The Fab 40s in Gingham

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The Fab 40s are back at it!! This month we all pulled off the very popular spring trend gingham in some way or another. Ironically, four out of the five of us had some sort of gingham shirt, so in this post, you can see four very different ways to style the gingham shirt that is probably already in your closet–including an attempt to turn a shirt into a skirt–say what!? Finally, we could count on one of all gals to rock a pair of out-of-this-world gingham heels–maybe not so frequent in everyone’s closet but still totally rock-able! The Fab 40s–Jane, Dixie, Dawn, Sheela, and myself–bring you a hot trend each month and show you five different (fabulous) ways to style the look. Here’s our March take with the marsala, the color of the year, April’s look with jumpsuits, and now this May with gingham. Enjoy!

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Jane’s Outfit Details:

My Midlife Fashion

Shirt–Zara (borrowed from mum!)
Necklace–bought at antique fair
Bag–Zara
Jeans–Zara
Shoes–Boden

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Dixie’s Outfit Details:

Inside Outer Style

Shirt and Jeans–H&M
Jacket–Free People
Bag–Coach
Rain Boots–Le Chameau

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Dawn Lucy’s Outfit details:

Fashion Should Be Fun

Gingham shirt–Loft
Tote–Lilly Pulitzer for Target
Scarf–Vintage
Gladiator sandals–Seychelles
Jeans & Tank–Old Navy

SheelaGingham

Sheela’s Outfit Details:

Sheela Writes

Dress & Gingham Heels–Indie labels
Gold Floral Ring–Kate Spade New York

Ann Gingham 8For my outfit, I was determined not to add anymore gingham to my closet. I did look, but then when I shopped in my own closet I saw that I already owned two gingham shirts. I’ve been fascinated lately by an idea with a men’s shirt that kept popping up: wearing a men’s shirt as a dress. That inspired me to play around with what I already owned. Presto! A new skirt (and idea for turning my shirts into skirts) was born. I simply just buttoned the shirt lower at my waist until it wouldn’t button any further. Then, I tucked in the collar and simply tied. A skirt was born! Will you give this look a try? I might do it again…

Gingham 9

Ann Gingham 4

Ann Gingham 2

Ann’s Outfit Details

Kremb de la Kremb

Red Sunnies–market in Shenzhen
Lippy–Bourjois Rouge Edition Hot Pepper (my favorite!)
Earrings and Necklace–Ben (stall 4 on the left) at Jardine’s Bazaar, Hong Kong
Blue Gingham Shirt–Forever 21
Red Gingham Shirt worn as a Skirt–Forever 21
Guatemalan Bag–Precious Hands (bag #1307)
White Clogs–kiosk at Pondok Indah Mall, Jakarta

Prom Date Memories But More Importantly, Prom Dresses!

Prom_Prom at the school I work at is just around the corner, like this Friday. As the Prom Committee’s sponsor, I’ve been working with about 15 students all year to create a special night for the upperclassman at our school. I think it will be a great night for all; they’ve been working hard and have created some fantastic highlights for the casino themed event.

With this anticipation of prom, memories flood back to me. My first prom came about because of my best big brother cousin David. He’s a year older, and I was friends with all of his friends. I was actually more than a little disheartened to be considered the “guy with tits.” Well, when one of David’s friends was in need of a date, David recommended me. A week before his senior prom, I got a very random phone call from this guy–I’ll name him Tim Lee to keep his identity safe. (The false name is given by no means because he was a bad date–he was a very nice young man.) I didn’t know Tim. I’d never met him before. He introduced himself on the phone as David’s friend. No problem. I played cool. After the quick introduction, Tim went straight into what is now called the “promposal” (although there was nothing remotely romantic about his question). It was just, “I know this is late notice, but do you want to go to prom? I can help you with the dress.” I thought quickly, had no idea who he was, knew I didn’t know how I was going to get a dress in a week, and said, “Sure!” What the heck. I’ve always been one to just go for it. I also told him it was ok about the dress–I’d figure something out.

