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Travel Diary - Malaysia


Hola Skittle Biscuits!



Today's post is about my trip to Penang, Malaysia! I think Malaysia has one of the most beautiful landscapes. This country has a combination of city-scapes and nature views.You will just be driving and all of sudden see countless mountains in the distance. I remember driving to Genting Highland and just curving in and out of the mountains. We also saw monkeys sitting on the side of streets on our way up the mountains.

To go up the mountain, we had to ride a very long and tall gondola ride. It was the longest gondola ride I ever experienced, just when you think it is over, there are about 10 more posts that you have to pass. However, it was an incredible sight to see and the best part is you get to escape from the hot and humid weather.

Food: Street food is a huge thing here. I would definitely say it is part of their culture to eat from one of these stands. Actually, the night we arrived there, we ate at a outdoor food court surrounded by a bunch of food cart/stalls. It was actually owned by a distant relative and she made some really good fried rice and veggies. My favorite thing I ate there was dry wonton noodle. I didn't even know this existed!


We also went to this peculiar restaurant, I think it was called 'My voice cafe & bistro.' It was a small restaurant but served the hugest ramen bowls! We ordered two bowls and it took up the whole table! I still can't believe how big the bowls were. Anyways the ramen was really good! They are known for their spice levels, beginning from one all the way to 20. I think we got a spice level of 4 or 5? It was perfect for me since I like just a little bit of spice and they will let you try a little bowl of spicier levels if you just ask. The decor was white and crisp and cottage-like and reminded me of a place that should be in Paris. They also had a grand piano that took up 1/3 of the restaurant. It was quite lovely to hear live music during our meal but I am not sure the whole concept went well together. Also the piano was a bit too loud. I would say the price is about the same as US, so I think it is geared towards tourist who are looking for an air conditioned restaurant.



Drinks: Most of the time you will order your drinks from the same place as your food but if you need a beer (which I don't drink) there is a beer-lady you can order from. I noticed that almost every food court had one of these ladies. She would be wearing a tiger beer outfit, matching shirt/skirt and hat! My favorite is having fresh orange juice everyday. I asked for no-ice just to be safe.

Dessert: My favorite dessert by far was this coconut ice cream from Mamma Mia. It was a little stall in the middle of the street and they had one table behind their stall with a little gift shop behind them. It was really interesting because it was inside a coconut shell, so it had some young coconut meat on the bottom, and was topped off with sweet/sticky rice and corn!
Mamma-Mia Coconut Ice cream



With all that being said, I just wanted to give a few tips before your trip to Malaysia. So here we go!

1. Don't expect to be in air conditioned facilities. You will see more single A/C units rather than centralized units like you would see here in the USA.

2. Don't forget to bring around tissues, you will need it. A lot of places don't offer or provide tissues so this will come in handy in multiple places, trust me.

3. Be mindful of your bag/purse. Self explanatory.

I hope these tips helps! I'll have another post about all the street art we visited next time! Until then..

Safe Travels and I'll see you next time!

XO,
Kieu

For more adventures with me, watch this video:



How to get Voluminous Curls! - Weekend Date Night

Need to look on point for your Friday night date? Here's a little tutorial for that special date tonight. Enjoy and Good Luck!

What you will need:


  • 1.5 barrel curling iron - I am using the Hot Tools - Helen of Troy
  • Heat Protection Spray - I like the TRESemme thermal creations
  • hair clip
  • hair spray

Step:
1. Spray with heat protection spray
2. Brush hair out
3. Section off your hair into 3rds, starting with the bottom section closest to the nape of your neck
4, Curl your hair away from your face
5. Section off the middle section of your hair
6. Curl again
7. Let all your hair down and curl the remaining hair.
8. Tousle your hair and spray with your favorite hair spray.
9. Look Glamorous =D

P.S. I think you are beautiful. So you should too! 
See you next time my Skittle Biscuits.
XO





Go Guan Studio Fun!

Hello Skittle Biscuits!

