SeoulFun: Shake Shack Gangnam

Saturday, April 22, 2017

It was by pure accident that we passed and saw Shake Shack in Gangnam.  I didn't even know that there was a Shake Shack in Seoul, South Korea.  I have been wanting to try it since learning about it a few years ago from friends who have gone to New York.  While we were in London last 2015 - I was aware that there was a Shake Shack that recently opened that time, we just didn't have time to visit, and then that same year, we went to Tokyo - we still didn't get to visit.  It wasn't a place that we needed to visit, but it was a place I *wish* to visit, alam mo naman my Panget!

It was right after our Samgyupsal dinner, we came from Everland and got dropped off at Gangnam.  We were quite tired and dreading the commute back to our Airbnb apartment as it was 20 stops from Gangnam to our nearest stop.  The travel time was more than an hour, it was a really long commute considering it was just one line.  We were just walking and figuring out where the subway stop was.  Google Maps works differently in Seoul, for the first time - the app was useless.

When we reached the main Gangnam street, I turned around to see what was behind us, you know to figure out where we were, to somehow have a grasp of where everything was.  Then I saw these big bold letters and neon signage said SHAKE SHACK.  My heart leaped a bit and it was that exact moment that my Panget said out loud SHAKE SHACK!  We were both suddenly alert again.  My Panget said for us to try their burgers, I told him that I didn't want to eat anymore.  We effing just literally came out from a dinner a few minutes ago!  But you know what, since there wasn't a line AND the servers were speaking English, I gave in.  Hahaha!!  So we ordered one burger each for me and my Panget and a milk shake.  The milkshake *special* that time was Matcha, my Panget's favorite.  He was more than happy to try that flavor.

So we ordered and waited.  We got the Shack Burger because it had 3 stars and the 'Shroom Burger because I liked mushrooms.  Hahaha!!

Finally, the buzzer was lighting up, it was time to get our orders from the counter.

This is Connor thinking, *What?  Eating, AGAIN?* Hahaha!!

I totally forgot to order fries!  Blame it on my already filled tummy.  I honestly don't know which is which, but here are that the burgers looked like:

The burgers were Ahhhhhhhh-MAZING, they were really REALLY good.  In tagalog, pikit mata sa sarap!!  The patties were juicy and the buns were also really good.  The toppings weren't scrimped and look at that presentation, nice diba?  I would have wanted to get another burger to try but we were already full.  I gave Yaya Belen pieces to try, and she also said they were very good, she said it was different from what we are used to in Manila.  It was so refreshing to eat this real burger amidst all the Korean food, it was something different and it was really worth it.

We had the kids try the milkshake.  It took them a while sipping because the milkshake was so thick.  This was already when Kailee was successful in sipping the milkshake.  Connor had his first try and it took him more than a minute trying to sip it.  I had to sip it for them first.  Hahaha!!  It was real Matcha, not the really sweet one, but the sweet and bitter Match.  It was wonderful.

Finally, I can say - I've tried Shake Shack, and it's truly good!  Nothing of those, good just for the sake of saying its good.  Masarap talaga.  I'm glad that I didn't have to line up, I don't think I'll have the patience to.  Hahaha!  I hope there will be a next time - maybe in Tokyo?  Hahahaha!!  I promised myself thought that I won't forget to get the fries next time, and MORE milkshakes!

Shake Shack Gangnam
Official Facebook Page of Shake Shack Gangnam

Earn rewards with the Philam Vitality Active App!!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Just by walking, you will earn you rewards.

Really?  Seriously.

I am dead serious.

With the Philam Vitality Active App, being on the go and active gets your rewarded!  It's the coolest thing, not only will your body and being be rewarded - you'll be rewarded when you reach certain goals!  To give you an idea on what these rewards are:

Just download the Philam Vitality App on the App Store or Google Play.  Fill in the details and answer a quick questionnaire about yourself and health and voila - you're good to go.  Since I am on a Fitbit tracker, I have connected my Fitbit app with the Philam Vitality Active App, so they can sync my day to day activities.

