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September 13, 2018

I've been counting down the days until the humidity and hot summer weather would wind down. It's been awfully hot here on the east coast even though it's already September. Where are you fall?

Just because the weather isn't ready to transition to fall doesn't mean I can't be ready, right? Fall is my favorite season for many reasons, one being that I love the crisp, breezy air. It also means I can bring out my favorite sweatshirts and coats. I'm excited to finally take out my Mansur Gavriel circle bag that I've been eyeing to buy for quite some time. I decided to go for a bold pop of color since I usually stick with black, brown, or pink. I've been loving Jo Malone London's honeysuckle and davana cologne which I've been I've been using as my new fragrance for fall. It smells amazing! I love the smell of honeysuckle - it always takes me back to my childhood.

I'll be traveling this month to Europe and I joined the fanny pack bandwagon since I wanted to travel light. A little late, but I wanted something that wouldn't strain my shoulders while traveling. This adidas bag fit the bill. I guess fanny packs are staying for awhile.

My skin doesn't adjust well to the changing season so I did some research and found products to help combat the humidity and upcoming cold season. I've been switching out some of my skin favorites since my skin wasn't getting the same results as before. I got a sample of Youth to the People's moisture cream from Sephora and my skin loves it. I've also been relying on Farmacy's coconut gel mask to help with dry and flaky patches. I switched my essence from Maycoop to Fresh black tea kombucha, which not only smells incredible but has helped soothe my sensitive skin. I make sure to put eye cream on daily and have been using Farmacy eye cream, which has the perfect consistency and glides on smoothly under my eyes. For references, my skin type is sensitive and acne prone, so I usually stick with only a couple of products I know work for me. Farmacy, Saturday Skin, Youth to the People, and Fresh have been game changers for me.

Anyone else excited for fall?

Love, Sharon


June 10, 2018 Los Angeles, CA, USA

Hello Los Angeles! I flew into LAX Memorial Day to spend the week with my Jo Malone London family. After checking into the hotel, I unwinded and treated myself to a relaxing bath using Red Roses Bath Oil. I felt like I was a bed of roses, such a feminine and luxurious bath oil that makes my skin glow after a hot bath.

The fun started with a candlelit dinner at the Chateau Marmont with a gorgeous overlooking view of LA. The dinner was hosted by the It girl, Poppy Delevingne, in celebration of her new limited edition Queen of Pop collection with Jo Malone London. It’s always a treat to catch up with familiar faces and dine with inspiring people. I spent the rest of the night admiring the beautifully decorated space, from the classic Lime Basil & Mandarin candles lined up in the hallway to the pretty, assorted blooms at the dinner table. Jo Malone London always throws the best get togethers! It was another pinch me moment! You can read about my first trip to London with Jo Malone London here and here.

The next day was the sneak peek of the Poppy Delevingne x Jo Malone London Queen of Pop collection! Talk about a dream collaboration! Upon entering the doors, my eyes were automatically drawn to the pops of pinks, reds, and purples in the room. The curated collection by Poppy Delevingne was a dream come true, with the release of Jo Malone London’s first bubble bath! Three different scents including Velvet Rose & Oud, Nectarine Blossom & Honey (personal favorite), and Black Cedarwood & Juniper. The packaging is without a doubt what stood out for me - I loved how it was thoughtfully designed with playful patterns. Also lots of pink, which, as you can already tell, is my favorite color.

The bathtub took me back to my childhood, memories flashed back as I remembered playing with my rubber duckies during bath time. I loved how each station was interactive and I successfully picked two ducks that scored me a couple of prizes!

Afterwards we explored Los Angeles with the help of Poppy's guide of her favorite spots in the city. I headed to Venice Beach and with the help of our driver, spotted cascading blooms and found picture perfect spots. There’s no place like LA!

Before heading to dinner I was surprised with Poppy’s Queen of Pop collection in my room next to a fun straw bag that I’ll be using this summer! The Blackberry & Bay candle smells divine - it's the perfect summer candle to light up during the day or night.

