Philippines Haul & Merry Christmas!

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Merry Christmas y’all! πŸ˜€ I hope all of us have a wonderful year ahead. πŸ™‚ And here’s to what I shopped in Philippines. I think I have mentioned previously that I wanted to buy gifts for many of my cousins. Although, honestly, at the end of it all, I feel there’s no need to put in so much thought because people do not value it all that much. Put thoughts only for people who understand your efforts. Buy gifts for everyone else the same way that most people do when visiting abroad. That way you get to cover more people as well. Overall, I was not impressed with my method, I wish I had bought gifts for more people even if they were regular things like chocolates etc. I think I blabbered too much, just do what you feel like because that’s what I did. πŸ˜€ After all, it’s not a life-altering decision. For more Philippines’ posts, go here, here, here and here. Here’s what all I bought πŸ˜€ :

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This Charles & Keith Wallet for my mom. My favorite from the trip.

Some sports socks for a cousin. I don't know why I thought of that, stop judging.

Some sports socks for a cousin. I don’t know why I thought of that, stop judging.

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Now pretty notebooks are wonderful gifts, tell me if you disagree (or if you want to punch me in the face πŸ˜€ )

A bag for my maasi (aunt)

A bag for my maasi (aunt)

A handcream from Etude House

A handcream from Etude House

A face mask that I got for free for shopping at Etude House :D

A face mask that I got for free for shopping at Etude House πŸ˜€

A face wash from Etude House

A face wash from Etude House

Some Marks & Spencer shower gels

Some Marks & Spencer shower gels

These bellies were so cheap. I got a blue pair for myself as well. The best part was that they were named after ice-cream flavors as per the color of the shoe. See that tag around the shoe that says Vanilla?

These bellies were so cheap. I got a blue pair for myself as well. The best part was that they were named after ice-cream flavors as per the color of the shoe. See that tag around the shoe that says Vanilla?

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A dress for one of my favorite cousins.

Apart from these, I also got three tourist kinds tee shirts from the Bangkok airport, a souvenir for home, 2 more pairs of shoes for myself and some funky socks from Topman. I also got this kid’s toy from a stationary shop for a friend. πŸ˜€ I don’t have pictures of these but I wanted to mention them anyway. That’s all, let me know if you like the stuff. πŸ™‚ Merry Chirstmas again! *-*

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Life Instagram-ed #11 | Philippines Edition

Despite the long weekend, I was away from posting. That’s because a colleague took my laptop charger mistakenly and he is on leave till tomorrow. Yes, plans to kill him are in the making. Anyway, here is the last post of my Philippines trip, you can check out the first post (which was in parts) here and here. The second post can be checked out here.

The last post is basically the Instagram diary of my trip, hope you enjoy it. πŸ™‚

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1. This is on Suwarnbhumi Airport, Bangkok from where I had my connecting flight. Ok, judge me all you want but I clicked this because I realized I haven’t taken a photograph since the beginning of my journey. But I was super tired at the airport (as I had watched back to back movies in the previous flight and did not sleep at all). Therefore, I clicked this because I did not have to move an inch from where I was sitting for this! πŸ˜› I can’t believe how kick-ass this picture has come! πŸ˜€

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2. Hotel’s mini bar. These caramel pop corns were delicious but one could easily tell that the salt and sugar content was so high.

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3. Tomato soup. This was my dinner the day I did not go out. I told the room service to give me extra bread crumbs. I don’t know what they would have given me if I hadn’t said that. :/

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4. Easy guys, the waffles were not as good as they look. πŸ™‚ But this drink that you see, the papaya smoothie, was beyond wonderful. I loved it so much that on most days, I had this instead of trying out different drinks. So much so that the guy on the papaya smoothie counter of the cafe started recognising me and made small talk with me a day asking me things like when am I going back to India. It was sweet. I wanted to be served by him on my last day but it did not happen somehow. :/

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5. This was the vegetarian pasta at Seattle’s Best Coffee in Greenbelt 3. It was fine but the best thing about it was that this was entirely vegetarian. Even the bread did not have eggs. That’s hard to find in my opinion in a country where the staple is not vegetarian. By the way, this picture reminds me of that incident of being followed by three guys, I was having this when the whole incident started.

