Yina Goes

Singapore Top Travel, Beauty, Food, Lifestyle Blog

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Seoul Jan'17: 5 Cafes To Visit At Garosu-Gil!

One of my favourite places to roam in Seoul is Garosu-gil at Sinsa-Dong. The name Garosu-gil comes from the Korean word meaning "tree-lined streets", as the area is adorned with ginkgo trees, making it one of the most picturesque and Instagram-worthy parts of town in Seoul!

Garosu-Gil cafe Seoul travel blog
Garosu-gil is also famous for the many stylish cafes, boutiques and restaurants it is home to. Armed with our cameras and empty stomachs, my girlfriend Tammi and I set out for a day of cafe-hopping down the streets of Garosu-gil!

Garosu-Gil cafe Seoul travel blog
My camera of choice is the Olympus E-PL8 - The perfect travel companion with its lightweight and compact build as well as features like Built-In Wifi, Art Filters and an 180 degree-flip down LCD screen optimised for selfies!

5 Cafes To Visit At Garosu-Gil

As I've mentioned, Garosu-gil is practically the cafe capital of Seoul - There are so many cafes along Garosu-Gil that it's impossible to visit them all in one day! We spent an entire day at Garosu-gil and here are the five cafes that we visited and loved - With gorgeous interiors and delicious food, these cafes will be a treat for both your Instagram and your tummy! Hehe.

Directions to Garosu-Gil

Take the Seoul subway to Sinsa Station (Line 3).
From exit 8, walk straight for about 5 minutes - The second intersecting street is Garosugil.

1. Line Friends Store & Cafe

535-15 Sinsa-dong,
Gangnam-Gu, Seoul
Garosu-Gil Line cafe travel blog
Line Friends Store & Cafe is without a doubt one of the most charming cafes you'll step foot in on the street of Garosu-gil - Even for a non-Line fan like me, I found the Line-themed merchandise and food irresistibly cute! Just look at this huuuuuge Brown bear that everyone was queuing up to take a photo with!

Browse the merchandise if you will, but be warned that everything is ridiculously priced and costs a pretty penny - I really liked some of the merchandise but couldn't bear to spend my precious Korean won on them.

Garosu-Gil Line cafe travel blog
Olympus E-PL8 Art Filter - Pinhole Mode
Head downstairs to the basement, and you'll find the endearing Line Friends Cafe!

Garosu-Gil Line cafe travel blog
Where you can dine with a life-sized "Brown" next to you, or choose from lots of cutesy Line-themed desserts, cakes, and food!

Garosu-Gil Line cafe travel blog
I bought myself a "Coney"-themed soft serve that was surprisingly delicious and waaaayyyy tooooo cute! Gotta say I wasn't expecting much, but this was goooood. (And it garnered me 1500 likes on Instagram too, what is this obsession with cute food?!)

2. The Hwawon @ Eight Seconds

535-12 Sinsa-dong,
Gangnam-gu, Seoul
Garosu-Gil cafe Seoul travel blog
For those of you who love eclectic decor and botanicals, pop by The Hwawon @ Eight Seconds!

Garosu-Gil cafe Seoul travel blog
Olympus E-PL8 Art Filter - Vintage Mode
With its dimly-lit and cozy interior that's been spiced up with little potted plants, colourful Middle-Eastern tapestry and an entire ceiling-full of dried flower bouquets, The Hwawon makes you feel like you've stepped into another universe altogether.

Garosu-Gil cafe Seoul travel blog
Olympus E-PL8 Art Filter - Vintage Mode
It was the perfect hide-out from the freezing temperatures outdoors as we indulged in hot tea and honey bread!

Garosu-Gil cafe Seoul travel blog
Here's the perfect shot of our Honey Toast - Served toasty warm, drizzled with honey and then topped with whipped cream and cacao nibs!

Confession: Despite struggling with our frozen fingers, we brought this outdoors to the very pretty coffee table right outside the entrance for its own editorial shoot just because outdoor lighting is full of win. Don't judge us.

