Archive for ‘Korea’

July 26th, 2012

Shopping for Men in Korea (part 2 of family visit to Korea)

After our weekend trip to Soraksan in part 1, my family and I spent the rest of our time in Seoul. This post is partially to show how the rest of our trip went, and partially to show my brother’s shopping haul.

Finally, something for the guys!

Our goal was to buy him a new summer outfit and some other ‘stuff from Korea’. All his pants were long and too hot for the summer. He said “I don’t want to look like a preppy Korean, but I don’t want to look like a sloppy white guy either” (I’m just quoting him okay!). The dilemma of a Chinese-Canadian — not fully fresh off the boat, not fully on the white people’s ride either!

Basically, what he meant was he didn’t want to wear the pastel blue above the knee tight short trousers as most Korean guys we saw were sporting nowadays, but he also didn’t want to wear basketball shorts all the Canadians wore back home.

So, something in between preppy and sporty casual.

 

shopping in seoul, travel in seoul, myungdong shopping in seoul, travel in seoul, myungdong
Neither!

What a mission!

I became his personal stylist and shopping assistant for the next few days. Here’s what we bought.

 

 

Shopping for Men

 

Our main goal was men’s clothes. Obviously, there are always more women’s stores, but most shopping areas have clothes for men.

In Korea, you can bargain prices down by about 5-10%, but rarely more than that, especially if you are speaking in English (just be happy they don’t quote a higher price!). Obviously, there is no bargaining at big department stores or brand names.

Also, remember that in small Korean stores, you can only try on pants and outerwear, but not T-shirts! At the big brand names, you can try on anything.

 

 

Myungdong (명동, subway blue line #4)

 

For the guys, you will get the best of big brands here — Zara, H&M, Giordano, Uniqlo, etc. For shoes, there are major names like Adidas, Converse, ABC Mart, or small street shoe stalls where you can find cheap imitation styles. Higher end, especially suits and dress shirts can be found in the Lotte Department store. For unique and quirky styles, I took my brother to Aland, where you can find almost everything from accessories, clothes, socks, shoes in a variety of styles — punk, preppy, vintage, etc. However, our main purpose there was the huge variety of bags and backpacks ranging from sporty hiking backpacks, preppy canvas shoulder bags, vintage leather bags, and colorful studded hip hop backpacks. He needed a new schoolbag.

 

things to do in seoul, shopping in seoul, travel in seoul, myungdong
Street foods and pappingsoo (팥빙수),
or shaved ice with red beans at Beans Bin (super yummy!)

 

shopping in seoul for men, shopping in korea for men, men's clothes in korea, men's clothes in seoul, myungdong
White and Blue Strip T-shirt: Giordano, 20,000~ won ($18 USD); Denim Blue Straw Rimmed Low Ankle Shoes: street shoe store, 20,000-25,000~ won ($18-23); Short Jeans: Zara, 49,000~ won ($45); Purple Studded Backpack: Aland, 125,000~ won ($115)

 

At Giordana, I dressed Gary in this whole outfit (except for the shoes he was already wearing). He didn’t like the pants though!

shopping in seoul for men, shopping in korea for men, men's clothes in korea, men's clothes in seoul, myungdong
So hard understanding what this client wants!

 

 

Eedae (이대, subway green line #2)

 

Eedae is good for the little self merchant Korean stores to avoid the imported stuff. Although Ehwa is a women’s university, there are plenty of men’s store. You will find everything from regular T-shirts, hiphop style graphic print sweatshirts, sophisticated blazers, romantic style dress shirts, and the preppy blue and pink short trousers all the Korean guys wear.

 

shopping in seoul for men, shopping in korea for men, men's clothes in korea, men's clothes in seoul, myungdong
Gary sporting his new shirt, jeans, and bag on our second shopping day

 

There is one thing you must eat at Eedae — the Herb Cup Chicken (허브 컵 치킨). There are imitations elsewhere, but the real thing is at Eedae. It’s just the combination of freshly fried chicken, the breading on the chicken, the herbs, the sticky gooey spicy and sweet sauce, the sticky chewy ddeok (rice cake) and the hashbrowns that makes my mouth water even as I type.

I ended up going back for a second cup before we left.

Some of you guys are into cafes, and there is a really nice, European style cafe called Migo (picture above and below). We tried the black oyster ink bread.

