Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

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While it’s been fun to share our Korea adventures, I’m also enjoying being home. And indulging in a little baking. It’s been ages since I did any baking, and while I’m not a fan of rewarding myself with food…sometimes you just gotta treat yoself. Remember when I was talking about saving up your indulgences for something deliberate and worth indulging in? This is it for me! So let’s take a break before I finish rounding out our trip and talk indulgence!

I have been making this recipe longer than I’ve been making anything else. I made these cookies with my mom for the first time back when I was six and still needed a step-stool to stand high enough over the counter to mix the ingredients in the bowl. I still make this one today, because they are some damn good cookies.

Forget all my other fancy recipes – when I take these cookies to work or when I used to send them to the New York office with Scott, this was the recipe people begged for. I turned it into Christmas cookie gift jars last year, not just to share some tasty cookies, but to share a childhood memory. And it made me happy beyond measure when one of my good friends sent a picture back of her daughters, one of them standing on a step stool, mixing away happily.

One of these days, when I have kids, we’ll make this recipe together. In the meantime, hey! I’ve got you guys to share it with! So if you’re looking for a sweet, tasty, and easy treat to make and share…enjoy! 

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Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies 

Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 pkg chocolate chips

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1. Let’s get this party started. Preheat the oven to 375F and get your stuff together.

2. Start with the butter. Soften it in the microwave until it’s soft but not completely melted. Then add in the sugar and brown sugar and mix thoroughly. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.

3. Mix the flour, baking soda, and salt together separately so that the soda and salt are distributed throughout the mix. Add this by parts into the dough mixture, and mix until the dough is thick but still sticky.

4. Add the package of chocolate chips. If you’re using a large bag of chips like the ones I usually get at Costco, you need about two cups. If you want to use nuts, add about a half cup of nuts and reduce the chocolate chips to a cup and a half.

Try really hard not to go head-first into the cookie dough at this point. As kids, you can bet we had our tasting spoons out at this point. I don’t think we ever got the full two dozen cookies out of this recipe. Oops.

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5. Drop the dough by spoonful onto a cookie sheet, leaving them enough room to spread, and bake for 8-10 minutes or until the edges are golden and crisp.

As tempting as it might be to go right into them when you get them out of the oven, chocolate gets hot when it’s baking. Let them cool. They’ll still be ooey-gooey delicious when the chocolate is cool enough to eat, and if you want them warmer, zap them for about 15 seconds in the microwave.

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Yes, ooey-gooey delicious is a word. Deal. And the best milk to accompany them really does have to be served in a mason jar, preferably with a flexi-straw. Just because.

Now if you’ll excuse me, my childhood memories just made me hungry. I need to go taste test this batch again – provided my husband left any for me!

KCS

Fracture Photos – and a Giveaway!

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My husband and I both love wandering through the Peter Lik Gallery in Waikiki whenever we can. We used to spend a lot of time in his SoHo gallery as well. We’re on every single mailing list so that when there’s a new picture about to be revealed, we’re there for the viewing party. Where else would a wannabe fine art and landscape photographer hang out except in the gallery of one of her idols and role models?

Unfortunately, in order to be a true Lik collector, you have to have something I don’t have in abundance: money. I mean, I make a good living, don’t get me wrong, but as much as I’d love to be living the life fabulous, I also don’t think the powers that be should be paying me so that I can hang a Lik in my personal collection. Or even have a personal collection. That’s something to save for life after Army.

Still, when Scott and I were picking decor for his 3D render of our townhouse {you can see that and some of his other architectural previs work over here on his blog}, we kept gravitating toward Peter Lik’s Elements collection. I wanted to put a series of photographs on the stairway column and the Elements are the perfect size for it. They’re still out of my price range, so instead…I decided to pull some of my ic

The Elements collection is a little out of my reach, especially when we’re saving up for the two largest items for the renovation that we’d like to knock out this summer – redoing all the floors and renovating the kitchen. On top of that, we have some traveling to do.

So…instead, we picked out three of my photos instead.

