Thursday, August 27, 2015

You can't always figure it out on your own. 

Sometimes, some guidance is necessary.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

A day without stress in New York City usually means you're dead.
"Marcy Borders, who became known as the 'dust lady' from a defining picture of her covered in ash and grime on Sept. 11, 2001, died on Monday. She was 42.

Her sister, Dawn Borders, said she died from stomach cancer."

From the August 26, 2015, New York Times article: Marcy Borders, 'Dust Lady' Who Survived 9/11, Dies at 42. By Jonah Bromwich.

So sad. Rest in peace, Marcy.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

"Ian: Eddie, you need to apply yourself. If you keep looking for shortcuts, you'll never realize your potential.
Eddie: Where'd you learn that? Oprah?
Ian: Barney---on Oprah."

From the sitcom Fresh Off the Boat. Season 1, Episode 10.

Monday, August 24, 2015

"'The two things that have changed Rockaway in recent years are Arvene by the Sea and the surfing culture,' said Glenn DiResto, a retired police lieutenant who owns a home in the Breakers section and is a member of its homeowners association. 'They're the two positive things that have happened, and now, I don't want to say we're battling, but we have to work together to make sure positive things happen.'"

From the August 24, 2015, New York Times article: In Fight for a Stretch of the Rockaways, Surfers and New Residents Collide. By Corey Kilgannon.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

It's been two years since I returned to New York, and five years since I initially left it for a break.

It's not really a big deal but numbers like that can sometimes tell a story. Or maybe they don't.
"After years of stiff benches and backless chairs, the booth is back."

From the September 2015 issue of Bon Appétit magazine. 

This is the best issue of Bon Appétit that I have ever read. There's so much great content and interesting stories.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

It's funny when you realize that a favorite childhood 90's Korean pop song of yours was ripped off a Carpenters song.
"I look at you, looking at me.
I know you know how I feel."

From the song High By the Beach by Lana Del Rey.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Dear friends,

Please check out my latest story for VICE's food channel MUNCHIES: The Enduring Appeal of Stealing Tiki Mugs.


What's happened at the Erawan Shrine is just terrible. Looking at the pictures of it online is saddening on so many levels, because that was always such a place of peace and tranquility.

The Erawan Shrine is a temple in the very center of Bangkok, where Rama 1 and Ratchadamri intersect. This is literally in the middle of everything---a busy intersection as Central World, Gaysorn, the Royal Thai Police Headquarters, BTS stations, Skywalk and so many other major institutions remain accessible steps away. The temple was a major destination for different types of races, religions and people, from those who unexpectedly discover it while heading to a nearby destination, to groups of tourists or locals on their way home after work at a nearby mall. Stepping into the outdoor temple in the heart of Thailand's Capital city was like entering a space of serenity in all the madness. Back when I lived in Bangkok, I can't even count the number of times I stood on the Skywalk right next to the temple and felt joy while watching the people inside, as they appeared completely transported to a place of light and hope. There were oftentimes ceremonies held in it as well. It was teeming with life and spirit, and now it's also a place where people died while observing such a personal moment.

It's all so tragic. My thoughts and prayers go out to those who died and were injured.

Stay strong, Bangkok.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Tune it out.
"All I wanna do is get high by the beach.
Get high by the beach. 
Get high."

From the song High by the Beach by Lana Del Rey.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

"The designer Stephen Sills gave the dining room the soft glimmer of an abalone shell; it's pretty, but it also looks like a movie director's idea of a restaurant for rich people."

From the August 11, 2015, New York Times Restaurant Review: Chevalier in Midtown. Written by Pete Wells.
"Such dishes are a reminder of how far Korean cuisine has come in Manhattan over the past decade, adapting to local palates and expanding past the DIY grilled meat, dumpling, and karaoke parlors of Midtown or St. Marks. David Chang's Momofuku empire, while largely a collection eclectic American restaurants, deserves credit in this regard, for introducing a certain class of food-crazed Westerners to the to the joys of eating lettuce-wrapped pork, and for proving that large-format Korean fried chicken can merit luxury status with a $135 price tag. Then there's Hooni Kim's Danji and Hanjan, two trendsetters whose non-GMO meats command sizable crowds and higher prices than the cheaper commodity fare one finds in certain K-town restaurants. And the fact that the two-Michelin-starred Jungsik is still open proves that at least some folks are willing to spend $180 on Korean tasting menus. So while New York has maintained a somewhat complicated relationship with high-end Chinese or Mexican fare in recent years, the city has generally accepted ambitious, creative Korean cuisine with slightly more open arms."

