As we all postpone and cancel our epic travel plans to go to faraway places no thanks to Coronavirus, I was searching for interesting staycations in the Los Angeles area when I discovered Getaway House. As exciting as the city is, sometimes you just need to get away, but not too far because, money. I was specifically looking for places to get back in touch with nature, because the healing power of nature is very very real. Hello forest bathing!Read more
Finding a job in Switzerland isn’t easy, and if you’re not a Swiss or EU citizen or exceptionally skilled in finance, trading, IT or international relations, it’s even tougher. I wanted to share a very real and in-depth account of my journey on how I landed my first job and started my career in Switzerland as a fresh graduate from America with no work experience (aside from internships). I also wanted to share the various interview processes I went through, which varies from company to company and ranges from casual to highly formal. Most recently, I interviewed with UBS Zurich. Please remember my experience is unique to me and my personal circumstances and everyone’s experience is different. If you’re looking to work in Switzerland, I hope you’ll find useful tips and information to help you find a job in a country with some of the highest-paying salaries.Read more
It’s experiences like Mercado Sagrado that make me feel like I belong back in California. I’m able to connect with like-minded people who want to vibrate on a higher level and who are looking to inspire and be inspired by the stories, energies and crafts of others. It’s the kind of event that feeds your soul (and tummy) through healing workshops, talks, music and food- every kind of nourishment you could dream of. The lifestyle annual fair is held in the Topanga Canyons at Paramount Ranch, and it feels like you’ve stepped into an old Western and back into nature. Stylish creatives, artists and designers bustle about in boho chic outfits and flowy dresses, live music plays in the background, and the scent of sizzling vegan food wafts through the fresh, crisp air. I only attended Sunday but next time I’m determined to go both Saturday and Sunday so I take full advantage of all the enlightening talks and workshops.
I was so excited attend Derma E‘s Zen in the Bev event in Beverly Hills this week and had to take a bunch of photos to share and document what was probably the best-looking event I’ve been to. I feel like I have to start off by saying this isn’t an organic green brand, so while it isn’t quite on brand, it is a more natural and affordable option that’s widely accessible at ULTA and Whole Foods.
Not only was this event held at a Beverly Hills mansion with pool and views overlooking LA, there was no shortage of activities scheduled like sound bath meditation, henna, hair braiding, intuitive readings, yoga with views, massages, cupping, facials and more. I mean I’m talking about the works: crystal clear pool with a unicorn floatie, kombucha on tap, acai bowl bar with a dozen toppings, vegan ice cream truck by Frozen Fruit Co, vegan taco bar at the grill, matcha brownies. My stomach and heart was full at the end. Thank you so much Derma E for this super relaxing and beautiful day!
First off, I’m sorry that I didn’t get to show you guys as many beautiful destinations as I got to last summer (Sardinia, Cannes, Monaco, Lisbon, Algarve, Lanzarote, Canary Island- so many last year!). This summer I stayed closer to home, visiting nearby Lyon (2 hours by car from Geneva) and Montpellier (4 hours by train from Geneva) as well as Malta (I’ll be featuring this trip over at Kali’s The Periodical so stay tuned!). Wherever I go I’m most interested in food (and beaches) and in this blog post I wanted to highlight a small handful of must visit restaurants in Montpellier. If you go you probably wouldn’t stay more than a few days anyways so no need for an exhaustive list.
20 rue J-Jacques Rousseau – 34000 Montpellier – France
Burger & Blanchette (gourmet burgers around EUR 14 ech)
L’oignon Givré (veggie buffet)
Tripti Kulai (organic eggie & vegan eatery)
I’m so excited to feature not only a Swiss luxury hotel but an eco-conscious award-winning one at that! Located in Monthey, Switzerland the Whitepod Hotel combines Swiss alpine luxury & sustainability with 15 cozy igloo-shaped “pods” designed to run as much as possible on renewable energy and with little impact on the environment. They even have private ski slopes & a lift for guests, an on-site restaurant Les Cerniers, sauna, all kinds of snow equipment and amazing Alp views from each pod. I loved getting away from it all and enjoying the peace and quiet in this remote destination.
