Photo Potpourri: Spring Staycation Ending

Photo Potpourri

Annnnd here’s the other entry that summarises the rest of my short spring staycation. Next time I take time off, I really should do two weeks at least. Ten days flew by fast and felt way too short! Still, though, I had a nice time off from work, and it was great to unwind and think about other things. It was a nicely balanced staycation where I met people, but I also had time for myself. I read a lot, had yummy food, met awesome people, and enjoyed the great spring weather in Seoul — it really was a great staycation!

Blue Skies

Monday actually was a bit of a pain in the beginning. It was wet and dreary in the morning and the early afternoon. I was on base to do some work errands, and it took me the whole day to accomplish most of it. Eventually the weather finally cleared up by late afternoon, and that’s when I took the photo of the sky. It was just gorgeous and so clean and blue.

Chicken Pesto Sandwich and Tangy Coleslaw at Fat Cat

Tuesday, I went and had brunch at Fat Cat in Haebangchon. I had the chicken pesto sandwich with some tangy coleslaw. It was super yummy, and it cost me 12,000 won or $10 USD. Afterwards, I walked around and went to Chansbros, my favourite coffee shop and played with my smartphone. Then I went home and just did bum stuff. Wednesday was when I attended the Beethoven concert, and Thursday was spent all day at home. I just slept a lot and read old RP logs on my Kindle, haha!

Taro Bubble Tea from Bubbly Tea

Friday, I went out to meet Chantelle, but prior to meeting her, I got me some taro bubble tea. AnneMarie posted about getting some bubble tea a few weeks ago, and someone else posted getting the taro-flavoured one. They made me crave some, and I saw that Bubbly Tea opened up in Itaewon, so I decided try it. I’m glad I did — it was delicious! I need to go back and try the other flavours :D It was so cheap, too. Only 3,300 won, about $3!

Curried Chicken Sandwich at London Tea

Chantelle and I decided to do lunch at London Tea, an upscale brunch place with a lot of tea options. I decided to get the curried chicken sandwich and chocolate hazlenut tea. The curried chicken sandwich was yummy, but the tea . . . X___X; No more chocolate-flavoured tea for me! My whole meal cost 19,500 won, which is about $18. Afterwards, Chantelle and I chilled at Hell Cafe with some coffee.

White Nail Salon

When Chantelle and I separated, I decided to go get another manicure :D I went to White Nail in my neighbourhood, a place I’ve been once, so I decided to give them a try again. I’m glad I did. They are so much better than Nail Bar and more relaxing, but not as good as Dragon Hill Lodge. Still, they are a good alternative for me to get my nails done when I can’t make it to Dragon :D This cost me 15,000 won, about $13.50.

Grey Manicure

My finished nails! I chose a grey shade by Orly. I really love grey nails. It’s a great neutral colour that’s not as dramatic as black, but more eye-catching than nude/pink :)

Domain Giveaway Winner

I also have a winner for the domain giveaway that I’ve partnered up with Kya to do :D Congratulations to Chynna for winning the giveaway!

Knitting Project

Finally, the rest of my staycation had me staying home to finish up some work tasks, and I started on a new knitting project! I ordered the yarn online, and it’d finally arrived. What am I knitting? Try and guess! Oh, I re-discovered TED Talks, and they are great to listen to as I knit! Too bad I didn’t discover that combination earlier. But now my staycation is ending, and it’s time for me to return to the real world. :( Farewell, staycation . . . until next time!

