Tuesday, May 26, 2015

In My Neighborhood - La Festa Beauty Shops

So today I thought I would give you a sneak peak at what kind of Beauty (Skincare and Cosmetic) shops we have in Ilsan. 

One of the main shopping areas in Ilsan is an outdoor mall type area called 'La Festa'. And it's here that you can find all of the major Korean chain store type beauty shops. You can find these stores all over Korea as they are very popular and many of them have more than one branch in most areas. 

These shops are all within a stretch of two blocks and many of them are just right next to each other.

There are also a couple more just a little bit along the street from these ones but I didn't get photos of them, They are called Watsons and Olive Young and are more Pharmacy/Drugstore type shops with lots of different brands and products. Here in Korea however they don't carry the medicine that you get in many of these type stores in Western countries. They have specific stores that sell medicine and those don't really sell anything else, just health related products.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

iHerb - Ordering with the new Customs Number

I used to order things from iHerb a lot, They were really good for finding organic supplies and hard to find baking needs. They also have some beauty lines and other bits and pieces. Their shipping was excellent and cheap, they even had free shipping offers quite often when you bought over a certain amount which of course I always had no trouble doing. 

After I moved a while ago I had not ordered anything as my address had changed so I needed to get that sorted first and then before I could make any further orders I heard about the new customs issues. Most of you would have heard about it by now, if you have not then I suggest you go to the forum 'Waygook.org' and look it up. They have a whole running post dedicated to iHerb. The basics was that you needed to provide a customs number to go with your order, I believe for a while you could just use your ARC number but not sure on that. 

Basically I think that it was just getting to popular, it's not just foreigners using the service but many Koreans order from here now to. So they decided to crack down on it and regulate the service more, because there are some things that cannot be imported into Korea.

I know that now you have to have a special 'customs number' that is issued to you. You have to go to the website, sign in and enter you address and then you are issued your number. When your order with iHerb your name and address must match that which you entered for your special 'customs number.

Now that all seems straight forward enough, they even direct you to the website you need to go to to get this number. There is a big red message on the top of the page that tells you that you need it and then a page where they describe it. The problems for us foreigners is that this website that you have to register on is in Korean, great for if you are one of the many Korean customers or you can read a high level of Korean but for the rest of us it's a tad bit more difficult. The good news is that it is not impossible. I did it myself one night without the help of a Korean (I was going to get help from a friend the next day if I could not figure it out myself) just using the translate function on my phone.

Make sure you are using Internet Explorer, okay so the first thing you have to do is go to this site https://unipass.customs.go.kr/csp/persIndex.do you can find this on the iHerb page and they show you pictures too. But anyway in the middle of the page there are two boxes you need to fill in, this is where you put your name as it is on your ARC (Alien Residents Card) and then your ARC number. The ARC number one is clear because it has the first box which is your birthday and then a hyphen and the second box is password protected with the stars .

Following the steps on iHerb (and it also shows you on the customs website with pictures of each step) you have to download the certificate identification software just like if you do online banking. If you don't basically it is software that confirms it is your computer,you can only use this certificate on your authorized devices with a password. So download the software and put your password in. 

Once you have done that it is going to go to a page with a form to fill in, this is where it is looking for your details and address. I just used the Google translate app on my phone to find what each part was. I had no trouble. They want you to use the new street address one which if you are like me you have no idea what that is. However you can easily just look it up using the old system, they still have a place for that in the search options, Next to the address field is a look-up function. I used this and entered my basic information like, gu, si and dong. It came back with all the options and I had to scroll through many of the addresses but I found mine. Then you will be back on the fill-in details page. Add your building and any other info and then hit the 'next' button at the bottom.  Again iHerb has pictures if you need them.

Now you are all registered, at the top will be your customs number which is a P followed by about 12 digets eg.PXXXXXXXXXXXX and you should also take note of you address as you have it here, it will need to match when you order on iHerb. If you loose your number you can log back on to the site to find it again easily enough. I had to go back to write down my address as it was in the new street format and I forgot it.

It is definitely not as quick as it once was. I ordered on the 16th of March and it got here about the 26th of March. It's not bad but if you used to order from them like me you know it used to take less than a week which was awesome.

Edit: I've used it since then and it's still pretty fast so that last time may have just been because it was the first time with the new customs number.

So if you were like me and putting of getting the customs number because you thought it would be a hassle, don't worry. It's not that hard and even someone with limited Korean like me managed it :)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Gmarket Haul #3

Wow, I was just looking back at old posts and it's been a couple of years since I did a Gmarket haul. I order from there a lot but often it's just one or two things so I never think to put it up.

