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20 Things I've Achieved in my 20s so far...


 Kyoko Escamilla named our 20's our selfish years. As I am upon turning 23 next Thursday I've reached a constant state of self-doubt and what if's, finding myself, more often than not wondering if I am doing the right thing if I am enjoying life as I should (or worst, as I am supposed) be. Am I doing the right thing, following the right path, achieving the right things? Or am I doing nothing but fully wasting the best decade of my life, and if I'm wasting my 20's does that mean I am wasting my life? (because we all know it's just going down the hill from here...). 

Well, I'm turning 23 and it feels like I'm already half/way through the decade and then I will blink and I will be 30 and I will still be stuck in the situation I am right now, no job, no money, and in a constant state of feeling like I'm failing at life. For that reason, I decided to come up with a list of the 23 things I have already done/achieved in my 20's. If nothing more this post works as the reinsurance that I am capable and that I am not wasting my life or my time by simply being me. This is my path and that is absolutely ok.



1. Went to Paris (the city of my dreams) with my boyfriend (the love of my life);
2. Took a Summer off after working every single summer since turning 17;
3. Rebuilt relationships with friends I had disconnected from in the past;
4. Graduated from University;
5. Interned at an amazing company and met a lot of great and inspirational people;
6. Bought myself a car;
7. Lost the fear of speaking English and French in front of native speakers (both online and in real life);
8. Learned how to edit videos;
9. Learned how to edit pictures really well and found a love for it;
10. Started to play with different colours in makeup, and started seeing makeup as something fun instead of an obligation;


11. Went Scuba Diving for the first time in my life while visiting the Azores 
12. Cut my hair short, then painted it, then let it grow back and stopped being afraid of change;
13. Explored different types of cuisines and tried to educate my palate (I no longer say I don't like something without giving it a try);
14. Found a deep love for baking, and giving people comfort with a piece of cake;
 15. Educated myself on skincare, skincare products, and ingredients, and managed to stick to a routine;
 16. Donated blood for the first time (I'm 0-, which means I'm a universal donor, so it's extra important that I donate blood regularly);
17. Went to ModaLisboa a couple of times, got my picture taken by many photographers, and ended up on a few online magazines;
18. Did a photo shoot for a swimwear brand;
19. Went out for a protest for the first time in my life, joining my voice to the Black Lives Matter Movement, because I believe in a world where race doesn't define who you are;
 20. Met amazing people, connected with them, and honestly think I made life long friends;


 My 20's so far haven't been all fluff and rainbows but, making this list, really helped me focus on the good and positive things that have happened. Life tends to blend in with itself and we often forget to take time and purely appreciate what we have achieved so far. If you are self-doubting yourself or if you are afraid your life will be nothing but a failure, grab a pen and paper and just make a list similar to this one, I guarantee you will feel a lot better!


Location: Sé, Lisboa, Portugal 
Photography: Sofia Filipe 

One Afternnon Exploring the Algarve Hidden Gems


A privilege I've never acknowledged growing up was the fact that my home was the paradise on earth that the Algarve is. Maybe because when we live in a place we never fully explore it, maybe because I had to move away to fully appreciate the quality of life the region provides us. Nowadays I see myself eager to come back every month. Away from Lisbon, I find my peace in this little corner of the Atlantic and I want to stop using the 'I can explore the region whenever I want because I live here' statement as an excuse to never do so. 


For my mum's birthday, we took the afternoon to explore 3 of the most beautiful places the region has to offer but that we never got around to visit before. These places are located in the central part of the Algarve between Lagoa and Portimão. If you want to visit them you absolutely need a car to go from one place to the other, being that public transportation in the Algarve is pretty much non-existent. It's completely possible to visit all 3 places in one afternoon and even though these are all near the ocean I would pick these places as more of a walking location rather than a place for a relaxing time at the beach, for that reason and because during the summer these places tend to be packed I would recommend visiting them on a sunny autumnal day rather than doing so in the force of Summer. 


Ferragudo

Ferragudo is a small fishing village in the municipality of Lagoa, it's beautiful cobalt streets, whitewashed houses, and beautiful flowers make you feel like you suddenly took a trip to a Greek Island. Ferragudo is surrounded by the river mouth of Rio Arade and the Atlantic Ocean, from the village you can see the skyline of Portimão and many fishing boats. You can visit Igreja da Nossa Senhora da Conceição a church that works as a viewpoint to the beach. Something to be aware of is the fact that during high-tide the water reaches the streets and things get slightly flooded so be aware of that when picking what shoes to take.



