2014 Staycation Itinerary

September 10, 2014 @ 8:04 pm (Permalink)

Itaewon Bugundang Shrine

Because I was unable to take leave during the summer, I waited until September or October to take some time off, and I ultimately decided that I didn’t want to wait. I requested September 15 to 26 off, and with the weekends, I’m technically off from September 13 to 28, so I have about sixteen glorious days where I don’t have to think about work. Even better is that I no longer have school to bog my hols down either. WHOO HOO! Unfortunately, I’m low on funds, so I am unable to travel outside of Korea. Instead, I’ve decided to focus on staycationing . . . though I will go out of town to another province with a friend on an overnight trip! But a majority of my plans consist of exploring more of Seoul amidst all my other errands and tasks I need to do. Here is my list of things to do:

Plans with Specific Dates
* September 13 ~ Meet Chibi Toaster and go to the doll event and then go on Base for manicure and Oktoberfest.
* September 14 ~ Meet T. for lunch.
* September 15 ~ Meet Piokon in Ansan for dinner.
* September 20 ~ Foodie Crawl with C.
* September 24 ~ Mummy’s birthday.
* September 26-27 ~ Haesindang Park AKA Penis Park trip with Chibi Toaster.

Plans with No Specific Dates
* Try and meet Chantelle in her area.
* Walk from Dongmyo to Gwanghwamun and back along Cheonggyecheon Stream.
* Go to Seoul Metropolitan Library in City Hall area,
* Go to first branch of Cafe Comma near Sangsu Station, exit 1.
* Go to second branch of Cafe Comma outside Hongdae Station, exit 3.
* Go to Mokpo Immigration Office with Daddy and teach him how to ride the subway.
* Go to KT office to cancel WiBro service.
* Go to Shinsaegae Department Store in Myeong-dong area.
* Go to Hell Cafe in Bogwang-dong.
* Clean out Kazama the computer.
* Finish “The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt”.
* Read “Crimson Spell” volume 5.
* Read “Ze” volume 9.
* Read “Blue Morning” mangas.
* Read “Card Captor Sakura” mangas.
* Read “Death Note” mangas.
* Beat “Final Fantasy X HD”.
* Play “Danganronpa”.
* Watch ”The Winds of War”.
* Watch “The American Tail”.
* Work on Mini Fest fic.

. . . And so on. This list is not complete X_X; I know there are more stuff for me to do, so I’ll do them as I go along. I know I will not accomplish all of the ones on my second list, but I will still try to do a good chunk of them! But really, I look forward to my first real vacation since the one I took in February 2013, which didn’t quite feel like a vacation since I still had school to worry about and since my two-week vacation was split up to where I was off week one, and then worked week two, and was off again on week three.

Well, just two more days of work, and then I’ll be free! Friday at 5:00pm is when I can activate my vacation-mode. Whoo hoo!

5 Comments » | Filed Under General/Babbles

The Chronicles of Narnia

September 1, 2014 @ 11:16 am (Permalink)

The Chronicles of Narnia

When I was in elementary school, through the Scholastic book orders or book fairs, my dad bought me the box set of The Chronicles of Narnia. Back then I’d no clue about the publication order. I was only familiar with the chronological order that was displayed in the box set, with the The Magician’s Nephew being the first title. Needless to say, my foray into Narnia involved me reading that first book.

It. Bored. Me. I had no idea what was going on. I think I skipped it and then tried The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and that kept me a bit more interested, but not by much. I only know for sure that I’d never got beyond the first two books in my elementary, middle, and high school years. Even in my uni years, I just couldn’t really get into it, despite watching the film adaptation of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (of which I enjoyed!).

I finally read about how one should read the books in the publication order as opposed to chronological order, and that made me decide to tackle the series that way. It took a couple of months, but I’ve read the entire set, and I must say that the publication order made a lot more sense and it kept me interested. Here are my spoiler-free thoughts on the series.

The Goods
– REEPICHEEP. He’s the best character ever. That is all.
– Edmund also won me over. Going from a selfish little prick to a fine King is certainly a huge change for him.
– Puddlegum is about the only thing that made me enjoy The Silver Chair. His pessimism cracked me up.
– The entirety of The Horse and His Boy kept me fully interested. The plot was just amazing, with a good pacing for once. This is my favourite out of the series.
– My next favourite is The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I love how it’s based off of The Odyssey, but I really love how it sets a major potential for Caspian/Edmund as a pairing, haha!
– Much like Tolkien did with his books, I love how Lewis created the world of Narnia. Everything about it fascinated me, and I just kept wanting to know more about the world. And I think that’s why I really liked The Horse and His Boy, because I got to see more than just Narnia — I saw how the world was like in Calormen and Archenland.

