Oh, happy 2020. Last winter, O and I had the pleasure to stay at the legendary Skywalker Ranch. Because O’s mom was teaching George Lucas’s daughter horse riding + Chinese classes…. we were able to enjoy such a unique opportunity with O’s family. Who knows how to polo and speak Chinese and English well in the westside? Mama Yang obviously. So. badass.

For that holiday, we stayed at one of the bed and breakfast inns. I usually don’t really like rustic interiors, but I’d say that the farm-like furniture with bright whites, surrounded by cool Skywalker decor made me feel like I was in a clean, cozy and kickass cabin.

Our artisanal bed and breakfast included a spacious living room, two bedrooms (one master), one spacious kitchen and dining room, and two bathrooms. Of course, the bathroom was a huge plus to me because it included a bathtub and gold finishes-perfect for reading and relaxing.

O and I’d slip out by about 6AM, eat some cereal or some breakfast in the kitchen next door, slide a Skywalker ranch bike out, and roam throughout the ranch, gardens, vineyards. Breezing through trees made me feel like I was speeding through the kickass bike chase in Endor  – but without stormtroopers. (Refer to Star Wars Episode VI, Return of the Jedi)

By the time we reached Lake Ewok, I felt like a compulsive Star Wars maniac especially when holding the stuffed Ewok toy. There was something also magical to see studio where all the magic happened and Lucas’s old Victorian residence.

Aside from the lush fields, we also played with some of the residing animals including goats, which were delightful to feed.

Oh, and did I mention that her horse was at the ranch? She wanted to keep her gorgeous quarter horse healthy and active and even gave me an opportunity to ride her horse. I’ve never been so prouder to be with my second family.

Goals for our future home. Stoked for 2020.


Rather than stressing ourselves about our wedding (6-ish months away?!) + splurging for a honeymoon, O and I decided to break out of cold and bleak NYC into the hearts of tropical Bali as our pre-wedding honeymoon. Except, it didn’t start off as dreamy as we thought; we landed in Denpasar mainly frantic about my missing outfit for our pre wedding shoot. Fortunately, the streets of Seminyak and Paulina Katarina saved us by delivering the breezy shirt dress to my hotel within 15 hours. Another plus – our hotel had everything we wanted: lush nature, gorgeous architecture and interiors done by our colleague Jess’s father’s firm, and a private beach front.

Oh, and did you know that Bali is known for its gorgeous waterfalls as well? After I saw gorgeous waterfalls online,  I had to snag photos of us in one.

Tegenungan Waterfall

Jl. Ir. Sutami, Kemenuh, Kec. Sukawati, Kabupaten Gianyar,
Bali 80581, Indonesia

Thanks to our USC architecture colleague Jessica and her dad, we were able to stay at the hotel designed by her dad’s firm for 3 glorious nights, 3.5 heavenly days with morning yoga, lagoon lounges, and a private beach. The chic and contemporary hotel doesn’t need much introduction, but we love it for the beachside pool, views, and how all of this nests in nature. I visited it back in 2015 as my first trip to Bali and loved it with Jessica.

Photos don’t do justice, but seriously, lounging at the lagoon with nasi ayam and other delicious Indonesian dishes was nothing less than excellent.


Jl. Danau Tamblingan, Sanur, Kec. Denpasar Sel., Kota Denpasar, Bali 80228, Indonesia

This pre-wedding honeymoon was particularly mentally powerful for overcoming fears. While I just learned how to properly swim a month ago thanks to Coach Brian, I truly overcame my fear of water by completely submerging myself in all kinds of water, including sitting 35 feet on Nusa Penida’s ocean floor. A few lessons I’ve also learned (the hard way) from our two dives:

Lesson #1: Quickly figure out a way to adapt to the water pressure changes while descending/ascending or your ears and head will be in excruciating pain

Lesson #1: Do not drink seawater or you’ll feel nauseous enough to be projectile vommitting through scuba diving equipment or over the boat.

Lesson #3: Water can get damn cold; there is no shame wearing 2 wetsuits.


While I wanted to have pre-wedding photos of us taken by a waterfall, I wanted to also suspend myself off of a waterfall. While there are few waterfalls you can jump off of, the infamous Aling Aling and its jump-offable cliffs were on the other side of the island, 75 damn km away. I’ve never been so proud to be with a man who was willing to drive us up (literally, up mountains into clouds of wind + rain) on a motorbike for his first time. We only live once, right?

