Monday, December 31, 2012

looking back at 2012

I can't believe I'm sitting here, in my tiny apartment in Tokyo, Japan, typing up a reflection of this past year. 
2012 went by much too quickly, and for me, it was probably the biggest turning points in my life thus far. 
At the beginning of 2012, I was still an undergraduate at UCLA finishing up my degree; now, I am living and working in Tokyo, pursuing my modeling career. What a huge change, and it all happened this year! 

Some highlights (& lowlights) of my 2012:

1. Performed a final piano recital for my Bachelor's degree at UCLA
2. Visited Japan for the first time in 7 years
3. Was accepted into a modeling agency in Tokyo
4. Did my first TV job for NHK World with Akane Nakajima
4. Graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in piano performance
5. Broke up with my boyfriend of almost 2 years
6. Made my boldest move - to Tokyo!
7. Got my first job in Tokyo, also my first job in apparel
8. Started living on my own for the first time ever
9. Traveled to Fukushima for the first time
10. Will be spending New Years the Japanese way!

During the first half of 2012, I was still a student, comfortably living in L.A. with my family and friends nearby. Everything was going well with my then-boyfriend, and I couldn't see my life any other way. After I finished school, I decided to take a much needed trip to Japan to visit my friends and relatives, and to search for a modeling agency. Luckily, I was accepted into Marstop Inc. in Tokyo, and I knew it would be an amazing opportunity for me. I needed a change in scenery and I knew I could accomplish what I wanted in Tokyo. But this in turn led to a break in my relationship with my ex, which was devastating to me at the time.  I almost thought it would be better to stay in California and give up my dreams. With the encouragement from my friends and family, however, I made my move to Japan a reality, even though it meant giving up so many important things in my life. 

I imagined moving to Tokyo would be filled with excitement (which it was), but I also didn't realize how many hardships I would have to face. Working in a Japanese environment, the long commutes to work, being away from my family... the list goes on, but what I really want to say is, I wouldn't have been able to survive all that without the support of the amazing people I've met here. I can't express in words how much I appreciate the kindness and generosity they've shown me. And to my friends & family back home - thank you so much for your unwavering support. I can say from the bottom of my heart that I am truly happy to be where I am in my life right now. I cannot wait for what the year 2013 has in store for me.

Some photos to wrap up 2012 :)

my senior recital poster
senior recital at UCLA
Mayer Hawthorne music video shoot
with Ayami and Melody Yoko at Girl's Award
with Akane Nakajima for Tokyo Eye
at my UCLA graduation!
on my birthday

in San Francisco with the Golden Gate
one of my last few days in California - Huntington Beach
with Akane, Amy and Marie at a Festaria party during Fashion Week
with my coworker Mayuka before the Le Ciel Bleu party
with Akane at Tsuruga Castle in Fukushima
photo shoot with Marie for Rio de Sol
with my coworkers at Le Ciel Bleu - Christmas Eve
End-of-the-year party with my agency

I hope everyone has a prosperous & happy New Year. Thank you for all of the support this year!
 See you in 2013 <3


Samantha Mariko

Instagram outfits #3

More outfit photos from Instagram!

(Outfit 1 sweater: Le Ciel Bleu; shirt: Gap; leggings: Topshop; booties: Madewell)
(Outfit 2 sweater: Gap; shirt: Uniqlo; pants: Le Ciel Bleu; shoes: Converse; rings: Topshop)
(Outfit 3 blouse: Forever 21; vest: Zara; pants: Le Ciel Bleu; heels: Christian Siriano for Payless; rings: Topshop)
(Outfit 4 sweater: Gap; skirt: Forever 21; boots: Doc Martens; rings: Topshop)

Don't forget to follow me on Instagram! (@samanthamariko) <3


Samantha Mariko

Friday, December 28, 2012

lipstick frenzy

If you follow me on Instagram (@samanthamariko), you may have noticed that I have been a bit lipstick crazy recently. I mean, its the holiday season and what better way for a girl to make her look a little more festive than with vivid lip color? Above is my lipstick collection, most of which I've received as gifts :) From left to right: MAC, Kate Moss for Rimmel, L'Oreal, Yves Saint Laurent, Dior, and Avon (in the back).  

Here are 3 different shades of lipstick I used this week:

(Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Intense Lipstick #1 Bright Fuchsia)

(L'Oreal Color Riche Lipstick in Sunset Red)

(Avon Color Premium Lipstick in Pink Ribbon)

Out of these 3, I would have to say the Avon lasted the longest and kept my lips moisturized all day. 
When I use lipstick, I make sure to apply using a lip brush first, then add more color with the lipstick, and then I finish off by blotting with a tissue. I recommend the lip liner/ lip brush combination from Sephora - the brush works really well. And always make sure you moisturize before applying lipstick! So important.

What's your favorite brand of lipstick? Have fun with your makeup, girls!


Samantha Mariko

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas-ing in Shibuya

I enjoyed a lovely Christmas evening in Shibuya with my friend Kellie (yes, also my co-worker!). She introduced me to Cafe Manduka, which serves boba drinks and other delicious desserts. And, yes, we did our shopping beforehand and also proceeded to do even more shopping afterwards. This is something I never did in the states so it was a nice change.

Thank you fellow bloggers for all the sweet comments on my previous posts - I will get back to you! 
Merry Christmas everyone and I hope you are spending it with your loved ones<3


Samantha Mariko

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve in Roppongi

This is how I spent my Christmas Eve - at work! I've never had to work on Christmas Eve until I came to Tokyo. But in all honesty, I'm glad I spent it with my co-workers at Le Ciel Bleu. Despite the fact that this was my first job ever in apparel AND in Japan, they welcomed me with open arms and were there to guide me every step of the way. I am so thankful to be able to work with such amazing people. 

I'm currently spending a quiet evening listening to Christmas music... What are you doing for Christmas Eve?

Some pretty lights in Roppongi :)


Samantha Mariko

Sunday, December 23, 2012


(jacket and clutch: Gap; sweater: Topshop; pants: uniqlo; boots: Doc Martens)

It's been at least 7 years since I last went to Odaiba, so I was beyond excited to revisit this lovely place with my girlfriends today. Our plan was to grab lunch in Shinjuku and head over to Odaiba to watch fireworks, but unfortunately we missed 90% of the fireworks spectacular due to some sidetracking in shopping. It's bound to happen when you're with a group of girls. Anyhow, the nightlife was breathtakingly beautiful - hopefully it translates in the photos. I would definitely want to go back to see all this again with a special someone :)

Have a great night <3


Samantha Mariko

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

white christmas

"A White Christmas"

Photos by Nobuyuki Nishihara - All Rights Reserved.
Makeup by Asuka Takei
Hair by Daisuke Ishii
Wardrobe  by Ayaka Sato

As promised, the photos from a Christmas-themed photo shoot I did with this amazing team. 

Merry early Christmas darlings.<3


Samantha Mariko