Monday, April 30, 2018

Seoul: Bus ride from Hongdae to Hwajeong



Having satisfied my craving for Taco Bell and gotten the results of some lab work I'd had done at a nearby clinic, it was time to pack it in and head back. Hongdae is an excellent area if you want to hang out for awhile, though! There are tons of restaurants, trendy shops from big name to indie creators, street food stalls, bars and plenty more. I, however, had plans that evening somewhere else and it was nearing go-time.  


I found the public buses to be rather comfortable for the most part, though some of the busier routes (like Namsan tower) could get claustrophobic during peak times... This route was rarely crowded when I took it, and it was quite an affordable method to take, too. I could take one bus from a shopping mall a few blocks from where I was staying straight into the heart of Hongdae! So convenient. Funny thing is, I had posted a photo of some street food from a stall near the apartment and someone on Instagram recognized the area! They clued me into the bus route and I'm so very grateful for that. Social media can be pretty amazing sometimes, right?


This is going to be a pretty photo heavy post, but I wanted to capture as much of the experience as I could. I know it's routine for many people, but this is a novelty for me and I feel very honored and privileged to have had the opportunity to live like a local for a little while. I think it's the best way to explore and experience any new culture, personally, so I strive to do that whenever I can... so far I've lived in Japan and Korea, and the week I spent staying in Hong Kong was fantastic- though I stayed in a hotel for that one. It was nice, though I'd like to try an AirBnB next time we visit. It's definitely on my to-do list, but for now, enjoy these photos from my stay in Seoul!
 
 

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Seoul: Hongdae Taco Bell


There's something about visiting a familiar fast food chain abroad only to discover a multitude of micro-differences that can lead one to feel a bit like they've stumbled into uncanny valley. While burger joints like McDonald's and Burger King have done well in Japan and Korea, proliferating like the American bases and ex-pats who so desperately love their existence, tacos have been a harder sell. There's a litany of different factors that play into that fact- for one, geographic proximity to any country where tortillas and frijoles constitute a key component of the diet. Any cursory glance at a map and you'll quickly recognize that while our world is growing ever more connected by the day, there's still some bridges to be built and Latin America and Asia are quite distant from one another. It's not that tacos are wholely nonexistent- you can absolutely find tacos in Tokyo and Seoul, but they're likely going to be rare and a bit expensive. When I was in Japan, there were no Taco Bells in the Tokyo area that I knew of (and I searched)... that may have changed in the intervening 4 or so years since then, though. Seoul, however, has several Taco Bell locations. I'm sure a socio-cultural study on the minute differences that lend Koreans towards being more accepting of Taco Bell's menu than Japan was would be absolutely fascinating- my best guess is that maybe the popularity of eating meats wrapped in vegetables via ssam makes tacos a little more easy to introduce, but that could be wrong. 


Whatever the reasons, Taco Bell exists in the Hongdae area of Seoul, and since I spent a lot of time in that area running errands and just exploring, so it was inevitable that I'd eventually find my way in. Taco Bell was one of those guilty pleasures I found myself missing while in Japan, and after being in Seoul for several months it was a comforting nostalgia. Taco Bell has one of the most consistent menus and presentations worldwide, which I've read is due to how meticulous their measurements are in preparing their items. Of course, being a foreign menu it was tailored to suit Korean tastes with items like the Kimchi Quesadilla or fiesta fries (which we're only now starting to see pop up in select Taco Bell stores in the US), but there were still some old faithful items on the menu, too. I got a volcano burrito and cheesy potatoes because they're familiar carby/cheesy comfort, but I definitely recommend trying to local menu. Every food chain will have their's and it's a lot of fun to try items you can't find back home!  


Obviously, this isn't a gourmet meal by any stretch. It's not even what I'd consider an especially decent meal in Korea, given that you can get a much more balanced (as in, contains real recognizable vegetables) meal for half the price... but if you're feeling a little homesick and need some cheap(ish) taco goodness to remind you of home, it'll do.  It filled my belly for the time being and I was recharged for the evening ahead... which is good, because I had to pop out to Hongdae for some medical test results. Luckily, all the results were good! Woo! Diabetes and heart disease run in my maternal family so I try to take semi-decent care of myself. I could definitely be better about it, though. Speaking of, I should grab a glass of water. ðŸ’ĶI also learned that my blood type is A-, which I guess means it's pretty rare. Something like 6% of the world's population shares my blood type, and it's especially rare in Asia...so it's a very good thing I didn't need any blood transfusions while there! 

