NEW YORK, I LOVE YOU.

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<i>Wearing Klarra Overalls, Free People top, Celine bag and Miu Miu sunglasses and shoes. Photos by Henry Bae. </i>

We shot these images in Times Square during my last few hours in New York. While it’s every other New Yorker's and my own nightmare, it made sense for me to revisit the classic ‘concrete jungle’ backdrop. It reminded me a lot about my love-hate relationship with the city, while it's amazing being surrounded by all these billboards, people and feeling like anything is possible, it was a place you are and feel incredibly small in. 

I was partly in New York for work and to visit one of my best friends and while I would sum it up as a good time, I felt like a complete mess while being there. I guess this could be partly because the last time I was in this unforgiving, fast-paced city was when I decided to travel here solo and found it to be one of the most depressing weeks of my life although I came out from it stronger and motivated. This time around, there was that constant fear of being alone and it was the last thing I wanted to do. Henry and I argued- I was being a complete brat at times. We were both so insecure trying to make each other feel vulnerable. 

The week returning from my 3 week long adventure was a hard one emotionally and mentally. I pretty much lost myself. Travel for me is my escape and the moment I return to some sort of familiarity and routine, I seem to fall apart a little. I’ve realised that I am constantly trying to run away from the present. It’s been a lot of ups and downs this year, but recently I’ve found myself to be an emotional wreck due to finally coming to a realisation after so many years why I behave the way I do. It made me so sad that, that was it. And it was something that I simply couldn’t run away from anymore and had to deal with everyday, no matter how long it took. 

While New York City is known for it’s relentless energy and being the city where dreams are made of, where anything is possible, it is the one city I’ve found myself to be in a literal nightmare more than once and I really do question it. Why this amazing city- I really don’t know. But if going back has made me learn one thing, it’s simply to love. I think going back with a fear and kind of negativity was just a bad start. So many times I’ve told myself to do all things with love, and to think love, breathe love and live love. But I was mostly frustrated with the city. Angry, determined to not allow it to beat me up like it did two years ago. We all have scars, and the ones that remain shouldn’t have to haunt you when you’re revisiting a place or a time, it should only remind you to get yourself together and be stronger to turn it all around. If I had to sum it up, New York had won again but by turning the last few hours around into magic, I knew that I came out of it stronger than I did before. So thank you New York, for being so hard on me. You always seem to be the most real to me.  

EL MATADOR SEA WAVES

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Tipilly Jumpsuit

This was definitely one of the highlights during my Californian adventure, I had been to the beaches in L.A before and driven across the Pacific Coast Highway but never stepped foot onto Malibu and when I did I stopped to ask myself, what exactly took me so long? Forget Venice or Santa Monica. They're great and special in their way but El Matador beach is definitely in a league of it's own. I feel like I nearly got taken by the waves and splashed over and over but it was an adventure. We left the beach scruffed from climbing up and down the large rocks and exploring the sea caves, soaked from the tumultuous waves. I didn't get dressed especially for this but it just seemed to all fit perfectly into place. I love that a jumpsuit like this was the perfect balance for casual and something a little more dressy with the right amount of accessories and the right footwear. I wore this with flats and a huge hat while exploring the Malibu beaches and it just was a lovely way to spend a Friday evening. I've never been a beach holiday person, I love fast-paced big cities, skyscrapers and the bright lights rather than a slow, relaxing holiday. Or maybe I have never had the right company to experience something like that but I've always had a very special relationship with the sea for as long as I've known it. The ocean not only gives me peace but a sense of adventure and wonder. It gives me clarity and has given me greater courage and resilience to go after the things I love and believe in because look at it- in all it's amazement, it is unimaginable how vast the oceans and beaches of this world are and what they are capable of. As cliche as it sounds, the sea truly is a force to be reckoned with and I love it whenever I am close to it. I guess being a city girl, it's the perfect balance for me when I do make the trip out to be with the ocean. What does the ocean mean to you?

 If you're in Los Angeles, make sure you make the trip down and watch the sun set from the upper cliffs of the beach, the view was definitely one I would never forget and the light, the light! It was amazing and left me at a loss for words. I love you, Malibu! 




Urban Lights

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Zara Bustier, Shopmissingavenue skirt, Nastygal Shoe Cult heels

Whee I'm blogging, I'm blogging! For the fourth time in a week! It has honestly been AGES since I've blogged this much, here is to really hoping I keep up with it. I'm excited about the travel series which I've been working on, so you get tips on getting ready for travel and going solo. These were taken by Natalie when we hung out in L.A, I had always wanted to visit the Urban Lights exhibit outside the LACMA and I guess it took 3 trips before I finally made it there. Such a beautiful museum. 