 

things to do in seoul, shopping in seoul, travel in seoul, eedae, ehwa
Do you see Gary outside of Ehwa and all the girls walking out of the university? XD

 

I’ve gone shopping for Gary a lot before, either alone in Korea or with him in Vancouver, and with a lot of hits and misses, I’ve come to learn what his style is — casually dressed up. He likes simple and unique cutting, fitting not baggy, single neutral block colors with little color mixing or mismatching, and nothing too bright or flashy.

I wish he would be more adventurous with the way he dresses, but he’s very set on what he will or will not wear. If I buy something for him that’s “not his style”, he will absolutely refuse to wear it -_-

This time, I was real pro though. I would walk into a store and literally pinpoint within 0.25 seconds I look in one direction what would look good on him, is acceptable within his style, or on his wish list.

Staring at Kpop boys all day pays off!

Sharon: *walks straight up to the rack and pulls out targeted item*
………….“Try this on.”
Gary: “Hmm… I dunno. It’s pretty blah blah *analysis here*”
Sharon: “Just try it on.”
Gary: *tries*
………“It looks pretty good… blah blah *analysis here*”
Sharon: “Yeah, it does… blah blah *analysis here* You want it?”
Gary: “Yeah.”

Done.

Girls are a lot harder to dress though T_T

 

shopping in seoul for men, shopping in korea for men, men's clothes in korea, men's clothes in seoul, myungdong
Denim Rimmed Half Sleeve Checkered Dress Shirt: Eedae street store (name?), 35,000~ won ($32 USD); Half Sleeve Black Blazer (thin summer fabric): same Eedae street store, 65,000~ won ($59); Long Sleeve Navy Blue Blazer (thick autumn fabric): Morphine, 69,000~ won ($62); Bow Tie: Morphine, 8,000 won ($7); Orange Brown Asymmetrical Cardigan: Morphine, 30,000~ won ($27)

 

We bought all of these at just two different stores so that we could get a bargain. He chose the black blazer and necktie. I chose the dress shirt, navy blue blazer, and cardigan.

We got about 6-10% discount on those prices after my shameless bargaining.

 

shopping in seoul for men, shopping in korea for men, men's clothes in korea, men's clothes in seoul, myungdong
Gary styling the clothes for you guys back in Vancouver

 

 

Hongdae, Express Bus Terminal, and Others

 

We also did some shopping at Hongdae (홍대, subway green line #2) but only because we stayed at a hostel in the area. I wouldn’t take him shopping there otherwise. It’s a great place for female cosmetics and very quirky and unique accessories, bags, shoes, and clothing. However, the stores for men are few and overpriced. It’s more of a night life drinking and clubbing area (my favorite!).

I also took Gary to the Express Bus Terminal (고속버스 터미널, subway orange line #3 and dark green line #7), but it was still closed for renovations. It’s been renovating for a year or two now! It used to be a great area for low priced, but also mostly lower quality stuff, so it’s more of a treasure hunt. It’s my second favorite shopping area to Myungdong. Most of the stores are for women, but there are the occasional ones for men (well, that’s pretty much how it’ll work wherever you shop in Korea). I’m not sure when and how it will be like when renovations are complete though.

For very high end Korean designs, you can visit Apugujung (앞구정, orange line #3) where many of the celebs dwell. I’m not a high end girl so I’ve only been there a few times. A simple T-shirt can cost $200! You may also want to visit just to get a feel of what the rich and trendy neighborhood of Korea is like, and eat there for a much more reasonable price than the shopping.

 

What other places would you suggest for shopping in Korea, especially men’s clothes?

 

 

PS. This is my last post before leaving for Thailand for 5 weeks!!! Sooooo excited! But don’t worry, I will have a few posts pre-written during my break so the blog will still be active while I’m gone. I’ll also post some photos while I’m there, either on Facebook or a blog post, but I can’t post much because I’ll be super busy studying! However, I’ve been feeling really inspired lately with the blog and video ideas because of all your suggestions, so I’ll work extra hard on it all when I’m back from the trip! ^^

PPS: I’m in a bit of a dilemma! What do you guys prefer?

1) Hair Routine & Care Products Video
2) What’s in My Travel Bag Video

Please vote here or just comment! Thanks a bunch!

June 20th, 2012

Family Visit to Korea with Special Guest Gary — Soraksan (part 1)

Just last week, my mum and younger brother came to visit me in Korea.

It was the first time for my brother, Gary. He always refused to come because he “hated everything Korean just because I liked it so much.” Well, he says I was always playing those Korean videos when he was trying to study. -_-

I have been telling him to visit for the longest time, that his sister has really built a life here and would like for him to see how it’s like. He always challenged me, “what is there to do in Korea but shopping?”

