Summer Plans, 2015

GiginVinnie

This is one of my favorite pics from last summer. It’s from a dinner date at our local pizza joint out at Spirit Lake. Here’s the original post.

School just ended! The kids are at a friend’s house swimming. The teachers here at work will celebrate the end of year with a party this afternoon. Then, we come in for one last day tomorrow. I’ve got Friday off to pack and finish any last errands. But basically, for intents and purposes, it’s summer for the Krembs!

Summer, Part 1: Spokane (June 13-19)

MomnDad

Mom, Dad and Trouser!

This Saturday the kids and I fly home to Spokane, Washington. A week later, Kevin will join us; he’s required to spend a week working later and a week earlier each school year. For the first week, the kids and I will stay with my mom and dad in Spokane. There home is lovely and cozy and perfectly Americana! The kids will gorge themselves with American TV and time with the cousins while I’ll most likely be making daily trips to Target ten minutes away and drinking rosé in the evenings with my sister. All of it sounds just perfect after an entire school year aways from the U.S.

Summer, Part 2: Seattle (June 19-26)

FamilyShot

This is a pic from our road trip last summer with the Krembs. Here’s the original post.

Once Kevin arrives, we’ll shoot over to Seattle to do the same thing with his folks. Except during this week on the Westside, we’ll most likely take a little road trip up North to Vancouver. It’s always really fun to travel with the Krembs. During our married life, they have maintained to be our most loyal travel buddies. Somehow when we’re all away we manage to get in some serious quality time that replaces the lack of quantity time while we’re living abroad. Last summer we ventured down the 101 all the way to the Redwoods with Jane and Alex, and it was such fun. While we can’t take that long of a road trip this summer, we will shoot on up north to Canada.

Summer, Part 3: Baby Shower! (June 27-28)

Siblings

Last summer all the siblings were together! It’s so rare, but I think it might happen again at this baby shower!

The end of June will celebrate a baby shower for both my brothers and their wives. One babe arrives in July and the other in September. It’s exciting times for the Freuen family: more grandkids for the folks, nephews and nieces for the siblings, and cousins for the kids. Julie and Matt are hosting this party in their new home–which I cannot wait to see. You can bet it’s stupendous. I’ll make sure to take plenty of pictures. Also, Julie is always the best hostess, so I can’t wait to see what she comes up with. I plan to be her little helper and learn along the way.

Summer, Part 4: Spirit Lake, Idaho (June 29-August 3)

Family

The 4th of July is always super fun because we usually have a very FULL house!
Here’s the original post.

Finally, starting in July, we will head out to our beloved cabin out at Spirit Lake. I’ve been daydreaming about sleeping out there for a while now. My bed is on the porch, looks out at nature, and is just so crisp. I pile blanket upon blanket, where many layers, and sleep with birds and bees in my ear. It’s quite a shock in comparison to the indoor sleep, but it’s a sleep I crave. Aside from sweet dreams, there will be plenty of good eats and water time. The day revolves around fun cooked meals and even more fun on the dock or beach. We’re on a cyclical “Can’t wait till Christmas/lake time calendar” with time out at the cabin approaching quickly.

Summer, Part 5: Coeur d’Alene (August 4-5)

Surfboarding2

When we’re out at C d’A, the kids just take care of themselves!
Here’s the original post from our stay out there last summer.

Possibly one of the most relaxing parts of our summer is the last few days before we leave. My sister plays host to us while the kids and I head out to their gorgeous home on Coeur d’Alene. The house is luxurious, the lake is grand, and I’m usually done hosting and now get to play guest. It’s always such a treat. The kids get their last hurrah with the cousins, and I anxiously await our departure, BUT feel relaxed by the grandeur of Lake Couer d’Alene.

Here’s to Summer 2015!

