NYC : DAY III

Friday in NYC :)

On our second full day in the city, we decided to hit up a bunch of random places on the Lower East Side and in Brooklyn that we wanted to go to. Lucky for us, we were staying with my friend Camryn who lives just a 10 minute walk from Columbus Circle Station so we could easily get anywhere we needed in the city!

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Christmas in the Big Apple means selling Christmas trees outside buildings and along the sidewalks. Very New York.

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First stop of the day : SUPERMOON BAKEHOUSE in the Lower East Side. I had seen this spot on Instagram and immediately knew I had to go here!

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Lattes in cute pink cups…OK.

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They are known for their fabulous and crazy pastry creations…take for example this raspberry, white chocolate, MINT croissant.

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The aesthetics of this place reminded me so much of the cafes I visited in South Korea…that effortless, instagrammable, chic look that is TOO COOL FOR SCHOOL!!

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Next spot we hit up was CHILLHOUSE…this very hip and millenial place which combines…get this…A CAFE WITH A NAIL SALON. Yep, you heard me. A place to grab some coffee and get your nails done?? PERFECTION.

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Back behind that glass wall is where the nail salon is. If we had more time in the city I would 100% get a manicure here!!

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CHILL VOICES SUGGESTED. CHILL VIBES ALWAYS.

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Next spot was YUMI KIM…a cute clothing store that is most known for the dumpster art on the side wall. This is another spot I found via insta and had to see for myself. How cool is this?? We soon realized that this area of town resembled a sort of, LA Arts District vibe.

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Right down the street from Yumi Kim was a store I had to see in person… CW PENCIL ENTERPRISE… a store entirely dedicated to PENCILS. can you believe that? Pencils!!

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In the store there was a $100 pencil..haha! Apparently it was one of the first pencils every created and that model was used by some famous people who signed some famous papers? Clearly, I needed to pay better attention to those details.

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Ok now drumroll for a store I was MOST EXCITED to see…

HAVE A GOOD TIME.

Yes…that is the name of the brand. “have a good time”. I first found out about when I went to South Korea this past summer… I kept seeing people wearing this very simple shirt and had to find out what it was all about. Turns out it’s a Tokyo based brand with only two stores…ONE IN TOKYO AND ONE IN NEW YORK!!! So I was stoked when I could actually see this store in person.

Any brand that is a Tokyo based brand making cool, comfortable, affordable clothes is a win in my book!!!

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After our time in the LES (Lower East Side), we then headed to the infamous BROOKLYN BRIDGE. We walked there easily and decided to cross is going towards Brooklyn form Manhattan (it was way less crowded this way).

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The Brooklyn Bridge is just as beautiful as all the photos make it out to be!

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Emi and her epic coat!

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Up next…TIME FOR PIZZAAAAAA. It wouldn’t be a trip to Brooklyn without some good, crispy, pizza. We settled on GRIMALDIS, which had a long line outside (30+ people) even at 2pm on a weekday! But hey, we knew we had to try it.

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Right as I bit into my first bite of their famous pizza, my brothers so kindly informed me via text that “GRIMALDIS is in El Segundo!” ohhhhh great. Well, i’d like to think I had a chance to eat the real deal. so HEY. still worth it.

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It wouldn’t be a trip to Brooklyn without stopping by DUMBO. Honestly, this little street was way too touristy and chalk full of instagram models trying to get their perfect shot -so…not down for it at all. But, once again, cool to see IRL.

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Coffee break time! This time we just walked a block or two from Dumbo and went to USAGI (which means rabbit in Japanese btw). This place is a coffee shop, book shop and art gallery. How cool is that?

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And to end the night…I met up with my two childhood friends who live in the city, Camryn and Kristen, and we had a little reunion and girls night out!! It was so much fun. Kristen lives in an amazing apt in Chelsea so we headed that way and had dinner at MOMOFUKU NISHI!

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Everything at MOMOFUKU NISHI lived up to the hype. Especially the ribs which Kristen knew about even though they weren’t on the menu!!! legit.

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A few shops away from MOMOFUKU NISHI is duh..duh…duh…MILK BAR!!!! This is just a block or two away from Kirsten’s place and she told us she gets a birthday cake shake all the time - so of course we had to partake in her NYC tradition.

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SO GOOD. Even though MILK is in LA now…still good to go to the OG store.

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We ended the night back at Kristen’s cool 6-floor Chelsea walk up sippin on various beers from the beer place down the street and catching up on everything and anything that has happened the past few years. There is something really magical about being in a new place with old friends. The perfect kinda combo.