The Bads
– I know these books are for children, but the pacing drove me nuts, especially in Prince Caspian.
– I still have no love for The Magician’s Nephew. I mean, this time, I understood what I read, but I think the effects of my earlier attempt with that book remains lingering, so it’s affecting my bias.
– I don’t know how I feel about the ending. I do feel like I’ve been cheated, but at the same time the ending fits the series very much.
– As an Atheist, I didn’t care for the Christian themes, but I still respected them as being plot points.

The Uglies
– JILL. In The Silver Chair. I absolutely could not stand her. Thank goodness she improves in the last book.
– In fact, I enjoyed The Silver Chair the least. I think it’s because there weren’t any Pevensie siblings, and Eustace just couldn’t replace them.

The Conclusion
That was a satisfying read. It took me what — over two decades? — to read the series, but I’m glad I did. The world of Narnia definitely fascinated me to where I could overlook all the religious undertones. I’m not sure if I’d ever re-read the whole series, but I know I’ll re-read the ones I really liked, like The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

1 Comment » | Filed Under Books

Keurig, Wolfhound, and Cheongju

August 30, 2014 @ 10:53 pm (Permalink)

I survived doing the super early morning split shifts this week! 5:30am is hard on the soul — 4:30am on the other hand . . . I think I visited Hades’ purgatory and back X_X; The only thing that kept me sane was this glorious thing called “three-day weekend”. THANK YOU, LABOUR DAY. During my days of being a zombie, though, I ended up doing a lot of shopping for various things, and I still made time to meet up with a friend, and I even travelled to a new city in Korea!

Keurig and Yakisoba

Daddy’s birthday was coming up, so I went to the PX with a co-worker. We ended up going to the PX twice this week. The first was to buy this Keurig K-Cup brewer. I really had no idea what else to get my dad, so I went for this because A) he doesn’t have one and B) if he didn’t like it, I could still use it. I don’t think my parents are too crazy about it, but I’m loving it! Oh, and I also ordered these Myojo Ippeichan Yakisoba from Amazon. Best instant yakisobas ever. :D

Skechers GoWalk

The second time I went to the PX, I saw these shoes. These are great! I love how they are so comfortable and are meant for long walks! I do not love the price, though. $45 is a bit steep, but I was super shocked to see them being $62 on the Skechers websites. Eek!

Wolfhound Almond Choco & Hot Butter Nut Choco

On Friday, after work, I met up with Piokon, and we decided to go eat at Wolfhound Pub in Itaewon. We got the Wolfhound Almond Choco and the Hot Butter Nut Choco. I didn’t care for the latter, but the former is so flipping good! Amaretto with hazelnut syrup, cocoa, and whipped cream is a thing made in heaven.

Corn Soup and Fish and Chips

For food, Piokon and I both ordered the Fish and Chips set that came with the corn soup. I ended up liking the soup more than the fish and chips. I’d so get this soup again! The fish and chips wasn’t bad, but the soup ended up being that yummy for me!

Tandoori Chicken

Butter Chicken and Naan

On Saturday, I went down to Cheongju to visit Chibi Toaster. I’m glad I did. I got to see a part of Korea I’ve never been to, and city there isn’t as crowded as Seoul, so the change of pace was nice. On my way there, I saw four wrecked buses on the expressway, and that made me a bit uneasy since I was on a bus, too. Thankfully nothing happened, and I made it to Cheongju safely. There, Chibi Toaster and I walked or rode a cab to various parts of the city. We were hungry, so we decided to go to an Indian restaurant called Taj Mahal in the Cheongdae area. We got the Agra set that comes with tandoori chicken, butter chicken, salad, naan, and rice. Yum!

Pedal Organ

After our late lunch, we headed over to downtown area of Cheongju, and I saw this pedal organ being used as a decoration. I was thoroughly amused by it :D We shopped around and bought little knick-knacks here and there, and then we chilled out at two coffee shops. One of the coffee shops we went to was a knock-off of Standing Coffee, which amused me greatly, and the other one was very comfortable and cosy. I noticed that Cheongju’s coffee shops are so much cheaper than Seoul’s, and they don’t charge extra for ice. *raises fists* Darn you, Seoul?! Why must ice be charged extra?! That must be a sign telling me to move down to Cheongju or something, haha!

As for Sunday and Monday . . . I’ve got no plans to go anywhere. I have to do a couple of work-related tasks, but otherwise I’ve got nothing else planned. I look forward to the two days of rest! Whoo hoo!

3 Comments » | Filed Under Food, Korea, Materialism, Social Life

Almond Flour Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies

August 28, 2014 @ 6:52 pm (Permalink)

Last week was Bunny-unnie’s birthday, and I wanted to get her something special. I got the idea to make her some Mexican hot chocolate snickerdoodles, so I came home after a super long day of work to bake them. I gathered all my ingredients, but come to find out, I had no flour — Mummy dearest had used it all in her Korean pancakes. That’s when I eyed the almond flour I had and decided to try it with that.

