I’ve come to understand that fitness will always be a journey for me. I will always have ups and downs and times of amazing confidence or, like now, times where I just don’t feel like I’m at my peak. There are a gazillion reasons to get close to the person (or people, in my case) helping you on your fitness journey. When I started with Big Hit Kickboxing Studios, I was in pretty peak physical condition for my own standards. Beyond the obvious attention to my new additions, there wasn’t anything I was afraid to do nor was there much that could knock the wind out of me. Now that I’m well into my re-patriation, I’m not as confident or fearless. Plus I’m certainly not in the best shape anymore. I do, however, have help – and I want to encourage you to seek out allies on your fitness journey as well.
If it’s your first time walking into a gym or walking into the ring, letting someone know you’re new isn’t embarrassing – it’s essential. More often than not, it’s expected that you’ll jump into a class and go with the flow. If your coach knows that it’s your first (or second, or even third time) they’ll make sure to give you that little extra bit of attention to ensure your technique is just right so you won’t get hurt. You may have signed a waiver before your class, but you’re part of the team now and nobody wants to see you injured!
Speaking of injuries, if you’re just getting back to fitness you have to let your coach know. Hopefully you’ve given your body enough time to heal, but you might be a little rusty getting back in the game. I find a lot of coaches want to push you right to your limit. When I had my surgery anything chest related (from push-ups to lat pull-downs) was not on the menu. If your coach is aware of your limits, he or she will be more likely to give you an alternative motion to complete.
Hesitation is one of the most common causes of injury in sports and physical fitness. In an instance where your timing is off because of jitters you could really hurt yourself. Taking a step back and asking for help will sharpen your focus and take you out of a fog of confusion which could cause an injury or give you an ineffective workout (be it once or as a pattern).
If you commit yourself to the community at your gym/ studio (or create one – especially if it involves Tanya Kim – duh!) then there will be a give and take with your workouts. When your coach knows you, he or she will be able to tell when you need to get out of your funk, or even if you need to be left alone. Sometimes when I’m at Big Hit, my instructor will get out the pads and work with people one on one. My energy is revved up to the max. I feel like I’m actually good at what we’re working on and I’m being rewarded for good work. On the flip side, when I’m not giving it my all you know nobody’s bringing those pads my way!
You may not be best friends with your coach/ yogi/ mentor/ instructor, but there’s a level of unspoken but always shown respect and discipline between the student and the master. Showing a little interest and a lot of initiative goes a long way. As it says on the wall of every Big Hit, “in 2 weeks you’ll feel it, in 4 weeks you’ll see it, in 8 weeks you’ll be it”.
I’ve mentioned Big Hit Kickboxing Studios a few times over the course of this article (and shared some pictures of some, not all, of my favourite coaches) because I’ve committed to a 3-month partnership with them to get back into fit fighting shape! For more Toronto Gym Alternatives, click here. For more on Big Hit:
Time Commitment: 30 – 60 Minutes (most classes are 45 Minutes)
Cost: $30/ Drop-in Class, packages vary, and $59 gets you gloves, wraps, and 2 weeks of unlimited classes!
Buckle your seat belts and take out your chips and salsa, ’cause it’s about to get real cheesy up in hurr. If you follow The Toronto Seoulcialite (my other “less sarcastic” blog), you’ll have read about my issues finding a job, finding a man, and finding my figure through the mess of moving back to Canada. I’ve finally found something which could be the makings of a career, and a date with myself 3 times a week which gives me structure and an outlet. Coming back home is like picking up an old, ear-marked book. The characters are the same and the setting hasn’t changed, but you’re still not exactly sure what will happen to the protagonist next.
Someone Else’s Story
My biggest fear returning to Toronto was that I would be reliving the same old story. While I was away, several of my friends partnered up, a couple had kids, many got promotions, some went back to school, and my nightmare boss was finally arrested. Beyond that? A lot of the people I’ve left are ear-marked – frozen in time right where I left them doing the same old things and just banging their heads against the wall calling it happiness. I knew I wasn’t happy back in 2014 when I made the decision to begin the arduous application (okay – it was long, but not that tough) to move to Korea. I couldn’t come home and return to old habits.
