Travel

Vermont Foliage – Road Trip

My most favorite seasons are fall and spring. The crisp air of the fall season after a hot summer and the calming feeling of spring- cute little buds on the trees everywhere, ready to blossom. I planned this fall foliage trip a month ahead and honestly, just a week before the trip I wasn’t sure if I will be able to see the foliage, constantly checking foliage reports because of the ever-changing weather in the Northeast.

Our first stop along Route 4 was the Quechee Gorge (pronounced as kwee-chee). Known as ‘Grand Canyon of Vermont’, it’s 145 feet deep and is the state’s deepest gorge. The site was breathtaking with hiking trails nearby as well as a cute café with possibly the best hot apple cider I have ever had. After a quick stop, we went up to Stowe through Route 100 and stopped by to take pictures along the way.

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Stowe was the place to be, to see the spectacular colors and the vast landscape. We took a gondola and went up the hill. The ride up offers the most immersive view of the mountain with the different colors spread across its hills. In winter, skiers use these to access the different skiing slopes that Stowe offers and I am sure the views are incredible when everything is covered in a sheet of snow. The gondola ride was a lot of fun. It was foggy at the top of the hill but the view was simply breathtaking!

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From Stowe, we stopped by for lunch at Idletyme Brewery.  I suggest making reservations ahead of time, as most of the restaurants in Stowe were packed with tourists. After the lunch, I had to stop for a quick coffee, and stumbled across this super cute café called Stowe BeeBakery and Café. They had good coffee as well as delicious pastries. I got the Twix bar which was a bit pricey for a small piece but it literally melts in your mouth.

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Our hotel was in Burlington, so we decided to take the scenic Route 108 through Smuggler’s Notch to Burlington.

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After checking in, we decided to explore Burlington. It is located South of the Canadian Border and on the eastern shore of Lake Champlain. The city was very lively on the weekend and we walked around checking out the different attractions the city had to offer. It was bustling with tourists, even with the chilly weather that night. For dinner we decided to go to American Flatbread Burlington Heath. They have the most amazing salads and flatbreads. The interior is cozy and perfect after a long day outdoors.

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The next day, we stopped by at Lake Chaplain. Shelburne Bay was the most scenic of the lake’s views with easy parking access. We then took Route 7 on the way back. This was a scenic route with farms along both sides and glimpses of the lake as you make your way south.

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There are plenty of small towns to stop by on this route to grab any Vermont products or souvenirs. I picked up some maple syrup and coffee beans from the Middlebury Natural Foods Co-op.

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It was super chilly by this time so made a quick stop at Lake Dunham. The best thing about Vermont is that you get to see the beautiful foliage and all the incredible views while driving.  On the way down, we stopped in small town in Brandon to grab coffee at Gourmet Provence, a French bakery. If you are in the area, the have freshly baked breakfast pastries, Vermont specialty products, as well as imported vinegars and organic pastas. The Chocolate Decadent cookie was delish! From there, the GPS unexpectedly guided us through Route 73, which ended up being a very beautiful route through the green mountains with its trees showcasing every stage of foliage. The fog for some of the route had a great atmospheric effect, making it one of the most memorable routes of the trip.

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I highly recommend Vermont for mesmerizing and memorable views of the foliage. On our way up we passed by some great patches of foliage in the northern parts of New Hampshire, which I plan on checking out next year.

Beauty · My Style

My Summer Skincare Routine

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The one thing that I am attentive to every single day is my skin. I would go as far to say that I spend more time applying creams than I do makeup. Makeup excites me, and I believe that good makeup application starts with good, healthy and thoroughly prepped skin. When it comes to taking care of my skin, I avoid skipping any steps in applying products. This is especially true for my nighttime routine, when I take all my makeup off and really take my time to apply products and let them sink in. At night, I can apply thicker creams, moisturizing masks (depending on the season) and not worry about my face looking like an oil producing factory. All the while, giving my skin rest and recovery time for the next day.

Since my makeup routine consists of applying a light foundation every day when I head out for work, I only apply a moisturizer and/or primer and nothing else under my makeup. Sometimes, I am out in the sun as well and I think the environment can take its toll on your skin, so a BB cream cream with SPF or a moisturizer with SPF is a must.

