Monday, July 30, 2012

Busy busy busy

  So I'm pretty far behind in my blog posts but my computer was on the fritz. Luckily, Max is a super genius and after a lot of time and effort he fixed it for me. :) He's the best! I'm lucky to have such a tech savvy man. But now I have a bunch of things that I wanted to share with you guys from last week so let's get started. On the 21st I went to the city for my cousin, Christina's birthday! It was an awesome time and great to hang out with my family at bars in the city! I felt so.. like Liz. Drinking in Wrigleyville with a bunch of people. haha (Get what I'm saying Anna?)

Liz went too and she actually picked me up and we drove in together. But before we left I had her snap a few shots of my outfit and I even got her to let me take hers! :D

Shirt: F21
Skirt: Ross
Belt: F21
Shoes: Ross
Bracelet: Target
Earrings: Etsy
Clutch: Target


Dress: Express
Necklace: Old Navy
Shoes: Target

So Liz drove us to the city and that was.. an adventure. haha Parking in the city was so hectic but we found one and finally got to join the party. It was really fun just bar hopping and Christina was buzzin' pretty good. There were a lot of bachelor and bachelorette parties going on that night too. Seriously saw like 10 different groups. I don't really go to the city very often for being this close but when I do it's always a good time.
{Me, Christina, Liz}

{Liz, me, Christina, Jill, TJ}
And then after a few drinks here and there we tried to head home. Unfortunately, we lost the car. haha We parked and then dropped a pin on Liz's phone but it didn't actually drop it where we were so when we followed the pin it ended up being waaay off. So we were wandering around for like 45 minutes just trying to figure it out because, of course, we didn't look to see what street we parked on. Oh man. But we made it back and finally got home. PHEW! 
{My sista and me! :)}

{Emma, Jill, Christina, me}

So all in all it was a fun weekend. Liz left on sunday to go on vacation with her husband and his family so I was watching her house and her pup. It was nice because I felt like I had a home away from home. I felt like an adult making dinner with Max every night. Speaking of I have a lot of recipes to share with you guys! I found all of these on Pinterest. I don't know where I'd be right now without it! 

We got a few good ideas off with their amazing casseroles. We also had this dish one night and the next night as left overs. It was the perfect dinner for beer and chips and salsa. We also made this pie for dessert one night. Long hard process but we did that to ourselves. 

I'll space out my posts a bit so this is all for now! 


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Top 10: Movies Set Within a Single Day

I've decided I'd like to make a top 10 movie list! And what better way to kick it off than with movies that entire plot spans one day. It turns out, a lot of my favorite movies in general use this design. I think it's an interesting device to have a whole story play out in 24 hours or less. Sometimes you don't even really think about the timeline in movies, but I think it's something special when a movie can tell a riveting story within a single day. I'm no movie buff, but I do love movies. These are my personal favorites, and perhaps there are others that would have made the list if I had seen them. So please tell me which ones I should add to my list!

10. Empire Records (1995)

This is the movie that inspired the list. I recently watched this movie after a friend of mine recommended it (thanks, Alyissa!). Empire Records is a funky, little privately owned record shop that is jeopardy of being sold off to a large chain. But wait! We mustn't dwell. No, not on Rex Manning Day! The employees are a bunch of 20 somethings who are cooky and loveable and just a little messed up. The movie features young Liv Tyler (pouty trouty mouth and all) and Renee Zellweger (a little less puffy squint than compared to recent years) as well as a few other faces you might find familiar. It's got an awesome soundtrack too! And while there were a few minor things that bothered me (moody Debra and her dumb funeral), the movie was fun. And all those nostalgic 90's outfits were a trip (miniskirts and fuzzy sweaters!).

9. Do the Right Thing (1989)

Set in Brooklyn on one of the hottest days of the summer, this movie deals with the mounting racial tension in this predominantly black neighborhood. Spike Lee both directs and stars in the film, and you can bet there will be a lot of truth spittin'. The movie revolves around Lee's character, Mookie, a pizza delivery boy and the people in his neighborhood. Some include his feisty Latina/Black girlfriend, Tina (Rosie Perez), his tough but fair Italian boss, Sal (Danny Aiello) and his sons (John Turturro and Richard Edson), as well as Martin Lawrence, Samuel L. Jackson, Gioncarlo Esposito (something about Breaking Bad?). Also everyone is more than a little bit racist. The blacks hate the whites who hate the Asians who hate the Hispanics who hate the Blacks who also hate.... etc. It finally escalates to a breaking point and, well, you'll have to watch it.

