a pair & a spare http://apairandasparediy.com DIY Fashion Mon, 02 Mar 2015 04:25:22 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 HOW TO PACK FOR HOT HUMID CLIMATES http://apairandasparediy.com/2015/03/how-to-pack-for-hot-humid-climates.html http://apairandasparediy.com/2015/03/how-to-pack-for-hot-humid-climates.html#comments Mon, 02 Mar 2015 03:45:54 +0000 http://apairandasparediy.com/?p=14381 There’s nothing worse than taking all your favourite items on a tropical holiday (finally you get to wear that dress!) only to find that most of them, while looking cool, feel anything but. Hot and humid climates can wreak havoc on your packing attempts, you know what it’s like, that maxi starts to feel like you’re wearing a blanket, and that light scarf starts to itch like crazy.

As many of you will know last week I spent a few days in Thailand, including a few nights in Bangkok, a city where dressing for the humidity is essential. Even in the leafy grounds of The Sukhothai where we stayed, complete with courtyards, ponds and weeping frangipanis, one couldn’t help but feel sweaty and flustered. Lucky I packed with humidity in mind! But after living in Hong Kong you can’t blame me can you?

Because humidity is often something we don’t think about when we’re packing, I thought I would share with you a few of my go to points about dressing/packing for humid climates. Applicable whether you’re visiting Vietnam, Florida, Cairns or Buenos Aires.

Packing for a hot humid climate

Fabrics

For me, this is the MOST important consideration when dressing or packing for humidity. The only fabrics you’ll want to wear will be natural ones, ones that allow breeze to flow and feel nice against your skin even when you’re sticky. These types of fabrics include cotton, silk, rayon and linen, because as you heat up you’ll want heat and sweat to escape from your body, which is what these fabrics allow. Man made fabrics like polyester on the other hand create a seal and pretty much press the heat and sweat against you. I’m itching just thinking about it!

Packing list: silk shirt, cotton lace shorts, silk playsuit, denim shirt, linen shirt.

Fit

Loose silhouettes are great for allowing the breeze to flow through your clothes and cool your down. I usually pack a mix of looser styles and more fitted items, however I steer clear of anything skin tight because you won’t get the airflow you’ll be desperate for.

Packing list: cotton blouse, maxi dress, lace playsuit, eyelet skirt.

Lining

Personally, I chose items that don’t have any lining as I feel this creates more of a bubble against your skin and causes you to heat up. More often than not linings are made from polyester (even if the outside of the garment is a natural fibre) which is the. worst. for humidity.

Packing list: silk camimaxi dress, denim shorts.

Colours

You’ll definitely feel more comfortable in lighter colours during the day, as they reflect heat rather than drawing it in. White can feel oh so fresh but gets dirty easily, so if in doubt go for lighter shades like colours and grey marl.

Packing list: printed kimono, linen shirt.

Accessories

You won’t find me travelling without a hat (or indeed doing anything really), but stick with straw styles so your head can breath – felt and other materials heap oh so quickly!

Packing list: the straw hat.

Wearing: Zulu & Zephyr two piece, J Crew Sandals and bag, H&M Hat.

What to wear in a humid climatePacking for a hot humid climateSimple Bangkok OutfitPacking for a hot humid climate

Simple Bangkok Outfit

Thanks for having us The Sukhothai – the epic breakfast deserves a mention.

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HOW TO: EASY RAW CHOCOLATE BALLS http://apairandasparediy.com/2015/02/how-to-easy-raw-chocolate-balls.html http://apairandasparediy.com/2015/02/how-to-easy-raw-chocolate-balls.html#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 06:50:17 +0000 http://apairandasparediy.com/?p=14398 I’m going to be honest, up until a few years ago the thought of raw desserts made me depressed, I mean, why eat something that claims to be chocolate, but isn’t, when you could just eat actual chocolate instead!? However, the year before last I started focusing on what I was eating and limiting food items that cause inflammation (sugar, grains etc), and obviously chocolate was one of the first things that was put on the ‘special occasions’ list. Kinda sad because there’s this dark Lindt chocolate with candied hazelnuts in it that I could quite literally eat *all* day, but that’s life isn’t it?

