SPAIN Travel Diary

Fourth and final in the Europe Travel Diary series is beautiful BARCELONA! It was the last stop on our magical Mediterranean adventure and I am so excited to share a more of this beautiful, vibrant city with you.

DOWNTOWN

The city center/downtown area of Barcelona is sprawling and full of things to do (and by things to do I mean places to shop). It’s such a fun area with a really cool vibe. It’s pretty easy to walk around (but be prepared to walk a lot!) and the public transportation, especially the bus system is pretty easy to navigate as well. We figured out how to use the bus the second half of the trip and it was so convenient to get around to all the places we were wanting to visit. We kept on finding little side streets to walk down which took us to little hidden gems of the city. A bunch of the cool restaurants we found were placed we stumbled upon while walking around. I also LOVE European stores, they’re just the best. I found so many cute tops, bikinis and little pieces of jewelry (and makeup!) at all the stores. The Gothic Quarter is a really fun area to spend a chill afternoon shopping and grabbing some yum food. Honestly, I could have just spent the whole time walking around the cute little side-streets, but there’s so much more to this crazy city!

MONTJUIC

One of the places we visited that I loved was Montjuic, an iconic hill with multiple monuments up top. It’s absolutely gorgeous and castle-like as it overlooks the Mediterranean. There have been a lot of archaeological discoveries there in the last few years which gives it a really cool medieval vibe while still being really natural and green (with a stunning view of the ocean). From the top you also have a cool birds eye view of the city center which seems so distant even thought it’s only about 20 minutes from the city. It was just a beautifully serene place to spend a few hours in the morning. There’s a mall right across from the bottom of the hill that has some great restaurants (we ate at Enrique Tomas and it was incredible) to grab a bite to eat at.

SAGRADA FAMILIA

When in Barcelona… Of course we had to spend a few hours at the iconic Sagrada Familia. There’s something so special about a building that has been worked on for decades and decades and will be worked on for decades to come. Even though it’s not technically fully built, it’s still incredibly beautiful. Since it’s so crowded, we made sure to book our tickets online to avoid long lines (but we still had to wait in a 10 minute line). But the lines and waiting in the heat was all worth it. Once you get inside you are hit by the sun shining through the multi colored stained glass windows. They line the walls all the way up to the ceiling creating an ominous yet beautiful glow inside. We spent almost an hour just in awe of the beauty and spent a few minutes in the silent prayer area, such a special moment. We went at 4pm, which was perfect because the sun was beginning to set by 5 creating the most amazing golden hour you’ve ever seen. It is by far one of the most beautiful moments I’ve ever experienced in my life. [Sidenote- if you do go, please dress respectfully, cover your shoulders and avoid exposing too much of your legs since it is a place of religious practice.]

LA BOQUERIA

The place I was most excited to visit (haha of course) while in Barcelona was Mercado de la Boqueria. The famous public market full of fruit, vegetable, seafood, nuts, spices and everything else vendors and loaded with fun little bars to grab a bite to eat at. I’m not going to lie, we visited the market three times during our stay which I have no regrets about. Each time we got lost in the chaos walking around for hours in awe of all the fresh produce and fun food items they had. I would stop from time to time to get a box of calamari, a cup of fresh cherries to nibble on or to try some cheeses and meats. The third time we went, we decided we would bite the bullet and line up (for 40 minutes!) at one of the tapas bars for lunch. While I was a little antsy waiting for that long, we finally got a few seats at the bar counter and got our food ordered. Calamari, fried peppers, croquettes and sangria were a few of the things on the menu for the day. Our food came out pretty quickly and I don’t think I can say this enough, it was DELICIOUS. And the calamari was hands down the best calamari I’d ever had in my life. And I love me some good fried squid. It was so fresh and crunch but not oily at all with very light seasoning and the best aioli ever. SO GOOD. It was such a fun lunch, followed by another hour of walking around the stalls, chatting with some of the owners and making a few purchases. Hands down a must visit place in Barcelona.

PARK GUELL

One of the last places we visited on our trip was Park Guell, one of Gaudi’s masterpieces. This was the place I had seen the most photos of (gotta get that perfect Insta) so I was so excited to be able to see it in person. We made our bookings for 5pm which was a gorgeous time to go. It wasn’t too hot, but the sun still kept the sky lit and lay a beautiful blanket of light over all the architecture. The first part of the park was the iconic colorful, mosaic tile-work. With the city and the deep blue sky behind it, the colors stood out and contrasted so beautifully. We spent some time at the first part taking photos and taking in all the beauty before starting to walk down the path to the bottom of Park Guell. Towards the exit, there are two more Gaudi buildings that are filled with rooms and gift stores that you can walk into and take the stairs up to the top. There was a cool Disneyland-ish vibe about the park (and I’m saying that in the best way possible) that made me feel like a happy little kid. Gaudi’s structures and designs are so distinct and simply stunning to look at.