At check-in a friendly receptionist explained how the pods work and what activities they offer on site which include skiing, snowscooting, snowshoe hiking, dogsledding & more. Then I was handed a backpack with headlamps, map and other emergency equipment and walked about 15 minutes to pod lucky number 7.
I then headed to the central chalet a few steps from my pod to enjoy the afternoon Tea Time. There were a variety of pastries, fruits & organic teas sylishly displayed and cozy couches to enjoy them on. I also discovered a “movie theater” room filled with bean bags and a large screen.
I stayed in a Deluxe Pod which features:
King Size bed
mezzanine with another bed
flat screen TV with Apple TV
Whitepod’s Restaurant Les Cerniers serves gourmet Swiss cuisine using locally sourced and fresh ingredients. The menu offers succuent meat & fish dishes as well as a variety of mountain specialties like Assiette Valaisanne and Swiss fondue.
The breakfast is simple yet high-quality and delicious. There’s fresh pastries & bread, scrambled eggs, bacon, fruits, cold cuts, cereals, dried fruits & fresh orange juice.
Whitepod also has 3 new pod suites, the Forest Suite, 007 Suite & Swiss Pod Suite, each stylishly decorated according to its theme.
I loved being able to take a luxury vacation while also being mindful of my ecological footprint by staying at Whitepod. I hope that more and more hotels will take this direction as the resource consumption and waste produced by the hospitality industry is substantial. While Whtepod does not have a rating I would personally give it 5 stars as it had a level of service and quality found at traditional 5-star hotels. The staff went out of their way to make my stay as comfortable as possible, which is no easy feat as the pods are a 20-min walk from reception.
I also included shots of the organic bauty products I brought along. The lighting at this altitude is amazing – perfect for a photoshoot!
Max and Me Sweet Serenity Collection
Max and Me Purity & Grace Oil Cleanser
Max and Me Enchanted Face Oil
Thank you Whitepod Hotel for making my Christmas special!
I finally visited the Canary Islands after wanting to go there as a college kid studying abroad in Europe and can only recommend it if you’re looking for a truly unique island vacation. Situated close to the coast of Western Sahara, Gran Canaria is the 3rd largest island in the Canaries archipelago but has the largest population. The landscapes are sweeping, dramatic and vary from the north to the south to inland.
I stayed at the Sheraton Gran Canaria Salobre Golf Resort, a 5-star resort located in the south of the island near Maspalomas and beside a two 18-hole golf course. Its standout amenities include:
Multiple pools on different levels with panoramic views
Stunning infinity pool that feels like you’re floating mid-air
Aloe Spa using natural beauty products
Extravagant breakfast & dinner buffets
New Sens Kitchen Patio Garden dining area
Tons of free yoga and fitness classes daily
The spa pool at night
The Aloe Spa is also equipped with a hammam, steam room, ice fountain and air room as well as lounge area with snacks, tea & water.
The various sunbeds scattered throughout the topmost level of the resort
The best buffet breakfast and dinners I had on the islands
The other best part of this resort was the breakfast & dinner buffets. Everytime I have a superb dining experience at a hotel and think it can’t be topped I’m proven wrong and this time it was the Sheraton’s. The selection, sophisticated presentation, quality of ingredients, gourmet options and attention to detail was outstanding. Pictured above is the fresh juice station where you could order customized juices but they also had pre-prepared detox juice blends in individual bottles.
and smoothies. There were so many different food stations you could easily miss one.
Dinner was equally fabulous with a different theme each night ranging from Asian to seafood and Tierra (meat-focused) to Spanish. Due to lighting I wasn’t able to take pictures, but there was most notably:
Chef’s stations for freshly prepared fish, calamari, sausages and other meats
Wok station for customized wok dishes prepared by a chef
Dessert selection with perhaps 30+ different desserts including a molten chocolate lava cake station and candy section
Gourmet hors d’ouevres
Excellent 5-star service
The room I stayed in was Double Deluxe with a balcony offering views over the golf course. There are no rooms with views of the ocean but the rest of the hotel more than makes up for this. I stayed at other 5-star hotels that did and didn’t offer ocean views and this hotel surpassed them by far in every way.
