cait +tiff


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C + T / Good Krama

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This city just keeps getting cooler (though not on a thermometer). Adding to the list of awesome in this funny little city is Good Krama. Good Krama is an ethical clothing company with an edge.

Good Krama isn’t new to the scene here, but they do have a new cool girl at the helm, Katia. She’s French, but raised in San Francisco, and if that didn’t make her cool enough already, she also has a degree in Environmental economics. Basically, she knows her stuff and can pull off a killer cat eye at the same time.

Good Krama uses local fabrics, including the traditional Cambodian krama*, locally woven silks, sustainable fabrics like tencil, and up-cycled materials from deadstock or surplus fabrics from local garment manufacturers.

What’s interesting about the company is that their design doesn’t cater to expats or western tourists. Katia, who leads the design team, uses inspiration from local Cambodian trends, making a lot of the pieces much more interesting than your standard tank top.

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Left: Cait in the Khiev krama. Right: The Arunny krama. Both 100% handmade, 100% organza silk.  Check out all the Good Kramas here

We partnered with Good Krama to do a fun shoot with a few of our favorite pieces from their new line. Our best impressions of edgy super models below.

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Tiff in the signature Good Krama Borei Snapback while also rocking the 100% linen Vithu pant.

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Cait in a new hoodie coming soon!

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Tiff in the GKxChifumi Faded Tank. Made from 100% upcycled cotton.

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Cait in the Sov Tee.

We are planning fun things with these great people soon, so watch this space for updates!


All photos by Cait+Tiff. Please request permission for use. We are not liable for krama love.

 


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C + T / gift guide 2015/ artables

Woohoo! It’s gift guide time. That special time of year when you don’t ask for our advice, but we give it to you anyway. We are starting off this year with artsy gifts. Since we are both mid deep-dive into our respective creative endeavors, we have a newfound respect for all things crafted and special. We also have a lot of time to find fun stuff on the internet. Happy shopping!


Cait

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This is a pretty random mix of things, because art is in basically everything. There are a few practical things in there, like the gorgeous Peruvian pillow, the art books, and the Promax markers that saved my life as a design student in London. But I also love the pretty things in life that I might not need, but really want. Like the gold trays from Kauffman, or the simple, meditative print from Max Wanger. Nevermind, I need all of it.

Tiff

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

I’m a funny person when it comes to gifts. They’re never exactly on time.  I take time mulling.  Or I might refuse to give it until I find the perfect item.  So there’s a +/- 3 month delay on gift giving.  But this year, my artables found their beat and are totally all over the place.  Kinda like me.  I was thinking about friends, their spaces and just darn cool stuff I wanted to share. So what came out was a bit of hippy holistic home, a pinch of pop art and tiny bit of cool geek across a big range of prices.  The graphic novel Soppy by Philippa Rice, is for friends who may be newly in love.  That tiny red land cruiser is for the post-tomboy girlfriend is perfect for the lady who used to cruise the hills of northern Cali on a longboard. And that little vintage pennant? Perfect for the peripatetic homegirl with strong roots.


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C / other options

yosemite

Yeah, it’s Black Friday, yeah it still gross, yeah everyone knows it. So instead of focusing on one of my least favorite things about American culture, I am going to focus on the awesome alternatives to participating in the national binge on crap you don’t need.

1. Go outside. All national parks are free today! It’s an amazing chance to walk off the bucket of gravy you drank yesterday. Hangovers love fresh air, and getting exercise helps rationalize the pie you just ate for breakfast. It’s also a great chance to get some space from crazy family or if you like them, bring them along. If I were in Tucson right now, I would be walking Sabino Canyon right now and running into at least 4 people from high school.

2. Do the Holiday card. We have a joke in our family, and we call it the Valentines Day card. The holidays get nuts and there is never time to upload and perfectly edit a family photo. Have the fam bam send photos now and get that business done before it’s next year and you don’t have that great haircut anymore. Pinhole Press has 25% off , eco-friendly Minted has 15% off, and Artifact Uprising has 10% off some of the most beautiful photo cards, books and framed photos.

3. Board game day. We have a closet in the house full of board games. There are so many in there, that the closet is actually really awkward to open, because you usually end up with a deck of cards in the face. The day goes like this: heat leftovers, make a TON of coffee and hot chocolate, spike that hot chocolate, put on sweatpants, play games. It’s good stuff. Games I am digging on right now include Bananagrams, Cards Against Humanity, Ticket to Ride, and Chutes and Ladders. I freaking LOVE Chutes and Ladders.

