Sunday, December 31, 2017

Ktown4u Requesting Additional Shipping Fees

Back in 2015 I had preordered Infinite's Reality Limited Edition album from Ktown4u for $15.17 USD plus shipping via Registered Small Packet (Air) for $11.93, totaling to $27.10. 

On May 13th, the day of the album's release, Ktown4u emailed me requesting more money to cover the updated shipping cost. This was my first time a seller requested for additional money, so I felt wronged as a buyer but instead asked Ktown4u for clarification as their email was not clear.
Ktown4u then apologized saying that they had made a mistake. I'm not sure what the true shipping cost should have been, but I have disregarded this incident since and have been continuing to order from Ktown4u. 

Now just this past month, I have again experienced Ktown4u requesting additional money. I preordered Golden Child's 2018 Season's Greetings, which was expected to release on December 18th. The packaging is much larger than expected, as it is a tall tin cylinder unlike the usual flat cardboard boxes like many season's greetings.

I had originally preordered this item from Ktown4u for $35.06 USD, selecting the available shipping option Registered Small Packet (Air) for $13.81, for a total of $48.87. (And a few days later, Mwave announced that they'll sell signed versions of this item, and while I was quite tempted, I decided to opt out as I couldn't stand to wait for months for a 2018 calendar).

Then on December 20th, Ktown4u emailed me saying that the shipping method I chose does not qualify for this item due to its volume. They gave me the option to pay additional for shipping or to be automatically refunded on the 23rd. I contemplated hard on this decision because I had never paid so much for a calendar and couldn't justify paying $60+ for one. Also I recalled Ktown4u had asked for more money before for my Infinite Reality limited edition album. Lastly, Ktown4u's email once again isn't clear at all how I was supposed to pay the additional amount to Ktown4u. Overall, I had a lot of uncertainty. In the end, less than 24 hours later (on the 21st), Ktown4u automatically reimbursed me.

In the end, I decided to order the calendar from Kpoptown for $34.50 plus $27.90 shipping, totaling to $62.40. Sadly it was already the 21st, meaning I had missed the preorder period and that it was approaching business closures due to the holidays. My package didn't get shipped until the 28th, though orders are usually shipped within 3 business days. Please expect my unboxing review of Golden Child's first season's greetings in the new year.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Kakao Friends Apeach Travel Beauty Pouch Review

Kakao Friends are the characters created by Kakao for use in the messaging app Kakao Talk. All of the characters are so cute and each have their own personality. These characters are so popular that they have lots of merchandise available at various Kakao Friends stores around Korea, as well as their online store here.
I'm very happy that my friend surprised me with an Apeach Travel Beauty Pouch! I'll be reviewing this item here. First off, she sent me the shopping bag as well. The front side has the whole gang together.
The backside of the shopping bag has a closeup of Apeach.
The tag of the item is just as cute. There is a holographic sticker with Con.
The backside of the tag has the gang.
The inside of the tag is in both Korean and English. It has information such as the product name, material, dimensions, and more.
The inside of the tag also states various disclaimers in order to protect the item.
According to the tag, the dimensions of this bag are 20mm by 17mm by 7mm. There is a handle on top. The side has the plastic Kakao Friends logo sticking out. There is one large exterior zipper that goes from the left side to the bottom to the right side. The zipper chain is plastic while the pull tab and slider are metal. This goes for the interior zippers as well. All the zippers glide really smoothly, which is really nice especially because the exterior zipper is on a 3D plane.
The various Apeach expressions are plastered all over the exterior, including on the sides and bottom.
Here is the bottom of the bag.
The backside also has a large sleeve pocket.
The inside of the travel bag has many convenient pockets. The top is a webbed pocket with one long elastic strap inside that has several slots to secure items. Underneath that is a smaller pocket. And in the very front is another webbed pocket.
At the very top is a plastic hook, which can be stored in its own flap.
Here is how the travel bag looks like with the hook out of its flap.
The main chamber is pretty deep and has an elastic strap along the back wall that has slots with miscellaneous widths to store items upright, such as toothbrush heads and small liquid bottles.

