saditycents











All this for $40! Keep in mind one of the diapers with insert is $20…yay!



“Twizzle Twazzle Twozzle Twum, Time for this one to come home.” There used to be an old cartoon that featured “Tootle the Turtle.”

Tootle Turtle

Tootle would always get himself into all sorts of scraps in alternate worlds and on adventures and Mr. Wizard would summon him home. Well that time has finally come home for us. My husband has served in the US Air Force for twenty years. For us that means, he is retiring and we are re-entering the civilian world. Mr. Wizard was always trying to teach Tootle that he was best off and safest in the comfort of home. While I admire the lesson, I don’t know if we are ready to fully embrace it. We are leaving the military; my husband after 20 years of service, me after almost 30 years as a dependent. Yet neither one of us are mourning. We are excited for our next adventure. In the mean time, of course I will provide resources for this transition.

To start off: Here are few tips when deciding how you will move and what you are entitle to for the final PCS:

    1. Who should we see before retirement? There are some mandatory appointments that the service member must attend before the final out processing is complete. However, you’d be surprised at how few spouses think to go to those appointments as well. So far we have been to about five appointments and/ or classes and I am always the only spouse. If you can’t accompany your service member through all of the TAPS process at least go to these classes and meetings:
      • Survivor Benefits Plan – There is a face to face meeting that requires both of your signatures. If your SBP counselor doesn’t insist on your presence, insist on  it for yourself. You want to be able to ask all of your questions because the SBP is a one shot deal. Once the paperwork is signed its hard to undo. Granted you have to give your consent to be cut out to of the plan, but you may have other questions about remarriage after death, protection for future children, etc.
      • Boots to Business Lecture- Even if you are not sure you want to start a business. Its good to know your options. There are so many programs out there to help veterans and their military spouses start businesses that you should really just take advantage of good information.
      • 10 Steps to a Federal Job – This is a great job for both members of a military couple. Often retirement can mean a change in dynamics. Spouses who haven’t worked in a long time, may consider full-time employment now that moving every few years isn’t a factor. Federal employment is always a consideration. It’s the closest you will get to a military career, and for some veterans and spouses that is comforting.
      • Budget portion of TAPS – In many military families the spouse takes care of the finances because they are the consistent partner on the home front. Thus, its so important that spouses get involved in the transition budget portion of transition training. One, so you can help fill any gaps on your existing budget and financial plan. Two, because its your future too. Don’t leave your service member to create a mock budget that has no relevance to your real life. Take the help and make your budget as realistic as possible. It may be difficult to get advice later.
    2. What entitlements are available to me?Separating or Retiring Military Service Members

      Are you separating or retiring from service? Read more on what you need to know regarding your travel claim at the end of your military service. You are authorized the following entitlements:

      Monetary Allowance in Lieu of Transportation (MALT)
      Plus (Per Diem)
      Dependent Travel
      Personally Procured Moves (PPM)
      Advance Payments

 

  1. Where will the military pay to move me? If you are,
    • SEPARATING: You must complete your travel before the 181st day (6 months) after your Separation Date on your orders. And, your travel is limited to your Home of Record (HOR) or your Place Entering Active Duty (PLEAD)
    • RETIRING: You must complete your home of selection (HOS) travel one year from the retirement date on your orders. Your travel is not limited to your HOR or PLEAD. You may claim travel to any location within the U.S. you are planning to reside after retiring
  2. How long am I entitled to military pay or a military move after retirement?
    • According to the regulation that governs military travel, your final move must be made within one year of your retirement, unless you apply for and receive an extension.
  3. How much can we make if we move ourselves verses have the military move us? PPM or DITY moves are known for making the service family money. But this may not always be the case because there’s no set rule that you will make money. Instead you make the best decision base on the information. Here are some resources to help make that decision:

 

Resources:

https://www.dfas.mil/militarymembers/travelpay/armypcs/endofmilitaryservice.html

http://www.belvoir.army.mil/jppsoma/files/FAQ/retirement%20entitlements%20info%20paper.pdf

http://www.military.com/spouse/military-life/retiring-from-military/qb-how-long-does-a-retiree-qualify-for-a-final-pcs.html



