2017 Best Sheetmask Brands

 Korean Beauty Bliss: 2017 Best Sheetmask in Korea - ThatGirlCartier Seoul Korea Botox Fillers Eunogo MH Clinic Ruby Plastic Surgery MVP Clinic VIP Plastic Surgery Whoo Spa Sinsa Facial
Photo: Robert Evans

My Top 5 Korean Sheetmask Brands

The #1 cheapest and most talked about Korean beauty product is the sheetmask.  You can find them in any Olive Young, Tony Moly, Etude House, Innisfree, The Face Shop, and more.  There seem to be cute new sheetmask options coming out every week!  From Star Wars to Pokemon to Placenta, there’s constantly a new Korean sheetmask gimmick.  Which masks actually work?  I tried a bunch last year, but it wasn’t until I found a brand from a plastic surgery company after an ultrasound hammer treatment that I actually felt a difference.  Check out my go-to brands when I choose from my big bag of K-Beauty sheetmasks!

Review Advanced Anti-Wrinkle Mask Pack G2Cell Genomics Code A Korean Beauty Bliss: 2017 Best Sheetmask in Korea - ThatGirlCartier

G2CELL (Genomics Code GenoHeal.com)

Advanced Anti-Wrinkle Mask Pack ($40 for 5-mask kit)

I was introduced to G2CELL at the Euno.go and Ruby Plastic Surgery event.  This is by far my favourite sheetmask of the bunch.  While the fit isn’t amazing, the results are almost immediate!  I had super glowy skin all afternoon and evening after trying it on a Saturday morning.

G2Cell uses Biomimetic Water (composed of minerals, amino acid, peptide) and milk protein from New Zealand milk phospholipid.  SYN-COLL is used to used to reduce wrinkles and increase firmness through collagen configuration and the promotion of Hyaluronan.  Palmitoyl Tripeptide is also included.  Aquaporin protects skin from moisture loss and improves elasticity.  Carob Extract prevents wrinkle creation and improves skin elasticity. Elderberry Extract acts as an anti-aging, polyphenol ingredient.

  • Phospholipid: Linoleic acids play an important role in the human skin’s own synthesis of Ceramide 1.  This is a a lipid that is important for intact barrier function.  Natural phospholipids contain relatively high amounts of linoleic acids thus resulting in soft, hydrated, and protected skin.
  • Hyaluronan: Hyaluronic acid is a substance that is found naturally in the body. It is found in the highest concentrations in fluids in the eyes and joints. The hyaluronic acid that is used as medicine is extracted from rooster combs or created by bacteria in a lab.
  • Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5 is used in a number of different anti-aging products because it can communicate with skin cells and boost collagen production.  The older your skin gets, the less collagen it produces.

 dr vip white pearl mask VIP Plastic Surgery Korean Beauty Bliss: 2017 Best Sheetmask in Korea - ThatGirlCartier

Dr. VIP Korea (VIP Plastic Surgery)

DR VIP White Pearl Sheetmask 

This sheetmask is super creamy, has plenty of essence, but doesn’t drip!  I love using this sheetmask before bed, especially if I’m about to fall asleep in a mask.  This is a luxurious home sheetmask facial made using the same ingredients you’ll find in a fancy facial treatment at VIP clinic itself in Sinsa!  Each sheetmask is used for different skin types and purposes: moisturizing, brightening, anti-aging, firm, and more.  VIP also has its own line of facial sheetmask called ‘DR VIP’ White Pearl Mask, which is effective in anti-wrinkle and whitening care.

It is a daily care sheetmask (although a little pricy for daily use) that consists of a soft and fresh essence that moisturizes the skin. It consists of ingredients, such as Glutathione, pomegranate extract and persimmon tree leaf extract, which enhance clean and lively skin. In addition, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8 and Noni extract provide healthy and elastic skin.

  • Glutathione: Glutathione is a substance found in every cell in the body, where it acts as an antioxidant to neutralize free radicals and prevent cellular damage. Chemically, glutathione is a simple molecule composed of three protein building blocks or amino acids- cysteine, glutamine and glycine.
  • Acetyl Hexapeptide-8: Acetyl hexapeptide-8 or acetyl hexapeptide-3 is a synthetic anti-wrinkle cosmetics ingredient. It is a peptide which is a fragment of SNAP-25, a substrate of Botulinum toxin (“Botox in a Jar”).
  • Noni: Noni juice is a dietary supplement extracted from the exotic fruit noni, and is commonly marketed as a general health tonic. Manufacturers promote noni for lowering cholesterol, promoting healthy blood sugar levels and for cancer fighting benefits.

