west coast here I come

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I never thought I’d say this but I’m excited to visit LA. I’ll be there for the next week.
When I was there last time I would get anxiety about how calm I was. I felt antsy. Restless. Unproductive.
“I’m too young to feel relaxed” I’d think to myself. “I need to get to a certain point and accomplish a certain amount for me to feel this way: satisfied.”
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I finally went! OIJI- korean restaurant in the East Village, NYC

If you’re in the mood for Korean food and you want a place where you’re given a bunch of free banchan (side dishes), with massive amounts of food… then go to K-town. You can go with a large group, eat until you’re stuffed and throw back a few bottles of soju amidst the loud chatter of the restaurant. You might even run into someone you know when you leave. 

Personally, I’m looking for something different and lately, I’ve been on the hunt for a good Korean restaurant not in K-town (read my last blog post here). A friend and I made reservations to go to the newly opened OIJI last Thursday and… they did not disappoint. I almost didn’t go because it was the day the East Village explosion/fire happened but I’m glad I went despite the fact it was an inconvenient if not guilt-inducing trip to the neighborhood.

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Generally speaking, I don’t like the idea of paying for something I can make at home; It just doesn’t make sense to me. The Korean food I find in K-town: seafood pancakes, stews, kimchi fried rice, etc is honestly something I can make myself. OIJI served Korean food as I know and love it, but in a refined and modern way. The tastes were authentic and traditional, with a twist, and minus the heaviness. It brought back so many childhood memories and flavors and even some inspiration.

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On my Radar: Korean restaurants not in K-town, NYC

Full disclosure: i’m not a food writer and I’m definitely not the foodiest person out there… but if there’s anything I do know, I’d like to think it’s good Korean food: how it’s made, what it looks like, and what it tastes like.

I grew up watching and helping the women in my family cook. When I was younger, my grandma would take the time and care to make many things from scratch, old school/traditional style. She would dry chili peppers in the sun and grind them to make gochugaru (고추가루; red pepper (chili) powder), she’d cook, crush, dry and cube duenjang (된장; soybean paste)… 
Gochujang (고추장; red pepper chili paste), gukganjang (국간장; korean soy sauce), ssamjang (쌈장; dipping paste), dotori-muk (도토리묵; acorn jelly) you name it, she made it…

My grandma even had her own backyard vegetable garden. Korean BBQ for dinner? She’d go outside to pluck some red lettuce (상추/korean lettuce) and kkaennip (깻잎; perilla leaves) to wrap our meat with and some cucumbers to dip into ssamjang. The ingredients she used were always so fresh, adding subtle nuances of irreplicable flavor to her cooking.

I now realize how spoiled I was with good home cooked food. Naturally, my definition of “good food” has become food “made with love” as cheesy as that may sound. To me, it doesn’t matter if you have the fancy equipment or formal training, the high price tag or fancy place setting. The best chefs are the ones who really love what they are making, are having fun making it, and care for the ones they are cooking for. It’s the heart and spirit they bring to their food that makes all the difference. Everything else is just a bonus.

Whenever I hear of or come across a “new” Korean restaurant, I can’t help but get excited by what they have to offer and… I also can’t help but compare them to my childhood memories. Here are a few places I am very intrigued by and I am very excited to try. Inspiration comes from their Korean heritage and each restaurant approaches authentic Korean flavors with contemporary settings and careful execution. Also, I am just in awe of the young talent bringing these places to life in such a thoughtful way. Continue reading

Crazy Rich Asians NY location map


Have you heard?

China Rich Girlfriend, the sequel of the book Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan is out for pre-order on amazon!! It will be released on June 16, 2015. I don’t want to spoil anything for you, so I’ll let you read the synopsis here on amazon.

photo credit: goodreads.com

I’ve been waiting for the sequel ever since I finished the book. I’m even more excited for the movie, as you can probably tell from the post I did on the dream cast and soundtrack (which still gets the most views to this day). I’m slightly obsessed. Just a liiiiittle bit. Knowing this, my friend got me a signed copy for me and it was probably one of the best gifts I’ve received. (thank you R!)

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enjoy lah! (and that I did)

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New writing routine

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Writing is something I really struggle with. Can you tell from all the gaps of time in between posts? A bit ironic considering how I have a blog, right?

It’s not because I have nothing to write about, but rather because it’s hard for me to put pen to paper and articulate the idea in a way that will make sense to me or someone else at a different mood/mindset/time.

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Good bye 2014

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streetart spotted in new york. dont look back, go forward.

I was looking through my photos and scrolling through my instagram when I realized I hardly recognize who I was a month ago, let alone a year ago. Have you ever looked at a photo of yourself and thought:”wow I feel like a completely different person now. That feels like ages ago?” That’s how I have felt this entire year after every challenge (which was basically every week). Even though I may not show any physical changes and I look the same, I feel different. I’m stronger, smarter and happier in a completely different way than before, but only after a tumultuous year… and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Posman Books: visit before its gone :(

You know it’s serious when the title has a sadface.


posman books in grand central

Posman books is a bookstore I discovered just recently. I found myself at Chelsea Market waiting for a friend and wandering around to kill time, because I was early per usual. I stumbled upon Posman Books and found myself thoroughly entertained- the time passed by so quickly! Before I knew it, my friend showed up and I left wanting to visit again. I was happy to discover that they have a location in Grand Central Terminal- the largest of their locations. Unfortunately, due to transportation related projects in Grand Central Terminal, Posman books’ last day of business will be December 31st.

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Stop and Think

I just renewed my domain for another year. I guess you’re stuck with me writing at inbusinessandlife.com for the year ahead. I’m not giving up on this blog :)

With this renewal I’d like to share something with you- a secret-that has guided me in writing blog posts.


a random (and rare) photo of me (thoughtfully) eating. Not really related but i do like the photo :)

Before I publish a post, I always ask myself, “Did you THINK?”

Here is how it was described on Quora where I read it (one of my favorite websites/apps).

“Do you THINK before you speak Continue reading

HFI? What’s that?

If you google “HFI” you’ll get a couple different things: Hereditary fructose intolerance. Health facility institute. Also there’s er…..Hepatitis Foundation International.

None of these are what this blog post is about.

What I’m referring to is what my friend called me: Highly Functioning Individual. I had no idea what it was when he said it either. He kindly explained it to me:


IMG_5541So there you have it. HFI.  Continue reading