Posted in Beauty and Wellness, Books, Change, Coffee lover, Goals, Inspiration, Just Random, Knowing oneself, Lagom, Lessons Learned, Life's lessons, Minimalism, note to self, Reading, Things to do, Womanhood

“me time” essentials

💁The ABCs of my “me time” essentials include:

Good:

  • Ambiance 🌿🌻
  • Book 📖
  • Coffee ☕

On this particular day, I managed to squeeze in some “me time.” I actually wanted to make it a regular part of my schedule, maybe once a month, one Saturday or one Sunday when I will spend it somewhere, just reading, chilling, writing my thoughts, drafting some blog posts, having coffee in a cozy place. On some days, I can also watch a movie after I’m done with my reading and writing. I should do it, I think it will be a good investment for one’s wellness to have some me time once in awhile. 😉

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Last Sunday, I brought this book with me, I’ve read it a few weeks ago, and I wanted to browse it again and be reminded of the beauty and versatility of wearing white shirts. I consider it to be a classic and classy wardrobe staple.
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I used to not like white shirts. I thought it didn’t look good on my complexion. But it has changed in the recent years, I now love white shirts. It’s either I’ve become less conscious of how things look on me or comfort has become a priority as I mature — must be both reasons. 😉

Photo from Pinterest

This is another change in me which I lovingly embrace, wearing a basic white tee with white or denim pants is my fave outfit now, and I am certain it will be that way for a really long time, or maybe until I get old and grey. 😛

#embracingchange #simplicityisbeauty

Posted in Family, Friendship, Gifts, Good gifts, Gratitude, Knowing oneself, Lessons Learned, Minimalism, note to self, Travel, Travel Highlights

Summer Special (Last Part)

When I travel, I usually pack my clothes on the day of departure because I didn’t want my clothes to crumple (too much). I think this is okay for short trips, but not for 2 or 3 week trip. I tried to do that for my 3-week Europe trip, and it was not good, it’s actually a bad move, I ended up bringing so much clothes which was a nightmare especially in Europe!! I lost weight (even after so much eating – too much pasta, pizza and gelato) from carrying my heavy large luggage while transferring from one city to another. We explored 6 cities in 4 countries within 3 weeks, I knew it was only by God’s grace that I was sustained with so much energy and strength, and I was definitely in good health, before, during and after the trip, thank and praise God for everything and for sending kind-hearted people who helped me carry my luggage when I needed it most! 🙂

So on the day of the trip, I packed the lightest clothes, mostly white tops, because Bangkok weather was ranging from 32-36 degrees that time. I actually dreaded the hot weather but I just tried to prepare for it, I brought a big good old fan, facial mist, wet ones, towels, sunscreen, my good old Starbucks tumbler (which I always fill up with water), and extra shirts. Below is the photo of all the things I packed for the trip. On the day of return to Manila, I only had 1 shorts, 1 skirt and 1 sleeveless top which I was not able to wear, so I was really happy for doing a good job in my packing this time. 🙂 By the way, I ended up not using the distressed jeans on the photo, I wore a lighter pair of jeans with floral stitches thrice during the whole trip! 😛

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Our 4th and last day was basically a travel/airport day, no more other agenda aside from checking out the nearby pool in our neighborhood which was less than a minute walk from our beautiful and big AirBnb, our happy home. We had hoped to atleast hang out by the pool and swim but we were so tired each night after a long day of travel so we didn’t have the time for some refreshing night swimming. Another thing that we ran out of time to do was to get some relaxing, must-needed Thai massage – definitely a must next time! 😉

So on our last morning in Bangkok, we tried to capture some more remembrance of our happy home and lovely neighborhood. 🙂

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group photo inside our lovely home on Day 1

I had managed to do an endorsement shoot in the morning for a newly discovered drink which became an instant favorite Thanks for the sister for being my photographer! 😛

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Before heading to the airport, we had our yummy breakfast at a “fancy” street food stall near our home 😛

DCIM100GOPROGOPR2570.JPGHere’s the authentic, freshest, yummiest chicken Thai soup I had for brekky, and it’s the cheapest too! 

