Friday, January 16, 2015

Un, petite fragrance. Half-filled in its miniature glass bottle, the first perfume I ever received- classic daisy by marc jacobs. I typically don't wear perfume, but this one never fails to make me feel youthful and fresh. Though I admit, I've had my eyes on that pretty Rodin bottle for some time now.

Deux, gold accents. Favorite simple gold studs from Anthropologie.

Trois, thin bands. Arc ring and bracelet, c/o Fresh Tangerine jewelry.

Quatre, a place to hold these delicate pieces. Small glass plates infused with a gold leaf foil, which my mother got me in a tiny village store in Japan.



As close as I can get

Thursday, January 15, 2015

A diary of flowers
A year of love
As close as I can get

Changing things
Here it comes
No dust

A far away corner
And still this.  

sometimes up there
jim hodges.  2013

And then, it was 2015.

What was intended to be a few-day breather, full of Miles Davis and too many cookies, turned into two-going on three weeks of silence and self-reflection away from the blog - so hello again! How to transition into an entirely new year in just a meager paragraph.... My most recent source of inspiration might be a good place to start.

This past Friday after classes, I walked down to Hammer to catch Jim Hodge's exhibit in its final days at the museum. His work is an incredible mix of texture and color, both delicate and loud, intricate and full of emotion. It's about the small things in life, and temporality, the captions read. Hodge allows himself to explore so many material realms- textile, painting, photography, found objects, with a careful intention in seeing menial things in a new, different way. The importance of the unspoken bits is what inspires me in his work. Sometimes up there isn't from this particular exhibit, but it's one of my favorites after looking more into his work. Another favorite from the exhibit, here it comes.
Here's a little snippet written by Hammer Museum, found here: 

"Since the late 1980s, Hodges’ poetic reconsiderations of the material world have inspired a wide-ranging body of work. From the delicate nature of early wall sculptures—including Diary of Flowers (1994), composed with hundreds of doodled paper napkins, and Changing Things (1997), made from disassembled silk flowers—to the large cut-paper photographs of flowering trees, gold-leafed newspaper pages, and light-filled mirror mosaics of the past decade, Hodges’ art typically begins as humble, even overlooked materials that are transformed through his touch." 
- source -

The poem at the top of the post? As I walked through the exhibit's rooms, I jotted down my favorite titles of Hodge's works. In retrospect, reading these titles in the sequence I found them was a perfect way to remember my experience. As a combination of seemingly random words, arranging themselves in an unexpectedly beautiful way. 

1. what's left     2. As close as I can get 

As for the rest of winter break... 


Monday, December 29, 2014

coat and shoes - c/o oak and fort
pocket tee - c/o everlane

photos by kevin mao

pairing: chance encounter

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

"Parallel lines have a lot in common, but they never meet. 
 But every other pair of lines meets once, then drifts apart forever." 

TODAY'S PAIRING N.6 ... Inspired by the ambiguity of lines. Ongoing, coincidental, undisrupted straight marks of inches, centimeters, of co-existence, life's disruption, and a chance encounter. 

I went to the empty handball courts yesterday with Kevin and Vincent. I loved the lines across the court there. Stark white, against synthetic asphalt in forest green. Splatters on the wall, and last week's rain stains, and some lovely coral hues. He said it might be dirty, I found it beautiful. I don't think I would have thought that a year ago. There were also trees lining the rims of the court, peeking from edges of concrete. We talked about Murakami, and now he's on my mind! I'll start reading Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World next week. Glad I brought my film camera with me. 


Image I: La charte d’Athènes by Scott HardyImage 
II: Dieppa Restrepo via Need Supply

moments found: four barrel cafe

Monday, December 22, 2014

four barrel cafe, 
375 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94103
ordered: cafe mocha

WITHIN THE PULSE of an over-crowded cafe, loud spurts of laughter weave between conversations, filling the empty spaces in keyboards. Roasting coffee brews a hazy warmth over the room. I came to this cafe around 5 pm, just as the last light was disappearing. The energy here was still high; there were still soft moments worth noticing... 

There is something to be said for the aroma alone that the roasting coffee here ignites. 

"Our roasters have spent years perfecting the art of using their experience, senses, intuition and knowledge to make adjustments and take the coffee where it needs to go. Modern technology is simply no takes patience, dedication, understanding and willingness to interact with coffee in this way everyday. We taste the fruits of their labor every morning in our double americanos and our cups of kenya miroroma pour-over and challenge anyone who scoffs at the notion that the art of roasting is anything less than the work of a lifetime "  - four barrel, via 

It's as simple as this. When coffee is made with care, from its origins as a sourced green plant, to the relationships cultivated with farmers across the world, it shows in the first sip of coffee we take from our barista's mug. Not only is their coffee great (even Dandelion Chocolate down the street mixes Four Barrel coffee with their chocolate, and it's the Best Thing Ever), I was so infatuated with the little coffee mugs they served here, I asked the barista for their source. He not only gave me the company name, he gave me the owner's business card& contact, and a little history. Impressive, no? 

Cafe's are my comfort spot. They always have been. It's a little indulgent, sure. But sometimes we need several hours of self-indulgent bliss. And Nico's sweet voice in the background. I find that good friends, strangers even, open up more, feel freer to engage in deep conversation with a steaming cup in hand. When I'm alone, looking up from what I'm doing an hour later, to find the daylight nearly gone, is beautiful. I love glancing up now and then, just noticing- anonymous strangers walking in, the way rays of light hit the chair, the barista deep in concentration. I love watching artists draw other people, observing people, observing. 

All photos taken with Mamiya film camera. 