{February 1, 2017}  

You know that time where life is happening so fast and all of its blog worthy but you can’t seem to keep up with it all? Yea, me too. The last six months have been a blur of blogable events and yet I haven’t really blogged. So I figured maybe if I just list everything that’s been going on then I can organize my thoughts and pump out some posts. So here we go:

  1. Husband and I developed a fertility diet for me after weeks of research based on some great books and blogs. 
  2. We found out we were pregnant after one cycle on the diet. Which was wonderful because we’d been trying for awhile and had received really distressing news from the doctor. I attribute a lot of this to faith in action. I had faith God would make a way, but I didn’t sit on my laurels either. 
  3. We celebrated a milestone birthday for hubby with a trip to Yellowstone National Park. It was amazing and we loved it. 
  4. Then I went about finding the right care provider by of course researching. Who would have know this sadity girl is crunchy when it comes to her baby. I wasn’t impressed with the apathetic or overly medical options I was being offered with traditional medicine so we picked a midwife. What! It’s actually becoming more common but mine is not associated with a hospital so for me that meant I could seek the care I want and not the treatments dictated to me. 
  5. I have had to do a lot of traveling for work and family in the last few months. Which has helped me come up with a pretty stellar travel “must haves” list for the pregnant woman. 
  6. I also switched my fertility diet and exercise routine to a prenatal one. I didn’t follow one particular plan but rather I took practice options from several to create a plan for a real pregnant person. You know one who is has a  below average fitness commitment and likes food (even if it does make her sick right now).
  7. I put together a registry early on based on great advice from my sister and mother, two vets in the game. It’s also gender neutral!
  8. I’ve resisted the new mom stereotype of everything must be new and instead opted for a Sadity Cents type nursery and baby preparation. 
  9. I’m prepping for taxes because organization and life don’t stop with a baby. 
  10. And of course cooking! I will say that’s fewer and far between because standing and smelling for too long just aren’t working right now. 
  11. As a bonus I figured out the man I married is awesome! And really is the best daddy-to-be. He’s consistently take on a number of chores and pampering techniques to make this a wonderful pregnancy. 

Follow the links, which I will add as I write the relevant posts. Said posts will be written in between naps, so please be patient. 🙂



{August 24, 2016}   Sadity Cents: Grow Your Own

Money doesn’t grow on trees, but money saving plants can.

One of the the things I longed to do in Korea, but didn’t get a chance to do because we lived in an apartment, was start a garden. I enjoy gardening for the sake of gardening, but I also just enjoy cooking with and eating fresh vegetables and herbs. Of course there are healthy benefits to growing your own vegetables, but have you ever thought about the economic benefits?

As many vegetables as my husband and I are eat (which is A Lot) it seemed prudent to grow some on our own. But there are a couple things to consider.

One, many of the garden shops or home improvement stores sell plants at a ridiculously high rate elemenating the potential benefit.

Next, even if you find vegetable plants at a reasonable price the set up can be expensive as well. You see, unfortunately, though we are in a beautiful area prime for gardening, base housing doesn’t allow us to dig anymore and even if we could the rabbits are out in droves. So what’s a girl to do? Start a patio garden of course!

First, I needed supplies. I bought a couple of plastic bins rather than buy garden boxes for $20 (or more) a pop. I suggest going to a thrift store first. The boxes I found are those cheap plastic storage boxes most stores have available near the begin of the school year. These are great for gardening because they are easy to punch drain holes in and the price makes them great to experiment with  and mess up on. I also bought plastic dishpans. You can get these dishpans for about $3 at most stores and for $0.50 at a thrift store. You don’t need these exact bins, but you will want something that you punch holes in or that has small holes for draining.

Next, I needed plants. There are some nurseries in town, but I knew that a large box home improvement store was having a sale. Now timing is everything. Part of the reason they are having a sale is because gardening season is nearly over, so they need to get rid of inventory.

