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in california, Uncategorized

Visiting Boulder Bay Park at Big BearFeatured

Boulder Bay Park

boulderbaypark

First of all, I would like to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year with all your loved ones. This year went by too fast, and I can’t wait for what 2019 has in store for both you and me! 

This past weekend, I went to Big Bear with some of my friends that I’ve known since high school. Out of the blue, we suddenly had the urge to see the snow and experience “winter,” something Californians never get to experience.

It had been years since I last been to the snow, and I guess I wanted an excuse to wear my Columbia puffer jacket and beanie. After some last minute planning, we set off to Big Bear on Saturday morning.

Since it was the weekend before Christmas, there was some traffic on the way there; however, it was expected.

boulderbaypark

We decided that our first stop would be Boulder Bay Park, a quaint and beautiful park located a few miles before the infamous village.

The drive from the San Fernando valley to Boulder Bay park took approximately 2.5 hours. During the entire drive up the mountain road, we saw no snow!

It wasn’t until we reached Boulder Bay park that we started to see some snow…and my was it beautiful! The weather outside was a stunning 55 degrees, and I wore a long sleeve, thin sweater, jeans, and sneakers (Snow attire, i know).

bigbear

Due to the drought, the lake at Boulder Bay park receded so low that most of the docks were sitting on dirt.

On the plus side, there was a nice dirt path straight to the middle of the bay. Naturally, my friends and I took advantage of the low water level and walked on over to the magnificent boulders.

We struggled at first to find a safe and way up the rocks. After some time, we found a path to the top, and boy was the view amazing.

Boulder Bay Park is a place you must visit if you venture out to Big Bear. With its lush and green grass, picnic tables, and paved walking paths, what’s not to love! The park’s parking lot is small and fills up fast; however, there are lots of free parking on the street right along the park.

I highly recommend that you spend an hour or two to walk around the park and relax before continuing your way to the village.

Hopefully by Spring time, the lake will rise to its proper levels so people can kayak or fish in the lake.

Have you ever been to Boulder Bay Park? What do you like or dislike most about it?

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Best Lipsticks for FallFeatured

dolcegal

         I can’t believe it’s already November! Everything is happening so fast and the holidays are just around the corner. Anywho, I know all you ladies know that lipstick is the perfect final touch for your look. Whether you’re going for a casual, simple look or a full glam makeover, choosing the right lipstick can definitely get overwhelming, especially with all the lipstick brands and shades on the market. Well, I thought this would be a good time to share with you my favorite (aka best) lipsticks for fall.

         Before we dive into my favorite lipsticks for fall, let’s start with the prep work. You’re probably wondering “prep work? What’s that?” Well, all it really consists of is applying chap stick and lip liner in order to make your lipstick have that final WOW factor.

Preparation: Fresh sugar lip scrub

         To get my lips soft and exfoliated, I like to use the Fresh Sugar Lip Scrub once a week. At $24 a jar, the lip scrub may at first seem pricey, but it is worth every dollar because it works wonders on my lips. The lip scrub is gentle exfoliant that buffs away dry flakes from your lips leaving them soft and smooth. Made from brown sugar crystals, natural humectants, shea butter, and jojoba oil, it also conditions the lips and makes them perfect for prime lipstick application.

         To use the sugar lip scrub, all you have to do is gently dab a very tiny amount of the scrub onto your finger. Then, rub the scrub all over your upper and lower lip. Wait a few minutes for the scrub to work its magic on your lips before washing it off with water. Within seconds, you will surely notice how much softer and refreshed your lips feel.




Chapstick

Click HERE to get your chapstick from Amazon.

         The next step is to apply a moisturizing chapstick. I personally use the Burts Bees tinted chapstick or the Blistex chapstick, which can both be purchased on Amazon or at your nearest CVS store.

Lip Liner

          The next step is to use a lipliner in order to outline the shape of your lips. The lipliner helps define your lips, makes them appear fuller, and acts as a helping hand when applying your lipstick. I am currently using the Bite beauty matte creme lip crayon in the Glace color. According to various makeup professionals, it is best to choose a lip liner shade that is closest to your lip color. Getting a lip liner that matches each and every one of your lipsticks can be time consuming and costly.

