noun \ˈwän-dər-ˌləst\
: a strong desire to travel

Throwing it back (it is Thursday, after all– #TBT) 7 years with these pictures from my first trip to D.C., because I feel like jet-setting so much it almost hurts right now. Domestic or international, it don’t matter.

Let me tell you, the best way to see the D.C. monuments is during the hours after a heavy rainfall. Those hours being 1-4 a.m., when the rest of the city (and tourists) sleep. Bring a tripod (I love mine) with you.

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A clear view of the Washington Monument.

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No photo bombers allowed.

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A quiet moment at the Lincoln Memorial.

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In awe. Thomas Jefferson Memorial.

There was something so magical about walking from memorial to memorial with not a soul in sight. My friends and I were able to quietly enjoy the significance of the monuments without the sounds, smells, and crowds of people normally filling the spaces. It felt surreal, almost spiritual, and most definitely breath-taking.


[All photos above taken with a Canon P&S]

A Quick Look Back

I know the new year is supposed to be all about looking ahead, but I was looking through my old pictures from 2013 and was fondly reminiscing about some of the good times. A quick look back on 10 highlights, from the year that was keen indeed.

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[January] I played flag football with my church small group against another group (I KNOW. WHO AM I). Even though I was knocked to the ground (always by boys -_-) more times than I actually caught the ball or pulled a flag, it was a surprisingly fun few months of playing. Bonus points for me– I even bought cleats… now collecting dust in my closet.

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[February] Weekend trip with 14 friends to Mammoth! I’ve officially given up snowboarding (I just can’t carve, I can’t D:), so I tried my hand at skiing (second time ever). I stopped falling after a few runs (on the bunny slopes, of course), and successfully made it down 10 runs by the end of the day. It was a weekend full of amazing home-cooked food, (spiked) peppermint hot chocolate, and playing Bananagrams– in a baller cabin. Best.

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[April] The day my mind was blown. Even though I’ve lived in LA my entire life, it was my first time visiting Magic Castle. I can’t describe the experience at all. Just find someone who can get you in and go.

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[May] Los Olivos day trip with my girlfriends. It was a perfect getaway with perfect weather, starting with a picnic on the grass and ending with a stop at the Santa Barbara pier (with lots of wine in between, of course).

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[July] My fifth time in Vegas with the same group of girlfriends for our third bachelorette party– this time for Grace. This crazy picture is from the club Light, and the only feeling I had in Vegas the entire trip was Damn, I’m Old.

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[August] A challenging but memorable week, I went on a mother-daughter trip (singular, without my sister) to Canada and the East Coast (picture above from Philadelphia). I came home with tons of beautiful pictures, and a thankfulness to Jesus that I am now an independent adult who lives not-at-home. :O

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[September] Finished up final bridesmaid duties at Grace’s wedding. We met 10 years ago, during our first few weeks at UCLA. She (and another b-maid, Prisca) lived one floor below me in the dorms, and we hit it off immediately. Exciting to walk alongside her through all these years of change!

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[October] My 2-week trip to Korea was so.much.fun. My first time in 7 years, it was a catalyst for my newfound love and appreciation for my extended family, with whom I previously had not kept in touch. It was also an amazing time of bonding with girlfriends, eating like kings, and shopping.


[November] My sister + BIL hosted Thanksgiving, and I actually helped cook for the first time! For better or for worse, I think this is going to be a new tradition. :X


[December] I just really felt the need to end with a Christmas picture. 🙂 This is from my college friends’ 4th annual holiday potluck hosted by Grace and her now-husband Ben. It was a night of tons of laughter as we played Tellestrations, which has become a tradition (and the funniest game ever), drinking games (ack), and ate. And ate and ate.

Okay, an official farewell to 2013. Moving on, moving forward. New memories in 2014 to come, starting now! Peace.

Merry Christmas!

A quick post to say Merry (early) Christmas!

I don’t know about you, but I follow 920843 blogs (mostly crafting, design, lifestyle, fashion), and almost all of them have been posting gift guides and holiday projects and DIYs all month. Between those daily entries + the flood of emails from retailers about shopping sales galore, I’m feeling really Christmas-ed out… which is why I haven’t been posting any of that here. (Though if that’s what you’re looking for, check out these blogs for a good sampling: 1, 2, 3, 4).

In the next few days, I’m hoping to slow down, unwind, and purge myself of all the unnecessary crap that distracts from what Christmas is all about– friends, family, and most of all, the birth of a precious baby so many years ago. Hope ya’ll can do the same!

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My classy Bruin friends wish you a Merry Christmas, too!

xoxo, Tina

Tina Made a PVC Light Box

Last week, I did a first-ever collaboration project with Jason of Onigiri Everyday. We’d been meaning to make ourselves light boxes for months and months now, and we finally did it. I actually made one a few years ago out of a cardboard box and tissue paper– tutorial here— but I kept punching holes into the tissue paper. Oops. It became too annoying to replace the fragile paper over and over, so I wanted to try this (more durable) PVC pipe + fabric version.

