Beauty.Full.

Sweet.Vintage.Unique.

I finally broke down and registered a pinterest.

I had too, after Kendi suggested using it as outfit inspiration. And you know what? It’s pretty darn helpful. When standing in front of my ever looming, yet tiny foreign closet, it’s nice to have some help. Example:

This:

Plus this:

Equals my version:

Enjoy looking at the odd Korean entry way of my teeny apartment along with that outfit.

So thanks Pinterest.

The Bucket List

Living and working and exploring in a new city, especially a BIG foreign city, can be incredibly daunting. So on a quiet Sunday, my friend Tanja and I made a list of the places we most wanted to see and the things we most wanted to do. I love looking at the list when I feel homesick. The list helps me remember why I left home (to see the world!) and why I’m not jumping on a plane tomorrow. (I haven’t seen enough!)

This past weekend we were able to cross two more off of our adventure list: Ice skating at City Hall and seeing The Nutcracker at the Seoul Art Center. The first which involved 20 degree weather and the latter which involved getting lost and missing the first bit of the show. Regardless, it was such a fun and exciting weekend, which helped remind me– Hey, I’m living my dream!

DIYs I’d Like To Try.

With my free time at work, I do plenty of web-browsing. Plenty.

This gives me ample time to find more and more pages to bookmark at my work computer. Which is actually a little frustrating, since I forget to email myself the bookmarks for my personal computer.

Here are a few of the DIYs that I would really like to try soon.

Neon Necklace from A Pair & A Spare. 

How cute is this newly renovated necklace? Although it isn’t my favorite color, I can’t wait to spray paint some of the necklaces I have at home that I’ve grown tired of. Plus you can spray them again, and again, and again…. Get the full tutorial here.

Second, this cute votive holder from Fellow Fellow.

I love this idea, and it would make a really great gift, even seasonal depending on the fabric used in the jars. I like that you can also use a tiny fake votive light, since the fabric is flammable, and still get the same effect. Get the full tutorial here.

And last, another from Fellow Fellow. This really is an awesome blog.

Need a cork-board but can’t find a good size/style? Make your own! I love that she not only cut it into a neat shape, but painted the edges with a neon color. Very simple, very cheap, very easy, and very cute results. Get the full tutorial here.

The Importance of Being a Goal Setter.

When I first moved to Seoul, I spent a lot of time staring out my window, watching mindless tv shows, and wishing I was back home. All of these pastimes added up to an unproductive evening in which I would crawl into bed completely unsatisfied and unable to fall asleep.

So I started writing a goal list.

My October goal list was fairly simple: read a minimum of four books, write letters to friends back home, hang out with a few specific people, etc. I hung the goal list above my desk, and looked at it every day. When I was feeling homesick or unsatified or bored, I would look at that list and think about what I could do to help complete one of the things listed. It worked. I moved out of my slump.

Since then, I’ve continued writing a monthly goal list and posted it in the same place, above my desk. At the end of each month, I take it down, cross off what I accomplished and paste the list in my journal. This helps me put away the events of the month, the successes and the disappointments. I usually don’t accomplish everything on the list and those get bumped to the next one. Sometimes I realize that it was a lofty goal, or change my mind about the importance of it.

Through goal writing, I’ve also realized the importance of spontaneity and flexibity. Sometimes I can’t complete everything on my list because something new and exciting presents itself. That is the nature of life, and I’m so glad that each day continues to hold new possibility.

Here, in the name of full disclosure, is my December list. Posting it where others can see is just another way for me to hold myself accountable and work towards those list items that help me fall into bed a peaceful and accomplished girl.

December: 

1. Get a bank account (done!)

2. Transfer money back home. (done!)

3. Mail all Christmas packages by the 9th. (done!)

4. Finish all Christmas online shopping by the 10th.

5. Visit my friend Claire.

6. Go ice skating.

7. Write letters to friends and family, at least 3 a week.

8. Wash my sheets. (This really needs to happen soon!)

9. Read 3 books, and at least one classic.

And 10, which is a little more personal. One of the reasons I wanted to move away was that I wanted to try to spend some time writing. From day to day I have 3-5 first sentences rolling around in my head, but I never sit down and flush them out. I spend most of my time thinking about writing instead of actually doing it. This month I pledge to spend one night a week writing. 

Just making a goal list always lightens my steps a bit. Happy December and happy goal writing!

Music Monday.

 

I really love Christmas music. (Quite the earth-shattering statement, I know. Not many people love Christmas music these days.) But since I am far from home, and missing my record player and Christmas records, I’m having to make due with other Christmas music.

