3 Countries, 2 Months and 1 iPhone

3 Countries, 2 Months and 1 iPhone

Pt. I - Taiwan
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TLDR; This past summer I had the privilege of bringing my boyfriend back to two of my home countries and discovering a new one with him. We went to Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore and had so much fun! The only regret I had was not using my Canon camera more often, it was hot and humid and I just didn't feel like carrying a clunky camera around and sweating on it. All photos were captured on an iPhone 6. Travel is pretty trendy now, and I'm just lucky that its a frequent part of my life.

Taiwan

Just so you know Taiwan has incredible food. Asia in general has an amazing palette but Taiwanese food holds a special place in my heart. The photo below has a bunch of great plates that are a combination of traditional and innovative. Here we have a oyster omelet, sweet plum fried chicken, teppanyaki tofu, stewed beef and veggies, and sautéed eggplants with garlic and spice.

This is a traditional Hakka (native) dish that uses sweet potatoes dough to wrap pork, wok-fried vegetables and peanut powder. The raw dumplings wrapped in banana leaves and cooked over the fire. The results is a wonderfully gooey dumpling with sweet and savory goodness.

Love One was constructed about two months before I left Taiwan for my second year of college, so I didn't have the chance to try it until this past summer. This restaurant is Great Gatsby themed, and fuses western and Asian cuisines. The dish I loved was a beef stew risotto that used Taiwanese cooking techniques and flavors.

Discovering new quirks in familiar places is my favorite. This rock is called 花瓶石民宿 and is shaped like the continent of Africa. It is located on the island of 小琉球. We explored the entire island and had a lot of fun riding around on rental mopeds.

Trekking through the interesting coves of 小琉球 where soldiers hid from their enemies (I don't recall which war or which soldier, pardon me).

I have never thought of myself as an island girl, but I really am. Kenting is a popular tourist spot and is comprised of several beaches, bed and breakfasts, and the strip. The Kenting strip is basically one long street that comes alive at night as a night market. Street food everywhere, cheap souvenirs, and plenty of carnival games where you can win a stuffed animal.

This is the Gaomei Wetlands in southern Taiwan. The beach is always covered with a thin layer of refreshing sea water and there are tiny crabs that will nip you if you step on them. Between the squishy sand and cool water we basically had a free spa session.

Rainbow Village was originally the size of a small town, but consequently diminished after the government claimed the land for redevelopment. A veteran named Huang Yung-Fu decided to literally 'paint the town' in order to preserve it after several of his fellow military comrades moved away to better housing. He hoped that his artistic talent would attract the attention of Taiwan and save his village. The population has diminished to about ten individuals who stand by their homes, and after a campaign the government decide to preserve the houses left standing as a cultural area.

Sun Moon Lake is another tourist attraction that proudly hosts the Thao tribe and several stops via boat tour. It is the largest body of water in Taiwan and can be enjoyed by cable care, boat, or if you're really a feeling it - a hike.

The National Palace Museum is full of artifacts and history. It is THE museum of Taiwan and holds decades of history. We weren't allowed to take any photos inside but the Jade Cabbage and Meat-shaped Stone is worth a Google search.

What you don't see in these photos is the sweat and suffocating heat that was present the entire time. Regardless of the weather, I had so much fun showing this guy around!

Teehee.

Cover Image Credit: Esther W Photography

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17 Empowering Bible Verses For Women

You go, girl.
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We all have those days where we let the negative thoughts that we're "not good enough," "not pretty enough" or "not smart enough" invade our minds. It's easy to lose hope in these situations and to feel like it would be easier to just give up. However, the Bible reminds us that these things that we tell ourselves are not true and it gives us the affirmations that we need. Let these verses give you the power and motivation that you're lacking.

1. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future."

2. Psalm 46:5

"God is within her, she will not fall."

3. Luke 1:45

"Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her."

4. Proverbs 31:17

"She is energetic and strong, a hard worker."

5. Psalm 28:7

"The Lord is my strength and my shield."

