Is it weird that I want to go to Australia just to find these statues? I snagged this photo from Leanne Cole Photography blog. Go check it out – great photography.

I have been busy like the Santa’s elf as sales are picking up for the holiday season. I went supply shopping the other day and heard a Christmas carol leaking out from a store and literally ran a few yards to get away from it as quickly as I can.

Being a seller myself, I realize that I’m being a hypocrite for disliking the grotesque promotion for holiday consumerism. It’s a coping mechanism. I need to guard myself against over exposure, so I have some sanity and appreciation left in me by the time Christmas rolls around.

Maybe that’s why this very anti-winter photograph enticed me. Whatever the actual context behind this installation in the open land, I don’t care. I love it. No malls, no holiday themes, just a big splendid field and a couple of awesome birds minding their own business.

It’s impossible to believe that it’s November already. Who stole my 2014?

Here are some of my new fall items. Beautiful lariat necklaces with faceted teardrop shape gems. I have them in high quality, natural citrine, garnet, labradorite and blue topaz. Each come with free 2 inch extension so you can layer however you want.

They were introduced at Artisanal LA show and received really well. They look better than the photographs, so I believe that they will always fare better in person. Hence really looking forward to the new show that’s coming up in December. Will announce that when the show gets closer.

Click on the photos for each link or click here for my etsy shop.


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“I can see you living in Portland, Joy,” a friend of mine said the other day.

Well, so can I, and perhaps that’s what got me to revisit Portland in such a short time since the marathon. I needed to investigate further. Explore my desire to possibly move there. After a brief stop at Seattle, I took a train down to Portland. It rained the entire weekend that I was there, but I didn’t mind it one bit. Portland was beautiful with glorious autumn leaves every corner I turned.

Last couple times that I was there, I hung out mostly in downtown and Pearl District. Because the downtown and surrounding districts such as Pearl are so close in distance, in my mind all of them are “downtown.” Even then, it feels much smaller and fabulously more walkable than that of Los Angeles. Portland as a city is metropolitan in every way but with a lot less of the craziness and grittiness of New York or Los Angeles, with Pearl District being rather sterile for a city neighborhood.

While I was running the marathon, something about the area at about mile 11 and 12 stood out. Overall vibe was different. There were more people out on the sidewalks who came out to cheer for the runners. The buildings and shops were artsy, original and charming. It almost felt like Silver Lake of L.A. or Haight/Ashbury of San Francisco. Now that I think about it, it was this neighborhood that made me go back – Northwest District, as I found out later. In fact, it encompasses Pearl too, but the freeway that divides Northwest District in half, somehow makes it feel like Pearl is not really a part of it.

When you look at the map of Portland on Google maps, it boggles the mind to see this huge green area northwest of downtown. A 5,100–acre city-park that is a real woodland with numerous trails and brooks, and abundant wild life lurking about, appropriately named Forest Park. I hadn’t planned for a hike, so I looked very unprepared when I started walking up the wet Lower Macleay trail in my worn-out Converses. Let me point out that the entrance to the Lower Macleay trail is literally a 10 minute walk from Northwest District, which is still considered downtown area. I don’t think I know of any other city where you can access a dense forest on foot right from the edge of its bustling downtown. Do you?

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Look at the board on the right. Only in Portland, they serve microbrew at a coffee shop. Hey, a brew’s a brew, and they make them good here.

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The best burger that I had this year – Little Big Burger. Try and find a way to get their catsup and fry sauce shipped to you. You will not regret it.



Andina Restaurant. A smart young bartender who concocts amazing cocktails and mans the entire two-floor restaurant’s drink orders was a sight to behold. Go girl! I’ve had better octopus, but Peruvian tapas was definitely different from tapas that I was used to.

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I didn’t come back with a definite answer or plans to move. However, I feel recharged, ready to tackle the busy holiday season that my shop is about to be bombarded with. Being in a cold, wet environment and seeing the splendors of autumn colors were so good for my soul. It was a proof to me that there are four seasons to a year, even though right now in Los Angeles, the temperature has already reached 90º. It is November, right? And we are in the northern hemisphere?

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FullSizeRender (9)Found myself back in Pacific Northwest. The purpose was to visit Portland, but decided somewhat last minute to take a roundabout detour to Seattle. I haven’t been back to Seattle in four years. Back then, they were still working on Link Light Rail that now transports passengers from the airport to downtown. It was nice to actually ride the completed rail into the city – finally experiencing the long-anticipated future. Plus, it was just $5. That would never be possible in Los Angeles – the city that needs such transit more than others – because of the transportation lobbyists and the benefitting politicians.

First stop was Seattle Central Library. Why did I pass up visiting this great architecture in the past? Glad I finally got to hang out here. It was very impressive.

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The Wing Luke Museum in Chinatown – rich Asian American history is told here. The tour by a volunteer who was part of that history was quite memorable.

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Gates Foundation Visitor Center. This is more than about what Bill and Melinda Gates are doing with their charity. If you are willing to be open and to participate, there is an interactive aspect of the displays that inspires you to make a difference in your own world at your own capacity.


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Chihuly! If you have been to Las Vegas a few times, you surely have seen his colorful glass installation on the ceilings of Bellagio hotel entrance. Since about two years ago, they have been displaying more of his work at the foot of the Space Needle. What moved me the most about this exhibit is the staggering amount of creative labor. I think that for every accomplished artist, there comes a certain point where they become this explosive channel that the word prolific becomes an insufficient adjective for the height that they’ve reached. I’m so glad that I got to see this.



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The night was completely unexpected. I befriended another independent Korean American gal my age, a recent transplant from NYC, who was eager to show me one of the three Taylor Oyster Farm institutions in the city. We sat at the one in Capitol Hill, consuming obscene amounts of shellfish as real Koreans should, listening to spooky music befitting Halloween, watching the costumed passersby, talking about Korean provinces, New York boroughs and marathons we each ran as if we were best friends of many years, until they finally had to tell us they were closing up. I gotta email her as I promised.

I’m still thinking about Fanny Bay and Shigoku.

Years ago, I took a picture of this old washing apparatus at a railroad museum in a town in the Eastern Sierras. I knew I was going to turn it into a painting. I didn’t know that I was going to change the name of the machine to Ophelia. The name came to me when I was working on another painting a while back – I painted a gigantic anvil and decided that the farrier is “Sarah.” And there then, it somehow seemed fitting that I name this washing machine after a girl who decided to rest her complicated soul in a body of running water. Is that morbid? But the colors are lively which I always perceived Ophelia would have been had she not made that prince of Denmark her responsibility.



Before the Portland race, I did a few weeks of crossfit. Boy, did it make me realize that I need to get strong and that becoming strong requires more than just running. Portland Marathon took a lot out of me. I needed to take a decent break. Plus, right after the race was Artisanalla show. Anyway, finally back at it this week, and it feels good. Sore everywhere but good.

I’m just a beginner at this, but I like crossfit, because it really feels like you’re getting personal training. The workout routines are different yet intense every time, which makes everyone walk in mentally ready to work hard and support one another. Camaraderie happens easily here, because it’s necessary to get through the intense work out. Good stuff.


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