Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A glimpse of Seoul

I can hardly believe that my trip to Seoul was two weeks ago.  We had a great trip, and I was really excited about seeing a new place.  The weather was cold, like Melbourne in the winter.  Two days were overcast and the third was cool and crisp with blue skies.

The front gate of Seoul Foreign School, our hosts.
Our dance festival was hosted by SFS who had a range of exciting workshops for the kids (and advisors).  The school is nestled into the hills of Yeonhui-dong district, which as I understand is an older neighbourhood of Seoul.  An ordinance states that no building there can be over five stories and there is a lot of old money and ex-presidents living here.

The view from the on campus housing.
Aside from the scheduled evening out to see a show called Nanta (which is like the show Stomp only with food), my friends Mark and Cathi took me out for yummy Korean BBQ and the Lantern Festival. You'll see the large clove of garlic perched on top of my serving of Korean BBQ...I ate several of these.  The garlic taste was still quite fierce the following day, but totally worth it.  

Korean BBQ with our friends Mark and Cathi.
Lantern Festival in Seoul is different from our Lantern night in Hong Kong.  This one originated three years ago as a way for people to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather and walk along the newly refurbished canal that runs through the city.

A walk under the bridge on Lantern Festival.
The city constructs paper lanterns around a certain theme and displays them in the middle of the canal.  Under the bridge, people can buy lanterns and send them floating down the canal also.

Little lanterns sent floating down the canal.

Little children huddle around a street vendor.

There were huge crowds of people out to enjoy the sights.  Some of the lanterns were quite spectacular; life sized recreations of warriors, legendary characters, or cultural displays.

I didn't actually get away from campus much during the day, but on my last night I was able to explore the area around my hotel.  I stayed in Hotel Seokyu, which was located right in the heart of the university district, down the street from Hongik University (also known as Hongdae).  As you can imagine, it was vibrant and buzzing with college students.  There were coffee shops everywhere!

Accessories, accessories!
Even at night, the coffee shops stayed open.  On this Saturday night, a street band performed, despite the cold winds, while a large crowd gathered.

A street band outside Starbucks.
This area of Seoul was an accessories heaven!  There were lots of places selling hats, scarves, earrings, rings, glasses...everything!  People here love to accessorize, so it was the perfect place for me to poke around and explore.  Apparently, even Korean dogs like to accessorize, too.  I came across several places selling jackets, hats and socks.  For dogs!

Dog socks.
One of my dance leaders asked if she could take outfit pictures for me one day (she's a reader of my blog) and thought this outfit was blogworthy.  She's a real sweetheart, and I was flattered.

On the street at the Nanta performance.
Fooling around for the blog.
I wish I'd had more time there.

Monday, November 28, 2011


Before the remnants of a busy weekend (Holiday basketball tournament and Buddy's first race, in addition to the usual weekend stuff) get the better of me, I had better take this opportunity to reflect and think about what I'm most thankful for this season.

It's simple, really.

I'm thankful for my family.  There really isn't much more that I can say except that I know how blessed I am.  To have my mother right here with me and as such a big part of our lives, of my children's lives.  And of course, when my dad visits, he is, too.

Mum proudly displays her apple-cranberry turnovers.

I'm thankful for Eva and Jojo (with their families) and for the place they fill in our hearts as part of our family now, too.

Sweet Eva and Jojo.

I'm thankful for Skype, What's App and Blackberry Messenger, for making the physical distance between me and my sisters more bearable.  How I wish they were right here, too.  And all the people who come with them.

I'm thankful for my children.  Though being a parent of three is an exhausting experience most days, it's also one I take really seriously.  It is my number one reason for being.  For getting up in the morning.  The lessons I've learned as a parent are some of the most valuable ones.  Ever.

A snuggly moment.

Cozy on the couch.

I'm thankful for my friends, both near and far.  Just knowing they're there is all it takes, some days.

Cally lets Cathi snuggle her.

Kathy from 7 as Ella says.

Magic Mark with Joey.

And, I'm thankful for this man.  My hubby.  I mean, really, how lucky can a girl get?  He helps me be who I am.  He is my better half.

Joey gets ready to carve the turkey.

***Pictures are from our Thanksgiving feast at my mum's house.  Mark and Cathi, close family friends, were in from Seoul while Kathy was in for our usual weekend meal together.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


When I saw this woman on The Sartorialist, I knew right away....

