INSPIRED BY : THAT CHIC-KOREAN-GIRL FASHION

Last summer I visited Seoul, South Korea (a short 2hr flight from Tokyo) and immediately fell in love. It was a combination of endless cosmetic stores promoting the best skin of your life PLUS the enticing smell of spicy food at every corner PLUS the dopest cafes and coffee shops you’ve ever seen PLUS the hustle and bustle of the city PLUS… the fashion.

Oh. My. Gosh the fashion.

It’s on another level in Seoul and you can notice it as soon as you step foot in the country. You’ll see couples matching head to toe. Every other guy looking like a K-pop star. Girls walking around making socks with sandals look incredibly chic. And outfits that looks simultaneoulsy like the most simple thing ever and straight off the runway. How do they do it?!?! I dont know. But I am completely intrigued and inspired…which leads me to my first installment of “INSPIRED BY:” where I get to plop down the things in this world that inspire me.

I took to the modern-day encyclopedia AKA instagram to collect a bunch of photos that truly encompass the chic-korean-girl vide I am talking about….you’re welcome in advance.

so feminine, so chic

so feminine, so chic

Black on black everything?? Sign me up.

Black on black everything?? Sign me up.

Skirt + sneaks is the dream look.

Skirt + sneaks is the dream look.

Who are you and how can I be you?

Who are you and how can I be you?

The most flattering LBD ever.

The most flattering LBD ever.

Once again, ALL BLACK EVERYTHING - dREAMMM

Once again, ALL BLACK EVERYTHING - dREAMMM

THIS SKIRT. THOSE BOOTS. THAT BAG. OMG

THIS SKIRT. THOSE BOOTS. THAT BAG. OMG

THESE SANDALS ARE EVERYTHING

THESE SANDALS ARE EVERYTHING

Asymmetrical lines on overalls?? dream.

Asymmetrical lines on overalls?? dream.

Never knew a mermaid skirt could look so perfect

Never knew a mermaid skirt could look so perfect

To pull of sock+flats is an extreme level of cool

To pull of sock+flats is an extreme level of cool

I want to wear this every day of my life

I want to wear this every day of my life

See what I mean??!??

Also, I find it quite amusing that in almost every pic of a Korean fashionista- her head is cropped out. Not sure if this is a modestly thing, privacy?, or if they are a bit shy in showing their face. Either way it’s fascinating and quirky… and points to a deeper cultural norm that see also reflected in Japanese culture…but i’ll save that for another post :)

OK…more ‘INSPIRED BY:’ posts coming soon…

ALBERTA, CANADA - PART III/III - BANFF GONDOLA

Finally getting around to my final BANFF post!! It’s been a busy few weeks here at home…so I am now just finding a little time to sit down and share the rest of my photos from this epic trip with my dad.


On our last full day in Alberta, we decided to spend most of our time in Banff. We drove the easy 25min drive from Canmore to Banff and went on a river rafting cruise that my dad had pre-planned!! I was too nervous to take my camera out on the Bow river, so I only have iphone pics of that experience…but it was epic! So beautiful, so serene, and so awesome seeing the mountains and trees from the water. I really have to thank my dad for planning that all out, reserving tickets, finding the meeting place, and organizing that for us. He’s the best!

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After river rafting, we walked on up to the famous Banff Fairmont Springs Hotel to get a little taste of luxury.

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This place looks like something out of a Harry Potter movie and was just as epic on the inside as it was on the outside. We walked through the lobby and the gift shop…and out to the back deck to get a nice view.

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God really blessed us with the clearest skies and best weather imaginable!! We even got to see some horse back riders cross the river…adding that to the to-do list for next time!

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For lunch we stopped in town for some Burgers at Eddie Burger Bar and OF COURSE had to order the POUTINE!!! It would not be a trip to Canada without some fries slathered in gravy and topped with cheese curds…YUMMMMM.

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There is one main shopping street in Banff that is perfect for buying some souvenirs or checking out a rustic looking McDonalds.

