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Day on the Mall | Washington DC Day 2

Day two in the capital saw us visiting the White House, the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial just to name a few. If you haven’t already, you can check out Day 1 here.

I’d like to say we woke bright and early to make the most of the day, but that would be a lie. Instead, we left the hotel closer to lunch time and made our way to the mall (no, not the National Mall, that would come later, but an actual shopping centre). Window-shopping for a wee bit we made our way down to the Monument’s Reflecting Pool, the scene from Forrest Gump playing in my head. By this time the hot summer sun was already beating down on us, but we persevered.

 

We slowly made our way from the Monument end of the pool, up to the Lincoln Memorial, where I was weirdly more interested in the ceiling – don’t ask. It was an amazing view from inside the memorial looking down across the pool and to the towering Monument in the distance. Lots of photographs were taken.

 

In search for food we found ourselves at the George Washington University Campus, which was actually very pretty. There were a lot of really lovely townhouses and hipster cafes around the campus. Despite this, being the basic bitches that we are, we headed to Starbucks. Wifi had been very patchy at the hotel so we needed a good internet fix for an hour or two. Armed with a sandwich, coffee AND a smoothie, we were sorted.

Wanting to see the sunset from the Lincoln Memorial (I’d recommend it,) we strolled back down slowly to National Mall. We spent the rest of the late afternoon people watching (we witnessed an engagement just a few metres in front of us,) and then watched the beautiful sunset.

We’d planned to head out to a restaurant for dinner in Bloomingdale, but after a quick look around, everything looked very busy, so it was back to Whole Foods for us (why do these not exist in New Zealand?) and resting up for a busy day of being culture vultures at some of the Smithsonians the following day.

Anyone been to Washington DC before? I’d love to know your favourite places to visit, eat or stay. Let me know in the comments!

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The first taste of DC | Washington DC Day 1

This time last year I was finishing off my USA trip (in NYC to be exact,) and getting ready to settle back down to the realities of job hunting at home, here in New Zealand.

Naturally I’ve decided this is the perfect time to heighten my thirst for travel by re-living the past (read: I’m terrible at actually writing these blogs in a timely manner, so a one-year throwback is just an excuse to make it look like this was planned all along). So on that note, here’s what I was up to a year ago…

DAY ONE:

Up before the crack of dawn, I farewelled by apartment and housemates at Chatham (one of the four complexes you can stay at while working at Disney World,) goodbye. It was a teary one, that’s for sure, but I also knew that these were people I would see again, and no doubt very soon. (I was right by the way, about six months later I’d seen 5/7 of them, so I haven’t done too badly.)

Onto a plane Georgie and I hopped, headed for the capital of the USA, Washington DC.

We’d booked a shuttle (Super Shuttle is my best friend,) to pick us up from the airport which would then take us to our hotel. We got in before our check-in time, so dropped off our bags and decided to take a wander and familiarise ourselves with our new surroundings.

Our hotel, The District Hotel, was in the uber cool area of Bloomingdale. The small neighbourhood was lined with trees and adorable Victorian-style townhouses (which have even featured in the opening credits of House of Cards). Rainbow flags blew in the breeze outside every shop, restaurant and café we passed (I don’t know if this was a direct reaction in support and solidarity for the victims of the horrific Pulse night club shooting that had occurred in Orlando just days before I left, but I don’t doubt the same flags would be flying loud and proud all-year round). It was a fairly quiet area during the day, but there was an underlying buzz about the place.

While the majority of important and touristy landmarks and activities (think National Mall and Capitol Hill), were a decent half hour walk from the hotel, we found, over the coming days, that we enjoyed the walk as much as we enjoyed checking out the destination and with majority of the walk being fairly flat (something you don’t have the leisure of being from volcanic city, Auckland) there were no complaints from us.

Tummies rumbling, we stumbled across a place called Rice Bar that served create-your-own bibimbap (weirdly, the first time I’ve actually tried bibimbap ­– time to go to Korea?? I think yes). Bellies satisfied, we got our wander back on, slowly making our way to Lafayette Square. On the way we came across Renwick Gallery, where we popped in for a good look around and a lie down (see the last photo, below).

