monday must haves

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1. urban ears – i’m not normally too worried about how cool my headphones are when i am at the gym, but i kind of love the pop of color that urbanears offers, as well as the functionality. i love how the earbuds snap together so they don’t get all tangled… and the sound is pretty great. check them out!

2. kitsch hair bands – cloth hair ties have been the rage for awhile and i am a bigger fan everyday… especially with a 4 year old daughter who freaks out big time if i pull her hair. i love these hair ties because they are super cute and super easy… they don’t create tangles in my hair or in alexa’s. honestly though, my favorite part is that they look cute on the wrist!

3. vanesa ray’s iphone cases – a marriage of fashion and tech is always right up my alley… when vanesa ray sent me one of their cases i kind of fell in love. when i go on date nights i don’t like to carry anything other than my iphone and ID. cute clutches are the best, but since i am always carrying a lot during the day i love to go super minimal when i go out at night. vanesa ray’s cases are the perfect solution. chic and functional–i love it! you can go bejeweled or sans… either style is super chic (i have one of each!!)

4. truffle – i think i have been talking about these incredible pouches for 2 years now… but let me tell you, i love them more every day. whether it be to make my everyday handbag swapping effortless or if i’m using the larger size for travel documents on my recent trips, these little pouches are absolutely genius. tip: they are also super great for beach time… keep that iphone out of the sand! ps. current stock of truffle clarity pouches (both small and large) are on sale! (large pouches (regularly $38) are on sale for $28. small pouches (regularly $32) are on sale for $25.

i wanted to instagram this, but…

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much of our lives seems to frame up as into a perfect little square for me these days–via instagram that is. there is something so addictive about capturing moments throughout our lives at home, at the office, on the playground, in a taxi… some might say i am not in the moment, but i would argue that i am in the moment and i am capturing it so that i never forget it and can always look back on it and allow it to trigger emotions and memories.

the thing about social media is that there are these “unspoken” rules… the whole “oversharing isn’t cool” bit. i definitely contemplate whether i shared too much or posted too many photos, but then i look back and feel like i left so much out that i want to look back on! so, here is a handful of photos over the past week that are snapshots of special little moments. from date nights, to office visits from the kids, to friday afternoon playground sessions to a fun filled day trip in quogue… i’m glad i captured these simple moments.

hope you had a great weekend and have a great week… capture the moments. xx

hong kong i love you…

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ok, so it took me bit to get back to finishing my posts on my incredible hong kong journey, but i couldn’t end it without posting some art, shopping and food highlights!

it’s funny… i wasn’t as excited about seeing/experiencing hong kong as i was about hanging out with my girlfriends and just “traveling” in general, but i have to say, i kind of fell in love with it. it is such a unique melting pot of culture. incredible food, majestic scenery… there is drama, charm, beauty and an unmistakable energy. i truly can’t wait to go back!

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the 1600 pandas exhibit is sadly ending in hong kong tomorrow. it was hosted by pmq (orginally built in 1951 as the police married quarters), it is a non-profit social enterprise that strives to make hong kong a creative hub and space for creative entrepreneurs. this exhibition is a collaboration between the world wildlife federation (wwf) and french artist paulo grangeon, who has made 1,600 paper mache pandas–1,600 being the number of living pandas left in the world. the exibit is absolutely adorable, but more importantly it is raising awareness for a seriously endangered species.

