Thursday, April 16, 2015

falling in love with busan in 17 hours

Due to the short term notice nature of my trip to Japan I had to keep flight prices in mind (since it was also Easter Weekend and on top of that prime Cherry Blossom season) so I ended up booking a trip over Korean Air with a 17 hour layover in Busan on the first leg of my trip.
Japan April 2015 030
Busan is South Korea’s second most populous city after Seoul and is nestled between mountains and the sea on the southern-most tip of Korea.
I had been to Korea before in 2012 to Seoul but never Busan and welcomed this short stopover as a good opportunity to get a glimpse of this city. After some issues with public transportation (due to late arrival at Gimhae Airport and lack of Korean language skills) I arrived at my couchsurfing host for the night. Luckily, Koreans are some of the most friendly and helpful people I have ever met, so I managed to get to my host just after midnight. He lives in a cute little apartment right next to the beach with stunning views of the beach and the towering high rises along the coast (see picture above). 
The next morning I set out to explore the area by the beach and head down to a street supposedly lined with cherry blossom trees. The weather wasn’t too great but I enjoyed the walk on the beach, people playing with their puppies and jogging along the shore. After a delicious pastry from a cute bakery on the way I took a stroll through the streets lined with cherry blossom trees. Magnificent!
Japan April 2015 019 Japan April 2015 022 Japan April 2015 024 Japan April 2015 025 
Since my flight was at 4pm in the afternoon I decided to collect my things and make my way to another area of Busan, Gamcheon Culture Village. It was again a bit of a challenge to get there, but once again the people of Busan were so helpful and friendly (someone even paid for my bus fare as I didn’t have any change and only large bills!) so I managed to get there in the end. You have to take a tiny little bus that takes you up the winding little streets up to the “village”, which is famous for it’s colorful houses nestled close to each other on the mountain. They even call it the “Favelas” of Korea!
Japan April 2015 036 Japan April 2015 052 Japan April 2015 055
I was lucky that the sun came out for a bit while I was there but unfortunately I didn’t have a lot of time to explore the little alleys due to my tight schedule… so I hailed a cab and headed back to the airport, where I tried some seafood noodles that proved that I have no tolerance towards spiciness…
Japan April 2015 062 Japan April 2015 066


I am really glad I had the opportunity to combine two places in one trip – and one thing is for sure: This wasn’t my last time in Busan… :)


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

grey is the new black

No, I am not talking about 50 Shades of Grey. It’s all about grey hair!
I am obsessed with beautiful women and grey hair. Especially in combination with tanned skin and icy blue eyes (which, admittedly are mostly contacts)… I have been eying with grey hair for a while now, there are only three things that have stopped me so from going grey immediately.
First of all the job, I work in a creative industry so I might be able to get away with it but not sure what the clients would say… or my boss! :/
Secondly grey hair is 1) extremely difficult to achieve (Bleach.Bleach.Bleach) and 2) extremely difficult to maintain. It washes out easily and fades quickly and can easily become green if you use the wrong product. Given that I work out every day and have to wash my hair daily that seems kind of difficult.
Thirdly I have finally gotten back to my beloved long hair, the last ombre dye is fading out at the bottom and my hair is finally long, healthy and natural again. Sigh.
Pictures are from Pinterest but check out the lovely Samantha (pic 3 & 5) on Instagram and Youtube!
What do you think? Do or don’t? Are you pro or contra grey hair?

Thursday, March 19, 2015



I am so excited right now! I am going to TOKYO in less than 2 weeks! I’ve been dreaming about going to Tokyo for such a long time… now I have a little holiday coming up (Tomb sweeping holiday) and I decided to jump for it. The tickets are not cheap (as you would think from China to Japan) but I saved up quite a bit so I will treat myself. After all, travel is the one thing that you spend money on that makes you richer! Right?!



Monday, February 16, 2015

how to organize, declutter and minimize >> PART II – get rid of it



Back then, in London at the beginning of 2013, I was faced with my worst nightmare. Moving. Over the years living in this gorgeous city, I had accumulated tons and tons of things. Most of the furniture belonged to the landlord so it was even more frustrating to see how many boxes I could fill with clothes. And shoes. And bags.

There was a time when I would open my closet and look at the stuff that I have acquired during the past and it felt like everything that I owned was weighing me down. If I could return all the purchases and get the money back, I would do it in a heart beat. But that’s to late now. So I had to do what had to be done!

