because i miss you {checking in}

Santa Barbara

Helloooo! I hope you've been well. This photo is from a brief stroll in Downtown Santa Barbara while I waited for my train. I was there last weekend for a bachelorette party and it was such a treat to relax and have fun with my gal pals. It was a treat not only because I had just wrapped up a crazy week of work, but because there was a moment when I realized that hanging out with a group of girls like that had become so rare in my life. Living away for three years meant lots of solo time with Joe and double dates with other couples. I love both very much but sometimes a girl just needs girl-time, you know?

The weekend was great and because I do love my solo time with Joe, I really want to go back with him to check out the old missions and spend time on the beach. We'll see when we can squeeze it in as the next few months are already booked with travels, activities, and Ring Cozy is keeping me very very busy. It's been growing, I've been learning, and the business is really starting to feel like the real-deal. It's getting out of the awkward stage of testing the market, figuring out suppliers, etc, and moving into the more consistent stream of sales and processes that come with time, experience, and confidence in both myself and the product. I can't tell you how awesome it is to get emails from customers who tell me how Ring Cozy has solved a problem they had. To think that my idea, my creation, and all my work in bringing it to life is adding something positive to someone's everyday life - even if it's for something as seemingly small as a ring - is truly amazing. With that said, this little blog break is over. Time to get back to work!

ps - I'm on instagram more often than here these days so come join me there if you haven't already!

re-set

working sunset I know we're mid-way through the month but it's still January soooo ... Happy New Year! I'm excited for 2014. It looks good when written, it sounds great when said aloud, and I'll finally turn that ripe age of 29 after a year of mistakenly saying that that's what I am (obviously not afraid of getting old here).

The year got off to a solid start with work and social fun but the sick bug I had been avoiding for months apparently decided that 2014 was its time to shine. I spent two days with the worst fever I've had since childhood and had it not been for Joe diligently taking care of me it might have been four.

Now with the sick-me out of the way, it almost feels like I'm starting the new year all over again. It's time to get back to business, put some non-pj looking clothes on, and actually leave the house (yay!). And in the middle of it all, remember to stop and notice the inspiring things around me like these sunset building patterns and colors the day before I got sick.

That's what I'm excited to get back to - the accomplished feeling that comes from getting things done and the little moments through out each day that make life feel magical.

I think that the real 29 is going to be great :)

a mighty good year

wedding in colombia
kota kinabalu
IMG_7822
IMG_7905
Ubud, Bali
Alaska by Ana Maria Munoz
Redang, Malaysia
Melaka, Malaysia
Takayama, Japan
Tokyo, Japan
by Clare Barker Wells shot in KLCC Park, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
hiking in sedona, arizona
Route 66

2013, you were one GREAT year. Challenging, adventurous, stimulating, inspiring, loving, and beautiful...definitely one of the best yet.

In January I could have never imagined that I'd be sharing 90% of the year's highlights below. Every new year brings new experiences and opportunities and seeing them unfold one-by-one is truly a thing of beauty. Every challenge you overcome, every time you say 'yes' instead of 'no', every time you let your self get out of your comfort zone (personally, professionally, and physically), they're all worth recognizing and celebrating.

So cheers - cheers to reflecting on and celebrating the journey had while looking forward to the adventures that await. Have a very happy new year! xx.

2013 Highlights

Launching Ring Cozy

Getting married in Colombia + exploring it with friends

Being featured by Cuyana

Going off the beaten path in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia

Photographing the beautiful bags by KAYU

Stay-cationing in KL

Ditching the glasses and getting LASIK

Fishing in Phu Quoc and riding like a local in Saigon, Vietnam

Celebrating one year of living in Kuala Lumpur

Jetting off to Bali for the weekend

Getting married again in Alaska and exploring the Last Frontier

Launching the Love Malaysia Collection with Gin & Jacqie

Snorkeling in Redang Island, Malaysia

Learning to cook our new Malaysian comfort food at LaZat

Park strolling in Bangkok

Exploring and eating in Melaka, Malaysia

Falling in love with Rio De Janeiro in three days

A dream trip to Takayama and Tokyo, Japan

Loving and leaving our flat in KL

Posing for the camera for lasting memories of our time in KL

Road-tripping to Sedona via Historic Route 66

Wrapping up the year with a cozy cabin getaway

a cozy cabin christmas

Christmas 2013 Hi guys! How have your holidays been? We spent our Christmas in the mountains just outside of LA and it was perfect. We booked a great little cabin via Airbnb, rented a car, and loaded up on firewood and groceries for plenty of cooking, drinking, and snacking. The plan was simple: relax and indulge.

Other than driving ten minutes to Lake Arrowhead for a brief visit, we stayed cozied up inside with a roaring fire (Joe is a great Boy Scout) and ate whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted. Christmas Eve dinner was just right but the food highlight of the holiday was my batch of Colombian buñuelos. I made them for Christmas in London but last year we sadly had to go without the traditional fried cheese balls of goodness since the cheese we needed simply didn't exist in KL. However, it only made them taste that much better this time around, especially since I got to share them with my family! My sister, brother-in-law, and nieces joined us on Christmas Day, just in time for my girls to help me roll the maza into little balls. After tamales and buñuelos, my nieces and I did Christmas arts and crafts and roasted marshmallows with Tio Jojo using sharpened branches he collected. Needless to say, those girls were two very happy campers!

