Tokyo Time // Part I

Ohayou gozaimasu, long time no see everyone :) What a life altering trip this has been. Never have I ever felt more comfortable, genuinely happy, and above all; complete as a human being. Before I get into this, I’d just like to say I am particularly ever grateful to the Shinkawa family for their over the top generosity, love, and hospitality. You are family.

Second, thank you Dad for doing what you do. All I have ever done is try to learn from you in business. It’s not always easy being your daughter, but for everyone else it’s an enviable position. Thirdly, thank you Shelli for coming to Japan with me. You are the most ideal travel buddy a gal can ask for. A true friend indeed. This was one for the books and I hope to do it again :)

Some of you on Instagram asked me if I speak Japanese, because you could kind of hear a slight accent or slur in my voice on my InstaStories. I should mention that when I was really young, my brother and I took Japanese lessons where we could read and write better than speak. I wish that my Granny would have kept the verbal part going at home because I spent the last month relearning everything and then some. What’s nice is that language and those sounds never really go away. I landed, and all of a sudden basic sentences start flying outta my mouth. My driver could understand me, then locals assumed I spoke fluently (which really tripped me out) and it’s like I just fit into the fibers after that.

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6/2/17: SFO – Haneda Airport flying JAL with my monogrammed Mon Purse goods. I watched Beauty and the Beast and The Great Wall, ate a delicious bento box for dinner, and zonked out.

Key Tip: Arrange for a pocket wifi before you get to the airport or hotel. A few of you on Instagram were curious as to how I was using video and posting so much! This little cell pack is picked up at the airport, you plug in, and you’re up and running on secure network. Not once did I use data on this trip. Plus, the cell pack holds a 12hr battery charge!

Check in 6/3/17: Hotel Mitsui Garden Premier, Ginza Tokyo. Our home for a while. I loved staying here. The views of Tokyo are panoramic, a 9 min walk to Tsukiji Fish Market, 3 min to Shimbashi Station (the subway), and chock full of tiny delicious curry houses. I would absolutely stay here again, and hopefully soon.

Strolling Tsukiji Market: Kristine Marie Photography

I shot with photographer Kristine here at famous Tsukiji Market one morning before lunch. I had met her through Instagram and loved her work. Next thing you know we’re shooting in the heart of the fish market, dodging bikes, giant squid, and fish mongers :D It was getting warm, so afterwards Shelli came to meet us for some fresh sashimi bowls (you may have caught this on Instastories.) Eating here is nothing short of mind blowing. We won’t be eating sashimi or fish in the states for a very long time….

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Tokyo Time: Watch via Lilienthal Berlin

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When shooting, I always wear a watch to keep us on track. Watch via Lilienthal Berlin. Bucket Bag via Mon Purse

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A Typical Morning: Jet lag unfortunately hit around 2am for me, however we really liked waking up at 6am naturally to start our day. On average we would walk about 13,000 steps on a non shrine day. We would wake up, eat breakfast or go to the 7-11 or Lawsons for quick coffee and Japanese pastries. 7-11’s here are nothing like the U.S. Here you can eat cheaply and incredibly well for the super hungry or super tired. It’s just plain ridiculous I tell ya. Just ask Anthony Bourdain.

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My morning view here at the Mitsui, 22 floors up. Franco Sarto loafers ($80), Shop Morning Lavender Hat & Sunnies, the JP Subway card, and favorite Thacker NYC Bag.

Local’s Favorites: One morning we visited Kanako at her Local Coffee Stand. I was beginning to miss American lattes and I was getting those caffeine headaches late in the day. Here at Local Coffee Stand, they serve exceptional ones (even though the coffee in Japan is pretty good.) Kanako is the daughter of Fumito Shinkawa, my Dad’s dear friend and business buddy here in Tokyo. We have known her since she was in elementary school and when Shinkawa was not in the office, he was taking us out for dinner, drinks, site seeing, and day trips that inevitably turned into ridiculous adventures.IMG_1331

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It is high hydrangea season here, this flower market was one of my favorites in Aoyama with a tea and pastry cafe in the back.

Soft Serve: I legitimately had about 1 soft serve cone every day. It was perfect weather for it, 75-80 degrees with no humidity and cool breeze. The soft serve here is not very sweet at all unlike the stuff they sling in the U.S. Shinkawa took us to a Premium Matcha Soft Serve in Asakusa on our first exploring day, and he was elated because the line was out the door and around the corner. It was worth the wait because our taste buds were blown.

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Matcha cone in Harajuku, wearing Via Spiga sandals. I was so happy because I ordered and paid for my cone in Japanese with no hesitation. This was Day 3 and Shelli and I were getting really good at ordering quickly.
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Kyoto Cone
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I’m not one for malls, but Omotesando’s entrance to the mall in Harajuku is actually art. Ride the escalator up and you’re surrounded by displaced mirrors.
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Harajuku corners
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Sit down // Be humble (in Via Spiga)

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All these people and not once did I feel lost.

