The Flower Gem of Singapore– A Better Florist

I had the pleasure of reviewing A Better Florist- Singapore’s most innovative florist. I like to get my facts straight, so I dove in deep into research mode.

I started by visiting their social media and website. Right off the bat, I could see why so many people refer to it as best florist in Singapore. There it was; a heaven of flowers. Picture after picture of gorgeous, fresh and vibrant blooms, just staring at me, begging me to order them.

I was delighted with what I saw. Their designs are unusual and authentic, and it really shows that their florists know what they’re doing. I enjoyed scrolling through their selection on the website. It was short and sweet. Each arrangement and bundle had a cute name, a short description and the price listed right beside it. It’s very convenient and easy to make a choice, especially if you’re looking for something special for Valentine’s Day flower delivery in Singapore.

This flower shop started out as a typical flower stand Singapore is used to seeing, and it developed into a great flower business, that really stands out. All of their flowers seem so fresh, and there’s a reason behind it. They grow their blooms on a farm on Cameron Highlands, and once they are ready, they are delivered straight to their flower shops. This makes them fresh and long lasting. If you ask me, when you pay for flowers, you want to have them around for as long as possible.

By that time, I was convinced that it was the best florist in Singapore. And then, I read about the best flower delivery in Singapore. A Better Florist took it yet another step further, and made their delivery super-fast. You can order right now, and they will deliver it on the same day, within only 90 minutes! That’s a truly outstanding service and I applaud them for their idea of being the only 24 hour florist in Singapore. That’s something Singapore never experienced before, not when it comes to flower shops.

There’s no doubt a cheap bouquet Singapore florist can craft is something that we’re used to, but A Better Florist has the ideal balance between crafting luxurious blooms and still keeping the prices affordable.

Naturally, I wanted to find out more. I wanted to see what others had to say about them, and whether they are as popular as they seem to be. I was later surprised to find out that they are also well known beyond Singapore. They are considered the best florist in Hong Kong and the best florist in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, by several reputable sources.

This information came in handy, because I love to travel. And, if I can depend on the best flower delivery in Hong Kong like I do in Singapore, why not? If you’re looking for a Dubai flower delivery and Hong Kong flower delivery, make sure to track down A Better Florist.

I would be glad to see their flower chain expand to the entire world, since they really did surprise me, and I highly recommend it to all. Not just travellers, but all the people who get the chance to experience all that A Better Florist team has to offer.

xoxo,

Viktoria Jean

[ASUS] Z3NVOLUTION – Launch of the Zen 3 Series in Singapore

ASUS has unveiled the long-awaited Zen 3 series in Singapore at the “Zenvolution” launch on Thursday, 13 October. The series consist of the ZenFone 3, ZenBook 3, ZenWatch 3 and Transformer 3, to be made available at their respective official launch dates in the weeks to come.

ASUS Zenvolution Zen 3 Singapore

I was delighted to be able to tinkle with these new products, and honoured to learn from the informative, introductory talks by the ASUS product professionals.

ASUS Zenvolution Zen 3 Singapore

ASUS ZenBook 3 - ASUS Zenvolution Launch in Singapore

ASUS ZenBook 3 – ASUS Zenvolution Launch in Singapore

The rose-gold ASUS ZenBook 3, a 12.5-inch ultralight-weight beauty with a 1920×1080 FHD display, caught my eye and possibly my heart. Packed with the latest 7th generation Intel Core i7-7500U processor (2.7GHz, 4MB cache), up to 16GB of 2,133MHz RAM, and up to a 1TB PCIe SSD, the ZenBook 3 will also be available in two other colours – quartz grey and royal blue (also a sleek-looking beast).

I must admit that the ZenBook 3 looks interestingly similar to MacBook Air (especially in rose-gold!), although the former, weighing only 2lbs, will possibly appeal to the ladies whose desire for ever lighter laptops will never be satisfied. I’ve lived with the mobility-hindering weight of the MacBook pro for the past 4, coming to 5 years. When I’m ready to send my Mac to the graveyard, I guess I’ll be torn between the MacBook Air and the line-up of lightweights available and/or set to launch in 2017.

The ASUS Transformer 3 Pro (on the right in the picture above), is a gorgeously sleek two-in-one tablet that conveniently transforms into a laptop. Weighing just under 800g, and just 8.35mm thin, it is made with an incredibly tough material, adorned with fine diamond-cut highlighting on the lid. The exterior is effectively protected from everyday scuffs and scratches.

What’s even better, the gadget is available in Icicle Gold and Titanium Gray – on top of which you get the option of four trendy colors for the ASUS Transformer Cover Keyboard to mix and match so you’ll never get bored.

ASUS Zenvolution Zen 3 Singapore - ZENPAD PRO 3 8.0

This you can take everywhere: the Transformer 3 Pro – laid out in its tablet form. Several exclusive ASUS technologies, designed to enhance your viewing experience, are packed into this powerhouse: the Eye-Care mode reduces the amount of harmful blue light emitted from the screen by up to 30%; the ASUS Tru2Life Video uses intelligent software algorithms to optimize the sharpness and contrast of every pixel in every video frame so that videos look clearer, more detailed and more realistic; and the ASUS TruVivid does away with some light-sapping glass layers to improve clarity and reduce reflections by up to 67%.

Not to be outdone by the ZenBook 3, the Transformer 3 Pro is equipped with the 6th-generation Intel® Core™ i7 processor, 16GB of fast LPDDR3 RAM and up to 1TB PCIe®x4 SSD. Its Thunderbolt™ 3 interface offers unbelievably fast 40Gbps data transfers via the USB-C port – the any-way-up USB-C connector also supports USB 3.1 Gen 2 devices at speeds up to 10Gbps, 20 times faster than USB 2.0.

All of these I managed to get some first-hand experience of!

ASUS Zenvolution Zen 3 Singapore

ASUS Zenvolution Zen 3 Singapore

Of course, there’s also the ZenWatch, Zenfone 3 and ZenPad 3 – details of which can be found at ASUS SG’s main site.

One of the highlights at the ASUS launch exhibition was thewalk-in life-sized prism, representative of the dual-prism periscope arrangement in the ZenFone Zoom, the world’s thinnest optical-zoom smartphone. ZenFone Zoom is built with meticulously configured glass, synthetic and prismatic lenses to maximize incoming light and capture the best possible photo quality.

Zenvolution Prism - ASUS Zenvolution Zen 3 Singapore

ASUS Zenvolution Zen 3 Singapore

ASUS Zenvolution Zen 3 Singapore

While the ASUS representatives introduced the various products, I couldn’t help noticing that the screen was specially manufactured by and labelled “ASUS”.

