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2019 Travel & Culture blog year in review! Best of moments, looking back at favorite destinations & what’s ahead.

very long purple hair, healthy long dyed hair color

Can’t believe it is already time to say farewell to 2019!

I didn’t get to try space travel or meet aliens this year… but still, a lot of good things have come about (My hair grew like a weed too…)

white shearling coat winter outfit fashion blogger vancouver bc

Let’s kiss the year goodbye, with a look back at some of this year’s best blogging moments and travel destinations.

Did you miss out on some of my stories, such as from New Orleans, Salem, and Cairo? If so, they’re all here — along with a selection of favorite outfits of 2019.

fashion blogger designer purses goth gothic skull bags

Here’s a holiday party coordinate to wrap up the end of the year. I’m wearing a bat sweater by Jawbreaker Clothing, barrette by Sylvain Le Hen Hairdesignaccess, skirt by Erbert Chong, necklaces Stephen Einhorn. And I’m carrying my new favorite bag…

luxury goth purse alexander mcqueen silver skull mini shoulder bags

I was too naughty for Santa this year… but Satan’s got my back! I’ve drooled over Alexander McQueen’s Goth couture for decades, but never owned one of his skull purses until now.

alexander mcqueen leather skull crosbody bag, silver skull purse

This new season Alexander McQueen mini-bag is space goth perfection — feel so lucky to be blessed by Satan/Santa! Love the silver crocodile leather, silver crossbody chain, and skull clasp with glimmering crystal eyes.

goth christmas stree outfit, holiday outfits xmas gothic

Here’s a look at the full Xmas party outfit. Goth-ing around the Christmas tree… (Snakeskin platform high heel ankle boots by Acne Studios).

alexander mcqueen silver croc mini bag, skull clutch purse

Details of the silver croc leather and skulls design, and fold-over flap with magnetic closure. The small rectangular shoulder bag is compact, yet large enough to hold essentials.

Peep at this Gothic designer purse below, along with more Alexander McQueen creations.

jeremy scott polka dot leather mini skirt, alien purse bag

My friends Melissa and Eric also got me a holographic alien backpack– it’s my favorite emoji, along with the purple devil. Perfect for carrying around my blaster gun.

My leather polka-dot mini skirt is by Jeremy Scott. It happens to match my head scarf from Lola Ramona.

instagrammable vancouver spots walls, murals instagram vancouver accounts style

Alright. Time to reflect on the year gone by. As a travel writer, I’m not a “country counter” — meaning that I don’t go out of my way to visit as many countries as possible, for the sake of numbers.

However, I came across an online checklist and was curious about how many places I’ve visited… To my surprise, I’ve hit 70 countries on 6 continents! (Haven’t made it to Antarctica yet.)

paris famous fountain, fashion bloggers traveling poses

This year, I went to places old and new, with a focus on culture — both ancient and modern. (Click the city names to see all my stories from each destination.)

I made it back to Paris, France at the start of the year, and covered the spookiest, most Gothic attractions in the city. The Catacombs filled with skulls, classic absinthe bar Cantada II, and Pere Lachaise cemetery lit up my dark heart.

great pyramids viewpoint egypt cairo 3 giza pyramid view

I returned to Africa for the third time — for glorious Egypt, land of Cleopatra and mummies! Who better to explore the pyramids with than Yukiro?

great sphinx travel blogger girl instagram traveling cairo

Travel Talk Tours took us all around Egypt, including to Cairo, Giza (the Sphinx!), Luxor, Aswan, Dahab, and on the River Nile. We floated up above the desert in a hot air balloon, and sailed on the waters in a felucca.

egypt millennial young travelers group tour ramses statues

As travelers who adore mysterious ancient cultures, Egypt was everything and more. The art and culture are out of this world, and it was a privilege to be standing on the sand where human civilization began.

smallville beirut hotel, hipster lebanon fashion style lgbt drag queen

We also hopped over to Beirut, Lebanon  — and you can tell we had a blast in this creative, party city. Yukiro and I were enthralled by the hip art studios, Lebanese restaurants, and inclusive LGBT+ clubs and hangouts. I want to go back soon to see more.

parksville grotto spa pool, wellness travel blogger victoria bc review hotel pools

I did some traveling in Canada as well. Mermaid vibes at Grotto Spa in Parksville on Vancouver Island, where I had a much-needed beach and wellness getaway.

frontenac hotel quebec city architecture towers hotel

In the spring / summer, I said bonjour to Quebec City— one of my favorite eating destinations of 2019. Still thinking about those fresh French cheeses, scones and more at the Chez Muffy buffet…

montreal hip modern fine dining restaurant

I also ate like a queen in Montreal, and dived into the city’s progressive art and nightlife. These adventures included a rave in a pyramid, and virtual reality exhibition.

purge tv show trailer reddit netflix season 2 series

A few new and unexpected opportunities arose in 2019. Blumhouse Productions and USA Network sent me to New Orleans to report on The Purge TV show — and appear in the horror series’ finale! I had a bit too much fun being a “scream queen” and trying on the crazy Purge masks.

