Tomi’s outfits

Take my breath away

karen-4When it comes to versatility, “Nothing beats denim,” some will say, but I must disagree- my years of experience in shopping and dressing tells me that if I had to pick one piece that goes with just about everything, it’s got to be a slip dress that’s dainty, featherweight…  It’s an easy yet versatile base layer piece that can be styled in surprisingly many different ways.karen-8All that skin making you feel uncomfortable? Throw on a plaid shirt for a more casual look.
karen-12 karen-18Feeling glamorous but don’t want to look like you are trying too hard? Pair it with trendy booties.karen-19 karen-23 karen-25On the run?karen-42Tie a colorful shirt around the waist. It comes in handy on those unexpectedly chilly LA evenings.karen-45 karen-48 karen-49Convinced yet? haha… I’d personally choose this dress over any of my skinny jeans any day… Well, unless it’s competing against my favorite boyfriend jeans, that is. karen-55 karen-57 karen-58 karen-64Another way to wear a delicate, silky slip dress is to wear a sweater over it; a personal favorite as you get to rock both femininity and comfort.karen-66Lace Trim Slipdress, Plaid shirt & Sweater by Free People, Cutout booties by Jeffrey Campbell, Chevron Rings by Tom Tom Jewelry

Photography by Sangtene


Confessions of a Convoluted Mind

larch1 Do you ever feel like there’s just too much going on in your head that you are unable to choose which to share with the world? That’s me all the time. Life of an INTJ… No wonder I’m always so darn tired.

larch2I was thinking earlier today about the concept of “overthinking.” I mean, people refer to it to describe moments when we tend to think about a certain subject or subjects too much for too long… but how long is too long? If you think about that certain incident for two minutes, are you overthinking? How about five minutes? A day? A week? I’m learning that a lot of these so-called descriptive words don’t really make sense after all. Who sets the standards? Who are we to call someone weird because he/she is known to overthink or stupid because he/she doesn’t speak up?

larch3Only because the person doesn’t talk as much as you do, is it safe to conclude that something is wrong with that person?larch4There’s something we need to understand as active and responsible citizens of a society: living in a world led by those with a loud voice does not automatically grant a right to the people of a similar trait to consider themselves superior to those who aren’t necessarily the type, say the more quiet, reserved thinker types.larch5 I remember back in elementary school, while the kids who weren’t afraid to speak up most certainly succeeded in receiving attention, I found myself often thinking, ‘but that’s not the correct answer…’
larch6The reason why the introverts aren’t as talkative as extroverts isn’t because we lack intelligence. It’s actually because we don’t think you’d understand what’s on our convoluted mind. haha. larch7Well, I hate to admit- I just learned that I lived most of my life thinking that I was the weird one when truth was that I was just different.

I think a lot. In fact, I think so much that I’m unable to speak my mind most of the time as my speed of speech is incompatible with the speed of thought. It’s gotten worse lately so much so that I can’t even fall asleep at night and I get up way too early- all this just so I can start thinking again. I thought something was wrong with me for always worrying in advance, constantly wondering how things came about, how things work, expecting certain things to happen at a certain time, not being able to stop the brain from working (which is why I hate watching movies because that’s when the brain gets to rest) and most important, for generally being so hypersensitive to every.little.thing.

larch8Then a thought crossed my mind which scared me a bit. What if my parents had taken me to a doctor or put me on medication when I was a kid because they felt like I was “different” which could be easily mistaken as a mental disorder of sort when you are young. Just as every person is born with unique physical features, we all have our own distinct personality and temperament which should be celebrated and embraced. (Thank God my parents were rather understanding and put me in art school instead.)

On that note, if you are truly interested in getting to know me, write to me- we can be pen pals or in a more technologically advanced term, chat buddies, because the person you meet in person… most likely isn’t me… (unless we are already really, really close which probably only happened because we spent a lot of time typing to each other instead of talking like them normal folks called extroverts).

larch9Maison Scotch striped tank, Rag & Bone Leather Shorts via Intermix, Illesteva Frieda Sunglasses, Jeffrey Campbell Hough Sandals, Proenza Schouler PS Backpack, Miansai Leather Bracelet, Qlocktwo Watch

