Thursday, November 2, 2017

Goodbye October 2017

Goodbye October 2017 - October Recap
Did it seem like October seemed to go by faster than any of the other months? It’s one of my favorite months since it starts my favorite time of year but I feel like it went by so fast that I didn’t even get to enjoy it. I still had a good month though.

Reading //
Goodbye October 2017 - October recap
I read two books and got mostly done with one and halfway done with another. I read the second book in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series and it was great. I had a hard time with it at first because I had read Daughter of Smoke and Bone freshman year of college, four years ago, and it took me a long time to remember what happened and get back into the world. Once I did, I thoroughly enjoyed it but it took me a while to read because it was so hard to get into. This is not a series you should wait too long between books with. I also read Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets because it was free with Kindle Unlimited and I really wanted to start using my new Kindle!
Goodbye October 2017 - October recap
I am nearly done with Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. The Harry Potter books have been what I read in bed at night before I sleep since I can read on my Kindle without waking Mark up. I am also halfway through Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters. I really wanted to finish both but didn’t in time.

Watching //
There haven’t been that many good movies in Korean theaters this month and the on-base theater hasn’t played anything good either, so no new movies this month. We did watch some Halloween movies from my Halloween list and that was a lot of fun. We also watched more of The Flash and of course, Stranger Things. We are watching it slowly since it’s only 9 episodes long and season 3 won’t be out until next October. But we’re really enjoying it.

Doing//
I decorated for fall and Halloween, of course. I would have gotten some more decorations had I had access to Target but alas, putting out the decorations we do have was fun. I also got a couple new Halloween mugs.
Goodbye October 2017 - October recap
Goodbye October 2017 - October recap
We went on a little mini hike with some friends to a little temple near where we live and we explored a botanical gardens which were beautiful.
We tried Indian food for the first time ever and really enjoyed it! We love finding places to eat that are close to us and not on the other side of Seoul. We also at a Beef & Leaf that’s down the street from our house that I originally hated but enjoyed this time around. So yay for finding new places to eat!
We live right by an Air Force base and they had an air show this month and the flight path was over our house. So we got to sit on our balcony and watch the jets do cool tricks and fly-bys. We also got to ride in a helicopter around Seoul for free through the military base! It was an incredible experience and such a great way to view the city.
Finally, we carved pumpkins and watched Charlie Brown. Mark did the Halo Game symbol and the Bat, I did the Jack-o-Lantern. It’s not Halloween for me if I can’t at least do those two things.
Overall, we had a fun month with a few new experiences and great new food!

November //
I’m so looking forward to Thanksgiving! This will be our first Thanksgiving together as a married couple, while he works that day, either we’ll celebrate Thanksgiving on another day or I’ll have Thanksgiving dinner cooked for when he gets home. I also can’t wait to start our Christmas celebrations as I am a Christmas fanatic.

How was your month and what are you looking forward to next month?

Talk to you soon!

Kylie <3

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Halloween Movies to Watch

It’s officially my favorite time of year! I know that sounds so basic as so many girls love autumn, but seriously, I love the time from October 1 through January 1. It gives me a nice warm, cuddly feeling. I love Halloween and normally do tons of haunted houses with friends and trick-or-treating with my brother, but I can’t do any of that here. Regardless, it just feels so nice this entire time.

Now that the month is ending, I am buckling down on watching Halloween movies. I am not into Horror movies; I used to be but now that I live alone I can’t watch them anymore - they scare me too bad! This list of Halloween movies consists of mostly family friendly movies because that’s what makes me happy now. It makes me sad that there aren’t that many specifically Halloween movies like there are for Christmas, it’s mostly scary movies or movies with monsters/magic.
  1. Hocus Pocus
  2. Halloweentown
  3. Halloweentown II
  4. Halloweentown High
  5. Scooby-Doo (live action)
  6. Casper, The Friendly Ghost
  7. Harry Potter (ALL OF THEM)
  8. Twitches
  9. Adamms Family
  10. Practical Magic
  11. Underwraps
  12. Don’t Look under the bed
  13. Tower of Terror
  14. The Craft
  15. The Nightmare Before Christmas
  16. Frankenweenie
  17. Monsters Inc.
  18. Monsters University
  19. Hotel Transylvania
  20. Hotel Transylvania 2
And of course: 

      20. It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown

If I watch nothing else, I have to watch the Charlie Brown show for each holiday. My family and I watched them every year and the holidays do not feel like the holidays without watching them.

Hopefully, this list helps you on your Halloween movie binge!