For all the ladies out there, I will share some products that I am currently using and I am hoping you will find the product breakdown helpful. I try to switch products depending on the weather (for example, heavier creams in winter and gel moisturizers in summer). Here is a breakdown of the products:

  1. Caudalie Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet:  Caudalie is known for its clean ingredients. They are environmentally friendly and do not contain mineral oils, parabens and phthalates among other chemicals. This sorbet is in the form of a light gel cream that dissolves instantly upon application. It smells fresh and is hydrating. It’s good for summer months when you don’t need a lot of moisturizer but something to keep your skin hydrated. Additionally, it has a mild scent and is great for sensitive skin.  I believe it works well on dry skin as well.

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Link: https://us.caudalie.com/products-best-sellers-1/moisturizing-sorbet-cream.html

  1. Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum: The radiance serum is milky and is readily absorbed. I usually apply the serum on my face after cleansing and gently pat it to make sure its absorbed before applying the moisturizer. It helps with dark spots and overall skin tone. It is also oil-free which a plus for me.

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Link: https://us.caudalie.com/products-best-sellers-1/radiance-serum.html

  1. Fresh Sugar Advanced Therapy Dream: I heard about the hype for this lip product and only recently started using it. I will say that after using it a couple of times, I did feel a different in the dryness levels of my lips. I wake up to baby soft lips and I feel they get dry less frequently. I usually apply this at night and use a regular Chapstick for the day as it has a sheer tint (in which case it can be work alone for a natural look).

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Link: https://www.fresh.com/US/dry-lips/sugar-dream-lip-treatment-advanced-therapy/H00004456.html

  1. Kora Organics Noni Glow Face Oil (Ultra-hydrating): I was really excited to try this face oil. It smells nice and is infused wth rose quartz. It readily absorbs in the skin and is suitable for sensitive skin. It doesn’t have a strong floral scent which is what I like about this product. Sometimes, my skin needs more hydration and starts drying out. I apply this on top of the Caudalie moisturizer at night and gently massage it on my face and neck.

Link: https://us.koraorganics.com/products/noni-glow-face-oil

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  1. Sunday Riley Good Genes Lactic Acid Treatment: This is my go to when my skin is feel out-of-balance. It is on the pricier side but a little goes a long way. I feel that it does exfoliate and remove dead, dull skin cells even though it has no obvious beads for exfoliation. It has a strong scent, so I use it only at night and discontinue when I feel my skin is feeling less congested and clear.

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Link: https://www.sephora.com/product/good-genes-all-in-one-lactic-acid-treatment-P309308?skuId=1887298&icid2=products%20grid:

Travel

Muir Woods

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” Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean. ” – John Muir 

Muir Woods National Monument is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The forest consists of ancient redwood trees, known for their height and resilience to harsh weather conditions (they even survive fire). We planned our trip a day before, and given the time of the year (summer) we didn’t realize that it would be so busy, as a lot of people come here for hiking (the Ben Johnson and Dipsea trails for views of the treetops, the Pacific Ocean and Mount Tamalpais). We got to the park after driving for an hour and half from Berkeley but could not find parking (they had two parking lots) as it was already full. The people at the visitor center told us that the parking is usually reserved in advance and if there is no space, you either park about 20 minutes away in Sausalito or book in advance for another day. We decided to drive 20 minutes away to Sausalito and get on the shuttle that runs every 30 minutes. Luckily, there were still spots available as you have to pay and book your seats for the shuttle in advance too.

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When we finally got there, I was thinking to myself ‘this better be worth all the driving.’ And I must say that it was worth it. It was an unbelievable sight! The trees were literally touching the sky. It was really majestic and I honesty felt like I was on another planet (and maybe, Jurassic Park). These trees were so majestic and I was looking up to them, I was thinking that I’m probably staring at a tree that’s hundreds of years old and survived even California wildfires. I wondered how many faces and eyes it had greeted.

There were 4 short trails and the visitor center had signs requesting visitors to keep noise at a minimum (no loud noises/whisper to each other.) This was to reduce noise pollution and maintain the natural environment of the forest. We were done in about 45 minutes, stopping by occasionally to take pictures.

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If you are in the Bay Area, I would highly recommend you get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and check out Muir Woods. It’s definitely a must see and great for some quiet time and reflection. On your way back, I would recommend driving through Sausalito, which is a small city across from San Francisco. It’s lovely drive with really cute houses on the hills and scenic views. Plus, there are many restaurants on the waterfront. we stopped by at a place called the Joinery and it had the best chicken burgers I have ever had!

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