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what girls trip wouldn’t involve shopping? surprisingly we didn’t shop a lot, but we did spend our last day perusing the stores in central hong kong and here were some of our favorites:

woah – a super cool lifestyle concept store we stumbled upon and loved. from coll watches, refurbished vintage cameras to killer shoes, we all found something to buy in this cool little shop.
square street – an amazing array of products that are all designed and developed by the founders of the store (who happen to be from sweden) and they sell a very cool assortment of watches, shoes, bags, eyeglasses and leather goods. my favorite items they sold were their watches!
petite bazaar – although the girls don’t have kids, they humored me by popping into a couple of kids shops to shop for alexa and hayden. ironically in petite bazaar we all went crazy shopping for ourselves and friends! aside from the beautiful kids toys and clothes, they had a great assortment of chic bracelets, rings, necklaces and earrings that begged to be brought home as souvenirs… we all did some serious damage in this store!
seed – i am really glad i didn’t stumble across this store till the end of the trip, i would have spent TOO much money here on the kids! they had the cutest kids clothes… think zara meets jcrew in a way… absolutely precious! they actually had a floor for women but i avoided it on purpose!

last but not least, let’s talk about food!

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yard bird – korean fried cauliflower? um, yes please! i felt like we walked into a uber chic little lower east side restaurant when we visited yard bird for dinner. yardbird is a modern izakaya style restaurant that specializes in yakitori (skewered, grilled chicken). unique, delicious and filling… get ready for a treat!

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cafe deadend and po’s atelier – i love a good coffee shop and baked goods… this was heaven. when we ordered two of the bread baskets the waitress looked at us a bit funny, but not only did we eat it all, but then we got cinnamon roles to go… i mean, when in hong kong right? everything in po’s atelier is baked from scratch and is french-japanese inspired–oolong tea bread, danishes, cinnamon roles and scones! don’t even think about carbs, just eat and then walk it off!

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mama san – southeast asian dishes in a trendy balinese atmosphere? yes, please! perfect for our last dinner before we all headed home. the menu is large, but not intimidating. everything was delicious, but my favorite part was when the girls surprised me with an early birthday treat (creme brulee–my favorite!). a major plus to mama san is that it is in lkf so if you want a spot that eases you right into the vibrant nightlife and party scene this is it… its literally right out the door!

hope some of you feel inspired to visit hong kong one day… it really is incredible. if you need more tips, shoot me a note! xx!

let’s go sailing…

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this weekend was so crazy. it started on thursday with the arrival of nate’s parents (it was a surprise for nate’s birthday) and a huge surprise party for nate. since hayden’s birthday was the day after i had spent some time trying to figure out what to do that would be fun for everyone and a good surprise for my boys… i decided to go sailing!

it turns out its not that hard to charter a small sailboat and captain to take you around the hudson for a couple hours… i found him on craigslist and that is probably the first time i have used craigslist in at least a couple years! nate and i always talk about how we wish we could go on more boats together and hayden loves any kind of boat, car, train, plane, etc. so, we went to newport harbour in new jersey to meet up with captain gene and go out for an afternoon sail.

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hayden and alexa were excited to be on the boat, but also a little weary of being out on the water like that for the first time.

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hayden drive the boat for a minute or two… what a natural.

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while this isn’t the first time we have taken a boat out on the hudson, this was the most spectacular because it was a more intimate experience than being on a ferry with hundreds of other people trying to get the same amazing photo of the city. it wasn’t too choppy out on the water which was really nice… and the weather was just perfect.

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can’t beat seeing lady liberty up close like this.

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alexa is not much for motion… cars, boats, planes, etc… she has a pretty sensitive tummy. she laid on my lap for most of the time just relaxing… in a very glam movie star kind of way of course.

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it was such a special treat to have nana and papa here to celebrate nate and hayden’s birthdays… its always so nice to have family in town.

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happiest of happy birthdays to nate and hayden. i hope it was a special one. love you both so much. xo

 

 

my boys…

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today is a big day for these two boys–well, mostly for nate. it’s his birthday today… and as it happens, hayden’s is tomorrow. it seemed like the perfect day to post these photos of nate and hayden’s first “shave.” i got nate a harry’s “father & son shave set” for father’s day and they had a blast trying it out. this is one of my favorite posts as of late. so in love with these boys.

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the colors of hong kong

after a couple days in paradise… aka thailand, we headed back to explore more of hong kong. one thing that really stood out to me was how colorful this city is… the signs, the produce, the bright red taxi cabs, the markets and the people. as i walked the streets i couldn’t help but snap a million photos i knew i had to dedicate at least one post to the beautiful colors of hong kong.

