Monthly Archives: September 2014

Just being neighborly

Some calendars list September 28th as National Good Neighbor Day, don’t ask me how I remember these crazy sorts of things, I just do. But to be quite honest, there is no reason as to why you shouldn’t reach out and just be neighborly year round.

NATIONAL GOOD NEIGHBOR DAY HISTORY (source of history found here.)

National Good Neighbor Day was created in the early 1970′s by Becky Mattson of Lakeside, Montana. In 1978 United States President Jimmy Carter <---(PS: Love the Carters! Habitat For Humanity, National Good Neighbor Day…I could seriously just squeeze his sweet elderly cheeks) issued Proclamation 4601:

“As our Nation struggles to build friendship among the people’s of this world, we are mindful that the noblest human concern is concern for others. Understanding, love, and respect build cohesive families and communities. The same bonds cement our Nation, and the nations of the world. For most of us, this sense of community is nurtured and expressed in our neighborhoods where we give each other an opportunity to share and feel part of a larger family…I call upon the people of the United States and interested groups and organizations to observe such day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.”

If you’ve been following along, you’ve seen that we recently moved. It’s just a few miles down the road, but it’s a move. I cannot say this enough, everyone is super neighborly here! Hello’s in the parking garage, hello’s on the elevator, hello’s as we leave for a stroll on our evening walks, hello’s from the gate-guards as they walk around checking on parking and such. It’s just nice! It’s crazy to think we’ve been in Korea a combined 4 years and up until recently we never experienced this. To be fair our old place we went weeks without catching the same elevator ride with someone in our building, or I’d like to believe they’d be more neighborly too?

Completely coincidentally I woke up Sunday morning to some news about my new neighbor and her daughter. I instantly wanted to do something little to brighten their day after the horrific night they had. I immediately thought about the beautiful little hand-tied flower arrangement I made and put into a vase in our entry. Why not share the power of something cheery like a dainty wild sunflower and greens with written words of encouragement. To me it’s those little random acts of kindness that gets us all through tough times, don’t you agree?

So here I am blogging on celebrating National Good Neighbor Day! Why not do something nice for your neighbor today too? I’d love to hear your thoughts and maybe some things you did or might do for your neighbors.


Time & yogurt

“The trouble is, you think you have time.”-Gautama Buddha

I read this quote the other morning and it really got me thinking about the concept of time. Like how I say I’ll get out for that stroll in the sunshine tomorrow; I’ll apply to that cooking school later down the road; I’ll travel more when I’m older; perhaps next weekend I’ll bust out that yogurt maker and use it; etc.

The sad reality is I am extremely guilty of putting off things because I think I’ll have more time later, but later often never comes. Eek! Take for example something as simple as my yogurt maker example. I was really tired of not being able to get yogurt when I want, plus all you hear now on the news is you are being lied to about ingredients, who needs that? My friends knew and purchased me a yogurt maker for Christmas….cough, cough….last year. I cannot tell you time and time again how I thought, “okay next weekend I’m busting out my bad as$ yogurt maker and getting busy”….. next week never came.

As simple as using a yogurt maker is I could have made time.

Well, tomorrow is today and why aren’t we all living for now? I’m not saying I’m going off the deep end and quitting my day job to take up my daydreams of becoming 100% self-sufficient with our food source, but maybe I’ll work on making time to fit in the yogurt making adventures.

Does the quote have you thinking? Want to take a new class to learn a new skill? Find one in your area, adjust your schedule to make that time and take it! Do you want more family time? Make it a priority and do it! Want to travel to other countries, visit us Bees? Start putting back bits of extra money and come see us!

Everything isn’t as simple as it seems on paper. I know life throws you all sorts of curveballs and then wouldn’t you know it….that sneaky time factor pops right back up and tends to hold you back. All I’m saying is I, we, are guilty of thinking that there will be time later. Start small and don’t get overwhelmed you will start to see those exciting changes soon! Remember time is a precious gift, don’t miss out by taking a rain check that you may never fulfill. None of us know really how long we’ve got to use the gift of time.

Today’s challenge…. Think about the quote and really let it set in. What do you currently make time for and what do you really want to make time for?

And since tomorrow is today, I’ll share my yogurt making adventures with you all. It actually turned out surprisingly simple! The only pain point was waiting on the milk to cool…but with that extra time I took a shower, ate lunch and started typing up a new blog post. But as you and I both know, only time will tell with the results we get…. No pun intended. Ha-Ha!

I used my BOmann yogurt maker and bought this freeze-dried yogurt starter with probiotic from Amazon. It took me some time to decide what starter I wanted, also keeping in mind I didn’t have the option for the starters that must maintain refrigerated during shipping process. This one had a lot of really positive reviews too.

I started off by washing each of the glass containers out that come with the BOmann yogurt maker in very hot soapy water.

