Saturday, October 30, 2010

it's half timing, the other half's luck

Korea's now going through that awkward time of the year that's half fall, half winter. That's just another way to say that right now is the best time to get ill. It's also the perfect time to go visit college campuses. I suppose the American in me can't help but associate the crisp in the year and the crunch in the leaves with freshly sharpened pencils and unblemished notebooks.

A new friend of mine is a freshman at Koryo University, and she was kind enough to take me on a day tour of this lovely campus with Gothic and modern overtones. It's kinda sad to see the classic architecture on campus mix with too modern glass buildings. As much as some of the buildings in Korea are in desperate need of a renovation, I'm opposed to tearing them down completely and building glass structures. The campuses tend to look like mash ups between an old world and a new world - which sadly sums up the state of Korean architecture at this moment.

Probably the most famous building on campus. All the photos you see of Koryo University always include this building.
Samsung built this in celebration of Koryo University's 100 year anniversary.
The oldest building on campus.
The mountain behind the campus, also where the dormitories are located.

Monday, October 25, 2010

we drink the fatal drop

And another week begins... Happy Monday.

Kleerup ft. Lykke Li - Until We Bleed

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Neighborhood: Hongdae #2

I went to Hongdae again today with the purpose of going to At Corner, a vintage themed cafe with an outdoor terrace (again, rare in Seoul). There's not a lot of seating at this cafe, which is surprising because it's got such a large space. Half of the space is a shop that sells little knick-knacks, tea towels, and the like. I even saw vintage telephones and an outdated computer. I think half of the seating area is reserved for smokers, so allergy sufferers beware.

The menu is pretty consistent with other cafes with hand drip coffees ranging from 4,500 to 6,000 for iced coffee. (I have no idea why iced coffee is so expensive in Korea. This baffles me. Truly.) I've seen them offer desserts on other blogs, but I didn't get any today.


How to get there: Get off at Sangsu Station (상수역) and leave exit #1. Take a right after climbing the stairs, and backtrack to the street that faces the back of the exit. You should see a florist shop across the street. Walk straight for a block, and you'll find At Corner on your left.
Open: 12pm-11pm.

Monday, October 18, 2010

in a city bathed with light

I'm feeling restless lately. After doing a European city hopping tour and then making a back and forth trip across the Pacific, being confined to a minuscule studio for a month has been suffocating. Now that I can be out in public, I've been attempting to plan trips, but a lot of Korean websites aren't Mac compatible. So frustrating. For now, I have to travel through images like these from Marie Claire Italia.


source: fashion gone rogue

Friday, October 15, 2010

i think i might've inhaled you

Proenza Schouler's collection for Fall-Winter 2010 brought back school girl chic in a rebellious, alternative way. For someone who swears by a basic color scheme (black, white, grey), it's really something if you get me to say that I love your prints. The textures and fabrics are incredible, and the shoes are epic. Before this collection aired, there were questions of whether or not Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCullough could create something more than It-bags. That question has been duly answered. There's just one more issue to be addressed ...
“I often wonder, sometimes I think the people who buy our clothes live in a parallel universe. Hell, we can’t even afford our clothes.” - Lazaro Hernandez to Grazia Magazine

source: fashion gone rogue

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Neighborhood: Hongdae #1

I went to Hongdae twice this week. Once by myself during the day to scope out some cafes on the street where Coffee Prince is and again with my friend Sunny for dinner. This is definitely one of my favorite areas to eat and play, partly because it's got such a college town feel (with Hong-ik University nearby) plus really good places to hole yourself away. I used to enjoy going here at night to get smashed with my friends, but now I tend to avoid this place at night because there's just so many times you can be hassled by the bbi-kki's before you want to pull off your earrings and get into fight stance.

My new favorite cafe is Alice & Dorothy, located off an alley near Quattro. I think it's relatively new because it's got that new paint smell. The decor is a simple mix of wooden minimalism and vintage, with references to Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz. They have a menu of coffee (hand drip, iced or hot) and tea which is exactly how I like my cafes. What's with this sudden onslaught of dessert options with tempting calories? There's a plethora of cafes in Seoul with too much concentration on mediocre waffles/cakes/cookies and not enough focus on brewing a good, dark blend of coffee. It's nice to see that Alice & Dorothy has their priorities straight. Also, drink 8 cups and get your 9th free.


How to get there: Hongdae subway stop on line no. 2, exit #4 and make a right at the Seven Springs restaurant. Walk straight until you hit a T-intersection, then go left. Make a right into the alley with Hong-ik Saeng Gogi on the corner. (You're going to be walking on the street where Coffee Prince Cafe is located.) Make a right onto the second alley. Alice & Dorothy should be on your right, across from Quattro.