Take time to look through the plants and find ones that are somewhat dry, but whose main stem still has life in them (i.e. still green). I didn’t buy expensive dirt or extra sprays. You really don’t need it. Plants have been growing for centuries without manufactured dirt. At the register, of course, I first asked for a military discount. So there was 10% right there. Then as I chatted with the sales clerk, I pointed out the dead leaves. By the time we were done she’d dicounted some of the aging plants and even gave me a tomato  plant for free. The attendant was throwing out plants that seemed to be dying and said I could take the tomato plant if I thought I could revive it.  I would take a look at some of the dying plants at your local store and see if the store will give them to you. Many appear to be dead but can be revived. Anyways, I bought two large bags of soil, and 8 plants (plus a freebie) for $30. Not a bad deal.

I made sure that the plants I bought were suited for a fall garden. I also bought some herbs which are very easy to keep and last but not least some lavender to defend my garden against bugs and rabbits without pesticides.

To build my garden I prepped my boxes by taking a screw driver to all four corners and hammering a whole in each corner.


Then I filled each with varying levels of rocks. The bins were deeper than I needed so I used the rocks in my garden bed as filler.

This serves two purposes: 1) It keeps me from having to buy unnecessary dirt to fill the bin. 2) The rocks help with drainage so that the plants aren’t sitting in water that will eventually sour and poison the plants. This can happen with potted plants.



Some of the bins I filled with rocks  in a gradient or sloping manner so that the plants would have the appropriate amount of dirt. It also helps with water flow.

The plants I chose are quick sprouting and do no have deep roots. So they don’t need a lot of dirt and they thrive best with soil that drains well.

Then I filled each pot with the appropriate amount of dirt. One pot is for shallow roots, another for deeper roots, and yet another for vine plants.

Here are the plants I bought and the depth of dirt for each bin:

6″ Bin

  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Mint

8″ Bin

  • Bell pepper
  • Kale
  • Squash
  • Sage

12″ Bin

  • Tomato
  • Pumpkin



{August 17, 2016}   Sadity Cents: Patio Set Find

It’s been awhile since I blogged about the topic that was the nexus of this site: Great deals at a steal! It isn’t that I haven’t found great deals, but I intended to help people find deals that they can replicate and most of mine I stumble upon or sweet talk my way into them. Still, I feel like fellow savers will enjoy hearing about my great finds. I think I’ve written about the fact that my husband and I are setting up house with one another for the first time. When we met, he was doing a tour overseas and I had a practice to take care of, so we spent a good deal apart with our own places. When we married and moved in together, we were stationed overseas. Many apartments, like ours, came furnished. So there wasn’t much we had to do. Now we are combining his stuff from two apartments (he left stuff in storage before going overseas), and my stuff from overseas. So finding furniture, getting rid of furniture, and organizing just a lot of stuff will probably be the them of many of my Sadity Cents posts.  

Its not just finding things cheaply, but also finding items that fit into my idea of classy and sophisticated. Thus Sadity Cents!

 I have always had champagne taste on beer money and often a fountain water budget. LOL.  Thus, my passion for finding great deals. You don’t always have to pay an arm and a leg for nice things. Thus, my latest find:

  


I’ve been wanting a patio set like this for some time. Most are propane, but I really wanted one that could host real wood and even charcoal. It wasn’t easy. But we did it. I saw this set at Albertson’s (of all places) a few weeks ago. Even further back , years ago, there was one at Kroger that I loved. I couldn’t justify the price as a graduate student. Fast forward to now, and I saw this set. I wanted it immediately, but again I couldn’t justify the price. Not because we couldn’t afford it. It’s just that I plan on completely replacing several rooms of furniture and I don’t want to spend a significant portion on patio furniture. Not to mention, I just have a slight allergic reaction to paying full price for big ticket items. I spent time searching for something similar or pieces I could put together to create my patio…Nothing. I found cute items, but they were so expensive or they weren’t exactly what I wanted. See my ideal was a real wood fire pit table that I could grill on. Items that matched that description costs around $2000 on the cheap side. Other fire pit tables were propane, so they were cute, but useless. And most fire pits didn’t have a real table element around the fire pit, rather they usually had a ledge where you could place small plates and glasses.

