Get Ready with Me in Coron

For summer vacation this year, we went to Coron in Palawan. It is just one of the 7,107 islands in the Philippines! Why travel far when there are so much more places to explore in our own country?! The island boasts of white sand beaches, turquoise water, crystal clear lakes, enchanting lagoons, marvelous rock formations, and rich marine life — no wonder it is ranked as a top travel destination in the world!

We stayed in a villa at Club Paradise with a beach front that welcomes you as you step out of the room. I love that they serve coffee and hot chocolate for the kids every morning at the villa’s porch, where you can just relax on a hammock and listen to the sound of the waves and watch birds flying by as you sip your coffee. Snorkeling there is also a fun activity! We saw a giant clam, school of fish, stingray, octopus, and a sea turtle — the cutest of them all! We were able to book a Coron Island tour in the airport and we saw destinations like the Kayangan Lake, Twin Lagoon, and Green Lagoon. We hope to come back next time and explore the other beautiful islands!

Check out my video from the trip! Aside from showing you snippets of our Coron adventure, I will also show you how I get ready for the beach (with kids in tow) and my usual beach makeup routine. It is very light and natural! I used Benefit products for this video — it’s the makeup brand I use on my days off because it is so easy and simple to use. This one is special because it’s my first travel + makeup video! I hope you like it as much as I enjoyed making it!

 

Products used:

  • Boiing Airbrush Concealer (1)
  • Goof Proof Brow Pencil (3)
  • Browvo Conditioning Primer
  • Precisely My Brow Pencil
  • GoGo Tint (will be available in SEAsia sometime this year)
  • Watts Up Highlighter

 

xoxo

Niseko

We spent the first day of 2017 in captivating Niseko. It is known as the best ski terrain in Japan, located in the southern peninsula of Hokkaido, 2 hours and 30 mins away from the Chitose Airport. All i can say is, Wow! It really is a winter wonderland! Being from a tropical country, I was staring in awe as i watched the snowflakes fall gently from the sky. I sort of questioned my existence because I have always thought of myself as a beach bum, but after seeing Niseko and learning how to ski, I think it’s worth to give snow a chance. lol. The last time I saw snow was in the US more than a decade ago, and I don’t remember the snow being as beautiful as the snow in Niseko. When we were there, it was snowing every day, and the voluminous fresh snow was gorgeous and powdery! If the Philippines has the best white powdery sand, then Niseko has the best powdery snow!

Being in Niseko during January is like being in an entirely different country! Most of the people working in the ski resorts – the ski instructors, shuttle drivers, employees in the ski rental shops were all foreigners. The ones we met are originally from Australia, New Zealand, and London. It was really unexpected since we came from Tokyo, where communicating in English can sometimes be a struggle.

We stayed in a lovely Chalet, about 20 minutes away from Upper Hirafu where most of the restaurants, convenient stores, and bars are located. The resort we stayed in is not a ski in/ski out location, and shuttles arrive every hour from Hirafu. It might be better to just rent a car so you can go around at your own pace. Our chalet was clean, comfortable, and beautiful! Spacious enough for our family of 11! It even has its own onsen!

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Our lovely chalet at the Country Resort
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Backyard of the Chalet
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Sledding outside the house

Skiing is definitely my favourite activity in Niseko. We chose skiing over snow boarding because the former looked easier to learn. We rented our gear and equipment from Rhythm on the main street of Grand Hirafu and had a half day lesson with a private instructor from Go Snow to teach us how to ski. It was so fun and addicting!!! You must first learn how to ski slowly and do the pizza plough or snowplough, which requires you to make a V shape on ice while skiing down the slope. Prepare for some tense butt and leg muscle action! Our instructor said our group learned quickly, so the next day, we went to the family lift for some huge mountain slope action! It was a bit scary to go down at first but super fun once you get the hang of it! I can’t wait to go back!!! I love the rush I get from skiing down the slopes!

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Family Skiing – Mariana did so well! Hope Helena can join us next time!
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Night Skiing

We also had a snowmobile experience in White Isle Snowmobile Park. Our snowmobiles were classic models, the ones with pull start ropes to start the engine. lol. We went snowmobiling for about an hour and the view was spectacular! Imagine pristine white snow that fades into the horizon, beautiful bare trees all around, and fluffy snow!!! We made a stop over somewhere in the middle of the mountain and had time to play around with the fluffy snow! It was beautiful, definitely an experience ticked off this tropical girl’s bucket list!

