Portugal will always be close to me heart as my husband is from there. My visits usually fall on summer season so as much as I try to get some city sightseeing done I usually just end up visiting multiple beaches as one does to feel refreshed when the weather goes upwards of 30 degrees. This time around I had a few places I wanted to check of my list so here is a short rundown of our 6 day trip in Portugal which included a short trip to Porto as well.
Where to Eat
Perfect if you are looking for a healthy brunch place in Lisbon. This place is popular and was well recommended by bloggers and local friends alike. You can enjoy some eggs benedict, huevos rancheros, quinoa bowl, avocado toast and the likes paired with some refreshing fruits smoothies. Since my last visit in Lisbon I have seen quite a change in landscape in the food scene with new inventive restaurants catering to the new global traveler visiting Lisbon who enjoy eating local food as well as staples they crave from back home.
Location - Rua das Gavoitas 17
Hours- M to F 9am-5pm Sat & Sun 9am-5pm
Possibly one of the biggest food halls I've seen. You can get a taste of traditional Portuguese food from the best chefs and restaurants all in one place. The only problem is there can be an overwhelming amount of option we found ourselves walking aimlessly. Also some food stalls had similar menus. Portion sizes is more on the smaller side compared to the restaurant serving you would get but that is usually the same experience I get in other food halls I've visited. The ordering system is quite handy as well you place your order and you get a little buzzer to take to your table so you sit and wait till your food is ready for pickup. This place is packed with tourist so be prepared to stand in line at dinner hours. I would recommend dining here with a big group of friends and having a nice bottle of wine with your meal.
Location - Av. 24 de Julho 49, 1200-479
Hours - Sun to Wed 10am -12am Thur to Sat 10am - 2am
Another blogger favourite and also a place one of our close friends highly recommended. We arrived for lunch earlier than their noon opening time and noticed that there is already a few people eagerly awaiting their opening. Great burgers that tasted fresh together and we really enjoyed their garlic and thyme fries. We were also impressed with their craft beer selection that included local as well as popular international brands.
Places to get a Drink
PARK Rooftop Bar
I have heard about this infamous rooftop bar while researching bars and restaurants with a great view. Once I mentioned the name of this Bar to me sister-in-law I was happy to learn that her husband knew the owner and she has been there in the summer season. Park lives up to its name and is a cool concept where it literally is on the top of a 6 level garage. If not for our local connections I doubt we would find the entrance to this place as there is no signage and you just see a bunch of cars lined up to get into a parking garage. The place was packed when we went on a Friday night even with it being off season and the rain. Even with it being dark in the evening you can see the twinkling lights of the city and thankfully they do have a new enclosure built to protect you from the rain. Definitely a must visit but I would try coming earlier in the day to catch a summer sunset while sipping on a cold beer or a glass of wine.
As I recently graduated from college, I have been looking for my next adventure (aka my next industry job) a step in the direction of the career I want to build in Marketing. Looking for jobs is no easy feat just listen to the rants of my fellow graduates who have been doing part time jobs not related to what they went to school for but anything goes when you're a broke millennial...
Thankfully I recently landed a part-time marketing job but unfortunately this job is an hour commute from where I live. As much as I would love to wear pretty heels and dresses that can go from day to night the reality of commuting is you need to dress for comfort. When you're sitting in the subway or bus more than likely you will be exposed to the elements for example on a windy day standing 15 minutes on an open air bus station in a little wool coat in Toronto will definitely make you a popsicle in no time.
Here is a few tips and tricks I learned along the way from being a commuter and still dressing fashionably and office appropriate:
First things first long commutes mean you will have to carry a little bit more than usual as you will need to carry snacks and entertainment such as books or tablets so as not to stare into the eyes of your fellow commuters and generally just to make time go just a little bit faster. In this case you will need a bag that is big enough for all your essentials and also maybe a change of shoes if you feel like donning heels when indoors. My favourites is the good ole trusty tote bag with long enough straps to ensure it slings properly to your shoulder and also a softer and preferably slightly thicker strap to distribute the weight because you know you're gonna be carrying at least 10-15 lbs with all your knick knacks packed in.
This bag by Lululemon has a large 26L capacity for all your junk and also has a lot of different compartments and pockets for all your necessities your trusted MacBook.