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After lunch and a walk around town…it was time to head up to the BANFF GONDOLA!! When we parked at the upper lot all I could think was…”is this not the most scenic parking lot ever???”

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We arrived at the entrance to the Gondola and…my dad **BEING THE AWESOME DAD HE IS** pre bought our tickets and had everything planned out so I did not have to lift a finger. #spoiled. He researched and learned that during busy season the ticket line for this can be up to 2 HOURS LONG!!!! So he made sure to get ours beforehand just in case.

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It was about an 8 minute ride up to the top (VERY HIGH UP) and we made it to what I concluded as the MOST EPIC VIEW IN ALL OF ALBERTA…

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See that little building down there?? That’s the Fairmont Springs Hotel that we were at earlier in the day!! It was crazy seeing it from so far away haha!!

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Like I said…we could not have asked for more perfect weather. Sunny, a little breezy…clear skies for miles!

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At the top of the Gondola ride there is an awesome learning center, restaurants, gift shop…and my favorite part….this wooden bridge trail that leads to another peak. It is so well make, so well taken care of, and just the most beautiful lookin thing!

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A postcard at every turn.

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The wooden trail …how cool is this!??

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Shout out to TEVAS for making the best sandals (lightweight, comfy, waterproof and most importantly…able to be worn with socks!! hehe)

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Cool igloo at the outer deck of the building.

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Me, my camera, and my trusty Patagonia jacket that has lived with me through three winters in Japan and now a trip to Alberta :)

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CAN’T GET ENOUGH OF THIS VIEW

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I love my dad!

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We spent a good hour or two at the top…and honestly, we could have stayed longer had we eaten at a restaurant or went down more of the trails. The ticket to the top isn’t cheap - but it’s 100% worth it in my opinion!! We cruised back down the gondola and decided to hit up one more lake on our way back to Canmore.

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Lake MINNEWANKA….yes, like Willy Wonka haha! This lake was on our way back to Canmore and since we had heard good things about it…we decided to check it out.

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Beautiful water and an awesome dock to walk out on.

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So surreal!!

After seeing Lake Minnewanka…we drove back to Canmore for a relaxing evening. We ate dinner in town (pasta) and did some more shopping (I bought socks). We were flying out the next day so we also stopped by the supermarket to buy some last minute Canadian snacks to take home! Perfect end to the trip.

OH!!! I almost forgot…on our last night I told my dad that I could not leave Canada without trying BEAVER TAILS!!!!! I had seen this stuff all over instagram and knew I had to check it out…drumrollllll…..

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****OMMGGGGGGG***** right!??!?! Basically this place BEAVER TAILS sells these crazy sweets that actually do kind of look like what they’re named after…and they are funnel cake like pastries slathered with Nutella or any other amazing option on the menu. I opted for the Nutella and banana and it DID NOT DISAPPOINT. This thing was incredible and it was the perfect way to end an epic trip to Canada :)

Well folks, that about wraps it up!

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Thanks for the memories, Dad…where to next?!?

ALBERTA, CANADA - PART II/III - BANFF

Day 2 in Alberta was the most incredible day of full immersion in nature.

Fun fact, when my dad travels, he plans everything out in detail far in advance. Like i’m talking… pre-purchasing tickets, checking hours of operation, calling information offices to clarify parking, coordinating timing of when and where we will eat…ALL OF IT! I am fortunate enough to reap the benefits of this by following along in full comfort and ease knowing the perfect plan has already been set. Ever since I was little, i’ve always loved traveling with my dad because of this…and Canada was no different.

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First stop on our agenda- JOHNSTON CANYON. We drove about 50 minutes northwest from Canmore to JOHNSTON CANYON, a free hiking area well known for some awesome waterfalls. We found the little parking lot near the front (main parking lot doesn’t open until 10am ish) and began our little hike in.

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The hike into the waterfalls is super chill…about a mile or so and such a nicely paved walkway! I was so impressed by this place!

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First of many waterfalls!

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The greenery in the canyon was incredible. So lush, such a deep green, so full of freshness, life and beauty.