4. Jump start New Years fitness resolutions. The day after Thanksgiving is a great day to move around, and yoga studios, pilates places and local gyms are likely to have memberships and classes on sale today. Go check it out.

5. If you really need to go shopping, do it at a local shop. Find the gems in your city, the independent boutiques, the family owned joints and the fair trade kids. They are everywhere and they need your business. Go find the 90 year old silversmith and get some amazing jewelry, or go into the shop where the lady is obsessed with olive oil and buy from her, or get the vendor listings from your local farmer’s market and contact the them directly.

We will be starting our official gift guides next week, focusing on places that sell awesome things that aren’t evil. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. Please don’t go to Walmart.

caitsig

Photo via Huffington Post


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T / let the crazy cool ethical sustainable shopping begin!

WFW-HeaderConfession: I didn’t really know what Black Friday was all about until I moved out of Canada.  It was a faint whisper from the south.  Breaking messages from the six o’ clock network news that would beam from Buffalo, just two hours below us. Up north, we start holiday shopping when it got cold enough.  But we slowly got the point.  Chaos, a lot of running, and plenty of anxiety over getting that discount. Then Cait wrote about how Black Friday is gross last year and we decided to fix that perception.

This year we’re turning Black Friday up on its head againWomen-fro-Women--TechSet2 and I thought I’d get started a little earlier on that.  It all started last week when Jane showed off this gorgeous travel tech kit she had just acquired in Phnom Penh. This lead to some product-envy-related drooling and through Jane, I had the chance to meet Veasna who has been with Happy Silk Cambodia and the Women for Women Foundation for the past ten years.  W4W is a local Cambodian NGO forged to promote the engagement of women in society, the economy and civic action.  One way of doing this has been to support the employment and entrepreneurship of women in the production of textiles and other beautiful products while also paying them an ethical and sustainable wage.  And when I walked into Happy Silk (corner of No. 9, Street 178 in Phnom Penh), I pretty much fell over myself on their new line of brass jewelry, high quality cotton kroma carry-alls and most of all, Jane’s well cushioned, super sturdy ikat travel tech kit.  All of it is made by women in an organization that is also administered by Cambodian women.  It’s a cause I can get on top of, and immediately volunteer to take product photos of.

Which is exactly what I did when I rolled out of bed in a turkey-hangover today.  These are only a selection of the gorgeous pieces Veasna’s got in store.  If you’re also in Phnom Penh this Sunday, you’ll be able to find a selection of these items at Big WIG Christmas Fair, and if you’re not in country, you can also shop these items online at Sudaya.

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This gorgeous tech set is complete with cushioned cases for your portable hard drive and laptop (left) and homes for your cables and chargers too! Ikat and kroma lining were dyed and woven by women in the villages of in Takeo province and final products were sewed in Kandal, Cambodia.

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Bring on the high quality, locally woven, cotton kroma! Eye masks (left) which make for the perfect amenity for holiday guests for $5 each, and the best reversible carry-all bags in 3 sizes (small $5, medium $9 and large $12).

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WFW-Necklaces New brass pieces at a range of prices, from $5 USD.

Let the ethical and sustainable shopping begin!


All photos by Tiffany Tsang. Please request permission for use. Cait+Tiff are not liable for any credit issues that may follow shopping these items.

 

 


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Happy Hour at Deco

Deco---The-Happiest-HourLast Thursday night, we attended the inaugural Happy Hour at Deco in Phnom Penh. If you live in Cambodia, and you do not know about Deco, you are doing it wrong. It’s a fantastic restaurant, run by wonderful people and one of the most consistently delicious places in the city. You should go there right now.

01---Cait-and-MenuJohn, our resident booze guru, joined Deco’s owner, Rob, behind the bar to mix, shake and stir a range of creative, and crazy delicious cocktails. On the menu were classics, like the Dark and Stormy, and what might be the best Old Fashioned in the city. But they also put in a few twists, with John’s signature Kampot Fizz and the Riverside Reviver, which should probably be consumed daily. The crowd kept them busy throughout the evening, and it was wonderful to see so many of our favorite people in one place to support these guys. The night was a huge success, and Deco will now be hosting Happy Hour, every weekday, from 5-7pm.

Deco---I'll-Have-What-He's-MakingDeco---Men-at-Work Deco---Lin-and-Riverside-Reviver Deco - Funny Funny Ha HaFor more information on Deco, visit their website and Facebook page

To see more of John and his cocktail adventures, visit Alchemy & a Twist, and click here.

