Tag Archives: Seoul

A year ago, I did a thing…

A year ago, I was flying 40,000 feet in the air, headed back to Seoul for the second time that year. Seoul, a place that had captured my heart only 5 months prior. The truth is, it’s been 2 years since my mother passed, and I still, to this very day, feel like my life is in a free-fall. There have been bright moments, and most of those moments are connected with the trips I took to Seoul.
Seoul Selfie, Sphinx Rowe, Doeksugung 덕수궁 Palace
The first time, it was an absolute random decision made moments before the stroke of midnight leading into the new year. That random decision suddenly gave me goals, and purpose, in the midst of heavy grieving. Suddenly, I was teaching myself Korean, learning about the culture, working out and even feeding myself regularly. In my deep depression, the ice started to melt like during the first hints of spring.
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Now, here I am, a year later from my the beginning of my 3 month excursion in Korea. By divine intervention, traveling was so, incredibly healing. There are so many stories, but,  I’ve neglected this blog. I’ve held these stories hostage the same way I’ve held my breath, waiting to exhale. Exhale what? Exhale these vaulted memories for fear that it was all a dream. But, it wasn’t. It was very real. Even more real, are the relationships created around such a trip. Who knew I’d run around Seoul with 2 Canadians, or be part of a dynamic church and experience fellowship that I  haven’t had since before my mother passed? Who knew I’d meet the Taoist elder who was convinced I was destined to marry a Korean man, without striving, easily glide into the Seoul fashion scene, or meet my Chinese Unnie who taught me to play the gayageum…so many stories I think I’ll start unraveling these tangled memories that began a year ago.  I have faith, I’ll be making more memories soon.
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XoXo,
S.
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That Drum Machine Ain’t Got No Soul, and Seoul Ain’t Got No Style; Thoughts on Seoul’s Fashion Scene

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Fashion terrorists, the lot of them. They were all fashion terrorists…I was overwhelmingly told, often from people with little-to-no style, that I would be so bored in South Korea. Even at Seoul Fashion Week, I was assured I would be unbelievably and unforgivably bored.

Why?

Because, they’ve simply got no style.

I wasn’t sure how to take it, why was everyone so focused on reassuring me of my imminent boredom? Perhaps it’s because I can’t hide from my fashion persona. No matter who I met in South Korea, be they native, foreign or just passing through, made vocal assumptions about my having a fashion career. Clearly, I was one of those Fashion People. Clearly, I needed to be warned. Even some of the Korean locals I met asked me, in my professional opinion, if I thought all Koreans just tried to look the same? SeoulFashionWeekSS2017-Fashion-Needs-Jesus.gif

Even by the time Seoul Fashion Week rolled around, some of the international press (that stayed on the ground for approximately 1-2 days) made bold assumptions about how they lacked style and they have no subcultures, often comparing it to the nearby island nation which has made waves in the fashion industry (Japan, if you hadn’t caught my drift).

What was this all about? Here’s my response to the whole “They All Look Alike” Camp:

Plenty of foreigners come from countries and communities where “they all look alike too”, the difference being less noticeable because of physical differences in racial spectrum, not because the lot of them are actually dressing vastly differently. It’s that tribalism that we lean to as humans, in hyper-diverse cities, however, this tribalism may simply have more striking visual differences, but take out the varying racial features, plenty of people still look very much the same. People stick to their uniforms, whatever those uniforms may be. The Wall Streeters have their own uniform, sure one may have faded hair, one may have blonde straight hair, one may have brown wavy hair, but rest assured, there’s still a uniform that is relatively easy to spot. In other words, these self-appointed fashion critics are missing a lot of the bigger point, simply because they are looking at a more homogenous major city. Funny enough, many of these foreigners who were so quick to dismiss Seoul’s fashion, dressed eerily similar themselves, they just looked a tad bit more diverse.  *DRAMATIC EYEROLL* See?

“You are not special. You’re not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You’re the same decaying organic matter as everything else.”

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Le sigh.