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When we looked at the tutorial, it really didn’t seem very hard at all. But we ran into a few difficulties, and had to modify some of the original measurements/directions. Here’s the final list of materials we used (the list is for ONE box only, and the tutorial will be written for one box, though we each made one).


  • 4 x 22″ sections of 1/2″ PVC pipe
  • 4 x 20″ sections of 1/2″ PVC pipe
  • 4 x ½” PVC 3-way side outlet elbows
  • 4 x 1/2″ PVC male adapters***
  • thin white fabric cut to 79.5″ x 26″ and 26.5″ x 26.5″ (e.g. muslin or a 200-count white bed sheet)
  • heat bond tape (“no-sew” hemming adhesive)
  • 2 small C-shaped hook screws
  • white poster board
  • kitchen twine (or anything similar)
  • 3 binder clips (one large, 2 small)
  • power drill
  • iron
  • scissors
  • tape measure/yardstick
  • hack saw (or PVC cutters, if you have)
  • 3 clamp lights with bulbs

***NOTE: The Home Depot we went to did NOT have PVC 3-way side outlet elbows without threading (one of the three holes had threading), which meant that the PVC pipes did not just fit right in– we had to buy adapters, which threw off our pipe measurements, reflected above. See picture below for labeled parts. If your PVC 3-way side outlet elbows are smooth (no threading), then you do NOT need the 4 adapters mentioned in the materials list above, and your PVC pipe should be cut into 8 x 22″ sections of 1/2″ pipe (as stated in the original tutorial), instead of 4 x 22″ and 4 x 20.”


Onto the directions…


Home Depot sells PVC pipes in 10′ lengths, so you need to buy 2 of those and cut them down to size– 4 pieces at 22″ each and 4 pieces at 20″ each (once again, if your side outlet elbows are smooth, cut 8 x 22″). We didn’t have a PVC cutter, but a hack saw worked just fine. Connect the 22″ pipes into a square shape using the side outlet elbows. Add the 20″ pipes, using the adapters if needed, into each of the 4 corners of the square. Finished frame should look like a table (4 legs with the ability to rest a flat surface on top). I forgot to take a picture of the frame alone, but you should be able to figure it out based on the very first picture in this post.


The next step is the fabric. Cut 2 pieces– one that is 79.5″x26″, and another that is 26.5″x26.5″ (a square). Note that these measurements are different from the ones in the original tutorial– the original measurements were NOT ideal for us so the ones given in this post are what we recommend.  After cutting the fabric, use heat bond (“no-sew”) tape and an iron to create your slipcover that goes over the PVC frame.


The finished slipcover should cover 3 vertical sides of the frame (using your long piece of fabric), as well as the flat top (your square piece). The picture above, from the original tutorial, shows this in blue– you’re essentially combining those 2 blue pieces (white in real life) to become one connected piece. Basically, the heat bond tape melts with the heat of the iron, fusing the fabric together. Helpful hint: It will be 92390x easier to have TWO people work on this step– one person to position and hold down the tape between the edges of the fabric, and another to do the ironing. After the slipcover is done, flip it inside out to hide the seams and make it look cleaner.

The original tutorial essentially ends here (after propping up a piece of poster board inside the light box to be used as an infinity wall). However, the poster board does NOT prop itself up (the tutorial suggests putting the box against some kind of support). To remediate this problem, we got creative and modified it so that the light box could be self-standing.


Basically, we drilled holes in the inner parts of the back two legs of the light box, and added C-shaped hook screws where we could tie kitchen twine from which we could clip the poster board.


The holes were drilled 16″ from the bottom (so measure from your ground surface up the pipe leg).


Jason is such a boy scout, he somehow tied the kitchen twine in such a way that the length could be adjustable.


Clip the short end of your poster board onto the twine using binder clips (shown above with one– use two for more stability). This is what the inside of the light box should look like with the fabric slipcover on it.


We used a large binder clip to secure the top edge of the slipcover to the PVC frame.

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ALL DONE! Kind of. Next up is to add light sources. The light box is pretty big, so it’s imperative that you have even lighting from the top, as well as the two sides.


We used 3 clamp lights. One clipped onto the back horizontal PVC pipe (as shown above), and the two side lamps were slipped onto chairs. Note that in the picture above, the 3rd lamp is hidden from view (the very right side of the picture), but it’s there! Anddddd the results of the light box in action:

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These were taken with a Canon Rebel T3 and post-processed via VSCO cam (just slightly– changed the contrast a bit). The pictures would have probably been fine as is had I had my camera in the correct settings, but it was only my third time shooting in manual and I’m still trying to figure things out by trial and error. 🙂

Total cost of the light box (minus the lamps) was ~$16. Super inexpensive, and totally worth it if you want to up your photography game.