ASUS Zenvolution Zen 3 Singapore

ASUS Zenvolution Zen 3 Singapore

Presenting the latest ASUS products.

ASUS Zenvolution Zen 3 Singapore

Overall, I had an eye-opening, hands-on session, and got to witness some of the newest power ASUS technologies before they’re available in Singapore. Thank you ASUS SG for the invite, and the sleek ASUS media kit for keeps.

ASUS Zenvolution Zen 3 Singapore - Media Kit

ASUS Zenvolution Zen 3 Singapore -- Media Kit

ASUS Zenvolution Zen 3 Singapore - Media Kit

ASUS Zenvolution Zen 3 Singapore - Media Kit

Zenvolution has begun.

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

WORKOUT MONDAY!

It’s WORKOUT MONDAY. The journey continues from Days 1 to 4 (last week), working towards less sedation and more working it~

Day 5: Zumba @ Bolly Dancing

▷ Bolly’s power-packed instructor could rival the extremely bouncy & hyper Zumba teachers whose classes I attended in Melbourne/Sydney!! Despite the small studio size and an average student age in the 50s, the combined energy I felt from the teacher and students was explosive. The 12pm class was packed fyi since I arrived late I had to stand at the sides. All in all, this makes me miss Zumba classes in Aussie!

Where: 261 Waterloo Street, 01-12 Waterloo Centre

Fitness Singapore girls

Day 6: Pole Class @ Ecole de Pole

▷ Crashed the last class of a Beginner-Pole course and had soooo much fun! Couple of bruises didn’t really matter. Had the 6 week routine thrown at me on my first class with Ecole de Pole, and sadly I failed to execute the routine properly. Definitely going for more pole classes and aiming to gain upper arm strength to tackle those spins!

Day 6: Bollywood Fitness @ Physical Abuse

▷ Instructor Sandeep is amazing. I think I might love Bollywood dance as much as hip hop, since essentially the moves engages your core the way it is required in most hip hop techniques. The song choice was fun, and the moves were apt. All of his students are regulars and I know why! Again, I crashed a regular class who had learnt a large part of the choreography. Loved this place! The showers and lockers are so clean and neat.

Fitness Dance Anahata Yoga

 

Day 7: Yin Yang 75 @ Anahata Yoga

▷Yogi James led us into extremely deep stretches and paced breathing which I felt was exactly what I needed at 10am on a rainy Monday morning. I love that he aims to push himself and his students to the limit, which really inspired me to keep going each time I felt like my arms/legs were giving way. Situated in a really lovely shophouse in a backalley at Arab St, this is one hideout you would definitely miss unless you’re looking for it. Its enigma is a major bonus. Also a plus point: hot showers, clean toilet and decent lockers.

 

Loving this routine so far.

xoxo,

Viktoria Jean

WORKOUT WEDNESDAY! WITH GUAVAPASS

Guava Pass Workout Singapore

GUAVAPASS has been nothing short of amazing.

4 days in, I’ve been to 4 completely different workout sessions and have planned my schedule around a few more fitness classes – most of which are located real close to CBD and town. Work’s been keeping me too busy to workout as much, but with GuavaPass I’ve been extra motivated to get movin’. Psst…Ping me for a referral 😉

So… here’s a breakdown of my classes:

Guava Pass Singapore Fitness

Guava Pass Singapore Fitness Classes

Day 1: Power Yoga @ Space and Light Studios,
▷ Instructor Yen was incredibly patient, personable yet assertive in pushing us to our limits. She walked around a lot to make sure we were getting it right and not hurting ourselves. At the end of the session we spread-eagled on the floor, were handed some essential oils to soothe our senses and calm our minds. Felt amazing after class. Would go back for more Power Yoga sessions!

Where: @ R-evolution
1 Harbourfront Walk
#03-09 Vivocity
Singapore 098585

Day 2: Intro to Twerk @ Pole Dance Academy
▷ Instructor Salmah has insane twerk skills. I will never see butt-isolation in the same way again. Basically woke up the next day with an intense butt-ache, but so worth the pain. Started with warmups, leg conditioning and pelvic isolations. The song we danced to during the twerk-reography was Beyonce’s Yonce. Loads of floor-work so long-pants are a good idea. Also, tonnes of hair flips and floor-humping. Loved it.

Where: 5A/6A Craig Road, Singapore 089665

Day 3: Ganban-Yoku @ Anti-Oxidant Wellness
▷ Basically I fell asleep on the anti-oxidant beds and woke up 45mins later in full-body sweat. The sauna conditions at >40 degrees wasn’t uncomfortable at all. Armed with a towel, bottled anti-oxidant water, and a set of yukata to relax in, I had a really good power nap, being all alone in a sauna room with 6 beds and dimmed lights. Supposedly, the beds are fitted with special ceramic tiles consisting Far Infrared Rays (FIR) and Negative Ions to help our bodies perspire and detoxify. Interestingly it’s unlike a usual workout where your sweat would be sticky or stinky! After cooling down, I was given 2 enzyme shots to power up my system again. Amazing experience.

Where: No.1 Thomson Ridge S(574633)

Day 4: Adult Yoga @ Wings To Wings
▷ Found myself being the only student at a 1pm Wednesday hatha yoga class, so naturally the teacher went slow. Requested to learn the crow pose and kept it for the longest time I’ve ever done. But class ended in 45 minutes? I guess she didn’t have much of a mood to sustain the class for the whole hour when I was the only one. Upside: the yoga instructor (didn’t catch her name) has a nice soothing voice well-suited for a yogi.

Where: 10 North Canal Road, Singapore (048823)

 

Indeed nothing beats a sweaty guava workout. I’m excited to embark on a new fitness journey.

Anyone out there a KFit/GuavaPass user?

I’ve actually been keen to test out K-Fit and GuavaPass for the longest time. Perhaps after this month I’ll switch to KFit and see which suits my schedule best.

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[CAMRATE] Love It or Hate It, Just Rate It

So it’s no secret that I’m an Instagram-addict. I’m always quick to share my likes to various social media feeds, which in turn dilutes the messages a bit but that’s a story for another day.

In fact most of us are to a certain extent a little obsessed with virtual likes, ranking and statuses. So before, I used to troll Twitter daily for updates from friends, travel inspirations and global news, favouriting tweets that I’ve never once re-read simply because it gets too tedious to search for worded opinions.  In many ways now we’re already bypassing the written word and simply recording our daily lives in pictures (Instagram, Snapchat).