Comfy shoes is the next step to walking up and down staircases and transferring from buses or even running to make sure you can catch your next train. As much as I love sneakers on weekends there is just something off putting about wearing sneakers with dress pants or skirts. I prefer to choose flats that have arch support and decent rubber grips that would make walking much more comfortable specially during the rush hour. Loafers are definitely the trendy choice for footwear recently and with good reason most of them give better are support than ballet flats of the early 2000's and also the shape works quite well with the straight and wide leg pants alike which are in most people's wardrobe these days. This specific ones are very similar to the Gucci Brixton but at a fraction of the price.
The next on my list is definitely smart dress pants or slack. As much as I like dresses in the summer time it is still a bit too chilly to wear them without thick tights. Right now i have a few favourite styles from Banana Republic that I have been rotating in my wardrobe. Both of them are super comfortable and dont wrinkle easily which is a plus when you're sitting for extended periods of time.
Blazers and cardigans have also been my go to. Its always cooler than I anticipate in the office and having another layer instead of draping myself in a large shapeless scarf is more Professional looking.
A classic coat is another must. As I'm typing this blog it is currently -2 degrees in Toronto. I've been relying on my black parka from rudsak to get me thru these last few days of cold. But im planning to start transitioning towards a trench coat soon and these two styles are ones I have my eye on to look polished and professional.
Who say's commuters can't be as chic and fashionable. One of the things I enjoy about living in the city is the easy availability of transit. With the cost of car ownership quite high specially in busy cities like toronto making sure you travel in comfort is a must.
With Valentine's Day less than a week away ,if you're anything like me you're lucky if you have your dinner reservations in at this point. Me and my husband usually try to celebrate valentines day on the weekend as it works better for our busy schedules and you also don't have to pay the exorbitant set menu pricing as well as fight for the coveted reservation times. As much as valentines day can put a lot of pressure on a lot of us I think planning the perfect outfit can help you get date ready by putting your best outfit that will make your date swoon. So if you're planning a candle lit dinner at home or splashing out and having nice dinner out, here is a few outfit ideas to wow your date. I've chosen these stores specifically for the reason that these are easily available in Canada and you can just pop over to your nearest mall in the interest of saving time.
Club Monaco Becaw Lace Dress $328.00
First up is this lovely tiered lace dress by Club Monaco. I can't think of another dress that screams valentines day but will equally look great for all the upcoming spring and summer parties. ( lol to my wishful thinking as its currently -7 and snowy here in Toronto as I type this).
Aritzia Babaton Burt Dress $98
This next one is a little bit more of a shift dress style. The flutter sleeve helps to dress it up and put some romantic details on this otherwise basic dress. I'm loving the dramatic gold earrings they paired in this picture. Would definitely recommend wearing your choice of statement earring or necklace with this and the price is also quite reasonable. If you live in cold weather like I do wearing this with some tights would be a smart choice and instead of doing pumps opt for a dressier ankle boot preferably with a heel. So you can actually take a post dinner stroll and not be slipping and sliding on the snow packed sidewalk.
Le Chateau Stretch Twill Cold Shoulder Cocktail Dress $139.95
This last dress is one of my favourites in the bunch because of the soft pink colour. I also find off shoulder dresses to be quite flattering on different body types and is very romantic. This dress also comes in navy and red if deeper colours are more your jam. Because we are all about being able to re-use dresses this can easily transition into wedding season and I can even see this as a good option for a bridesmaid dress.
Happy Valentine's Day Everyone ❤️
If you live in a country with real winters, sooner or later you develop a coat obsession. As the cold settles in and you have to bundle up wearing smart and stylish winter coats is just a must. I mean most people you bump into will be seeing you in this piece so making a good impression is a must. Here is a few of my favourite styles this season.
This first coat is a classic navy double breasted coat by H&M. It goes past the knee and is on trend as longer coats have dominated the market this year. I am particulary loving H&M's coats this year specially from their premium collection as some of them are made from Italian wool and price ranges from $150-$190 considering most of them are 80% wool and up.
If you already have your basic black coat then look no further than this brown coat from Zara. A little darker than camel but still very flexible then this one is for you. I love the slightly oversized sleeves which are perfect with all the chunky sleeve sweater that are popular today. There is no worse feeling than squeezing your arms in a wool coat that would not accommodate a chunky sweater.
This Aritzia Sian coat is one of their staple styles that every time I see someone wearing I just can't help fall involve with. It's cut like a robe but with rounded lapels that are softer and more feminine. The length is also not too long which would suit petite and curvy girls who would like more definition in the waist area with it's nice wide tie belt. The olive is also a flattering color for a variety of different skin tones. The beauty of this color is it almost works like a neutral you can wear it with black, greys, creams and navy.
