Motivational

The Bluebird of Happiness (P.1)

With an all time high and newly energised by Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Happiness Project, I started this morning with a feeling of newness.

I strolled through a park to a nearby Starbucks with spring through every step, the cold wind brushing my cheeks and the warm sunlight on my skin at 7am in the morning. Nothing came close to this feeling of freedom and contentment, well, not for a while now at least. For some reason I felt optimistic, more than I’ve ever been since January this year. I was excited for this day, I was excited to share all that I’ve learned from the book so far, and how it has turned my life around.

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I’ve often seen this little blue book at the bookstores. Wondering with interest as to why had always been one on the best-sellers list. I never bothered to pick up the book, thinking it would be a nasty, preachy, wordy, self-help book. There came a point in my life though, when I wanted answers, I was looking for directions in this ever-so chaotic world, so one day I grabbed it and purchased it straight away. I didn’t regret a single penny that I spent on the book that day.

The Happiness Project, has gives a wholistic view of how life could change for the better, with one’s own conscious choices and decisions to do so, of course. It doesn’t work like a preachy Sunday sermon or a lengthy book going around in circles. Rubin’s book was straight to the point, and very down-to-earth. There’s a kind of practicality in it that makes us realise what we’re missing and what we could do better; as a friend, a spouse, a family member, and a whole person generally.

I lie in bed on most days, wondering how my life has ended up going around in circles. Wake up, work, eat, sleep, repeat. It didn’t sound like much, and I knew there should be more to life than such a routine. I’m sure we can all agree that we are destined for more than to live a life dictated by society, family, traditions and status quo. I wanted more, and that’s why I purchased The Happiness Project. I was hoping for a roadmap, no, a treasure map. True enough, halfway through it I can feel my spirits lifting, as my mind grasped the fact that I was never alone in the search for true happiness. Rubin answers the life questions we were all too afraid to ask. In truth, this book is a wake-up call, an invisible force to urge us all to get up, get out and be YOU.

I’ve always asked myself why I feel stuck on the first step of the ladder, never going another step higher as the days go by. Why am I stuck in this vicious cycle? Why didn’t I feel any progress?

The Happiness Project highlights baby steps we all can do to find ourselves. As “finding ourselves” is such a broad incomprehensible goal, Rubin lays it out for us by chapter, with achievable goals and rewarding results.

Here are the points that have changed my life today.

 

TOSS, RESTORE, ORGANIZE.

Declutter. It has hardly come to my attention -until just now, that each day I open my cabinet, there is a slight nagging at the back of my mind that I should wear that blouse I bought two years ago. Going through that everyday cause a kind of guilt that I needed less of in my life. That’s why Rubin went straight to cleaning out her closet, and she felt free of that tiny shopping-guilt.

I happen to love this tradition I call “Spring Cleaning” even though Spring isn’t a thing here in the Philippines. It’s that day of the year when I go thorough all the things in my 10×10 sqm room and decide if it’s a keep or a toss. I went straight to the task, removing everything from my shelves, tables and cabinets, and deciding which one was worth keeping.

We, girls often have this habit of keeping clothes-we- actually-wear, clothes-we-hope-to-wear, and clothes-we-won’t-wear. I opened my cabinet to see all the impulse-buys I’ve made over the past years. Seeing that I had tons of clothes I just kept for the sake of it did give me that guilt, that feeling that I need to wear it soon-just because. Eventually, I mustered up the strength to finally let go. I was surprised myself when I ended up with two extra-large garbage bags full of items and clothes that I didn’t really need, at the end of the day, I decided to give them to charity.

COLLECT THINGS.

HOARDING 101. My room has always been the only place where I can express myself. I can’t quite distinguish if it’s a good clutter or a bad clutter. Anyway, I’m happy the way it is, and it very well defines ME. A mix of artistic, adventurous and quirky.

Pinned to my wall are photos from my travels, a large world map to exude my sense of adventure, polaroids of my dog – Sushi, postcards from all of the places and countries I’ve visited (a colourful mishmash of cards I hand-picked from Greece, Spain, Tokyo, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, San Francisco, Paris, and more).

