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On the weekend I got a new tattoo. Despite having a fair few tattoos, I don’t get them that regularly these days (the boring side of growing up means money is usually better invested in essential items than frivolous fun like tattoos) but Ben got me a voucher for my birthday and I finally got around to booking in a session with Ash
. I’d already told her the design I wanted a while ago, but I didn’t know how I wanted it framed, until a brain storming session with my mum and a friend came up with the idea of a heart-shaped frame of branches. Perfect!
The most exciting part is that it fills the big, boring spot on my back so perfectly. It may seem a bit odd but I really feel a lot better seeing that spot full, almost like it completes me a bit. I just could never decided what I wanted there until this idea finally came to me.
The birds are blue wrens (aka superb fairywren‘s, which is the coolest bird name ever) which are one of my favourite of all the birds (and I freaking love birds). I have such find memories of watching them as a kid as well as now when they flit around my mum’s backyard, feeding their little babies or teaching them how to bathe in the bird bath. One of my fondest memories as a kid was the time a male blue wren flew into the window of our house and nearly knocked himself out so my parents put him in an old bird cage to recuperate and I was absolutely fascinated for the hour or so we had him. I’ve always felt bad that the females are such a boring brown so I asked Ash to make my girl one extra pretty with little eyelashes for my tattoo, and she did an awesome job.
I can’t wait to get it coloured, though that may be a while off yet, but for now I am just super excited to have the tattoo I’ve been wanting for ages!
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I have some exciting news! As of two weeks ago I started a course to get a certificate in nail technology! That means I will soon be a qualified nail tech and my years of doing my own nail art will finally become a skill I can use on others and hopefully the start of an awesome new career! I finally decided to give it a go after feeling really miserable a few weeks ago. I felt like I had no real skills and my life was kind of going nowhere. Melodramatic, I know, but I’m sure everyone gets a bit like that now and then. Ben urged me to start looking at learning nail technology since it’s been something I’ve talked about for a while, and I managed to find a small school in Brisbane that was not only offering evening/weekend classes but was also a short drive from home. I immediately knew this was what I needed to do and I’m about to start my 3rd week of classes!
I’ve already done full sets on my sister and mum and this week I will be doing two more friends. It’s challenging, but also fun and definitely something I want to do for a living. My course goes for eight weeks, but it will take me many months of practice and hard work before I’ll be able to ditch my regular job, but I know I will be awesome at it and can’t wait to get to a standard where I can work for myself and become sought after for my crazy Japanese-style nail art! It’s amazing how much better I feel about things now I have a goal, knowing it’s something I really want to do and have the confidence to know that with a bit of hard work I know I will succeed. It makes me wonder why I’ve been putting it off so long? The expense? The fear of uncertainty or the risk of failure? Whatever it was, I’m glad I pushed through and am well on my way to fulfilling a dream. I will keep you updated on how my course goes as well as my adventures starting my own business throughout the year!
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Whoa! It’s been ages since I did my movie reviews. Needless to say I have continued seeing movies since my last post
, but I just have neglected to blog about any them. Oops! OK well back to it then, eh?
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
I technically saw this in Boxing Day but it’s close enough to January to count, right? I absolutely loved the second instalment of the Hobbit, there’s a whole lot of action, some of which is absolutely hilarious (the scene with the dwarves in the barrels hurtling down the river were brilliant). I feel like this film was slightly better than the first, it seemed to flow a bit better and I loved the introduction of new characters such as the feisty she-elf Tauriel and Smaug himself (while I’m not normally a fan of Benedict Cumberbatch, his voice was absolutely perfect for this role). I honestly didn’t think they were going to need three films for The Hobbit but so far they’re doing an excellent job of filling in the time without dragging things out too much. It’s definitely recommended you see the first instalment of the Hobbit trilogy before this film, while it’s lots of fun and adventure on it’s own you’re not going to get the full effect without following the story all the way through.