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starting point of our snowmobile ride!

Niseko is such a good place to visit as a family, kids and adults alike will love it there! I suggest staying in Niseko for about a week so you can relax, ski, snowboard, and do all the winter activities that you want, 3 days were definitely too short for us. I suggest making restaurant reservations ahead of time during peak season because most restaurants are small and have very limited seating. Other families hire a Japanese chef for a night to prepare a sumptuous meal in their chalet! Sounds like an experience to me! Next time (yes, it’s a place where “next time” is a must)  we will definitely stay longer, and perhaps stay in a ski in/ski out place and try snowboarding! Niseko, you are all sorts of wonderful – we will see you again someday! 🙂

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xoxo

Venice

        I have never been anywhere as romantic and charming as Venice. I was in awe with its beauty and charm the moment I stepped foot in this Italian City. Out of all the places we have visited, this floating city is definitely the most exquisite! There is really nothing like it!

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Waiting for our water taxi
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Our speed boat ride going to Hotel Danieli!

We coordinated with the hotel a few days before our arrival to arrange a boat to take us to the hotel from the train station. We heard that it was difficult to find a boat quickly due to the number of tourists lining up to get water taxis.

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We’re finally here!

       The location of Hotel Danieli is rich in history. The structure was actually built in the 14th century, and it became a hotel in 1824. Many notable artists and luminaries have stayed here, among them are Charles Dickens, Harrison Ford, and Steven Spielberg. In 2010, huge footage of The Tourist starring Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie was filmed here. It is definitely one of the top hotels here in Venice, and the location is very central, just footsteps away from St. Mark’s Square.

        We scrimped on all the hotels we booked in during our Euro summer trip except for Hotel Danieli here in Venice, since it was the last destination of our trip, and also because we were only going to stay here of a night. We booked the most modest room available, with the most economical price, and with absolutely no lagoon view, but LO and BEHOLD, all the stars in the universe aligned at that moment, and we were UPGRADED to the suite!!! I felt like we won the lottery! lol! We love the staff of the hotel – excellent service!

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The gorgeous lobby of Hotel Danieli

How lucky are we to be upgraded to this princess suite?!?

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The foyer upon entering the suite
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huge living room of the suite
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There is also a balcony with the view of San Giorgio Island
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The most elegant hotel bedroom I have ever seen!

After seeing the suite, we playfully told the receptionist that we will not be leaving the suite anymore. lol! If only!! The first thing we did was ,of course, take a romantic gondola ride!

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A must when in Venice
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They say, If you kiss under this bridge, your love for each other will last forever!

We also walked around St. Mark’s square, which is the public square of Venice. IMG_1734

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Part of the facade of St. Mark’s Basilica

We had lunch in Rossopomodoro – causal ambience, delicious food, and good value. I highly recommend this restaurant!

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I love pizza!!! I love drizzling generous amounts of olive oil on mine!!!
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Steak and fries!

For dinner we went to a fancier seafood restaurant, Hostaria da Franz.

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Having white wine with our seafood
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I enjoyed this creamy tiramisu!

Before dinner, we spent our afternoon walking along the quaint streets of Venice. I love the old-fashioned buildings, little bridges, and stairways.

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How beautiful is this? It’s like a painting!

       After dinner, we just decided to settle in our suite and enjoy a bottle of red wine. Staying inside the famous Hotel Danieli is as exciting as walking along the streets of Venice – definitely one of the highlights of our trip.

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Night Cap 

 The next day was bittersweet for us. We were sad to leave Venice and at the same time, excited to go home to our kids. We had breakfast at Danieli and walked to St. Mark’s square before heading back to the airport.

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Breakfast with a view!!
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Goodbye Danieli suite! You were breathtakingly beautiful! I hope this isn’t a once in a lifetime experience! 

One must not leave without having a photo with the pigeons! I am not posting mine – I look scared in all the photos. lol

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The bird man flocked by pigeons, thanks to the corn seeds! 
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Ciao Venice!!! You were lovely!!! 