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Going early was a good idea for us because the trail wasn’t crowded at all on our hike in (many more people were coming in as we hiked out) so we could really enjoy the peacefulness of it all.

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We made it a mile or so in (took us about 40 min) to the main waterfall!!! You can walk down to the base of it and get pretty close…but be careful because you will also get soaking wet!! To get this shot I had to sacrifice my camera lens a bit (it got pretty wet) and point it directly into the water! It was worth it though :)

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There is a trail you can take to a lookout of the top of the waterfall, and right as we got to the top I noticed a rainbow coming from the side of the rock and I quickly quicklyyyyy snapped this shot!!! This might be one of the coolest photographs I have ever taken. A few minutes after I snapped this, the clouds moved, altering the suns position and the rainbow faded away. It was truly a tiny, miraculous moment in time and a prime example of God’s glorious creation!

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The hike back down was just as beautiful as the hike up.

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Like I said, well paved pathway, railing, not to steep, not muddy…bravo Canadian Park people for making this place really accessible and easy to enjoy for all! I no joke saw a grandma in a wheelchair and a baby in a stroller on this hike haha!

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How crazy is nature sometimes??

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After our nice hike into JOHNSTON CANYON, we drove out back to the main highway and made our way over to the most icon place in all of Banff… LAKE LOUISE!!!

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Lake Louise is probably the #1 tourist attraction in Banff, so the small parking lot at the lake fills up FAST and if you don’t get there by like 6am, you will have to park down the hill and take a bus up. By the time we got there (11am ish) there was already a flashing sign out on the road saying “LAKE LOUISE PARKING FULL, PARK IN OVERFLOW” so we knew to pull off to the side of the road into a huge overflow lot.

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From the overflow lot (free parking btw) we had to stand in line and buy tickets for the bus up to the lake. Apparently, this used to be a free bus but now they charge like $4 per adult to go up. Kinda lame since there is not choice but to take the bus, but at least it wasn’t like $10 a person! I cannot imagine this place in summer though…probably chaos!!!

But, after finally loading on the bus we had a 10-ish minute drive up to LAKE LOUISE…and WOW…

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SHE IS BEAUTIFUL!!!!

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The Fiarmont at Lake Louise is a famous hotel that is probably $700 a night (at least) YOWZAAAA. But the cool thing is, us regular folk like us can go into the hotel and buy food, look at the gift shop and imagine we are a hotel guest.

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I had to bring my ketchup chips to snack on. The Fairmont has a deli that is open 24hrs a day so we bought lunch there (sandwiches) and took it out to a bench to eat with a view.

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Can you believe how beautiful this water is!? Totally lives up to the hype!!

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It is incredible how many tourists come to this place! I kept telling my dad that I didn’t hear an American accent all week…which felt so weird! haha. I heard a lot of Swiss, German, French accents and most of ALL…Australian! I think 50% of the people that work in Banff are Aussies.

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My dad said to rent a canoe on Lake Louise it costs $100/HR..UHHHH NO THANK YOU. I opted for a FREE photo of them instead haha.

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There are a lot of things to do around Lake Louise and our next stop was…MORAINE LAKE.

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So, from LAKE LOUISE, we payed to take another bus up to MORAINE LAKE (20 minutes up the mountain0 and it was so worth it. One thing to be careful of is what time the last bus comes back down from MORAINE LAKE back to the overflow parking lot…somewhere around 4:30pm.

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One of the workers there told us MORAINE LAKE currently had a low water level, but in a week or so it would fill up and come all the way to the main tree lines. We didn’t mind so much though, because even at a low level the lake was absolutely stunning.

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There is a big rock pile near the lake and if you follow the path up (a lot of steep steps) you get to THIS VIEW!!! Which was so stunning!!!

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The hike back down the rock pile was really something else. I snapped this shot of my dad on the way down…and I think it’s one of my favorite from the whole trip. After spending some time walking around MORAINE LAKE, we took the bus back to the overflow parking lot and headed back to Canmore. By this time, we were tired and hungry (so much walking!!) and were ready for some grub.

