blue & sun for the jet lagged

UntitledUntitled Hello from LA! We arrived to bright blue skies and plenty of sunshine with a side of cool breeze, just how I like it. It's been a whirlwind of couple of days between settling into our current crash pad, running errands, attending a wedding, looking for a new temporary apartment/sublet, seeing family, and trying to get a solid night's sleep. I have never been so off before - jet lag usually hits me on the way back but since there's no return this time maybe I'm getting it all upfront. All of sixteen hours of it, making my eyes look and feel like I've been partying for days.

I'm hoping that this week brings a bit more calm and order to my schedule, emphasis on hoping. We leave for a mini road-trip to Arizona on Thursday for another wedding so if I can get just three days of productive work time (and good sleep) I'll be a happy camper. I'm happy now but very tired, definitely looking forward to feeling refreshed and on top of things again. Until I get there, please keep those blue skies and that shadow-play sunshine coming!

aaanndd i'm back!

Three bags, three different crash pads, five rental cars, and too many miles in a car (and in the air) ... this girl has left LA and is back in KL! It's so good to be home. I arrived yesterday morning and have been unpacking and re-organizing everything in between hug and kiss attacks from Joe who can't seem to believe that I'm actually here.

It was a great two months in LA though it was certainly a different kind of visit than I've had before. I was focused on work versus play so I left feeling shocked that for the first time in a loooooong time I didn't go to a single Dodger game, a show at the Hollywood Bowl, and - gasp - not even a flea market. The first two are a very sad thing for an Angeleno to admit and the third one is just sad for me personally (see this if you're new to the blog). But, if I had to be away from Joe for so long I had to make it worth my while and that worth was all about pushing Ring Cozy forward.

The moments that I did take to be with friends and family were few but really treasured. I had missed their hugs, their smiles, their way of "knowing" me. It's pretty awesome to feel that there's a group of people somewhere else in the world who love and care about you regardless of seeing you once in a blue moon. There were definitely moments where I wanted to toss the expat towel in and be back with familiar faces. Like the one day I went wedding dress shopping for two of my friends and had so much fun doing something so girly. But then when I remember that everyone is so busy with their own lives now that I probably would see them just as often as I do now, I don't feel so bad. It wasn't uncommon to go months without seeing certain people when I still lived there nearly three years ago. We're traveling more, focusing on family, getting busier with work ... it's a rare treat to just call someone up on a random day/night and say "let's do X and Y" and have them actually be available, or willing. If you're under 25 and reading this...enjoy it while it lasts!

Now back in KL I've been welcomed home via texts and emails by the friends I've made here. They're a part of a different chapter in my life and I'm so thankful that they fill the pages with new and amazing experiences. They remind me why I love being an expat: the simple fact that albeit challenging, you can make a home and build a community anywhere you are. I can't imagine anything more comforting than that. It's so good to be home.





making it in LA

LA street art It's been good to be back in LA to get things done - what a difference it makes to be here! Instead of relying on phone calls and emails in different timezones, I can be somewhere at a moments notice and give comments and samples as they're needed (take that, two weeks snail mail). Not to mention the face time that I'm getting with suppliers and manufacturers. Can't even begin to tell you how invaluable the personal interaction has been.

Aside from getting my own work done, I've been re-inspired by all of the production that exists in the area. Name a tangible good and chances are that there's a place in LA that makes it. In the warehouse and industrial zones, every building you see is busy with people making clothes, accessories, toys, furniture, printing fabric, printing paper, bottling food & bev, packing and shipping - it's truly is amazing how much still happens here.

So where am I at with Ring Cozy? We've got our launch colors all set and so far everything is on track to ship pre-orders at the end of the month (woo hoo, fingers crossed!!!). Making it happen ladies and gents, making it happen.


gone summering

LA Palms Graphic Well, not really. We're off to LA today and though I'll be there for the rest of the summer, I definitely won't be summering the entire time - this girl has some a lot of biznaz to take care of!

Of course there will be some pleasure mixed in: attending a wedding, visiting the in-laws in Alaska, catching up with friends, and sneaking in play time to indulge in a So Cal summer.

