We are Open Water Certified


The family are making the blog today because this past spring break we did something really incredible: the four of us became open water certified scuba divers. Wow! The sea is so incredibly–literally and figuratively–breathtaking so thank goodness for that tank on our backs. Scuba diving used to be something Kevin and I had both said the “n” word to (never). Basically we remembered our ninny days of snorkeling in Saudi Arabia, and the thought of going under water for up to 50 minutes at a time was terrifying. But then, Interim came along. (That’s the high school trip that Vincent went on this year during March.) One of the options he mentioned interest in was a scuba trip, and we said, “No way!” Kevin and I thought to ourselves: if he’s going scuba diving, we’re also going scuba diving. Well, we kept to our word! For spring break we went back to Bohol, Philippines, (we went out first year in Hong Kong in 21013 for spring break), but this time we got open water certified with Alex at Tropical Divers. This is an understament: it was amazing!!

[Read more…]

Being a Mother


I’m not sure what’s going on with me, but I’ve been thinking a ton lately about being a mother. I mean, I’ve been a mom for 16 years now, and I have never been one to overthink it; I just do it. But, with Vincent turning 15 this past Sunday, for some reason I’ve been thinking about it a ton these days. Here’s the main thought that goes through my head: I only have three more years with Vincent under my roof. I have limited time wherein my reach might meet him. It’s not like I believe I can make him a certain way, but my time of influence with my son is definitely fleeting. I recently took a personality test. One of the questions focused on the character trait of intelligence verses kindness. I most definitely, strongly answered that I want my children to be kind over smart. I’ve always felt that. Now with three years to go, I’m bustlin’ my mommy buns to make sure I can raise a gentlemen. These have been my thoughts on being a mother lately. But there’s more….


Thinking about being a mother has always left me in thoughts about how I am being a daughter. I’m guilty of not being very good. I should write home more, call home more, reach out more. Over the weekend Kevin made a phone call home to his mom. First I thought, “Gosh, I hope my son calls home when he does move away.” Then, I was left with such guilt because I don’t call home very often. So being a mother has left me realizing I need to be a daughter–a good one. Ironically, yes it is Mother’s Day this weekend, but all these overly deep thoughts on mothering, they are being brought on by the two men in my life. My husband who is very dear to his mum all the time, and my son whom I hope very much takes after his father. And as for me, I need to do better and reach out to my mom–Mother’s Day or not!!


These pictures were taken during our spring break trip to Bohol, Philippines, and there’s really no correlation between these pictures and my thoughts on being a mother. Yet, in the above picture, I especially feel like I look so much like my mom. It’s like I’m identical to her or something. And then lately, the way I interact with strangers, wanting to know more about them and reaching out to make connections with people, I’m reminded again of my mother. She’s just like that making friends with the cashier at the super market or the seat neighbor on a plane. I’m a lot like my mom–both in looks and demeanor. It’s time I embrace these similarities and take pride in them especially since I admire my mom—A LOT!


(By the way…. since I attempt to fashiong blog over here on Kremb de la Kremb, I’ll offer some details on what I’m wearing. This $15 dress was perfect for sunsets on the beach. I highly recommend it because for the price, it’s a real winner–plus wearing white after a day in the sun is always a complimentary look. I was quite happy with this lippy (Cannes lip matte by NYX) that I brought–again it was the perfect shade for after a day in the sun. Finally, my earrings were a total score in one of my favorite shops in the New Delhi airport. I went back to get them because I couldn’t stop thinking about them. They remind me of something Kelly Framel, The Glamourai, would wear, and she’s just the coolest of all cool. And finally, because all the best flip flops are found in beach markets, the pair I’m wearing were picked up in Bohol’s little beach town. There’s my style update for this memorable sunset night!)

*This post has been linked up to Not Dressed As Lamb’s #iwillwearwhatilike.

The Twentieth Wife

The Twentieth Wife
I knew for my two week trip through Rajasthan that the perfect book to read would be The Twentieth Wife by Indu Sundaresan. I had already read this book while living in India–and the sequel too, The Feast of Roses. Both are so beautiful depicting the life of Mehrunnisa and the love story–no triumph might be a better word–she experienced with the Mughal Emperor Jahangir. All the descriptions of life in the harem, behind those intricate laced walls, depict women as quite powerful, especially Mehrunnisa. She set her sights on her conquest and didn’t stop until him and her goal were captured. Mehrunnisa was the the last empress of the Mughal Empire, and she was Jahangir’s last and twentieth wife. For an exciting, political, cultural, and romantic story that transports the reader to a sultry and mysterious place and enchanting time in Indian history both of Sundarresan’s books, The Twentieth Wife and The Feast of Roses, are definitely worth reading. I love them both and feel like a MaharAnnie myself while reading them–especially while traveling through magical Rajasthan where all the history happened.