Photo Potpourri: Spring Staycation So Far

Photo Potpourri

Here’s another photo dump post, and it’s all about my spring staycation so far. :D I admit, I’m a huge fan of staycations since these give me the opportunity to explore Seoul. Population-wise, Seoul ranks in the top 10 of the largest cities in the world, but it’s not in the top 10 based on urban land area size, but it’s still a huge city to explore. Part of it is because Seoul uses practically every nooks and crannies the city offers to stash away stores, restaurants, bars, cafes, and whatnot. I swear, even in my own neighbourhood, new businesses pop up in the most obscure alleyways, and I’m flabbergasted when I discover them. Bottom line, one can explore Seoul hundreds of times, and there’d always be something new to uncover. And that, my friends, is why I’m content with Seoul, and I don’t feel compelled to travel outside of it, unless it’s someplace in Japan, haha! Japan aside, enjoy my staycation photos!

Waiting at Severance Hospital

My vacation started on Thursday, April 16, with me taking care of some medical businesses at Yonsei Severance Hospital. The waiting (and the paying) is the hardest part of all this, so I made sure to bring stuff to keep my occupied. Along with my Kindle Paperwhite, I also brought my letterbook I’m working on. Paired that up with a “Lovely Strawberry Yoghurt Smoothie” from Uptown Cafe (that’s really what they called that smoothie!), I was able to ignore the hospital environment until the noise level in the foodcourt got to me.

Gwangjang Market

Friday, my boss and I went exploring downtown Seoul. Originally, I was going to go to Paju Premium Outlets, but my research led me to see that the outlets would have been super expensive, so I decided to visit Gwangjang Market (광장시장) instead. We had a blast. This is a very traditional market with a huge emphasis on food. Apparently the second floor of the market is known for their linens, sheets, and blankets, but we didn’t bother checking that out. The food vendors alone fascinated us. Bindaetteok (mung bean pancakes) and mayak gimbap were the market’s specialty. We walked through the market, and I discovered that Bangsan Market (aka Bakers Alley) was right across the street from it, so we also decided to make a return trip there :) Afterward, we backtracked back to Gwangjang Market and took a cab to . . .

Namdaemun Market

Namdaemun Market (남대문시장). Now, this is a place I’ve been to many times, but my boss hadn’t really gotten the chance to really explore it. We came here and got more food, and my boss bought a bunch of earrings and cheap grocery food. She was amazed that this one store was selling three pineapples for 5,000 KRW ($4.50 USD). After, we took a cab back to base to go have a spa day, upon my suggestion :D

Spa Day Manicure

We went to Dragon Hill Lodge salon, Clippers, and I decided to try their “special manicure”, which is their regular manicure plus special cleansing treatment and a paraffin wax treatment. That was my first time trying the paraffin treatment. My verdict? HOT, HOT, HOT!!! I’ve got crap heat tolerance, so my hands didn’t enjoy being dipped into the paraffin four times! Otherwise, it was a good spa day, and I like the pink OPI polish I chose! :D

Hyehwa Area

Saturday found me at Hyehwa Station area, also known as Daehakro. I met up with Piokun and his friend. I caught up with him since he and I hadn’t met since November.

Tonkatsu Set at Mad for Sushi Yaki Banzai

We decided to get lunch at Mad for Sushi Yaki Banzai, and I ordered the tonkatsu set. It was okay — not the best meal, but it filled me up.

Chansbros Coffee Shop

Afterwards, I walked 2 kilometres to Jongno 4-ga bus stop, and made it back to my neighbourhood to meet Chibi Toaster at Chansbros Coffee Shop. I people watched and killed time there. When Chibi Toaster came, we hung around my neighbourhood. She bought lunch at Tonic Curry, and later we went to Berkeley Coffee Social, a new coffee place I discovered recently, and their coffee is just amazing. Then she got a haircut, and we finally ended back at Chansbros to have one more cuppa before she left.

Fennel Hot Dog from Hassdog

On Sunday, I met my friend D. and his friend. We went to Fat Cat for brunch, and I had a hummus avocado sandwich with a choco banana smoothie. I wasn’t able to get a good shot of my meal, but it was delicious. Then I stopped by Hassdog to get some gourmet hot dogs for my parents and me, pictured above. I’d been hearing rave reviews about the dogs, so I finally decided to get some. It’s pricey, but it’s worth it! Even my picky parents liked it!