According to O, waterfall/cliff jumping was going to be “much easier” than scuba diving. But honestly, walking up to a cliff with a crowd of people watching me finally stand at the tip of a 10m high cliff to jump off of.. released so much adrenaline that my heart was beating as if I ran a mile and my body was trembling in anxiety. I had to meet that minuscule margin of error;  over-rotating or incorrectly angling myself within the 5 seconds would hurt – probably badly. Yet as soon as our guide walked over to me, claimed that I wasn’t ready and suggested I skip it, I insisted that I was ready to jump off; I’ve been having an incredible year and we didn’t come all the way up here for me to just stand and walk away.

Before I knew it, I jumped off the cliff, somehow angled myself at a 15 degree angle and hurt my ass as I broke the water. Seconds later, I floated back up as gracefully as possible, more eager than ever to get back onto land, hug O, and move on to graceful waterfall slides. As Tupac says, “…life goes on.”

Lesson #1: “Anything that’s not straight up and down is really going to hurt.” -Orlando Duque

Lesson #2: Jump off with arms out left/right, then toes and arms as straight and close to the body right before hitting the water with feet first.


Jl. Raya Desa Sambangan, Sambangan, Kec. Sukasada, Kabupaten Buleleng,
Bali 81161, Indonesia

Aside from staying at Sanur’s gorgeous 5 star hotel, I wanted half of our trip’s accommodation in something more atypical of a honeymoon: a treehouse. Of course, you could find any accommodation via Airbnb. I found this gem that wasn’t only a treehouse that sits on a tree with branches protruding in/out of, but that was also in Ubud, another town that I wanted to explore. Showering in a treehouse immersed with lush leaves was one of the most bizarre feelings we’ve ever had.

Hars, the owner, manager, architect, landlord, entrepreneur of the property is truly the 21st century Renaissance man. Every morning he prepared and served us breakfast from below in another treehouse dining room. Starting every morning with home-grown fruits, vegetables, and potato patties that’s sourced just feet away brought us so much joy.

If you know me, you know that I am obsessed with visiting local cafes at every endeavor around the world. Once we learned that our photographer Nat and her aunt owned a pet project cafe, we slipped in some time to visit the cafe gem (snug within a car wash, next to Nat’s uncle’s barbershop) Their industrial and cozy cafe also embraces urban coffee culture overseas  (their favorites being hole in the walls) while also respectfully using Balinese arabica beans in a humble way. While I am a huge sucker for arabica coffee, we could clearly tell that the cafe is clearly driven by nostalgia… from the delicate dainty ceramics (I couldn’t help but feel like I was at my grandma’s) and the photography books (literally, the same one I owned and referred to) …We just couldn’t ask for a sweeter, sentimental way to leave Bali.



And last but not least, every time I visit a country, I love swinging by at least one local cafe (who doesn’t know that?!). This time, we swung by our prewedding photographer’s cafe. Yeah, how cool is she?! Nat so happened to help start up this smitten cafe, Oli Kopi. – right alongside her uncle’s barbershop, within a car wash (we had to find a way to swing by, and we literally did  just before we departed Bali)

To this date, Bali is the paradise trip that made me not even want to sleep-to an extent that I got sick as soon as I came back to NYC.

Oli Kopi

Kerobokan Kelod, North Kuta, Badung Regency,
Bali 80365, Indonesia


O and I jumped on the bandwagon to check out NYC’s Color Factory after  J, one of our bubbliest and inspirational designer friends, highly recommended us to go together as a nice date. She showed us photos from her experience and suggested that we check it out for a nice date. But  after visiting the Museum of Ice Cream  and 29 Rooms (honestly, underwhelming), I couldn’t help but feel a bit guarded. Because it was J of all designers and friends, I was curious and convinced to check it out.

O was just as excited as I was to start the new year off with it. Unlike other pop-ups where your timing could be a huge factor, the Color Factory did a phenomenal job of not making us feel rushed by encouraging us to make the most out of each room because once we moved on, we couldn’t “go back.”

And yes, I recommend to come as a pair/pairs for the sake of one room being less awkward. Nothing wrong with making a new friend though. People should cut some slack and just chat/get to know strangers if he/she is separated from their S.O., because really – it held up my line and caused one guy from his friend and me from my boyfriend. sigh….