Photography by Sangtene

Starting over

kar-24I don’t know which is better (or worse): to do wrong and not get caught yet never even realize that you’ve done wrong, or get caught immediately and receive punishment so that you never do it again.kar-19Just a few minutes prior to arriving at Arts District in Downtown LA for this shoot, for the first time in my life, I received a traffic citation. Now, I’m the type that rarely, if ever, break the law, simply because in my world, it’s just not right to do so. It bothers me to do anything illegal and I would have not done what I had done had I known better.. but then again, I guess that’s what traffic school is for, to educate and punish.. grr.kar-17My excuse was that due to the unforeseen circumstance (i.e. construction in middle of the street with no forewarning which caused cars to just stop moving all together.. and these nice drivers would not help by blocking my way…) I unfortunately decided to make a u-turn when I apparently wasn’t supposed to… but the thing is, I wasn’t the only one doing it. If I had not seen anyone do it, I wouldn’t have done it myself- there is just no way I would’ve done something so crazy (or Korean, haha) if nobody had given me the idea (not that it’s a good excuse). My conclusion is that the female cop that gave me the ticket just didn’t like me in general. You know, that Asian girl with blond hair and red lips driving a Japanese car. She just looks like trouble. kar-20Maybe it was the cat eye sunglasses. Darn it.kar-7Well, everyone makes mistakes, right..? ugh.. not that it makes me feel any better.kar-15What’s certain is that I’m scared to drive in LA again… Any volunteers?kar-11On another note, ever since these jeans arrived at the door, they’ve been my go-to, everyday thing that which I automatically insert my legs in; if there are pieces that you want to live in for the rest of your life, these are it. kar-28and man shoes… oh yes. I’d choose comfort over sexy any day, although both at the same time would be a bit more ideal.kar-2Don’t you sometimes wish you could live without the smartphone? Distraction is only good when you need it, and actively seek it. When it occurs excessively frequently without my consent, it can get overwhelming. Remember when life was simple and pay phone was actually an effective means of communication? kar-25Yeah, too much noise… indeed causes unproductivity (when you are in “work mode” that is)… distraction makes it difficult to focus and get anything done, and this includes multitasking. kar-13There is a limit as to how much information your brain can handle at any given time, just like a computer processor, which is why I like to make a daily to-do list. Without it, I’m all over the place, mindlessly wasting time while barely getting anything done… and especially with the constant notifications I get on the phone, it really does get difficult to give my 100% on anything. kar-16While it’s difficult to completely cut things off, I’ve come to realize that it is important to have self control with just about everything in life but especially with the amount of noise I let into my life. kar-29And that “noise” may be emails, notifications I receive on the phone all day, unnecessary junk I expose myself to on a daily basis such as TV and radio commercials and social media feeds, music that makes me feel dumb just by listening to it, visual garbage, and sometimes even people that make me feel like crap.

kar-31More than enough people have said it: life is short; surround yourself with good things and good people. Words to live by. karH&M tank, Calvin Klein chambray shirt, One Teaspoon “Awesome Baggies” distressed boyfriend jeans, Jeffrey Campbell Rossdale cutout oxfords, Italia Independent sunglasses, Nars lipstick, and Chanel 2.55 Reissue

Photography by Sangtene

Girl in New York


ny-bridgeSo I don’t normally enjoy putting my hair up, especially with my forehead looking so naked. ny-ues3but since the photographer insisted, there it was, my poor forehead finally getting some Vitamin D.

ny-finanAfter an overpriced brunch consisting of uncooked eggs and fancy fries in midtown (we paid for the view, not the food… although it did look pretty for the Instagram #foodporn shot. oh, and the free mimosa, which probably wasn’t free after all) we headed downtown, like, all the way where the water is… because… I don’t know, to check out some good looking stockbrokers?

ny-finan3who were nowhere to be found… sadly. How come nobody told us that it was Sunday?

ny-finan5so I got a little irritated…

ny-finan6and disappointed…

ny-ues1so we headed back to midtown to get a mid-day sugar fix.

ny-milkYelp is life.ny-5thMission accomplished. Finally got my hands on them Crack Pie & Cereal Soft Serve, and it only took a few bites to confirm that I, in fact, no longer have a sweet tooth. You know, sometimes it’s more about the experience than the actual thing…

ny-ues2Then the night came… and bar hopping began. What, you are telling me that there’s something more exciting to do at night in NYC??!?

ny9But really, a glass of anything not too nasty is enough to keep me entertained all night. I mean, a few hours until the body can’t handle the abuse.ny8

Photos taken over a span of three days by different people, aka my favorite people of the moment.

