April 30, 2014

two truths and a lie: an ice breaker.

since last time was so fun, i thought maybe we can do another ice breaker together. it was hard to come up with one that we could do through blogging and the only one that kept popping up in my head was an ice breaker activity that i never really liked doing {because i'm so bad at it} - it's called "two truths and a lie". have you heard of it? 

it's simple. all you have to do is tell three things about you - two of them have to be truths but one must be a lie. the goal is to figure out which of your facts are true and false. 

i'd love it if you either guessed what my truths and false were and/or if you could leave in your comment two truths and a lie about you, i'll play along and try to guess. since this is an ice breaker, feel free to comment on other people's comment as well. it'll be fun. but! you have to come back and let me know i have guessed correctly! a helpful tip: either make them really outrageous or really typical. those are the hardest to guess. 

here are my two truths and a lie: 

1. i once slept overnight inside the franklin institute, which is a science museum based in philadelphia, as part of a trip with my girl scout troop. 

2. a long time ago i participated in a pie eating contest and almost threw up afterwards. it always makes me feel queasy now whenever i see "anything" eating contests. 

3. i once worked as a volunteer translator for a mobile health clinic and didn't know how to say "are you sexually active" in korean. so i just stood there stumbling over my words and doing a slow clapping motion with my hands in hopes that the person would "catch on" to what i was trying to show her. it was so embarrassing. 

can you guess which are my truths and a lie? 
and now it's your turn! 

April 29, 2014

always two.


did you grow up with some sort of folklore in your family? 

i did. one of them went like this - "always scoop rice twice into a bowl because just one scoop can make you lose "jeong" in a person." jeong is like a bond that is shared between two people. and so my mom always scooped twice instead of once and always repeated that phrase. 

it was 2001. i remember being out on a group lunch at a chinese buffet restaurant. yangkyu, who i just met, was behind me and i scooped rice for both me and him. he stopped me after the first scoop but i said "no, you're always supposed to scoop twice because doing it only once will mean there will be no more "jeong" between you and me. he laughed because he never heard of it before but agreed anyway. 

a few weeks later we were on our way to noraebang {or karaoke} after grabbing some dinner at a restaurant with a few folks. we all had candy and yangkyu kept trying to put something in my hand, which i thought was his candy wrapping. i stuck my hands in my pockets and said "nooo, i don't want your garbage!" but when he was finally able to pry my hands open he placed two pieces of candy and said "because you said only one would mean "jeong" would go away. 

i held on to those two pieces of candy for a long time and analyzed over and over again with my girlfriends at what his gesture meant. 

it's such a fleeting moment but it's one of the fondest memories i have of when i first met yangkyu. 

April 28, 2014

plant a container garden for you and me and other weekend things.

well, we were going to wait until mid-may to start our little container garden again, but this weekend seemed like a good time to start. so we picked up some containers and soil and sowed us some lettuce, green onion and perilla leaf seeds. i also picked up a pretty pink petunia that we transferred over to a pot. last year our container garden didn't do so well but this year we're hoping for better results. i remember my parents had a little garden in our old home in ridgefield, new jersey. i have such fond memories of that garden. 

on sunday we also hiked along one of the trails over at riverbend park in great falls, virginia. it was so pretty with lots of flying bugs that went up our noses and buzzed next to our ears. 

i was also reminded of something really good this past weekend. i met up with a couple of former colleagues for coffee and really enjoyed their company. i realized how many good people i've met in my life. i may not see them on a regular basis but when i do it's as if we were picking up a conversation we had the day before. that's always a good feeling to have. 

well, there are so many things to "look into" this week. for one, flight tickets to korea and japan for this fall. we've been planning this trip forever and it still seems like any second it'll get called off or canceled for another time. you know that feeling when something doesn't seem right? this trip has that feeling all over it, and it's such a horrible feeling to have for such a big trip. i think for one, leaving piri behind for such a long time gets us worrying {his age, chronic ear infections, etc.}. a few of our friends think it's silly to worry over a dog. but oh well. call us silly if you must. 

hope you have a great week! we're heading in may! 

