Category Archives: General AsianCajuns Info

Welcome to the new AsianCajuns!

Cath and I wanted to start a new journey with the site to help us learn how to live with less. This is why:

  1. We wanted to be more thoughtful consumers: buying quality over quantity
  2. Now in our 30s, we really want to develop our style and not be as easily swayed by the siren song of trends and fast fashion
  3. The world deserves better than us constantly buying stuff and then throwing it into landfills (so we are oh-so-humbly trying to save the world — in a teeny tiny way)
  4. Spend less money on stuff and more time on experiences
  5. Discover and share sustainable and ethical brands and practices
  6. Inspire you to join us in this process

And let me emphasize the word “process.” Cath and I don’t consider ourselves minimalist and we aren’t aiming to create perfect Pin-able capsule wardrobes. We consider AsianCajuns as a workbook and journal of our evolution to live with less. It doesn’t have to look a certain way, it just has to feel good to us and work for us.

Over the past five years, I’ve whittled down my belongings quite a bit. It all started in 2011 when I moved to Scotland with Matt with just two suitcases each. After four years abroad, I’m back in the states and currently have way more than what two suitcases can hold, but still not much when compared to the average American household. I live in a 700 sq ft apartment and don’t have a car. I only live with my husband and we have no kids or pets. We live in an urban area in a large city that allows us to walk everywhere or take public transportation. We’ve prioritised this lifestyle, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only way to live with less or has to fit within these parameters.

Cath lives in a 1200 sq ft house in greater Atlanta (i.e. a car is an absolute necessity) with her partner and two large dogs. She didn’t have to downsize to move across the ocean, but during 2015, she has slowly gotten rid of more and more things. Living with less will look different for both of us, but our goals are the same.

We both realized that we wanted to continue to live with less because it made us feel so good. Less overwhelmed by things, our tidied and decluttered rooms make us feel lighter and more free to think beyond stuff. I definitely wouldn’t have had the headspace, luggage space or budget to travel as much as I have if I hadn’t gotten rid of so much stuff.

Once in awhile I’ll remember a necklace or chair that I’ve given away that I miss, but overwhelmingly it’s the experiences I’ve been able to have that give me so much more. Swimming naked in the Mediterranean, eating fasulye on a rooftop in Istanbul, and drinking whisky by a roaring fire in Edinburgh, make the necklace and chair seem unremarkable and forgetable.

So we hope you join us in this process and let us know what you think. We’ll be sharing with you what we get rid of and you can hopefully watch us in our process to live with less. That doesn’t mean we’ll be anti-consumers though! We’ll just be much more thoughtful consumers. And we want to be honest and show you what we buy as well and explain why we thought a purchase was necessary.

We can’t wait to hear from you! We’ve been blogging together since 2007 and AsianCajuns has evolved throughout the years, but this is by far our most comprehensive change. We’d love to know what you think and if you’re interested in living with less too!

Time for A Change

asiancajunsnotebook_web

For the past few years, Lar and I have been struggling with AsianCajuns.com for a while. We started this blog eight years ago as a kind of lifestyle/fashion/all-things-we-like blog. Then it became almost exclusively about fashion. And then when Lar moved abroad it became about staying in touch and sharing our separate lives and the focus was a mix of fashion, travel and food.

Now that Lar is back in the states (best thing ever, btw) we no longer feel a need to share our lives with each other through blogging because we can actually talk to each other every single day. Plus, fashion just really isn’t our thing anymore. Let me rephrase. Fast, trendy fashion isn’t our thing anymore. At the ripe old age of 32, we’re no longer excited by trips to Zara, H&M (et. al.). Staying on trend is no longer thrilling. In fact, it now feels a little depressing.

This change has come about slowly and for a number of reasons. We’re getting older and wiser – or at least we are getting older. And that means things like travel, owning a home, saving up for furniture and other adult things have taken priority over clothes.

Growing up I was always the more practical twin and in college Lar was the one who was always buying tons of cute clothes. When she moved abroad, I became the twin with all of the clothes and billions of accessories while Lar while was the poster child for minimalism. Then Lar got the KonMari bug. Then I did. And now we’re much more conscious of the clothes we buy. I still probably have more clothes than Lar, but significantly less than I had even a few months ago. On top of all of this, the whole capsule wardrobe, zero waste home, ethical consumerism, and minimalism movements have totally got us excited – as excited as we used to get about trendy fashions.