8. The Goonies (1985)

A staple from my childhood (even if it was released before I was born...) this movie is a classic adventure story told by a group of kids looking for a hidden treasure. Plus there's a pirate ship, a deformed (yet loveable) superman, booby traps, the Truffle Shuffle, plus so much more! The movie's starring ensemble also features an adorable Sean Astin, a grumpy Martha Plimpton, a hunky (and still hunky) Josh Brolin, and a  mischievous Corey Feldman, as well as a few other cute wittle kids. I think I appreciated how much this movie relied on these young actors to carry this movie. It was about these kids growing up and figuring out life for themselves, without adults and their mind-numbing advice. Although, I guess there are a few adults trying to kill them... It's funny and heartfelt and makes us all wish we could find something as cool as a real treasure map hidden somewhere in our attics.

7. The Breakfast Club (1985)

Another movie from '85, and this one is a step up from precocious kids to quirky, angsty, complicated teenagers. This is a classic John Hughes film, if not his most famous. And in line with Hughes' other movies, this one takes place in a made up town in Illinois! What what. Anyway... the movie is about five high school students spending their Saturday in detention. At first they're at odds; "Ugh, we have nothing in common" "Ugh, I hate you and your conformist ways" "Ugh, I hate you and your smart ass mouth" "Ugh, no one really understands me". But then slowly, they each start to crack and open up. It turns out, no one is perfect and sometimes we all need a friend, no matter who they might be or what crowd they might be a part of. Awwww, a life lesson! Plus, the dance scene is great.

6. Mallrats (1995)

Not the first Kevin James movie to be set in a single day (Clerks), but my personal favorite. After TS (Jeremy London) is dumped by his girlfriend (Claire Forlani), he meets up with his BFF Brodie (Jason Lee) who was also dumped by his girlfriend, Rene (Shannen Doherty). Trying to move on from their respective ex's, the boys go to the only respectable place for teenagers/young adults to waste time in the 90's: the mall. There, TS discovers his ex is going to be part of a televised dating show, put on by her asshole father. Well, obviously, they have to stop it! Jay and Silent Bob (Jason Mewes and Kevin James) make a reappearance and regulars like Ben Affleck, Joey Lauren Adams, and Brian O'Halloran also show up. Even Stan Lee makes a cameo! There are sailboats, batman shenanigans, Jedi mind tricks, fake nipples, and sweaty ass-crack chocolate pretzels, and more; it's some good quality fun for the whole family.

5. Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)

This movie holds a special place in my heart. I have had a longstanding crush on the charming and adorable manboy that is Matthew Broderick, specifically during the 1980's. This movie might be his most famous role to date (I mean, did you see the Honda car commercial for the Superbowl this year?). He pulls the ultimate sick day. In fact, Marybeth and I attempted our own sort of Ferris Bueller inspired sick day, but the school office didn't believe I was my mom when I left them a message about our "mysteriously similar illness". But I digress. Another classic John Hughes film (which ALSO takes place in Illinois, but this time in some city called "Chicago"), this is like every teenage dream day. I mean, a Cubs game, the Sears Tower (before it was the Willis Tower...), the Art Institute AND he gets to lip-sync to the "Danke Schoen" and The Beatles atop a parade float? All this from a guy who supposedly passed out a 31 Flavors... or that's what my best friend's sister's boyfriend's brother's girlfriend who heard from this guy who knows this kid who's going with the girl said.

4. Friday (1995)

The stoner movie is a whole other genre that we won't get into today, but this one is one of my top 5. Clearly it is also in my top 5 movies set in a single day. It's got a lot going for it. And while I sometimes think this movie is two different movies spliced together (which moves it further down from the top of the list), I just can't help but love the first 2/3 of this film. Starring Ice Cube and Chis Tucker, the movie starts out with a simple plot line of two guys hanging out on a Friday after Craig (Ice Cube) gets fired from his job. Taking a cue from his name, Smokey (Tucker) is a pot dealer, but ends up smoking all of his product. In debt to the permed out drug dealer, Worm, Smokie and Craig have to find $200 by 10 pm or they'll both be shot. Yeah, things get kind of heavy. But up until the evening there are so many great moments and characters. And so many quotable lines! Here, let me give you an example: "I know you don't smoke weed. I know this; but I'm going to get you high today, 'cause it's Friday, you ain't got no job, and you ain't got shit to do!" Truer words have never been spoken.

3. Wet Hot American Summer (2001) 

One of the wackier movies on the list, Wet, Hot American Summer is a never ending barrage of random, hilarious moments, outrageous intertwining plots, and too many stars to name (but I'll try: Janeane Garofalo, Amy Poehler, Paul Rudd, Bradley Cooper, Molly Shannon, Michael Ian Black, Michael Showalter, Christopher Meloni, etc). The movie takes place on the last day of camp in the summer of '81. It revolves around a bunch of teenagers, even though their roles are being played by much older actors (there's talk of a prequel with the same actors who are 11 years older now who will be playing younger versions of their original characters. ha!). There are a lot of different stories going on in the movie, and while the characters interact, they're individual plots rarely coincide, if that makes any sense.  No, you know what, just got watch the movie. It's a cult classic and it's so fun to see so many prominent actors being completely silly.