FOOD

And how can I not include a whole section on food in this post. My family’s been really into Spanish food and tapas this year so we were so excited to get to spend time eating our way through Barcelona. Thinking back on it all, there really wasn’t a meal that wasn’t anything less than amazing. None of the meals were blah or even just okay, they were all great. One thing I fell in love with was pan con tomate, basically the Spanish version of garlic bread served with almost every meal. I also am such a grilled octopus girl and had a decade’s worth of good octopus this trip. They were all so tender and fresh with the best seasoning. A lot of meats and cheeses were also eaten during this trip, which I will never complain about. We also ended up buying TONS of meat to bring home which we are slowly savoring. We also found a few tapas places and just tried a bunch of things during those meals like patatas bravas, chorizo, tortilla and so many other yummy things. On our last day, we also stumbled across the cutest little store called Le Cava Cakery which did cava (Spanish champagne) and cupcake pairings while I of course had to pop into. We did cava and rose cava pairings with salted caramel, raspberry and dulce de lece cupcakes and I don’t think I’ve ever been as happy as I was in that moment (anyone who knows me knows that bubbly and cupcakes are the most me thing ever). And to finish off my food bucket list, we stopped for some churros and chocolate at a cute little street side cafe, with a perfect view of the Sagrada Familia, and I will never look at churros the same again (infinite amount of heart eyes). The food in Barcelona was just so good and I feel very lucky to have gotten to spend time eating around the city.

So that’s all for this Europe series! My incredible trip of a lifetime around the Mediterranean; Greece, Montenegro, Italy and Spain. I do want to end this post by saying how grateful I am for the life I live. I never take for granted all that my life has allowed me to do, and I never want anyone to think that I’m not grateful, because I am. I’ve spent so much time thinking about how my life has been the last 20 years, and I am truly the luckiest girl in the world. Whatever else happens in my life, no matter how dark the days, I have to remember that I am blessed. Traveling the world has truly changed my life and I’ve found so much pure joy, passion and love in exploring all these amazing corners of the world. And with that, thank you for following along on this adventure, I’m so glad I got to share it with you.

Lots of love, Aime xx

 

 

 

 

August Favorites 2019

Hi everyone, hope you’re having a lovely long weekend! I’m back and school now and back to the grind. I had an amazing end of summer full of long lake days, endless days in the sun and pool parties. I have so many fun and exciting new things lined up for this fall and I can’t wait to share it all with you. But for now, here are all the things I’ve been loving this month!

Skincare Product- This summer I’ve been using the Sephora Coconut Water Hydrating Mist all summer long. It’s super cheap but feels and smells so good. It just feels like it’s pure coconut water in a really nice spray bottle (which I absolutely love) and it feels so nice as a refresher on your face after a long day in the sun. I also like using this right after washing my face and using my moisturizer and a quick and easy toner.

Makeup Product- I talk about this product all the time but I’ve seriously been using it every single day this month, and it’s the Tarte PRO Glow palette. It’s perfect because it has four beautiful highlighters and two bronzers which is all I’ve really been wanting to use during these hot summer days. They are all so nicely pigmented and don’t smudge or rub off if I get too sweaty or even if I jump in the pool for a bit. It’s the perfect summer face palette for an easy, glowy look.

Jewelry- This month I’ve been wearing the 2Bandits Athens opal bar necklace (from one of my FabFitFun boxes) almost everyday. It’s a small and understated, yet elegant piece that can be worn with a t-shirt and shorts or a nicer outfit. I usually love wearing bigger statement pieces, but I’ve found that this small one is easy to wear around town, to the lake or even to a pool party because it doesn’t get in the way, but it still adds a little pop.

Clothing Item- I’ve been living in a new pair of Forever 21 mom jean shorts (linked similar ones) the last few weeks. It’s a darker denim with five buttons going up making it high-waisted. I’ve been pairing it with tight crop tops or even just a bikini top. It’s super easy to thrown on and is loose and comfy in this crazy LA summer heat. All I’m gonna say is mom jeans are out, mom jean shorts are IN!

Swimsuit- I just got a new order from She In a few days ago and I got a swimsuit that I am obsessed with. It’s a dark green and white striped halter bikini with cheeky bottoms. I bought it on sale for $5 so was expecting it to be pretty bad quality but I’m so pleasantly surprised by how nice it is (I actually love SheIn bikinis, they’re so great for what you’re paying). So I’ve been living in this suit the last few days trying to wear it as much as possible before summers over. If you’re looking for a cheap, cute suit for the last little bit of summer, check out SheIn (sizing tends to run on the small side or size up!).

Movie- I don’t know how it took me so long to watch this movie, but I finally watched Someone Great on Netflix a couple of weeks ago and it was SO GOOD. I’m such a sucker for a good, cheesy rom-com and especially one set in NYC so there was no way I wasn’t loving it. And I also have a major girl crush on Gina Rodriguez so that was just a bonus. If you haven’t already watched it, your homework for tonight is to sit in bed with a face mask on and watch it.

TV Show- I haven’t actually started watching this yet, but I’m really wanting to get into the Sex and the City series. I absolutely love the movies (and by love I mean I’ve watched both 1 and 2 like three times over the last few weeks) and can’t believe I’ve never watched the show. So this month I’m making it my goal to become obsessed with the show, because we all know I really well. But I’m also on the lookout for new fun shows so if you know of any good ones send me a DM or leave your suggestions in the comments below.