Kylie <3

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

South Korea Adventures: Shingu Botanical Gardens

Adventures in South Korea: Shingu Botanical Gardens
The other day, Mark and I were driving to Yongsan so he could get a haircut and we could get some food. On the way, not far from our house, we saw signs for Shingu Botanical Garden. I’d seen the signs before but never really cared. On this random day, Mark decided to just drive to it and take a look. So we did. We ended up staying and exploring and it turned out to be really fun. How have we driven past this so many times but never stopped at it?
Adventures in South Korea: Shingu Botanical Gardens
It was only ₩7,000 which is about 6 dollars each, so not super expensive. We looked around the rooms first where there was some artwork about the history of the Gardens and some artwork of nature. Then we left that area to explore the actual gardens. 

In a greenhouse, we saw these crazy looking lily pad plants that look like they were pre-historic and were actually kind of creepy because they were so big and spiky.
Adventures in South Korea: Shingu Botanical Gardens
Adventures in South Korea: Shingu Botanical Gardens
Throughout the park, they had the cutest stuff like little statues, music instrument platforms, bug platforms, tons of little colorful frog statues, a sundial, and a rain measure pot. There may have been more but being in October, a lot of the flowers weren’t in bloom and special gardens were bare. Plus there are these GIGANTIC spiders here that were claiming some of the pathways.
Adventures in South Korea: Shingu Botanical Gardens
Adventures in South Korea: Shingu Botanical Gardens
Adventures in South Korea: Shingu Botanical Gardens
Adventures in South Korea: Shingu Botanical Gardens
Adventures in South Korea: Shingu Botanical Gardens
Adventures in South Korea: Shingu Botanical Gardens
The flowers that were in bloom were beautiful and some I haven’t seen before, which is to be expected since there are probably a lot of flowers that are native to Korea. They also used a lot of Kimchi Pots to plant some of the flowers which were cool since Kimchi pots are such a staple in Korean life. It was also way bigger than we expected! I mean we drive by this once a week or once every two weeks on our way to Yongsan and we never knew that there was this huge Garden right next to the road. 
Adventures in South Korea: Shingu Botanical Gardens
Adventures in South Korea: Shingu Botanical Gardens
Adventures in South Korea: Shingu Botanical Gardens
Adventures in South Korea: Shingu Botanical Gardens
Adventures in South Korea: Shingu Botanical Gardens
This was such a great way to get out into nature and take a break from the city life for a while. It really felt like we were in nature, we couldn't really see many buildings and we couldn't hear the noise of the cars - which can be an issue with the inner city parks. It probably helps that we live on the outskirts of Seoul so a lot of nature stuff around is, is actually nature.
Adventures in South Korea: Shingu Botanical Gardens
Overall, we had such a fun time walking around this place. It took us about an hour just looking at the main gardens. They also had a cute little shop where you can buy plants and decorations for your garden or house, a nice little cafe, and when we got there, they had live music playing. Throughout the gardens they had a quiet classical soundtrack playing. Which I thought really added to the tranquility of the gardens.

See you next week :)
Kylie <3

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Goodbye September 2017

Going through the month of September, it felt slow. Mark was gone on TDY for two weeks and while I can function without him, life is so much more fun with him. So those two weeks were long and sucked. However, the rest of the month was good, we had two four-day weekends framing his TDY which were wonderful. But also because of him being gone, we didn’t get to do a whole lot of stuff this month. Regardless, September was good and now that it’s over, it seems like it went by in the blink of an eye. Now that we are heading into fall and holiday season, my FAVORITE time of year, is going to seriously fly by.

Reading //
Last month was a good reading month but this month was kind of meh. I’m still in a reading rut, especially because I’m mainly in the mood for specific books and finishing series. However, I absolutely loved what I read. I finished the second half of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix which I started in August. Of course I loved this, it’s Harry Potter. 

I also read the first book in the Percy Jackson series which I reviewed here. It quickly snagged a place in my heart and I’m super excited to have another series that struck me like the Harry Potter, Mistborn, and Chronicles of Nick did.

Finally, I read Endless by Jessica Shirvington which is book 4 of the Embrace series. This is a series that I love but forget that I love it when I’m not currently reading it. This book was so good and really kept me glued to the book. Especially the last 150-200 pages where I cried the entire time. The. Entire. Time. I sat for two hours while Mark played video games and read and cried and cried. My heart hurt after finishing it. Right now, I’m mad at the ending and I hope that book 5 ties up the series well. After finishing the book, I needed to get out of the house and get some fresh air and spend some time with Mark to get my bearings back. Even trying to tell him about it made me cry. I’m making it sound horribly sad but it was so good and not sad like Nicholas Sparks books.

