Getting Fancy with S. Nine

The style posts are back! Let’s face it.. it’s hard to be stylish while dealing with a newborn! Now the kiddo is rocking and rolling and able to not smash his little cute face into mommy’s big necklaces so I’m able to wear my crazy garb again with only a few instances of stains and/or tears. Not sure what he thinks of the looks I create and I fear he may be more embarrassed of me than proud as he hits the school age years but we will figure it out as we go along. Until then here’s more of the fun, fancy, and sometimes insane looks that I love!

Sabrina Sikora by Sabrina Sikora Photography

Dress: S. Nine, Bag: Chanel, Shoes: Fendi, Flood Ring: Twelve-O-Two by The9thMuse, Earrings: J.Crew from Caty

So I thought I was just going for a dinner with mu better half’s coworkers but he had other plans. After posting a pic on my instagram my husband called me out on my phone addiction and told me to put my phone away. I willfully obliged not knowing that he was afraid that someone would blow the surprise he was planning by commenting on said pic. On the way to dinner we stopped for a tipple of champagne under the ruse that the couple we were meeting was running late. After a few bubbles were tossed back we caught a cab down to dinner where instead of being greeted by his colleagues I was surprised by my best of friends! As they yelled “Surprise! and Happy Birthday!” I struggled to catch my breath and was in awe of what my husband had planned and so successfully pulled off! It was a very real surprise as my birthday is in April not August. However, birthday plans in April were put on the back burner as I was just six weeks post having my sweet boy and was in no way ready to party!

Pre-dinner I had asked him what I should wear as I modeled options in the bedroom. I had it down to a navy romper from BCBG or my new S.Nine. Thankfully he agreed that the black wrap dress was the best option. I thought it may have been too sexy but he knew I would rather be surprised in a fab S. Nine get up than in a romper! Who wants to be surprised in a onsie after all! Well done, husband, well done indeed! Thank you to all who came out to celebrate and to Cipriani’s for the incredible food, service, and ambiance. But most of all thank you to my truly fantastic husband!

Posted in Sabrina's Style

The Flaunt I Want… Animal Bracelets!

As always, I will never recommend anything to you that

I wouldn’t want myself or recommend to a friend!

 

The Flaunt I Want... Animal Bracelets
Posted in The Flaunt I Want

The Flaunt I Want… Midi Rings!

As always, I will never recommend anything to you that 
I wouldn’t want myself or recommend to a friend!
The Flaunt I Want - Midi Rings
Posted in The Flaunt I Want

Sassy Hong Kong Names Me as a Super Styler!

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This month’s Super Styler is our very own sassy and snap-happy supermodel, Sabrina Sikora! We know how to pick ‘em, and Sabrina’s story is as equally fascinating as she is fashionable. From small town Georgia to the bright lights of NY and HK, Sabrina has worked with some of fashion’s most famous faces and brands. After being directed by Tom Ford, gracing the pages of Vogue and strutting on the runway, Sabrina has gone from being in front of the camera to behind the lens, becoming one of the best photographers in town. Find out more about her below… you’ll see she’s just as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside!

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Tell us about where you’re from and how you made it over to Hong Kong!
Originally hailing from Macon, Georgia in the USA, most would say I’m a long way from home. I made my way to HK from New York in 2007 with my then-bf-now-husband for a quick two-year stint that just keeps going and going (fine by me!). Growing up, I participated in pageants and cheerleading and was as proper a Southern Belle as I knew how to be. I love to bake, acquired a vintage silver collection, revel in the long lost art of table setting and napkin folding, and I will monogram anything that will hold still long enough. I guess those qualities were somewhat appealing to that Yankee boy I met, because we have been roaming around this world together for ten plus years!

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How did you get into modelling and the fashion world?
When you are 13 years old, 5’9”, a size 0/2, with size 11 (42) feet, you are kind of built for a few career options – volleyball, basketball or modelling. I have absolutely zero sports skills (beyond cheerleading, of course) so I went down the modelling route. The job allowed me to travel beyond the borders of my native Georgia, while also introducing me to a host of international characters and occupations that I might never have known otherwise. Starting at age 16, I traveled to New York, Milan, Paris, and Shanghai and then finally moved to NY aka “the city” a month after turning 19. By that point, I was pushing 6’ tall and wearing a clothing size 2/4, so I was perfect to hit up all the castings that my agency had to offer.

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Over the years, I have lived in one-bedroom, one-bathroom model apartments with seven other girls as well as impromptu couch surfing sessions as needed for bookings. The draw of seeing myself in a magazine and the rush from a runway show was just too appealing to let anything stop me, so I kept pounding the pavement day after day getting turned down by this client and that. Some days, clients would love me and then it would make the whole process worthwhile again. It was a roller coaster of a ride but an experience that made me very street smartand also very easygoing as you never know what experiences will lead you to that next great thing, so you just roll with the punches and have fun along the way. Now, I am fortunate enough to only work through direct bookings so I don’t have to do the casting beat anymore.

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What are some of the highlights of your career as a model that really stand out?
There are a few highlight reels that play in my head when I think back over the years. One would be the shoot where I was Carolyn Murphy’s lip double and Tom Ford was directing me. She was incredibly friendly and he is, well, walking perfection. I rolled in satin sheets crushing an Estee Lauder Amber Nude lipstick in my teeth while Mr. Ford instructed me along the way. I tried my best to capture the mood and feel that they were looking for.

