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Snapshots from Brazil

December 21, 2016

I never got around to sharing photos on this space from trip to Brazil a few months ago to visit my man. I spent a little under a week in the beautiful south of Brazil, where we grew up, exploring parts Dois Irmãos, Porto Allegre, Novo Hamburgo, Gramado, Canela, and one of my favorites . . . a six hour drive to Santa Catarina where I found some of the most beautiful beaches in the world (and the most peaceful, especially at the time of the year we in). Praia do Rosa was an exquisite blue dream from the top of the hilly sides that encapsulated it. I could imagine what a lively colorful rainbow this beach would be in high summer. The idea of drinking caipirinhas while getting burnet shoulders like a true Brazilian would excites me so much. And those caipirinhas! I’m already missing the taste of them and the summery relaxed feeling they washed over me. My boyfriend makes them soooo good. But I enjoyed the quiet and calmness of this beach and all the beaches in this area, in the springtime.

The center of Porto Allegre, the most liveliest of the small towns we visited. It felt like a real city. Parts of it reminded me so much of Los Angeles, it was sort of a surreal feeling. But it made me feel at home, and especially with my man by my side. Eating really good Italian food. Who would have thought some of the best pasta I had so far would be in Brazil?! We laughed as we drove down the city streets as we took count of locals walking with portable mugs of chimarrão tea (also known as yerba mate), the traditional tea drank but Southern Brazilians. Everyone drinks it down there! It’s extra caffeinated! Best to be enjoyed in an intimate setting out of a shared cup. hehe.

Then there was Gramado, a German-inspired mountain town. It gave me feelings of Christmas in a place where I thought only summer existed. European-esque chocolate shops, Alpine chalets (fondue anyone?), and other touristy places that seemed something out of a Hollywood movie that parodied Hollywood. There was a theme park for just about everything here. The only thing missing was the snow and holiday lights. It really opened my eyes to the diversity and multi-cultural history of Brazil. There is a strong sense of worldliness rooted here, and that is very modern.

Spending time in the smaller towns and experiencing a slower pace of day to day things eased me and shed my last few leftover layers of a New York Fashion Week and Brooklyn birthday celebrations. I didn’t do my hair, I slept in late, I hardly wore makeup, my dressing was simple,and I didn’t mind just spending each night watching a movie with my man and eating a home cooked meal in the home of his family. It all felt so simple and lovely, but most importantly it made me fully relax and tune out from work and social media. I felt perfectly in the present. And that is what I will remember the most from my first time in this amazing country. I hope to be back soon 🙂 I think Rio is calling my name.

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The Last of Malaysia

December 3, 2016

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Free People dress
Luiny belt
Wanderlust and Co. earrings
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And the day has come to wrap up my photo escapades from Malaysia. I became a little teary eyed throughout the editing process of this blog post. It was indeed one of the most magical trips that I’ve taken in quite a long time. A learning experience. It was an exploration of one’s roots. A reconnection with family that I feel I didn’t have a chance to experience fully in the past. A physical adjustment to weather and food choice. Learning to adapt is a strength that I find very useful to have. An eye opening vision to a place that is so different from home, but so familiar at the exact same time. That last part is something I can’t stress more, and it is why I encourage people to travel as much as they can when they are in their twenties. There’s so much to learn out there in the world. Endless stories to share, as long as we are ready and able to listen. And if we weren’t good listeners before, maybe it can help us become better. There are cultural traditions to borrow from and pass along; to compare and contrast with our own, possibly unlocking a door within ourselves to ideas we never before held or even though out. As individuals, we are each a very small yet extremely significant parts of the process of this thing called cultural diffusion. A sort of globalization of the mind on a personal level.  Traveling is the best way to burst your bubble and see the world through the eyes of others. It’s a reminder that no matter where you are in your state in life, mentally and physically, the world goes round and round and round. And every single turn is just as important as the last.