Wearing: tanks by J.Crew x Public School, Rag & Bone leather shorts, Lululemon headband, Celine sunglasses, Proenza Schouler backpack, Onitsuka Tiger sneakers, Calvin Klein chambray shirt, Miansai leather bracelet

Be still, my soul.

soho1How much does perfection cost? According to my favorite store, Bergdorf Goodman, $7,000. Mind you, that’s the cost of Celine’s oversized coat in the most beautiful grey ever… and other professional fashion folks from around the globe agree: Celine’s coat is one of the most coveted pieces for fall according to the latest issue of Harper’s Bazaar. But then again, who can actually afford a coat that costs as much as a decent used car? Those who seek perfection. Yeah, I get it. Or not.soho7On that note, can we talk about the impossibility of things today? soho10I’ve realized recently the reason why I suffer from a bad case of anxiety from time to time is because I’m subconsciously asking myself to do the impossible, and when it fails to do so, I sort of lose my mind. Although, most of the time, it’s more that I’m afraid it won’t happen because based on personal statistics, it’s very likely it won’t and I’m already freaking out that I won’t be able to achieve what I’m afraid of not achieving. (You can tell that I’m already losing my mind just thinking about this topic.)
soho11Besides perfection, what I’ve discovered to be unachievable is… love.

Yes, love. Oh, the impossibility of it.soho3I’ve actually been having more conversations over this topic lately… because.. it’s just that important.soho8I’m sure it’s already been said many times before: love is elusive. It’s confusing, it’s complicated- but more than that, it’s just impossible, which is what makes it all the more intriguing. soho13You may believe that you are in love… but is it really love, or is it something more human, like, lust, or just a fleeting feeling, an emotion? Sorry to burst your bubble, but if you thought love was something that magically happens one day and lasts forever and ever, check yourself, because remember what I said earlier? The impossibility of it. soho5Call me a pessimist. Call me emo. Call me a cynical romantic.

Love will always remain unattainable for many, as the most challenging endeavor the humankind must continually struggle with, unless it’s the true kind I know of: the selfless, sacrificial type that is unconditional and incessant no matter the circumstance, which is only possible… if you are not human, you know, the saint type. I regret having spent my younger days fantasizing about something that probably doesn’t even exist. How many of us still believe that  it is actually possible to be in love with that certain someone forever and ever just like the way all those pretty princesses in Disney movies trained us to believe? This world makes us think that we are in love without our even having a complete understanding of what it really is. It’s not a feeling. It’s action. It’s commitment. It’s sacrifice. Can you handle the truth?soho4

Rag & Bone leather shorts, Proenza Schouler PS Backpack, Celine sunglasses, Miansai leather bracelet, Qlocktwo watch, TomTom Jewelry Double Chevron rings, Vince sandals

Photography by Cherry J.


A Perfect Getaway

ny2As a place that was once called home, New York has a place in my heart like none other- if it needed to be defined, the relationship would be best compared to one I have with this bodycon dress (which, by the way, belonged to someone else prior to this trip)- it’s nice once you put it on, but even the thought of being “in it” is intimidating and even scary at times. I know I’ll have a lot of fun in it, but to get to that point takes time and contemplation, which can sometimes be nerve wracking.ny10So after a spontaneous chat at a local Starbucks on a lazy Sunday afternoon a few weeks ago, here we were, at a hotel room in Upper East Side, doing our usual thing, aka photographing each other in a scandalous outfit.ny12I actually weren’t sure if New York was the best choice… until the noise began to cloud my head and really consume me… and… I began to dance to it.ny0While New York is known as a place where all kinds of madness coexist, I’ve learned that sometimes, that’s just what you need to clear your head.
ny14and to learn that it really is okay to let go.
ny13All the commotion the city offers usually bother me to a point where I become hypersensitive to discomforts that come with it (i.e. drunk people that can be found virtually everywhere, invasion of personal space, being hit on by random guys in the street, all the nice things that are oh-so-easily accessible including really, really expensive oversized coats and most impractical tiny little handbags that come with a perfectly matching shiny tassel and a shoulder chain- yes, I’m talking to you, Celine and YSL, and those crazy cab drivers who would do whatever it takes to get you to point B) but this time around, it actually helped me not to place so much focus on the not-so-pleasant things life offers: the uncertainties, issues, problems (you know the things you and I deal with on a daily basis).
ny11Distraction, as it turns out, is a good thing.

