Dec 24, 2014

Concrete Jungle - Day Four/Five

Our last day in NYC! We didn't have too much planned since we had dinner reservations in the evening. We started the morning visiting the MoMA

Dec 22, 2014

Concrete Jungle - Day Three

After deciding to sleep in an extra hour, we head to the Empire State Building to see the views from above! 

Dec 21, 2014

Concrete Jungle - Day Two

This morning we decided to head to the Rockefeller Center to see the view from Top of the Rock. It was a cloudy day, but the views were still breathtaking.


Dec 20, 2014

Concrete Jungle - Day One

This post is long overdue, but I went to NYC with a few friends for a quick trip in December. Being born and raised in Southern California, I've never experienced a real winter, and the first day was such a shock to my system. The next few days were more bearable, and the city was starting to grow on me.

We took a red-eye flight from LA to NYC, and we arrived around 7:30AM. We stayed in Astoria, Queens and our Airbnb host let us drop off our luggage early. Lauren, Kat, and I wandered around the neighborhood while we waited for Vanessa to arrive. I enjoyed the laid back vibes of Astoria compared to the hustle and bustle of Manhattan.


Dec 5, 2014

Thanksgiving Weekend 2014 [FILM]

Besides taking the long weekend to catch up with a few friends, I took it as an opportunity to visit a few places I've been wanting to see for a while and use up some film. First up Bergamot Station in Santa Monica!


Sep 15, 2014

The Getty Center & Double Exposures

Peter had to view an exhibit at the Getty Center for his Art Appreciation class, and it turned into a kind of family outing. 

Sep 13, 2014

Downtown Los Angeles: Historic and Arts District

It seems like I can't get away from Downtown LA lately. My sister came home for the weekend and my cousin, Camille, came over. We didn't know what to do and it was hot outside so we wanted to go somewhere air conditioned. I suggested The Last Bookstore, since neither of them had ever been to it. Decided to take this opportunity to bring around my camera and play around with some new post-processing tricks. 

Sep 5, 2014

Favorite Authors: Haruki Murakami

 I'm no literature expert, the last literature class I took was 5 years ago in high school, & the closest thing I took to a literature class in college was about reading and writing scientific articles and labs. However, my love of reading has never died down, although it has been neglected due to my studies. I first fell in love with Haruki Murakami's novels when I read Kafka on the Shore a few years ago. When I first read it, I couldn't put it down. I was pulled into the story of Kafka and Hoshino, I re-read it a few months ago and found different parts of the story sticking out to me compared to when I first read it. Recently, I picked up Murakami's latest novel, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. Once again, another novel I couldn't put down (I finished it in less than a week). I've read a handful of Murakami novels, which is why I've decided to sit down and share my thoughts on one of my (safe to say) favorite authors.

Sep 2, 2014

Labor Day Roadtrip to NorCal: San Jose // Carmel

This is the second year in a row that a few of my friends and I decided to road trip up north to visit our friend Vanessa, who moved away from SoCal to do amazing things and became a teacher for Teach For America.

Aug 24, 2014

Los Angeles Explorations

Spent a day in Los Angeles with my good friend, Stephanie. We hadn't seen each other since June before our graduation! It was good to catch up and it was fun to finally do some exploring in a city I love. 

Aug 22, 2014

Healthier Banana Nut Bread

Happy Friday! Spent a good chunk of my morning waiting around for the AT&T technicians to fix our internet/phone because ever since we switched from DSL to broadband, the internet and phone kept cutting out. Since I was stuck waiting at home until they left I decided to bake this banana nut bread recipe, which I found on Light by Coco. I liked that it was healthier, especially since Type 2 Diabetes runs in my family, and looking at my parents' medicine cabinet always reminds me why a healthy lifestyle is important. I don't have a fancy blender, so I just took to using my handy dandy hand mixer.

So, it's not a typical banana bread. It really does taste like "health" haha, but it was a good way to use some overripe bananas! Yum!


Aug 21, 2014

Back to School Essentials

I can't believe it's back to school time already! Yes, I just graduated with a bachelor's degree from UCI, but I'm still stuck in school. I'm heading to a community college to take pre-requisites for Pharmacy School, which means a shorter summer for me. It's going to be an interesting change, transitioning from the quarter system at UCI to the semester system, but I'm sure I'll be fine with the slower pace. 

I decided to gather up my back to school essentials and write a post about them. I figured this would be a good way to get into the spirit of blog writing and getting my camera out and about, since I'm pretty much at home since it's cheaper to cook meals for myself and I don't have to spend money on gas (I'm a cheapskate, no shame).

