June Currently

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Currently in June I am:

Riding on a train across Russia

Roadtripping through Germany, Austria, Czech

Listening to The Night Circus

Reading A Million Little Ways: Uncover The Art You Were Made to Live

Inspired by the Austrian sunsets

Amazed at the beauty of the Russian Country side

Attempting to keep my heart in one piece as I play with the gypsy babies I love so much

Dreaming of one day decorating a house with all Ikea furniture like the one in Prague

Walking everywhere

Surviving just fine without internet (most of the time)

Feeling so free and at ease road tripping

Learning to drive a stick shift in Europe!!

Barely controlling my excitement at meeting all my blog friends IN REAL LIFE!

Living on less

Eating soup at most of my meals

Caring for a sick husband

Looking UP UP UP at all the beauty in Europe

Saying WOW over and over

Using my camera in Manual!

Itching to make something with my hands

Bursting with new ideas

Missing Korea

Overwhelmed by the fact that Ill be home in a week

Craving biscuits and Sake (not together and not the drink)

Washing my clothes in hotel bathroom sinks

Planning our days as we go

Feeling at home with no home

Summer Craft Projects

DIY abstract tutorial by Lauren LikesPromo 04Make your own stamp step 7 by Lauren Likes

Hi friends! Need a few summer craft projects? Here are a few of my favorites.

Been saving paper towel tubes forever? Heres an awesome (and huge) statement piece you can make with them.

Make some paintchip art.

Paint an abstract.

Restyle vintage jewelry.

Make vintage letters from cardboard.

Make your own stamps.

Learn the 101 of Art Journaling with a free two week membership to BPC.

What crafts are you doing this summer?

Sokcho Travel Guide

Sokcho, South Korea Travel Guide by Lauren LikesWe recently went on our second trip back to Sokcho. It is a beautiful area that is right by the beach and is surrounded by gorgeous mountains. It is a gem. And it is really easy to get around in and there is a lot of english spoken there as they are very used to tourists. The busiest times to go are in the fall when the leaves change, but it is breathtaking. We really loved both of our trips here, so I have put together a quick guide for you if you are going to visit. I hope you love it as much as we do! If you have questions or suggestions please leave them in the comments.

More tips from our first trip here. 

WHERE TO STAY

The House Hostel. The hostel is located very close to the ocean in the middle of the city. The owner speaks great english and this is literally the best hostel we have ever stayed in. It is straight out of an adorable magazine and is very conveniently located within the city. You can make reservations through Hostel World here. There is a local bus stop right out front and the intercity bus terminal is about a 3 minute walk. There are very nice bikes for you to use at anytime and breakfast. The owner will sit you down and give you a map and recommendations of where to go and what to eat, really all you need to do is show up here and you will be set! Sorak National Park is about a 30 minute bus ride from here.

Hiking Hostels. If you only are going to go hiking and do not plan on spending any time in the city, then you will want to stay at a hostel up near the park. There are many hostels here and a strip of restaurants you can eat at and convenience stores so you do not need to leave this area, again if all you are doing is hiking. We have stayed at this hostel and were happy with it, but we wish we would have stayed even closer to the park. You can of course take the bus into the city if you need. Bus 7 and 7-1 will take you into the city and up to the park entrance. You will still have to walk a good ways to get up to the park entrance even from this location. The House Hostel, Sokcho 2015-05-16 09.54.41 HDR-2 2015-05-16 10.10.13

TRANSPORTATION. 
Buses are the easiest way to get around as they are cheap and run everywhere. The 7 and 7-1 take you into the Park and the 9 and 9-1 run along coast making stops at the beaches and temples. The buses only take CashBee cards, so if you are visiting in Seoul and plan to travel to Sokcho, buy a CashBee transportation card, not a T-money card (seoul takes both cards, but Sokcho only takes CB). Taxis are also easy to find and the meters start at 2800won. It is easy to walk here, but the city is fairly large and spread out, so this will only work if you are touring a specific area. You cannot walk from the park to the city, etc.

WHERE TO EAT.
There are a lot of cheap, typical Korean places everywhere in the city as usual. If you are hiking, there are restaurants as soon as you get into the park, but they are pricey and there are some restaurants as you hike on some of the longer trails. If you are staying in the park area, there is a strip of restaurants with Korean food in them, but they are a bit more expensive also. Two specific places we would recommend in the city are: Matsu and all you can eat Korean BBQ.