The reason I said yes is pretty obvious….even at 16 I was all about the dress! I didn’t know how or where I’d get one, but the very idea of getting dressed up appealed to me. Luckily all the aunties were involved in this promposal–Annie’s going to the Prom! And ever more fortunate for me, my cousin David’s best friend’s mother was an excellent seamstress. Mom and I headed to the fabric store immediately.

Oh, I do love a fabric store. My imagination goes crazy dreaming up amazing dresses. It did just that for this prom*. Mom and I found a gorgeous black silk with very vibrant, colorful palm sized flowers strewn everywhere. We found one of those flamenco type patterns with a high-low hem line. Then, we found the inner lining: a bright satiny red! Oh, wow! We created the perfect version of a flamenco dancer dress. It was, to put it mildly, completely over-the-top. And, no, I have never lived that dress down. David started calling me Rosarita for a while….

Prom itself, well, meh. I much preferred that frantic week ahead designing the dress, picking out the fabric, heading to Mrs. Zimmerman’s for fittings. Then, getting ready, applying red lippy, wearing my head in a low side bun, oh those are the wonderful memories I have of prom. Dinner with Tim Lee, dancing, the actual event… I can’t recall a single memory. But that prom dress! Oh, it’s in there. It’s in there for good!

*Side note: Keep in mind I wanted to live and study so badly in Mexico at this time, so I was heavily influenced by Latina flare.

Recipe: Kevin’s Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake

Is there a cake in your family that always gets requested? For us it’s Kevin’s Carrot Cake (which isn’t even his!). Everyone, including non family members, seems to request this delicious cake. Maybe Kevin adds a secret ingredient–like love or care? I’m not sure because he has always simply used the Better Homes and Garden recipe. It’s an easy, straight forward recipe that always gets rave reviews. Now Kevin finds it online, but years before when we just got married, he used that popular BHG mammoth tomb that was our newlywed recipe bible. I need to replace that cookbook–it’s an oldie but a goodie that got destroyed by some weird substance in one of our moves. For Vincent’s most recent 13th birthday celebration he chose Kevin’s carrot cake, and none of us were disappointed his Vincent’s choice! In fact, Vincent helped out in the kitchen; maybe soon we’ll be able to request Vinnie’s carrot cake too!

Carrot Cake

(I don’t think the orange shirt was intentional.;)

Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake

Recipe from Better Homes and Garden

Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 cups finely shredded carrots
1 cup cooking oil
4 eggs
1 Cream Cheese Frosting (see recipe below)

Directions
Grease and lightly flour two 9×1-1/2-inch round baking pans or grease one 13x9x2-inch baking pan; set pan(s) aside.
In a large mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Add carrots, oil, and eggs. Beat with an electric mixer till combined. Pour batter into the prepared pan(s).
Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 30 to 35 minutes for round pans or 35 to 40 minutes for 13×9-inch pan or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean. Cool layer cakes on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove from pans. Cool thoroughly on wire racks. Or, place 13×9-inch cake in pan on a wire rack; cool thoroughly. Frost with Cream Cheese Frosting. Cover and store in refrigerator. Makes 12 to 16 servings.

Cream Cheese Frosting
Ingredients
2 ounce of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup of butter or margarine, softened
2 teaspoons of vanilla
4 1/2 cups of sifted powdered sugar

Directions
Beat together cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Gradually add 2 cups of the powdered sugar, beating well. Gradually beat in enough of the remaining powdered sugar to reach spreading consistency.

My Design Fit Me!

DressThe first design I made for the fashion show I just participated in actually fit me! I don’t know how this design fit me since it was made for someone else much smaller than me, but it did. (Must be the stretchy black velvet top!) When we got invited to the PFO ball at school, I was planning on purchasing a dress or wearing this purple sparkly number, but then when I got my dresses back, I gave this design a try. When it fit, I thought why not! It’s a fun and flirty dress–I felt straight out of the 1950s! I am not sure what I will do with all these five dresses, but I have an idea: I could reuse the fabric from the five dresses next year for a whole other line of designs. For sure I want to try designing out again for next year’s fashion show. It was such fun. I might even try to do the actually sewing…We’ll see! Until then, this whole experience of playing fashion designer has been super fun. I’m still waiting for the students to finish editing the pictures from the event. Once they’re published I will for sure share all the designs.

