Happy New Year! I still cannot believe it’s 2016 and find myself wondering where 2015 went. 2015 was one of the best years of my life and I cannot wait to see what this year brings… I hope everyone’s holidays were filled with lots of love and happiness. I spent the last 2 weeks of 2015 in Thailand and now I’m finally back in LA and ready to take on the new year. I’m so excited to share this trip with you guys – my boyfriend and I talked about visiting Thailand for a year, so needless to say we were very excited when the day finally arrived. Get ready for a long post… (update: read part 2 of my Thailand Travel Diary here).

We first flew into Bangkok for a quick couple of days. The city really was an overload for the senses – so much to see, hear, eat, and smell. Although Bangkok is 15 hours ahead of LA, the time difference tends to be easier to adjust to when you fly west and there is so much happening in Bangkok that it’s hard not to stay awake. There are so many things to do in the city, but given that we were only there for two days, we got just a taste of what Bangkok has to offer.

Grand Palace, Bangkok, Thailand

Grand Palace, Bangkok, Thailand

Wat Arun, Temple of Dawn, Bangkok Thailand

Grand Palace, Bangkok Thailand

Grand Palace Bangkok Thailand

Wat Pho, Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok, Thailand

Buddhas, Bangkok, Thailand

Temples – there are many beautiful and culturally significant wats (temples) and historical buildings in Bangkok, but if you’re on a tight schedule like we were, be sure to visit the Grand Palace, Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha), and Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn). We were able to visit these in a morning, although I’m sure you could easily spend hours at each walking around and admiring the details. Try to get to the Grand Palace early, as it gets very, very crowded with tour groups. From there, you can walk to Wat Pho and then take a quick water taxi over to Wat Arun. Be sure to dress appropriately – ladies, this means covered shoulders and ankles (see my makeshift outfit I had to buy above).

Chatuchak Weekend Market, Bangkok, Thailand

Chatuchak Weekend Market, Bangkok Thailand

Markets – if you’re in Bangkok over a weekend, be sure to visit the Chatuchak Weekend Market. It’s one of the largest weekend markets in the world, selling everything from clothing to antiques and is almost impossible to cover in a day. We chose a few sections to walk through over an afternoon, although I could have easily spent days there. This is a great place to practice your negotiation skills. Be sure to try the coconut ice cream as well!

We also visited a floating market – it was interesting to see and I’m glad we went, but it did feel slightly inauthentic and was one of the more expensive tours we did in Thailand. If you’re pressed for time you could probably pass on this.

Sky Bar Le Bua, Bangkok Thailand

Sunset Bangkok, Thailand

Sunset Sky Bar Le Bua, Bangkok Thailand

Vertigo and Moon Bar, Banyan Tree Bangkok Thailand

Rooftop Bars – Bangkok’s expansive skyline can be enjoyed from one of the city’s many rooftop bars. We loved Vertigo and Moon Bar at the Banyan Tree, as well as the views of the city and river from Sky Bar at Le Bua (of The Hangover 2 fame).

Eat – while we did have a few nicer sit-down meals in Thailand, my favorite food by far was the street food. Throwing all inhibitions and sanitation standards to the wayside, the little unnamed stalls with plastic chairs served the best Thai food I’ve ever had in my life day after day, effectively ruining all Thai food in the states for me. If you’re worried about getting sick, try to find stalls/shops where you see long lines of Thai people (not tourists) – if the locals are eating there, chances are you’ll be fine. I didn’t have any problems, but it’s probably not a bad idea to pack some probiotics and medicine anytime you’re visiting Southeast Asia.

And finally, ride in a tuk tuk. No, it’s not as nice as Uber. And no, it’s probably not the safest. But it is kind of fun and can get you around the city a little quicker than a taxi. Be sure to negotiate, and if the traffic is really terrible and you find yourself breathing in way more car exhaust than what’s probably good for you, you can get off and walk (or take the subway). I wasn’t brave enough to take one of the motorbike taxis, but apparently that is the best (fastest) way to get around if you’re going to take the main roads.

Which brings me to my tips for the city, and Thailand in general: 

Pack light – as a rule of thumb, I usually only travel with a carry on size bag. Laundry is incredibly cheap to get done and it is so hot you’ll only want to pack lightweight layers anyway.

Traffic is terrible. It puts LA traffic to shame (note to self: never complaining about my commute to work again). Take the SkyTrain or MRT, it can be faster than a taxi, especially during rush hour.

