Seoul Dating: How to Get Him to Commit

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Photographer: Jena Postma

How to Get Him to Commit

I’ve been seeing tons of click-bait headlines making their way through the travel, expat, and lifestyle communities.  Figured I’d give this one a shot, too.  So sue me, right?  Not quite – read on to see how you too can get him to commit with this one amazing tool.

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Photographer: Freestocks.org

Breaking the Rules

I’ve already gone back on my word by entering into a relationship with a) someone I met through Tinder, and b) on my list of the 7 Worst Guys an Expat Can Date.  If you’ve read Expat Dating Diaries: The Military Man you’ll know that there are some dirty dawgs out there especially in and around Itaewon.  I met my new Co-Pilot at Souva, which has quickly become the latest hot spot for my coupled-up pals.  In our first week and a half we had been to at least 7 restaurants together, watched 4 movies, made dinner twice, and climbed a freaking mountain.  He mentioned me to his parents and mine got the Skype update 2 weeks in.  I know you’re still wondering how to get him to commit, but I’m sure you’re also wondering if good ol’ Cartier’s going to get boring with a boyfriend.

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Photographer: Matthew Kane

No More Drama

It wouldn’t be the Seoul expat dating community without a little bit of drama (I know this is what you came for :P).  This wouldn’t be the Expat Dating Diaries without unnecessary drama, right?  Well, shocker!  My new beau went out on dates before he met me!  There are a few women with whom he’s been out who are friends of friends of mine.  One in particular was pretty pissed when he let her down easy (via text – party foul, I know).  After she screamed at me, I told him straight out that if we were going to do this we wouldn’t be with anyone else.  If either of us change our minds down the line that’s fine.  That said, a certain conversation needs to happen if either of us want to start seeing other people.  This leads me to the most important tool you can have in your arsenal if you want to know how to get him to commit.  Time and time again girls lose their minds over men who choose someone else.  How do you get him on the same page?  This one’s simple…

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Photographer: Freestocks.org

The One Amazing Tool

What’s this one elusive tool to use when wanting to know how to get him to commit to you?  COMMUNICATION.  There’s no big secret.  He’s not a f*cking mind-reader.  TALK with your Seoulmate!  Communication is a tool we all have within our big ol’ bag o’ tricks, but when it comes down to it we rarely feel confident enough to share our feelings effectively.  The biggest flaw in my last relationship is that I felt powerless what it came to expressing my wants and needs.  When I tried to initiate a conversation about things which bothered me, he “was bored” and didn’t want to hear it.  In my mind, my last relationship was just a silly little travel romance in the beginning.  Never in a million years did I think he’d skip out on an epic SEA adventure to come live with me in South Korea.  I didn’t tell him what I needed and wanted right from the start.  When he started weaving dreams of a real future beyond Asia, somewhere we might settle down, I scoffed and moved on.  When I started to believe the fantasy, he pulled away.  We weren’t on the same page at all.

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Photographer: Thought Catalog

Fake News

For someone who “hated social media” as much as he did, he sure checked his instagram likes regularly.  It blew my mind that he thought I was demanding he give up the “opportunity of a lifetime” to come live with me.  It drove me mental that he wrote his younger female travel companion a love letter on Facebook when he took off from Cambodia to come to Korea.  When he left Korea to head home, he shared: “too many people to name.  It’s been emotional.”  I was proud to be with him, yet he tried to hide me.  He was always pleased to be tagged in cool hipster photos at the palace or beachy pics with the lads.  Unfortunately, he refused to acknowledge our life together publicly.  Looking back that should have been a HUGE red flag.  I wanted to shout from the top of every mountain in Korea that I was happy with him, but he couldn’t bring himself to tell his own network he had a girlfriend.  It’s such a night and day difference to have an intelligent, accomplished, handsome gent tell me he’s happy to be with me at the top of a mountain we climbed together.

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Photographer: Emma Frances Logan Barker

Looking Forward

Maybe this relationship will crash and burn tomorrow.  Maybe it’ll withstand the tests of all the small town (ahem HBC) murmurings.  If you don’t have the exclusivity conversation with your desired partner, then you can’t be angry with him (or her) for continuing to date.  If this person meets someone else with whom they have more in common, you can’t fault them for wanting to pursue a relationship.  You didn’t communicate your desires.  If you’re not getting the answer for which you’ve been searching, then move along.  He’s not going to fall in love with you just because you’ve been hanging around.  It doesn’t matter if you have beer-flavoured nipples.  No matter how much you pretend to love Star Wars, if he doesn’t love what you’re actually into then what kind of foundation are you building?

How to get him to commit?  

Talk to him (or her) for f*cks’ sake!

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Skinfood Cafe Seoul

SkinFood Cafe Seoul

SkinFood has quickly become a favourite brand of mine lately.  The quality of the products paired with their subtle, fun scents, adorable packaging, and affordable price range has got my collection growing quickly.  Imagine my surprise to have found the SkinFood Cafe Seoul!

