International

Celebrating My 29th Birthday At Paris! Dreams Come True by Lainney Dizon

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Paris has always been on my bucket list and making it happen for my 29th birthday was a dream come true! We had four days in the city and I wanted to highlight some of the most memorable experiences I had while exploring the Parisian streets. From the pastries (which I can finally confirm now, are REALLY the best) to the fashion, people-watching and historical sites, the magic of the city is definitely something I'll be coming back to again. Hopefully, my future bae will be able to propose to me in this magical and romantic city, because I would definitely say yes. LOL. Without further ado, here's my recommendations for those looking to enjoy a European getaway to the most romantic city in the world: 

HAVE A PICNIC AT THE EIFFEL TOWER

My favorite part of Paris is the people-watching. In the restaurants I would even notice that there would be more people on the patio rather than inside of the restaurant: Parisians really enjoy people-watching! In Paris, there's no rush, you truly experience the city and are present in the moment. During sunset, we enjoyed some crepes and wine with the views of the Eiffel Tower. There is a nearby crepe shop across from the fountains, Le Kiosque Des Fontaines, with sweet and savory crepes to enjoy while you're experiencing the sunset. Also, there are PLENTY of street vendors around selling champagne and beer. I would recommend haggling when buying from them, since a majority of them hike up the prices for tourists. I was able to get mine from 40 Euros to 8 Euros, because I'm cheap and a hustler. LOL. 

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TAKE A LUNCH OR DINNER CRUISE ALONG THE SEINE RIVER

I cannot even express how necessary it is is experience this river cruise while you're in Paris. I would say this was probably Top 5 most magical moments of my life because I had the whole boat singing happy birthday to me while we were cruising along the Eiffel Tower. We purchased the Marina de Paris Seine River Cruise with 3-course meal through Paris City Vision for 41€ ($48) and it was a major highlight for the trip. For lunch we had a variety of choices including smoked salmon or a tasting plate of four starters. The main plate offered choices of roast chicken leg with parmesan risotto or cod loin fillet with asparagus cream (I'm getting hungry just reminiscing about this perfection). The dessert was also included the lunch which was your choice of all-chocolate sweet, fresh raspberries or a tasting plate composed of three desserts. Of course I had to take some pictures of the perfect plating: 

Exploring and Shopping at Champs-Élysées

For shopping in Paris, shopping at Champs-Elyees is a MUST. It's the Rodeo Drive of shopping in Paris and also has the flagship store of Louis Vuitton! Make sure you also stop by McDonald's for their macaroons. Wow, I never thought I'd say macaroons and McDonald's in the same sentence, but in Paris, it's LEGIT. 

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McDonald's France takes their pastries seriously as well. So delicious! 

McDonald's France takes their pastries seriously as well. So delicious! 

Enjoy the views from the top of Arc de Triomphe

I would recommend purchasing your tickets online for the Arc de Triomphe in order to skip the line. You can do that on their official website here.  Tickets are 12€ ($14) and the views are worth it. From the top of the panoramic terrace your eyes sweep over the whole of Paris. Fun Fact: This historical monument was also the key place for major national events including being inaugurated in 1836 by French King, Louis-Philippe, who dedicated it to the armies of the Revolution and the Empire.

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The view from the top of Arc De Triomphe! So breathtaking! 

The view from the top of Arc De Triomphe! So breathtaking! 

Experience sunset at the Lourve Museum

Lourve Museum during the sunset is magic. Formerly a royal palace, Louvre is the world's most visited museum and houses the iconic Mona Lisa. As with all the tours in Paris, make sure you book in advance! Summer is the busiest time in Paris, and I didn't get a chance to explore the museum, something to save for next time hopefully. Instead, I took this selfie in front of it while my parents were taking a pic: 

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Enjoy a rendezvous at Moulin Rouge  

Not got lie, Moulin Rouge the movie, was how I learned my first French phrase and going to it was a special experience! The risqué world-famous cabaret has been around since 1900 and is the top visited cabaret performance in the world. You can enjoy the show or book a dinner and show for a special experience. Definitely one of the highlights of this trip. 

