Hi, I'm Kylie, the author, photographer, and all around creator of Livingwhimsicaldreams, a blog about all aspects of life. Here you will find a abundance of different topics to include my life living in South Korea with my husband, tips, reviews, planning, cooking, and much more. Blogging about different subjects and my general life helps keep the blog fresh and interesting.
Do people do these, like are random item hauls a thing? I don’t know, but these past couple weeks I’ve gotten a few things, more than I normally do as most of our free money goes to exploring Korea. Well, let's be honest, it goes to eating in Seoul haha. I’m excited about some of this so I wanted to share the stuff that I’ve gotten.
When I was in the states, I found this style of dress that I LOVE at H&M; it is my all-time FAVORITE dress, ever. I got the few colors that the H&M’s closest to me had: light gray, dark gray stripes, maroon, and forest green. I have a really hard time finding dresses because most dresses that are in my price range and are styles I like are super short. Or at least super short to me. My butt is quite a bit bigger than normal for someone of my size, so it makes dresses considerably shorter in the back and I’m a pretty modest person, so I am always anxious that my dress is showing stuff that I don’t want to show. These dresses are PERFECT! They are long enough that I feel comfortable wearing them and I don’t check that they are covering every five minutes, but they’re are also short enough that it’s still cute. Now that I’m in Seoul, I went out with some girlfriends one night and saw this super cute light pink version, but they only had a large.
Ever since I’ve been on the hunt for these dresses.I finally found some and I got the white and black stripes
and the navy blue.
Unfortunately, I still haven’t found the light pink one anywhere. They’ve also been sold out online for weeks so I don’t know if they’re even still making them. But I am still looking! Every H&M I come across I look for it.
I was able to order the second book in the Shadow and Bone series, Siege and Storm, and I’m super excited. I won’t be reading it for a couple weeks most likely, but I’m super happy to have it in my library for when I am ready to read it. I’m a little sad that it’s a trilogy so once I buy the third book there won’t be any more :(.
I also got The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living by Meik Wiking. If you follow the online community I’m sure you’ve heard of this book. I’ve seen it EVERYWHERE! After hearing and reading about it, I thought that the idea of Hygge resonated with me. The hype about minimalism is wonderful and probably something I should hop on board with, but it just doesn’t sit with me; I wouldn’t say I hoard too much. Books maybe, but I tend to be pretty good about going through my stuff and throwing stuff out. This idea of cozy living that Hygge represents just resonates with me. It’s the kind of life I want. I’ve read some of the book and it’s just a nice happy book about how to live a cozy life.
Recently, I’ve been into playing board games. I feel like my husband and I spend so much time in front of the TV. Whether I’m watching youtube videos, we’re watching Netflix, or playing a video game, I feel like we live in front of the TV. Which is fine sometimes, but I wanted to get something that we could do that we didn’t have to go out to do and wasn’t electronic. We already had a couple board games: Monopoly and Eragon, but I wanted more. So after a lot of research, I ordered two from Amazon and then we ended up buying two more from the PX.
I’ve heard wonderful things about Settlers of Catan, but it’s a 4+ player game so we can’t play it just being two of us. I found that Catan makes a two-player card game called Rivals for Catan. It’s currently sitting at the post office because we haven’t been able to get to the post office, but I’m hoping it’ll be fun!
We also got Mage Wars. I wanted another more “adult” board game but I didn’t want one that was like adventuring through a certain area and that’s what a lot of two player games are. It felt too similar to Catan to get another adventuring game like that. After a lot of research, I found Mage Wars Academy which is, what the title suggests, a game where two mages battle. I thought a fantasy style game would be fun and give some variety.
From the PX we got two classics: Yahtzee and Battleship. Mark loves Yahtzee and I’m finding that I don’t mind it and we used to have a lot of fun playing Battleship at this cafe that used to be in our hometown so I thought it would be fun to own it and bring back those memories from our first year together.
So that's it for now. I hope you enjoyed reading about the random stuff we've accumulated the past couple weeks!
This month I read the same amount of books that I read last month; if you missed that recap you can check it out here. I’m still working on getting back into reading for fun. Hopefully, in the next few months I’ll get back to reading the way I did before I became an English Literature Major. Let’s hop in!
