Only the Best Galbi for This Girl

I didn’t want to bore you all with more Wedding Wednesday amazingness, and I did promise to share a few of the things I’ve been eating while here in Seoul.

I have been reading a few people’s WIAWs over the last few months. So, I decided that today would be the day I share a pretty awesome meal Jason and I indulge in often (like twice a week sometimes).

This was today’s dinner:

Any questions?

So this is spicy marinated chicken (boneless) mixed with cabbage, leek, tteok (little rice cakes), and ramen noodles.

THEN, we order bap (rice) and cheese. The waiters do all cooking and mixing. All we have to do is watch the show and then eat the amazingness.


Gone and Done It

I realize that for now, this blog is a bit scattered. But, so am I. You see, I have all these ideas and CRAZY notions…

I would love this to be an awesome food blog like most of the other blogs you see listed in my blogroll… Or a cool crafting blog where I can show off my latest creations (again, you’ll find some of those in my blogroll)… But, like I said, I’m scattered.

I’ve spent the last two years in Korea NOT trying to learn Korean, but producing, editing, and generally influencing curriculum and text to help Koreans (and other non-native English speakers from various countries in which we also distribute) to learn English. It’s the same story for Jason. We feel bad about this.

I’m also scattered because in LESS than five weeks, we’ll be moving back home. For all my friends and family who read this (generally via FB), you can dance and sing now–we were last night. 🙂

In five almost unbearably long short weeks, we’ll be on our way.

For a long time, like more than two years, Jason and I have talked about the kind of lifestyle we want to lead when we’re back home together and have a place of our own. If nothing else, we want to be sustainable.

This means growing our own fruits and veggies, raising a few chickens, possibly a goat and pig (he wants two piggies). It means using our vehicles less and biking more (we have two nice bikes which will be coming home with us). It means solar panels and graywater. It means CSAs (we know of one for veggies and fruit, while a friend of mine has been seeking out meat and dairy) and buying LOCAL.

Albuquerque Downtown Grower's Market

As we’ve been getting closer and closer to making our future plans a reality, I’ve also been researching GREEN alternatives. I’ve found awesome alternatives for hair dye, shampoo, laundry detergentgrocery bags, and chewing gum (more on this in a moment) as well as deodorant.

Jason has been checking out seed catalogs while I’ve been researching ingredients to find healthful AND sustainable alternatives.

Little known fact about me: I used to be addicted to gum. Not in an unhealthy way, but when I was in high school I would go through a huge pack (like the 24-stick pack) in roughly a day and a half. I still love gum, I just don’t chew nearly as much. I do contribute all that gum chewing to my awesome (I brag) cheekbones:

See? Well defined cheek and jaw bones.

So of course I go and investigate the ingredients of my chewing gum… two words: nasty plastic. Apparently one of the main ingredients in gum (nowadays) is polyvinyl acetate which is a kind of plastic. Pretty much every gum on the market today, has some sort of “gum base” which could include a variety of petroleum products. GAG. As I read this, a look of horror crossed my face that has only slightly subsided since last night. I was distraught after reviewing this and finding my beloved gum to be slightly (putting it nicely) carcinogenic.

Holy crap Batman! Jason was on it though and he found a link to Glee Gum (the only gum not using the synthetic rubber). Relief.

What does all this mean? In a nutshell, it means you, the consumer, need to be a little more proactive in your search for information. Not only am I 100% off gum (except Glee when I get home), but it’s got me thinking about other things. Like: how bad are microwaves and do you really need your refrigerator?

**Editor’s note** I did find a gum manufacturer that does NOT include petroleum products in their gum. You can find them here. I actually contacted them and was told as such.

Digital Dress-Up

Welcome again to “Wedding Wednesday,” where I will dazzle you readers with the amazing (albeit creeptastic) digital offerings from David’s Bridal.

One of the main websites I visit for wedding dress ideas has been David’s Bridal. I went there with my friend Kiersten when she was looking for her own wedding dress in 2008ish. So, I have a little bit of an idea of their offerings.

This is not to say that I won’t and am not looking at other shops, it’s just…this particular one is a bit more interactive.

Case-in-point: David’s Bridal has a “Dress Your Wedding” feature. HELLO!? Even if you don’t want to buy their dresses or suits, who can say no to dressing up digital representations of you, your fiancée, and your selected wedding party members? I know I couldn’t.

As such, I present:

Bridal Party

 As my future sister-in-law pointed out, Kaitlyn (flower girl) gets two elbows per arm. Her waist, due to the addition of the sash, is also wonky.

