san francisco, i love you.

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Some photos that I took with my Diana mini and disposable camera while picnicking at Chrissy Field. It was such a beautiful summer day. And pinwheels are really one of the best ways to put a smile on your face.

Also, my nieces and nephews are visiting from the East coast, all 4 of them! I'm excited to take them around the city tomorrow. I hope its also bright and sunny where you are. xo

bookstore love

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Last weekend, I stopped by St. Helena and found the sweetest little bookstore. It's so cozy and well-lit, and had the kind of warm atmosphere you'd feel in small local shops.  The owner was really nice too, she let me take photos and answered all my questions, she even gave me a used copy of this book for a dollar! Unfortunately, it was near closing time so we couldn't chat for very long but here are some photos that I took.

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Beautiful botanical books and vintage prints.

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The store front. I really like the color combination, especially the striped canopy.

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Bookmarks on the counter ceiling. She said she had collected them from people's used books over the years. I love the one that says 'MOTTOS 10 cents each'.

P.S. I'm still reading The Wind-up Bird Chronicle and just started Henry and June by Anais Nin. What are you reading these days?

music monday: iceland, we built a fire

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When I said I've been dreaming of places, I've only been really thinking of one -- Iceland. Ah, I so badly want to visit this magical island country. I think the want has intensified since two people that I know has been to Iceland in 2009.  I've bookmarked all of their photos so I can look at them when I'm feeling uninspired.

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Holly met these beautiful Icelandic horses on a roadtrip. You can read her stories here.

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Jo lived in Iceland for a couple of months and even saw the aurora borealis. You can see all her photos here. She also introduced me to Seabear, a six piece indie-folk band from Reykjavik. I really love their album We Built A Fire. Have a listen to this song below.


I've been listening to this album on repeat since Friday. I find their music comforting, especially with all the tragedy over the weekend.   

My heart goes out to you, Norway. 

bits and pieces

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I love this quote. Even though sometimes it might just be other way around for me, "when you realize how unperfect everything is..."

Today I went to Napa Valley to meet some friends who are visiting from out of town. On my way back, I missed an exit and ended up driving for more than 2 hours instead of the usual 45 minutes. Fun times.

Three days ago, I got two parking tickets. $65 a piece. OUCH.

And now for the good things:

I saw my first ever SF Giants baseball game last Tuesday night. We won. The stadium, overlooking the bay, is beyond beautiful. I took some photos here.

Meeting friends, old and new. Sharing good food and great conversation.

When a person that I love says he is really happy and I can see it.

A bookshop owner sold me this Anne Bronte novel for $1. She said, "its used and I can tell that you will really enjoy reading it". I promised her I will come back so we can talk about the book and the Bronte sisters.

Writing letters, looking at old travel photos, dreaming of places that I'd love to see.

How about you, what have you been up to lately?

summer in the city

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San Francisco summers are not your typical warm sunny days. It can be cold, foggy, and windy one day and sunny the next.  It also depends on where you are in the bay or even the city, sometimes I just need to drive across the Golden Gate Bridge to feel the sun on my face.  Here are some photos that I took with my disposable camera over the weekend.  A bunch of us got together at Alamo Square for a picnic and barbeque at the park.  If there's one thing that San Franciscans love to do, its to eat and drink at parks at the first peek of the sun. 

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P.S. How about you, what is the weather like in your part of the world?

journal scribbles, circa 2007

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Last night I decided to read my old journal entries for the month of July. I only made it through 3 of them as I got distracted and started reading other entries and poems that I stashed away inside the pockets of my Moleskine notebooks. I found this, written exactly 4 years ago today and I thought I'd share it here.  Apparently I was taking more bus rides and reading the novel Atonement then.

7.18.07
Another bus ride through Chinatown.
Sign says "kneeling bus, zero emissions vehicle" -- what does that mean?
Bus driver says he'll work for 20 more years, he's already 42 now, so he'll be 62 then.
Says he'll buy a boat and spend the rest of his life in the ocean.
We pass by a car about to be towed on Stockton Street.
Bus driver points to the towing truck and says "that's where all the money goes.
More of that and you'll be like me, fat and broke."

* * *
Cafe in North Beach, underlined these lines from Atonement (p.7):
"...a moonlight dash through sleepy villages was one rhythmically emphatic sentence,
falling in love could be achieved in a single word - a glance."

just a minute

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Happy weekending! What are you guys up to? I've been sick for the past 3 days and have spent so much more time in bed than I wanted to. Yikes. Trust me to get sick on my first week of vacation. Anyhow, the upside of being sick at home is that I have time to catch up on my reading and visit inspiring blogs. I also found this fun Just a Minute meme (via daydream lily) that I wanted to share with you guys. And if you want to, feel free to play along here.

Reading...The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami.

Listening...to Sondre Lerche's new album. Can this boy be any more wonderful? Ah, you guys should watch this documentary video to see what I'm talking about.

