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SUBIC, PHILIPPINES


I had 7 months to prepare for our wedding. And I have been back and forth to Subic 6 times within that period.

We are getting married in Anvaya Cove and Nature Club, an exclusive resort and seaside community in Morong Bataan, 30 minutes away from Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority.

I have been meeting up with Glenn, their gracious Events Manager and a couple of Olongapo-based suppliers. I commissioned the florist, lights and sounds provider, and even our video team from there.

Since I have been back to Subic many times and I wanted the DBF to see the place once he got the chance to come home to the Philippines, we decided to have our pre-nuptial video shoot over there too. We commissioned Photogenics to shoot our video and asked our friend Jay Aguas to take candid behind-the-scenes photos.

We wanted the team to capture our real chemistry. We didn’t want the shots to look contrived so spontaneity was the name of the game. We would tease each other and fight in-between takes just like how we are in real life. We kept the makeup and styling to a minimum. I told the DBF to just bring what he fancied wearing. And I adjusted my outfits to whatever he brought. So practically everything we wore were clothes that we usually don to our dates.

One of my friends who saw the photos and videos told us that there was so much laughter going on and that our smiles were genuine and our faces glowing. I guess that’s what happens when you are already comfortable with one another. The DBF and I have been to a dozen countries together and we’ve taken a bajillion of travel photos and videos. We were already seasoned for this shoot. hahahaha!

What I love about Subic is that it’s very scenic. You need trees and lush bushes? You need a body of water? You need lots of sunshine? You need a yacht? A highway with a few if no cars at all? Everything we needed for the concept to materialise was already there. But of course, big thanks to Eca Padesterio of Photogenics for managing the details of the shoot. She borrowed the red beetle for us and the bikes, too. We are also thankful to Ren Bautista who was so attentive to our needs. He also did our hair and my makeup base. My silver dress was created by Bea Romero in just a short notice and I love its peek-a-boo details and its billowy skirt.

Sharing with you the official SAVE-THE-DATE Video as shot and edited by Pat and Gian of Photogenics.

And these are a few of the photos that Jay took. :)

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LOVE LIFE LESSONS


While shopping, the designer of my entourage dresses B suggested I write a book about all of my love life mishaps and triumphs. She thinks that my life is so interesting that it deserves to get published. I don’t think people will waste time and resources to listen to my telenovela but I thought of writing a few of the lessons I’ve learned about love, relationships, and breakups in this post (because I am procrastinating other more important errands).

This has no structure. Some might not even make sense. But these are my truths–

MY LOVE LIFE LESSONS:

1) TURN EACH AWFUL EXPERIENCE INTO A BLESSING

I’ve always believed that I was a lucky girl. And I’ve always attributed that luck to my sign Sagittarius because I’ve read that apparently, it is the luckiest of the Zodiac.

Growing up, I almost never failed exams. I got accepted to all the schools I ever applied for. Even as an adult, I bagged the scholarship I was aiming for. In other words, I always make the cut.

I was lucky in life, I thought, but never in love.

I’ve been in a few relationships and even though most of the men I’ve been with treated me well, I always end up running away from them. When the going gets tough, I hit the eject button and parachute to safety. I got stuck in one long relationship though coz I cruised through that while working hard at my career. I allowed it to take years of my life only to end up being cheated on.

It was only a few years later that I realised why that had to happen. (I needed to gain courage to be able to handle what I now consider as the worst part of my life so far. So glad that was over!) And when I had that enlightenment, I was able to turn the bitterness into gratefulness. That painful experience made me stop attributing the good things that come into my life to luck. I began to fully recognise that it isn’t really luck but a blessing from God. No luck in the world can ever give you the grace to make you perceive what should be an awful experience as a gift of wisdom instead. Only God and His divine power can do that.

When you try to see everything–good or bad– as a gift, your perspective in life makes a 180-degree turn. When you are in a terrible situation but you have that beautiful perspective, you get to tell yourself “God has a plan for me. He shall reveal it when the time comes. So all I really need to do is to trudge strong now and take whatever lesson I can from this. And yes, through Him, this too, shall pass.”

