Crystal Cove in July

For the Fourth of July, I spent time with my family in Southern California. My mom recently moved to a beach house within walking distance from Crystal Cove. Each night, we meandered down for a private sunset screening. Despite the occurrence of sunsets and sunrises each day, their colors never get old (and I don’t tire of capturing them).

On another note, I recently deactivated my Instagram for what feels like the hundredth time this year. After deleting it for six months, I can’t seem to go back to it. Given recent changes to the ‘algorithm,’ Instagram feels more and more inauthentic; less about connection and more about validation.

In my perfect world, an Instagram feed would be customizable: choose your preferred metric i.e. likes, comments and/or views, opt-in to a Explore page, etc. I like posting pretty pictures but I don’t like the need to feel relevant or validated that comes with it. And so, I reactivate and deactivate time and time again. 

For the time being, I’ll use this space to share those pretty bits of life. I like to believe if people want to connect, they’ll find my number (or maybe this URL). 

Thanks for stopping by!

^ MOM, are you sure I’m in focus?! ^

The Perfect Place to Graduate

If anyone was wondering the perfect place to graduate, I found the spot – Point Loma Nazarene University.

It’s probably the cheapest ocean front property that you can get in San Diego. There were not one, not two but many occasions that Brother #1 would share mesmerizing sunsets captured from his dorm room. On Saturday, that same brother graduated with his family and those oceanfront views behind him..

I often capture pretty skies, tree silhouettes and tide breaks. There is something predictable about nature’s movements. Looking at my photos, it’s clear that I probably like the consistency that nature provides? It’s like a stable best friend that always picks up when you need her to.

Humans on the other hand, quite unpredictable creatures. Human emotion is swift, turbulent and fleeting. I’ve never liked staged pictures (just ask my mom). And I find it hard to capture authentic human emotion. Yet, since college graduations happen once in a lifetime, I needed something tangible for our family to reflect upon. Photos that reflect who we are, in that moment and yet at our core.

Here are those photos, and these are my people.

Walking to the Golden Gate Bridge

 

When visiting San Francisco, one must walk to the Golden Gate Bridge. Fun fact, it is not in fact golden, rather a burnt bridge. This weekend, my mother and I found ourselves walking, or rather hiking, to the Golden Gate bridge. Inspired by a Kourtney Kardashian, we sought a piece of beach near the Golden Gate bridge to no avail. Instead, I wound up with these pretty pictures.

A Day Trip to Big Sur

California! For the time being, this is my temporary, permanent change of scenery. I ended up back on the West Coast after originally pursuing a similar opportunity in Chicago. As I dove into this adventure, I had to convince myself that no reason to stay was a good reason to go. Cliche as it sounds, it was now or never.

Chicago holds a dear place in my heart; but I began to associate it with some dark memories and events from the past year. Friends always tell me that California leaves me glowing so I’m happy to make that glow permanent.

Equipped with a car, I took it upon myself to take a day trip and drive down the California coast. Driving through California farmland to the Pacific Ocean is a mesmerizing drive – and probably not best for solo drivers (like myself). I found the greenery reminiscent of  Ireland’s foothills, cascading with life.

Day trip guides to Big Sur are aplenty but I’d recommend stopping in Carmel prior to completing the drive since pitstops and cellphone service are limited. I found this guide helpful. Enjoy!

Chicago Non-Profits: Kitchen Possible

Every other Monday, I volunteer some photography skills at a non-profit, Kitchen Possible Chicago. Kitchen Possible strives to teach kids how to make things happen in life through making things happen in the kitchen.

Kitchen Possible is a co-worker’s side hustle, which requires her to spend her week working in brand strategy and devotes her nights and weekends to running all things Kitchen Possible (donations, curriculum, logistics, etc). As an (expanding) weekly after-school program, Kitchen Possible teaches one recipe per session through a consistent five-step process week over week. In this session, Kitchen Possible students made two variations of pasta. Attending nearly four sessions, I am thoroughly impressed by the students’ transformation in confidence, teamwork and culinary skills. Whether chopping vegetables, following a recipe or working as a team, there are amazing things happening in this kitchen.

Hoping to host “A Chance for Conversation: Non-Profits” with my colleague soon. More to come! In the meantime, please consider donating to Kitchen Possible or volunteering at Kitchen Possible in the summer session.

UChicago Campus in the Snow

Snowstorms on the Quad

Nearly two years ago, I graduated from the University of Chicago. Economics degree in one hand and four years of friendships, problem sets and memories to go with it. Specifically, friendships that extended beyond my graduation year. Two days ago, I ventured down to help a younger buddy with his LinkedIn headshot – and experience (fingers crossed) one of Chicago’s last Winter snowstorms at UChicago.

We originally anticipated warm weather and sunny skies but were pleasantly surprised at the snowstorm that unfolded over a few hours. There’s no sight quite like the UChicago campus in the snow. Winter snow storms at UChicago have a magical way of transporting you to an ice-laden Narnia or Hogwarts (which UChicago’s campus strongly resembles). As two California kids, we were ill-prepared for the snow storm. Our glove-less hands spent an hour or so shooting before our fingers became too numb to continue. Props for Matt for braving snow and wet hair for a photo’s sake. More below.

Photos from the Chicago Marathon

On the morning of the Chicago Marathon, the city is buzzing. The energy is unparalleled. We originally intended to watch a few friends at certain miles; however, the fun associated with cheering along strangers and slapping a smile on someone’s tired face made us stay. This fall, the Marathon fell on a brisk yet warm fall day. Some moments below.

New Year’s Eve at the Top of the World

Whenever I travel home for the holiday season, I make an effort to hike Laguna Beach’s Top of the World for some physical activity and sunset views. With the end of a year, watching sunsets at Top of the World leads to catharsis, washing away of the previous year and ushering in ta new dawn. As a closing curtain to the disappointments, accomplishments and growth that occurred, these final sunsets serve as a final bow, of sorts.

It is always a joy to find other couples, families and friends that revel in the same sort of adventure. I can count numerous engagements that I almost interrupted and many a special moment. Top of the World is a special place in Laguna, and it’s sunsets are nearly magical. On this particular day, the marine layer obstructed a cotton-candy cloud formation (but I think the pictures turned out alright).