Part way through, we matched with colors that reflect our life choices / personality. And woah. we’re complementary colors, re-emphasizing how we complement each other.

Although it’s best to attend every room with the group we came with based on our scheduled slot, we didn’t feel rushed. I also loved the fact that they gave each and every one of us cards so that we could tap at every exhibition to have our photos taken. Color Factory? Hell yeah.  Thanks for bringing me back to our childhood selves.

The ball pit is understandably, one of the most infamous rooms because it’s a vast  sea of  about 207,000 gorgeously blue balls. Drowning ourselves / soaring like flying fish / playing hide n seek / chucking balls at your friend / taking selfies with aerial photos using the cards they provided are all brilliant ideas. Nonetheless, swimming in that sea of 207,000 balls was magical and everything I needed to start the year.

With the great customer service, all of the interactive experiences, take home photos without us delicious treats (macarons, ice cream mochi, Swedish fish…) and even thoughtful take home gifts, I’d rank it 10/10. Color Factory is officially my favorite interactive (temporary!) pop up museum and I so highly recommend it.

The Color Factory

251 Spring Street
New York, NY 10013


My first 18 hours from LA TO SF from Friday to Saturday were the most traumatizing and exhausting hours of traveling in my life. And my trip overall was filled some of the biggest lows and highs. LA’s insane storm on Friday was so awful that the Uber surge pushed my ride from downtown LA to LAX airport to $85 (almost as much as my flight) Then after arriving the airport, my flight time was delayed 10 times, with 4 gate changes across the airport. I was too afraid of falling asleep, moving around, and my phone dying. I was initially scheduled to depart at 9:30 PM, then eventually scheduled to 2:51 A.M. But thankfully an engineer fixed one of the planes to set up a new flight and I made the list of passengers to take that 1:30 AM flight.

By the time I got to SFO at about 3 AM, my friend who I planned to stay with… fell asleep, so I was left wandering around lost and completely drained at 4:30 AM. Thank God- My friend’s boyfriend picked up her phone, called me back and ran out to save me and bring me in. I was so traumatized from my night that I was shaking and couldn’t sleep more than 3 minutes. I thought things would get better after having coffee and breakfast with our solid group, but while we were eating, my friend got his parked car windows slashed, battery died, and we were waiting for over an hour for cops and AAA to help.

I forgot my dress for a wedding in my friend’s closet..and by then I regretted my itinerary. But Andrew picked us up and dropped us off at the nearest BART station so we could make it to the Palace of Fine Arts, really a stunning architectural masterpiece… and thus allowed us to walk over to check out the nearby Wave Organs (these man made PVC pipes that create different sounds of splashes and splashes when the waves hits these instruments)…. really soothing.

On Sunday, after a heavenly 8.5 hours of sleep with Nyquil, I reserved a popup lunch in Russan Hill for Andrew and me and he drove us for Feastly, which includes rotating featured chefs with temporary menus for you to RSVP for. I’d never heard of it, but Feastly’s popup meals extends throughout several states including San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Portland, Chicago, and Washington D.C. This lunch really lightened my terrifying Friday because I had the chance to meet and talk with the chef, Andrew, photographer, and manager, Monica. Surprisingly, their space doesn’t include vents… can you imagine how hard it must be to cook without a vent…?

The main reason why I came was to attend my Gamble House roommate, Cece’s wedding. She’d tell me at USC that her family only allowed her to marry a guy in the same tribe as her from Nigeria…. and she met him in NYC. Cece is truly, one of the smartest and talented individuals/architects I know – she won so many scholarships that the school asked her to stop applying because she hogged too many… I feel pretty lame next to her.

Anyway, as for the wedding- it was engaging and really cultural to see all her tribal rituals carried out after the ceremony. The ceremony lasted about 30 minutes and ended by 5/5:30. but the ceremony after lasted until at least 11 when I realized…crap, I have to get up at 4 A.M. to catch my flight because yes, I had to work on Memorial Day. Anyway, it feels good to be back in so-cal. Until next time, peace SF!


I was addicted to traveling in 2016. But yes, flights are damn expensive. I still want to continue to travel to at least one destination every month, so to take it down I decided to go on a road trip. My architect friend Mikey proposed to drive up to Big Sur just as refreshing getaway from the ton of architecture wall sections and the busy city life I’m surrounded with.