Shop more Free People maxi dresses I love:

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A Special Energy in Malacca City

November 29, 2016

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Reformation dress
Sezane shoes
Salvatore Ferragamo purse
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Malacca City is a very special place indeed. I haven’t visited since I was a teenager, but the place still stood out clear in my mind since that visit. It was at the top of my list of places to come back to during my Malaysia trip. Malacca City is full of rich history and colorful diversity. This old city once had a major role in the trade routes, catching attention from all over the world, and especially that of Portugal, and then the Dutch and then the British, up until World War II when the Japanese invaded. It wasn’t until 1963 that Malaysia as a country declared its independence. So, as you can tell, there has been many stories told, and I’m sure many to tell, about this beautiful city. And the city, you can feel it as you walk through its streets full of restaurants and shops and temples, all the different sorts of feet and cultures that have made their ways down them, too. Malacca doesn’t work to hide its past, but embraces it so much as a matter of fact, that it’s inescapable in the present time. The smell of a type of food in the air, one that pulls ingredients from all over the world to create something so unique for our tastebuds. It’s hard not to salivate while walking the streets made up of Portuguese-style architecture. My favorite dish here is the Hainanese chicken and chicken rice. The city is actually known for their unique take on the chicken rice. Instead of served freshly steamed in a bowl, the rice is rolled into little balls that are to be eating as a whole after being be dipped into soy sauce, some chili sauce and maybe a dab of garlic. It’s something you can hardly find anywhere else in the world, and made as well done as it is made in Malacca, where the dish has been perfected through many generations time. The city is famous for snacks so delicious, it’s almost unimaginable that they could be real, and packaged in such an exquisite way. After the afternoon gloom broke up, the sunshine hit the buildings and the city seemed over-saturated in such a way that you feel you are walking around with tinted glasses on. It’s a city that feels perpetually rose-tinted, even when it rains. It’s undeniably amazing. The energy is wild, especially on the weekends, when tourists from other parts of Malaysia, not to mention from all over the world, explore the city and create their own path through it, leaving remnants to be built upon as time goes on. What a lovely thing to think about, ya?

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Magic at The Batu Caves

November 26, 2016

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Alpha Omega blouse
Vintage Levi’s jeans
Proenza Schouler bag from Farfetch
Sezane shoes
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A different kind of post-Thanksgiving post since I’m in the midst of still catching up on so much from my travels. So here we go . . .

This part of my trip to Malaysia was one of my favorites. It’s been far over ten years since I’ve last visited the Batu Caves, and I was itching to revisit since I was little. And it was perfect timing since we decided to go on the major Indian holiday called Diwali (also called Deepavali). Malaysia is home to many, many people of Hindu Indian descent. It was amazing to see parts of the city come alive with color in celebration of this Hindu festival of lights, signifying the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and hope over despair. It’s a beautiful reason to celebrate! Lights and candles lit up the dark Batu Caves, filled with bats in its crevices and acting as a playground for playful and curious monkeys who aren’t afraid to get up close and personal with the guests who decided to take the 272 steps up to the famous caves. I remember as a kid, always being a little fearful of the monkeys after one almost jumped on me to snag my bag of peanuts out of my small and trembling hands. But this particular day, I showed only love for these little creatures, trying to get as close as I could to snap a picture of the mother with her small baby at her breast.

It was a breathtaking view to stand at the bottom before my trek up, watching all kinds of feet, many Hindus going up barefoot as is the tradition, take purposeful steps up to the top. Every color imaginable decorating the backs of these people. Women in stunning and multicolored saris that lit up the entire stairway with every color imaginable. A mix of every skin tone, ethnicity, and cultural background together created a buzz on each and every one of those 272 steps. Once I got to the top, I decided to linger for a while longer to watch the crowds below and horizon ahead. There was an approaching storm cloud making its way towards us in the distance. It was a grey color, but it didn’t feel sad. It was peaceful and complementing to all the action happening where I was standing. Once we made our way into the cave, past the crowds admiring the colorful statues of Hindu gods, and all the way to the back, the rain began to fall through the cave’s opening where a mist hung over us all. The mist to me seemed like a kind of protector that I couldn’t stop staring at. Droplets coming down in a way that felt like life turned into slow motion. Landing on our faces and cooling our skin, for the day was extra humid. It washed our sweaty stickiness away. Kept us calm. The rain lasted for what seemed like nearly an hour, but we were in no rush at all. We sat and people watched while others did the same. Trying to figure out who was a tourists and which ones were the locals. Malaysia is so multicultural that it’s actually quite hard to figure this out. But that’s the beauty about this country. It’s always unexpected and there’s always something new to discover. This day we were celebrating the Festival Lights. And even though it got dark and grey, the light still kept on shining through.

Hope all you guys who celebrated Thanksgiving this week had a wonderful time off with those you love. Talk soon 🙂

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