1) Invincible: Sherrilyn Kenyon //
This is book two in the Chronicles of Nick series. I’m trying to read these slow because I’m waiting on my mom to mail me the rest of the series that we currently own. Book two was better that the first! I loved how the book picked up literally right where the first went off. A lot of series pick-up either quite some time later or a little while after the last book ended. Not this one. Book two of this series just continues the scene that book one left off. It was wonderful. Nick is growing up throughout these books and it’s fun to see him grow in his powers and I still love his humor. His humor is definitely one of my favorite parts of the books. I really recommend this series.
2) Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: J.K. Rowling //
I LOVE THIS BOOK! Of course I do, I absolutely love Harry Potter so of course I would love this. I saw the movie twice when it was in theaters and loved it both times. I loved the Harry Potter films of course, but I felt like Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was more magical in a way. I loved seeing the use of magic and the creatures, it really deepened the world. This book was also my first pre-order EVER. I’ve never felt the need to pre-order books. However, I was at Books-a-Million to buy a birthday gift and just had to pre-order when they asked me about it. I’m so glad I did. I finally picked up the book and read it; I hesitated because I didn’t know if I wanted to read a screenplay. It was much easier to read that I thought…too easy in fact. I would have read it in a day if I didn’t force myself to slow down. I loved that the book is exactly the movie, which makes sense. A lot of the scenes that made me laugh in the film made me laugh in the book. I also cried at the end like I did in the movie :P. If you’re a Harry Potter lover and haven’t read this, read it. Also, can we talk about the cute Niffler under the dust cover :).
3) The Trouble with Magic: Madelyn Alt //
This was one of my first little mystery novels and is part of the Bewitching Mystery novels. It’s most definitely not one of those more realistic, leaning toward true crime mysteries. It was a super fun little novel to read and I’m so happy to have finally read it after carrying it with me on the plane as I traveled back and forth from Korea to the US. Basically, this woman feels unsatisfied in her job and is compelled to go to this certain area of town instead of heading straight to work. Here she stumbles upon and enchantments shop where she is offered a job. She then gets put in the middle of a murder that happened and she spends the rest of the novel trying to figure out who really committed the murder. I recommend this for sure. I thought it was a fun and quick read, especially if you just read a couple larger books it’s nice to read something small and light.
I hope you guys enjoyed this. Did you read any good books this past month?
It’s been longer than I would have liked since I last posted, my bad. Mark has switched to a night schedule at work and since he works a couple days, is off a couple days, works a couple days, and so on. With him being a night, we’ve been trying to figure out how our sleep schedule and whether we should or shouldn’t switch back to days when he’s off and it’s just been rough. We’ve slept such weird hours and so much that not much has gotten done. But we’re finally adjusting…I hope.
Anyway, I was looking at all the series I’m currently reading, which are numerous because I have a hard time finishing series. I just don’t want the world to end! But I was also looking at the series that I don’t plan on finishing for whatever reason. I thought I’d come tell you guys, maybe it’ll help you decide what series to pick up or not pick up. Unfortunately, there won't be pictures because I don't own any of the first books anymore...oops.
1) I am Number 4 - Pittacus Lore //
This series seemed so good when it first came out, and it was. However, I just stopped caring. I never really had the desire to continue with the series. I even got the second book from a thrift store but I just never wanted to pick it up. Usually, with series, I think about them a lot but this one left my mind immediately.
2) House of Night - P.C. Cast //
I loved this series. I started reading it when only two or three books had come out. I laughed and cried with the characters. I truly loved it. I read it up to sophomore year of college. Why did I stop? Because there are so many books that I cannot remember where I left off. I have tried too. I’ve gone to the bookstore and tried to look at the books and figure out where in the last 4 novels that came out to see where it was I left off. I’ve googled synopses to get more detail. But I just can’t figure it out. So I’m just not going to finish the series. If you haven’t read it and enjoy vampire novels, it’s great.
3) Virals - Kathy Reichs //
I read book one, bought books two and three, and I just haven’t finished it. I remember enjoying books one. I remember a little bit of what happened in the book but I just don’t have a desire to finish it. If I was going to finish it, I would have read book two at least. But I haven’t and I probably won’t.
