Tuesday, July 3, 2018


I have been blogging since 2012 averaging 24 post in the past seven years. 2013 was a better presentation of my ideal year with 60 posts! My goal this year was to create 52 posts. Once a week sounded doable. However I've only done eight so far and at this rate I’m trending below my average. Ahh! This means I have plenty of photos in my archive to share! And my blog's timeline may be somewhat similar to Westworld. But I promise it will be a heck of a lot less confusing when I’m sharing multiple timelines.

Seattleites used to say summer didn't start until after the 4th of July. That's because it would rain up to that point. But the last few years that hasn't been the case. We've had really beautiful and warm days in June. Summer is almost here and I have been brainstorming ways to spend it. I've been researching and creating lists of places to see and things do to. The other day I asked my beau what he wanted to do this summer. He rattled of a handful of things: take the boat out on Lake Washington, go to a few Sounders game, visit LA and hang out in the city. Ok, we can do that! On my list: ride a hot air balloon, take a trip with my sisters, hang out with my nieces and nephews, maybe make a trip to Vancouver and take lots of photographs!

As I thought more about how to spend the next nine weekends. I decided to look through my archives and share what I did the previous summer. This is what I love most about photography. It’s ability to capture a memory in time. Looking through my photographs I remembered what a great summer it was. I checked off a few places on my bucket list. I spent a lot of time with the people I love. I celebrated another birthday. I sunbathed in the California sun. I visited a new Washington island. Here are photographs from last summer.

San Juan Island     

Washington is surrounded by an archipelago of islands. Someday I would love to visit all the major islands. Last summer the stars aligned perfectly for us to visit San Juan Island with our friends. We left Seattle on a Friday after work (bad idea) and drove to Anacortes to catch a ferry over to San Jaun Island which we had to make reservations for in advance and couldn't miss. It took us close to five hours to get to our rented home. Once we arrived everything moved at a much slower pace and we were able to relax.

Things to do: Rent a house on the beach | Hike or drive up to catch the view from Mount Constitution | Visit or stay at Doe Bay Resort & Retreat | Go crabbing

The Griffith Observatory

When I stand on Normandie Avenue in Koreatown, I can see the Griffith straight ahead perched on a hill. It is beautiful especially at night lit up. As many times as I've been to LA, I've never been to the observatory. Before a flight home, I was determined to squeeze in a couple of hours with my Hasselblad. In addition to the architecture, the Griffith has an amazing view of LA.

Joshua Tree

Another place that has been on my list. You can read all about it in a previous blogpost.

Palm Springs

I've seen photographs of Palm Springs in glossy travel magazines. Always with some good architecture and palm trees in the background swimming in that perfect sun beaming light. That's what I had envisioned Palm Springs to be and that's what I found.

Napa Valley

We celebrated Ian's birthday in the Bay Area starting in San Francisco and then moving our way over to Napa Valley. The wineries were all very impressive making it easy to photograph. However my favorite part was meeting up friends along our trip. It's always so much fun to be able to travel and connect with friends.

Here we have it: memories of last summer. Now, onto taking more photographs and creating more memories. Happy Summer! 

Saturday, June 23, 2018

The Season For Peonies

Every spring I look forward to photographing peonies in a still life. This year I decided to do something different. I attended a Peony Floral Class at The London Plane with my sweet friend, Kristen, who is also an avid photographer. It was nice to share the mutual understanding of needing to photograph everything in sight. 

There was a plethora of peonies in different colors and phases in bloom to choose from. We learned how to make a floral arrangement. First starting with a color theme, building a foundation with foliage, using peonies as the main flower and then adding accent flowers. Sounds easy enough but much harder to do and even harder to achieve the perfectly imperfect wild look. 

I forgot to bring my camera with me and ended up using my iPhone. I took a lot more photos that I wanted to share here however I lost them all while trying to backup my photos. I was able to salvage this photo I sent to my sisters.

Photographing Peonies

Thursday, May 31, 2018

On Days Like These

I dream of days like these. Waking up naturally at no particular time. Leisurely journaling over a cup of hot tea. Going for a run. Spending the day with my beau chasing an adventure. Eating really good food. Conversations over cocktails. It's simple. It's my version of freedom. It's what I strive for.