I’m not sure what moved his sails, but he finally decided to visit, so I’ll show you what there is to do in Korea besides just shopping!

 

 

Soraksan

The only kinds of exercise I am willing to do are dance, badminton, and martial arts. Anything else that falls under the exercise category, I prefer to keep to a minimum. Including walking.

Gary is exactly the opposite. He’s a pretty active little boy, so his lazy elderly sister had to make a compromise. I agreed to take the family to Soraksan, but we would do the easier trails with him and can turn back anytime we are too tired to go on. Also, lots of sleep time for me.

It was actually my second time to Soraksan. Personally, I think it is the most beautiful mountain and hiking trail in Korea. The last time I went, it was in autumn. Even though the leaves had all fallen and most of the greens were covered with snow, there was still this solemn eerie beauty to the land. For the first time in my life, I saw that rocks, simply just rocks, could be so beautiful.

Soraksan (설악산) is located in the city Sokcho (속초). It takes around 3 hours to get there from Seoul. For directions, you can always call the Seoul Foreigner Helpline (02)-1330. Very nice, helpful, and speaks English.

 

 

The Hotel

We stayed at the same hotel I was at the first time, Sorak Tourist Hotel. Prices are very reasonable, the view is amazing, and rooms very decent. For 3 people, our room was just 65,000 won ($55USD) per night (80,000 won [$70USD] on weekends).

The owner, Charlie, is very nice and helpful. If there is anything you want to see, do, or eat, just ask him.

Also, the hotel is literally right at the base of the mountain. This is especially good if you go with hikers of different levels. You can turn back anytime you want and take a nap!

 

soraksan, sorak mountain, hiking in korea, traveling in korea

Yep. I think Gary likes the room.

 

 

Temples and Minor Trails

The great thing about Soraksan is there are many different trails of different levels. If you are not a big hiker, but just want to get away for a weekend, you can go for the cable car, temples, and minor trails (and the low priced raw fish and seafood coming up!).

 

soraksan, sorak mountain, hiking in korea, traveling in korea

Do you notice that the orange pipe has nothing visible holding it?

soraksan, sorak mountain, hiking in korea, traveling in korea

If you see rocks stacked on top of each other in Korea, it’s usually placed there as a wish token. Place your own rock and make a wish!

soraksan, sorak mountain, hiking in korea, traveling in korea

 

 

The Actual Climb

The first time I visited Soraksan, I had seen 금강글 the cave from afar, but we didn’t have time to hike there. My friends and I all agreed that it was something we’d like to come back to do, so I made this the goal of our trip. However, the cave turned out to be really small and made into a tiny temple. It was honestly pretty disappointing. The climb up was pretty challenging though, and just being up there became the reward.

The hike up was 3.1 km, as Gary points out below ^^

 

soraksan, sorak mountain, hiking in korea, traveling in korea

The trail has a lot of variety and the scene keeps changing — bridges, rivers, mini waterfalls, lakes, forest trails, trees, mountains and rocks just everywhere. Up until here is what I would consider the easy part and where most people would turn around.

 

soraksan, sorak mountain, hiking in korea, traveling in korea

This is where it gets real. I was literally using all fours!

soraksan, sorak mountain, hiking in korea, traveling in korea

The climb got so steep and rocky to a point where we were literally taking breaks every two minutes. I hate doing that because once I’m sitting down, I don’t want to get up, but my mom kept calling break -_- So, to entertain ourselves, we kept playing with her ‘ajumma hat’ XD

 

soraksan, sorak mountain, hiking in korea, traveling in korea

From 3.1 km… to 02. km to go, and the hardest and scariest part >.<

soraksan, sorak mountain, hiking in korea, traveling in korea

soraksan, sorak mountain, hiking in korea, traveling in korea

To be honest, I was mostly just holding on for dear life. Yep.

soraksan, sorak mountain, hiking in korea, traveling in korea

Finally! Made it to the top to drink the spring water that makes you younger the more you drink, except the climb up probably knocked a year off my life span, so I’m not sure how that will work out T_T

The water definitely tasted a lot like… rock so it was real interesting. Don’t be put off my the pot there. Gary pointed it out and wondered if the spring water was real, but the lady uses it to heat up the spring water to make coffee for people who buy something or make a donation.

Now, all we have to do is spend another 2 hours going back down…

Who’s idea was this again????

 

 

Nearby Food and Raw Fish and Seafood

If a 5 hour hike at the risk of falling into a bottomless pit for a sip of water is not exactly your cup of tea, most people go there for the fresh and low priced raw fish at DaePoHang (대포항), the Raw Fish Port. You won’t find prices like these in Seoul.

