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! 


A little something

Friday, November 21, 2014


& Other Stories feat. Lykke Li

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

-via Other Stories
LYYKE LI is the one female singer who I would pay copious amounts to see. Ridiculous amounts. Quite a few of my friends saw her perform this past summer, and believe me, I died a little more inside- every single time. With my luck, I'd fly to Europe, and she'd still be unreachable! 

Every couple weeks, I come back to one of her songs, be it "Love out of Lust", "I know Places", or "Little Bit", only to listen to every album consecutively. I savor the nights when I have time to work my way through each album, song by song, story by story. There's this incredible mix of tender emotion, relatability and total bad ass, don't care attitude she brings. Life goals, indeed. 

So... this is why I'm also a little ashamed that I didn't write about her collaboration with &Other Stories sooner! The collection she came out with is absolutely incredible. First the color pallet- black, creamy white, tans, and golds....swoon. Next the seamless cuts. I'm in love with the oversized cashmere sweater, white dress shirt, the loafers- really, everything can be mixed and matched in countlessly versatile ways, and that's when you know the choices are solid. Take a look at her collection here, if you haven't already!

And finally the video, edited to perfection, overplayed to a fault :


New In: Oak and Fort

Friday, November 14, 2014

AUTUMN HUES brim my mind, with thoughts of both warmth and shadow this week. Here's a color pallet that reflects Earth's tones- of crisp leaves outside, of darkness found in shortening lengths of day. The season when chunky knit sweaters are the norm, when steaming mugs are held tight between fingers, and night becomes 5 pm strolls home in the fading light. Simple comfort and basics as the weather turns crisp- this is my favorite time for  dressing. The Album, "Metals" by Feist describes this feeling perfectly.

Today, I am so excited to announce a collaboration with Oak+ Fort, a contemporary clothing brand based in Vancouver, Canada. You might recall that I visited Gastown, Vancouver just a few weeks ago. Basically, amidst a handful of incredible menswear stores, I chanced upon Oak+Fort, and fell in love with the womenswear they carried. Little did I know, that a mere week after I returned home, they would be contacting me to feature some of my favorite pieces from their collection. You guys, selecting their clothing was no easy task. Take a look at their website, and you'll see what I mean. It's a minimalist's dream, a menswear-inspired haven. These are a few of the pieces I picked- I've already been wearing these sandals non-stop, so look forward to some styled posts soon! 


Friday Pairings: la nuit et l’aurore

Friday, October 31, 2014


ENTRE LA NUIT, la nuit et l'aurore... if you know which song this is from (I only profess my love every other post) we really need to be best friends. 

This morning, I'm sharing one of my favorite aesthetic combinations this month: a dusky light coral- with a tinge of burnt orange, and the classic black & white noir. Don't you love all that grain against the flora? It adds such texture and quiet intrigue. And the image on the top right... one of my all time favorites. I love the the soft strength that Lanvin achieves time and time again in their advertisements! 

Below: Ah this color combination! Something about the light coral, crisp white, and endless black together is simply striking. I'm drooling over Karla Spetic's Autumn/Winter 2014 menswear-inspired collection- the color and cut of this coat is perfection. And even amidst many gems on my "homme" board (I really enjoy beautiful people, ok) I couldn't bypass Dominik Sadoch (how is that hair humanly possible).

On a side note: Somehow, I'm always hit with waves of relentless inspiration during the weeks I'm most restricted with schoolwork... Ah, well it's time to hit the books- Joan Didion and Bauhaus are calling. Have a great weekend! 

- images via  -


Fall Backwards

Monday, October 27, 2014

- c/o shop evens | photo by Esther Lee -

INSPIRED BY an image, two stunning smocks, and the rarity of a free afternoon, Melissa and I decided to have a little impromptu shoot in my apartment earlier last week.

