Hello Followers & Future Followers,
A few weeks ago, I moved my site Be Iconnic to Naturally Nic
Please re-direct all your follows, likes, comments, and attention to there – Thanks everyone ❤
I stumbled into Long Beach, California by fluke. And I’m glad I did.
I hopped off the plane at LAX (Miley Cyrus voice) to embark on another lengthy journey to Long Beach. Having my itinerary already set for my week-long trip to LA, I decided to be a little adventurous and explore the coastal city in Southern California. Driving along the coast left me in awe. Feelings of wonder, curiosity, and bliss inherited my body.
Long Beach is astonishing – it is also heavily underrated.
A ten minute stroll from my Airbnb led me to Alamitos Beach. I stood on the trail, for what felt like eternity, taking in the purity of the air and the freshness of the trees. I have been to Malibu and Venice Beach before. To my surprise, I liked Alamitos Beach more.
Some people were scattered around Alamitos – not many though. As an explorer and photographer, I prefer emptier beaches. I feel much more comfortable taking pictures and posing for photographs when fewer people are present. It’s a security thing. The empty space allowed me to roam free. I climbed stairs, laid in the sand, soaked in the sun, and dipped in the ocean.
Good vibes – That is all I need to say to describe Long Beach. A very hipster feel. Cute, little details surround the city. Positive signs hang from certain stores and cafes, bird houses rest on trees, and firefly lights brighten the city at night.
It’s the little details that make this city so unique. These artistic and creative features seem to be overlooked by many tourists in the Great LA area. My, my… what an appreciation I now have for this city. My one day adventure there was way too short. Until next time Long Beach; I will be back!
I walked across the California-Tijuana border weeks after Donald Trump’s administration rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
I always thought my first trip to Mexico would be a drunken, Spring Break blur. I imagined myself on an all-inclusive Cancun resort, ordering rounds of Piña Coladas while sitting at a swimming pool bar.
How I ended up walking to Mexico is beyond me. After booking my flight from Sacramento to San Diego, I decided to take an impromptu trip to Tijuana. When I have a
stupid idea, it becomes engrained in my mind. I will go to any extent to fulfill my new-found goal, even if that means crossing the Mexico border, by foot, only weeks after the DACA controversy.
I was warned by my professors, new American friends, and roommates not to follow-through on this trip. “There are nicer and safer places in Mexico for a Canadian girl like you to travel to,” said one of my profs.
But there I was, sitting in a trolley (like an actually trolley) with a bunch of Mexican workers heading to TJ. It was about a 30 minute ride from San Diego to the border. The landscape changed rapidly. What started off as mansions, turned into boarded trailers, tents, and abandoned areas.
There I was, in Tijuana. What a contrast this city was from San Diego. I was intrigued by the colours and inspired by the culture. I felt safe; I felt curious. This was an aspect of Mexico I would not have experienced if I merely stayed on a resort. I felt brave for taking the plunge and following my dreams to cross a border by foot… Like What!? I’m still shocked I did that!
Disclaimer: I’m going to avoid filling my post with crappy-quality, nighttime iPhone photography. It will take away from the high-quality photos later in this post.
I spent only two short days in TJ. They were filled with a lifetime of experiences and happiness though. I heard all the rumours about Tijuana being a party town. Those rumours are definitely true! Bars were bumping electronic music before dawn and club promoters were handing out guest-list cards while I still had my luggage in hand.
My hotel was on Agenda Revolucioń, the main street in Tijuana. A quick step outside my hotel lead me to an array of Mexican restaurants and bars. I LOVE Mexican food. It became a new-found obsession ever since I moved to California. For under $10 USD, I ate three tacos, drank 2 super-large margaritas, and devoured a bowl of chips and SPICY dips. This was one of the best and cheapest dinners I had ever had. As you can tell by my eyes in the first photo (see below), the drinks were pretty good too.
