Seoul, South Korea + Bowery of Lower Manhattan
We have Chris Crawford here with us as our guest googler this week. We're talking about sultry voices, facebook friendships, and messy dinner parties. We also discuss the success of his recent performance in Hello at Orlando Fringe, which leads us to discussion on connection in the social media age. It get's real poignant up in here, and this discussion is worth a listen independent of the awesome content to come! Also if you want to have your ear drums blown out, listen to Alison and Lulu's reaction when Chris announces that he just started a job as the associate artistic director at one of their favorites, freeFall theatre in St. Pete.
Alison is obsessed with her car now that she has had it detailed! Her 5-year-old had left half a donut hidden in the backseat, and when Alison realized ants were crawling down her arm as she drove down the road. Now her car is clean and donut-free and ant-free. Chris is obsessed with Emerald Cashews and Schitt's Creek. He thought he was late to the game, but neither Alison or Lulu have seen it. We can hear the shocked gasps through the airwaves. Lulu is obsessed with the character Sandra from Superstore. Her one-liners that no one hears are just so endearing.
Alison wishes that there was a device she could wear that would help her workout while she is sitting down at the computer. Lulu suggests a stabilizer ball chair. Alison says she's thinking more along the lines of a full body suit with electrodes that worked out your entire body. So someone invent that. Chris wants all the back-to-school supplies. All of them. Lulu is wishing that Acqua Panna® and San Pellegrino® would only come in glass bottles. In plastic it changes the taste, diminishes the brand, and is no friend to the environment. She feels very strongly about this.
Not wanting to stay in your general luxury chain hotels, Lulu finds this 5-bedroom and 3.5 baths traditional Korean house on Airbnb. She is starting her day very early to head to the Noryangjin fish market, usually used by restaurant owners, she confidently walks in and purchases some octopus and proceeds to the restaurants upstairs where they prepare your freshly bought fish. Next time she might take this fish market tour and biking excursion, but for now she's going for the octopus sashimi. Hopefully she manages to get the smell of fish out of her pores before she dons her traditional Korean garb - if you are in traditional dress you get free entrance to the Seoul palaces. You can also take a full day guided tour of the palaces for only $76 USD. Enticed by the free entrance and the chance for some shopping, Lulu buys a dress from Hanbok Sarang. On this website, there were two categories for her to choose from - “young women” and “middle-aged women.” Alison asks if they give an age range for what those mean, and Lulu replies that as an Asian American she can tell you that in Asia if you are over the age of 25 you are a middle-aged woman. Sorry, it's true!
Wanting to continue with her commitment to the culture, she goes on a K-beauty shopping spree at Innisfree and gets 100 sheet masks. Now time for some lunch, Lulu heads to Gogung for the “best bibimbap in Seoul”, and its only $12. Lulu has not spent much money at this point, so she's got to figure out a way to get up to her $10K goal. She starts this process by heading to an experience she found on Viator - "Dance like a K-pop star in a studio" Lulu learns the hottest moves and how to pose like a famous idol. She then gets to practice her moves while making a K-pop music video. Talk about an incredible souvenir, right? But first, Lulu does things full out, so she no only needs to dance like a K-pop star, she wants to look like one too. She starts to look for one online, and stumbles upon the Quora querie - "Can I become a stylist for a K pop idol group if I am not Korean?" - and then goes down an entertaining rabbit hole of K-pop related questions, one of the best being "Can I be a K-pop idol if I’m not Korean? I look like one, just a bit tanner." Then she decides to hire 10K's producer, Ash, to dress her. There's already a bedroom and bathroom for her in the traditional Korean house Lulu rented, and she flies her out on Delta Comfort+®, which is like a premium economy class on comparable airlines. Hopefully she'll be rested and ready to hit the ground shopping, because Lulu's reserving $1000 to spend on her K-pop star looks. She can dance, she has the right clothes, but what else does Lulu need to become a K-pop star? According to Quora she needs pale skin, thin frame, double eyelids, small face, long legs. Yikes. That's a lot of beauty standards. She's just going to go for it and hope to be the exception!
