[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

[DIARY] WRITER’S BLOCK

Life caught me by the lapels and refused to let go. For a while now I’m almost afraid of looking at watches & clocks, seeing each day draw to an irrevocable close. 2015 is turning out very different from what I imagined, it’s little wonder that I’ve stopped churning out annual resolutions to ‘be better’, ‘work harder’, ‘stay humble’. Rat race is the word, conformity is the endgame, and fighting it is exhausting. But that doesn’t mean we should all be products of this Borsalino hat test – squeezed through a tube for quality checks just to be exactly what is ‘perfect’. I’ve been thinking of trying new things; I haven’t felt fully mentally stretched since cramming for statistics finals in university so perhaps it’s time to kill some brain cells in ways other than drinking. Even if sometimes hard wok goes down the drain and you’re forced to watch it go, learning is never a bad thing. Allow me a brief moment of pessimism but in the end, you’ve just gotta remember that some doors open and others will always remain shut.

In other news, writer’s block is scarily real! 5,000 words has never been so hard for me. Sneak peek of a one-liner in my Golden Point 2015 Submission, maybe.

“He makes no sudden movement, but a hand slips stealthily into his left breast pocket, feeling for the cool metal of his .38 Taurus Model 85. “

Did someone say murder mystery? Or raunchy erotica. Or both.

Also, has anyone found a cure for writer’s block?

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[MACAU] oo2. RUINS OF ST. PAUL’S | MUSEUM OF MACAU

Tourists are so darn easy to sniff out. If you’ve been to Macau, you’d know the Ruins of St Paul’s (大三巴牌坊) but a one-sided wall, completely demolished and naked in the back. So the first-timers (like us) would still clamour for pictures with the famed 16th-century complex, an official UNESCO World Heritage Site. 68 steps would lead you to the southern stone façade, behind which lies the remains of the original pillars and a shrine. A wee bit of secret: the locals would tell you it’s customary to throw coins into the top window of the ruins from the stairs, for good luck.

From here, you can spot the stone façade, far left. Pretty deconstructed huh?
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As we got closer, I realised it was just a one-dimensional wall. Didn’t stop me from my touristy shots!
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Way to the ‘top’ – 68 easy-peasy steps! And so crowded on a late February weekday, we had to jostle a few elbows outta our way. Since this wall’s one of ’em things you’ve got to check off your Macau Bucket-lists, we made it to the top and beyond. DSCN6352
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THE TOP

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The best entitlement of a tourist is not being taken for a fool at stupid pictures. Here I am receiving a scroll from…some great Chinese scholar! (My bad, I can’t even remember names of half of my university Professors.)
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I CAME IN LIKE A CAAAANON-BAAAALLL (way before wreckingball became a thing)

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Next best tourist entitlement: you don’t get judged for meaningless hand gestures in awkward I-don’-know-what-to-do-with-my-hands shots.

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“Look, it’s a road, in Macau”

Signboards Macao St Pauls

Not far from the Ruins of St Paul’s is the Museum of Macau, filled with relics from the time Macau was part of Portuguese empire, and also most importantly these were sacred and holy relics of art. Read: Museu De Arte Sacra = Museum Of Sacred Art.

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The Museum of Macau is located in the famous Monte Fortress, in the heart of the city where the Portuguese first set foot. Being a fortress from where battles were fought and Macau defended, actual live cannons were left behind.

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My hands! were not awkward at all

Macao Travel Blog

I had a hard time saying goodbye to the cannon I grew so fond off. They made a good war relic, and a decent sunbed.
Herein lies the footpath from midlevel (outdoors) to the top of Museum of Macau. Great weather, amazing scenery and good company makes for a fantastic walk.plague museum de macau DSCN6397 Museum of Macau Winding steps Museum of Macau DSCN6400 DSCN6401 DSCN6402
Right at the top is where you see a grand entrance to the Museum. Conventionally, you’re meant to enter from the ground floor. The top floor consists of a garden, a small still fountain, and the fortress formation in which cannons are still located.DSCN6403 Lake Museum of Macau DSCN6406

So the view from the top stole my heart! I loooove the vantage point, though ought to have been scared shitless standing so close to the edge. All I really wanna do is get close to the heart of the city.

