What It’s REALLY Like to Be a Fangirl

Hint: It ain’t all lightsticks and hair dye.

Yes, yes, I know. It’s been a while. Months, in fact. That’s what happens sometimes – you start something, so motivated, thinking it’s gonna be the best thing you’ve done. Then reality hits and you realize you’re discouraged, unmotivated, and truly questioning your life choices. When you do go back, for one split second, you remind yourself this is why you started in the first place…and then, ten seconds later, you’re like NOPE.

Sound familiar?

Congratulations. You are most definitely, certifiably a K-pop fan. (Or a Liberal Arts major. Whichever one came to mind first).

Now I’m not gonna sit here and claim to know everything about every fandom. That really won’t do considering I’ve only ever liked one (okay, technically two) group ever. EH. VER! You wanna know what it’s like to be a multi-popper? You’re gonna have to ask my friend, Ren.

Moving on.

The reason for this post is simple – I have a lot to say. It’s not gonna be a rant so don’t worry. I’m not depressed or going through a hard time. It’s just there are things I’ve noticed and would like to talk about and invite people to share their opinions. And, while I love Twitter, it’s character limit has its drawbacks.

So!

What is it like to be so deep into a group?

Now most blogs tell you about what it’s like to be a K-pop fan in general. Because who only likes one group? There are so many beautiful people to choose from, so many songs to like, so many derp moments that make you scream “OHMYGOD MY BAAAE!” How is it possible to be a single fan?

It’s not. It’s hard. And in a way, sort of impossible.

I’ve been a fan of one group since 2004. I was born in 1994. I was merely ten years old when I got in (hipster moment: I was into K-pop before it was K-pop) and now I’ve been stuck for more than half my life. At this point, there is no going back. And the first thing I will tell you is: it is expensive.

See the people laughing as they read this? It’s cuz they know. 

If you’re gonna be into it, be aware. It gets pricey. You think a couple of albums will do but once you buy that first box set with photocards that come in three different versions, you’re done. The moment you hit that ‘Enter’ button on YesAsia, there is no going back. Even as a Korean fan, it’s difficult. Cheap delivery fees only save you so much. You have more albums. You have singles. You have concerts. You have to stream. You have to buy this and do that and no, honey, I’m not just talking about money.

It also takes time. 

Watching a couple of YouTube videos don’t cut it. Even if it’s just one group (okay, two!) – you have music videos, variety shows, (if you’re a new fan) old shows, news reports. You think concerts are the only thing you’ll be going to? There are pre-recordings. Award shows. Busking events. Even getting the fangoods can mean getting up to catch the first subway. You thought you would just show up and see them? LOL. NOPE! I can tell you from personal experience – some people show up days ahead for free events (Gangnam Kpop Festival 2014, anyone? Anyone? Hmmmm?)

And then there’s the drama. Soooooo much drama. I can tell you this right now – you pay the price for knowing so much about what goes on in your idols’ lives. Because that means you spend that much time on SNS and see every Tori, Danielle, and Haneul that like to post and express their views on Twitter (kinda like I’m doing. Heh). And you can’t just ignore it. You can’t just scroll past. Cuz we are human. We are curious. We must know. So we read. And we fight. And we argue. And we fight even more.

All. The. Time.

I have my fair share of drama with just one (okay! two!) group! Can’t even imagine what it’s like when you like a lot of them. Even more interesting when two of those groups happen to be rivals (yup. Y’all know who you are. And I salute you.)

And you know what the best part is? Some of that drama isn’t even from just other fans. It’s from family. And colleagues. And other friends. Who don’t understand why you spend so much reading up about pretty Asians who have no idea you exist, and judge you for it. Judge you hard core. It’s okay to be a die-hard fan of Michael Jackson or John Mayer or Hyde. But you like a K-pop group? Oh no. You’re just a sucker who has no life, no ambitions, and will waste away and regret your life choices when you’re sitting in your parents basement at 40.

Yeah. Someone actually said that to me once.

But it’s okay. Because you make friends and meet people who truly get you. You’ll find people who understand and won’t judge you because you guys like the same idols and that’s all that matters…

Ha! Wrong! With a CAPS LOCK W!

It’s not just about who you like, either. How much do you like them? Do you stream their songs? Do you buy all their albums? Which photocards do you have? Which concerts have you gone to? What’s your Twitter ID? How come you do this but not that? Well, why do you follow her on Twitter when she’s this stan? But why don’t you do this? Why didn’t you see that?

Sigh. Yeah…I’d like to say I remember when it was easier but, honestly, it never was.