One of my favorite experiences in Seoul was wearing the hanbok. I have to admit that it was one of my top priorities during my trip. There is just something so elegant and beautiful about it. I think all traditional clothes are beautiful in their own way. And let's face it, who doesn't want to dress up like a princess.




There are a lot of places that will allow you to try on hanbok's for free. But I really wanted a good quality hanbok. So I decided to spend the extra dollars at the Go Guan studio. First you need to book your appointment on their website and then they will send you an email confirmation. Very organized! They have a few different locations, I went to the one in Insadong. It was funny because while I was looking for the studio, another hanbok studio asked me to come in there studio. They were a bit less expensive and the lady advertising was really nice. I might have went there if I didn't already book an appointment. It was about $10 cheaper? (Who knows? I upgraded so much here and there.) So anyways when you get there, you walk up a flight of stairs and take off your shoes, and wear the slippers they give you. Even if your friends don't take pictures, they will be asked to change into the slippers. After you have your slippers on, you pick the package you want. I just picked the simple package, one pose but then I upgraded the dress and added hairstyle option. hehe. I decided to go with a gisaeng hanbok with a hot pink skirt. The queen/royalty hanbok's are also in the upgraded hanbok section ($5). But if you just pick a regular hanbok, that is regular price of ($30). My total came to $40 (upgraded hanbok and hairstyle).

So when it was my turn to get into the photo shoot area, they asked me if I wanted to pose with the drum or the kayagum. I went with the Kayagum! After my short photo sesh, they ask you to go to the selfie area, this is where they have a whole bunch of places to take your own pictures. There are different scenes like a bedroom, a shop and a porch. After your all done with that, you can go up another flight of stairs and that is where you can drink tea and write your name with a traditional brush and post it to the wall with the many many other names and hopefully the next time you come back it will be there.. But I highly doubt it! lol The tea was okay.. they were mostly cold teas. They had my love from another star playing in the background. 

Finally it was time to pick up my picture, I wish they would have told us when it was done, because I we just sat up there wondering when the pictures would be ready. I was a bit sad that I didn't get to decide which picture to have printed. The one they picked for me was okay, my face was weird because they didn't pick the one where I was smiling. My suggestion for you is to ask to pick which one to have edit/printed, Overall, the experience was fun and my hubs enjoyed the air conditioner on the top floor and I enjoyed the selfie area the most. So you could do the experience package for only $20! 
Time frame: I think we spent around 2 hours there.. so if you have the time, I definitely recommend this place! You can book your appointment here: http://www.goguan.net/

Enjoy your time in Seoul and Happy Travels!
Kieu

Warning! My hair looks super redic. because it's not the same color as the wig! Lol but not to worry, they make sure it's the same color when they editt/print your photo.







My Top 10 K-drama list

Old but good:

1. My Girl 
2. Boys over Flowers


3. Full House

4. Stairway to Heaven.

This was the first k-drama I watched. I literally cried the whole first episode. It's just so sad but weird.. but then good! I don't think any streaming sites have it up right now but you might be able to buy the whole series on ebay or something..

Semi-old
5. Goddess of Fire. This is a historical drama and I am going to admit I am a big Moon Geun‑young fan, I have watched almost all her drama's. And I really feel like I watched her grow up from "Autumn in my Heart." Her tears just drop like it is nothing. I also loved her in Cinderella Sister, Mary stayed out all night and Cheongdam dong Alice. But to pick one, it would be Goddess of Fire.
6. Rooftop Prince. This drama  is a historical/modern story. I am usually not a big fan of that situation but I think they had a good balance of both so it wasn't too awkward or weird. I really love the story and the soundtrack.