Overall, I am in love with this travel pouch! It's the perfect size, it's flexible yet sturdy, and it offers a lot of room in the main cubby along with many pockets. I take this with me on all my sleepovers and trips. This is the only Kakao Friends item that I have, but definitely I'd like to visit the store myself and see what else the brand has to offer!

Monday, December 25, 2017

Lovelyz: Now, We 2nd Album Repackage Review

Two months after the release of Lovelyz' second full album R U Ready?, the group released the repackaged album 지금, 우리 (Now, We) on May 2, 2017. This album includes all of the tracks from R U Ready? (excluding the hidden track), and includes new title song "Now, We" and side track "Aya". This album is even more special because Lovelyz earned their first win on a music show ever with "Now, We". Furthermore, brother group Golden Child's maknae Bomin starred in this music video^^
I pre-ordered this album on Ktown4u for roughly $24USD including shipping. It shipped on May 4th and arrived on May 17th, taking 13 days for delivery. The album was wrapped in a layer of bubblewrap and placed inside the orange waterproof envelop lined with bubblewrap.
The packaging of this album is like a book and comes with a book slip cover. The slip cover is matte and the photo and text are glossy. The photobook is about 7.3125" by 9.875".
Here is the backside of the slip cover.
This slip cover is actually reversible, where the inside cover is 1 random design out of 9. I received the group version for my random cover. I compared Baby Soul's and Mijoo's random cover photos and noticed that they're not included in the photobook, and I'm assuming it's like that for the other member's random cover photos as well. Sadly the group cover photo is included in the comeback, as one of the poster versions.
Here I compare the front side of the slip cover (top image) with the back side of the slip cover (bottom image). You can see that both sides look exactly the same, except of course for the photo.
This is how the photobook looks like without the slip cover. The photo is very similar to the random group version of the slip cover, however they're smiling in the photobook cover whereas they're serious on the slip cover. Furthermore, there are actually 2 versions of the photobook, however I'm not sure how different they are.
Here is the backside of the photobook. The photobook is glossy but not prone to fingerprints.
The CD is packaged at the back of the photobook, after the album credits. I like the extra touch Woollim added with the leaf logo and "2 R", indicating Lovelyz' second repackage album. While the backside of the CD looks a bit exposed, it is actually quite protected because the slip cover wraps around this part of the photobook.
If you flip this flap once, it reveals the first half of the Thanks To section of the album.
If you flip the flap once more, it reveals the second half of the Thanks To messages, along with the CD.

I usually discuss the various photoshoots, however the outfits and ambiance of the photos in this album are all too similar for me to tell. All I know is that the members wear at least 3 different outfits.
The album comes with 2 logo stickers and 1 random sticker.
The gold sticker and silver sticker come with every album and have this comeback's logo embossed. Their dimensions are 1.75" by 1.75". Each album also comes with 1 random photocard sticker out of 7 different versions. All photocard sticker versions are subgroup photos that contain 2-3 members, and each member is in 2 versions. I received the version with Jiae and Kei~ These cards are more cute and fun, and show off the girls' chemistry. The cards can be either vertical or horizontal, but the general dimensions are 2.1875" by 3.375".
Here are the backsides of the stickers.
The photobook contains 120 pages. It begins with with a group photo.
Majority of the photos are individual member shots. Many of the photos give off a more serious and mature vibe.
Unlike many of Lovelyz' other album photos, this photobook contains quite a few subgroup photos.
Towards the end of the photobook are 6 pages for the song lyrics and song credits.
The last 2-page spread contains the second and last group photo within the photobook.
First press comes with 2 types of posters. They are the same dimensions as Lovelyz' usual posters, 53cm by 77cm, or 1.74' by 2.53', both being vertical. The one I received is the same exact image as the album cover. The other version is the same image as the random group cover. The posters are matte.

