Ann Krembs is a busy lady - blogger, librarian, mum, Fab 40's mover and shaker and certified stylist with a instagram account worth following even just for her fantastic insta-stories!
She recently came back from a trip to India where she lived a few years ago with her family and I got to spend an afternoon at her house talking make up and dress ups, discussing DIY, life BK (before kids), HK and AK (after kids) plans. We covered everything from eyelash extensions to button shops and Beijing.
Name: Ann Krembs
Hometown: Spokane, Washington USA
Current Residence: Hong Kong (5 years)
Your Scent: Narciso Rodriguez For Her- It’s a funny story. When I was living in Bombay, there was a mother at the school I was working at called Ann, and I taught her son. She would always come into the library and I’d be like Oh my goodness, you smell amazing! She smelt so good! I’d tell her every time I saw her and then one day I came back to my office and there sitting on my desk was a bottle of this perfume. That was in 2007 so I’ve been wearing this for 10 years! I can’t smell it on me anymore, and my husband can’t either but people still comment on it.
Your style in three words: Sporty - Boho - Chic (Or at least I like to think it might be that! Instead of chic others might say funky! Haha.)
Can you give a bit of a background to how you came to be in Hong Kong?
My husband and I are on our 20th year living overseas - 20 years married and 20 years teaching internationally. We got married in 1997, and five days later we moved to El Salvador to teach at the American school there for 2 years. We then lived and taught in Saudi Arabia (Jedda) for two more years with an airline company; we had airline benefits, so we travelled like banshees all over the world - this was BK (before kids). We then went to Venezuela, had our two kids there, and taught at a great school. Then the mini coup with Chavez happened, and we had to move. I had finally become a librarian there, but we lost half the school population because of the mini coup, so they cut my position, and we had to move. We then went to India and stayed there for five years at the American School of Bombay. Our kids were toddlers there, and we lived in an apartment about the size of what we live in now - on the beach which was amazing! But by the time they were 6 and 7 years old, we felt that they needed a yard, a dog, being able to ride a bike. They were actually doing fine in India, but we felt they needed something more, so that’s when we moved to Beijing. I’ll be honest, I didn’t like it. In fact I couldn't stand it, but the kids loved it. We had a fireplace and Rani [the family dog named after the Hindi word for princess], the housing was great, they had good friends and space to play, but the pollution really was horrific. At Thanksgiving in November of 2011 we decided to apply for jobs here in HK. We had interviews on Tuesday and Thursday, and on Friday got offered the jobs! We were like Yeah! We’re moving to Hong Kong! We had always wanted to teach here.
When we first moved to HK, we lived on a boat in Aberdeen for 3 weeks - it was a disaster! The electricity would blow, and then we’d have to call the guy on land to turn it back on, but if he wasn’t there we had to go to the land to flip the switch. It didn’t last long. But now we are on year 5, living happily in Stanley, and we will probably stay for a while - at least until after our youngest daughter is finished with high school or the year after at least. We really love and enjoy our lives here in Hong Kong.
What inspired you to start Kremb De La Kremb?
Ever since my husband and I moved overseas in 1997, I’ve always compiled photo albums from all the places we lived and the travels we’ve had. Then with the rise of digital cameras, I noticed I wasn’t printing out my pictures as much; plus being overseas I knew family back home wanted to see pics of the kids. I started Kremb de la Kremb while living in India during 2006. It started as a family blog. Fast forward to 2012 when we were still living in Beijing, Instagram had just started, my #ootd fascination began, and I enrolled to become a stylist through the London College of Style. The kids were starting to tween, they had their own Instagram accounts, and they were starting to request permission for any of their photos to be on the blog. With the move to HK, I made the split and started posting my style inspirations and DIY projects. Occasionally, with permission of course, the kids make it onto the blog. Also, because we travel so much, some travel posts are included. And of course I write about beauty every now and then—for example finding the very best red lipstick out there is a favourite of mine. I’ll try them all! The niche I prefer though is style, so for the most part Kremb de la Kremb has now become my musings on my own personal style. I love getting dressed, and I hope to help others love it too. The best thing we can wear is confidence, so I try to promote that accessory as well. If we feel great in what we wear, we are going to look great!
Where is your fashion and DIY inspiration drawn from normally?
Usually, if I see something I really like, I’ll often ask myself, Could I make that? Other times when something is outrageously expensive, I’ll think, Could I figure out how to make something similar? Many times the answer is yes. For example, these Miu Miu inspired pumps were created because I passed by the store in Landmark and fell in love with what I saw! They were so special. Then I realised I had a patent black pair of pumps I wasn’t wearing and it’d be super easy to poke a hole on the outer side of the shoe and string the ribbon through them. Presto! I had some Miu Miu look-alikes in under 10 minutes. Basically, I’m always observing fashion and trends. I read blogs and magazines, I follow style influencers on Instagram, and I people watch in the streets of Hong Kong. I browse both online shops and the ones on the street. If I see something on someone that I like, I’m always one to hand out a compliment and also ask them where they got what they’re wearing. I’m never shy in that way. Basically, I’m always looking at style, and if there’s something in my closet that I’m not wearing, I’ll see if there’s something I could do to revamp it before giving it away.
I often see trends and think I’m not going to buy that when it would be so easy to make. I’ll print stuff from Zara or for example when I saw this picture of Chiara Ferrangi in a patched denim shirt, I thought I have a gazillion denim shirts - I can do that so easily. When we were in a market in Thailand, I bought all these patches and had them sewn on, and it looks good.
Then, there were a series of pants at Zara with gold buttons or red ribbons down the seam. Again, I thought to myself, I could totally do that with one of the many old pair of black pants I have. I took some old black pants, I bought the red ribbon off Etsy and the gold buttons (below) from Pottinger Street and I then had them sewn on.
What are some of your favorite DIY pieces you’ve made?