April 25, 2014

if you're ever in dc, go to the silver spork.

i mentioned briefly in our cherry blossom outing post last week how we swung by one of our favorite areas in dc, eastern market, and grabbed a bite to eat at the silver spork. if you're ever in the area, you should certainly check it out. 

we didn't actually get a chance to eat inside because we had piri with us {but from what yangkyu says and from pictures online, the atmosphere sure looks cute}. instead we got to people watch from inside our car while enjoying their amazing sandwiches, donut and a coke in a vintage style bottle. we also grabbed a roll of bread which we nibbled on with piri.

yangkyu for sure loved the jambon beurre with sweet gherkin {ham, european style butter & sweet gherkins on fiacalle} and i had the turkey & provolone on sourdough with dijon, tomato, red onion and arugula {yum}. and the funny thing about the donut. the night before i kept saying how i wanted a donut but couldn't make up my mind if i wanted it enough to go out and buy. then we were bored and started playing a game -- you know how you write something with your finger on someone's back or arm and they're supposed to guess what you wrote? well i wrote donut. it was the only thing on my mind! we didn't end up going for a donut run but i must've said it enough for yangkyu to go grab one at the silver spork {he's a good man}.

we love eastern market during the weekend and we'll sure be going back to the silver spork soon. 

but this weekend, we'll be donating some clothes to goodwill {i recently purged our closet again} and doing a little thrifting myself {i'm always in the look out for some unique decoration piece for our home} and perhaps some hiking. that should be loads fun. 

what do you have planned? hope it's a good one. have a wonderful weekend! 

April 24, 2014

life. squared.


"the most important thing is to enjoy your life -- to be happy - it's all that matters."
--audrey hepburn

April 23, 2014

on quitting my job, enjoying the present and saving for the future.

i had pictured this blog post to be somewhat informative, short with bullet points but alas, it's a long and rambling one. i apologize and thanks in advance for reading along. it's a topic i've been trying to articulate for a long time but i'm not sure if i did a good job. i may come back at a later point and reflect, but in the meantime, here is my first go. 


i've mentioned a few times on the blog how i don't work full-time. i quit my job at the end of july last year and i have been enjoying my "time off". the other night yangkyu looked at me and said "jane, do you really not want to go back to work?" i must've had a pout on my face because he quickly followed up by saying "no, what i mean is, you look so happy now. it's good to see you like this. if you're happy you don't have to go back to work." 

in this post i talked about the case of life. it was mostly about having financial security in the long run and asset building {buying a home, etc.}, but i also worry about whether or not i have to go back to a full-time job. before i write further about it, i have to say that i am coming from a place of privilege when i talk about this topic because i know many folks don't have a choice but to work. i know i am lucky to be in a position where i am married and have someone who has a good job with health insurance and earns enough to help support the both of us and our dog. i realize this and i hope this post doesn't come off pompous or out of touch. 

i spent 13 years post graduation in the non-profit field. in the past 5-6 years i built a niche in communications - traditional media and digital communications - and have enjoyed it very much. i loved being part of a team that created stories of people -- agents of social change -- and the issues that mattered to us as a community. but as time went on i became jaded and disappointed {expectation does that.. darn those expectations..!}.

when i was working i felt like i was always working. getting up early, working the usually hours from 9-6 pm, coming home, eating a quick 10 minute dinner and then working again. there were campaign proposals to be completed, grant reports to be written, press releases to be drafted and work of others to be reviewed. there was literally no time in the day to get anything done because half of the day would be spent on meetings, meetings and more meetings.

this part of work was stressful but there was also adrenaline which i liked {but not so much the consecutive days of working long hours}. the thing that i didn't like was people stress. i think i'm probably more on the sensitive side, but i never understood people who were rude, judging, assuming, bossy, fake and pompous. and i had my share of working with these types of people and it drove me up the wall. i would spend my time with pent up frustration and i would explode at home. yangkyu would have to listen to me night after night. i would vent, i would self-doubt, question myself to see if maybe i was in the wrong and then get worked up all over again wishing other people practiced self-awareness {you see.. expectations..}. me and yangkyu hardly ever had conversations about what made our day good and sometimes we would find ourselves arguing. he would always say, "jane! say the things you are saying to me directly to those people!" but because i hated conflict, i never did. i was just making things worse for me, but at the time i thought i was keeping peace. i also knew that i wasn't perfect so who am i to tell someone to be a certain way when i was sure my behavior and personality was irritating someone else? 

in retrospect i wish i would've been more vocal, but still a part of me wishes people would have some basic etiquette {but there i go with my expectations again}. at times i did find myself arguing more because i felt that was the only way i was going to survive, but this was making me feel worse. i didn't like who i was turning into and i didn't like that i needed to be "strong" {aka bitchy} in order to let people know they couldn't walk all over me. all i wanted was to just be in a good supportive team-oriented work environment where i could just do the job that i loved doing. 

