Editorial of the week: Modern Day In the Mood for Love

Oh boy do I love a great fashion editorial. I came across this editorial on a blog, rolala loves (who seems to share my love for fashion editorials), and was instantly wooed, especially because it pays an elegant tribute to one of the most aesthetically beautiful movies I’ve seen: In the Mood for Love.

Whether or not you’re familiar with director Wong Kar Wai’s work, you’ll love this atmospheric editorial.  Models Li Xiaoling and Zhao Lei stylishly channel the roles played by Maggie Cheung and Tong Leung, making longing and elegant restraint look not only fashionable but also effortless. Here they are with the supporting cast of designers Tom Ford, Armani, Jason Wu, Rodarte and more.

There is also a gorgeous short fashion film  that accompanies this editorial.  If you’d like to get the full In the Mood for Love experience, I’d recommend you play this song from it’s soundtrack while you view these photos:


Without further ado:


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Things I love: Yummly

Have you ever found yourself in the kitchen with ingredients but no idea what to cook? I know that even if I buy groceries knowing exactly what I’m going to make that week, I always end up with extra groceries that I don’t know how to use. Sometimes I’ll just make “clean out the fridge” pasta, but when even that doesn’t work, I turn to one of my favorite apps/sites, Yummly.

All you have to do is type in the ingredient you’re trying to work with in the search bar and Yummly will load up all the recipes on the internet that has that ingredient.

For example, when I had bokchoy and bacon in my fridge, I came across bacon-y bokchoy and boom:

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When I wanted to try something new with chicken, I came across miso chicken:

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These are just some of the many possibilities that you can come across in Yummly! If anything, you might have difficulty choosing from all of the recipes!

I bought ciabatta bread yesterday for a recipe I have in mind for tomorrow. Turns out I have way more than I need for that particular recipe so I’ll be using yummly to see what else I can use ciabatta for!

Stay tuned and find out what I make by following me on instagram!! I hope it’ll be drool worthy. You’ll also noticed that I’m also trying to work on my plating skills!

When in doubt, Yummly. You’ll wonder how you lived without it before!


”This is my advice to people: Learn how to cook, try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun”-Julia Child

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On my Radar: Pamela Barsky’s pouches

I was on my way to a cafe in Lower East Side when I decided I’d take a roundabout route. I’m rarely in the neighborhood so I figured why not? You never know. It was definitely a grittier neighborhood than what I’m used to. The streets were uneven and cracked, dirty puddles were everywhere and the streets were empty, even for 10 AM in the morning. 

As I walked, my eyes surveyed the storefronts and signs when at one point this caught my eye.


How cute are they!! Pouches with cheeky comments. Comments that were so sassy I could’ve written them myself :P


Of course I had to go inside. When I did, I saw a whole wall of these pouches with various sayings. Continue reading

American Beauty Photoshoot with Ben Baker

Back in April, I had the incredible opportunity of being photographed by Ben Baker for his latest project, 1-100. He has photographed the likes of President Obama, Warren Buffett, Richard Branson, Bono, Diane von Furstenberg and even the Olsen twins!

Photo Credit: Ben Baker

Photo Credit: Ben Baker

Photo credit: Ben Baker

Although I’m camera shy (you’ll notice more nature photos than selfies on my instagram), I was eager to participate. This project was going to share the different perspectives of American women of all diverse backgrounds ages 1-100 and I wanted to contribute as an Asian American 22 year old.


 I went to his studio in Chelsea as camera ready as I could but with no idea what to expect. Upon entering, I saw a large booth set up and met Ben and his producer Sid. Both were incredibly welcoming and friendly, which helped because portraits are quite intimate. I assure you: Obama, Diane Von Furstenberg and The Olsens just make it look easy. As you can see, it was just the subject (me) and a white background, eliminating distractions and putting the attention, all on me. As nerve-wracking as that was, I quite admired this approach: Instead of photographing subjects in a “candid” environment, the focus was solely on the person and her authentic responses. What’s more, this project is using the NYC census to be as accurate as possible, in terms of demographics. 

On the hotseat, I was also handed a list of questions I would have to answer. Things like: “_____ makes me the most happy,” “My favorite age has been____,” “People could learn ______ from me/my life.” Mind you, those are just 3 examples of the 15 questions i answered, so you can imagine how difficult and thought provoking the other questions were. How would you answer them?? Pretty difficult especially when asked on the spot, right?