Of course, I wouldn’t let this day pass without my milktea! I loaded up on milktea for 4 consecutive days!

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last milktea for this trip… until next time 🙂

Before going back to our happy home to get our things, we had one last stop at 7-eleven. I would have hoarded lots of drinks (especially the collagen one, soooo good!) if only I wasn’t afraid of them accidentally spilling on my things! Next time, I should have a separate, durable bag for drinks alone! I ended up bringing home only 3 pouches of the collagen drink which I finished all in one day… 😛

Now, we’re ready to go and spend a few hours at the airport before our flight to Manila. The flight of Nikky, my brother and my sister was 5 hours earlier than Tet’s and my flight. So Tet and I had some time to window-shop, chill at Starbucks and chat a lot! 🙂

By this time, you probably know that I collect Starbucks cards from the places I visit, and even from Philippines when I find the cards lovely and pretty. And my very thoughtful and generous friends give me Starbucks cards as pasalubong from their trips too. 🙂 I find that they are the lightest souvenir that I can take home from my trips and also I get to enjoy a cup or two because when you “buy” the card, the cost of the card is actually consumable. 🙂 The cards are free in some cities/countries too! Here are some recent additions to my collection, which are gifted by my sweet and supportive friends. 😉

So for this Bangkok trip, getting a Starbucks card was part of the agenda. There were lots of Starbucks in Bangkok but we didn’t manage to visit most of them due to lack of time. I checked out one Starbucks branch, I forgot where, but I didn’t like the available cards so I didn’t get any. I thought I would get another chance to check out other branches, which I did, there were 2 or 3 branches inside the airport, I was able to go to 2 of them.

Tet and I went to the first branch after we had lunch with Nikky, Carlo and Kris just before they checked in.

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Another thing I really enjoy is trying out new drinks and pastries in Starbucks. I know these are not available in the Philippines, so I ordered and loved the new cappuccino blend and the green tea and red bean mascarpone. I had to check my Merriam Webster app to check what mascarpone means. 😛

mas·car·po·ne

  (mäs′kär-pō′nĕ, -pōn′) 

n. fresh soft Italian cheese with a high butterfat content, made from light cream.

My sister requested me to buy her a set of Starbucks demitasse, her collection. Sorry, I didn’t have a photo of it, but it’s a set of 2 mini-mugs with Bangkok and Thailand inscription on each, a good souvenir too. The first branch had no Starbucks card. So while getting the demitasse for my sister, I got tempted to get a cutie mini-mug for myself. 

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I love the design and it’s very handy too. For souvenirs, I prefer something light and small. Btw, the demitasse is on the lower right corner of this photo, sorry, it’s blurred.

Maybe after more than an hour of chatting and chilling at Starbucks, Tet and I waited at the designated Terminal to check-in. After we got in, Tet and I walked a long mile to find the 2nd Starbucks only to find out that there were no cards too! 😩😭😫 So I tried to keep my cool hahaha and I was glad that I got a better remembrance from the 1st branch! 🙂 Thanks much Tet for supporting me in my crazy pursuit though all in vain! 😛 But seriously, thanks a lot for walking the long mile with me to find the Starbucks on the other end (of the world) from our boarding gate, and window-shopping with me! Really appreciate it. Kob kun kaa. 

Now that I am about to close this 4-part series of my Bangkok posts, I would really like to take this chance to thank these 4 amazing, beautiful, lovely, fun-loving, easy going, generous, thoughtful, godly bunch! If not for all of you, I wouldn’t have a very special summer trip this year. I thank and praise God for our wonderful, glorious, short but sweet summer vacation. I am truly blessed to have visited Thailand for the first time with my Christian family and friends – that’s another reason which made this trip truly special.  Where to next? 🙂

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“Every good and perfect gift is from Above…’ – James 1:17

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Posted in Family, Friendship, Gifts, Good gifts, Gratitude, Knowing oneself, Lessons Learned, Minimalism, note to self, Travel, Travel Highlights

Summer Special (Part 3)

P4280355Big. Enormous. Gigantic. Elaborate. Intricate. Beyond lavish.