How I wish I had learned of this app last week.  I could have gotten so many rewards with my highest record of 29,244 steps in one day!  But you know what, I'll try and reach that goal again.  Haha!  I know it'll be a long process, but it's a good process for my health and being.  Walking your way to a more healthy you.  I read somewhere to maintain your health, you'll need to walk at least 5,000 steps a day.  Then to lose weigh, you'll need to walk at least 10,000 steps.  My daily goal is really just 5,000 - but when I reach 10,000 steps, I feel like I've won a contest!  Hahaha.. Let's be conscious of our health with the help of the Philam Vitality Active App, walking can earn you rewards and more!

So what are you waiting for?  I'm sure you guys have those fitness wearables already.  Download the app from Google Play and App Store and start getting rewarded!  I pride myself whenever I see that I do at least 5,000 steps a day, with the Philam Vitatilty App, you'll get more rewards when you sync it the apps together!  It's hitting two birds with one stone - health rewards and freebies!  I bet you won't find that in any other health app in the market!

So keep walking, like I will be.

Hurry as you have only until June 2017 to claim your rewards! 

This is for a limited time only.

What are you waiting for?

Get the Philam Vitatlity Active app NOW!

Hong Kong: The Excelsior Hotel

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Above and beyond is what I can say about my recent stay at The Excelsior Hotel.  The hotel really made our stay very comfortable and special.  I don't think I remember any other hotel doing this to us in the recent years.

The Excelsior Hotel has been our go-to hotel when I was still young.  My mom would always pick this hotel or The Park Lane when we were younger.  My brother and I have memorized the streets of Causeway Bay like it was Manila because of our frequent stay here.  It was only when the rates went up and cheaper hotels sprouted that we stopped staying at The Excelsior.  I honestly think it has been more than 15 years since I last stayed there.  It was only last October 2016 that I was able to stay there again.  The lobby, the elevators, the hallways and the room looked the same, it was exactly how I remembered it to be.  All the memories came rushing back - the old World Trade Center mall, how it was a smaller shop then and the small restaurants that filled the streets.  Only the streets were different, everything else was the same.

When I emailed the hotel directly to reserve a room, I informed them that we were arriving earlier than the check in time, they replied saying they will try their best but cannot guarantee it.  During our stay in October of last year, they were able to give us a room immediately.  I was secretly hoping they'd do the same.

Our check-in was a breeze, I think because it's early in the morning - and also, I just learned that Good Friday, Black Saturday and Easter Monday are official holidays in Hong Kong.  My friend Cubie told me before that most Hong Kong-ers go out of Hong Kong when there's a long weekend.  But last weekend, it was the HKTDC's Electronics Fair Spring Edition, and that was my Panget's main purpose.

At the check-in counter, I was kidding with the staff to upgrade our room, he apologized and said there were no upgrades.  After a few clicks, he smiled and said a room was available for us right away, I was really happy since I wanted to freshen up before going to the exhibition.  He also said right after handing the card keys to me *Oh, we've also upgraded you to a harbor view room*, I was ecstatic!  I have long wished to have a harbor view in all of my hotel rooms in HK, but I think it happened just a few times when I was younger, we mostly got city view rooms.

This was what greeted us when we entered the room:

I was floored - it was a REAL harbor view room, it wasn't a semi-harbor view room, it was a LEGIT harbor view.  My Panget caught me smiling and I was just staring at the view.  The room looked really different too!  I mean compared to our room last October 2016.  This room had a bay window (I learned of this bay window from watching Peter Pan the cartoon!  Wendy always sat there when she looked outside).  I think I spent about 15-20 minutes sitting there and admiring the view.  I can't explain it, but it was such a magical moment for me.  My Panget was laughing at me saying how *babaw* I was, I didn't care - I loved the view, I really loved it sooo much.  So you can just imagine, I would spend my morning having breakfast inside the room - looking out the window.  I don't think we even opened the TV in the morning.

I was also glad that they've renovated the rooms.  The rooms are more modern now, the colors are softer on the eye and the furnitures, are more practical.  The bathroom stayed functional as it needs to be.  The hallways are more brightly lit and I loved the new scent of the hotel.

On our last night, we were surprised to see this.  We were also given complimentary white wine.