1. Moleskine Agenda - I've been using a moleskine agenda since I've started University. I prefer writing down important tasks instead of using my phone or laptop, and there's something just so rewarding about crossing off things with a pen.
2. Tarte LipSurgence Lip Tint in Moody - I love lip products, and although I have a drawer full of different lipsticks, lip balms, lip stains, and lip pencils...This is a product I find myself reaching for automatically when I don't know what to put on my lips. I love that this lip tint goes on smoothly and is slightly hydrating while leaving a nice berry tint on the lips. 
3. Altoids - My Altoids tin is a bit beat up from being thrown in bags, but that just adds character, right? Anyway, you never know when you'll be eating something seriously stank. I also like the feeling of minty, fresh breath!
4. Oil Blotting Sheets - Since I have oily skin, a touch up is necessary ever now and then. I buy the Target brand because they're about the same price as the Clean & Clear ones, but you get more sheets!
5. Madewell Ace Shades - I always loose my sunglasses, which is why I don't like to invest too much money into them. I bought these when they were on sale and I really love them. I'm hoping I don't loose them!
6. Casio Wrist Watch - A simple, leather-like strap watch to keep time. This is also the reason I have a watch tan.
7. MacBook Pro - I think a laptop is a necessity for any college student. I upgraded to this MacBook Pro from my 2008 MacBook last year. I haven't had any real problems, except my trackpad broke a few months ago, but the Apple store was able to replace it for free since it was still under warranty.
8. Hydro Flask Water Bottle - I try to drink at least 1 Liter of water a day, which is why I always carry around a water bottle. I love this one because it's insulated so it keeps my water cold, or my tea hot when I feel like carrying around tea instead.
9. Pencil Case - Just a simple, striped case to hold all my pens, highlighters, and other necessities that I bought from Daiso a while ago. 
10. Sharpie Pens - I love color coding my agenda and notes, and I've had colored pens before, but I prefer sharpie pens. They're like markers, but they don't bleed and they make things stand out much more.
11. Keys - This is the first time I'll be commuting to campus, so my car keys are a must. I also joined a gym, as you can see by the LA Fitness card on my keychain. 
12. iPhone 5S - I try not to be too attached to my phone, but it's hard to go anywhere without it these days.

So there we have it! All the things I bring with me to class on a daily basis. Nothing too special, but I thought it would be interesting to share. As for my school bag, I'll be using this one in Navy from Filson--just a simple, sturdy tote bag to carry all my essentials.


Aug 15, 2014

OC Fair 2014 [FILM]

A few days ago Lauren asked me if I wanted to go to the OC Fair with her and Sarah! I've only been to the OC Fair once, and I remember that it's insanely expensive. But between the hours of 10am-11am admission was only $3! I couldn't give up that opportunity! The OC Fair was the same as I remembered it. I decided to bring around my Canon AE-1 since I just purchased some film. There's some accidental light leaks in there (I guess I don't know how to wind film), but they turned out pretty nice. I found a much cheaper way to get my photos developed via They develop film for only $11 + shipping! You have to pay extra for prints, but they include the negatives, a CD of scans, and they email you the scans so you don't have to wait for them in the mail. That saves me tons of time since I don't have to scan all the prints manually now!


Aug 8, 2014

B&W Film 2013

I remember going to Costco to get my film developed, but I was told they didn't develop the type of B&W film I had, and I'd have to go to Samy's camera or some other shop to get it developed. Fast forward almost a year later, I found the roll of film sitting in a drawer among other knick knacks I had unpacked a few months earlier. A few days ago I found a shop nearby that developed black and white film, and a couple days later I had a stack of lost memories. I can't remember exactly when these photos were taken now, I'm thinking Spring Break 2013, but I could be wrong.

My cute little terrarium...which, I broke while unpacking things to move back into my room. Sigh.

Some photos snapped at or around the Griffith Observatory.

The Getty Museum in Los Angeles, one of my favorites.

Rosie's dog beach in Long Beach


Jul 31, 2014

"New Trend"

I've been listening to a lot of Jazz/Bossa Nova lately, which may be thanks to the influence of my dad. My dad would always be playing this type of music weekend mornings when both him and my mom were home, and it brings back a lot of pleasant childhood memories. When I came back from Europe, my dad and I were the only ones home and I heard him playing "The Girl from Ipanema," and I couldn't help but be mesmerized by the sound. 

The other night I watched a movie with my mom, we saw And So It Goes. It was a decent, feel-good type movie - nothing special. But there was one seen, where Diane Keaton's character is talking about a song she heard when she first fell in love - "The Shadow of Your Smile" - and I thought about music today. The song some people probably hear when they first fall in love is probably some cheesy, uninspired pop song. 