The Sartorialist, London

I really am a dresses-and-skirts kind of girl.  

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Longing for simplicity

I'm scrambling this week to catch up from my trip to Seoul.  I've been swamped with work, we've got two days of parent-teacher conferences and I'm totally exhausted (and starting to come down with something, I think).  This is a sure fire recipe for a grumpy mama at home, which is totally unfair for my little ones.  Part of my frustration is complicated by the fact that deep down I also feel guilty for being away and I wish that I could slide right back into the groove of things, but I can't.

I do have some awesome things to share about Seoul and a few pictures to post, but for now, I thought I'd go with this look that I found on The Locals street style blog. The simple and unfettered cut of the dress coupled with some classic black oxfords makes it a head turner, don't you think?

The Locals, Paris.

Alright, back to the grind.  I'll be back in a few days.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Pony skirt

In the dwindling minutes of daylight last week, I had to rush to get pictures of my pony skirt.  This was one of those outfits that I didn't over think, which usually means a better result overall.

I know I've mentioned my new favorite skirt length is the midi.  I get to feel like I'm wearing a super long skirt, but I don't trip over it all day.  

This silk one, from Stanley Market (of course) caught my eye because of it's vibrant colors and unique horse and carriage print.

Because of it's bright colors and bold print, I thought it would work well with neutrals.  I found this Zara blazer at my local Salvation Army.  A real gem!  I love it's longer length.

I finished off the look with my black booties.  Because I didn't over think it, I even had time to style my hair in something other than my usual pony tail or top knot.

I love it when this happens.

Outfit details:  skirt - Stanley Market, blazer - Zara (from Salvation Army), boots - dolce vita, 
necklace- Brooklyn Flea Market

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Seoul break

I'm away in Seoul, Korea for the next few days.  I'm with 10 dancers from my school and we're attending the annual APAC Dance Festival.  Last year, we were in Beijing.

I've got a good group of dancers with me again this year.  I have been advising them for the last five years and they are a big part of what I do at my job.  I love working with these kids and getting to know them outside of classes.  They are a big part of my own children's lives too.  All three of my kids love to dance, in large part because of the big kids they've gotten to know, who have influenced them.

In our own dance room before our trip.

So far, I'm really enjoying seeing a new country.  Seoul is at the tail end of Fall so the leaves are mostly off all the trees, but the cool brisk weather and the smell of the crisp air reminds me of Fall in Wisconsin.  My hotel is right in the heart of a university neighbourhood so the vibe is young and vibrant.  I had a bit of a look around last night.  I'll try to take pictures to share.  What I really love is to see how people dress differently in different cities.  Here it's big wooly scarves, funky glasses and sneakers.  And tights!

My HKD kids are so sweet that they even make sure to order Buddy, Ella and Cally their own shirts each year.  We really are an HKD family.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

My Littlest Ballerina

On Saturday, Cally had her first baby ballet class.  She's been asking me if she could start for ages.  I promised her that once she was potty trained, we'd put her in.

She'll soon be joined by her little friend Laurene.  She was a little clingy when I dropped her off because there were all new faces, but the teacher suggested I just leave.  My noisy Cally tends to be quiet and shy in new situations (much to the disbelief of anyone who knows her).  She was fine. She didn't even make a peep.

I peeked in through the door when I came to pick her up, and she was right into it with all her classmates.  So sweet to see such tiny girls all dressed in pink ruffles and tulle.

After class, we had to take her in for her follow up flu shot in Causeway Bay.  She was totally exhausted after class.  She managed to tell me she did a spin and showed me her new curtsy before falling asleep in the cab.  It turns out she had a slight temperature and was coming down with the cold that we've been dealing with in the days since Saturday.  

No flu shot.  No sweet ballerina.  She's been a crabby sick two year old for the last three days.  She doesn't do sick very well.  Nor do we.  Hope she's well soon before she gets the better of all of us.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Up to my knees

Legit cardi weather has finally arrived.  For real.  To stay.

I have of course pulled my cardigans out before this, but I can really say it was the first time I didn't break a sweat while wearing one.

I also wanted to try out my knee high socks.  I've got several pairs.  These are a more wooly pair from h&m with cute buttons on the side.  I've been really digging the school girl look with cardigans, socks and pleated skirts.  When I came downstairs, the hubby immediately said, going for the man repeller look today? Ha ha.  He didn't care for my brown shoes paired with the black socks.