Now that I’ve managed to insert an alarmingly accurate quote from one of my favorite books/films of all time, let’s look at some street fashion from the emerging Seoul scene, shall we? :

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@Apehouse

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@TheSeoulChild

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So, there you have it, ending with visions from the front row. The moral of the story, Seoul is still emerging and developing a sense of who it is in fashion, but it doesn’t mean fashion doesn’t exist there, there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye. See even more by following the story on Instagram: @FashionNeedsJesus

XoXo,

S.

SEOUL FASHION WEEK, S/S ’17 MOOHONG COLLECTION REVIEW

What would the cool kids look like a few generations after the apocalypse had ravaged civilization, and a merry band of badass survivors had managed to begin repopulating and rebuilding society? Now that you’ve got that scenario in your head, the answer is they’d look pretty dope, and dressed in MooHong. While I didn’t have the greatest seat at MooHong’s show during Seoul Fashion Week, I could see the ultra cool stroll down the runway. Frankly, I think it’s that sense of ultra cool that has to become the anchor of Seoul’s emerging fashion scene, but that’s the topic for another post.

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MooHong had an ultra cool confidence that is irrefutably modern, focused on asymmetric construction, and uncommon cuts. Undoubtedly one of my favorite collections, MooHong kept a rather mild color palette, and managed to never be boring. MooHong SS 2017-FASHION NEEDS JESUS 0.jpg

We saw blazers that were longer than average, and anything but normal. One blazer I was particularly fond of had lapels on the back, revealing red writing, that I can assume, spelled out the brand’s name. It was just interesting enough to catch my eye, and yet, easily sellable for the client who is still a bit shy about how daring to be when enhancing their style. There was plenty, however, for the fashionable man and woman who’s confidence and bravado already matched their style.t768x1152_46

As if that weren’t enough, there was a pleasant androgyny, that didn’t looked forced at all. Instead, it looked sophisticated, and well thought out. It wasn’t a man in a dress, it was a man in a really cool long top with an asymmetrical hem, opting to wear no pants, and layering on a dope blazer. It was genuine, believable, and better yet, sellable. Whether it was menswear or womenswear mattered minimally at best,  the traditionally masculine elements complemented the traditionally feminine. The traditionally feminine carried elements of the traditionally masculine. It just worked. Here are some of my favorite looks, from one of the best collections presented at Seoul Fashion Week! 

Be sure to catch some sweet street style and the fashion diaries by following along on Insta:@FashionNeedsJesus and Facebook!

XoXo,

S

Seoul Fashion Week SS 2017, Street Style Photographers Capturing What I Wore

An ode to my OOTDs, as captured by some of the photographers at Seoul Fashion Week. I went to watch shows, and observe street style, but I, in turn, was being observed. While I have not found nearly all of the photos, here are a few, be sure to click the link to check out their Instagram accounts and websites for more Seoul Street Fashion! Also, don’t forget to follow my Insta!

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@UlloKorea
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@Younoblues
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@pyh_23
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Kim SeHun
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@ApeHouse 
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@hoon_andrea

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@ww_prince
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@Jihye_o3o
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@je2difilm
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@pyh_23
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@oktop_j
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@kinnnnha

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@ske.jw
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@photographer_cherokee
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@photographer_cherokee

Sphinx Rowe-Seoul Fashion Week Street Style photo by photo_kyj.png

SEOUL FASHION WEEK, S/S ’17 pushBUTTON Collection Review

What was spectacular about pushBUTTON’s Spring/Summer 2017 show? I’ll admit, there was a subtle shock to see every man stroll down the runway in a pair of heels. There’s just something I can appreciate about the democratization of pain. Clever. But, really, that wasn’t the most spectacular thing. The brilliance in the collection was held really in the distance of the collection. And just what do I mean by that, after all, this girl was sitting pretty on pushBUTTON SS 2017-FASHION NEEDS JESUS 16.jpgthe front row? Well, just that as a stylist, it’s easy for me to focus on pieces. I start wardrobing in my head the minute I see a piece I like. Which client would that work for, what would pair well in his closet, what could I style that with on a shoot? Immediately, my mind wonders. In fact, with several shows I saw at Seoul Fashion Week, I would get excited about some great pieces. At pushBUTTON, however, the brilliance was in the distance, I found myself getting excited about just about every look that strolled down the runway. Funky, colorful, and cohesive while maintaining an air of uniqueness. Were I a fashion buyer, I’d be in trouble. That’s what I loved about pushBUTTON. As if my word weren’t proof enough, pushBUTTON’s collection was named one of the best of the season, further establishing their global presence!