Then I started to prepare the yogurt and starter like so:

1. Heat about 4 cups; or 1 litre; or 1 quart; of Organic Valley milk to 180F (82C), or bring to the boiling point
2. Cool the milk down to 73-77F (23-25C)
3. Dissolve 1 packet (5g) of the culture in the cooled milk, I gently whisked it all until it was well mixed
4. Pour the yogurt mixture evenly into the glasses, but do not cap each glass
5. Set timer and incubate yogurt mixture for 8-10 hours, or until it reaches your desired firmness. Carefully remove the lid, watch so that the condensation doesn’t drip off into the yogurt jars.
6. Refrigerate once done and enjoy as you’d like! We love to top with fun seasonal fruits and nuts.

Dedicated to my grandparents who still show me that there isn’t such a thing as too much time spent with me.


Vase Arrangement class

Autumn is a second Spring when every leaf is a flower — Albert Camus.

A few weeks ago I enrolled in a vase arrangement class in Seoul, at Cosmic Mansion. Today was the class, so I woke up and jumped on the train bound for Seoul. I really didn’t know what to expect, but I still remained very excited to try it out. All of the photos I got to see beforehand had me swooning.

There are different levels of the class, as well as different techniques. To name a few, there is French basket arrangement, hand-tied bouquet, and wreath.

I arrived at Cosmic Mansion and immediately was greeted by the store owner and Sunmi the class instructor. Sunmi spoke limited English, but was ever so patient and incredibly kind to me. I was truly grateful that she was willing to actually teach me.

There were only two of us in the class, it made it feel very personal and private, it was perfect! A special shout out to Gray! Hi Gray! Thanks again for being so sweet and helping too! Your arrangement was gorgeous!

All the materials were provided During the class and you will leave armed and bagged with everything you have made along with the confidence for arranging flowers on your own in the future.

What I learned from this class:

1. Don’t be afraid to work with a different colors and textures.
2. Measure the stems in comparison to the vase and remove any bottom leaves from the stems so that they look clean in the vase
2. Cut all the flower and greens stems at an angle
3. Various greenery sets the size and shape of your entire arrangement, so play close attention to height and shape as you go.
4. Once you have your greenery set, next start filling in your main focal flowers.
5. The last additions were the fun fuzzy wispy stalks (that is the formal name, right).
6. Stand back, admire and enjoy your handiwork.

We had lots of green scraps and small flowers left over so Sunmi told us to make a little hand tied arrangements to take along home as well.

I had such a great time, I signed up for another class!

Cosmic Mansion
용산구 한남동 684-62, Han nam dong, Seoul, South Korea


Style: falling into fall

Old Fall Cozy Edition

I’m such a four seasons type of gal. I look forward to celebrating each new season as it sweeps in to change everything around me. The nights have been getting much cooler and fall is absolutely on its way in, but the days tend to warm up and still reach anywhere from upper 70’s to 80’s. I find myself needing versatile pieces and layers that I can remove as the temperatures fluctuate.

The move has certainly helped me to re-kindle and re-find my old favorites in my closet from last season. I love the chambray shirt that I can roll up the sleeves, the puffer vest that everyone went C-razy over last year, and my two closet staples the pencil skirt and scarf. It feels so good to also organize everything into its new home again too. I thought what a wonderful opportunity to share a few of my picks that I’m looking forward to sporting to remain comfy and cozy into the fall season.

PS: Don’t forget to swing by Starbucks and pick up a pumpkin spice latte (sorry Food Babe, I cannot resist when I am stateside) and check out (5) the brand new his-and-hers Apple watch certainly swoon-worthy.

What are some of your comfy cozy fall favorites?


Things worth sharing: We moved!

YES! You did read that correctly, we have moved!

Simmer, simmer, we are still in Korea. Actually, we are only a mile or two down the road from our old place. We like to think of this as our new adventure, or chapter to our story. You know, that’s the wonderful thing about adventures… they really don’t need to be limited to some gigantic change in your life. Adventures aren’t one size fits all and can occur in the spur of any life moment.

Speaking of spur of the moment, our lease was coming up and we just started to discuss our options and thoughts of what we might want to do next. It was challenging to think that we’d actually live somewhere else in Korea after being in the same place for over 4 years. We experienced so many memories and really made the place our home. However, with some unfortunate things going on with the management office and our complex, we ultimately decided to start looking at a new place.

Our realtor was incredibly helpful and really eager to assist us with our decision to move. She took us to see two places with different floor plans. We ended up falling for the second place and made the decision to take it. We waited about 12 hours and then heard the great news; you’ve got the place!

Onward to moving… we were able to book a moving company three days after we made our decision to move. Talk about quick! Our realtor and moving company told us do not pack anything, don’t clean, and just relax.

