About Me



Storyteller-in-Chief

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I’m a newspaper reporter turned magazine editor turned blogger and content creator. 

I'm a California girl with Midwest roots, currently in Cleveland. When I'm not musing about fashion, art, pop culture or motherhood you'll find me plotting dreams with my husband, snuggling with my kids, and rueing all the unread books on my nightstand.

(That's the short of it. For the long of it, read below.)

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My father and mother immigrated to the US from South Korea in the mid-60s and early 70s and ended up amongst the cornfields of Iowa. I was born in Des Moines in 1974, followed by my brother two years later. Childhood was happy. I remember ice skating on frozen ponds, Mom’s fresh-baked, from-scratch apple pies, steak and potato dinners on Sunday, playing Stars Wars with the neighborhood kids, and getting lost in Nancy Drew books.

In grade school, I discovered the power of a good story. My third grade teacher (thank you, Mr. Sweeney), who noticed I was writing stories during free time, asked me to read my detective books to the class. These books, with wacky titles like Halloween in June and The Missing Baby Kangaroo were written on lined sheets of paper folded in half and stapled at the center. I'm not sure what was more thrilling, reading my stories out loud or having a captive audience. Probably a combo of both.

When I was 10, we moved to Southern California. I suddenly became Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, whisked away from cornfields and long Midwest winters to a very strange world made up of sun-bleached blondes and tanned surfer boys. I remember saying aloud to my dad, “We’re not in Iowa anymore!” when our moving truck approached the massive overpasses connecting the 5, 55 and 405 freeways. Growing up in SoCal was an education in style (I quickly realized I had none), culture (beach/skate/surfer/Orange County) and ambition (I was a little fish in a big, big pond).

I survived adolescence (thank you Sassy and Seventeen magazines) and was on my way to another Dorothy-in-The-Wizard-of-Oz moment: UC Berkeley. If there is an opposite of Irvine, where I grew up, it has to be Berkeley. One of my favorite college memories is my parents dropping me off at my dorm, having just witnessed the grittiness of Telegraph Avenue with its drunk and homeless, sex shops smelling of patchouli and incense, and scruffy teenage punks holding “Will work for a blow job” signs. They were horrified. I was ecstatic.

I moved to Los Angeles after graduation and did a stint in the entertainment industry – first at Walt Disney Feature Animation and then at MTV Networks. Living and working in LA during my early 20s was everything a 20-something could ask for (independence, sunshine, parties, the beach, clubs, bars, shopping and "Working in the movies!"). Though I didn't see myself doing the entertainment industry thing long term, I loved every minute of it. I became friends with many wonderfully talented artists (and secretly wished I was an artist, too). 

In the summer of 2001, I moved to New York City. Six weeks later, 9/11 would change my life. I was in Brooklyn, writing a story for my Intro to Reporting class when I saw the World Trade Center fall. The journalism curriculum at Columbia University quickly shifted gears. I wrote stories about businessmen and fiancées who died in the towers. I attended too many memorials to count. For my masters project, I followed the lives of Sudanese refugees (“The Lost Boys”) whose lives were impacted by Sept 11.

My first job out of grad school was at a small Southern California newspaper called the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin. I covered the arts and loved it. Got married and had my first child, a son. Parenting provided lots of inspiration which resulted in a column about motherhood. I served as Editor of Parenting OC magazine, where I enjoyed meaningful work connecting with first-time parents. Had another child, this time a daughter. Later I took an editorial position at David C Cook, a publishing house best known for faith-based curriculum and leadership resources. In between these positions, my work has also appeared in newspapers like the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Los Angeles Daily NewsOrange County Register and magazines including DarlingMax Sports & Fitness and KoreAm Journal. I've also done web marketing and content creation for small businesses and technology start-ups.

Which brings me to today and this blog. What started out as an online scrapbook has grown into a lifestyle blog called love, -j. You’ll find topics my girlfriends and I would chat about over our favorite cup of coffee (or martini). What beauty products we’re currently obsessed with. What movies and books and paintings we loved. What we’re wearing. Motherhood. Our careers. Taking ballet at 40. How we’re keeping it all from falling apart. And being there for each other when everything does fall apart.

I’m currently writing my opus from the great city of Cleveland. 

Thank you for visiting. Drop me a line some time. I would love to hear from you!

love, -j.


Portrait by Gerald J. Cho.