When I was in Europe, I was surprised to hear American pop music playing. But that was only in passing, I suppose when I think about the music I heard in Europe I think about the woman on the Paris metro with her portable speaker and microphone singing a ballad in French, or the man with the stringed instrument with a horn attached (still can't figure out how the horn was supposed to be played...) singing a song, all smiles. I think about the mellow, French songs playing in the cafés. I think about the festival I happened upon in Barcelona, and the upbeat sounds of the drums and horns. I think about the bands in Pamplona, with their brassy instruments. And maybe that's why my ears were open to hearing something so different. Yes, I can't understand the lyrics to most of these songs, but I can feel the emotions with each note and each word being sung.


Jul 27, 2014


The capacity to be alone is the capacity to love. It may look paradoxical to you, but it’s not. It is an existential truth: only those people who are capable of being alone are capable of love, of sharing, of going into the deepest core of another person—without possessing the other, without becoming dependent on the other, without reducing the other to a thing, and without becoming addicted to the other. They allow the other absolute freedom, because they know that if the other leaves, they will be as happy as they are now. Their happiness cannot be taken by the other, because it is not given by the other.” - Osho

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” - Mark Twain

"Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things—air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky—all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it." - Cesare Pavese

"Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors." -Terry Pratchett

"I miss so many places but I really don’t miss any places at all. Because missing a place is really a substitute for missing a group of people, a mindset, a time - an era of your life defined by your surroundings because they were different than anything else you’ve ever known. Going back to the place won’t satiate the longing or quell the nostalgia, because no matter what, things have changed, and people have moved on and the place won’t be how you’ve left it. Sometimes returning to the city or the country just adds to the emptiness of knowing that you can never return to those specific trips that shaped you; you’ll never recreate those memories fading ever-distant into your past. you can’t tug at the ever-flowing current of time to get just a few seconds back of that feeling of truly living that was inspired by the confluence of stars that brought you, those people, that place, those circumstances together all at once. 

So the only thing to do is keep chasing, chasing that wanderlust, collecting more and more experiences that you’ll then miss equally sharply, leaving a trail of goodbyes and adding to the ever-growing list of places you miss, experiences you ache to replay, moments that define who you are. those places are home, even if they will never exist again the way they did for you then." - I wrote a note on my phone at midnight, by Marit B.

Where to start? I backpacked through Western myself! During the beginning of my trip my stomach was in knots, I was nervous. I contemplated what would happen if I cancelled my plans. Initially, I didn't want to go alone...but I had no one to go with me. I've dreamt of travelling for years, and I was finally making my dreams come true! 

May 7, 2014

Graduation Photoshoot - Quail Hill Trailhead

I have not touched my camera in months. My interest in photography has not wavered, but my free time has mostly been dedicated to academics or other social activities that I don't feel comfortable bringing my camera to because I'm clumsy (ahem). But with graduation fast approaching, talk of having photoshoots is becoming more frequent, and you could only imagine my excitement. Annie, Stephanie, Shirein, and Mareena agreed to let me take their photos. We made it to Quail Hill Trailhead a few hours before sunset (golden hour), and the lighting was perfect. I'm happy with the end results, but there's always room for improvement!


Feb 9, 2014

5 Piece Wardrobe Wishlist: Spring/Summer 2014

I dug my photoshop skills out of the grave (wait...what photoshop skills?) to make this set. It brought back some fond memories of my friend, Kat, teaching me a few photoshop basics a few years ago. I think this set describes my personal style accurately. I love a neutral color palette. I also like to dress like an awkward boy, but I also love feminine silhouettes. 

1. All-weather urban anorak. I love anoraks. I own two in longer lengths, but sometimes I'd love one in a slightly shorter length. This anorak is great because it's water resistant and the color blocking adds some interest. I can see this being worn for many seasons to come.

2. A white summer dress. This dress from Dolce Vita is great, but the price is too high to justify. I can see a white dress going with so many things...dressed down with an anorak and ankle boots, slightly dressier with a cardigan and sandals, casually with a chunky sweater...and the list goes on.

3. Clare Vivier Flat Clutch. I love the look of a simple clutch. I think black is a great color because it transitions from day to night well. I've heard about Clare Vivier and I appreciate the socially conscious construction and that her bags are "locally made" in Los Angeles. 

4. Basic Trenchcoat. I was longing for a camel coat this winter, but let's be real, it doesn't get that cold in California. A trenchcoat, however; I can see being worn year-round. I like the simple design of this one from Madewell.

