Lifestyle

From the Bucket List: Rock Climbing

I almost forgot how to use this thing, like how to upload image and stuff, hahaha i’m such a noob now. It’ll take time but I’ll eventually get the hang of it.

Just to start things off- a few things I’ve been doing recently now that I’ve been in NYC for some time now-

I went Rock Climbing for the first time!

Processed with VSCO with m5 presetI’m such a noob obviously – who wears yoga clothes to rock climbing?!?!??!?! lol

i honestly thought that’s what everyone wears, okay? Like, how do you wear shorts and not expect your butt to be displayed all over the place. A girl needs proper climbing attire. Those shoes were gross though. they were such sweaty smelly mess. If given a choice, I would’ve easily gone barefoot.

Location: Manhattan Plaza Health Club

Verdict: I liked that there was an instructor although she was only like 60% helpful. She was not the most friendly person and being the chicken that I am, (I legit am afraid of heights) I expected more help than to just have her tell me to put that rope thing on and start climbing. I thought I was in military. I was praying that I wouldn’t slip and fall cause man, that would’ve been embarrassing especially when it was so obvious that I was only there for pictures. I look like I’m smiling in the pic but really, I’m crying. But yeah, definitely worth a try if it’s on your bucket list like it was on mine. Got mine on none other than Groupon. By the way, I like how my butt looks so round here. Been working hard on it.

Staycation: Luxury Edition

exhale21Winter time in New York calls for something nice and warm besides a gingerbread latte, and nothing beats a full body massage and a luxurious facial for a complete relaxation and quick get away from the busy city life.

exhale20On what happened to be the coldest morning to date here in NYC, I ended up on the south end of Central Park near Fifth avenue.

exhale18Thanks to the train that decided to take an extended break, I had to run in my heaviest coat which caused my calves to become really tense. So basically, my body was calling for help especially since I began working out six times a week a bit while ago. Between running, kickboxing, weight lifting and all that extra walking I’ve been doing in NYC, my body needed professional help to recover and heal from the stress I’ve been putting it under.
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And with Christmas and my birthday around the corner, I couldn’t have asked for something more awesome than a spa package to the midtown location of the amazing Exhale Spa courtesy of Cloud 9 Living. Called Revive and Restore Spa Package, it’s a perfect holiday or birthday gift for anyone who needs a few hours of “me time”- whether stressed or not (I personally don’t know anyone who isn’t, do you?), because who doesn’t need a little pampering from time to time?

img_6661 After I was finished registering on the site, selecting the date and time range for my appointment, it didn’t take long to receive a confirmation email from the friendly staff over at Cloud 9 Living. Then all I had to do was to show up at the specified location- they had my appointment under Cloud 9 Living, and upon arrival and confirmation of the appointment, you just fill out a consent form and head over to the locker room and the spa with the help of the staff who shows you around the facility.

img_6669As you walk in, there’s a shop.. and yes, I didn’t expect to see this either, but it turns out, Exhale is also famous for their group exercise classes, which I’d love to explore.

exhale9exhale4So once you get changed into a complementary robe and slippers in the locker room, you walk over to the lounge.
exhale5 exhale6Normally, Zen Lounge is where you meet the spa staff whether it’s a facial or massage appointment which is like a waiting room but with a variety of tea, warm neck pillows complete with ambient lighting to help you relax prior to your spa appointment. I was running late so the masseuse ended up greeting me at the door which was equally nice.
exhale7Their aromatic neck pillow is one of the best things I discovered this year along with their eye pillow… so soothing and relaxing. exhale8 exhale14 exhale16 exhale3You will never be dehydrated here; plus the tea and hot water are heaven sent in this freezing weather.

exhale1exhale11 exhale10 exhale2Voted one of the best in the city; after a full hour of Swedish massage and another full hour of facial, I can confidently agree. Sorry, I couldn’t get pictures of the sessions because obviously, I was kind of busy getting pampered but they were just what I needed, and after getting all the knots and what felt like “toxins” (I honestly don’t believe that our bodies produce such but it truly felt that way) removed from my body and face, I felt physically lighter, relaxed, and of course, mentally better as well. I have been having trouble getting a good sleep for a while now and last night was among the best sleep I’ve gotten lately, thanks to Cloud 9 Living.