 

soraksan, sorak mountain, hiking in korea, traveling in korea

There are lots of places to eat at the foot of Soraksan, most of them selling SanChae Bibimbap (산채 비빔밥), or rice mixed with mountain vegetables, and PaJeon (파전), or Korean style pancake. The best one to go to is the little restaurant attached to a souvenir store right outside the Sorak Tourist Hotel. We tried all the other places and kept wanting to return to this one because they have the best Seafood PaJeon!

 

soraksan, sorak mountain, hiking in korea, daepohang, daepohang port, soraksan raw fish

Our first meal at DaePoHang Port.

With great directions from our hotel owner, Charlie, we arrived after a 10-15 minute bus ride.

The last time I was here, all I remembered was that our meal costed 30,000 won ($27 USD) or so for 3 people to have a whole plate of raw fish and spicy fish soup (매운탕), which is an extreme bargain. We walked down the seafood restaurants and they all quoted prices of 60,000 won ($52) — twice the price!

Finally, we got to the end of the street where there is a little path that turns into a parking lot like area. I almost missed it if not for my mom pointing out that all the people were walking there, and we hit jackpot! The ajummas there all held out a basket variety of fish for 30,000 won.

Note, though, that veggies (5,000 won), soup (6,000-10,000 won), and everything else is charged separately. We ordered the plain instead of spicy soup.

 

soraksan, sorak mountain, hiking in korea, daepohang, daepohang port, soraksan raw fish

To be honest, one meal of raw fish and soup was hearty and filling enough, but my mom thought it was such a great deal she wanted to go once more before we left Sokcho.

This time, we did an upgrade and got 도미 (bream?), which itself costed 30,000 ($27 USD), plus a variety of other fish for 30,000. We got about twice the amount of raw fish, which really works out to the price.

With the veggies, soup, and rice, our meal came out to around 75,000 won ($65 USD), which is still pretty darn good for all that raw fish. Imagine the price of eating it at a Japanese restaurant!

 

 

Favorite Photos — Kungfu Fighting

I saw this open space between two temple buildings with the foggy mountain background. In my mind, I could picture an absolute scene from an olden time Kungfu movie, so I suggested we make that picture XD

My mum took the picture, and we didn’t have much time, so she didn’t get the temples around us, but I thought these turned out pretty well ㅋ I claim total artistic rights on these! haha!

soraksan, sorak mountain, hiking in korea, traveling in korea

 

Thank you to Gary for agreeing to being in this post ^^

 

Part two will be in Seoul!

 

 

May 9th, 2012

My First Street Fashion Experience!

After a few months of winter hibernation, I finally went out to do some shopping in Myungdong, my favorite shopping area in Seoul. As I was walking up a slightly deserted street, I saw this ajusshi (uncle/older man) holding this real big and nice camera looking at me and approaching to talk…

He turned out to be a street fashion photographer!

I wasn’t really that dressed up, since I was prepared for a busy day of heavy shopping, so I was a little surprised. He gave me his business card and asked for permission to take some photos. It was totally awkward for me. I know I take a lot of photos of myself for this blog, but having a stranger with a huge camera take photos of you on his knees and a bunch of different angles on the street and people passing by is… just a little different, you know?

I wanted to bolt and run away as quickly as possible!

He asked me a few questions about myself, where I was from, my everyday style, and to explain what I was wearing that day. I told him my usual style was “편하면서 화려하게” (bright/flashy/dressed up but comfortable). Then he showed me on his iPad the website he was photographing for, where I can find my own photos, and promoted it a little to me.

 

Here are some of the photos:

seoul street fashion, korea street fashion, street fashion photos, myungdong street fashion

seoul street fashion, korea street fashion, street fashion photos, myungdong street fashion

seoul street fashion, korea street fashion, street fashion photos, myungdong street fashion

seoul street fashion, korea street fashion, street fashion photos, myungdong street fashion

 

White V-neck Tshirt: 7,900 won ($7 USD) online from 11st.co.kr
Teal Graphic Print Cardigan: 30,000~ won ($27) from Express Bus Terminal underground shopping
Polka Dot Denim Shorts: $30~ from Zara (also worn in Nine: Leprechaun Casual)
White Canvas Shoes: $18 from H&M
Silver Shoulder Bag: gift from my mum from Ebase in HongKong (because I love silver/gold bags and shoes!)

