Merry Christmas fr..

ChristmasCard14forBlogMerry Christmas from the Krembs! This is a copy of the Christmas card that has been sent out to friends and family. If you’d like a printed version of our Christmas card, please email me with your address, and I’ll send one your way.

For our Christmas holiday we actually take off for Bali today! We had such an amazing time in October of this year that we have decided to visit again. (Click here for part 1 of that trip or here for part 2.) This time however we plan to do more than just sit at our hotel: we are going to body surf in Kuta, attend the water park across the street from our hotel, spend Christmas up in the mountain village of Ubud, and then finish our time relaxing at a more secluded spot at the end.

During our last stay in Bali, I found Internet access to be a bit of a problem. While I might make a sporadic post here and there and I have a couple of scheduled posts, I would like to announce that I plan to disconnect for the next two weeks. I know I usually post each day Monday through Friday, but for this holiday I think it will be wise to announce ahead of time that I’m going on vacation–from the blog too. No worries though. I’ll be back raring to go in 2015. Until then, Merry Christmas to my readers and a Happy New Year too!

Much love,

Ann and the rest of the Krembs

Christmas Books Ro..

Being a librarian it seems appropriate that I should be posting more about books here on Kremb de la Kremb. What a better way to start than with the family’s favorite Christmas titles. Each year, these books get brought out of storage and are placed under the tree. There are a few that get ready each and every year–even if they’re for younger readers. They’re just that special!

The Night Before Christmas
Clement C. Moore, illustrated by Mary Engelbreit

TheNightBeforeChristmasThe Night Before Christmas is a classic story that must be told annually—however it is best told when accompanied by amazing illustrations. For this reason it is important to tell the story with Mary Englebreit’s edition. It is beyond cute and very clever. The details in each picture cause multiple readings from the first day of Christmas on December 1st straight through to the morning of Christmas Day on the 25th with many tellings in-between. The highly saturated depictions are of cute little elves and colorful trees, perfectly wrapped presents and a beautiful Santa Claus. There’s even a little game to play: see how many times the little mouse can be found. This book is such a sensation in our household that I usually stock up on this title and bring it to holiday parties as a host gift. Really, THIS edition is the BEST edition of Moore’s The Night Before Christmas.

The Gift of the Magi
O. Henry, illustrated by Shelley Freshman

GiftoftheMagiThe Gift of the Magi is another classic tale that should be told during the Christmas season. Of course, the story is old enough that a simple Google search will provide plenty of PDF versions since it’s in the public domain. What’s best is if you can find a beautifully illustrated edition, and if you ever happenstance upon Shelley Freshman’s copy, grab it fast! (I found some copies here on Alibris or here on Amazon!) While the story is so simple and special on its own, the black pen drawings of Freshman’s version make the tale come alive! Now for the story… The Gift of the Magi is the ironic story about the act of giving. Giving takes sacrifice, but this sacrifice is easy to commit for those we love. Della and Jim, a young married couple hopelessly in love, sacrifice their treasures in order to enhance what the other loves, yet in doing so the irony lies in each of their losses of their individual treasured items. Yes, it’s a tricky plot, but oh, it’s such a special story to tell each Christmas season. Because really, it’s all about giving isn’t it?

Lulu the Hong Kong Cat: Christmas in Sham Shui Po
Elly Wy Leou

LuluTrue to the concept of giving at Christmas Lulu the Hong Kong Cat: Christmas in Sham Shui Po explores the attitudes that accompany not knowing what or how to give to a loved one. Luckily in the end Lulu the Hong Kong Cat figures it out. Although Lulu begins the story filled with self-doubt and a “Miao humbug,” attitude it is through a series of encounters of wise and sometimes discouraging animals that set her on the right path. Lulu comes to realize that giving comes from the heart, and she could in fact make a present rather than purchase one. It is in her creation and self-sacrifice that she ends up coming to love and embrace the Christmas time of giving—not to mention the ways of Hong Kong. The references to HK and the culture shocks that accompany Hong Kong living make this a perfect book for a newbie to this bustling city.

Stick Man
Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Sheffler

StickMan“I’m Stick Man, I’m Stick Man, I’M STICK MAN, that’s me!” Julia Donaldson has made the perfect travel story with Stick Man and Axel Scheffler illustrated each and every scene perfectly. Poor Stick Man! He’s on an unexpected journey, yet he just wants to get home, home to the family tree. But as a stick, he’s bound to wander. He’s thrown for a dog, he lands in a river, he floats to the banks—on it goes, but meanwhile this determined stick just wants to get home to his family in time for a special day… Just when he’s about to burn up in flames as kindling for a fire, Stick Man is saved, saved by the very best. Santa Claus makes dreams come true, and in this delightful story Christmas for Stick Man and his family is indeed saved!