Taking that a step further is this cool, fun and easy-to-use new mobile app I’ve recently discovered: CamRate – allowing users to rate any person, object or place, and share them easily amongst friends. Unlike the simple “like” or nothing function, CamRate permits scoring on a simple 5 star rating scale.

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Think about it: 5 Stars for Channing Tatum’s abs, and maybe 4 for Ryan Gosling’s, versus a simple Instagram “LIKE” for both.

Mindblowing isn’t it? A simple scorechart adds whole new dimensions to the perspectives people can potentially acquire from the users, especially when parred with competing images.

Like a holiday destination? Rate it a 5. Someone else may rate it a 2. And the average gets pinged out. Instead of accumulative likes, you get the accumulative average of everyone’s opinions!

With this brilliant spectrum, the possibilities are endless especially in e-commerce where buyers can filter for the highest rated products (screw them long product reviews) and get instant reviews of what kind of products are best in each categories, without filtering through tonnes and tonnes of wordy reviews. I love the user interface in this app, especially through endless scrolling and tonnes of images, filtered by categories.

 

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There’s little to hate about CamRate, except that the quality of its photos could be better, though this could be out of the app creators’ control if CamRaters are sharing low-res images. Even then there’s already a database of photographs and the rates are growing day by day!

For the data nerdists, you’ll be delighted to know that CamRaters can share opinions on anything, and thereafter in depth statistics for posts are available to see what different demographics thought of your post.

The abundance of untapped potential to CamRate keeps me hanging around, waiting for the day the app gets massively picked up for being pretty darn cool. Try it yourself! I’ve already shared my geeky views.

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Plus the brand’s icon is crazy cool.

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[ETSY] MILKCART – DESIGNER FURNITURE

Our Etsy journey continues with husband-and-wife duo from The MILKCART, a Sydney-based designer woodwork store. Inspired by simplicity of Danish furniture and light filled interiors of Australian homes, the duo’s great eye for detail has produced gorgeous, inspiring hand-crafted woodwork. Today we get up-close and personal with the creatives behind The MILKCART store.

⚓️MILKCART

Who: Ryan & Marnie McKnight

What:  Handcrafted, upcycled furniture

🏠: ETSY! | The Milkcart | @milkcart | Facebook

We ❤: The Dolly Collection, Skinny Betty…

Perks: Free delivery Australia-wide; SAVE $50 by picking up from their workshop in KIRRAWEE. Enter the discount code ‘Workshop’ at the Checkout.

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Trinity Console
Clean lines and precise woodwork at a fabulously affordable price – there’s so much to love about MILKCART. The store refreshes its collection every now and then to keep things interesting for returning customers.

MILKCART’s vision is to breathe new life into old ideas, creating original furniture with a vintage industrial feel. Each item is practical, beautiful and unique, complementing any decor or style. We know there is a place in your home for one of them!

5 QUESTIONS WITH MARNIE @ MILKCART

VJ: Why ETSY?
Etsy was the first platform we used to sell our furniture. Not only was it easy to use, it was also inspiring, innovative and really supportive of us as we developed our brand. There are great community groups within Etsy which helped answer our newbie questions and advise us on selling techniques. The local team also included us in an Etsy Pop Up event, which took us out from behind the computer and face to face with our customers, which was a scary, but ultimately rewarding and we haven’t looked back since.

VJ: How did you come up this idea for a business. Is this an interest/hobby?
After moving house, we found that there was very little designer furniture within our budget, and more specifically, nothing to fit those narrow spaces and awkward corners of your home. We made a couple of pieces for our home, and then decided that if we liked them, others might too. What began as a hobby in the back shed is now a full time job for both of us, with a large workshop and plenty of helpers!

VJ: What are some of the biggest challenges in setting up a business on Etsy
The hardest part, I believe, is making your product stand out. I think that photography is key in an online environment, and I am constantly trying to improve my pictures to represent our products and brand. Luckily, everyone has smart phones now, and that is really all that you need – a phone and some practise! Also, finding out who your target audience is, really helps so you can aim your key words towards that demographic.

VJ: How did you overcome these challenges.
With the photos, I just keep trying! I would love to take a quick photography course, but honestly don’t have the time! I am happy with the overall feel of the pictures, and will update them as I get better. The keywords are also an ongoing project for me – trial and error as we work out who is drawn to what, and why. There is more research and computer work involved than I thought, but I am amazed at how much I have learnt and how much support there is online to help you when you are stuck.

VJ: We like to know more about the person behind The MILKCART! Tell us more about yourself 🙂
Milkcart is made up of myself (Marnie) and my husband Ryan. We work together in every project, both online and in the workshop and studio – every single items passes through these four hands. Outside of work, we also have to live with each other, so luckily we get on pretty well! We have three kids, a house in the suburbs with a white picket fence, and crazy ambitious dreams – most of which are already coming true! We are huge believers in visualising your product or brand, or any single thing in your life, and working towards that with a positive outlook. That way, anything is possible!

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Scarecrow Lamp

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Black Betty

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Concrete Puddles

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Skinny Betty

Our pieces are fully designed and handcrafted by us in our Sydney workshop – each passing through our four hands – a real human touch, separating us from the mass produced items flooding the market. We really wanted to incorporate pieces with simplicity and practicality, and inspired by a quote from a Brooklyn furniture design company, ‘Perfect Imperfection’ has become our motto.

For more of their gorgeous work, check out the links above, or their main store at

MILKCART
4/29-33 Waratah St,
Kirrawee NSW 2232, Australia

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[ETSY] POPOV LEATHER, BRITISH COLUMBIA

Lately I’ve been obsessed with all things leather. Black jackets over lace dresses, a denim top and synthetic leather jeans –  a whole new world of possibilities are out there with made-to-last durables. As travellers we all need a trusty, durable wallet that is able to withstand the harsh elements we may encounter. A solid leather piece can provide excellent protection for cash and documents. Whilst it may prove difficult to source for leathers of high quality, fine texture and minimal odours, it’s good to keep in mind that as a rule of thumb, quality leather goes through much longer and complex processes than low-grade ones. Look no further for premium leather:

⚓️POPOV LEATHER

Who: Ryan Popoff

What: Handmade leather wallets crafted in British Columbia, Canada.

🏠: ETSY! | Popov Leather | Instagram @popovleather | Facebook

We ❤: Popov’s Field Notes Covers and customised leather wallets in gorgeous colours!

Your Perks: Enjoy 20% off entire order when you quote “VIKTORIA” at checkout!

