cait +tiff


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C / Los Angeles Office

los-angeles-office

I had friends visiting last week, and because I am a fantastic host, I took them to hip and gorgeous places that I can’t really afford. One of those beautiful shops is Mohawk General Store.  It’s one of the most beautifully curated shops I have seen and is filled to the brim with standout pieces from high-end designers, like these Dries Van Noten stunners that I almost traded my apartment for. Sadly, since having an appreciation for beautiful things doesn’t pay very well (yet), I did not go home with the Cinderella footwear. What I did find, was a little pad of paper that makes me strangely happy.

The notepad says simply “Los Angeles Office.” When I saw it I sort of giggled, because I thought of Christina Applegate’s character, Swell, in Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead. Let me explain. First, if you haven’t seen that movie, please stop reading this and don’t come back until you do. Honestly, what are you even doing with your life?

If you are at work and reading this blog and can’t watch the full movie right now (I see you, Nitika) I will break it down. Swell, a high school student and my style hero, has to pretend that she is grown up to get a job at a fashion company in LA. Her mom has taken off to Australia with her boyfriend, and has left the 5 kids with a very old babysitter, who, in fact, dies. Swell has to make money so the kids can eat, because they refuse to tell their mother. It’s a fantastic family movie.

Anyway, the notepad reminded me of this because Swell is trying to convince people she is a grown up so that she can work in a fashion company, and so am I! I feel like this notepad is something that she would have on her desk, if only to prove she has an office.

Did that make sense to you? It’s fine if it didn’t, either way you should really watch the movie.

caitsig

 


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C / art helps

IMG_9571.jpg

Look who’s blogging again. I took a break because I really needed it, and now I’m back.

For a while there, I couldn’t think of anything real to say. This is technically a design/fashion/storytelling blog, and the only thing coming from my brain the last few weeks was a string of expletives and blank stares. It’s hard for me to talk about fashion and design thingies when I am worried about the absurd and hateful things happening in my country.

I went to The Broad museum this morning to look at art and get inspired. I also really wanted to take a photo in the Infinity room I had heard so much about. I showed up a few minutes late, got in the wrong line, and my outfit wasn’t cool enough. The cattle herders outside took pity on my confused face and let me in anyway.

When you go into the Broad, it feels like you are going into a giant, square, alien brain that happens to be full of Jeff Koons bubble art and some pretty dark cartoons. The long escalator ride up into the main exhibition hall added all the drama I wanted and I landed at the foot of what looked like giant candy dipped in liquid glitter. (Clearly an art critic here.)

As I walked around more, I saw a gold and white statue of Michael Jackson with a monkey, a few Warhols, some badass sculptures, and a photo of Batman from 1955 which I am pretty sure proves he is real. I also saw revolution in the art. I saw a lot of pain, struggles with oppression, silencing, slavery, racism, and a big ass collage of white dudes in hats that scared the bejesus out of me. Most of the art in the museum is older than I am, but the themes still ring true, and in a way, seeing these pieces made me feel better. Not better in the “everything is ok” way, but like when you would get in trouble but all of your friends did too. I don’t know if that makes sense, but it’s how I feel.

This is a little bit of what I saw, with my own reactions an no proper citations.

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Puppiessssss!

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It’s so true, for all of us, but mostly you. 

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Misleading rainbow vibes on fatalist prose. 

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Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, Jeff Sessions

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Ugh, I know. 

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The caption next to this says something like “the bird is angry because it’s plaster.” Yeah man, I would be angry too if you gave me plaster snacks. 

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In my head, this woman was one of Elvis’s girlfriends back in the day. I also want her hair. The Warhol is cool too. 

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Most original photo in the history of the world that I really love. Wish I wore something cooler. 

Art made me feel alright today, and it made me want to write again, which I haven’t wanted to do for a while. See art if you can, and if you can’t go see it, make it. Then make your friends look at it and pretend they get it.

caitsig

 


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C + T / where to get your goodies / wearables

Hi friends, welcome to the second gift guide of the season! We have pulled together a bunch of our favorite wearable goodies for the holidays. Though not all of these are 100% sustainable, we try to focus on well-made, long lasting items, and many of them are ethically made with sustainable materials. It’s always important to look into the companies you are buying from, and know who makes your products. It matters.

