Elegant Elephants

Our Christmas day this past 2017 was completely magical: we spent the entire day with some very elegant elephants! Elephants have long been a favorite animal in the Krembs’ family, so spending Christmas day with them was an extremely cool gift. The other amazing part of Christmas 2017 was being with my sister’s family. In the photo above you will the four Krembs, my sister and her family with husband and three kids, her mother-in-law, and her husband’s brother plus cousin and his wife. We were a party of 13! The night before we had all exchanged gifts via a Secret Santa. To say it was fun to be with everyone is an understatement. Because we live overseas, we often spend Christmas with just the four of us; this Christmas was especially unique and one that we will all remember forever–especially Christmas day with these elegant elephants!

This blog started as a family blog back in 2006! It’s evolved since then, yet I wanted to share a memory from way back. Here’s a picture of the kiddos as toddlers. Vincent naturally took care of his younger sister. I don’t have any pictures from our elephant experience from that first trip to Goa, India, so I’ll share the story here: we took our first Indian beach trip during our first break of our first year. We had just come from the beach party country of Venezuela. We often went to Margarita Island where the rum was flowing and the tanga (thong bikinis) were jiggling to the salsa music on the beach. As we sat on the very quiet beach of Goa, India, we felt an intense longing for the chaos of Venezuelan beaches. It was then in our self-pity, that I looked way off into the distance, and I saw a real dark, large blob. The blob kept coming closer and closer, and we had now idea what it was. Form finally began to take shape, and we realized an elephant was coming toward us! As we sat there on the beach with two toddlers aside us we watched this elegant elephant pass by. It was remarkable to say the least. Vinnie and I got up, held hands, and followed this gigantic beast. We were in awe. We never considered the Indian beaches boring after that, and Vincent and I rode many elephants together during our stay in the beautiful country of India. When we had to choose a partner for Thailand, I instantly asked Vincent if he’d ride with me.

I love the calm of my sister in these two pictures; look at the reverence she expresses in her hand gestures. I think it’s ok if I share that Julie was a bit scared, but she made it through, and in the end I think she found the elephants to be magical.

If by chance you visit Chiang Mai, Thailand, may I recommend Woody’s Elephants to you. They really care for their elephants. Each elephant has his own mahout, and as a witness those fellas really love their elephant. Also, lunch was amazing!

This is Tim and Marina. It was so fun to travel with these two. They gobbled up the culture with such a zest for life–same with Carol below. We feel quite special to have family extend beyond blood! (Stay tuned for more pictures with Carol; she traveled to Cambodia with us at the end of Christmas vacation.)

The first thing they did at Woody’s Elephants was write all of our names on our hand in Thai. This says “Annie” and “Elle.” We were kind of shocked how similar our two names looked….

Have you met an elephant before?
What did you think?

Sailing, Takes Me Away….

My brother-in-law sailed my sister to me. It’s very extravagant sounding, but it’s the truth. I was sitting on Railay Beach in Thailand with my family. The sun was beginning its set. Meanwhile, texts were being exchanged between the two of us: “Can you see that cruise boat?” she texted. “I think you just passed us,” I wrote back. It was very, very surreal. And then, before we knew it, my niece and nephew were headed toward us on a dingy boat. We waded out to them in the low tide as Vincent pushed them in to us because the current was too strong for their oars. Once in the dingy’s motor got revving, we sped out to their catamaran sailboat. I hopped off and into my sister’s arms. It was a magical reunion–one I will not forget.

My sister’s husband’s family are sailors. Julie is a sailor–she has been since she dating Matthew at 15. Sadly Matthew’s father is gone, but his legacy of sailing, sailing around the world lives on. It was so spectacular to witness this gift that Mike and Carol Collins’ have given their family. Sailing is dynamic, adventurous, and very fun. I had to keep from squealing at times so as not to be disruptive. Both Vincent and Kevin were able to get involved helping with the sails. It definitely took the expertise of the captain, Matt, and his able crew to get us to our destination. Meanwhile, I was completely awed. It was very special for me to witness how and why sailing is so vital to my sister and her family. It was a unifying task of all involved–even for someone like me who simply just took pictures.

Not all of the sail is frenetic. There are bouts of calm filled with lazy lounges on the decks, gossip amongst the girls, and dips off the deck into the blue waters. Sailing in Thailand is magnificently beautiful with the colors changing before one’s eyes. It’s always sparkly–either from the sun rays filtering through to make diamonds on the water or the blue sky intensifying the turquoise sea water. Of course, the song, the favorite family song, “Sailing, Takes Me Away….” was on full blast and smiles were plastered on everyone’s faces.