HA-HA! We thought these people are silly! The two words relax and move, in the same sentence? I mean the “to do list” is endless when you think of what needs to be done when you move. To top it all off, you have to clean both places. Nope. Wait, did I really just answer myself with the word nope? Yep, I defiantly did. We found out that it’s actually customary to leave some dust and a bit of dirt for the new tenants as good luck. REALLY?! How awesome is that? However, when you are moving into your new place, keep in mind that the same concept applies. You might have a bit of unexpected work to do when you move into your new place. (Enter me scrubbing down every bit of wood in the place and mopping the floors).

The day the movers showed up, they literally went from room to room and packed up everything into crates and moved them out the window of our 6th floor apartment. Mr. B attempted to move something and was promptly scolded for doing so. OOPS! Guess they meant serious business with the “don’t pack anything” statement.

As quick as the movers arrived, the movers were packed up and gone with all of our home goods on the road and heading to our new place. Another outstanding item worth sharing is that these movers actually unpack all of your packed items into a similar location of the new place, as it was in the old. This can be great, or can be a bit more of a burden depending on the way the situation plays out. Unfortunately, I couldn’t take off work and Mr. B let the movers unpack where they thought the items might go. Word to the wise… they aren’t mind readers. I had to keep reminding myself throughout the day that no one is really going to meet up to my obsessive orderly home standards. Oh yeah, I called myself out on the Internet. It’s okay, I ended up unpacking all of the items afterwards like a wild scavenger hunt. Adventure noted for next time.

Our first night in our new place, we grabbed jajangmyeon for dinner, think of it as the pizza that we Americans consume on a moving day. The concept behind the dish, just like pizza is still the same, you just moved and your kitchen isn’t completely set up for you to use. Like pizza, jajangmyeon is full of that fatty carby goodness you need to keep you going. Unlike pizza, there is no tomato sauce or cheese, mmhmmm the dish features a thick black bean paste sauce, tofu that is diced small into cubes, mushrooms, Chinese noodles, peanuts, and zucchini. Who would have thought, it actually hit the spot!

For the first time in days, I am actually sitting in our new place with my feet up and able to type out a blog post to you all. Whew. What a wild adventure! With that being said, tell me about the adventures you are taking on today.


Things Worth Sharing: Turkey

This little package of happiness arrived all the way from Turkey with love.

Turkish delights, Turkish tea, Turkish pottery, and  a Turkish coffeepot…

Oh my stars!

could anything be more magical?

I think not.

We love and miss you guys!

thank you, thank you!

Get settled in soon, you’ve got anxious visitors.


The C Word

This week I received a message from a dear friend that said she was getting a biopsy done, and may have breast cancer. Immediately my heart sank…. I couldn’t believe the words as I read them slowly out loud to myself.

…Really?! She’s so young!! This has to be some sick joke! There is no way!!…. Endless things racing and spinning through my head.

On top of it all I felt helpless and so scared for her.

There are no real words to truly comfort a loved one under those circumstances. The anxiety that eats them waiting for that call, those biopsy results, the words “no cancer”. Of course, I responded immediately with the power of prayer, strength, good vibes, and happy thoughts.

This morning I awoke to the most amazing news, I found out that her results read that she did NOT have cancer! Praise The Lord!

As I sipped my morning coffee in our quiet empty apartment I couldn’t help but to realize that you never, ever, know what lies ahead. Life is so terribly short. You have to appreciate the family and friends that you have right now. Cherish every day and moment with them. Like it or not, these scary and tough real life moments in life will make you stronger, and also make you realize that you need to live each day to the fullest. Why do we stay angry? hold grudges? or live in regret? We’ve got to make the most of our lives while we are here!

I decided to share the Cosmo field near our place with this post because it certainly calls for a celebratory cheers! Just look at them! Aren’t these wild gals beautiful?


Labor Day Delay

Whoa! It’s not hard to see that I am running a week behind…again… EEK! I feel like we just try to squeeze every drop out of what is left of summer! It doesn’t stick around to long here so I feel uber guilty if we don’t get out in the evenings after work, and that is preciously what we have been doing.

Anywho, without delay I’ll get to it with the Labor Day fun!

I joined Mr. B on the east coast of Korea where he and a group of friends planned a weekend of diving. I have decided and told Mr. B that when we retire we will live on the beach or at most a block away from the beach. I couldn’t ignore my huge heart singing out relocation, to the ocean, the sand, the sounds… it just calms and soothes whatever your current mood or state of mind is and seriously, if the weather wasn’t being the biggest show off too! Not so hot with a slight autumn chill in the air. It was the most welcomed break and I took advantage of every minute it had to offer by catching up on my Kinfolk Magazine, sunning my pale leggies, strolling leisurely along the beach line. AH! Oh and then the drive home up, over and through the lush green mountains. I never imagined Korea to have the mountains that it has.

Here’s a tip…If you ever make a trip to Korea, do yourself a favor and get outside of Seoul, or whatever touristy city you choose to see the countryside and mountains too. You won’t regret it.