Song- I’ve been listening to anything and everything Jonas Brothers the last couple weeks, especially Love Her and Year 3000. But I’ve also been playing Someone You Loved by Lewis Capaldi and Supercut by Lorde on repeat the last week. Basically I’ve been really into finding new songs this month getting ready for all those long nights in the library.

Back-to-School Item- Now that I’m back to school and back to the grind I needed to get some stuff to help me get and stay organized for the crazy year ahead. Last year I used the Kate Spade ‘Things We Love’ 2018-2019 planner and I absolutely loved it, so I went with another Kate Spade one this year. The Gold Spade Flower 17-month planner (large) is beautiful and makes staying organized and on top of everything so easy. And the best part, it has two pages of cute, gold metallic stickers to use throughout the year, because even your school work needs to be a bit bedazzled, right.

Tokyo Spot- Right before I left Tokyo to come back my mom, sister and I finally went to TeamLab Borderless in Odaiba, Tokyo and it was incredible! I had heard so many good things about it and was beginning to think that it may have been overhyped, but it absolutely was not. It was even better than I expected and was so worth the trip. It was so big that we didn’t even get to all the rooms while spending an afternoon there. Highly recommend a trip there if you’re ever in Tokyo (tip: buy tickets online ahead of time- it’s crazy crowded)!

ITALY Travel Diary

SICILY, MESSINA

The next stop of our magical European adventure was ITALY! What a dream. The second we stepped into the streets of Messina, I was struck by all of the quaint, cobblestone streets lined with colorful, rustic buildings with balconies filled with plants. We spent a bit of time walking around a little square complete with a beautifully sculptured fountain and a grand church over-looking the streets. Turn each corner to find a cute little corner general store, a coffee shop with plenty of outdoor seating and little bistro-style restaurants. The city center of Messina has an incredibly old yet comforting style of architecture with ratty buildings that are just so charming.

After a full morning of walking around and relishing in the beauty of Italy, we decided it was time to find somewhere for lunch. Leading up to Italy, I only had one request: I needed to find the best seafood pasta. So this was my chance. After looking and looking for the perfect little restaurant, we found Osteria del Campanile tucked away in a little side-street off of one of the main roads. Thinking it looked a little run down and a bit out of the way, I honestly wasn’t expecting much. But after looking at the menu and seeing that they had a seafood spaghetti in a tomato-based sauce, I just had to order it. I still don’t know the words to properly describe it, but it was hands down the BEST pasta I’ve ever had in my life. And I eat a lot of pasta. That’s all I can say.

After being stuffed with meats, pasta and red wine, we headed out for the afternoon. We walked through the city center a bit more before heading to the shopping district. Simply a few rows of streets lined with stores on end. One of the stores I discovered while in Italy was Kiko Milano. I was on the hunt for some new colorful eye shadows when I first walked into their store. Everything is so affordable, but the products I’ve tried so far have been really good. After a few more hours of shopping, it was time for our first Italian gelato. We found a little coffee shop and popped it for a sweet treat. Overtaken with all the flavors, I finally settled on one scoop of cherry amaretto and one scoop of almond dark chocolate. Not to sound like a broken record, but best gelato I had ever had in my life.

AMALFI

Up next, the Amalfi Coast. The drive there was nothing short of incredible, stopping along the way at all of the prettiest of panoramic views. The picturesque shoreline with scattered villas, hotels, vineyards and houses was exactly what I was expecting. I constantly felt like I was looking at a background, so so so beautiful. The water was such a rich shade of blue that it almost seemed otherworldly. The town of Amalfi was exactly what I would have expected. The second you pull up, the salty smell of the ocean surrounds you as the sound of waves crashing lightly on the shore and the voices of so many happy people fill your ears. People say Disneyland is the happiest place on earth, but I might want to argue that.

Walk into the town center of Amalfi, a walled in area of streets and stores, to find even more bustling. Boutiques, food stores, cafes and restaurants are absolutely everywhere you look. There’s no stopping, there’s no break, it’s just go go go, in the best way possible. The buildings’ first floors were all filled with stores, but the second and third floors were all balcony and flower-lined, looking like someone may live there. We popped into store after store and I was simply stunned by the sheer amount of things stuffed into every small space. Every kind of pasta you could imagine, snow globes, shot glasses and magnets lined shelf after shelf, and bottles of limoncello could be found at almost every store. The whole time walking around, we were hot, sweaty and sticky from the Italian summer sun beating down on us, but it was also just so magical I didn’t care if I was sweating or not.

With the heatwave coming up to the southern coast of Europe from Africa, it was absolutely sweltering. And what’s the one way to cure a hot, Italian summer day: more gelato. I had already had my first, and what I thought was the best I would ever had, gelato in Messina, but I was ready to have another one. This time the flavor was Amalfi Limoncello. It was tangy, sweet, icily creamy and refreshingly cold. The heat was beginning to softly melt the triangular scoop of beautiful yellow gelato, but that did not stop us from finishing every last drop. As the days moved from morning, to mid morning, to evening, the Amalfi just seemed to get more and more beautiful. Sunshine draped over the town creating beautiful pockets of light and shadows on every building.