New and Current
7. Rosy Lovers.
8.Who are you: School 2015
9.Girl who can see smells. This is a whole new concept as you can tell by the title. It is a mix of romance/ mystery. I really hate drama's that are heavy in the police department. I don't know why but I just do. This drama doesn't put me off because its more investigative and the humor and drama overrides the police-ness. If that makes sense.. lol
On actors notes, I really think Shin Se-Kyung improved her acting. Or maybe she just got better roles because I really didn't like her in 'When a man loves." I didn't finish that drama. And I just love the combo on Yoochun and Se-Kyung. I think they have a really good chemistry on film and I am secretly hoping they end up together!
10. Come! Jang Bo Ri

Let me know what you favorites are~ See you next time~
Kieu

How to go to Nami Island/ Our trip to Nami Island



Hey there,
I am going to warn you, this is a long post.
Today, I want to blog about how to get to Nami Island or Namiseom!
First of all, Nami island is famous for the k-drama "Winter Sonata" definitely an oldie but goodie. It is also famous for the beautiful trees that line the road. Our past trip was during the beginning of Summer but I heard the foliage in the autumn is a beautiful sight to see. It was actually a bit cold on the day we went and it started to rain in the afternoon. I guess it was quite romantic getting caught in the rain while we were biking. It felt like I was in a drama except the main girl looks really cute but I looked like a hobo. To stay dry, some people bought umbrellas from the gift shop but we opted for the plastic ponchos for $2 each. We both got one and it kept us nice and dry.

Things to see:
They have many photo opportunities here. It is like a photographers dream location. Aside from the rows of trees, there are lots of statues and random art to take pictures with. Did I mention there are ostriches there? So random! We also found a friendly squirrel near the traditional steamed buns.

Activities:
You can do many things there. To name a few, you can rent bikes (they have single and double bikes), go on the rail bike, have a picnic and just enjoy being outdoors. We unexpectedly packed a picnic for ourselves since there is a Lotte grocery store inside the station and we had nothing but time before our ride. But don't worry if you can't pack a picnic, there are plenty of food and snack options on the island.

So let's get into the details. First of all, if you are coming from Seoul, you need to know that it's about a 45 minute (ITX) bullet train ride from the Cheongyangni to Gapyeong station. There are two options for getting your ITX ticket.

1. Reserve your ticket on this website: Reserve your ITX ticket
You will want to search for the Cheongyangni to Gapyeong ticket on the Cheongchun line. If you don't reserve, you might have to stand up during the whole ride. After you finished reserving your ticket for your ride there and back (don't forget to reserve your ticket back). You will pick up your ticket from the attendant. The attendant/ booth is a bit difficult to find because it's located outside (near the entrance of the ITX station). If you arrive earlier than your reserved time, they won't let you change your ticket to an earlier time. Also, don't forget to bring your passport to pick up your ticket.

or

2. Buying your ticket from the automated machine at the station.
If you used the subway system to get to the Cheonyangni station, you can not pick up your ticket from the machine. The machine will be located before you go up the stairs/escalators to get to the Cheongyangi platform.

Looking back, we should have just bought the ticket from the machine. But I still wanted to post the option of buying your ticket online so that you can familiarize yourself with the departure/arrival times..

After you ride the train, you will get off at the Gapyeong station and find a taxi to take you to the Namiseom parking lot. The taxi ride is about 5-10 minutes. After that you will take the ferry to the island!

Estimated cost to Nami Island for one person:
Subway tix: $2
ITX tix: $4
Taxi: $5
Admission: $10

Total is only $32 for one person! I realize that you could probably find a less expensive way to get to Nami Island/ Petite France in one day but with this price you can be on your own schedule and really enjoy the island without being rushed around. It comes down to what you prefer and enjoy more, being with a tour group or enjoying your time leisurely. I hope this blog helps you get to Nami Island, either by tour or by yourself because it's a great place to visit.

Thanks for reading and Happy Travels,
Kieu


Ferry times:
TimeIntervalRemarks
09:00 ~ 18:00Every 10~20 minutes
18:00 ~ 21:40Every 39 minutesLast ferry: From Gapyong 21:40 / From Nami 21:45
* The ferry ride takes approximately 5 to 6 minutes.

Some pictures below! Please excuse my outfit.. It was so cold in the morning so I ended up wearing sweats.











