The sequel to my South Korea 2015 haul series. Part 1 is all about Korean cosmetics. Read about ’em here. In this post, I’ll be sharing with you all the cute, I-definitely-need-this-in-my-life items I found during my eight-day trip to Seoul and nearby county Gapyeong.
For the most part, I set aside a budget for all the Korean cosmetics I was going to buy, but along the way, I didn’t expect to find a lot of little gems that weren’t skin care products or makeup that I really, really wanted.
First item up for display is this small pouch with a dinosaur embroidered on it. Some people are fans of Star Wars, others Star Trek. Me, I’m all about the dinosaurs. That velociraptor-in-the-kitchen scene in Jurassic Park is still one of my favorite movie moments. And Bambi has nothing on Little Foot when LF’s mother died after that stressful confrontation with Sharp Tooth. I don’t want to waste tissue whenever I watch that scene. Get me a TOWEL.
Totoro is so popular in South Korea for some reason. I saw more Totoro paraphernalia there than I did in Japan. They have Totoro phone cases, Totoro bath rugs, Totoro lunch boxes, Totoro chopsticks, Totoro handkerchiefs, Totoro everything. I got this bracelet from a store along Garosu-gil.
I went to Dongdaemun Design Plaza’s Design Lab, a treasure trove of wonderful, innovative works and products made by Korean designers. My parents bought two lamps made of walnut wood that you tap a few times to increase brightness. Those are pretty fantastic.
A few items I picked up include a cat face mirror. It looks like a card, but when you peel off one side, it becomes a nifty, little mirror I can keep inside my wallet. That, and cat sticky memo pads for my officemate who’s also a huge cat lady.
Also from the DDP Design Lab: Sprout bookmarks. Leaf-shaped bookmarks that look like sprouting buds when you open your book. ADORABLE.
The item on the right I bought as pasalubong for my boss since she’s into plants. Our dream is to have a forest in the office. The things at the bottom of the girl and cat cutouts are seeds. You insert the cutouts in pots of soil, water them, and the buds will grow around the cutouts. So precious!
I like EXO. There, I said it! Catchy music. Good-looking guys. Great on-screen personas. I was just a distant fan before. Now, I’m a merchandise-buying fan. Haha. I’m still a little embarrassed to share my fondness for this group, but who cares? I care!
I bought the pen for a friend. And the pouch caught my eye because it’s clearly EXO merchandise but still inconspicuous to many people who aren’t familiar with their concepts. I was going to buy another pouch for that friend of mine, but the SM Town section at the Design Lab only had one left. Hi, Lexa. If you’re reading this, sorry. :s Let’s watch them in concert together, okay? And buy all the merch our wallets and fangirl sensibilities can handle there.
When I was planning our trip to Nami Island, I found out that there was more to see around Gapyeong. I made plans to go to Petit France, an area inspired by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s Le Petit Prince and French culture, and The Garden of Morning Calm, the oldest private garden in Korea.
From Nami Island, I bought a clip that has a print of Edgar Degas’ Swaying Dancer. I think it’s really lovely. And in Petit France, I found the mechanical pencil of my dreams! Look at that beauty. I chose red because it reminds me of the rose. I’m afraid to use it because I might break it, but I love it so much I’ll try to sign all official documents using this pencil.
And last but not the least, food. A trip anywhere would not be complete without bringing back a little taste of the place I’ve been to.
Choco pies are huge in Korea. The Premium Ghana ones made by Lotte are particularly delicious. I also found tiramisu Pepero. Hollow cheese sticks are filled with tiramisu cream. Nice. In the Philippines, we only have the chocolate, almond, and cookies and cream versions.
We were also introduced to dragon’s beard candy (gul tarae) in Insadong. Dragon’s beard candy is made of honey and nuts. A disc of hard honey is stretched and dipped repeatedly in a tub of cornstarch. The cornstarch softens the honey, allowing one to make “16,000” honey strings that will house a spoonful of nuts. Watch the process here.
And finally, Doritos Bomb. This is a fun bag of Doritos because you have the typical cheese Doritos mixed in with one or a few wasabi-flavored “bombs.” Laughs all around when someone gets a bomb.
And that’s it! That’s my entire haul. I really had fun shopping in Korea. I hope I’ll get to go back soon with family or friends, especially when my Innisfree products all run out. Haha.