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Back in Canmore we rested and then heading to down to eat dinner at Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company. The pizza here was really awesome and a good chill place for dinner!

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After we ate, we walked around town a bit. The only bummer with Canmore is that, since it’s such a small town, everything closes SO EARLY!!! Like…6pm. everything closed. This was kinda a bummer since we wanted to do some shopping but we accepted the fact that this was true small town living haha.

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Cute little corner market with a mountain view.

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Dad had seen this big sing “SPRING CREEK’ and wanted to check it out so we walked over there after dinner. It ended up being some time of living community with townhomes, apartments, etc and a really beautiful walk along the creek.

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How precious is this walkway?! and mind you…this was like 8pm at night!!! Crazy right??

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This photo really looks like it’s out of a fairytale doesn’t it?? When I snapped it I couldn’t believe how picturesque it all looked!! The log cabin, the three sisters in the background , the greenery, the lighting…ahhhhhh magical.

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And, that folks, wraps up day two in Alberta. What a stunning place right!?

More beauty to come…

ALBERTA, CANADA - PART I/III - CANMORE

If you were to ask me to name as many cities in Canada as I could…I would say TORONTO, VANCOUVER…AAAANNDDDDDD that’s about it. I think it’s safe to say that I contribute to the statistic that most American’s know little to nothing about our northern neighbor, Canada. We most likely associate Canada to…Maple Syrup, Ice Hockey, the Toronto Raptors, and our pop culture Canadian icons aka Justin Bieber, Drake, Steve Nash, Celine Dion and how could I forget - Ryan Gosling!

Ok getting off track…

Needless to say, when my Dad posed the question, “Hey, wanna go to Banff?" my brain had registered the word Banff as a familiar name but I could not place it on a map for $1000. I had heard Banff had some pretty epic scenery so I told Dad I was down and before we knew it, we were on a plane to…Alberta??

Yes, as one of 10 provinces (plus 3 territories) in Canada, Alberta sits next to British Colombia and most directly above…Montana, to give us Americans some reference. The main city in Alberta is Calgary, and just a short 1.5 hour drive from Calgary you arrive in the most beautiful most stunning little down of Canmore on your way to yet another incredibly picturesque city of Banff.

Welcome to the Canadian Rockies everyone…

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Dad and I flew Air Canada (makes me think of Vince Carter…anyone see “The Carter Effect”??? His nickname was “Air Canada”) and he ordered us a snack while on the short 3 hour flight to Calgary. One of the perks of traveling with my Dad is I always feel like a little kid again getting snacks everywhere I go HAHA!

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Made it to Calgary, Alberta! Rented a car and drove the 1.5 hour to our friend Jomo’s timeshare that she let us stay at. It was located in a city called Canmore just a few stops over from Banff.

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Our view from where we were staying…not bad, not bad at all.

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First meal of the trip was at a place in Canmore called BLAKE. The views were incredible and they even rolled down the screen to play the Toronto Raptors game!!

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They had some really unique things on their menu…take for example, fried beets!! What the. And this really good salad with some kind of maple syrup dressing and goat cheese. YUM.

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After dinner we went for a little cruise around Canmore and stopped by ELEVATION PLACE which I thought was a giant climbing gym…but it turned out to be a small climbing gym PLUS a giant swimming pool PLUS a workout gym PLUS a library PLUS a coffee shop?? haha. so more like a community center. It was cool, and if I were a local I would totally spend a lot of my time there.

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The rock wall at ELEVATION PLACE…and the dreamiest mountain cabin next to the river in Canmore.

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How amazing are all these cabin houses? I could see why people buy property here and return year after year to this beautiful little city.

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We walked around a local park in Canmore…mind you, I took this photo at around 7PM!!! Can you believe that??? During this time of year, the sun doesnt set until 10PM!!! SO CRAZY for a Californian like me…and I could see why people live outdoors all summer. So beautiful.

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Dad pointing out some mountain peaks in the distance.