It was so good to be able to hang out with Natalie, we had been following each other for what's felt like years and had emailed for awhile. I fondly remember starting one of my emails with how badly I wanted to come back to L.A for vacation and she was like "come, come!" and up till a week before my trip, we were still chatting as friends, no clue that I would have the opportunity to actually really end up going. And so the moment I landed in L.A soil, we arranged to meet. It was in a hotel at a cute place for brunch and I was with a friend who was completely different from who I was and what I did but the three of us got along just fine and had a lovely afternoon. It's funny how just being able to follow someone on Instagram and be reading their blogs can allow you feel like you actually know the person. Natalie isn't the first person I've made friends with and met abroad but she is special because I have a good feeling even if we were to meet 10 years from now, we'd still be good friends. The thing about me is, I LOVE to talk. I am someone who can talk non stop for hours. There is nothing, NOTHING, I love more than being able to just sit down somewhere with someone and TALK, one on one. And I just get so curious whenever I meet new people. Just being in conversation with someone is like being able to take a secret peep into their lives and at the same time, be a part of it in one way or another. Over some fancy Korean BBQ, Natalie and I spoke of many things and it was so nice. I was at a point in my life where I felt blessed to be surrounded by like-minded people who shared the same values as I did, and to have the opportunity to be travelling and meeting such amazing people. And woah, did this girl blow my head off. I guess it's also just American culture. Growing up in Asia, we're brought out in a way where we're constantly sheltered by our parents, we don't get kicked out or cut-off completely by the time we're 18. While Natalie had her own story and background, this girl bravely moved to L.A for college, left school, started a successful blog and is now blogging full-time. She has been supporting herself for awhile now and she is only 19, I am turning 21 and constantly in debt for spending way beyond my means without having to worry about paying for my electricity bill. Natalie showed me what it was like to fearlessly go after your dreams and after our last farewell, I was in my Uber ride and just thinking to myself, why have I been so scared in the first place? 

Failure. If there is one thing I am the most afraid of in my life apart from losing people, it has got to be failure. I've spent my whole life visualizing THE perfect life I intend on living ten/ twenty years from now and it's a headache. Every night I have trouble sleeping because I obsess over the smallest of details even when I visualize. That apartment, that holiday, my perfect prince charming… I guess meeting Natalie made me realise that sometimes you need to let it all go and just go out and live.  Thankfully, right now, I can safely say I am at a point in my life where I have nothing to lose so a lot of risks are about to be taken and I'm scared as hell, scared to death, just, deathly afraid. But like I said, if I  were to not get that dream job, I'd still have friends and family to go to for support and a home to live in. It's a vastly different world in America, coming back consecutively for the past 4 years and travelling to different parts of the U.S made me realise how easy it is to lose your home, making homelessness one of the most prominent problems the U.S is facing. We are so lucky. I am so lucky.

Speaking of travel and guides, what I'll leave you off with in this post is to connect with people. Don't be afraid to go up to a person and talk, we're so lucky we have social media allowing us to do that without physical action. Never be afraid to meet new people, I've said it before and I will say it again.

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It was so good to finally meet you, Natalie! Can't wait for our next adventure…..next week. 

THE BIG ADVENTURE


I really wanted to document and share my experience in L.A and Vancouver from something other than pictures and my very bad updating skills so I worked on filming bits and pieces of this incredible adventure. I was surprised by how I managed to do 90% of this in one sitting but I guess it was really because making it made me feel so good- you know that feeling you come home after being away for awhile and you miss the times you had but you're even more grateful for the memories. That was how I felt and how I still feel. I find myself still watching this before I sleep because the memories that came with this video mean so much to me and I am so thrilled that I am able to share it with everyone else here. Thankfully, my video editing skills improved slightly after I posted a video diary of my time in London last summer. Whatever it is, all I can say is…. it was more than just an adventure. I learnt so much about myself, met the most amazing people, reunited with old friends, sang my heart out (Thank you Elliot and Nigel for bearing with me!) and just had an insanely good time. Thank you to all the people who gave me their time, opened their hearts out to me and for allowing me to be a part of their summer in one small way or another. And to Los Angeles and Vancouver for giving me one hell of an amazing time.

Song is Zebra by Beach House.

CHEESEBURGERS DONE RIGHT

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Photos by Elliot Chin

I know I've still been so bad at updating but ah Los Angeles has been a crazy ride so far that everyday I'm home all I do is knock out in bed. Prior to my previous post, I did mention how obsessed I am with some fast food chains here in America and true to California's epitome of fast food heaven is without a doubt…In-N-Out (duh!) so I made sure to document every moment I was in the restaurant, it obviously became a little more than that but I don't mind. For those who don't know why people make such a fuss about the chain, In-N-Out operates solely in California and with a few locations in the American Southwest. And that is it. No where else in the world will you be able to get whats my definition one of the best cheeseburgers in America. It's simple but all kinds of crispy, juicy, tender deliciousness and I'm sorry I have to use the word fuck but fuck! It was amazing. Three years of waiting to have this in my mouth again so I was excited and a happy girl. To me, the chain has nailed not only quality in their products but I can't get over their distinct branding and palm tree print. Burgers are all made to order and special requests are always taken to ensure happy customers getting their burgers and fries just how they like it. I have my cheeseburgers with a twist, something off the not so secret menu: "Double Double" (two patties and two slices of cheese) animal style. Animal style burgers are cooked in a thin layer of mustard, and in addition to the lettuce and tomato it also includes pickles, grilled onions, and extra spread. Likewise, I love my fries well-done, animal style. 

