Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Easy Breezy: Trying to Survive Hong Kong Humidity

Have you seen my dewy glow? Want to know what product I use to get that shine? It's not available for everyone I'm sorry to say, but I'll tell you all about it...

My secret is humidity! And, I'm not glowing. I wish I was glowing, but I'm not.

I'm dripping. Ugh. I'm so not glowing.

Hong Kong's weather is always stinking humid at this time of year, but given our rash of typhoons blowing through the area, it's been very hot as well. We've had 'hot weather warnings' nearly everyday and it's been brutal. I keep waiting for our fall breeze to show up, but so far we've had nothing (we don't have a fall season, it's just a fall breeze).

Weather this hot complicates getting dressed quite a bit. Basically, I wake up everyday and think about what clothes I own that won't touch my body too much. If I could stay in my nightgown, I would. If I didn't have to wear underwear, I wouldn't. But, you know...social norms. Hmmpf!

So, how am I surviving this dreadful humidity? In all honesty, I'm not. I'm grumpy every morning as I make my walk to work and beads of sweat drip from my chin. It's so attractive arriving to work a hot mess. 

Seriously, though, it's all about fabric. I'm wearing all natural fibers as much as I can right now. This is ever the challenge as a vintage wearer. Luckily, I've accumulated quite a few cotton and linen pieces over the years. I choose lightweight blousey silhouettes, too. Lots of skirts (so I can billow them and cool myself off).  And, for the first time I think ever, I'm making iced lattes instead of my usual warm ones. Trying to keep my core temperature down as much as I can.

Come on, Fall! I see all you North American peeps and I'm jealous of what you're wearing....sigh.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Language of Flowers

One thing I miss living in Hong Kong is having a garden with fresh flowers. Lilies, peonies, lilacs, crocuses, tulips, hyacinths, hydrangeas... the list goes on. I didn't really grow up having a flower garden in Malaysia, either, but for some reason I just know all about them. I know their names, when to expect them to pop up in your garden and how to care for them.

Part of my appreciation comes from my mother, which comes from my grandmother. My grandmother's driveway was lined with rose bushes and her front door had the most beautiful off white English roses. I remember when the hubby and I bought our first house, my parents came for a visit and my mum and I spent the days weeding and gardening. She bought me my gardening tools and a book about plants (which I still have) and even helped me to plant some new things as well. Being in the garden makes me think of her. 

Years ago, I read Vanessa Diffenbaugh's novel The Language of Flowers which I not only loved, but also taught me that flowers are also used to communicate messages to the person who receives them. Each flower has it's own meaning and how they're arranged can share a person's feelings. It's called floriography and I find it fascinating. 

Needless to say, I love having fresh flowers at home. They brighten up any space, even the smallest corner in the guest bathroom. I used to take time every Sunday to make little arrangements at home, but have fallen out of the habit since being back to work. Bouquets don't need to be sent for special occasions only. I love the idea of sending flowers "just because" and this message is shared by A Better Florist. Just because is reason enough. When they sent me my lovely bouquet of sunflowers, my spirits were lifted almost immediately and the cheery blooms brightened my dining room for the next week.

Don't just take my word, have a look at their lovely arrangements for yourself. They have same day delivery nationwide in Singapore and are now branching into Hong Kong as well. Go ahead, take a peek and make someone's day, just because.

Thank you A Better Florist HK for sending me The Ayla bouquet. How can you not smile when you have this in your home?

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Pom Pom Chic & Eat Da Rich Giveaway

Everywhere I looked this summer, my eyes were drawn to pom poms. They were on swimsuits, on cushions and bed throws or quilts, and even on slippers, handbags and other garments! I didn't really pay attention at first, but soon I found myself obsessed with them. So were my girls.

So, this made me think.  Are pom poms a girl thing? I mean, I didn't really notice the same infiltration of pom poms to men's or boys' shoes and clothes. Certainly the home decor items featuring pom poms were geared towards a more feminine audience, too. 

Then I did a bit of thinking. When I think of pom poms, I think of cheerleaders. I think of learning how to make them myself with wool and cardboard and how my mum has taught my own kiddos (my boy and the girls) to do just this. It would be quite easy to be overrun with pom poms at our house if my girls had their way.

What really grabbed my attention, though, were pom pom earrings. I first saw my girl Abby rocking some pretty funky pom pom earrings over on her blog Clothes and Pizza. Check her Instagram here. I love how she rocks them with bold outfits, and so I decided I'd see if I could score my own pair. 

Enter Etsy. If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, I'm sure you'll have heard me say that I have a little addiction to Etsy. Needless to say, I stumbled onto an amazing Etsy shop called Eat Da Rich which custom makes pom pom earrings. You choose the colors and style and a few weeks later, they're yours! 

Now here's the exciting part. Since I love my pommies so much, I thought I'd see if my readers could get their hands on some.  Eat Da Rich has a new website which makes it a perfect time to plan a giveaway! The lucky winner will receive his or her choice of pom pom earrings courtesy of Eat Da Rich, so make sure to get yourself entered before the winner is announced on September 27th. If you can't wait that long, pop over to their website and enter blogbabe at check out for 15% off your purchase. The discount will run for the length of our giveaway. Hurry up!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Thrifted Sisters Summer Vacation: An Anniversary Dress

 I've got one last instalment of this Thrifted Sisters collab, so I saved the best for last. At the tail end of each summer holiday, the hubby and I celebrate our anniversary. Nineteen years have gone by since I said I do in that small country church in New Hanover, Illinois.