Candied stripes and colors filled the venue, with boxy cuts, and willowy drapes. The whole pushBUTTON SS 2017-FASHION NEEDS JESUS 19.jpgthing felt like a perfect summer day. The day where you hold hands with someone you love, and cruise in a drop top with the sun kissing your shoulders. Where you were headed exactly, God only knows; a music festival, a beach, a club that has you waitlisted for a month before you can even get in, or dinner at that lovely little restaurant on the coast you’ve always wanted to try, perhaps. Either way, the cozy, cool pieces from pushBUTTON would easily take you to the next level.

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pushbutton-ss-2017-fashion-needs-jesus-14Gold pants? Check. Baby blue, updated, pussy-bow blouse. Check. Green jumper with just pushBUTTON SS 2017-FASHION NEEDS JESUS 4.jpgthe right amount of side boob action for the ultra daring? Check. Sheer lavender midi dress you didn’t know you needed, but totally do? Check. The crimson ultra wide-leg pant that will have you sashaying down the street? Check. I could go on, but you get the idea.

The retro references, modern cuts and lovely color palette created the perfect distance. The type of woman who will wear this collection may be your very best friend, and your closest confidant, however, the minute she puts on pushBUTTON, she’s so cool that she’s practically untouchable, and miles above the rest.

 

XoXo,

S.

Catch awesome street style from Seoul Fashion Week, and the Fashion Diaries on our Insta @FashionNeedsJesus and our Facebook page!

 

Seoul Fashion Week, S/S ’17 Nohke Collection Review

Slits, slants, and structured beauty. That’s the collection that presented itself for Nohke’s Spring/Summer 2017 year, and it was positively riveting. I sat, barely contained in my seat, watching the models stroll by, easily carrying the cleverly designed pieces that elegantly draped their forms. Bold, and riveting, and undoubtedly one of the best. As if I weren’t already expert enough, Nohke’s designer,  MiSun Jung, won an award for being one of the top 10 collections presenting at Seoul Fashion Week.  Her inspiration was walking at night, a notion easily found in both the utter romance, and the fluid movement in her collection.

Nohke’s collection from Seoul’s most recent Fashion Week, was by far, one of my absolute favorites, especially for womenswear. The menswear collections at Seoul Fashion Week have by far dominated, in terms of innovation, silhouettes, and general fanciful colors and patterns. Nohke SS 2017-Fashion Needs Jesus 1.jpgAs such, to see such innovation in womenswear was a breath of fresh air. From the mature color palette, utilizing primary and secondary colors paired with dove neutrals helped the ready-to-wear collection feel all the more accessible to the fashion types making their presence known at Dongdaemun Design Plaza(Seoul Fashion Week’s residence).

Granted, where does one wear such a collection?

My answer? Anywhere. While we got to see sharp tailoring, boxy silhouettes, and the occasional  brazen  color, each piece was intimately wearable. Bold. Stylish. Unique. Really, that’s what I felt this collection was about. With the slits, we got to experience bits of femininity exposed. I thought it was wildly romantic, to flirt with what you care to show of yourself, and that which you care not to expose and share that with an ever-captive audience. After all, isn’t the world always watching? I suppose that’s a story for another day. Suffice it to say, Sphinx was impressed. And can we talk about that fabulous, boxy, modern answer to the ever classic motorcycle jacket, if I ever saw one?!!! J’adore!

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So in love with this Nohke jacket, worn by model YoonYoung Bae.