We'd both just received these wonderfully crafted, autumn-hued pieces from Kate De Para of Shop Evens, a design studio based in Houston, Texas. What initially attracted me to Evens is the rare combination of aesthetic simplicity, ease of wear, and artistic quality I always look for, but seldom find. I absolutely love their experimentation with multiple forms of artistry: photography, prints, textile making- all elements you know I value!

NYC on film: The Cafe's

Monday, October 20, 2014

- Toby's Estate.  08-12-2014 -

EARLIER THIS PAST summer, you might recall that I took a short trip to NYC. Feels like a lifetime ago, but this morning, I'm excited to finally share a few film photos I took in the city! Eye-pleasing perfectly swirled latte art is, but the remains will always be my favorite. What used to be a steaming mocha and cortado at Toby's Estate in the Flatiron district above, and below: mornings at one of my very favorite cafe's in Manhattan- the Grand Cafe Lafayette. 

Safe to say, I've come a long way since my desire to solely shoot still life on film. Or rather, solely the 'pretty' and 'placed' in life. Several months have passed since then, and I've become more comfortable with this film camera. The levers, the dials, the weight of the camera feels more natural, less like an intimidating machine, and more like a visual extension of myself. And never have I found a medium of photography so rewarding. I've also shared my experience (and a few tips) for shooting with film on Apartment 34- find more words and photos here

- Grand Cafe Lafayette. 8-13-2014 -

- More of my film photos on Apartment 34. Enjoy! -


I forget the rest

Thursday, October 16, 2014


Took this photo spontaneously last Saturday in the apartment. 
More soon. 


menswear - femme

Friday, October 10, 2014

-Neighbor menswear, Vancouver -
- Roden Gray menswear store. Gastown, Vancouver 9/21/14 -



Wednesday, October 8, 2014

- images found here  -

MORNING! Simply wanted to share this quote with you today, because it says a lot in very few words. And isn't it true that most often times, less is most effective?

Ever since I've come back to school here in LA, my mind has been a conglomerate chaos of thoughts- of my future, and obligations, deadlines, and expectations- of reality hitting, after an entire summer of relative ease. 

The frat houses that stand a few streets away from my apartment are obnoxiously noisy right now. Yet, even as I sit here and write this, my mind is always the loudest. 

How to cure a restless mind? Last night, I celebrated a close friend's birthday over great food, in lighting too dim to take any photos. So long, iphone-less conversations over creme-brulee is one solution. Alt-J's latest album, "This Is All Yours" also helps. 

I've also been meaning to read Quiet (The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking) at the recommendation of many, many friends who loved it. From such an early age, it's absolutely fascinating (and true) how the quieter people in society are so undervalued, so overlooked. When in fact, the inward-gazers of course, have incredible wisdom to share, the capacity to listen, and so much to say. How funny that on such a crazy clusterfck of a platform like instagram, I've met some of the most wonderfully introspective, sensitive people. I can't describe how incredibly special that is. 


Mornings x Oscar Wylee

Friday, October 3, 2014

 - Merriweather eyeglasses by Oscar Wylee -

AH. THESE KINDS of slow mornings are going to be such a rarity starting... today. Because finally, after three+ months, it's back to classes. It's a little bit surreal to be honest!

And look what's arrived in the mail, just in time for the new school year- the Merriweather eyeglasses by Oscar Wylee! I was so happy to receive this gift, because not only do they have a great timeless, vintage design, they're so functional for every day use. After a relatively relaxing summer, feigning higher intellect with the smart design of these glasses is probably a good thing, right?

Big Sur Travel Diary

Monday, September 29, 2014

- Big Sur,  9/16/ 2014 -

WAKING UP EARLIER than sunrise is a complete rarity for me, but Big Sur is the kind of place where it's unthinkable not to. Two weeks ago, Emily, founder of Tiny Atlas Quarterly (where I interned this summer) invited me to help assist on her photoshoot for 24 hours in Big Sur. I couldn't believe how perfect an opportunity this was, because camping in Big Sur has been on my travel bucket list for years. Being from California and not staying in Big Sur is apparently pretty unbelievable- one night there, and I can now see why...

pairing: gradient & mist

Saturday, September 27, 2014

HOW IS IT... that every time I return to this city, I love it a little more than before? San Francisco's fog-coated mountains- dewey in the morning mist, and lifting upwards near the last light of day, are something I take for granted too often. 