Here we all were in the blue waters of Thailand as a Krembs/Collins family sailing away! Oh, it was pure magic!!

Thank you Carol/Frammie/Benny for sharing your family’s love of sailing with my family.

Have you ever been sailing?
What do you think of it? I’ve always thought it to be a thrilling experience ever since my dad took my sister and me as little girls–but that’s a whole other story for another day…

Merry Christmas (from last year!)

Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas with pictures that were meant to be sent out last year… I had the best intentions of sending out a New Year card then a Chinese New Year Card, then maybe just a card, and well, there never was a card! These are a few of the family pictures we took during our trip to India last Christmas. Oh, it was such a fabulous trip! We started in Bombay meeting up with old friends which was so special. Then the magic started happening once we got to Rajasthan. These first two pics were taken on Christmas Eve in Udaipur.

A trip to Rajasthan wouldn’t be complete without a little safari action. We actually saw a snow leopard on this excursion. It was wicked cool! The animal just sat perched up there on his rock, chillin’. It was quite a sight. And typical of an India excursion, we stopped for chai and biscuits.

Another magical moment to be had in Rajasthan is staying in an old havelli. This havelli was ancient–very rustic too, but it was a very cool experience.

Finally, our trip was completed in Jodhpur’s Red Fort where we zip lined across the canyons. It was a phenomenal experience, one that won’t be forgotten!

Our family is very blessed. Kevin and I have somehow created this life full of travel. It’s exciting and fun, and we all have a really good time together. Now, today we start our three week vacation for winter break. We’ll be spending our time in Thailand–with my sister and her family!! We can hardly wait! It’s going to be so fun to share our special Thai times with our family members!

Merry Merry Christmas from the Krembs!

Target Holiday Outfit and Gift Guide

Holiday Outfit from Target

Don’t worry: I will get to the gift guide from Target. But first things first–and that happens to be what am I going to wear for Christmas Eve!! We will be celebrating at my sister’s new house. It’s is utterly chic, and our Christmas celebration will be too. To my delight she has declared it a fancy affair, so I’m all about that. I feel determined to wear plaid dressed up, so to that end let me explain the above outfit details:

1. It’s all about THIS SKIRT! It’s long yet tailored and perfectly chic. The waistband cinches in the back to make a nice poofy bow. I can recall one of my dressmaking shenanigans where I tried to design a similar skirt–but this one is so much better. It is pricey at $80–Target’s prices are usually lower. BUT, this is THE holiday skirt. The cost per wear is going to surpass it’s heftier price tag.

2. OR 3. Now, I checked the plaid shirts in both the women’s and men’s section, but like usual, I also checked the kids’ section. From experience, I already know that the boys plaid shirts from Target are awesome: great, crisp cotton. So I found a typical Christmas plaid version OR a fun bright red one. Which one do you prefer?

4. These bow gloves are adorable and not limited to just Christmas Eve.

5. This ruby statement necklace would work with either shirt adding just a bit of glamour to the rather casual top.

6. OR 7. If I go with the Christmas plaid shirt, I’ll opt for the red and black statement earrings. On the other hand, these red and blue baubles would look great with the fun bright red plaid shirt.

8. OR 9. If I’m realistic, the lower heeled, knee-high boot is more practical for me and my hip recuperation, but in my dream world I would totally rock the pointy, stiletto heeled, sock bootie….

My Holiday Outfit from Target:

If I go with the Christmas plaid shirt with matching earrings and the knee-high boots the total is USD $207. If I opt for the red plaid shirt and high-heeled sock booties my total would be $197. To knock $50 off this outfit I could perhaps do without the statement necklace and simply go for just a pair of statement earrings as those are both only $8 dollars each!

Now on to the Pressies:

Target Gift Guide 1

Target Gift Guide 2

Target Gift Guide 3

*1. For the cute cook, some cute bowls

2. For the baker, a really nice kitchen tool

*3. For the coffee coniesseur, an instant espresso machine

4. For the elegant host, some gold flat wear

5. For the wine lover, a pretty bottle of wine

6. To help the wine lover, pretty, holiday stem wear 

7. For the lounger, a fuzzy pair of slippers 

**8. For the Christmas lover, a pine scented candle

9. For the recycler, a candle in a jar to be later re-used

*10. For the cozy craver, a faux fur throw

11. For the nail artist, a 12 pack of e.l.f. colors

12. For the makeup pro, nice, gold brushes

*13. For the true fashionista, a DK fashion book

*14. For the family, the two hour toy

15. For the make believer, a sweet doll house

16. For the engineer, a robot

*I’ve put an asterisk by those items on my actual Christmas list–helps the husby out! 