THE BRAND

According to SkinFood, it “is the first cosmetic brand to root itself in food.  (Their) food philosophy drives (their) product development to ensure that only the highest quality food ingredients are used to create a more beautiful, healthier lifestyle.”  I’ve used products with avocado, tomato, apple, vanilla, and even salmon of all things!  If you’ve seen my 4 Minute makeup routine you’ll recognize a few of those products.  “Food components (like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants) deliver targeted nourishment and care. The key to maximizing beauty can be found in the food around us.”

THE DECOR

The decor of the cafe is just like their skincare and cosmetics shops.  There’s bright yellow everywhere!  They have tons of books and motivational quotations framed and selectively placed.  There’s a variety of seating options for the individual guest, group of diners, or cute couple.  There was an adorable couple snacking away sitting on the couch near the photo opp area.  This is a super sweet date spot if you’re looking for all things cutesy without making him uncomfortable.

THE BEST FOOD

The SkinFood Cafe Seoul is, of course, part of the SkinFood cosmetics and skin care brand.  Their attitude towards food isn’t just part of the branding, it’s their core belief.

“Nutritive, wholesome food has the power and the ability to keep skin radiantly beautiful.
SKINFOOD is always searching for the best ingredients to utilize in product development.

The SKINFOOD initiative for the best food ingredients is a journey across the world.
Method matters. As a result, SKINFOOD upholds eco-friendly and
sustainable growing methods as a pillar to our philosophy.
We meet with farmers across the country to ensure that the best food is grown under the best methods.
The journey to discover the best food never ends.
Come with SKINFOOD and discover how food can transform beauty.”

According to the SkinFood Cafe Seoul, “You are what you eat.” and “Healthy skin starts with food.”  I ordered what I remember being named something like the Yummy Yummy Platter which was KRW 12,000 (about $12 Canadian, $10 USD).  There were three slices of baguette.  One was topped with half an avocado, some cherry tomatoes, and parmesan cheese.  Another was topped with grainy mustard pulled chicken and topped with parmesan and a little bit of honey.  Another was topped with rich, clotted cream, blueberries, and mint sprigs.  The baguette was a little crusty and stale, but the toppings were full of flavour.  You can’t go wrong with half an avocado in any meal in my opinion!  The two slider buns were topped with iceberg lettuce, ham, and a Kraft single.  This is a poor girl’s afternoon tea, and I loved it!

Even the bathrooms at the SkinFood Cafe Seoul are cute, clean, and full of SkinFood soaps and lotions to sample before heading on your way!

Go check out the SkinFood Cafe Seoul!  The chic Garosugil area of Apgujeong in Seoul is the perfect place to spend a sunny day, so why not pop into this adorable little cafe?

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Seoul Dating: This Is What You Came For…isn’t it?

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Seoul Dating: This Is What You Came For

Dear Wonderful Readers and Internet Trolls,

It has come to my attention that I’ve become known around Seoul as “the girl who goes on dates and then writes about them”.  Cool.  Let’s go ahead and clarify that, shall we?  ThatGirlCartier has been around since 2009 (on Twitter).  If you want the roots of the name itself, go check out one of my first posts on this site.  On instagram?  You can creep me back to 2012 there.  You’ll see pictures of food, fashion, fitness, culture, travels, a variety of weights and hairstyles, and oh yes – a couple of ex boyfriends.  That’s life, ladies and gentlemen.  Expat dating is tough!  Seoul dating is a minefield.  Just like Juicy Couture sweats and UGG boots, some things don’t last. If Juicy is any indication, some things might just return (you know who you are and yes, you’re welcome back – just say the word).

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xoxo Gossip Girl

The idea that I’m some sort of “Land of Morning Chaos – xoxo Gossip Girl of Seoul Dating” is ludicrous.  That said, if any of the show’s designers want to dress me I would not put up a fight.  Also, wasn’t Gossip Girl a dude in the end? Writing bits and bobs about my silly Seoul dating life seems to be a bigger deal to men than it is to women.  Men seem to either really appreciate my writing from an outside perspective, or take what’s written too personally.  To those who understand this to be entertainment and defend me and my right to write, thank you!  To those guys who “would never go on a date with a dating blogger”, well this one’s for you.

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Express Permission

If an expat dating experience ends up on That Girl Cartier it’s because express permission has been granted to share whatever has occurred on the date.  Tinder often initiates Seoul dating.  I’ve mostly got stories in the vault which aren’t all that interesting.  A lot of people ask to be featured on The Toronto Seoulcialite.  One guy even snatched my phone for a couple’s selfie just in case he “made the article” I was thinking about writing on Olympic Park.  This is not new.  Expats constantly ASK to be featured on the site. The marketing men, military men, locals, teachers, or anyone else from the list want to be here.  It is astoundingly easy to get material, because people love having our experiences shared anonymously online.  Sometimes they’re exaggerated.  Most of the time they’re not.

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Hey Friends,

I recently shared a tidbit on my personal Facebook page from a comically bad first date.  My personal profile is just that: personal.  Venting and sharing anecdotes on my personal page should not be grounds for an attack.  I feel that everyone’s entitled to share personal opinions on Facebook.  November 8th and 9th, January 20th, and the past month have been great indicators of just how many personal opinions people share on Facebook.  I’m a writer.  Your antics won’t get published to my site without permission.  Please continue to be ridiculous and make me push my own boundaries, too.

Remember friends, readers, and trolls, this right here?  This is what you came for.  

