The Line Hotel in Koreatown

Story by Anna M. Park.

Los Angeles’ Koreatown is known for its food, drinks and even karaoke song rooms. What it’s not known for is hospitality, and I don’t mean the old-school waitresses at some Korean restaurants. That is, until now.

A collaboration between the Sydell Group (Ace Hotel New York City and Palm Springs) and celebrity chef Roy Choi, the Line Hotel has officially become Koreatown’s go-to place to stay and soon, to eat and play as well.

Taking residence in the historic midcentury building designed by Daniel Mann Johnson + Mendenhall (formerly a sad Radisson), the Line houses 388 guest rooms designed by L.A. artist Sean Knibb, featuring specially commissioned local art and nods to the surrounding ethnic enclave (stools in the shower, Korean snacks in the minibar). Knibb also designed the cavernous lobby, a mélange of materials and soothing hues with its textured paneling (actually made of T-shirts dyed in an ombre of indigo), raw concrete pillars and circular banquettes, a mix of highbrow — marble tables, tufted chairs — and organic, everyday materials. The lobby wall facing the street is now floor-to-ceiling windows with an outdoor patio, opening up the Line to the bustling street life of colorful locals and office workers alike.

Artwork made from discarded laundry detergent bottles and molded T-shirt paneling at reception continues the highbrow-lowbrow mix of the Line.

Artwork made from discarded laundry detergent bottles and molded T-shirt paneling at reception continues the highbrow-lowbrow mix of the Line.

The angular moonscape-like banquettes in the lobby.

The angular moonscape-like banquettes in the lobby.

It’s a philosophy that seems to permeate the hotel. Guests are constantly being welcomed, almost to excess, a departure that indicates that the Line is definitely not your typical Koreatown experience — it’s actually more of a modern Seoul experience, where customer service has become key in the last decade. Indeed, Choi wanted to duplicate the experience of a classic international hotel bar in Korea with his Pot Lobby Bar, now open.

Though Choi’s highly anticipated hot pot restaurant Pot, as well as the speakeasy-style lounge Speek by nightlife impresarios the Houston Brothers and Choi’s other restaurant Commissary (a “vegetable but not vegetarian” focused restaurant), has yet to open, there’s already plenty of activity in the lobby — a variety of people in suits meeting in the peri- winkle wood banquettes, stylish young women twittering in Korean, their eyes darting about as if trying to spot a lumi- nary. (Indeed, on this day, Choi rushes by, donning his signature T-shirt, slouchy jeans, cap and bright aqua sneakers.)

“We want our guests to immerse themselves in the neighborhood,” says Sana Keefer, in charge of culture/creative at the Line. “Not just stay in the hotel, but have the Koreatown experience.” To that end, specially commissioned Linus bicycles are available for guest use and the in-house mag, Here, features maps and local businesses like Beer Belly, the HMS Bounty and Soowon Galbi.

It’s a fresh attitude starting to take hold in Koreatown. Some may call it gentrification, but what makes these changes different is that much of the growth of the neighborhood is helmed by Korean Americans. (The Houston Brothers, as well as Angie Myung, co-founder of the lifestyle brand Poketo, which will have a store and streetside newsstand on the lobby floor, are Korean American.) “The good thing is that we have a large Korean American base, a youth base,” says Keefer (herself of biracial Korean heritage). A young, hip American hotel, that’s what they’re going for, she says, while embracing the community with its Korean-speaking staff and translations throughout. “It’s a tricky thing to pull off,” adds Keefer, “but so far so good.” Details Thelinehotel.com.

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This story was originally published in our Spring 2014 issue. Get your copy here

Get This Anime Look: Fashion Inspired by Hayao Miyazaki Films

Story by Katherine Chou.

 

Kiki’s Delivery Service

Kiki OutfitKiki is a thirteen-year-old witch leaving home for the first time to seek her fortune in the port city of Koriko. Her signature black dress rivals Holly Golightly’s, though Kiki’s is far from little. Sporting long sleeves and a generous cut, it billows behind her in the air. Add a belt for a figure-hugging silhouette.

The outfit makes good use of red accents that pop against the black backdrop of the dress. With the help of a floppy red bow and dainty ballet flats, standard bag lady uniform is transformed into the look of an ambitious and independent young witch.

As us ordinary folk can’t exactly walk around followed constantly by a cat (though there are those lucky few), hint at Jiji, Kiki’s black cat and best friend, with a cat-shaped ring. Throw some nautical earrings into the mix as a nod to Kiki’s fondness for Koriko.

As for the broom, well that’s up to you. I hear the Firebolt is quite good.

