Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wearing is caring

Any vintage lover, whether a seller, a collector, a wearer or an addict like me, will tell you that vintage garments need a little TLC.  And, that's okay with me.

You see, one of the things that makes a vintage garment special is that the quality is, without question, much better than many garments made in our age of mass production and fast fashion.  

So, you can forgive a vintage garment for having a loose button or a fallen hem, or even a little stain.  After all, the fact that the garment is still in tact after all these decades is remarkable itself.  Even a piece from the 80s is now thirty years old!

The good news is that most repairs are nothing more than what a little hand stitching can handle.  I usually have a little pile of upkeeping on the go all the time.

This week off for Easter break is a good time for many projects that I have on my back burner.  With the rainy weather today, it was just the day to attack my fix it pile.

I've always been super proud of the fact that I can thread a needle and sew on buttons, fix little holes and stitch up hems.  Those are probably the most likely repairs I'll ever need to do myself as a wearer of vintage.  

My grandmother would be happy to know that I can mend these things myself.  She was a proper lady, you know.  She carried a hanky (not a tissue), wrote in her diary every day and would only use the Oxford Dictionary when we played scrabble.  These little details would matter to her.  And, she was the one who taught my mother to sew, who then taught me.  I'll pass that onto my children, too.  My yellow and blue sewing kit is nothing fancy, but it was my mother's gift (fully stocked) to me as I headed off to college.   

It's served me well.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Etsy Confessions: Milk Teeths

Long before I discovered Ashley's Etsy shop, Milk Teeths, I actually found her blog.  Early on in my fashion blog reading days, I remember stumbling on hers because of all the vintage and thrifted clothing that she wears.  I became a regular visitor and have long admired her style.

Then I discovered Etsy.  

When I realized that Ashley also had an Etsy shop, I was over the moon.  Her shop contains such a refreshing selection of vintage items that she's curated, ranging anywhere from the 50s, 60s and even the 70s.  I especially love her decidedly ethnic selection of items clearly influenced by where she lives.  There's very much a southwest vibe happening in her shop.

It's my pleasure to introduce you to Ashley.

How would you describe yourself? 
I guess I would call myself an introverted extrovert. I suspect most people who blog and are active on social media fall into this category!

What are your interests? Your profession? Your aspirations?
I'm a big history nerd, especially when it comes to local Southern California history (which is where I'm from), I like looking through online databases searching for old forgotten photos of California and reading about local histories. In the same vein, I love traveling around Southern California and discovering cool, off the beaten path points of interest.

Besides my Etsy shop, I work at a public relations agency as a social media manager for a variety of fashion and lifestyle brands. Definitely keeps me on my toes!
As far as aspirations, definitely going full time with my shop is something I've dreamed about and is a goal I am working towards. Being my own boss is the ultimate dream.

Why did you decide to open a shop on Etsy? How long have you been on Etsy?
I've been on Etsy (as a different vintage shop) since 2009. When I started I was in college and was looking to make some extra spending money. I'd be at the thrift store and pass up garments that weren't my size but still thought were super cute. I had read about Etsy online (it was still pretty new at this point) and it seemed like a good place to sell vintage clothing so I thought, “why not?” and the rest is history.

Significance of Etsy shop name?
It's called MILK TEETHS, the same as my blog. The name really has no significance, when I started blogging I just picked a name I thought sounded cool. “Milk teeth” was taken so I added an “s” and there you have it. Milk teeth is an old timey way of saying baby teeth that phrase had always stuck with me, you don't really hear it all too much these days.

Where do you source items for your shop?  What do you look for?
Mostly thrift stores with the occasional rag house trip. I look for pieces that I'd wear myself. I tend to gravitate towards colorful patterns, well made tomboy staples (super into denim everything right now), and 60s-70s era pieces.

What do you like about Etsy?
The community for sure. There are so many wonderful shop owners and it's amazing to think that Etsy has provided people the opportunity to make their “hobbies” into viable businesses. The buyers are generally very sweet and I love receiving e-mails and messages from people telling me how much they cherish the piece they bought. Best feeling ever.

Ashley is generously offering my readers a 15% off coupon code.  Simply type in "norbyah15" at check out.

You can find Ashley here:

And for more vintage, check out her boyfriend Grant's shop, Cardigan King.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Days gone by

I've been feeling really nostalgic lately, but for what?  I'm not sure.

I've spent many an evening just wandering and clicking the "you might also like" links under my posts, looking back at old ones.

Especially those with my little kiddos in them.  I've been pouring over the pictures of them all when they were so little.  The videos, their little voices, the stories of what they used to do.

Maybe it's because, though I'm not really trying to think about it, our family is heading for some big changes in our near future.

My big boy, that baby of mine just 11 years ago...well, he's changing.  He'll be in middle school next year.  I have vivid (and painful) memories of middle school.  And, that's where he's headed.  

I know every parent feels this, but how does time go by so quickly?  I think the biggest adjustment that I'm struggling with is the letting go.  Letting him be more independent.  But trying to make sure that he's safe.  It scares the shit out of me.   

Couple that with the fact that my tiniest one is getting super excited about big school next year, and I'm overwhelmed.  I don't want to change anything, but I need things to slow down.  I want to be able remember it all.  Every detail.  Over and over.

Speaking of days gone by, these pictures were taken well before the Hong Kong Sevens weekend (before I got my wild streak).  On a rare sunny day, on the rooftop.  

Outfit details: vintage silk blouse and pants come from Stanley Market,  
scarf (from Roomi in Stanley Plaza)...I couldn't resist the colors or the print.