From the August 11, 2015, Eater article, Oiji Instantly Ranks Among New York's Best Modern Korean Restaurants. Written by Ryan Sutton.

Monday, August 10, 2015

"I've never felt better, and my self-esteem has grown a lot. I don't really care what other people think about me, because as long as I'm creating value and being positive about things, then what can anyone say?"

Said by Courtney Love in the August 2015 issue of Harper's Bazaar.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Today was one of those cool August Sundays in New York that epitomizes summer.

The nice temperature and breeze made being outside feel like you were being embraced with spectacular weather. It's probably because I rarely wear shorts but the air on my legs felt great and relaxed me. With it being August, the city also felt a bit emptier on the streets since so many people are at the beach or away somewhere. I laid out in the shade at Union Square park with a magazine, and then headed to Washington Square Park for a bit. There were some jazz bands playing at different parts of the park so I sat and listened. Everyone around seemed to truly be enjoying themselves. Then I wandered around for a while before eventually walking home. Glorious New York summer day.
"Without reading the text,
know what cones next.
Seen it before, 
and it's painful."

From the song The Sun & The Rainfall by Depeche Mode.
"Russ: This is stupid. You're better than this.
AJ: We both know that that's not true."

From the FX show Married. Season 2, Episode 4.

This show is hilarious. This week's episode had me cracking up.

Thursday, August 06, 2015

"All the energy and beauty at Untitled are on the plates. They throb with color."

From the August 5, 2015, New York Times Restaurant Review: Untitled at the Whitney in the Meatpacking District. Written by Pete Wells.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Today I take a moment to remember you, Anne.
"Bodegas---there are around 12,000 in New York City---cannot be strictly defined. You know one when you see it."

From the August 3, 2015, New York Times article, Bodegas Declining in Manhattan as Rents Rise and Chains Grow. Written by Tatiana Schlossberg.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

"There's nothing more depressing than having everything---and still feeling sad. We must learn to water our spiritual garden."

From the interlude Sad on Janet Jackson's album, The Velvet Rope.
It's such a sunny afternoon here in my apartment. With the windows and curtains open, it feels like a treat to be able to have this alone time. My roommate is currently away on vacation, so I have the whole place to myself. Of course Oscar is here with me as well, so it's just the two of us hanging out. Today is my first day with no one here because my sister and brother-in-law were over yesterday with their dog. All I ever need is alone time in a quiet place with my computer, and I feel like myself again. No other place I need to be, no obligations, no television, no distractions. It's just some music on for background noise and my laptop.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Pasta is my everything.
What good is a fun night out if you can't remember it the next morning?

Thursday, July 30, 2015

"I feel like you never want to marry someone that's too fun."

Said by the character Russ Bowman in the tv show Married. Season 2, episode 3.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Congratulations to my friends Ricky and Susy on the birth today of their beautiful baby girl, Amelia! It was just 9 days ago when Susy told me how happy she was being pregnant and spending so much bonding-time with Amelia. This was when I had gone to Astoria to visit the expecting couple on a quiet Sunday, catching up and thinking about all that was to come. And now Amelia has finally joined her parents and rest of the world, for this journey we're all in together.

As we get older, it's the babies and little ones who keep the group growing and learning.
My three subscriptions to food magazines all arrived in the mail today on the same day. That's a first!
"I'm going to crack like nobody's watching, and eat like I skipped lunch."

Said by a voiceover in a recent Red Lobster commercial.
This past weekend had me pretty busy with my best friend's birthday dinner and then a wedding the next night on Saturday.

Happy birthday to Junho! Judy and I took the birthday boy to Virginia's for dinner on Friday, and then went to nearby Mother of Pearl for drinks. After that we bar hopped for a bit, and ended up back at our apartment by 3am stuffing our faces with just-delivered takeout. There was also banana cream pie thanks to Judy. Basically, when I woke up the next morning my legs felt so heavy it was hard to lift them.

Being able to attend a wedding is always special, and I felt so fortunate to have gone to Esther and Mike's this past Saturday. It took place downtown in Battery Park, right by the beautiful water where you could see the Statue of Liberty. Their ceremony was lovely and perfectly matched the couple in every way. Witnessing their vows was so great, as their love for one another filled the room. Being there helped remind me of so many things that are easily forgotten as a single person. Another thing to note is Esther's the same age as me and also grew up in Queens. We had a lot of mutual friends in high school, and she did a joint sweet sixteen birthday party with a friend of mine at the time. The party took place at Flushing's Kum Gang San, and this memory of Esther at 16 standing behind the birthday cake has been burned into my mind since then.

Thinking of that memory at her and Mike's wedding really had me happy for them, I wish them all the best in their new chapter. Congratulations to the husband and bride!