These are just some descriptions I have for Grand Palace. It is very true to its name, grand is actually an understatement. I’ve traveled quite a bit and have seen quite a lot but it still blows my mind each time I see such elaborate, intricate, gigantic edifice of different forms, kinds, architecture and history. How in the world were they able to create those structures some hundred years ago (sans machines, technologies, electricity) with such accuracy, beauty, artistry and intricacy…

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On Day 3, we finally had the time to visit the Grand Palace. It’s a must see, never to be missed even on a hot day. But if ever I will go back with family or friends, I would prefer to go on a cooler weather. We were literally dripping with so much sweat because it was soooo hot, another underestimate. 😛 We were there between 9:00am – 10:30am. The whole place, though it was grandiose, it was still unimaginably and amazingly filled with tourists!!

I tried to take photos though I could hardly see through my camera lens because the sun was up and so bright even with my sunnies on.
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Of course, the 🌞 didn’t stop us from taking group photos and videos and having some good laughs and blogger poses in between. 😛😂

As soon as we got out of the Palace, we beat the heat by rewarding ourselves with some ice cream. 😍

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été is a French equivalent of ‘summer,’ it’s pronounced ‘ay-tay’

Since Day 3 was our last full day in Bangkok, it was also our last chance to do some shopping.

We requested our driver to bring us to Platinum Fashion Mall, where we first had lunch at the foodcourt, I had the yummiest Thai soup (forgot how it was called), but I was too hungry to even take a photo of it 😛 (sorry!) and then shopped. Since we had limited time, I bought first my friends’ requests and some souvenirs for family and friends.

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I got these keychains (and some cute elephant printed pouches) for pasalubong because I love that they are hand-made in Thailand (not in PRC). 😛

When my friends go to Thailand, I only have one request – Durian Chips. I would have hoarded these chips but they are expensive! The one in round container is almost P500 ($10)!!

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Aside from the Jim Thompson scarf, this lovely elphie wallet and a keychain were my remembrance from this wonderful trip. Really love these cuties. 🙂

When my friends learned that I would be going to Bangkok, they all had the same word for me – shopping in Bangkok is cheap. So I kept it in my mind and heart 😛 and managed to keep myself from buying anything from the time the flight was booked  until our trip to Bangkok – big milestone for someone who never failed to buy something new to wear for a trip (you know OOTD is life in IG). 😛 Each time I got tempted to buy a top, or a pair of pants, or bag, or even accessories, I would instinctively tell myself “that’s probably cheaper in Bangkok” and then I would walk away as fast as I could. 🤪

So the day of shopping finally came, but by this time, I’ve ran out of my pocket money, my ATM didn’t work, so I borrowed a few bucks from my brother & sister!! Lifesavers! 😛 So I depended on little cash and my creditcard but unfortunately, most shops don’t accept creditcard payment and some have 3% bank charge! But I still tried to go through each floor and looked for something to buy for momsy, my preggy sister and/or me. I managed to buy a dress and skorts (skirt/shorts) for momsy and nothing for me!! Amazing, such a breakthrough! 🤣😂😜

So I had some affirmations about myself through this experience:

✅ I’ve experienced this a few times – I would go home empty handed from mall wide sales.  It came to a point when mall wide sales don’t entice me anymore. I don’t and can’t force myself into buying something just because it’s on sale.

✅ No fitting policy won’t work for me. I want to try something on and see if it looks good on me before I consider buying it.

