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Lifestyle, Travel

Grand Alaska

August 31, 2017

Matanuska GlacierMatanuska Glacier

This post is long overdue. I meant to post about my Alaska trip a lot sooner, but I lost access to all of my edited photos and I had to motivate myself to re-edit. I spent a week in Alaska with my husband’s family and we had an amazing time! It was my first time visiting Alaska and my sister-in-law did most of the planning, so I was pleasantly surprised. Even though I knew Alaska is the largest state, I was still shocked by the size of it! Not only does it require a lot of time to explore Alaska, but it can also be difficult getting to parts of the state. We started in Anchorage, made our way up to Denali/Healy, then back down to Palmer and Seward. I imagined Alaska to be beautiful and scenic (from watching the movie The Proposal), but seeing it in person was astounding. It reminded me of driving through South New Zealand–everywhere we went was breathtaking. One of the highlights of the trip was salmon fishing in Seward. It was my first time fishing and I caught two salmons. We were able to freeze and bring the salmons home to San Francisco and have been trying out various recipes.

I would highly recommend visiting Alaska. We look forward to going back someday. Here are some of my favorite photos from the trip!

mount healyHike to Mount Healy. Yes, we hiked all the way to the top!

mount healy

mount healy

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Beauty, Makeup, Skincare, Travel

Summer Travel Makeup and Skincare Essentials

June 30, 2017

Summer Travel Makeup and Skincare Essentials

We are leaving on vacation today and I wanted to do a quick post on summer travel makeup and skincare essentials. I like to pack light when I travel, but there are definitely essentials especially during the hot summer months. Here are some of my must-haves.

SPF Protection

SPF protection is needed on face, lips, and body, and should be reapplied every couple of hours. It’s easy to reapply on the body and lips, but people find it inconvenient to reapply on the face especially if they are wearing makeup. The easiest way is to apply a SPF spray such as the Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Spray, which won’t move around previously applied makeup, or Colorscience Loose Mineral Sunscreen, which can be applied on top of makeup and will keep the face matte and protected.

My favorite routine is wearing a tinted moisturizer with SPF such as the Coola Mineral Sunscreen Matte Tint SPF 30 and applying Colorscience Loose Mineral Sunscreen throughout the day. I always protect my lips since lips burn very easily. I love the Coola Mineral Liplux SPF 30 and Fresh Sugar Lip Sunscreen SPF 15.

Exfoliating Treatment

I often break out when I travel and one of the reasons is because I stop my regular skincare routine. I can’t pack all of my skincare products, but one important step to never skip is exfoliating. The skin is constantly growing new skin while the old skin pile on the surface, leaving the skin dull and clogged. You can either pack an exfoliating cleanser such as the Tatcha Polished Rice Enzyme Cleanser that you can use daily, or pack an exfoliator such as the Exfolikate to use twice a week.

Mattifying Primer

My face is often a greasy mess in the summer, so a mattifying primer is crucial. This minimizes the oil buildup throughout the day and I often don’t need to use oil absorbing sheets during the day when I have a great primer on.

Face Palette

I am all about palettes when I travel. The perfect travel palette includes blush, bronzer and highlighter. My two favorites are the Becca Chrissy Teigen Glow Face Palette and the Tom Ford Soleil Palette. I can also use these as eyeshadow colors for simple eye looks.

Dry Shampoo

Shampooing too frequently dry out hair and cause breakage. Unless you’re traveling to a humid place or/and exercising daily, there is no need to shampoo daily. I usually just wet my hair and clean it with conditioner, or will apply dry shampoo. Dry shampoo absorbs the oil and grease in your hair to give it a cleaner appearance and will also add volume. A long time favorite is the Living Proof Dry Shampoo–it removes odor, absorbs oil, and gives my hair the most amazing volume.

What’s in my travel bag

I try not to pack full size products when I travel because the total liquid volume has to be under 3.4oz and I also hoard travel size products. These are the products I packed for my week long trip to Alaska.