After the f&#%!@? delicious dinner, we found ourselves in-and-out of a selection of clubs, where we ordered the classic Corona and lime each time. When in Mexico, am I right? Instead of the usual greasy pizza and fries to end the night, I ordered this incredible Nutella and whipped cream crepe from a dessert place called 42 Sabores. My stomach was satisfied.
My only full day in Tijuana consisted of exploring the area surrounding my hotel. Having limited time and being a new visitor to the area, I decided not too wander too far away from the other tourists.
Like most of my other photo-heavy blog posts, I want my pictures to do most of the talking. This is my photo journal of TJ. These photos will make any sceptic question their negative beliefs about this city. It is culturally rich – more than any other place I have ever been to. Be prepared to have your breathe taken away.
P.s. The locals are WONDERFUL! They are so dedicated to each one of their businesses, from playing instruments to selling food. The happiness in their daily lives is contagious. One business owner let me sit and take a picture with his donkey FOR FREE. He said he believes in good karma, and so do I. Those little moments of bliss and positivity mean the world to me.
Linnea Nilsson was a Health Science student at the California State University, Sacramento. Interview and photos are conducted and taken by yours truly. On a side note, Linnea was the first person I met in California. We later became roommates. She was truly an essential part of my exchange.
Why did you decide to do exchange at Sac State?
I wanted to do my exchange in the USA to experience new cultures, especially the American culture. So, I applied for five different universities in the US, and Sac State is the one I got. My major is health science, and Sac State has a big department for that, which gave me opportunities to take interesting classes in my field.
What was your favourite thing that you learned about American culture?
I liked that the Americans are very open (compared to the Swedish culture). They talk a lot and say what’s on their minds. If you’re on the bus, or in an elevator, there’s always someone who says hi and smiles at you, which I appreciate a lot since we don’t really do that in Sweden.
I also got to know that the Americans are very engaged in stuff, such as sports and events. I really enjoyed when everyone went to a game a supported our team together. And there is such a good atmosphere. At games at home, there are often fights between the supporters. But at the games I went to in California, people were cheerful and happy.
What is your favourite memory from exchange?
It’s really hard to pick only one favorite memory, because I got a lot. But one of them is definitely going to Hollywood for Thanksgiving with my sister and some of my new-found friends from all over the world. We went shopping on Black Friday, spent time on the beach at Santa Monica and had a great thanks giving dinner that ended with a night at a really nice Mexican bar. It was the perfect weekend.
What is one thing about Sweden that you missed while you were on exchange?
The thing I missed the most was actually Swedish coffee (I think everyone knew that lol). I’m used to drinking very dark and strong coffee, which is not usual in the US. So I often made my own coffee or ordered with extra espresso shots at cafes.
I thought I would miss my family and friends more, but since my family came visit and I Facetimed with them and my friends, it wasn’t that bad.
What destination do you want to travel to next?
My next travel will be to Hawaii and hopefully New Zeeland. I’m going to apply for an internship at a health care center in Hawaii, but if I don’t get it I will go there on vacation. Me and two other friends went there a few days before Christmas last year, and I fell in love with it. The people, the climate, everything. So, I felt that it wasn’t enough with only five days there and therefore, I’m going there after my graduation. And after Hawaii (depending on the internship), I think I’m going to New Zeeland to visit my friend who’s going to be an au pair there. I have never been there before, but it looks amazing so I would really like to explore it.
This is not a sponsored post.
I have never written a product review before. For the amount of beauty, fashion, and lifestyle products I purchase and consume, it is fairly odd that this is my first review.
It was only a few months ago when I realized Glossier was a cult beauty brand favourite. Having not-so-flawless skin, the “natural” makeup and skincare look associated with Glossier products never really appealed to me UNTIL… the Exfoliating Skin Perfector Solution was released. My face literally houses acne scars from over three years ago. So when I heard that Glossier created a $30.00 (so cheap) acne and scar exfoliator, I absolutely had to try it.
Being a slave to consumerism, I placed an order for not one, but four Glossier products. The Exfoliating Skin Perfector Solution, Cloud Paint in Dusk, Milky Jelly Cleanser, and Lip Gloss. Descriptions of the products will be kept to a minimal (you can read full descriptions on the Glossier website). Instead, I will include the initial reactions I had when trying my new products.
