inspiration

A Playlist for Travel II

figs_yogurts_jam.jpgSavouring my mornings at home, I fig-ured that there is always thyme to enjoy the simple things ūüôā

Hello from 40,000 feet up in the air.

I have to say that there¬†nothing better than having no wifi for a few hours and you finally get to sit down and work on the post or finish that chapter you’ve been¬†wanting to finish.

A big part of my inspiration comes from music, the discipline from musicians and the beauty of how they create different realities and weave stories through notes, emotion and words. It is a dream to achieve the same through photographs and writing. Like the way a great film makes you feel long after you leave the theatre.

figs-3.jpgfigs-2.jpgI always imagined that Ella Fitzgerald and Norah Jones would be the kind of musician that would enjoy morning walks by the river and fresh figs on their toast and yogurt.

Here is another playlist for travel, for another city and another adventure to find photographs that fit my words like lyrics to a song.

1. Elderbrook РCould A great mellow song for editing and you have to admit that Europeans know their pop.

2.¬†John Legend – Penthouse Floor ft. Chance the Rapper ¬†I am probably most impressed with John Legend’s appearance on La La Land but there is something so soothing about his vocals. Can we all agree that Chance the Rapper is the best thing ever?

3. Norah Jones – Don’t Know Why¬†I recently found out that Norah and Anoushka Shankar¬†are half sisters and I don’t know why but that makes me very happy.

4. Balmorhea – Bow Spirit A band I discovered thanks to my yoga instructor. The acoustics are quiet and beautiful and I love their use of strings.

5. The Brilliance РBrother The Brilliance is a band I have followed through different seasons in my life and I am so happy to see their music evolve while staying true to their music. I read all their interviews like Harry Potter books and am glad to say they are a band I love from the inside out. The new album Brother is a delight of modern pop and uplifting acoustics. Because what better way is there to inspire imagination than through beautiful music?

Happy listening and stay posted for photos from Toronto!

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Hello 2017

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Catching the sunset at Varkala Beach, India

Hello 2017!

Oh what a year.

2016 ¬†has taught me a lot. It’s good time to look back and celebrate all the achievements like graduating design school, travelling for my first photography project, backpacking to India, getting to work with some dream clients and learning to give myself a pat on the back for all of the above.

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On assignment for Alaska Air in Charleston, South Carolina. Photo by dad

This year has taught me the importance of home, of community, people, trusting my creative intuition and the joy of a home cooked meal.

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Baking lemon cookies for Christmas. Can we all agree nothing smells better than freshly grated lemon zest and hot butter?

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Baked eggs in avocado. Homemade breakfasts with your little sister @nasheedee are the best.

While it is good to set big goals for the new year. Here is to living each day with intention, from the moment you wake up and before you put your feet on the floor. Linger on those moments like talking on the phone with grandma, the smell of fresh lemon on your coconut flour cookies and the fog pouring over the waves of water on your morning run.

Things that never get old.

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Watching Canadian geese flying over the water at English Bay. A favourite place in Vancouver

To the new year!

Three Things I learned from Travelling in India

munnar_tea_fields_india.jpgThe beautiful, misty green hills of Munnar, Kerala. If you listen closely, you can hear the click-clacking of a thousand tea scissors and the tiny buzz of chatter from the tea women in Mailalym.

I have always dreamed about India.

So a little over a month ago I booked tickets and found myself there.

I can’t put a finger on what it was that drew me there but never have I travelled so hard in my life and never have I had stranger experiences than the ones I have had there. I shall credit mom and dad for creating me with a large dose of curiosity, a love for rule breaking and a reckless lust for photogenic places.

As I sit home on my comfy couch editing photos and reflecting from my trip, here is a list of things that I learned from travelling in India.

1. Embrace the mystery/creativity
Life is mysterious. I left looking for answers but realized I didn’t need to know them after all. You don’t have the answers and you never will.¬† A friendly tip to people looking forward to visiting India: prepare to be surprised out of your socks. Mostly in unpleasant smelly ways. Haha kidding. I learned to leave room for creativity and surprise and I found that I have gained more in the process.

2. Contentment
I have found myself looking at things in a different way that I didn’t use to. A different way that I hope never goes away. I realized that I live a very blessed life and live in a wonderful, wonderful city. I love work with the ups and downs, people I have in my life and never have I cherished more the freedom to wear anything I want, take long hot showers(in a clean bathroom!) and eat ice cream from my freezer at night. Thank you India.

3. People
It sounds ridiculous to compare a person living in North America to someone living in the slums in India. But it’s true! At the end of the day, people are people. We need love, food, shelter, a job, a purpose, friends, encouragement, fun things etc. Those things don’t change and you can be a good or bad person anywhere in the world and still be a good or bad person. The world needs more good people so let’s all be good to each other.