Dress

Dress

Dress

Style Story 15: White Shirts

white shirtsThis week I was inspired by a campaign I saw on my Instagram feed. Witchery Fashion encourages white shirts to be worn on May 1 in hopes of creating awareness and fund for the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund. While I was late to the show with May 1st, this campaign inspired me to wear white shirts all week long. I have a ton of them–too many actually, so I used this as a test to pull out the favorites–and maybe weed out a few too. My love of white shirts comes from my sister, Julie. She is the owner of the best white shirts, and often if she likes mine, she’ll just request that I hand it over. I’ve realized I need to just start buying in duplicates so this doesn’t happen. In fact, her ease in wearing the white shirt gave me the perfect packing uniform for this road trip. While the perfect way to wear a white shirt in my opinion is a pair of cutoffs, I tried to pull off more professional looks this week. I think I could definitely go one more week wearing another set of five white shirts each day.

Monday 4/5

Mondays White ShirtThe original #whiteshirtcampaign pairs the white shirts with black on the bottom. I always feel like this combo looks like a waiter’s outfit. Therefore I tried to dress the look up with an over the top layered, lace skirt that I had picked up at Mee and Gee. I love wearing a tailored shirt tied at the waist. I also love these cute white shoes; however, they’re super big on me for some reason, so if I can’t figure out the back heel section, I might need to get rid of them. The white shirt in this outfit is completely tired–I need to get one remade. Once I fine the time to do this, I’ll be able to get rid of this over worn white shirt.

Tuesday 5/5

Tuesdays White ShirtThis was my favorite outfit all week long. I love this outfit. First the shorts have the perfect amount of boho, yet they’re tailored at the same time. The belt is so special to me: my mom bought it for me at the night market in Goa when she visited us in India. I need to belt my waist more often–all women should especially if they’re top heavy like me. The top, well it’s just a good white one. (No, Julie, I will not be bringing it home!) The shoes are my new tan sandals, and I love that they have just a little wedge. All in all, I felt really great in this weekend. It was the winner of the week.

Wednesday 3/5

Wednesdays White ShirtI felt ok in this outfit, but I wasn’t in love with it like the day before. There are two things I notice from the pictures: first, it’s really hard for me to wear sleeveless, and so when it cuts in like that it doesn’t help my lack of shoulders and beefy arms. Also, the pants, even though they’re high waisted somehow accentuate the ponchy-ponch. Who wants that?! Not me. I’ll probably be getting rid of this outfit–although the top with the faux leather collar I chose down below would work much better with these pants. It’s got wider shoulders PLUS it ties! Ties at the waist work for me just like belts.

Thursday 4/5

Thursdays White ShirtHere’s an improvement from the day before. Regardless of whether this top looks ok, I just love it! The shoulders are more broad which works a little better with my shoulders and arms. The fun part though about this top is the cutouts of lace at the waist level. It’s like a little peek in to my tummy but not all that revealing at the same time. I like this. Plus, I got to wear my white tasselled clogs from Jakarta. I love these clogs! Oh, and you can’t see it, but a navy blue skirt called for blue mascara with purple layered on top. YES!

Friday 4/5

Fridays White ShirtWearing jeans on Friday is such a treat. I love that my employer allows for this. I felt like really playing up the boho look today, so I wore my cropped jeans with the ribbon seam. This top, which is still available, is one of my favorite white tops. It’s easy breezey and just feels cool. I do have to watch the top heaviness with a cut like this, but I think it’s ok because of the jeans. If you like peasants, get this one!

Similar White Shirts:

My exact top from Friday is still available, but otherwise I found some similar white shirts for Monday through Thursday. I love each of these white shirt and highly recommend their style.

Kevstar Travel Tips: Vol #2, Airline Ticketing

PassportsA while ago, when we had the most fantastic trip to Bali in October, I realized I should start sharing some of Kevin’s expertise in the form of his travel tips. He’s an expert at figuring out our travels, and we do travel quite a bit. Lately, he’s been busy at it lately figuring out our summer travels, so I asked him, How do you go about booking our airline tickets.