Wednesday, December 17, 2014

"My mother was right: When you've got nothing left, all you can do is get into silk underwear and start reading Proust."
                                                                                                                                                                                                    -Jane Birkin 

Favorite snapshots of Jane Birkin. Such energy, and presence! Such a lived (living) life.
Note to self: take favorite cream knit out to the beach, asap. 


Learning, un-learning, re-learning

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

“I’m stimulated by learning 

and if I’m not learning then I’m not stimulated, 

and if I’m not stimulated then I’m not living, 

and if I’m not living then I’m dead.”

-Ryan McGuiness, Human Being Journal. Issue 4. 


- Huntington Botanical Gardens, Los Angeles - 

At the time, I would say I was intrigued with the idea of perfection. 
As if capturing the cleanest, most flawlessly arranged photographic form was superior to the reality of a messy, un-cropped life. 
For a while, I shunned one, then mocked the other. Who am I left with, if I am both? 

If questioning, and re-questioning everything is learning, then I'm learning, and re-learning a lot this year. 

I want to understand more than the aesthetics of a photo. I want to know why a photo illicits a reaction. Is it the soul the photographer brings to the image, a rawness, or happiness, or yearning, the viewer then shares? 

When I look at these photos, I'm reminded of a love for shadows, for organic plants unfurling their limbs in soft light. I never want to lose this innocence. I'm also reminded of a true struggle now, to release control and symmetry. To undo perfection. 

A friend took me to this spot not so long ago. It's beautiful, and I look forward to the ease I felt walking through the gardens. Just getting lost in the plants, laughing, wandering, wondering out loud. 


Mood Board: Washed Out

Saturday, December 6, 2014

A little love letter to December in Los Angeles... 

The rain is pouring outside now, our first rainfall in weeks. Illuminated windows are frosted, but there's not an ounce of snowy white powder atop the pastel houses that line these LA streets. 

And I'm not talking about the "snow" on 12 ft. palm trees at the Promenade or the Grove...

This week, I'm inspired by faint, washed out, ephemeral hues. Maybe it's the influence of my English class (Joan Didion, Bret Easton Ellis, aka reveling in the feeling of nothing-ness), or just noticing the pastel-colored houses in this city more. On the other hand, I also re-watched Florence Welch's "Love letter to LA", filmed by Tabitha  Denholm a couple years ago, where she admits to finding LA the opposite of empty- full of new possibility away from home, of thrilling excitement, and glamour. Both resonate with me, at different times, I think. 

In the meantime, here I am in my apartment, putting up a mood board that features some of my favorite artist's photos (all found here). In the mix- Human Being Journal (can't get enough), artist Ina Jang (seriously, can't get enough), Tarafirma + Joshuvela's beautiful tumblr's, and Shirin Neshat's Logic of the Birds, one of my all time favorites

Have a well-rested enough weekend, for the both of us (finals week, here I come! )


In the Studio: The Classics

Monday, December 1, 2014

TWO WEEKENDS AGO, at 8 am on a crisp Friday morning, I ventured out to the Arts District in downtown LA to shoot a style story at Esther's studio. 

The dull, lengthy commute? Not so fun. This hardly mattered, however, given the concept we were to work around that day: the classics

The classics, being those select few pieces in our collection that have quite frankly, endured our very worst faux-pas, and come out on top, as our go-to's and easy favorites. The loose-fitted white tee, ideal for lounging around in the apartment- sleeves, easily rolled up, for the days we want to channel our inner James Dean (everyday). The black pants, long enough to appear slimming, stretchy enough   to sit cross-legged on a stool for a half-hour (tried and tested). The chunky sandals, wooden heeled, with nude inner soles, and once broken in, perfect for stomping around the city. 

These are the simple pieces, the ones which have outlasted the best and worst of trends, the ones we inevitably reach for, because we know they'll perform. They probably took a long time to find or acquire. And they were probably not the cheapest to come by. But for these pieces, I personally never mind shelling out a little more. Their allure, after all, lies in their immaculate quality. They've been worn now, to the point of soft, intimate, and subtle perfection. These pieces are timeless. 

Many thanks to Melis, who took these photos, and about a hundred more. With certain photographer friends like her, I feel more comfortable in front of the camera, because behind every serious photo, five equally awkward, humorous instances exist. 

Those are the true classics, right? 

Which classics do you find most timeless and worthwhile? I'd love to know. 


For good meals, together

Thursday, November 27, 2014


WHEN I THINK OF a truly good meal, an impossibly cozy atmosphere, and the best company, this photo immediately comes to mind. I took this in New York City, when Michelle and I visited the Fat Radish earlier this year. It was so cold and crisp that morning, and when we walked almost thirty blocks to lower Manhattan, from East Village to this restaurant near Chinatown, we were all but famished. I'd heard about the vegetarian restaurant through Cereal Mag, and as soon as we stepped in, and saw that well-documented beauty of a bicycle in the foyer, we knew the long trek was well worth it. And this was before our dish came. 

Aren't these colors so quintessentially autumn

Today is Thanksgiving, and while the meal we're having later today won't be documented quite like this, it'll be spent enjoying and participating in real time conversations nonetheless. This year, more than past years, I have so much to be thankful for. I've gotten to know such special, life-changing people, and I've held onto the ones who know me best, who remind me that material things in life are merely this- replaceable things. And more than ever, I understand the the necessity of disconnecting, and just living, just being present. Even if you don't celebrate this holiday, take the time to have a worthwhile meal with someone you care about. There is always enough time to sit down, enjoy good food, and let go of the outside world. And... now time to stuff myself silly with PIE. 

Happy Thanksgiving! 



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