Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

travel wardrobe recap – Hong Kong and Phuket

Travel Wardrobe: Hong Kong in October

This trip was a learning experience for sure. We had two moderately tropical environments to accommodate: one urban and semi-casual-to-casual and one more rural and very-casual/resort-to-just-a-little-rugged. Overall I’d give the wardrobe I packed a score of 6 out of 10.

First, let’s look at what worked well. (Using baseball metaphors again, go Giants!!)

MVP’s:

  • The ECCO sandals were perfect for Hong Kong and some of the Phuket leg. They were comfortable enough for all-day walking without looking clunky. I felt perfectly appropriate wearing most evenings too. The only downside was when we were visiting temples or other spots that requested removal of shoes prior to entry, unbuckling (and then having to re-buckle once back outside) had me wishing for a slip-on style.
  • For the Hong Kong portion of the trip, I found the Eileen Fisher linen button front shirt was what I kept reaching for. (Similar styles here and here.) With a tank underneath, it was comfortable even on the warmest and most humid days, and looked just a bit more polished than a tee.
  • In Phuket, the Marketplace India “Divya” top was the one I wore most frequently. Even though a darker color, it was so lightweight and airy, it handled heat+humidity beautifully, while being appropriate for visiting temples and other sites with a “modest” dress code. The fabric is opaque enough that no other layer was needed, another plus.
  • The Eileen Fisher slim crepe ankle pants were surprisingly comfortable in the heat. (Plus option). They were also hand washable and dried overnight. On the warmest days I rolled them up just a little.
  • The tencel ankle pants (no longer available, similar) were my go-to’s most days in Hong Kong, due to the pockets where I could stash my Octopus card for easy access when exiting the MTR.
  • My straw UPF 50 fedora. Despite being crushed/abused a bit, it held its shape quite well.
  • My Jord wood watch. Very comfortable under hot conditions.
Enjoying one last coconut water in Phuket before departing to the airport.

Enjoying one last coconut water in Phuket before departing to the airport.

Infield:

  • The Eileen Fisher silk tanks (here and here) were perfect under lighter weight linen tops or underneath a jacket in the evenings.

Beach time in Phucket

Pinch Hitters:

  • The dresses (here and here) and skirt were each worn once. Neither took up much room in the luggage, and I was glad to have them in each instance.
  • Likewise, the asymmetrical skirt was worn once, for a casual evening. (Plus option.) I probably could have made do with one dress and the skirt.
  • The heeled sandals were nice to have on the evenings I didn’t have to walk far, but wanted to dress up a little. Next time would probably leave at home, though.
  • The Teva sandals while too rugged for the city, were perfect for some of the excursions in Phuket that required a bit of hiking. I didn’t have to worry about getting them wet or muddy, and they provided great traction for some rocky trails.
  • For air travel days, an Everlane Seed Stitch sweater, which is warm enough to mitigate chilly airplane cabins but lightweight enough not to be sweltering. Also a pair of zip ankle boots, loose fit, which keep feet warm on the plane and are easy to remove and put back on when going through airport security. (Worn with a pair of wicking athletic socks, they weren’t sweltering for the periods of time I spent outdoors.)

Benched:

  • I didn’t wear the short-sleeved tees as much as I’d anticipated. (See above regarding the Eileen Fisher linen shirt.) I’d pack maybe only 1 or 2 on a future similar trip.
  • A second bathing suit. Didn’t need it.

Future Draft Picks (wish I’d brought):

  • More linen or lightweight cotton collared, button front shirts. These are a better dress-up/dress-down option than tees, and the sleeves can be rolled up or down as temperatures require. I’ll be on the lookout for options for future travel.
  • A low-heeled closed-toe shoe to wear with in evenings with dresses instead of the heeled sandals.
  • A laptop. For blogging and reading work email attachments, I really need the full-on functionality of a laptop. I can make do with the iPad, but its limitations are frustrating enough to make me willing to shlep something heavier.

I did sink laundry twice on the trip, and in air-conditioned interiors had no problem with clothing items drying overnight.

What have you learned from travel wardrobes that didn’t quite achieve a 1000 batting average?

Oh, and GO GIANTS!!

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Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

lend me your ears

I’ve always loved bold earrings, the kind that sparkle and dangle and dance. One of the first big teenage battles that I fought with my mother was over getting my ears pierced. To her, pierced ears were one of the marks of a loose woman (don’t ask me where that came from, haven’t a clue ;-) ) so from the time I was 13 until 16 she was adamant that once I was old enough to wear earrings, they’d be demure clip-ons just like she occasionally wore. It was only when a family friend who was an office manager in a doctor’s office assured her that ALL of the girls were getting pierced ears and that it was perfectly safe that she relented and allowed me to get pierced for my 16th birthday. But she insisted it HAD to be done in a doctor’s office, and wouldn’t you know they used the same piercing gun as the places at the mall, where I had a second hole added in each ear three years later. (Though I usually only wear a single set of earrings, that second piercing still can be found and utilized.)