4) Divergent - Veronica Roth //
Yes, I know. This is one of those series that everyone has read, even people who don’t read a lot. I read book one and enjoyed it before it became a big deal. Then I wanted to read the sequels for a while. But they never came out in paperback! I read through young adult books in a day or two, so spending twenty-plus dollars on a hardback that I’ll read in a day is not worth it. So I always wait for books to come out in paperback. Usually, it takes about six months to a year. NOT THESE BOOKS. Eventually, I had friends who bought them and let me borrow book two, My mom read it and I read it and we both thought it was okay. She finished the series but I never wanted to. I was disappointed as it was, I already know how it ends. I’m just not finishing it.
5) Maximum Ride - James Pattersom //
Oh, how I loved this series. But it never ends. I read it when the first book came out. And I’ve read every book since. I thought that it would end with Angel. But then two more books have come out. I may eventually end up finishing it because let’s be honest, putting it on this list kind of hurts; I really did enjoy this series. But I just don’t think I have much care to continue it. I wasn’t as in love with Angel as I had been with the others. So for the moment, I’m saying that I’m not going to finish it.
What are some series you aren’t going to finish? To be honest, I probably have more but I’m in the middle of so many series that I don’t even know all of them.
So even though we’ve (well he has) been here eight months, I haven’t really been to any of the markets. For a while, I was favoring the INSANE malls here and streets like Hongik or Myeongdong (my FAVORITE) and we never really went to any markets. The other day I was feeling like I just wanted to go out in Seoul and just go somewhere and explore and see what we came across. I felt like we haven’t explored Seoul in a while because we had to deal with car issue and other life things.
For this exploration, we went to Dongdaemun Market. We first got off the subway exit for “Dongdaemun History and Culture Park,” where there was a museum, design gallery, and lots of interesting art scattered around the area. It was here that we found a little café that sold the best macaroons that we’ve had since being here and they’re sold at most cafés so we’ve had many.
We also walked around the area near the museum; unfortunately, the museum and design plaza were closed; but we did get to see some interesting artwork that was displayed outside.
We had plans to go to a Korean restaurant and eat, but then we found street food. Every time we go out and plan to actually eat at a restaurant, we end up eating street food. It’s just so good and so cheap! So we first got crepes with Nutella, banana’s, strawberries, and frosted flakes for 3,000 won each and they were so good! I love the street food crepes. Then I got tteokbokki, which are rice cakes in a spicy tomato-y sauce. They’re so good but so spicy. Mark got Sun-dae, which is stuffed pig intestine with a side of liver, heart, and lung (ick), and then we shared this crab meat on a stick and it was wrapped in something dough-y, and topped with mustard and ketchup (I think) and that was super good.
After exploring this area a little, we got back on the subway and rode one stop to “Dongdaemun.” This is where the actual market area was. We exited the subway and just started walking. At first, we saw a fortress wall in the middle of the area which was really interesting. Then we just walked and we happened down the street that was all hiking and outdoorsy clothing. There was so many! It was crazy the number of stores that sold the exact same thing. Then I saw a sign for the Pyounghwa Fashion Plaza. So we went in and it was a little late and a lot of the shops were closing so we only walked the first floor, but it was CRAZY! Like this was what I had pictured shopping in Korea would be like, especially because before moving here, we were told: “Korea is so cheap!” But when you go out in town, like Myeongdong, it's expensive! So seeing an actual market where it’s just shops upon shops upon shops of cheap clothing and cheap products was just crazy. I feeling like actually shopping there would be difficult because it seems like a place you haggle, and not only do I not haggle in English, I only know a couple words in Korean so I definitely can’t haggle in Korean.
At the end of the night, we went back to the history and culture park so that we could see the LED rose garden and the bottle tree at night, lit up in all their glory. It was worth the extra walk to see everything lit up so beautifully.
I do recommend checking out Dongdaemun if you want to experience shopping for clothes and other products unlike any other shopping experience. We’re definitely going to go back and check out the museum and the design plaza as well as other areas of the market that we haven't seen. Apparently there's so much more than what we saw.
Since graduating in December I’ve been trying to read more
and read more books that I’ve been wanting to read for a while. Because I was
an English Literature major in college, all my reading time was spent reading
the novels that I had to read for class. I didn’t have much time to read any
fun books. I thought it would be fun to recap what I read every month and maybe
give you guys some ideas as to what books to pick up.
