Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Take the Challenge! Blog Every Day in May!

I am so excited to share that starting today (tomorrow for my American friends) I will be starting the blog every day in May challenge by Story of My Life! I am so excited because I have been trying to work on blogging consistently and every time that I feel I am making progress I fall off the blogging bandwagon! However, I am resolving to fix my wayward ways and make good on one of my resolutions that I made at the start of the year by joining up with an actual challenge that will help keep me accountable.

I would also like to invite any of y'all that would like to join me in this challenge! I would love some company in the blogopshere and I am more than willing to be a sound board for any ideas that you have for the prompts. Consider me a writing buddy if you think you need the help or extra push to get the blogging challenge done!

Here is the link to the challenge and if you do sign up to take on the challenge make sure to grab a button for your blog to let everyone know. Have a wonderful day and I can't wait to kick off the month right! Drop by and let me know if you'll be joining me in this special challenge. :)

On the injury list....

I am a really active lady and where I say active my husband would say obsessed. I practice Taekwondo 3 times a week, meet with a trainer twice weekly, and have an array of Jillian Michaels, yoga and other cross training dvds that I alternate between to make sure that I get in at least an hour of core and cross training 5-6 times a week. On top of all that of that I even started experimenting with Jiu Jitsu. :) OK, so maybe I am a bit obsessed with staying fit.

Anyhow, I injured my knee about 2 weeks ago somewhere between all of the activity and like the stubborn woman I am, I just pushed through it and even ramped up the work outs....ugh. Sometimes I wonder what is going on in my head, haha. On top of my knee injury I somehow sprained my ankle while out in the city, and I'm not even sure how I did it. I noticed my swollen ankle while sitting down for coffee with friends and was like whaaa???

Due to my ankle my husband forced me to make an appointment to see the doctor yesterday, which I was DREADING because of what the doctor would say. The verdict was 10 DAYS, NO EXERCISING. I know 10 days seems like nothing, but I honestly am so used to my fitness routine that I feel like I have a gaping hole in my day now. On the upside she did say that I could still do upper body and core work outs and so like the gym rat I am I'm already looking at what I can get away with. ;)

I am trying to look at this like a blessing because I do have a tendency to go too hard for extended periods of time and I am thankful that these are my first injuries this year. The next 9 days will be interesting...yes, I already counted yesterday as one of the days! I am going to take the time to relax, work on my upper body (because I really do have T-Rex arms), and maybe do all the reading, writing, and reflecting that I think about doing as I'm grabbing my gym bag and heading out the door.

BEFORE my knee and ankle troubles I did manage to successfully test for my yellow stripe on my red belt and the next step is to become a black belt! I am so excited and to celebrate I went to Kukkiwon with a friend from class and we had a lot of fun. Here's a couple of photos of me from my visit to Kukkiwon, the headquarters for the World Taekwondo Federation. I will longingly look at these photos and try to listen to the doctor and stay off my knee for the full 10 days!
Executing a decent side kick with skinny jeans is not as easy as one would think!
In awe of the gym floor where so many have gone and tested before me.
Have a wonderful day all everyone and how do you cope with injuries? Do you find it hard to stop once you have gotten an injury and do you listen to the doctor exactly? I am going to have to be strict and not get back on my knee once I feel better, and it is going to be a struggle to actually rest the full 10 days. 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Love Up High: Namsan Tower

Today I am going to share a little pre-anniversary lunch that my husband, Rich, took me on just last week. We have been happily married for almost 2 years now, and this year we have been pre-gaming our own anniversary just because! Namsan tower was the perfect place to kick this off because it is seen as a romantic "island" for couples in the city. Namsan tower is such a great fixture and sometimes when we are lost we can figure out which way to go by locating the tower and working from there. I almost think of it like the Eiffel tower or the Seattle Space Needle.