Shipping: International; free shipping for orders >$75 to USA and Canada

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“Our personalized leather wallets are guaranteed for life and backed by a satisfaction guarantee. Nothing leaves our studio unless we know you’ll love it.”

Based in British Columbia, Canada, Popov Leather is a small leather fabrication studio dedicated to 100% hand-made goods, inspired by contemporary aesthetics and functional, minimalist design. Popov’s leathers are sourced from Horween (USA) whose timeless vegetable-tanning process, a technique which hasn’t been updated in a hundred years, has been exclusively supplying leather for NFL footballs.  All of Popov’s products are sewn by hand with imported Tiger thread, and nothing leaves their studio unless the owners know you’ll love it. True enough (as our conversation below reveals, on top of positive online reviews), the company’s reputation and customer rapport is enhanced through a conscientious system of brand credibility  – they all love shopping with Popov Leather.

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5 QUESTIONS WITH RYAN POPOFF @ POPOV LEATHER

VJ: Why ETSY?

When I first started leatherwork as a hobby, I used Etsy to validate my work. Etsy is great because they focus on bringing customers to their site while the sellers can focus on their crafts. I focused on my work, learning as much as I could about the trade and each sale pushed me further and further. It took a long time to get to where we are today. I quit my day job in November and I’m currently building a new home and workshop to support the business. Without the support I had from Etsy in the early days of learning leatherwork, I don’t think I could have ever gotten to where I am now today.

VJ: How did you come up this idea for a business. Is this an interest/hobby?

I worked as a night auditor at my university for two years, in the nights on my days off I would stay up very late (to not ruin my sleep pattern) and leatherwork was a hobby I could do in my home. I spent many late nights, on my days off, trying to hone my skills and develop patterns for wallets, etc. At work I could watch YouTube videos and read leatherworking forums during my breaks, so it worked out nicely.

I wanted something I could do with my hands; most of my life has been spent in front of a computer or in an office-setting. I really hated it. You get no satisfaction from spreadsheets – making a wallet, mailing it and getting a kind review from a customer is so fulfilling. I run this business 12-14 hours every day and I never feel like I’m really working.

VJ: What are some of the biggest challenges in setting up a business on Etsy

I think the hardest part is realizing what’s important. A lot of people will tell you that having 100s of products on Etsy will get you sales; this isn’t true. Up until this year we had about 12 items for sale and did just fine. You have to figure out how to grab a shopper’s attention in a sea of other makers’ products.

VJ: How did you overcome these challenges.

To get recognized on Etsy, the two biggest factors are: relevance and photography. Understand how Etsy’s relevance system works by researching titles, tags, and SEO. There are a lot of great articles in the Etsy forums as well as on their blog and in the Etsy seller’s handbook. After you figure that out, work on your photos every single day. What makes a good photo stand out? What do your competitors do? In our case, we saw that a lot of sellers used a plain white background to showcase their products, so we did the opposite and used a burlap textured background. We stood out and I think that helped a lot.

After that, customer service is a huge. I try to answer all my emails within minutes of getting them. Customers love that. We really try to go out of our way to make sure everyone is happy with their product. We offer satisfaction as well as lifetime guarantees on all our products. Handmade products really allow you to quality control your goods, so we’re confident that we can stand by these guarantees.

Finally, hard work and having a tough skin. Jill and I are at this pretty much all our waking hours. You have to be prepared for long hours as well as handling tough feedback from customers. There are times where you can’t please everyone, don’t take it personally. Learn from that experience so you can equip your business to handle or prevent that same situation in the future.

VJ: We’ll like to know more about the person behind Popov Leather! Tell us more about yourself 🙂

I graduated in 2012 with a BFA in Fine Arts from the University of Victoria – shortly after that I worked at the University and discovered this hobby that turned into my business. I recently moved to Nelson, British Columbia with my partner Jill to build a home and workshop. I hope to learn how to Kayak soon!

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Watch other Popov Leather reviews on YouTube:

Feeling as inspired as I am from all these entrepreneurial stories? Stay tuned for more Etsy features and discount codes from notable Etsy stores.

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[ETSY] GRAPHICS FEATURE: HOPSKIPJUMPPAPER

Customised wall art concepts has become all the rage in contemporary Asian homes following a rise in hipster worshippers. Whereas this trend has been around in the West for quite some time, the idea has only recently been adopted in modern Asian interior design. Popularised by Etsy’s legion of talented graphic designers, it’s now really easy to purchase typography prints online and have them delivered to your home. True enough, for apartment-owners looking to individualise their homes, possibilities are endless with typography and prints. Running short on gift/decor ideas? We’ve got one right here:

Today we get up close and personal with an admirable stay-at-home mom turned small business owner. Read on for her Etsy business journey.

⚓️HopSkipJumpPaper

Who: Jeanne DeFauw (Graphics Designer)

What:  Typography and Wall Art Decor

🏠: ETSY! | HopSkipJumpPaper | @hopskipjumppaper | Facebook

We ❤: Her signature “I love you …” series

Your Perks: Enjoy 20% off entire order when you quote “TRAVEL” at checkout!

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(I could use one of these as a cheer-me-up as I down my daily cuppa!)

What you’ll find: Nursery art, alphabet prints, digital illustrations, zen and humorous art. You name it.

Well, perhaps it’s just me, but there’s something comforting in waking up to an inspiring quote, or a saying that strikes you particularly hard. There’s solace in reading a big strong reminder of how your life can or should be. And I found some graphics I really loved on HSJP.

Travel art is perfect for your loved ones living far away or to commemorate an anniversary or special vacation. Coffee prints are perfect gifts for that caffeine-addicted friend. Why not say “I LOVE YOU” with a customised greeting card? Whatever the occasion, you’re sure to find something special! HSJP offers modern typography wall art prints, posters and greeting cards for travel, sports, children’s rooms, weddings, and home decor.

As if her work isn’t evident enough, HSJP’s designs have also been featured and positively validated on Apartment Therapy, BabyTalk, Babble, BuzzFeed, DailyCandy, and SmarterTravel.

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5 QUESTIONS WITH JEANNE @ HOPSKIPJUMPPAPER

VJ: Why ETSY?

My name is Jeanne. I’m a work-at-home-mom of two very active little boy. I’m also a graphic designer with over 10 years of experience in marketing and advertising. After I had my first son, I left my corporate job and started to look for a creative outlet. I stumbled onto Etsy and have since had three shops. I closed the first one because it focused on custom graphics and I found I didn’t have enough time for custom work.

VJ: How did you come up this idea for a business. Is this an interest/hobby?

