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Friday, February 17, 2012

New Year, New Beginnings, New Blog!

Hi Everyone!

Thanks so much for following my blogs!  I want to let everyone know that I'm moving my blog over to tumblr, where you can now start following my daily inspirations and adventures.

I'd love to know what you think of the new look!

See you over there!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Road Back

asdjfh#o4t8u(@a;oi#$%$v49q30[4ut9  Why didn't anyone tell me what to expect when I return home after 5 months of traveling?!?!  aio^%*&(c48at/qo;cq48tvy  

Flying over Borneo
I've been back in the US for 3 weeks now after traveling through southeast Asia for 20 weeks.  From the minute I got off the plane I felt like I was on a different planet.  The air didn't smell of shrimp paste, streets were clean, I didn't have to search for wifi, and people would look at me strange when I smiled at them - or when I waived at their kids (they smiled at me first!).  The first day back, I was afraid to leave the apartment!  I kept thinking it would mean my vacation was over.  The feeling of adventure and freedom would be over.  

Being back in NY is like meeting up with an old boyfriend.  You were once so close and shared a life together.  Now that you've moved on, how do you relate?  You don't.  So you probably kill time by talking about old mutual friends.  That was my approach to NY.  I found a place to live near my old apartment, ate at all of my favorite eateries I'd missed while gone, etc.  But it all feels so different.  It almost feels annoying.  I'm use to having constant stimulation by something different that all of these things that stayed the same feel blaaaah.  Then a good friend said something to me that totally changed my perspective: 

"Why does your vacation have to end?  What if your entire life could feel like you're on vacation?"    

Damn!  That would be amazing!!  I want that.  How do I feel like I'm on a permanent vacation, yet still do things like work and go to the grocery store?  I thought: "ok, the answer to this is easy.. ART" I'll go and get reacquainted with my art.  

This is where I was thrown into a whirlwind.  I was on such a creative roll right before I left that I thought I could easily pick it back up.  I was wrong.  It's not that easy.  I sit at my favorite cafe staring at an empty sketch book.  Sit at my bench staring at a clean surface (unheard of for a jeweler).  Sit in my room.  Sit in the park.  Sit at the Met (Alexander Wang exhibit is incredible, by the way!). Nothing.  Nada.  Someone shake me!!! 

On top of that, everyone I see or meet that knows about my trip all have this expectation of me, "Wow!  You must have had a lot of inspiration.  Are you designing crazy stuff?!"  Nope.  I am not.  I am unable to design.  I am creatively constipated.   

I don't even want to see my old friends because who wants to admit this?  Who wants to tell people "I went on a 5 month trip and came back a stranger to myself"?

All the while I'm trying to hold onto that vacation feeling.  My freedom.  My love.  My sense of self.  My enthusiasm and hope for the world.  The sounds of jungle.  The smell of the air.  The smiles of little kids - the gleam in their eyes.  I want to hug my last 5 months so hard.  You can say I'm too much in my head.  But maybe I'm too much in my heart. 

So, I've signed a contract with myself, to begin (as cheesy as it may sound) the Artist's Way.  I've decided that this is my opportunity to redefine my relationship with "home".  I'm going to find my permanent vacation.

Deer Cave - see good 'ol Abe Lincoln?

To be continued...

Saturday, June 4, 2011

A prayer to Tad Yuang waterfalls, Laos

There's a feeling of freedom flickering deep in the center of my chest. 
I hold onto it so tight that at times I can hardly breathe.
Now, I am no longer afraid.  
This feeling is mine.  
Nobody can take this feelin away from me. 
I am free.

Tad Yuang Waterfalls, Laos

Mountain layers near Meung Ngoi

Motorbiking through Thakek

Thong Lor Cave

Children of Laos, happiest and friendliest people I've met.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Meet Inn: Sapa, Vietnam

Inn (pronounced like "ing" but without the -g) is a rambunctious girl who I met while touring around her village.  She is part of a minority tribe called Black Hmong and lives near Sapa, a town in the northern mountains of Vietnam.  Inn has 1 sister, 2 brothers, a dog, a cat, 5 pigs, 20 chickens and a buffalo (because everyone has to have at least 1 buffalo).