Then as luck would have it I stopped at Albertson’s on the way to buy another set. A set, I didn’t really love, but felt was “good enough.” I talked to the department head and they only had one set left, the display. Well, people have not because they ask not. I make it a practice to ask and walked away with my patio set $250 cheaper than its original price. The best part, because it was a display, it was already put together. Less work for me (and by me, I mean hubby)! It took three trips back to our new place since it didn’t come in the flat boxes, but worth it to me. For about $20, I found a camp fire grill to put over the top to grill food and the table I wanted came to fruition.



I love a good deal. Look at the name of my blog after all. And the best deals are on large purchases. When I can write about a shopping experience two weeks later and still feel like I got the best deal in town. Hubby and I were in desperate need of a mattress. Our household goods was somewhere sailing the seas from Korea and our household items that were left in storage had yet to be located. We bought an air mattress, but after the first night I knew that that was not the solution to our problems. I was willing to tough it out at first, but after about a week I realized two things: 1) I’m getting old, I used to be able to crash anywhere. 2) Our marriage was not going to survive long if we kept waking up sore and cranky. So we went mattress shopping. We got a great deal, during and after a large purchase I like to check the internet to confirm I truly do have Sadity Cents. I was determine to get high quality at a great price. After all my marriage depended on a good nights sleep. Here’s how I did it:

Start with the high end shop first. Find the mattress type you love. We went to a Sleep Number bed on a recent date night and fell in love with adjustable beds. I like the sleep number concept, but we walked out knowing we needed an adjustable base for our bed. Next we went a store that had a large variety of foam mattresses. My husband loved them, I could take or leave them. One of the benefits of our Sleep Number adventure was that I learned I truly enjoy a very firm mattress. My husband likes a soft mattress. What’s a couple to do? Meet in the middle. By the time we were ready to purchase we knew we wanted an adjustable base and a firm mattress with a foam top. I’d also been gathering prices at the two different stores. So the Saturday of our purchase we stopped at one store and found the mattress and base combo we wanted. I was ready to purchase, but my money saving rule is that I never make a large purchase on the spot. So we left to discuss it. In the mean time, we went to their main competitor. They are slightly more high end so we looked at their deals. They almost had us with an amazing all in one adjustable base, mattress and accessory deal. But I called the first store and told them that we were at the competitors and I told them what they were offering. The salesman matched their price, but with his mattress we got a warranty and a mattress cover to protect the warranty of the bed. I also had him throw in some foam pillows (best decision) I’d been admiring. So he got his sale, I got my mattress almost two hundred dollars cheaper than the great price he first quoted (which was $200 less than the sale price because of military discount) and some extras. It pays to comparison shop.



Today was by far one of our best days if not the best day in NYC so far. We started off kind of late, choosing to sleep in since we knew we’d have a relative late night. We did the most quintessential thing you can do in New York… Broadway! Then we went to our favorite part of Manhattan… Harlem and at the famous soul food restaurant Sylvia’s. Finally, we ended the evening at the Apollo, which was an amazing experience. But the best part of it all was doing it all without breaking the bank. Here are some tips for plays and performances in NYC:

1) Broadway on a Budget. Finding reasonably priced Broadway and Off-Broadway tickets really isn’t that difficult, even if you are not military. First, let me define “Broadway” v. “Off-Broadway.” I heard a woman say she didn’t want and off-Broadway show because they’re amateurs. Not true! Broadway v. Off- Broadway has very little to do with the caliber of the performance or its location (there are off-Broadway shows on the street known as “Broadway”). In practical terms the difference between the two is the seat capacity of the theater in which the performance takes place. Broadway theaters all have at least 500 seats, while Off-Broadway theaters have 100 to 499 seats. Theaters with 99 and below are considered Off Off- Broadway. There are few exceptions to this rule and only Broadway shows are eligible for Tony Awards, but that’s the most important difference for the lay person.