Thank goodness for the soft lighting as I’m pretty sure I was nervously sweating. My sister who was watching this all take place told me that I was pretty awkward and stiff. I really tried my best to relax (I guess my attempts to channel my inner goddess failed) but these questions were really difficult and disarming. Maybe that’s just me.

One of the questions that stands out in my mind to this day is “What’s the hardest part about being 22?”

I said something along the lines of, “There are so many choices, It’s easy to get lost in all the noise.”

Besides that, I don’t really remember how I answered the other questions. I’m hoping that when the photos and video come out, I don’t embarrass myself! haha Either way I’m ok with it. I was as honest as I could be and it’s how I felt and looked as a 22 year old at the time.

 After I finished up with the photoshoot and interview, I thought I would ask him some questions, since he’s usually the photographer! He kindly obliged.


What is a piece of advice that you can give that applies to both business and life?
Make sure you wake up everyday doing something you are madly passionate about. With your heart genuinely in it, you’ll try harder at it, and you’ll be better at it. Don’t try to be somebody you’re not. When you do something you’re genuinely interested in, people can tell and it makes all the difference.
On being “life trained” and building soft skills.
With the work I do, photography is actually the easiest part. The challenge is handling people. I wish the younger generation could see themselves. Step back and see how they talk to people, how they approach people. It’s something that is learned as you go along, but you really have to go out there and make some mistakes and just hope that the mistakes you make aren’t too damaging.  Go and get a real job, where you are interacting with as many people as you can, and learn.
What’s something you wish you knew when you were 22?
It’s a long game. You’re in for a long run- it’s a marathon not a sprint- so think about long term decisions. It’s easy to see what’s in front of you and that’s the only way you can live your llife, you can’t always be thinking about the future and not see what’s happening now, but be sure to take a look at the bigger picture.
And of course, they were kind enough to send over a few stills for me to look at. I’m not sure which will be used for the final product but it’s still interesting to see myself this way. You can tell I’m a little tense and nervous (and these two were the least tense of the batch) but hey, I argue that many other 22 year olds would feel the same way.

Photo Credit: Ben Baker 2014 (towards the beginning of the photoshoot)

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Photo Credit: Ben Baker 2014 (warming up a bit towards the end)

I’m looking forward to how the video and photos will turn out! I’m turning 23 in a couple of days so it will be interesting to see how things have changed. Looking at these photos I already feel like a different person. I can’t wait to see and read what everyone said. My prediction is that we will all have a lot in common despite age and experience.

I want to thank Ben and Sid for such an enlightening experience. I hope I was able to make a valuable contribution and I’m honored to be representing “22.”

The team is still looking for women of all ages to participate, especially those 80 years old and older. If you would like to be considered for this project, or would like to suggest someone, please email americanbeauty@benbakerphoto.com.  All participants will receive an 8×10 print of their portrait.

You can see more of Baker’s work on his website at www.benbakerphoto.com.



We’re happy, free, confused, and lonely in the best way. It’s miserable and magical.”- Taylor Swift,  from her song “22”

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Afternoon Tea with Jee

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Afternoon Tea with Jee (from Oh How Civilized)

I love afternoon tea. Other 20-somethings might prefer the loud crowded settings of a dive bar or club where you can barely hear the person standing right in front of you… I much prefer the quiet murmur of an intimate setting. Oh how lovely- the natural light, the delicate china and the soothing teas. There’s no hangover, loss of hearing or “what did she/he say?” moments. Not to mention, the sweets, the scones, the savories are all bite sized and almost too beautiful to eat. 

Who better to accompany me on my most recent afternoon tea adventure than the blogger who introduced me to the world of afternoon tea: Jee, the blogger behind Oh How Civilized?

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I can’t remember exactly how I stumbled upon her blog but I do know that it’s where I found out about the Pierpont Morgan Library (now one of my favorite places in New York) and where I learned how to tell where I am in Central Park. In fact, it’s because I read her post on her top 5 afternoon tea spots in New York that I had a birthday tea party last year (Read my blog post about that here). Whenever I’m on her blog, a sense of calm washes over me and I get entranced by her beautiful photos. Plus, I always learn something new.  Continue reading

On My Radar: Donald “Drawbertson”

This image popped up on my newsfeed the other day and I was immediately smitten. How whimsical, fun and colorful! “Who made that!?” I wondered.