And good news,  it isn’t all Mariah Carey, Britney Spears, and Justin Beiber. (Can I also admit that I do still listen to N’Sync’s Christmas music?)

Here are a few places to stream or download really fantastic Christmas music and playlists.

My personal favorite song? “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,” Judy Garland style.

Download the entire playlist from Andrew and Carissa, here.

Check out Angela Hardison’s TWO Christmas playlists, featuring new and old music, here.

And last, for those who love the unknown bands, check out this website for a remix on the classics. You can download or stream it here.

Have yourself a merry little listen.

My Thanksgiving Thankfuls.

I try to be thankful year round. I really do. When I was twelve, my mother told me I was ungrateful. I think ungrateful is one of the worst possible things one can be, and I’ve spent the rest of my life since trying to steer as far from that word as possible.

But Thanksgiving is a good time to hear other’s thankfuls as well. I love hearing what everyone else has been richly blessed with! In our family we have a great Thanksgiving tradition. We go around the table and everyone must say at least one thing they are specifically thankful for that year. We usually end up going around the table four or five times. We are richly blessed.

This year, as I am far from home, I am missing that tradition. I did get to Skype with the boyfriend and my family. Thank God for video chatting!

So here’s what I would say if we were around the Thanksgiving table together:

1. I’m thankful for Tyler.

He is proof that God is so intentional with our lives. We co-existed without even an inkling of attraction or affection until it was the right time for us. Only God could have orchestrated something so beautifully.

2. I’m thankful for my amazing family.

God put us back together 10 years ago, after a long messy divorce. I try not to let a day go by without thanking God for that one. Our family really is special and unusual. We actually enjoy being together. We have jokes. We still take vacations. We are so blessed.

3. I’m thankful for this trip.

If you had asked me about it a month and a half ago, I would have trashed this entire thing. I was miserable. I hated my job. I hated being away.

This is still hard, it’s hard to be far from those I love, but the entire trip has been such a growing experience. I’m doing something I have always dreamed about. How many people can actually say that? I have fallen in love with my students, in love with the culture, and in love with the amount of coffee shops in this caffeine-driven city! I have had so many amazing experiences and have many more adventures ahead before I come home.  My life has been harder, but richer too.

4. I’m thankful for Mail.

We completely underestimate the power of  well written letters these days. Nothing moves me quicker than seeing a hand addressed envelope waiting in my mailbox. Those of you who read this blog and have sent me mail THANK YOU! You’ll never know how much that has meant to me. And I love sending my replys out into the world. Letter writing truly is a lost art.

5 Favorite Things:

1) Chocolate chip pancakes and a little taste of home.

2) Working on a puzzle.

3) Looking forward to my usual Friday Starbucks trip.

4) A new gray winter pea coat, gifted from a friend.

5) Good hair days.

I Finally Get To Be What I’ve Always Dressed Like … a Teacher.

 

When my sister and I were growing up, we played “Teacher” a lot. I, being the overbearing older sibling, naturally assumed the role of teacher. The games usually didn’t last very long because Tabitha complained that I made my school harder than regular school.

I just wanted her to learn, right?

But now that I am a teacher, most of the time I feel like I’m still pretending, still playing. I’m sure much of this has to do with the fact that I’m teaching English to young Korean students who only understand 10-60% of what I’m saying, depending on their level.

But there are these gems-of-a-moment, when the world stops and I think, I am so happy to be doing what I’m doing. Here are a few:

-A few days ago one of my second graders, Jane, ran up to me and said “Teacher! Teacher! Secret!” And she pulled me down to her level, whispering, “I love you!” before running off. Of course it sounded like “I lobe you,” with her accent, but incredibly heart-melting, nonetheless.

-In my more advanced 4th grade class, one of my sweetest and smartest students asked me, “Teacher, do you feel pretty everyday?” To which I answered, honestly, “Some days I feel pretty, some days I don’t feel pretty.” To which she answered, adoringly, “But teacher, you are pretty everyday.” Swoon.

-Simple hand holding while walking down the stairs. It gets me every time.

Mixtape: Indian Summer

In honor of my favorite season, fall, and the season inside the season, Indian Summer, please enjoy this simple mixtape. Dance, cry, sing, and overall celebrate the leaves changing.

Idea Crush.

Yes, Ruffled is one of the greatest vintage wedding blogs. This is nothing new. But I was browsing the site this morning and loved this fall wedding, especially the Bride and Groom themed ad-lib. Awesome idea. Check out the rest of Anna and Dan’s wedding here.