I thought I’d share his main three main travel tips when it comes to finding flights–especially since I was surprised by a couple of his moves.

1. Pre-research

First Kevin has an app on his phone called Sky Scanner. (Here’s the website for Skyscanner if you prefer.) When we have a trip up ahead of us, he’s looking at this app constantly. It does exactly as it says and scans the flights from all airlines for the designated destinations and dates (how’s that for unintentional alliteration!). When travel is up ahead, Kevin will begin his research using Skyscanner.

2. Cross Reference

Once some lower fare prices present themselves, Kevin will start to compare on other sites–Kayak being his favorite. Again, he will more often than not use the Kayak app on his phone for this. He simply does this to cross reference the prices, the itineraries, schedules, plus any additional offerings.

3. Purchasing

After some solid observation, usually 2 weeks but even up to two months, Kevin will purchase. This is the area that surprises me. Just like his habit of going straight to the source with hotels, he does the same with airlines. Even though Kevin has used Skyscanner to learn of the flights and cross referenced on Kayak, he will ultimately purchase direct from the airline. He does this for one main reasons: he’s working with the source. Our tickets when purchased through the airline are then under the direct jurisdiction of that airline. There is no extra worry of surprise limitations or costs. In general, he has found the airline carriers to be more reliable plus our information is then detailed in the airline’s system. Basically, there hopefully is no reason we would get lost in the airport shuffle! Seat assignments can be chose ahead of time as well as checking in the day before. If you haven’t done this, try it. It’s amazing to just walk up and hand over the bags. Easy peasy!

What about you? Do you have any travel tips for booking and purchasing airline tickets? Do share!

By the way, here are our summer plans: we’ll be in the Pacific Northwest from June 12-August 8. From June 19-27 we’ll be in Seattle and for all of the month of July we’ll be out at the cabin at Spirit Lake, Idaho. Will we see you this summer?!

Young Man in the House

young man

We will have a young man in the house tomorrow. On May 7th, 13 years ago, Vincent Freuen Krembs was born in Caracas, Venezuela. I won’t say it feels like yesterday. It doesn’t. We’ve been through a ton as a family. But, it does feel like the time has flown. I can remember the chubby little babe that made me and so many others just gush. I can remember the toddler that always looked after his little sister with such pride and care. There’s the young boy who played soccer, learned to ride a bike, and batted his first pitches on Juhu Beach in Bombay. “I don’t think so!” was his signature statement in Beijing. He was late to speak, late to poo, and late to read, but now he does all those just fine! He used to have trouble with his “r’s” but now they’re all fine too. Vincent is super strong–now stronger than everyone in the family, maybe even Kevin; now it’s a matter of just how strong will he get. In the most recent weeks, he’s growing at an exponential rate. I sometimes don’t recognize him. Both his eyebrows and voice have shifted becoming more masculine. He’s definitely becoming a young man.

young man

Both Kevin and I are very proud of Vincent. He’s still as cautious and aware as he was back at 3 years of age. Yet now his caution is preempted with sincerity and thoughtfulness. Vincent is a sensitive being. I can always count on him to mull things over, sit back and take things in, and then react in profound and insightful ways. As proud parents, we love the comments that come from his teachers who notice the same insight. He notices when I need help–for example rather than asking if he can take my bag, he just takes it. He clears my plate instinctively. He steps aside to let me go through the door first. He comes in to say goodnight to me at night. For each of these actions, my heart bursts with pride as I’m witnessing the gentle man I’ve always hoped he’d become.

young man

Tomorrow Vincent will be 13. Kevin jokes that he thinks I’m more excited than Vincent. Kevin could be right. I’m just so proud of the individual Vincent is becoming. I enjoy his company, and despite any rockiness that accompanies a teen mind that may lay ahead of us, I have faith that Vincent will always treat Kevin and me with respect and kindness. He’s just that kind of young man.

Happy Birthday Vincent!

