The Nail Bar Korea (더네일바 already in Gyeongnidan 경리단길) has opened up a second location in Hannam, Seoul. That Girl Cartier went to scope it out...nail'd it! Where to get gel nails done in Seoul, South Korea (Itaewon & Hannam)

Nail’d it: The Nail Bar (더네일바) Hannam

The Nail Bar Korea Hannam

(더네일바/이태원네일/젤네일)

The Nail Bar Korea has opened their second location, this one in Hannam-dong.  Finding the location wasn’t exactly simple for our taxi driver, but after a quick call we were swept away to a ritzy new complex.  Head down the stairs and you’ll find The Nail Bar Korea right across from a new pasta place I’m obviously now dying to try!

The Nail Bar Korea: Atmosphere

I’ve never been to their Gyeongnidan 경리단길 location, so I can’t comment on size difference too much.  I’m pretty sure I’ve passed it and it was quite small in comparison to this sprawling space.  I was totally overwhelmed by the large white space with gold accents and en entire wall of nail polish.  I came in with an idea of the gel nails I wanted to get, but once I was hit with the wall I became pretty indecisive.

The Nail Bar Korea: Experience

Upon arrival we were greeted and asked if we’d like water or coffee (see iced Americani above).  There was a big screen playing old school Whitney, Mariah, and TLC as well as plenty of Katy Perry and Ariana Grande.  The owners two adorable pitbulls Butter and Gamja had free reign of the place, too.  Perfect for a dog lover like myself, but just be aware there are a couple of cuddly, furry members on staff!  My nail designer had spent about 9 months in Australia and spoke perfect English.  We talked about life in Seoul, workouts, and different restaurants.  She asked me about style and shape every step of the way.  She made sure my sensitive skin was comfortable.  The took my busted cuticles and made them soft.  She took my claw-like talons and gave my tips a much daintier look.  This definitely wasn’t an express manicure, however.  I expected to be in the chair for about 45 minutes.  I left after about 2 hours!

The Nail Bar Korea: Price

This is where I was actually a little shocked.  I had been speaking with my nail designer on KakaoTalk the day before our appointments.  She sent me their menus and I expected to pay about KRW 50,000 for my manicure.  My friend was told that if she wanted a 3rd colour it would cost an extra KRW 10,000 so she opted just for 2 colours (a pale pink with one nail on each hand in a sparkly colour).  My nail design included 2 colours and my technician didn’t mention anything about extra costs (for having a design nor for having matte nails).  I anticipated there would be a bit of a top up, but since she didn’t say anything I was a little sticker-shocked when it came to paying our tabs.  My friend’s pretty pink came to KRW 50,000 (we were told there was a cash discount – nope).  Mine came to a whopping KRW 80,000.  That’s a pretty penny on a teacher’s salary.  I couldn’t believe she didn’t mention there would be a KRW 30,000 increase on what I had been quoted.  Make SURE to be clear when discussing your style so that you’re not forking over 40% more than expected…

Contact: The Nail Bar Korea

Make appointments over the phone or via KakaoTalk!

Phone: 02-7948549 (Gyeongnidan) // 010-650-28549 (Hannam)

카카오톡 // KakaoTalk: thenailbar

Facebook: www.facebook.com/thenailbarkorea

Getting to The Nail Bar Korea (Hannam location)

Gyeongnidan Location: 경리단길 서울 이태원동 658 번지 1층 ☎ 02-7948549

Hannam Location: 한남동이태원로55나길 6/ITAEWON-RO 55NA GIL 6  📲 010-650-28549

 

Break-Up Don'ts and Dating Do's - Expat Dating Diaries That Girl Cartier

Break-Up Do’s and Dating Don’ts – Expat Dating Diaries

Expat Dating Don’ts and Break-Up Do’s

Co-P and I started having the inevitable (inevitable because he’s leaving Korea, not because he’s a cheater) break-up talk.  It would have been fine had it not been in Haneda airport 6 hours before our flight.  A few days later our fast, serious, fleeting, expat dating romance was over.  Little did I know then, he was already seeing (and sleeping with) someone else.  The confidence I had in our direct, communicative relationship was an absolute lie, and I feel pretty stupid having trusted him.  Because of the exciting, dramatic, and rocky way our relationship began, I felt like most of the time we were playing relationship chicken.  I had several trips lined up before meeting him.  He said he wanted to come, and without too many jokes or dares he booked flights.  I should have taken my own advice…

Because of the dramatic way our relationship began, I felt like we were playing relationship chicken. I should have taken my expat dating advice! girl woman barbell weights muscles strength training athlete crossfit health fitness exercise working out people
Photographer: Alexandre Vanier

Looking back on our relationship (as shortlived as it was) I have a number of thoughts and feelings.  We are completely different people with a few key common interests (fitness, food, and expat dating, it seems).  Ultimately, we weren’t compatible romantically or with our timing.  He tried to limit me to 2 tourist attractions per day on our travels.  He wanted a 10 PM bedtime.  I wanted to soak up everything (including the nightlife) in a new city.  He followed the rules.  I wanted to renegotiate them.  There were so many times when I felt I couldn’t be as wild and outlandish as I wanted to be.  In some respects, that’s a really good thing.  Co-P pushed me to be the healthiest and strongest person physically I could be.  I was well-rested, too.  Ultimately, I got bored.  I think he did, too.