When you read about becoming a K-pop fan online, you read about the Different Stages of Becoming a Fan, the How You Know You’re a K-pop Fan, the K-pop Terminology, the How to Get Your Friend Into Becoming a K-pop Fan By Stealing Their Soul and Mindwashing Them with Constant Replays and-

…Yeah, okay. It didn’t say that.

But my point is – it’s hard. It’s really difficult. I started this post with the intention of talking about being a fan of one (I’M SAYING ONE!) group, but in all honesty, it makes no difference. Whether you like one group, two groups, five groups, or ten (yes, I know those people, too), you’re in for a looooong ride of turmoil. There’s drama and tears and eye aches from too much LED and you know the worst part?

You can’t get yourself to give it up. Not a single second of it.

And I haven’t even gotten into the part for when your group is popular in a whole different country than Korea.

But…that’s for another time…

 

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Make an Overseas Yes24 Account

NOTE: This applies to foreigners who DO NOT live in Korea. Foreigners who reside in Korea with an Alien Registration have a completely different process. This is for those who reside overseas without an ARC and plan to visit the country just for a concert or event..

ALSO note: This doesn’t guarantee you’ll get a ticket. I’m simply providing a potential road here. IF YOU ARE NOT CONFIDENT IN YOUR TICKETING SKILLS, YOU CAN GET SOMEONE TO LOG IN WITH YOUR ACCOUNT AND DO IT FOR YOU. YOUR ID WILL SHOW UP ON THE TICKET SO IT’S LEGITIMATE.

Okay, so…

With so many companies adding extra stringent measures on tickets (ugh), the days of relying on resellers and agencies are numbered. One of the ways companies seem to be tackling the scalpers issue is by making it impossible to enter unless your name matches the one on the ticket. If that is the case, you’ll need an actual account because that is the only way to have your name on the ticket.

Luckily, yes24 does have an option for those living overseas. Unfortunately, it’s in Korean.

So…LET’S PLAY PICTURE BOOK!

First, go on the website: yes24.com

You’ll see a blue line running across the TOP of the page. On the RIGHT side, there is a string of words that have to do with accounts. They’re faded and harder to see than the ones on the LEFT:

yes24

The three most important in this case are:

로그인 (login)

회원가입 (Make account)

and 고겍센터 (Customer Service <- just in case)

So, what you want to do now is click on 회원가입 (second from the left or sixth from Global Yes24)

yes24login

When you click on that, it will take you to this page:

welcomepage

Notice the PINK 01 there? Scroll down and you will see the TERMS and AGREEMENTS section. All you have to is check the RED option (this checks them all for you)

termspage

Sloppily highlighed in yellow for your convenience…

Now, you scroll further and come to a PINK 02. You’ll see a series of options for the type of account you want to make. For those living overseas, you want the LAST one

overseas

 

After that, it’s simply a matter of filling in the info. From order of left to right:

한글이름: Korean romanization (for this, you may need to get someone who knows Korean to write it down for you)

First name, Last name (as so helpfully written already in the text box)

생년월일: Birthday in order of Year, Month, and Day

성별: Gender (남: male, 여: female)

이매일: Email (again, self-explanatory)

And then hit the red button. They will send you a confirmation email which gives you a link that takes you to a page to set up your username and password (just like any other account website)

What really kills me about this is that this fixes NOTHING. It just makes things extremely more difficult for ANYBODY to get a ticket. Resellers will still go on and offer their services for concerts and other things, and the rest of us with slow internet just suffer. You think it’s just foreigners having a hard time getting tickets? A lot of Koreans rely on resellers, too, even if they won’t admit it (unlike me) because it takes EXTREME skill and luck to get a ticket. And if you’re picky about where you sit like I am, it’s even more difficult.

What I SUGGEST y’all do is go through your regular resell channels anyway but with a TWIST. There’s a lot of people offering to buy tickets for foreigners (with a fee, of course). BUT instead of just having them do it, make SURE they use it using YOUR login info. (Korean sites don’t have bank or credit card information on your account so it’s safe. And you can always just change your password later). Because they’re using YOUR account, your name will automatically show up on the ticket no matter who goes in and buys it, and resellers hire a team of people to get these tickets so you have a higher chance of succeeding.

Best hunting and good luck to you all. I’m gonna go hope and pray to the Eastern Gods that this totally won’t be necessary…

Official Monsta X Monbebe 2nd Gen Fanclub Goods Review

Today was a good day. I woke up to the news that my Monsta X fanclub membership package would arrive. I was super pumped and basically just sat around in my house all morning waiting.
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Finally, it arrived! And… it looked a bit small. I had an instant flashback to last year’s ARMY goods and how I was a bit disappointed in it. Compared to the package for Monsta X from last year this one was a lot smaller.