Here is 5 easy steps to downsize your stuff and some helpful tips on how to let go:
  1. Take everything out. EVERYTHING. Don’t do this all at once but at a certain place or you will be overwhelmed and not get anything done. For example start with bottoms – trousers, skirts, shorts. Once that is sorted move to the next. If you haven’t even organized it by item yet do it by compartment; for example one shelf/drawer/hanger at a time.
  2. Make decisions. Pile everything you have into four stacks:
    1. Number One I – Keep. Those are the things you love, the things you wear a lot and keep coming back to.
    2. Number II – Donate. These are things that you can easily let go of, they are  either worn, out of style, broken (in this case toss) or don’t fit but won’t sell.
    3. Number III – Sell. Stuff that still has the tags on it? Sell! Doesn’t fit your style? Sell! You will easily get almost all the money back for it if it is still in style or from a good brand. Anything that still looks good and is in top condition can be sold.
    4. Number IVHide. These are items you can’t decide about yet. Usually you haven’t worn them in a while but still like them a lot. Something that helped me a lot when it comes to these things is putting them away for a while, out of sight. A couple of months later you take them out of their storage. Chances are you completely forgot about them! The items that you feel happy about rediscovering can go back in your closet. Anything else goes. This method creates an emotional distance to the item and the decision to let things go will become a lot easier!
  3. For everything you buy, something else has to go. Easy. New brown belt? The old one has to go. New black boots? Throw another pair out.
  4. If it doesn’t fit, it needs to go. This is part of 2 but I want to emphasize that keeping that false hope of fitting in that skinny jeans is idealistic and stupid. If you do actually lose weight you can much better reward yourself with a nice new thing that you will really love and appreciate. The odds that the thing you wanted to fit in is out of style by the time you made it are much higher. If you MUST, keep at most ONE item as motivation.
  5. Unmatched items. That one thing you love but can’t combine. This leads back to Part I, finding your style. If you have too many different style items in your closet you will have a hard time combining them together. Make an effort to match items into outfits. If you fail to combine an item, let it go.
I hope this was helpful and that some of you will be able to tackle the masses that have accumulated in your closets! If you have any other useful tips, please share and comment below! I’d love to hear your opinion!


Sunday, February 15, 2015

Sunday Update #4

Haven’t done these in a while!

Chinese New Year is just around the corner (specifically on the 18th of this month) and I can’t wait to take off in three days to go to Shanghai! We are going in a small group of friends for five days so I am sure it will be a blast. Although I have been to Shanghai before (see this post here), it’s been a while and I only had 3 nights there because I was on a business trip and working during the day time. I am looking forward to exploring the city more, especially since people are usually either pro Beijing or pro Shanghai and rarely both! 

In case you have been living under a Rock - I'll save you the work and give you Wikipedia:

Chinese New Year is an important traditional Chinese holiday celebrated at the turn of the Chinese calendar. In China, it is also known as the Spring Festival, the literal translation of the modern Chinese name. Chinese New Year celebrations traditionally run from Chinese New Year's Eve, the last day of the last month of the Chinese calendar, to the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first month, making the festival the longest in the Chinese calendar. Because the Chinese calendar is lunisolar, the Chinese New Year is often referred to as the "Lunar New Year".

Last year I spent CNY in Beijing and it was pretty boring to be honest, the whole city is dead because everyone has gone back to their hometown and all the foreigners use the week of holidays to go travelling. I am hoping Shanghai will be at least a bit warmer than here, Beijing is still freezing and it can’t be spring soon enough in my opinion!

  • SawTHIS lovely video that only people in China or Chinese will understand.
  • Listened -   Nothing new actually, I should update my playlist some time!
  • Learned -   The more people travelling in one group, the harder to organize! Also: If you want something done right, do it yourself!
  • Ate – Been stuffing myself with Avocado on toast, topped with poached egg! Not just a breakfast favorite!
  • Read – I have no clue about stocks and trading… but seeing this guy travel the world and still earning money? I want to do that too!!! :D
  • Drank -  Smoothies! I am smoothie addicted! Banana and peanut butter is my favorite at the moment!
  • Thought – About ways to become a millionaire as soon as possible… so that I can travel the world!
  • Wished -  I was a millionaire already.
  • Bought -  New filters for my pollution mask. The pollution is out of control at the moment! >.< 

  • Wishing you all a lovely start in the week!