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how cool is this little watchmaker?! i mean, talk about a small retail space.

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hong kong x ladyandprince 12we have have spent most of our time central, but we couldn’t visit hong kong without going to the markets in mongkok!

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what girls trip would be complete without friendship bracelets? cheesy? maybe? but we loved it nonetheless. the bracelets say lucky, but we thought they said happiness and we proceeded to tell everyone that until one of kristine’s co-workers told her it actually meant lucky… oops!

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clearly we got a lot of use out of this.

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one more post to go… i will highlight some of our favorite shops and restaurants to visit… stay tuned for more!

 

monday must haves… for me and for my little princess

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i thought i would start off this monday with some recent favorites… for me and for your little princess.
1. pretty please nail polish – customized nail polish… um, genius! choose your shade and give it a name. love this idea as a gift for friends, bridesmaids… or even for your daughter’s birthday party.
2. richer-poorer socks – i have posted about these awesome and adorable socks before, but they just launched girls socks so i had to share. once you try these socks out you will be in love, i promise! they should consider doing a family pack!
3. sea cove stitch – whenever possible i love to support other moms who have creative endeavors so i wanted to share sea cove stitch with you. mary is a stay at home mama with three year old twins and she makes some pretty adorable hair bows and bands and sells them on etsy… check her out!
4. lilla p layering tanks – i used to think a tank was a tank until i started wearing lilla p’s layering tanks. they make long, short, tight, loose and detailed tanks in every color and they are the absolute best (actually wearing one as i type)… they are super soft, don’t shrink and they seem to fit into my every day wardrobe effortlessly. a definite must have!

when in thailand… part two!

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day two in thailand was one of my favorite days of the whole trip… it was the most insane combination of adventure, excitement, beauty and relaxation… but mostly adventure! my ideal kind of travel is the kind where you are on the go and experiencing new things constantly. i’m not really a relax all day on the beach kind of gal, although that does sound lovely… i’m more of a “don’t waste a moment” kind of traveler. this day in thailand was exactly that kind of day.

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after a delicious breakfast we went off to find a longtail boat in search of maya bay (leonardo dicaprio’s beach!). turns out that the water was too rough for a long tail boat, but the nice woman on the dock assured us that we could take the large ship to the phi phi islands and then take a small boat to maya beach… sounds great right? well…

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the fact that the woman said the water was “too rough for long tail boats” should have warned us it would not be an easy ride. the boat was full of backpackers and other travelers headed to visit the phi phi islands as well… the energy on the boat was full of excitement. we all lined up along the sides of the boat looking out on the majestic scenery… that was the waves started to get rough. before we knew it the boat was like a roller coaster ride and the trash cans were being utilized for more than “trash” if you know what i mean. thank god i don’t normally get seasick. sadly, alessandra didn’t get by so easily. she, along with a large percentage of the boat, were not doing so well. miraculously kristine, katie and i were doing fine, but it was pretty heartbreaking to watch alessandra and not be able to help.

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this pictures isn’t amazing, but i had to include it because when i see it it reminds me of the moment when i asked someone how much longer of a ride we had and they said an hour and we had already hit the hard core waves. eek. somehow we forgot to ask exactly how long it would take to get to the phi phi islands. at this point i was more worried about the fact that the only way back was on the same boat–ahhh!

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finally, after two hours we were approaching shore… no one was more excited than alessandra.

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the phi phi islands were initially made famous by the movie the beach with leonardo dicaprio. it was sadly made even more prominent again in december of 2004 when the tsunami hit the phi phi islands and completely devastated it… it has now been almost completely restored.

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i felt like the phi phi islands were a backpackers paradise… the kind of place that, had i visited in college, i might have stayed for the rest of the summer. it has this easy going beach life vibe that could easily suck you in.