Because of the dramatic way our relationship began, I felt like we were playing relationship chicken. I should have taken my expat dating advice! airplane travel adventure plane people vacation trip transportation vehicle helicopter
Photographer: Inge Wallumrod

As much as I’m content with my life without him as my boyfriend, there are still moments that give me pause.  I miss having him as the friend I thought he was.  There are a lot of lessons that can be learned from every relationship, and expat dating is no different.  Take a look and see what you can extrapolate from every interaction.  Here’s what I’ve learned…

 

Because of the dramatic way our relationship began, I felt like we were playing relationship chicken. I should have taken my expat dating advice! people man woman couple dating talking romance candle lighting lights bokeh
Photographer: Austin Call

Expat Dating Don’ts

  • Don’t have your first few dates at favourite spots in your neighbourhood.  You’ll hate yourself going back to a memory you made together there every time you pass them.
  • Don’t invest yourself too much in the beginning…or really ever.  It’s important to keep a balance and your own social life.  Don’t be one of those people who gives up on your single friends when you’re coupled up.
  • Don’t ignore the majority of your friends saying bad things about him.  Especially don’t alienate them in favour of the ones who speak kindly.
  • Don’t ignore his ex gfs if they reach out to you.  There’s a reason they sound crazy.  That reason is probably that he hurt them something fierce.
  • Don’t let things move too quickly.  If he’s asking you to be exclusive on the third day you’ve met, maybe there’s another issue.  Pump the breaks if things are heating up a little faster than anticipated.  It might be exciting to jump into a new relationship, but you also might be left with the feeling that you’re waiting for the other shoe to drop.  He might have self-esteem issues, be self-indulgent, or just want to stir up drama.  Co-P posted about his new girlfriend the day before a trip we planned together.  (Super nice way to let me know you cheated, by the way…).  Expat dating is tough!
  • Don’t get hung up on past heartaches.  There’s a reason he’s not the one with you on this date!  Focus on this new person who wants to spend time getting to know you!
Because of the dramatic way our relationship began, I felt like we were playing relationship chicken. I should have taken my expat dating advice! people girl woman couple clothing hand touch
Photographer: Christiana Rivers

Expat Dating: Break-Up Do’s

  • Do let yourself have a mourning period.  Maybe you haven’t lost the love of your life, but you’re losing out on someone who has made an impact on it.  You’ll be ready when you’re ready.
  • Do:  It doesn’t matter if your mourning period is short.  If you are ready to get back out there then do it!
  • Do: Say YES.  If you get an interesting invitation then say yes!  Surprise yourself with new hobbies and activities.
  • Do: Meet new people!  It doesn’t matter if you want to get out on the dating scene right away or not, new people = new perspectives.  Isn’t learning what we’re born to do?
  • Do: Widen your net.  Meet people (new friends and prospects) you might not normally go for.  Everyone thinks they have a “type”.  If yours hasn’t been working for you, try something else!  Whether you’re an expat dating or just meeting new pals, there are plenty of us in a concentrated environment.  Go forth an experience new things!
  • Do: Look out for #1.  Take care of yourself first.  Don’t overextend yourself for someone who won’t go out of his or her way for you.
Because of the dramatic way our relationship began, I felt like we were playing relationship chicken. I should have taken my expat dating advice! sea ocean water waves nature horizon sky sunset sunlight sunrise sunshine people couple love man woman hug smile happy
Photographer: Christiana Rivers

I’m not looking for the stars and the moon in another human.  I’m looking for a travel companion, good conversationalist, work-out buddy, party pal, and all around life partner.  I’m looking for someone who won’t deliberately hurt me (or put me at risk) because he’s started to stray.  Neptune has 13 moons.  Uranus has 27 (and they’re outta this world, girlfriend).  Our very own galaxy is full of stars and moons.  If you’re an expat in Korea like me, you’ve likely circled the globe at least once or twice.  He (or she) is out there, but you’ve gotta make it through the Star Wars first.

Sprout Seoul Menu Review Day 3

Food Review of Natural Healthy Vegan Food Subscription Service Sprout Seoul in Korea

Did you miss Day 1 of my Sprout Seoul Vegan Food in Korea Menu Review?  Click here to check it out!  Find Day 2 of my Sprout Seoul Vegan Food in Korea Menu HERE!  

Sprout Seoul: Natural Healthy Whole Food Service Korea

Day 3 of my Sprout Seoul adventures I was starting to get really full, really quickly.  My energy levels have been very high, however!  I haven’t felt like I needed or wanted coffee, my sweet tooth dialed down, and I’ve been warming up with a 3 km jog.  The biggest thing I’ve realized about food subscription services through Sprout is that these are all recipes I would probably make myself.  The problem is that I would have to make a serious batch of each dish.  It would be expensive to acquire all of the herbs, spices, vegetables, and legumes I’d have to buy in bulk.  I’d either get tired of them or they would spoil.  It’s really easy to grab meals from Sprout Seoul Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and then save any remaining meals and snacks (or desserts) from a 5 day plan for lunches and dinners Thursday – Sunday.  I’m pretty social and like to go out for food, so Sprout Seoul would keep me in check for the majority of the week.  It would also allow me to be healthy (and a lazy cook) the rest of the week!  Take the processed out of your progress and give Sprout Seoul a try.