With that said there are a few great resources for cheap tickets to live shows. First the USO for military travelers. They often have tickets to free shows and/ or access to discount codes you can use for tickets. While we were in NYC we watched the musical Trip of Love courtesy of the USO.  The tickets range from $45-107. We were in the $107 section which is Front Orchestra and our tickets were FREE! We also received free tickets to a sketch comedy show free, but the theater had a 2 drink minimum. Still, both great deals and greatly appreciated.

IMG_0153

Next, is the TKTS booth run by the Theater Development Fund. Same day and next-day matinee tickets are made available at a 40-50% off discount. The website is a live-action website so you always know exactly which tickets are available.  

I was told to prepare to stand in line for an hour to 2 hours, but the trick is to go to one of the two booths outside Time Square. I went to the one near Battery Park and spent maybe 15 minutes in line and received my first choice of tickets. We chose the matinee so we wouldn’t have to change plans for that day. We saw The Color Purple and it was truly transformative. I’ve read the book, watched the movie, and seen the musical. But this particular Broadway performance was amazing!

    

Finally, a little know tip about theaters is that they like to fill there seats. Artists hate performing to empty chairs. So if you know what you want to see, check the TKTS website, because if they are selling tickets, that means there are empty seats. Then wait until about 15 minutes before the performance walk up to the ticket counter. They will often sell the tickets for even steeper discounts that the TKTS booth and you avoid the fees. If you have a student ID they have $25 last minute tickets at some theaters and some even do military discount, but the TKTS rate is usually better than the military discount.

2) Beyond Broadway.  There are also other performance beyond Broadway. I already mentioned the sketch comedy. But go outside the traditional tourist activities. We went to the Apollo for Amateur Night.
Apollo2

The historic theater goes out of its way to make sure you get your money’s worth. Regular priced tickets range from $20-33 dollars, so its a good deal no matter what. However their student and military discount tickets are probably the best deal I saw in NYC. $12 dollars gets you the best seats they have open with ID. We sat in the second row, so seats that should have costs us $66 total, for two people, were $24. For that price we got a lively pre-show with great music, a hilarious DJ and MC, and interactive dancing and fun. Then they always have a musical guest who is a great profession and often a recognizable face. The night we went Deborah Cox was the performer and as lover of 90’s music that was a big deal for me. We were even able to meet her and get autographs during the intermission. IMG_0383 It was nice knowing you could be viewing the next big artist with the amateur performers. Let me tell you, most performers may not have made it big yet, but they are anything but second rate. The performances were amazing and even when they weren’t we had the fun of “booing” people of stage in the tradition of the Apollo As they say, “Be good or be gone!”

Movies and more. If movies are more your style, then the New York Parks offers free movie night just about every day of the week and at several different parks. The one I was interested in was the HBO movie series at Byrant Park every Monday, but they have just about every genre and kid-friendly nights as well. Pack food and a blanket and have fun.

We didn’t attend, but there is also a free concert series and theater series through New York Parks.

3. Other Discount Venders. There are also websites that have tickets allotted specifically for military and vets, such as: VetTix; GovX; and Veterans Advantage

We signed up for one before our trip but they didn’t seem to have tickets to any major attractions, rather minor league baseball and small venue rock concerts, but it’s always worth a shot.

All in all, we had a great time and there’s even more tips to come…

 

 



{October 23, 2015}   Market Shopping in Korea 
A Dapper Dog at the Market

A Dapper Dog at the Market

As a military dependent, shopping overseas isn’t as tricky for us compared to others who don’t have the connection and support of a local base. We of course have the base commissary.  When I was in the states I loved the commissary because of their great prices. Overseas they have an awesome coupon policy (you can use expired coupons for up to six months overseas), friendly service (for the most part), and products from home. But the truth is there are somethings the commissary can’t achieve; like fresh local produce. You see the commissary is ran under an arm of the Department of Defense, which means it has government contracts it must fulfill, which for me means my fruit is often frozen, shipped, and defrosted, only to prematurely rot. So while I buy many of my staples at the commissary I like to shop locally for my fresh items. And to tell you the truth it’s almost always cheaper.

