T W E N T Y S E V E N.

Today I turned 27. 今日私は27歳になりました。

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So here I am…27 years old and grateful to be home this holiday season. It’s crazy to think about the fact that I spent my 24th, 25th and 26th birthdays in Japan! And now I am back and celebrating the joy of turning another year older by making gingerbread houses with my nieces and nephews, getting donuts and hot cocoa from my dad, and going to brunch with my siblings. Man, it’s good to be home!

26 was a momentous year for me. I hosted a bunch of loved ones in Japan, finished up my three year job at Ichikashi, hiked Mt. Fuji and moved back stateside. And now I am beginning this new journey as a 27 year old!

The older I get, the more I feel like God is peeling back the blinds and exposing so much more to me. More about how He truly created us to live authentically - without this heaviness and fogginess that comes from the chaos of this world. My prayer for my 27th year of life is that I would continue to grow in confidence, assurance and diligence in all the Lord has for me. I want to see with clear and crisp vision, highly aware of the presence of God in every aspect of my life.

God is truly a faithful and loving Father. He has blessed me more than I even realize…and this is my final prayer…

"Lord, grant that, in all my weakness,
I would remain close to the one clear, grand theme of my life :
your magnificence."
-j.piper.

THANKS

This was my first thanksgiving back home in three years. <3

My cousins and I set up the tables in the morning. This year, we’re transition to taking over more responsibility during the holidays…and letting our moms relax. We pulled off some pretty cool centerpieces using waffle cones stuffed with various flowers, candies and greens. Everyone came with their assigned food items. Funny enough, I was given the least risky job of all - fruit. I tried not to think of this as a reflection of the level of responsibility my family members believe I can handle haha.

This year we enjoyed the company of our waddling one year olds, Tayah and Valor. As well as the bellies of our families two pregnant ladies, Jen and Erin. Since there are so many kids now, the house is never quiet…never dull, which is this new generation of fun our family has entered.

Three years away for Thanksgiving has made it all the sweeter. And I find myself needing to make these extra sentimental photos black and white…not sure why. Maybe, in this light, they feel more frozen in time. Tiny memories I never want to forget.

<3

KASHIWA X TORRANCE

Last week, something amazing happened.

My Kashiwa family came to Torrance!!

Every November, the high school I worked at in Japan, ICHIKASHI, sends students to Torrance for an exchange program. This November I was actually in Torrance to host them and was able to spend most of the week with them!

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I had the privilege of teaching these 25 students in Japan…so seeing them stateside was so much fun. They enjoyed time with their host families, performing a dance at the assembly, attending the school fall festival, going to Knotts berry farm, the football game, shopping…and so much more!

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The best part of this week was seeing the smiles on these kids faces. When I taught them in Japan, they were always in their school uniform, going about their busy schedules, stressed about school, family, friends, club activities, etc…so seeing them in Torrance living out their dream with the biggest smiles on their faces melted my heart!!!! This is what makes all the hard work, coordinating, and long days at school worth it!

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Another really awesome part to this week was seeing Kawamoto sensei and Mami, two teachers who I worked with at Ichikashi. They both helped me so much when I when I was there, so I finally got to return the favor by hosting them here in Torrance. We spent a lot of time together this week, and it made me miss Japan life so much <3

It was an awesome week. God is so good. And I am truly blessed to have my heart in two places, Kashiwa and Torrance.

EVERLANE

So, I have a fun new thing happening in my life this month…I’ll be working at the EVERLANE pop-up at the Grove!

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FAQ

What is Everlane?
Everlane is a clothing brand that started out online and now has 2 brick and mortar stores… in SF and NYC. They’re tailored for the working millennial and are famous for their stretch denim and cute shoes. Fun fact: Meghan Markle wore their tote bag which then sold out in minutes!

What is a pop-up?
A pop-up is just a tiny little temporary shop that is purposed to get some exposure for a company or brand. They’re super common now days, especially with companies that have a heavy online presence.

What’s your work schedule like? And will you continue to work with them?
So, i’ll be working a part time at the pop-up…mostly on Friday, Saturday and Sundays. The pop-up is only open until November 27th. Currently, there are no set plans to open a brick and mortar Everlane in LA…but I know they are scouting out places in Santa Monica and Venice to possibly open in 2019. Depending on how that goes, I may stay on with them and work at their store next year. We shall see!

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So, I realize this is quite the divergence from my most previous job…teaching…but there is a part of me that has always loved fashion, art and sales! hahah! A few years ago I worked a little stint at Lululemon and loved every minute of it… and I loved it because I could just chat with different people all day long. So in that sense, retail is really a fun gig for me! It’s not my dream job…but it’s a really fun job for now!

<3

NAPA WEDDING.

Five years ago, I lived in a house on a cozy corner in Azusa with 8 other girls and called it “The Nest". We functioned like a family, gathering every Sunday afternoon for “Sunday somethings” where we would share food, stories, and pray blessings over one another. That year, senior year of college, solidified our sisterhood and we graduated with our heads held high knowing we’d always be in eachothers’ lives.

This past weekend, I was reunited with the Nesters in Napa to witness one of our own, Natty Sue, marry her guy, Eddie, under the tall trees in wine country. It was magic.

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You know you’re in the midst of a blessed friendship when things just get sweeter over time. All of us flew/drove in from Azusa, LA, San Diego, Chicago, Seattle and Milwaukee…and although we haven’t all been together in a few years, we picked up right where we left off and never skipped a beat. Us girls chatted about marriage, babies, work, friends…while the dudes bonded over the NFL, Dodgers, and work life. This photo here reminds me of the miracle of the Lord’s favor and blessing in life.

Thankful for a refreshing weekend with these lifelong friends <3

And to end with a throwback photo of us…senior year in college…2013!

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I remember we wanted to take photos of all 9 of us so we decided to use my tri-pod and go out to a random vacant lot in Azusa hahahaha. We somehow landed on the dress code of “natural/neutrals” and snapped this photo which - to this day - remains one of my all time favorite photos E V E R.