I wouldn’t have 3 times more views on this silly little website than its informative sister site if it wasn’t.

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Color Oops in Korea

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What’s in a Mane?

I’m willing to bet this will sound ridiculous to most of you, but my hair is like my mane.  I’ve never really been one to buy into the hysteria of the zodiac or horoscopes, but my August 6th birthday makes me a fiery Leo.  I’ve been accused of being a spy in the past because I change my appearance so often (thanks, Military Man).  Truth be told, I just like changing up my look.  If I’m feeling sad, I’ll pick up a bright and cheerful lipstick.  If I’m feeling a little worse for wear, I’ll add some highlights.  When I’m feeling like I need to take control, bold changes occur.  Sometimes I need Korea color oops, but we’ll get there.

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My Main Mane

My mum says that when I was born I had a healthy mane of beautiful wavy auburn locks.  On day 3, they all fell out.  They were replaced with a light brown which would be sun-kissed, chlorine-washed, and turned into a golden blond in the summer.  I found my first gray hair at the age of 14.  Well, it was found for me.  We were in the high school library and to my shock and dismay I found a friend pulling strand by strand until she found what she was looking for, slid down to the root, and yanked out the follicle.  If what they say is true, then that first silver strand was mighty popular and its family members continue to visit to this day.  My natural hair colour now is a medium to dark brown with lots of bright silver strands throughout.  I guess this is why I feel so comfortable as a chameleon.  Who would realistically want to let that grow out at 29?

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Blonde Ambition

When I moved from Busan to Seoul, I decided to try out one of the local hair salons.  What a mistake!  They took me from medium brown to medium blonde…with brown roots.  Time for Korea color oops then?  Not quite!  I actually found a salon supply store in my new neighbourhood and went to work fixing the damage.  Check out my Blonde in Korea post for more info.  I touched up and blended the roots, but only made it to the platinum you see up there over a course of about 5 months.  Then around new year’s eve after a tricky 2 weeks of post-break-up blues, I decided to do something rash.  The hope was to go back to medium brown erring on the chocolate side, but I ended up with practically black hair.

Korea Color Oops

When hair dye works a little bit overtime (as in the case above) or you don’t like the colour, there’s a solution called “color oops”.  You can get it pretty easily at the drugstore in North America.  It turns your hair a hideous shade of orange, then you can apply colour on top.  I’ve only ever used it once back in Canada, but it had the desired effect.  In Korea, however, getting “color oops” isn’t as easy.  I ended up doing what’s referred to as a “bleach cocktail” or “bleach bath” instead.

Bleach Bath Recipe

This weekend I put my hair through absolute hell.  I did 2 Bleach Baths (or Bleach Cocktails – my personal makeshift Korea color oops), did a set of highlights, and then dyed my hair twice.  I started with a bleach bath which is:

  • 1 ounce powder bleach (the blue powder, usually)
  • 1 ounce developer (usually comes with the package and is about 20%)
  • 2 ounces clear shampoo (I used the Innisfree brand)

Mix the ingredients together and apply to WET, towel-dried hair.  Don’t shampoo or condition, just wet your hair, comb is out, and then apply the mixture.  I left the solution in for 30 minutes.  My results came out like this:

Bleach Cocktail Results

As you can see above, my hair was carrot orange.  The Korea color oops I created at home had done its job by stripping away the brown, but I was stuck with some pretty rancid strands.  I applied my re-bonding solution and went to sleep.  Korea color oops step 1 was complete.

After applying “dark blonde” throughout my hair, my locks were pretty much rose gold.  I actually kind of liked the “My Little Pony” look, but it wouldn’t have been work appropriate.  I added some highlights using a cap, but they didn’t pull the colour as I had intended.  Korea color oops round 2 did not turn out as well:

I ended up with yellow roots, pink mid-shaft, and orange tips.  This was not the desired look either.  I applied my Makarizo re-bonding serum again and went to bed.  In the morning, I applied L’Oreal Dark Golden Blonde (6.30).  I know this doesn’t actually make hair blonde again as I had used it in Busan to achieve a light brown look.  That said, I wanted full coverage and knew this would do the trick.

My hair is now coppery red.  I’ll keep this until my roots grow in, then I’ll do all over highlights once more.  I don’t want to go back to platinum blonde, but I think I would like to head back in the direction of a medium ash blonde.  I love being a hair colour chameleon and will probably never stick with one colour for over a year, but we’ll see what happens in the future!

Do you have any experience fixing dramatic hair colour at home?  Have you ever done a DIY hair experiement in another country?  Let me know in the comments!

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WDTDT: Who Pays on the First Date?

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Photographer: Wilfred Iven

Why Do They DO That?!: Who Pays on the First Date?

This new series entitled “Why Do They DO That?!” (henceforth: “WDTDT”) is all about the things that some men do which baffle women.  On wine nights the ladies have gone through it all.  We’ve asked “why would he go back to her?”, “why won’t he call/ text?”, “why won’t he kiss me if he says he likes me?”, etc.  The thing that baffles me the most is what they won’t do, or the sneaky and conniving things that some men do.  This leads me to the age old question (for our generation, at least), “Who Pays on the First Date?”