so when yangkyu said to me the other night, "you look so happy now," i couldn't help but feel that i am very content with where i am in my life. my career isn't a driving factor for me anymore. there are sacrifices yangkyu and i have to make since we now only have one income coming in, but i would rather make those types of sacrifices than to go back to a work environment that wasn't a good fit for me. and yangkyu is so very supportive of this decision.

i think many people will say, well that's life. suck it up. and i understand this argument. but  i guess it's just plain and simple for me now. i've decided i don't want to continue sucking it up and live a miserable life. 

when we had two incomes coming in we had so much more leeway with money. we were saving more {almost bought a house last year}, i was buying more things because i thought it was making me happier. now that our income has shrunk we live with much less. and we have to be creative in the way we save. but this actually isn't all that bad. 

yangkyu has always been the "financially smart" one between the two of us {and he hardly is a spender} and from the day we got married he created a budget system which he manages on an excel chart on google drive and shares with me {although this role is slowly becoming mine now}. we track every single penny that we spend. no joke. and we have a set limit on how much we spend on food, on ourselves, piri, on our home, etc. we do this so that each month we're also saving {for that house, our future and also for emergencies}. some months we do better than other months. but the bottom line is, if we don't have the money to spend we just don't spend it {unless we absolutely have to, such as emergency vet visits, etc.}. 

this system has frustrated me from time to time because i couldn't buy things i wanted when i wanted. but now i live by this system. some people can't imagine how we only have $100 each to spend a month {or some folks think it's more than enough - i thought so too but am always surprised at how how that $100 can be spent so quickly}. but having $100 to spend is doable if we don't buy things on impulse. this was hard for me in the beginning but now i keep a wish list and go back to it a few weeks later. if i still want it or feel that i need it, that's when i decide to buy it or hold off on it a bit longer. after purging our closet and our house and realizing that we have bought too many things we don't need, coupled with the wish list method, living off of $100 a month is easier than i thought. 

for food, i have started meal planning and literally make everything myself -- korean side dishes, cookies, smoothies, muffins, you name it. our weekly grocery bills never goes above $100 and we don't have leftover food that goes bad. some of our friends wondered what in the world we eat {do you guys eat pasta all day, everyday?}, but we eat a variety of hearty meals. i also get up every morning at 6 am and make yangkyu's breakfast and lunch for him to take to work. sure we do go to restaurants as well but not every day. we also don't drop by starbucks or other bakeries on a daily basis. again, we don't buy unless we have the money to buy. credit cards are tempting but also kinda scary.

there are other ways we were able to cut unnecessary spending -- i iron all of yangkyu's work clothes instead of taking them to the dry cleaners, we cut our cable and now depend on npr every morning for the news and netflix for shows. we also got rid of our landline and text messaging service, and instead use a free app called kakaotalk. i canceled all my magazine subscriptions except real simple. and earlier this year we also paid off our car which relieved our bank account just a teeny tiny bit. 

we still get to plan for big international trips. we have been planning to go to korea and japan later this year and gave ourselves 20 months to save up for plane tickets, hotel, spending money and also presents to take back to our family members. we're well on our way to meeting our goal even though i quit my job and kept our monthly vacation saving $$ the same.

we also keep our tradition of finding 10 causes and issues to donate each year. i wouldn't want this to change one bit. 

this past year, what i realized was that the more money we made, the more money we spent. since we were so tired from work we were always eating out. we weren't planning our meals and instead buying anything and everything we wanted while grocery shopping. and because we were so tired to even cook, the food went bad. we were constantly buying and using services to make our lives more convenient. but now i do all that. and i don't mind doing it at all.

in the beginning of this blog post, i mentioned how i am enjoying my "time off." the responsibilities i have taken on in the home doesn't compare really to what yangkyu does in the office. i don't have to worry about the long commute, i can iron his shirts, wash the dishes, clean the home regularly, do the laundry all while watching my favorite shows. i can always take a quick break while playing with piri. but nonetheless, i don't consider myself totally on break. i feel as though this somehow is my new job. my new role. 

sometimes i wonder if some of my friends think i'm a nut. jane has turned into an official homemaker. but i don't really see it that way. i enjoy finding recipes, spending time in the kitchen and making all our meals and snacks. i enjoy keeping our home tidy. i love that i get to spend my whole day with piri and make sure he gets his morning, afternoon and evening walks. i like how i keep this blog a part of my daily life and finding diy and crafting projects to share. i have been looking for other ways to bring in income, but for now i am finding lots of joys in my life and this is really important for me to have. 

after our dinner last night, yangkyu took out his guitar and we sang and hummed. i was leaning against his leg and had piri in my arms. the sky was dark because it had just rained but the sun was also out. its rays were shining through our window. it was the perfect way to end the day. and i liked it very much. this is what life is supposed to be like. at least for me.

