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Blueberry arugula salad recipe and llamas

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The wonderful thing about growing up is having a lot of your childhood wishes come true, like photographing llamas or picking fresh berries on a blueberry farm.

I took the liberty of the weekend and drove out to the unknown territory of Maple Ridge, known for it’s fruit, vegetable farms and llamas.

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I have always wanted to photograph a llama. The small black one is only two days old.

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I’ve never seen a blueberry bush growing up in Asia and I’m proud to admit that I must have ingested a couple pounds of blueberries that day. It’s safe to say that you can never get enough of the good things and berries are one of them.

There is not better way to end a blueberry picking day than visiting llamas on a farm. The owners were so kind to show us around and I got to pet a few that were being trained. It was an extraordinary experience.

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Llama with a very attractive backside

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Llamas are like large fluffy dogs with very long necks

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Mama llama with baby llama. She was so protective I couldn’t get too close but this is one of my favourites.

Without further ado, here is the salad recipe with photos. Tastier when you pick the blueberries yourself.

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Blueberry Arugula Salad with Lemon Honey Dressing:

*Serves 4
SALAD:
5 ounces baby arugula
2 cups fresh blueberries
1 cup roasted almonds

1/2 cup crumbled feta

LEMON HONEY DRESSING:

3 tablespoons lemon juice (half a lemon)
squeeze of honey
4 tablespoons evo
sprinkle of salt & pepper
 
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You know you’re cool when you mix your salad in a beer bucket.

Directions:

  1. Whisk together dressing ingredients.
  2. Combine the arugula, blueberries and dressing  in a large bowl.
  3. When ready to serve, sprinkle almonds and feta on top

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*Serve with chilled sweet tea

I will leave you with my new favourite quote from Edward Abbey:

It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards.”

Till next time.

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Summer in Vancouver

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English Bay, the place of pretty sunsets

This coming month marks three years of me being in Canada. Three crazy years of going down this creative journey that’s often crazy but always fun.

I’m at this season where I feel happily overwhelmed by life and work and it’s kind of amazing. If you ask me a thousand times why I take photos I will say it’s because the world is beautiful and that there are many stories waiting to be told.

I like about how nice it is to be alive and living in a place where I have the liberty to create and write about things that matter. I hope to never take these things for granted.

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The summer is being very wonderful and I am loving all the light it brings. So much colour and time to shoot and see. And you know it’s precious because it doesn’t stick around 🙂
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Here are a few shots from my neighbourhood, city and portraits of lovley people.

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Light and shadows – this is my favourite balcony in Vancouver
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And because it is nice to share  – here are a few books I’m currently loving:  Rework by Jason Fried(great left brain strategy for creatives), A Wilder Life (Good book with plant solutions for daily life) and Miss Peregrine’s home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. I’ve always been inspired by children books and writers since I’m making my own. I’m trying read every book I can get my hands on—they’re great. Miss Peregrine will be coming out in theatre and of course anything directed by Tim Burton is a must see.
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If you’re looking for me – I will be by the beach.english_bay
Here’s to a wonderful summer!

Photo of me by Michiko
Pants and Black Lace Espadrilles from Zara
Stripe Top from Joe Fresh
Beach Blanket from Scout and Catalogue

Lorraine Sui – A Photo Shoot

One of the best feelings in the world are those moments of serendipity where you find yourself working with people you met years ago in coffee shops.

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This campaign was shot with Flowmarq for Lorraine Sui – a mom and daughter team who came together through their love for fashion and designed this adorable collection of bags for the everyday girl.

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 I got to meet the mother and daughter Judy and Natalie on the day of the shoot and learned that the bags are actually a creative result of Natalie’s journey with Autism.
Despite their challenges – Judy fully embraces her daughter’s neurodiversity and believes in her ability to create and come up with practical solutions for daily life. The bags are designed practically but meant to inspire and encourage you to live colourfully and to live out loud.
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This project was themed around color and playfulness and we had a lot of fun putting together ideas, location scouting, prop shopping, juice drinking and working with models in crazy hot weather even for Vancouver.