         The bite beauty matte creme lip crayon in Glace is an amazing lip liner and I full on rave about it. The crayon is creamy, highly pigmented, long-wearing, and hydrating with a matte finish. With over 2,000  5 star reviews on Sephora and shades to match all types of lip colors, I’m certain you will love it to!

5 Best Fall Lipsticks

1) Bite beauty amuse bouche lipstick (chai)

         Okay, I am so in love with this lipstick at the moment! Are you looking for that perfect fall lipstick that isn’t too bright and is great for everyday wear? Well, this is the perfect one for you. The amuse bouche lipstick is creamy, easy to apply, and highly moisturizing. In addition, this lipstick is balanced with lip quenching nutrients, vitamins, and omega oils. Not to mention, it tastes like chai tea! The color is a beautiful and natural looking dark pink color and looks great on all skin colors. This lipstick will knock your pants off, i’m certain.

2) MakeUp Forever Artist Rouge Creme Lipstick (C211)

        The makeup forever artist rouge creme in C211  is similar to the Bite beauty amuse bouche lipstick in Chai, but slightly darker and just as beautiful. The artist rouge lipstick is very pigmented, long lasting, creamy, and even seems to make my lips appear fuller. Great for everyday wear or on a date. I can’t wait to try the artist rouge creme lipstick in different shades.

3) BareMinerals GenNude Liquid Lipstick (Swank)

         The Bare Minerals GenNude Liquid lipstick is as its name says a liquid lipstick! Untwist the cap off and simply dab the color onto your lip. The liquid lipstick in the swank color is a dark and moisturizing full coverage lipstick with a matte finish. It is creamy, velvety, and glides on the lips without any effort. I usually do not buy matte lipsticks because they are typically drying. The Bare minerals GenNude lipstick, unlike other matte lipsticks, keeps my lips hydrated for several hours and doesn’t get hard. The swank color is great for a night out or making a statement.

4) MakeUp Forever Artist rouge creme Lipstick (C206)

        Beware, the Makeup forever Artist Rouge lipstick is pink! It is highly pigmented, creamy, and just plain fun. This is not your typical daily lipstick, but rather one you would wear on special occasions. If you’re not scared of being bold and different, I dare you to try this lipstick.

5) Urban decay lipstick (f-bomb)

         The Urban Decay lipstick in F-Bomb is the most amazing color of red you will ever see! The color is bright and vibrant, with a little shine. Not only does it glide on well but it is also creamy and long-lasting. Packed with aloe vera, jojoba, vitamin c, vitamin e, and various antioxidants, the lipstick provides highly pigmented color and essential nutrients that are beneficial for your lips.

I hope you enjoyed this post on the best lipsticks for fall. Give the lip scrub, lip liner, and some of these lipsticks mentioned above a try. I want to know what you think of them. What is your favorite lipstick color? Let me know in the comments below!

P.S. If you haven’t read my previous blog, click HERE to read it.

Thank you for reading! 🙂

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in hawaii, oahu, travel, Uncategorized
East Oahu – Fun Things to Do
October 11, 2018
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in hawaii, oahu, travel, Uncategorized

East Oahu – Fun Things to DoFeatured

east oahu

         Venturing out to the east side of the island is a must do while on Oahu. A trip without a visit to the naturally beautiful and less crowded east coast means you don’t get to truly experience all the wonders of what Oahu has to offer. Unlike Waikiki, the east side of the island does not have multi-million dollar sky rises or lines of designer shops and high end restaurants.  It definitely will have a place in my heart for a long time.

         Instead, the east side of the island is a dream come true for those who enjoy the outdoors and the ocean. The beaches are less packed and stunning in ways that words cannot fully describe. Small and authentic restaurants serve fresh pulled luau pork, sweet tropical fruit juices, and poi. The options are endless!

         Now, lets start with how to get to East Oahu from Waikiki.