DSCN6408 Girl In Macau Macau Sunset Macau Peak DSCN6421 DSCN6423 DSCN6426 DSCN6427Further snapshots from within the Fortress walls. DSCN6430 DSCN6431 DSCN6432 DSCN6434 DSCN6435 DSCN6436 DSCN6437 DSCN6438 DSCN6439 DSCN6440 DSCN6442

Every city I go, I try to get the bird’s eye view. Much like the Eiffel of Paris or Burj Khalifa of Dubai. It pretty much lays the city out at your feet for a much clearer picture than any map will provide you.

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

P.S Don’t miss [MACAU] OO1. OF EGGTARTS, GRAFFITI AND ALL THINGS YUMMY

[MACAU] oo1. OF EGGTARTS, GRAFFITI AND ALL THINGS YUMMY

“I looked to the ceiling and told God, “God, next time I want an adventure, strike me with lightning. You have my permission.”
― Kristen Ashley, The Gamble

We were crazy for adventure and found our answer in Macau. The idea came like a flash of lightning. So with one day to spare we grabbed a pair of ferry tickets and bopped our way to the land of egg-tarts, casinos and tea-houses. I expected a whole new environment much like the gambling sitcoms we occasionally glimpse channel-surfing, but Macau is really an amalgam of new world Hong Kong with traditional Portuguese influences. What really amazed us – casinos were entities made of everything shiny, glazed with glamour and all that glitters that is actually gold.

MACAU BABY

Starving, we stuffed our faces with the island’s most traditonal Portuguese egg-tarts (or so every store says)
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best portuguese egg tarts

Then meandered the streets of Macau on foot. The air tingles with hope, because most people there were keeping their dreams alive. Making it big at the gambling den, or simply making it out alive.

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Look what we found! Art in the heart of the city.
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macau graffiti

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awesome graffiti macau

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God knows who created these art but they are pretty darn amazing.
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wall have eyes

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graffiti

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colourful graffiti

In Macau, basically, you can find hand-made pastries and cookies every-damn-where. It’s like stores fight for business. It’s what this place is known for, and all tourists are suckers for. We all want to bring a piece of Macau home. Almond biscuits, pork-floss crisps, handrolls. As traditional as it gets. I love their almond biscuit and egg-rolls which are out-of-this world. I have never gone for another bakery’s eggrolls ever since. Especially since Koi Kei makes the best egg-white egg-rolls, ooh lala.

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food in macau

My favourite is still Koi Kei – never have I gone home empty-handed from Hong Kong and he’s the reason why.
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So since we’re on this topic, more food-talk and less sight-seeing! Sharetea in Macau is actually a cafe. The bustling cafe scene in Macau isn’t hipster at all…this is as hippie as it goes. Traditional teahouses, or cha-chan-teng 茶餐廳, which are known for eclectic dishes from Hong Kong cuisine and Hong Kong Western fusion cuisine, are more prevalent.sharetea macau cafe macau

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Grabbing a selfie moment
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Coffee in a twisted cup
fried chicken macau
Fried chicken
waffles and salmon macau
A waffle with smoked salmon, salad and potato wedges

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Food’s always the start of an adventure, as Anthony Bourdain puts it well: “I’ve long believed that good food, good eating, is all about risk. Whether we’re talking about unpasteurized Stilton, raw oysters or working for organized crime ‘associates,’ food, for me, has always been an adventure”. Every culture has its food norms. Anyone else finds it interesting MacDonalds’ caters to every country’s needs? Here’s a Red Bean pie from Macau. I still miss it.

