New BLOG – Korean Makeup/Skincare

Hi guys,

I’ve decided to start up a beauty/travel blog with my twin sister, Allison, so I won’t be posting on here anymore. It will mainly be about Korean makeup, skincare, and a bit about fashion and travel; however, I will keep this blog here for any of you looking to apply for Fulbright/teaching in Korea in general/looking for resources if you are living in Korea. Feel free to post comments here, I’ll still be checking this blog.

As for my followers, I’d really appreciate it if you would follow me here (click the image below):

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Settled in at Home ! Final Update?

Hi everyone,

Its been a really long time since my last post– its been 5 months to be exact. I think I’ll be making this my last post on this blog, because it was really meant to be a Fulbright/Living in Korea-type of blog. I’m still into Korean beauty etc. but I don’t really want to use this blog as a platform for that! I’ve been debating starting a new blog, or even starting a Youtube channel, but let’s face it, I’m lazy. I’d rather just post pictures on Facebook or Instagram haha.

I’ve been meaning to update my blog for a while because I kind of left the last post on an ambiguous note as to how things are going at home. Basically, things are good. Really good! 🙂 I found a job starting at the end of September/beginning of October and I’ve been employed for almost 4 months now. I’m working at a University in Financial Aid, and I’m starting my master’s degree on January 30th (wow that’s 8 days from now).

I’m going to study Higher Education Leadership and Policy Studies (basically Higher Ed Administration) and I’m going to be taking 3 classes (1 in person and 2 online). Yes, it’s a lot, but my advisor recommended I take 3 because if I wait to take one class, it is only offered every few years. So I’m going to be working FT while taking 3 grad classes…hard to wrap my head around. Good news about it though? I can get my masters in 2 years, and due to the benefit of tuition remission, I take classes for free!

Although things have been good, looking back, 2016 was a rough year (especially the end of 2016). I’m trying to be positive, and considering I managed to find this job, and have found my direction, I hope 2017 will be a much better year! I hope you all had a wonderful 2016, and if not, I hope your 2017 is much better!

Back Home

Wow…so it’s already been a month a week I’ve been home. I didn’t get to update my blog as I originally intended (talking about what I did in Seoul), but I’m updating now. I had a lot of fun in Seoul, but it was busy and exhausting! I remember how hot and sauna-like the summer was there this year.

The Return Home

Now that I’m home, I have mixed feelings. My friend from Colorado, Heidi, who I studied abroad with in Korea 3 years ago came to visit– it was really nice. She stayed about a week. Allie came home during that time, but her time was brief. Barely a week? I guess that’s the nature of EPIK versus Fulbright. Fulbright gets better vacation time and more support in community, but EPIK has the benefit of better pay and benefits.

Allison and Heidi left all too quickly, and my full-time job search began, and the anxiety started to settle in. Entry-level jobs are hard to find and when they are available, the pay is well under what I expected after having so many student loans from a college education. I was expected to start at at least $35,000 and above, but few jobs are offering even slightly above 30,000.

The Job Search?

The competition is also rough, despite what seems to be a vast improvement in the availability of jobs. I’ve been scouring the internet, applying to several jobs a day, going to career counseling appointments, and doing some interviews here and there. But no luck so far. It’s only been maybe 2 weeks of serious searching, but I’m already starting to feel slightly disheartened…though I know I shouldn’t feel that way. I know my standards are high. I want a location that’s not a far commute, I want to live at home, and I want a certain salary for a job I’m qualified for. It really limits things.

I find myself flipping through articles on Forbes and everywhere, searching for “job employment for recent college grads.” One particular article spoke to me. The author said after graduating from college, it took her 7 months to find her first full-time job. It also had to do with how picky she was about the job she wanted. But she assured readers that we should appreciate this “odd transition” period while we can.We’re never going to have this much time off again, so embrace this time as an opportunity instead of a time of despair. Search for jobs, yes, but also, enjoy your hobbies and time off. Do something productive. Do something fun.

The Transition Period…fearing the unknown

It’s ironic to me now that I feel like no one talks about how teenage years are a joke compared to our early 20s. I thought that once I chose a major in college, everything else would figure itself out. I was SO wrong. Once you graduate, your dream job may not be available or even worse, you probably won’t even be qualified for it. The masters is the new bachelors now. And you find yourself lost…where do I start? What jobs do I apply for? What do I even want to do anymore? You start to question yourself. You start to question your capabilities. Our 20s are the time of transition between the safety of school and the real working world. We no longer have someone telling us, do this and do that. We have to make decisions.

