Best place to see Autumn colors in peace : Osaka Castle 大坂城

I can’t get enough of Autumn colors, but I have actually given up on going to Kyoto as there isn’t a single place to breathe there in Autumn. I have settled in for someplace nearer to home i.e. Osaka Castle 大坂城 now. It’s a ritual for me to go to Osaka Castle in fall and this year was no different. Osaka Castle Park looks beautiful all year round, but in fall, it is spectacular. And the best part is that it is really big and peaceful and it gets easier to avoid the crowds ( apart from the Santa clad runners as there was a special Santa run that day and of course as usual I had no idea about it). I was later told that it is an annual event and the proceeds are donated to children who have to spend Christmas day in a hospital. Keep watching this space as next year you might see a post about me participating in the Santa run!! Dressed up as Santa of course!!

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Sweater – H&M, $15, 2014, also worn here;
Skirt - Zara, 184 $, 2012; also worn here;
Blazer – H&M, $55, 2013;
Cut-out boots – H&M, 50 $, 2014; also worn here;
Sunglasses – Hep Navio, $10, 2014;
Bag - Chanel, gift, 2014;

Places to avoid in Autumn : Arashiyama 嵐山, Kyoto 京都, Japan

No doubt Arashiyama 嵐山, a district in the western side of Kyoto 京都 is one of the best koyo spots in Japan, but it is one of those places to be totally avoided in Autumn!! I had been there before but never in fall..the reason why it is famous for!! So I thought, it was worth visiting the second time. There are a lot of tourist spots in Arashiyama but as I had limited time I just went to Tenryu-ji Temple 天龍寺 that is a world UNESCO site and Sagano bamboo forest. I couldn’t even get on the Togetsukyo Bridge 渡月橋 as there were hundreds of people waiting to get on it. The lucky few who were on the bridge were crawling in lines, not even getting a chance to pose for those customary tourist type pics. Another good place in Arashiyama is Iwatayama Monkey Park 嵐山モンキーパーク but as I had been there on my last visit, I skipped it this time ( It’s not worth me mentioning that it is on a height and I am not going to climb that steep slope again in my sane self again!!! ). And not to forget those long queues outside each and every restaurant. Well I want to go there again but maybe later this month as they have a special mountain illumination in mid-December. And this time no one can stop me to get on the bridge!!!

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Sweatshirt – Uniqlo x Lulu Guiness, $20, 2014,
Skirt – Lokhandwala Complex, 19 $, 2007; also worn here;
Boots – Namba Parks, 137 $, 2012, also worn here;
Bag – Charles & Keith, $ 60, 2014, also worn here;
Sunglasses – Hep Navio, $10, 2014;
Jacket – Zara, $130, 2013, also worn here;

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Nanzen-ji Temple 南禅寺 , Kyoto 京都 in Autumn

Don’t get me wrong…I have nothing against hanami ( cherry blossom ) in Japan, but I feel that it is slightly overrated!! I mean the flowers are pretty no doubt, but sitting under a tree with a picnic basket just doesn’t appeal to me. Whereas koyo or autumn leaves watching is much more beautiful if you ask me. Kyoto 京都 especially offers breathtaking picture perfect views, and not to forget an ideal background for my outfit pictures ( if only there were less people around to photobomb!! ) Well there is no dispute that Kyoto is the best place to see autumn colors in Japan. There are many koyo spots but the one I went on Sunday is “Nanzen-ji”. It is one of the most important Zen temples in all of Japan, established in 1291 by Emperor Kameyama. Nanzen-ji 南禅寺 has 12 sub-temples but not all of them is open to public. It is famous for its bright and colourful autumn foliage. Vivid Japanese momiji or maple trees near Sammon gate in the temple complex looks breathtaking. I couldn’t visit all the temples as it was already late and they close early at 5 p.m. I will definitely go back again and I recommend others to go too!! But be warned that wherever you go in Kyoto during autumn, you can’t escape the hordes of “koyo lovers”. They are just everywhere!!SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC   SONY DSC SONY DSC
Coat – Zara, $120, 2014;
Stole – Alexander McQueen, gift, 2014;
Tights – Tutuanna, $ 3, 2014;
Shoes – H&M, $ 50, 2014; aslo worn here;
Bag – Charles & Keith, $ 60, 2014;
SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC After spending some time around Nanzen-ji we went to Philosopher’s Path 哲学の道, Tetsugaku no michi that is a stone path through the northern part of Kyoto’s Higashiyama district. The path follows a canal which is lined by hundreds of cherry trees and connects Nanzen-ji and Ginkaku-ji Temples. The best time to visit this path is in April. There are a few boutiques, souvenir shops and coffee shops along the path and we stopped to have some tea at one of them… SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC

MAC マック Select Sheer Pressed Powder Review

I have been using マック MAC studio fix fluid line foundation for 6 years now but I had never tried MAC powders before; in-fact MAC Select Sheer Pressed Powder is my first ever high-end pressed powder. I am shade NC 43.5 in the foundation but still I went for shade NC 30 in the powder as I wanted something brighter and luckily this shade matches my skin tone perfectly.
MAC claims that this powder is “micro fine, sheer and silky. Pressed for portability. Goes on lightly. Won’t shift your shade or leave its mark. Let’s skin’s natural vitality and freshness glow through. Comes with its own suede-finish sponge. Blurs lines. Makes skin look flawless.” I guess all this is some what true!!

MAC Select Sheer Pressed Powder

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MAC Select Sheer Pressed Powder

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It comes in a good quality black plastic body with a touch open button. It is really thin and compact and I love its chic packaging. The puff is soft and cushiony. It has a mirror inside which is the added benefit. I carry it out everyday in my makeup pouch but it doesn’t get messy. It has no scent and doesn’t break me out. I bought it for 30 $ at Hong Kong duty free. There is 12 gms of product in it.

The powder is super smooth and silky. It says sheer but it gives a decent coverage. It doesn’t dry or accentuate my dry patches. It even covers the large pores on my nose. It doesn’t make you look cakey and gives a natural look. It can cover light marks and blemishes on its own. It doesn’t make me look white as it has yellow undertones.

It controls oil and shine and makes my face matte for 3-4 hours after which I need to touch up or use a blotting paper on my super shiny nose area.

pressed powder

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MAC Select Sheer Pressed Powder

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 Pressed Powder

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Thanks to this powder I can clearly see the difference between drug store pressed powders and the high end ones. Also there are a lot of shades available to choose from unlike in a drug store. Definitely a must-have!!

Watch this video to see what else I got from Hong Kong!!

Things to do in Japan : Miyajima 宮島

Miyajima 宮島 was on my list as it is one of the top most scenic sights in Japan. And finally I was able to tick one item off my bucket list. I visited Miyajima last month. September is not a good time to travel in Japan and it was raining when we visited Miyajima. But thankfully it didn’t rain all day!! We went to Hiroshima first and then transferred to a ferry to Miyajima. Miyajima is famous for natural spring water onsen 温泉 . Not to forget Itsukushima Shrine 厳島神社 that is a Shinto shrine best known for its “floating” torii gate. The shrine and its torii gate are unique as they are built over water, and seem floating in the sea during high tide. You should check high tide timings to get that perfect background for your pictures. Although during low tide the water drains out of the bay and you can walk to the torii gate and see the gate from up close. After sunset, the shrine and the torii gate are illuminated, and ryokan guests can enjoy an evening walk in yukata and geta sandals. Miyajima is also famous for Momiji manjū (もみじ饅頭) that are small cakes made in the shape of a maple leaf. Traditionally, they’re made with sweet bean paste, but cheese, chocolate and other variations are also available. Apart from these there is nothing much to do on the island. There is Momijidani Park 紅葉谷公園 famous for deer but you can see deer even when you go just out of the ferry terminal. We stayed at Iwaso 岩惣 that is a famous Japanese style inn or ryokan 旅館 to experience Japanese culture. The rooms had tatami floor and balconies. They had a nice onsen with indoor as well as outdoor baths. The food served there was really Japanese with a lot of tofu and eggplant dishes which was not upto my taste. But I am not complaining because that is what made my trip authentic!!

Things to do in Japan : Miyajima 宮島

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Ferry to Miyajima

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Ferry to Miyajima

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Things to do in Japan : Miyajima 宮島

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Things to do in Japan : Miyajima 宮島

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Things to do in Japan : Miyajima 宮島

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Iwaso ryokan

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Iwaso Ryokan

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Iwaso Ryokan

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Iwaso Ryokan, Miyajima

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Iwaso Ryokan, Miyajima

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Iwaso Ryokan

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Iwaso Ryokan, Miyajima

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Itsukushima Shrine

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Itsukushima Shrine

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Itsukushima Shrine

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Itsukushima Shrine

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Itsukushima Shrine, Miyajima

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Itsukushima Shrine, Miyajima