Directions:

  • After you wash your face, apply skin toner.
  • Then, wear the mask for around 10 to 20 minutes (depending on the product).
  • After you remove the mask, pat the remaining essence so that it can be absorbed into the skin.
  • Voila, you’ll experience improved skin!
VIP Plastic Surgery Center Seoul, Korea 
For free consultation, please send email at vipps@vipps.kr
www.beauty-korea.com

 

Common Labs

My friends at GlamRecipe have really hooked me up over the past few months through their GlamRecipe StoreFront on Amazon.  Both the Vitamin B & C Honey “Ggultamin (Honey Vitamin)” Real Jel Sheetmasks offer tons of essence and actually feel like they make a difference for my skin.  I love the 2-step process including a finger peeling pad to remove dirt and dead skin.  Even when using a two-step cleansing process (make-up remover and either Banila Clean-It Zero or a foaming facial cleanser), this finger peeling pad always grabs more dirt I’ve not managed to remove.

The sheetmask itself is very wet and full of jelly essence.  Once you remove it from the packaging you’ll have plenty of leftover essence.  I usually put it on my neck, chest, and shoulders for additional hydration.  These masks are great because they hold really securely and you can actually feel the difference in hydration in the morning.  These masks I’ll typically use after a big night out to revitalize my tired skin.  My personal favourite is the Vitamin C for the mild, citrus and honey scent, but find what works for you!

Common Sheetmask Ingredients

Each sheetmask contains both AHA and BHA.   Alpha hydroxy acid products containing lactic acid, tartaric acid, gluconolactone, or glycolic acid are typically applied to sun-damaged and wrinkled skin twice a day. AHAs and BHAs as exfoliants can really change the look and feel of skin for the better!

  • TWO STEP MASK with FINGER PAD FOR MILD PEELING: for the best effect, dead skin cells should be removed before applying any type of sheetmask. The GGULTAMIN Vitamin C Sheetmask is an all-in-one sheetmask containing a finger peeling pad, which effectively removes dead skin cells and any dirt left on your skin. Containing AHA and BHA the sheetmask delivers a mild peeling effect.
  • HONEY AND PROPOLIS: each sheetmask contains 33ml of essence with honey and propolis extracts for intense moisturisation. Honey is one of the best natural ingredients to provide and maintain moisture in your skin. Propolis contains Flavonoid, a natural anti-aging ingredient that helps to protect vitamin destruction.
  • GEL TYPE ESSENCE (33ML): thick jelly texture delivers active ingredients deeply into your skin without drying up. The generous amount of essence allows you to also use it for your face and neck.

Review Common Labs Honey Mask GGULTAMIN (HONEY VITAMIN) B REAL JEL MASK Korean Beauty Bliss: 2017 Best Sheetmask in Korea - ThatGirlCartier

 Honey Mask GGULTAMIN (HONEY VITAMIN) B REAL JEL MASK 10 masks for $ 27 99 

by COMMON LABS

About the product
  • VITAMIN B: it contains Vitamin B5 to help stabilize the skin’s barrier, reducing the amount of water lost through the skin. Applying a provitamin B5 formulation to the skin will increase hydration and improve softness and elasticity for your skin.
  • LYOCELL SHEET: the GGULTAMIN sheetmask uses a natural Lyocell fiber mask that perfectly adheres to your skin. It provides extra softness and effective absorption of essence.

    Common Labs Honey Mask GGULTAMIN (HONEY VITAMIN) C REAL JEL MASK Korean Beauty Bliss: 2017 Best Sheetmask in Korea - ThatGirlCartier

Honey Mask GGULTAMIN (HONEY VITAMIN) C REAL JEL MASK 10 masks for $ 27 99 

by COMMON LABS

About the product
  • VITAMIN C: the sheetmask contains Vitamin C complex to help brighten, boost collagen, and minimize fine lines and wrinkles.
  • CUPRA SHEET : GGULTAMIN sheetmask uses cupra mask that perfectly adheres to your skin with extra softness and effective absorption of essence.

xaivita dr. sheet mask review Korean Beauty Bliss: 2017 Best Sheetmask in Korea - ThatGirlCartier

XAIVITA Dr.

All XAIVITA Dr. sheetmasks have similar promises.  They aim to help “to nourish and improve elasticity on the skin, which is tired from the external environment and” relieving “skin trouble and due to the soft adhesiveness of the sheet, it makes soft and fresh skin.”  Whenever I get a new version of their 3-step sheetmask I’m wary of the strange ingredients.  I suggest you try them laying down as these sheetmasks are super wet and drippy. Your skin will feel intensely hydrated almost immediately, so make sure to use this brand before bed so you can let the essence really get to work without obstacles like makeup!