I heard a lot about raw chocolate and was always a bit sceptical, but one day decided to make some chocolate balls myself – and was flabbergasted that they’re delicious and pretty close to actual chocolate, sans sugar and other nasties! Even Ben likes them which is shocking. I’m pretty sure you’ll know all about these types of protein/raw balls as they’ve become pretty common on the healthy eating circuit, but I just had to share my little salty take on them. Mainly because they’re a life saver for someone who has to have something sweet after dinner, and also cos they’re really easy to make but people tend to be quite impressed when you share them (winning!). Without further rambling, read on for episode two of ‘ridiculously easy recipes Geneva makes on a Sunday afternoon’ (see ep 1 here).

Chocolate and apricot ballsChocolate and apricot balls

Raw Salted Chocolate Balls

Make about 25 balls

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of medjool dates (about 16)
  • 1/2 a cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups of raw almonds
  • 1 cup of desiccated or shredded coconut
  • a big pinch of salt

How to:

1. Soak your dates for an hour and then remove the seeds.

2. Blend your almonds into gravel sized pieces, and then add your dates and blend again.

3. Add your coconut, salt and cocoa powder and blend one last time until a paste has been formed. If it’s too wet add more almonds. Make sure to have a taste and see if you wasn’t to adjust the flavour, more cocoa will make a more chocolate-y ball.

4. Using your hands, roll the mixture into balls and then coat in coconut by rolling.

Store in the freezer and eat frozen with your afternoon cup of tea!

Photos by Nicola Lemmon

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QUICK DIY: LACE TRIMMED TOP http://apairandasparediy.com/2015/02/quick-diy-lace-trimmed-top.html http://apairandasparediy.com/2015/02/quick-diy-lace-trimmed-top.html#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 03:02:04 +0000 http://apairandasparediy.com/?p=14203 In the survey we did a little while ago, a few of you asked for quick DIY projects that help you to transform basic items you have in your wardrobe, and so today we thought we would show you a go to project of ours – adding lace trim to a simple white top. Chances are you ave a simple white T-shirt lying around the house, something you might reach for on a morning when your plans involve nothing more than coffee on the couch. But with this simple update, we show you how to take a sleeveless tee from cheap to chic in a matter of minutes.

DIY Lace Trim Top

You need:

  • Plain sleeveless shirt
  • Lace trim
  • Needle and thread
  • Pins
  • Scissors

Lace Trim Top Update www.apairandasparediy.com

How to:

1. Fold a small section of the end of your lace trim under to give it a nice edge.

Lace Trim Top Update www.apairandasparediy.com

2. With your shirt facing the right way, join the folded trim with the seam of the shirt and start pinning the trim around the inside of the armhole.

Lace Trim Top Update www.apairandasparediy.com

3. Pin the trim all the way around the armhole.

Lace Trim Top Update www.apairandasparediy.com

4. Cut the trim slightly longer where it meets the starting point and once again fold the end under.

Lace Trim Top Update www.apairandasparediy.com

5. Using your needle and thread, hand sew the trim onto the shirt. Only pick up a small bit of fabric when you sew to keep the stitches invisible from the outside.

Lace Trim Top Update www.apairandasparediy.com

6. Once you have sewn the trim all the way around the armhole, connect the folded ends, secure them and sew them together.

Lace Trim Top Update www.apairandasparediy.com

7. Simply repeat on the other armhole and voila!

Lace Trim Top Update www.apairandasparediy.com

Voila!

Lace Trim Top Update www.apairandasparediy.comDIY Lace Trim Top

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DIY TEST TUBE VASE CHANDELIER http://apairandasparediy.com/2015/02/diy-test-tube-vase-chandelier.html http://apairandasparediy.com/2015/02/diy-test-tube-vase-chandelier.html#comments Tue, 24 Feb 2015 09:35:18 +0000 http://apairandasparediy.com/?p=14546 There’s nothing like flowers to get you through a long day, right? We love the simplicity of the hanging test tube vases that have been super popular over in the store, but recently decided to step it up a notch with this floral chandelier, perfect for adding a touch of pretty, and actually so simple to make! Oh and, if you’re trying to decide what flowers to use, perhaps you could match the rug to your flowers? :)

DIY Test Tube Vase Floral Chandlier

You need:

  • 6 x hanging test tube vases
  •  3 meters (3.3 yards) of leather cord
  • metal circle frame

You can buy the kit for this project here.