 

Matcha Green Tea Chia Seed Pudding Food Review of Natural Healthy Vegan Food Subscription Service Sprout Seoul in Korea

Matcha Green Tea Chia Seed Pudding

I’m surprised I left this one until the end of my first week and 3-day order.  The flavour of the matcha was light (as the chocolate had been), but this breakfast was simpler than the others.  I think I actually may have liked it the best!  Even though it was probably a lot more artificial than the raspberry, it tasted more organic and simple.  I would order this for breakfast again.  Next time I’ll split up my breakfasts or trade some in for snacks or desserts (did you know Sprout allows that?).

Chipotle Lime Black Bean and Vegetable Stew Food Review of Natural Healthy Vegan Food Subscription Service Sprout Seoul in Korea

Chipotle Lime Black Bean and Vegetable Stew

This meal had a definite kick to it I wasn’t expecting!  I LOVE spicy food, so this was a win for me.  I could see how it would be a little surprising for others who might not be totally in love with the heat.  There were lots of hearty vegetables and beans in this meal.  I was worried I would be hungry just having soup for lunch, but I was pretty full from my daily chia seed ritual and made it through the day with ease.

Middle Eastern Summer Salad Food Review of Natural Healthy Vegan Food Subscription Service Sprout Seoul in Korea

Middle Eastern Summer Salad

I’m a big fan of this summer salad!  I love the use of cous cous (the food so nice they named it twice!).  This was plenty garlicky.  Again, I would have preferred some more greens, but the cherry (grape?) tomatoes brightened up the mix really nicely.  Sprout Seoul doesn’t skimp on flavour, so make sure to have flossers, a toothbrush, and toothpaste at the ready after this one!

Falafel Mix Food Review of Natural Healthy Vegan Food Subscription Service Sprout Seoul in Korea

Falafel Mix

I totally messed this one up.  Take the mixture and roll it into little balls.  Then, fry them in 2 tablespoons of coconut oil.  Let’s be real – I haven’t had coconut oil since Busan.  I rarely keep butter or olive oil at home because I just don’t think it tastes very good in Seoul.  This was a total fail that was my fault.  If you’re the sort of person who wants a grab and go, this snack is definitely not for you.  I tried to cook them, but my stove is ghetto AF.  The burner was way too hot even on low and these bad boys just did not turn out well.

 

Sprout Seoul Vegan Menu Food Review : Natural Healthy Whole Food Service Korea

Want to know exactly what I ate?  Stay tuned for more links to diary entries and reviews of each Sprout Seoul dish I ordered!  Thanks to Sprout Natural Healthy Whole Food Service for keeping The Toronto Seoulcialite fit, nourished, and healthy!  This article is in partnership.  All reviews are honest and opinions are my own.

Food Review of Natural Healthy Vegan Food Subscription Service Sprout Seoul in Korea

Be sure to pin this on Pinterest and mention *That Girl Cartier* when you order from Sprout Seoul to get a free snack!

Want to learn about Sprout Seoul as a whole?  Visit my rundown on details like directions and how to order on The Toronto Seoulcialite.

Day 2: Sprout Seoul Food Vegan Menu Review

Seoul Vegan Food Menu Review Sprout Seoul Natural Healthy Whole Food Service That Girl Cartier Korea Day 2

Be sure to pin this on Pinterest and mention *That Girl Cartier* when you order from Sprout Seoul to get a free snack!

Did you miss Day 1 of my Sprout Seoul Vegan Food in Korea Menu Review?  Click here to check it out!  

Want to learn about Sprout Seoul as a whole?  Visit my rundown on details like directions and how to order on The Toronto Seoulcialite.

Seoul Seoul Vegan Food Review: Raspberry & Cream Chia Seed Pudding Sprout Seoul Natural Healthy Whole Food Service Toronto Seoulcialite Korea

Raspberry & Cream Chia Seed Pudding

I don’t love chia seeds, but I know they’re good for me.  Chia means “strength” in Mayan language.  Aren’t they super high in calories (yes, they are: 100g = 468 calories)? I’m eating about a cup of these EACH MORNING.  They have a bit of the same mouth feeling as the jelly taste of bubble tea balls, just tiny.  I’m gunna need to floss after every meal!  I guess I’m not much of a sweet person in the morning.  I like the raspberry flavour, but chia pudding just isn’t as satisfying as eggs.  I’m getting very full by eating it super slowly, though.

According to DrAxe.Com,  chia seeds have plenty of benefits:

  • Dietary fiber (11g – 42% recommended daily value)
  • Protein (4.4g – 9% RDV)
  • Omega-3 fatty acids (4915 mg)
  • Omega-6 fatty acids (1620 mg)
  • Calcium (77 mg – 18% RDV)
  • Copper (0.1 mg – 3% RDV)
  • Phosphorus (265 mg – 27% RDV)
  • Potassium (44.8 mg – 1% RDV)
  • Zinc (1.0 mg – 7% RDV)

“Chia also contains essential fatty acids alpha-linolenic and linoleic acid, mucin, strontium, Vitamins A, B, E, and D, and minerals including sulphur, iron, iodine,  magnesium, manganese, niacin, thiamine, and they are a rich source of anti-oxidants.”

