Tag Archives: Asia

Three things to do in Geoje

One of the best things about Korea are the many “red” days (bank holidays – time off).  This summer I went to Geoje with two friends.  If you’re not familiar, Geoje is a small island off the east coast, near Busan.  It has some lovely beaches and can be accessed by bridge, making it easier to travel to than some other Korean islands (such as Jeju and Oedo).

Most tourist information focuses on how to get to Geoje from Seoul.  However, this account will be from Daejeon, in central Korea.  There is a direct bus from Daejeon to Geoje.  It can be caught from the Express Bus Terminal and is 18,000KRW (about $16.50).  The bus ride itself took about 3 hours.  From the terminal in Geoje, I recommend finding a love motel – we paid 70,000KRW a night for a “VIP” room with two double beds.  The hotel that we stayed in was called Maldives (말다이브스) and was near to the terminal; the bus terminal in Geoje is also the starting location for city buses, so this is where you will go to catch a bus to the beach.

If you model your trip off of ours, here is what you will do:

1. Gujora (구조라) beach.  You can catch a bus from the bus terminal; it will take about an hour.  There are many buses that lead to Gujora.  Check the screen at the bus terminal.  The cost will be about 1,100 KRW (less than a dollar).


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2.  Oedo (외도 ) island Botania botanical gardens.  Oedo can only be accessed by ferry.  The costs of ferry (return) plus the garden admissions are 26,000 per person.  You can take a city bus (1,100KRW) to the ferry site.

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3. Windy Hill (신선대) is a hill with a windmill.  The view is lovely and well worth the 1 hr bus ride.

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Have you been to Geoje?  Where did you go on your last trip?  Next post: Samcheok and Sokcho!


eSpoir nail polish: REVIEW


If you are not a slave to your nails, you will be after this.

Let it be known that I gave up without a fight: the minute that I spotted eSpoir’s Naked collection, it was all over.   eSpoir is owned by Amore Pacific, the massive beauty monster responsible for some of Korea’s best loved brands: Mamode, Etude House, Innisfree, Laneige, and others.  eSpoir is a mid-priced brand (by Korean standards) that has you covered for everything, from skin and brows to fragrance and make up.  However, this review will be focused only on their nail line.

eSpoir’s nail polishes come in a color selection that I would compare to Essie in that it is very current and on-trend.  They retail for 5,000W (about $4.70), but they have the quality of a much pricier brand.  I bought five of their polishes from three different lines, and they all had the same consistency and were all very long-lasting; it was not unusual for me to wear this polish for a week or so before they would begin to chip.  My previous favorites, MODI nails by Aritaum, usually chipped within a day or two.


Now, without further ado, the nail polish!


Nude Tude (누드 튜드) from the Naked Collection.  This is the perfect neutral if your skin tone is too warm or olive for some of the bluer-toned whites that are so popular this year.  It is incredibly flattering and wearable.  Shown here at 3 coats.


Greyscale (그레이스케일) from their regular collection.  Greyscale is perfect year-round, but I especially love it with this year’s spring color palette. Shown here at 3 coats.



Undressed (언드레스드) from the Naked Collection.  As you can see, this is a color that really pulls from your skin’s undertones.  In the bottle it appears a bit cooler, but I quite like it on.  Shown at 3 coats.



Deep Forest (딥 포레스트) from their regular line.   A true green that builds to a very deep, mysterious green by 4-5 coats (seen here at 3).nails07

Skin Skinny (스킨 스키니), from the Naked Collection, is a very pale pink, shown here at 4 coats.  I still felt that it was somewhat see-through, so I added another coat and the pink intensified.

And what would a nail post be without a nod to my favorite base and top coat?



Both from MODI, available at Aritaum.  I believe these were 3,000 each, but they regularly go on sale for 1+1 (buy one get one free).  I much prefer both of these to ORLY, OPI, Sally Hansen, Essie, China Glaze, Ulta, and the others that I’ve tried.  I’ve repurchased the base coat in particular about 5 times.

Have you tried eSpoir?  If you’d like to, you can check out their entire nail collection right here.  If there’s a Korean beauty product that you’d like to see reviewed, just let me know!

Dad visits Korea

I’ve decided to interrupt my Detroit mini-series to share these pictures of my dad’s trip to Korea.  Today, while having brunch together, my dad told me that the only thing that he regrets about his trip to Korea was not hugging Shane, my boyfriend, goodbye.  I’m so grateful that my dad came to visit me, and so proud of Shane.

These pictures were taken May 19-26, 2013.  All pictures were taken by Shane.



