I Love Hong Kong: Mong Kok

If you know me by now, it’s pretty obvious that I am a devoted Forever 21 shopper junkie. I may be twice as old as 21, but that sure the heck doesn’t stop me. Pretty much over 80% of my wardrobe very well may be from Forever 41–op 21! It used to be when I needed a day to chill out, I’d head down to Causweway Bay (20-30 minutes away) and hit the 6 story Forever 21. With that vacated, if I want my fix, I must head over to Mong Kok for the three story Forever 21 that remains in Hong Kong. That’s ok. I love Mong Kok, and even though it’s a little over an hour away, it’s always fun to head to the chaos.

Mong Kok, a neighborhood on Kowloon side that’s even crazier and busier than any neighborhood on the island. But I love it. I love Mong Kok! I did something very, very different this time around for my I love Hong Kong series: I just brought my camera along with me and simply asked strangers to take my picture. That’s right! I’d walk up to people and ask them to take my picture. Hong Kong folks are pros at the selfie, so it didn’t even phase them when I asked.

I will say that this Forever 21, with its three stories, and despite being in the highly dense Mong Kok, is an amazingly calm Forever 21. I have never had to wait for a dressing room, there’s always space to move about, and even though it’s further away, it’s a very manageable shop. The folks over there even know me!

After a thorough look around my store, I head across the street to check out another favorite of mine: NYX Cosmetics. Again, the girls here are so kind. They always help me find something to buy! (I don’t think it’s too hard. I’m definitely easy bait!!)

Now for some of the cultural and very fun bits of Mong Kok. These are the red packets meant for lai see at Chinese New Year. Let me translate–money! Given to anyone younger than yourself. So, if I were a celebrating CNY with my family, I’d be doling out all the cash! I’m the oldest of five with six nephews and nieces; I’d only receive packets from my folks….

These stores, filled with the goods needed at Chinese New Year, are found all over–all year long. Lai see is also given out at weddings too.

Lots of peeps….

I seriously need to ask someone what these tripods are all about, but this is my guess based on what I witness every time I walk down this street. I think there may be two purposes. First, some of the vendors take pictures for people. But this activity seems rare compared to the next. Tons of people, I mean tons, simply sing their own little karaoke hearts out. It’s rather hilarious–without being disrespectful of course. And some of these folks must have true fans because there are always audiences. I’ll have to investigate a bit more to see if my two theories are correct. Hey, maybe I should try a gig of singing. Just kidding! I’m tone deaf.

This is an example of a building under renovation. The entire site will have bamboo scaffolding built around it. This is a very, very common sight seen all over Hong Kong. For such a modern city, the bamboo scaffolding is always a surprise; but hey, if it works, it works!

There you have it: Mong Kok.
Yes, it has one of my favorite stores, but even so, I love going there anyway. There’s always something new to see and learn about Hong Kong!

Happy Chinese New Year!

Chinese New Year

It’s the Year of the Dog! Happy Chinese New Year!! Remarkably, one of the best things from living overseas (for over 20 years!) has been experiencing all the wonderful festivals and holidays around the world. With three years in Beijing and our sixth year in Hong Kong, we’re on our 9th CNY! It’s such a fun holiday too. First the house gets cleaned and household becomes orderly. What’s not to like about some spring cleaning!? The holiday celebrates new beginnings, so it’s best to start off in a clean way–so to speak. Good health and wealth are the wishes for every year–basically everyone desires a good year. I can agree with that. Family time is the most important; the eldest in a family hosts everyone. Games and candies are out for everyone to enjoy–a majohng table is always going somewhere in the house. (I learned last year and experienced some serious beginner’s luck!) Finally lai see, red packets, are shared. The youngest receive the red envelopes filled with money. These special packets are wide spread since usually someone is usually still the youngest until they are the patriarch and matriarch. There’s usually an aunt or uncle out there though that might still be older than grandma and grandpa–I say this because a recent older taxi driver told us he still gets packets! He was definitely in his late 60s, maybe even 70. Regardless of the money, Chinese New Year is a very special holiday. Happy Year of the Dog!!

