Jetsettin Daisy

Thursday, July 27, 2017

A Week in Hong Kong- What to Eat

There are so many amazing places to eat in Hong Kong. You can have a full meal for two people for $7 or $700 depending on where you go. There really is something for everyone! While we would plan out places to eat on our trips, we often would just wander into random restaurants and food stalls along the way. We frequently ended up in some hole in the wall places that were amazing so don't be too afraid to wander off the beaten path! Here are some of my favorites that actually have names in English and are easy to find!

Exactly what it sounds like. This theme restaurant (there are a ton in Asia) is all about the Peanuts Gang. Even the tables are shaped like Charlie Brown's head! It's great for snacks, drinks, and desserts. There are cakes shaped like so many characters!

This is one of the most known dim sum restaurants. Lines often form before they even open so get here early! The food is very good, the service is okay. The food does make up for it, though!

Located inside the Disneyland Hotel, this place is adorable. We ordered in advance for the Disney Dim Sum and we were so glad we did! The food is delicious, the service was really great, and everything was adorable! It's definitely an experience!

There are a couple locations but we went to the one at Victoria Peak. They have some of the best noodles we've ever eaten. 

We love coming here for breakfast- it's super good and insanely cheap! Beware that if you come to places like this during busier hours, you may have to share your table with strangers. It's a great place for congee, rice noodle rolls, sponge cake, and fried dough. 

There are all kinds of restaurants like this in Hong Kong; some more famous than others. We came here for noodles and egg custard which are some of our favorite things to get for breakfast!

This place does won ton and they do it really well! We frequented the location inside the Langham Place Shopping Center whenever we visited. The broth is great, especially when you're struggling with jetlag. The prices are fairly good (higher than the local joints outside) and it's pretty fast!

We come here for dessert at least twice on any trip. They also have a location inside Langham Place Shopping Center and they have a fun variety of Asian desserts. The dishes aren't huge so I would suggest getting a few different things and sharing!

Jason's is a market and there is one located at the bottom level of Langham Place Shopping Center. We would come here for snacks for the room, sodas, and soy milk. It's on the way to the MTR station so it was a fun place to stop and grab a few things we might want/need throughout the day. 

This restaurant is located at Hong Kong International Airport. We usually try to get to the airport very early (like four or five hours early) so we can eat at Jade Garden and do some last minute shopping and wandering (there are a ton of shops in the airport). Jade Garden is always the last meal we have in Hong Kong and it's a really good one!

There are a ton of places to search for great restaurants in Hong Kong. Open Rice is a wonderful source of information but it can get difficult to navigate because a lot of the reviews are in Chinese. Sassy Hong Kong is one of my favorite resources because it's all in English and it's frequently updated. They give you a ton of information on Chinese restaurants and some fun Western options if you're not feeling too adventurous!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

A Week in Hong Kong- What to Do

 Victoria Peak Tram
You have to go to Victoria Peak at least once. There's a lot to see and do at the top and the Peak Tram is one of those classic Hong Kong activities. It is a fairly steep funicular; however, it's quick and the views at the top are spectacular. We went on a cloudy day and we didn't go at night but I strongly suggest that you do! Those amazing skyline photos you see of Hong Kong? They were shot at Victoria Peak!

  Hong Kong Disneyland
I described Hong Kong Disneyland as Disneyland with double the Asian people. No joke! All the signs are in Chinese and English and shows/tours are done in Mandarin, Cantonese, and English. There are a lot of attractions here that you will not find in any other Disneyland. It's definitely an experience! Each time we've visited, there's something new. The Main Street portion looks just like every other Main Street in any Disneyland in the world. There are some cool food options (like the "American" pork chop burger) and awesome souvenir possibilities (they really love Stitch in Asia). Even the Disneyland portion of the MTR is cute! And yes, there are still Mickey ice cream bars. They also have these cute little ride photo ops so you can take a photo in a ride car without riding the actual ride! Kind of cool! My favorite part of the park is the Stitch Encounter which I've heard is similar to Turtle Talk with Crush. You get to interact with Stitch on a large video screen (and you can do it in English, Mandarin, or Cantonese depending on the time slot)!

If you have time, take a day tour to Macau! We would have liked to stay overnight but we were pressed for time. We took the hydrofoil over but there are tons of cool options for getting to Macau (including sailboat or catamaran tours). We wandered the main drag (the part you see in photos) and stopped at the Wynn Macau and Venetian Macau (they look so much like their Vegas counterparts). 

  Ocean Park
I wanted to see pandas. I'd been to Ocean Park as a child but going as an adult was very different. There are Giant Pandas and the cute Red Pandas and you can get pretty close too! We only visited part of the park but I could have spent hours watching the pandas. There's even a cute little cafe by the panda enclosure with some fun Chinese entrees and snacks (including these adorable bean baos that were shaped like pandas). And of course, lots of panda souvenirs! Bonus- There is an MTR station right by the park (there wasn't before).