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 It’s those moments you have in your career where you plan and edit way into the night with too many glasses of wine but there’s no other work you’d rather be doing even though you’re always sleep deprived. It was fun.
I might have taken too many selfies during the day but I’m glad to step out the comfort of a studio and work with a team that puts much effort into executing a creative vision. It’s really rewarding watching your creative ability expand as you work with other people. Judy and Natalie are looking to open a shop in Gastown, Vancouver and I am stoked for them every step of the way.
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 Till next time.
Models: Kirstyn and Caylene
Art direction + photography: Me
Makeup: Winnie wu
In partnership with: Flowmarq
Special thanks to our friends at: The Juice Truck

Postcards from New York

brooklyn_bridge_nyc_sophia_hsin (1 of 1)Hai Brooklyn Bridge

Remember when you were little and read all the E.B.White books and watched the sailboat race in Stuart Little and decided that you wanted to go to Central Park and visit New York for yourself?

The New York I met this winter was crowded, incredibly hot (I’m talking about 20 Celsius in December here) and a few shades grittier than I imagined. But the moment you find yourself in a city you’ve had on your travel list for so long is the moment you believe you can do anything you put your mind to. It’s a girl boss moment.

I love waking up in a new city to the twitchy feeling in your stomach because you know there are so many new things to try and places to explore.

Here are a few favourite photos from this trip.

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The Egyptian exhibition was beyond cool and I stood here and took like 10,000 photos.

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Eats with the lovely Nana. Yes, the food is as good as it looks and Whyte Hotel is probably my favourite non-minimal hotel ever.

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Brooklyn Bridge

Tourist check.

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Not going to lie, I can live off coffee and milk bar ice cream.

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Totokaelo 

Cooler than the one in Seattle. Unrealistic wardrobe goals check.

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Came here for marbled tables and photogenic matches lattes.

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Bakeri
My future home is going to have this lightning. Plus Williamsburg is the neatest hood for shops and coffee ever.

Thanks to Justin for showing me around. Too bad we came on a cloudy day and missed the window light. The sculpture with the creepy dead cat is worth checking out though.

That’s all for now. And for what I haven’t photographed here’s to more future trips.

Till next time New York City, you were a dream.

Shirt from COS, ZARA. Photo 1 of me by Nana. Everything else by me.

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.

We built a Newspaper Wall and made Strawberry Galette

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The thanksgiving season is a perfect excuse for me to keep the oven on 24/7 and bake anything that comes to mind.

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Pre baked beauties

We made Roasted Eggplant with Buttermilk Sauce from Epicurious with a little adaption to the sauce (we used fresh ricotta + whipped cream + dill). You can find a recipe for the Strawberry Basil Balsamic Galette here.

I found the newspaper wall idea from the book Design in Bloom and knew I had to make it. It was fun going around town asking for newspapers and I am always pleasantly surprised how people are willing to help out on my crazy art projects.

Here are photos from our wall.

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It acts as a great photo booth too ✌️

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Plating by Hartman

Collaborations are so fun. You get to work with talented friends that know how to make things look+taste good and you get to eat it too.

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Everything was delicious.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Seattle, Henry Art and Totokaelo

As part of my 2015 resolution to travel and blog more. I am simply going to post more photos 🙂

Here are photos from a little trip I made down to Seattle.

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It’s such a well curated place that it was worth the travel – it was a shame they didn’t allow camera photos but the iPhone will do 🙂

totokaelo-seattle-photography Shoe Heaven

I love how they made everything look naturally lit even in the lower floors. Capitol Hill is a neat little area to check out for shops and cafes too.

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And of course, you can’t miss out on a room filled to the brim with silver balloons (37,000 to be exact). It was nice being able to act like a 3 year old in the playroom – though slightly more serious because there really was a danger of getting lost in a sea of helium.

molly-moon-seattle-ice-creamRefusing to leave without a scoop of Strawberry Balsamic at Molly Moon’s

ferris-wheel-seattleMy favourite Seattle spot

It was so refreshing to be back on the road again. I always get a little kick even when it’s a little day trip out of the city.

Seattle you are quite wonderful. I promise to be back very soon.