Monthly Archives: April 2014

I miss Ikea.

If you’re moving to Korea soon and hope to swing by Ikea  for some good inexpensive things for your home you might be waiting a while.  When I officially moved here in 2012 and had to furnish an entire apartment, I was nervous that without an Ikea, it would be expensive and a long process.   Ikea is slowly making it’s way to Korea, after having already been in Japan for years, and it’s first store is set to open by the end of 2014.  I suspect though, that even once it opens it’s doors the crowds will be so outrageous that you may still be searching for alternative.

Although there are still things from Ikea that I crave and find hard to find substitutes for such as Ribba frames and those storage boxes of all shapes size and colors, there are plenty of alternatives for shopping in Korea for anything household related; even if you don’t read or speak Hangul (Korean).   Here are some of my favorites:

GMarket: I like to say this “GMarket” as if it’s the name of a hip-hop artist, it just makes it more fun.  Think Korean-Amazon (because no, Amazon is not available in Korea unlike Japan).  They have a “global” site which reads in English, and although it can still be a bit tough to navigate because a lot of the item descriptions are still in Hangul, it’s a treasure trove of anything you can think of, and all reasonably priced too.  You can buy anything from groceries, furniture, clothing, electronics, etc on this site.  I furnished my entire apartment for under $1500 here.  Some stuff will even be delivered to your door on the dame day!  Word to the wise those, check those measurements, as Korean furniture tends to be ultra small.  Although I’m totally used to it now, when my couch arrived from GMarket I swore it was child-sized.

Modern House:  This place has a bunch of brick & mortar stores all over Korea, and they are adorable.  The physical store isn’t that large, mainly being located in malls, but they pack a lot into a smaller store.  The best way I can think to describe this is a smaller mix of Crate & Barrell and Ikea.  The prices are some of the most reasonable I’ve found in Korea and it’s actually quality stuff, unlike most things in Korea that are cheap for a reason.   The website is all in Hangul, however if you use Chrome, the translate function works well enough for you to navigate, however I had to had a Korean friend help me when it came time to setup an account and checkout.

EMart:   This is like the Super-Target/Wal-Mart of Korea.  Beware going here on weekends, as it could easily take you an hour to get a parking spot, then hours to ram your way through the crowds of people, and another hour to get out of the parking garage.  Weeknights work best for me, or I’m sure weekday mornings would be good if you aren’t working.  You can find anything you need for a house here, and then go shop for groceries too.  They even have a descent selection of clothing if you’re not looking for anything with a designer label.  Some things are overpriced, probably because of the convenience factor of the big store, but most items are competitively priced.  They have a website where you can buy anything and have it all delivered even the same day (hello grocery delivery); but the site doesn’t translate to English well so I just go to the store.


500 (+) Days of Travel

Travel is the only thing you can buy which makes you richer.

I saw that quote online a while back and have lived by that motto ever since.  My response to friends is always, “can’t take the money with you…”

It’s been 578 days (yes I counted) since a friend dropped me off at SEA and I boarded a plane for Korea; that was Sept 9, 2012.  I just had just flown back from Virginia Beach three days earlier where I hugged and kissed my dog, Lane, goodbye and told her I’d be back soon.   Dragging a rolling duffle big enough for me to live in, a massive overweight extended-trip suitcase, a roll-aboard, and a tote bag, all of which were stuffed within an inch of their seams, I boarded a plane to Seoul, South Korea.  I’ll spare you the details of my life story from then until now, however I do enjoy a good travel update post, but since I have 578 days of travel adventures to catch up on, I figured a little info graphic and statistics could do the trick.

My flight map of the past 578 days:


In the last 578 days I’ve…

  • made 20 trips
    • 4 of which were such a far distance for such a short trip that people called me “crazy”
    • 3 of which the flights were booked less than 24 hours before departure
      • 1 flight booked 2.5 hours before departure
      • 1 flight booked while in a taxi on the way to the airport, 1.5 hours before departure
  • visited 7 new countries (not including trips back to the USA or South Korea since I live here)
  • stopped in 3 new countries on layovers
  • flown 60 different flight segments
    • 18 of which were in business class (it’s really hard going back to economy once you experience international business class…yes I am the 1% of travelers now)
  • experienced 13 different airlines
  • traveled 135,732 miles on airplanes
  • spent 2 nights living on a boat while island hopping in Indonesia
  • earned Gold Status on United 3 times (including guaranteed for 2015)
  • carried Lane on 4 flight segments from ROA-IAD-NRT-ICN all in a 24 hr period
  • been escorted off a plane by paramedics 1 time upon landing

It’s been a whirlwind for sure, with some amazing adventures, fabulous friends, and great stories, but I’ll leave those for separate posts, hopefully soon.

Where have you been in the last 578 days?  Off to plan my next adventure…


Happy has gone to the dogs

If you’ve turned on the radio at all in the past few months then more than likely you’ve heard Pharrell’s song “Happy”.  It was original written and featured in “Despicable Me 2” (which was a cute movie by the way), and is  now topping the charts, and making waves with his 24-hour music video.  It’s prompted all kinds of YouTube remakes and parodies, and I think this version about puppies & dogs might be the cutest thing ever.  Try watching this in entirety without smiling, I dare you!   Have a HAPPY day!

Dreamer not a Doer

When people ask me, “What is your dream job?” I normally don’t have to think too hard before answering, “blogger”, which is ironic, since I haven’t posted on this blog in almost a year!  Obviously, I am too lazy to follow my dreams, but on the bright side I’m definitely lazy enough to dream a lot! *wink*wink.   Seriously though, if I had some concrete motivation and a little more ambition I would love to start a blog that could take off, eventually make me money, just enough that I could live on a beach in Bali and just blog the days away in the sunshine.   Who doesn’t have that dream?   I always have these great ideas for blogs and great ideas for posts, but never take the time to sit down and make them happen.  Can I hire a TaskRabbit to do the work for me?  (hit that link, if they service your area your life will be forever changed, I swear.

To all 5 of my loyal readers…if I haven’t lost you in my year-long absence, what do you want to hear about?  Korea? Rambling of my life? travel?   Give me some motivation to get back to my blogging dream.  Happy Monday!!