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Skincare review: Tony Moly "I'm Real" Broccoli Vitality


When I lived in Seoul, I may have dispensed a rather ridiculous amount of my discretionary spending on sheet masks, then gone through the bother of hauling them back in my hilariously (and expensively) over-stuffed luggage. If you've never heard of them (are you living on Titan?), sheet masks are face-shaped cloth or paper masks saturated with serums and ointments meant to give your skin an intensive dose of healing goodness. There seem to be as many sheet masks in existence as there are sea shells scattered along a beach, each purporting to be the best at whatever it claims to do. Need a brightening super-dose of vitamin c to wake up your skin? There are countless options. How about some snail mucin to soothe anxious, irritated skin? Boy howdy are you in luck! Every skin care/cosmetics company in Korea seems to be in on the sheet mask game, and compared to what I'd have paid for them stateside they are SUPER cheap to purchase when in Korea. When in Seoul... 


Each company throws out new and innovative products trying to get an edge on the competition, so you'll often find some surprising inclusions in the serums. Snail mucin is old news and not particularly shocking to me- in fact, it's an ingredient my skin seems to absolutely adore, so I seek it out. Broccoli essence is a little more novel... but does it work?


Tony Moly is one of the more well-known Korean Beauty brands in the US, or was one of the first I was introduced to through beauty blogs, at least. They have adorable hand creams shaped like bananas or Pokemon, and their aesthetic seems a bit more young and youthful than some of the other brands. That can be a good or bad thing depending on what you're looking for. As much as I love clever, cute details in the packaging of products, if it's not doing it's job or serving practical purposes I'm not going to love it. This sheet mask, as you can see in the photos above, didn't fit my face very well. It clung on my forehead and cheeks alright, though it tore near one of my eyes when I tried to adjust the fit slightly. The serum was very watery, which I didn't particularly mind because the serum itself felt nice and soothing on my skin. I woke up with a nice, calm glow that wasn't greasy, so the serum worked well enough. The mask itself felt cheap, though, and didn't add any real sense of luxury to the self-care ritual. Also, that package is kind of obnoxious to me. I get the uniqueness and shelf-appeal of having the unique shapes jutting from the top as opposed to the standard pouch, but it makes it harder to store. I like to keep my sheet masks in the fridge because they feel that much nicer going on chilled, and I imagine it helps to preserve any volatile or less shelf-stable ingredients. It gets hot in Vegas, and even with our air-con on it doesn't prevent our bathroom from getting warmer than I really care to make my cosmetics. Fitting this in with the rest of my sheet mask horde means that there's a weirdly shaped end sticking out somewhere, and makes it longer/taller than my other masks, so some of the places the others would have fit no problem can be meddlesome with this shape.


As far as this mask goes, I don't think I would repurchase it. You can find a set of Tony Moly sheet masks with this one included for about $18 on Wal-mart's website, which isn't a terrible price for 11 masks. If you're looking for an affordable way to pamper your skin and get into the sheet mask game, it's not the worst possible place to start, but it's not the best, either. 


💙💚
Overall I'd give it a 2 out 5.
I like the serum, but the mask feels cheap and doesn't adhere to the face well. Any adjustments to the fit once it's on could cause it to tear or lose adhesion, and it never really clung to my jaw to begin with. There are much better options out there.

Thanks for stopping by!

💖
XOXO,
NAU


Friday, April 27, 2018

Avengers Infinity War ((NO SPOILERS))


I don't know about you guys, but Antho had bought our tickets to see the momentous, much-anticipated Infinity War (in 3D) weeks before it actually came out. Marvel has been building up to this movie for a decade now, and it's built up an immense universe with a huge cast of heroes rushing in to save the world, time after time...but what if they can't? Is there ever going to be a threat that is too great for Earth's (and the Galaxies') greatest heroes? That seems highly improbable, given how successful our heroes have been in past movies, but when the newest menace appears on the scene, that big Purple guy with the ballsack for a chin, he poses a much larger threat than any of his predecessors... except, maybe, Ego? Because the dude was a celestial, a literal planet capable of creating life like a god, so...but Thor himself is actually a God... so I digress. What even is Thanos? Aside from a big mean purple hero eating machine, I mean. In some of their previous installments, they've touched on this idea of their fallibility a bit, giving Iron Man a case of PTSD and some cosmic dread when he has a vision of impending doom, but for the most part the Avengers and friends have done a pretty bang up job at keeping Earth (and the Galaxy) safe enough. There have been civilian casualties, and damages, which was what lead to the events of Civil War, but for the most part we haven't lost any of the major players or important battles.  