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Another top day was the day I shot my first cover at age 17 in Milan. We were high in the mountains with a helicopter to hang from as our “prop”. I was wearing a white, grey, and fuchsia Versace fur and was told that the model with the nicest hands would get the cover. The models were told to hold out our little mitts and then I was declared the winner. I snuck off to a bedroom of the cabin that served as a dressing room and called my mom. Through static and tears I told her the good news… That was a very good day!

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Being chosen for the NBC/Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model Search was also an incredible experience. I was selected as one of 12 girls to live in a house in LA and to compete in a variety of sports and modelling challenges, and the winner would appear in the coveted pages of the SI swimsuit issue. Unfortunately, I was given the boot and the reason given was that I was “too nice”.  Out of all the reasons to get cut from a show, I think that is by far the best. I did manage to win one of those sports challenges, so I left the show with a new diamond necklace along with a bit of press which did a lot for my career back in NY.

There are a lot of other great moments like when I landed my first campaign, when I saw myself in the pages ofVogue and Bazaar, and those highs from strutting it hardcore down a monster runway for a big designer. These moments made all those days of being told you are “too this” or “too that” (fat/skinny, tall/short, old/young, tan/pale… insert anything here) to be worth it.

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Any tips or words of wisdom for aspiring models?
There will be a lot of no’s, but hopefully there will also be a lot of yes’s. The trick is to stick it out through the rough days and to stay healthy and grounded so that when those yes’s start to come you are happy, fit, and ready. You may not be right for one client, but you are someone else’s perfection. It is just a matter of getting out there and seeing as many clients as possible, testing as much as possible to build your book, and being friendly or at least genuine and authentic to all you meet (the industry is small!). You have to view yourself as a product and not take things personally. Do a casting and then put it out of your mind. As long as you are the best version of yourself that you can be, then that is all you can give. If a client wants more than that at least you know you were at your best and gave it your all.

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You’re not just a model, you’re also an amazing photographer (that we couldn’t do without!), blogger and new mama, how do you balance everything?
Being a mom is job number one and one that I kind of feel like I might be getting the hang of after four months. The photography and blogging are both wonderful because I can more or less set my hours. I only schedule a certain number of shoots per week that way I can stay on top of the editing and retouching.

The fashion events for blogging are typically in the afternoon, so I hang out with the cutie until around 11am then shoot, retouch, or write.  Next, I slip off to a few events and am back at home in the early evening to hang out with my sweet boy again. Everyday is different which I love, though I did need to set up a routine for my kiddo as little ones love structure far more than I do.

I choose one night a week, typically Wednesday or Thursday, to hit up the evening events and I’m also sure toschedule in a date night with my husband. It’s so important to have that time together to keep the marriage strong. Family is my first focus as that is what I feel is most important in life. I’m so happy to be able to have a job that I love and that allows me to spend so much time with them while being creative and getting to hang around so many inspiring individuals. This city is chalk full of talent and being able to shoot and blog about it is wonderful!

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What do you do to relax/chill out when you’re not running around town at fashion events/shoots/taking care of your little one?
Well, pre-baby I loved to sit in an open-air café and sip wine or iced chocolate while thumbing through fashion mags, Instagram, Pinterest, or scrolling Blog-lovin’ for hours on end. Even better if said café served chocolate chip cookies! On the flip side of that, yoga is also my fave fitness activity and a great way to decompress. Now, free time is a mythical creature and I have been very lazy about scheduling in “me time”. I love hanging out with my husband and son so when the work is put away and the computer is closed, I would rather eat and relax with them or go to whatever pop up exhibit, creative collab, or art show may be going on. Follow that up with a delicious and not-so-healthy lunch and I’m in heaven. When my child is clean and fed, I can take on the world! Truthfully, my work is fun for me so I’m often found editing images at all hours pre- and post-baby.

What sparked your interest in photography and what are some of your most memorable shoots?
I have grown up on sets and amongst the clothing racks of runway shows, but the photography started by chance when young girls started coming to me asking how to become a model. I told them to submit simple photos to agencies but most girls only had school pictures or very over styled pageant pics (remember, I’m from the South!). With a point and shoot in hand, the girls came to my house after school or on weekends and I snapped basic shots that showed their face and shape. I soon grew tired with just shooting these simple snaps so after those were out of the way, we would raid my vintage collection and costume jewellery and have some fun.

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My camera grew in size and buttons as did my knowledge of how to work it. Angles and “posing” (I hate that word as modelling is movement, not posing) came naturally to me, so I could see the shot quite easily. I just needed to master the technical aspects of how to work the camera to capture the shot. I was still modelling at this time, so I had the added benefit of being able to learn from some of the top photographers by seeing them in action from my post in front of the lens! After a few classes, many hours of YouTube lessons, and loads of test shoots, I felt confident to put a price on the service. Model hopefuls came to me, not only to be photographed, but to learn how to move on film and also to ask as many questions about the business as possible so they would be better prepared for the castings and bookings to come.

Soon, not only newbie models but families and business professionals were in front of my lens, entrusting me to help them to move to look their best on film. That is what I enjoy most – shooting with someone who is rarely photographed and watching the light spread across their face when they see the raw images on the back of the camera. Few people know just how beautiful they really are. I hope to capture that and show it back to them.

