June Crush

Some things I can’t stop thinking about this month. #happysummer

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1. A how-to for writing on a cake

2. A Farmers Market First Birthday. So adorable.

3. Everything you love about your state, in a postcard.

4. Color code your bar cart. Yes please.

Spa Party

My best girls and I– the ones that used to stay out late and have too much fun– have {mostly} all turned a healthy leaf. Our conversations that used to revolve around boys and drinking are now focused on health and wellness. We hike, share recipes, and motivate each other to stay healthy.

We decided to put together a wellness day to take care of ourselves. I’m really looking forward to this, as these couple of months are quite hectic. This will be the perfect chance to to unwind and re-focus on my goals.

We’ve already booked our yoga teacher for a private session, who will then give a lesson on juicing. We also plan to get massages and eat a healthy meal. collage spa party

Any other ideas for what we should include?

{images: yoga, juice, massage, food}

Thoughtful Encounters

Lately, I’ve come to realize how much I value thoughtfulness. I’ve always recognized thoughtfulness, both having it and the absence of it, but not given it much weight past that. But it’s becoming clear to me how important it is.

My very favorite yoga teacher is here in Hong Kong. She has been my instructor since 2005 and I have never found another yoga teacher, here or across the US, that approaches her style. Her classes are well planned, leading from one posture to another, preparing you for the next one. Her style is calming and encouraging, accepting and kind, but the attention she puts into the class flow is really what draws me in.

It really hit me with our recent trip to Bali. We stayed in this little boutique hotel in Ubud called The Purist. With only seven rooms, their attention to detail was incredible. In fact, I’m not big on tipping generally, but there we did, as the service was that outstanding. The staff remembered our preferences and took care of our every need. They greeted us by name, made arrangements for us outside of their normal schedules and made us feel special. And their beautiful setting didn’t hurt.

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I try to remember this when planning an event as well. It’s not about how much you spend, or if all of your decorations are the same colors. It’s the thoughtful touches that really make your party memorable. Maybe it’s wraps on the back of the chairs in case guests get cold. Maybe it’s cold towels on hand on a hot day. Or maybe it’s even as simple as a bowl to toss your olive pits. Those details are the ones that make guests feel cared for and special. And, really, isn’t that what we all want?

Beach Loving

My husband and I recently celebrated 5 years married {which also means 10 years together}. We decided that was a decent milestone, so we took off to a destination we’ve always wanted to visit– The Maldives.

As a popular destination for the rich and famous (Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes honeymooned here, and William and Kate were on an island the same time we were visiting), its hard to get to and not cheap when you do. So we only managed it for a few days, but loved every second. It’s truly an island paradise– white sand, crystal blue water, private villas, and the best snorkeling we’ve ever seen.

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It was so special to have this experience together and a different way to celebrate than with the traditional anniversary gifts. I loved it, I loved being my husband, and hope we can go back together sometime soon!

Black, White and Spring

The temperature is finally starting to warm up a bit, so I wanted to take advantage for a little outdoor thank you nibble for my husband. He’s been so wonderful and strong lately, taking care of me and the house in the past month. I wanted to take the time to celebrate him and say thank you.

We’ve had a hectic schedule, but with late dinner plans on Friday, I knew we’d have time for a drink beforehand. I set up a little party for the two us, with snacks and some champagne to just focus on him.

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I’m obsessed with graphic black and white with a bold pop of color. As l look desperately towards spring, green was my color of choice. I used our herbs to add the green lushness, and a fun tea towel as our place mat.

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It’s not a party without bunting! I found this great paper, printed it, and cut out triangles. I used a a gold pen sharpie on the edges to add a bit of fun.

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Since we had dinner plans, I just put out a few snacks– little sandwiches, nuts, and chocolate chia pudding.

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I got this print for my husband years ago, and we don’t have anywhere to hang it in our apartment right now. I framed it with washi tape for this, and my husband was happy to see it. Almost like an old friend he hasn’t seen in awhile.

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The chocolate chia pudding? Well, it’s tasty with sweet mixin’s, but not so great on it’s own. But the spoons– a gift from my mother-in-law– are awesome.

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It was a fun night. My husband really appreciated the effort and felt loved. Which is really why we throw parties, isn’t it? ;)

Best Wishes in the Year of Horse

This weekend we are celebrating lunar New Year, or, as we call it here, Chinese New Year. It’s one of the best times of year– and not just because we gets days of work. There are decorations, red packets of money are given, and lots of eating to celebrate the coming year.

This year is particularly fun for me, as I am a horse, and it’s year of the horse. {And this description probably fits me better than my western zodiac.} And look at this gorgeous display. A fun way to celebrate, right?

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Lai See, or red packets, are given out to younger colleagues and people that help you, like doormen. Similar to a tip at Christmas, you put clean, crisp bills in envelopes for a better presentation and hand them out the day of or after. I got these beautiful envelopes this year that I can’t wait to give out.

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And this map helps you know who to give packets {because it can be a bit confusing}.

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Not to mention, there will lots of fireworks and food– dumplings included. Check out my instagram for updates through the weekend. It’s so fun to join in the cities celebrations!

Kung hei fat choi! xoxo

Australia Day!

One of my favorite parts of living overseas is getting to celebrate more holidays.  I love exploring cultures through their important traditions. This week is a big week in China– but more on that later. Tonight we were lucky enough to join in an Australia Day dinner at a proper Ozzie restaurant.

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Similar to the 4th of July, Australia Day includes meat cooked on barbie {I love how they served it over grilled herbs}. My favorite part of the menu was kangaroo pie.  Rich and yummy, it was was delicious. And, naturally, the meal ended with a traditional lamination.

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The restaurant also had an Aussie comedian, which added some entertainment to the evening. Good food, good fun, good cultural experience, good company! xoxo

Recent Celebrations

Since we’ve missed out on each other’s recent lives, I wanted to give you a snapshot of some our celebrations lately. December was busy with birthdays, advent activity calendars and holiday cards (we created our own!)– then we headed to Australia for Christmas and New Years. I decorated our beach rental then we headed out to watch the fireworks in Sydney, over the Opera House. It was a jam packed month but full of wonderful!

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What did you do for the holidays? Any other fun recent celebrations? xoxo