2016 - Thank you

Saturday, December 31, 2016

A year of getting after it. It wasn't a secret in my life that 2016 was a major upgrade from 2015 for me. You can read about it HERE, HERE, and HERE.

It was a year I needed. A year of exponential acceptance of my relationship with God, self, and place in life. It was a year of partying, silly, fun, but also serious, big picture questions and semi half answers. You can read what 2016 was about in my posts above and how it was a miracle year, but I wanted to review and highlight some of my favorite moments from January-December of 2016:

  • I was asked to do reality TV, twice this year
  • I accepted a role as an Advisor for Fashion and Industrial Design Students at The Academy of Art in San Francisco where I saw my pageant life and New York Fashion week collide
  • I also was asked to be keynote for the No Frills Conference where I got to talk about a project that was an idea 5 years ago
  • Moved to San Francisco, a city I'd dreamed of living in for 3 years
  • Met my Community Group at Canvas
  • Planned a South Dakota State University alumni party prior to NCAA game at Stanford, over 47 people showed
  • Miss Teen of America President called and asked if I wanted to recruit judges. I needed a piece of home and familiar in this chapter. I love this program and would make several sacrifices to be a centimeter part of it
  • Attending graduation at California State University at Monterey Bay (CSUMB)
  • My goodbye party at CSUMB...stories for days
  • Surprising my old team CSUMB at their banquet. I love them very much
  • Skydiving w. my community group - Finally crossed this off my to experience list 
  • Attending my first ever Pride in San Francisco
  • San Luis Obispo Reunion with KD and KP after not all being together since graduate school.
  • Touring San Francisco on the 4th of July w/ Hay Sue, Hay Ann, and Nessa
  • Getting a program 100% funded and turned over into higher education so me and the co could actually relax after a 4 year run on what was suppose to be a 2 year stint
  • Trip to Muir Woods w. Nessa
  • Declining a role on the Clinton campaign because I was already in love with my life
  • Visiting Chicago on a whim
  • Accepted a job at San Francisco State to finish out the year
  • Fleet Week in San Francisco
  • 3rd Annual Ingrid Michaelson Concert
  • Canada!
  • Santacon w/ 3 of my former Resident Advisors in 2013 who are now close friends
  • Reunions galore & home for the Holidays
  • Accepted my own unique connection with God and my faith
  • My Dad is no longer going blind & my Mom is cancer FREE!!!!!

...and despite 3 job changes and collectively earning less because of it, I still donated more money to  causes than any year I've been out of college. I dated, loved, healed, and forgave a lot. I took risks, cleaned out my life, and like my mom said yesterday to me, I go big or I don't go at all.

2017 has magical moments ahead & grateful for all of what 2016 has given me to prepare.

Romans 12:14-21

Pageantry: Miss Covina

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Vivian, our reigning Miss Covina won preliminary talent, a scholarship,
 and was a merit finalist at Miss California. 

As a new year approaches, a new season of pageantry begins. To me, this is just as important as a new sports season, and my involvement with 2 different pageants - one with a deep and rooted history and one that I'm still diving into, already has me buzzing on what's to come this year.

In 2011, I was still on the search for a pageant family in Southern California, after only knowing Midwest and Rocky Mountain Pageant circles, I knew this was going to be a challenge. Most people search for a church, a gym, or a meet up when they move somewhere new, I search for a pageant family.

In the Midwest, the same handful of people run all of the systems, coaching, make-up/hair, and own the same formal gown boutiques. In California? Different game. Everything I had ever really known about this industry was irrelevant.

I reached out to a local Miss California preliminary competition (Miss Covina) and met the Executive Director, Katrina. Katrina is highly invested into this program. She gives women the opportunity to be ambassadors of their city and molds women into strong leaders who give back to their community. She holds her titleholders accountable and with high expectations. Katrina is everything you respect in the sport of pageantry.