 


Howl’s Moving Castle

Sophie OutfitSophie is a quiet and unassuming hatter. When she is turned into an old woman by the Witch of the Waste, she stows away aboard the moving castle of the enigmatic wizard, Howl, in order to remove her curse.

While Sophie may not be the most stylish among the heroines here, it is her cleverness and strength that saves Howl from his fate, bringing peace to their land and restoring her youth. Furthermore, she’s done what eludes most women, rocking the same outfit in both her youth and old age.

Start with a cornflower blue dress detailed with ruffles or neatly-lined buttons. A relaxed denim dress also does the trick. A pair of solid brown boots anchors the outfit, saying to the world, “My dress might border on frumpy, but I can still kick ass.” Which, now that I think of it, is essentially a theme of the film.

An orange gemstone is reminiscent of Calcifer, the flame that powers the castle and that only Sophie can tame. Bird silhouette earrings evoke the dark secret at the heart of Sophie’s story.

In the movie, Sophie wears both a red hair bow and a straw hat. If you find the combination a bit overwhelming in real life, you can tie a braid together with a red bow or top it all off with a straw hat in the style of your choice. A boater sets you apart from the fedora-loving masses. Okay, any hat stands out these days, even if it was mass-produced in a factory and not by Sophie’s loving hand.

This is America – even a hat of humblest beginnings can come to be part of an extraordinary outfit. Dream big, guys.

 

Howl Outfit

Metrosexual is a good adjective for Howl, a wizard caught in the midst of an epic war, but his life does depend on keeping up appearances as he evades the draft with the help of his moving castle and a series of false identities.

Howl’s wardrobe staples are slim black pants and a relaxed white blouse, upon which he vainly piles layers of jewelry. Evidently he has never taken Coco Chanel’s advice. His jewelry is an eclectic mix of pretty trinkets and meaningful pieces like the ruby ring connecting him to Calcifer. Purists can find jewelry that match his piece for piece. You can also put together a unique collection of personal pieces and those that just bring out your inner magpie.

This is a perfect transitional look for fall. Howl’s patchwork pink and blue jacket is difficult to find in the wild, so substitute with a peacoat in similar shades. As the days get chillier, a frayed black scarf adds another layer of warmth while referencing Howl’s fowl alter ego. In warmer weather, a feathered hairpiece does the same trick. Keep shoes simple with black ankle boots.

This outfit also works for Halloween, if you’re eyeing trick-or-treating as a kaleidoscope.

 


Spirited Away

Chihiro OutfitChihiro is a ten-year-old girl who moves into a new neighborhood and finds herself in a surreal world of spirits and monsters, including the witch, Yubaba, who turns her parents into pigs. Although all the neon in her look may be daunting, consider it an upgrade from your outfits when you were ten.

A relaxed ombre lime top gives a nod to the ombre trend and Chihiro’s colorblock green t-shirt. Fight the heat with some heat of your own in the form of hot pink shorts. Tie your hair into a high ponytail and wind a dragon bracelet around your wrist in honor of Haku, the river spirit that befriends Chihiro.

Finally, slip on a pair of yellow sneakers so you’re prepared in case you need to race against time to save your parents from being pigs. For some especially angry thirteen-year-olds, that’s every day.

 


Princess Mononoke

San OutfitMononoke being a Japanese term for a spirit or monster, the heroine of this film is actually a girl named San who fights on the side of the forest and its supernatural guardians against rampant resource consumption by humans in the Iron Town.

In the sweltering summer heat, ditch the fur cape and hat for a cool, streamlined look. San layers a white tank over a black slip dress. You can do the same, or find a colorblock black and white top to pair with a black skater skirt.

To evoke the necklace of teeth that keeps San’s cape around her shoulders, add a shark tooth necklace. Grab one of the beachy hemp ones you inevitably collected in middle school or go classy with gold. Any necklace with a triangular pendant will do, really.

A pair of white pendant earrings brings attention to your face. The gold trim on this pair works with the gold of the necklace to pull the outfit together. Add a smear of lipstick as red as San’s face paint as the finishing touch.

It’s a minimalistic approach to Princess Mononoke, with the elements of her look pared down to the very basics, but her fierce strength still shines through. And whether you spend your days in a tree to prevent it from being chopped down or just own a recycling bin, I’m sure you’ll agree that minimalism keeps resource consumption low, which is totally in line with San’s passion for the forest.

Although if you’re currently residing in a tree, this might not be the most practical thing to wear.