I have been doing a huge amount of shopping, I have been sick for a while with a bad flu so to make myself feel better I thought I would do some online shopping. It's mainly for beauty products as I needed a new moisturizer but the one I like seems to have been discontinued. I figured why not buy a few different sorts to try to find one I liked. 

I also always think that if I am buying from one seller I should make it worth while so I always check to see if there is anything else I want. I ended up getting a few boxes worth of stuff. It's always nice to get things in the mail though.

Mizon is one of my favorites for beauty products. I love all their skincare range and they also make my favorite BB creme. They used to have a really nice Snail Repair Cream that came in a pink tube and you got three of them for about 12,000 won. It was great and I loved it as a moisturizer, it was light and you only needed a tiny bit so the tube lasted for a while. I just ran out and wanted to get some more but I could not find it. I ended up getting three different products to try out to see if I could find a replacement. I also got a few other bits and pieces since I was buying from there anyway.

All In One Snail Repair Cream (75mls)
Called a Multifunction Formula, it is supposed to help a myriad of different problems. It apparently contains 92% of snail secretions. I have not tried this one yet, it comes sealed so I will try the other ones first.

Price: 19,000 won
Link: http://item2.gmarket.co.kr/English/detailview/item.aspx?goodscode=207348754

Hydra-Full Solution: WaterMax Rich Firming Gel Cream
I think that this one might be my new cream, I really like the gel texture and it goes on really well. It's light and smooth and you only need a tiny amount. It absorbs quickly into the skin and has a very faint pleasant aroma, not sure what it is but it just smells clean and fresh. I do still like a tube for ease if use however.

Price: 12,000 won
Link: http://item2.gmarket.co.kr/English/detailview/item.aspx?goodscode=206295642

Purifient Garden Nutrition Cream
I got this one as it is part of the Mizon 'Go Green Fresh' line and because it looked nice. I like the packaging, the jar is cute. It smells good with a light fresh aroma. It goes on easily and absorbs quickly. This one is another contender for my replacement cream.

Price: 9,900 won
Link: http://item2.gmarket.co.kr/English/detailview/item.aspx?goodscode=238698867

Special Therapy: Honey Black Sugar Scrub
You never know when you are going to need a scrub so I grabbed this one while I was getting so many other products. Have not tried it yet but it smells nice, like honey. Supposedly good for blackhead removal.

Price: 7,900 won
Link: http://item2.gmarket.co.kr/English/detailview/item.aspx?goodscode=206300329

Acence Mark-x Blemish After Cream (30ml)
A nice acne cream, it is white and absorbs into the skin so you are not left with patches of cream all over your face. Has a faint medicinal smell. Have not been using it long enough to notice how much it helps but it has not done anything bad.

Price: 9,900 won
Link: http://item2.gmarket.co.kr/English/detailview/item.aspx?goodscode=322348797

So that was my Mizon box and they were also very nice and sent two gifts:
-Grapefruit body wash
-Snail Repair mist spray.

Secret Key
I don't really get much Secret Key stuff, they don't have a huge range and it seems to be a bit more on the cheaper side of things (not that that's a bad thing sometimes). There is one thing I like and that is their 'Glam Tint' lipstick. It's really nice and is made to kind of blend in with your lip color and change to match. I have bought this before and use it all the time, I have also given it as a gift and had many people ask me for the link. I believe there is a Dior product that this is based on, I have not see it or tried it but this one does the trick and I am sure it is way cheaper. They usually do a deal for two and they now have three other colors to choose from. I got two different colors and then also two of the originals as I have some birthdays coming up. Then I also grabbed a couple of other items seen as though it would have been a pretty empty box with just those lipsticks in it.

Sweet Glam Tint Glow (Lip Tint)
This one comes with in sets of two and I purchased four. 
It comes in four colors, Baby Pink which is the original color then they have added three more colors to the range - Juicy Orange, Pussia Purple and Chic Burgundy. I have the Baby Pink one already but got two more for gifts and then I got the purple and the burgundy ones to try out. I don't like orange colored makeup, it is really popular over here but it does not look good on me. 

