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  • Lynn Kim Do

    Lynn Kim Do

    there's nothing to hide and no one to hide from, especially yourself













    I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, which I realize happens often during the holidays. I guess it’s from all the free time. From all the layers. All the layers and layers of skin built up all year long, of not enough no’s and too much yes’s, of mesh fabric and then cashmere, of one too many pairless gloves, of cuffing season, of endless deliveries, of the awkward “Mom, I’m growing my hair out”, of “I hope you transitioned your closet”, of family pressure or lack-of-family pressure, of consuming, eating, dieting, drinking, eggnog, guilt-triping, of first impressions, of lasting impressions, and I-don’t-care-anymore impressions. 


    I can’t shed it. Not a mental “ I can’t” but more like a primal “You better not.” It’s cold out there. A New York City kinda cold…the kind that cares about your feelings as much as your local bodega cares about organic coffee. And I can fight. I’m a fighter. But a fighter, a good one, knows one thing—when to pick and choose their battles. And I know, I know deep down, this isn’t my fight. Why? Because as much as it hurts, it gives. It gives me long evenings in with hot cocoa and a splash of wine. It gives me that beautiful scent—that un-replicable crisp air you can’t find in Lysol tins. It gives me a reason to hold on to him that much longer. It gives me leather jackets. And sweaters on sweaters. It gives me perfect glistening snowballs. And an even more perfect skin to snow contact as the snowball intentionally finds my brother’s face. Oh, so so good. So, I layer up. Even thicker skin, an even larger sweater, a new pair of leggings…the ones I can live in, and I’m ready to take on this occasion, this weather, this holiday stress. And I don’t mind so much. Because I remind myself, I’m not alone. And you’re not alone. And I’m going to be okay. And so will you. And here we are…a bunch of fashionably layered Michelin Tire Man impersonators.  


    --
    Visuals by Georgie
    Wearing:
    Recycled Satin Bomber - Urban Outfitters
    Neo Oversized Tee - Threadworkshop Co
    NMD Sneakers - Adidas



    This post is sponsored by Reebok. All opinions expressed are my own.




    . November 29, 2016 .

    All The Layers

    . November 29, 2016 .













    I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, which I realize happens often during the holidays. I guess it’s from all the free time. From all the layers. All the layers and layers of skin built up all year long, of not enough no’s and too much yes’s, of mesh fabric and then cashmere, of one too many pairless gloves, of cuffing season, of endless deliveries, of the awkward “Mom, I’m growing my hair out”, of “I hope you transitioned your closet”, of family pressure or lack-of-family pressure, of consuming, eating, dieting, drinking, eggnog, guilt-triping, of first impressions, of lasting impressions, and I-don’t-care-anymore impressions. 


    I can’t shed it. Not a mental “ I can’t” but more like a primal “You better not.” It’s cold out there. A New York City kinda cold…the kind that cares about your feelings as much as your local bodega cares about organic coffee. And I can fight. I’m a fighter. But a fighter, a good one, knows one thing—when to pick and choose their battles. And I know, I know deep down, this isn’t my fight. Why? Because as much as it hurts, it gives. It gives me long evenings in with hot cocoa and a splash of wine. It gives me that beautiful scent—that un-replicable crisp air you can’t find in Lysol tins. It gives me a reason to hold on to him that much longer. It gives me leather jackets. And sweaters on sweaters. It gives me perfect glistening snowballs. And an even more perfect skin to snow contact as the snowball intentionally finds my brother’s face. Oh, so so good. So, I layer up. Even thicker skin, an even larger sweater, a new pair of leggings…the ones I can live in, and I’m ready to take on this occasion, this weather, this holiday stress. And I don’t mind so much. Because I remind myself, I’m not alone. And you’re not alone. And I’m going to be okay. And so will you. And here we are…a bunch of fashionably layered Michelin Tire Man impersonators.  


    --
    Visuals by Georgie
    Wearing:
    Recycled Satin Bomber - Urban Outfitters
    Neo Oversized Tee - Threadworkshop Co
    NMD Sneakers - Adidas



    This post is sponsored by Reebok. All opinions expressed are my own.




    . November 27, 2016 .
















    Inspired by a text from a friend, "Lmao! God sometimes I hate this industry"...let me reveal the ugly side of blogging and Fashion PR.

