I learned *a lot* in Amsterdam…

… and it wasn't just by way of all the museums I visited (although I'm adding yet another one to the list in this post). Everything I learned about the city came from a bit of YouTube research (thank you, Lily Pebbles), my own exploration of the canals, and by sheer luck, making friends with someone who's been living in the city for a couple of years.

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I caught the Dior and Balenciaga exhibitions…

… while I was in Paris and in London upon my friend Queenie and my cousin Tina's recommendation. They were both the first items on my agenda for both cities and made for a beautiful (literally) way to kick off my travels.

I'm by no means a fashion-phile but I do appreciate a good museum (or two… or three…). I'm always on the lookout for design-related exhibitions and it just so happened that there were two ongoing shows during my trip. 

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I walked through the French Revolution…

… by taking a walking tour by Localers.

I first came across this run-by-locals tour company on my first trip to Paris. I wanted an insider's walkthrough at the Louvre and was able to book a private tour with these folks. I really valued the experience because of the skip the line access and art expert info that I probably would have glossed over if I had just gotten the audio guide at the museum (I still remember really specific details about my tour!). 

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My List, April 2018

I'm an April baby and I've never felt more refreshed, renewed, and revitalized than April *this year*. As summer eases in (more like gets in our faces), I've been getting all the bursts of creativity and inspiration I've missed out on over the last months. It feels good to finally be catching up to life.

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I had more places to see on my Paris list…

… my first time there. After I had ticked the major landmarks off my list, it was time to delve deeper into the city. Thankfully, I had nine days in Paris, and a former local to help me navigate the city. 

If you've got a lot of time to spare in Paris and don't mind taking the metro and running all over the place, you might want to check out the spots that Queenie and I made sure to head to. Here are some of my favorites.

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What's Making Me Happy: March 2018

This month, we officially move into summer in Manila while cosmically, we move into Aries season.  The first sign of the zodiac, Aries symbolizes starts, impulsive action, spontaneity and March has, in many ways, shown me a lot of that fiery energy. I can't wait to feel it all really kick in in April.

While I wait for the new month (plus all the birthday privileges that come with), here's everything I've found extra interesting this month.

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I had an exceptional Airbnb experience in London…

… except my darling little private room had one hitch. 🚿

 

London is a huge city.

On my first trip there, I was 10 years old and with my parents, tagging along on a business trip. We stayed in a hotel near Picadilly Circus and it was a time for many firsts. The first time I saw a towel warmer and learned you could use it to keep your trousers crease-free. The first time I tuned in to the BBC. And the first (and only) time I was ever admitted to a hospital on a trip (I had a bad experience at McDonald's).

 

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I hit all the landmarks in Paris on my first trip there…

… and I loved ticking every cliche off my list.

I landed in Paris midday (flew in from New York) and chose to ride the bus from Charles de Gaulle airport into Paris. As a rule, I never take the train into the city—no matter what my destination is—primarily because I don't like the idea of lugging my luggage around train stations while simultaneously navigating my way through an unfamiliar city. The bus is usually simpler. In my mind, it also offered less chances of being attacked by pickpockets or having my bag hauled off by some miscreant.pickpockets or that my bag was going to be hauled off by some miscreant.

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My List, March 2018

March can be exceptionally zing-y because the weather gets weird and uncomfortably hot. When days like these come I feel like doing nothing, lying in bed, and just chilling. Which is why I think I've consumed more media in these past two weeks than I've ever done in months (or maybe even years)… and that's what I'll be discussing in this week's round of Gallimaufry.

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I dreamed of visiting Versailles…

… and it took me nine years to make it happen.

A year after I graduated from college, I saw Nancy Meyer's "Something's Gotta Give" in the cinema and immediately latched on to one of Erica Barry's (Diane Keaton's character) quirks. After her divorce, she started to learn French and after a number of years became completely fluent (the scene had her buying cheese at the Gourmet Market). Completely inspired by her seamless ordering ("Bonjour, je veux une partie de votre pate merveilleux et de votre meilleur fromage absolu de chevre."), I enrolled immediately at the Alliance française in Makati and studied the language for a number of years (still not fluent, btw).

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I went to Downton Abbey (Highclere Castle, actually)…

… and wasn't allowed to take photos inside.

I am a sucker for period dramas so when Downton Abbey came out in 2010, I was all up in its business. I watched every episode, soldiered through that one Christmas (you know what I'm talking about), bore the boring seasons (looking at you, seasons 4 and 5), and cheered when Matthew Goode joined the cast even if I was actually pro-Anthony Gillingham.

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