Sprout Seoul Vegan Menu Food Review Gyro Bowl Millet, Greek spiced sauteed chickpeas, purple onions, and fresh mixed greens and tomatoes with tzatziki sauce on the side.

Gyro Bowl

Millet, Greek spiced sauteed chickpeas, purple onions, and fresh mixed greens and tomatoes with tzatziki sauce on the side.

This is loaded with the greens I’ve been craving!  Only a few chickpeas, but with that cous cous, the tomato and onion I’m getting a real Mediterranean vibe.  Again, I thought I’d need to eat my snack with lunch, but I’m getting really full!  Love the dill cucumber dressing.  Definitely want this recipe!
Sprout Seoul Vegan Menu Food Review :  Texas Caviar (Sweet corn and black eyed peas)

 Texas Caviar

(Sweet corn and black eyed peas)

This snack had tons of black eyed peas and the sharp, tangy pico de gallo I crave!   A little watery, which I normally wouldn’t like. but the broth is packed with flavour.  I’ve noticed that with all the vegetables and legumes (rather than meat) my tastebuds are constantly exploding.  Is that the absence of meat or processed items?  Are there just way more fresh ingredients in Sprout Seoul’s food than I’m used to using when cooking?

Sprout Seoul Vegan Menu Food Review Singapore Noodles (sweet potato glass noodles, bok choy, carrots, bean sprouts, onions stir fried in a spicy soy sauce) Singapore Noodles

(Sweet potato glass noodles, bok choy, carrots, bean sprouts, onions stir fried in a spicy soy sauce)

The sweet potato noodles were thin noodles lots of fresh shredded carrot. It had a very tangy dressing, which I didn’t find too spicy.  While very filling, it was pretty addictive!  I find I’ve been eating small meals more frequently since I can’t finish one Sprout Seoul meal in one sitting.

Sprout Seoul Vegan Menu Food Review : Natural Healthy Whole Food Service Korea

Want to know exactly what I ate?  Stay tuned for more links to diary entries and reviews of each Sprout Seoul dish I ordered!  Thanks to Sprout Natural Healthy Whole Food Service for keeping The Toronto Seoulcialite fit, nourished, and healthy!  While this article has been written in partnership, all reviews are honest and opinions are my own.

Britney Spears in Seoul Korea

Britney in my Seoul – Oops, I did it again…

Britney Spears in Seoul, South Korea

Saturday June 10th Britney Spears played a show in Korea.  She was actually in Tokyo when I went with Co-P, but we didn’t go to the show.  We actually began the break up process at Haneda Airport, but that’s a story for another time.  Oops…I did it again.  Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d see her live, and I certainly didn’t think it’d be in Korea of all places!  Even cooler?  With G Dragon playing a show and Ultra Music Festival this weekend we got our KRW 99,000 tickets (just over $100 Canadian) upgraded TWICE.  I was sent to 3 different windows and had to wait a long time while they got their act together, but I walked away with VVIP tickets which had a value closer to $400 Canadian…each!  I got all gussied up with fabulous fellow blogger “A Fat Girl’s Food Guide“.  We had all kinds of laughs I really needed outside the venue, and went inside just before the show.

Britney Spears in Seoul Korea

Circus

There was no opening act.  Britney got straight into it and didn’t stop for an hour and a half.  She was strictly business, purely professional, and an enchanting entertainer.  The fan favourites were all a blur, fading into one another in a medley that got me in the zone!  Last night was a reminder that if Britney can make it through 2007, I can make it through the day, too.  When you breakdown you can go further into the madness or take the opportunity to rebuild.  There’s a blessing and a beauty in the breakdown.  Others may have torn you down, but only you can truly rebuild from the wreckage.

Fat Girl Food Guide Toronto Seoulcialite That Girl Cartier Britney Spears Seoul Korea

Toxic

The past year has not exactly been my easiest.  I came to Korea to give myself a break from a stressful job and a toxic work environment.  After a healthy, comfortable, calm year in Busan, I decided to take on the capital city: Seoul.  I was right back in a difficult work environment with longer hours and less time to dedicate to fitness and finding friends.  Sprinkle in a couple of dating disasters and Itaewon drama, and voila!  You’ve got yourself a pretty shit sundae.  It’s getting tougher and tougher to pick myself up.  I truly believe that you should take as many lessons as you can from a negative situation.  Reflecting on our actions, reactions, and the ones from the people around us is crucial to personal development.  While I often feel like I take one step forward and 3 steps back, I want to move forward and enter my 30’s with joy and energy.

