My Adoption Story

The Story of My Adoption & My Korean-American Identity

Back in September, I posted an Instagram sharing 10 random facts about myself. One fact mentioned how I am Korean, but I was adopted and someone said they would love to read a blog post sharing the story. Awhile ago, I probably would have dismissed the idea because I really did not want to get too personal on my blog, but now, I rather like the fact of being more open with you all since I rebranded and I thought this would be of interest to some of you. The story of my adoption and Korean-American background means a lot to me and definitely explains more about who I am and what defines me as a person.

Born in Busan, South Korea

…on April 23, 1995. According to my paper work, my birth mother was only 16 years old when she had me, so I guess she ultimately decided the best solution was to put me up for adoption. Aside from these facts, this is all I know about my birth mom. It is crazy to think she is only 38 years old right now. However, her life changing decision to put me up for adoption changed the course of my life forever…and I am so grateful because of it.

My Adoption Story

Raised in Pennsylvania, USA

I arrived in American when I was about 4 months old and was greeted by my parents and the majority of my extended family at the airport. Obviously, I do not have any recollection of this event given my young age, but I am lucky enough to relive it every now and then because my parents recorded the whole affair on VCR, complete with a cheesy soundtrack (think “What a Wonderful World” by Louie Armstrong) and everything.

My parents are white, primarily a mixture of Irish, Polish and Hungarian, but they were born and raised in America. As soon as I began to talk, my mom taught me how to recite, “I was born in South Korea and I came on an airplane” to anyone I came across. I honestly think that since then, I was engrained to never really forget about my culture.

Four years later, my parents adopted my younger brother, Hunter, from South Korea as well. Thus, completing our little family! I had a very easy-going childhood. Our home is in the suburbs of Pennsylvania and I honestly think I will come back here when it is time for me to start my own family with my own children.

I grew up in a predominately white community, which was completely fine, but it meant I was not exposed to much cultural diversity growing up. Aside from a couple of Asian friends, ethnically there was not much I could relate to. Not to mention, there were even less Asians in the media then there are today, making it hard to truly relate to pop culture. I am sure a lot of Asians growing up questioned why there were not any people who looked like themselves on TV or in the movies.

Childhood friend

Cultural Self-Discovery

In middle school, I discovered the realm of K-pop and K-drama with one of my best friends, who also happened to be adopted from South Korea. For a good year or two, we were completely enraptured by this huge cultural phenomenon. We consumed so much media, it was sort of overwhelming. This introduction to Korean pop culture filled the void we were both missing from media in America. Eventually, my obsession with Korean music dissipated, but I think this period of time really developed my cultural identity.

Much later down the road, I ended up learning Korean for two years at university and have been dating a Korean guy for the past four years! It has been interesting learning about my culture through interactions with his family. They mostly communicate in Korean, so it has been great for my listening skills!

Now, I occasionally still listen to a Korean song (mainly Dean) or get immersed in a Korean drama when I am in the mood for something cheesy and melodramatic (Strong Woman Do Bong Soon is my favorite), the fashion continually inspires me and of course we cannot forget about the power of Korean skincare!

Baby Pic with my Mom

Meeting my Birth Mom?

In the future, I definitely want to plan an all-encompassing trip to the motherland. I have been dying to do some shopping in 홍대 (Hongdae) and pig out at 동대문 (Dongdaemun), the famous night market. I also want to travel to the other side of the country and visit the place in which I was born, 부산 (Busan), which I hear has such fresh, to-die-for seafood.

Many times, I have considered contacting my adoption agency, Pearl S. Buck, to see if I can get access to any information that would aid me in finding my birth mom when I am there. The prospect of finding my birth mom seems rather daunting in retrospect because I cannot help but think about the millions of complications that could get in the way. What if I find her, but she has no interest in meeting me? I am not sure when I will be able to go to South Korea again, but if the opportunity arises in which there is a chance I could meet her, I would take it in a heartbeat.

Korean-American

Korean-American Identity

I identify as Korean-American because both sides of my culture are as equally important to me. Although, I was an Asian girl growing up in a white community, I was lucky enough to never have a cultural identity crisis or to never have remorse over the fact that I was Asian and not a part of the majority. I am so proud of my adoption background and who I am and I am not afraid to share it. I encourage you all to embrace your culture more if you have not already! After all, despite certain political leaders or thoughts, cultures are what make the human race so fascinating and so different from one another. It is truly a beautiful thing when they are able to come together harmoniously.

 

 

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Keri Shoots a Photo

How to Thrive in 2018

Featuring products from Blue & Cream

As I get older, the reality of diminishing time becomes more and more apparent. Honestly, as soon as I reached my 20s, I felt like the years have been getting shorter and shorter. Needless to say, I am still in denial in the fact that it is now 2018. How did this happen? I wrote on Instagram a bit ago about how I did accomplish a lot of things such as graduating from college and adopting my first bun child, Mononoke. Yet, I feel like 2017 was not my best work.