Watching //
We didn’t go see any movies this month. I think it was a mixture of him being gone for two weeks, the theater on-post closing down one of their screens, and there not really being any good movies out in Korean Theaters.

I did watch more Gilmore Girls of course. I’ve made it through seasons 4 and I’m very upset and not liking Rory at the moment, but I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t watched it.

We also watched a lot of Rick & Morty. A few months ago, when Mark started watching it. I immediately decided that I didn’t like it because I normally hate adult swim type shows. The only ones I liked were Futurama and Bob’s Burgers. Eventually, I decided to try Rick & Morty because it seemed like EVERYONE loved it. Once I gave it a chance I loved it. We watched through seasons 1 and 2 over the past two months. Then when we started watching season 3, I realized that I wasn’t catching a lot of the references that season 3 made to seasons 1 and 2. So we went back and re-watched them and wow, I missed so much. I think because Netflix would move the show to the corner of the screen while it counted down to the next episode and we would miss the little ending bits that are after the credits. Now that we’ve re-watched it, I understand so much more and we’re almost done with season 3 which is really sad since who knows when season 4 will come out.

Doing //
We went swimming at the new Camp Humphries water park and it was so fun. We didn’t get to swim this summer because the pools on the bases closer to us suck and the pools off base are even worse and the water parks off base are insanely expensive and super crowded. We are the kind of people who are super active in the pool, we like diving, swimming, going down slides, and whatever else is available. So going to pools that are just a big square is pretty boring to us. The water park at Camp Humphries had slides and diving boards and was huge for an on-base pool, was cheap, and when we went, was practically empty! There weren’t lines for either slide or the diving board. It was great.

When Mark came home, we went to Oktoberfest on base and it was…pretty bad. The food wasn’t that great, though they had great mushroom gravy; the beer was okay, they had a local on tap and bottled German beer. There were also no activities like ones in the states that are like mini fairs. So, it was pretty boring. We ate and left and went our favorite pub to play some darts and just spend some time together.

We explored Namdaemun, Myeongdong (our favorite), Yeouido Park, and Yeouido Hangang park, went for a bike ride, ate a lot of food, and even tried a churro dog (a hot dog but the bun is a churro without the cinnamon) which was delicious.
September Monthly Wrap Up
Finally, we got couples pictures done and they turned out so great. It was our first time taking professional photos so we were really excited. Photos courtesy of Byrd Nest Photography taken at Namsan Park.
September Monthly Wrap Up
September Monthly Wrap Up
At the very end of the month, we went to our first Korean baseball game. I’m not into sports like at all, but some friends of ours invited us so we went and it turned out to be a lot of fun. The concessions were cheap which is so nice compared to America. They have cheerleaders and a spirit section for each team and it made the game much more interesting. The crowds really get into it and sing and dance. They got livelier as the night went on and even after the home team was for sure losing, they were still super lively. It made it so much more fun and it was funny watching Mark and the other husbands dance and act silly. It was worth it, even for someone who doesn’t like sports.  
September Monthly Wrap Up
September Monthly Wrap Up

October //
I’m so excited for this month. I love Halloween. Normally, I go to 3 or 4 haunted houses but I don’t know if they do that here. I know for sure we’ll watch Halloween movies and carve pumpkins. I don’t know what else we’ll do since once again, Mark may be gone for training for two weeks.

What was the highlight of your September?

See you next week! :)

Kylie <3

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

How to make the PERFECT vanilla Latte

How to make the PERFECT vanilla latte
I LOVE coffee. I am a total coffee addict. I drink about one or two cups a day, mostly for the taste, but sometimes because I’m tired and coffee gets me moving. Back in college, I used my meal plan dollars to get a Grande Breve (half&half) Vanilla Latte, extra hot, and no foam (because if it wasn’t extra hot, by time I got to class the coffee would be warm and no foam because I don’t like buying a 5 dollar cup of foam). My college Starbucks’ made the best coffees and they knew me by name and order which was wonderful, especially since I stutter. Now that I’m not in college, I haven't been able to get coffee like that as much because I had to use actual money out of our actual bank account and I’m not for that. Plus, despite the abundance of coffee shops in Seoul, their vanilla lattes are absolutely horrible and they’re super expensive, about six dollars for a “tall” size.