Almost every town or province in South Korea has a local outdoor market where farmers and shopkeepers set up booths and sell their produce and goods. Where I live the market is known to the locals as the Songbook market. The Americans call it the “4/9 market” because vendors set up on any day ending in 4 or 9 of every month. Another base has the 3/8 market;  you get the pattern. I reckon the same vendors travel to many local towns.

Anyway the 4/9 market can be intimidating. There are flurry of people pushing their way through the crowds, a lot of yelling from vendors trying to make a sell, foods you don’t recognize and what seems like general chaos. After frequenting the market almost weekly for a few months I’m starting to understand the method behind the madness.

An example of unfamiliar foods: If anyone knows what this is please let me know.

An example of unfamiliar foods: If anyone knows what this is please let me know.

IMG_0016

First understand how the market is set up. One thing to note is that for the most part vendors are always in the same spot. This becomes helpful as you build relationships. That way you can find the same tomato vendor over and over. Also don’t be afraid to go down alleys and side streets. Many times vendors who are not on the main drag are more willing to bargain because they don’t get the same amount of traffic. Once you find that special vender ask for what you want. This may seem elementary, but sometimes the vendor is set up in front of their brick and mortar shop, so if you don’t see an item they would likely sell, just ask. They have more items in the back. 

Learn how to bargain. The greatest appeal about open air markets is the ability to bargain shop and haggle prices. I learned from a Korean national that it’s part of the Korean culture to haggle.  The thing she didn’t tell me was that as a foreigner the same bargaining rules don’t apply. When Korean vendors see Americans they know our method of shopping is to see a price and pay, so many won’t haggle with you because they know that’s not your culture. This doesn’t mean haggling is impossible it just means that your shopping experience isn’t going to be the same way as your well-meaning Korean friend’s trip.

Here are some tips to improve your haggling experience.

1) Get a Calendar – Make yourself familiar with traditional Korean holidays. The market tends to be more crowded and vendors are far less likely to haggle with you on those days. They don’t need your business that day and they don’t have time to waste going back and forth with you for fear of losing another sale.

2) Get the Worm -As in the early bird… Get it?! Anyways, I just mean go early. The earlier in the day the better. The earliest I’ve been is 8 am. Sure some vendors aren’t set up yet, but the truly committed die-hard vendors are and they are ready to make their first sale. There is a cultural belief that your interaction with your first customer is how the rest of the day will go for your business. So theoretically they are more willing to bargain to get a sale. Superstition aside, in my own experience I have found that vendors are just nicer in the mornings and therefore more likely to give you a deal, even if you aren’t their first customer. Another plus is that the market is less crowded, though still crowded, in the morning; so it makes for a more pleasant shopping experience.

3) Get an expanded definition of bargain. Many people only think they got a good deal if they paid less than the asking price. Sometimes that’s hard to achieve. I frequent vendors who throw in free items or who who give me significantly more for the same price compared to other vendors. This takes some trial and error and a good memory.  I try to remember specific vendors for specific items because of their generosity with portions. Like my raw nuts lady. She puts more in the bag than other vendors and puts a free item in as well. I also appreciate vendors who will fairly cut an amount down for me. Sometimes the vendors pre-portion their produce (say that five times fast) and you pick the basket of produce that looks best. But it’s just my husband and I at home, so often their portions are too large and I know a large amount will go to waste. There are some vendors who try to force you to buy the whole amount. It could be because they’ve already weighed out the produce, but it doesn’t serve my purposes. Others will cut the fruit in half to their advantage. Meaning the entire pound was 5,00 won but for 3,000 won they’ll give you half. I don’t use them. I like when I get just a little more than half for about half the price. it means they value you me as a customer and want me to come back. Either way, there are more than one way to get a good deal. For instance, we use a lot of organic Korean honey (seriously, whatever these Korean bees are doing, it’s life changing). So rather than ask my vendor for a cheaper deal on the honey, I buy double the portion and then cut a deal on that. I know I’m going to use all of the honey, so it’s a win for me, and he moved merchandise, so its a win for him.