Soia and Kyo is one of those brands I am consistently in love with from year to year. They just know how to get it right plus anyone I know who owns their coat swears by their quality. This piece is would buy now if I haven't blow my winter clothing budget trying to replace all my worn out sweaters . Definitely will keep my eyes on this just in case it goes on sale for Boxing Day. I love the length and how simplistic the design lines on it is but it just works. You can elevate a simple jean and sweater outfit with this piece. And the fur trim is s nice addition to keep your neck warm.
Last but not the least is this beautiful handmade color blocked coat by San Francisco designer Mute by JL. I discovered them from one of the people I follow on instagram and instantly fell in love with the fun colours and different cuts that they feature in their pieces. Definitely a brand to follow for your next investment piece.
Let me know in the comment section which one was your favourite. Or who your favourite coat designers are?
Cullotes are derived from the French word culot which literally meant the lower half of a thing- the word was first associated with breeches for men which is not like the culottes you know today they were those knee length shorts that tapered in at the knee and were worn as part of military uniforms all throughout Europe in the 18th Century. Fashion terms become confusing at times because this term was also used for split skirts and women's underpants.
Today this word is used to classify bottoms that are split and hangs like a skirt. Wide leg and airy this pant in the opposite of the skinny jeans and leggings we have seen gain popularity and traction a few years back.
I love the freedom and comfort they bring. I don't feel like I constantly have to do squats every morning so as to look great in my skinny jeans and leggings. They also look great with mules which is another trend piece that I am obsessed with. For me culottes are an all year round item I will definitely be wearing mine with boots and wool socks to still be weather appropriate especially with the cold winters we get in Canada or cropped leggings underneath for an extra layer of warmth.
I wear mine with just about everything. My favourite is with a turtle neck sweater that is a little bit oversized. You can wear it tucked in or loose. I have always followed the rule of 1 fitted garment and 1 loose garment as a rule of thumb but for some reason there is just something so chic about wearing flowy pieces together. A statement shoe also helps bring the look together. For people who are new to wearing a wide leg pant I recommend trying ankle length culottes with not as wide of a bottom as the ones I'm wearing here, This way you can ease into the transition easier. I also love wearing ankle boots with them and I know a lot of people who are always looking for pants that work with their favourite ankle booties specially if it has little bit of heel like the ones I'm wearing in these photos. The beauty of culottes is there is so much variation in fits and styles that you can find one for every body type.
For example for curvier girls with a small waist I recommend high waisted styles like these ones from H&M.
You can also find them in a variety of colours, fabrics and patterns to suit everyones taste and budget. It is also an easy piece to work from day to night. I would wear it casual with white sneakers for running around and a pointy toe pump for evening. Lastly it is also a piece you can wear to a business casual environment with a blouse or blazer. See this loft piece below which looks great with a blouse tucked in. Change the shoes into a closed toe shoe and you're ready to go.
If you're looking for a trend piece to inject new life into your wardrobe look no further than the culottes. I must warn you tho that once you have worn them you might not want to go back to your skinny jeans ever again...
Here is a few of my favourite costumes seen on Instagram! Be ready for the ooh's and ahh's.I love how Halloween brings the playfulness out of everyone young and old.
*all photos linked to owners Instagram pages
How cute is this bear costume which perfectly mimics the dogs natural hair color.
Another classic and one of the condiments always present in my fridge you can never go wrong with a Sriracha costume. Might have to get this for my dog next year.
Another great family costume idea from Jillian Harris. Especially love how nacho is a pirate!
Not to be replaced as queen of Halloween Heidi Klum Honours Michael Jackson with a Teen Wolf costume.
Khloe Kardashian and Tristan Thompson as GOT's Daenarys and Drogo.
Instead of the ever popular Starbucks unicorn frappe why not have you and bae dress up as BOBA Tea.
And last but not the least @kcstauffer MIla and Emma looking fabulous as Marilyn and Holly Golightly. They also have several other great costumes so go and check their Instagram for your daily dose of cuteness!
This piece is probably one of my most worn items and with good reason leather jackets are on trend but is also very practical when it comes to keeping you warm in those nippy days. This one is a steal from Zara and is actually Faux leather but doesn't look it. I have received numerous compliments on this one and how it is the perfect abbreviated length to pair with high waisted jeans and dresses. It is still in store so if you're on the hunt for a new jacket this might be perfect for you.
