Weekend in Seoul

My husband and I had a chance to spend a weekend in Seoul before our 10 days in Japan (more on that later!). Thankfully, we had a wonderful guide as an old friend currently lives there — which made getting around and communicating so much easier!

Seoul is a MASSIVE city so definitely plan well if you’ll only be stopping through for a weekend. You definitely won’t see everything but, hey, it’s a great excuse to come back! Here were some highlights of things to do if you’re in Seoul for a weekend and my recommendation for how to split it up between two days.

Cool plant wall at Incheon Airport!

Day 1: Gyeongbokgung Royal Palace (the royal palace of Joseon Dynasty), Cheonggyecheon Stream (a quiet walking area along a stream), Gwangjang Traditional Market (the coolest food market full of locals!), Insadong Shopping Street (artsier little shops and vendors), Myeongdong Shopping Street (this is where to get your shopping done and stock up on all your Korean skincare products). You’ll find places to eat everywhere in these areas.

Gyeongbokgung Royal Palace. You could definitely spend hours here but I recommend limiting your time to 2 hours tops so you can explore more of the city!
Cheonggyecheon Stream. Lovely place to take a peaceful walk and escape the bustle of the streets above.

Day 2: Morning hike in Bukhansan National Park, afternoon in Hongdae area, dinner in Gangnam.

Temple found while hiking in Bukhansan National Park. You could spend all day hiking here but I’d recommend getting there early before the trails gets crowded.
THANKS, OAT in the adorable Hongdae neighborhood. This area is a university area and is full of hipster vibes. On a Saturday afternoon, there were so many families and students out picnicking. Definitely one of my favorite neighborhoods.

If we had more time, I would’ve loved to spend more time in Hongdae and check out a Korean spa!

Some tips:
– Seoul is HUGE. And getting from one place to another will take more time than you think (even with the subway). Spend your time accordingly and group activities/sites in a certain area together.
– Google Maps does not work well in South Korea, especially for walking directions. We used KakaoMap and were able to navigate pretty well.
– Google Translate also doesn’t do well with Korean so get used to doing a lot of guessing and pointing. Also, learn a few phrases like “hello” and “thank you.” It makes a big difference.
– We had no problem using our credit card everywhere (whereas Japan has a bit more cash only joints).
– I had great cell phone service with my Sprint phone in Korea.
– Trash wise: it’s really hard not to find things not wrapped in plastic. Or recycle bins out in public. The best we could do was save any trash in our backpack and dispose of them at the hotel.
– Eat all the food. It’s magnificent. Note that “breakfast” isn’t as much of a thing. So pop into one of the million 24/7 convenience stores and stock up on coffee, tea, yogurts, and snacks!

Plastic Free July Time

I just got back from an epic trip to Japan and South Korea so forgive the lack of posts! I have a lot of travel related content coming up soon. In the meantime, since it IS Plastic Free July — I’ve updated last year’s post. Enjoy!

Happy July! AND Happy Plastic Free July! Started in Australia, Plastic Free July now reaches over 2 million people across the globe. During the month of July, participants commit to reduce and eliminate plastic use. You can choose to 1. Avoid single use plastic packaging 2. Eliminate use of takeaway items (bags, bottles, straws, coffee cups) or 3. Go completely plastic-free. I highly recommend registering here and committing to even one small change! The Plastic Free July site also has great tips on reducing your plastic waste. Read on to learn about some of the easiest changes you can make this month and links to some past posts if you want to go even more in depth!

  1. Bring your own shoppings bags as well as canvas or mesh produce bags to hold fruits, veggies, and bulk items.
  2. No straws! Learn to say “no straw please” whenever you get a drink at a restaurant or bar. If you MUST have a straw, bring along your own stainless steel one.
  3. Avoid plastic cutlery during your summertime picnics/bbqs/events. Use your usual washable flatware or get compostable wooden cutlery.
  4. Say no to the single use plastic water bottles. I guarantee you have some reusable water bottles laying around the house from some event or another. Commit to using it!
  5. Make your own coffee and tea at home OR bring your own cup to the coffee shop.
  6. Avoid plastic wrap when storing food. Use reusable beeswax wraps, glass storage containers, and compostable parchment paper.

And if you are looking to REALLY get into the plastic free or zero waste life, check out the following:

An exhaustive list of common household items and less wasteful alternatives.