    Tuesday, February 10, 2015

    how to organise, declutter and minimize >> PART I - shopping addiction

    I have been wanting to do a post about organization for a while but I realized I have to start somewhere else… why do some of us have so much stuff? So this will be a series of posts, about shopping (too much), decluttering and finally, organization.
    First: A confession. Am I a shopaholic?
    I have always adorned clothes. All the way back when I was a kid, I just loved getting new stuff. Then, when I started blogging back in 2010, I wanted to blog about this passion, about fashion, clothes, jewelry – all the nice things! And the more time I spent online, looking through blogs, browsing online stores, checking looks on Lookbook, the more I became obsessed with owning all the “It-Pieces”. I started to buying more and more things, getting a rush of excitement whenever I found something amazing in the sale. But it didn’t just end there, I bought stuff that didn’t really suit me or wasn’t my style, just because I saw it online and I HAD TO HAVE IT. This habit eventually spiraled out of control.
    I ended up ordering stuff online at least once a week, going to stores almost daily. I never spent ridiculous amounts on one thing but went crazy in sales. It got to a point where I wouldn’t even unpack the bags and things would still have the tags on them months later, never worn once.
    Admittedly, it was a time where I wasn’t very happy, the shopping and the feeling of “new things” made me happy. Looking back now, I see why and how, and also how strange this shopping habit became, but back then, most of the time I thought “I will blog about this, make a post about this”. The truth is, not half of those things made it on the blog. On one hand I didn’t have the time and on the other I bought so frequently that I wouldn’t even catch up on it.
    Looking back, I think I was addicted to shopping. Not to a crazy degree and I never spend more than I had, didn’t buy anything on credit and always had enough money left to pay the bills but I definitely bought more than I needed or even wanted. Mindlessly.
    I do think that the whole blogging thing had a big influence on it. And I could bet I am not the only Blogger who felt this way and has bought things “just for the blog”. And all those “HAUL” videos? Probably not very helpful either. The best example is my shoe collection. I love high heels, I love how they look and transform your posture. However, I seldom wear them. I am 1.81m btw (That’s almost 6 feet for you Americans). Even though I can walk in most of my heels, I just don’t like to be taller than 1.90, taller than EVERYONE else. I know some of you will say “Why do you care?” but trust me, it’s a lot different if it’s you. Nevertheless, I couldn’t walk past a pair of beautiful heels, don’t mind the 12cm heel. They are beautiful, I am sure I will wear them! Or make beautiful outfits with it and blog about it. I never did.
    Read more about other bloggers opinion about the issue HERE.
    So how did I change?
    The first step for me was coming out of the bad. An unhappy relationship ended, I changed jobs and engaged more in my social life. Going out with friends and being happy gave me less time and reason to go shopping. I wore things that are appropriate and functional for work and gave blogging a rest. Finally, when I moved away from London and had to pack and move all my stuff I was confronted with the truth. Too much stuff. Things I never wore and had forgotten about. Seeing the boxes over boxes of stuff, I knew I had a problem but also that it was in my past. shopping-addiction Source: National Geographic
    Of course this won’t work for everyone the same way. But here are 7 tips to overcome a shopping addiction:
    1. Identify why you shop. Does it make you happy? Are you bored? Are you buying stuff because you want to do something with it? (I.e. blog about it)? If you answered yes to any of these, make sure you find a way to change the underlying problem. If you are unhappy, shopping will not make it better. You will most likely start feeling guilty and worse. Get out and do something else, be more social or spend more time on other hobbies. The more you are engaged, the less time you have to shop.
    2. Set yourself limits and realize how much you are spending. Make a calculation of how much you spend on stuff on average every month.  If you are not shocked by what you see, revert that amount into things you could have bought instead. If you spend 300$ a month on clothes and make up you need to realize that those are 3600$ a year you could have gone on holiday, probably twice or three times to a nice place… and I know some of you are spending closer to 500$ – that’s 6000$! It’s the same with crash diets, telling yourself to buy nothing won’t work for long. Instead, set a limit. See what’s your budget – maybe 50$ per month, or 100$? Or save one month and be able to spend it on one more expensive thing the next. You will value what you bought much more.
    3. Don’t take your credit card with you. I have never had this problem because I am a cash person and I like to have an overview of my finances. Not buying everything on card will help you realize how much you are spending and how fast. If you just put 100$ in your wallet and it’s already gone it will make spending harder and you will be more conscious about it. Swiping the card here and there and not actually knowing how much you spend is one of the most common ways of overspending.
    4. Try to avoid to go to stores. The more you keep away, the less you are tempted. It’s easy as that.
    5. Sleep on it. If you end up going to the store and have 5 pieces in your arm that you want to actually buy, put it on hold. If you go there the next day, try them on again. If you are not 100% sure about an item, don’t buy it. This has helped me a lot. The truth is, if I was 50/50 on something in the store, I would most likely end up not wearing it.
    6. Identify your style. This is easier said than done but take out the things you love the most and that you keep coming back to. Take a look into your closet and identify what styles you have. Try to find which one suits you best. It’s important to remember that something you see on someone else might look great, but won’t look and feel the same on you. For example, I love the bohemian/romantic look on others, it just doesn’t work on me. Generally, you can distinguish between 6 types: Classic, Trendy, Dramatic, Natural, Romantic and Creative. If you are not sure which type you are, there are plenty of quizzes online that help you figure it out. If you buy things in the future, try to stick to your style, it will help you buy only things you will actually wear.
    7. Does it match with what I have? If you buy something, try to take a mental tour through your closet and imagine what you would combine it with. Can’t think of anything at the top of your head? Maybe better put it back, you will most likely not wear it if it doesn’t match with anything you already have.
    I hope that, if you think you buy too much in the first place, you now have a better idea on how to reduce it and only buy the things you need and that fit your style.
    Stay tuned for PART II – How to declutter and get rid of things!