boston goth gothic edgar allan poe statue

Then, I teleported to Boston where I stayed in a robot hotel, and hung out with skull gravestones and Edgar Allan Poe. My Goth guide to Boston, MA is live if you missed it.

salem witch museum goth halloween haunted happenings

Witch biaattccch! How could I resist going to Salem, Massachusetts right before Halloween? My Goth guide to the town’s witch trials history and haunted happenings was one of the most popular blogs I wrote this year.

winter fashion blogger outfit ideas canadian style instagram banff

Quite a different atmosphere from the winter wonderland of Banff, Alberta — where I stayed in the haunted Fairmont Hotel.

day of the dead spooky goth makeup costumes

In October, it was a dark dream come true to be in Mexico for Day of the Dead, with Morbid Anatomy /  Borderline Projects. I wore sugar skull makeup and posed in front of the “devil house” in Merida, MX.

day of the dead parade lost souls merida yucatan mexico

Dazzled by the Dia de los Muertos rituals I witnessed during my cultural journey in the Yucatan. I still have so much to share from this trip, so you can look forward to wild stories in the new year.

mexico city giant huge sugar skull display statue

I also visited Mexico City for the first time. So. Many. Skulls! Can’t wait to show you more from CDMX, a metropolis full of alternative culture (including a witch market).

girls in handcuffs kawaii

So, what’s next for 2020? In the first week of January, I’m escaping somewhere warm… Palm Springs and Los Angeles, California!

Excited to see my long-time friends, and visit Joshua Tree and Palm Springs for the first time. If you have Cali tips for me, I’m all ears.

at home in canada magazine, travel writer article clips scans

I’m heading to NYC in February, and then I have an extremely exciting journey in spring 2020… it’s once again in partnership with Travel Talk Tours, who sent me to Egypt. Details to come — let’s just say the photos will be fab.

In addition to these travel blog projects, I did a fair bit of journalism and project managing in 2019. I’ve been writing for various publications, such as Home in Canada (above – national print magazine). I also was a project manager for Google’s Touring Bird, where I managed hundreds of travel writers, and wrote over 666 insider travel tips. Looking forward to more of this in 2020.

holographic alien purse, long dark purple hair asian

And that’s all she wrote for 2019. See you in the future… perhaps the aliens will finally come to take me away…

How was your past year in travel and growth? (Hair or otherwise!)


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Fashion blogging Year in Review! Looking back at 2017: best style blogger outfits, travel recap.

la carmina goth girl clothing style

Here we are again… looking over our sunglasses at the year that was!

Can’t believe it is time again for the annual blogging Year in Review. In the past 12 months,  I made it to some of my dream destinations and landmarks. These include India (Taj Mahal), Romania (Dracula’s Castle), Switzerland (HR Giger museum and bar) … and we mustn’t forget our pilgrimage to the Amsterdam Miffy store!

Enjoy this 2017 flashback, which includes previously unreleased outfit photos. (Above, I’m wearing Iron Fist in Athens, Greece. Click to shop more from this brand here, and below.)

langkawi malaysia beach ocean sand

But before the retrospective… let’s look ahead to my upcoming travels in January 2018. Can’t wait to escape the winter by heading to three new countries: Cuba, Panama, and Dominican Republic!

I’ll be spitting time between relaxing on Caribbean beaches, and investigating the local culture. Get ready for stories about Havana vintage cars and Santeria rituals. As always, if you have travel tips for me (Havana, Punta Cana, Santo Domingo, Panama City), please leave me a comment or message.

purple hair asian model chinese girl

2017 was a meaningful year, as it was my 10th anniversary of blogging! I can’t believe I’ve been at this for a decade now.

We’ve come a long way since the site’s original focus on Japan and Gothic Lolita. In fact, I didn’t step foot in Tokyo at all this year. Although I adore Japan and still get inspired by every visit, the subculture scene isn’t what it used to be.

bellu cemetery graveyard bucharest

But there’s a whole world out there to discover. This past year, I continued to partner with travel companies and tourism boards, which let me visit new destinations worldwide (including off-the-beaten-path places like Romania, above).

Crazy enough, I’ve been to over 60 countries by now. Still pinching myself that blogs and the Internet have let me live this life.

award winning fashion style blog blogger

Other milestones include being interviewed for the BBC’s radio documentary about Goths, and winning the Best Blogger of the Year award from Auxiliary (as well as being on their magazine cover). Once again, a huge thank you to all of you who voted for me, and for your continuous support. Every comment, share and like makes a difference to me.

goth girl tattoos arm

At the start of 2017, my friends and I were saddened to say farewell to Rose, who had long been fighting gastroparesis and complications brought on by undiagnosed Lyme disease. Many of you got to know Rose through our early adventures on this blog, and her spirit made an impact on everyone she met.

pier sechelt british columbia

There’s a tribute to Rose herewhich includes our boat trip to Sechelt, BC for her last hurrah.

mid century modern apartment decor ideas

I finally hunkered down and completed my apartment decor project, which I unveiled in my house tour. I was happy to hear your kind feedback on my interior design, which is inspired by Zen minimalism, mid-century modern and kawaii. (And yes, it’s always this clean and sparse… death to clutter!)

miffy bunny ears bathrobe robe

Since I’m a Miffy fan, I included a lot of the minimal Dutch bunny in my apartment. It was fitting that my next was to her home country…

a'dam skyscraper architecture amsterdam

The Netherlands! It was great to return to Amsterdam after many years, thanks to an invitation from the tourism bureau. I had come here over 10 years ago, but when I was a less experienced traveler, I stuck to the tourist landmarks.