Because of the expensive horrible coffee here in Seoul, I mainly made coffee at home. However, despite my love of coffee, I am horrible at making it. I had a drip coffee maker from my parents and a French press and I could never produce good coffee from either (though my non-coffee drinking husband can). We bought a Keurig for this exact reason because I love coffee but can’t make it. I’ve used it religiously for the past year, but plain coffee isn’t quite the same as a latte. Then one day I found an espresso machine on one of the military community buy/sell Facebook pages here for $25 and snatched it up! I was worried at first that my curse of bad coffee would transfer to espresso, but thank goodness, it did not! I am able to make a vanilla latte that is *almost* as good as the lattes from my college’s Starbucks and 100 times better than what I can get here for 6 dollars. Now, after my ramblings about coffee, here’s what you need and how to do it!

What you need //
How to make the PERFECT vanilla latte
  • Espresso Machine (I have this DeLonghi EC155 which I've found good for my amateur at home latte making. As long as the espresso doesn't taste burnt and can be tasted through all my milk and sweetening, I don't really care how perfectly the espresso is brewed)
  • Food Scale (we have this one. This is also optional, but helps make a consistently good latte)
  • Espresso of your choice (I use Café Bustelo because it’s cheap and one of only two espressos I have access to.)
  • Milk of your choice (you can use regular, half & half, almond, soy, cashew, etc.)
  • Syrup of your choice (I, of course, use vanilla but use whatever you like and I use the Torani Brand as it's the only brand I have access to)
  • Optional: sweetener of your choice
How to do it //
1) Pre-heat your espresso machine Follow your espresso machine’s instructions. Mine requires at least a 20-minute heat up time so I’ll often turn it on while I make breakfast so that it’s done by the time I’m ready.
2) Measure 7-9 grams of espresso into your espresso filter, I use the two shot filter. If you don’t have a scale, it’s about 2 heaping teaspoons (not the measuring spoon just a regular old small spoon).
How to make the PERFECT vanilla latte
3) Press your espresso. My espresso machine came with a tamper attached to it, but if yours doesn’t, then you’ll need to purchase one like this. Make sure to not press too hard but hard enough that the espresso looks pressed.
4) Begin brewing your espresso, I found that about 30-35 seconds of actually espresso drip is the perfect amount of time. You may have to play around with this depending on your espresso.
How to make the PERFECT vanilla latte
5) Pour your milk into a mug, measuring cup, or other milk frother cup. I use a one cup measuring cup and fill 4 ounces with half & half and 2 ounces of regular 2% milk (because half & half is expensive). But 6 ounces of any milk of your preference is the perfect amount. Steam the milk until it reaches the temperature you desire. I like mine very hot and with not much foam so I don’t purposely foam my milk by leaving the frother near the top of the milk.
How to make the PERFECT vanilla latte
6) Combine your espresso and milk. Add the syrup of your choice and sweetener of your choice if you desire. I don’t have a spoon measurement for the syrup but I add about 3 seconds of pouring for sugar-free and 5 seconds of pouring for regular syrup and it comes out perfectly vanilla to me. I also add a little sugar because I like my lattes sweet. But this is up to your preference.
7) Sit back and enjoy 😊
How to make the PERFECT vanilla latte
I hope this helps you make a better latte. What's your favorite coffee drink or if you don't drink coffee, what's your favorite drink to get at a coffee shop?

See you next week :)
Kylie <3

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Kylie Reads: Percy Jacks & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief

Can we talk about why on Earth it took me this long to read this series!? Not only did it take me forever to even buy the first book (Sophomore year of college), but I’ve had the first and second books in my library for 3 years now, they even moved to South Korea with me! I decided to finally pick the book up recently because I wanted something similar to Harry Potter or The Chronicles of Nick to take my mind off the fact that my husband was at a temporary duty station for two weeks. I wanted something set in fantasy but wasn’t super involved and was light and fun to read. I am SO glad that I did! I absolutely loved it and I understand now why there is a whole huge fandom centered around the series.
Percy Jackson is a 12-year-old with a history of getting kicked out of schools and is the son of the Greek God Poseidon. After getting kicked out of his most recent school, he finds himself at a summer camp for kids who all have a Greek God as one parent. Quickly after that, he is thrust on an adventure to try and stop a war amongst the gods.