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Once we picked out the photos, we needed to do was get them printed and hung. On glass, like Peter Lik’s, because we wanted our own Elements. How the heck were we going to get these things printed?

Well, after seeing an ad on HGTV for a company called Fracture, we had our answer.

Fracture specializes in printing images on glass to make beautiful keepsakes. I used them to print pictures from our wedding shoot to send to my bridesmaids and our families as gifts. We decided to up the ante a little bit and see if these designs could function as our own “Elements.”

We weren’t disappointed! Here are our Fractures, displayed on the wall.

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I still can’t get over how vivid the images are! And while my eye is not Peter Lik’s and my photography equipment doesn’t measure up, with Fracture’s printing techniques, they still look pretty damn good on my wall, and the whole photo set cost me less than $100. I couldn’t be happier – especially since now we can officially declare this feature wall done.

So you can decorate your own home in a Fracture print, I’m excited to offer you a couple of alternatives! First, if you order your Fracture print with referral code RFR33311, you save $5 on your Fracture purchase.

But the big news here is my first giveaway on Challenge Accepted! You can enter here to win a $20 gift certificate to help you out with your Fracture. That’s enough to cover a small Fracture complete with shipping! Check out the sizing and prices here.

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So how about it? If you were decorating, what Fracture would you choose to hang on your wall? Would you use one of your own images, or would you use a beautiful photo from the Fracture marketplace?

Happy decorating!

KCS

Note: This offering is 95% out of the goodness of my heart, but I do earn savings toward future Fracture purchases with my referrals. However, I am not being paid or otherwise compensated for this post.

Stepping Out for Easter with the Beachhouse and Rent the Runway

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After the week we had, with all its various ups and downs and associated stress, Scott and I were a little on the fence about heading out to Easter brunch. But we made the decision to go ahead, get all dressed up, and take a morning to ourselves at one of our favorite spots to brunch at the beach.

Sometimes you just need to step out. Not just out of the house, but out of everything that’s weighing on you or stressing you out at the moment. Sometimes, as hard as it may seem, you really need to find some way to put down the load you’re trying to carry, to leave it behind for a little while, so that you can breathe and make yourself stronger for when you have to go back and pick up that load again.

There are so many great places to eat on Oahu, it’s hard to pick among them, but Scott really loves the Beachhouse at the Moana Surfrider Waikiki. I’d only been there previously for regular Sunday brunch with him, but he’d been there for Easter Brunch when we lived here the first time, before we started dating, and insisted it was a necessary experience. After our brunch, I tend to agree! The view can’t be beat and the food is delicious.

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There was literally every breakfast and lunch item to be found on the table, from kalua pork eggs Benedict {and I am an absolute sucker for Eggs Benedict in all its forms} to made-to-order omelets, fresh seasonal veggies, fresh little pastries and blintzes, tasty little desserts, and even a sushi bar.

On top of all that, the atmosphere around here really makes me want to take a weekend and book us a room. We both love the idea of spending the day at the beach and pool and then stretching out in the rockers out front with a glass of wine and watching the crowds go by on Kalakaua, then retreating to the oceanside lounge as the sun sets. Nothing like a little weekend vacation! Filing that in my daydream book for now, but mark my words, we’ll make it happen soon!

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In the meantime, I’ve had yet another wonderful experience with Rent the Runway to add to my list! Maybe it’s because I spend so much of my time in uniform, but when I’m out of uniform and all dressed up, I love having people stop me to compliment my dress. And this bright, bright pink Lilly Pulitzer was a showstopper. Again, something it’s not practical for me to buy and keep in my closet in real life, but Rent the Runway lets me have the best of both worlds.

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Really grateful that they sent two sizes. I fit just fine into the smaller size they sent, but I don’t think I would have fit in it still after the lovely brunch we had!

All in all, we had a wonderful little Easter celebration out in Waikiki, and it gave me just enough of a break to get energized and get back to knock out the work I had to catch up on, and get in the right mindset to take on the week.

Have a wonderful week!