Skincare

Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm // Kate Somerville Goat Milk Cleanser // Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum // Coola Mineral Sunscreen Matte Tint SPF 30 //  Ole Henriksen Sheer Transformation // Pixi Glow Tonic To Go Exfoliating Toner Pads // Coola Luxlips Firecracker SPF 30 // L’Occitane Hand Cream Delightful Rose // Drybar Dry Shampoo

Makeup

Innisfree No Sebum Primer // Tarte Amazonian Clay Foundation // Maybelline Instant Age Remind // Tarte Smooth Operator Powder // BECCA Chrissy Teigen Palette // Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Eye Color Rosegold // Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Definer // MAC Mascara Extreme Dimension 3D Black // Bite Beauty Matte Creme Lip Crayon Peche // Urban Decay Makeup Setting Spray

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Lifestyle, Travel

Short Trip to Monterey, Carmel and Big Sur

April 15, 2017

carmel beach

Six years ago, my husband and I went on our first date and a few months later, we traveled to San Francisco, Monterey, Carmel, Big Sur, and Los Angeles. We have special memories from those places, and since we live in San Francisco now, we recently traveled to Monterey, Carmel and Big Sur for a short getaway to celebrate. We also brought our puppy, Minne, with us! Here are some highlights and photos from the trip.

Monterey

We stayed at the Portola Hotel & Spa at Monterey Bay because it’s right by the bay and it’s very dog friendly. When we arrived, they had food and water bowls, a dog bed, and treats ready for us. The Jazz Festival was that weekend, so there was music playing at the hotel and everywhere we walked to.

Our first night we had dinner at Fisherman’s Wharf since that was close to the hotel. The restaurant even has a dog menu so we ordered some grilled chicken served on a frisbee for Minne. She was over the moon!

The wharf area is very touristy, but we had a chance to walk around Monterey and the town is very beautiful and clean!

Monterey Fisherman's Wharf

Carmel

What a lovely city! The first time we visited Carmel, we went to Pebble Beach and drove part of the 17-mile drive. This time, we went to Carmel Beach and Garland Ranch Regional Park. Carmel Beach is an off-leash beach, so it was really fun going there with Minne. There are also a bunch of cute shops near the beach. We had dinner at Basil Carmel and had some of the best food we’ve ever tasted!! My husband had the 5 hour braised beef cheeks and I had the goat with lobster. The olallieberries cobbler was also delicious!

Garland Ranch Regional Park is a great park for leisure hiking. The first day we went there, we went on an easy 1.5 mile hike. Our puppy loved it (you can see how happy she was in this video). We were able to work on long distance recall and not worry about her running off into traffic or getting into trouble. We loved the hike so much that we went back the next day and went on a harder hike, and had just as much fun.

Garland Ranch Regional Park

Big Sur

Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge has been badly damaged due to winter storms and it will take up to a year to complete construction on a replacement. There are closures on Highway 1 but we wanted to drive down to see as much of it as we could. During the drive, we stopped at Garrapata State Park for a hike and enjoyed the beautiful view of the beach.

Garrapata State Park

Garrapata State Park

Now that we have a dog, we have been going to dog-friendly places because we prefer her with us than leaving her at home. This was our first time traveling with her and it was very easy because she doesn’t get car sick and so many places allow dogs. Monterey, Carmel, and Big Sur are so beautiful, and not too far from San Francisco, so we will definitely be making this trip more often in the future.

Life, Lifestyle, Travel

2017 Bay Area Bucket List – Top 10 List

January 28, 2017

2017 bay area bucket list

Minnesota is awful in the winter, so I had to leave. Instead of creating New Year’s resolutions this year, I created a bucket list specifically for the Bay Area to encourage me to go out and explore during our first year of living in the Bay Area. Here is my top 10 list!