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I am a fond collector of miniatures, figurines an memorabilia from various countries. Photos are a great way to remember not just the adventure, but the feelings associated with them. I kept a postcard from our recent cruise to Korea, and I couldn’t forget the nostalgia, the sense of comfort and enjoyment it brought me up to this day.

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REMEMBER LOVE.

“THERE IS NO LOVE, ONLY PROOFS OF LOVE” (P. Reverdy) It’s often the little things we fail to notice, yet it’s the little things that matter. They say that expectation is often the poison of relationships. As a girlfriend I admit that I occasionally fall into the trap of expecting much from my significant other: expecting him to give me a ride home, or writing love letters in reply to the ones I wrote him (a year ago). Sometimes people love differently, and show it in their own way. I accept him for being that guy who shows his love silently, simply and yet genuinely true.

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An illustration of love I drew quite a number of years ago.

As a big sister to two (annoying, smart, not-so-little) brothers, I do miss those summer days when we would stay in and do simple arts and crafts together while the dogs lay asleep beside us. Those little moments won’t happen again, those memories shall remain memories. Some say we never go through the same road twice, on the contrary one writer exclaims, we never go through the same road once. At one point we will always be a different person, at a different place in life, at a different scenario. “The days are long and the years are short” I will get out of my way now to say that I do miss those days. I hadn’t realised how much those meant until now that they’re too old or too far away to spend time together as a complete family again.

BE YOU.

It struck me how simple yet profound this principle is. My generation and the ones to come, (admittedly I am also a victim to this) have a low self-esteem because of the standards set by others; whether it be the social media, movies, peers or family. Furthermore, the number of “LIKES”, “COMMENTS” or “SHARES” do NOT dictate who your worth. The only person who can define you, is you. Rubin mentions a quote by Erasmus: “The chief happiness of a man is to be what he is..”

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I admit I’ve always been ashamed of who I am, for being that finance major who never had a inkling about math, for being an introverted wreck, for the inability to express my emotions vocally since childhood and the fact that I am an emotionally unstable person (currently under therapy). It’s hard to love a person like myself, I have accepted this fact since day 1, and I’m surprised there are a handful of people who have provided me with the kind of love I’ve never had nor deserved.

Rubin was right about this: “People don’t notice your mistakes as much as you think they do” I have long been afraid of gatherings, and opt out of group events because of the fear of being different. I’m afraid to be judged, to be noticed and then be the subject of gossip. I learned it the hard way, that you can never please anyone, no matter how what kind of wallflower you are. They’ll notice you anyway, gossip about you anyway, make up stories too. If you’re lucky, they won’t notice you at all. In the end their opinions about you don’t make up your identity, that’s your job, not theirs.

I am often plagued by my inner dialogues such as: “Go there and mingle! You need to get out there!”, “But I don’t know what to say!”, “Find a common interest and get to it!”; thus leading to lower self esteem when I don’t do what my mind tells me to because I personally enjoy being on my own. The Happiness Project reinstates my stand that you don’t have to have the same interests as others, you don’t have to go with the flow if it isn’t YOU. I, for example enjoy the company of dogs more than people for the reason that I am fascinated that they have a language heard only by those who listen well enough.

 

 

While on the other hand there are people, like my boyfriend who can mingle with a crowd like it’s no big deal! Some people can work for years in a closed-office environment, while it would drive me nuts to sit in one place for hours. Everyone is different, and it changed my life when I began to accept that I don’t have to be like everyone else, I don’t have to enjoy what others enjoy, but be at peace being ME.

“In many ways I wish I were different…” but I have learned to “embrace what IS”.

29829236_10160308098305525_783679629_oWe are all unique individuals, beautiful and interesting in our own way. The key to happiness is to accept oneself, and be free of the standards posed by society. That’s true freedom, that’s true happiness.


I’ve divided my blog post into two sections, partly because it’s quite long, and partly because I can’t wait to have this post up right now and share Rubin’s goldmine of wisdom in this book. (THE HAPPINESS PROJECT)

I’ll be working on the second part soon!