Matsu is an Italian place that is delicious. For about 15000Won you get an entree (pasta!), appetizer (brushetta!), salad and dessert or coffee. It is a little off the beaten path though, but it is rated the #1 restaurant in Sokcho! I would advise using your GPS when trying to find it. But general directions: take the 7 or 7-1 bus (either going to or coming from the park). You will get off at a the bus stop that is yellow and painted with giant flowers. You will have to push the button as the driver wont normally stop as it is in the middle of nowhere. There is an SK gas station across the street. Walk into the little neighborhood, down the road that looks like someones driveway. You follow this street back into the neighborhood for about 2 minutes and Matsu will be on your right. More info here.

All you can eat BBQ. If you are staying at the House Hostel, this place will be recommended to you and is within walking distance or is perfect if you are visiting the temples and overlooks by the sea. For 11000won (plus drinks) you get all you can eat meat and sides, even fish! It is on the main road before you are enter the seafood district. 2015-05-15 18.01.432015-05-15 18.01.37Matsu Italian restaurant, sokcho HIKING

In the park there are a ton of great and very diverse hiking options. Here are trails we have done:

Daeseung Falls: This is a very easy and quick (about two hours round trip) hike to the falls. This is a great place for a picnic if it’s not too crowded.

Ulsanbawi trail, This hike is very strenuous. It has stairs for about 3 hours and when you reach the peak and it is not a clear day then it can be complete fog, so only subject yourself to this if it’s a clear day.

Cheonbuldong Valley: Very easy and short hike. So beautiful.

Cable Car: Do this. Breathtaking and worth every penny. But book your ticket first before hiking so you can get the time you want.  

Sinheungsa Temples: This is more of just in the park, you don’t really ‘hike’ to it. These are really fun and beautiful!

More photos from these hikes here. 2015-05-16 12.02.03 2015-05-16 12.14.10-2 2015-05-16 12.15.12 HDR-2 2015-05-16 12.18.12 HDR-2 2015-05-16 12.38.02 2015-05-16 14.21.45-2 2015-05-16 15.54.27 2015-05-16 16.36.11 2015-05-16 16.48.47IN THE CITY 

Sokcho Beach: Koreans don’t really do the beach the same as Americans. So there is not a lot of swimming or two piece bathing suits, plus the water is pretty cold. But you can picnic, take photos, play games, etc. This area has food and some cool architecture to see!

Sokcho Lighthouse Observatory/Fish Market: this area has a lot of fun stuff to do and see. There are 3 different observatorys, light houses, temples, overlooks all right together and are all free. You can then stroll through the fish market and see GIANT crabs and all sorts of other things. But be warned, they are really very expensive, 100$ each….2015-05-15 16.28.182015-05-15 16.01.55

Naksana Temple: If you take the 9 Bus out to the beach (different beach from Sokcho beach) and get off at the beach, you will walk straight for a few moments and then go back into the little neighborhood where there are houses and hostels. You will walk towards the back, up towards the mountain, and see this green gate. Enter in and climb up the mountain (maybe a 10 minute walk along the dirt path) and you will enter in the back way. The temple is really massive and has amazing views. You can also enter through the normal entrance. 2015-05-17 13.11.54 2015-05-17 12.03.242015-05-17 12.26.52 2015-05-17 12.51.55For more travel info on other activities such as hotsprings and spa here. 

More photos and tips from our first trip. 

Photos from the train!

Hi friends! Most of you know we are currently traveling across Russia on a train and it has been the most amazing experience. Sitting and watching the Russian countryside go is stunning. I love seeing all the small villages and wondering about each persons daily life. I can’t wait to share more with you but for now here are a few photos of what we have seen along the way! Be sure to be following along on Instagram @laurenlikesblog for more up to date photos.

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Hoopers on Holiday is in Action!

And we’re off! We’re all packed for two whole months into 2 backpacks. We fly to Russia today and wont be back into Korea until July 23. So. Many. Adventures await. Follow along on instagram @laurenlikesblog.

And to not leave you empty-handed, here are some posts from the archives that can help you plan your summer trips!

5 Must Take Travel Photos 
3 Stress Free Travel Tips 
My top 10 Travel Tips Part 2 and Part 1 
Road Trips & Tricks
How to use Instagram When Traveling 

See ya somewhere around the world!

XOXO
Lauren

Scrapbook in a week

Thailand Scrapbook by Lauren Likes 00

A few weeks ago Rachel Denbow came out with a new class through A Beautiful Mess called Scrapbook in a Week. Rachel’s style is my absolute favorite and the class looked fantastic. I do this thing, when I am about to go on a big trip, I procrastinate like crazy by diving into a really HUGE project. Like before we left for Thailand I stayed up all night the night before and caught up on 30 weeks of Project Life. So before we left for Russia, I spent the two weeks before completing my Thailand album. Makes perfect sense right?!