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As far as memorable shoots go there have been a few. Often a gorgeous image is the result but sometimes it is a long road to get there. There have been armed guards roaming around the studio protecting millions of dollars in jewels. There’ve been many a shoot that lasted until the wee hours of the morning. There have been tumbles off stilettos (model), bruises from the gear (me), and nipple slips (model), and one time the whole crew got strep throat from one model who showed up sick. Once upon a shoot, a model got bit by a horse and another time the model got covered in chiggers (it’s a Georgia thing). No matter if we are outrunning a storm or shooting swimwear in bone-chilling temps, we always manage to get through it and get something that we are all proud to show!

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You’ve been in Hong Kong for a while now, what do you love about it most? Is there anything you really miss about the U.S?
Simply put, I love Hong Kong. I love that you get all the aspects of a major city but you can still run into your friends at the grocery store. Everyone seems to know everyone. I grew up with that in Macon, so it is nice to have that again after feeling so anonymous in New York. I feel that the creatives in Hong Kong are very supportive of one another and are constantly building each other up. Almost all of my business is word of mouth.

 

I love how quickly things change here. While the pace of life stays humming, new friends, new restaurants, new shops, new travels are just a breath away. It keeps life exciting and I have been amazed at just how fast the years slip by. I hear it is even truer once kids are in the mix…

 

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Failsafe beauty spots for hair, nails, facials and general beauty?
I’m pretty bad when it comes to a scheduled beauty routine. Typically, I’ll finally catch a glimpse of myself in good light or once a shoot is confirmed and pick up the phone to book in everywhere at once, blasting the system from top to toe in one mad rush beauty day.

My paws are prettied at Indulgence and Meegan takes care of my rare facials there. I entrust my hair to Shayne atSalon Chandler! He saved me when another salon gave me a bonafide mullet the year I got married… My better half’s response when I came home with said mullet was “at least you are young and in an industry where mullets are cool”.

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Otherwise, at home measures are taken as needed. I like to use a raw tomato over my face once a month or so to remove the dead skin. I also swear by dry brushing to keep my body smooth. Each year in Asia leaves me paler than the year prior, which seems to agree with my skin as the wrinkles have stayed at bay. I love Burt’s Bees for face products and Kiehl’s for body and hair. For on the spot manis, I use Insta-dri by Sally Hansen and also love the peel and stick nail polishes as they don’t need to dry. Without fail, my son will cry as soon as I paint my last nail so this allows me to tend to him as needed with no fear of a smudged or chipped mani.

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Fave places for food and drinks in HK?
You can find me at Agnes B. café on Gough Street at least once a week for an iced ginger tea or an iced chocolate. I also love scooping up a sack of bread at Po’s Atelier and sitting in the park across from it to devour it all. The bolstock and the one with the corn are incredible! For lunches I’m often at LifeOolaa, or 85South. Other delicious eats include Tokyo JoePosto PubblicoCrystal JadeMyung Ga, and Cipriani. It has been a long time since I have been able to go out for drinks, so my list may be far too dated to do anyone any good. Once I can have cocktails again then I will hit up Sassy for all the on point recommendations!

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Your sense of style (and your jewellery collection!) is the envy of many a HK girl, what are your go-to stores in HK? Any secret spots you can let us in on?
Costume jewellery is my weakness, especially if the item in question is very large and gold. I never leave Caty Jewellery empty-handed and I’m often there to pick up gifts for friends as well. Select 18 has some really unusual finds and great sunglasses. I salivate over many a piece at The9thMuse with Lulu Frost, ManiaMania and Lionette being my favourite brands they stock. Polkadot Boutique is great to find shiny bits and bobs to add to your arm party and I always hit up the On Pedder Warehouse sales - I’ve found some real showstoppers there. Otherwise, eBay is a treasure trove of vintage finds and is just a click away! I do have a one-in-two-out rule effective in my closet so things don’t get out of hand. I try to sell the pieces on Hardly Worn It on Facebook. If it won’t sell, then I host a swap with friends and/or donate the items to charity.

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We know you’re a vintage queen, where are your favourite places to get some vintage steals and deals?
Sorry Hong Kong, but I typically do my best vintage shopping in the States, especially when I am home in Georgia. I’ve found Burberry coats for US$10 and Bob Mackie and St. John blazers for US$5 each! I drool over the designer vintage scene in Tokyo and am itching to go back and get my hands on the Chanel jewels I saw in the windows. Bonus is they were a fraction of the price that I have seen in NY or HK!1DSC_1177.1web

In Hong Kong, I love Me&Gee for dresses and scarf print topsOnceStyle has gorgeous lust-worthy finds as does Reverie. Reverie also does repro’s of vintage pieces so that you can get the look for less and in multiple sizes. For jewellery, Select 18 and Somewhere in Time are both worth stopping in and digging around. I did a massive vintage post for Sassy and had no idea there were so many shops in town (check it out here)! Again, eBay is a good go-to for picking up classic designer leather bags with a bit of patina.

