Monday, July 25, 2016

Los Angeles in a Weekend

 

My most recent trip to LA was definitely one for the books! We had the best time taking in the sights and while we were only there for a weekend, we still did so much in the city and I'll show you some of the highlights and what is not to be missed!

Have In-N-Out Burgers

It's no secret my first stop after landing in Cali whether it be Disneyland (Anaheim), San Diego, or hopping off the plane at LAX (no cardigan though, too hot), my first stop is always In-N-Out. These famously trendy and delicious burgers are only found on the West Coast and are as popular with Hollywood celebs as they are with us normal civilians. They are fresh, decently healthy hamburgers (I rarely eat meat so this is always a treat) and French fries, which offer almost a popped texture rather than greasy. You can get your burgers done a variety of ways including the wildly popular "Animal Style" as well as low carb (lettuce instead of bread buns) and even vegan options, that grilled cheese though. There is even a Not So Secret Menu in addition to what you see on the regular options!

 

 Be A Tourist in Hollywood

This is almost like the LA equivalent of a Times Square in NYC. Touristy, historical and come on who doesn't like trying to fit their hands in the handprints outside the famed Chinese Theater. They have tons of film premieres and events that are held weekly inside the theater and we just missed the all new Ghostbusters premiere by a few nights! Luckily the Marshmallow Man was still inflated so not all hope was lost. Try and find your favorite celebrity star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame take cheesy photos and be a total tourist for the day!
 



Have a Drink at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel

Located right across the street from the Adobe Theater, you can't miss the old Hollywood haunt, the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. A fun place to stay but one you have to visit and have a drink at the bar just to visit where many Hollywood elites stayed and socialized. Marilyn Monroe loved this hotel and bar, in fact some say they have even seen her ghost, she even has a suite named after her!
 

Visit a Fun Movie Themed Museum

If you are a movie buff like me, LA and Hollywood are the places for you! There are tons of kitschy yet informative museums housing memorabilia from some of your favorite movies. These are especially good bets if you have kids, groups of all ages and anyone who is complaining about it being hot outside. I suggest The Hollywood Museum (the world's largest movie memorabilia museum)  , Madame Tussauds  (for real the wax figures look legit!), and just for fun Ripley's Believe It or Not.
 



 
Have a Milkshake or Early Breakfast at Mel's

I love the film, American Graffiti  so naturally we have to make a stop at the namesake restaurant of the movie. There is a Mel's located right by The Hollywood Museum and it's a good spot for early morning breakfast or late night food plus the prices are great which is always a good thing!
 

Take a Tour of LA by Double Decker Bus

If you are trying to pack everything in then I highly recommend a double decker bus tour such as Starline Tours which allows you to hop on/ hop off at various locations and even takes you to areas all over LA including Santa Monica, Venice Beach, Downtown LA, Beverly Hills and more. Make sure you look over the map and remember which color bus line you need to take and which one will get you back home. This is a lifesaver for those who don't want to drive, take an Uber everywhere or get stuck in LA traffic. The price for an unlimited one day pass is about $47 and worth every penny!

Get all the pricing, locations and more for tours here!
 


Walk Sunset Blvd for Shops During the Day and Live Music at Night

Sunset Boulevard is one of my favorite locations with it's quirky stores (Wildfox Couture!) celeb filled restaurants (keep your eyes peeled around here, endless boutiques and live music joints such as the famed Viper Room and The Roxy this is a can't miss for a day walk or night out during your stay!
 

Search for Hidden Gems in the City

I love finding fun little spots while traveling and we came across some of the cutest spots such as this ultra fun-ultra tiny shop, Pygmy Hippo Shoppe. It also has some really cool wall art on the back of the store, which I'm always on the hunt for! LA has tons of unique spots and you can go to a Nordstrom anytime, look for those really cool boutiques and shops that aren't found everywhere. If you see a place you want to visit while touring take a quick photo or jot down the address in your phone so you can remember!
 



Wander a Weekend Morning at The Grove

You can spend plenty of time at The Grove but on weekend mornings they have a farmer's market along with live music including a concert series at night on select nights mostly in the summer. There are also plenty of shops, dining, trolley rides, movie theater and yes, Sprinkles cupcakes!