How to entertain with less plastic.

Avoid unnecessary plastic waste at your local fast food joints.

Common swaps you can make for a less wasteful summer.

Ladies — how to have a more eco-friendly period.

Traveling this summer? Check it out.

Have a dog? Get your doggos in on the eco-friendly action.

Need some less wasteful, more reusable items? My zero waste wish list.

Create a zero waste car kit!

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Link Round Up #58

Favorites from the week:

The ABC’s of minimalism.

Love this eco-friendly straw breakdown from Boba Guys (highly recommend if you are in NY, LA, or SF).

How to mentally cool down this summer.

So cute. Human anatomy according to my dog.

Striking photos that show the environmental decline along the Ganges.

Starter brands for growing a minimalist wardrobe.

Saving this list of airbnbs in Monterey.

The real Full House home is on the market and is gorgeous!

How to deal with a difficult manager.

Sustainable kitchen tools that are built to last.

Minimalist Nighttime Skincare Routine with Differin

Last week, I talked about my minimalist morning skincare routine so, this week, we’re getting into what I use at night. Again, we’re dealing mostly with plastic packaging (except for one metal tube + facial oil in a glass bottle) BUT, overall, a lot fewer products that I have to deal with recycling in general. Also, 4 of the 6 products below are used in my morning routine as well.

1. Origins Cleansing Oil 2. La Roche Posay Gentle Cleanser 3. Drunk Elephant Lala Whipped Cream

Oil Cleanse: I bought this with a Macy’s gift card when I had no idea what else to buy. And, you know what? I love it. It smells delightful and is both gentle and moisturizing. Great at helping take off my sunscreen.
Eco Pros: No parabens, phthalates, sodium lauryl sulfate, propylene glycol, mineral oil, DEA, petrolatum, paraffin, polyethylene beads, formaldehyde & animal ingredients. Origins also supports reforestation projects around the world and are working to have net zero carbon emissions by 2020.
Eco Cons: Plastic bottle (recyclable).

Second Cleanse: This is a super gentle cleanser that is suitable for both me and my husband. This is the one product that we share so the big bottle works out well.
Eco Pros: Huge bottle that takes a long, long time to go through. Paraben and fragrance free.
Eco Cons: Plastic bottle (recyclable).


*An effective double cleanse allows me to keep a makeup remover and toner out of my product rotation.*

Moisturize: This is new to the mix but so far, so good! Definitely meant for dry skin like mine. It’s hella expensive which is why I’ll only continue to repurchase with Sephora gift cards.
Eco Pros: Vegan, gluten-free, cruelty-free. Fragrance free.
Eco Cons: Plastic container.

4. Differin 5. Embryolisse 6. Herbivore Phoenix Oil

Treat: Ah. My magical Differin. Differin is a prescription strength retinoid that is now OTC. While it’s primarily used to treat acne, derms also say that it can help with anti aging and skin texture/pigmentation issues. I use it for all three… the occasional acne on my cheeks, sunspots on my nose (it’s been GREAT for this), and a preventative for wrinkles. This itty bitty $12 tube lasts over a month (ideally it should be used daily with a pea size amount over the entire face) and allows me to pare down the rest of my routine to the bare essentials. While it gives your skin the “glow from within” look, it also causes dryness (especially if your skin is already dry like mine)… hence the sandwiching between moisturizers.
Eco Pros: Allows me to have less products overall.
Eco Cons: Have to TerraCycle the tube.


Moisturize More: I picked this up in France last year and didn’t quite know what to do with it. After starting Differin, this became a wonderful spot moisturizer for Differin dryness AND a great moisturizing mask. This could also work as a moisturizer during the winter. Multitasking for the win.
Eco Pros: In a metal tube (but I still TerraCycle this).
Eco Cons: Not exactly “natural”.

Seal It In: I tried the mini pack of all three Herbivore facial oils and I this one is my favorite. The scent is a bit more subtle than Lapis and Orchid and I find that it sinks in quickly. Overall, it gives a lovely, glowy look to the skin and seals all the moisture in.
Eco Pros: Glass bottle. No synthetic ingredients, parabens, sodium laurel sulfate, phthalates, chemicals, fillers, animal testing, mineral oils, petroleum. Herbivore frequently donates a portion of certain products to causes like the ACLU.
Eco Cons: Must TerraCycle dropper.

evening skincare routine pin image
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