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What are your wardrobe staples/essentials?
This is a tricky one for me as I am not a “capsule wardrobe” person though I tried it for the 15/30 post I did a while back (great for creating the perfect carry on!). My must-haves include a pair of black skinny cigarette pants, a pencil skirt, a well-fitted blazer, button down silk blouses, long flowy printed vintage dresses, and pretty much anything with sequins or leopard print. Dresses and skirts and ultra long flowy pants are personal favourites. Top it off with lots and lots of jewellery and a pair of heels and I’m set. I tend to overdress for events but I would rather be overdressed than the most casual of the bunch! I had this happen at age 12 when I showed up in shorts and a tank to a brunch and felt so self-conscious that I vowed to never let it happen again!

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I love clothing that stands out. At 6’ tall I gave up blending in a long time ago! What started as getting Best Dressed in High School also had me almost getting sent home for heels that were too pointy and too high- who knew stilettos were a safety hazard?! That transitioned to my NY agency sending me home to wear something “more flattering” when I showed up to a casting in a vintage striped dress which resembled an old nurses uniform. I tried to tone it down and just put the crazy stuff on the models that I was styling for shoots, but then I realised that I had all this fabulous stuff that wasn’t getting worn and I wasn’t getting any younger. Why not deck yourself out and enjoy it all now? Why should I wait till I’m in my 70’s to wear mink stoles and crazy hats!? You only live once! Dress for it!

Along with all these bright bold pieces, I also need clothing that I can lie down in dirty parking lots to get a shot, so half of my wardrobe is over the top printed craziness and the other is dark beat up old jeans and black tunics to shoot in. Sometimes people don’t recognise me when I turn up to a shoot as I have a bare face and a bun and am wearing all black. I have actually been asked if I was “that model girl’s sister”. Ouch!

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What trends are you spotting at the moment and what’s number one on your must-have list?
On my spring/summer shopping list, vintage boyfriend jeans and/or overalls, and a sleeveless trench from Club Monaco appear. I recently checked backpack and drawstring bucket bag off my list. Another recent addiction is chunky jewellery with animal heads on it (i.e. vintage Kenneth Jay Lane)!

The boyfriend jeans I found at Goodwill for US$3 and they are the most comfortable things in the world! I can fit my whole huge hands in the pockets! Pair these with a Chanel-inspired jacket and some fab heels and I’m set for just about any HK outing. Overalls are a tricky one but I think the same styling tricks would work here too and provide me with plenty of pockets for teething rings and other baby accoutrement.

With my newfound mama role, I am realising that some pieces are best not worn around an infant (sequins are scratchy and lace is just begging to be pulled apart). I’ve raided the racks for dark prints (camo for drool and spit up) and dressy pants so I can bend over to put him in a stroller without giving the city a show.

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Any essential styling tips and tricks?
When in doubt, wear a great black pencil skirt, a silky button down, red lips and one incredible piece of jewellery. I also default to dresses that style well from day to night, as all you have to do is add accessories and change the shoe and bag.

As for styling tips and tricks, I hate to iron so I steam everythingToupee tape is your friend. You can use it to hold a hem up, stick a shirt to you if it is a bit low cut, hold a lapel in place and/or stick a belt to itself so you don’t get that weird floppy bit that sticks out on the end. I roll a lot of sleeves due to my long arms not fitting most shirts but love how relaxed it looks. Jeans just look better with a cuff to me. Belts are my go to for making me feel leaner in an instant. The bigger the belt buckle the smaller the waist appears to me!

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What do you love about fashion and what you do?
I could write a novel about what I love about fashion, but I guess my favourite part is it allows you to express yourself in an instant. If I am feeling blah, I grab something bold to bring me back to life. Feeling chic? I opt for an all black number, a clean pinned back bun, and a deep red lip. Feeling girly and sweet? I’ll toss on a vintage floral maxi with a beat up bag and comfy Tom’s.

Clothing can reflect how you feel about yourself or even put you in a better mood than when you started getting dressed (this was so true when I was battling the morning sickness beast). Your moods can change right along with your outfits and vice versa.

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Fashion should be fun and reflect who you are at that moment. There is always something to look forward to with fashion as it is never finished – it only evolves. That is also why I love photography. Though individual bookings may start and end, my work grows and changes with time. My whole world around is documented and at any point in time I can look back and see where I’ve come from, and hopefully gain direction in where I am going.

Check out more of Sabrina’s fab photography and stylish looks here: www.sabrinasikoraphotography.comwww.sabrinasikora.com

Follow Sabrina on Social Media!:

Instagram: @sabrinasikora
Twitter: @sabrinasikorahk
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/sabrinasikora
Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Sabrina-Sikora-Photography

All photos in the article above were taken by the hugely talented Martice Milton of Martice Milton Photography – get in touch with her at martice.milton@gmail.com.

Check out this article and more over at Sassy Hong Kong!

Posted in Hong Kong, Modeling, Photography, Press, Sabrina's Style, Sassy Hong Kong, Style

The Flaunt I Want: Druzy!

The Flaunt I Want is back and better than ever! Every Friday I will bring you goodies that I just can’t get off my mind! You will find a sampling of the latest trends as well as a few tried and true classics! To kick things off let’s start with some fabulous druzy jewelry. And as always, I will never recommend anything to you that I wouldn’t want myself or recommend to a friend!

Posted in The Flaunt I Want

Trend Watch: Print Pants

No matter what shop you’ve popped your head into lately, I’m sure you’ve spotted a trend among the trousers. Prints, prints and more prints seem to be covering every pair of pants, with options ranging from floral to geometric, to animal inspired and beyond! Most ladies typically want to draw attention away from their lower half, but if that’s the case then how are you supposed to wear a trend that does anything but? Well, let me guide you along in a few fun, foolproof ways to rock this trend confidently!

