Author Archives


Korean women’s beauty routine

The skin care industry is notoriously recession-proof. According to Euromonitor International, this industry even grew during the global recession between 2007 and 2011, by an addition of $15 billion to reach a value of $96.5 billion in total. And I’m betting that the Korean women were among the […]

Pretty nails: Korean flower dye

It always seems incredible to me that so many of the ancient archeological discoveries are ornaments and body care products.  But then I look at my own stack of fashion magazines and think, why shouldn’t they be? A passion for beauty and self expression are probably just as […]

Sea of Shoes’ Jane visits Seoul

Jane Aldridge, author of the wildly popular fashion blog Sea of Shoes, is in Seoul checking out its fashion scene. She calls the city “overwhelming” and professed to never having “experienced anything like Seoul.” She’s showing off her newly acquired avant-garde style top and skirt by Stylenanda here. I’m looking […]

How old are you?

Lucille Ball of “I love Lucy” fame once said that the secret to staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age. Had she lived in Korea, I have a feeling she would have actually looked older than her age from the stress of having […]

Fried chicken and beer

There’s something about the North American ritual of going to the movies and sharing a large tub of salty popcorns. Movies and popcorns are as familiar a combination as it gets.  In the same vein, drinking beer or soju in Korea is universally linked to eating bar snacks […]

Fish market and eating live octopus

One of the my favourite memories of travelling through Nova Scotia is seeing fishermen at work. On one occasion, I saw several fishermen sorting out a huge pile of freshly caught mackerel. The glint of the silver fins flying in the air was so brilliant in the sun, […]

Bulguksa: UNESCO World Heritage site

Utopian architecture is a concept that has been been explored by many idealists throughout history. And why not? Seeking idealism in architecture would be a natural arrival after a thorough review of a dwelling, office, gathering place, etc. But how about something more abstract such as depicting the Buddhist […]

Art in public place 2

If you have visited Vancouver in the past couple of years, you may have seen the 14 laughing bronze men known as A-maze-ing Laughter by the English Bay. In fact, you may have even gotten your picture taken there. The residents and visitors were overjoyed when they learned that […]

Eating flower cakes (Hwajeon)

Spring has sprung With the abundance Of blossoming flowers I think the poet of this poem – Scott Austin is the name – would have loved Hwajeon, a traditional Korean cake made with flowers which captures the romance of the spring blossoms.  I saw them at the Korea Food Day […]

Cafes in Seoul 3: Princess Diary

It’s no secret that little girls love poufy princess dresses.  Bows, flowers, frills, ribbons, sequins, whatever the embellishment of her choice is, the usual motto is not “less is more”. Incidentally, if you are a grown up woman living in Seoul, you don’t need to give up playing […]

Baseball star: Ryu Hyun-jin

If you are a baseball fan, you may already know that the LA Dodgers are coming to Toronto to play against the Blue Jays from July 22 to 24.  And you would probably know that these are extremely rare sort of games – something that happens maybe once […]

Art in public space

At the entrance 1 of the Anguk Subway station in Seoul, there is a large tiled wall, each tile lovingly hand-drawn or hand-written by different people. Some are poems, some are sketches, and some are stories – random thoughts placed side-by-side making up the whole wall, thoughts as […]

Paper face masks: A Korean beauty secret

They are hard to miss. From neighbourhood corner stores to luxury department stores, virtually everywhere you go in Korea you will see mounds of these. On the streets of busy shopping districts like Myongdong, sometimes they are even handed out for free. These are facial masks, or face […]

Leading global change in our time

The world has never been richer, safer, better educated or better connected. More people now die from climate change than terrorism. The world is not only heading in the right direction but this is the golden age. So began last night’s speech titled “Constructive Power Diplomacy” by Paul Heinbecker, a former advisorto successive Canadian […]

Cafes in Seoul 2: Baa, Baa, Black Coffee

My husband claims that the reason why he doesn’t have any allergies is because he spent some of his toddler life in a farm exposed to a million germs. I’ve been countering this argument by claiming our toddler boy’s cashew anaphylaxis was not alleviated by the less than […]