Fat Girl Food Guide Toronto Seoulcialite That Girl Cartier Britney Spears Seoul Korea

Work, B*tch

On Mondays I aim to ease into the week.  I get to work with the youngest kids on Mondays.  While conversation is tougher, the cuddles tend to be plentiful.  My gym doesn’t open until 8 AM on Mondays, so I take it easy.  I talk to my parents on Skype every Monday and always look forward to our weekly ritual.  I’ve partnered with Sprout Seoul (Natural Healthy Whole Food Service in Korea), so I skipped out on my weekly meal prep in favour of flavour.  I’ll have breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a snack or dessert free of over-processed ingredients, chemicals and additives.  I’ll be sharing pictures and honest thoughts on the menu here daily, too.  Last time I ordered from Sprout I was down 3 kg within days.  I’m thrilled to be on the 5 day plan.  If you order from Sprout Seoul, make sure to mention The Toronto Seoulcialite or That Girl Cartier to get a free snack!

…One More Time

I’ve read that we should start now rather than waiting for a special occasions. I say, take what you can get.  New Year’s Eve, a birthday, a new job, a break-up or even a Monday is an opportunity.  I’ve got a recent break-up, a birthday on the horizon (August 6th if you’re keeping track), and the Monday trap tomorrow.  I want to take these opportunities as spring boards to a better me.  As cheesy as it all sounds, a fresh start is exactly what I think I need.  With a new gym membership, Sprout Seoul, a little Restylane c/o Eunogo, some rad new friends, the love of more than a couple drag queens, and Britney in my Seoul, I’m Stronger.  Now get to work, b*tch!

Fat Girl Food Guide Toronto Seoulcialite That Girl Cartier Britney Spears Seoul Korea

 

Whoo Spa dominates the VVIP service (K-Pop/ K-Drama Stars) space in Korea as they use the latest technology and have an exclusive, tucked away location...

Eastasy: Whoo Spa & O Hui Skincare

Whoo Spa dominates the VVIP service (K-Pop/ K-Drama Stars) space in Korea as they use the latest technology and have an exclusive, tucked away location...My experience at Whoo Spa O Hui Sinsa Seoul via Eastacy ICE therapy, refresh care, aromatherapy, massage, and facial

I was recently invited to Whoo Spa in ritzy Sinsa right across the street from Garosugil by a company called Eastasy.  They partner with brands and experiences across Asia and offer massive discounts.  After a whirlwind weekend in Taipei, I was definitely due for a massage.  The experience I had at Whoo Spa was very thorough, as is my breakdown!  Leave any questions in the comments and I’ll get back to you shortly…

My "after" picture from my experience at Whoo Spa with Eastasy
Fresh-faced with just a little mascara and lip balm the day after my Refresh Care experience at Whoo Spa in Sinsa (Seoul, Korea) via Eastasy.

Whoo Spa Atmosphere

Whoo Spa (formerly O Hui Spa) in Sinsa dominates the VVIP spa service space in Korea.  They are very popular because they use the most up to date technology to stay current for their clients.  They have a variety of K-Pop Stars and famous American and Korean actors (Kim Tae-Hee and Shin Min-A use O Hui) who visit due to the great service and tucked away location.  They also sell a vast array of high-quality, exceptional skincare products made from South Korean natural medicinal herbs, from luxurious brands such as O HUI, Whoo, and SU:M 37Clients get 25% off products the same day as their service.  Make sure to check out Eastasy for a wicked deal on packages!

The Whoo Spa Treatments

I opted for the Aroma Resfresh Care package (100 minutes).  This package includes a basic facial accompanied by an aromatherapy body massage.  The facial was anything but basic!  It started with a soft, peeling cleansing.  Then, was followed by an exfoliating, deep cleansing, bubbling facial.  I got a face slimming massage, too, which included a decolletage massage.

Upgraded

I was upgraded to the ICE care, which is good for brightening and moisturizing.  This is very similar to a Vitamin C procedure I’ve had previously.  They also offer hot care (for anti-aging), pore tightening, and aqua peeling (generally for patients with acne).  Once my ICE treatment was over, a facial ampoule and an essence was applied, then secured with a molding facial mask pack.  After that, there was revitalizing care before I went on my way.  My back and shoulders were massaged using products from the Gongjinhyang line.  It containes ingredients such as ginseng and cordyceps (a popular fungus used in ancient Chinese medicine).  Throughout the majority of the facial, they places electronic leg and foot boots on and I was treated to a full body experience for the entire two hours.

Personal Preferences

Usually I’m pretty tense when I go for a massage.  I work out quite a bit and lift heavy weights (and all kinds of children daily!).  When I was in Thailand I found that when I asked for medium pressure it just wasn’t enough to get the knots out.  On my questionnaire I still put medium, but the pressure was a lot stronger than I expected.  My masseuse was not shy at all, and whenever she neared my lower back or decolletage I could tell there was certainly no modesty in this treatment.  I would have preferred not to be on a plastic sheet, but I totally understand their hygenic needs.

Whoo Spa dominates the VVIP service (K-Pop/ K-Drama Stars) space in Korea as they use the latest technology and have an exclusive, tucked away location...

Whoo Spa Seoul Massage

There were several areas of my body that could have used very strong pressure: my calves, ankles, and lower back.  I felt like she kind of skimmed those areas focusing primarily on the upper back, middle back, shoulders, and traps.  They needed a lot of attention, but I was much more sensitive in those areas.  I also got a hand massage.  I didn’t realise that I needed one, but it was heaven!

