Thursday, April 19, 2018

Travel Bucket List :: Banff, Canada

Born and raised in a tropical country, I used to dislike cold weather. Then I've learned to just roll with it. After being married to a cold weather loving person, I started to appreciate the beauty of winter. Banff has been on our travel bucket list for quite some time but it kept getting pushed back. I am so glad that we can finally check this charming town off our bucket list. Pictures don't do this town justice. Beautiful and stunning mountain views everywhere you turn. It was an amazing trip from all aspects. Here is a recap of our winter trip to Banff.
Where to stay: We stayed at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. While our deluxe lake view room was amazing, what we essentially paid for was that drop dead gorgeous view. It's one of those things that you just have to do it once and wouldn't necessarily need to do it again. The room is pretty average in my opinion but the view is incredible (you'll get a glimpse of the room in the video above). If it's your first time in Banff, I would 100% recommend you stay here purely for the experience.
What to do:
1. Walk across the frozen Lake Louise: The view is absolutely breathtaking. A camera lens just simply cannot capture the beauty of Lake Louise. We walked across the lake, kept looking at each other and said "how is this even real?" We were mesmerized by the beauty of the lake. I don't know how to ice skate so we skipped it. That walk is something I would never forget.
2. Ski: Ski in Banff is one of the main attractions. There are 3 ski resorts within the Banff National Park: Mt. Norquay, Lake Louise and Sunshine Village. Mt. Norquay is the smallest of the 3. It's great for family with small children. We decided to skip Mt. Norquay. Sunshine Village is the largest ski resort of the 3. Even though I've skied in Vail and Breckenridge before, I am still a beginner skier. I knew different ski resorts use different grading systems but I thought I'd be fine going down the green trails. Boy, I was wrong. I fell so much on the first day. The green trails in Canada are a bit steeper than what I used to. I was exhausted at the end of day 1. Luckily, I got the hang of it on the second day and the experience was much more enjoyable. Between the two, I think Lake Louise ski resort is more challenging than Sunshine Village. At each resort, you can request one of their on-site instructors to accommodate you. They will spend 30-45 minutes to help you become familiar with the trails. Each resort has its unique appeal and I am glad I got to experience both. Click here if you're interested in what I packed for this trip.
3. Banff Upper Hot Springs: Nothing beats soaking in a hot spring after a long day of skiing. It's crowded but people come and go quickly. It's a fantastic place to relax and enjoy amazing mountain views.
4. Johnston Canyon ice walk: It's easy to see why the Johnston Canyon ice walk is one of the top things to do in Banff in winter. We did both upper falls and lower falls and the experience was amazing. All you need to know about the canyon here. Go early to avoid the crowds. I highly recommend you rent ice cleats. You don't have to but trust me, they're well worth it. They call this the ice walk for a reason. I saw people just kept slipping and sliding without those ice cleats.
5. Marble Canyon in Kootenay National Park: Another beautiful and easy hike. It's not too far from the Banff National Park. The view is spectacular and so serene plus there weren't many tourists there. A definite must see!
Where to eat:
We're not very adventurous when it comes to trying new foods. Below are a few places that we went to while in Banff
- Trailhead Cafe: It's a great place to grab a quick bite. We got pancakes there for breakfast and they were delicious
- The Outpost: Located right next to the Post Hotel & Spa. Food was pretty decent and fair price point.
- Tooloulou's: By far the best breakfast we've had in Banff. Their pancakes were delicious and the service was fantastic
- Coyotes Southwestern Grill: We came here for dinner and enjoyed it so much. Excellent comfort food that hit the spot.
- Beaver Tails: A reader recommended this place so I had to try it. I opted for cinnamon sugar and it was super delicious. Another must try if you're in Banff.
I hope you enjoy this post. This trip was definitely one to remember. We're half way through our travel bucket list. I am talking about traveling while still holding down a standard 9-to-5 job (not jet-setting somewhere on a sponsored trip every 2 weeks like some of the big bloggers do). Watch the video to see where we're heading next.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Floral blouse for Spring :: Sunday random thoughts

I had a really fun evening catching up with friends and family. We usually get together every 2 or 3 weeks. It's actually something I look forward to. I've been thinking a lot about life lately. There isn't a day that goes by that I'm not thankful for the people I love and surround myself with. My life isn't always sunshine and rainbows. I've been through some tough times and it took me almost a decade to learn how to live the life I want. I had some really great conversations with close friends and family tonight so I guess they kind of inspired me to share with you 4 life lessons I've learned throughout the years. Outfit details: Shein floral blouse *the quality is super nice and it's perfect for spring* | Levi's 721 jeans | similar suede sandals | Chanel boy bag

