먹자! Let’s Eat – Ddeokguk (떡국)

Happy New Year ~ 새해 복 많이 받으세요!

Last week was the Lunar New Year or 설날 (Seollal) in Korea. It’s another big holiday like Chuseok where people travel to be with their families and celebrate. Of course there’s different kinds of foods to eat during that time as well. One of the must-eats during Seollal is 떡국 (ddeokguk).

The soup is made with a protein broth (I used beef, but you can use seafood, chicken, etc.) and rice cakes. Other ingredients like green onions, egg, and seaweed are also added. Once again I found a great recipe at Maangchi. I only did some very slight variations to save prep time and it turned out great.

[*Gonna reiterate that this recipe is all Maangchi’s and she gets all the credit. I’m just posting how I used it. :) ]

Ingredients:

– 1 pound of sliced rice cakes (ddeokguk/떡국)

– 7 cups of water

– 1/2 pound of beef, chopped

– 3-4 minced garlic cloves

– 3 green onions, sliced

– 2 eggs

– 1 tbsp fish sauce

– 1 tsp sesame oil

– 1/2 tsp black pepper

– 1 sheet of kim (seaweed)

– salt

Directions:

– soak the rice cakes in cold water for about 30 minutes

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– Boil the water in a large pot on high heat for 12-15 minutes

– Chop up your beef (I bought stew meat from Trader Joe’s). Add the beef and garlic to the pot, lower the heat to medium. Cover and boil for 20-25 minutes.

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* I used frozen garlic cubes (again from Trader Joe’s) instead of fresh. It’s a quicker alternative to chopping fresh garlic, and will keep in your freezer for some time.

– I also bought Trader Joe’s Roasted Seaweed Snack, rather than buying a bunch of seaweed that I probably wouldn’t use. Maangchi suggests roasting the seaweed in her recipe, but this is much quicker. Plus it’s a nice snack and only 99 cents.

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- Separate the egg yolks and whites, putting them in separate bowls. Add a pinch of salt to each and mix.IMG_0537

- Add oil (canola or vegetable) to a small heated pan. Turn off the heat and put the egg yolks in the pan. Let it cook for about 1 minute. Flip the egg and cook for another minute. Take it out and slice into thin strips.

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- Add rice cakes to the boiling soup with fish sauce, salt, and onion. Stir and cover for 7-8 minutes. Add egg whites and cook for 1 minute.

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- Add sesame oil and black pepper. Stir and remove from heat.

- Serve into bowls. Garnish with egg strips, crushed seaweed, and any other garnish you want.

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Enjoy!

FAB #2 – Korean Make-up Review

Hello, lovelies! I’m back with another FAB post! This time I’m reviewing more Korean make-up products.

I bought all of these from Jolse.com. I’m so happy I found this site. It is an online shopping mall located in Korea. The site is in English and Spanish, and is easy to use. There are lots of brands to choose from, and I feel like prices are reasonable. Shipping costs aren’t too high, but it will take some time for you to get your shipment (around 2-4 weeks).

I’m happy with my experience with the site, so I’ll be ordering from Jolse again the future!

On to the products —

Moistfull Collagen Cream – Etude House

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I talked about the Moistfull Collagen Cream in one of my previous make-up reviews. It’s a product I picked up when I first got to Korea, and I’ve loved it since. I use it as my moisturizer in the morning and evening. It feels soft/soothing when I put it on, and you don’t need a lot of it. One of my favs!

Precious Mineral Any Cushion – Etude House

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Despite the silly name, this is a nice BB cushion. I’ve used Etude’s Any BB cushion before, so I got sucked in again by cute packaging. I bought Natural Beige (W13). Pretty much your standard cushion which is in reference to the part where the BB cream comes out. The cushion part is nice because I don’t overdo it with the amount I use. It’s also SPF 50+, which is fairly common with Korean BB/CC creams. The color is a little light for my skin tone although it doesn’t make me look ghostly white, so it’s not bad.

Another nice thing is that you can buy refills for it. The cushion/sponge holder part pops right out!

Mask Sheets (Tea Tree & Korean Ginseng) – Etude House

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Mask sheets are the best! It’s a cheap way to give your skin a bit of a mini spa treatment at home, and it’s very quick (you only need to keep them on for 10-15 minutes).

Every store has different sheets with different properties. I decided on Etude House since Jolse.com had a really good deal on them. Every sheet has something that is does well – brightening, whitening, moisturizing, revitalizing, etc. I went for Korean Ginseng and Tea Tree this time. They’re pretty typical mask sheets. They do have the scent of the ingredient they’re named for though luckily the tea tree is hardly noticeable (if you’ve smelled tea tree oil straight up you know it’s powerful stuff!). I like what they do for my skin and I haven’t had any adverse reactions, so I’d recommend these.