The Wolf of Wall Street
I don’t even know what to say about this film. OK so I will admit it was enjoyable in many ways, very witty and clever with impeccable dialogue and superb acting from all involved. But I just couldn’t quite get into it, I found everything about Jordan Belfort absolutely grotesque and the way he seemed to get away with everything virtually scot free infuriated me. Personally I felt like the film glamorised his hedonistic, criminal lifestyle though those I saw it with felt the opposite was true. Maybe I ruined it for myself for reading up on the actual Jordan Belfort and saw what a creep he is and couldn’t just enjoy the film without thinking about how many millions he still owes and all the royalties he’s getting from the film and the inevitable increased books sales. Grrr. If you’re into Martin Scorsese films and are better at disengaging from the nasty truths than I am (and also love excess amounts of female nudity and drug use), you’ll probably love this. Otherwise maybe just wait til it’s out on DVD.
Saving Mr Banks
I actually had no idea about this movie until I saw the ad on the side of a bus and found myself intrigued by the simple poster which included the shadow of Mickey Mouse and Mary Poppins. I immediately looked it up and felt a bit dumb for not getting it right away: Walt Disney spent 20 years trying to get the film rights to Mary Poppins from the author PL Travers. As it happens, Pamela Travers is an absolute bitch who is only considering selling the rights because she’s broke. She eventually relents enough to agree to spending two weeks in LA to review the script where she clashes with everyone, determined not to let Disney mutilate her beloved Mary to whom she clings so dearly. Throughout the film there are flashbacks to her past, growing up in rural Australia where we see how her alcoholic but imaginative and fun loving father helped shape her writing and why she was so damn attached to her character. I can’t rave about this movie enough, in fact the more I think about, the more I love it. Tom Hanks is an amazing Disney and as expected, Emma Thompson is brilliants as Travers. I can’t lie, I cried quite a bit in the film, but there were also a lot of laughs too, especially at the socially awkward and comically rude things Travers would say and do.
I just watched this film this week and was blown away by how beautiful it was. Imagine a not too distant future where we actually interact with our smart phones and computers. That’s what happens when Theodore, a lonely writer who’s going through a divorce with a woman he still believes he loves, buys the OS1, an operating system with artificial intelligence that actually interacts with you. His OS is called Samantha and they quickly become very close, eventually falling madly in love with each other. This film could have easily just been a warning tale to those who depend on technology too much and become isolated from actual human contact, but instead it felt to me a story about how love can transcend physical relationships and the beauty of pure, emotional love. It’s one of the sweetest love stories I’ve seen in a very long time and it mattered not that one half of the couple wasn’t a tangible, living being. Joaquin is one of my favourite actors and he was incredible in this role, which I can only imagine would have been tough given he was talking to himself for most of the movie!
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Source: The Oatmeal
I’ve been on the internet for a long time now. I believe I first got access to the internet when I was about 12 or 13 which would have been 1995/1996 and I embraced it completely. I used to spend hours in chat rooms and on Red Hot Chili Peppers forums, most of which was sneakily done as it was dial-up and I was only meant to be online for an hour a day to be fair to everyone else and so as not to hog the phone line. Oh the trouble I’d get into from mum when she’d realise I’d been online for hours at a time! Looking back, I can’t recall ever being abused by anyone for anything on the internet back then. I had robust discussions with other RHCP fans and excellent chats with people in Yahoo chat rooms, I even tried cyber sex once which was mostly pretty hilarious to me, but usually I just chatted to random strangers from around the world about anything and everything.
I’m not sure what happened to the internet between then and now, why people started off civil and polite and are now absolute arseholes to anyone they disagree with or just don’t like the look of. Maybe I was lucky and just didn’t witness any online bullying, though the sheer amount of time I spent online, you’d think I would have seen something? Now days you hear nothing but reports of cyber bulling causing kids to commit suicide, about people being threatened for writing something online that others didn’t like, about “revenge porn” websites (that are actually created by stealing images by hacking email accounts and posting the racy photos online along with all of their contact details for good measure) and so on. When did the internet go from being a place to share information, to make friends in other countries and look up funny pictures to a virtual battlefield? Any why exactly is it that women seem to be bearing the brunt of it all?