 

XO,

PEARL

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Sushi Travels

A Whimsical Treat!

The cutest cafe opens at Uptown Mall, BGC! Hello Kitty Cafe PH welcomes everyone with an amazing display of bright and colorful decorated, or as they call it – “Kitty-fied” pastries.

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Embrace your inner kawaii with their adorable motifs and the fun and delightful ambiance. As for me though, my eyes were drawn to their intricately decorated cakes and pastries. Amazing how every detail was meticulously placed atop these miniature cakes. Loving all the pink, pastel colors there! *squeals with delight*

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cafe3I was giddy with excitement and took the liberty of looking around while our orders are being prepared. The entire place looks like royalty, exuding classy Versailles Palace vibes.

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Creamy Portobello Mushroom Soup with Truffles. My absolute favorite! I can’t resist any dish that has those two words “mushroom” and “truffles”. Our first dish was served beautifully with the signature Hello Kitty face stamped on the bread bowl. Look at their attention to detail, it’s absolutely mouth-watering!

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Our second dish was the Salad Maison, served in an elegant boquet-style presentation. Fresh lettuce topped with feta cheese, grapes, croutons, olives and walnuts. The vinaigrette was just the right amount of sweet and tangy, and we loved it!

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BEEF STROGANOFF

Hello Kitty Cafe’s Beef Stroganoff was a great twist to the usual cream based pasta, (I’d love to order their Pink Carbonara Pasta the next time, as it’s not available today).

Capping the meal off with a good, warm drink – Smore’s Latte. I expected more of an espresso-based drink, or a bolder coffee flavor, however it’s more of a thick, creamy hot chocolate drink. It’s one of the best hot chocolate’s I’ve tried here in the Metro so far!

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White Truffle Kirsch

Just when I thought their presentation can’t get any cuter – here’s my favorite dessert from their cafe. A soft, pillowy texture with a hint of  creamy strawberry flavor, drizzled with dessicated coconut and finished with a golden strawberry (and of course the signature Hello Kitty Ribbon).

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The Mango Charlotte was the perfect way to end the Hello Kitty Cafe experience; an feast for the eyes and the taste buds.

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Hello Kitty Cafe, 3/F Uptown Mall, BGC

HELLO KITTY CAFE PH, Facebook

ZOMATO REVIEW

SPOT PH REVIEW

 

Cheers!

Pearl

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Motivational

The Reality

I feel the “Christmas Blues” as December draws nearer.

Since August this 2017, it’s been liberating to be able to freely post and share to the world the reality and familiar feeling of depression. It’s more than a “feeling”, more than a “disease”, it’s an invisible monster that needs to be battled tirelessly on a daily basis. Although my Instagram follower count has dwindled and the changes in life has become more evident since then, I have never felt freer to take off the mask and finally be myself.

For people suffering the same, it’s often described like a dark cloud waiting to come at the most unexpected time: like darkness without the dawn and thunderstorms without warning.

It’s not rainbows and butterflies when one deals with such demons, waking up seems harder, sometimes even eating becomes a chore. Ever since I began treatment last August though, the could has lifted a little. Days have become a little brighter. Sunlight comes through once in a while, and there are good days when I have the energy to draw once again.

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This is one of my favorite photos from our recent trip to Tagaytay. It sums my life up in one photo. I love how the sun shines brightly through the clouds and the horizon beyond is infinitely beautiful.

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My TRAVEL ESSENTIALS: Canon EOS M3, Moleskine and fineliners (inside my Punchdrunk Panda Organizer)


Although life isn’t getting easier, it takes a lot of hard work and support from loved ones to get me through each day. Travelling has helped me get things off my mind temporarily, too. With lots of sights, sound and culture to be immersed in, I realized that instead of imploding with all the thoughts of self doubt, self blame and self harm, there is more to life than “ourselves”.

Hong Kong was a beautiful place, similar to the hustle and bustle of the city life here in Manila. But throughout our brief stay, I saw that I was being too nearsighted, that the world is enormous, that there is more to life than oneself. Overcoming depression is about finding YOURSELF (Overrated little quote I agree). But in between my therapy schedules and regular life, it took me a while to find what makes me happy to be alive. I’m still on the pursuit of finding that “something” but little by little, life isn’t as bad as I thought it was.