Overall, I love this album - the 2 new tracks, the idea of a random cover, the photos. And of course I am so happy that Lovelyz has won their first win, and hope that the group will continue releasing good music and winning what they deserve.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Lovelyz: Fall in Lovelyz 3rd Mini Album Review

Lovelyz released their third album of 2017, and third mini album overall, entitled Fall in Lovelyz, on November 14th. The concept and style are more mature rather than bubbly compared to previous comebacks, but it still has that Lovelyz charm and matches well with the changing fall-to-winter season.
I pre-ordered this album with a folded poster from Ktown4u and it arrived on November 27th, in 4 layers of bubblewrap inside a cardboard box. The album came in almost perfect condition except for one corner that arrived bent in.
Sadly the damaged album corner also damaged my poster, puncturing through Jin's arm...this is the first time I received a damaged poster from Ktown4u.
This is how the poster looks after I tried straightening out the ripped area. Despite receiving the poster damaged, I will still continue ordering from Ktown4u as I see this as a one-off instance. 
The packaging of this album is closest to Infinite's albums due to its book style. This album is a bit larger than Infinite's albums, with dimensions 8.75" x 6.9375" x 0.6875".
The front cover is glossy, so be careful of fingerprints.
The spine and back cover are matte. The backside is very elegant with its ornate, embossed gloss overlay.
The album opens like a book, with the CD held in place by a foam circle on the left and the photobook on the right.

The photobook contains photos from 3 different photoshoots. I'll refer to the first photoshoot with the lacy red outfits as the album cover photoshoot. The second photoshoot, as pictured below, is what I'll call the pink photoshoot. The last photoshoot, like in the photobook cover, I'll label as the black photoshoot.
Tucked inside page 6 of the photobook is a random sheet of 4 stickers. On a side note, the layout of the photobook is really nice, with headers (for the album name) and footers (for page numbers) on pages where the picture doesn't cover the entire page.
There are 8 versions of these sticker sheets, 1 per each member. I got Yein's~ The sheet is 4.125" x 4.5625". Each sticker is 1.875" x 1.875". The backside of the sticker sheet is all white. These stickers are really fun and show a very different feel than the photobook. The outfits worn in the sticker photoshoot is different from the photobook as well.
Tucked deeper into the photobook is the photocard.
There are 8 versions of the photocard, 1 per each member. I received Jiae's~ The photocard is just under 4" x 6". The photocard is a translucent matte card, as you can see my fingers holding onto the backside of the card. There is also a printed autograph on the card.
The photobook contains 93 pages from the 3 photoshoots. The first 31 pages are from the pink photoshoot. Majority of the photos are individual member shots, with only 3 total group shots and no subgroup shots.
There is 1 group photo within the pink photoshoot section. Sorry Jisoo who was pictured too into the spine of the spread...
The lyrics and song credits are spread throughout the photobook as well. I love the pink bubbles in this photoshoot - it's like those kids' play pens, but in a girly and classy setting.
Pages 32 to 61 are photos from the cover photoshoot, with this section starting with 1 group photo. Sorry Baby Soul...
Pages 62 to 87 are from the black photoshoot and contain only individual member shots. I personally really like the look from this photoshoot and wish they had emphasized this more - the girls look so elegant and classy here!
After the photos are 4 pages of special thanks to messages from the members.
The final 2 pages are another group photo from the pink photoshoot and the album credits.

This album contains 7 tracks:
  1. Spotlight (intro track)
  2. 종소리 / Twinkle (title track)
  3. 삼각형 / Triangle
  4. 그냥 / Just
  5. Fallin'
  6. 비밀공원 / Secret Garden
  7. 졸린 꿈 / Sleepy Dreams
I'm really happy that Lovelyz obtained their second win of all time with "Twinkle" on The Show! It is a really beautiful song though I was taken aback hearing Jiae, Jisoo, and Yein's overly girly line in the title track. (I'm referring to similar lines of Jiae like in "비밀여행 / Secret Journey" and "놀이공원 / Amusement Park"). My favorite tracks are definitely "Triangle", "Just", and "Sleepy Dreams".
There are 2 types of posters that come with first press. They are the same dimensions as Lovelyz' usual posters, 77cm by 53cm, or 2.53' by 1.74'. The one I received is the same exact image as the album cover. The other poster is the same image as the group photo from the pink photoshoot. This poster also has a blurry quality to it, like Golden Child's posters. This poster also has a glossy finish. Because both poster images are already on the album cover or in the photobook and because of the blurry quality of this poster, I'm indifferent on the poster for this comeback.

I'm so happy that Lovelyz was able to come back in the latter half of 2017 and with another win. I only wish the best for these girls and hope they'll have an even better 2018!