Photo credit: Avenue 348

Seeing drawings like these always brings me back to the days when I myself was doing fashion illustrations in school. My favorite medium was always gouache and watercolor although I always had difficulty controlling the medium. Donald Robertson, aka Donald “Drawbertson” seems to have mastered the style of illustration I never quite could. He has the gestures, proportions and composition all in check! It’s as fabulous as it is deceptively simple.

Turns out he’s been sharing his delightful work for years and what’s more, he is the head of creative development at the beauty giant Bobbi Brown Cosmetics.  He also happens to be one of the three original founders of MAC cosmetics. Pretty impressive considering how they are both brands that are always in high gear, constantly outdoing themselves.

photo from vanity fair

It just goes to show that being creative and creating isn’t just a day time job!

I pretty much love everything on his instagram feed but here are some of my favorite images.

If you want a dose of color and delight in your feed, I suggest following him on instagram.

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Crazy Rich Asians movie soundtrack

My blog post on “Who I’d Cast in Crazy Rich Asians the Movie” gets the most views on my blog to this day, even though I wrote it almost a year ago… so I thought I would follow up with a post on a “soundtrack.” 

If you haven’t heard, they’re working on the movie, a sequel is in the works and production is to start early next year/hopefully end of this year. The paperback version recently hit bookstores and the book has been topping bestseller lists so if you haven’t read the book (and you really should), now is a great time- it’s a perfect summer read!

The paperback cover!

Music is inextricably connected to film. Good films/shows are usually accompanied with an equally strong soundtrack. It’s true with korean dramas which come with their OSTs. It’s true with some of the best television hits (think Gossip Girl, Scandal and Sex and the City). Music is a creative tool used to color the world it depicts. It reflects the pace and feel of overarching themes ultimately strengthening the impact of the movie. Without music, movies- or arguably the world- just wouldn’t be the same.

The soundtrack I have in mind blends influences from the east and west and the old with the new, capturing the essence of the world of Crazy Rich Asians. The book is a universal story which will appeal to a global audience (and not just the US), so the music needs to reflect that. I’ve chosen a diverse group of artists with broad global appeal (I was sure to check the top music lists for Singapore, Hong Kong etc on Spotify and iTunes).

The music below is what I imagine Rachel and Nicholas’ love, the energy of a jet set life, the absurd excess and the clean green sunny island of Singapore would sound like. They are songs that fit the novel both in sound and lyrics. So without further ado…(in no particular order)…

*Full disclosure: This made up soundtrack includes a few of my favorite artists/songs. Also, I realize that these songs will be “old” by the time the movie comes out. (How great would it be to hear an original soundtrack produced especially for this movie a la The Great Gatsby (2013)?)

For your viewing pleasure, I’ve used the ‘Savage Grace’ editorial from the December issue of Vogue China magazine and the most recent Spring/Summer campaign from Shanghai Tang as a moodboard. (I just imagine that Crazy Rich Asians the movie will come out as a summer blockbuster….)* 

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At the intersection of 168th street and Broadway (in New York) there is a subway station with two tracks and two side platforms.

This station is particularly deep and dark, its surrounding energy a bit ominous and not as upbeat as the ones I frequent downtown.

Stand above, on one of the bridges that connects the two platforms and you will see trains coming and going, one after another.


Sometimes, if timing allows, one will arrive at the same time another departs. Trains pass through this station nonstop. Where are they coming from, going to? Which one do you take?

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Song Hye Gyo for J. Estina S/S 2014 Campaign

Song Hye Gyo is one of my favorite Korean actresses. Ever since I saw her acting alongside Won Bin (one of my favorite Korean actors) in the Korean drama Autumn in my Heart , I’ve been a fan both of her acting (she reduces me to tears) and inimitable beauty (she’s my height- 5’3)!

Here she is effortlessly chic in J. Estina’s Spring/Summer 2014 campaign. Even though the focus is supposed to be the jewelry, she shines with elegance with minimal makeup and the classic bob.

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Share what you know, show that you care

With all the texting and emailing we do these days, it’s hard to tell what’s genuine and what’s not. (Did you know “a twenty-something may report spending two hours a day on Facebook, an hour a day answering texts?” (source))

At least in person, you can read someone’s body language or hear their tone of voice.  With messages, it’s easy to fake sincerity with just some punctuation and smileys! :) :(

The best way to show someone you care is to share what you know- give them your time and attention. Not the kind of attention that you have to give because you work or live with them, but the attention and care you give because you want to, without being asked, out of genuine sympathy and love, because you care about them as a person.


made a deck of korean flashcards for a friend, because we promised to try to teach each other

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