Happy shopping!


Cait

where-to-get-your-goodies-wearables-1

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

I love making this guide, because I want all of these things. That grey sweater has been on the blog about 4 times, so if that’s not a big enough hint, I don’t know what is. I am loving that Cuyana saddle bag, because it could go with that fancy pants Peng Lenh necklace or that Patagonia beanie. The crotch holiday on those Naja undies is just funny to me, and I don’t know anyone that doesn’t want tiny rakes hanging from their ears.


Tiff

1, 2, 3, 4 (a, b, c), 5, 6

1, 2, 3, 4, 5 (a, b, c), 6

This year’s wearables are all about pride in the self (and your loved ones…because that’s who these are for right?)! It’s been the kind of year where pride is the most important thing.  Lingerie is all about loving your own body, first, right?  Then get your Cuyana leather goodies monogrammed.  Show off your love for the outdoors.  And your love for your besties, everyone’s bodies and all the cats.  Help your friends show off.  Even if you feel like the Canadian ones might be rubbing it in a little too much these days.


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C + T / where to get your goodies / edibles

*A note to our Phnom Penh friends! The Christmas markets are still exploding and we think you should hit all of them. Our lady friend Katia has a holiday themed 5th edition of CULT happening on Thursday night, and we can’t forget to mention our favourite interiors-loving goddesses who run Abodia Lifestyle. They’ll be having a gorgeous Christmas Pop-Up on Sunday! (and guess what – our designer buddy Jane Heng will have her gorgeous ceramic goodies there too!)


Cait

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1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

I mean, it’s a toy truck that carries tacos, I don’t know what else I really need to say. This gift works for kids and for 33 year olds alike, and for us old guys, pair that taco truck with a slick bottle of sweet and spicy booze. It honestly tastes like Christmas, but like, sexy Christmas. These two things do not pair well together, but this is the time for rule breaking, right? Instead of a themed gift that makes sense, give people the things they want: booze and a hilarious way to eat delicious tacos. No matter who gets this awesome gift, it’s going to be a mess, better get that awesome apron from Hedley & Bennett, and tell them I sent you because I really want to hang out with the cool lady that runs that shop. Speaking of cool people, did you hear that Penzey’s Spices took a political stance that’s kind of badass. I like giving my money to people who openly advocate for less hate in the world. Advocating for peace makes me feel a little snacky, probably a good idea to try the Snacker Bar from Liddabit Sweets. It’s like Snickers’ fancy, better looking, better tasting cousin, who knows exactly where to go in Brooklyn. Oh, and everyone needs salad spoons, I know it’s boring but these ones are made from bamboo, they stick right out of the stocking and cost you $11. Also if anyone tries to take your booze, you can defend your honor with them.


Tiff

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1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

One might say I’m a little obsessed with Molly Yeh. Yes I’m totally a fan girl.  Because she is just so darn awesome.  And that’s why she shows up on my gift guide for a second year. And I bet you’ll be buying her new cookbook for a baker, right? So get them some cute-as-funfetti cake stands from the peeps who brought you state-shaped cutting boards while you’re at it!  But maybe the person who likes sweets in your life has two left hands when it comes to baking?  Joy has been loving her monthly Japanese snack boxes and I think your sweet tooth would love them too. And for the person at your table who always delays eating so he or she can get the perfect shot – get the the ultimate gift: splurge for an international food photography course! Or go local if you prefer something a bit cheaper too! Otherwise, artisanal mustard and the most beautiful prints of fruit for the kitchen are always good additions.

 

 


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C / piggy back

le-bag

Hi, I missed Friday. I was the designated horsey for a 4 and 7 year old all week and sort of forgot that I have other responsibilities in life. Ma bad.

Black Friday was a thing, I guess, and Small Business Saturday was a better thing, and all of that happened without me participating. Looks as though it somehow went on without me.