Monday, July 27, 2015

"'Promise me that you'll never let anyone steal your joy': Sunday night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Nicki Minaj was convening her faithful, guiding them through whatever storms they'd been weathering."

From the July 27, 2015, New York Times article Review: Nicki Minaj Raps Life Lessons at Barclays Center, by Jon Caramanica.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

There's so much going on in the country right now... some of it is really heartbreaking. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Dear Mayonnaise,

I love you so much.


Sunday, July 19, 2015

"Tell our story, Christian. Promise me. Promise me."

Said by the character Satine in the movie Moulin Rouge.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Stay busy.
"It's slim pickings out there. You can't swing a Fendi purse without knocking over 5 losers. Where did all the great guys go?"

Said by the character Samantha in Sex In The City. Season 2, Episode 13.
"Miranda: Maybe you should think about running to a shrink.
Carrie: Why should I pay someone when we can talk for free and then go get a drink or whatever. I don't need professional help, I've got you guys."

From the show Sex In The City. Season 2, Episode 13.

Friday, July 17, 2015

"Guess it's true, I'm not good at a one night stand.
But I still need love 'cause I'm just a man.
These nights never seem to go to plan.
I don't want you to leave, will you hold my hand?"

From the song Stay With Me by Sam Smith.
Lately, I've been going through too many long periods where my life seems filled with distractions that might seem fun, but in the end they almost always result in nothing.

I've fallen into this routine of going to work, then either boozing it up afterwards or coming straight home to spend an unnecessary amount of time in front of the television.

When I go too long without reading, discovering new music, watching a good film, or wandering an unexplored street or neighborhood by foot, it becomes mindlessly easy to live in a mundane world where creativity and inspiration has no place. That's why reading a good book or listening to an album that moves me or experiencing a film that makes me feel something or walking down an unknown New York block that transports me to another place is so important to do.

Ultimately, each medium does the same thing in a different way. That instant where the imagination is sparked is what keeps me going, and the dots of life should be connected from moment-to-moment like those instead of trudging along each day without thinking twice about what's actually going on, and that this is life and it needs to be lived.

Day-to-day responsibilities are important. Socializing is important. Art is important. Without balance, it all means nothing.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

"Four United States Marines were killed Thursday after a gunman opened fire at two military facilities here, and the federal authorities said they were investigating the episode as an act of domestic terrorism."

From the July 16, 2015, New York Times article Four Marines Killed in Chattanooga Shootings. Written by Richard Fausset, Alan Blinder and Michael S. Schmidt.

This is so terrible... my thoughts and prayers go out to the family and loved ones of those who were killed.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

it has happened to me.
Right in front of my face,
and I just can not hide it."

From the song Finally by CeCe Peniston.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Chase that feeling...
Scaffolding on a quiet street of New York can become really beautiful on a rainy night.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

I just want to eat chicken over rice with extra white sauce everyday for lunch.

But that's not practical.

Monday, July 06, 2015

"Not even they can stop me now."

From the song Radio by Lana Del Rey.
Write. Write. Write. Write!
Right. Right. Right. Right?

Always, always."

From the song Always by Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Thursday, July 02, 2015

There are these moments that occasionally happen where things just have to be paused for a second to be taken in and really appreciated. It could be something so simple or something that's once in a lifetime, but to recognize what's going on really helps look at things with a new perspective. This moment of right here and right now will never happen again. But this exhilaration can be achieved again by perhaps reaching a goal in life or living happily and fulfilled everyday.

Friday, June 26, 2015

"In a long-sought victory for the gay rights movement, the Supreme Court ruled by a 5-to-4 vote on Friday that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage." 

From the June 26, 2015, New York Times article, Supreme Court Ruling Makes Same-Sex Marriage a Right Nationwide. Written by Adam Liptak.

Let's celebrate!

It's humbling to think about all the progress that's been achieved for LGBT rights within my lifetime. I'm hoping that the generation I belong to will be the last to grow up in America thinking being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is something wrong or shameful. No one deserves to ever feel less than when they are simply being their true self. When that happens, its negative impact seeps into so many different parts of life with results that sometimes requires a lot of work to heal.

Thinking about this being the start of a new societal norm, it's exciting how civilization will continue to grow and evolve into something that might be unfathomable to us living right now. But I am so humbled to be who I am through these current times, because everything that is going on really does mean so much. Reminiscing back to when I was a kid, it never crossed my mind that things would actually change because that just seemed like how life worked.

It's freeing to know that who I am is now legally deemed as equal to the majority of society. Thank you to all the people who worked so hard to make this happen. I often remember life in stages of a before and after, and this is definitely a beginning to something new.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

My thoughts are not reality.

