Author Archives: Janelle

MAKING STRAWBERRY JAM IN KOREA

Yes, I flew all the way to Korea to make strawberry jam. All jokes aside, I visited Korea for the third time this past May. Every time, my family and I would try to find something interesting to do, something that we can’t do at home. After binge watching Korean variety shows and seeing how strawberries are hyped up in Korea, my mom was craving them. So I thought, why not pick them ourselves? Thanks to Koreal trip, the booking process was easy. We choose the 500g strawberry picking experience + making jam package. We also wanted the chocolate dipping as well (chocolate covered strawberries) but the weather was apparently too hot for that at that time.

You can read more about the Yangsuri Strawberry Farm here: http://iamontheroad.net/blog/strawberry-picking-in-korea/?ckattempt=1

You can book your strawberry experience here: http://korealtrip.com/trip/strawberry-picking-experience-in-yangpyeong/?ckattempt=1

Now let me walk you through my experience!

First of all, we chose the wrong day to go simply because it was during one of the public holidays in Korea and there was major traffic. The strawberry farm was about a 10 minute drive from the train station but walking there would be at least 30 minutes. Since there was so much traffic, a lot of the taxi drivers refused to drive us there. We walked to a local clothing store and asked the manager to call a taxi for us, hoping that they would be more accommodating to locals. And it worked, we got there safely and it was time to pick some strawberries!

Step 1: Pick the strawberries! Don’t pull on them. Snap it towards you by the stem. Fill up the plastic container with as many strawberries as possible!

 

Step 2:  Strawberry Puree. Place the strawberries in a large pot and start crushing them with your hands!

Step 3: Place them over heat and start cooking! Keep stirring!

 

Step 4: Add sugar!

Step 5: Let it cool down and transfer them to jam jars!

Step 6: Enjoy it with bread ?

Community Guidelines

Of course, I want my blog to be an ideal online space where it is a welcoming and inclusive community. Comments and questions related to my travels posts are more than welcomed but this world is not perfect and we can’t have everything we want. If it is irrelevant but is non-offensive to anyone, then that is okay. As of now, my blog allows anyone to leave a reply, but it ultimately has to be approved by the admin, which is me, before they are visible to the public and on the posts. Spams that just plug in advertisements are automatically filtered to the spam folder. Filtering spams actually make a huge difference because they are usually long posts that are not related to the commented post. If I’m reading someone else’s blog and see a bunch of spam comments on the posts, I’ll probably have a negative impression on the blog as a whole. I kind of question its legitimacy and discredit the blogger’s effort because it’s easy to associate spams with viruses and that combination itself just has a negative connotation. To prevent that happening on my blog and to my readers, spams will remain invisible and stay in the shadows of my blog. For actual comments regarding my posts, I have control over approving them to be visible or not. Obviously, for those that are not harmful and genuine, I will approve them. Even if comments are constructive criticism, I won’t purposely keep them hidden.

Perhaps a guideline to breakdown the inappropriate behaviours that I feel should be controlled is more useful:

  • Advertisements and promotional content
  • Sexist and racist comments
  • Insults towards the creator or other users

I feel like if I have a huge following in the future, I’ll just let the comment section be public and comments also don’t have to be approved by me. If I have loyal readers that genuinely care for my well-being, they will come together to defend me when a hate comment is posted. The public knows best so it’s best to let them decide and create the guidelines to judge if I really deserve those kind of comments. But, I think it’s safe to say that no one deserves hate comments. Seems like a selfish act for letting my followers defend me, but that’s only if I have ANY following in the future. I can dream!

Carry-on Travel Essentials

I’m not a travel expert but I have been on quite a few flights. Carry-ons are tricky but I’ve managed to pass through security every time without any problems! So now let me show you what I bring with me on a flight in my carry-on bag.

