Saturday, April 25, 2015

A PSA about leggings

I'm just going to get this off my chest now: Leggings are not pants.

There, I actually feel better.  I don't want to sound bitchy, like I'm the fashion police or anything, but I've kind of lived with that one for a while.  Trust me, I work in a high school where teenage girls seem to have an unwritten uniform consisting of black leggings.

Don't get me wrong.  I own leggings.  I wear the gym.  So when I read this Refinery 29 article which boasted 6 different ways to make leggings look really good, I had two reactions.

The first was there's no way to make leggings look good! But the next was hmmm, Refinery 29 must think that leggings can look really bad, too!

Nevertheless, I think what I need to say about this all-too-important topic is that whatever you do, make sure to wear leggings as they were intended. As a layer.  Not as pants. If you notice, all these outfits share one thing in common: the leggings are styled with tops that are longer, or under sweaters, blazers or coats that are longer.

Or heck, in this last outfit as gym attire!  That's because, people, your butt doesn't really look good in leggings, even if you have a perky, skinny one.  And for goodness sakes, if you're going to wear leggings, please do the squat test.  What I mean by that is, when you try them on, squat in front of a mirror so you can see if the fabric thins out.  You don't want people to actually be able to see your underwear or worse, your butt crack.  That's not flattering.  And in a high school, it is actually distracting.

I'm going to end this post knowing full well that I sound old and crusty.  So be it.  I've just been waiting for this trend to pass, but knowing what I do about vintage clothing and recurring trends, it will probably come back. 


*All pictures from Refinery 29

Thursday, April 23, 2015


I've been going through old photos lately in a desperate attempt to clean up space on my hard drive.  
 It means backing up big albums (like this one of my old iPhone photos) onto Dropbox and moving things elsewhere.  

But it also means taking these little trips through my memories. 

No wonder it's taking so long.  

I can't wait to make some more memories this summer.

***Pictures from two years ago in NYC (in Brooklyn) for July 4th with my youngest sister.  Gosh, we're goofballs when we're together (but we'd also had a bit to drink).

Monday, April 20, 2015

Rooftop Concert Series

It started with my 40th birthday party.  The hubby planned a truly magnificent celebration up on our roof complete with an amazing band, The Bollands, and many other birthday surprises.

The night was one of the best I've had.  Great friends came to share the evening, the weather was perfect and the entertainment was well, entertaining! I couldn't have asked for a better beginning to my 40th year.  I feel like such a lucky girl.

Live music has always been something that the hubby and I enjoy.  In college, our relationship started at the only bar in town which featured live music, The Hangar.  In fact, the night we finally started dating (after meeting at a house party months earlier and missing each other at various bars in town), my favorite hangout was hosting a live recording of the local ska band The Jungle Dogs.  It was an audience participation kind of night and well, let's say the hubby played this to his advantage and sang me a little tune.

Flash forward twenty odd years and he's still the life of the party as he was at the house party where I met him and we're hosting what we've coined the Rooftop Concerts Series parties at our house here in Hong Kong.  We invited The Bollands back for one last party before their big farewell to Hong Kong back in February.  They're currently on a tour of the US.

The really great thing about hosting them was not only the amazing music we were privileged to hear in such an intimate setting, but also the good times we had with Joyce and Christian Bolland.  They became good friends.  We were a bit nervous about what acts we might invite to follow because we'd had such fun with the first band and they'd left some big shoes to fill.

Enter the Head Clowns.  We'd met them about a year ago when they performed at a post Art Basel party.  Having seen them on a few other occasions we knew that they'd be a good fit for our venue and a completely unique sound, too.

We were thrilled when Zoe and Jo Von Hess agreed to perform and even more thrilled when they, too, hung out with us for another ripping rooftop party.

We've loved all these performances so much that we think we're onto something.  Our venue is an interesting one for small local bands and a great opportunity to hear music in a location separate from a pub or on stage.  It allows people to really interact with the talented musicians in a more meaningful way and mostly it supports local talent.  I love that part the most.  (Not to mention the fun I have in event planning and suggesting style inspiration to fit the performance.  For the Head Clowns, we went with a sort of nomadic, gypsy, Morrocan, traveller theme, is that a thing?)

The Rooftop Concert Series season is special because it can really only be enjoyed in the cooler months Hong Kong has, free from humidity, typhoons and and amber, red and black rainstorms.  We're already planning some fun things for next season, which we're hoping will start sometime in October, weather willing.

To see some of the fun we've had at these first few concerts, hop over to my Instagram (@imanorbyah) and search #nolascosroof.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Boot cut revival

I got these boot cut style jeans right after I had my son.  Twelve years ago.  I remember the hubby encouraging me to get them because it was the first pair of non-maternity jeans I was going to be able to fit into.  What a thrill.