3. Deux Crèmes

45, Dosan-Daero 15-Gil,
Gangnam-Gu, Seoul
Garosu-Gil cafe Seoul travel blog
Olympus E-PL8 Art Filter - Pop Art Mode
Deux Crèmes might not look like much from the outside, but I highly highly recommend this cafe if you love tarts and pastries - They do an incredible selection of fresh fruit pies that taste as good as they look!

Garosu-Gil cafe Seoul travel blog
Olympus E-PL8 Art Filter - Partial Color Mode

Oh, and they also have gorgeous full-length windows with a great view for people-watching as well as perfect lighting for portrait and food shots! Definitely a win!

Garosu-Gil cafe Seoul travel blog
Here's a tip for your table flat-lay photos: It always looks better with a bit of human action, so get a hand (or two) into the frame for a more enticing shot!

Garosu-Gil cafe Seoul travel blog
We had the strawberry pistachio tart, and it was delicious! The crust was light and flaky, and the fresh strawberries complemented the light cream and nutty pistachio filling so well. It was the perfect balance of sweet and tart, crisp and creamy.

Garosu-Gil cafe Seoul travel blog
Olympus E-PL8 Art Filter - Partial Color Mode
See what I mean about the full-length windows for beautiful portrait lighting conditions? ;) The use of the Partial Color Art Filter really brought out the feels for this photo too!

4. Skin Food Store & Cafe

12-37 Apgujeong-ro, Sinsa-dong, 
Gangnam-gu, Seoul

Garosugil Skinfood cafe travel blog
Walking further down Garosu-gil, we stumbled upon Skinfood Cafe right above its concept store on Level 1 - Both Tammi and I are Skinfood fans, and we had to head upstairs to check out the cafe!

Garosugil Skinfood cafe travel blog
I LOVED the cheerful and happy atmosphere with sunny yellow and white accents all over! There's a little section where you get to play with Skinfood's skincare products and another where different makeup products are all laid out too. Really fun and chirpy vibes going on that's totally in line with Skinfood's branding.

Garosugil Skinfood cafe travel blog
Olympus E-PL8 Art Filter - Cross Process Mode
They sure know how to make a place photogenic. Definitely my kind of #interiorgoals!

Garosugil Skinfood cafe travel blog
Food-wise, the menu is refreshing and reflects Skinfood's healthy brand philosophy - Great for health-conscious eaters. It's not mind-blowing by any means, but the cafe is a lovely and cheery place to rest the feet after an intense Skinfood marathon shopping downstairs on Level 1!

PS. I bought the Skin Food Avocado & Honey Lip Serum SPF8 and really, really like it. Moisturises well and gives my lips a natural reddish tint!

Garosugil Skinfood cafe travel blog
A quick selfie made easy with the 180 deg flip down screen on my Olympus E-PL8 - We all deserve to be a little narcissistic sometimes, yes? (Note: There's actually an E-Portrait mode on the Olympus E-PL8 for flawless skin too!)

5. O'Sulloc Tea House

580-5 Sinsa-dong,
Gangnam-gu, Seoul
Garosugil Osulloc green tea cafe travel blog
Osulloc Tea House is one of those cafes that I've heard a lot of raves about, so naturally, we made it our last stop for the day. They actually do have a few different outlets - One in Myeongdong and another one at Insadong if I'm not mistaken.

Green tea and matcha fanatics should give Osulloc Tea House a visit because just about every single thing on its menu is green tea flavoured! The green tea used in their products is organically grown and comes from Jeju Island.

Garosugil Osulloc green tea cafe travel blog
Olympus E-PL8 Art Filter - Light Tone Mode
All kinds of green tea goodness on our tray. Yay!

Garosugil Osulloc green tea cafe travel blog
Olympus E-PL8 Art Filter - Light Tone Mode
We both loved the Green Tea Latte - It was creamy and frothy with exactly the right taste of matcha that was neither too bitter nor too artificial. Good stuff!! 