Last night, Sunny and I were in search of Reggae Chicken only to discover that it's since left the area. It seems like the whole building got up and disappeared as all that was left in its spot was a gigantic dirt hole. So, we started looking for an alternative and stumbled upon Flying Chicken, which was on the 2nd floor of a nearby building, close to Lazy Mama's Pie. The handwritten menu and retro charm drew me in, as well as the soundtrack - probably the only place in Seoul where I heard them play The Doors and Nirvana on the same mix. It's a nice, quiet place to enjoy a nicely done BBQ chicken while enjoying a cold one. If you're feeling adventurous and in the mood for spice, try their cheese covered spicy chicken.


How to get there: Sang-soo subway stop on line no. 2, exit #1. The cafe At Corner should be on your right. Walk down the street until you see Vinyl (a bar that serves its drinks in plastic bags). Take the steps that are on the left of Vinyl. Flying Chicken is on the 2nd floor.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

i'm always in this twilight

I was fifteen when my obsession with fashion began. I used to be such a snob about the magazines my peers were reading, making facetious comments about how Cosmopolitan is for the fashion illiterate, while flaunting around my copies of Vogue and Elle. I still remember the fabulous Vogue cover Carmen Kass did in 2001 (or maybe 2002?) where she's on some yacht wearing some nautical get-up with a bright smile on her face. She's one of the most classic faces. Sometimes you forget about her, but then she does something amazing like this editorial for Elle Spain, which reminds you of her staying power.


source: fashion gone rogue

Monday, October 11, 2010

Don't Work With Vice Magazine

I wasn't going to say anything about this, because neither of these situations involve me but I feel like someone has to say something, if only to get the word out there that working for Vice Magazine sucks. In the past month, I know at least two people who have gotten swindled for their work for Vice. Both situations had Vice making near impossible demands for impending deadlines, and despite meeting all their demands, both of my friends weren't reimbursed for the work they did.

Supposedly, Vice is notorious for not paying or delaying payment for their freelancers, and it seems like the same policy runs for people who work there daily. Being a freelancer myself, it's completely unfair to ask someone who depends on odd jobs to wait a month or more for a paycheck. It's even more unfair when you ask people to perform ridiculous tasks and then refuse to reimburse them. If you can't pay up, then don't hire freelancers. 

This goes out as a word of warning to people who are looking to work for Vice. Don't put your own money up and expect to be reimbursed in a timely fashion or even at all. I'm sure there are some people who have had positive experiences with Vice, but it seems like there's an overwhelming number of people who have worked with Vice and were disgruntled by the experience. Take this as a warning to proceed with caution around them.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

a falling star fell from your heart

Now that I'm slowly getting back to real life, I've been trying to find things to do in the city. Even worse, I've been trying to find a suitable partner in crime for all my adventures. I've been lucky to find two this week, but I'm slowly coming to the realization that the best companion is myself.

천계천 - Cheonggye Stream
If you walk along it, you'll find yourself going through two different worlds, the modern skyscraper Seoul to the older, nostalgic Old Korea that's filled with open air markets.

Ssamziegil - a market/store complex in Insadong. It's gotten a bit commercialized for my liking. The whole area was supposed to be part of traditional Korea, but the fire hazard buildings of previous days have been replaced by five/six story buildings. It's lost a lot of its charm.

Sunny and I went to Zen in Myeongdong for lunch yesterday. They serve Asian Fusion, which means that our business lunch set menu (for 20,000won) had risotto and then pad see u. The risotto was good but too spicy. The pad see u was deplorable. The pumpkin croquettes were awesome, though.

Pumpkin croquettes @ Zen

After a hard day's work at the Lotte Duty Free (also in Myeongdong & the largest duty free shop in Seoul), we went to Serosugil in Apkujeong for a glass of wine and paper thin pizza at Sarubia, one of the few places in Seoul with an outdoor patio.


A night wander around the area led to an impromptu shopping expedition into Caramel, one of my new favorite shops in Seoul. They had the most incredible collection of fur - fox fur, rabbit fur - and I wanted to buy everything. I walked away with a few goodies, and I'll definitely be making a trip back sometime soon.


One last cup before parting for the day. We had a day where we played like we were ladies who lunched, and it wouldn't be complete without a stop at Scoop, where we got to pretend that we were at a British outdoor cafe.

Tropical tea.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

i'm alive!

Hello, everyone.

I'm alive. For real. I've even got a photo to prove it. I'm still a little camera shy, so bear with me for a few more weeks. I came across a quote from Chloe Sevigny that sums up my fashion thought process since the day I loved wearing frilly dresses with frilly socks and jellies.
“Yeah, you know, wear something unusual to distract from my face. Oldest trick in the book.”
- Chloe Sevigny
Now it's time to start exploring Seoul, the bits of it that haven't been glorified in guide books and blogs.