KCS

Sunday Currently, vol. 10

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Clockwise from top left: Scott and his sweet grandfather celebrating his 95th birthday last year – sadly, we said goodbye to him this week. We all miss him very much, but are grateful for the long and rich life he led and that he passed without suffering. Baking chocolate chip cookies for care packages for deployed friends who can’t be home this Easter. Easter brunch at the Beachhouse, Moana Surfrider Waikiki. A little cat who is REALLY not helping me get this chair covered.

Currently…

Reading…the redraft I have to submit for my final distance learning exam. I thought I was done, but one of my tests got kicked back for a re-do. Note to self – maybe next time, I should do school and job in order, so I can learn the way it’s actually supposed to be done and not write about the way we actually do it instead. Because it definitely feels like no one actually doing this job read the books about how we’re supposed to do it. Sigh.

Writing…said exam re-submit. I’m hoping I can get it done with today, if I don’t keep getting distracted by blogs, emails, social media, and that book I might someday actually get around to writing.

Listening…to the rain outside. It’s been a gray and gloomy Easter so far, but given that it’s kind of feeling bittersweet, that fits. No matter how much you tell yourself you’re prepared for the loss of a loved one, even if they have lived a rich and full life and their passing is a natural one, it isn’t easy. We’re very much missing Scott’s grandfather this week.

We’re also missing friends who are deployed. Holidays are always hard when you’re out in the boonies, away from your family, and feel like the world has forgotten about you. We’ve been sending out a lot of care packages this week to let friends know this isn’t the case.

That’s the bitter part. The sweet part is that our adorable little niece was born on Easter Day three years ago, and we’re looking forward to seeing her continue to blossom and grow!

Thinking…that this week is just going to be another one of those weeks I need to survive. Even through brunch this morning, I could feel my mind rewinding to my mental to-do list. And it’s a big one. I need to get some stuff off my plate so that I can enjoy life and not keep clicking back to stressful things.

Proud of…my presentation at the Defense Analysis Exchange, arranging training, a couple big VIP visits at work, and even though I didn’t get everything done that I wanted to, even though I screwed up a few things, getting a lot of things done right. It’s easy to focus in on the bad stuff or the things that went wrong, and in doing so, forget all the things that went right. Before I throw myself back into fixing the rest, I want to take a moment to be proud of those things that actually went the way they were supposed to!

Wanting…to finish up a couple more art projects for the house. I know they’re going to have to wait until I’ve gotten some more stuff checked off, but I’m really excited about them!

Needing…to wrap this up so I can do work. Meh.

Feeling…stretched a little bit thin, a little bit stressed, and a little bit glum, but I’m okay. I’m not the kind of person who can be knocked down by things for any long length of time. Some days it’s beautiful and sunny, and other days you really do just have to remind yourself the sun will come out tomorrow. I have faith that it will.

What’s on your mind, currently?

KCS

Dress for Success

As a girl who spends a lot of time at a podium in a business suit or some equivalent, I can tell you that being professional doesn’t mean you have to forego style. However, there’s a fine line to draw between just another look and a professional look. There are some things that just don’t work in the workplace, and there are some things that are just begging for a little flair.

With that, I want to share some of my favorite conference looks. Let’s start with the most casual look, one suited for a primarily academic conference in a warm environment {like the psychology convention I usually attend in Washington, D.C., at the start of summer}.

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The look is preppy but polished and works for a nice short academic conference. You can always tell when you’re presenting around academics – there are a large number of tweed jackets and elbow patches in attendance, and khakis are about as dressy as they get.

But what about a business conference? If you’re going to move around the movers and shakers, you do need to look like you belong, and I can’t think of a much better route to go than classic with a pop of color. A tuxedo jacket, tailored pencil skirt, and classic silk turtleneck blouse do great things, as long as the climate is cool enough to allow for it. This is my favorite fall/winter conference look.

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I’ve got a slightly different take on this as well. Still formal, but as with the previous outfit, I don’t always like matching my skirts or pants to my jacket. I’ve never been able to pull off a good monochrome. This is another classic look I like that incorporates some fun patterns and pops of color while still maintaining a traditional feel.