Die Hard: With a Vengeance
Old habits die hard. I ended up moving back to Queen St. West and was working in the events industry when, at last, I found work. Getting into a rhythm took time, and my physical and emotional health took a hit. I decided to hit back. I bought myself a 2 week unlimited introductory pass at Big Hit Kickboxing Studios. At that time, I was living with a disrespectful roommate who was a neglectful pet owner. I had no autonomy in my own life. Looking back, I think that I was committed to my 2 week membership, but not so much to myself.
Be Your Own Boss (Without Working for Yourself)
I once read that you should treat yourself like the CEO of your own life, and that fitness was a meeting you set with your employees. Good bosses don’t reschedule again and again. I wasn’t managing my life properly, nor was I being a good boss to my mental and physical health. At this point I needed to hit back, but not just for 2 weeks. Big Hit Kickboxing Studios in Toronto has given me the schedule I need to succeed.
Be a Good Boss
Proper preparation prevents poor performance. I’ve set meetings with my very important sanity at least 3 times a week, which is honestly pretty manageable! After work on weekdays I leave the office between 5 PM and 5:30 PM (I know – my job offers work/ life balance <3) and walk for about 35 – 40 minutes from the office to Big Hit Kickboxing Queen West. The walk enables me to just zone out and enjoy constant, steady movement while listening to music. The workout to follow is full of different combinations which challenge my mind and various muscle groups. Over the next 3 months I’ll be sharing my highs, lows, pounds, and measurements. Stay tuned for preparation and progress, not perfection.
Since getting back on a regular schedule with Big Hit Kickboxing Studios, I haven’t actually lost any weight, but the rest of my body and my life has changed pretty drastically. My clothes have started to feel different – better. I don’t crave sweets like I did throughout my unsettled period between my old job and old apartment and now. I have been on several dates with not one, not two, but 3 different men who actually want to see me again.
When you start physical activity with dedication, dedication spreads throughout your life in different ways. My posture exudes confidence rather than that fear of failure with which I started. I’m back to caring about a connection rather than having a fear that I won’t be liked (word to the wise – fear of someone not liking you crushes a connection right off the start). I don’t really have time for people who aren’t adding to my life in a positive way, so when I make time to see my friends we’re connecting on a much deeper and more enjoyable level. I also always seem to come back to that old adage: “You can do naked back-flips across his lawn, but if you’re not the one he wants, honey, you’re just not the one he wants”.
Strength, determination, and hope fill the pages of my novel. I know what comes next in that old, worn out, dog-eared story because I’m writing it now.
When I came back to Canada after my 3-year stint in Korea I was in a bit of a pickle. Several of my Korean beauty products had been confiscated from my carry-on at the airport in Bali. With the heat, I had used up all of my hydrating toner pads. Granted, I clumsily packed in an attempt to avoid overweight charges. My toners and essences took the hit and I was stuck waiting for my slow shipment from Seoul. I went to Shoppers Drug Mart in search of some local goodies to test out. It was especially exciting because, for the first time in 3 years, the ingredients would be in English (and French! – sometimes). My eyes grew wide and glazed over as I saw the ever increasing prices. What had I done? What a mistake I had made leaving all that liquid gold in Indonesia.
Battle of the Hydrating Toner Pads
Both of these pads claim to have hydrating and exfoliating properties. One left my skin feeling like a rough astringent had been applied. It made my more viscous products tough to apply. The other makes my skin feel clean, but soft and supple, too. We all have different kinds of skin, but in my experience the value of one one of these hydrating toner pads far outweighs the other. Read through for my verdict in Buy This, Not That: The Battle of the Hydrating Toner Pads!
Pixi Beauty Glow Tonic To-Go
Regular price $24.00
“Everything you love about the Glow Tonic, TO GO! Travel-friendly pads pre-soaked in Glow Tonic to tone, brighten, hydrate and gently exfoliate for clean renewed skin.”