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6. This is in Charles & Keith in Greenbelt 5. πŸ˜€ They were having a contest where if you share a picture of their store on Instagram, you get 10% off. I was here to buy my mom a wallet. I think this was the only thing formerly decided about my trip. πŸ˜›

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7. Oh, I liked this quite a lot. This was tofu in Soya garlic sauce and I ordered rice on the side. Although it’s weird as both the things are dry (I did not know that this dish would have negligible gravy), I quite enjoyed having this meal. This was in the restaurant ‘Recipes’ in Greenbelt 3.

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8. This was from Burger King in Glorietta Mall. I asked them if they have anything vegetarian and they told me that they would remove the chicken patty from the chicken burger but what I understood was that they would remove the chicken patty and put in a veggie patty. πŸ˜› It was only when I opened my take-away back in the hotel room that I realized what has happened. πŸ˜›

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9. Spring rolls in Lorenzo’s Way in Greenbelt 5. This is from the goodbye dinner that I had with my client people. These spring rolls were not very good by the way.

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10. This is from the same dinner. This mango-guya (a local fruit) drink was super yummy. By the way, my client people were so thoughtful that they asked the waiter to bring the shrimps separately from the rice so that I could also taste the rice. This rice was yummy by the way.

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11. Again, from the goodbye dinner. πŸ™‚

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12. The awesome shoes that I bought from SM Market. They were for PHP 300 (INR 390). Yay!! πŸ˜€

This was all from my side from the Philippines trip. I can do a haul post too but so far, I haven’t planned to do it (simply because it’s a hassle to click everything now :P), let me know if you really want me to do it. πŸ™‚

5 practical work outfits | Philippines Edition

It’s been so long since I did these work wear posts. I am kind of embarrassed about outfit posts honestly, but I like sharing my work wear despite. So, I still continue with doing these. I understand many of the audience here are guys, I am sorry, feel free to skip this post. πŸ™‚ (I know that Know-All WILL comment on this post no matter what. πŸ˜› )

So, here’s what I wore for my five work days in Philippines:

[Day 1]Β I wore a black blazer-trousers combo with a lemon formal shirt. Basically, I could have said that I wore a pant suit but, here in India, somehow we don’t use that term a lot. I did not click a picture of my clothes that day. Sorry for that. πŸ™‚

Black Blazer: Van Heusen, Black Trousers: Promod, Lemon Shirt: Bombay HighΒ 

 

[Day 2]Β Blue Shirt: Van Heusen, Dark Blue Pants: Van Heusen, Tan Shoes: The Landmark, Makati, Philippines, Watch: Fastrack

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[Day 3]Β Black Blazer: Van Heusen (Wore the same one as on day 1), White Top: Pantaloons, Peach Pencil Skirt: Dorothy Perkins (from Jabong), White Flat Shoes: Local Store, Rajouri Garden, Delhi

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[Day 4]Β Red-Blue Dress: Van Heusen, Black Blazer: Same as above, Tan Shoes: Same as day 2

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[Day 5]Β So I had decided while packing for Philippines that I’ll wear Indian formalΒ to work one day. Although, I was apprehensive that they might not consider it formal since they don’t know what it is. Still, I really wanted to wear it and I did. I got lots of compliments that day. In fact, the security guard lady loved the outfit so much that I gave her the dupatta (stole) as a present while coming back. She was very happy. πŸ™‚

Ok, I am cheating a bit. The picture below is not of day 5 because I forgot to click one. It is actually a picture I clicked in my office (here in India) long ago but I wore the same outfit on day 5. Only, the kurta (tunic) was not this pink one but a white one with stripes.