Directions:

  1. Ampoule: Using the toner after washing, take proper amount of the content and evenly put on whole face.
    Lightly touch the face so that the content can be absorbed.
  2. Mask: After cleansing, take out the sheet and apply it over your face.  Remove the sheet after 10-20 minutes.
  3. Cream: After the Mask, spread uniformly along skin’s texture and massage gently.
 XAIVITA Dr. Gold Spider Anti-Wrinkle Cellulose Mask Review Korean Beauty Bliss: 2017 Best Sheetmask in Korea - ThatGirlCartier
Gold Spider Anti-Wrinkle Cellulose Sheetmask
Fine Dust Protector-Soothing and Moisturizing.  8.88% Gold Spider secretion filtrate helps to nourish and improve elasticity on the skin, which can become tired from the external environment.
xaivita dr. sheet mask Horse Oil Premium Cellulose Mask Review Korean Beauty Bliss: 2017 Best Sheetmask in Korea - ThatGirlCartier
Horse Oil Premium Cellulose Mask
Fine Dust Protector-Moisturizing and Nutrition Supplying Horse oil.  Premium secretion filtrate helps to nourish and improve elasticity on the skin, which is tired from the external environment.  It relieves skin trouble and due to the soft adhesiveness of the sheet, it makes soft and fresh skin.

Wish Formula Review Blackhead & BlackMask Home Spa Kit Korean Beauty Bliss: 2017 Best Sheetmask in Korea - ThatGirlCartier

WISH FORMULA

BLACKHEAD & BLACKMASK HOME SPA KIT (Black Sheet, Pore Tightening Serum & Black Stick) 10 kits for $ 9 99 

by WISH FORMULA
The blackhead sheetmask really does bring dirt and grime (blackheads and sebum) to the surface.  I haven’t mastered the black stick quite yet, so I’ve been using a peel away mask instead.  After that, I use the pore tightening serum which soothes skin quite well.  The next day I find my sensitive skin on and around my nose is incredibly soft and the pores appear much smaller!
About the product
  • BLACKHEAD REMOVAL KIT: a complete kit including a black sheet, pore tightening serum, and black stick work to gently take care of blackheads and pores.
  • 9 NATURAL EXTRACTS: ingredients from lemon balm, sage, witch hazel, mistletoe, peppermint, jack burdock, needle juniper, soapwort, and St. John’s wort work effectively to dissolve blackheads and sebum.
  • PORE TIGHTENING SERUM: consists of patented active ingredients to tighten pores and soothe skin, resulting in a silky smooth texture.

Korean Beauty Bliss: 2017 Best Sheetmask in Korea - ThatGirlCartier spa white towels tiles bench yellow rubber duck massage

Go ahead, set up the bubble bath and pour yourself a glass of wine.  These awesome Korean sheetmask options will have your skin silky smooth in no time!  What are your favourite K-Beauty quick picks?  Leave them in the comments so I can give them a try!  While some items on this list were gifts from friends, former clients, and current partners, all reviews are honest and opinions are my own.  Where to buy links are in pink however none of them are affiliate links.

Accidental Korean Beauty Blogger // Seoul Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery

Accidental Korean Beauty Blogger Seoul Korea That Girl Cartier bathroom sink faucet tap water backsplash tiles soap toothpaste
Photographer: Dan Watson

I’ve always been a bit of a wash n’ wear kind of girl.  The kind of girl who used to take her makeup off with just soap and water.  I tried a day and night moisturizing combo back in 3rd year university.  The cost-benefit analysis of it all became too much.  In Canada, my options were high-end department store brands or questionable drug store brands.  Why buy a daily AND a nightly moisturizer when they ultimately did the same thing, right?  By the time I was 25, the only time I took care of my skin was when I was gifted product at a fashion show or marketing event.  Before moving to Seoul, I think I had used a sheet mask once or twice in my life – including the time I had spent in Busan, South Korea!  I definitely didn’t think I’d ever brand myself as a Korean Beauty Blogger.

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The Insta – Korean Beauty Blogger

Nobody seems to have the time to do anything.  I feel like I’m busier than I’ve ever been in my life!  Everything has to be fast and direct, which makes the new trend of “Insta-blogging” pretty simple and successful.  I own and operate @TorontoSeoulcialite & TorontoSeoulcialite.com, but ThatGirlCartier was just my personal instagram until I bought this domain in December 2016.  I always shared my life in Korea, but wanted to differentiate the two accounts further.  An old friend suggested I become a Korean Beauty Blogger even though I hadn’t a clue about pH levels, ingredients, or benefits.  Usually, sharing favourite products through insta-stories and snap chat stories is far more successful than posting a photo.  Adding short reviews to my captions was, however, a great way to explore writing about Korean Beauty products.  Cosmetics and Skin Care are more accessible in Korea than your next cup of coffee.  The K-Beauty industry has a ton of opportunity, and competition.

Seoul Korea Botox Fillers Eunogo MH Clinic Ruby Plastic Surgery MVP Clinic VIP Plastic Surgery Whoo Spa Sinsa Facial
Photo @ Ruby Plastic Surgery c/o @SkinfullofSeoul

The Accidental Korean Beauty Blogger Does Get Botox

Just over a year ago I braved needles for botox.  Since then, I’ve managed the upkeep with significantly fewer shots (maybe 3 per eye?) at 6 or 7 month intervals.  This means I’ve now had botox to reduce the significance of my crows’ feet three times.  The second time I went, my doctor used a much, much smaller needle.  I was prepared for agony, but there was actually hardly any pain.  This past Thursday, my friends at Eunogo invited me to an information session and demonstration of fillers and botox as part of their Korean Beauty Blogger team.  Before coming to Korea, I thought botox and fillers were just for frozen-faced Real Housewives.  Now that I’ve had botox, I realize starting at almost 29 was pretty much the perfect time to prevent deeper creases.  Was I judgmental at first?  Sure.  Having had botox doesn’t make a significant difference to my appearance, but it sure helps boost my confidence!