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Travel Tips and Recommendations

  • In Paris, hotel bookings go fast during the summer. I would recommend booking 6 months in advance to secure your spot because prices go up during the summer. I stayed at this gorgeous private residence in Maisons-Alfort, France for $61/night (it was about 20 minutes out of the city, but close by to the local subways)
  • UBER is available in Paris! Rejoice! It make it super simple to get around the city. 
  • The hop on-hop off bus in Paris made it easy to get to the main attractions including the Eiffel Tour, Notre Dame Cathedral, Lourve Museum and Champs-Elyees. It's a MUST for easy transportation to all the iconic spots to check out. 
  • Paris is the top city for pick pocketing! Please always make sure your bag is in front of you and do not carry a backpack. I would recommend a fanny pack to be safe. 
  • Paris people are bougie and many of them DO NOT speak English. Make sure to know common French phrases including thank you and where's the bathroom, which were the phrases that were super helpful. Here's a list of common phrases to know

Hip-Hop In Paris

I spent a good amount of my time finding out how big the hip-hop scene is in Paris. I love seeing and experiencing music in other cities, and the variety of music in Paris is eye-opening. Here's my favorite songs I Shazamed:  

Caballero & JeanJass - Toujours les mêmes ft. Krisy

Santana - Alonzo

Thanks for the beautiful memories, Paris! Did I miss anything on this list? If there are any of the beaten spots you'd recommend, let me know below. 

XO,
Lainney

When In Tokyo, Here Are The Top Things To Do by Lainney Dizon

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Japan has always fascinated me. I feel like Japan in general is just always a few steps ahead in the game, whether it’s technology or fashion they always have it down on lock. Two things stood out to me in Tokyo: their kindness and their fearlessness. Japanese people are overly friendly and polite. Also, their creativeness and thoughtfulness in simple things like architecture and fashion was refreshing. Oftentimes, in America, I feel we hold ourselves back from crazy, with Japan, the more crazy you are, the better. Needless to say, I felt right at home.

My first trip to Tokyo was similar to Anthony Bourdain’s experience: “When I first went to Japan, it was an explosive event for me. It changed my life in very real ways. I went to Tokyo the first time and my head kind of exploded. I compared it to taking my first acid trip: Nothing was ever the same.” Indeed, experiencing Japan was a whirlwind of adventure. If you’re headed to Tokyo for the first time here are the top things you need to do:

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Experience Cherry Blossoms At A National Park

The best time to visit Japan is during springtime, during late March and early April, when cherry blossom is in full bloom. The Cherry Blossom festival is all about appreciating the temporal beauty of nature. I would recommend going to a national park to experience it in all its glory. Families typically enjoy the beauty of sakura (cherry blossoms) with food, drinks and friends. Having a nice picnic under the cherry blossom trees is something simple yet unforgettable. Recommendation: Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden 

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Harajuku Shopping

The love for streetwear is real in Tokyo. They embrace hip-hop fully and you can tell in their fashion. Harajuku was a hypebeast dream: BAPE, Undefeated, Billionaire Boys Club are must-visits. What’s great about these spots is they typically have merch that’s exclusively for Japan. This means that when you go back to the States no one will be rocking what you’re rocking and that feeling is basically magical and indescribable. Other favorite stores included Funktique, which is the vintage shop of Coco Princess’s mom. If you don’t know Coco Princess, she’s basically the swaggest 6-year old you’ll ever come across. For 80's and 90's vintage vibes Pin Nap and Candy Stripper were top favorites with Kicks Lab being the go-to choice for sneakers. Harajuku will take all your money! Be prepared.

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Bar hopping in Golden Gai

Golden gai is a line of tiny drinking dens hidden in the heart of Shinjuku. Each bar has its own vibe and feel which can range from the 80s vibes of Kenzo’s Bar or an art lover’s paradise in Albatross complete with art exhibits of photographs, paintings, illustrations, etc. Note: Tipping isn’t necessary in Tokyo. Japanese workers are decently paid and good service is standard, which is why tipping is often considered rude and sometimes offensive.

Play arcade games in Shibuya

Japanese people take their arcade games seriously. Just imagine the noise and colors of a Las Vegas casino, it’s like that but with more anime. I would recommend Sega in the Akihabara district. There are 4 levels with each floor dedicate to a different game. There’s modern arcade games, music/rhythm games, online and card games, VR games and so much more. Each game is typically 100 to 400 Yen.

Walking Shibuya crossing: World’s Busiest Pedestrian Crossing  

Nothing says, “Welcome to Tokyo!” better than experiencing the busiest intersection of the world. Shibuya crossing is right in front of the Shibuya Station Hachiko exit and stops vehicles from all directions to allow pedestrians to cross the intersection. The best time to go would be during Friday or Saturday night so that you can experience it at its busiest with the city lights illuminating the perfect backdrop. For a more scenic view of the crossing, you can head to the 2nd floor of Starbucks which is directly across from the crossing. Shibuya Crossing is Tokyo in a nutshell: Lights. People. Chaos. Supposedly, there are hundreds of pedestrians crossing with over 2,000 people crossing the intersection during peak hours!

Experience nightlife in Shinjuku

Oh man. Where do I even begin with this one? There are so many places to go in Shinjuku, depending on your music preference. If you’re into hip-hop checking out HARLEM is a must. The coolest people in Tokyo are here, and they dance like there’s no tomorrow. Seriously, I was impressed. Entrance for ladies is 1000 Yen but includes a drink. Worth it.

