Boho Romper in Luang Prabang

I bought this boho romper just for my travels to Luang Prabang. I’ll often do that: buy a special outfit that I think will suit the destination for where I’m traveling. It was by chance that we happened upon a bamboo bridge that matched my boho romper perfectly. This bamboo bridge is only up for part of the year; when the rains become to heavy, they have to take the bridge down. Because this bridge is made by the local family that uses it, they charge a nominal fee to cross. I wasn’t too scared to cross the bridge–I figured if we fell, I’d be able to swim in the river. The structure of this bridge is rather amazing–check out how it’s supported by the diagonal bamboo poles inserted into the river. Our days were spent on bicycles in this cute little town–with a stop at the local Joma for an iced coffee. (And baked good of course! Scroll all the way down to see this day’s treat….)

This day’s treat along with the iced coffees was carrot cake.

Do you buy a special item to match where your traveling to?

Attention Travelers: Check the Dresscode!

This is an attention notice for all travelers: you must check the dress code of the destination for where you are traveling! I don’t often get opinionated on Kremb de la Kremb. It’s not my nature to stir up arguments, but from what I just witnessed on my recent travels, I can’t help but write about this topic. It is essential to research the cultural norms in anticipation of a trip.

Recently we traveled to Luang Prabang, Laos. Not only is this quaint little French/Laos town charming, but it is highly religious. Buddhist monks are everywhere and there is a temple (or more) on each block. In order to enter a temple, a woman should have her shoulders and knees covered. That means a BIG no to spaghetti straps, and an even BIGGER negative to butt cheeks escaping out of jean shorts. Yes, during the day it is hot, but there are clothing styles that keep one cool and modest even in the heat.

Enter culottes and the breezy blouse. This was my uniform for the trip. On the days when we’d be visiting temples, I made sure to be covered. I was completely comfortable and felt stylish while respecting the Laos Buddhist culture. I was incensed by some of the skin I saw from my fellow female travelers. I wanted to reprimand them for not respecting the ways of the Laos people. These strong thoughts brought me back to my Saudi days….

While living in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, I was guilty of not fully following the dress code. I did not cover my hair nor face. I did wear the black abaya, but sometimes I rebelled and wore it open. By the end of my second year there, my abaya turned into a black tunic that did expose that I had a crotch. This was a direct violation to Saudi’s cultural dress code–especially wearing pants. It’s funny to think how opinionated I was on this recent trip, yet years ago, I used wearing pants as a form of rebellion. It’s all rather hypocritical of me now isn’t it?

The thing is my dress code changes constantly. When I go home to Idaho, USA, I do not dress anywhere near to the way I dress in Hong Kong. Even in Seattle, Washington I change my attire. I can remember the shift in my wardrobe from Venezuela to India: cleavage is the norm in Venezuela. Those shirts I wore in Latina land were scandalous in Mumbai. Thank goodness I noticed my sartorial faux pas early on and adjusted rapidly. Even while living in Beijing, where it was very cold and grey, I could identify a shift in the color of my wardrobe. Yes, it was grey!

The point of this post is to simply voice my opinion: when traveling we must adapt to our surroundings. If we do not know the expectations of dress for the upcoming destination it’s our job as the traveler to research this information. It was not hard for me to easily find that Laos–and in particular Luang Prabang–is a conservative town. Within moments I learned that it would be disrespectful to show a lot of skin. Now…. if I ever get to travel to Rio de Janiero again (we brought in the year 2000 there!), I’ll find that showing skin is the norm–as I did when I was in Rio!

There will be more posts from Luang Prabang, but as an aside, I’d like to mention the hotel where we stayed. We had a lovely and perfectly large room at the Sunset Villa by Burasari. Finding a spot that fits the four of us is starting to become a challenge, but one for Kevin to conquer. The Sunset Villa is a four bedroom villa just a ten minute bike ride outside of the main old town. They offered bikes, so we rode everywhere. We’d leave to explore the old town after a decadent breakfast and then come home for a chilly dip in the pool in the hot afternoons. (Currently it’s hot during the day but cools off drastically at night.) By late afternoon, we’d set back out on those bikes for dinner and more site seeing around the ever so charming Luang Prabang.

Merry Thai Christmas

Do you remember our trip to the Philippines in October? Remember how I was gushing about the Forever 21 in Clark, Philippines? Well. It was during that trip that I basically purchased all the holiday outfits I’d wear during this winter break holiday to Thailand. When I saw this bright off-the-shoulder red lacy dress, I knew for sure it was going to be my Christmas dress in Thailand. Here in Railay, Krabi, all these decorated longboats serve as the perfect celebratory backdrop. In a spot with no cars–except for an occasional hotel golf cart–these longboats are the mode of transportation. While obviously rickety, they are definitely a fun ride!

I’m about to make a very spoiled statement: I’ve lost track as to how many times we’ve visited this beautiful country. We first came to Thailand in 2000–we think. Back then we were living and working in Saudi Arabia for the airline company’s school; we travelled like banshees on I-90 tickets (in airline speak that means you pay 10% of the ticket but fly standby). We met both of Kevin’s brothers here in Bangkok. (Also within that 2 year time during our employment at the airline company, we also travelled to Hong Kong for the first time and definitely fell in love with our now current home!) Basically ever since living in India, Thailand has been the place we’d go for some luxurious yet affordable comforts. And yes, each trip always seems to end with some awesome shopping for Annie in Bangkok. (This trip we’re on will be no different!) The extremely special part of this trip is my sister is here! We spent two days with them already on their sailboat, and tomorrow we meet her and her family in Chiangmai Mai. (For moment to moment details follow my Instagram stories!)

