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A Jar Of Creamy Korea!

If you walk around Seoul's swinging fashion districts, you'll notice something: Korean women not only dress impeccably well, but they also look more youthful in appearance.

Good genes help, and I've even heard it's all the collagen in the Korean soups and stews that keeps Korean skin baby soft and airport runway smooth.

These urban legends can leave us wondering, but as a daily user of Korean make-up products I think it's also something to do with Korean beauty rituals.


Reactions To PSY At The American Music Awards

PSY and MC Hammer really stole the show at the American Music Awards on Nov 18, dancing together in a mash-up of 'Gangnam Style' and Hammer's 1991 hit 'Too Legit To Quit.'

If you haven't seen it yet, I urge you to check it out here.

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Light Up The World!

Post-hurricane, a couple in K-Town's 32nd Street!

Post-hurricane, a couple in K-Town's 32nd Street!

(I took this picture of a happy couple strolling in K-Town 32nd Street post-hurricane.)

As I write this in a building that has been taken over by a power outage, I think about light, and how we take the presence of light for granted.

New York has been taken over by a kind of monster hurricane that is taking its toll on everyone -- including myself. Until things return to normal we are compromised: showering in the dark, subsisting on food that does not need to be refrigerated, and trying to get by without electricity.


Beauty, Uninterrupted

People have often asked me what I think of the popularity of double fold eyelid surgery, and plastic surgery in general.

I'll be honest. I never liked it, and while there are pro's and cons to every argument, my personal take on going under the knife is a huge no.

It's not that I think surgery is a mark of needless vanity on the woman's part. That might be true, but that's not the point. Plus -- I hear vanity is healthy.

When it comes to plastic surgery in South Korea, I guess my gripe is that the women who undergo surgery to obtain larger eyes, higher noses, or a more chiseled jawbone are not only committing to irreversible change, they're often subjecting themselves to European notions of what's beautiful. They're surrendering to the false notion that Asian features just aren't good enough.

My beauty philosophy: work with what you have. That means fighting pollution, dry air, and dirt that will always clog up an otherwise healthy organ.

So I've been using the CAOLION Pore Minimizing Pack from WishTrend for a while now. It's doing wonders, re-setting the clock on my exhausted, make-up clogged skin.

Just slather on this mud-like mask, leave it on your face for 10-25 minutes, and read your favorite blogs while it works its magic. You'll be good as new.

And the best part? No knives required!


A Guide To Seoul's Spas

Not too many visitors to South Korea equate their visit with the ultimate spa experience, but truth be told there's a lot more than meets the eye when it comes spas, detoxification and getting your body back in balance.

In our book 'Seoul Sweet Seoul' (now in its second edition -- hurray!) my co-author and I share some insights about Seoul's spas: what to expect, why it's good for you and where to go. Here's a primer:

1. Spas or saunas are everywhere and they come in different shapes and sizes. Seoul's a densely populated city and most residential blocks have their own neighborhood public bathhouse, or 'mogyok-tang.' The amenities are spare, but the admission is relatively cheap. A notch above is the Jjimjil-bang, which are open 24 hours a day, and offer a snack lounge, Internet cafe, and even Karaoke if you're feeling musically inclined.

2. Korean spas have rules. When in Rome do as Romans do. Jjimjil-bangs are a must-visit destination when in Seoul -- these spas usually come equipped with various kiln saunas touting minerals and atmospheric pressure designed to energize your body and restore your health. Just remember before you jump into a tub you'll be required to take a pre-shower. Likewise put on the t-shirt and shorts they provide before you head out to the kiln saunas. (And while we're at it, no splashing around like PSY in the above, especially if you're over 18 years of age. Children however...)

3. Check out these spas. Korean women take their spas seriously, it's not uncommon to find them lounging at these places for hours. Exfoliation, detoxifying in a steam room, or hanging out having snacks and chatting up their friends. It's all part of the Seoul experience!

Recommended destinations:
Hotel Prima Sauna. Hotel spa with indoor/outdoor jacuzzis, clean showers, and Internet.
Dragonhill Spa. Megaplex spa with different zones to fit your mood. The New York Times, ABC and CNN have all been there, done that.

Oh and before I forget, once you emerge spa goddess-like in your terry cloth towel, moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! Right now I am loving the Gentle Moist Aloe Gel by Klair's available on WishTrend. It's a clear gel, non-greasy, and includes Green Tea and Witch Hazel extract. Highly recommended!

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Delicious Body Wash From South Korea

Tried and True: Nature Holic Body Wash in Four Fragrances

Tried and True: Nature Holic Body Wash in Four Fragrances

Guess what guys. I like the feeling of being squeaky clean after a nice hot shower.

I learned somewhere along the way -- maybe circa grade school -- that no matter how much you clean or disinfect a surface, there will always be some germs milling around. Because that's biology: it's tough stuff.

But does that really matter? We're biological too, and I think a good shower goes a long way towards getting your day off to the right start.

I've been using the Nature Holic Body Wash available on Korean beauty mall WishTrend, and I love it! So far I've tried the Grapefruit and the Milk versions, they're both great for a couple of reasons.

First they smell great, but second they both moisturize your skin as you cleanse! I use it with a Japanese exfoliating towel, like the one seen here.

For some reason I've never been a big fan of body lotions, so it's nice to use a body wash that can help me stay moisturized but also eliminate an unnecessary routine post-shower.

Did I mention they smell great?

(PS - My next post will be about the Korean public bath experience, so stay tuned!)


I Love Psy Oppa!

PSY on The Today Show (Photo Credit: TodayShow Instagram)

PSY on The Today Show (Photo Credit: TodayShow Instagram)

Will the Gangnam Style craze never stop? Korean singer PSY has been making the rounds on the US television show circuit: he's appeared on Ellen DeGeneres, was featured as a surprise guest at MTV's Video Music Awards, and wowed his audience at Rockefeller Center on The Today Show!

PSY's performance was full of unbridled energy. In South Korea he's known by his fans for the dedication and going the extra mile to make sure everyone at a PSY concert is having a good time.

And clearly, judging by the enthusiasm of the audience at The Today Show -- a mix of Asian American and other fans -- everyone was loving The PSY phenomenon:


A Summer Trend For Autumn: K-Pop Lips!

In my makeup bag: LizyLips lip gloss from Korea

In my makeup bag: LizyLips lip gloss from Korea

You know, I hate to see summer go. Nights out in a breezy tank top and casual flip flops, or cocktails at a rooftop bar -- will all be but a memory in a few weeks time. Boo!

But one thing I hope I won't have to miss is K-pop inspired summer makeup.

Because for some reason once fall kicks in many beauty-minded women -- as if on cue -- are wearing those darker, autumn-appropriate colors on their lips.

And I'm cool with that, because you never know when you're walking through Central Park and you want your lips to match the dusting of foliage on the ground. Right?


A Gentleman's Dignity: Sexy, Free And Single In Korea

Can I just say…I am so thankful for this K-drama?

I began watching A Gentleman's Dignity (in Korean: 신사의 품격) upon the recommendation of my 'Seoul Sweet Seoul' co-author Hana Yoo, and she was so on the money.


Crazy About BB Cream!

So hopefully by now everyone is humming along to 'Gangnam Style' by PSY!

But what exactly is Gangnam style? And how can you, dear reader, get some?

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