Big Sur is known as the “great meeting of land and water in the world”  and is a 90 mile stretch along central California. Look at that coastal fog from the waves that crash against the coast. Check out that Bixby Bridge. I watched Death Cab perform the song, “Bixby Canyon Bridge”  live and would sing  along to it in my car but wonder what it must be like. That reinforced concrete / open spandrel arch bridge is incredible. Yes, Ben Gibbard wrote this  song while he was staying in a cabin in Big Sur.


Surprise! I’ve never been to NYC. They say NYC is the “American version of Tokyo,” which is why I considered moving to NYC without even being here, and I’m extremely glad that I’ve visited. Out of all places I’ve traveled, this was the best vacation. I ate and drank an ungodly amount of food and drinks, walked at least 8 + miles every day, met some solid old and new friends/instagrammers, and also had my own solid time of solitude. Plus I slept like a fat baby.

2016 was hands down, the shittiest year of my life… was it yours too? I’m so relieved that I’ve made it to 2017. Although I’ve gotten fatter from NYC because I ate like a fat king who’s probably going to have major heart problems, I’m happier and stronger. Cheers to all of us and 2017 – a better, happier year of more opportunities and better friendships.


Such a pleasant 1.45 mile long park to admire NYC’s skyline. We’ve all studied this through architecture at some point for landscape and furniture design inspiration.

My first 12 hours in NYC were quite disastrous. For dinner, I ate a lobster roll that my brother highly encouraged to try because I thought my lobster allergies were gone. On my walk back through Times Square a food delivery guy walked into me, dropping all his food down to the floor. I apologized and kept walking, but 2 blocks later, he demanded me to pay $28 and to cover the food. Stunned and hoping nothing worse would happen, I paid him $15 in cash because it’s also his responsibility as a food delivery man to get the food delivered safely and dodge me, right? Oh, then I was throwing up over the toilet from the lobster allergies until 2AM. Then on my way to brunch, a man was pushed into my train track… It only got exponentially better after this.


435 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014

I loved this restaurant so much that I ate here twice (dinner with my brother and his friends and lunch with my cousin) En Japanese Brasserie specializes in Kyoto cuisine with homemade silky tofu, sticky mochi, smooth miso cod, and blowfish sashimi. (yes, I did not die)  I love the interior ambience: the smooth leather seats, elegant menu, and soft background jazz / Ella Fitzgerald. This  comforting restaurant takes me back to Japan and adds a classy jazzy twist. We can easily spend 2 hours just lounging here. I highly recommend this restaurant for lunch/dinner.


The Flatiron is a wedge situated architectural precedent that I’ve been studying for my current residential project in San Francisco…. and the 9/11 memorial was very emotional and leaves us all breathless. The oculus, a transportation hub and shopping center in the world trade center that cost a whopping $4 billion…opened this year.  I came to these sites three times as well for moments of reflection and solitude.


Thanks to Addison O’Dea and Alex Ostroff, I was able to snap some photos of my first bagel and a few Canadian dishes. My first NYC bagel:  Smoked salmon with sliced beets and dill sandwiched between an everything bagel. As a food photographer, you have to avoid customers and for me it required me to wake up and come by 7AM.

(L) Poutine is this Canadian dish that consists of french fries with thick gravy and gooey cheese curds. But Mile End brought it up another level by adding beef chunks… imagine having this at 8AM…. Probably the deadliest/heaviest/amazing breakfast I’ve ever had.

(R) Latkes are Jewish potato pancakes that are traditionally served during the Hanukkah festival. The word latke, derived from Russian / Ukranians, simply means patch, but it’s still typically referred to as the potato pancake dish.

The MET and MOMA have such a crazy extensive collection of arts. I think I spent at least 2-3 hours in each. I highly recommend both.


Alright. That’s it for now… Bring it on, 2017!


This insane stretch of packed deadlines and celebrations right between my flight from Tokyo and soon, to Boston and New York City makes me wonder how I’m alive. Wednesday was our Arquitectonica holiday party at the Perch in downtown LA, and Thursday was our Popcultivate dinner: “A splash of Christmas,” that featured Foodnetwork chef: Cheftofer… After 6 hours of baking matcha whoopie pies with another architect: Gabby Gertel, I’m working on publishing the recipe, while I’m shipping out some of these Christmas goods to SF and Tokyo and prepping for my team’s presentation on window wall sections. But heck, I’m hustlin’ through this holiday season because I know I can peacefully rest during my flight to Boston and train ride to New York City.