 

To me, white is the absolute summer color. I have like a bajillion variety of white summer T-shirts. With my bleached hair, I actually look better in black, but I hate walking around in the sun in black clothes. I don’t want to be a walking sunlight magnet!

I’ve been wanting a white deep V-neck T-shirt ever since I saw Mary Kate Olsen in this effortless but stunning outfit.

 

mary kate olsen, v neck tshirt, white tshirt

mary kate olsen, v neck tshirt, white tshirt
(and an extra picture for good measure just because she’s so pretty)

 

ARGH!! I just always love the Olsen twins’ style and makeup. Well, I loved them since they were babies in Full House!

 

 

Close Ups + Accessories

 

You know how sometimes, you will buy something perfect which you absolutely love, but just never quite find the chance to use it, until one day, it happens to match an outfit perfectly?

Well, that was what happened here…

 

korean accessories, korean earrings, korean wrisetlets, korean bracelets

korean accessories, korean earrings, korean wrisetlets, korean bracelets

korean accessories, korean earrings, korean wrisetlets, korean bracelets

korean accessories, korean earrings, korean wrisetlets, korean bracelets

Rainbow Double Wrap Around Wristlet: 7,9000 won ($7 USD) online from 11st.co.kr
Jamaican Wooden Bead Bracelet: free with above purchase!
Zipper Earrings: 13,000 won ($12) from Hongdae
Teal Circle and Black Mini Star Earring: 1,000 won ($1) from street accessory stores (Ehwa and Myungdong)

 

The cardigan really matches the description I gave the ajusshi about my style that day “flashy but comfortable”. The bright teal is summery and fun with some colorful comic-like graphic prints.

You can’t see the accessories well in the photos he took, but aren’t the rainbow + white and Jamaican wristlets like an absolutely perfect color match to the white T-shirt and cardigan comic prints?

I wore the earrings to be visible with and match my hair: the long zipper earring where my bangs are long, and the studs where my hair is pinned behind my ears. Unbalanced and mistmatched earrings are an easy way to put a unique twist to your accessorizing.

I didn’t wear the teal zipper because two teal earrings matching the teal cardigan is a bit overkill.

 

What is your summer must have item? ^^

 

February 18th, 2012

Hair Salons in Seoul

Here’s the post I promised (I often promise posts and get side tracked, but I was determined to do this one!) — a complete guide to finding and visiting a hair salon in Seoul.

Many people want to cut their hair when they visit Korea, as it’s cheaper and caters more to their hair style tastes. I’m always asked the same thing from readers and friends about it, so here we go!

1) Where to Go
2) FAQ
3) Korean Hair Salon Vocabulary + Common Phrases

 

Where to go 찾아가~

 

Where should I go?
University areas offer the best price for quality (just think students on a budget). There are lots of salons around 이대 (Ehwa Women’s University, subway station). Color dye + cuts are around $30 there.

If you want middle to upper scale, try visiting 강남 (Kangnam; also good for night life, drinking, and clubs). Expect $40~ for a cut; $100~ for dye. However, most people on a short trip to Korea don’t usually have time to visit Kangnam, as it’s not a common touristy area.

You can also find all ranges of salons in 명동 (Myungdong), the most touristy shopping area so you don’t have to make a separate trip for your hair. You can easily tell from the outer appearance of a salon what the price range is.

Hair salons are almost everywhere. Just keep your eyes peeled!

 

Where do the celebrities go? I want to visit my Kpop band’s salon!
Most celebrities go to luxury beauty salons located in 압구정 (Apgujong). Apgujong is the high class area of Seoul, where the rich and famous usually dwell.

Side note: I rarely visit Apgujong, but of the few times I did, I actually saw 신애 (Shinae) from We Got Married (as Alex’s “wife”) at a pet store with her dog and real husband. If you walk around the area while looking for a beauty salon, it’s very possible to even run into a celeb!

 

Where do you go?
I go to Aka Hair at 천호 (Cheonho) station on the pink #8 line, exit 2, walk straight about a block or two and it’s on your left, 2nd floor, with the main street on your right, across from Hyundai Department Store.

seoul hair salons, aka hair, korean hair salons
www.akahair.com – click for a Korean map

Above is their business card, with the name of the hair dresser who did my hair once, and the times he works. However, I am not recommending any specific hair dressers because there has never been one I liked enough, but overall, I like the price, service, product quality, and hair cut results.

I’ve dyed and cut my hair about 6-7 times over 3 years at Aka Hair, always making an effort to go out of my way there. They claim to be a celebrity hair salon (though I doubt it), with a clean and spacious interior, both young and older hair dressers and customers, and is usually quite busy, especially during peak hours.

