Browsing Category South Korea

Pangyo Cafe Street

As you may have sort of guessed, I’ve hit my wall in Korea. I’m ready to go.

Not to say that I’m not currently enjoying myself, or that I don’t like Korea, because that’s not true, but it’s just definitely time to move on. I’m a true Sagittarius, I gotta roam! I’m at that point of my time in Korea where I’ve been here long enough that I’ve seen everything I want to see, I have my routine, my favorite restaurants to go to, my favorite bars. I’m a creature of habit, and when I find something I like, I tend to stick to it.

But now that it’s getting colder and the time keeps ticking, I find myself sort of freaking out that I’m leaving in 4 months. FOUR. EEK. I’ve been trying to get out more often, explore new areas and take more photos of my time here. I went on the DMZ Tour (so awesome, and a post is definitely coming soon), visited the Suwon Fortress, tried a few new restaurants in Seoul, and discovered my new go-to cafe area.

I heard about Pangyo cafe street from a few Tumblr bloggers and people on the Bundang group on Facebook, but no one could tell me how to get there. After months of putting it off, I just said fuck it, and decided to try and find it myself. So glad I did! If you’re in the Bundang area, the easiest way I can tell you to get there is to take the subway to Seohyeon station, and search for Craftworks Pangyo in your GPS. Just follow the walking directions! I think it took maybe 10 minutes, at the most 15. The walk was so pretty!

paintsplatterOn my way out of the door, I decided to snap this picture. This is the wall of a kindergarten right outside of my apartment. I’m assuming they let the little kids go wild with the paint. It’s so pretty, and definitely adds a nice touch of color to my otherwise drab neighborhood.

seohyeonview koreaapartments

I snapped these pictures on the walk to Pangyo cafe street. Early October is easily my favorite time of year in Korea. The weather is beautiful, and everything is still lush and green. I miss it already!

I found that Pangyo cafe street was not nearly as crowded as Jukjeon cafe street. Pangyo was quiet, peaceful, and much, much larger than Jukjeon. It seems like a lot of the spaces were unoccupied, so I’m sure that Pangyo will probably have a huge boom over the next few months. Pangyo cafe street covers everything that I love about the cafe scene in Korea: lots of tiny, independent cafes with their own spin on things. Adorable cafes will probably be the #2 thing I’ll miss about living in Korea (#1 is obviously Korean cosmetics…I’m already crying about how much I’ll have to ship home).

theoldstand stoveoncafe sohodesignandcoffee retronapie reflection pastelnpastel emptycafestreet coffeeandwaffle brunchboutique oryournewyears bikes

Even though I gotta save a majority of my money for my trip home (HELLO SEPHORA AND TARGET I’M DREAMING OF YOU!!!), I’m still carving out some days to enjoy myself. I’m having dinner with one of my close friends tomorrow, and on Saturday night I’m going to a meet-up party. What are you up to this weekend?


The Fear of Success

fearOne of my biggest dreams is to be the Black version of Emily from Cupcakes and Cashmere.

I want to be an insanely successful blogger. I want to write about fashion, beauty, styling, decor. I want to make YouTube videos, tutorials, haul posts. I want to eventually start my own magazine. I’ve noticed a definite lack of popular Black bloggers (and by popular I mean book deal popular), and I want to be the one to break the mold.

Do I think that I can do it? Of course I do. I know that I’m a talented writer, and that my voice has inspired and helped lots of people. I know that I’m good at photography. I know that my content is engaging and well thought out. I know that if I put all of my potential into my blog that I would no doubt be highly successful. I know what I need to do to make my blog successful. I should have a regular posting schedule, I should be more active on social media, I should engage my readers.

So why aren’t I doing it? Is it because I’m busy with work? Nope. I’m not. I have minimal lesson planning that I can get done on Monday afternoon after my classes. Everyday I am finished with class around 1pm. I get off work at 4:30, and come home, make dinner, watch YouTube beauty videos, toy around on the internet, do some HTML work, and I’m probably in bed by midnight. I seriously have 11 HOURS per week day (and more on the weekends) to do blog work. And it’s not that I don’t like doing it. Writing is therapeutic to me. I love sharing my beauty finds and writing about life in Korea. I love responding to comments and answering e-mails.

Every once in awhile, I get hit with a huge burst of inspiration and I go all out. The energy keeps me awake at night sometimes. I have notebooks filled with ideas. I actually found a notebook of mine with the exact same blog re-design details I want…FROM A YEAR AGO. I make business plans, crafting out budgets and detailed bullet points. I create editorial calendars with months worth of posts. I research and plan and research some more. And then, after a few weeks of the buzz, I just stop. Self-sabotage at its finest.

I wrote a post a few months ago about being a perfectionist. And that’s true too. I think that my perfectionism and my fear of success go hand in hand. It’s all weirdly connected.