Summer Sequins in Stanley

Final Walk 2
Summer Sequins in Stanley was actually homework–but of the fun variety! I’m almost finished with my personal styling work from The London College of Style. It’s taken me awhile, but I’ve got three more modules so the finish line is near! Recently, one of my assignments was to make an 8 page fashion spread with two imaginary young women named Emily and Tali. With the given description of my so-called models, I called upon two real life beauties that I know very well: Louise and Taina. We had such fun with this shoot. The theme I chose for the 8 pages fashion feature was sequins; I’m forever curious how to incorporate this texture outside of the holiday season. It’s no lie that I love sequins, and try to wear this style outside of Christmas and New Years. I piled all the sequins I own on my bed, the girls came over, and we played some serious dress-up. From there, a story evolved which I’ve included down below. Many, many thanks to these two utterly gorgeous and super stylish young ladies.

Keys to Wearing Sequins in the Summer

When wearing sequins outside of the holiday season, just wear it casually by throwing it on with anything:

  • over a swimsuit
  • with a tee
  • paired with tennis shoes
  • under a denim jacket
  • with cutoffs shorts or skirt

summer sequins
From the feature: “This is Tali. More often than not, she’ll be found with a book in hand. If it’s not a book she’s reading it will be a fashion mag. She can often be found perched on the boardwalk reading–although sometimes she’ll be caught looking up, people watching. Life for her is on the written page or the one passing her by. She’s a watcher…. One thing is for sure: she will be found utterly and totally fashionable either way.”

summer sequins
From the feature: “Emily is the social butterfly of this best friend duo. She’ll be the one coordinating the girls’ play date in Stanley. Emily will have the girls’ fun all figured out: some skating followed by a swim, then some lounging in the sun, and finally a walk to strut along the Stanley Promenade. Emily wouldn’t be caught without two very important things: her phone nor her style!”

summer sequins

summer sequins

summer sequins

summer sequins

summer sequins

summer sequins

summer sequins

summer sequins

Jumpsuit Monday: Day Party Jumpsuit

Culottes

Jumpsuit Monday continues this week. While last week I posted the styling of a cocktail party jumpsuit, this Monday it’s all about wearing this spring trend for day parites. You know the day parties are coming up: Sunday brunches, baby and wedding showers, and reunions to name a few. There’s a jumpsuit out there that combines another hot spring trend–the culotte. The culotte jumpsuit is a sure bet for a summer day party. It’s a little fancy and a little casual all at once; there’s usually some unique feature like a crisscross back or side cutouts to the culotte jumpsuit. If you find a wide legged version you like, tailoring the hem to 19 inches from the inseam is easy peasy–that’s what I did with this jumpsuit. It was too long legged on me and needed hemming anyway, but I wanted to freshen it up, so I took it to my tailor and really hemmed it. I turned it into culottes! Take note: when shopping, don’t be afraid to think about simple alterations like shortening the hem or taking off the sleeves.

Day Party Jumpsuit 1

Day Party Jumpsuit 8

Day Party Jumpsuit 7

Day Party Jumpsuit 5

Some Outfit Details:

Sunnies–market Ray-Ban knock-offs
Earrings–J.Crew
Necklace–Ben from Jardine’s Bazaar (4th stall on the left)
Lips–Bourjois Rouge Edition in Pink Pong
Jumpsuit–Forever 21
Clutch–H&M via a Get Redress Shop & Swap
Heels–Steve Madden

Options for Day Party Jumpsuits

(I’d hem the last one–sea-foam strapless–on the bottom right to a culotte length: 19 inches.)



Style Story: THE Bikini for Over 40

bikini over 40

This was my first halter crop bikini top. I splurged but it was so worth it. This criss cross back is brilliant! Unfortunately now it’s only available in XS.

I’ve found it: THE bikini for over 40. Now granted this post feels very gutsy on my part! I mean, I’m posting pictures of myself in a bikini on the Internet. Oh my!! While I’m not claiming this is the only bikini for over 40 or swimsuit for that matter, I will say that this style feels comfortable and safe while hopefully a little stylish–at least for me, so I wanted to share. Mostly, this suit makes me feel confident which in turn makes me feel good. I will always maintain that this should be first and foremost with whatever we women wear. Here’s why I think this bikini works: for one, I’ve switched to high waisted, retro style (or some might say grandma style!) black bottoms. A black bottom feels safe. I went a size up, so there’s no digging into my waist. Also, the brief covers my poochie area right above my double c-section scar. I love this style of bikini bottoms even if it looks funny. If I feel great, that helps me to look great. You’ve heard me toot that horn before: confidence is key!

