Another month has gone by so fast! I won’t lie, I am thrilled to say good-bye to winter, it is my least favorite time of the year. I cannot wait for spring to come in full force (even though it will be still a few weeks till the temperature starts to properly rise), as everything seems to come back to life – crisp air, abundance of warm (but not too hot!) sun, chirping of the birds and those verdant green leaves paired with blossoms. Funny, I always feel like I come out of hibernation and, once liberated from the
winter layers, I feel more motivated to dress up and accessorize. Can anyone resonate? I currently have my eyes glued to these vibrant flats from J. Crew and am impatiently waiting for the pay day! Perfect for spring, don’t you think?
Another good news: my article on Japanese flower festivals was featured on the front page of the Stars and Stripes, while two of my other articles – Hong Kong Highlights and Honeymoon Adventure and Romance in Maui – were published in Stripes Destination Paradise magazine! My grandmother asked me to send her the copies so that she can boast among her girlfriends. I found that the cutest part of it all.
This year I’m also committed to up my blog’s branding game, and I started with ordering business cards. There were so many beautiful design and options on Moo that I had hard time picking the favorite. That’s why I ordered two different designs – square and classic rectangular – to see them up close. My primary goal is to feature my photography and hopefully make people want to keep my business cards not just as a contact information, but as a post card as well. I think square has won my heart over, but I still want to tweak a couple of things in the overall design. Can’t wait to share the final product with you all.
We spent the Chinese New Year celebrating in one of the Izakaya in Yokohama. Sake tasting was a fascinating experience in more ways than one. I got an insight into the local drinking culture. As well-behaved and composed as they seem, Japanese turn into party animals after a few drinks. It was definitely a fun-filled night.
I continued exploring Tokyo’s brunch scene with a V-day date at the Ritz Carlton. It was everything I hoped for, good choice of starters, delicious main courses and an impressive dessert buffet.
Of course, the month couldn’t go by without cherry blossom viewing. We headed to Matsuda, which offers stunning views of early blooming cherry trees with Mt. Fuji in the background. For those planning a trip to Japan this spring, I compiled a list of all the major flower festivals not to be missed. Have a look!
We also spent a beautiful day perusing Jiyugaoka, discovering serene nooks hidden in the backyards, and having one of the most memorable traditional Japanese dining experiences (including eating puffer fish!) I’ve had here. All the details coming very soon to the blog.
I also shared my words of wisdom about prepping for a long-haul flight and gave you a sneak peek into my carry-on. Thank you to all who commented, I will definitely be getting eye mask and the noise cancelling headphones onto my list!
Speaking of eye masks, remember I promised to peruse more of Japanese cosmetics shops and share my finds with you? So, I have been testing two products – face mask and eye mask – I picked couple of months ago and I absolutely love them. The face mask in particular is a true gem. It has an amazing moisturizing effect. It is soaked with a lotion/cream and has a very subtle pleasant fragrance. I apply it onto the face for 15 mins, then remove it and gently dab off the excess lotion off my skin with a cotton pad, and voila, my skin feels baby soft and super moisturized. I don’t even need to apply a night cream after it and in the mornings my skin feels soft and looks dewy. You can probably get it in any cosmetics store around Tokyo, and the best part? It costs $4!
The second product is an eye mask (also available everywhere). Mine came with a lavender scent, a tad strong, but boy it makes you relaxed. Once you put it on it has this soothing effect and somehow heats up just a tad sending you into a blissful relaxation mode. Perfect for the nights when I feel overworked and need some help to turn off my brain and calm me down. Although, according to the packaging you can use it even during traveling.
Next time I plan to raid the 100 yen store, which is nothing like US dollar stores. The items on sale are actually of a pretty good quality and you can find so many interesting things! In general, I’m all about useful souvenirs and there is quite a few things you can buy to take back home to your family and friends.
Calling this a read is a big exaggeration, but I’ve been searching for some interior design inspirations the other day and stumbled upon this story – an architect remodeled a former cement factory into a private house. It looks absolutely amazing, and shows that talented and creative people can create stunning things out of thin air.
I was also irrevocably inspired by Jamie’s series of posts about her travels to Iceland. Not just the beauty of country, but also the places she stayed took my breath away and made me want to travel there as soon as possible.
Last but not least, in the spirit of yesterday’s #pancakeday, I want to share my favorite pancake recipe which I have been religiously using for years now. Many of you probably know The Pioneer Woman. There is nothing healthy about her recipes, but everything is hearty, homey and incredibly delicious. Her pancake recipe based on sour cream have never failed me and have impressed many of my guests. So give it a try this weekend and let me know what you think. :)