It’s been a little while since I’ve popped in here to write anything. March was a whirlwind, and somehow we are already midway through April - how did that happen?! On Saturday I attended the biggest beach clean up (that I’ve ever participated in) at Sandy Hook — one of my favorite NJ shore points. The “Beach Sweeps” event was hosted by Clean Ocean Action and was held at over 60 different locations that day. At Sandy Hook alone, there were approximately 600 volunteers! 😱It was insane, and incredibly inspiring to be a part of.Read More
Yesterday, I joined my first ever larger group beach clean up effort down in Asbury Park (hosted by the Surfrider Foundation’s Jersey Shore chapter). When I first started paying more attention to all the trash and plastic last summer, I remember thinking how I wanted to look into joining a community clean up (in addition to organizing one myself). There’s something so invigorating and rewarding about being a part of something so much bigger than yourself. Truly an inspiring experience - and if you get the chance to be a part of a big clean up in your area - I highly recommend giving it a go! 🙌🏼Read More
I can’t believe that this is my FOURTH year writing one of these! And I also can’t believe that 2018 is coming to a close… what a freakin’ roller coaster it was. I started the year off strong - felt really confident for a couple months (wrote a 26 page outline for a book I started to write.. reconnected with some old friends), and then lost steam (again). I went on my first creative retreat (in Montana) and it was really expensive (lol). For the months following that, I questioned whether it was “worth it” and tried to digest all of the feedback I had received on my work. Going into it - I think I was already searching for “what was next” in my life / career. I felt like I had hit a wall again - really uncertain just about everything.. I took a leap of faith by applying to the retreat, and when I got accepted - I jumped into it hoping it would give me fresh insight and some direction… but I think I left feeling unsure what to make of it all (although it was a beautiful place to visit).
I spent the second third of this year in pretty much complete (self inflicted) isolation. May thru August, I didn’t hang out with a single person outside of my immediate family. The immediate family I DID see or spend time around - I felt completely withdrawn from. I dreaded being around people of any kind, and was shutting out even my closest friends. I was falling asleep on the couch watching TV shows I didn’t even really like, and generally speaking… lost my desire to get out of bed in the morning. Creatively, I felt really depleted - the desire and motivation just wasn’t there. I spent a lot of time walking miles and miles of beaches by myself (moody, I know 😂). It was a rough few months where I felt really far from being my best self, to say the least…
The final third of this year has been a surprisingly reinvigorating few months. I feel like I’ve found the basis for the thesis project that I wish I had 4.5-5 years ago - the basis for a LIFE’S work (which is a REALLY bold thing to say, I realize) - but I really do feel that way. I started collecting beach trash at the end of August (after walking miles of coastline in the summer… it became impossible to continue to ignore). This then led to organizing / cohosting my first group beach clean up and the launch of some new products for my Etsy shop (beach plastic holiday greeting cards)! I haven’t felt this excited, passionate, and deeply ROOTED about anything I’ve made in well… maybe ever. In 2019, I plan to continue to grow the greeting card line, cohost more beach clean ups, and continue the important conversation about sustainability through my creative work. It’s gonna be a good year - I can feel it! But first, here’s a little recap of 2018:Read More
Welcome winter! Today is the first *official* day of the coldest season of the four. I feel like most people do not look forward to this season - it’s dreaded by so many. So today - I thought I’d write a short but sweet post offering some fresh perspective - some reasons to LOVE winter. Mostly, I want something positive for myself to refer back to when it’s late stage winter and the holiday magic has long worn off and I’m desperate for it to end and get warmer again (like the rest of you!) 😂I remember last year’s winter feeling particularly long.. I couldn’t wait for it to be over and it felt like it would never end as we kept getting smacked with nor’easter after nor’easter towards the tail end.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the seasons - not just the seasons marked by nature and by the calendar — but seasons of life in general. How seasons come and go, ebb and flow, inevitably changing — and how that has an effect on me and (particularly) my creative process. The natural world is truly wild when you stop and think about! So here are some reasons to love everyone’s seemingly least favorite season:Read More
At the end of August, I wrote about my first experience consciously picking up litter on the beach by myself. If you haven’t read that post yet, you can check it out here! Towards the end, I mentioned my interest in joining a future group community clean up or maybe even starting one myself. Two months later, here I am hosting my own! 🙌🏼