So while I contemplate this really difficult transition phase of my life, I’m going to do my best to not get down. I’m going to remain positive, and trust that everything will work itself out as long as I keep trying my best. So instead of despairing about not knowing what to do with myself, or how to find a job, I’m going to enjoy this time off, for however long it lasts.

Being Home

I’m happy to be home, but the more I’m home the more I miss college. I miss having that constant support and community from friends that were literally next door. I miss being able to stop in, and talk about our life problems. Being back home, I realize I don’t have a lot of people to spend time with. My really good friends were made in college, and they live all over the place.

One thing I definitely have been happy about though, is that I left my school. I occasionally wonder about what it would’ve been like if I moved to Seoul for a 3rd year, but it’s a brief thought. I know that if I returned home now or next year, I’d be in the same place I am now. I don’t want to delay the inevitable.

Lingering Thoughts about my 2nd Grant Year

I heard from the new teacher at my school recently, and now being home really feels permanent. I’m happy though, because after the last few days in Seoul before returning home, I came to realize how much bitterness I felt and perhaps, will continue to hold onto for quite a long time. I felt my school treated me badly until the very end. They screwed up having my bags sent to the airport before I returned home, and didn’t contact me or my teacher about it. Instead, when I went to pick my bags up a few hours before my flight, I was told by the shipping counter that they had never received my bags. Thankfully, it ended up being worked out where the company paid to have my bags delivered to my house in the USA, but this was worked out by me and my only helpful Fulbright cote.

I try so hard to always put a positive spin on things, but my 2nd grant year was really one of the hardest experiences I’ve ever gone through. I felt drained, bitter, sad, angry, every single day. I had been ready to just about give up during last winter break. But I pushed through it. So with this in mind, I want to remember that although I’m home and feeling really unsure about a lot of things, at least I overcame one very big obstacle already.

Yes, my past grant year was really rough. I even find myself regretting ALL THE TIME that I didn’t move to Seoul. But I take this as a very big lesson. The lesson is that when you are given an opportunity to play it safe and stay in one place because it seems more comfortable, or if you are given the choice to try something new and fun, don’t grab that security blanket. I elected to stay because it was the safe option. I knew my coworkers, my students, and I felt I owed it to the kids. But there were other opportunities, and other places. Different, yes, but still.

Honestly, inevitably, things that you think will remain the same and be “safe” are not always like that. Nearly all of my coworkers changed and I got a whole new grade of students. Despite how much we cling to the known, the unknown and change is almost always pushed upon us. Whether it comes in one big wave, or slowly slithers its way in, little by little. It comes no matter what. And that’s something I’m learning to embrace.

And thus…I’m categorizing this post under “Uncategorized,” because it’s a new start, that weird go-between where I don’t know where I’m going yet.

Last Day of Classes

The past 2 weeks I’ve been overcome with all the feels. The amount of love and affection I’ve received over the past 2 weeks is enough to make anyone regret their choice to leave their students. It’s weird to say, but I feel like my students are like my precious children and babies. My heart hurts and even though I haven’t cried, I’m really sad to be saying goodbye.

This morning I arrived in my classroom, and heard a knock on the door. It was my 6-2 class. They showed me a slideshow of signs they made, and danced to “All You Need is Love.” I was so touched. During every break today kids came flooding in my classroom to spend time with me, even during lunch break when they could be out and about playing.

With my 4th graders, we exchanged contact information, and I was showered with more letters. I kept hearing my kids saying “Don’t go” over and over again. One of my closest boy students, Taeyun, burst out crying at the end of class. He was hysterically crying for over 10 minutes, and latched on my desk, and refused to let go. Tons of his friends kept trying to get him to go, but he kept crying, even after the bell rang for the next class to start. I was really surprised, and really really touched.

When I went to lunch, even administrative staff said they heard about kids crying throughout the day because I’m leaving. Students visited me after school, and told me they couldn’t stop crying in their homeroom classes. I was so scared that I really didn’t make a difference while I was here, because I’ve felt so underappreciated by my coworkers for so long. To finally see my students’ true feelings at the end made me really feel like all the hardship this semester was worth it.

Some of my previous students that are now middle schoolers came to visit, and they brought me coffee. We talked for a while, and said goodbyes, and then Taeyun and another boy I like, Kangmin, came to hangout for 15-20 minutes. They were late for their after school English class because they chatted with me for so long, but I finally got them to go. Other cuties popped in and out of my classroom, handing me letters, or just popping in to see what I was doing.

