Friday, 6 February 2015

Chocolate Beach: Book Review

I downloaded this book because the title alone contains two of my favorite things: "chocolate" and "beach". As a recovering chocoholic and life long beach bum-ette , I really couldn't pass it up. And I'm glad I didn't. If you have a kindle, check it out on Amazon, it is currently free.


Chocolate Beach is the humorous story of Brianna's attempts to change her life circumstances instead of letting God change her.

I really enjoyed reading a Christian novel that wasn't overbearing. This isn't your formulaic Christian romance.  I liked the book so much that I immediately downloaded (and paid for) the next in the series.




Also, I was thrilled to discover that the recipes mentioned throughout the book can be found in the back. I can't wait to try them out, especially the one for chocolate chili! 

*linked up with Mama Kat

Monday, 2 February 2015

Take a Break from the Treadmill



My walk on the treadmill goes a lot like this:
 
Let's drink some water to start.
Ok. Good. Warm up walk.
 Faster. Faster.
 4.0 is good.
How much longer?
Maybe I can bump up to 4.1.
Oh, I think I'm dying.
Back to 3.9.
Okay, breathe.
Am I finished yet?
Didn't this song play already?
This wall could really use a new coat of paint
do do do.............................
Oh, look 2 miles!
Forget the warm up walk! I'm done with this mess.
 
 
Yet, my walk out in the real world goes so differently:
 
Dear God, thank you for this beautiful weather and the opportunity to get some fresh air and sunshine....
Oh, look! I'm here. That was quick.
 
Ahh! What nice walk. I should really do this more often.
 
 
If any one this sounds familiar then maybe you too need a break from the treadmill of life. Sometimes I feel like I'm spinning me wheels- going through the motions, getting nothing accomplished but still getting worn out.
 
I think I need a break from walking in place.
 
I need to do more than go through the motions.
 
I need to feel the sunshine and sniff the roses.
 
Pray. Act. Reflect. Pray. Change. Pray.
 
This  needs to be my new rhythm of life.  Life should be much more than just keeping pace. Life should be about living fully- experiencing, helping, loving.
 
 
I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10

The Best Year Yet

I've set goals for 2015 but I've also been thinking about general ideas and principles that could make this year the best yet.

In the order they occurred to me:



1. Travel Korea/Asia as much as possible. I figure since we're here, we might as well take advantage of everything we can.

2. Experiment with stovetop desserts. I may not be able to perfect my baking skills in Korea but I sure can work on my frying.

3. Send more snail mail. Who doesn't love getting mail that's not a bill or advertisement?

4. Be generous. Giving makes everyone feel good!

5. Bite my tongue more. I really need to learn to think before I speak.

6. Learn to cook Korean food. Just another way to take advantage of being in Korea. I can learn to make our favorites for when we go home.

7. Learn to use the rice cooker. I think our food life will be richer if I can learn the buttons on this machine. I'm talking cakes and quiches here.



8.  Get in shape. I want to be able to play a game or go for long walks/hikes without being winded. I think this will greatly improve my quality of life.

9. Write more. Writing is one of my passions and I believe it is a gift from God. I think the more I write, the more likely I am to fulfill my purposes.

10. Finish my book. I've been working on a God-inspired book idea that I hope to complete in the coming months.

11. Complete my 7-7-7 goals. That's what goals are for, right? To be completed?

12.  Grow my blog. I enjoy blogging and would love to grow my reach,

13. Swim in the ocean. I think I was a mermaid in a past life. I love swimming in the ocean. It feels like home.

14. Spend more time outside. I think we could all use a bit more time in natural light.

15. Spend more time with God. How is this not a good thing? Spending more time with my creator sounds like the best way to make life better.

16. Use social media less. I think connecting in real life is much better!



17.  Eat better chocolate. Life is short. Don't spend it eating low grade choco!

18. Skype me friends more often. I miss our long chats.


19. Pray with my husband. I think this is a great way to strengthen my relationship with God and my husband.

20.  Complain less. I want to focus more on the good and less on the bad.

*inspired by a Mama Kat prompt

Word of the Year

For the last few years I've chosen a word to serve as my mantra for the new year. Inspired by From Chaos Comes Happiness, this trend takes over the internet as each December turns into January. 

In the past I've chosen words such as "love" and "bold" and they have served me well, even if I didn't always use them to the fullest potential.

This year, I've struggled to choose between two words, "God" and "me". Quite the dichotomy.  Therefore, this year, I am choosing a phrase- "God in me."

I want to focus on internalizing the lessons I've been learning about who God created me to be. For me, this is a year of self-discovery. I want to discover and live out my purposes. I want my faith to shine through me and I want to cultivate the fruits of the Spirit within.

I want to perpetually invite God in me, to guide me and guard me. I want to live knowing that He is within and that He would delight in my actions.

I've started reading A Purpose Driven Life, loaned to me by a coworker, and it's been very inspirational. If you haven't read it before I suggest checking it out. It's meant to be read day by day but I've been stretching it out further, letting the ideas mellow and meld into my mind and heart.

I see this a bold new year filled with love and learning and I'm ready to embrace the adventure of discovering God in me.

Do you choose a word of the year? What did you choose this year?

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Valuable Advice



This piece of advice was first given to me, in high school, by a controlling and mentally abusive ex-boyfriend. He belittled me and tried to keep me away from my friends.