My Neighbor Totoro

Mei OutfitSatsuki and Mei are sisters who move into an old house with their father to be closer to their hospitalized mother. While Satsuki attends school, Mei’s curiosity leads to the discovery of Totoro, a big friendly creature living in the giant tree just behind their new home.

Mei does all her adventuring in a casual pink sleeveless dress, which she layers with a white blouse. For an updated look, replace the puff sleeves with long ones. Mei is a girl who ascribes to function before form, and she’s all set with bright yellow accents that contrast with the pink and white of her ensemble. While traipsing around the village on Totoro-related missions, Mei keeps her feet comfortable in yellow mary janes. Her yellow satchel frees up her arms pick up the mysterious acorns she finds and holds them for safekeeping.

A few pieces of jewelry reference Mei’s first meeting with Totoro: acorn earrings like the ones she finds in a trail leading to Totoro’s hiding place, and a leaf-shaped necklace that could have been plucked off Totoro’s massive tree itself. Finally, sweep black nail polish onto your fingertips and see if you can convince anyone that you were catching soot spirits like the ones running rampant in Satsuki and Mei’s new house.

 


Of course, these are only a selection of Ghibli characters (or anime characters, for that matter). So tell us, what are some of your two-dimensional style icons?

Don’t Distress: De-Stress

Story by Anna M. Park. 

Nagging headache? Can’t sleep? Not very productive at work? It could be stress. Left unchecked, chronic stress may play a part in up to 80 percent of diseases and illnesses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — everything from insomnia to hypertension to premature aging to even death.

And boy, are we feeling it. According to the American Psychological Association’s Stress in America survey for 2013, 43 percent of women say their stress levels have increased in the last five years. In fact, the APA report showed that Millennials and Gen Xers experience the most stress and the least relief — they have higher stress levels than older generations and they are not managing it well. This is supported by a recent study in the Journal of Applied Psychology, which found that not only were women more stressed than men but 20-year-olds were more stressed than 30-somethings.

If that doesn’t scare you into de-stressing, how about these unsavory tidbits: Chronic stress leads to obesity, acne and infertility, and a recent study found that men found women with a high level of the stress hormone cortisol less attractive.

Stressing about de-stressing yet? Relaaaaaax. We’ve done the research for you and found a variety of experts to provide easy tips on how to take it down a notch in our everyday lives.

 


MEDITATE
According to Marilyn Tam, the author of the best-selling book The Happiness Choice, meditation is natural. If you’ve ever “been in the zone,” where “there is no other thought; you are fully present and immersed in whatever it is you are doing” — that, she says, is a key aspect of meditation.” Here, Tam’s step-by-step guide to meditating.

1. Find a quiet space where you will be undisturbed. Turn off all electronic devices.

2. Give yourself a window of open time; to start with, it can be as short as 15 or 20 minutes. You may want to set a timer so that you don’t have to keep checking on the time.

3. Relax your body, stretch, move your arms and legs and gently roll your head from side to side and front to back. Sigh. Move your face muscles. Loosen the tightness in your body and mind so that you are able to be fully present.

4. Sit comfortably with your back straight in a chair or on a cushion. Let your hands lay comfortably on your knees or rest your hands on your lap, right hand on top of left, with your thumbs touching each other — this is the Samadhi mudra, the hand gesture that promotes calmness. Close your eyes or keep them half open, focusing on an object like a lit candle. Breathe in deeply and exhale slowly and gently. Repeat without using force in your inhale and exhale. Observe your breath as you breathe in and out. When thoughts come, mentally push them aside without judging them. Return to your breathing. Continue on this cycle of breathing, clearing away thoughts, breathing.

5. At the end of the meditation time, slowly bring your consciousness back to your surroundings; make note of any insights you may have glimpsed in your quiet time.

A former corporate executive, Marilyn Tam, Ph.D., is an author, speaker, consultant and certified coach. Her radio show, The Happiness Choice, on FMG Network is broadcast globally to more than 30 million listeners. Find out more at marilyntam.com. 