5. Dieppa Restrepo Dandy Loafers. As I mentioned earlier I like to dress like an awkward boy, and what better way to do that than with loafers? I love how simple these loafers from Dieppa Restrepo are and the fact that they aren't mass produced in a factory. I'm actually torn between these and the Gray Dieppa Restrepo Cali Oxfords. I love the classic, timeless design of these loafers and can see them becoming an everyday shoe. 

Sigh. I need to become more conscious of my shopping. I've been clearing a lot of things out my closet lately, there's just too many things that have been sitting in my closet that haven't I found the "right time" to wear. If I could only add 5 pieces to my wardrobe to my closet this season, I'd have to be able to think of at least 10 ways to incorporate it with existing pieces to justify the price point. 


Jan 5, 2014

I Travel To Feel Lonely...On Purpose

By Anna Davies

Right now, I’m sitting by myself in a café in Prague. I don’t know what the café is called, nor do I know what I ordered, except that the waiter nodded enthusiastically when I pointed to something halfway down the menu. I have no concrete plans for the rest of the day, or, really, the week, except the vague possibility of having coffee with an acquaintance from college who teaches English here. I am here all by myself. I’m lonely. 

And, I’m also happy. 

The art (and it really is an art) of traveling solo is complicated. Everyone always asks, "Don’t you want to go with someone?" And, yes, I absolutely do. But, it has to be the right kind of someone. Not the high-maintenance friend who freaks out if the hotel Wi-Fi cuts out. Not the know-it-all who acts like an amateur tour guide. Not the man you’re not in love with. For me, it's far better to be alone than to be with one of those types. 

Sure, when I’m traveling by myself, I do occasionally feel sadness slice through my stomach when I see a couple engaged in a picture-perfect kiss in the middle of a bridge. I do wish I had someone to laugh with when I spot an enthusiastic-looking golden retriever lapping up muddy water from a puddle between the cobblestones. But, I also know that being alone right now doesn’t mean I'm going to be alone forever. And, for me, those pangs of loneliness serve as reminders of my priorities — and that the people I want in my life are ones who notice weird-looking dogs. While I’m content with my own company, I don’t want to be single forever.

In everyday life, loneliness occurs sporadically. There’s very little room for it between writing assignments and family obligations and spin class and Tinder dates and after-work drinks. But, when you're traveling, it’s front and center. It morphs from a slight ache to a purple-black bruise that’s tender to the touch. And, being able to see it and feel it makes me realize three things: First, I can survive being lonely. I will never be the type of person to settle into a relationship primarily because I don’t want to be by myself. Second, even though I can do it, the world is better and brighter when you’re surrounded by people you love. Third? When you anticipate and accept loneliness as a temporary inevitability, you can actually enjoy it. 

The first time I traveled extensively by myself was a few summers ago, when I was heading to a wedding in Spain. I tacked a week onto the trip, starting in Paris and working my way into Northern Spain, stopping in San Sebastián, Bilbao, and Guernica. In my mind, I imagined a cinematic version of the trip: I’d write a novel in cafés by day, and spend my nights warding off the attention of sophisticated foreign suitors. So, the trip started frenetically, with me determined to pack as much as possible into each day. 

After a whirlwind day of sightseeing in Paris, I ended the evening at a restaurant across the street from the hotel. There, I drank red wine and quickly struck up a conversation at the bar with a Parisian man next to me. We talked, we drank, we ended up kissing, and then, somehow, we ended the night arguing. I don’t remember what the contentious topic of conversation was — it might have been politics — but I do remember that I started to cry. I left the bar and retreated to my hotel, alone and exhausted. It was as if I’d had a relationship on speed, with a meeting and break up all taking place in one evening. And, suddenly, I felt lonelier than ever.

So, with that experience behind me, the next time I went on a solo trip to Paris, I relaxed. One of my favorite days involved a Bikram class and then ambling home, sweat-soaked and exhausted. I sat on a park bench, drinking water and watching young families walking through the park. I meandered past the Seine, weaving my way through hand-holding couples as the sun set. I picked my way through club-hopping crowds near the Bastille. And, finally, I ended up at the apartment I’d rented, where I fell asleep to laughter wafting up from the bar on the street below. I hadn’t spoken to anyone the entire day, but I didn’t feel sad. Instead, I felt privileged to be able to observe the world around me — going on without me — and being able to totally lose myself in myself. I was able to do what I wanted, when I wanted. I was lonely, yes, but I was also happy. 

To be honest, I don’t know what will happen in the next 10 days I’m in Europe. Maybe I’ll fall in love. Maybe I’ll make new friends. Maybe I’ll end up crying by myself in a bar, only to strike up conversation with the friendly and sympathetic couple next to me (which happened last spring in Amsterdam). I know I’ll definitely feel lonely. 

And, I know that’s alright.
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