Whoo Spa Seoul Aromatherapy

The aromatherapy aspect of the treatment is not what I expected, and I was glad.  Usually the scents are fairly strong and irritate my allergies.  The earthy, yet still sweet smells were pretty mild.  I got whiffs of honey, lemon, and oaky notes.  If you’ve read my Vineworks Korea article you’ll notice my nose isn’t always spot on, but these pleasant fragrances were neither sickly sweet, nor heavy on the Chinese medicine.  I would likely use them at home, too.

My masseuse used plenty of warm towels (bordering on hot) at the beginning and end of the treatment.  I always want to roll around in warm laundry fresh out of the dryer (I miss dryers living in Korea!) so they felt amazing.  They were also the perfect way to get any remaining oils off before changing and heading home.

 

Whoo (后) SPA (후(后)스파)

Whoo Spa Seoul Facial

My facial was longer than I expected because of the facial massage and surprise upgrade (thank you!).  In terms of the steps, they were pretty similar to what I’ve experienced in the past.  My bubbling, cleansing facial was very effective, however it wasn’t as itchy as I normally find they can be.  I normally have to stay very still or risk 15 minutes of agony wanting to scratch my face.  This was fine.  The ICE facial was a lot colder than I expected.  They placed a cream on my face.  They then pressed a flat, cold, metal plate in circular motions across my whole face.  At some points I questioned the necessity of the low temperature.  They told me this particular one was good for moisture.  They recommended it to me as apparently my skin is quite dry and sensitive.

Image result for su:m37 white award sheet mask

Whoo Spa Aftercare

After my 2 hour treatment whizzed by (I totally fell asleep throughout the molding facial), I was taken to a reception area where tea and a small pastry was waiting for me.  The Whoo Spa manager explained that it was very important to rehydrate the skin within a couple of days.  She presented me with 2 samples of Su:m37 ampoule, and a sheet mask from their “white awards” brightening series.

Directions to Whoo Spa (formerly O Hui Spa)

The Spa itself is tucked away across from Hak-dong Park.  It took me a little while to find, so allow yourself plenty of time if you’re not taking a taxi.  They’re open 10:00am-10:00pm, Monday to Sunday.

From Sinsa Station (Seoul Subway Line 3)

Take Exit 1.  Walk straight and turn right before you reach Yeongdong Tourist Hotel.
Continue walking and look for the spa on your left.

From Hak-dong Station (Seoul Subway Line 7) 

Take Exit 6 Walk straight and turn right on the second street.
Continue swalking straight and you’ll find the spa on your right-hand side.

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Big thanks to Eastasy for inviting me to relax my body and revive my skin at Whoo Spa in Sinsa, Seoul, Korea.  This article is in partnership with Eastasy, but all opinions shared with regards to Whoo Spa are my own.  Explore Asia through Eastasy: click here for all kinds of deals on experiences and accomodations in Korea and beyond!

Expat Dating Diaries: The Eternal Expat

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Photographer: Frank McKenna

The Eternal Expat

The Eternal Expat is one of the most likely men you’ll meet from my list of the 7 Worst Guys an Expat Can Date.  Flitting from city to city and country to country “sampling the local fare”, this guy has found a good life.  Probably considered to be generically attractive from a North American perspective, he’s got an even more charming personality.  Somewhere down the line he was likely a varsity athlete, fraternity brother, or both.  He’s got natural game and women everywhere seem to swoon.  He’s never settling down in one place, and for him you’ll never been enough.  He might make a grand gesture.  He might make it seem like he’d have you join his nomadic lifestyle and travel the world together (#travelcouple, #instaromance, the whole nine yards).  When it comes down to the actual plan, he’s a lone wolf and you’re just dead weight.

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Photographer: Denis Gavrilenco

New Notches

The main goal of the Eternal Expat is to carve as many notches on his bedpost as is humanly possible.  He loves to have the girlfriend experience.  He loves it so much that he’s collecting as many as he can manage and in as many countries as his passport will allow.  Let’s be clear: this guy does not want a girlfriend.  He wants adventure between the sheets and on the open road.  He has 1 priority, and darling as lovely as you are, it’s never going to be you alone.  Tucked between expensive dinners out, museum trips, and spa experiences, the eternal expat must be a master scheduler.  He can juggle multiple languages and even more women.  Remember marinated cherries? He was juggling THREE of my friends all at once and one more he brought on vacation!  I wonder just how many other rolodex members he had on rotation…

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Photographer: Leeroy

Red Flags

The Eternal Expat won’t ever let you see his phone because he’s sending the same messages to you and half a dozen other girls.  He will make it seem like he wants to date you exclusively right off the bat.  He will tell you how amazing and beautiful you are.  Far too early for heartwarming discussion, he’ll tell you straight up how much he likes you.  He’ll tell you exactly what he thinks you want to hear in an effort to avoid having “the talk.  Try to see through the bullshit.  He probably does like you a lot.  I bet you are beautiful and amazing, too.  Just take it all with a grain of salt since all these lovely things roll off his tongue easily.