Instagram Flashback: Vol 4

Instagram

April Instagram @KrembdelaKremb

April was a great month! When I look back on my Instagram feed, there were a few pics that caught my attention to highlight the month. Are you on Instagram? Follow me. I love connecting over this social media platform.

1. We started going to the beach again.
2. I wore blue mascara a lot–thanks to my InStyle inspired ten day color challenge.
3. I hosted an Istagram bag giveaway that introduced me to a ton of new people on Instagram.
4. When opportunity knocks, I opened the door!
5. We got back to some order in our household by planning out our weekly menu. Routines are good!
6. I showcased a Kremb de la Kremb line of clothing in the school where I work fashion show. (Pictures to hopefully come soon.)
7. We took an amazing trip through Yunnan Province in China.
8. I started regularly drinking tea again.
9. One of my pictures was featured on InStyle’s Instagram feed!

Aside from some of the fun pics found on my Instagram feed this past month of April, I also made some new friends via Instagram. I recommend following these rockin’ awesome individuals: @vanishalifeunstyled, @icadoo, @flatbummum, @house_of_ginger, and @sarawolfbuch.

Off the Shoulder Dress

Off the Shoulders Dress 1
So many trends this spring to try, and the off the shoulder dress is yet another one. I had a summer back in college where I wore a lovely off the shoulder black top to work nightly. I was the hostess at a prominent restaurant in my hometown, and this black top was all things: a little dressy, super comfortable, professional yet flirtatious all in one. It was the 90s so I can remember wearing flowy pants similar to what I own now–probably even some culottes. Those particulars aren’t completely clear, but the feeling is. The moment I put on that black top I felt smart–in a sartorial way. As my grandpa would say, I felt spiffy. Decades have passed, but that doesn’t matter. I still want to experience that feeling of confidence that comes with wearing just the right item. Don’t be afraid to give the off the shoulder dress or top a chance; you too might feel spiffied up!

Off the Shoulders Dress 5

Off the Shoulders Dress 2

Off the Shoulders Dress 4

Off the Shoulders Dress 3

Some Outfit Details

Straw Hat: I got this at Forever 21; it’s gone, but I almost got this one instead.
Round Sunnies: Forever 21
Off the Shoulder Dress: ASOS
Sandals: DV by Dolce Vita (They’re only $19.99 now!)
Straw Bag: Market in Baisha, China from our most recent trip to Yunnan Province
Leopard Scarf: Zara (to be more specific, the Hong Kong International Airport!) similar

Off the Shoulder Looks for You:

ASOS has got all the options for the off the shoulder spring trend. Here are just six looks I’m thinking about (and they’re all affordable!).

Style Story: Blazers Made Fun

Instajacket

This is by far the best purchase I made this winter in anticipation of spring. I love this embroidered blazer.
It’s still available too! Uh oh, now there are shorts to match too!

(This week for my Style Story I’ve tried out something a little new. I’m not sure I’m pleased with my editing results, but bare with me as I keep trying to learn how to be better at Photoshop…)

Since we had a four day week, I looked at my closet and realized I own four blazers: a pinstripe, a sleeveless white, a bold pink, and an embroidered print. I rarely wear blazers as to me they always seem so business-y. So for this week I set out to wear my blazers in my fun and quirky way. While yes, a blazer will add polish and professionalism to any look, they can also be quite fun!

blazers

Pinstripe Blazers:

I have pants to match my pinstripe blazer so it’s a suit. I just have to squeeze into the pants right now. They’re a little tight!


Sleeveless White Blazers:

Mine was originally a long sleeve blazer. When I found myself never wearing it, I took off the sleeves and now I wear it so much more. You could do this easily with any of the blazers in your closet. Just bring it to your nearest tailor.


Bold Pink Blazers:

I had actually gotten rid of my pink blazer. I donated it to one of the Swap and Shops that happen in HK. Afterward, I totally regretted it. At the next Swap and Shop I went to, I saw it was still there, so I stole my own blazer back!


Patterned Blazers:

I still think mine is the best! And look at the shorts!!

*This post has been linked to the Weekend Link Up.