 

SWEET AND SIMPLE

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From left to right: Gucci Natural Straw FedoraTie Front ShirtMap of Pink ParisCASIO B640WC5AEF unisex rose gold-plated digital watchJ.Crew Café printed silk-twill Capri pantsTory Burch Thea BackpackZara Soft SlipperNARS Enchanted Cream Blush

This is the perfect look for wandering around newfound city streets and sipping lazy lattes while people watching. Pack these J. Crew dotted pants for your cruising comfort and know that they can not only pair with a sweet pink top like the one above, but also with white, tan and burgundy options. This gives you a lot of wear without wasting valuable luggage space! The size of the print is small and consistent which is great for all shapes, but especially the curvier varieties. To complete the stylish traveler look, slip into these fantastic Zara loafers and stash your maps and camera in this handy Tory Burch backpack (see more backpack options here!). Load up on bracelets in each city you explore to add some authenticity to your arm party (learn the art to stacking here). Be sure to blog post your travel finds on Spottly so others can live vicariously through you and also create their own travel wish list from your fab finds!

Here are some other ideas for pairing a simple top and printed pants! We love how Super Styler Sarah Rutson perfects this look here.

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BEACHY KEEN

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From left to right: Alexander McQueen AMQ 4251/S Metal Brow Cat Eye Women’s SunglassesH&M Top with a stand-up collarJ.Crew Jeweled Quill gold-plated crystal necklaceHenri Bendel Debutante Palm ClutchAlice + Olivia Sunburst Palm wide leg trousersSmythson Wedding and Honeymoon set of two textured-leather notebooksNARS Wind Dancer Opaque Nail PolishBobbi Brown Limited Edition High Shimmer Lip Gloss – Bare PeachKurt Geiger London Bond Pumps – Nude

I styled this look with the honeymooner in mind. Brides everywhere know that arms need to be toned for the big day, so why not continue to show off those guns in a white sleeveless top? The Alice + Olivia floral pants are a perfect match as they add a bit of sexy glam to a basic top. The loose fit keeps you cool and elongates the legs when paired with a nude Kurt Geiger pump. Record your adventures in these Smythson journals so you can relive them for years to come!

Now let’s take this print party to the next level. Time for print mixing!

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WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE

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From left to right: Eye Color Quad Tom FordBy Malene Birger Cirilla cropped topALDO TeitlerNew Look Bracelet manchette lisse effet superposéDolce & Gabbana Leopard Print Straight Leg TrouserDIANE VON FURSTENBERG Lytton Coil Leather ClutchZara yellow satin bow court shoes ShoeperwomanLe Labo Discovery Set – Eau de Parfums

If you have mastered pairing your prints with solids, then why not amp it up and mix your prints? Leopard is a neutral in my book and goes beautifully with plaids, stripes, and even floral as seen here. This pair is a great option as the leopard print is dark, so it calls just the right amount of attention without venturing into Peggy Bundy territory. Try this look for your next GNO (girls night out!) and know that you can dine and dance in comfort… or at least as long as your Zara heels let you! While we are trying new things why not test out this sampler of Le Labo fragrances? Stash them all in your DVF clutch and toss on your Asos cuff and Aldo ring, or if you want to rock some local finds then opt for an Emi & Eve cuff and a Bejeweled Bespoke ring…

If you love the leopard look then set your eyes upon these fearless females!

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THE POWER PLAY

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From left to right: OSCAR DE LA RENTA Sleeveless Jewelneck Crochet Peplum TopHouse of Harlow 1960 Meteora Drop EarringsLSA Garbo Champagne/Cocktail Glass 150ml Thick Blush Gold BandsMonki Nadia trousersTOPSHOP LipstickGIUSEPPE ZANOTTI 100mm Python Printed Leather Sandals – GoldEmporio Armani Large Tote Bag

For the fab female who’s not afraid to abandon her frock and kick back a couple cocktails, this one is for you. Be the centre of attention in stripes this season! This pair is from Monki and is perfect for hitting the party scene in something fabulously eye catching yet as comfy as your pajamas! Here we mix our prints again with this fantastic Oscar de la Renta crochet peplum top (check out ideas on how to wear peplums here). While going loose on the bottom it’s important to have a top that is fitted to balance the silhouette. Once dressed, slip into a few luxe accessories and paint your pout with this wine colored lippy from Topshop, and you are set to impress!

Need more black and white graphic inspiration? Check out how these ladies layer the look.

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Now you have a slew of ideas to help you tackle the printed pants trend! Fear not when walking amongst the racks and know that you can mix and match your way to a perfect pairing. Whether you choose to add a solid top to the look or go bold with a clashing combo, you know you have what it takes to create a look to love!

Check out this and more over at Sassy Hong Kong

Posted in Sabrina's Style, Sassy Hong Kong, Shopping, Style

Beat the Heat with these Great Looks!

Ugh! This is the first word, nay sound, that comes to mind when describing Hong Kong summer temps. The sweltering sun, the ever-climbing humidity, and the frequent downpours are enough to make anyone religiously stalk the Cathay website for fanfares elsewhere. What if I told you that you didn’t have to escape to feel comfy this summer? With a few simple styling solutions you can be cucumber cool on the hottest of HK days! Let’s take a look at how to stylishly beat the heat for this summer and beyond (because we all know that the heat doesn’t end come September!).

