Friday, March 6, 2020

Obsession Diaries: Handbags

When I step back to think of the things I "collect" handbags would definitely be another category. When I looked through my collection, three main brands emerged. I document those collections here.


I can’t remember how and where I first heard of ippolito. This Greek leather handbag brand is one of my favorite handbag brands, and I I’ve bene buying from them for the past three years. I will buy a new piece when the collection interests me and if it will hold a unique place in my overall handbag collection.

Vintage Louis Vuitton
I started buying vintage Louis Vuitton as a college student because I could not afford new models, however, I grew to like the look of the vintage models better. I like the faded, worn look and some of the older pieces are a lot classer and more timeless than the new collections.  

Vintage Coach
I inherited my first coach bag from my mother, who bought it at a time when it was not vintage. I kept it and carried it from time to time, and ended up purchasing my own bags over the years. I really love the look of them an the feeling of old leather. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Hanami with my baby

I try to celebrate the Japanese tradition of Hanami every year. When the cherry blossoms begin to bloom, I head to the park to photograph them like I've never seen them before. My photo album is full of identical photos of cherry blossoms, and it is impossible to distinguish one year from the next. However, this past year we had a defining photo shoot with out 2-month-old baby. 

It was a glorious day at the University of Washington, where practically all of Seattle was there trying to get a good picture. 

Dress: NM Neiman Marcus
Scarf: Vintage
Leggings: Urban Outfitters

Saturday, February 15, 2020

First Airplane Vacation with the Baby

Yayoi Kusama Installation at the Marciano Art Foundation

Our daughter was two months old on her first family vacation. We drove three hours north from Portland to Seattle and spent the weekend with some friends. She slept on a mat on the floor (she wasn't rolling yet) and I breastfed her during the day and bottle fed her at night with milk stored in a mini fridge in the room. It was one of the most relaxing and fun vacations we ever had. 

But it also gave me the impression that traveling with a baby was easy. 

I could not imagine then what life would be like once my daughter started crawling and climbing and eating solid foods and demanding certain toys. 

This reality manifested on our first trip to Los Angeles, when she was eight months old. 
I was very nervous about the two hour flight, but that was the easiest things of all! Much harder was getting her to sleep at night, and making sure we packed enough snacks and food during the day. 

Apart from carrying a baby around 24/7, there were three big differences in the way we traveled on this trip. 


I knew we would have to bring a lot for stuff for the baby that we never had to bring when we traveled as a couple: baby clothes, diapers, wipes, stroller, car seat, formula, bottles, diaper bag, food, toys. But I never imagined we would need to bring her pack-and-play. We found out the hard way when she refused to sleep the first night in the airbnb, and I had to walk to Target in downtown Los Angeles to buy a pack-and-play for her. 

While the amount of luggage for the baby increased, the amount of luggage for me decreased. I left my laptop, books, and multiple outfits at home. I knew I would not have time for all that. 


While we love to stay in Koreatown, our absolute favorite Airbnb does not allow children. It was not hard to another find an airbnb that allowed infants, but in addition to the rental policies, I had to look for a place with a few features that can be hard to find in LA:

- an elevator (so I don't have to carry her up the stairs)
- a washer and dryer (because babies are messy and I don't want to bring 100 pairs of clothes)
- concrete walls (so people won't hear her crying at night
- walking distance to convenience stores (in case we need water or other things in the middle of the night)
- dark and quiet (because street noise and sunlight will wake the baby too early!) 


I had to scale back our schedule by about half to accommodate the baby. I knew this in advance and tried not to plan too much each day. This meant that we could only go to one neighborhood each day (either the Arts District or Koreatown, not both). I tried to reduce the number of Lyfts we would need to take (because getting her in and out of the car seat is a pain) and minimize long walks (so we wouldn't have to carry her carseat, or her, if she got fussy in the stroller. We needed to give her lots of breaks from sitting in the stroller, which meant crawl time in the museum and in cafes. 

I am pleased to say that we were still able to do many of the things we loved doing when we were just a couple. We were able to eat at our favorite Korean BBQ buffet, visit cool cafes, eat at a Michele-star restaurant (outside on their empty patio), and visit our favorite museum (the Marciano Art Foundation).  

While we made a few mistakes (not putting the baby in a pack-and-play on the first night, and keeping her out too late one night), we had a really excellent trip and we did almost everything on our list. 

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Obsession Diaries: Delfonics

It’s no secret I'm obsession with planners and stationary in general, but Delfonics occupies a special place in y heart. I have been using this Japanese brand for my planners, file folders, pencils, cases, notebooks, totes, and pouches for a decade now, and the end of my addiction is no where in sight.

Every time I got to Japan I stop by the Delfonics  shop, although you can buy their products in many stores throughout Japan. Finally, Delfonics opened a shop online and also sells on Amazon, which is incredible.

Here is my collection as of 2019:

Delfonics Journals from the last ten years. I experimented with size and cover, deciding I like the bigger sizes better, and trying to find the most interesting and colorful patterns each season. 

Pouches, used for pens, receipts, odds and ends, and a special one for Monocle Magazines.

 Canvas pouches for stationary and pens. I have one big enough fro laptops and a smaller one for art supplies. They are too cute I almost don't want to use them!

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Reading Tijuana through the voices of people who love it

After my first visit to Tijuana in October of 2017 I became obsessed with the city, and I wanted to find other people who shared my obsession. Surely I could not be the only person who realized how remarkable of a place this was? And I was not. Writers, poets, philosophers, and scholars have all been writing about Tijuana for decades.
This strange town and its history have not escaped the attention of artists and creatives.
So when I returned from my trip I went about trying to get my hands on ever book ever written about Tijuana. My search took me through academic essays, exposes, novellas, short stories, and poetry. And I devoured it all.