Other than that, I rode on a 30 hour train (the longest I’ve been my entire life), met a bunch of amazing people I will not soon forget, obtained some scars from being in scary pottys, had the best Indian food of my life, cried and laughed during the weird and sentimental bits, got my first food poisoning, left bits of my heart in a Children’s Home to many tiny souls and left quite aware that I became a better person because of this trip.

If you are reading this and curious about travelling to India. I will say yes. Ten thousand times yes.

munnar_tea_fields_india_2To adventure xx

Gratitude

FullSizeRenderSunset at Lions Bay – moments before I jumped off a 50 feet cliff and got covered in barnacles scratches and a heart filled with adrenaline. We stayed out till midnight and watched the water light up with bioluminescent plankton. It was one of those moments where you feel really alive and actually want to tuck away your camera to enjoy the moment.

Tonight as I’m typing out this post I’ve just moved into a new apartment, picked up my visa for India, sent off prints to the print shop and I’m eating fresh mochi from a friend that dropped me off to my new home. It’s beautiful, bright and everything I ever imagined in one of the nicest places in the world.

I can look back on this week and think of all the friends that I have around me, people I got to meet, events I attended and the satisfaction I have everyday from working for something I’m passionate about and believe in.

I’m so excited thinking of the next few months of travel. Places I go and things I see that break my heart a little and make me appreciate how human I am. I can’t wait to see the photos I’m going to take, people that will leave footprints in my life and pieces of history that’s bound to make me small and powerful at the same time.

At the end of the day, I am just thankful‚ÄĒfor work, an education, things that kick my bum and motivate to learn and be a better human, opportunities to be more authentic and fearless and days to look forward to. I don’t know where I’ll be without my community. And of course the little things that make the days sweet and beautiful.

Here is to the next season of exploring the unknown and moving onward. 38 days till India!

The universe is a beautiful place

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Sometimes in life things fall together in a way that is totally unexpected.

It can be as simple as meeting a new friend while grocery shopping or complicated like a series of unfortunate events that lead to other beautiful things.

As a kid, I’ve always loved Harry Potter (all seven of them, so sad they’re over). The world of magic where there seems to be unlimited possibility. The feeling that you can live in constant awe like Harry’s first time at the candy shop. I’ve come to realize in a way that magic isn’t limited to waving a wand or wearing a wizard hat. It’s not travelling to the end of the world nor as terrifying as taking a giant step into the unknown.

It is simply finding magic in the most simple and random places and trusting that it all comes together in the end. There’s definitely magic to that.

In some way, it’s like someone is out there orchestrating all these things and all we have to do is to live and to tell them well. It can be anything or anywhere you want. It’s something that keeps me really excited.

The universe is a beautiful place.

Note: This photo was taken on the Amtrak to Seattle, The train broke down on the way back and we were stuck on a platform in the middle of nowhere and there was nothing left to do than to make conversation with the person sitting next to you. That person turned out to be a retired pilot who’s travelled the world. I’ve heard that he’s recently picked up photography and continues to travel the world. That, my friends, is a mysterious and wonderful thing.

Simplicity is a cup of coffee

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‚ÄúBe regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.‚ÄĚ
-Gustave Flaubert

I’ve been organizing¬†my archives and thought I’d share some photos from 2013 when I started photographing my daily cups of coffee.

The funny story is, it all started in Beijing, China on a white board, with very bad pollution and too much free time.

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Thank goodness that I lived close enough to the flower market back then and from my weekly trips began “The Coffee Project”.¬†(Also, a shout out to Jelito De Leon for the inspiration behind “How I See My Coffee” It’s just lovely)

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I believe there is much beauty in simplicity, that we are given the perfect amount of everything- to create, to explore and to inspire.

Even if it’s as simple as rearranging pretty things on a board or scootering 10 miles in a foreign country to have coffee with a friend.

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Liberty Bakery + Orso Cafe, Vancouver. White wall are such a good incentive to check out new cafes

How will you see your next cup of coffee ?

ps- congrats Hanna, Emma and Rosalind on being selected for the giveaway from my last post!

A Hedgehog Story II

A few of you may know my current obsession with hedgehogs and you’ll be pleased to know that there’s more photos to follow.

After saying goodbye¬†to a splendid month in Taiwan, I was presented with a gift at the airport… Amelia Hedgehog 2!

I’m really loving coming up with new concepts and themes for my projects so here is a little impromptu shoot I did featuring her¬†travelling from Taipei-Beijing-Vancouver.

Hedgehogs after all, are born to travel.

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Amelia dreams of travel + on the plane

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Beijing airport and hedgehog spa

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Matching seats + Amelia in a bed of flowers

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Home at last and meeting the real Amelia Hedgehog

You can find follow Amelia’s adventures¬†on Instagram¬†and get prints here.¬†I mean, we can all use a little more¬†seriousness in our life.