SCENT
With rampant stress, “our bodies have lost the balance between our sympathetic (fight or flight response) and parasympathetic (repair and restore response) nervous systems ,” says Marc Zollicoffer, director of Aveda Spa Education. “We are in a constant state of flight or fight and not spending enough time resting and regenerating.” Based on studies that show that aroma has an effect on the brain’s hypothalamus, which controls the stress cycle in the body, clinical aromaologist Pierre Franchomme and Aveda created the Stress Fix aroma. Clinical testing showed that the aroma, a combination of certified organic French lavender, clary sage and lavindin (a hybrid of true and spike lavender) essences, relieves feelings of stress, significantly increasing positive moods and feelings of relaxation.
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MASSAGE
Perhaps nothing is as stress relieving as a massage. At OleHenriksen Face/Body Spa, the Hot Stone massage uses volcanic basalt river rocks for their heat retention properties, combining thermotherapy with massage techniques. The treatment revs up the parasympathetic system, but it also has a metaphysical “earth energy component” for energy balancing — the masseuse literally bathes the stones in full moonlight every other month. You lay on a sheet, your spinal column nestled between two rows of river rocks, while the masseuse kneads your arms, feet and legs, placing warm stones on your chakras (along your torso, under the knees, even between the toes). According to the masseuse, the heat from the stones relaxes muscle groups and increases circulation and lymphatic drainage, allowing for deeper massage work due to increased blood flow. It’s like being kneaded with rounded, solidified silk, and afterwards the kink in our shoulder was almost gone and we drove home stress-free. Details Olehenriksen.com.

DIY MASSAGE
Can’t get to a spa? Treat yourself to a mini-facial massage at home to knead out tension, especially in the jaw and forehead. A luxurious massage milk with micro-collagens to plump skin. Massage on and go straight to bed — no rinsing necessary. Koh Gen Do Royal Massage Milk.

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SLEEP
According to the APA’s 2013 Stress in America survey, stress keeps 46 percent of women (and more than 52 percent of Millennials and 48 percent of Gen Xers) lying awake at night. And yet it’s sleep that we need to lower cortisol levels. Take steps to ensure you get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep. Cut back on caffeine, stop screen time (TV, iPad, smartphone) at least one hour before bedtime and go to sleep at the same time each night to set circadian rhythms. Spray your sheets with calming lavender and get a cooling orthotic pillow (like Proper Pillow, proper- pillow.com) specially made to properly align your neck and spine for a truly restorative sleep.

 


 

YOGA
Yoga instructor Sunina Young shows us how these poses can help de-stress, even if you’ve never done a downward dog in your life.

Yoga helps you retrain your stress response by encouraging you to fully focus on your breath through poses. You can use this practical breathing technique in any life situation as well. As you go through each pose below, breathe and simply let it go. If a stressful thought sneaks into your mind, mentally say a calming affirmation like,“I now release all feelings of stress.”

Breathing Technique for Poses:
Inhale through your nose for seven counts, exhale through your nose for eight counts. Let whatever you are feeling pass naturally. Repeat this breathing pattern throughout your poses.

Calming Pose 1 (Moderate)
Hero pose (shown below, left) is great for improved digestion, better posture and knee, calf, ankle relief (calling all ladies in heels!). Start by standing on your knees so they are aligned with your hips. Press the tops of your feet down and into the ground. Open your calves out to the sides and sit your hips down to the ground, your behind between your heels. (If your butt doesn’t touch the ground, sit on a yoga block or a rolled up yoga mat.) Sit up tall, twist to the right, right hand placed behind you, left hand resting on top of the right thigh. Stay for seven to 10 breaths. Repeat on the other side. Affirmation: “All the tension in my muscles release freely.”

Calming Pose 2 (Dynamic)
Camel pose is a back-bending pose that creates space in your chest and lungs for better breathing. Be sure your body is warmed up before you get into this pose. Start with your knees hip width apart and hands at your lower back, spine lengthened and tall, crown of the head neutral, shoulders rolled back. With a deep breath in, lean back slowly with your chin tucked in. Thighs are spiraling inwards to maintain a strong foundation as you lean back further. Lift your chest as you lean further back. Only lean back where your body threshold permits. Reach your hands back to your heels and extend your head back slowly. Stay for seven to 10 breaths. Affirmation: “I am cool, calm and collected.”

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Sunina Young is a yoga instructor and blogger in New York City. Check out her blog at sunina.com.


If all else fails, just laugh. “The very act of moving your facial muscles to form a smile is already prompting your body to release endorphins,” says Tam. “Endorphins interact with the opiate receptors in the brain to reduce our perception of pain and to increase feelings of euphoria, so we feel fewer negative effects of stress.” At the very least, we’ll look more attractive to the opposite sex.

 

This story was originally published in our Spring 2014 issue. Get your copy here.

SNEAK PEAK: ‘The Nice Girls Crew’

Story by Rachel Chen. 

Missed the Nice Girls?  Be sure to tune in because the The Nice Girls Crew will be back on April 28th and this second season promises to bring more senseless and humorous banter.