Spend Time in Santa Monica

Whether it's to spend some time in the sun or just dip your toes into the Atlantic Ocean, Santa Monica looks right out of a movie. The Santa Monica Pier is home to carnival rides and a boardwalk type atmosphere. There are also finer dining, I recommend The Lobster (you might recognize it from Ocean's 11) as well as boutiques and shops around town as well.  Be sure to have an ice cream float on the pier at Soda Jerks. To reach your hippie haven, don't forget to visit Venice Beach about a 15-20 minute drive away!
 





Find Decorative Wall Art Throughout the City

Self-explanatory but I love finding walls like the one pictured below, great art, quotes and pictures!


Laugh and Sing Along to an Unauthorized Musical at the Rockwell
 
Check out the Rockwell for dinner and a show. Try the yummy drinks and delicious food as you wait and then watch a fantastic performance! Right now there are unauthorized musicals of cult hits Troop Beverly Hills and The Big Lebowski. More recently they had shows on Clueless and Cruel Intentions (yes, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Reese Witherspoon and Selma Blair attended a show together!). The shows are well written with songs you are sure to recognize. Great for adults but may not be suitable for kids.
 
Get ticket info here!
 



Brunch at Bottega Louie
 
Get there early to not only get your hands on their classic Macarons but this downtown LA bakery and restaurant serves up a delicious brunch! We took a quick trip here before we boarded our plane home and yes, the Macarons were just as delicious a few hours later. Tables fill up fast and they don't accept reservations so get there early to avoid a wait! You can just walk into the bakery section and purchase Macarons if you don't have time for a sit down meal or just on the go. Enjoy!
 



The weather is great year round and with so much to do, Los Angeles is the perfect vacation spot for all ages! Even if you are just there for the weekend, prepare for a whirlwind and get ready for a taste of glamour and sunny skies!

Happy Travels!

xoxo,


 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Universal Studios Hollywood: What to See and Do



Hello my travelers! I spent this past weekend in the wonderfully sunny Los Angeles, California and tonight is my first blog post on the trip. The first post focuses on Universal Studios Hollywood for some rides, roller coasters, tours and donuts (see picture below). Now if you have been following the blog for a while or if you are new, you should know I love theme parks! I am an annual passholder for both Disney and Universal in Florida, so I can give you good comparisons on both. Now lets get started...Action!
 

We had an early flight and arrived about 10am in the City of Angels (anyone else remember that movie with Nic Cage and Meg Ryan?) and after checking into the Lowe's Hollywood Hotel we went to our first stop...In and Out (a must for the west coast but this is for another blog post!) then a little sightseeing around Hollywood then finally over to Universal.

It was around 3pm at this time, we knew we definitely wanted to do the Nighttime Studio Tour so that's why we waited a little longer to make sure we were there when the sun went down. Universal Hollywood is set up differently than it's sister park over in Orlando, it feels more compact but at the same time more spread out, I know that's hard to interpret! You can check out a map here. Many of the thrill rides including Revenge of the Mummy, Jurassic Park: The Ride and Transformers are found in the lower level of the park. Whereas Springfield and Wizzarding World of Harry Potter are found in the middle with The Walking Dead and the Super Silly Fun Land on the outer perimeter, Shrek 4D and Waterworld towards the entrance and the iconic studio tram tour being an escalator trip away from Springfield.

We hit the lower level rides first, we knew it would be crowded later in the day. And it was Friday. And it is summer. If you don't have a full day but still want to see everything budget your trip to include the Front of the Line ticket. It is a lifesaver and guarantees you will see everything on your trip. At both Universal Parks you have to put your bags, purses, etc. in a locker while you get on rides such as Revenge of the Mummy and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. That means I didn't have my phone or camera for some of the time (womp, womp) but I did have it out for the new Walking Dead attraction!
 

This baby just opened on July 4th and let me just say...it's a good one! I was a little hesitant at first and by hesitant I made my friend enter then exit the queue line three times before getting a pep talk and words of encouragement from the guy working the outside of the ride (yes, this happened). The attraction features animatronics but be warned there are some real actors inside.