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A late happy holidays

It’s been so long!  I’ve been incredibly busy, but I’ve got some fun posts planned, including: what’s in my bag, what’s in my carry-on, Detroit from a Detroiter, how to prepare your cat for a separation, and more.  Before I get ahead of myself, the good news:

  1.  I’m home!  I’m visiting my family in America.  I’ve been here about two weeks with two more to go.  And then
  2. Ireland!  Although I won’t be liveblogging it, you’ll all get to experience my reunion with Shane and our vacation in Éire.  Everything is planned now and I can’t wait to share it all.
  3. I got a university job!  This was the main reason that I’ve not been blogging: I wanted to keep everything shrouded in secrecy until contracts were signed and plans were made.  More about that later.

Before I get caught up in all that’s new, I’d like to share a couple moments from my Christmas dinner, which, in keeping with tradition, was spent with my friend Jordin.  This year we decided to go out for shabu shabu instead of cooking and staying in, and also this year her student joined us:


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christmas07 christmas08Delicious!

If you’re in the Jeonju area and want to drop in on this place, good luck!  It’s quite good (and, actually, it’s the first place I ate at when I came to Korea) but it’s hard to find because the name changed about two years ago and nothing has been updated.  It’s in new Hyoja-dong (효자동),  and it’s called Da Chae Woo Mi (다채우미), formerly Hae Ddeul Nal (해뜰날).  Click here to access the Jeonju city map, scroll down to “Shabu Shabu – mushroom and beef” and you’ll get a map (link opens in a new window).

I hope everyone is having a warm, safe winter season.  If you have any suggestions for posts that you’d like to see while I’m home, let me know!

Jeonju Bibimbap Festival

This weekend was the Jeonju Bibimbap festival.  For the unaware, Jeonju is the culinary epicenter of South Korea, and UNESCO even named Jeonju “City of Gastronomy.”  As a resident, I couldn’t agree more!  So, yesterday some friends and I headed to Hanok Village to take part in the fun.

bibimbap01It was packed!  The staff members are preparing to pass out free bibimbap.  They’ve just finished a competition where each neighborhood in Jeonju (32, I believe) made their own bibimbap.

bibimbap02 bibimbap03Some adjumas in traditional clothes are plating up the bibimbap.


bibimbap05After that we walked around the area.

bibimbap06 bibimbap07 bibimbap08 bibimbap09 bibimbap10 bibimbap11 bibimbap12 bibimbap13 bibimbap14 bibimbap15 bibimbap16 bibimbap17We spent much of the day doing a scavenger hunt – after collecting 8 stamps, we got our prizes: bibimbap keychains!

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Thanks for reading!

Favorite Spots: Cafe Sade

I know some of you read this blog for a peek into my life in Korea, so I thought I’d do a new feature.  “Favorite Spots” will show my favorite places around Jeonju.  I will only feature places that I visit on a regular or semi-regular basis.  The first spot that I want to highlight is actually quite near to my apartment; maybe a 2 minute walk.  It’s called Cafe Sade.

sade01View from the street.

sade02Now, Jeonju is a city of a million cafes, and most of them have a cute theme.  But what sets Cafe Sade apart from other cafes in Jeonju is definitely the dedication to sound.  There is no typical cafe music here, but rather the music for the cafe is mixed in this little room by the counter:




The counter area.  Another thing that sets Cafe Sade apart from other cafes is that it serves alcohol – and not just Cass, Cafri and Soju.  Sade has a very nice wine pantry at a variety of prices.  The cheapest is, I believe, a white at around 30,000/bottle, and the prices go up to a little over 100,000.  Wine cannot be ordered by the glass, but unfinished bottles can be recorked and taken home.

In addition to the wine and beer, Cafe Sade has a variety of teas, coffees, and smoothies, as well as appetizers and finger food.sade07 sade08 sade09Some of the seating by the door, with a peek outside at the patio.


sade11 sade12 sade13And my friend, Emily, waiting for me to finish taking pictures.

There is also a meeting room that I did not photograph because it was in use.

sade14The coffee page of the menu.

sade15I got a choco smoothie.  It was delicious! At at 5,000W, great for my wallet, too!

What else?  Cafe Sade has free wifi, a chill environment, and it feels distinctly cool.  At any given time there are people there reading, mixing music, meeting with friends, or on a date.  The menu has both Korean and English, and if you want to practice your Korean, the fonts and the handwriting and easy to read.  Sarah is always behind the counter and she speaks good English and is very helpful and friendly.

So how do you get to Cafe Sade?

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The “A” and “B” on the map are the Bone Hospital.  Cafe Sade is on a street that runs parallel to Junghwasan-ro.  If your Korean is good enough, you can direct a cabbie from this photo.  As you can see, there are two bus stops right near Cafe Sade.  I’m not sure which buses to take to get there.  From a taxi, let them know that you are going to 종화산동 (Junghwasan-dong) and then ask for either the Bone Hospital (본병원, “bone byung-wun”) or the apartment building across the street from Sade (현대에코르 아파트, “hyundeh eh-ko-ruh apah-tuh”).    Sade is open from 2pm-2am.  Have fun!