Making...chai tea, morning and just before bedtime.

Watching...old and new favorite movies. I'm 'babysitting' a friend's DVD collection while she is away for 2 years in Japan. We have similar taste in films and I'm so excited.

Loving...these essays: to date (or not to date) a girl who reads. First he wrote something and then she responded. I think I'm more partial to his version but either way, both are a toast to all women who reads. So, cheers!

(Photo from Fudge Magazine scans by clever nettle)

dear catastrophe waitress

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Here are some over/double exposure shots from my Diana Mini camera. I really love these prints for some reason. Its almost like stepping inside a world of muted colors.

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A row of Victorian houses, a hippie bus, and my friend Melania's skirt.

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A bear hugging California. How adorable is that poster?

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I'm wearing this dress almost everyday. Its perfect for our sunny but cold summer days.
(Golden Gate Bridge and Angel Island are in the background)

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Can you spot the Polaroid camera in this photo?

Title is taken from this song by Belle and Sebastian

a room of one's own

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"It was like the time between the lights when colours undergo their intensification and purples and golds burn in the window-panes like the beat of an excitable heart..."

Such true words from Virginia Woolf. How does she do it? I want to keep these words close to my heart, a reminder of why I love this time of day so very much, that special time when the afternoon light is so lovely it illuminates everything, like the way the curtains float ever so gently in our ballet studio, the shadows and silhouettes made by bodies slowly moving to music, that sigh you feel in the air from a day just ending and the evening that is about to begin.

I am currently reading A Room of One's Own and let me tell you, it is a goldmine of truths. What I really love about her writing is that it gives me room to pause and think. She tends to write long run-on sentences and observations that may not be related to what she had originally wanted to talk about, but I don't really mind because it's almost as if she is inviting me to join in her thought process.

In this book, Woolf talks about women and writing and argues that women need some income and a room of their own in order to create. I soon found myself thinking about rooms and spaces, those spaces that we seek and create for ourselves so we can pursue our own truths, be it in writing, photography, painting, etc. What kind of spaces, both physical and emotional, do we seek? And how do we keep it in a way that we remain true to our authentic selves?

I tend to surround myself with books and people who have similar passions as I do. I also try to go outside as much as I can, walk around or sit and just look at people, take pictures and if I'm lucky, pull out my little notebook and start writing things down. But for the most part, it doesn't always happen this way. When I have too much time in my hands, I tend to self-indulge and it takes me forever to leave the house. Or I try to do so many things all at once without actually getting anything done.

And then there are the virtual spaces. I think we all know how easy it is to get lost in the internet for hours. At the same time, it is also a source of inspiration and I've met so many like-minded individuals and friends through blogging. So how do we balance this out without making it just another means to procrastinate? And for those of us who have blogs, how do we make it a space that allows us to grow in our creative lives and share this to others who read it?

These are some of the thoughts running through my head after reading two chapters of A Room of One's Own. Its been awhile since I've read a book that really inspires me to reflect on my own life and I'm so glad that I picked this one up. Has any of you read it? If so, what did you like about this book? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

music monday: penny & the quarters

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When I watched the movie Blue Valentine last year, I thought it was one of the best films I've ever seen but also the most depressing. Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams' portrayal of a married couple slowly drifting apart was so brutally honest that I felt like I was being punched in the gut. I don't think I'll be watching it again any time soon but I do really love one of the songs from its soundtrack.

The song is You and Me by an unknown soul band called Penny & the Quarters. It is said to be an unreleased demo from the 70s and somehow ended up among other demo tapes in an estate sale in Columbus, Ohio. Not much is known about this song, the band, or its back story which makes it even more bittersweet. I love how its so simple and raw and it evokes a certain feeling of longing and hope, very much fitting for Dean and Cindy's story before they started to grow apart.

Oh, and the fact that Ryan Gosling picked this song might have something to do with it too. Because you know, I have such a mad crush on that boy (ha!). Have a listen below.

Penny & the Quarters :: You and Me

cheers! かんぱい!

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Its official, I'm on summer break. 4 weeks, my dears...4 weeks. Short of jumping up and down (which is not good for my problematic knees), I haven't figured out what to do with myself yet. You see, there's a summer job that is sort of perfect for me but it fell through so now I've no real plans. I'm not worried though, its been a rough school year and I think I deserve this break and take care of myself.

So, in the spirit of this first day of my vacation, I'd like to share this awesome video of a Japanese shōchū, the Shiro Cheers System by Takahashi Shuzo. Its so lighthearted and it appeals to some of the things I love: a song from She & Him, dancing, hard-bound books, Polaroid, and other low-tech gadgets. I dare you not to smile while watching this video. I also took some screencaps of my favorite parts for you.  Enjoy!


