Friday, February 27, 2015

Girls trip to Seoul

It is fairly common for my friend's husbands and mine to be gone at the same time. It's just part of military life, but it is nice to have friends who are in the same boat as you. Last year, my friend Hannah and I were treated to a girls trip by our husbands to Ishigaki island. This year they decided to send us on a shopping trip to Seoul, South Korea for President's Day weekend. Both of our husbands had already been there for business, so it was a perfect spot for a girls trip. It was a super quick trip and it was freezing cold, but we ended up having a really great time. We loved Seoul and the young, hip vibe and we definitely did some damage shopping.

When we got to our hotel, we were immediately impressed. The hotel was so nice and it had a huge luxury mall underneath. When we arrived we were greeted with macaroons. Apparently, there was a strawberry festival going on, so they had a tea time complete with a strawberry fountain, macaroon tower, every kind of strawberry dessert, and strawberry decor.

After freshening up in our room, we set out for some shopping. We started in the mall at our hotel, but quickly realized we were out of our league with the high end shops. So we found ourselves wandering around the incredible food market on the lower level of the mall. I've learned that asian malls always have incredible high end food markets and it makes me feel like a kid in a candy shop. 

pickled everything

We had lunch at a Korean place and had wonderful chicken and bulgogi. Then, we headed out on the subway to find something more in our price range. While we were trying to navigate the subway system, we discovered an underground shopping area that was a bit more in our price range. We soon discovered that most of it as knock-offs from the mall above us. We headed to Itaewon, the hip area of Seoul. We walked around, had a wonderful Turkish dinner, and shopped at some of the boutiques. It was such a cool area, full of every type of restaurant and lively nightlife. It was such a fun night!

The next morning we decided to take a break from shopping to do some sightseeing. We headed to Gyeongbokgung Palace. We were paired with a free tour guide, which ended up being great because we got to learn so much about the history of South Korea.

Our tour guide! #selfiestick

We then headed to Insadong area to walk around and eat some yummy dumplings. 

 We were ready for some serious shopping, so we headed to Myeongdong where the shopping did not disappoint. We shopped in every boutique, Forever 21, H&M, Zara; essentially we shopped until we dropped.

Whenever I go somewhere new, I try to eat a few meals that are found in that location, so we went to a traditional Korean restaurant. Let's just say, Korean food is not on the top of my Asian food list.

Feeling unsatisfied after our dinner, we headed back to our hotel and went to the gourmet market to pick up lots of goodies. We went to to incredible spa at our hotel and went into the jacuzzi and sauna to help our tired feet. The next morning, as we headed to the airport, I wasn't quite ready to leave. Our time was so short and I felt like there was still more to see, do, and eat! I would definitely go back again!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Cherry Blossoms at Nakijin Castle Ruins

Last year around this time, we went to a cherry blossom festival up north. The festival itself was fun, but I was a bit disappointed with the blossoms. This year, we decided to head to some castle ruins to check out the blossoms there. The blossoms still weren't as great as I was excepting, but the mix of the castle ruins, the blossoms, and the view made for a great day. Throw in some delicious sakura (cherry blossom) ice cream and a trip to the infamous Pizza in the Sky and you have the perfect day with great friends.  

Okinawa cherry blossoms are very pink. They are very different than the white or light pink ones you see in DC and mainland Japan. We found a few trees with the white and pink and then some that were a mix between the hot pink and the light pink. I can't wait to make a trip to mainland to see the cherry blossoms there. 

A butterfly landed on me and Hannag was camera ready!

Finally got to eat at Pizza in the Sky. It was definitely worth the hype. The view was spectacular, the place was super cute, the service was good, the food was delicious, and the presentation can't be beat. I will definitely be making a trip back soon!

I am excited to be back here blogging again. I thought this was the perfect "back to blogging" post since it was what made me feel inspired to post again. I can't wait to post what we have been up to over the past few months!