 Back then, before the days of the skinny jean, the fit that everyone was wearing was this low rise boot cut (or even flared leg) style.  I was certain these would become instant classics.

Then, by the time I'd had my daughter three years later, I remember being on the hunt for a pair of skinny jeans.  I hung onto these, though.  I liked that they had a more dressy pant style at the top (not a typical pair of jeans, more like trousers).  And of course, my sisters coveted them, so I made sure to keep them.

Now I look at jean styles in shops like Urban Outfitters, Gap or on style websites, and I can see this flared style is making a comeback. That means my jeans are vintage, baby.


Outfit details: Vintage blazer from Etsy, vintage blouse from Me and Gee, vintage brooch from estate sale and Yanuk jeans from Shopbop (the mothership, Bop is located in Madison, WI)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Vintage composition

Some color combinations were made for each other.  They become staples in a wardrobe, or at least they do in mine. 

One such combination is navy and yellow (in particular this mustardy shade of yellow).

Having found this pair of linen pants in Stanley Market for just $40 HKD, I knew they'd quickly become a go-to piece for me.  And it helps that they were a steal.

The problem with some of the little shops where you can get these kind of bargains is that customers aren't allowed to try the garments on (or at least not the ones marked way down like this).

Luckily for me, I learned a nifty thrifting tip from the lovely Thierry Chow back when I met her a few years ago at her Nappahead booth at Island East Markets.  If you take the waist of the pants and you can fit them around your neck (meaning the waist is doubled over), they will certainly fit your waist.

It's worked for me every single time.

Outfit details: Vintage blazer from Etsy, Polka dot blouse from Fancy Treehouse, Linen pants from Stanley Market, Estate sale earrings and Oroton HK necklace

Monday, April 13, 2015

Circuit Jewellery x CNY

A while back, I had fun with another shoot for local brand Circuit Jewellery.  Since our last collaboration, they've added some new designers and some lovely new jewellery.  It was time to showcase some of the new pieces.

We liked the idea of doing a holiday style post, but given that Christmas and New Years were long past, we thought do a local Hong Kong version and style some looks for Chinese New Year.

Our setting was Stanley Market (I never tire of its alleys and its charm).  So much is happening there now, I cannot wait to share it all with you.

Since many of the shops were shut for CNY, we had our pick of backdrops.  And of course, we used Print House as our base.  How lucky are we to have them in the market?

I dragged my little ones along, who were of course eager to just hang with the cool peeps at Print House and give their two cents to the styling.  Here they are getting their little feet into my shoes. Such girls!

CNY can be dreary in Hong Kong, so I dug out my neon green vintage skirt to brighten things up.

I also wanted to wear my Tangram x GOD top to give the shoot a Chinese flair.  My friends Paola and Ignacio designed a collection for Goods of Desire a while back, of which this black and white top was a part.

I liked how the rusty shutter of our hardware shop made this outfit pop.

Aside from working with Loris and Pirry of Circuit Jewellery and wearing their lovely pieces again, the best part of the shoot was working with my girl Akiko.

Having her behind the camera puts me at ease, and I feel like she brings out the best in everyone she shoots.  She has a knack for angles, but my favorite thing to watch is her daring acrobatics all for the sake of a good shot.

The jewellery in this shoot comes from a designer called Mosstories.  Do pop over to Circuit Jewellery to see more of their collection and read their post about this collaboration as well.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Louella Girl

It was nearly a year ago that I had the good fortune of meeting the lovely ladies of Louella Odié, mother and daughter team Karen and Lauren Mead. We embarked on a fun summer collaboration in the form of a travelogue and I got to take around some of their gorgeous bags and a scarf. At the same time, Karen drew my journey on a map on their website.

Since then, we've continued to work together on little projects. A pop up shop in Stanley, a scarf video (still in progress) more travel posts as part of their Travel Tribe, etc! I just love sitting with them and brainstorming ideas.

Recently, I had the pleasure of visiting their studio on Lamma Island. Later, I'll be bringing you a behind the scenes look at where they run their business and where Louella Odie designs start and I'll share parts of our conversation about Louella Odié. We are also working on some new collaborations, too.

It was on my trip to Lamma that we looked back at our year together and shared mutual admiration of how our relationship has evolved. That was when I told them, I'm a Louella Girl. 

This picture was snapped by a student on my Fiji trip.

I do what I do because I believe in supporting local businesses and designers, and theirs is a company I really stand behind. All the way. Wherever they go, I'll follow and support.

And the beautiful pieces they've gifted really do get full time use in my outfits, not just posed promo for blog purposes. Those of you who follow me on Instagram will know my Skyline (smiley face) bag goes with me everywhere. 

And now that summer's here, the slouchy pouch with garoupa print is in high circulation, too.

***A sampling of pictures from my Instagram (from liftdoors to travel tribe visits to Fiji).

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