Expat Dating Diaries The Eternal Expat That Girl Cartier wood plank water ocean sea
Photographer: Samuel Zeller

Long Gone Silver: Emotional Pirate and Booty Chaser

If you encounter someone you think might be an “eternal expat” communicate your expectations and desires immediately.  Don’t let yourself get surprised or hurt down the line thinking you’re in an exclusive relationship when he’s on a completely different page.  If he’s not where you are, move on.  You won’t change him.  Why would you want to waste your time trying?  It’s unlikely he’ll wake up one morning and realize what an idiot he’s been and what a loss you are.  If he does, it won’t happen until he’s Long Gone Silver and you’ve moved the eff on.  If all you want is a good time then that’s totally fine, too.  Be adults and talk about the kind of relationship you want to have.  He’s got plenty of experience and you’ll hopefully be more than satisfied.  If you want emotional satisfaction, however, don’t walk that plank.

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Have you encountered any Eternal Expats throughout your travels?  Leave me your story in the comments!

 

Expat Dating Diaries: The Local – Chasing the White Horse in Korea

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Photographer: Elijah Hail

The Term:

Riding the White Horse in Korea

I read every Korean blog Google populated in the first few pages and happened upon the concept of “riding the white horse in Korea”.  What this meant was that there were certain locals in Korea who preferred socializing with foreigners, but only as a novelty.  In less politically correct terms, this typically referred to a Korean man wanting to have sex with an All-American-looking woman.  There are many Koreans (male and female) who do not subscribe to the homogeneous ideologies of this small nation.  There are many Koreans who don’t make fetishes of particular races.  I have several North American friends who are dating or who are married to wonderful Korean men.  This article is part of the 7 Worst Guys an Expat Can Date, and is not about those people.

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Photographer: Trevor Paterson

A Horseless Carriage

In my year in Busan, I met and socialized with a ton of Koreans in our little neighbourhood of Hwamyeong.  On Friday nights we played guitar, a friend from a more central location brought a cajon, and we sang outside the local convenience store while eating instant ramyeon and drinking soju and/or beer.  There was never a time I felt like I was singled out as a caucasian North-American.  We were friends who enjoyed playing music together.  On the other hand, there were plenty of caucasian males who would mess around with anyone they could, but would exclusively date Korean women.  This is the North-American equivalent/opposite of what we’ll call “the local” from this point on.  Seoul was a different dating story…

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Photographer: Alexandre Chambon

The Local

“The local” is chasing the white horse in Korea.  He just wants to screw date someone foreign he can show off to his friends.  As a caucasian woman with blue eyes and blonde hair I’ve found that, more often than not, this type of local’s intentions are pretty transparent.  I don’t believe a significant other should be a status symbol.

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Photographer: Alexandre Chambon

Where (not) to meet The Local

Korean men frequently try to pick up at events called “language exchanges”.  This goes both ways, but I often hear about foreign women who want to improve their Korean skills and are instead propositioned.  Most people who have been here longer than a couple of months will scoff, roll their eyes, and dive into their own personal anecdote about a language exchange situation gone wrong.  They often involve the suggestion they “practice” Korean and English in a DVD Bang (a room with a tv, dvd player, couch, and a box o’ tissues), a love motel, or her apartment (as many Koreans in their 20’s still live with parents).  This is definitely a consideration when thinking about why many foreigners give up on learning Hangeul.  Language exchanges are great places to meet women who are new to Korea.  Guys chasing the white horse in Korea tend to lurk here.

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Photographer: Poodar Chu

Western Status Symbol

You shouldn’t date someone or even befriend someone because you think she’ll impress your friends (or teach them English).  My old school asked me to help a young CEO of a Private Equity firm.  I think he wanted to introduce his employees to someone who looked different to the women with whom they would typically interact.  Meeting these men who couldn’t look me in the eye for the first two meetings was insightful.  I wasn’t introduced for my teaching abilities, but for the way that I looked.  Fortunately, these guys realized that I could discuss the Financial Times and other such publications.  Within a few meetings I was taken more seriously and some of my suggestions for their business were put into place.  I stopped wearing makeup or particularly fashionable attire.  I definitely don’t think I was brought in as a white horse in Korea, but it was pretty close.

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Photographer: Can Anh Khai

Dating Korean Men

I can’t speak from firsthand experience as I haven’t dated a Korean man while living here.  I’ve been asked out on dates, but the way the question was posed didn’t really feel like it was a date.  Dating conventions tend to be quite different from back home, and I just haven’t had the time for the runaround.  I find Korean men to be quite beautiful.  They often dress very well and have their own style.  The #1 sales of cosmetics for men come out of Korea.  While I enjoy getting dolled up, I don’t spend too much time on it.  If my man takes longer to get ready than I do I’ll get antsy and peace out.  Men in Korea tend to be more in touch with what we call their “feminine side”.  I think I’m a bit aggressive and outspoken for them (and the aforementioned North-American counterparts).

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Photographer: Annie Spratt

A friend of mine went on one date with a local Korean guy.  After that one date they were exclusive (from his perspective).  She went along with it even though she was still dating other men.  This is why communication is important.  He would bring her around his friends and show her off, but there was no way he was introducing her to any family members, including his cousin who was his best friend.  He wanted to meet more of her caucasian (only) friends.  This “white horse in Korea” is a woman with some serious sexual prowess.  No matter how she tried to entice him, he couldn’t keep up.  Their relationship ended when she popped into the shower with him to spice things up.  Things didn’t perk up – she never saw an erection from him again.  Guess the white horse in Korea isn’t for everyone.

