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

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Winter Favs

Christmas is my favorite holiday of the year!  :)   I love the sunny, cheerful weather of spring and summer, but there's something so special and cozy about this season.  I know a lot of people associate this season with stress (final exams, grading, Christmas shopping crowds, etc.), but this time of year always brings up warm and happy memories of snow days, hot chocolate and Christmas cookies, family time by the fire, and decorating the Christmas tree.  I heard Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas is You" a few days ago on the radio and couldn't help dancing and singing in the car.  :)

The weather here is still crisp and cool and fall-like, but here are a few of my winter favs:

Winter accessories
Fuzzy Earmuffs (AE) | Burberry Wristlet (came with Burb tote) | Leather/cashmere gloves (from Korea)

Black booties from Luxury Rebel (LOVE the mauve pink soles!)
Cardigan from The Limited | Double Strand Pearls
 I know people lean towards dark nails in the winter, but it's a pastel/gray palette for me!
Ballet Slippers by Essie | Lacey Lilac by Sally Hansen
Fearless Fog by Sally Hansen | A True Romantic by Sephora OPI

Picked up these two lacy tops during the post-Thanksgiving sales.. yes, they're the same top in winter cream and gray :P
Banana Republic

Keeping the footsies warm around the house
Fuzzy bootie slippers from LOFT | Forever 21 socks (95 cents each!)

 I saw these lovely silver candle holders from Bath & Body Works during Black Friday shopping.  They were already on sale, but my cousin suggested to look up additional promo coupons on my iPhone.  I showed the cashier my iPhone and got an additional $10 off (yay), so I picked up a few candles + silver ornate candle holders, one for my apartment in Germany and one for my mother-in-law :)
Lollia hand cream | Candle from Bath and Body Works

The next week will be super busy with research papers for school, but I'll be flying to Cologne next Thursday and
f i n a l l y reunited with hubby after almost 4 months of separation.   There were moments in the semester where it was so hard that I thought I would do ANYTHING to see him. I even looked up plane tickets, crossing my fingers that there would be some fluke cheap air ticket sale but of course, couldn't find any.  :(  But twelve more days until we're together again, I can't wait! :)

It'll also be nice to celebrate Christmas in Cologne, which was #1 on CNN's list of great European Christmasmarkt cities.   I'm looking forward to trying some German Gluhwein (warm spiced mulled wine) and visiting one of the seven Christmasmarkts in the city!


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Fall Favs

Fall is almost over, but I'm holding onto fall fashion as long as possible.  September and most of October were uncharacteristically warm (except for a fluke snowfall on Halloween), so I had to hold off on the boots, trenches and blazers until a few weeks ago.  I never envisioned myself wearing gold or animal print, but inspired by the fashion trends this season, I found some of the looks for less.  Below are some of my fall favorites.

Pinks and golds
Coach Madison Sabrina | Rose gold case from Köln | Michael Kors Runway Watch
F21 and H&M accessories | Coach wallet
Leopard scarf | Gunmetal flats

Love these nail colors, bought for 2€ each in a Köln drugstore :) (Rossmann)

Boots are a must for the unpredictable weather here
Hunter | Fossil

Monday, November 7, 2011

Underwater Hotels

I saw some photos of these underwater hotels and resorts, and I couldn't believe my eyes.  The photographs look amazing.   Can you imagine dining or sleeping in the ocean, watching fish and huge manta rays swimming by?
From Poseidon Undersea Resorts

Underwater Bedroom in the Maldives

I think this would be breathtaking and maybe a little scary too!  I would probably worry that the glass would crack or a shark would ram against the thick glass and we would cave in.  Unfortunately, I don't think I'll find out for myself anytime soon.  Reservations for Poseidon Undersea Resort range from $15,000 per person (or $30,000 per couple a week).  Oh well, I can still appreciate the amazing concept.  :)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


I can't believe it's already been six months.  Marriage has been an incredible time, more than I could have ever imagined. :) 
We received a lot of marital advice from various people before marriage, but most of it seemed really abstract and theoretical during our engagement period.   "Don't have too many/too high/any expectations!"  "Remember, the only person you can change is yourself!"  "Marriage is work!"
Since we're still newlywed novices, we haven't yet gone through some of the experiences that other married couples have told us about. 