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Part One here was all about what we ingested plus wall murals we caught (well if I could inhale and live off devouring art I would but unfortunately graffiti is not food). The next one and thereafter’s all about the view, and what essentially keeps people coming to Macau. The mystery of the casinos maybe… I for one enjoyed walking through the Portuguese cemetery, reading headstones of all who’s walked the land and had the means to buy themselves a place here after death. #morbid

Cheers!

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[DIARY] GOODBYE SINGAPORE AIRLINES

Ending my career as a stewardess was perhaps the best decision I’ve made this year. Letting go of this comfort zone I had (unfortunately) sunk into for the past 2 years involved lots of anxiety, doubt, and inevitable thoughts of missing the globetrotting lifestyle. Nevertheless I made my decision quickly and set my heart for the big change when the opportunity to work as a media analyst came. There were spurts of excitement and also joy at finally stepping into an industry I might actually have a genuine interest in.

“You must make a decision that you are going to move on. It wont happen automatically. You will have to rise up and say, ‘I don’t care how hard this is, I don’t care how disappointed I am, I’m not going to let this get the best of me. I’m moving on with my life.”
― Joel Osteen, Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential

Mixed feelings aside, one must always look ahead and move on in life. Thinking back, it was a whirlwind of fun & adventure being a cabin crew at one of the world’s ‘best airlines”. Work was hard, schedules could be crazy, rosters were sometimes bad, and there were months I went without meeting friends outside of the airlines industry… BUT I don’t and will never regret these two+ years with SIA. This insightful journey was exhilarating, at times excruciating, and came with many lessons to be learnt.

Things I already miss:

1. Job title: FLIGHT STEWARDESS.
Onboard, I’ve been called by many other names: Miss, Li, Darling, Sweetheart, Eh, Excuse Me, Hello, Auntie, Jiejie, and nonverbal gestures such passengers pulling my kebaya or waving their hands wildly in the air to get my attention.

singapore girl crew

2. The Singapore Girl hairdo.
Despite the strict grooming guide, there are as many variations as there are flight stewardesses in SIA. Seniority (on first impression) is based on the height of your hump (that height-enhancing bump on your head, derived from resemblances to camel humps). I actually miss this fuss-free chignon – when I mean fuss-free I refer to not having hair all over my face, not time taken to prepare.

SIA girl

3. Quintessentially, HEAVY DUTY MAKEUP.
For long flights we can wear them up to 18 hrs (14hr flight time + 2hr reporting time + 1 hr preparation at home + 1hr travelling from airport to hotel after touchdown). The worst thing is: falling asleep without removing them! This is why I grew so unaccustomed to my own bare face.

4. PARIS. LONDON. ZURICH. GREECE.
Oh the places you’ll go, without ever having to take any work home. Once we touchdown at the destination, HOLA FREEDOM until the wake-up call for your next flight sector. I’m happy to say I’ve touched all corners of the earth that SIA goes to, and have them all Instagram-Mapped.

EIFFEL TOWER PARIS TRAVEL BLOG sia

5. Hotels
Every flight was somewhat a vacay. Stepping into a freshly-laundered room with a hot bath and clean sheet (though sometimes tiny/musky-smelling less-than-4-star closet of a hotel room) after a tiring flight is the best feeling ever. Hence the perpetual reluctance to check out.

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6. Hotel room selfies. Ha.

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7. Living out of a suitcase – bursting or not, that bitch needs to be closed. It’s a woe for many stewardesses especially on long-haul.

bursting luggage

 

8. Coffee in the morning, coffee in the noon and coffee any time of day, because jet lag demands to be fed with caffeine. Truth is, I can drink 2 shots and still sleep for forever.