4) Get o.k. with “N.O.”. Sometimes you have to walk away. I’ve heard stories of Americans buying items and not knowing what they bought because a vendor started putting it in a bag as they were talking and shoved it in their hands. I can’t even imagine being bullied into a purchase just because I’m afraid the vendor won’t like Americans afterwards. I think that’s a simplistic and insulting view of people in foreign nations, to think that a seasoned vendor won’t know how to handle a “no thank you” (but that’s a different, more political view that would probably be titled: Polite Paternalism). Anyways, the point is that if in the midst of haggling you aren’t getting the deal you want, walk away. It’s ok. I am not afraid to walk away from any vendor, nor am afraid to try several vendors to see whose willing to haggle. I’m also okay with hearing “no.” Some say no as a bargaining method. Try another number. But if they are insistent on the price, then I smile, bow, and walk away. No hard feelings. You don’t have to be rude to bargain, but you don’t have to be a pushover either. Sit back from a distance, you’ll see them bargaining with other locals. Many just assume that you won’t.

5) Get a basic vocabulary. I’m pretty horrible at other languages, speaking wise. But I have found that even recognizing a few words is helpful, even if I can’t respond. The vendors are less frustrated if you understand something, and actually appreciate a few words in Hangul (Korean). Words that I have found to be useful are:

Hello = Ann-yeong-haseyo (all the translation books say to pronounce it this way. Locally, I find Ah-naseyo gets a better response)

Thank You = Kasi-hamm-ni-dah

How Much = Ooh-ma-im-ni-kah

Please Give Me = Joos-Aa-Yo

Yes = Nay or Dae

No = Aneeyo

Once you get the basics of the marketplace down, it can really be worthwhile. Before the market our grocery bill could easily be $300 a month for 2 people and that was with little to no fresh fruits or vegetables. Now I spend about $250 on groceries and that is with about half being large amounts of fresh produce, and of course local honey (I use it for almost everything that requires a sweetener). Here are some pictures from a typical trip:

IMG_0075

I think I spent less than 15,000 won on this trip with 10,000 won being the honey. Still a good deal, but this was one of my earlier trips, before I’d grasped the concept of bargaining.

This is a more recent trip. Even with the superior honey I spent about 30000w

I love seeing twists on foods I grew up with or foods I've never even heard of.

I love seeing twists on foods I grew up with or foods I’ve never even heard of.



I have to say this last weekend was pretty amazing. My husband and I definitely needed it. While many brag about how fun South Korea is and all the benefits of being stationed here, what they sometimes over look is how stressful it can be. Being stationed in South Korea has unique challenges. For one you are technically still in a war zone and there is a layer of stress that never really goes away while you’re here. I had one seasoned wife say that Korea will either make your marriage or break your marriage. I didn’t understand until I started to see almost weekly postings on the local flea market Facebook page of spouses looking to sell large amounts of household goods quickly because they were unexpectedly moving back to the states early due to separation. I have my theories of why this occurs (long hours, tons of rules and regulations, always on call, too many bars, too many women), but the point is it occurs. And even if you aren’t on the brink of divorce just the fact that you, as the spouse, spend large amounts of time alone (welcome to military life in general) can add a layer of stress. For us there really hasn’t been too much tension but as a newlywed couple I wouldn’t mind seeing my husband more than the almost weekly schedule we’re on. I try to keep a brave face because, one, I have it better than many spouses who came here only to find that their service member was being sent to neighboring countries  for an undetermined amount of time, and two, I’ve used the time to develop my own adventures. Still sometimes you don’t realize how much you’ve missed someone until you are actually back with them. This week my husband had four days off resulting in a long weekend, yay! So far it’s been one of our best weekends yet. 