Now on to the top for THE bikini for over 40. It’s called a halter crop bikini top, and they’re everywhere at all price points from all brands. You’ll definitely see one while choosing your summer swimsuit–give it a try. It’s an order! As you know, I no stranger to embracing the crop top, and this bikini top seems very close to one–just for the water. My skin around the chest area is always covered. This is important to me as I to try to help avoid more wrinkles and sun damage on my décolletage. My cleavage is always covered which is a total win since my Girls (yes, I’m referring to my boobs as “The Girls”) always fall inward and outward and never like to stay in the actual top. With this style, I do not have to worry. Let me repeat: this bikini top is full-proof. I can run around the beach, jump off docks and sides of pools, and do acrobatic swimming; ok, I don’t know how swim acrobatically, but you get the point. This top does not budge. One more thing that has me totally converted is the tie around the neck. My Girls are heavy, so sometimes I’ll get an indentation from the neck tie. That never happens with the halter crop bikini top even though the same amount of weight is being held up (no, I don’t get it, but it’s true).

Because I love this bikin top style so much, I have it in six styles. If I see a version at my local Forever 21, I simply get it. (Yes, I’m a sucker in that store) When I see one, I just get it in a large of course because my 36DD are not 21, in fact they are more like 43! Each time I wear this kind of top, I wear it each with the above mentioned black swimsuit bottom. In my opinion, at least for me, this just might be the perfect bikini for over 40. It works, and for this reason I’d like to share that news with you as you set out for your summers. Let the swimsuit shopping begin, but don’t think that because of your age you need to wear a certain type–that’s hogwash. String bikini, tanga, one piece, racerback… as long as a swimsuit is worn with confidence we’re all set ladies, so just find the one that makes you feel hot, and you will be hot!

bikini for over 40

I must tell the truth: I first spotted this top on the lovely Geneva from A Pair and a Spare.

bikini halter top

Just so you know… a friend saw me in this top and like it, so I picked it up for her. I’d do the same for you.
I can shop for ANYONE!

bikini for over 40

I like to pretend this top is from Rio and feel transported there–although I’m not complaining.
HK beaches are lovely!

bikini for over 40

Unfortunately this one is gone; I’ve looked. It’s from last summer.

bikini for over 40

I also got this suit last summer, and I love this swimsuit so much:
I keep one at the Spirit Lake cabin and one in Hong Kong.
(I wear this one with the matching bottoms.)

bikini over 40

This is my newest edition to the halter crop bikini top. It doesn’t offer maximum coverage, but it still works.
This one for sure might give an odd tan line but oh well.

My Bikini for Over 40

I’ve managed to find each top and the black bottoms–except for the boho styled one. Unfortunately it’s gone.

Some More Binkin Options for You:

For now, I stuck with some brands that are accessible to both Hong Kong and international readers with FREE shipping!

Forever 21
ASOS
Revolve Clothing

*This Post has been linked up to Throwback Thursday, Fab Favorites, Passion 4 Fashion, What I Wore, and Brilliant Blog Posts.

{Potential} Summer Reading List, 2015

Summer Reading List 1Summer Reading List 2
Summer reading is the best! There are hours in the day that can just be spent reading. I love my summer reading and look forward to it with a yearning. I’ll be reading all summer long: I can read in the car on the road trip between Spokane and Seattle, there’s my lovely cabin porch and my glorious bed that’s perched in nature, and there’s time in the summer sun on the dock, beach, or boat. I don’t have to worry about how long it will take me to read a book because I’ll have the free hours to put in to it. I love my summer reading and just thinking about it has generated some books I’ve wanted to read. I use Goodreads a great deal when determining the books I’ll read. I usually always shoot for a rating of 4.0 or over, but that’s not always possible. If the Goodreads rating comes in over 3.6, I’ll consider it–most of the time. I’ve included my summer reading book’s rating in parenthesis as a reference. Are you on Goodreads? Let’s follow! I’m Ann Krembs on this social network.

