Noelle's Day Off | Chicago, Illinois

I was born in the 80s and like most kids, I was raised by the TV and loved movies, especially those directed by John Hughes. I devoured all of his films and they always resonated with me. Ferris Bueller's Day Off is in my top three John Hughes movies. In all actually, I just wanted to be as cool as Ferris. After I watched it for the first time, all I've ever wanted to do was follow in his footsteps and do the same things. When Markus and I moved to Chicago, I thought that my dream was finally going to come true. A couple years passed and I thought it was just going to be one of those things I said I would do, but never did. So cut to last November, Markus and I finally fulfilled my dream. I even convinced him to dress in the spirit of Ferris and Sloane.

Unfortunately, we didn't do everything featured in the film. It's highly unrealistic to be able to do all those things in one day. Also, the locations are spread out through Chicagoland. I cut it down to four things that were close and the most iconic. First, we stopped at the same parking garage they dropped off Cameron's car. We were able to park our car there for the whole day. Afterward, we walked over to Sears Tower. I know it's now called Willis Tower, but it will always be Sears Tower to me! This was the only place that someone recognized us dressed like Ferris and Sloane. I was surprised that no one else noticed, but I guess we did look Asian hipsters.

After we finished peering over the ledge at the Skydeck, we made a quick stop at the Flamingo Sculpture on Dearborn. It's the scene where Cameron and Sloane are looking for Ferris. Our last and final stop was at the Art Institute of Chicago, where I would finally see my favorite painting, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat. After we spent a couple hours in the museum, I was exhausted, but in a good way. I was so happy that I finally had my own day off and explore cool places in the city. The whole experience was everything I hoped it would be and more!

Goldberry Woods Bed and Breakfast | Union Pier, Michigan

For my 31st birthday last year, Markus took me to a fantastic bed and breakfast in Michigan, Goldberry Woods. Usually I plan all of our trips, but he wouldn't let me plan a thing. It was quite the reversal and it was wonderful! Goldberry Woods is quite magical.

All the rooms at Goldberry are named after types of trees. The beds are also constructed with materials from the same tree. Markus booked the American Hornbeam room and the bed was something out of a Tim Burton movie. Some people would've been terrified, but I loved it. When you looked up at the branches at night, it felt like sleeping in the woods. We spent most of our time traipsing about in the forest and visiting antique shops. It was the perfect weekend and I'm so thankful that I have a husband who plans such great trips!

Mark's Posh Birthday

Birthday boy!

A week ago today, my beloved Markus celebrated his 33rd birthday. I really can't believe that he's in his 30s. The boy really does look young. Once someone said to him, "Mark, I think that you drank from the Fountain of Youth." I really think he worked some kind of hoodoo because he does not look 33. Since Markus entered his 30s, he's preferred to have low key celebrations. Now that I'm also approaching my 30s I do too. Last year, Markus didn't get to do anything he wanted for his birthday, so I was determined to make all of his birthday wishes come true this year.

Posh Nosh
Darth Vader Art
Seared Tuna Salad
Gorgonzola Pizza
Lychee Martini and Mojito
So excited

Our first stop for Mark's Posh Birthday was the amazing Posh Nosh. Usually, I do all the research and look for restaurants, but this time, Markus found the place. When we walked in, I was so impressed. I think of all the restaurants we've been to, this is by far the classiest. I loved Posh Nosh and everything about it was great. The decor was really modern and artsy. The food was absolutely delicious, a little pricey, but worth it. We ate the Gorgonzola Pizza and Seared Tuna Salad. We've had Gorgonzola Pizza before and it's been average. We were both worried it would be mediocre, but it wasn't at all. It was really good and it only proves that quality means everything. Even though it's a simple pizza, the flavors of the cheese were strong. My favorite part of the meal was the drinks. I ordered a Lychee Martini and Markus ordered a Mojito. I usually hate martini's but this one was so good. It was sweet and had the subtle taste of lychees. Honestly, I would go back to Posh Nosh, just for the drinks.