I have to confess that even though we have been living in Seoul for over a year, we had yet to go to Namsan tower. However, we remedied our folly when Rich took me to Namsan tower for a fun and sweet lunch high above Seoul.

The start of our wait for the cable car the line then went inside the building and up 2 floors before we reached the end.
We decided to do the whole she-bang and take the cable car up to the tower, and while it was super fun the wait was not. We were in line for a whopping hour for the cable car and every time we rounded a corner we thought we were at the end...but, wha,wha,wha, it was just the start of another line. We didn't mind being in line together and made the best of it, but if you decide to take the cable car be prepared to wait!
A hazy, but beautiful view from the observatory level.
One thing I love about living in South Korea is the drama around everything and even the elevator up to the top was an event with the top of the elevator turning into a mini movie-theater that showed us zipping around the universe at lightening speed. Rich and I wandered around the observatory and had a blast figuring out where our apartment was, which we were actually able to find! It was fun to enjoy the view and just relax so far above the busy streets of Seoul.
The whole tower was really sweet with the highest mailbox in the city that you could send a letter from, and there was even a wishing well that you could toss heart shaped coins in for good luck. Here are a few shots of us playing around at the wishing well, where Rich had his coin come back to him 3 times! We were definitely a source of amusement and I cheered Rich on until he managed to make sure that his coin STAYED in the well.
To say that we had a yummy meal is an understatement! WE HAD A FANTASTIC MEAL! And just to let you know....pretty much all the food in Korea is delicious, and our meal at Hancook is definitely in our top 5 meals since moving to Korea. I could have taken endless photos of our lunch, but I forgot all about pictures when I tasted it.
Something funny that happened was that while we were eating at the restaurant I went to fix myself a cup of tea and mistook the beer tap for a hot water tap. I ended up with beer tea, whoops.
Beer Tea.
On the way out from the tower we stopped by the famous love locks that adorn the tower fences and there are even love lock trees that have sprung up alongside the building. We didn't bring our own lock so we decided that we would wait till our next visit to bring a very special lock that we make together to put up. If you don't have your own love lock you can purchase one for around 7,000 won at the gift shop, and it comes complete with markers and a key for you to make your own.

Our visit to Namsan Tower was wonderful and we are already making plans to head back when summer is in full swing. We can't wait to wander up the mountain and watch the lights of the tower on our next visit and I hope that if you find yourself in Seoul, you make sure to visit the tower and enjoy yourself!

            Here is a little link that has all the information you need to get to and enjoy Namsan Tower!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Shop Update!

Today I wanted to share a few pretties that have been put up in the shop and to give a little sneak peek of a dress that I am smitten with! I am beyond pleased with all of the spring dresses that I have been getting my hot little hands on and I can't wait to make another shopping trip! Make sure to let me know what you think about the update and share any thoughts on what items you would like to see in the shop!

Vintage Navy Polka Dot dress, here.

Vintage Red Sailboat Skirt, here.

Vintage Button-up Floral Dress, here.

Vintage White and Black Polka Dot Dress, here.

I am SO IN LOVE with this dress!!! It isn't up yet, but keep an eye out for this beauty!
Have a wonderful day and make sure to let me know what you think about the recent additions! Make sure to visit the shop, Seoul Sold, on Etsy regularly to see the inventory first.
Also, keep up with us on facebook, here!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Out of place, but completely at home

Celebrating Chuseok with the Heo family. You can read more about our fun Korean holiday, here.

Today I wanted to share a little realization that bonked me on the head since I have started to get things in line for returning to America for graduate school.

I don't want to leave South Korea.


Say, what? 

Yea, that was my reaction, my friend's reaction back home, and my even my husband's reaction. Somewhere along the way South Korea stopped being where I live and turned into my home. I don't even know when it happened. I love the city, country, culture, and people of South Korea so much that when I sat down and thought of leaving everything in just a few short months I couldn't imagine my life after South Korea.
When I saw this picture of Julia Childs cooking in her Paris apartment I burst out laughing because this is how I feel in Korea. I have bumped my head on more than one door way, mistaken my gym towel for a tea towel, and have nearly fallen out of a changing room with my pants down more times that I can count. Oh, Julia you know my plight, and like this woman I fell in love with my host country.