I read a couple of good articles this week that go into depth about why the internet basically sucks for women (here and here, I definitely recommend them both) and it made me think back to all of the abuse I’ve suffered with little to no provocation except for the mere fact I am a female. I can’t remember the first time I received gender-specific abuse online but I’ve experienced it in almost every forum, from Facebook to Youtube and even on my own blog. I’ve also received abuse that’s got nothing to do with my being a woman and simply because of something I wrote online. But almost all of it has involved some sort of misogyny, even when whatever I wrote had literally nothing to do with gender. For example, back in 2009 I organised a fundraiser for the zombie walk I used to run. I posted about it on a few different music forums, which I thought was reasonable enough, until some dude decided he didn’t like it and started writing abusive comments. At first it was just about how lame zombie walks were but as I replied to him, he got meaner and more sexist, calling me a “silly little girl” and alluded that I was only doing the walk and this fundraiser to look cool to boys.
Other abuse I’ve received has been even more sexist and absolutely unprovoked. One time a random guy messaged me on facebook (as above) to “hook up” and when I called him out on his sexist behaviour he went CRAZY (see the second part of his abuse here
), calling me slut, fat, a cunt and various other horrible things simply because I took offence to his initial, sleazy comment. Not too long after that, I got some horribly nasty comments on one of my Youtube videos
where I was called fat, immature, insecure and ugly for no apparent reason. You can see the comments here
. Those comments actually really hurt me because they weren’t as crazy sounding as the guy on facebook and so I unfortunately took them to heart. As a result I didn’t want to vlog any more, it just didn’t seem worth the stress when some other arsehole would just come along and write other nasty comments about my weight or whatever bothered them about me. I even got it from so-called “friends” on social media, who would attack me for a status update and really drill into me whenever I mentioned anything remotely related to girl problems, and especially anything to do with feminism (needless to say those jerks have been long deleted).
My experiences aren’t as bad as some other women who have been threatened with death and/or rape by hundreds, if not thousands of complete strangers. I can’t even imagine how I’d feel after receiving a barrage like that just because I wrote something on the internet that some men disagreed with. It’s also astounding at how much abuse women cop for daring to speak out against female issues, such as Lindy West who was sent a startling amount of abuse for her stance on rape jokes. Who are these people writing these vile comments and do they actually really feel that way? I’m inclined to suggest they don’t and just like to say horrible things online to get a reaction and have nothing else better to do, because surely no decent man thinks this way? If this is the case, does it lessen the seriousness of the threat or the abuse? I don’t think so, because no one knows for sure what that man is capable of and if he’s willing to post those sentiments so publicly, then surely there’s a distinct possibility his threats are real and ought to be taken seriously? Whatever the stance you take, it’s hard to deny it’s been happening for a while now and is only getting worse.
Unfortunately threats and abuse made online are rarely taken seriously, even though they would be if they were made in the form of a telephone call or posted letter. There is an assumption that you can just turn off your computer and walk away because they’re not “tangible” threats as such and should just be ignored. But with all that we do online these days, is that really true? To one person twitter is probably a silly waste of time, to another it’s a serious tool used for business, networking and communicating with friends. Telling the latter to just “turn it off and walk away” is paramount to telling them to disconnect their phone and block off their letterbox. Just because you don’t understand a particular form of social media, doesn’t mean anything said on there can just be dismissed. I once had to report a violation of the DVO I have against someone to the police as I was contacted through twitter, and actually had to explain how twitter works and was initially given the impression his contact by such means didn’t count (thankfully I eventually got on to an office who not only took it seriously but followed it up for me and gave me some good advice about the matter).
I wish I knew what was causing all of this vitriol towards women online or how to end it. I feel as though the general public is really struggling to deal with the internet because in the matter of 20 or so years it’s absolutely boomed and those who haven’t grown up with it don’t know how to teach younger generations how to deal with it when things go wrong. If my parents knew of all the things I used to look up online back in the day, they’d be appalled! But they didn’t have a clue, and I think that’s how it works in most families, the parents just don’t get what their kids are up to online and aren’t willing to learn so their kids grow up with little to no adult supervision in this aspect of their lives. Combine this with the fact there seems to be very little punishment for those who do do the wrong thing online, kids are growing up knowing they can get away with just about anything on the internet. And if boys aren’t being taught to respect women in every aspect of their lives, it’s hardly surprising that they’ll use the internet as a place to voice their grievances because the only people who are going to see are the faceless people on the internet. who are powerless to do anything about it.
