Stretchy Jeans

I want some stretch jeans.  I’ll be able to dance like this, right?

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Hats for Winter and Summer

Okay, I know it’s been a hot minute since I’ve updated this, but I’m back and settled into my new condo now, so I’m ready to get back into some of my other routines- updating blogs, exercising, normal sleeping hours, etc.  I didn’t think it would take months for me to settle back in, but it kind of has.  It’s not like I lived abroad for 10 years or anything, but I guess some people adjust more easily than others.

Anyway, recently with all of the black friday sale ads out there, I’ve noticed that some stores are advertising their winter gear, specifically, cute animal hats.  Koreans love their hats, and I’m not just talking about the kids.  Women, men, babies, dogs, and even pop stars.  Here’s the singing group 2NE1 sporting some animal hats:

 

And because my new little cousin is so cute, I’ll post a recent pic of him wearing a cute hat:

I just realized that alphabet blanket he has is full of English letters, not Korean characters!

Anyway, out of all the fun hats, the most intriguing is the ajumma visor.  (Ajumma is the term for a married woman.  Just because you’re married doesn’t mean you’re automatically an ajumma though.  Usually this term is meant for a middle aged woman but it’s really much more than that.  I could talk about the ajumma perm, attitude, clothing style, etc- but that’s for another blog post.)

All ajummas (like most Korean women) are very paranoid about getting tan.  They want to be as pale as possible and always take precautions to shield themselves against the sun, to avoid wrinkles.  When I was in Korea, in the summer I would often see young people with hats, some with parasols (yep, I broke down and bought a super lacy one, which I’ll probably never use in the U.S. because people will make fun of me), and then there are the ajummas with their visors.  These shield some hardcore rays, as you can see below:

 

They also come in slightly varying styles:

If you’re lucky, you’ll get to see a rare sight, that I only spotted twice in Korea.  It’s a combo of the visor above with one of these:

Sadly, I can’t find any photos I can steal off the internet, but when you spot one of these power walking ajummas wearing the visor and mask combo, you’ll know that they probably have some  amazing wrinkle free skin!

Double Eyelids and Hair Magic

I’ve been in Korea about a month now and one major thing that I’ve noticed is that compared to the U.S. (well Indiana at least), Koreans are a lot more image conscious and go to great (sometimes extreme) lengths to look good.  In general, most people (usually younger people) would not even dare step out of the house unless they were completely put together, this includes guys too.  This is another reason why plastic surgery is such a big hit here, I guess.  It’s kind of sad really because they get the double eyelid surgery or heighten the bridge of their nose to look more Western.  They also have people here who do other crazy things like jaw reduction and calf reduction, which just sounds terribly painful.  A lot of males also do plastic surgery here- to help them meet women and go higher up in their companies.  I’m getting better at telling what actors on tv have had surgery now.  Some of the prettiest faces though are ones that haven’t touched a thing- a lesson for us all!  Here’s a link with some good before and after photos of double eyelid surgery. 

I suppose I shouldn’t judge though because I’ve been dying to change something about myself recently…. my hair!  Yesterday I went out with my aunt, did some errands, had lunch at Outback (a little different from the one in the U.S.) then went to the Bak Ji-Young Hair Vogue (박지영 헤여보그 i believe) at the Express Bus Terminal so I could get my hair done.  Most halfies aren’t blessed with silky, straight, dark Korean hair.  Usually we end up with some craziness, different colors, and wavy.  My hair has become really hard to manage here (gets worse in the summer because of the humidity) so I knew I needed to do something about the problem.  I decided to get a trim, thinning out, side bangs and… Magic Straight!  Basically it’s a Korean system of hair straightening that also gives your hair a lot of softness and shine.  I’ve gotten my hair straightened in the U.S. before using all types of products meant for many different ethnicities (black straight perms, white perms, asian ones too)  but this one makes my hair still feel healthy and is probably best suited for my hair type.  Also, when they were doing my hair, it didn’t have the harsh smell of chemicals like many of the products I’ve used in the past.  Here’s a before and after of someone online:

So anyway, at the salon the first thing we did was find the stylish who my aunt had previously used for haircuts.  Jessica was there and she spoke some English, which makes things convenient for me.  They take my coat and lock my purse away giving me a key that I can take with me.  First she talked to me about what I was going to do to my hair, then her assistant shampooed my hair.  At this place, it seemed like they had an assistant, or apprentice stylist, for every customer.  So if it’s a little busy, the stylist does the cutting while the assistant does things like shampooing hair or blow drying.  It’s a decent system and felt especially good when I had two people working on my head at the same time.  They bring you tea and a nice comfy thing that sits on your lap so you can read a magazine (since the whole process with a haircut takes about 3 hours).  I won’t bore you about the details of the process but when she was done, I was very happy with how it all looked and also the texture of my hair.  Okay, so makeovers aren’t fun without before and after photos, so even though I hate putting up pictures of myself, here we go:

before hair (this is with me doing nothing to it- all natural waves & color)

 

after hair magic!

 

So what do you think?  It’s still taking me some getting used to because now I feel like my head is a few sizes smaller.  It’ll be easier to manage here so that’s the thing I’m most concerned about.  I don’t have time to be messing around!  Also now I will blend in more easily with the Koreans (not that I was trying to).  A lady on the subway tapped me on the shoulder from behind and asked me how long until her stop.  I had no clue and had to look it up on my iPhone.