img_6673To end the experience on a high note, the package also came with a spa manicure and pedicure. It was pleasantly surprising to find the room separate from everything else, which gave it a very exclusive, private feel to what can be a normal pampering session for many women.
img_6672I only personally get my nails done professionally for special occasions only for a few reasons including the price and the questions regarding sanitariness, but Exhale may have changed my attitude after all.img_6682 Tada! My Christmas nails! I was so impressed with the Sparitual products they used throughout- this red color is the best in the hue I’ve seen- it’s got numerous glitter that’s so sparkly and shiny I just can’t stop staring at them. I was initially gonna go for the pink glitter all over but thought I’d mix it up a bit since I’ve slowly been getting into the holiday spirit. What do you think? img_6686I’m so thankful for this opportunity, and really glad to have discovered Exhale through this experience, hence a very special shout out to the team at Cloud 9 Living. Give a gift of experience this holiday season, and you’ll be loved!

 

When the time is right

jord_2 Can you believe that it’s already December? I can’t believe how quickly time passes. Perhaps it’s the age, but it’s definitely a time when all kinds of emotions collide, some of which are positive, and some not; however it’s important to focus on the fact that there’s always something to be learned even from experiences that may seem not so pleasant on the surface. On that note, I’m excited to be approaching the end of the year and welcoming the new year. And you know what that means! It’s the holiday season and I know many of you struggle trying to find that perfect gift for loved ones. I was introduced to these unique watches a few weeks ago and I just can’t get enough of my new watch. I mean, it couldn’t come at a better time because my 10+ years old Baume et Mercier has been giving me issues yet again. jord3 Made with real wood in St. Louise, the watch is light, smells and feels natural, and most importantly does the job perfectly while adding a fun stylish element to any outfit. My pick is the Fieldcrest in Zebrawood & Maple, and I just love the combination of the tan and light brown stripes that give it this unique appearance without being overpowering. I think they’d make a perfect holiday gift for both women and men, and to make holiday shopping easier for you, I’ve teamed up with JORD Wood Watches to offer you a giveaway via this link: https://www.woodwatches.com/g/tomimito Every person who enters the giveaway will be instantly emailed a $25 e-gift code to use on the site, so hurry over to the site to get yours! The giveaway closes 12/25/16 at 11:59pm, but the e-gift code won’t expire until 2/28/17. Merry early Christmas, guys, and best wishes!

This post was sponsored by JORD Wood Watches

Unique Watch

Girl in New York

 

ny-bridgeSo I don’t normally enjoy putting my hair up, especially with my forehead looking so naked. ny-ues3but since the photographer insisted, there it was, my poor forehead finally getting some Vitamin D.

ny-finanAfter an overpriced brunch consisting of uncooked eggs and fancy fries in midtown (we paid for the view, not the food… although it did look pretty for the Instagram #foodporn shot. oh, and the free mimosa, which probably wasn’t free after all) we headed downtown, like, all the way where the water is… because… I don’t know, to check out some good looking stockbrokers?

ny-finan3who were nowhere to be found… sadly. How come nobody told us that it was Sunday?

ny-finan5so I got a little irritated…

ny-finan6and disappointed…

ny-ues1so we headed back to midtown to get a mid-day sugar fix.

ny-milkYelp is life.ny-5thMission accomplished. Finally got my hands on them Crack Pie & Cereal Soft Serve, and it only took a few bites to confirm that I, in fact, no longer have a sweet tooth. You know, sometimes it’s more about the experience than the actual thing…

ny-ues2Then the night came… and bar hopping began. What, you are telling me that there’s something more exciting to do at night in NYC??!?

ny9But really, a glass of anything not too nasty is enough to keep me entertained all night. I mean, a few hours until the body can’t handle the abuse.ny8

Photos taken over a span of three days by different people, aka my favorite people of the moment.