For the Splash of Christmas dinner, I tested my mini photo set up (a 16″x16″x16″ lightbox) for the first time! Hell, food photography and the entertainment industry is a deceivingly, dirty, chaotic job with tons of feisty tasks and people to work with. Firstly, I had to lay on the floor to take these shots next to the kitchen because of the outlets and dinner setup. Secondly, once filmographers and guests saw my setup and photos, a few followed me in to try to steal my angles and setups. (please everyone, get your own setup rather than steal art/work from others!) Lastly, more oil stains and wrinkles started to appear on my white backdrop, but I think the photos still turned out pretty legit! That’s straight up product / food photography in downtown LA for you ladies and fellas. Other than all these various struggles I’m getting used to, I’m really loving food photography, especially with all the perks of receiving the prettiest samples, props, ingredients, and meals. Who doesn’t love receiving seconds, thirds, from servers and Foodnetwork chefs?

And we finished the meal off with this gorgeous apple rose pastry with eggnog and raspberry syrup. I’m still dreaming of another bite of this. Thank you especially, server Nicole and co-host Patrick for being so prompt, attentive, and helpful to me with all the ingredients and meals.

Back to back was Arquitectonica’s holiday party at the Perch. A stunning private happy hour from 3-5 with my kickass architect partner, and a few favorite women: Christine, my college roommate, and Megan, my favorite personal on-site stylist/makeup artist. From 5-7 was our private dinner, and until midnight we mingled back on the rooftop. How does time fly this fast?


It’s been only 4 months since I moved from Tokyo to LA. But after those most horrifying first few months of my life, I booked my flight to Tokyo to pamper myself and make my transition from home to home a bit smoother. Although I lived 15 years in California (5 of it in Los Angeles) I still feel like half of my heart is in Tokyo. Living and working just over 2 years in Japan made me feel like I’ve lived and learned 20 more years.

I’ve realized all the foreigners and Japanese individuals I’ve worked and befriended with in Tokyo are older, worldly designers, builders, go-getters, do-ers. We all wanted to escape from something and/or find something greater in our lives. The Tokyo lifestyle I became accustomed to kept my mind, hands, and feet busy with designing, photographing, and cooking, but it also made me afraid to rest and sleep – because I became too afraid to miss an incredible moment and opportunity. And by the end of my journey, to leave my incredible friends – my family, all my memories and incredible projects we worked on together behind, to move back to Los Angeles – was the scariest move that I had to do by myself. Some tell me I moved not only back, but backwards in life. And it still hurts.

I specifically want to thank not only the loyal friends who reached out to me for support in this season of uncertainty, but also the friends who accompanied me as I re-visited Japan. My head spun with excitement, nervousness, and anxiety as I organized, but my architecture colleagues who flew in from all cities throughout the states and accompanied me reminded me to truly let it all go and enjoy this trip. Surely, it is quite exhausting to lead a group of 5 guys through their first time in Japan, yet we were able to organize appropriate roles for each of us to contribute our skill sets to the trip.

The experience of going through Japan is extremely different as a visitor versus a full-time working designer and resident. The grass is typically greener on the other side (of the world) But I think when all things come crashing down on you, it’s appropraite to be selfish in pampering yourself- escape from all daily life duties, regain your wholesomeness, and go out as far as possible. Lately, I’ve also been interested in creating my own job between the United states and Japan because I am certain that both cultures can contribute and benefit to one another in regards to design, art, social issues, and cuisine. I’m not a fluent translator, nor am I an expert architect/chef/politician, but I have a huge heart for serving both countries and I believe the powers of kickass food and kickass design can improve lives. Japan clearly excels in the culinary and art;  Japan consists2x more architects than in the states, and consists of the most Michelin restaurants in the world. Simply growing up in the states as an American woman has taught me to speak up, work collaboratively, and fight the fuck on and for others for my rights, our rights. And I believe this can resolve Japan’s social issues on depression, overworking hours, gender inequality, and high suicidal rates.