I need coffee

 

9. “Bragging Rights”
Friend, at dinner: “So what did you have for breakfast this morning?”
Me, casually: “Injeolmi Bingsoo from this place in Hongdae, Korea.”
Trust me, I am not bragging. Just stating the facts, you asked for it.
Breakfast in another time zone, lunch 35000 feet in the skies, and dinner in Singapore.

korea bingsoo bingsu

 

10. The skies. And the familiar wings we see from our crew seats when we look out from the windows. The one below was taken out flying out from Singapore Changi Airport. The following three were taken enroute Houston from Moscow, so you can see Greenland.

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11. Behind-the-scenes Crazy
Well, stewardesses have all the fun…when you’re sleeping and we’re trying to stay awake on a red-eye flight. Oh…and these girls!! Cutest and sweetest little darlings ever.
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12. Coming home.
The word ‘home’ takes on a whole new meaning, when it’s all you’re thinking of the moment you set foot on an aircraft bound for foreign territories.

A little over a month, people still ask if I miss flying. Well if you’ve been at it for 2 years, day in day out, you’re bound to feel a sense of loss. As it is for any kind of job and lifestyle. The only thing I actually really started to miss were the chirpy greetings I received from passengers when I greet them upon coming aboard, the genuine thank yous upon rendering assistance wherever I could, the adrenaline rush when we had a ton of duties we needed to complete and the eventual sweat-wiping relief when it’s all over. And the camaraderie over the years with a few colleagues. When we donned our kebaya, we were told to ‘smile at anything that moves’ – we would hold doors and lifts for people, greet people we don’t know, and talk to people we’ve never met – all without garnering weird looks. Try holding a door for someone in Singapore – you might get ‘thank you’ with an awkward look at best, or even ignored for your effort. Smile at a stranger, and be labelled a psycho. Greet someone in the lift, and end up taking the lift up alone. A well-mannered bunch we as stewards and stewardesses are – after all we are in the service industry. But we don’t always get the same respect and treatment in or out of the uniform.

Also, I was exposed to many kinds of teamwork & leadership (through observations, not actual leading), plus gained a kind of worldly experience that isn’t of the bragging sort. There’s never an end to how much of the world we can see. From big metropolitan cities with world-class airports to less-developed rural areas where drinking tap water gave me gastroenteritis for weeks, and where small girls on the streets wanted to take photos with a group of us just because our skin colour was different from theirs – they’ve never seen fair-skinned people in their lives.

I became a stewardess for the freedom, experience and a change of lifestyle. I never regretted, even as I was dying to leave the job. The job gave me loads of reasons to look back and smile. You’re meant to live your life in your 20s before youth slips away!

Once a Singapore Girl, Always a Singapore Girl. I still feel nostalgic at an SIA ad, or when I see an SIA aircraft landing or see ex-colleagues at the airport heading for flight or just coming back home.

singapore girl SIA kebaya

 

Well, this is goodbye! I’ve clipped my wings and started a new chapter in life.

xoxo,

Viktoria Jean

[TAIPEI] oo5. DAZZLING CAFE

Dragging our 20kg luggage through subway stations and streetwalks of Taipei seemed like the best way to work up an appetite. So that day, a native Taiwanese friend, Wesley, met us at the legendary Dazzling Cafe, touted by many food bloggers for their famous ice-cream toasts. And we feasted on this ginormous 3-tiered toast splendidly flavoured with matcha ice-cream and whipped cream! The place was really rather pretty! It’s no wonder their main store and 2 other franchises are really popular hangouts for Sunday brunch and weekday tea-breaks. You actually had to take queue numbers to get seats at the place. Or if you would rather not wait, making reservations in advance would be a good idea.

