Category Archives: Miscellaneous

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

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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?!

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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 .

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. 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

Slipper weather*

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Seattle is known for being rainy and grey, but last week we had beautiful weather. Crisp blue skies and just enough of a chill for a jacket and a warm mug of apple cider. But all the fall loveliness made me realise I was lacking two fall/winter essentials: a cozy robe and fluffy slippers.

I hopped onto Shopbop‘s site and immediately fell for this fleece robe (it has pom-poms!) and these warm faux shearling slippers. I spent all Saturday morning (and — ahem — afternoon) curled up on the couch wrapped in fuzziness. My hibernation skills are going to be on form this winter.

If the cooler weather has you dreaming of a new item or two for your closet, check out Shopbop’s Friends and Family sale. You get to take 25% off your order if you use the code INTHEFAM25. The sale runs from Midnight on Tuesday until Thursday at 11:59pm. Happy cozy-Fall shopping, everyone!

shopbopsale

*Disclaimer: this post promotes our sponsor Shopbop. By clicking on the ad on the right to make any purchases, Cath and I get a small fee — which will help us continue to grow AsianCajuns. Be ready for cha-cha-cha-changes in the near future!

No Longer an Ocean Apart

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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

The KonMari Method: My Closet

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After visiting Lar in Scotland last month, I was so impressed with how organized and spacious her 550 square foot flat felt. It’s all because of her devotion to Marie Kondo’s “life changing tidying-up” techniques. Read Lar’s original KonMari post if you’re unfamiliar with the concept. So I decided it was high time for me to jump on the tidying-up bandwagon and get started with the hardest category (for me, at least): clothes.

I’m totally embarrassed to show these before photos, but without them, you wouldn’t get the full “life changing” feel. So, here you go. My “closet” before:

Before_Konmari

before_hangers

My house was built in 1947 and has teeny, tiny closets by 2015 standards. Troy uses the small closet in the master bedroom and I use the second bedroom as my closet. I always imagined getting built-ins one day, but not anytime soon. So my closet consisted of two Ikea clothing racks, a Target cube storage unit and piles of shoes. Yes. I was ashamed of my closet.

before_drawers

So I spent one Sunday sorting through all of my clothes category by category and deciding which pieces “sparked joy” and were worth keeping. Marie Kondo believes that you have to sort through similar items all at once. So that means going through every item of clothing in your house – winter/summer clothes, coats, pjs – everything. It was pretty overwhelming to see exactly how many tops, pants, bags, scarves, jewelry, shoes etc. I had.

before_bottoms

Before_bags

It took at least five hours: sorting everything, deciding what to keep, bagging up everything to give away, deciding what to fold and hang, folding almost everything (another Marie Kondo technique), reorganizing, and putting everything away. I gave away over nine trash bags full of clothes, shoes and jewelry to Second Life, my local thrift store. And after all of that, this is what I have left:

After_konmari

The photo above includes all of my clothes (minus jackets and coats), shoes, and scarves that I currently own and it feels amazing! Everything except some blouses and four dresses are folded KonMari style:

KonMari_folding

Including my socks and underwear. Yep. Underwear gets folded.

after_socks

The fascinator is the only hat I kept and out of 20+ scarves, I only kept three:

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Apart from five rings and three bangles, this board contains all of my jewelry:

after_jewelry

And these are the bags that I kept:

after_bags

Part of me can’t believe I gave away so much and the other part of me can’t believe I kept so much stuff for so long. It’s been a week since I’ve done my big clean-out and I still feel great about it. The only items I’m missing are a good black cardigan (the one I owned got a lot of use but it didn’t spark joy because it was shapeless and worn-looking), another pair of jeans (I only kept one pair!), and a winter coat.

The best part was that I didn’t buy any new organizational items. I used all the furniture I already have. Yes, someday I would like to own a proper dresser, but I’m fine spending my time saving up for something I really like. Until then, the Target cube unit will do just fine.

If you want more KonMari inspiration, read Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, peruse Lar’s KonMari purse post and follow my friend’s KonMari-devoted Instagram account. Also Goop has a pretty great KonMari folding guide complete with videos.

Sorting through my clothes is only the beginning. I’d like to spend one to two weekends a month tackling different categories. I think books are up next followed by all of my papers. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes!

The Red Door Gallery, Edinburgh

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Sometimes it feels like globalization has made shopping in the developed world so homogenized. No matter what city you visit, you know you’ll find an H&M, Zara, Gap and Urban Outfitters. Don’t get me wrong, I do my fair share of chain store shopping, but I’m always on the search for something unique. Remember Falsi Gioielli in Florence? Well, The Red Door Gallery in Edinburgh is kind of like that. Unlike Falsi Gioielli, it’s not hard to find. It’s located in a very touristy area in Edinburgh and I love to visit it every time I’m in town.

It’s a tiny shop/gallery, but it’s chock-a-block with British-made prints, pins, paper goods, jewelry, pillows, and cards. Lar and I bought matching-ish necklaces by Lucie Ellen (check out here Etsy shop here) a few weeks ago and I wear mine almost every day. I also have a couple of prints from The Red Door Gallery framed in my house.

I would have taken even more photos of the interior but the shop was so crowded that I couldn’t get a decent shot without someone’s head moving into view. Ah well. I suppose that means you just have to visit yourself to see what it’s like.

red_door_gallery_window

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Lar also introduced me to Flux in Leith. I stupidly forgot to take pictures there, but you can check out their brightly-colored website here.

Tipple + Rose Tea Parlor and Apothecary

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Remember last week when I said my trip to Edinburgh made me we want explore more cafes/eateries in Atlanta? Well, done and done! Tipple & Rose Parlor and Apothecary opened up last week in Virginia Highland and I made my way over there on Saturday. I love tea shops – the promise of warm scones with clotted cream or, at the very least, a quiet place to have a cuppa and read a book. Tipple & Rose does not disappoint. It’s got a great airy, laid-back vibe with a hint of Victoriana.  You have a choice of 80 kinds of tea (you can smell each one at the counter before ordering), crumpets, house-made scones, clotted cream, cakes, pies and a number of salads and sandwiches including vegan options.

Since it was so hot out on Saturday (and Sunday and Monday and Tuesday and forever in Atlanta), I ordered a rooibos over ice, vegan kale salad and a blueberry and white chocolate scone. Yes, it’s a weird combination, but it was perfect for the mood I was in and it was all so good. I can’t wait to take Lar here when she gets into town in September.

Iced_rooibos

My friend Brittany joined me and fell in love with the giant Victorian arm chair she’s sitting in (note, we both got iced teas because it’s so unbearably hot):

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These are all the teas at the counter that you can take a sniff of before ordering:

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Since it’s part apothecary, Tipple & Rose carries a number of all-natural, locally made bath products. Little Barn Apothecary is one of my favorite local brands. I was really tempted to buy a bottle of the jasmine ocean water:

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Bathroom selfie, had to do it because the natural light was so pretty (outfit blog post coming soon):

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My very last semester of grad school starts up in a few weeks. I might spend my weekends studying at Tipple & Rose – that would make me actually look forward to all of the work I have to do!