And that’s my staycation so far. It’s been lovely. I’ve got one more week to unwind and have fun. I look forward to the remainder of it! ^^

Photo Potpourri: Between Bronchitis

Photo Potpourri

If you’re on Blog Matter or Flickr, you will have seen these photos, but I feel like I can expand on them here through my new column known as Photo Potpourri, otherwise known as my photo dump posts. These photos were taken between my two bouts of bronchitis. I had it a couple of weeks ago, and got somewhat better, but this week’s field trip to an outdoor park brought it back for me when it started to rain and get chilly :( So I’m stuck home coughing up both of my lungs up instead of out doing fun stuff . . . hence this photo dump post. I hope everyone else is well and not sick like me. I definitely hope that the rest I get this weekend will heal me. That way I can enjoy my upcoming “spring break” from April 16 to 26! Can’t wait for that. Anyway, back to the photos . . .

Microsoft Windows for Workgroups Installation Floppy Disk

My dad randomly brought this home saying, “Look what I found.” I had a kick seeing this, especially when he told me that this was disk 6 out of 13. I used one of these bad boys briefly in high school to save homework assignments and fanfics, but I don’t miss them at all. Not when thumbdrives, external hard drives, and CDs/DVDs are much better options! Still, I’m glad Dad brought this home. I can save this and show it to the kids I work with! Nothing like saying, “These things only held 1.44mb of information . . . ”

Home-made Curry

Mum made this delicious home-made curry :D This is what I call the “Korean style curry” of which may or may not be Japanese curry. Korean or Japanese or not, this curry was super fantastic. The curry seasoning was perfect, the addition of corn and broccoli was super, and it was just so good that there were no leftovers for me to eat the next day :(

Home-made Kimchi

A few days later, Mum made some fresh kimchi using napa cabbage and 양배추 (yangbaechu), another form of cabbage. I’m a big fan of fresh napa cabbage kimchi, so I chowed those down for dinner that night. So. Freaking. Good. I’m really lucky to have my mum! Her cooking skills are terrific! :D

Cherry Blossom

Amidst all this, it’s cherry blossom blooming time! I’ve been enjoying this annual event, and it’s been a joy walking around all these cherry blossoms. It really saddens me that they don’t bloom so long, but I guess that shortness is why I appreciate them even more! This shot was taken on the day I went to Yongsan Electronics Market with my co-worker/friend, DB (see below). I was in a hurry, so I didn’t get a great shot . . .

Cherry Blossom Lane

. . . So that’s why I took this photo. I love how this shot came out! One of my best shots, I think :D This was taken on a day when I got off work early. I had the extra time to go browse the PX, so on my way there, I stopped to take a photo of the “Cherry Blossom Lane”. Every year, I try to come through here at least once. This street is lined with cherry blossom trees for about two of three blocks. This street is quiet and not crowded, so this place is ideal for cherry blossom viewing. I’ll choose this place over Yeouido!

Pucca Isolation Keyboard

Now to talk about my trip to Yongsan Electronics Market with DB. DB wanted to get a gaming computer, so I accompanied him to the building I frequent, and we looked around for his options. He ended up getting a used gaming computer and a 22 inch monitor for $300, which isn’t bad at all. While looking around, I saw this PK300 Pucca Isolation Keyboard for 9,000 KRW or $8.00 USD. I admit, I’m not a fan of Pucca, but I ended up getting this for three reasons:

1. It’s a wired keyboard. I used to use wireless ones, but I went back to a wired one to save on battery and to not deal with connection problem.
2. It comes with a plastic covering that will help prevent keys from fading and to keep the dust off of the keys.
3. It has a clean “Apple” look to it with flatter keys. I’m anti-Apple, but I do like their keyboard design, haha!

All in all, it’s a good keyboard, but because it’s smaller, the keys are placed differently, so I’m having to get used to that.