NAPOLI

Our last stop of the Italy leg was Napoli. Another quaint town, similar to Messina. The city center seemed to be a shopping district, filled with more boutiques and name brand stores. The public library was as grand as you can imagine, looking over the downtown area. We spent time walking in and out of stores, trying to cool off every second we could. Still looking for my Italian pizza, we were ready for an Italian pizza lunch. Once again, we happened to just stumble upon this little cafe/restaurant that we decided to sit down at for a break. Not expecting too much from their pizza, we just ordered a margherita pizza, a pasta with olives, capers and tomatoes and a salad to share. Seriously not trying to sound redundant, but it was the best pizza I’d ever had in my life. It was so simple with some crushed tomatoes, whole slices of mozzarella and basil leaves, but it was so delicious. The dough was soft but chewy and had a deep taste of bread. Italian pizza, check.

Another visit we made in Napoli was to Pompeii. It was quite a different experience, given the history. I still remember learning about the history of Pompeii during history class in sixth grade and it was so incredible to be able to visit the site of the buried city. We decided not to buy the headsets with the audio tour as we thought we could just walk around on our own, but I would highly suggest going for the audio tour since the area is so big and sprawling that it’s a bit hard to navigate on your own. But besides that Pompeii was actually gorgeous, despite it’s dark history. It just made me think of how much natural beauty can come out of something so dark. The afternoon we visited, the sky was a deep blue with just a few clouds scattered around. From a few spots within Pompeii, we had a perfect view of Mount Vesuvius, which was half scary, half amazing.

The last afternoon in Italy, we ended up snooping around a Sephora and Zara at an outdoor shopping mall-like area of downtown Napoli. It was another hot afternoon, so what else did we do that sit down for a glass of iced coffee and, yes, another gelato. This time it was strawberry, and just as delicious and refreshing as the other ones had been. The best end to the Italy leg of this adventure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July Favorites 2019

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Happy August! We’re in full summer mode and I’m absolutely loving it. The month of July was incredible for me with lot’s of travel, family and much appreciated down time. I’m at my lake house now in Northern Japan and enjoying long, sunny days out in the sun. I’ve been working on a lot of different and cool posts for the coming months and I can’t wait to share it all with you. I honestly have just been super chill this last month, so this month is a bit shorter, but nonetheless here it is, enjoy!

Skincare Product- This is basically makeup, but I’ll put it here for now. During these weeks at the lake, I haven’t really been wearing a lot of makeup, but I do like to have a nice little glow going, especially since I’m out in the sun all the time. I’ve been using the Benefit Girl Meets Pearl luminizer to highlight my cheekbones and down the bridge of my nose.

Makeup Product- I talked about this in my last favorites post, but I bought five new eye shadows from Kiko Milano in Sicily and Barcelona and absolutely love them. My favorite eye shadows are typically Tarte and the Colourpop super shocks, and these easily match up to those two. I was looking for more colorful shades to test out and found some beautiful purples, pinks, blues and yellows. They apply so buttery and smoothly without creasing, even after wearing it throughout a long day.

Clothing Item- While I was in Barcelona, I was on the hunt for a new, cute white bikini top, and I finally found the cutest one at the store Undiz. It was only 10 euros and is such good quality with good support (kinda hard to find that combo in bikini tops!). I’ve been wearing it a lot here at the lake and keep on getting comments about how cute it is. Such a steal, such a great purchase, be sure to check them out!

Movie- I talked about how much I loved ‘The First Monday in May’ in a favorites post a few months ago, and this month I finally watched ‘The September Issue’ the other day and I love it just as much. It follows the life and career of Vogue’s Anna Wintour, who I am absolutely obsessed with. It’s such a great movie, and if you’re looking for something to watch after watching ‘The First Monday in May’, watch this!

TV Show- I started watching Designated Survivor on Netflix at the beginning of the month and finished the first two seasons (48 episodes) in about 5 days and finished the third season soon after that. It’s such a good and addicting show that’s very current and relatable to what’s happening in our political world today. I’m so sad because news just broke that the show just got cancelled, but I think it’s still 100% worth it to watch those three seasons anyway.

Song- Like everyone else, I’ve been obsessed with Ed Sheeran’s new collaboration album, but I’ve especially been loving South of the Border. It’s such a great album and did not disappoint, especially with all the hype. But I’ve also found myself listening to a lot of Jess and Gabriel’s cover songs (on Spotify) that I’ve been really liking.

See you soon, stay tuned for more posts xx

Aime

MONTENEGRO Travel Diary

KOTOR

Montenegro was never a place that crossed my mind as somewhere I wanted to go, but I’m so glad I did. The views, the food, the people were all so amazing and made it a place that I can’t wait to visit again. After looking at pictures, I was expecting Kotor to be blue, green and very pretty, but it exceeded those expectations. It’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited, and I truly mean that. The beautiful was as deep in color as the Santorini water, but a little more turquoise, reflecting the green hills surrounding the bay. There was just a natural, serene beauty to the town that I don’t think I’ll ever be able to put into words. I was genuinely awe-struck, and there’s not many times that that’s happened to me.

