The Kim Sisters

A little bit of Korean history today… Have you guys heard of the Kim Sisters? Korea’s own post-Korean War Dreamgirls!

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I just recently saw a youtube video of one of their tv performances and was blown away that a South Korean female trio were popular enough to be on air on American television in the 50’s and 60’s!! They sang, they danced, and played multiple instruments. They started as children performing for the GIs in Korea and as the word spread about them in the U.S., they got signed on for an “Oriental show” in Las Vegas. From there they went on to perform on the Ed Sullivan show over 20 times, were on the Dean Martin show, and even performed at the Waldorf Astoria in NYC. Check out this video:

Their mother/aunt (one of the “sisters” was actually a first cousin) was Lee Nan-Young (or Lee Ran-Yong), who was one of the most famous singers in Korea during the 60’s. How cute are the Kim Sisters singing with their mother here??! Their English is pretty darn good…

The Kim sisters had three brothers that formed the Kim Brothers who they also performed with at times.

This isn’t related to anything “green” but thought I’d share this little gem from the history books with y’all today :)

Coffee table makeover

My first DIY post! :)

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved arts and crafts and making things (think friendship bracelets, needle point, paper mache, pottery, etc). Fast forward 20 some years and I still love arts and crafts and making things. I took a hiatus from anything crafty and artsy during college (thinking that I wanted to go into public policy or international relations; you know, more important stuff) but after college I knew I had to indulge my creative side a bit more or I was going to become a miserably boring person. I took some interior design classes post-college which I really enjoyed, which led me to sustainable design. More details about that later but more recently, with planning my wedding and “nesting,” I’ve rediscovered my crafty side.

With my meager background in interior design, I love furniture. I love browsing beautiful, well crafted furniture pieces that cost thousands of dollars that I could never dream of buying. So for me, the next best thing is to make something old, forgotten, and not-so-nice, nicer with some elbow grease. My first furniture makeover for our new apartment, which was a coffee table, came out surprisingly well.

I found this coffee table at a second hand furniture store. My husband and I were driving past the store when I saw this piece out in front on the sidewalk. I got an immediate feeling that this was a piece that could be transformed into a beauty and made my husband turn around so that I could take a closer look. Despite his reservations about the beat up piece, the perfect size and good bones made me adamant about getting it. I even bargained for it and got it at a whopping $34.

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Story of the toxic shower curtain liner

The shower curtain liner in the CPL household has gotten unbearably gross. I’m sure everyone with a plastic shower liner in the bathroom knows what I’m talking about. After a couple months of usage, the liner always seems to grow gross, brown, moldy spots. Every time I use the shower I think, “next time I’m in the shower I’m going to scrub those spots…” Guess how long it’s been since I first started thinking that? Yup, it’s been a while and I have yet to carry it out.

So when I saw an “Eco Shower Curtain Liner” on sale for $9 while browsing the West Elm website, I skimmed through the description (“An earth-friendly vinyl liner that pairs perfectly with all west elm shower curtains,” “Made of PEVA, a combination of 50% PE and 50% EVA.”) and mindlessly clicked “Add to Cart.”

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My initial reaction was, “Yay, an eco-friendly shower curtain liner on sale! I don’t have to scrub the old gross one anymore!” Then my critical thinking side finally set in a couple minutes later. Wait, what am I going to do with the old liner if I replace it solely because I don’t want to clean it? Just toss it in the trash so it can sit in the landfill for eternity? And what the hell is PEVA, PE, and EVA?? The West Elm description says its “vinyl” so that means it’s made of petroleum, which is NOT eco-friendly or “earth-friendly.” If anything, “an earth-friendly vinyl liner” is an oxymoron is what it is. As much as I love West Elm and all the green initiatives they say they are up to, GAWD, I HATE GREENWASHING!!!

“Greenwashing (a compound word modeled on “whitewash”), or “green sheen,” is a form of spin in which green PR or green marketing is deceptively used to promote the perception that an organization’s products, aims and/or policies are environmentally friendly.”   — Wikipedia

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Banana bread and composting

Continuing the theme of food waste and utilizing deteriorating produce from 2013’s last blog post, I had a pile of bananas that was sitting on top of the fridge for… I wanna say about two weeks? (I know, gross, right?) They had obviously lost their vigor with saggy peels and brown spots all over. Neither my husband nor I are huge banana fans but I buy them occasionally for our smoothies. If you live on the east coast, you know the weather’s been pretty frigid lately so smoothies have not been made in the Yun household of late. Therefore the sad, spotting bananas on top of our fridge :( Usually, we cut em up and freeze them when the bananas reach this point but our poor freezer is at its max capacity so that wasn’t an option either. I knew I was going to have to throw them out if I didn’t act quickly. So the logical conclusion was to make banana bread. I’ve never made banana bread in my life (told you, I’m not a huge banana fan). But faced with the option of throwing the poor bananas away and making something that might actually taste good, I chose the later. I pulled out my trusty KitchenAid mixer and got it going. The recipe is from Annie Dean‘s adorable blog who got it from Smitten Kitchen.