Yes, I am treating 2017 as if it was some project, but it’s true! There are 365 days a year in which we wake up and either accomplish what we set out to do or we do not. I have this haunting feeling that I did not live up to my full potential this past year and laziness came into factor a lot more than it should have. But 2018 is going to be different. I have had a full mental shift and this is how I am going to make 2018 the year I thrive.

Keri Shoots a Film Photo

Set Goals

I do not believe in New Year’s resolutions, but I do believe in setting realistic goals for yourself for the year ahead. Take some time to sit down and write down what you want to achieve this year and order them from greatest to least importance. Next, take this same list and expand it. Write down every actionable step you need to take to reach this certain goal. If you can, take these a step further by setting a date in which you want this to be done by. Add it to your planner, bullet journal, iPhone notes, or wherever else this information can be easily accessible to you.

Sometimes goals seem unattainable because they are lofty or you do not know how to go about it. This process eliminates this intimidation factor and leaves you with no excuses. Breaking down your 2018 goals step-by-step is a great way to attack things head on. For me, my biggest 2018 goals I am going to tackle: Expand my blog, improve my Korean and put more time into my relationships.

What are your 2018 goals? Share them in the comments below!

Dress the Part

Time and time again, you will find me stressing the importance of enclothed cognition or how your outfit has a psychological effect on your mood and feelings. What better way to start off 2018 feeling like a #girlboss than by getting an outfit that says so. December was all about gifting other people, so let’s make January about treating yourself. Go shopping and treat yourself to the latest piece to your capsule collection or invest in that top you have been eyeing the past couple of months. If it makes you feel good when you put it on, it is worth it.

One of my favorite companies I have been loving to browse through is Blue & Cream – a high-end contemporary retailer. They have an amazing selection of designer pieces and the warehouse sale selection is to die for! Here are some of the things I am eyeing:

Blue & Cream Fashion Picks

  1. Sea Relaxed Maxi Coat
  2. Elizabeth and James Gisella Sweater
  3. Frame Denim Le Skinny De Jeanne Jean

Get Your Finances in Check

On Reddit, I saw someone who did a $5 challenge throughout 2018. Essentially, they saved all the $5 bills they obtained and put them to the side. By the end of the year, they saved quite a hefty sum of money! Personally, this would not work for me because I do not carry cash that often, butI decided to tweak it to suit my lifestyle. I am making it a goal of 2018 to spend more wisely and save a portion of each paycheck for the future. Trust me, you’re going to thank yourself!

Love Yourself

If you have not evaluated your self-love and inner-confidence this past year, I highly suggest you do so. Fresh beginnings means it is time to embrace all your imperfections and to learn to love yourself like you have never before. Make it a goal to look into the mirror every morning and give yourself one compliment. Make it a goal to be more health conscious, to stick to a skincare routine and to do more of the things you take pride in and enjoy. You cannot thrive in 2018 if you are still wallowing in self-doubt.

Related: How Blogging has Helped My Self-Confidence

Let’s work together to maintain this mindset for all of 2018! If you want things to happen in your life, you need to take action. This year is going to be the year we collectively thrive, learn from each other and grow. I know we are all going to achieve great things. Let’s keep the conversation and motivation going by sharing all your thoughts with the hashtag, #2018cognition on Twitter! See you there!

I promise to thrive in 2018 by being more productive and loving myself! #2018cognition Click To Tweet

 

 

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Red Set from Kooding.com

Cozy Sweats with Kooding

I will admit, at one point in time, I was that annoying girl who refused to wear sweats in public (even in college)!! I never looked down on anyone who would do so, but personally, it just made me feel lazy and unmotivated. However, the cozy trend has been snowballing the past couple of years and I could not help but latch on and it changed my whole perspective on comfort and leisure wear. Nowadays, if I am just running out for a few errands or to grab a bite to eat, I will gladly wear my sweatpants out and about as long as they still look put together.

Red Track Set from Kooding
@mskerih

Matchy Matchy

I picked out this comfy red sweats set from Kooding and I have been living in it – inside and outside of the house. Admittedly, it is quite baggy on me but I think that is what makes it so comfortable. The top cropped and has a boxy silhouette with cute white stitching along the neckline. The sweatpants are pretty typical, but they do cinch at the ankles with a matching white detail. If this is too overwhelmingly red, feel free to wear them separately (which I do often)!

Related: Honest Review of YesStyle.com (Korean fashion retailer)

Red Sweat Suit from Kooding.com

 

Team Cozy

Comfort is seriously key for me now, especially in the dead of winter when one cannotbe bothered to be dressed to the nines 24-7. Sets are a must because they are a no brainer. No worrying about if the outfit matches. Instead, you can just slip it on and hop out the door, which is ideal especially if you are just running a few errands and coming back.