I once believed that external factors had little to do with internal affairs, as in emotions and thought processes of sort that go on inside of our heads. Hence, I think even artificial distraction may help us go on with our lives when we’ve lost motivation to do so. ny16On that note, is this dress distracting enough for you? ;) ny6If a brief distraction is what I needed, perhaps an impromptu trip to Central Park was the most brilliant idea after all.ny17As much as you want to be separated from it, reality will always be there.

to be dealt with, to be embraced…

so that you would learn something out of the process in the end.

ny001Because after all, that’s what life is.

ny002It’s a learning process, a journey.ny7

Dress by BCBG Max Azria, White mesh top by Public School x J Crew, Sandals by Vince, & Chanel 2.55 Reissue

Photography by Cherry J. & Sejin Park





View from above

ny3Just another morning in the city…

More to come. ny1

Distressed boyfriend jeans by One Tea Spoon, Sneakers by Onitsuka Tiger, V-neck by Alternative, Watch by Qlocktwo, Sunglasses by Celine

Photography by Cherry J.


Don’t wish for it. Work for it.

ka-2 With a focus on getting better, exercise has become a big part of my life lately.ka-6You know, our parents were absolutely right when they said without health, you cannot possibly do anything- because when I first arrived here about a month ago, I could barely sleep or eat which made exercise not really an option. So let me tell you this much- before exercise comes the basic human needs: eating and sleeping. Through this experience, I’ve learned that if you are able to do just those two on a daily basis, you should be thankful. ka-17  With a help of my skilled acupuncturist at One Healing Art and personal trainer at my most favorite gym in the world, I’m now feeling a lot better- good enough to be running around Downtown LA, in fact. ka-27As for emotional and spiritual support, being around friends and family who willingly listen to my ridiculous stories living as a gyo-po in Korea along with a private time with my beloved at 5:20 AM (albeit sporadic due to physical limitations) have been extremely helpful. I’m once again reminded that I’m not alone even in times when the world seems to be saying otherwise.  ka-29On our way back home after a memorable dinner at a hipster hangout spot in DTLA, a friend and I had a random conversation about body image, and how others perceive those who “seem” to have an ideal physique.

ka-10ka-32This was interesting, because it was something that had never crossed my mind. I was told that some girls who are not naturally “thin” (based on the unrealistic beauty standards created by the media), often become bitter and angry towards those who are naturally thin for no reason.

To be honest, I always felt insecure about my stomach because to me, it never looked the way I wanted it to. I know I shouldn’t have felt such a way, but I often found myself comparing my body with those of supermodels’, which almost always succeeded in making me feel uglier and blubberier than I was- so yes, I know girls do this a lot, although we know we get nothing good out of it except for anger which begins with jealousy. But the difference with my story is that instead of staying unhappy, I did something about it (even though I had to suffer from side effects as a result): I gave myself six months to decrease body fat and build abdominal muscles. ka-35With a strict meal plan and aggressive cardiovascular and ab exercise routines, I was able to achieve my goals.

Was it easy? No.

Is it easy to eat the same thing everyday? Is it easy to do plank until you feel like your arms are about to fall off? Is it easy to do sit-ups and leg raises until you can’t do them anymore? Is it easy to spin until you can’t feel your legs?

Seriously, guys… it takes the same if not more motivation, determination and focus required for whatever else you try to achieve in life to get the body you want.

