Tag Archives: Life

Craving Creamsicles

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Dress – Urban Outfitters / Sandals – by Qupid purchased at Moorea Seal boutique in Seattle

Just when we thought we had run out of shooting locations in Mountain View, we came across this gem of a wall. I must’ve worn these sandals 6 out of the 7 days during the week and this was a dress that I bought years ago that I decided to bring back to life. It was tucked away in my closet next to a bunch of other dresses that I hadn’t touched in awhile and at one point, thought that I would donate it. I at least didn’t think it was a good fit for the summer because the fabric feels more like it is for fall and winter, but we made it work. Let’s just call it the dress for all seasons. This scarf was given to me by my mom and I had never worn this all together before, but it’s quite a match isn’t it?

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Grieving is Grieving

On a night when I needed a whole lot of sleep, I didn’t get any at all. A little exhausted from work, a little woozy from two of the special cocktails the bartender made for me (also at work) and with three bites of chow mein in me, I gave up on my Friday night. It was 9:30 PM and I was constantly tossing and turning. Falling asleep should have been easy for me given the factors, but also it’s something I’ve never had trouble with.

I thought about the shooting that had happened in Oregon this past week and all of the families that never had a chance to say goodbye to the loved ones they had lost. And then I remembered when we lost Sam a year and a half ago and how it pained me that I also never said goodbye to him because we thought we would always have time. Very rarely do we get that sliver of time though. It triggered it. Something that I had only talked about with one other person in my life at the time, but have kept it hidden since.

When I heard the news, I knew I had to fly to Salt Lake for the funeral. I hadn’t talked to Sam since I had moved away from Seattle and we didn’t keep in touch even after I had settled here, but I felt like I had to be there. Three of my best guy friends were flying from Seattle and Sacramento and in a way I felt like I was half there for Sam and half there to support my friends in being his pallbearers. My friends had told me that they knew that I was there for them too, which was a comforting feeling. It was like something out of a movie and it was the toughest scene to watch and be a part of.

Salt Lake was beautiful. What an extraordinary place. The mountains were the closest I’ve ever seen them and it’s amazing. This wasn’t the way that we had all hoped to be in the city for, but if there’s something that we were grateful for – it was seeing the hometown that Sam grew up in – seeing and walking through the halls of his childhood home. It was meeting his friends that he had a childhood with and went to high school with – learning about Sam’s life through them. They were so far removed from his college years that they were wanting the same from us – to hear the stories that we had to share. They’d say in response, “Wow, that sounds exactly like Sam.” And we were relieved that we all knew the same person, that we didn’t know two different people.

There’s an episode of “How I Met Your Mother” where Robin cries on the subway like she doesn’t give a damn and doesn’t care that strangers are watching her. I remembered walking to my gate after saying goodbye to two of the boys and feeling like I had been strong all weekend. That’s what I thought I needed to be for them. It was a different story when I finally got to my gate and sat down. Talking to Jodie over text since she couldn’t make it, I completely had that “Robin” moment. I was upset at not saying goodbye when I should’ve. I think for a second, I wondered a few things:

What are people thinking of me right now?

Is anyone going to come over and ask if I’m alright?

Do I even want anyone to approach me right now? 

Do I owe anyone an explanation? I don’t exactly want to tell people that my friend just passed. 

This isn’t going to be the last. It isn’t going to get any easier and I realized I have no solution for making this better for myself. Every time these tragedies happen, I take a minute. This is usually the time when people say that time is too short and you need to tell your loved ones how you feel. They’re not wrong. I’m a big advocate of saying how you feel in the moment and being honest with your emotions, but you know what always gets in the way of us doing that? Our pride. We don’t want to be the first to apologize. We want our friends to reach out to us first and we want to feel wanted more than we want to make others feel wanted. Isn’t that an interesting truth?

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Five Favorite Pins: Fall Themed Foods

Brown Butter Pasta [Project Foodie]

This is the first time in my life that I’ve probably ever been this excited about fall. I think that’s the “Seattle” in me though because living back there, summer was never enough. Now I’m looking forward to dressing in layers, Thanksgiving (though I’m not sure what my plans are yet) and more importantly all the fall themed foods and drinks we’ll be having. Here are just a few of my favorites.

It’s always during the fall and winter months that I find myself craving pasta. There’s something about a lot of carbs that makes you feel really warm and full. There’s no better feeling than that, right? I love the taste of brown butter which is featured in the pasta above and the idea of cracking an egg over it.

