07.26.17What’s Up Wednesday

Happy Wednesday! Today I’m back with an installment of What’s Up Wednesday. I’m linking up with ShaySheaffer, and Mel! Leave me a note if you’ve shared what’s up in your life.

What we’re eating this week:
This week we’re eating leftovers from the weekend, including pesto spaghetti squash and roasted chicken. But tonight, I’m taking a break from cooking and meeting Rob for dinner at The Meatball Shop — yay!

What I’m reminiscing about:
I’m reminiscing about an amazing visit we had with my parents a couple weeks ago. We had them here for several days and covered lots of ground across Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx… stay tuned for a recap!

What I’m loving:
This summer I’ve been using tinted moisturizer with SPF every day, and I’m loving the light coverage, moisturizer, and built-in sunscreen. It’s perfect for summertime. I use this kind from Aveeno.

What we’ve been up to:
After lots of summer travels and visitors, we’re enjoying some normalcy and routine for the next few weeks. We’ve been spending time with friends and each other, and I’ve been grinding away with my summer courses at NYU.

What I’m dreading:
Lots of school papers and projects are coming up to wrap up my summer term. Gotta finish strong! But it’s hard when there are so many other fun things to do :).

What I’m working on:
Trying to balance full-time work and part-time graduate school can be a challenge. But it’s fun when I feel a sense of accomplishment from both worlds! Yesterday we launched our Fall campaign at Gap, and I’m especially proud of our messaging this season and the brand I get to represent. Check it out on social: Facebook, Gap Instagram, GapKids Instagram

What I’m excited about:
I’m excited that next summer I won’t be in class! My plan is to graduate next May, whoo hoo!

What I’m watching/reading:
After putting Into the Water by Paula Hawkins (she wrote The Girl on the Train) on hold at the library, I waited months to finally get to read it. But several chapters in, I simply couldn’t continue. The characters were vague and rambly, the plot was lacking, and I just wasn’t into it. It’s pretty rare that I start a book (especially one so long-awaited) and don’t finish it. But I didn’t think this one was worth my time to continue. Have you read it? What were your thoughts? Any other psychological thrillers out there that I should check out?

What I’m listening to:
I’m still firmly on the podcast train! I still love the Daily, but would love to hear what podcasts you like that aren’t news-related? I also listen to some Bachelor blogs (how embarrassing), and the Young House Love podcast regularly.

What I’m wearing:
This week I’ve been wearing jeans and long sleeves… I can hardly believe it! We were in a brutal heat wave last week, and this week it’s in the 60s and low 70s.

What I’m doing this weekend:
We have a typical weekend ahead, mixing friend time, date time, church time, and family time: bagels in Bryant Park with friends, a date planned by Rob, volunteering in the kids’ ministry at church, and plenty of FaceTime sessions with family & friends.

What I’m looking forward to next month:
Every year, Rob has to take a mandated, contiguous, two-week vacation from work. He schedules it in between my school terms so we can spend more time together. So in mid-August, we’re headed to the west coast! We’ll be visiting friends in San Francisco and exploring some of Northern California. This is a trip I’ve wanted to take for years, so I am so excited!

What else is new:
Not a whole lot is new right now, which is kinda nice!

Bonus question this month — Favorite thing about summer:
Picnics in the great city parks! And rosé. Can’t forget the rosé. Did you know Trader Joe’s sells canned rosé? Perfect for picnics! 🙂

What’s up with you?!

07.25.17Date Night in Koreatown (Featuring KBBQ)

One thing we love about NYC is that there are so many vastly different neighborhoods within one city. It’s so exciting to find pockets of stores, restaurants, and people that are so different from our own neighborhood. While my parents were in town, we had traditional German food in our own neighborhood, Yorkville, and Italian food on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx. Both meals were incredible, and it was fascinating to see cultures thrive in this melting pot that is America.

After eating German and Italian, I was reminded of how much Rob had been wanting to try Korean BBQ. It was my turn to plan a date, so I did some research on Korean food and restaurants in Manhattan’s Koreatown. Koreatown is nestled between 5th and 6th Avenues, going from approximately 32nd street up to 38th street. I finally settled on a Korean BBQ restaurant for us to try: Jongro BBQ. It included grilling on the table and all kinds of meat selections, which I knew Rob would like.

Jongro BBQ doesn’t take reservations and can be a little tricky to find. Here’s my tip: go on the early side (we got there at about 6:45pm) and look for the Citibank on the south side of 32nd street (across from Wongo), go into the stark bank lobby, and take the elevator to the 2nd floor. It will empty you right into the vivacious restaurant where you can put your name down with a hostess.

The wait time was approximately 45 minutes, so we headed back out to the street and popped into several Korean shops and markets. First up: a Korean bookstore and music store. We found one of our favorite authors, Tim Keller, in Korean! We had fun trying to recognize various books based on cover imagery.

Next up: a Korean beauty store. Korean culture is known for high standards in beauty; women in Korea spend more money on cosmetics than women in any other country! A massive difference between American and Korean beauty is how they achieve beauty. Americans mostly have a three step beauty regime (cleanse, tone, and moisturize). Korean women, on the other hand, have a ten step beauty regime, including makeup remover and oil cleanser, water-based cleanser, exfoliation, toner, essences, serums, booster and ampoules, sheet masks, eye cream, moisturizer, and sun protection. It was fun looking through all of their products. I had heard about a baby foot peel on a blog, and was so intrigued when I first read about it. The product in store caught my eye, so I had the sales clerk tell me about it. She had me sold! I picked it up for my Koreatown souvenir. I’m a little nervous to try it, but I’ll report back once I do!

After the beauty shop, we popped into a Korean market. It was packed (with food and with people), but we perused the aisles checking things out. We wanted to try green tea mochi, but were afraid of it melting before we got home. A spicy wasabi dried pea snack also caught our eye, and Rob brought those home for his souvenir. We’re excited to try them!

Finally, we got a phone call that our table at Jongro was ready, so we made our way down the street to the restaurant. We were seated at a large booth that included a grill and heater in the center of it. After asking some questions about the menu, we settled on a beef platter to share (it included a few different cuts). The order also came with Korean accoutrements: kimchi, scallion salad, pickled onions, bean paste, soy sauce, macaroni salad (?!), and a tofu soup. Our server brought over the meat and cooked it for us in batches. Then we assembled lettuce wraps with the meat, rice, and sides. It was delicious! To be honest, I was hesitant about many of the sides, but I loaded my lettuce wrap with them anyway. So glad I did! We enjoyed our messy, flame-filled, fun dinner in Koreatown and would wholeheartedly recommend a visit to the neighborhood. Next time we’ll have to do karaoke, too!

06.30.17Friday Finds

White Lake, NC

Fridays before a holiday weekend are always extra exciting! I happen to love, love, love the 4th of July. We’ve got a lot lined up between visits with family and soaking up summertime fun with friends. Whatever you’re up to, I hope you have a happy 4th!

Ambassadors selected the one book you should read before visiting their country.

Where to take out-of-towners visiting NYC, broken down by type of guest.

I’m a sucker for soft pretzels and want to try this recipe asap.

Eagerly awaiting Dan Brown’s newest book, to be released this October.

Podcasts are really having a moment. Here are some of the year’s best.

Put this on your “Summer in NYC list” of things to do.

Eyeing this adorable gingham top.

I love straw bags for summer, and this Etsy shop knocks it out of the park.

I finished this entertaining read this week, and I’m eager to get to the rest of the series.