Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Free and Easy Taipei Trip Itinerary

Great for people who procrastinate and don't mind taking their own sweet time to explore the place.May miss a few key attractions though :p

1st day - 2pm:Reach airport, take Freego bus -> Taiwan Angel Hostel check in -> Rest -> Taipei underground metro mall -> Shi lin night market

2nd day - Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall -> Taipei 101 and shopping around the area -> Wu Fen Pu-> Raohe night market (Can squeeze Sun-yat Sen if wake up early)

3rd day - Ye liu geopark -> Jiu Fen (overnight) -> Keelung night market

4th day- from Jiu Fen back to Taipei -> Taipei Zoo (can skip la not as nice as Singapore zoo.. unless u really need to see Pandas) -> Xi men Ding

5th day - Yang Ming Shan national park ->Xin Bei Tou Hot Springs-> Dan Shui

6th Day - Woke up late -> spent the whole day trying to get to Xiao Ren Guo (Wonders of China) spent one hour there and then another 2 hours to get back.. totally wasted -> Shida night market where all the uni student go to

7th day - Wake up late -> planned to go to storyland/paper museum etc but was raining cats and dogs. So spent the whole day exploring Taipei Underground Metro Mall + spending all my Taiwan dollars-> buy duty free stuff in airport -> flight delayed so explored empty Tao Yuan airport -> Flight home.

With 7 days some tour groups can cover the whole of Taiwan. But i love the free and easy concept. I don't want to be all stressed out during my holiday.

Do check out Kampung Boy's blog for a better and more detailed itinerary. Our holiday was based on his.

Cath Kidston "Hello" from London 2010 Spring Summer Mook

Another mook buy from Taiwan.And how could i resist? Knew of the mook's existence in March from Rouge Deluxe as usual, and at the time of launch retailed at S$34.10. Buying the mook in Singapore would have cost me RM81.84 with a 2.4 exchange rate. Nope not worth it. The brand is practically unknown in Malaysia anyway and there are no branches over here. It is however really popular in Japan and i saw the Cath Kidston line in a department store in Taipei. The last i saw anything Cath Kidston was in the form of a tote bag in the arm of a lady in ..drumroll.. Ipoh Parade. So i guess there is awareness of the brand over here.

But that does not justify doling out so much money for a mag/book with some freebies. But i must say at the time the freebie looked really cute and attractive but not a must have.

Then i saw the mook again in Kino KLCC in June going for RM60++. Only one copy left. But still a bit steep for me so gave it a pass.

Waddaya know. Our patch crossed again and this time it was going on discount for NT499. Roughly around RM49.90 only!! There was plenty of stock! But still i resisted.

It was only until i saw the sample of the freebies and how good the quality was that i bought the mook. Kiam siap max!

So here i share my buy.

The cover of the mook which is a magazine connected to a huge box.

Price from Mag Freak.

Love how they incorporate fabric elements into the pages.

This is also one of the prints from their latest collection.

And this is her...Cath Kidston, though i can't be sure cos i don't read Japanese.

And these are what comes with the mook. A make-up pouch, a tissue holder and posket mirror all matchy in the same prints.

They even suggest how to use the gifts with purchase.

How it looks like in real life.

Quality polka dotted inner lining with loads of compartments.

Very old- school yet very now.

Even the tissue cover is lined!

As you can tell very pleased.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

LeSportsac Spring summer 2010 Mook

The mook (Japanese coined term meaning magazine book) was launched in April this year and due to the overwhelming demand saw it flying off the shelves in Singapore. I'm not sure whether they restocked it but i saw a large quantity of stock in KLCC Kinokinuya available in all 3 designs, and  some designs were also still available in Taiwan. I wonder how things are in Singapore.Its amazing how the Japanese mag/mook craze is in Taiwan. Read here for details.

Even though i am very late in purchasing, (which also means i get a 20% off at Kinokinuya- but turns out it was far cheaper in Taiwan), i still want to share this mook.

Its was launched with 3 covers. Content are all the same. Each cover corresponds to the material used on the free sling multicase that comes with the mook.

The most popular patten is undoubtedly the  35th Avenue print which was an exclusive print to Japan.This is my favourite print and the most LeSportsac-ish of the lot.

This one is called the robin egg dot print, which i also love. Just one grouse i would have preferred a lighter shade of pink instead of hot pink.

This is black glitter. Not my style but it's made with a different king of material so it glitters and its waterproof.

I've read about problems with the stitching from many other bloggers. The one i bought is all right with not much of a problem. But i bought 4 other copies as gifts so i'm a little concerned there, but i can't open it for inspection cos it's supposed to be a gift!Fingers crossed!

Of course i had to get the 35th Avenue print.

The material is called rip-stop nylon as seen on many LeSportsac bags.I cannot for the life of me tell the difference between an original and a fake LeSportsac bag. But it's a good feeling to carry one which is not fake.

Once there were two friends carrying the LeSportsac sling pouch in the paediatric department. I asked one of them, is yours real or fake?

"Fake of course!" was the reply.

