Looking for Salvation in the middle of the desert

I finally got the chance to visit Salvation Mountain. It looks like an imaginary world you could only create in your dreams, but artist Leonard Knight decided to paint this extraordinary piece of art and dedicate it to God. 

Knight is known to have spent over three decades painting this mountain, often sleeping at the base of it with no water or electricity. It was definitely surreal seeing it in real life versus Instagram.

Since it’s quite far away, Melina and I headed out early in the morning. Shoutout to her for driving and playing some great music throughout the whole ride. Salvation Mountain is located in the desert, in a city called Niland. It’s several miles from the Salton Sea. Basically, it's in the middle of nowhere. 

We definitely knew it would be hot and dry, but did not anticipate it to be as hot as it was. We only had one bottle of water and it was definitely enough. I wanted to wear nicer shoes for photos, but had to go barefoot because I was asked to take them off. It was so hot that I felt like I was going to faint almost the entire time. It must have been the paint fumes mixed with the heat, because I felt like my body was being under attack. It definitely wasn’t the Holy Spirit. However, I’m glad we found some shady areas to cool off and just blast some music and relax! 

This place is extremely beautiful and unique, with a great message. It's such a hidden gem in the middle of California and visitors will definitely be able to feel Leonard Knight's burning passion for God. If you ever decide to go, consider going in the winter! Also, remember to bring lots of water and comfortable shoes. 

Since coming back from my trip to Sydney, I've been trying to do more things outside of my comfort zone lately and exploring places kind of far away from home (but not too far). What should my next stop be? 


Life update: I graduated from USC (Part 1)

Just two days ago, I graduated from my dream school with a Bachelor's degree in Journalism. I took hundreds of photos with different photographers and friends, but here are some of my favorites. Most important is the one with my parents. They are the reason I'm here and got to graduate from this incredible university. The most amazing part of graduation was watching my commencement speaker, Oprah Winfrey. Some wise words she imparted on the Class of 2018: our degree is a privilege and we must use it to help others who aren't as lucky to be in the same room as us, keep the phone away from the dinner table, focus less on being interesting but being interested in others, and VOTE. All the glory to God for all that I have in life and thank you all for following my journey on this blog. 

USC Grad Session 5.8.18-35.jpg
USC Grad Session 5.8.18-33.jpg
USC Grad Session 5.8.18-90.jpg
USC Grad Session 5.8.18-63.jpg
USC Grad Session 5.8.18-103.jpg
USC Grad Session 5.8.18-100.jpg

A Black and Gold Celebration: My Birthday

I turned 22 in January, but here I am updating in May! Things have been crazy since year 2018 started and I finally have time to update now that things are starting to slow down a bit. I graduated college (another post on that soon) and had so many crazy experiences (going to the emergency room twice) and so much more. It's already been the best year of my life by far. I wish I could go back in time and tell my younger self that this was going to be my life. I wouldn't believe a word of it. Isn't amazing to think that the best memories of your life haven't even happened yet? We're almost halfway through 2018 and I am feeling so blessed.

My 22nd birthday was one of the best days. The days leading up to it were extremely stressful because I wanted everything to be perfect. Party planning is not easy. The catering, photography, decorations, drinks, invitations, RSVPs, venue, etc. I was so scared that nobody was going to come. 86 people ended up coming to my birthday! My friends from home, from Santa Barbara, from church, and USC all came together for this special night. I have so many different friends from different walks of life and it was the first time to see them all in one room together. It made me realize how much I have changed over the years, but there were still so many people who love me and care for me. The venue, which was the clubhouse of my friend's apartment, was the perfect place to hold my birthday. It was so beautiful and fit my black and gold theme. As all my friends graduate and move far away, I'm probably never going to see all my friends in one place again. This night is one I remember forever. 

Screen Shot 2018-05-13 at 7.36.43 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-05-13 at 7.39.12 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-05-13 at 7.39.47 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-05-13 at 7.47.10 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-05-13 at 8.16.18 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-05-13 at 8.16.43 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-05-13 at 8.17.35 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-05-13 at 7.37.25 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-05-13 at 7.40.43 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-05-13 at 7.39.59 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-05-13 at 7.55.11 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-05-13 at 7.38.33 PM.png

These are just a few of the hundreds of photos from that night. You can see all the photobooth photos here and you can see all the roaming photos here. A big thank you to Andy Kim Photography.