Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Stanley Night Market

If you've noticed that my blog posts have become a little infrequent, it's because May has filled up with loads of events (both personal and professional).  This week alone, I've got two Hong Kong Dancers shows to manage, my daughter's choir concert (which I have to miss because of said dance shows) and the debut of our Stanley Night Market on May 30th.

Following the success of our Stanley Market Pop Up Shop in November, we decided to make a go of this pop up concept and turn it into a regular Night Market event for Stanley.  The three of us (Hughie, Akiko and I) have a shared vision for our Stanley.  We know well the vibe here, and have a great passion for preserving it and sharing it.  It's really local and chill.  There's a strong neighbourhood feel here, where everyone knows your face and your name.  But, we fear that much of that charm of Stanley Market is getting lost in the drive to cater to the tourists that wander through here.  The Boathouse Restaurant, for example is slated to become a 10-storey hotel, which will forever change the view of the waterfront. Step one of this disaster was painting the iconic blue walls of the exterior a ghastly lemon yellow.

Like me, Hughie and Akiko often lament the loss of another shop in Stanley Market that once had charm (and often a family's livelihood invested in it) to see it turned into another dreaded cheap trinket shop, where salesladies call out "missy, missy, come lookie."  That kind of thing never used to happen in our market.  Coming back to Hong Kong after each summer away is always a shock in this regard.  It was what lead me to write the series called My Stanley on my blog, so I could highlight some of my favorite Stanley peeps.

We all love the beachy feel of Stanley Market, the laid back vibe of people who live here and the tenacity of the local businesses, who despite the challenges this market faces, continue to survive and thrive.  Our last event was a small affair, with a few local vendors and designers setting up and supporting our vision.  This time, we're thrilled to have over 15+ vendors setting up shop.

We decided to make the theme of our Night Market a Summer Preview.  This way, people can know what to expect when coming to our market, and vendors will feel like customers are coming with a specific idea in mind.

We made sure to select vendors who would be able to keep their pricing reasonable, to start, since people who usually come to Stanley Market are expecting a bargain.  Of course, supporting local businesses and designers means spending a little more on the front side of things, but in the end, those dividends pay off because we're supporting the livelihood of our own Hong Kong peeps.

We also made sure to select a balance of women's and men's fashion, we've got a few local snack vendors (The Candy Stand, Churros, Nice Pops) and some face painting for the kids.  On top of that, we're thrilled to have HK Walls there with an artist to do some live painting!

Hughie was recently able to secure sponsorship of our event by Red Stripe, so there will be some refreshing beverages to be had as well as a wine tasting down at Le Magasin. 
Mazu Swimwear, a brand new Hong Kong brand, will be showcasing their designs in their first pop up since launching their brand.  We can't wait to have them along, too.

Of course, working with my favorite team, Hughie and Akiko, hardly seems like work.  We're really excited at the possiblities.

We can't wait to share what we have in store, so we hope you'll pop down on Saturday evening to check out the event.

Stanley Night Market

Saturday, May 30th
122 Stanley Main Street to 125 Stanley Main Street 
(in the market between Le Magasin and Print House)

Follow us for updates:
 Instagram: @stanleynightmarket 

Vendors include: Vic and Lily Vintage, What the Frock, Spanish Shoes HK, Ro and Mo Travellers Soul, thorn and burrow, Mazu Swimwear, Volklore, Baendit Sunglasses, Victoria Skate, The Candy Stand, Nice Pops, Legends Socks, Cabaloco

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Behind the scenes of a "real" photo shoot

I continue to be grateful for the opportunities this blog (and my Sisters in Vintage HK blog with Style by Asia) has afforded me, the most recent of which was to be a part of an awesome team for an Ecozine magazine shoot as stylist and part time model.

The day was amazing, albeit cold and drizzly, but the experience itself was one of a kind.  Our team was supportive and enthusiastic about the project, and I truly felt valued as a member.  

Aside from the experience of the day and what I learned about photo shoots done professionally, I really can't get over the fact that my name is in print in Ecozine's Spring 2015 Issue for the Salvaged Style piece.  Have a look.

I wrote all about the day on my other blog.  You can read the post and see more behind the scenes pictures there, go check it out!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Luxola x The Luxe Nomad (and some rambling)...

Summer is around the corner, which for someone in my profession means an extended vacation. And none too soon.  Students and teachers alike are running on fumes. Actually, in all seriousness, I cannot believe that next week is our end of year HKD showcase, and the following week is Graduation.  It's actually insane.

