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SIX DAYS IN ICELAND

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 fries...you 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.  
Cafes:
-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

APRIL SHOWERS BRING MAY FLOWERS

May 3, 2018 Nokesville, VA 20181, USA







For what seemed like forever...spring blooms have finally made its appearance! Cherry blossom season this year also bloomed late due to the weather dipping into the 40s in March and April. Regardless, flower picking season was just around the corner and I was able to go visit a farm in Nokesville, Virginia. I went to Burnside Farms, the same farm I went to last year. They moved locations and sadly only a portion of the tulips were in full bloom due to crop failure, but it was still worth a visit. Gorgeous rows of colored tulips lined up, just waiting to be picked. It was almost 90 degrees by the time I was done picking flowers, but luckily there was a cool breeze while I was under the sun.  

I must have flowers, always, and always - Claude Monet

Have you gone flower picking? If you haven't, I would try googling nearby farms and flower fields! It's a fun experience picking your own blooms.

I have two trips coming up this month, very excited to share my travels in the upcoming posts! Also, I promise to have my travel tips post up this month!







Love, Sharon

POSTCARDS FROM SAN FRANCISCO

April 30, 2018 San Francisco, CA, USA


















I got back from San Francisco Sunday morning and slept for 14 hours straight because I was so jet lagged. Feeling refreshed I thought I would share snaps from my recent trip to SF. I bought a ticket last minute and decided to wander SF on my own (traveled by myself for the first time!) and meet a friend while I was there. To be honest, last time I visited two years ago I was underwhelmed. Partly because my stay at an airbnb was horrible, but I decided to book my stay at a hotel this time and am so happy I did. I stayed at Cartwright Hotel (not sponsored, I paid for my stay) and really enjoyed my stay here. It's located in Union Square so it was in the heart of the city. The weather was amazing! Sunshine with scattered clouds with the temperature in the 60s. I didn't take my DSLR because I wanted to relax and not worry about content so I apologize for the low quality photos. These photos were taken with my iPhone, I hope you enjoy my recommendations and photos!

Places to visit:
*Sausalito, perfect view of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge. You can walk, bike, or take the ferry here. I took the ferry from the Ferry Building and it cost me $12, make sure to check what times the ferry departs.
*Ferry Building, come here during the weekends because their farmers market is open! Countless vendors and they have amazing vegan donuts called donut farm.
*Painted Ladies, what's a visit to SF without stopping by to see the Painted Ladies. I wanted to visit again since I grew up with Full House and didn't have an itinerary this time. Last time I came I was a bit underwhelmed but they finished construction in the park and I think it's worth a quick visit. If you're in need of a break, you can take a 15 minute walk to Boba Guys.
*Twitter Market, it's also known as The Market. It's a space that basically an all in one - grocery store, shops, and there are multiple spots to eat. I picked up lunch at Project Juice, their dragon bowl is yum!
*Union Square, no brainer if you're looking to shop and dine. Cute photo spot is Maiden Lane (thanks Joan for the tip)
*Nob Hillpretty view of San Francisco. The photo I took was next to Mark Hopkins Hotel. Lombard Street is nearby as well.
*Mission Dolores Park, a beautiful park located in the Mission District. I recommend eating at Kitchen Story if you're in Missions and walking to the park. A beautiful view of SF!
*Native Co if you're feeling healthy and Coffee Cultures for a cup of joe. Located near each other.
*Faction Brewing, located in Alameda. I rarely drink alcohol but this spot has a stunning view of San Francisco.
*Samovar Tea Lounge, my favorite spot in SF. If you love tea or just want somewhere to chat, this is the place. Came here two years ago and came back because it's just a lovely spot. Their chia pudding is pretty delicious.
*Osha Thai, I came back here the first time I was in SF, but this time to try their mango sticky rice.  I've been hooked on it lately and it was just what I was craving. Get a glass of moscato d'asti - my favorite drink since it doesn't take like alcohol. Sweet and bubbly! It's located across from the Ferry Building.
*Sweet Maple, Super Duper Burger, Yuzuki, Mission Beach Cafe, and Mamas on Washington Square
some places I didn't get to go but recommended.

Any spots you recommend next time I visit?





Love, Sharon

SPRING SKINCARE

April 23, 2018





Where has the time gone? It's already the end of April! It finally feels like spring and my skin has now adjusted to the weather. My skin has been flaky and dry to the windy, cold weather in the east coast. Here are some new holy grail items I've been using for a hydrated, moisturized skin. Also, I found these to be amazing while traveling. 

one. youth to the people superberry hydrate + glow oil packed with antioxidants this face oil works as a primer as well (according to the Sephora reps I talked to), but I think this helped with the redness on my face
two. herbivore pink cloud | it's more than just pretty packaging I promise. I picked this up because of the rave reviews on Sephora's website and I thought I would give it a try. It has a light, floral scent and my skin soaks this up. 
three. laura mercier flawless skin oil | I like to put this on at night because it helps keep my skin hydrated throughout the night. I put one or two drops and mix it with my moisturizer. 
four. becca aqua luminous perfecting concealer | this concealer is light and hydrating. It doesn't accentuate the days I have flaky, patchy skin and doesn't looks cakey over or under my foundation.
five. nars orgasm | ultimate favorite blush. laura mercier joi de vivre is always a beautiful peachy blush that's gorgeous as well
six. neogen sunscreen | on my fourth one of this sunscreen and one I always recommend to friends and family. I always repurchase it because it doesn't break out my sensitive skin and doesn't leave a white overcast. Sunscreens usually feel very heavy on my face but I like it because it's light and has SPF 50.
seven. glamglow face mask | a mask I always go to when my skin is breaking out or I feel like my skin is congested. I use this mask two to three times a week depending on my skin's condition.
eight. youth to the people kale + spinach green tea face wash | on my third bottle and for good reason. I love this smell and it's so gentle yet cleans all traces of my makeup. I like to massage this on my face for about 30 seconds and wash it off with water. 
nine. saturday skin essence | I personally think it's ok to splurge on skincare since we do only have one face & body. I'm on my second bottle and bought a third one as backup since I use this twice a day, morning and night. Hydrating and it smells good! 

Any favorites?
P.S. Today is the last day of Sephora's sale (10% off for beauty insiders & 15% off for VIB & Rouge)








Love, Sharon

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