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Sunday, 31 March 2013

The Concrete Jungle

After growing up throughout highschool, spending my weeknights watching Gossip Girl, How I Met Your Mother and of course FRIENDS, words couldn’t describe just how excited I was to finally be in their territory! New York, the concrete jungle, the big apple and the city that never sleeps - you could call it what you like but for me, I’d say ‘my future home’.

We stayed at the Hilton New York in Manhattan, along the Avenue of Americas meaning that it was literally just a block to the famous 5th Avenue! And you know, hello shopping! So, here’s a run down and I’m really excited considering I’ve been so lazy with posting up my trip lately.

(Just a note, it may look like I'm outfit repeating, which I am. I only packed one coat with me and I had no intention of buying another!)

Day 1.
After an uncomfortably long domestic flight from Las Vegas airport to JFK my family and I finally made it to the wintery cold New York. Our taxi driver, Aladdin (yes, that really is his name) decided to give us a rundown of the geographic location of everything; even Brooklyn and Bronx. Once we arrived at the hotel we briefly stopped to check in our luggage and grab a bite to eat; trying to satisfy our cravings for Vietnamese food. Unfortunately, the restaurant we tried out wasn’t that great at all, and rather overpriced. I didn’t care much for it at all I can’t even remember what it was called! The remainder of the day was spent in bed; the jetlag and our lack of overall comfortable sleep had caught up to us and we decided we couldn’t fight it anymore.

oh hello there Times Square!

Day 2.
We started off early in order to compensate for the day before by booking tickets on line and make our way to downtown New York and visit the 9/11 memorial. Whilst we had no family relations to the event, it just felt like something we had to do; pay our respects to all those involved in such a heart breaking event. It was so solemn there I couldn’t help but cry a little. You see over a thousand names engraved along the fountains and spot “and unborn child” next to it or “ladder 21” - they were just trying to do their job and go about their day, it was horrible. But with the sound of the fountains and the site of snow beginning to fall, my family and I began to feel a little relaxed. 

After lunch at a local diner we spontaneously decided to make use of the fact that we were downtown and walk to Battery Park, take a ferry from the pier and visit good old Lady Liberty. Unfortunately once we got to the ticket booth the woman said we couldn’t actually step onto the island since the statue was destroyed from the hurricane but we could take extremely close by pictures from the boat. Fair enough. I only hoped I had worn more clothes considering 3 degree celsius plus being on the Hudson River meant I was frozen.

The statue was pretty cool, I felt pretty cool too. Literally. Like stone.
Just chillin..

Day 3.
We visited our relatives in New Jersey, which is actually such a nice location. It wasn’t what I had thought which was unfortunately because of Jersey Shore. Not a guido in site, but their view of the city at night (omg that rhymed) was incredible!

At the 9/11 Memorial

Day 4.
My sisters and I ventured off down the road to 5th ave and spoilt ourselves in Zara - the stock in Zara was much better than that in Sydney I must say. Even the layout of the store is much more appealing, and the fitting rooms! 
We then met up with my uncle and aunty again who then took us to this outlet they highly recommended in New Jersey; I think it was called Rosebury or something like that. I was upset how they didn’t have Victoria’s Secret but I did buy an American Apparel skirt for $10 which I did wish I had tried on before purchasing it, as well as a stunning bright pink Kate Spade wallet. I now felt pretty when I took out my wallet haha.

I see this sign everywhere, so I had to take a photo as per.
Day 5.
We finally decided to stroll through Central Park; since it was winter the trees weren’t as green but it was in fact snowy! I felt like I’d soon see Blair Waldorf and Dorota feeding the ducks or something like that. The crisp breeze and the smell of nature was a nice change to the smell of kebabs in Times Square. Taking the wrong turn we then found ourselves in the upper west side, not complaining, Chuck Bass lives there and I did in fact take a corny photograph near Hotel Empire. Trust.
Upper East Side view from Central Park
Feeding the duckies at Central Park

It seems as though our whole diet here in New York consisted of: kebabs, pizza, pasta, seafood and Starbucks - all of which I strangely craved all day, every day.