I am piggybacking on another post I wrote this week, for another website. I know, I’m SO cheating on this website. I work for a company called Louise and Eleanor now and I’m helping with the editorial side of things. We are starting a series called LE Field Trip, and my field field trip was to Vientiane, Laos a few weeks ago.

Here it is. 

Hope you are all having a great weekend.

caitsig


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C / Society 6

fishy

I am in a constant state of wanting to get rid of everything I own and, at the same time, I want to re-decorate and buy a bunch of new stuff. I have a complicated life. I love finding new artists, people who use words in creative ways, and generally cool stuff to put up on the walls.

After talking to cool-friend Lin about her new apartment, I remembered seeing great prints in a Bonnie Tsang Instagram from last week. In the photo, she had two prints, totally different, but both in black and white, and both with witty phrases that I really liked. Turns out, they came from Society 6.

I knew about Society 6 for their very cool iPhone cases, but thought the company was a bit too dorm-focused for this 33 year old not-student. Turns out, I should probably go back to school, because I clearly know nothing. They have a huge supply of prints, something like 9000 of them, from different artists all over the world. They are very reasonably priced, and these are a few of my favorites.

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Now I need another house with walls to fill.

caitsig

All from Society 6

 


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C / Old Haunts

cactuscactus

Know what the best remedy for jet lag is? Me neither, obviously, because I just flew to London six days after returning to Cambodia from the US. The only thing that I do know, is that this is NOT the way to do it. Unless you like watching two romantic comedies before 7am on a Tuesday, then this is exactly how to do it. 

I’m in town this week for a friend’s wedding and I will be stopping by some of my favorite places that I got to know last summer when I was studying at Central St Martins. There are so many amazing spots in London, and I am sure I don’t know anything about the coolest anything anymore, but I do have a few places I am sure to hit this round.

(You may notice that this little list has nothing in it from West London, and that’s because I went there two times total last summer and I know nothing about it.)

My Old Haunts

Attendant-Shoreditch

Yeah, it’s the cool kid neighborhood of London, and no, I’m not a cool kid, but I DO have a leather jacket and I am pretty sure that’s all you really need. I found Attendant last summer because I had some time to kill in the neighborhood before a class at Frame. It has all the makings of a pretentious hipster coffee spot, but it’s sort of decided not to be. The people are lovely, the coffee is damn delicious, and they have a guest chef who makes phenomenal breakfast treats. Things like Vanilla & Passion french toast, with rhubarb mascarpone, berries, honeycomb and maple syrup…and FLOWERS on top. I just ate this and it would be tough to share with my favorite person. 

Caravan-Kings Cross

I go to Caravan for the Aussie-approved coffee, the art student people-watching, and they craziest, most delicious savory muffin in the whole damn world. They have a different one every day, and it’s a mix of cheese+veg+something else awesome, maybe even surprise chorizo. Everyone loves surprise chorizo. Because it’s housed in the school, Caravan tends to a slightly younger crowd with as many different hair colors as there are stars in the sky. They always play good music, because they would explode from all the eye-rolling if they didn’t. It’s a busy spot and can be loud, and the server from last summer remembered me yesterday. I don’t know if that matters, I was just happy about it. 

The Water Poet-Liverpool/Shoreditch

I can’t put a list together without at least one proper pub on it. The Water Poet sounds fancy, but it’s a nice local spot with great beers and giant helpings of french fries. Yeah yeah, “chips.” Whatever, I’m American. #OGBrexit. They have a gorgeous and comfortable back patio that fills up around 4pm if it’s sunny, no matter the day of the week.

Boulangerie Bon Matin– Finsbury Park

This placed saved me on my very first day in London last year. I was exhausted, nervous about starting this whole new thing, and more than anything else, hungry. Bon Matin has a spread of gorgeous salads that should make Ottolenghi nervous, full of simple, delicious produce and things that make produce taste even better. The pastry that fills the front windows are a one-way ticket to the danger zone. Maybe even the highway there. It’s inexpensive, friendly, and sunny. They also don’t mind if you set up shop for the day to work on your Cambodia-based design blog and use their free internet. 

