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A Bit About Family

November 7, 2016

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Alpha Omega top
Mango shorts
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One of the most important aspects of visiting Kuala Lumpur was reigniting family ties. Growing up, we were sadly never that close to our father’s side of the family in Los Angeles, so big familial gatherings were never a regular thing. It was just something we were used to. And it was never a big deal because my father, my mother and my sister were always enough for me. It was all I ever needed. Family can be a very difficult thing. Differing point of views, a reluctance to go out of the way to catch up on each other’s lives as we head in new personal directions, arguments that can easily get blown out of proportion, etc. There are multiple reasons why the idea of family is a hard one. Growing up, I started to understand this more and more. And I show no bitterness to the side of my family that I hardly keep in touch with due to personal matters. But at the same time, I started to realize the importance of the side of the idea family that stands tall and strong. The parts of family that love you unconditionally and that give the most support (even in my case that support comes from hundreds of miles away). That even from miles away you can feel that love is still there. It’s important to grasp onto these things, and fill in every gap as much as you can. I filled a lot of internal gaps on this trip to Kuala Lumpur. And I found joy in seeing how much my mother’s side of the family has grown and developed in the most positive of ways after the past seven years. And it gives me joy to know that there will be even more good things to wrap myself up with the next time that I go.

Of course, no family is perfect. And this truth stands for both sides of my family. I have noticed and come to learn about a few broken pieces leftover from the past that still hurtfully resonate today with my family in Asia. Of course, this isn’t something I will go into detail here, but it is something that I have honestly been thinking a lot about lately. That at the heart of it, acceptance is one of the most beautiful and important things that come along with the familial territory. Without it, family doesn’t work the way that it should. I’ve opened my eyes to this multiple times. Take for example siblings. Most are complete opposites of each other, seeing eye to eye on the most rare of occasions. But at the end of the day, the contrast between them is what it is. It’s something that should be cherished and accepted. Something that promotes openness. I’ve always believed that family should be the first and foremast example of the act of opening your mind to different perspectives that closes the gap of narrow mindedness.

I felt lucky to go home to a place that I don’t go to that often, but to feel at the same time instantly a part of something. I cherished the time I got to spend with relatives I haven’t had the chance to get to know as much before. I got so used to the feeling of being surrounded by these familiar faces that it was hard to leave. But like a friend just recently told me, it is something that will always be there waiting for me whenever I need it.

So here I am with my some family members at the Thean Hou Temple, a beautiful Hainanese temple in Kuala Lumpur. Hainan is the southernmost and smallest province of China, where the roots of my family is from. I’m always so inspired by parts of my heritage, even if it’s just taking in little bits and pieces at a time.

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Hopelessly Devoted to Banana Leaf

November 4, 2016

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Free People dress
Dannijo earrings
Bally sandals
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When one is in Southeast Asia, anything flowing, oversized and breezy is a must. Because you will be sweating . . . all day. This country is though, in fact, a huge fan of air conditioning. But it isn’t something you can really rely on. You have to learn to love the heat. Not to mention the endless amounts of spicy foods to be found in the local Malaysia food scene. I can’t help but take everything hotter than hot with an extra side of spicier than spicy. In the South Indian culture, many dishes are served on top of a Banana Leaf, and it is one of my favorite things to eat when I’m visiting Malaysia. For those who haven’t tried it yet, make sure to come with a huge appetite and a strong stomach, because it’s A LOT of SPICY food. Banana leaf is actually an artistry, consisting of levels of portions and side dishes added to be eaten in a certain order and in certain combinations on top of the banana leaf. For me, I’m easy, and really pay no attention to a particular order. I only care about taste. And color. So a side of rice, red curry, a yellow lentil dahl and some spicy fried chicken and maybe some vegetable fritters to be dipped in a yogurt blend is good for me. This combination is everything. Just be careful not to splash any curry on your whites. That would be a nightmare, but also one that is well worth it.

