Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Insadong: Shopping & Eating

Insadong is one of my favorite areas in Seoul. Here you can find many shops selling traditional Korean arts and crafts. It is also within walking distance (about 10-15 minutes) to Gyeongbokgung and the Cheonggyecheon Stream. Although it is a little touristy, it is a great place to buy souvenirs (like these cute wooden rings above) and eat delicious street food.

(left) Cute display outside of a coffee shop; (right) Heading to a small mandu place for lunch

Fresh steamed mandu outside of the shop

James and I had a delicious lunch at a tiny mandu shop. All the locals were there so we knew it was going to be good. The mandu (Korean dumplings) were so fresh and delicious. Our favorite were the fried ones :)

We did a little shopping after lunch. I love these door knockers but they were too heavy to carry around!

It's so hard to resist buying souvenirs when I'm on vacation. It's not just me, right? hehe

These poo-shaped cakes are really popular there! They're a pancake filled with sweetened red bean and pieces of walnuts. They're quite good if you can get over the fact that it is suppose to mimic poo. Kids love them. Don't they always love things that are slightly gross? lol

Friday, January 25, 2013

Hello Kitty Cafe

This post is going to delight all the Hello Kitty fans out there. My friends, Judy and Carrie, visited Seoul back in May and I knew I had to make a stop at this cafe when I saw their trip photos :)

The preview of what's to come.

Hello Kitty's face was everywhere. I love the dusting of her face on all the drinks and desserts. 

It started to get really pink as we headed upstairs. I love these little paintings of her!

James' expression is so funny in this picture. He looks a little frightened, doesn't he? He must have felt like he was in a Hello Kitty twilight zone. I remembered him saying, "It's really pink in here." lol

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Seoul Lantern Festival

James and I were lucky to be in Seoul during their annual Lantern Festival at the Cheonggyecheon Stream. The lanterns were amazing. They were all hand-crafted by local and international artisans.

This part of the stream was dedicated to the children of the world. Since I'm Vietnamese and Chinese, I love that the two girls were placed next to each other :)

The United States was represented by a Native American boy. I love the view of the Japanese girl's obi too.

I love how the lanterns illuminate the stream. Here you can also see how the stream is nestled in the middle of the busy city. It's a beautifully designed urban oasis.

There were thousands and thousands of lanterns. We didn't get to see them all but it was really nice to be out there and celebrate this festival with all the locals :)

Friday, January 18, 2013

Locks of Love

One of the fun and romantic things to do in Seoul is to visit the N Seoul Tower and profess your love by putting a lock on the Tower's fence. It's fitting seeing that we were there for our honeymoon :)

The cable car ride up to the tower was crowded since it was a beautiful Saturday. While we were there, James and I were debating if this is the same place where they filmed a scene in "Boys Over Flowers" and it was! Boys Over Flowers was my first Korean drama. We watched it last year because we were bored one day and came across it on Netflix. We gave it a shot and I was hooked (although I did skip a few parts because it was overly dramatic! >_< ) It was a funny and sweet drama about young love and I really enjoyed it.

A nice view of the city on the way up

There were so many locks! We looked for the perfect place for our lock and found this little spot here. It'll be fun to search for it whenever we visit Seoul again :)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Palace of Happiness

Now that the holidays are over, I can start sharing photos from our wonderful honeymoon. The first part of the trip was to Seoul, South Korea. It was our first time there and it did not disappoint. The city was so fun. People there work hard and play hard. The food was excellent and the shopping was endless! One of our favorite places in Seoul is a much quieter place though. Gyeongbokgung (Gyeongbok Palace) is a beautiful place to take a little break from such a fast-paced and energetic city.

It is considered the most beautiful palace in Seoul and the name can roughly be translated into "Palace of Shining Happiness". I can definitely see why. The views with the mountains alone is gorgeous.

The motifs and patterns painted on the ceilings and beams were beautiful; so colorful and vibrant. I can't even imagine the amount of time it takes to maintain something like this.

 (left) Reenactment of the changing of the Palace Guards; (right) So intricate! There were 3 to 4 layers of ceiling beams!

We saw many painters around the palace grounds. It was nice to watch them paint. When they took a little break, I smiled at them and gave them a thumbs up. We might not speak the same language but a smile is always universal :)

I love the ancient lock and the door's hardware on the right and I love the guy on the left too lol.

James and I had so much fun exploring the palace. Although there were a lot of tourists, the palace grounds were big enough that we didn't really notice the crowd. We found little secluded nooks and took our time looking at all the details and taking photos. It was very relaxing and peaceful. There was so much to look at that we didn't have enough time to see everything. I guess we'll just have to go back :)

Friday, January 11, 2013

Mother-Daughter Team ♥

I am so excited to debut these cute throw pillows today! They are all hand-made by me and my mom! My mom (who is amazing!) started making these for fun and so many people requested to buy them that we started making them together. I love learning all the sewing techniques from her since I'm a newbie at it. She's so talented and I have to thank her for passing some of her creativity to me :) It has been so fun drawing up new ideas and going to pick out fabrics together. I can't wait to offer them at our shows this year!

All the little details for the faces are hand-embroidered and stitched with lots of love.

These two are perfect for Valentine's Day with their little heart-shaped noses.
I love the beautiful silk fun!

They're all so cute! It's hard for me to pick a favorite :)