When I first moved to South Korea, I had no idea how happy I would come to be while living in the peninsula. In those first couple months I remember being so frustrated with the language barrier and cultural differences that I felt isolated and alone, which is an easy thing to feel in such a homogenous country. Little-by-little and day-by-day the city and country charmed me. I learned the language, made friends, and ate everything at least twice. I stopped looking at Seoul as a pit stop before I was allowed to resume my normal life in America, and that was the key to loving South Korea.

Even though I am out of place I feel completely at home. Even the too small bathrooms and changing rooms have become dear to me. Although, I will never get over the fact that there are never any shoes to fit my feet and it is a grudge that I will bear until my death. A GRUDGE.

Anyhow, back on track! I love this country and I am saddened to have to leave it. I hope that I will be able to come back and show my future children the country that won my heart.

Rich and I at the lantern festival on the Cheonggyecheon stream.

한국은 나는 사랑 해요!
(My best attempt at saying Korea, I love you)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Kiwi & Aloe Smoothie

Today I am going to share my newest smoothie creation and it's a drink that I feel is absolutely perfect for spring! Before moving to South Korea I knew about aloe juice, but I had never really paid it much attention. What a mistake!!! I LOVE aloe juice and thankfully it's really popular in South Korea and can always be found in any convenience store or sidewalk stand. Upon discovering my love for aloe juice I also rediscovered how much I enjoy kiwis!! While out in the city I got a really great deal on about half a dozen or so ripe kiwis for around 2 bucks yesterday and I instantly knew that I had to figure out how to make a green smoothie in honor of the warming weather.

I really love this smoothie because it isn't too thick and is more of a juice, and it's tartness from the kiwis is so refreshing! If you prefer a thicker smoothie I would try tossing in a frozen banana or maybe yogurt.

The great thing about this smoothie is that is is really light and delicious and so SIMPLE! You only need 3 ingredients and a blender. How great is that?

1 cup of ice
1 cup of Aloe juice
2 kiwis

1. Peel the kiwis with a paring knife. Make sure to cut the ends off first before attempting to slice off the skin so that you can get a solid base to make skinning the kiwi a breeze.

2. Put ice, kiwis, and aloe juice into blender and make some magic.

3. Pour and enjoy!

Fat: .67g
Carbohydrates: 45.6g
Fiber: 5.14
Protein: 1.48
WW+ points: 3 pts +

Makes one serving.

I hope you enjoy my creation and let me know what you think! What are some of your favorite smoothie recipes?

Sunday, April 14, 2013

DIY: Wire Wine Charms

Whenever I get a care package from back home I am always beyond excited about what amazing little goodies might be inside. I have wonderful friends who take the time to put heartfelt and sweet surprises in every box that never fail to make me smile. The big surprise in my last care package was a set of homemade wine charms that my friend KT made with her own two little hands! You might remember KT from her guest outfit post, which you can find, here.

KT and I met in college and after one anthropology class we fell into an easy friendship that I am pretty sure will last until we are a pair of old crotchety, but fabulous women. When KT and I first met she didn't have a crafty bone in her body, but she has certainly turned that around within the last few months, and I have been reaping the benefits! Crafty friends are the best!!

KT's gift is perfect for me because I love throwing parties and sometimes it can be difficult to keep every guest's drink straight so these wine charms are the perfect solution! Just slip one of these little babies on your chosen wine glass and you are sure to remember which drink is yours. :)

What you need:
Needle-nose Pliers
24 guage wire
Beads or Charms of your choosing

Step 1: Cut wire into an approx. 2 inch piece

Step 2: Use the pliers to create a hook on one end and shape wire into a circle

Step 3: Add beads to wire and create a hook at the end of wire 

Step 4: Fasten hooks together for a pretty charm!

