Hello, beauties! Today I have another installment of Feel-Good Friday because there are a lot of lifestyle things I’ve been enjoying lately, and would love to share with you.
I started watching the TV show Shameless two weeks ago, and I’m already on Season 5! I’m the definition of a binge-watcher, haha. Shameless was recommended to me by a coworker, who said it’s a really funny show. It centers around the Gallagher family, which includes 6 kids and their deadbeat alcoholic father and bipolar mother. They live on the South Side of Chicago (ie the sketchy area), and since both parents are otherwise preoccupied, the children are raised by the oldest daughter, Fiona. The family is scrappy and completely messed up, but at the center of it all, they love each other fiercely. It is a funny show, but it’s definitely dark humor. If you’re sensitive to bad language, nudity, crass humour, or inappropriate topics, this is not the show for you!
Hello, everyone! Today is a lifestyle post, which I don’t do often. May 18th marked my 30th birthday, but I’m not mad about it! I know a lot of people moan about going from 29 to 30 because it’s so old, but the 20’s is such a huge decade for change and personal growth for most people, myself included, and I’m excited to see what adventures the 30’s brings.
I was talking to Always Cleia recently, and she said she was going to create a list of 30 things she wanted to achieve before she turned 30 (she’s since posted it here), and how I should come up with 35 things I want to do before I turn 35.
Hello, everyone! January felt like a year long, but we’re already in the second Friday of February and I don’t know how that happened! It’s been a hot minute since I’ve done one of these Feel Good Fridays. Today I wanted to share my usual “feel good” things, but I also kind of wanted to chat about random things.
Is everyone out of the Polar Vortex and enjoying nicer weather? We are still in the thick of it (we’re on Day 7), and I am so over this…
I’m thinking seriously about taking a 2-4 week break from blogging and social media. If I’m being honest, I’ve been feeling unmotivated and uninspired since we came back from Japan in September, but my first instinct is always to truck through it and hope I get out of my funk instead of stopping and taking a breath. But, it’s been 4 months of me just trying to work through it to no avail, and I think I finally need to throw in the towel. In January of 2018, I started the year off with my creativity flowing and so many good ideas, but I started 2019 feeling sucked dry.
Funnily enough, the one month where I felt the least inspired was also the month I had the highest views on my blog. When you’re on a roll, you don’t really want to stop – but I think I have to for my own sanity. I still have some reviews coming down the pipe – they are all in partially written draft form, but I want to get those out before I take a break. After those are finished, I might disappear for a bit.
Another thing I’ve been thinking about lately is the way that I’ve been blogging under since I started this blog. I’ve never shown my face, shared my name, or really talked much about my life on my blog, which has been a personal choice, but I’m really struggling with it lately for two reasons. One, I feel like it’s generally easier to connect to your readers when you get more personal. Two, there have been so many times over the years when I’ve wanted to show a full face makeup look, but I can’t because, you know, anonymity. It’s really frustrating and creatively stifling, but the thought of the off chance of a coworker finding my blog and my face plastered all over it is just…horrifying. To be honest, I don’t really know what to do about this. Do I continue blogging anonymously which is more comfortable for me, or do I start showing photos of myself for review purposes? It’s just something I have to figure out for myself.
Anyways, onto all of the feel-good things in my life recently!
Hello, everyone! Even though we’re almost into February (how???), today I’m sharing a post of all the movies I watched from September to December to finish off my 50 movie challenge of the year. The 50 movie challenge came from Rachael of Helpless Whilst Drying – she actually does a 100 Movie Challenge every year, but I thought that might be a bit too difficult for me and ended up challenging myself with 50 movies instead. The last time I did one of these posts, I screwed things up by posting my quarterly post at the end of August instead of the end of September. Apparently I don’t know what a quarter is even though my job revolves around quarters! Anyways, at the end of this post, I have tallied up all the movies I watched during the year.