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Don’t Call Me A Hair Virgin

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Readers, I have something MAJOR to share with you. For the first time ever, I finally colored my hair. I remember for the longest time I swore I would never do this because I really loved my natural hair color and I liked that the California sun would lighten it up during the season. It gave me these really pretty gold and bronze colored strands that people seemed to find interesting. However, we have to get honest here – I was starting to sprout a couple gray hairs and they weren’t the trendy kind where your whole head is gray.

For me, fall has always been a time of transition. It was the time when I would buy new clothes before going back to school and new school supplies. September is when all of the coveted magazines come out with their thickest issues detailing every upcoming trend. It’s a time to start over. This past summer, I wore my hair wavy almost every day. This fall, we went for the hair painting. I’m still not quite used to it yet and I have this nagging fear that it’s going to end up clashing with some of my outfits (probably not true at all) but I’m going to give this a shot. I mean… dyeing it back right away would be crazy and… expensive.

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Bay Area Eats:

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I’m not even lying to you. As I’m writing this post, I was thinking about what I was going to have for dinner tonight and thought about just aborting this post and going to get myself a Poki Bowl! Then I remembered, I couldn’t leave in the middle of the Emmy’s Red Carpet. It will just have to wait. Poki Bowl just opened in San Jose earlier this summer and I made a stop here about two months ago after work for a dinner date with a friend. When I arrived, the line was out the door. There wasn’t any seating inside or outside because it was so crowded and I’ll admit, I was a little bit nervous that I wouldn’t be able to order before they closed. Was it worth the wait though? Of course. You can order in two different sizes and because this was my first time, I stayed safe and got the regular. For this bowl you get three scoops of fish! WHAT?! I chose a scoop each of tuna, salmon, and yellowtail – all my favorites and a side of crab meat, avocado and spicy mayo over rice. It’s a hearty meal so if you eat here, you better make sure you come hungry.

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Currently Craving:

photo cred: Misadventures with Andi

Last weekend when I was in LA, George made Gelesia and I a late night snack of grilled cheese sandwiches at the end of our night and since then I’ve been craving my favorite one in San Francisco from Mission Cheese! They make a really scrumptious one called “Chedd or Alive” – Cabot & Vella cheddars, Apple’N’Ale chutney. Reminds me of home! And fall! This used to be one of my favorite and easy meals to make in college before I hunkered down and finished a long paper that I put off or some tedious assignment. The grilled cheese will probably always hold a special place in my heart. AWWWW <3


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Milk Jar Cookies

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While I was in LA last weekend, I mentioned to Gelesia that we had to stop by Milk Jar Cookies before my flight. I actually blogged about them two years ago when they first opened their shop on Wilshire, but because I don’t visit LA that often, I never had a chance to stop by. Luckily, Gelesia is like me and we LOVE eating multiple meals a day and both have a sweet tooth. She had never been there either so it was kind of fun discovering and introducing something new to her! We were hoping to get to the airport around 5ish and the shop itself was closing at 5 so we made it in with five minutes to spare! I was so worried I actually decided to call them up and ask them if they could maybe you know… stay open for a couple minutes after. They couldn’t guarantee it – as expected, but it was worth a shot! We were nearly frantic about these cookies. Gelesia and I weren’t the only ones who had the idea of coming in right before closing because as soon as I arrived, a line quickly formed behind me. I felt slightly guilty that I was about to purchase a dozen cookies (there was barely a dozen left!) knowing that there might be some people behind me that were going to be unhappy with me snatching them up! I guess I’m just really glad/lucky that I came when I did.

How darling is this shop though? It’s literally a pastel dream. Because I like my co-workers so much I purchased a dozen for them to share the next Monday and encouraged them to cut them in pieces so they could try a bunch of flavors. My favorite Sherwin decided to eat a whole Rocky Road cookie though because he didn’t read my email that closely. Kid couldn’t help himself!

  • Banana Split
  • Chocolate Chip Walnut
  • Chocolate Pecan Caramel
  • Cinnamon Sugar
  • Mint Chocolate
  • Oatmeal Chocolate Chip
  • Rocky Road
  • Lemon Blueberry (which G and I shared on the car ride to the airport!)
  • White Chocolate Raspberry

I’m not even lying to you; these are the best cookies I’ve ever had. Sometimes I think I’m on the verge of shipping myself another dozen because I love them so much.

