Travel Guide: OSAKA

After 3 days in Tokyo, it was time to move on and explore the rest of Japan. I left bright and early in the morning, ready for my next adventure: OSAKA!

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Travel Guide: TOKYO

It was eight long months in the making… eight months of hunting cheap airfare, reviewing shrines, booking hostels, researching restaurants, studying subway maps, and learning conversational Japanese.

It was almost an out-of-body experience. Eight months of planning all leading up to this moment. My brain needed time to register it all in. Am I really doing this? Am I really traveling solo… for the first time… across international borders? Am I really about to board a plane and fly across the Pacific Ocean and spend the last day of 2015 with complete strangers in a foreign land 5000+ miles away from home? Am I really going to ring in 2016 and my 25th birthday in my dream destination? Am I really doing this… by myself? Every molecule in my body answered a solid unanimous “HELL YEAH!”

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Escape to… A R I Z O N A!

Processed with VSCOcam with a6 presetI’m always up to hit the open road. The wide open spaces, the tapestry of landscapes, the never ending horizon are just a few of the winning qualities that converted me to become a long-term road trip enthusiast.

Last month, I embarked on a mini weekend getaway to Arizona for a girlfriend’s 27th birthday. The three-day road trip took two months to plan. It was a brief escape yet more than enough to explore three of Arizona’s most famous natural wonders: Grand Canyon National Park, Horseshoe Bend, and Lower Antelope Canyon.

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10 Items I Never Travel Without

I’m incredibly fortunate to have my mom instill in me the love for travel and exploration at a very young age. I first obtained my passport when I was seven years old, and I can still remember my first experience riding an airplane was a 14-hour flight from Manila to Los Angeles. I’ve been traveling every year since, having explored nearly 31 states and 7 countries… and counting! It’s an insatiable and lifelong lust for travel that I’m happily and helplessly infected with. My passport will only retire once I take my last breath. Listed below are my top 10 travel essentials.

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(New) Skincare Must-Haves: Kiehl’s

It’s been more than a year since I shared in this post my skin care must-haves. Apart from turning half of fifty last January, I discovered Kiehl’s and their incredible line of natural skin, body, and hair products. From what I recall, there was an orchestra of angels singing when I reached the entrance of my very first Kiehl’s store in Santa Monica. Their products have profoundly elevated my skincare game that I decide to divide my life into two: pre-Kiehl’s and post-Kiehl’s. I still use the items I previously discussed, but I finally graduated to the big leagues and incorporated Kiehl’s into my daily regimen. Below are my top three all-time favorite Kiehl’s products:

1. Ultra Facial Cleanser

Ultra Facial Cleanser

This cleanser is magic! Initially, I was hesitant to try it considering at the time I was strictly using cheap facial scrubs that contain microbeads. Subconsciously, I believed the microbeads were what made the cleanser work. “If it didn’t feel like my face will peel off every time I exfoliate, how will I know it’s effective?” was my uninformed mentality.

Upon learning the harmful of effects of these microbeads to our planet’s oceans and waterways (thumbs up to Obama for signing the ban!), I was determined to find a facial cleanser that will prove just as effective, if not more.

What I love about this cleanser is it’s the total opposite of facial scrubs. It has outperformed every drugstore facial cleanser I’ve tried, and I use it at the end of every day. It’s soft, mild, and formulated for all skin types. The texture is rich and creamy yet smooth and lightweight. My hands glide effortlessly even when I apply  just a small amount to my face. It’s gentle on the skin and eyes, yet removes dirt, dust and even the heaviest makeup, including waterproof mascara!

Bonus: it works wonders with Clarisonic!

To my readers curious or interested in trying Kiehl’s, I recommend the Ultra Facial Cleanser be your first purchase.

2. Midnight Recovery Concentrate

Midnight Recovery Concentrate

I believe that everyone should take care of their skin 24/7, even in their sleep.

Midnight Recovery Concentrate is an evening facial oil that replenishes and visibly restores the appearance of skin by morning, with a formula that includes pure essential oils and distilled botanicals.

If there really was such as thing as “fountain of youth,” I can imagine it spouting this product. After cleaning my face and neck with the Ultra Facial Cleanser, I apply about 4-5 drops of this magical potion to my cheeks, forehead, chin, and neck, making sure it’s evenly distributed  before gently massaging it into my skin. By morning, my skin — dare I say it — glows.

It’s an oil, yet my skin or hands don’t feel oily when I apply it. Another reason why Kiehl’s has my loyalty for life is because their products are mostly scentless, or the scents are very subtle. Also, a little bit goes a long way, so despite being a little pricey, each bottle lasts me about six months.

3. Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate

Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate

It’s a fact of life that skin looses elasticity and collagen with age.

Twenty-five is still considered young in most societies, but I did start to notice that I’m developing crows feet. It’s an inevitable sign of aging I’m not willing to accept yet.

I apply the Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate twice a day, during the day and at night (following the Midnight Recovery Concentrate).

I could not believe what my eyes were seeing when I finished my first bottle. In just a few months, my crows feet were barely visible. I remember standing in front of my bathroom mirror, smiling my widest smile, and examining the outer corners of my eye from every angle possible just to see if my crows feet will reappear suddenly. They didn’t. It was that precise moment I became a true Kiehl’s believer. I knew from then on that they have my business for life. I felt like a born-again Christian excited about Jesus.

What are your favorite skincare products? Feel free to share in the comments below!

Thanks for reading!