1) Caliban’s War: James S.A. Corey //
This is the second book in The Expanse series. I read the first book in January of 2016 and
was completely enthralled and this was no different. I purposefully saved this book
for my trip back to Korea because I knew it would suck me in and be a
wonderfully entertaining read during my two days of travel. The book follows
along the first book and the action picks up from the get go and doesn’t stop.
Unfortunately, it’s hard to review the book without giving away spoilers for
either the first or second. I can say though, that yet again James Holden finds
himself and his crew in the middle of a possible interplanetary war. This
series is my first space epic and I completely recommend it.
2) Infinity: Sherrilyn Kenyon //
Infinity is the first book in the Chronicles of Nick series. My mom read it first and raved about it
so I decided that I would read it and see why she loved the series so much and
it is great! Nick has a very sarcastic and witty sense of humor which is right
up my alley. Throughout the novel, Nick slowly learns that the world is not
exactly as it seems. He gets sucked into the world of supernatural creatures
and demons all while being influenced by good and evil entities. He also
discovers that he has powers of his own. There are few books that are centered
around demons/demon hunters. When I find one, I pick it up because it’s a
change of pace from the typical supernatural creature books. This one did not
disappoint. I’m excited to read the rest of the series now. Totally recommend
this book if you are a fan of supernatural plots.
3) Shadow and Bone: Leigh Bardugo //
In a way, this book reminds me of MY FAVORITE series
Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson. The book is set in a world where a ‘tyrant’ has
destroyed the country and war rages. The book follows orphan Alina Starkov as
she learns that she holds the power that can save the country and eventually
fight the tyrant. The book has a typical magic system in a way but also a
different magic system in a way which is something that attracts me to this
novel. If you love sci-fi but aren’t ready for the in-depth world building of a
bigger sci-fi book, this delivers. I cannot wait to read the next books and I
wish that I had it on hand.
Hopefully next month I will be able to report even more
books. Reading is my passion and my hobby so I want to really dive back into
What is a book that you read this past month that you really
When my husband and I got married, I spent a lot of time thinking about what kitchen items we had to get first. Of course, I wanted – and still want – all the kitchen gadgets, but I couldn’t just go buy everything. So, I spent a lot of time researching and thinking about what I use when I’m at my parent’s house. I was in the kitchen the other day and I realized that there are some items that I use almost every day and some of those are items I didn’t buy at first because I didn’t feel they were needed but I now couldn’t live without. So, I decided to write this to help those of you buying stuff for your new kitchen; not stuff like silverware and a dish set because those are obvious needs but the extra stuff that doesn’t always seem to be as important.
1) Chef’s knife/knife set //
Yes, it may be obvious that you need a knife or two but there are some stipulations. Obviously, you can only get the knives that you can afford. I got this Farberware knife block from Wal-Mart and it does the job for all my knife needs but it’s also not amazing quality. My mom has a Cutco chef’s knife that is incredible. The handle is comfortable, the blade is super sharp so you can chop with ease, and it stays sharp much longer than any of my knives. Having decent quality knives is so important to me. I’m saving up for a nicer block since I use them so much. Also, I specifically say chef’s knife because I own two and I use them both ALL THE TIME. They are so versatile and can chop anything; so, if you can only have one knife, definitely pick a chef’s knife.
2) A nice pot and pan set //
Again, something obvious but the difference is to get a nice pot and pan set versus a cheap one. I can say from experience that getting the cheapest pot and pan set from Wal-Mart is not worth it unless you really can’t afford anything else. I had a 20-dollar non-stick set from Wal-Mart in college and the coating chipped the first time I used the pans. I’ve also heard that getting a set is a waste of money because you don’t use every pan in the set. That’s a lie. If you cook enough, like daily, you will use every single pan in the set. My parents got us this Wolfgang Stainless Steel set from Sam’s Club and it is amazing. If they hadn’t bought us the set, I was planning on buying one in a similar price range. I had the ability to get a decent set and I wasn’t going to cheap out on one again and only have it last a couple months. By the way, I LOVE my stainless-steel pans. Again, they’re so versatile and they’re really easy to clean. This set also came with two awesome non-stick pans perfect for eggs and pancakes.
3) Crock-Pot //
This. This is my favorite appliance EVER. I use it at least twice a week. At first, I had a small 4 quart that my best friend gave me and it did the job. However, as I started using it more I realized that the size kept me from being able to make everything I wanted to. So, I got this 7 quart one and it is amazing. They’re so easy to use. You just dump all the ingredients in and go. You can use any cut of meat, even if it’s cheap and tough and it will come out super tender. I can’t rave about it enough.