Hirekatsu at Mika Japanese Grill

To conclude this photo dump, here’s a delicious photo of a hirekatsu set I had at Mika Japanese Grill in my neighbourhood. I am pleased that I finally have a place to get Japanese-style tonkatsu and other dishes in my area. Until this place opened, my area was severely lacking in a tonkatsu place. So yay for me!

P.S. Don’t forget about the domain giveaway!

Slow Cooker Pot Roast

Slow Cooker Pot Roast

I’ve tried yet another thing in my slow cooker! This time I attempted the pot roast. This dish is not something my mum ever made for us, so it’s not a dish common in our household. I tried it once or twice at a restaurant, and I did attempt it a few years ago on the stovetop, but those experience didn’t leave me all hyped about the pot roast. Yet this one turned out so good. The meat was so moist and tender, and the vegetables tasted good together. My parents agreed, so this will be another slow cooker staple for me! See below on how I made it. You don’t have to stick to the seasonings I did. You can replace garlic powder and oregano with something else. I just used those because those were what I had in my cabinet.

Slow Cooker Pot Roast
1-2 pound beef chuck roast
2-4 potatoes sliced in chunks
1/2 bag of baby carrots
2 small onions sliced in chunks
garlic powder
salt and pepper
ground oregano

1. Put the onions on the bottom of the pot.
2. Season the beef with garlic powder and set it on top of the onions.
3. Place the potatoes around the beef.
4. Sprinkle some pepper and then put the carrots on top of the beef.
5. Sprinkle more pepper and some salt and oregano.
6. Cook on LOW for 8-10 hours or HIGH for 5-6 hours.

Slow Cooker Spiced Apple Dump Cake

Slow Cooker Spiced Apple Dump Cake

I never liked raw apples. As a child I never liked it. The after-taste, the tartness — I just never cared much for it. The only time I liked apple was when it was in a pie. Then several years ago, I tried raw apple with peanut butter, and that was a winning combination because the peanut butter toned down the apple’s tartness and its after-taste. Unfortunately, though, that discovery led me to uncover my raw tree fruit and nut oral allergy. With the exception of raw citric fruit, practically any raw tree fruits and nuts makes my inner ear itch like crazy. So basically I can consume them, but then I develop an itch I cannot scratch, which usually last around fifteen minutes. Oddly enough, cooked tree fruits and nuts do not cause the annoying itchiness. Ergo, I decided to try and hunt down an apple-based recipe for my slow cooker.

Several websites introduced me to the concept of “dump cakes”, which basically means you dump the ingredients into one thing and then cook or bake it. I saw recipes using apples, so I decided to give it a try. The dump cake turned out GOOD. It was gooey, warm, and delicious. I omitted the extra sugar most recipes called for, and the combined sweetness from the apples and the cake mix turned out well. Even my mum, who’s not fond of sweet food, liked the dump cake. Next time I make this, I’ll pair the dump cake with some ice cream or whipped cream. This experience proved to me that you can make “cake” in a slow cooker, and I also learned that there are far too many apples. Gala, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Jonathan, Fuji . . . who’d have thought? I just thought apples were apples all this time, haha!

Anyway, this is one slow cooker recipe I’m glad to have discovered, and it’ll be something I’ll make again. My slow cooker is proving to be a good little appliance, and it’s been a good investment so far!

Slow Cooker Spiced Apple Dump Cake
Slow cooker liner or non-stick spray
4-6 apples cut into chunks (I used two Gala and two Golden Delicious apples)
16.5 oz box of spice cake mix
1 stick (1/2 cup) of unsalted butter

1. Line or spray the slow cooker.
2. Put the apple chunks at the bottom of the pot.
3. Pour and spread the cake mix evenly on top of the apples.
4. Slice the butter and put it on top of the cake mix.
5. Cook on HIGH for 4 hours.
6. Serve warm with optional ice cream and/or whipped cream!