Side story: Did I tell you about the time I had a Big Pun angel save me? My friends and I ended up going to the wrong venue and ended up lost in Harajuku. The streets were empty, it was midnight. From the darkness, the swaggest Japanese teenager came up walking on the street. He was smoking a cigarette. He was wearing a “Big Pun” vintage tee. We asked him for directions and he helped us find where we needed to go. At the end of the night, we ended up at HARLEM. And we were reunited with Big Pun angel on the dance floor.

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Visit An Owl Cafe

Where can you spend an hour holding and petting owls? Only in Japan! During a day trip in Harajuku we ended up going off a beaten path and ended up the Akihabara district to visit the infamous Owl Cafe. When you enter, you’re told simple instructions in Japanese such as no flash photography, no sudden movements, etc. After cleaning your hands you follow a pathway of trees, with each section of the path designated for a specific owl. Each owl had their own personality, some looked happy while some looked like you were interrupting their sleep. They are so cute! Truly one of my favorite experiences during my Tokyo trip.

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Day-trip to Mt. Fuji

What’s great about Japan is that in the hustle and bustle of everything, there’s always a shrine or park nearby. The Japanese truly value nature and serenity so balancing your trip with a visit to iconic landscapes such as Mt. Fuji is a must. The Mt. Fuji adventure is a full-day trek so I would recommend going on a tour such as the ones offered through Japanican. Pricing is 14,500 Yen which is about $133 USD and includes a trip to Mt. Fuji’s 5th station, a cruise on Lake Ashi and a ride on the Komagatake Ropeway, which is ideal for photo opportunities of the views surrounding Hakone National Park. Note: Remember to go when the weather is ideal. Because you’re elevated, the temperature can get cold so remember to pack warmly!

Honorable mention:

  • Robot Restaurant - I’ve heard so many amazing things about this spot, but didn’t get a chance to go. I’m serious, there are SO many things to do in Japan! The robot restaurant is a themed restaurant/bar featuring a pop-culture show with robotic monsters, dancers and lasers. Make sure to book in advance to save your spot. I’m going to have to make a trip to Tokyo again just to experience this! 

Things I wish I knew before going to Japan:

  • Language barrier is real. The farther out you go in the city, the less likely they’re able to speak English. If you’re taking a taxi, I would recommend writing the address down and showing it to the driver.

  • Get a pocket WiFi and portable charger. Exploring Japan required lots of Google mapping, so make sure you’re juiced up and ready to go!

  • Buy a Suica card. This saves you time when moving from city to city. Japan’s has the most amazing subway system and if you get lost, there are helpful subway officers to assist you

  • When walking on the street, walk on the left side. The left side is specifically for pedestrians the right side is for bicyclists.

  • The trains stop at specific times at night, so if you plan on going out, prepare to take a taxi with a friend or leave when the last train runs. The trains always run on time. Always.

If you're planning for an international adventure keep in mind Tokyo will be hosting the Summer Olympics 2020. 😉 Have you been to Tokyo? If I missed any spots, comment below and let me know! 

xo,
Lainney

Myx TV Premieres "My Motto" Digital Series On January 17! by Lainney Dizon

Living in Los Angeles, I'm often surrounded with talkers. These are the people who say they want to do something, but more often than not, talk more than they do. Working with TV clients, Dizon Dreams biggest goal this year is to include diversity in media. Brown people have a special narrative to share and it's coming to Myx TV's digital series January 17.  "My Motto" is a Youtube original series featuring Asian American go-getters determined to build the kind of live they want to live.  Watch the trailer below: 

From touring with Jay-Z to winning an Emmy for dance, "My Motto" features an amazing group of Asian-Americans who highlight the importance of creating your own path. Their journey highlights the risks involved: from being nearly rejected by their parents to leaving financial stability, they show that it's better to risk something rather than to live average. When was the last time you had to risk something and got something even better in return? 

Fail, risk, and believe in your journey. Live your dreams. What's the point of being average?  Watch "My Motto" coming to Myx TV January 17th. 

Kanye West HEADLINES Manila's Paradise INTERNATIONAL MUSIC Festival 2016 by Lainney Dizon

"You have to know who are before you can become it." Kanye admits. You gotta believe in yourself the way Kanye believed in Kanye before he was Kanye. 

In celebration of the release of his album "Life of Pablo", Kanye West performed in Manila April 9th for the Paradise International Music Festival. Kuya Kanye decided to create some new merch for his show in Manila. With old English font featuring the festival's date and headliner, the hoodies were a kaibigan-must. 