After a fleeting look at the White House (we’d be back), we headed back to our hotel to check-in. We discovered a Whole Foods a few blocks up from us, (score!) so scurried up there for some cheap (but yummy) dinner to take back to the hotel for an early night so we could chill and plan out our next three days in Washington DC.

Anyone been to Washington DC before? I’d love to know your favourite places to visit, eat or stay. Let me know in the comments! 

Busing around Los Angeles | Vlog

Last month you may have spied my blog post about my first full day in Los Angeles and now I have a lil vlog to accompany it.

I was uhm-ing and ahh-ing about uploading this, as I’m slightly self-conscious/ wasn’t particularly feelin’ myself this day haha, but in the end, because my camera stuffed up and I have no footage of my time at Disney, I thought I’d make up for it with everything I filmed from Los Angeles. So here you go: Enjoy. And definitely check out my blog post about this all for a more in-depth run down.

 

1 Year Since Walt Disney World

It is absolutely mental to think that it has been exactly ONE year since I landed in Orlando, Florida to begin my unforgettable six month adventure working for Walt Disney World.

I’ve gushed endlessly about how amazing my time there was so I won’t say much more. But what I will do is share a few of my Disney World highlights with you, thanks to some help from my ‘appy mate Instagram. If you have any questions about the Disney College Program don’t hesitate to drop a comment down below or get in contact with me directly! I’d love to help! Warning: This may take a wee while to load!

JANUARY

Chillin' (literally) with Scar and the hyenas at our resort 🦁

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Yup, exactly one year ago I landed in Orlando and hung out with Scar and the hyenas at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort! I stayed in one of the Little Mermaid Rooms.

CS 13201 ✌🏾️

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First night with all the Kiwi and Aussie roommates at our CP apartment in Chatham Square.

Yesterday we braved the rain to explore the new workplace 🐭😍

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It may have been pouring down with rain but THIS WAS THE DAY OF OUR TRADITIONS AND ALSO OUR FIRST DAY AT MAGIC KINGDOM. Can you tell that we were excited?!

 

FEBRUARY

Cutest photo ever ❤️🐭

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We met Minnie Mouse for the first time at Hollywood Studios and she was the cutest.

Sweet day eating around the world before work today ☀️🍃

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My first time exploring my home park: Epcot, just chilling in Germany 😉

*fist bump* "Da-la-la-la-la"

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Also paid a cheeky visit to Baymax.

Spent Valentine's Day with this Scottish babe 🌹🐻

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Can never get enough of that accent, aye.

Doing the "in the mood for food" dance with our new friends 🍎

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Just having a wee dance with Pooh Bear, Tigger and Rabbit to celebrate Easter.

Fab first night out in Downtown Orlando with these lovely ladies 💃🏽💃🏽

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Left the Disney bubble for a bit of fun in Downton Orlando.

You've got a friend in me 🌠

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Meeting new friends with these friends was the best.

 

MARCH

🐍🐢🌵

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This green army man kept stalking us so we asked if he wanted a photo haha.

Before beginning our drink around the world… 🍹

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My first legal drink in the USA – drinking around the world for my 21st birthday.

And after… 🍻😂

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And this was the rather blurry aftermath.

🍾🍸Belated birthday night out 🍸🍾

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Russell and Dugg are the cutest! @typhph 🐶🌲

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I finally made it to Animal Kingdom… it only took me about 2 months.

That weekly trek to frogs 🐸💃🏽🍸

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The start of a weekly tradition.

 

APRIL

The Epcot CP Park Greeters crew, minus a few. 💎

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When it's hot af but Christian's casually sippin' on that hot chocolate like "mate, what of it?" 💁🏽 #disneycp 💦☀️

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My beautiful Epcot family.

La vie en rose 🎀 🇫🇷

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The Flower and Garden festival at Epcot also had A+ food and drink. Exhibit A.

 

MAY

Graduated from my Disney College Program with these lovely ladies 🎓 #disneycp

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I graduated from my DCP with my beautiful roomies and got a pic with the boss and his Mrs for proof.

Gaston never drops his game.

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JUNE

The Puerto Rican fam x Anya 💛🇳🇿🇵🇷 #throwbackthursday

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With one a few weeks left and so many people already gone I was really missing everyone already.

My last day at work. Heartbroken but grateful for one of the best experiences I could’ve ever asked for!