So i assumed the other girl (lets call her Hirah) had a fake LeSportsac as well because being the noob i was, did not recognize the prints on her bag to be original. In my heydays i thought all LeSportsacs had to be in the Tokidoki design.

So when Hirah did not bring her bag to work one day, someone asked me what happened to her bag?

So there i was asking Hirah "Hey, how come you didn't bring you FAKE LeSportsac to work today?"

Hirah opened her eyes wide and looked at me incredulously!

"Excuse me! What did you say? FAKE? I paid RM300++ for the bag ok?"

Wahahaha that was my OMG moment. Luckily Hirah and I are good friends and she even graciously answered my question.

"I didn't bring my LeSportsac today cos i have a new Braun Buffel sling bag."

Which drew blank stares from me.

"Braun Buffel??"

I think she just gave up on me there and then.

As i said. Luckily we are good friends!

So yeah more on the multi case.

The print is really cute. And it being a Japan exclusive means you can't buy the print normally in the store unless you're in Japan/ or buying the mook.

What's great is also the pale dusky pink interior. So yup a branded item for less.

Very happy :)

Friday, 25 June 2010

Japanese Magazines and Mooks / Taiwan Travel

After months of reading and salivating over the Japanese Magazine and freebies featured in Rouge Deluxe, i was finally able to purchase myself Japanese freebie magazines (as i call it) and mooks (magazine books in Japlish), instead of hassling my brother. (Read: The road to obtaining ).

As my wedding was in Concorde KL and i was staying there too, KLCC was just a walking distance away. As far as i know, the only way to get hold of Japanese magazines and mooks in Malaysia is at Kinokinuya KLCC. Alternatively, cross the causeway. So after much trouble looking for the Japanese magazine section, (there was a whole shrine of Japanese mags hidden away in a special corner i never knew existed) i was finally in the land of branded freebies.

Lets face it. I only buy the magazines because of the freebies. Japanese magazines are great. They collaborate with high end brands to give out 'branded' freebies from the likes of Marc Jacobs, Jill Stuart, Agnes B.. just to name a few. And then there are brands that are not found in Malaysia which are highly popular in Japan like Cath Kidston, Gelato Pique.. that churns out some really good  freebies.However the quality of the freebies vary and it would be good to see a review first before purchase. But if you really want great freebies go for the mooks! The chances are the gift with purchase would be of equal quality with the normal merchandise albeit maybe for some dodgy stitching.

So back to the story. I was in Kinokinuya KLCC. And i found this!

Loads and loads of stock of the Lesportsac 2010 mook which was sold out in Singapore!And with all 3 patterns in abundance. There was a 20% discount with any purchase of another item, so i was going 'grab immediately'. I bought only one.

But after reviewing the quality of it bought another 3 as gifts immediately the next day! It's just too good to be true! They even had the YSL mook, Cath Kidston 2010 spring summer mook, and magazine with Bvlgari clear bag freebie. I guess compared with Singaporeans, the Japanese magazine craze has not caught on hence the abundance in stock! So after spending a tidy sum, i thought that was that. The end of my mook buying days. And i was contented.

But waddaya know?

Guess what i found in Taiwan?

The Taiwanese are even more into the Japanese Magazines, mooks and freebies than Singaporeans! Every other Taiwanese girl was carrying an Agnes B tote that was a gift with purchase from the Spring /Summer 2010 Mook, Cher GWP totes, HBG freebie tote.. and i was wondering where they got their stock.

'They probably have loads of Kinokinuyas around,' i thought.

Then i saw 'Eslite bookstore that stocks loads of Japanese Magazines.

A picture from 'Eslite' and yes i bought the Agnes B Spring Summer 2010 mook.

So i thought maybe that's where they get it from. But i was wrong! There were other means!

Scattered around Xi Men Ding, and also a shop in the Taipei Underground Metro mall i found these specialty magazine stores!

The window display of a shop in Xi Men Ding.

Freebies hanging from every corner for you to touch and hold!

I did not even get to go into this one cos i had already bought my quota for the day.

Bought the seriously-hard-to-get-cos-it-was-launched-in-March Gelato Pique 2010 mook. Sold out in Malaysia.Was sold out in Singapore but i think they restocked at certain branches. (Will blog about all my purchases in another post)

The shop in Taipei Metro Underground Mall.. Can you believe it , it was my last day and i meet the shop of all Japanese freebie magazine shops? They had everything! Old stock, new stock, and at discounted prices with every freebie on display so you don't have to buy the freebie that was actually made of paper thin material.

They even have posters??!!

You have to hand it to the Taiwanese , they are professionals. And judging from the amount of people in the store, they are also very well aware of the branded freebies these mags are churning out. The only way to explain why they have so much variety and abundance of stock, is that Taiwan is so much nearer to Japan than South East Asia. And that may also contribute to the cheaper price.

I'm a happy girl after having satiated my Japanese mook craving. Will blog about my lovely and not so lovely purchases next time. In the meantime..

..... loving the Cath Kidston mook.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Naraya Bags/ Taiwan Travel 2010

Back from honeymoon in Taiwan, i was amazed to discover a SEA fashion phenomenon over there. Besides being hugely influence by every Japanese fashion trend, the Taiwanese it seems have taken a liking to the humble made in Thailand Naraya bag.