So, the site isn’t perfect, but it certainly helps a bride visualize the color scheme. My color scheme being purple and green. My girls (Katy, Susan, Rachel, and Jordan) will be in violet dresses that they choose. Kaitlyn will be in green. That’s the plan so far.

No Kids Allowed…

Today I was going to talk about one of the caterers Jason and I are considering hiring for the reception. I was going to talk about the food options and tasting I’ve scheduled for the week after we get home. Instead, I’m going to talk about an issue a friend of mine recently experienced, and which I have read about on the forums here.

One of my very good friends is getting married in mid-August. Today she posted an update about her frustration with certain people complaining about their children not being invited to her wedding. Her invitations were addressed to the people she was inviting. Even so, these people still complained when they heard those three words many parents find offensive: No kids allowed.

I can understand a parent’s frustration with not being able to bring their children; after all, babysitters can be expensive for a tight budget, their children are actually very well-behaved (or can be) in the right circumstances, they don’t like to be away from the kids. But, pushing that frustration onto a friend or family member who has invited that person to share in one of the most important moments of their lives is beyond rude.

 When a couple sends an invitation to someone they hope to have join them on their special day, it is not OK to complain about the restrictions that couple has enacted. IT’S THEIR WEDDING.

As it so happens, my friend and her fiancée decided to have a small, intimate ceremony and reception. That means that space is limited and there’s not much room for extra little bodies. Instead of fussing about why their perfect children were not allowed, these people should be congratulating the couple.

For Jason and I, we are having our reception/ceremony at a venue large enough to accommodate a slightly larger guest list. We have quite a few friends with kiddos and have included them in our list.

If you receive an invitation to someone’s wedding and it’s not addressed to each member of your family, they are more than likely not invited. Before going off the handle, stop and think. Practice good etiquette. Contact the bride or groom and ask for clarification. If your little cherubs are in fact not invited, you don’t need to be insolent–take it with a grain of salt. Remember that it’s not about you or even your kids necessarily; it’s about the bride and groom. There are a myriad of reason why they might be saying “no kids allowed.” Most likely it’s budgetary restraints.

On the bride/groom side of things, if you do not intend to invite kids (or certain kids), you should not list them on the formal invitation. You should refrain from adding “and family” at the end of an invite. This even includes Save-The-Dates (as the family will assume that if you sent the announcement to the entire family, the entire family is also invited to the weeding).

For all of you brides(to be) out there, hold firm to your budget and your guest list. Remember that, even though they are your friend or family member, you don’t need to cater to their demands. Smile and try to shrug it off. You’re getting married! Now, smile again.

Walkin’ on Empty

WHAT a day.

I should actually begin with yesterday. At around 4pm Jason skypes me to let me know that the landlord has put our apartment up for rent. OK. Right at the moment, there were people at our front door calling to get the pass code for our Seoul-standard electronic door lock. Not OK. First of all, hello short notice. And as such, there are clothes, dishes, even cash kinda lying around. The place is far from tidy.

Second, I don’t know these people, Jason doesn’t know these people… and we’re suspicious. So, no, we don’t want strangers (even if brought over by a realtor because we don’t know her either) walking about in our house without some sort of warning.

So, HOORAY, were packing up everything by the end of the weekend. Calling the shippers on Monday, and sending all our stuff, except clothes and some other essentials like toiletries, home ASAP.

Back to today…

I was up at 5:30 am to do my long walk. My regular week-day walks take me about 45 minutes. I figured today’s would be about an hour, which was pretty dead on.

I had originally estimated my Monday, Wednesday, Friday walk at 2 miles. When I came home this morning and told Jason that I did 3 miles at an hour, I was happy. He was…concerned.

“That’s a long time for just 3 miles, Babe.”

“Oh…yeah, I guess it is. Let me check it.” So I log into this site (which I LOVE) and find my neighborhood.


So yeah, not three miles, but just under five (I say five because this wasn’t as accurate as I could have made it, with the few additional side streets I needed to navigate before getting onto the bridge).

This also means that my weekday walks are not actually two miles, but three and a half. And my time is not a 20-minute mile, but a 12-ish-minute mile. These new developments make me happy if I can up my speed before my “race” in October. That would give me a better finish time than when I ran it the last time, or the one previous in 2008.

A few hours later we were on the bus, to Gangnam to run some errands and snag a quick brunch before meeting some of Jason’s co-workers across the river. We were going to see Kung Fu Panda 2 in 3D.