Day 6.
On our second last day my little sister and I ventured off to the upper east side and fulfill our leisurely habit of going to the art museum. We walked through 5th avenue, alongside Central Park to the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the MET. OR, The museum where Blair Waldorf and her minions sit and have yoghurt. I love art; as a high school art student I really found much excitement going here; to finally be able to see some original Claude Monet works, Picasso, Van Gogh and even Warhol! It was a dream! 
I didn’t want to leave but we had to in order to make it in time for lunch at Shake Shack, a seemingly popular burger joint in New York which meant that I had to call for a cab (just like in the movies hehe) and tell him to take us down to the Theatre district.
I’d have to say, the burgers were quite nice - could it compete with In-n-Out? I guess I’d have to have both to really make up my mind.

This was pretty, and I'm so tiny
Later that day, I finally pestered my parents to come with us to Soho. It was a must that we’d go there and I’d be devastated if I didn’t considering I didn’t get to go up to the Empire State building! I pretty much abused Topshop with my money, and H&M - the two stores I knew Sydney wouldn’t stock as great in. It was already late and the other stores I wanted to visit, like Mango had already closed early. It could only mean one thing, I’d have to return.

Oh hey Chuck..
Our last day
Was completely busy and my older sister and I had a mission; the rest of my family would have to pack ALL of our belongings while the two of us trek back to Soho and exchange some of the goods we bought last night. We didn’t try it, and well, this is what happens right? New York was set for a blizzard later that day so we were quite worried about our flight, as it began to snow whilst we stomped from the massive Macy’s in Times Square (where I abused MAC with my money again) to the subway to Soho. I got distracted by the Victoria’s Secret - telling my sister I’d meet her at Topshop whilst I used up the remaining dollars I had. I pretty much stocked up fairly well, got fitted with my demi bra, paid this, paid that the rest is history.

We then rushed our way back to the Hilton only to find our family sitting in the lobby saying they’ve already checked out and we’re ready to leave.

New York was an amazing experience. It is an amazing city. You can see all the culture, all the talent, everything. The art, the fashion, the food. It’s pretty much everything that I’ve ever been passionate about. Definitely one of my favourite places during this trip.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

The Not So Sinful City..

There's nothing more annoying than going to a country where the legal age limit is 21, and you're 20. Welcome, to my trip to Las Vegas! A two and a half day extravaganza filled with the excessive use of our credit cards and what not. I don't quite know why my family and I decided to go to Vegas; we weren't really the 'gambling' type of family and 2/3 of us who were remotely interested in experiencing the clubbing scene couldn't even walk through the casinos on our own! (My older sister is 27 whilst my youngest just turned 18!) - And as if my parents would want to go clubbing!?

From our stroll along the strip :) 
Anyway, we stayed at the Monte Carlo hotel which, like most of the leading hotels in the city are located along the Vegas strip. We however chose the wrong days to go to Vegas, it was early in the week so from Monday to Thursday, which meant that there were fewer people around. This was ok on some degree, considering I feel my parents would have been overwhelmed by all the whackos who would hand business cards advertising strip shows.

Since I'm allergic to peanuts, this is the closest I'm ever gonna get!

On the first day we decided to do what every visiter does in Vegas; go to a buffet. Since Monte Carlo is a part of the MGM Resorts brand, we were entitled to any buffet for free! It was pretty cool, and I did enjoy my five plates worth of food and desserts! After that we strolled around the city centre which was located right between the Monte Carlo and the Cosmopolitan - it was all high end brands but strangely deserted! (Once again, I blame this on the fact that we went when everyone was still at work.) We didn't buy anything, seeing as we were already pushing the limit with our luggage so we made our way to the MGM Grand Hotel where we would watch our Cirque du Soleil show which I booked for the family.
And so the fat life begins..

KA was a heartwarming performance based on the story of two siblings who were separated by a violent rebel gang. The siblings, who were royal were each accompanied by their noble trustees and went on an enchanting adventure. The stage for KA was one that made you appreciate technology; their incorporation of both martial arts and acrobats made it a gravity defying, mind blowing experience!

Our second day, involved nothing but utter relaxation. Something we didn't get much of in LA. So we just stayed in our hotel, parents had their way at gambling, I bought an amazing set of cupcakes, took a nice relaxing bath and all that jazz.

At the Bellagio Hotel watching the dancing lights! It was so beautiful!