The best routine is the one you’ll actually repeat, so toner pads are a no-brainer for a lazy K-Beauty lover like me! These were the only ones under $50 at Shoppers, and since I needed something that day, I decided to suck it up and hope my pension came through sooner than later. I picked out the Pixi Beauty brand based on their clean, feminine packaging and prices which I thought were high for the product type, but better than the others. I looked them up online and found that a number of other beauty bloggers and influencers had featured the products in their feed, so I should give them a fair shot. What exactly was in these products, though? What was I really putting on my skin? Is it the right product for my skin type? Why did I spend nearly $110 on 3 itty bitty items which would probably have cost me $30 in Korea? These hydrating toner pads cost me $24 plus tax. A lot of the time we skim over certain products assuming because the price is low the product must not be good quality. Now, I feel far more inclined than ever to buy Korean beauty products online.
These pre-soaked pads tone, brighten, hydrate, and gently exfoliate.
• Skin looks clearer & feels smoother.
• The ultimate travel-friendly, gentle skin renewal
• Formulated with 5% Glycolic Acid
• Suited for all skin types
• Alcohol free
• Not tested on animals
Use: Either in the AM and PM or when needed
• Step 1: Cleanse your face
• Step 2: Sweep pre-soaked pads across face , neck and décolletage after cleansing, avoiding eye area.
• Step 3: Follow with a serum or moisturizer. (no need to rinse off)
“It is a daily moisturizing pad presoaked in a toner of Propolis Extract and Hyaluronic Acid. It helps to fight against main features of dehydrated, delicate and flaky skin. TIP: It is convenient to wipe off and fix makeups during the day. You can also use as a mini sheet mask on specific dry areas such as cheek or chin. Do not use BHA products if you are allergic to aspirin.”
HOW TO USE
Swipe the embossing side across the face avoiding eye area after cleansing.
Swipe the softer side across the face to pick up the remaining debris.
Replace the lid tightly to make sure the pads stay wet and clean.
I first tried the Cosrx One Step Moisture Up Pads at the Novotel in Seoul. Cosrx partnered up with the Novotel Ambassador Seoul Yongsan (Seoul Dragon City) and placed their Korean skincare goodies in the uber luxurious bathrooms. What a genius idea! I was hooked on several of their products right away, including these hydrating toner pads! You’ve seen Cosrx on my site before. They have the most fabulous cleanser which isn’t on the market quite yet. This cleanser is gentle and doesn’t leave a residue. The same can be said for these hydrating moisture pads (the Cosrx One Step Moisture Up Pads). You can use them for spot treating, prepping for more viscous parts of your skincare routine, or tidying up makeup gone wrong. After trying the Pixi Glow To-Go pads, there’s just no comparison. Cosrx Moisture up pads are a big BUY THIS.
BUY THIS: Cosrx One Step Moisture Up Pads, NOT THAT: Pixi Beauty Glow Tonic To-Go Pads
I’ve made a chart for you of the different ingredients in both hydrating toner pads. You’ll notice that there are a few overlapping ingredients. For the most part, the Pixi pads have a lot more colouring (I’m not sure why – they’re white), fragrance, and additives. Personally, I prefer a shorter list of ingredients with elements I actually understand. For example, I know some beauty bloggers work with natural ingredients like lemon which can be extraordinarily drying and damaging to the skin. I prefer to leave that to the professionals (Cosrx). Why Pixi is putting caramel and red dye in their white pads is beyond me. I’ve left the Pixi at my parents’ place to use the couple of times a month I go visit, but for daily use opt for the gentler, more nourishing blend.
It’s been one scorcher of a summer here in humid Toronto. I’ve heard back in Seoul it’s been record-breaking for humidity, too! If you’ve read any of my other skincare articles, you’ll know I’m a “no muss, no fuss” kinda gal. When I moved to Korea, I tried to improve my soap and water habits. Why wouldn’t I take advantage of the best skincare in the world? That said, I didn’t have time for 12 steps including a mask every night. I’m busy and actually have to make time to sleep. I make an effort to keep an hour or more of fitness 5x a week part of my routine. Nobody of sound heart and mind is going to lug 12 bottles and jars to the gym. When it comes to skincare, I want to keep things simple. If there are too many steps, I lose interest and bail.
Toners, Serums, Essences – OH MY!
Back in April (I’m writing this in mid-July), a company called iUNIK reached out to me to review a few products. They’re a 10-year old company located in Paju, which is the city closest to the North Korean border. They claim to make products designed simply and for the whole family. “With minimalism finding skin happiness contrary to the times of excess supply age.” I have no idea what that might mean, but the word “minimalism” drew me right in!