Wearing: tanks by J.Crew x Public School, Rag & Bone leather shorts, Lululemon headband, Celine sunglasses, Proenza Schouler backpack, Onitsuka Tiger sneakers, Calvin Klein chambray shirt, Miansai leather bracelet

A Perfect Getaway

ny2As a place that was once called home, New York has a place in my heart like none other- if it needed to be defined, the relationship would be best compared to one I have with this bodycon dress (which, by the way, belonged to someone else prior to this trip)- it’s nice once you put it on, but even the thought of being “in it” is intimidating and even scary at times. I know I’ll have a lot of fun in it, but to get to that point takes time and contemplation, which can sometimes be nerve wracking.ny10So after a spontaneous chat at a local Starbucks on a lazy Sunday afternoon a few weeks ago, here we were, at a hotel room in Upper East Side, doing our usual thing, aka photographing each other in a scandalous outfit.ny12I actually weren’t sure if New York was the best choice… until the noise began to cloud my head and really consume me… and… I began to dance to it.ny0While New York is known as a place where all kinds of madness coexist, I’ve learned that sometimes, that’s just what you need to clear your head.
ny14and to learn that it really is okay to let go.
ny13All the commotion the city offers usually bother me to a point where I become hypersensitive to discomforts that come with it (i.e. drunk people that can be found virtually everywhere, invasion of personal space, being hit on by random guys in the street, all the nice things that are oh-so-easily accessible including really, really expensive oversized coats and most impractical tiny little handbags that come with a perfectly matching shiny tassel and a shoulder chain- yes, I’m talking to you, Celine and YSL, and those crazy cab drivers who would do whatever it takes to get you to point B) but this time around, it actually helped me not to place so much focus on the not-so-pleasant things life offers: the uncertainties, issues, problems (you know the things you and I deal with on a daily basis).
ny11Distraction, as it turns out, is a good thing.

I once believed that external factors had little to do with internal affairs, as in emotions and thought processes of sort that go on inside of our heads. Hence, I think even artificial distraction may help us go on with our lives when we’ve lost motivation to do so. ny16On that note, is this dress distracting enough for you? ;) ny6If a brief distraction is what I needed, perhaps an impromptu trip to Central Park was the most brilliant idea after all.ny17As much as you want to be separated from it, reality will always be there.

to be dealt with, to be embraced…

so that you would learn something out of the process in the end.

ny001Because after all, that’s what life is.

ny002It’s a learning process, a journey.ny7

Dress by BCBG Max Azria, White mesh top by Public School x J Crew, Sandals by Vince, & Chanel 2.55 Reissue

Photography by Cherry J. & Sejin Park

 

 

 

 

View from above

ny3Just another morning in the city…

More to come. ny1

Distressed boyfriend jeans by One Tea Spoon, Sneakers by Onitsuka Tiger, V-neck by Alternative, Watch by Qlocktwo, Sunglasses by Celine

Photography by Cherry J.

 

K-Pop and Art

Doom Dada by T.O.P

Who would’ve thought? but in reality, music is a form of art, and so is K-Pop. So Bigbang’s main rapper and now a successful actor, Choi Seunghyun (aka T.O.P)’s new music video is out and I couldn’t help but dig deeper into it because quite honestly, all the symbolism was just killing me… but with no official word from YG or TOP himself (who wrote the lyrics), I’ve decided to trust my intuition and approach it from my point of view:

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(Image source: About.com)

Abstract-Surrealism. Dadaism.

An informal international movement that began soon after the World War I, Dadaism is more than art, rather an artistic reflection of the society, the ugliness of it.

“Dada rejected reason and logic, prizing nonsense, irrationality and intuition.”- Dona Budd’s The Language of Art Knowledge

Known as a political movement against the bourgeois nationalist and colonialist groups which were believed to be the reason for the war at the time, Dada can be considered a rebellious behavior of a group of artists against the cultural conformity.