(By the way, those circular marks you see on my lower abs are from an acupuncture procedure called Ddeum:뜸, which makes you smell like you were hanging out with wild animals longer than you should have. In fact, I never even asked what’s in those things because I was afraid to find out. You know, some things are better left unknown.)ka-18Which is why if bothers me so much when I hear about people whining and complaining about other people being “skinnier” than them when in reality, they are the ones that don’t even try. Come on, I don’t deserve to be hated for something I put effort and time into. Yes, I was born with a relatively small frame and thin bones (which sometimes gives me medical issues), but if all I did was to sit there and eat all kinds of greasy, sugary food while doing minimal movements on a daily basis, I’d become chubby in no time.  ka-37and I know plenty of “skinny” girls who actually want to gain weight but are not able to no matter how hard they try. If anyone bullied or hated them for no reason, how is that different from making fun of those who are heavier than average? ka-23  I think the reason why it’s so difficult for us to be kind to everyone is because we keep forgetting that everyone is fighting some kind of battle. If we would just take a moment to remind ourselves that although the issues may differ in degree and nature, every one of us is dealing with something not so pleasant this very moment, it really would make a difference, even if it just means making another person feel good, normal, or just not so shitty (thanks for not saying whatever you were going to say). ka-42But really, why should anyone deal with criticisms for something that is not within her scope of control, say her body, face, whatever? Just because someone is thinner than you, that doesn’t mean she should deal with your crap. Take it elsewhere, please- got plenty of those to deal with already.ka-39  I never thought that I would be posting pictures of me in my workout clothes, mainly because of my insecurities… Just because I’m posting these pictures, it doesn’t mean that I’m perfectly comfortable with my body, because that is very unlikely to ever happen.

What I do want to emphasize however, is that with enough motivation and determination, anything can be achieved.

As one of my professors once said, it’s better to set a goal that’s unrealistically high than one that’s too easy to achieve. ka-44Take care, boys and gals. Will be returning with shots from the Big Apple in about a week. Hoping our new assistant photographer is able to handle the challenge. Will keep you posted. ;) ka-25Purple sports bra, Tie-dye print shorts and white tank by Lululemon Athletica, Nike Free series, Watch by Qlocktwo by Biegert & Funk

Photography by Sangtene

Public School Girl

628-1Hi there.

How are you guys. Sorry if my last post made you worry.

Thankfully, I’m doing a lot better. Has it been a month already? or almost.

The more I think about it, the more thankful I am for those who showed genuine concern for me.

From the very bottom of my heart, thank you. 628-22This terrifying fear towards weight gain and body image however, has turned out to be a constant and never- ending battle. I’m still working on getting over the fact that it’s okay to eat more than three meals a day, to weigh a little more than 110 lbs, and to eat more than my two year old niece (Um, yeah, that was an interesting revelation).

628-17Over the past month, many changes have taken place, including getting used to having needles poke all over my body, drinking mysterious but definitely gross herbal medicine after every meal, turning fat into muscles by lifting half my weight thanks to my body builder trainer, feeling the warm (sometimes sweaty) embrace of the beautiful California sun on a daily basis, and meeting people here and there both old and new. Highlight was reuniting with one of the most talented photographers from Seoul in Downtown LA last week, and what you are seeing in this post, is the result of our first work together. Head over to our “Contributors” page for more on this awesome photographer!

628-3So, I really need to talk to you about these shirts. I mean, I’ve literally been dying to tell you about them. Yeah, I’m wearing two layers- initially, I wore the mesh one underneath hoping it would peak out just a bit to give it a subtle- you know, “I-tried-but-I-don’t-want-to-look-like-I did” look, but because they are the exact same size and design, it turned out to be a failed attempt even when worn backwards. I even had purchased it in a size larger initially for that purpose which also failed. Then, I was suddenly reminded of Stella McCartney’s collection from a few seasons ago when she did a bunch of mesh over brights which I drooled over forever until I saw them a few months ago hanging in the “Sale” section of some ridiculous boutique in Seoul.
628-6And apparently, mesh is a hot material at the moment (which I just found out this morning) so yeah, it works, either way. So these shirts, guys. And I know some of you, informed, savvy, cool folks, have noticed already- also, if you follow me on Instagram, these are part of the stuff that made me spend more than I had ever spent at J.Crew a few weeks ago (actually, I’m afraid this may have been the first time I ever bought anything from there despite the numerous hours spent checking out their stuff both online and off for years), thanks to the talented duo at Public School. Seriously though, I have a soft spot for girl’s stuff designed by menswear designers, especially when they are noticeably more mannish than usual. 628-21So far, I’ve only worn this combo once yet it has acted as a conversation starter more than once. First time was when I was getting coffee where I had to explain the entire shebang of the designer collaboration, second was when a lady walking towards me during the shoot said that she actually prefers private school boys ’cause they be naughtier. Whichever the case, as long as they are cute, right?628-19Oh, and I almost forgot… the hair. Yeah. I haven’t had it this short since freshman year in college or something, and it feels good. I just don’t know what to do with it yet, that’s all. I’m pretty low maintenance when it comes to beauty and things… long layered hair was cool because all I had to do was to just roll it into a bun and sleep on it but man, this mid-length hair is somethin’ else. but that’s still better than having to deal with seriously damaged hair that’s literally, like, dead. Tell you what, never get your hair bleached twice and attempt to use a curling iron everyday, your hair will hate you forever. No regrets though. Nope, never. I think I’ve grown a bit… maybe not. Go away already, Cognitive Dissonance.