The room has a modern Asian aesthetic with accents of red, wood and slate and came with ample amenities including a welcome champagne bottle. Air conditioning worked perfectly, the bed was uber comfortable and the size of the room though on the smaller end was perfectly cozy.
Having stayed at a few other reputable 5-star hotels on the island I’m so glad I got to experience the Sheraton Gran Canaria because it truly did stand out. Anyone who comes to this island and chooses not to stay here is without a doubt missing out on an experience that no other hotel can offer.
I’ll be honest, I had never heard of Algarve before even during my 4 years working in Europe and I wasn’t CRAZY excited to go knowing nothing about it. But I wanted a quick getaway and I love discovering new places so I went ahead and got the ticket. I wish I had known of it sooner because Algarve is truly breathtaking with its limestone cliffs, sculpted rock formations, clear emerald seas & pastel-colored sunsets. *Also, I decided NOT to edit these shots like I normally do because I’d rather you see Portugal’s beauty in its natural state.*
The first night I stayed in Albufeira which is a cute little coastal village about an hour from Faro airport. I couldn’t do much sightseeing because i needed to work remotely but the beach is only a few blocks away and I was able to enjoy the sun, sea, and sand in the afternoon. I also highly recommend going to The Beach Basket – I went there twice because it was that good and the panoramic views of the sea are an added plus. The beaches in this region have orange golden sand and sea green waters that I haven’t seen anywhere else in Europe. Utterly unique and a welcome change if you’re used to seeing the crystal clear waters every summer.
The next day I headed to Ria Park Hotel located in Algarve where I was invited to stay. A 5-star hotel located between Vale do Lobo & Quinta do Lago and just a 9-minute walk to the beach, Ria Park has a stunning lagoon-style pool, spa, golf course, FIFA soccer pitch, restaurants and rooms with views over the gardens, pool & sea. I also met up with the Marketing Director of the hotel group (Ria Park actually has 3 hotels – Quinta do Lago which is a classic 5-star, Ria Park Hotel a more modern 5-star hotels and Ria Park Garden which has 4 stars for the budget traveler) and was able to share with her my journey as well as learn more about the hotel. It’s actually frequented by all 3 Portuguese soccer teams and even Cristiano Ronaldo himself because they train at the hotel’s FIFA pitch & chill together as a team at the hotel. There were 2 teams staying at the hotel while I was there but I think they were division 3 or 4.
The lagoon-style pool
I was so touched by the Pasteis de Belem that had toothpicks with my “name” on them. Pasteis de Belem is to die for- I can’t even explain it – it’s orgasmic. There were also some tapas, Portuguese wine & fruits waiting in the room.
I stayed in a suite on the top floor that had a King size bed, Minibar, marble bathroom and spacious balcony
I did need to work remotely from the hotel so I didn’t do any sightseeing that day except kayaking to the Bengali Caves in the evening. These pictures don’t do it justice at all.
So the next morning I had a buffet breakfast on the restaurant’s veranda and laid out by the pool before heading to a few nearby beaches.
As always I brought several SPF products to stay protected under the sun and I didn’t get sunburned despite the strong sun raysl
Falesia Beach which is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe
Praia da Marinha, the most famous beach of all in Algarve and the one I’ll never forget
After lying out and soaking in the beauty, I went back to the hotel to lie out by the pool and visit the spa, which has an indoor pool, Turkish bath, sauna, relaxation room and gym.
I had an amazing time in Algarve thanks to the breathtaking beauty of the region and Ria Park Hotel. I was there for about 4 days and it felt like I had been on a relaxing vacation for weeks. The beaches are close to the hotel that it was easy to get from place to place and the Portuguese hospitality combined with 5-star service was excellent. Everything is so affordable including high-end restaurants that you can really live it up and I appreciated that coming from Switzerland. I sincerely hope that I get to visit Algarve again and be able to spend more time exploring the region and enjoying everything it has to offer.
