As I get back into the swing of things with regular blog posts, I’ve decided to introduce a new series here on The A List that gives a monthly review on latest updates with the site, campaigns, as well as personal updates with my life. This post is much more personal than I plan on making these posts, and a bit more personal than I am truly comfortable with, but that’s because there’s a big announcement in this post.
My major life changes caused me to take a step back from my website for a time as I got my bearings and found my new footing. My house was put on the market and sold in under a week while I was abroad last month, so I have been busy sorting through my belongings and donating a ton of clothes, books, and kitchen supplies as I also pack up my entire life. Now that my house has sold and I am in my new temporary apartment, my new adventure can begin. My ex had been heavily involved with my business, especially this website, so a recalibration was needed. This month, I found myself having an easier time sitting down with my content planner book and sorting out everything that is to come on The A List over the next few months.
This past month, I was very excited to share my stories with two gorgeous hotels in Hong Kong that I had the absolute privilege of getting to work with and stay at – the original and flagship Mandarin Oriental in the heart of Central, and the brand new, ultra luxurious Rosewood Hong Kong. I also loved spilling my secrets on how to get to my two favorite photo taking spots in Hong Kong in this post.
The overall continent of Asia had been a priority on my bucket list for a couple of years. I was so anxious to finally cross Asia off my bucket list that I wasn’t biased towards which destination would be my first introduction to the continent. In the end, Hong Kong was selected and it proved to be the best city to say “hello” to this new world in my eyes. Despite the heat and humidity, I couldn’t have picked a better city to begin my Asia adventures, since the New Yorker in me felt at home right away. It also proved to be the best base for the course of 5 weeks that I was over there, since I ended up hopping over to nearby Taiwan as well as Cambodia during my visit. I will be sharing those blog posts next month, and I cannot wait to disclose all about my adventures in both destinations.
For half of the month of October, I was abroad in Asia – Hong Kong, specifically. I had arrived in early September and from the moment I first stepped outside of Hong Kong International Airport, I was surprised at all the emotions and feelings I had rushing through me. This was my very first trip to Asia. I had never set foot on the continent before, and yet in that inaugural moment, everything felt so eerily familiar as if I had been already introduced to it before. Perhaps it’s because I had been hearing all about Hong Kong for some time from those close to me who call the city home, which probably contributed to my strong sense of familiarity. It even smelled exactly how I expected it would – tropical. Yes, “tropical” is a scent to me.
As I mentioned above, my life has been thrown a whole load of changes over this past year. Some changes were welcome, others were a bit terrifying, and many others were bittersweet. Packing up my home of 4 years was difficult, as a lot of memories had been created there and I was never someone who was good with goodbyes. I am now currently writing this blog post from my new temporary apartment in Los Angeles, which I have done my best to make feel like home before I pack up again and move to my more permanent apartment. This new home marks a new beginning of its own. When I first moved out of my parents’ house at age 17 until now, I have always shared an apartment or a home with a roommate or my ex. This is the first time in my life I have my own apartment completely to myself, paid for by myself, and tended to completely by myself. Even if it’s temporary and short term, it’s a new beginning I am welcoming with open arms. I’m used to living on my own due to my ex’s career that took him abroad often, but having my own place is a whole new ballgame. Plus, what makes this apartment extra special is having my two cats with me, who have adjusted pretty quickly to their new space.
So why am I in a temporary home? I have hinted at this for some time on my Instagram that I would be leaving Los Angeles later this year to spend more time elsewhere. I’ve lived in Los Angeles for the last 9 years, so it was not an easy decision. My friends are here and my father doesn’t live far away in northern California. When I was younger, I used to wonder what it would be like to live in Los Angeles – home to all the big celebrities, full of luxe stores, and gorgeous weather year round. But Los Angeles isn’t just home to celebrities or luxe stores on Rodeo Drive. It became a place where I made many, many new friends, got to partake in numerous activities throughout the city I called home, and it proved to be a great base on the west coast for exploring new destinations nearby from wine country to beaches to desert escapes. I won’t lie that I’ve had a love-hate relationship with Los Angeles for some time now, but that doesn’t make the decision to leave it any easier.
And now for the big news: I am excited, nervous, happy, and eager to announce that next month, I will be moving to….. Hong Kong. Only a few of you guessed it correctly when I asked on Instagram last week where you all thought I was headed, and about 90% of you assumed I’d be moving back to New York City. I did consider moving back to NYC, and that option isn’t entirely off the table, but for now the main plan is to spend more time in Hong Kong for a while. Yes, I have reasons as to why I am spending more time there. I am extremely excited but also nervous about this, as anyone would be. I’ve had my fair share of experience living outside the US in Canada and Spain, but Hong Kong is much farther away. This was not an easy decision, and I chose not to fully make my decision until after I came home from my time there.
I knew after my marriage ended at the beginning of the year that I would not be staying in Los Angeles full-time. Los Angeles has been a wonderful home for the last 9 years, but at the end of the day, I do not love it here anymore. This is why I mentioned above that I have a love-hate relationship with this city. I was ready for a change. Now, this isn’t to speak ill of Los Angeles. It’s a fascinating city that I cannot believe I’ve gotten to call home for almost a decade, but I’m ready to branch out. Los Angeles life isn’t for me these days, and that’s okay. When I first moved out here from NYC, I was barely 20-years old and it was all a new beginning at that time. I was basically a baby, and I am truly grateful that Los Angeles was a big part of my 20s. But now as I get ready to turn 30, it’s time to call another city as my home for a little while. At the same time, I will be lucky enough to have the option to go back and forth between Hong Kong and Los Angeles quite often as needed.
Now I know a lot of you are wondering what is going to happen to my cats. This is the hard part. Unfortunately, I cannot take my babies with me, especially with all the traveling as well as with the amount of back and forth I will be doing between Hong Kong and the US. This is why I delayed making my announcement until I was absolutely sure. My cats are a big part of my life and have been there for me through so many moments. They’ve taken care of me and I’ve taken care of them. Sadly, the only way to get them to Hong Kong would be to place them in cargo on an airplane, which I ultimately and steadfastly refuse to do under any circumstance (as does my ex). For that reason, along with other reasons, my ex will take care of them when I am abroad but I will take care of them when I come back to Los Angeles to visit. It seems a little far-fetched for two cats, but ultimately this was the best option amongst all the options discussed and especially since we agreed to share our beloved fur babies. I know they’re in the best hands when they’re with their dad, who was very eager to take them in a heartbeat since they are his cats too. As you can imagine, this was an extremely difficult, heartbreaking, and tough decision for me. But it won’t be for forever. And regardless of what happens in the future, I will always be their mother, and we’ll always have our special bond.
So for this next upcoming month, I will be prepping to send a lot of my belongings abroad as well as spend time with close friends, family, and of course my cats. This is one of the biggest life decisions I’ve made or ever will make, and so I am making sure to savor each and every moment as I embark on this new chapter of my life. I am heading back to Hong Kong at the end of the month, where I will be spending the Christmas holiday as well as ringing in the New Year. I’m looking forward to sharing lots more content from Asia with you all before I return to Los Angeles early in the new year for a bit.
Also this means I won’t stop blogging. The A List will continue as is, it’s just the backdrops will be a bit more “city” than before. I am excited to bring you all some content from abroad! And my travels around the world will continue as well, so you’ll still be getting a lot of new travel recommendations and travel guides here. The A List will be undergoing a website revamp early in the new year, so it will have a completely new look to it and catered to you to make searching for content much, much easier.