First, I’ve been taki cooking courses at the Airmen Family & Readiness Center. I fancy myself a pretty good cook but the spouse teaching the courses is a graduate of the Cordon Blue cooking school, so there’s always more to learn. I used our first night together to practice an Italian meal we made in class. The dish received reviews. 

Anti-pasta with bruschetta and grilled pineapples with mozzarella. I even bought a nice bottle of wine for the occasion. 

  
The next day we were up early to join the chapel on a trip to the seaside city of Busan. I highly recommend couples taking trips through the chapels on their bases. It really cuts the cost and it was nice to have travel and hotel arranged for us. We only spent one night in Busan but it was a really nice trip, I hope to go back soon. 

We followed up our trip to Busan with date night! We tried out a wine bar we’d been looking at for a while I  was a little disappointed in the food selection but not by the cocktails. It’s such a cute and cosy atmosphere but you should probably have dinner before hand. 

Afterwards we went to one of our favorite sushi restaurants where I tried the fabled drink soju. I enjoyed it but couldn’t finish the tall glass. Probably because it isn’t a dive bar, I didn’t find the drink as potent as some claim. Either that or I can really hold my liquor which is also true. 

Finally we finished the weekend up with a free bowling, the bowling alley on base offers free bowling during lunch. It was fun just to do something silly and carefree. 

It was a great weekend which ended with the great news that my husband’s schedule might be stabilizing soon and that he’ll actually get to sleep at home! Yay!



Wedding and Events by the Williams

Weddings by the Williams was my florist and day of coordinator. In this post, I will just focus on the floral arrangements provided. Its hard for me not to go on a thousand-word rant. I had some pretty disappointing moments in my wedding and I feel that they pretty much all tie to the Williams’ services. It’s hard for me not to be bitter. But I just try to focus on the overall day and not the specific failures… Except when I am writing reviews.

Jade is the front man and co-owner of the company with her husband Michael. We all spent a significant amount of time talking about the flowers I wanted, specifically I interacted with Jade and discussed my floral arrangements with her. I knew pretty specifically before meeting Jade that I wanted a broach and flower bouquet with pink roses and pink tea roses, and ivies and pearls as accents, and I told her so. Another reason I went with Weddings by the Williams was because I didn’t want a lot of flower arrangements beyond bouquets, and a few special table arrangements. Every other florist was trying to sell me packages with far too many flowers for what I envisioned for my wedding and not enough lead way to customize said packages.  Jade on the other hand, priced each bouquet and arrangement individually so it was a la carte.  Not to mention that Jade gave me a discount because I used two services from the company and my husband is in the military. So I felt like it was a good deal that combined to services, which meant one less contract and one less vendor to deal with. Not to mention the company website and Jade’s portfolio featured gorgeous pictures. I was pretty excited. She told me to trust her with the creative design, but I thought she would use the guidelines we talked about.

We discussed blush and pink flowers with ivies and broaches. What I received were mostly white flowers with a few that were a very light blush. They were browning and wilting around the edge when I received them on the day of the wedding. She said it was because it was a hot day, but I’ve had others in wedding business arena say they looked old and that’s how they looked to me too. My wedding theme was reminiscent of spring day in Paris. Yet, my floral arrangements all had dead and brown sticks and other fillers that would have been more appropriate for a fall wedding. I was glad I found broaches to be added to the bouquet, I think that saved it. That and the fact that I had an awesome photographer. The flowers don’t look drab or dead in her official photos, but in other people’s photos you can tell that the arrangements were dying. It was just one in many disappointing events working with Weddings by the Williams, but I will save that for the day of coordinator post.

These pictures were taken shortly after I received them, before the wedding, before guest even saw my bouquet and they were already wilting.

These pictures were taken shortly after I received them, before the wedding, before guest even saw my bouquet and they were already wilting.

Notice the browning around the edges. This picture was take shortly after I received the flowers and before the wedding.

Notice the browning around the edges. This picture was take shortly after I received the flowers and before the wedding.



et cetera