April 22, 2014

a girl and her dog: cornelia + frieda.

why hello!

today i'm so happy to welcome cornelia and frieda from berlin on the blog to tell us about the special bond they share in our monthly "a girl and her dog" series. 

i connected with cornelia's instagram account a few months ago and absolutely fell in love with her pictures --  especially the moments she captures, which she does so beautifully and poetically. when we began to exchange emails i also realized that she has an amazing videography portfolio. you can take a look at her work at sing sing film and at hearts on tape where she is also a part of a wedding-videographer team. this explains how she is able to tell such a warm story using just images. but she also knows how to tug at the heart using words as well.  

here is their story. 
the girl: cornelia cornelsen
the dog: her official name is frieda but she has a dozen nicknames like: frido, fidolino, fridi, fridchen, kleine ratte. she is a wire fox terrier. 
cornelia's favorite snack: weekdays, it's hot & vegan ramen and during the weekends, crisps. 
frieda's favorite snack: weekdays it's carrots, and during the weekend, croissants. 
from: berlin, germany 
find them on instagram: @foxteufelswild

frieda is an adventurer, i guess that's a characteristic for a terrier. she doesn't like to cuddle, but she loves to play and to run and to find things i hide for her. she jumped out of the window (1st floor) when she was a puppy. nothing happened to her, but i have a fear of heights since that day. she is a very clever girl (of course) who has a special fondness for elderly persons. i know most of the people in our neighbourhood because of her. she seems to have her own circle of friends and some shopkeepers buy treats only for her. at the weekend we travel halfway across town to visit her favorite lake. my husband told her to swim and was proud like a dad when she finally had the heart to cross the water on her own.

she is terribly afraid of wind and storms. you will find her hiding and shivering in our bathroom till we close very single window and get some cheese to elicit her. as i'm a freelancer working at home, she is the one i spend most of my time with. she has been with me for nearly seven years now and knows all of my secrets: when i am watching tv (or on instagram) instead of finishing that annoying job. how many crisps i really ate and all the dispensable rags i order online.

before we got her, my husband was afraid of dogs. now he calls her K├Âter (pooch) and tells everyone that fox terriers are the best dogs in the world. there is a letter from neil gaiman to his dead dog, that says it all very clear: "i'm so glad I knew him. i'm so glad we found each other. i don't imagine i'll ever have another bond like that in my life. i wish dogs lived longer."

thank you so much cornelia + frieda. 
you can see more of the life they share on instagram at @foxteufelswild.

photos via cornelia. 


read more "a girl and her dog" stories here

April 21, 2014

snapping a little family photo session is really the only thing i remember from the weekend.

 // left: piri thought he'd get in the picture, too. that little boy was pretty cool about it. right: she made a heart with her arms all by herself without me asking her to. so cute. // 

why hello! is it monday already? 

the weekend felt crazy long with warm weather like i had hoped {yay}. our friends from new york visited us and we included a little photo session. we were originally supposed to go to the national arboretum for their session but we actually never made it out! so we ended up taking a few pictures inside our apartment and also outside our complex. i also didn't get to try out a few poses i had thought of but i've learned a long time ago that some things just go according to plan and you just have to go with the flow.

there were some misses with some shots but there were also definitely keepers. i have to go through a bunch and edit them this week but these two pictures caught my eye as i was skimming through the thumbnails. 

i had taken pictures for my best friend's baby shower before, but a photo session was a first for me. i definitely learned a lot, not necessarily shooting techniques but more along the lines of how to go about shooting families and kids. i'm thankful for friends who trust me to take these precious pictures for them. i can't wait to get the editing process done and also develop some prints for them {i think i'm going to try out artifact uprising's signature prints}. 

hope you had a lovely weekend! what do you have going on this week? for me, i'm looking forward to making those homemade pretzels i didn't get around to last week and gathering some ideas on some possible diy projects for the home. 

have a good week ahead! 