Part of me can't wait and another part is seriously sad to leave my home in KL. It's strange to feel like my first home (LA) is not my main home anymore. For the first time since moving, I'm thinking of all the things that I'll miss in Malaysia rather than anxiously looking forward to everything in LA. Of course I'm crazy excited about getting face-time with my favorite people, and eating my heart out with the foods I often crave, but home is really where the heart is and my heart is always with Joe (cue cheese ball alert, I know) who will only be there with me for a bit. The extended stay is necessary for what I need to get done, and I know that it'll be great and totally worth it in end in more ways than one, I'm just being a total love sap.

So, LA - my first home and love - here I come!!!


Photo graphic by Ana Maria Muñoz

{show & tell} LA souvenirs

The best part about traveling? Coming home and unloading your loot! I've had my mind and eyes on a few things so I took advantage of being in LA to tick them off my list. And here they are....

The Old:

An antique hourglass from my mama that she dug up when we went through her storage. Joe always played with it when he was at my folks' house so she let me bring it back for him. Aawwwww...

An old brass bottle opener in the form of a Pre-Columbian figure from my grandpa. The last time I visited him in Colombia I asked him to take me to wherever they sold "old stuff". He thought I was crazy but now he gets me.

Plastic Plates from POKETO that Joe bought for me when I moved into my own apartment (oh how I loved my DTLA studio!). Now they'll be perfect for our BBQ meals by the pool and if you like them, they're still in stock!

The New:

I was so excited when Everlane launched their collection of luxury basics several months ago. Not just because everything is under $100 but because most (if not all?) items are made in the USA. They don't currently ship internationally so I ordered a tank for me and a t-shirt for Joe but I really should have stocked up!

It's still bikini season where I am so I was on the look out for a new suite. I found my perfect set at Undrest by the Sea in Venice. Since the bikini was on sale I splurged on the shorts. I love the knit fabric and the Brazillian cut - and they're each made in LA so extra extra brownie points, had to support! I think the swimwear sale is still happening online so hurry, click click click!

I recently got new Moo business cards so naturally I needed something to put them in. The EAYSRLEE wallet is perfect in design, quality, and function. I've completely ditched my big wallet for it since I can stuff it in my pocket and go. I bought it through Of A Kind so you just know that it's 100% indie-designer goodness.

Chunky or statement necklaces are what I'm good at collecting but sometimes a girl needs something simple. I've been searching for a small pendant that I could wear every day and I fell in love with this golden nugget necklace by Timka Jewelry. She has a table on Abbott Kinney in Venice and is there every weekend selling her designs at 30% off. SOLD!

And last but not least, my new travel companion: the awesome upcycled leather passport holder by ECO PARTY MEARRY purchased at POKETO's new shop in DTLA's Arts District (see, here's proof that I was there!) I've been wanting one easy place to keep my boarding pass stubs and receipts while traveling and this one does it all in style!

The new case will come in handy tomorrow when Joe's packs me in his suitcase for a business trip to London (eeee!!!) I can't believe that we get to go back to visit our other home city - it's going to feel so great. Better dust off my sweaters, polish those boots, and, of course, make sure to save some room for more souvenirs ;)


friday pic & pin

friday pic & pin 17 It's been a great week of catching up with friends all over town and getting local things done. I've literally been all over the map from orange county to the valley and Sunday will take me to the westside for a brunch in Venice. Each area has different memories and associations for me so it's almost as if each chapter of my life is a different zip code and I'm flipping through the pages as I drive along.  It's a trip.

We'll see what stories are created this weekend.

Have a good one!