Must-do in Ferragudo:

  • Drink a cocktail by the river and fully enjoy this little piece of paradise;
  • Get lost in all the little streets, this is the absolute best way to fully explore the village;
  • Cross the bridge to the other side of the river and take in the view of Ferragudo from the other margin;





Praia da Marinha

Praia da Marinha was considered by the Michelin Guide one of the 10 most beautiful beaches in Europe and one of the top 100 on the planet. Part of the municipality of Lagoa, Marinha beach is like the most dreamy scenery. A little beach surrounded by nature and with rocks taking over the Atlantic it's a place where land and sea come together and create magic. 
Honestly, I wouldn't recommend Praia da Marinha to spend a day at the beach, especially in the force of summer because the sand space is tinny (due to COVID restrictions, this year, the beach had 15 people limit capacity), however, if you want to go for a hike in the middle of nature, this is the place to go, especially if you are visiting the Algarve and you want to visit such a famous location.



Pro-Tip:
  • There are a few picnic tables that overlook the beach, I would 100% recommend you bringing a little picnic basket and have lunch near the ocean, super romantic and for sure one of the best ways to fully take in the view;

 


Senhora da Rocha

How on earth did I not know this place existed?! One of my mum's friends said she would really like to visit Senhora da Rocha for the first time during our little adventure so we made it the last stop of our day. And oh boy was it a good thing we did! We got there just around golden-hour and we could take the place in its full majestic beauty.
Part of the municipality of Lagoa, Senhora da Rocha is nothing but a little church built on a rock, literally, in the middle of the ocean. The church is super small and has a little corner filled with beautiful blue painted Portuguese tiles, a window filled with seashells that have lovers names written on them (pretty much like lockers on Ponts des Arts in Paris). Either you are religious or not this place is magical and a must include on your itinerary when visiting the South of Portugal. 


Best time to visit: 

  • Even though I have never been here before and it was slightly busy, I would still 100% recommend that you visit this magical place around sunset time. The golden-hour colours, mixed with the beach behind you, the sound of the waves hitting the rocks, and the immense view to the horizon where the ocean meets the sky honestly made experiencing this place my favourite place I've visited the whole day.


Lagoa has many more beautiful places to offer, but these were the ones I got around to visit in one afternoon. I think it's a good idea to bring little travel guides to the table that can actually be helpful if you are planning to visit and you have a limited amount of time, instead of showing you everything the Algarve has to offer in one post. I hope you liked this post and that you are enjoying getting to know the Algarve a little better. 



Location: Lagoa, Algarve, Portugal 
Photography: Ana Teresa Pessoa 

Do it for the Gram in Paris


If Paris hadn't been built way before Instagram one could think that the app motivated the architects to build a city that looks like a living monument. Every corner is picture worth it, every street is blessed with beautiful buildings and amazing views. The metró signs, the street lamps, everything comes in a mixture of functionality and beauty that is above everything pleasing to the eyes. 
On today's blog post I will take you along a few spots I found, in the city of love, that are worth your visit, if you are looking for the perfect snap for the grid. 

This post was highly inspired by Ellies (aka Petitellie) blog post, she gave me the recommendations to all these places but I found a couple she hadn't mentioned so I decided to write this post anyway, but please check her page out!

Something that it's important to note is that I am not a morning person and I never left the house before 10h30 AM, so the spots I'm about to recommend are good during all times of the day, so you don't have to build your itinerary based on what time you have to be in a place in order to be able to get the picture.



Avenue de Camoens: This spot is the absolute best place to snap your picture with the Eiffel Tower in the background. Why? Because it's not a tourist hot spot, so it's empty. It is a bit of a detour if you want to visit the tourist places, however, the view is worth it, and let's faced, every street in Paris could be a tourist attraction. The only people there were bloggers and photographers doing shoots, so I guess this is a popular spot to get your picture taken and I can understand why.

Fun fact:  Avenue de Camoens means Avenida Camões in Portuguese and it's named after one of the biggest Portuguese poets. 



Palais Royal: Another of Ellie's recommendations was Palais Royal. A place I had never heard of in Paris, maybe because is not the number one on any travel guides, but I guarantee you, it is the perfect spot to snap some pictures. It's huge, just by the Louvre (so you are most likely to pass this location on your vacation route anyway) and it is beautiful. This was actually the first place we shot at during our stay and we absolutely loved it.



Square Marcel-Bluestein-Blanchet: If you have visited the Sacré Coeur in the past you know how beautiful the building his, how the view from the staircase is breathtaking and how it is constantly packed with tourists. As I referenced in my Paris Travel Guide Montmartre is my favourite neighbourhood in Paris and the Basilique is an amazing part of it, so like most people I wanted to capture the moment of my visit in a unique way, which can be challenging when there are a lot of people trying to do the same. So if you are looking to get a picture with the beautiful building in the background this square is the place to go! Why? (you ask) Because it's where you can see the back of the building, equally as beautiful to the front but with no one around to bust your picture.