Seoul Korea Botox Fillers Eunogo MH Clinic Ruby Plastic Surgery MVP Clinic VIP Plastic Surgery Whoo Spa Sinsa Facial
Photo: Robert Evans

What Other Treatments?

As an accidental Korean Beauty Blogger, I always get asked what treatments I’ve had done and what I would recommend.  I am always honest about my experiences and would never recommend you go to a clinic just because they’ve invited me to try their services.  The links that follow each have a partnership disclosure.  I have not been paid for reviews.  If you have any questions about any of the clinics I encourage you to leave a comment, contact me on Facebook, or shoot me an email (thetorontoseoulcialite@gmail.com)!  I’ve had people in the past tell me they would die before getting a cosmetic enhancement (some by other Korean Beauty Blogger types!).  I’ve had past boyfriends tell me that botox or cosmetic/ plastic surgery is just deception.  I think in some ways it can be, but by getting botox I’m not getting a new face, I’ve simply maintaining the one I already have.  Let’s keep in mind these are the men who told me wearing makeup was a lie.  Please… the next time you see someone with naturally glittery gold eyelids I BEG you to give me a call!  The following treatments have been in partnership.

Seoul Korea Botox Fillers Eunogo MH Clinic Ruby Plastic Surgery MVP Clinic VIP Plastic Surgery Whoo Spa Sinsa Facial
Photo: Robert Evans

Vitamin C Facial – VIP Plastic Surgery Clinic c/o Seoul Cosmetic Surgery

VIP Plastic Surgery has created a proprietary line of skin care items including a sheet mask based on elements of this facial.  The idea of using a cold ultrasound hammer for the facial is to “produce ultrasonic wave to adjust main and collateral channels and regulate blood circulation to flow circularly in order to reach the best status of the facial tissues.”  It combines the effect of ultrasound capillaries with the skill of ancient massage therapy.  “It could enhance immune function in lymphoid tissues so as to achieve vitality and flexibility of facial skin.”  I’m not sure if the cold hammer did anything extra for me, but the various essences, ampoules, and creams involved made my skin feel incredibly soft and smooth!

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Guess who had surprise #botox today? Went in for a general #consultation (halfway expecting them to suggest #lipo) and they were running a bit behind so I got a #free #facial. Then I went in and they said I didn't need any actual #plasticsurgery. The #doctor was surprised I had never had any botox or #fillers before. I was really nervous, so they gave me a teddy bear LOL. The #needles hurt a LOT but it was short and the pain was gone once the needle was removed. There was some bruising and swelling but it's gone down a LOT over the past half hour. Just looking at my #selfie, I'm pretty happy with the results so far. My #crowsfeet I've been so self-conscious about have been reduced dramatically from my perspective. Let's see how I feel in a few hours! I don't feel stiff or like I can't smile or express myself. Can't wait to see how doing #makeup goes over tonight since I've been #makeupfree all day…yes, even in #Apgujeong! #Sinsa #Gangnam #Seoul #seoulplasticsurgeryclinic #skincare #신사 #압구정 #모델 #강남 #외국인 #셀카 #Korean #Koreanstyle #lifeinism #SouthKorea #셀스타그램

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Botox (Crows’ Feet and Forehead) – VIP Plastic Surgery Clinic c/o Seoul Cosmetic Surgery

My first botox experience was a little intense.  They went WAY overboard on my forehead, and I was left with massive bruising and hard bump under one of my eyes.  The second time I went in they used a way smaller needle and only a couple of shots for my crows’ feet.  It was a lot easier and I was in and out quickly.  The deep creases I had beside my eyes are completely gone and I feel like myself again!

IPL Photofacial – VIP Plastic Surgery Clinic c/o Seoul Cosmetic Surgery

I had tried the IPL Photofacial in Toronto and found it hurt quite a bit (read on for a similar experience with MVP Clinic).  At VIP Plastic Surgery, my IPL didn’t hurt at all.  The experience was very different as instead of using a device with a lazer to attack small parts of the dermis, the device felt  was almost like getting your school picture taken.  It didn’t hurt at all!  Click the link to see my results.

That Girl Cartier Lip Fillers Lip Injections Seoul Korea MH Clinic Eunogo 입술필러 전

Lip Fillers – MH Clinic c/o Eunogo

Here are my before and after pictures from my experience at MH Clinic in Cheongdam.  As you can see, my lip fillers weren’t huge, but I did get a defined cupid’s bow and a glossy, puffed up finish.  It was such an easy process with Joy from Eunogo helping me every step of the way from filling out my paperwork to getting me into a taxi home!  Getting lip fillers was really painful, but the results are definitely worth it!

