General, Inspiration

5 Fun Things To Do in This Bitter Korean Winter

Hello again, dear readers! I’m back with some tips and tricks to liven up your (probably already pretty lively) Korea life. This time, I’d like to tackle something we’re surely all dealing with to some extent this month — THE COLD.

5 Ways To Enjoy Life During This Bitter Korean Winter | FleurDeLibre.com

Y’all. I opened with “y’all” to remind you my butt is from the Southern United States, but, Y’ALL — it is cold in these damn streets! I’ve been here since August 2016, and if you recall last winter, it was not as cold as all this mess we’re dealing with. I mean, in January, I went on a ski trip, and it was way warmer than this very day. I’m looking at a 10-day forecast right now that includes a day of 17F/-9C for the high. The high!! What is life right now, people, and when did Korea fall into the Arctic circle?!

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Food, General

How To Staycation in Seoul Like a Boss!

With December almost here, many of us will have some days off scattered through the next few weeks. Squeeee! Between that and the upcoming holidays, the time is ripe to treat yourself especially well. And THAT (to me) means planning an epic staycation, and I recently had a helluva staycation in Seoul.

The staycation itinerary I’m about to share is one I enjoyed over the long Chuseok break last month, and it includes all of my very favorite things: cool lodging, tasty restaurants, biking through Seoul and happening upon fun places and activities. Best part is, this plan can suit a party of one for some much-needed me time and rejuvenation or be shared with your friends for a staycation partayyyy. Do one activity or do ’em all. Grab some tea, coffee or hot cocoa, and take some notes — here’s how to staycation like a boss!

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Fitness + Beauty, General

3 Reasons You Need Aquafield Spa In Your Life

I love writing a piece that gives you an inside scoop into something fun I’ve done, so I’m super-loving this moment! This past weekend, I again indulged in an activity (pretty much becoming a hobby at this point) that I want to clue you in on: visiting an upscale jjimjilbang (uniquely Korean-style bath house) that I like to call my Fancy Spa.

“Fancy Spa” is actually called Aquafield, and I discovered it on one of the Facebook groups I’m a member of. There are a couple locations, all located within Starfield malls, which I also call Fancy Mall for its elegance, gorgeous design and clean aesthetic.

Anyhoo, the first Aquafield I visited was wayyyy down the Gyeongui-Jungang line — a direct, no-transfer-needed route from my home — in Hanam. Downside was, it took a 2.5-hour trek to get there. Upside was: Fancy Spa is AHHHMAZING!! I became instantly obsessed and enamored.

So imagine my delight when a new Starfield Mall opened this August in northern Gyeonggi-do, only an hour from my home. The heavens surely shined down some blessings on me. I was delighted!

I paid a visit on Sunday, ready for a day of deeeep rest and relaxation; meditation even. And I got it. But what makes Fancy Spa so great? Why, I’m glad you asked …

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Fitness + Beauty, General

Adopt My New Obsession: Biking Along Seoul’s Han River

You ever have those days where you really need to do one huge task, but it’s so huge, that to feel a sense of accomplishment you do a similar, smaller task? This, readers, is one of those days. Soon, very soon, I’m going to regale you with a looong post on how to have an epic Seoul staycation as I did during Chuseok, but I really wanted to publish something this week, so I’m going with this shorter, though just as joyfully meaningful and informative story as the staycation post.

Easy Bike Rides on the Han River in Seoul | FleurDeLibre.com

Indulge me as I tell you all about my new source of bliss when I’m in Seoul: renting a city bike and riding it along the Han River’s amazing paved paths. Read on …

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General, Living Abroad

5 Ways South Korea Is So Advanced + Convenient … Yet Frustratingly Behind

I adore living in the ROK … so much so that I’ve recently decided to re-up my contract at my English academy and teach here for another year. Yippee and yahoo!! Honestly, I see myself as a long-term dweller, because I like it here so much, and I’ve had a blast. So now that I’ve expressed my love and adoration for SK, I hope you won’t take this double-edged sword of a blog post the wrong way.