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City Life is Coffee Life

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I learned to live one day at a time, worrying less (I need to work on that), stressing less, and being braver in facing life’s challenges.

I hope and pray that as the days go by, I’ll find what makes me fly.

“We’ve all got wings, all we have to do is fly”.

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Cheers to brighter days ahead.

XO,

Pearl

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Motivational

Stationery Haul-idays!

 

Christmas is in the air! What better way to celebrate the holidays than with (more than) a room-full of colors? I was giddy with delight as I stepped into the SM Stationery section was bursting with delightful colors!

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PRO TIP for Stationery Addicts like myself:

  1. DO bring a basket. If you’re a hoarder and a rainbow fanatic like me, a double decker trolley would be much recommended.
  2. DO NOT set a budget. Hey, it’s Christmas! The perfect time to splurge as a way to say “Thank You” to the people who have made your 2017 extra special. (And of course you can get yourself a little something along the way, too. You deserve it, girl! ) *wink*

I was eyeing these black and white tote bags. These would make perfect personalized gifts for those closest to your heart. Just grab a set of fabric paint or fabric markers and you’re all set to make your gift, a masterpiece from the heart.

Ohhh those colors. I had to resist grabbing all those candy-colored wall plaques. The inspirational ones were among my top picks. I’ll post the rest of my haul on Instagram, check it out here: LITTLE GIRL WANDERS

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Did I just see a unicorn? I’ve been obsessing over lights since I moved down from my attic-studio. I spent half of my moolah mostly on home decor recently (much to my wallet’s regret). These unicorn lights are the more affordable version, compared to those I’ve seen from Typo Shop. It’s pretty much the same thing and costs less, so why not?

SM Stationery prides itself for having a little something for everyone, check out the latest stocking-stuffers they have for everyone!

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Here’s my recent haul from the stationery section. My favorite is the rub-on sticker that says “Collect Moments Not Things” and I plan to stick it somewhere in my room! The toiletry kit and travel pillow are such cuties, perfect for my upcoming December travels, more on this soon!

I was never fond of cats, and a cat-lover was the last thing I thought I’d be. But I guess it just takes one cat to steal your heart: I rescued a stray kitten from the streets one day and my life was never the same again. That’s why I just had to get my hands on this pink kitty-cat bag – because it’s pink, too- duh! Oh, I absolutely love a pastel-themed Christmas! Don’t you? 🙂 What are your Christmas gift ideas? Show me your Pastel Christmas hauls and be sure to tag me at @littlegirlwanders!

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Have a merry, merry Christmas shopping! 🙂

XO,

Pearl

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Motivational

About Coffee and the South

We all need a break once in a while. Sushi here has been itching for some time out of the hustle and bustle of busy-‘ol Manila. The road trip was a quick one as we drove steadily down to Alabang early in the morning. Here we are hanging out at Starbucks for breakfast with my baby girl. She loved the cold Greek Yogurt cup they serve!

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If you want my honest opinion on their Americano though, I’d say McDonald’s is way better – by a lot. I’m not too fond of Starbucks when it comes to coffee, as it seems too diluted for my taste.

The best places for coffee for me (whose budget isn’t a far stretch):

  1. Costa Coffee and Seattle’s Best. They make their coffee just right, with the blend of Espresso and milk right on fleek.
  2. McDonalds (perfect for those who are on a budget and fond of straight black coffee).
  3. Barkingham Pet Cafe (@barkinghampetcafe) – of course, where I can bring Sushi along with no fuss. No skimping on the espresso right here, I’ll tell you the beans are the secret. (Will blog about this soon!)
  4. Afters Espresso and Desserts. They take their coffee business seriously.
  5. Craft Coffee Revolution. Always the first in mind when it comes to the entire beans to brew process. They roast, brew and serve the best of the best.
  6. St. Marc. Well, not the best but the Vietnamese Coffee kept me up til sunrise.