Even in the literally scene Tijuana is unique. It does not have the broad appeal of a city like Paris, a place that draws creatives of all types to both live in and observe simultaneously. But Tijuana is also unlike Tangier, a city that attracted many creative people to it during a certain era, but it seldom written about or characterized in literature.

The people interested in Tijuana, interested enough to write about it, all share one trait: a feeling of not belonging anywhere. They are a border town within themselves, navigating multiple cultures and identities. I got this sense from all of them, whether  Mexican nationals, Americans, or Europeans. Whether they were scholars or poets. Here is some of the best of the writing about Tijuana:

“Sometimes the city fucks on the first date, and sometimes it doesn’t. But always, always, we wake up in the morning and find we didn’t know it at all.”
 -       VICE 2013

“I think maybe if I walk the streets were someone was afraid, where an entire city was afraid, I’ll maybe understand the fear a little better. This is the grand fiction of tourism, that bringing our bodies somewhere draws that place closer to us, or we to it. It’s a quick fix of empathy. We take it like a shot of tequila, or a bump of coke from the key to a stranger’s home. We want the inebriation of presence to dissolve the fact of difference.”
-       VICE 2013 

“Tijuana blurs. Once I leave, I’m eager to talk about it – the way you’re eager to talk about a dream when you wake up, afraid it will dissolve if you don’t pin the details to their places, sketch a path between absurdities.”
-       VICE 2013

"There are many Tijuanas. Each one of them is half myth, half temporarily out of service."
- Heriberto Yepez, Tijuana Dreaming

"In my lifetime, I have not felt a love as profound as the confusing passion that I feel for Tijuana, an obsession that does not preclude criticism and which more accurately provokes sudden repudiation. Tijuana elicits a crazy love, a narcotic love. Tijuana is addictive."

- Heriberto Yepez, Tijuana Dreaming

We come to Tijuana from everywhere, the difference is that some of us came first and others later.
- Martin de la Rosa, Tijuana Dreaming

For the deceased poet Eduardo Arellano, Tijuana rather than “a no-place is the place of saturation. As such, it accepts and continually incorporates foreign elements, because, in fact, it would seem that nothing is foreign to the city. And a particular ambiguity arises within this incredible abundance of humanity that gives places like this city a feeling of perversity. The ambiguity makes these places exceptionally favorable to diverse expression of the human, ranging from happiness to art.
Tijuana Dreaming, 27

If such cities exist, is is because they have been previously imagined, recreated invented, dreamed, and modeled….it is the literary city, make out of words that is the mediatized city of fiction - the one that exists in and through the different stores that shaped the city in literary spaces. 
Tijuana Dreaming, 35

Tijuana and San Diego are not in the same historical time zone. Tijuana is poised at the beginning of the industrial age, a Dickensian city with palm trees. San Diego is a postindustrial city of high impact plastic and desperate dieting.
- Richard Rodriguez, Tijuana Dreaming  47

To live here is to return to the greatest myth o all myths, to be required to profess - before certain visitors, certain neighbors, certain experts - a second rate esotericism…
- Heriberto Yepez, Tijuana Dreaming,  49

Write something about the city and you will soon be addicted to her self-deception.
- Heriberto Yepez, Tijuana Dreaming,  49

To live on the Border is to reside in the middle of an unexpected theology. An embezzled ontology. The suspicion that all this will soon be either less or more than a city, the laboratory of what is to come. 
Tijuana Dreaming, 50

Tijuana is a combination of extreme situations. Perhaps it is the most reliable proof that we could survive the apocalypse. 
Tijuana Dreaming, 51

Coming to Tijuana on an intellectual tour assumes the old concept that walking in the streets can provide us with a special gnosis. In this sense, visiting Tijuana to write about Tijuana is a nostalgia that makes sense. 
- Tijuana Dreaming, 59

“Tijuana has more to do with science fiction now than with Mexican history books.” - 
- Torolab , Tijuana Dreaming62

“Tijuana Has the look of a set design, an ephemeral set-up, a location where endless movies and simulacra will be shot, but where nothing will actually happen.” 
- Guillermo Fadanelli, Tijuana Dreaming 62

Tijuana is like a mirage, only there for the person who desires to see her and is able to visit her. For the majority of people, though, she is transparent, she doesn’t exist. 63

Writing about a place “reveals as much about ourselves as it does about the worlds represented” 
Tijuana Dreaming118

Tijuana as an outpost posits a cardinal rule for the Middle World: “you can only survive and move forward by continuing to invent yourself.” 
- Breytenbach, Tijuana Dreaming122

Shameless exhibition has turned this area into a hotel with no doors where nothing is off limits. 
-  Tijuana Dreaming, 216

Promiscuity is seductive - the cosmopolitan boredom, the lack of etiquette, a studied disinterest in anyone else’s life, the scant violence despite the sinister surroundings. 216

 “Border is form, and as a consequence, also art.” 
Claudio Magris,  Tijuana Dreaming 216

In terms of ideology, Tijuana is a nightmare.
To live here is to be a character, because at the border
There are no inhabitants, only archetypes. The border doesn’t have
Life: it has metaphysics - listen to its thing.
Heriberto Yepez, Tijuana Dreaming 219

I love TJ, for thousands of reasons….for being creative in spite of its precariousness and for pushing on in spite of tremendous neglect…for its bar-hopping nights and its obvious social contradictions, for its incredible audacity and its obvious ingenuity dealing with everything foreign. 
Tijuana Dreaming, 307

Why have so many people said so much about Tijuana? I think it is because Tijuana has become a symbol representing fears and subconscious desires. 
Tijuana Dreaming 57

Obsession Diaries: Handbags

When I step back to think of the things I "collect" handbags would definitely be another category. When I looked through my colle...