The next day, which was our final day we spared nothing! At $300 per person, my family and I decided 'YOLO, lets go to the Grand Canyon'... but in a different way. Sick of all of the long drives, we chose the option which allowed you go to by aeroplane to the west rim of the Grand Canyon. From there, my family and I all went on a helicopter which then took us INSIDE the Grand Canyon! It was the most beautiful and awe inspiring site I've ever seen! And what a way to experience it. The package then included a boat ride along the Colorado river which is located inside the canyon.

Lol, my parents freaked out when I sat here.
If I could take anything from Vegas, I would say it was an eye opening experience. I can't wait to come back, when I'm legal!

Friday, 22 March 2013

California, here we commeeeeee!

Hey guys, remember me! I know I haven't posted anything in what for me feels like a decade, but I've just been swamped with so much work since I've arrived back from the US. I have so much I need to write about and show you all, and it irks me because I feel like I need to do so in chronological order! NOOO! But, here it is, I have to do what feels right for me... The last post I made before I went on an unexpected hiatus was my trip in Hawaii! So, here it is, the rest of my trip!

Next stop: Los Angeles, California!

After what felt like forever on a plane my family and I were finally exposed to the change in weather. Hawaii was warm, summery and practically everything you'd expect it to be. I didn't have much expectations for LA, considering most of my friends have said it's quite similar to Sydney. It was chilly and it pretty much had an average of 18 degrees everyday, something which I'm only familiar with when I set the air conditioning.

My uncle and cousin picked up up from LAX and we spared no minute at all! After dropping off our belongings at their house for the mean time, we visited a local cafe of theirs which specialised in brunch. I DID NOT ANTICIPATE HOW LARGE THEIR SERVINGS WERE. Had I known that their waffles were the size of my face I wouldn't have ordered two! Anyway, after brunch we spared no time and ventured off for an hour's drive to Hollywood!

A double from In-n-Out! Ohhhh, mouth watering
Unfortunately, I did fall asleep at some point during the ride only to wake up just 10 minutes away from Hollywood; but omg the houses are amazing - gated, large with luxury cars? Can I please have your house, thank you!

So yeah, Hollywood needless to say is quite crazy - especially Hollywood Bvl which is just jam packed with street actors dressed up as celebrities along the Hollywood walk of fame. We arrived in LA a week before the Grammy's or, was it the Oscars? Either one and my sisters and I thought, perhaps if we stalked Rodeo Drive we could find someone?

lol me doing an absolutely horrid attempt at a Vanessa Hudgens impersonation
We then visited Disneyland in Anaheim, it turns out that we were only 15 minutes away from it. We stayed in Orange County which is surprisingly quite big and I won't lie, I was on the look out for a Seth Cohen! But anyway, Disneyland and California Adventure was amazing, it was as magical and as nostalgic as I would have thought and to put it simply I wished I could go back again!

tourist photo lol.

LA, was primarily just a giant family reunion so what we did the most I'd say was eat and shop. And I won't lie, I did get a little tired of shopping. But, I did manage to buy myself a Michael Kors handbag which I have been in love with throughout the whole trip! I also abused H&M whilst at Citadel which, I'll have you know is a giant shopping centre with THE fanciest toilets; it's one of those toilets where there's an attendant, and even a lounge area! It was ridiculous.

crappy photo but I am in love with my H&M leather leopard printed jacket & my Michael Kors handbag!
We went for a drive through Long Beach, Huntington Beach and Newport Beach; my mother instantly fell in love with the place it just felt so fresh in comparison to the suburbs. Venice Beach on the other hand was quite scary considering my little sister and I were approached by a completely suspicious woman offering us 'Candy', it was hilarious.

Towards the end of our trip my older sister and I decided to leave Los Angeles for a day and fly up to San Francisco and check out the hype. It was much colder than LA, especially because it's so close to the water. We definitely were on the look out for the best clam chowder but I don't think I found it :( We did however stop by the Twitter headquarters thanks to one of our connections and have lunch with one of the directors there! It was SO exciting, the environment there is so chilled you can really feel all the ideas flowing within the mere cafeteria! I wanna work there!

On our second last day in California my family and I went on a three hour road trip to Victorville where my other cousins live. Now, LA is on the edge of the westcoast of Cali, Victorville is literally so far out the east coast of Cali, it's only four hours away from Vegas. IT WAS DESERT. So that was pretty cool, I did however, get sick with asthma. Damn asthma! But, we were looking forward to our next leg of the trip, our road trip to Vegas! WOOOO!

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