And so was everyone else. Joe had been happy since we arrived because he finally had an excuse to use the hatchet I bought him three Christmases ago (couldn't take it to London with us) while my sister and bro in-law were happy to kick up their feet and relax while Tia Mu (me) entertained the girls with activities.

It was absolutely perfect. The family time, the quiet time, the nature time. I can't think of a better Christmas gift than the gift of an experience with the ones you love. So happy.

blog c'est slow

Hello, is anyone there? Yes, yes you are. I can see the visitor counts in the dashboard and you've been coming back, it's me who's been astray.

I think that I have officially moved into the slow blogging category where instead of sticking to a set schedule and forcing myself to blog even when I don't feel like it, I'm focusing on my offline offblog life, enjoying it, and taking care of business without guilt. I still constantly think of things that I'd like to share and photos I'd like to take but I'm going to use my month of transition as the excuse for absence. Since we moved back to LA and it's been busy and by busy I mean happy. Happily working, happily hanging with friends and family, and happily wearing cozy layers in crisp 50 degrees weather.

Now that we've been here for a solid month I'm starting to get asked how it feels to be back, if it's strange, or if I miss anything. The answer to the latter two is yes. It feels strange to sometimes view things and people through foreign eyes and notice subtleties that I never would have had I never left. I've had moments where I felt like an outsider with deja vu - places and people are familiar but something has changed and it's not the same. I know I've changed so even if the city or familiar faces haven't, the fact that I have changes everything.

Brief moments of reverse culture shock have been the main 'strange' things though. Like going to a college football game and seeing how intense the tailgating scene gets (custom branded trailers anyone?), preferring to eat with chopsticks instead of a fork, catching the smell of curry from an Indian restaurant and feeling like 'home', or even just being around Asians and feeling more at 'home'! It's the little things that have made me pause and recognize the re-adjustment I'm actually going through. I was driving with a friend yesterday and she said "you drive like a Malaysian" which really means "you're a shit driver". And she should know - her family is from Malaysia. I laughed so hard when she said that because even though I never drove there, it somehow rubbed off on me. And in a twisted way, I took it as a compliment.

Yes I miss Malaysia but besides missing the food and nearby travel destinations like crazy, I'm doing great back in LA. I'm getting a ton of work done, exercising and eating well, using public transportation and loving it (though I do rent a car as needed for meetings), and my hair is as calm as it's been in over one year. I'm sure you ladies can commiserate with equating a small amount of happiness to the volume and frizz in your hair ;)

So yeah, all is well. I may not be blogging like a blogger should but that's okay. This should be a fun space for me (and you) to come to, to share adventures and creative nuggets, not something that is forced just for the sake of feeling current. I do Instagram and Pinterest often so if I'm not here, I'm there. And to you who are still here, still reading this, I'm thankful for you. You make this whole blogging thing so much more than an online journal. Gracias amigos.

photo: LA street c'est chic, snapped in Arts District Downtown LA

for everything...

thankful Happy Thanksgiving everyone. It's been a while since we've been in the Sates for the holiday season so today I'm taking extra note of the things that have made our lives so full, wherever we've been in the past three years!

I'm thankful for our family and friends who have supported and encouraged our adventures every step of the way along with those who made every new experience more colorful and memorable. The well being and health of all of these special people, and the technology that let's us stay connected regardless of geographic location, are high on the gratitude list.

Sitting in our new apartment I feel so blessed to have a roof over our heads, a kitchen with food to nourish our bodies, and all the simple comforts that we sometimes take for granted on a daily basis. Looking back, we've been so fortunate to have several homes that allowed us to feel safe and comfortable in new environments. So many great memories!

And last but not least, I'm thankful for my beautiful man and partner in life: Joe. He makes every day the best day ever just by being by my side.

I hope you have a relaxing and fun weekend sharing special moments with the special people in your lives. Gobble Gobble!

small touches

small touches of homesmall touches of home small touches of home small touches of home

Happy Monday, guys! I'm so excited to be writing this from our new home. We moved in several days ago and It feels so nice to be somewhere that we can call 'ours' for the time being. It's just what we were looking for - furnished and wired - so all we had to do was unpack our bags and buy groceries. Yes, it was the easiest move-in ever and I definitely made sure to enjoy it.

Enjoying it was easy as we've been in and out of our storage unit, making room for what's coming in from KL, and taking what we need from it right now. I took advantage of the shuffle to grab a few small items like a vintage ceramic dish and pair of votive candle holders to place around the apartment along with a few stones I brought with me. The latest addition (the big green one) from Sedona is perfect, as is the heart-shaped red rock we picked up during one of our hikes. They're so pretty and I like the idea of them holding positive energies...Joe makes fun of me but I don't care ;)

Since it's Fall, I also had to bring a few pumpkins into the mix. Pumpkins were hard to come by in London and KL (the rare ones were crazy expensive) so I reasoned than I had to have them when I saw them on sale for less that $1. I was right. They're already doing their part in making our living room look a little less sterile.

When it comes to making any place a home, little touches go a very long way. And right now, I am thankful for every.little.thing.

 

 

 

 

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!