But, let’s talk, South Korea. You and me. Step into my office …

For all the ways you as a country are advanced — as well as considered advanced the world over — I’m afraid to say you’re a little behind the curve in ways that make me want to tear out what little hair I have. I mean … sometimes I’m about ready to pluck my leg hairs one by one. Ha!

So I wanted to let it all out — my frustrations on these five aspects in which you, South Korea, are/are seen as ahead of the curve and convenient, but, on the flip side, also woefully behind. Here I go, separating the hype from the reality …

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General, Inspiration, Travel

5 Reasons Travel In Your 40s Is So Rewarding

Let’s face it: Travel is incredible at any age. The wonder, the discovery, the delight at the sights, smells and tastes of a new or well-loved destination can be universal for young and old. But in my humble opinion, your travel experiences can improve with your age as much as you do!

Why Travel in Your 40s Is So Fantastic! | FleurDeLibre.com

Armed with a better sense of yourself, your likes and dislikes as well as the general world wisdom that comes with age, you up your chances of always having the best time every time you travel. Here’re five ways travel feels super-rewarding in your 40s! (I’m sure these can also apply to savvy millennials on up, but these are just my takes from my perch in life!)

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Fitness + Beauty, General, Inspiration

How I Lost 40 Pounds in Korea … and Stay Healthy

Greetings, fam! As I’ve written before, part of why I moved to the ROK was to see if I could succeed after uprooting and hurling myself half across the planet in my 40s. I expected and was totally open to some big, ol’ positive changes in my life — I mean, who wouldn’t?

How I Lost 40 Pounds in Korea! | FleurDeLibre.com

That said, probably my biggest transformation while living in South Korea has been losing loads of weight: Since landing here in August 2016, I’ve lost 40 pounds or 18 kg. Can I just say …

Amaziiiing! It feels incredible …

Friends, coworkers and family alike have been astounded by my weight loss, but, between you and me, I had a feeling I’d drop some lbs just from the diet change I’d encounter here. Buuuuut, I’m still amazed at how easily the inches fell off … and keep falling off. But enough toasting to myself — I want to share what’s worked for me. Check out my before and after photo, too!

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General

Travel Video: A Visit to The Beach in Samcheok, Korea!

I’m so jazzed/scared to present my first travel video here at Fleur De Libre! Last month, I took a group tour to Samcheok, Korea, a city in the easterly province of Gangwon-do. What a blast! I didn’t know how much I’d missed waves, sand and sun, and the East Sea didn’t disappoint. This is the first part of my trip there, chronicling my waterfront exploits; in a future video, I’ll show you the adventure from another part of the trip: exploring one of Korea’s grandest (and coldest!) caves!

For now, enjoy this vid. Boy, it’s crude — I was getting used to fiddling around with features in Windows Movie Maker! But I hope you sit back, vibe to the music and get a smile from my seaside jaunt!

Food, Travel

What to Do In Monterey County, California!

When it comes to travel and the California coast, most thoughts turn to Southern California and the Bay Area, but it’d be a terrific oversight to overlook the treasures of the state’s Central Coast. Monterey County, in particular, holds special appeal for wine lovers, gastronomes and those who gravitate toward wellness travel.

Food, Wine and Relaxation in Monterey, California! | FleurDeLibre.com

And with charming restaurants and boutiques in a quaint, walkable downtown and the ocean an easy jaunt up Ocean Avenue, Carmel and Carmel-By-The-Sea have all the elements of a finely curated getaway. Here’s how I made the most out of a recent visit.

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Fitness + Beauty, Travel

Yoga Trippin’ (or Why You Won’t Find The Fountain of Youth at the Bottom of a Wine Bottle)

This month, I took a much-needed break from my regular, workaday world and zigged from my usual zag of spending the weekend in Seoul. Why the departure? I and some girlfriends bought tickets to a yoga retreat at a spa resort. Squeee!!

My South Korea Yoga Trip Gone Wrong | FleurDeLibre.com

Since January, I’ve been taking mini getaways through WinK (When in Korea) Travel, an excursion group that caters to expats. When one of my girlfriends tagged me on the yoga getaway, I had to do it.

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