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This is me sulking when Elizabeth was taking too long snapping food shots, and I was starving. Have I mentioned that they serve really amazing lattes?Dazzing Cafe HongKong 10 Dazzing Cafe HongKong 11 Dazzing Cafe Matcha
Okay now you get to witness how the toast went down: the crispy bread is actually buttered and pre-cut into bite-sized cubes for easy sharing. How thoughtful of Dazzling! And frankly, I loved the toast. It’s so good, we were tempted to order another one.Dazzing Cafe HongKong Matcha Toast Dazzing Cafe HongKong 11 Dazzing Cafe HongKong Food Dazzing Cafe HongKong Hopping Dazzing Cafe HongKong 5

This place was really one of those we-have-to-get-there! places, and in order to check this off our bucket list, we rushed out early in the morning the day we were scheduled to leave Taipei. Wesley very kindly took us there after finishing his duties at work. We were glad we went against the risk of missing our flight home. As usual, no regrets!

“The last laugh, the last cup of coffee, the last sunset, the last time you jump through a sprinkler, or eat an ice-cream cone, or stick your tongue out to catch a snowflake. You just don’t know.”
― Lauren Oliver, Before I Fall

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[TAIPEI] oo4. FAST & FURIOUS

Sometime at the end of last year, I took a fast, furious and fulfilling trip to Taipei with Elizabeth, one of 2 people I’m so thankful to have met at Singapore Airlines, both of whom are no longer there but are always ‘there’ with me. Taipei is all about the night markets, shopping and foodie-hunts whilst making friends with new exciting people with so much to share! Hence Taipei always comes with an “OMG I NEED TO DIET” aftermath (which is never followed through).

It’s no secret – Taiwanese are very welcoming people. Step into any boutique, pharmacy or restaurant and you’re likely to be greeted loudly with choruses of “歡迎光臨!” (lit. Welcome) in bright chirpy tones. Even if you’re the last customer of the day, stepping into Watsons one minute before they’re scheduled to close for the day, you won’t be left to roam the aisles alone with nobody to guide you along. This is why I love Taiwan.

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We did so much on this trip, it’s not even funny. Today I’m just gonna tell you about food. There is this glorious buffet style steamboat place at Ximending – Tian Wai Tian Mala Hotpot – with a selection is sooooo vast and good I could feel my waistline expanding just thinking about it. Desserts are an endless selection of Häagen-Dazs ice-cream, completely all-you-can-eat.

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JUST LOOK AT THE SELECTION! You can take anything, as much as you want, buffet-style.Hotpot selection P1060637 Taiwanese Mala Hotpot Hotpot Ingredients  Taipei Icecream

And of course the ice-cream is for spamming.Ximending Taiwan Ximending Hotpot Taipei Haagen Dazs Taiwanese Hotpot Tian Wai Tian Hotpot Ximending Mala Hotpot Taipei Mala Hotpot Taipei Steamboat

The dizzying selection of soup bases will make you wanna try every single one of them. We tried the non-spicy ones which tasted not too bad.
I think the company was better than the food.

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[SANTORINI] oo8. SNAPSHOTS & FLASHBACKS

I have been amassing a copious amount of photographs in these two years, it’s no surprise I’ve had to spend hours filtering through terabytes of memories. My favourites are heavily biased toward those taken in Europe, especially Greece and Santorini, and oh, Belgium and Paris too. I think I take too much pride in good photos I forgot to love the bad ones. Santorini will always hold a special place in my never-ending mental scroll of picturesque sceneries.

SANTORINI GIRL OIA GREECE Breakfast at Santorini Landscape Santorini Sea P1050891

Pictures speak more than a thousand words but there are emotions that words and pictures cannot contain. At this point in time I’m just really glad for all these memories I get to keep long after this phase of my life is gone.

Though I’m gonna miss living out of a suitcase (and a blue handbag, my Longchamp tote and my cabin carry-on), I’ll not miss a lot of things tagged to the cabin crew life.
So, cheers to an exciting new path ahead!

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

10 SECRETS TO GOOD SKIN

Shh… I’m letting you guys in on what I do to keep my skin minimally flawed and young-looking.