Read to the end for my personal take!

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Photographer:  Jay Wennington

It Begins…

This is a situation I’ve encountered first-hand, but have heard from other gal pals as well.  I find that this is particularly prevalent with guys you meet online.  Whether it be Tinder, POF, OK Cupid, or even instagram, these particular guys have a heavy rotation for a specific reason.  You chat for a bit online and he suggests meeting up.  He suggests a trendy new restaurant you’ve wanted to try.  Great!  You share a couple of dishes and he either says he’s not going to drink at all or he has a cheap bottle beer.  Trying to match the vibe of the date, you either have the same beer, something of the same value, or water.  You don’t want to go overboard, right?  You don’t want him thinking you’re some sort of alcoholic or that you’d win first prize in a pie-eating contest.

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Photographer:  Mitch Rosen

He likes You (maybe)!

You finish up, you’re still a bit hungry, and he suggests you move on to the next spot.  Awesome!  He wants to spend more time with you.  He likes you!  What you may or may not realize is that in your effort to be polite and accommodating, he’s been in control the whole time.  He grabs the cheque, you pull out your wallet, and he insists on paying.  Ever so sweetly and carefully he lulls, “you can get the next one”.  Why do they DO that?! I think you know why…

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Photographer:  Alex Knight

Bourbon by the Barrel

Your next spot is uber hip with a great atmosphere, low lights, and expensive cocktails.  He’s pulled this trick before and wants you to foot the bill for his top shelf Boulevardiers.  This might be the point at which you’re tuned into his ploy, it might not.  Most girls I know don’t want to poke the bear, so instead of saying something we’ll go along with it and balance out his suddenly extravagant tastes with house wine or draft beer.  While he’s downing two at once, you’re pacing yourself.

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Photographer:  Olu Eletu

So…Who Pays on the First Date, Then?

In this situation, you’re both paying.  That said, you’re paying through the nose for his wild night out since he’s made the initial investment.  This has actually happened to a friend of mine and me in Seoul with the same guy.  She’s had some bad luck having also been out on a date with The Military Man (yep – Mr. Cherry Freak himself), too.  This guy has the same M.O. each time: he takes the girl for Korean Barbecue, orders some soju (maybe $2 a bottle?), eagerly foots the bill, and then suggests much pricier spots in Gangnam.  When the remaining cheque(s) arrive, he sits back, sneers, and gives the same line without missing a beat, “your turn”.

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Photographer:  Gabriel Gurrola

Who Should Really Pay on the First Date?

I think that in this day in age, especially if you’re both teachers in Korea making the same salary, it’s ideal to go Dutch.  If you’re in a relationship show that you care for one another by thoughtfully bringing over his favourite beer or wine for movie night.  Never arrive at someone’s place empty-handed.  This is pretty much a rule whether you’re dating or not (and with men and women, alike).  If you are dating, go back and forth, but don’t be a doormat (that one goes for guys and girls, too).  A relationship is a partnership.  If you want a sugar-daddy (or a sugar-mama!) there are plenty in and around Seoul.  If you want a partnership, however, it’s a two way street, ladies and gents.

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Have you been out with someone who played you with the line, “Your turn”?  Have you felt like you were completely missing your backbone in that situation?  Let us know in the comments!

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Makarizo: Korea’s Olaplex Alternative

I put my hair through various levels of hell on a daily basis.  My resilient tendrils no longer shine and gleam like they used to (I was blonde, sue me!)  Now I’m well on my way back to long, luscious locks thanks to Makarizo, an alternative to Olaplex.

Olaplex in Korea That Girl Cartier

Olaplex

Ever since Olaplex hit the market in Korea (check out 7 Seasons Style’s review here), people have been flocking to get their hands on the products.  Olaplex has a variety of products which make big claims.  It’s a “simple three-step process (including) a patented active ingredient that works on a molecular level to seek out broken bonds in the hair that are caused by chemical, thermal, and mechanical damage.  Use Olaplex to restore compromised hair or add it to another service to provide the ultimate breakage insurance.”  Us civilians may buy Olaplex step 3 (at-home treatment) online for US $28 here, but must hit the salon for the remaining products.

Rebonding System

MAKARIZO

Makarizo is a Taiwanese product which was originally developed for straightening.  The name is taken from the Greek word for “blessed”.  The product is now made and distributed from Indonesia.  I found it in my second, “secret” salon supply store in Jamsil.  I’m happy to tell you all about it, but the directions require some TLC I wasn’t prepared to share in my article on bottle blondes in Korea.

Olaplex Alternative Makarizo Rebonding System

When I purchased the Hair Recover Drops (KRW 30,000 or just under $30) I was really just looking to replace my argan oil.  With all the buzz about the rebonding systems, I thought I’d give this one a try.  In only 2 uses, I’ve already seen a change in my newly-brunette locks.  It was much easier to hide my shattered hair when I was beachy, bleachy blonde.

The Claim:

“Nourishes dry or damaged hair and split-ends. Adds gloss and sheen. Hair looks healthier and feels silky softer.