 

Shangri-La Plaza: Ten Unforgettable Journeys

Hi wanderlusts! I love Shangri-La’s ongoing raffle promo! Get a chance to win 1 of 10 trips to Shangri-la destinations around the world, such as Paris, London, Vancouver, Dubai, Sydney, Tokyo, Singapore, Shanghai, Beijing, and Boracay. Every P2,500 single receipt purchase at Shangri-La Plaza entitles you to one raffle coupon! The deadline for dropping raffle entries is on March 31, 2016 at 5pm. Hurry and shop at Shangri-La for a chance to visit your dream travel destination! Goodluck travel bugs!

xoxo

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Barcelona

        Barcelona is definitely one of the cities I enjoyed the most during our European summer trip. For some reason, it felt closer to home. I love that there is actually a beach (Barceloneta) amidst the city! I guess I am really an island girl at heart. Another reason why I enjoyed Barcelona so much is because the gastronomy there is just AMAZING. We were having Paella and Sangria every.single.day!!! In addition to all of that, there are so much picturesque sites to see there! The architecture, especially by Gaudi, is beyond amazing!  There are just so many things to love about Barcelona!

        We were worried when we arrived because the airline left our baggage in Paris, but we did not let that dampen our traveling spirits! When we arrived at our hotel, we asked the concierge to lead us to a good place for lunch, and he suggested this restaurant called 7portes! They serve really delicious Paella!! Look at our table – my husband and I had one pallera each, probably good for 4-6 people! lol!

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lunch at 7portes
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Winner Paella!!!
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After  having a feast, we decided to walk around and explore. The summer vibe here is so fun and carefree!

        The next day we booked a segway tour from viator.com. Segway tour is a great way to explore the city! It is easy and fun to ride. Also, you are less tired because you get to reach farther places as compared to exploring on foot!

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Segway tour with Leslie and her husband, lovely couple from USA.
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My Christopher Columbus and navigator
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Behind me is a street art replica of one of Picasso’s early works entitled “The girls of Avignon.” This area is the actual place where Picasso stayed and painted during his stay in Barcelona when he was 14 years old. Happy we got to visit the Picasso Museum here also!
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Barcelona segway tour with Diego! We experienced a brief history of Barcelona and saw old roman walls and sites dating back to hundreds of years ago.

After our fun segway tour, we ate at El Ray De La Gamba! We really enjoyed eating here!!!

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Seafood Paella
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Seafood Platter
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Oh Barcelona cuisine, I want to eat you everyday!!! haha!

        The next day, our Filipino tour guide residing in Barcelona took us to Tibidabo – there is a church and small amusement park in that mountain. We climbed to the top of the sacred heart church and reached the highest point of Barcelona. What a fantastic view from the top!

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What a beauty!!!
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This was taken before climbing to the top. In the next photo, we will be near Jesus at the top!
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How amazing it is to be up here! God is awesome!
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I love these pretty coloured tiles inside the church! Remember to thank God for your blessings and to make 3 wishes when you enter a church for the very first time!
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The view from the top! Beautiful!
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Experiencing all of this with my life partner!

After that, we went to Park Guell, one of Antoni Gaudi’s works here. IMG_0863

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A picture with Gaudi’s house and also the view of Barcelona behind us.

The following day, being the tropical dwellers that we are, we decided to spend some time at the beach.

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Barceloneta – beach by the city!

        After chilling at the beach, our tour guide led us to Sagrada Familia. It is the most beautiful church I have ever seen. Construction started in 1882, and is projected to be finished by 2026. Even if it is still unfinished, it is already a UNESCO world heritage site.

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Remember to look up: this is the ceiling design of Sagrada Familia by architect Antoni Gaudi. It is inspired by trees and nature.
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The exterior of the church has intricate details and symbolisms, while the interior is very light, serene, and peaceful!

        The next morning, we started our day by ordering churros at Granja M Viader. It is an old school cafe established in 1870. Aside from the churros, the cafe is also famous for their Cacaolat, hot chocolate, and other pasties. It is tucked in an alley near the La Boqueria market.

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Classic Catalan Xurros! Delicioso!