Here’s my silver fox photographer. While he refuses to let me take videos of him, he’s really getting into the selfie these days. I guess, when I think back on our 20+ relationship, he’s always been up for a selfie–even before that’s what they were called!

Have you been to Thailand?

What sort of things would you like to see while I’m here?

Sunsets in La Jolla

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The sea is magical to me, and the sunsets that accompany it, well, I stop to experience them when I’m anywhere near water. Water and the sunset, they keep me happy. On our recent start to Summer ’16, we had some amazing sunsets in La Jolla, San Diego. It’s rare that Kevin and I leave the kids, but this summer we did for three nights before they came down to join us in San Diego with their grandparents. We had such a good time. The last time we did this was nine years ago, but now we’re only about six years away from being an empty nest (YIKES!), so the nights away were cherished but probably won’t happen again any time soon. It’s ok though: we’re a tight little traveling family that usually accompanies one another everywhere we go. Of course it was quite nice to have a little alone time with my husband; we’ll be celebrating 19 years this July 25–as well as 19 years overseas! Yes indeed, time flies (when you’re having fun;)!

Sunsets in La Jolla 1

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My cute fishy Louella Odié bag made it to California!
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My hair goals have been achieved! I’ve got my husband’s hair. Back when we first fell in love in 1993, there’s a picture of the two of us in our similar long locks. We could pass as siblings instead of lovers!

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Here’s my blooper pic! The waves were crashing–hard! I was afraid of being pommeled a couple of times!

The Travel LBD

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Summer ’16 is here and with it TRAVEL–one of the parts of my life that I cherish most and work hard to achieve. Here, I’m in the Seattle Airport in what I’d like to consider the perfect travel LBD (little black dress). I have two guidelines for what I wear when I travel: I want to look good but also remain comfortable. I am an economy class traveler, but you never know if you’ll get bumped. Plus, I like to pretend that I am a first class traveler, so I might as well look the part! Black is always the easiest color to travel in, and if you can find a comfortable travel LBD than you’re golden. I picked up this off the shoulder with spaghetti straps at this rinky dink boutique in the Gaslamp District in San Diego. It was one of those stores where everything was $17.99. Of course I went in, and since Kevin gave me about 5 minutes max to look around, this is what I walked out with. Surprise surprise! I love it and it fits me just fine. But how can something flowy with no shape not fit? Right? Anyway, to travel I added some statement earrings alongside all my anklets that I seem to be collection this summer. Because comfort is also one of those travel guidelines I wore my ever so walkable Teva flat forms. Finally, another super purchase while in San Diego was this awesome, light weight black backpack from Urban Outfitters. I love it when I not only find the perfect travel LBD but also the perfect travel LBB (little black bag)!

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I have an expensive habit at always stopping at Fireworks in the Seattle Airport. I’ve picked up such special, little intricate necklaces from there. You all know I’m auspicious about my jewellery, so when I found this simple evil eye, hanging on an oxidized black chain, I was smitten. I also picked up this ring that resembles the ring that my sister kind of took from me. It’s ok. We have that agreement, so now I have one too!

Travel LBD 2

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The Pearl Jam exhibit in SeaTac is exceptional. I had fun checking out all the graphic art for this iconic 90s and current band.

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My photographer was pooped by the time we took off. I love how she can sleep anywhere and also shakes in her sleep. She’s skatin’ in those dreams of hers!

A Meandering Spring Jacket Through the Streets of Lijiang

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We just finished an adventure trip through Lijiang, China. On one afternoon, when the sun was just right, Gigi, the Spring Jacket, and I went out exploring. There’s something magical about neighborhood China and all the ornate wood embellishments with red garnishes in the form of either lanterns or banners. Some walls are depicted with calligraphy style painted scenes. Red carts match the buildings and are just sitting there waiting for a passerby to try an imaginary ride. What fun! And what beauty! Plus, this spring jacket that I scored towards the end of this winter has been waiting for the perfect time to bust it out. I think it matches the perfectly quaint Lijiang alleyways perfectly. Don’t you?

spring jacket

spring jacket

Spring Jacket

spring jacket

Some Outfit Details:

Earrings: Silver ball hoops from a Beijing market

Sunnies: Shenzhen market

Spring Jacket and Long Sleeve Tee: Forever 21 and the jacket is still available!

Jeans: H&M from ages ago. I had to have them! But unfortunately it wasn’t until after I tried them on and left the store that I knew I wanted them. It was this pair of jeans that taught me (well for the most part!), that when I like something, especially when traveling, just GET THEM. You see, I tried these on in Paris back in 2009. I didn’t buy them at the time I spotted them from that particular H&M branch, but in turn made the whole family traipse around Paris stopping at each H&M branch until I finally re-found them to ultimately purchase. Yes, I get a fashion fixation and it hurts. It hurst the whole family!

Fringe Crossover Bag: Zara Girls (some of my best little crossover bags are from the girls’ section at Zara. Always check it out!)

Booties: very, very old from Forever 21. I love them! I wish they still had them, but unfortunately, they’re long gone. They’ve come back before, so I always keep a look out….

*This post has been linked up to Fashion Friday, What I WoreBrilliant Blog Posts, Whims Wednesday, Style Sessions, Monday Mingle, Let It Shine, and Passion 4 Fashion.