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For springtime, I like to change things up and lighten the mood. I’ve never been a pastels girl, but I can pull off a pale blue. Incorporating many shades of blue, including some robin’s egg blue for spring, can still be a classic look. And for spring, as the weather gets warmer, I usually ditch my sterner looking silver jewelry for gold.

Conferencing in Blue

 

So there you go. Four looks for different seasons and different degrees of formality. None of the rules here are rigid {seriously, could you name for me any rule of fashion that’s really and truly rigid?}, but when in doubt, put yourself in the following scenario. You’re in a high-budget disaster movie and walking into the White House to brief the President and the Cabinet on what needs to be done to save the world. You want to be credible, but you’re also the lead and there’s a requirement that action heroes and heroines look fabulous. What do you wear?

So how about you? What do you wear to save the world – or at least the world of business?

Happy weekend!

KCS

A Korean Culture Tour

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I knocked a pretty major item off my great big 101-thing to-do list while I was in South Korea.

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Well, okay, there were a few bucket list worthy items. Presenting to a couple hundred people in a bilateral forum of some of the best analysts and strategists around was pretty awesome. And then there was the Korean baseball game, which was epic.

But I also had a chance to do some archery with a traditional Korean bow.

Aside from being a fan of the old Robin Hood tales and the Hunger Games these days, I’ve always wanted to practice archery. We tried it out during PE when I was a kid in junior high, and I was hooked, but somehow, I just never got around to trying it again. I had my chance here.

So did Scott, and since I’m more of a picture nut than he is, there are a lot more pictures of him looking cool with his bow and getting his instruction than me.

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All this came about in between seminars, when our Korean hosts took us off on a tour of the lesser seen parts of the city so that we could get a bigger taste of the culture.

We spent the better part of one day at the Korean Folk Village just south of town. It’s a combination reenactors’ village and amusement park, but there are lots of “experience” exhibits tucked in the corners where you can learn about Korean traditions, from archery to pottery to mask making to temple prayer. You can even take part in a traditional Korean wedding ceremony.

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There were stunt shows, both on horseback and on the ground, and featuring tumbling, tricks with whips, swords, spears, and archery.

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My personal favorite, though, were all the rambling paths, streams, and bridges wandering in and around the folk village, with quiet reenactors going about their day and partaking in the things that might normally be looked at as the daily grind. Blacksmiths working in their forges, weavers working on their looms, folks cooking soup or roasting herbs.

It might be a slightly idealized look at what life might have been like in a traditional village, but I think the immersive environment gave the best flavor for us to see what things might have been like.

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As for the modern cultural environment, I just have to say that I have never, ever been to anything like a Korean baseball game. If you’re ever in Seoul, go. Just go. We went with a large group from the conference on a Thursday night, expecting it to be a quiet-ish exhibition game like the military appreciation nights at Yankee Stadium, but we got a whole other experience.

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The crowd was huge and raucous and in it to win it. They knew all the cheers and songs the cheerleaders and MC’s ran through {yes, they had cheerleaders and MC’s rallying the crowd}, and they even knew all the dances. I haven’t been surrounded by that much spirit in a long time!

We delved into the expat culture a little bit as well, when we met up with one of my husband’s best friends who’s stationed out here. We hadn’t seen him since he moved to Korea after the wedding, where he was one of Scott’s groomsmen. Together we investigated the craft microbreweries cropping up in the expat region of Seoul.

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Finally, the day before we flew out, we completed our little culture tour by making our way to the palaces. There are several of them throughout Seoul, but we managed to see and tour the smaller one near our hotel, Deoksugung Palace, and then the large government seat near the embassies, Gyeongbokgung Palace.

We spent a leisurely morning walking around the gardens of Deoksugung, enjoying the cool spring weather and the flowers in bloom.

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Outside, we saw a street fair just getting ready to kick off, and the guard getting ready to march in for the changing of the guard at Deoksugung. We missed that, but we managed to catch it over at the next palace.

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We made it over to Gyeongbokgung just in time to watch the changing of the guards ceremony. It’s a huge affair, complete with a traditional Korean military band – which has a sound unlike any other military band I’ve ever heard. Shrill trumpets, chimes, and whistles aren’t what I’d normally associate with a band, but they work.

