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!

Head to Toe Zara

Sometimes the shopping gods shine down and something magical will happen like head to toe Zara all at once! I didn’t mean to dress in head to toe Zara, but it just kind of happened–all of it, each and every single piece, was discounted! Here’s how it all came together: I’ll start with the blazer that I picked up last year at Zara’s huge sale after the holidays. The black and white tweed look was just starting to resurface and become popular. I wore this jacket a ton last winter. Next up are these cowboy-esque, black studded, little booties I scored at a Ruglane swap. Granted they are a size larger than what I wear, but at $20 and never having been worn, it was worth the investment score. The toe is so pointy I don’t think a 37 would have fit me anyway; plus I add some insoles and I’m good to go. These are my first regulary, daily shoes I’ve been able to wear that have a bit of a heel! Oh, have I missed my heels! Let’s move on to the skirt–I scooped it up immediately during this year’s after the holiday sales. Could it have been a leftover from last winter? It sure looks like it; the fabric is exactly the same as the jacket. Lucky me! I now have a suit!! Last but not least are my accessories: I picked up the earrings for the holiday season, and the circular backpack was another score from the recent sales. There I am in head to toe Zara without even thinking twice about it!

Has this sort of serendipity ever happened to you with a brand?

The boys let me include them in this post. Like father like son. (Gigi is not shown as she was my photographer.)

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?

Rug Lane Markets–Save the Date for November 11th!

Rug Lane Markets

Over here in Hong Kong, we take advantage of every single second hand swap experience we can. Enter Rug Lane Markets. So far I have attended two of the Rug Lane Markets as a buyer and one as a seller. In fact, everything I am wearing in this post is from Rug Lane Markets. I picked up this chic jumpsuit from my girlfriend and fellow blogger I’m a Norbyah–I was so startled to fit in it because I am literally twice her size, but it works. I love how I feel and look in this jumpsuit! The booties too absolutely thrill me. How many years have I been wearing tennis shoes? I can’t keep track; suffice it to say it’s been a long time. When I tried on these never been worn Zara booties, it was love at first sight! Yes, there is a little itty bitty heel, but my legs can handle it. It’s like having a pair of high heeled shoes, and it’s an understatement to say I’m ecstatic! The necklace seemed like a no brainer: it was only $10 HKD. Why not, right? So in total, the jumpsuit was $50HKD, the brand new Zara shoes $150, and the necklace $10. Boom! New super chic outfit for $210HKD which is like $30 US bucks. I was so pleased with my Rug Lane Markets purchases.

Now for the important news:
Rug Lane Markets is having an event this November 11th. Click here to buy your tickets beforehand, or show up at the door. But, definitely come with some moolah because I guarantee you’ll need it! I’ve already bought my tickets and can hardly wait to attend–not this Saturday but the next. Save the date: 11/11/17 at 12:00!

Rug Lane Markets

Rug Lane Markets

This $10 bauble is actually from Accessorize. What I love best about it is how tarnished and vintage it looks. The previous owner wore it down to perfection!

Rug Lane Markets

These Zara studded booties were such a score! The lady bought them, but was never able to wear them because they were too small for her. Go figure. They are actually a size too big for me, but with a pair of insoles they fit me perfectly. I can wear these shoes all day long. WIN WIN!!

Rug Lane Markets

Rug Lane Markets

Rug Lane Markets

Hong Kong Readers, will I see you at the Rug Lane Markets on November 11th?
I sure hope so. Say hi!!

*I’ve linked this post with Jess’ Turning Heads Tuesday, Catherine’s #iwillwearwhatilike, and Samantha’s #fakeittuntilyoumakeit.

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?

#ElleinHK Last Year on this Day

EllleCollage3
Last year on January 6 of 2014, Elle arrived to stay with us in Hong Kong for six weeks. OH! It was such fun!! I end up missing her quite a bit since that time that she stayed with us. It was such a treat to spend a solid chunk of time with her. Elle is my goddaughter, so there’s an extra bit of pride set aside for her. She just turned 17 on January 2nd–I can still remember when she was just a little babe. Man, before Julie and Matt know it, she’s going to be heading away for college. I know this six week trip last year was a big one for the family; maybe it helped to pave a bit of the way toward their first one heading off. Now the two set of folks need to scheme for Vincent’s possible exchange and even Maeve’s. I looked up the hashtag #elleinhk and found some of these great pics while she was here in Hong Kong. Oh man, we had such fun exploring the city, shopping, and trying new things like surfing or trying different food. Who knows….maybe Elle will return for a follow up visit some day….

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6th Links á la Mode

My recent post about the Louella Odié Skyline Tote made it on this week’s Links á la Mode on Independent Fashion Bloggers. I wrote about this Hong Kong tote traveling all over Shanghai. It was such a fun collaboration with Louella Odié. I’m happy for both of us to get more exposure on IFB!

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Hong Kong in Shanghai with Louella Odié

LouellaOdie.3-3As seen from so many updates here on the blog, my Instagram feed, or my Facebook page, we recently visited my sister Mary in Shanghai for Thanksgiving. It was such fun, and I’ll try not to post too much from the trip. One post I will dedicate my awesome travels to is Louella Odié. Louella Odié is a local Hong Kong handbag boutique. First, the reason I love this line of bags is the printmaking. With a brother as a printmaker, I have grown to have an appreciation for all things printed. With this mother-daughter team, mom Karen is the artist behind Louella Odié while Lauren is the businesswoman. The team is sensational as are the bags. I was so excited to carry The Hong Kong Skyline Tote throughout my four day weekend in Shanghai. It’s as if the bag, as many of my personal items, became a being, and She was often referred to as Her. Take a look at where She went in Shanghai!

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Sassy Contributor

Sassy_LogoHong Kong has afforded me many opportunities that I would have never dreamt would come my way. One such opportunity has been the ability to contribute to one of my favorite web sources for all things Hong Kong: Sassy Media Group. I first read from the Sassy site when I was in Beijing knowing I would move to Hong Kong. Both Sassy Hong Kong and Sassy Mama HK are the go-to spots on the Internet for finding out what is hot in Hong Kong. Fashion posts, restaurant reviews, awesome give aways, field trip ideas, advice on anything and everything… the list goes on for all that Sassy offers its HK readers. Sassy isn’t limited to Hong Kong either; there’s also Sassy Singapore, Australia, Dubai and Paris is coming soon. Contributing for Sassy has given my family and me tons of really cool opportunities like an overnight stay at the Cosmopolitan Hotel, a cooking class at The Mixing Bowl, a spinning class at XYZ to name a few. Now I’m taking my expertise in books and will be offering a book collection–stay tuned for a December post. It feels very rewarding to contribute to a resource that I personally find so valuable. Sassy definitely makes life better in Hong Kong, and I’m pretty proud to be a Sassy contributor!

SassyMama