5 years later through auditions, locals, Miss California state pageants, titleholder(s) making history, and Katrina winning Rookie of the Year as a new Director...its been one of the best stories to watch unfold. This local program has come a long way from being a production in a small church to a large auditorium, and every year feels like a family reunion. The Miss Covina family travel hundreds of miles to be home for the local pageant, all to support a new titleholder who will embark on one of the most enriching journey's of her life. It's tradition, a rite of passage, a sacred night that we all look forward to.

Although as a committee member, my role lasts a short, but sweet 6 months, it amazes me to see a titleholder transform. From her first audition to the Miss Covina pageant, all the way up to preparing for Miss California. It's unbelievable, the confidence found, the relationships created, and the way she is able to navigate appearances, the media, and answer her city's challenges with action through her platform.

I love new years, but I love them because that means a brand new season of pageantry has started!

Photos by Miss Covina Scholarship Pageant

Sacred's & Favorites

Saturday, December 24, 2016

I thought I'd write about what I love about South Dakota during the Holidays. It may seem like someone's day to day, but for me, this is a once, if I'm lucky, twice a year type of fill.

San Francisco and small town South Dakota are complete opposites, and I am fortunate to have an obsession with both!

My hometown sacred's and favorites:

Uninterrupted Sleep
No alarm
Taco Johns
Mom's homecooking
Dad's bad Dad jokes
3 Nephews & 2 Nieces
Big Bro & Sis n Law
Hometown friends that grew up with you like family
Cousins who were like siblings
Aunts and Uncles who were like second parents
My childhood room
Space to decompress
Reading books
The Green Bean coffee and bagels
Simplified everything
Board games and cards
Dad's coffee
Wrapping paper, boxes, and presents decorating the living room floor
My parents firehouse winding staircase
The prairie
Gravel roads covered in snow and ice
Kind neighbors and strangers
Running into school teachers who were also your sports coaches
My parents red barn with the star of david on top
Iced Tea, hold the sugar
Crisp fresh air
and my favorite, starry skies.

When I got home late Friday evening, the first thing I did was get out of the car and look up at the sky. And sure enough, the sky sparkled from East to West and North to South with no end in sight.

My big brother and I still do headlocks before hugs. Sibling tradition.

Home may only be within me

Thursday, December 15, 2016

If 2016 hasn’t already been the year of: Miracles , Going After What I Want, etc.

It’s also been the year of hard truths that the home team has been squeezing out of me piece by piece. Conversation by conversation with maybe a drink or two or five in between.

I’ve said it about 100 times this year and recognized that my home team...we’re gypsies, wanderers, and we are movers. We are almost too good at living the anti social norm.

And no, not the gross / boring quote you see from pinterest or you see at your yoga class.

The kind of wander that is part of your lifestyle. It’s in your heart, mind, soul, mileage on your car or in your frequent flyer miles or maybe your zip codes or maybe within the dreams in your mind and heart.

We don’t wander because of work, school, or love.

It’s to survive.

It’s what sets you apart from those who wander and those who need a vacation. Those who make transition their bitch and those who only transition if forced into it.

I can’t help it. It’s just part of me.

Being a Korean with White parents - adopted, raised on a family farm in rural South Dakota (population 174 people), but in many ways living, growing, and traveling wherever to find home. Half country, half city. Half this and half that. Dabbling in higher ed, politics, pageants, city planning, country living, and social justice….understanding the difference between Wrangler and Kate Spade and Scotch and Moonshine. I go from using venmo to understanding some gas stations only take check or cash still.

It’s messy. My identities and homes are messy....

And it has caused a life of belonging everywhere and nowhere all at the same time, hence living life of the in between.

I’m part of every stereotype America has to offer. Small town kid, city girl, educated in the suburbs. I wear my cowboy boots in San Francisco and I’d also never dream of wearing carhart coat back home because it's simply just not cute. And if you don’t get those statements, welcome to my life, life of the in between is complicated utilizing 2 different “languages” to relate and speak to all the people I love and adore.

