae Line Friends Store, take Hongik University Station (Line 2), exit 2.
To get to the Itaewon Line Friends Store and Cafe, take Itaewon Station (Line 6), exit 3.

7.19.2018

Tips and Tricks to Prepare for a Perfect Holiday.

As the vacations are around the corner, it is exciting to imagine yourself by the sea with your favorite drink in your hand or getting a massage from a specialist. However, preparing for a trip in advance is very important otherwise in the stress of preparations you might forget some of the most important things that will ruin your entire experience. Here are some tips and tricks that will help you plan for a perfect journey.
Photo credit: Pixabay.
Know your budget and start saving
First, you have to select the destination that you would like to visit this summer. Make sure that you plan your entire trip considering the places you would like to visit and points you would like to explore. Get the estimation of the budget that you need to have a stress-free journey. After that, you should compare the amount you need for the trip with the money you have already saved. Make sure that you start saving some extra money to assure that you will not have to deal with any issues during the journey.

Plan your tour
One of the most important things you have to consider is planning your tour. A common mistake most individuals make is they do not plan their tour properly due to which most of their time is wasted on finding a spot they would like to explore or going from one place to another. When you will have all the information related to the spots that you want to explore as well as the transportation facilities you need to get their fast, it will become easier for you to get the most out of the single day you have. Make sure that you keep your plan flexible in case something else comes up during the trip.

Get yourself an insurance
Do not make the mistake of going on a journey without a travel insurance. You have to assure that you get yourself and your family covered for the journey with travel insurance. The reason is that anything can happen during the trip. You might not have enough money to pay for the hospital expenses and medication. With the help of travel insurance, you can have all such costs covered. Bupa Global has the best insurance services that can give you a comprehensive cover. You can select the coverage that meets your requirements perfectly and provides you the coverage that you need.
Photo credit: Pixabay.
Have your tech kit ready
Make sure that you prepare your tech kit properly.

  • Have a universal adapter that will allow you to charge all the gadgets that you are planning to take on the journey.
  • Make sure that you charge your laptop, phone, and other gadgets. You will have to keep them in your carry on and they will be checked at the airport.
  • Keep a portable charger with you that will allow you to charge all your devices so that you can stay connected with everyone
  • It is better that you arrange all your gadgets in a properly protected bag to assure that no one of the items will get broken or damaged during the journey.
Photo credit: Pixabay.
Bottom line
Do not forget to collect the information related to the weather in the place that you are planning to visit. You can have the pack your clothes accordingly to assure that you will not have to buy clothes in case temperature changes. Make sure that you double check all the items before you can go to the airport. That is the only way you will not forget anything at home and will allow you to enjoy your journey.


7.18.2018

How to Get Vacations Rental Loan for a Dream Home in Nassau and Paradise Island.

Everyone has a dream of owning a perfect vacation home on the island of Bahamas where they can spend a luxurious vacation. However, buying a house is not that simple when you do not have enough savings. If you are planning to invest in the Nassau vacation rentals, it is better that you apply for a loan. However, getting a 2nd home loan is hard to get. Here we have some tips that will help you with your 2nd home.
Photo credit: Luxury Retreat.
Find the perfect home
First, you have to find a perfect home. Assure that you decide your budget and accordingly look for a vacation home.
  • The homes near the beach are expensive as compared to others.
  • You have to consider the number of rooms and style of house you would like to have.
  • You can buy the newly constructed home or the one that someone is trying to sell.
  • Make sure that you do not exceed your budget during the selection of the vacation home because the repayments will be expensive for you.
It’s good to get bridging loans to cover some expenses while you are moving to your dream home.

Compare different loan packages available
Once you have found the perfect house, it is important that you consider the loan packages available. There are several private and public lenders who are providing the loans. You have to pay attention to the interest rate and payment schedule options available. It will help you in the selection of the best package that will meet your requirements as well as it will be easier for you to repay the loan in installment. It is better that you select the loan with a lower interest rate. You have to select the loan and budget according to your monthly income.
Photo credit: Luxury Retreat.
Consider your credit score
One of the most important things you have to consider is your credit score and performance. If you have a bad credit score you should not even consider filing for the loan because you will not get it even at the highest interest rate. Make sure that your previous performance is excellent and you have no pending loan. Assure that all your previous loans were repaid at the right time because these are some of the points, lenders will consider before approving the loan. If there are some issues in the credit report make sure that you improve your performance and credit score.

Develop a repayment plan
Before you can apply for the loan, it is important that you develop your repayment plan. Most of the lenders might not ask you for how you are going to repay the loan. However, considering your income and credit report there are some lenders who will surely ask you about the repayment plan according to the type of loan you are planning to get. You can take the help of an expert for the development of a repayment plan. Assure that you share all the information with the experts and they will help you in the selection of the loan and payment plan that will be perfect according to your lifestyle.

Before you apply for the loan, it is better that you save enough money that will allow you to cover most of the payment of your vacation home. When you will have enough cash in your account, lenders will know that you are eligible for the loan because you have enough money for the repayment. Assure that you apply with all the authentic documents and make the repayments on time to assure that you will not have to deal with any issues.




7.16.2018

Foodie Goodie | Hongdae Hits!

Aside from its reputation of being the trendiest and most vibrant neighborhood in Seoul, Hongdae is also a treasure trove of delightful eats. From meat buffets to chicken joints, to cozy cafes and dessert shops, Hongdae has it all.

