Wednesday, April 9, 2014

currently reading...

What's on your reading list? I'm on the last few pages of Delivering Happiness, Zappos CEO Tony Hseih's book, which had been on my to-read list for a long time - it's really fantastic. I totally relate to Tony's passion to build something that touches peoples' lives and love that he explicitly called this drive a "calling." Also interesting to learn about how Zappo's extremely family-oriented culture came about.

On my to-read list: I just got my pre-order kindle copy of Marina Keegan's posthumous collection of essays and stories called The Opposite of Loneliness. I stumbled upon her site on my Facebook newsfeed and was really saddened by her story -- she passed away in a car accident only 5 days after her graduation from Yale undergrad in 2012; what she left behind are incredibly courageous, moving stories that are compiled in this collection. I read her story "Cold Pastoral" in the New Yorker and really admire how boldly vulnerable her writing is (without being melodramatic). 

Lastly, I'm trying to get started on (again) and complete (hopefully) Tim Keller's Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God's Work, which provides a great perspective of why work is important and a gift from God. Keller is my incredibly wise church pastor and I've read his books before, but since there is SO much great content, I always need the extra push of discipline to get through each book. Here goes!

(Photo via Freshome)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

coachella-inspired looks from sole society

In 2012, I bought my first pair of shoes from Sole Society back when they first launched. Since then, Sole Society has partnered with 20+ influencers & bloggers to curate their shoe boutiques and collaborated with Julianne Hough on her own collections. Recently in 2013, they extended into bags and accessories. It's been so delightful watching Sole Society grow into a successful direct to consumer platform, stretching beyond shoes. Here's a peek at their fabulous selection, inspired by Coachella fashion which feels like a mix of Americana and Navajo (in my opinion!). What are your favorite Sole Society picks?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

the wanderlust list: my travel to-do's!

I think I'm getting seriously sick... with the travel bug. (Okay, that was cheesy.) If we're ever hanging out and you notice me gazing off into the distance, it's not you, it's me. I've been in such a wanderlusty mood for the past few weeks, my Facebook wall is covered with travel inspiration. I know I've already been really lucky to have gone to San Fran and the Bahamas so far this year, but I think they only whet my appetite for more :) Here's my latest travel to-do list, with a good mix of domestic and international cities -- what's on your list?

My friend Lindsay recently vacationed in Tulum, Mexico with her husband and really loved it. It's a non-touristy beach town that's filled with history like Mayan ruins, cool caves and cennotes, and interesting shops run by local craftsmen. 

Arizona hiking roadtrip idea: Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, and Sedona. My friend Tina and I are currently obsessed with Antelope Canyon at the moment -- the water-formed rocks look like multi-colored waves in different lighting... dreamy.

Ziplining, jungles, and beaches! Costa Rica is high up on my list because it seems like it offers the perfect balance of relaxation and outdoors adventuring.

Friday, March 21, 2014

the friend exodus: why is everyone moving away?

Yesterday was the first day of Spring-- although I don't feel it quite yet, I am so relieved. What a long winter it had been! This week was especially rough and bittersweet because Abby told me she was definitely going to be moving back to Philly this summer, after two years of living together. I had been expecting it -- both her boyfriend and her family live in Philly -- but it's always hard when close friends move away, especially my roommate who is like a sister. (Don't leave, Abby!)

While I'm always thrilled for my friends who start new adventures outside of New York, it's hard to adjust to life as usual in the city without having them here. I see things that I'd like to go to and that they would love, but they aren't available. Some of my dearest friends moved away this past year: Neetu to India, Danny to Syracuse, and Emily to Nashville. Other friends will be moving to San Francisco and Miami by end of year. While I love playing the role of cheerleader to their new adventures, I selfishly, wholeheartedly wish that those adventures could be in the city.

Makes me wonder if it's harder to move away to a new city and start a new journey, or is the greater challenge actually in coping with the feeling of being left behind? Would you rather move to a new city and not know a single soul, or would you rather stay where you are while everyone leaves?

(Photo via here)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

this kate spade surprise sale...

... Is speaking to me. Up to 65% off select sale items across all categories and wedding themed.  Sarah's wedding is coming up in less than two weeks and I have no clue what I'm wearing. So excited for it! Anyway, the Kate Spade sale is here, and these are some cool things that popped up...