 

 

 

 

Los Angeles by bus: Hollywood and Beverly Hills

My first full day in Los Angeles had me busing around Hollywood and Beverly Hills with stop-offs at cool places like the LACMA and The Grove and we also caught our first glimpse of a Hollywood celeb or two!

The Bus

Waking up bright and early after a good sleep, my anticipation rose as me and my Aussie mate discussed our plans for our first full day in LA (the first of just two). Carless, (neither of us were game enough to brave driving the LA roads,) we opted to scope out the area by bus. One of the main stops for the Starline Sightseeing Hop On Hop Off bus was just a ten minute walk up Hollywood Boulevard from our hostel (Banana Bungalows Hollywood), and after a quick stop in Starbucks for a much needed coffee and bite to eat, we crossed the road to the Pantages Theatre to hop on the bus.

There are multiple ticket options for the Hop On Hop Off bus which are valid within different time slots; 24 hours, 48 hours and 72 hours. There are also 6 different routes around LA that you can take, each with on-going commentary in a handful of languages that fill in you in with interesting facts and information about notable places you drive past and stops for you to hop off at. We initially bought the 48 hour pass which we then decided to extend to 72 hours, on our last day (I may write a pros and cons blog post about taking the sightseeing bus on a later date).  For our first day we wanted to travel on the Red Route (approx. 2 hours), which included stops at the Dolby Theatre, Chateau Marmont, Santa Monica Blvd, Rodeo Drive, The Grove and the LACMA.

The first stop was the Dolby Theatre, which just happened to be holding a very special ceremony for a very special someone – LL Cool J ring any bells?! Yup, our first day out in LA and we spotted LL Cool J getting his hand print down on the Walk of Fame and also saw none other than Queen Latifah getting chased down Hollywood Boulevard by a pack of hungry paparazzo. For a girl from little ‘ol New Zealand, this was pretty surreal! (Check out my upcoming vlog to see the blurry footage haha).

Millions of Milkshakes

Our first hop off was to visit Millions of Milkshakes to grab just that, a milkshake. Endorsed over the years by a stream of celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, Lindsay Lohan and Pamela Andersen, it’s a create-your-own milkshake heaven, which is now unfortunately no more! After being open since 2008, the store closed it’s doors at the end of last year. So unfortunately you won’t be able to pop in for a milkshake anymore. Sad face. Plus side? They were pretty pricey!

The LACMA

It was then back on the bus for us, with milkshake in hand as we cruised through the streets of Beverly Hills and dreamily peering through shop windows of all the beautiful stores on Rodeo Drive, housed with items we could never afford. We hopped off at the the Farmers Market but after a quick look around decided we wanted to see the lamp post art installation at the LACMA (Los Angeles Country Museum of Art) (hello, every romantic film based in LA). So we trudged back the museum to have a squiz and take a few photos.

A big regret of mine was not actually going inside LACMA to have a look at the art. I love museums and art galleries and I know that many friends get frustrated at me because I spend too much time looking at everything, it’s one of my favourite things to do while travelling (just try stop me every time I go to Paris, you can’t). I’m not too sure my travel buddy was too keen to go in though, and at the time it was getting late and we wanted to see The Grove before it got too dark. So after a few snaps we walked back to The Grove to check out the shopping area I had heard so much about and seen many a vlog of.

The Grove

We made it to The Grove in the late afternoon, where a cool January breeze had picked up – a relief after a fairly warm day. We wandered through all the shops (Topshop was a must for me,) including my first peek at an American Girl Store and I’m not going to lie, I was a little creeped out, but that’s just me. We satisfied our sweet tooth with a trip to Dylan’s Candy Bar and then headed over to the Farmer’s Market to fill our tummies. I grabbed an impressive looking and great tasting hot dog from the food marketplace area.

We finished eating, headed over to Trader Joe’s to buy snacks for the following day and then waited for the next bus to take us home-bound. We drove down Melrose Ave by night and decided to get off the bus by the Chinese Theatre to check out the atmosphere at night. We also checked out Ghirardelli’s for some chocolate and browsed some of the stores for late night shopping.

With hungry tummies we headed back down Hollywood Boulevard towards our hostel, stopping in a cute little Japanese restaurant for dinner (and trying to figure out the whole tipping business). It was on our way home from dinner that we spotted our next celebrity. None other than Aussie guy, Luke Hemmings from the band 5 Seconds of Summer, who was paying a visit to the famous Fonda Theatre, just up the road from our hostel.