But I’ve been so grateful for the last 9 months, I’ve been in the company of my dear friend Cherie. We met 5 years ago in graduate school, but have been lucky to be in the same zip code for 9 months.

Both of us, with an itch to move, transition, dig deep, uproot and move on, but still feel connected and at home every place we’ve lived with lifelong friendships that we know so deeply there isn’t a secret someone can’t decode in my head.

It’s been rich to live life with a fellow wanderer. Someone I never have to explain my worlds to.

But last night, as I called her and we were talking about roots, settled-ness, and being...in moments we joke and say home is everywhere, or home will be a person or with our family…

But honestly, as terrifying as this is...home may only ever be within me.

I always thought home was a feeling or a place or maybe with my future family...and all of that is true!

But it may very much be, that home is within me.

And for someone who is already maybe a little too independent, maybe a little too good at not asking for help or letting others do nice things for me…

It’s pretty scary.

And yet, beautiful, relieving, and comforting.

Home may only be within me.


Saturday, November 19, 2016

San Francisco Skyline
2016 is a year I clearly can't shut up about, and the year is closing in quickly and although I don't believe in resolutions, I do believe in themes.

And as much as I keep talking about how this year was about discovery, entering a new era, fighting for everything I've always wanted, choosing me, accepting how I connect to God, good relationships, and a multitude of new chapters...

This year was also about remembering how to kick ass. Showing up when I know I may get nothing in return. About overcoming shame. Putting myself back out there. Forgiveness.

This year was about constant change and transition - I'm in my 3rd job for the year...and the year isn't even finished. I almost returned to my life of civic engagement, but ended up saying no to working with the Clinton Presidential Campaign in a state that was a swing state that actually went Republican. I said no, because ultimately...I'm deciding to stay in San Francisco...which is another post for a different day.

I went from living in an ocean town where I had a strong community to working down town of San Francisco with artists and Fashion designers back to a traditional university setting in a camp counselor type of role working with foster youth, science and technology students, and first year freshmen. I went from having my own apartment 1 mile from the beach to sleeping on a twin bed, renting a room in a family's home that didn't speak English back to my own apartment 2 miles from the beach. And as most people in my age of life rather not live in constant transition, uproot, change, and the insecurity of not knowing where you're sleeping in a few mos OR having to sleep on a twin bed at 27...I wouldn't want it any other way.

And most importantly, this was a year I let my humanity show. I don't tell people, "I'm good", when they ask how I am and I'm actually not doing well. I invite people into my home when it is messy, dishes are not put away, I'm still half unpacked, I don't even have enough real cups at this point for more than 3 people, and I barely have anything to offer but my presence.

After a complete break down this week due to managing crisis all day and night at work, a student told me, "I like it better when you're broken"...and taken aback by that, I told her, me too. I knew exactly what she meant by that.

This is the year, I actually have asked for helped. Asked others to show up for me. Allowed myself to be disappointed with the people I expected to show up, but didn't.

And yet, I still believe this has been the year I prayed for.

 I filled my journal up this year, and like my favorite book, I want to take it out and read it from time to time to remind myself that miracles actually exist.

2016, you've been nothing short of a miracle.


Monday, October 31, 2016

I wrote down on my list of goals this year that I wanted to blog once a month. Aside from January, I had been honoring my promise.

It's now the last day of October and I have a jillion thoughts, but they're premature to post. I guess you could say I have been more in hustle mode. A mode I try and keep to a minimum because it tends to rule my life instead of being a rule for parts of my life.

But honestly, these types of days aren't really important...They aren't the stories I'll tell my children or grandchildren...because they don't matter.

So, instead I've been re-reading my journals. In 7 mos I almost wrote enough to finish off a buffalo skin notebook. I've been in a season of constant inspiration and not that that season is coming to an end, but I have a gut feeling this next season for me is less about achievement and inspiration and more about grounded-ness, responsibility, and staying. About digging in, softening the rough edges of my life, and exhaling.

