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POSTCARDS FROM BUSAN

June 24, 2019 Busan, South Korea


I would have to say my short stay in Busan was one of the highlights of my trip in Korea! Busan is the second largest city in South Korea and has a totally different vibe than Seoul. I took the bullet train to Busan from Seoul and it took about two hours. I spent most of the train ride looking outside and enjoying the different landscapes as time passed. Busan is unique in its own way because there is a different dialect and I would say it's more chill compared to Seoul. With only one full day in Busan I tried to make the most out of it by starting the day early. Below are my recommendations on what to do when in Busan, enjoy!                   





Jagalchi Fish Market is a tourist trap but also an interesting experience if it's your first time visiting Busan. I wanted to know what the buzz was all about because family and friends told me there's a variety of fresh seafood that you can have cooked in front of you. I arrived around 9am or so and was surprised at how many vendors there were outside and inside the market. I wanted to eat sashimi, but I wasn't confident enough to haggle and figure out what was a reasonable price for it. Typically, people go buy fish and then have it prepared as sashimi or cooked, but I heard there were additional fees such as the cooking charge or seating charge. I became overwhelmed with people coming up to me and telling me to come look at their selection and go into their restaurant that I went straight to the second floor. I found a restaurant based on google reviews called Kidari Sashimi (키다리 횟집), but Jacky's Seafood is also a popular restaurant located on the second floor. The restaurant already had a set menu and didn't have any extra charges so we ordered seafood soup since my sister wanted soup. The soup tasted fresh and came with a variety of side dishes. One thing I love about Korea are all the side dishes that come with the entree - yum! The market stalls outside you can find a variety of dried snacks and food that you can take back with you, I bought a couple of dried seaweed and filefish to take back home.



Gamcheon Culture Village was on top of my list, but sadly I was only there for about an hour before it turned dark. I would bring comfortable shoes since you'll be climbing up and down and be prepared to spend some time here, but the view is worth it. A lot of cool cafes, souvenir shops, and photo ops. I would give yourself at least 3 hours if you want to find the photo spots as it's all in different spots around the village. I went after closing time so the visitor's center wasn't open and I didn't have a guide map so it was a bit difficult finding things. I found the village charming and picturesque, but one tip I would like to give is to be respectful since these are people's homes. The twirling stairs and thoughtful touches such as the colorful book stairs and the Little Prince and Fox statues are the highlights of this place. Don't be afraid to get lost in this magical village. This village was freshly repainted and given artistic touches in 2009 to attract tourism as it once was a slum in the mountainside. It is now nicknamed the "Machu Picchu of Busan" and one of the major tourist spots, highly recommend stopping by here!



Ok this market was my favorite market in Korea! I lost track of time here that I didn't get to do more sightseeing, but it was worth it. Best place to get a lot of your shopping done here so I would be prepared to bring enough cash and get ready to haggle. I would have to say the highlight of my Busan trip was Gukje Market! It was amazing to see so many vendors and to just explore the different shops, it truly is a one stop shop. You can literally find anything you need plus more. There are also plenty of places to stop by and grab street food and rest along the way. I found prices for the same things in Seoul a bit cheaper in Busan. I bought snacks to bring back home for my parents and found apron dresses I've been waiting to get my hands on. Sadly, I didn't have much luggage space so I only bought things I could fit back in my carry on. I enjoyed just people watching as I think Gukje Market is one of the authentic experiences in Korea where you can be a part of the culture and shop like the locals do. 




So many cool and different streets in Busan and Arirang Street was no different. Perfect place to go shopping and grab street food! A lot more choices for clothes and accessories that was similar to my taste than Gukje Market. I found the lowest prices for socks and cute dog clothes that I were eyeing back in Seoul. Socks were only 500 won, so about 45 cents for a pair! One tip I would suggest is to go to multiple shops to compare prices as some may be cheaper than others. Usually the shops further in provide discounts as they don't get as much business than the ones closer to the streets.




There are endless cafes in Korea and they typically offer the same menu, but each cafe had their own unique vibe. Jeonpo Cafe Street in Busan is a hipsters paradise with cafes, restaurants, and shops lined up. Coffee can get pretty expensive and can at least be the same price as a meal, the priciest coffee I had was about 7,000 won. Considering how cheap food is in Korea I thought coffee would be relatively cheap, but there are some coffee stalls that sell americanos for about 1,500 won. One thing I noticed was there there's a difference in price for take out and with or without ice. Cafes generally open around 10:30am at the earliest, but close around midnight. The current popular coffee drink in Korea is cold brew with a thick cream on the top, it has a perfect balance of bitter and sweet. FM Coffee House in Busan sells this drink and it's their most popular drink, it called "tomorrow". Some cafes I would recommend are  On a Season, Cafe Lovesome, and FM Coffee. There's also a cute lifestyle shop called Object.                                                                                                                                                     
Other suggestions:
-Haeundae Beach
-Bosu-dong Book Street
-Oryukdo Sykwalk
-Igidae Coastal Walk
-Gwangalli Beach
-Haedong Yonggunsa Temple
-Amnam Park Coastal Walk
-Songdo Beach
-Yeongdodaegyo Bridge






Love, Sharon

BLOSSOMS WITH JO MALONE LONDON

April 16, 2019 London, UK















I'm so excited to share this blog post about my recent trip to London! I can't wait for the Blossoms collection to finally launch in the states and for you to get your hands on my (dare I say) favorite collection thus far. A couple weeks ago I packed my bags and flew to London to celebrate Jo Malone London's newest launch. I checked into the hotel and found my room filled with few of my favorite scents from Jo Malone London, the classic Lime Basil & Mandarin, Grapefruit, and Orange Blossom. To this day, whenever the aroma of Lime Basil & Mandarin candle fills my house, it brings me back to my first trip to London.Jo Malone London doesn't hold back when throwing one of their brunch parties, and this celebration was no different than the previous ones. As soon as I arrived I was immersed with the different sensory experiences. I walked down the stairs into a dark hallway with the sound of nature and drops of water. A relaxing moment to appreciate before heading into the bright space, which reminded me of an underground greenhouse. The table setting was dreamy and it's always an inspiration for me, with the centerpiece filled with ombre colored blooms. There were different colored rooms highlighting the four colognes in the Blossoms collection: Star Magnolia, Silk Blossom, Orange Blossom, and the brand new Frangipani Flower. Each room was scentsational and brought out the charming floral notes from each scent. Jo Malone London brought back some previously limited-edition favorites like Star Magnolia and Silk Blossom, and introduced a new scent, Frangipani Flower which smells heavenly. Each bottle has a matte bottle cap color which goes perfectly with its scent. My pick would be to first spritz Silk Blossom and layer Orange Blossom after, a mixture of delicate floral scents together. Afterwards, I headed into the workshop and was stunned at the space. A beautifully decorated space with huge windows to let the sunshine in, and even a tree hanging from the top! It was a whimsical moment, like something I have only seen in magazines. There were fun activities in line with the blossom theme! I made a flower crown and learned how to do some marbling on my own Jo Malone London box. Truly an unforgettable time and always a treat seeing friends and the Jo Malone London team! Photography by Rebekah Cheng and I





Love, Sharon

POSTCARDS FROM VIENNA, AUSTRIA

April 10, 2019 Vienna, Austria











Even though it's only been a month since I came back from Vienna, I still remember being in awe of the beautiful city and debating if I should prolong my stay so I could visit nearby cities. Salzburg and Hallstatt were on my list but I didn't have enough time to visit. I only had four full days in Vienna since I made a two day trip to Prague which you can read about here. I tried to make most of the time during my stay in Vienna and put together a list. It was a bit chilly since I was there during the first two weeks of March, but nonetheless I was pleasantly surprised at how much I loved Vienna. Below are a list of places I recommend visiting while you're in Vienna! I would recommend purchasing the Vienna Pass during your stay since it's a cheaper option than paying for each landmark as it can get quite expensive. You can checkout more on my Instagram highlights video here.

Eats & Cafes:
Cafe le Marche // really good coffee! they serve food from 9am-12pm so come here early to grab a seat as seating is limited. 
Cafe Telegraph // a hipster cafe with a great selection of food, drinks, and pastries. book in advance because this place is busy all the time!
Figar 1070 // came here for brunch, an amazing selection of food and really good coffee! 
Paremi // an adorable French cafe that has yummy pastries, coffee, and sandwiches. sit outside if you can grab a seat!
Das Hanil // a korean restaurant that serves delicious sushi and authentic korean entrees!
Veganista // the best ice cream shop! all vegan and they have an amazing selection of ice cream to choose from! can't tell that it's vegan, soooooo good!


