a temporary home to love

this post features interactive captions – hover over or tap each image for the caption ‘dot’ to appear.KL Home
KL Home KL Home
KL Home KL Home

Hi guys, I hope you had a nice weekend! We spent ours doing a major Fall Cleaning in preparation for the move today. It went well – a little off schedule but everything is ready to go until we meet again.

But before we gave away the plants, removed art from the walls, and sorted everything for the movers to pack into boxes, I made sure to take a few snaps of the living area that we made home for one and a half years. Do you remember this post when we just moved in and this one with our decor plan? I hate to say it – because it’s an annoying cliche – but it feels just like yesterday. I can still remember Joe saying “let’s get stuff up on the walls, it won’t feel like home until we do” and little by little we did. Little by little we filled our home with pieces that made us smile and gave us comfort. You really can create a home that you love wherever you are.

With just some light cleaning and the final walk-through to do tomorrow, we’re almost home-free! Not homeless though as we’re staying at a hotel in the city until we depart on Wednesday. It’s already proving to be a great idea, having a ‘break’ from moving before the long flights home. A big pat on the back for that one ;)

Okay KL, last few nights -  let’s make them ones to remember!

and we’re…

going back to cali

Happy Monday, guys. I’ve been waiting to make a proper ‘move’ announcement and with one and a half weeks left, it’s safe to say that LA will be our next stop! A temporary stop, that is. We have two weddings to attend, a storage unit to sort out, and I could use some time on the ground for Ring Cozy. We love LA but we’re not ready to actually move back. Maybe we will one day, maybe we wont … we’re still itching to experience new places. It’ll be great while we plan for the next adventure because being close to familiar faces and things is always helpful during a transition. Who knows where we’ll be in a few months, but for now, I’m excited to make my first home home again!

 

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.

 

 

 

 

one year, two different worlds

I didn’t think that we could top last year but as I look back on 2012 I realize that we’re only just getting started. We truly lived in two different worlds so I wanted to collect the most memorable moments, places, things, and thoughts into one post. I don’t really use Facebook so I’ll think of this as my “timeline” :) Travels will be on Thursday!

Here we go….

Enjoying a rare sunny winter day in London. Primrose Hill was Joe’s favorite place to fly his kite.primrose hill, london

A soothing cup of coffee and spot in the sun after my first (and thankfully only) mini-seasonal breakdown.post "i need to feel the sun's warmth" breakdown

Street art in our hood, W9. I loved walking past this everyday as a reminder of how much we had made London our home.street art w9

Back on Primrose Hill after the first snowfall, Joe proposed. His kite stayed home but he brought a gorgeous ring instead.engaged

Experiencing my first winter-to-spring transition felt so magical. I’ll never forget how this warm day felt and how good that cold beer tasted. Can I just say how badly I miss London’s pubs?!? Nothing else comes close.chiswick mall dove pub @ chiswick mall

Watching Feist bring the house down at the beautiful Royal Albert Hall. It was so cool to see her rock out in such a proper and classic venue.royal albert hall

Recapping our first year in Londonsmooch

…and then having to say goodbye shortly after

… and hello to a new landscape. Hello, Malaysia, you beautiful tropical place!palm leaves

Moving into our new apartment. Happy to have a few simple furnishings provided by the landlord.Untitled

Checking out our first wet market and being amazed by all the different varieties of fruit and fried food. I’m still learning what all of them are.chow kit, malaysia

Indulging in all said fruit. They’re so nice to have after experiencing the blandness of the ones available in London.penang by Ana Maria Munoz

Receiving love scribbles from my nieces in LA just as I was feeling homesick.from home

Snapping out of my homesick funk and breaking in our building’s BBQ for a little Fourth of July celebration of our own.weekend 070712_5

…and then doing it local style with the most amazing satay and peanut sauce ever. weekend we <3 you

Having front row seats to awesome thunder and lightning storms that happen nearly every afternoon. Even if we’re outside when they occur, it’s so warm out that it doesn’t matter. weekend we <3 you

Finding beauty in KL’s nooks and crannies.Kuala Lumpur

…and in more obvious and opulent places like the Petronas Twin Towers.weekend 102012_6

and last but not least, the feeling of growth that comes from exploring new territories both physically and mentally. 2013…bring it on.Batu Caves

friday pic & pin

friday pic & pin 22

Happy Friday guys! I’m so excited to enjoy KL this weekend…I’m really starting to fall in love with it here. I had a few key moments yesterday where I just thought “yes, this feels good” like when I helped guide a lovely couple visiting from Europe (felt like such a local), discovered a Colombian restaurant (hello soul food!), and enjoyed dinner under a canopy while it rained like crazy and the skies turned white with lightning. I recently made a list of things to see and do in/near the city and the goal is to do at least one of them each weekend that we are home. Top on the list is to visit a palm oil plantation so when I saw this vintage pattern of palm tree varieties I was instantly attracted to it. We’ll see what we cross off the list this weekend. I hope you have a great one!