HOW TO USE

Before styling, apply a small amount of the drops and massage it into hair. No rinsing out.” – Makarizo website

The Results

I’m pretty thrilled with the results.  I’ve used this product twice as instructed, and have blow-dried my hair both times.  I’ve also put in some subtle highlights using a high-lift colour (not bleach) in the interim.  I straighten my hair pretty much daily.  My hair takes quite a beating, but the Makarizo Rebonding Hair Recovery Drops seem to have made a big difference!  I’m considering delving further into the line to see just how glossy and gorgeous my hair can be in it’s natural (colour) state!

Makarizo Rebonding Hair Recovery Drops and other Makarizo products are available in Jamsil, Seoul, Korea.  Leave me a message in the comments if you’d like to know how to visit my secret salon supply store!

 

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Expat Dating Diaries: The Military Man

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Photographer: Amanda Jordan

I’d like to preface this edition of the Expat Dating Diaries with a lengthy note to all readers.  Scroll down to TL;DR to skip!  This series is designed to be sarcastic.  It’s designed to incite a knowing laugh from women around the world living abroad.  Many of you have met men like the ones in The 7 Worst Guys An Expat Can Date.  This is not a man-hating article.  This is not a man-hating series.  In fact, it’s quite the opposite.  I love dating!  The stories and laughs I get from horrible dates make for girls’ night hilarity.  The shared moments and memories from great dates make all the bad ones worth it.

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Photographer: Tyler Barnes

To the gentlemen reading (we’re about half and half, right now according to Google), thank you for checking out my blog.  Sorry for the make-up and mush, but I’m assuming you knew what you were getting yourself into.  You probably can’t relate at all to these guys, you can see a couple of traits here and there in yourself, or you just want a good laugh at someone else’s expense.  You could switch these statements right around and apply them to the ladies, too.  I’m sure there are a number of traits you recognize in women from which you’d like to stay away.  Why am I only writing about the dudes?  ‘Cause I don’t date women.

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Photographer: Takahiro Sakamoto

I have several friends married to wonderful men serving in the military.  Some of them even met in Korea and got married here!  My family has a history in the RAF (my badass Grandmother) and the RCAF (my Grandfather).  I dated a kind and generous man in the Air Force.  I have no issue with the military.  If you find a diamond in the rough, the Military Man will be the most loyal and caring gentleman in the world.  The standard review of the Military Man (MM) in Korea, however, is that he’s a dirty dawg.

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Photographer: Richard Revel

TL;DR

Whew!  Now that that’s over with, let’s move on to the story.  The Military Man wants to settle down…in theory.  Being deployed over and over again means he’s a lone wolf.  More often than not he’s “exclusively dating” a few lovely ladies.  I’ve seen this countless times and am heartbroken for my friends who have been hurt.

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Photographer: Alondra Olivas

Three’s A Crowd

This is the kind of story I hear again and again.  My friend from Busan met a Tinder guy in Seoul for brunch.  He flew down to party with us in early spring.  They continued to see each other long-distance, and she was smitten.  The thing about men in Korea is that they seem to think that they’re entitled to two separate entities: foreigners and Koreans.  They seem to believe that never the two shall meet.  One long weekend 6 months into dating, she went up to stay with him.  She left his place Monday morning as he had to work.  Imagine her surprise when that very afternoon she saw him walking hand in hand with his Korean girlfriend off base in Gangnam.  Wasn’t he supposed to be at work?  Hadn’t they banged at his place that morning?

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Photographer: Skor

The Cherry Incident

My favourite MM is a guy I have actually met on several occasions.  We met through mutual friends on a day known in history as “the cherry incident”.  This guy is in the army and has quite possibly the most beautiful apartment I’ve ever seen in Korea.  Marble counter-tops, hardwood floors, a Japanese toilet, and le piece de resistance: a washer and a dryer. When my gal pals, my ex, and I were invited over to his place, he provided top shelf alcohol, mixes, and garnishes and told us to help ourselves.

cherries fruits food healthy bowl

Photographer: Danielle MacInnes

For nearly 2 hours he rattled on and on about these beautiful, succulent, marinated cherries which were perfect in a Manhattan.  My friend had to try them, of course!  She couldn’t open the jar, so after an eternity of trying she handed it over to me.  Just as the lid to the jar popped open, time stood still and I heard a slow motion “Nooooooo!” from our host MM.  The rest of the night was tainted by the wailings of a sullen MM butt hurt that his pristine jar of cherries had been opened and would have to actually be used.  He also hit on me in front of my (now ex) boyfriend, then proceeded to tell me he wanted a one night stand with any of my friends in attendance.  Class act, MM.

fighter jet air force flying

Photographer: Jeff Cooper

Fast forward to March when I moved from Busan to Seoul.  MM saw me on Tinder, and when we didn’t match he went and found me on instagram.  I was all moved in, but for two months he insisted he needed to help me move.  It’s impressive the creative ways these guys think up when trying to weasel their way into your apartment.

restaurant dining table chairs wine glasses plates utensils lights bottles alcohol eating people leather water

Photographer: Leeroy

Musical Chairs

While I haven’t dated this guy, I’ve now met 4 girls who have.  One of them was actually his live in girlfriend during the cherry incident.  We didn’t meet that night, but I would later find out that she (and 3 other friends of mine) had been wined and dined by this MM.  He’s tried to intercept a couple of my friends’ dates by inviting their party of two over to his table.  He even flew a Tinder girl from the United States to Vietnam to meet up for a tryst, and when she wouldn’t put out he cancelled her ticket home.

architecture building structure wall clock military soldier army parachute sky clouds church

Photographer: Erik-Jan Leusink

The MM manages his time (and women) exceptionally well.  He’s an sensational liar and a master manipulator who can maintain several relationships at once.  Camouflage is key.  His phone is glued to him at all times.  He’ll never let you see it, of course.  MM must reply immediately for fear of mixing up names and dates.