Black Dupatta: Street Shopping, Black Churidaars (Pants that I am wearing): Street Shopping, Pink Kurta: Aurelia (The white one that I actually wore was from Westside)

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Now coming to my favorite part, my tips for formal work wear (and travel packing too πŸ˜€ ):

1. There’s a slight bias with me. I quite love formal work wear, both Indian and western. So, I am always excited to style it. Most people I know hate work wear. If that’s the case with you, I really can’t help much except that I hope this post makes you like it. πŸ™‚ Also, I think people really hate it because they don’t feel like they have a lot of choices. Let me tell you that is not the case. Just keep an open eye and you can find work wear at quite a lot of places. (Some day I’ll do a full-fledged post on how to find work wear easily, do you like this idea?).

2. I know this post makes it look like I am endorsing Van Heusen. πŸ˜€ No, that is not the case. I like them and they have good clothes but the fact that I am mostly wearing their clothes in this post is a coincidence. Coming to Van Heusen as a work wear clothing brand, the good thing is that they have a good variety and very nice quality clothes. The bad thing is that it is one of the very few formal wear brands available in India for women and hence the clothes are so common that you can always spot people wearing the same clothes. #truestory :/ (I am not going to count the point that they are pricey since I feel that all of these retail brands are overpriced as they charge us so much more than their manufacturing cost, so no point writing same thing repeatedlyΒ for all brands).

3. A good brand for Indian clothesΒ that you can wear to work is Aurelia. Their kurtas (tunics) are very good quality and not shady overpriced. You can find their stuff on many online shopping websites.

4. As some of you would know, Dorothy Perkins recently started selling in India through the e-commerce website Jabong. Design and variety wise, they have a very nice collection. But I think the price is just not justified at all for the quality. Also, the clothes on the website look slightly different from reality. One reason for them being pricey is theΒ currency difference too. Whatever be the reason, I would advice to buy them only during huge Jabong sales. πŸ™‚

5. A very good brand to find trousers is Promod. I have praised them hereΒ too. They don’t have a lot of variety but they have clothes with perfect fit (at least for me).

6. You can also find Indian formal wear at Westside and sometimes, even Western work wear too. Oh, and, they have a large variety of shoes. They have a good collection but the quality is usually poor, so I only buy them during sales. Paying a lot for bad quality things is just not done. πŸ™‚

7. Other brands that I have tried for work wear and liked include Bombay High and Cantabil. I have not tried anything from Allen Solly and Wills Lifestyle but I have always felt that they have good quality and nice variety (and pricey! πŸ˜› ).

8. Last but the most important, if you think you can find work wear only in big retail giants, then you are wrong. I and my sisters have bought very nice formal dresses and blouses while street shopping. I have done work wear posts before and if you check them out, you can see that I have a lot of clothes and shoes from local stores (you can check those posts under the personal style section).

9. Whenever you are on a business trip, ALWAYS carry at least one blazer. You have to make space for it in your luggage. It’s very easy to transform any outfit to a formal one with a blazer. πŸ™‚

10. When you are on a business trip and trying to save space in your luggage, don’t carry a lot of shoes. Some basic ones can work with almost all the outfits and if they are good ones, you don’t have to worry about wearing the same ones day after day. Relax, everyone in the office knows that you are on a trip. πŸ™‚

That’s it, guys. Thanks for reading, really. πŸ™‚

Salamat Philippines: Part 2

[Day 4]Β Day 4 was quite similar to day 3, only difference was that I had pre-decided where I would go once back from work. I came back and headed to Greenbelt 5 (next to Greenbelt 3). I had decided on it because I wanted to buy my mom a Charles & Keith wallet and did not want to keep that thing for the last. Charles & Keith is there in Greenbelt 5. The USP of this mallΒ is that it is notΒ all international chains. It has a very large number of distinctive Philippines-specific designer boutiques. Very expensive stuff, but very ogle-worthy. At some of the stores, I literally couldn’t take my eyes off.