{Potential} Summer Reading

1. Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon
I can’t wait to read the Outlander! First, it was recommended by Paige from House of Ginger (more about her later) and my mom. I enjoy reading books that come highly recommended. Then the book has actually become the plot for a television drama series–before I get hooked on that, I want to make sure and read the book. Here’s the premise: Claire is a nurse in WWII. She’s just been reunited with her husband, and they are on their second honeymoon. She happens upon a stone that she travels through and is taken to Scotland, 1743! I love time travel stories, and according to all that have read it, this one’s a winner. (4.16 on Goodreads)

2. Beautiful Ruins, by Jess Walter
Beautiful Ruins is one of those epic novels that spans 50 years. There’s bound to be plenty of characters and a great love story. The winning point to this novel for me is the Italiano in it. One of the main characters is an Italian man remembering and the stunning vision of a woman he remembers from way back. This tall, thin American actress arrived to the tiny Italian village and now he’s going to find her….Another great thing about this book is that it was written by a man from my hometown, Spokane! Also, I remember my sister devouring it a couple of summers ago. It’s about time I finally read it. (3.68 Goodreads)

3. Yes Please, by Amy Poehler
Yes Please speaks to women advocating for themselves; I like books like this. I actually want to listen to this book–especially since Amy Poehler narrates it! She’s so funny. I just love watching her, and I have a feeling her book is going to hit home for me. The most recent review I read from Independent Fashion Bloggers really sealed the deal. I can’t wait to read this book and then be inspired. (3.8 Goodreads)

4. The Harder They Come, by T.C. Boyle
So, The Harder They Come isn’t really a book I would normally pick up, but…I’ve joined an online book club on Goodreads called Bookish Babes. This really neat woman that I mentioned up above started it. Paige is super fashionable, she’s a working mom, she writes a really cool blog, and she’s a reader. I have loved all Paige’s book recommendations and basically want to read anything she has liked. She recommended both Outlander and the next book It’s Kind of a Funny Story. For the month of May we were supposed to read The Royal We (my copy arrived on June 1st, so I’m a little behind), and for April we read FanGirl (luckily I had read that one). Anyway June’s book is The Harder They Come, and the moment I saw Vietnam veteran, violence, and anti-authoritarianism in the description, I was like, Uh oh. But, it’s a book club book, so I am trying to keep an open mind. The the keywords Central America and cruise also caught my attention, and I think I’ll be ok. T.C. Boyle wrote this book based on a true story, and it delves into the American psyche. Should be good and for sure interesting. (3.75 Goodreads)

5. It’s Kind of a Funny Story, by Ned Vizzini
Lately, there’s been a new trend in young adult fiction, and I’m not even sure what genre you would call it. Suicide genre? Anyway, there are so many books about suicide; I’ve read a few of them and put down a few too. It’s Kind of a Funny Story is a suicide story, but since it was written in 2007, it’s before this whole trend in contemporary young adult lit has taken off. In this story, the main character succeeds in getting into that choice school, but once in he’s driven to suicide. The real story begins when he’s placed in a psychiatric hospital: the crazies he meets there help him to find the source of his anxiety and not to mention the possibility of happiness. This book has been recommended to me various times, so I’m happy to read it, but it’s going to be hard. The really sad part about this book that will make it difficult in reading is that Ned Vizzini, the author, has committed suicide. He suffered from depression and took his life in 2013. This novel was made into a movie in 2010. (4.15 Goodreads)

6. The Rosie Project, by Graeme Simsion
Has everyone read The Rosie Project lately? I feel like I see it being read everywhere. Maybe it’s because my library’s copy is always on hold, or it could be that Kevin is reading it right now. Anyway, it’s about a man with Asperger’s syndrome who has never been on a second date. When one of his friends–he can count them all on one hand–tells him he’d make a great husband he’s of course shocked but then intrigued. What ensues is his very thorough and data driven Wife Project; the result, being Rosie, is surprising! (4.0 Goodreads)

Summer Reading Books

Have you read any of these books? Do you want to read any of them with me? Just let me know here or on Goodreads. I’d love to follow more readers out there!

