Super Hong Kong vintage shopping challenge

July 11, 2014

On a clammy Saturday afternoon in June, we stumbled across some very cheap clothes bargains on the market streets in Kowloon (Fa Yuen Street, or “Sneakers Street”, in Mong Kok to be exact).

As the prices were so low to begin with, the concept of haggling (as is expected on the market streets) doesn’t even enter into the equation.

So we decided that we could have fun with the bargains: Let’s challenge ourselves to see how far a small amount of cash will get us. One thrift store where we found a lot of bargains is Mee & Gee – Rails and rails of clothes and accessories beginning at prices as low as HK$5 (65 cents).

Below are the day’s purchases with individual prices, comments, and our ratings out of five stars for the value for money. Enjoy!

☁ -diarmuid (& kristin)

clothes1

ITEM #1
Description: Mint silk dress
Cost: HK$100 ($13)
Comment: Looks like something from Alice in Wonderland. Very whimsical with lovely lace detail.
Rating: 4 stars

ITEM #2
Description: Full length navy blue dress with colorful star patterns
Cost: HK$20
Comment: Vintage design. Perfect for “lollygagging” in the garden during the summer. Soft cotton. Retro 1960s feel.
Rating: 3 stars

clothes2

ITEM #3
Description: Peach dress, comes to just below knees
Cost: HK$20
Comment: Mint condition quality silk for very low price ($2.50 people!!!). Looks like it’s from the 1940s.
Rating: 5 stars

ITEM #4
Description: Pineapple croptop
Cost: HK$50
Comment: Modern, fun, and colorful. Pineapples are in this summer, cos, uh, we said so!
Rating: 3 stars

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ITEM #5
Description: Peach blouse with retro dot pattern
Cost: HK$10
Comment: Vintage style with bow. Very cute.
Rating: 4 stars

ITEM #6
Description: Fruity red dress
Cost: HK$160
Comment: Looks like something you’d see in holiday snaps from Hawaii from decades ago. Very cool.
Rating: 3 stars

clothes4

ITEM #1
Description: Blue “Green Hills” t-shirt
Cost: HK$10
Comment: Like something you’d see in a 90s skate video. Radical.
Rating: 5 stars

ITEM #2
Description: Stripy t-shirt
Cost: HK$20
Comment: Purple stripe at the top kind of throws the other colors. An average find.
Rating: 3 stars

clothes5

ITEM #3
Description: “Cheerful dinner makes us smile” t-shirt
Cost: HK$20
Comment: Bizarre but fun slogan for a t-shirt. A quirky find.
Rating: 4 stars

ITEM #4
Description: Short-sleeved stripy shirt
Cost: HK$30
Comment: This is like something your dad would’ve worn in the 70s. Full marks as it ticks all the boxes: Retro! vintage! quirky!
Rating: 5 stars

clothes6

ITEM #5
Description: “Money, please born money for me after getting married” zipper pouch
Cost: HK$40
Comment: Another bizarre slogan. Very Chinese. Very awesome.
Rating: 4 stars

ITEM #6
Description: Fox button badge
Cost: HK$10
Comment: What does the fox say? Buy this badge. Done.
Rating: 2 stars

A comedy within a comedy

July 9, 2014

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I hope everyone had a lovely weekend! I was lucky enough to nab tickets from work to the philharmonic for a production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” on Saturday evening. It was amazing. Like listening for two hours to the music of angels, really, or in this case, fairies. Diarmuid and I had never been to the philharmonic here in Hong Kong, but now we can’t wait to go back. There was an orchestra, a choir, actors and one very lively maestro.

We also got to attend a V.I.P. intermission of wine and snacks and had the chance to meet some of the people who put the productions together in Hong Kong. The executive director of the philharmonic, who is Scottish, told us that he likes to go on one crazy adventure every decade. Once he rode a bike from Scotland to Ireland (via Wales and the ferry) and on to outlying islands where his family clan had originally came from. Another time he spent two weeks traveling all the way down the Mississippi. And he told us that County Wexford, Ireland has the best festival for opera out of anywhere in the world.

After listening to more beautiful music, we left that night feeling, as my co-worker put it, very “cultured”.

Before heading out to the show, we decided to pose for some photographs together (since it’s not so often that we’re both dressed up). I had it in my mind that it would look really cute if we both were sitting on our terrace wall, looking casual, and yet, you know, not… ha. I set the timer on our camera, which was atop a tripod, and ran to jump up on the bench to seat myself next to Diarmuid on the wall.