DIY Hanging Vase Chandelier

How to:

1. Cut 2 pieces of string approximately 50 cm (20 in) long. Tie your string onto your metal frame on each side, so a to create a cross style  hanger.

DIY Hanging Vase Chandelier

2. Cut a piece of string approximately 20cm (8 inches) long, tie one end onto the test tube vase.

DIY Hanging Vase Chandelier

3. Tie the other end onto the metal frame. Do this for all 6 vases, ensuring they are balanced around the frame.

DIY Hanging Vase Chandelier

4. Trim your flowers using the test tube vase as a measuring tool. Leave your stem slightly longer.

DIY Hanging Vase Chandelier

5. Repeat this for all 6 vases

DIY Hanging Vase Chandelier

7. Place your flowers into the test-tube vases.

DIY Hanging Vase Chandelier

8. Trim any loose ends

DIY Hanging Vase Chandelier

9 Tada! Now that it is ready to hang, you can add water into the test tube vases.

DIY Hanging Vase ChandelierDIY Hanging Vase Chandelier

Photos by Nicola Lemmon

If you love Floral Projects make sure to check out this one, just in time for Spring!

Grab your kit for this project here.

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5 TIPS FOR TRAVELLING WITH FRIENDS http://apairandasparediy.com/2015/02/5-tips-for-travelling-with-friends.html http://apairandasparediy.com/2015/02/5-tips-for-travelling-with-friends.html#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 07:51:42 +0000 http://apairandasparediy.com/?p=14528 There’s nothing like travel to cement a great relationship. Shared experiences, whether good (those sunset cocktails) or not so good (that crazy taxi driver) have the ability to take your friendship to the next level, from friends who brunch to people who know each other inside and out. However, because travel can be daunting and stressful at times, and everyone reacts differently, travel can sometimes mean disagreements with friends, or in the worst case falling out completely. I mean we’ve all had friends who’ve gone on a trip together and never spoken afterwards haven’t we? Not ideal.

For 2015 I’ve planned to travel more with my best friends, it’s like packing all the time we miss together (living all over the world will do that) into an intense couple of days that we’ll remember forever. I just got back from a trip with my best friend to Thailand, we had a great time! To make sure we get the best out of these holidays, I’ve learnt to apply a few little steps, so that our friendship is stronger after the trip rather than feeling like you need to have a holiday away from each other!

Tip for Travelling with Friends

Understand what you both want from the trip…

Everyone is different, and so making sure you understand what you both want to do is really important to having a good time. Depending on where you travel to you’ll find so many different things to do, and some people will prefer to say, go out all night and meet guys while you prefer to be up early to see a city or place. No single approach is better, however it’s definitely better to have had this discussion before you go. This will also help you realise who you’d be best travelling with – sometimes a lack of shared interests suggests you aren’t the best partners in crime…

Remember to compromise…

On the subject of expectations, if you’re travelling with someone different to you (and you’ll find most people are), chances are you won’t want to do everything they do, and vice versus. The key here is compromise, to work out what would make you both happy, and to also each do a few things for the sake of the other person so as to meet in the middle. Don’t hate this though, you might just find your new passion!

Work out a budget…

Money can be a tricky subject when travelling, and shared expenses can be confusing to work out. It’s firstly important to work out what the other person’s budget is so both of you are comfortable with the hotels/flight/restuarant etc choices you’re making, and then to work out a functional money approach so you both are happy with how it works. You could have a shared ‘kitty’ that you both contribute to and shared expense come out of that, or you could work on a ‘I pay for one, then you pay for one’ process. Make sure to work it out at the beginning of the trip so no one is left feeling out of pocket.

