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My stay at Four Seasons Hotel Baku

1:38 AM
Hi, dear readers! A few months ago, we travelled to Baku. We got to stay at the Four Seasons Hotel Baku. When we arrived from the airport, we were amazed by the beautiful lobby full of orchids (btw, these are my favorite flowers) and opulent touches in the design. The Four Seasons Hotel Baku offers elegant and cozy rooms with a luxurious taste. The hotel is located in the heart of old Baku, thus making our trip even more enjoyable, because we could walk to the Old Town, cross the street to the shore of the Caspian Sea, and see from our window the most iconic building in Baku - the Flame Tower. We were also super close for strolling along Baku Boulevard, lined with branded stores and shopping markets. If you are planning to take your trip to Baku anytime soon, make sure to check out the Four Seasons Hotel. This post is not sponsored by Four Seasons, I am sharing my honest opinion. I hope that one day I will come back to Baku and experience my stay there as a travel blogger. 

It has been a while since I did an editorial photoshoot. The Four Seasons Hotel room was perfect to avoid the windy weather and to work on something more creative. I am wearing my Zara jumpsuit that I purchased last year on sale and never got a chance to style it, along with my Mango cardigan. 

I am working right now on writing a post about my travel to Baku and many other travel stories that I have done in last 3 months. Don't even ask me if my travels are being sponsored, because everything is paid out of my pocket. No one is sponsoring my trips, besides my lovely husband ;) Thanks to him for taking me everywhere with him. While he is doing his stuff, I get my chance to explore and learn about other cultures. This week, I hit my 39th visited country. How amazing it is to be able to see the world and gain something new for myself. Btw, I contacted Four Seasons to approve these photos I am showing at the end. I am not good at capturing pictures of hotels, and usually when I stay there, we try to spend as much time as possible out in the city. But our room was really beautiful, and service at the Four Seasons is truly amazing. 






P.S. Pictures were edited with my Lightroom Presets that you can shop for here.



Pictured are used by courtesy of Four Seasons Baku:






Balkan Region Travel Excursion: Capital Cities and What to Expect

2:52 AM
The Balkan Peninsula is getting popular among backpackers and travelers like me who want to see other countries and yet need to save some money while traveling. This time, I got to visit only a few Balkan countries like Macedonia, Kosovo, Albania, and Montenegro.  Throughout all of them, we travelled by public transportation that was cheap, adventurous, and unfortunately in some ways, totally horrible. Lol. Keep reading to find out more.

If you never heard about the Balkans, you definitely need to read this blog post in order to feel prepared for what to expect:

We started our travel from Skopje, Macedonia. Since we didn't have too many days to see these beautiful countries, we decided that we need to explore capitals at a minimum. Skopje was surprisingly clean, safe and inexpensive. We got to check out the Stone Bridge that leads you to the old part of the city; shopped in the old bazaar and hunted for souvenirs; visited the Kale Fortress, which opens to a view over the city; stopped at the Mother Teresa Memorial House; took a day trip to Matka Lake and its colorful caves, which was absolutely great to escape the hot weather in the city; and tried some traditional cuisine that was quite good!









 





After discovering Skopje, we took a bus to Pristina - the capital of Kosovo. Our bus ride to Pristina was quite terrible, though adventurous. First, our driver was weird and shady. Second, he drove like a total maniac with a death wish. Third, he had constant mechanical problems with his minivan. Forth, the conditioner didn't work on a sweltering hot day. I felt like I was going to die from dehydration and heat or we would get into a car accident. Luckily, we all arrived to Pristina alive. I didn't find so much information for what can you see and do in Kosovo. Since we got a chance to talk to some locals, everyone advised that we should stop next time in Prizren. But even so, we got to walk around Pristina to see a few things that we truly enjoyed. Make sure to check out their bazaar; visit the Imperial Mosque; get on the top of the Mother Teresa Tower; check out the National Library; take a picture of the Newborn monument.







Because Pristina was enough for a day trip, we decided to continue our journey to Tirana, the capital of Albania. The bus was way bigger than the one that we took from Skopje to Pristina. It was very comfortable, the air conditioner worked, and we had several stops to use the restroom. Our second driver kept bringing us free snacks like candies and coca cola. The ride from Pristina to Tirana cost only 10 euro + small fee. I truly enjoyed my ride. After arriving to Tirana, we needed to figure out how to get to the hotel where we stayed. The only problem was that we didn't have the local currency. A big challenge traveling in the Balkans is that not every country uses the Euro. Many have their own types of currency. The taxi driver agreed to drive us to the bank and then drop us off at the hotel. We got to explore the city by seeing the BunkArt2 museum, Et'them Bey Mosque (which was under renovation, but we climbed to the top of the clock tower), Skanderbeg square, and took a day trip to the beach city of Durres. I will share more later.








