Adulting

Well hey there, WordPress. It’s been a minute, hasn’t it?

Can you guess where I am? Well, if you’ve been following me for even a sliver of time, you’ve probably guess it–Korea. Yep, I’m back at it again in the land of the morning calm (and the best food in the world).

I’m currently here teaching English, which has been my plan since long before I entered university. It’s been a uphill battle thus far, but that’s not what I’m here to talk about, is it. A post on that will come a little bit later, but first, I have an announcement:

I’ve started YouTube.

Yep, you read correctly. I’ve started a little Vlog and lifestyle channel dedicated to showing the world Korea and all it’s splendour. Along with that, I’ve decided to blog more in my spare time (like today, for instance). My teaching schedule leaves me with mornings completely open, alongside Tuesday and Thursday evenings, so I’ve taken it upon myself to do something I actually enjoy doing–creating online content and telling stories. I figure, why not seize the opportunity?

So I’ll be taking you along with me through my random (but never mundane) adventures throughout Korea, both through written and visual accounts. Sounds fun, hey?

So stay tuned and for now, enjoy my latest no-talking Vlog from my weekend in Gyeongju!

Until next time,

Jasmine

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A little about passion

Home at last.

This past week has been a long string of goodbyes, hellos, and final paychecks. I left residence for the summer, saying my farewells to friends I will reunite with again in the fall, and others who I may not see for quite awhile. In both cases, it was tough. I don’t do well with departures, and this time was no exception. There’s just so many expectations and emotions; I get lost in the crossroads. But I did it and I survived, all 5’1 of me. It was a miracle, to say the least.

My co-op ended on a good note, and I left my cubicle for the last time on an accomplished high. I’ve learned so much about myself, what my goals are, what I like (and, you know, what I absolutely loath), and what I’m passionate about. That last one really became prominent as my term was wrapping up, because I’ve come to realize that work and passion can coexist and complement each other. Shocker, I know.

Passion is such a funny thing, isn’t it? There’s so much power to it. Passion is the driving force behind change and innovation, and it’s astounding to see where it takes people. As someone who revolves my life around my passions, I really love admiring this trait in others. One of my fellow co-workers in residence and close friend is immensely passionate about travel, urban planning, and Hong Kong. It’s inspiring to watch him take those three ingredients and shape a future for himself around them. He’s got such a drive, such a fire inside of him that I truly envy.

I guess it’s friends like this who have opened up my eyes to the possibilities of passion. I never really saw a parallel between my passions and my future career endeavours. They may have crossed paths once in awhile, but they were never running on the same track. The two were never friends, but rather, acquaintances who knew each other only on the surface. You know, that “I’ll make a pun and you’ll laugh and you’ll think I’m funny but you don’t even know where my hometown is” kinda acquaintances.

But this semester, whilst embarking on an adventure through the world of co-op and micromanaging my life, I realized that my passions CAN be at the forefront of my future. I just have to have faith in myself and believe that what I love to do can help me make a career for myself. So I’m going to go out there and write like no one is reading, discussing topics I love, and see where it takes me. You can bet your tuition that it’s going to be challenging, and this blog will more than likely be filled to the brim with endless accounts of me struggling. But I want to write about what I know and love–fashion, music, communication, and Korea. So I’m taking one hell of a chance, and putting my heart where my fingers are (does that even make sense?), to utilize my passions into something beautiful.

I guess you could say I’m inspired.

Until next time,

Jasmine.

It’s about damn time.

If you had asked me a year ago where I would have been today, I probably wouldn’t have known. And this is an odd thing for me. You see, plans are like my life source. I live and breathe checklists and itineraries and googling grad school options till 3 in the morning. I plan. Every single detail of my existence.

But the thing about planning is that life, like many other things in our universe, is completely and utterly unpredictable. Jobs fall through, friends leave, opportunities open up. So no matter how detailed I could have planned my life a year ago, I would still more than likely be someplace else.

And, if I’m honest, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I know I haven’t updated this blog in what feels like a century, and there’s reason behind it. For the past 11 months (WOW. Time flies) I have been meeting new people, creating community within my university, taking on a marketing job, cultivating existing relationships, discovering myself, and, you guessed it, planning. I have been restlessly scheduling and coordinating my next adventure for this summer. And can you guess where I’m headed?