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Miyajima

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Things to do in Japan : Miyajima

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Things to do in Japan : Miyajima

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Things to do in Japan : Miyajima

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Itsukushima Shrine Japan

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Things to do in Japan : Miyajima

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Outfit of the day

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T-shirt – Paul Frank ポール フランク, $16 on Sale, 2014;
Skirt – Uniqlo ユニクロ, $20, 2011, also worn here;
Shoes – Nike ナイキ, $121, 2008, also worn here;
Bag – Givenchy ジバンシィ, gift, 2014;
Earrings – Voyageur, $13, 2014, also worn here;
Watch – Marc Jacobs, マーク ジェイコブス gift, 2013, also worn here;
Sunglasses – Chanel シャネル, gift, 2014, also worn here;

Things to do in Japan : Miyajima

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Things to do in Japan : Miyajima

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Iwaso Ryokan

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Iwaso Ryokan

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Iwaso Ryokan

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Iwaso Ryokan, Miyajima

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Iwaso Ryokan

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ファッション傾向 Fashion Trends 2014 : Underwear as Outerwear and Matching Co-ordinates

It was my birthday last month and and I wore this underwear inspired lacy camisole top with a matching co-ordinate skirt from Bershka to dinner. I am very late to follow these fashion trends 2014 – Underwear as Outerwear and Matching Co-ordinates. First because I never found something I really liked that was less lacy or just because I am a dim-wit when it comes to trends!! I saw ladies wearing something lacy under a blazer in the office or a camy dress teamed with sneakers and a jacket on the street and admired their stylish details. They looked so effortlessly chic. So I had to cave in eventually!! But there is a fine line to do that. With this trend less is definitely more. I love this top because it is subtle and appropriate to wear out and doesn’t look as if I have just stumbled out of my bed!! Also I love this matching skirt to wear with it or sometimes on its own too!! This saves so much time and overall I don’t have to exert myself!! Have you guys tried these trends??
P.S. I had dinner at The Cosmopolitan Grill and Bar on the 9th floor of Grand Front Osaka in Umeda (for the second time, read all about my first visit here). It’s a modern and fancy restaurant with huge windows which offer great views of downtown Osaka. They have an elaborate wine and cocktails list. We had their foie-gras, lamb chops and steak. Portion sizes are huge and the steak was to die for!! Although I can’t say that about the lamb!! Expensive place but ideal for celebrating any occasion!!

Fashion Trends 2014 : Underwear as Outerwear and Matching Co-ordinates

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Fashion Trends 2014 : Underwear as Outerwear and Matching Co-ordinates

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Fashion Trends 2014 : Underwear as Outerwear and Matching Co-ordinates

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Fashion Trends 2014 : Underwear as Outerwear and Matching Co-ordinates

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Fashion Trends 2014 : Underwear as Outerwear and Matching Co-ordinates

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Fashion Trends 2014 : Underwear as Outerwear and Matching Co-ordinates

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Fashion Trends 2014 : Underwear as Outerwear and Matching Co-ordinates

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Top – Bershka, $4 on Sale, 2014;
Skirt – Bershka, $10 on Sale, 2014;
Shoes – Zara, $20 on Sale, 2014;
Clutch – Zara, $60, 2013; also worn here;
Sunglsses – Marc Jacobs, 130 $, 2013, also worn here;
Earrings – Namba City, $9, 2014;
Bracelet – Forever 21, $8, 2014, also worn here;
Watch – Marc Jacobs, マーク ジェイコブス gift, 2013, also worn here;

Cosmopolitan Grill, Grand Front Osaka

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Cosmopolitan Grill, Grand Front Osaka

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Cosmopolitan Grill, Grand Front Osaka

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Cosmopolitan Grill, Grand Front Osaka

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Cosmopolitan Grill, Grand Front Osaka

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Cosmopolitan Grill, Grand Front Osaka

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Cosmopolitan Grill, Grand Front Osaka

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Cosmopolitan Grill, Grand Front Osaka

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My latest video!! Follow me around Shanghai!!