It's dark, creepy, scary fun! If you are the fan of the show like myself, you have to check it out. A word of warning to parents: if you have a child that is afraid of the dark, the undead, tight spaces and people jumping out of corners...DO NOT ENTER. I can't tell you how many sobbing children (and some adults) I saw exiting this attraction. It is not right for the child to endure something they don't want to do, it is helpful for you, the child and those who are trying to enjoy the attraction to know what you are getting into. Here is a good video that offers a full walk through of the ride!
 

We were able to knock off all the rides in the park and shows all while taking a picture from Universal's newest cartoon film, The Secret Life of Pets. There are tons of great photo opps all over the park so keep your eyes peeled!
 
It was around 7:40pm, yes, it was still very light when we boarded the tram for the "Nighttime Tour" experience. Check your map to see when the last tram departs, you don't want to miss it! Ok, the biggest tip I can give you from this...SIT ON THE FAR RIGHT of the tram. I can't stress this enough, you get the best views, best pictures and you get to see everything. I was on the far left. I did not get to see everything. It was still fun but this is something where you really want the best seats in the house!

The Tram Tour actually takes you on real working film locations as well as combining movie props, sets, and rides/attractions. You come face to face with dinosaurs and King Kong via a cool 3-D experience, that shark Jaws is seen in the water of Amity trying to attack you, see Norman Bates carrying out a victim over at the Bates Motel (the coolest set!) and then decides to go after you, Whoville from The Grinch, escape an earthquake, the plane crash from War of the Worlds and meet up with the gang from the Fast and Furious in a new part of the tour.
 
Jaws-Amity Island


House from Psycho

War of the Worlds set

War of the Worlds set
I wish I had more cool pics to share but it was very hard to shoot from my location. The nighttime tour also has some fun extras like "Marilyn Monroe" posing on set, Frankenstein's Monster roaming around a set and the experience is just a little more fun in the dark! This tour is only available in the summer months so be sure to see it if you are there. Just remember...RIGHT SIDE OF THE TRAM!

There are some really beautiful views from the park, look at the scenery! You can also make out the Warner Brothers lot (see the tower!) if you look carefully. The temps had cooled and the night sky was out, we decided to check out a few of our favorites before exiting the park.
 

I LOVE The Simpsons so the whole Springfield area is super fun to me, definitely try the "Flaming Moe" at Moe's Tavern as well as some Duff beer. You also have to try one of the delicious, huge donuts over at Lard Lad (Homer would be so proud), big enough to share with your whole group. Or you can eat the whole thing yourself. Secrets are secrets.
 

Universal Orlando has had the Wizzarding World of Harry Potter for a few years now as well as the newer Diagon Alley but the West Coast at least has one portion now! The Harry Potter areas have so much character and design that even those who aren't fans will find themselves in awe of this area. It is a definite must-visit!
 


If you are on vacation in Hollywood or a local wanting a fun day/night out, I highly recommend Universal Studios Hollywood! The tram is reason enough to go and now that they added The Wizzarding World of Harry Potter? I would make it a part of your LA experience! 

For all the information on Universal Studios Hollywood including attractions, tickets, and pricing click here!
 

"Do-nut" be lame, get out there and explore!

xoxo,


 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Thursday Tie-In

Hello loves! Hope you are all doing fantastic! Sorry, I've been a little MIA on the blog the past few weeks but I have been super busy with work, getting ready for classes to start back up (already?), getting one my first short film in post-production and getting ready to film my second (full length!) in August. I haven't forgotten about my besties here on the blog though! I'm catching up with you guys with a little Thursday Tie-In of some of my favorite looks and most commented on styles via my Instagram and we can catch up some at the same time!
 
Muah! Mug//  Hobby Lobby (found in store)

Summer 2016 has been a blast. It seems like just yesterday that it was the very first day of summer and we were prepping for shark week with the cutest cookies and keeping cool watching some fun films (so many good ones out this year!). I love an easy graphic tee and denim is an easy summer uniform that's easy to wear for running errands or came be dressed up for a casual date night. I love these fun Blaine Bowen tanks to pair with my favorite denim shorts!
 
