Sep 12, 2017

kyoto & osaka on film

I spent three days in the charming Kansai region at the end of August, and I brought along my new Contax G1 to document my short but pleasant solo adventures in Kyoto and Osaka. Scroll along to witness beautiful kimonos, much greenery, and the natural beauty of 35mm.

Yummy octopus and cheese sticks in Arashiyama.

The warm-hearted, talented, and comical chef behind the delicious omurice of Kichi Kichi. Thank you for the delightful experience (and letting me in without a reservation) ~

Probably saw more selfie sticks than bamboo on this trip...

% Arabica in Arashiyama was poppin'! Didn't try their coffee, but their chilled lemonade was very refreshing and quite necessary on that hot and humid day. Also, nothing beats the coffee shop's gorgeous view. Lucky baristas! Dream job right there.

His and hers.

The last photo is my favorite. I don't know why, but when I was shuffling through these prints, this captured moment put a smile on my face. :)

Started my fall semester at International Christian University in Tokyo last week and I'm already busy with classes and schoolwork. Hopefully I can find the time here and there to explore the city and stop by pretty coffee shops ~



Sep 8, 2017

un viaje dulce

A sweet journey.

Over the past few months, I spent a lot of my time wandering, seeking, and reconnecting. It's crazy to believe that it's already well into September. It's harder to fathom that I'm already halfway through college. As cliche as it sounds, time really flies.

I took a break from blogging to focus on improving my academics, bettering my relationships, and taking the liberty to think about myself as well. I also have been struggling with the direction of this blog. But, this summer, I was very blessed to be able to travel to many countries around the world for opportunities that were once in a lifetime. And through these experiences abroad, I have learned so much more than what I've been soaking in from school and opened my eyes to many different ideas and values.

I am currently studying in Tokyo and will be returning to the States at the end of November. It's been a wild ride, but the creative juices are flowing back and I can say that I am in a much healthier and happier position than where I was merely months ago. Feeling quite grateful and hopeful!

Mid-June, I embarked on my first ever journey to Europe to join my bold uncle on the Camino de Santiago, a pilgrimage across Spain. You can check out his own blog here to learn more about what the purpose of this trip was and to watch the video diaries he recorded throughout our walk. Over the course of five days, I walked 73 miles and drank 15 liters of water! Nope, I still can't believe I did all of that.

Before and after the pilgrimage, my family and I were able to tour the beautiful cities of Paris, Madrid, and Barcelona. I was able to look around alone for periods of time, and that's when I truly fell in love with solo traveling.

What an adventure it was. All glory to God.

Here are my attempts to document this trip with a phone camera.

Starry Night Over the Rhône (September 1888)
Vincent Van Gogh

Impressionism and post-impressionism are my favorite art movements, and Van Gogh is one of my favorite artists of this era. I had the chance to visit the Musée d'Orsay and observe the likes of Van Gogh, Monet, Gauguin, Degas, Manet, and more. The painting above is my particular favorite of Van Gogh, the lesser known Starry Night. If you look towards the bottom right, there is a couple strolling on the river bank. Depicting the night is both exciting and challenging, and I absolutely love Van Gogh's perspective of light in darkness.

Good food and good talks. What I miss the most. The people you meet have an important role in shaping your experiences wherever you go.

Hydrangeas are one of my favorite flowers, and I found them everywhere in Spain! Such gorgeous shades. I also bumped into many adorable doggies like the cutie below.

That's me and my bright scarlet hiking backpack! I was probably cringing from the painful uphill (I had a sprained ankle at the time).

This is one of Antoni Gaudí's numerous masterpieces, inside Casa Batlló. It's like a waterfall! After touring Park Güell and la Sagrada Família as well, I can honestly say that Gaudí was a hands down creative genius and that Barcelona is a must for lovers of all art mediums.

During this incredible trip, I was able to sit for two hours in front of the Eiffel Tower to watch the sunset, witness the vivid colors of Madrid, see mountains peeking above the clouds in southern Spain, and drink sweet cerveza on the beaches of Barcelona. I also miss getting delicious free bread every meal.