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On a hot day, thankfully Evia Lifestyle Center was (seemingly) open-air, yet air-conditioned. Lovely, lovely place to survive the Philippine heatwave, especially for the pets.

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Evia was certainly a place perfect for lovers of all things fun and whimsical like myself. From the brightly colored buildings to the amazing display of flowers in Happy Magnolia and the fantastical ambiance of Another Story; Evia is certainly a must-visit. It is a bit far from Manila, with a one-and-a-half hour journey, but it’s definitely worth it for pet-owners seeking for an indoorsy-outdoorsy venue (Visit Evia and you’ll get what I mean).


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Sushi loved the mini Carrot Cupcakes from The Cheesecake Fairy! They’re tiny little nuggets of joy for this little one. (I checked the ingredients, they said it contains no nuts, no raisins, just carrot, egg and flour.)


Where else have you and your furry friend been to? Share your experience with us and sign up on our newsletter below to win PAW-some prizes from the BarkinghamPH!

SIGN UP HERE: BARKINGHAM ROYALTY VIP

Love lots,

Sushi x Pearl

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My Life Story, Sushi Travels

Back Story : Sushi’s 1st Birthday

Happy, happy birthday my lovable, little Sushi! It’s a day abuzz with energy, rainbows and of course – dog drool!

Sushi (Malti-Poo) was such a wallflower that quite a number of guests weren’t even able to meet and greet her. She hid most of the time, but trust me she was happy you guys came. Here are a couple of the snaps during her first birthday!

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It was such a blast putting these colorful treats together with the Barkingham team! Here’s our little celebrant chilling before her big debut.

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This party was to celebrate her 1st year, as well as the grand opening of the Barkingham Pet Cafe.


Why was Sushi’s birthday such a big deal for me though?

It’s more than a birthday party, more than a get-together of pet owners, more than a shower of gifts and freebies – it was a celebration of life.

A quick throwback link to exactly one year ago: Minnie, Our Little Fighter. I remember, clear as day, that rainy night of July 2016. We took home a little Yorkie, wrapped in a blanket, huddled in the corner of her tiny box. I felt her trembling, in fear or cold, I’m not sure. All I knew is that she was far from the healthy pup she should have been deserved to be. She was coughing, she would barley eat or stand. That night as we drove home, I refused to give her a name, refused to open my heart to her, with fear that I might get attached to the little one. But I couldn’t help it. A few minutes later, in tears for the plight of her, I gave in, and I named her: Minnie.

She was sick, with what we dreaded to be one of the most incurable diseases. (With distemper, only the animal’s immune system would be able to battle the illness. So what vets often recommend is Canglob D.) We took her home, because we knew nobody else would welcome her, or give her intensive round-the-clock care that she needed. Day after day, we prayed for her to regain her strength as we desperately gave her more than what she needed to stay strong. But little by little our streams of hope ran dry. Despite our efforts and prayers, she grew weaker, her body grew thinner, her eyes could barely open because of the excessive ocular discharge, she coughed and wheezed and trembled and then the seizures finally set in.

I will never forget though, the little moments in between her daily vaccinations when I would whisper to her to be strong and fight; that mommy and daddy are waiting for her to get better so we can play. I imagined her growing up to be a healthy, playful pup. There was one memory that stands out, one of the final moments I got to spend with her which brings me to tears to this day: After her medications, I lifted her gingerly out of the box, set her down onto the floor then I walked a few feet away from her. I call out to her “Minnie, come here baby”. In spite of her trembling legs and emaciated body, she tried to get up, she tried so hard. Her legs were wobbly, she would stop once in a while to cough, until little by little she came to my lap.

We only had time to do this once though – the day before she left us. This it seems, is her way of saying goodbye.

I was terribly heartbroken when she crossed the rainbow bridge. I cried for days on end, but at the back of my mind, I was (and still am) thankful that she had a home with the little time she had on earth. Minnie deserved much more than a few months, she deserved a lifetime of cuddles, a sack full of treats and a lot of afternoons playing outside. I felt guilty for not being able to give her that, guilty for not being able to give her more than she deserved. (Read more here: Minnie’s Goodbye)

Minnie though, gave us much more than we hoped for. She has shown us the proof of unconditional love, setting aside all weaknesses and pain, just to be with the people she loves. In the few weeks that she spent with us, I haven’t felt more certain of a dog’s love. How simple it was, yet how unconditional.