✅ Too many options, limited time and crowded malls have negative effect on my appetite to shop – which is actually friendly on my pocket. 😜

✅ I would rather spend my money on food than things – I love to bring home some local goodies for my family and friends for them to try and taste. So I bought some locally produced coffee, milk tea, noodles, and snacks from Big C, a big grocery store near Platinum Fashion Mall.

Thanks to Eia for introducing me to this coffee brand (Khao Shong), I love it! 🙂

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So that’s all folks for Day 3! We definitely had a grand and lovely time! On this day, my brother, sister and I wore our matching shirts! I got one for momsy, daddy and Matty too! 🙂
Posted in Family, Friendship, Good gifts, Gratitude, Lessons Learned, Minimalism, note to self, Travel, Travel Highlights

Summer Special… (Part 1)

I’ve been blessed with another short yet definitely sweet and super fun trip this April. It’s a blessing because my favorite sister Kris, I only have one :), and favorite brother-in-law Carlo gifted me with a flight ticket to Bangkok. 🙂 Thank you so much, you’re the best sister and brother to me! 😀 Thanks much too to Nikky for booking it for our group and taking good care of us all throughout, you’re the best! 🙂

This trip, my 12th country, Thailand, is very special in more ways than one. Aside from being our first time to travel together out of the country, it’s also my sister’s first out of the country trip and she’s 4 months pregnant with the very first grandchild of our growing little family. 🙂 It’s also the first time that we would get to travel with Kris’ and Carlo’s friends/churchmates, Nikky and Tet. 🙂

So many firsts! So many things to be thankful for! 🙂

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very grateful for these 4, we had so much fun together 🙂

This photo was taken in Bang Pa-In Palace (Summer Palace), our first stop on Day 1 – 18 April – Ayutthaya Day trip. The backdrop is called Phra Thinang (Royal Residence) Aisawan Thiphya-Art (The divine seat of personal freedom). Of all the places that we explored, the Summer Palace is actually my top favorite, we took lots of beautiful photos on this very beautiful place. I loved that this place has pavilions and gazebos laid out in a garden setting, Western style-buildings, there’s Victorian feel to it, everything is just so lovely. 

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Keng Boo-Pah Pra-Paht

After taking lots of photos and shortcutting our tour around the Summer Palace because it was getting too hot already, we were ready for my much awaited Thai milk-tea, and Thai lunch!! 😛

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All smiles – Thai milk tea is ♥

Here’s our Day 1 Thai lunch, all soooo yummmm!!

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first Thai lunch with our hospitable, generous kuya driver/tour guide 🙂

After lunch, we were ready for another treat – Ayutthaya Historical Park-hopping all afternoon. 🙂

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Thanks to my brother and sister for their GoPro, we’ve got lots of wide-angled photos and super funny videos. 🙂

Next stop, one of the highlights, was our up-close encounter with a biggie but uber cutie elephant 🙂

After our photo-op with cutie elphie, it’s time for my 2nd milk tea! 😛

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Too hot at 3pm!!!

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This was our last stop in Ayutthaya, we’re too exhausted to go inside, we took this photo from the fence 😛

That’s all for now for my first Thailand trip.

Posts on Day 2-4 will follow in the coming days, hopefully. 🙂

Good night, folks!

Hugs from warm Manila 🙂

Posted in God's victory, Inspiration, Knowing oneself, Lessons Learned, Love, Minimalism, Non-negotiable, note to self, Womanhood, Word of God

knowing oneself

Lately there are lots of templates on Instagram where you will answer questions about yourself, it’s like an online version of the good old slambook! 🙂

I first saw it from my dear friend Gillian’s IG stories so I downloaded some of the templates from TheSundayChapter IG and answered them. Sharing some here:

Having been able to answer these templates quickly and enjoyably made me happy and realized that I know myself much better now compared when I was much younger. I guess that’s just how life works, as you go through life, as you experience lots of things, both good and not-so-good, you get a better understanding of who you are, what you prefer and why you prefer this one thing over the other, why you do what you do and you are happy about it (no need to explain yourself to anyone), you know your negotiables and non-negotiables which is really liberating. You don’t depend your choices and decisions on someone else because you know what works well for you and what’s not, and you are very cool with it (talking about acceptance :)).  

