cait +tiff

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T / meditative work


Photo Credit: Kenesha Sneed (via Miss Moss)

When your body says no, but all you want to do is shoot and party.  Such is life.  And so, while Cait’s Internets flails in upper Laos, my throat is rebelling against me.  Alanis Morissette is on repeat.  My plan is to will my body back to health so that by Saturday, I’m more than golden.  Also: Oktoberfest.

So I’m all about the meditative things today.  In my world, that means toning a thousand photos while finishing the last episodes of Mr. Robot.   In bed. But I love learning what that means for others.  Which brings me to this little video from the fine folks at Saint Heron (aka Solange Knowles’ new album and brank spanking new cultural hub).  Featuring ceramicist Kenesha Sneed and her line, Tactile Matter, I love the tones and rhythm of this little video.  She hits all the notes: her work, diversity, and the value of a special item. 



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Artwork Credit: Laura Berger (via HonestlyWTF)

Artwork Credit: Laura Berger (via HonestlyWTF)

Tiff is only wear rompers this week.  Because she’s taking all the pictures.  And she can only do that in rompers apparently.  Meanwhile, Cait is where the Internet don’t shine.  So she’ll be throwing down her links this weekend!  Stay snappy, frands! xoxo

What a brilliant way to get back at big fashion when they blatantly steal from you.

Who wants to get me an Airstream for Christmas?!?!  I’ll even fix it up and invite you over for coffee.

All of these, please.

I am binging through this site these days. Because talking about mental health with an awesome lady is the best thing.

My photography aspirational lady love lays all her learning things out.

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C / good vs. free

Hi. My computer got hacked over the weekend, so it’s dead now and I’m sad. Welcome back to Cambodia, me!!

I am writing from my phone, after a sweaty day at the tailors, working on the new collection. I’m pretty effing pumped about it, and really like how things are shaping up. Should finish up in January, and then I will show you all the photos.

I am off on a sourcing trip for the next few days, so I will make up for the lack of visuals today on our instagram, and @louiseandeleanor, a company you should absolutely follow if you like pretty things made by good people. More on them soon.

For now, you get something I did not write, but an that an actual writer did write, so you win. It’s from Elizabeth Gilbert, and if you were even thinking of rolling your eyes, read it first. Then you can roll your eyes if you still want to.  It was sent to me by one of my soul sisters who knows exactly when I need to read something like this. It made me feel stuff.

“Dear Ones:

Stay with me on this, OK?

I want to have an open and searching conversation today — and I really hope you’ll join me! — about this idea.

How does it strike you when you hear these words:

“I’m tired of being good. Now all I want is to be free.”

Does that line thrill you, the way it thrills me? Or does it scare you? Or does it make you feel suspicious, or even angry?

I heard this line a few months ago, from a friend of mine who is — simply put — one of the most good people I know. She has spent her entire life working hard every single waking moment to be kind, responsible, loving, forgiving, understanding, self-sacrificing, loyal, honest, decent, tidy, reliable, polite, and respectable.

And she’s exhausted.

Because none of this has left her feeling FREE. Although her goodness is indisputable, her freedom remains frustratingly out of reach. She’s starting to rethink the whole game. And when I saw the look on her face as she said this line — a look of gorgeous hunger, ferocious longing — I recognized myself in her words.

I recognized in her my own hunger. I recognized my own ferocious longing. I recognized my own frustration that I am not yet as free as I wish to be…even though I know that I am a GOOD PERSON, damn it.
Here is what I want to ask you today: What would happen inside your mind if you let go (just for a moment!) of trying to be a GOOD PERSON, and you imagined instead what it would feel like to be a FREE PERSON?

Don’t panic, everyone! It’s just an exercise! You don’t have to change anything about your life today… I’m just asking you to imagine taking “good” off the table for a moment, and replacing it with “free”.

You all have limitless imaginations. Try to imagine it.

Imagine replacing “good” with “free”.

Would you have the same life? Would you make the same choices? Would you still be in the same relationships? Would you have the same job? Would you live in the same town? Would your days look like they look now? Would you feel the way you feel now?
Does this exercise make you feel thrilled and liberated and inspired? Or terrified and small? Or resentful and angry? Or some combination of them all?

I was talking about this concept the other day with my friend Glennon Doyle Melton, on the final episode of my MAGIC LESSONS podcast.