 

Getting to East oahu

Taken from the car on the highway to East Oahu

         If you are staying in Waikiki, it is generally a good idea to either take an Uber/Lyft or rent a car for 1-2 days to get to the east side of the island. There are a multitude of car rental stations that you can choose from with discounted pricing and flexible options to meet your needs.

         The drive from Waikiki to the east Oahu takes approximately 45 minutes to an hour and a half, depending on whether or not you decide to make stops along the way. Although the drive is somewhat long in length, the beautiful sights throughout the ride are 100% worth the drive. The two main highways, H3 and 61, are the two choices to get you from Waikiki to east Oahu. The highways are surrounded by magnificent, towering mountain ranges and millions and millions of trees.

         No matter if I looked left, right, straight, or behind, I was greeted by green vegetation everywhere! I really felt as if I was in a jungle…something I never get to experience in Los Angeles.

 

things to do

1. Go on a tour at kualoa ranch

east oahu
View from the jungle jeep tour
jurassic park
Ah, I'm about to Enter Jurassic World. Dinosaurs don't exist, right?

         Have you ever watched Jurassic World or Jurassic Park? If so, then you will definitely want to spend some time at Kualoa Ranch. Why? Because, put simply, Kualoa Ranch is the place where they filmed the movies. It is an undeniably gorgeous working ranch with horses, cows, chickens, cats, and more. Kualoa Ranch offers various tours including: UTV raptor tours, jungle jeep expeditions, zipline tours, ATV tours, horseback riding tours, and movie walkthrough tours. With reasonable pricing ranging from $30 to $100+, these popular tours sell out fast and it is highly recommended to book them at least 2 weeks – 1 month in advance.

         My family and I did the jungle jeep tour and we had such a blast! The jungle jeep tour lasted about 1.5 hours total and was $45.95 for each adult ticket. The tour guide gave us detailed information about the Hawaiian culture, talked about the different films shot at Kualoa ranch, and even gave everyone a freshly plucked strawberry guava to sample. Man, the strawberry guava was sour! BUT also delicious… I guess it was comparable to a sour patch gummy.

         Not only did we absorb interesting cultural information, but we also got fabulous views and pictures of Kualoa ranch, Chinaman’s hat, and of Kualoa beach throughout the tour. There was not a second where I was bored, especially because of the bumpy ride that felt almost like a roller coaster. The jungle jeep tour was worth it, and I would definitely do it again in a heartbeat.

 

2. Visit kualoa park and kayak to chinaman's hat

dolcegal

         Kualoa Regional Park is literally a one minute drive from Kualoa Ranch. I got stunning views of the park, ocean, and Chinaman’s hat while at Kualoa Ranch. Kualoa Regional park is an actual park right next to the beach. There are several benches to sit and eat lunch or BBQ your own food. My family and I went to an authentic Hawaiian cafe beforehand and got to-go orders of Kalua Pig and Poi. It was relaxing eating our lunch at the park with the waves crashing onto the shore and the gentle wind blowing around.

         Chinaman’s Hat, also known as Mokoli’i Island, has been termed that nickname because the island itself resembles the hat of a Chinaman. It is located about ⅓ of a mile offshore of Kualoa point. If you crave adventure, feel free to rent a kayak from Hawaii Beach Time. Hawaii Beach Time offers free delivery to any beach on the island, like Kualoa Regional beach. Choose from kayaks and paddle boards to beach chairs and umbrellas. Although I did not kayak to Chinaman’s hat, I did my research beforehand and I would have used Hawaii Beach Time.

         From various reviews on Yelp and Tripadvisor, kayaking to the island takes approximately 20 minutes. Some reviewers noted that during low tide, it is even possible to wade, or walk, over to the island. Just make sure to check the tide levels beforehand, or it will be a somewhat difficult swim and back. Also, bring water shoes so you don’t cut your feet on anything sharp on the seafloor. Safety first!