🎈🎉

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Yeah. That guy. Haha.

Feeling exhausted from our big day out we headed back to our room to rest up for another early start the following day!

READ: My flight from Auckland to LA 

WATCH: My flight from Auckland to LA

Flying to Los Angeles | Vlog

At the beginning of the week I posted a blog post giving a quick run down of my flight from Auckland to Los Angeles and now I have a vlog to accompany it.

It’s mostly just a collation of footage of me in the plane and bus, but there will be a couple more in-depth vlogs of my few days in Los Angeles coming up soon. In the meantime check this one down below and be sure to check out some of my other vlogs during my time in Europe.

 

 

 

Food Photo Friday #33: Dinner @ Jack Tar, Auckland

Food: Red Shed Sliders, Greens & a Cocktail/ Consumed at: Jack Tar, Wynyard Quarter, Auckland/ Date: December 2016

Jack Tar is one of those places I go back to time and time again. Many times to celebrate the end of a uni year or semester, sometimes for a farewell, but this time was to celebrate the end of the working year!

I’m one of those people who doesn’t like to go for the same-old same-old, so if I’m heading back to a place where I’ve eaten before, I usually like to try something different to what I ate previous times. This day was no different.

I wasn’t feeling too hungry, so opted for the Red Shed Sliders. There are three different sliders and you can choose to have three of the same, or one of each. I went for one of each, obviously. Each of them were delicious, and it is actually really hard for me to pick a favourite. The three options were, “beef ‘n’ cheese; pulled pork Memphis style, or beer battered fresh fish” each stuffed with delicious slaws as well. I also grabbed a side of steamed greens with garlic butter, which also had a slight hit with a sprinkling of chilli flakes, which I loved. This was all washed down with a scrumptious cocktail, whose name escapes me… It was “kiwi” something. You’ll know it when you see it!

As usual my eyes were bigger than my stomach, because I ordered a hot chocolate brownie for dessert which left me absolutely stuffed and pretty much rolled out of the restaurant afterwards. All-in-all another great time at Jack Tar, I’ll be back soon, I’m sure.

Travelling to Los Angles from Auckland, NZ

And so it begins, the recount of my adventures in the USA. It’s no secret that I was terrible at blogging while overseas, and by terrible I mean I blogged a grand total of ZERO times while I was away, but never fear, I’m back and hopefully staying around for a bit!

Auckland to Los Angeles:

I flew out of Auckland on an Air New Zealand flight a little after 10pm which meant it was the perfect time to have a sleep. I was arriving in LA in the late afternoon, so I planned to sleep for the majority of the flight and then wake up for the last few hours. Lucky for me, the one other person in my row disappeared for the entire flight so I got three whole seats to myself and slept like a baby (neck pillow, check) and woke up just in time to eat lunch and see the outlines of the City of Angels outside my window. We touched down in the late afternoon and I lugged my suitcases out of the terminal in search for a bus that was heading to towards Hollywood Boulevard.

In hindsight I would definitely recommend booking a SuperShuttle if you’re travelling solo and there is no transportation that gets you right up close to where you’re staying. I used this service to get back to LAX and used it several times on latter occasions in Washington DC and NYC. This time round though, being a LA rookie and slightly naive, I opted to catch a bus from the airport to my hostel. Needless to say, after LA’s gridlock traffic, and the early January sunset, I stepped out of the bus in a foreign city with 6 months worth of luggage and attempted to stumble my way to my hostel. After quite a few wrong turns in the dark, I finally found my way (it was a bloody long walk up the Hollywood Walk of Fame, let me tell you,) to Banana Bungalow Hostel Hollywood and met up with my friend from Australia who would be doing the Disney College Program with me and would also (hopefully) be one of my roommates!

I was exhausted once I made it to our room, and after a quick chat about what we should do the following day, I crashed, resting up for my first full day in Los Angeles, California.

New Year, same me?

It’s weird how quickly you can get stuck into a routine and not realise how fast time is passing you by.