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so, as the them of the trip is “when in…,” we couldn’t make it all the way to phi phi without venturing further to maya bay. kristine had already been so she stayed in phi phi with alessandra and chilled out a bit so they could venture the courage to brave the seas for the way home. katie and i were determined to see maya bay so we hired a speedboat to take us there. our drivers/guides were two (maximum 17 year old) boys and we joyfully hopped on the boat and were on our way. it is hilarious thinking back because we felt so free and elated to be coasting off in our speedboat to find maya bay. we felt that way until about 10 minutes into the ride when the “boys” told us that we needed to put our life jackets on because the water was going to get rough. at this point fear was paramount. we were clutching the rails of the boat literally in fear of our lives… i might have at one point shouted out “we aren’t going to die right? i have two kids!! reckless. completely reckless is what i kept saying to myself. thinking back though, i mean, the “boys” were laughing so i am guessing we were safe all along, but i kid you not… it was SCARY!!

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funny that once we got close to the limestone formations the water kind of slowed down. all of a sudden we were popping in and out of coves and it was complete and utter paradise.

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katie and i are pretty psyched at this point… although you can probably tell we are still a bit scared. the lifejackets stayed on of us the rest of the journey. tan lines? oh well.

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ok, so this is were it gets good. maya bay is known to be this stunningly beautiful bay sheltered by high cliffs with silky white sands. kristine had been and mentioned that is was beautiful and encouraged us to go with no preliminary warnings of any sort. imagine our surprise (especially mine since i don’t like going in the water) when we found out that we had to swim in, climb a rope ladder and then find our way through the island and past the campgrounds to the infamous “beach.” not. okay.

katie and i kept laughing and thought the “boys” were kidding, but no. it was time to man up. so, we jumped in and swam towards the rope ladder. i would normally be terrified of fish and any other particularly scary creatures that lurk in the water amidst the rocks, but i was so scared of the current and ramming my body into the limestone wall that the ocean creatures hardly crossed my mind. thankfully one of our 17 year old guides turned out to be our hero and jumped in to help us make it to the rope ladder. after a serious “survivor” moment, katie and i made it to the top… panting. once i was up there the only thing i could think was–”I DON’T HAVE A CAMERA!!!” my overdocumenting self could hardly cope… but it was probably a good thing that i just had to take it all in. no photos this time, just experience it…. and let me tell you, it was worth it. the sand was so white and the water was crystal clear aquamarine. it was breathtaking.

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god bless one of our darling “boy-guides” because he must have noticed how much i loved to take pictures and he grabbed my camera and snagged some shots of us climbing down the ladder… not the best picture, but proof nonetheless!

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as part of our “tour” we stopped by monkey bay… sadly, we didn’t really see any monkeys except for this one–which you would only know was a monkey if you had been there!

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back on phi phi, we explored the town, took pictures and bought some souvenirs. we wanted to eat so badly, but the fear of the upcoming boat ride made us think it might be better to have an empty stomach…. so, i took lots of pictures!

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confession: we did sneak in a doughnut or two as a snack. i mean, when served up like this you gotta try them right?

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can you believe these are pineapples?

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kristine got to hold a monkey!! how cute is this photo!!

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our last photo before getting on the boat… we were a little nervous, but hopping for the best. after all, it was literally our only option… we even considered a plane!

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i think the ocean gods were ruling in our favor that afternoon because it was a dreamy ride all the way back. totally chill and hardly any waves.

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i adore this shot of kristine… she looks so beautiful and happy.

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did i mention that i adore being on boats… really really love. there is something so relaxing–especially when you can take in this spectacular scenery.

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i mentioned that the day was full of adventures… well, they still continued. as we were getting off of the large boat to board a small long tail boat that would take us back to the resort the skies darkened and we were all of a sudden in the middle of a monsoon. picture us girls, with about 5-6 other people in this tiny long tail boat, that appeared to be sinking, trying to make it back to land. alessandra and i were literally hugging–out of fear for our lives i might add. we were not only concerned for our lives but for our cameras and phones–all of our pictures!! it was a bit dramatic for about 10 minutes and then the storm stopped and all of a sudden we saw a double rainbow. it was really a completely surreal experience.

