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Sweet.Vintage.Unique.

Category: Excursions.

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!

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Things I Love About Seoul.

#1 Mornings

I recently read in my latest Real Simple magazine that one of the most peaceful things you can do for yourself is create a morning routine and stick to it.

My morning routine is pretty simple. I wake up, make my bed and put water on to boil for my coffee. I open the windows, set my breakfast table and take a few deep breaths as I fully wake up. And then I spend an hour journaling, praying, reading my bible, using my Oswald Chambers devotional book, and thinking positive thoughts.

Morning has become the absolute best part of my day.

#2 Street purchases and Convenience. 

I live in a metro area, which means I am privy to a lot of convenience. I am just a few steps away from a little market and a few more steps away from a big market (pictured above)

Produce is also sold cheaply on the street, which is fun and easy to buy on the way home from work. It’s so nice to run out of milk, but only be 5 minutes away from having more. It’s easy to get spoiled pretty quickly.

#3 The Subway

Just like any other westerner, I have a car and love to drive. There aren’t many activities more freeing than a road trip, windows down, music blaring. But there is much to be said for a reliable mode of public transportation.

I love the subway for three reasons:

1. I get to read while I commute. I’m currently averaging about 2 books a week. I think the last period of life I had so much reading time was the 4th grade, when I sped through one Baby-Sitter’s Club book a night.  Right now I’m in the middle of Gilead and am loving every page.

2. I get to look for outfit inspiration. My clothing style fits in quite nicely with Korean style and I love looking at all the outfits.

3. It’s cheap. Seriously cheap. I can get just about anywhere in the city and back home for under $3. You can’t really beat that.

#4 Korean Packaging and Overall “Cuteness” Appeal

Korean culture is all-around more geared towards the younger generation. Most older women and young professional females dress the same. The advertisements typically target 16-23 year-olds and that shows in the cute packaging and prints I see all over the city.

I love it! It’s so easy to find things in cute prints and designs that would cost a lot more back home.  And my hair bow collection is really growing.

Encouragement.

It’s been a really rough week.

I’ve hesitated to write about it for several reasons:

a) I’d probably start crying, and I’ve cried enough at the office this week.

b) It would make this feel more realistic.

and c) I hate sounding like a Negative Nancy online. That’s what most blogs seem to be used for — to whine and complain. And I never wanted this site to become a  festival of complaining.

But, it’s been tough.

Thanks to my incredibly understanding and wise boyfriend, compassionate sister, and encouraging parents, I am halfway done with my third week — taking this one day at a time.

While Skyping with my parents, my father said to me: “Lauren, sometimes failure simply means a revelation, not that you didn’t succeed.”

And I’ve had a lot of revelations this week.

I’d always thought that I was a bit of a restless soul, feeling wanderlust, desiring to see the world. I felt a void in my life that needed to be filled and I thought that travel and new experiences would fill that.

Instead, I arrived more empty that I thought possible.

But God’s been filling me up, encouraging me in the most amazing ways. Today as I was driving to work, I saw a sign in English with a bible verse on it. This was amazing for two reasons:

a) I’ve never seen it before, and I’ve been riding the same route for two weeks

and

b) It was in English. Hardly anything is in English.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” Colossians 3:23

Suddenly, working in a job that I despise became a whole lot easier. It was like God sent a giant breath of fresh air in my direction.

He’s been doing that a lot lately.

So now, thanks to Pintrest, this cute print hangs above my computer. Pretty awesome reminder.

September Through Instagram.

Here’s a visual representation of what my September looked like.

(Goodness, I love Instagram.)

My sweet boyfriend took me on the most wonderful date to see an IMAX movie about Tornadoes and a visit into the Science Spectrum Museum. It was pretty much my favorite date of all time.

The female members of my family LOVE to thrift. My mother and I spent all our free time in September scouring vintage stores and antique shops for awesome furniture. This, by far, was the best chair I saw. Too bad I couldn’t have it, seeing as I live overseas now.

I LOVE brown riding boots, and my last pair had worn so low, there were holes in the soles. So new boots for me! (Totally broken in already.)

More vintage skirts.

And biking to the grocery store. I love small towns.

September, you were good to me.

Take a Walk With Me.

All photos taken on a recent walk around my neighborhood.

Day Date.

I celebrated New Years Eve day (A holiday which I truly do detest, thank you Ben Gibbard’s: “So this is the New Year? And I don’t feel any different”) with a trek into town to treat myself with a chocolate croissant and to begin  re-reading a book for my senior project. Along the way I picked up a print by Leah Duncan, an unexpected but pleasant find.