The last night was spent in Malibu Beach at Nobu, with a drool worthy menu and endless drinks and laughter. I shyly chatted with Poppy Delevingne once I had the courage, and she is truly an ethereal beauty inside and out. No one does a scented supper quite like Jo Malone London! A big thank you to Jo Malone London for a wonderful time in Los Angeles, one of my most memorable trips yet!

Love, Sharon


June 6, 2018

Apologies for having this post up later than I promised, but many of you asked me to share my travel tips. I'm no expert but I thought I would share my tips so you don't make the same mistakes I did and travel smart! I realized that it's best to bring only what you need (versus want) after packing my bags the past couple of years. I used to overpack and always bring at least one shoe for each day I was traveling, which by the way is not realistic. The best tip I can give is to always bring a pair of comfy shoes. I typically don't wear heels or wedges, one reason being because I can't walk properly with heels on. Another being I just prefer comfort and the blisters aren't worth it.  

I was gifted the Away luggage bags a couple of months back and was surprised at how light and practical it was. I would also look into Muji if you're looking for a new luggage, I love everything Muji. I pack all my intimates, dresses, and tops in the muji organizers which are a life saver when traveling. My friend bought me a toiletry bag which is roomy and fits all of my skincare products. I typically buy travel sized skincare products instead of full sized just in case it breaks or leaks, unless its my perfume, moisturizer or essence. One trick is to bring beauty samples to save space. Sephora has been a life saver multiple times since I can redeem my points or go in and buy travel sized products. I have a separate makeup bag which include: two different foundations, concealer, lip balm, eyeliner, eyeshadow stick, eyebrow pencil, and blush