This 10 day trip through Japan has helped me step closer to creating this job by re-uniting with some of the most talented designers and chefs in the world. And I want to translate the best of both worlds to everyone. This trip also wouldn’t have been as great if it weren’t for the handful of designers and chefs throughout Japan that reached out to us with such hospitality. The crew that accompanied me were my 5 architecture colleagues: Benny W. and Marcos C. from LA,  Andrew L. from SF, Jordan R. from Seattle, and Spencer M. from CLV. Our itinerary covered 4 major cities: 1) Tokyo, 2) Kyoto, 3) Kanazawa (my solo trip), and 4) Naoshima.


I first visited Tokyo, my hometown and neighbors in Nikotama, sped through my favorite streets and buildings through Shibuya, and caught up with a few Itoya coworkers, Satsuki-san and Miyasaka-san in Omotesando and Ginza. Then just before catching a shinkansen/bullet train to Kyoto, I visited my previous firm JMA, for lunch and with my interior design team, visited a multi-purpose office project that I also worked on in Kanda. Fortunately, it was just one stop away from Tokyo station so after checking out the progress and patterning of M3, I was able to quickly re-unite with the rest of my crew and head out to Kyoto.


I first met Irven Ni, Cordon Bleu Paris alumni, in Tokyo at a Nikken Sekkei/Kuma house party during my first year in Japan. He’s this British humored/shit talker, yet smooth gentleman who I was astounded by because he would cook up anything delicious and new in the kitchen instantly for me. He inspires many including me with his courageous background story: He quit his actuary job years ago, traveled around the world for a year, and courageously took the leap to become a chef 3 years ago. After he studied French cuisine in Le Cordon Bleu for a year, he moved to Tokyo to further develop his French cuisine, and eventually farewelled me goodbye on my last evening in Tokyo. While I moved to Los Angeles in July, he moved to Kyoto to work as a chef in 3-star rated Michelin restaurant, Kikunoi. After I told Irven that I was visiting Japan this November, Irven invited me and my friends for a stunning kaiseki lunch. We were welcomed by the restaurant owner’s daughter, and gestured into a gorgeous 9-tatami sized private room with a Japanese garden and pond that Irven specially selected for us. Notes from the restaurant and chef’s statements: “Kaiseki means a traditional multi-course Japanese meal. Yet originally, kai means bosom and seki means stone… and over the years, the word came to mean light meals to ward off the pangs of an empty stomach.” Our menu for the month of Shimotsuki (November) consisted of: anglerfish liver, mibuna, karasumi, kuwai chips, duck liver pate with white poppy seeds, maple leaf shaped cuttlefish coated with pickled sea urchin, tai sashimi, bluefin tuna, vinegared chrsanthemum petals, curled udo stalks and carrots, red tilefish steamed with chestnuts, lotus root salad, quail dumplings boiled in a hot pot, mochi and rice steamed in sake, topped with salmon roe, fermented black bean paste skewered on pine needles, and persimmon splashed with brandy.

It was truly a sensational, heartwarming gift to enjoy this kaiseki lunch with hot sake made by my friend and his team, in a private, carefully arranged and decored room, especially while cold rain started pouring outside. At the end of this evening, Irven and his friends treated me to drinks at Fishbowl in Kyoto, while he introduced me to other international Michelin chefs and taught me how he poured sake into my rice halfway done before it finished to make it melt in my mouth.

I couldn’t help but break the silence and laugh at the scale comparison of Andrew and the chairs they gave us. I’m relieved that Andrew didn’t complain about the pain of his legs/back, and it’s probably because every mouthful of the 3 hour meal, gulping sounds of endless refills of hot sake, and ambience were that damn divine.

And me being me, restless and anxious to catch some espresso (and photography) shots at Arashiyama’s Arabica, I woke up soon after sunrise to catch a cab and head out for Arashiyama’s Abrica coffee.


I’m still trying to be better, stronger, independent, happier, and conquer obstacles in the morning, so I made this one day getaway break by waking up early and taking another 3-hour shinkansen ride to Kanazawa. I came here once with my boyfriend at the time and coming here alone was strange, sad, but also kind of refreshing with bittersweet memories. I’ve been so determined to move on and free myself of all bad memories by moving forward and I practiced shooting more photos of contemporary design by swinging by the Umimirai library (to my bitter disappointment, the library was closed temporarily and the website didn’t post an update on that) so I only caught a few exterior shots and visited a few other parts of SANAA’s 21 contemporary art museum I didn’t get to see before. I’ve been obsessed with Maruni chairs and these by SANAA are just so lovely. But I fear that if I were to purchase one, it’d break on me because of the rate of all the sushi balls, ice cream, and drinks I’ve been intaking.


