Wednesday, October 15, 2014

One Night Abroad: My Dream Trip to Paris, France

Every fashion enthusiast dreams of visiting the world's fashion capitals and see all the beautiful sights where all the best creations happen and the most inspiring views can be found - the rock and roll edge and glamorous vibe of New York, the diverse and eclectic fashionscape of London and the combination of high fashion and hard business in Milan.

I had the pleasure of witnessing the vibrant and, at times, chaotic fashion scene in Tokyo, and although the trip was, unfortunately, not in line with fashion week, I still managed to personally see and enjoy the dynamic fashion streets of the city. Men and women alike paid really close attention to every piece of fashion item they have on, expressing their unique individual styles. And as an avid follower of Japanese fashion, looking at photos in magazines was great, but seeing real people effortlessly pull off stylish pieces as they go about their everyday routine was a completely different experience.

Getting the chance to visit all of these places and truly experience why they top the list of the most fashionable cities in the world will be beyond a dream come true. It won't come cheap, of course, but it's still possible, one place at a time. So, for my next fashion destination after Tokyo (off my bucket list you go!), the one place I would be truly ecstatic to see is Paris - the center of all things couture!
No discussion of anything chic and sophisticated is possible without mentioning the mecca of the fashion world. While many other equally fashionable cities have tried to snatch the throne, Paris has never lost its luster. The city still remains a must-visit destination for anyone who lives and breathes fashion.

I've made a personal pledge to visit the city on my 30th birthday (I need to start saving soon; I only have a few more years left. Haha!), so here's a glimpse into my working itinerary:

What to Wear

My birth month is August, so if everything goes as planned, I'll be welcoming the big 3-0 in the middle of Parisian summer. From what I've read, the city becomes a true paradise for travelers around this time of the year. As the locals leave the city in favor of the beaches, visitors will have plenty of time to fully enjoy the place all to themselves.

Unlike other cities where summer means wearing cute tank tops, denim shorts, and comfy flip-flops, Parisiennes manage to still look chic despite the rising temperatures with fun and flirty summer dresses. According to some travel blogs I've visited, wearing shorts is actually considered a taboo. This isn't that surprising, though. After all, it's the city of eternal elegance. But, there's a much more logical explanation to this: experiencing the true beauty of Paris isn't complete without visiting cathedrals and museums. So, wearing outfits that bare too much skin, no matter how comfortable they may be, will only send the wrong signals.

I put together some outfits I think may fit the whole summer vibe in Paris:
A Bit Edgy
Clean and Simple
I can wear boots in summer, right? No? lol.

Where to Go Shopping

What's a trip to any fashion capital without splurging on some “investment pieces?”

Okay, so shopping in Paris may seem both exciting and intimidating,seeing the shops and boutiques of the most renowned names in the fashion industry all lined up in one busy street. Fortunately, Paris straddles on both high and low, so there's always something for everyone, even for fashionistas on a shoestring budget.

A day or two of (window) shopping in Paris means visiting Champs Elysées, the most talked-about shopping street in Paris, if not all of Europe. Upscale boutiques such as Gucci, Fendi, Christian Dior, Valentino, and Hugo Boss and other luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton, Cartier, and Guerlain consider this street their home. Retail brands such as H&M, Zara, GAP, and Sephora also occupy major spaces for frugal shoppers.
Champs Elysées

Another shopping street I would love to see is Rue de Rivoli. As one of the most famous  shopping destinations in Paris, this commercial street is known for having some of the most tourist-friendly shops for buying souvenir items.
Rue de Rivoli

Where to Eat

Enjoying authentic Parisian cuisine even on a limited budget may require a bit of research, but it's certainly doable. Tourists have this notion that dining in Paris means having croissants for breakfast, enjoying two-hour bistro lunches, and visiting wine bars. But, the locals have long become practical eaters, going for fast gourmet street food and Anglo breakfasts instead of anything fancy. Cheap eats, of course, don't mean compromising on the quality of food.