Efff-ya, I am such a sucker for cute packaging. Even before opening the box, Glossier won me over with that cheesy smiling face on the tape. Is it just me, or does that smile have four eyes? Damn, they are good.
No way! They gave me stickers. I adore stickers. Before I even opened my package, I was brainstorming where I wanted to put my stickers. On the walls, in my grade 1 sticker book, in my travel journal, on my dog…
This face wash feels like every other cleanser I have used, but at the same time completely different. This contradictory conclusion leaves me (and probably all of you) very confused. If I could describe the texture, it basically felt like I was rubbing a milk cleanser on my face. I guess that is why they call it the “milk jelly cleanser.” If there was a milk-type greater than 3%, this would be it. Unlike other cleansers I have used in the past, this one didn’t leave my face feeling stiff, tight and/or statue-like once I was done.
OW it f%&$#?@ burns. This solution feels like rubbing alcohol is burning through my face. I keep looking at myself in the mirror to see if my skin is still there. To give this product some credit, the website does state that it “sloughs dead cells away.” This is definitely accurate advertising. After one use my pimples are still prevalent – I wasn’t expecting them dissolve instantly though. My skin does feel refreshed!
This lipgloss encompasses everything an OG lipgloss does. That illuminating clear shine sparkles off my lips. As Snoop Dogg would say, it is sticky icky icky (even though he was talking about something else lol). I’m going through a Y2K lipgloss phase, so this gloss receives an A+++ from me.
The cloud paint is a lot more liquid-y than I expected. Maybe “gel cream” formula means something different to me than it does to Glossier. Personally, I anticipated a cream formula. Instead, this is very watery. The colour dusk blends in well with my olive-skin tone. If I had clear skin, I think this cloud paint would look a lot better on me.
My dog-son and I are pleased with our purchases.
The skies were not so blue the day I visited Malibu.
I giggle whenever I reminisce on my Malibu adventure. A newbie traveller, completely unaware that Malibu is its own city. Wait Malibu isn’t a beach along the LA coast? My mind was blown learning the ever so basic Greater Los Angeles area geography.
I was staying at a Santa Monica hotel and Malibu was a bucket-list destination for me. I assumed putting “Malibu” into my GPS would be a suffice method to get to the beach. I later found out there are multiple beaches in the city of Malibu. Yikes!
Pre-Malibu picture. I’m devouring a Nutella cannoli from Carlo’s bakery. Damn, that pastry was so freakin’ delicious.
After a 30 minute Uber ride (I literally thought Malibu was a 5 minute drive away), I found myself at the Malibu Pier. I wish I filmed my reaction. The whole pier, and I mean the WHOLE pier was filled with fog.
Thinking this smog would eventually clear out, I decided to fill my bikini body with some Mexican food – A new obsession I developed while in California. Finding the nearest restaurant – it was literally across the street – I ordered my favourite Mexican dish… Quesadillas!
Feeling stuffer than ever and not giving a damn, I was ready to hit a nearby beach for some sunlight, sand, and to consume those Malibu vibes. Having little knowledge about the Malibu beaches, I basically played
Russian roulette with a list of beaches. The winner, El Matador beach.
The fog did not clear up. In fact, I’m pretty sure it got worse. I knew I would despise myself if I didn’t at least glance at the beach. So, I gained the confidence (even with my super full stomach) to rip off my outfit and strut down the beach in my cheetah print bikini. Body positivity, no matter what shape, size, colour or ability is everything to me. I wanted to capture a few pictures of myself near the rock formations. They were absolutely breathtaking.
To reflect on my Malibu experience, yes the fog absolutely sucked. But, I wasn’t going to let something so insufficient to ruin my day. The skies weren’t blue, but the views were still as extraordinary as I anticipated. To be given the opportunity to travel to such a naturally beautiful destination was rewarding on its own. Fog, or no fog, I am grateful to have consumed such beauty in Malibu.