Use cash – chances are credit cards aren’t accepted. Also, negotiate everything.

Watch out for scams – scams are a part of travelling and while most of them are obvious (others less so), I really have never encountered as many scams as I did when I was in Bangkok. It left a bit of a stain on my impression of the city, although I do realize that it is not at all indicative of the people or the country as a whole. But, it is something to look out for.

After the hustle and bustle of Bangkok, we were happy to leave the chaos of the big city behind and head north to Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai is the second largest city in Thailand, yet it feels much smaller and quieter in comparison to Bangkok. I fell in love with the city and its slower pace, and it was here that we began to truly feel like we were on vacation.

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Wat Chedi Luang, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Chiang Mai, Thailand

What to do in Chiang Mai:

Wander the streets of the Old City – I would recommend staying in or near the Old City so you can explore one of the best parts of Chiang Mai on foot. The Old City is relatively quiet and the streets are incredibly charming. One of our favorite things to do was walk through the Old City with no destination in mind – we stumbled across so many temples and hidden corners, although there are several walking tours if you’re looking for a little more structure.

Food Stalls Chiang Mai, Thailand

Khao Soi, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Pad Thai, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Cowboy Hat Lady, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Khao Ka Moo, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Eat (more!) – the street food in Chiang Mai was the best we had in Thailand. Every night around 5pm you’ll see carts beginning to set up at the North and South gates of the Old City. We would usually just walk around a little before deciding what looked good for dinner and were never disappointed. Again, places with long lines that specialize in 1 dish tend to be good bets – I enjoyed papaya salads (Thai spicy!) and mango sticky rice every single day, as well as whatever new dish looked tasty. Be sure to try Khao Soi (a curry noodle soup that is a Northern Thailand specialty) and the Khao Ka Moo (stewed pork) made by the lady in the cowboy hat (as seen on Anthony Bourdain’s show). Surprisingly, I did not get sick of Thai food despite eating it for every meal for 2 weeks. Not surprisingly, I should probably go on a detox after eating noodles and the previously mentioned mango sticky rice daily.

Markets – we missed the famous Sunday Night Market, but were able to visit the daily Night Market, which happened to be located right outside our hotel. We saw clothing and trinkets being sold that were similar to other markets we had visited, although apparently the Sunday Night Market sells more unique and hand crafted objects that are hard to get anywhere else.

Get massages – I’m not the biggest fan of massages, but if you are, getting a daily rub down is really a no brainer in Thailand. Hour long massages start at less than $6 (!!) and they are plentiful and hit the spot.

Thai Farm Cooking School

Thai Farm Cooking School

Thai Farm Cooking School, Mango Sticky Rice

Take a cooking class – several friends had recommended taking a Thai cooking class in Chiang Mai and it did not disappoint. We pre booked a class through Thai Farm Cooking School and spent the day laughing, cooking, and eating (a lot). The dishes we learned to make were surprisingly easy (although I’m sure some of the ingredients are harder to get in the states) and I impressed myself with how well they turned out. Now I’m in the market for a mortar and pestle to make homemade curry paste at home…

Elephant Nature Park, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Elephant Nature Park, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Elephant Nature Park, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Elephant Nature Park, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Elephant Nature Park, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Elephant Nature Park – this was one of the highlights of the entire trip. We did a one day trip to the park and I only wish we could have stayed longer (they offer overnight and weeklong volunteering opportunities as well). There are truly no words to describe the experience of witnessing these animals interact with each other and humans in a safe and natural environment. The stories behind each elephant are heartbreaking – I cannot urge you enough to do your research on animals and tourism before visiting Thailand.

After a busy week of sight-seeing and exploring, we headed south to the islands for some serious R&R. I’ll be sharing the second half of our trip soon – thanks for reading! xo

DTLA

The Luxi Look | Style, Flynn Skye

The Luxi Look | The Broad, DTLA

The Luxi Look | Style, Flynn Skye

The Luxi Look | Style, Flynn Skye

The Luxi Look | Style, Flynn Skye

The Luxi Look | Style, Flynn Skye

I finally made it to The Broad – if you’re like me and haven’t had the chance to visit yet, all I can say is GO! It seems as though everyone in LA is lining up for the ultimate #selfie (Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Room), which really is an incredible experience and lives up the hype, even if you only get to experience 45 seconds of surreal bliss (less after you’ve taken aforementioned #selfie). If you don’t want to wait until next year for reserved tickets to the museum, there is an additional line for non-ticket holders that moves quickly throughout the day.