Crazy Rich Asians – 5/5
I actually watched this movie two weeks in a row, with different groups of friends. It just so happened one was at the end of August and the other was at the beginning of September, so they got separated into different posts. Besides the fact that this finally brought to light Asian representation in Hollywood, I love how fun this was! It was just as entertaining the second time around, but the book is still better.
Hi everyone! Today’s post is all about our trip to Hong Kong. To be honest, our stay here was super chill because we didn’t do too much. My parents are actually from Hong Kong and we’ve been back in previous years to visit family before, so we spent most of the trip eating, shopping, and visiting family. To be honest, most of the photos I took of this trip were of food, LOL. However, at the end of the post, I’ll list some places we visited during prior trips that I would highly recommend!
Hong Kong is such a fun city with so much to see. The official language is Cantonese, which I can speak, but you’ll easily get away if you only speak English. Hong Kong was a British colony up until 1997, so there are English signs everywhere, and those in the service industry can usually speak English fairly well. I find the culture in Hong Kong a very unique and distinct blend of East and West, moreso than any other Asian country we’ve visited so far.
Out of all the places we’ve visited, Hong Kong has my favourite public transit system (MTR) EVER. Not only is it very clean, but it’s by far the easiest for tourists to understand, it’s extensive, and it’s extremely efficient. Each of the 10 MTR lines have a name, but the colours are much easier for tourists like me to remember.
Hong Kong is made up of three main regions: Kowloon, Hong Kong Island, and the New Territories, and they are all connected by its MRT system so that it’s easy to travel between the regions. Most tourists tend to stay in the Kowloon area because it has it closer to all of the main attractions and is more trendy. We stayed on Hong Kong Island because it’s closer to where our relatives live, and one good thing about it is that it’s quieter and farther away from all the crowds. While we would often have to switch trains to get somewhere, I didn’t find it to be a huge hassle because the city is so compact and the train systems are so efficient.
The hotel we stayed in was called iClub Fortress Hill. It was a really convenient location because it was a 5 minute walk to two MRT stations, as well as 5 minute walk to the bus station where we took the bus to and from the airport. The hotel itself was decent – quite new and modern-looking, clean, but very small. This isn’t unusual for Hong Kong, because the city is so crowded!
One of my favourite things about Hong Kong is the food. After we dropped off our bags off at the hotel early afternoon, we went off for lunch at the famous Hong Kong establish, Tim Ho Wan. This is a dim sum place that is the second cheapest Michelin star rated restaurant in the world, which is what makes it popular with tourists and locals alike. It was our first time there, even for my parents. They’re known for their BBQ Pork Buns, which were absolutely phenomenal – crispy on the outside and gooey and hot on the inside.
One thing to note about the service industry in Hong Kong is that the service isn’t great, at least in my experience. Hostile service is generally what I expect, and anything better than that always feels like a bonus! One thing that may also be a shocker to tourists is that a lot of restaurants may also give you a large bowl and a tea pot full of boiling water at the beginning of the meal. These are meant for rinsing all of your bowls, teacups, and utensils. I doubt that quickly rinsing all of your eating tools in hot water is going to help all that much without soap and a sponge – at this point you’re just sanitizing your stuff. But if it makes you feel any better, we never got sick from eating out…
Another affordable restaurant we tried was Australia Dairy Company. The owner of the restaurant worked on a farm in Australia in the 40’s, and when he returned to Hong Kong, he started this restaurant (hence the name). Similar to Tim Ho Wan, Australia Dairy Company is an establishment that is popular for both locals and tourists. We went at around 3pm so it wasn’t too busy, but this place usually has really long lineups if you go in the morning!
This place serves a pretty traditional Hong Kong breakfast: buttered toast, eggs, milk tea, and macaroni with ham. The food is good, the service is abysmal – as soon as we sat down, one of the servers came over to our table and proceeded to STARE AT ME with a completely blank expression. For about a very long 10 seconds, we just stared at each other until he finally walked away. I mean…what?? It was probably the most awkward experience I’ve ever had in a restaurant. That was weird, but the service here was just hostile in general. ANYWAYS. The food here was good, but nothing I would line up for – they are known for their scrambled eggs, which are admittedly super buttery and creamy, but everything else was pretty average.