What’s ‘reason’ and ‘logic’ when not everyone agrees with it? Who sets the standard and rules anyway? If there is no way I’m going to be able to fully understand what the others are trying to force me into believing, is that ‘logic’? Such questions seem to be what motivated the Dadaism movement- it was a way for them to express their rejection of the ideology through art. While some say Dada was more “anti-art” than art, as I mentioned in the previous post, then what is art? Well, if a work is only considered art when it’s beautiful to look at, is that art? But that doesn’t mean that everyone, 100% of the world population to be exact, will agree that it’s beautiful, because after all, we all come with a different level of understanding for art, and simply just conflicting preferences. Hence, in essence, art should not be constricted in one criteria aka aesthetics, but various types of art should be embraced and enjoyed (i.e. Pop Art). Art is a way to express and celebrate individual freedom, which sometimes acts as a soundless communicative tool to convey a message that contains social issues.

A central figure in New York and France, Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968) was revolutionary in that he turned industrial objects into artistic pieces, illustrating how industrial revolution had changed the everyday life with technology as part of everyday life. If Henri Matisse created what’s called “retinal art” that pleases the eye, he wanted to create one that stimulates the mind. And his works did just that, with initial response being. ‘what is that, how is that art?

Dada was not made to impress the general public but “offend.” Hugo Ball, a Dadaist was spot on when he said, “For us, art is not an end in itself, but it is an opportunity for the true perception and criticism of the times we live in.”

I am not an artist nor an art historian, but I do understand how certain traumatic world events breathe a new life into something innovative and experimental. It can be disturbing and obnoxious for some, but that is the exactly what makes the world amazing, the diversity and beauty of it all.

Even though Dadaism is often described as “a phenomenon bursting forth in the midst of the postwar economic and moral crisis, a savior” and sometimes a monster, it was a voice and cry of people seeking help, a historic event that acted as a groundwork for new breed of art such as avant-garde, surrealism, and pop art.

It’s not clear what “Doom Dada” really means, but from what I see and feel from the music video, there is more to it than the Space Odyssey reference, more than Choi’s beautiful face. This is a message to the audience, the media- what the technology has fundamentally done to the human race. Perhaps it’s time to reconsider Korean Pop Music. It’s grown, and grown quite a bit.

 

 

Rolling in the Deep

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If I had to choose one of my favorite go-to dishes ever, it would undoubtedly be rolls. Yes, rolls, as in California rolls, and all of its variations. I’m not a big fast food lover and have a hard time digesting anything fried and/or dipped in MSG but anything and everything Asian (not the Oriental Chicken Salad type though) is welcome, and if it’s easy to eat (as in bite-size) and it’s got avocado in it, it’s a definite go.

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Strangely enough, I’ve been finding it hard to come across my favorite food here in Seoul, though it’s probably more “Asian” than McDonald’s… I’ve seen more than enough Micky D’s here than I ever had back in the States but rolls are amazingly hard to come by. So I had to ask the chef at Crazy Rolls by Askos why that is. And the answer was both surprising and somewhat expected: Koreans consider dining out as a “fancy” experience (unless you are eating by yourself at a local joint that serves a $5 soup) and to them, rolls are perceived as being not much different from Gimbap, which is a Korean version of sushi rolls without sushi, usually made with meat or fried tofu with various vegetables and wrapped with laver. And Gimbap is considered probably the cheapest and most common food belonging to the “Boonshik” category along with spicy rice cake and steamed dumplings which are known as snacking food for those who aren’t so well off, such as students. It’s sort of like a stigma for some, if you’d like to call it. Koreans generally tend to unnecessarily (and unhealthily) spend too much of their time worrying about how they are perceived by others, and that is reflected in the products they purchase, brands they wear, places they visit, and the type of food they eat.

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Hence, dining out is more than consuming food, it’s an experience and a special one at that. They want to be seen at a place that’s  considered “fancy” and “nice”, eating food that looks “expensive.” Of course, it would be perfect if you could have it all, eating good food at a nice place that’s also affordable. but how often do you come across such a place? Not often, and in Korea it gets even more tough outside of Seoul where all the action is at.

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I visit Songdo, Incheon every now and then. It’s a strategically planned, environmentally friendly city targeted towards “international” crowd built on man-made land that’s mind-blowingly awesome. You can get a glimpse of it in 2PM’s newest music video:

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In one of Songdo’s many areas, there is a relatively new business complex called “Canal Walk” which is being filled with trendy restaurants, cafes, and shops. Among them is Crazy Roll by Askos, which specializes in Japanese Fusion like you’ve never seen before. I’m from Southern California where Rolls are almost on the same level as hamburgers in terms of accessibility and price, but it’s rare that I get to see them looking this fancy, and… incredibly delicious.