We waited in line for under an hour on a weekend and were able to get in and reserve tickets for the Infinity Room. The Broad is such a welcome addition to LA’s art scene, and the tickets are free! If you love contemporary art you will love the collections at The Broad. Afterwards, make a day out of it in DTLA. I rarely make it down to DTLA but was able to enjoy brunch at Otium, the restaurant next to The Broad, as well as a quick trip to Grand Central Market. I also love getting Japanese food downtown. What can I say, I’m very food oriented!

It’s December, and although I saw a good number of people wearing peacoats this day, it was almost 80 degrees out and I couldn’t resist the opportunity to dress for warm weather. So much for dressing seasonally. My outfit is Flynn Skye from Planet Blue. If you’re looking to master that easy, effortless California style, look no further than Planet Blue. They have you covered for any occasion and carry all of the best SoCal brands. Talk about a one-stop shop!

top and shorts: flynn skye | bralette: urban outfitters | shoes: isabel marant | bag: botkier

Shaggy

The Luxi Look | Winter Style, Lovers and Drifters Club, Show Me Your Mumu Bam Bam Bells, Shaggy Jacket

The Luxi Look | Winter Style, Lovers and Drifters Club, Shaggy Jacket, Lace Bellbottoms, Show Me Your Mumu, Bam Bam Bells

The Luxi Look | Winter Style, Lovers and Drifters Club, Shaggy Jacket, Lace Bellbottoms, Show Me Your Mumu, Bam Bam Bells

The Luxi Look | Winter Style, Lovers and Drifters Club, Shaggy Coat, Show Me Your Mumu, Bam Bam Bells, Lace Bellbottoms

The Luxi Look | Winter Style, Lovers and Drifters Club Shaggy Jacket, Shaggy Coat, Shaggy Jacket, Show Me Your Mumu, Bam Bam Bells, Lace Bellbottoms

The Luxi Look | Winter Style, Lovers and Drifters Club Shaggy Jacket, Shaggy Coat, Shaggy Jacket, Show Me Your Mumu, Bam Bam Bells, Lace Bellbottoms

Lovers and Drifters club really hit the nail on the head with this one. Am I right? As most girls tend to be, I feel like I’m always cold. It’s “winter” in LA so naturally, I’m even more cold than usual. I’ve been switching up my typical leather jacket for this shaggy one by Lovers and Drifters Club lately. This jacket is all sorts of man repelling – I like to refer to it as my dreadlocks coat (not unlike this dog), my boyfriend calls me Oscar the Grouch when I wear it. Anyway, I’ve convinced myself that it goes with almost everything – here I’m wearing it with a bodysuit and my favorite bell bottoms but I also like to keep it casual with cut off shorts. I also wore it with a bikini in this post about getting back on track after a little vacation weight gain. I usually don’t love wearing pants, so huge shout out to Show Me Your Mumu for making the coolest ones ever.

jacket: lovers and drifters club | bodysuit: reformation (sold out, similar here) | pants: show me your mumu (old, similar here) | shoes: jeffrey campbell

Thinking back on my teenage years, I cringe when I think about how much of a slave to the sun I was. I spent every summer at the beach laying out, oftentimes with no sunscreen, and visited a tanning booth a handful of times (to be fair, there is zero sun in Minnesota in the dead of winter, and everyone looks better with a little bit of color, right?) Again, I cringe – my poor skin. Now that I’m in my mid-twenties, things are a little different to say the least. Suddenly I find myself focusing on every bump on my skin and staying up all night googling “what age to begin using Retinol”.

Skincare is just so personal. I love talking skin and makeup products with my girlfriends, but what I’ve found is that everyone’s skin tone and texture is so different and what works for your best friend really might not work for you at all. That being said, I still love reading about skincare regimes and have picked up a few tips and product recommendations over the years that have actually stuck.