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Greenbelt 5

I decided to have dinner in one of Greenbelt 3’s open space restaurants – ‘Recipes’. I had a Tofu in Garlic Sauce with rice, and it was one of my favorite foods there. Simply because it was spicy. πŸ˜› Although, I am sure lot of people won’t like it as it was very dry. DSC_9293

[Day 5]Β It was this day on which I had the first half reserved for sightseeing (as I was coordinating the time with my client’s night shift) but somehow, I wasn’t really excited about it. I was planning to visit the Manila Ocean Park but I did not feel very excited so I just slept through the half day and went to office in the second half. Yeah, no tourist-y sightseeing!! 😦 However, I explored the residential streets near my office area.

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The streets of Makati

DSC_9302 DSC_9305 DSC_9306 On being back in the evening, I wanted to check the SM market which was praised a lot by my driver. So, here’s the thing with SM Market. I grabbed the best deals here but it is, again, SUPER HUGE. So, when you enter, you are greeted with the same old international brands and some local ones as well. Two floors above is the highlight of SM market, the shoe city. It is an amazingly big area with bags and shoes but it is not all budget (as is the belief). Make sure that you cover this entire floor because this floor has hidden gems. You find amazingly nice shoes and bags for pocket-friendly prices. Also, the SM marketΒ directions don’t mention it but this floor has a lot of budget-friendly nightwear and lingerie. Basically, keep calm and scan the entire floor. Since I had got really late in the SM market, I did not want to stay out for longer and carried my dinner from Burger King as take out. Did you just say that I am a vegetarian? Well, yes, the sales guy said they would remove the chicken and I understood that he is saying that he will remove the chicken and put in a vegetable cutlet. πŸ˜› Hats off to my absurdity! πŸ˜›

[Day 6]Β Β There were still some people for whom I was yet to buy gifts. So, I had planned the Friday evening to be a quick, well-managed walk through all my favorite areas of the malls. But the office people told me that they would like to have a goodbye dinner with me. πŸ™‚ How very sweet! πŸ™‚ So, I quickly rushed through my shopping agenda and then had an amazing dinner with them. πŸ™‚ We ate at the Lorenzo’s way in Greenbelt 5. My vegetarian dish was average and I also tried a bit of their rice which was good. The dessert and the mango-guya (local fruit) drink were amazing!

From the goodbye dinner. :)

From the goodbye dinner. πŸ™‚

Of course, afterwards, I had one more task πŸ˜› as I couldn’t find anything good for my dad, so just wandered aimlessly in Greenbelt 3 revisiting my favorite places there. πŸ™‚ Still unable to find anything, I postponed the task for Bangkok airport.

[Day 7]Β Had a peaceful flight back home and met really nice and interesting people on board. πŸ™‚ Now coming to things that I regretted on my trip. One is that I wish I had done some tourist-like sightseeing. Yes, the cities Manila and Makati in Philippines are more of a shoppingΒ heaven but there are other things to be seen. And, of course, if you are visiting any of the islands, then soaking up the natural beauty becomes the major attraction. Well, the islands were never on my agenda because you have to go there through flights, I did not want to extend my trip. Second regret is that I wish I had shopped some more for myself. πŸ˜› I really did not buy much for myself and as I checked out a whole of stuff, I kind of want them now. πŸ˜›

Finally, thankfully for you guys, this post is finishing but not without my Philippines travel suggestions:

  1. If you are going to cover both cities as well as some of the islands, plan for a longer vacation. Frankly, the USP of the cities (Makati and Manila) is the shopping and the USP of the islands is their natural beauty. So, you can decide based on your preferences.
  2. Things to do in both Makati and Manila are very easy to classify. There are 5 types of things here to check out (apart from observing the day to day life and the food): 1) Churches, 2) Museums, 3) Parks, 4)Shopping, 5)Adventure Sports/Amusement Parks. The good thing is that you can easily skip on the parks (right?) and I am guessing that you wouldn’t be very keen on visiting each and every museum (but that depends).
  3. If in Makati, definitely do attend the Salcedo Saturday Market. It happens in the parking of the Salcedo park and has such a great variety of foods on display. It is worth visiting even for vegetarians because there are hundreds of varieties of fruits.
  4. For designer shopping, head over to the Greenbelt chain of malls. For budget shopping, do not forget to cover The Landmark and SM market in their entirety. πŸ˜› You would require a lot of time for that though. πŸ˜› Apparently, there’s another affordable mall called Market!Market! I did not visit that.
  5. There are 3 convenience stores everywhere: 1)Convenience 7, 2) Ministop and 3)Rustan’s. I think the third one is the best.
  6. Try booking a connecting flight via Singapore because their airport is fabulous and Charles & Keith is even cheaper there. πŸ˜›