Well, wouldn’t you know, this being Hong Kong, our bench was rotted, and my foot fell through it. I nearly broke my ankle, but luckily, I was unhurt. And our camera (being on the timer) documented my misfortune.k-d-theater1
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^^My “I just broke a bench” face
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Luckily the lovely performance by the philharmonic left us feeling harmonious with the earth once again. :) Tomorrow, we’re headed to Ireland for a week and a half (to see Diarmuid’s brother get married!!) and then on to Florence, Italy for a few days.  Wish us better luck!

☁ -kristin

(And if you’re traveling, I’d also recommend checking out orchestra concerts in Prague and Chicago, which are both held in historic theaters. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra often gives free concerts, sometimes outside in the summer!)

Back in the Boardwalk Empire

July 5, 2014

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I thought I would put together a little travel guide to this city on “the shore” that still has a lot of charm if you know what to do and where to eat. Atlantic City, New Jersey, doesn’t have to be all casinos and performers in spandex suits (unless you want it to be, ha.) Extra thanks goes to all my relatives who contributed their favorite places! ocean-city-carousel
I was in Atlantic City this past month to meet up with my family and one of my best friends, Amber. I only had a week off so it worked out having the city be our meeting point. (Atlantic City is a 45-minute drive from Philadelphia and about 2 hours from New York City).

I stayed in my grandmother’s quaint old (and unairconditioned) house, where she has lived for 64 years. Unfortunately, she was sick in the hospital, but it was great to be there for her, and to return to a place where I have such lovely memories. Both of my parents are from Atlantic City, so growing up we always made the 10- to 12-hour drive from North Carolina at least once a year. It’s a city by the sea that will always feel like home to me.

Here’s a quick guide to some Atlantic City classics:
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Brunch:
Shelley’s Cafe (Ventnor) – I recommend the chocolate chip pancakes ;)
Hannah G’s (Ventnor)
Gilchrist’s Restaurant (Margate) – Best hotcakes around!
ocean-city-memories
Lunch:
The Irish Pub (Atlantic City) – A meal for about $3. Need I say more? It’s also a hotel. I like its tagline: “Irish soul. American attitude.”
White House Subs (Atlantic City) – Amazing Italian subs in a 1950s diner setting.
Tony’s Baltimore Grill (Atlantic City– Go here for the pizza.
Manco & Manco Pizza (Ocean City) – Because you need more pizza.
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Dinner:
The Crab Trap (Somer’s Point) – I recommend the crab cakes, like the name suggests.
Smitty’s Clam Bar (Somer’s Point) – excellent seafood in an authentic setting
Angelo’s Fairmount Tavern (Atlantic City) – my favorite Italian restaurant of all time that has been open since 1935. Each dining area has a different sports theme with old photos showcasing the local greats. We might have gone here three nights in a row… haha. Hey, it’s also within walking distance of the outlet shopping ;)
Luciano Lamberti’s Sunset Marina & Restaurant (Margate) – a picturesque spot for a casual dinner. We had a great time celebrating my mom’s birthday here. mom-michael
Snacks & drinks:
James’s/Fralinger’s Salt water taffies (Atlantic City & Ocean City) – This makes a really nice gift to bring back for friends/colleagues. Salt water taffies originated in Atlantic City in the 1880s, and these are the best.
Johnson’s Popcorn (Ocean City) – a famous icon on the Ocean City boardwalk that is made fresh in front of you.
Maynard’s Cafe (Margate) – Go here to drink with the locals.
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What to do:
Tour Lucy the Elephant (a six-story-high elephant that was built in 1881 that was once a library)
Go see the horse races
Bike the boardwalk (You can rent bikes here, but remember there are special hours, depending on the season, for biking fun.)
Chill on the beach (Make sure you have cash to buy a “beach badge” on the beach as most beaches aren’t free in N.J.)
Explore Ocean City (check out a movie at the old Strand theatre, where my dad saw Jaws when it first came out, and then did his Atlantic City Beach Patrol swim test in the ocean the next day, ha. Oh the horror.)
Go shopping at the outlets (these stores have some of the best prices around. Make sure to get a coupon booklet from the main office there and turn in your receipts for extra bonus offers.)
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The salty ocean air and lack of humidity was a welcome respite from Hong Kong. As was being able to have proper Italian food :)

Have you ever been to Atlantic City?

☁ -kristin