A few iphone shots :

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Lessons learned:

-Rent in NYC is E X P E N S I V E !
-Giordano’s Pizza exists in El Segundo, CA. yep
-DUMBO is overrated
-The Brooklyn Bridge is pretty

NYC : DAY II

Welcome to our first full day in NEW YORK CITAYYYY!

So, although we wanted to avoid most of the “touristy” stuff (statue of Liberty, Empire state building, too much time in Time square, etc ) one thing I knew we HAD to do was see a good view of the city. I did some research and found out the best view by far was the TOP OF THE ROCK aka Rockefeller Center Observation Deck! Although tickets were a bit pricey (40 bucks) it’s worth it for this view. We got there right at 9:30 when our tickets were scheduled for and I was surprised to see that they were very lenient on ticket times and didn’t really care when you scheduled it for. #chillAmericans Anyway, we headed up to the observation deck to see this incredible view…

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Also, fun fact, my friend Camryn (who we stayed with) works INSIDE the Rockefeller center!! (Which is right across the way from Radio City music hall!)

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WELCOME TO THE TOP OF THE ROCK!! Also, how great was this…it was my friend Taryn’s bday this day!! perfect way to celebrate her 28th!

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THIS VIEWWWWWWW!!!! AHHHH!!!! Ok pro tip…the observation deck has THREE levels. The first level is where everybody congregates. The gift shop is there, elevators, benches to sit, etc. It’s madness and crazy so all you have to do is take the escalator up to the second level which offers an even BETTER view. And the best part of all…at the second level there is a staircase that leads you up to the THIRD level!! And if someone stand at the third level, looking down at someone on the second level…you get a shot like THIS…

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Crazy right?? And best part is…no one is up at the higher levels!!! It’s the best photospot by far.

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Empire state building!

Ok, so after our amazing Top of the Rock experience, we went to one area I was so excited to see..S O H O !!!!

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Our first stop in SOHO was MAMAN, a very cool coffee shop/cafe that has the cutest aesthetic.

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I mean, look at this spread.

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Coolest/coziest interior award.

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Emi and I opted for the corn and potato soup which came with a grilled cheese sandwich YUMMMMM. It was so filling and delicious!

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Attached to the cafe is the cutest shop! Filled with Brooklyn made candles, baby clothes and toys imported from France, Maman cups and mugs.

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It wouldn’t be SOHO without a lady walking in sparkling knee high boots.

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SOHO is a really dope area full of High fashion mixed with old antique looking buildings. Like this popular Corner Deli with a giant YSL advertisement atop. Oh…New York.

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NEXT STOP… MELODY EHSANI this really amazing Jewelry store with an entirely pink interior. Her jewelry is crazy, funky…and very well priced! I was actually tempted to buy the LA earrings haha! But I held back knowing she actually has a store in LA too!

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UP NEXT…SATURDAYS SURF NYC. This is a brand I’ve been following for a while now. They’re based out of NYC but also have strong following in Japan. Their shop/coffee shop in Daikanyama is actually one of my favorite places in all of Tokyo, so getting to see their shop in SOHO was A DREAMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!

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Their shop in SOHO reminded me a lot of the Tokyo one. Narrow, minimalistic, with a space out back to sip on your coffee. VERY COOL. I’m just waiting for them to come to LA.

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Emi and I cruised around SOHO all afternoon and I quickly declared it *MY FAVORITE PART OF NEW YORK CITY* simply because it was home to some of the greatest stores EVER. Here are two more examples…

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TOMORROWLAND and …MOUSSY!!!!
These two stores are insanely popular in Japan, with stores all over the place! So you could imagine my excitement when I found out they both have stores in SOHO!!!! This is crazy because I checked their websites and found out, their NYC shops are their only shops stateside. WOAHHH. I love this about New York…it truly is a city where you can get a taste of the whole world in one place.

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Anyway, seeing TOMORROWLAND and MOUSSY solidified my love of SOHO and I was just in heaven the whole day.

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When high fashion meets the streets.

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The glory of SOHO continues with SEZANNE, an incredible French brand making it’s name stateside with its UHHHMAZING exterior design and beautiful shoes/bags/etc.

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Also, they offered us snacks and tea inside AND had a free PHOTOBOOTH. OK dream.

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It wouldn’t be a trip to SOHO without seeing my most recent place of employment…EVERLANE! It was really cool finally seeing the NY store on Prince street after visiting the store in SF this year and working for them at the Grove.

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They were offering up HOTCOCOA!!! amazing.

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Also, a few blocks away from the Prince street Everlane store is the ReNEW experience store where Everlane is hosting just their ReNEW collection, which is all their pieces made of recycled material. SUPER COOL and home to my favorite Everlane item of all…the ReNEW Fleece sweatshirt made of recycled plastic bottles. I have to give a round of applause to Everlane’s retail design team because all their stores are STUNNING, especially this one.