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Even the box was all done up! Each cookie came in its own plastic wrapping with a sticker detailing which flavor it was. When I sent the email out to my coworkers that I had brought these back I told them that it was “literally a party in your mouth.” And the box is a party too.

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Yow Yow’s LA Weekend!

Alright, well if you couldn’t guess it from my not-so-subtle hint last week, I was in LA last weekend! My darling friend Gelesia is engaged and getting married next year and I couldn’t be more thrilled for her. She’s been with her fiance for about six years and I really didn’t want to meet him for the first time on their wedding day. We had been talking about visiting each other for a few months now, but with her launching her own line and wedding planning, it seemed like a better idea for me to visit her right before my busy season. We enjoyed our weekend so much together that we’ve agreed that we’ll be making two trips a year to see each other in our respective cities. Next year, she’ll get a couple extra trips from me because of her bachelorette party and her wedding day, but I’m not complaining!

Above is one of the last photos we took from the weekend (at my request!) When I visited her, I couldn’t help myself from looking through some of the pieces she was creating. I fell in LOVE with this dress and begged her to let me try it on and let me wear it for a photo in her backyard. Also, how great is this view of downtown LA?

For a throwback, here’s a photo from when I last visited Gelesia six years ago in LA! We were babies and I overedited this photo.


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Just A Couple of Updates

Hi everyone!

Hope you’ve been having a fantastic week. You may have noticed that things have been a little bit quiet lately on Yow Yow… maybe you’ve been wondering why that is or maybe you haven’t. I’ve had a lot of time to write on Yow Yow! over the summer, but now I’m about to dive head first into my busiest season of work. That means really late nights at the office and less time in the evenings to spend reading news and finding material for the blog. We’ll try and keep this up to date as often as we can, but if you don’t hear from me for a few days, well – you know where I’m at.

This week is the start of Spring 2016 fashion week and usually we are VERY much on top of the coverage, but because of the busy-ness of work and some travels, we’re going to push the coverage back until I return from the weekend. I hate starting things and not finishing or getting behind and I don’t want to lose my spot on where I’m at with the coverage. :)

I’m taking a personal weekend for myself and visiting one of my favorite people in the world! More on that later though… :)


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My co-workers are really funny. We have this email thread called “Clean Up Your Trash” going on at work because sometimes we have a little bit of trouble picking up after ourselves. Whenever a co-workers spots a piece of trash – leftover plate, dirty napkin, crumbs on the floor, etc – we’re supposed to take a picture of it and add it to the thread to publicly shame them even though we don’t know who did it. Pretty recently, I was trying to re-stock the utensils during lunch when the whole bag ripped open and all of the forks fell to the floor around my feet. I was hoping that no one caught this, but as soon as I looked out into the cafe, there Jason was – cellphone in hand snapping away.

This picture showed up in an email later on that day with the hashtag #cleanupyourtrash.

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Not Much Labor Going On Here

Above: mini Jambox, DV by Dolce Vita sandals, Marc by Marc Jacobs sunnies, can of 21st Amendment Brewery Hell or High Watermelon

Happy Labor Day Weekend everyone! Aren’t 3 day weekends just the best? I’ve got quite the agenda planned for today, but I’m only starting with this post right here. Priorities. I know some say that Labor Day Weekend is pretty much the last weekend of summer, but it’s supposed to be 90 degrees like all week so I’m going to milk this out for as long as I can. Yesterday, I third wheeled with my favorite engaged couple and we threw a relaxing mini pool party with some of the essential above. Okay, those are my essentials, but still. Hope you all enjoy your last weekend of summer and make the most of it!

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Five Favorite Pins: A White Bedroom

I recently have been contemplating moving up to San Francisco. BIG CHANGE. In addition to gaining a similar experience that I had when I used to live in downtown Seattle, I will also be inheriting a really upsetting commute. It has been a difficult decision to make and I’m actually still in the process of making it. However, as much of a hassle as it is to move, there’s something really refreshing about starting over. In some ways, it’s a clean slate. After two years living in the same place, maybe this is a good opportunity to try something new or maybe… it just isn’t the time yet. One thing that I would be excited for about this move though is revamping my bedroom. For as long as I have known since I was growing up, my bedroom has always been a sacred space. It’s the home within a home and these days I’ve been pinning lots of bedrooms on Pinterest that ere towards a more minimalistic vibe and happen to be completely whited out. I’ve heard that winding down in spaces like these are better for your mind and for your soul. In the past I lived in a studio so I didn’t have a chance to decorate my bedroom exactly the way I wanted it and previous bedrooms have been all over the place. Here are a few pins that I’m gaining inspiration from:

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Tie A Bow On It

For as long as I’ve been dressing myself, I have always had an issue with my straps falling off my shoulders – for dresses, for tank tops, it’s a struggle. It was so bad recently that I even considered just using a safety pin to connect my two straps together, but then quickly decided against that because safety pins were such a throwback to my emo high school stage. Then, in my time of need, I stumbled across a video of Connie Wang of Refinery29 solving this exact problem!

This video here will be your everything.

Immediately, I rushed to my closet to try and find some thin scarves that I could use to not only emulate this look, but also solve a huge issue. However, even though this was a simple black dress, this didn’t seem to work the way I wanted it to. Then I remembered this pretty black and white polka dotted ribbon that I had purchased a long time ago that I used to decorate my studio in college and brought with me to California. I tied the bow myself without looking and it was just okay, but then my co-worker Sepideh tied it for this photograph and it looked amazing! Instantly, my straps were turned into a racerback style and it’s not only functional, but still v. cute.

I can’t even begin to tell you how thrilled I am to never have this issue again. Good thing, it only took me 20 years or something.

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One More Thought About That Instagram Thing…

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After I wrote that post about what I’ve been doing to step up my “Instagram game” this past weekend, I realized that I left out something very important. It didn’t make sense for me to edit the original post and write the update at the bottom. Instead I wanted to wait a couple of days to think a little bit more about what I was going to say and then write another post. I’m not about to tell you anything that you haven’t heard before.

Another important lesson that I learned from taking “good Instagram photos” is that we project how we want to be seen by others. I didn’t want to believe it at first, but the longer I went on with this the more I found this to be true. When I returned home to Seattle this past June, I caught up with a few friends that I don’t regularly keep in touch with and they all couldn’t stop telling me the same thing.

“You look like you’re doing well and you seem really happy at least from your Instagram!”

Well, little do you know, right? My year of being 25 was just as hard as my 23rd year. Just because your Instagram looks perfect and you’ve set the right constrast and highlights, you yourself, are not perfect. I won’t deny that on those harder days, even those validating “likes” could temporarily make me feel better – make me feel like my experiences were a little more exciting or that I was a little bit closer to home. We may not all admit it, but these feelings resonate within a lot of us, people you know and even those power Instagram users. There was a story earlier this year that ESPN wrote about college athlete Madison Holleran who very much projected a happy life through her Instagram while struggling with a lot more beneath the surface of her photos. Of course, I want my feed to project happiness, but if we’re being honest here – my photos don’t always reflect how I’m feeling inside and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with just admitting that.

*We rarely showecase on our social media if we’re feeling sad or unhappy, but I found this rare one that I took back in 2013
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The Instagram Project

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If you’ve been following my Instagram page for the last four months, then you may have noticed a signifcant change in the way that I’ve been posting my photos as opposed to when I first started my account. My co-worker Emily is someone that I find pretty knowledgeable in Instagram given that she runs an account for her cats that does reasonably well. When I picked her brain awhile back about how I could gain followers for my account so that I could build upon Yow Yow, she gave me a very simple answer: Hashtags.

But wait, doesn’t that look kind of spammy?

Not if you put all of the hashtags in the comment section instead of the caption.” 


Interesting. So I followed her advice. We happened to be together on “Caturday” at Dolores Park and after editing my photo and posting it, she helped me line up a variety of hashtags. (#cutecats #Saturday #DoloresPark #SF #adorable #cute #cats #catz etc.) Shortly after, the likes poured in. We ended at 54 and I was hooked. I convinced myself that I could do this experiment for another week, but naturally that ended up being four months. I was really put off by the hashtags at first so after I had received the desired number of likes that I was hoping for, I would go back and delete my hashtags comment. However, I learned that if I kept it there without deleting that users would continue to like my photos even weeks after.