That’s finally it!! If you read till here, please let me know in the comments. It sure would make me happy! πŸ˜€ And do stay tuned for the rest of the two posts of the Philippines trip. πŸ˜‰

[Update: With this, I complete 100 posts on Life of Srish πŸ™‚ ]

Salamat Philippines

No, I haven’t gone crazy. The title does make sense because ‘Salamat’ is ‘Thank You’ in Filipino. πŸ™‚ So, thank you Philippines for a lovely experience of my first international trip. And now after procrastinating things for forever, I am going to document my travel here. I have decided to do three posts for my stay in Philippines, the first one in the series is this and it will cover everything I experienced there. Are you wondering what will the other two posts be about then? πŸ™‚ Well, I want to keep a little surprise element but I can tell that this first one would most likely be the most interesting for you guys. πŸ˜€ (Update: I realized that I am explaining things way too much so I’ll break this post into two parts).

I was in Makati which is the business hub of Philippines, adjacent to and quite a part of the capital city, Manila. As most of you know, I was on a business trip and so I had very little time to roam around. Manila, the capital city, has a lot of churches and parks to visit apart from the largest mall in Asia and an amusement park – Manila Ocean Park. I did not visit any place in Manila. πŸ˜› Although Makati and Manila are like one big city, I did not get the time to visit Manila. Makati, again, has some churches, museums and an American cemetery and the biggest highlight is a chain of malls that are SHOPPING HEAVEN.These are basically 8 malls (yes, 8) , all connected to one another like one huge giant mall, the first 5 ones come under one chain called ‘Greenbelt’ and are very posh and high-end malls. The next two, i.e. ‘The Landmark’ and ‘SM Market’ are the kinds where you can do cheap shopping. One more, i.e. Glorietta mall is in the middle of these two price-wise, not exactly high-end but not exactly cheap. Now comes the best part of the trip. My hotel was right across the Greenbelt malls. Like, I only had to cross a road to go there. Literally. Whoever from the client booked my hotel, bless you.

Now let’s go over the trip day-wise, shall we?

[Day 1]Β I reached there on September 7 via a connecting flight from Bangkok and while I was told that the Bangkok Airport (Suwarnbhumi airport) is wow, I was super sleepy to really care (as I watched movies through my entire flight from Delhi to Bangkok) and I also needed to charge my phone to let the, ermmm, ‘stakeholders’ know that I am fine. πŸ˜› But honestly, I don’t know why people who live in Delhi raved so much about this airport. It is good, indeed, but just as much as Delhi airport. Of course, with different brands, so that’s exciting.

Anyway, my flight reached the Philippines airport (Ninoy Aquino International Airport, I noticed the name while coming back to India πŸ˜› ). It is such a sad airport because there is some construction work going on but still so sad. Ok, let’s all take a moment to praise the Delhi airport. Silence.

Then, I needed to purchase the global SIM and charge my phone so that I can make a call to the driver which my client was sending. Because of all this, the poor driver had to wait for so long. :/ By the way, he was such a cute old man.

So, he dropped me at my hotel, the New World Makati Hotel, it is an extremely nice hotel guys but the USP is mostly the fact that it is right across the 8 malls that I talked about (a big USP), everything else I guess you will get at every good hotel if you are willing to pay so much!

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View from my room window

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View part 2 πŸ˜› That’s Greenbelt 3 that you see.