I wiped out the churros in the car while we were on our way to the beautiful Montserrat! It is a Benedictine monk mountain retreat with breathtaking views. Visiting this place is one of the highlights of our Barcelona trip.  We got to pray, reflect, and enjoy the picturesque mountain views in Barcelona.

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The basilica at Montserrat.

After visiting the basilica, we decided to walk to the Santa Cova Holy Grotto, the holy place where the image of the Virgin Mary was discovered.

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On our way to the Santa Cova
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Enjoying the breathtaking mountain view while walking to the holy grotto at Montserrat.
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While walking to the holy grotto, one will see sculptures of the 15 mysteries of the rosary. I liked this one the most – resurrection.
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We finally reached the Holy Grotto! It is a privilege to be able to visit this holy place.
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The Lady of Montserrat
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Some people have offered their personal belongings such as photos, wedding dresses, letters, and helmets here, perhaps as thank you gifts for answered prayers and miracles.
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We would not have reached as many beautiful places here without Emil Maravillas of LimeBuns Adventure Travel. You may contact him at info@limebunsadventure.com if you need a tour guide in Barcelona.
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We ended our trip by paying a courtesy call on the Philippine Honorary Consul General in Barcelona, Jordi Puig.

What an incredible experience visiting Barcelona! It is a place I can see myself living.. i mean, eating in, everyday. lol! But seriously, it was a real beauty! See you next time! Adios!!!

xoxo

 

 

Paris and Sault (Lavender Fields)

       There is something magical about Paris. Whether you are marvelling at the gleaming Eiffel tower at night, enjoying a picnic at Place des Vosges, shopping at Rue Saint-Honore, or walking towards the Musee du Louvre and seeing the glass pyramid for the very first time, you will feel the tidbits of magic in the city scattered around like pixiedust. She (Yes, Paris is a she!) is chic, elegant, and cultured. We arrived Paris late afternoon, and our first order of business was to have dinner and wine. London was hectic for us because it was the first leg of the trip and our excitement and energy were off the roof. Jet lag kicked in so we regularly dozed off early and subsequently woke up before dawn the following day. We didnt really get the chance to drink and unwind because we were constantly exploring, hence, when we arrived Paris, we just wanted to relax and take it easy. (or so we thought..)

Dinner at Le Servan
Dinner at Le Servan
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The chicken had cheese underneath the skin! That was good!
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Escargot
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Sisters Tatiana and Katia Levha are the owners of Le Servan, and they are half Filipina.

After dinner, we went straight to the Eiffel tower! I love that it twinkles at night!! Truly magical!

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      Our first full day in Paris was devoted to shopping! I took advantage of the low conversion rate at that time. If you are getting the tax refund, it can be claimed at the airport when you exit Europe, before returning back to your country. A tip is to be at the airport 4 hours before your departure time because lines can get crazy long!

Our first stop was Chanel, Rue Cambon! (Coco Chanel opened her first shop at Rue Cambon in 1910!)

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My husband disagrees that Paris is always a good idea. lol.
How beautiful is this box!?
How beautiful is this box!?

        The moment I laid eyes on the Le Boy, I knew it was meant for me! I love its edgy and structured appeal, while still maintaining the elegance of the classic flap bag. I was so ecstatic to find this one with the gold chain. It added a tad bit more touch of femininity, which really suits my style. It was the last piece in the store, and I never saw one again in any other Chanel shop during our trip, so I am happy we bought it at the drop of a hat! It was truly love at first sight! Chanel is one of the few bags I can really call an investment, the prices always go up!

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Love at first sight
Chloe Girls - She was such a sweet sales representative.
Chloe Girls – She was such a sweet sales representative.
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We loved shopping at Rue Saint-Honore

       The next morning, we left Paris via train and traveled to the South of France in high hopes of finding lavender and sunflower fields. We traveled for about 3 hours from Gare de Lyon to Avignon Station. Once we got to Avignon, we walked towards the tourist office near the train station and booked a tour to see the lavender fields in Sault.

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Charming Avignon
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The tourists
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We had time to eat before our tour started! Our staple dish in France is Entrecôte (steak) with french fries!

