[Travel] Where to go in Indonesia

Indonesia pictures from google I was reading Time’s 50 best places and found this entry.

Jakarta, Indonesia

This underrated Asian capital showcases Indonesia’s staggering diversity—most of the nation’s 300-odd ethnic groups are represented here—and warm hospitality, without Bali’s price tag or 3 million–plus annual tourists. Throw in some top-notch restaurants, including Eastern & Oriental from superstar chef Will Meyrick and the industrial-chic Union by Gordon Ramsay alum Adhika Maxi, as well as a lively nightlife scene. —Diana Hubbell

That got me thinking about whether Jakarta is truly recommended as a travel destination. My verdict? No. If you are going to be stopping over, perhaps yes, spend a day or two. But you don’t need to make a special stop, it’s not a special place, relatively speaking. So where would I recommend you visit? These are my top four destinations for people who are first or second timers to Indonesia; who only have limited time (a week or two); like the outdoors and some culture; are not vegetarian; and would like to do some shopping.

1. Bali

It’s cliche, but yes, Bali is a top destination, especially for first-time visitors. Tourism has developed much earlier than elsewhere in Indonesia, so it’s relatively easy to arrange and navigate. Make no mistakes, it’s not ALL commercialized, rowdy and teeming. There are many places in Bali  where life is still laid-back, unhurried, and relatively free of hordes. The northwestern and northern coastlines are relatively quiet, and it’s mostly locals going about their business.

First, you can head to Pemuteran in the North to acclimatize, and arrange your travels from there. Look over the wine production factory (Hatten wines) and grape vineyards. Visit the markets and haggle for local produce; visit the ports with the traditional outrigger boats and other traditional boats and see the myriad of fresh fish on sale; traverse the small, very clean and quiet villages and see farmers working the fields, find hidden waterfalls and lakes and jump in!. On your way back to the airport, go through the mountains and perhaps do a hike or two. Then visit Ubud which, for all its adverts, is relatively quiet, especially if you are willing to stay away from the city center. Then white-water raft your way down to the airport (well, closer to it, at least). When you’re ready for crowds of Cozumel spring-break proportions, head to Kuta, to also do your shopping where you can find Roxy bikinis to artisanal, hand-dyed ones.

2. Manado, North Sulawesi

North Sulawesi cuisine is my favorite amongst Indonesian cuisines. They’ve got everything covered: yummy pork dishes? Check. Fresh and tasty seafood? Check. Western-style cakes and desserts? Check, check, check! (A remnant of Dutch recipes and customs). Y

Review and Swatches: Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet

Left to right: Personne Ne Rouge, Hot Pepper, Pink Pong, Grand Cru

Left to right: Personne Ne Rouge, Hot Pepper, Pink Pong, Grand Cru

I love liquid liptsticks. The first ones I truly fell in love with must have been the Chanel Rouge Allure Laques, which were discontinued (the new Rouge Allures are DIFFERENT, damn it). I’ve since tried Milani’s, Guerlain’s, NYX’s, Hourglass’, etc. Bourjois recently came out with their own, and I tried four of them: 01 Personne Ne Rouge, 03 Hot Pepper, 06 Pink Pong and 08 Grand Cru.

I don’t like them. They’re HARD to put on: slippery and self defeating. Like, when you make a second pass, the brush actually picks up color from he first pass! So by adding a second layer, you’re actually taking off the first layer and you end up with …. nothing. Curious, that. Grand Cru is especially problematic; I can’t even do an arm swatch with it, see how crappy the result in this family picture?

It’s a shame since the colors are actually quite nice; my favorite amongst these four is Hot Pepper, an orange-y red. If you like the idea of matte liquid lipstick, I suggest you try the NYX Soft Matte Lip  Creams; if you don’t mind the shine, look into the Milani Lip Intense. I haven’t completely given up on Bourjois though, still waiting for the nude colors which I may or may not like.

 

Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet

Review and Swatches: Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick Mrs. Mia Wallace

urban decay mrs mia wallace4Urban Decay has been getting props for their Revolution Lipstick an I’ve been wanting to try one, but was too lazy to pour over colors to make a choice. One day Temptalia had a post on makeup that people have back-ups of, and the one single item that got the most quote was the Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick in Mrs. Mia Wallace, a Pulp Fiction limited edition item. I looked around the blogosphere for swatches and when I saw Lipstick Rules wearing Mrs. Mia Wallace, I pressed the button. Two months later, the pretty is here.

Red lipstick is a staple, isn’t it? Of my stash, Edward Bess Ultra Slick lipstick in Midnight Bloom is the closest in terms of color and texture to Mrs. Mia Wallace. In fact, on my lips the two are identical. [I should do a post on Edward Bess lipsticks as they are my number one favorite lipstick of all time, really].Another beloved red is similar in color though not as opaque: Sally Hansen Natural Beauty in Rouge Doux.

In terms of texture, opacity, lasting power, and overall feel on the lips, this one is really worth the hype, and I can see why many people consider getting back-ups of this. Urban Decay describes this as deep blood red, and it’s spot on. It’s a posh color for sure, a blue red which makes my teeth really white. I will not be getting back-ups though – I’m not even sure if I’m even keeping this one. It’s too dark and somehow too posh on me, which makes it not an everyday staple (and also why I’m not into the cult MAC Russian Red and her sisters). All’s not lost though, since I really like the Revolution Lipstick texture and might get other color(s). If you’d like to try Mrs. Mia Wallace, Urban Decay still sells it online (it’s sold out everywhere else it seems).

red comparisons2

Red comparisons, natural light (click to enlarge)

urban decay mrs mia wallace3

 

 

NYX SMLC Amsterdam + Black Eyeliner: A Lime Crime Wicked Dupe?

NYX Amsterdam mixed with varying degrees of Tarte Onyx black eyeliner

NYX Amsterdam mixed with varying degrees of Tarte Onyx black eyeliner

I did a quick swatch this morning of the NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream (SMLC) in Amsterdam with black eyeliner (I used Tarte Onyx). I just mixed them on the lips, layering the black eyeliner on top of the red color and blending with my finger, and repeating until I get the desired mix. I usually do this to tame down Amsterdam to the level of the middle swatch (picture above). But this morning I tried to take it to extremes and darkened it slightly beyond my comfort level (right most picture). A dupe with Lime Crime Wicked? You be the judge. Perhaps the result would be nice with NYX SMLC Monte Carlo, which I do no have anymore. NYX Marocco would also work (see swatches below).

Top to bottom: Tarte Onyx black eyeliner, NYX Marocco, NYX Amsterdam

Top to bottom: Tarte Onyx black eyeliner, NYX Marocco, NYX Amsterdam

NYX Amsterdam Marocco Tarte Onyx

 

 

 

[Music] Welcome to New York! or, Taylor Swift-dom Justified

I was one of those people who did not understand Taylor Swift-dom. And I’m a country music and K-pop aficionado. I did not think her that special, as a singer or songwriter. That it, until 1989, her latest album. Catchy beats, pointed lyrics and just the general vibe of the album is refreshing. I especially love Welcome to New York. Much have been written about that city, but Taylor captures the moment of arrival so well. I still remember well the moment I caught sight of the Manhattan skyline, the moment of driving crossing the bridge and of walking down Central Park at late fall. Well done, Ms. Swift!

PS: Is anyone reminded of Martika when hearing this album?