The check pants is probably another piece that is blowing up on your Insta feed. Bloggers all over are obsessed with this print. The good thing is you can get this in almost every high street store out there at different color, style and price point. This one happens to be an H&M piece and is more of a slim cut. I pair this with a simple black turtle neck and I have a pretty school or work outfit which you can layer with more masculine coats. to give you more dimension and a mens wear vibe. Unfortunately this exact piece is out of stock at the time of posting but just search check pants on H&M's website and you will see other alternatives, I will also post a link below to other ones I like
Suede boots are perfect to add that texture to your outfit. The matte look of it is perfect for pairing with printed pants and different colours. I already own this particular boot from a previous season in a camel colour but felt I needed black in order to wear with dark cropped culottes. I have quite narrow ankled and finding boots that don't gape too much are quite a challenge these ones are nice and slim around the ankle not exactly hugging but good enough especially when I wear black trouser socks with them. The almond toe is also vey good at giving you an all over slimming effect especially when wearing an all black ensemble. This pair is from Aldo coming in at $100 for real suede is not that bad.
This bag does not need explaining its the Mansur Gavriel Bucket back in Black with Dolly Interior. Its the popular Bucket bag that started it all when it comes to minimal bag designs. I got this one as a birthday present and as much as I find I don't reach for it as often as I should ( I carry too many things for school) I find its a very versatile bag that works with pretty much all my fall outfits.
The last piece on this list is a mid thigh oversized cardigan. Surprisingly I have been on a lookout for a card like this for seasons. I just haven't found one that in a colour I want or I was searching too late into the season that they were all sold out. Well this year I was pro-active I purchased this baby early in September and has saved me many a chilly mornings on my way to class. Its also a nice shape to wear with skinny jeans and simple thin sweaters that I grab it as I walk out the door to make sure I'm covered. This specific one is from H&M and comes in multiple colours but I have found it in multiple store in downtown Toronto like Mendocino and Oak and Fort.
As my 28th birthday is coming up this weekend, I have been contemplating what has changed in my life since I was 20. I say 20 because this was the time I was fully independent and living on my own for the first time.
To tell you a little bit about those years, I moved out of the nest at 20 to Toronto to be able to attend college and also experience what the city has to offer. I know that may not sound young, but for someone who has never lived on her own, this was a big step. At the same time, being a new immigrant from the Philippines, where my life was sheltered and basically planned out was ready to experience life as an independent adult.
Boy, was I naive in thinking this would be easy! Although I had a job lined up when I moved out, it was a part time job that did not pay much. I lived with my roommate in a 1 bedroom century home in order to save money. However hard it was, I was happy to have our own little space that we worked hard to decorate and make our own. We had very little furniture and most of the time my groceries consisted of whatever was on sale in the grocery store. My meals consisted a lot of instant noodles and dollar microwavables. There were days I didn't have any money for transit to get to school until my next pay check, but that was mainly due to poor decision making/money management as I would always buy clothing first before anything else. My image was always very important to me. Attending Fashion school was hard to say the least, these girls were just like the ones you saw in Mean Girls. There were the artsy types, the blonde and skinny high fashion types and the punk alternative types. At that time I was also struggling with self-esteem issues; for whenever I looked at these girls, I often realized that there was always somebody skinnier with better fashion sense. You wouldn't know any of this deep down as part of my confession as I subscribed to the mantra “fake it till you make it”. I also had a lot of body issues and was never comfortable in my own skin. I was about 115 lbs and a size 2, which I thought at that time I still needed to lose weight to be the elusive size 0 in order to have abs like Britney Spears ( lol 90's kid at heart) .Looking back, I wish I could tell my younger self to be happy and confident in my own skin regardless of the number on the scale.
Like any other young adult, I was also very impatient and always wanted to grow up quickly. I decided I didn't want to go the university route because I wanted to be able to work immediately after graduating. So I decided on a less venturous course, Fashion Business- thinking it would be easier to complete. I ended up hating it because the classes weren’t anything of interest to me,s as much as I love fashion. I slowly realized that being in the industry did not resonate with me as a long term career path. . I tried my hardest to finish my courses but since my heart wasn't there, I eventually threw in the towel. For some time, I kept trying to return to school but was unable to find my niche and had difficulty realizing what I would be good at. Only last year have I decided it was time. Time to pursue a career in marketing where I genuinely enjoy the classes and it offers creativity and analytical ability under one roof.
Time has a funny way of slipping by without us knowing it. As much as I wish I was 20 again, there has also been a number of positive life lessons that come with ageing (gracefully:). For example, being comfortable in one’s own skin. I’m much more comfortable and confident in myself and my own choices. Even though I still have brief moments in life where I think I’m not the best version of myself I don't allow myself to dwell on those thoughts. I strive to be more patient and commit to longer term goals rather than fast fixes. I've also found my own voice and have become a more confident individual. Of course I realize that I still have a long way ahead and I'm hoping my 30's will be even better.