We were talking about the prisons that people (especially women) put themselves into, which prevent them from living expansive and creative lives. We were talking about the burden of perfectionism, for instance, which becomes a highly polished prison, with golden bars. I quoted to her the John Steinbeck line: “Now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.” We both delighted in the liberation of that line. But then I took it a step further, and quoted my friend’s line of yearning and frustration: “I’m tired of being good. Now all I want is to be free.”

What if that’s the next step?

What if it starts with you spending years trying to be perfect, and then you give up on perfect, and just settle for being good? What if that is the first step of liberation? What if that is pretty awesome?
But what if you can go even further? What if you can move even closer to liberation? What if you gave up trying to be good, and just tried to be FREE?

I know what you’re thinking. (Or at least I think I know what you’re thinking!) You’re thinking: “What what about morality? What about ethics? What about duty?” Your mind is imagining the slippery slope that could happen, if you focused on being FREE, instead of being GOOD. Does this mean you will slide into complete decadence, selfishness, narcissism, abandon, and even evil? Did you just imagine yourself turning into Hitler?

What if it DOESN’T mean that, though?

What if you were to believe that — at the very fundament of your being — you are ALREADY good?

I’m willing to bet that you are already good. I know you guys. I know that you are all really nice, kind, generous, loving people, who would never hurt another living soul. What if we could assume that — if you decided to try to be free — you would never descend into evil, hateful, greedy, savagery? What if choosing freedom didn’t turn you into a monster, but instead turned you into a relaxed, healthy, friendly, and fully liberated human being, who trusts herself enough to create her own code of ethics?

Also, Glennon made an excellent point about goodness vs. freedom, when we talked about it on my podcast. She pointed out that society, culture, religion, and family make the decisions on a broad scale about what “good” even means. “Good” is a set of rules determined by whatever tribe you happen to belong to. Thus, within the tribe, all the “good” people will always look exactly the same. They are all following the same rules. They are all obeying the same commandments. They are all dressing in the same manner. They are all getting married around the same age, and to the correct kind of people. They are all having the correct number of children, and they are all raising those children by the same basic rules. They are all keeping their houses cleaned to the same basic standard. They are all following the same social etiquette, and giving the same percentage of their money to charity, and they are all in agreement of what a breach of “goodness” looks like.
Goodness, in other words, is always socially uniform.

But freedom, Glennon pointed out, will look different for every person.

Your idea of goodness and my idea goodness probably look exactly the same. (Nice, polite, responsible, agreeable, generous.) But my idea of freedom might look nothing like your idea of freedom. What looks like liberation to you might feel like a prison to me. What looks like total freedom to me, might look boring and weird to you.

To be seen as “good” requires that you follow the rules of your particular tribe. But to experience freedom requires that you follow the call of your own spirit.

Goodness is obedience; Freedom is self-trust.

Goodness is a bit easier (just follow the rules) but I’m not sure it leads to happiness and creativity.

Freedom is harder (sometimes you go against culture and tribe), but I have a feeling it leads to…EVERYTHING.

What if you knew that you could be free, and that your own basic human decency would remain intact?

What if you trusted yourself enough to know that you are not a sociopath, and that your compassion and empathy are innately woven within you, and that you will make no decisions that violate compassion and empathy — even as you stubbornly choose to be free?

What if you believed that your freedom might not only liberate you, but also could make others feel more free?

What if – at every big decision point in life — you did not ask, “What do the rules say that a good person would do in this situation?”, but instead asked, “What is my own truth?”

What if you dared to follow your own truth?

What if you believed the Buddha, when he said, “Enlightenment will always taste like freedom”?

What if you refused to make ANY decisions about your life that did not taste like freedom?

What if you stopped believing that martyrdom is the path to enlightenment?

What if the only thing you needed, in order to be free, was to believe in your own truth, and to trust yourself?

What if freedom healed you?

What you discovered that — for your — freedom IS goodness, because only when you are truly free can you even feel your own heart…or the hearts of others?

Please discuss!

I don’t have any solid answers about this yet, but I’m fascinated by the question. This is the thought I am dancing with most closely in my mind right now.

I can’t stop thinking about this idea, and I’m genuinely curious to hear your feelings about it…

Be honest — what do you think?

Onward, LG”

I feel this in my whole body and can’t get it out of my head. That’s all.