Price: 14,900 won (for two)
Link: http://item2.gmarket.co.kr/English/detailview/item.aspx?goodscode=514892855

Gold Racoony Hydro Gel Eye and Spot Patch
Yeah, it was weird but I couldn't resist. I've seen it before and always wondered about what it was. Since I was already ordering the Lip Tints it was a perfect time to try it out.  I was not sure what to expect but the packaging is super cute and they were easier to use than expected. You get two under-eye patches and one circle patch you can use for other areas. You get a little plastic stick to help get them out and they go on really easy, once they are on you leave it for about 20 minutes. They felt really cooling and I could see some reduction in the bags under my eyes. Don't know how long it will last but certainly a good start.

Price: 12,000
Link: http://item2.gmarket.co.kr/English/detailview/item.aspx?goodscode=341810899

Perfume Peeling Body Scrub (200g)
This was just something I added because I needed one, it was there and I thought 'why not?' I just hope it's not too perfumed as I don't really like overwhelming scents. It's not so bad in the shower however as most of it washes away. There are two selections one pink one where the key words for scent are fruit, feminine and flirty and one purple one where the key words are laundomat, musk and clean. I wish I got the pink one now as I really don't like musk. I think I will just keep it and give it as a gift.

Price: 18,000 won
Link: http://item2.gmarket.co.kr/English/detailview/item.aspx?goodscode=635238301

So that was my box from Secret Key and I got three snail sheet masks as the gift from here also as a gift.

Holika Holika
I have never really bought from Holika Holika before, it seems a little like Secret Key more of a low-budget brand. I might have been wrong as they actually seem to have some nice products.  I saw a nice moisturizer and thought I would give it a chance, after I looked on the sellers mini-shop I found quite a few things to buy. Another good thing is that the product pages have Korean, English and Chinese information. 

Aqua Max: Sebum Control Moisture cream (120ml)
This comes in three types, I got the green one which is the Sebum Control. Apparently I got the big size as it says on the box. I was not aware it came in different sizes, I just picked the link randomly. The other ones you can get are pink which is Nutri Moisture Cream and a blue one which is Ultra Moisture Cream. I have not had a chance to try this one yet as I have so many other ones to use first. I will do a review later if I remember.

Price: 13,900 won
Link: http://item2.gmarket.co.kr/English/detailview/item.aspx?goodscode=548297158

Soda Pore Cleanser: BB Deep Cleansing Foam
I was ordering another of the range of creams so I just added this one on a whim. I think the BB part of it means that it is good for cleaning off BB cream which I use a lot. The one on the left is the BB one and the other one is the product below the normal Cleansing Foam. It is a bit more of an exfoliator as it has the micro-beads in it. If I had know that I would not have got it as I don't really like using them after hearing it was bad for the environment.

Price: 7, 900 won
Link: http://item2.gmarket.co.kr/English/detailview/item.aspx?goodscode=548232539

Soda Pore Cleanser: Cleansing Cream (actually Cleansing Foam)
I think they sent the wrong one, the product page has it in a tub but the one I got is in a tube. However they seem to be similar products so I'm not really sure enough to bother about returning it. The one I got is the Cleansing Foam and as I already got the BB Cleansing Foam it is a bit disappointing to have two very similar products. I just hope they are good.

Price: 6, 900 won
Link: http://item2.gmarket.co.kr/English/detailview/item.aspx?goodscode=548233598

Skin & AC Mild Magic Pink Spot
This is an acne treatment stick, I'm always happy to try these kind of things. You never know when you might find a treasure. It took me a bit to figure out how to get the product to work. You have to turn the end for a while before it will start pumping, after it starts you only need to turn it once or twice but that first time you have to turn it quite a few times. This is a pink color and is the consistency of calamine lotion (which I think it has a small amount of as one of the ingredients). It dries hard and flaky like calamine lotion. I have only been using it a few days so not sure of it's effects if any but nothing bad to say out it so far.

Price 12,900 won
Link: http://item2.gmarket.co.kr/English/detailview/item.aspx?goodscode=604783990

Penguins Dream Hand Cream (18ml)
A cute little gift idea, I got all three colors. I like getting these novelty items to send home as gifts. I might keep one though.

Price: 3,900 won
Link: http://item2.gmarket.co.kr/English/detailview/item.aspx?goodscode=526593699

Egg Soaps, Special set (4 set)
Set of four different soaps, they are all designed to do different things. You can buy them in smaller sets or just one of the types but I wanted to try all of them so I thought this was a nice set. It is really cute too as they come in a little egg carton.

Red - Red Clay to clean pores and clarify skin.
Green - Green Tea for moisture and to smooth skin.
White - Egg Whites to smooth and firm skin.
Black - Charcoal for sebum control.