Monday, April 14, 2014


Easter holiday is in the air. Can you feel it? We can. Kids are restless at school, we are all exhausted and the weather is teasing us with warm sunshine on weekends.

All we have to do is make it through this short week. Easier said than done!

By the way, excuse the weird spacing on this.  I'm not sure why I can't get the spaces to be even.  I think it has to do with the fact that I published from my iPhone and then edited from Blogger here on my laptop. ARGH!

Bathtime at my mum's gets bubbly!

A sweet gift arrives in the post from Hill Side Story vintage shop.

And, it fits perfectly. Such a springy color, too.

Promposal season hits the high school and our senior rock.

Multicultural window guardians.

Playing chopsticks on the MTR.

The lush jungle of Hong Kong.

Sunday morning pancake art.

Vintage Missoni #ootd #liftdoors

Follow along @imanorbyah

Friday, April 11, 2014

Dress smart

Have you ever thought about how silly that phrase actually is?  I mean, how does one dress smart? Can one's attire and intellect really be paired together?

I don't know.  Anyhow, that's kind of irrelevant.  The phrase just popped into my head while I was uploading the outfit pics and thinking of a title.  Something about the business look up top paired with a more casual vintage denim skirt and Moheda clogs made me think of the idea of dressing smart/casual.

So, the good news is that the hubby gets back from Chiang Mai tomorrow.  The even better news is that this week went more smoothly than I anticipated.  

The kids were so helpful.  Even with two fashion events this week (and two nights out), they were responsible about their homework and finished their little jobs (recycling and compost) without too many reminders.

They did wonder why I was going out yet again, but understood when I explained what I was doing.  They are such sweet little supporters of my fashion-y stuff.  Heck, most of these outfit pics are taken by them.  These were my big girl's work.  At eight, she's really getting the hang of it.  She's exactly the same age that Buddy was when he started taking my outfit pics.  

Thank goodness for the help I get from my mum and of course Yaya and Jojo because I wouldn't be able to get through the week without them.

Outfit details: Denim skirt from Esty, Moheda swedish clogs (on repeat lately), striped top from Vic and Lily, thrifted H&M black blazer and necklace from Select 18 Vintage shop in Sheung Wan

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Tis the season of birthdays

This post is long overdue, but life gets busy so I guess it's better late than never.  December, January and February in most families is known as Winter.  In our family, it's called Birthday season.  This year I felt much less prepared than in previous years.  Lots more happening in our kiddos' lives with all their activities and homework, so I didn't have much of a jumpstart to plan.

Celebrating  a win.

Still, we pulled off three really ripping parties!

Competition and boys go hand in hand.  Here, it's dodgeball.

The big boy's was probably the most low key.  He's kind of entering that age where birthday parties are kind of not the thing to do anymore.  It kind of makes me sad, actually.  I can't believe he's already this old and soon, he'll be celebrating with all his buddies and not me.

Buddy goofs around with his friends.

For his, we just had about six or seven of his mates over in the gym to play ball games.  No fancy theme, no fancy cakes, but pizza and mookies (his invention of chocolate chip cookies baked like muffins). They're a hit!

Chef Joey shows the girls how to make a pizza.

Now, girl birthday parties are a big deal.  For a while the big girl was deciding between a cooking party or a dancing party.  Given that my dance studio was demolished for the renovations happening at our school, that sort of eliminated the dance option.

Mixing ingredients for mookies.

Instead, my fabulous, amazing hubby took over and lead a class in the cooking classroom.  Ella's girlfriends all got to make their own personal pizzas and a batch of mookies to take home.  On top of that, the hubby even make scrumptious vanilla cupcakes.  Seriously, people, I totally hit the jackpot with my guy.

Blowing out 8 birthday candles!

And, I haven't even gotten to the best part yet...

Cally's birthday party.  You see, Cally knew from day one what her party was going to be.  Side note: our kiddos brainstorm their party ideas together.  It's sweet to watch.  Anyhow, Cally knew she wanted a spy party.

Waiting to enter the Spy Training Academy.

Any ideas about what a spy party actually is?  We didn't know either.

'Landmine' training and please notice Cally's disguise (blue eyelashes).

Then, my Joey had a brainwave.  The party plan came to him in an instant.  QR codes, Buddy dressed up as Dastardly Dan who has stolen the birthday fun and a spy training academy!  Cally's little friends were in for a treat.  I dressed them up in disguises (a little face paint) and then we sent them off.

Scanning QR codes to get the next clue.

Oh boy. Best. Party. Ever.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Insta-weekly (lonely wives club)

I'm husband-less this week. It's the middle school's week to take their students away, so the hubby is off in Thailand till Friday.

Day one down. All still accounted for. So far, so good. Check in with me by Thursday.

Went to some fun events this past week and we even got a sneak peek at beach weather on Saturday. I can't wait to be a regular at St Stephens beach again. It's my favorite beach of all.

Here is a peek at the week via Instagram. Follow along @imanorbyah

Accessorizing with my orange umbrella on repeat last week.

Excessive rain also broke the lift, so no #liftdoors to take my #ootds!

Dark skies at mid morning.

Showcasing my ongoing love affair with my glue gun. So good for #repair which is this month's theme for the @getredressed challenge.

Cocktails at the Niin launch (and my fave necklace on the crystal rock).

Wait, sun??? Humanities teachers take classes outside.

Finally got to meet sweet Emily and her super fun sis Sam #mrpawlyn

Other kids make sandcastles, my little girl makes kava #fijitime.

A close game for Wisconsin (not good times when they lost).

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