Place de la Concorde: The Place where Louis the XVI and Marie Antoinette were guillotined is, in my humble opinion, one of the most beautiful places in all of Paris and the perfect place to get your picture taken. When around the river people tend to pick Pont Alexandre III, Notre Dame or the Eiffel Tower as their go-to picture-taking location, without even realizing, we stumbled upon Place de la Concorde after descending the Champs Elysées. This place is easy to shoot because it's a passaging spot and people won't care too much to stop and take pictures there because they are either coming or going to the main touristic attractions that are near it (like Arc de Triomphe, de Louvre or Pont Alexandre III). The fountains are beautiful and if you wait long enough you can get your pictures with some water in the background. 

Fun fact: At the end of the film Devil Wears Prada, Andy (Anne Hathaway's character) throws her phone into one of the fountains you can find in Place de la Concorde, so if you are a fan of the movie (like yours truly) this is a must-visit spot.  



The 'other side' of the Arc de Triomphe: And by that, I mean the side of the sidewalk where the metro doesn't exit from. Most people when visiting the attraction stay on the side where the metro exit exists. Based on Ellie's tips and my own experience I found there to be a substantial difference in the number of people waiting to get their picture taken on one side, in comparison to the other. Then it's a waiting game, after all, we are talking about a roundabout with 10 lanes and 12 exits. Honestly, I hope that my pictures prove that IT CAN BE DONE. It is possible to take pictures with the Arc de Triomphe in the background and not much else. Also, I would suggest you get your picture from the waist up because it will be easier to cut passing vehicles. 



And that concludes this post. Obviously, as I stated, in the beginning, there are many other places where you can go and take pictures around the city, these just happened to be 5 I found particularly easy to shoot at, without worrying too much about times, schedules or detours to simply get the pictures. I was (and still am) so proud of the pictures we were creating and the way we were portraying my favourite place on Earth that this post had to happen. Thank you once again to Ellie, for her patience, her time and her friendship. 



 Location: Paris, France
Photography: João Machado

How the Pandemic Made Hotel Industry Eco-Friendly




  2020 has been a challenging year, all the things we took from granted, like the ability to travel, open borders (I know how privilege I sound saying this but Portugal is part of the EU and that is my reality) and a simple hug from our grandparents have been taken away. 
Even if life, as we knew it, changed a lot, something I have learned in the past few months is that the human being has an incredible capacity to adapt and accept things as they are, making the best out of the worst situations. 

This deep philosophical introduction comes to say that I did some traveling (uhh controversial, I know) during the summer. Actually, it was more of a staycation 1 hour away from home to stay at my aunt's hotel. I wanted to sit here ar write this blog post because the traveling sector has been deeply affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and I want to give you my point of view on travel, hotels, means of transportation, outdoor activities, and how safe I actually felt. 


Having a family member that owns a hotel is a total privilege because it allows me to have an insight into the perspective of someone whose business was directly affected by the side effects of the pandemic in detriment of our regular customer perspective.  I got to sit down and talk to my aunt about her fears, what changed, and what changes she thinks will be permanent once the Covid-19 pandemic is over. I decided to bring to you 3 changes that I think can be here to stay and that made the whole industry more eco-friendly.


 

Daily cleaning of rooms is no longer a thing: In order to keep people away from the guest's rooms, the cleaning works upon request instead of having someone coming to your room uninvented to simply make the bed or to give you clean towels. You can ask for your room to be cleaned at any time and do the same with requesting for new towels or anything else you need. If you don't want strangers getting into your personal space everyday cleaning works upon request, which I personally think is a great measure, it saves water (being that they are not washing bedding and towels unnecessarily on a daily), it saves resources and honestly in times like this anything that diminishes contact between strangers is a great idea in my opinion.



Buffets are a thing of the past: The classic hotel breakfast, probably mine (and many others) favorite part of staying in hotels has changed deeply. Buffets with all you can eat delights such as pancakes, croissants, many natural juices, fruits, eggs, bacon, and everything in between are a thing of the past. Even though I always loved the concept of a buffet breakfast the food waste that it generates must be tremendous. In Monte do Malhão they never had a buffet breakfast, and even though I know different hotel chains are adapting to the new-normal (god I hate that phrase so much) in different ways such as: having hotel employees serving the all you can eat buffets, the classic menu from which we can pick what we want to eat; the way Monte do Malhão has done it is the best way in my opinion. 
They have a simple breakfast composed of many different local products like bread, butter, different jams, a slice of cake, fresh orange juice, and fresh fruit and then you can ask for eggs, coffee, milk, or any other beverage on the spot if you wish. This is a great way to avoid food waste which according to Project Drawdown is one of the biggest things we can do to help fight climate change. 



