Tag Archives: love

Moving to NYC: What I’ll Miss Most About LA

the girl that never sleeps is finally moving to the city that never sleeps. certainly reminds me of one of my favorite songs by the wombats.


how do i sum up 6 years of my life in los angeles? understandably, i’ve been putting off writing this blog by sheer intimidation but it’s probably time. in less than 3 weeks, i’ll be packing up my life in the land of palm trees and saying hello to new york city. if there’s anything i should add to my LA bucket list before i leave, let me know!

i moved to LA initially to study at UCLA and lingered afterwards for career reasons. since then, i’ve had many adventures — from interning at universal pictures and focus features, to working at UCLA’s film/tv rental office checking out equipment, to shooting hundreds of editorial projects and concerts. for some time i even gave the acting thing a shot with a commercial agent i was referred to by the makeup artist on a music video shoot. i eventually became involved with a wonderful non-profit photo organization and loved connecting with others on events and exhibits to bring photography to life. i liked working behind the scenes so much that i found myself on the project management side of a digital media agency– producing apps/games/websites for brands like l’oreal, bravo and several movie studios.

though it’s been an amazing adventure, i know this city just doesn’t suit me. the sprawled geography, the incessant traffic, lack of public transportation and seasons. it was just a ball of stress.

it’s a bit strange now because i’ve established a pretty good life here. i have a wonderful network of friends, a stable job as a producer, regular photo clients, etc. i absolutely adore my apartment and echo park– the neighborhood i live in.

echo park at sunset

however, i know that i won’t ever truly be happy with this city. i mean, you better have a pretty good reason to stay somewhere you don’t like and i’ve been fortunate enough to have accomplished most of my reasons within the past few years.

i’m a firm believer in taking action if you’re unhappy. you can come up with a slew of excuses or even legitimate barriers between going after what you want but in the end, you’re only cheating yourself. don’t stand in your own way because there will sure as hell be plenty of other obstacles to deal with. i try to tell myself that if you want something, it’s not that hard. just take actionable steps and make a plan. honestly, life is precious and you shouldn’t waste time delaying pursuit of the things that make you happy. take the time to stop and ask yourself if you’re doing what you want in life. if you’re not and don’t have a good reason why, you better get it together. one thing i’ve learned through loss is to never take anything for granted– to charge forward with purpose before it’s too late. regret never does down easy.

so with that said, i’m going after one of my life goals of living in new york. as a high school freshman, i visited new york on an orchestra trip (shh…don’t judge). even though i was only there for a week, i completely fell in love with the city and promised myself that when i “grew up,” i would live there. this is a pretty scary leap considering i’m leaving everything behind and i don’t have a job or place lined up. that’s fine though. i like a good challenge and sometimes you just have to shake things up a bit. plus, i believe i’ve outgrown LA now that i’ve accomplished my initial goals for moving here in the first place. thankfully, i do have a roommate to look for apartments with in brooklyn. my old co-worker from lucie foundation, dylan, recently moved there so we’ll hopefully find a quaint apartment together– preferably with good lighting. :]

after leaving LA, i’m driving up to the bay area where my family lives and going on a two week vacation to europe before flying out of san francisco to new york. plane tickets have been purchased and it’s a done deal. i haven’t been back in the uk since i lived in london so i’m pretty ecstatic. i’ve got a bit of wanderlust. so far, london, paris, venice, and amsterdam are on the list but perhaps i’ll squeeze in more. i’m looking at this vacation and move as an opportunity for new adventures and re-evaluation.

now that my moving plans are concrete and the countdown has commenced, i’m starting to realize there are a lot of things i’ll miss about LA. shooting FYF will probably be my last hurrah in LA and it’s strange to think that this will be my 4th year in a row shooting it. i gave notice to work and almost got a bit choked up because i really do like the company i work for and i’m so grateful for the opportunities i’ve had to learn and grow. i gave my roommates notice to find a replacement and realized how much i loved my apartment — which is why i’ve lived in the same one for the past 4 years. i mean, look at dat lightttttttt!


i’ll miss the walks around the neighborhood, the gorgeous lake that just reopened, and weekends spent in my favorite cafes making idiot faces.

the faint @ music box, los angeles 11/18/12

i’ll miss the music venues and the many music photographers that have become like a second family to me these past years while shooting countless shows. they’ve touched me with their kindness, fervor for life and incredible creativity.

really what i’ll miss the most about LA are the friends i’ve met. i can’t fully explain how grateful and lucky i feel to share laughs and struggles with you fucking amazing people. GAWD DAMN, ALL THE FEELZ RUSHING AT ME. having you in my life at all is a sort of love and gratitude that i can’t fully articulate.

so thank you. you’ve made LA home for me these past 6 years and knowing you is truly the best thing that’s happened to me here.