Yoyogi Park: One of our favorite park days here in Tokyo. Mrs. Shinkawa took the day prancing around with us here. It’s kind of like entering another world even though you’re in the heart of Harajuku and Shibuya district. She said to not walk in the middle of the path because “you will trip the Gods.” Here, we went to the temple, bowed and prayed to the wealth and marriage tree, and even witnessed a Japanese wedding that was more fit for royalty (you probably saw that on InstaStories.) What’s more fun is that we wrote our names on a copper plate for the new roof of the temple, so we will forever be permanent here :)

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Sake Barrel Donations
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Yoyogi’s lilac fields wearing Via Spiga sneakers
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Taken before the snapping turtle surprised me
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Yoyogi’s mini lake wearing Lovers + Friends denim jacket

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All my friends are animals

Summer Style: I knew it was going to be warm, but the weather actually was perfect. Mid 70’s-low 80’s with almost no humidity and breezy evenings. June is the start of tropical rain, and we only experienced one evening of that. I packed quite light for this trip and wore my hat nearly every day. My best advice would be to pack hats and shoes you can walk long distances in. Luckily, I brought the whole Via Spiga and Franco Sarto shoe collection with me and not one blister.

Men are always in fitted suits. School children are in uniform with little hats, they’re the cutest. Hell, dogs are better dressed here than most humans. Women all dress very well and on the conservative side. They’re usually wearing a sun hat and flowy pants or skirts. You’ll hear their little heels running through the train station or sandals paired with linen pants or sundresses. It’s really fun to people watch and take inspiration from how they like to wear their clothes.

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Hat: Shop Morning Lavender. Tank: Z Supply

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Top: Shop Clayton. Pants: Thacker NYC. Sandals: Via Spiga

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Convertible Pouch Bag: Thacker NYC

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Kyoto: Unfortunately, we did not spend enough time in Kyoto. Taking the Shinkansen from Tokyo to Kyoto, it is about a 2.5 hr trip. We kept our hotel and made accommodations at the same Mitsui in Kyoto. Upon arriving (around 10am) we threw our over night bags into the lobby, packed up the cameras, and walked to famous Nishiki Market for street food before our adventures to the shrines. You saw the video I took at this market…it’s complete and utter sensory overload. What you didn’t see is me knawing on a King crab leg that nearly made me black out. Shelli nearly fainted when she ate her made to order yakiniku (beef skewer.) I personally still think about that fresh matcha manju with matcha powder coating my lil face. I could spend all day here, but we had things to see.

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Walking shoes for our first Temple in Kyoto: Kiyomizu- Dera
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Can you see the little temple poking out? We hiked way up, the air is indeed fresher here.

Nara: Nara Park, in Kyoto is home to the bowing deer. These deer are presumed to be messengers of the Gods and are symbols of this city. They do indeed bow for your cookies which is incredibly charming. I’ve had plenty of conversations with the little ones. A few males got aggressive and head butted me while I paid for their cookies, but I let that go a long time ago:D

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Fushimi Inari Taisha aka The Fox Shrine: Fushimi Inari Taisha is the head shrine of Inari and one of the most famous in all of Kyoto. This is a very iconic spot, so maybe you have seen the infamous Torii Gates before. It’s unreal in person. It’s almost eerily haunting when you pass through the tunnel of red gates, and there are indeed 1,000 of them leading you up the mountain. Torii gates are here to symbolize leaving of the physical world and entering the spiritual one. This is why you’ll see people clap three times and bow upon entering a gate or shrine to summon the Gods before making an offering (or wish.)

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Protect this house.

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Walking with a Ghost

If you’ve made it this far, thank you for continuing to read and follow along with me. Everyone says Japan is a magical place, and they are true for saying that. But, for those who are Japanese and Japanese American, there is an internal feeling and sense of pride (at least for me) that makes you a more complete and whole human being. And it’s simply just being surrounded by your people. Not once did I feel lost in translation.

I watched little elementary kids give up their seats and usher elderly into them on the train. It damn near made me tear up. Everything is clean, shiny, and spotless. Not once did I see a homeless person. Are there homeless in Japan? People bow and are gracious, helpful, and kind. The food, regardless of who you are, you will always eat well and never go hungry.