Price: 15, 000 won

That was my Holika Holika box and I got some samples and a face mask as a gift with these products.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Korea in the News #10

Korea has been in the news a lot lately but I've missed a few of them.  I just saw this one recently as it has been all over my Facebook newsfeed. 

After more than 60 years the law that made adultery illegal in Korea has been changed. In the past adultery has been a crime that you could be convicted of and could serve up to two years in prison for.

Check out the full story on CNN.

Court rules: Adultery no longer a crime in South Korea

Friday, February 6, 2015

Shopping: Miniinthebox.com - Haul and Review

I recently tried a new online shopping site and thought I would share the experience here. I love online shopping so it's great to find new places to shop. 

There are two websites that are part of one larger company the first one is Lightinthebox.com and the subsidiary is MiniInTheBox.com. LightInTheBox.com does the bigger items like clothing, sports gear and wedding things and MiniInTheBox.com covers things like gadgets and accessories. The stores are based in China but have a very good English site. There are also many other languages on offer; I don't know how good they are but if the English one is any indication, they should be fine.

The great thing for me is that they ship to South Korea, the price for shipping is very reasonable and they often have deals so I actually ended up not having to pay for shipping. I made my order just a bit before Christmas so was able to take advantage of their holiday deals.

Below are the purchases I made, links to the pages on the site and some thoughts on the items:

Swan Shaped Teaspoon Tea Strainer (Random Color)
Price: USD 0.99 , KRW 1,218

A cute swan shaped tea strainer. Ordered for a gift, it was super cheap. Looks nice, I got the white one it also comes in black but you can't choose your color. I was wondering if it might stain but I don't think it really matters at that price.

Price: USD18.99, KRW 23,366

Pink and black full slip case for my iPad Mini. I already have one of these cases that you slip the device inside and it protects it well. I decided I needed an update but they can be hard to find, most are just the half shell inside the case. This is really nice, it looks great and protects the iPad well.

Cat Pattern Glow in the Dark Hard Case for Samsung Galaxy S5
Price: USD 2.99, KRW 3679

A cute plastic case for my phone. It's glow in the dark so I thought it would be good for when my phone is in my bag and I cant' find it. Super cute and very cheap.

Price: USD 8.99, KRW 11,062

Cute cat design case for my phone. This one is the shell inside the flip case. The cat design is like the 'Cheshire Cat' and is really pretty. This is the one I am using on my phone at the moment and it looks great. The only thing I would say about it is the plastic on the shell is not that durable. I have it in my handbag a lot and it gets bumped around. So far it has a couple of cracks in it from just about two months of use.

Hollow Design Pattern Hard Case for Samsung Galaxy S5
Price: USD 3.99, KRW 4,909

Another cute case for my phone, I thought this one was really pretty so I added it to my order. At this price, why not?

Fashion Cherry Strands Necklace
Price: USD 7.99, KRW 9,831

Really pretty necklace, another one that I just ordered to see what it was like. I was very happy with it. It's quite long and the color of the beads is a really nice pink/red.

Price: USD 2.99, KRW 3,679

I ordered this one as another gift like the tea strainer. I thought it looked like a cute gift for my tea drinking relative. The problem was that it's a random color and as you can see I got this boring brown one. On the picture there were lots of colors of lids but none of them were this color and then they all had different colored teapots. One of them had the brown color but I thought that it would be Okay if the lid was a nice blue or green or pink. I mentioned this in my review on the website and the seller must have notified them because I got a email back shortly about 'my complaint'. Which it was not really, just an honest review. Anyway they ended up reimbursing me and asking me to update my review accordingly. I thought that was a bit weird, reviews are supposed to be honest and a refund does not change the product. I did update it, but with an added bit about how the nice customer service people were 'on to it' and sorted out a refund very quickly. 

I think I did pretty well on my orders, there was only the one that I was not exactly happy with but it was just a small thing. I really like the website as it is easy to search and navigate. I would recommend them to anyone looking for small gifts and fun items and I will proably buy from them again in the future.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Happy New Year!

Happy 2015 Everyone. I know it's a little late but as they say 'better late than never'. 

I hope everyone had a happy holidays and new years. 

My new years resolution is to try and write more; but I'm not optimistic. I know how easy it is to get waylaid by life. The only thing I can do is try so perhaps the resolution should be to try harder instead. We shall see how it goes for 2015. 

All the best,