    The ugliest part of blogging and my time in Fashion PR isn't the workload or the demanding time commitment (the occasional 12 hour work days, the work in-between day-job breaks and on the weekends). The ugliest generally come in a physical form that walks and talk...usually not so very nice things. In Fashion PR, people felt replaceable. Oh, this chick had a alcohol problem, flask under the office table kind of problem, cleverly hidden under not-so-genuine smiles, people pleasing casts that if not curiously sniffed out, you would be easily deceived. But then again, I wouldn’t even blame anyone for their so-called naivety. It is PR. Or it was when I was in the industry. Favorites and cliques within the office form quicker than high school lunch rooms. G-chat bullying replaced passed notes. Confusing to a noob (me) who saw the utter disaster in being nice to everyone (which led to being taken advantage of) or doing your job relentlessly (being labeled a bitch...or worse, giving up your ethics and morals). It was a world of grays, streaky morales, and faithless attachments. I unconsciously left that world to take the next steps. Which then happen to be a few things including blogging.

    But the funny thing is—Those people never left. They just dressed better (because they had too) and took a ton of photos of themselves. Some just became very good at Photoshop. My pleasant beginnings blessed with new friends, new experiences, creative liberation, and an entrepreneur spirit took an interesting turn when I met a fellow blogger who scarred me. She threw disguised smiles my way, sent memes fit for friendships but drenched in lies, compliments based on shade. I didn't know I had let a snake into my garden. And the only way to deal with a snake is not to befriend it and hope it becomes a goddamn angel. You have to get rid of it from your garden. And maybe your neighbor’s garden, too. And if you’re feeling super generous good, you can send a ounce of positivity their way so they don’t get eaten by a ferret. Or worse, a larger snake. Or secretly hope that they do.

    But before I had perhaps accidentally made you generalize two very large and diverse group of livelihoods, I beg that you don’t. They were very hard lessons that I realized existed in all kinds of occupations, some more than others. Nothing is quite as glamorous as they seem. And I will admit, I’ve met some really awesome and genuine people along the way. They’re not just industry people I work with. I actually get to call them my friends. And they’ve held my hair a few times as I threw up in strange bathrooms. So yeah, I’d say they outweigh the bad ones.

    The real takeaway:
    Will I ever put myself in the same situation again? YES!
    Would I do it the same the next time around? HELL NO. Say no to snakes. 



    --
    Visuals by Erika Dickstein
    Wearing:
    The Gang Jacket - Chi Flo
    Mixed Stitch Pullover Sweater - SHAE NY (60% off with promo code "LYNN60")
    Long Sleeve Stripe Turtleneck SHAE NY (60% off with promo code "LYNN60")
    Huarache Sneakers - Nike (via SIZE?)

    . November 22, 2016 .





















    My day starts the moment the sun sets. I can only hope that the sunset in me will still love the sunrise. Will be alive far enough to see another round--sun sets, sun rises, repeat.

    - sun sets


    --
    Visuals by Juliano
    Wearing:
    Time Lapse Dress - The Fifth Label (via Fashion Bunker)
    Silhouette Choker - Lady Grey Jewelry
    Vivien Sunnies - Komono


    . November 20, 2016 .









    He makes me laugh. Even when I think there's not a laugh in me. He finds it like his uncanny search acts for coveted speakeasy, the one hidden behind six layers of passage ways, a hot dog joint, a telephone, then right underneath my rib cage, under a steel plate I spent years building, and then right smack at this pumping artery.

    Now he can't get me to stop. Laughing. Look at what he did.

    - he's the one

    --
    Visuals by Pedro
    Wearing:
    Dress (similar) - Keepsake (via Fashion Bunker)
    Cord Sandals - Mango





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    . November 17, 2016 .













    Only in retrospection do I finally understand the metaphor lying in this could-have been absolutely perfect day.

    We woke up to the sound of waves crashing onto shore—melodic, steady, easy, easy there. We followed the sound, clumsily stepping on wet stone until the sound surrounded us. Until the sound appeared before us. The Andaman Sea. I’ve always been more terrified of the ocean than enthusiastic. It seems like most oceans were more like violently playful children—they never know when to cool it. I asked the sea to be gentle to me. And it complied. In the water, I could no longer feel the distinction between sand and water. They were one. They were soft and kind. The sand created tiny dips in the sea several feet in but it never reached clavicle height. Great. For a woman who can’t swim. Once I had enough love from Andaman, I sat under the loving shade of the palm trees. Ahhh. Peering to my left, belly against the towel, there is a swing. How did it get there? I could not even contribute it to my great imagination. Perhaps it’s a product of a kid or a local or a man or a woman or maybe a toursit who knew how to live. I thank you.


