The Traveling Diaries Part I: Love


{CSInternational Airport in Mumbai}


{Palladium Hotel in Lower Parel, Mumbai}


{Raman bought me balloons! I was excited to be a kid, again. I love my balloons…!}

Falling asleep seems to be more of a chore as of late. It’s not jet lag this time around. Rather, a restlessness of some sort nestles deep within my heart. Naturally, my eyes remain heavy and my head bobs from side to head from lethargy.

{Love: Philia} While this may sound strange, but after the initial phases of homesickness and atrocious jet lag, I’ve enjoyed the 7 weeks spent with my second family away from home. I’m not one to cultivate attachments to people, given my tendencies to have my guards up, but I have developed a strong affection for my new friends here. Had you witnessed the dynamics between me and them during my first 2 weeks in India, you would have never assumed that we would create memories together. Now, I love them dearly. I may even shed tears when we go our separate paths on Friday. Heck, I grew sentimental at the Mumbai airport as I bid farewell to my UK friend who’s become my big brother.

The fact that we shared and still share the same space for at least 9 hours every day allows us to see each other’s positive as well as negative traits–there is no hiding. Without a doubt, we openly express our exasperation, but we also lavish one another with much love. Even after Friday, I hope that our plans to hold bi-weekly “scrum” meetings and to organize yearly reunions materialize…

{Love: Eros, Storge, and Philia} Again, living and breathing the same air for 2 months forces you to study everyone’s love language. Personally, I’m a quality time and words of affirmation type of person.The term “love language” may sound silly, but I believe in the value of understanding and learning how each individual functions. Attaining such insight is resourceful when mitigating conflicts and misunderstandings between any two people–friends, lovers, family.

I came across Gary Chapman’s book on the five love languages back in my second year of college after a disappointing relationship. Nothing in the book was revolutionary, but I did grow more conscious of how my love language affects my relationships with others (ex. how I express my care and affection) and am able to elucidate more eloquently on those details. However, for some, Gary’s book may offer new knowledge. If you don’t enjoy sifting through pages as much as I do, you can assess your love language online. Highly recommended!

It’s already 5:30 am, which means I need to sign off and prepare for a new day. Part II of my traveling diaries will continue this week. Happy Monday!


Falling Forward on a Tuesday Morning


Left to Right– Row 1: Open-Toed Clog Sandals/Cognac Tones, Cypress Hues, Cobalt Blue Row 2: Black and Gray, Aluminum Shades, Trousers Row 3: Gray/Stone, Misty Yellow

It’s almost three weeks into August, and already, I feel excited for the upcoming season. I am ready to take out my cashmere sweaters, knit hats, scarves, and boots. More importantly, I have every reason to wear my favorite colors: gray, charcoal/black, camel, navy. This Fall, we see bursts of bright tones here and there as cobalt blue and yellow–along with various shades of gray, black, and brown–take the spotlight. If I could critique one trend though, it would be the clogs. Designers and the media have successfully marketed clogs as the fall item to buy, but I fail to see the investment value in them. However, a hybrid of open-toed clogs and booties rightfully deserves attention. A pair would serve well for years, as they strike the perfect balance between classic and modern. Another personal favorite are leather trousers. You can opt for either casual or business by changing tops–chic white tee at night and silk blouses in the day. From stilettos to sandals to booties, matching shoes with these versatile trendy trousers will hardly be a problem. For the final touch, Essie’s cobalt blue nail polish will do the trick. 

In the meantime, relish the last of summer and enjoy Taco Tuesday! Eat all the guacamole and avocado you can for me. 

