Father-less on FATHERS DAY

Let me start off by saying, no my father isn’t dead. My father has been absent from my life for two decades. Besides the court mandated every other weekend my sister and I had to spend with him until I went to college he’s been absent for the majority of my life. What’s sad is that I honestly can’t think of or find a happy memory that involves my father. When I think of my father there are three very distinct memories that pop into my head:

  1. Being woken up in the middle of the night to the sounds of shattering bowls, plates and cups that were being thrown the night my mom found out my dad was having an affair.

  2. My dad, the coward, who made my mom tell me and my sister that he was leaving us, moving to Korea and that he wouldn’t be coming home.

  3. Video games. The weekends we had to be at my dads, its not like he did anything with us. He just sat at the computer or in front of the TV playing video games. That’s the image I have forever burned into my head of my dad. Him playing video games.

My father may still be on this earth, but I don’t know him and I don’t know what it’s like to have a dad. Maybe a year or so ago, he started reaching out trying to make amends but at my age… what’s the point? My formative years are long gone. The days of coming home from school sad, upset and scared are a thing of the past. I no longer need someone to bandage my legs from scrapes and cuts after a fall. I accepted long ago that when I get married, I’d be walking myself, I wouldn’t have a father/daughter dance and that’s okay.

But on a day like Fathers Day when most people have these wonderful memories to share, I don’t have any and I’m reminded of that. I’m not sad or upset anymore and tbh I rarely do think of my dad. But I do know that there is a void or emptiness, that no matter how good my life is, nothing will ever fill it.

Growing up with an absent Father is a type of rejection that honestly should have its own category. Dad’s are supposed to protect you, teach you to be strong, love you unconditionally and keep all the monsters at bay because they’re your dad. They made you. They gave you life. Half of you is them. And it’s not like my dad was never in my life, he was and then he left. The person who brought you into this world didn’t love you enough to stay.

I think this is where a lot of my fears on rejection come from. As I get older, that fear becomes stronger and stronger. I’m always scared the people I let into my life will change their minds and walk out. For me that’s what Father’s Day is. A reminder of that fear and rejection. To those individuals like myself with absent fathers. I see you. I feel you. I get you. I am you. And to my Uncle John, who protected me from the minute you met me, I love you. Thank you for being a father figure I could count on.

xx JHL


Life is an ever changing journey of self discovery. We're constantly on this path of trying to figure out who were are in this world, our place in it and how we connect with one another. One thing that connects humans to each other are our experiences. Whether they are individual or shared, our experiences and the stories that come from them are how we connect to each other, create and build relationships. Sure, most organically this is done from human to human but another way we find connection are through the stories told in media. We look for the faces most similar to ours to see if our stories are being told, if there is something we can relate to.

“There’s this body of research and a term known as ‘symbolic annihilation,’ which is the idea that if you don’t see people like you in the media you consume, you must somehow be unimportant.”** It’s essentially the active un-represenation of cultural groups which is why representation does matter. Imagine growing up as a person of color and only ever seeing white stories told. You one hundred percent questions yourself, your identity and start to feel ashamed that you don’t look like the people you see on screen.

Growing up I definitely was not proud to be Asian American. In fact, I could probably say it was something I hated. On Saturday’s while my white friends got to sleep in, wake up late and watch “One Saturday Morning” I was in Korean school. They got lunchables, I got Asian lunches which always had seaweed, kimchi and some other pungent foods that I would always throw out. I “white-washed” myself and at times I hated that I wasn’t “white” and as a kid to an awkward teen and a young adult, there were times where I felt I wasn’t good enough. 

This internal identity crisis not only manifested in myself but in how I made friendships and relationships. In high school, I was lucky enough to find a group of Asian Americans girlfriends (who are still my best friends to this day) who definitely had the same identity struggles as I did. We weren’t “Asian” enough to hangout with the super Asian or ABG Asians, but we were Asian so we didn’t necessarily fit in with the white girls who wore the exact same Hollister and Abercrombie outfits we did and watch Laguna Beach religiously like we did either. One friendship in particular I made in high school was with my best friend Kaisa, who I kid you not looks like freaking Princess Elsa from Frozen. As far back as I could remember, she was one of the first people to really make me feel proud to be Asian. She and I have a relationship and bond that I don’t have with anyone else, we had some similar experiences growing up that connected us but on the surface, when you just look at us we’re definitely different. I remember the first time Kaisa came over, my mom of course made Korean food. She made some of my grandma’s dumplings or mandoo. And to my surprise Kaisa loved them, she also shared my love of jelly pens and Hello Kitty. To this day Kaisa still asks for my grandma’s mandoo. I definitely got lucky with my friendships and it still shocks me to this day that Angel, Amanda, Kaisa, Nikki and Michelle are some of my closest friends. 