Monmouth Coffee-Covent Garden

This place was introduced to me by a friend from Cambodia actually, and it really is the snobbiest. There are like 7 seats in the whole place, the tables come with artisanal sugar and side eye, and no internet. But the coffee is really, really good, and the brownie is reason enough to stand in line with a bunch of disaffected 23 year olds talking about cold brew like they found it first. 

Dinerama-Shoreditch

Oh Dinerama. Cool London friends showed me this place last year, and it’s the perfect summer hang out spot. It’s a pop-up-food-truck spot, and they have everything from lobster rolls to BBQ and papadum nachos. That’s right, papadum nachos. The best thing there is for the carnivores, and it’s a beef rib from the grill spot in the back. The thing is probably cooked for 8 days, and it falls off the bone like a prom dress. Best when eaten with hands and dragged through the leftover guacamole from the Mexican spot next door. 

Off to as many of these places as possible before I face-plant at 2pm.

caitsig

 


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C + T / only good things

Photo Credit: Kessara

Photo Credit: Kessara

Hi team. It has been a rough few weeks for the world. The onslaught of bad news can be exhausting, and it feels hard to come up for air between disasters, both political and physical. So today we are just taking a damn minute. It is important to know what is going on in the world, but we are focusing on the good things that are happening right now. Hope this brings you sunshine when the world feels dark.

Sandwiches are generally good things.

Can’t wait for this to come out. Issa Rae is a damn dreamboat.

James Corden singing alone is great.  With Anna Kendrick? Mind blown.

Probably the best headline I have seen in a while, and the article isn’t bad either. Happy Birthday, other boyfriend.

This little mash up has been rocking my world all week.

Oh what? Prettiest places in Asia? I need to update my travel list.

Urban x cabin chic?  Bright and sunny? Swedish-ish? Yes please.

Following Dr Ruth on Twitter might be the best thing you do all day.

New podcasts about women who roam? Also great.

Leslie Jones watches Game of Thrones with Seth Meyers. In related news #lesliejonesforpresident. “Let’s test that theory.”


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T / fave photo apps

Apps-HeaderLet’s face it, the visuals that I put out there on social media could be a little more consistent. It’s what every workshop will tell you.  Build a consistent look and the followers will come.  But really, I just love playing around.  With everything.  There is never a moment where I’m not post processing a photo on my phone before it gets uploaded onto the web.  I usually direct and compose photos with the intent of processing it with a particular app after.  And I get asked, a bunch, about what apps I use to do this.  So I thought I’d share my little trove of tools that I’ve got neatly packaged in a folder on my iPhone (also because I’ve re-learned that I’m a hyper ENFJ).

 

Colour-It

Market-Scene-a-Colour-Story

Hands down, my new favourite app this year. From the ladies behind A Beautiful Mess comes A Color Story, the best thing since dumplings.  In addition to the minimalist and colour worthy filters they’ve got you can also play with effects like this colour fog I’ve got descending on this Phnom Penh market scene.  And if you follow our Instagram, you’ll probably notice that I’ve been playing with light flare.  A LOT.  And I still need to jump on the bokeh bandwagon.

A-Colour-Story---FlowersAnd it’s not just for the photos you take on your phone!  I’ve been transferring the photos I take on my Canon 6D directly to my phone so I can share them with you, stat.  This allows me to throw them quickly through A Color Story, make some rock star adjustments and light play like I did with my buddy Adam, last night.  And up onto social media they go within as little as 5 minutes. A-Colour-Story---Rocker

Frame-It

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I heart a good collage.  And while Instagram’s got Layout, I dig how FrameMagic allows me to border photos in a frame of whatever margin size I like, play with adjustments and filters, and in general make life so easy.  I took these photos when I was front row at Dengue Fever’s last concert in Phnom Penh.  Those colours are the product of their epic show! No editing needed on my phone!

GIF-It

Boomerang vs. DSCO! from Tiffany Tsang on Vimeo.