Well, if you know even the slightest detail about me, I’m more than positive you figured it out–Korea. That’s right, I’m headed back to the beautiful peninsula that captivated my soul and stole my existence (did I mention I’m dramatic?). I will be spending my summer in the humid climate of Seoul while I attempt to rebuild what was my ability to speak the Korean language through taking evening classes at Sogang university.

I think my realization about planning and its faults has been a product of this new adventure because for the life of me, I cannot nail this trip down. Whenever one thing goes right, another goes utterly wrong. I go from being elated about an apartment being available, to finding out I can’t apply for the visa I need. And it’s been like this the whole way through, riding the waves of anticipation, happiness, then slight to severe disappointment.

Organizing this trip has been a lesson in growing up, toughening up, and embracing the difficulties. I needed this. For so many years I have tried to dictate and structure my life to meet the standards that I had set, feeling like I had to contort myself into a certain mold and live that way. That’s not a life. That’s a performance. A heavily rehearsed, memorized play in which I am the actor. And yes, if you must know, there is even a musical number (though only 1 because my singing is horrendous).

What I have realized is that this is not living. In order to truly elevate myself and become the individual I aspire to be, I need to embrace change, roll with the punches, and come out on top. I think it’s moments or events like these that really show you who you are, how you work, and what needs to improve.

So I’ve come to love the unexpected and I’ve learnt that I am resilient when my ideas don’t become a reality. It’s okay.

And so I’m looking forward to this new adventure (D-29 days!) with my neck rest, map, and positive outlook in hand. And you can bet your next paycheck that I will be documenting everything on my blog. So stay tuned!

Until next time,

Jasmine.

 

Nobody told me…

Here’s the thing that nobody tells you about time: it doesn’t heal all wounds.

Not that my wounds are severe or painful. My wounds are from detachment. From longing. From missing something or someone or whatever it is that I have lost.

And the thing about missing something is that nobody understands. People, try as they might, may claim that they know how you feel but in reality they don’t. They cannot. That is, unless they have felt or feel the same kind of longing that you do.

My “missing”, as I will call it, is not going to concerts in Seoul or eating at amazing restaurants. It’s my friend waking me up at 5 in the morning so we can catch the train to the airport. It’s lazy days, deciding to bundle up and go get pizza instead of going out. It’s getting utterly confused at which exit to take at Euljiro 3-ga in order to get to Myeongdong. It’s pausing for a moment on the overpass by my friend’s apartment to admire the view of Namsan Tower. It’s trying to hail a taxi at 3 in the morning and walking all over Sincheon to do so. It’s linking arms while my friend and I walk through Hongdae on a Friday night. It’s random decisions to go to norebang till 4 am. It’s rushing across Seoul to get to Lotte World Mall with the hope of maybe, just maybe,getting a ticket into the Winner fanmeet. It’s staking out at 5 in the morning at Olympic Park in the utterly freezing cold with one of you closest friends, shaking heat packs to stay warm, so you can get in to the Melon Awards. It’s spending all day exploring the city, and coming back to your warm dorm room. It’s waking up on a Saturday morning and making plans right then and there. It’s getting lost in Hongdae trying to find a sheep cafe.

I miss the little things. I can go to cafes and eat food and see movies here in Canada, but I miss my friends. I miss what I did there. I miss people who can understand me and understand my passions. I miss friends who want to do the same things as me, who have the same interests as me.

Because the thing about longing is that it’s hard and it eats away at you.

People will constantly tell you do “get over it” already or “the past is in the past”. But when you change, grow, and become who you are somewhere or sometime in your life, you can never get over that. You are altered, through and through.

Korea changed my life. It made me see who I wanted to be, made me grow, and made me understand myself in a way I never had before. It opened my eyes. And nobody understands that.

One of my friends from Seoul said something that I connected with on a profound level, and it was “I have never felt more alive, more real, and more myself than I do living here”. That is how I felt about Seoul.

But you know what?

I’m living. I’m breathing.

Those memories will always be with me and they push me through. They inspire me.

And the changed me is still here.

Taking one day at a time and trying to smile every chance I get.

And for now.

That is enough.

Until next time,

Jasmine.

Long time no see…

It’s been awhile, hey?

Can you guess where I am?

If you said Korea, then you, my friend, are absolutely right.