Sending 5 am Love,

P.S. Can you believe that I’m spending my fourth week in Mumbai? Tempus fugit! Time flies


Brunchin’ It Up: Weekend Parcels


Brioche French toast with peaches, marcona almonds, fresh ricotta creme @MBPost

The weekend is here, and it feels wonderful to wake up without being bogged down by a 9-hour agenda. I love turning on some morning jams and grabbing brunch (yes, this is in addition to my light breakfast. A working girl needs to eat!). I’m not too keen on indulging in heavy meals, so what I consider to be an ideal brunch would consist of enjoying a perfect cup of coffee with anything related to french toast, pancakes, frittatas, bagels, and gourmet sandwiches. My mom and I found every part of our time at Manhattan Beach Post lovely–the coffee, food, and ambiance.The light, creme fraiche complemented the cinnamon and preserved peaches, while the crunchy marcona almonds added a whole new texture to each bite. During the phone calls that my mom and I have had thus far, she has expressed how much she misses me and our dates. I, too, feel the same and anxiously anticipate my return to the states. Could this be another symptom of homesickness? Possibly. All I know is that I could use some quality mother-daughter time right now. 

Lethargy seems to settle in more quickly and frequently these days, but since I loathe taking naps, I’m usually trying to keep myself awake at the desk. As we millennials like to say, “Hashtag strugglebus.”  

Cheers to a relaxing weekend! Bring out the tunes and griddle. I, for one, treated myself out to a splendid meal at the Palladium Hotel and could not be any more satisfied. 


What’s in Your Bag?

Travel_what'sinsideAfter traveling close to 72,000 miles in college, I’ve mastered the art of packing. The lessons I learned after a few trials are…
1. to leave the iPod/mp3 at home (use your phone),
2. buy water even if you have to pay more,
3. and don’t forget to carry a pair of your “go-to” clothes.

For me, a dependable journal and sleek pen are essential on any trip. Documenting my thoughts and adventures is simply programmed into me. Call me silly, but I’ll usually never eat the food offered on the plane because they taste terrible, so I like to bring some snacks along–apple, nutrition bars, almonds, and maybe even a light pastry that I bought from the night before. And you call me silly, again, if you’d like, but I pack two types of outerwear as well. I’ll switch into a simple hoodie so that I can rest comfortably on my flight and throw on a cardigan when I board off the plane. Last but not least, Kiehl’s lip balm, a portable perfume, Sisley hand cream, and facial wipes are always a must. I won’t always need foundation, but I can almost always find a reason to freshen up.

Sending love from Mumbai,


Dealing with Homesickness

HONY_1It’s not easy living out of a suitcase day-in and day-out. Moreover, traveling from hotel to the office every day fuels an accelerated process of emotional and physical taxation. Packing and unpacking, unpacking and packing become less exciting as boarding on the next flight to the final destination soon transforms into a routine. As much as I had grown accustomed to the rituals of packing and unpacking every 3 months, this is a whole new matter. I suppose you can call the final product homesickness. No matter how old I am, I immediately feel comforted by the warm embrace of my parents. And that’s what I long for. I miss my younger brother’s hugs in the morning as he greets me in a groggy state. I miss hearing my parents cheerfully chime, “Good morning, sweety.” 

What helps reduce the homesickness is hearing from friends and family. They send messages, inquiring about my welfare and updating me on their lives. In fact, a close friend from college (also my former roommate) never fails to check in with me. She, a born and bred New Yorker, sent me a copy of Humans of New York for my birthday. If anyone knows me, she will know of my affinity for books and photo journals, so receiving this package was a pleasant surprise. I never managed to post my slightly nebulous snapshot of the gift, but it seems appropriate to share it now. 

Here’s to another eventful day of monsoon rain and enduring jet lag, mates!

Until next time,


Monday Monsoon: Before Summer’s Over

This summer, things have been–for the lack of a better word–unpredictable. Then again, as someone once said to me, my career epitomizes unpredictable. The two weeks spent in Atlanta (or Peachtree City to be more accurate) are 14 days I would not exchange for anything else in the world. Admittedly enough, I was slightly overwhelmed by the overbearing humidity upon walking out of the airport. However, I loved every moment of my time in Georgia. I met some of the best colleagues, whom I now call my friends, during training and I feel blessed to have met them. While saddened that we’ll be in different parts of the country, I do look forward to our reunion and our chats online. I can’t even begin to imagine what my remaining time in India will look like. It’s a shame that I had to miss a beloved friend’s wedding–which I had been highly anticipating to attend for the past year–because of my trips.