Clatuu 360 – MVP Plastic Surgery – Groove Magazine (click here for the full article!)

I went through the process of becoming an actual human popsicle for an article in Groove Korea Magazine.  For 30 minutes, the area which had been blown up for my appendectomy back in 2014 was frozen to – 9 degrees celsius.  Within a few days I noticed a flatter lower stomach, but I’ll need to go back for 2 more appointments for the full effect.  After the procedure, my skin felt like an actual popsicle.  I definitely do not recommend you try touching it with your own hand until you’ve thawed as it was pretty frightening!  Your nurses will massage the treated areas – let them finish and leave well alone!

Stem-Hydro Skinbooster/ IPL Photofacial – MVP Plastic Surgery

“Stem-Hydro Skinbooster Injections are a brand new approach to nourishing your skin, especially designed to deliver deep skin hydration. This means increasing hydration levels within the skin to deliver lasting moisturisation and improvements on the skin’s surface. Stem-Hydro Skinbooster involves multiple injections of a scientifically customized blend of hyaluronic acid (HA), Stem Cell, collagenstimulating vitamins, injected into the layer of skin just below the surface using a very fine needle.” – MVP Plastic Surgery

Seoul Korea Botox Fillers Eunogo MH Clinic Ruby Plastic Surgery MVP Clinic VIP Plastic Surgery Whoo Spa Sinsa Facial
Photo: Robert Evans

For this treatment and the accompanying IPL they actually had me under sedation.  That was terrifying to come out of.  If you can avoid it, definitely opt for the pain/ numbing cream instead of going under.  I woke up crying and then had some incredibly weird dreams.  I really didn’t notice much of a difference until now.  It’s been about 2 months (my treatment was and I was July 8th) told that I would see results 2 – 3 months after treatment.  All of a sudden this weekend I noticed glowy skin, and my friends did too!  I’m wondering if it’s this treatment, the use of some of my favourite new products (post coming soon!), or a combination.  Either way, my skin is softer than ever…and even a little shiny!

Refresh Care Facial and Massage – Whoo Spa c/o Eastasy 

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.  While this wasn’t cosmetic or plastic surgery, it was definitely an advanced facial that those considering a lift, botox, or fraxel could try first.

Botox (Crows’ Feet & V-Line) – Ruby Plastic Surgery c/o Eunogo

My experience at Ruby Plastic Surgery in the Sinsa area of Seoul, Korea was organized by Eunogo.  Eunogo has 60 clinics and medical spas in Seoul.  They offer 2 kinds of services: Concierge Service for Plastic Surgery and Eunogo Shops.  Eunogo Shops enables a client to book trendy medical spa facials and treatments, while the concierge service is more comprehensive.  There are over 1,800 plastic surgery clinics in Korea.  Eunogo partners with a clinic based on rigorous testing pertaining to Safety, Expertise (they work with specialized clinics only.  You won’t be going to a clinic for rhinoplasty if they specialize in breast augmentation, for example), Convenience (location, facility, and language support), and Patient Satisfaction.  Eunogo and the clinics also offer a 1-year guarantee for all services.

Seoul Korea Botox Fillers Eunogo MH Clinic Ruby Plastic Surgery MVP Clinic VIP Plastic Surgery Whoo Spa Sinsa Facial
Photo: Robert Evans

 

My experience at Ruby Plastic Surgery was very quick and easy.  Dr. Hu had a very gentle, professional demeanor.  He would give me and the other Korean Beauty Blogger quick notices by waiting a couple of 1-2 beats then on 3 he’d say “pain” and insert the needle.  I’ve never had an experience whether it be taking an IV, having blood drawn, or getting botox that was so easy and painless!  I would definitely recommend getting your botox injections or fillers (lip or facial) by Dr. Hu at Ruby Plastic Surgery.

Seoul Korea Breast Implants Modiva Botox Fillers Eunogo MH Clinic Ruby Plastic Surgery MVP Clinic VIP Plastic Surgery Whoo Spa Sinsa Facial

What’s Next for this Korean Beauty Blogger?

Being open to trying out new procedures (especially ones with needles LOL) has enabled me to become a trusted source for expats and medical tourists in Korea.  I probably would have never tried any sort of botox or filler before coming to Korea (or had it not been in partnership), but I’m so glad I did.  Looking in the mirror and feeling like an old lady at 28 was a horrible feeling.  Now that I’m officially 30, I think I’ll definitely be investing in my botox upkeep once I move back to Toronto in 6 months.  By then I’ll no longer be an accidental Korean Beauty Blogger, but I do hope to continue to bring you the latest and greatest technology and advancements in Skin Care and Cosmetic Surgery wherever I end up.  What next?  Well, look to my Korean Beauty Blogger pals @SkinfullofSeoul and @OhMyGloss above for a hint!

