Empties Review: Innisfree Green Tea Seed Serum

skincareempties

Hi world, I’m a k-beauty aka Korean beauty/skin care-aholic. It all started with a trip to Shanghai that got me hooked on sheet masks. One thing led to another and here I am, a full-blown Korean Beauty addict. I’m no expert but I do hoard…a lot. I have an absurd amount of sheet masks that I had to purchase a cart to house (I’m both proud and embarrassed about it – it is a confusing feeling, really).

Today, I will talk about an Innisfree product. I was introduced to Innisfree in Hong Kong. The store lured me in by their sheer popularity. There were so many people crammed in their store, I had to see what the fuss was about. Innisfree is known for being eco-friendly and their mostly natural products. While in Hong Kong, I purchased a few of their sheet masks. Ok, at only $1 each, I purchased ten. In short, I ended up liking it SO much I purchased another 120. Yes, like I said before, I am a hoarder and an addict. Moving on.

Because I’m constantly experimenting with new products, I rarely finish a full-sized product. However, I managed to finish TWO bottles of the Innisfree Green Tea Seed Serum and I’ve almost emptied out the Innisfree Green Tea Seed Eye Cream (post to follow).

Today, lets start with the Green Tea Seed Serum. You can purchase one for yourself for $20-$23 on Amazon.

greenteaseedserum
PC: Amazon.com

Ingredients
(The green Tea Extract (75.9%), Propanediol, Biosaccharide Gum-1, Ethanol, Glycerin, Betaine, The green Tea Seed Oil (208mg), Prickly Pear Extract, Orchid Extract, Tangerine Peel Extract, Camellia Leaf Extract, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia Extract, Grapefruit Extract, Orange Extract, Tangerine Extract, Bis-PEG-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Cetearyl Olivate, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Sorbitan Olivate, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Ethylhexylglycerin, Cocoa Extract, Dextrin, Potassium Hydroxide, Disodium EDTA, Fragrance)

The product’s main ingredient (almost 76%) is green tea. Green tea is an antioxidant, with anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties – to top it all off, it’s great for calming and hydration. Well DANG, OK THEN!

One little minor issue though. The product contains ethanol (i.e. alcohol) which can irritate sensitive skin. So if you fall in the sensitive skin category, I would maybe do a test run before diving in head first.

My first impression when I started using it was that it was really light. Almost too watery to be a serum? I eventually grew to appreciate it because it made layering products a breeze! It all makes perfect sense to me now. Well played, Innisfree, well played. On particularly warm days, I only use the serum and skip the moisturizer for fear of being too oily. All in all, it helped reduce some of my redness and fixed my minor dry patches.

Rating:
8/10

I had two bottles in my arsenal because I received one for free (spent so much money that they gifted me one). Now that I have burned through both bottles, I’m not sure if I love it enough to purchase another? I mean, I do like it, but do I LOVE it? I liked it enough to finish two bottles but I’m still hesitant to consider it a “holy grail”. I’ll be trying out other products so we will see how I feel then!

Do you know of any products I should try out? If so, drop me a little note and I will more than likely give it a try!

Dana-Signature

Up next: The Innisfree Green Tea Seed Serum Eye Cream.

 

 

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Traveling to Dubai with a baby or toddler!

Dubai with a toddler

Dubai may not be the first destination that comes to mind for a family vacation. Especially when you’re traveling with a 1 year old! But we like to be adventurous so we took our Ittybot to Dubai and the Maldives in one trip!

Surprisingly, Dubai is probably one of the most baby friendly cities we have visited! There was so much to do and so much to see for the entire family that our 5 days there seemed way too short. You can get the full Dubai low-down here.

So lets get onto the real reason you’re here. I will break down the main things moms look for in a vacation destination.

Stroller friendly – Everything is so far apart that you basically cab everywhere (or you can do the big bus tour like we did) but once you are at your destination, it is fairly stroller friendly. There are usually large crowds of people that you would have to maneuver through but that’s a small problem.

Restaurants – The city itself has a heavy western influence so you will find lots of restaurants that you would find in the US. So of course, they were all pretty child friendly. From nice comfortable child seats, to child friendly menus, and those amazing cups with lids to prevent your little one from spilling all over the place. It’s the little things 🙂

Diaper changing stations – This is probably my favorite part of Dubai. Seems silly but when you live in Europe and have to change your baby in a tiny, dirty stall or even in their stroller, a formal changing room is the ultimate luxury. The larger malls have changing rooms that is like a retreat for mothers and their little ones. It’s sprayed with the most amazing light scented perfumes, there are toys for them to play with, the works.

At the very minimum, most of the places you would visit have a changing table for you. Except maybe the beach but that’s a given!