Bear Stays Up
Karma Wilson, illustrated by Jane Chapman

BearStaysUPFrom the Bear Wants More series comes the Christmas version of the Bear Stays Up. Toddlers and early readers love the repetition of Wilson’s bear stories. The singsong that accompanies reading these tales helps for sleeping at bedtime or learning to read. Bear has a problem: it’s wintertime, and he’s ready to sleep. It’s his good animal friends though who are determined to keep him up this Christmas. In this Christmas story friends are most important which is parallel to real life where a community generates Christmas spirit. Everyone puts in his or her part contributing to the ultimate event of Christmas day. Since Bear definitely just wants to sleep—similar to the jetlag experience—this story would compliment the trouble of sleep during holiday travel. Of course, Santa Claus makes a guest appearance in this book, so look out for him!

*These reviews will be cross posted as they have been originally written for Sassy Mama HK along with seven other titles.

I just want to go ..

So, it’s Christmas 2014, and there has been no shortage of sequins on the blog lately. (Note my sequin pants here and my sequin top here.) I guess, basically, when it comes right down to it, I JUST WANT TO GO TO A PARTY!

Kevin and I both had our faculty Christmas dinners on Friday night last week. Because they were on the same day, we were not able to attend together. We’ll be traveling for Christmas this year, and it seems like ages since we hosted a holiday soirée in our home. Oh, we used to throw such fun parties in India. Give a shout out if you ever attended. Even in Beijing we held nice little family gatherings. We’ve been throwing a Christmas party ever since we got married and moved overseas, but something about life in Hong Kong has put them on hold. Hmm, Kevin and I need to change that for next year. (Hey, that’s an easy resolution; throw a party next December 2015!) For those who know me, you know I find half the fun of a party the getting part. So, even though I will not be attending any festive hoorahs, it doesn’t mean I’m still not daydreaming….And a while ago, I purchased the best multicolored sequin shift only for it to be sold out. (Oh, believe me, I’ll never purchase from Romwe again–don’t let me buy something if it’s already gone! Right?) So, in hopes of finding something similar, I’ve gone window shopping. (Is there another term for window shopping on the web? I’ll get back to you on that one….)

If I were to go to a party, I’d want to wear any one of these!

We All Love ELF!

It’s true. I’ve never met anyone who didn’t love the Christmas movie Elf. Before, I had always loved a the holiday movieChristmas Story, which I still enjoy, but ever since 2003, Elf has become our family Christmas movie of choice. In fact it’s loved all around; in the library where I work, we have tons of options for Christmas video watching in our Christmas library living room , yet time after time the students request Elf (my favorite Elf fact is #10)! It’s just so hilarious, and who doesn’t love Buddy? For that reason today I am posting a mini celebration of Elf with the Best Bits of Elf–just in case you won’t have a chance to watch the whole movie.

Enjoy!

Video created by TheDokinsai

Caped and Covered

Caped1Being totally covered is reminiscent to our days living in Saudi Arabia–although an outfit like this would hardly count as covering up. Those were an interesting two years in my life when I wore the abaya to cover up my female form. You can assume correctly that I didn’t like the restriction too much. The weather here in Hong Kong is now chilly enough that I do want all my limbs covered up. No heavy coats are needed yet, so that’s why this little capelet is just perfect. I had it made along with my red trench while visiting Mary where she also had a white (Olivia Pope) coat made. For me this little layer is perfect: in fact I wore this exact outfit yesterday, but I swapped out the skirt for a pair of black jeans. It felt like a sophisticated shopping outfit while maintaining comfort. Win win! By the way, are you done with your Christmas shopping? No? Feel free to use my shopping gift guides.

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Nordstrom Gift Gui..


Every year since Kevin and I have been together, he has given me a pair of earrings at Christmas. It started back in December of 1993 when he gave me a beautiful pair of pearl earrings. Each year, I really look forward to seeing which pair I will get. Sometimes he’s paid special attention to what I’ll comment on window shopping; other times he’ll branch out on his own. It doesn’t matter though because each year I always know I’ll get a lovely pair of earrings from Kevin.

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What to Wear!? Dre..

PlaidtoSequinIt’s a common experience: having a day that’s totally packed! And then wondering….what am I going to wear!? This happens especially around the holidays when parties proceed the work day. Today will be that day for me. Ahead of me is a full professional development day as I attend a workshop at the Hong Kong Convention Center. To follow I’ll be attending a holiday party. During the day, I want to look polished and professional while being comfortable. Then at night I want to be a little more festive and fun. Of course for a Christmas party, I just want to wear sequin, yet that’s hardly something for the day…or is it?