Friday, March 14, 2014

8 favorite deborah lippmann nail colors

I don't own a single Deborah Lippman nail polish (mostly because I used to work on Essie when I was at L'Oreal and already own a ton of colors). Some of DL's shades though are super pretty and definitely tempting me to make a purchase. Here are 4 of my favorite party-ready glittery polishes and 4 classic colors. Just 'cause.

Party-ready (left side, top to bottom): 

Classics (right side, top to bottom): 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

what are your plans this weekend?

I know it's only Wednesday (hump day), but I'm already really looking forward to my first weekend back in New York in what feels like forever (after SF, Bahamas, and Philly visiting my family). My goal is to be outside as long as possible since the weather is improving (thank goodness!). On weekends, I have a habit of power-walking through Soho, West Village, and East Village while chatting on the phone or listening to a podcast, people watching, and taking photos. I actually just stumbled upon the above photo of a restaurant called Freeman's which I had instagrammed 2 years ago while on such a walk! Isn't it so cute? I love how off the beaten path it is, tucked away in Chrystie St.

I'll also be catching up with my friend and former L'Oreal colleague Adam at brunch, meeting another friend Adam (funny coincidence) for coffee to plot out his career path (which sounds so devious, no?), attending a Crunch workout class, and working on my application to a theology seminar. What's your weekend looking like?

(Top photo via Nicole Franzen, bottom photo of me taken by my friend Danny in Soho)

Thursday, March 6, 2014

3 swimsuits that look like art

I'm so ready for summer (and for the beach again). I'm trying to organize a rental home in the Hamptons this summer with 10+ girls, which has been upping my cravings for more swimsuits and sarongs. (And I was just talking about trying to be minimal - urgh!) Currently, I'm really smitten with suits that have beautiful textiles like works of art, which Asos happens to be carrying a ton of inventory of right now! Here are a few of my favorites...

Minkpink Spring Break Bustier Bikini (Top and Bottom)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

5 in-transit thoughts

I was just telling Abby my roommate that I wish I had several hours after work to decompress, read silly Buzzfeed articles, catch up on my Facebook newsfeed and just... relax. Reconcile the random thoughts in my head from throughout the day (I call them 'in-transit' thoughts because they float around and then are gone before I get a chance to contemplate more or write them down). That's why I thought I'd just write them here before bedtime (and maybe stumble upon this blog post sometime in the distant future and think back about myself, 'What a baby I was!' That would be pretty cool.).

- Two contradictions: I'm trying to be more minimal in life -- give away clothes I haven't worn in a year to my sister, own less things, etc. -- and yet I am totally hooked on Pinterest, which is all about excess everything. It's like... I need to go on Pinterest and pin pretty things to my boards to unwind before bedtime. What a goof.

- For the Bahamas, I was still putting all of my sample-size toiletries in ziplock bags for my flight carry on and felt like something was amiss. Why haven't I bought a real-person plane bag? I just ordered this Stephanie Johnson yellow jumbo zip bag and am abnormally excited to pack for my next trip in style, for once.

- My internal dialogue lately has been unnecessarily dramatic: "I really want babies. I love babies!!!" "No, you can't have babies, you're not even married and you have too many things on your bucket list to do!" "But I'm really good with them. Get on with it already, have a baby." "No. You're not having babies until age thirty." "Ugh, fine. But don't wait to long...." Seriously, estrogen is such a nuisance sometimes. I sincerely hope this is every mid-twenties woman's inner turmoil so I'm not the crazy one.

- Yesterday I went to Art Bar in the West Village for late evening drinks with some girlfriends and loved the ambiance of the back living room-- very 1940s velour couches/fireplace chic. Need to visit again soon.

- My friends Sarah and Evan are getting married on March 30 and I'm beyond excited. Abby and I are both thinking first: What am I going to wear? Second: What does this mean we're old now? And lastly: Holy crap, Sarah's going to be a married woman!!! I 'm so excited. I'm totally going to finagle the microphone and give a rowdy, tipsy toast because I love that girl.