So with all that being said, Lar and I are moving AsianCajuns in a more focused direction. We want it to become our experiment space where we can share our journey of living more simply. That doesn’t mean we’ll turn into monotone minimalists that live in perfectly edited Scandinavian-inspired homes – not even close! We’re human after all. Humans that are on relatively tight budgets and are fans of a lived-in look that’s not perfect.

The first category we’ll be focusing on will be clothes because we still love clothes. And even though we’ve both cleaned out our closets, there’s still a lot more to explore. We’re both intrigued by the idea of a capsule wardrobe. So we’ll be blogging about what we have, how we make it work, and why we decide to buy certain items if and when that happens.

I hope you can join us on our journey and find it interesting. Even though we’ve been mulling over the future of our a blog for a while now, one of the things that we’ve consistently loved about it is our readers. The blogging world is an amazing (albeit shrinking) community that means so much to us. So stay in touch and let us know what you think!

P.S.: As Lar has mentioned in previous posts, we’ll have a new design up soon to reflect our changing direction. Plus, we’ll start posting regularly once we’ve worked out all of the backend kinks.

December Already?!

leaf-face

Hi Lovely Readers,

Thank you for your patience as we work toward the new AsianCajuns. Cath and I have been so excited coming up with our new idea(s) and posts that are in the works. Right now we’re just tinkering away on getting some schnazzier stuff happening in the background.

In addition to AsianCajun-ing, I’m still frolicking in what is left of the autumn leaves in Seattle (see photo). Cath is finishing up her very last week as a master’s student at Georgia State — huzzah!

This December, we hope you are enjoying lots of mulled wine, chocolate gelt and lots of hygge-ing! We can’t wait to start afresh with you guys in the new year!

xoxo,

Lar (and Cath)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving--huzzah

We hope you are having a wonderful Thanksgiving week (or just a wonderful week in general if you live outside of the USA — belated happy Thanksgiving to our Canadian readers)!

This photo (above) is from Thanksgiving two years ago. Cath had flown over to Scotland to hang out in a drafty mansion with me for a week and it was heavenly. This year we will be apart again (boo hiss), but we will both be reading from The Thanksgiving Reader at our respective Thanksgiving celebrations. Have you guys heard of it? I found out about it through Seth Godin’s blog and I think it’s such a beautiful way to share a day of giving thanks with people you love. Let us know if you guys are doing the reader too!

Most years I avoid the shopping deluge that is Black Friday, and this year is no different as I’m completely skint. But if you are partaking in the discounted smorgasbord this coming weekend, definitely check out Small Business Saturday to support your local, independent businesses (Cath will be overseeing the going-ons in Decatur) and if you are more digitally inclined, check out our Shopbop‘s discount bonanza happenings (below):

thanksgiving-sale

The New AsianCajuns is .

revamp

. coming to an internets near you soon! Thank you guys for your patience while we work through a new design (and new concept — exciting stuffs!). We’re aiming to have this relaunched just after Thanksgiving, so please stay tuned. In the meantime, Cath and I are faithful instagrammers, so if you are missing unnecessary pics of on-tap Kombucha (me) or oh-so-beautiful shots of delicious Atlanta life (Cath), please click below:
Cath’s instagram
Lar’s instagram

And until we see you on the flip side, have a wonderful November! xoxo

No Longer an Ocean Apart

banana-twins

Hi Lovely Readers

I’m home! Our blog header is now obsolete. Cath and I are no longer an ocean apart, we’re just five minutes away by car while I’m here in Atlanta. And that feels so right!

I miss Edinburgh to bits, but having such a warm homecoming makes it much more bearable. I do think that’s the hardest part about getting to be lucky enough to live in different places — you always leave a bit of your heart somewhere, don’t you?

At the moment, Cath and I are soaking up as much time together as possible before I head out to my new home (Seattle!) in a few weeks. So please excuse the blogging patchiness over the next few days. We’ll update soon with pics from Croatia, Atlanta and Amelia Island.