Taeyun told me even he was shocked how much he cried today. He said the tears suddenly started and wouldn’t stop, and it was the first time he’s ever cried like that. I was really touched, but also sad. He’s such a happy and cheerful and chatty boy, and I know I’ll really miss our chats.

Yesterday when I went down the 3rd grade hall I was assaulted with a huge crowd of hugs and couldn’t escape. It was really sweet 😦

Tomorrow is the last day of school. I won’t be teaching, but it’s closing day, so I think there’ll be an assembly and I’ll have to make my goodbye speech. Despite all the hardships I faced here, I will always remember my time in Korea as an amazing experience. I’ve grown so much, and came to love my students. I had some really bad coworkers, but I refuse to let that overshadow all of the love I’ve received from my amazing students. I’m going to miss them so much, and I know I’ll never forget them ❤

Review: Iope Air Cushion (New 4th Generation, 2016)

I’ve only found 2 reviews on the internet right now discussing the new 4th generation cushions! Recently released, both Iope and Laneige have updated their BB cushions. They’ve changed the cushion packaging, the sponge, and even the formula. I haven’t heard people talk much about them, and I’ve been really wanting to see if these cushions were really an improvement over the original. I finally decided to pick one up after Aritaum had it’s sale!

What’s Different about the 4th Generation Cushion?

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Images taken from: http://beautyboxkorea.com/product/IOPE-AIR-CUSHION%C2%AE-4th-Generation-2016-NEW-15g2/5721/

Finishes and Colors

The Iope cushion comes in a whopping 20 different choices. Of course the colors are limited in terms of being made for fair skin types (Number 13, 21, 23) but they have different finishes and different color tones.

There’s 4 finishes: Matte, Natural Glow, Moisture Lasting, and Intense Cover.

Each finish comes in 3 tones: Warm, Neutral, and Cool.

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Images taken from: http://beautyboxkorea.com/product/IOPE-AIR-CUSHION%C2%AE-4th-Generation-2016-NEW-15g2/5721/

Packaging

The Case

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I got mine in the shade N21 (neutral 21, Natural Beige), with the Natural Glow Finish. The cushion comes with the case with one cushion already contained inside of it, a refill, and a small instruction pamphlet. Each cushion foundation sponge comes with 15g of product. On sale I paid 29,400 won (30% off), the original price is 42,000 won.

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Automatically I could see, and feel a difference in the cushion. The original cushion was more squarish, and much fatter and heavier. This cushion is definitely sleeker, smoother, lighter, thinner, and has a pretty sparkly, pearlescent case.

I love that the ring around the rim of the cover shows you which cushion type you have. Natural Glow and Matte have a silver ring; Intense cover has a copper ring;  Moisture lasting has a blue ring.

I think the silver differs slightly between the Natural Glow and Matte, but I don’t know the exact difference because I only own the Natural Glow one. My Matte Iope cushion comes in the original packaging.

The new cushion looks and feels super luxurious. See Ji Chong’s blog for more specific differences!

*Note: The new cushion refills DO NOT fit old Iope cushion cases!!!!

The Puff

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If you look really closely, they completely changed the tray and the puff. The puff is indeed smaller than the original, but they also changed the material on the side you place your fingers. The ribbon is the same, but the cloth-like material has been upgraded to a leathery feeling material.

The material appears to be waterproof, and now you don’t have to worry about staining the puff with your foundation covered fingertips. On old puffs, I always left fingerprints from touching foundation or other makeup. This is a really nice upgrade from the old cotton-like material.

The smaller size didn’t make a difference when applying in my opinion. The blue part of the sponge applied the product just like all other puffs. It blended easily, and seamlessly.

The tray is made of a more see-through plastic, and is much more shallow, following the shape of the cushion case.

The Puff Lid

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If you open it up, even the previous seal is different. It appears to be much better sealed than the old cushions.

The Cushion & Inside Tray

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This is the biggest change I think. The cushions are now made with a 3D shape. Ji Chong described it as a “honeycomb” and I agree. It’s created this way so it dispense crazy amounts of product as it used to, and with new technology, so now you no longer have to flip the sponge to get all those extra bits of BB cream out.

My favorite upgrade though is that the tray is created to conform exactly with the shape of the cushion case now. Other cushions have a ledge along the rim, so when you press the puff down into the BB cushion, the puff would get stuck under the ledge. It was annoying, because foundation would spread all over or seep onto the ledges and it’d be a big hot mess. Now, there is no rim. So you can push the puff in, and even twist it around, and no product seeps out onto the edges!!!! LOVE this feature.

Review

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I got my shade in netural, because the Cool tone has pink in it, and the Warm has yellow. I wanted something to balance my warm tones.