Why in the world do I keep doing this? Why can’t I get it together? I’m so tired of making excuses for not having a consistent posting schedule, especially when I have more than enough ideas to blog about. After a few days of soul searching, I think I’ve realized that I’m actually afraid of becoming mega successful. Some signs? I rarely tell people of my accomplishments, for fear that they may feel weird about it. To be honest, I’ve told no one about the magazine article except all of you that read my blog (and my tumblr), and my boyfriend. But even when I told him, it was more of a “oh, yeah…I’m in a magazine.” I don’t even tell people that I have a blog! I don’t talk about it with anyone or do cross promotion for it on my personal social media accounts. I weirdly don’t want anyone to know. I avoid e-mails for potential business opportunities until it’s basically too late. I make up excuses for missing meet-ups to meet new people. I constantly avoid and procrastinate on projects or ideas I know could take me to the next level. I constantly self-sabotage myself by not getting any work done. And on and on.

We’ve always been taught that a fear of failure is one of the major reasons people cannot reach their full potential. But I’ve failed numerous times. I’m not afraid of that. I’m actually, really, terribly afraid of becoming super successful. In the grand scheme of things, I’m already successful. Three years ago I would’ve never imagined that my little blog would be getting attention. But I’m afraid of the next level. I’m afraid of what will happen if I were realize my full potential.

I’m afraid that reaching my potential will change me. I’m afraid that success will affect my relationships for the worst. I’m afraid of being thrust into the limelight. I’m afraid of being called fake, or accused of selling out. I’ve seen the comments on popular blogs, and there are so many people who are just downright evil. Emily from Cupcakes and Cashmere for example, has a scathing article written about her on Huffington Post, and I’m sure there are many, many more. Terrifying. I read that article while doing research for this post and was paralyzed on the spot. I’m afraid of dealing with that. I’m afraid of the criticism. I’m afraid of being targeted. But I don’t want to be stuck doing jobs I don’t like for forever. Sigh.

My brain is just…a hot mess. I’m thankful for emotions, because it let’s me know that I’m not falling into a pit of depression, but geez. I gotta get it together! One day at a time.

Forward. Forward. Forward.


Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger

Hey everyone!

I’m back from Tokyo and I had an amazing time. I can’t wait to share everything with you. I spent way too much money, but let me tell you, Hello Kitty and cute socks are totally worth it.

Sooo, I have a bunch of exciting news that I have to tell you. Good times ahead for the blog and for me!

sheryllhellokittyPreview of me trying not to lose my mind at Kiddyland in Tokyo

  • I’m currently featured in Flare Magazine’s October issue. If you’re in Canada, please pick up a copy! It’s the article about Korean skincare. I’m also in a feature for the K Herald, a Korean-American newspaper distributed in the Atlanta area. I’m so excited and so pumped to be featured in these two publications. Korean skincare is changing lives out here!
  • I’m working on a ton of new cosmetic reviews. Things have been really slow on that front because this summer completely and utterly wrecked havoc on my skin. It was a hot, hot, hot, hot, hot, mess. I had terrible acne, a random patch of clogged pores on my chin, heat bumps on my forehead. It was terrible. I bought a lot of new things to try but didn’t want to switch up my routine too much for fear of making my skin worse. Now that summer is basically over (and thanks to my best friend, the Clarisonic Mia 2), my skin is back to normal. I’ve finally started testing things out again, and I am working on a big review of the Clarisonic (preview: everyone NEEDS one).
  • I’ve had my blog for almost three years (eeeek!) and I’ve had the same blog design for the entire time. Redesigning my blog is something I’ve been wanting to do for ages. I feel like I’ve outgrown this design, and in some ways, it reminds me of the past (and not in a good way). I want something new, something that represents me and the growth that I have experienced in the past three years. I’ve been using Pinterest to create mood boards, and the recurring theme that seems to be coming up is lots of pink, white, black, and gold, minimal, clean lines, with a touch of glamour. I’m a bit obsessed with graphic design and typography, but I’ve never actually tried to do either of them myself. So, I’m teaching myself! I’m working on a blog re-design that will hopefully launch by the end of the year. I’m working from the ground up, and teaching myself in the process, so it may take longer than that, but I’d like to see it up by the 3rd year anniversary. It’s definitely been a challenge, and sometimes I want to throw my computer out of the window, but the satisfaction I’m getting from learning how to do something new is really rewarding. If anything, attempting to re-design my blog is making me much more productive and really excited to start posting regularly again.
  • I started a ketogenic diet (high fat, low carb), and I’ve lost about 6 pounds. I’ve been struggling with my weight for about 4 years now, and nothing has really worked, except the keto diet. I’m so excited to finally, once and for all, get the extra weight off. Shopping for clothes used to be an enjoyable experience, and I can’t wait for it to be that way again. For more info on the keto diet, check this out.
  • I’m setting up an editorial calendar that will have me posting 3 times a week. Right now I’m aiming for one cosmetics review/tutorial, one random (life, Korea, new cafes, etc) post, and a link love type thing on Friday. Hooray for a schedule!
  • And speaking of learning new things, I’m teaching myself how to use Photoshop. I usually edit my pictures with the Mac app CameraBag2, but I’m trying to challenge myself and learn how to use Photoshop. My post on Singapore was supposed to be up this week, but it’s taking me longer than normal to edit the photos. Here is an example of something I’m working on:

singapore collage 2

The weather is finally changing in Korea, and the leaves are just starting to turn colors. Fall is by far my favorite season in Korea. There are about 3 to *maybe* 4 more weeks of decent weather before winter starts. Sigh. I’m trying to take advantage of all the daylight and sunlight while I can. This weekend will be spent in a nice, outdoor cafe with iced coffees and Photoshop. I’m hoping to finally make it to see the Banpo bridge in Seoul at some point, and I definitely want to go shopping for some fall clothes.