Xx, Cait

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T / happy monday / bibliogram

Photo Credit: Jujubunny via Miss Moss

Photo Credit: Jujubunny via Miss Moss

I love books.  Stories in whatever form they come in.  But in recent months, I find that I’ve been diversifying where I get them from.  I’m not talking about Amazon, which basically has every book.  I’m talking about recommendations.  I thrive on the work of fellow ENFJs.  So recently, my reads have been coming off of social media.  First there was What Should I Read Next? And then, Patton Oswalt was the one who told me about the one I’m about to read. And then I discovered all of the Instagrams.  Another rabbit hole. From professional overlay artists to photographers and true book lovers, I’m really digging the diversity of books on my feed these days.  Light, composition, and the actual books themselves.  These guys are my faves,



@bibliofeed was probably the one that started it off.  I’m also more than a huge fan of co-founder Holly Hiday’s wardrobe.  With a roving collection of curators, @bibliophile asks a fellow reader to take over their account every week. What happens next is an incredibly diverse array of lit.  Also pretty photos of books🙂



The moment my eyes caught this photo, I was in love.  @booksss.0k, also known as Adam the art student who really loves books.  Each shot is so carefully composed and lit to convey the book’s content. My heart swells.  Oh right, there are reviews to boot, and an occasional deep dive into high quality YA lit. All the thumbs up.



@foldedpagedistillery are a collection of lady book lovers, some are even teachers. I love how each photo is seriously styled around the book.  Serious thinking here, guys…and a good sense of humour too.



Last but not least is the ice cream with the cherry on top.  Literally. Ha ha. I’m so punny.  Each book, often quite from the high minded literary section, is matched with an accompanying frozen dessert. “Postmortal swered by a @paleopassion strawberry paleo passion pop?” Yes please.  Or perhaps, “A pack of @weightwatchers Snack Size Double Caramel Swirl Ice Cream Cones complements the stylish insanity that @simon_doonan details in his hysterical and irresistible book The Asylum: True Tales of Madness from a Life in Fashion?”  Genius. @ice_cream_books is exactly what you think it is.

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C+T / Alchemy Design, revisited

Tiffany Tsang

In January of 2015, we did our very first interview for the blog with the guys at Alchemy Design, a reclaimed wood furniture company in Phnom Penh. A few months ago, we caught up with Jonathan at their new-ish showroom in BKK1, and talked about how the company has changed since our first meeting, and all the fun stuff that lies ahead.

Tiffany Tsang

Before we start, you should know that they are currently running a Kickstarter campaign to, well, kick-start their international reach. Please, do yourself a favor and fund this campaign. There are very few companies that we have faith in like we do this group of awesome humans, and to have their work around the world would make this big blue marble even better.

The past few years have been full of growth for our friends at Alchemy, and when we first met, the company was basically three guys who liked making stuff, working on projects in the front yard when they had free time. Fast forward, and Alchemy is now one of the most recognizable and well-loved brands in Phnom Penh, ready to go international.

Tiffany Tsang Tiffany Tsang

The team has changed a bit, and that is no surprise in a city with almost constant turnover. Out of the original three, Jonathan is the only one still living in Cambodia, while Joel works from the US, and Willem is now back in Holland, no longer working with the group. They have grown substantially, and now have a team of 20 employees, working between the showroom and the workshop.

Joel now leads the design side of the business, and prepares the mood boards and overall design concept for all new pieces. Initially, the Alchemy “look” was industrial and rugged, with lots of re-bar and unexpected accents. They have kept some of those elements, but have shifted into a sort of Scandinavian-mid-century vibe, and it works.

Jonathan leads the production team and manages the in-country logistics, expansion, and probably a million other things. In some recent projects, they have partnered with lovely local interior/graphic designer, Nataly Lee, who has a crazy eye for beauty and detail. This combination of super powers has proven very successful.

Tiffany Tsang

Tiffany Tsang

Alchemy Revisited-22.jpg

When Alchemy first started out, they focused mostly on custom home furniture, but that has changed as well and they are now working mostly with commercial spaces. They will continue to make furniture for home use, but the model is shifting to a more traditional retail set up, where they have options, and you decide if you want that thing. The amount of growth and reach in Phnom Penh is impressive, and you can see their footprint all over city, from the gorgeous Tonlé shop at the airport, to the clean lines of The Tiger’s Eye, and the uber-cool, always boozy, Elbow Room

Future plans are to keep roots in Cambodia, but to expand internationally, hence the Kickstarter. They have stayed true to their original mission, and are still sourcing wood from right outside of Phnom Penh, with an NGO that helps with resettlement. A number of Cambodian families are making the switch from traditional wood houses, to more sturdy concrete houses. The NGO connects Alchemy to the families so that they can purchase the wood, rather than the family have to pay for the junk yard to clear it out. They are also now working with an NGO in a nearby province, providing projects for capacity building in woodwork.

