Cat's Out of the Bag

Originally posted on the Third Wave Collective blog on July 15, 2016.

Oh Facebook, you blabbermouth, you.

Considering how unpredictable the new Instagram updates have been, I expected something like this. But I really thought that not connecting the @thirdwaveco Instagram profile to the Facebook platform would avoid the unavoidable, "Your Facebook friend Jinah Kim is now on Instagram as @thirdwaveco," notifications. Here's what happened: Instagram/Facebook wanted to share the latest gossip with you anyway, despite my protests, so here we are.

And here it is, publicly announced before I wanted it to be. This is my pet project, and where many of my hopes and dreams have come to fruition. Why the waiting period? Well, the kinks and weird issues with launching any site are still being addressed. We're still in the testing phase.

Before anybody begins to wonder, Why a shop? Isn't that kind of random?

To be honest, no, not really.

If we're keeping track, this would actually be online venture number eight for me. Over the past twelve years, I've peddled everything from vintage dresses, handknit scarves, jewelry with an attitude, and computer science textbooks online. We're talking eBay-ing everything in sight, three different Etsy shops with varying degrees of success, and a surprisingly rewarding foray into the world of Poshmark.

I've realized I love selling the right things to people who will love them, and the process from perfecting product photos and descriptions to packing it all up perfectly really gives me a buzz. Hey, here's something that's exactly what you wanted, headed right to your doorstep. Hey, get ready to open up a present from you to you.

So inspired by the meteoric rise of folks I've followed since the eBay days, and the emergence of exceedingly approachable creative directors for brands I love, I realized I can do what really lights me on fire for a job. The official launch is August 1st, and I'm strapping in now for the most exciting side hustle I've had to date. 

Posted on August 27, 2016 and filed under Culture.

I Got Broads in Atlanta

In response to my own unease about the winds of change in the city: everything has turned out just peachy. 

I haven't been run out of my own town by pod-people I cannot relate to. In fact, the experience has been something of the opposite. This is the year I've seen the food scene really blow up. Two years ago I got to meet one of the lady entrepreneurs I admire most. Between that last post and now, I worked for the most Atlanta-iest of companies, one that is a household topic of conversation, known by all of the locals. I even sat next to one of the fine individuals behind that whole believing in Atlanta thing every single day.

So I'm here, reevaluating how it all went down before. And it really ain't so bad. In fact, there's not really a "bad" in it at all. The new discoveries feel authentic. That rebuilt market and this other newly opened market have become parts of my daily routine. The folks flocking to my humble town are actually my "people." 

That's probably the most exciting thing. The goodness is coming here, my tribe is magically coming to me, as if I was able to manifest everyone into being in Atlanta. And now I'm ready to put down roots, grow where I'm planted. Here is my city, and I am here with her, still, more than ever.

Posted on August 20, 2016 and filed under Culture.

On My Southern Drawl

I don't know when or how it started to happen. Words that are one syllable have been drawing out into three, or four.

"Ohh way-eh-ell." [Oh well.]

"Thaa-yat looks soooo ba-yad." [That looks so bad.]

"Aww ma-yen." [Aww man.]

To the point where everyone I meet giggles and repeats whatever charming thing I'd say to them.

"Eat a bayag of diiii-ucks." [Eat a bag of dicks.]

But at 29, something I'd been denying my entire life suddenly appeared. I developed a bizarrely thick Southern accent that would insert itself into my daily speech without warning.

This is especially pronounced by the fact that I am Asian-American.

It's worth mentioning: English wasn't my first language. I didn't learn a lick of English until I was nearly four. And most of that was from television. 

So I had always assumed my accent, if any, was broadly American. I talked like Sesame Street puppets. Like Nickelodeon cartoons. Clearly, I would be immune to the influence of the lazy tongue, the elongated syllables.

Yeah, nope.

One of my more spendy hobbies is traveling, venturing to different parts of the South, island hopping, practicing my French language skills, but this strange affliction has started to kill my usually large sense of wanderlust.

Georgia, and the thick Southern country accent, are associated with backwards, uninformed and unintelligible stereotypes. I'm really not sure if I can feel worldly, if everyone I talk to might think I'm dumb as bricks.