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And yeah, I just love my husband’s new driver’s cap.

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I’m still amazed that we were able to pack so much into our trip to Korea, but I’m really glad we were able to make time for these visits that immersed us in the rich history of the country. You never really learn a place until you’ve walked around in it and have experienced some of its traditions, and I felt like we were able to get that here.

Here’s hoping you all are having a wonderful week!

KCS

Okinawan Sweet Potato Hash with Fried Eggs

Sweet Potato Hash

I love traveling – and dining out on new and interesting dishes – but I’m also a big fan of being able to come home and whip up something in my own kitchen. You’d think I’d feel kind of spoiled after a week of the luxurious breakfast buffet at our hotel, but more than anything, I just wanted to make my own clean food – and get away from buffet portions!

Sometimes the simplest things really are best. I think this especially applies to cooking. The only trick to getting the most out of simple things is that you’ve got to have quality ingredients, and you’ve got to cook them right.

It’s the same message proclaimed by a wonderful cookbook I rediscovered during a compulsive reorganizing session {I do things like this – I can’t tell you why}. The book is the 5 Ingredient Fix cookbook by Claire Robinson, host of a show on Food Network of the same name.

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I’ve been having a great time experimenting with her recipes, but I’ve had my eye on a particular deconstructed sweet potato hash with fried eggs. I love sweet potatoes, both for their taste and for their nutritional benefits, and they’re extremely tasty in a morning hash. And by a stroke of luck, I came across these babies during a Costco run -

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They’re Khoai Lang Tim – also known as Okinawan sweet potatoes, Hawaiian sweet potatoes, or purple yams. There’s no fat in them and they’re low in calories. On top of that they’re full of antioxidants and fiber. Oh, and they’re delicious. Let’s not leave that out!

Using these, I tried my hand at the hash recipe, making a few changes and substitutions {are you surprised?}. For one, I’m really trying not to buy butter, so I wanted to see if I could make a delicious and hearty breakfast without butter. I also had to forego the fresh sage leaves, since it’s not something I have on hand normally – and definitely not something I have a week after moving in! I do have crushed sage, though.

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Even with those changes – and no butter – I ended up with a tasty, delicious, and calorie friendly recipe that incorporates some local flavor and is a great kickstart for the morning. After being my taste tester as usual, my husband is already asking when I can make this again. Since he’s the pickier eater in this house, I consider it a win.

Okinawan Sweet Potato Hash with Fried Eggs

Makes 2 servings.

What you’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 cubed medium sweet potato {regular or purple}
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 chopped sweet onion
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tsp crushed sage
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • {optional} avocado to garnish

How to make it:

1. Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a large skillet and stir in the sage to simmer until it infuses the water {you’ll smell it}. Add in the cubed sweet potatoes and bring the water to a nice simmer {bubbling lightly but not a churning boil}. Cook the potatoes until the water has boiled off. If it hasn’t boiled off in about 10 minutes of cooking, spoon out the remaining liquid and continue cooking the potatoes. Total cook time should be about 20 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, pour the rest of the olive oil into another skillet and throw in the chopped onions. Cook those for about the same time {15-20 minutes} at a low heat until the onions go golden-brown.

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3. Pour the onions into the sweet potato skillet and toss to mix them together. Then remove the skillet from the heat and plate the potatoes and onions, piling the mixture in the middle of the plate.

4. Wipe out one of the pans {you want to capture some of the spice and flavor}, pour in a teeny bit more olive oil to prevent sticking, and fry the eggs, two at a time. Like Claire, I happen to like mine over easy, so that’s what I used here.

5. Put the eggs on top of the hash, crack some fresh ground sea salt and pepper over the top, garnish with some avocado slices, and serve them up!

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I’m contemplating adding sage to my budding herb garden so I can try this recipe out with the whole sage leaves that Claire recommends – it’s cropped up in a few of the other recipes I’ve been looking at trying out lately, too. I’m also going to try her recommendation to add some spicy sausage to the hash, too, as soon as I find some that aren’t too greasy, and maybe give this a go with regular sweet potatoes, too.