 

Can you suggest any more specific salons?
I am not very adventurous when it comes to salons, so I cannot personally recommend any more salons.

Instead, I can only recommend that you keep your eyes peeled, walk into a salon, and don’t be afraid to ask for the prices. If you don’t like what you see, it’s perfectly fine to walk back out (that’s what I did before finding my salon!).

If you live in Korea with a phone, and are too shy to walk in, call them instead to ask for prices. Their phone number is often listed on the hanging store name signs.

seoul hair salons, myungdong hair salons, korean hair salons
random hair salons in Myungdong (명동)

Would you be able to spot all the salons without the yellow star to indicate? XD

Just look for the word “hair” or “헤어” in English or Korean (more vocab below).

 

 

FAQ 궁굼해!

How much does it cost?
It depends on where you go and the length of your hair.

I always go for middle-scale salons, so hair cuts are 15,000 won ($14 USD) and color dye, essence treatment, or perms are around 50,000 won ($45).

About 10,000 won is added per 2 inch for hair below shoulder length.

More on hair dye costs below.

 

Can they speak English?
Foreign based salons like Toni&Guy probably can, but why would you go to Korea to get your hair cut at Toni&Guy?

Upper scale Korean salons like Juno Hair might speak a little.

Chinese mandarin or Japanese speakers may want to hit up 명동 (Myungdong) salons as the area caters largely to Chinese/Japanese tourists and many employees can speak it almost perfectly.

My advice to you is to just choose the salon you like, bring a few photos, and be very descriptive, use simple English, and a lot of body language. Try to ask for a stylist who speaks a little of your language when you enter the salon.

You can also use the vocabulary + common phrases I offer at the end of this post!

 

Can I perm my hair like the celebrities?
The wavy hair you see on most Korean actresses are actually not perms, but curls created by a curling iron. It is a temporary curl, not a permanent perm.

Consult your stylist to try and get the closest perm to what you want. There are many kinds of perms, wave perms, volume perms, etc.

I’ve never permed by hair before, only asked about it and seen my Korean friend’s hair, so I’m not really an expert in this area. I’m more of a hair color girl.

 

What services does a hair cut / dye / perm include? Do I pay extra for wash + dry? Does it include anything else?

Korean salons charge separately for wash and dry. Aka Hair charges $3 for hair wash + dry.

All color dye jobs includes cut + wash + dry + curling/styling. I’ve never permed my hair before but it will include at least a wash and dry.

A really special service offered at Aka Hair (I’m not sure if it’s same everywhere) is that after a 50,000+ won dye job, they will curl your hair for free.

Even when my hair was super long, and it took an extra 30 minutes after a 3 hour dye + wash + cut + dry job, the hair dresser still offered to curl my hair for me using a curling iron (NOT a permanent perm!).

cut hair in seoul, haircuts in korea, seoul hair salons, aka hair, korean hair salons
Top: pictures taken shortly after a hair cut at Aka Hair
Bottom: after hair dye + cut + curl at Aka Hair

 

What hair dye products do they use? How do they charge for longer hair? What is the price range?
The salon I go to offers 3 different costs and dye quality — 30,000 won ($27 USD), 50,000 won ($45) and 80,000 won ($72). I always go for the 50,000 won, which is L’oreal. I’m not sure what other salons use.

Remember, these prices are just minimal costs. About 10,000 won ($9) is added for every 2 inches for hair below shoulder length. When my hair was the length of the picture above, top right, it costed 80,000 won to dye.

Root touch-ups for hair dye is the same as the minimal cost. So, root touchups cost the same as dying your hair if it is above shoulder length.

 

Do hair salons also do makeup?
Not the lower to middle scale salons. If you want to have your makeup done by a professional makeup artist, you are probably looking for a higher end beauty salon, not a hair salon.

High end salons in 앞구정 is where all the celebrities go to do their makeup and hair.

 

What other services do hair salons offer?
Basic nail art prices are usually decent at hair salons. They may also do eyebrow bleaching. Wedding or special occasion hair styling is often available as well.

 

Do I have to pay tips?
Usually, you never pay tips in Korean restaurants, for food delivery, or most other things.

I usually never pay tips at Aka Hair because I never have a stylist I like and will return to (and I’m cheap, bleh =p). However, I have seen a guy pay tips before. Also, the hair dresser always unnecessarily stands behind the counter with the cashier as you pay. It’s part of the payment procedure and they are most likely hoping for tips.