But at the same time, it's deeply satisfying. Sometimes I'll be chattering away, not even realizing I've slowly started sliding until I am already halfway in, and since I've gone so far, I might as well just really dig into it. Take that leisurely, deliciously slow pace and really stretch out every single word.

"Fuuuhk yoo four-ehv-urr." [Fuck you forever.]

Hmm. Now that I think harder on it, maybe it's how I soften rude things I say. Swears are cuter when drawled out, real long, right?

Posted on March 27, 2015 and filed under Travel, Culture.

My Hobbies, A Partial List

 The Hobbyist

The Hobbyist

Every winter I get the doldrums and itch to do, make, learn something. It's particularly urgent when I'm idle--I get a lot done during the weeks of Christmas and New Year's when I typically don't have to work. This year, I had unlimited free time for three months.

Sometimes I meet people who have zero hobbies or interests outside of their work, or television programs, or favorite adult beverages. I cannot fathom this.

In grade school, I was often along on my working mom's errands after work (for me, after school). Two places I loved to go to, and she eventually had to avoid because I would want all the things: the art supply store and the bookstore.

This still holds pretty true today.

So here it is, things I like to spend time doing:

  1. Knitting. I've made lots of things from baby blankets to chunky cowls to gloves and socks. I even applied for a paid-by-the-piece position with a hip knitwear company during funemployment.
  2. Painting. I slowly accumulated a collection of acrylic paint for one-off gigs I was doing with TOMS painting shoes at special events. The last thing I painted that wasn't a shoe was a cardboard cutout of a T. Rex for a party I threw in March. I decided this month, I want to get back into oil painting. I haven't used oils in 9 years.
  3. Sewing. I've never been the kind of girl that would see something, think, "I could make that," and actually do it. But I've made wearable dresses, bags, quilts, and once a cape for a Red Riding Hood costume. I lost an essential part of my machine that makes it functional a few years ago. I haven't replaced it.
  4. Photography. I fought my way into the photography program at my high school--the requirements were three previous years of training, an understanding of drawing, painting, light, and color. I still have all the cameras I've shot with since I was 18. I graduated to a DSLR from a point-and-shoot when I was interviewed in a local print magazine about my fashion blog. I bought a leather bag for my camera, that cost more than most of my handbags. I rented a lens that was worth more than I made in a month for my Iceland trip (it didn't break or freeze; I was relieved). Next level hobbyist, but nowhere near pro.
  5. Calligraphy and handlettering. The newest and gladly, the least expensive of all my creative endeavors. I've always had relatively neat handwriting and have journaled, pen to paper, for as long as I can remember. So while part of my brain wants to leverage this craft I'm learning into a cash cow (wedding invites, heyyooo!), I'm privately (now public!) excited about prettier penmanship. Since I've always got at least one notebook on me, I can practice anywhere.

Well what does all this ladder up to? I don't know quite yet, but so far I've gotten to use a lot of my unrelated skills and interests to woo the best people into my life. Let's make/do/see/eat/buy all the things.

Posted on January 14, 2015 and filed under Fashion, Photography.

That Time I Killed A Bird With My Car

"What kind of ungodly creature shits white?"

- Keiko Green

It was snowing, hard. Having grown up in the Deep South, driving through a snowstorm in pitch blackness was never a situation I had ever encountered, much less planned for.

I was worlds away from home. I was in almost-Europe with my best friend and world travel partner-in-crime. It was our second full day in Iceland, and the natural wonders did not cease to disappoint. Like the sun setting at 5 p.m., and a bright clear day transforming into the inside of a snow globe.

As we were both well-traveled and turned our noses up at group tourism, we were on a self-guided choose your own adventure tour of the country. That day, we drove halfway around the island to see a lake. The drive was long, but far from boring. The landscape glimmered and shifted in the distance, transforming every few minutes. 

Endless wonder is exhausting, sometimes.

Hours later, we arrived.

Jökulsárlón: a lake filled with glacial icebergs

But a quick looksee and hot chocolate later, we were done. Which meant we had to go back the way we came. An hour later, the sun went down.