On one of our last evenings in Hong Kong, we went to Social Place for dinner. I think I randomly found this restaurant through Instagram several months before our trip, and after showing my mom some photos, it didn’t take much convincing for her to be on board with us all going to eat here. This place is SUPER popular – we had a reservation at 8:00pm and we still had to wait until 8:30 to get our table. The food here is so freaking Instagram-worthy – I think they’re most known for their adorable baos (buns) that are so cute and aesthetically pleasing. I thought that the food might be more beauty than substance, but it was actually really unique and delicious! This place is pricier than your average dim sum restaurant, but it was so worth it.
Hong Kong’s skyline is iconic, and you must take a trip to Victoria Harbour in Kowloon, where you get a beautiful view of the skyline. It also has a laser show in the evenings, although to be honest, I didn’t find it particularly impressive. This is also the place where you can take the Star Ferry to Hong Kong Island – it’s a short ride, but something I think you should experience!
You may have seen a lot of “influencers” posting photos outside these apartment buildings that have become very iconic in the last few years. When I first started seeing these on Instagram, I was like “WHY.” People live in these apartments, and it would be SO annoying to have tourists come and take photos of the place you live. How would you feel if there was a never-ending parade of tourists outside YOUR apartment, causing a ruckus?? However, I was kind of curious about these apartments because they look very similar in style to where my relatives live, so I asked my parents if these apartments looked familiar to them, and they knew exactly where these apartments were located! Apparently my aunt and uncle used to live here when my cousins were young, and they still live about 10 minutes away now.
We went to see them in person while we were exploring the Hong Kong Island side – I was kind of curious to see how big the crowds would be. There was actually only one other couple there and they were being pretty quiet, so we decided to stay. BUT they did have a sign saying that you need permission and a permit to take photos there, and to respect the tenants and keep the noise down. I doubt that people follow the rules (we sure didn’t), but it just goes to show you that the noise and crowds is probably unbearable at times!
We did not go to a ton of touristy places this time since we had already done most of them on our first trip, but if you are going to Hong Kong, here are a list of suggestions for places that are fun to visit, and pictures from our last trip (if I have them):
Victoria Peak: Gorgeous lookout point with views overlooking the Hong Kong skyline from above. Gorgeous at night, too!
Ngong Ping 360: One of the most scenic gondola rides I’ve ever been on, where you get to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy the lush green hills of Hong Kong.
Tsim Sha Tsui: Trendy area on Kowloon with great shopping, food, and close to tourist areas like Victoria Harbour. Also has great night life because most of the night markets area located here (see below). Also close to Mong Kok, which is a bustling area that is fun as well.
Night Markets: The two biggest night markets are Temple Night Market and Ladies’ Market. I’ve found in recent years there’s less food vendors and more vendors selling random things like cheap clothing, and fake luxury bags. I don’t really buy anything from these night markets, but it’s cool to look at.
Lantau Island: Lush island that also holds the Tian Tan Buddha, which used to be the world’s largest outdoor Buddha; although it’s no longer the largest, it’s still pretty dang impressive to see.
Lan Kwai Fong: If you’re looking for a place to grab a drink, LKF is Hong Kong’s bar district and is full of trendy restaurants, nightclubs, and bars.
Hello, everyone! You may or may not know that I spent two weeks in Asia last month. We spent about a week in Taiwan, and a week in Hong Kong. My parents are from Hong Kong and it wasn’t my first time visiting the city, but it was my first time in Taiwan. Today’s post is specifically about our time in Taiwan. We were there for about 6 fulls days and we stayed in Taipei, which is the capital city. If you’re anything like me, you probably don’t know much about Taiwan. There’s definitely a lot of controversy in terms of the political status of Taiwan and whether or not they should belong to China – I can’t pretend to be an expert on the matter, but I do know that the Taiwanese people are very passionate about this topic. As a tourist, I do think Taiwan is very uniquely Taiwan, and nothing at all like the cities I’ve been to in China, nor like Hong Kong!