The port of Kotor was filled with yachts and sail boats, big and small, all shaded by the mountains around it. One morning we drove up to the top of one of the mountains to get a picture-perfect view of Kotor Bay, which was absolutely breathtaking. There was nothing but blue water, green trees and scattered terra-cotta colored rooftops that could be seen. The bay was almost fully enclosed by surrounding mountains. A 30 minute drive to the old town of Perast along the coastline was a great way to see more of the city. Filled with AirBnBs and boutique hotels, we spent the ride talking about when we could visit again next. We walked around Perast for a few hours, admiring all the small boats and yachts that people were sailing around the water. Piers were filled with locals and tourists laying out on towels, enjoying the summer. Waterfront hotels had lined lounge chairs along the piers where even more tourists were out under the sun. A mid-morning break called for local unfiltered beer which was, surprisingly, really good.

Another highlight from Kotor was spending an afternoon in the down-town area, the cutest little square. The city center is contained by old, brick walls, a historic way to protect. We spent time looking around the stores and shopping for souvenirs and gifts from the unique destination. We bought so many things to remember the trip, from snow globes to stickers and Christmas ornaments. After walking up an appetite, we were ready for lunch and a short break. Wanting to find local foods and dishes, we found a local restaurant hidden in the backstreets where we ordered a selection of local cured meats and cheeses. Sipping on glasses of wines and cocktails, we enjoyed every bite of the local delicacies. Everything from prosciutto to salamis and cow’s milk and goat’s milk cheese were incredibly delicious.

Not knowing much about Montenegro or Kotor, we were so surprised by how much we loved it. Like I said before, everything about it was amazing. The moment we got there we were flocked by tour guides and car drivers ‘selling’ their tours and drivers to us. We decided to hire a driver one morning to drive us everywhere, and I’m so glad we did. We typically like to explore new places on our own and do everything on our own schedule, but this time it worked out so well. Our driver was so sweet and knowledgable about Kotor. He was simply a driver but was able to explain everything about his home city. He took us everywhere we wanted to go and gave us time where we wanted it. If you’re ever in Kotor, I would highly suggest hiring a driver or tour guide at least for part of one of the days you’re visiting the beautiful city.

I could say this until I’m blue in the face, but Kotor was such a surprise and I can’t be more grateful that I was able to visit. If it’s not on your list, it really should be. Now onto Italy!

GREECE Travel Diary

The first of four travel guides to come. First stop- GREECE!

ATHENS

Marking the beginning of our three week trip, we landed at the Athens airport in the wee hours of the morning before hopping in a short cab ride to our AirBnB in Kolonaki, which was an amazing place to stay. Right in the middle of the local hustle and bustle of the city, but not too far from any of the things anyone would want to do. We spent our mornings trying out different neighborhood coffee shops for breakfast drinking Freddo Cappucinnos (Greek iced lattes) and having different kinds of pastries and sandwiches. During the days, we walked around the Syntagma Square/Ermou Street area where there are tons of high fashion stores and boutiques. Right at the entrance to that area is Parliament where we watched the changing of the guard (takes place every hour). One day we walked a little further down Ermou Street to reach the Plaka area which was a bit more touristy, but filled with lot’s of cute little stores filled with everything and anything Greek. We did a bit of shopping around there to get some souvenirs including evil eye keychains, bracelets and red wine soap. We would often grab lunch back around the Ermou area and share some combination of Greek salad, souvlaki or gyros, spanakopita, and moussaka with a cold glass of 1.50 euro wine, no better way to spend your days.

We also had drinks a couple of times at the rooftop bar of the Grande Bretagne Hotel in Syntagma Square. The drinks are a bit on the pricier side, but it’s accompanied by the most stunning view of Athens and the Parthenon so it’s well worth it. And speaking of the Parthenon, we also spent half a day at the Acropolis (quick tip: buy your tickets online ahead of time to avoid lines). It was beautifully sunny with very few clouds scattered in the sky making for a perfect day. Although it was crowded, it didn’t make the experience any less special. We had visited Athens and the Parthenon in 2006 and I had very few memories of that so it was fun to be able to see the wonder again. Our last adventure in Athens before moving on was up to Lykavittos, the highest point in Athens. We took a little cable car up to the top and enjoyed a glass of coffee accompanied by a stunning panoramic view of the city. Lykavittos is also known as Mount Lycabettus who’s peak sits around 300 meters above sea level, making it arguably the best view of Athens. It was a beautiful way to start our last morning in Athens before heading onto Santorini.

For dinners, we tried to mix it up every night. Dexameni’s is an establishment that has been around forever. Located at the bottom of Lykavittos, it’s scattered tables sit sprawled out on a hill. For our dinner there we ordered a bunch of small dishes to share including a tomato salad, taramasalata and roasted potatoes. It was such a fun atmosphere with good food. Another one of our favorites was the Stinking Bishop which had some funky fusion dishes and a great bar. Although a bit on the pricier side, very worth it. But our favorite had to be Zurbaran which serves Greek food with a modern twist. A swanky bar, a picturesque terrarium-like dining section and bustling outdoor seating, it was hands down our best meals (we actually ended up going twice) in Athens .

