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.

The Land of Inefficiency

Korea's motto is "the land of morning calm".

I have a better one- the land of inefficiency.  If you want something done and you want it done inefficiently, this is the place to come.

Inefficiency #1:

Our apartment in Daegu is a prime example of inefficiency run rapid. Buildings are erected very quickly with little to no regard given to safety or function.  In our apartment our heating bill was outrageous because we couldn't close the window. Why? I'll tell you why. The wiring, cables and gas pipes all came in through the window. The drainage system for the air conditioner went out the window.

Inefficiency #2: Toilet Plunger

I didn't even think to include toilets on my list. Most of the ones over here can't handle more than one square of 2-ply, much less anything that comes out of your body. So, plungers are an extra vital necessity. Yes, I'm aware that's redundant. That's how necessary they are.

The first plunger I purchased over here was utterly useless. I don't even think it could be re-commissioned as a doorstop.  When you applied any amount of pressure on the plunger, the rubber part would flip itself inside out. Useless, right?

Inefficiency #3: Spatula

I used a spatula to flip a pancake and it melted. Enough said.

Inefficiency #4: The Mini-broom

Mine literally only comes up to my knee. Some are shorter than that.

It's been explained that these brooms came about because a family's living quarters used to be so small that they basically only needed something slightly bigger than a duster to clean with. That was then. This is now. Korea, welcome to 2014.

I've only seen one originally full-sized broom in this country and for several months I was the proud owner. Unfortunately, we couldn't bring it on the bus when we moved. I haven't seen one since.

I say "originally" because I once saw a man who modified his mini-broom by attaching some type of piping to the handle to make it longer. That man should be president. He can break the bonds of mini-broomdom.

My school has two  full sized mops and about eight mini-brooms for us to clean the school with. It's ridiculous. I'm considering gifting the school a set of full-sized brooms when I go home. Leave a legacy and all that.

Inefficiency #5: Washing Machine Draining System

My washing machine requires it's own room because when it finishes the cycle it empties  it's bladder on to the floor. The water goes down a drain in the center of the room. Nothing else can go in the room or it will also get soaked. Similarly, the window in the room must stay open or the floor won't dry,  as their is no ventilation fan.  Even when it is snowing outside.

Inefficiency #6: The Fresh Air Mindset

We can run the heat in the winter or the AC in the summer but as soon as it's turned on we must open the door. We need to let fresh air into the building when they're running. So basically, I'm heating/cooling the sidewalk.

Inefficiency #7: Eraserless pencils

This is a personal pet peeve for me as I've been duped by these things more times than I can count. I think it's a money making scheme. Why sell you a pencil with an eraser when I can sell you a pencil and then an eraser? Most pencils don't have erasers, some just have wooden ends and you can obviously tell the eraser is missing. Some, however, are topped with these things (metal, possibly) that are painted to look like erasers but have no actual erasing capability. Instead, they grate against your paper and make the nails on the chalkboard sound.


Thursday, 29 January 2015

Midnight Madness Abounds or The Curious Case of the "American Snowman"

A little before midnight, my husband and I decided we would sneak outside and build a big snowman in front of my school for the children to enjoy. Once outside we discovered that the snow was very light and wouldn't pack enough to make a snowball, much less an entire man.

So we thought about it and decided to make a big mound of snow and then shape it into a snowman, An hour later, we had a four foot mound of snow, starting with a wide base and tapering off to a head. We plucked a carefully carved carrot into make a nose and decorated the rest of the features with black stones. For finishing touches, we tied an old sweater around the "shoulders" and topped it off with a paper birthday hat from my work party.  We were excited and happy with our creation.

When I walked into work the next afternoon, my boss gestured to the snowman and declared that she know my husband made it because it was "American style". I asked what she meant.

"A Korean snowman is made of two big balls and has a black hat."

I explained the problem with the snow not packing and how we cleverly maneuvered around the problem. As for the hat? It was the only one I had. She smiled as nodded as she usually does when I am speaking.

As each student, parent and bus driver arrived they asked about the snowman's lack of a defined body or black hat.  I fumed silently as each student was given the explanation that the snowman was "American style".

After about the 10th explanation, a light bulb went off. Unwittingly,  my boss was actually giving me a compliment. 