In the meantime, though, this is one tasty breakfast, and I’m really looking forward to the next time I can make it!

KCS

 

Walking Around in Seoul

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Seoul, South Korea, is the most amazing and most functional mixture of old world and new world that I’ve ever seen. Brand new state of the art green buildings grow up amid palaces and shrines of old, traditional dress mixes with Western suits on the way to work or to the park, and visitors, tourists, and expats wander in and around the local haunts and their own little enclaves, not at odds with the world but embraced by it.

Spending a week in Seoul for the bilateral analysis exchange where I was presenting wasn’t enough. Even when it was time to get on the plane, I wanted more. Let’s take a little walking tour of the city, and I’ll show you why.

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We’ll start by taking a walk-around tour of the city architecture, starting with the City Hall, just a couple of blocks from our hotel.

Both Scott and I were fascinated by the huge wall of curved glass making up the front and the massive green wall inside, and we stopped to browse some of the sustainable living exhibits inside. It also made for a great juxtaposition with the tiled roofs and high walls of Deoksugung Palace, just across the street, which we visited as part of our culture tour later on.

But that wasn’t the only piece of interesting architecture. All around us there were buildings worth looking at, more sculptures than buildings. The city has such an amazing way of fitting the new and modern in with the beautiful old traditional buildings.

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While walking through downtown, we caught sight of Seoul Tower, up on its hill in the Namsan Gardens, and we decided to go investigate. Turned out there was a cable car that would take us from the bottom of the hill up to the top! We have an affinity for those, as you might have seen in Barcelona, or from my previous trip to Rio.

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Yeah, please excuse the iPhone reflections from inside the glass. And the iPhone pictures in general. I didn’t know what I would and wouldn’t be allowed to bring into the conference {there are classified sessions in defense conferences where you can’t take cameras} and I didn’t want to risk leaving my SLR just lying around. I’m protective of it.

Still, you can see the spring just exploding through the city. I’m still amazed at the amount of green space and little park spots that cropped up throughout the city. We could see all of them in the amazing panoramic views from the cable car and from the top of the hill itself.

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We walked around the top of the hill, checking out the tower and the view, but also one of Seoul’s “Beacon Hills.” These clay ovens were beacons of old – if you lit a fire inside them, they blazed so that other watch hills could see them and send the message in a time of attack.

We were amazed at the beauty of the cherry trees, but our Korean hosts aren’t overly fond of them, or other Japanese influences on the peninsula. One of our hosts mentioned that even though the Washington D.C. cherry festival is full of beautiful trees also, they won’t travel to D.C. in April thanks to the darker meaning it has for them.

It’s fairly well known that the trees in D.C. were gifts from the Emperor of Japan, but not so well known that they were gifts from the Emperor to President Taft at the end of a negotiation that allowed Japan to occupy Korea and the U.S. to occupy the Philippines. It’s not surprising, knowing that, they wouldn’t look on the cherry blossoms favorably.

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We also rambled down the old city wall, which surrounds the old city. Some of it is the original wall, but the rest, like the section pictured here, is artfully reconstructed out of shaped concrete and newly cut granite to look like a modern interpretation of the old wall, and it’s all lined by gardens.

Seoul has its days of fogginess and smogginess, where you don’t necessarily want to be walking around, but we were lucky enough to have some very good walking weather. If you’re in the area, I definitely recommend walking around the Namsan Garden, checking out the old wall, looking at the architecture and growing green and sustainable walls and park space, or investigating the palaces!

Hope you enjoyed our little walking tour! Some cities are definitely more friendly for that sort of things than others – what’s your favorite city for walking about?

KCS

Airlines That Rock

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Those of you out there who travel a lot know as well as I do that no matter how amazing the destination, the journey there and back does A LOT for setting the tone of your adventure. It’s really hard to feel excited about an adventure when you’re exhausted and cramped and starving after being wadded up and stuffed into the middlest seat possible.