In the first season, writer and creator Christine Kwon introduced the ultimate dysfunctional trio. Dramatic, unpredictable and impulsive Geraldine is played by Michelle Krusiec (What Happens in Vegas, Sweet Home Alabama, Saving Face). Classy and semi-neurotic Sophie is played by Lynn Chen (Saving Face, Lakeview Terrace, Yes, We’re Open) and raunchy Leena is played by none other than Sheetal Sheth (Looking for Comedy in a Muslim WorldYes, We’re Open)

This hilarious trio comes together for the most unlikely of activities: a book club. Books brought to the table have included the Harry Potter series, Dave Egger’s “A Heartbreaking Work of the Staggering Genius” and even “Zen in the Art of Archery” –- but there has yet to be an episode where they actually discuss the book. Instead, they talk about everything from vampires to teddy bears to prescription drugs (the amount of alcohol consumed during discussions probably has something to do with the off-topic tangents). Needless to say, The Nice Girl Crew is anything but a conventional women’s book club!

Season one was filled with Geraldine’s bad case of 80′s hair, Sophie’s unsuccessful efforts to keep the peace and Leena’s inability to actually care about books… even though she’s in a book club. Of course, this is nothing compared to what season two has in store.

 

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In season two, more talented actors will be gracing us with their appearances in the episodes. For the first time for this show, a little bit of testosterone will be added. Actor Leonardo Nam, known for his roles in The Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, will be playing Donatello, Sophie’s personal assistant. Of course, no American television show with more than two Asian characters is complete without the occasional visits from the worldly Asian mother to mix things up; hence, The Joy Luck Club actress Tsai Chin will be appearing in the show as Geraldine’s mother.

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For those of you looking for a girl’s night-in, join in on all the fun and adventure with the girls! Look for this all-new second season featured on Youtube, Vimeo, and audreymagazine.com! After all, what could be more entertaining than a little bit of crude humor, impulsive spontaneity and a whole lot of sass?

Watch the Season 2 trailer below and CLICK HERE TO SEE A SNEAK PEAK OF THE NEW SEASON!

 

 

Destination: Manila, Philippines

Story by Kristine Ortiz.

Often considered by many tourists as a place to just “skip over,” Manila is slowly changing such impressions by emerging as the heart of Philippine development and by reflecting a strong Filipino spirit (Haiyan relief efforts were still going strong here). It’s a place where you can now find the traditional and the modern side by side, from the quaintest coffee shops to the most luxurious high-end boutiques (Hermès, Louis Vuitton and Prada to name a few), if you just know where to look. Though it may not be perfect, Manila is one of the most fascinating places in Asia today. Here are some of my favorite picks.


EAT

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Xocolat
Satisfy your sweet tooth at this cozy Quezon City cafe, which specializes in everything chocolate. Some personal favorites include the Xoco Latte, Churros and Chocolate, and the Chocolate Fries. With its charming, hand-painted decor and too-cool outdoor seating (popular with nearby university students), it’s the perfect place to spend a lazy afternoon. Details: Xocolat.com.ph.

Conti’s Bakeshop & Restaurant
Open since 1997, Conti’s has combined traditional, homestyle Pinoy cooking with a contemporary dining environment. Expect attentive service and mouthwatering meals. Be sure to get the mom-approved fresh lumpia (my mother is a fan), lechon kawali (fried pork belly) and a generous slice of their famous cakes. Details: Contis.ph.

 


PLAY

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Intramuros Walking Tour
Former theater actor Carlos Celdran guides both locals and tourists alike on this two-hour tour of the “Walled City.” Undeniably entertaining and brilliantly thought-provoking, Celdran provides new insight into Manila’s history. As an added bonus, there’s free halo-halo at the end of the tour! Details: Celdrantours.blogspot.com.

19 East
Wanna hear what OPM (Original Pilipino Music) is like? Then look no further than 19 East. This music bar is the top spot to catch some of the best acts in the Manila music scene today. Besides the great music, this bar has a mean food and drink menu. Details: 19east.com

 


SHOP

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TeamManila
Started in 2001, this modern lifestyle brand has become a local favorite by taking cues from the distinct imagery that makes up life and culture in Manila. Expect to find prints, shirts and mugs emblazoned with the images of national hero Jose Rizal, jeepneys, Philippine catchphrases and iconography. Details: Teammanilalifestyle.com

Sunnies by Charlie
The brainchild of It-girl Georgina Wilson, Sunnies by Charlie is a too-cool boutique that features a quintessential Manila must-have — sunglasses. With on-trend offerings (we spotted some great Karen Walker and Prada dupes) that are also affordable ($12 or less), it’s hard not to pick up a pair or two. Details: Sunniesbycharlie.com.