When I finally ended our relationship he  set out on a mass mail campaign in which he alternated between sending me "love" letters and hate mail. In one such note he railed against me friends and suggested they had encouraged our break-up (of course they did!) and advised me to "never let anyone control you".  I cut out that sentence and pasted it into my inspiration journal, just in case I ever needed a reminder.

As it turns out, I would. And the person I would need it for would give me identical advice after I rejected one of their many suggestions for my personal life. An employer gave me much "advice" and suggestions for my daily (personal) life.  The employer is offended when I don't take the suggestions and sometimes demands to know why. After telling them I wasn't going to follow their marriage advice that I should control my husband, they rewarded me with the gem, "Don't let anyone control you".

Now, that's a piece of advice I can follow- starting with you!

*Inspired by a Mama Kat prompt

7-7-7

This year I decided to forgo resolutions and set 7 goals for myself in 3 different areas of my life. I always make culinary goals because they are fun for me to accomplish and I get the satisfaction from checking an item off my list.

This year I decided to also make faith and writing related goals because they are very important areas of my life.

What about you, did you make any goals or resolutions for the new year?


 



 
Faith

    1. Read Bible daily.
    2. Read Keep it Shut.
    3. Keep a prayer journal.
    4. Go to church regularly.
    5. Practice being kind.
    6. Weigh what I want to say against Scripture before I speak.
    7. Share my faith with others

Writing

  1. Write the final chapter of my book.
  2. Do a weekly Mama Kat prompt.
  3. Do a biweekly Daybook post.
  4. Do 3+ blog posts a week.
  5. Write 104 pages of Patience.
  6. Write 24 new Westbound poems.
  7. Keep up more with my inspiration journals.
Culinary

  1. Make vegetable stock regularly.
  2. Learn to make beef gravy.
  3. Make a fried dessert.
  4. Make a rice cooker cake.
  5. Try brownie pancakes (with peanut butter sauce?).
  6. Learn to make tortillas.
  7. Learn how to make a Korean dish from scratch.

What did you accomplish in 2014?

Saturday, 31 January 2015

Jeju: Its No Hawaii

But it is a good time.

Jeju Island is always referred to as "the Hawaii of Korea". If Hawaii is like Jeju, I will be sorely disappointed.

However, Jeju was a very nice place to visit, even if it was a bit tourist trap-y. (Much like Niagara Falls. After you've seen the Falls, everything else around is quite gimmicky).

My boss' family were lovely hosts.

We all took the ferry over together. The entire 4.5 hour ride over "a three hour tour" echoed in my head. But we made it safe and sound. I was especially proud of Mike for riding the ferry despite his fear of water.









We drove all over the island and saw the beach,  caves, waterfalls and climbed a small mountain. We visited the chocolate museum and the shooting range. We considered riding ATVS but it was awfully muddy as the snow was melting.


Chocolate Museum 













We visited a body museum at my boss' instance and it was a huge waste of money. Think several preserved body parts. The main attractions seemed to be preserved pubic hair and a fetus hall, which thankfully I was able to see the small sign before I entered. We passed on Hello Kitty Island, Teddy Bear Safari, Mini-world, Memory Theme Park and Greek Culture museum.








We also went into a really cool cave cafe.







Jeju island is famous for its citrus and wild boar meat. We went to a popular restaurant and tried the wild boar. It was delicious! 

Statues of this man are everywhere on the island!




Friday, 30 January 2015

Thredup Review and Discount Code

This summer I placed an order on Thredup. It's a second hand clothing site. You can sell and buy from them. A giant plus for me is they have 30 days free return shipping, so if something isn't up to par or doesn't fit you can just pop it back in the mail and get a refund.

I spent $90 on 9 items. I love 6 of the items, like one and don't like or can't wear two of the items. If I was in the States I would have just returned the two items I didn't like for a refund. Now, I'm just going to try and sell them on a local flea market page.

Another thing I really liked it that everything came freshly washed and packaged well. I could literally wear everything straight out of the box. You could smell the scent of fresh washed clothes.

Now, for the goodies:

I ordered this lovely red jacket from Stile Benetton. It came new with tags.





This Forever 21 dress was around $3 and was also new with tags.







I really liked this Stile Benetton blouse, also new with tags at $10.















I thought this Daisy Fuentes top had black beading around the collar, but it turns out to be reflective pieces. I think I actually like it better.

 















 
 

I snagged this Calvin Klein top for less than $10. I wore it my office party today with a black cardigan and loved it.

I really really like this dress and it was one of my favorites when I ordered. However, it is WAY too short on the sides. The back and front are fine but for some reason the sides are cut really high. I tried it on with my jeans but it's too long for a top. I think it's okay paired with leggings though.
 


 
This next dress is NO-GO! It turned out to be statue of liberty green and hangs terribly. If I keep it it'll be for a Halloween costume.

 


 
I wore this dress already. My husband was Santa Claus for my school party and I wore this to look a little "elfish" . I'm half and half on whether or not to keep it.



I LOVED this dress. It wasn't new with tags but it looks new. Best part? It was originally $60 and I got it for less than $10.

 


 
Which item is your favorite?
 
Thredup has a great referral program. If you sign up through one of my links, then we both get $10 off when you place your first order. CLICK HERE. They've also been good about sending me coupon codes throughout the year, both through the mail and in my inbox.