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year

Yes to red! It’s an auspicious color for the Chinese, so it’s seen everywhere. I do a lot of shopping after the Christmas and New Year sales. When I saw a table of berets at Niko and … (a super hip Japanese clothing and home store–the Japanese are amazing marketers, click the link), I wasn’t sure which color to go with. There was grey and black, a khaki version, and then a red one on the table that when I put on said, “Go with me!” I couldn’t resist this bright beret, and happily I’m wearing the heck out of it (also seen here in Lan Kwai Fong). This year’s Hong Kong winter has been cold enough for some sort of head topper each day, and I’ll go ahead and admit I’m enjoying all the hat wearing!

Chinese New Year

Do you celebrate Chinese New Year?
Kung Hei Fat Choy!

PS I’m realizing now that this would have been the perfect post to highlight my pooch, Rani! I’ll save that one for another time…

I Love Hong Kong: LKF

The signs on this red wall say, “No posting on this wall.”

For this round’s neighborhood of the I love Hong Kong series, I went with Lan Kwai Fong–also known to locals as LKF. This neighborhood has a split personality: by day it has shops like Cotton On and Sasa, there’s a Starbucks across the way from these two stores, and there are plenty of dining options (although sadly, Boomshack was closed, and it was the main reason we were in the area!). Then by night, this strip on a hill filled with bars, pubs, and clubs, becomes a packed block party. It can be quite fun, but as an educator, one never knows who they might run into, so there’s that. Plus, it’s a bit of a scene–one for the singles. However, I will say, a night out with the girls can end with some fun dancing in this neighborhood (and I’ve never ran into anyone!). Date night is also a possibility: start at a stellar roof top bar head to California tower and cruise up to the Cé la Vie; it’s magical up there amongst the other skyscrapers all perched on the hill. Then have an amazing dining option at Brickhouse, with its fusion of Asian and Mexican–they have the best watermelon salad in town. Don’t expect to make a reservation though; it’s one of those show-up-first get-on-the-list type of places–that have become very popular in Hong Kong. The best thing that I love about LKF is it’s always bustling whether it’s the middle of the day or the middle of the night!

Hey, hey, hey! Look who’s making an appearance! I love that he photobombed me in a bunch of pictures this time around!!

I finally figured out how to wear these touches of scarlet with my red beret and red belt bag. They’re just accents amongst the all black with touches of white. I think it finally worked to wear these two new accessories.

My photographer, Gigi, seriously gets the best shots: look at that lady looking at me as I’m looking extremely dorky. Love it! I had to share it!!

Um…. I wasn’t the only blogger in the neighborhood!

Where would you like to see next? Midlevels or Causeway Bay?!

The Fab 40s are BACK! In Velvet

velvet

The Fab 40s have taken a little four month break, but we’re back, in VELVET! I’m no stranger to the velvet love. In fact, last spring I compiled all the velvet looks I’d created in one single post; there were eight looks in total! Since that post, I’ve continued to add velvet to my closet–here are my green velvet joggers (I got rid of the cami), my blush velvet sweater, my navy turtleneck, and last but not least my pink velvet sneakers. Do I have a thing for velvet? Why yes I do! This blush dress is my newest addition. I especially liked that it could be worn in the tropics. I figured this winter fabric shouldn’t be limited to cold weather, and indeed, this wrap dress was the perfect New Year’s Eve dress!

velvet

velvet

velvet

velvet

Jennie from A Pocketful of Polka Dots

I’ve missed my Fab 40s friends. The break was nice, but the comfort of collaborating with these women each month is much preferred. Jennie chose velvet this month–and for a good reason. We ALL want her floral, navy, velvet suit. It’s on major sale now at the Loft, and she’s invited us all to copy her! She chose velvet for a very good reason, don’t you think!? Also, I love how when I look back at all our Fab 40s post, Jennie is a chameleon with her hair. This color is super fantastic in my opinion!