Saturn Return-ing 30 in Korea

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Saturn Return

This week, I prepare to bid farewell to my roaries twenties and celebrate entry into the dirty thirty club.  This year in particular (29) has been pretty magnificent, but it hasn’t been without heartache and disappointment.  People keep bringing up this idea of Saturn Return .  “The longer, more elaborate version: This is the astrological period of our life when the planet Saturn completes its orbit around the Sun, coinciding with the time of our birth. It happens every 29.5 years, so if you have skated by in your late 20s, this period could get you in your late 50s.”  Is this where the No Doubt album name originated?  Gwen Stefani was 30 or 31 when it was released.  I was obsessed with these tracks.  I was 13 when Return of Saturn was released, but the lyrics seem more relevant now than ever!

I don’t hold steadfast and true to astrology, but one can find poetry and life lessons in just about anything.  The idea that I should learn something from the craziness of my twenties is certainly not lost on me.  While I’ve been a teacher in Korea, life in Seoul in Busan has thrown me some curveballs.  I’d like to share what teaching and living in Korea has taught me in an elementary kind of way.  Here are a few Dr. Seuss memes to, pardon the pun, bring it all full circle.

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I’ve Learned to Love My Body

Being naked isn’t a crime.  Ajummas (the old gals) at jimjilbangs (bath houses/ spas) strut around, full bush and fupas out with pride.  They don’t give a rat’s ass about my curvy stomach and hips or my prickly legs.  I’ve worked hard to drop the weight I gained after joining the workforce and quitting my varsity days.  Now I’m in the maintenance stage which means I really have to dedicate quite a bit of time and energy to not balloon again.  I have to nourish my body even if that means being a hunter for protein and veggies at my own grocery store.  Now that I’m mere days away from 30, I know I’m never going to be perfect.  Getting a luxurious facial or massage is allowed and should damn well be in the budget.  If I want to get botox or lip injections then that’s my own personal choice.  Through fitness, nutrition, a Korean skin care regime, and time to treat myself I aim to strike a balance.  I strive to be a better me than yesterday.

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What the Fuck is this Shit?

Sometimes you’re just not going to have a damn clue what’s on your plate, written on a kid’s test, or walking down a runway.  Just learn to roll with it.  There’s no point in getting up in arms over something you don’t understand.  Culturally – take some time to do some research if you’re even feigning an interest.  If you’re living in or even just visiting another country, their customs will likely be foreign to you.  Try to figure ’em out.  If it’s just some other expat prick leaving you scratching your head – dealbreaker.  Move the fuck along.

 

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Tough Memories

Is dating shitty guys all part of Saturn Return?  Looking back on Taipei and Tokyo suuuuuucks.  I remember the amazing moments we shared and the distances we traveled together.  I try to see the silver lining in it all, but it’s not easy especially when I’m pinpointing the exact moments in Tokyo when he was texting his…less than reputable woman.  The best I can do is reflect on the good times and, instead of looking for negatives, think of learning opportunities for the future.  I got to feel the bliss of romance in Taiwan and Japan.  That’s pretty rad.

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Ghosting

A decent person will respond when txted, messaged, or called.  Don’t give out your phone number if you have no intention of ever seeing the person again.  If you’ve had interactions you don’t want to continue, find a nice way to tell the person.  It’s one thing to have a friendship or dating situation fizzle out, but hiding behind technology is so cowardly.

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No Fucks Left

Guys, I’m 30.  I’m exhausted.  This isn’t my first rodeo.  If you’re a flakey friend or a douchey date I’m over it.  I have zero fucks (red, blue or otherwise) left to give.  Sorry if that offends you, but I’m just outta chances to hand out.

  • If he’s not giving me what I need, I should just move on.
  • I’m not going to change him.  If he wants to become a better version of himself he will.  If I can help…great!
  • Change yourself for yourself.  Never change for him.

 

 

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On the Subject of Impact

Sometimes it’s hard to be a lifestyle blogger with a major focus on dating.  The impact of constantly trying to put myself out there has definitely taken a toll.  Of course I believe in love and want to find the right companion…for me.  The whole idea that I have to work on myself by myself is a little ridiculous, in my opinion.  My gal pals keep telling me to stay single and work on myself.  I think that’s a load of hooey.  I’m definitely a more organized and productive person when in a relationship.  I’m a busy person and I really have to carve out time to spend it with the people I like.  “Love yourself first” is an over-used phrase.  I love myself just fine, thank-you very much.  Why is it that the last three men who have tossed those three little words my way suddenly run in the opposite direction when I finally return their affection and say them back?  I say “I love you” to my friends constantly.  There are plenty of poetic ways to speak and show your affection.  By the time I return home I’ll have no partner and no job.  Will I have prospects?  Who knows…but it’s terrifying to look into the unknown.  Hopefully “terrifying” will be spun as “exhilirating” sometime soon.