Finally, I don’t want to carry around a heavy bag all day; I’m definitely not planning on bringing a little suitcase. I need to think strategically about how to dress for a day with multiple scenarios.

What to wear!?

1. Go with some basics: If I choose a pair of long and wide black slacks and a black blazer, that can be worn all day long and into the night. All I’ll have to do is swap out my shirt.

2. Go for an all day shoe: I won’t want to lug around the extra weight of shoes–I’ll already be carrying my laptop all day. I need to choose a heel that’s comfortable and can be worn from day to night. My platform boots are perfect for this, and since I chose since a long and wide pant, my shoes won’t be visible anyway!

3. Go lightweight: During the day, pair the blazer with a buttoned down shirt. It’s professional looking and with a camisole underneath you’ll stay warm. I’ll throw in my sequin top (folded inward so as not to pull on any of the sequins) at the bottom of the bag to switch out later.

4. Go red: Red is the color of the holidays, so just go with a red lip all day. I’ll bring a black liner to add some POW! to my eyes while maintaining the red lip for the evening.

5. Go simple: I’ll choose a bag that will last from day to night plus I’ll wear some holiday earrings that match both outfits.

Basically, the only thing that makes the day outfit different from the night outfit is the top, and by going lightweight, I’ll barely notice the difference in my bag all day long. I’m going to feel comfortable at both events!

The Formula Just for You: Plaid Shirts and Sequin Tops

For the professional development day choose a plaid shirt to pair with black pants and a black blazer.

 

Then for the holiday party, switch out into a festive sequin top with the black pants and black blazer.

 

Is this post helpful? Would you like more scenarios of what to wear? Just give me a shout! I love figuring out what to wear.

 

Sister Sister

SisterSister2The last Sister Sister post was just about a year ago when Mary and I were in Thailand together over New Years. I cannot reiterate how fortunate I feel having my sister living just two and a half hours away in Shanghai. We’re in the same timezone for one, so we can text and chat whenever. The flights are not too expensive so seeing each other once a quarter seems feasible. During this last trip we had all of Saturday to venture into cute little Shanghai allies like this Chinese lantern filled one in Tiangzifang–a little pedestrian art district. Mary and I are both wearing coats that we had made at the Underground Market at the Science and Technology Museum in Pudong. Mary’s channeling a little Olivia Pope while I continue to feel bold in my red trench.

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Holiday Style: Seq..

Sequin1A while back I declared a fashion fixation for sequin track pants. Well, I never did find a pair–yet! But recently I did find some sequin legging pants. I gasped and then jumped when I saw this silver pair in the window of an HM in Shanghai. I went skipping in and nabbed a pair straight away. I really didn’t even have to try them on; I was sold. Now, I know that sequin pants–legging pants at that, may seem like a far cry for many, but I think there are various ways of dressing this shimmery goodness down. I’ve deomonstrated how in two differentways: first with a white tee and a black blazer/cape OR second with a white fisherman sweater and black scarf. With something as fancy as these pants, you don’t really need much flare on top. Alternatively, a denim shirt could work or even a black sweatshirt. Basically, just let the pants do all the work!

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Travel Wear: Thema..

ICU1When it comes to travel wear, I am a very thematic dresser. When I go to pack for a trip, I usually think of a color scheme and then work around that. For my recent 4 day weekend trip to Shanghai, I went with all black with pops of white or red. Black is one of the easiest color schemes for travel wear. It’s easy, it doesn’t stand out, and it seems to make me feel rather sleek. I wore the same shoes the entire weekend, and since I knew I’d be walking a ton, I packed my trusty combat type booties from my mom. They are so comfortable; they’re like wearing pillows on my feet. Aside from the Louella Odié tote, I also wore a belt bag–no it’s not a fanny pack, but yes it looks similar to one. If you have belt loops, it does slips inside and acts as a belt as well as purse. A belt bag is definitely more cool than a fanny pack. (Of course, it’s all a matter of opinion.) I made sure to have plenty of layers since Shanghai’s weather heats up with the shine of the sun and cools down with the slightest breeze. I kept a scarf tight against my neck the entire time; it offers sure warmth, and in this case that accent of white. And, for the pop of red, I only wore this lipstick the entire weekend. Seriously, travel wear with a theme is the way to go!

ICU2

ICU3

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Some Outfit Details
Red Lippy–Lip Maestro 402
Scarf–Market in Suzhou (while visiting my brother Adrian and wife Kate)
Sweatshirt–Kenzo (similar)
Belt Bag–Topshop
Pleather Skater Skirt–Forever 21
Black Tights–Forever 21
Combat Boots–Dromedaris

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