Hip Update {On Wednesdays I Write}

hip

That’s the official name of it: “Femoroacetabular Impingement.” Say what? My doc grabbed my phone here because he had a better shot–I was just pretty happy to have a textbook hip problem!

My hip is hardly a fun topic to write about on this blog, but if you know me well, you know that my right hip bothers me enough for me to always have my pain management on the mind. I’ve had the diagnosis that I’ll need a hip replacement. It makes sense; my father has had both of his hips replaced. Aside from his height, I totally have his body: he’s where I get my nice legs from–but those legs also genetically have weak knees and hips plus small feet. I like the skinny leg and small feet part; the weak knees and hips part I don’t like so much. (I also tend to carry my weight in the same spot as my dad–hello middle and chin. Please, no offense Dad! I love having your skinny legs. In fact, my dad’s the only person I know who wears bicycle shorts with sag around the legs!) I know eventually I will most likely need to get my right hip, if not both, replaced. It’s just at 43 years old I feel too young.

Finally, I found a doctor who agrees! Oh, the relief in finding a good doctor! And this doctor, (well, aside from my dad) he might just be the very best doctor I have ever had (Although my Venezuelan OBGYN was pretty great too. I digress…) This arthroscopic surgeon based in Hong Kong is amazing. His name is Dr. Daniel Yip, and the moment I told him it’s been suggested that I get my hip replaced, he said, “You’re too young!” Yes, thank you doctor: I couldn’t agree more.

Upon meeting Dr. Yip he then proceeded to give me the usual examination and requested various reports like x-rays and an MRI. After I completed his tasks and went back to see him, I received the best explanation from a doctor that I ever had. First, he got out the physical hip joint with femur attached as well as a text book. He explained what the labrum is and what it does for our hips. He showed me how my femoral joint is abnormal and thus causing a tear in my hip joint’s labrum meanwhile aggravating it with each step. Wow! It all makes sense. And if I still wasn’t getting it, he showed me videos of what’s going on inside of me–ya, that’s exactly how it feels with every step when I can feel that silly tear in my labrum being pushed up by my femur. It doesn’t feel good, but knowing what has been wrong all these years? Ahhh, that’s relief!

Right then and there after the explanation I received an injection of cortisone in both my bursa (for the bursitis that accompanies this problem) and my lower back (for the lower back pain also caused). This Thursday I have an appointment to go in to receive another injection of cortisone plus some substance that will offer lubrication to the joint. This measure is to help with some relief over the summer. Then, the next step, is to receive arthroscopic surgery next fall. I know this will sound absurd, but I can’t wait! He feels confident that in cleaning up this joint, I will buy 5 maybe even 10 years on my hip! If he goes in there and can repair the tear, he will–although this is unlikely. He’s also going to shave off that abnormality on my femur so that this doesn’t happen again.

After this visit where I really learned about my hip issues, I got back to my office and there was already an email from Dr. Yip! He wrote me personally with different key words I might like to look up as well as a dozen websites to look at. If I wasn’t already in love with this doc, well, the personal email sent right after my visit sealed the deal! I am so appreciative to Dr. Yip’s care with me. I totally recommend him–even though I have yet to have surgery with him yet. (Although all those who have give him the same accolades.) If you are in need of arthroscopy surgery, he’s your doctor. All. The. Way!

Instagram @KrembdelaKremb: Vol 5

instagram

Instagram is a great place to visually look back and reflect. When I look at my Instagram pictures from May, aside from the slew of my usual #ootd shots plus the abundant amount of May rain, there were some special things that happened.

