Selfie

Just in case you haven’t noticed – I’m a big fan of white tops. It can be a plain white tee, a blouse, a lacy top, a tank… Sometimes, I don’t even realize I have lots of white stuff that it’s still the first color I grab when I go shopping. Don’t get me wrong, I love color but you can’t ever go wrong with white.It’s a blank palette, like black, but not as intimidating. You can dress it up, down, or go all out glam. It’s perfect.

Top, Stradivarius; Tank (underneath), Promod; jeans, Lucky Brand; flats, Tod's; watch, Kate Spade.

Top, Stradivarius; Tank (underneath), Promod; jeans, Lucky Brand; flats, Tod’s; watch, Kate Spade.

I found this top while walking past a Stradivarius store in our neighborhood in Paris. We were always either too early or too late but on our last day, I knew I had to have it. Oh, and those red flats? I had absolutely zero intention of shopping during this trip since I am saving up for a new house (with the addition of Georgie, the house is kinda cramped these days), but when I saw those shoes, I made beeline for the store, asked the salesman for my size, and promptly went to the cashier. All in less than ten minutes. My friends were amazed. Haha.

Anyway, I am not very fond of taking selfies so this is my way of being a little sarcastic (and that sarcasm is directed at me, lol). Look at my instagram and you’ll know right away. I mean, I’m too plain Jane! I’m not insecure at all (I’ve long accepted that I am not Hollywood material) but I wouldn’t exactly invite trolls to nitpick my looks. But hey, sometimes, I like to pretend that this blog is still somewhat related to fashion (which was the reason I put up the original blog over at blogger in the first place).

 

 

 

Giverny

It’s said that Claude Monet was on a train when he looked out, saw this village and decided that he wanted to live here:  amidst all the lush greenery and hills, where it was so serene and laid-back, like nothing bad can ever happen. He didn’t have enough money to buy the house but he wanted it so he rented and saved up until he had the funds to purchase not just the house but the surrounding land. He lived here with his family from 1883 until his death in 1926. His son later donated the property to the Acedemie des Beau-Arts in the 60s, and after restoration works, it was opened to the public in the 80s.

The house with the green shutters and pink walls.

The house with the green shutters and pink walls.

There are no more original artworks by Monet in the property (his famous works are in various museums in Paris, most notably the Musee l’Orangerie – I’ll dedicate a separate post for that), but replicas and reprints hang on the walls in their original locations, so that visitors can get an idea of what the house looked like during his time. Picture-taking isn’t allowed inside though, but I’ll let you in on a little secret: I fell in love with the vividly painted rooms, with one even in yellow!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m quite fond of gardens and anything that has to do with nature so I didn’t pass up the chance to get lost in the garden. What can I say? I loved it. I loved that nothing felt contrived, you know, overly manicured and painstakingly-maintained gardens so common with mansions. In Monet’s property, every bush, every tree felt natural, like they all just sprang from the ground, like it wasn’t at all weird to see a Japanese garden in the middle of the French countryside.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEven the tendrils and small blossoms from vines made perfect frames for the scenery. I could imagine myself staying here for hours and just letting my mind wander off… Or sit and read a book until the mosquitoes force me back to the house.

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The famous water lilies that inspired Monet to paint his masterpiece, aptly and simply called “Water Lilies.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI would have loved to explore the village itself but our tour was limited to the house (and the drive to/from Paris already took quite some time). I’d love to go back there sometime and just wander around.