Here's a toast to summer and taking it easy. Cheers! Kanpai! ♥

nadinoo at the lavender farm

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We went to visit my favorite lavender farm last weekend and as promised, here are some photos. I wore my new Nadinoo dress and can't stop smiling. I received this two weeks ago and have been saving it to wear for a special place. And what could be more special than frolicking at the lavender fields, right? I love everything about this dress - the cut, the print, all the little details. Most of all, its handmade and fits me perfectly!

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This last photo was taken with a disposable camera when we stopped by a fruit stand to buy some cherries. I paired my dress with a vintage cream cardigan but it was way too hot that day and I had to take the cardigan off. Either way, I'm so in love with it and I can't wait to style it in different ways.

You can read more about Nadinoo and its lovely designer Nadia Izruna here.

(Photos taken by Holly)

at the corner café

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Hello everyone! I can't believe its already Wednesday, what a busy week I'm having. I think the 4th of July festivities threw me off a bit and now I'm playing catch up.

Today my co-worker Livia and I walked to my neighborhood coffee shop to work on reports when I saw that there were a lot of cameras and beautiful people everywhere. For a second I thought I was in the wrong cafe, eventhough its the same one that I've been going to regularly since I moved to this city. Funny how so much prettiness can do that to you.

Anyhow, we soon found out that they are filming the pilot episode for a series about a group of young professionals and their life in the Silicon Valley. One of the producers actually talked to us and explained the concept of the show as well as the script. I don't think I'm allowed to share anything about the show yet but it sounded so fascinating to me and for a moment I started daydreaming of writing my own screenplay. Does this ever happen to you, when you are in the midst of something so out of the ordinary that you start to wonder what its like to be a part of it?

And then it was over and the film crew packed up to shoot somewhere else in the city. The cafe was quiet and back to its normal routine again. It was kinda surreal, like having a glimpse of an alternate world and then going back to the real one. And definitely brought excitement to my otherwise monotonous work week.

Speaking of films, I want to thank you all for your thoughts on my previous post about Jane Eyre. Your comments really make my day. Many, many thanks! xo

(Photo taken at H cafe, corner of 17th and Sanchez Streets, San Francisco)

thoughts on jane eyre

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I often have a hard time writing about things that are close to my heart. With the new Jane Eyre movie, its even harder because I adore both the book and the filmmaker. So I decided to wait a little while before writing about it as I tend to ramble incoherently about things that I really like. Then I saw these photos from Lula magazine and it all came back, the reasons why I love this film.

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First and foremost, there is Mia Wasikowska. Those of us who read Charlotte Bronte's novel must have had a picture of Jane Eyre in our heads and for me Mia embodied her so perfectly there is no doubt in my mind that she is Jane. It's there in her knowing eyes, the knit of her brows, the tilt of her chin, the myriad of expressions written on her face. She gave us a Jane that we can cheer on and cry with, a heroine that we can respect with her wit and strength of character.

Of course, we can't talk about Jane without talking about Rochester. What I really love about this film is that we can see how and when they started to fall for each other. Their initial verbal sparring by the fireplace is so well played you can feel sparks flying as they try to push each other's buttons. Michael Fassbender and Mia Wasikowska have such great onscreen chemistry that if I had any complaints about this film, its probably that they didn't show enough scenes of them together. But that's just a minor gripe and only because I know the book by heart. Obviously, the novel is so dense and complex there is no way you can fit everything in a 2-hour film.

And then there's the cinematography. I'm so in love with the way they used naturalistic lighting and the changing weather of the English moors to reflect the mood of the story. For instance, there was a lovely scene of Jane and Rochester by the cherry blossoms, lots of sun flares, a close-up of their hands, of petals falling in the wind. In contrast, when Jane fled from Thornfield Hall, the sky was dark and ominous, all the shots were taken by a hand-held camera, and the moors look so eerie and almost otherworldly.

Lastly, in as much as Jane Eyre is about the romance, it is also a story about a girl's journey from being a helpless orphan to becoming a woman in her own right, a woman who ultimately forged her own destiny without compromising her sense of self. This film adaptation clearly shows us that. And in such a visually stunning way, the images will probably stay with you for a very long time.

Has anyone else seen Jane Eyre? What do you guys think? Also, there's a great NPR interview of its director Cary Fukunaga, have a listen here.

(Images taken from here)

have a great weekend!

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What are you guys up to this weekend? We are having the best weather and I'm really enjoying the outdoors. I hope you are too. In the meantime, here's some inspiration around the internet that I'd love to share with you:

Dear Photograph puts such a big smile on my face. What a sweet idea.

This video of Jason Mraz singing Summer Breeze makes my heart ache. In a good way.

Photos of Pfeiffer Beach. Northern California coast is simply breathtaking.

List of 100 things I love about summer.

Oh, and remember my favorite lavender fields? We just went there today and I have tons of photos to share with you soon. Cheers! xo