Hope things are going well with all of you! Let me know if there is anything in particular you’d like to see coming up on the blog.


Labels, Perfectionism, and OMG it’s almost time for vacation (but my skin hates me)!!!!!!

So after weeks of trying to figure out why I just couldn’t muster up the motivation to blog consistently, I think I have it figured out.

For so long, I considered myself a travel blogger. I was desperate to fit the mold of a travel blogger…constantly traveling, taking instagram pictures of my food, seeking out press trips. But since my move to Korea, I definitely haven’t traveled (except small trips), nor was it my priority to do so when I moved here. I knew that when I moved to Korea, I would take random trips here and there, but Johnny and I were saving the heavy duty stuff for after our jaunt in Korea. That’s still the case. And I still love sharing all of my travels with you. But I feel like my blog has expanded since I first started writing. It’s become much more than a travel blog.

I struggled for weeks thinking of what I should “label” my blog. A lifestyle blog? A beauty blog? A “regular” blog (I don’t even know what that means, but work with me here)? With the recent and AWESOME boom blogging about cosmetics has brought me, I seriously thought about switching to writing about beauty all of the time, as it is one of my passions. But then I realized that I’d miss sharing all of the other things about my life.

I’ve realized that I don’t need to label my blog. My blog doesn’t have to fit into a category. It doesn’t have to fit a perfect, cookie cutter mold. I can write about whatever the hell I want to write about. I can write reviews. I can talk about makeup. I can post pictures of my vacations. I can write stories about the ridiculous things my students do. I can post a picture of a delicious scoop of Baskin Robbins ice cream. And it that’s all okay! I think I just get caught up sometimes in trying to be a perfect blogger; that I have to write amazing, thought provoking posts 3 times a week. Some of my favorite blogs rarely have anything earth shattering or mind-blowing to talk about, so why do I feel like I should have to have something important to write about? I don’t have to be scaling mountains or eating out everyday or shopping all the time or doing every exciting thing ever.  Seriously, some of my favorite types of posts are the one where someone just posts a picture of their tea, computer and some books and is like “look at my life!” Sigh. Perfectionism is really crippling. But writing all of this out, as well as in my journal has helped me get it together. I’m working on actually setting up a blogging schedule, and sharing much more with you, like I used to do!

In other exciting news, the home stretch to vacation is here. It’s so close I can feel it. This week, I started teaching summer camp. I have a unique schedule, in that I teach a split 3rd grade class for 2 days, a split 4th grade class for 2 days and 5/6th grade for 1 day. For two weeks. The theme for this camp is Harry Potter, and the kids are ALL about it. One of the activities is making a magic wand and I was reminded that giving glitter to a group of 3rd graders was probably not the smartest idea. I am definitely not used to teaching younger kids. Going from middle school to 6th grade wasn’t that big of a leap, but 3rd grade is definitely out of my realm of expertise. I’m going to be cleaning glitter out of my hair for 2 weeks. I do admit that they are super adorable…makes it hard to get mad at them!

My skin has been driving me infuckingsane lately. Summer has been killer. Last summer, it hardly rained, but it was a million degrees. This summer has definitely been way more rainy. Even though rain typically means cooler weather, the humidity levels have been through the roof. Humidity, coupled with a school that is stingy with the electricity (the air conditioner is turned on for 3 hours a day………………..), means that my skin has started rebelling against me. I’ve got clogged pores out the wazoo, especially on my chin. CRY. After reading a bunch of reviews, I went out and bought the Hado Labo Tamagohada AHA+BHA cleanser. The AHA and BHA are supposed to be fantastic for clearing out the pores for fantastic, clear skin. It’s been a few days and the bumps aren’t as…bumpy, but I want results NOW! Sagittarius girls are definitely impatient. If any of you have any recommendations, please, please share them in the comments. I’m trying to look fantastic in my vacation photos!

…. On a completely random note, I’ve also been writing this post in my local Starbucks and this girl has been slowly applying her makeup for the last 45 minutes. I am mesmerized.


Curly Hair Care in South Korea

It’s no secret that I have curly hair. For those into hair typing, I have a mix of 3b/3c hair. It’s quite fine, and is easily weighed down my too many/too heavy products. Other than cosmetics, my other main concern with moving to Korea was how I was going to get my hair products. Thankfully, exists for my specific hair products (which I’ll talk about in a second), but I have also made some amazing Korean hair care discoveries that have reduced my need to order from iherb constantly.

Photo on 3-1-13 at 5.19 PM

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