Como + Milano

Last stops, Lake Como & Milan.

Let’s talk about Lake Como first.

milan2

I have no words to describe how it looked. A large lake that forms the heart of the regions around it. The weather wasn’t the best, but the sights more than made up for it. The lake is surrounded by cafes, and walk-friendly paths. Exploring the city of Como led us to a funicular (similar to the Victoria Peak tram in Hong Kong), that took us to the small town of Brunate, where we proceeded to have a hot tea and a fantastic home-made chocolate cake (perfect for the cold).

I have only one outfit picture because it was way too cold to pose.

milan3

milan4

milan5

milan8

milan17

IMG_1425

Wearing: Ginger by Lifestyle top and tank, Calvin Klein Jeans denim, Nikes, H&M denim jacket, Kipling bag, and my mom’s scarf

A day in the city of Como later, we went to Milan– the fashion capital of the world, which buzzed with life. For someone like me, this was the perfect end to the trip. Milan is a perfect melange of art, style, and culture, as well as a city made for window-shopping. Carefully curated designer store windows are the best kind of eye-candy. And the Duomo di Milano is stunning both inside and out. It’s one of the most beautiful cathedrals I’ve seen.

Milan’s got something for everyone. The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II houses cafes, bookstores, and luxury brands. A free schedule allowed me to wander the bookstore here, and I was not disappointed. I made myself at home among the art, and fashion sections.

Do not miss eating at Ciccolati Italiani, a gelateria around the corner from the Duomo, and Spontini right next to it. Both the queues are worth it.

milan1

milan14

milan15

milan16 milan7 copy

milan6

milan9

milan13

milan10

milan11

milan12

Wearing Dorothy Perkins dress, Bershka jacket, Skechers, Thames (Bangkok) bag, Hilfiger watch

And with that, we come to the end of my Italian vacation. I hope you guys liked vicariously visiting Italy. Everyone has to see this country. No blog posts or photographs can show you its true beauty. Make it there when you’ve got the energy to walk a lot.

Advertisements

City of Canals

Yes, we are still talking about my summer.

Place #3 on my Italian vacation was the City of Canals, Venice. It is as beautiful as the pictures on Lonely Planet. The main mode of transport is by water taxi, and speedboat. All the little roads, and lanes lead to the canal. Houses are painted in bright colours, so it’s a great location for photographs. Plus, this is home to the gondola ride.

I also had the chance to check out (a part of) the Biennale, an art exhibition in Venice which takes place every two years. Exhibit in point, Jenny Holzer’s “War Paintings”, a moving set of paintings, based on “declassified and other sensitive U.S. government documents concerning the global War on Terror that followed the events of September 11, 2001, as well as the United States military operations in Afghanistan an Iraq. Holzer’s paintings are drawn from memoranda, planning maps, diplomatic communiqués, interrogation records, autopsy reports, and the handwritten cri de coer of detainees themselves”. (source)

Needless to say, the exhibit was striking, and the stories shared shook me to the core. Make sure you go to Venice during the Biennale for a chance to see and appreciate art that moves you.

I also got to go to Murano, Burano, and Torcello islands. The only downer was the rain. Venice remained a little depressing and grey all over the two brief days I was there.

Scroll for snapshots of my trip!

venice1

venice3

venice2

venice5

venice4 

venice16Wearing Forever 21 top, Calvin Klein Jeans denim, Mango trench, Nikes, Pieces Vero Moda scarf, Thames bag, Tommy Hilfiger watch.
venice14 venice6
venice8
venice7

venice9

venice10

venice11

venice12

venice13

Wearing Mango shirt dress, Forever 21 tights, everything else repeated

Next up, the stunning Lake Como, and the most fashionable city in the world. See you on Sunday!


Firenze!