Trend Addiction in Japan

For the last few days, something has been constantly bothering me, I suspect I now suffer from a severe case of Japanese-aria, the first symptom being a very pronounced Trend Addiction!! And I am not being paranoid, case in point is I really really wanted a flower headband & life seemed so dull without one, not because I like it, but because I wanted to be part of the underground sub culture of the so – fashionable girls who love to flaunt their flower inspired accessories. The streets of Japan appeared swarmed by these flower wielding sisters, and I kept feeling like a sore thumb sticking out of the crowd – a complete ‘non conformista’.
But there is still a little bit of hope left, since I am not always playing the role of a follower. Sometimes, I am a leader, the influencer and this quality manifest especially when I enter a fairly empty shop, on many a occasions I have noticed several others walking in soon, probably following me, trying to figure out my fashion secrets!! So here’s a big shout out to all the empty shops in Japan – you know who to contact now if you want to increase footfalls.
I think a lot of stuff is done here just to conform, to be a part of a community, for example Japanese play golf because hey everyone seems to be enjoying playing golf & if you want to go on a holiday then Hawaii is the answer because everyone goes there!! Sometimes I see a long line of people waiting to get in a restaurant during lunch time whereas the restaurant next door is empty!!!
But come to think of it – it does simplify your life up – no need to think, no need to worry or fuss over your plans on what to wear, eat, party or holiday – leave that to somebody else – just follow the trend & hop on to the Trend Addiction wagon.
Now back to me, I wore this outfit to have afternoon tea at a cute little place in Kitahama in Osaka called “Kitahama Retro”. They have a cute retro decor with mint details and fancy teacups . It is fairly busy so reservation is required. I opted for afternoon tea set complete with cakes, tea and sandwiches. And why did I choose afternoon tea?? Well because everyone is doing it and it’s trendy, why else???

Zara dress

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Flower headband

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Flower inspired accessories

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outfit of the day

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Zara Pink Dress

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Outfit of the day

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Chanel Boy Bag

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flower headband

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Dress – Zara , $15 on sale, 2011, also worn here;
Jacket – Numero Uno, $22, 1998, also worn here;
Shoes – 心斎橋 Shinsaibashi, 大阪 Osaka, $20, 2013; also worn here;
Flower Headband – Bershka, $10, 2014;
Sunglasses – Chanel, gift, 2014, also worn here;
Bag – Chanel, gift, 2014;
Watch – Marc Jacobs, マーク ジェイコブス gift, 2013, also worn here;
Bracelet – Forever 21, 8 $, 2014; also worn here;
Flowers – Aoyama Flower Market

Kitahama Retro Cafe Osaka Japan

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Afternoon tea set - Kitahama Retro Cafe Osaka Japan

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Afternoon tea set - Kitahama Retro Cafe Osaka Japan

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Afternoon tea set - Kitahama Retro Cafe Osaka Japan

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Afternoon tea set - Kitahama Retro Cafe Osaka Japan

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Afternoon tea set - Kitahama Retro Cafe Osaka Japan

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Afternoon tea set - Kitahama Retro Cafe Osaka Japan

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Afternoon tea set - Kitahama Retro Cafe Osaka Japan

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Afternoon tea set - Kitahama Retro Cafe Osaka Japan

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Afternoon tea set - Kitahama Retro Cafe Osaka Japan

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Afternoon tea set - Kitahama Retro Cafe Osaka Japan

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Calvin Klein カルバン・クライン Shock Street Edition Perfume for Her Review

I have been using Calvin Klein for ages now (10 years to be exact ), CK One was one of my first perfumes and is still one of my favourites. But CK Shock Street Edition just sucks on me!! Top notes open with glittery citruses – bergamot and mandarin combined with sweet plum zest. The heart is sweet with fruity notes sweetened with dark chocolate and caramel, while the base is soft and warm with patchouli, sandalwood, amber and musk.

Calvin Klein Shock Street Edition

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Calvin Klein Shock Street Edition

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Calvin Klein Shock Street Edition

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Love the white bottle. It looks cool and funky with white base and floral graffiti on it.

It is a nice and inexpensive scent. A bottle of 100ml just cost me $20. It smells fun and fresh. I think it is a good scent for summer as it is light and refreshing. It is more of a fruity scent in the beginning and woody with a hint of chocolate and caramel at the end. It is a sweet scent but not achingly sweet to give a headache.

Calvin Klein Shock Street Edition

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Calvin Klein Shock Street Edition

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Calvin Klein Shock Street Edition

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But the longevity is not much. I spray about 4 squirts on my wrist and still can just smell the opening notes for 15 minutes. I try to smell it and I try really hard and then I can figure out the middle notes but there is no question of even getting to the base note. It is hard to smell it on my own skin so I can’t imagine others noticing it. So lets not even talk about silage!!
Maybe if it was a little stronger I would have really liked it.