That day Minnie crossed the rainbow bridge, I felt like something was missing. Soon after, DJ bought me what is now the sunshine of my life – Sushi.

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Sushi’s birthday was a rainbow party, the symbol of a new beginning, a celebration of happiness and all things beautiful. She is  more than just a pet dog, she is my ray of hope.

(I’ll write about this soon – when I am ready).

Seeing everyone coming with their best fur-riends last Saturday was something quite new for an introvert like myself (I was fighting the urge to hide under a rock by the end of the day – just kidding!). But overall it was a great experience sharing the love for our pets at Barkingham.

I am thankful for each day I wake up to my little girl staring back at me. We often take for granted the little moments with our furkids, I have learned my lesson to always make the most out of the time we have with them.

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On behalf of myself, Sushi and the Barkingham Family, we would like to thank everyone who came to celebrate with us last July 1st.

 

ARF! 

Sushi x Pearl


FOLLOW MINNIE’S STORY BELOW:


NOTES:

  • Minnie was found sick at Tiendesitas, and the pet store could no longer keep her as she carried an air-borne disease. (Meaning the rest of the pups in the store are most likely-to be infected too, which may lead to death and/or other complications). Please support ADOPT-DON’T-SHOP.
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Explore, Thoughts, travel

Cruising to Alaska

The day of our long-awaited trip to the land of white-peaked mountains and snowy treasures finally came! Beforehand, we booked the Princess Cruise’s Itinerary to Alaska (Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Anchorage), so we flew to the port of call in Vancouver, Canada.


VANCOUVER, CANADA

Feeling woozy and jet-lagged after a long 13-hour flight, we decided to sleep in (and stay in the warm hotel room). We stayed at the Robson Hotel at Robson street. Oh by the way, along this street just a stone’s throw away is THE BEST Japanese Restaurant in Canada. If you happen to crave authentic sushi and Japanese dishes, that’s the place to go. Quite unfortunate though that I was too hungry to remember the name of the restaurant (of all the things, right?)

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Cozy hotel breakfast takeout

The most convenient and economical means to make the most out of the Vancouver trip was the Hop on Hop off bus. They have dozens and dozens of stops around the city where we jumped right on or off at our own time and convenience.

Our bus went through Stanley Park, one of the biggest and well-maintained parks I’ve ever been to! I could almost imagine the appeal of an intimate wedding there.

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Stanley Park Blooms

Beyond the lush greenery of Stanley Park, was a spectacular view of the Vancouver Skyline. It’s just breathtaking how modern architecture touches the cloudless blue sky.

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A wonderful welcome to Canada’s beautiful views

A quick snap during one of our stop overs, the laughing statues of Canada. Created by an artist from his own image.

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The artist who made a bunch of hilarious laughing sculptures

Oh here’s a thing I (unusually) do during my trips, a “from where I stand” photo collage. These are quite lucky shots as they don’t come around very often. I’ve read from a tourist magazine that the little floor mosaics are actually thirteen different artworks by various artists, scattered around Vancouver.

 


KETCHIKAN, ALASKA

En route to Alaska, we enjoyed a relaxing cruise at sea with Princess Cruises. On our first stop we docked at the commonly-foggy Ketchikan Alaska.

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A foggy morning.

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…but a colorful town.

IMG_20170522_081507We stayed a few hours in the city, half a day is already more than enough to get around the sleepy, little city of Ketchikan, Alaska.

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JUNEAU, ALASKA

We were welcomed the next day with a bright and beautiful morning at the port of Juneau. We wasted no time to start exploring the capital city of Alaska.

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The Juneau Rainforest Reserve was run by a lovely couple, to preserve and to educate tourists and locals alike of the native plants found in Alaska. Views like these are certainly well-worth the long journey at sea.

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and into the forest we go!