**I’ve already purchased 4 of these candles! I’ll keep some for myself and give the others as hostess gifts. 

Beautiful Bali: Part 4, Ubud Rice Fields

Beautiful Bali

Beautiful BaliThe last time Kevin and I were in Ubud was 15 years ago. One thing that has not changed with this idyllic local in the mountains of Bali is its beauty. It’s just remarkable. On the other hand, the commerce has definitely increased as has the yoga zeal to the town. Also the culinary delights were delish. We stayed in a simple two bedroom villa out in the middle of a lush green rice field. And Santa found us all the way in Bali! Christmas in such a green area was perfect as were the torrential downpours. We found gods and monkeys amongst fields of rice. It was a magical return to Ubud.

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Beautiful Bali: Part 3, Kickin’ it in Kuta

BaliKuta-12Bali is still beautiful! This recent trip over the Christmas holiday did not disappoint. Since we stayed in three different places, I’ll post this trip in three more “Beautiful Bali” posts to add on to part 1 and part 2 from our trip last October. For our first five nights we stayed in bustling Kuta which is in the southern part of Bali yet still facing west for ideal sunsets. It seemed appropriate during the days leading up to Christmas to be in Kuta as we had time for beach fun, any last minute pressie shopping, and then more beach for gorgeous sunsets. We took in the gorgeous culture with a bride and groom seriously dressed to the nines and child performers dancing for their wedding held at our hotel. The rock sculpture gods and ornate structures were seen throughout our hotel. Despite the heat, we even saw a sandman and a shirtless Santa! We easily settled into our trip and had a great time on this return trip to Bali.

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Christmas in Bali: Jungle Christmas Trees and Sequins Dresses Included!


Merry Christmas from the Jungles of Bali!

Here we are spending our Christmas up in the village of Ubud in Bali. On Christmas Eve Day we checked into a lovely villa up here in the middle of the rice paddies of Ubud. Our little home away from home is just lovely. The first thing we set out to do was determine which one of our villa’s lush trees would make for our jungle christmas tree. Once decided, we set upon dressing it with the most specialist of ornaments–those that make it are the most cherished. Each of us gets to choose two. Our sparkly bearded Santa is always a winner as is the homemade painted ornament from Nie Nie. “Woof” with Rani printed below also made the roundup as did the sparkly ruby present and peacock bulb. I was sad to see that the sparkly home that my mom passed on to me has cracked. This was my favorite ornament growing up; it is no longer going to make it as a travel ornament and will be wrapped away carefully in hopes that it can be preserved for many more Christmases despite its hole.

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Nordstrom Gift Guide: Earrings For Her {That her being me!}

Earrings! I love earrings, and every year since Kevin and I have been together, he has given me a pair of earrings at Christmas. It started back in December of 1993 when we had just begun dating when he gave me a beautiful pair of pearl earrings. This was our first Christmas together and the gift was so precious to me. Unfortunately, I no longer have those pearl earrings, but the memory is in tact. I even remember what I wore that Christmas: a brown wool pencil skirt that I had made with a cream turtleneck. Now to this day each year, I really look forward to seeing which pair I will get. Sometimes he’s paid special attention to what I’ll comment on window shopping; other times he’ll branch out on his own. It doesn’t matter though because each year I always know I’ll get a lovely pair of earrings from Kevin.

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Nordstrom Gift Guide: for Him

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Nordstrom Gift Guide: For the Sisters

I love Christmas shopping for my sisters–they have to be the easiest people to shop for on any list. I have many sisters: 2 biological, five through marriage, and several more just from strong friendships made through my life. While unfortunately this is a window shopping compilation of Christmas presents, each one on this gift guide has a particular sister in mind. Can you guess what’s for who? Merry Christmas Sisters!! I wish I was with you this Christmas ‘2014.

1. Monogramed Necklace

2. Gemstone Earrings

3. Seattle Umbrella

4. Lip Maestro in the Best Red

5. Faux Fur Loop Scarf

6. Gold and Navy Watch

7. Initial Business Card Holder

8. Leather (Tech Gloves

9. Vanilla Brown Sugar

10. Plaid Pajamas

11. Tartine Cookbook

12. Gold Face Candle

Get shopping for those SISTERS!!