DRESS FOR SUCCESS

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The go-to option for torrid temperatures is the easy breezy dress. This mint striped Tibi option boasts cute cutouts on the sides to offer air con to your midriff. Keep the accessories in a barely there shade of nude with this Asos bag and fab Chanel flat (I have been coveting these puppies forever!). Top it off with a hat to hide a somewhat sweaty mop and offer a bit of much needed shade. Meanwhile, shades of bashful blush top your paws and pout alike, thanks to Dior and Bare Minerals respectively. Once you have added a slew of sleek gold rings, take a slow stroll to the flower market and scoop up some fresh summer blooms to fancy up your flat.

 

SHORT, SWEET AND TO THE POINT

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For the global nomad, take this sunny orange look out for a spin. Pleated shorts from Monki offer an aerated stride while the billowy blouse a la Marni will keep you cool. Sweep your hair into a messy topknot and finish with a thin headband for a chic topper. Down below, these Valentino gryphon sandals are lust worthy while this arm party from Tory Burch, Michael Kors and Daniel Wellington offers more affordable luxury. Snatch up anoversized leopard clutch to stash your glam cam and travel finds in. Time to hit the town in style!

 

THERE’S ONLY ONSIE WAY ABOUT IT

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When it’s time for a steamy night out on the town, reach for this cobalt romper from Shopbop. If you have been hard at work on those gams, then this is the perfect piece to debut your results! Lengthen the look even further by donning a pair of nude heels. May we recommend painting your tootsies with a very Sassy shade of pink?! As for the face, grab your Facetools brushes for flawless make up application. The brand was founded and recently launched here in Hong Kong by Sassy fave make up artist Natasha Sajnani! Once you are ready to face the crowd, stow yourstraw bag under your arm and off you go.

 

CUT IT OUT

pants

Monki Hope Sunglasses $105Zara Crop Top by Annie Greenabelle $185Jennifer Behr Silk Jersey Turban Headband – Black $1,535Rebecca Taylor Enchanted Garden Pant $2,285YVES SAINT LAURENT Rouge Pur Couture Pure Color Lipstick $270ModCloth Boho Sassy Hour Necklace $140Suede Zara ShoesWinking Eye Clutch $295

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You now have a multitude of ways to add some sizzle to your summer style without melting down. A cut out here, a pleat there and some billowing fabric… and you’re ready to take on the season. Add in a fan, a pretty parasol, and a handkerchief for those moments when you glisten more than one should and your summer survival wardrobe is complete. Now you can turn that ‘ugh’ into ‘ugh-mazing’!

 

Read this and more over at Sassy Hong Kong

Posted in Sassy Hong Kong, Shopping, Style

A Western Girl in Confinement

sabrina sikora by martice milton

After seven years in Hong Kong I have adapted to many things — the summers aren’t as hot as when I first arrived, the bones in foods don’t bother me anymore and the hills aren’t as difficult to traverse as they once were (and in heels!). I have changed the way I speak now using words like liftand queue and ending a multitude of phrases with “lah”. When so many things are same same but different, and usually for the better, why not add in a very old but new-to-me custom?

I’m talking about the practice of not leaving your home for a month and being looked after by a pui yuet, otherwise known as confinement! Many of my Chinese friends have done this and raved about the practice but I didn’t know a single Western girl in my circle who had tried it out. Well, this just seemed like one more thing I wanted to experience in Asia so for the month after my son was born, I was a Western girl confined!

What is confinement?

The practice of confinement is much more than just not leaving your house for the month after your child is born. It stems from the idea that when you give birth, your body loses a lot of warmth and allows wind to enter the body, resulting in health problems later on. The month is a time to restore the warmth and to heal — no cold foods or drinks are consumed, you don’t bathe or wash your hair, you keep covered and away from cool or windy spaces, and you take a variety of Chinese medicines to aid in the healing process. The name actually translates to “sitting the month”.

pui yuet or confinement nanny moves in with you full-time to prepare the foods and medicines, watch after the baby, and help guide you in what it is to be a new mother. Many are certified in a variety of child care classes including CPR, infant first aid, baby massage, pre/post-natal nourishment and Chinese herbal nourishment, to name a few. This first month is also the time when your child is most susceptible to illness so limiting their exposure to the outside world aids in optimal survival. This is not so much a concern now, but when the practice first originated it was very much a big deal!

As a first time mum with my family 8,000 miles away, confinement seemed like the way to go as I could heal, learn and bond with my baby while being very well taken care of by a pro! The challenge was finding a pui yuet that spoke enough English for us to get by, as my Cantonese is laughable (perhaps that will be the next thing I adapt to!). I saw this article on Sassy Mama and contacted every agency on the list. Out of the responses, I found E-Mother to be wonderfully professional and timely with their dealings. Within a week, Melisa set me up with an interview with a nanny that would be available during the time of my delivery. We sat down and asked all the questions we could think to ask and were very satisfied. We signed on to have our pui yuet do full confinement with me for the first month post-baby and then stay on as a night nurse for the following two months (Thank you Grace Lam for this tip! It is genius!).