It's no secret that this youth-culture hub is one of my favorite places in Seoul, and I never miss the chance to visit this area whenever I'm in the country. I had all the more reasons to hie off to Hongdae during my most recent trip, as my friends who were also vacationing in Korea at that time were staying at AirBnBs within the district. Thanks to our 'mini reunion', I was able to discover these restaurants in Hongdae and enjoy good food while catching-up with the girls.

Gochangbok's Good Restaurant 착한 식당
If grilled meat is your thing, Hongdae is the perfect place to be. There's a so-called 'Meat Street' in the neighborhood where you'll find more than a dozen barbecue restaurants lined up in one area. We somehow ended up here while looking for a place to eat, mostly because my friend Ela had been craving for authentic samgyeopsal since she arrived in Korea.

One of the more prominent meat restaurants in the area is Gochangbok's Good Restaurant, which is especially popular among office workers. Thankfully, we came after the lunch crowd has dissipated and we had no trouble finding seats at the first floor of the building.
Gochangbok's Good Restaurant.
Both floors of the restaurant are usually packed after office hours.
We ordered samgyeopsal, of course, which was priced at 7900 won per serving. Ela ordered three servings (one for each of us), plus three bowls of rice (because rice is life, lol), and an extra soondubu jigae (silken tofu soup) for Maan.
Samgyeopsal! :)
Our orders came with side dishes such as acorn jelly soup, coleslaw, and lettuce salad. I especially enjoyed the coleslaw, and even helped myself to a refill at the salad bar in one corner of the restaurant. They also gave us a bowl of gyeran jjim (steamed egg) - soft, silky, and seasoned just right.
Coleslaw, Korean style.
No wonder this restaurant is such a hit among yuppies. Awesome food, great ambiance, budget-friendly price...Gochangbok truly lives up to its name of being a 'good restaurant'.

Address: 331-18 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul
To get there, take Hongik University Station (Line 2), exit 8.

Chicken and Curry Goon 치킨앤 카레군
Next to fish, chicken is my son's most favorite protein in the world. And while there may be a proliferation of chicken restaurants in Seoul (there's bound to be one or two in every corner, lol), Yue's primary complaint is that they're too spicy for his taste. We almost always resort to McDonald's or Lotteria's Chicken Nuggets whenever he's in the mood for chicken, but we took a stab at this cute restaurant which we came across while walking along the streets of Hongdae.
Chicken and Curry Goon.
I was initially worried that they would not allow us to enter since most beer-serving restaurants do not allow kids in their establishments. However, the staff of Curry Chicken Goon were more than welcoming, and we were able to order without a hitch. Maybe because it was lunch time and none of the customers were having beer anyways? 
Chicken + Curry.
The chicken sets seem to be the more popular items on their menu, so we ordered the Onion Cream Chicken Set which comes with a salad, cheese fries, and more than a dozen pieces of fried chicken topped with heaps of onion slices. The serving is huge, and good for sharing between three people.
Onion Cream Chicken Set, 22800 won.
The servings are huge!
Even the salad is good for sharing.
Yue fell in love with the chicken at first bite. I did, too! Its crispy on the outside and flavorful all throughout (not just the skin, mind you), and best of all, it's not spicy! The fries were just as tasty - cheesy, creamy, with just the right crunch. The price isn't so bad either, considering you can feed a family of three with just one set.

Address: 164-11, Dongho-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul
To get there, take Hongik University Station (Line 2), exit 9.

Deux Copains 듀꼬뱅
Nestled among the alleys of Donggyo-dong is this cozy neighborhood bakery called 'Deux Copains'. The name means 'two friends' in French, and this place is perfect for coffee dates or small, intimate gatherings with friends.
Deux Copains.
This is one of the very few places in Seoul that sells croissants, and I was pleasantly surprised that theirs taste the way a real French croissant should be - crumbly on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside, and 'ears' that are crispy, crunchy, and browned to perfection.
Croissants of all kinds.
One of the rare occasions that I ordered iced coffee - Caramel Latte, to be exact.
It was so damn hot that day!
Someone's having a blast. :)
Yue enjoyed their pastries, but he enjoyed the free wi-fi more, as this place was actually a Pokestop and had several gyms nearby. (If you're playing Pokemon Go, then you know what I'm talking about.) That being said, if you're the kind of person who likes to 'work' at coffee shops and need wi-fi to get your job done, drop by Deux Copains for croissants, coffee, and a nice and quiet working environment. 

Address: 204-58 Donggyo-dong Mapo-gu
To get there, take Hongik University (Line 2), exit 2.
Go straight to the Hyundai Gas Station on the right side, then go straight for 30 meters to the right from Porutua across the street. Go straight for about 100 meters after turning left at the Oriental medicine store.

Churro 101 츄로101
I've said it before, and I'll say it again - the churros from Churro 101 are the best in Korea, if not the world. This snack shop is the place I frequent the most whenever I'm in Hongdae (you can read all about it here and here), and I'm so glad my friends enjoyed their churros as much as I did.
Churro 101 is love! 
Churro 101 recently introduced new flavors to their menu, mostly green tea based because matcha is all the rage in Korea these days: Green Tea Chocolate, Green Tea Chocolate Almond Cherries, Green Tea Chocolate Strawberry Crunchy, and Green Tea Chocolate Coconut Citrus. However, my perennial favorite will always be the Deep Fried Oreo Churro.
Deep Fried Oreo Churro... yum! :)
Address: 346-1 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul
To get there, take Hongik University Station (Line 2), exit 9.