  • backpack
    • travelling is so much easier with a backpack, I bring around my red Jansport backpack and it’s super sturdy!
  • headphones
    • Always plugged in! Keep yourself entertained and some planes have a standard audio jack so you can use your own headphones! I just use the standard iPhone ones!
  • neck pillow
    • Better than nothing! Bring a full sized pillow if you want, that’s what my best friend did. I got mine from Muji and it has a buckle clip so I can just clip it on my backpack strap.
  • slippers
    • You might want to take a stroll and stretch your legs in a long haul flight, make yourself comfortable with slippers.
  • sheet masks
    • Flights are super dry so treat your skin with something nice, plus no one will really pay attention to you anyways. Any from the Korean brands are really good, maybe Innisfree, Faceshop, Nature Republic?
  • hand cream
    • You might be able to find some in the washroom but it’s more convenient if you bring your own! I’m currently using Crabtree & Evelyn’s “La Source” hand therapy.
  • lip balm
    • Keep your lips hydrated! I use Maybelline’s Baby Lips in “Cherry Me”. There’s also a little bit of red tint so I look alive!
  • hoodie/cardigan
    • Better safe than sorry, they really blast that AC!
  • phone charger
    • You can find a USB outlet for most flights now, keep your phone alive since you’re probably going to use it the entire flight.
  • tissues
    • Bring a pack of tissues, in case of any messes.

And of course, bring your documents and dress comfortably.

LA TRIP DAY 3: SUGARFISH/KOREATOWN/LACMA

Thursday August 31st, 2017

Day 3 was packed with adventures. We started the day a little bit late and skipped breakfast. But that’s okay because lunch made up for it. We visited the famous Sugarfish, they are known for their perfect combination of the freshest fish on a warm bed of rice. I actually wanted to do take-out from Sugarfish because I’ve seen so many cute Instagram photos of the neatly positioned sushi in a bento box style. But it wouldn’t make sense to order take-out if we drove all the way to Pasadena just for the restaurant. The portions were small and each dish came out one by one, we thought we wouldn’t get full from it but surprisingly, the portions were perfect. We weren’t uncomfortable full but it was enough to fill our stomach. The meal was expensive but you do get some quality food!

The perks of having your own car is being able to drive to as many places as possible! After lunch, and the unfortunate parking ticket incident which you can read about here, we headed towards the outlet for some shopping time! We didn’t have a particular one in mind but we searched the nearest one and stuck with it. We went to the Citadel Outlets, that place is huge and you can find almost all the brands you’re thinking of right now!

Of course, after all the walking, it was time to eat. Again. The first day we went to Little Tokyo, and this time, we decided to go to Koreatown! Unlike Little Tokyo, which seemed like a small little complex, Koreatown was legit a whole town with all your favourite Korean businesses, restaurants, supermarkets, banks, and of course, KOREANS. It was quite overwhelming actually. We had some of the best Korean dishes there and I actually forgot the name of the restaurant… but all of the restaurants looked promising! There were line ups everywhere, especially because it was the end of the week. We went inside a noodle soup place and I ordered a chicken noodle soup. The portion was huge and there was a whole chicken in there. Parking, again, was stressful, we looped around the block about 5 times before finally finding one.

After the delicious dinner, we headed to the most the anticipated place of the entire trip. We joked about going to LA just for LACMA. I believe LACMA stands for Lost Angeles County Museum of Art and if you’re not familiar with that, it’s the place with all the urban tall lights. And you already guessed it… we took some Instagram photos there because with all the lights there, the lighting was on point.

 

 

LA TRIP DAY 2: Disneyland!

