My Favorite Things: July 2015

My Favorite Things: A Blog Linkup

I’m participating in Eirene and Raisa’s “My Favorite Things” monthly blog linkup, so here are five of my favorite things from June.



2015 is the first year I’ve cared about candles, but they seem to be trending in Korea as several candle shops recently opened in my neighborhood. In June, I burned the candles in the picture: Woodwick’s Cafe Sweets Trilogy and Circa Home’s 1998 Mango and Papaya. I enjoyed both of them. Woodwick candles are fun because when the wick is lit, the candle crackles and sounds as if it were a log burning in a fireplace.

Even though I’ve used my Mango and Papaya candle several times for many hours, I’ve never actually lit it. I have a candle warmer that melts all of a candle’s wax without burning it, which also helps the candle last longer. Basically, despite being tiny and my having used it a ton, my Mango and Papaya candle looks flawless and has a lot of scent left.

I’m most fond of candles made with soy wax like Ecoya and Circa Home’s. I heard that those made of beeswax were the best because they cleaned the air and reduced allergies/asthma, so I got one, but I hate it. It’s too strong; it irritates my nose to the extent that I feel as though it’s going to bleed. How ironic.

Anyway, do you have any candle recommendations?



Summer is my least favorite season—it’s unbearably hot and humid. It also rains for a month straight. It’s just horrific. Regardless, dresses make summer tolerable and they’re fun. While I was “studying” for one of my finals, I picked up the four dresses in the image above for about $10 each at Top Ten and I love them. I wore each of them in June.

My Phone: Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge


My phone is beautiful. My phone’s case is purple, celestial ♥, and it holds my most important cards—it’s basically perfect. Sadly my phone isn’t perfect because of its questionable battery life. Still, it’s one of my favorite things. I miss some iOS apps, but I’m happy to be an Android user.

Doctors Without Borders

Unfortunately, I’m materialistic and my last few posts have been little more than celebrations of conspicuous consumption, so as a bit of a reality check, I’ve added Doctors Without Borders (Medecins sans Frontieres). They do amazing work all over the world. I donate to them every month. They’re just great.

If I continue participating in this linkup, which I hope I will, I’ll feature a different charity each month because if I have money for candles, clothes, and stationery, then I also have money for charity.

My Bike

I adore my bike even though it lacks a basket and a rear rack. If you haven’t seen my post about it, give it a look: My Bike and a GoPro.

That’s it! What were your favorite things in June?

*Photos (over)processed in—get ready for it—Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop, Pixlr and Aviary. ^^


Stationery Haul (kikki.K)


If you’ve read my Bucket List, you’ll know that one of my life’s highlights was holding in my hands a page from a Gutenberg Bible. I love history; I’m a bibliophile; I’m a logophile. Books, paper, Kindles, letterpress printers, &c. I adore them.

So when it comes to spending vices, makeup, clothes, games, rocks, bags, whatever—they don’t really threaten my bank account, but books and stationery? They can wreak havoc. That’s a little weird, right? Regardless, I kept my addiction under control and behaved quite well for a few years. I stopped accumulating things and only bought to replace that which I’d used. For about two years, I even stopped buying things all together.

But now? In celebration of graduate school being over, I have lifted all bans on stationery purchases and indulged.

I present you with a haul from kikki.K ♥ In the comments below, let me know if books or stationery is one of your vices. If neither of them are, what is?



First, from kikki.K’s Hello Yellow Collection, I snagged a set of minimalist but still nicely designed sticky notes and a set of cheerful postcards. I hope to randomly mail the postcards to friends during the summer. I need to collect addresses, though. Want one?


You know, paper clips are useful, so why not have pretty gold round ones? The same can be said for page markers. They’re useful too, so why not have cute strawberry and grape page markers?

Stickers aren’t exactly useful, but I bought water intake stickers to encourage myself to drink more water, to track how much water I actually drink, and to give my planner some color.


The “Live What You Love” book is full of positive and inspirational stickers. Being a delusional optimist isn’t a good thing, obviously, but this book makes it easy to stick pretty and uplifting messages in places and that’s nice. Cheesy can be fun; being positive is good too.


As a lover of paper and a wannabe stationery aficionado, I couldn’t resist the Paper Lover’s Book. It’s literally a book of pretty paper that’s easy to remove and do things with. What’s not to like about that?



And finally, we come to this, the seemingly benign, but actually most extravagant item in this haul: kikki.K’s 2015/2016 Ocean Medium Time Planner. What makes this extravagant? Partly the price, but primarily the fact that I have eschewed planners and have never seriously used one of them or a calendar in my entire life—that’s more than 10,700 days. Still and rather ironically, I thought that it might be fun to use a planner as a creative outlet, since I’m slightly less busy and don’t have to worry about efficiency as much. I was also inspired by Amanda’s bullet journal post, so we’ll see. I have great plans for my planner, which I will discuss in a post later.

Do you use a planner?

*For the curious, all photos were taken in the dark with a Canon 60D and an EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens.


My Bike and a GoPro

Peanut Butter & Jelly. Reading & Writing. Umbrellas & Rain. Alexander Hamilton & the ten dollar bill.