The second shop, HopSkipJumpPaper, began with mainly nursery art since that’s where my life was focused was at that time. My husband and I traveled extensively before having children. I would often ask him: How much do you love me? And, he would answer: From Here to Vanuatu (or some other crazy-sounding location far away). I decided to try some travel prints in my shop. They sold quickly and I added more. Now my shop is focused more on travel-related items.

I recently opened my third shop, Ramble Print Co, for instant download – printable art. I’m slowly working on building inventory. There aren’t enough hours in the day!

VJ: What are some of the biggest challenges in setting up a business on Etsy

My biggest challenge is feeling overwhelmed. It’s not easy balancing a business, small children and life.

VJ: How did you overcome these challenges.

Prioritizing is key! I wish I had more time to design, but need to spend most of my time printing, packaging, responding to messages, researching, keeping on top of Etsy changes, etc. Running a business takes lots of work. Reading the Etsy forums, networking with other sellers, and reading blogs and articles help.

VJ: We’ll like to know more about the person behind Popov Leather! Tell us more about yourself 🙂

I love travel, reading, playing with my kids, hiking and living in Colorado.

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“My new Etsy shop is www.etsy.com/shop/RamblePrintCo

Find me at: HSJP

Check out my pins and posts!
Pinterest | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr “

How not to love these artsy, creative prints? Don’t forget to use that discount code when you checkout!

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[ETSY] TRAVEL JOURNALS & DESIGNER POSTCARDS

As much as the following designers were excited to share their works of art, I’m excited to share their story of how these creations came to be! These are amongst the most exciting travel paraphernalia I’ve seen in a long time: (i) LAGO DESIGN’s scratch off post-cards from Seoul, Korea – scratch off however you want to make your own unique photos; and (ii) TRAVELEGE’s designer travel journals from Hong Kong. Bon Voyage!

⚓️ LAGO DESIGN

Who: Sung-Yong Ha and Team (S.Korea)
What: Unique design products inspired by travelling the world
Where: ETSY! | Lago Design KR | instagram @lago.design
How to locate them:
2F 446-59 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, Korea | +82 10 9101 6855
What we love: Scratch Nightview Postcard Series!

LAGO DESIGN’s tagline captures the essence of their creations:”‘Life is a great adventure.” We hope you have a great adventurous day!”.
Artfully re-creating notable landmarks from the most high-profile cities in the world and turning them into remarkable gift ideas, the designers at Lago have outdone simple notions of ‘postcards’ by making them an outlet for creativity.

For a limited time, Lago Design is offering FREE worldwide shipping for all Scratch Night View and Scratch Landmarks Postcard series!
Take a first-hand look at these beauties:

(i) SCRATCH LANDMARKS POSTCARD SERIES

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(ii) SCRATCH NIGHTVIEW POSTCARD SERIES

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5 QUESTIONS WITH HWANG WON @ LAGO DESIGN

VJ: Why ETSY?
It’s easy to make well-organized listings in Etsy compared to others. (amazon, ebay)
Most of all, we like how we can decorate and create our own shop page.

VJ: How did you come up this idea for a business. Is this an interest/hobby?
The idea of the Scratch series came from our CEO & Creative director, Sung-Yong Ha.
He said he was inspired by scratch drawings he used to make with crayons in childhood.

VJ: What are some of the biggest challenges in setting up a business on Etsy.
To overcome fear of failure (about being unsuccessful or getting consumers’ attention), and to be fully confident about our products were the biggest challenges for us.

VJ: How did you overcome these challenges.
As you know, design is a very subjective.
Therefore we believe a design should be for all (not for few) in order to be competitive.
We try to listen to others as much as we can, so that we won’t be too one-sided.
We think these kind of mind helped us get over the challenges, and led us where we are now.

VJ: We’ll like to know more about the person behind your business! Tell us more about yourself 🙂
We are a group of 8 (young, active, and enthusiastic!) people.
Although we have gathered not so long ago, all of us have been put a lot of effort to make this community one-of-a-kind.
Our ultimate goal is to become a community where every member can grow together, and where everyone can really be a part of.

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With such beautiful creations, it won’t take long for LAGO’s design community to grow. Check out other lovely creations from the LAGO Team at their homepage, Lago Designs.

⚓️TRAVELEGE

Who: Kin Tse, Frances Que and Team (Hong Kong)
What: Travel Journals & Maps for Passionate Travelers
Where: ETSY! | TRAVELEGE | Facebook

How to locate them:
134A, InnoCentre, 72 Tat Chee Avenue, Kowloon Tong, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Words from the Owners:
“From designing every page to sourcing all the materials all over the world, I spent more than a year on getting my idea realized and perfecting everything in it. The perfect travel journal was finally born, with all my passion and sweat!”

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Logging down those travel inspirations ultimately enhances your travel experience and what better way than to use these beautiful travel maps and intricate travel journals. Travelege is definitely a companion to help you make your journeys alive. Never stop exploring!

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5 QUESTIONS WITH FRANCES @ TRAVELEGE

VJ: Why ETSY?

Simply because those people value the start-up’s stuff and it’s easier to reach the customers who like to try new things and have the travel spirit at the same time. And We also got a lot of encouragements from them about our travel journal and travel world map. It’s all worthwhile afterwards.

VJ: How did you come up this idea for a business. Is this an interest/hobby?

It’s Kin’s idea that he wanna make a perfect travel journal after traveling for a year. And actually, at the very beginning, he just wanna have a try and see how it goes.

VJ: What are some of the biggest challenges in setting up a business on Etsy.

Dealing with the travelers all over the world. They would have different questions to ask about our travel journal. And at the same time, it’s nice to exchange ideas with all the global citizens who love traveling (most of them are indie travelers). Sometimes they will give some useful comments about how we can improve our travel journal or what they want to add in the travel journal and travel map.

VJ: How did you overcome these challenges.

Time can solve all these challenges. We don’t really have to overcome it, it just takes some time to handle it. : )

VJ: We’ll like to know more about the person behind your business! Tell us more about yourself 🙂

The Travelege crew includes me (Frances), handling the travelers’ matters and logistics (and of course, I am a travel addict too.), Kin who deals with the production, and several other members who assists for the design work, marketing stuff and updating of the travel journal.
Check out more photographs of Travelege at their homepage Travelege.com.

You’ve seen their products, but do you know their story? Follow more stories of gutsy, artsy-fartsy Etsy Entrepreneurs by following my updates! Discount codes are coming your way.