So, I wanted to honor my own word and post some Fall-Tober Highlights before this season starts transitioning:
Ingrid Michaelson @ The Filmore: This is the 3rd annual concert that 2 of my best friends and I have gone to. At this point, this is a sacred tradition.

M's going away party! Our community group at church booked tickets to the Pacific Northwest to visit her in January - although I booked mine in December. Hello Canada & Belling-home (Bellingham, WA)
Pumpkin Patch 1 in Half Moon Bay
Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Patch
Pumpkin Patch 2 - Clancy's Pumpkin Patch
Fleet Week ~ My favorite Fall tradition in San Francisco
Fleet Week from Russian Hill Roof Top
Half Moon Bay Sunset

2016: Going After Everything I've Ever Wanted

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Painted Ladies in San Francisco

That whole you are the books you read, the company you keep, the films you watch – so, very accurate. So, I am citing all the concepts it took to write this post. Because these are not just a bunch of words, these are themes that have evolved in time.


Two of my closest friends and I had just brought in the new year in historical Deadwood. As we were walking back to the pick-up, our boots clicking on the cobblestone, snow was quietly falling around us - I knew this year was going to be, interesting. But not in the cliché, new year, new me. Interesting in a way that I didn’t attempt to journal about any of my predictions for the year, let alone post about it.

And before this year is ending, the first 9 mos have been some of the most instructive months that have ever existed to me. I had been commenting that 2016 is the year I can’t pretend, but ultimately it  has been the year that I went after everything I’ve ever wanted.

This is a season where I felt everything I had been learning, deciding, figuring, adding, removing, have all have led up to a moment, and this is that exact moment:

My life IS congruent.

Congruent in values. Congruent in desires. Congruent spiritually. Congruent. All, encompassing, congruent.

Not in a perfect way, but in a way I can say, well done.

Starting off the year leaving a job I loved, in a place where I had community, with people who I cared deeply about, was NOT on my things to do 6 weeks into 2016.

Mission District in San Francisco

But in exchange for the present.

I live in a city I adore. I’m in jobs / a career I respect.

And not just jobs / a career, but the types of work and with schedules that fit my needs. (Big Magic)

I am surviving financially in the most expensive city in the U.S. (Yes, we cost more here in the Bay than Manhattan).

I went after the relationships I wanted.

I learned to accept the types love I wanted and removed the relationships that didn’t meet that love.

I went after God’s love, even though God gives it without me chasing it.

I have embraced the spiritual life I feel connected to.

I went after my own self love and care - This radical notion, that I am a human who deserves as much as I give to those / things around me…and refused to be run into the ground in the name of productivity, busyness, and “achievement”. (Present Over Perfect)

Sometimes this felt like removing leeches from my skin. But, so. Worth. It.

Rip relation-shits off like a band-aid my friends! (Post Male Syndrome Blog)

Pacifica, CA on Pacific Coast Highway 1

And it didn’t just happen, I chose it. But just because I chose it, doesn’t mean any of the above happened at the time I thought it should.

I even go after the products and things like jewelry that satisfy me.

And I don’t mean in the materialistic way. Although I’ve always had a sentimental strong hold with jewelry, I still emptied most of my jewelry box, only keeping significant pieces.

Having less materialistic options each day - which actually meant getting rid of the materials I saved for a “special” occasion…at this point in my life, what is a special occasion? (CEO Business Insider)

Every day is a special occasion. (Cold Tangerines)

Recent Trip to Chicago

This season has been about fighting for what I want in my life. Going after every piece, prayer, person, and thing that I’ve ever wanted. And yes, that comes with sacrifices. 

Maybe in the last 9 mos, I was less hospitable. Maybe it meant I listened to others lives less. Maybe it meant less of an impact than I’d normally like to make. Maybe this meant living with less people in my life. Less clutter. 9 mos out of the hopeful 75+ years I’ll live - I’d make those sacrifices again if I had to redo 2016.