I love trying new products and the idea of a comprehensive skincare routine, but ultimately I’m always rushing out of the house in the morning or struggling to just remove my makeup and wash my face some nights. So, what actually ends up happening is something like this:

  • Cleanser – I’ve been using Fresh’s Soy Face Cleanser for a couple of years now and it is the only product that I have multiple of (one in my gym bag, one for traveling, one for the bathroom). I’m not sure if this is the best cleanser for all needs, but I enjoy the smell and find that it is super gentle while removing most of my makeup easily. I remove the rest of my makeup with coconut oil.
  • Toner – after many years of trying different toners and speaking to estheticians, I still do not really understand what this does. To be honest, I’m not sure I can tell a difference in my skin from using toner either. Lately I’ve been using one from Nars, but it’s almost empty and I’m not sure what I’ll do after. 
  • Serum – Vitamin C is great for your skin – it’s an antioxidant that wards off free radical damage (read: helps prevent aging). I use Ole Henriksen’s Truth Serum and while it seems to give my skin an immediate glow, I am crossing my fingers that its benefits will be felt (and seen) years down the line.
  • Moisturizer – I’ve been reading about Korean skincare and their 10 step skincare routine seriously amazes me (read more about it here). Their skin is seriously amazing and dewy, I can only dream that one day attain it myself, perhaps with more discipline. For now, I’m easing into it by using some Korean products. I really like this moisturizer from Belif – if you have really dry skin like me, I highly recommend. Before this moisturizer I went through 3 containers of Kiehl’s Rosa Artica Cream which I loved as well (great for snowy winters).
  • Sunscreen – this is one that I do every. single. day. Find a great sunscreen that you use only on your face and neck – I love this one by Kiehl’s, it’s SPF 50, super sheer, and a bottle lasts forever (unless you’re like me and spill half a bottle in your purse). 

It sounds a little more impressive than it is when it’s all written down, but I often skip the toner and serum because I get lazy. I try not to hoard too many skincare products at once because 1. I like consistency and 2. they often go bad before I can use them up. So that’s the daily routine, when I have a little extra time and patience I add:

  • Eye Cream – I really should be using this more frequently, since the skin around your eyes is so delicate and prone to wrinkles. I picked up Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado – it’s very rich which I love, it feels more substantial that way. 
  • Masks – I love sheet masks, if for nothing else the amusement I get from startling my boyfriend when I walk out of the bathroom. I’ve been experimenting with different ones and bought the SK-II masks that everyone raves about – they make my skin a little more glow-y and plump, but to be honest I was really expecting more. I love Lush Masks as well, just make sure you keep them in a refrigerator and use within a week because they do expire. Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay is amazing for cleaning your pores, I personally found it a little drying but totally recommend if you have oilier skin or just want a deep cleaning – you cannot beat it for the price! 
  • Water – Hydration is key. I drink my weight in ounces every day and it is beneficial on so many levels, but I really do see a difference in my skin when I am well hydrated.
  • Sleep – so cliche but it’s true, your skin will glow if you get enough sleep on a consistent basis (7-8 hours is ideal).

Nothing crazy (yet), although it continues to change over the years and sometimes even seasonally. Could probably use a good facial more often, but I feel like there are already enough beauty appointments to keep up with – the joys of being a girl! Am I missing anything? Is the 10 step skincare routine really worth it? Would love to hear your thoughts and recs!

Lazy Sunday

The Luxi Look | Winter Style, Aritzia, One Teaspoon

The Luxi Look | Winter Style, Aritzia, One Teaspoon Freebirds, Fall Style

The Luxi Look | Winter Style, Aritzia, One Teaspoon

The Luxi Look | Winter Style, One Teaspoon Freebirds

Sundays are typically a day of rest and relaxation for me. I like to wind down the weekend and prepare for the upcoming week. Some of my favorite things to do on a Sunday –  

Visit the farmer’s market: Hollywood has one of the largest farmer’s markets in all of LA. I love picking up whatever fruits and vegetables are in season (right now I’m loving persimmons, sweet potatoes, and the last of fall’s apples) and a bouquet of fresh flowers. The prepared food vendors are fantastic as well – look for the tamales and fresh squeezed lemonade.

Work out: Strenuous exercise most likely won’t happen. Realistically, I’ll take a walk to Runyon with my boyfriend and hike there. I also love hot yoga – it is amazing for clearing your mind and skin. These activities leave me energized and ready to take on the week.

Cook: Weekday dinners are far from elaborate – I’m usually starving by the time I get home and don’t have the energy or patience to cook for myself. I try to make up for my lack of cooking during the week on the weekends – it’s also something fun to do with your significant other. My apartment has quite the collection of cookbooks now. My current favorite: The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.

Sunday outfits tend to be equally laid back and forgiving. This oversized knit is perfect for running errands and lounging around. I’ll swap out my stretchy pants for cropped denim when I leave the house. Add your favorite booties or sneakers and a hat and you’re good to go.

sweater: aritzia | jeans: one teaspoon | shoes: acne

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