628-14We were literally all over Downtown Los Angeles and loved every minute of it- catharsis sometimes requires proactivity.

628-18Except for when my feet started retiring on me, hinting that it’s time for dinner at Bottega Louie.

628-13 628-12These guys in a red Mustang stopped in front of me and shouted something which sounded like a rap song.

Oh, how I missed random catcalls. Yes, LA, I’m back.628-11 628-9 628-8 628-7 628-4628-5Time to release feet from agony.

Goodbye, pain.628-20

Mesh top & shirt: J.Crew x Public School, Neon orange skort: Topshop, Black bra: Calvin Klein, White heels: Jeffrey Campbell “Hough”, Watch: Qlocktwo by Biegert & Funk, Reflective sunglasses: Quay Australia, Rings: Tomtom Jewelry, Bag: Chanel 2.55 Reissue in distressed leather

Photography by Sangtene







In the midst of it all

1Thanks to a job that considers travel top priority, I’ve had the pleasure of being in many parts of the world the past few years, among which Hong Kong tops in the field of Most Frequently Visited. This was probably the fifth time I was there (sorry, actually lost count somewhere along the way) and this time around, I learned that there’s something about the city that makes it just so… fascinating.

I’ll be honest, it’s not my favorite- I mean with all these amazing “features,” there comes a point in life when you realize that this place is just too awesome to be hated on despite all the things that pretty much drive you crazy at times (i.e. mostly weather-related things, say humidity & rain).

I mean, where else but in HK will you randomly come across an American flag printed shoe casually chilling at a bus stop? How about a lady on the move in a Bruce Lee T-shirt?
2What about two Asian girls in clothes worn inside out? (Although we had a legitimate reason for it.)

If anything, unlike in Korea where every little thing you do is watched and observed (so you can be publicly rebuked and humiliated until you disappear from the face of the earth), this is the place where you are free to do whatever you want as long as you don’t get in the way of others. (Did I mention that there are 7 million people living in this city? Yes, it’s probably a good idea to watch where you are going- oh, and texting while waiting for a tram is probably the most dangerous thing you can do- trust me, I’m an experienced tourist.)

3Is it just me, or is this HK girl in love with meeh? Remember, eyes say a lot… They don’t call them the windows to the soul for nothing. Uh-oh.

4Hey, I don’t think we look all that bad in inside out clothes, after all.

Speaking of which, where are your clothes made?

56This amazing blogger (who specializes in making things look pretty before they go into your mouth- which means making you wait forever until you finally get to feed your starving self) introduced us to a new neighborhood nearby called “Tai Hang,” where all the artsy cafes, restaurants, and shops are located. It almost felt like I was in a movie set, almost like a HK version of Hong-Dae cafe street.

7I love that almost everything is within walking distance in HK, just like NYC- and you know how madly I’m in love with walking. Not a chance in Seoul- trust me, I’ve tried it myself (Myung-dong to Hong-dae, anyone?).

8910I was pleasantly surprised to see that the hotel decided to reward us with free Wifi (unknowingly, most likely); however it turns out the site wasn’t getting along with the network for some reason. So, here is me attempting to mend the situation:

YY2-3Yeah, right… Sorry. Yes, that was pretentious, but these shots are actually a residue from a shoot that was done for another project, which should be coming soon.

YY2-4But really, this is what I look like when I write.

#iwokeuplikethis (..?)

YY2-7 YY2-8 YY2-9 YY2-11Top: Rag & Bone sleeveless denim shirt worn inside-out as a dress, H&M belt, Converse sneakers, A-Land socks, KYE bracelets, Jeffrey Campbell bag

Bottom: Yuna Yang silk camisole, Zara lace shorts