The bananas went into the mixer looking quite pathetic and gross (I really wish I had taken a picture of its sad state but I’m sure you can imagine) but boy did it come out of the oven gloriously reborn. It. was. absolutely. delicious. Here it is in its full glory.

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From now on all my sad looking bananas will be going to banana bread heaven rather than ending up in the compost.

Speaking of food waste and compost, I enrolled in a local compost program a couple weeks ago. I had been growing quite sick and tired of the smelly garbage can and of having to take it out when it wasn’t full all the way due to the smell. And since I’ve been cooking often recently, the bulk of the content of our trash has been food scraps and food waste. Combined with the smell issue and the guilt of sending perfectly good potato peels to the landfill, I started contemplating composting. While I’d love to have my own compost pile in my own back yard, city living isn’t quite conducive to such activities, so I started researching local compost programs and discovered Bennett Compost. They provide you with a 5 gallon lidded bin and come by once a week to pick up your week’s food scraps. Continue reading

Caraparkliving resolutions

Happy almost-one-month-blogiversary! When I first started this blog, my initial resolve was to start off with at least two posts a week. Twice a week, one post every 3-4 days. Not that hard. Or so I naively thought. Laziness, the holidays, etc, all got in the way and I’ve averaged one post per week so far. One of the tips for creating and maintaining a “good” blog that I read some time ago was to be consistent. Obviously, I haven’t been following that tip much :/ So! With the new year, even though it’s been forever since I’ve actually had a New Year’s resolution (mostly because I’ve learned that I never keep them), my resolution for this blog is to be consistent. Two posts a week, at least! Especially since blogging will keep me accountable in trying to live the way I want to live: less waste, less things, better relationships, more love and meaning in daily life. Wish me luck :)

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Cheers to an amazing 2014 and hopefully a more prolific caraparkliving!!

Getting creative with almost expired produce

I love a well stocked fridge. It makes me happy to come home with a load of groceries and fresh produce and fill the fridge up. No need to scrounge around opening and shutting the pantry and the fridge to see what’s left in the house to make something that resembles a meal. Oh, the possibilities of meals for the week on grocery shopping day! But one of the things I DISLIKE about a well stocked fridge is the limited shelf life of fresh food and produce. Yep, I’m guilty of food waste… When it comes to produce, I try to only buy what I think I’ll use for the week but sometimes meal plans go awry when a friend wants to catch up over happy hour or I decide I absolutely don’t want to cook (mostly because I don’t want to clean up after) and order a pizza instead. It drives me crazy to have that cucumber in the fridge for days and weeks and I can’t come up with a good way to use it in a meal. It drives me even crazier when the said cucumber finally succumbs to the passing of time and starts revealing mold spots and I have to toss it.

So the other day, I had a couple of avocados, lemons, and a tomato as well as a rapidly deteriorating container of greens in the fridge, all of which I knew I had to use within days or they were all set to become food waste (eeeeek…).

Unfortunately, one of the two avocados had already crossed over to the dark side… Yuck.

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But thankfully, the rest were still usable.

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I’ve been wanting to eat “healthier” lately and this was the perfect challenge. This is what I came up with:

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The weekend I turned 30

What an amazing weekend…

Some highlights in photos:

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Yes, our wedding is featured in The Knot Pennsylvania & Delaware Spring/Summer 2014 issue! One of The Knot’s editors emailed me months ago saying that they wanted to feature our wedding as one of weddings in the “Real Wedding” section and I found out this Thursday that the issue was finally out! It was (still is) surreal seeing our wedding photos in a major wedding magazine! The issue is in all major bookstores in the Philly/Delaware area if you want to see it for yourself ;)

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I made this apple tart for a Christmas party. It’s one of my go-to holiday desserts since it’s so pretty and is always a crowd pleaser. We had it with vanilla ice cream and it was gone within minutes. Even though it looks super fancy, it’s actually pretty easy to make. I used a mandolin this time around and it cut down the prep time by half. I’ll post a “tutorial” one of these days :)

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And yes… I turned 30 this weekend… I’m one of those people who hate their birthdays and want to pretend like it never happens but since it was the big 3-0 this year, I couldn’t quite ignore it. It was actually great being able to celebrate it with some of my favorite people. Continue reading