I’m not without vices – my lifestyle certainly does a great deal of harm to my skin. Constant travelling, difficult climates, dry-air in airplane cabins, late nights, sleepless days, junk food and irregular meals, social drinking and partying – all these adds to the daunting task of damage-control, and to maintain my current skin conditions.As I get older I’ve come to realize the importance of a good skincare regime. Party season has come and gone. January and February is the time for healing and pampering the skin you’ve subjected to abuse. Over the years I’ve tried many products, methods, and these are the ones I’m gonna keep:

 

1. CLARISONIC for cleansing the skin.
If like me your work requires a high volume of makeup, the highly raved-about sonic skin-care cleansing brushes works wonders unplugging clogged pores. I got hooked onto using my Clarisonic MIA ever since I got mine from L.A. and now it’s a necessity in my day-to-day regime. I get my replacement brushes (you’ve got to change them once every 3-4 months) each time I hit the States, since it’s way cheaper in SEPHORA USA. I don’t use fancy cleansing foams: a respectable store-bought brand like Innisfree, The Face Shop or Laneige would suffice for me. The rotating motion of Clarisonic brushes gives me all the reassurance that my skin is being taken care of.

 

2. SHEET-TYPE FACE-MASKS
At least 3 times a week I engage the usual suspects who take really good care of my skin: 我的心機 (My Scheming Beauty), 我的美麗日記 (My Beauty Diary), Innisfree, Etude House, Laneige, ODBO, Acwell. In under 25 minutes I can get a variety of results depending on whether my skin feels especially dry and tight, or oily and clogged.

I get them from COSMED Taiwan, Watsons Hong Kong, and from the big brands themself in Seoul. Try not to purchase them from online stores as there’re tonnes of scams out there peddling the fakes. Yes! Even face-masks are fake these days.
On days when I do apply my face-masks, I see visible differences.

 

3. SERUM LAYERING
Like lots of people I face the dilemma of deciding which type of serum to use. Well, it never hurts to layer them. I use a good combination of 2 – 3 serums (without toners, because honestly I fail to see the use of toners) from a customised variety. I love Vichy’s Idéalia Life Serum, Laneige’s White Plus Renew Essence, Clinique Smart Custom-Repair Serum and Turnaround Concentrate, Innisfree’s Green Tea Seed Serum, DHC Japan’s PQQ Up-Gel and Vitamin-C Serum, Bio-Essence Radiant Youth Essence etc. Just remember to leave a good 10-second gap between each application.

 

4. OVERNIGHTERS
I never let my skin go dry in the night. After the serum shots I plump up my skin with heavy creams, especially at night. I trust Vichy’s Idéalia Night Cream, Kiehl’s 24-hour Moisturiser, Bio-Essence V Face-Lifting Cream, and Laneige’s White Plus Renew Night Cream. In the day, I rely on just a thin layer of sun-block after the serum.

Confession: I have lazy days whereby I skip all the serum and face masks steps and go straight to sleeping masks. In those instances, Laneige’s Sleeping Mask and Vichy’s Night Detox masks come in really handy.

 

5. COLLAGEN BOOSTS
I’m a big fan of Meiji’s Amino Collagen, but I find it troublesome having to dissolve it for ingestion, and for travellers who don’t always have the luxury of luggage space, powdered collagen is a hassle. Kinohimitsu’s pack-of-6 BB Beauty Drink (Blended Bird’s Nest with Acerola Cherry) is a shot of collagen I take every few months. In between these courses, I try to take SATO’s Hakubi White C pills which are way easier to take around the world with me. Honestly, this seller at Qoo10 sells Kinohimitsu at a way cheaper price than I’ve actually seen in Japanese pharmacies.
A colleague once told me that collagen takes effect from the day you start taking them, so your skin is preserved from the time you begin to ingest collagen. Do yourself a favour and start early! You don’t have to take them everyday but once in a while, the stuff does wonders.

Confession: I dissolve my Meiji Collagen in coffee to replace my milk and creamers.