What this all translates to, for Infinity War, is a movie with a lot of moving parts and a lot of anticipation. There's a huge cast of beloved heroes necessitating screen time and character development... because despite having most of our heroes fleshed out and developed in their own individual character films, there has to be some grounding and development in this movie for the consequences or results to have weight. We've had so many new characters introduced into the MCU in recent years: Tom Holland's Spider-man, Ant-man, Black Panther, Vision, Doctor Strange... So one of the movie's first challenges is bringing all of these individuals together, somehow- which is where Thor Ragnarok branching into the galactic space helps, as it gives sufficient backing to Thor running into the Guardians crew, but we still have to unite all our Earthbound heroes, too... and get to the meat of the plot, the conflict, the epic battles... Even though the movie is 2 hours and 40 minutes, it felt rushed and some crucial plot points felt shortchanged in their brevity to me. Then there were glaring absences of people who, for all intents and purposes, SHOULD have been there. Where'd they go? Are we to assume their absence means the worst or the best? Or were they just deemed inconsequential bit players after gaining ground in our hearts in previous films? 


There's absolutely no doubt that there's going to be a follow up to this movie, because holy shit. I'm not going to discuss how it ends, just that it's not satisfying to me. At all. I knew going into it that there was going to be a cliffhanger ending because of course there is, but I still wasn't prepared nor was I happy. And now we have to wait at least another year for the second half.

After the credits wrapped, the girl seated next to us in the theater was complaining loudly that she had been dragged out for "half a movie". Not really sure how she would have survived 10 years of Marvel movies thus far and not concluded as much was bound to be the case, but not everyone watches Superhero movies for fun I suppose. I don't watch football but I know what the superbowl is, and that's essentially what this movie is for the Marvel Universe, right? 

Anyway, if you're a fan of Marvel you're invariably going to go see this movie if you haven't already gone. It's headed towards making $230 Million for opening weekend. If you're reading this post debating whether to go see it, just go. Be part of the zeitgeist. Peer pressure and all that.

As for me, I'm going to be processing all the emotions I'm left with after this movie and all the shit going down on the CW Flash lately. 💔
Sigh.

Thanks for stopping by!

💖
XOXO,
NAU



Thursday, April 26, 2018

Project Dread head Days 1 through 3


Pretty much since the start of our relationship, Antho quit cutting his hair and started growing it out. That means for nearly 4 years now (our anniversary is in July, and he quit cutting his hair sometime in the fall not long after) he's been letting his thick mane of hair grow... and it's gotten long. Very long. It was hitting his elbows when he'd let it down, though he frequently kept it out of his face with Willie Nelson style braids or a bun (it's hair, people, it doesn't have a gender). It's the longest it's ever been in his life, and he often got compliments on his luscious locks from strangers. He has nice hair, and it's a lot thicker than mine, but that also means it was a lot more to handle. I've had long hair in the past and my hair has grown out a lot since I buzzed it off, but we'd hit the point where he felt he was at a crossroads. It was growing long enough to start to be a bit of a hassle: the pain of your hair getting sucked out the car window / stuck in your armpit/ caught under a strap / suffocating on it when you accidentally inhale it or it flies into your face during a gust / the list is endless... but he didn't want to cut it and basically tread old ground again. What to do... how about dreads?


It was one of the only things he hasn't done to his hair previously, and it's an excellent way to keep the hair that he's grown over these past few years but drastically decrease it's overall length while also improving its manageability. We had originally planned to start the process as a group project on July 10th (7/10), but after obsessing about it for weeks on end, and perhaps inspired in part by some of the beautiful heads of dreadlocks we saw at the Bender Jamboree, Antho started with just one little baby dread on the back of his head and then he just kept going until he'd gotten a rough head of them going. From there he picked up some crochet hooks from the local Sally's Beauty Supply and started going to town, sometimes having to untangle and re-section some of the early drafts he'd started. There's a LOT of different methods for starting, let alone maintaining, dreadlocks and it's easy to get lost in a rabbit hole of endless websites, videos, and tutorials. The method he settled on was backcombing to create the initial baby-dreads, then going in with a crochet hook to tighten them and pull in loose hairs. It's made a big difference, though they're still baby dreadlocks at this stage. It takes time for the hair to adapt and tighten, and because Antho's hair is very straight and thick it's harder for the knots to take. 


