Category: Simple Pleasures

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.

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.

Hump Day Wish List.

So excited to read this. Mindy Kaling cracks me up. And much of the funnies we laugh at on The Office, she writes.

Yes, I will buy this book.

I could do this. Will I? Probably not. But I could.

Perfect backdrop: (and how cute is her adoring smile?)

Using books to decorate seasonally:





Note to Self.

I laughed when I saw this and couldn’t help but agree. Sometimes I think, if I had only known then what I knew now!

Remembering how God works all things together for good keeps me peaceful, even in the bad days.

Five Favorite Things.

1) Finishing a life-challenging book.  (Just turned the last page in The Alchemist. Incredibly thought provoking! I love it when books align perfectly with my life.)

2) When I french tip my own nails and it turns out perfect.  (and free!)

3) Waking up to the sun shinning through my window.

4) A clean work-space.

5) Oreo-O’s cereal. Nom nom nom.

Two Sleepy People.

Currently on repeat in my house.

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.