STAY

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Sofitel Manila

This luxury resort is a true oasis amidst Manila’s infamous hustle and bustle. Looking to really treat yourself? Consider booking the 1,800-square foot Opera Suite, which features an incredible panoramic view of Manila Bay. Looking to indulge? Their buffet, Spiral, is hands down one of the best in town. Details: Sofitelmanila.com.

This story was originally published in our Spring 2014 issue. Get your copy here

About a Boy, About a Dog: An Uber Cute Photo Series

Story by Julie Ha.

There are dog lovers, and there are baby lovers. But both audiences can appreciate a series of oh-so-adorable pictures recently released by L.A.-based photographer Grace Chon.

The Korean American, who previously shot photos for KoreAm’s feature story on the most popular dog breeds among Koreans, is a commercial animal photographer, but since becoming a new mom 10 months ago, she’s added babies (human ones) to her repertoire.

“I’m a total crazy dog lady and first-time mom,” Chon confesses. Her 7-year-old dog Zoey and 10-month-old baby boy Jasper, of Korean and Chinese descent, inspired this photo series called “Zoey and Jasper.”

Chon said that both “inexplicably love the camera, and when they’re together, it’s adorable.” Well, just take a look.

The photographer has been snapping photos of her dogs Zoey and Maeby dressed in absurd outfits for years, but after she had Jasper, she realized that dogs look “amazing and ridiculous” wearing baby hats. “I took a photo of Zoey wearing Jasper’s hat, and my sister had the brilliant idea of sitting themside by side in a single shot,” said Chon, describing the origins of this photo series.

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“Zoey is an extremely shy rescue dog and hates new things—they make her shake in fear. But for some odd reason she loves clothes and absolutely loves posing for the camera,” adds Chon. “Jasper, being a photographer’s kid, loves the camera, too.”

For more of these precious photos, visit http://zoeyandjasper.tumblr.com/.

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This story was originally published in iamkoream.com.

Yuna Kim Sings (Yes, Sings) Popular ‘Frozen’ Song

Story by Julie Ha. 

Anyone still bitter about South Korean skater Yuna Kim not winning gold at the Sochi Olympics under a cloud of controversy?

Then, it might be worth viewing a neat new video of Kim singing and skating to a popular song from the hit film Frozen. The video is from a newly released commercial for Samsung Consumer Electronics’ new Smart Air Conditioner Q9000.

Can you guess which song from the movie? Hint: “The cold never bothered me, anyway…”

As Kim is heard singing “Let It Go,” the famous anthem from Frozen, Kim is seen performing on the ice and then later recording the popular song with a children’s choir. The video has already attracted 786,000 views on YouTube.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jEJ4OEf39iU

This isn’t the first time the 23-year-old skater has dabbled in singing. She is well-known in Korea for her singing talent and has even performed on Korean TV music programs. In this 2010 performance, she sang the Brown-Eyed Girls’ “I’m in Love” in front of an appreciative audience.

Kim was the first from her country to win an Olympic gold medal in the 2010 Winter Games and controversially won silver in the Olympics in Sochi, Russia, this past February, infamously losing to Russian skater Adelina Sotnikova. Kim is also a two-time World champion and three-time Grand Prix Final champion. She retired from competitive skating after the Sochi Olympics.

If you’re feeling nostalgic, take a look back at KoreAm‘s 2013 story about Kim, as she was making her comeback to competitive skating in the run-up to the 2014 Olympics.

 This story was originally published on iamkoream.com.

(image source)

Website Offering Platform for ‘Discreet Cheating’ Launches in SKorea

Story by Steve Han. 

The above Ashley Madison.com ad shows a drop-down menu that lets users
choose between ”a married man seeking a woman”and “a married woman seeking a man.”

An entrepreneur dubbed the “King of Infidelity” has taken his message of “life is short, have an affair” to South Korea, launching an online dating website meant to “help” married people seek extramarital partners.

Noel Biderman, CEO of Ashelymadison.com, an online matchmaking service for married people, launched the Korean edition of his website this month to “change the Korean society” while gaining profits for himself. He is tiptoeing the line between turning some married South Koreans into adulterers and advocating for what he calls social change, as he says Korea’s laws criminalizing adultery are archaic.

“I have looked through the Korean market and found that more and more people are marrying late, or not marrying at all,” Biderman told The Korea Herald. “At the same time, the rate of divorce, especially for those initiated by women, is climbing rapidly.

“I cannot talk anyone into cheating,” he added. “I am just providing them with a platform that they could (use to) have an affair discreetly … I believe that having an affair could prevent divorce.”