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Just a little side note: Alaska is known for its Black Bears and Mooses to name a few. That’s why most sculptures are based on these wildlife. Mooses aren’t as friendly as they are often thought to be. Contrary to popular belief that they are gentle creatures, they have killed more people especially in small towns like these, especially when they feel threatened.

The narrow paths led to a simple yet lovely little rest-stop. With wildflowers and forget-me-nots (the Alaskan Flower) in full bloom.

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The most beautiful rest stop

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Menden Hall Glacier

A little of an hour away was the renowned Menden Hall Glacier. I could hardly believe hundreds of years ago, this entire body of water used to be one whole Glacier. Imagine how little would be left once the ice pushes further in.

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SKAGWAY, ALASKA

Getting off the boat was easy, trying to keep my fear of heights in check wasn’t so easy. The White Pass & Yukon Railroad was an hour’s ride through the steep mountains of Skagway. Oh I forgot to mention – on (EXTREMELY) narrow trails constructed on the side of the mountain. (Two of the builders died by getting crushed under a huge boulder, to name a few incidents. EEP!)

IMG_20170524_093335A trip to on the Tram was much easier. The highlight of the entire Alaskan adventure, the view 1,800 feet on Mount Roberts. Captured this majestic bald eagle at just the right moment. One of my favorite photos!

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I never thought that I’d ever see glaciers beyond movies and photographs. But this moment, this exact moment is when it hit me how truly beautiful reality finally becomes beyond our dreams and imaginations.

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From sky to land, we headed down to the musher training camp. As opposed to our common knowledge it seems, sled dogs (Mushers) AREN’T purebred Huskies as we always thought them to be. (No thanks to movie myths!) Alaskan Sled Dogs happen to be Husky mixes that come in all speeds, traits, appearances and colors.

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Those gorgeous Alaskan Mushers.

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On our one-day cruise to Anchorage, we witnessed the rare breaking of the glaciers. We almost slept right through the main event! Thank goodness we’ve made it to that once second of pure power. Hearing the crack and boom of the glacier as it fell apart was one life-altering experience!

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ANCHORAGE, ALASKA

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Ahhh, Anchorage! Think about a mid-western, Texas style county. Anchorage boasts of its fantastic views and delicious (sinfully good) fudge. If you can try the Alaskan King Crab, Home-Made Ice Creams and Popcorn, do so!

We made it in good time as it was a Saturday when we arrived. The town was bustling with people making their way to the outdoor weekend market.

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Stopping by an eye-catching coffee shop – KOBUK CAFE

A couple of unique finds at the Anchorage market, colorful shells and vintage glassware.

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CAPILANO SUSPENSION BRIDGE, CANADA

A few days after our brief stay in Anchorage, we flew back to Canada. There was plenty of time left to explore, so we took our pick and headed on to their famous tourist spots.

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The Capilano Suspension Bridge is 140 meters long and hangs 70 meters above the river, held together by sturdy metal cables.

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GROUSE MOUNTAIN, CANADA

Okay, it was an unplanned, spontaneous trip up this snowy mountain. I wasn’t able to wear clothes that were thick enough, that’s why there aren’t many photos here. (Ugh).

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If you do happen to go up to Grouse Mountain, (even in summer) don’t ever, ever forget to wear enough clothes to keep yourself from freezing. Don’t make the same mistake I did.

Oh, and do go up further to see the bird show. And I thought training a dog was hard, watch how well-behaved the birds are! (Featuring: Owls, Turkey Vultures, Bald Eagles)

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I often tell myself there’s no way I could be happy. However, on my recent adventure, I’ve realized many things along the way from Ketchikan, to Juneau, to Skagway to Anchorage. That maybe happiness is relative, maybe it’s not so hard to find once you learn to see how truly blessed you are.

Thank you Alaska for showing me that there is a kind of happiness in finding oneself. Just as every snowflake on the mountain is unique, so are we. Wild, Beautiful, and Free to be. Happiness begins with self-acceptance, personal growth is possible with one’s willingness to embrace change.

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Until our next adventure.

X,

PEARL

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