We continue getting you ready for the launch of our Far East-inspired Skyscraper line with a guest post from Courtney of Inside the Loop. Living in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia, Courtney is just the person to inspire your adventure-seeking side! And, if you are staring down the barrel of a summer at the office, at least you have the Skycraper line and some Inside The Loop-inspired day dreams to keep you stylish and happy.
Tell us about yourself and how you landed in Kuala Lumpur?
I am an American girl from the Deep South with a penchant for travel, city life and incredible food. I've lived in Lousiana, Texas, New York and now, Malaysia, and prior to coming overseas, I worked in marketing and public relations. We've been in Kuala Lumpur for over a year for my husband's work, and I get the luxury of tagging along on his travels from time to time!
What do you love/appreciate about living in Malaysia?
The colors! The food! The sunshine! The melting pot of cultures! But my absolute favorite is the close proximity to so many unbelievable travel destinations. I still pinch myself when we hop on a plane for international weekend getaways. It's a surreal experience and I try my best to soak it all in every single day, not taking a minute for granted. Oh, and the fact that this country has 16 public holidays a year isn't a bad thing either.
You seem to be traveling often. How do you pick where you want to go next?
I'm not picky when it come to travel; I want to see it all! There are so many spots in this world to take in, we often book spur of the moment and blindly. It doesn't take much to make us happy as long as we're on the go. I never want grass growing under my feet. Next up on my lust list of travels: Tionman Island and Pulau Redang, Malaysia; Luang Prabang, Laos; Chiang Mai, Thailand; the backwaters of India; The Ubud area of Bali; Vietnam, Colombo, Sri Lanka.
What design element/color/item do you find yourself coming back to again and again?
Color. I've never been very good at wearing black or neutrals; life's too short! The more color, prints and patterns, the happier I am. I'm also a firm believer in dresses and skirts for being on the go. They're the easiest items to pack and most comfortable in this tropical heat.
What project are you currently working on?
Turning my house into a home. Living in a rental can wreak havoc on both you and your home's personality, so I'm slowly giving it life. Oversized rugs have helped break up the stark marble floors and our kitchen patio has just been filled with eggplant, lime, pepper and herb plants. Small steps, but incredible mood lifting results!
Where do you find your fashion inspiration?
Though is sounds trite, it all comes back to travel. It's mesmerizing to wander through Indian bazaars and see so much glitz and glamour! Or to watch the field workers in Indonesia use the most amazing woven backpacks to carry crops. After a weekend in Cambodia, I swore I couldn't leave without buying my very own checkered "karma" scarf. Whether it is local fabric, work uniforms or indigenous trends, I've never left a single locale without finding something to inspire me. And I love that people are often unaware of the beauty in their local dress.
Tell us about your fashion must-haves this summer.
Shoes with enough oomph to make an outfit sing. The seasons never change in Malaysia so I constantly cycle through the same mundane outfits. Fancy footwear is the best way to keep my clothes feeling new again.
Why did you decide to start a blog?
When I left the New York fashion industry I missed the creative environment most. I then created a place to record and journal all of my design finds and favorite links. It's introduced me to the most unbelievable network of people!
If you could splurge on something big, what would it be?
Not very fashion-y, but I'm in desperate need of a new computer. My little laptop-that-could is maxed out and my photography hobby is quickly wearing out my eyes on the tiny 15" screen.
Can you share any insider tips for visitors to Southeast Asia?
Don't skip the small spots. Some of our favorite destinations have been off-the-beaten path like places like Yogyakarta, Indonesia and Siem Reap, Cambodia. It's easier to become more engrossed in your experience when it's a smaller destination than when you stick to tourist circles in the larger hot-spot cities. Also, don't be afraid to veer away from Loney Planet and try a recommendation from a local!
And do you have a guest room?
We love a full house, so we're always prepared for plenty of guests! In fact, the two extra rooms and a queen-sized blow-up mattress are waiting to be visited.
There you have it! A new friend and a place to stay on your next adventure! Just be sure to bring a flowy Shabby Apple dress along!