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.

 

Life Through A Lens #29- ¿IDK, a catch up i guess?

Natural, Sun-Kissed Glam

Happy Friday! Cheers to the freaking weekend has never been more accurate. The week started off a little cloudy and gloomy, but the sun is finally out and I’m absolutely living for it. I’m heading into the time of the year when I’m constantly out in the sun and just need an easy, natural makeup routine to complement my sun-kissed glow. I’ve been finding myself reaching for these specific products over and over again over the last couple of weeks and wanted to share this quick and easy routine with you. I guarantee you’ll glow brighter than ever. Soak up the sun, get your tan on and enjoy the weekend!

1. The first thing I always do is make sure that my skin is healthy and prepped. When I’m out in the sun a lot, my skin tends to be clearer (the sun is good for shrinking pores and drying out spots) but it also produces more dead skin. I make sure to exfoliate well using either the Kate Sommerville ExfoliKate or the Grown Alchemist grapefruit facial polish followed by the Clinique Dramatically Different moisturizing gel. I tend not to use any BB cream or foundation during the summer because I really like to let my skin breathe.

2. Once all that’s done I move onto the actual makeup part of my routine, which always starts with my brows. I’ve mentioned this product before and it’s become my holy grail brow product, but the Etude House drawing eyebrow pencil is an absolute god-sent. It’s so easy to use (seriously takes me like 40 seconds total to fill in both my brows completely) and lasts all day through classes, pool days, workouts and everything else. I’ll then go over that with the Benefit 3D browtones to set them in place.

3. For my eyes, I usually keep it fairly neutral with lot’s of shimmery bronze shades. I’ve been using my Tarte Passport to Paradise Palette for most of my eye looks. I’ll by buffing ‘seven wonders’ in to my crease line and then go back over that with ‘flaotie’ (a bit of a deeper shade). And then using my finger, I’ll go in with ‘cliff jump’, which is a beautiful orange-y shimmer, all over my lid. If I’m wanting to add a bit more shimmer to my outer lid, I’ll get a bigger blending brush and pop on a little bit of ‘bucket list’ in the outer corner of my eye. Just to keep it easy with the same palette, I’ll use ‘luau’ in the inner corner as quick highlight. On top of that, I use the Maybelline Stiletto liquid liner to finish it off with a mini wing. Nothing too dramatic, just to make my eyes pop a little more.

4. For my lashes, I start with the Tarte Lashy & Flashy curler and go over that with the Tarte Maneater mascara, both pretty much a staple for my makeup every day.

5. The last thing I put on is a bit of highlight, because I’m not actually going to sit out in the sun all day without any highlight on am I?! I don’t want anything too heavy duty, so I use the Fenty Beauty Match Stix in ‘yacht lyfe’ on my cheekbones and down the bridge of my nose. I don’t like using any colored lip products, but I’ll always put on a heavy duty lip balm which adds a little sheen anyways.

6. I don’t always love using a setting spray in the summer because I feel like some of them end up feeling tacky, but I’ve been loving going over all my makeup with the Trader Joe’s rose water facial toner. It’s a super light and refreshing mist that just amps up the glow.

And there we go, all glowy and shimmery and ready for a beautiful day out in the sun. Hope you all have the loveliest weekend and I’ll see you very very soon! xx

 

 

 

 

Mental Health Moment #8- Inspiration Board

Hello lovelies and happy hump day! Hope you all are having a fabulous week so far and if you’re not, keep your head up, it’ll get better I promise. For today’s post, I thought I would share some of the quotes that I turn to on days where I’m feeling blah or even just a little less than happy. I’m always adding to my photo album on my phone and find myself flipping through these photos when I need a little pick me up and I hope they can do the same for you!

Sending lots of love and positive vibes your way xx

Food Adventures #13- Food Hopping in LA