May Instagram @Kremdelakremb

1. Vincent turned 13 this past May. I wrote a little tribute to him about how proud I am of the young man he is becoming.

2. It took me forever–like all of May–but I finally finished I’ll Give you the Sun by Jandy Nelson. I did like it, but I did not like how long it took me to read it. For a 21st century novel it’s more surreal than most which was a refreshing change; the imagery and artistic way in which it was written was quite special.

3. I participated in another Fab 40s post; this month we all wore gingham. I felt especially crafty with this outfit since I wore a button down shirt as a skirt! I’m looking forward to June’s theme: cream lace. Stay tuned….

4. We had SO. MUCH. RAIN this May. I love the rain, so I actually didn’t mind, but the migraine that followed the crazy storms on Saturday, May 22 was no fun.

5. With Prom happening on May 15, I was reminded of my own first prom when I was asked just a week before but managed to design and create my own dress just in time–evidence that getting dressed for me is usually more fun than the actual event!

6. I had many Style Stories this month but my favorite was the one where I wore a different white shirt all week long.

7. Another fun feat this past May was when one of my designs actually fit me! I wore my first design to an annual fundraising ball held for my school each year.

8. We have a cake in our family that always gets requested every time: Kevin’s Carrot Cake!

9. Coming soon will be the outtakes from this super fun photo shoot with @louisejensenhk and @taipudd….

@KrembdelaKremb May Connections:

And here are the people I met, felt connected to this month, or was in awe of this month on Instagram:
@mamastylista–she’s so hot it’s kind of insane!
@sheelagoh–a fellow Fab 40s and definite dear friend.
@deethomasprj–the most supportive follower ever!
@apairandaspare–if you’ve always dreamed of going to Greece, go to her feed now!
@shanachristine–a blogger I totally admire and receive so much inspiration from–she’s the one who started the hashtag #myeverydayedit!

Jumpsuit Monday: Cocktail Jumpsuit

jumpsuit
Do you own a jumpsuit yet? No? Well, for the month of June, I’ll be trying to bring you jumpsuit inspiration. On each of the five Mondays in June I’ll post a version of this trend for Jumpsuit Monday. The last time I ran a series like this was in February with Poncho Tuesday. Also, my most read post in April was with this fabulous jumpsuit, so I thought I’d bring you all some more of what you’d like to see which is hopefully jumpsuits. Now granted, they are inconvenient in the bathroom department. For a cocktail party or formal event I figure you only go to the bathroom once or twice. Plus, I’ll be honest, sometimes during fancy events like this, I enjoy a little respite in the bathroom. I just go in, take my time, and don’t think twice about it. For how cute I find this jumpsuit, it’s totally worth the slight inconvenience. Now I am in no way a Bond Girl, but I have to say, this jumpsuit makes me feel like I could have been in the crowd in Casino Royale with some scenes shot over in Macau. In fact, so far in the short amount of time that I’ve owned this jumpsuit, I’ve worn it twice: first when we went to Macau a couple of weekends ago for a staycation for both Vincent’s birthday and to celebrate Mother’s Day, I wore this jumpsuit–just for the fun of feeling like a Bond Girl! Then second I wore it to the high school prom that I helped the students organize–and yes, the theme was Casino Royale. (Ok, ok, I’m a theme girl!)

jumpsuit

jumpsuit

jumpsuit

Some Outfit Details:

Sunnies–Zara
Earrings–Ben in Jardine’s Bazaar, Causeway Bay, HK (4th stall on the left)
Jumpsuit–Newlook via ASOS
Vintage Clutch–Aunt Norma via Maureen (similar)
Shoes–Target
Lippy–Giorgio Armani Lip Maestro

The Cocktail Jumpsuit For You!

The jumpsuit I’m wearing (and love!) up above is still available at ASOS. I did a little Interent window shopping and found four more super snazzy jumpsuits (at definitely reasonable prices!) that would be utterly chic for your next cocktail party or formal event.