The Environment 

I thought that I would’ve been bored out of my mind staying home for a month so in the preceding weeks, I stocked up on magazines and knitting projects and saved all my favorite TV shows. Some pui yuets advise to stay away from anything that may strain your eyes such as reading material and all screens (TV, computer, phone, etc.). Thankfully, mine didn’t insist on this so I was free to indulge. Even so, I rarely watched TV or read any of my stockpiled mags as my son was feeding every two hours so I always had something to do. When he finally went down for a nap I would catch up on thank you notes or a few emails or try to have a meal before his little clock registered chow time again.

Plus, we had family and friends over for visits basically every day. Add in the naps that I was ordered to take and the hours and days slipped by unbelievably fast. I left the house only for doctor’s visits and, during the last week, a quick dinner date with my husband (baby wasn’t on a bottle so we only had about an hour). Honestly, the few times we left the house I felt so frazzled between trying to figure out the taxi/car seat situation and managing the baby’s fluids that never seem to stay in his system that not leaving the house was A-Okay with me!

confinement cookbooks by sabrina sikora

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The Food

Our pui yuet was very surprised when I told her that I wanted to go the full on Chinese route. She assured me that she could make Western dishes but I insisted to go traditional. We agreed that if there was something that I really didn’t like that she would do a substitution. We never had to do this. The foods were awesome from bbq pork chops, to ginger chicken with choi sum, to this amazing ginger and soy whole steamed fish. Morning, noon, and night I had animal protein and a veg served with a bowl of steamed rice.

Though fruit and beef are not allowed on the menu, I looked forward to every meal and was never hungry. Many new moms are so busy caring for the baby that they forget to eat. This was not a problem for me. Baby would go down after a feed and I would be told to go eat. I cleaned every plate, much to our nanny’s surprise! The foods were rich and fatty which is good for creating a hearty supply of milk for a hungry tot. Before each meal I would have a bowl of herbal soup to aid in healing and increasing the milk supply. The soups are even tailored to the type of healing you need depending on your method of delivery. In addition to the warm soups, I drank multiple glasses of warm water and an herbal tea, which tasted very woodsy but helped get more fluids in me.

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The Chinese Medicine

The medicines were put into the tea and soups, some more potent than others. The first soups tasted like dates and chestnuts and were easy to sip. The later ones were far too intense for me so I would shoot them like I was back in the ‘Fong! I still got every one down though. The worst of the bunch was given at the end of confinement and contained fish maw and little worm-like things called cordyceps. These are actually parasites that grow on the backs of insects and eventually kill their host. Cordyceps also happened to be the most expensive ingredient starting at around $5,000 for a small pack! This was the first item on the list given to us in prep for my confinement. My husband’s jaw dropped when he saw the list of 20 plus things, assuming they were all were this expensive. Thankfully, nearly all the other ingredients were around the $10-20 range. Three months post-baby I am still taking cordycep soup three times a week (I’m told you can do so for the first 100 days — not something I was thrilled to hear!).

The No Bathing

This is the one thing that most people ask about when I mention that I did confinement. Honestly, I didn’t feel that gross as I was just sitting on the couch all day so I wasn’t working up a sweat. Dry shampoo, applied liberally, did a good enough job of making me presentable to guests. While you don’t take a normal bath or shower, you are allowed to bathe with special ginger water made by your pui yuet.

Around once or twice each week two huge pots were concocted, one more concentrated than the other, and carried to my bathtub. The smell was heavenly and reminded me of Christmas! With the less strong water I was allowed to wash my hair first then wash my body with the stronger version after. I sat on a small stool in the tub and poured the water over me. I found this time so relaxing that I really came to look forward to it and was sad when the month was up and I no longer got to have it. The “heat” from the ingredients in the water made me turn red as a tomato after each bath for around 30 minutes. No one warned me of this so after my first bath I was left running to the nanny declaring that I was allergic to bathing! She laughed and just told me to wait it out.

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The Baby

My baby boy was taken such good care of during the period of confinement. Between my husband, my mother, our helper, the pui yuet and myself, he was never left in want for anything. Feedings went like clockwork and he slept as much as possible even with his colic bouts. I learned a host of tricks to soothe and comfort him as well as the proper hygiene methods for caring for a little one.

When it was time to feed, our nanny would change his diaper then I would hear “Mommy, stand-by”. I would get my pillow ready and a few moments later a clean, though slightly fussy, baby would be gently dropped off. At night, the bedroom door would open and baby would be placed on my chest for his feeding and then collected after 30-40 minutes. I got as much sleep as possible for a new mum. I was even instructed to take naps during the day, an order that I happily followed.

The Challenges

To be honest, there were not many challenges for me during confinement. Because my baby was constantly surrounded by people, it seemed that he always had someone to hold him. This is great for making babies feel secure but when they will only sleep in someone’s arms it becomes tricky. Our nanny would take him post-feed and put him in the crib to sleep, which took some time to accomplish because as soon as his little head touched the mattress he was awake! After a few weeks of practice, it became easier to put him down for his naps.

The only other thing that I found difficult was trying to enforce a timed schedule with him. He demanded feedings every two hours and our nanny said most other babies were going for four hours. We tried delaying the feeding (much to the dismay of everyone in the building) which didn’t last long, so we ended up feeding on demand which resulted in a much calmer house. Our pui yuet also mentioned that feedings should only last 30 minutes but my little guy would snooze and snack, resulting in 40- to 60-minute sessions. She showed me that I could uncover him and tickle his feet and sides to make him keep eating which worked like a charm.