       The tour guide led us to Sault, situated in Provence Region, which is known for having abundant number of lavender fields. We were fortunate enough to catch the last week of the Lavender blooms. We arrived on August 1 and many fields have been harvested, and most blooms were on the brink of drying. They aren’t as vibrant anymore, but they still smelled truly delicate and divine! As soon as we stepped out of the van and walked towards the fields, we immediately smelled the lavenders! The scent was as lovely and evocative as it could get. If you want to see the lavenders at its peak, it is best to visit mid July.

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Beautiful! Take note that the Lavender only blooms during the summer. It is not seen all year round.
The day I conquered my fear of bees!
The day I conquered my fear of bees!
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Our tour guide introduced us to one of the families with a bee and lavender farm. They sold delicious honey!
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Meet this nice family who gave us Lavandin to take home! What a sweet gesture!
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These are lavandins — another variety of lavender. Lavandin has more medicinal scent because of the camphor, whereas lavender scent is floral and more delicate.
I love this bunch of Lavandin that we received from the people here.
I love this bunch of Lavandin that we received from the people here.
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Our guide gave us ample time to explore this village in Sault. It was a charming little village!
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Lovely chapel in Sault

       We rode the train back to Paris that evening so we were exhausted when we got back. If you plan on traveling to the South of France from Paris, I suggest staying the night there at the very least so you can explore some more and maybe even do a wine tour in Avignon while you are there. On our fourth day in Paris, we went to the Louvre Museum, Arc de Triumph, Eiffel Tower, and Notre Dame Cathedral. So much for trying to relax and take it easy!

Louvre Museum

Travel Tip: Avoid long queues at the pyramid entrance and buy tickets at the Porte des Lions entrance. Mona Lisa is closer to this entrance as well.

Outside the Louvre
Outside the Louvre
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Beautiful Paintings
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Say hello to the tiny Mona Lisa! Go early so it won’t be so crowded!
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Venus de Milo
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Oops! I reckon undies weren’t a necessity back in the days!
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Napoleon III apartment’s opulent interiors!

Arc de Triumph

Travel Tip: There is an underground passage going to the Arc. Do not risk your lives like we did by crossing the street! lol!

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Behind us is the Arc de Triumph! Celebrating 7 years of marriage in Paris!

Eiffel Tower

Travel Tip: Go down Trocadero station to get the best view of the Eiffel tower!

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This is one of my favourite photos from the trip!
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OOTD: Top and skirt: Zara, Bag: Chloe Drew, Shoes: Melissa

Notre Dame Cathedral

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Taste the near by Berthillion ice cream after visiting the Notre Dame Cathedral! It is the best ice cream in Paris!
Go to the nearby Berthillion ice cream after visiting the Notre Dame Cathedral! It is the best ice cream in Paris!

On our last day, we had brunch at Angelina which is a famous tea house known for their thick hot chocolate (but to be honest, I’m more of a Swiss Miss kind of girl. haha!) It was frequented by Elite parisians like Coco Chanel.

image2We just walked around Paris and did some last minute “pasalubong” shopping on our final day here. I already miss shopping in Paris! I must admit, for me, it’s the best thing to do here!

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OOTD: Top: Miss Selfridge, Shorts: H&M, Bag: Chanel, Shoes: Melissa.

To wrap up our Paris trip, we decided to have a picnic at Place des Vosges! We went to the grocery and bought rose wine and cold cuts! I reckon one cannot leave Paris in the summer without having a picnic at any of their beautiful gardens or parks. Glad we lived near this place at the Le Marais area, just walking distance form our hotel.

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cheers!
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This was taken at around 9pm. I love that days are longer in this side of the world.
Goodbye Paris!!! We'll save up to visit you again someday!
Goodbye Paris!!! You were beautiful! We will save up to visit you again someday!

xoxo

Travel Makeup Essentials

       The holidays and semestral break are nearing, and I am sure a lot of you will be packing your bags to have quick getaways before going back to the daily grind. So, I thought it might be nice to share with you my make up must haves for traveling. Number one, your make-up should last all day so make sure your make up items are long wearing and smudge proof. Number two, as much as possible, pack light! Airport security is very strict with hand carrying liquids. You are only allowed to pack liquids not exceeding 100ml per container, and all your items must fit in a resealable 1 quart sized transparent plastic bag, so just bring the essentials and get ready to go!

What was in my travel make-up kit?