I am, as of August 21st, living in the heart of Seoul, South Korea, studying as an exchange student at Ewha Womans University. Exciting, hey? It has been amazing thus far, travelling not only around the city, but also to other places within Korea. I have tried so many delicious dishes, bought way too many articles of clothing, attended the concert of my dreams, and spend nights wandering amongst the city lights. And you know what the best part is? It’s not even half way over yet. I cannot wait to see where the next three months will take me.

Tomorrow, I am going to the last day of the Taeyang concert tour here in Seoul, and I know I am going to cry harder than I did yesterday. Then, next week Friday, I am going to meet WINNER at their fanmeeting. Cross your fingers that I won’t faint when Taehyun shakes my hand. Ah. Fangirl mode = on.

But anyway, if you are at all curious what I am doing with my life in more detail, you should check out my exchange blog, and keep up with me! Also, if you are attending Ewha currently or are planning on going on an exchange in the future, send me a message! I would love to answer any questions you have about Korea or Ewha or just about life as an exchange student in general! Don’t be shy!

Until next time,

Jasmine

It’s all coming together…

Finally! FINALLY. My acceptance package to Ewha has arrived at my university and, despite some complications with the destination of that package, the pieces of my exchange are slowly falling into place. My uni submitted the final portion of my student loan application, which I need for my visa. My mum is on board to submit my application at the end of the month. I only have 29 more days of working and living in this hick town. It’s all coming up roses, my friends.

So why am I still stressed? I guess it’s just the fact that yes, things are coming together, but they are not firmly sealed or locked into place. The puzzle isn’t fully completed yet. There are still gaps, still missing chips that haven’t found their home yet. And that irritates me. It stresses me out, to the point where I feel like nothing has been accomplished. Is that wrong of me? Does that make me a perfectionist? I hope not.

I hope that in the next few weeks I can just get all my bits and bobs finalized and have this thing planned out. I want to be on that plane already, flying over the clouds, and nervous with anticipation for what is to come once that 737 lands on foreign soil. I am ready for adventure and I crave it more than anything.

Until next time,

Jasmine

Fashion Inspiration

Some days, I literally cannot think of what to wear. 

I will stand in front of the closet before me for half an hour, and still be unable to come up with a decent looking outfit. And I know I am not alone on this.

When moments like these arise (which is much more frequent than you might expect), I tend to turn to certain websites and people for inspiration. Not only does this help the wheels start turning, but it also gives me some direction on how I’m feeling that day, and what style I want to channel in order to express my mood.

First and foremost, there are celebrities. Now, for me, these tend to be Korean or Japanese celebrities, as I love East Asian fashion the most.

Here are a few of my favourites:

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This is Jung Eun Ji from the girl group Apink. I honestly love her style so much, both off and on screen. I especially adored her wardrobe in the drama That Winter the Wind Blows. It was so edgy and eclectic, just like her. 

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SooYoung from SNSD (aka Girl’s Generation) is next on the list. She just oozes femininity and class. I love looking to her when I am in that girly, minimalist mood.

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No, your eyes do not deceive you; that is a boy. (If you thought otherwise, shame on you and your family). It is the love of my life and the fashion king himself, Kwon Ji Yong, aka G-Dragon. He–usually–is dressed in the most unique and interesting ways that make it impossible for me not to want to recreate them. The way he pulls off most of his outfits leaves me stunned. He is the forerunner in those that inspire me fashion wise. I look up to him so much.

Now, as for websites that are my go-to for inspiration, there are only a select few.

To start off, there is, of course, Lookbook.

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Honestly, if you have never taken the time to visit this site, you should do so now. It is amazing. Real people, all over the globe, showcasing their style and taste for the world to see. I get so many ideas each time I log on, and I love wasting hours browsing the endless amounts of photos. I should really start my own, but I am way too intimidated. They’re all so… flawless, for lack of a better word. 

Next is Yesstyle.

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Both a blog and a clothing store, I always find cute outfit ideas and fashion advice for any occasion. I tend to stay on the blog side of things, as they always have advice columns and cool interviews with popular Asian fashion companies or celebrities. As well, they sell well-known brands from all over Asia, as well as the ever-coveted circle lenses that everybody and their grandma want to wear.

Finally, there is, of course, YouTube! 

I have my favourite fashion bloggers that I follow on there, but the number one girl I always go to is miss Jennifer Im. Honestly, this girl is amazing. She’s gorgeous, and has a wicked sense of style. Her videos always inspire me to be fearless with fashion, to try out new looks, and to step out of my comfort zone on a daily basis. Check her out! Her YouTube channel is called clothesencounters and I’m pretty sure she has a Tumblr, too (but don’t quote me on that).