 

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On the right you can see the fanclub box from last year, and on the left the one from this year. Even though it’s small, I was holding all judgement until I opened it. This year’s theme of camping is honestly so cute.

 

The little artwork was just adorable At the bottom of the box it says “Let’s go camping together” and when you pull open the tab it reads “Monbebe”, so all together “Let’s go camping together Monbebe <3” which is a super cute touch honestly.

 

 

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So, opening it fully, you see that despite the small size, the box is FULL of stuff.
This year the box contained a pin, photobook, DVD, photocard and probably my favorite part, a banner of the members. Last year, by comparison, was a bag, a water bottle (which fell out of my bag while running and exploded. rip waterbottle, you were so fantastic and will be missed.), photobook and photocard. My first thought was “That pin perfectly matches the bag from last year!”

 

 

The banner features photos of the members on one side, and the anniversary dates on the back.

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The new membership card is pretty similar to last year’s card, and the photocard is cute as well.

Honestly, everything in the box was super cute. I am super pumped to be able to watch

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You aren’t even my bias, why are you coming for me like this?

the dvd later and plan to put up the banner when I move to my new place in a month. Until then, I’ve packed everything safely away so it doesn’t get damaged in the moving process. Unfortunately I don’t have access to a scanner or anything, so I can’t provide all the images from the photobook, but can I just say that Hyungwon needs to chill and let me live.

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All in all, it was definitely worth the money paid. (For international Monbebe’s, there is a coupon inside for the official webstore, and while it’s not a huge discount every little bit helps when you ship internationally, right?)  I’m super excited to get the BTS fanclub goods in as well, hopefully sometime soon although last year it took around 3 or 4 months. Monsta X is pretty consistent with shipping theirs quickly after they close the sign up period completely. I hope you guys will look forward to seeing the ARMY goods, and I will be going more in-depth later on fanclubs. If you have any questions about fanclubs, fangoods or  anything drop them below and I’ll incorporate that into my next post!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a date with a dvd.

 

 

My Go-to Facemasks

I love facemasks. Check my instagram, and you’re likely to see tons of posts about different masks I’ve been trying out. (Alternately, look at my desk or in my fridge where I typically have between 10 to 20 masks at a time.) If a store has a sale on facemasks, you can find me there stocking up. But there are a few masks which I find myself purchasing over and over again. These are my go to masks for when my skin is feeling tired and worn out. I’m going to rank my top 4 masks here.

#4: Medi-Heal Pore Tightening Solution

18944749_10155167526651970_1058190762_n-minThis is a mask I tend to use after I’ve done any kind of peel off mask or deep exfoliation. It leaves my skin feeling soft and moisturized as well. I personally feel that my pores do look a bit smaller after using them. It doesn’t have a strong smell, and it doesn’t cause any problems for my super sensitive skin, like some other pore masks have. Medi-Heal brand can be found at LOHB and is a decent price, between 1,500w to 3,000w depending on the mask. You can also catch them on sale sometimes, so stock up when you can!

 

 

 

 

 

#3:SkinFood: Propolis and Bee Venom mask

18945084_10155167526571970_2007143161_n-minThis mask is for moisturizing and firming, and while it’s one of my favorites, there is a small disclaimer. As this product uses bee venom, if you are highly allergic to bees, you should steer clear. I have a slight bee allergy, so this mask is one I only use at night time, as my face tends to be red afterwards. You might wonder “Ren, why is a mask you are allergic to one of your favorites?” That’s because it makes my skin feel crazy smooth, and so I can deal with the slight tingling feeling that I get from it. But again, totally not for everyone. It has a light honey like scent.

It’s from SkinFood, which is one of my favorite brands and is also around 1,500w.

#2 TonyMoly Naturalith Goat Milk Moisture Mask Sheet18944542_10155167526536970_1881550360_n-min

This is one of the masks that I have never actually had to buy, but I totally would. TonyMoly has been pushing their Goat Milk line a lot for the past year or so, and as such many times you get this mask for free. It’s great for days when your skin feels super dry, and I like to keep these in the fridge so it’s cool when I put it on. I will say that it does take a little longer to absorb after taking the mask off, so make sure to pat the essence into you skin well. I’m going to assume this mask is roughly 2,000w, because I’ve never actually paid for it since I’m a TonyMoly VIP member. I definitely suggest this one if you have dry skin.