Suzie Turner

I have two very faithful readers who consistently read each one of my posts and comment: Suzy Turner is one of them, and I am so thankful for her. She is so supportive of me, and I am not quite sure if she knows just how grateful I am for her blogger love. Now she will! Her blog is definitely worthy of adding to your list of reads. Her recent lingerie post is my favorite (you rock it Suzy!), and all the pictures of her in this $6 dollar green velvet (Forever 41) dress will have you swooning. Wow Suzy!

Sheela Writes

When Sheela wrote us a little over a month ago if we were all interested in getting our Fab 40s started again, there wasn’t a one of us who didn’t agree. We were all in. And we needed our fearless leader back at the helm. The force known as Sheela is back! (With a kick ass pair of shoes no less! We know we will always be able to count on Sheela in this arena.)

Curly Byrdie Chirps

Mary’s velvet bootie socks rival Sheela’s in this instance–not to mention Jennie’s purple pumps too. But the star of the show is this stunning pink dress. Mary and her dresses, I’ve missed them. Mary, you could rock a potato sack I am sure of that! And I still would love to be a fly in your dress closet!

The Fab 40s–We’re Back!!

Are you as happy as I am?

Covered Perfectly

covered perfectly

I get pretty excited when a brand reaches out to me–it’s like, “Yes! I’m doing something right!” When a female entrepreneur contacts me, I get even more excited–like with this cozy loden green lounge suit/pajamas. Pauline Durban founded Covered Perfectly when she couldn’t find tops that made her feel good while wearing them. Rather than deal with too short of a sleeve or no tummy coverage, she made a clothing line to suit her needs. She started with just tops in 2013, but since that time her line has extended to pants, skirts, and even dresses. Everything in her line is made from the super cozy fabric called MicroModal–and I can attest that the fabric feels very soft. Not only that, but waking up in something presentable right away made me feel so good–basically like the line totes, I felt covered perfectly! Add a little Lipstick Queen Frog Prince mood lipstick, and I was set–and these shots were literally taken straight out of bed. I mean look at my bedhead!!

covered perfectly

covered perfectly

covered perfectly

I love mood lipsticks. I think it might have to do with my lil’ sis in the sorority I was a part of my first two years of college. Her name was Candice, and she got me hooked on those magic mood lippies from Fran Wilson (this ten pack looks real fun–it’s like a crayon box of mood lipstick goodness!). Do you remember those? Candice had the hottest, coral pink, bright lips back in 1991. I had to have them! Ironically, once we got to Bangkok and I headed to Watsons, I think I pretty much found THE best Magic Lip Balm: it’s a perfect reddish pink, it lasts super long (like the next morning kind of stain!), and the best part is it has an SPF of 30. I’ve linked it to the Thailand store, but I’m on the hunt to see how and where this can be purchased outside of Asia. In fact, I think my hunt for the very best mood lipstick is worth of its post…. What do you think? In fact, the mood lipstick I found tonight while writing this post combines the best of both worlds: metallic AND mood! Yes, it’s in my Amazon shopping cart. Now I just have to decide which color(s)!

covered perfectly

covered perfectly

This post gives proof that I can wake up out of bed and both feel and look pretty good. In my lovely lounge suit from Covered Perfectly with a little mood lipstick there are two other little tricks that make me feel presentable. One, I’ve got a bralette on–that is a must. I’m to busty to go without a bra. The other is the eyelash extensions I’ve got on in these shots. They are so nice to wear–even if they wreak havoc on your eyelashes after they’re gone. (I’m in that stage now. Oh well…)

Please do go check out Pauline’s line of Covered Perfectly. And thank you for the lounge suit/pajamas Pauline!

And guess what?! If you’d like to purchase from Covered Perfectly, add the code AK20 at checkout for 20% off!!

Merry Thai Christmas

Do you remember our trip to the Philippines in October? Remember how I was gushing about the Forever 21 in Clark, Philippines? Well. It was during that trip that I basically purchased all the holiday outfits I’d wear during this winter break holiday to Thailand. When I saw this bright off-the-shoulder red lacy dress, I knew for sure it was going to be my Christmas dress in Thailand. Here in Railay, Krabi, all these decorated longboats serve as the perfect celebratory backdrop. In a spot with no cars–except for an occasional hotel golf cart–these longboats are the mode of transportation. While obviously rickety, they are definitely a fun ride!