Tammi preferred the Green Tea Roll Cake while I liked the Green Tea Torte. The roll cake was sort of bland and didn't have a strong enough matcha kick to me, while the Green Tea Torte was sweeter and richer.

Garosugil Osulloc green tea cafe travel blog
Pretty much done with the sweet stuff by the time we finished up at Osulloc Tea House, but it was a super fun day together with Tammi!

Five cafes in one day - Sounds hectic, but we really had a very relaxed time, and I would have loved to visit even more cafes, had we the stomach space to try more food!

Even if you don't follow my cafe recommendations above, do set aside a day in your itinerary to head over to Garosu-gil to explore the area. It's a treasure trove of hidden gem cafes, cool boutiques and interesting shops to uncover!

Garosugil cafe Seoul travel blog
Olympus E-PL8 Art Filter - Pop Art Mode
It was evening time when we left Garosu-Gil to the sight of a cloudless canvas of brilliant hues as the sun set. Dazzling, ain't it?

Olympus E-PL8
Olympus E-PL8 Art Filter - Partial Color Mode
Pictures used for illustrations in this entry were taken with my Olympus E-PL8.

Hope you enjoyed the read, and let me know if you've got any cool cafes to recommend around Garosu-Gil! Psst. More Seoul travel posts are coming this way, so keep a look out! ;)


Sunday, February 12, 2017

Seoul Jan'17: Shake Shack at Gangnam Avenue - Totally worth the calories

Shake Shack Gangnam
Seoul's Shake Shack - How does it compare?
Shake Shack Gangnam Seoul Korea
I remember my first taste of heaven - Shake Shack in Washington, December 2015! 

Imagine sinking your teeth into a fat crispy battered mushroom that's filled with exploding cheese, layered atop more cheese and a juicy, meaty beef patty, then encased within two fluffy soft pillows of buns.. There's nothing like a Shake Shack burger!

But the USA is a good twenty hours away from Singapore, and it's been more than a year since I last tasted this sinful decadence.. Until our visit to Shake Shack in Gangnam Avenue, Seoul! 

I've been around Gangnam previously (had really good fried chicken at this place called The Fry Pan) but that was before Shake Shack was even available in Seoul, hence my anticipation!

Shake Shack Gangnam Seoul Korea
Back alleys of Gangnam Avenue; There's a lot of good food around here!
The only places Shake Shack can be found in Asia is Seoul, Korea, and Tokyo, Japan - When are they opening an outlet in Singapore?

Shake Shack - Gangnam Avenue, Seoul

452 Gangnam-aero,
Yeoksam 1(il)-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Open Daily: 11AM–11PM

Subway Directions:
Take the train to Sinnonhyeon (Line 9) Exit 5, walk straight down and you'll spot Shack Shack on your left.

Shake Shack Gangnam Seoul Korea
I couldn't pass up on the chance to reminisce that amazing burger since I was already in Seoul, so we planned a visit to Shake Shack into our itinerary, and I was really, really excited about it!

We got there in the afternoon, around 3PM and thankfully, the queue wasn't too bad! A lot of people arrived after we did and the snaking line of customers extended all the way to the queuing area outdoors.

Shake Shack Gangnam Seoul Korea
Decor and concept-wise, it looked exactly like Shake Shack in the USA, with the same ordering system - You queue up to order then get your own table and wait to collect your food once it's ready!

From arriving to getting our food on the table, it took roughly 30-40 minutes on a weekday, which wasn't too bad already, I suppose.

Shake Shack Gangnam Seoul Korea
Here's the menu that's almost identical to the original Shake Shack, save for unique Seoul-exclusive items like the Red Bean Shake and Honey Butter Crunch Concrete! Pretty interesting, huh?

Price-wise, it's affordable though on the pricier end for fast food - My Shake Stack cost 12,400 won or around 15 SGD.

Shake Shack Gangnam Seoul Korea
So excited to dig in, but of course the camera gets to eat first!

