to travel & shop / taipei, taiwan

Similar to Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Seoul, you can find all the Western brands in Taipei with crazy markups (in comparison with the US), so it’s best to stick to Asian brands. I hang out mostly in the Eastern side of Taipei so this is my point of view. Some places I mention are chains and have locations throughout the city. I shop mostly for beauty and housewares in Taipei and don’t go near the cutesy little things I used to find at the nightmarket that were since thrown out.

  • Tax Refund: With a foreign passport, you can apply for a sales tax refund if you spend over 3000 NTD (~$93) at an authorized retailer (details). Often the refund isn’t worth the trouble of remembering your passport.
  • Pay in local currency: All the places I mention are credit card friendly. If you’re not paying with an Amex or Discover and using Visa or Mastercard, you may be asked if you want to pay in USD or local currency. Always chose local currency and I hope you have a foreign fee free card. More reading: What is dynamic currency conversion, which card to use

Locations

The yellow road running East/West is Zhongxiao E Road. There are many boutiques, cafes, and restaurants in the alleys around this road. I’m using the MRT stations for reference but if you’re pressed for time, take a taxi.

  • Starting with the Zhongxiao Fuxing MRT Station, you can find Japanese department store, Sogo, at the SW and NE corners. The NE corner is the original Sogo and I like to browse/meet people there beyond the It’s a Small World clock. There is also a large Watsons next to it and more boutique shopping and eating in the alleys behind it. The SW corner is the high-end luxury Sogo — with a Din Tai Fung in the basement.
  • Walking East, you get to the Dunhua S Road intersection which has the Zhongxiao Dunhua MRT Station. Look two blocks SE and there is an office building with an Eslite bookstore at the lower and basement levels. This houses the 24/7 bookstore. I also like Eslite for their boutique/stationary — which isn’t 24/7 but still open pretty late. On either side of Zhongxiao E Rd east of Dunhua, you’ll find local Taiwanese department stores and lots of retail stores like Daiso, Zara, Uniqlo, etc. I normally come here for the Innisfree, a Korean skincare brand (more on this below). There is also a Mos burger and Cosmed in the alley.
  • If you go further east on Zhongxiao E Rd, you enter the new Xinyi district (Taipei City Hall MRT Station) which has Taipei 101 and many standalone department stores — Breeze, multiple Mitsukoshis, Uni-Hankyu (check out their food court – Tim Ho Wan, ramen, bakeries, etc.), 101 Mall, Bellavita, and ATT 4 Fun (Totoro). There are walkways that connect these buildings either under or overground, which is helpful if it’s raining outside.

On to the shopping.

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to travel & shop / portland anthropologie and future glory rockwell bags review

This post is a review of the Anthropologie store in Portland, Oregon and a few Future Glory Rockwell styles that I found there.

I visited Portland, Oregon a few weeks ago for vacation (after visiting numerous times for work). Portland is known for great food and the day trip radius has wine country and scenic views. It just happened that there are two stores that I really wanted to check out. This new Anthropologie store was one of them.

This store reopened in March 2016 as the first of their supersized destination stores. The Newport Beach store has since opened, King of Prussia, Palo Alto, and Walnut Creek are on schedule for later this year. These new stores are great news if you want to check out their home goods (which is so much harder to shop for online and at Anthropologie’s price points). This store is over 25,000 square feet and has two floors. The first floor has most of the ‘showrooms’, design center, beauty area, and sale sections (at least when I visited during the tag sale). The second floor has the fitting rooms, shoe/accessories area, lingerie, activewear, more clothes, more furniture, and a small sale section. The shoe/accessories area has a dedicated salesperson similar to department stores and inventory is kept in the back.

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to shop / irresistible paris and hong kong

I’ve been super lazy about consolidating my pictures. I don’t think I’ve touched Lightroom since a month ago? So, for my non-Instagramming friends, here is a snapshot of recent purchases.

Shu Uemura closed their US counters a few years ago. As much as I love shopping online, it just isn’t the same! I had a few hours to kill in HK and went a little crazy at the IFC mall. Enough to qualify for their VIP club, which comes with a facial and eyebrow shaping that expires in August. Grr. I love Shu’s concealers and am glad I got two point concealers — they aren’t sold in the US (yet?). Their packaging is cute but I think it’s smaller than the old old concealer that I got the last time I was in HK. I’m also in LOVE with the ultimate natural mascara (which was a push by the SA after she gasped at my eyelashes) because it holds a curl better than any other mascara I’ve tried. I used the basic mascara a long time ago and this is its successor. Reviews on MUA are very mixed.
Continue reading “to shop / irresistible paris and hong kong”