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our evening in thailand ended at the end of railay beach at last bar… literally the name and the last bar at railay. we ate at a little hut serving local thai food on the way… 6 bucks a person and it was a feast of noodle dishes, fried rice and forties of chang beer. it was amazing. at last bar we watched the world cup, saw fire dancers perform and danced till the wee hours of the morning. it was the most incredible day.

when in thailand… part one!

when i travel, i like to pack in as much as possible and this girls trip was no exception! after a couple days in hong kong the four of us hopped a couple flights to krabi, thailand! it seems a bit extreme to take so many planes when we are already halfway across the world, but we felt like we couldn’t miss the opportunity to see what thailand was all about. the truth is, it is everything and more than what i heard and imagined. i totally fell in love. lovely people, breathtaking landscape, great food, adventure, relaxation… it is now at the top of my list of my travel favorites. i’m trying to convince nate to go back with me within the year… hmmm. wish me luck! i divided our time up into two posts because i love too many pictures… maybe its a bit of an over share, but i couldn’t help myself!

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hello thailand! catching a small flight to krabi from bangkok! surprisingly there were no direct flights to krabi from hong kong, but the flight was super easy and thai airways was wonderful–they actually feed you on two hour flights, what a novelty!

(krabi is on the western southern tip of thailand. it is a district of thailand.)

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once we got to krabi airport, our resort (rayavadee) hostess greeted us and we took a short drive to our resort “water taxi” … this trip has literally been planes, train, automobiles and boats! hopping on a boat is kind of the perfect way to get you into a relaxed vacation mindset.

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i wish that the pictures i took looked half as beautiful as it was in person… the way the limestone rock formations jut out of the water and land is surreal.

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our resort sat right along the coast of railay beach and is accessible only by boat due to the limestone cliffs cutting off mainland access (it happens to be a mecca for rock climbing). due to the time of day we arrived it was low tide and our boat had to be pulled in by a tractor–it was so crazy!

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our greeting at rayavadee was absolutely pristine. the lovely staff greeted us with these beautiful aromatic jasmine and orchid bracelets and then sat us down to walk us through all the amenities of the resort… while we sipped on delicious green coconut smoothies. i mean, talk about a girls trip heaven! i have to add in that this component of our trip was a bit of a splurge… we figured that since we would only be in thailand for two nights that we may as well live it up… we immediately knew we definitely chose the right spot!

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the bungalows at rayavadee are two story private pavilions nestled within the mangrove… they perfectly blend into the landscape.

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it may have been the rainy season, but we thankfully got plenty of sunshine amidst the random monsoon-like rain. it took us all of about 5 minutes to change out of our travel-wear and into our swimsuits and coverups!

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our first day and evening was spent in the grotto–a restaurant and bar nestled within a limestone cliff on the edge of phranang beach.

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love that this moment was captured… some serious girl talk happening with alessandra… so good. (ps. if you are vacation planning and need some new suits or coverups take a look at the island company… i’m wearing the vagabond beach shirt and the polka dot bandeau bikini.)

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most of my friends know that nate and i are obsessed with thai food… it is the only thing we order in take out on a weekly basis. i was pretty excited to try some thai food in thailand… it did not disappoint in the least!

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the pool by raitalay terrace is the kind of thing you see on the travel channel and add to your bucket list of dream spots… the only sad part was that we only had two days… i wish we had stayed a week!

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another thailand post still to come… and this next one is full of “survivor” style adventures!

when in hong kong…

to say that my trip to hong kong and thailand was fun would be a massive understatement. it was an  amazing adventure. as i mentioned, my friend kristine is living in hong kong for work–that made the experience so much richer. to see a city through the eyes of someone who is living there truly brings it to life in such a special way.

i’m going to break this trip up into 3-4 posts because i have too much to share… follow along!