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The second stop on our trip was good ol’ Las Vegas! We chose the Luxor as our hotel for it’s amazingly cheap prices and the fact it’s a freaking pyramid! I stayed there with my family back in 1997 so I had fond memories of the place. As soon as we got to the hotel we were immediately sucked into hearing a spiel about a timeshare (we kicked ourselves for falling for it so easily) before we discovered the frozen daiquiri bar, won $60 on the slots and checked in. Due to time constraints and the fact neither of us are really gamblers, we chose to stay there for just a few days and midweek to avoid crazy weekend crowds. It was also a whole lot colder than I expected. I assumed the weather would be similar to what we experienced in LA but it was definitely a lot cooler, especially at night.
Once we’d checked out our room and freshened up (a recurring theme as we had some crazy early mornings to catch flights on this trip) we decided to go for a walk along the strip. One of the things I immediately noticed as being different from when I was there as a teenager was that they have big walkways over streets instead of street-level crossings. Probably a good idea since even in this off peak time we saw tourists just walking across one of the few roads that did have street level crossings, totally ignoring the stop lights. Imagine how crazy it’d be in summer with drunk people everywhere! I also noticed it was a LOT cleaner, the first time I was there I saw so much porn littering the streets and it was kind of grubby in general. The streets now are spic and span and no ground-porn to corrupt young eyes. Which is funny because the time we went was during their short-lived attempt to clean up the seedy image of the city and appeal to more families with kids.
We had a look at Excalibur next door where we discovered the arcade (much to Ben’s delight) before walking up to Monte Carlo (where my family also stayed previously) because Ben read there was a big bar there that served lots of craft beer. We had an amazing pizza for dinner and then decided to hunt down the KISS mini golf course which ended up being ages off the strip (well, not that far but my tattoo was pretty sore and gross so it felt like a looong way) which was AWESOME! It was all indoors and fluoro with backlights. This activity ended up starting an obsession with mini golf which we played at every opportunity on this trip. On the way back I had a great time in a giant Walgreens where I discovered awesome souvenirs (like a giant pink, glittery flasks the size of a child’s torso with LAS VEGAS written in bling) and managed to get some supplies to fix my tattoo so I could a) walk and b) wear leggings again. Phew! Oh and a quick stop at the casino back at our hotel where we lost all of the money we’d won earlier. Dang!
The next day was all about more wandering and hopefully tracking down some Halloween costumes to wear for the next day. We’d also decided to indulge in the 24 hour buffet wristbands for Luxor and Excalibur which meant a hearty breakfast where I finally got to try grits and ambrosia salad. Yum! I made sure to dress as Halloweeny as possible and also grab a frozen daiquiri for the road. We wandered some more, stopped and had lunch at Excalibur (by now we were feeling pretty sick from all the terrible buffet foods but were determined to persevere), tried Four Loko (uugggh the worst) and discovered Urban Outfitters! There Ben found his perfect Halloween outfit, the bear suit from Workaholics. I grabbed some amazing Halloween stuff including a cute Jack o Lantern top and the most TERRIFIC Halloween vest ever. No luck finding me an actual costume though.
And then it was time to shoot some guns! Both of us are pacifists and totally opposed to guns but we’re not boring prudes and knew we had to try a shooting rage while in Vegas. We went to The Range 702 due to it’s good reviews and purchased the zombie apocalypse package due to it’s variety of guns. Can I just say, shooting a gun is terrifying! I was so nervous I was almost tempted to back out, but the first gun was a hand gun which was reasonably easy to shoot and helped me ease my way into it. Next was the shotgun which had crazy kickback and was so loud! Sure we were wearing noise cancelling headphones but still, it was like a monstrous BOOM. The last two guns were an AK-47 and an M4 which are semi-automatic weapons and bloody hell are they scary. The fact regular people on the street can buy these and use them is horrifying! They had ridiculous kickback and as you had to hold the butt of each hard into your shoulder I ended up being really bruised and even bleeding from the blunt force. It was an awesome experience though, and made me appreciate the power of guns so much more (and relieved we are so strict on gun ownership in Australia). That evening we saw Criss Angel which was brilliant. Say what you will about him being a bit puncy and a total egomaniac, his show was awesome. We also just happened to be there for the 5th anniversary which was also really cool. I was soooo close to getting up on stage too but just missed out. Bummer. Afterwards we had our final buffet meal where we made ourselves well and truly bilious, had a few drinks and contemplated gambling some more (we didn’t) before going to bed. Woo such party animals!