Tipping is not a common custom in Korea, so you won’t get any dirty looks if you decide to go tight on your wallet. However, for a stylist I want to return to, I would tip for better service next time. Remember to get a business card and ask for the name and working time of the hair dresser!

 

 

Vocabulary + Common phrases 배우자 ^^

Here is just a list of very basic vocabulary and simple phrases.

There’s really no way I can teach you how to describe all the possible things you can want in a hair cut, but hopefully with a few main vocab & phrases, pictures of the hairstyle you want, and good body language, you can get the point across.

If you have absolutely no Korean ability and don’t think that you can even pronounce these phrases properly, I suggest you just print the chart out (Save Image As), bring it along with you, and point to it!

hair salon korean vocabulary, hair cut common korean phrases, cut hair in seoul, haircuts in korea, seoul hair salons, aka hair, korean hair salons

Good luck, and do share with me if you ever have a chance to cut your hair in Korea or uses any of the vocab or phrases ^^

April 24th, 2011

April 명동 Accessories Haul

명동 (MyungDong, subway stn. blue line #4) is my favorite place to shop! It has everything you could want in one area — Korean street stores and brand names, cosmetic stores, boutiques, sports brands, major American brand names, street foods and restaurants — you name it!

From March-April, I bought a few basic T-shirts for work from Zara, 4 Etude House lipsticks (planning to review these too), and a variety of things here and there from 명동.

However, included in my April shopping haul, I ended up with more accessories than I expected, and here are my favorite four:

(from left to right, top to bottom)

  1. New York Yankees New Era MLB Flat Brimmed Hologram Fitted Cap
  2. New York Yankees Watch with Gold Head and White Rubber Straps
  3. Vintage Boxed Shoulder (Camera) Bag
  4. Metal Spike Studded All Black Converse Shoes

 

 

 

New York Yankees New Era MLB Flat Brimmed Hologram Fitted Cap
Purcahsed Offline from: Hatson (MyungDong branch)
Price: 59,000 won ($55 USD)
Size: 7 1/4 (58)
Availability: In stock (as of April 23)
Online Store: Hatson.co.kr; Product Link

 

 

This cap is bad-ass. Hologram effect on brim, logo (front), button (top) and MLB logo (back). When you move around or go under different lighting, the hat’s color and brightness will change!

I was debating between a variety of New Era and Yankees hats — all black, all black with gold embellished logo, or all black with hologram effect — and the hologram was just so unique I had to get it. This cap is so sick!!

 

My size: 7 1/4 (58) // 7.25 inches (58 centimetres)

 

Size Chart

When choosing a hat size for yourself, your hat should fit snuggly on your head and not fall off even if you shake it lightly or lower your head. You should be able to fit one finger comfortably between the hat and your head. The brim of the hat should sit just above your eyebrows.

 

In picture: T.O.P., TaeYang, and G-dragon of BigBang; Park JaeBum (former 2pm member)

Sandra Park (2ne1)

 

Hats On, offline store, Myungdong Branch

Offline Store Addresses (click to enlarge; click Hat’s on Blog > Hat’s on STORE > page 2 > 약도보기 to view maps)
MyungDong Branch: first floor, 14-55 Myungdong 2ga, Jung-gu, Seoul (near Myungdong and Eulji-ro 1ga subway stn. on green line #2)
Hongdae Branch: first floor, 346-51 SeoGyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul (near Hongdae subway stn. on green line #2)
COEX Branch: #159, Samsung-dong, Kangnam-gu, Seoul (inside COEX mall, Samsung subway stn. on green line #2)

 

 

 

New York Yankees Watch with Gold Head and White Rubber Straps
Purcahsed Online: 11st.co.kr; Product Link; or search keywords “금 시계” (gold watch) on 11st.co.kr
Price: 24,700 won + 2,500 won shipping ($23 + $2.50 USD)
Size: Unisex (I buckle it at the last hole and it’s still a bit big for me, so should fit men as well)
Colors: Gold with White Strap, Silver with Black strap, all Silver, and all Gold
Availability: In stock (as of April 23)

 

With original packaging — great as a gift.

You will see me say this over and over again, but I love unisex or men’s clothing/accessories. What’s even more weird is, I find it even more flattering when a guy truly compliments one of my clothing/accessory item in a way that they would want to wear it for themselves — how cool is it for a girl to wear something that even a guy would want to wear?

I don’t get these kinds of compliments often. Actually, I can count them all on one hand, but a while ago, I wore this watch to class, and at the end of class, one of my male students said to me, “Sharon, I REALLY love your watch — gold and white — really good.”