Activities – We used our Hyatt points and stayed at the amazing Grand Hyatt Dubai. The service and the pools were amazing. We almost didn’t want to leave the hotel at all. The staff was amazing with Ittybot. He was given lots of attention and treats – which was probably his favorite part.

There were plenty of activities in Dubai for the little ones. There is even an aquarium within the mall! Finding activities for your family won’t be a problem. Your problem will be narrowing it down to a few!

We highly recommend doing a trip to the desert. We did a low-key jeep drive to the desert with little bits of crazy driving through the dunes which Ittybot loved. He also loved the show that the staff put on which included lots of music and performances. Definitely a treat for the entire family!

FunTours trip to the Desert in Dubai!
FunTours trip to the Desert in Dubai!

Transportation – This is probably my only gripe with Dubai. Carseats aren’t required in Dubai! Much like Thailand, kids are free to roam about the car as they please. There are however, pink taxis that will bring a carseat at your request (but those require a lot of planning ahead and it’s not always available). We did the big bus tour most of the time but the few times we needed to take a cab Ittybot had to sit in between us buckled in SNUG. We only did this for very short rides but it was nerve wracking every single time.

I hope this was useful for those planning a trip to Dubai OR for those considering a trip. It was such an amazing trip and we are so excited to show Ittybot the pictures and footage from the trip. Hopefully, it will inspire him to go back on his own one day!

Dana-Signature

Get or Skip it: Skin Food’s Peach Sake Toner

getskippeachsake

Hey guys! It’s been a REALLY long time since I’ve done a “Get it or Skip it” post. I have been hoarding Asian skincare products lately so I figure it’s about time I weigh in on one.

Back in April, I went to China and purchased an obscene amount of face masks. It’s recommended to apply a toner to clean/open up your pores prior to using a sheet mask so I ordered the Skin Food Peach Sake Toner from Amazon. I have to admit that the 90% of the reason I purchased the toner was because of the packaging. I’m a total sucker for cute packaging, I just can’t help it. They have so many toners based off of different foods that I’ll need to try them all!

Skin food’s motto (as seen on their website):

“You are what you eat.”
Healthy skin starts with food.

SKINFOOD is the first cosmetic brand to root itself in food.
We believe that nutritive food results in nutritive beauty for healthy, beautiful skin.
Our food philosophy drives our product development to ensure that only the highest quality food  ingredients are used to create a more beautiful, healthier lifestyle.

Skin Food Peach Sake Toner

Here is what it claims (as seen on amazon):

  • A refreshing toner revitalizes tired and stressed skin with a few swipes.
  • Sake extracts tighten pores and minimize oil production, allowing skin to stay fresh and matte longer
  • while peach extracts boost skin’s ability to regenerate itself, leaving skin noticeably healthier looking with a radiant glow.
  • Recommended for oily and acne-prone skin types.

I have been using it sporadically (shame on me) for the past month and a half and I like it a lot! It doesn’t have an overpowering peach scent which I really like. Every time I use it, I’m a little ashamed of the dirt I see on the cotton pad but at least I know it’s doing the job! I even used it on the Mr and he was both disgusted and impressed. It really is refreshing and you can instantly see the mattifying effect afterwards.

The downside is that I don’t notice much, if any, pore shrinkage. It could be due to the fact that I don’t religiously use it like I should.

Like they said, this product is recommended for oily skin. It does strip a lot of the oils on your skin so I wouldn’t risking it if you have normal to dry skin.

Verdict:Get Or Skip it Review

At only $15, it is an affordable toner to keep in your arsenal. I say get it if you’re looking for a handy toner that smells yummy (and cute at that). But if you’re specifically looking to minimize pores then I would look elsewhere. I have read that people have noticed pore shrinkage when they use the entire peach sake line.

I personally won’t be purchasing this one again any time soon because I’m dying to try all the other (adorable) toners from skin food. But I do see it as a contender for a future buy.

I am currently looking for new skincare products to try out. Please let me know if you have any suggestions!

Dana-Signature

Beauty Bits: Sheet Mask Haul!

I have been very vocal about my newest obsession over sheet masks. I was approaching my 30th birthday then and I decided that it’s about time that I took better care of my skin. You don’t even want to know how bad I was prior to this revelation.

Back in April, I went to China with every intention to try out some sheet masks that was taking Asia by storm. I was a little apprehensive how my skin would react to it but rest assured, my skin LOVED it!

The first one I tried out was a brand called MG. The main reason I bought MG was because they were on sale at the Watson’s by our hotel. Unfortunately, I don’t recall what the sale was but I know they ended up being around $1 each mask. The first one I tried on my face was the Aloe hydrating mask since my skin was so dried out from the 10 hr flight.

MG's Aloe hydrating/moisturizing mask: LOVES IT!
MG’s Aloe hydrating/moisturizing mask: LOVES IT!