And a stray acorn as well.

The rest of the afternoon will include but is not limited to the following: Gilmore Girls, crocheting, the ukulele, a sunshine nap, and more etsy perusing.

Recently.

December has brought finals, the annual tent-extravaganza, peppermint cookies, and a ukulele reunion.

If only it would bring snow. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

And I’ve phased back into playing again. Welcome back callused fingers. And this tab is my current obsession. It feels good to make music once more. (Plus, I’m so much better than last year. No more off-key “Amazing Grace” for me!)

And my favorite odd-treat, stale marshmallow. Just open a bag … and leave it. For days.

Possibly the easiest snack of all time.

And of course, the tent. My favorite. My roommate and I, and the various guests that filtered in and out, enjoyed a relaxing and glorious three days. Laura affectionately coined the color schemes as the “Patterns of Lauren’s Life.” That is my bedding, in a nutshell.

I hope you’re enjoying YOUR Christmas break as well.

Still on the December to-do list:

-ice skating

-annual viewing of It’s a Wonderful Life

-stocking stuffer shopping

-christmas cookies

-snow angels (This last one is quite a stretch, as it is currently sunny and 70 degrees outside. Curse you Texas winter.)

ACL.

I just recently returned from a quick trip to Austin for their annual festival, Austin City Limits, which draws thousands and thousands of music lovers out to enjoy great Austin music and food. Definitely my favorite concert experience thus far.

We started the day at Magnolia Cafe, a local favorite. I had the gingerbread chocolate chip pancakes, which were wonderful! I do so love a good breakfast.

I think we triple checked our tickets at least seven times. Don’t worry, we got in. (Also, as the park opened, the speakers blared the Star Wars theme song as we entered. It was magical.)

One of my favorite parts of the day was checking out the local art area, where store owners set up booths to sell Austin goods. I bought a hat that I’ve actually worn more than once!

And of course, the music. The wonderful wonderful music.

Angus and Julia Stone, who I’ve blogged about before, were absolutely sensational. Both walked the stage with such a casual elegance, and played with sheer enjoyment. And Julia’s trumpet solo took my breath away. As did the eye contact I made with Angus Stone. Yeah, it was awesome.

Vampire Weekend was another favorite show. The energy, the lights, the friends we made while standing like sardines for a hour, I won’t soon forget any of it. Plus, you could hear each word that was sung. All in all, a great performance!

Also, they played “I Think UR a Contra,” which is a number that they don’t often play at shows. It was the one song I most wanted to hear, and the most special moment for me at the show. Plus, the stage became illuminated with a map of Contra.

I still get goosebumps thinking about it.

 

 

Day Date.

I took a little trip into Downtown today, just me.

I like people, don’t get me wrong, but there is something so incredibly serene about being alone in a crowd.

About pleasing no one but yourself for the day.

About having no schedule.

I concocted a perfect blend at YogurtLand, perused the stores …

Watched Breathless, and old French film which StudioCanal recently renovated for the film’s 50th Anniversary.

Then I stumbled upon a vinyl store with a fabulous selection. And organization. Organization while music shopping is never overrated.

I rescued two old Fred Astaire and Louis Armstrong albums.

All in all, one of my favorite summer days yet.

Firsts.

This week has been a week of firsts for me. I just began my new summer job, interning with Colorado teens in a local church. And what a week of firsts it has been.

I remember thinking in high school as I walked down the hallway, how my last week was such a monumental week of lasts. We tend to become burdened with lasts, don’t we? My last boyfriend, my last cup of coffee, my last time at the movie theater, my last fight with a friend, etc … and the list goes on.

Last thinking becomes so natural to me that I forget to think about firsts, or looking forward to firsts. First time in a building, first apartment, first kiss from a significant other, first taste of a new ice cream flavor. I hold on to those lasts, thinking that the new firsts can NEVER come between me and my lasts.

And sometimes I am right.

And sometimes I am wrong.

Once a wise woman told me that I needed to clear out the good things in life to make room for the great things.

I believe that rule applies to firsts and lasts. Sarah Tisdale said, “I make the most of all that comes and the least of all that goes.” What a mantra to live with. I admire the fluidity that she makes her statement with, almost as if a breeze has blown through me, pleasant  to sigh deeply into.

We are creatures of change yet we continue to buck the system, day after day, fully realizing that change is inevitable, yet desiring consistency nonetheless.

So embrace your firsts for the day! Go out and search for new opportunities and firsts that you never believed possible. I’ll be enjoying mine as well.