    After a few gorgeous hours of that, we returned to the hotel. Washed off any remnants of Andaman’s love and took an ungraceful belly flop onto the bed. We turned on the tv. And on BBC, it said “Trump is now the President of the United States of America.” Fuckkkkkkkkkkkkk, today is the worst day ever.

    - turn of the tide

    --
    Visuals by Pedro
    Wearing:
    Swimwear - Motel Rocks



    . November 15, 2016 .





     



    Prologue:

    Growing up, the only religion I knew was Buddhism, the kind with an large amount of deities. One for the ocean. One for money. One for health. The list goes on. My mom and I would watch horribly dubbed Hong Kong movies featuring the Monkey King, Kwan Yin, and other mythical beings and I swore they were real. I looked up to the Buddhas that reached the very difficult task of reaching enlightenment. We gave them offerings. We lit incense and spoke to them. We prayed to them. My mother and father were more like casual Buddhists though. They practiced it here and there and left most of the hard work on my grandmas and my aunt and uncles. They never pushed a religion on my brothers and I. That's not too much of a surprise because they never pushed anything on us. And what frustrated me back then, as I saw how active my friends' parents were in their pushing and prodding which I then equated to the quality of love. Oh boy, I was wrong. But if I knew half of the things I knew now back then… 

    As I got older and began to question, naturally, every fiber in my being, I inherently questioned my faith. The beliefs that I grew up with. The man or woman up above, if there was one or none. So I explored. I read books on what I knew first—Buddhism—and found out that there were so many sectors and types of Buddhism that it left me more discouraged than comforted. I took a class in college called “Soul Beliefs” and convinced myself that I was atheist…which lasted for a week. I went to church with my Christian friends, even attending Hillsong one Easter. I participated in my Jewish friends' holidays and pretended to be apart of their family. I contemplated fasting with my Islam friends and admired their dedication. And then I slowly realized—there is no one religion that I could possibly fit in. I loved every one of them while also finding fault in each of them. So I decided, "Fuck it, I'm going to believe what I want to believe." No labels. 

    ---

    So there I was. A 24-hour plane ride later from NYC to Thailand and with several hours of rest. My very good friend who is also a native (Thaya) and her friend who is a Temple expert (Amp) took us on a day trip to visit a Hindu Temple, a Chinese Buddhist Temple, and a Thai Buddhist Temple. Our very own tour guides, and amazing ones at that, gave us a full experience and guided us through three very different services. 


    Hindu Temple
    (no pictures were allowed)
    Right before we took our shoes off and stepped inside the Hindu Temple, we made a quick stop at a small street shop a hop away. We each bought a bag full of offerings—laced orchids, a small pineapple, a water bottle, candles, incense, a large leaf, some chive-like herbs, a bamboo, a small milk carton, and a piece of pastry. Once inside, we organized the offering on a large silver platter. We placed the pieces carefully in the platter, creating whatever symmetry we, but trust me, there are definitely skills involved in balancing a large water bottle and a pineapple without crushing the delicate orchid petals. Amp reassured us by calling our silver platter “pretty.” Phew. We followed Thaya and Amp and mimicked their every move. They lit their candles and laid their offerings in front of an altar of Hindu Deities. We squeezed in between a crowd of devout Hindus. Following Thaya and Amp, we each had our very own silent moment of prayer and followed up our prayers with three bows. After that, we were whisked away into the main building. Having lost Thaya and Amp in the building, we anxiously followed the Hindu monks signals. Leading us from one monk to another, they gifted each of us with a special prayer and sealed it with a mark in the forehead. We then joined Thaya and Amp on a long table full of deities. We all had matching marks on our foreheads—one red and two white dots. Thaya explained to us that now we had to take the orchid arrangement and offer it to one god of our choice. Hand in hand, my boyfriend and I placed our orchid in front of Ganesh—the Lord of Beginnings and the Remover of Obstacles. Taking our final steps around the Hindu Temple, we did another quick prayer to the god of the day of the week of our birth (which I actually didn’t know and thus guessed only later to find out that I was absolutely wrong) and to admire the place. After we left the Hindu temple, Amp told us to eat the pastry and drink the milk carton, the only offerings we had left from our original silver platter. “It’s like ingesting the blessings you just received.”