1. Life is too short to not live it the way you want to - I know it's easier said than done but it's so true. I still remember vividly my 18th birthday. In the blink of an eye, I am now reaching 40 =( You only have one chance on this earth, don't waste it. Spend your time doing the things that make you happy. Get out of a toxic friendship, an unhappy marriage, a stressful job or just simply distance yourself from negativity. Don't waste your time and energy on people who don't respect, appreciate and value you. You can't change people, either you accept how they are or start living life without them.
2. Build a solid support system - I wouldn't be where I am right now if it wasn't for my family. They've been with me through it all. In a way, they are my security blanket. They keep me grounded. Because of them, I have no fear of taking risks. I know they're there for me no matter what (even if I fail)
3. Find your own identity - This is one of the most crucial parts of living a meaningful life. I've always been a girl who knows exactly what I want. I have a vision for my marriage, my career and what I want to achieve in general. I might not know exactly how to get there, struggle to get there or even fail along the way but I have a very clear vision of who I am. Having a life plan is so important. It helps to guide you towards the right direction. Write down your vision and turn your vision into reality. Focus on YOUR goals instead of mimicking someone else's. One of my favorite quotes - Always be a first rate version of yourself and not a second rate version of someone else by Judy Garland
4. Don't be afraid of change - Change freaks us out but embracing change makes you grow. The thought of making a life change can be scary and intimidating but when you accept, embrace and learn from change, you inevitably grow stronger. Just remember, when one door closes, another opens

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Sephora VIB Sale :: Recommendations

As you might already know, the Sephora Spring Bonus Event starts tomorrow for all Rouge members. Everything you need to know about this highly anticipated event is here. I am not a makeup junkie but I can definitely recommend a few things if you're interested in trying them out. Some of them are my tried and true products that I've been using for year. Some of them are really great products that I discovered recently.

- IT Cosmetics confidence in a cream - This is a new moisturizer that I picked up last December. I've been using it for over 4 months now and am really impressed with it. This moisturizer makes my skin feel so soft and hydrated. It's a thick cream but absorbs quickly and does not leave my skin greasy. I can't recommend it enough.
Olaplex Hair Perfector No. 3 - This is another new product that I've been trying. If you're not familiar with Olaplex, it's a 3-step system to treat damaged hair. The first 2 steps can only be done in-salon. The No. 3 Hair Perfector is the last step that you can do at home. It simply serves as a deep moisturizing treatment to helps rebuild damaged hair. I use it once a week and have seen great improvement to my hair.
Jo Malone fragrance - Sephora now carries Jo Malone fragrance and I couldn't be happier. Their fragrances never go on sale. 2 of my favorite scents are peony & blush suede and orange blossom
- Becca highlighter in champagne pop - This is the only highlighter I keep in my makeup drawers. A little bit goes a long way. It has a really smooth consistency with excellent color pay off. Champagne pop gives my skin a stubble nature glow.
- Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum - This is one of my tried and true items. I've been using this serum every night for the past 3 years. I will keep repurchasing this product
- Tatcha Perfecting Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 35 - Another beauty must have product for me. This serves as my everyday SPF and primer
- Tatcha cleansing oil: Another product that I use every night to take off my makeup. It removes everything including waterproof mascara. It's a staple product in my beauty regiment.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

My closet favorites are up to 25% off right now

Spanx faux leather leggings: I picked up this pair of faux leather leggings last month and I am in love. I've heard so many great things about them and they definitely live up to the hype (review coming soon).
Le Specs sunglasses: This brand is relatively new to me but I am already a fan. I own 2 of their glasses and the quality is amazing. If you love these Celine flat top sunglasses but don't love the price, get this pair. They're almost identical for a fraction of the cost (see them on me)
Levi's 721 jeans: I recently discover this style and I am obsessed. They fit so well and feel amazing. Will do a review soon. They run true to size. I am wearing a size 25 here
Hunter boots: These are one of my closet staples. While I love a fun color, you can't go wrong with the classic black (short version here)
- Quay High Key mini: If you love aviator sunglasses but have a small face, try this style. I used to own the original High Key but they are way too big on my face. I am so glad Quay came out with the mini version (see them on me)
- Spanx girl shorts: I wear these under all my bodycon dresses and they help smoothing out the tiniest of lumps and bumps
Other things included in the sale that I love:
Baublebar layered necklace - One of the most popular pieces from Baublebar
Pre-owned luxury handbags are also included in the sale (love this Hermes Evelyne and this Gucci wallet on chain)
Marysia swim pieces - Their swimsuits are to die for
Cult Gaia bamboo bag - The hottest bag of the season
- Salvatore Ferragamo Vara pumps - Such a classic