The above was all taken within the first 24 hours. You can see a lot of wispy ends peeking out and the hair is still very long and loose. Fluffy, fuzzy. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Vegas: Krazy Buffet


Antho and I are people who love to eat, but don't necessarily want to spend our entire income dining out. As someone who's traveled a wee bit and lived abroad for a time, I'd like to imagine I've expanded my palate and refined my tastes, but let's be real here. As much as I enjoy a delicately handcrafted noodle in a light savory broth atop a majestic Japanese mountain, or still squirming shrimp fresh from their aquatic homes devoured in Seoul's famous Noryangjin market, sometimes a girl just wants some good ol' greasy Americanized Chinese goodness. American Chinese food is certainly it's own distinct branch of the culinary tree, fusing the appetites and preferences of Americans (mm, cheesy sugary starchy deep-fried goodness) with what might have started as a Chinese dish. Believe it or not, there's actually some real mystery behind the origins of some of the most ubiquitous dishes we've come to know and love across Chinese restaurant menus throughout the US
When you're done contemplating the historical trajectory of a dish and the possible connections or revelations it may unfurl like some kind of InterNational Treasure odyssey, sometimes it's best to just eat it and enjoy it for what it is. Krazy buffet is a good place to do that. It's cheap, like really affordable, especially at lunchtime. The parking lot is often packed with people eager to get their fill. There's a dedicated sushi section where the chefs slice and roll away. Steaming hot fish, buns, shumai, and skewers crowd in next to slices of pizza, noodles, and glistening vegetables and meats for the limelight. The food is pretty good (not outstanding) and being a buffet you can pick and choose to your heart's content. We've seen people carrying multiple plates loaded to maximum capacity with crab legs, and while we definitely and absolutely judged them poorly for getting 8+ pounds of crab in one swoop, you're free to do what you want. This is America, and if you want to eat ALL the crab you can... at least, unless management stops you, which they might, because crikey there, mate. 


And while the food isn't necessarily outstanding, it's consistent. It's not the best sushi I've ever had, but it's passably satisfactory when served alongside big crispy salt and pepper shrimp, bao, and other goodies. Sometimes the staff can get behind on bussing and cleaning, but they're pretty good at staying on top of the buffet and ensuring the trays are full with fresh food so I'd consider that a win overall. I don't mind a couple straw wrappers here or there if the food is being prioritized and handled. 

The location is a bit out of the way for us, but we do find ourselves out in that neck of the woods every so often. Given our propensity towards forgetting to eat until we start to grow hangry, having a place like this where we can consistently fill up on a variety of foods (thus negating the arguments of where to go) cheaply is great. We'll be back. 

💙💚💕
3.5 stars
Does what it sets out to do effectively and satisfactorily. Not exactly winning any awards for gourmet food, but it's consistent and cheap!


Thanks for stopping by.

💗💖
XOXO,
NAU






Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Vegas: Biwon Korean BBQ and Sushi


If you're offended or upset by food porn, or it's getting close to lunch but you've got some time left yet before you can fill the aching void in your digestive tract, turn back now. This post is full, absolutely stuffed to the gills, with photography of a culinarily salacious and seductive manner. At least, it is if you're into things like smoky, hot grilled meat and cool, sweet and supple sushi. Not only can you get your Korean-barbecue fix at this awesome restaurant but sushi too! I'm not kidding. It really is the best of both worlds. It's like some sort of drama where a sassy Korean girl who loves meat won a stoic Japanese sushi chef's heart and their kids got sick of them bickering over what to have for dinner and opened this place, happy ending. At least, that's how I can imagine this place being brought into existence, but I'm absolutely not the expert on this one. Whatever fantastic fortune of fate collided to make this place happen is one I'm grateful for. 