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It’s not a large restaurant but it’s got everything from a bar to a private room.

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Some of the dishes the chefs showcased were nothing like the way I’ve known the “rolls,” ranging from salmon rolls (that looks like above),

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to  Soft crab miso pasta which disappeared within seconds literally because it was that awesome (this is a must try),

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With chefs who come with years of experience at highly regarded restaurants in Hotel Chosun and Bellagio in Las Vegas, you can be assured that you’d be not only getting what you pay for, but much more.

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California rolls with a twist. Also gone in seconds. Their wasabi sauce is a dream.

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Okonomiyaki, Crazy Roll style. Yes, it’s covered by a layer of egg which turns it into an omelette.

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When I thought we were finished, the chef offered udon to alleviate my sore throat… which had plenty of fresh mushrooms and kelp. Loved how it wasn’t salty, which is a problem I always have at other places. Perfect paired with rolls although we had none left by the time the warm Udon came along.

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Songdo isn’t much of a tourist spot nor is in close proximity to Seoul but definitely worth a visit if you are curious what Korea’s first “International City” looks like.

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And if you happen to be in the area, this is one place you do not want to miss. While Korean BBQ and noodles are awesome, rolls will always have a place in my heart and if you are like me, I can guarantee that you will love this place. (btw, above is another humble attempt of mine at DSLR photography. Thanks to Justin for the camera adjustment/setup which basically means all I did was to shoot, literally. Technically challenged much?)

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크래이지롤 바이 아스코스 (CRAZY ROLL BY ASKOS)

Incheon Yeonsoo-gu Songdo-dong 19-1 Canal Walk SUMMER 1F (202동 141호)

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Barcelona, you did me good.

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After discovering Barcelona on foot within three days (which was totally impromptu hence not enough time for research), I thought it would be best to compile a list of places you must visit when you are in town. That way, I can be helpful while providing some entertainment too. ;)

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Before I go into the list, I have to warn you- so over the years of international traveling (for both work and fun), Trip Advisor has become my best friend which means I’m heavily reliant on it when it comes to selecting hotels, things to do, etc.; however, this time, my folks at Trip Advisor failed me… failed me good…

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Since I only had three days in BCN, while looking through the site, I came across Things to do in BCN in 3 Days under their Travel Guides section. Being a royal customer, I jotted down all the places it recommended, and unexpectedly and surprisingly, although wasn’t really planned, we landed at one of the restaurants from their list called Les Quinze Nits located at one of the famous tourist spots. Funny thing is that we weren’t specifically looking for the place, just happened to be there.

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 Since there was no line, we decided to check it out to satisfy our hunger… and first thing we noticed was that the person behind the counter was Asian… and then the waitress comes over, who is also Asian. Yeah, I know, we should’ve known by then but felt bad to just leave without ordering, you know, so decided to stick around… reluctantly… and then the horror began.

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Not only was the food awful, level of service was just beyond bad. We must have called the waitress at least three times to get us the bill, and the food literally took forever to get to our table when all we ordered was a plate of ham (which looked like it had just come out of a market-sold plastic container, not sliced fresh like at the usual Spanish restaurants), soup (tasted like canned kind), and fried cod (worst fried thing ever). But what was most bothersome was the way they were strategically (in a very sneaky way) lining people up outside.

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 I mean, once entering the restaurant, you’d immediately notice that the place is filled with tourists, no locals are to be found (I now know why)… but because it looks full from the outside, you become curious, you know. And I bet 90% of people who were eating there were there because of Trip Advisor, which is why I’m so upset with them. Using this as an advantage, they were lining people up outside (every single one a tourist of course) although there were empty tables. What they were lacking was people working inside and some REAL Spanish food. They advertise as if you are getting a deal on authentic food but the truth is that they are all just frozen premade stuff that can be found at a super market.