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Most People Are Cunts

This, ladies and gentlemen, is truer than true.  While there are some great, salt of the Earth human beings out there, most people are only looking out for #1.  I’ve seen countless men and women be treated like absolute shit because they’re just an option and not a priority.  So much time is wasted because people are shitty to people.  We like to hurt one-another.  Plus, let’s talk bloggers.  I’ve encountered some amazing, supportive women in Korea.  Most people think that expat/ travel/ beauty/ foodie bloggers are all in competition.  That’s not true at all.  If you look through any of my posts here or on The Toronto Seoulcialite you’ll find I try to take any opportunity to link to the supporters in the community.  That said, there are some real assholes around.  I don’t know how I’ve been unable to identify the patterns.  I want to give everyone a fair chance, but it’s exhausting when people want a piece of you for a free hotel stay or meal.  Boys and girls, there’s no such thing as a free meal.  If I’m working in contra with a brand there’s a multi-faceted marketing plan to go along with a post.  You don’t just get to share 1 sly pic on instagram and live a life of luxury.  There’s plenty of work to share around.  Stop being cunts and just support one-another, dammit.

 

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The Internet

Can people on the internet just stop and realise that bloggers are people too?  The number of degrading comments and threats I’ve received for discussing fluffed up dating scenarios is insane.  You can’t take anything some angry troll with a firewall security blanket says seriously.  This one is still something with which I struggle, as these people know exactly who I am (and often where to find me), but they’re safely behind fake profiles with stolen profile pictures (or none at all).  I love to get helpful suggestions from readers.  They’re few and far between, so if you’ve got something then please go ahead and e-mail me or leave it in the comments.  Recently a faceless Korean instagrammer told me to start YouTube as my lengthy posts aren’t always the easiest to understand.  That was a great suggestion!  Telling me to go back to Canada because I’m clearly someone who couldn’t get a job back home?  Not so helpful.  Ps. I was the Director of Sales and Marketing for a group of companies back in Toronto.  I took a major pay cut to come to Korea and don’t regret it for a second.

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Stand Out

In the Apgujeong area of Seoul, Korea, there are so many versions of the same face it’s scary.  I don’t want to look like anyone else.  I want to feel authentic.  I don’t, however, need to have my natural hair colour or bags under my eyes to feel authentic.  If someone is telling me I look tired and should ‘take a rest’, maybe I am tired and should slow down.  Having blonde hair in Korea constantly means I stand out.  Will I keep it back in Canada?  Who knows!  I definitely feel more like myself as a blonde (having gone back to the dark side earlier this year).  I enjoy the liberties Koreans take with style.  Some of the conventions are a little weird (the shortest skirts, most conservative tops, and most heinous shoes).  I hope I can feel free enough to stand out with my own personal style when I go back to Toronto.

 

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Those Who Matter Don’t Mind

I don’t think in 30 years I’ve had a birthday as amazing as this one.  The most important people showed up and completely showered me with love (and food – the true way to my heart and Seoul).  Having all of those people in one room was overwhelming, hysterical, and incredibly fun.  I’m amazed and humbled that I can be the brassy, unapologetically honest, wild, and sensitive person I am with the people I have met in Korea.  We’re never gunna survive unless we get a little crazy, but I know mine can be a lot to handle.  Thank you for showing me all kinds of crazy love.  My Saturn Return feels like a positive renaissance.  Here’s to the next 30.  Peace out, Saturn.

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

 

Sprout Seoul Menu Review Day 4

Sprout Seoul: Natural Healthy Whole Food Service Korea

Did you miss any of my Sprout Seoul Vegan Food in Korea Menu Reviews?  Day 1  // Day 2 // Day 3

Salted Caramel Chia Pudding

I think I actually enjoy the versions of the chia pudding with less of the sweet ingredients.  The salted caramel wasn’t very salty and it came in one giant dollop to mix in.  The taste was less caramel and more grainy brown sugar.  This tasted a little chewier than the other chia puddings.

Greek Salad with Baked Tempeh Feta

I would definitely order this salad again!  There were tons of black olives and not too many red onions.  This was another dish I split into lunch and an afternoon snack.  The tofu tasted super creamy – more like goat cheese than feta.  I didn’t need to use all the dressing.  The blend of flavours was enough!

Seoul Food Review Sprout Vegan Healthy Food

Massaman Curry

I was so excited to try Sprou Seoul’s Massaman Curry!  This was one dish that I was actually kind of on the fence about.  It was tasty, just like the rest of the items, but didn’t hit me with the same sort of flavours I had had in Thailand.  I actually made massaman curry chicken in Bangkok. This reminded me a lot of the Butter Chickpeas, but I think that was more of a hit for my tastebuds.

Raw Nanaimo Bars (3 layer coconut chocolate bar)

This dessert actually tasted a lot like the Raw Reese’s Pieces Peanut Butter Pie.  I liked both, but this one had way more coconut flavour.  The portion is massive, so if you don’t want to be fatty Kathy like me then make sure to portion it out right when you get home!  This was much closer to a traditional Nanaimo bar than I’ve ever had in Korea.