Verdict? Making the trip down to Shake Shack for lunch was absolutely worth the effort!

Shake Shack Gangnam Seoul Korea
The only disappointment I had: Shake Shack's famous Crinkle Cut Cheese Fries (4,900 won) that definitely weren't as good as USA's - It was soggy and unappetising, I felt.

Shake Shack Gangnam Seoul Korea
Sam ordered a Double Cheeseburger with additional bacon!

Shake Shack Gangnam Seoul Korea
As for me, I stuck to my Shake Stack - Cheeseburger and a 'Shroom Burger with lettuce, tomato, and ShackSauce!

THAT OOZING CHEESE. And I'm not even a big fan of cheese!! This combination is the best. I love the juicy portobello mushroom, molten cheese, and juicy beef patty all held together with yummy ShackSauce (a barbecue sauce). So sinful and sooooo good!

While I personally felt that my Shake Stack wasn't QUITE exactly the same as its US counterpart, it was close enough to satisfy that Shake Shack burger craving I was having. Score!

Shake Shack Gangnam Seoul Korea
I also recommend trying the Seoul-exclusive Honey Butter Crunch Concrete, which I found very unique!

If you like the famous Honey Butter potato chips that have been all the rage in Seoul, this has a similar taste with a mild buttery taste and crunchy waffle cone pieces. It is very rich and sweet though like all of Shake Shack's milkshakes and concretes, so I would suggest sharing this.

Shake Shack Gangnam Seoul Korea
Overall, though, we were very satisfied with our greasy, delicious, fast food lunch and I'll still be waiting for the day Shake Shack comes to Singapore! But until then, you know where's the nearest place to get your Shake Shack burger fix - In Seoul!

Accomodation - Airbnb

 Airbnb Seoul
We opted to stay in an Airbnb apartment as I've been doing frequently for my travels. Here's the view from our Airbnb apartment located near Seoul Station - Get $40 credit for your Airbnb accommodation if you sign up for AirBnB via my referral link here!

Wifi - Happi.Fi

I stayed connected in Seoul with Happi.Fi - Quote "PMYINA" for 20% off your wifi rental!

They've got super good prices for wifi rental to lots of countries, and I love that the device is so sleek and small! Fits in even my smallest bag. (There are different devices for different countries - Do take note.) Each device can connect up to five users with no problem. They also thoughtfully provide a travel adaptor that charges USB ports as well as a mobile power bank - Super convenient!

Rent your pocket WiFi from Happi.Fi's website here.

Seoul Travelogues:

Seoul Jan'17: Shake Shack at Gangnam Avenue - Totally worth the calories
Seoul Jan'17: Gwangjang Market - Eating Raw Beef & Live Octopus
Seoul Mar'14: Juno Hair at Gangnam/Exploring Cheongdam

Look for me on my other social media platforms here:

 Twitter   Instagram   Dayre    Youtube


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The Life of A #GirlBoss

It's a rather scary thought to actually realise that I've been running TheVelvetDolls, blogging and doing music for more than seven years with the arrival of 2017.. How does the time fly by so fast?

Having been self-employed and self-proclaimed #GIRLBOSS for seven years and counting, I'm so used to my flexible lifestyle on-the-go that being productive almost anytime and anywhere is second nature to me!

For someone who's always moving about from day-to-day with a vastly different job scope every day, my work station is ultra-important. My computer goes with me almost every where I go, even when I go on work trips or vacations, you can't imagine how insecure I feel without my computer with me!

After getting my hands on the ASUS Transformer 3 Pro, I am completely sold on the versatility of this small but power-packed machine. The ASUS Transformer 3 Pro is the perfect multi-tasker to aid me in all of my daily needs!

The Life Of A #GirlBoss

What I love most about my various jobs is that I never do the same thing on any given "work' day - It's always different every day of the week, depending on what I need to be doing on a particular day. I could be anywhere - Having a meeting outside, taking care of a photoshoot at the office, working from a cafe, or be on a work trip overseas. Thank goodness for the ASUS Transformer 3 Pro that can be magically "transformed" to suit all my needs!