You know I like a good GIF.  And now I can make them effortlessly on my phone!  Over the past month, I’ve been experimenting with Instagram’s Boomerang and VSCO’s DSCO. My library is filled with Crossfit videos so far (just because gymnastics as GIFs are so fun).  These apps were just released in the past year and have their own unique capabilities.  While both allow you to upload to Instagram which will play the GIFs as videos in a never ending loop, Boomerang exports the videos as 8 second videos while DSCO does it for 5 seconds.  Processing times are also a bit different.  DSCO requires you to upload to your VSCO library first, while Boomerang operates at the speed of light.  Save that GIF video (GIdeo?) file, and upload it later.  Filtering and editing options are also a bit different.  DSCO comes with a package of VSCO’s super minimal hipster chic filters, while Boomerang only allows for editing later on using Instagram’s embedded features.  I still use both (much to the chagrin of my iPhone battery), but you can definitely change it up according to whatever you need.


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T / read (books) more

Photo Credit: Tiff

Photo Credit: Tiff

One of my resolutions, errr values to live by, this year was to be more still.  I’m constantly needing to be focused on some activity.  If it’s not meeting deadlines, I’ll stress-bake something, I’ll cycle over to Kettlebell to see who’s hanging around. I will find some activity to fill the time.  It basically means I’m not embracing stillness.  But these days are getting busier.  I literally just got a dream job (more on that later!), I’m in the middle of two other happily paid gigs, and there are always photos to be taken.  So I decided to get serious on taking a little time out from the thick of it.  More specifically: to read books.  Not think pieces. Not even long form essays.  Nothing online, even if it is about reading.  Thou shall not scroll.  And this will not just happen during solo lunches, when I’m just getting to bed, or on vacation.  But in the middle of the day, when I just need to step away from everything.  Even if it’s only for fifteen minutes.

We all know I’m a big weirdo.  So the things I read are probably the furthest most from my reality.  I thought I’d share some of the mostly fictional things I’ve got on my Kindle these days.

Books1Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman

So I didn’t quite have the full synopsis when I started reading this book.  I honestly thought it was a YA novel about young people and space exploration.  Yeah, no.  Instead I got one of the best and quickest reads about the experiences a teenager and the dark places that the human mind can get lost in.  I finished it in three hours and I thought hard about how much we don’t know about what might be going on in the minds of our nearest and dearest.

The Best American Travel Writing, 2015, edited by Andrew McCarthy

I do a little dance when each edition of these annals of travel writing come out.  A new vision from a guest editor directs the selections of this anthology each year.  And I save each little piece of excellent travel writing for days I need to get out and there are no weekend trips on the horizon.

The Clasp by Sloane Crosley

Painfully hilarious.  This is exactly why I love Sloane Crosley’s writing.  In her first full length novel, the humorist of the modern age mixes millennial angst and a cross-oceanic treasure hunt with wry observations about our generation of almost-do-wells.  Also, France happens, and that always makes me happy.

Books2

The Lightkeepers by Abby Geni

I was a huge fan of Jeff Vandermeer’s crazy Southern Reach Trilogy and I think Abby Geni’s tale of scientists on an island that might want to eat them will be no different.  Hallucinations, crazy interpersonal relations and literal sharks that are on the hunt are big features.  Oh, and a dead body.  And everyone’s a suspect.  Fun.

The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood

I cried when I read Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale last year.  And I came to understand why she was one of our nation’s cultural treasures.  This story amid economic collapse centres around Stan and Charmaine, a couple who decide to enter a social experiment in order to avoid homelessness.  But this involves living in the Positron Project, where residents alternate between a comfortable existence…and prison, every month.  Of course heart strings are pulled and lives are threatened when a third party gets involved.  This will probably result in more tears.

Read Bottom Up by Neel Shah and Skye Chatham

And now for something completely different.  The narrative in this romantic comedy involves two voices (which is basically the literary trend these days).  But on every possible form of communication possible.  And it was inspired by the authors’ own flirtations over email.  You’ve Got Mail for millennials.  Swoon.