Some things simply go together, like biking and photography.

As I mentioned in my last post, biking and photography were two hobbies I often combined. I would put my DSLR in my bike’s basket, creatively latch my tripod to the rear rack and explore the many trails in my area while stopping to take photographs along the way.

Bike Riding in Bundang Korea

But that beautiful bike—it’s in the image above—is gone (RIP) and it has been ages since I used my DSLR. Even though I love my camera, after long periods of not using it, I find that I have to ease myself back into things. It’s like an awkward reunion with a good friend I haven’t seen in a decade. I’m shy. I screw up my settings. It’s a mess.

Not wanting to deal with that, on my latest bike outing, I was DSLR-less, basket-less, selfie-stick-less, tripod-less &c. But I still tried to up my game in two substantial ways. First, I attached a GoPro. Second, I bothered to learn the very basics of Adobe Premier Pro. Thus, there’s the video ♥ Make sure you play it in HD.

I like my video because I think that what it shows is different from what most people picture when they think of Korea. At any rate, if you have any tips about filming or encoding, please let me know because I really want to learn.

Also, please let me know if you like video entries like this. Thanks!


Hello (Again) World!

Celebrate! School Is Over

There are lots of new things to celebrate. First, the new layout and the new post. I know—it’s been a while.

I also recently acquired a new phone. I switched from Apple to Android, because Samsung has been treating me beautifully and the Galaxy S6 Edge looked like a glorious smartphone.

Then, there’s my new bike. In the past, I combined bike riding with photography and even carried my tripod with me at times. But given that unlike my old bike (RIP), my current one lacks both a basket and a rear rack, I don’t know how or even if I’ll take my tripod on future outings. I bought a new backpack for my DSLR, so at least I’ll be able to comfortably carry it.  I also have a new-ish GoPro. Technically, I’ve had it for almost a year, but I only recently started using it. I hope to share some GoPro videos. I still like photography, obviously?

But perhaps the biggest thing is that soon, if nothing goes wrong, I should have a new degree, a Master’s in Korean Studies and International Law and Organizations. I’ve finished all of the work for it.

Here on, though, things are only half up. Slowly, it’ll come together. I will be updating with some new, some old (and some ancient, I mean 2001-2 ancient) posts. ♥

So, how have you been doing? Seriously, how are you? (Feel free to comment below.)


I’ll see you with a new post next week.

*The photo is a picture of my university. It was taken with my Samsung Galaxy S6 and processed in VSCO Cam/Pixlr.


How to Be Productive (as a Uni. Student)


Everything I say in this entry should be taken with a huge heap of salt. I’m not responsible for what happens to you if you follow my advice, especially if what happens is terrible, but counter-intuitive things work well for me. Perhaps they (will) work for you too.

My guiding principle is KISS: doing less instead of more in the name of efficiency.

  1. Do not write anything down in a calendar/schedule/planner… I’m very busy; my schedule changes daily and varies significantly from week to week. If I wrote things down, I’d be checking my calendar several times a day for fear of forgetting something and I’d be editing it constantly. I just don’t bother with any of it and simply remember when I have meetings, classes, exams, conferences, &c. I’ve yet to forget a single thing (even when I was teaching 11? different classes and working 7 days a week). So do not write things down. Not writing saves time. (Why does this sound like such awful advice?)
  2. Take notes for all classes in one notebook (or on a computer). Too many notebooks = too much stuff to carry around. If you have gigantic handwriting this might be a problem, but my handwriting verges on microscopic. My current notebook is a pink Leuchtturm1917 jottbook. It’s small, light, flexible, and durable. ♥
  3. Do not take notes on readings. Only highlight. If writing a paper, it’s okay to write down quotes and paper numbers, but aside from snarky comments in the margins, that’s all that should be tolerated. In preparation for exams, do not make timelines, charts, or any other such nonsense—stick to learning the material and do not get involved in producing art projects of this sort. If feeling particularly obsessive, a list of terms can be stomached—maybe—but nothing else.
  4. Buy ebooks. Kindle > 500+ page monograph. Ebooks are searchable. I hate carrying heavy things.
  5. Do not take any foreign language classes. Just self-study and test out of them. It’s 2013. Foreign language courses are very 20th century. This may seem radical as it requires a certain amount of discipline, but it’s for the best. Use the Internet. Get books from Amazon or wherever. Don’t waste time in these classes. If foreign languages are a requirement for you, this will free up space to take other things. (Note: a one-on-one course does not fall under this ban!) I already did this for one language and I’m going to try to do it for another (just for fun).
  6. Do not color code any notes. It’s okay to mark key-terms, but elaborate color-coding schemes are intolerable. Optional: Don’t write in black or red, just because… Use other colors. I suggest pink, purple, grey, robin’s egg blue, navy blue and pens of .38mm or .3mm. Avoid .7mm at all costs and .5mm when possible.

Given such habits you may think that I’m failing out of school and forgetting my appointments left and right, but I’m not. Also, I realize that everyone has different study habits. I’m curious to know what yours are. And! please stick to what actually works for you.