Buffet Dinner @Cooka, Marriott Miyako Osaka

These pictures are from a few days ago when I went for a buffet dinner to Cooka at Marriott Miyako Osaka located in the tallest building in Japan i.e. Abeno Harukas. It’s a brand new hotel with very modern and beautiful decor. Cooka is located on the 19th floor of the hotel. I have worked for J.W.Marriott, Mumbai in the past and therefore I kind of have an affinity for this brand. Well coming back to the restaurant, they have a very large area (very unlike Japan) and glass windows that offer beautiful night view of the city.
They have a huge selection of food and desserts with at least 20 flavours of gelato itself. There are a few live kitchens too but my favourite has to be their miniature burgers. Another thing that I liked was that they had the bar included in the buffet too unlike most restaurants where alcohol is not included ( or sometimes they might throw in a beer or wine) . The price on the weekend for dinner is around $65 which is a little steep but you can always try out the lunch buffet for $38. Restaurants in Japan offer great value at lunch time at a fraction of the dinner. Even Michelin star restaurants offer special lunch deals. Although lunch time is not fun as the restaurants are very crowded because the lunch slot in almost all the Japanese companies is 12-1 and so there is always a long line of people waiting to get inside. Also after eating people need to leave the restaurant immediately..so let’s not even talk about having a conversation. Long story cut short – if you want to try expensive meals at reasonable prices always eat lunch at a restaurant (week days preferably!!). And do try out Cooka !!

Outfit of the day

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Aoyama Flower Market

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Mango skirt

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Aldo shoes

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Chanel sunglasses

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Armani Exchange bag

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Chanel sunglasses

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ootd

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Top – Forever 21, $18, 2009; also worn here;
Skirt – Mango, $55, 2008;
Bag – Armani Exchange, 130 $ ( gift ), 2014; also worn here;
Shoes – Aldo, $123, 2008, also worn here;
Sunglasses – Chanel, gift, 2014, also worn here;
Earrings – Voyageur, $13, 2014;
Watch – Marc Jacobs, gift , 2013, also worn here;

Kooka @Marriott Miyako Hotel

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Kooka @Marriott Miyako Hotel

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Kooka @Marriott Miyako Hotel

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Kooka @Marriott Miyako Hotel

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Kooka @Marriott Miyako Hotel

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Kooka @Marriott Miyako Hotel

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Kooka @Marriott Miyako Hotel

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Kooka @Marriott Miyako Hotel

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Kooka @Marriott Miyako Hotel

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Kooka @Marriott Miyako Hotel

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Shiseido Ma Cherie 資生堂 マシェリDecoration Keep Spray For Shiny Hair Review

Ma Cherie means “my sweetheart”. This Shiseido Ma Cherie Decoration Keep Spray is formulated with the core ingredient of champagne honey gelee that leaves the hair feeling light and silky to touch and allows to experience a sweet and romantic fragrance while pampering the hair which sweetens the life of girls everywhere. Kinda cheesy right???
It has champagne that protects against environmental free radicals and oxidative stress. It also has honey that naturally retains moisture and gives shiny hair. Hydroxyl Ethyl Urea is the effective moisturising ingredient. And last but not the least Inositol is the Vitamin B that softens hair. It is formulated with Ma Cheries’s signature hair glee together with their signature floral and romantic fruity aroma which is the best part of this product. It can be used for both curly and straight hair styles.
After styling the hair you should hold the spray nozzle 15-20 cms away from hair and spray all over. The spray nozzle does not spray directly but like a fine spray. It holds the style in place while giving the hair a healthy finish and makes the hair shiny. Well actually I personally don’t like that shiny finish because it makes my hair look oily and wet.
It keeps my hair in place all day. But it makes my hair really crunchy and difficult to re-style. Also sometimes it leaves white residue but certainly it is less than this.
I love the packaging, it looks very princessy and girly with pink spray bottle with golden on it. It contains 140 g of product and costs around 9$.
For a more defined hold, you can spray on hair before using hair iron or hot curlers although I have never tried this!!

Shiseido Ma Cherie

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Shiseido Ma Cherie 資生堂 マシェリDecoration Keep Spray

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Shiseido Ma Cherie 資生堂 マシェリ

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 Shiny Hair

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Shiseido Japan

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It has the possibility to repair your hair and make it shiny, smooth and silky. I don’t think a hair spray can do that but I don’t expect that either. Although it claims to have a lot of benefits I didn’t feel any so maybe will not re-purchase. Also the shine formula put me off !!