This past weekend, we spent some time in Vancouver. Four days to be exact. What a difference an extra few days can make. I felt completely relaxed; like I was on a real vacation. Living in the PNW, our top choice of a weekend getaway are either LA or Vancouver. Lately we've been choosing LA because of the desperate need of sunshine and amazing Korean food. I've forgotten all about Vancouver. How beautiful it is in the spring. The amazing asian food. The gorgeous backdrop of the mountains and water surrounding Vancouver. The exchange rate in our favor. The shopping. This trip I grew to love Vancouver. I found it a livable city and very similar to Seattle. The amount of daylight available this time of the year is the best.

We came up with a list of new places to eat and things to do. Trying to experience something new with each visit. This trip we explored Fraser Valley, a small winery region east of Vancouver. Because of the cooler climate, white wines were really their speciality. I brought my Hasselblad and Pentax, only to not use them very much. All I have are some photos I snapped on my iPhone somewhere between living in the moment and my need to photograph. 


Shangri La 
Wedgewood Hotel & Spa


Chi Modern Vietnamese
Dinesty Dumpling House
Guu Izakaya
Tasty Indian Bistro
Uva Wine & Cocktail Bar

Granville Island Public Market
Richmond Night Market
Shop: Downtown / Gastown
Stanley Park
Fraser Valley / Wine Tasting

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Ko Olina, Oahu

You know what I love about traveling? The discoveries I make. Yes, there are always the wonderful experiences with a new surrounding: the people, food and culture but I'm referring to self discoveries. I am not sure if it's because of the change in scenery or routine but I came to realize a few things.

Several weeks ago, I spent seven days in Ko Olina with my family. My mom, my brother, my sister and their families. I had anticipated missing my beau however I did surprisingly well. I learned that with love, if you have it to give, it flows so easily out and in return. I spent the whole seven days showering my niece and nephews with love.

We all stayed at the Marriott Ko Olina Beach Club in the same suite. Going into it I was excited about the idea but after the first night of being surrounded by the loud TV and too many people in my personal space, I found myself locked in the bathroom collecting my sanity and considering an escape. Then I realized the point of this trip was to spend time with my family. I reminded myself that in six days I'll get to go back to my lifestyle and be peacefully alone in my quiet apartment, miles from my family. I should appreciate this time with them. After my internal pep talk I changed my attitude about the temporary living situation and fully embraced it.

My days started at 7am with a workout. Maybe it was the easy access to the beach or the sunshine but getting up at 7am to workout each morning was surprisingly easy. No alarm was necessary. At the first awareness of the morning light I would naturally wake. It would be perfectly timed at 10 minutes before the Yoga class started. Enough time for me to freshen up. Which made me wonder, why was it so hard to get up early and workout at home? My snooze button receives too much love.

For my sister and I, workouts in the morning were a toss up between practicing Yoga or running. Meanwhile my brother and mother would go participate in the morning Tai Chi which we learned my mother enjoyed it much more than Yoga. While we were out the rest of the family would sleep in or watch TV. After everyone was done with their morning activities, we would all gather around the kitchen and make breakfast. Everyone pitched in to help. As each dish was prepared it was placed on the table organically setting it up. We all gathered around the table to say grace before enjoying breakfast together. I can't remember the last time I shared breakfast with my family. I'm sure my mother, as someone who dedicated her entire life to raising her children, was very happy. After seven days of this I came to the realization that having my family close by was so nice. Being able to spend time with them brought me so much joy.

In my daily life I am a self help junkie. One of the first things I do when I wake up is journal to set the intentions for my day and then I read something inspirational. Usually a book on my kindle. On the commute to work I have a handful of podcasts I rotate. Each day a different person provides me with tips and tricks to achieving my big dreams. With all my prep work, I muster all the positive energy and thinking I have and sprinkle it throughout my day. By the end of the day I'm exhausted.

What I noticed while on this trip was I didn't care for any of that. I didn't care to wake up and journal or read something inspirational. I was too busy living and enjoying my life. This was a big epiphany for me. Am I not living a life that is natural to me? Is all this self help stuff just a band-aid to something much more? Big questions I had and still have no answers to.

There were also some discoveries I made with Oahu. With my previous visits I've mostly stayed in Waikiki. The only other time I've been to Ko Olina was years ago for my brother's wedding. They were married at the JW Marriott which is now the Four Seasons. This side of the island I learned is typically drier in comparison to the rest of the island. While we were here a rainstorm came through causing multiple flash floods. We were lucky, we barely felt it. Some areas were not as fortunate as we were. Had we not drove around the island we would have not experienced the powerful rain.