The hotel we stayed in was called Just Sleep Ximending, and we loved this hotel. Not only was it clean and comfortable, but we liked the layout of the bathrooms, which had the toilet, sink, and showers separated so that my husband could use one while I could use the other. It was also a super convenient location: a five-minute walk to Ximen Station and about a 10 minute walk to Taipei Main Station, which is a major hub station. In terms of entertainment, it was a five minute walk to Ximen Night Market, which is a bustling attraction in Taipei.
Hi everyone! As we’re nearing Christmas, I wanted to share with you a few gift guides. To start this series off, today I have a list for the non-beauty lovers in your life! Admittedly, this is where I’m weakest in gift-giving because I obviously am more knowledgeable about beauty. However, very few of the people in my life are beauty lovers, so I have to open my mind to the many other great gifts out there! I’ve included some specific items, as well as gifts with a large price range to fit everyone’s budgets.
Who doesn’t love a snuggle up with a good book, especially in the dead of winter? This one might be tough because not everyone has the same taste in books, but if you’re thinking of gifting a book, you probably already know what the recipient likes to read. A few of my favourites in the last few years: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I haven’t read it yet, but Becoming by Michelle Obama might be a good gift too; who doesn’t want to read a book written by this incredible and inspirational woman?
Hello again! Today is a continuation of yesterdays’ travel post, where I’ll be talking about the second part of our stay in Tokyo.
We started Day 4 in Asakusa, another district of Tokyo. It is well-known for the Senso-Ji Temple, as you can gather by all of the tourists gathered here even though it was really early and drizzling out.
Up next was Ueno Park, which is situated near the Akihabara area. I thought of it as a mini Central Park, because like Central Park, it has its own zoo and some museums around it. The day we visited Ueno Park was a rainy one, so we avoided a bit of the rain by going to the National Museum of Nature and Science, which was inside the park. The museum ended up being a lot better than we both expected!
Hello, everyone! Today I am continuing my Japan travel post and writing all about our stay in Tokyo. I feel like it’s taken forever for me to get through my travel posts, and it’s because I’ve only posted one a week to spread them out and not inundate you guys with them. However, this means it feels like I’ve been dragging them on, so I’m going to try to finish them up this week. Tokyo will be the last installment, but I have split it up into two posts as there’s just so much to talk about. Part 2 will be up tomorrow! I also have to work on replying to comments soon, which I’m so behind on!
When people think of Japan, they most likely think of Tokyo. While a city like Kyoto is historical and traditional, Tokyo is a bustling modern metropolis. I especially loved Tokyo for all of the eating and shopping, but we visited a lot of interesting places here too! We spent 5 full days here, and two half days at the beginning and end.
Hi everyone! Today is another installment of our Japan travels. This time, I’m talking about our day trip out to Nara and Osaka, both of which are just a short bullet train ride away from Kyoto. Our original plan was to visit these places on separate days to allow for more time to look around, but because we missed a day due to our cancelled flight, we had no choice but to do them together. It would’ve been nice to spend some extra time in both places, but I think it general it worked out just fine.
Our first stop of the day was Nara. There are a few different ways to get to Nara from Kyoto, but we took the bullet train, which took about 50 minutes. Once you arrive, the main attraction, Nara Park, is about a 20 minute walk from the station.
If you’ve heard of the city of Nara, you probably know it for Nara Park, which is a huge park that is also a home to hundreds of deer. Before visiting Nara, we thought there would only be a few deer lounging around, but they are roaming freely everywhere! At the park grounds, standing around on the middle of the sidewalk, crossing the intersection right in front of cars…everywhere! Not surprisingly, the mascot of this city is a deer.