  Jumbo Floating Restaurant
I've seen this restaurant a number of times in real life and I'm sure you've seen Jumbo Kingdom on television or film! It's a huge floating restaurant in the middle of Aberdeen Harbour. The prices are pretty high but it's more of an experience than anything!

  IFC Building
Stop at the IFC Mall for great shopping and snack options!

  Madame Tussauds
We have a Madame Tussauds in Las Vegas but the Madame Tussauds at Victoria Peak is very different. It's much more of a cultural experience than a tourist trap like the others and you'll find figures of world leaders from past and present. There are some fun photo ops here and likely, you won't recognize half of the figures since there are a lot of Asian pop stars and actors. 
You will; however, find Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee.

  Ladies Market
My favorite market in Hong Kong. Ladies Market has everything from keychains and phone cases to colorful wigs and luggage. This is where you go to haggle! Never buy at the first stall because likely, you'll find three more further down with even better prices. Do a little shopping around to base your price points! We usually leave half of a suitcase empty for all of our wonderful finds! 

This is THE place to get Asian beauty products. Every single time I found a Sasa, I went in. You can find unique cosmetics and skincare products from all over Asia here! I found the coolest lengthening mascara that's designed for Asian girls and at the Sasa outlet, I got travel eyelash curlers for under $1 a piece! 

  Aji Ichiban
Aji Ichiban is one of the coolest candy stores I've ever seen! It's a bulk candy store with goodies from all over! Get a bag and stock up for the flight home!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

A Week in Hong Kong- Where to Stay

We stayed at a lot of random places when I was younger but the Cordis Hotel is where we always stay since I started coming to Hong Kong as an adult. The rooms are a bit small by American standards; however, they're really well equipped and they feel bright and open because there are lots of mirrors and large windows. The service has always been great and the hotel itself has everything we look for in a comfortable place to stay. Also, those beds are awesome! 
Great for those awkward jet lag naps. 

The Cordis Hotel is in the Mong Kok area so it's not by the main tourist areas and nightlife. We love it because it's quieter and more local. On our first visit, there was a little wet market that our window faced (we were on a really high floor) so every morning, we would see the vendors setting up for the day. The views are really fun because they give you a look at everyday life in Hong Kong. 

One of my favorite things about the Cordis Hotel is the fact that there is a shopping center attached to it. The Langham Place Shopping Center is one of my favorite places to shop in Hong Kong. There are some of the standard western mall shops (like H&M) and then some really cool Asian stores. My mom and I love going to Log-On which is a really cool Asian store with all kinds of products- electronics, home goods, beauty, etc. I've gotten some fun Asian cosmetics and then some random things like socks and slippers. It's a store I could spend an hour in easily. 

Langham Place Shopping Center is also HUGE. There is a very very long (like mildly terrifying if you're afraid of heights) escalator from one of the levels all the way to the top. At the top, there's a movie theatre, a nice Thai restaurant, and shops. From there, the shopping center spirals all the way down. You can easily walk down and pass the coolest boutiques (with fun clothes, souvenirs, and weird items like Lilo and Stitch cookie cutters). There are a ton of great restaurants and the main level hosts a really great food court (more on that later). There are also some cool displays from time to time- on my last trip, there was a massive Hello Kitty installation with Hello Kitty in space, at a party, and in the Ice Age (also in a time machine). 

Last, below the shopping center is an MTR station. I can't tell you how convenient this is to have closeby! Not having to leave the air conditioning in the hot months made such a big difference, especially at the end of a long day!

Monday, July 24, 2017

A Week in Hong Kong- What to Pack

Hey guys! 

Okay, this Hong Kong guide was really tough for me to put together. I've been there probably about half a dozen times since I was a baby but I'm not going to lie, it's really difficult to put a legit guide together with everywhere I've eaten and stayed. I'm fairly certain the difficulty is mostly due to the fact that a lot of places aren't the most English speaker friendly and a lot of places we've frequented are very Chinese. Since I always come here with my mom, I've always had a personal translator! That said, avoid going to only places that are designed for Americans and make sure you branch out to a few more traditional places. You won't be sorry!

Like most of Asia, it's not safe to drink the water here. Always get bottled! We've had our Hepatitis A and Typhoid vaccines already just as an extra precaution because you can never know where the ice came from or how clean it is! We usually avoid it unless it's already in the drink. 

We rarely take cabs in Hong Kong unless we are going somewhere that the MTR does not reach. Looking at their map, it looks like they've expanded since my last visit which is great! MTR really is the cheapest way to get around and once you get past the language barrier, it's really just like any other subway system! Buy your Octopus card at the airport and it will make your life way easier! They've extended the MTR lines since my last visit so getting around is now so much cheaper and easier than it was before!