I sound like a broken record when I share this kind of perspective with my friends. But I think that really, the key to having a good life is just seeing the beauty in every situation and recognising that life is short and you ought to make the best out of every moment and move along. Always move forward. Never dwell on the bad stuff. Never dwell on breakups especially the bad ones. It will only make you harbour ill feelings. You need to lighten your load in order for you to take the next step as gracefully as possible. Take note: GRACEFULLY. Always do everything with class and poise. And no, sending your exes loooong and bitter emails is not being graceful about the breakup.

Additional tip: Do not be enemies with your exes. Even those who cheated on you. Learn to forgive them. Always remember that it is NOT YOUR BURDEN to bear. That is their sin and they are answerable to God for their ways. Do not trouble your heart for what they ought to carry themselves. Make peace with yourself and with them.

2) NEVER ASSUME BUT GO GET WHAT YOU WANT

I am never the type who assumes a guy likes me or is in love with me until he says it out loud and asks me to be his girlfriend. Neither am I the type who just waits for the cookie to bake. I go ahead and buy the cookie at the store when I feel like eating one. hahahaha. Life is, again, too short to dilly-dally.  I never allow room for uncertainty especially when it comes to relationships. It’s either we are a couple or we are not. I never assume the role of girlfriend when the guy has not officially asked me. I never act like I am entitled to anything if I am not officially given the privilege because when you think that way, you are only setting yourself up for disappointment. A guy who really likes you will pursue you no matter what. If there is one thing I have learned in life it is that nothing can stop a man in love. He will chase and he will pursue and the girl will KNOW in her heart. And she will never have to ask or beg for attention. It will be handed to her on a silver platter by the man who deserves her too.

But even if I am never the type to assume, I am also not the type who will shy away from confrontation. If I feel like a guy is leading me on, I am quick to ask, “Hey, what is your deal?” Or if I feel like he is taking me on a trip, I am quick to call him out.

When I first felt like the DBF and I had that “tension”, I was quick to pull him out of a party to warn him that I am not the type who is just looking for a short term deal. That if and when he plans to pursue me, he ought to be in it for the long haul. Otherwise, we can both save each other the time and effort. I have NO SHAME in admitting that I confronted him and gave him the most awkward “talk” of his life. (I still cringe when he makes me remember but I have NO REGRETS! Ha!)

So to every girl who is in a “complicated” relationship or is unsure of her place or where she stands, I say–

1) Know what you really want

2) Don’t be afraid to ask but be ready for the honest truth

3) Have the courage to walk away from what is obviously will just shortchange you. God has a better plan for you!

These life lessons are not the type that mothers will pass on to their children. These are also not taught in school. They are learned through experience. And I am sharing these here not because I am an expert but because maybe, someone out there needs to read this. Maybe some clueless girl trudging through life needs to get a Love Survival 101.

I am being very reflective because I am about to get married soon. And I just published our pre-nuptial pictures. And everything is happening fast that I needed time to process things and make sense of my own life experiences.

I don’t know if we will do good at this marriage thing. What I know is that what makes us hopeful is that we have allowed God to be at the center of our relationship. It sounds like a cliché especially when it comes from Christian couples but it’s true! I’ve had happy relationships in the past but nothing felt this fulfilling and meaningful because in the past, I have forgotten to discuss faith and God with my partner. I have forgotten to lift everything up to Him.

When the DBF and I fight and we end up patching things up, we are quick to recognise that perhaps God really wants us to be together because He has been finding ways for us to be OKAY.

If I did not allow God to heal my past hurts, if I did not know what I want and get it, if I shied away from confrontation, I don’t think I will even get to this point. If I clung to my past relationships, I would never have met this handsome and thoughtful guy I am about to marry. If I allowed myself to waste time in uncertain relationships, I would never reach this happy point.

I say free yourself from the chains of the past! Know what you want and get the life you think you deserve! And don’t ever ever forget that the only power that can make all of your dreams come true can only come from the divine. Do not exclude God from your life.

Sharing with you the music video I edited out of the raw files Photogenics gave us.

Of course, our theme is “Love Travels”.

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3RD ANNIVERSARY!


Happy 3rd Anniversary to CoolDetour.com!!! :) 

I’ve maintained this blog for 3 years now. I do not update it as often as I used to. And somewhere along the way, I decided to just update it whenever I get to travel or whenever my life has taken a significant “cool detour” worth writing about.