Wednesday August 30th, 2017

We spent the entire second day at Disneyland, and honestly, one day is definitely not enough time to explore the whole park. We didn’t even get to California Adventures, but there’s always next time. We started the morning bright and early and had a very filling meal at Subway. Disneyland was around a 45 minute drive from our Airbnb and with traffic, it took a little bit longer. We specifically picked Wednesday to go because the Labour Day weekend (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) was considered peak season (which costed more) and if we go on Thursday, then it would be too crowded since it’s the last day before the price raises. That’s why we chose to go on Wednesday, to avoid the people and pay less! Luckily, we made the right decision because there weren’t a lot of people that day, which meant the lines up weren’t super long and we were able to go on as many rides as possible. We parked at the parking lot for $20 for the whole day…Disneyland expenses are so real. Tickets were another $100 bucks and we also stopped by the gift shop to purchase our Minnie Mouse ears. One does not simply go to Disneyland without the ears!!! So basically, even before actually entering the park itself, we already spent a good $150.

There were so many rides that I fell in love with, but I have to say, I enjoyed the log ride the most! It was probably the most exciting ride at the park and we didn’t mind a little water on us on the scorching hot day. And of course, we couldn’t leave the place without taking some Instagram worthy pictures. We also looked forward to the fireworks at night but we were informed that there were no fireworks that night. Maybe it’s only a weekend thing? Not sure, but we were pretty bummed since we purposely stayed until the night to watch the fireworks. We had lunch there and bought a few snacks here and there, so make sure to bring extra cash with you if you’re going to spend an entire day at Disneyland. Also, a quick tip for water, they actually give out cups of water at any restaurant or concession stand so rather than buying and carrying around a water bottle, just stop by any food place and ask for a cup of ice water!

We ended the day at a mall near our Airbnb, where we found Din Tai Fung, a Shanghainese cuisine restaurant. We had the signature “shao long baos” and some delicious noodles. The highlight was probably the garlic green beans, if you guys ever visit Din Tai Fung, make sure to order the garlic green beans!!!

LA TRIP DAY 1: LITTLE TOKYO/REVOLVING SUSHI/BOILING POINT

 

August 29th, 2017

Rest of Day 1 of our trip!

First location we visited: Little Tokyo! Parking was a pain though because the location is quite central. We parked a block away in the office depot complex since they offered spaces for parking for about 2 hours. After landing and going through the whole process of getting our car, we were pretty hangry at this point. And just at the entrance of Little Tokyo, we saw Kura Revolving Sushi Bar, and we all agreed on it once we saw. It’s been a while since I’ve had sushi from a conveyor belt, I remember when Vancouver still had one but now we don’t have it anymore! Once we were seated, we were so fascinated by everything. The conveyor belt wasn’t big but it had a lot of variety. Each table had a tablet for ordering items that weren’t on the belt, like udon, soup, or more expensive food. There was also an opening to put the empty plates back in and I think once you collected about 15 plates, it will trigger the gashapon machine. The tablet shows you how many plates you’ve eaten and at first we were clueless but then the tablet started to flash and sounds of victory started ringing and before we knew it, a small little prize came rolling down from the gashapon machine. Turns out, it was an eraser that was shaped like a nigiri. SUPER CUTE.

After our meal, we had to get dessert. And nearby, there was an ice cream mochi shop and I got a matcha green tea mocha and a red bean one as well. It was super good especially in the hot weather. We walked around the little town of Japan, visiting stores here and there. I actually bought a few night lights that looked like traditional lanterns. I regret not buying more because they make great souvenirs. The rest of day was just driving to our Airbnb neighbourhood. By the time we got there, it was night time already and it was time for dinner. We dropped our bags at the house and freshened ourselves a bit before heading to dinner. We went to Boiling Point because it was only a 5 minute drive. If you guys aren’t familiar with Boiling Point, it’s basically a hot pot with vegetables, meat, and noodles and it comes in different soup bases and toppings. It was a great way to end the night with some comfort food.

It just seems like we just ate for the entire day… but I swear we did other stuff too!!

If you haven’t read the first part of our first day in LA, read here!