When you need to exchange money, go to the banks. They're safer and you know they're giving you legitimate currency. We usually make a stop at Hang Seng bank early in our trip and only exchange the bare minimum at the airport to get us to the bank. We usually exchange some currency prior to leaving as well since Wells Fargo and Bank of America can give you foreign currency. I recommend Wells Fargo if you bank with them because they don't charge a service fee for any amount whereas Bank of America requires a certain minimum to avoid the fee.

Packing for Hong Kong can be a little rough. I remember being there at Christmas time when I was a child and being cold. I remember being there in early December as an adult and wearing a T-shirt and capri pants. It gets really really humid when it's not cold. Be prepared! Pack lightweight layers.

I always bring a pair of black cropped yoga pants with me on trips because they always come in handy. Sometimes on the plane, sometimes on a tour, sometimes in the hotel room. They're like leggings- you always need a pair!

A black cardigan is something I always bring and that's more of a personal preference. Because of my tattoos, I try to keep covered if I'm going to a more conservative area. It's funny because some of the young people would stare and give me weird looks when they weren't covered while some of the really old ladies in the bakeries would tell me how pretty they are. I'm never sure what kind of reaction I'll get so I tend to cover up a bit more. Also- in the summer, the air conditioning can be crazy cold inside so sweaters come in handy.

I always travel with a shopping bag for whatever goodies I pick up. I like to bring snacks back to the room and I usually try to find something local. Hong Kong is no exception! This is especially a good thing to have if you are planning on going to any of the markets or doing any shopping at all because Hong Kong has a lot of shopping. You'll want the bag when you're hopping on and off the MTR. 

Lightweight tops like this one are absolutely necessary for Hong Kong in the summer. There were a few days that I would change twice because the air was so heavy and damp. 

I know I always suggest a crossbody bag but it really is essential, especially when you travel in Asia! Be really careful in the markets or any tourist area that has a lot of people clustered together because pickpockets gravitate to them since there are usually large crowds in which to disappear. 

Comfortable walking shoes are really important in Hong Kong. While Hong Kong is somewhat fashion forward (especially the newer generation in the city), I usually just focus on comfort since you'll likely do a LOT of walking here. I wouldn't advise sandals downtown because the crowded areas get really crowded and you might risk some severely crushed toes!

Last, be careful when bringing valuable jewelry or designer bags with you to Asia. We usually carry the original receipt with us if we bring any handbags that have designer labels because when going through customs, they may inspect you if they suspect you bought any counterfeit items or exeeded your duty free spending limit. Proof that you purchased the items before your trip and where can make things go a lot smoother and quicker!

This post contains affiliate links; however, all opinions are my own!

Friday, July 21, 2017

My Favorite Drugstore Hair Brand- Herbal Essences Bio:Renew

This time of year, being in Las Vegas feels like you're living inside a giant hair dryer set to high. It's miserable! It's essential to have products in your beauty arsenal that don't feel heavy, absorb quickly, and don't weigh you down. 

I first heard about Herbal Essences Bio:Renew on One of my favorite blogs- Bows and Sequins. After reading this post, I wanted to try everything. I've been an Herbal Essences fan for years and I've always loved the scent and feel of their products. 

I started with the Naked Volume set because my hair has been pretty flat and I was worried anything heavier would weigh down my thick hair. The smell is amazing and the product left my hair feeling really clean and without product buildup. The volume was nice too and the conditioner felt great.

Herbal Essences reached out and asked me to try out their Arabica Coffee Fruit collection and I'll be honest, I didn't think I would be as in love with it as the Naked Volume. I was wrong. Not only does the Arabica Coffee Fruit smell DELICIOUS, it actually felt really luxurious. The lather was amazing and the conditioner left my hair so soft. Now my hair is pretty desperately in need of a trim and it's not very easy to get a comb through it. The conditioner really made my hair smooth and easy to brush. This is no easy task!

I've been testing this new @herbalessences Bio:Renew Arabica Coffee Set and I really like it. I was worried it would be a bit heavy for the summer since I have super thick hair but that isn't the case at all. It smells amazing, provided the richest lather, and made my hair feel clean and soft without any extra product residue. My hair even dried smoothly despite being desperately in need of a trim. ✂️ Thank you for the goodies, @herbalessences! My shower is slowly building a great collection of Bio:Renew hair products and I love it. Even though the products were gifted, all opinions are my own! 😍😍😍⠀ #biorenew #herbalessences #haircare #healthyhair #stronghair #pursuepretty #bblogger #beautyblogger #honestreview #gifted #shampoo #softhair #cleanhair #letlifein #hairgoals #conditioner
A post shared by Melanie L (@jetsettindaisy) on

If you're concerned about conditioner buildup, here's my trick- I use an in-shower brush to distribute the product evenly. It also helps when rinsing; it gets all the excess conditioner out!

I've been using the new Arabica Coffee Fruit set for a couple of weeks and I'm still in love with them. For me, the best part is the price point- it's so hard to find an inexpensive haircare line that you can feel good about! I can't wait to try the rest of the Bio:Renew products next!

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