Florence was the next stop on the trip to Italy. I gotta say, I fell in love with the city as soon as I saw it. Florence, also known as Firenze, is the perfect blend of modernity and heritage. There are trams, cathedrals, and beautiful buildings on every corner. The sun sets in Italy at 9 pm, which makes every city a wonderful place to just wander around in the evenings. It was one of my favourite cities on the tour.

Just the Tuscan countryside is enough to make you want to buy a house and live there for the rest of your life. Firenze is postcard-perfect.

Today, I take you through Florence, and Pisa. Please visit this city, and climb up the Leaning Tower to the top. The sights are just breathtaking.

florence1

florence10

florence18

florence5

florence4

Do NOT miss out on the Hop on/Hop off tour at Florence, which takes you to the village of Firenze, 9 km from Florence. Have an Italian hot chocolate there, and marvel at how delicious it is.

florence3

florence14

florence16

florence15

florence17

florence9

florence11

florence12

florence13

florence20

At the top of the Leaning Tower. The Tuscan countryside cannot get any more perfect.

florence7 florence8

florence6

(1) Mango trench coat, H&M blouse, trousers, and earrings, Nike shoes, Thames bag, Hilfiger watch
(2) H&M crop top, Uniqlo tank, Bershka jacket, Calvin Klein Jeans jeans, Skechers GoWalk 2, Forever 21 fedora, Raybans, Hilfiger watch

Next stop, Venezia!

Buongiorno!

This summer, I had a fantastic time: I visited Italy!

Over the next few posts, I’m going to bombard you guys with photos from Rome, Florence, Venice, Lake Como, and Milan. Stunning monuments, delicious gelato, and an unbelievably good-looking population… what’s not to love about the country?

It was a great vacation– the weather was good (most of the time), I saw my first Wonder of the World at Pisa (and took a tourist-y picture to boot!), ate more pizza than I could count, went on a gondola, and roamed cathedrals, bookstores & upmarket designer stores alike. I walked more than I ever have in my life, managed the entire trip in a carry-on, admired beautiful art that I can’t describe, and tasted Italian wine. The 10 days went by in a blur.

Plus, I managed to take hundreds of pictures! I’ve tried to present it a little differently– something like a journal-meets-magazine-editorial. So scroll through and enjoy!

rome1

Rome is where beautiful buildings are on every corner, where heritage meets modernity. It was everything I had ever imagined it would be.

rome5

rome16

rome2

Coral and denim is a new combination I chanced upon. I absolutely love it!

rome4

rome3

rome18

rome15

rome14

rome13

rome17

The Pantheon truly takes your breath away. Rome at night is beautifully lit, and a delight to explore.

rome10

rome12

rome11

Hat game on point.

rome9

rome8

rome7

rome6

Wearing: (1) Topshop dress, H&M jacket and tights, Sperrys Top Sider shoes, Thames (Bangkok) bag, Ray Bans, Tommy Hilfiger watch.
(2) Fame Forever at Lifestyle t-shirt, H&M trousers, Forever21 fedora, Skechers GoWalk 2. Jacket, sunglasses, watch, and bag repeated.

Where did you go on vacation? Tell me in the comments!

The Moderas Guide to Packing: Part 3

Packing-guide-3

Full disclosure: I’m always the one on trips with the large bag that can fit everything but the kitchen sink. This is part due to my magazine/book-reading habit, my iPad, camera, et cetera.

However, it isn’t the most practical way to travel. Sure, you need something to do on 13-hour flights when the in-flight entertainment sucks, and your phone dies. It might be a good time to unplug from technology, in my opinion. And so, we embark on the last part of my packing guide, on using your handbag as a survival kit through the journey and destination.

On choosing your handbag

DSC_0205

Photo from Deliciously Organised, via Pinterest

Think about how you’re going to use your handbag on your trip.

If you cannot take a spare bag of smaller size for walking out and about, then try to use a reasonably sized all-purpose bag, and limit your books, technology, and other items you carry. The point of using a handbag as a survival kit on flights is lost when you have to stow it on an overhead compartment. Plus, a reasonably sized bag will serve you well while sightseeing too.