 

3. visit the legendary sandbar

sandbar
Me sitting on the seafloor - I will never forget this moment
kaneohe bay
That "dark stuff" is coral

         On my last day of the trip, my parents and I took an Uber to He’eia State park. I previously made a reservation for a 4 hour self guided kayak tour on www.holokaiadventures.com in order to kayak to the legendary Sandbar. Upon our arrival at He’eia state park, we checked in at the front desk, signed a waiver, and took a short trek to the kayak dock. The helpful employee at the kayak dock gave us a waterproof map, life vests, and quick instructions on how to kayak (and how to get ourselves back in the kayak in case we flipped over…AHH).

         The kayak adventure took a terrifying, yet thrilling 45 minutes from shore to the Sandbar. For inexperienced Kayakers like myself and my mom, I sure had lots of confidence. Originally, I thought to myself…how hard can it be to kayak in the ocean? I’ve kayaked several times in lakes, this should be no different. Er, no. Big no.

         The first 5-10 minutes were quite pleasant. We laughed, smiled, and took a bunch of selfies. Everything was great. Then, came the ginormous patches of coral in the water. They were so large that our kayak touched the coral reefs numerous times, even accidentally breaking off small bits of the coral. After maneuvering our way farther into the ocean, the water began to get darker and the waves stronger. We furiously paddled our way through the “rough waters” and throughout that time, my heart was beating so fast because we were literally the only kayak, and humans, in the water. We were totally scared out of our minds and just wanted to get to land as fast as possible.

         30 minutes later, soaked with ocean water and drenched in sweat, we finally made it to the sandbar!

         Oh my god, it was so amazing. Words cannot describe the beauty of this wondrous place. The sandbar, which is the largest saltwater sandbar in the world, is basically a white beach in the middle of the vast ocean. After anchoring our kayak in the sandbar, we hopped off into the water. It was around 9 am and low tide so the water went as high as our ankles. It was an amazing experience being able to stand in the middle of the ocean and get stunning views of the the lush mountain ranges, Mokoli’i island, and Coconut island. There were only a few other boats so it felt as if we had the same sandbar/ocean to ourselves! A group of people eve brought their own beach chairs and umbrellas, relaxing while drinking a beer. What a dream come true. 

         If you decide to venture out to the sandbar, make sure to look at the tide levels beforehand. The Sandbar can only really be experienced when the tide is low, or else the water levels will be too high for you to stand in. Going in the early morning is preferable than in the afternoon because the tide will be much lower. Although kayaking to the sandbar was terrifying, I did not regret it one bit. If you ask me whether I want to go to the Sandbar, I will say YES! But via kayak? Hmm, I may prefer going by boat next time haha. Not only did we get an awesome arm workout from kayaking, but we had plenty of time to soak in the views of the sandbar and take lots of memorable photos and videos.

 

Victorious Shot after Kayaking in the Ocean. Yay me!

These were the only places I personally visited in East Oahu. Each and every place was stunning in its own way and I highly recommend visiting all three places if time permits.

Other places to visit in east oahu

4) Lanikai Beach: A beautiful and popular beach spot destination. Great for snorkeling!

5) Lanikai Pillbox Hike: Depending on how far you go, this hike offers spectacular views of the ocean, especially during sunrise and sunset. It can get crowded at times…so the earlier, the better!

6) Waimanalo Bay: Another beautiful beach area that is typically less crowded.

7) Makapu’u Point: Also along the coast and it even has an awesome tide pool. Great for the kids!

kaneohe bay

       East Oahu should be experienced at least once in your life. A good 2-3 days should suffice to see everything; however, if time allows, spend as much time there and just relax…I mean, that is what a vacation is for. Right?

        I hope this post was helpful and gives you a better idea of what fun things you can do on your next trip to East Oahu. As always, I would love to hear you feedback. Feel free to leave a comment below or email me. 

         If you haven’t already, check out my first blog on the Best Things Do In Honolulu – A Travel Guide  

Thank you so much for reading!!!

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hanauma bay
in Uncategorized

Honolulu Travel Guide – What to See, Where to EatFeatured

koko crater trail

Without a doubt, Oahu is considered to be one of the most desired vacation spots on the planet.

With its lush green vegetation, dreamy white sand beaches, exotic hawaiian culture, and fresh coconut juice, it is no surprise why tourists come near and far.