6. Proverbs 11:16

"A gracious woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth."

7. Joshua 1:9

"Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

8. Proverbs 31:30

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised."

9. 1 Corinthians 15:10

"By the grace of God, I am what I am."

10. Proverbs 31:26

"When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness."

11. Psalm 139:14

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

12. 1 Peter 3:3-4

"Don't be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God."

13. Colossians 2:10

"And in Christ you have been brought to fullness."

14. 2 Timothy 1:7

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline."

15. Jeremiah 29:11

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'"

16. Exodus 14:14

"The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm."

17. Song of Songs 4:7

"You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way."

Next time you're feeling discouraged or weak, come back to these verses and use them to give you the strength and power that you need to conquer your battles.

Cover Image Credit: Julia Waterbury

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11 K-Pop Artists Beyond BTS You Should Be Paying More Attention To

K-pop is more than just BTS and Blackpink.

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You can't glance at the charts for this year without seeing entries from BTS and Blackpink, but there are many K-Pop artists and groups that are just as talented and deserve the attention their peers are receiving.

1. Hyuna

You might recognize Hyuna as the girl from the “Gangnam Style" music video. However, Hyuna has had a lucrative career of her own and has been active since she was a teenager. Despite the fact she was just booted from her entertainment company, due to coming out with her relationship with fellow K-Pop star, E'dawn, Hyuna isn't slowing down any time soon and afternoon watching a few of her videos she will definitely be your new queen.

2. NCT

Having just debuted last year, NCT is made up of 18 members and are split into 3 different units. With so many members, NCT has already explored various different genres and styles of music and worked to use the individual talents of the members. NCT is worth a listen and I'll guarantee at least one song will have you dancing and feeling yourself.

3. Jay Park

Originally hailing from Seattle, Jay Park is a K-Pop idol with local connections! This makes him popular on both sides of the Pacific and his music is always pushing the envelope. Known for his R&B and hip hop sounds, he does incorporate aspects of many other genres in his music and is one of the leading soloists today.

4. Amber Liu

You may have seen Amber Liu in a number of Buzzfeed videos. Having been criticized for her masculine appearance, Amber continues to persevere and be herself. While her group f(x) hasn't been active for a while, both they and Amber have remained active with their fans and have dabbled in solo projects.

5. GOT7

GOT7 is another boy group in the vein of BTS. Debuting in 2015, the 7 member band has a large fan base both within South Korea and outside. Their songs vary in style and while they share many similarities with BTS, the band manages to separated themselves.

6. Monsta X

A more recently formed boy group, Monsta X is just beginning to see their popularity rise both overseas and in South Korea. With a sound that blends hip hop, electronic, and pop music, their songs are also fun and dance worthy. They are often known for their beautifully produced and aesthetic music videos.

7. Twice

As one of the highest grossing girl bands in South Korea, Twice has been taking the world by storm. The girl group is comprised of nine members and is known for their large fan base and catchy tunes.

8. Red Velvet

Red Velvet is a five-person girl group that deserves much more international attention than they currently receive. Known for their hits like "Russian Roulette" and "Ice Cream Cake". Their songs range from cutesy and bubbly to elegant and mature, making Red Velvet a diverse group that can take on any concept.

9. Sunmi

Sunmi, like Hyuna, has been active since she was a teenager. Other than being breathtakingly gorgeous and talented, Sunmi has a reputation for being one of the nicest idols in K-Pop. “Gashina" is also a total bop and female empowerment anthem that you'll have on repeat.

10. Seventeen

Once again, another boy group. Contrary to their name, the group has 13 members, and like NCT, is divided into units. Much like BTS, the members of Seventeen are deeply involved in the music making process including writing and production. This gives their music authenticity and shows the talent of each of the members.

11. Holland

Holland made news earlier this year for becoming the first openly gay K-pop star. Not only does this show great progression for LGBT rights in South Korea and Asia, but Holland's openness and acceptance of himself is honestly inspiring. And, to top it all off, his music is great and he's fiercely talented.

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