Okay, that wadded up example was worlds away from what we experienced on our Korean Air flight out to Seoul. Instead, I think Scandinavian Airlines has competition for being my favorite airline!

Now, normally my husband and I are not that high maintenance when it comes to travel. I’ll barter for an exit row or some extra leg-room to accommodate the tall guy I travel with, but that’s about as much as we need in order to be comfortable, even on an eleven hour trans-Pacific flight.

With Korean Air, we didn’t need to barter. It started when we came up to the Departures check-in at Honolulu International and saw rows and rows of people instead of kiosks. Don’t get me wrong, I love my online check-in and flashing the QR code on my phone instead of paper tickets, but since I booked Scott’s ticket for this travel and my office booked mine, I was worried about how many people I would have to beg to swap until we could get seats together. It turned out, we didn’t even have to worry about it.

What I did have to worry about was that our office’s travel folks had booked my ticket for Sunday instead of Saturday. I think the international date line threw them off. But I only had to worry about that for a minute, because the Korean Air desk agent helping us was on the phone and got everything switched around in minutes. And she took one look at my 6’4″ husband and stuck us together in an exit row.

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When we got on the plane, we had our usual moment of envy walking past all the elite and prestige class seating, but our seats were pretty darn spacious. And there was probably two rows worth of space in front of us, thanks to the size of the exit door. Add to that the personal entertainment systems and screens, the remarkably good food, and the fact that a cheerful attendant wafted through the cabin periodically with a bottle of wine in each hand, red, and white, and we felt absolutely spoiled, even though we were riding in coach.

As relatively expensive as air fares are, it’s always tempting to go with the lower priced ticket and assume the rest of the experience is all the same. It’s not. To me, the quality of the experience is everything, especially on a fairly long leg of travel.

You could take an airline that’s just any old experience. Fine.

Or you could take one that has people who not only care about your problems but can fix them fairly quickly and efficiently. Who doesn’t nickel and dime you for baggage or pre-packaged food but take care of your bags and serve you a surprisingly delicious meal. Whose airplanes are clean and full of modernized conveniences. Hmm. Decisions.

Life is short and time is precious. If I have to, I’ll go without and suffer for ten hours to get to a remarkable destination – but Korean Airlines showed me I don’t have to. I want those ten hours to be comfortable and pleasant, so we’ll be flying with them again.

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* * * * *

Oh, and by the way…I want to wish the happiest of birthdays to my father! Here’s wishing you another year full of love and adventure, and I love you, Dad! Don’t kill all the Spanish wine I sent you in one sitting :)
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KCS

Note: This post was not sponsored by Korean Air or any of their affiliates, nor was I compensated in any way for writing it. From time to time, I do receive sponsored advertising options and compensation for reviewing products and services, but I also enjoy sharing my finds when I think they will benefit my readers. This is one I shared just because I had an awesome experience.

Sunday Currently, vol. 9

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Is it Sunday yet? Or did I miss it?

I can’t tell – we gained a whole other Saturday when we crossed the international date line again, and that always throws me off.

Scott and I had a tremendous time on our trip to South Korea this past week!  Our hosts’ hospitality, the information and friendship shared at the conference, and the beauty of spring in Korea blew us away. It was an absolutely amazing experience.

I’m looking forward to sharing some of the highlights of our trip this week, but if you want to see what we were up to, you can find me on Instagram {either find me @kcsaling or click the widget to the right!}. In the meantime, here’s a very very short…

Currently…

Reading…the two hundred something blog posts that I haven’t had a chance to read while I’ve been away, but not until I finish…

Writing…my additions to our team paper for this year’s Reputation Institute conference in May/June. We’ve been accepted to another one, but since it’s in the middle of one of the busiest times in my office, I’m just providing insight into the paper, and Karen’s presenting without me.

Proud of…being able to contribute to the great exchange effort between the Army analytical community and our South Korean counterparts, being able to see and do as much as we were on our stay and make the most of it, and being able to bring my husband with me.

Feeling…tired and glad to be home after our adventures. It’s nice to have a little bit of time to breathe before I have to throw myself right back into work again. But honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

What’s on your mind, currently?

KCS