Before packing I make sure to have a list so I don't forget anything. I bought this notepad to jot down everything and check things off when I pack it in my luggage. I usually bring one or two crossbody bags when traveling and one tote. Depending on where I'm traveling to and how many days, I'll make sure to at least bring one neutral colored sneaker (either black or white), one casual, and one dressier shoe. I also plan my outfits ahead of time. For example, I'll pick one or two pair of jeans that'll go with any top that I bring. I usually wear comfy clothes when going on the plane and bring at least one hoodie or jacket since the airplane can get chilly at times. A hat and sunglasses are also a must for me. When traveling abroad, don't forget a travel adapter (especially when you have multiple at home).BudgetingI like to budget my trip before going abroad, usually I'll have a set amount of cash I would like to spend per day. For example, in Paris I would limit each day to 80 to 100 euros max unless I was buying a gift or souvenirs. That would include transportation, drinks and food, and admission fee for attractions. If I went over, I would limit my spending for the next day. I cut costs by purchasing food from the local grocery shop instead of going to a restaurant, or walking instead of taking public transporation. I also bring my chase credit card when traveling abroad since I don't get charged international fees and can use my points to travel. Airfare, Airlines & Travel SeasonsI buy my tickets three to five months ahead of time, which is usually the best time to purchase since tickets are cheaper when you buy it ahead of time. I go on google flights, justfly, sky scanner, skip lagged, expedia, booking, and check hopper on my phone to check the prices or flight deals. My friends also gives me updates on flight deals they see. I usually fly off season which is the reason why I'm able to travel frequently, because I'm paying less for my hotel and airfare. Do your research before purchasing and planning your trip! I like to travel during the spring or fall, right before summertime. To be honest I don't enjoy the hot and sticky summer weather surrounded by people. It usually results in long lines for attractions and grumpy people. Fall is also my favorite season because I can bundle up in my long coats and jackets. I was able to get roundtrip tickets from DC to Thailand and Japan for about $850 (give and take) because I bought it ahead of time. Also, checking the airline's website directly or signing up to their e-mails can give you updates on their deals.  Reward ProgramsI currently have frequent flyer reward programs with Southwest, Icelandair, and United Airlines. I like to take Icelandair when traveling to Europe because I love how roomy and comfortable it is for an economy ticket, and the flight attendants are very nice. Just to clarify, I fly economy for the most part except for the few occasions when my trip is sponsored. Trust me...I wouldn't be able to afford (or want to) spend $1500 for a round trip ticket for a domestic flight. Let's be real, I got bills to pay. I racked up enough miles on Icelandair and I was able to use it towards my recent Iceland trip, I got $100 off the ticket price. You can also use it to purchase meals onboard. I only paid $350 for my roundtrip ticket to Iceland, direct flight. Icelandair sells cheaper tickets when you have a layover in Iceland, which in my experience has been short and I'm always happy to drop by Joe & the Juice while waiting for my flight. I use my miles I accrued with United Airlines to log into their WiFi instead of paying for it. One thing I like about Southwest is that you get two bags for free and there are no seat assignments. Paying for luggage when flying domestically seems like a scam to me, so I typically just pack everything in my carry on luggage. When flying internationally, airlines typically allow one or two free bags to check in. Unless you're flying to neighbouring countries in South America or Canada from the US.One thing I always tell my friends and family is to sign up for ebates. Especially if you like online shop this is a great way to earn money to literally shop. You earn a percentage each time you shop at your favorite shops like Sephora and Madewell. Especially during the holidays you can earn up to 10-20% cash back for your purchases. You can also get cash back on expedia and other travel websites. I signed up in 2010 and so far I received almost $1100 cash back. You also receive $25 each time you refer a friend, you can sign up here - it's free!Airbnb or Hotel?I personally love airbnb, but did have my fair share of bad experiences. Since most airbnb's are not professionally managed you sometimes don't have the cleanliest spaces, but you usually have more space than your typical hotel room for the same price. I had a really bad airbnb experience when I first visited San Francisco, which is probably one of the reasons why I didn't enjoy SF as much as I could have. When I visited for the second time in April I stayed at a hotel and I was able to enjoy my stay in San Francisco. Maybe I just have bad luck when staying at airbnb's in the west coast, but when I stayed at an airbnb in LA the host left one extra toilet paper that had mold growing. The room was also much smaller than I expected. One thing I realized about airbnb was that pictures are not always accurate, and sometimes rooms are a lot smaller than I expected. Airbnb's are great for those that love cooking because they usually come with a kitchen since you are renting out people's rooms/homes. In some occasions, there are hidden fees or extra charges when traveling abroad. When I stayed at an airbnb in Barcelona and Italy I was charged extra for toiletries and paid a tourist tax. I also had to give a cash deposit and charged extra if I spent over a daily electricity limit when I stayed at a villa in Phuket. However, I've had amazing experiences as well. I love airbnb's in Paris because they have a personal touch and you're able to experience your stay like a local. Many hosts have a guidebook that has a list of things to see, eat, and explore in the neighborhood or city. I've met amazing hosts along the way and would stay in their place in a heartbeat. I do like that you can communicate with the host directly and they're often flexible with check in and check out times. You can also refer friends and receive credits to use on your next airbnb stay. Get $40 off your first stay if you sign up here.Hotels are great, especially if you had traumatic experiences with airbnb. There are always people in the front desk who can help you instead of waiting for your host to respond back to you. I don't think I've had any horrible hotel experiences (yet, fingers crossed) but sometimes the rooms are smaller and pricier compared to airbnb. These days I've been leaning towards staying at a hotel just because I can interact with the staff and can request a different room if there's a problem. Overall, depending on what you want I would go with what best fits your need. 
Hope this post was helpful! If you have any tips or any questions please comment below and I will answer you questions! This post is not sponsored by any of the brands or websites mentioned, I just thought I would share some of my travel knowledge!*some links are affiliate links and I receive a commission, at no cost to you, if you click or purchase the products in the provided links