Reminding myself that really helps with anxiety, especially at night when I'm trying to fall asleep.

Close eyes. Stop overthinking. Chill out. Drift off. Fall asleep. Goodbye.
Loosen up!
Lessons. They come in a million ways and forms. They can be intimidating at times, and often hard to recognize until moments, or even years, later when the reason why they happened is finally understood.

I feel like I've experienced two big lessons in the past week that happened because of similar reasons. Thinking about what the third similar lesson could potentially be is sort of scary, so I definitely want to try and not let anything like that happen.

But then as my roommate said, I should "live a little."

Balance is what I need. Yes, balance.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

"Is that you do it to yourself,
Just you and no one else,
You do it to yourself."

From the song Just by Radiohead.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Sunday, June 14, 2015

My work trip to Florida over the past few days was great.

Being in the tropical weather really reminded me of Thailand, and it was nice to feel that sticky heat with palm trees in the background. On the first night there, even passing rainstorms felt refreshing. Sprinting alone back to my room at 3am during a heavy downpour actually had me laughing because it had been years since that happened, invoking memories and emotions buried far back in my brain.

Every night after my bosses, coworkers, and I returned from eating dinner and late-night barhopping, we would all go back to our rooms to quickly change before meeting again at the hotel's pool and jacuzzi. Ending each night like that was a blast, especially when I'd be floating alone in the large pool just staring at the sky. I'd drown out the entire world with my ears underwater, allowing me to give my undivided attention skyward. Looking at the stars with grey silhouettes of palm trees hovering above me had me completely absorbed in where I was at that very moment. And in those exact points in time, that's when I felt particularly transported and like I was back in Bangkok because a good friend of mine used to have a pool in his apartment complex with a similar view. It was at this friend's house where I discovered my love of doing the same thing to clear my head---going swimming alone at night, feeling weightless and completely free of any cares in the world as I gazed up.

I guess I don't experience the feeling of getting completely lost and engrossed in something very often, and that's why being able to spend time at night in a pool where I'm by myself makes me really happy. That's when I'm not preoccupied by anything or feeling distracted and consumed by something I was worrying about earlier, which is how I usually feel all the god damn time. I can just be there in the water, drifting both physically and mentally without having to overthink anything. I'm just present in the moment, which sounds simple in theory but not really easily achievable.

Overall, it was a great trip where I got to spend quality time with the people at my workplace while learning more about how I can be better at my job. But I do have to say that those nighttime moments in the pool also helped me in a way that nothing else could have, because they made me remember what mental clarity felt like.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

No one is happy all the time.

No one is anything all the time. 

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

"I made the right decision to learn about the city by walking around it. Walking made me think more and focus on the world around me. Moving forward, putting one foot in front of the other, reminded me of reading a book."

From the book I'll Be Right There by Kyung-Sook Shin. Page 71.

Monday, June 01, 2015

June is looking to be a good month.

While it was rainy, cold, and miserable today on the 1st, it still hasn't dampened my excitement for the next 30 days. The weather has been really summer-like the past few weeks, so I'm sure it'll be hot again in no time.

I'm going to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, next week and it's exciting because it'll be my first business trip with my current work place. It's going to be nice to get away from New York for a bit to spend time with my bosses and colleagues outside of the office. It'll be my first time going to Florida, let alone to a tiki convention. The week after Fort Lauderdale, I'll be going to Aspen, Colorado, for the best American culinary event of the year. This trip will be a bit sentimental because it's for the food magazine I used to work for, and at an annual event where I once helped plan and produce. The event has just continued to grow tremendously since I worked it years ago, which makes me all the more look forward to seeing everything in a few weeks.

My friends Jenn and Daniel will also be coming to visit in June, on top of some other guests. But I'm especially excited to see them because they're the friends I used to live with in Los Angeles, who so kindly allowed me into their lives out there and helped me out so much. I haven't been back together with them in New York since we were all roommates in the Upper West Side before I left for Asia, so it's going to be awesome to see them here. They've also had a beautiful baby son since we've last seen each other and there's much to catch up on.

I'd really like to just stay mellow and have a good time this month. Traveling and seeing old faces will be a great way to start off the season.
It's nice when a new month starts on a Monday.

It gives me hope in making the changes I want for a fresh start on things.

It's a new month. It's a new week. It's a new beginning with better choices.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Friday, May 29, 2015

It's finally Friday, and I'm feeling great this morning from a good night's rest.

Have a good day, TGIF!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Eat like no one is watching.
Summer in the city has arrived, and it feels so nice.