The packaging suggests that you leave it on for ~15 minutes but I left it on for about 45 minutes. There was so much serum left on the cotton mask that I didn’t want to waste it. And I am not ashamed to say that I collected the remaining serum inside the pouch and used it the next afternoon as a booster.

My skin felt AMAZING afterwards. I instantly became obsessed and ran back to the store about bought an additional 50-60. I’m not even kidding.

Different types of MG masks that I purchased at Watson's. Embarassed to say I got about 10 of each. The obsession is real.
Different types of MG masks that I purchased at Watson’s. Embarassed to say I got about 10 of each. The obsession is real.

Watson’s also had a sale on My Beauty Diary products. I’ve read so much about them that I decided to try a couple, ok, 5 boxes. But I purchased them with the intent to share them with my loved ones back home! The two that were on sale were: Nato bean (moisturizing/tightening) and black pearl mask (whitening/nourishing). I haven’t tried them yet but my mom absolutely swears by them. She said she noticed a difference after a week.

My Beauty Diary: Nato Bean Mask and Black Pearl Mask
My Beauty Diary: Nato Bean Mask and Black Pearl Mask

Once we were in Hong Kong, I was greeted with a beautiful Innisfree store. I’ve seen so many people rave about their products so I went in to purchase a few of their masks. I paid 10 HKD for each which is about ~1.15 euros or $1.28.

Next store I had to stop by was SaSa. SaSa is not very hard to find at all. There were literally two on every block. Hong Kong was the last stop on our China trip so I knew it was do or die at this point! I needed to grab everything I wanted before we left. The sales clerks noticed I was dumping all sorts of masks into my basket that they started to follow me. Maybe they were working on commission?

Anyway, SaSa had awesome sales on masks. I found the Innisfree masks that I had previously purchased on sale for 15/100 HKD. Thankfully, I only purchased 4 at the Innisfree shop so I went ahead and bought the rest of the innisfree masks at SaSa. Before you shake your head at me, there weren’t that many left so I only bought 15. As I was about to grab some My Beauty Diary boxes, the sales clerk suggested that I try out the Sasatinnie brand. She said that they last a little bit longer and you don’t have to do them nearly as often as MBD. She didn’t need to do much convincing since they were only 6 euros a box.

The last sheet mask stop was Etude house. By this point, The Mr. commented that I probably have enough masks to last a year so I shouldn’t buy too many here. LOL. So I only purchased a few sheet masks and a couple collagen eye masks so I can at least try them out.

Hong Kong sheet mask haul minus what I bought my mother.
Hong Kong sheet mask haul minus what I bought my mother.

Once I got home and started to package the masks as gifts, I was starting to have some separation anxiety. So I went online to Innisfreeworld to see how much they run online. To my excitement, they were having an awesome sale on their sheet masks! They were buy 10 get 10 free!! O.M.F.G. I turned to The Mr and apologized for the damage that was about to go down. It was free shipping after $75 so naturally, I had to purchase 7 sets of 10. So yes, I got a total of 140 masks in the mail.

What's left of the Innisfree masks after gift distribution. Needless to say, I'm covered for a little while...
What’s left of the Innisfree masks after gift distribution. Needless to say, I’m covered for a little while…

Innisfree sent a bunch of amazing samples of their skin care products and I’d have to say that I liked everything that I tried. I am pretty darn excited for my next order!

I sent a lot of masks to my mom as soon as I got back and then sent some to more friends and family after I got my Innisfree order. I hope they like them as much as I did!

What are your go-to masks? I’m already planning my next haul so please share!

Dana-Signature

Short n’ Sweet Review: MapsWithMe (maps.me)

MAPS.ME review

MapsWithMe (found as maps.me) is an amazing travel application. It allows travelers the ease of navigating their way through new travel locations. Some key features of the applications are that it is (1) totally offline, (2) worldwide, (3) fast, and (4) detailed.

After downloading the maps of interest, you can utilize it completely offline. Perfect when you travel internationally and don’t have access to data or want to minimize roaming charges.

MapWithMe Review

The maps are not just limited to big cities but includes supposedly includes all countries and cities. I didn’t check all of this but through initial inspections, it looks good.

Where in the world are you going? Find the map, and download it for your trip!
Where in the world are you going? Find the map, and download it for your trip!

Tired of freezing and slow responses with other map applications? Don’t worry about this one. Zooming in and out is smooth and very responsive. The map doesn’t freeze or become pixelated.

Maps.Me Review

Details, details, details! It was amazing the level of detail found in this application. I was able to use it to find local grocery stores, shops, restaurants, and ATMs. Perfect when you travel!

MapsMe-03

I don’t know how I traveled without it but I know moving forward I’ll always use it!

d-mr-signature

Short n’ Sweet Review: TripCase App

tripcase

I’ve had TripCase lingering on my phone for a while now but since The Mr is such an avid lover of excel spreadsheets I never really put it to use.