But for some reason I always limited myself when it came to romantic relationships. I do think this is in part that I just never wanted to be involved with someone who was anything like my dad aka Korean, stubborn, close minded. From there it manifested into this “I don’t date Asian guys” stance and I do think it does have to do with symbolic annihilation. Fifteen, twenty years ago we didn’t have the Henry Goldings or the Charles Meltons on our screens. I had Paul Walker, Freddie Prinze Jr. and Chad Michael Murray. When we did have Asian males on our screens they were often portrayed in a very undesirable image. When you see a specific cultural group represented time and time again in the same undesirable manner, you end up thinking that’s actually the case in real life. Which as a wise 30 year old, I now know is not the case at all, haha. I mean did y’all watch Crazy Rich Asians?! There’s a lot of handsome half naked Asian men in that movie. If you haven’t seen it, it’s on HBO right now. Do yourself a favor and go watch it.

2018’s #AsianAugust was so goddamn amazing. Asians from all different nationalities fought for better representation, really fighting against this system of symbolic annihilation. I’m going to be completely honest, I cried watching Netflix’s To All The Boys I Loved Before. I’ve also become more emotional as I’ve gotten older so maybe that explains the crying but that scene where Noah Centineo’s character asks for the yalkult and found it to be yummy reminded me of my best friend Kaisa and my grandma’s dumplings. #AsianAugust really showed main stream media that we too are multifaceted human beings with equally as important stories and meaningful stories deserve to be told. The forward trajectory our pop culture and media are moving at needs to continue if we hope to breakdown this system of symbolic annihilation. We need to continue sharing the experiences, connection and stories of people of color because at the end of the day we’re all human. Humans on a journey of self discovery, trying to find our place in this crazy world. 

xx JHL

**Why On-Screen Representation Actually Matters by Sara Bobolotz and Kimberly Yam “https://www.huffpost.com/entry/why-on-screen-representation-matters_n_58aeae96e4b01406012fe49d"

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I don’t know if y’all remember but a couple years back when hackers started breaking into influencers instagrams and holding them hostage, I’ve always had the thought that if my IG ever did get hacked I’d walk away from this life and be okay with it. Something I always have to remind myself is “if social media disappeared tomorrow, would I still have something to offer the world?” Would my voice still matter? Would my opinion still hold weight? Or am I just pixels a part of this wicked machine we call social media?

My feed in the past year and a half has become a lot more #ads and #sponcon instead of actually sharing, connecting and telling you my story. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking shit, that sponsored content and advertising is what has allowed me to grow my brand, my reach and connect with more of you. It’s also not like I say yes to every collaboration request, I turn a lot of collaborations down and right now the only “regular” partnerships I have are with Lulu’s and Clavin Klein. There are a handful of skincare brands I always say yes to because they were the ones who started with me when I had maybe two thousand followers to present day, but nonetheless, I’ve been feeling like a sell out.

So I did something that’s probably social suicide or suicide in general for anyone who chooses this path. I disabled my instagram. I did this in a conscious effort to get back to writing, to get back to sharing my life without counting the likes, shares or saves. My voice was most honest, most relatable and most listened to when I was so raw and open and shared my breakup with you guys. That was a level of connecting that a 1x1 photo on my feed could never do and will never do. Who knows how long I’ll actually survive without instagram, because unfortunately it has become so engrained in my life. My hope is that I’m able to share at least a handful of honest moments in my life that once again let my readers know they are not alone.

While I’m putting together the posts of what’s been happening in my life so far in 2019, if you’re new to my blog read the stories below, if you’re OG why not take a trip down memory lane and remind yourself why you felt we connected in the first place.


What's in my Carry-On


With my travels for 2019 around the corner, I thought it would be a good idea to show what I travel with in my carry-on. This obviously evolves as I travel and the more I educate myself, but these are the items that’ll definitely be going through TSA pre-check with me next time I’m skipping through Tom Bradley.

Phone //

I mean do I really need to say more? I have an iPhone XS and they are great for snapping OOTDs on the go. I also have a Canon M3 that I travel with but the iPhone is the easiest option.

12-inch MacBook in Gold //

After I got back from Prague, Budapest and Munich, I decided to splurge and use my work bonus on a new 12-inch MacBook. My main computer is a 2015 15-inch MacBook Pro which is great for when I need to work, edit, blog, etc. But for traveling, I hated it. I took it with me to Korea and I instantly regretted it. It was soooo heavy. Because I traveled to Eastern Europe with a photographer, I wish I had my computer to edit photos as I went. Thank god I had my Lightroom Presets saved because I was able to edit on the go but having my computer would have been nice. This is what sparked my splurge on a 12-inch MacBook. It’s sooooo lightweight, I honestly think it’s lighter than my iPad, haha. This computer is the PERFECT travel companion.

Beats Solo3 Wireless //

Headphones are obviously a necessity when traveling. My worst nightmare is being on a flight with loud, noisy and crying children. These headphones are great at keeping the sound out and the music in. They also stay charged for about 40 hours which is great if you’re on long haul flights. Because they are wireless they pair to your phone without cables but incase you want to plug into the plane to watch some movies they also come with the traditional cable jacks. These headphones also fold so they are compact and easy to store. Mine are in the color Satin Gold.