I liked it, so that's all that counts anyway.

I found this blue wall at Buddy's school on Tuesday while we were waiting for him to finish soccer.  The daylight is dwindling more quickly these days, so I asked my big girl to help.  It's a bit harder for her to balance the camera, but she's doing pretty well.  And, she just likes to be helpful.

I love how the blue wall coordinates with her school uniform, too.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Pizza Jam

When I came home from running errands in Stanley the other day, I was greeted with the warm aroma of Joey's pizza and the rocking tunes of Pearl Jam (I got it on vinyl for the hubby for his birthday).

Joey always writes up a menu for the evening and includes a little picture.  I think his picture this time was Eddie Vedder tossing a pizza.

The girls were his eager sou chefs.

Buddy, my mother and I were his eager pizza consumers.

His dream of opening up his own pizza joint is never far from his mind.  

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Fall Break

I'm just finishing a week long break from school.

It was a week of catching up.  Doctor and dentist visits, planning lessons, being a full time mum for a week.  The last one is my favorite.  I put Cally on the bus, picked Ella up from school, went to Buddy's rugby tournament, and even made pancakes for the family.

And I squeezed in some me time.  Shopping with a friend, watching 30 Rock with the hubby.  Good times.

These pictures were taken by little Buddy in one of those mummy moments when I was running into Stanley so he could go and look at something he's been wanting to spend his allowance on.

We're well into November, and even though I'd love to be snuggling up in cardigans, I can still get away with shorts and a silk blouse.

The necklaces were bought on that shopping outing I mentioned.  There actually is some vintage shopping to be explored here in Hong Kong and I'm starting to find places.  It's not as readily available as it is in other cities, primarily due to the fact that Chinese people are incredibly superstitious and are not likely to buy things if they don't know who owned them before.  There could be bad luck if that person was in fact no longer living.

Luckily there is a decent sized expat population here who do frequent vintage clothing shops for there to be a fair few around.  I'm definitely looking forward to the next break to do some more exploring.

Outfit details:  silk blouse - Stanley market (closing down sale, only 20 HK dollars!), shorts - UO, shoes - Madewell, jewelry - vintage, markets

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Skater boy

Buddy has come a long way since he first started skateboarding three years ago.  You can see a video of when he first started skateboarding here.

Lately, he's working on ollies over cracks in the pavement and drain covers as well as jumping off curbs.

One of his very good friends has taken an interest in skateboarding too, so when they aren't playing soccer, they're on their boards.  It's cute.  They're both a little scruffy and lanky, and they just make me think about what my Joey and his friends might have looked like when they were young skaters.

Of course, my Joey is a skateboarding adult now.  Watching him yesterday, with his longer hair tucked behind his ears, showing Buddy how to balance his weight on his back foot, I realized that he would have been my type in high school, too.  I had a thing for skaters.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Mini me

When we were carving our pumpkin the other evening, I snapped some random shots of each kid.  I love candid pictures best because they capture each child in a moment I want to remember.

Catching kids in natural poses is difficult.  If they figure out you're watching, they stop what they're doing and pose.  Ella is especially aware of me snapping pictures and will change what she's doing and put on a silly grin.  

This time, I managed to snap a few pictures before she noticed (the first two).  When she saw I was taking pictures, I told her to just keep doing what she was doing and not pay attention to me.

Then I realized the poses I was seeing were the ones she sees me do when I'm taking outfit shots.  Apparently she's been watching me very closely because she nailed these poses.

Even in her singlet and undies, she's a little style queen.  Have I ever mentioned how she likes sparkly shoes?  She's already told me that when her feet are big enough, we'll be sharing.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Cat lady

Joey bought me this cat print dress the other day when he was out exploring Northpoint.

A neat building (possibly an old police station?) on Electric Street.

He spotted it in the window of a little Korean boutique opposite Mr. Taco Truck.

Close up detail and a peek at one of
my vintage store finds - the necklace.

He took a chance (after consulting with me about size) and, lucky for me, it worked out!  I decided to wear it yesterday for an afternoon discovering some vintage shops in HK.

I love this print.

I jazzed it up Man Repeller style with my grey old man vest from the market.  The vest is just right for the cool breezy weather of late.  Joey's take is less is more (or lose the vest).  I'd normally pair this with some heels or my favorite UO wedges, but opted for the black oxfords for shopping comfort.

Thoughts?  How would you style it?

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