Posts Written On January 2013

So, I Have An Interview! + Other Updates

Yup, that’s right. I have an interview tomorrow at one of the only middle schools that still has GEPIK funding in Bundang. It’s the perfect location. I wouldn’t be in the middle of nowhere anymore, and it’s not too far from Johnny. It would be a DREAM. I’m going up against 2 other people. I’m starting to get nervous because April is really around the corner. I don’t want to be stuck without a job when April comes around, so it would be fanfuckingtastic if I got this position.

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I’m Obsessed with Korean Cosmetics: The Winter Edition, Part 1

So this post has been a long time coming. To be honest, every time I went shopping for new cosmetics, I found myself buying all of my favorites again. I hadn’t really tried anything new. There’s a reason why things like the SkinFood Black Sugar Foam Scrub have sort of a cult following.

And then winter happened.

And shit got real.

I have very oily/combo skin in the summer, and in the winter, like most people, my skin gets super dry and tight. Luckily, most of the cosmetic stores in Korea know this too, and have launched special winter care lines. I can honestly say I haven’t had the slightest bit of dry skin this winter. I also bought some new nail polish, eyeshadows, some acne cream, and other random things. Part 1 of the winter beauty review will focus on skincare, and Part 2 will focus more on the makeup and extra random stuff. Without further ado!

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Hand Gestures and a Driver’s License Photo: How I Got My Hair Cut in Korea

I love long hair. It looks so feminine and gives you so many styling options. I don’t, however, love long hair on me. Every now and then I grow my hair out and then I’m reminded of why it doesn’t suit me. It gets dry, flat, and clogs up my tub drain. When I set out on my trip around the world this fall, my hair was well past my shoulders. I blame the drugstore dye I had used in the spring for the especially dry, tangly nature of my hair this time. Rookie mistake.

Dealing with my fine hair in a new climate without my usual shampoo or styling tools was driving me to the brink of madness. One day I finally snapped and woke up thinking, “I have to get it chopped off today.” That would’ve been fine except… I was in Korea. Not only that, but I was in a small city in Korea. I don’t speak Korean.

I tried to Google for local salons but couldn’t really make heads or tails of the map results since the place names were all in Hangul. I did learn that you can spot a salon by the spinning barber shop style pole outside with a picture of a cartoon girl on it. If you see two striped spinning barber shop poles, keep walking. It’s not what you’re looking for. Trust me.


My plan was to just walk around town and keep an eye out for the cartoon girl. As I was sitting in Dunkin Donuts having my breakfast I happened to look up through a window and bingo! Salon! Well, that was easy. I tentatively went inside and saw that there were two women working but no customers. Hmm… sketchy? I decided to go for it anyway since I only wanted a simple bob.

I pulled out my friend’s battered Korean phrasebook and awkwardly said “heokotu?” The two women seemed confused so I started miming cutting my hair using my fingers as scissors. Oddly enough I had been having a good hair day on the day I renewed my driver’s license so I pulled out the card and pointed to it as the example of the cut I wanted. They looked at the photo and back at me, still miming cutting hair with my finger scissors. Eventually they figured out what I wanted, smiled and said, “Ah! ok! ok!”

Now I was committed. Maybe I should’ve been committed instead. I just sat still with a small nervous smile plastered on my face while they draped me in a cape and started spritzing water on my head. I really hoped they wouldn’t butcher my hair. I got a bit nervous as more and more hair fell to the floor but it was too late to change my mind. In the end, it was a good cut, if a little shorter than I wanted and a bit blunt. No more tangles! My head felt so light.

I had neglected to find out how much they charged before I sat down so I was really pleased when one girl rang me up and the total was 10,000W (about $9.30 CAD). This cut lacked some of the finesse and layering that my guy back home does but it was also about $50 cheaper. I bounced out of there, swinging my hair with a big grin on my face. I felt sassy.


It was a small thing but I was so proud of myself for managing such a pedestrian task despite the language barrier. Sometimes it’s the small victories that matter when you’re traveling abroad. If I can get my hair cut in a Korean salon with no English, I can do anything!

I think the best advice I could give for someone else in the same situation is to have a photo of you with the style and length that you want. Next time you get a haircut that you like, take a few photos from different angles and store them in your phone. That way you’ll have a reference if you’re in need of a trim while overseas.

Melissa Hogan is a web designer by trade, a one-time amateur bellydancer, a shoe lover and a travel junkie. The travel bug has only hit her hard in recent years but she’s attempting to make the most of it while still working 9-5 and making St. John’s, NL Canada her homebase. Melissa blogs at, tweets as @avalonmel and does all things Facebook at

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Beauty Abroad: The Oil Cleansing Method

Time adjustments, weather shifts, and new foods aren’t the only thing one encounters when moving abroad. In my case, one of the biggest and annoying aspects of moving to South Korea revolved around MY FACE! I had no idea I would break out in the way that I did after a week or so of residing on the peninsula. And this wasn’t only me this was happening to. I knew at least 5 other girls whose faces were also along for the bumpy ride. Visits to stores like Skinfood, Innisfree, Toly Moly, Etude House, The Face Shop and the list goes ON AND ON resulted in more bumps and more dissatisfaction with what “beauty” had to offer on this side of the world.

Fast forward 5 months, on a random Sunday evening, I decided to finally give a try to a new facial cleansing technique. I had heard about it for a while, but made NO sense to me whatsoever. It was the Oil Cleansing Method. My skin is extremely oily, like fry chicken on my face oily, and it seemed absolutely asinine to put MORE oil on my face to try to get it clean. Huh?! But I tried it because I was desperate. Two weeks into it and I will wash my face no other way from now on. This technique has minimized my breakouts by 90%, minimized my pores, eliminated whatever lines I was starting to form on my forehead, brightened my skin, diminished my hyper-pigmentation on my cheeks and has left me pleasantly surprised and ecstatic about how this works so well for me.

I use Castor Oil, Almond Oil, and a Tea Tree / Lavender oil blend morning and night alternating between using a towel and not. I recommend this to anyone searching for an answer for the breakouts you get while travelling or living abroad. And all of these products were purchased through You can use code IVO319 if its your first time shopping for a $5.00 discount.

Check out the video below for a quick look at how I implement the method into my skin routine and feel free to shoot any emails with questions to

I hope this helps you and share the wealth with anyone you know who lives or is travelling overseas. Happy New Year.

This has been a guest post brought to you by Mia A. Armstrong. To the ESL/EFL world, she’s known as Belta Mia. She started teaching with the EPIK program in August of 2012. She lives in Donghae-si, Gangwon-do (the province with 35 vacation days).  Her blog, BELTA, documents her experiences as a global educator and traveler. She’s from Los Angeles, CA but now calls her home base Charlotte, NC. She’s a Syracuse University Alum (Go ‘Cuse) and proud beauty and hair buff. Check out her blog, You can also check her out on YouTube under BeltaLove27 and MiaMeBiggerThanHair.