Kooding is a great online retailer for your Korean fashion needs! I would definitely recommend them for your cozy needs! Here are some of my favorite sweats I found:

Kodding Fashion Picks


1. Bomber 2. Run Banding Pants 3. Bottom Strap Pants 4. Hoodie

 

 

Related: The Result of an Affordable 10 Step Korean Skin Care Routine

 

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White Monochrome Outfit

How to Wear a White Monochrome Outfit

This season, head-to-toe monochrome outfits have been trending and I felt compelled to try it out for myself. Although I must say, a white monochrome outfit is certainly not for the faint of heart (or the clumsy), but a great way too make a fashion statement if you are feeling bold enough. Here are some of my tips on how to successfully create an all white monochrome outfit without looking washed out.

Accessorize

Accessories are one of the most overlooked parts of an outfit. Typically, people only think about the clothing when getting dressed, but accessories can really make or break an outfit and should not be forgotten. Admittedly, my face is not shown in this photo, but I seriously cannot step out of the house without a pair of sunglasses. A pair of oversized sunglasses instantly adds a touch of chic, while a simple metal frame pair makes the look more sophisticated.

Along the same lines, one cannot forget about belts, which are of utmost importance in a white monochrome outfit, as it separates the top from the bottom to avoid looking like one singular white blob. In this instance, I am wearing a black western style belt with silver hardware.

Related: Light Colors in Fall

White Monochrome outfit

Contrasting Texture

Another trick that is a must when attempting the white monochrome outfit is to have contrasting texture in the top and bottom. I am wearing a thick cable knit turtleneck sweater that I tucked into the belt. On the other half, I opted for a silky pair of cream trousers. These two work so well together because of the differing textures to make it obvious that you are not wearing a jumpsuit. (Just be careful when shopping for a monochrome outfit because it’s hard to tell if the two pieces will match exactly!)

In addition, I decided to layer a gorgeous, classic trench coat overtop to pull everything together. Although, it is not white, it is a neutral tone so I thought it would go well overtop the all white outfit.

Related: How to Wear the Classic Trench Coat

Statement Footwear

To make this outfit complete, I had to go with my pair of checkered Vans to add an element of surprise. I think this choice in footwear toned down the formality of the outfit and made it more wearable for an everyday look. Again, this also breaks up the white monochrome outfit a bit and adds some pattern into an otherwise solid look.

EnclothedCognition

How Blogging Has Helped My Confidence

I have mentioned on here before how I used to be tremendously shy – in a way I still am, but certainly not as much as before. I started blogging when I was a freshman in college and not only has it served as a creative outlet, but it also acted as a surprise confidence booster. You might find it hard to believe that someone who constantly takes photos of him or herself is not inherently outgoing.

Confidence Didn’t Appear Right Away

The inception of my blog, Enclothed Cognition, was shrouded in an air of mystery as I pretty much kept it hidden from my friends and family because I felt uncomfortable at the idea of anyone reading my words or looking at my “silly” outfit photos. I kept blogging because it was something I really enjoyed and as I look back, it was nonsensical for me to not want to share something I am so passionate about.

Taking photos in this early stage was very awkward for me. I did not want my parents to see, so I had to set up my camera when they were not home. Plus, all of the photos tended to make me cringe when I reviewed them. I remember cropping my face out of most photos. Yet, I kept shooting and playing with different angles, looks and locations. The more I shot myself, the more my confidence slowly kept building as I started to learn what worked for me.

Related: My Perfect Imperfections (tag)

Enclothed Cognition

URL to IRL

As I got more involved in the growing blogging community, I started meeting really amazing people and formed these “online friendships”, especially with other users on Instagram. It can be quite challenging and competitive trying to stand out on Instagram, a platform with so many others trying to make it as a successful blogger. Yet, I managed to meet so many sweet, loving girls who are so uplifting in their comments. Do not take it the wrong way, I am not feeding off of the attention, but off the connections I have managed to find through blogging. A lot of these digital friendships and the support that comes with it has definitely increased my confidence in a good way. Many of these people I have met up with and there are so many more I want to meet in person!

Lastly, blogging has helped my confidence the most because it opened my eyes to my passions and what I am good at. It took me the longest time to figure out what I wanted to do with my life and I had no idea what I wanted to do career wise. I had no significant hobbies or interests, but blogging changed everything and really solidified my desire to pursue the fashion industry. This alone has given me the most confidence because it gave me a sense of direction. I realize this last reason is pretty specific to me, but I am sure that someone else has discovered their passions either by blogging or reading a blog that sparked a passion.

Related: The Struggle of Being an Introvert in your Early 20s

EC

I will be the first to admit that I get burnt out from blogging from time to time but ultimately, I think I am here to stay for a while. My blog has opened up so many relationships and opportunities for me and I owe a lot of my self-confidence to it.  In some strange way, taking photos of myself has lowered my insecurity and has made me feel more confident in my looks, while the actual act of blogging has increased my confidence in my ability to create something and to point me in the right direction to my future.

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