Oh right, and here’s a GIF.Men-at-Work-GIF


All photos by Tiffany Tsang.  Please request permission for use. C+T are not liable for profound devotion to the Kampot Fizz.


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T / happy monday / bag love

Tathata-Swift-Bag-HeaderIf I love something, I can’t really shut up about it. Or in this case: bring it with me everywhere.  Last week we talked to the peeps behind Tathata Brand.  This week, I’m all about their product.  And I am happy to announce that this is not a sponsored post, and all of these thoughts are my own.

A couple of weeks ago, I got to hang out in Bangkok with the fabulous Jane Heng (more about that later this week), and we couldn’t but help to wax poetic about Tathata’s multi-wear, nearly-all-purpose, super sturdy Swift Bag.  They even made a video about every way you can use it! (Also, it wouldn’t be a happy monday without some video content).

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Jane toting around Tathata’s Swift bag in Sea, while wearing this fabulous outfit (similar shirt, skirt)from Vick’s Weekend.

Jane and I toted our Swifties (mine is in Wild) around Bangkok loaded up with laptops, cameras and everything we need for a jam packed day of work and play in Bangkok.  So of course, we decided to do a tiny shoot to show our love for this workhorse of a bag. Jane has taken hers more countries than I can count and it keeps trucking.  And I am planning to take mine all the way to Kenya in September.  Water resistant, which is key in rainy Asia, encased in sturdy canvas so there’s no threat of buckling to the weight of my life’s possessions, and the right number of pockets to prevent me from prolonged awkward hunting for keys. I can’t stop the compliments.

03---Jane-getting-blown-awayGet yours soon too, because they are selling like hot cakes. Or perhaps I should say really good noodles, since we’re in southeast Asia.

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Jane clearly has the subtle hop better mastered than I have.

07---tiff-and-jane-walking-with-backpacksYou can find Tathata products for sale on their website (with free shipping internationally).  If you are in Bangkok, you can also find them every Saturday at Chatuchak Market.  They also have a number of stockists in Thailand and selected cities in Asia and Europe which you can find here


All photos by Tiffany Tsang, with help from Michael Brown.  Please request permission for use.

 


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T / Cool Kids / TA.THA.TA

Tathata-HeaderEarlier this year, a new brand based in Southeast Asia landed in our focus, and I couldn’t wait to get all over it.  Our buddy Lin was a big fan of a new treasure she had just found in Bangkok: a high quality and water resistant canvas bag with leather handles and great detailing.  Immediately I was all over their social media and trying to locate their closest supplier.  A few months later, I found myself in Bangkok, finally got a bag of my own and a chance to hang out with the wonderful ladies behind Tathata.  Not only that – I got to visit their studio in the Suttisan neighbourhood, and learn all about their beginnings and craft.

In 2012, Vipavat Darapongsatapom (more commonly known by her nickname Potae), was working as a graphic designer at a major Bangkok firm.  But at home, she was actually crafting by hand, high quality leather bags, and selling them each month at the Aree Garden Green Market.  Right next to her, Kavita Srisan (who prefers to be called Kivi) was working at the same firm and crafting her own textiles for bags and watches.  It was only a matter of time (about eighteen months) and many conversations about textiles before the two joined forces to launch Tathata, a brand devoted to high quality leather work and timeless products.

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Left: Vipavat, who prefers Potae (left) and Kavita, who likes to be called Kivi, Right: One of Tathata’s “Grey” Bags, part their new Live Serie Collection.

The name, Tathata, originates from Buddhist script and means a maintenance of “real.”  And this defines many of the elements that Potae and Kivi craft into all of their products.  With technical backgrounds in textiles, three dimensional design and leather work, Potae has carefully worked out the combination of flowers, careful timing and temperature needed to dye sun-bleached leather into the magnificent and tender hues that now colour their line of third collection of timepieces, called Bloom. You can watch the entire process here.

To create their new line of high quality canvas bags fit for use in every day life and accessibly priced, the pair focused on their own desire for functionality and clean design. Bags that were neither “nerdy” nor specific to the “IT crowd” that they were seeing in Bangkok department stores.  Potae described the influences behind this collection’s design as being fit for her own life and needs and this explains why the bags have been so successful.

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Potae displays the prototype and process for a new design coming.

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Painting the leather handles that accompany Tathata’s new Live Serie collection of bags.