It's this same weather that lets me indulge in my favorite autumn staple- oversized knits. This white cable knit is from American Apparel, and its served me quite well over these past several months. It's the type of sweater you want to do everything in - snuggle up with blankets and a steaming mug, grab grilled cheese with friends (yes, grilled cheese in SF means Outerlands),  hiking around the beach, watching back to back Netflix... Also am I the only one who loves pairing sweaters with irrationally little clothing on the bottom like cutoffs or pj boxers ? It makes sense to me! 

photo by Felix Lim -

See my previous pairing series here!


Last Light in Big Sur

Thursday, September 18, 2014

-golden hour in Big Sur, 9/16/2014- 

WEST COAST, you are all kinds of wonderful. Took the scenic coastal drive down Highway 1 to help at a Tiny Atlas shoot this past Tuesday. 24 hours of beauty, from dusk to dawn, surrounded by nature. Endless water on one side, golden mountains on the other... I couldn't have asked for a better get-away, as the last days of summer approach. More photos soon! 


for the love of: stripes

Thursday, September 11, 2014

- photo by Felix Lim -

IT'S BEEN SOME time since I've shown my face on the blog, hasn't it? Recently I've gotten far more used to being the one behind the camera, but if there's anything that will shed away any traces of camera-shy, it's a really well-designed striped basic. There are many obsessions I can admit to in life- dark chocolate, rainy mornings indoors, the '20s, and Scott Fitzgerald... Muji notebooks I'll never finish, and stopping before every plant in sight. Stripes will always be at the top of that list.

I can't pinpoint the reason I love this classic so much. Maybe the answer is in the way the icons wear it (Anna Karina, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Jean Seberg). Maybe it's the way stripes match everything, from loose fitted boyfriend jeans, to sheer tights. Or maybe my attraction lies in the art of finding the perfect stripes. The top I'm wearing here is the navy Le Breton, and it's possibly one of my favorite finds this month. Not only is the top stretchy enough to easily move around in, it gets bonus points for the handy little front pocket! If I'm not careful, this top is going to be worn 7 days a week (and possibly some nights when I go back to university, and all bad habits kick in, once again). 

A few more photos...

Boston on Film

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

A FEW FILM photos from a morning in Boston. You might remember I posted similar photos not so long ago, but isn't the difference between the two incredible? On film, the sharp precision (too sharp, I often feel) achieved on the camera phone is softened, and there's an entirely new depth created. The focus isn't always consistent, and my film photos are far from perfect, but maybe they don't try so hard to be, and maybe that's the beauty of it. With the dusky hues from the film camera, the entire room just feels a little moodier, a little more sentimental, like a moment not so forcefully captured...

two, together

Friday, August 29, 2014

- image via -
HERE'S THE USUAL Friday pairing... minus the -ing. I love this image for a couple reasons. Its contrasting tones, the little bits of skin, two anonymous people, together and still. Most of all, I like the grainy quality of the photo- it appears to be shot on film, which brings me to my next little endeavor. Earlier this morning, I finally dropped off my second roll of film from NYC, and I'll go pick it up in just a couple hours. Ah, the anticipation. I'm really hoping they turn out ok, and we'll know soon enough, I guess! On another random note, lately I've been so inspired by menswear magazines. Fantastic Man, Hello Mr., and Fucking Young! are all visually powerful- they bring something that a lot of lifestyle quarterlies alone don't satisfy. I think a menswear inspired post is in store soon, don't you?

Have a great weekend!



© etherealist All rights reserved . Design by Blog Milk Powered by Blogger