(Photo via here)

Sunday, March 2, 2014

beach getaway: the bahamas

Only two months ago, I vowed to take more trips in 2014, so it was very fortuitous that I was able to make a pretty last minute visit to the Bahamas for a "Spring Break" of sorts. New York has had the worst winter (from Snowstorm Hercules to Titan - that's 13 snowstorms!) of my 7 years of living here, so naturally my friends and I were itching to get away. We found a great deal on for a 4-night, 5 day stay at the Melia Nassau resort and booked it immediately. What resulted was one of the laziest and most relaxing vacations I've ever had :) Here are some photos taken from my iphone (edited on VSCO Cam and Instagram).

One of the biggest luxuries was just taking in the sun. Growing up my family never went on beach vacations -my parents were more into historical, cultural trips (Colonial Williamsburg, for example); in fact, my first ever resort experience was in 2011 in Puerto Rico. I love the easygoing nature of the resort life, but don't think I can do it for more than a couple of days since I get antsy. But it was so, so nice to lay on the beach reading, nap by the pool, chill out in the Jacuzzi, and take lots of piña colada & strawberry daiquiri breaks. 

Some trip highlights include enjoying local cuisine at Andros Fish Fry, Poop Deck, and Bahama Grill. We mostly ate grilled seafood and lots of conch -- which I had never had before. I think I ate my own weight in conch salad, conch soup, conch fritters, etc. Oh, and grouper fish too. We also went out with some of the other guests at night to check out the local bars and clubs, including Aura at the Atlantis, Via Restaurant & Bar, and Señor Frog's (touristy, but so fun). 

I think my all-time top three Bahamas moments were taking a long walk down East Cable Beach (approximately a mile) during sunset; getting an evening tour of the magnificent aquarium in the Atlantis from new friends from our resort; and of course meeting some of the guests at the Melia and hearing their stories: a telecomm entrepreneur from Ohio, a musician who is the nephew of Sydney Poitier, a group of guys from Fort Worth, Texas on a bachelor party trip, etc. And of course, hanging out with everyone in our group: Liz, Abby, Sarah, Irina, and Kris. Lucky to have shared this experience with you guys! xoxo

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

back to basics: 5 workout items you need

Nowadays, my workout clothes have become my weekend clothes, lounge clothes, and errands-running clothes all rolled into one, due to sheer comfort and all the stylish options available. (Apparently, I'm not the only one who thinks this way, according to Business of Fashion.) So this means we have a free pass to invest well and often into our workout wardrobe, right? :) Anyway, here are a few of the favorite pieces in my fitness closet...

Colorful tanks that brighten your day and somehow make your shoulders look more toned (I don't know how they do it!). My favorite are the Lululemon Scoop neck and Power Y tanks.

Leggings are so flattering, I usually wear my Lululemon Wunder Unders with long sweaters too, outside of working out. These leggings are supposed to last to up to 10 years -- mine are certainly keeping up quite well so far.

These Old Navy bras are so comfortable and quality, yet ridiculously inexpensive. Score. 
I love how this GapFit Motion graphic T keeps me warm during an outdoor run. Also this grey pattern looks incredibly sleek (the curved side graphic nicely nips in the waist).

Asics are by far my favorite brand of sneakers. So comfortable! These running shoes have a rearfoot gel cushioning system which helps soften every step's impact. Also, coral and black is a badass color combination. 

What are your favorite workout pieces? Any items that you swear by? I'm obsessed with all things Lululemon because of their free in-store tailoring-- being 5'1" I literally tailor all of my tops and leggings!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

is 'everything is good' actually a bad thing?

You know when your friends ask you 'how are you?' and the answer sometimes is an automatic 'good!' Well I try not to do that -- I usually give a specific answer with lots of details and examples (I love story-telling and sharing after all). Lately though, I've been surprising myself by giving an answer that is, very genuinely, a simple 'everything is really good.' Gosh, it feels so weird to report smooth sailing. No dramatic stories, no complaints or anxieties. Not many internal of external struggles. A new level of continuous stability that I've never felt before.

What do you do when life is so calm and quiet? I am really grateful for this peaceful stage right now -- the fact that I enjoy my work, feel content with all of my relationships, and genuinely like the person I'm growing into and the communities that I'm a part of. But it's weird. In a city that is constantly stimulating and full of drama, am I becoming a bore? Is 'everything is good' actually a bad thing, an indicator of complacency? Should we always be struggling in life? What are your thoughts? Tell me if I'm being crazy here. :)

(Photo via here)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

3 days in San Francisco

I've visited San Francisco before two October's ago (conveniently the best time.. oh those Indian summers), but I couldn't help saying yes when two of my friends asked me if I wanted to visit again. Three days was a pretty good amount of time to explore some of SF's main neighborhoods, and it was so fun to show Eunsan and Tina around, since they had never been. Here's a full recap of our little adventure...