I am so in love with these charms and I can't wait to throw another dinner party so that I can show them off to my friends in Seoul. Every time I see them I think of KT and all the great times we had over a box of wine (yes, I said BOX) so using them is the perfect way to keep one of my best friends in my everyday life even when shes halfway around the world.

This KT. Isn't she ADORABLE?! I know I would totally read what this lady had to say about fashion even if I didn't know her.
PS: I am trying to get KT to finally get her blog started because she is such an amazing writer, fashionista, and now all around crafty lady. Any comments that can be added to my regular whining about her unpublished blog would be appreciated because she even has a few posts done and ready to go! How many of you bloggers were apprehensive about starting your blog and what made you decide to take the plunge and get started? What thoughts and inspiration would you share with someone about to begin their own blog?

Thursday, April 11, 2013

New Inventory!

Today I wanted to share a few new pretties that have made their way into the shop! I am really happy with the items that I have been coming across for the spring and summer and I can't wait to share every one of them with y'all. Feast your eyes, swing by the shop, and let me know what you think!

Vintage Red Polka Dot Dress, here.
Vintage Secretary Top with Triangle Pattern, here.
Red Dress with Abstract Pattern, here.  

I hope that you enjoyed the new inventory and let me know if there is anything you want to see in the shop! I will be adding more items, and the option of a customized shopping experience VERRRRRY soon! 
Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Staying warm with Genmaicha!

The weather has been pretty unpredictable in Seoul lately; shifting from rain, sunshine, and even snow in the course of a few hours. To stay warm I have resorted back to an old favorite of mine: Genmaicha, or green tea with roasted brown rice.

I know it may sound a little odd, but this tea is absolutely delicious and it reminds of when I first arrived in South Korea. Rich and I moved to Seoul at the end of January and it was absolutely FREEZING! Genmaicha was actually the very first hot beverage that I had in Korea. I know it has Japanese origins, but nothing says Korea to me like a hot cup of Genmaicha (except for maybe Kimchi). Every time I smell the tea I am instantly transported back to the very first night that Rich and I stumbled into a restaurant jet-lagged, freezing, and starving. We were definitely out of sorts and I remember how we stood in the doorway desperately trying to figure out how to go about getting a table and food.

And then the most darling Adjumma (older Korean woman) came to the rescue, and Korea started to win my heart. She spoke absolutely no English and the best I could manage at the time was a Hello and Thank You, but it was not needed under the motherly attentions of the older woman. The Adjumma whisked us to a table, started fussing over how cold I was, and set a cup of tea in front of me. Instantly the smell of the tea hit me and I remember just cupping my hands over it and breathing deep because I had never smelled anything like it before. I can't really describe the tea's smell, but it has a beautifully savory smell from the brown rice and it is so delicate that you want to keep breathing it in on a cold day. During the colder months Korean restaurants will have big kettles of the tea boiling away on huge burners throughout the restaurant just waiting to warm you up!

Today we experienced snow flurries and I immediately went for my tea kettle with only one tea in mind: Genmaicha!! I hope everyone is having a great day and my day has been brightened a bit more since having a cup of tea (3 cups actually)with such special memories attached to it.

My favorite brand, Yamamotoyama  is really inexpensive and a box of it only costs a couple of dollars if you are wanting to check out a tea that is dear to my heart.
Have a beautiful day! I know that I am on the right track with a cup of Genmaicha in hand!

Monday, April 8, 2013

April Showers....

The old adage of April showers bring May flowers couldn't be more true even when half-way around the globe from where I grew up. Spring has begun to show its face in Seoul and it has brought no shortage of spring showers in its wake.