Always on the hunt for the latest and greatest, I was excited to receive their Propolis Vitamin Synergy Serum, Vitamin Hyaluronic Acid Vitalizing Toner, and Beta Glucan Daily Moisture Cream. They also sent me their Lime Moisture Mild Peeling Gel, but it was a miss for me and I only want to bring you products I would buy over and over again. The whole time I was in Korea, I admit, I had no idea what the difference was among toners, serums, and essences. All of them felt fairly similar to me. The only thing I knew for certain was that they went on before your moisturizer. The biggest takeaway? All of the above prepare your skin to absorb the lovely little goodies found in your moisturizer or cream, or even other serums and essences if you choose a multi-step routine. Here’s how I apply my favourite iUNIK products.
The Claim: “This gel type toner can help to make powerful vitalizing and moisturizing with Hippophae Rhamnoides Fruits Extract 5% and Hyaluronic acid 45%.”
The Vitamin Hyaluronic Acid Vitalizing Toner has no scent. This toner is really watery and doesn’t have the astringent feeling I tend to associate with others. I’ve been using it for months now and the bottle looks like it’s barely taken a dent, so great value there! In my experience, toner can be exfoliating. This toner is intensely hydrating, instead. If you put it on your hand you might think it will leave a sticky feeling, but it doesn’t at all. You’re left with plump, nourished skin! A lot of people shy away from the word “acid” thinking that it will damage the skin or strip it away. Hyaluronic acid actually acts as a moisture-binding ingredient in skincare – perfect to prep and prime your skin for whats next, right?
The Claim: “This Effective Optimal Synergy Serum includes the unique and optimal ratio, Propolis 70% and Vitamin C (Hippophae Rhamnoides Fruit Extract) 12% by iUNIK. It can make Calming & Brightening for Sensitive Skin.”
The Propolis Vitamin Synergy Serum actually smells like honey! I’m surprised that other bloggers referred to it as viscous or thick. Like the toner, it wasn’t at all the consistency I expected. In fact, it was also quite watery in my opinion. Maybe my skin is just super thirsty constantly, but it was absorbed quite quickly in a thin layer. My skin immediately feels as though it’s been soothed after application of this skincare product. The look of my skin after application is bright and dewy. There’s a definitely glow-factor with this serum! In this summer heat, I can’t be waiting around for my skincare to settle. The combination of the toner and the serum soak up quite quickly and I’m ready for my third, and final, step.
Skincare Step 3
Beta Glucan Daily Moisture Cream $14.99
The Claim: “Amazing skin moisturizer Beta Glucan, Super Moisture Recharge. This cream can help to make moisturizing dry skin and improve skin barrier function with Beta Glucan. Improve skin barrier function calming and protecting sensitive skin. Moisturizing. Light Skin. Skin clearing. Whitening and wrinkle care.”
Beta Glucan is active in cereal and fungus and is found to lower cholesterol. In skincare products, it reduces redness and soothes sensitive skin. I had horrible skin as a child, but throughout my teens and adult years have been fairly lucky. I get quite a bit of dryness/ redness around my t-zone (my nose especially). Since adding the iUNIK Beta-Gulcan Daily Moisture Cream to my routine the redness and sensitivity has reduced significantly, but is still ever-present. My face has a dewy glow and feels supple to the touch without feeling greasy. In the summer especially, I can’t stand that feeling of your moisturizer sweating off. Thankfully I haven’t had to with this product. I’ve been using this moisture cream Monday – Friday mornings since April, and the bottle is only starting to dwindle now. This product is unscented.
My iUNIK Skincare Verdit
Now that I’m back in Toronto, I’m making an effort to live my best life naturally. I had my hair fixed so that moving forward I’ll be letting my natural brown locks grow in – gray and all. We’ll see how long that lasts. I don’t have quite as much time in the morning as I did when I was in Korea. The gym has taken priority over looking entirely polished and put together. Unless I’m client-facing or going out on the town, I’ve stopped wearing make-up entirely. Because of this, I need to treat my skin the best I can. The ease of use, glowy complexion, and unbeatable pricepoint makes iUNIK an exceptional skincare line. My morning routine is a lot easier with this trio of iUNIK tools!