Hangry Jaws Tank// Blaine Bowen  Shark Cookie// Edgar's Bakery
 
Summer is also the perfect time to put on my reading glasses (yes, I have to wear them now) and dive into some great books. I am a writer myself so it's hard for me to not walk into a Barnes and Noble and NOT buy something. Ok, maybe a few things. I love the horror/suspense genre (Stephen King is my aspiration) but sometimes you just need a book that feels like summer.
 
A Hundred Summers  What the Dog Saw  If I Could Turn Back Time
  
Kiss and Tell Shirt// Wildfox (Sale)  Sunnies// Karen Walker  Denim Cutoffs// Free People

Summer also means ice cream is a MUST! As you can tell I really do live in tees and denim shorts the majority of the time, I think this look can look easily put together and the price of this adorable sweatshirt is fantastic! Although they are a splurge and I don't spend money on sunglasses often (I've had the same blue Raybans since The Hills were a popular show). I found the most flattering pair of shades that I will keep for years to come!
 
 I've already said I love to read and I was pumped to see one of my favorite authors, Emily Giffin, was releasing her new book this summer! She is the writer behind Something Borrowed and many other novels. Yes, I may have been counting down till her new one, First Comes Love came out. It was fantastic!
 
First Comes Love  Dress// Draper James
Who doesn't enjoy grilling out with family and friends? I love having my own home to throw parties (yes, lots of them have themes) but sometimes an old fashioned BBQ is all you need. I wanted to rearrange a few things in my kitchen and with a few things from around the house, I have a nice little nook now for all my recipe books! Do you have any of my favorites in your kitchen?
 

July is already here and I'm just like where did the summer go? But also let me pose with this adorable ice cream truck real quick. Another favorite trend of mine that I won't be retiring soon (maybe ever) is the off the shoulder or "OTS" as some say (I've read that on other blogs so we'll just assume it's a thing).
 
Off the Shoulder Top (SALE!)
Celebrated the 4th of July in this beautiful country, no beach for us this year but we did see The Purge 3: Election Year (so patriotic I know), watched Independence Day (a classic), sang Party in the USA (had to) and got decked out in red, white and blue. Seriously though if you or someone you love is currently serving this country THANK YOU! It was a fantastic weekend filled with family, friends and fun. One of the best I can remember!
 
Clutch// Jackson and Hyde

You guys know I love to travel so it comes to no surprise I get a little stir crazy here in Bham at times. I'm super excited to be going to sunny Los Angeles this weekend and I already have some mini-trips planned through October...and maybe a few last minute plans before summer ends. Have you been anywhere exiting this summer?  Any places I have to add to my weekend list?
 

 
Speaking of Bham it has been HOT, HOT, HOT here in the South and on days when I feel like I'm sweating before 8am, I love throwing on a sundress. Bonus points for bright colors. Also, how cute is this ice cream truck bag!?
 
Sundress//  Lilly Pulitzer
Anyone been to any concerts this summer? I haven't been to that many this season, although I still can't believe I actually saw Beyoncé live back in May, I am hoping to make a few shows before fall hits. I am a music lover of all genres and yes, I have a soft spot for 90's tunes. The 90's style is back in a big way (remember those Delia's catalogues from your youth? Time to pull them back out!). Love these shimmery guitar pick chokers from the lovely Picks for Peace and best of all? The proceeds go to a great cause!


I think we are all caught up now, right? Well, maybe a little but we got a lot of the important things out of the way and it feels good to be back blogging again! I hope you guys enjoyed our little catch up session and maybe even found a few fun styles to incorporate into your wardrobe. I'll be back next week with some new travel posts as well as prepping everyone for the Nordstrom Sale as well as wait for it...fall fashions. Yes, we are already back at that time! But lets all enjoy the summer just a little longer.
 
Off the Shoulder Dress
Until next time! And happy almost Fri-Yay!

xoxo,


 
Deer "Head" // old but similar feel found at Target  White Dress//  found at Free People (lots of great white dresses!)