For hours, we drove back through winding roads with no lights. Just little dots of reflectors guiding the way. And then it started snowing. Hailing. Times-Square-pillow-fight-proportions-of-down snowstorming.

So we were driving blindly, slowly, not knowing if the dark outside of the reflector strips was a vast plain with frozen cattle or a steep cliff leading to certain death.

Then it came out of nowhere--a gull-sized bird tried to stream across the road and slammed into the windshield.

And that's when it spilled out of my mouth.

"I hate birds."

Startled by the thwap, my copilot was already bewildered.

"...what?! What the fuck?"

"I hate birds," I said again, slowly, calmly.


"They shit white. And their bones are hollow. If you see one run over on the road, they're COMPLETELY FLAT. What is this witchcraft? And they look like dinosaurs. I just don't like them."

We kept driving, finally cutting through the storm into our lodging for the night.

Every now and then, she laughs, out of context, "I still can't believe you hate birds."

Posted on January 13, 2015 and filed under Culture, Travel, Photography.

The Best Time I Ever Lost My Job

I remember calmly sitting in the room, faces around me expectant. 

Was she going to cry? Was she going to throw something, break something? They probably wondered, as I stared back at them.

Stunned though I was, being laid off was not unlike the relief of ending a stale relationship–not brought on by abuse, or endless arguments, or incompatibility, but rather by the lack of momentum to move forward to the next milestone.

I had known now for months that there would not be another lilypad, stepping stone, stairstep. Not with this company, at least.

Until I started working at Company X, I wasn't on a traditional path to "grown up job." I grew up with working parents, both working 7 days a week, so it wasn't surprising that the idea of busying myself at all times was deeply ingrained in me.

Beginning in high school, my schedule thrummed with activity. I collected jobs like marbles, so that I wouldn't have downtime. When I was finishing grad school, I had three different gigs, plus night classes. Then I started working five days a week, eight hours a day.

The weirdest part of the whole situation is how everyone else reacted. I was very (very!) okay from the beginning.

I was taken aback at how sad everyone was when they found out, how they would try to console or baby me.

But it felt a lot like a windfall. It felt like the last day of school before winter vacation. You mean I now have the freedom to do whatever I want with my time? This is a luxury I don't expect to see in such large, unmeasured doses again. 

And when the time comes, I can't wait to Get to Work on something meaningful and challenging. (I enjoy a good challenge.)

I'm least likely to follow the path of least resistance. I'll go out of my way to select the especially difficult task, something that teaches me a little more. That's especially more rewarding.

So no one dare feel sorry for me. This is a very exciting time for me.

Posted on December 10, 2014 .

Where Have You Been? Or What It's Like To Be Boo'd Up and "Busy"

 Photo by Liz West on Flickr:

Photo by Liz West on Flickr:

On being not-single and having a social life. Or not having one, due to factors out of your control.

I've never really been somebody who has anything even close to FOMO. I focus on being too busy planning things other people wouldn't miss out on to notice I'm missing anything.

But I was haplessly whizzing through my Instagram feed this morning and noticed, oh. This annual event I usually attend occurred on schedule. And oh, I wasn't invited this year. And this time, I took notice.

It's funny. I feel like this ties directly into a recurring phenomenon that emerged when I became not-single. Friends I've only seen sporadically in the past few months have commented, "Where have you been? I never see you anymore!"

To which I respond, "I know, let's hang out soon!" but I really mean, What do you mean? Where have you been? I'm still doing the same things we used to do together.

Yes, I'll admit, I did serve as the baton twirler in the singles parade while I was marching in it. I was the party planner, the instigator, the friend who always came back from the bar with another round of shots.

Sure, some of my days are now otherwise occupied in a party of two, but that doesn't mean I don't know how to Turn Down for What, or make a party playlist, or help cut out construction paper decorations, or whip up a mean cheese-laden potluck dish. The status change didn't destroy all these social skills cultivated for any occasion.

My Significant Other and I were recently surprised to discover we had this same unspoken goal. We both made promises to ourselves that we wouldn't lose touch with friends. And darn it, if I haven't kept up my end of the bargain–some of my friends I talk to every week, if not every single day. Anyone I haven't seen?