This article was written in unpaid partnership in exchange for an honest review of iUNIK products. ThatGirlCartier.com only features products or services I genuinely adore and would repurchase again and again.
Korean Holy Grail Skincare: Cleansers Available in Canada
Skincare isn’t this mystifying secret combination of product formulas and equations. It’s actually quite simple to have a skincare regimen that works! To have clear, flawless, pore-less skin, we’ve got to get back to basics. This starts with a clean, make-up free face. With winged liners out the wazoo and Fenty foundation a-flutter, how do you actually get that gunk off you face (and out ya dang pores) at the end of the night? …and how do you fix the damage from those dreaded nights when you pass out with a full face on? Love, I have 2 holy grail products for you.
Banila Co. is a cosmetics and skincare shop in Korea much like the others. It’s a bright, airy shop with plenty of cute models shot making goofy faces. I like their liquid eyeliner, but haven’t tried much in the way of makeup there. Banila Co. has one item, however, for which I’d trek all over Seoul. I made sure to pick up the largest container they had before leaving Korea for good. This skincare holy grail item is the one which takes off the majority of my makeup. Many Koreans use a double or triple cleansing system because of the pollution, but also because normal make-up removers just can’t get everything off. I like to begin with the “sorbet” textured product because it takes off the majority of my make-up and cleans out pores. “Lightweight sorbet-like textured makeup removing cleansing balm that whisks away pore-clogging impurities. Use the spatula to take a small amount and massage gently in circular motions. Rinse well with lukewarm water, or use tissue to wipe off the balm with gentle strokes.”
Ingredients: Mineral Oil, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, PEG-20 Glyceryl Triisostearate, PEG -10Isostearate, Polyethylene, Butylene Glycol, Water, Rubus Suavissimus (Raspberry) Leaf Extract, Bambusa Arundinacea Stem Extract, Aspalathus Linearis Leaf Extract, Viscum Album, (Mistletoe) Leaf Extract, Angelica Polymorpha Sinensis Root Extract, Carica Papaya, (Papaya) Fruit Extract, Malpighia Glabra (Acerola) Fruit Extract, Epilobium, Angustifolium Leaf Extract, BHT, Butylparaben, CI 16255, CI 15985, Fragrance
I got to try the series of Cosrx products when I won a 2-night stay at the new Seoul Novotel Ambassador Dragon City near Yongsan. I’m such a fan of Accor Hotels, and this stay was even better because my massive bathroom was fully stocked with Cosrx samples. Some of these samples aren’t even on the market quite yet. I’m hoping that a glowing review (and my glowing skin) will help Cosrx make the choice to start selling Good Night Mild Oil Cleanser in Korea, and hopefully soon in Canada (or at least on iHerb). While Clean it Zero can get most of my mascara off, the Cosrx formula makes certain that any hint of CC cream, liquid eyeliner, or mascara is erased. The formula is really mild. Unlike other oil cleansers I’ve tried. it doesn’t stick around when I go to rinse it off.
Bad News/ Good News
While the Oil Cleanser doesn’t seem to be on the market quite yet, Good Morning Gel Cleanser is available online for shipping to Canada. It is described as: “Start the day right by treating your skin to a mild and gentle cleanser with a low pH that effectively removes excess oil and dead skin. Formulated with tea tree oil and natural BHA to refine skin texture, the Good Morning Gel Cleanser’s pH level is the closest to your skin’s natural pH levels and leaves skin soft, moist and refreshed without stripping it of its natural oils.”
Do you have any cleansers you swear by? Are the available in Canada (or online to ship here)? Let us know in the comments!
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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!
Generally, I like the way I look. Having worked hard to drop weight when I came to Korea I felt good about my body. As a tall woman with a muscular, athletic frame, I didn’t always feel very feminine in my looks. For the past 15 years I’ve worn a padded bra simply because my breasts never seemed to come in. It might surprise you how many times I, an accidental Korean Beauty Blogger and small potato on the K-Beauty influencer scene, have been approached about partnering up for plastic surgery. I never felt like anyone took enough time with me to assess my needs or ask me what I wanted, until chatting with Mona.