Favorite Restaurants: Dexameni, Zurbaran, Stinking Bishop, Le Grande Bretagne Rooftop Bar (for happy hour).

SANTORINI

As beautiful as I had painted Santorini to be in my head, it was even more beautiful in person. We took a boat into Santorini and I was instantly in awe of the natural beauty of the island. The water was a deep, royal blue, glistening and sparkling as it reflected the sun. I had dreamed of visiting this magical place ever since I can remember, and it’s incredible how much it exceeded my expectations. People were so incredibly friendly and seemed genuinely happy to help and serve us. There seemed to be a natural light in everyone’s eyes and everyone’s spirit was as warm and welcoming as the Santorini sun. The overwhelming sense of bright blue just made my eyes glisten with joy and was paired so well with all of the sparkling white buildings. See, just like you’d imagine it to be.

We took a little bumboat from the one side of the Island over to Oia, to explore that area. Again, in awe of the stunning water. After walking up to the top of Oia, we basked in the sun and took hundreds of photos of the photogenic scenery. Mid-morning coffee/cocktail (we were on vacation, it was always happy hour!) pit-stops filled with Aperol Spritz’s and iced coffees made mornings even more serene. After hours of walking down the pebbles sidewalks, we had always worked up an appetite. 218 Cafe was one of our favorites, serving local, Greek food with a perfect balcony view of the ocean and parts of Oia. We sat forever eating all grilled octopus, stuffed squid, pita and hummus we could, simply in awe of the setting we were in. The Teleferic (cable car) down from the top to the waterfront is an absolute must-do, no matter how long the line is (trust me- I hate lines but this was well worth the wait). It’s about a ten minute ride with an incredible view of the whole island and ocean from the sides and bottom of the cable car. As sad as it was to leave, the trip was incredible and made for infinite memories.  Santorini was an absolute dream and I cannot wait to be back again soon!

Favorite Restaurant: 218 Cafe & Restaurant

Now on to Montenegro!

June Favorites 2019

Hello lovelies, hope you all had a sun-filled weekend! It’s time again for monthly favorites. I’ve been traveling/on vacation for most of the month so a lot of these are things that I found useful/just like a lot during this trip.

Skincare Product- I’ve talked about this product a lot on here, but the Tarte Maracuja Oil has been amazing this month to help me with my skin and makeup. I usually use it on a pamper evening for my face right before I go to sleep, but this month I’ve been using it together with my foundation to make it a little more hydrating and lightweight.

Makeup Product- This summer I’ve been using my Tarte Passport to Paradise palette a ton. It has a mix of beautiful neutral shades and fun pops of color to play around with. As always, the pigment and formula on these shadows are so nice and apply so smoothly and last a full day of sun and sweat. I also discovered the brand Kiko Milano when I was in Italy so I picked up a few shadows and am excited to see how those are!

Haircare Product- This month I’ve been using the Garnier Grow Stronger Apple conditioner for my hair and it’s been amazing. I’ve been loving Garnier shampoo and conditioner for the last year now, and this conditioner is perfect for summer. I don’t love using too many oils or leave-ins during the summer because it can get too heavy and oily at times, so this conditioner leaves my hair so smooth and silky that I don’t need to use anything after. 

Clothing Item- I found this cute off the shoulder top at Forever 21 in Tokyo right before we left for our Europe trip and it’s quickly become my favorite top this vacation. It’s SO cute and summery and can be easily dressed up and down. I’ve worn it so many times and I’ve loved it every time. It’s a very thin and light material that is so cool and breathable, especially on those sweltering days.

Accessory- I got the Lele Sadoughi Silver Circle Necklace in one of my past FabFitFun boxes and I’ve been wearing it a lot this summer. I used to only wear it when I got dressed up a bit, but I’ve been wearing it with all sorts of outfits the last month. It’s just a simply but beautiful statement piece that’s not too in your face but still makes a statement.

Movie- I haven’t really been watching movies this month, maybe because I’ve just been binging Full House, but one movie I really want to watch it Netflix’s new Murder Mystery with Jennifer Anniston and Adam Sandler. I love when they work together and love them both separately as well, so I can’t wait to watch it.

TV Show- Ever since I was little, I’ve been addicted to Full House, but for some reason I’ve found myself watching it a ton over the last month. I don’t really know why, but anytime I sit down to watch something I seem to always put it on. I’ve seen every episode at least three times so it’s not new to me at all, but it’s such a fun and easy show to have on while doing whatever.

Podcast- You might think this is super lame, but I DON’T CARE. I listen to the Almost Famous podcast with Ashley Iaconetti and Ben Higgins religiously. Every week after the Bachelorette I run to download their recap episode and listen to the whole hour and a half pretty much in one sitting.

Song- I don’t know how I just discovered this song, especially since I’m in love with Kelly Clarkson, but “Broken & Beautiful” from the movie ‘Ugly Dolls’ has been on my repeat list for the last few weeks. It’s so catchy and upbeat with such a strong, positive message.