Being On-The-Go

Working on-the-go means that I need to get work done even if I'm on a cruise! My holidays are always part fun and part work - Juggling my work/life balance is essential to maintain a sane and productive lifestyle. Just know that there will always be things that need to get done, so just remember that "You only live once" and know how to tread that fine line between too much work or too much fun!

Of course, it's always easier when you have a machine like the ASUS Transformer 3 Pro - Apart from being able to handle my day-to-day tasks like replying emails or working on my e-commerce store, it also doubles up as a portable and handy entertainment device.

I love how the ASUS Transformer Cover Keyboard can be attached or removed so easily with the magnetic attachment - It works instantly with no fussy bluetooth connections or what not!

Super easy to handle when in tablet form! The ASUS Transformer 3 Pro was my best companion while I was on cruise for 5 days last month - I love how I could carry it around with me everywhere!

Be it surfing Facebook...

Or replying work emails and checking on shop orders for TheVelvetDolls, it was all so convenient and super easy with the ASUS Transformer 3 Pro ;) Did I also mention that the ASUS Transformer 3 Pro has touch screen functionality too? Super sweet!

With the kickstand on the ASUS Transformer 3 Pro  it was easy to set up my spot anywhere, regardless of whether I was lounging on a deck chair or seated by the bar.

Watching videos with its ultra-high-resolution and bright screen is so easy on the eyes too!

Working with the ASUS Pen

Due to the nature of my job, I constantly need to work with graphic software like Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom.

Editing photos for both my blog and TheVelvetDolls is a huge part of my work! This is where the ASUS Pen comes into handy. Instead of having to carry around my external graphics tablet or have a hard time working off a track pad, I can easily use the ASUS Pen to do all my graphic work and photo-editing! It is so much better than using a trackpad, serious!

The ASUS Pen has got 1024 pressure levels too, definitely a huge pro when it comes to graphic and photo-editing work.

Oh yes, there's also a micro-SD card slot that makes loading images from my camera into the ASUS Transformer 3 Pro so convenient!

Taking It From Day To Night

You probably also already know that apart from my #GirlBoss duties, I sing and perform in my spare time! Singing is a great passion of mine and I'm glad I get the opportunity to share my music with an audience every now and then!

This is where the ASUS Transformer 3 Pro couldn't be more instrumental (HEHEHE punny or not) for my gigs and performances. Apart from serving my needs for work and leisure, it is so useful for my music engagements when I need to have a tablet that I can use to refer to my lyrics/chords.

The ASUS Transformer 3 Pro is so slim and light that it has no issues fitting on a music stand!

I love it that the screen is so huge and well-lit too! It makes reading off the ASUS Transformer 3 Pro such a breeze when I'm taking the stage.

Touch-screen function sure comes into good use when I need to scroll quickly through those lyrics on stage!

Not All-Work-And-No-Play

Last but not the least - You might be amazed to know that the ASUS Transformer 3 Pro has some truly revolutionary capabilities, such as the ability to connect to an external graphics dock via its Thunderbolt™ 3 interface! This tiny and sleek tablet notebook is capable of supporting high-end graphics for all you gamers who want multi-functionality, how cool is that?

I set it up for a round of DOTA 2 with the husband for some enemy slaying and creep farming together ;) Too awesome!

PS. The speakers on the ASUS Transformer 3 Pro are pretty badass too!

All this functionality, in such a good-looking and sleek package!

All I can say is, the ASUS Transformer 3 Pro was MADE for people like me! ;) If you need a 2-in-1 computer that is highly versatile to suit all your various needs, I'm sure you're gonna love the ASUS Transformer 3 Pro!

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to hustle with my ASUS Transformer 3 Pro!

The ASUS Transformer 3 Pro is now available at all ASUS Brand Stores and Authorised Retailers, with prices starting from $1,898. Learn more about the amazing ASUS Transformer 3 Pro here!

© Yina Goes

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