April 18, 2014

have a great weekend!

back in my non-profit days i attended a training on management and organization and it was the only training that i've attended in the 13 years i've been in the field that was truly helpful.

one of the big takeaways for me was this super effective "to-do" list they developed that helped people get through their day by completing their set goals and tasks. i had so many variations of to-do lists before this training - the checking off box style, using various online programs, scribbling on random pages in my notebook and sticking post-its everywhere. nothing worked. but the one the trainer taught me really changed the way i worked.

it was a mix of the way the "to-do" list was laid out and what you actually wrote down {aka - being realistic}. i hope to share more about this at a later time, but my point today is that i have resorted to a similar type of to-do list in the past couple of weeks and my days have been so very productive. i don't work full-time anymore so my to-do list looks much different now, but i realized how i began to veer off track, lose track of time and kept pushing off certain tasks for a later time because i kept forgetting or i just didn't want to get it done. but i'm back to being focused and i like this feeling of being organized. moreover, welcoming the weekend with this mindset feels so much more refreshing and exciting. 

do you have any plans for the weekend?

i mentioned in this post how we have an informal family photo session. thanks so much for your encouraging words and photo tips. i hope it'll turn out to be a fun session. and i hope it'll be warm too! i can't believe how the temperatures dropped toward the mid and latter part of this week. brrr. 

have a great weekend - and happy easter weekend to those who celebrate! 
 // these were our flowers for the week. we picked them up on sunday at trader joe's and it was the only bouquet of ranunculus that had a mix of all the different colors. i loved how that looked. // 
// have you ever tried mandoo? it's my favorite. i also made some here. i feel like i make a batch annually. it's a little bit of hard work to make the stuffing, fill them and store them, but definitely worth it. we used to buy them frozen at our local market, but i like making things from semi-scratch now {semi-scratch because making the mandoo skin from scratch is still a bit too hard core for me}. // 
// i baked these blueberry muffins on a rainy day while talking to my best friend on the phone. they smelled incredible coming out of the oven and was so soft and moist. i realized though that after this and also our dinner on wednesday night {sujaebi - hand torn noodle soup}, that we ran out of flour and so i couldn't get around to making homemade pretzels like i had intended to. but next week for sure. can't wait. // 

hello! we're over here today!

hello! 

today, i'm over at the othermix blog talking about running - the reasons why i have included it in my life, battling weight gain {and loss}, self image and some cheesy inspiring cheesy songs that have made me feel like i was flying on the treadmill {although it's always not the case - some days running can be a little tougher}. 

come by and read the q & a {which by the way is the first of the "running high" series on the othermix}. 

thanks!

April 17, 2014

it's a takoyaki party!

over the weekend we finally got a chance to make some takoyaki. yangkyu loves this stuff and he got me liking it a whole lot too. we have a favorite japanese market in u street corridor in dc, hana market, and always bought a bag of them in the frozen section. since i'm all about making things from scratch right now, i thought why not just make some of our own?

so when we were in new york last february, we stopped by mitsuwa market {our other favorite japanese market} in edgewater, new jersey and picked up some some packaged takoyaki flour and takoyaki sauce. and on amazon we bought a cast iron takoyaki pantakoyaki pick and an oil brush. finally at a local h-mart, we were able to buy some bonito flakes to use for the topping and also a frozen bag of octopus, pre-cut {although i did have to cut them a bit more to make the pieces smaller}. 

i do have to say that i did miss out on some key ingredients such as dashi sauce {soup stock} and i had to wing it and make some of my own, benishoga {pickled red ginger} and aonori {green dried seaweed}, but we had some furikake {rice seasoning} and substituted that in instead. and we went without the mayo altogether. 

whipping up the batter was easy enough, but i did have to watch a video to learn how to flip the takoyaki over with a pick. that was pretty hard to do! i made three batches and wasn't really successful in making a single one into a perfect ball. although some of the texture didn't exact measure up, we still gobbled up those three batches like there was tomorrow. and i can't wait to make some more {this time with all the ingredients that were left out}. you really don't need the packaged takoyaki flour and instead you can make the batter with just regular flour. 

if you're ever in need of some takoyaki party over the weekend and are looking for a recipe, this is the one we used. there is an accompanying video and you can also see a list of all the ingredients you need. another variation of a takoyaki recipe can be found in this cute blog

happy eating! 