Transmedia Integration

I plan to get involved with Twitter and really actively use the app as a way to promote and share my blog. Twitter is known for the popular usage of hashtags and I plan on taking advantage of this so my readers can engage with me. If I have a big following in the future, I will pick a hashtag specifically used for blog and I will use it consistently and have my readers use it consistently. Something like…#berightback? If my readers have something to say about my posts, they can take it to Twitter and use the hashtag with it, that way I am able to gather all the posts related to my blog. Another interactive way to engage with my readers is having a Q&A session where people can tweet me questions regarding my blog, my travels, or my personal life using a set hashtag…something like #AskBRB? Then I would proceed to answer those questions and have them posted onto my blog. That way I can have people jump between Twitter and my blog and maybe have new followers to my blog coming from Twitter. Obviously, hashtags can be used on almost all social media platforms, so not only will Twitter be beneficial to me, Instagram can be too. Since my blog focuses more on travels, I think pictures would really compliment my blog and I can display them on Twitter or Instagram with direct links to my blog posts. I can also use Twitter as a way to have my readers anticipate my next blog post, with update tweets of when I am about to publish a new post. But in a way, I feel like I can only do this if I have a following, but I won’t even get a following if I don’t incorporate some kind of transmedia integration.

Review: From Hong Kong to Vancouver

This week, I will be reviewing Jason’s blog, From Hong Kong to Vancouver: FOB’s Life.

The first thing I looked for on his blog were ads and as expected, there weren’t any. I even went over to my phone and checked out his site on my device just to make sure if there were any, and again, none. I had a feeling that he wasn’t going to monetize from the title of his blog, From Hong Kong to Vancouver: Fob’s life. I had the impression right away that it was going to be more of a lifestyle blog and something similar to a diary. I think he just wants to genuinely document his journey and experiences for himself and perhaps his close friends as well rather than making money off of it. And I completely respect that because that’s what I’m going for too for my blog, but I did put in ads just for fun:). I do appreciate that he didn’t monetize his blog because it keeps it very pure and authentic. As Shelby Carpenter writes in her article about The Toast shutting down over ad revenue woes, the battle for online revenue is harsh and it affects big and small mediums of the like. I think if there is a following for a blog then it’s common to monetize but it can also be toxic at the same time. Honestly, it probably doesn’t even apply to what we’ve created in PUB101 because some of us may not even continue with our blogs after the semester. I think in terms of marketability, Jason’s blog is attractive to readers who are living the same “fob” life. It may also be just a blog to keep his friends and family updated on his life in Vancouver since he spent his childhood in Hong Kong.

I’m impressed with the header image because it is a great greeting for readers. I’ve noticed that the image alternates between 2 photos: One with the mountain and one of Hong Kong (I think), so every time I visit his page, I’m greeted with one or the other. The header image of the mountains is quite appealing and I think it might attract users who are into photography or the like. I’ve noticed in the “See What I See” tab, there is a compilation of his personal photos and I would like to say, definitely keep updating with more photos because visuals are a great way to engage with an audience.

The “Canton Pop Music” page in my opinion, is a very nice touch to his blog. I feel like it adds so much personality to his online identity and is a great way to personalize his online space. I think this develops his personal voice and style to his blog and by sharing his favourite song picks, I have the impression that he is very passionate about this interest of his and it feels like he is just simply expressing his honest opinions rather than sharing just for the sake of this course. I can tell that Canton Pop music plays a significant role in his life and it is something that he wants to share with his readers/users. Almost on every page he has set up, a widget dedicated to a weekly Canton Pop song can be seen on the right column, with a YouTube video embedded into it. Since it is labeled “Canton Pop Song for the Week”, I’m assuming that it will be updated regularly. I think this is a great way to engage with his readers because they will have something to look forward to every week. Even if his intentions are to keep his friends and family updated with his life, it is still a neat way to have them look forward to what his current interests are.

One thing I would say that is a bit distracting is his social media icons, widgets, Instagram feed are present on all of his blog posts. I think it’s hard to read a text when there are so many distractions going on, especially if there is a YouTube video on the side ready to be played. Other than that, I really enjoyed exploring Jason’s blog!

Check out Jason’s blog here!