For those who are thinking 'What the hell are Naraya bags?'. Here's a little history. For those who do know, congratulations! You are most definitely female.

NaRaYa (thats how the brand is supposed to be spelt with capitals and all) was the brainchild of a Thai- Chinese woman called Khun Wasna and a Greek businessman Vassilios Lathouras. Khun Wasna came from a Chinese-Thai family who owned a grocery store in Thailand and worked as a tour guide while Vassilios (seriously having problems spelling this) was in Thailand to find his fortune. He met this particular tour guide fell in love, developed Narai intertrade and the rest is history.

NaRaYa the name, originated from the Hindu God Phra Narai, more commonly known as Vishnu.The name was auspicious and was easy to pronounce by speakers of different languages.
They started with less than 20 sewing machines and sold their products from a 2 square metre booth at the basement of Narayana Phand Bazaar.Today their bags can be found all over the world and hence why i saw it in abundance in Fun Taiwan.

(All NaRaYa facts credited to the official website here)

And this is what a NaRaYa bag looks like.

Simple cloth bags with diamond stitching and a humongous bow. Something that looked like it could have been whipped up at home-ec class.

I was perturbed at first. Why was this bag so popular in Taiwan? So much so i could not help but take pictures of innocent passer-by's flashing the big-bow-bag.

In the MRT.

In the MRT station.

On the streets.

Even from the back you could tell it was a Naraya bag from the material, and bag structure.

Even men were not spared.

Why? Where were these Taiwanese people getting their supply of Thailand bags? Did they really all go to Thailand?

Then i found my answer.

They had a bloody Naraya shop in Taipei.. no make that two. I saw one in Danshui old street and another one i forgot where in Taipei.

Of course with all things popular you can't run away from fakes.

Seen at the night market. Imitation Naraya's?

Seriously perplexed. Have been seeing people buying loads of Naraya's in Thailand but never understood why. I really do not see the appeal. Big cheesy bow, diamond stitching which i did in 'Kemahiran Hidup' in form 3, and it did not look all that durable. 

But, hmm.. if the Taiwanese are buying it, there must be something i've been missing.

As i could not figure this out alone, i had to consult my personal fashion guru, and newly minted husband, JH.

'It's simple,' he said. 'The monogrammed look is in.'
'Huh? Where got monogram?'

'The diamond stitching looks like a monogram. ' 

'What?' I stared incredulously. 'Where got look like a monogram?' At this point LV's and Gucci's flooded my mind.

'Aiya, something like that what. Plus the bow lets people know it is a NaRaYa. People want something recognizable at a cheaper price.' He concludes.

'Plus,' he goes on, 'It looks quite nice, and its light.'

'Whats wrong with...' i started before i felt a heavy burden that was my bag on my shoulders. 'Oh.. i guess lightness is a really strong point. Something like a LeSportSac.'

'Exactly.' fashion guru ends the debate.

So i guess, i do see the appeal.

And this, was fashion guru's buy a few days later.


Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Wedding Shoes and nails

So much to blog, so many pictures to resize, so little time to do it.
Besides the fact that there is Glee and ANTM on TV today i have yet to fully open all my lovely packages from Taiwan. Not to mention taking photos of my shopping stash! I am so busy i did not even have time to photograph everything i bought before giving them away as gifts!Groan.. anyway as i have said i have a lot to blog about but as it is really near my bedtime, will have to make do with a short post.

Just want to show my wedding shoe. You cannot imagine how hard it is to find decently priced, white/cream high heeled, non-cheap looking shoes! I did my rounds at all major shopping centres in KL. Was even willing to fork out 300++ for a Lewre but it yielded nothing!

Until i stumbled upon a blogger who had the same problem and found her solution in wedding isle.So i paid a visit to Sri Hartamas. Got lost for a bit but finally found it. Even had to SOS call Tahirah for a bit of google maps help. Ha ha.. and there were heaps of shoes there! They all looked divine and within my budget 150- 250 range. They were all so pretty but i finally settled for the one on sale cos, it was cheapest, most comfortable and open toed! I tried all the close-toed one and i seriously cannot walk in it. It may not be the prettiest but definitely the most comfortable and wedding shoe looking to me!

So ta daa.. after months of searching :

And only at RM150. Good enough for me as i probably wont wear it much again.

And not forgetting my 2 hour long plus RM130 poorer manicure.

Managed to make it last for both weddings which were a week apart.

Moral of story: Weddings are expensive!

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Mission accomplished

Finally my weddings are over!! What a relief.. i have so much to blog and so many pictures to put up! But i guess that will have to wait till i come back from Taiwan.

There were so many things to do leading up to the wedding days and we would not have been able to do it without the help of some very very dear people.

Thank you thank you to all who have helped and attended the wedding.. *hugs*

Those will be for a later post i guess.

For now traveling Taiwan free and easy.

Not too simple for bananas like us.

But we are managing.

Will try and post pictures soon.

See you soon!


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