I’m keeping this blog for myself and for my future children. I write primarily to mark moments and process my experiences and emotions. I do not blog to brag nor do I write to appear like I’m an expert on something. I am just happy to throw my thoughts out there. I guess that’s really the essence of blogging — to have a log of all of your worthwhile moments and thoughts.

To mark another milestone, I’m gonna share with you how I got to choose my wedding gown. I’m not gonna show it yet but I will be posting photos of the “gowns that almost made it!” :)

*My official wedding gown is from Atelier Pronovias, Barcelona, Spain. I bought it from Mi Sueño Bridal Boutique owned by the pretty Pepper Periquet-Guanio.

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Before Mi Sueño, I went to Rosa Clara to fit their gowns from the latest collection.

I immediately fell in love with this very simple sweetheart cut gown with matching a-line skirt. The only thing I did not like about this was the squirrel-like embellishment attached to the left hip. I sent this to my cousin and he felt like it was lacking the “me factor”. I guess he found it too simple. I think simple is elegant though. Oh well, to cut the long story short, I had to let go of this gown.

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Also from Rosa Clara, this gown below made me consider something that has beadwork–

This picture, this moment, is very special for me and I would like to take this opportunity to thank my Mama for taking time off her busy schedule to accompany me on my first bridal gown fitting. This moment will be forever etched in my heart. Thank you, Mama, for all your love and care for me. One day, I will be the one to take care of you with everything that I’ve got.

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I had to sleep on it before deciding. I also had schedules with fashion designers within the same week I visited Rosa Clara. A few of them had already sent their sketches even before I decided to pick an RTW gown and I am soooo very grateful for the effort they all exerted in creating these designs. If only I have enough patience to wait for something custom-made, I would have gotten a Filipino fashion designer to create my gown. But my heart and EQ are both too weak to wait a long time so I decided to just buy off-the-rack. I will just have it adjusted to fit me like second skin a few days before the wedding. Don’t get me wrong, I am still working with Filipino designers for our entourage, prenuptial shoots, and civil wedding.

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When it was about time to pay the gown in full, I went back to Mi Sueño and the atmosphere in that room can really make you want to try on more dresses. With the bridal assistant E’s insistent prodding, I tried on 2 more dresses. The one on the left is pretty but I didn’t want my chest to be covered coz it will be hot at the beach. This particular cut will also shorten my neck. The gown on the right though almost made me change my mind about the gown that I ultimately chose. I liked it coz it emphasised my curves.

But I am really not  a froufrou-skirt-wearing bride. I have decided earlier on that I am done seeing bridal gown skirts that are fluffier than nimbus clouds. I wanted to wear a dress that will still be in style in the next years to come. I think the froufrou skirt will come and go. It lacks the timelessness feel that I was gunning for. I don’t want my photos to look dated just coz my dress is reminiscent of a certain era. I want a classic cut that looks and feels ethereal.

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When I posted this on Facebook, my notifications wouldn’t stop beeping, I had to hide this photo again. Perhaps my friends thought that this was my official wedding gown. It’s from the same designer, Pronovias, but definitely not the same dress. I also got scared that the gown I chose will now pale in comparison to this gown. I just had to find comfort in the fact that I know in my heart that’s more me than this gown. Plus the lightweight feel of the gown I chose is priceless! :)

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For brides-to-be out there, I really recommend trying ready-to-wear bridal gowns. They cut the creative process in half and they ultimately already give you a preview of how you are gonna look like on your wedding day. No surprises. I have heard of too many horror stories about wedding gown failures and booboos that I’m just glad I got this out of the way early in the planning stage. I was able to focus more on the other details of the wedding once I got “bridal gown” checked on my Wed Happy app!

More gowns and dresses in my future posts! ;)

Excited,

Mrs. DCW-to-be! :)

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HONGKONG RENDEZVOUS


It has been 3 months since the DBF and I last saw each other. (After the engagement, I went back to Manila and have not been back to Zurich since.) This was the longest time we were apart so we decided to meet-up in HongKong even only for one weekend.

I decided to fly to HongKong a few days before him. I had 2 things on my agenda:

1) Order a custom-made wedding band
2) Look for the most comfortable pair of wedding shoes

I knew that I would get a good deal for both in HongKong.

The DBF was a little bit worried about me travelling alone in HongKong. And that’s coz he wasn’t present in my life yet when I would go there alone to bargain hunt!