In the meantime I leave you with one photo from Croatia’s Plitvice National Park and one photo from lovely Atlanta — Ponce City Market and the Beltline are dreamy. Two lovely places my eyeballs would never get tired of looking at.

xoxoxo

Lar (and Cath)

plitvice

ponce-city-market

Transitions

asiancajuns-in-scotland

cath-and-troy

ox-and-finch

cath-and-co

green-juice

Hi Lovely Readers!

So Cath was here and then what felt like a blink of the eye she was gone again! Six days is just not enough time. We galavanted around Edinburgh and Glasgow eating lots of nice food and drinking lots of nice drinks. I can’t believe it’s been just a few days since she left because it feels like weeks.

But I shouldn’t whinge. I’ll see her in seven weeks time in Atlanta! I’m both so excited to be back stateside and extremely sad to be leaving Edinburgh, our home for the last four years.

The next few weeks sound like a traveler’s heaven: one week in Edinburgh, then one week in Cornwall, back to Edinburgh for two weeks, and then a road trip around Croatia for 13 days before we fly into Atlanta. We’ll have a few weeks in Atlanta before we move to Seattle. It sounds exciting and dreamy . and terrifying.

The traveling sounds just perfect, but around the days of travel and exploration are packing and long good byes to friends in Edinburgh. I hate to think about leaving even if change can be exciting and refreshing. Ending the chapter in one city and country and starting afresh in a new one is thrilling, but also very hard. Learning to make new friends, finding a job, working through the culture shock of moving to a different country again (even if it’s home), feeling homesick for Edinburgh and Atlanta and Washington D.C.

I’m a homebody that’s ended up as a sort of nomad and my mind and heart become bamboozled when major change happens. My instinct is to wish the messy time of transition over so I can just soothe my ruffled feathers and settle on a secure perch at the end of the journey. But I know within that “mess” you miss so much if you choose to not sit with that discomfort and fluttering feeling in your chest. So this time I’m going to try to let it happen — and enjoy the change even while being terrified. And I hope you guys don’t mind coming along for the ride!

I’m Moving to Seattle!

Seattle border

Hi Lovely Readers

Cath and I apologise for leaving AsianCajuns in the lurch these past few weeks. We’ve been having a think about things because I’ll be moving back to the States. Cath and I will no longer be ‘Twins blogging an ocean apart’!!!

I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to be closer to my twinie — yes, still a hefty plane ride away, but at least on the same land mass with the same network providers. Matt and I will miss Edinburgh and the UK so very much as we feel very much at home here. But Matt has heard the siren call of the Pacific Northwest (i.e. he got a post doc position at the University of Washington), and, apparently, we only move to very rainy cities.

The next few months we’ll be traveling quite a bit as things wrap up here and we try to soak up all this nearby European goodness and see as much of Britain as we can. Change and travel always get my mind whirring and that lead to Cath and I deciding we’d like to change things up here on the blog.

We tend to reassess a lot these days because we know blogging isn’t a popular platform anymore. And over the past four years whilst I’ve been here we’ve really used the blog selfishly — as the way for the two of us to stay connected. It’s been lovely, but we weren’t really sure if it’s that satisfying to anyone else! Also, we’re hoping to see much more of each other when I’m stateside and won’t need AsianCajuns to be our public pen pal letter anymore.

We plan to keep blogging though — and more! But we are going to shift our blog topics slightly and get a bit more focused. I know I’m being very vague, but Cath and I want to sort of see where this takes us and if anyone has any use for it.

So if you have been a long-time reader, thank you very much for sticking with us through these many years (eight years of blogging — I feel ancient in blog years!). We’ve loved getting to know so many of you and we hope you enjoy where AsianCajuns goes next!

Ooodles of XOXOXO,

Lar

(Seattle drawing by moi)

Cath update

Audrey knitting

Dear Readers

We are so sorry things have gone a little quiet here the last few weeks.

As you know from previous posts, Cath got an infection after her endometriosis surgery at the beginning of the month. She is still at home recuperating and sloughing through the last week of her heavy-duty antibiotics.

I’ve been skyping her daily. Sometimes she feels good enough to sit up and chat and other days she’s too nauseated to even look at the screen when we talk. It’s been a long, hard month for her, to say the least.