Alchemy Revisited-4.jpg

When we were talking to Jonathan, he mentioned something remarkable. The traditional style of furniture in Cambodia is shiny, shellacked to an unnatural shade of orange, and usually has an elephant carved into it somewhere. Needless to say, the Alchemy style is a touch different than this. A few of the local team members in the workshop have started to refer to the Alchemy pieces as “awt saat” which literally translates to “not pretty.” It’s become somewhat of a team joke, but this new style of production has allowed these craftsmen to explore other styles of wood working, and become more involved with the design process. He says that many of them work on their own projects during breaks, and are constantly evolving. How cool is that?

Alchemy Design, we love you, and we think you are saat naa (very pretty). Keep going.

Alchemy Revisited-20.jpg

All photos by Tiffany Tsang. Please request permission for use.  We’re not liable for the sudden accumulation of wood in your house.

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T / shooting emily

Tiffany TsangOh my word.  I cannot believe I got to shoot this beauty.

Taking photographs of professionals in the aesthetics industry is incredibly intimidating.  Because these cats know what they’re doing.  They know how to make people look good. So if you can’t get your light right, then you’re just ruining everything they’ve just worked on.  But the ladies who run the tools at Kate Korpi (you’ve heard us wax poetic about them before) put me at so much ease. Like when I was getting my first pouf.  Which is how I met Emily.

tiffany-tsang-emily-kate-korpiHailing from Arkansas, Emily first landed in Phnom Penh as one of Kate Korpi’s roving guest artists.  Uber talented hair stylists that they woo over to Phnom Penh to teach new cool things to KK’s students.  Then I guess Emily got bit by the Phnom Penh and Kate Korpi bug (the good bug, not the sucky belly kind) and wound up staying for a few months!

So in Emily’s last week  in the city, she asked me to take a couple of fun “senior shots” around the city.  And I basically cannonballed at the opportunity.  I made lists of everywhere I wanted to shoot this infectious red head in.  And over four hours and six locations, this gorgeous gal got all the shots.  We’re gonna miss this lady.  If you bump into her somewhere around the world, do get your hair did with her.  She might even introduce you to the poof.  Here are some of her shots🙂

Wat shots are a must.

Wat shots are a must.


Coconuts are my new favourite prop.


I also like making my models hide in the foliage.


Thank you to whomever parked that Vespa in an incredibly strategic location.

All photos by Tiffany Tsang. Please request permission for use.  We are not liable for costs incurred for dying your hair red.

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Photo Credit: Laurel Golio for Girls at Library

Photo Credit: Laurel Golio for Girls at Library

We are reunited!!!! Cait and Tiff are back together in Phnom Penh and are about to clear out the city’s noodle supply at lunch. It’s going to be a half-tired, half-super excited week, with all the friend dates and strategic naps we can manage.

I cannot wait to get my hands on this new book…whose author I’m like within six degrees with.

Extremely excited for this playlist, anything that has old school Mariah and Roxette in sequence is a winner in my book.

I’ve definitely gone through “this change.”   My couch, partner and a nice home cooked dinner win most nights.

Oooo pretty things.

Really wanting one of these guys right now! But am I willing to actually do it?!?!?

Oh dang, Red Wing shoes for women. Finally.

Inside the closets of SNL!  I wonder how they keep that orange wig.

It’s a slightly strange feeling to to be super happy for someone you don’t know, but yay!

Being in a bi-racial, bi-national relationship, I really dug this read.

Some of the most beautiful, most unwearable designers, Junya Watanabe, talks to the Times.


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C / coconut time

  I’m on the airplane in Chicago right now, getting ready to push back from the gate and fly across the North Pole and land in Seoul. Quick run through the Hello Kitty Cafe, and I’m on my way to Cambodia for two weeks. 

I am excited to see friends, get DOWN on some coconuts, and sweat from my face, constantly. I have a difficult relationship with Cambodia, but we love each other, and I can’t wait to see my stinky, passive-aggressive, pseudo-hometown. 