My parents were not even worried a bit about me travelling alone there coz they knew that the place is practically my second home in Asia. When we were last there as a family, they even flew back to Manila ahead of me because I needed at least a day to shop around by myself. Nobody in my family dares to accompany me when I’m shopping because they know that I would rummage all the stores first before I decide to buy something.

I’m the type of shopper who has to know all the merchandise in all of my favorite stores first before I decide on spending my money on something. I don’t care if at the end of the day, I couldn’t feel my feet anymore. :)

Anyway, I got to check both items on my list.

I got to order my wedding band from a friend’s trusted Chinese jeweller. I will be able to get it before I fly back to Zurich in November. Shoutout to Aimee C., Angelica C., and Cholo C. for accompanying me to the jeweller and for facilitating for the payment and pick-up of the item! Thank you for the kindness!

I had a bit of a problem with what I wanted at first coz almost all of the stores in HongKong only produced rings in 18k gold. I was afraid our contact would also be limited to that metal. I wanted platinum setting. It’s hypoallergenic and it matches the ring that the DBF gave me.

Good thing the private jeweller accepts custom-made platinum jewellery! I was sooo relieved!

Here’s a similar ring to what I ordered. It looks nice next to my engagement ring coz it picks up the shape and color of the main stone.

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I had 2 days to roam around HongKong Central, Mongkok and TST. I spent at least half a day looking for a pair of wedding shoes. Unlike most girls, I’m really not into shoes because I have wide feet. I am all for comfort when I buy a pair of shoes. I also only have at least 3 pairs to last me more than a year. I only stick to mostly beige as well because I can pair it with anything.

That being said, I knew that for my wedding day, comfort is the primary priority. And because comfortable shoes for big feet are so hard to find nowadays, I went to all of the trusted shoe brands I could find. From Christian Louboutin to Manolo Blahnik, Jimmy Choo to Valentino, Roger Vivier to Saint Laurent.

I ended up with these top 2 options:

Valentino in Monaco Blue and Beige

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and Low-heel (3in) YSL Tribute in hard-to-find Beige

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I also considered the pale pink version.

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I posted the shoes on my Instagram and my friends voted for the beige Tributes. Thanks to my good friend Amelie B. for finally convincing me to buy it! She says she’s “not French for nothing!” ;) Thanks also to my benefactor cousins Kaye and Bea C.!!! <3

I didn't really shop for anything else after that! Gone were the days when just the words "sale sale sale" were enough to make me go all Tazmanian devil at the shops! :) I've matured significantly already!

I didn't spend a lot on hotels in HongKong because my dear couple friends C and A adopted me at their pad in TungChung!

Look at my room! The view was spectacular!

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This is me with A roaming around the CityGate outlet mall just a few minutes away from their condo. Thank you for listening to my non-stop stories! I miss you already! :)

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I also stayed at my dear French friend’s pad at the Mid-level Towers in Central. We met at Central, ate at my favorite Xiao long bao place Din Tai Fung at Silvercord Mall, and had drinks at Cafe Havana in Lan Kwai Fong.

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I stayed the longest at the IFC Mall, Alexandria House, and the Landmark!

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The weekend came and it was time to meet my hot fiancé at the airport!

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I thought of creating this sign last minute. I stole a used bond paper at the travel and tours counter of the arrival area. :)

This weekend was really intended to be a double date with C and M.

We spent the weekend gorging on dimsum and HongKong style meals. We also went bar hopping. We lounged at a rooftop bar called Sevva. Then we got drenched in the rain looking for what was dubbed as the “best party bar in HongKong”, Play. Then we capped the night at Dusk til Dawn where a Filipino band was playing.

The DBF almost didn’t make it to HongKong but God is good and He gave us the much-needed time together.

It was a short but sweet weekend. I got to know more about the guy I’m gonna marry and my conviction to stay with him for a lifetime was all the more solidified in that so short a time. I am grateful.

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Til my next getaway,
d.

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THE EPIC MARRIAGE PROPOSAL AT THE ZURICH FLUGHAFEN (AIRPORT)


ANNOUNCEMENT

The DBF and I are ENGAGED!!!!!!!!!