Places
  • Half Moon Bay – Great hiking spots and seafood restaurants
  • Yosemite National Park – May and June are great months to visit to see the waterfalls
  • Lake Tahoe – Combines mountain and beach activities in the summer
  • Big Sur Coast – Absolutely stunning; my husband once said the cattle in Big Sur must be the happiest in the world
  • Napa and Sonoma
Activities
  • S’mores and bonfires year round on my brother’s rooftop
  • Hop on the swing on Billy Goat Hill – Instagram worthy picture
  • Paddle boarding in Marin
  • Listen to music in Golden Gate Park
  • Outdoor brunch

If you have any suggestions for places to visit within driving distance of San Francisco, please leave a note below!

Lifestyle, Travel

Short Trip to the Grand Canyon

November 30, 2016

img_0761Jacket: The North Face // Pants: Lululemon // ShoesNike // Headband: Echo // Gloves: Club Monaco (similar) // Sunglasses: Versace

My husband and I went to the Grand Canyon over Thanksgiving Break this year. It was a great place to visit for a short trip! The temperature was in the mid 50’s, which was perfect for hiking. We hiked about 7 miles around the rim and the view was breathtaking! Pictures really doesn’t do it justice! It was the first time in my life when I felt the world is a huge place and that feeling was overwhelming (now I understand why people cry when they first see the Grand Canyon). Of course I already know this is a big world, but it’s hard to feel that when I’m often within feet of someone else and can easily call anyone thousands of miles away. When I looked out at the view, I felt like such a tiny person. I’m in awe of how the Grand Canyon was formed over millions of years and I’m so happy these beautiful wonders still exist in this world! We will definitely go back again!

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving Break. Only 3 weeks left of work and 4 weeks until Christmas! Are you flying anywhere fun for the holidays? We will be flying back to Minnesota–it’ll be our first time back since our move to California so I am excited to catch up with everyone.

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Beauty, Lifestyle, Skincare, Travel

Taiwan Beauty Haul and Trip Highlights

March 30, 2016

Hi everyone! Sorry I’ve been gone for a couple of weeks. I was in Taiwan for two weeks working on a school project! Before the trip, I made a long wish list of Asian branded beauty products and I was able to purchase most of them! I will be writing about them in the future after I get a chance to try them out. Most of these are cult products so you may be familiar with some of them. I love Asian skincare because the product innovations are typically 3-5 years ahead of the US. For example, they have many skincare items with snail mucin (gross, right?), which is said to do everything from fading dark spots and scars to plumping creases and battling acne. The venom found in snails relax muscle fibers to battle wrinkles. It also stimulates the production of elastin and collagen. I purchased so many items with snail ingredient–sheet masks, moisturizer, serum. I’ll try not to think about where they came from as I’m using them! I cannot wait to try everything and review them for you!

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After the final presentation of the project, we had a couple of days off to explore. Taiwan has high-temperature springs with crystal-clear water, usually both clean and safe to drink. These hot springs are commonly used for spas and resorts. We went to a hot spring in the town of Yilan. The room we booked was the best place I’ve ever stayed at. It has three levels: the first two levels have the beds and the third level was a private deck. We had an indoor and outdoor hot spring, which was super nice because we spent the day in the outdoor hot spring, and at night we relaxed in the indoor hot spring while streaming a movie on our laptop. We also hired a private driver to take us to different places around Hualien, with the highlight being Taroko Gorge and a 2-mile hike in that area.

I am happy I had the opportunity to visit Taiwan and explore parts of the country. It reminds me of Japan except with less traffic congestion and people. If there were job opportunities I’m interested in, I think it would be a great place to live. The country is safe and clean, the people are quiet and polite, and things are extremely affordable there (when compared to US standards). A tasty large meal might cost $3 max, and a large milk tea is less than .50cents! Seriously I had 2-3 milk tea a day. I was so spoiled. Now I’m back to paying $5 for fake powdered tea, aahh! Now that I’m back in the US, I will be blogging more often. I have lots of new content ideas so please subscribe! Thank you!

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