I’m about to make a very spoiled statement: I’ve lost track as to how many times we’ve visited this beautiful country. We first came to Thailand in 2000–we think. Back then we were living and working in Saudi Arabia for the airline company’s school; we travelled like banshees on I-90 tickets (in airline speak that means you pay 10% of the ticket but fly standby). We met both of Kevin’s brothers here in Bangkok. (Also within that 2 year time during our employment at the airline company, we also travelled to Hong Kong for the first time and definitely fell in love with our now current home!) Basically ever since living in India, Thailand has been the place we’d go for some luxurious yet affordable comforts. And yes, each trip always seems to end with some awesome shopping for Annie in Bangkok. (This trip we’re on will be no different!) The extremely special part of this trip is my sister is here! We spent two days with them already on their sailboat, and tomorrow we meet her and her family in Chiangmai Mai. (For moment to moment details follow my Instagram stories!)

Here’s my silver fox photographer. While he refuses to let me take videos of him, he’s really getting into the selfie these days. I guess, when I think back on our 20+ relationship, he’s always been up for a selfie–even before that’s what they were called!

Have you been to Thailand?

What sort of things would you like to see while I’m here?

What I Really Wore to the Christmas Party

Christmas party

Goodness, I’m sure you’re wondering what I wore to my Christmas party. This is always such a busy time of year, and unfortunately my blog is getting the brunt of it being ignored and all. I do apologize for that that. On Friday I posted two Christmas party outfits, and guess what!? I went with neither. Instead, I pulled out my sparkly holiday dress, and I wore this to the Christmas party. I felt very cute and upbeat. The only drawback that bothered me was the nylons I chose–they were not sheer enough. Also, the lights at the venue were on full brightness, so I kind of wish I would have chosen different sneakers. Oh well… I did feel good though which in turn helped me to have a much better time than last year’s Christmas party. Isn’t it funny how what we wear can have such an effect on how we feel–at least it does for me.

Christmas party

This Christmas party frock was picked up in Bali of all places. Crazy I know, but when we went a few Christmases ago, there was a fantastic mall where I picked up this smashing number for under $15 USD. I had never been into a New Look store, but I can tell you I liked it. Do you have New Look where you live? It’s a South African brand that was new to me. Although we don’t have a New Look in HK, they do deliver here, so that’s more good NEWS!!

Christmas party

Christmas party

Christmas party

What will you be wearing to your Christmas party?
The next Christmas party I attend will be in the jungle of Chang Mai. We head to Thailand this Saturday! I can hardly wait. My sister and her family will be joining us, so it is sure to be a very, very special Christmas this year! And definitely filled with more Christmas parties…. I’ll make sure to keep you updated, but the best place to follow along the fun will be on my Instagram account.

This post has been linked to Samantha’s #fakeituntilyoumakeit.

What to Wear to the Christmas Party?

For this year’s Christmas party I am determined to LOVE my outfit. Last year, I went to my school’s Christmas party, and I hated, absolutely hated what I was wearing. This may sound silly, but not being comfortable and confident in what I was wearing had an impact on my attendance. I didn’t have as much fun, I never really felt at ease, and I was preoccupied with my personal distaste for what I was wearing. This time around, I’m determined to love what I’m wearing to tonight’s Christmas party. I know if I’m comfortable and feel good, I will in turn have a much better time. I’ve put together two very different looks; I thought I’d ask for your help….Which outfit do you think I should wear to tonight’s Christmas party?

Option A: Christmas Plaid w/ a Sequin Mini

Here’s the thing about a night out for me: I can’t wear heels. Yes, you may see them every now and again here on Kremb de la Kremb, but it’s usually for a styled post–like Wednesday. I wore my sparkly black booties, yet I would be able to wear those for a four hour plus night. I just can’t do it–yet! (Never say never right!?) So, footwear comes first, and it might as well be gold. I also want to be dressy and of course Christmas-y. So, here I’ve taken my favorite Christmas plaid shirt and paired it with a blush sequin skirt. I think this outfit incorporates just enough glam while assuring comfort at the Christmas party.

