it's official!

 “To love and be loved is to feel the sun from both sides.” - David Viscott 

I held out for the real thing. It happened at precisely the right moment for us both. Rudy completely changed the game for me in the love department. It was as unexpected as it is wonderful. I've never felt so loved and at peace. 

– Catherine 

bourdain's words + my travels to egypt

"Travel isn't always pretty, it isn't comfortable, sometimes it hurts. It even breaks your heart. But that's ok. The journey changes you, it SHOULD change you... It leaves marks on your memory, your consciousness, your heart and on your body. You take something with you. And, hopefully, you leave something good behind." 

– Anthony Bourdain, NO RESERVATIONS
(Collection 1: Episode 5, Malaysia)

I absolutely love this quote from an episode of Bourdain's show that I only recently watched. This really captures a unique but important point of view on travel. It struck a chord with me – particularly after my own recent (and incredible) trip to Cairo, Egypt. I have always felt that I'm undeniably transformed each time I travel anywhere, in a very good way. How could I not be? And to see it with fresh eyes but through someone very familair with a place is amazing. It also included moments where I feared for our safety, things that were painful to see and experiences that made me sad. But travel should teach you compassion and humility. It should redefine beauty for you many times over. It should shake you up. This trip certainly did all that and more. 


View more photos on my Instagram feed or check here.


Valerie & Mark

Last spring, my sweet cousin Valerie broke the news that she and Mark, her long-time boyfriend, got engaged. She soon thereafter contacted me for advice on graphic design and photography for the big day. She wanted my insight on her shortlisted photographers so we went back and forth via email. In the end, she chose Jen Huang. I am thrilled with the result and so thrilled for her and Mark. The wedding and reception (April 28th, 2012) were absolutely gorgeous. Valerie looked stunningI loved the attention to detail. The photos really captured it all beautifully. The photos were even featured in Style Me Pretty magazine this June issue (pages 112-119). 

The Highlands Country Club in Garrison, New York was such an elegant setting for the reception – one of the best that I've seen. Plus, it was also so much fun! The evening included making smores around the firepit outside – white pashminas and cigars that were provided for everyone was a nice touch. 

A big congratulations again to my cousin Valerie and Mark! xoxo Love you both. 



just now on instagram

It was clear that the moment I started taking photos exclusively with my iPhone and decided to post them via Instagram, my interest in blogging decreased significantly. After more than three years of blogging and decades of photo-taking, I embraced this change. Although I resisted at first, it does make sharing my photography and point of view that much quicker and easier. In addition, I use the Camera+ app to edit photos on my phone – it's the best! This is the digital age. An increasingly seamless one. We ARE also more impatient (I know I am). Anyone else out there feel the same way? 

The bottom line: Instagram is blogging without all the work and pre-planning. Like it or not, they're doing something right. They are up to 25 million users to date! The only glitch is Instagram makes your entire stream available only via their app and to people following you via the app. So I've set up a page on my site that streams my latest photos no matter where I go, in real-time, all in one (clean) space. I will likely continue to blog occasionally, but for my most up-to-date posts, check here.

old photos are gems : part 2

Back in October, I posted an old photo of my maternal relatives. It's a lot more unusual for me to see old photos of my father's side of the family. I loved seeing these. It may very well be the first photo I've ever seen of my great grandmother (center) and the first time I've ever seen such a large group photo of my paternal relatives. 

Take a WILD guess which one my father is. It's so obvious, it's hilarious. He's the man with the thick framed glasses on the left (he's standing directly behind his dad, my grandfather). Funny that decades later, we would share similar taste in eyewear! I love the suit and the hairstyle as well. Well done, Pa.  

I also love this photo below. I love how handsome my grandparents look here. My dad is second from the right. The look on his face already showing a faint defiance – a hint of the little trouble maker he apparently grew up to be. Ha!

old photos are gems

With my mom and her mom both celebrating October birthdays (14th, 28th, respectively), it was only fitting to share another recently discovered gem of a photo. It's a follow up to the photo I posted in July. Thanks to my cousin Joel for sharing photos he recently unearthed in Manila. That's my lola (grandmother) in the middle, my parents to the right and my my mom's sister-in-law, sister and brother-in-law to the left. This must have been in the very early 70s. I love how elegant everyone looks. My mom looks like a teenager here. But she had to have been in her early 20s. Whenever I see old family photos, I feel like I know my family just a little bit more. And I love that.

Happy October birthdays to Mama & (my late) Lola! 

art in architecture : new york

Here are some of the things that caught my eye this past month in New York. The architecture is often as interesting as the art. It's really about our points of view as well as the way we edit down to the essence.

Left to right, from the top: 

MoMA (from the inside out)
A Brooklyn apartment building entrance
"Everything's going to be all right" – stairwell at the Ace Hotel
MoMA (from the outside)
Older woman seated at Bertoia chairs at the MoMA
Stairwell, Citibank office on 34th and Broadway
Passage (study) made of NYC police barrier, butterflies made of found aluminum cans by artist Paul Villinski 
Seated ballerinas at Alvin Ailey 
Stairs at Museum of Art & Design 

A few more to come.

abc kitchen

all photos above from

I'm having quite a decadent visit here in NYC this month. There's no shortage of spectacular food. Still among the places I've had the pleasure of trying (low-end to high-end), there are standouts. I initially wanted to write one big post on the food but I decided to break it up a bit. 