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I hardly drink, but I made sure that I flaunt this to everyone I know πŸ˜›

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The room

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The customary hotel bathroom photo

I ordered some lunch in the hotel and took a bath while the lunch arrived. It was a big veggies pizza and it had so much cheese that it was nauseating! Anyway, I ate as much as I could and left for the first mall I wanted to cover – ‘The Landmark’. I haven’t mentioned that I had an agenda on this trip, to buy gifts for a lot of my cousins. I really loved Landmark. It is like a huge supermarket with so many floors catering to different things and you can buy stuff no matter what your budget is. I can’t explain how big it is. I really liked the fact that in their make-up and skin care section, they stock some really good brands also and not only the cheap ones. There is such a HUGE area of shoes and bags on the floor for women that you will get confused and overwhelmed. If you are considering bulk shopping, this is THE place to check out.

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Lunch

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Crossing the road for going to Landmark, can you see Ralph Lauren? πŸ˜‰

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One of the things I was most excited about. Philippines has these ‘jeepneys’ like we have autos. They were used in military during World War, but now are used as a means of public transport. Please Google for better pictures, they look amazing.

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There were rows and rows of shoes in Landmark. I realize that these ones don’t look good quality but believe me there were really good ones too in abundance!

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Yes, the bags look kind of cheap but the topmost orange one is good and there were many good bags.

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I got myself these from Landmark.

[Day 2]Β It was my first day in the client’s office and the people were really sweet. I had lunch with them and it was a tough task for them to find vegetarian food for me. πŸ™‚ When I came back to the hotel that day, I felt kind of lonely and low and I did not feel like going out. So, I just stayed in. After a while, I wanted to be out but the time was not right to go out all alone. So, I hanged out in this fake lagoon that the hotel has made next to its bar and lounge. It was very beautiful with all the lights, the bridge and the curio shops of the hotel. Super relaxing. I LOVED that about the hotel. The music in the bar also felt so good.

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[Day 3]Β On this day, I was in high spirits when I came back from office and I decided to explore the Greenbelt 3 mall. Like I mentioned, the Greenbelt chain is all high-end and posh but of course, there are some reasonable stores as well. On the ground floor, though, there are so many of the big international labels that you cannot not enter the stores. There was this one store with ballerina shoes available in all colors possible and since I had never heard the name of the brand, I just entered. πŸ˜› The shoes were so damn pretty!

The biggest highlight for me in Greenbelt 3 was finding the Etude House store. It’s a cosmetics brand and I always longed to visit an Etude House store because it’s very Disney princess like but it is not in India. It was out of my mind when I was there. I was just roaming around when I saw the Etude House store. Such an amazing feeling! On top of it, I soon realized that this is not an exorbitantly priced brand. Loved that! πŸ˜€ By they way, when you enter their store, they greet you by saying ‘Good evening princess!’. That was a little creepy for me. πŸ˜› Still, well thought. πŸ˜›

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It was a very small store, I have seen pictures of people in big Etude House stores and they are lovely.

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The skin care. I bought some face washes for few people.

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The billing counter

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The really cute skin care stuff. Look at those small hand cream tubes. I got one of them for a friend.

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Those two paper bags were mine. πŸ™‚

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Look at those toys! It’s a books and stationery store in the mall. I think it was called Power Books? I loved roaming in this huge store. Who doesn’t love books & stationery stores?

One really good thing about the Greenbelt 3 mall is that there is a HUGE variety of restaurants here and mostly all of them offer open seating. I decided to try the vegetarian pasta at ‘Seattle’s Best Coffee’. It is a chain like Cafe Coffee Day. πŸ™‚ I was totally enjoying sitting in their open area and eating my food slowly but these 3 boys appeared and started to kind of flirt in a scary way, so I literally stuffed my food and grabbed my stuff to run away. They actually followed me for a while but thankfully, this mall was extremely near to my hotel. πŸ™‚

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To be continued from day 4 onwards. πŸ™‚