It really is genius. Korean barbecue is made at the table, requiring a hot grill and a measure of patience as you watch your food sizzle and cook before your eyes. Your nostrils (and clothes) will fill with the scents of seared meats, and a bounty of banchan will likely proliferate. One thing I found interesting was that things like lettuce and rice were ordered ala cart, but it makes sense given that their business model is all you can eat. That's right, my friends- not only are you able to satisfy your need for piping hot bulgogi and samgyeupsal steaming off the grill, but gobble up salmon and sushi rolls, too, and as much as you can stuff inside your face! There's an upcharge for going the combined route- you could absolutely dine in the sushi dining room, or opt for just Korean barbeque, and that's totally okay. We, however, we hungry and wanted to treat ourselves, so we went all out.  While you wait (hungry, impatient, drooling) for your meat to cook, sushi orders can pop up and fill that void in your life. Isn't that sort of like heaven?


And overall, it was good. Damn good. We left absolutely stuffed, and I don't think we ate anything else for the rest of the day. We could barely move...and we had barely even scratched the surface of their extensive menu. There's all sorts of ways to upgrade your meal, from opting to do both sushi and barbeque to paying an extra charge to have the high-end cuts in your barbeque or getting boozy with some soju or cocktails. Some items are limited, like at most all you can eat places, so we don't resent that. Again, the business is here to make money, and they can't give away all their food at low prices or they'd have to shut their doors and that would be a crying shame. I've been wanting to go back, though it was a bit expensive since we had to #treatourselves ... soon, though, we'll be back. I'm definitely curious to try other parts of their menu and to share this find with friends who'd enjoy it as much as we did. Definitely a place to have a celebratory meal, and I feel like there's more to celebrate coming our way this year. 


More photos below!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Brief life update 04/23/2018


I haven't been as on top of posting the last few weeks as I'd have liked to have been, and for that, I apologize. I'm still fervently trying to stay on top of my goal of doing a blog post every day for the duration of this year, even if that means having to backpedal and make back-dated posts at times to fill in the gaps. This post, right here, right now, is one such post. 

Why have I been struggling a bit this month, when the last few months went more smoothly?

Well, for one, our beloved rats are starting to get quite advanced in age. The ones still with us have passed their second birthdays, and it's not often that rats see their third, let alone a fourth. We've had to contend with various new issues presenting themselves, from the sweet boy pictured here, Zinni (short for Vizzini) having a seizure that impaired his balance, to cancer and respiratory infections. While we've always tried to dote on them and ensure their time in our lives was as wonderful as we could facilitate, it's especially important to us to be there for them in their final days to try to keep them as comfortable as possible. Rats are such splendidly gentle, affectionate little beings and they've made our lives so much more fun with their sass and squeaks. We certainly didn't expect them to be so sassy- we call them our "squeakers" because they're more than happy to vocalize when their siblings, or we, do something they don't agree with. Luckily none have ever gotten into any serious disagreements and injured another, and they've never seriously injured us. I will always recommend rats as pets. 


Then there's been the job situation. Antho and I worked an event called the Bluegrass Bender Jamboree, which exposed us to not only the entertaining twangy Earthiness of bluegrass music but the fun-loving, tie-dye-sporting, often super-friendly fans of the funky genre. While we were there as staff, everyone we interacted with was generally amicable, happy and having a good time so it was a really fun experience. The hours were rather long and involved a lot of standing or running around, so I had to plan ahead to account for being pretty famished after each shift, and while I was able to get blogs out I barely found time to feed myself. Shortly after the bender was over I starting a new retail gig, too. I'm still doing caricatures for private events and parties, along with volunteering with Critical Care Comics, so I've been feeling a bit stretched trying to get to early morning training shifts and events. Once a little more routine is established it should get better. I'm excited about this new position as it's with a different company selling some truly beautiful products in a lovely store. Should be a lot less exasperated faces like that one soon!


Overall, I think things are looking up for this summer. Our tie-dye and art creations has been in a bit of an unwanted hiatus, but we should be getting back into it pretty heavily here soon. While it hurts to see our pets grow older, it's a natural part of life, and unfortunately, rats lives go by at a much-accelerated rate compared to our own. The best we can do is love them while we've got them and give them all the care and loving treatment we can. And all the treats! Naturally. 

Thanks for stopping by.

