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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

TULUM CITY GUIDE

March 13, 2018 Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico




I discovered so many good eats while wandering in the hotel zone in Tulum. I stayed at an airbnb in downtown Tulum but took a taxi and went to Matcha Mama, which is conveniently tucked in a picturesque spot. Another popular place is Raw Love Cafe which has a similar vibe and menu to Matcha Mama. I spent about a couple of hours in the area, walking around and window shopping. A lot of cool, hipster places and I loved how a lot of shops sold products from Mexican designers. I would recommend renting a bike and biking around the area since there are plenty of shops, eats, and sights to see. For some reason I can't find the name of the taco truck where I had ceviche, guacamole, and a taco but it's located in the hotel zone (same strip as Matcha Mama). My advice would be to either yelp, Instagram, or wander into a restaurant and check their menu. Also, a lot of restaurants and cafes have free WiFi which had stronger reception than using my data. 









Staying in downtown Tulum had a different vibe than staying in the hotel zone, but I would have to say I preferred staying away from the hotel zone. You're able to come across locals and have an authentic cultural experience, although Tulum has become touristy over the past years. I biked around everywhere with my friend Sarah from our airbnb which was located next to many restaurants downtown. We didn't have much on our itinerary except to go with the flow and relax. Thank you to everyone who gave me tips on recommendations for my Tulum trip! We yelp'd some places to eat nearby and we ended up going to Burrito Amor three times - it's addicting! Also there are local favorites such as Taqueria Honorio where tacos cost only 8 pesos...which is equal to about 43 cents! 

Luckily we got blessed with amazing weather so we looked up cenotes and beaches to go visit. I would recommend looking up places you're trying to visit on Instagram first so you can see what the place looks like. In my experience google hasn't always been accurate. I went to a beach based on tripadvisor and google's recommendations, but arrived to find out that it was actually a hotel's beach. Also, the pictures on google weren't accurate and was bummed to find that the beach was filled with seaweed. 

The last day was spent in Cancun and my friend and I checked in at a hotel nearby, The Westin, because it was only ten minutes from the airport. The weather was sunny and perfect for just laying on the beach and bumming around. 

Where to eat in Downtown Tulum:
-Taqueria Honorio (cheap, yummy tacos and also a popular local spot!)
-Antojito La Chiapaneca (another popular spot for tacos)
-El Camello Jr. (local favorite)
-Del Cielo (if you're craving some American brunch)
-Burrito Amor (popular spot, more of an American version but still good)
-Raw Love Cafe
-El Pollo Bronco (rotisserie chicken)
-Prieto (lovely cafe)
-Flor De Michoacan (delicious popsicles!)

Sight-see:
-Cenotes! I only had the chance to go to two, but I really enjoyed my time. I went to Gran Cenote, a popular spot but heard that Cenote Nic Te Ha is another great spot if you're in Tulum.
-Mayan Ruins (didn't get to go but definitely on my list next time I visit!)

Tips:
-Exchange money at Cancun's airport - they don't charge a service fee.
-Rent a bike! Best part of my trip was biking everywhere, so fun and a perfect way to get around Tulum.
-Go to cenotes in the morning when it opens or close to closing time. I would suggest to go before noon because it gets really crowded after noon. Also, find out their entrance fee (typically cash only) and hours they're open. Some cenotes don't allow you to enter 45 minutes before closing.
-Check your phone plan and see if you have service in Mexico. I have Verizon and my phone plan covers free talk, data, and text message in Mexico.
-Bring a book to read or download an app so you can listen to an audiobook! I'm currently listening to Tiffany Haddish's audiobook, The Last Black Unicon - a must read/listen! She is seriously so hilarious! People may look at you crazy because you can't stop laughing.
-Stay hydrated! I bought bottled water at OXXO (which you can find easily) and found it to be the cheapest. Restaurants will up-charge for bottled water so I suggest buying water ahead of time, which you can bring around with you.
-Take the ADO bus to Tulum, it is way cheaper than taking a taxi. One way cost me about $15 USD compared to $60-70 USD if I took a taxi. The bus is clean and has AC! Also check the times as it runs about every hour or so depending on where you're trying to go.
-Haggle with the taxi drivers as a lot of times they will overcharge. Also I was told you don't need to tip taxis.
-Say hola! and smile :) Small gestures such as learning short Spanish phrases go a long way and also if you're in another country, why not learn their language?
-Don't carry a lot of money with you. I only brought as much as I would need for that day, about 1300 pesos (about $70 USD) per day. If I was going to go sight-see, I would bring extra money that would cover taxis and entrance fees. A lot of times I had money leftover.
-Wear comfortable shoes and items you're ok with getting dirty. I brought my Birkenstocks, espadrilles, and one sneaker to wear throughout my trip. I also brought totes and bags that I didn't mind throwing away or tossed around.
-Bring an external battery to charge your phone because you'll want to take pictures of everything!









Love, Sharon

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