Anyway, I completed the album in less than 2 weeks (only because I didn’t have every night to work on it). The class is amazing! One of my favorites I’ve ever taken. Rachel’s system is so smart and so easy. It works in a layering system and I loved this. The hardest parts for me are choosing/editing/printing the photos and then making all the decisions about how to pull a layout together. This class eliminated those worries. I sat down and printed all the photos at once and then followed Rachel’s steps. By doing things one layer at a time took away my overwhelm of having to have a page completely finished before I can do another one.  It made decision making easier as I had a plan and all my papers, embellishments, color scheme, etc pre chosen. It also gave me endurance because I see the whole picture at one time as I could see the whole book, start to end, from day one.

Rachel has great pages and thinks outside the box. Her pages are simple and graphic and have so many great personal touches that it really makes you feel like you can complete an album that looks like you. I loved mixing the pocket pages with the full pages and I really loved sewing my own page configurations.  I will be using this technique when building future albums for sure.

You can see the whole album in the video walk through (sorry it is a little dark, iMovie exported the wrong movie and I am boarding a train to ride across Russia in a few hours, so redoing it is not a priority at the moment) and then below are a few close up of some of my favorite pages.

Products used: Messy Box, flair I designed for Scrapbook and More, free card from my newsletter, Studio Calico cards + embellishments, lots of random bits I have collected/hoarded over time.

 

 

Thailand Scrapbook by Lauren Likes 01 Thailand Scrapbook by Lauren Likes 02 Thailand Scrapbook by Lauren Likes 03 Thailand Scrapbook by Lauren Likes 04 Thailand Scrapbook by Lauren Likes 05 Thailand Scrapbook by Lauren Likes 06 Thailand Scrapbook by Lauren Likes 07 Thailand Scrapbook by Lauren Likes 08 Thailand Scrapbook by Lauren Likes 10 Thailand Scrapbook by Lauren Likes 11 Thailand Scrapbook by Lauren Likes 12 Thailand Scrapbook by Lauren Likes 13 Thailand Scrapbook by Lauren Likes 14 Thailand Scrapbook by Lauren Likes09Thailand Scrapbook by Lauren Likes 15 Thailand Scrapbook by Lauren Likes 16 Thailand Scrapbook by Lauren Likes 17 Thailand Scrapbook by Lauren Likes 18 Thailand Scrapbook by Lauren Likes 19 Thailand Scrapbook by Lauren Likes 20 Thailand Scrapbook by Lauren Likes 21 Thailand Scrapbook by Lauren Likes 22

Creative Captures: On My Desk

Creative Captures On My DeskYAY! It’s Creative Captures time! 

Creative Captures is a photo challenge that last 7 days and is during the second week of each month. The photo prompts are geared towards crafters but are simple and versatile and are up for your interpretation. So please join in as we share our creative captures on instagram under the hashtag #creativecaptures. You are welcome to join us each day or you can save the prompts and do them at your own pace. Read how this challenge got its start and find tips for instagramming better here. You are welcome to save and share the prompt list however you would like as long as you credit/link back here or on instagram @laurenlikesblog.

This week we are capturing around the theme ‘On My Desk’. Everyone LOVES messy, in progress desk shots, so let’s give the people what they want! Each day capture a photo, inspired by that days prompt and share it under the #creativecaptures hashtag.

Monday: On My Desk.
Tuesday: Rainbow Effect. 
Wednesday: Pens, Paints & Washis, Oh My! 
Thursday: In Progress. 
Friday: Hands of a Crafter.
Saturday: Tools of the Trade. 
Sunday: Sneak Peek. 

I can’t wait to see your interpretation of these prompts and to see what you are working on! Remember, even if you aren’t a crafter, I’m sure you are working on something and can apply the prompts to it! See you on the hashtag starting on Monday!

 

May Currently

MayIn May we are: 

Slowly accepting that I lost 2 SD cards and that those photos are goners.

Planning furiously for our summer trip! 

Sweating. There was no real ‘spring’. It went from chilly to HOTHOT.

Loving the sun though.

Drooling over all the delicious food we will eat in Russia….

Barely able to contain my excitement over getting to spend time with Caylee in Germany! 

Hiking a lot and remembering how much we love the outdoors.

Practicing our packing skills for summer.

Listening to the new Emily Hearn CD.