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The Result

A resounding YES to confinement! I will be doing this with every baby we have in Asia. I have never felt so well looked after and wonderfully nourished. Baby was also quite healthy and happy. There’s so much to learn when you are a first-time mum and having a pro on hand to advise is amazing! I can’t recommend this enough and feel that this was a service worth every dollar spent. Just having the peace of mind at night that baby is in their crib sleeping soundly with expert eyes watching over makes mama sleep better too. And we all know how important that precious sleep is those first few months! This was not a custom that I grew up knowing anything about but I am so glad to have been able to learn about it and experience it in Hong Kong. I cannot recommend this enough to all soon-to-be-mums out there!

E-Mother 

E-Mother also specialises in ‘pui yuet’ maternity nurses.

How much: Contact them for details or enquire here.

Where: 702 Wah Ying Cheong Central Building, 158-164 Queen’s Road, Central, Hong Kong

Contact details: 3583 2543

Gorgeous photos of Sabrina and her baby boy are courtesy of Martice Milton. Check out more of her amazing work at www.marticemiltonphotography.com

Read this and more over at Sassy Mama HK!

Posted in Hong Kong, Random Goodies, Sassy Mama

Trend Watch: Backpacks!

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By now I am sure you have noticed that pretty much every 90’s trend has come full circle and is once again gracing the runways and the store shelves. While I don’t care much for the baby doll dresses, large floral prints, and dare I say it… grunge (eek!), there is one craze that I am happy to get behind. Welcome back, backpacks! Let’s take a gander at a few of this seasons faves and some cool style inspiration for how to wear them!

Beginner

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From left to right: 3.1 phillip lim Pashli Backpack in Black – $6,940Stella McCartney Beckett faux leather backpack – $10,220What It Snakes Backpack – $465Alexander Wang Skeletal Backpack In Sesame With Rhodium – $8,490ALDO Bowie – $660

For those just jumping on the backpack bandwagon I suggest starting simple. Keep your colours neutral, your lines clean, and these simple shoulder sacks will take you anywhere. The 3.1 Phillip Lim Pashli was an instant hit at the media preview, with bloggers in near fisticuffs to get their hands on it! If you want to try the look for less, then thisnude faux snake number from NastyGal works wonders (and for only $465 – bargain).

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Treat these puppies just like you would any classic bag and pair them with everything from pedal pushers to pencil skirts, just watch as your outfits are instantly elevated to street chic cool!

Intermediate

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If you feel you have mastered entry level status and want to amp up your efforts then add a dash of colour! With so many gorgeous hues out there you may end up buying more than you originally planned. I have been lusting after this Grafea one for months, but I just can’t seem to decide what colour to get!

 

 

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From left to right: Proenza Schouler PS Large Backpack – $16,670Grafea Sky Leather Rucksack Sky Blue $2,360River Island White quilted rucksack - $395 TOPSHOP Clean Pocket Backpack - $445The Cambridge Satchel Company 11 Inch Leather Satchel Backpack (Apple) - $1,770

Here’s the blue version above, but check their site for all the other options. I am also head over heels for the Cambridge Satchel take on the look. All I need now is a sheer floaty dress and a bike with a bell, and I’m off on my weekend adventures!

Advanced

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Ready to add real flash to your look? Mix your prints and add some zing with relaxed rucksacks in a fun print. Go luxe with the classic LV monogram or Chanel graffiti bag (the only way to do grunge is with Chanel!). Tory Burch brings out your wild side with this sporty leopard number, while the striped Forever 21 knapsack harkens to summers by the beach.

Clearly if you aim for the “advanced” look then you already know how to mix prints like a pro, but if you need a refresher then just remember to stick with the same tonal family and to vary the size of your prints. And, of course, consider leopard a neutral!

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Now you have a new fab way to stash your stuff in style. Whether you choose to go ultra-chill for weekend usage, or clean and streamlined to hold all your office accoutrement, you have options a plenty! Plus, as with all backpacks, they leave you hands free so you can do more important things like work and make important phone calls Instagram and sip champers! Buy a backpack and thank me later…

Originally posted at Sassy Hong Kong

Posted in Inspiration, Sassy Hong Kong, Shopping, Style

J. Crew Opens Two Stores in Hong Kong- Here’s the Sneak Peek!

Jenna Lyons of J. Crew by Sabrina Sikora

Here’s a little preview of the goodies now available at Hong Kong’s hottest new shopping destination- J Crew ! Sassy got the sneak peek of the shop the night before the grand reveal and we were beyond excited to raid the racks! Better still we got to meet the infamous Jenna Lyons (again!) and the main man himself, Mickey Drexler! Click on over to Sassy for more info about the shops and scroll down to view more in store pics by me!

j. crew by sabrina sikora

j crew by sabrina sikora

J Crew by sabrina sikora

Geneva of A Pair and a Spare with Mickey Drexler or J. Crew

Geneva of A Pair & a Spare and Mickey Drexler.

J. Crew by sabrina sikora

 

 

 

 

Jenna lyons by sabrina sikora

Thank you Jenna for taking the time for a quick portrait session amidst all the opening festivities!

 

Posted in Hong Kong, Photography, Sassy Hong Kong, Shopping, Style