Friday, April 21, 2017

Corset Style

Hand-me-downs, or  hand-me-ups as I like to call them, are not just for kids. My girlfriends and I love to swap clothes or hand things on that we don't wear anymore. It feels just as fun as shopping only with less guilt. And who would argue against that?

I love hand-me-ups because often times they are pieces that you might not normally get for yourself. Hand-me-ups are surprise thoughtful gifts because the person who hands them your way thinks you'd look good in it or it makes her think of you. Take this leather corset, for example.

This leather corset has actually been handed up twice and lucky me, I was the final recipient! It came from a super talented lady Nicolene Aagesen, whose photography I love (check out My Camera My Rules).  She handed it to our mutual friend Akiko, but it was too big for her so she handed it to me! It's perhaps a bit more of an edgy piece, not one I'd immediately pick for myself, but when given the opportunity, I was happy to wear it.

I really don't know how to describe this look. Something about it makes me feel like it's a little steampunk or industrial. Or maybe I belong in a saloon in a western movie. It's definitely 90s (the hat maybe?) I don't know. Whatever it is, I love the delicate pale pink tee mixed with all these more edgy pieces like the leather corset, the choker and my leopard print satchel which gets daily use. Anyone have any thoughts?

I really am a child of the 90s as I realize I become more and more entrenched in the style of that decade. And, my favorite places to shoot are these grungy corners of stairwells and back alleys.

Lately, I'm also really loving the grungy bedhead look. I can't tell you the last time I styled my hair in the morning. It's get up and go these days.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Style Minute: Socks

Socks are having a major moment right now.

I remember when they were making a scene about three or four years ago. Socks with sandals, peep toes and pumps were the trend. I still have fun socks in my dresser from that moment.

Check out these sparkly gold socks. The picture does them no justice.

This time around, they're broadening their horizons. Socks need not be confined to occasion. Sport socks can be pulled out and worn with dressy shoes or boots. Socks can be worn with flats (like I did above). And, the socks are taking on some of the fishnets trend happening right now, too. 

I have amassed quite a collection of fishnet socks, mesh socks, lacey socks, etc. But given some of the wild colors and patterns I've been seeing, I'm inspired to dig through and get out some of the goodies from last time around (hello, Frida Kahlo socks I'm coming for you).

This time around,  socks are also expanding their outfit choices. Sure, why not show them off with skirts and dresses. But with cropped denim making it's place known, socks are finding themselves comfortable there, too.

What does this mean for me and other thrifting and vintage lovers? It means break out your vintage dresses and add the unexpected element of the sock and heel look. It also means keeping your favorites in good shape. I've had to sew up a few holes recently, but it's totally worth it.

And let's be honest, if you're a thrifting addict like me, you know what it means to make a few small repairs, especially to the toes. Don't toss a good pair because you've got a tiny hole in the toe; instead consider sewing two or three stitches to keep them around longer. Specialty socks, like vintage and thrifted finds,  are well worth it.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Working Mumma Talk: The Playdate Push

Back in August last year, I toyed with the idea of writing some posts about motherhood, especially the challenge of balancing it all with work, exercise, blogging, etc. I guess the busyness of living that and striving for balance got the better of my intentions, didn't it. I've got the week off, so I'm going to share some working mumma thoughts.  

For this post, I'm going to be brutally honest about playdates. The truth is I hate them. I don't mean that I don't want my kiddos to have friends to hangout with, no. I like that they have friends. What I despise is the whole organizing and arranging of playdates. There's so much fuss involved. Playdates are like actual adult dates, it's ridiculous. Gone are our childhood days of running around the neighbourhood or calling in on friends. These days everything is so structured and organized. Schedules are booked tight with activities and kids don't just have down time. The hubby and I make sure not to book our kids into everything so they can have hang time, but we're in the minority of parenting practices, especially here in Hong Kong.

So here's how organizing a playdate actually works. First, it starts with one of my kids saying that so and so wants to have a playdate with them. I always try to put the ball back in the kids court to organize, so I'll usually ask them to find out what days their friend is free and tell their friend what days they are open.  Then the next step is usually an email exchange to arrive at a mutually beneficial time and place. I think that this process may be unique for me because I'm a working mum.

Since I am rarely able to volunteer in the kids' classes or go along on field trips or hangout at parent coffees, my kiddos miss out on a lot of playdate opportunities. That would be okay except that these days it's a huge part of how kids actually socialize outside of school. I don't spend a lot of time trying to keep up with all the organizing of my kids' social calendar as I like to think about friendships and play happening more organically, but that can make my children social pariahs. That's the part that gets me frustrated. It's another reason to pile on guilt to an already large dose of motherhood guilt.

That part along with the fact that nowadays playdates also happen to be such to dos. Whatever happened to going over to someone's house and playing games, watching a movie, playing outside, etc. Why does it have to be like going on a date? Playdates, at least here in Hong Kong, have turned into major social outings.  Movies, trampoline parks, amusement parts, etc.  What's a working mumma to do? How can we possibly keep up? Come on mummas, can we keep things simple? 

