Travel: Urban Desert | Los Angeles, CA

Los Angeles is a place that needs no formal introduction, most people seem to have their own idea of what it’s like and I suppose one doesn’t really know unless they’ve been there in person. Home to a plethora of West Coast beauty bloggers, host to the original IMATS conventions. A place of fame, fortune and Hollywood…right? Well I’ll let you mull over that one on your own but today I want to share with you some my memorable moments from last summer’s travels.
Having flown into LAX (LA’s international airport) in the heat of the late morning, the first reasonable thing to do is seek out lunch and I knew exactly where to go. Orochon Ramen in the Little Toyko District is still by far my favourite ramen to date (and that’s considering Vancouver has a healthy dose of Japanese food). 
The heavenly rich broth was filled with some familiar ingredients; bamboo shoots, black cloud fungus, boiled egg, bean sprouts and of course noodles. The first bite instantly reaffirmed that this is still the best. That perfectly chewy noodle, with a non-fatty but wonderfully flavoured porky broth is a must try if you are ever in LA. With one standard bowl bigger than my head, it might be a good idea to bring a friend to share too. 

Driving across town, you’ll soon notice that it’s a city spotted with shinning examples of postmodern architecture among remnants of early 20th century brick and stone buildings (as in the downtown photo earlier).
One of the things that immediately took me by surprise was how cold and windy it can become during the night, despite the flaming heat of the day. Classic desert phenomenal as I’m told by National Geographic shows I’ve been watching recently but still I was a little under dressed. 
Talking about being prepared though, I was very smug with myself for cutting down extensively on my beauty packing and during most of my trip, I rocked an easy combination of light brows, false lashes and my beloved Mizon BB Cream.
If you ever get a bit of time after dinner, one of the most beautiful scenes in the Los Angeles area is the drive along Pacific Ocean Highway from the northern tip of the inner city up into Malibu. The road winds precariously around the edge of rolling hills and mountain top homes with backyard vineyards lit aglow in the setting sun.

Our drive took a turn at Dume Cove, where the curve of the coast cuts into a picturesque strip of protected beach…with million dollar houses perched on the edge of course.


(Side note: I’m not trying to be an awkward tourist on purpose but I’m sure everyone gets excited about cacti the first time right? RIGHT? They’re just the coolest looking thing and I wish I had one in my yard.)
Another location I quite enjoyed was the zoo which to my surprise hosted an impressive array of animals from around the world, though to be frank I’m not sure if snow leopards belonged in the desert. 


I did however discover a new found love for an avian species. Flamingos, from their bright feathered coats to their long necks, were absolutely fascinating! 


A short drive from the zoo and my 2nd favourite spot from this trip is the Griffith Observatory, rising high on the hilltop, which not only is free for visitors but also offers a breath of fresh air above the smog that is downtown LA. Gorgeous architecture with art deco elements, this also happens to be the filming location to the end scene of Rebel without a Cause (James Dean anyone?) which I suddenly realized as I stood at the front lawn.


Popular LA destinations are not without it’s disappointments. Having dragged everyone excitedly to Rhodeo Drive, the lane of famous fashion houses like Prada, Fendi and Chanel I was completely over it in 20 minutes. 


If you aren’t holding a black Amex card then a drive by the area will be sufficient, the big im
posing buildings have little displayed in the shop fronts even for the window shopper. However if you are an auto fanatic, this might be a great place to check out rides like the Rolls Royce and Bugatti Veyron parked along the streets.
Back to fun, the ultimate day I spent on my trip was my visit to the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades (a drive down from Malibu). Though as man-made as any other thing in this city, this site is truly a time capsule experience. Set against the scene of the sparkling waters and nestled in the mountain top I’ve never seen anything like it, to describe this museum as breathtaking might even been an understatement and I have a feeling this is one of the best classical exemplars in North America.


Modeled after an ancient Italian villa in Herculaneum, this museum space housed an extensive collection of Grecian, Roman and Etruscan artifacts. Having spent much of my time pouring over books on the subject, I was beyond excited to see them in person and as all things go, no reproduction beats the real thing. 


(Note to self: Must at some point in my life own a back yard large enough to build my own faux peristyle yard with a pool. Add to bucket list.)


Not merely serving as a backdrop to the artwork that it houses, the Getty Villa is in itself exquisitely thought out and designed from the intricate ceiling work to the fun trompe l’oeil on the walls. What it would have been to live here! 