Here lies Episode II of the Expat Dating Diaries and the 7 Worst Guys An Expat Can Date.  

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My VIP Facial: IPL in Seoul

My IPL Facial experience at VIP Plastic Surgery in Seoul, South Korea. That Girl Cartier

If you follow my Korean adventures on The Toronto Seoulcialite, you may remember that at the end of July 2016 I got botox.  I think we played a little fast and loose with my forehead, but getting my crows feet taken care of was kind of life changing.  After getting botox I went traveling to Thailand.  Rather than the 29 I had just turned (August 6th), people were guessing that I was somewhere between 22 and 24.  As I edge closer to a single, nomadic 30, this was good news!

In 2015, just before coming to Korea, I was tying up some loose ends and used a gift certificate for and IPL facial in Toronto.  The procedure was only about $150, and I thought I was going in for a lovely, relaxing time.  This was not the case at all.  For 15-20 minutes I had a cold gel all over my face and what felt like a tattoo gun piercing my skin at frequent intervals.  It was one of the most painful beauty experiences of my life, and it’s one I would gladly repeat at bi-annual intervals.  The results were amazing.  My gray, Canadian winter skin had colour again.  My broken capillaries were no longer visible.  My IPL experience in Toronto was horrendous.  This blogger’s experience was like my reaction when I had IPL in Toronto.  Traumatic!  I mean, it worked, but it was so painful!

Fast forward nearly two years to Seoul, Korea.  I decided to face my fears and try it out again.  This time, my IPL in Seoul was done by an actual surgeon (the same one who did my botox, actually).  My IPL in Seoul started differently than in Toronto.  In Toronto, they actually shaved every tiny hair off my face (except for my eyebrows, of course).  Then they applied the gel.  Here, the team was confused as to why I would want them removed.  That made me a bit nervous (I was on edge because of my Toronto experience already), but we went ahead.

I don’t know why I was so worried!  The procedure was a breeze and didn’t hurt a bit.  Once the gel was on and I was comfy, we popped some goggles on and my surgeon got to work.  a device was used to deliver a spectral range of light to my skin.  It felt and sounded like the bright light from school pictures.  The whole thing only took 15 to 20 minutes.  My photofacial IPL in Seoul was such a difference to my hot, tattoo gun experience back home!

IPL treatments can be used to help restore the skin’s youthful appearance as it can remove age spots, sun damage, and redness from broken capillaries (something I struggled with after about 25).  This process is called photo rejuvenation.  Since there’s no down-time, it’s great for people on the go.  I was shopping in Sinsa for a friends birthday immediately after.  It’s a non-invasive procedure (it’s a facial, right?) and this round was quick and gentle.

My IPL in Seoul at VIP Plastic Surgery was 200,00 KRW, however the average price is about 567,174 KRW.  Connect with English-speaking VIP consultants at vipps@vipps.kr

Have you ever had an IPL in Seoul?  What were your experiences here like vs. anywhere else you’ve tried the IPL?  Let us know in the comments below!

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Heart Cupcake - That Girl Cartier

My Two Great Loves

That Girl Cartier - My Two Great Loves

When I was in high school, Sex and the City was in its final seasons.  I thought Carrie Bradshaw was the height of sophistication, and that one day I’d find myself a Chris Noth look-a-like to sweep my off my feet on Pont-des-Arts (the love-lock bridge in Paris).  I wasn’t far off!  I was 17.  I had been to Paris twice.  I was obviously pretty damn close.  I was even closer by the love locks at Namsan Tower when H and I decided $7 was too pricy for a romantic gimmick.  There are so many quotations from dear SATC which I’m sure resonate rather shamefully with most of the women in my generation and beyond.  Recently, I was reminded of a concept Charlotte brought up in season 5’s “Anchors Away”.  In one scene, she states, “Everyone knows you only get two great loves in your life”.

The idea that we only get two great loves would terrify most people, but I think this irrational fear is far more prevalent than most people might realize.  This irrational fear of mine is compounded by the fact that one of my “two great loves” isn’t even a person.  You see, I recently lost someone who I thought might just be my last great love.  It’s  silly to think something so short could have meant so much, especially since it’s so one-sided.  Nonetheless, I’ve replaced him with my first great love: food.

When I lived in Vancouver we were somehow invited into the glamorous world of Vancity foodies.  Perhaps service is just paramount there, but I regularly dined at Michelin Star Restaurants and hobnobbed at hole in the wall bars.  In Toronto, I had a food blog and somehow managed to get on a few PR e-mail lists.  Now I was eating great food all the time…free of charge.  I got fat.  I mean, I guess I was a bit chunky moving home from Vancouver to Toronto, but with an expense account and a few years working in hospitality management, I was an absolute porker.