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And I couldn’t be any prouder of how he planned and executed his proposal. It was so well-thought of and so full of meaning for the both of us. He couldn’t have chosen a better way of doing it. The timing, the place, the surprise… I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way!

Well, that’s not exactly true. Hahahaha. I have imagined it to happen in Paris, with the view of the Eiffel Tower. I also thought he would do it in Greece when he surprised me with a booked ticket to Athens. When I got no proposal in Athens, I thought to myself, maybe he’s gonna pop the question in Italy, or in Cannes…or Provence…or Nice. Or maybe in Monaco–our 11th new country to go to together?! But he didn’t.

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So I gave up on the idea. In fact, on the day that he proposed, I was talking with my cousin on Viber and was telling her that maybe the DBF is taking his time. Maybe he’s gonna grant me that one year that I asked of him (so I may put my MBA to good use and work again in Manila).

MORNING OF THE PROPOSAL

That morning in Switzerland, while doing the second batch of laundry and hanging the first batch onto the clothesline, I was talking with my cousin K over the phone. She’s also engaged to be married in 2015. We were talking about how life would really change once we tie the knot. I was telling her that I’m dreading the idea of juggling household work with a full-time career. And that all hell will break loose when on top of those things, we would have to take care of babies! Hahaha! I even told her that I’m kind of excited to go back to work in Manila coz I was really getting tired of the household chores in Zurich! LOL.

Anyway, weeks before that morning, I already knew that we were gonna meet the DBF’s best friend C, a flight steward from Swiss Air, at the Zurich Flughafen for an “Airport Tour”. I was told that the Swiss Airport has a really nice observation deck and that the tour has been arranged by C way before I even flew to Zurich. I also knew that after the tour, the DBF and I will have dinner at Restaurant Die Waid which was on top of a hill and overlooking the city. Thereafter, we were scheduled to proceed to the bar to meet some friends for his post-birthday and my farewell party (since I was gonna be leaving for Manila in a few days).

I had NO CLUE that he was gonna propose that day because 1) It was a Friday and he had work 2) He had to drive his mom to the airport during lunch time which made him pretty stressed out that day already 3) He even offered a colleague to ride with us from the office to the airport because she was scheduled to fly to London 4) He even made me buy a tank top to wear underneath my sheer top when we were already at the airport! Hahahahaha He was clearly not trying to please me that day!!! :)

THE REVEAL

I met-up with him at the airport wearing a black and cream ensemble. I had already put on eye makeup but decided to skip the lipstick for later.

The DBF led me to Check-in 1 where we usually go when we #flySwiss. He said that was our meeting point with C.

C called him several times and I kinda figured that C will be late. So I was just there, patiently waiting with the DBF. He was kissing my forehead. We were talking about stuff. I even asked him to check-out the tall and pretty girl who passed us by.

 

And then I noticed something on the digital billboard in front of us. It was my face…our picture…taken at the 30th birthday party he secretly arranged for me! Then I realized that the other pictures were images of us taken from different countries! It was like my Facebook page flashing right in front of me…at the Zurich Airport… for EVERYONE to SEE!

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And then I read my name: Denise! And my heart started to beat really fast and I felt like my brain was losing oxygen as it couldn’t really process (or it did not want to process) what my eyes had just seen! Hahahaha! And then I read it slowly, will… you… marry…me? I took two steps back (and almost fell!) when I realized that it was indeed a marriage proposal happening right at that moment! Then I turned to him and saw him kneeling and all I could think of was “Thank God for this man!” and moments from the past year together kind of flashed back before I could hear myself say with full conviction “Yes, of course!” I think I already answered even before his knee could fully touch the floor! hahahhahahhaa

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I just saw a glimpse of the ring. And I didn’t even bother to check it until after I said Yes! Proof that when you are being asked by the right man and when you are sure of your love and commitment to one another, nothing else will matter!

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But he did buy me a nice ring. ;) The man I’m marrying really has good taste!

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Here’s the proposal video that was shot using the GoPro installed by our good friend A.

 

 

This wouldn’t have been possible without the blessing of our parents, the love and support of our family and friends, and most especially the cooperation of the Swiss Air and Zurich Flughafen officers (whom apparently the DBF approached and met with several times during the course of his proposal planning). The Swiss are very conservative so the DBF was told that this display will only be allowed this one last time.