I've read a lot lately about how kids need to have opportunities to be bored to help develop their imaginations. They're so programmed and scheduled and entertained (don't get me started about birthday parties), that they rarely have down time to make up games and stories and figure out for themselves ways to pass time and have fun.

So what do I do? I compromise. We're fortunate enough to have a healthy population of kids in our neighourhood where friendships and play can happen without much fuss, but I do recognise that I'd like my kids to develop friendships with classmates, too. Every so often, I will organize a time for the kids to hangout with their other friends (my big teenage boy does this on his own now, so that's a bonus). I don't make playdates a big deal at our house as I'm the first to say go outside and play! So far it keeps my kiddos happy and their friends, too. Not too many people are able to say that here in Hong Kong, so our house is an appealing location for playdates, at least for now. And when they do come up to me and say I'm bored, I just send them back outside and tell them to go figure it out.  They usually do.

**Pictures by Michelle Proctor Photography for my Sassy That Mama post. Read it here.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

For the Love of Classic Red

My favorite color is blue that's no secret. But the other day, my littlest asked me what my second favorite color was. I hesitated. I didn't really know, actually, and I had to give her a response. These details are very important to our children, you know.

Upon some quick reflection, I was able to say quite certainly. It's red! Of course it's red! I wear that a shade of red on my lips everyday.

Red goes so well with blue, as well. Paired together, it gives a lovely nautical vibe which I love for summer. Fresh and breezy.

I found this silk red top for a song at a charity shop in LA this Christmas along with these velvet pants from Savers. Super score. I was literally in heaven. The funny thing is the top says Made in Hong Kong. I'm always amused when I find things that come from where I'm from. These new-to-me black slides came from my girl Jasmine of Dress Me Blog Me and while they're making their first appearance on the blog, I've literally worn them almost everyday.  Having stylish girlfriends makes trading clothes so fun.

The tiled wall is brand new for Stanley Market. I love when I find new spots for pictures. Exploring the alleys of Stanley Market is my favorite part of being a Stanley local. I think I should take advantage of this Spring Break week off and do more poking around.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The Right Stripes

This outfit got a lot of comments. My girls thought I looked like a referee. A colleague suggested that the Hamburgular was my style inspo for the day. What do you think?

I don't always mind the chatter about my outfits. If I'm not getting eye rolls or awkward stares, it's not a normal day. The quirkier the better I say and besides, I loved this look.

Just when I was thinking that I've been wearing more pants lately, I find a reason to fall in love with dresses and skirts again. This black and white striped number comes from one of my favorite Etsy shops, Small Needs. And, I really think it was made for me.

I think my favorite detail is the front, with the V line, kind of like a bib on the dress. I also love that the stripes are going horizontally and vertically as well.

I know it's said that vertical stripes aren't flattering, but I don't care. These stripes on this dress are just right for me.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Mad About Plaid, Mad About Pants

So, my pants craze continues. You might even say it's an obsession. I'm such a skirts and dresses girl that now I don't know who I am anymore!

I picked up this awesome plaid pair of pants this Christmas from my favorite Etsy shops Retro Rhapsody and Small Needs, both curated and run by my girl Kenia. She just gets my style, always.

I think my favorite thing about them is that while they look like solid pair of wool plaid pants, they're actually quite lightweight. I also love that they are high waisted and cropped right at the ankle, so on trend right now. Vintage for the win!

I decided to go for a more rocker edgy vibe with this look by pairing it with my leather choker from The Mauve Hour and my new-to-me leopard print heels (didn't I say I loved these?) I realise looking at these pictures that I've got a lot of different fabrics and textures happening, which was my intention. Even the clutch is tweed. The only texture missing is a bit of silk or lace, don't you think?

The whole ensemble reminded me a bit of the rocker edgy vibe of Alexander McQueen's designs, minus the lace. I really like the idea of leather and plaid together (see another post I wrote about that here). My second hand Monki sweater gives my look a bit more of a whimsical touch, though. I'm good with that.

By the way, how fabulous are these dresses?

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Vintage Shoes: If the Shoe Fits

Well, for me, the shoe never fits. It's a shame, actually. There are some amazing vintage shoes around, but you basically have to be a size 6 or 7.  I'm a size 8.5 (an 8 on a good day depending on the style of the shoe). I'm convinced women in decades past had petite feet.

Way back in college, I learned that women on average have bigger feet than I thought. The owner of a locally run boutique there said she had to stock more size 10s than anything else. I was shocked! It does make me wonder, though. Is the shortage of vintage shoes in my size a result of fewer of those sizes remaining after all these years? Or, have our feet been getting bigger on average over the years?

In any case, what it really means for me is that when I do find some vintage shoes in my size (either at estate sales, thrift shops or vintage boutiques), I almost always buy them on sight. One summer, I lucked out and found three pairs of great flats from the 80s shoes in my size in one spot. Needless to say, I didn't have to do much thinking on those. I bought two of the three at four dollars each (another reason not to hesitate).

My current obsession is to thrift a pair of these Chanel two toned slingbacks.  
A girl can dream, right?

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