💝
XOXO,
NAU





Sunday, April 22, 2018

Vegas: Cici's pizza buffet

On a random weekday, several weeks ago, we happened to be out and about running errands in an area a bit away from where we normally go out to play. By the time our grumbling tummies grew loud enough to bring our attention to our appetites, we'd been out for hours without having eaten and had started to grow a bit hangry. This is never a good situation to be in, as people are never their best selves when ravenous with the need to feed. Upon reaching the destination of our last most critical of missions for the day (which was running on extremely limited time), we spotted a pizza buffet across the street and made it our destination post-errand. Not the most glamorous of food stations, perhaps- and the interior was certainly suffering from an overabundance of messy customers to staff, but it was certainly an amusing meal. We love pizza, like most reasonable human beings alive, and while this place is far from gourmet it's definitely a cheesy, carb-loaded feast that can fill your gullet for not a lot of cash. This is a big part of why it's got such a disproportionate ratio of customers to staff during the busy hours, I suppose. Who doesn't love a good deal? 


The food itself is alright. Like mentioned above, certainly not gourmet food here, but there's enough of the classics (pepperoni and cheese pizzas), salad, and dessert, plus you can get hot wings (for additional cost) to satisfy the whole family. There were birthday parties and kids a'plenty, confirming the family-friendly aspect of the place. There's even a macaroni and cheese pizza (yes, I got a slice) if you're in the mood for carbs and cheese on your carbs and cheese. Why not be extra? 

I didn't take a photo of it, but the table we ended up sitting at had a massive pile of detritus underneath. We weren't eating under the table (thankfully), so we just tried to avoid it with our feet and ignore its existence. There was already a lady shouting at some poor teenaged employee because her kid slipped in a puddle someone else's kid left by the arcade. Most of the tables were in varying stages of bussing so it was hard to find any that didn't have something going on, be it a pile of pizza crusts shoved in a corner or a pile of soggy napkins, but these things. We found one that was clearly unoccupied and focused ourselves on eating instead of judging the decor. I've worked in restaurants before and know how stressful and perpetually understaffed a lot of fast-casual joints can be, so I felt especially sympathetic to the poor employees who were trying to make it through. We knew going into this adventure that we weren't entering a fine-dining establishment, all we wanted out of this was to stuff ourselves with a satisfying pile of pizza and pickled beets (Schrute approved) on our salads. Mission accomplished.

So, I mean... We're obviously not going here every day, let alone week, especially since it's out of the way for us a bit, but I'm not hating on it. Maybe it'll be cleaner, albeit maybe less entertaining as a result, next time we visit, if we find ourselves out that way and hangry again.

💙💚💛
Solid 3 out of 5. 
Does what it needs to do, cheaply, but for the love of pizza please hire some more f**king staff. 

💖
XOXO,
NAU



Saturday, April 21, 2018

Seoul: Bus from Hwajeong to Hongdae


Seoul and it's surrounding areas have no shortage of means by which to get from one end of the city to the other, which means it can be beneficial to look into your options. Living in Hwajeong while there, a suburb not far from the city proper by Line 3, I had a decent assortment of strategies... Taking the trains could, at times, be quite crowded depending on the time of day, as I found during my work commute. Living in the suburbs is a popular choice for many residents, and many of those people, just like myself, had to commute into the urban center for their work or school. Depending on where I was going, it could sometimes be much better to take a bus- Hongdae being one such area. While I could ride Line 3 over to an adjacent station, then transfer to a different line and crowd in with the students headed to class, I found the hard way that it was a little too easy to miss my stop and end up at Seoul station, where to reroute to the place I needed to be would require walking to the opposite end of the rather large building (and up/down so very many stairs). If I was in a hurry, say to catch a doctor's appointment my lovely friend and experienced ex-pat Carmen had arranged for me with an English-speaking woman doctor, taking the bus would drop me off within five minutes' walk of the clinic's front door. This would spare me the potential panic of realizing I'd gotten a smidgeon too absorbed in a story on Reddit and missed my stop, losing valuable time.  No transfers to worry about, either. The bus stop for the ride to Hongdae was in front of a large department store complex not far from the train station entrance, so it was no less convenient getting to it, either. There was a handy LED sign displaying the bus routes, their ETA and destinations- albeit in Hangul, but it's not the hardest alphabet to learn and you can start to parse out key words and phrases with a little effort. At least, after being in Korea for a few months at this point, I found my comprehension of Hangul increasing without having to spend an intensive amount of energy into studying it... that is to say, I didn't really study much, if at all... I probably would have picked it up much sooner and more smoothly had I applied myself, but I digress.   


Your preloaded transit card works for the busses, as well, so no need to panic trying to figure out pocket change for fair. Just make sure your card is loaded at a train station and go about your day. I very much enjoyed taking the bus into the vibrant, trendy area of Hongdae, and the ease with which it returned me to my area. I took lots of photos because I found the different perspective novel. 