Despite the rain I had an eventful and enjoyable weekend! For starters a good friend of mine spent his last weekend in Seoul and I had a great time celebrating with my friend Brady. I also got in a fun trip to scout out a couple of new vintage items and started working on a new book, The Handmade Marketplace by Kari Chapin.

I am only a few chapters in so far, but I can tell that this little book is well worth the purchase. Already I feel like I have gained great knowledge, resources, and not to mention well needed inspiration. Kari Chapin's writing is really enjoyable and makes reading the book a breeze.

I am reading the book for the Roost Tribe book club that I just joined up with and I couldn't be more pleased with the sense of community that I am experiencing so far.

I am beyond excited about joining the Roost Tribe and I will share my final thoughts on this book in a future post. :)

Here are a couple of images I wanted to share from my weekend, and I hope that y'all had a restful and enjoyable weekend break. 
Sunset on my walk home through my neighborhood, Hannam-dong.
My friend Brady and I having fun at the Navajo bar in Sookdae.
 I know I was busy this weekend, but is there anything that you have started over the weekend and are excited about? 

P.S.Keep an eye out for some great vintage items and a new blog post on how to thrift successfully.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Goals are GREAT

This beautiful graphic was created by Always Rooney and you can find it and other great content, here.
Today I wanted to talk about goals. Goals are great and everyone makes a goal at some point in their life, but often we give up on our goals when they seem unachievable or we experience adversity. At first instinct we tend to shy away from difficulty in favor of the quick fix or instant gratification, and this is a gut reaction we must learn to overcome if we ever hope to get the very best from ourselves.

For years my life was bleak and I was utterly unhappy in my circumstances. I hated my body, suffered panic attacks when attention was given to me, and was failing nearly every one of my classes. I didn't think I had a future that extended past the city limits of the small town I was born in and expected nothing more than a job at the gas station.

But one day I got fed up. I woke up and rejected the life that I was accepting, and decided to create a life that I was proud of and fulfilled by. My decision wasn't easy and there were moments that I felt myself slipping back into my comfort zone, but I pressed on and kept my resolve.

The result is a life that I am excited by and in constant awe of, and it is evidence that hard-work and staying the course we set for ourselves is worth it. When I was younger I hated things that were hard or uncomfortable, but now I recognize a simple truth.

If it's hard then it's probably worth the trouble. 

Every trouble in my life has only made me stronger, and I have only discovered how much further I am able to go than I originally thought.

I thank God that I wake up everyday ready to embrace a new day with an open heart, and I am constantly asking him to show me more of the woman I can become.

Is there a goal that you have set for yourself that seems daunting? Have you accomplished something that you never thought possible, and did you ever want to give up along the way? How have/did you stay motivated?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

I'm a joyful mess

Ok, lovelies, I wanted to share some really exciting news today about my future! 

Wait for it....

I'm going to GRADUATE SCHOOL in the FALL!!!




I was awarded an amazing fellowship that will actually PAY ME to go to school, and I won't even have to work for it! (I'm a really weird person who thinks school is a treat, not work.) I am going to make the most money I have ever made and all I have to do is GO TO SCHOOL. 

Sporting my new school's colors and I think I pull them off!

Ok, ok! Now, I can calm down and tone down the caps lock, BUT HOW STINKING AWESOME IS THIS NEWS?! I can't even tell you how excited and joyful I am. I couldn't even believe the news that I had been given such an amazing fellowship, which only 7 other people were awarded. (I'm still pinching myself to make sure that I'm not daydreaming)

I worked pretty dang hard concerning academia and now I feel justified in all my long nights as an undergraduate. Working 2 jobs to make ends meet and embracing life as a poor college student, while maintaining a competitive GPA was no walk in the park! I can't count the amount of times that I got home past midnight from work with a night of studying waiting for me and classes at 8 am the next morning. All the hard work I did hoping it would be enough to take it to the next level and earn a PhD, all of it feels worth it now, but I know the real journey and the real work is only about to begin. 

And I am so ready for it start.