as for new york, here’s to hoping it’s every bit as rowdy and full of life.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Racial Threats & Plea for Change

as a first generation immigrant, i’ve seen my family through some trying times. for every kind person i meet that restores my faith in humanity, there’s always another that leaves me fuming and wondering how our species survived this far.

i called my mom the other night to catch up and hear about her day. she works 6 days a week which includes working one day at a bay area chinese restaurant. over some coupon dispute that wasn’t even her fault (just following the owner’s instructions), some customer left in a huff, continued to call the restaurant and harass her with racist threats. oh, specifics? he threatened, “you better get ready to run because i’m going to call immigration. i’m going to call the cops on you.”

never mind that the harassment stemmed from a $2 difference that was out of my mom’s control.

never mind that my mom was just doing her job as instructed. if anything, she was doing more than obligated because when this was escalated to the boss, he simply told her to tell the customer that he wasn’t there and to not provide his name or contact information to the customer demanding information. she was basically forced to take the brunt of the customer’s verbal abuse. such cowardice and awful business management.

the phone calls got so frequent and ridiculous that they were disrupting business. the line was tied up (no incoming to-go calls could connect) and my mother couldn’t serve other customers while dealing with the bullshit. eventually the owner conceded to my mother asking for the customer’s contact information so that they could call him back. you see, the owner doesn’t speak english so he had his son call the customer later.

my mom doesn’t know what exactly they discussed but she did receive a call from the disgruntled customer afterwards ‘apologizing.’ he simply said that he was sorry for his tone and reassured her that he wasn’t going to call immigration or the cops. OH WHY THANK YOU, YOU CONDESCENDING PIECE OF SHIT. never mind that we’ve never been illegal immigrants and have valid passports. he should’ve been worried my mother didn’t call the cops on his racist ass for repeated harassment.

my parents are working class and i’m fucking proud of it. during high school and some of college, i used to be slightly ashamed and embarrassed that they worked customer service type jobs. i’d compare them to my friends’ parents with business jobs or colleagues in the art world and feel self conscious. especially when i first moved to LA where wealth is worshipped and rich kids run amuck. however, now i realize and appreciate how much my parents have accomplished. in china, my dad was an english teacher and my mom worked as chemist. they sacrificed their jobs, lifestyles, and family (everyone else besides my immediate family is in china) to move to a completely foreign country in pursuit of a better future. i’m forever grateful for that bravery and it inspires me to fight harder.

anyway, what i’m getting at is– i know it’s pointless trying to talk sense to people that are capable of gross mistreatment towards others but it’s difficult to see my mother put up with this on a daily basis. she works hard enough and she just wants to retire. dealing with mistreatment regularly can really break your spirit and i admire my mother’s strength to persevere through injustices like this without developing a victim mentality or becoming an ugly natured human being in return.

what are we supposed to do though? accept that some people are just going to be crazy and awful beyond reasoning so we just let the insults fly? we don’t seek these confrontations, we’re placed in them. back in high school, i remember just crossing the sidewalk when someone in a passing car shouted, “hey gook! go home!” wtf, that’s not even the right ethnic slur and this was in northern california for fuck’s sake– we’re not even in the south.

i believe in standing up against mistreatment but there’s too much crazy in the world to fight against. we can’t fight every battle but letting the abuse occur without calling it out seems wrong. no matter which reaction you choose, you’re left exhausted.

so this is what i ask of you– strive to be a kind human being. be as considerate as you can to others because you don’t know the pains and obstacles they’ve encountered in the past or even presently. i know nobody is perfect, but please ask yourself if your actions could cause suffering before opening your mouth or doing something questionable. this doesn’t just go for racial prejudice but for any interaction. be nice to the person making your drink even if they mess up– you never know what kind of day they had. their friend could’ve just passed away. practice tolerance and kindness.

all in all though, you’ll always have friends and family that remind you everything will be ok in the end. on that note, here’s a photo of me giving my mom a kiss and telling her, “yo mom, haterz gawn hate.”

happy mothers day

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Disney’s Paperman + Death of Romance in the Digital Age

Disney released their Oscar nominated animated short, Paperman, on YouTube earlier this week. If this mini-love story doesn’t tug at your heart strings, I’d wager you’re a robot (and not the adorable Wall-E kind). The short consists of traditional hand drawings and computer generated graphics. Though the black and white cityscapes are set in Manhattan, it reminds me a lot of historic downtown Los Angeles.

I love this short but it makes me think about the death of romance in the digital age. What are the odds you’re going to even notice someone while walking down the street or on a train platform if everyone is glued to their smartphone? Who knows, maybe eye contact will be reinforced once Google’s augmented reality glasses come out.

As mentioned on Mashable, the absence of paper use in offices makes throwing a paper airplane less applicable. Gone are the days of handwritten love letters. Emails and texts aren’t quite the same. Sure, you can painstakingly craft a nice text with all the cute emojis but imagine trying to seal a message with a kiss. You’re gonna get lipstick on your expensive device. That’s a pain to clean.

Tagged , , , , ,