Our bus ride from Tirana was actually quite horrible because of traffic and the long border check. We arrived quite late to Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro. At that point, I am so happy that I convinced my husband to rent a car and drive to explore the West Coast of the country. We got to see a few towns like Kotor, Cetinje, Budva, Virpazar, Sveti Stefan, Tivat and Perast. My favorites were Budva and Kotor. Since we did so much in Montenegro compared to other Balkan countries, I will write a separate blog post about Montenegro.







What to expect in the Balkans:

-Different currency;
-Long border checks;
-Most people don't speak English;
-Friendly people (even they don't look like that);
-Unique history & architecture;
-Not so many Asian tourists. Be ready for people to stare at you if you are Asian;
-Really slow restaurant service;
-Pay by cash;
-Very safe, even for solo travelers;
-Some places don't sell alcohol;
-Cheap to travel by public transportation between and within countries.

4 Ways to stop worrying about Social Media Counts

12:45 AM
Hey, guys! How have you been? Today's blog post is about how dirty and toxic the Instagram game has turned, and what to do if you are depressed or uninspired.

Last year, when everyone was placing attention on their Instagram following as being most important, I started to have struggles, and trying to grow my followers made my life miserable. Sound familiar? I was glued to my cell phone 24 hours. Competition between bloggers went to a weird and uncomfortable level.

Instagram used to be a creative platform for people to learn or express who they are. It's turned into a dirty blogger race. The authenticity is slowly disappearing. Reaching high numbers creates a big hunger for money, ultimately turning us into zombies, who advertise skinny tea or to become part of the skinny coffee club (sorry, I don't blame you if you did advertise for them). Personally, I even tried this "skinny" tea. It caught my attention while seeing how other bloggers promoted it by saying it's healthy, or that it helps to lose some weight, even though no one shared how unpleasant it can be. Oh man, I don't even want to think how many hours I spent in my bathroom, cursing all the bloggers who said it tasted good! LOL.

My point is, Facebook knew Instagram was a gold mine of untapped revenue, and encouraged the growth of our industry to the point it was undermining the original qualities that made it both fun and profitable. FB's headquarters started to brainstorm over what they could do to make companies pay them money for advertising instead of influencers. They made Instagram even more complicated, and people started to get depressed. I know a few bloggers who even gave up because the race for followers made them feel unhealthy.

What to do if you feel uninspired or depressed:

1. Travel and Discover

I, along with my husband, packed our bags and decided to travel across the country. While seeing a series of beautiful cities, I noticed that I stopped using my cell phone. My Instagram problem became the least of my worries. Plus, traveling can create a lot of content for your blog and social media.

2. Get Social

Since I just moved to a new country, making new friends can be hard. But Instagram lets people meet in real life. While living here for almost 2 months, I made a few friends with whom I hang out every week. Life has been better. I have more free time to do what I want to do while not worrying about Instagram problems.

3. Control Yourself

There are some apps that can help you see how often you use your phone, and maybe it will help you stop staring at your phone. I have been using "Moment -Screen  Time Tracker".

4. Care about what matters most

For me: Relationships, Friendships, Health

Instagram was compromising my sleep, because I was glued to my phone. I paid less attention to my husband, while playing on my phone and trying to decide what to publish. I talked less with my friends because I thought that I had something more important and my eyesight got worse after staying on my phone at night.

I hope these few tips will help you not worry about Social Media Counts, and we are all able find more time to stay healthier and happier!










Where do I Shop and Why?

1:51 AM
Online shopping is one of my favorite things to do. I used to shop at stores, but lately I find it so boring and even stressful. When I shop at stores, I have a hard time finding my size or I want things in a different color, or somebody already damaged something I really liked. Anyway, since I have been shopping online for a quite some time, I know what to do and know my size quirks. I like that your clothes are delivered to you and you can always return whatever you don't like. Very often, I don't need to return anything, because I buy only what I really like or need. 

So this post will be about sharing online stores that I would like you to check out, this post is not sponsored at all:

Mango for cute tees, dresses;
Asos for cute accessories;
Stylenanda for you if you love Korean fashion; 
NY&Company for classic pieces;
Boohoo for budget-friendly shopping;
Sephora for good skin care products;
Storets for unique design.

In this post, I am wearing a striped red sweater along with denim pinafore that is quite comfortable (find something similar at GAP). Since my sister loved it too, I gave it to her. These pictures were taken back in Spring (sorry for late posting!). This red coat I got from Zara and I hope that I can wear it more during the Fall season. For accessories, I picked my Woyoyo designer bag. If you remember, when you buy their bags, they will plant a new tree and name it after you.













 
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