Hey Mum, Happy Mother’s Day

May 15, 2017

Musings

My mother has cancer.

I know that probably doesn’t mean much to you. Cancer is a topic that gets thrown around frequently, but it doesn’t really make an impact until you meet with it face to face on a certain level. Or maybe you already have, or you know someone who has. Either way, it casts a heavy air and can strike at varying degrees, but as I’m writing this on Mother’s Day, I felt I needed to release some of my plaguing thoughts.

I am someone with a heart so big that I have an overwhelming tendency of internalizing other people’s feelings and experiences, so as a protective barrier, I’ve developed long ago this skill of compartmentalizing my feelings. And when I found out about my mum’s cancer, I simply filed those feelings away in a cabinet buried deep within my brain. I thought that if I didn’t dwell on them, and if I kept my distance, I wouldn’t feel as impacted by the ordeal. After all, we’re on opposite ends of the country, so distance alone dulled the trauma. For me, at least.

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Birthday 2017

May 1, 2017

New York City Wanderings

Past a certain age, birthdays become less about turning older and more about celebrating the presence of the people you have standing steadfastly in your life. At least, that is how I look at it.

With this as the second birthday I got to celebrate since moving to New York City and with the day falling fortuitously on a Friday, I wanted to take the entire weekend to spend time with and appreciate those who’ve made such a positive impact on me in this city. From arriving here alone to picking up unexpected friendships along the way and even renewing the bonds I left behind on the other side of the country, I look back at this past year still full of amazement at how much I’ve grown all because of the people I have met and can call my friends.

I don’t think they even realize this, but they’re the ones who taught me how to see through empty words and to finally recognize that promises are just letters of the alphabet strewn together if not followed up by action. They’ve shown me that true friendship, true love is a two-way street that involves making effort, equal taking and giving, loyalty and reassurance in sickness and in health, in distance and in intimacy. These are the people who make me better, to look past the materialistic. They’re the ones who seize my imagination, who urge me to chase the wild, to create what has yet to be created. They’re the ones who get me out of bed each morning, who fill my weekends with inspiration, who leave me dreaming of endless possibilities. When I’m spinning in black space, they’re the ones who create explosions with constellations to shine my way back to the light. They’re the ones who remind me that no closure can still be a kind of closure, who urge me to believe in better things, to believe in my journey. And for them, I am eternally grateful. Here’s to another birthday: another year older, another year wiser, another year appreciating.

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Escapism within Dia:Beacon

April 17, 2017

New York City Wanderings

You may have seen this place all over Instagram, but it’s more than a mere tsocial media-friendly destination. A beautiful art space just over an hour north of New York City by train, Dia:Beacon is a former Nabisco box printing factory in the sleepy town of Beacon that now houses a curated collection of art from the 1960s to the present.

I’m no art connoisseur, but within the walls of steel, brick, concrete and glass, and surrounded by selected imposing works of Richard Serra and Dan Flavin, among other great names, I found an inexplicable wave of peace wash over me. It was as if I had left the shadows of reality behind the train doors at the Beacon station. Instead, within the walls of Dia:Beacon, I was able to just exist – exist and be whole in the present, without anyone or anything to define me. I became one with the art.

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Window to the World with WearMe Pro

April 3, 2017

Collaborations/Sponsored New York City Style Wanderings

It’s all loud. Too loud. Chaos. I’m fading fast, one small person trapped in this rapid current of concrete, flesh and garbage, feebly trying to stay afloat but the flow is too strong. After all, I’m just one small person, insignificant in this heavily populated city. Overwhelming is what it is. 

That was a little over a year ago. It took me a few months to learn that a big city such as New York City can naturally feel hectic, foreign, and even unfriendly, but once you take the time to look around, understand and embrace the varying elements, you start to appreciate how everything comes together to create this beautiful and diverse place. You are indeed one person, but you have many lens in which to view your surroundings, so take control of that, because the same place can become completely different when perceived through a different lens. It’s just up to you to decide which lens to use as your window to the world. 

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Pain Together. Human Together

March 17, 2017

Outfit Style
Pain.

Maybe you know it well. Sadness, when shattering ache defies cold numbness. Heartbreak, when we hold the jagged remains of our rib cage in the palms of our hands, clinging to a shred of childish hope. Loss, when we realize something is too wild to keep, and the harder we fight for it, the harder it fights us back until we’re left a broken shell of what once was. It’s all pain, and it’s something that connects us all. It reminds us we’re human, and that we’re meant to feel, to heal, to grow. Maybe tomorrow will be a better day, but for now, trust in this journey, because pain is the cost of our breathing, our living.

Pain.

It is a reminder that we’re alive, that we’re 100% human.