Love, Sharon


May 25, 2018 Reykjavík, Iceland

I booked my ticket to Iceland last December on a whim because the ticket was too good to pass on. I first visited last March during my layover to Paris, and I was mesmerized by how beautiful Iceland was. This time I went back with my sister and it was an unforgettable trip. In many ways, this trip was what I needed to reflect and get back on track with life. It was drizzling for most part of our trip, but Iceland's weather is always unpredictable and sometimes you can get all four seasons in one day. We rented a car and stayed at 105 - A Townhouse Hotel which I cannot recommend enough. It was located in downtown Reykjavik and close to all the yummy eats and cozy cafes. Next time I'm in Iceland I want to drive up north and also go visit Faroe Islands. I'm not enthusiastic when it comes to nature, but Iceland has changed my mind. Iceland, you have my heart. Also, apologies again for the low quality photos. I forgot to charge my battery for my DSLR and it died within 5 minutes, all photos are with my iPhone. I thought I would share a roundup of some sights and eats I recommend. Six days in Iceland felt so short, but 18 hours of sunlight extended our time exploring. What to see:
-Downtown Reykjavik, perfect for shopping, eating, and sight seeing.
-Harpa Concert Hall
-Seljalandsfoss, Skogafoss, Gulffoss Waterfall - the popular waterfalls to visit in Iceland. There is now a $7 parking ticket you need to purchase when visiting Seljalandsfoss.  
-Kerid Crater, a volcanic crater lake that is stunning! Definitely worth a visit.
-Dyrholaey, sometimes you can spot puffins here! I would wear a rain jacket and be cautious of the winds, I got knocked to the ground because it was so windy. 
-Reyjinsfara Beach, black sand beach - stunning rock formations and a perfect stop before heading to Diamond Beach. Be careful though the waves sneak up on you! 
-Diamond Beach, the most beautiful place I've seen. Worth the 5 hour drive from Reykjavik. 
-Jokulsarlon, right next to Diamond Beach. 
Other recommendations: GeysirThingvellir National Park, Hraunfossar Waterfall, Bruarfoss Waterfall  Eats:
-Coocoo's Nest, seriously so good. Their beet soup and turkey sandwich had me sold. 
-Noodle Station, popular spot - if you're craving Asian come here.
-Kaffi Vinyl, vegan spot. Cool spot to relax and unwind with good food and music.
-Emilie and the Cool Kids, they need this in the US. My favorite spot in Reykjavik, seriously you must stop here and they also have vegan options!
-Reykjavik Chips, if you love need to come here. 
-Hlemmur - Matholl, there's a variety of vendors here - it's a food hall! I went here twice and would definitely recommend Rabbar Barinn and Banh Mi. I got the lobster and bacon sandwich from Rabbar Barinn, which was soooooo yum. The bread had the perfect amount of crunch, I still think about it from time to time. I got shrimp summer rolls to go from Banh Mi on my last day and it was just what I was craving. 
-Sushi Social, came here after it was recommended and it didn't disappoint. Yes a bit pricey but Iceland is a bit expensive since most of their food is imported. 
-Cafe Flora, an adorable cafe where everything is made from scratch and a lot of the ingredients are grown in their garden and greenhouse.  
-Reykjavik Roasters, favorite coffee shop. They have two locations and have a variety of pastries to choose from to have with your coffe.
-Bismut, cute coffee spot next to Emilie and the Cool Kids. Grab a seat and enjoy a cup of joe while people watching or to read a book.
Other recommendations: Sandholt Bakery, Block Burger, Boejarins Beztu Pylsur, hot dogs at gas stations. Tips:
-Rent a car and GPS. I rented from Blue Car Rental, but previously from Orange Car Rental. Had wonderful experiences with both places! Don't speed as there are cameras and I did see a car flipped over while driving back to Reykjavik from Diamond Beach. 
-You don't have to rent a pocket WiFi. Iceland has WiFi available almost everywhere for free, from the airport to restaurants, cafes, hotels, and gas stations. I did just in case, but ended up only using it only half of the time.
-Check the weather before heading out. Although it was May, the weather was still in the low 40s and 50s. Luckily I was prepared and brought my winter coats and gloves. 
-Bring a pair of rain boots, especially if you're planning to sight see.
-Put your phone away and enjoy the landscape and nature. There's no place like Iceland!
-Ok this contradicts the previous tip, but have a good playlist on your phone if you have a long drive ahead of you.
-Look for the crazy pink pig, it'll be your best friend. BONUS is a cheap one stop shop for groceries. They have multiple locations but check their hours before going. 
-I personally like to go to Olis to fill in gas, but you can actually pay for gas after you fill it in. Just go inside and pay with your credit card, unless you don't mind using your debit card outside. 
-Tipping is not required since it is usually included in your bill.

Hope this gave you a list of ideas of what to do and eat while you're in Iceland! You can also check my Instagram where you can see videos of my trip in my Instagram story highlights.   

Love, Sharon

© The Pink Diary.