So, on the topic of summer and vacation, let's do a little dreaming shall we?  The family and I have some fun things lined up for summer.  A long stay in our Madison house this year.  A short trip to NYC.  Visits with the in-laws.  The usual.  But, just say I didn't go back to do the usual, where would I go?  Easy. I've got a bucket list of places to visit.  Just not much of a budget.

Here it is:

Sri Lanka

Luxola contacted me several weeks back and offered me a chance to win a trip to Bali here if I reviewed some skincare products for them.  This, I can do.  And it serves two purposes, really.

The obvious one is that a vacation anywhere would be a thrill.  Life working as a teacher with three kids doesn't afford much travel or luxury.  Not complaining, but just being honest.  The Luxe Nomad is a website that can assist with this, by joining the affiliates program, you can find luxury accommodations at a more affordable price.

Morocco has always been at the top of my list.  I think it's the textiles.  The idea of wandering the markets, visiting all the different souqs to look for treasures.  I think it's why I like the markets here in Hong Kong so much, too; the idea of a hidden treasure down any alley.

The second purpose of jumping on this opportunity is a self serving one.  At 40, I've realized (or come to grips with) the fact that in order to keep looking the way I do, I need to take better care of my skin.  I've been thinking over the last few years about sunblock and skincare so I can establish a routine that puts me (and my skin) in good shape to age well.  

I stumbled onto a picture of the hubby and I just a few years after we were married taken at my sister's wedding.  I was startled at how much younger I looked, how smooth and firm my skin was.  It was like a smack in the face because I don't necessarily feel older, but then I get a reminder that I am.

Alpha H is the line of products that Luxola sent me and I have to say of over the last few days that I've been using them, that I at least feel like my skin looks smoother. They're all lightweight, too so I don't feel like I'm dying under a lot of product, which is key for Hong Kong humidity right now. I don't know that any product can combat what I do to myself in terms of sleep deprivation, but I like how my skin feels each day.  The best part of it is, it's easy (fool proof)!

I have a balancing cleanser I use each day, a day serum and a night serum intended to make my skin glow again and reduce fine lines, and a moisturizer.  I also have something called Liquid Gold that I use every other night.  And it's a travel set, so I'll definitely bring them along this summer, wherever I go.

Don't just take my word for it, though.  Here's a 15% discount code created exclusively for my readers that you can use for your first orders on Luxola.com.  Just enter BLX-IMANORBYAH at check out.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Baglady Summer

Nothing says summer quite like the crop top.  Flipping back through the pictures we shot for a lookbook for Baglady Basics last year, I keep coming back to this one.

That cheeky peek of midriff with this figure hugging maxi skirt.  Love it.  Though I can't do the skirt confidently myself, I'll definitely be wearing this crop top all summer season.  It's so easy to pack and the color will go with everything.

Good news, peeps!  The Baglady Basics website is up and running again.  Hurry over and check it out because there are some beautiful new pieces in the shop.

I'm particularly enamored with this High Neck Sweater dress, but I also love the Cardi Coat dress.  Both pieces will be awesome for Fall and Winter weather.

Monday, May 11, 2015

A little embellishment

I have a tendency to start new projects when I least should (have I told you I can procrastinate with the best of them?)  For example, when I'm cleaning out my room and closet, I typically find things that I'd like to DIY to make new and exciting.  While the idea is nice, what usually ends up happening is I have little piles with different purposes living all over my room.  The hubby often asks why they're there and when I tell him, he sometimes rolls his eyes knowing full well that they're unlikely to move any time soon.

Take these two pieces, for instance: the denim blazer with zip off sleeves and the taupe suede flats. The blazer was a generous hand-me-up from my lovely friend Akiko who found herself with two identical ones after discovering the first (now mine) had a slight defect.

These flats are from ShoeMint.  I had been looking for more, ahem, comfortable shoes to wear and these fit the bill perfectly.

Shortly after buying them, I stumbled onto a picture of these gorgeous Seychelles embellished flats on Instagram one day several months ago and I was instantly inspired.  I knew I had to change mine.

Since deciding to embellish the flats, I also decided to look for some style inspiration for embellishing the blazer, too.  Here are some of the images I found.  I almost need a Bedazzler from the 80s!

My friend Vicki (the lovely vintage seller of Vic and Lily) and I have been trying to find a time to go to Sham Shui Po to get supplies for these DIY projects since probably February.  She's a freelance designer and queen of upcycling vintage, so I want her to give me an insider's tour of the area so I don't get lost in a sea of buttons and lace.