(image left: Downtown LA skyline from LA State Historic Park by Ana Maria Muñoz, right: Pin via Delovely Arts)

{monthly mix tape} road nostalgia august

AUG Mixtape

I was a big-time commuter in LA before moving closer to work and public transportation options. While I can't say that I miss having a car, I do miss the long periods of time when it was just me and my music. There's something about driving that makes everything sound and feel better, isn't there? To satisfy my driving nostalgia I decided to create a playlist of songs from my college days to now that would make me smile, bob my head, and cheer me up even in the worst of traffic jams. That's why there's 17 tracks instead of the usual 10 ;)
Click here or the sidebar player to tune in. Enjoy!
1    Patient Patient   The Morning Benders 2    Turn on Me   The Shins 3    Benny and the Jetts   TV Girl 4    Haiti   Arcade Fire 5    I Can Go   White Arrows 6    Home   Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros 7   Ocean Breathes Salty  Modest Mouse 8   Awake  Electric Guest 9   Get It Together   Go! Team 10   Let's Call Ig Off (Single Mix)  Peter Bjorn & John 11   Emergency Call   Matt Costa 12   Disco Friends   Just Jack 13   Cause=Time   Broken Social Scene 14   The Bucket   Kings of Leon 15   Long Distance Call  Phoenix 16   City Sky  Thao Nguyen 17  Out of Tune  Real Estate
(image: LA by freeway by Ana Maria Munoz)

{show & tell} LA souvenirs

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After returning from our visit to LA a few weeks ago it really hit me that London is my new home home. Los Angeles is where I'm from but when I unpacked souvenirs from the trip like gifts from friends and found storage items, I did so in our London flat - our home. It's been really strange to go back and forth between calling LA and London home...I only really ever had one to consider. When strangers ask me where I'm from they inevitably follow up with "which place do you prefer?" That used to be an easy question to answer but I genuinely love and enjoy different things about each city. Also, they're apples and oranges so it's practically impossible to give a straight answer. I often think back to the metro rides to/from work in LA while Joe was living here for a month before I joined him. I would listen to Edward Sharp & The Magnetic Zero's song home on replay and remind myself why I was leaving the only home I had ever known. Now when I look at some of the goodies I brought back from LA (and Joe's hometown, Anchorage) I think yes, "home is wherever I'm with you" but it does help to have a few personal mementos to remind you of your roots...or at least from the shops where your roots are ;)

Images from top/bottom left/right: card by The Great Lakes Goods bought at Lula Mae prescription glasses, frames by Chanel bought at Specstacular 1986 Ovation guitar, gift from Joe's parents ballet flats by TOMS, gift from friends (no a child will not receive the same ballet flats, click here to learn about TOMS's One for One) vintage dress bought at Shareen Vintage art square by a former co-worker's talented mother childhood photo of Joe, we'll get the entire album next time joe's ID bracelet from when he was six years old. fits me perfectly and of awesome CA necklace from one of my besties, Vikki



los angeles design, i

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Hola, how was your weekend?

Ours was all about traveling and settling back into our flat; man does it feel good to be home!!! One of the things that I love about London is that the architectural details are so different from everything that I grew up with in LA. When we moved here I became obsessed with noting the tiny details of building facades and period characteristics of the 1600's onwards.

Los Angeles is obviously much newer so going back for a visit after being away for a while proved to be super inspiring. Everything from the Mexican and Spanish Colonial details around El Pueblo/Olvera Street, the Art Deco facades in Old Pasadena, to the simple retro lines of the beach communities ... they all hint to the diversity of design in the City of Angels. I admire and respect the ornate and elaborate styles of traditional European design but when push comes to shove, simplicity and basic geometry always captures my heart. It wasn't until this trip that I realized how much my hometown had influenced my personal design tendencies. I guess sometimes you really don't know what you've got until it's gone...or at least leave it then go back :)

...and the winner is

I've been on total vacation mode for nearly two weeks and I just realized that I never picked a winner for the Marrakech souvenir giveaway! Please excuse me, I haven't been my internet-self as of late but thanks to this handy site I was able to pick the lucky winner in a flash (thanks for the tip, Marianne!). I really enjoyed reading about your favorite travel souvenirs and I wish that I had a little something to give each of you but alas, the tassel will find a new happy home with.....drum roll please.....Leah! I can't wait to see what you do with it. Be sure to check your inbox for an email from me :)

I also realized that I better enjoy the rest of the time off (and the excuse for missing to-do tasks) because March is going to be one busy month. Two and a half more days of palm trees, sunshine, drinks with friends, and whatever else we want... LA, I'm going to relish you like there is no tomorrow!