If you’re travelling within the country however, you can carry a larger bag but take necessary precautions.

Remember your day bag must also fit your wallet, passport, and sunglasses at least, so that it serves its purpose.

2. Choose your books well.

<morning inspiration | new blog post on lovetpd.com>

A post shared by The Pink Diary (@thepinkdiary) on

A single book that isn’t too thick, which you could devour in a few readings should be okay. If you’re travelling with company, ask them to bring a book each so that if you finish it on the plane, you can take their books.

Buy a magazine at a store, and probably leave it in your room/plane if you’re done devouring it.

Alternatively, consider subscribing to magazines & even buying books on your phone/tablet, so that you’ll always have something to read, in a desperate situation. It’s a great time to bring back the reading habit.

If you are a doodler, take a pocket size notebook and two pens for writing or doodling whenever you feel like it. You’ll thank me later. It’s a great time to learn a new skill. Maybe try Zentangle to keep zen.

If you don’t like books, this will be the start of a wonderful habit.

3. Pick a bag that can fit your camera.

b781434f30cf222fe8dfed88ebcf600a

Photo via Pinterest. This bag is from a brand known as Ona, which makes stylish bags for your camera.
Isn’t it adorable?

I don’t like carrying my camera bag. This time, I’m thinking of leaving it at home, or at most, the hotel, and putting my camera in my day bag. Unless you have a cute, handbag-like camera bag, you could do the same. I don’t want to leave my DSLR at home, and there’s only an extent to which your phone can capture.

ALSO, take only one lightweight lens, if you are not a professional photographer going for a story. One lens will do. Don’t burden yourself with tons of lenses and then worry about keeping an eye on all of them in a pickpocket-prone city. If you really think you can’t take care of your tech, get them insured & back up your photos or use different memory cards as much as you can.

Alternatively, make any bag a camera bag if you’re good with needle and thread! Tutorial here.

4. Organisation is key

gurl dot com

#travelhack. Photo from gurl.com via Pinterest

No one likes a tangle of wires, headphones, and chargers in their bag. Keep it clean and fuss-free by putting them in sunglass-cases. Not only will it save you from irritation, it also prevents further messes. Win.

5. Keep the beauty basics basic

3276f3151d0c6a3e673d907e15e56700

Photo from Refinery29

You don’t need to carry all your makeup and skincare. I already talked about this here, but I would like to reiterate it. Unless you have a skin problem, and require specific treatments, try to take little in your handbag. Tinted lip balm, and moisturiser (less than 100ml on flights) should be more than adequate, unless you’re hitting the town running, in which case, take eyeliner or an SPF foundation. Don’t carry nail polish or perfume, because you might make others uncomfortable while using it. Pack solid perfume as a last resort.

My basics?

  • lip balm
  • breath mints (gum is annoying)
  • hand sanitiser
  • matte-fying powder

On long flights, it is suggested to moisturise every few hours with an intensive cream or serum to prevent your skin from drying out. So I might try that out. Nothing wrong with some moisture.

6. SCARF!

4d4effb3c7e6d14303c26f7fe9a8cc1c

Photo from Nordstrom via Pinterest

So important, and so easily overlooked. Take a woven scarf (in a soft material– see how comforting the material in the picture looks?) to double up as a blanket on modes of transport, which can be so cold. Plus, this will help in mixing and matching clothes later on your trip.

7. A snack

enhanced-9850-1426442976-4

Full post here, from Buzzfeed

On my flight back yesterday from Mumbai, I realised that hunger pangs were the worst thing to deal with. The food was woefully inadequate. I’m definitely going to take a granola bar or one of those Nutri-Choice single package biscuits to keep me sane. Or try my hand at one of these from Buzzfeed. 

That’s all I’ve got. What are your handbag essentials for a long trip? Tell me in the comments!