I thought that perhaps if I wrote a post about these projects, I'd have to actually get around to completing them.  And, I was really pleased that I remembered to take some before pictures this time.  I tend to jump into my upcycling projects, realizing only after I've dropped them off with my seamstress Jilly in Stanley, that I didn't take a picture.

Stay tuned (see how I've made you guys responsible for making me get this done?)  

Vicki, shall we try setting another date?

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Not the only blogger in the family

I was clearing up my desktop last night when I stumbled onto this screenshot that I took earlier in the school year.  It was the beginning of third grade for my Ella and she came home super excited one day to tell me that she had her own blog, like me.  She couldn't wait to show me.

I loved that she called her blog I am Ella (kind of like I'm a Norbyah). 

But mostly, I loved what she wrote in her first post.

Hi my name is Ella.  I have five people in my family.  I love ice cream. My life is amazing.  I am 8.

It captures her beautiful spirit so perfectly.  She has a heart of gold.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Getting my curl on: GHD x Air Play

I'll be the first to admit when it comes to hair, I'm lazy.  I've never really owned a hair dryer or a curling iron and I have no skill whatsoever when it comes to being able to style my hair using these tools.  Not to mention that growing up in the humid climate of Malaysia, I spent most of my younger years trying to tame my hair, not curl it or dry it (which always made my hair poofy).

I did go through a phase (as most of us who lived through the 80s did) when I tried to get my fringe to have height.  It involved using a lot of hairspray and standing in front of the hand driers in the girls bathroom on breaks.  All efforts were futile, though, as the Malaysian humidity almost always won.  Once my friend and I were even locked in the theater after dance class because we were taking too long in the bathroom in front of the driers.  We had to climb out through the ticket booth and explain this embarrassing moment to our next teacher when we showed up late to class.

I also remember a time in Middle School when crimping irons were all the rage.  This same friend of mine and I used to have sleepovers and watch Girls Just Wanna Have Fun while crimping our hair.  For thick hair like mine, that kind of styling left me looking more like Tina Turner.  Good times.

Needless to say, these early experiences left me with next to no skill with a curling iron or hair dryer.

When my lovely friend and stylist Jasmine Smith of Dress Me Blog Me invited me along for a girls afternoon with a few other bloggers to get primped at Air Play blow dry bar in Central, I was super excited.  Not only would I be treated to a bit of girly pampering, but I looked forward to getting some tips on how to actually use a curling wand.

We had a lovely group of blogger ladies. In addition to Jasmine and I, there was Sabrina Sikora of First Wives Studio, Ira Otivar of Style Kush, Elma Li of Stylicious, Janet Fung of Jannah Velma Noir, and Emma Lauren of Dog and Pony Vintage.  With a little bubbly, some delicious cupcakes and lollies and talk about blog projects, upcoming vacations, weddings and make up, it was the perfect girly afternoon.

The event was hosted by GHD (Good Hair Day styling tools) and Air Play, Hong Kong's first blow dry bar concept where you can go in for a fabulous blow out and style along with a make up touch up before a night out or a special occasion, or just because.  GHD, a British hairstyling brand recently launched a new collection of styling tools to help create long lasting curls in a flash.

I was impressed by all the thought put into this event.  Each blogger was cared for individually, with a special hairstyle in mind based on the research our guru Rob and the other stylists had done to get to know our blogs and our personalities.  He pinned me just right with a bohemian easy no-nonsense style that would last over a long period of time, starting with a polished vintage-y look and transitioning to a looser, beachy wave for later.  Pairing the right styling tool for this style and then showing me how to do it made me feel at ease about how I could recreate this look later.  I was pleased with how the style worked with the natural wave in my hair, too.  And with GHD's special line of hair products to help you keep your style looking good for longer and the design of their styling tools made to prevent hair damage or accident, I knew I'd have confidence to try what I learnt at home.

My little girls finally got a go this weekend when I cracked open the box to my new curling wand (you can click over to my Instagram for a look)  Given my inexperience, the folks at GHD thought the wand would be the best tool for me and have even offered to have me back for a touch up class, which I'll definitely need.  Thankfully, Cally and Ella don't notice that I'm not very good.  Yet.

There are so many thank yous for this post: First, thanks to Jasmine Smith for inviting me. Thanks to GHD and Air Play for hosting the lovely afternoon and for the amazing gifts. And finally, thanks to Kan for the great photos.

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