The pair work together on each new piece of all of their lines of products together.  From concept to prototype and testing, to colour matching, graphic design and costings, Potae and Kivi have clearly outlined their areas of collaboration and expertise.  And since their bags and watches are selling out in Bangkok and abroad, they have turned to working with factories in Thailand, who make their bags, and Taiwan who produce the mechanical bodies of their watches.  The careful production of their organic hand-dyed leather watch bands, the leather handles of their collection of canvas bags, and assembly of their gorgeous watches, remains in their studio and in their own hands.

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Left: Potae’s father works the leather cutter, Right: Members of the Bloom collection of timepieces.

Potae and Kivi do not come from a line multiple generations of creatives and makers.  Potae did learn how to sew from her dad, and Kivi inherited the skills behind bag making from a grandmother who loved textiles. However, they have built this brand and craft, literally with their own two hands. The duo have also turned their growing business into a family affair with Potae’s father, a retired engineer, assisting with leather work at their studio at Potae’s family home (which also warehouses the lot of their watches, and bags).

Kivi-QuoteAnd as for world domination? Potae and Kivi would prefer to keep their operation small in order to grow their brand. They have expanded the distribution of their products from Thailand eastwards to Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea and as far west as Barcelona and Switzerland. However, they wish for their relationships with stockists to continue to be as high quality as their products. This calls for smaller operations.  Kivi describes all of their stockists as friendships and keeps in close contact with all of them, inquiring on customer preferences, improvements that can be made, and ensuring that the people using their bags and wearing the watches are always happy.

This strategy is clearly taking off.  This year, Tathata launched their Live Serie collection of ultra-functional multi-wear canvas bags.  All of these originated when Australian bag brand, Crumpler invited Tathata to take part in a workshop they were hosting in Bangkok.  These bags are beyond sturdy and I’m looking forward to take mine all over the world as my new carry-on.  I’ll be talking a lot more about these amazing bags soon.

And now for the important facts:

You can find Tathata products for sale on their website (with free shipping internationally).  If you are in Bangkok, you can also find them every Saturday at Chatuchak Market, where you’ll also get to meet Kivi and Potae.  They also have a number of stockists in Thailand and selected cities in Asia and Europe which you can find here


All photos by Tiffany Tsang. Please request permission for use.

 


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C / first field trip

knob

I’m in London! The sun is out, everything is delicious and the walls of my British stereotypes are crumbling before me.

I spent my first weekend on the Isle of Wight, in the south of England. It’s a small island dotted with villages, sea side bars, farm land, and lovely people in nautical sweaters. It reminded me a lot of coastal Massachusetts, where I spent a lot of my childhood summers. We spent the days taking walks through the hills, playing with dogs, chasing kids around, and stuffing our faces with fresh strawberries.

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So many boats.

rose

The not-at-all-overrated English Rose.

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Dogs, dogs, happy dogs.

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Garden bounty.

The most indulgent detail of the weekend was the food. It was a special occasion, so the weekend was catered by Alex, from The Little PickleI am convinced that he has been sent by the British government to change perceptions of British food around the world. It might work, too, because there were some pretty heavy pleas for him to come to Cambodia for work, and I am pretty sure I offered him the guest room. Everything was fresh from the garden, courtesy of the amazing hostess, and I honestly haven’t eaten that well since mom food at Christmas.

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Eton mess (-all-over-my-face.)

This was the warmest welcome possible, and I can’t think of a better way to start my time in the U.K. Probably just more Eton Mess.

caitsig


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C + T/ jen green, coffee yoda

Last week, we were lucky enough to sit down with Jen Green, Phnom Penh’s resident coffee consultant. Over a few cappuccinos and a double espresso, we picked her brain on her very cool life and all things coffee. Hope you enjoy! 



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Like a lot of people in this part of the world, Jen Green has had an interesting journey to Phnom Penh. Unlike most people here, Jen’s journey involves a little black drink. She’s a coffee consultant and knows more about coffee, coffee trade, coffee flavors, coffee production, and coffee value chains than Cait knows about Tommy BoyInitially driven by law and an interest in energy trading, Jen started work with a big law firm right out of college, living in New York and then London. A few years down the line, she decided to take a brief sabbatical and travel for a few months.

How long have you been here?

Three and a half years.

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Left, Jen Green

 

After working with a local human rights group in Phnom Penh, Jen took a trip through Mondulkiri, in the northern edges of Cambodia. On the way, she stopped to talk with a coffee farmer and asked where his coffee was sold. He didn’t know.