The guys and I then took another shinkansen to Okayama, a train to Uno station, then a ferry to Naoshima Island. Naoshima reminded me of a remote secret agent headquarter island, and Ando’s Benessee and Chichu museum reminded me of a villian’s lair. (enter whatever 007 quotes you can think of) After biking about 10 minutes uphill and walking into Chichu’s Art Museum’s of mystery (and works by Monet, Turrel, and Walter de Maria) we were all left breathless. Ando always does a fascinating job angling light and designing with concrete. His concrete is always so smooth that you want to rub your face all over it and touch everything you shouldn’t touch. Although photos are strictly prohibited (and I was called out countless times with curators even following and watching me put away my camera) I snapped no less than a hundred photos. And after Andrew jumped on top of Yayoi’s pumpkin, I’m pretty sure Andrew and I are one of the least welcomed back onto the island.

Now, it’s been a few days since I’ve been back and better from Japan. And I’m really excited to continue exchanging all kinds of baked and handcrafted goods with my old and new friends here and abroad this holiday season. It’s a sweet time of giving and receiving. Bring in the last few weeks of 2016. I’m ready to kick the shit to the very end of 2016 and run through Boston, New York City, to start off 2017.


Before my flights to Tokyo, Boston, and New York City for the holidays, I purchased my first mirrorless lens camera: Sony A6000 (with a f 1.8 35mm) and a remote. (My goodness, it weighs like a feather, compared to my D700) To test it before I fly out … (tonight to Tokyo), I practiced shooting some food and interiors by starting at my home this past Saturday morning with my furry little friend, Teddy.

Sometimes I wonder if my dog still looks like the same 3 month year old sleeping puppy or a really old grumpy man. Maybe he’s both, depending on what angle you look at him from.

I struggled a lot with directing the light. Every morning there are always these gradients and cast shadows… but I couldn’t help try to photograph my favorite place in my studio and my latest favorite fall snack: Pear crostini with a spread of brie cheese and sprigs of rosemary.

As 2016 is wrapping up, I decided to start focusing on fulfilling specific goals that I want to bring into 2017. Honestly, I haven’t set new years resolutions in years, yet from the habits I’ve developed and progress that’s been made – I’m feeling better about all of this.

  1. Always keep my car clean to drive / pick up anyone in need, my home as clean, cozy, organized, and hospitable as possible to care for a friend / person at any moment. (always have toiletries, cleaned sheets and towels, clothes, books, wine, and ice cream)
  2. Support more local art and participate in more volunteer work (specifically volunteer in food services and help women in need) After the Stanford case and Trump officially being delegated as president, I’m especially compelled to stand up for my rights and do something about specific social issues like harassment, gender inequality, racism.
  3. Tame my eczema. Seriously. This is the most painful, humiliating, and frustrating long-term “incurable” health disorder I’ve been battling for the past 7 years that primarily affects my facial skin, sleep, and stress.
  4. Build my credit score and maintain a decent budget (Less drinking, less impulse buys, designate a realistic percentage of my budget into my recipes, blogs, props, photography gear)
  5. Post one thing every week (one on my personal blog, one on the chefcharette)
  6. Accrue 3,000 followers by December and actively respond to comments/users.
  7. Do something challenging every morning. Hike and watch the sunrise at a summit (inspired from Carl-Ray and my climb up Mt. Fuji)..learn a rap in the car when stuck in traffic. (So far, I can rapTupac-Life Goes On, R.Kelly-Ignition, Nujabes-Luv sic pt. 4, Usher-Love In The Club, and now I’m working on Teriyaki Boyz-Tokyo Drift and Macklemore – White Walls)
  8. Travel somewhere new every month (if not a flight, make my own solo road trip)

Details on the interior:

West Elm Belgian flax duvet

West Elm cozy texture throw

Zara Hydraufallic top

Banana Republic sloan pants

Franco Sarto boots

Crate and Barrel LED birch tree

Crate and Barrel birch plant with rocks (stole from Kyle’s garden because I don’t think anyone should pay for rocks)