Well, I follow a rule of 3. One of my girlfriends came up with it–if you are invited to spend time with somebody, and you would like to continue to spend time with them, you'd better not decline their invitations, at least not three times in a row. I'll do you one better. I am a persistent follow-up-er. Some folks I asked up to six times before I stopped asking. A combination of work's-been-so-busys and I-forgot-to-responds and a surprising number of no-response-at-alls later, I'm just confused.

So yeah, guys, where have you been?

Posted on November 24, 2014 and filed under Culture.

Riding In Cabs For Free

I can still remember the moment he walked into the room.

True to my winter promise to myself, I wasn't out carousing that night. In fact, I was essentially out in pajamas. Diarrhea Planet t-shirt, the ripped jeans I reserve only for horrible dates, my weirdest hipster glasses, and cowboy boots (for some odd reason). It was the Monday before Christmas.

I was out for a casual drink with my main squeeze. Nobody was around. We wanted to enjoy the bar without the scene that night. As usual, I didn't wash my hair.

But then there he was. She stopped, mid-sentence, interrupted herself to tell me, "Oh, so pretty."

I looked up and a gorgeous man was staring at me.

He maintained eye contact until he went downstairs with his friends.

I excused myself, distracted. "I'm going to go get another drink."

I spot the group of boys downstairs immediately. I saunter to the bar, order a club soda, with lime. (This is my drink, in-between drinking.)

And immediately neg him.

"What is this dude bus doing out tonight?" (There was no one else in the bar, because Christmas.)

Beautiful people aren't used to being mildly insulted by strangers. But I carry on until I trip.

"I mean, I didn't really need a drink. This is a water. I like your haircut."

He raised an eyebrow, but continued to talk to me until the bar closed anyway.

That night he drove me home, whizzing through every light. That should have been my first warning.

Fast forward to riding in a cab after Saturday day-drinking in full-dress lederhosen. He tells me about his Valentine's Day, how he took his date to the opera. He tells me about his favorite opera, the entire storyline. It is a heartbreaking love story, translated in Italian through the eyes of a German.

Instead of swooning, I interrupt, "Wait. Remember this moment. This is your story. This is your line! This is what you should tell women to make them fall in love with you."

He laughs, shakes his head. Pays for the cab, and immediately proceeds into a post-day-drinking nap.

The next time we hang out, we had half a bottle of whisky before the night even began. Sloshy, emboldened, and wild, we hit the town, hitting every bar on the way to a final, unknown destination.

I accept and imbibe a series of whisky, bourbon, and gin beverages at each pit stop. As we catch up with his roommates, everything is spinning: my head, my stomach, his smile. 

In between trips to the bar, he taps his cheek, asking for a kiss. I laugh and oblige on each occasion.

This continues until we both trip. "I'm really tired." "Yeah, me too. Let's go home."

Exhausted, we wait for a lull and quietly exit, leaving his friends at the bar. He hails a cab.

After an uneventful ride, he taps his phone on the payment thingy. Near field communication, he explains, Google Wallet.

Well, it doesn't work, and the cab driver quickly gets irate. 

"Do you want to see how to get away with not paying for a cab?" he slurs in my ear.

I offer to pay, quickly sobering up, not interested in getting arrested away from home. Not interested in getting arrested ever, really.

He steps out of the car. The driver gets out of the car. I get out of the car and stand on the opposite street corner, biting my lip, alternating with being slack-jawed at the unlikelihood of the entire situation.

I manage to capture a SnapChat of the moment, send it to my Single Person Spirit Guide as proof.

The whisky nearly erased the incident from my mind, until SPSG™ asked about it, the week after, upon my glorious return home.

We didn't pay for that cab that night--the cabbie started to swear. They started to scuffle, but there was really no question who would win. A beautiful victory for a beautiful man. I didn't say a word during the entire incident.

I went home soon after, glad I wasn't too ashamed to tell the tale.

"You GUYS! He beat up a cab driver."

Posted on July 30, 2014 and filed under Dating.