For a short book, I loved the amount of adventure in it. There was enough to keep me glued to the book but it wasn’t over the top. I also liked that since it’s a YA book, that the adventure isn’t gory or crazy. It’s just nice clean adventure. I was also surprised that for Percy being 12, it doesn’t read like he is. I often forgot that this is a 12-year-old boy going across the United States to save the world, he could very well have been an older teenager. I’m really excited to read the rest of the series. I looked on Amazon and there’s a box set for 25 dollars with beautiful covers. So I plan on adding that to my library soon. I can also feel this series quickly becoming an all-time favorite of mine and one of my series that I get Funko Pop Figures for haha.

Overall, I loved this book and I highly recommend this series. If you like YA books with a lot of fantasy, a nice amount of action without much gore, and if you like Greek mythology then I think you would like this book. I know that the series starting out with such a young character seems off-putting for older people, but it’s not very noticeable once he leaves school. Also, if you like series such as Harry Potter then I think you would enjoy this.

Book rating: 4.5 out of 5, I absolutely loved it!

Have you read or do you plan to read the Percy Jackson series?


See you next week :)
Kylie <3 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

My favorite Bullet Journal Supplies

My everyday supplies and must haves for Bullet Journaling
Bullet Journaling is one of my absolute favorite things to do. I love making lists and filling things out, hence why I have so many trackers in my monthly, you can see a monthly set-up here. Over my year of bullet journaling, I have accumulated a few items that I use every day or even if they aren’t used daily, they're something that’s important to my journaling.

A Variety of Colorful Utensils //
LivingWhimsicalDreams - My everyday supplies and must haves for Bullet Journaling
My absolute favorite colorful pens are the Staedtlertri-plus fine liners. They write wonderfully, come in a vast array of colors – especially if you spring for the 42 pack – and they last for forever. I love how thin they write and how vibrant the colors are.
LivingWhimsicalDreams - My everyday supplies and must haves for Bullet Journaling
LivingWhimsicalDreams - My everyday supplies and must haves for Bullet Journaling
I also use Papermate Flairs and Le Pen, I don’t like these quite as much but I love pens so I buy them every now and again. The Flairs are a bit of a thicker point than the Le Pen and the Staedtler so I mainly use them for outlining.
LivingWhimsicalDreams - My everyday supplies and must haves for Bullet Journaling
Crayola Colored Pencils are a classic pencil, while they may not do as well as high end colored pencils they serve the purpose that I use them for and they’re great. Plus, they're cheap.
LivingWhimsicalDreams - My everyday supplies and must haves for Bullet Journaling
Crayola SuperTips are a wonderful, cheap way to add a little color or use for highlighting and underlining. I’ve heard you can learn to hand letter with them, but I haven’t had the patience to try.
LivingWhimsicalDreams - My everyday supplies and must haves for Bullet Journaling
Zebra Mildliners: A cult classic for bullet journalists. I love that they are double sided and I love the muted but still vibrant colors. They were great for college and they’re still great for just journaling. My only qualm is that they're expensive and hard to find if you’re not in Asia.
LivingWhimsicalDreams - My everyday supplies and must haves for Bullet Journaling
My regular writing pens are just Sharpie Pens. I was using a Pilot G-2 but they smeared horribly in my book, even after I waited a few minutes. Sharpie pens also don’t bleed or ghost as bad and they dry instantly. I use a Pilot G-2 pencil for my outlining and a Pentel Clic-Erase eraser, both are long time favorites of mine. I also have a uni-ball style-fit multi-pen with a .32 tip on all 3 pens. It’s super fine and wonderful when you want to write neatly, but super tiny.

Washi, Washi, and More Washi //
LivingWhimsicalDreams - My everyday supplies and must haves for Bullet Journaling
I sometimes use washi tape to add little pops of cuteness to my book and to sometimes cover up mistakes. It’s super versatile and comes in hundreds of patterns. I pick up a roll every now and again when I’m at Daiso or ArtBox, they’re kind of expensive (to me) so it’s not something I get often.

6-inch ruler //
LivingWhimsicalDreams - My everyday supplies and must haves for Bullet Journaling
I was using a regular 12-inch ruler and decided to spend the dollar and get a 6-inch ruler and I’m so glad I did. The 6in is so much more portable and it fits the notebook better because it is an A5 size and isn’t even 6in across. Such a simple, but a nice item to have.

A Portable Printer //
LivingWhimsicalDreams - My everyday supplies and must haves for Bullet Journaling
My husband bought me a Polaroid Zip printer for my birthday and I absolutely love it! I love being able to print pictures of fun things Mark and I do and stick them in my bullet journal as a memory. It makes it so fun to look back.

What are some of your favorite journaling supplies?

See you next week :)
Kylie <3