18945351_10155167527081970_2101041643_n-min#1 TonyMoly I’m Real Red Wine Pore Care Mask

This mask has been my favorite mask for around 2 years running now.  It has a really nice fruity wine scent. I find that this one is not only great for pore care but also for moisture, so it’s fantastic. The morning after using this, my skin feels like I could even skip my moisturizer. This is one of the masks that I would 100% recommend as a morning mask because of how nice it makes my skin feel. It’s also one of the ones I prefer to keep in my fridge before wearing it and it’s a huge part of my summer skin care routine. Also perfect for sensitive skin.

It’s around 2,000w, which is a bit more than I tend to want to spend, but it’s so worth it.

And there you have it! My top four masks. I’m going to post a ton of other mask reviews in the future, but at the moment these are my essential sheet masks.  A lot of these you can buy in bulk for cheaper, and if you keep them in the fridge, they last a lot longer! I hope you love them just as much as I do!

-Ren

 

Skincare: A Tale of Two Soaps

When I was young, I had a ton of trouble with acne. So much so that at one point in middle school my skincare routine was a $200 face care set from some company I can’t even remember now. For all the money my mother sank into it, the program never worked for me. So it’s no surprise that skincare became a bit of an obsession for me. Over the years, I’ve tried many different face washes and toners, all promising results. Some delivered and some didn’t.  Eventually I settled on using Saint Ives Apricot Scrub and being ok with the fact that my face would never be smooth.

That is, until I came to Korea. Even in Korea I had a bit of trouble at first, mainly because it was extremely hard to find Saint Ives! So for the first few months, I stumbled through my old routine of trying different face cleansers. I found a few that were ok, but nothing notable until roughly a year ago.

Enter AprilSkin. AprilSkin ads began popping up EVERYWHERE for a soap called “Magic Stone”. It promised to be an all natural face cleanser that took care of any skin trouble. So when it went on sale at the local Olive Young, I decided to try it out.

The Magic Stone was my first attempt at using an actual bar soap for my face. Thankfully I had rewatched the April Skin Ulzzang video enough times that I knew to make foam with the soap and then put that on my face for around 20-30 seconds.

(The video in question that popped up on Facebook, Instagram and literally everywhere I seemed to look.)

I was pretty pleased with the Magic Stone right off the bat, as it easily removed all of my makeup. But after about 3 days, I was astonished that a problem patch on one of my cheeks was gone. Gone as in my entire face was COMPLETELY clear.

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My only issue with Magic Stone was that it left my skin feeling a tad bit dry, but as I normally used it before bed it didn’t bother me much as I applied a heavy face cream. I mean, who cares about a little bit of dryness when you’ve found the holy grail of skin care, right?

I stuck with Magic Stone exclusively for around 9 months. But then these pesky ads on Instagram started showing up for a new soap.

DailySkin had arrived and their Strawberry Milk soap was all over the place. I held off for a while, as I still very much loved my Magic Stone. But the DailySkin advertisements promised a soap that would leave your skin more moisturized than others and the packaging was super cute. So I decided to try it out. I didn’t have anything to lose, after all.

For a week, I stopped using Magic Stone and switched to using only the Strawberry Milk. As with Magic Stone, my skin stayed completely clear. And DailySkin was right about my skin feeling moisturized. With the Strawberry Milk soap, the website had recommend cutting it, as it easily melts in the heat. So I attempted (poorly) to cut it into 4ths. It, predictably, crumbled a bit. So, do not do this. Other than that, I found myself in love with this soap as well.

So what to do, now that I had found not one but two amazing soaps? Use them both of course. In the mornings, I now use the DailySkin Strawberry Milk soap, since it isn’t as drying as the Magic Stone. At night, I use the Magic Stone before going to bed to really make sure I’ve gotten everything off of my face. I can honestly say that I LOVE both of these soaps, and that my skin has never been in such great condition. Another great aspect of both is that a little goes a long way. The soaps foam up really easily, and one Magic Stone lasted me around 8 months from daily use. So far the tiny piece of the Strawberry Milk soap has lasted around 3 months without getting too small to use.

In conclusion, both of these soaps are wonderful, and if you have sensitive skin I recommend trying them out. Those of you with oily skin may want to look into the Black Magic Stone, as it has added charcoal to help with oil. Skincare is really important, and for those who struggle with acne, finding the right soap can really help. Really expensive soaps and serums aren’t always the way to go. Sometimes, a soap marketed to you on Instagram by Ulzzangs can actually be the secret weapon you’ve been looking for.