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A Brooklyn Story with Greats Sneakers

March 8, 2017
Brooklyn Collaborations/Sponsored New York City Outfit Style Wanderings

Jacket: Express | Hoodie: Forever 21 | Sneakers: Greats

It was a warm late summer night. We sat on my building stoop, lost in our own thoughts while taking in the street chatter – the locals wandering past; the cars idling, then accelerating; the sirens wailing.
“I don’t think I’ve ever done this,” I said.
“Done what?” he asked.
“This. Just sitting here.”
“Really?” He was incredulous. “It’s calming. You get to know your neighborhood better.”
We lapsed back into silence.

Growing up in a bubble of Los Angeles suburbia, and then moving to another bubble of a college town, I never really gave much thought to sitting on stoops. Moving to New York City, I had, once or twice, entertained whiling away some time on brownstone steps…innocently in Manhattan’s West Village or Upper East Side perhaps, but never in Brooklyn… or specifically, Bushwick. I still remember the culture shock I underwent when I first arrived with my bags and cat in tow. It was nighttime. I took a car service. We passed through eerie graffiti-stained walls after graffiti-stained walls, ghostly run-down buildings after run-down buildings. Garbage. Hooded figures. Sirens. Noise. From lush manicured lawns, open clean roads and huge Tuscan-inspired homes under the Southern California sun to this grimy, intimidating scene, I was immediately unnerved, and I started counting down the days until I could move across the river to what I assumed would be nice parts of Manhattan, onto streets where I was more familiar with thanks to shows like Friends and Sex and the City.

I never even gave Brooklyn a chance.

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Wintry Hideout at a Soho Coffee Shop

March 6, 2017

Coffee New York City Soho Wanderings

Just when Spring teased a peek of warmer weather, Winter slapped us right in the face again with a chillingly cold weekend. Light jackets were swapped for wool coats, and New Yorkers sought weekend shelter in cozy hideout spots. I found myself drifting back into one of the newer additions to the Soho coffee shop scene – Bell’s Coffee & Design, a beautiful space on the west side of town that marries the elements of a coffeeshop with a retail corner offering handcrafted accessories. Natural lighting streams in freely from the floor-to-ceiling windows, bouncing off the exposed brick walls that add a warm, intimate aura as you sip and unwind amidst architecturally innovative decor.

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Capturing Time with Klasse14

March 1, 2017


There’s always enough time…. until there isn’t.

So many missed moments in life. So many frames in a day my eyes take in that I wish I had captured and frozen forever so I can look back and relive it again. So great are the chances that these memories will one day be forgotten forever.

I can still close my eyes and recall one mental shot clearly as if it were unfolding right in front of me. It was something about the way the white tee shirt clung perfectly – not too tightly, yet not too loosely either – to the body leaning casually out the open window, the way the cigarette tip glowed so eerily orange in the balmy night air. I’ve ran this moment over and over again in my mind, but I just don’t know why that specific frame of time continues to resound so deeply with me. Perhaps it reminds me of simpler times, or maybe it simply evokes a feeling of inexplicable loneliness with a hint of curiosity and hope shared with that particular person I once knew. I don’t know. What I do know is that while this memory still plagues my dreams, it will one day disappear somewhere deep and irretrievable in my subconscious, and I will forget how much that one moment means to me. It pains me to think that.

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Eulogy for Ost Cafe, A Favorite NYC Coffeeshop

February 27, 2017

Coffee New York City Wanderings

A NYC coffeeshop can offer you two things: great coffee, and a home away from home. How many times have I taken my laptop to a coffeeshop in the city and whiled away the hours, when I could have just easily stayed at home to get work done? Countless. Ost Cafe in the East Village had become one of those cozy little coffeeshops that was not only Instagram-friendly but also warm and inviting with its old-Bohemia ambiance and decor. With a consistently delightful playlist and overall charming ambiance, it became a place of welcome when I felt so foreign and small in a new city.

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Obey: Passion, Life’s Callings

February 24, 2017
Outfit Style

Shirt: Obey Clothing | Jacket: Vince Camuto (on sale!) | Skirt: ASTR (similar) | Boots: Asos (similar)| Belt: Asos (similar here and here)

The other day, I uploaded a photo from this set onto Instagram and captioned it on a whim “Your passions are your life’s callings. Obey them & you’ll be happier every day,” based off the logo tee that I managed to snag from a friend who was cleaning out her closet. It was a thought in passing, but something about the idea of pursuing passion nags constantly at the back of my mind. Growing up in a stereotypical Asian household, it was always more about burying your passions and pursuing something with a safety net, a near-guarantee of a financially-stable career and comfortable lifestyle for the future.

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