Repatriation Diaries – Hiring Managers: The New FCKbois?

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The New Fckbois = Job Gatekeepers

How do you get a job in your old city/ industry when you’ve been out of both for over 3 years?  It took me 7 weeks from the time I arrived back in Toronto after Bali to my first day of work.  My method was to cast a wide, wide net and see what came out of making a full time job of finding full time work.  The first couple of weeks were frustrating as I’d see hiring manager after hiring manager check out my LinkedIn profile, but no communication beyond that.  I updated my resume a gazillion times so it would be more appealing to the digital media and advertising industries.  I was using my jet lag and night owl status to adjust and apply (and boy, did I ever apply for everything), but it felt like I was getting absolutely nowhere.

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Master of None

My recruiter told me that my career background read as unfocused even though it highlighted a lot of desirable skills.  Having been away from my home and my industry for 3 years I couldn’t exactly walk back into a director-level role, and my level of seniority was too high for most of the jobs for which I was actually eager.  I would have been happy to take on something that would have looked like a step backwards, as long as I was learning rapidly and equipping myself to move forward with a company.  The goal was to become an expert in my role, rather than a Jill of all trades.

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Living out of the City

For the first month and a half I felt like a hobo.  My parents moved to a small town when I was in my 2nd year of University.  When I finally started coming in for interviews I felt like I was on the “inconveniencing my friends” tour.  I couldn’t commit to hanging out because just to get into Toronto I had to bother my parents for a 45 minute ride to the Go Train station, then spend $10 to get unto Union Station, then get the subway with all my junk.  That’s if I had booked an AirBnB or had a friend’s couch on which to crash.  I was trying to survive just on wifi (cause you can, for the most part, in Korea).  After 2 weeks I realized that my savings from Korea unfortunately didn’t amount to much and I’d have to start spending.

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Waiting by the Phone

From my online applications, I had plenty of “no response” responses, a whole lotta “more appropriate backgrounds needed”, and some straight up weird replies from hiring managers who didn’t know the job from Adam and were just trying to get the placement $.  I was asked to complete several phone interviews and a pile of “assignments” (aka FREE WORK).  By applying online I got a bunch of garbage, but also a couple of interviews.  Pair that with the few interviews I got through personal references, and I was starting to feel hopeful again.  How can you sound positive once you finally get the interview when you’ve been dealing with rejection after rejection after rejection? Image result for gif master of none

Dealing with Job Rejection

When I left Toronto I had my finger on the pulse.  My hire-ability was off the charts, but I couldn’t get a guy to take me out for coffee to save my life.  My, how the tables had turned.  In my most successful interview, I was told that I would hear back within a few days about next steps and meetings with the CEO.  Some of the recruiters/ hiring managers even promised offer letters within the next week.  I started looking for an apartment.  My friends started taking the idea of me sticking around pretty seriously.  Then, each and every one of those fckers ghosted me.  I even saw one of them from a pretty pathetic excuse for a communications company at a PR event.  I’ve never seen the “run fast ’cause I never called that broad back” face on a woman before, especially one with whom I had had a job interview!

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I did it! – Well…kinda

Like Dev, I did it…with plenty of help!  I actually got really, really lucky.  When I use the word “luck” I tend to mean a combination of timing + preparation. There’s a little element of magic that comes along with it, too.  I was walking out of one of these horrible cattle call job interview situations.  Picture pizza, a poorly-rehearsed speech from the child CEO, and sorority large-recruitment style “interviews”.  Then, I got a call from someone within my network.  I had sent her my resume weeks earlier.  Her friend had posted on Facebook about an immediate need.  Within 10 minutes I was on the phone with the gentlemen who would become my boss less than 24 hours later.  Sure – it’s only a contract for now, but it’s my foot in the door to work for an amazing organization doing some pretty creative things.

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Avoid the fckbois to Find a Job

Just like in dating, I met with a lot of fckbois.  In the end, I completely bypassed the fckbois (the recruiters) and found a diamond in the rough (the job).  Reach out to everyone in your network.  Don’t be afraid to annoy someone by asking to send along your resume.  Chances are they were once exactly where you were.  You can’t avoid the recruiters and HR managers hiring for positions they know nothing about.  You can  cast a wide net and let several of them work for you at once.