How do you choose books for when you travel? Can you recommend a book to me?

The Twentieth Wife

The Twentieth Wife

The Twentieth Wife

The Twentieth Wife

*This post has been linked up to #iwillwearwhatilike.

Reminiscing 


I feel like reminiscing….Was it really two months ago when I was trapesing around Rajasthan, India. I want to take a moment to relive that trip. It’s funny: I’m at an educational conference this weekend  where the world becomes quite small and one’s experiences get shared. I am always so proud to say that I lived in Mumbai–or rather Bombay as I prefer to call it. Those five years from from 2004-2009 have made such an impact in my life: so much so that I feel part Indian inside. Without getting too religious, I had an interesting conversation with my daughter recently. She was telling me that I had to give God (the Catholic one) all my devotion. She claimed it wasn’t possible to go halvies with Ganesha and Jesus. I simply listened; I didn’t attempt to argue with a 13 year old. But, I definitely don’t agree. Does that make me pagan? We’re saving this question for my mom–the lady who was a nun for five years and can get quite philosophical just like her granddaughter. The point is, how could I not have many gods after witnessing 20 years of different cultures and religions? This summer will mark 20 years married, 20 years overseas. After six countries and so much travel all over the world, I’ve got all sorts of ways of praying and many deities that receive those prayers. I think this is ok. Hopefully, one day, my daughter may think the same. One thing for sure that is a commonality that I find amongst all the religions I know of is Confucius’ Golden Rule: “Do not impose on others what you do not wish for yourself.” With this rambling reminiscing I’ll end by wishing you a great day and an even better weekend!

[Read more…]

Blushing MaharAnnie

Blushing MaharAnnie 8One of the best outfits is pairing winter with spring. That’s what the weather was like in India, and soon around the Northern Hemisphere, we’ll all be pulling out our cutoffs to pair with our blushing sweaters. I promised this week on the blog would be filled with this blushing pink color, and I’ve held to it. First I paired leather and lace in the blush tones on Monday; then on Wednesday I styled my holiday velvet blush dress with a denim tuxedo. Now here’s another round of pics where I play the part of a blushing MaharAnnie. Oh, the palaces in Rajasthan–they just don’t quit! They’re everyhwere, and I am not kidding. Here, I matched my setting and tried to emulate one of my favorite style influencers, Shalice Noel. She’s been forever taking her baggy sweaters and pulling them to one side. I told her I’d give it a try, and I have to say, I like the effect very much. So did my Instagram followers when I did the same in an every day life pic found here. When I asked Shalice if she simply just stretched out the neck of the sweater and pulled it to the side, she said, “Yep!” Give it a try….

Blushing MaharAnnie 7

Blushing MaharAnnie 4

Blushing MaharAnnie 1

Blushing MaharAnnie 2

Wanna Be Blushing Too?

I found some very pretty (and rather economical) options for you if you two would like to be a blushing rani!

Blushing MaharAnnie 3

Blushing MaharAnnie 6

PS Here’s a link to my blushing velvet sandals if you would like those too! (They are only $25 USD!)

*This post has been linked to Not Dressed As Lamb’s #iwillwearwhatilike.

Forever MaharAnnie (And Ways for You to be a Princess Too!)

MaharAnnie 15This week has been MaharAnnie week. But, if I’m honest, I don’t really need to be in an idealic location like Rajasthan to believe I’m a princess. Basically it’s a mindset for me. I mean, I’m not overly spoiled, but my husband and my family treat me very well. I am definitely a clothes horse, but I don’t have luxurious labeled items (except for my Louis Vuitton bag!) I don’t own a car, I live in a very small apartment, and I’m a teacher. Yet, I still try to live a decadent life. Today, with another set of pictures where I played the royal part, I wanted to share some of the ways I like to imagine I’m a princess in my daily life. It really comes down to some very simple things:

  • I love a bath. Bubbles make it even better. I like to light a candle, pour a glass of wine, and treat myself to a little alone time in the tub. I usually either read or listen to a book. My bath routine takes no longer than 30 minutes, but it makes me feel special.
  • I grab my iPad and a soda water. I pile the pillows high on my bed and surround myself with comfort. My furry blanket is ready at my feet, and again a candle is lit. Then, I just surf the Internet. I look at blogs, I window shop online, I binge watch The Affair (btw, when will Netflix update season 3?!), and now I’ve started to find some fun YouTube channels. Alternatively, and again, I’ll immerse myself in a good book. But, the key here is my bed. I love my bed. I adore the horizontal position. After work, it’s safe to bet, that either a bath or a cozy lie in bed have occurred. Either one of these activities helps me unwind.
  • Another little luxury, that a real royal would have done for her, is doing my nails. They are continually in awful shape. They split and crack (so if you have a solution to my issues, please let me know), yet taking the time to give myself a manicure makes me feel good. It’s like a personal splurge, similar to the bath. In fact, it often takes place during the luxury mentioned up above on my bed. I don’t really care that my nails aren’t worthy of polish, but the act of polishing them makes me feel like a proper princess.
  • For most people, shopping may be torture; for me, it is a day of bliss! The funny thing is, I don’t even need to purchase all that much. But walking around, and window shopping, and checking out new alleys filled with different shops…oh the thrill! And if I have $1000 HKD ($128 USD) in my wallet, all the better! Again, a princess, nor queen, is usually after a good deal, but this MaharAnnie is!
  • A proper princess would never do this as all her meals are made for her, but, when I want to feel extra special, I cook. Planning the meal, purchasing the ingredients, chopping it all up, and then making the meal for my family, are a joy for me. I don’t do it enough. But, when I do, I feel awfully special.
  • What do you do to feel special?

    These are six little ways that make my simple life feel a little more royal. I am no princess or queen, but in my mind I am a MaharAnnie. What do you do in your daily life that makes you feel more special?

    MaharAnnie 13

    MaharAnnie 14

    MaharAnnie 16

    MaharAnnie 11

*Aside from Rawla Narlai, there is another stop that we always insist on for any trip to Rajasthan: the town is Udaipur and the haveli to stay at is Amet Haveli–another spot to completely and utterly feel like a proper princess!

A Must Stop in Rajasthan: Rawla Narlai

Rawla Narlia 1There is one place we always tell travelers to India that they must go: Rajasthan and in particular, Rawla Narlai. Rawla Narlai is a heritage hotel in the village of Narlai, and it is the old hunting lodge of the king of Jodhpur. (In fact, while we were there, the owner of the lodge, who is considered the king of Narlai, came by for a visit. See below for evidence.) It is rare to make a hotel an actual destination, but there are so many magical experiences at this hotel that make it worth a vital addition to any Rajasthan tour. First, it’s location is perfect: it’s situated between two other must visit cities, Udaipur and Jodhpur. Car is the mode of travel in this area, so any way to break up the trip is gratefully accepted. When you arrive to Rawla Narlai, you really feel like you’ve stumbled onto an old, Mogul home. Everything about this heritage hotel is serene: the lush landscape, the quintessential rooms, luxe sitting areas everywhere you look, and impeccable treatment by the hotel staff. Ask for Lala. He will take you on a village tour at dusk, and you’ll have a chance to really see how Rajasthani folk live. If you want those silver anklets that the village women wear, he’ll take you to the local silversmith (I haven’t taken mine off yet!). The moment we arrived, humble Lala even remembered us and still had the picture of him carrying Gigi all around when she was just a little toddler. When we were deciding where to travel in India for our three week tour, returning to this magical spot is what steered our vacation to Rajasthan. I love Rawla Narlai–so much! I hope one day to mimic a courtyard just like their’s and spend my days reading and drink nimbu pani (sweet lime water)!

Rawla Narlia 2

Rawla Narlai 4

Rawla Narlia 3

Rawla Narlai 5

Rawla Narlai
Village Narlai, Rajasthan, India
Tel : + 91 2934 260443
Fax : +91 2934 260596
Email : crs@rawlanarlai.com

*Aside of the dusk tour through the village, there are other options in this countryside stay. But I’ll leave that for a later post….

Blue Velvet and Blue Walls

blue-velvet-8Blue velvet with blue walls….awww, fixes everything–at least this blue velvet shirt does. This velvet shirt was on pretty constant repeat during our family trip through Rajasthan, India. The temps wavered in the morning and at night; plus there’s constant shade from palace and fort corridors. This particular velvet shirt is now gone, but I’ll tell you what: I am not through with velvet. I love the material, so therefore I have been stocking up. I already posted my black velvet suit with plaid and a black velvet dress, the crushed red velvet dress plus the blush wrap dress, yet I’ve got more up my sleeve–both literally and figuratively. May I give you a shopping tip please? Now that the holidays are over, all the velvet options are on serious discount, so stock up now. I know I am!

blue-velvet-7

Now let me tell you about this alleyway filled with blue walls looking like blue velvet because it is very special to me. When we lived in Inida, there was a repeat tour, much beloved like this velvet shirt, that we took many, many times. We’d start in Udaipur–which we had done on this trip to celebrate Christmas in the Lake City. From Udaipur we would always go to Rawla Narlai, a hunting lodge in the village of Narlai. Like years before, Lala was there to meet us, and he still remembers Gigi. He mentioned the treasured picture we gave him of the two of them. At dusk, Lala would always take us on a village walk, and when we requested it for this visit, he didn’t hesitate to take us. The village is the same, as if it has frozen in time, with the villagers being as kind as they’ve always been. Some things have changed like the renovation of their Jain temple, but that was about it. When I saw these two blue walls just outside the hotel, I felt inspired to match it. I grabbed the blue velvet shirt and my Indian tee with two elephants and a peacock. I pulled out my gold skirt and sparkly boots. I figured these were all the magical colors I saw in the walls and in the village. It wasn’t too hard to try to match one of my favorite spots in all of India: Rawla Narlai. (I’ll make sure to post an actual hotel post eventually–especially since it’s always the must stop that we tell people to make when they ravel to Rajasthan!)