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So this turned out to be a huge disappointment and the biggest mistake we made in Spain, and we were being super nice by not leaving midmeal. Really hesitated paying too, actually, wanted to tell them how horrible the food was, that it was the worst Spanish food I’ve ever had in my life (This was my second time in Spain, and I had already been there for two weeks by then just on this trip). It actually wouldn’t have been so bad if service was good, but it had neither- plus, the way they were scamming tourists was just unbelievable. (At this point, we couldn’t help but assume that they had somehow paid Trip Advisor to include the restaurant on the list.) So what did we do? As we were walking out, we announced to those waiting in line that it was the worst Spanish food ever, and that they’d regret waiting for it. Not sure if anyone listened and left but we did what we could to save them from something that could potentially ruin their day, because you know what, it did ours- yes, it was that bad. We couldn’t even sleep well that night because we felt like something bad was in the food.

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but you know, the very next day, all the beauty Barcelona had to offer made it all better, and the food… I mean the REAL Spanish food helped us forget about it, which is why I’m going to share my most amazing dining experience in Barcelona as well, at a place called TICKETS BAR. More than anything however, tomorrow is a new day, right? No reason to keep reminding yourself of something unpleasant. but yeah, if you happen to be in the area when traveling Spain, please please avoid the restaurant called Les Quinze Nits! There are plenty of other options if you are hungry. Trust me! :)

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So here we go with the list. I’m going to be quick because the central area isn’t all that large and totally walkable (if you enjoy walking like we do) so you can easily spot them on the map they give you at the reception desk or information kiosks.

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1. La Sagrada Familia: A must see. Please refer to my previous post for some of the reasons why you must see this amazing piece of art. I recommend either purchasing tickets online or going early in the morning around 9 AM to avoid lines. We went around 9:30 and the line was really short. Do make sure to rent the audio kit. It’s totally worth it. You’ll miss out a lot if you don’t.

2. Parc Guell: Another work of Gaudi that’s mind blowing. A must see. It’s a bit far from everything else but we enjoyed discovering little streets along the way while walking towards South. We actually ended up taking the train to the other side of the park so didn’t get to enjoy it the way it’s supposed to be enjoyed but kind of liked observing the neighborhood. I must warn you however: a lot of walking is expected so make sure to put on your most comfortable sneakers!

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3. Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC): While I was a bit disappointed with a rather little number of art works, the museum itself was so beautiful we spent good three hours or so here. It turned out even more perfect because there was a mini piano concert in the front at sunset… and when it got dark, the water fountain lit up and started dancing to music, literally. I recommend going around 5 PM and staying around until the fountain show starts which is 7 PM. Then walk towards West to Parc de Montjuic which is filled with smaller museums and nature. Note: Free after 3 PM on Saturdays.

4. Parc de la Ciutadella: Wow, another one we came across rather unexpectedly, but turned out to be great, like really great. Amazing place that’s full of surprises. It’s right next to Arc de Triomf.

5. Casa Batllo: by Gaudi. Need I say more? Oh, don’t forget the audio kit.

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6. Museu Picasso: If you are into art and love Picasso, do not miss this one. The line gets super long but it’s so worth it because it’s free on Sunday afternoons! Expect the waiting time to be about 1 hour.

7. Tickets Bar: Many would recommend Ramblas (a shopping street) but I personally didn’t think much of it. It was a bit too touristy for my taste. Plus, I was warned multiple times to be cautious of pickpocketers so it really didn’t have a positive image to begin with. But if you are into souvenir shopping and stuff, please feel free. but what I do recommend is to make a reservation at Tickets. I hear it’s really hard to successfully save a spot for dinner so I recommend lunch, Spanish lunch, that is. If you are not familiar, Spanish lunch starts around 2-2:30 PM and dinner around 9-10 PM, and it’s huge, I mean huge. Think ten different types of appetizers all tasting like heaven. And there is usually a main dish but you can skip it if you want. This restaurant serves something more like modernized Spanish tapas meaning more fusion than authentic. If you are more into authentic, ask the locals. Otherwise, highly recommended. And do not miss out on their olives. They look ordinary but once in your mouth, extraordinary. You will thank me.

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I’m sure there are a lot of other amazing places to visit in BCN but my list ends here mostly because it’s a concise version as we only had three days there.