My grown up airplane checklist is complete. 

  • Embarrassing giant pink fuzzy socks: check. 
  • Stolen Twix from the lounge: check. 
  • Strapless bra: check. 
  • Crazy face mask to wear during flight to creep out other passengers: check. 
  • Starbucks instant coffee packets to snort as needed while dealing with jet lag: check. (No, not really snorting.)

If you are in the Cambodia area in the next two weeks, I would love to see you. Friends, get ready for needy Caitlin noodle time.

Xx, Cait 

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T / happy monday / pattern play

Photo Credit: Home-Work

Photo Credit: Home-Work

I like a good splash of repetition.  Colours, shapes, preferably geometric, so-so on the florals, and only recently coming to appreciate pastels.  And I love a good designer who knows how to embrace that.  And when textile designers also make things?  Even better.  Today’s little post comes from a rabbit whole I fell into the other night.  You know the kind I’m talking about.  Where one Instagrammer leaders to another, and you just keep scrolling, and following until it’s 1am and you are on the verge on going totally gonzo.  Being the stalker I am, I’d love to get the story behind these talented ladies making the prettiest things. 

Anyways. So I present to you – a few favourite textile designers, makers and ladybosses I totally fell for one rainy Phnom Penh night.

Kindah Khalidy

Kindah Khalidy

Kindah Khalidi is a Bay area textile designer and I fell in love with her splashes of bright.  They’re exactly the kind of pattern I would include in my wardrobe.  Also, she’s kind of a big deal, her stuff has not only graced the cottons of Anthropologie and Old Navy, but the United Nations are also big fans.  Her Instagram is your brightness on a cloudy monsoon day.



Australian designers don’t get enough attention IMHO.  Home-Work is one of these guys.  Not only may they have graced your desktop, but they could be all over your phone too.  These ladies go backstage on their Instagram and I love seeing all the silk screen work, the ideation and inspiration that goes into their wide strokes.



I’m a girl who likes her natural fibres. Put an organic dye and a pattern on them and I am through the moon. PO-EM achieves exactly just that and I love seeing all the pretty things on their Instagram.

Shuh Lee

Shuh Lee

Shuh Lee is my girl Jane’s art school friend!  And more than enough evidence that I need to get my butt to Melbourne.  She might also be the reason I’ve embraced softer tones as of late.  Shuh Lee’s Instagram shows process, product and play.  I’m a fan.



dusendusen is already a big player in the area of pattern play. They could be all over your home and your body already.  Everything is geometric and playful, so they were an immediate follow.  I like to seeing what new shapes come up in their brains anytime.  Orange paint splash overalls? Don’t mind if I do.

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C / Good News and Bob Dylan


Photo via The Guardian

My parents took me to a Bob Dylan concert when I was 14, and I did not appreciate it. I was 14, and a medium-level butthead, so it was hard for me to appreciate most things, but I probably should have sulked a little bit less about being at a Nobel Prize-winning event. I remember Bob playing some of the songs that I really liked, some that I did not care about at all, and coming back out for two encores. I was not impressed with the grumpy dude on stage that was keeping me from being at home in my room, listening to actual Garbage, and writing in my diary about how hard my life was.

I am lucky that my parents have always had good taste in music, and growing up, the house was filled with everything from Carole King to Smokey Robinson to The Beatles to Stevie Wonder. I steal their music now, of course, and happy that “Blowing in the Wind” might always be a personal theme song. Bob is always in my life-soundtrack, and tends to come out a lot during low moments and breakups. This line, from Positively 4th Street, has helped me out of the sad phase a few times, and pushed me happily into the I-don’t-even-like-you-anyway phase.

I wish that for just one time
You could stand inside my shoes
And just for that one moment
I could be you
Yes, I wish that for just one time
You could stand inside my shoes
You’d know what a drag it is
To see you

Bob Dylan’s song-writing story is one of the most iconic, I am grateful I was able to see this crazy genius in person. He is someone that I would have wanted to know when he was young in New York, even though he looks like the exact kind of dude that would have hurt my feelings in my early 20’s, it would be worth the story. And the turtleneck.

So cheers to Bob Dylan and his Nobel Prize for Literature. Honestly, it’s about time there is some good new surrounding a musical legend this year. I am glad he is being appreciated while he is around to appreciate it.