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Malaysia, A Special Place

November 2, 2016

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Cleobella romper

Here I am, finally back after two weeks in Malaysia to visit family with a few days in Thailand thrown in. I didn’t forget about NYC while I was away I promise. Home is always at the back of my mind. But it’s crazy how familiar things and places can feel after much time away. As soon as my sister and I stepped foot in Malaysia to meet our mom who took a flight from California, it was as if no time had passed at all. And with our family members who we haven’t seen in around seven years, we just picked up as if we saw each other no more than just a week ago. One major difference with this trip was how much more open my eyes and senses were, recognizing new things that maybe I missed the last time I was there. But maybe it just had to do with how I have developed into an adult. Curious about what is around me in a different way before. I didn’t feel the need to rush through this trip, fitting in family meetings, sightseeing and a few work related meeting with much calm than I have ever done before on a trip. And it did help make the two weeks feel longer than it actually was. Our cousins now have kids themselves, and our family is growing and growing. It made me happy to see how extended this side of my family is. Relatives are moving to new homes in different pats of Kuala Lumpur, already showing us which rooms will be ours the next time we visit (which will hopefully be much sooner than later). My favorite foods my last trip are the exact same ones this time around. The local street food is the best . . . every bite, every smell. I wanted a taste of everything, and it tasted just as good as I remembered it to be. The most comforting of feelings. The food is one of the most unique things about Malaysia, the country in SouthEast Asia that is the most culturally diverse and also the most Western. So there is literally everything to choose from. It’s almost too hard to choose that I feel I have to pull a number out of a box and have that make a decision for me. Then there’s the way the warm, warm heat feels as soon as I step outside. It’s a tantalizing feeling, and makes me wish winter away forever and ever. Southeast Asia is such a part of me, and it will never be lost. Memories of my childhood trips in Malaysia told to me by my relatives are such a treat. They are now ingrained in my mind. My aunt made a good point, saying that if my mom wasn’t Chinese and raised in Malaysia, I maybe would never come to explore and know this country like I have throughout my lifetime so far. So I must be grateful to know that Malaysia is and was always here for me. I’m so proud of this part of me, mixed together with my American upbringing and roots, for I know it is something unique. And I’m always still learning about it more and more. It’s surprising me all the time. And that’s the best part. More to come from my trip to Malaysia very, very soon.

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Majorelle top and skirt from REVOLVE

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Free People dress

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Haute Hippie maxi dress

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Free People dress

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Sister Got My Back

September 22, 2016

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It might be the hardest thing to explain . . . one’s relationship with a sister. It’s a fascinating dynamic, that’s for sure. Years of entangled memories that seem to stick more than anything else as the years flash by. So many bruises, so many inside jokes, so much name calling, so much of what can feel like hate and annoyance, but most of all . . . so much love. Together, sisters can take over the world, but there are moments when the momentum goes far to fast for its own good that all there is left is to crash and burn . . . only for the cuts and broken pieces to be mended back to brand new in just the next day . . . maybe in the next few hours . . . but even more likely in the next few minutes. Unconditional love is a real thing when it comes to the stories of sisters. Take my sister Natalie and I. We’ve seen each other at our worst, but we’ve seen each out at our best, and our moods are a steady pendulum that swings between these two extremes. But every little moment in-between counts for something special, as well. Together these little moments are a steady beat with bumps and leaps that is exciting to say the least. A reminder that our lives are like a song. There’s gotta be a break somewhere. A repeated chorus. A verse that stands out the most. A fade that lingers in our mind for what seems like forever.

There hasn’t been anyone before where I could be my total and complete self. Unafraid to show my vulnerabilities, my confidences and strengths, my deepest and darkest secrets and my biggest dreams (most of which we share). It’s quite an an amazing thing to read the mind of someone and not even know you are doing it, and they can do the same thing back. It’s almost magical. With sisters, this feeling is just normal. Involving work into our relationship may seem like too much of a strain on something that can be explained as the strongest and most endless of friendships, but somehow we balance everything out perfectly. It’s also the biggest challenge, but who ever said things always have to be easy? Our biggest challenges, our biggest fights, our most frustrating of days . . . they all remind us to take a step back and realize that beyond all of these there, there exists something really simple and bared down . . . the fact that we will always have each other . . . each other’s trust, forgiveness and reliability. And that is all that really matters. The bare bones of it all. The most loveliest of bones. Love ya lil sister.

We are both wearing Zimmermann dresses and M Missoni purses.
Photos by GenStreetStyle

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