The original recipe called for 1 and 2/3rd cups of flour, and I added the same amount of almond flour. Upon mixing everything, I discovered that the dough was sort of runny. They were still able to keep its scooped-out shape, so I still popped them in the oven. Well, they spread. A lot. And they were super flat, all stuck to each other. And they were chewy, and just . . . not very cookie-like.

Failed Cookies

I persevered, though. After that horrible attempt, and after pouting about it for a while, I decided to try again, by adding more almond flour instead of sticking to the 1:1 ratio.

Better Cookies

Now these turned out way better. These spread, too, but they still maintained a round shape! And yes, they were thin, but they were still good.

Stack of cookies

Despite its thinness, these were pretty chewy as well, and it does have a gritty texture, but I liked them. I like how it still tasted chocolate-y with a hint of cayenne pepper flavouring. I took some of these to my co-workers, and they all liked them. Bunny-unnie liked them, too! My parents, on the other hands, weren’t too enamoured by them. Can’t win it all!

Cookies Gift

All in all, if you want to make a gluten-free (and vegan, if you use non-dairy milk!) version of the Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles, then these will work. I think next time I’ll try cutting down the wet ingredients and hope that makes them a bit more firmer.

Almond Flour Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies
Dry ingredients
2 1/2 cup of almond meal/flour (added more towards the end to stiffen up the dough. I liberally sprinkled over the mixture twice)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Wet ingredients
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup agave syrup
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 tablespoons milk (regular, soy, or almond)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
2. Mix the dry ingredients together.
3. Mix the wet ingredients in another bowl.
4. Add dry mixture to wet mixture slowly.
5. Use a small cookie scoop to transfer the dough to the baking pan lined with parchment paper. Each scoop should be 2 inches apart since they spread and flatten.
6. Bake 12-14 minutes.

2 Comments » | Filed Under Food

Getting Ready for the New School Year

August 23, 2014 @ 11:43 pm (Permalink)

After ten weeks, my workplace has survived our summer schedule. Next week, school starts back up for the kids, so we’re transitioning everything with that. I spent this whole week doing things here and there to get ready, and then we all came in on Saturday to put in extra hours to get more things done. After that bit, I met up with Bunny-unnie, and we went on another crazy adventure of ours!

Puzzle

But before I write about our adventures, have a pretty puzzle photo. I bought this for my mum, but we ended up putting it together, with me putting 95% of it together. Apparently, when I work on a puzzle, I get absorbed into it. Funny that I did most of it since I got this for my mum to do. She’s worried about getting Alzheimer’s, and with her disliking reading and writing, I figured puzzles would be something she could do. However, she doesn’t like them much. Oh, Mum, then what can you do for cognitive exercise?!

Typewriter in a Coffee Shop

Time to write about my after-work adventures! Bunny-unnie and I decided to return to the Lobster Bar, but we had about an hour wait again, but this time we went to a nearby coffee shop. It was a cute little place, with some neat interior design, and this typewriter really caught my eye. I’m a sucker for antique things, and this typewriter is no exception.

Dog in a Coffee Shop

We also saw this adorable, huge, fluffy dog in the cafe. It was one of those dogs that’d greet the customers and then ignored you :( Still, though, it was so cute!

Grilled Cheese Lobster Sandwich at the Lobster Bar

After about an hour, we got a call from the Lobster Bar blokes, and we went back. I reunited with the grilled cheese lobster sandwich. So good. The seasoning and sauce they use for the sandwich were tres delicious. The fries and salad were great. I only wished my digestive system liked it as much as my tastebuds did!

Alex the Coffee Lab

Feeling content and full, we stopped by the Foreign Food Mart to pick up a couple of things, and we bought some bread at Bread and Jam. We then decided to try this coffee shop called Alex the Coffee Lab. I read some good reviews about the place, so I was curious to try it. Unfortunately, I was not pleased to see that an iced latte was 2000 won more than the hot latte, and their coffee had a fruity flavour to it — in fact, I told Bunny-unnie that it reminded me of blueberry. It wasn’t bad, per se, but I’m certainly not going back there if they are going to charge that much for ice!

Bracelets

Bunny-unnie found this jewellery store yesterday, so I wanted to check it out. That place had some decent jewelleries, and the owner there was so nice. I got these two bracelets for 20,000 won. Originally, the silver bracelet was 15,000 won, but I asked her to remove this ugly triangle charm and change the clasp, and she lowered the price to 10,000 won. Then she gave me another 3,000 won discount on the other one, bringing the price from 13,000 to 10,000 won. She also gave Bunny-unnie a 5,000 won discount on her purchase, so thumbs up to this lady!

Pho at Le Saigon

Finally, Bunny-unnie and I had a very late dinner at Le Saigon. We both got the beef pho. Oh, nom, nom. Then we ended the night by walking around my neighbourhood. Now I’m home feeling quite exhausted. It’d been a long, but fun day. However, my bed’s calling me. No, make that yelling. My bed’s yelling for me!

6 Comments » | Filed Under Food, Korea, Materialism, Social Life, Work