Ready for the school year to be over.

Elated for my new job as the Elementary School Counselor for next year.

Dreaming about all the fun ways to decorate my new office!!

Reading/Listening to Into the Woods by Tana French.

Eating Korean Kimchi Ramen every chance I get.

Watching The Following!

Grateful that my sister-in-law came in town and brought us some much-needed supplies from the states! Qtips! Homemade Jelly! Hair spritz! Chicken bullion!

Being tourists with said sister-in-law and going to do lots of cool things.

Feeling so many mixed emotions with the school year ending, summer plans coming up and preparing for next year. So obviously this list is all over the place.

 

Hoopers on Holiday: Summer Travel Plans

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We are officially 2 WEEKS away from summer vacation!

School is wrapping up in a dizzying spell of events. It is officially hot hot outside and we are all antsy and grumpy and losing our minds. Teachers everywhere are raising their fists in solidarity.

With that said, you have probably noticed a slow in posts on this little blog. I’m going to go down to about 2 posts a week from here until August when I have a consistent routine again. My goal is to have enough content scheduled to post all summer while I’m gone, twice a week. Then I hope to post a bit while were on the road to update you on travels and fun things. (PS if anyone has a suggestion for a good app or way to post quick and easy let me know!) So don’t check out for summer, I have plenty of fun things coming up for you! Including a really fun announcement (July) and Creative Captures will run the second week of each month all through summer still!

I’ll be mostly hanging out on instagram if you want to follow along with our travels @laurenlikesblog. 

In case you are curious here is a quick break down of our summer plans: 

June 10-21: We are doing the Transiberian Railway. We will be spending a few days in Vladivostok, Irkutz and Listvyanka.

June 21-27: We will be in a small village in Russia WITH MY MOM AND GRANDMA!!!!! (can you feel my excitement?!) Helping them run a children’s camp at a church they support. Its has been 6 years since I have been there and I am SO excited to go back. My mom has been almost 20 times! I will be teaching an art journal workshop to the sweet Babushkas for a night of women’s ministry and Terrell will be teaching a ‘stomp’ band to the kids and of course there will be lots of games and crafts and snacks!

June 27-28: We will be hanging out in Moscow and Saint Petersburg taking tons of photos and using the hashtag #smellslikepootin because we are just so mature.

*We will be attempting to get a phone card so we have internet while in Russia (for travel help, etc) so I may be active on Instagram here, but may not during this time, so you’ll just have to stay tuned and see. I am really looking forward to taking the time on the train to disconnect, read, write, rest and watch Russia fly by my window.

June 28-July 7: We fly to Berlin!! We will be road tripping around Germany and hope to pop over to Prague and Vienna too.

*I hope I get to see all my internet friends since so many of you live in Germany! So if you want to hang out/let us sleep on your floor let me know! 

July 7-21: We will be in the states hanging out with our family and squeezing every single baby there is!

July 22-23: We fly home to Korea! WOW. And start work negative one day after we arrive…Yep you read that sentence right, we are actually flying in on the day were supposed to start work (and my new position as the elementary counselor!!!), so I will have to make up a day somewhere along the way. #sigh

Theres no rest for wanderlustful… 

Ahhh! I really can’t wait for this summer. There will be so many great blog posts and scrapbooks coming out of this trip. I’m probably equally as excited about that! And on that note, my plan to ‘keep up with’ project life this summer is pretty simple. I will take a polaroid photo a day, stamp the date on it and slip them into project life pockets when we get back. Of course I will be journaling and collecting memorabilia and dreaming of all the amazing big scrapbooks I can make when I get back…

Ok! So now that you know the plan, I need to make some plans! Any suggestions of what to see/do/eat in Russia, Germany, Prague or Vienna? Got any babies that need squeezing? 

 

Scrapbooking & The Dealio

Kimbop Heaven by Lauren LikesA few weeks ago I snagged this menu from our favorite Korean restaurant by our house with the idea to use it in a layout as a background. Then we took Terrell’s sister to said favorite restaurant and she snapped this photo with no prompting. I saw it, had her text it to me and within 24 hours it was in a layout in my project life album.

Welcome to my new scrapbooking philosophy.