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Letters from the Ex-Boyfriend: An Expat’s Guide to Man’s 6th Sense

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Photographer: danist soh
Letters from the Ex-Boyfriend: An Expat’s Guide to Man’s 6th Sense

Getting “that message” from an ex both incredibly gratifying and infuriating.  It seems like it’s the new vogue to write an apology letter to your ex-girlfriend.  It’s like it just sits there waiting and waiting for the exact moment she’s over you.  The moment she’s moved on and might just finally be happy, he clicks ‘send’.  Is this man’s 6th sense?  Has Google created a new alert?  Am I the last to know that they’ve created the latest algorithm in social media f*ckery?

Letters from the Ex-Boyfriend: Man's 6th Sense - That Girl Cartier dark night box light letter signage neon
Photographer: Adam Birkett
He Hurt You

In this letter, he finally takes responsibility for all the things he did wrong.  All the times he lied (and the corresponding gaslighting), all the times he perpetuated gender stereotypes, all the times he just wouldn’t listen.  How did he come to the realization that this was the perfect moment to bare it all?  Why is right now the perfect time for him to come to his senses?  How does man’s 6th sense determine the right time to connect?

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Photographer: Wilfred Iven
Creep…Creep…Creepin’

I have no doubt that a recent post encouraging communication between partners is the most recent source for “the apology letter”.  What about the other times, though?  My rebound after H got his friend to message me on Facebook to see if I was going to Busan for an event.  This friend owns a travel company and it was pretty clear that there was no way in hell I was getting on the bus for this sold out trip.  How do these people know that you’re off the market?  Most of these messages come from men with whom I’m no longer even connected through social media.  Even if they are able to look on Facebook or instagram, the messages are sent before there’s any sort of public trail of the relationship.  It’s like how dogs can sniff out fear.  These douche-canoes can sniff out happiness and want to stifle that shit immediately.

Letters from the Ex-Boyfriend: Man's 6th Sense - That Girl Cartier - flower pink petal bloom garden plant nature autumn fall tulip violet love passion intimate lettering
Photographer: Brigitte Tohm
Tell Me Sweet Little Lies

I went out with a military man who was just dying to make the blog.  He was, indeed, a Tinder fail story.  He lied to me about his location for no reason with the full knowledge that Tinder shows you the distance between you both.  We lived pretty close to one another already.  When he said he was out in the bush running drills, he was actually cursing the high cost of a side of guac at Lotte World Mall.  I wouldn’t have cared if he was too busy to hang, but don’t tell me you’re being eaten alive by mosquitoes out in the peninsula.  The night before H came to Korea, I got a lengthy message from MM apologising for it all.  He even told me he had gone deaf in one ear and had nearly lost his job.  We had only been out maybe 3 or 4 times.  He owed me nothing.  Some cosmic force in the universe (or man’s 6th sense) must have whispered that Cartier might be happy so it was the perfect moment to insert his thinly-veiled attempt at roping me back in.

Letters from the Ex: Man's 6th Sense stone wall letters symbols
Photographer: Matthew Wheeler
Hieroglyphics

What does it all mean?  Well, man’s 6th sense seems to hit him like a pile of bricks once he realizes there’s a chance you won’t agree to another shot.  It’s not that he wants you back, he wants you to want him back.  Toxic relationships are less partnership, more power struggle.  He wants to have the upper hand back and he can feel that it’s gone.  The best part?  By this point you really should no longer care.

Letters from the Ex-Boyfriend: Man's 6th Sense - That Girl Cartier clipboards papers text quotes letters wood grain magic
Photographer: Chelsea Francis
Get Creative

Gentleman, what you must realise is that your messages contain several of the same phrases.  When you all write the same thing, it doesn’t sound genuine.  Here are some of the canned phrases in each message I’ve received:

  • “I just want you to be happy.”
  • “You’re an incredible woman.”
  • “You deserve the best in life.”
  • “Even if we don’t get back together, I hope we can at least be friends down the road.”
Letters from the Ex-Boyfriend - Man's 6th Sense - That Girl Cartier - card board letter paper slogan hand green tree plant nature
Photographer: Corinne Kutz
It is well.

It’s lovely for you to admit that you were wrong.  It’s validating to have all those worries and frustrations confirmed as your own f*ck ups.  I’m glad you’ve managed to clear your conscience.  Next time, don’t bother drudging up the past.  The notion that I’ll ever see a travel romance again is ridiculous.  We didn’t work out.  I’ve released your ghost.  It is well.

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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.

That Girl Cartier - Time and time again girls lose their minds over men who choose someone else. How do you get him to commit? This one's simple. bokeh people couple happy kiss man woman smile christmas lights love heart
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.

That Girl Cartier - Time and time again girls lose their minds over men who choose someone else. How do you get him to commit? This one's simple. people girl beauty mobile phone talking communication gadget technology city blur
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.

That Girl Cartier - Time and time again girls lose their minds over men who choose someone else. How do you get him to commit? This one's simple. people man woman couple lovers sweet nature trees grass forest trunks
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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