Oahu, one of 8 main islands, is full of surprises and unlimited things to do. 

Whether you are traveling alone or with family or friends, there is definitely something for everyone. If you like a combination of city life with some of the most beautiful nature spots, Oahu is definitely the place for you.

 In this blog post, I will share with you the top fun things I did in Honolulu. Hopefully, it will convince you to explore this wonderful city, if you have not been already. :}

Now, let’s begin!

Where I Stayed

During my trip, I stayed at the Wyndham Royal Gardens – Waikiki , which overlooked the Ala Wai Canal and was situated within walking distance to downtown Waikiki.

The hotel room was pleasantly sized, included a half kitchenette, and a balcony with a view of nearby sky rise buildings.

waikiki

How to Get Around

Parking in Waikiki is known to be a real pain.

The hotel I stayed at, including the majority of other hotels in Waikiki, charged $35 per day for valet parking. WOW! (Self parking was not available.) $35 a day just for parking at your hotel adds up, especially if you plan on staying in Waikiki for at least a week.

Instead of renting a car for the entire duration of your stay, I recommend either walking or taking a Lyft/Uber to get around.

Traffic in Waikiki is horrendous, especially with all of the trolleys full of tourists and pedestrians constantly crossing the crosswalks. I personally preferred walking around the city not only because it was faster than driving around but because there were a plethora of shops to look at!

ABC Stores, Gucci, Chanel, delicious restaurants, coffee shops, Nordstroms…you name it, it was there! By walking around, you not only save money but you also get to truly see Waikiki and its little wonders.

Things to Eat

If you know me, then you know that I love to eat. Trying new types of food? Double yes!

Here is a list of some of the top restaurants/dessert places I tried:

  • Hula Grill – Brunch, Lunch, and Dinner located right on the beach
  • Top of Waikiki – Waikiki’s only revolving restaurant with stunning views
  • Marukame Udon – Most amazing thick udon noodle soup with crunch, mouth watering tempura
  • Maiko Green Tea Ice cream – Creamy Matcha and Vanilla Soft serve with freshly brewed coffee
  • Honolulu Cookie – Pineapple shaped shortbread cookies dipped with various sweet flavors. Perfect as souvenir gifts.

Fun Things to Do In Honolulu

1) Waikiki beach

Waikiki Beach, easily the busiest beachfront city on Oahu, is where the majority of hotels, restaurants, shops, and other million dollar skyscraper buildings are located.

If you are trying to decide which city to stay on the island, I highly recommend staying on Waikiki because not only is that where the majority of tourists stay, but it also offers the largest choices for hotels (at least 90%) right next to or within a close proximity to the beautiful beaches.

Waikiki, in essence, is a big posh city on the beach with expensive designer shops like Gucci, Chanel, and Hermes, chain stores like the typical ABC Stores and McDonalds.

Everywhere you go, Waikiki beach is packed with millions of tourists from all around the world. Waikiki beach tends to get very crowded so make sure to get there early to snag a good spot!

2) Koko Head Crater Trail

Koko Head Crater Trail, an exciting and popular trail, was one of the hardest “StairMaster” workouts I had ever done in my life. Located in Koko Head District Park, my mom, cousin, and I left around 6am to begin our hike.

As our Lyft driver dropped us off, I was surprised to find a full parking lot. The air was crisp and cool once we stepped out of the car, and we were warmly greeted by the rising sun.

The short dirt stretch to the beginning of the trail was easy and relaxing. 

koko head crater trail

Once we reached the beginning of the trail, I couldn’t help but feel a tab bit nervous as to what lay before me…stairs and stairs and stairs! It was nearly impossible to see the end of the trail.

With determination and a strong desire to accomplish this trail, we pushed through our fears and climbed.

The trail was easy for the first 100 steps, but steadily got increasingly difficult and steeper the farther up we climbed. After a few hundred steps or so, I would stop to wipe off the sweat from my forehead and take a sip of water while enjoying the views.

With a total of what felt like 5,000 steps, we finally made it to the top, and boy was it worth it! The spectacular panoramic views of Hanauma bay were jaw-dropping.