Culinary delights can often be as pleasing as the embrace of a loved one, especially when dining in good company.  I think that in my last relationship I may have had some of the best dining experiences ever.  A threesome with your two great loves?  I’m not sure I could have asked for more.

I had wanted to write my “The 7 Worst Guys An Expat Can Date” series in sequence finishing with “The Travel Romance”.  This should be an epic ending, but I can’t quite seem to admit to myself that it’s beyond over.  I can pinpoint the moment the exact moment I think I knew this would be more than a couple of smooches on the beach past midnight.  I had had lacklustre Tom Kha Gai (coconut chicken soup) for breakfast at our hostel in Phuket, and was craving some rich Thai curry.

Our amazing #dinner of #Massaman #curry chicken! Yum yum! #massamancurry #TOSocialThai #food #foodporn #Airasiatravels #myredtrip

A photo posted by Kate 🛫 Travel Blogger (@torontoseoulcialite) on

I spent the day taking a Muay Thai sparring class followed by a tour of Wat Chalong.  I was hungry.  The “never dine alone” culture of Korea left me praying for a dinner companion.  Though we had no wifi beyond the hostel, we still arrived back around the same time.  I got my massaman curry and spicy dinner companion in one fell swoop.

When you’re in lust, love, or on vacation (I’m still not sure what this was) everything is just better.  Sun and salt water make my hair soft and wavy.  I care less about what I’m wearing and more about who I’m with.  Sunsets are more profound.  Food tastes better.  Whether I was in Thailand finally trying authentic versions of my favorite dishes, or sitting in a crappy all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ restaurant in Hongdae where the exhaust backed up, everything was better.  Sugar is an addiction.  Food is one of my two great loves.  Right now I feel like I’ve got a monkey on my back telling me to chase the dragon.

“Some love stories are novels.  Others are short stories.  It doesn’t make it any less filled with love”.  This is not my account of “The Travel Romance”…it’s just a tribute.  For now, I need to make healthier choices with the first of my two great loves, don’t you think?  Have you felt addicted to sugar or food?  How did you kick the habit of going back to the ex?  Let us know in the comments!

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Korean Make-up in 4 Minutes

4 Minute Korean Make-up Routine That Girl Cartier

During the week I hate wearing makeup.  I work with kids so I’d rather be able to rub my eyes if I need to than look all done up.  I live in Korea, however, so when I don’t wear makeup I immediately either look super tired or ill.  When prospective students (read: their parents) come to school, I have to look presentable.  This means cheerful-looking and fully made up.  Thankfully, beauty routines in Korea can be either painstakingly long, or ridiculously efficient.  As someone who uses makeup remover wipes, facial cleanser, and moisturizer only (in Korea this is considered “wash n’ go”), I choose the latter.  Here are my steps (and the cheapest links on Amazon) to a quick and easy 4 Minute Korean Make-up Routine.

** I’ve included the cheapest options available on Amazon so that if you want any of the products you won’t be over-paying.  As an Amazon Partner I will make a small commission, but you will not pay more because of it.**

Korean Make-Up

(in 4 minutes!)

Start With…

NATURE REPUBLIC Super Origin Collagen BB Cream

With this BB Cream, a little goes a long way.  Make sure you don’t over-do it or it’ll appear cakey.  I’ve tried a number of BB and CC Creams from Korea and Japan, and when it comes to the first layer Korean make-up is my preference.  I always end up going back to my Nature Republic BB Cream, too.  It has a plant-based collagen.  It lasts all day and leaves my skin feeling soft and smooth.  Bonus – I don’t look like a water ghost in photos with this BB cream even though it has SPF 25.

How to use:

I’ll wash my face right when I wake up then apply my daily moisturizer.  This leaves at least a little time for it to soak in before applying any makeup.  Get dressed, put on your coffee if that’s your morning routine, then get to the Korean make-up.

Apply a small amount of the BB cream to your face.  Gently blend in the cream.  I always pay special attention to the area around my nose because it tends to get quite red, but do you, honey-boo.

ACTIVE INGREDIENTS

Active Ingredients: TITANIUM DIOXIDE 6.4%, ETHYLHEXYL METHOXYCINNAMATE 3%, ZINC OXIDE 1.9%

INACTIVE INGREDIENTS

WATER, CYCLOPENTASILOXANE, DIPROPYLENE GLYCOL, GLYCERIN, TALC, PEG-10 DIMETHICONE, DIMETHICONE, ARBUTIN, HEXYLDECYL MYRISTOYL METHYLAMINOPROPIONATE, DISTEARDIMONIUM HECTORITE, ISOEICOSANE, MAGNESIUM SULFATE, DIMETHICONE/VINYL DIMETHICONE CROSSPOLYMER, SILICA, C12-14 PARETH-3, SEA WATER, VINYL DIMETHICONE/METHICONE SILSESQUIOXANE CROSSPOLYMER, PIPER METHYSTICUM LEAF/ROOT/STEM EXTRACT, IRON OXIDES, PHENOXYETHANOL, ACRYLATES/DIMETHICONE COPOLYMER, METHICONE, ALUMINUM HYDROXIDE, ALUMINUM STEARATE, METHYLPARABEN, BETAINE, FRAGRANCE, PROPYLPARABEN, TOCOPHERYL ACETATE,
JASMINUM OFFICINALE (JASMINE) EXTRACT, NELUMBO NUCIFERA FLOWER EXTRACT, ROSE EXTRACT, FREESIA REFRACTA EXTRACT, IRIS VERSICOLOR EXTRACT, LILIUM CANDIDUM BULB EXTRACT, NARCISSUS PSEUDO-NARCISSUS (DAFFODIL) FLOWER EXTRACT, BUTYLPARABEN, ADENOSINE, ACACIA SENEGAL FLOWER/STEM EXTRACT, HYDROGENATED LECITHIN