In Inn's village, everyone gets married when they're around 18 years old.  She doesn't want to get married until she's 25.  Instead, Inn wants to be a policewoman and work in Hanoi or Ha Long Bay.

Back in the day, marriages were arranged.  If you didn't want to marry, your only other alternative is to voluntarily commit suicide by eating poisonous leaves.  If you eat 3-4 leaves, you'll die within 30 minutes.  The upside to arranged marriages is that you can marry 1-2 other people of your choice.  These days, as encouraged by the government to prevent suicide by leaves, marriages are no longer arranged.  You can chose who you want to marry, but you can only marry once.  Big decision eh?

Inn is 12, but she says she doesn't have a birthday.  Nobody in her village has birthdays.  They all turn another year older at new years.  So if you were born in December, come February (lunar new year) you turn 1 year old.  

The women in the village speaks amazing English (men are too shy to try, so they stay on the farm, away from tourists).  They are taught English, Vietnamese and their local dialect at an early age.  I bet this is to help them sell their goods.  The minute I got off of the van in Sapa, I was greeted by about 10 girls, all with the same speal:

Girls:  "Hi! Where. are. you fro?"
Me:  "America"
Girls: (confused) "oh.... but. you. look. like. me..."
Girls:  (enough small talk) "Are. you. marry?"
Me:  "No, not yet"
Girls:  "How. ode. are. you?"
Me:  "32"
Girls: "oh... well one day. you. marry.  You're. so. young!"
Me: "really?? I'm 10 years older than your mother.  To you, I'm not young"
Girls: "Want. to. buy. from. meeeee?"

 Inn's walk home everyday.

Inn and her friends playing.
Random buffalo
Beautiful necklaces they all wear, passed down from their grandparents (though everything is for sale!)

Weaving the thread that's used to make fabric for clothing like the outfit she's wearing.  Later, the fabric is dyed blue with leaves.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Oh yeah, I'm posting on a very limited android app.  Please excuse any mispellings, poorly formatted pics, and, of course, auto correct!

It's Puerto Princesa (not Puerto Princess)

El Nido, Palawan, Philippines is the best!!

The Philippines is a collection of thousands of islands, and I fell in love with a tiny town on one of them.  To get there, you have to fly from Manila to Palawan's main city, Puerto Princesa.  Then take a 5 hour ride on unpaved roads, squished in a van with 12+ people, strapping your bags to the roof of the car.  An alternative was riding on a packed bus for 8 hours, where your seat might be on top of the bus with luggage, live fish, and bags of rice. 

The people of El Nido look different - more native. (I'm pretty sure I had a crush on every guy that said hi or good morning to me).  They look like a mix of Korean and Filipino.  Their dialect sounds crazy fast.  Everyone here is amazingly fit!  But as my friend pointed out, there isn't a Jollibee's around.

Naoko is our host.  She's a handful!  You take what she gives you and that's that.  She's got a lot of energy and spunk,  and an "oh well" attitude.  Here at El Nido, electricity shuts off from 6am-2pm.  "Primitive", Naoko describes it, but "oh well".

She's from Tokyo and has lived in Bangkok, NY, Manila for 7 years, and now El Nido for 7 years.  She has a husband, 4 grown kids, about 7 people working for her, 3 turkeys, the b&b, and a garden with koi ponds.  She has parties in this garden.  She said, "All I've ever wanted was my own garden.  Now that I have one, I can die at any time."