When Mona from Seoul Cosmetic Surgery asked to work together, I still had the same sort of response. I have had several friends go through the procedure, but just wasn’t sure it was for me. Did I really want foreign objects inside my body forever? Was I ready to leave Korea kicking myself at having not gone through with it? What if they were too big? What if they weren’t big enough? How would my family deal if there was a problem mid-surgery? What if I left my friends and family with a giant Korean mess on their hands? What were the right questions to ask? I wrote an article about what I was considering, and was met with a flurry of comments from supportive friends and aggressively anti-surgery threads.
Why Breast Implants Were the Right Choice For My Body
With all the negativity coming from Facebook comments, I actually received a number of private messages from women in similar situations. I had no idea that there was even a problem until my shirt came off and my doctor said that it would be a complicated surgery.
“Tuberous breasts (or tubular breasts) are a result of a congenital abnormality of the breasts which can occur in both men and women (also see Hypoplasia), one breast or both. During puberty breast development is stymied and the breasts fail to develop normally and fully.” – Panchapakesan V, Brown MH
It turns out that tuberous (also known as “tubular”, “herniated areolar complexes”, “conical breast”, “domen nipple”, “lower pole hypoplasia“, “hypoplastic breasts”, or “constricted” breasts) are pretty common. I always said my breasts looked like sad puppies, but I was unaware another term for these were “Snoopy breasts”. Now I was going from a consultation where I wasn’t even sure I wanted the surgery, to panicking that it wasn’t even going to be possible.
My TL Plastic Surgery Breast Implant Consultation with Seoul Plastic Surgery
Throughout this consultation, I got more information about the remaining steps should the breast augmentation surgery be approved by my surgeon to move forward. I would need to come in for one more consultation (for sizing and remaining questions), then a final appointment for a urine test, blood panel, and EKG (Electrocardiogram). After that, we’d take my “before” photos and get all set for surgery. Mona and Dean from Seoul Cosmetic Surgerywere at TL Plastic Surgerywith my surgeon, Dr. Yim Joonghyuk, and TL’s awesome English-speaking coordinator, Christina, for each appointment.
My main concern when it came to the surgery was how I’d be “out” during throughout my breast implant procedure. It’s most common to be under general anesthesia, but I’ve heard of local anesthesia and sleep sedation for breast augmentation, too. It terrified me that there was a chance I’d wake up mid-surgery unable to communicate. I’m aware of how absolutely ridiculous that sounds, but I was signing myself up for elective plastic surgery. I’d be worried if I wasn’t worried at various steps throughout. What put my mind at ease was asking my plastic surgeon the following:
Questions to Ask a Breast Augmentation Plastic Surgeon
What size would you recommend for my body type? Provided you’ve already researched your surgeon and are working with a trusted medical tourism company like Seoul Cosmetic Surgery, there’s no reason not to take your surgeon’s opinion on size at face value. My surgeon told me that he would want my Motiva breast implants to be, at minimum, 380 cc (if not more!) I thought this was going to be way too big since my friends had gotten only 300 and they looked like massive porn star breasts. Well, considering my current breasts, my height, my body type, and the size of my rib cage and wide shoulders, my doctor was right on the money. I should have gone bigger (maybe 400?), but am honestly very happy with the way my breast implants look. They have appeared very natural since the end of the 2nd week. I was able to go back to the gym then and start power walking without too much discomfort. Before the 2 month anniversary, I was able to run 5 km again.
How will the implants be inserted? It’s very popular to go through the armpit in Korea because of Korean women’s small frames. For foreigners, under the breast insertion is recommended. This makes for a much less painful recovery, and a shorter one, too. The incision scars will also be less obvious.
How large will you make the incisions? With Motiva breast implants, it’s actually possible to have very small incisions. This means your scars won’t be very obvious. Mine are only visible if I raise my arms above my head. They’re pretty dark, but only about 4 cm on each side. On instagram I’ve seen surgeons boasting about incisions as small as 3 cm, so I think we’re doing pretty well!
How do I prepare for surgery? The only advice I got for this was not to smoke (I don’t smoke) or drink a week before surgery. I think more than that it’s important to prepare your body to undergo general anesthesia. Get 8 hours of sleep. Hit the gym. Eat healthy foods and avoid unnecessary junk. Hey – I can’t do it all the time, but when going under the knife it really helped to train my body and prepare properly.