Throughout the hike, there were several times where I was so out of breath I felt like my body could not possibly go any further.

However, my positive mindset pushed me to keep climbing and not give up. All the sweat I wiped from my neck and sore legs was worth every minute. At the top, there were a multitude of fascinating view points to take pictures,  rest, and simply soak in the views. 

When attempting Koko Head Crater trail, make sure to bring a large bottle of water, a hat, lots of sunscreen, and your determination.

 Avoid hiking Koko Head Trail after 11am because it will be sweltering hot.

The hike took me about an hour each way. Going down was somewhat easier, but by this time, my legs were heavily fatigued. Locals, who regularly traverse this hike, climbed Koko head trail within 20 minutes!

In the future, I hope to complete this hike as fast as the locals.

3) Hanauma Bay

hanauma bay

After hiking Koko Head Crater Trail, we continued our journey to the next place: Hanauma Bay.

A short distance away from the trail, we were able to walk to Hanauma Bay within 15 minutes.  By this time, my legs felt like jello and all I could think about was laying on the soft beach under the warm sun with a cold drink in my hand.

It was a good thing we decided to walk to Hanauma Bay because Ubers and Lyfts were not allowed to drop tourists off at the Haunama Bay entrance. Only Taxis were allowed due to government laws.

The rest of my family took a taxi and met us at Haunama Bay shortly after we arrived. Admission into Haunama bay was $7.50 per person (13 years and older).

We arrived around 11am, which was considered late, as most people flock to the bay as early as 6 or 7 am. The earlier you get there, the less crowded Haunama Bay will be, which means the waters will be calmer and clearer, with better views of the coral and fish.

My family and I found a spot under some palm trees and laid down our towels. My cousin, mother, and I immediately applied a thick layer of sunscreen and put on our snorkels and fins.

If you have room in your luggage, I highly recommend bringing your own set. Not only will it save you lots of money in the long run, but it is reassuring knowing that your snorkel set is clean and has not been used by hundreds of tourists.

Get the snorkel set I used here:

Cressi Palau Snorkeling Fins

ProDive Snorkel Mask

The snorkeling fins were easy to put on, stylish, and extremely comfortable.

The snorkel mask was adjustable and almost never fogged up during my snorkel adventures. I highly recommend both and promise you won’t regret it.

I had such a blast snorkeling in Hanauma Bay. Not only did I see Parrotfish, Triggerfish, and the Hawaiian state fish aka Humu Humu Nuku Nuku Apua, but it was very easy to snorkel in Haunama Bay.

What I mean by “easy to snorkel” is:

1) The salty ocean water was super dense, which meant that I automatically floated without exerting much energy.

2) The ocean was shallow so I could literally stand anywhere I went…except on the coral, of course! Thus, even if you have never snorkeled in your life, I can assure you that snorkeling in Hanauma Bay will be an enjoyable experience.

By the time I got out of the water, several hours had already gone by.

There is a myth from the 19th century that says “if you put a frog in cool water and very gradually heat it up, the frog will ‘be stuck in the comfort of its surroundings,’ and stay complacent until it is too hot, and too late.”

In my case, I too, like the frog, gradually got burnt by the sun until it was too late…aka, I got burnt! 

 

To prevent making the same mistake as I did, make sure to frequently get out of the water every 45 minutes or so, and reapply sunscreen because the sun rays are strong and damaging. It is easy to forget that you can tan in the water.

Pro Tip: Use oxybenzone free sunscreen so you do not damage the coral reefs and fish inhabitants.

Overall, I had a wonderful experience and hope that everyone gets to experience this stupendous bay. Even if you do not swim or snorkel, make sure to walk around Hanauma Bay because the views are memorable and definitely one for the books.

Thank you!

Mahalo for reading my article on the best fun things to do in Honolulu.

Let me know your thoughts or feedback regarding this blog post.

What did you like best? What did you not like? What kind of topics do you want me to write about in the future?

I truly hope you enjoyed reading this! Stay tuned for my next blog post: What to do in Kualoa and Kaneohe.

Until Next Time!

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