In a sense, I feel like a wanderlust, but I know that I’m also partly a homebody. While I will always call Los Angeles my home, I grow less familiar with the city every time I hop on an airplane. And that’s quite okay with me because more than the physicality of landmarks, the emotions associated with the roads driven and buildings entered carry greater significance. Despite such, I still become defensive and protective when someone insults Los Angeles; its rich culture–even without the high rises and bustling city life–embodies a distinct charm. Then, there’s Chicago–the city that has grabbed a part of my heart. From the dreadful winds to nose-dripping winters to falling autumn leaves to budding spring blossoms, I appreciate everything about Chi-town. Both the people and dynamic environment of its suburbs as well as metropolitan niche are oddly luring. How much of my allegiance lies with each city is difficult to say, but one thing is certain: Wherever the destination may be, there’s always summer. And as we approach August, Summer prepares to bid farewell and Fall readies to sweep through the doors. So, before ending our relationship with Summer 2014, I hope you can enjoy the last sun-filled days with much leisure and freedom.

Sending monsoonic love from India,

Tuesday Thoughts: Tea and Cake

I’ve always had a penchant for cards and letters–oh, and balloons.  If you were to spot anything in my room, it would be the boxes of notes and cards collected since middle school.  After college, I managed to discard a handful that held very little meaning.  For me, thoughtfully written words carry greater significance than a party attended by careless souls.  Maybe it’s because I was essentially required to host a “birthday party” for my entire class every year when I attended a private school.  Other than the few close friends who truly celebrated with me–yes, I was only 4–my peers would merely reiterate what my teacher said.  “We appreciate you.  Happy Birthday.”  Subsequently, another birthday celebration with family friends followed.  Mind you, most of them are at least 3 years older than I am and are boys.  I’d only look forward to wearing the princess crown and opening boxes with pink wrapping paper. Even now, I am a strong proponent of the color pink.

This year, I celebrated my birthday with the fambam on the real day for the first time in a while.  It also happened to be on the same day as Mother’s Day, which actually ended up being quite hilarious, as I prepared high tea for brunch and  my family set aside “Princess Christine” time after 1 pm.  What an exchange!

My mom loved the flowers I had customized at our favorite floral boutique–Hanadai–as well as the handcrafted chocolate from France.  Both she and my dad thoroughly enjoyed the homemade tea sandwiches, scones, strawberries and cream, and fragrant tea.  Making them and shopping for the ingredients were quite fun! (My brother had a difficult time keeping up with me at Whole Foods.)  We arranged an array of goodies on the trays: smoked gouda dip on panazella, sliced cucumbers with pesto garlic spread on squaw bread, potato salad on squaw bread, garlic lime grilled shrimp with cilantro and spread on  asiago roll, petit fours, scones.  The homemade clotted cream was surprisingly successful!  What I love about high tea the most, though, is taking out my mom’s fine china.  I already called dibs on inheriting her collection–all handcrafted in England and Germany!

From morning to evening, the day could not have been any more beautiful.

Thank you, friends and family, for making these past 12 months memorable.  You have pampered me with much love that I definitely do not deserve.  Thank you, Mom, for being an inspirational woman and mother.  Here’s a toast to another year of new adventures and memories.  Be excited for tomorrow’s post, “An Afternoon Pick Me Up: Flowers & Books”– dedicated to my sweet, sweet girlfriends Jeanette, Paula, and Amanda.

See you, soon!


{“CJP” bracelet–Christine, Jeanette, Paula}


{I see Paris, I see France. Absolutely beautiful card received from my family.}


{Making invitation cards to send out to my parents and brother for Mother’s Day tea time}


{Vintage Aynsley Bone China and Rosenthal China}


{Prepping for high tea brunch in honor of our mother}


{Customized birthday cake from our favorite Bonjour Pastry}