How do I take care of myself post-surgery? Take it easy! Listen to your body and don’t over-do it, but also don’t baby yourself too much. Try to get back to regular, healthy, daily activities. It’s recommended that you don’t smoke and don’t drink for about a month. This really depends on how long they’ve got you on painkillers. Many doctors say you can return to almost all regular activity (yes- that kind)once you’re off pain medication.
What do I do with the stitches? Nothing! Just like when I had my appendix removed, my stitches were dissolvable. The roughest part of surgery is not being able to properly shower for a week. You must protect the incisions with waterproof bandaids. After a week, you’ll be able to shower. The surgical glue will fall off naturally when ready. In the shower you’ll need to softly rub it away. Make sure to follow up with bio-oil or vitamin E to treat the scarred area.
How often will I have follow up appointments? TL Plastic Surgery is very thorough and beyond the “after” photos and general check-ups, they also offered 3 laser treatments as part of my package. These are to help speed up the healing of my incision scars. I was scared, but they took all of 5 minutes and didn’t hurt a bit.
What kind of medication do I need to take? I was given a prescription for Tylenol 3 which includes codeine. I had some discomfort, but no real pain. I didn’t really want to take the pain medication, but felt it might improve the effects of the swelling. After 2 days it was back to work for me, so I stopped. I had 2 days of antibiotics cocktails 3 times a day, then a pack once a day for 2 weeks. I was also on a pill a day to ensure the implant itself didn’t harden. That’s something I took once a day for 2 months.
The most common regret when it comes to breast augmentation procedures (or a “boob job”) is not going big enough. Throughout my consultation I tried on many different sizes of implants under a tight shirt, but none were really indicative of the size they would be once the swelling was gone, my body relaxed, and I got back to the gym. Even though I have 320 cc’s in my right breast and 300 cc’s in my left, my overall breast size hasn’t dramatically increased. My surgeon was well aware that I didn’t want huge breasts getting in my way while exercising, teaching, or anything that would mean an entirely new wardrobe. Since I already wore a padded bra daily, I haven’t had to buy new clothes, I’ve just swapped out the underwire for sports bras (and it feels wonderful!) Not having to wear a bold piece of metal digging into each side daily is the biggest takeaway from this whole experience. I love the way my figure looks. It’s not a change anyone but me would notice, but I didn’t go through with this surgery for anyone else.
None of these “Top 6 Annoying Things After a Boob Job” apply…
I always jump at the opportunity to try a new skincare routine, especially those local to Korea. Leegeehaam is located practically in my backyard – as my office is super close to theirs! When I’m asked to review skincare products I often worry that I won’t be able to give a positive review. I have fairly sensitive skin and can’t handle much in the way of fragrance. I’ve been really lucky lately to have found mild formulas with a hint of scent which actually get the job done. Recommending the following products is easy for a number of reasons. First, the application is simple. I only have 3 steps to fulfill. The formulas are nourishing, but dry quickly enough that I can put my makeup on right away. I’m not exactly a morning person, so when it comes to my morning routine I want to moisturize, pop on a little concealer if I’m looking/ feeling tired, add a little blush, and be well on my merry way.
Backed by leading dermatologists, Leegeehaam (LGH) Cosmetics, formerly Leejiham (LJH) Cosmetics, was first established in year 2000 and it pioneered the concept of cosmeceutical in Korea with its innovative and advanced products, each specialized in treating specific skin concern.
I tried out the Leegeehaam GROW Hyal B5 Ampoule, HOPE 5a Control Emulsion, and HOPE 5a Control Cream. As you can see above, the 3 products are not from the same line, so you can mix and match to support your moisturizing goals. This trio acts to reduce shine and provide moisture as the temperatures dip colder and colder. This line is a lot more affordable with fewer products to include and lower price-points than my nightly routine (these range from KRW 28,000 – KRW 48,000). This routine is super quick and easy. I would definitely have this as a repurchase in my Korean skincare arsenal. If you’re a girl on the go looking to get into Korean beauty and skincare, this is your gateway…
Right after my shower, I’ll dry my face and pop on the Leegeehaam GROW Hyal B5 Ampoule. This comes with an eye-drop applicator. 2 drops really go a long way! This is the only product from the trio I tried which has much of a fragrance. It’s a very subtle scent which always reminds me a little of chai.