*This post has been linked up to Monday Mingle and Style Sessions.

Style Story 17: Crop Tops Over 40

Crop Tops Over 40
Crop tops over 40?! Really?! Yes, I totally think crop tops are an option for any age. Granted, at any age I think there are a couple of tricks and tips to wearing this trend– unless you have a completely rock solid set of abs. JLo, my amazingly sexy same aged sister can choose to wear crop tops in any way she wants! (I bet she’s holding the ice cream for her child or something…) But for more modest attempts at wearing a crop top, stick with simple colors, choose a boxy style, or wear crop tops with a high waist. The last time I tried out the crop top trend was back in 2013 when the trend was just hitting the stores. I didn’t last long with that one; it was too cropped.

In my opinion, the secret to wearing crop tops over 40 is in the sneak peek. Just a sliver of skin exposure alludes to the style. I guess for the most part, I like wearing the modest version that hints at skin but is not in any way overt. Well…for the most part anyway. I have one exception but you’ll see it down below! ;P

Wear Crop Tops in Simple Colors

Crop Tops Over 40
There’s nothing too flashy with this look: it’s just black and grey. By keeping the colors simple, you won’t feel like you’re drawing more attention to your outfit with any other boldness. Let the cropped top be the bold of this outfit.

Wear Crop Tops in Boxy Shapes

Crop Tops Over 40
The boxiness of this crop top actually hides the tummy. The waist is visible which is good, but because a boxy cut falls from the breasts, the tummy actually gets shaded. It’s the glimpse of the top that might create the allure…. (This style works well for larger chested women since the top falls from there.)

Wear Crop Tops with High Waists

Crop Tops Over 40
Wearing a high waisted pant or skirt meets the crop top just about where it ends. This is a very safe way of wearing a crop top. Only movement of the arms reaching out will give a glimpse of the stomach. With a high waist there is minimal exposure from the crop top, but again, just enough. A little peak here and there is a good thing with a crop top.

My Exception with Crop Tops

Crop Tops Over 40
There’s one occasion when I will bare more midriff while wearing a crop top and that’s when a swimsuit is involved. If I’m headed to the beach or swimming pool even a boat ride, I find it totally appropriate to bare more skin. There’s usually a two piece on underneath, so for me the crop top is just an extension of my top. I’m usually in my high waisted denim cutoffs too, so I’ve got that pooch area covered. I don’t think I’d ever wear this same top with a pair of low waisted cutoff denim shorts. I would then be too self conscious. Funny huh? But with high waisted bottoms, I feel just fine in wearing a shorter top that shows off my middle.

Crop Tops for You:

I went out to three of my favorite online stores to shop for crop tops: Forever 21, ASOS, and Revolve Clothing. Each of these shopping destinations offer excellent options at various price points. If you want to just try this trend out with basics, go with Forever 21 or ASOS. If you interested in high quality and a more unique cut, shop at Revolve Clothing. Either way, for crop tops over 40, there are plenty of super cute options out there! Don’t be shy. Go for it!!

*This post has been linked up with Feature Friday, Fab Favorites, Fashion Friday, What I Wore, and Passion 4 Fashion.

Rebel in Arabia

It’s true: I was a Rebel in Arabia. Recently I was interviewed by a student since she was interested in the time that I had spend in Saudi Arabia. I love telling stories, and in talking with Rachel a ton of memories were sparked. Following is her lovely article about me–it actually brought tears to my eyes because she described this period of my life so well.

Enjoy!

Rebel in Arabia

By Rachel Chiu

“I had times when I was chased by the muttawa,” said Ms. Krembs, with a rebellious glint in her eyes. She laughed as she recalled the epic chase with the religious police, sparked by the black tunic that she was wearing. In Saudi Arabia, women have to wear the black abaya at all times.

“I was with my husband and we were running through this really maze-like mall with crazy escalators and we ran into a restaurant to hide,” she reminisced. “We lost them in the restaurant. The restaurants always shut down during prayer time.”