The online list of recommendations on the best dining spots in Paris was completely overwhelming, so I had to narrow down my choices — I need to find the best meat place. Browsing through a few reviews here and there introduced me to Les Tantes Jeanne. This dining place located on the side street off the trendy rue Lepic has an impressive selection of meats available — Argentine Steaks, Angus beef from the US, and of course, Wagyu beef from Kobe. This place will most probably be my first stop, but it's surely just the beginning of my food pilgrimage. After satisfying my meat cravings, it'll be fun to visit some holes-in-the-wall for a clandestine lunch, dinner and other meals in-between.
Photos from the Official Website

Doing my research on the best places to eat in Paris was a bit challenging because although there were some pages with reviews written in English, most of the main websites were written in French. I never had any “Lost in Translation” moments in Tokyo (thanks to my years of Nihongo self-learning), but my knowledge of French is next to zero. So, if this trip ever happens, apart from brushing up on my sign language skills, I need to get the help of reliable translation service companies like Smartling. these types of service solutions have made it easier to transcend language boundaries and make communications, especially for global travelers, a lot less challenging.

I may be getting ahead of myself with all this planning but, who knows? I never thought those Tokyo trips would happen that soon either.

But I seriously need to start saving first.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Makeup Monday: Zawachin's Monomane Makeup Book - "Make Magic"

The other day,  while I was sorting out all the fashion and photo books I hoarded during my last Tokyo trip, I found my copy of Zawachin's makeup book tucked neatly among my growing collection. I wasn't originally planning to buy one, but I got really intrigued when I saw how many bookstores had it among their bestsellers.
For those of you who don't follow Japanese pop culture, Zawachin, whose real name is Ozawa Kaori, started off as a regular blogger who would constantly post photos of her different makeup looks on her personal blog. Among the various looks she created, she gained the most prominence for her makeup impersonation (monomane) of former AKB48 member Itano Tomomi. Then, as she continued making really impressive makeup impersonations of different celebrities, she became well-known for her seikeikyuu meiku (cosmetic surgery-level makeup) techniques.
"Itano Tomomi"

Here are some of my favorite makeup monomane looks from her book:
"Cara Delevingne"
"Masuwaka Tsubasa"
"Kato Miliyah"
"Kiritani Mirei"
"Fujii Lena"
"Hamasaki Ayumi"

The instructions on her book on how to copy the looks are pretty simple, and she doesn't use any special makeup product at all ̶ just the regular neutral colored eyeshadows you can buy in any drugstore. So, instead of a how-to book, I'd say it's more a collection of some of her best works. It's like a printed, better-quality version of the photos on her blog. I wouldn't say she has mad makeup skills, but she does know how to maximize her resources (proper lighting, right camera angle, and even the way she covers her mouth or positions her famous pink mask) to make the resemblance as close as possible, regardless of gender and ethnicity.

According to some of the interviews I've seen of her, she would take about a thousand photos just to get one shot with the right angle. Some have expressed doubts about her skills, saying that she probably edits her photos heavily. But, she's appeared on television so many times wearing several of her monomane looks, so I'm pretty convinced that she does know her stuff.

She recently announced her plans of pursuing a career as a tarento, hoping that the audience would appreciate her more beyond the makeup transformations. I wish her luck on her new venture, and I'm looking forward to whom she's going to copy next. :)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Longings Beyond Scarves and Layers: My Wish List for Fall 2014

I may be living in a country where the weather is limited to either hot or hotter (or, recently, wet and wetter), but it doesn't mean I can't get inspired from the lovely colors, hues, and textures of the seasons I never get to experience, like fall. Haha. I did experience fall for the first time when I was in Tokyo last year, but I was there a bit too early to actually witness the changing leaf colors, people wearing stuff from the latest F/W collection and all those fall-y things. So, yeah. In a way, I'm still a "fall newbie."

Fall is one of the seasons when many of the leading fashion, beauty, and lifestyle brands in the world churn out some of the best items every girl should have in her closet. Of course, it's also the season when many girls break their (or their parents') wallets. Haha!