This time around, I sought out the artistic, off-the-beaten-path districts including Noord (above, the EBM music A’Dam tower) and De Pijp. I also made it to the Miffy / Nijntje store, and Mr. Maria’s lamp studio. If you missed these Holland blog posts, find them here.

fashion blogger acropolis parthenon greece

And then… Acropolis Now. I partnered with Visit Greece to showcase both the ancient and modern sides of Athens. This photo by Joey Wong is one of my favorites from this trip, since it captures the “Athena the Greek goddess” feeling of being here.

fashion blogger santorini greece

After, it was time for some sunshine in Santorini, Greece. There’s nothing like staying in a classic white villa, with a private swimming pool and patio.

pink haired asian model influencer

We went sailing around the islands, and witnessed the magnificent sunset in Oia. I wore blue to match the waves at Perissa Beach in Santorini.

(Catch up on all my Greece travel articles here.)

the shining carpet set

This year, I had the good fortune of meeting up with friends from over the years, in various places. I made it to Austin, Texas for the first time — I was keen to check out the alternative sights in Texas’ most liberal city.  Weird Austin” did not disappoint, with gems like Satanic karaoke and floppy disk bars.

travel bloggers taj mahal women travelers

Yukiro and I had long dreamed of making a “Passage to India.” This summer, we toured Delhi and Rajasthan in style (would you expect anything less from us?)  Seeing the Taj Mahal was one of my favorite memories of the past year.

women traveling india what wear clothes

India is an onslaught for the senses, and we adored it. We got to meet hijira (the third recognized gender in India), dress in saris for the first time, see cremations on the banks of the Ganges, and take care of elephants at an ethical sanctuary in Jaipur.

All these stories can be found here, under the India category.

kuala lumpur luxury hotel pool

Yukiro and I also journeyed to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (crazy that I’ve been to most countries in Asia by now). Can’t complain about the pool and spa at the Ritz-Carlton KL.

malaysia beaches travel blogger

We also enjoyed sipping dragonfruit cocktails and drawing pentagrams in the sand, in Langkawi Malaysia. All our adventures in Malaysia are compiled here.

nyc empire state fashion blogger

I ended up spending more time in the US this year. It’s always fun to return to NYC… 

visiting magic gardens philly

… and see the Magic Gardens and Mutter Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

old ancient romanian cemetery graves

Right before Halloween, I was invited to Experience Bucharest, Romania (click for all stories). The land of Dracula and vampire lore was on my bucket list — and it was as dark and delicious as I hoped! (Above, I’m wearing Moitie and Peace Now inside Bellu Cemetery).

experience bucharest invited influencers

It was an honor to speak at the event for travel bloggers, influencers and media / tourism.

cyberdog camden market store design

2017 was one hell of a year for Halloween. I reunited with friends in London, England; we haunted Highgate, saw The Exorcist play at the West End, and made an obligatory pit-stop at Cyberdog in Camden Market (above).

space jacket silver puffer

As an Alien fan, I couldn’t resist making a side-trip to Switzerland… to see the H.R. Giger bar and museum in Gruyeres! I haven’t released these photos yet, but above is a synthwave space-jacket outfit from Montreux.

cute chinese buns hong kong restaurant

I leave you with some bonus Xmas /  holiday snaps from last year in Hong Kong. I bit into Frosty and Rudolph at Yum Cha, the cute dim sum restaurant.

cute themed yum cha hong kong

At Yum Cha cafe in Hong Kong, you can order smiley-faced animal buns and other adorable “kawaii” decorated food.

hello kitty daruma toys

And how cute are these Chinese Hello Kitty plush dolls, which look like daruma? These round, lucky figures are objects for goal-setting — a great way to prime yourself for the New Year.

high rise view curve earth horizon

Here’s to a soaring, successful 2018! Let’s all dream big, and make it happen in 2018.

As for me, I’m getting ready to fly to Havana Cuba, Panama and Dominican Republic! Let me know if you have travel tips for these places. I’ve also updated my Travel Destinations page (everything is listed by region and country). You can easily find all my travel guides / stories about each place I visited, such as Japan, Korea, Morocco, Iceland, Vietnam.

nu goth outfits alternative grunge blogger

Leaving you with a bonus holiday outfit remix. The top is Morph8ne, skirt Long Clothing, and shoes Swear London (you can customize every aspect of their footwear).

More by Morph8ne Clothing below, or click here to shop.

long clothing sad face sweatshirt emo

What were your favorite moments of 2017? Despite what my Long Clothing sweatshirt says… let’s make it a happy New Year!


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