Exactly how Biderman hopes to use his venture to mend South Korea’s rising divorce rate isn’t clear, and he chooses not to visit Seoul because he fears the public may publicly egg him.

“I am dying to see Seoul personally, but the feedback was, ‘If you need a spanking, come to Korea,’” Biderman, a former sports agent, said.

Despite the criticism, Biderman is raking in millions of dollars by running the same website in 36 different countries, including the U.S. and Australia. Ashelymadison.com grossed about $125 million last year, according to the Herald report. It gleans its largest profits from male customers, who comprise about 80 percent of the site’s membership, the article said. Men must pay a “credit” in order to initiate a conversation; in Korea, that amount is 2,150 won ($2); women, however, don’t have to pay a fee.

Biderman said he finds the first three years of marriage the most ripe for cheating. “Those whose wives are pregnant, have kids and are less caring to husbands, those into their 40s and 50s, they are the major targets,” he said, “not to ignore the ‘Viagra generation.’”

This story was originally published in iamkoream.com 

 

Audrey Women of Influence: ELAINE QUIJANO

Story by Shinyung Oh.

“Bridgegate” breaks on the morning of Wednesday, January 8, 2014. In New York’s CBS Broadcast Center, correspondent Elaine Quijano heads to the National Desk to seize the assignment. After talking to her producers, Quijano obtains a copy of the newly released emails regarding the shutdown of lanes in Fort Lee, N.J., allegedly ordered by Gov. Chris Christie’s staff as political retribution. First, she works on verifying their content. Then, she pores over the heavily redacted documents to try to decipher what is going on. At the same time, her team works on tracking down Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich, the rumored target of the retribution, to schedule an interview. Quijano fires off a draft outline to her producers before dashing out at 2 p.m.

Quijano hops in a cab to head to Fort Lee on the heels of her team members who left earlier in their satellite van. Unexpectedly, they encounter a traffic accident on West Side Highway. Panic sets in. The mayor has limited availability. The show airs at 6:30 p.m. Quijano calls her senior producers to update them while her mind races to make alternative plans. Should she hop on the ferry? Track down the mayor elsewhere? For Quijano, missing the interview is not an option. This is no time to be meek. She has to get the story.

The cab makes its way through West Side Highway and Lincoln Tunnel before finally pulling up to Fort Lee. Quijano interviews Sokolich and heads over to the George Washington Bridge where she will do her live shot. There she hunkers down in the satellite van to pull her story together.

In the segment that airs later that evening on CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley, Quijano displays none of the panic that ensued shortly before. She gazes calmly into the camera, her shoulder-length hair pulled back with not a wisp out of place and white pearl earrings dangling placidly, as she reports the story that has the potential to bring down the rumored Republican presidential favorite for 2016. She’s home by 7:30 that evening to put her three kids to bed. It’s just another workday for Quijano.

Quijano, who is in her late 30s, lives a journalism student’s dream. Upon graduating from the University of Illinois, she worked at a couple of local stations before landing at CNN Newsource and then at CNN where she covered various beats, including the White House, the Pentagon and the Supreme Court. Now at CBS as a correspondent, Quijano reports for CBS Evening News and CBS This Morning. Ask whether she thinks of herself as a success, and she’ll brush it off. “Everyone defines success differently,” she says.

But by anyone’s standards, Quijano has climbed to the top of her field. She’s reported on stories as far reaching as 9/11, the election of George W. Bush, and the U.S. invasion of Iraq. On CBS Evening News alone, more than 6 million viewers watch her nightly as she reports on events like the inauguration of Pope Francis, the trial of “Whitey” Bulger, and the manhunt for the Boston Marathon bombing suspects. She works with some of the most renowned names in the field, including Scott Pelley, Charlie Rose and Bob Schieffer.

She talks as if she simply willed herself to reach these heights. “I’ve just been persistent,” she says about her career. “It requires absolute commitment. Your will has to be such that you endure.” But any ascent requires toil, and Quijano has had her share. Take this example. When Hurricane Sandy unleashed on the East Coast on Oct. 29, 2012, Quijano bundled herself in her down jacket and winter boots to meet the hurricane in Belmar, N.J. From 6 a.m. until noon, she stood in boots filled with frigid water, pants drenched, with sand pelting her as she clutched the exterior handrail of a nearby house to anchor herself. She worried about hypothermia and felt as if she was having an out-of-body experience. In the aired footage, the ocean bellows behind her and Quijano fights to keep her eyes open against the punishing rain and wind. But what you see is a reporter at work, steadily describing for her viewers the overwhelming force of Mother Nature and the imperative to evacuate.

