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?!

I Love Hong Kong: Wan Chai

I’ve been missing out on something, something with a whole lot of potential: Hong Kong! So many times I find an interesting wall and then use that as my backdrop. Well, there’s so much more to this city than it’s cool, grungy walls. For this reason, I’m starting a new series today called “I love Hong Kong”–which is so completely true. Pretty much every weekend we venture out into the city, and I always dress up, so I’ve decided to share the neighborhoods I love in this great, bustling, and actually very tiny island city.

My “I Love Hong Kong” series starts with a neighborhood called Wan Chai. Historically it was known as the spot for the sailors to go to when they came to port. Sadly a red light district still exists, but it’s easy to avoid that area. An extremely great book to detail this part of Hong Kong is a story called The World of Suzie Wong by Richard Mason.

Basically there’s this very busy street called Queen’s Road that runs through the northern part of the island. When you’re on Queen’s Road East you can pretty much head north toward the waterfront onto any one of the alleys and find bustling markets and funky store fronts. Now that the neighborhood has experienced gentrification in multiple places, the café, restaurant, and bar options are super fun to explore. The tram runs through Wan Chai, and there’s an MTR stop as well. It’s one of our favorite neighborhoods to explore because there’s something always new–or often quite old, to stumble upon.

This bamboo…it’s actually scaffolding. Yes, the Hong Kongers use bamboo that scales stories and stories upward into the sky, and the bamboo creates the scaffolding. Next time I’m out and about, I’ll make sure to take a building covered in scaffolding.

Yes, sequin mini skirts are great for New Years Eve, but in my opinion they’re also great for Saturdays around the town. Why not! I feel like life, even little daily, mundane Saturdays can be elevated with a little sparkle. I don’t relegate my sequin options to special events. Rather, I like to make a day strolling out and about in the city a special day. Why not make the best of the best, right?!

By chance we have found our optical store in Wan Chai. They are the sweetest folks in this little store. Part of this past Saturday’s venture was to get my prescription updated. Awww, I can see again! I’ve been needing to purchase new contacts, and the world is now visible to me again–thanks to the gentlemen at Wing Kwong Optical (Shop IC, G/F, Newman House; 35-45 Johnston Road; Wan Chai, Hong Kong).

I’m always happy touring around with Gigi!

I love Hong Kong!
Shall I continue with more posts like this highlighting the city I call home?

Clockenflap, 2017

clockenflap

Oh I love Clockenflap! It’s such a fun weekend!! From listening to cool tunes to people watching cool folks, the weekend is a thrill for me. This time around I brought my little point and shoot and took over 600 pictures. Eeek! I know. I’ve chosen just 40 for this post, so if you want to skip, no hard feelings. But, if you enjoy people watching as much as me, keep reading….

clockenflap

clockenflap

Cashmere Cat was RAD! He’s so cool to watch. Both Kevin and I turned to one another and said how we could see Gigi up there doin’ that sort of thing.

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Spirit Lake in Hong Kong

Spirit-Lake-in-HK

When I stopped in to see Bob at Thunder Ridge on Main Street of Spirit Lake this summer, he told me how great it was for his shop to be featured on Kremb de la Kremb last summer. That made me feel so good, and of course I volunteered to highlight this little t-shirt/gift shop from Spirit Lake again. Yet, this time, I wanted to put a new spin on it: I figured I should bring my Spirit Lake tee to Hong Kong and show it off here in the metropolitan town where I live. The two places found could not be more more opposite–and not just geographically speaking! I wore it just the other day when the whole family took a trip to Causeway Bay for some errands mixed in with bowling and finishing with dinner. This time around I paired my fashion forward tee (heehee!) with some sequin shorts–why not darling!? I don’t have any problem wearing sequin for a casual day; in fact I like to think wearing sequin on a casual day elevates my entire day’s experience. I feel this way often–as seen here, here, here, and here! There are two vital things to know about my style: I’m going to be comfortable but I’m also going to feel great! That means pairing things like Spirit Lake t-shirts and Old Skool Vans with short black, sparkly, sequin shorts! Why not Darling!? I have t-shirts that stay out at Spirit Lake and some that stay here in Hong Kong. I’m glad I brought this Thunder Ridge tee back with me. What do you think of Spirit Lake in Hong Kong Bob? Doesn’t it suit HK!!?

Spirit-Lake-in-HK

Spirit-Lake-in-HK

Spirit-Lake-in-HK

Spirit-Lake-in-HK

Spirit-Lake-in-HK

Do you save sequin items for only fancy events?
Or do you wear them casually like me?

Kremb de la Kremb Designs


Wouldn’t it be amazing to be an actual designer? I can remember when I read my first Vogue magazine… I was probably about 14 years old, and I would draw pictures from what I saw. Aside from daydreams of becoming a designer, I also had thoughts of working for the actual magazine. These thoughts were only in my head; they never escaped my lips. I was a small town girl, the oldest of five kids. There were expectations of me to go to college, but for what I was never really sure. A job in the fashion industry remained as a silent dream, and luckily I found another passion in literature. I wouldn’t have known how to articulate those fashion whims even if I had tried. I don’t have any regrets–my path of life has been extremely wonderful, and it has been with my literature degree that I was then able to become a teacher. With Kevin by my side we’ve accomplished one of our joint dreams which is living abroad. And now at 45 years old, I feel so fortunate to be embracing some of those old, younger self dreams that I only thought of with wonder.