The day I picked up straws and bottle caps by myself, I posted this photo to Instagram and received a ton of really nice comments - one of which was from Fiona, a born and raised Coney Island local and fellow creative. She casually suggested starting a clean up crew, and I agreed that we should make it happen!Read More
This summer, I've been heading to the beach every chance I get (no surprise there - haha!) I usually go to hunt for treasures like seashells, sea glass, rocks, etc. - but yesterday at Coney Island I decided to switch from beach combing mode to beach clean up mode. While I'm beach combing, I'm pretty selective about what I pick up... but when I'm in clean up mode I want to pick up EVERYTHING in sight. The two modes are pretty different in that way, but strangely enough I think there is beauty to be found in both processes. Although it isn't the same feeling of excitement per say as finding a giant finished piece of sea glass or a large whole empty conch shell... it was really cool to find that one unique teal bottle cap (in the photo above) and a sole purple straw in a sea of more common colors (clear, red, green, orange). As gross and horrifying of a task as clean ups are - there is nothing that compares to the feeling of knowing that you are leaving a place better than you found it.Read More
At the end of last month, I had the opportunity to visit Montana for Collective Quarterly's 2018 Portfolio Showcase. It was SO beautiful up there and I miss it terribly already. The showcase was my first ever creative retreat, and I'm glad I applied for it. It was kinda scary (terrifying) because it was my first time putting my work out there for direct judgement / criticism in a formal setting since graduating from college a few years ago. The environment reminded me a lot of being back in school -- having "teachers" (industry professionals) look at my work and give feedback, attending lectures and panel discussions (and taking notes, lol), eating meals together, and "living" just down the hall or the next building over from other peers for a few days. As intimidating as it was, I'm so glad I took the leap of faith to be a part of it!Read More
This past weekend, I had the opportunity to attend the press preview hour for Dessert Goals (spring disco edition!) Sound River Studios made for the perfect new venue right along the water with high ceilings and amazing natural skylight light (SO great for photographing all the yummy desserts!) I have been to all three NYC editions thus far, and I feel like they get better (sweeter) every time. ;)Read More
I can't believe it's taken me so long to write this post, LOL. It didn't take me too long to gather the content... but what I mean is that Chinatown has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I am 100% Chinese-American, and my mom actually grew up in Chinatown. I still have a grandma who resides there, as well. I have been visiting Chinatown since my early childhood... and my favorite part about it has always been the FOOD. It's about time I write this guide! ;)
This year, Chinese New Year falls on Friday, February 16 (tomorrow!) - so I figured now would be the perfect time to share my recs. Are you heading into Chinatown to celebrate and experience the dragon dancing / parade? The confetti filled streets alone are worth the trek! I'm sure the festivities will continue into this weekend and maybe even into next week, too. If you have never been, it should be on your NYC bucket list. Highly recommend. ;)
Of course, before or after the festivities - you'll want to stuff your face! So I've compiled this guide for ya - in the case that you aren't quite sure where to begin. If you don't frequent Chinatown on the regular, it can be kinda intimidating (kinda like stepping into another country for a hot second). The places on this list are a combination of the places my mom has frequented over the years as well as some newer wave Chinatown spots that I've scoped out on my own.Read More
At the end of each year, I like to link all the year's posts in one place (for archival purposes). I used to title this post "best of ____" but "____ in review" seems more fitting. 2017 was certainly a whirlwind.. and I'm not sure I know anyone who is sad to see it go. It was a hard one for our world on multiple fronts, and for me personally it was a hard one as well. I disappeared a bit from social media at times - and largely disappeared from writing in this space. I did a lot more writing for myself - a lot of offline journaling and self reflection. A lot of self doubt crept in. There was a lot of me asking myself "where is my life going?" / "what's next?" and just general uncertainty that I've been battling since graduating in 2014 three and a half years ago. I think it's taken me nearly 4 years to "recover" from the rigor of art school, LOL. (For those of you who also went to an art school... maybe you can relate). This whole "creating for a living" isn't easy, but I also wouldn't trade it in for the world. As we say goodbye to 2017, I am honestly so excited for all the possibility that 2018 has in store. For the first time in many years (maybe ever?), I genuinely feel like this year can be anything I want it to be.
Anyways (without further ado) - here are the handful of posts (some of which I wrote for myself and then never promoted on social media) that I wrote this year:Read More