Try to be open with each other…

Let’s be honest, regardless of how perfectly suited you are, there will be times when you annoy each other. But instead of allowing something to bottle up and cause you to unleash after a few glasses of wine, try to be open and honest with each other. Open the lines of communication before you go by sharing with each other things you personally do that could annoy your friend – mine may be that I have to take so many photos and my friend’s could be that she likes to sleep in. By starting out honest and caring, hopefully down the line when something major comes up you can talk it through. On the same token though, don’t be scared about disagreeing! An argument never killed anyone.

Have some time alone…

Having some time alone when you’re travelling is key to enjoying shared moments. Having separate bedrooms is a great option when travelling but often not one that is financially viable, if that’s the case a few hours to do your own thing in the afternoon can make a big difference!

And finally…

If you’re lucky enough to be able to travel with your friends this is going to be an experience that you’ll remember forever. Your friendship is going to be so much stronger for it so remember to enjoy every minute and don’t let yourself fall into annoyance easily.

Have Fun! Do you have any tips or experiences about travelling with friends?

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DIY HOME: JEANS ON HOOKS http://apairandasparediy.com/2015/02/diy-home-jeans-on-hooks.html http://apairandasparediy.com/2015/02/diy-home-jeans-on-hooks.html#comments Sun, 22 Feb 2015 05:23:49 +0000 http://apairandasparediy.com/?p=14538 As many of you can probably tell, I’m all about interesting ways to store my clothes – treating all my favourite pieces more like art than something I wear. I have to say, this approach has really helped me to stop throwing things in a pile on the floor! Unsurprisingly some of my favourite clothing storage ideas have been found as part of visual mechanising in stores – I feel like a visually merchandised closet is pretty much the dream isn’t it? And while a lot of VM concepts are a bit too arty to be applied to everyday life, some actually work! I found these hooks in my local dollar store and thought they were a good idea, a trick I saw in a shop in Bondi when I was back home. I attached them to my DIY copper hat rack (which is turning out to be very multi purpose!), but you could just as easy use the hooks in a closet.  It’s a great way to display your jeans collection if you’re sick of them in a drawer or on clip hooks. For me it makes getting dressed fun rather than a chore!

Jean HooksJean HooksJean Hooks

Jeans via Grana (see my DIY denim post here), Re-dun, J Brand

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DIY HAT CHAIN http://apairandasparediy.com/2015/02/diy-hat-chain.html http://apairandasparediy.com/2015/02/diy-hat-chain.html#comments Fri, 20 Feb 2015 13:39:23 +0000 http://apairandasparediy.com/?p=14285 In the last few years hats become something I wear everyday, clearly the whole sun protection thing is important, but in the end for me I love them because they can pull your whole outfit together. Because I wear so many of my hats to death, sometimes you want to find a way to inject new life into your most worn piece, which is where this DIY Hat Chain might come in handy. We have a whole bunch of gorgeous new chains in the store, and though we’d get crafty! In a few simple steps, change up the features on an old hat with the addition of some chain and voila, you end up with a whole new hat!

DIY Hat Chain
You need:

  • a hat
  • a length of chain (you can find some in the store)
  • pliers
  • un-picker

How to make a chained hat www.apairandasparediy.com

How to:

1. Using your unpicked, remove any unwanted features from your hat

How to make a chained hat www.apairandasparediy.com

2. Wrap your piece of chain around the hat and cut how much you will need.

How to make a chained hat www.apairandasparediy.com

3. Use your pliers to open the last link in the chain.

How to make a chained hat www.apairandasparediy.com

4. Wrap your piece of chain around the hat again

How to make a chained hat www.apairandasparediy.com

5. Attach the opened link onto the last loop on the other end of the chain and ply it shut.

How to make a chained hat www.apairandasparediy.com

Voila! You can hang onto the ribbon of your hat so you can do a swap down the line.