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Pressing Play

I know I haven't been such a good blogger lately.  I've been busy brainstorming and conjuring up the best, biggest, brightest, most beautiful, perfect, loving, joyous, adventurous life.  Yes, I've been dreaming.  All day, everyday, dreaming.  dream Dream dReam dreaM drEAm DREAM  
I've been dreaming so much that I started attracting people that are living the life I want.  (I know it sounds like witch craft but it's true.)  Apparently, you can find these people on airplanes.  Like the theater production woman who has a 2nd home on Big Island that she retreats to a few months a year.  Like my coworker's parents who move to a different country together every few years.  Like the Indian architect girl who grew up in Australia that has lived in 5 different countries.  When her mother asked "Why do you want to be gypsy?"  She responded, "Everyone I know is settled with a house, spouse, kids, etc...  
Why should I want what everyone else has?"

If there are people out there living MY dream, then that means it's possible for me too!  So I've decided to test this theory out.  To start living the life I want NOW.  Not waiting for it to come, but accepting that it's already here.  Enough with the buffering, it's time I press play.  With 110,000 miles (thank you Capital One no hassle rewards card!), I'm moving out of my apartment, putting my things in storage, subletting my studio space and taking a little 3.5 month trip through SE Asia.  No, I'm not trying to be Eat, Love, Pray.  I'm doing this to test out my theory.  To close my eyes, cross my fingers, and press play.  New York, work, jewelry, my stuff, my studio, my friends, my life will all be here when I get back (I hope. Right?!)  

So bye bye winter, and see you all in the spring!  Keep checking in because I may put little travel treats in this blog.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Space Trash

Me:  What are these?
Stone Man:  Meteorites
Me:  As in.. Meteors? (smirk)
Stone Man:  Yes (serious face)
Me:  (bright eyed) You mean.. these are from space?!

Slightly amused now, Stone Man explains:
There was a meteor that landed in Africa.  It's a different combination of nickel and iron, not found naturally on earth.  Yes, it's from space.

Instantly my mind starts imagining 2 guys racing to the meteor with a chainsaw trying to claim meteor real estate (think Far and Away, but without the Irish accents).  Regardless of how it got from space to Africa to New York, it was a gift from space and we need to make jewelry out of it!

Photographed by Chris Doss

I am going to do a series of one of a kind space trash necklaces because space can't be duplicated!  To keep updated on new pieces as I make them, and other photos of this necklace, go to my Facebook Fanpage.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Mark it

A dear friend of mine quit his job and is going on a new journey.  So I made him this gift to take along with him - it's a "fly" bookmark (had to spell it out in case you couldn't tell).

You're going to see this word pop up quite often b/c I'm really into it, I don't know why.  Some think I was once a bird.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Before I was Born

After hearing of my switch from accounting to jewelry, people often ask "Why did you chose jewelry?".  To which I'd reply:
"I don't know, I just thought I'd try it".  
"Leave your career to try it?!"

Back in December, our family was home for the holidays and out of nowhere my mom comes bouncing in and hands me a little bag.  In the bag was a tiny ring with the initials "L L" on it (my mom's maiden name initials).  My sister and I, totally confused, asked:
"Where'd you get this?"  
LL: "I made this"
Me: "What?!  When?"
LL: "Oh, you didn't know?  I took jewelry classes before.  It was too hard, and I didn't think I could be successful in it, so I stopped"

Let's get the facts straight:
1.  2007 quit my job
2.  Moved to NY
3.  Started school full time for jewelry 
4.  Went to Florence for 5 weeks to study stone setting
5.  I'm now working as a full time jewelry designer
6.  For almost 3 years I made this huge change in my life on a leap of faith and I had NO idea my mom took jewelry classes before.  

Last weekend I was home visiting the family (7 months later).  My sister brings back the borrowed Lulu ring.  Once my mom sees it she brightens up, "Oh!  This is the ring I made when I first moved to California.  I was pregnant with you and wanted to take jewelry and ceramics classes because it's what I always wanted to do".

So now when people ask me "Why did you chose jewelry?", I can now answer:

"It's something I picked up before I was born."

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