With the colors, pulling from the pure strength of primary colors, as other collections this season seemed fond of doing, primary red, yellow, and blue found themselves anchoring Nohke’s collection. From a foundation of pure and unadulterated color, designer MiSun Jung was able to offer stability and subtlety in using ice white, dove gray, silver, and black, while maintaining interest by introducing shades of olive green, sun-bleached khaki. Nohke SS 2017-Fashion Needs Jesus 7.jpg

Consistently, the Nohke collection dared to challenge traditionally feminine silhouettes with the notion of exposure. I thoroughly enjoyed watching this collection walk the runway, and can’t wait to continue watching how Nohke’s designer, MiSun Jung, develops her collections on the runway, and on the increasing international eyes watching in restless anticipation.

XoXo,

S

View the rest of the collection here. Also, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram: @FashionNeedsJesus, for our daily fashion diaries!

Seoul Fashion Week, S/S ’17 Songzio Collection Review

Tailored art. That’s the collection Songzio(송지오) that presented itself at Seoul Fashion Week, while I watched intrigued from the front row.  The collection was among  some of my favorites, showing primarily menswear that ventured from relaxed to tailored, and bold to subdued.
img_8313Despite the clear juxtapositions, the collection was beautifully made, complementing each outfit to stroll down the runway. Fashion designer, Zio Song, while not making particularly wild or crazy silhouettes, did manage to play with proportions, interesting details that nipped at the male waist ever-so-slightly, colors, and patterns in a way that made the show memorable, and the clothes wearable even for the less daring man or woman wanting a contemporary suit.

We saw the black, white and navy colors, ever-present and ever-resilient in menswear. Zio Song did break up the predictable palette for contemporary suiting by also incorporating lively colors such as aqua, primary blue, emerald green, and the occasional yellow. IMG_8345.jpgIMG_8340.jpgThe patterns were not only striking in contemporary menswear, but also refreshingly bold for contemporary women’s suiting as well. Paint strokes, jagged lines,  and a green dominated print with such brilliant strokes that it abstracted itself into spring foliage by a quick glance of the eye were a few of the several prints presented. Add to that some easy-breezy knits, the brightly splattered outwear being an answer for that transitional spring weather, and the collection has rounded itself out quite nicely.

IMG_8311.jpgAs for silhouettes, the long mandarin collar button ups, and long flowing tunics paired nicely with the wide leg pants that found themselves strolling down the runway. I quite enjoyed how the pants were not merely cut wide, but also had such pleating details reminiscent of a school uniform skirt, the effect was different, however, given the soft and pliable nature of the summer-weight fabrics used. Also, as to further emphasize this push in the menswear in particular, the slightly sheer fabrics in some of the looks leaned towards a unisexuality almost. Fabrics and even details normally reserved for womenswear took a stand at the Songzio show, and a great one at that.

XoXo,

-S

And if you haven’t done so already, Follow all the Seoul Fashion Week tidbits on our Insta: @FashionNeedsJesus!!!

Here. Now.

 

It’s officially been a week since I’ve moved to Seoul. A week and I’ve been calling a new place home. Fashion Week just occurred in NYC, but I’ve been focused on calling a new place home, and reflecting on what that means. I get the feeling that I’m finally becoming the woman I’ve always wanted to be. The woman, who is still rising despite the heartbreak and tragedy. The woman who fights, triumphs and throws a haughty laugh. The woman I was destined to be. Her. I think I’m finally becoming her. Free and bold, a woman who loves extravagantly and courageously in every aspect of life. seoul-tower-han-river

And, God, it feels so good.

In a week’s time, I managed to almost join a cult, I’ve went on a date with KDrama Guy who saved me from said aforementioned cult, hung out at Han River solo dolo amongst all the couples, I’ve agreed to record a music cover with my host, have another date lined up with a different guy, gotten lost countless times, learned how to speak some Mandarin while drinking with the roomies and talking about boys, spoken in Korean every single day, and tackled Dongdaemun, pushing and shoving with the thousands of people and vendors to get the swatches I need to design with.

