When did it all change for you?

Sometimes it’s as if streetart is speaking to me.

Take this photo for example. I took it while wandering the streets of the Arts District in Los Angeles (when I was there in April). I found it interesting at the time but I didn’t think too much of it until I came back to NY from LA. As I slowly phased out of vacation mode…. everything seemed to make sense.

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spotted in the arts district, Los Angeles

When did it all change for you?

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Interview with Cynthia Koo, all abao making things that matter (in business and life)

If you follow me on instagram, you already know how much I love asian bakeries/snacks, ESPECIALLY buns (pineapple buns and char siu bao to be exact).

So when I saw what my friend Cynthia was working on lately, I had to learn more. Combine my love for buns with an appreciation for puns, stationery, thoughtfulness and things made with love, and you have Wonton In a Million, the creation of Cynthia Koo (aka the project i wish I did myself but one she did better than I ever could).

It’s one of her many projects that involves learning how to make things that matter. Things that matter to her. Things that matter to the people who matter to her. Things that matter to the world.

I recently I caught up with the girl behind the irresistibly cute handmade cards:

really cute right?

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The most romantic thing

“I want to learn about life with you” he said as he leaned against the wall.

“Hmm?” I turned around to face him, wondering if I heard him correctly.

“You heard me, I want to learn about life with you. I think it would be fun to learn and go through life together. To share life experiences with each other.”

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the gentleman is the new bad boy

I was speechless. Who says that kind of stuff?! and to me?

I don’t remember how I responded or what else happened that day. I don’t remember where we went that day. I don’t remember why he said that in the first place. All I know is that this happened almost 2 years ago and that moment is forever immortalized in my mind. Continue reading

That kind of Woman

“You look posh” he said as he looked at the screen and showed me this photo.

“Me, Posh?” I thought to myself.

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And there I was, caught off guard and caught in the moment. I barely recognize myself because I look so relaxed and comfortable with where I am. I’m just doing what I usually do- thinking- only this time it’s while staring off into the blue ocean and sunny sky of California. The photo feels natural, sunny, relaxed and free. I like the person I am in this photo.

The whole week I was in California- both Los Angeles and San Francisco- there was one question on my mind. It’s the same question I was thinking about it in this photo. It’s the thing I think about it everyday.

What kind of woman do I want to be?

Could I/would I be that person on the west coast or in NY?

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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

Ahhh!

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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