This week’s three rad links…

• at least one xmas gift for joe is taken care of with this new kind of wallet

• it’s not too late to celebrate + shop for fair trade month

• great feature on one of my fave london shops/makers. they opened a second store in our neighborhood one week before we moved – darn!

(image left: palms and towers, KL by Ana Maria Muñoz, right: Pin via Calsidyrose)

reverse culture shock

Have you ever had the once familiar feel totally strange or new? It’s my third visit back and with each trip I find that I see things in a different light and am thrown for a loop in the most ordinary situations. When visiting from London I remember thinking that the American (and more specifically, LA) accent sounded so loud and informal compared to the English tones I’d become accustomed to. I mixed words like “lift” for elevator, and stumbled to find the American versions before I got the inevitable perplexed look from locals (still kinda do). Most memorable was feeling severely irritated by servers at restaurants who brought the bill before it was asked for and just like that, dinner was over – all 45 minutes of it. Can’t the people just hang???

Now I come by way of Malaysia where I’m learning to live with an entirely new set of norms. One of the first things I noticed upon arriving at LAX was that women were showing cleavage. Cleavage was everywhere. It’s no big deal, they were wearing regular t-shirts and tanks tops but with Malaysia being a fairly modest country I really don’t see that very much any more. I felt like a total boob gawker but it was a very obvious first impression/difference. At my hair salon I went to use the bathroom and in my effort to turn the lights on via the switches outside the room, I gave the rest of the place an impromptu light show…”oh, that’s right, the light switches are on the inside of the restrooms here…silly me!”. Then there’s getting behind the wheel. My right leg cramped up yesterday from the tilt and push action of driving and when the time came to buy gas (or petrol) I felt like I was tampering with an explosive device. I used to do all of this stuff in my sleep, upside down, and with my hands tied for crying out loud!

Of course everything else is familiar, like favorite places and favorite people, but it’s the little things that are proving to be quite comedic, humbling, or flat out fascinating in comparison. Have you ever experienced anything like this?

 

{show & tell} collected

collected jewelry by Ana Maria Munoz
collected jewelry by Ana Maria Munoz
collected jewelry by Ana Maria Munoz
collected jewelry by Ana Maria Munoz
collected jewelry by Ana Maria Munoz
collected jewelry by Ana Maria Munoz

Okay so I did do one thing this weekend despite having a banged up foot: I finally organized my jewelry and by organize I mean I finally took the tape off of this hanging storage thing I keep it in. With every tape-rip and pull it was as if I was liberating each piece so that it could be enjoyed the way it was intend. I say this all the time but I really should wear my jewelry more often. I’ve been steadily growing my collection of wearable art for years finding them at flea markets, yard sales, charity shops, during travels, and even making them myself. Each one of them has a story or memory and feels extra special since it was found rather than picked off a shelf…it’s how I like to shop and it’s how I like to remember the places I have been.

Shortly after I took these photos I caught up with Sussie Bubble’s fashion blog and then it hit me. The problem with having a collection of unique pieces (and plastering them all over my blog) is that I can end up sounding like the type of annoying world traveler she describes in a recent post:

“Oh this old thing?  I picked it up in a random market in Thailand when I went travelling around Asia” which vaguely translates to “You will never find this awesome thing I have on because I bought it in an obscure and far-flung place, which is my little secret…” 

After reading this I thought, oh geez, am I that type of person? I mean, I can recall a few sarcastic comments from friends back home whenever they’d ask about a piece and I’d say it was vintage but now add the new “world traveler” aspect of my life and it sounds even worse! What can I do though, it is what it is right? If I were re-modeling a house, going to school, training for a marathon, or making babies then I would be blogging about those things. These days I’m living as an expat who travels a lot and as Sussie puts it “the world is getting smaller”. Collecting treasures from different places is bound to happen.

I think her post really hit home since I’m still in disbelief of where life has brought us (I’m sitting in a hotel room in Bangkok for crying out loud!). I don’t ever want to take any of it for granted and I want to keep finding new treasures that excite and create conversation…even if it’s at the risk of being labeled one of those types. Some things are too fun and beautiful to not share and at the end of the day, that’s what this blog is all about – sharing the things I see, do, enjoy, and love, with you.  One day I’ll have other things to blog about but for now, this is what’s happening. Jewelry stash and all.

 

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