The movie was cute. Seeing it with a writer (Jason) and a designer (Karen, one of Jason’s Korean co-workers) was a trip…well afterward it was fun hearing them discuss the creative aspects of the plot and animation.

The theater was inside a mall/train station, so the building was HUGE. After seeing the movie, we had lunch at some fusion place called Pasta Amigo. Randomly, and without reason, I ordered the Salmon Fettuccine. It was really tasty. The Alfredo sauce was a bit sweet because of the onions and fishy (obviously) because of the salmon. The pasta was actually spinach pasta, and therefore it was green… a nice touch.

After leaving Jason’s co-workers to wonder the giant mall, we found a few items at the E-Mart there, and made our way home.

So, what began at 5:30 am with a 5 mile walk, turned into a very long day of more walking with a cute movie and a nice lunch thrown in the middle. It’s also VERY hot these days, and while it’s still not as humid as it could be (think walking though a heated swimming pool while staying mostly dry), it’s pretty miserable none the less when you have to hike back from the subway to the apartment.

Don’t worry. We bought giant bottles of water (will be recycled) and popsicles to help cool us off.


The Countdown Continues

It’s finally “Wedding Wednesday” (which just so happens to be on our 10-months-’til-the-wedding-day date) and I’ve been waiting for four days to showcase my “Wedding Wednesday” sign. I’m an educator, not a designer, so it’s pretty pathetic. If any of you out there are designers and want to rescue my sad attempt at design (I used OpenOffice thank you very much), I would love to see what you’ve got.

Back to our wedding news:

Several months ago I contacted LeeAnn at Casa de Suenos, a B&B in Albuquerque’s Old Town.

She told me all about their venue and super awesome wedding packages. Even though, at the time, it was still well over a year till the wedding, she was more than happy to give us information.

With the wedding now LESS than a year away, I contacted her once more and asked her a rather important question for a bride wanting to have an outdoor wedding: What if it RAINS?

LeeAnn reassured me us they actually have tent rentals on retainer. We have to watch the weather, of course, and make that final call three days in advance. I’m still iffy on that. I can watch The Weather Channel all day, but we all know how UNpredictable the weather really is. Who pays for my tent if I don’t need it? The weather man? I hope I don’t need the tent. I don’t want to pay for it. The grounds at Casa de Suenos are so pretty–I would hate to cover them up.

I made an appointment to visit LeeAnn with Jason the weekend after we get home. Pictures don’t really give us the WHOLE picture, do they?

PS: I really do love Steve Stucker, he’s my favorite weatherman!

Hey Seoul Sister

As I mentioned before, I want to walk the Duke City half marathon in October. I actually started “training” two weeks ago by walking a two-mile loop near my apartment. Last week I didn’t walk. I know, I’m lame. But, moving right along, I did walk this morning (I’m shooting for 3 times a week at 2 miles, and one day where I walk 3 miles) even though it looked pretty close to raining. But, whether it was mist, fog, haze, smog, or just cloudy, it still looked like it was going to rain.

South Korea used to be called “The Land of Morning Calm” due to its high mountains (which is still has) and clean, clear waters (not so much nowadays). This fact is pretty well ironic now, what with being one of the largest cities in the world and all. The hustle and bustle of big city life is far from calm.

That wasn’t the case this morning, however. If you wake up early enough here, it doesn’t seem quite so “large.” Sure, the amount of cars on the road at 5:30 AM probably exceeds the amount of people in my hometown, but it’s a stark contrast to what you would see twelve hours later.

But, I digress. What I really wanted to write about was a few of the things I saw on my 5:30 AM walk.

For starters, cloudy skies. But I continued along my path and once I had crossed the road toward the middle school, it was easier to tell that I wouldn’t get rained on. As I was walking, I was passed by this guy, who was riding a bike, rather than walking, as I had become used to seeing last year. I saw him again for the first time two Mondays ago. It was really inspiring.

As I passed the middle school, I noticed what looked like a broken down bus. As I passed it? Lady Gaga’s. I kid you not.

On the bridge I observed the fallen trees, which were knocked down in last September’s typhoon, which happened the day we were supposed to go to Jeju Island (we still made it there, but on a later flight). The trees were still green and thriving, even though they were pretty much 90% horizontal with the ground. Nature: FIGHTING!

Then, finally, as I was heading back, I caught a glimpse of the orange sun, I blame pollution. But, I guess it’s just random particles in the atmosphere… Let’s go with that.

Anyhow, it was a lovely walk. I feel refreshed and almost ready to be at work today.