Knowing oneself is a lifetime process, so we better enjoy and love as we discover new things about us day by day. As we age, we change our preferences, though there are things that we will hold dear until the end, we improve (hopefully), we learn to let go of things quite easily because we now know what matters most, and we know that it’s never about material things but about our God (our life with Him here and thereafter), our life’s purpose, and every single person we are blessed to have around us. These people help shape who we are, and vice versa, so let’s strive to have positive influences towards each other, let’s walk together towards goodness and righteousness, all for God’s glory. 

Discovering oneself will not be always a walk in the park, sometimes you will have doubts, sometimes you will be judged and you might get off track and feel sad about it but you have to be reminded who you really are, in Christ. Your worth is dependent in Christ alone, He knows who you really are and He loves you just the same, unconditionally for all eternity. 

So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them. – Genesis 1:27

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“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
Posted in Busan, Friendship, Gifts, Good gifts, Gratitude, Just Random, Lagom, Lessons Learned, Minimalism, South Korea, Starbucks, Travel

Short can be sweet…

so sweet 

Yes, a short vacation is always sweet when you are with your lovely family and/or friends. 🙂

It’s the first day of November (hello, beautiful November!) as of this writing, it’s a holiday so I had time to write and hopefully wrap up my posts about our Busan trip. 😉 Let me share with you a few more things which made this trip sweet’er’. 😉

IMG_2344Starbucks

On the first two days of our trip as well as the third and last day, I had the chance to go to Starbucks (SB) with my friends. If you’ve been reading my blog, you’ll remember that I shared in my post here that I collect SB cards, so it is a must that I visit SB whenever and wherever possible. Thanks to my supportive friends I get to do it with so much joy! 😀

During this trip, I was able to get 4 new SB cards from different SB branches around Busan and I super love them all, very pretty designs and very meaningful as well. 🙂

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This photo was taken on the last day, 16 October. I ordered something new, Gongju BoniBam Latte, yum! On day 2, I also tried Jeju organic green tea. So I’m really happy to try new SB drinks, such a sweet treat!

I also have a small collection of SB demitasses. So it was so tempting to buy this pretty set (photo below) but I restrained myself… Having set a working budget is really a good idea. It actually kept me from buying everything that I liked. Good job, Ryah! ;PIMG_2144

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I not only tried new hot drinks but also excitedly tried some of these SB healthy drinks. I should have discovered this early on, I would likely try all variants, if I remember it right, there were almost 10 different variants. I bought these 3 on the 3rd day and had to drink within a couple of hours because I couldn’t hand-carry it and also didn’t risk checking them in. I tried the kale & apple drink first while at SB, while the last 2, I finished them just before I placed my hand-carry bag on the conveyor at the airport! hahaha They’re all so yummy! I should have hoarded!! Next time, I should remember to not only look for SB cards, but to try new drinks from Day 1 of the trip.

Lagom

Remember the Swedish word and proverb I shared with you a couple of weeks back on this post?

Lagom which literally means not too little, not too much.

On day 1, I saw these products, it caught my attention because of the brand name (and the minimalist packaging, very true to its name)! 😉 And I just couldn’t resist, I had to purchase a small cleanser tube and small toner bottle so I could try them, I got some freebies too. 🙂

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I love these products, I’ll try to get a bigger size when I return next year, Godwilling. 🙂 This is such a sweet discovery. 😉

Me time

Gill’s fly out from Busan was earlier compared to my flight and Eia’s. So Gill left for the airport at around 12nn if I remembered it right. Eia and I had initially planned to watch one more movie in the afternoon of Day 3 but Eia had to work on some urgent matters, good thing we decided not to purchase another movie ticket the day we bought the first movie ticket. Eia and I went to Starbucks at around 1:30pm, it’s walking distance to the airport bus stop and also to Haeundae Beach. At 3pm, I left Eia alone at SB so she could focus on her work and I could explore the area a bit more. I really wanted to spend some time at the beach so I crossed and went to the beach area. Oh, how I love the beach, the cool breeze, the sound of the waves, I love everything about those little sweet moments to be one with nature. 

