Trisha Okubo – Our Friend of the Week
Trisha’s What — “After weeks trying to find the Best Won Ton Soup in New York, I gave up and made it myself, using a variation on this recipe. Try it with spinach instead of the bamboo shoots – and add a bit of white pepper and salt. It makes for a wonderful wintry meal – and perfect for Chinese New Year!”
FRIEND OF THE WEEK: 11 QUESTIONS
1. Nickname: Sometimes I’m TO, not to be confused with Terrell Owens. Sometimes I’m just T, which suits me because of my love of tea. My husband (whose surname is Tonkelowitz) and I call ourselves Team T. I love being a part of this team. And…this is totally embarrassing, but when we were kids, my sister called me Brighton (her British butler) because she Jedi mind tricked my parents into allowing her to order me around and make her dinner.
2. Where do you live? New York, by way of London and San Francisco. Every place I’ve lived has shaped who I am: the entrepreneurial culture of San Francisco, the international outlook of London, and the buzzy, do-everything-all-at-once energy of New York. My dream is to be bi-coastal – spending spring and fall in New York, winter in California, and summer somewhere different every year. One day I’ll make it happen.
3. What are you working on or how do you spend your days? I feel incredibly lucky to spend my days doing what I love. I’m building a digital-first jewelry brand called Maison Miru from the ground up, from the back end operations to design and product development in the studio to the front end aesthetics for the website, social media and beyond. I love that every day is different – and that I get to learn new things every day. My related passion project is almost ready for launch – a jewelry blog called We Dream in Jewels to tell the stories of cool girls and the jewels they love.
4. What do you do for fun? Beyond jewelry, my loves are travel and food – especially the intersection of the two. I’ve been known to go on treasure hunts for deliciousness…and once tracked down a matcha langue du chat all over Japan, only to finally find it in a patisserie in Kyoto. I may have bought over 200 of these cookies. My life philosophy is “whole ass or no ass,” and I do my best to make every day extraordinary, whether I’m at home or away.
5. What do you wonder about? How to live a life that matters. How to do All of the Things – and do them well. Is this even possible? My good friend Nancy has a theory that everyone is born with one tank of gas – and once you use up the energy in that tank of gas, that’s it. I’d like to think that I have a spare tank.
6. If you could wake up with any superpower, what would it be? Mind reading. I love learning about what makes a person tick, and this would make it oh-so-more efficient. My actual superpower, however, is catspotting. If there’s a cat around, I can find it. It’s amazing – people think I’m a cat lady, and I don’t even have a cat.
7. What qualities do your favorite people have in common? A wicked sense of humor, a casual disregard for rules, and a good heart. That, and a love of fried foods. You get bonus points if you own an ice cream machine or a deep fryer.
8. What’s next on the bucket list? I’ve got Chile’s Elqui Valley on the brain. It’s a little bit of heaven for astronomers – and those who love to focus their gaze into the brilliant night sky. The Elqui Valley is dotted with over a dozen observatories that cater to this latter group of astrotourists. These stargazers spend their days exploring the vineyards and orchards of the region and their nights with their eyes turned to the skies, a canopy of stars enveloping their gaze and their imagination. I love the idea of exploration – to see what few have seen before, to expand my worldview literally and figuratively – and the Elqui Valley sits at the top of my list of Places I Would Like to Go.
9. What is too serious to be joked about? If I’ve learned anything from the last two seasons of Last Week Tonight, absolutely nothing is too serious to be joked about. Whether he’s taking on the issue of gun control, talking government surveillance with Edward Snowden, or exposing corruption at FIFA, John Oliver has perfected the art of the longform comedy news segment. I just can’t get enough.
10. What’s the most inspiring thing you’ve seen, watched, or read recently? Too many to count! I’m crushing on old school Joan Didion and the essays of Meghan Daum (I wanted to include her “Carpet Is Mungers” with the carpet plan for my co-op board application, but thought better of it).
I’m also inspired by my creative circle of lady entrepreneurs – including Cecelia Lau of London Tea Club, Heidi Atwal of Savour & Sate, and Rachel Gordon of Taproot Flowers – and of course, Gina and Amy. I feel incredibly blessed to be surrounded with such creative and brilliant ladies.
11. How are you friends with Gina and Amy? I’d long been a Splendora fangirl (and a subscriber since my college days), so imagine my delight when Splendora was acquired by JOYUS, the brand-new commerce startup that I had just joined as employee #2. It was all hustle in those early days – and everyone did a little bit of everything, from helping out on-set with the videos to shipping orders. Gina, Amy, and our founder Sukhinder, showed me what it took to just Get Things Done in this startup environment – and inspired me to eventually strike out on my own with Maison Miru.