I’ve never felt more healed. More myself. More relaxed.

And if I’m being real – this is the LEAST lonely I’ve ever felt.

I know this season isn’t forever. It’s temporary, with a short time stamp until I get back to what I know I’m meant to be doing in longer spurts.

Because goals change. Values evolve. Times move forward, and so will my life and how I see the congruence interwoven.

So 2016 - the year of going after everything, even if I turn up with nothing to physically show. 

To the girl with the adventurous heart

Saturday, September 17, 2016

I'm curious.

I ask questions.

I seek, explore, learn, absorb.

I want more.

I don't settle.

I move on.

I like adventure.

I say yes to what I want.

I say no to what's not necessary.

And some times I think all of this gets me in trouble, choosing to be elusive. 

Scared of commitment, roots, and the idea of staying.

Because I know the destruction that is possible.

To leave someone or something a wreck.

Not fulfilling promises, vows, and the word is my bond.

I can't help but be anything, but a girl with an adventurous heart;

Thrills fill my heart.
Experiences fill my soul.
Places fill my sense of belonging. 
A connection to life, so deep, physical feels spiritual. 

I am a girl with an adventurous heart.

How do I make friends as an 'adult'

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Muir Woods: August 2016

I was asked to do a presentation last week on how to make friends after college aka how to make friends as an ‘adult’.

If there is anything I have ever felt under qualified to do, this was it. I’m positive I’d have a better shot at the RIO Olympics, than this topic. Sadly, that comment isn't too dramatic, both options are equal in their result :p

Out of ALL the topics of conversation I have had, recent graduates always talk the most about making friends as an adult. This comes up more than love, job searching, fulfillment, and finances!

Here is the list I have been compiling from people ages 22-late 60’s on how / where to meet friends as an adult. 

Where: Top answers include..

  • Gym
  • Church
  • Meetup.com
  • Dating Apps
  • Work
  • Classes – painting, crafts, academic, etc.
  • Volunteer
  • Commuting 
  • Shopping
  • Concerts
  • Bars
  • Anywhere! Be surprised! By Chance!
After 2 ubers and lyfts, 1 to the wrong address, 1 that took 60 minutes to get across town, I finally arrived to meet my friend. It amazes me I am able to keep any friends.

How / Advice: You are no longer in environments that foster microwave friendships. College, Basketball team, youth group, just about anything in young adulthood, it is easy to make friends because you're forced to be around the same group of people for decades. Now you have to put in effort and make decisions, like the other big decisions in your life. Here were the main themes from those I had been gathering information from:

  • Be consistent in reaching out to others
  • Picking your friends in this stage is just as important if you were picking a spouse. So, don’t put up with liars, gossipers, or anyone that you’d never date. (That works the other way around too)
  • Schedule ahead your friend time
  • Set expectations. < - That was from an Educator ;)
  • Don't have unrealistic expectations
  • Don’t get discouraged if someone says no
  • New friends does not mean they will be like your best friends...it takes time
  • Don’t settle
  • If you can’t brag about who they are to others…you probably shouldn’t be friends with them
  • Everyone gets so busy doing their own thing you almost have to find something you both enjoy and is part of your lives to make it work in real life schedules
  • Find like-minded people
  • According to my friend of 16 years, you just start talking to people at coffee shops saying how you don't know anyone and need a friend
  • Don’t be afraid to ask people who intimate you to lunch
  • It's a lot like dating, you have to put yourself out there and let people know you love hanging out with them
  • You run the risk of wanting to be friends with someone who doesn't want to be friends back...and someone may want to be friends with you and you don't want to be friends with them
  • Be intentional
  • You connect when you're coming to terms with someone, same place in life, but you have to make it a point to actually hang out or spend time or you grow apart

This translates into every person is different. What works for one person, doesn't work for the other. You also have to factor in that our generation does not sit behind a desk most of the time. We are on the go, mobile, and traveling. Timing, income, and scheduling play into making friends. Not many of us have it actually figured out, at all.

