Mama Travels: Joshua Tree

November 20, 2014

Joshua Tree National Park!  I’ve been dreaming of going to this mysterious park filled with trees that look like the Truffula trees from a Dr Seuss book.

After an estrogen fueled weekend of first a bachelorette party and then a bridal shower for my baby sister, I drove to Joshua Tree from Los Angeles. I was definitively ready to switch it up for something gritty and Western. The drive was lovely and I start to hyperventilate with happiness when I started to see the wind energy generators. It means I am close to the dessert. They looked like robots from a Star Wars movie. Even though the park is closed on Sundays, I still wanted to arrive on Sunday so that I could wake up super early on Mondayto hit up the park. Every hour and minute counts here, the more you wait, the hotter and hotter it gets.

Like I planned, I got up early, sprayed myself with a nice dosage of sun screen and I was off to the dessert. Once you arrive, you feel the weight of the earth. It’s flat, wide, and calm. It might’ve been because my iphone had absolutely no reception, which in my opinion is the best way to enjoy the dessert. This place reminds you that you are nowhere near where you come from and you need to pay close attention.

The quietness was jarring. It was so quiet that I found myself whispering. The rock formations looked like they had giant faces on them and they will start talking at any minute like the Lord of the Rings style.   

Joshua Tree is mysterious, grand, beautiful, and serene all at once. Right now, it’s the off-season so it’s pretty much dead. After 3 hours of driving, hiking, and taking a zillion photos around the park, you will start to hallucinate a little. You start thinking that a cactus is closing in on you, Joshua trees are human like, and you start running for no reason. Trust me I was sober!

I missed the sunrise and the sunset here but I know it would be stunning just by seeing how the light hits the golden coral soil in the dessert with Joshua tree silhouettes.  Another reason to come back for sure.

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Mama Travels: Koh Samui

November 17, 2014

I have six girl friends with whom I travel around the world. I believe the best gift we can give to another person is to make time for one another and am lucky enough to have five girlfriends who share the same philosophy.

There are plenty of obstacles to keep us all from showing up. Money, jobs, significant others, kids, family obligations, and whatever else life throws at you at that moment, but each year, we’ve always managed to get together.


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Mama Travels: Ubud and Karangasem, Bali

November 11, 2014

My friend Chrissie Lam, the founder of, is the most well traveled person I know. She’s going to hit 100 countries in a year. When she heard I was headed to Bali, she recommended Villa Campuhan. Somehow, I mistakenly thought it was in Ubud, which is an hour away from Canggu, but in actuality, Villa Campuhan is located in Karangasem which is another 2.5 hours away from Ubud. Since it was our first visit to Bali, we took a quick tour of Ubud on our way to Karangasem.

Ubud is known to be the artistic center of Bali. In the ride along the villages, you pass  painters, sculptors, of course lots of temples. One of the largest attractions in Ubud is the monkey forest. We came to see the monkeys, but I found myself getting watched by the them. The monkeys were super aggressive. Since bananas were sold throughout the forest, the monkeys were accustomed to helping themselves by taking the bananas straight out of pockets and bags. We did a quick walk through since it was too packed with tourists and the monkeys spooked me out. The promise of lunch was more exciting. (more…)

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Mama Travels: Puerto Rico

October 5, 2014

Did you know that there are more Puerto Ricans living in New York than in Puerto Rico? Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the United States (sounds as friendly as “legal alien” which I know something about) and only a 4 hour flight from New York.

Maybe because it’s feels like an extension of New York and is so close in proximity, I’ve been to PR many times. PR used to be my weekend getaway when I first moved to New York. Due to fatigue and stress, all I wanted to do was sleep and I never really explored much of the island though I did visit the breakfast buffet. The trip is super easy. No need to go through customs on the way in or out!

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Sister’s Epic Wedding

October 1, 2014

Between flying around Southeast Asia, jet lag, a sore throat, and mama duty, I completely forgot to write about the most epic wedding. My younger sister’s wedding was one of the most labor intensive, beautiful, and emotional wedding I’ve ever attended.