In Ko Olina our hotel was part of a bigger stretch of resorts. The trail my sister and I spent mornings running stretched approximately 2 miles from the Four Seasons to the Marina. It was parallel to the water. Along this trail were four lagoons. These photographs are from a walk while watching the sunset. If I could even imagine how heaven would be I this place would be close. Beautiful, well manicured greenery all around. The infinity view of the ocean. Children playing happily. The sun shining brightly.

Ko Olina, Oahu | April 2018

Monday, April 2, 2018

My Packing Philosophy

For our 1st year anniversary my beau and I decided to celebrate with a three week trip across Costa Rica. As he was planning the travel logistics I was planning my outfits. Colorful summer dresses paired with the perfect sandals and accessories, bathing suits with perfectly coordinated tunic cover ups not to mention the bags of beauty and hair products. When my beau discovered my lavishing packing dreams he quickly put a stop to it; refusing to travel with me unless I can pack all my materialistic dreams in a carry-on. My reaction, "What?! Three weeks of clothes, shoes, toiletries, makeup and I-can't-even-name-it-all in a carry-on?" I was upset! No one is going to tell me what I can or cannot pack (although he really didn't say that did he? Who cares I was mad!). I eventually came back to being the adult that I am supposed to be and listened to his reasons. They were all reasonable and practical and so I decided to give it a try. I shoved everything I possibly could into a carry-on and I never looked back.

Seven years, 18 countries and countless flights later I am completely on board with the concept of minimalism, simplicity and that less is more. My whole life has changed to reflect this as well. The practicality initially got me on board: to be able to pick up my bags and climb a set of stairs with ease at a train station or roll through immigration with my bags instead of having to go out of the secured area to grab them during a connecting flight. Over time I started to find that with the limited space of a carry-on everything I decided to pack I had to absolutely love and can use repeatedly. I used to feel so overwhelm with packing but now I've created travel staples-things I always bring with me and I just switch up my clothes depending on the climate. This has created organization and planning ahead of time instead of last minute frenzies and chaos. I see myself as a curator of the items in my suitcase and in my home; only bringing in things I love that brings me joy.

Here I share what I packed on a recent trip to LA. These photographs were shot at The Line Hotel in Koreatown.

What to Wear // It starts with a choosing a color palette: I love black, blue and white. From there I can mix and match the articles of clothing and guarantee it will look cohesive.

Pictured above: A blue pinstripe sundress by Kate Spade. A blue cotton scarf I bought it Italy to throw over my sundress just in case it gets cold. A sun hat. Sunglasses. Espadrilles by Armani Exchange. A black bathing suit I bought in Italy.

My Beauty Essentials // I've always been into skincare but more so now that I'm seeing signs of aging. Because I'm limited on my liquids I will try to find everything in powder form and leave the liquids to my skincare items. What I've found to be just as effective when it comes to a skincare routine while traveling is using a cleanser, vitamin c serum and a moisturizer that has SPF 35+ in the morning and in the evening after cleansing, applying a retinal and a good moisturizing. Aside from a moisturizing mask and an exfoliator I really didn't need much else.

Pictured above from right to left: A good SPF by EltaMD, under eye cream that helps with all the problems under the sun by Ole Henriksen, Bumble and bumble dry shampoo for days I don't want to wash my hair, La Mer moisturizing cream, SK-II Essence and Biologique Recherche P50 toner.

My Photography Gear // Ah, my love: photography! My favorite camera to carry around is my Pentax. It's an old school 35mm manual film camera that does not have the bells and whistles of a digital camera but I really don't mind it. I love its simplicity. I first picked up this camera because of my girl crush photographer: Jamie Beck. She shoots amazing black and white photographs of travel that really inspired me. When I first started shooting I was obsessed with black and white film. It wasn't until after visiting Paris that I decided black and white photos really captured the memory of a place, a nostalgic feeling but color gave it life and energy. I've been playing more with color in the recent years.

Pictured above: Pentax K1000, Kodak Porta 400 film and a Sekonic lightmeter.

Other favorite things I pack: My iPad filled with books and loaded with Podcasts I love, my journal a L!fe Symphony Notebook I picked up in Japan, Bose Noise Canceling Headphones is a must and hand sanitizer because I'm OCD about cleanliness.

My packing philosophy comes down to simplicity. Because I only purchase things I really love it makes it easy for me to pull from the curated items I own. I have a list of travel staples I always bring with me when it comes to toiletries, photography gear, etc. and in general I only pack what I need and will use multiple times. I keep it simple so I can flow and move with ease from one country to the next or from one city to another.