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.
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