Fortunately, if you want to send someone on a fun shopping spree without going beyond your budget, you can always give them some gift cards. You can get the best selection of gift cards from almost all the popular fashion brands from shops like Raise is the first online marketplace to buy and sell gift cards, where you can buy discount gift cards to your favorite stores or sell your unwanted gift cards for cash. From Express to Victoria's Secret, this marketplace is full of gift cards to meet all your shopping needs. 

So, here are some of the things I'd love to put inside my little shopping cart:

Midi-Skirts from Express
I'm sure that girls with pear-shaped body type (like myself) are in love with this trend. Who wouldn't? This has the perfect silhouette that highlights the curves while concealing any imperfection.

Make Up For Ever 30 Years 30 Colors 30 Artists Palette
I haven't updated my makeup collection for a really long time now (I still have that stash from Tokyo last February), so I'd really love to have this as my newest addition. I'm not sure if it's still available though. :'( The neutral colors would look perfect for everyday office makeup, while the bolder hues would work great for a fun night out makeup look after work. And those signatures on the lid look lovely, too!

Photos from

Stella McCartney's Britt Shoes
I actually own a similar pair I got a couple of years ago, but this one has a more sleek feel to it. Plus, these would look really cute when worn with a casual midi-skirt.

Lena is one of those celebrities who seems like she would be a great girl friend to hang out with (I think she's super cool). I can't wait to pick up a copy of her book. I'm not done with the third season of GIRLS yet, but hopefully I'll get to finish everything before the new season begins next year. :) 

Other titles I'm definitely getting once they're out:
Can't wait to update my wardrobe and mini-library soon. :)

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Stash Saturday: My Game Thrones Merchandise Collection – Books and DVDs (Part 1)

Being a fangirl is such a costly business. I mean, seriously. I’ve been a fan of one too many things for years, but this is probably the first time I’ve splurged on something that got me truly hooked. It probably helps that I can now buy whatever I want and no longer a poor teenager who had to beg my parents for fangirl funds. Haha! Not that I asked my parents to pay for my obsession back then. No. Not even once. I just had more control and self-discipline before… which was a way better situation, I guess.

Anyway, here are some GoT-related goodies I currently own:

Of course, I have this. My sister got a bit surprised that I bought them in set since the entire series isn't even complete yet. Oh well. I'm still thinking if I should also get the HBO version. You know, as part of my collection.

This is a collection of maps from Westeros and beyond the Narrow Seas. I haven't fully opened this one because I don't have anywhere to put the maps yet. My walls are still fully occupied. lol. For anyone interested, these are just what it says  maps. While they're very detailed, do not expect any text to go with them. But you'll see details on some of the characters' journey, so it's a bit spoiler-y if you haven't read the books.

This is my most favorite out of all the GoT books I have. It's a beautiful coffee table book that's perfect for hardcore GoT fans like myself. Haha. It has interviews, details on costuming (!), behind-the-scenes photos, and two of the fake scripts D&D handed out to Kit and Alfie as a prank. Haha. The text was written by Bryan Cogman, who's one of the show's episode writers and story editor.

I didn't know there was a collector's edition when I ordered this one, so I was pretty disappointed like some of the people from I might sell this copy and get the collector's edition since it's currently on sale. I don't know. I hope they sell the storyboards and the scrolled maps separately soon.

They're releasing another edition for the third and fourth seasons, which will be penned by Cat Taylor of Making of Game of Thrones. I'm definitely getting a copy!
 Definitely my favorite page. Haha! <3

I contemplated a lot before purchasing this one because it's a bit pricey, but alas! I still gave in to my cravings. Haha. It's a really well-made pop-up book with descriptions on each of the seats. I don't know if I just got a dodgy copy, but I can't seem to make The Eyrie pop properly. Haha. Lady Lysa is still giving me headaches. But overall, I still like it.
 The Wall
Beyond the Narrow Seas
This is my favorite page. :)

This was way larger than I expected. I thought it'll only be as big as a magazine and all the posters would be folded. Thankfully, they're huge and not made of thin paper. They're cardboard, so they're pretty sturdy. Plus, the photos are glossy and really beautifully printed. The posters were printed back-to-back though, so if you want to hang one on your wall, you'll end up covering the other side. I suggest you just leave it as it is - a nice book of posters.
The First Poster
I absolutely love those sigil details on the back cover.