App- Since I’ve been taking SO many photos and wanting to edit them well but quickly on my phone, I’ve been using the app Airbrush. I think it’s meant more for editing your face/body, but I think it has great features for editing the coloring/lighting/saturation and all that other stuff for landscape photos. I love just having an app on my phone that I can use anytime, anyplace.

Travel Accessory- I’ve been using my polka dot Kate Spade passport case (discontinued) for a couple of years now and am reminded of how much I love it every time I travel. Not only do I get to travel in style, but it makes it so easy to keep track of my passport and allows me to keep my other important cards and travel documents together in the same place.

Mode of Transport- Haha! I know this sounds weird, but for the first time in any of our lives, my family and I went on a cruise. I had honestly never thought much of cruises and was never really interested in it, but it ended up being hands down one of my favorite vacations/way to travel ever. We traveled with Princess Cruises, on the ship the Emerald Princess, and it was such a lovely experience. The ship, rooms, pool, clubs, bars, restaurants and everything else were so nice and clean and the staff and everyone who took care of us were so incredibly generous and made the trip so special.

Lots of fun Travel Diaries to come, so keep an eye out for those over the next few weeks. But for now, soak up the sun and enjoy the summer!

xx Aime

April & May Favorites 2019

Hello lovely friends! Hope you all had a FAB weekend. These last couple months have absolute FLOWN BY… so much so that I totally dropped the ball on monthly favorites. But we are back here today doing a little catch up on all my favorites from the last few months. Enjoy and I will talk to you again very soon! xx

Skincare Product- Now that its summer and a little more humid (especially now that I’m back in Asia), I’ve been living more lightweight moisturizers. My go-to is typically the Clinique moisturizer, but during these summer months I’ve been loving the Curél Moisturizing Milk. It’s so lightweight but still very hydrating.

Makeup Product- I’m not usually a blush person, but lately I’ve been using the Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush pretty much everyday. I love that it gives me a little rosy glow without being too much. It’s such a great addition to a neutral and natural makeup look.

Haircare Product- I think I’ve talked about this before, but I’ve been using the Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Anti-Frizz Serum a lot lately, and I’ve been loving it. It does such a good job at keeping your hair healthy and hydrating while still leaving it so radiant. And it’s such an incredible product and SO affordable.

Clothing Item- I found this really cute romper from Top Shop (can’t find the link:() at Saks Off Fifth on Black Friday and I’m so glad it’s finally summer and I can wear it now. It’s such a fun outfit that can be dressed up or down and can be worn for seriously any occasion. It’s just so fun and flirty.

Shoes- I just finished a month-long internship and was living for these SODA black espadrille platform sandals. They are SO cute and comfy while still looking put together and progressional. They’re so comfortable and could literally walk around in them all day without anything blisters. And best of all, gives you height!

Accessory- Since I was working this past month, I was wearing jewelry every day. My Return to Tiffany bracelet with the little blue heart has been my go-to every single day. It’s a very minimal piece that still makes a statement with the pop of blue.

Restaurant- Since I was able to spend the month of May back at home in Singapore, I was able to go back to all of my favorite SG spots. Lantern at the Fullerton Bay Hotel has always been one of my favorites. They have such cool and different drinks with the most s t u n n i n g view of the most beautiful part of Singapore.

Sweet Treat- When my sister and my mom came and visited LA a couple months ago, we went on a food tour around LA (not actually, but kinda haha) and of course HAD to visit Bumsan Milk Bar in Koreatown. They have amazing soft serve in a cereal cone and it’s the most decadent and delicious thing ever.

App- I love games and apps that can give me something mindless to do since I get distracted and bored really easily, and I found the game 1010! Color the other day (FREE!) and I’ve been pretty much playing it every free second I have.

Movie- This is definitely an older one, but for some reason I’ve watched Friends With Benefits four times in the last two weeks. It’s just such a fun and easy movie to watch on a lazy afternoon. But I also watched the new Always Be My Maybe on Netflix the other day and it was so good! Definitely did not disappoint.

TV Show- I love David Chang and all of his shows, and I’ve found myself rewatching all of his Ugly Delicious episodes lately. I’ve seriously seen them all at least three times and can’t wait for the second season to be out.

Song- I don’t know if a lot of people know this, but absolutely LOVE country music. It’s pretty much all I listen to. Jake Owen sang one of his new songs, Made For You, on last weeks episode of The Bachelorette and I’ve been obsessed with it ever since.

Mental Health Moment #9- EVERYTHING MENTAL HEALTH

Happy Sunday and happy Mental Health Awareness Month! Today I’m so excited to share this mega post that’s covering anything and everything mental health. I’ve said this before and I’ll say this again, it’s all about breaking the stigma. That phrase is seriously overused, but there still doesn’t seem to be much of a change. Mental health issues and struggles are everywhere, seriously… everywhere. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, it doesn’t make you weak, in fact I think that being able to recognize when you’re struggling and being able to reach out for help or treatment makes you one f*****g strong person. Take this week as inspiration to be open and honest about your journey, your struggles. Even if your story helps just one person, it’s all worth it.