The pictures explain it much better than words.

Here’s the skinny on the wedding:
Venue: Hammersky Vineyard, Paso Robles
Bride Wore: Grace Loves Lace
Groom Wore: J Crew
Mama Wore: Yumi Kim
Odin Wore: J Crew (out of stock)
The flower girls Wore: Zara
Band: Family Crest
Florist: Mama and flowers are from Trader Joe’s in Paso Robles (More on DIY Flowers)

* all the photos are by Mama except the cover photo

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Mama Travels: Rockaway, NY

September 24, 2014

Rockaway Beach in Queens (Not Brooklyn) is my new hidden gem in New York. This area was very much affected by Hurricane Sandy but most of the area is back in business and they need support! I take the 2/3 train toward Far Rockaway and arrive there within 1 hour from my door to the beach. After my surf lesson, I took the day to explore the area. Below is what I found!


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New York Fashion Week 2014 Recap

September 15, 2014

New York Fashion Week used to be my Superbowl. I used to get so excited and would count the days till the pilgramage to Lincoln Center. Just read my past entries here. At peak, I attended 15 shows daily and would fall asleep in full make-up and stilettos, only to do it all over again the next day.

I’ve attend NYFW for the past 7 years and have relaxed my approach quite a bit more — much like the relaxed attire that has been a trend in street fashion lately. (more…)

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Mama Surfs?

September 8, 2014

I have been hearing lately a lot of “so you’ve been surfing…” with hint of skepticism. Maybe surfing is my red porsche (#midlifecrisis) or I am a little deranged, but it is my new found love. I can’t get enough of it.

I first tried it in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica. At that time, I had no idea Costa Rica was the ideal place to learn how to surf. I was too green to realize the perfect conditions. Everything, including the swell, water temperature, and sandy bottom for your beginner ass to fall on, contributed to the perfect conditions to learn. Of course, the hot guys and girls who are surfing in Santa Teresa enhance the experience and make you want to buy into the whole lifestyle.

Prior to learning in Santa Teresa, surfing was a big illusion for me.  I grew up in Korea until I was 13 and then lived in Michigan until I graduated college. Both of these places are cold as hell and impossible for cultivating surfers.

Like unicorns, dragons, or the tooth fairy, I thought it was just a dream. Since I wasn’t born in California or Hawaii, I thought my chances of ever learning were slim to none. BUT, I was wrong.

I learned that surfing is a lifestyle and you don’t have to be born to do it. You CAN learn and quickly, too(getting good is a long journey)! People pick it up for many different reasons. I think it’s bit like golf (surfers will kill me for even mentioning this). You play against yourself. It’s all about self improvement and not just beating someone else.  Among those that I asked, many surfers told me they got into for the sheer physical challenge, self improvement, anger management, or just becoming one with the nature.

My reasons for trying are a combination of all of the above. I’ve also learned to apply what I’ve learned from surfing to my daily life. I know you have to be in motion to get a good wave, learn to be selective, patient, and that timing is everything. Surfing is good for the body, mind and soul.

Despite the not so great conditions in New York, I’m going to continue pursing my new found love since these tough conditions will undoubtedly make me a better surfer in the long run.

Who wants to come along?


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Looking Back Summer 2014

September 4, 2014

I swear I blinked and the summer is over. We are in the last quarter of 2014. Time has really gone by fast this summer and I am taking on Garancedore’s advice to see if recapping about the summer will make it longer.

The summer started off with a wedding bonanza. I attended 2 of the most epic weddings. One was my business partner Pierre’s nuptials in the North Fork in New York and the other one was my younger sister’s wedding in Paso Robles, CA. I have never worked so hard as I did for her bridal shower and her wedding but when I saw my son walking her down the aisle, the tears of joy in the couple made it all worth it.


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