Power Essential Skin Toner / Balancing Emulsion – Laneige

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Here we have a Korean brand being sold in the U.S. Hurray! I found that Target started carrying Laneige in their stores and on-line. Korean skincare products are known for being high quality, so I decided to buy a couple products.

I’d never used products like these very much except for when I got free tiny samples at stores. I had heard, though, they can make a big difference. I tend to break out a bit around the nose area, but since I started using these I’ve noticed that I’ve gotten a lot less of them. Nice!

The toner is $25 and the emulsion is $28, and you can find them here.

Kiss Lover Eyetone Eyeshadow – Tony Moly

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Tony Moly is another good brand that I don’t hit up as often as I should. I decided to try for an eyeshadow this time. I got a shimmer color – S06 Girls’ Burgundy. It’s pretty dramatic which is different than my usual soft or neutral look. Would probably be cool to experiment with a smoky look with this one!

Ginger Sugar Tiny Lip Balm – Aritaum

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As if I didn’t have enough lip products! When winter gets as cold as it does here, you always need a good lip balm. This beats the hassle of using more than one product or having to go without color in favor of a balm.

I got No.1 Flame Rose – a rose-y red (as the name implies). Not too light or too dark. It goes on with the consistency of a lip balm, but doesn’t feel sticky or anything.

Play 101 Pencil (Holiday Limited Edition) – Etude House

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I started experimenting with different eyeliner colors last year since I was always doing black or brown. I love using different colors now! It’s a fun way to change up your make-up look. Etude House has their Play 101 Pencil line, though the ones I bought were the Holiday Limited colors. So even if these colors aren’t around anymore, they still have some other great ones you can check out.

I got #52 (pink) & #56 (burgundy/purple). #52 is pretty light so I think you’d have to match it up with another color or product. #56 is dark and lovely. Both are creamy so they go on smooth. The Play 101 Pencils also have different styles so some have glitter, some are glossy, and some are plain creamy. Either way, I really love these colors!

So, once again, I’m pleased with all the products I ordered. I know I need to change things up by not ordering so much Etude House all the time. Can’t help it! I’ll do my best to have more variety with my next order.

Thanks for reading! :)

7 Handy Things to Keep at School

Over the years I was teaching in Korea, I acquired a lot of stuff around/in my desk. Honestly, it was a bit messy. My laptop, files, coffee mug, origami when I got bored, textbooks — you get the idea. But there were things I kept around because I found them to be handy or useful.

1. Cup ramyun

Though I tried not to eat too much ramyun (it’s not very good for you), I tried to get a back-up cup in my desk. My first school was notorious for having bad food. Seriously. Even teachers from other schools knew that. So after awhile I started making my own lunches. But on the days I forgot, and didn’t want the school food, I had some ramyun. It’s a good thing to have around so you don’t get too hungry during the day.

2. Snacks

I didn’t always have them around, but sometimes a piece of candy or something like that is just a nice pick-me-up when you need a bit of energy.

3. Feminine hygiene products

Well, sometimes it’s awkward talking about this stuff, but it’s not nearly as awkward as having to go to the nurses’s office with your co-teacher or someone else because you need to explain to the nurse that you need a pad. However, it is nice that they will generally have them because girl students will go there when they need one. Anyway, just save the trouble and keep a couple in your desk drawer.

4. Aspirin

It’s just a nice thing to have around. That and stomach medicine. Rather than waiting until you get home (or, again, having to go to the nurse), you have some around just in case.

5. Umbrella

During the summer months, which is when the rainy season happens, it’s handy to have an extra umbrella tucked away. The day may start out nice, but the weather can turn quickly and there may be a downpour at the end of the school day. Rather than walking home and getting soggy, you’ll be much better off with an umbrella around.

6. Tea

Nothing like a cuppa to warm you up or calm you down. There were always tea bags in the office, but the flavors were rather generic/boring. So I kept a couple boxes of tea that were sent from home so that I could make up a different flavor once in awhile. I also put hot cocoa packets in my drawer for the winter time.

7. Blanket

You’ll often see girls using these in cafes or famous stars on TV using them (mostly for modesty). I had happened to have gotten one of these lap blankets as a wedding favor from someone at school — even though I didn’t go to the wedding or know who they were (that’s actually pretty normal). Anyway, it was nice during the winter when I was sitting around the office and feeling a bit chilly. Plus, it could be a makeshift pillow for a quick nap. Actually, I had a mini pillow too for that purpose that I had bought at Art Box.