It’s absolutely mental that it’s been six months since I arrived back into the country, four months since I’ve started my first full time job and now already into the first week of 2017. In all honesty, I never thought I would ever get so attached to my time at Disney World. Applying for the program was a kind of last minute, “we’ll see how it goes” decision and while I loved Disney as much as the next person, I was definitely not Disney-crazy and was initially nervous that I would be out of place because of this. But the experience, the people I met, the friends I made and yes, even the tiring work days are days I wish I could go back to every day. And I definitely feel like I’ve become one of those people who always begins sentences with “When I was at Disney…” I cringe, I cringe.

I’m still loving my full time job though. I love the variety and everything that I’m learning, plus the people I work with are amazing– it’s definitely not an Andy in Devil Wears Prada sitcho at all.

I’ve also moved out of the parental home, which was something I knew I wanted when I got back to New Zealand and acquiring the full-time job helped that happen. I’m now living in a flat with three other people– Georgie and two guys who I knew through a friend. It’s expensive, but I’m loving the freedom!

I’m not big on the whole “New year, new me” thing, but I do know that I’d really love to start properly writing about some of my USA travels, and getting back into my fitness (cliche, I know). After a few days away camping with the family, I’m feeling revived and motivated (albeit, a little sunburnt,) and ready to kick 2017 off with a blogging bang! Keep your eyes peeled!

Currently: August 2016

This month has been a pretty huge month for me. Well in truth, this last week has been a huge week for me. Why? Because I have my first full-time job y’all.

Despite feeling that pull to go back to the USA still, the past month I’ve almost accepted that New Zealand is where I’ll be for a bit longer. But what definitely set that all into stone was getting an editorial assistant role at New Zealand Weddings Magazine. I was absolutely ecstatic when I found out! It’s my first full time and media-related job and I honestly couldn’t be more excited or grateful. There’s a lot to learn, but that’s what makes it so exciting.

So far the first week has been absolutely amazing. My first week coincided with New Zealand Fashion Week and NZ Weddings holds two fashion shows as part of it, so I got to experience the full excitement and craziness that accompanies one of the busiest times of the year for the publication. So yes, while I’d still love to be back at Disney, this new job has definitely given me something new to focus on and be excited about and it’s a relief to feel like I’m finally (I say finally, but it’s only really been about 6 months since I graduated,) starting my career!

CURRENTLY

Reading: A whole lot of different magazine titles from the company that I work for. Absolutely loving Dish Magazine for some delicious inspiration. I also went to the library and borrowed a few books. I’m currently reading the non-fiction book Evolving Ourselves by Juan Enriquez and Steve Gullans. I might do a review of it once I’ve finished.

Watching: So I finally got around to sitting down and starting to slowly catch up with all the shows I missed while away. I’m now up to date with Reign and Stitchers and am currently getting up to date with Suits and The Musketeers. I’m also looking forward to start watching the new ITV series Victoria with Jenna Coleman. 

Listening to: Been listening to Frank Ocean‘s banger of a new album. Loving “Nikes”, “Ivy” and I think everyone is in love with “Self Control.” I also went to a Selena Gomez concert the other week and one of her opening acts was a Kiwi guy named Thomson and he was absolutely amazing live and I’ve been listening to a few of his originals and they’re pretty mint.

Dreaming of: Being in the sun and warmth. This gloomy, cold winter weather hasn’t been my fave of late.

Planning: Nothing in particular at the moment. I’ve planned a bit of bit of a budget though with my new pay so I can start saving like an adult.

Making: Lots of little mistakes. Okay, not really (yet). But I’ve definitely got a lot to learn in my new job and I know that part of it may be making a few mistakes here and there. The main thing is that I learn from them and never make them again!

Enjoying: Having a big girl job! As crazy as it might sound, I have been excited to get a 9-5 job for a while now. I guess I’ve been craving a bit of structure to my sometimes chaotic and sometimes agonisingly boring life. I think it’s nice to know I have something to go to 5 days a week, with the weekend to just chill and do whatever. Rather than always being at one of the extremes.

Eating: At cafes a lot! I should probably start bringing food to work, otherwise all that new money is just going to straight back down the drain!

Goal setting: Maybe this is where I should’ve actually mentioned budgets, but I have a few big goals in mind for saving. The first, is a car. I need one, stat. The second is travel and the third is a long-time goal, which is to save for a house.

Lusting over: Some of those models at New Zealand Fashion Week. There were a couple of lookers there aye.