4) Glass Nesting Bowl set //
This is an item I didn’t think was necessary. I had found a plastic nesting bowl set from Wal-Mart for 5 dollars and it had bowls ranging from extra, extra-large to tiny and it had lids. So while it still makes a good Tupperware, the super large bowl is great for pasta salad but it just didn’t hold up to everything you use glass bowls for. My husband then surprised me with the Pyrex nesting bowls and the extra-large bowl. Since then I use them for EVERYTHING. They’re good for storage and marinating, prepping ingredients, mixing cakes, brownies, sauces, and serving. Now that I have them, if any break, I’m replacing it. I use them so much now and I don’t know why I didn’t get them sooner.
5) Rice Cooker //
I never thought I’d say this. Honestly, this was the hardest one to decide. My microwave is also super important, but really, most people love their microwaves. I decided the rice cooker because It’s not something you would think to get but I’ve found it so helpful. I was against getting one for a long time; I mean you can make rice in a pot why do you need a rice cooker? But then, my husband got one and it's so easy! The rice comes out perfect every time and all you do is put the rice and water in and leave it. Not fluffing, no simmering, nothing. It also helps because I’m married to an Asian guy and he LOVES rice with everything and this makes it easier for me to remember to make rice because my parents don’t eat rice often so it’s not something I think about.
Thanks for reading! What’s a kitchen gadget you couldn’t live without?
I am a winter person 100%. Once it starts to get cold outside, I feel amazing. When it’s above 70-80 degrees, I start feeling like I’m dying; I’m sluggish and feel terrible. My body just doesn’t deal with heat well, but as soon as the temperature drops I start feeling so alive. Also, it snowed a good amount Wednesday night here in Seoul. I woke up to a winter wonderland and while I loved it, I felt bad that my husband still had to go into work. This is also the first really good snow day I’ve been in Seoul for. So, in honor of the winter outside, let’s chat about my favorite things about winter. But first, check out the snow that happened!
The cold //
Yes, I know, it’s weird that I absolutely love the cold; but I can definitely feel a difference in my attitude and my body when it’s cold. Even my husband noticed that I’m not so crabby when it’s not flaming outside.
When it’s hot outside, it’s really hard to cuddle. Here in Seoul, the electricity is so expensive that running the A/C for more than an hour a day is impossible because it costs so much. Which means it stays hot inside the house all the time and you can’t cuddle in the heat. Back home in Alabama, even my parent’s cats just kind of lay around on the hardwood floors with their bellies up to cool down. Therefore, I love when it cools down and I have another excuse to cuddle with my husband and when we get pets, our pets :).
Hot drinks //
Let’s be honest, the cold is just another excuse for me to drink more coffee than is probably healthy. I also love hot chocolate, tea, and spiced apple cider. Anything hot is wonderful, it warms you up from the inside.
The clothes //
Oh, how I love fall/winter clothes! I live in my riding boots or my Hunter boots once the temperature starts dropping. I also love cardigans especially because they can take my favorite shirts or dresses and make them winter-appropriate. I also have a new found love for colored tights, so I often where a dress, colored tights, and my black or brown riding boots. I’m going to be sad when I have to put my boots away.
Books and blankets //
While I do enjoy taking walks and enjoying the crisp, fresh air, I love cuddling up under a cozy blanket, preferably one with penguins, and reading a good book with my coffee. It’s just so comforting to read under a blanket. Stay tuned for future book posts!
Outdoor Activities //
I finally live in a place where it snows some and where we can get to many different ski resorts easily. Normally, if we lived in America or on the military base, we would have a place to be able to go sledding for free, have snowball fights, make snow angels, and everything else you can do in the snow for free but we can’t really do that because we live in an apartment and there’s no open grassy areas around us. There are, however, lots of places do some serious sledding out even when there’s not snow on the ground. Also, two years ago, I discovered my love for snowboarding (check out that post here). My husband and I have been once this season and we’ll probably go a few more times. Especially because it’s a little cheaper to snowboard here than it is in America and we really enjoy it.
Thanks for reading! What’s your favorite season and favorite things to do during that season?