My mental health update:

I wanted to start of with a little update on my mental health and where I’m at right now. To be honest, I’ve been struggling a bit the last few weeks transitioning from the end of my sophomore year to summer. Transitions are always hard for me because it interrupts my recovery and treatment routine and forces me to adapt quickly. I was able to talk about this with my therapists before leaving for the break, and I think that’s helped a lot, but it’s still hard. The best thing I can do for myself is continue to be open and honest about how everything’s going. A large part of this is being able to acknowledge when I’m not having a great day or when I’m feeling a bit off. If there’s been anything in my life that’s been nearly as hard as recovery, it’s faking being happy. There’s nothing worse than pretending that I’m feeling great and loving life when I just feel so unbelievably blah and empty inside. Being able to say that I am feeling really anxious or depressed that day has been the best thing I can do for myself. I’ve also had to learn that putting my mental health first means that I have to be selfish sometimes. I have to become comfortable with saying no (which is incredibly hard for me) and I have to be okay with asking my friends and support system for help when I need it. And actually, that isn’t selfish as at all as long as I’m also making sure to support those around me just as much as they support me. I have to remind myself, every single day, that I am worthy. Remind yourself that too.

Body Dysmorphia… What is it?

I’ve been really open about my ED and dealing with anxiety and depression, but one thing I haven’t really talked about is body dysmorphia. It usually goes hand in hand with EDs but also adds another level of complexity to the illness. Body dysmorphic disorder, by definition, is a disorder that makes you focus on certain and specific physical flaws in your appearance. They are often so small that no one else would notice it, but it’s often times the only thing you notice about yourself. It can become so severe that you make drastic changes in your behavior and social behavior to avoid flare ups of these feelings. For me personally, my body dysmorphia would be extremely severe right before a purge, but would subside right after (I’ve learned that this is the eating disorder voice telling me what it wants me to hear). I feel comfortable in baggy sweatpants and sweatshirts that cover up my body and feel extremely anxious when wearing anything that exposes parts of my body. A big part of my recovery, and one of the goals I set for myself this summer, is to become comfortable wearing clothes I want to wear, no matter how uncomfortable I feel in it. BD is one of the aspects of mental illnesses and eating disorders that often goes under the radar, maybe because to some it seems like an overreaction, but it’s just as important/severe as anything else.

Tips and tricks: on days where you’re feeling less than, try these tips out and remember that everything will be okay

  • Breathe– Take deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth to slow down your sympathetic nervous system.
  • Essential oils– Use different blends of essential oils, either on your body or in a diffuser to help reset & revive your mind. Lavender, spearmint and ylang ylang are my favorites to diffuse every day.
  • Get creative– Grab a piece of paper and just start doodling, painting or whatever else your creative juices are feeling. If you’d rather use a device, there are tons of coloring and doodling apps that work just as well.
  • Gratitude– Write down three things you are grateful for, right then and there in the moment. This is something you can do right there on the spot or incorporate it into your morning/daily routine.
  • Fidget– One of my friends got me a bag of marbles to play with every time I’m feeling anxious, and it’s actually been one of the best ways to help calm myself down.
  • Do nothing– Remember that it’s okay to do absolutely nothing sometimes, it’s not lazy, it’s not selfish, it’s necessary.
  • Pamper– Take a bath, take a long shower, book a massage or a facial, anything that’s going to help you feel normal and special.
  • Move– You don’t have to do anything intense to get your body going, a quick yoga session or even just a leisurely walk in your favorite area of town will do the trick. Anything to get your heart rate up and blood flowing will always make you feel better.
  • Clean– Having a clean space can help clear your mind. When your space is cluttered, it’s easy for your mind to reflect your environment. Tidying up and doing a simple clean can help you feel in control of everything, and it’s a great way to get moving a bit.
  • Therapy– This isn’t something you can do right on the spot, but I really believe that therapy is a life-changer. Ever since I began therapy, I feel so much more centered on a daily basis. It’s not going to fix all your problems at once, it’s a practice that takes time, but it helps, I promise.

 

#inspo:

 

As always, I’m sending an infinite amount of love, support and positive vibes your way. Whatever you’re going through, however shitty your day/week/month has been, I promise it will get better, I promise the light will come. Someone in my life once told me that there is no “light at the end of the tunnel” but simply people who love you bringing a light into the tunnel. Eventually there are so many people shining a light around you that you forget you are in the tunnel. I’ve been playing that through my head constantly the last few weeks, and it’s helped put everything in perspective. Being at rock bottom has allowed me to see beauty and joy more clearly than ever. The light will come, believe me.

Lots of love xx

LOS ANGELES Mood Board

Hello beautiful friends! Hope you’re having a lovely start to the week so far. As I’m coming up on my two year anniversary of living in LA, I’ve been reminiscing a lot and going through tons of photos and memories of all the things I’ve done and experienced over the last couple of years. I thought it would be fun to put together a little mood board of all the things that have capture my heart about this city. As much as I miss home, I’m growing to fall more and more in love with LA every single day, and I’m sure that love will only continue to grow in the coming years.