Since my dirty thirty trip is so extensive, I decided to give it a try. I figured it will be so much more convenient to pull out my phone app rather than fumble with papers or tracking down a document within an email.

TripCase will basically keep track of your entire itinerary for you. You can have it automatically pull in your travel details from your email or you can input the details yourself. I chose the latter because we use several different emails for bookings.

You can add all things travel related from flights, rails, ferries, lodging, activities etc.

Almost everything you could possibly need to add is here!
Almost everything you could possibly need to add is here!

I appreciate the simple, yet functional user interface. I can scroll up and down to see a timeline of the trip or I can switch to “action view” for a more detailed description of each item.

TripCase Review

I love that now I can get flight notifications as well as having all my confirmation codes in one convenient place.

TripCase Review

It did take quite some time to get things set up because there were so many little details but now that I have it all put together I am a little upset that I haven’t used this thing sooner!

As a precaution, I will print out the itinerary via the app as well just in case all our phones happen to be out of battery or not within reach. But really, who ISN’T within reach of their phone these days?!

Similar applications include: TripIt and WorldMate. I’ve played around with the other two and they are just as impressive. I will use them for future trips and report back as to which one I like best!

Dana-Signature

Tips on visiting Big Buddha in Hong Kong!

big buddha hong kong

When planning our visit to Hong Kong, I was most excited about visiting the Tian Tan Buddha also known as Big Buddha. Big Buddha is 112 ft tall and made of bronze. It is located on the Lantau Island but don’t worry, it is very well connected by ferry and metro.

In my opinion, the best way to get to Big Buddha is the Ngong Ping 360 cable cars. The cable car ride offers unbelievable views of the world below. To go on the standard cable car it costs 165 HKD (21.30 USD) OR you can go on the crystal bottom cable cars for 255 HKD (32.90 USD). Because the line at the station can be quite long, you can also purchase tickets here.

If you’d rather not be suspended up in the air (I completely understand), you can always take the Central Pier 6 ferry to Mui Wo and then hop on the New Lantao Bus 2 to the Ngong Ping Village.

Up until the day we were departing to Hong Kong, we were back and forth about purchasing the cable car rides ahead of time. There is a lot of smog in Hong Kong and I was apprehensive that I wouldn’t be able to see anything if we chose the wrong day. Nevertheless, we decided to go on our first day in Hong Kong to ensure that we didn’t miss out on it due to any unforeseen circumstances. Of course, we didn’t buy the tickets in advance so we had to wait in the long line. It took about 40 minutes to get through the line and worry took over me because the smog was slowly hiding the peaks as time passes by. It’s safe to say I was almost in panic mode because I had such high hopes for this attraction. I’d like to apologize to The Mr for almost biting off his head in line. My bad.

The ticket line for the Ngong Ping 360 cable cars
The ticket line for the Ngong Ping 360 cable cars

We opted for the crystal bottom cable cars so we could see everything going on beneath our feet. The glass bottom cable cars isn’t for the faint of heart. I, myself, am terrified of heights but I was too mesmerized to even notice that we were hundreds of feet up in the air and the possibility of it crashing to the ground was very real. In fact, a cable car did fall! Don’t worry, it was empty so no one was hurt. But don’t let that one little snafu stop you from going! LOL.

Ittybot was fearless
Ittybot was fearless

Just outside the cable car terminal is the Ngong Ping Village. There are plenty of shops and restaurants in the village so you can spend several hours perusing the cute knick knacks and interesting art work.

Finally, we made it to the bottom of the Tian Tan Buddha and we were ready to scale the 268 steps to the top. I was so proud of Ittybot for climbing all those stairs! I feel like I was supposed to be at peace or somewhat of a meditative place while climbing those stairs but I was so focused to getting my butt up there without passing out, I just couldn’t focus.

268 steps to The Big Buddha
268 steps to The Big Buddha

Finally, we were facing the Tian Tan Buddha. The Buddha elegantly sits on top of a lotus flower and faces the beautiful nature below. Surrounding the statue are smaller statues with their offerings. The buddha is supposed to symbolize harmony between human and nature. They did a great job of preserving that ideology. There were trees as far as the eye could see mixed with aromas of burning incense. For a moment, I felt at peace. Then, as quickly as it happened, I was back to my shutterbug self.

Big Buddha Hong Kong

Big Buddha Hong Kong

The view from Big Buddha
The view from Big Buddha

We did a quick walk through the temples surrounding the area. It was so quick that I don’t even feel like I am experienced enough to talk about it.

Po Lin Monastary

Final thoughts: The Big Buddha should definitely be added in your “must see” column. It was such an incredible experience for us and we still talk about it to this day!

Dana-Signature