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[ETSY] PASSPORT COVERS IN ALL CUTS AND COLOURS

Jetting off into the great unknown? Keep your travel documents safe with these personalized passport covers and travel organizers, handmade with extreme skill and care, and also ready to send off as gifts for your friends and loved ones. On our feature list today: (i) Red Leaf Leather and (ii) Bin’s Creations.
Ready, jet set, go~

⚓️RED LEAF LEATHER

Who: Kelsey Roberts
What: Custom leather products that are completely handmade and crafted to ensure you’re purchasing the most personalized and customized leather around.
Where: ETSY! | Facebook
What we love: Custom leather passport covers, especially ’em bright spotty ones!

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The Red Leaf Leather experience adds an element of fun to online shopping with a colour chart for picking out your desired colour. Essentially you can customise every single product from handmade wallets to passport covers, which makes travelling oh-so-exciting when you’re off to your next big adventure with a brand-new passport skin! The products are shipped internationally from Utah, United States. Oh, and the owners also do frequent giveaways on their Facebook Page so do keep your eyes peeled!

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5 QUESTIONS WITH THE OWNER @ RED LEAF LEATHER

VJ: Why ETSY?
When I was first thinking of starting a business making leather products I thought Etsy would be a great place to start selling my products because it has a great audience and people go on knowing what they’re looking for and what they want so I didn’t have to invest in building a website, doing SEO, etc. It’s a great way to start up a business!

VJ: How did you come up this idea for a business. Is this an interest/hobby?
After moving back to Utah from South Carolina I didn’t have a job lined up, and then my dad, who is a chiropractor, had 2 employees quit so he said he needed my help. I had worked for him for about 5 years previously so I was planning on just working until they hired 2 new people and I would train them, then I could quit and do my own thing. The time came and went and before I knew it I wasn’t working for him and none of the jobs I had applied for had called me to interview! Over the next 6 months I applied for hundreds of jobs and only had a few interviews, which turned into nothing more than that. I knew I preferred not to have a “normal” job as I call it, a normal 9-5 job where you punch in, punch out, and at the end of the day don’t feel satisfied with what you accomplished. I wanted to be my own boss, set my own hours, create my own work environment, and do something I looked forward to each morning! What that was I had absolutely no idea, but I knew I wanted it! So I decided I could either continue looking for a “normal” job or I could find something that I could turn into a business for myself. One night my sister took me to see The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and in the movie he receives a gift – a custom wallet with a quote on the inside. I thought how cool that would be, to be able to give such a personal gift to someone you care for and I thought “I could make those!” I had no previous knowledge in leather work and literally knew nothing about leather, except that it came from cows 🙂 I headed to my local leather store (didn’t know those existed until after I decided to make wallets!) and asked what I needed to make a wallet. I purchased the recommended supplies, went home and watched several YouTube videos so I could know how to stamp the text into the leather, dye the leather, stitch the leather, etc. And 2 weeks from when I had the idea I opened up my Etsy shop!

VJ: What are some of the biggest challenges in setting up a business on Etsy
The biggest challenge, for my shop specifically, is that there are hundreds and hundreds of leather wallets on Etsy! How in the world were my amateur wallets going to stand out against all these other professional wallet makers?

VJ: How did you overcome these challenges.
I think I was just kind of lucky, to be honest. I looked into the most popular wallets sold on Etsy and I noticed that most of them either didn’t provide any option for customization, or the customer could customize, but only up to 5 characters or so. I think the thing that really makes my products stick out from the crowd is that they are completely customizable! You can put your own personal message, your favorite quote, initials, or you can leave it raw. It’s completely up to you what you want to put on there and I think that is really unique!

VJ: We’ll like to know more about the person behind Red Leaf Leather. Tell us more about yourself 🙂
I have lived in Utah for the vast majority of my life, and my passion in life is traveling! I traveled to Europe for the first time when I was 15 and have been addicted ever since 🙂 I love exploring and discovering the unique beauty of the world and seeing that although things are different, they’re beautiful in their own way. I love spending time with my nieces and nephews and making fun memories. My favorite thing in the world is enjoying a cool summer night in Utah 🙂

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I personally felt inspired reading Kelsey’s response to our questions, that she was brave enough to carve out her own career from an interest and skill. (had such great fun speaking to you over email Kelsey!)

Visit her ETSY store for more details on ordering!

⚓️BIN’S CREATIONS

Who: Binny Anthony
What: Custom leather products that are completely handmade and crafted to ensure you’re purchasing the most personalized and customized leather around.
Where: ETSY! | Bin’s Creations
What we love: Custom leather passport covers! Chock-full of ideas at Bin’s Creations.

From the words of the creator herself, “Ever since I was a little girl, I have always loved making things; crafts of all kinds. Having my own store was my dream. I put my heart into making custom leather gifts for any occasion and put love and passion into every piece that I make. With over 12 years of custom design experience, I can take your ideas and suggestions to create your own very unique and memorable custom leather pieces. I can handle the simplest designs to the most intricate.”

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With travel organizers like these, you’re never going to lose any of your travel documents again. Keep them tidy in these neat little pouches!

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5 QUESTIONS WITH THE OWNER @ BIN’S CREATIONS

VJ: Why ETSY?
I got involved with Etsy, because one of my family member recommend it few years ago. I started a website to sell jewelry http://www.binscreations.com

VJ: How did you come up this idea for a business. Is this an interest/hobby?
I have mentioned the reasons abvoe. Definitely an interest, would like to expand and be successful.

VJ: What are some of the biggest challenges in setting up a business on Etsy
I am still learning about Etsy. I opened a Jewelry shop in 2011 with Etsy and I was not selling that much and was getting disappointed. Not having any ideas to sell online was an obstacle to my success. Having a contact person for advice would be very beneficial for the Vendors.

VJ: How did you overcome these challenges.
Finally I Started to read about the sellers handbook and learned few ideas about how to improve the traffic to my shop.

VJ: We’ll like to know more about the person behind your business! Tell us more about yourself 🙂
I am the sole Owner of this business and working full time at the same time. Most of the items are created at my spare times. I enjoy doing this and hopefully I can give up my full time job and run my business full time. (That’s my dream).

Bin’s Creations offering custom design gifts and party favors for any occasions. Please contact the owner and create something unique just for you.

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Definitely looking out for this one here. Check out her website for more information!

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[ETSY] TRAVEL BAGS YOU’LL LOVE

June is finally here! What are everyone’s plans for the summer? My ideal vacation for a summer lovin’ getaway – somewhere tropical, exciting and close to sea.

