Sunday, July 19th

On Happiness

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This is a ‘quick one’ that I have been meaning to write but haven’t because I wondered how it would make sense with the rest of the blog. This then made me ask myself about the subject of the blog in general and well you get the picture. After several weeks of thinking about how to continue the blog, I thought today would be a good day to just start writing again and figure out the rest as I go.

I wanted to write about something that’s been on my mind for the last few months: HAPPINESS!

I had become obsessed with the idea and experience of being happy. For me like many others, happiness is not just about my own happiness but about the happiness of those around me. I sometimes felt like I couldn’t be happy until everyone around me was happy as well. And judging by the lack of beachfront property, fulfilling careers and significant others missing from some of my loved one’s lives; I wasn’t going to be happy for a while.

Situation #1

Then one day I came across the following quote by Albert Camus:

‘You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.’

topshop skirtSurprisingly after reading this, or maybe unsurprisingly, something clicked and I decided to stop thinking about happiness and just enjoy the moments around me. For someone as analytical as me, it is very difficult to in essence ‘stop thinking and just enjoy’ but I did and felt a thousand times better.

Situation #2

Not long after, I was having breakfast with somebody very close to me whom I worry about a lot. This person is very smart,has a lot to offer but has been at the same job that’s not exactly a career and skips going out for staying around the house, reading and watching TV. During breakfast, in my usual prying manner, I was asking them about their ‘ideal situation if money were no object etc’ and the response was kind of shocking. They said that their situation wouldn’t actually be much different than it is now, what they described was doing the same sort of thing they usually do, just having more time to do it. It was then that it finally clicked:

Just like people are unhappy in different ways, what makes people happy also varies from person to person!

These two learnings might seem quite straightforward to most, but they have really changed my outlook [for the better]. I  know now that happiness doesn’t always come in the form of  beachfront property, traveling and a full blown career for everyone. What are your thoughts on happiness?

wearing: First picture; Forever21 dress, vintage belt and birkenstock sandals, second picture;skirt and and top from Topshop

 

Thursday, April 23rd

On the New Name

20150408_100438Me on a hike in Los Angeles, CA April 2015

No, I did not marry into a custard empire as my English friends have suggested!

You may have noticed that I changed the name on the blog as well as all of my social media channels from ‘cheapchicobsession’ to ‘Natalia Ambrosia.’ It’s still me, I just wanted a more personal name that would keep the essence of the blog and my personality but would be more directly tied to me. I chose the name to include my first name but also to give me a more distinctive second name as my surname ‘Ramirez’ seems to be the ‘Smith’ of Latin American last names.

Originally, I wanted to go for ‘Ambrosio’ as a surname because it was my grandfather’s name as well as an Italian surname (see Alessandra Ambrosio). However, when I went to search the instagram handles I still found quite a few ‘Natalia Ambrosio’ so I changed the ending to an ‘a’ and decided on ‘Ambrosia’ because it could also be seen as a middle name as well as being the fruit of the gods in Greek mythology. I’m actually quite happy with my selection because it still maintains a part of my name but is just a bit more unique.

What do you think? Do you have a digital name?

Natalia X

Thursday, August 28th

Six Tips to Get the most of the Algarve

portimao beaches

Portugal is underrated. Of course whenever talk of travelling to Portugal comes up in conversation people always say ‘I love Portugal it’s my favorite,’ which is why I’m surprised that it isn’t on people’s bucket list when travelling to Europe. Usually people opt for going to France, Italy, Spain, UK, before they even consider Portugal.  While I’ve only been to the central Algarve region in Portugal I am now booking my next holiday to other parts of Portugal!

Tips for the Algarve

When I go on holiday I usually know what I feel like doing and I know what I don’t like. For example last month I went to Rimini which I didn’t like at all (sorry nice people of Rimini) there was endless stretches of umbrellas along the beaches and hotels and the city was too big. So, for the UK bank holiday weekend I wanted a beautiful warm beach vacation at a decent cost.  I also didn’t want to be surrounded by tourists and tourist traps. We decided to go for the Algarve region in Portugal since I had never been. Though I didn’t know where to stay because there seemed to be rows and rows of hotels along the beaches which I dislike because it feels unauthentic but I was not sure how easy it was to get around if I stayed in the countryside.  After a few hours of research this is what we decided to do:

1. Fly to Faro Airport For the Algarve region the two airports to fly into are either Faro in the central Algarve or Lagos in the West. We decided to fly to Faro so my guide below is for the central Algarve area.