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but do walk around the city… you will see more than what you would have seen by following so called “guides”… It’s an amazing city full of passion, energy, art, and history there is nothing to be disregarded.

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but more than anything, enjoy… enjoy every moment of it. ;)

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On another note, doesn’t this ceiling remind you of this Balmain dress from a few seasons ago, say… Fall 2012 Ready to Wear? I know it’s a bit off-topic but just had to mention it because… Seoul Fashion Week kicks off tomorrow! (You didn’t see that coming, did you?)

Expect frequent updates- strictly dedicated to introducing talented Korean designers and hot trends for Fall/Winter! Now, I know you’ve been missing fashion posts!

Constructive Sincerity: about a man who lived a beautiful life

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There are many new things learned during my rather spontaneous trip to Barcelona that just happened this past week, major one being about the most talented architect of all time, Antoni Gaudi. It is through him that I first heard about Organic Architecture who 100 years ago introduced something called “modernism” entirely inspired by nature. Gaudi, a man of many passions which included art, architecture and religion, had an extraordinary observation skills which allowed him to continually introduce new techniques and ideas into the field of architecture. On that note, I’m forever thankful for the audio device that we decided to rent at the very last minute because without it, the trip wouldn’t have been complete- actually, I would have walked out of his unbelievably amazing works without any knowledge of how and why they were built, and what the artist tried to achieve through them.

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While there is no doubt that Gaudi is a world renowned architect who was revolutionary not only during his time but even on modern standards, what I find most inspiring about him is his passion- passion for architecture, passion for learning, analyzing, observing the world… and most important is his passion for spreading God’s love to the world. When I walked into Sagrada Familia and looked up at the magnificent ceiling, within a few minutes, I found myself filled with emotions while sudden tears rolled down the cheeks… not only because of its inexplicable beauty but because it reminded me of what I saw a few years ago: unconditional love, promising future, and He, himself… I saw them all in Gaudi’s work, which reminded me once more why I’m where I am now, and where my life should head from here.

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People ask why I cry… if I’m sad.

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In fact, it’s not because I’m sad. Rather, it’s because I’m so happy to a point where I’m unaware of what is happening around me, my physical self included- which is reflected in a bodily activity (i.e. crying) without my knowing, sometimes.bcn10

Have you ever felt uncontrollably happy because you are so thankful? If not, I highly recommend you to experience it. Your life will turn upside down, literally. ;)

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You will want to live life like you’ve never had before. You will want to grab it and never let go. You will have grown a new passion and purpose for life, a motivation and persistence you had always wanted but failed to possess. It will all be yours, forever. That’s what made Gaudi different- he had a passion for life and knew what his purpose was. How amazing is that not only his works are considered best in the world even after 100 years have passed- seven of which, by the way, have been designated as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO, a UN organization, but even more amazing is that so many people are able to use his works as a place of prayer and worship, to communicate with God, the very reason for their existence.

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It has been said that every single piece of his work (including details such as the ergonomic design of a door knob) was built to serve a purpose, whether it’s to provide more comfort or pleasing to the senses (all the while being mind-blowingly beautiful), hence the term “Constructive Sincerity.”

With Casa Batllo, Gaudi said he wanted every visitor to experience something they had never experienced; feeling like you are under water… with every detail designed perfectly ergonomic while being revolutionarily artistic, his goal was to provide as much pleasure as possible to everyone who visited, with light being part of the design… which he considered as an extremely critical element of his designs.

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Known as “God’s Architect”, Gaudi lived a life that was “complete” in my book, perhaps most ideal that I can think of- he enjoyed everything the world offered: fame, friendship, prestige… and last but not least, he got to do what he loved to do all his life to produce works that have inspired and influenced people all around the world for the past 100 years, and many, many more years to come.

But what is even more inspiring is that despite the colorful life he seemed to have, he was a humble man- so humble to a point when he passed away in a sudden accident, he was mistaken as a homeless man.

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What a life he lived.

He dedicated everything he had to one passion, one purpose- to please God through his talent, a true gift to humankind.

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A life lived with passion is beautiful, but one lived with a purpose is one that cannot be beat.

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