I have been in a weird slump lately (and by lately I mean like 2 years) with scrapbooking. I love scrapbooking. I love crafting. I love pretty paper. It has always been a huge part of my life. I began scrapbooking with my mom in elementary school, but I didn’t really keep it up during high school or college, except for random projects here and there. (Thanks mom for YOU keeping up with it though and having our whole lives preserved so amazingly, so now I don’t have a whole life’s worth of photos to catch up on!!) Then when Elise designed the Seafoam edition (I still have no idea how I found her blog, but gosh I am thankful that I did!). I really thought about it for a long time, discussed it with friends and then for valentine’s day (we’re a no gift giving couple) Terrell just bought it for me, though we did not have the money to spend on something so ‘frivolous’. Thus, Project Life was born in our household. I made these first layouts and loved every second of it. I already had this blog and was sharing crafts, so sharing my Project Life pages was a natural extension of that.

Laurens First Project Life(My first and still to this day, most favorite page I’ve ever made)

And then. Oh man. Then I found the online scrapbooking community. It changed everything for me. There were SO many great, modern products out there. This revolutionized how I saw this hobby and set me on a whole new course. I was so excited to get back into this medium with fervour. And I did, slowly at first because we had noooooooo money, but I eyed those Studio Calico kits and design team projects like a jealous kid in summer time who wants to eat all the popsicles! And slowly, the creep began. I wanted in. I wanted to use those products. I wanted to be on those design teams. I wanted to define and claim my place in this amazing community and I wanted people to take notice. 

I began creating layouts based on what was popular and trendy. I was creating to keep up with a blog content schedule. I was creating these layouts and meticulously labelling which products I used and uploading them into project galleries on sites hoping to get noticed. I did, a little, but not really. I applied for design team after design team. Anyone and everyone’s teams. I got Rejection Letter after Rejection Letter (which was great for my rejection letter program, but not so great for the ego). I signed up for subscription kits and loved them at first, but then I didn’t so much. They then became expensive and burdensome. I began consuming at a rate much faster than I could create. I began feeling like my pages were just like everyone else’s. I was so frustrated because ‘this is what I wanted’. But why? Why was I not happy just being a part of the community? Being inspired by the great pages others were making and contributing my own pages to inspire others on my own time and in my own way?

Why was this not enough?

Why was I putting so much pressure on myself and getting hurt over something that is a hobby that grandma’s do so they can show their friends photos of their grand babies?!

And then it hit. I had lost sight of the grandmotherly goal: To preserve my photos to tell my story by doing it through a medium I enjoyed. 

Project Life 01(Week 2 2014) 

So I’m doing a cleanse. I have finished up my design team duties. I have cancelled my subscriptions. I have stopped buying copious amounts of new products. I have slowed down heavily relying on scrapbook content on this blog. But I’m making more and I’m loving my pages more. I’m letting myself off the hook for taking up real estate in the scrapbook world and this has been such a burden lifted. Stopping the endless applications to design teams (where I end up not liking the products and not being able to meet deadlines anyway) has made me more confident in my own style and creations. It has also allowed me to focus on more of what I want to be doing and taking my blog and my momentum in that direction. It has allowed me to be in control of what I create and when.

I really respect the crafters who are SO talented, but are not a part of a team because they are only doing this as a hobby. Free stuff isn’t worth the stress. I also respect the design team members who churn out so many inspiring projects each month. THANK YOU. To those of you pursuing those endeavours, I hope you find the perfect team for you and that you shine. For those of you feeling this same awkward burden, slow down with me and reflect if this is even something you truly want and need. Let’s all stop looking at each other and saying “I want what you have just because’, OK?

All of this long rant to say: No more pressure. No more comparison. No more burdens and deadlines. No more taking up space unless I have something that adds value. 

Ann-Marie recommended the UnStuck App recently, its free, so I immediately jumped on and worked through my “Project Life Problem”. I realized that as much as I love documenting in this format and keeping a log of our normal, daily life, I was still putting too much pressure on it with no real direction. So I’m changing it up again.

I will be focusing on events and photos that excite me. I will document the things that I’m excited to document. I will take time and infuse creativity into my spreads. I will use good photos. I will document events and people and specific moments that I want to remember. I LOVE looking back through my old album and seeing just the everyday stuff, but I’m too tired for that. My time is too limited. I have to choose and this is what I choose. I will allow those things to naturally work their way into my pages.

So I’m taking the grandmotherly approach. I will share my projects when I am excited to show you. I will make my projects when I have time. I will try to link products if I can. But I will make what I love and I will cherish and document, with grandmotherly love, the moments of my life. 

This moment where we are in our favorite restaurant, eating our favorite meal, in our everyday clothes is what I want to remember. Kimbop Heaven Layout by Lauren LikesPage made with the Messy Box which is the only kit I will be receiving as the products are my exact style at the moment and it is just the right price.