 

6. TEAS TEAS AND MORE TEAS
My favourite BB Detox Tea from Kusmi Tea is my go-to morning drink (in place of my regular cappucino) after every late-night party accompanied by drinking. Also on my list are Pukka’s Detox Tea from the UK, and Arifoğlu 9-in-1 (Arifoğlu Dokuzu Bir Yerde 9 in 1 Karışık Bitkisel Çay) from Turkey. It’s no secret: green tea, yerba mate, rosemary and thyme are great for your skin in the long run. They also give you plenty of hydration, minerals and anti-oxidants.

 

7. OMEGA-3 FISH OIL SUPPLEMENTS
No way you can do without this. Unless you live in Norway and eat fish for breakfast lunch and dinner, all day everyday. I’ve only recently started to take them on a daily basis and discovered good small changes to how my T-Zones no longer secrete sebum so unwontedly and frequently.

Confession: I love smoked salmon, cooked salmon, fresh sashimi, raw salmon, steamed salmon and salmon with buttered, battered crusts. Basically anything salmon, but I suspect that has little to contribute to good skin in the long run if you’re always eating them pan-fried or oven-baked.
8. MULTIVITAMINS
This is another no-brainer. Without the essential vitamins your body simply cannot function. When the basic functions go into hibernation mode, your skin condition is compromised. So help yourself: take your daily multivitamins. I go for ALIVE! Women’s Multivitamins or Centrum.

 

I’m sure way more females have extensive skincare regimes and secrets. Do share and I hope these are little tips to pick up along the way. Your skin doesn’t get any younger. I don’t have the most perfect skin, but I try.

Viktoria Jean Li

 

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[DIARY] ONE LESS STRANGER

A sleepless night was spent following tweets on AirBnB’s #OneLessStranger campaign. Tired and insomniac as I was, I couldn’t help applauding the global movement to connect people across cultures, to eliminate the distance we keep with people we don’t intend to know. To be on the receiving end of a thoughtful deed from a stranger – it is a simple, solitary gesture with wide-reaching resonance.

I gave the campaign some thought. What’s the point in reaching out to a stranger. Sometimes we don’t even know the person we share our last name with. How much value-add can one less stranger be? So yes it’s impossible to tag a price on gaining unlikely acquaintances. But at its core if we each know the value of having one less stranger, we would not hear of hotel sieges, terror bombings or impending nuclear wars.

I love quoting my favourite author – Haruki Murakami tells us things about ourselves we do not even know, sans big words and complexity. I would love to debate long and hard on this line:”But what seems like a reasonable distance to one person might feel too far to somebody else.” How far should you be from a stranger? How much distance should you keep from a friend, a lover? Could you draw a boundary with a firm hand and keep it? 2 people, side by side, can be worlds apart. Distances are at once tangibly physical and entirely, subjectively emotional.

January is time to begin with a new frame of mind. If I didn’t know better, 2014 was a turbulent year for many, as was the last and the year before, but that should not be grounds for excuses we tell ourselves from discarding poisonous, harmful thoughts.

We’re all on this earth for a limited time, so let’s not be strangers.

And with that said, January is already ending. I hope 2015 had been as eventful for you as it had been so far for me. Let’s keep this party rolling.

SNOW 2015

 

P.S Caught my first snowfall of 2015 in Frankfurt! I love Winter.

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

 

[SANTORINI] oo3. LIVING ON THE EDGE

Sitting on the edge of Santorini’s peak, the dormant volcanoes that we can see are silent with power. The calm blue sea emanates with trillions of years of being. This sense of awe in the face of earth’s grandeur captures what each of us essentially are in the grand scheme of our universe – mere specks of inconsequential dust in space and time.

SANTORINI HEAVEN SANTORINI OIA

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Whilst we’re living on the edge of a fast-paced world, it’s a refreshing change to stop and admire beauty in the tranquil. I think I’ve learnt to appreciate life a whole lot more.

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xoxo,
Viktoria Jean