Entries in TRAVEL (23)



A few weeks ago I was up in Seoul for 48 hours. I'm used to traveling to Seoul with the boys so it felt a bit odd to be flying solo on this trip. When the boys and I go up to Seoul we always hit our favorite eats and museums, but this time around I had several meetings and didn't have much free time. But I did manage to finally visit Hara Donuts in Myeongdong

Hara Donuts / 하라 도너츠 is a donut shop from Japan. Their donuts are made from soy milk and tofu and they are preservative free. The texture is less sweet and more dense than regular donuts. I treated myself to green tea and cinnamon donuts and hot milk tea and enjoyed some quiet time in their cute cafe. Their branding is so cute and the cafe made me feel like I was back in Japan. If you love sweet sweets, then these donuts might not be for you, but I liked them and even went back later in the day so I could bring some home for the boys.

Hara Donuts is located in Myeongdong. The nearest subway stations are Line 2, Euljiro-1 station and Line 4, Myeongdong station. Hara Donuts can also be found at select Hyundai Department Stores.



The boys did not have school last Friday and have Monday and Tuesday off for Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving) so we headed up to Seoul for the long weekend. We love taking the KTX (high speed train) up to Seoul because it is so convenient. We like to arrive at Busan Station a little early so we can enjoy kimchi udon before our journey. I always bring my laptop so I can squeeze in some work and the 2 hours and 45 minutes goes by in a flash. The boys and I have been to Seoul numerous times so we have a routine and like to visit our favorite spots as well as try out a few new places during each visit. It was a little hot this trip so we opted to spend more time relaxing indoors instead of exploring the sites. Here are some highlighs of our trip.

+ Two lunches at Vatos, one of our favorite restaurants in Seoul. I like the Sinsa branch because it is less crowded and has better lighting. Plus it happens to be located on Garosugil, a cute tree-lined street filled with small shops and cafes. We always order tacos, kimchi carnitas fries, and a big virgin margarita for the boys to split.

+ The boys are good about sitting on a chair/sofa inside the shops while I browse around. A small electronic device or reward of dessert always helps!

+ This time we checked out Coffee Chu, a cafe that specializes in a variety of churros. The chocolate filled churro and sundaes were big hits! 

+ We always like to pick up some baked goods at Dean & Deluca (located in Shinsegae Department Store) to snack on at the hotel.

+ Tried soondubu jjampong for the first time. It was SO spicy!

+ Reunited with Appah as he flew in Saturday morning from Singapore.

+ Purchased a selfie stick. Loved the comments I received on Instagram about this little device.

+ Walked the streets of Itaewon, which is the most diverse area of Seoul. Love all the variety of restaurants in this neighborhood.

+ Visited the Sewol ferry disaster memorial at the City Park Plaza. Each yellow ribbon is inscribed with a message or the names of loved ones who perished in the tragic accident.

+ Discovered some cute new shops on the side streets of Garosugil.

+ Ate at Left Coast Artisan Burgers for the first time. Good food and very nice folks running the show, who happen to be fellow Korean-Americans and Cal grads. I really liked the Kalbi Jjim Bao Buns.

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The school year is coming to an end next week and the boys and I will be embarking on a 5-week summer adventure in the States. We have not been back to the States for 1.5 years so we are excited to see all our family and friends (and eat some good burgers). We will be flying through four airports, taking a road-trip through California, and heading back to the Pacific Northwest. If you have any recommendations for good restaurants, bakeries, shops, and or fun spots for the boys in LA, SF/Bay Area, and/or PDX, please let me know! I will sharing our adventure here on the blog and daily over on Instagram and Pippit (@sallyjshim).  



It's hard to believe September is already here and in less than a week we will be heading to Rome (remember J's 10th Birthday Surprise?). The crazy thing is j still thinks the trip is only for his big brother J and Appah. J is planning on surprising him with the good news the day before we leave. It has been a busy month with work and getting back in to our school routine so I am still planning our itinerary. If you have any last minute recommendations (sites, restaurants, shops, tours), I'd love to hear from you!

Here are a few Rome related posts that I've bookmarked:

1. Smitten Kitchen's Notes & Tips from Rome

2. Design Sponge's Rome City Guide by Angela Liguori

3. Design Mom's Rome with Kids



One of the perks of living in Busan is easy access to Japan. Last year we went on family trips to Tokyo and Fukuoka and Osaka was the next Japanese city on our "to visit" list. Although I think spring or fall are the best times to visit Japan (spring being my favorite, hello beautiful cherry blossom trees!), due to Appah's work schedule we went a few weeks ago in mid-August. As expected the weather was hot and humid, but thankfully our hotel was connected to a train station and all our destinations were close to train/subway stations. 

If you ask the boys what their favorite thing about Japan is, they will immediately answer "the good food"! I have to agree! We ate bowls and bowls of delicious udon and donburi, plates of perfectly fried katsu, fresh sushi, and shabu shabu. For breakfast we love going to the quick and cheap "diners" where you buy food tickets from the machine (j's absolute favorite). Busan is lacking in good burgers so we even sacrificed one meal and ate some burgers and fries in Osaka. And since the weather was hot we enjoyed eating ice cream every day (I love green tea floats)!

Although I originally had a long list of sites to visit in Osaka, once I realized it was going to be hot and humid I decided to play it by ear and focus on relaxing and having fun together as a family. So in between our three delicious Japanese meals each day we took the boys to their favorite store on earth (the Pokemon Center) and a few of my favorite stores (Uniqlo, Muji, and Tokyu Hands).

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In a few weeks we will be heading to Osaka, the next stop on our list of places to visit in Japan. One of my favorite things about living in Busan, other than the amazing food, friendly people, and beautiful beaches, is the close proximity to Japan. On a clear day we can see Japan across the ocean from our apartment. The boys and I have never visited Osaka and we are excited to explore and eat our way through the city. If you have any recommendations on places to visit or eat, please let me know!