Traveling to Seoul without a tour guide

Hello Skittle Biscuits!
Hopefully you are having a good week! Today, I wanted to blog about traveling to Seoul without a tour guide. I was super worried about not being able to communicate. But I was really surprised at the English level in Seoul. You can get around pretty well with broken English and pointing. Also, a lot of the signage will have both Korean and English and if you are hitting those touristy places, there will be tourist information centers. Some areas will have walking tourists guides (these are people you can ask questions about your location and places to go and how to get there). They will be wearing a red vest or jacket so they are easy to spot!

More information here: Tourist Center

With all of that being said, I think it is a good idea to learn the basics of the language before you go there. For example, ordering food at a Korean restaurant will be a bit difficult if the menu is only in Korean. It will also help you read maps and store names. Practicing numbers will also help you get around in the marketplace because saying: "how much is this?" in Korean without knowing what they are saying back will be pretty useless. Not to mention it will help you watch your k-drama's without having to stare at the screen for every word. So, don't be afraid of traveling to new places where you don't know the language. Being polite, patient and smiling will get you a long!

Finding a class:
I was able and lucky enough to find an affordable Korean Language class in my area. If you just search "Korean Language Class" + " your city name". I am sure you will find something. Let me know if you are interested in which class I took, I can send you a link!

Happy Travels!
Kieu

If you haven't checked out my goodies haul video, you can watch it here:



Secret identity

Listening to this podcast today and it really reminded me of the movie 'Beautiful Mind." Can you just imagine being involved in these situations?
The craziest part is the bank robbery situation. This man tried to rob a bunch of banks in the Northern Virginia area and he would just go in and attempt to rob the bank.
None of the robberies were successful but he was caught and later told that he was hired by the CIA.
The police of course had to check out his story and I'll leave the story at that.

I am going to link the podcast but I just want to give a fair warning that some stories are a little vivid. You can listen to the podcast here: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/506/secret-identity

Since the podcast covers a bunch of other stories, you can read about the story here: http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/articles/2013-04-18/in-virginias-fairfax-county-robbing-banks-for-the-cia

Would love to discuss and hear what you think.

Enjoy!
Kieu

Travel Diary - Shopping in Myongdong

Day 2 of our trip.

So coming from US, our sleeping schedule was totally messed up. I was waking up bright and early around 6 am. Boy, was that a big mistake because nothing is really open other than the 24 hours McDonald's. Thankfully they were open because we ate breakfast there almost every morning.
So to waste some time and explore the streets of Seoul. We decided to walk to the Myongdong shopping area from Jongno. The adventure there was interesting, instead of having a big home depot or lowes store with all the hardware and such, we passed by a million little shops. Each one with its own specialty. For example, one shop would have only toilets and the shop next to it would be only pipes. How interesting is that??
Anyways, after getting lost in the open market hardware shopping district, we finally found Myongdong shopping! But.. everything was still closed except a dunkin donuts which was not very good. 
So note to self: stores open at 10-11 am. Don't go any earlier!
Best time to go is during the evening after 5 pm, that is when all the food carts come out and stores give better promotions!
Only down side is that it will be crowded. So take your pick/poison, food carts and crowds or peaceful shopping with elbow room.
lol
Any who, like you may have read in other blogs and such. This is THE place get makeup. Free samples galore, they will do anything to get your inside their store to buy something.
I didn't buy too much, just a few face mask for souvenirs and people watching. I also bought this super cute outfit that I could probably never wear in the states. But it was fun to wear while I was there, I really felt like I fit in!

Oh, I do want to mention that there is a lovely hello kitty cafe in this area! You will have to walk up the stairs but it is so nicely decorated. Pink, pink and more pink. The way I like it!
I got the Green Tea Latte and it was absolute perfection. I never had one before and it was just perfect. 





You can watch my Seoul travel diary here:



Natural Wavy Hair Look Tutorial~~

Hi there!
So I recently uploaded a new video on how to curl your hair with a 2 inch barrel.
I recommend this curling iron for those with long hair. It's great for giving you the blow out look if you aren't good with the blow dryer (me). haha
For more volume at the roots, try rolling and clipping those curls with bobby pins or hair dresser clips. After you finish curling, just let it all out!
Hair spray and done!

Heart Always,
Kieu



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