Other YouTubers who are great are Chriselle Lim, Amy from shopvagabondyouth, Sammie from beautycrush, Steph and Mel from fashioncitizen, and Vanessa from balletandpinkroses. 

So there you have it! These are the many people and places that help influence the tedious decision of “What do I wear?” every morning. Check them all out and comment if you have any favourites of your own! I would love to hear about them!

Until next time,

Jasmine.

Instagram: @harubelief
Twitter: harubelief
Tumblr: harubelief
YouTube: pureaffectionfashion

 

OOTD: Pop of Colour

It seems I’ve been MIA recently… to be honest, I don’t have an excuse for myself. 

But never fear dear followers, for I am back and have a fresh new take on my OOTD posts! 

Lately, I’ve been really loving the black and white trend. It’s huge for spring and it honestly is a timeless look. I feel like the classic combination of these two shades is so simple and easy to work with, giving you a solid foundation for experimenting with other colours. Either worn alone, or with a pop of colour like I’ve done here, the black and white trend is considerably chic and edgy.

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I love this outfit. It is simple, clean, and daring all at the same time. And I love how the red wedges give a punch at the end, almost like a finale to the ensemble .

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For this look, I paired my new favourite black and white striped top with a pleather skirt and threw on some semi-opaque tights underneath. On my head, I thought I would have a little fun and wear my black bowler cap.

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Yay for bowler caps! They are so versatile and unique, and still on trend. I am in love with mine and I really need to invest in some more, preferably in pastel colours.

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For my other accessories, I kept it minimal, with just my gold geometric shapes necklace and my two favourite bracelets. Finally, on the bottom I have my new red wedges (I got the same ones in black, too).

Photography courtesy of my amazing best friend, Maria. 

Items worn:
Hat: Forever 21
Shirt: H&M Korea
Skirt: Romwe
Shoes: Le Chateau
Necklace: Forever 21
Wrap Bracelet: Unknown (it was a gift)
Spike Bracelet: Forever 21

Until next time,

Jasmine.

Instagram: @harubelief
Twitter: harubelief
YouTube: pureaffectionfashion
Tumblr: harubelief 

 

Being Chic on a Budget

It’s no secret that I’m a broke university student. I, alongside the majority of my peers, spend thousands on school, books, supplies, transportation, and, well, clothing each and every semester. University is one of those money-sucking fiends that, unfortunately, is necessary for my future. Being an aspiring fashion journalist myself, this makes things somewhat difficult. If I’m constantly strapped for cash, how am I supposed to keep up on the latest trends?

Well, I have a few tricks that I want to share with any other fashion-conscious student like myself, who find themselves stuck in this situation.

Shopping is inevitable. You honestly cannot completely cut yourself off from spending, especially if you’re known to be an avid shopper. It is not going to work. This is why them the moment strikes, there is a way I make sure I’m getting my money’s worth, and this is by using the division method. If I am wanting to make a bigger purchase, something over $50, I calculate the amount of times I know I will wear the item, and then divide the cost by it. Now, you don’t have to do the exact calculations, though I have in the past. It’s just a general way to be more aware of what you’re buying. Say, for instance, you’re looking at purchasing a pair of $200 Jeffery Campbell heels. Now, how many times do you see yourself wearing them in the near future? Would you only pull them out on special occasions? Are they impractical for the weather in your area? These are redflags you want to be aware of. If you’re only going to wear them 5 times in the next semester, that’s costing you $40 each time you wear them. Is that really worth it? Perhaps you could spend your dollars on a pair of $150 riding boots from Aldo. They are a) more practical for everyday use, b) easier to incorporate into outfits, and c) going to be a staple in your wardrobe. It is better to spend the money on something you are going to be constantly using, than waste it on a luxury item that you rarely pull out of its box.

With that being said, I also go by a rule on how I spend my money when shopping. Think of it this way: for trend, think cheap; for classics, think expensive. Trends come and go, so do you really want to be shelling out big bucks for something that won’t even be in season come next month? No. The best way to save money and still look stylish is to spend less on the trendy pieces, and invest in some great basics. Timeless pieces, like black skinnies, blazers, and LBDs will always be in style. So spend your bigger bucks on basics that will last, and are better quality. Sure, Urban Outfitters might have just gotten the latest style of crop-tops in for summer, but are you really willing to pay $80+ for them? You can easily find the same trend-wise pieces at stores like Forever 21 or H&M for much more reasonable price point.