Hope that was useful! If you have any other suggestions for useful things like these I’d be interested to hear them. :) 

Going to Movies in Korea

I love movies! There’s nothing like going to the theater, getting a big ol’ tub of popcorn, and being entertained for a couple of hours. Movie theaters in Korea are no exception.

For one thing it’s a little cheaper than the U.S. Maybe by only a couple of dollars, but that’s money you could be spending on snacks (which are also cheaper). Of course, snack-wise, you aren’t going to get things like dried squid in your home country, but it’s an interesting option. I always like the popcorn choices because my friends and I each had our own preferences. So for not much money we could each get a topping we liked (such as caramel or butter), and we’d share and be happy.

In pretty much every theater you get to choose your seat when you buy your ticket. I liked that option, though when you go as a couple or group then you risk the chance of being split up. Or you could do what we do here and just ask the people in your row to scoot down a couple seats.

There obviously isn’t going to be every English release when it comes to movie choices. It’s usually the blockbusters. These days, though, we have things like Netflix and options to buy digital copies so you won’t totally miss out on what people are seeing back home. There’s also the thing about there being Korean subtitles on the screen, but I can easily ignore that. Plus, subtitles means less younger children because they don’t want to sit through a movie for 2 hours reading. For kids movies, though, like animated ones that means there are dub tracks. So you may have a harder time finding a time when you can see it in English because those showings tend to be less often.

Also – movie fliers!

Movie fliers

I got addicted to collecting these. They also have them in Japan. I like them because they’re like little posters. I hung a few in my apartment as decoration. I didn’t even see some of those movies! They’re cool though, right?

All-in-all, seeing movies in Korea is pretty nice. It’s mostly the same experience as home, but the little differences make it interesting.

I didn’t see any Korean movies in the theater, but I have seen a couple elsewhere. What’s your favorite Korean movie? I enjoyed “Secretly, Greatly” (은밀하게 위대하게) and “A Werewolf Boy” (늑대소년).

Cheers!

2014 In Review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 6,500 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

I think I had quite a nice year! Look at all those readers!

I want to thank all you guys so much for reading my blog and watching my videos. I really do appreciate it.

Here’s hoping 2015 is even better. Happy New Year to you all!

Dec Giveaway Winners & Wow! 200+ Subscribers

So sorry for the delay, lovelies! But finally I picked the winners for the December EXO Giveaway.

The CD winner is: Ashley Ngow

The poster winners are: popstarmusa lee, and Fatimah Zahara.

Thanks so much to everyone who watched the video and commented. And even more thanks to all my new subscribers. I’m over 200, almost at 250! Wow! It really makes me happy that so many people enjoy what I do. :) I’m so grateful.

Happy holidays to you all!

FAB #1 – Outfit & Make-up from YesStyle

FAB = Fashion and Beauty ;)

I recently ordered a few things from YesStyle for the first time. I took advantage of some coupons during Black Friday and I’m pretty happy with what I got!

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First are these cute panda tights. I love pandas! The tights fit well — I sometimes found Korean hosiery too small (although this is a Japanese brand, mind you). I also like that they give the illusion of knee highs, but I don’t have to pull them all the time like knee highs.

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I also got this oversized, warm knit sweater. Oversized sweaters/tops seem to be a “thing” with Korean girls (from what I saw). I grew to like the style. It’s not as pink as I thought — more of a very pale pink. I love it though!

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I also got this t-shirt and suspender skirt set. When I opened the package I was worried it wouldn’t fit because it looked very small. Although the shirt is snug on me, it’s not uncomfortable. The skirt is just the right length too. I found, in Korea, that I had to really check out skirts/dresses because most Korean girls don’t have as much going on in the back. That meant dresses could go from being cute to somewhat obscene on me lol.

Although I do have some qualms with how it’s constructed. Honestly, the zipper wasn’t put in well (as in, it shows more than it should), but it’s not that terrible.

The make-up is from Tony Moly. Totally cute packaging, and I really like the products. The are, unfortunately, not available on YesStyle anymore so I’m not sure if that means they are out of stock, or if Tony Moly no longer sells them.

[edit] I found both products at Jolse.com!

Petite Bunny Gloss Bar

Panda’s Dream So Cool Eye Stick

Here’s another look at the outfit:

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Overall I’m pretty happy with YesStyle, and I’d order from there again. Have you guys ever ordered from there?

Thanks for reading!

(P.S. I now have a Facebook page – Oh My Happy Dae!)