April 16, 2014

letters to piri // 01

dear piri, 

 // you know i've always wondered. what does that one blade of grass exactly smell like? it's just.. you spend an awfully long time sniffing just that one and i was just wondering.. you know.. call it human curiosity. 

 // that guy at the tidal basin who said to his friends "you know, i never really liked cocker spaniels," as we passed by him... yeah. talk to the paw. that's right. he has no idea how cool cocker spaniels are. 

 // some time this week you're going to get a bath. but you don't know that yet. 

 // do you ever wonder who your mom is? i've always felt bad that we take cute puppies away from their mother. but you know, i'm glad we met you and you let us become your family. we may not be furry and have a long snout like you, but we like chicken, too, just like you. oh and peanut butter. those are yum. 

 // so there are a few "pups in the park" days at nationals park in may. we thought maybe we could go on the 17th. they're playing the mets you know and we're going to root for them. oh, you think we should switch teams now? no, no. we'll always be rooting for the mets. 
  // i ate an apple behind your back yesterday. sorry about that, piri. it'll never happen again. 

 // i wonder what your favorite season is. mine is summer. but i think you don't like summertime because it's so hot. maybe spring? you like the cool breezes don't you? oh yeah. the rain. that kinda ruins your walks huh. or maybe fall when it's apple season. not winter.. i know it's hard to poop in the snow. well, maybe just maybe, you like summer, too. just like me. 

// i told everyone on instagram that you used our bedsheets instead of your towel to dry yourself off after getting wet during our walk yesterday. everyone said you did well. you're lucky you have so many people who love you. 

 // do your ears hang low? do they wobble to and fro? can you tie it them in a knot? can you tie them in a bow? can you throw them over your shoulder like a continental soldier? do your ears hang low? 

 // you know how you always take naps on yangkyu's pillow during the day and you think he doesn't know? i always send him a google chat when you do. sometimes i take pictures and send it to him.
 // there are so many things i want to show you. i want you to see what a campfire is, the beautiful stars in the sky and the deserts out in the west. we're always talking about camping and going on a road trip. are you up for it? 

 // do you know that those things that look like caramel that i give you after your evening walks are actually something called pill pockets. yeah. i stuff your medicine and supplements in them. i know. the things they come up with to trick dogs! oh you knew they were pill pockets? oh.. well, i guess it's really dogs who trick the humans then huh. clever dog.. 

 // and then hachi waited every day at the train station where he used to greet his owner, even though his owner had long since passed. family members tried to give him a home, but he kept running away to wait by the train station. oh i cried and cried when i saw that movie. that's why the top of your head got drenched. because i was hugging you while watching. 

 // i know you're secretly waiting to run into that sweet man who gave you a treat during our walk. his spaniel wasn't so happy that you ate his treat but you said thank you though right? you know, in your spaniel language? 

 // hey piri. i think we're gonna have to give dr. richards a call to say that your ear infection isn't completely healed. shucks. do you want to call or should i. he may think that i'm a nut so maybe it's better if you do it. 
love, 

the human girl who likes to give you random hugs and kisses and is usually the one opening the pantry door to give you your food and treats. oh and the one who is going to give you that bath some time this week.  

 // linking up with blogpaws wordless wednesday blog hop

April 15, 2014

what is the story behind your wedding ring engravings?

hello! it's april and we're on the third blogger story session counting down to our 5th wedding anniversary in august. if you recall back to the beginning, i had thought to create space here on the blog where we share stories each month on a particular topic related to love, marriage and happiness. in case you missed it, you can find previous story sessions here

today it's all about wedding ring engravings. what is engraved in your ring and what is the story behind it? and i'm so happy to have emily from a lively blend and kat from love and ace share their stories as well. 

my story begins in english class. 11th grade. the whole year we were studying shakespeare, chaucer and other old english and medieval works. one day our teacher shared with us what was engraved in her ring. it was something to the effect of "forever love" in old english {but in all honesty my memory remembers it to sound almost elvish.}. i was so young but i knew i wanted something just as unique engraved in my ring. and i kept this thought with me for many many years.