Now for a few cultural souvenirs. Lulu wants a Dojang, a signature stamp used for centuries in lieu of a signature. She picks up this Impression Obsession 48 color ink set from Amazon to use with her new stamp. She also grabs some Korean ginseng which is often called “Goryeo insam” to differentiate it from ginseng from other countries, which is not as high quality as the Korean version. In order to make some tea from her red ginseng, she orders the Tiger 3.0 electric kettle and thermos to have at her Airbnb. On a ginseng kick, she goes to Spa 1899 Donginbi where she gets the red ginseng full care package that comes with a facial, full body massage, head treatment and foot massage all utilizing the Korean root. She gets the same spa package for Ash who also appreciates a good spa day.
For dinner, the ladies head for a fine dining experience at Jung Sik for an eight-course dinner with wine pairings. Then they head for a night cap at Cobbler, a bar where each guest is give cobbler pie with their drinks. Totally here for that, Lulu and Ash get three drinks each. In addition to their eight course wine-pairing from earlier, the gals are feeling it. And not in a good way. Luckily, since South Korea is the biggest consumer of alcohol per capita in Asia, they also have the biggest number of hangover cures. One of which is the Gyeondyo-bar, a hangover ice cream bar that loosely translates to "hang in there". They'll consume those until they feel revived!
Alison knows we've done New York City and its surrounding areas before multiple times, but she's being really specific about this one, it's very theme-y, and she's bringing guest googler Chris via Delta First Class. She's heading to the area of the Lower East Side which was called Skid Row at one time or another. Her day is going to consist of outings in this area that Curbed New York says "..is perhaps the one that best embodies these contradictions. It has been poor, rich, violent, cultured, upscale, and downtrodden—all at the same time. It has also served as a buffer between neighborhoods, while never truly being part of those neighborhoods. It has born witness to every facet of New York’s history."
Alison wanted to do the Penthouse Suite, but she could not get a price out of the guest services rep at The Bowery Hotel, so instead she and Chris are bunking up in the Studio Suite. The bed is a roomy king so she thinks they'll be comfortable enough. Plus it has a rainfall shower which is a favorite 10K amenity, as well as a deep soaking tub. They head to brunch at Essex for some Lobster Benedicts, NY Strip Steak and Eggs, and Bottomless Bloody Marys and Mimosas. After they have had their fill of brunch and booze they head to New Museum. A place for new art and new ideas, the exhibitions are incredibly unique, as is the building its housed in. Alison gets her and Chris memberships to the Contemporary Council, which includes annual galas, VIP passes, guest passes to share, and more!
Okay, time for a little pick-me-up! They head over to Roasting Plant where they get the Reserve Box with three types of coffee, and a branded mug and t-shirt! She also gets some 'jo to drink there! Next on their Skid Row adventure is a visit to Two Bit’s Retro Arcade for some vintage arcade games with a side of alcohol. It's not even lunch yet and there's been lots of alcohol. Sounds like a great day so far, let's see how the rest stacks up. For lunch they head to Blue Ribbon Sushi Izakaya for bento boxes then do a little shopping at World of Hats, where they get two Extra Fine Quality Classic Panama Hats.
Next on this neighborhood crawl is the Mehanata Bulgarian Bar, where they do the VIP Ice Cage Vodka Experience, donning Soviet Union costumes and downing five shots of vodka in their allotted two minutes. Yes, you are paying for this "privilege". Also at Mehanata is their gypsy costume closet and photo booth where you get an 8x10 print of you and your friends dressed up and drinking. This is real, and all in one place. Drunk and in need of some decompressing, they head to the Four Seasons Hotel Downtown for their Royal Ritual Spa Service, which includes a Remineralizing Crystalizing Detox Body Treatment, a Four-Handed Serenity Massage with Warm Rose Quartz, a Green Caviar Facial, the Wanderlust manicure and pedicure, and a Champagne Cocktail. Yes, this is the spa day of your dreams. Relaxed and somewhat recuperated, Alison and Chris close out their day with dinner at Gem that offers a set menu with wine pairing. Now to crash in that king bed, they've earned it!
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