Day 1: North Beach, Chinatown, Union Square, and Mission. We started off with brunch at the famous Mama's in Washington Square Park (got there early due to long lines), then burned off our eggs benedict climbing up the Vallejo Street Steps to take in the view, checked out City Lights bookstore (they have an amazing poetry section) and took photos of the murals at Jack Kerouac alley. Then we ambled down Chinatown, saw the Dragon Gate up close, and headed to Union Square to take the typical tourist photo in front of the heart statue and shop at H&M (Tina wanted boyfriend jeans... don't ask).

Then we stopped over at the gorgeous Yerba Buena gardens (which somehow had a photo booth, thus the above photo), before hopping on the Bart to the Mission, one of my favorite neighborhoods. In the Mission, we browsed through one cute boutique after another (I got an orange-red pea coat at Therapy), took a coffee break at Borderlands Books and played on the swings at Dolores Park without shame. By then it was around 4:30pm and we were eager for a pre-dinner snack, so we headed over to Taqueria el Buen Sabor for tacos which were some of the best I've had. We walked along Valencia Street until sunset, took photos of the art at Clarion Alley, and then headed over to Miss Saigon's for some great pho -- even though we weren't that hungry after our snack, for some reason we were all craving pho.

Day 2: Fisherman's Wharf, Ferry Building, Alcatraz. I was really adamant about trying the clam chowder at Fisherman's Wharf because during my previous visit I biked right through the area without stopping for food :). We hopped on the Powell/Mason cable car to brunch at Fog Harbor and had a delicious clam chowder in sourdough bread, checked out the (quite smelly) seals at Pier 39, then took a quick street car to the Ferry Building to meet my friend Lindsey at the Farmer's Market. Nursing a Blue Bottle coffee, Lindsey and I caught up on life, then the girls and I headed back to Pier 33 for our Alcatraz night tour which started at 3:30pm-- this was my first time and it was worth the $39... what an interesting piece of history! By the end of the tour around 7:30pm, we were so exhausted we had a super filling seafood dinner at Pier Market (couldn't stop eating the sour dough bread) and headed home (to our Airbnb in Hayes Valley) to pass out. It was weird getting tired at 10pm, but remember we were still on New York time!

Day 3: Ocean Beach, Golden Gate Park, Lower Haight. On our last day, we met up with Eunsan's friend Angela for brunch at Beachside Coffee Bar & Kitchen where I had a yummy salted caramel latte and my first Irish breakfast sandwich (think lots of sausage + cheese). Following brunch, we walked along Ocean Beach right by the water, hiked up the Lands End trail to check out the Camera Obscura, then walked around the sides of the the Sutro Bath ruins. It was so amazing to see this man-made bath right next to the beach. The whole afternoon of hiking and walking by the beach is probably my favorite memory of the trip, since I'm secretly a nature hippie :).

After our hike we took the bus to Golden Gate Park where we took a reading break right outside the de Young museum, walked through the park to the Haight where we had a crepe at Crepe Express and met Annarose, my friend from work who just moved to SF, for coffee at Sparrow Bar & Kitchen. Then some more shopping (and by that I mean, browsing around and buying nothing, ugh), followed by dinner back at the the Mission at El Techo de Lolinda, which was a feast of corn, sangria, pork belly, and chicharonnes.

Phew, what a jam packed trip! It was a little cooler in SF during February, but I am so glad I got to have another taste of this amazing city. Until next time, San Francisco!

(photos from my iPhone 5, edited via VSCO cam app. Take a look at the full SF album on Facebook.)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

new york, I love you but...

I'm so over these snowstorms, and yet we are expecting another one tomorrow! Also, today was nuts -- my flight tomorrow morning to SF got cancelled and it was so crazy difficult to reschedule (Thanks United). Fingers crossed that it doesn't get cancelled again. I'm trying to focus on all the positive things about living here in Manhattan (and counting down the days til Spring)...


(Photo source: 12345, 6)
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