This little reindeer ring comes out at Christmas time. When I spotted it at a swap, I scooped it up, knowing it would join the other holiday baubles in my holiday wear box.

Option B: Black Velvet Suit w/ a Sequin Top

I repeatedly state how half of my holiday wear box is filled with items picked up after the holiday season. This is the case here: the black velvet suit I had my eye on all winter at Zara but only bought it once it was on sale. The same went for the H&M top and was a lucky find. It was just one piece randomly left behind, and I snatched it as fast as I could. For sure I feel much better in this bright pink lip color which makes me make a mental note that those dark burgundy colors don’t work as well on me. Again, I chose comfy footwear; these are my winking kids’ shoes from the girl department at Target. It’s guaranteed I’d be comfortable wearing these sparkly shoes all night. Tennis with a suit reminds me of Ellen–if she can pull it off, maybe I can too.

Aren’t these earrings perfect for this top? Ironically they are also from H&M but just this season. It’s as if the two were made for one another, but there’s about three years in between….

What should I wear to the Christmas Party?

I’d like you to help me decide. Which outfit do you prefer? The more casual with the Christmas plaid blinged up with some sequins? Or do you prefer the black velvet suit with over the top sparkles? Please help me get dressed for my Christmas party tonight!

(This post has been linked to Samantha’s #fakeituntilyoumakeit.)

What should I wear to my Christmas Party?

Christmas Plaid with Sequin Skirt
Black Velvet Suit with Sequin Top

Quiz Maker

This post has been linked to Samantha’s #fakeituntilyoumakeit.

This post has been linked to Samantha’s #fakeituntilyoumakeit.

This post has been linked to Samantha’s #fakeituntilyoumakeit.

Christmas Plaid Shirt Layered

Christmas Plaid Shirt

I tried mixing up my Christmas plaid shirt again. This time I layered it under a velvet pant co-ord I picked up at the end of holiday season sales last winter. Here’s the thing: I’ll give things a try. These green velvet pants are perfect: they’re comfy, a beautiful color, and on constant repeat. The matching top, well, it’s not going to work for me. I’ve seen other bloggers style their camisoles like this with such ease, but on me I just feel terribly un-chic–the opposite of what I was after. Luckily, getting rid of this top isn’t such a big deal since I got it for a steal. The pants however, they’re winners! And we all know how much I love the Christmas plaid shirt. Stay tuned for Friday. I plan to style it in the way I’d like to wear it to our Christmas party this Friday. Can you guess what I’ll pair it with?

Christmas Plaid Shirt

Christmas Plaid Shirt

Christmas Plaid Shirt

Christmas Plaid Shirt

Christmas Plaid Shirt

Are you able to wear this camisole style?

Christmas Plaid on Plaid<

Like a lot of people, I especially appreciate the styling of J.Crew. It seems for the last three years, they’ve been pairing Christmas plaid on plaid. Well, I finally decided to give it a go. My mind went through so many thoughts. Here the are in sequential order:

1. The family was shopping at the mall when I spotted these red Christmas plaid pants in the window. I knew the moment I saw those pants I had to have them. After coffees at Starbucks I split to HM. And yes! They had my size. I didn’t think twice and bought these pants.

2. The outfit is on and hmmmm, this is a bit much. No one in the family wants to be seen with me. I guess I’m not really a J.Crew model. I look kinda silly.

3. Oh this is going to look great. These HM plaid pants with my J.Crew christmas plaid shirt. Perfection. Throw in the penny loafers. I’m set for J.Crew.

4. Doesn’t matter. I’m going to shoot this look. Gigi can meet me at the green wall.

5. I’m taking pictures and I’m working it. Gigi can get me to smile just the way I need to regardless if I look silly or not.

6. Gigi and I are in the elevator together. “Mommy, I like this outfit.” Really! Say what?

7. Hmm, maybe it just taking some getting used to….

What do you think? Can I get away with Christmas plaid on plaid?

This post has been linked to Samantha’s #fakeituntilyoumakeit.