At first I made my own earrings with wires, filigree, beads and feathers from the craft store. Over the years I’ve worn everything from simple hoops to shoulder-grazing chandeliers. But these days, my lobes can no longer tolerate anything heavy, and prefer wires to posts. I still adore bold earrings, but have to balance visual impact with light weight. I find that materials like lucite, or large but open designs can all fit that criteria.

Do you wear earrings? What designs or styles appeal to you most? If you have pierced ears, how old were you when you first had them done?

Here are a few styles that have caught my eye recently:

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Monday, October 20th, 2014

Hong Kong flânerie

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We had a full day to spend in Hong Kong between our flight from Phuket and the return flight home, so decided to spend it mostly wandering and exploring the Kowloon side. Our hotel this time was also in Kowloon with a beautiful view across the harbor.

A short MTR ride away was the Flower Market.

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This handsome fellow was keeping an eye on the wares.

This handsome fellow was keeping an eye on the wares.

Then the Bird Market…

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And the Goldfish Market. Pets that can be kept in small spaces are popular in a city where space is at a premium.

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After lunch we hopped on the ferry back over to Hong Kong Island to search out a tea shop that has been recommended. The LockCha Tea Shop is a tiny place, but they offer tea tastings and instructed us on brewing techniques and serving traditions.

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We tasted a few varieties from a delicate Jasmine to a smoky Pu-ehr, and selected a few to bring home as gifts and for our own stash.

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While our smartphones don’t take such great photos in low light, I did want to try and share the night time view from the Kowloon side, which is spectacular.

We’re on our way home now, will have more on our trip and my travel wardrobe recap later this week. Thanks for reading along with our travels!

Friday, October 17th, 2014

postcards from Phuket

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Our first lunch stop. If the gorgeous scenery and fabulous food weren’t enough, we were serenaded by Gibbons at the nearby Gibbon rescue facility.

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Lemongrass salad. This was amazing.

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We checked into the hotel, and were delighted to be informed we’d been upgraded to a suite with our own pool!!!!

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A lovely welcome tray with pomegranate elderberry juice, a cool towel and a fragrant corsage. This place is also a spa and has a wonderful selection of fresh juices at breakfast.

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View from the breakfast area.

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Le Monsieur’s brother had rented a car for our visit, so we set off to see Wat Chalong, the largest Buddhist temple on Phuket. It was truly stunning.

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Everything inside the temple is very colorful and ornate.

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On our way back to the car, a quick opportunity to goof for the camera…it was very hot and humid, was glad to have the umbrella!

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After a quick lunch stop, we drove over to see the Big Buddha, recently built and still under construction.

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It was quite an impressive structure, and offered views of both East and West sides of the island.

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The King is revered here.

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View from the Big Buddha

Phuket street food vendors

Phuket street food curries

Phuket street food vendors 2

On the way home we stopped at a few street food vendors to pick up dinner to take back to the hotel: chicken and pork sate, fish cake and vegetable steamed in banana leaves, sticky rice, papaya salad and a few of these desserts wrapped in banana leaves. It was SO delicious!

We’re off early today on a boat excursion to see some of the islands and other nearby sights. More soon!

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

fall re-boot

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J.Crew Jacket, Naturalizer Janelle boots (also available in Wide shaft)

The lovely people at Naturalizer asked if I’d like to give these Janelle knee boots a try, and if I’d be interested in taking part in their styling contest, representing the 50+ demographic. It sounded like a fun challenge, so here’s my entry. I wanted to create an outfit that was simple yet modern, and could go from casual office to weekend. Head over to the Naturalizer Facebook page and, if you’re so inclined, vote for me. The winner of the contest will receive two additional pairs of Naturalizer shoes (the boots were provided by Naturalizer) which I’d be delighted to offer as a giveaway. If I win, you win. :-)

Stella and Dot, Aurelie Biderman bracelets, Chanel vintage flap bag

Nothing says “fall” like boots and jackets. I’m also wearing the NYDJ ‘Ami’ skinny jeans in ‘Dakota’ wash. I find myself reaching for these frequently as they are so darn versatile. The bag is my old faithful vintage Chanel, and the bracelets are from Stella and Dot (here and similar) and aurelie bidermann.

Naturalizer Janelle knee boots

The elastic goring on the back of the boots is subtle, but provides a nice snug fit with a little give. I like the shaping at the top of the shaft, and the buckles add a nice touch.

What’s your favorite way to style a pair of knee boots?

OPTIONS:

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