blue-velvet-6

blue-velvet-13

blue-velvet-9

blue-velvet-11

*I linked up this post to Not Dressed as Lamb’s #iwillwearwhatilike twice! Catherine has been named as the best blogger in the 40 year age group by Who What Wear! That’s somethin’!! I also linked up to Pleated Poppy‘s What I Wore and Elegantly Dressed and Stylish‘s Turning Heads.

Just What the Doctor Ordered

just-what-the-doctor-ordered-6
Oh wow! I can’t believe it’s already October 18, and I have only posted on Kremb de la Kremb one other time this month back on October 3rd. I guess I needed to take a break–just what the doctor ordered! There was a time with this blog that I was posting every single day, Monday through Friday by 6:30 am (look at my archives for 2014 and 2015 for proof!). I can’t believe how I did that! Then, after some time of doing that, I just couldn’t keep up. I switched to Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, this time posting in the evenings; the kids did their homework while I blogged. Now, goodness, looks as if I’m lucky if I write a post once a week. But, you know what? I’m forgiving myself. I do have a full time day job and a family to care for. As much as I dream of the Kremb de la Kremb blog and brand being my job, the reality is it isn’t. And just recently, while away on a family vacation, I could have used the luxurious time to catch up, but again, I didn’t. Instead I watched the kids surf, I took long walks with my husband on the beach, and I read a book–because that’s what one should do on a vacation, right? Something has shifted in me since I’ve received Pinky, my artificial hip. I’m feeling more relaxed and less pressured. Oh, I’ll keep blogging for sure: I adore the creativity this blog allows me. But I need to apologize to you my reader because unfortunately I cannot promise a guaranteed schedule any longer. I want to write when inspired and not when forced; therefore I recommend signing up right here to the right in my sidebar for an email notification when you’d like to know if there’s a new post over here on Kremb de la Kremb. Oh, by the way, I can give you advance heads up that there will be one on Thursday! Wink wink. After some relaxation, my creative mind is working–just what the doctor ordered!

just-what-the-doctor-ordered-8

just-what-the-doctor-ordered-1

just-what-the-doctor-ordered-4

just-what-the-doctor-ordered-9

*These pictures were shot on a beautiful Phuket beach called Kata. We stayed at a lovely little hotel called The Boathouse, one I totally recommend. Visiting this beach during August, September, and October is perfect for surfers. Yes, we had some drizzles here and there along with plenty of sun, but rain on a beach is still quite lovely!

USS Midway

USS Midway 6
Just in time for Labor Day, here is one last summer post from our trip to San Diego where we spent some time aboard the USS Midway. I’ve mentioned how great the trip was from sunsets on La Jolla Beach to alone time and date nights with Kevin. We cruised along promenades on bikes and watched surfers and seals on the rugged beach. Summer is so long gone now–we’ve been back in Hong kong since August 4th (Kevin July 30th!), and the Hong Kong rainy season is definitely settling in. Gone are days at the beach and long gone are days our at our summer cabin. This is the last series of pictures from our time in San Diego, but the memories are here for keeps. One of the best things we do at the start of each summer is take a little trip with Kevin’s folks. They happen to be our very best travel partners with half exploration and the other half sitting around looking for the next ice cream shop. I feel lucky that we are able to travel so much with my in-laws; this sort of bond doesn’t happen for everyone. Enjoy these pics from our touring upon the USS Midway, and if by chance you copy this same itinerary, make sure to eat at Puesto afterward–best darn tacos in all of San Diego! (Ask for the kitchen special!)

USS Midway 3

USS Midway 4
Of course I caught a candid of Gigi in front of a wall of her very favorite color: GREEN!

USS Midway 13
Wild Zuper Junior and Wild Zuper Senior (apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!)

USS Midway 19
“Danger” meaning stick your arm in all the way to find out why….!

USS Midway 18

USS Midway 1
Busted–I did match my outfit to both the tour of the USS Midway and the taco stop at Puesto later on. I can’t help it. I like to match my occasions!

USS Midway 9

USS Midway 11
I guess we really can’t fault him: another example of the apple not falling very far from the tree!

USS Midway 17

*This post has been linked up to Sheela Writes.