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iKON 2018 CONTINUE TOUR IN SEOUL (Korea Version)

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Spotlight | Althea Makeup Box + Simple Makeup Tutorial.

Oh yes, you read it right! Our favorite K-beauty shopping website, Althea, now has its very own line of makeup. And if you're following me on Instagram (or in my other social pages), then you've probably got a glimpse of the new Althea exclusives.
Althea's all-new makeup line + the hanbok-inspired Lunar New Year box.
The Althea makeup line consists of an eyeshadow palette, eye glitters, concealers, and lip tints. They even included the Skin Relief Soft Film Gel in the hanbok-inspired box that they sent me, but I'll write about that in a separate post. For now, I'll just talk about the makeup products and show you how I used them.
Althea Flawless Creamy Concealer.
Shades from L-R: #01 Vanilla, #02 Ginger, #03 Honey, and #04 Mocha.
The Althea Flawless Creamy Concealer (Php 200) is an easy-to-blend concealer that covers undereye circles, blemishes, dark spots, and other skin imperfections. It has a buildable formula that gives medium to full coverage, and comes in a range of shades that can cater to different skin tones.
Swatches from L-R: #01 Vanilla, #02 Ginger, #03 Honey, and #04 Mocha.
The Althea Spotlight Eye Glitter (Php 300), as its name implies, is a glittery eye product that can be used as an eyeshadow and an eyeliner. It has a silky-smooth liquid formula which dries down to a long-wearing finish. It also comes with a precise brush for easy application.
Althea Spotlight Eye Glitter in #01 Gold Light (left) and #02 Pink Light (right).
Swatches - Gold Light (left) and Pink Light (right).
Then there's the Althea Watercolor Cream Tint (Php 260), an innovative lip product that combines the pigmentation of lipstick, the moisturizing feel of gloss, and the staying power of stain. The Althea Watercolor Cream Tint has a lightweight, buildable formula that allows you to wear the product two ways - gradient or full-on. They come in four highly-pigmented shades, each with a mild, sugary scent.
Althea Watercolor Creamy Tint.
Shades from L-R: #01 Plum Cream, #02 Strawberry Cream, #03 Peach Cream, #04 Marron Cream.
Swatches from L-R: #01 Plum Cream, #02 Strawberry Cream, #03 Peach Cream, #04 Marron Cream.
Finally, we have the Althea Eye Palette Sunrise & Moonrise BCL x Althea (Php 1780), Althea's very first eyeshadow palette. Made in collaboration with Indonesian singer, actress, and style icon Bunga Citra Lestari (more popularly known to fans as BCL), this palette contains a mix of matte, shimmery, and glittery shades. There are eight shades in total, and they're all beautifully-pigmented, long-wearing, and easy to apply. The glittery ones have a bit of fall-out though, but nothing a setting powder can't handle.
Althea Eye Palette Sunrise & Moonrise BCL x Althea.
Shades have no names, but the ones on top are numbered 1-4,
while the ones on the bottom are numbered 5-8.
Swatches: Shade number 1 on the bottom, shade number 8 on the top.
And now for my quick makeup tutorial. Keep in mind that I'm no makeup artist, so please bear with my so-called skills, lol.
Using the Althea Flawless Creamy Concealer in shade #03 Honey.
After my morning skincare routine (and yes, that includes sunscreen), I applied a primer first, followed by a layer of cushion, and then the Althea Flawless Creamy Concealer. I dotted it along my undereye area and blended it using a beauty sponge. I also used the concealer to cover the tiny red patches on the side of my nose. Once I've blended the concealer in the 'troubled areas' of my face, I applied the Althea Petal Velvet Powder in Pink Lavender to set everything in.
How it looks like after blending. 
Ideally, the next step would be to groom, line, and fill in your brows. But because I'm weird (lol), I usually apply eyeshadow first, then work on my brows after. The shades with arrows on the right are the ones that I used for my simple, daytime look. 
Shade number to cover the entire lids, shade number 3 as the main shade,
and shade number 5 on the crease and outer V.
I applied the matte beige shade number 2 on my entire lid and used the metallic rose gold shade number 3 as the main color on my lids. To add depth and dimension, I used the shimmery golden brown shade number 5 on my crease and outer V.
Using shades number 2, 3, and 5 for this look.
To complete my eye makeup, I applied black eyeliner on my upper lashline, a bit of the Gold Light Althea Spotlight Eye Glitter on my water line, and mascara on my lashes. Then I worked on my brows, which is usually the most time-consuming step of my makeup routine.
On my lips - the Althea Watercolor Cream Tint in #03 Peach Cream.
I then used a dusty pink blush on my cheeks and the Althea Water Color Cream Tint in Peach Cream on my lips.  
My daytime/Valentines look using Althea makeup.
Ta-daaa! This is the final look. :)
My daytime/Valentine look using Althea makeup.
It was such a joy working with all these products from Althea's exclusive makeup line. I love playing with the colors on the palette, and now I'm wearing eyeshadow almost everyday - well, for this week, at least. :)

You can purchase all the products featured in this post on the Althea website. There's a storewide sale going on right now, because it's Valentine's Day. We don't normally celebrate this occasion (I'm the scrooge of Valentine's Day, lol), but I hope you all have a Happy Hearts Day! :)


Why You Have to Visit an Eye Doctor Before You Order Glasses

Modern life has made people spend too much time in front of computers and smartphones. We are too busy with jobs and other obligations that we don't have time to relax and even forget to take a moment to let our eyes rest. That's why we need to take care of our vision and visit an eye doctor occasionally. An expert's advice will be helpful in case we need to purchase prescription glasses. This step we should never do on our own. Advice and recommendation from eye experts are crucial if we have been diagnosed with some vision disorders.
What happens during an eye examination.
How an Eye Examination Looks Like.
A visit to an ophthalmologist can help us determine the condition of our eyes, to check the visual acuity and if there is any vision disorder. Regular examinations make most eye problems to be detected in an early stage. This can highly increase the chances to treat many of them quickly and efficiently.

Patients should be afraid of eye examination: it's a simple and completely painless procedure. It consists of several stages:

  •  Diopter determination is the first and foremost step. It's a painless clinical examination which involves the use of a special machine, called auto refractor, which checks how the light rays break through our eyes. More about this machine find here.
  •  Correction of visual sharpness at a distance and proximity if, after the first step, it is determined as necessary.
  •  With a specific apparatus, the ophthalmologist will measure the eye pressure. The method involves the use of a tonometer to mark the level of eyewash, which actually creates and maintains optimum eye pressure.
  • At the very end, the final step is the complete overview of all parts of the eye. These are a cornea, retina, eyelids, pupils, ocular nerves, yellow spots, mucous membranes.
The eye expert won't skip any of the mentioned phases of examination, since the establishment of diagnosis, further testing and treatment determinations depends on all of them. If we are diagnosed with a diopter, the doctor will most likely give us a prescription, which should serve as a start point when buying or ordering glasses in online stores.
Still undecided?
Things to Pay Attention to Before Ordering Glasses.
Buying the glasses doesn't have to be a problem if you stick to some rules. So, after visiting an ophthalmologist, they will give us a prescription based on your diagnosis. You probably don't have a clue what's in it, but each of those numbers and labels is very important when we want to order glasses from online stores.

Be Careful with Measures.
All these labels on our prescription can confuse us, but experts from reliable web stores will easily figure them out and create our custom-made pair of glasses. When we make an order, we should enter all these measures as written. Professional eye doctors will understand if you have astigmatism, or you may need cylinders, whether you are short-sighted or far-sighted, etc.

Extras Raise the Price.
Glasses that you purchase online usually have a lower price than those in stores. However, if we don't pay enough attention, our new pair of goggles can cost us a lot. There are many add-ons that can be useful, but we probably don't need any of them.

If we want our glasses to have a coating for additional UV or blue light protection, it can be a significant rise in the overall price. Also, if we want to be stylish and have special requirements regarding the frame shape and design, be sure that the costs will be significantly higher than planned. The experts from suggest planning our online purchase in details, so we can avoid wasting money.

Many of us don't have time to visit optical stores so we can use the benefits of online shopping to purchase glasses. However, online fraud cases happen quite often, and we have to protect ourselves. Checking the website's reviews and user experience before purchasing is mandatory. Buying through trustworthy websites offering a refund or correcting the order gives us a guarantee that we'll get what we want. Not having these options should be a warning to avoid that web store.


Spotlight | Laneige Dream and Glow Lip Care Set.

Lip care products are staples in our household, and it's not just because of me. My boys also pay particular attention to caring for their lips, even more so now in this chilly, blustery, skin-drying weather. And so with our obsession with lip hydration and my penchant for limited edition/holiday collections, getting the Laneige Dream and Glow Lip Care Set while it was still available on Althea was the right thing for me to do.
Laneige Dream and Glow Lip Care Set, Php 1430.
A 2018 holiday release, the Laneige Dream and Glow Lip Care Set includes two full-sized tubes (10 grams each) of the Laneige Lip Glowy Balm and two travel-sized tubs (8 grams each) of the Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask. Both the lip balms and the lip masks come in two variants - Berry and Grapefruit for the former, Berry and Mint Choco for the latter. I love that they included the Mint Choco lip mask - it's a rare variant available only in Korea.
Laneige Lip Sleeping Masks in Berry and Mint Choco,
Laneige Lip Glowy Balm in Berry and Grapefruit.
The Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask is an overnight lip treatment that gently melts dead skin cells and makes the lips smooth and supple while you sleep. It's formulated with the 'Berry Mix Complex', a special mix of berries that are rich in vitamin C and antioxidants to heal and hydrate dry, chapped lips. It also has a 'Moisture Wrap' formulation infused with hyaluronic acid, which locks moisture deep into your kisser.
Laneige Lip Sleeping Masks in Berry and Mint Choco.
These lip masks have a smooth, balm-like texture which makes them easy to apply. Consistency is thick and heavy, but gets absorbed by the skin overnight so you can wake up to healthy, hydrated lips the morning after. Both lip masks are mildly-scented, and they smell just as their name suggests.
Can you see it? Swatches of the lip sleeping mask - Berry on the left, Mint Choco on the right.
Since the Dream and Glow Lip Care Set does not come with an applicator for the lip masks, I use the applicator that came with my full-sized Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask, which I made myself at the Laneige flagship store in Ewha
Sleep buddies - KAWS x Sesame Street Ernie plushie and the Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask (on his lips).
I love how the Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask does exactly what it's supposed to do. It hydrates and nourishes, and makes my lips soft, smooth, and plump. It also enhances the overall countenance of my lips by making it look naturally pink and curtailing the appearance of tiny lip lines. Even Yue's lips have improved with this lip mask - no more chapping and flaking in less than 12 hours.

Similarly, the Laneige Lip Glowy Balm also works wonders for our lips. It hydrates instantly and makes the lips soft, smooth, and healthy-looking. I love its subtle, fruity scent and how it gives the lips a soft shine and a sheer wash of colour. The Berry variant smells like fresh berries and leaves the lips with a subtle pink tint, while the Grapefruit has a sweet and tangy scent and a light, peachy tint.
Laneige Lip Glowy Balm in Berry and Grapefruit.
These lip balms are made with a duo of butters - Murumuru, which contains hydrating linoleic acids, and Shea, which nourishes and smoothens dry lips. The formula works by blanketing the lips with a breathable layer of moisture. And despite its thick consistency, the Laneige Lip Glowy Balm glides on smoothly and does not feel tacky at all. My lips look plump and juicy and feel super soft after application.
Squeezable tube + slanted applicator.
The Laneige Lip Glowy Balm comes in a squeezable tube, small enough to fit in the breast pocket of my son's school uniform. Yue prefers keeping the lip balm inside his bag though, as he finds the packaging a bit too girly (lol) to carry around. I'm considering buying the green-colored Pear lip balm, so he won't feel awkward whenever he whips the tube out of his bag.
Swatches of the Laneige Lip Glowy Balm - Grapefruit on the left, Berry on the right.
But that's just my excuse to keep these two lip balms with me; because I'm the kind of person who has lip balms all over the place - in my makeup kit, in another makeup kit, in my room, in the car, and one dangling in a key holder together with my house keys. I'm not addicted to lip balms, oh no I'm not. Lol!
On Yue: Laneige Glowy Lip Balm in Berry.
The Laneige Glowy Lip Balm retails for 10000 won (around Php 460 or $9) each, while a full-sized tub of the Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask retails for 13500 won (around Php 625 or $12). Over the holidays, Althea listed this set at Php 1430, a pretty reasonable price considering that two travel-size tubs are almost equivalent to one full-size tub. And like what I said earlier, you won't be able to find the Mint Choco variant unless you buy the lip masks from Laneige stores in Korea.

Are you addicted to lip balms, too? What's your favorite brand?


Seoul Searching | What To Do in Seoul During Seollal.

Happy Lunar New Year!
Today marks the first day of the Seollal holiday in South Korea - a three-day event to celebrate the Lunar New Year. The Seollal holiday starts on the day before the Lunar New Year, and ends on the day after it. This year, the actual day of Seollal falls on a Tuesday, February 5; and with the weekend before it, Koreans get an extra two days to enjoy the Lunar New Year festivities.

One of the most important holidays in Korea, Seollal not only marks the passage into a new year, but also gives families the time and opportunity to bond, pay respect to their ancestors, and enjoy a bountiful meal. Majority of the business establishments in Korea are closed during this time (it's a national holiday, after all), but tourist attractions and destinations remain open to the public, hosting various events and cultural activities.

If you're in Korea for the Seollal holiday, here's a list of things to do and places to visit to make the most out of your Lunar New Year trip:

Join a Temple Stay Program.
In a Temple Stay Program, participants can experience Korean culture and immerse oneself in daily monastic life. To celebrate Seollal, various temples across the country will host special temple stays and offer Seollal-related activities such as playing traditional Korean games, commemorative rites for ancestors, and New Year's bow to the Buddha after the Buddhist service.

Bongeunsa Temple in Gangnam and Jogyesa Temple in Jongno are some of the temples in Seoul that host Temple Stay Programs.
Customary visit to Bongeunsa Temple whenever we're in Seoul.
Visit a Hanok/Folk Village.
A great way to learn more about Korean culture and experience how Koreans traditionally celebrate Seollal is by visiting a folk village or a hanok village.

The Korean Folk Village in Yongin welcomes the Lunar New Year with traditional activities such as jisinbalgi (praying for abundance through music)daljiptaeugi (sheaf burning/traditional campfire), eating tteokguk (sliced rice cake soup), and fortune-telling. Kids can also experience fun activities such as making kites, playing with tops, and even ice sledding when they visit the Korean Folk Village during this time of the year.

Meanwhile, the Namsangol Hanok Village is all set for the Year of the Pig, with a 6-meter inflatable pig standing tall (more like sitting, actually) in the cultural plaza. Musical performances, cultural plays, traditional games, and food festivals are all part of Namsangol Hanok Village's Seollal celebration.
Photo credit: Namsangol Hanok Village Facebook page
Explore the Grand Palaces of Seoul.
If you're a fan of Korean dramas, no trip to South Korea would be complete without visiting any (or all) of the royal palaces in Seoul. There are five of them in total - Gyeongbokgung, Changdeokgung, Changgyeonggung, Deoksugung, and Gyeonghuigung, and all of them are located in central Seoul. 

Exploring the palaces is a great way to get to know the metropolis, learn about Korean history, and appreciate historical architecture. During the Seollal holiday, admission to the royal palaces will be free of charge. Visitors will also have the chance to participate in traditional rituals such as tea ceremonies, bowing before elders, and receiving saebaetdon (New Year's gift). Traditional games such as yutnori (traditional board game) jegichagi (hacky sack), and tuho (darts) are also included in this year's Seollal activities.
From L-R: Unhyeongung Palace, Changdeokgung Palace, Gyeongbokgung Palace, Deoksugung Palace.
Visit a museum.
Seoul is home to a plethora of museums and galleries, which feature everything from South Korea's rich and eventful history to its present status, at the helm of innovation and technology. Some of the note-worthy, must-visit museums are the National Museum of Korea, the Seoul Museum of History, the National Folk Museum of Korea, and the War Memorial of Korea

The National Museum of Korea in Yongsan is currently hosting a special exhibition to commemorate the 1100th founding anniversary of Goryeo, the kingdom established by King Taejo. On display are paintings, celadons, sculptures, and craftworks dating back to as early as 918.
National Museum of Korea.
Also located in Yongsan is the War Memorial of Korea, a museum/national monument dedicated to Koreans and non-Koreans who sacrificed their lives during the Korean War. The museum houses more than 30,000 artifacts displayed in the indoor exhibition hall and at the outdoor exhibition area. Admission is free, and the War Memorial will be open throughout the Seollal holiday.
War Memorial of Korea.
On the other hand, the National Folk Museum of Korea will be hosting the 'Seol Grand Festival' for the Year of the Pig. The festival will kick-off on the day after Seollal with special musical performances, fortune-telling sessions, and traditional games. Arts and craft activities, food sampling, and fun activities for the kids are also included in the program. If you're born in the Year of the Pig, you'll even have a chance to receive a bokjumeoni (fortune pouch) as a New Year's gift.
Seoul Museum of History.
If calligraphy is your thing, head over to the Seoul Museum of History in Jongno for a special calligraphy event. Participants will have the opportunity to learn some calligraphy basics and write postcards as souvenirs or gifts for loved ones. Kids will also be treated to an afternoon of fun and games as they learn about Seollal traditions. 
One of the displays at the Seoul Museum of History.
Have fun at amusement parks. 
South Korea also has an impressive selection of theme parks, with Everland, Lotte World, and Seoul Land topping the list. All three theme parks are open all-year-round, and they offer special promos in celebration of the New Year.

Lotte World, for instance, has a special discount exclusive for foreigners. By simply presenting their passport or ARC (alien registration card), foreigners can get as much as 50% discount on passes to Lotte World.
Lotte World Adventure.
Aside from amusement parks, tourist attractions such as the COEX Aquarium, N Seoul Tower, and Seoullo 7017 will be open during the Seollal holiday period.

Sae-hae bok mani badeuseyo! 
May you receive many blessings this year, and hope you enjoy your Seollal holiday in South Korea!


Sneak Peek | Etude House x KitKat Collection.

I'm not the kind of girl who looks forward to flowers and chocolates and all that cutesy stuff on Valentine's Day. Never was, and probably never will. I am, however, the kind of girl who would choose makeup over flowers on any given day - especially if the makeup is as adorbs as this.
Etude House x KitKat Collection.
Etude House is the latest Korean beauty brand to work on a collaboration collection with a food brand, and it's with KitKat no less! The 'food meets beauty' trend was quite a hit with K-beauty fans (as evidenced by the Coca-Cola makeup line, the Peko collection, and the Samyang collection), and it was only a matter of time for Etude House - and perhaps other K-beauty brands - to follow suit. 

For Valentine's Day, Etude House revamped their eyeshadow palettes to make them look like the KitKat chocolate bars we know and love! This chocolate-inspired collection features two Play Color Eyes Mini Palettes, with each palette containing six different shades.
Etude House x Kitkat Play Color Eyes Mini Eyeshadow Palette in 'Original'.
Shade selection of the 'Original' palette.
The 'Original' palette resembles KitKat's classic red packaging, with shades ranging from a light champagne to a vivid metallic gold.
Etude House x KitKat Play Color Eyes Mini Eyeshadow Palette in 'Strawberry Tiramisu'.
Shade selection of the 'Strawberry Tiramisu' palette.
The 'Strawberry Tiramisu' palette, on the other hand, comes in a pink and white packaging and has shades ranging from a blushing pink to a rich brown hue. 
Comes with a pouch and a chocolate bar.
The Etude House x KitKat Play Color Eyes Mini Palettes are encased in a soft pouch, and comes with a free bar of KitKat. They retail for 20000 Korean won each, and they're selling like hotcakes in Korea.

No news yet if they'll be sold here in the Philippines, but I'm hoping to see these cuties on the Althea website one of these days. Otherwise, I'll have to ask my other half to take a break and do some makeup shopping for me. Haha! :)