Bummed that I didn't have as much In-N-Out as I wanted to but I guess the best things in life don't come easy. So many other variations of their burgers from the secret menu that need to be tried but if it's anything, In-N-Out sure knows how to do one hell of an epic cheeseburger. I'm proud to say my time in California has been fruitful especially when it came to fast food chains and as much as I hate to say this, I think 50% of my expenses went to these chains I was so excited to eat at again. If you must ask, my favourites also include Chipotle, Mexican fast food HEAVEN. Hope you guys enjoy these photos as much as I enjoyed taking them! 

HOLLYWOOD GIRL

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Currently in Los Angeles and damn, I am so thrilled to be back. It's been a great past 5 days exploring new and old places, reuniting with new and old friends. We trekked up to the Hollywood sign over the weekend, can't believe it took me 3 trips to California before I finally made it up here! As many of you should already know, I have a mild obsession with palm trees, American fast food chains like In-N-Out, Denny's…Chipotle.. so deep down inside maybe I am an all American girl. I feel like my best meal has been at Denny's and I am so excited to sink my teeth into an In-N-Out burger (can't believe how I've managed to go by the past few days without it but I have survived and am saving it for tomorrow (finally!). Los Angeles is quite the dream come true for me seeing how last minute this trip was, everything decided within 48 hours then off I went to Malaysia and the moment I got back home, I had 24 hours to pack for L.A. It's been a thrill being back, I feel like I've been waiting for so long to be reunited with California and am so excited to be doing my road trip, finally! Or at least to 3 of my dream destinations on my great big California adventure list! So stay tuned….so much to update about I can't wait to share! Wheepeedoo, California I love ya!

Wearing blouse from Bangkok, American Apparel riding pants and Valentino heels

MOUNT HOOD IN DECEMBER

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Sometime during my last week in Portland, my friends set aside a date to make sure I could see some of the most epic views Oregon had to offer. And so one Sunday morning, off we went. We headed to the nearest supermarket and filled our bags with whiskey, chips, potato wedges, popcorn, juice…pretty much anything you could imagine and we began our journey up to the mountains to see the snow. I think after surviving a week in New York, after what was considerably a pretty warm winter the week I was there, I completely underestimated the cold. I did have my layers piled on but you know something is not right when you're freezing but you just can't feel it. And you're very very very drunk from downing too much whiskey at 2 in the afternoon. Needless to say, it was one of the most epic afternoons of my life and I am glad I got to share it with these boys, Christopher and Jordan, who are the sweetest pair, always making sure I am comfortable and doing things in Portland. I can't believe we only got to hang out for real during this trip but it just felt like I had known them for ages. Mount Hood, of course, was a beauty to look at, even in our drunken selves, I am glad I got to take it all in and just scream at the top of my voice how happy I felt to be there. It was a very lovely afternoon indeed and I have all those videos on my iPhone to remember it by which up till now, never fails to put a smile up on my face.

I have about 5 layers underneath my American Apparel sweater, 3 pairs of stockings under my New Look jeans, and my trusty winter boots from the Margiela for H&M collection ages ago which has been serving me really well. Earrings ℅ Club Monaco, leather jacket from Shopmissingavenue. 

WHITE ON WHITE ON WHITE ON WHITE

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Ferragamo purse, Zara shoes, Wisteriea Dress, Shopmissingavenue Coat, Club Monaco Earrings

So I think this was me trying to be all Christmassy- white on white on white. Probably shows how badly I wanted a white Christmas but sadly downtown Portland hardly snows. I was more than happy that it was finally warming up, and even though the entire city was almost a ghost town due to holiday festivities, it was a beautiful day out after a lovely brunch with Henry then walking aimlessly around the city like we always do. That kind of seems to be our thing, walking and exploring with no destination in mind all in the name of fun, whether its 3 in the afternoon or 1 in the morning. Days like these are the best with the sun shining relentlessly and you get to see the city in all it's beauty and calmness. 

I snagged this lovely vintage Ferragamo purse at a consignment store a couple of days before, it was the perfect Christmas gift to myself. I've missed that classic Ferragamo clasp! It seems almost impossible to see these days. Also, I spent pretty much the entire 3 weeks I was in America in these Zara heels, officially the only heels I've owned that has literally been worn to death. It was so torn apart I had to let it go to save luggage space. Never thought sale shoes I got for 70% off could serve so much purpose but you'd be surprise how easy silver shoes are to match with everything. Have a great weekend!