That was just one of the things that I learned from this project, but I actually learned a lot more and have some pretty interesting stats to include in this post as well. Let’s start with the stats:

In my four months of doing this I had:

  • 8 regular photographers (people that have taken at least two photos for me. Most of them were my co-workers)
  • 17 photos of my food
  • 38 photos of my outfit
  • been to 3 different cities
  • staged 15 of my photos (had to rearrange things on a table/the way they would be taken)
  • spilled Jamba Juice on my bed. (This actually happened today so I’m still clearly a n00b)


  • I still haven’t figured out how to gain a significant amount of followers like I had hoped. I gained more than 48, but if I count all of the followers that have been added since this project and stayed “following” that’s the number I have.
  • I was never going to really take off as an “Instagram” star. Unfortunately when Instagram came out, I think I was still using an old school Blackberry so all other bloggers had a huge advantage over me.
  • If I wanted to continue a following, I needed to post everyday at least once a day. I felt a weird sense of pressure from this and as a result felt like I didn’t have enough clothes to rotate into my shots (had to buy more!) and had to continuously look for inspiration.
  • Doing this project made me a better photographer. When I look back on all of the photos I took prior to doing this, I realized I was just taking photos “in the moment” and of my friends and random things that no one really cared about. Those photos just don’t get likes.
  • I still despise the #nofilter hashtag and refuse to use it ever.
  • I started asking myself the question, “Why would people care about this photo?” Why do people care about a group photo or a single shot of my friend from across the table? They don’t. But random strangers care about it if you hashtag it correctly and they’re the ones who will like your photo.
  • It’s very hard to like your first shot. Sometimes, I would come out of a session with 30 photos that I had to continuously delete in a row in order to get to the $$$ shot. There’s lot of photos in between that just don’t “look right” because a strand of hair is in my face or my eyes are blinking or my mouth is open.
  • I still have yet to post a “selfie!” and I probably won’t just because I don’t think I can get it right and they make me feel uncomfortable.
  • Even though I had a set of hashtags that I always used and knew would do well, I still had some doubts that I was missing out on other hashtags that could do better that I wasn’t using.


  • If you’re going to capitalize on the fashion thing and the OOTD, then you’ve got to do it in moderation. I learned this lesson the hard way. I once had 3 outfits posts in a row. It didn’t hurt my likes very much, but when looking at the “whole” page of my Instagram, it looked off and didn’t display a “lifestyle” which is what people would rather see. Imagine a whole feed of outfits. No one really wants that.
  • I’ve heard that taking photos in the “Square” function of your camera gives you the best shots. I’ve tried it a few times now, but since I have so many photos with more of the white space around it, sometimes it looks out of place. What I like about the square though is that it kind of centers everything and makes it a lot easier for cropping. I’ll use this feature more when I’m trying to capture more of my outfit.
  • I definitely prefer having photos with more of the whitespace in the background. When looking at all of my photos as a whole, I just like that they give my Instagram page more of a uniform look, but I’ve read that it also provides people with more “visual relief” when scrolling through their feed. Because of this, it garners more likes.
  • Find a buddy! My friend Alex was also trying to step up his Instagram game around the same time as me so we would go on shoots together, give each other advice and basically lean on each other. When no one else understood what I was doing, it was great to have him around.
  • When possible, always include a location for where you’re at. That gives you a couple more hashtags to use.
  • If you’re trying to break into the fashion market, tag the brands you’re wearing. During the Nordstrom anniversary sale, I Instagrammed a Rebecca Minkoff bag that I fell in love with that I couldn’t afford and Nordstrom sent me a $50 gift card! Uniqlo has commented several times on my photos that they’d like to re-use my photo (they haven’t yet) but I have hope someday that they could so I keep trying.
  • High volume Instagram days don’t mean that you’re going to get likes. ie) Father’s Day. Because everyone is doing it and you’re not special. Your dads are – you just aren’t. On Instagram.
  • Just because your meal tastes delicious doesn’t mean it looks good.
  • Be courteous on Instagram. If someone random likes your photo, try and go to their page and give them a couple likes as well. If they leave a comment on your page, do the same.

This is still my favorite photo from this time period.

This is still the most liked photo at 73 likes and the first photo in the series of “outfit” posts.

Tools that I use: 

  • VSCO Cam for editing
  • Squaregram for the whitespace background
  • Twitter for sharing – most of the time I won’t share to Facebook though

Related articles:

So we’ve done 4 months of this. What now? Well, to be honest, Instagram has been way more fun since I started wanting to take better photos that I don’t really want to go back to what I was doing before. We’re going to continue on with the photos, the outfits, and the hashtags, and we’re looking forward to more learning and what happens next!

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