The Moderas Guide to Packing: Part 2

Packing-guide-2

Hello! We return today with part 2 of the Moderas Guide to Packing. Now that we got clothing out of the way (read it here ICYMI), we move on to accessories, beauty & toiletries.

Accessories can make or break an outfit, but there’s no need for them to make or break you, when you find them in a knot, or worse, broken, or missing one of a pair in earrings.

I would advise you to not carry too many accessories. Take pieces without colourful stones so that you can wear them for more than one outfit. Or pack within a certain colour spectrum & take one necklace/pair of earrings that goes with everything. 

But if you do end up taking more than one, I’ve got you covered. 

1. Use buttons for keeping earrings together 

buzzfeed

Photo via Buzzfeed

You know those sewing kits that make your way home from hotels? And those extra buttons on clothes? Use them wisely. Loop your earrings through one side & a rubber stopper (or a bit of an eraser, if you don’t have one). Now you’ll never have to worry about missing earrings again. Slip the buttons into a small box and you’re good to go.

Alternatively, if you take other jewellery,

2. Use a pill box for rings, brooches, etc. 

huffpo

Photo from Destination Detective via HuffPost 

Pill boxes are a godsend for organising. It can take anything from beads to baubles, and they fit into any bag because they’re meant to be portable. Use them for housing your fancy rings, bracelets, etc.

3. Drinking straws for delicate necklaces

8c0a1d8182136a03d8124c6876cef106

Photo via HuffPost

This is a bit of an ingenious hack that I discovered on the Internet. Thread your necklace through a straw (you can cut the straw to fit but it should cover at least half of the necklace) and put it in a pouch with your makeup. Tangled, annoying necklaces, be gone!

Now let’s talk makeup.

4. Use contact lens cases for liquids & creams

Photo via XOVain

When you’re on vacation, why carry an entire bottle of foundation? If you have acne prone skin, leave the bottle at home and take enough to act as concealer. Put some of the foundation in a contact lens case after emptying the solution, if any. Bonus, use it for cream blushes too. Contact lens cases are amazing- they’re spill proof, cute, and small enough to carry anywhere. Problem with liquids in hand luggage = solved. 

No other makeup bottle is prone to contain more than 100 ml of liquid. Hence, you can carry your other makeup. But leave the large shadow palettes at home. Vacations need not require primping every day. Which brings me to…

5. Choose multitasking makeup 

  • Use an SPF included powder instead of taking separate sunscreens for face & powder
  • BB cream instead of foundation (the former is available in smaller tubes)
  • Lip + cheek tints instead of separate blushes and lipsticks
  • Pencils over an eyeshadow palette. Choose a soft brown that can be blended out if necessary 

When I travel, I carry a black eyeliner, brown eye pencil, loose powder with SPF, BB cream in case of breakouts & a neutral lipstick. I also have BabyLips by Maybelline (in antioxidant berry) in my handbag for salvaging dry lips.  That’s all you need, really. Why spend a lot of time in front of a mirror when you could be doing other things? Keep it simple. 

6. Leave your toiletries at home 

dcc53beab04350daf271420ed5b59c4c

Photo via HuffPost

Unless you’re going on a hiking expedition or biking in the mountains, you shouldn’t bother about shampoos, conditioners, and the like. The world is getting increasingly smaller, and every drugstore & hotel will have basic amenities that can tide you over. If you have allergies or require specific treatment for scalp conditions, then take them. Otherwise, do yourself a favour and leave it at home.

  • If you do take them, transfer them to a 100ml (double check the restriction for airlines, I might be wrong) bottle & cover the mouth of the bottle with tape so that it doesn’t leak on your clothing
  • Slip glass bottles and perfumes into socks.

I think that’s all we have for beauty! One more to go. What are your favourite, tried-and-true methods for packing accessories, makeup & toiletries? Share in the comments.