The last few hours before taking my flight back home were spent exploring a bit of Faro.
After driving 4 hours from the northern tip of Sardinia to the southern tip, we arrived at Falkensteiner Resort Capo Boi, a family hotel set on a conservation area with its own private sandy bay, a spectacular double-tiered infinity pool with breathtaking Capo Carbonara Bay views and five-star amenities. They also offer a decadent dinner buffet complimentary each night, activities such as snorkelling, stand-up paddle boarding and tennis on site, kids play areas & much more. You basically never feel the need to venture out of the resort while on holiday.
Sardinia, known as The Forgotten Isle, is a large breathtaking Italian island that’s still relatively unknown. Its long white sandy beaches, rugged landscapes, sapphire waters & delicious cuisine will seduce you. If not in real life, then at least by these pictures (I hope). Mr. Organic Beauty Lover and I landed into Olbia airport and rented a car to take us around the island. We then drove about 40 minutes to Grand Hotel Poltu Quatu (a Sofitel MGallery hotel), a beautiful hotel with an outdoor swimming pool, a private beach which can reached by the hotel’s free shuttle service, a sauna and a gym.
The Hotel Majestic Barriere is an iconic 5-star hotel located right on Croisette Avenue and just steps from where the star-studded Cannes Film Festival takes place in May. The hotel has 365 rooms, 2 penthouse suites and spectacular panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea. With 4 bars & restaurants including a beautifully redecorated Fouqet’s restaurant, the NEW Spa Diane Barriere, private beach, pool, projection room & fitness center, the Barriere world has everything you could ever want.
Over the long Easter weekend in Europe I went to visit the French Riviera and cities of Cannes, Nice & Monaco. My favorite out of the 3 was Nice, a seaside city full of cosmopolitan vibes, old world charm & sunshine.
We arrived at Saas Fee Friday evening ready for an alpine escape in this picturesque Swiss ski resort village. I’m not a skier or a winter person for that matter but I love the sweeping views of the majestic Alps in the winter. We were greeted with a warm welcome by Raphael and his staff at The Capra and had a speedy check-in. The new 5-star luxury ski hotel just opened in Dec 2015 with 35 suites offering panoramic views from each room and modern luxuries in an elegant chalet setting.
After living in Europe for nearly 5 years I decided to visit Lisbon only after I had run out of ideas for cities i wanted to visit. It wasn’t a city I had heard much buzz about or knew anything of really. I’m so glad I decided to finally visit because what I found was a total gem of a city!
Mykonos is one of Greece’s most famous islands with its picturesque cobblestoned whitewashed streets, bold colors & crazy nightlife. Since it was the end of October, the island had emptied out and the weather was quite cold, cloudy & windy so we weren’t able to enjoy the nightlife or the beaches but it felt like we had the whole island to ourselves. I recommend going at the latest in September though to enjoy Mykonos fully.
Over the weekend I went to Mallorca for a quick getaway and because I’m not quite ready to say goodbye to summer. While it’s been cooling down everywhere else, it was hot and toasty on the Spanish island. Whether you’re looking for a romantic vacation to get away from it all or an exciting nightlife-filled getaway, Mallorca has everything.
I went to Oahu for the first time last year and all I could think about was how can I get here again. The answer – airline miles! Thank goodness for them. My friend and I arrived into Kahului airport and rented a car at night. I suggest getting a flight that arrives while there’s still sunlight because seeing the island from a window seat thousands of miles up in the air is spectacular. We headed to Kihei and had a super late dinner at Sansei Restaurant & Bar. Maui is a very quiet island compared to Honolulu & Waikiki. Bars & restaurants shut down early and Sansei seemed to be one of just a few bars open til midnight or later. It happened to be karaoke night at Sansei and 50% off late night special time!