So if there are 20 something year olds out there reading this,please remember to be kind and patient with yourself because you are special and unique in your own way; as cliche as that sounds, I wish I listened when people told me so.
At long last I convinced my husband Paris was a good idea. With all the craziness happening in the world I couldn't blame him honestly. This trip was long overdue as we have decided to postpone our honeymoon by a year as I had decided to enrol in the Marketing program the fall after our wedding.
This was actually our first overseas trip together. We have been to Portugal and Spain way back when but haven't really flown together outside of the country. As cliche as it is I really did enjoy the trip very much and have plenty of fond memories together. Just the simple act of holding hands on take off and landing makes me feel so much more comfortable. As much as I love travelling and exploring new places I've always been an anxious flyer.
Our trip in the city of lights was an easy one. We flew with Iceland air and landed in Charles De Gaulle Airport around noon. I decided it would be a good idea to take the train to the city centre to experience Paris like a local. Boy was I mistaken in doing that, with our heavy luggages navigating the RER was quite difficult and actually took longer than I thought it would considering we were also on an express train that made fewer stops. I also wouldn't take the train if you are looking for the scenic route. I was actually quite surprised at how many old and dilapidated buildings we saw on the way. The train stations are also busy and kinda sketchy as warned by some websites and is considered a heavy pick pocket route. Anyway we reached Gare du Nord and was trying to find the right metro line that would go to our hotel this was another challenge in and upon itself. The Metro system even as it is convenient is not for somebody who has poor direction or in our case suffering from jet lag and carting around 2 big luggages. There was no escalators on certain entrances and the walk to transfer from one line to the next was a 15 minute walk. Alas we arrived in one piece in St George Station which is a 2 minute walk to our hotel. We decided to stay at Hotel Lorette- Astotel as it was a cute boutique hotel nestled in a pretty residential neighbourhood. So as to get the most Parisian experience we can. It is also a 15 minute walk to Sacre Coeur and 10 minutes to Montmartre boutique lined streets.
We were shocked at the prices of things in Paris but it may be partly the exchange rate from Canadian Dollars. We spent a pretty penny dining out and as much as I searched places online for more reasonable restaurants we kept ending up in places where the basic entree is about 25 Euros which is not bad if you only go out to eat once a day I guess but we had breakfast lunch and dinner out most days. Some days we ended up paying 50 euros for a simple breakfast for both of us...Because we were walking a lot we felt that having just pastries or bread and coffee was not sufficient enough for us which was both available at our hotel for free.
We decided to walk to most attractions as we felt the metro was mostly too hot during the days we were there in the end of May. There is no air conditioning in most subway trains.
From the notable attractions we went to see Sacre Coeur was definitely one of our top picks and if you have the extra energy you can also climb to the top of it to get view of Paris which is magnificent without having to pay crazy fees like the Eiffel Tower.
We also of course went to see the famous Louvre Museum which was honestly breathtaking just the architecture inside the building is enough to keep you occupied. I have been forewarned by a friend that the Mona Lisa is a bit underwhelming specially in size considering how many people travelled all round the world to see it. I glanced it from the side as there was way too many people piled up in front of it and moved on to the next exhibit.
We also decided to visit the Musee D'Orsay by recommendation of some blogs I've read. It was a small museum mainly filled with paintings and sculptures which you can easily finish in 2 hours.
The most magical moment was of course visiting the Eiffel Tower. We ended up catching the sunset on a warm and sunny day. And of course that alluring sparkling light display that comes every hour is worth it. We sat at the garden and soaked in the atmosphere. The only slightly annoying part of it was there was so many vendors selling trinkets and alcohol who asked you every 2 minutes if you wanted to buy something. If you were polite to decline and say no they immediately try to pull you in with a sales tactic asking you to buy as they will give you a good discount.. in these cases it would have been better to pretend not to understand lol
Overall it was a magical trip we also explored a lot of little neighbourhoods which was as interesting as the main attractions. Another tip I would say tho is if you are really interested In shopping make sure you hit the shops early and NEVER go on a weekend. The crowds are unbearable something I have never experienced even with Christmas Shopping season in Canada.
Paris was beautiful and I'm so happy that I can check it off my list. If I do decide to visit I will make sure to book more time as 6 days is definitely too short for all the things the city has to offer.