This month ViktoriaJean gets up close and personal with ETSY Entrepreneurs brilliant at their craft, zooming in on travel-easy products which will make your travelling infinitely easier. Watch this space also for exclusive discounts when you purchase with special discount codes only for our readers!

The beach and the sea must be beckoning as you ponder your next getaway. Well, since a lot of you would be heading to the coasts, today’s feature includes (i) a couple who’re amazing at making incredibly gorgeous surfboard bags and beach totes, and (ii) a self-made, self-funded entrepreneur who makes lovely bags, such as the 8-in-1 tote perfect for travelling.

⚓️THE ATLANTIC OCEAN

Who: Joe & Tasha Chapman
What: Durable hand crafted goods for the ocean – loving life. Created by a couple of salty folks by the sea
WhereETSY! | ChapmanAtSea
What we love: The Palm Leaf Collection

 photo ChapmanAtSeaEtsy3.jpgChapman at Sea is a collaboration between husband & wife team Joe & Tasha Chapman. Tasha is an artist & illustrator, while Joe is a commercial diver. They both like surfing, traveling & spending time by the sea.

Chapman at Sea began with a vintage army duffle and the need for some surfboard bags. Tasha inherited the duffle from her grandfather. It was a tough old thing that had traveled the world and gotten better with use. This bag held a lot of stuff, but it wasn’t big enough for a surfboard. Sometime in the middle of 2012, Joe & Tasha needed some board bags for themselves. Nothing offered locally really fit their style, so they decided to make them on their own, taking inspiration from the army bag. Tasha’s artistic skills, paired with Joe’s real life marine experience & a knack for always knowing how to raise the quality of a thing, came together to create a good looking bag that’s made to last.

Crafting the bags carefully & by hand turned out to be really satisfying, so the couple kept on making them. Later on, Tasha created a line of smaller beach bags & totes from the same classic materials and Joe introduced rope dog leashes that use sturdy sailor’s knots. Joe & Tasha hope these creations will go out into the world & travel all over it, becoming a part of as many adventures as the old army bag has.

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5 QUESTIONS WITH THE OWNERS @ THE ATLANTIC OCEAN

VJ: Why ETSY?

Etsy is such a great place for makers. I do have my own website ChapmanAtSea.com but I wanted to have an Etsy shop as well because I knew it would let me connect with people I wouldn’t be able to otherwise. A lot of people are in the market for special, handmade things, but don’t really know where to go to find them. Etsy makes it so easy for them to hop on and discover new things. It’s also a fun, vibrant community that I’m happy to be a part of.

VJ: How did you come up this idea for a business. Is this an interest/hobby?

I love the ocean and I love to surf. The business came from necessity – I needed some surfboard bags and couldn’t find anything that fit my style so I decided to create them myself, inspired by a tough old WWII army bag I’d inherited from my grandfather. At the time I was working as an illustrator and the artistic side of me knew what I wanted it to look and feel like. My husband Joe is a commercial diver, is in a marine setting every day, and knew what had to be done to made it durable. He focused on the function, I focused on it’s good looks, and together we made the kind of surfboard bag we thought ought to exist.

They were received really well and it was so much fun that I just kept designing things. Whenever I needed something in my own life I’d think if I could make it better myself, in my own style. The result has been a whole line of products: beach bags, totes, dog leashes, bike bags and we’ve just released a new collection of wooden handplanes for body surfing. They’re all made from our simple, classic materials and all designed for a life spent by the sea.

VJ: What are some of the biggest challenges in setting up a business on Etsy

It takes a good amount of time to get everything going – photo, stories, everything involved in setting up a shop. It’s a little bit daunting in the beginning. I also think a lot of sellers get discouraged because after they do all of this it’s still a challenge to be “discovered.” You have to get your shop to pop up in search results so people can see your awesome creations.

VJ: How did you overcome these challenges.

I just worked at it little by little until it was ready. It was actually a lot of fun creating my store exactly as I wanted it to be. I guess I had a vision for what I wished it would be. As far as getting found once it was up, I’m still not sure how that happens! I just believe if you put something out there that you’re passionate about it will show and eventually people will come. Patience is important!

VJ: We’ll like to know more about the person behind The Atlantic Ocean! Tell us more about yourself 🙂
My name is Tasha. I’m an artist, surfer & maker living by the sea in Boca Raton, Florida. White is my favorite color, coconut is my favorite scent and my perfect day is one spent in the ocean.

What’s hot right now: The Atlantic Ocean’s Palm Leaf Collection
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Well, if you ask me, I’m definitely getting one of those Palm Leaf totes for beach getaways.
For more information or further enquiries, visit ChapmanAtSea. Happy shopping.

⚓️APROPOS by Judith Anne Nelson

Who: Judith Anne Nelson
What: Uniquely patented bag changes into 8 classic bags every woman needs, and has the luxe appearance every woman wants!
WhereETSY! | AproposBag
What we love: The 8-in-1 chic bag!

The owner’s story:

“It took me many years of trial and error, then patent submission, trademarks, etc., to get to the point where I found the right idea. Now I just need to find the right market!

Mine is definitely one-of-a-kind! I used to speak at conferences, and was continuously hampered by never having the right bag at the right time. I needed a roomy tote for the plane (to carry my laptop, iPad, water, etc…not to mention purse stuff), but was invariably in a mad dash to get to my meeting. Often I couldn’t even wait for my luggage to be brought to the room, so I was stuck with my tote for the day, which never looked quite right. There were luncheons when I would have preferred a smaller, sleeker bag, surprise quick shopping breaks (which I really longed for a backpack or messenger bag for hands-free retail therapy), a dash out for coffee (when I didn’t need my whole bag, just my wallet and phone), then somehow I never got a chance to go back to my hotel before my day drifted into drinks and dinner. I never seemed to have the right bag at the right time! I searched and searched, but there was no bag anywhere that could do it all. What were my choices? I couldn’t take an armload of bags with me everywhere I went…and I would NOT give up being chic for the comfort of an old tote or backpack. When I exhausted my searches, I decided I would have to make one myself.

