Thursday, March 1, 2012

Weekend Snapshots

During the semester, I spend most of my days on campus or cooped up in my room, so it was nice to get out of town this weekend.  For some reason, flights from New York-Chicago were half the price of DC-Chicago, so I made plans to meet up with friends in NY and fly out with them.  To save even more money, I megabus'd it to the big Apple.  Round-trip ticket- $23, not bad for a weekend.. although my friend has scored DC-NY tickets for $3.50, less than a drink at Starbucks(!)

As soon as my friend picked me up at midnight in Manhattan, she asked, "Wanna go try chicken and rice?"  Heck yeah! 

Infamous halal chicken and rice | 53rd & 6th, Manhattan
Flight to Chicago was delayed because of weather, so we flew out the next morning. I snapped this photo of myself when we landed in Chicago to Whatsapp message to hubby.  He freaked out the night before because I didn't let him know I arrived in NY safely, so here I am, trying to look fresh and bright-eyed after a 6:00 am flight.


I think LA and Chicago are my absolute favorite places to eat, ever!  (Sorry New Yorkers.) After we landed, we headed up to Toast in Lincoln Park for brunch.

Vintage-looking toasters
This was the most amazing French toast I've ever had in my life.  Wow.
Fresh fluffy bread with fruits, granola, and yummy sauces

I love the cute Korean cafes too.  We have a few in Virginia, but it's a pain to drive 45~ minutes to satisfy a potpingsoo craving.  Plus, the cafes I've been to in VA are not as cozy.  :/
Love this- "korean teas to remind you of halmoni" :)
Will try to post more pics later..

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Korean dinner and German dessert

My sisters are in town for the weekend, so I stocked up the kitchen to cook some yummy food for them.  A lot of our favorite dishes are Korean, so I made the ultimate Korean comfort food tonight- kimchi jjigae.

There are a lot of Korean recipes available in English online now, including the popular Maangchi.  This dish is similar to Maangchi's recipe, except I add a little more hot chili pepper paste, a pinch of salt, and throw in some glass noodles (당면) towards the end.   
Usually Koreans serve fruit after a hot spicy meal, but I wanted my sister to try homemade Maulwurftorte ("mole cake"), a German chocolate cake filled with bananas and cream.  Easy to make but so delicious!  Next time I'll substitute the bananas with strawberries or raspberries.

Maulwurftorte | Guten Appetit!

Tomorrow we'll probably head over to my favorite Korean BBQ place, Honey Pig in Virginia.  Love this place. :)  Have a wonderful President's Day weekend!

Friday, February 17, 2012

this week

Happy Friday!
This week I resolved to be super-productive, creating to-do lists and prioritizing my scheduled activities.  I really need to learn some major time management skills. I read in an article this week that people who are harder on themselves for setbacks and minor failures tend to do worse than they otherwise would have.  For example, those who condemn themselves for credit card debt may end up accumulating more credit card debt, or those who are kicking themselves for breaking a diet end up binging more.
I think this can apply to my productivity.  When I don't get a lot accomplished for my studies and fall back on work, I end up being more lazy and procrastinating even more.  I think it's to avoid the feeling of failure (and anger at myself) at the overwhelming work ahead of me. 

Anyways, some random pics from this week:
Traded in my gray Hunters for black, loving the shorter Huntress version.  My previous boots were so high that they dug into the back of my knees.  I didn't want to buy the kids' versions, which some other petites recommend to do, since I wasn't a fan of the shiny safety patches on the back.  I also sized down this time, these boots run so big!
Bought a leather crossbody bag; a must for hands-free grocery shopping and running errands in Germany, where I walk everywhere.
Huntress Boots | Fossil Leather Crossbody

Accessories for the week
Nails are Rival de Loop, a drug store brand in Germany.  Comes in so many pretty colors and only 1.99 euro!  I like it better than my OPI for Sephora and Essie brands; it layers much smoother, in my opinion.  
Red nails for Valentine's Day
This week I had my first Valentine's Day as a wife, but sadly, my husband and I had to wish each other a happy Valentine's Day over skype.  :(

Valentine's Day isn't as a big a holiday in Germany, and a few weeks ago my hubby was venting how he thinks Valentine's Day is a commercial holiday exploiting couples and making single people feel depressed.  I was a bit bummed when he was saying this, since I still like Valentine's Day, so I pointed out the story of the Catholic martyr Saint Valentine that is believed to be associated with this day.

Me: But don't you want to have one day in the year where we can celebrate our love for each other and go out and do something romantic and sweet?
Hubby: If you want to settle for that...

oh... good answer :)

On Tuesday, I woke up that morning feeling sadder than I thought I would be and missing hubby so much, but this package cheered me up.  
Flowers and chocolates
Can't believe we've already been married for almost 10 months.  The time really flies.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Heart Handbag Holder

Love my new handbag holder.  :)  Twist the heart, and it turns into a hook to hang purses on.  It's pretty strong and good quality, and it can hold some of my huge heavy bags!  No more putting my bags on the ground. :)  I'm thinking I can use it as a hook on bathroom doors that don't have hooks already on them too.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Winter in Europe Part 2

Here are a few more photos from the winter holiday.  :)
Also, thanks for your encouraging words in my previous post.  Our friends often ask us how we can survive being apart.  It's really hard. :( This week I was trying to find any possible way to maximize my frequent flyer points and be able to see my husband next month, but it looks like it might not work out.  :(   
Trying to just be thankful no matter what.  Anyways, onto the pics..