    Friday, February 6, 2015

    Valentines Gift ideas

    Valentines Gift ideas.

    It’s that time of the year again! Valentines Day! I know the world is divided on this issue – it’s only commercial bullsh*t, right? Or is it?
    Last year me and my boyfriend decided that we are not going to give each others gifts that day since we were on the side of the people who don’t want to give in in the mindless consumption just because everyone tells you to. Plus, why should you only show your partner once a year that you love them? Wouldn’t it be so much better to show each other your love randomly, with small gestures, maybe a rose every now and then?
    So Valentine’s day 2014 came around and it was just another day of the year.
    No presents.
    No flowers.
    Waiting for the subway I saw a girl holding a bunch of flowers and another one a ridiculous teddy bear the size of her torso. A guy rushing buy with a bouquet of – not flowers – teddy bears? Ok, this is typically awful Chinese taste, I won’t go into detail of the monstrosities that couples give each other.
    But they got something. I know, I know. It’s so foreseeable, so cliché. But you know what? Sometimes you need cliché! You need to feel that you also have that special person thinking of you! Seeing all these couples and girls clinching to their gifts I decided I want Valentine’s day too. Even if I get a single rose. Agree or disagree, that’s my opinion. And if you are looking to give your special someone a special something, here are some inspirations!
    1. Flowers. If you are not getting your girl anything else, get her flowers. I know this is the most cliché of all gifts and the most overpriced on Valentine’s day but also the most romantic one! I have never met a girl that didn’t swoon over a bouquet of flowers!
    2. Lingerie. This is a difficult one. Only give her lingerie if you are 100% certain about the size or drama is coming your way. This also a gift to yourself as you get to enjoy it, too!
    3. Diamonds are a girls best friend! If you want to play it safe and are not sure what type of jewelry she likes go for the classics – Tiffany’s got you covered with timeless pieces like heart lockets or a classic bangle by Cartier! DO NOT give her a ring unless you are already married as this will give the girl some very clear ideas! Unless you do want to marry her. ASAP.
    4. If your girl is not too much into beauty or jewelry, go for something useful, like a phone cover, a mp3 player with her favorite music or, if you can, why not a new phone? Girls are into gadgets now, she might even be happy to get a controller so that she can join you on the Xbox!
    5. Watches are timeless. Again, go for a classic design to avoid mistakes! Rose gold is feminine and versatile, always a good idea for Valentine’s.
    6. Beauty products will make most girls very happy. Whether you go for a classic like perfume or nail polish, just make sure you know what she likes! If you don’t, ask the sales assistant for help or maybe let them package a little gift set of different things.
    7. Write her a letter, write her a card, tell her how much you love her. This will mean the most to her and shows you have put thoughts into the whole thing. If you are not too good with words, get her a nice print like this one that she can hang and have her remind her that she is loved.
    Gifts for him

    1. Lingerie. Trust me, 99% of boyfriends will agree on this. Lingerie is one of the most mentioned things when it comes to gifts for men. He loves you, he loves your body. Nothing better than his girl in sexy lingerie. A gift he will love to unwrap!
    2. Most guys love their gadgets and their music. If you want to put a smile on his face and ease his daily commuting problems, get him a nice pair of headphones to drown out the noise. If he is very social, get him a portable speaker he can take to days in the park. If he like his computer games, a good quality headset with mic might be the best gift yet!
    3. Usually, guys won’t hang out in Sephora and read beauty blogs to know what to buy for their skincare needs. Most guys probably don’t even use moisturizer. That doesn’t mean that they don’t appreciate nice smooth skin as much as we do! Help him out and give him some nice, high quality skin care products and you will see that he will use it every day. Perfumes go a long way too – and let’s face it – there is nothing better than a nice smelling, groomed man!
    4. If your significant other is an office man he most likely needs a good pen. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll have some nice hand written love notes on the fridge soon! :)
    5. If you don’t live together yet and have not yet transformed every inch of his space with your female touch, get him a nice framed print for his (probably bare) walls. Men are usually not too fond of interior design but still appreciate a nice looking apartment. Make sure it’s something HE likes and can enjoy.
    6. There are few things sexier than a man in the morning having his coffee! A good coffee can wake the dead, invest in a nice coffee maker and you can both enjoy a little bliss in the morning!
    I hope this guide gave you some inspiration if you are still looking for a good gift. But generally I’d love to know – do you celebrate Valentine’s day? What is the best gift you ever got?