Did we look like lovebirds to the staff?  Hahaha!!

After packing, I called the Front Desk wanting to ask for a late check out.  I was merely hoping for a 1pm check out since that's the usual leeway that most hotels give.  After a few seconds of hearing clicks here and there, the Front Desk staff told me *Sure, we can extend your check out time to 3pm*, I had to ask again, and I did because I wasn't sure that I heard it correctly - and I did hear it correctly, it was at 3pm - 3PM!  Wow!  The person I was speaking to told me, *since you're flight is at 6pm, we'd be glad to extend it to 3PM*

This is the FIRST TIME EVER that a 3PM check-out time was extended to me in my lifetime.  I was floored.  I guess my Panget heard the surprise and enthusiasm in my voice that he asked why.  So I told him that we extended till 3PM to check out.  He gave an impressed laugh, I guess he was also surprised.  Hahaha!

We were smiling to each other saying, that the staff has gone above and beyond.  We were really impressed.  We really didn't expect anything out of the ordinary for this stay, but we were amazed, surprised and impressed with the kind of service that was given us.  We felt genuine warmth and hospitality during our stay.

Thank you The Excelsior Hong Kong, you're unforgettable.

SeoulFun: Skin Care - Laniege Waterbank

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

South Korea is the land of skin care products.  My Panget noticed on this trip that the skin of the Koreans that he has seen were mostly flawless.  I told him, it's because of the their 10 step skin care regimen.  He looked at me and repeated - 10 steps?  I said yes!  I am one who is very very very lazy in putting on moisturizer.  I have been told to start doing so as early as my teens, but well - I'm lazy.  I am very masipag though, when it came to washing my face.  My mom introduced me to Shiseido when I was in my teens - I used the Pureness line, it was for younger skin.  I swear by it and up until in my late 20's I was still using it.  I guess when I was younger, I didn't have a problem with acne or dry skin.  It was only when I got pregnant that, well - I needed to use moisturizers.

One thing I dislike with moisturizers is the feeling that my face is sweating after I put them on.  I only have one moisturizer that I like - it's a local brand, Celeteque and the reason is because, when I put it one, my face absorbs it immediately.  I'm very lucky that I don't experience any irritation.  But as the years passed, I felt that I needed to up the dose of the moisturizer I put depending on the weather.  When I travel, I bring a small tube of Celeteque and an imported brand, for the past 3 years I have been using Clinique when I go to somewhere cold.  But late last year, I noticed some bumps on my forehead and cheeks when I used Clinique.  A HS batchmate who's a derma told me to stop applying it, and within a day or two, the bumps disappeared.  I still use Clinique when I feel that my skin is extra dry.  I still rely heavily on my good old Celeteque.

So on this trip, I asked friends on recommendations.  Most of them recommended Innisfree, it's a brand that is not found here in Manila.  They were raving about the toner and moisturizer and make-up.  It was a good thing that my friend Kath asked me to buy a toner for her, the staff gave me samples to try.  I tried it when we got back to our Airbnb apartment, the next day - there were bumps.  My skin was irritated - so I stopped.  I then asked my beauty guru - Rowena her recommendation, she said Laniege.  I have been reading about that brand from her for years.  So when my Panget and I saw a store, we went in.  I only asked the staff to give me a toner and moisturizer for dry skin.  She handed me the Water Bank line.  I didn't try the product anymore, I thought to myself - bahala na.  It was only when I got back to Manila did I try the product.

The toner and moisturizer are AMAZING.  What I have been looking for in a product most of my life - the instant absorbed feeling?  I got it with these two products.  They didn't feel heavy at all, not at all!!  In fact, after a while of putting them on, I would touch my skin and think - *did I apply moisturizer already?* that's how natural it feels to me.  It's light on the skin, and the products is absorbed quickly.  I was impressed, I was really impressed that I messaged Rowena!  Hahaha..  Finally in my X number of years asking dermas why my face sweats when I put popular moisturizers on (and most couldn't give me a straight answer) I finally found one without much research!

I am now thinking, maybe I should be getting the whole line!  Hahaha.. Let's see if I can convince my Panget.  Hmmmm....