Champ Elysees was so pretty after Christmas.  The line for some of the stores was soo long though.  We wanted to stop in Louis Vuitton but didn't feel like waiting in the cold.  Btw, the picture in the bottom left is the line to.. Abercrombie & Fitch(?!)   The line was even longer than the LV line!  My friends told me that it's popular, even among young adults.  I was surprised, since I always associate the store with teenagers and high school students.
Champ Elysees
We didn't stay in Paris for long, but the food was good.  I was looking forward to eating hot crepes, both sweet and savory, off the street. :)  We didn't see the bakeries full of colorful macarons that I'm used to seeing on Pinterest and other blogs, but we had some yummy food nonetheless.
Clockwise from left: Hippopotamus Restaurant, "Floating Cloud" dessert, raw beef dish, creme brulee
I didn't try it, but there was a plate of raw ground beef that you could order.
Our friend said it was delicious, but I wasn't brave enough.

Interesting flavored Lays potato chips (we saw hamburger, bolognese and chicken soup)
and cute mugs, salt shakers, and egg holders


Flowers from hubby to brighten up our hotel

My little sister got this for hubby for Christmas :)
It's a German duck, complete with lederhosen and beer.  Hubby said
he looks Bavarian
 I was surprised at how expensive certain items were.  Kitchenaid mixers were 609 Euro (~$809 USD!) UGGs were expensive too.  Although they're still popular, short UGGs were like 200 Euro (~$265) and tall UGGS were 300 Euro (~$398 USD!)  On the plus side, grocery items tend to be cheaper in Germany, as long as they're basic items (bread, milk, eggs, meat), but gourmet or international items are much more expensive.  I liked how sales tax is built into the price (hubby and sister-in-law didn't like how the prices were different than the price tag in America), but I still prefer American prices for most things.

Date night with hubby.  Since we won't be able to celebrate our first Valentine's Day as a married couple (*tear), we celebrated it a month early in Cologne.  Hubby said Valentine's Day isn't as big in Germany, but it was still a romantic time. :)

I love him <3

Cool toilet paper dispensers at the Cologne train station gift shop

LOVE the IKEA in Germany.  The food is so yummy! :)
Had lunch and coffee and goofed around in the cafe :)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Winter in Europe

As soon as I finished my semester, I flew back to Cologne to be with my husband this winter.  It was our first Christmas and New Year's as newlyweds, and we drove to Paris (~4.5 hours) after Christmas and flew to Berlin after New Year's for some short getaways.
The holidays in Europe is lovely.  My husband thinks that Christmas and New Year's are not as big a deal as in America, and that might be true, but I was gushing over the sparkling lights and decorations in downtown Cologne.  And Paris was another whole story.. so exquisite.  :)

I flew back to DC at the end of January, and once again, saying goodbye at the airport was heartbreaking.  I cried throughout the plane ride home; when I woke up from a long sleep and realized I wasn't with E, I started quietly sobbing again.  The next time we're planning to see each other is in May (~94 days from today..)  I have to say, being in a long-distance marriage is so hard.  I always feel sorry for us, that we're missing out on our first Valentine's Day, birthday, and wedding anniversary as a married couple.  We're both praying to be strong during this time, to cherish the time we have apart and to do what we can to maintain closeness and communication even while separated.

Anyways, here are some random photos from my iPhone:

Christmasmarkt near the Cologne Dom.  The lights were so lovely.
Reminded me of the movie Tangled :)
These are unedited photos straight from my iPhone.
The Eiffel Tower really is this stunning and beautiful.

CLASSY McDonald's in Paris
Avenue des Champs Élysées
Our apartment-style hotel in Berlin.
Small, modern, reasonably priced

Weather was gloomy, so we hit up the Berlin Aquarium

Mongolian BBQ, with all kinds of meat for grilling,
including kangaroo and shark
Christmas gift from my sister
Personalized heart mugs (notice my name is written in pink:)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Nail Care

A few weeks ago, I discovered Chloe's Nails and educated myself on some nail care tips.  I always thought I was taking care of them properly but noticed they would break or split easily before they would have a chance to grow out.  This made for some potentially sad/asymmetrical French manicures unless I got the broken tips replaced.  Later I learned some news that's apparently obvious to anyone who's done a manicure- I was filing them improperly.  Instead of filing cleanly all in one direction, I was sawing them back and forth with an emery board and weakening my nails.
Chloe's Nails also recommended using glass files, so I ordered a few on Amazon.  I bought four pretty glass files for less than $5; they're sturdy and hard to break, and all you have to do is run them under water after using them and they're good as new.  They won't file down or get dull the way emery boards do, and they seem to do a cleaner and smoother job.

Here are some new colors I got this month!  [Please forgive the unsightly smudges on the sides.]

Love this Tiffany blue
China Glaze | For Audrey

The perfect grey/brown
Sally Hansen | Fearless Fog

Sally Hansen | Lacey Lilac