It took me endless trial and error sessions pinning tissues, then moving to fabric, until I hit the “ah-ha” moment. Fortunately, I was a good seamstress and was able to make my prototypes. I had discovered that, with strategically placed grommets and removable handles (plus great looking materials), I could actually create a bag that could, not only LOOK different, but change size and shape so that it became all the different bags I needed. My dream was to carry one bag (really, only one bag!) with me wherever I traveled, or even throughout my daily routines. My favorite bags heretofore had been the Louis Vuitton Neverfull MM, the Goyard St. Louis PM, and the Bottega Veneta Intrecciato woven leather tote. But none of them did it all. I modeled the initial size of my Apropos bag after the size and shapes of the LV and Goyard bags, then the look and some of the functionality of the Bottega Veneta. I found that my bag was always Apropos! It began as a stylish tote with elegant woven round shoulder handles, and could then easily convert into a messenger bag, hobo, bucket, backpack, “A”-shape (a la BV), dressy smaller and sleeker bag, and cross-body, wristlet, or shoulder pouch—this last one perfect for quick trips out for coffee when you don’t need your larger bag. The zippered pouch is large enough to keep a long wallet and phone snug and secure—either clipped into any of the bag’s conversions with the handles, or worn on its own with one of the handles as a wristlet, shoulder pouch, or small cross-body bag.

I knew that with the LV and Goyard bags I felt the need to purchase custom bag-bottoms, so the bags wouldn’t sag and bottom out. I decided my bags would have to come with a finished removable bag bottom. Then, although I and seemingly most women prefer open totes, I decided to put a magnetic closure at the top edge, so that it could be closed when needed, but still easily opened. “Apropos” seemed like the right name, because… I made samples of the bag, tried it along with my friends, and we loved it! For the first time ever, my suitcase was freed up for overspending on other things wherever I went—I took just the one bag, and it worked!

When others began wanting the bag, I was unable to keep up with making them myself, so I enlisted the aid of a very small family company here is Colorado, who hand-made environmentally friendly things. All this has been very expensive for me—just getting the patents (I have 11—one utility and 10 design) took several years, and many hundreds of dollars. Sourcing the materials here in the US has also been quite expensive—low quantities command high prices. But I found what I believe is the perfect fabric—woven-look soft and luxurious faux leather that looks and feels almost exactly like my $3,500 Bottega Veneta bag! I haven’t been able to work up the steam and the necessary presentation for a crowd funding project, but I will really need to do that in order to be able to meet an increased demand with a less expensive product. I found that purse organizers are the perfect addition to my bag, in that you simply lift out the contents in the organizer when you convert to another style, so I have been including a limited number of those with the purchase of the complete bag.

While on my Bottega Veneta kick (after all, is is the ultimate is luxurious stealth chic), I became fascinated by their woven key rings, priced at over $200 each. I used some of my round woven handle cord and made a larger version, one that could be worn over the wrist when you walk the dog, go out for a run, or down to get the mail, and just need the keys—no bag. Mine can clip conveniently onto the bag’s handles for easy access when in the bag, or worn on the wrist when out and about—to me it’s a huge improvement over the pricey BV key ring!

We’re now at 8 styles from the same bag, but friends have already suggested even more styles.
I say, it’s your bag–how will you wear it?”

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It’s crazy how a bag can be carried so many ways! Name an occasion you can’t carry this 8-in-1 to, and perhaps the talented designer would be able to solve your problem. Definitely handy when you’re out on the road with limited options or intending to travel light, as I’m always inclined to. For more information, visit here or the official website.

Hang tight for more exciting features! Meanwhile, if you’ve got something to share, or would like to be featured, drop me a note at viktoria@viktoriajean.com

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[VENICE] HOW TO EAT AND DRINK LIKE A LOCAL IN…

Couple of days back, I chanced upon this interesting site that arranges professional gourmet food tours in Italy. The foodie in me was jumping for joy! I wish I had done more research before my trip to Venice (2014), which led to sub-par pastas and touristy rip-offs (although you never go wrong with seafood risottos). Venice is a perfect locale for sightseeing, but at the same time the hustling-bustling city is bound to overwhelm you unless you come prepared with a solid list of where to go and what to do. Loads of pizzerias and pasta houses would lure unsuspecting tourists into their midst and serve up mediocre cuisines, tricking you into believing that this is the best you can get in Venice.

There’s this Italian saying, “Non tutte le ciambelle riescono col buco.” – literally translated as “not all donuts come with a hole”, metaphorically alluding to things not always turning out as we expected. I’d projected all Italian restaurants to be fantastico. Truth is, locals have got way higher expectations than the average tourist, so it turns out you can actually hire a tourguide to bring you around for the best cuisines! Next time round probably I’ll be engaging tours – what better way to pamper your belly than Emilia Delizia’s filtered list of delis, chosen through personal samplings from the native Italians themselves. Way too cool!

Where: Emilia Delizia

Who: Experts in food and wine travel in Parma, Modena and Bologna

What: Holiday planning to various Italian destinations in your native language (Russian, English, Spanish, French, Chinese, Japanese, German, you name it)

What I love: Cicchetti Crawl
The same question popping up in your head right now was in my own, the first time I read about cicchetti. What’s that?

Well essentially they are snacks, rather like Spanish tapas, served in wine bars and taverns. According to Emilia Delizia, a cicchetti adventure should begin at bacari (wine bars) or osteria, both of which serve such simple, traditional snack foods: chunks of salami, pieces of cheese, fried olives and fried seafoods. However modern cicchetti can be much more elaborate, and can even be dinners in miniature. Also what better way to sample the best local wines than to get locals to drink them with you! The Italian vocabulary for wines is amazing: did you know, ombra are small glasses of wine (about the size of a double shot), and also nicknamed ‘shade’ after wine sellers in the Piazza San Marco, who kept in the shade to keep the wine cool and fresh. I remember having an aperitivo (a pre-dinner drink to whet my appetite) during my trip, and was awed by the wine selection. Due to our language disparity, unfortunately, the Italian wine connoisseur could not express what was in the aperitivo – I think it had something to do with sparkling wine and bitters. Which is why a food tour would be extremely helpful, and could save you a lot of trial and errors in the Venetian food-maze.

I should probably warn you not to read Emilia Delizia on an empy stomach…I got so hungry after reading their gourmet descriptions. I needed no further proof that these guys know their stuff. Popular cichettis include “tidbits served on toast (crostini) or on squares of savory grilled polenta”, and “squid ink toast with or without curried shrimp”, and “tramezzini (little triangular sandwiches) made from special, soft white bread, stuffed with a delectable variety of fillings including ham, olives, cheese or tuna”. Tramezzini. What a mouthful.

Where To Go: Rialto Fish Market
The best seafood based bacari and osteria are in San Polo, where they serve “swordfish croissant and scallops served in the shell – all served in a buffet style” and “hearty plates of polpette (meatballs) served with an aioli sauce, topped with truffles, cheese and mushrooms”. Honestly, I never knew these existed till I read this off E.D.!

Venice, I’ll be back for you with a hearty appetite!

P.S. All pictures are my own, circa 2013

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean