Friday, September 26, 2008

A Cool Crisp Day

Ahhh...I can finally say that it's a lovely day in Seoul. The temperature has dropped to an average of 17-22 degrees and I luuurrve it! Everyone is wearing sweaters and scarves already, but the BF and I are still wearing our t-shirts. I do have to admit that it's a bit chilly at night, so I gotta find a fall jacket.
This week I had to scream my head off at 2 classes because they just won't shut up! One class understood me because their English is better, the other class just stared at me like deer at headlights. I basically told them that they showed me no respect when I am here to help them improve their English. Hopefully I don't have anymore of those episodes.
I'm so bored. I have not watched any sort of English television program since the beginning of the month during the orientation. There's no point in getting a TV, but I think Tim wants one just to have the background noise.
Apparently I look very different when I don't have my glasses on. I wear those thick frame black glasses with purple on the inside, and my teachers and students were surprised. I used my Lavshuca Loose Powder and light dusting of my Baby Skin Veiling Pact, DejaVu mascara and my Sephora liquid liner, and I thought it was really blah and plain.
I'm so upset that I can't take pictures because I don't have a digi cam. I'm hoping to pick up a Sanyo digi cam/camcorder thing in HK, I can't remember what it's called.

I'm going to see a Korean baseball game tomorrow. Apparently, the tickets are all the same price, but the seats are a first come first serve thing. So I gotta get there about an hour before it starts to get a good seat.
I hope everyone has a nice weekend!!

Etude House: Baby Sking Veiling Pact

Here's another Etude House item! Everytime I pass by an Etude house, I just wanna go inside and buy something. Especially because it's so cheap!
I first read about the Baby Skin Veiling Pact on Lotus Palace's page. It looked so cute I had to try it out for myself.

I've been using the Lavshuca Loose Powder since last December and I have been trying to look for a pressed version. Sadly, Lavshuca doesn't have a pressed version of the loose powder which I love, and I was hoping that the Baby Skin Veiling Pact could be a possible alternative. I think this could be the pressed powder I was looking for.
The Baby Skin Veiling Pact at the moment, is my favourite pressed powder. Even though it's a pressed powder and not a foundation, it offers sheer coverage which is great. It helps even out my skin and even lightens it slightly without looking too ghostly. The powder also offers sun protection with SPF 22. The powder is also finely milled and it goes on my face nice and smoothly and slightly covers my pores. There is also a light baby powder scent to it, which doesn't last very long, so I think it would be ok for those who are sensitive to strong smells.
The case is pink and inside is a mirror and a puff. I'm not very fond of the puff as it isn't soft enough for my taste. I must be careful when I use this puff. If I try to spread the powder, it just makes my face chalky and you know that I'm using makeup. I can only use this puff to press the product on my face. I'm going to get a retractable brush soon so it makes application easier, and also I prefer to use brushes for pressed powder application.
This powder is great for keeping my shine at bay. I thought it wouldn't suit oily skin after reading the review on Lotus Palace's page, but it was fine for me, and I have oily skin.

The main downside of this powder is it only comes in 2 shades. I'm assuming a light beige and natural beige. I can't read Korean so I can't be sure. However, if you can get your hands on this I do urge you to try. It only cost me about $9.50. I can't remember the exact price though as I threw out the receipt.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

School Stresses

I must dedicate today's post to my bitching and moaning.
Teaching is not what I thought it would be. When I first came to Seoul, I watched a demo class to see how an English teacher taught with their coteacher. It was the perfect classroom with perfect little children who are willing to participte. But of course it was too good to be true. The whole demo class was totally scripted and this totally misled me.
All my 21 classes are driving me insane. They do not respect me at all or take my lessons seriously. I'm like a field trip for them, use the cellphone, pass the notes. It's quite ridiculous. I've had to confiscate so many phones and MP3 players.
They do not stop talking, even if I stand there staring down the chatty kids. Talking over them certainly doesn't help, it's just bad for my throat in the end. The 4/5 of my English coteachers are no help. They don't try to stop the kids or even translate anything if they know that the kids don't understand. My other coteacher is not afraid to whoop the kid's asses. Which I don't mind since they kids totally don't respect me.
Enough of the kids, now on to the teacher that is making my blood boil.
I was ok with her at first since she tried to make an effort to get to know me better. But apparently, since she has been to Singapore for 2 years, she thinks her English is amazing, so she tries to correct me. No offence to anyone in Singapore, but I just don't think that her English is better than mine just because she has been there for 2 years, for vacation was it?? I do recall that I was born in Canada and I also went to school in Canada for the last 20 or so years of my life. GAWD!! That's not the only thing that annoyed me. During a lesson I made some handouts. I didn't realize that I wrote "who's" when it was supposed to be "whose". So the Miss Know It All stops me during the class, comes up to me and uses her pen to cross out the "who's" on my paper and writes "whose"!! At least she could have told me before hand. Or at least help me plan the lessons.
Before I continue, there was a 3 day Korean holiday last week so my Monday-Wednesday classes did not go through my first lesson. I was told to continue with the chapter anyway, even if the kids missed my lesson from last week.
So anyway, the teacher stops me while I'm talking, and tells me to go back to last week's lesson and teach that. And I tell her that I'm already halfway done this week's lesson, and it will confuse the kids if I go backwards. But I had to do it anyway because she could not teach those kids the previous lesson, since they should hear my pronunciation instead of hers.

Again, teaching here is not what I expected. There are alot of unanswered questions and indefinite answers floating around. I have to chase teachers to ask them why in the hell do I not get the $500 a month that they told me I would get. I am in a single dorm with Tim so it's like living in a sardine can. That $500 a month was supposed to compensate for the error that the school district made with our housing (which will be another story one day). Now I have to call the head Seoul Education office and chase them down for the answers, even though they don't pick up the phone.
Maybe things will get better, who knows, I might sign another 1 year contract. But right now, things are not as glamourous as I thought it would be.
Now I'm hungry so I have to go out to search for dinner.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Etude House: Speedy Total Mineral Base

When I first made a purchase at Etude House, the SA gave me a sample of the Speedy Total Mineral Base. She told me that it works as a makeup base, sunblock and foundation, but it is not a BB cream. I got the sample in the Light Beige 01 color, which totally doesn't match my skintone. I found this out when I was on the subway and Tim said that my face looked strangely pale.
I went back to Etude House to find the color that suited me, which was Natural Beige 02. I am quite happy with this purchase. It cost about $11CAD for 50mL. There are only 2 colors to choose from so this would probably not suit people with a darker skin tone. I find that most of the Etude foundation and powders are really light, and some of it might even be too light for me.
On the box, it said, "Mineral makeup base supplies light thorough coverage with sun protection". And yes it is light coverage and it feels light on my skin, but if I touch my face, I know there is something there. I really like how there is sunblock and foundation in this so I can go through my makeup routine quicker. I rarely use foundation because I don't like how most brands make me look fake, so this is a nice alternative for light coverage without feeling like you've used a lot of product on your face.
The product comes out of a pump, which is great because you can control how much product you want as well as keeping it nice and clean. I only apply a light layer on my skin and then I finish off with the Lavshuca Loose Powder in Lucent.
The staying power is ok. Since it has been quite hot and humid in Seoul, by the end of the day, most of the foundation is already gone. There is no detectable scent which is nice.
I will repurchase this again, but it will take me a while to finish the first tube. I don't use much makeup when I'm at school teaching, except blush and powder. It's too much work to have to touch up and I'm just plain lazy.
I purchased the sponges from Etude House yesterday to use with my Speedy Total Mineral Base, since it's easier to apply the product. They were only $1.50 for 4 and it came with a plastic case.

An update from the previous post about the Etude House Lash Designing Vitcara. When I first used it, I put about 2 coats on my lashes first, then I let it dry and put a coat of the DejaVu Fiberwig on and this did not smudge at all. But yesterday I did it the other way around, and it did not work. By the end of the day, there were visible smudges underneath my eye. Sigh. There is no Japanese makeup that I know of in Seoul, except Canmake and the Heroine makeup at some drugstores, so I can't even buy a new tube of DejaVu mascara. I'm running out too! So I will probably have to search for a new mascara.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Etude house: Lash Designing Vitcara

Etude House has released a new mascara called Lash Designing Vitcara. It was advertised everywhere in Seoul and I just had to get it, especially after I saw the commercal in the malls.
This mascara is supposed to make your lashes nice and long with tons of volume. According to the ads that I saw, on one side it is a regular curved mascara wand, and on the other side, there is a smaller bristle side. You're supposed to use the curved side to do your lashes like you normally do, and use the smaller bristle side to make the outer side of your eyes pop with longer lashes than the rest. This seemed amazing in the ads so I had to get it.
The mascara only cost about $9.50 and it came as a package with a box of cotton pads and a sample of the mascara remover as a promo.
I like this mascara, but I don't love it. The mascara does give length but it doesn't really fatten my lashes. I use 1 coat of my DejaVu mascara ontop of this to compensate for the lack of volume. However, it does well at keeping the curl in my lashes.
When I saw the ads, the mascara wand was a brush and I was very surprised that it's a comb type wand. Darn ad! I swear it was a brush. There are about 4 rows of combs on the wand. This kind of wand clumps my lashes if I'm not careful with the application. The smaller comb side doesn't really do anything. It was actually kinda hard to use it on my lashes.
I like how the mascara doesn't smudge or flake since most mascaras do that to me. There are also no fibers which is a plus for those who don't like fiber mascaras.
I do recommend everyone to try this, as it is cheap and has great staying power.

I'm not very good at taking pictures with a digital SLR. Mr Tim was too lazy to help me take some clear pictures.

Shoe Hunting

Since I've been in Seoul, I have noticed that 99% of the women here wear some sort of heels. Whether it's raining or not, they are wearing heels! I know I can't get myself to do it for 9 hours a day since I'm standing most of the time. I wonder how those women do it.
I've always loved shoes but it's very difficult to find a pair that fits me well. There are tons of shoe stores here. From cheap to expensive, they're all so pretty! But it's hard for me to find a good pair of comfy heels because my feet are weird. On both of my feet on the sides of my big toe, my bone sticks out more than usual, so it looks like my toes are crocked. I forgot what it's called. But because of my bones sticking out, it's very difficult for me to wear a nice pair of heels or flats for more than 3 hours. The more I try to jam my foot into these pretty shoes, the worse my foot will become. It will get all red and feel like my toe is about to throb right off my foot. It sounds gross, sorry for that image.
Just last week I wore my H&M flats for more than 9 hours and the side of my toe was hurting like mad. The padding isn't very good to begin with. So after that terrible day of wearing those shoes, the side of my foot was numb for a week. I'm not doing that again. Oh what a waste of a nice pair of flats.
So far the shoes that I've tried on, fit me perfectly, except where my bone is sticking out. I have to buy a size bigger, which is size 10, but all the stores don't seem to carry this size. I also have to stick in an insole because of the larger size.
I have yet to find a pair of nice heels that fit comfortably. It makes me sad to have to wear Converse all the time. So now I'm still hunting for the right pair of shoes.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Another Haul: Skinfood and Etude House

I can't believe how hot it is in Seoul right now. Back in Toronto, my friends tell me it's already down to 20C and here it's 30C! Ridiculous. My electricity bill is gonna be so high because of the a/c. In my school there is a/c but no one seems to turn it on, so while I'm sitting at my desk or teaching, my jeans are just sticking to my legs and I'm sweating and shit. The other teachers don't seem to have this problem. *sigh* This shows me how Canadian I am, because I can't stand the heat =p
I'm so happy that my first weekend was the Harvest Moon Festival and I have a 4 day long weekend, so I went shopping in Myeong-dong area. I didn't really buy that many things because it wasn't as cheap as I thought. Aside from the clothes, I decided to get the new Etude Lash Designing Vitcara mascara because it came with some cotton pads and a sample of the mascara remover. Those Etude SA are so good at convincing me to buy something by giving me samples. *shakes fist* I'm usually very picky about my mascara because I have oily eyelids and my eyes are watery, so mascara tends to come off easily. This Etude mascara was only 9500won anyway (about $9.50CAD) so even if it gives me racoon eyes, it was cheap.
The Etude SA gave me some samples of the Aqua Sherbert Gel Cream, as usual but I haven't gotten a chance to use it yet.
I also visited a Skinfood and got 2 Snow Tea Mask Sheets and a tub of Herb Green Tea Pack, both which are supposed to help reduce the appearance of sun damage and freckles. I also got a sample of the Orange and Mint Body Essence and Honey Black Tea Jelly Foam. I've tried the Orange and Mint Body Essence. I really like how it smells but I don't feel that it's moisturizing enough. I also tried one of my sheet masks, hopefully it'll help take away my nasty freckles. It feels very refreshing when I took the mask off.
I went into one of the drugstores here called Olive Young because some of them sold Canmake, a Japanese brand, which is not common in Korea. I was disappointed because Canmake was so expensive. The Essence in Foundation, a liquid foundation, was about $18.00CAD for such a small tube, so I will have to wait until I got to Hong Kong to buy it. I was surprised that Olive Young sold the PA nailpolishes from Japan so I had to cop a few. The nailpolishes were 2000won and the top coat was 6000won, not really cheap but then I haven't been disappointed with PA.

Friday, September 12, 2008

My First Mini Haul

Yay my first haul since I got to Seoul. I was walking around and I noticed there were soooo many Etude House stores. I thought I was in heaven!! I first heard about Etude House from the Muse when she wrote about the Peach Pact and I finally got to try it out myself! I tested the Pore Erasing Peach Base in pink and the Peach Skin Pact, I didn't buy it yet, but on my hand, the color just blends in so nicely! I'm surprised how small they are though, so I'm slight disappointed. I also saw the newsletter in Etude House that featured the Muse so I quickly grabbed one. I'm getting paid on the 25th and I think I'm gonna go ape shit when I walk into another Etude House.
Another makeup/skincare store that Seoul has is called Olive Young. It's very similar to Sasa in Hong Kong, so it has skincare, makeup, hair items and other various toiletries. They sell all sorts of Laneige products and Cathy Cat, which I saw on Lotus Palace's blog.
Here's a picture of my first haul. I got an Etude mirror and nailpolish remover. The saleslady then loaded my bag with some freebies! I got a sample the Speedy Total Mineral Base, which is a 3 in 1 SPF, makeup base and foundation, but it isn't called BB cream. I tried this on my hand in the store and it also blends very well to my skin. Another sample I got was the Magic Enzyme Pack Peeling mask, a box of sponges and Natual Powder Essence Foam facewash.
At Olive Young they had a Canmake display so I purchased the Eyelash Essence which is supposed to help me strengthen my lashes.

Here are some random pictures from the Jongno area. There are too many pictures and I'm too tired to resize them all, so enjoy!

Here is me adding to the graftti on the wall. It's strange that if you find a random wall somewhere, there's usually grafitti on it from other people. I guess vandalism is ok?? lol

This cookie thing is actually caramelized sugar. At this street store a lady was melting sugar over a small flame, then poured it on a pan and pressed it flat with a press. So cool! It was super sweet and tasted like the top of creme brulee, it's also very light and crispy.

Moved Out and Teaching.

Wow it's been such a hectic week. Last Saturday, I moved out of the Hyundai Learning Facility to an area called Dongdaemun in Seoul. And it is ghettooooo! So I'll try to make this short. I'm supposed to be housed with Tim, but our school district head office screwed it up. Both of our schools were supposed to find us each a place to live, but we requested couple housing. So, our school district told my school that they didn't need to worry about the housing and Tim's school will find the couple housing. But they never told Tim's school to find the couple housing, and they only found a single dorm. So now I live in a box, with a single bed, wardrobe, drawer with desk and a shelf. For appliances, we have the washer, single stove top and a mini fridge. Well our school is supposed to provide us with a budget to buy things. For my school, I had an option of moving out and takin $700CAD to buy household stuff, or if I choose to stay in the box with Tim, I will get $500CAD a month because of the error in our housing. Of course I'm going to stay in the box and take the $500CAD. Tim's school however, told him that he doesn't have a budget to buy household items, when he's actually supposed to get one. So now we gotta push his school and bug the shit out of them to give him his budget since I don't have one.
So now that I've moved out, I have started teaching at Wonmook Middle School. I'm teaching grade 7 and 9 monkeys and it's tough. Either they listen and not participate, or they're very noisy and don't listen. I teach 21 different classes a week and this whole week was my intro, which meant I repeated myself 21 times this week. I've also never had to talk so slowly in my life. But I'm sure I'll get used to it. I thought it was going to be nerve racking to have 35 pairs of eyes staring at me, but half of them aren't listening anyway so it's like I'm talking to myself.
Whoa, I have alot of reading to catch up on, I've been deprived of sleep so I haven't read blogs for a week.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Trapped in a Compound

Well it's not really a compound, it's actually the Hyundai Learning Facility. All the teachers that have been flown in to teach including me, are staying at this facility for orientation and some teaching techniques. We're not allowed to leave the premises because we are being paid to focus strictly on teaching, which kinda sucks because I haven't seen any of Seoul yet.
Anyway, it's not so bad here, aside from the fact that I have 2 room mates in a really small dorm. We're provided 3 buffet style meals that is only served during certain times, an exercise room, free WIFI, computer lounge, sauna, field made with grassy carpet that has a bball, soccer and volleyball net, laundry and a games room with a jitz table, tetris, billards and ping pong. Not bad at all haha. But I think I'm going crazy since we can't leave the facility and I haven't gotten a chance to shop!! I miss my makeup, there's no point in using it here since I'm waking up to go to a lecture hall everyday anyway.
Good thing I'm moving out tomorrow, then I should be living in a apartment with Mr. T. I still got tons to do, like open a bank account, get an alien registration card and health check.
So no more of my boringness, does anyone know some good shopping areas in Seoul? Do let me know!