Part II will be coming up next week, so until then :)

Special thanks to the brands who came along with me:

Franco Sarto

Via Spiga

Mon Purse

Thacker NYC

 

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Summer Statements

Summer weather is on the horizon, and to me that still means a light jacket for us Bay Area dwellers. Speaking of Summer, I’ll be in Tokyo in a few weeks with friend Shelli and my Dad (who will be bopping all over Asia for business.) I look forward to shooting summer looks overseas and getting out of my creative rut. Not to mention all the food, art, and just being with my people. What about you, any summer travels?

P.S. I’ve linked everything I’m wearing at the bottom of this post, would you believe all these pieces I’m wearing are under $100?

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Shake your pom poms. Save an extra 10% at the bottom of this post

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Shot by Julia O Test Photo

Pom Pom Bag: Kayu $58

(Use “candy” for an extra 10% off this bag or ANY total on Revolve)

Embroidered Jacket: RahiCali $68

Shoes: Franco Sarto $89

(Camel, Blush, Baby Blue, Black)

 

Ruffle Season // Three Dots

They say truffle season is the best season. I don’t disagree. However, ruffles are a very close second best.

I wouldn’t want to ruffle anyone’s feathers, unless it’s in the form of ruffle tops like the one I’m wearing from Three Dots. This is a brand that I’ve fallen for, and I have already worn this lil guy on three separate occasions. The Three Dot’s collection pieces this Spring are incredibly easy to wear, I love their soft jersey tees and tanks. This asymmetrical top has been my favorite though and the movement you get with the ruffles are just plain fun.

You know me by now, I always dress down. But anytime I want a bit of oomph into what would be a simple outfit, you best believe I count on Three Dots to elevate all the basics. Always.

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Shot by Julia O Test

Special thanks to Three Dots

Ruffle Top: found here on Shopbop

Location: Potrero Hill, SF

Spring in the City // Coach

This Spring I’m adding a little swagger to my step with the help of Coach. This little “swagger” bag is small but mighty with it’s detachable strap and hardware.

If you’re like me and have been a fan of Coach since way back when, you could imagine how happy I was to partner with them. Thank you Coach for this fun little bag. I’ve been toting it all over San Francisco, up hills and for matcha runs :)

P.S. I’m so happy that Boba Guys has now opened in my favorite SF neighborhood, Potrero Hill. They make a mean matcha latte and they nailed their interior from tile flooring to ceiling :D Hope to see you there one of these days, until then!

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Shot by Julia O Test Photo

In Partnership with Coach #CoachSpring2017

Coach Swagger (Pebble) found here

Location: Boba Guys Potrero Hill

Mile High Moments

Sharing some of my favorite moments from our time spent in Denver, CO now that I have a second to go through all these photos. The food scene is amazing, innovative, and incredibly fun. Colorado itself is panoramic, and the air is crisp and clean. Everyone is friendly and happy, not a pretentious bone in anyone’s body. That’s probably because they can afford to live there….*glares at S.F.* And, having met some of @twelfthknight’s coworkers on this trip, it was time well spent with good food, and even better company.

Shot by local photographer Jenna Sparks, I was able to capture a lot with her as my unofficial Denver photog. Thanks for the captures, Jenna!

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Amethyst Cafe

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Sushi Den

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Linger

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All looks Shot by Jenna Sparks Photography

What I Wore:

Burnt Orange Maxi Dress: Amuse Society (now $28)

Sandals: M.Gemi

Camel Knit Sweater: Lovers & Friends

Micro Suede Leggings: David Lerner

Pink Shoes: Ecco Shoes ($160)

Military Jacket: Publish x Revolve (now $61)

Black Hoodie: Nytt Label (now $43)

Special Thanks to Glamour Bar Denver for the blow-dry

Eat List:

Amethyst Cafe

Sushi Den

(their fish is flown in from Tokyo every day)

Linger (our favorite)

Denver Union Station (house made “pop tarts”

Laced Up

Good morning friends, I’m currently writing this post in beautiful Denver, Colorado as I’m sure you’ve seen by now through Instagram. It’s gorgeous here and perfect sweatshirt weather especially in this lighter lace up piece by David Lerner. I’m sure you’ve seen a lot of the lace up trend popping up, but out of all the styles out there, this by far is my favorite and softest that I own.

Spring has sprung and I always keep it casual which is why David Lerner’s pieces are right up my alley. No frills, just a touch of luxury that turns casual wear into something really special.

P.S @twelfthknight and I leave on Tuesday back to SF, I intend on wearing this sweatshirt to the airport because it’s the perfect way to keep warm! See you back in the Bay.

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Ballin Slides from Sentieroshoes.com (“Lauren10” takes 10% off)

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All photos by Julia O Test Photo

Special thanks to David Lerner

Shoes: Ballin

“Lauren10” takes 10% off shoes at sentieroshoes.com

Dock of the Bay

Walking through SF’s Ferry Plaza one morning, I overheard one of the restaurant workers outside belting out Otis Redding’s classic and that song stuck with me all week. Spring feels like it’s arrived in the Bay Area and I’m fully welcoming it, so I grabbed a pastry and coffee at Blue Bottle and met Julia for a morning stroll along the water.