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I can’t believe that he already bought the ring back in December when we haven’t even celebrated our first year together yet?! I can’t believe how sure he was all along. And I’m so grateful that he really tried to make this milestone a very special one.

I was thinking of all of these countries that he could have chosen. But why choose one country when you can propose at the airport– the gateway to all of those beautiful places!  I wanted someone to “hold hands and see the world with” and my dear boyfriend chose to propose at a place that was, is, and will be the starting point of all of our adventures together! It was truly perfect! It was so ME! It was so US! :)

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He really does his best in everything and All for Love.


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Extremely blessed,

d. ;)

 

 

 

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MONTE CARLO, MONACO


It’s another new country for me! Our road trip’s last destination: Monte Carlo, Monaco! I have never seen such an extravagant display and quite reckless dispersal of wealth! That small country was unbelievable! 

We went to Monaco specifically to party at Jimmy’z where DJ Bob Sinclar was playing. We got there and saw how rich the Russians and some French locals really were. No less than Bentleys, Maseratis, Lamborghinis, and Ferraris were taking turns at the club’s driveway. Chanel-clad women in sky-high Louboutins entered the place with their well-suited dates. Moëts and Dom Pérignons crowded the VIP tables. It was jaw-dropping.

I’m never going back to Monaco poor! Hahaha unless I have tickets to the Masters. (The Rolex Masters was ongoing when we went. Wawrinka beat Federer).

I have to thank the DBF and his friends for making this fun road trip happen!

d.

 

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PROVENCE, FRANCE


When I was a marketing manager for a retail company, we were about to launch a beauty line that was said to be manufactured in Provence, France. I thought to myself: that’s one place that I would like to visit! It seemed such a distant dream at that time. So when our friend C said that we were going to pass by the Provence region, to St. Paul de Vence (Vin) to be exact, I flashed a smile from ear to ear.

What greeted us when we got there was a charming hilltop with winding roads. Art boutiques and cafes were lined-up all the way to the top. There were vintage fountains and statues that were displayed on top of walls. Once we reached the top, the view of the mountains and the sea that welcomed us was truly breathtaking. The cobblestones looked like flowers and the walls were covered with vines. It was really such a pretty sight!

 

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COTE D’ AZUR: NICE & CANNES, FRANCE


The Côte d’ Azur (Azure Coast) is also known as the French Riviera. It’s at the southeast corner of France, along the mediterranean coastline. The 8 of us embarked on a road trip from Zurich to Italy to the Côte d’  Azur region, covering Nice, Cannes, Provence, and Monaco.

We thank the kindness of CT for providing us accommodation in Cannes. When we were there, it was Cannes Shopping Festival Season! There was a bazaar at the city center and shops were also on sale.

I’m pretty sure it won’t be my last time to visit these cities. I will be back…soon!

 

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Here’s our travel video:

And a whole lot of pictures!

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GENOVA, ITALY


Have you heard of the Genovese Pasta?

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So over the long weekend, we went on a road trip from Zurich to the town where this pasta sauce (and prosciutto!) was first made famous: Genova, Italy!

We stayed at Holiday Inn and the view from our window was a huge docking port.

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We explored the alleys of Genova with rows and rows of quaint shops by foot. We had good ol’ gelato at MuraMura. We saw how they made caramel waffles from scratch. We took hundreds of selfies. We bought leather goods and trinkets. We made fun of each other’s antics. Played limbo rock using the GoPro stick. Went inside churches. Had fun inside the abandoned container van displayed at the huge park. It was a good stopover leading to our real destination: The Cote D’ Azur region in France.

 

 

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BACK IN ZURICH


I spent the entire of April in Zurich again. I have so much to blog about coz that one month in Switzerland was totally packed and it made my life turn a complete 180-degrees! More on this “turn” later.

So before I get to the more exciting parts, I’d like to share one of my most favorite moments while I was in Zurich– basketball and jumping rope time!

I know I can do those things whenever, wherever. But I really cherish such bonding moments with the DBF and his friends and cousin. It’s nice to know that even if I’m a girl, they still include me in such boyish activities. It’s so empowering! The best feeling is when the DBF and I win against the other team and we high five instead of kiss or hug! :) My papa and brother taught me how to shoot a basketball. The DBF taught me how to drive and do the lay-up. He’s also teaching me how to play “defense”.

 

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