But after marriage and living together, you do learn a thing or two about yourself and each other. Below are some of the simple lessons I've learned.  Sorry if they might sound cliche and stereotypical, but in our experience, these are some of the words that have rang true for us.
What would you add to the list?

1)  Men are fairly simple and easy to please.  Women are not.
2)  Open and honest communication is important... but timing, tone, and choice of words are important too.
3)  It's true what my pastor's wife said shortly before our wedding.. "Men never remember.. women never forget."
4)  A home-cooked meal goes a long way (see #1)  I really think food is the universal male love language.  It's so funny the positive impact that good food has for the hubby.
5)  Romance goes way beyond chocolate, gifts, and flowers.  It's sweet to notice and appreciate the little, unconventional, romantic things you do for each other.

6) You're not always going to be the rational, calm, level-headed person you want to be.  Factor in stress, sleep deprivation, or PMS (female or male PMS, yes I do kinda think it exists), and you've got one moody spouse.  In those cases, the voice of reason is still there (including that archive of all that grand marriage advice you accumulated), but you just don't care. What I love about my hubby is that he has a gift for encouraging me and calming me down, even when I know I'm being completely irrational.  At that moment, he doesn't try to prove himself right, isn't dismissive of my feelings, and doesn't lecture me with logical counterarguments.  Instead, he listens, tries to understand, and does his best to comfort me.  His loving and patient response sometimes catches me off-guard, because I'm expecting him to treat me the way I deserve.. but I hope I can treat him and others with this kind of grace.
7) Living together also allows you to learn from each other's strengths.  I've learned from E's patience, loyalty to his friends, respect towards his parents, and generally accepting nature towards all kinds of people.
8) Genuine words of encouragement can really lift up your loved one's spirits.. and negative words can have the exact opposite effect.
9) Give each other the benefit of the doubt...
10) ..But don't dwell when things don't go exactly the way you want or expect.
11) Praying together and for each other is so important.
12) Thankfulness is one essential part of being happy.  Thankfulness to God, appreciation of each other, and a sense of gratitude for the people around you who have supported both you and your spouse.

Our case is unusual because we're doing the long-distance, international marriage.  A few people have asked us how we're able to survive, being newlyweds.  It is really hard.  :(  There were times where I thought, I would do anything to find a flight to Germany right now.  Maybe one day I'll write a post on our experience in a long-distance marriage.  For now, all I can say is that I just want to be thankful.

Married life is sweet. <3
(and thank God for skype).

Happy anniversary love~

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Space and Lighting

It's kinda a downer to walk into my room and see clutter chaotically strewn around.  Whenever I clean up and open some windows, letting sunshine stream into a clean and open space, it makes me feel so much more relaxed and brighter.  Maybe this is why I don't like studying in the dreary, fluorescent-lit, aesthetically drab office at school.   

A lot of the bloggers I follow have beautiful homes and perfect closets, shoe cabinets, and even neatly organized drawers for their nail polish, accessories, books, office supplies, etc.  I don't know how they do this but I want to learn!  My Mom used to say to me, "Organize your room.. organize your life!"  And I think she had some words of wisdom there.  My room tends to become a reflection of what's going on in my head and school life.  I don't know if it's psychological, but when it's clean, I tend to feel more motivated to work and be creative and productive. 

I remember visiting my aunt and my grandmother's homes and being just amazed at how perfectly they keep their homes.  Books lined up by size and color, pots and pans neatly stored away in closets (not haphazardly piled on top of each other), couches and pillows neatly pressed, every corner dust-free and spotless.   There was not a single stray wire cord in sight; even power cords and battery chargers were lined up against walls and hidden away from sight.

Would love to curl up with a book and a cup of coffee next to this gorgeous view
 I was browsing through some lovely spaces on pinterest and found some interior eye candy.  I love open spaces, lots of lighting, and pristine, white decor with accents of soft pinks or cool blues and grays. 

Pristine bathroom with lots of mirrors

Spacious kitchen, lots of natural light!