Thank you Rowena for the reco!

I am so loving Laniege's Water Bank line and it's just been a few weeks!  I look forward to putting the products on everyday.  Hahaha!! :)

SeoulFun: Skin Care - Innisfree Sunscreen Cushion

Saturday, April 08, 2017

I am sooooo lazy to put on sunscreen.  I only put them on when I got to Subic during Holy Week.  In all other places that I go to even if it's sunny, I don't put them on at all.  I hate the feeling plus my skin gets all bumpy afterwards.

I have read soooo many articles saying how important sunscreen is even if you're inside the office.  Apparently, there are still UV rays found in indoor lightings.  I would always tell myself, I'm inside the office anyway.  Bahala na si Batman.

I am very loyal when it comes to skin care brands, so for sunscreen on my face I only trust a few brands, namely Shiseido and Neutrogena.  Shiseido is expensive, while Neutrogena well, it's not as pricey but finding it in Manila a few years ago was impossible.  I remember ordering all of my sunscreen in Amazon just in time for it to arrive before the Holy Week.  I was so happy when I saw Neutrogena sunscreen/sunblock being launched years ago here in Manila.  At least I won't need to order in Amazon anymore.

A day before I was to go back to Manila, Tanya, a friend messaged me asking me if I can buy her refills of an Innisfree Sunscreen cushion.  I got curious and started asking her all sorts of questions.  When I heard cushion, I immediately assumed it was a tinted sunscreen, but I was wrong - this one, the Innisfree Sunscreen Cushion is not tinted at all.  I'm easily convinced, especially if friends swear by a certain products.  So on my last day, I was eagerly looking for an Innisfree store or counter.  Sadly, I couldn't find one.  So I told myself, you know what - if it's meant to be, it's meant to be.

After our last lunch in Seoul, I was already telling myself, *lower your expectations* - if you don't see a store, then it's not meant to be.  On the way to the airport, I was secretly wishing that I'd see an Innisfree store or counter.  Imagine, the days before my friend messaged me, I was seeing Innisfree EVERYWHERE!  Hahahaha.. How ironic, noh?

When we were done checking in our bags, I still had to return my KT Olleh pocket wifi.  It was quite a distance to the Korea Telecom kiosk, so as I was walking there, I noticed a brightly lit store in the middle of the check in counters.  The store had no signs whatsoever, but I had a feeling that it was a beauty store.  As I walked closer, I saw the word Innisfree!  I decided to return my pocket wifi first before going to the store, I mean, I didn't know how long I'd take looking at the products!  Hahaha..  So I went back after leaving my pocket wifi.  The first thing I did was show a picture of the Innisfree Sunscreen Cushion refill to the staff.  I honestly didn't know what I was looking for, luckily she pointed to the products!  They had it in the store!  Yahooooooo!!  I looked at the price and it was 12,000KRW, I got 2 pieces for my friend Tanya and then decided to add another one for myself to try.  Since I only got a refill, I had to buy a compact to place it into - I let the Innisfree staff choose a design for me because I didn't want to think anymore.  Haha!  As I was about to pay, she then told me that some tinted lipbalms were on buy one take one, I picked a light shade and got a pair, one for me and one for Kailee.  Hahahaha!! :)

When I got home, I opened the refill and placed it on the compact.  I just looked at it and it was so cute and girly!  Hahaha..  Then last Sunday, because the kids were going swimming, I decided - why not try the sunscreen cushion to see if it works (para hindi naman sayang pera diba?), I was impressed that it was so easy to put on, it didn't feel greasy and heavy.  I even did retouch after an hour and it was so easy to do!

I was telling myself, sana pala these Koreans thought about this sunscreen cushion 10 years ago!  Hahaha.. But in fairness, I'm so glad that Koreans are very innovative when it comes to skin care products.  It's really considerate of them to think of a more convenient way to put on sunscreen without the icky icky feeling on the hands.  This is a great option for those always on the go.  I read also that you can put this on first, and then your foundation.  Galing diba?????

Now, I wish I had someone with me to peer pressure me into buying these stuff.  Hahaha!! :)  Thanks Tanya, you were instrumental.  Hehehehe...