How to make a chained hat www.apairandasparediy.comDIY Chain Hat

Outfit photos by Nicola Lemmon

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LESSONS IN PACKING LIGHT http://apairandasparediy.com/2015/02/lessons-in-packing-light.html http://apairandasparediy.com/2015/02/lessons-in-packing-light.html#comments Thu, 19 Feb 2015 10:20:12 +0000 http://apairandasparediy.com/?p=14493 I’m all about choice when it comes to most things, but after travelling often enough I’ve come to realise that this doesn’t apply to packing that suitcase. I mean, how many times have you taken a 790579kg wardrobe and only worn half of it? Packing less, and better, has been important to be for years (this post still comes in handy) – it’s about finding the balance between a moderate amount of clothes and also being able to feel well dressed when you’re on the move. I’ve spent the last fgew days in thailand – it’s a 5 day trip – and I thought I would share you what I packed. For this trip I was ALL about packing light, there was lots of to-ing and fro-ing involved between Hong Kong, Hua Hin and Bangkok and a tiny suitcase was the only thing that would work.

I managed to narrow the outfits down to just a few pieces (the ones you see below), and have to say I haven’t felt I needed anything else! While packing I kept in mind:

Flexibility: I mainly packed separate pieces that could be mixed and matched for the ultimate in outfit options, And yes I worn a few things twice, because who doesn’t?

Coordination: Making sure everything goes together is key (see my previous advice on choosing a colour palette), but this applies to accessories too. I always take one big bag and one small bag, and take matching shoes so that even when I’m feeling a little crumpled and dusty from long car rides, those matching accessories will give some sense of put togetherness.

Cut backs: Be brutal, you honestly don’t need all the clothes you think you do (as life, as travel).

You can check out my wearing these pieces IRL via instagram here, here and here.

Oh and if you’re loving the clothes rack you can make your own with my tutorial here.

Packing Light

In the travel wardrobe:

DIY bralette, SJ Lingerie silk top, Zulu and Zephyr top, shorts and bikini, Cotton On Tank, DIY distressed jeans, Witchery top, J Crew Jacket, J Crew Bag and Flats, Witchery ankle boots. I also took along my Spell Designs romper and my Dylan Kain handbag, not pictured here. Happy packing!

Packing LightPacking LightPacking Light

Photos by Nicola Lemmon

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MY SIMPLE NUTTY GRANOLA RECIPE http://apairandasparediy.com/2015/02/my-simple-nutty-granola-recipe.html http://apairandasparediy.com/2015/02/my-simple-nutty-granola-recipe.html#comments Tue, 17 Feb 2015 11:01:07 +0000 http://apairandasparediy.com/?p=14411 On Sundays I usually take a few hours in the afternoon to get organised for the coming week. Unless I’m feeling super lazy (in which case I’ll veto in favour of some couch time) usually this means planning blog posts, tidying up a bit and just generally getting my ducks in a row. It’s become a bit of a non negotiable in my week actually – pity the fool who bothers to invite me to their Sunday afternoon BBQ! One thing I love to do during these afternoons is some cooking for the week, making a few healthy treats that will help stop me from eating corn chips when I’m feeling like a snack. This granola is one of the things I regularly make, it’s so incredibly easy and tastes delicious. I’ll have it for a quick breakfast or eat a handful in the afternoon. It’s gluten free and pale too for all you healthies out there.

How to make nutty granola

The best thing about this recipe is it’s something I just kind of make using the things I have in the cupboard, a bunch of different nuts and dried fruit, mixed with shredded coconut and moistened with a touch of honey and coconut oil. Feel free to get creative with the ingredients because in my opinion it’s super flexible and adaptable!

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of raw nuts – you can use pretty much any type to suit your taste but I go for Almonds, Cashews, Pepitas and anything else I have lying around.
  • a cup of dried apricots (or other dried fruits, just make sure they haven’t snuck any sugar in)
  • half a cup of dried raisins or sultanas
  • 3 cups of shredded or desiccated coconut
  • 2 tablespoons of honey (or other sweetener)
  • a teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • a drizzle of coconut oil or melted butter

How to:

1. Chop the bigger ingredients like the nuts and dried fruits into pieces the size of gravel.

2. Put those in a big bowl and add all your other dry ingredients. Mix together well.

3. Add your honey and coconut oil. Have a taste and see how sweet it is, you can add more honey if you like.

5. Place a layer of greaseproof paper or alfoil onto a baking tray and then lay your mix out in a layer.

6. Pop the tray into the oven for 15 minutes at 180 Celsius (350 Fahrenheit). Keep an eye on it and when it starts looking light golden take it out and use a spoon to mix it all up.