I’ve actually unpacked my room and set it up nicely so I’m not living out of a suitcase, and realized just how much I’ve  committed to calling this place home for a spell. I never unpack if I don’t have to. Here, though, I did. Something about Seoul. Something about wanting to reset and refresh and explore the fullness of myself again, as a Creator, and as a woman. I look back at the things that interested me as a child, when we were free to think and dream, and as a teenager full of energy, and I’m going back to that child-like faith that anything could happen. Moreover, I’m seeing so many connections with present interests, and interests of my childhood.

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It’s strange to find myself back on a road that I’d abandoned over 10 years ago, but wholly exhilarating.

Yeah.

I’d rather be her.  Her, full of faith, her, the self-proclaimed jet-setting auntie who is gonna travel the world, her, the leader of a girl group, her, the fashion icon and mogul, her, the multi-linguist who strikes up conversations in different conversations at a moments notice, her, the model living in Tokyo, her, the story teller, her, one half of an eclectic, cool, and sexy power couple,  her, the musician turned actress, her, a representative of the people later in life,  her, the poet and novelist, her, the dancer who wanted to do a summer session with the Dance Theatre of Harlem, her, who was ready to drive across the country the day after graduation for an epic roadtrip, her, who had so many big dreams and hopes and a lot less fear.

Yeah, I’d rather be her.

XoXo,

S.

Follow the journey on Instagram, Facebook and Here!

Seoul (서울)Searching: 5 Soulful Lessons I Learned While Traveling Alone

So, as you all know, I traveled to Seoul, South Korea a bit ago.

Alone.

Just me.

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And my bags. (but that’s a story for another day)

And I learned somethings taking my first international trip, alone at that, so I thought I’d share. Some lessons I learned from the situations and simply being there, others from friends. Either way here it goes:

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  1. “Slowly, slowly.”

My very first lesson came from an older man working at the airport when I arrived at Incheon. I was trying to get some T-Money to take the train to the Metro, and being the New Yorker that I am, I was rushing. For, like, no reason. I arrived mid-week, no one was behind me, and frankly, had I dropped a 50,000 KRW (오만원) for the sake of rushing, it would have a been a sad day. So the older gentleman walking me through the process kept telling me “Slowly, slowly”, to make sure I had everything, to make sure I put my money back in my wallet, and all that jazz. Even on vacay, I had forgotten to breathe. So remember, especially whilst traveling alone, you must look out for yourself. You could be fortunate and have a stranger look out for you, but even so, remember to take your time, take a breath, adjust to your surroundings and take care of what you need to take care of, even if there is a line forming behind you.

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   2.  It’s Ok to Ask for Help. Not only is it OK, it’s a Requirement. 

By now, I’m feeling fancy, I’ve gotten on the metro like the saavy New Yorker I am, and learned to slow down and collect myself. Fantastic. Now, what else was for me to learn? Well, after successfully switching from the local to the express line after a man watched me sit for far to long in my opinion, told whomever he was speaking on the phone with to hold on for a moment, and told me in exactly 3 words of English, “Go, across, go. Express across. Go.” I took his advice, and got off and hauled my luggage across the platform. So thank you kind sir. I couldn’t possibly need more help than that, right? Wrong. That man offered helped, I hadn’t asked, and in the wild, whilst traveling alone, you must learn to ask for help.

My AirBnB was a minute walk from the metro station. And that’s if I wasn’t walking like a New Yorker. Upon my arrival to said metro station, however, I found myself walking in circles. I found a Wi-Fi Spot, I called my sis over Wi-Fi and asked her to look up the address. She was finding a 15 minute walk. I didn’t understand what was happening. Then my sister had my phone turned on for texting, and wouldn’t you know it, I get a text from my AirBnB host saying she was worried, because she was expecting me, and I hadn’t arrived during my estimated time. I remember when she text me. I was crying in front of a Hana Bank 하나은항(don’t worry, this will come up again), while staring at this guy:

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Actor Kim SooHyun 김수현, who played Do Min Joon in My Love From Another Star (별에서 온 그대). Apparently he holds the record for most endorsements in a year cuz he’s totally adorbs. He was literally everywhere in Seoul. And there he was, in an ad in front of the Hana Bank I was crying in front of. Le sigh. I should have just asked for help earlier, because my host found me within minutes of me finding my way back to the metro station. My host must have seen the distress in my face, and swept me up in a big hug upon meeting me. She hauled my huge bag(against my protests) and walked me a minute to her lovely apartment. Lesson learned. Asking for help can save you an hour of your life and some tears.