As I couldn’t decide which photo should be my end cap, I suppose I’ll leave you both. On top is the plate of lobster noodles I devoured after 5 days of no Chinese food and the bottom (just prior to eating it) my short stop at the Queen Mary ship at Long Beach (south of LA). 
Altogether I can say definitively that LA is not a place I could live in permanently (unless you’re renting out the Getty, in which I might reconsider) but it’s certainly worth a few visits in one’s lifetime.  


Life: The most precious paper on my bookshelf

… is a book passed on to me by my aunt almost 10 years ago. She came to visit us one time and left this book behind rather nonchalantly among a few other pieces of clothing and such. I was instantly enamored with the mystery and vibrancy of the images and thus began began my love affair with a city I’ve never met.

I Dream of NYC-01
I Dream of NYC-05
 I Dream of NYC-04
 I Dream of NYC-03

Most times this book sits in a little corner on the very bottom my bookshelf, a place easily missed by most people but a place that I will always know. We’ve developed a special bond over the years, I’ll pull it out once in a while and admire the vast greens of Central Park and the million lights of Manhattan island at night. While these images are more than two decades old, they reveal a city of wonder, of the solidarity of one in a place of thousands, making you feel so small but part of something so big. I’ve always longed to visit this place but at the same time been a little afraid that the realism of its existence might tarnish this secret intimacy that we built together.

I Dream of NYC-02

HAUL: Sephora + Victoria Secret = SanFrancisco!

Hello Everyone,

If the first thing you get excited about on vacation is being able to go shopping, well then this post is for you! A quick photo and video post about PART One of my San Francisco shopping experience; it will be split up into 2 videos for categorizational sake.

First, a grand look at the whole gang 🙂
[group photo! *click*] 

Sephora & Victoria Secret (SanFran)

Now on to the video fun!
[did you spot the special intro for my SanFran series?]

A close up look at some of the items!


Sephora Bare Escentuals--Buxom kit
I never thought thought that I would actually be so excited about a Sephora insider gift to actually trade in 500pt for it but this one is pretty promising. Can’t say no to a cute pink gloss and a nudy-lipstick. 
Oh Sephora you hit me in my Achilles ankle right there!

Victoria Secret: BIG SMOOCH Plumping Gloss Duo
Victoria Secret--Big Smooch lipgloss

This had got to be one of the cutest things I’ve encountered in a long time. I adore the colour combo and although it doesn’t tingle, this product DOES make your lips extra juicy and feels great to wear too! Now I wonder why I didn’t also get the nude colour too >.>”

NAIL INC. FALL Nail Colours

Nail Inc. Fall2011 Collection

Ahhhh….the beginning of my FALL nail collection, though I do own a few *similar* colours to these, I was really intrigued by this new brand and mainly wanted to test out the formulation. What I CAN say so far is that I love the smaller bottle size, who can use up a 15ml polish anyways before it dries up?
The 10ml is actually a pretty good idea in my opinion!
Thats it for today.
Stay tuned for more SanFran updates ^-^

If you’re traveling this summer…

…these are my suggestions on what to bring along!

Summer travel Tips #1

Catch my video here!


Summer travel Tips #3

  • Hellooooo Hydration!
  • Please do moisturize
  • You’ll want to have a hard working makeup remover

Products mentioned

  1. HADALABO toner
  2. HADALABO whitening emulsion/lotion
  3. LANCOME Bi-Facil makeup remover
Summer travel Tips #4

Makeup Items

Summer travel Tips #2

Items mentioned in the video

  1. Sunkiller SPF50 sunscreen
  2. NARS Sheer Glow foundation
  3. ***[good concealer: unfortunately, I haven’t found one yet so I put in my Skinfood Salmon concealer]
  4. Maybelline Pure Mineral powder foundation
  5. Maybelline Collosal Volum’ Express mascara (w/p)
  6. MUFE eyebrow pencil
  7. Revlon Colorstay liquid eyeliner
  8. MUFE AquaEyes waterproof eyeliner pencil
  9. ***Shiseido eyelash curler [if you need one, I do!]
  10. MUFE Flash color for face/eyes/lips
  11. Carmex
  12. NYX blacklabel lipstick “Orange Soda”
  13. Revlon ColorBurst lipgloss “Fire”
  14. NYX Runway Palette “Champagne & Caviar”
  15. **BONUS: A little perfume roller

And lastly!


California Dreamin’

I think they call it VISUALIZATION…you know, that thing you do when you close your eyes and imagine a place you’d like to be….

I am lured by its stunning architecture

Enticed by its cultural heritage…

Enthralled by its scenery both of nature and man…

Its co-existence of past and future…

Of its history and legends…

But most of all…..

I am lured by the prospect of fantastic