Love the windows

AMAZING laundry room!  I think I would actually look forward to doing laundry in this room :)

But back to reality..  reminds me of this article I came across recently, with tips that might be a little more realistic for those who want to keep a clean home. :)
"How to Fake a Clean House" with the tagline:
When you’re short on time, here's how to give your living spaces the illusion of cleanliness.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


Love my new cherry blossom sticky post-its from Korea~
I love how Koreans make things both pretty and functional. :)

ordered Lollia hand cream this week.  I sampled it at an Anthropologie and loved it.  It's slightly on the pricey side, but the most fragrant, soft, luxurious hand cream ever..


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Tiger Mom Review

I came across this Atlantic Magazine article on the controversial book that has ignited a tornado of heated Internet discussion on parenting, Western/Eastern culture differences, and definitions of success.  Writer Sandra Tsing Loh critiques Chua for boasting meritocratic principles but neglecting to recognize the "blind spot" of the privileged and affluent.  She points out that although Chua's tiger mom skills might have instilled hardcore work ethic in her kids, Chua under-emphasizes the connections and resources that her own Yale law professor position made available. Basically, she's saying, her kids would have probably turned out pretty successful anyway.


Some quotes from the article:

But of course, sometimes children—particularly those from cultures in which children are not routinely given names such as “Harvard Wong”—fail in spite of their parents’ diligent efforts. Amid the debate within elite motherdom about Chua’s book, it’s far too easily forgotten that the professional class tends to have a blind spot. Clearly, Yale law professors who write books on economies in developing-world nations do not often ride the bus in America’s cities, for there they might see, as I once did, a Guatemalan maid earnestly working with her son on his math homework and, heartbreakingly, giving him all the wrong answers. (But, my Credit Suisse tablemate would say, he won’t go to Harvard, because she didn’t READ to him! She didn’t READ to him!)

But being half-Chinese herself, Loh also offers her own sympathetic take on this book, describing the complex emotions, wistfulness, and nostalgia she felt as she reflected on and related to Chua's own parental yearnings.

And Loh's conclusion could very well have been written about Korean parents as well: 

I read Tiger Mother as a kind of Amadeus, a story of not-quite-requited love for classical music, told by a somewhat monstrous narrator who can understand Mozart only in terms of notes and competition. Maniacally driving Chinese parents are like Salieri—they can name the notes, but they do not have the magic. And as such, I think of my own formerly hard-driving Chinese father, now 89, in his weekly singing classes for the elderly. It seems all his fellow Americans are effortlessly charming, pleasurably singing “Misty,” “Cabaret,” “Has Anybody Seen My Gal?” Meanwhile, my father, the former Shanghai genius, insists on singing opera, in six flats, not in his range, and not in his language. The lyrics are in Russian, and I mean the Cyrillic alphabet. He believes anyone can sing in English, so he sings in Russian. But my father cannot carry a tune in any language. He sounds like a braying donkey.
One of the most painful things about being us is how we ache to be as beloved as Mozart, but are stunted. When I think of Chinese parents, I think of people who weep upon hearing Beethoven, but who can’t necessarily bring that joy to others. Perhaps we can do so fleetingly, through our children, while they are still young, decades before they, like me, will sit at a piano, Fallen Prodigies in their 40s, their own kids squalling, dogs barking—once-perfect dolls who berate themselves for losing their youthful technique.
In the end, art isn’t about numbers. In the end, there was only one Mozart, and he wasn’t Chinese. So don’t hate us because we’re hardworking and successful: in a century, no one will be humming us.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

New blog and Photo overload

New name, new blog!
I'm hoping I can use this blog to write and post pics and keep in touch with friends and family, especially since they're scattered all over the place now.. And it'll give me a good excuse to procrastinate in the middle of studying.  :)

I don't have much to say for now, so I'll just present a photo overload.
Some highlights from this year:

I got married!
One of our photobook pages.  Layout and photography by Jun Kyeung Photography

Lived in Germany for the summer.  I love how easy it is to country-hop in Europe.  The Netherlands is about a 2 hour drive from our home in Cologne, and Paris is about 5 hour drive!  It's like driving to Philadelphia or NYC from my home in Washington.. although gas is more than double the price in Europe.

Cologne and Kaub | Germany

Made a day trip to visit Amsterdam.
Went to Budapest, Hungary for E's work trip

Went to Alicante, Spain for our honeymoon. 
Alicante is a quiet beach town with beautiful beaches, warm and friendly people, and delicious food!