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May the odds be ever in your favour, Repats.

 

Booby Blog #5: Boob Job in Seoul (Before and After)

 Are you considering plastic surgery in Korea?  Make sure to reach out to the team at Seoul Cosmetic Surgery (info@seoulcosmeticsurgery.com) for the most transparent Q&A and easiest consultation experience.  For more information about getting my breast implants in Seoul, check out the Booby Blog Archives!

My Boob Job in Seoul

I feel pretty ridiculous posting all of these before and after pictures from my boob job in Seoul.  I’ve had a number of messages saying that people appreciate how candid I’ve been about all this (thanks for them!).  With that in mind, I’m going to try to press on even though I feel silly and vain.  My breast augmentation surgery in Seoul at TL Plastic Surgery with Seoul Cosmetic Surgery was really easy.  My recovery was a lot easier than I expected.  Every body reacts differently.  Maybe it’s because I’m tall, muscular (erring on the heavy side), and generally take pretty good care of myself, but my recovery has been a breeze compared to a few other ladies who have had plastic surgery.  Without further adieu, here are some before and after shots!

Boob Job in Seoul Follow Up

A day, a week, a month and 2 months after surgery I had follow up appointments to check the implants, incisions, and the surrounding tissue.  I also had laser treatments to aid in the healing process of the incisions.  Some other women I know who have had a boob job in Seoul haven’t had as many follow ups, so I’m pretty thrilled with the after-care of TL Plastic Surgery.

Can you believe how tiny my ta-tas were before?   people thought I’d go full Dolly Parton with absolutely giant knockers.  I didn’t want that!  I just wanted nicely shaped breasts which suit my frame and height.  I probably could have gone bigger, but didn’t want to look (or feel) fake.  I rarely wear a bra now. My back doesn’t hurt.  Life’s so much easier! 

Wearing a Compression Garment After a Boob Job in Seoul

Wearing a compression garment has actually become more and more comfortable.  You’re supposed to wear it for a month after surgery.  I’ve seen so many women have issues with their breast implants starting to migrate and widen.  My compression garment has actually been on the big side.  I’m tall and have a big rib cage, but the tightest setting on my compression garment was still too loose unfortunately.  I would advise that if you’re tall and/ or broad like I am, invest in a compression garment that fits your new chest right after your boob job in Seoul.  You might want to check into buying one online as I’m not sure how many other compression garment styles are out there.  Mine in particular was like a regular bra but without the underwire or the part covering the nipple.  Some people compared it to a bondage look from the 70’s.

Are you considering plastic surgery in Korea?  Make sure to reach out to the team at Seoul Cosmetic Surgery (info@seoulcosmeticsurgery.com) for the most transparent Q&A and easiest consultation experience.  For more information about getting my breast implants in Seoul, check out the Booby Blog Archives!

 

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

Expat Dating - That Girl Cartier

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.

Expat Dating Diaries The Eternal Expat That Girl Cartier feet legs couple people girl guy tattoo bed sheet blanket black and white bedroom bed pillow
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…

Expat Dating Diaries The Eternal Expat That Girl Cartier matador bullfighter torero red cape ring stadium crowd madrid spain flag circle spectators
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

Riding the White Horse in Korea That Girl Cartier horse animal outdoor trees plant nature blur sunrise
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.

Riding the White Horse in Korea That Girl Cartier horse animal snout farm plants fence monochrome black and white
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…

Riding the White Horse in Korea That Girl Cartier people men women friends crowd walking city signage bar korea mall shopping
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.

Riding the White Horse in Korea ThatGirlCartier people men woman wet market basket meat fish utensil refrigrator signage pail lamp light korea
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.

Riding the White Horse in Korea ThatGirlCartier guy fitness athlete health boy people court black and white asian
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.

Riding the White Horse in Korea ThatGirlCartier architecture building infrastructure room wooden bench people man guy thinking alone sad male asian
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).

Riding the White Horse in Korea ThatGirlCartier horse animal stem grass bokeh trees sunlight sunshine nature plants branches fog
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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