The sameness culture pervades South Korea. Everyone does everything the same way and if you don't you are questioned and asked to explain yourself. Sometimes, this place reminds me of a scene from A Wrinkle in Time, where upon arriving on a new planet, Meg and Charles notice that each is  identical and that in each driveway is an identically dressed child bouncing a ball to the same rhythm. Each Korean snowman probably DOES have exactly two balls and is topped off with the same, Lottemart bought, black hat.

My snowman, however, is American. In the face of a challenge, my husband and I rose above by putting our American ingenuity to use.

We thought creatively.
We overcame.
We built a snowman, despite all odds.
You, Mr. Korean Snowman, would have given up when you realized you couldn't make proper snowballs or didn't have the requisite black hat.
But not us, the Americans. We thought for ourselves. And we persevered. Long live American ingenuity!
Meet Gene. He's visiting from America.

Where I'm From

I am from cheese biscuits, from sweet tea and fried okra.

I am from the yellow house in the country and the brick one uptown.

I am from the snow white cotton fields, magnolias that reach sky high and the shimmering sea.

I am from eating fried chicken on Huntington Beach and shooting fireworks on Chrismas Eve.

I am from brown hair and brown eyes with tan skin, from Watson and Beasley and McLendon. .

I am from the gardeners and hunters and the hardheads.

I am from eating wooden doughnuts, stray cat parades and Princess Rachel bedtime stories.

From turning into pumpkins at midnight and lizardman lore.

I am from Baptist potlucks and Sunday School.
From meat and threes. From half a hots. From boiled peanuts and low country boil.

I’m from the Seminoles and the Scottish, red foxes and red devils.

I am from blackeye peas, fat back and nanner pudding.

From the house that was hit by fireworks, endless knock knock jokes and the grandmother who calls her granddaughter Lasagna.

I am from the little city with the big heart, the land of smiling faces and beautiful places, the school of hard work pays off and the mantra, “I think I can , I think I can, I think I can.”

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Top Gift Picks (That Won't Break the Bank)

It seems that everybody whose somebody these days is putting out a gift guide. So here's my list of gifts I think you'd enjoy giving and receiving this holiday season.

Wrapped Gift

For the Booklover:

This handmade bookmark makes a sweet stocking stuffer:

Unique Bookmark for Booklovers/Bedtime Stories/Diary/Bookworms/Fairytales/Thrillers/ Sci-Fi/ Romance. Ideal stocking filler for Christmas

Frostbeard, an etsy shop, sells candles scented in a variety of book related scents. I'm pining after "The Shire" and "Sassenach", from two of my favorite book series.  They also sell scents like bookstore and trashy romance.

I'm also excited to try Paddywax's collection of literary candles. They created scents based around authors. I'm especially interested in the Mark Twain candle.

For the Cupcake Lover:

These vintage inspired cupcake earrings were my one of my birthday gifts this year. I can't wait for them to come! I'd been admiring them for some time. There are matching rings and necklaces available as well!

Pink Cupcake earrings - Cupcake Party favor - Cute jewelry  (E019)

I've also been craving this cute cupcake pan necklace:

For the Foodie:

I follow Lisa Leake's website, 100 Days of Real Food , and I can't wait to get my hands on her cookbook.

This is a great gift for the cook who likes to party! Great for serving foods that need to be shelled or pitted before eaten. They can also be used separately.

I love this brownie brittle. The chocolate chip is my favorite but they make a few other flavors.

For the Fashionista :

These pink and white earrings are currently on sale and come with free worldwide shipping for the season!

White tulip and pink earrings - Flower jewelry  - Bloom Collection by BeautySpot (E138)

What better way to stay warm and stylish this winter than with these super soft boot cuffs or lacy infinity scarf in your choice of color?

Cream Boot Cuffs

Lacy Infinity Scarf

This simple gold leaves necklace would make a stunning gift without breaking the bank!

Gold Leaves Necklace, Tiny Triple Gold Leaves

For Your Man:

I think my husband would like these next two items for his mancave.

Who doesn't love bacon?

Or beer?
Pillow-Periodic Table Element  Beer Embroidered- black cotton and white felt

If your man likes to smell good I'd try this apple jack scented bar soap. for a stocking stuffer. This shop has a variety of scents so click around!

Apple Jack Handmade Cold Process Soap

What's on your wish list this year? What gifts do you love to give?

*All recommendations are my 100% honest opinion. I am not compensated for any of the etsy links. If you click through and purchase from an Amazon link then I may receive a small commission.

**Inspired by Mama Kat