I can definitely feel the formula changes even with a swatch. It feels much more blendable and liquidy than the old formula, and it smells a bit different too. It has a floraly smell to it.

I really love the Natural Glow formula over the Matte one. I do like dewy finishes, but dewy can be hard to pull off if you have oily or combination oily skin. You end up looking like a greasy mess, and have to continually blot throughout the day. The Natural Glow is great because it’s the perfect type of dewy. Your skin looks like it’s glowing and moisturized, but it doesn’t look oily or greasy. It covers pores like a dream (unlike the old formula…I felt the old formula didn’t do anything for pores), and it blends seamlessly.

Coverage is a solid medium in my opinion? I didn’t layer a lot, except over problem areas, and it did a good job. I think the intense cover would be a perfect full coverage product for those with hyperpigmention, rosacea, acne scars, or redness from pimples. The Natural Glow covered my small break out of red pimples naturally with no problem, and without looking cakey. It blended easily and well over fine lines and didn’t sink in.

So far I’ve been wearing this cushion for over 7 hours, and it’s still going strong. I had minimal oilyness in my t-zone (which is REALLY rare, usually it’s a big oily mess), and didn’t find blotting necessary except for some sweat today.

Final Thoughts

Gotta say…this might be my new favorite cushion. I’m stuck in between this one and the AC Cleanup Cushion by Etude House. The Iope may win me over with the luxurious packaging and the upgraded puff and sponge and tray. In my opinion, the 4th Generation Cushion blows the old one out of the park. I was worried about purchasing this cushion after seeing only decent reviews on the Aritaum website (4/5 stars), but seriously. This cushion is AMAZING. I may love it more than my favorite Hera cushion.

So if you haven’t already…I suggest you go out and pick up this cushion! It has my stamp of approval!

It’s great and has a huge selection of finishes.

Last Week of School

Reflections about my time in Korea

It’s already Tuesday; 4 days left of school. It’s hard to believe how quickly time has passed. It’s come too quickly, and yet, not fast enough.

Some days I wake up feeling super anxious, or I find myself consumed with random thoughts, tossing and turning at night. It’s hard to believe my time in Gumi with Fulbright is coming to a close. Other mornings I wake up feeling super happy and excited, looking forward to going home and looking forward to what the future now holds. I feel anxious, nervous, excited, and happy all at once. I’m an emotional mess. I’m sad and happy. I’m excited and scared.

I can’t wait to go home though, and this past week I really know I made the right choice.

Some days I find myself thinking…what if I renewed a 3rd year? What if I had moved to Seoul? And then I quickly find myself realizing that it’s the regret in me that says that. I’m trying really hard to live with no regrets, but it’s always that little voice in your head tugging at you…the unknown…asking: what if? WHAT IF? It seems that the things that cause me to feel regret the most aren’t necessarily solid or complete things that have come to pass already, it’s the things that I didn’t do. The things that could have been, the things I don’t know.

So in that sense, I find myself always gravitating to wanting to spend more time living in Seoul. After spending a full 2 years in Gumi, and traveling all over Korea, I find myself eternally grateful for the fact that Fulbright requires us to spend our first years outside of Seoul. I learned about the many different facets of Korea, the different places, and the different experiences each place has to offer. But I’ve also learned that after experiencing them all, I’m still completely in love with Seoul. If or when I do return to Korea, I know that I will want to be in Seoul. I may consider visiting other places, but really, Seoul is where I want to be.

The Future…?

Lately, as I mentioned before, I’m seriously considering applying for graduate school programs in Seoul. I still want to continue improving my Korean, but also, I know myself. I love studying and learning, and I don’t think teaching is for me. If I return again and live in Seoul, I don’t want to be teaching English full-time. I’m open to possibly tutoring or maybe even teaching some classes, but I definitely don’t want to be a full-time teacher again.

Meanwhile, I hope I can get a good full-time job at home for about a year. I want to save up money and work on paying off my school loans. I want to work local and live at home. I don’t want a super demanding job, I was thinking administrative work, because I want time to settle back in and I want to de-stress and figure things out. I know that I 100% want to attend grad school, but I’m still not sure if that’ll be home or in Korea. I have a lot of thinking to do, but for now, I know I want and need to be home. This has been a really rough semester that took a lot out of me, and I really need time to recover. I’m going to miss my students and my experiences in Korea, but I know that it’s the right choice to go home. I need it.