fast forward to 13 some odd years. i was at work and listening npr. one of my favorite segments - storycorps - was on and the story was one of the sweetest i've heard. it featured bill schifri who specialized in selling wedding rings and this part of his story just made me smile the biggest smile. 
"i had a girl once who wanted to buy a wedding ring for her fiancee. she says, 'tell me, if he doesn't like it, can i give it back to you?' i said, no, this is a custom job. i'm making the ring special for your fiancee. she gave me the order and gave me the deposit and said, 'this is what i want engraved in there: no refunds. no returns.' i couldn't get over that." {you can hear the full story or read the transcript here}
i went home that day and listened to the story again with yangkyu. when we picked out our wedding rings we said we wanted "no refunds, no returns" engraved inside them. it was done over the phone but i could hear the sales representative smile the same smile  as i had when i first heard the phrase. and the next time i was on the phone with our representative to finalize our rings she told me that she shared the story the "no refunds, no returns" story with her boyfriend and they shared a laugh together. it was a story that kept on giving. 

i was so curious to see what other couples had engraved inside their rings and what the story behind it was. here is what emily and kat had to say: 

we have "always and forever" engraved on the inside of our rings. a few months into our relationship, i was in missouri for a conference and tommy was home in virginia. one evening, i was looking out at the moon and i told him that if he looked outside, he'd be looking at the same moon too. even though we were 800+ miles apart, in that moment, we felt close. now, whenever we're apart for some time, we'll always tell each other, "i love you to the moon and beyond, always and forever." --- emily from a lively blend, married 7 months, blacksburg, va. 

my husband had my wedding band engraved as a surprise! we went and picked out our bands together and he went back later on his own to have the inside of mine engraved. it reads "my kat forever". i didn't find out about the engraving until the day of our wedding - he managed to keep me from seeing the band after it was ready. thinking back on it, i was way too relaxed about not trying it on first! after we exchanged our vows we had some private time and he showed it to me. it was such a sweet gesture and every time i look down at the engraving i remember that special moment. --- kat from love and ace, married 2.5 years, los angeles, ca.  


i love the how personalized their engravings are and as many years pass, i'm sure it'll be such a sweet story to pass down. 

well, i really love a good story session and i'm still very curious! do you have any engravings inside your wedding rings? what is it and what's the story behind it? i would love to know.

 // a very special thank you to emily and kat for sharing your stories. 

// read previous installments of  these blogger story sessions, "how did you know (s)he was the one?" and "do you have a secret code?" 

this is part of a story series counting down to our 5 year wedding anniversary in august. 

April 14, 2014

the cherry blossoms were in peak bloom in washington, d.c. and it was all sorts of wonderful.

it's really been all sorts of wonderful around here as the cherry blossoms reached peak bloom over the weekend. so we packed up our little hatchback and drove into d.c. to view some at the tidal basin. last year i ran into them during their peak bloom on capitol hill and they were so pretty to see, but i think they are the prettiest next to the jefferson and fdr memorials. it was so chaotic {so many people! no parking!}, but thankfully the weather was nice and the scenery sure made up for all the backed up streets and sidewalks. 

we took piri out with us {of course} and i think, next to the cherry blossoms, his shoes were the next thing to be buzzing among all the locals and tourists. in social media terminology, i think he was trending! {ha}
we had to park our car pretty far away {all the way near the tip of east potomac park} and we were afraid it would be a little tough on piri to walk that distance since he is older now. but he was a champ and smelled all those incredible smells on every patch of grass, tree and bush. i don't know how he does it {ha!}. 

our walk back had even more cherry blossoms, beautiful magnolia trees and golden forsythia. i never really had a thing for spring but all these bursts of colors is making me fall hard for it. 
afterwards for some major recharging we headed over to our favorite area, eastern market, to grab some sandwiches at the silver spork and also some cool tangerine sorbet at pitango gelato {yes!}. 

and before finally heading home, we made a quick stop at the national arboretum to do some sight scoping. i actually have an informal family shoot there this weekend {our friends are visiting from new york and asked if i could take some pictures of them and their kids}. i am slightly terrified because i feel like i somehow always manage to screw up when taking pictures for other people. oh and harsh sunlight is also really tricky for me. eeps! but even though i am a little nervous, i am also excited and honored they asked me to snap a few photos for them. {i'll be spending a few moments this week to study up on some photo tips and poses!}. 
i really wished there was a stop button this weekend because when 3 pm rolled around on sunday i was already missing the weekend. hopefully this week will pack just as much goodness. i'll be making some korean mandoo, bake some much needed cookies and also homemade pretzel. it's my first time - hopefully they'll turn out somewhat in the ballpark of what a pretzel is supposed to taste like!

hope you had a great weekend. have a wonderful week! 

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