Enjoy!

Friday, April 20, 2018

Happy 4/20!

Greeting and salutations this fine April morning. 

Antho and I are going to be a bit pre-occupied, so here's a nifty Batman and Robin gif for you to enjoy in lieu of a more serious post. 


Have fun out there kids, and party responsibly!

Until next time~

💚
XOXO,
NAU

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Tie-Dye Throwback


There haven't been too many tie-dye related posts on the blog in a few weeks now, and unfortunately that's due to our being in a bit of a creation-slump. We started to run low on blanks and with my job situation rapidly evolving and changing over the past few months I've been hesitant to put any money towards the hobby when I had more pressing adult matters to worry about (like keeping a roof over my head and food in our bellies)... Things should be changing for the better here soon, and we've gotten some good news and a couple of checks coming in, but we're certainly not rich by any stretch of the imagination. This is part of why I'm so passionate about getting our tie-dye off the ground, though, while it can be a challenging balance to find. We need a day job (for now) to keep afloat but the desire to invest heavily in our own business is strong, too. I can't go crazy and buy all the blanks I would like to, though, because I need to be sure we stay out of the red each month. So far 710Visuals has been a mainly self-sustaining project, but to grow it further I need to bump it up a notch or two out of my comfort zone. Not the easiest thing to do. But I digress.


Since we haven't been making much these past few weeks, please enjoy the photos of a previous batch I don't think I've ever shared here yet. These shirts were all made by Antho while I was over in Korea, so that makes them extra special. Typically we make all the shirts as a team, sometimes one will fold and the other will apply the dye, but when it comes to rinsing and processing them it's a team effort every time... except for this batch, because I was so geographically distant there was just no feasible way I could help outside of texting him instructions and motivation/support. He had to fold, dye, rinse, untie, wash, photograph, process and post all of these all by his lonesome, which isn't the easiest of tasks. I'm proud that he did this, though, and I think it helped him understand more how much work actually goes into the back end of running our shop. I usually handle the processing and listing for everything because I have the desktop computer and have more familiarity with it. It's a team effort here, at 710Visuals! 

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Homemade Sushi Party April 2018


If you've followed my blog for any length of time, you might have noticed that Antho and I are both big fans of sushi and seafood in general. I'll eat it while it's still squirming when I can get it, even if that means having to chase my meal down the alleyway (yes, it's happened). 


Here in Vegas we're fortunate enough to have access to a wide array of fresh seafood from a variety of markets, which helps to keep the prices more reasonable (competition, baby). Fresh shipments come in often from all over the globe, so we can find an incredible selection not far from our abode. Many of the markets sell sushi grade fish ready to take home and devour, which is fabulous! As much as we love to eat sushi, our wallets and our budgets can't always swing the cost. The base components, however, aren't that expensive! To make your own sushi at home you'll need:

Sushi rice
Rice vinegar
Sugar
Toasted seaweed
Sushi grade fish (or smoked salmon, imitation crab, whatever floats your boat!)
Bamboo mat


We've made batches with cream cheese and without. Avocado and cucumber are staples for our simple rolls, though, as they add richness and crispness which help to compliment the fish. Salmon is my absolute favorite, while tuna is a classic. We can buy the sushi fish at a nearby market for under $10 for the two, which is a whole lot cheaper than going to a restaurant and ordering a few small pieces of nigiri! We can never just order ala cart and end up spending upwards of $50 for a sushi meal out, while making it at home I can buy several kinds of fish and groceries for the week with the same money. I'll be making bossam (Korean style boiled pork belly) with one of the slabs of pork belly I picked up ($7.50 for a 6" by 10" by 2" hunk cut into thirds, which will make at least 3 meals), pork and shrimp dumplings to make a wonton noodle soup using the shrimp broth (from when I poached the shrimp for sushi, then reserved the shells and boiled again to increase the shrimpy-goodness in the broth), and several other meals. Once you cook up your rice (which I do in my electric pressure cooker by Farberware), you season it with the rice vinegar and sugar (google for the ratios for the amount of rice you're making). Wet your hands before touching the rice (to keep it from sticking) and roll away! If you have a hard time trying to get the pressure right on your rolls, you can always opt to make handrolls or sushi bowls instead! There are so many recipes and videos out there to help guide you on your way, whatever your favorite sushi rolls are! Don't feel intimidated, try giving it a roll!