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3. Identify Your Person

Why was the bank with the South Korean cutie, Kim SooHyun, oh so relevant? I’m getting to that. When traveling alone, you absolutely have to have someone who is, what we call in my family, Your Person. You know, that friend since the playpen, sister, cousin, play cousin, uncle, or whomever who is your absolute ride or die. If you called them from a prison in Mexico because of some plans gone astray during your travels, they’d be on the next flight. They would curse at you the entire drive back, but they’d come break you out, or work their diplomatic connections. I had a few people in the Travel Squad, but my main Person, that I called at all times while freaking out, was my twin. From giving me a pep talk at Seoul Fashion Week, to getting my phone turned on internationally at no extra cost to me, to wiring me money at, you guessed it, the same Hana Bank I was crying in front of the day before my return flight home, she was my absolute ride or die. Your Person will figure out a way to help you, even if it takes using Google Translate and some hand signs to do it. Your Person will encourage the spiritual journey that traveling alone can take you on, and do what ever they can to help you stay at peace, so you can, absolutely, make the most of your journey. 

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4. You will Cry, and it’s really OK. (진짜, 진짜~ 괜찮아!)

Traveling alone has it’s stresses. Even though plenty of people were super helpful, and I got to go on a date with a local, and I had incredible experiences, there is just something about traveling alone. I truly believe no matter what prompts you to travel alone, it’s an a act which ultimately awakens, heals, and nourishes your soul. For me, it’s been the ongoing struggle with the loss of my mother, and the desperate need for magic. Traveling, to the exact place my heart said to go, didn’t mean I wasn’t going to cry, it just meant I was going to cry and cleanse in the right place. You get to let it all out, pray, meditate, and just be in a place, simply being. I cannot tell you how nourishing it is for the soul, to just, cry.

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5. Answer to You. 

This life is ultimately between you and Source. The same goes for your planned or random vacation. The beauty of traveling alone is you don’t have to answer to anyone else’s itinerary or expectation. One of my friends in the Travel Squad, encouraged me over KaKaoTalk, and reminded me that this trip is just for me. I can do every touristy thing imaginable, or I can wander around aimlessly, as long as I was happy. I did way more of the latter. Praying, meditating, smiling at cute locals, and wandering. I got a greater local experience by doing that, and had more opportunities to practice the Korean I spent 3 months learning! This trip is for you, you will emerge stronger, braver, and wiser, so do whatever makes you happy.

I’m sure there are more lessons I learned while traveling alone, but I’m still discovering them, next I’ll post on my practical travel advice! What did you learn traveling alone? I’d love to hear from you!

Drink soju like a boss, dance til dawn in Hongdae, haggle over prices, wear sequins on a Tuesday, whatever, just do what you love. You betta werk! I’m rooting for you!

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XoXo,

S

 

 

 

Introducing: Fashion Needs Jesus, The Vlog! Seoul Fashion Week and Other Things…

 

Hello my loves,

I’ve decided since I’ve been crazy busy, but do want to continue offering you great content, to venture into the world of vlogging! Don’t worry, I’ll get back to writing great content too! In the meantime, check out the first vlog where I talk a bit about Seoul Fashion Week, the well dressed men walking around in Seoul and even the couple dressing! My travels were so inspiring that I’m eager to get back, but, I’m here for now. In the meantime, I’ll keep sharing photos of street style and updating both the blog and the new vlog and most importantly, I’m just going to have some fun!

XoXo,

-S