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.)