A Good Book //

There’s really only so many movies you can watch and Spotify playlists you can listen to. I use flights as a time to catch up on my reading. Also, when I’m abroad I usually travel via buses and subways so having a good book to pass the time is necessary. Currently, I’m reading Becoming by Michelle Obama, the FLOTUS we didn’t deserve but all want back.

Face Mists //

My holy grail face mist is the Beauty Elixir by Caudalie but one of the newest members of my skincare tribe is the Luminous Dewy Skin Mist from Tatcha. I’ve said this once and I’ll yell it again. I hate airplane air. It’s absolutely disgusting, it’s recycled air that’s drying and filled with the germs of 300+ of your fellow passengers and let’s just say I’m sure not everyone is as OCD or germaphobe as me.

Algenist Genius Sleeping Collagen //

I’m sure you noticed in the picture above that sheet masks weren’t included. I recently learned that using sheet masks on planes are actually not good for your skin. Instead you want to use a cream or moisturizer that will keep your face hydrated and moisturized throughout the entirety of those long haul flights. “Sleeping Collagen goes to work on your skin overnight, during its optimal recovery time. This unique buttery cream provides intense nourishment to the skin so you wake up with a fresh, glowing, and renewed complexion. After one overnight use, skin is softer, more supple, dewy, and radiant. Due to the nutrient-rich formula and buttery cream texture, only a pea-sized amount is needed per usage.”

Laniege Lip Sleeping Mask //

This is my favorite lip product. It keeps your lips soft, supple and kissable all day and night long. Because of the lack of moisture on planes, you lips tend to dry out at hyper speed. This product helps keep them moisturizer till you deplane at your destination.

Algenist Anti-Aging Repair Oil //

Again, plane air is drying so you want to stay hydrated and moisturized. The repair oil is great for combating dryness and instantly replenishes your skin with moisture. This under the Sleeping Collagen from Algenist and your skin will be dewy AF the moment you step off the plane. You’ll be the only person with a bomb Customs photo.

Brooklinen Sleeping Mask //

This silk sleep mask is like heaven on your face. It’s made from a soft, gentle and breathable silk that don’t leave creases in your hair or skin. It’s the perfect travel buddy for those who like to use flights to catch up on their sleep.

Vitamins //

I don’t go anywhere with out my CareOf Vitamins or my HUM Daily Cleanse supplements. Traveling does a number on your body both externally and internally. Especially when you’re traveling internationally your body is'n’t used to the foods and liquids you’re consuming so I try and keep my body regulated with my everyday vitamins as well as detoxifying it.

Wander Beauty Baggage Claim Eye Masks //

All eye masks were not created equal. These foil eye masks from Wander Beauty not only soothe and de-puff but the foil heats up with you natural body heat to help brighten and reduce dark circles. The foil helps retain heat and prevents the serum below from evaporating, allowing the maximum amount of absorption into the skin. The middle layer is elastic to prevent the masks from slipping, and the third is a cellulose fiber that condenses and delivers key ingredients efficiently, giving you all the skin-loving benefits you need. Hyaluronic acid delivers exceptional hydration to diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Aloe leaf extract and lavender oil offer a cooling effect while soothing and calming the under-eye area. 

Coil Hair Ties //

90% of the time I book over night flights and hit the ground running when I land to try and fight jet lag. But having my hair down the entire flight is not an option. The coil hair ties allow me to have my hair up and pull it down without a kink in sight when I’ve landed.

Crystals //

Yes, I am that LA biish who travels with crystals. I’m a HUGE believer in energies and auras. I like to travel with this opal crystal my girlfriend Jordan gave me. Opal is my birthstone and its energy properties are inner fire and intuition; to things that I think you need when you travel. That inner fire, that want and need helps drive my travels. Intuition is so important when traveling, especially when traveling solo. Trust your gut.

Not Pictured:

Face Breathing Mask //

Airplane air is gross, so I always carry one of these with me, so I keep the germs out of my immune system. This is also great if you’re traveling to areas that have more air pollution than you are generally used to.

Antibacterial Wipes + Hand Sanitizer //

I’m OCD and a germaphobe. Need I say more?


Paris, FR: Creperie St. Eustache

I honestly travel for the food. I have a BIG sweet tooth. My friend Matt recommended this place to me and as soon as I saw crepes, I was sold. This was honestly the best crepe I’ve ever had in my life. The restaurant itself is small, and even being bright yellow on the outside I missed it a couple times when I was searching for it.

But the food is delicious, the staff are super kind and attentive and you definitely get a cozy feel in this small restaurant. If you plan on grabbing a crepe and wine here, be sure you plan other activities around it as they have limited hours. Creperie St. Eustache is open from 12p - 3:30p Monday - Saturday. So either go for lunch or a midday snack.

Address2 Rue Sauval, 75001 Paris, France

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