It's your birthday, ru ru ra ra ru....
After we ate dinner, I gave Markus his personalized birthday card. As I've said before, we try to give each other personalized presents. Nothing too big, just something that the other person will like. This year, I started watching One Piece, as you probably noticed. Markus loves two characters, Sogeking or Usopp and Brooke. Each character on One Piece has signature sayings or jokes. So for Sogeking and Brooke, I used them for his birthday card. I think he really enjoyed it and I was so excited to make it for him, especially because I also watch the show.

Shinsekai "New World" and the One Piece Bar
Ace, I see you hottie.
Zoro, Luffy, Chopper, Rayleigh
Someone is really happy.
Grilled Rice Balls

After our delicious dinner at Posh Nosh, we headed to Sirohige, a bar that we saw a few weeks ago. As we walked the streets of Seomyeon, Markus immediately saw a bar that was decorated with One Piece figurines. We made a mental note and decided to come back for his birthday. Sirohige is a Japanese yakitori-style pub. Yakitori is basically a Japanese style of food where everything is put on sticks and grilled. We ordered our food and drinks and checked out all the One Piece figurines. We even played a game of naming all the characters. I know it sounds really juvenile and doesn't fit in with the definition of posh, but it was really fun. I love that Markus and I can do simple things but manage to always have fun. I think that's why I love being married to him. It really is the little things.

Face Cake
We decided to save dessert for home.  Markus was surprised at school by four of his students. They gave him heaps of presents, a poster with letters and this personalized birthday cake of his face. When he told me they got him a cake, I thought it was just one from the store, not one of his face. I couldn't believe it. I only made him a card, but these girls completely upstaged me. Despite being completely outdone by four elementary girls, I was really happy for Markus. I think that he always gets overlooked for his birthday and this year, it was really special. I just hope that he knows how important he is to me and even to his students!

Minsu's Birthday Celebration

Earlier this month, we celebrated Minsu's birthday. Minsu is one of the librarians at the library and a good friend. Sometimes when I'm at work and having a rough day, I walk over to Minsu's desk and we chat for a bit. Afterwards, I always feel better. Even though he doesn't speak much English and I don't speak much Korean, we're still able to have a great friendship.

Not too long ago, I sprained my ankle and needed to see a doctor. Minsu left work and took me to the hospital. If it weren't for him, it would've been really difficult. He helped me hobble around town and translated every conversation. I'm very thankful to have him as my friend.

We met Minsu, Junnie, Jun-young and Kelly for dinner at a pizza restaurant owned by Minsu's friend. In Korea, there are an abundant amount of "pizza" restaurants. I say "pizza" because most of the time, they call anything with lots of cheese pizza. At this place, I wouldn't call it a pizza, but more of an open faced quesadilla. Although, it was quite tasty and I enjoyed it.

When we finished eating and Minsu opened his present, a lovely scarf that I almost kept for Markus, we headed to 21, a nearby bar. We hung out there for a bit. We drank a few cocktails, played darts and said goodbye to Kelly. Unfortunately, she had to work the next day. It was nice having Kelly there. Usually, I'm the only girl and even though she couldn't stay the whole night, at least I wasn't alone the entire night.

Somehow, we ended up at a noreabang or karaoke room. I shouldn't be surprised, nights out always end up at a noreabang. They served us way too much food and we sang too many songs off key. It was a long night, but it was a amazing. We celebrated the birth of a dear friend, ate great food, sang too many songs and made wonderful new memories.

Haedong Yonggungsa

In my birthday post, I shared a few pictures from Haedong Yonggungsa. As I've said before, temples in Korea all tend to look the same. They're all the same green and red color scheme and the construction of the buildings are exactly the same too. Whenever someone suggests going to a temple, I always pass. Once you've seen one, you've seen them all. The only difference is probably the way you get there. I think this is why I fell in love with Yonggungsa. It still has the same temple structure you see everywhere else, but it's stunningly beautiful and very different from the others.

On the way to temple, there is a different kind of feeling. I could feel the anticipation rising as we passed animal statues of the Chinese zodiac, walked down steps lined with bamboo trees and strolled across wooden bridges. As soon as the temple came into view, I was overwhelmed with how breathtaking it was. The temple is nestled on top of rocky cliffs and has the ocean as a backdrop. The place was overflowing with people and I've heard that it's always busy regardless of the time or season. I understand why it's so popular and always busy. It's a magnificent temple that is unique and beautiful and one that everyone in Korea should visit!