Success! ^^

 

CL (2ne1)

I’m actually trying to build a hip hop outfit — not 2ne1 style, but true original hip hop (I want to do a post of this eventually, because lots of people don’t know what this actually is!). I didn’t want to get a fully gold watch because that’s just too much for me, so I decided I want something that was gold and white — and found this perfect match!

 

I would totally get the Superman watch, which comes in two sizes for Women and Men (or couple watch), but I can’t find one with a plastic strap. I don’t mind the gold steel strap but sizing is less flexible compared to a plastic strap with holes, and I’m afraid it might not fit T_T

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vintage Boxed Shoulder (Camera) Bag
Purcahsed Offline from: SSFW (Seoul Special Fashion Week)
Price: 52,000 won ($48 USD)
Colors: Brown and Black
Availability: Out of Stock (as of April 23)
Online Store: SSFW.co.kr

SSFW has sooo many nice bags. I finally settled on this one (also after my ‘go-and-come-back’ shopping tactic the next day) because I’ve been wanting a box-shaped bag (I know, everything I see is something I’ve ‘always been wanting’ T_T but it’s true! That’s also how I always end up spending so much money ㅠ.ㅠ).

 

 

It’s a lot like camera bags for vintage box-shaped cameras.

My bag wouldn’t be able to fit my DSLR though : / (unless I took it apart to carry)

 

SSFW sells mostly vintage items. They also have a SSFW Accessories branch that sells only accessories.

Offline Store Addresses (click picture to enlarge; SSFW.co.kr > scroll to bottom of page > OFFLINE SHOP)
Branches available in Myungdong (subway stn. blue line #4) and Shinsa (subway stn. orange line #3)

 

 

 

Metal Spike Studded All Black Converse Shoes
Brand: gunt (my9unt.com)
Purcahsed Offline from: Aland (MyungDong branch)
Price: 159,000 won ($147 USD)
Size: 140
Colors: All Black, Classic Vintage Black and White (more colors available online than in stores)
Availability: In Stock (as of April 23)
gunt Online Store: my9unt.com, Product Link: click my9unt.com > shoes > Basic Stud Converse Hi All Black
Aland Online Store: A-land.co.kr; Brand (gunt) Link

I have been wanting a pair of shoes like these since FOREVER and forever — probably for 3 years — a pair of black, comfy, high ankle, Converse-style (but didn’t have to be) shoes with a twist and edge to it.

However, any out of the ordinary Converse-style shoes (with sequins, extreme shoelaces, or whatever) are usually quite expensive. I could just never find a pair that was nice enough for me to justify the costs — until I saw these (and even then I still had to make myself leave the store and go back another day to buy it to make sure I really wanted it — that’s my shopping tactic now to make sure I don’t buy things I don’t really need or want that much T_T).

 

I was hesitant to buy these shoes at first because I thought the studs were cheaply glued on, but my friend opened up the insides of the shoe and pointed out that they were actually stapled on.

The next time I went to try the shoes on and they are CRAZY comfortable. You don’t even feel like you are wearing shoes!

So all things considered, justified my purchase a lot more! XD

 

The only colors available in store are the All Black and Black & White ones. I would’ve went with the all black silver studs either way.

I only held up the Big Size Stud ones and they are REALLY heavy. I didn’t even try them on and wouldn’t recommend it to girls unless you don’t mind a lot of extra weight on your feet.

The Black & White ones just looked too normal — it looked cheaper and more everyday (although it’s actually more expensive!).

 

Lee Jung Shin (이정신) from CN Blue

Seo InYoung (서인영) on Sunday Heroes (영웅호걸)

 

Aland sells a lot of quirky and vintage items.

Offline Store Addresses (click picture to enlarge; Aland Offline Stores available in Myungdong, Hongdae, Kangnam, COEX Mall, etc.

 

Aland and SSFW are not stores I usually go into myself — I’m not so into the vintage scene. However, I was shopping with a girlfriend that day, and she loooves vintage.

That’s one of the reasons why I like shopping with girlfriends — they always bring me into stores I would normally never step into myself, and even get me to appreciate different styles and items that I may not normally consider for myself! ^^

 

 

PS. I added a product list to my Lookbook: Three makeup look. I had actually meant to do it but forgot T_T What’s the point of seeing a makeup look without at least knowing the products right?

Next time, I’ll take a picture of all the products I used as well.

 

FTC: All products in this post were purchased with my own money.