WelcomeThank you for visiting and welcome to my blog! My name is Hsiao-Ting (pronounced “shouting”), hence the blog name. I enjoy eating, traveling, and trying new things. Hope you enjoy your stay here and please leave a comment so we can get to know each other =)
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Category Archives: Travel
One of my friends living in NYC told me that Bite Beauty had a store in Soho where you can customize your lipsticks. I was excited since Bite Beauty is one of my favorite lipsticks because of their safe ingredients and beautiful colors (reviewed here). Once I knew I was visiting NYC, I had to add this store to my itinerary.Wall of lipsticks. I thought they looked like truffles 🙂This is the size of the store. Super small! I went with one of my friend to get our customized lipsticks.The three-steps process getting your customized lipsticks. The first questioned they asked us was if we wanted day or night lipstick colors. I wanted a night (red) lipstick and my friend went with day (nude) lipstick color. The next question they asked was if we wanted a matte look or a shiny look. I went with matte.My customized color specialist.My customized lipstick color in the making. Trial #1Trial #2My final customized color!My friend’s final customized color.After finalizing the color, you choose what scent you want for your lipstick. I went with violet.After choosing the scent, you get to choose a cap for your lipstick. I went with the one on the right.Our lipstick colors in the container.Went through a machine to blend all the colors together, which resulted in a melted version of our lipstick.The lipstick then got poured in a cold mold. You can tell that area is cold by the frost on the table top.After about 10 minutes, our lipsticks are ready to be pulled out of the mold.She’s inserting the lipstick tube into the lipstick.Tada! My friend’s final customized lipstick! We had to wait 30 minutes before being able to use it.This is my final customized lipstick. Cost $36Bite Beauty Lip Lab 174 Prince St
New York, NY 10012 (646) 484-6111 Tips on visiting Bite Beauty Lip Lab:
- Try to make an appointment over the phone since it’s a small store and they can only take a number of people each day.
- If you’re not able to make an appointment because they’re fully booked, go early in the morning before they open. They accept walk-ins. There were a couple of people waiting outside when we got there shortly before they were opening. We added our name to the wait list and walked around Soho. It took about an hour before they gave us a call.
- Try to go with a friend. It’s more fun plus you have someone to give you an opinion on the lip colors. Also, you might just get an extra tube of lipstick. My friend and I liked each other’s color and was talking about it. Our color specialist was nice enough to give us an extra tube of each other’s color since there was extras. Score!
- Make sure to keep the color card they give you if you want them to make the exact same color again next time. Or take a picture of it so you have an archive of the color.
- If you’re not able to go to NYC to get your own customized lipstick, you should still check out their products online. I love their duo lipsticks.
I’ve always wanted to visit Flushing when I was living in NYC but never made it out there since I was busy traveling for work. Flushing is a neighborhood in the north-central part of New York borough of Queens. It is known for its diverse and ethnic ethnic groups of people living there.
I was visiting NYC and one of my friend offered to give me a food and beauty store tour in Flushing since she grew up there. I was really excited to eat yummy Taiwanese food since there weren’t many options in Manhattan. The Chinatown in Manhattan comprised of mostly Cantonese people so most of the restaurants there are Cantonese style.
It’s really easy to get there from Manhattan. You just need to take the #7 MTA train to Flushing-Main St. stop, which takes about 45 minutes from Manhattan.
It’s amazing there! It feels like being in Asia again since all the signs are in Chinese characters and everyone speaks Chinese. The food is amazing! There’s a lot of hole-in-the-wall places that had amazing food. There was so many different Asian beauty store that I felt a bit overwhelmed.
Below is a list of my top favorite Asian beauty stores in Flushing. The ones with * by the store names means they have a store in Manhattan but it’s half the size of the one in Flushing. I limited myself to buying one item from each store so reviews on those products will be coming soon! If you love Asian food and beauty products, then I highly recommend you check out Flushing!
1. Tony Moly*
Tony Moly is a South Korean cosmetic brand known for its cutesy packaging. They have cute lip glosses with a bunny as a head ($8-12), sheet masks (~$3), and “Panda’s Dream White Magic” cream ($14), which is a light moisturizer.
Tony Moly: 136-20 Roosevelt Avenue, Flushing, NY 11354
Tony Moly: 316 5th Avenue, Suite 5, New York, NY10001
2. Nature RepublicNature Republic is a South Korean cosmetic brand that uses natural ingredients in their products. One of their best selling product is using argan oil for their hair products.