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

White jeans & striped shirt for Spring

White jeans is definitely one of my closet staples for Spring. I bought this pair 2 years ago and still rely on them heavily during spring and summer. For this outfit, I paired these jeans with my new striped shirt which is another closet essential. It's a bit oversized so you can either tuck it in or tie the bottom in a knot for a chic look. I love the look and am looking forward to style it with my ripped shorts in the summer. Outfit details: Express jeans | Shein shirt | Chanel WOC | Steve Madden wedges *free shipping plus 15% off*

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Handbag Review :: Armadio Costanzina Saddle Bag

I was never a fan of the saddle bag until recently. When Armadio reached out for a possible collaboration, I thought why not try something new. You might or might not remember, I review a couple of Armadio handbags in the past (here and here) and I am a fan of the brand. All their leather goods are made in Italy and the quality is definitely there. While browsing the site, the Costanzina piqued my interest. Outfit details: Topshop jeans *my favorite* | J.Crew trench | GAP tee | Armadio bag

Friday, April 6, 2018

Friends & Family Sales

Bloomingdale's and Saks Fifth Avenue are both running their F&F sale. A large selection of items is now 25% off. Below are some of my picks. If you've been eyeing some of these items, this is an amazing opportunity to pick them up at a discount.
Stuart Weitzman Lowland boots *40% off - all sizes are still available*.
The Tieland is also 40% off
Ruffled polka dot faux-wrap dress *under $50 - so cute for Spring/Summer*
Baublebar tassel earrings *65% off*
The North Face jacket *I own this and love - save over $100*
Cult Gaia bamboo bag *the hottest bag this season and it's on sale*
Prada sunglasses
Sentaler coat *on my wishlist - This coat rarely goes on sale*
Canada Goose *another coat that rarely goes on sale*
Movado watch *Hubby owns this - on sale*

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

TEP Wireless :: WiFi Wherever You Travel

Tep {This photo was taken at Johnston Falls and I was deep in the woods}
These days we're becoming too dependent on the Internet especially when travelling. One of the things on my check list whenever we travel outside the US is to get a portable WiFi device. Today, I am sharing my experience using TEP Wireless during my trip to Canada. The whole process was painless and straightforward. To get started, go to their site and select the country you will be heading to. For Canada, I believe you can get unlimited Internet for $8.95 per day. Multiple devices can be connected at the same time. The device arrived at my doorstep 3 days before my rental starts. All you need to do is turn the device on and connect to the Internet using the password provided on the screen. It took less than 30 seconds and you're good to go. The device also came with an international wall outlet and a USB charger.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

How to pack for a 5-day ski trip

Happy Easter, everyone! My husband and I just came back from a short getaway to Banff. Banff was on our bucket list for quite some time but it kept getting pushed back. So glad we finally made it to this charming little town. The trip was everything we hoped for. I will do a recap next week. Today, I wanted to share how we pack. I travel light. I can't remember the last time I checked my luggage. I prefer to travel with just my carry-on. I am definitely not one of those bloggers who has a suitcase full of clothes for blog photos. A bucket-list trip comes with a hefty price tag so I made sure to fully enjoy the experience while I was there. For a 5-day ski trip, we checked one ski bag and one boot bag. Each of us had one carry-on for personal items. We got down to the bare minimum. Hope you enjoy the post.

Hiking boots
Ski boots
Sneakers for traveling

Heavy wool socks
Ear warmer
Waterproof gloves
Fleece lined gloves *these gloves are incredibly warm*

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

A classic work outfit

Sharing an outfit I wore to work last week. Who's remember these pants? They are 7 years old. I believe every petite blogger owned these trousers at one point. Mine is falling apart but I haven't found another pair that fits me that well. I really love this outfit. Nothing special or over the look but it's one of those classic looks that will never go out of style. Outfit details: Express shirt | LOFT trousers | Banana Republic pumps | Burberry trench | Cartier bracelet