7. Pop it in for another 5 – 10 minutes, making sure it doesn’t burn! Once the top layer is light golden you can take it out. You’ll notice it will be a bit moist and soft, but don’t worry, as it cools it will become crunchy so it’s important not to overcook it.

How to make nutty granolaHow to make nutty granola

On another note, thanks to all of you who took the time to respond to my survey a few weeks ago. It helped me so much to understand you more. I’ll be sharing more on what you said soon, (we’ve got over 3700 response and counting!), but in the meantime I wanted to share this recipe – so many of you wanted more recipes here and there so I though why not?!

Photos by Nicola Lemmon

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CHINESE NEW YEAR TRADITIONS I’LL BE OBSERVING THIS YEAR http://apairandasparediy.com/2015/02/chinese-new-year-traditions-ill-be-observing-this-year.html http://apairandasparediy.com/2015/02/chinese-new-year-traditions-ill-be-observing-this-year.html#comments Mon, 16 Feb 2015 16:56:35 +0000 http://apairandasparediy.com/?p=14397 As many of you probably already know, Chinese New Year is a time filled with many rituals and traditions for the Chinese, most of which are aimed at inviting good luck and repelling bad luck in the new year. Although to be honest I’ve never really been a superstitious person, what I’ve come to realise spending so much time in Hong Kong is that even though I may not celebrate an overtly traditional CNY, there are a few customs that I think are relevant regardless of whether you observe or not, mainly to do with creating a clean slate and a fresh start. Because honestly, there’s nothing better right?

Chinese New Year in Hong Kong

Recently while working with the Monica Vinader team to celebrate their new store opening in IFC (check out my online edit here) we got chatting about my experience of Chinese New Year in Hong Kong, and so I thought I would share with you the traditions I’ll be observing this year.

  • Settle your debts – Going into the New Year with unpaid debts is seen as bad luck, and whether you observe or not, settling debts is detoxifying and so good for the mind. Squaring all your finances, following up on those invoices and paying all your bills (or making a plan for how you will) is key and something I’ll be focusing on. Clean slate ahead people!
  • Spring Clean – It’s traditional to clean your house before New Year’s Day (you have up until midnight!) and never during the new year because there is the thought that you might sweep away your wealth and good fortune out the front door. Again, whether you’re doing it for luck or other practical reasons, an organised house is the ultimate clean slate. And remember to open the windows on New Years Day to welcome the fresh breeze of luck into your home. Fresh air + clean house = New Chapter for the new year.
  • Refresh Your Look – Observers of CNY rituals don’t wash or cut their hair for the first three days of the new year because this is symbolic of washing away or severing your luck. The word ‘hair’ sounds similar to the Chinese word for ‘wealth’. Instead, they refresh their look in the lead up to CNY so they start the New Year with a new (hopefully lucky) self. I have to admit that a little bit of pamper time hurt no one, and although it may seem superficial, I have to say refreshing your look and pairing it with some refreshing of the soul with yoga and relaxation can give you the fresh perspective you’ve been craving.

As part of the CNY festivities, I got the letters’M.Y.O.L’ (make your own luck) engraved on one of the gorgeous Havana Friendship Bracelets, because that’s what the year of the goat is going to be for me!

Will you be celebrating the year of the sheep? And do you have any ways you like to create a clean slate?

Chinese New Year in Hong Kong

Wearing: Jewelry by Monica Vinader, Trench by Kookai, Jeans from J Brand, Top and boots from Witchery, bag from Dylan Kain

Chinese New Year in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is so pretty this time of year!

Chinese New Year in Hong KongChinese New Year in Hong KongChinese New Year in Hong KongChinese New Year in Hong Kong

Naturally I’m also going to be throwing in a big fiesta with my adopted family in Hong Kong. Other traditions like eating fish (the word is similar to ‘plenty’) and wearing red underwear (red is an auspicious colour) seem like enjoyable experiences that can be fun regardless of what you celebrate!

Jewelry by Monica Vinader. Make sure you visit the new store in Hong Kong, which is located in the IFC.

Photos by Nicola Lemmon

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