    Chinese Buddhist Temple
    We headed to the second—the Chinese Buddhist temple. On a traffic-filled route, Thaya gave us a handful of lotus flowers. She instructed us to fold the petals by grabbing each petal by the center and carefully folding it to one side. Once we got the hang of it, she told us to fold the rest of the petals with intention and prayer. By the time we arrived, I had folded 6 lotus flowers. We each held our own flowers. Thaya held a large bag of incense along with her flowers. At this temple, we didn’t need to take our shoes off at the entrance of the temple. However, Thaya told us that we must take our shoes off every time we prayed. Once inside and settled, she lit a large handful of incenses and gave everyone 16 incense sticks each. “Three per altar,” she said. We followed behind her closely with the 16 incense and lotus flowers. Monks walked among us and prayed near the altars. The gods looked quite familiar to me. They were the gods that I prayed to when I was young. The statues of deities wore lavish robes with many rich colors. Some had beautiful faces. Some had very scary faces. Some were men. Some were women. Some were….neither? The space looked just as lavish filled with reds, yellows, greens, and hints of blues. The patterns around the building felt infinite. We offered our flowers and incense. I spoke to the deities like I did when I was young. Yet, I spoke to them as the adult I am now. When we left the temple, we saw a huge line of monks enter. We waited until they passed to continue our path. I will never forget their young faces. 

    Thai Buddhist Temple
    The last temple of the day was a Thai Buddhist temple. Amp and Thaya were in a hurry. We were late. It would be closing soon. Once we arrived at the front entrance, we quickly threw our shoes off and lit up some incense. All while trying not to light our lotus flowers on fire. The temple was massive. The biggest out of the three. It housed many little buildings. Unlike the Chinese Buddhist temple, this one was minimal. Only gold and white. Simple yet elegant structures. My boyfriend and I ran after Thaya and Amp as they entered the first small prayer building. Two female monks (and the only female monks I’ve seen all day) looked after the small prayer building and they were not very happy with our tardiness. “In Thai Buddhism, all Buddhists deities are male,” Thaya added. Greeting us on the altar were three monk statues. The statues foundation and structure were made with dark stone and it was covered sporadically with many bits of gold-like flakes. No bells and whistles here—no colors, no complex pattern the ceiling, no expressions on the deities faces, no exaggeration. After we prayed and placed three incense sticks on the altar, we made a small donation to the monks and she handed us three pieces of folded papers. Thaya instructed us to unfold a paper, revealing a gold flake, and to place a gold flake on each monk. Everything began to make more sense. Interesting. After painting the god gold, literally, we walked into another small building and bought a large gift basket. I didn’t know why. But I didn’t question it. I trusted Amp and Thaya and I trusted the faith. We then walked out of the building, into another building, and then walked up a narrow set of stairs. Sitting at the top of the stairs was a monk sitting with his legs crossed. He greeted us. We sat around him creating a half moon. They began to chant, almost instinctively. My boyfriend and I lowered our heads filling our eardrums with their soothing words. Such remarkable sounds. After the chanting, the monk handed us a small silver kettle of water and a bowl. We followed Thaya and Amp’s every move as the monk continued chanting. We took the kettle by the handle, just like they did, and poured the water into the bowl slowly as the monk spoke. He was praying for us. After his prayer and when the kettle was absolutely empty, we took the bowl of water outside the room and poured it at the root of a tree. We returned to the monk’s side and returned the bowl and kettle. We thanked him. As we walked out of the building, Thaya began to explain to us what the process meant: “What you just did is suppose to get rid of any enemies or bad karma that you’ve accumulated in your past life and current life. It is for good merit.” 

    Once we reached back out into the Temple courtyard, I saw that my arm had accumulated small goose bumps from wrist to armpit. I looked around. Everyone had similar faces. It wasn’t absolute joy. It wasn’t sadness. Or even tiredness. Thaya, Amp, and my boyfriend looked simply content. Their jaws relaxed. Their eyes soft. I smiled and as we all walked towards the nearby river. We all bought a bag or several (Amp) of fish food and fed the catfishes that called the river their home and involuntarily fed the dozens, maybe a hundred, pigeons that called the dock their home.  

    When I embarked on this journey to Thailand, I did not expect nor understood the extent of Buddhism practiced in the homelands. It's an absolutely intriguing, enlightening, goose-bump inducing experience. One that dives deeper in the spiritual beliefs I held as a child. As I prayed with my mom. As I spoke to Buddha, like he's my friend. And instead of feeling divided within myself and what I thought I knew, I felt at ease. I felt at home. I unconsciously practiced acceptance. I fell in love with the people’s passion in their faith. I admired their practice. How each petal, each offering, each sound, each movement had a rhyme, a reason, a meaning. Don’t get me wrong—my spiritual exploration is far from over but it’s far from the very beginning. And that brings me comfort.

    - faith

    --
    Visuals by Thaya & Pedro

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