Travel Make-Up Kit

It's a Charmed Life

When I was younger (teens and my early 20s), I didn’t care much about make-up and skincare. In fact, I never owned anything remotely related to beauty. It was only in my late-20s that I discovered and cultivated an obsession with cosmetics and since then, I’ve become some sort of hoarder, although I have yet to get to the part where I actually learn to use them. 
But even though I am practically clueless when it comes to putting these products on me, I have a tendency to pack every single one I could into my luggage whenever I travel. You know, for that unforeseen event when you would have to do your own make-up and everything. And because I have this weird notion that I know and have the time to put them on before I step out my hotel room for the day, so that I would at…

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Printed Matter

The day was a mix of hot and cold – the sun was up, but the cold breeze kind of negated the heat so I decided on a fast becoming favorite sleeveless top from Target and some skinny jeans. Funny, I was never a fan of skinny jeans because I find them so restrictive but these jeans from Topshop are so comfortable, so soft, and fit perfectly that I bought two in different colors (I am thinking of getting two more pairs – maybe royal blue and mint green?).

And this top from Target’s collaboration with Peter Pilotto is a dream. I love prints and the vivid colors on this one makes me stand out in a sea of muted palettes (at least it seemed that way to me, hahaha). I’ve been a fan of Target’s designer collaborations since forever and I wish that some fashion mogul will bring the brand here to Manila. Pretty please? My Target x Missoni flats are still my favorite go-to shoes and they’re still as pretty as they were when I first took them them out of the box. 

Top, Target by Peter Pilotto; Jeans, Topshop; pumps, Coach.

Top, Target by Peter Pilotto; Jeans, Topshop; pumps, Coach.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOf course, no matter how comfortable Coach’s pumps are, I couldn’t very well walk all over Schonbrunn in them so I brought a pair of trusty slippers with me – a little glammed up version with gold metal chains just so I wouldn’t look so out of place roaming the palace grounds in flip flops.

Slippers, Comfit.

Slippers, Comfit.

I have a personal rule when traveling: bring only two pairs of shoes. I’m a shoe person and I’m pretty sure I will buy a pair of two wherever I am so it doesn’t make sense to bring a lot – plus it gives me more space in my luggage for shopping.

Schonbrunn Palace

Ever since our friends Gizelle and Harold moved to Austria and started posting all those wonderful photos, I’ve slowly fallen in love with this country without even setting foot on it. But I think my love affair started even before that – after all, I grew up watching The Sound of Music and all those snow-capped mountains just made me want to pack my bags and live there. Unfortunately, Salzburg wasn’t part of our agenda as it would have been a day-trip from Vienna, where we were based, and we only had three short days in Austria. So I just settled for the Schonbrunn Palace.

Schonbrunn, literally beautiful spring after an artesian well found in its gardens, was the summer residence of the Austrian imperial family (the Habsburgs). It has around 1,441 rooms, a magnificent garden, its own zoo (which is also the oldest in the world!), and even its own Roman ruins. It is huge, as all palaces in Europe are, and it again made me wonder, how in the world did the royal families keep track of each other? I mean, it’s not impossible for the king to actually hide a mistress or two within the same palace without the queen running into her.

Facade of the Schonbrunn. So many people at 10am in the morning.

Facade of the Schonbrunn. So many people at 10am in the morning.

The back of the palace is more breathtaking than the front, IMHO. Maybe it's because of the garden where colorful flowers are all abloom.

The back of the palace is more breathtaking than the front, IMHO. Maybe it’s because of the garden where colorful flowers are all abloom.

The beautiful spring where the palace got its name.

The beautiful spring where the palace got its name.

We took a horse-drawn carriage ride around the garden which made the experience even more fun then hiked up to the Gloriette which overlooks the palace, the garden, and has sweeping views of the city from its lofty perch on top of a hill.

Where to go? Love these colorful signs.

Where to go? Love these colorful signs.

TheGloriette of the Schonbrunn.

TheGloriette of the Schonbrunn.

It was past noon by the time we reached the Gloriette so we had our lunch at the cafe there. I don’t know if I ever mentioned it before but I am a big fan of flavor and spices from that part of the planet – I love paprika to bits – so I shared a goulash and sachertorte with my friend.

Herrengulasch mit Knodel, Wurstel und Ei. In plain English, beef goulash with dumpling and egg.

Herrengulasch mit Knodel, Wurstel und Ei. In plain English, beef goulash with dumpling and egg.