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from the moment i stepped off the plane we hit the ground running… running straight to lan kwai fong (aka lkf). kristine lives in central, hong kong–a popular location for expats. lkf is an “l-shaped” cobblestone lane full of restaurants, bars and nightclubs. the area was buzzing with energy as people spilled out of the bars and took the festivities out into the streets. there were moments where the four of us just stood there and stared, almost in disbelief. it felt like a cross between mardi gras and a friday night in meatpacking.

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hong kong junk boats used to carry treasures across the ocean, now they carry passengers out onto the water to spend an entire day relaxing with friends, floating with noodles and enjoying some cocktails along the way. one of kristine’s friends had planned a big pre-wedding junk boat trip and we were lucky enough to join in on their festivities (small world, they were actually headed to new jersey a couple days later for their wedding). the day started off in a crazy monsoon like downpour, but then the clouds broke and we had the weather was perfect for a full day out on the water.
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how incredible are these buildings? the contemporary/modern architecture set against the mountain backdrops and alongside the victoria harbour is absolutely breathtaking.

 

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not sure how many of you have taken “girls trips” but it is a true test of friendship if you can travel abroad together in a group… and if you can do it without drama! we really had the perfect crew. everything was pretty effortless… it definitely helped that we all had a pretty laissez-faire attitude about the journey.

 

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i really REALLY don’t like getting in the water… my family always teases me about it. i much prefer to lounge by the pool or lay out on the beach than get my hair wet! honestly, i am not that high maintenance (although my hair is such a pain when it air dries)… the truth is i am pretty terrified of animals in the water… not just sharks, but even little fish. it is a really annoying fear to have. that being said, i think my adventurous spirit tends to surpass my fears every now and then. i mean… #wheninhonkkong

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it is truly no surprise that hong kong is known to have one of the greatest skylines in the world.

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one of my requests for our journey was to do a hike…. following krisine on instagram since she has been gone gave us a lot of ideas as to what we wanted to do and see and a hike was one of them. dragon’s back has been noted as “the best urban hiking trail in asia.” a short hop from the bustle of hong kong, the trail provides stunning views of shek o, tai long wan, stanley, tai tam, and the south china sea.

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one thing to note about hong kong, especially in the summer, it is SO HOT. i mean, the kind of humid hot that ashley judd experienced in a time to kill. bring water… a lot of water!

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stanley is located on a peninsula of hong kong island and it is a pretty popular tourist attraction. it is such a charming little beach town. it is pretty touristy but also a great opportunity to pick up some fun souvenirs.

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l&p hong kong 28we hit so many fun hot spots for food and drinks while we were in hong kong so i thought it would be fun to highlight a handful of my favorite spots!

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mana: fast slow food
mana would fit into new york beautifully… their mission is to serve natural, healthy, local & traditionally grown foods. it is an eco-friendly alternative to fast food… and it was delicious!

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nha trang: authentic vienamese cuisine
authentic vietnamese cuisine with fresh ingredients (and pretty awesome branding i might add). a combination of hanoi home cookies, imperial hue cuisine and dishes that combine a french and southeast asian influence.

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the envoy, at the pottinger
for super chic and classy cocktails, the envoy is a must stop. the cocktails deliver not only on taste but on wow factor as well. each drink has its own backstory and unique presentation — we’re talking first aid kits with “true blood,” egg-shaped glasses and other quirky touches. ask for antonio, he is the mixologist genius behind the cocktails and he is quite the gentleman!

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cafe grey bar, at the upper house
if the backdrop view of victoria harbour isn’t enough, then the cocktails and desserts should suffice to make this a fantastic stop on your hong kong journey. this is a perfect spot for a special night out… get dressed up, order a couple cocktails or a bold bottle of red and enjoy the view!

stay tuned… more hong kong and thailand content to come! xx