School/Life Things

My Fulbright cote has told me that it’s a secret…but apparently my coworkers are preparing a gift for me. Lately I’ve been curious about what it is and when they’re going to reveal it to me. I’ve also been preparing a goodbye speech in Korean.

3 of my adorable 3rd grade boys: Woo Kyumin, Taegun, and Charlie came to me this morning. They had bought me a canned iced coffee and gifted it to me. It was really adorable.

Today I’m meeting my old co-teachers– Hyemin and Miyeong– for dinner. It’ll be the last time we’re all together 😦

Moving Out Things

I’ve been working on my apartment in increments since March basically. Sending 4 boxes home, organizing, cleaning. Now it’s time for the important things. I spent the past 2 weekends in Gumi clearing out my apartment, cleaning, throwing things out, and packing my bags. I think this past weekend was the most productive. I’m organizing my school’s stuff into boxes, and they’ll come to my apartment after I move out and collect them. I’m packing my bags, and I’m basically done now. All I have are the things I’m using for the next couple of days until I move out. I’m so glad I was smart and started packing/organizing early on this semester. If I waited until now…oh my god…I’d be SO OVERWHELMED.

At first I was going to mail one bag to the airport using Hanjin, but I reorganized a ton of stuff last night and decided to make things easier for myself. Hanjin said they hold your bags for 3 days for free at the airport, and the actual shipping fee is so cheap (around 8,000-12,000 won?)

I do not want to take a taxi to the airport (it’ll cost 60-70,000 won), and I prefer the convenience of the airport express line (the subway). So I repacked a lot and shifted things around, and I think it’s doable. I’m going to ship 2 bags, and bring only a backpack, my rolling carry on, and purse to Seoul. Should make things a lot easier.

The day I move out I have to call up the gas and electric companies to pay off my final bills and to have them shut it off, but luckily I think since my old cote Hyemin is coming to pick me up, she’ll also make those calls.

My school was nice also, because they told me to leave my 2 checked bags in my apartment. My apartment complex is only 3 floors, so there’s no elevator. Usually I lug everything up and down the stairs. That’s been the other exhausting part of moving out of my apartment. They said they’d take care of having my bags picked up and shipped to the airport, and would take my bags out of my apartment. My arms are already killing me these days hahaha.

So now there’s only 3 school days left, and I’m leaving my apartment Saturday morning. I’ll spend 9 days in Seoul, with a morning flight on Monday, August 1st. I already made plans with friends, and my Korean sister and Allison and I will spend 2-3 days together. Both of them are taking time off of work. I’m excited to be in Seoul, but definitely feeling the stress of all this moving out stuff.

5 Teaching Days Left

Today I had a lot of feels. My 3rd graders for some reason were under the impression that today was my last day at school, but I quickly replied no haha. I’m leaving next Friday.

After lunch today I ran into a few of my 5th grade boys. I don’t know why, but the special student, Park Hyungmok, has taken a liking to me. He always shouts my name down the halls, and in the mornings when I come running late to school, he always sticks his head outside of the 5-1 classroom window and shouts down to me outside as I enter the school building, and shouts my name “Kristen! Hello!” He always comes to talk to me after class. He’s hyperactive, but honestly, he’s sweet. He’s a big trouble maker, but it’s because he has tons of outbursts and can’t sit still during class. I think he has ADHD. He isn’t getting help though and isn’t on medication; I heard his family thinks that he doesn’t have any problems.

It was really cute today though, because lately he’s gotten into the habit of trailing me around the hallways whining “크리스텐! 가지마세요!” (Kristen! Don’t go!) And today I replied: “왜? 크리스텐 선생님 좋아해?” (Why? Do you like me?) and he quickly replied “네! 좋아해요!!!!” (Yes! I like you!!!!) It was really really adorable.

One of my favorite boys, Yook Taehyun, a chubby teddy bear-like boy, with the highest level English in 5th grade, also grabbed my hands and walked with me down the halls, telling me that we need to take a photo together before I leave. Although my 5th graders are pretty bad, a handful of them are really adorable.

After school today I started preparing a Korean speech. I think the school is going to make me make a goodbye speech at the finally assembly next week. The previous EPIK teacher had done a nice long speech in English, but students and teachers couldn’t understand and some even talked over him :/ So I decided…it’s probably best to prepare a speech in Korean, and I know that’s kind of the best way to culminate my experiences in Korea. I should say goodbye in Korean. I’m kind of nervous though. My cote is checking the speech I wrote and said it’s very nice, but I really need to practice it. I feel really nervous @.@

Time is flying by…5 teaching days left, 7 days until my teaching contract ends, and 16 days left until my flight home.