The goulash was okay. It actually reminded us of mechado but I could not figure out what that big lump called a dumpling was supposed to be. I know it was supposed to be a dumpling but I’ve always thought a dumpling was something with meat (or veggies) inside, wrapped up in some flour-based mixture before either being fried or boiled. This one was neither and tasted meh. I think it ruined the meal for me. Hahaha.

Sachertorte, the chocolate cake that Vienna is know for. It's good, but for those accustomed to sweet, gooey, chocolatey cakes, well, this would probably disappoint you as it's quite the opposite. It's hardly sweet, it's dry (even flaky), and it doesn't ooze chocolatey flavors. But it kind of grows on you.

Sachertorte, the chocolate cake that Vienna is know for. It’s good, but for those accustomed to sweet, gooey, chocolatey cakes, well, this would probably disappoint you as it’s quite the opposite. It’s hardly sweet, it’s dry (even flaky), and it doesn’t ooze chocolatey flavors. But it kind of grows on you.

As I said a couple of paragraphs earlier, there is also a Roman ruin in the garden, which was designed and put there sometime in the 18th century during the Romantic movement. Well, I almost thought it was really from Roman times but realized too soon that it looked too perfect where it was (though it pretended to be in ruins) that it couldn’t have dated as far back as that.

Roman Ruins

Roman Ruins

Schonbrunn isn’t as extravagant as Versailles (which, as the world know, is a symbol of French excess) – it’s smaller in scale and at first glance didn’t blow me away with all that bling (whereas Versailles had all this gold greeting you even before you crossed its gates), but it is magnificent in its own way. We didn’t have much time or energy to visit the zoo or go from room to room after hiking up and down the palace grounds so I guess that will be all the more reason to visit Austria again, soon.

Pigeons and Prints

I have this thing for newsprint, even before Carrie Bradshaw donned that Dior dress on SATC: I have a dress, a top, a skirt, pants, and even two bags in this print. This skirt is the latest addition to my growing collection.

It was hot in Milan that day but the nights get much colder so I decided on a short skirt and a knitted top to balance out the cold in my legs. Hahaha! And what better way to pose in Milan than to stand right in front of the Duomo, feeding the pigeons?

Skirt, Romwe; top, Espada; flats, Tory Burch; bag, Longchamp.

Skirt, Romwe; top, Espada; flats, Tory Burch; bag, Longchamp; sunglasses, Michael Kors.

Ribbons

Top, Camille Co for Romwe; skirt, Anthropologie; sandals, CMG; necklace, Parfois

Top, Camille Co for Romwe; skirt, Anthropologie; sandals, CMG; necklace, Parfois

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It’s common knowledge that I love ribbons, glitter, sparkle, and anything girly. So when I saw this top while doing some online window shopping, I knew I had to get it. That and the fact that it was made of faux leather.

And what can I say about the skirt? It’s embossed, in one of my favorite colors, and it has pockets too! I got this one from Anthropologie, at 70% off! And I am so happy that they now ship to our dear PI and I no longer have to ask someone to get it for me.

Shot at the Nelson Mandela Park in Paris.

Off Duty

Agenda for this day was Disneyland Paris and go outlet shopping at La Vallee afterwards so it was a no-brainer that I would pick the laziest and most comfortable clothes in my luggage. I didn’t want to feel too hot (it was sweltering) but I know the early evening can be cold for a girl from the tropics, which was why I opted for jeans.

Oh, and I swiped on my Ruby Woo lipstick from Mac for some oomph to an otherwise boring outfit.

Top, Giordano; Jeans, Lucky Brand; Flats, Tory Burch; hat, random from a stall at The Grove in LA; necklace, Anthropologie; bag, Coach

Top, Giordano; Jeans, Lucky Brand; Flats, Tory Burch; hat, random from a stall at The Grove in LA; necklace, Anthropologie; bracelt, Pandora; watch, Kate Spade; bag, Coach.