Photos with the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympics’ mascot. 🙂

Victorious or not-so?

Remember the travel challenge I took upon myself for this trip? Well, the challenges are to stay within the budget (a total of Php30,000 or around USD580)  and to travel light.

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This was taken a week before the trip when I haven’t packed my clothes because I didn’t want them to crumple or wrinkle too much. On the day of the trip, I decided to leave that small leather bag on the lower right corner, and opted to use just one day bag all throughout the trip, a roomier bag, my red Girbaud bag, which can accommodate my passport, wallet, cellphone, pen,  umbrella, parka, ecobag, a small bottle of water, tissue pack, comb, mirror, lippies, hand sanitizer and a few more knickknacks. ;p
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Here’s on the day of the trip, I only used my small luggage and just my red bag.

On the day of our return to Manila, I only had to use one additional foldable overnight bag, so in terms of travelling light – I am victorious, yey!!! 😀

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For the other challenge, the target was to only spend a total of Php30,000. After doing my accounting, I spent a total of Php35,198.90. I exceeded Php5k plus, but Php5,483.25 was spent on pasalubong (small treats for family and friends). The excess was a sweet one because it’s for my loved ones. 😉 So I think, I am also victorious on this challenge, you agree, right? 😉

Sweet memories

In this short trip, more sweet memories were created amongst the three of us. Gillian and Eia are my friends for more than a decade already, our friendship is becoming sweeter and sweeter as time goes by. I love these ladies so much, truly grateful for them. I hope and pray to create more happy memories with them, here and just anywhere around the globe. 🙂

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Where to next, lovelies? 🙂 🙂 🙂
Posted in Lessons Learned, Minimalism, Travel

Inventory is the Key

Traveling usually gives a person the license to shop, it just happens that way. As a continuation to my previous post, I thought of doing a quick inventory of the things which I have right now, the things which I think I might get tempted to buy in Korea. I know I need to do this because I can easily get tempted to buy something I don’t need, just because (i) they are cheaper, (ii) they have the cutest packaging (!!) and (iii) Korea is known to produce great skincare products, just like Japan.

IMG_0706I went to Seoul once, so I know there are lots of good skincare products there, which at my age, I should be investing now. So I am resolved to only buy a serum, a sunblock, a lipgloss, and probably a BB/CC cream. For other makeup products, I think I have more than enough lipsticks/balms/tints, I have a powdered and a tinted blush on, I have a bronzer from Paris and another one (bare minerals) from Gillian, one of her pasalubong for me from her US trip last year. I’m actually not a make-up person so it takes a long time for me to finish a product. As for toiletries such as facial wash, shampoo, conditioner, body wash and scrub, body lotion, hand cream and sanitizer, I still have enough, including perfume. 😉 So I really don’t have much of an excuse to shop. 😛

In my recollection, Korea has all the cutest stuff (AS IN), which I went gaga over the last time I went there and I have to admit, I bought things which I didn’t need. But now, some 6 years later, I hope I am more disciplined and more of a saver than a spender. 🙂

Just for good ol’ memories’ sake, I’m sharing some photos from that trip and the things which were too tempting for me. 🙂

These two bags below, I really loved them, thank goodness, they’re too pricey, I couldn’t afford them, so I kept them in my memory through these photos!! 😛

Okay, bye for now, I will update you on my return. 🙂

Remember, inventory is the key. 🙂

And probably just taking photos of what you like will do the trick. 🙂