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Then put…

Skin Food Salmon Dark Circle Concealer Cream

No.1 Blooming Light Beige

See those dark circles above?  Yeah, so do my kindergarten students!  The first day I used this dark circle concealer cream not only did my kids stop pestering me about my dark and puffy under-eyes, even my boss noticed and gave me a compliment on how naturally beautiful I looked.  Natural, my @$$…but I’ll take it!  Notice the key ingredient in the name?  It doesn’t just look salmon-coloured, it actually has salmon oil in it.  Skin Food’s products usually contain some sort of natural ingredient to “feed the face”.  See if you can find the other edible ingredient later on in the post!

How to use:

Again, with Korean make-up always use product sparingly as a little goes a long way.  take the pot and lightly dab your ring finger to pick up product.  Apply in soft, short dabs to under the eye.  Pay special attention to the inner corner as that’s where things are typically darkest but can also get cakey-est.  If you want to add a step you can apply some loose powder to set, but personally I don’t have time for that on a week-day morning.

I still look like a ghost, but my dark circles are gonezo, right? 🙂

INGREDIENTS:

Petrolatum, lanolin oil, caprylic/capric triglyceride, paraffin, polyethylene, aluminum starch octenylsuccinate, sorbitan sesquioleate, glyceryl tribehenate/isostearate/ eicosandioate, microcrystalline wax, tocopherol acetate, salmon egg extract, salmon oil, palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7, N-hydroxysuccinimide, chrysin, diacetyl boldine, ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate, glycerin, steareth-20, propylparaben, fragrance, water, titanium dioxide, iron oxides.

Gotta have it?  Get it on Amazon:

Next up…

Son & Park Face Lighting & Shading, Highlighter & Shading Set 

I actually use the “shading presso”, but that’s not currently available on Amazon so here’s the next best thing.  I have developed a technique which combines contouring and just simply mashing bronzer all over your face.  It’s called: get a kabuki brush and a kit that has bronzer and highlighter (then essentially mash it all over your face in an E shape on the left of your face and a 3 shape on the right).  Enjoy!

Gotta have it?  Get it on Amazon:

Image result for mac blush

MAC Blush Powder

Find the colour that’s right for you and pop it over your cheekbones, down your nose, and along the hairline.  I don’t think you’d be here if you didn’t know how to use blush.  Don’t overuse it and be sure to blend.  This should be your shortest step.

Gotta have it?  Get it on Amazon:

Image result for mac eyebrow brush

Simply Naked Beauty Eyebrow Brush and Color

I use a Mac Brush but the prices on Amazon were insane.  This Simply Naked Beauty Eyebrow Color and Brush were way better bang for your buck!  I usually use the shading presso for double duty and fill in my brows.

Gotta have it?  Get it on Amazon:

Maybelline The Magnum Volum’ Express Super Film Mascara 

When I’m in a rush or looking for a more natural look I don’t bother with eye shadow or eye liner.  Winged liner is my absolute fave on the weekends, but come on now…my kidlets don’t give a rat’s about how close to Adele my liner’s lookin’.

Gotta have it?  Get it on Amazon:

Skin Food Tomato Jelly Tint Lip #01 Cherry Tomato 

Wearing lipstick is the worst.  It either never lasts or it always lasts…on your teeth.  Skin Food to the rescue!  I’m a huge fan of lip balm and this jelly tint might just be my favourite genius Korean Make-up product.  It has a bright tint which actually does last, plus it’s hugely moisturizing.  Use as you’d normally pop on chapstick.

INGREDIENTS:

TOMATO JELLY TINT LIP #1 CHERRY TOMATO
Polybutene, Diisostearyl Malate, Octyldodecanol, Paraffin, Dipentaerythrityl Hexahydroxystearate/ Hexastearate/Hexarosinate, Microcrystalline Wax, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Hydroxystearic Acid, Solanum Lycopersicum (Tomato) Seed Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, Diethylhexyl Syringylidenemalonate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Tin Oxide, Ethylhexylglycerin, Fragrance, Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77891), Mica (Ci 77019), Red 6 (Ci 15850), Red 7 (Ci 15850:1), Red 27 (Ci 45410:1), Red 30 (Ci 73360), Iron Oxide (Ci 77491), Barium Sulfate (Ci 77120), Carmine (Ci 75470)

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…and there you have it!  4 minutes from drab to fab!  Well…no longer disastrous, at least.

What’s your favourite Korean Make-up product when you’re in a hurry?  Be sure to leave it in the comments so I can check it out!

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