This past Saturday Kremb de la Kremb designed (again) for the high school fashion show. (The first time was two years ago with five formal dresses.) This time around I made ten embellished bandana kerchiefs. I have enough jewellery to fill a treasure chest, so I simply adorned the scarves with costume jewellery that wasn’t being worn. My tailor Yee helped to hand sew them on. Now, tomorrow night, I’ll attempt to sell them with a spring shopping party at my home with three other ladies. Sue will be showcasing her jewellery line, Maria will be sharing her dresses (or frocks!), and Lauren will bring along the Louella Odié handbags she and her mother create. I’ll share my bandanas and I’ll also introduce Younique makeup to the guests. If you are one of my Hong Kong readers, and you would like to join us tomorrow night, please feel free to come on over. Here’s the evite; we’d love to shop with us at this Spring Shopping Party!

*By the way, I designed this jean jacket. I’d love to make more. All you have to do is ask, and I’ll tailor make one just for you.

Bolero Jacket from Get Redressed


Finding second hand in Hong Kong isn’t the easiest. We have the chain of stores called Mee & Gee–which is great for jeans (for example the Levi’s in these shots are from there), but all of Mee & Gee’s clothing comes from Korea and Japan, so the sizes are always quite small for my full figure. About twice a year though, there’s a great sale called Get Redressed, and the clothing is always both high quality and in more Western (plus) sizes. That’s where I got this smashing bolero jacket. It was love at first sight; then when I slipped it on I was sold. Ironically, the dress from Monday’s fairytale princess post was also from the same Get Redressed pop-up. However it wasn’t until I got home that I realized I had to have that dress! I experienced shopper’s remorse. Luckily with a phone call made the next morning, and a detailed explanation of the cute Kate Spade rhinestone collar dress, plus a very kind husband to go retrieve it, I had the dress the very next day! Ahhh, second-hand shopping… I do love it! I have to be honest though: I miss the availability of large US thrift stores like Goodwill, Value Village, or Savers (which I’ve actually never been to, but I plan to visit one this summer while in California). I love meandering through the large aisles of those gigantic stores pushing along a shopping cart. It’s the hunt and then the score. For now, while in Hong Kong, I’ll enjoy Mee & Gee and anticipate the next Get Redressed. When is it by the way?!

Do you like thrift stores? What’s your favorite one? My favorite is the Value Village on Boone Street in Spokane, Washington. It’s not too big and not too small. It’s just right!

I was Featured on Rug Lane!

Here I am in head-to-toe Kremb de la Kremb DIY for Rug Lane!

I’ve been talking a lot about Rug Lane lately. From the market they just held this past weekend to their feature on me–yes! Rug Lane featured me as an HK “City Slicker” a couple of weeks ago. This was such a huge compliment and honor! They also showcased one of my all time favorite DIYs: my easy to make off-the-shoulder striped dress. The founder of Rug Lane, Billie-Grace, came over one afternoon, and I just talked and talked and talked. Her focus for me interview was my DIY–what inspires me and how I go about my DIY projects. Basically, I was giddy because I was able to have a show and tell about all my DIY creations. Telling stories about my style is one of my favorite things to do which creates a premise for this blog. Along with trying to inspire others, I really love stories behind stylistic choices. The other great thing about Rug Lane featuring me was making a new friend: Billie-Grace. She’s the sweetest individual with two jobs as well–one of the paying variety and the other her passion which is Rug Lane. I do encourage to go take a look at the ezine. It’s filled with great music lists, style inspiration, and Hong Kong happenings, yet because of her mission, to make it a global site, there’s no limitation to HK. It’s an everywhere anywhere everyone kinda online magazine, and I love it. Please go visit! Also, make sure to follow Rug Lane on Facebook and Instagram.

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Rug Lane Markets

over the top

These totally hot Isabel Marant booots. They’re the sexiest shoes I own!

If you’ve been following along on my Insta Stories, you will have now been able to presume that the Kremb de la Kremb Closet has received a serious cleaning! On March 5th, this coming Sunday, Rug Lane will be hosting its 2nd market. While I attended the last one in the fall, I’ll be selling at this one. I’ve purchased my clothing rack, and I’ve seriously cleared out my closet. In this post I’m highlight just 20 of the things that will be up for grabs. Feel free to multiply this number by 10–maybe even more because currently I have four suitcases full of Kremb de la Kremb Style to sell.

I hope to see you at the Rug Lane Markets, Vol. 2 from 12-5, this Sunday at 19 Old Bailey Street in Central. Tickets to attend are being sold for $40HKD on Ticketflap; at the door the entrance fee will be $50. They’ll be drinks and nibbles and tons of people like me selling their wares. Last time I went, I did very well. For those of you in Hong Kong missing the second-hand experience, this is definitely an event for you. I hope to see you there this Sunday!

PS For those of you who cannot attend, please do let me know if there’s anything you’ve seen of mine that you like. I am very generous to my readers!!

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