To get ourselves pumped for Kanye in our hometown, we have the Dizon Dreams HQ bumpin' that vintage Kanye:

Michelle Obama's SXSW Keynote Speech Featuring Missy Elliott & Diane Warren by Lainney Dizon

First Lady Michelle Obama graced the SXSW Keynote stage March 15th with a star-studded panel including rapper Missy Elliott, songwriter Diane Warren and actress Sophia Bush. Moderated by Queen Latifah, the powerhouse of women discussed the importance of finding one's passion, empowering the movement of girls' education globally, and the need of diversity in power position roles.

Here are some gems discussed by the powerhouse panel:

"When you don't include women in the dialogue you're lacking." - Missy Elliott  

"What can I do as a male to empower and support the women in my life?" One attendee asked. Michelle recommended that there's so many ways to support the women in your life including following the movement #62milliongirls and taking action with your community to support the movement. FLOTUS also mentioned that if you're a male with a voice at the table, "Look around you. Is there diversity?" When you don't include women in the dialogue, you're lacking. There's so much diverse opinions and voices that need to be part of the discussion. You don't need to be president to make a different in your community, there's action you can take today. 

"We can do so much more together." - Queen Latifah

"There's so much that men can do, that women can't do. There's so much women can do that men can't do, but we can do so much more together." Queen Latifah said, mentioning that her business partner is a male who listened to her opinions and encouraged her to be real. 

The ladies also had a discussing talking about their musical influences. From Missy Elliott citing Queen Latifah and Salt N' Pepa as influential females who inspired her to create music to Michelle Obama highlighting Stevie Wonder as her all-time favorite artist, both of them discussed how music that shares messages of love and real-life experiences are timeless. 

To support the initiative of female empowerment, Obama organized the creation of a new single "This Is For My Girls", written by Diane Warren and featuring Missy Elliott, Kelly Clarkson, Zendaya, 100% of the proceeds will go towards Let Girls Learn. Support the movement by buying the track on iTunes here. Missed the panel? Join the discussion by watching the SXSW Livestream here

Global Streetwear: Styles From Los Angeles to Manila by Lainney Dizon

What defines global streetwear is more than just aesthetics and style: it’s about wearing clothing that represents how you move through your life. From the West Coast to Southeast Asia, each city has a distinct style of streetwear that reflects the city’s lifestyle. With tropical weather in Manila, individuals don’t have the luxury to layer their clothing and usually compensate by having bright and creative designs. Streetwear is creating it’s own signature in Manila, and we spoke with the leading fashion brands making their waves in the local and international scenes to learn what makes Philippines style so distinct:

Philippines is among the westernized countries of Asia from European (Spanish influences) to Americans... I love how we have our own take on the global trends, and how we reinterpret pop art, folk art into contemporary and hip looking stuff like tees can be as expressive and colorful and witty... It's like how the jeepney came about, from scraps we can make something super innovative and creative and still look awesome.” -Tracy Dizon, Designer of TIARA

Streetwear is evidenced in more than just the jeepneys and local scene, its retail stores cater to the lifestyle and culture of the era that is appearing across the capital. Most recently, The Commonwealth store debuted in Taguig, SM Aura, fulfilling the demand for new and established street, fashion and sportswear brands that influence and inspire. But what brands are popular in Manila? “It’s all about finding the brands that will help express the opinions of the local scene. From the hip-hop lover to the basketball enthusiast, each lifestyle reflects streetwear, and that’s what we aim to do at The Commonwealth.” Omar Conception, Founder and Director of The Commonwealth, a specialty boutique based in the States that has worked closely with musicians Diplo, Q-Tip and DJ Neil Armstrong to help advance and promote the different aspects that promote the cultural movement.  

Philippines Fashion Week this year was inspired with the local streetwear along with a mix of high fashion. Emerging designer Kaye Morales debuted her ‘Rebel’ Collection, clothing that was influenced by streetwear while taking it a notch higher with creations that included denim, neoprene, and tulle, combining sporty and rocker chic. She notes that fashion and streetwear is more than just a style, “it’s a reflection of yourself and a statement that you need to make daily. Like any honest story, it’s going to be beautiful.

Jeffrey Rogador, known as the “King of Streetwear” in Philippines, highlights that as a designer it’s important for him to incorporate the culture of the Philippines, saying that “understanding your roots is what makes your perspective different. I work to promote patriotism and the Philippines by using details or elements about our country and making them current or relevant.”

Whether you’re in the Los Angeles scene beneath the palm trees or in rockin’ in a jeepney in Philippines, it’s important to be real with yourself and your style. Mix your roots and culture with the style you learn in the scenes around you and make it your own. People will always recognize authenticity and that’s what makes streetwear global.