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  • RMK creamy gel foundation – Despite the semi-dewy finish, this foundation lasts all day on me.
  • Tarte Palette – This is one of my favourite palettes. There’s a variety of warm and cool blush shades to choose from which makes it easy to match with any lip colour. Plus, it has a contour shade as well, which i also use on my eye crease to create depth on my lids.
  • Shu Uemura Hard Formula in Acorn – Natural and defined brows are a must for me, and this gets the job done.
  • Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer – I use this for a quick and brightening concealing. It has light coverage, goes on smooth, and does not crease.
  • Maybelline Gel Liner – My tried and tested smudge free gel liner. It is affordable, and lasts from day to night without looking like a raccoon at the end of the day.
  • Purple Maybelline Mascara – The affordable falsies volume’ express waterproof mascara adds volume to the lashes.
  • Shu Uemura eyelash curler – Of course, I reckon all beautylistas have heard of this eyelash curler. Curling the lashes makes a huge difference in opening up the eyes.
  • Chanel Les Beiges – This is great to set my foundation in place and also creates a very smooth and velvety finish. It also blurs the pores.
  • Cetaphil Daylong Face and Body Sunblock – When traveling (especially during summertime,) it is a must to protect your skin. I like this water resistant, non-greasy, and non-comedogenic sunblock that was sent to me by SampleroomPH.
  • Long wearing lipsticks – I chose my favourite matte lipsticks, as these are the ones that last long. I only re-apply my lipstick after every meal. Other than that, I am picture ready!

       I could not wear much eye make-up because I just had lasik surgery so having multiple choices of lip colours enabled me to have varying looks throughout the trip. Below are some of the long wearing lipsticks I brought with me, and also photos from the trip where I used those babies in action!

MAC Rebel

This is my favourite berry lip colour!
This is my favourite berry lip colour!
Happy to be at Leadenhall Market, also known as Diagon Alley from Harry Potter movie.
Happily wearing this berry lip at Leadenhall Market in London, also known as Diagon Alley from Harry Potter.

OCC Nylon

This is the brightest lip colour that I own! It's neon pink!
This is the brightest lip colour that I own! It’s neon pink!
Bright pink lips to match the bight weather outside the Louvre Museum in Paris.
Bright pink lips to match the bight weather outside the Louvre Museum in Paris.

MAC Diva

This my favourite burgundy or deep red lipstick.
Mac Diva is one of my staple lipsticks! This is my favourite burgundy or deep red lipstick.
Paris screams red lips and winged liner.
Do you want to be très chic in Paree? Wear a deep red lipstick and wing out your eyeliner!

Too Faced Melted Peony

Nude Pink
Nude Pink
Pink nude lips to match the lovely lavender in France.
Pink nude lips to match the lovely lavender in South of France.

OCC Hoochie

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Vivid Violet
There's something fun about Barcelona. Just like this vibrant purple lippie.
There’s something fun about Barcelona. Just like this vibrant purple lippie.

Charlotte Tilbury Bond Girl

Bond Girl to me is like a cinnamon/brown colour. It's matte yet is still hydrating. It leaves a nice stain when worn for a long time.
Bond Girl to me is like a cinnamon with a hint of brown colour. It’s matte yet is still hydrating. It leaves a nice stain when worn for a long time.
Wearing this Sophisticated cinnamon brown lippie at Monsterrat in Barcelon
Wearing this Sophisticated lip colour at Monsterrat in Barcelona.

MAC Nouvelle Vogue

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Wearing this lipstick in Venice! It's my go to natural pink lip.
Wearing this lipstick in Venice! It’s my go to natural pink lip.

        Other lipsticks I brought with me that were not included in the photos above are the MAC Ruby Woo – a classic red colour that suits most skin tones, and the Too Faced Melted Nude – a perfect peachy nude colour. The OCC liptars are long wearing, but you will still need to pack a lip brush with you for retouching. In my opinion, it is still more convenient to bring the lipstick tubes because you can conveniently just apply the lipstick straight from the bullet. When traveling, try to apply make-up as quickly as you can. I usually give myself about 15 minutes. Please do not be that travel partner who spends hours getting ready! Remember, exploring and discovering new places must be the number one priority! That’s about it! Carpe Diem and safe travels!

xoxo