2. Attack the Block (2011)

The most recent movie on the list, this sci-fi/comedy/horror movie has definitely earned it's place and I love talking it up any chance I get. The film takes place in the projects of South London. After a presumed alien falls from the sky, it is discovered and ultimately killed by a group a teenage kids. Once they take it back to their apartment building for safe keeping, shit starts going down. More "things" start falling out of the sky: big creatures, black as night, who scream and bare their fluorescent blue fangs. And they happen to be very interested in these boys' home. They have to defend their home from these aliens and make it to the fortress that is the grow room in a top floor apartment. The movie sews together all the genres so seamlessly and they even manage to sneak in some social commentary about the state of London's intercity youth. It's worth noting too that the main cast of boys are all fairly new, if not brand new, to acting and they all do a stellar job. I think it's an extremely smart movie, and if you can get past the ghetto, London jargon, I'd highly recommend you watch it.

1. Dazed and Confused (1993)

My number one movie set within one day is the cult classic, Dazed and Confused. Set on the last day of school in 1976, the film is just an homage to drugs, booze, and shenanigans. There's no plot. There are no main characters. It's just a bunch of high school and soon to be high school students enjoying the beginning of their summer. I love it's simplicity! And the music! Ugh, the music is fantastic. It's a collection of all the classic 70's rock and it fits in so nicely with the costumes and the cars and just makes you wish you were there with them, hanging out. Also all the cameos are fantastic too! There's Matthew McConaughey, Parker Posey, Ben Affleck (again), Joey Lauren Adams (again), Jason London (twin brother to Jeremy London), Milla Jovovich, Anthony Rapp... It's just a great movie that everyone should see; it's got something (and someone!) for everyone!

Honorable Mentions

Rocky Horror Picture Show
12 Angry Men
Hard Candy
The Rugrats Movie
(seriously there are so many good ones!)

Let me know what I've missed!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Forest Creature

Today is a nature post! Ahh the great outdoors. Er, well, the great outdoors are rather stiflingly hot as of recently. Summer here means humidity and it makes everything sticky and muggy. Whenever I walk our of my air conditioned classroom or air conditioned apartment, it's like a walk into a hot jello mold and I have to force myself through the thick, warm air. Okay, maybe that's an exaggeration... or maybe not! You don't live my life!

Woah, woah, I'm getting hostile. This heat is getting the better of me... It's a good thing I took a mini vacation this weekend and went camping with my coteacher, Elly, her husband and daughter, and two other families! It was such a nice feeling to get to go camping. I love camping and I miss going with my family. But these nice Korean families made me one of their own this weekend, and I couldn't have been more grateful.

But first!
(These were taken today, Tuesday, not during the camping trip)
dress: TJMaxx? Marshall's? I don't remember...
necklace: American Eagle
shoes: Ebay. Duh. 
belt: Toona (Korea)
So yes, camping. Elly and her family go camping every weekend and have invited me along, but hadn't been able to go until now! We went east and into the mountains to Youngwol City in Gangwon Province. We left Friday evening after work, so we got to the site later that night. My tent was already set up ^^ (because one of the other families offered a spare single tent!), so I just kind of hung out. There were two other families that were already there. One couple had two boys and a girl (one of the boys was a toddler who I kept trying to win over so I could hold him, but I never officially got the approval... He did call me "imo" a few times though, which meant "aunt". I'll take it as a small victory ^^). The other couple had two girls. They were kind of cautious at first, too shy to speak English with me. They eventually warmed up and were asking me all kinds of questions like my favorite color and food and where I was from and how much Korean I knew (which I impressed them with by telling them things like "hello", "thank you", "bathroom", "beer, please"... you know, all the important stuff. Oh, lord, and I'm a teacher....).

The next day we went on a trip to a geography museum, because apparently these kids are responsible for learning stuff while they're on vacation. And they actually do it! Then we went wading through a creek after we decided it was too hot to look around a temple. Then we hung out around the campsite, me reading the first book of The Game of Thrones. OoOoh it's so good.. And we also managed to splash around in the creek that ran adjacent to the modestly sized campground. 