Jason and I decided we would separately take pictures and post about this project, so read his take on our light boxes here. It’s so interesting to see the project through someone else’s eyes…! Hopefully more collabos with him to come in the near future. In the meantime, check out the rest of his blog for some crazy amazing DIYs… a couple pictured below:


industrial pipe shelf


vintage soda crate chalkboard nightstands

Pretty sweet eh? If you’re not into girly crap like I am, his blog is good resource for male-oriented DIYs. 🙂 ‘Til the next collab…


Snow-Line Orchard

A couple weeks ago, I went to a conference center called Oak Glen for my church’s annual retreat. It’s located in Yucaipa, land of plentiful apple orchards. My friends and I had a chance to check out Snow-Line Orchards, which was just down the street.

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We heard about Snow-Line’s infamous apple cider donuts + fresh pressed apple cider and had to check them out, i.e. eat them.

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I love me a legit autumn with pretty trees and colorful leaves. I believe if you visit in the earlier months, you can pick your own apples, but ’twas too late for us.

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Eunice, Michelle, Sunghee, and me. 🙂 The rafters of the building had the names of various apple varieties painted on them.

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Inside the store, there were… apples. A lot. And food products made from… apples. (-_-)

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We taste-tested a ton of ’em. Uhm, perhaps my apple palette isn’t refined, because they were all good.

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OH the donuts. Freshly made in front of us, they were miniature and warm and covered with cinnamon sugar.

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They came in bags of 1/2 or 1 dozen. Also, mini apple/pumpkin pies, which supposedly were good but cold. Why wouldn’t they warm before serving? Why? (My friends asked. They said no.)

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The apple cider came hot or cold; I tasted both and stood in the store for 5 minutes trying to decide which one I wanted because they were equally delicious. I went with the hot and was not disappointed.

Snow Line (and the rest of the apple orchards) is only about 1.5 hours away from LA, so it’s not too far of a trek if you want some fresh apples (and donuts and cider). There are tons of benches for picnicking, too. Catch is, I believe it’s only open during apple season (9/1 – 11/30) so you JUST missed it. D: Check out the website to plan a trip for next year? 😉

Snow Line Orchards
39400 Oak Glen Road
Yucaipa, CA 92399

Inside A-Land

Before I left for Korea, a friend told me to look out for the store “A-Land.” I’d never heard of it but it has 9 locations in Seoul, so I came across it pretty immediately. It sells women’s and men’s clothing, accessories, as well as vintage/thrift clothing. The store in Myeongdong had 4 levels of goodness; the one in Garosugil had 5! The products/prices seemed to be comparable to the U.S.’s Topshop or Urban Outfitters. Here’s a peek inside….

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Outside the store in Myeongdong.

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Shoes and bags galore

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Renee browsing the “flea market” floor

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Menswear + more vintage clothing

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Loved the assortment of leather pouches and wallets in every color

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Having fun with all the glasses. 🙂 I felt like Harry Potter.

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Vintage fur-lined leather jackets

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Vintage dresses + plaid

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Women’s shoes, men’s shoes

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More leather goodies + stationary

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Wall decor. Nerd alert– I LOVE the picture on the left.

Check out their online store here— or if you’re lucky, one of their stores in Seoul. 🙂

Lurvin: “Hood Goods”

As I mentioned in this post, I recently met Elizabeth of the blog Flourish in Progress at a makeup workshop. If ya’ll read her blog (which, if you don’t, please improve your Quality of Life and do; you’re welcome), you’re probably familiar with her self-describing phrase, “part hood, part good.” Having spent a few solid hours with her at lunch on Tuesday, I can see how these four words perfectly embody her “(t)hug life” (once again, her words, not mine).

E was sweet enough to gift me with these laser-engraved pencils (below), which are similar to the things she sells as part of her “HOOD GOODS” collection that she releases in limited quantities each month.

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I know many people go through their days without using wooden pencils, but working with kids for the past 4 years (and continuing to do so part-time right now), I use wooden pencils nearly err’day. Can’t wait to use these with my kiddos. And teach them these phrases. Of course, here are some other uses, as articulated by E for her original (sold out) set of Hood Good pencils:

“Perfect for writing down important information:
Bitches you want to holler at
Shit you need to do
Money you’ve loaned out at exorbitantly high rates”

I know. You’re sold. These specific pencils (the ones pictured above) aren’t for sale, but the original ones may be making a comeback next year. Her current Hood Goods for sale are these magnets:


She happened to have them in her purse and she pulled them out to show me.

E: “This one is my favorite.” (points to a magnet)
Me: “Aww I like that.. ‘Love always in all ways.'”
E: “Not that one, THIS ONE.” (points again)
Me: (Pause) *blinks* “Oh.”

Well, I guess “SHIT BITCH YOU IS FINE” can make someone say “aww” too.

Buy them here before they’re sold out.