But she is on the mend. And every day I know she’s getting closer to that moment when she can feel healthy and whole again.

Once we’ve all gotten a bit more rest, we’ll both be back here blogging as much as we can. In the meantime know that your kind comments mean the world to both Cath and myself.

Much Love,

Lar (and Cath)

p.s. The pic above of Audrey Hepburn knitting is from Cath’s Pinterest account — she just pinned it! I can’t tell you how happy it makes me that she feels good enough to do that! It might sound silly if you haven’t been ill for a long while, but feeling good enough to do that is a HUGE baby step forward. Huzzah!

Today I .

Dear Cath

I know how miserable you feel at this moment. Those antibiotics feel like they are not only killing all the bacteria in your body but you as well. I know how exhausted your body is from fighting first the surgery and then the infection and now the drugs. I know it feels never-ending and that even watching “Poirot” for seven hours straight doesn’t take all of that away.

So I hope a little distraction might help.

This will be the most mundane post to anyone reading this (sorry!). I’m going to take you to Glasgow with me. On a work trip. Nothing fancy. It’s what I did today — this Tuesday in January.

I took a train and then sat in a seminar all day and then took another train home. But I’m going to take you with me because while I was taking photos of myself sitting in a Pret A Manger and on the train, it felt like I spending the day with you. Or at least I imagined I was.

I hate not being home with you right now. And because I can’t be there, I want you to see exactly what I’m doing while you are waiting to put all this pain and the hospital visits and the nausea behind you. I want you to feel like you were with me and not having to think about when you need to take the next round of antibiotics and worrying about your temperature.

So without further ado, today I .

Woke up at 6:30 am and dragged myself out of bed — cold mornings are the worst. By 7:30 am I was out the door and heading down Princes Street to the train station (first by bus and then by legs). The sun was still an hour from cresting some distant horizon, so the sky was a dark blue with a turquoise blush around the edges:

lothian bus

How many daily commutes have a castle in them? I shouldn’t take it for granted, but I do — daily:

edinburghdawn

So we’ve past the Castle mound and now we’re almost to the train station. It’s just before the Balmoral clock tower and just after the spires of the Walter Scott monument (blurry photo poof of intense pace of walking — or partial awakeness — or just bad photog skillz):

princes street

Mmmm train station! I love trains and train stations even on a weekday morning. They have the same buzz of excitement as an airport without the intensity of airport security and, you know, being in the air. Trains are anti-faff. You’re on the platform and then you’re in the train in minutes:

waverly

Oh I almost forgot! My favorite part of train travel — snackies! There’s usually a mini M&S at most larger stations in the UK and it’s fun to get nuts or chocolates or entire picnic lunch avec some mini wiiine! I just got these guys today as it was 8 am and I had already consumed a large bowl of muesli:

m&s

So back to the train. The trip from Edinburgh to Glasgow is nice because you go from city to city but in between are these stretches of rolling hills and picturesque pastures (today they were dusted in confectioner’s snow):

snowy hills

But the train was cold so I stayed bundled (and sleepy looking):

sleepy

About 55 minutes later and we’re in Glasgow, Edinburgh’s larger, less expensive, more relaxed cousin:

glasgow moma

I got to Glasgow ahead of schedule so I thought I would stop into Pret. I wasn’t really hungry as I had already had breakie number one at home, but the porridge looked so good and piping hot:

porridge

And this is where I spent my day, the Teacher building — home to many-a-seminar:

glasgow teacher building

Seven hours after learning about the intricacies of print, I was back out on Glasgow’s shopping street (remember you stood by David Tennant’s Dr Who’s TARDIS there just 14 months ago?):

buchanan street

By the time I hopped back on the train and walked home I was cold and tired. Back in the flat looking .

tired

And then Matt came home and we ate a pile of (gluten-free, quinoa and rye) toast. As you do after Tuesday Train Travels.

I hope you felt like you were there, Cath! Every heart-pounding intense porridge moment!

I so, so wish I could speed up this process for you and make it so much less painful and exhausting. Just know that you can get through this and it will be over soon, even though it doesn’t feel like it. You see in the photo above I still wear the “lucky charm” necklace all the time –nearly daily. That will work its magic soon if nothing else will.

Love you more than all the train snackies in the world (times infinity),

Lar