-----My people------

I also wanted to include the lines I did NOT use in the presentation. These were really special….All from my home team…which quickly made me realize why we are all friends and the reason they were the LAST people I asked on how /where to meet friends as an adult…

“Oh girl. I don’t make friends”
“Ew, people”
“Why would you want to do that”
“hahahah you are asking the wrong person”
“I have my dog”
“I don’t”
"Go to things?"
“Do drugs and drink” <- I really can’t with that answer

Dating in San Francisco: Modern Day Dating

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

I've been meaning to write a dating post...

But it's far too embarrassing and until I get permission from former datee's or remove them from my social media, I didn't want to venture "there".

This incident though, is further removed.

My life. Some times. The things that happen. I cannot run into someone who doesn't know someone who doesn't know something horribly embarrassing about me.

So last Monday. Typical Monday. I was meeting a friend and the first few places we tried, were not working out for us.

After walking all over the city, I decided to use UBER - carpool. All of a sudden, a guy hops in the front and turns around and says my name! I was like UMMM WHO ARE YOU?!?!

Turns out, I matched with him on an online dating app and never messaged him back....Awkward. Talk about the LONGEST 3 blocks of my life riding in uber with this stranger. I was so mortified I ran out of the car and bolted across the street where I almost got ran over by a prius.

And I'm not sure about you, but when I think of my "this is how it ends" moment....it's not by ummm, a prius.

A preview to modern dating in San Francisco.

Home is ...

Monday, July 11, 2016

One of the first questions I get when people find out I am not from California is that they ask if I'll ever move back to South Dakota? Or if I'll ever move back to Southern California? Or this or that.

I'm not sure where I'll end up in a year or 10 years. Because everywhere I have ever lived, left, and stayed has felt like home.

I loved running through the endless corn fields, gazing under the starry skies, and smelling the sweet clover roaming the prairie of my childhood home.

Just as much as I loved living in the Center of the Nation as a teenager, where farming, miles of gravel road, the 4th of July, and unsweetened iced tea is a way of life. Yes, South Dakota is home.

And I felt at home in all the towns in between from the Pacific Northwest, to my quaint college town, to traveling and staying on the East Coast and the South for Summers. To the Colorado Rocky Mountains and the flatirons of Boulder. These Summers were home to me and all its beauty and incredible friendships formed.

And to the city of angels. How my eyes lit up driving from Malibu to Santa Monica seeing the sprinkles of palm trees and breathing in the salt water on yet, another sunny day.

I learned I could live anywhere and find joy....rural, city, suburbia, and everything in between. LA is home.

Or winding up the coast to Monterey Bay. There is no comparable feeling to hugging the coastline in Big Sur or crashing into the waves at Carmel beach or sharing this part of the earth with one of the largest marine sanctuaries in the world. Monterey is home.

and then, there is San Francisco. New-ish and my stomach still erupts with butterflies driving in the morning and seeing the tall buildings sit comfortably next to the ocean or driving out and watching the city lights sparkle in my rear view mirror. Street festivals, the mix of city and nature, and all the eccentric people, San Francisco, you are home.

There are too many places, people, and things in all the places I have ever been to call 1 place home. I am home wherever I am and have been.

Academy of Art Fashion Show

Friday, July 1, 2016

Changing jobs mid-year was not easy feat. I wrote on my bittersweet departure from my former position and transitioned right into advising Fashion and Industrial Design students at the Academy of Art.

One of my favorite events from the Spring was their Annual Fashion Show. I loved all the pops of color and getting to see the work that students have worked so hard to produce.

When I first started working for the Academy, I was wearing someone’s North Face jacket and one of my student’s said, “I was an intern the year that line was just an idea”…It completely sparked immense joy to know that I have a part in helping our artists create items that I use every day.

Enjoy the show!

Ended up running into a friend here who is also an AAU student :)

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