We've celebrated anniversaries in some fun places and always make sure to take the evening for ourselves. Ten years ago, we snuggled up with a barbecue on a chilly night at our friend's house in the Ardeche region of France. Another year, we had dinner in the West Village of NYC, too. On a couple of those anniversaries after moving to Hong Kong, we even made it back to our favorite anniversary restaurant in Madison, Louisianne's.

I knew when I was packing my Thrifted Sisters vintage goodies that this dress would be just the thing for our anniversary dinner. Its a good special occasion dress and I'd already worn it for my son's eighth grade celebration (graduation). I love it's simplicity and the unique design of the triangle and pleating on the skirt. For this anniversary, we tried a newish restaurant in Peru, Illinois called Social Kitchen. It promotes a style of eating that is somewhat unique and uses produce local to the area. It was nice to get a night out with the hubby and finish off my Thrifted Sisters Summer Vacation collaboration with this special day.

Remember, pop over to Thrifted Sisters Instagram page and give them a follow. Better yet, mention this blog post for 20% off!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Summer Weddings: What to Wear

Is there anything more fun than a summer wedding? I think not. This summer, our holiday with family was extra special because my youngest sister got married. She and her new hubby have actually been together for twelve years, so it was wonderful to celebrate their union.

Weddings are so different now to what they were when I got married. Couples are making their weddings more personal and there's less of a need to stick to convention. I love it. With all the ways couples personalize their weddings, how do we as guests know what to wear? 

Wedding guests can have a bit more fun with their outfits these days based on where and how the couple decides to get married. My sister's wedding was an outdoor event. They live in Brooklyn and their ceremony and celebration were held at Roberta's, a cool pizza restaurant with a fun hipster vibe.

The dress code for the wedding was festive, which basically meant that we had the liberty to have fun. Notice in the pictures all the different ways the guests interpreted this dress code.

I love all the color, in particular the reds and oranges that people were wearing. I love that men didn't feel compelled to wear ties. I love that sneakers and tevas with suits and dresses were perfectly acceptable, too.

Have a look at the gorgeous couple. Even their outfits pushed the idea of festive dress for their special day. My sister's wedding dress was just perfect for her. I couldn't imagine her in anything more traditional, so when she sent me pics of what she'd selected, I knew she'd found the one.

Of course, the season determines what you can actually wear, but I think it's great that guests have so much freedom now. Cowboy hats? Of course! No suit jacket? No problem!

So what would I suggest that wedding guests wear? Wear color! Wear patterns! Wear hats!

That goes for the men and the women. Look at this awesome teal blue suit (worn with tevas).

Look at these beauties in their reds and oranges. I love the floral piece in her hair. Who says that the bride is the only one who can have flowers? Not me!

As for me, I took festive dress to the max with my vintage floral jumpsuit from Granny Puckett Vintage. Clearly you can see that my little sister and I embraced 'festive' in every sense of the word. Good times. Good flow.

Here is a wonderful wedding guest style guide with more suggestions for other dress codes specified on wedding invitations. Thank you to The Black Tux for sharing these wedding attire ideas.

**Wedding photos courtesy of Carey MacArthur Photography

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Thrifted Sisters Summer Vacation: Midwest Musings

You know, it's hard looking back on these pictures taken in July. We've been back in Hong Kong for a month now (crazy how it feels longer than that), but seeing our front stairs in Madison makes me long for our home there.

We had an exciting summer, there's no doubt. A wedding and loads of family and friends around made it special. On the flip side of that was having to squeeze our time as a family in our Madison home into only nine days. Still, I'll take it.

We had just the right amount of bike rides down to Atwood Ave for ice cream at The Chocolate Shoppe or coffee at The Victory. We had several strolls to Fair Oaks Diner for breakfast. We cruised State Street and the Farmer's Market really only once, but made sure to get to the Memorial Union  twice, both times at sunset. We had really only one full day at Crystal Lake. Sigh.

We made the most of the time we had, so I have no regrets. It was cool for June and July, so I was glad to have this knitted sweater tank from Thrifted Sisters to wear.  Don't forget to mention my blog and get 20% off in her shop.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Paperless Post: Invites Made Easy for Working Mummas

The start of the school year for a working mumma usually means the beginning of managing my kids social calendars while also adjusting to a new work schedule. Invites for class parties, birthday parties, school events, back to school nights. Sleepovers, school activities and trips, etc. It's a busy time, to say the least.

Over the years, I've found more and more parents using Paperless Post to send out their children's party invites. I have to say, I really enjoy the ease and convenience that Paperless Post provides for their users. Aside from cute designs, here are three reasons my experience has been positive:

First, I really appreciate the messaging option. Not only can guests send messages to the host, but hosts can also message all the respondents as well. That way, if there are any last minute changes of plan or further directions, all guests can receive these notes via the Paperless Post website.

Second, I really like that Paperless Post allows you to see the guest list and who has responded. Living in a place like Hong Kong, its always good to know who else may be attending the party to arrange for shared transport to the venue.

This is my little one's favorite invite. Can you guess why?

Third, for a busy working mumma like me, I love the fact that once you RSVP for a birthday party you can add it to your calendar right away. How easy is that? Some weeks the only way I survive is through reminders that I get from my Google calendar. Phew!

You know, there's one more reason I like Paperless Post, and it's something I only just realized this month. As an environmentally conscious person, I appreciate that these invites are all online and no extra paper is used, but there are certain times of the year that I think paper cards are special. For many years, I've always made sure to send out Christmas cards. It's one tradition I hold onto. I was thrilled to discover that with Paperless Post, despite their name, you actually do have an option to print cards. I already browsed their cute holiday cards and cannot wait to order my batch for this year. See some of those holiday cards designs for yourself.

 **This post was written in partnership with Paperless Post. Click the link to see more of their kids birthday invites or back to school invites as mentioned above.

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