Having lived in Hong Kong my entire life, I couldn’t imagine living in a place with a religious police. A place where restaurants and stores locked their doors and pulled the shutters five times a day during the call to prayer. A place where women had to cover themselves head to toe in a black abaya. I couldn’t imagine it, but Ann Krembs, our very own librarian, lived through it.

Mrs. Krembs and her husband moved to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in 1999 for a two year post at an international school there. It was the second international post that the couple had embarked on, the first being a stint in El Salvador. They would go on to live in Venezuela, Mumbai, India, and Beijing, before becoming our librarian here in Hong Kong. The couple taught at an international school owned by Saudia, the flag carrier airline of Saudi Arabia.

“I had no idea what I was getting into,” she said. “I was just so excited to continue this international career.”

Living in Jedda was a huge change from growing up in the small town of Spokane, Washington.

“I was very naive about the world,” she said. “I just knew that I was moving to the middle east. My dad was so scared for me but I had no idea why. I just pictured these grand palaces…”

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Her visions of grand palaces and decadence were certainly accurate. Saudi Arabia is one of the richest countries in the world. The land is rich in oil and at the time the rich in Saudi Arabia were just getting richer.

“I’d never seen that much wealth,” she said.

Although we as Hong Kongers can relate to the side of Saudi Arabia to do with luxury cars and designer goods, it is harder to relate to the religious side of this absolute monarchy. Women do not have equal rights to men in the kingdom. Under Saudi law, female adults must live under the guidance of a “guardian,” a male relative. Saudi women face discrimination in court and are required to wear a black abaya that covers their hair and body.

“Did you know that women aren’t allowed to drive there?” she asked. “I had short hair back then and sometimes I would put on a baseball cap and drive around my compound just to be a bit of a rebel.”

Although Ms. Krembs taught at an international school and lived in an international compound, she still had to abide by all Saudi customs. Now, Ms. Krembs is known for her vibrant style and love of fashion, but in Saudi all her colorful outfits were swallowed by the black abaya.

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“I don’t march in protests, I’m not a campaigner, I’m not an activist. But I found that my rebellious spirit came out under all the restrictions. I just didn’t find it right that I couldn’t drive – couldn’t wear what I wanted.”

“In restaurants, there were doors for men and doors for women,” she explained. “There was a partition between the two sides of the restaurant and I could see the other side but I was never allowed to sit there. I had never felt discrimination like that before.”

It was difficult living in Jeddah for Ms. Krembs and her husband. She had to struggle between feeling oppressed and respecting the traditions and cultures of her host country.

“One time we couldn’t get in a restaurant because of prayer time and I just had a mental breakdown in the backseat of our jeep. So much emotion was built up and I couldn’t stop crying,” she remembered.

Her husband was her greatest support during their stay.

“He always said to me, ‘Anne, you don’t have to accept it, you just have to tolerate it,” she said. She told me about how she didn’t feel like it was her fight. How she felt like it wasn’t fair for her to be angry at the restrictions because it’s an inherent part of Saudi culture.

Living in a culture so different from her upbringing was very difficult, but the difficult living situation brought Ms. Krembs closer to her fellow teachers. She described her network of friends in Saudi Arabia to be one of the closest and most tight-knit communities that she has ever been a part of. She met one of her best friends, Shannon Coin, a librarian, while she was in Saudi. She wears a silver bracelet, a gift from Shannon, everyday as a reminder of their strong friendship and of Shannon’s classy spirit.

“We relied on each other,” she said. “We all appreciated how different the culture was and supported each other through the transition.”

Looking back on her time in Saudi, Ms. Krembs has fond memories of strong friendships, shopping for carpets and jewellery, and kind hearted locals. She left the country and moved to Mumbai in 2001 with a new found appreciation for freedom of expression and a greater understanding of world culture.

“I realized that I have to be a guest in these countries,” she said reflectively. “I can’t go about changing anything. I need to embrace where I live and push myself out of my comfort zone.”

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