2. Rent A Car A car This is a must if you are more than one person and want to get around the Algarve. We rented one because we were only there for two full days (arrived in the evening on a Friday and left on the Monday morning). I also didn’t want to stay in the big hotel areas (did I already say that?). So renting a car allowed us to stay in the countryside while being able to drive into town and the beaches. You can rent a car from about $60 per day including taxes and insurance. The roads are great and super easy to navigate.

3. Stay in the countryside When you think ‘countryside’ you usually think its far from the beach but in the Algarve the countryside is as close as 10km/6miles from the beach. I loved this option because you get more space for a lot less money and the area is tranquil and beautiful with very minimal tourists. You can find plenty of places on booking.com which will have great ratings that you can review. We ended up renting this house, Quinta da Borboleta, managed by an English couple who were super nice and helpful. I felt like I could stay here for a week and even just hang around the house which usually has a pool. When you rent these places you can also cook your own food and have drinks which adds for a more personal experience especially if you are in larger grouops. We paid about $300 for 3 nights in the middle of high summer for a 2 bedroom apartment with a kitchen and outdoor space.

villa in algarve

countryside algarve

4. Visit the Rock Beaches When you think of the Algarve, the rock formation beaches like below come to mind, so of course I needed to see these. Although initially I was quite hesitant booking a place near Faro because it seemed like all of the rock beaches were in Portimao (which looked far from Faro on the map),  I’m so happy I did because it was only a one hour drive to the beach in Portimao where we spent all day. Look for signs from where you stay and drive to Portimao you will find plenty of rock beaches, do not be alarmed by the rows of hotels because its really magical when you get down to the rocks, you will love it!

portimao rock beach portugal

whiteout nails

5. Eat fresh seafood Pretty much anywhere you go along the coast will have good seafood as they cannot afford not to buy local! I really recommend Canico Restaurant in Portimao as it’s built into the rocks, has great food, decor and a killer view.

where to eat in portugal

6. Visit Farol (tiny island off the coast of Faro) This place is my hidden gem, you know that special thing you can only discover when you get there and get advice on where to go from the locals. It’s a small island with amazing beaches and flat one story houses that serve as holiday homes for the local Portuguese. There are a few chill beach bars and only two restaurants. I could stay there all summer. To get there you need to drive to Olhao and take a ferry to Farol Island which leaves every hour. The ferry is about $6 round trip and takes about 30 minutes or you can hire a private boat taxi starting at about $45 which gets you there much quicker.

ly ferry to farol island

farol beach algarvefarol islandfarol island portugal

 

   I hope you enjoyed my little guide!

Natalia X

 

Friday, May 2nd

Is lip gloss ‘in’ again?

lip gloss review

Back when I was 13, my idea of wearing makeup was wearing clear gel mascara and glittery shimmery lip gloss. This was mainly due to the fact that my parents didn’t let me wear makeup so I felt that I was somehow able to trick them by wearing clear mascara and then I guess they didn’t care very much about the clear lipgloss. Until I was 17, those were my only makeup staples (Mac Lip Glass was like liquid gold) then I discovered eyeliner that I rebelliously wore on the inner lower rim of my lashes.  Basically from the age of 13 until 19, I religiously wore lip gloss, okay maybe that’s an overstatement, but I wore it so often that I got tired of it. I was so tired of it infact that even until recently when I would receive press samples or gifts that included lipgloss I would try to get rid of them as soon as possible give them away not trash them.  I still appreciated that they made your lips look nice but the image of a 2000s teenager didn’t really escape my thoughts. It wasn’t until last week when I went out to a pub and wanted something less than a lipstick but more than bare lips that I went for the lipgloss and I liked it.

What’s new about lip gloss?

Not too shabby shiny! The new lip glosses I’ve tried are not too shiny or sticky even when your hair accidently brushes on your lips. I like it because it still looks natural but gives your lips a little glow that’s more like a balm. The reds and pinks however are glossy as well  but still not too shiny and they look super glam especially in the YSL Adverts with Cara Delavingne ( picture above).

My Picks

Esthelle and Thild Lip Balm- Yummy smelling and good for you with natural and organic ingredients like olive oil, jojoba oil and shea butter.

Lip-balm-Pink

YSL Vernis a Levres Glossy Stain- rich long lasting glossy lips that are not too sticky.

ysl lip gloss

 

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Lip Tar- again opaque glossy lip color that you can layer. It’s vegan and cruelty free, so I guess its a combination of the two above.

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