Game of Thrones Season 1 and Season 2 DVDs 
I don't have a Blu-ray player at home, so I just bought the DVDs instead. I haven't ordered the third and fourth season DVDs yet. Soon. :)

I’ve also recently ordered “A Feast of Ice and Fire,” which is an official cookbook inspired by the books (even though I can't cook to save my life) and the three "Game of Thrones Graphic Novels.” But since I live on the other side of the world, it’ll take some time before they arrive at my doorstep. 

George RR Martin is about to release “The World of Ice and Fire” in October, so I have some saving up to do. And of course, I’m also waiting for the sixth ASOIAF book, “The Winds of Winter.” Only, like everyone else, I don’t know when I’ll get my hands on it. Soon, I hope.

For the second part of this post, I’ll share some of the collectibles I bought like figurines, T-shirts, and some Etsy stuff. I don't have them yet. They're still in transit. Haha!

Non-Sponsored Post. 

Friday, July 4, 2014

Fashion Friday: Inside the Jewelry Box - Impressive Collections of Famous Women

For this week’s Fashion Friday, allow me to discuss one of the many things I truly admire (and long to have) in this world — quality jewelry pieces.

I love jewelry like the average girl. They’re not only nice to look at and wear, but the artistic skills that went behind their creation also deserve admiration. With the refined skills of talented jewelers, rough gemstones and precious metal ingots turn into exceptional pieces. They’re simply true artists.

Most women mainly use jewelry pieces for accessorizing, while others believe these ornaments have more function beyond style. Apart from being quality investments, jewelry pieces may serve as a symbol of the wearer’s social status. And it’s most certainly true in the case of these three women I’ve chosen for this post.

It isn’t surprising that many of the most powerful and influential women in the world own an impressive collection of jewelry pieces. Here are three of the most enviable women on earth, at least in terms of jewelry ownership:

Queen Elizabeth II, monarch
Her collection is so extensive it needs a special room. And it’s not just any other room. It’s needs one as big as an ice rink to keep them locked safely inside the Buckingham Palace. Excluding the British Crown Jewels, this queen’s personal jewelry collection is estimated to be worth $57 million, consists mostly of personal gifts. Yes, she’s got some generous friends.
One of the highlights of the collection is a 352.50-carat spinel called Timur Ruby. Its previous owners’ names —mostly Mughal emperors —are inscribed in it.

Diana, Princess of Wales
Among the late princess’ famous Diana jewels, the one that she’s most remembered for was her engagement ring. Personally chosen by Diana herself, the famous ring became as iconic as its owner. It was picked from a selection presented by Garrard Jewelers, and it was considered a rare choice for someone about to be a member of the royal family. This is because at that time, anyone could purchase the same item from the jeweler’s catalog. Even a regular girl and not a princess-to-be can have her own piece of a royal jewel. It somehow reminded me of The Princess Diaries (“Anyone can be a Princess.”).
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William's wife, and one of my favorite style icons at the moment, now owns this ring.

Elizabeth Taylor, British-American actress
Like the Queen of England’s collection, the jewelry pieces owned by one of the greatest screen actresses of Hollywood’s Golden Age consist largely of gifts. The actress received the 69.42-carat pear-shaped Taylor-Burton Diamond and the the 33.19-carat Krupp diamond from Richard Burton, actor and her on-and-off husband. Another one of Burton’s gifts is the heart-shaped yellow diamond which was originally a gift from Shah Jahan in 1621 to his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. This lady inspired one of India’s treasured wonders, the Taj Mahal.

You can read my previous Fashion Friday post here: Wardrobe Essentials - Must-Have Jacket Styles for Every Woman


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