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So, as Emi and I were cruising the streets, we stumbled upon this guy taking photos behind Dean & Deluca. He was standing there with this INCREDIBLE camera and I just had to stop and see. He said he’s been doing street photography for 8 years or so and uses this super old school film camera to shoot. His photos were some of the best portraits I have ever seen and I immediately knew I wanted him to snap a shot of us.

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Look at that beautiful camera! Not to mention this guy was super friendly, cool, and after taking our photo he casually tucked in under his coat and I said, “oh, is that your darkroom?” and he said, “YEP!” hahaha.

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After SOHO, we took the train to CHELSEA to stop by a few places.

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We briefly stopped by the Chelsea market…where we ran into a ETSY craft show and I ended up buying two incredible silver rings!! … and then we had to head out quick to go to dinner with my friends for Taryn’s birthday!

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We had dinner in Chinatown at HOMETOWN HOTPOT &BBQ which has a really really good dinner buffet. Since it was Taryn’s birthday it was free for her! Which was a win win.

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We walked back to Camryn’s place after, which was a good way to walk off all the Hot Pot we consumed haha!

And to end with some iphone pics from the day…

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Lessons learned:

-SOHO is the best part of New York City.
-The Everlane ReNew fleece in black is 100% worth it.
-The Hotpot in Chinatown rules.
-Vintage cameras will forever be cool.

NYC : DAY I

DAY ONE IN THE CONCRETE JUNGLE.

HOW I GOT THERE…
As we all know, NYC is 3 hours ahead of LA. This makes for an interesting predicament when traveling there because, if you leave LA at 8am (5 hour flight)…you wont arrive in NY until 4pm. Almost a whole day wasted!! So I took a hint from my good friend Taryn and flew on a red eye…leaving LA at 11pm and arriving in NY at 7 IN THE MORNING. Call me crazy, but I did it. And I survived. And after meeting up with Emi (flew in from Dallas) we had the entire day to explore the city which made sleeping on a plane 100% WORTH IT.

Here’s our day one…

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FIRST STOP. FOOD. We stumbled upon the UNDERGROUND MARKET which is connected to COLUMBUS CIRCLE STATION and grabbed this incredible Venezuelan taco from AREPA FACTORY. The heavenly ingredients : Corn tortilla, avocado, black beans. tomato, and sweet PLANTAINS….PERFECTION!!!!!!

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Next stop : CENTRAL PARK. By the way…it was around 30degrees every day we were in the city. COLD COLD COLD. But that crisp kinda cold that feels fresh on your skin. I actually love this kind of weather.

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So my good friend Mina happened to be in NYC at the same time as well! She flew in from Japan with her mom and daughter to visit relatives…and we were able to meet up to walk central park. What a dream!

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Central park was even better than I had imagined. It’s so spacious, full of activity, beautiful trees, plenty of benches to chill, and well kept. Loved it!

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After central park, we cruised down towards TIME SQUARE! Saw a bunch of pretty buildings along the way.

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When we finally arrived at TIME SQUARE my first reaction was…” OH, THIS IS IT?”
haha…and what I realized was, after living in Japan for three years…NYC aint no thang!!! I was expecting SHIBUYA aka..the busiest intersection in the world. So when I got to time square it felt smaller, not as busy…and weirdest of all…QUIET!!! It was so quiet!! And maybe it’s because there are a thousand flashing lights on the biggest screens you will ever see…but none of them make sound. It so strange!

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Anyway…after I stopped by Old navy to buy $4 gloves (necessity) Emi and I grabbed Coffee at CULTURE and waited to meet up with my friend Camryn, who we were staying with.

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CULTURE has bomb cookies btw!

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first NY metro ride to the Lower East side…

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For dinner we met up with Emi’s high school friend at FIASCHETTERIA PISTOIA (try saying that 5x fast) and had the best wine and handmade pasta. INCREDIBLE.

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And that folks…is why a red eye is worth it.

here are some more snaps from my iphone…

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DAY I LESSONS LEARNED:


-take the red eye.
-gloves are a necessity.
-dont waste too much time in TIME SQUARE. just see it, and go.
-insulated boots were worth it (I’m wearing DOCS)
-venezuelans know how to cook

NYC : AT LAST

I finally made it to NEW YORK CITY!!

It’s only taken me 27 years to get to the other side of the country to see the big apple. And BOY…it did not disappoint!

The best part of my trip was that I got to spend time with some of my favorite people (two of them who live there!) because at the end of the day…it’s not about where you travel, as much as it is about who you travel with <3

More pics and stories coming soon!

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Hello from the Brooklyn Bridge! (photo by: Emiko)

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.