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.

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.

Seoul Fit: Sprout Seoul Natural Healthy Whole Food Service Menu Day 1

Prepping with Sprout Natural Healthy Vegan Food Service for Bikini Season Busan Haeundae Beach, Seoul, Jeju, South Korea Weight Loss

Bikini season is right around the corner. I want to look and feel my best ever, especially since I’m turning 30 in August! Good thing I have Sprout Seoul Natural Healthy Whole Food Service helping me reach my health and fitness goals. Check out my intro/ breakdown on their services, and stay tuned for daily fitness and nutrition diaries (ie. my Sprout Seoul meals and workouts) on That Girl Cartier in the days to come!

Seoul Food Review Sprout Seoul Natural Healthy Whole Food Service Toronto Seoulcialite Korea

Chocolate Breakfast Bowl with Nuts, Seeds and Coconut Flakes

The Sprout Seoul breakfasts are definitely dense and heavy.  The light chocolate flavour chia seeds were filling I ate half and took the rest to work!  I liked the texture straight out of the fridge, but preferred the taste after having brought it to work (so an hour and a half of thawing).  The chia seeds are pretty chewy, the coconut adds nice flavour and texture, and the sunflower seeds give a little surprise change in flavour.  The chocolate is pretty subtle, but what I would expect from vegan food.

Burrito Bowl with Cilantro Lime Brown Rice, Savoury and Spicy Lentil Meat, Fresh Salsa, Mixed Greens and Mixed Bell Peppers

By lunchtime I was still feeling very full from breakfast. This bowl didn’t really look like much when I cracked it open, but by the halfway mark I was feeling pretty satisfied.  I put about a third away and had it as a mid-afternoon snack.  I counted kale, lettuce, yellow pepper, green pepper, red pepper, cherry tomato, pico de gallo (tomato, cilantro, red onion), lentils, and rice. The lentils are the perfect texture (squishy, but not overcooked) and well-seasoned, but not too salty.  The mix of tastes is fresh and satisfying on this hot day!  I could probably even do with more veggies and less rice as it’s very filling and getting heavy!
Seoul Food Review Sprout Seoul Natural Healthy Whole Food Service Toronto Seoulcialite Korea

Butter Chickpea Curry over Brown Rice

Beyond the chickpeas and brown rice I think I counted celery, carrot, and spinach? I could eat this everyday with some pepper and chili flakes and never get bored. If I were making it for myself I’d go easier on the brown rice opting for more veggies like mixed peppers. It’s super good, though! The curry is quite rich without having overwhelming curry flavour.  My breath won’t stink, but my taste-buds are happy.  This was a perfect Monday night dinner. Sprout Seoul uses a lot of herbs and spices which definitely hit the spot for me!

Raw Reese’s Pieces Peanut Butter Pie

I ate the whole thing.  I’m not ashamed because it was for journalism (and because it was melting pretty quickly).  I tasted coconut ice cream on top. The bottom was the closest thing to a fudgy, rich, decadent brownie I’ve had in Korea. I don’t really eat brownies with ice cream usually. I could eat the fudgy base on its own or the ice cream on its own.  It was pretty heavy.  Like breakfast and dinner I could have halfed the portions, but I didn’t.  I wonder if eating these as prescribed will have me gaining or losing weight?  If you have sugary cravings then this is the snack for you. If you’re normally a very strict eater then Sprout Seoul desserts will make you feel all kinds of cheat meal guilt! Order them with caution, as they’re delicious enough to devour in one go!
Sprout Seoul Review Travel Fitness That Girl Cartier

Sprout Seoul + Fitness

I’m not exactly the best runner, but I got in 3.5 km on the treadmill before hitting the free weights, weight machines, and floor for abs.  Switching up your diet is always a good idea when trying to make a change, but I’ve had plenty more and haven’t had to rely on coffee.

Seoul Food Review Sprout Seoul Natural Healthy Whole Food Service That Girl Cartier

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

Meal Plan Options
3 days, 12 items: 75,000 (Save 6,000!)
5 days, 20 items: 115,000 (Save 20,000!)
7 days, 28 items: 150,000 (Save 39,000!)

Directions: Sprout Seoul Food Pick-Up & Delivery

Pick up is available on Sunday and Monday from 3pm-8pm.  We took the plunge and walked up HBC hill on a hot and sunny Sunday afternoon.  Sprout Seoul wasn’t too hard to find.  You can take the #2 little, green shuttle bus or you can walk!  If you’re taking the subway to Sprout Seoul, take Exit 2 of Noksapyeong Station and walk straight veering left at the kimchi pots and up the hill.  Stay on that main HBC street (Sinheung-ro) following as it continues to veer left.  At the plateau, turn left and walk down about half a block until you see their storefront on the main floor.

Seoul Food Review: Sprout Seoul 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 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.

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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.

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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!

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