ABC Kitchen was (deservedly) named Best New Restaurant of 2011 by The James Beard Foundation. My expectations were high and it did not dissappoint. The food was fantastic. They have a prix fixe lunch for a reasonable $28 and it was so GOOD (see my Foodspotting links below). The local and organic menu was undeniably fresh and so delicious – esp. that perfect gazpacho. The dessert was probably over-the-top for a lunch menu but I still nearly fell out of my chair when I tasted it. I also can't overlook the fact that it is beautifully designed to fit right into the ABC Carpet and Home aesthetic. GORGEOUS. All around a drool worthy spot. 

First course: Gazpacho with Summer Fruit, Olive Oil and Basil

Second course: Steamed Hake, Goldbar Zucchini, Nasturium Vinaigrette

Dessert: Sundae with Salted Caramel Ice Cream, Whipped Cream, Caramel Popcorn & Peanuts, Chocolate Sauce



lexie's seventh

It's Lexie's 7th birthday today! She and I have been through A LOT together, she has been my trusty (and occasionally naughty) sidekick. I adore her beyond words. And who wouldn't? Look at that delicious face? I accidentally forgot her birthday last year. I missed it by a couple of weeks. It was during a very stressful time before my big move out of New York. I think I might buy her a hotdog this year and just let her devour it. That ought to make up for my birthday neglect last year!

We had a scare this weekend and thought she might be really hurt. So I'm thrilled that the her vet felt that she is fine (likely a sprain of some sort). I just need to keep my eye on her. It was a huge relief. 

This outtake from Lexie's photoshoot by my photographer friend Young Jung makes me laugh. She caught Lexie in the precise moment. 

Happy Birthday to the SWEETEST little dog in the whole world.


a wedding was thrown in brooklyn

I loved my friend Jacquelyn and Robert's DUMBO, Brooklyn wedding party this past May and loved the photos too. How adorable are they?! It was a fantastic and memorable evening (and week in New York) with my friends. What won't be posted here is the photo of my teary-eyed face after hearing the bride's twin's speech. To be clear, virtually the whole room was reduced to tears after that speech. It wasn't just me!

Congratulations, again to Jacquelyn and Robert! Much love and happiness to you both. x

All photos by Clean Plate Pictures

p.s. And what a coincidence: the bride and I had the SAME pair of shoes on! 


seasonal cycle

I went for my first bike ride in six years this past weekend. I have not been on a bicycle since my Paris trip in 2005! The weather could not have been more beautiful. It was a mostly a cloudless sky with a light breeze and no humidity. Perfect day for cycling. I had not visited High Park since the fall. The park and Grenadier Pond reminded me a bit of other parks I've spent some time in (such as Prospect Park in Brooklyn and Stanley Park in Vancouver, pre-1999). I was enjoying the first ride so much and didn't realize that I over did it. I ended up having to ice my knees last night after coming home. But all in all, it was a great day and a wonderful introduction to cycling in Toronto. It was topped off by a beautiful, grilled summer dinner with good friends. What could be better? 

I plan to relish the few short months of warmth in Toronto and explore the city some more this summer. Bicycle ownership is imminent. The numerous benefits of cycling are, of course, obvious. And I get why people are so passionate about it. It was exhilarating. It was the best way to see Paris, why not Toronto?  

my dad, birthday boy

This is a hand-tinted black and white photo of my father that I recently restored. I'm guessing he was in second grade here – his First Communion portrait. He looks so adorable here with that sweet face and that bow tie. And check out the very ominous looking shadow of a crucifix behind him. I like the unlit candle, too. Oh, Catholicism. I took liberties with toning down some of the colour – too generously and inappropriately applied in certain areas. I think my dad was pleased with the result.

Happy Birthday, Papa :)  
June 2nd

bill cunningham new york

 I finally, finally got to see the Bill Cunningham New York documentary yesterday at Village East Cinema. It was such an intimate glimpse into the life and vision of someone who just loves fashion so much. He loves what he does so wholly and purely, it was amazing to see. Bill Cunningham had his own unique way of cutting through everything and everyone in fashion and just seeing it for what it is and what it means to people. The man has an amazing memory for fashion, too. It was also very moving documentary about who this man is – and in many ways, he's still a bit of an enigma. What a character. What an inspiration. I am so glad I finally got to see it. It was appropriate that I see it while in New York City, too.

GO SEE IT if you can.  


last night

I happened upon this film entitled Last Night – just last night, in fact. I had no idea what to expect but the cast looked promising. I ended up really liking it. It's also still haunting me. The film is about choices, attraction and fidelity. It was a story well told, has a smart, well written dialogue, beautiful cinematography and performances that exceeded my expectations. There was so much power and depth in the subtle details, gestures and glances of the casts' performances. I was really quite impressed. It also shook me. It was violent or was gratuitous in any way (in fact, quite the opposite). Part of the reason I can't stop thinking about it is because it presents a question to the viewer of what choice you would make given the same situation. It brings up the idea of fidelity, whether it's possible and how. Perhaps, it's some of the things we're afraid to consider. Yes, the film is quite sexy, has a great-looking cast and it's beautifully shot. But at the end of the day, the story is... human. I highly recommend it. Preferrably, over a glass of wine.
This film is currently available on demand, on iTunes and it will be screening as part of The Tribeca Film Festival in New York as well as various theaters in select cities.