The Hyal B5 Ampoule dries very quickly, so I don’t have to waste too much time before my second step: applying the 5a Control Emulsion. Ampoules and emulsions are designed to prepare your skin to soak up all the moisturizing goodness of a cream, so I don’t skip any of the 3 steps. The emulsion dries fairly quickly, too. Because it has cinnamon as a key ingredient, it has a subtle scent which goes very nicely with the ampoule. This step is designed to reduce excess sebum – the oily, waxy substance which can block pores and contribute to acne break-outs.
I’ll usually wait a couple of minutes before cracking open the 5a Control Cream. The consistency is less cream-like and more gel-like. Again, it has a quick-drying formula which I love in the morning when I’m in a rush. My skin feels soft all day and there’s never any hint of shine.
Formulated with true oasis made from 5-Hyaluronic Complex for deep, yet long lasing moisturizing for dehydrated skin suffering from dry, puffy, and rough skin caused by lack of hydration. A strong moisture barrier formed by Vitamin B5 and B3 holds onto rich hydration from 5-Hyaluronic Complex by preventing future water loss, leaving skin hydrated, plump, and glowing all day. Hyal B5 fills, retains, and protects moisture with 5-Hyaluronic Complex and Vitamin B3 & B5 barrier for deep hydration throughout the year.
As known as moisture retaining ampoule, ultra-hydrating formula of 5-Hyaluronic Complex replenishes the skin with deep moisturizing, while retaining moisture inside with visibly improved plumpness and radiance. Special jelly-like texture adheres tightly to the skin for intensive hydration and nourishing, improving fine lines, flakiness, and tightness from dehydration. High concentration of hyaluronic acid restores youthful hydration to dry skin, while vitamin B5 and B3 retains maximum level of moisturizing.
Leegeehaam Grow Hyal B5 Ampoule Size
How to Use Leegeehaam Grow Hyal B5 Ampoule
Squeeze out 2~3 droplets and apply over the face after toning. Gently pat to absorb better.
Leegeehaam Grow Hyal B5 Ampoule Key Ingredients
(Hydroxypropyltrimonium Hyaluronate, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Sodium Acetylated Hyaluronate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Ascorbyl Propyl Hyaluronate)
Infuses intensive and deep moisturizing to the skin.
Vitamin B5 (panthenol) & B3 (niacinamide)
Forms a moisture barrier on skin surface as it is applied, preventing any moisture loss and at the same time, protects skin from outer stimulation.
Named after a hormone called “5 Alpha Reductase,” which causes abnormal sebum production if imbalanced, the patented and mineral oil free formula of 5 Alpha Control series offers the perfect solution for controlling skin oil and shine. Moreover, it not only removes the unnecessary sebum but at the same time, soothes skin from inflammation to relieve skin trouble, leaving it healthy and refined.
Leegeehaam Hope 5a Control Emulsion – Product Details
Contains a high concentration of Sepicontrol A5, the key ingredient for shine control, to soothe and balance oily skin. Mineral oil free texture gently controls skin shine and oil, especially around the T-zone without the stickiness. It fills skin with natural moisturizing factors, making it plump and vital with the reduced sebum secretion.
Leegeehaam Hope 5a Control Cream – Product Details
Lightweight mineral oil-free technology with patented special formula of LGH is combined together to provide the optimal oil and shine control effect. It is a strongly recommended cream for those who have shiny skin surface but dehydrated inside (a good moisturizing cream for oily skin types).
Leegeehaam Hope 5a Control Cream – Size
How to Use Leegeehaam Hope 5a Control Cream
Apply an appropriate amount on face, morning and night.
Leegeehaam Hope 5a Control Cream Key Ingredients
Tightens the widened pores.
Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice
Soothes and relieves acne/trouble skin.
This article was written in unpaid partnership in exchange for an honest review of Leegeehaam products. ThatGirlCartier.com only features products or services I genuinely adore and would repurchase again and again.
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.
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.
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!
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 (email@example.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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!