Now a word on Korean camping, compared to my camping, compared to real camping:
Koreans seem to mostly camp in tents. Some had small caravans, but mostly tents. But these are no meek, flimsy, cozy little tents. No, these are 4 bedroom netted monsters. It's great! I mean, mine was the single, so it was small and cozy, which is fine by me. I even got a Pororo mat to lay on. Also, they don't really have campfires. I asked Elly about it, and she said campfires are really popular, but I think their campfires are just brought out to cook. Campfires at home are also used to cook, but sometimes they're just for staring at. They didn't have any fire pits to make fires; the families brought out this grill/fire thing that had a table thing around it for eating around. It's not really something you'd just set up to watch or hang out around without cooking. And also the campground itself: the whole set up kind of reminded me of a parking lot with a few skinny trees. The sites were side by side, separated only by a line, and even that was more of a suggestion. There was no privacy (unless you hid away in your mansion tent) and there was no grass and no trails to follow. I mean, it wasn't awful, it just wasn't what I was used to. I'm accustomed to little nooks of nature we back out trailer into and can't see or can barely see our neighbors through the trees or brush. And my way isn't even considered camping by some standards back home; unless you hiked a mile to set up camp, caught a fish for dinner, and took a shit in the woods, you're not camping.

In addition to the many meats we grilled for dinner, one in particular I couldn't stomach: pig intestines. Now I gave it the 'ole college try... I ate it all right, but let me tell you, it was anything but mashisoyo (delicious).  It was tough and chewy and took forever to swallow (a-harrr....). 

BUT all the other food, the pork, steak, chicken, rice, Korean pancake, fruit, and dokboki I had was definitely delicious. I love when people feed me.
elvis hanging out in the creek. his english name is elvis because he plays the guitar; how precious!
the gang minus the husbands and the baby. DOROTHY IS SOOO CUTE! don't the other kids look enthralled too?
But I had a lovely time, and if I'm invited again, I would definitely do it again. Or perhaps some of my other friends can plan some camping trip! I want to make s'mores next time. I feel like s'mores are an essential part of any camping trip. But marshmellows are kind of hard to find/expensive and I couldn't even find graham crackers when I went to Costco (one of the places to shop for foreign food), but I'll try searching elsewhere. I haven't given up yet. I have a feeling Dorothy, Elly's daughter, would love them!

Until next time!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Mud Festival! This past weekend a group of friends and I went to Boryeong, which is on the western coast of Korea for it's annual Mud Festival. This small seaside city receives thousands of visitors for 2 weeks in July, but it's the final weekend that brings in the most patrons. It's probably most popular among foreigners, but it attracts all kinds. They haul in all this mud (from where? I don't know...) and hose it into these sort of troughs where you can paint mud on with a paintbrush, or just delve right in with your hands. The mud is supposed to be good for your skin; it was nice and smooth. The festival had inflatible slides, mud wrestling, music, and a whole bunch of stuff. Even fireworks later that night!

My group went with a tour group, Seoulite, which supplied us with a bus to and from the city and a single room (for 10 people...) in a pension to stay in. In retrospect, we could have done all right on our own for a bit cheaper, but there was no guaranteeing anything if we had. We were new to the whole thing, so we took the safer route.

Also, we bought these tickets, like, 3 months ago anticipating it to be a big weekend... and it was! I had a lot of fun lathering up that mud, getting it all in my hair and on my clothes and all my little nooks and crannys, and then rinsing off in the sea just to do it all over again! Of course, the beer helped too.

It rained a little bit during the day, which didn't really bother me seeing as I was already wet and dirty. It rained more later that night, but by that time we had retired back to the pension where we proceeded to play some card games, talk about I don't remember, and we even played EPIC MAFIA! That's right, Marybeth, I taught these people how to play Epic Mafia (a game which involves mafia members anonymously murdering innocent people and the investigation to figure out who dunnit. I think it was originally an online game? But the ONeill's adopted it and adjusted to play with a group of 6 or more). We had a blast and I hope we'll play it again in the future. Anyone who hasn't played it, try it! It's super easy and can get really intense!

And I'm not entirely sure how I managed it, but my camera survived the trip! I really wanted to take pictures, but I knew it would be a risk, what with all the mud and water and drunk foreigners.. But I wore a sort of fanny pack (it's actually a money belt... although, they did offer some necklace bags you could buy to hold your money/cellphone stuff) and wrapped it up in a plastic bag. And lucky me, it all worked out in the end! Yaay! This kind of stuff never happens to me, I'm such a klutz...

...during... (p.s. i love the ass grabbing in the background)
... after! (photo credit: ryan mclaughlan)
alyissa and monica!

 Mud Fest is serious business.

sean is super thrilled despite his unfortunate expression. i was invited up there, OKAY?
A few of us didn't want to wait around for the bus to leave at 3 pm on Sunday, so we took the KoreaRail train home, which was way faster, got us home way earlier, but we had to sacrifice some comfort and opted for standing tickets. Yeah, the train sells standing tickets... Luckily, there were some floor space to pop a squat on.

And congratulations to my little sister for her graduation! I can't believe you're all done, girl. Like, I really can't believe it because I didn't know it happened until Mom told me after it had happened. Man, I'm a bad big sister! I should send you some sort of gift or card.... but then again you got me NOTHING from your cruise, not even something from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter! Ah well, I'm not one to hold a grudge...

Until next time, loves!