Hotels are trying to give you everything you may need during your stay: You must have been tired of me talking about how hotels have changed but this is something I have been noticing not only from my personal experience but also from what I have heard other people say on their social media channels, hotels are doing everything that they can to make you stay there longer. Obviously, this depends on the type of tourism you are doing but in general, it is in everyone's best interest if the guests aren't moving around too much. I've seen hotels with a bunch of different pools, restaurants, and many other perks but that normally comes from big hotel chains and resorts. However, if you are trying to support smaller businesses they can still bring something to the table. Monte do Malhão, a small hotel with only 9 rooms, for example (and again, this is my only hotel experience during these crazy times) offers bedrooms with hot tubes, two pools (outside and indoors), they are building a spa complex to go with the indoor pool, massages, yoga classes, a little farm with different animals, viewpoints, trills where you can do hikes, a cultural salon where you can relax unwind and read a book and an ongoing art exhibition throughout the hallways and different rooms of the hotel are a few of the things this wonderful space has. 
If the hotels are making their guests stay in their accommodations for longer instead of going out and exploring the world, at the same time, and probably unintentionally,  they are making sure that their guests are not using their cars or other means of transportation to get around which will help to reduce the carbon footprint generated by them in their daily lives, even if it's just for a couple of days. 


In conclusion, I felt completely safe while staying in a hotel, however, I totally understand if you don't. The world as changed and some industries have changed completely with it, we don't take things for granted anymore but I think that some good has to come out of this pandemic, and maybe, just maybe, some of these changes are here to stay, in a long run, they are already making and they will keep making a difference in the world and we will all get to live in a better place. I don't know if this is just me dreaming but, I like to believe that this is true.



Location: Monte do Malhão, Castro Marim, Algarve, Portugal 
Photography:  João Machado

Parisienne Makeup Menu

 It has been almost 7 months since I visited Paris, and only now I'm getting around to creating the content regarding my trip. I know, shame on me, but my mind simply wasn't in the right place and I would rather create good content about the city that is so dear to my heart. 



Today I will finally bring you my Paris Makeup Menu, which basically has a little guide on how to achieve the makeup I wore while visiting the city. I tried to inspire myself on the french classic makeup and went for a red lip and a bold eyeliner most days. This was something so out of my normal makeup routine but at the same time something that felt in some way familiar to my face.



There is nothing that the true Parisienne values more than skincare. French Pharmacy brands are known worldwide for their formulas and ingredients, so, in order to achieve the french beauty look, I took special attention to my skin prep, using the french classic Embryolise as a hydrating primer. I skipped foundation most days and used a minimal amount of concealer. To bring a little colour to my face I used my beloved Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Bronzer in the shade dark chocolate. I skipped blush and highlighter as well, letting my skin breathe so much more than what I normally would on a trip. 





The Urban Decay Born To Run Eyeshadow Pallet is a travel essential in my makeup bag. Firstly it has a gigantic makeup mirror, which is great because we never know what mirrors we will have available when traveling. At the same time, it has any colour you may need to create any kind of look. This is probably my favourite all-round eyeshadow pallet (and believe me I own way too many). 
For this makeup look, however, I kept it rather simple. I used the shade Weekender all over my lid and then Riff on my crease. To give it a little shine I used the shade Blaze on my lid. This combination was simple and created the perfect simple and easy to achieve eye makeup look. 
To give it the french twist I added a winged eye-liner (fun fact: when I was in middle school I wouldn't leave the house without a winged liner, now I don't even think I can do a decent one anymore). I 100% prefer felt tip eyeliners and the one I choose for this look was the Lottie London Stamp Liner, the tip of the pen is very precise and allows us to create the perfect eyeliner look. 





The last essential in my Paris makeup bag was a bold red lipstick with a blue undertone. I picked a Ted Baker lipstick that was part of their Elegant Lip Set. The formula is out of this world, they created a creamy lipstick that stays on your lips for a long time and doesn't get everywhere, at the same time the cobalt blue and rose gold package bring a sense of luxury when using the product, something that fits with the Parisian vibe perfectly. 

Et voilà, this was the final look. A simple and fresh makeup look with two statement features. 
As I said before this type of look is quite different from what I usually do, but I felt so good while wearing it. By the end of my trip, I didn't recognize myself without red lipstick on, maybe it's my inner Parisienne that was living her best life while in the city I love the most, maybe it was just good to step out of my regular makeup routine and switch things around.

I truly hope you enjoyed this blog post, as much as I enjoyed sitting here writing it. Blogging is one of the things that brings me the most joy in life and being able to share it with you guys truly means the world.



Location: Paris, France