At such moments, Quijano blocks out all else and sees only the mission at hand. “I live in the moment,” she says. “I concentrate on it 150 percent.”

Above all else, she is prepared. In her office, she has a closet where she keeps two bags, extra clothes and weather gear, like snow boots, hand and foot warmers and everything else she may need for wherever she is sent. On any given day, at any given moment, she may get launched on a story hundreds of miles away. “This is the worst,” she says, “to be unprepared.” She doesn’t even like wearing her suits to work, preferring to change once she gets to the office, for fear of getting a stain during her commute.

Quijano says that she was first attracted to broadcast journalism in part because of the adrenaline rush. But she does not look like an adrenaline junkie. Instead, she talks like a second grade teacher, ever patient, always calm. Watch her interview the parents of Newtown victims as she listens with the intensity of a psychotherapist, her face intent with empathy. “My objective is to hear what they want to say,” she says about her interview subjects. “I try to be compassionate and respectful and try to listen a lot more than I talk.”

Interviewing Sandy Hook parents was particularly difficult. At the time, her daughter was 6, the same age as the young victims. “I found it too easy to stand in their shoes, to know how to convey the stories for those parents,” she says.

When she has a choice, she prefers a walk on the lighter side. “I like stories where the viewer is left with the feeling that the world is not such a bad place to be — people coming to the aid of others, people overcoming things,” she says. “These resonate with me.” Her recent favorites? A story on Kid President, a 10-year-old boy with brittle bone disease whose homemade videos went viral. “I always root for the underdog,” she says. Then there is the story of Diana Nyad who, after several failed attempts, finally swam from Cuba to Florida at the age of 64. This story appealed to Quijano because she takes to heart the message that failure is never final. “For many people who are struggling with whatever they have in their life, [Nyad] represents this goal — that you should do what you do. It’s a human story told within the parameters of a swim.”

When asked if she identifies with the underdog and what she had to overcome in her own history, she refuses to go there. “We’re not ones to navel gaze,” she says, referring to herself and her Filipino American family. “You do what you must.” For Quijano, failure is not an option, and it certainly does not have the last word. It barely registers on her mental barometer. She is too busy. She has stories to tell.

This story was originally published in our Spring 2014 issue. Get your copy here.  

7000 Islands: A Food Portrait of the Philippines

Story by Kristine Ortiz. 

Australian-born Filipina Yasmin Newman used to visit the Philippines as a child, but it wasn’t until she became an adult that she discovered a true passion for Filipino food. Today, she presents the Filipino Kitchen Conversation program on Australia’s SBS radio, and her new coffee table book, 7000 Islands: A Food Portrait of the Philippines, is a lush collection of Filipino food, life and culture.

With stunning photos (she took them herself!) of not just native dishes but people and places that lend a richness to the recipes within, the book offers juicy cultural tidbits like the tradition of pasalubong (small souvenirs you bring home for friends and family), local fables and lore, and a bit of historical context for a full, well-rounded picture of Filipino life and cuisine. Our favorite part of the book is her take on local dining culture, excerpted here.

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How to Eat in the Philippines (excerpted from 7000 Islands)

Take in what’s on offer.
A lot of preparation has gone into this meal and a simple glance will often miss a delicious dish hiding in the banquet.

Pile your plate with anything (and everything) that takes your fancy.
A little bit of this, a little bit of that and definitely some of that over there. Don’t forget the rice.

Sit back and let the elements blend.
Multiple dishes offer more than just choice — Filipinos believe food tastes best once different flavours have combined on the plate.

Eat with gusto.
Don’t be shy! Use your hands to dip food into sauces. Feel free to move from a savoury to a sweet dish, then back to savoury — there are no rules here.

Always go back for more.
Lest your host think you’ve not eaten enough. One serving will not suffice.

Leave a little remainder on your plate.
Lest your host think you’re not full!

Let the gossiping, jokes and laughter begin.
Not much talk takes place at the start of a meal — Filipinos are too excited by the food. Once stomachs are sated, smiles can be seen around the table. Don’t rush off; here, family and friends hang out to chat for seemingly hours on end.

Details Hardcover, $39.95, available April, rizzoliusa.com.
Excerpted from 7000 Islands: A Food Portrait of the Philippines by Yasmin Newman, Hardie Grant, 2014. Food photography © Jana Liebenstein and location shots © Yasmin Newman; no images may be used, in print or electronically, without written consent from the publisher. 

This story was originally published in our Spring 2014 issue. Get your copy here.