Seoul Unveiling

My journey in Korea began with nothing more than curiosity. I simply followed the voice calling inside. Over time, the initial vision (March & December 2016) turned into something bigger and wilder than my imagination. 

Sometimes, all we have an unction or feeling. It’s crazy how when we step out on that and take the risk, we watch God weave a tapestry that we couldn’t have fathomed or created with our most brilliant & strategic intentionality.
— Jeremy Riddle

My process often begins with not knowing. I may have no idea why I am stuck on or writing about a particular idea, but never halt the expression flow. Instead, I obey and let the small whispers lead me forward. Because even when I don't know, I know that He knows best. First ingredient? Trust. 

Second ingredient? Vision. For many years now, I've been fostering a vision to “connect communities through creativity." It anchors me in seasons of doubt and uncertainty. It motivates me to stay consistent in my conviction and stewardship. 

Trust and vision drives me forward. Consistency unlock connections.

Connection brings clarity. Clarity establishes purpose. 

As I stay on course, my internal connections manifest in my physical reality - with greater measures of faith and favor each time. For example, I witness the vision coming to life through my creative projects and experiences in Korea. Small yeses transformed into moments of clarity! 

As 2017 comes to an end, I’m gearing up for a new level of inspiration and creativity! Join me as I journey backwards to remember and celebrate.

On September 3, 2016, I shared my first #koreathebeautiful post:


Korea, you've been a beautiful journey - and I know I'm only at the mere tip of something unimaginable & grand. #koreathebeautiful


The inspiration came from my first elongated visit to Samcheong-dong. After exploring this neighborhood with an alluring mix of Korea’s old and new, I stepped into a greater revelation of Seoul as a city.

Ten days later, I made a website URL and Instagram account in the same name.

I had waited for the right time to share #koreathebeautiful. In the most unexpected moment, inspiration came. Things clicked and the rusty engine began working again - during an online conversation with a friend:

2016. 09. 13 @ Gangnam-gu, Seoul

2016. 09. 13 @ Gangnam-gu, Seoul

#koreathebeautiful did not come out of the blue, but developed throughout my visits since 2014. I visited Korea for the third time in 2015 and returned with a unique understanding that was different from previous trips.

Screen shot 2017-10-11 at 1.01.58 AM.png


Korea 2015 was beautiful and unreal. A fight and a dream come true. Undoing and overcoming. Joyful moments and weeping like a child. Fresh perspectives and refining of old. Visions to reality and a door to wilder & bigger dreams. After all, it's my home. My motherland. My roots deep within its soil & remnants all around me.

@ Garosugil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul

So what changed in 2015? 

Before this trip, my only reach of native Koreans were my relatives. During this visit, I made my first native Korean friends (since I moved to the States in 2001.) Soon after I returned, I expressed the new revelation:

The true beauty of Korea is not the visible things
in the faces, foods, and streets,
but in its people,
who not only dream about possibilities,
but choose and run towards the higher and unseen things.

Recalling conversations with Korean entrepreneur friends eventually inspired the Doers > Dreamers series. On October 25, 2015, I shared about the idea on a blog post (and Instagram) about current inspirations. 


"My biggest inspiration?

Doers who don't sit around in daydreams, but pull up their sleeves to make their dreams happen."

Five days later, I posted the first official Doers > Dreamers feat. Guilt Free Bakery. I wrote on Instagram

"Introducing "Doers > Dreamers: This blog post is a dream come true! Back in 2013, when PIEANA was just an idea, I dreamt of it expanding into a community platform to share stories of fellow creatives. During my recent Korea trip, I met so many amazing business owners and Lisa was one of them. When I heard Lisa's story, I immediately wanted to feature her on #pieana - and here we are!”

On December 2, 2015, I shared the second Doers > Dreamers blog. A short intro via Instagram:

“Here is the 2nd "Doers > Dreamers" post featuring @mercyjuice, a popular #juice bar in Seoul, Korea! I met its owner during my recent trip and wanted to share my experience of doing the 3 day juice #detox. I'm glad I resisted all the delicious food handed to me everyday because I'm still reaping the benefits of the #cleanse!”

Like #koreathebeautiful, Doers > Dreamers was not an overnight idea, but a product of patience and process. In 2013, I got connected to an artist community with a passion for justice - and developed an idea called “ARTICE” (short for ART+JUSTICE). On October 26, I sat in my college library and designed a mockup website for ARTICE. The idea was never shared in public and remained within the confines of my InDesign documents. However, that creative process set in motion for future projects involving stories & friendships to birth. Exactly two years later, on October 25, 2017, I launched Doers > Dreamers!

Designed by Diana Park

On the "About Us" page, I wrote: 

"It all started with a vision on a random May afternoon of 2013 in a Los Angeles apartment. I had a surge of inspiration and ideas running across my mind. I recall many words and connections surfacing on the pages of my journal. 


In October 2013, I attended a program called Justice Has Expression. During the five-day school, 20+ students of various artist backgrounds gathered to learn about injustice issues including poverty, gendercide, human trafficking, abortion, etc. We then produced relevant artworks for a public showcase at the end of the week.

Through the experience, I was immersed in a community of artist-activists. Then I returned to this idea I buried in my notebook few months before... interviewed few like-minded friends and designed a website… and began ART+(JUST)ICE = ARTICE"

Then at the brink of 2014, ARTICE inspired a New Year's resolution:

Screen shot 2017-10-15 at 12.02.16 AM.png

aiming high for #2014 /

doer, not just a dreamer /

luke 1:45

One year later, I reflected on the resonance of this vision:

Screen shot 2017-10-15 at 12.05.47 AM.png

my #nwyrsresolutionback in 2014

& #storyofmylife

ever since

Source: Instagram

Now, we're back in December 2017. So much happened, but I can confidently say that I’m still only at the tip of the iceberg. My shovels are at work and I’m excited to excavate what more is underneath the surface as time passes.

Guilt Free Bakery

Let me introduce you to a sweet baker friend of mine! Her name is Lisa. She went to FIT to study fashion, and switched tracks when she decided that baking is her passion. While her peers stayed up with their design projects, she truly felt alive when she baked the night away. Her bakery is called Guilt Free Bakery. Gluten-free and vegan products are fairly new "Western" trends in South Korea, so her goods made without white flour, sugar, butter, diary, egg, and preservatives are pioneers in the food industry.

1. Gluten-free classic choco-chip cookies made w/ chickpea flour
2. Whole-wheat banana cupcakes w/ vanilla frosting
3. Brown rice fudge brownies   
4. Gluten-free plain & deep chocolate cake donuts made w/ chickpea flour   
5. Blueberry cake & earl grey muffins (my faves!)

We met in a formal business setting, but quickly became friends when we connected through our similar interests and passions. During the two days I spent time with her, I discovered that:

- We were born on the same year, and our birthdays are only two days apart
- We both wanted to be a fashion designer when we were little
- We bonded over our love for healthy food. We both love Native Foods in California. Hence our first meal together was at a quaint vegan place called Plant in Itaewon #datveganlife #ilovemeattoo
- Lisa's sister and I both went to UCLA (Go Bruins!)
- We are both on a journey of learning what it means to unveil Beauty in spirit and in truth


Check out her bakery if you are in Korea! It's currently located in Hwasung, which is about an hour away from Seoul. She hopes to expand into Seoul in the near future. For now, she's holding a pop-up shop at Toss & Turn, an American-style resturant in Itaewon from Halloween through the month of November. Come by for a meal and grab some of her guilt-free, delicious goods for dessert!