 “It occurred to me that this was a common problem: people don’t have a sense of the whole supply chain or what’s marketable, of course that means that the value adds happen further down the supply chain and away from the farms.” 

This began her adventure into the coffee world. Her work has taken her all over, and to all the highest corners of South East Asia. She works as a coffee consultant, which (we now know) means she does everything from working with farmers on how they can improve the quality of the coffee at the farm, to working to develop coffee co-ops, to working with cafes and roasters on sourcing beans, to setting up a barista station work flow and training baristas. Her blog, Little Black Drink, is beautiful, full of coffee flavor profiles and a clear, deep appreciation for a delicious little bean.

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If you live in Phnom Penh, you are going to want to read this part. Jen is the mastermind behind the Disappearing Brew Bar . The Brew Bar is a pop up that, um, pops up, every few months. She collaborates with local business owners to use shop or restaurant space to host a brunch with a 3-5 different types of specialty coffees, and options from the SE Asia region. There are always delicious pastries and snacks, but if you hit the Brew Bar on the right day, there are sometimes coffee cocktails. The treats are made by Jen, fresh that day, and though she didn’t mention it in the interview, we know she wakes up at 2am on the day of the Brew Bar so she can make sure the bagel dough rises in the right way, and the chocolate-cayenne dipped bacon is perfectly crispy. (We forgot to mention that her mom is a chef, and we are thrilled those genes are strong.) The food is paired with the coffees and meant to bring out certain flavors in the drink. It’s a wonderful way to wake up on a lazy weekend, and you can find out more about them here!

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The next event is this Saturday, at Common Tiger, and you should go and ask her 345429 questions about coffee, because she will know all the answers. In all honesty, she really does know more about coffee than you could believe, but without an ounce of snob in her body. She is able to look at coffee that some might call “garbage meth drink” and simply see it as a different product. She has a deep appreciation for the flavors in different types of coffee, and for the people that grow it. She has more stories than we can fit into a post, but she did tell us one, about an adventure to Chaing Mai. On a trip to a coffee farm, she was able to roast the beans from 20 feet away and make a cup of coffee for the farmer that grew it, which he had never tasted. Go ask her for the details.

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Seriously. Go to the Brew Bar this weekend, if we were in country we would be there and would totally be hogging the donuts, so get in there while you can. Thank you Jen, for letting us pile on the questions, and for making something awesome and delicious in Phnom Penh.

All photos by Tiffany Tsang. Please request permission for use.

All noises caused by the photos by Tiffany Tsang are made by Caitlin Decker.


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C + T / Bearhanded Salon

Header2Looking for a great way to spend a Sunday morning? Take five friends to your favorite salon, drink sparkling wine, get your hair did, your nails and waxing done, then eat chocolate and pastries for three hours. How do we have this insider knowledge, you ask? Because that is exactly what we did on Sunday.01---Croissants-and-HotCrossbuns11---Product-Grid 02---Hair-Colour-Grid

Around 10am, Alissa, Kiira, Caroline, and the two of us took a field trip to Bearhanded Salon, located in The Willow Hotel. Vaughan, the owner and resident hair yoda, has just opened a new, expanded salon. The space has areas for hair, waxing, and nails, along with a sweet little lounge outside and comfy couch in the waiting area. Most of the furniture was done by our friends at Alchemy Design, who you may remember from our post a few months ago. All of the work was custom, and it looks fantastic.

Vaughan has reigned in some of the best talent in Phnom Penh to work alongside him, including Kim Leang, every woman’s favorite waxer. 13---Kim-Leang05---Tiff-Hair-Grid07---Nail-Polish-and-Sparkling-Wine08---Cait-on-Couch

10---Alissa-GridVaughan is from South Africa, and has been doing hair for 13 years. The experience shows. He has a solid grasp on all types of hair, and it’s really nice to go into a place, sit down in the chair and say “make me Taylor Swift” or “do what you do” and like what happens. Also, don’t get us started on the head massage. It’s worth going for that part alone.14---Final-Hair

Ladies-and-Vaughan2-editThank you, Vaughan, for letting us take over your salon and for inspiring us to name our haircuts. From left to right Alissa: The Sexy Swiftie, Kiira: La Sophia Rubia, Vaughan: This is My Hat, Cait: Bang Bang, Tiff: Uptown Tiff.

Bearhanded Salon
#1, Street 21 (Inside The Willow Hotel)
Phnom Penh
093 700 431 (Vaughan)
012 886 587 (Kim)


All photos by Tiffany Tsang. Please request permission for use.