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A nice evening stroll around BOW RIVER.

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The city of CANMORE is known for the “THREE SISTERS” which are three very distinct mountain peaks that stick out among the rest.

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After dinner and our stroll…we had to stop by the local super market so I could grab some Canadian snacks HAHA. I did my research and learned of a few things I could only by in Canada…

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Ketchup Chips!! A very weird and popular item in Canada…that are strangely good. And how cute are these Canada M&Ms?

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The starbucks there had some really cute mugs and cups! And two of the most popular candies in Canada…SMARTIES (taste like sweeter M&Ms) and COFFEE CRISP (tastes like a wafer cookie).

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A cute little church in Canmore.

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Canadian money is so much prettier than US money. Also, it was funny because everything is labeled “Dollars $” but the Canadian dollar is a bit different. So $1 USD is about $1.30 Canadian…meaning if the menu said a salad was $20 is was really $15 which made things feel more expensive so we kept having to tell ourselves, “oh yeah, it’s actually not too bad” haha

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Last stop of the night was OLD SCHOOL BUS ICE CREAM (the 50/50 was amazing) and a nice view of the Three Sisters from a park.

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Canmore is the cutest, quaintest town and the perfect place to stay in Alberta. Banff is the more well known town (35 min away from Canmore) but it’s a bit more crowded and busy…so if you’re looking for a good place to stay that is a little more chill and yet still close to all the beauty - CANMORE is your place :)

Day 1 was already epic…I couldn’t imagine all that was in store for day 2!!

happy little things.

I’d like to think of this blog of mine as a way to creatively express what's on my heart…and today I am feeling extra grateful for a few happy little things.

climbing // newest hobby and recent obsession  Work nearly every muscle in your body while going at a leisurely pace and chatting with your friends in the process? Sounds like the perfect way to workout to me.

climbing // newest hobby and recent obsession

Work nearly every muscle in your body while going at a leisurely pace and chatting with your friends in the process? Sounds like the perfect way to workout to me.

ocean // no place i’d rather be  I have decided that sitting by the sea is the place I feel most at peace, most myself, and most near to God. For those reasons, there’s no place i’d rather be.

ocean // no place i’d rather be

I have decided that sitting by the sea is the place I feel most at peace, most myself, and most near to God. For those reasons, there’s no place i’d rather be.

art // is there anything cooler than scandinavian dishware?  Next to Japanese architecture, scandinavian interior design is one of my greatest inspirations and all I have to say is…Copenhagen, Oslo, Stockholm…I am coming for you..one day soon…I am coming for you!

art // is there anything cooler than scandinavian dishware?

Next to Japanese architecture, scandinavian interior design is one of my greatest inspirations and all I have to say is…Copenhagen, Oslo, Stockholm…I am coming for you..one day soon…I am coming for you!

su-pa // Thank God for Japanese supermarkets  When I find myself missing Japan, I just go to Mitsuwa, or Nijiya or Tokyo Central to feel plugged back in to my Japanese roots. I order some curry, grab a green tea and watch some variety show with the old grandmas and grandpas next to me and all is well in the world.

su-pa // Thank God for Japanese supermarkets

When I find myself missing Japan, I just go to Mitsuwa, or Nijiya or Tokyo Central to feel plugged back in to my Japanese roots. I order some curry, grab a green tea and watch some variety show with the old grandmas and grandpas next to me and all is well in the world.

create // a pen and paper is all I need  I hand addressed some invites for my dear friend recently and it felt like therapy. A technology-less craft that I need to slow down for…good for the soul.

create // a pen and paper is all I need

I hand addressed some invites for my dear friend recently and it felt like therapy. A technology-less craft that I need to slow down for…good for the soul.

friends // these are the glory days  20somethings out for brunch, window shopping, dreaming…these are the carefree days we’ll always want to go back to. Grateful for these moments.

friends // these are the glory days

20somethings out for brunch, window shopping, dreaming…these are the carefree days we’ll always want to go back to. Grateful for these moments.