Places:
Justizpalast // such a dreamy space, who would've thought this is Vienna's Supreme Court. entry is free, you can see what I mean here.
Schonbrunn Palace // stunning palace, sadly it was a bit too cold so there were no blooms surrounding the palace and garden but still worth a visit!
Gloriette // a cafe with a stunning view of Schonbrunn, go uphill from Schonbrunn and you'll be able to see the cafe
Saint Stephen's Cathedral // you can go to the top and see stunning views of Vienna, definitely worth a visit! probably my favorite thing about Vienna
Peterskirche // the oldest church building, a small beautiful church in the center of Vienna
Mozarthaus // a look into Mozart's apartment while he was living in Vienna
MuseumsQuartier // a gem in Vienna, perfect area to relax from walking around and sightseeing. plenty of places to eat 
Natural History Museum // one of the largest museums in Austria with an incredible collection that has a lot to offer for every age
Belvedere Palace and Museum // one of the more well known museums due to its large collection of Gustav Klimt, including the Kiss painting which is one of my favorites!
Hundertwasser House // probably one of the highlight's of my trip! a colorful, unique building by Hundertwasser that you can't miss! His museum is couple of blocks away, free with the Vienna pass, where you can see his artworks
Hofburg

Other suggestions: Austrian National Library, Naschmarket (only open on Saturday, an outdoor market stall that offers fresh food, antiques, etc), Vienna State Opera, City Hall




Love, Sharon

WALKING INTO A STORYBOOK // HELLO PRAGUE

March 21, 2019 Prague, Czechia













Ah, Prague! I was so glad I had time to squeeze in Prague during my Vienna trip, because I wasn't able to go two years ago. Just as everyone said it would be, it truly is a whimsical place that looks like you just stepped into a storybook. I was a bit unsure if I would be able to enjoy the city since the forecast was rainy for the days I was there, but luckily even though it was gloomy I was able to explore the city. Prague is such a magical city and even though I was only there for a short stay, I would definitely go back in a heartbeat. One thing I did underestimate though was how windy and chilly it was. Below are some of my recommendations on what to do! Prague has a special place in my heart, such a beautiful place with colorful buildings and rich culture.

Places to visit
Old Town Square // The heart of Prague that has beautiful, Gothic buildings and the main attraction. A fairy tale square that takes you back in time.
Astronomical Clock // The clock is one of the main attractions in Prague and people flock to see the twelve apostle figurines peeping out when the clock strikes every hour. It is the oldest astronomical clock that's still operating.
Old Town Hall Tower // Come here for a view of Old Town Square! You can capture beautiful, panoramic shots of the square and enjoy a stunning view of the magical city.
Charles Bridge // Historic bridge that crosses the Vltava River in Prague, a short walk that leads from Old Town to the newer areas which is less touristy.  Cross it to get to the John Lennon Wall. The Charles Bridge is a huge tourist spot, but definitely worth a visit. I came here during the day and also at night. There's also a tower you can climb up at the beginning of the bridge for a view of the city.
John Lennon Wall // Famous wall that was once dedicated to Lennon, but the wall is constantly changing with messages of hope, peace, and love. You can also write your own message, just remember to bring a sharpie.
Prague Castle // I underestimated this landmark and almost overlooked coming here, but it's a stunning building with a rich history. Definitely stop by here if you have time as there's a lot of ground to cover.
Palladium // A huge department store that has a grocery store on the bottom floor called Albert

Other suggestions: Dancing House, Jubilee Synagogue

Eats
Sisters // A cute open sandwich shop that costs about $1.50 each. Variety of delicious sandwiches and about a five minute walk from Old Town Square.
La Bottega Linka // A popular spot that's trendy and has delicious dishes to choose from.
My Raw Cafe // I was very excited to find this vegan cafe so close by to Old Town Square! It's also a couple of steps away from Sisters. I would recommend coming here if you're looking for yummy vegan dishes, their coffee cheesecake is amazing.
Onesip Coffee // A small, three seater coffee shop that's right by Old Town Square. Perfect spot to sit down and grab a cup of coffee.

Other food suggestions: Cafe Savoy, John Lennon Pub, Nostress, Home Kitchen, Misto, Mr. HotDog, Cafe Jen, and Zmrzlinar for ice cream
Bakery & Coffee suggestions: Cukrarna Mysak, Ema Espresso Bar, and Muj Salek Kavy

You can also check my instagram highlight to see videos and photos of my Prague trip!





Love, Sharon
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