Nature Republic: 136-80 Roosevelt Avenue, Flushing, NY 11354
Nature Republic: 151 Centre Street, New York, NY 10013
3. Club ClioClub Clio is a South Korean cosmetic brand that is similar to MAC with its bright lipstick, long lasting eyeliners, and a full lash mascaras. They also carry Goodal product lines, which is an all natural beauty line.
Club Clio: 136-86 Roosevelt Avenue, Flushing, NY 11354
4. SkinfoodSkinfood is a South Korean cosmetic brand that believes good food that is good for your health is also good for you skin, which means they use a lot of natural ingredients in their products. They first became famous for their “Black Sugar Mask”, which helps exfoliate and hydrate your skin. They also have a nail salon in the back that does basic manicure and nail art.
Skinfood: 136-89 Roosevelt Avenue, Flushing, NY 11354
What is your favorite Asian beauty store?
When planning my Rome itinerary, the Colosseum was on the top of my list. I’ve read about the Colosseum growing up and saw some movies with the Colosseum so I wanted to see it in real life.
The Colosseum is made of concrete and stone. It’s also the largest amphitheater in the world. It was surreal to see it in person. I couldn’t imagine being able to create and build something like this without any technology. It’s kinda crazy.
When I bought tickets to the Colosseum, it also came with the Palatine Hill and Roman Forum admission. I didn’t know much about these two sites until we visited it. Apparently Palatine Hill is the centermost of the Seven Hills of Rome and is the most ancient parts of the city. The Roman Forum is a rectangular forum where people would gather for elections, public speeches, criminal trials — basically a meeting place for the people.
Even though these sites aren’t in pristine shape, you can just imagine how huge and majestic it was like thousand of years ago. It’s really amazing what the human mind can think and create just out of the brain.
After visiting the Colosseum, we had to watch the movie Gladiator. You should definitely watch this movie if you visited the Colosseum since you get to see the Colosseum in action.
Tips on visiting the Colosseum, Palatine Hill, and Roman Forum:
- Buy tickets ahead of time! If you know you want to visit the Colosseum, go ahead and buy tickets. This way you don’t have to wait in line but you can go straight to the front. There’s a 2 euros online fee but it was worth it not having to wait in line to buy tickets since it was really long. These tickets are valid for 2 days.
- It’s free admission the first Sunday of the month!
- There’s a special tour for the underground and Third Ring Colosseum. I wanted to buy this ticket but they were sold out. I would advice you to call EARLY to get reservations for these tickets if you are interested since they only sell 25 tickets a day. For these special tickets, you have to call them (+39 06 399 67 700). You can’t buy them online.
- It’s really hot during the summer so bring a water bottle and slather on sunscreen! There’s a lot of water fountain to refill your water bottle.
I was definitely overwhelmed when I was planning the Rome trip since there was so many things I wanted to see. I was trying to figure out whether the Omnia Vatican and Rome Card or Roma Pass was worth it.
Before deciding whether to buy these passes, I first listed out all the places I wanted to visit. This way I could figure out how much each individual tickets cost me versus buying one of these passes.
Out of all the attractions I wanted to see, there was only two I had to pay money for. They were the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel and the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine.The Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel Individual cost: 16 euros Individual + audio guide: 23 euros Pre-sales fee: 4 euros Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Individual cost: 14 euros – available for 2 consecutive days! Free admission first Sunday of the month. Total cost if bought individually with audio guide: 41 euros Omnia Vatican and Rome Trip Individual cost: 95 euros – valid for 3 days Includes both Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel and Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine. They also say St. Peter’s Basilica is included but it’s free to get in! Includes hop-on-and-off bus tour. Roma Pass Individual cost: 36 euros – valid for 3 days 48 hours pass: 28 euros Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine is included but not the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel. Includes public transport network.
In the end, I decided it wasn’t worth it for us to get the passes. It made more sense for us to buy tickets individually. Plus I didn’t want to feel “pressure” to visit some of the other attractions that cost money just to get my money’s worth.
My advice would be to first plan out all the sights you want to see especially if you’re there for a limited time. Then figure out which ones you have to pay for. And then calculate what the total individual cost are. Check if those attractions are covered by the passes and then calculate the difference between the total individual cost and the pass. You can’t trust the passes website on how much those attraction costs since I’ve noticed they marked them higher than it actually is so be careful! Also, if you buy tickets ahead of time, you can skip the line and go to the front. You don’t need one of these passes to skip the line.
Have you used any of these tourist passes before? Did you think it was worth it?