Online stores are also a great way to save money. Many web retailers charge a fraction of the cost of what normal stores do. Do some research! There are tons of great online stores that carry amazing things, some that you can’t even find in your normal H&M. My favourites are Romwe (super hipster street style, that reminds me of Myeongdong in Seoul), Runway Bandits (a favourite of my idol, Jennifer Im. Watch her on YouTube!), and Chicnova (a cute little site where you can find anything from basics, to trend pieces). There are so many more out there! It’s definitely worth the time to investigate and do some research. As well, many of these stores offer free shipping, unlike the main stores’ websites, like Forever 21. You’re saving money, and sometimes even getting better quality than in-store!

When in doubt, thrifting is the ultimate money-saving shopping experience. Thrift stores carry tons of unique pieces for as little as $1.00. Sometimes you can even find some really great vintage items, and it’s an awesome place to stock up on basics. Things such as belts, sweaters, shoes, and coats are normally the items I come looking for when thrifting. Why spend tons of money on items you can find at the local Sally-Ann for 50-90% cheaper?

Saving money and still trying to look great isn’t an easy task, especially when you’re following fashion bloggers like songofstyle and chrisellelim on instagram, but with the right tips and tricks, you, too, can look like a million for a fraction of the cost.

Until next time,

Jasmine.

p.s.

I thought I would also add some links to some great inexpensive retailers who offer great deals online:

Uniqlo  (based in Japan, Uniqlo offers amazing clothing for small prices. Though they do have stores in Japan and New York, it is usually hard to get to them unless you are travelling to those destinations. Therefore, their online store offers the same great things)

Shopmarkethq (Though their regular priced items are a tad expensive, their sale stuff are normally a steal.)

Dailylook (A staple website in any fashion blogger’s online shopping list, this store offers the latest trends and items for relatively low prices. Check out their shoes!)

Day in the Life: Vancouver bound

This past Sunday was a day I will never forget. I got to go into the city to see one of my bestest friends, Kaede, who was leaving to go back to Japan. She was an exchange student at my university, and we literally are one in the same. I love her so, so much.

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She’s so cute right?

Well the day was spent doing my favourite thing: eating. First it was Japanese ramen.

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The shop is one of the most well-known is all of BC, and it takes literally an hour just to get in. You even have to wait outside! Thank goodness it didn’t start raining until after we finished out meals. The ramen was the best there is, though I, myself, am not a huge fan of Japanese ramen. It is just too plain for me. I guess I’m too used to the Korean version, with multitudes of spice.

So after the ramen, it was on to macarons at my favourite little bakery.

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The bakery is called Thierry, and it’s located right in the centre of Alberni street. It can be quite crowded, but the experience is definitely worth it. It’s filled with all kinds of pastries and desserts, and there’s a coffee bar as well (they make more than coffee, though). Our macarons were salted caramel (the light brown ones), lychee (the pink ones), and a mixed berry flavour (the purple one). My favourite by far were the salted caramel. It was a shame though, as they were not serving my all-time favourites, the vanilla bean ones. Seriously, you need to have these in your life.

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Close-up shot, anyone? Makes me hungry just looking at it.

Later, we even went for gelato at a famous gelato shop on Robson. Delicious, that is all I can say. They literally have any flavour imaginable, it’s fantastic. I got white chocolate and oreo cheesecake. What can I say, I have a sweet tooth.

Our final food stop was at a Korean restaurant I love. I ordered the kimchi stew, aka 김치찌개, which is my love. Seriously, I could eat this stuff for the rest of my life.

After a little while, we decided to take pictures, and Alston (our guy friend who was with us) took a couple OOTD photos for me, so here you go:

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I’ll list everything I was wearing at the end of this post. I just love the background. The location was gorgeous.

In all, it was an amazing day. Tears were shed, and hugs exchanged. I’m going to miss her beyond belief but I know this is not the last time I will see her. We’re too good of friends for that.

Here’s my items worn:

Sweater: Romwe
Acid-wash button-up: Some Japan store
Jeans: Material Girl
Boots: Spring
Giyongchy beanie: Ebay
Bag: Steve Madden

Until next time,

Jasmine.