We have plans, let me tell ya. I think we’re still jazzed from our NY trip. She’s insanely motivated as a shooter and we both want to help see each other’s goals through. Grateful for our working relationship that’s turning into friendship.

SF Spring weather usually requires a jacket, so this thrifted denim piece I got for $6 in Denver last year is something you’ll be seeing more of. By the way….I’ll be in Denver with @twelfthknight last week of this month, so come with me as I eat my way through and thrift some more :D

Spring is my favorite time of year in the Bay Area. You’ll be seeing a lot of new looks, bigger campaigns, new hair, and more travel. Wishing you a wonderful week ahead!

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Sittin’ in the morning sun….

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The Waverley Bag by Lo and Sons

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Watching the tide roll away….

All photos shot by Julia O Test Photo

Hair by Jenifer Akagi at 77 Salon

Bag: Lo and Sons

Shoes: Ecco Shoes

Time Out

I have been going and going until I’ve run myself sick, so I’ve been trying to slow down a little bit and can now recap my second half of Nevada. Per my last post, @twelfthknight and I ventured off the beaten path while in Vegas and happily took day trips outside of The Strip. Time is what you make of it, and I’m always looking for a little adventure or new perspective. We were able to see the local art installations and museums which was fun. I also made time for family and visited Uncle Mikey and the kiddos that Sunday evening before going back. This trip specifically has changed my perspective on Las Vegas and it’s not all that bad.

Life only seems to be moving faster, so thank you to Nicole Vienna for a new timepiece and for reminding me to slow down, take time for yourself, and spend it with the one’s who matter most.

Shot by Vegas Photographer, Bethany Paige Photo

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Adventure time with Nicole Vienna. Red Rocks National Park

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Seven Magic Mountains Art Installation

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The Waverly bag from Lo and Sons (Wear it 4 Ways) here 
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Booties from Mari A here
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Silver Mesh Strap

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Changed into this jacket at night (Misguided)
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Downtown Las Vegas

Photography by Bethany Paige Photo

Nicole Vienna Watch: Soir N*47 Mesh

Desert Dweller

There’s something magnificent about wandering through the desert. Having just gotten back from Nevada for a wedding, @twelfthknight and I spent the past few days off the beaten path and away from The Strip which I was really happy about. We spent a lot of time outside; roaming through Red Rock Canyon, visiting The Neon Museum, and of course the Seven Magic Mountain installation. I really wanted a not so expected Vegas trip seeing as we’re not that into partying or drinking anymore…and this was the perfect way to spend our time. Wind in your hair and the sun on your face, I like it.

Yesterday morning, I met up with photographer Jazmyn Le at the sleepy town of Goodsprings where The Pioneer Saloon is located. We were able to shoot a quick look here in this old mining town. I love working with new photographers and this set looks like I just walked out of an old Clint Eastwood movie.

I’d like to know, what do you like to do in Vegas? Are you on The Strip or do you veer off of it?

All photos shot by Jazmyn Le

Hair by Stephanie at Prism Salon @studiosteffieerose

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What I wore:

Floral Jacket: Missguided ($76)

Maxi Dress: Rachel Pally

Travel Style with Lo & Sons

I’m not entirely sure what I would’ve done without my travel bag from Lo & Sons on this trip to New York. Would you believe that this light weight carry on fit my 13.5″macbook, 2 chargers, wallet, phone, snacks, and a moto jacket effortlessly through TSA and fit under my seat with no struggle? Here’s the kicker, I didn’t need to carry it through the airport. I just fed it over my suitcase handle and it sat on top of my Samsonite as I rolled up :D

If you’re reading this post currently, I am enroute to Nevada and yes, I did bring this bag with me. It’s a lifesaver and makes everything about packing and traveling so much easier.

My travel style is quite casual and made for efficiency. I was tired way before I ever got on my flight, so this look is a no fuss no muss type of deal. Slip on loafy sneakers from Carrano (available here) to make the checkpoint faster, a sweatshirt from Majestik Supply (available here) and a long line coat from State of Being the Label (found here on Revolve for $63)

Shot inside NYC’s World Trade Center Station, by photographer Lauren Listor (@laurelcreative)

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Above on street level at The Hudson River Greenway.

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All photos by Lauren Listor

The O.M.G Bag via Lo and Son’s here

What I Wore:

Coat: State of Being the Label (now $63 here)

Crisp Sweatshirt: Majestik Supply

Denim: Level 99 ($117 here)

Shoes via Sole of Brazil