Thank you for the love, Europe.

Until next time,


Jan 21, 2017

inspiration wall

Oh man, it's been forever since I've done one of these ~

I had a blast tearing down what used to be up on my bedroom wall and brainstorming/cutting/taping for hours on end during one afternoon at home. Today's post is another wall decor idea: an inspiration wall. This wall is a physical representation of those thoughts, ideas, and feelings jumbled in your brain. I decided to position this next to my desk, so that I can look up and gain inspiration while I'm working.

What you'll need (this isn't set in stone; use whatever you wish, and make your wall you):

magazines & newspapers
photos & polaroids
sticky notes
tape & thumbtacks
paper or index cards
pen & markers

If you can't find anything that you like in magazines, print out your favorite images! I'm a hoarder when it comes to pretty pictures and typography, so I had a stack of ready-to-use materials. What's the point of keeping all those beautiful memories in a drawer when you can display them and see them every day?!

And of course, you will need an empty wall.

I'm going to divide up the steps into layers.

L A Y E R   ( 1 )

The first layer is your canvas. Use pieces that don't really need to garner attention, like newspaper articles, text pages, or solid colors. This is a base layer that is going to be covered up with other more important items. I used one magazine to have equal-sized pages and taped them up to form a square-ish base. The number and size of these pieces are going to depend on how your wall looks. I included a painting I made a couple of years ago because the size was perfect ~

L A Y E R   ( 2 )

This is where it gets exciting! This layer comes down to your personal taste. Fill up those empty spaces of the base layer with cutouts from magazines, your favorite postcards, cool text, and doodles. I even taped up a page of my notes from one of my psychology classes. But, save the most important materials (i.e. photos, polaroids) for last because you want those pieces to be on the top and the most visible.

L A Y E R   ( 3 )

Last but not least, my third and final layer includes photos of family and friends, my university's pendant, and a corkboard that I can use to stick up notes and quotes. I used thumbtacks to secure the board and pendant onto the wall and used sticky notes to write down memos. This layer is the layer that I want to stand out!

That's all ~
If you try this out, let me know how it goes! I had a really good time working on this project, so I hope that you will too.


Jan 8, 2017

snapshots from vancouver

Hello 2017!

After a series of strange events as a result of my terrible clumsiness, I finally landed in Vancouver for a week-long vacation towards the beginning of winter break. The weather was a bit glum and thousands of tourists flocked every possible destination, but overall it was a pleasant trip and I was able to spend a lot of quality time with family. Beautiful sights and delicious food everywhere ~

iPhone 6s Plus  ✕  Nikon D5500
Hope you like the video ~

O'Hare is such a gorgeous airport...! Although, Vancouver International Airport had some pretty cool totem poles and Pacific Northwest Coast Native art.

It is indeed. I heard a quote from somewhere and I'm not exactly sure how it goes, but it's along these lines: live today as if it's the first day of the rest of your life. Because it is!


This was inside Revolver, a coffee shop in Gastown. Sigh, I may not be the biggest fan of coffee but my love for coffee shops has no limits. Hopefully coffee will grow on me as I age. One of those little dreams of mine when I was younger was to open up my own hole-in-the-wall cafe. I can still vividly picture the cafe I had always imagined: plants strewn about in all corners of the shop, fairy lights twinkling at the ceilings, exposed brick walls and pipes, the smell of freshly baked bread and brewed coffee wafting throughout the room. Wooden furniture, soft jazz, cozy lighting, tinkering silverware... man, it's all about the environment. Y'know, I'll think about it. Maybe one day I can save up and actually open up my own quaint little cafe. Nothing is impossible and anything can happen, right?!

Thanks for a wonderful week, Vancouver. I will be back for sure (when it's not freezing) ~

Eeek! I'm already returning to Philly tomorrow. Time truly does fly. I'm feeling positive though, and some excitement too! Fingers-crossed for a good, good semester. Wishing you luck for what's to come in 2017.


P.S: I recently got rid of Disqus on my blog so I lost quite a number of comments on my previous posts. Oops! I am still such a noob with this technical stuff.