The next day was Halloween! I got all Halloweeny again and had high hopes we’d find an awesome costume for myself with no problems (ooh boy was I way off). We decided to check out downtown Vegas which we’d been told about the day before and had no idea about, where we discovered the Vegas we’d actually come to see. Basically it’s the old strip which you see in all the old movies. The hotels aren’t as enormous or themed, there’s about 10 metres between each casino instead of the kilometre between hotels on the strip. It was also so much more aesthetically pleasing, it felt like the real Vegas to us. We were devo that we hadn’t know better and stayed down this end. We spent the morning there drinking on the streets and soaking in the atmosphere before getting even drunker at a brew pub (where I had oyster shooters for the first time – an interesting experience). By this time we were way behind schedule, drunk and I still didn’t have a costume. After a few drunken tantrums and tears we finally found a costume shop on the other side of town where pretty much half of Vegas was lining up outside of. I ended up getting a Snow White costume to go with the poison apple Minnie ears I got at Disneyland (not very original but eh, still cute). We rushed back to our hotel to change and head out again.
While having some drinks downstairs we met a super drunk family from the next state over who’d all been married to their respective partners the night before. The mother had her little dog with her, right there in the hotel! Sitting at the bar with them. Crazy! They were lovely but so very, very drunk which I guess is fair if you’ve just been married in Vegas, eh? Our next stop was the Stratosphere to do the three rides up the top. Ben isn’t great with heights so I was pretty proud of him for going on them with me because they were scary
! Though all the booze we’d had all day probably helped with that ;) After scaring ourselves senseless we went to Circus Circus for the Horror Dome, which is a similar thing to Halloween Horror Nights at Universal. Basically I wanted to do this as I’d been so excited about going to the Goretorium for Haloween but it closed the month before so this seemed like the next best thing. I actually really wish we hadn’t, I mean it was fun and their mazes absolutely scared the pants off of me but it wasn’t what I’d wanted to do for Halloween. We also missed out on the big street party downtown for it which really disappointing too. This is why research is important, being spontaneous on holiday is great but missing out on all the fun stuff is a major bummer especially when you’e talking about Halloween!
Our last night in Vegas ended up with us hanging out in New York New York where we tried to ride the rollercoaster but they closed super early (jerks) so we people watched everyone in all their costumes and hung out in the magic shop like the true nerds we are, and were in bed by 1am. Yep, we’re total rockstars!
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Well we’re already half way through January and I’m only just writing my “So long last year, hello new year” post! It’s been a busy ol’ year so far, and I’m looking forward to some downtime in the next few weeks, finally.
2013 was a BIG year for me. It was my first full year with the love of my life, Ben! It feels like we’ve been together so much longer (in a good way), so to think we only met half way through 2012 boggles my mind. 2013 saw us buy a house together which was scary but exciting and we LOVE it. We have a beautiful house to decorate as we wish that’s surrounded by bush, with our adorable fur ball Shiro.
I made a go of Ruby Kawaii, doing lots of markets and selling bows online. We discovered very quickly that Supanova is our best demographic, so we intend to do as many conventions as possible. I also discovered selling stuff online is kind of hard, and it’s something I intend to improve on this year. It’s been an interesting experience and I’ve made a bunch of friends out of it too, and I hope to make it even bigger and better this year.
We went to the USA! I feel like most of 2013 was all just a lead up to this trip, and it did not disappoint! We really did have the best time there and I promise I will finish my blog posts about each city we went to SOON! We also did a bit of domestic travel too, mostly to Canberra where Ben comes from. I met his ENORMOUS family at the start of the year and we ventured back down via Sydney for his sisters engagement party and a friends wedding. I also popped down to Melbourne twice, once for PAX AUS and again with my mum to take her to the Hollywood Costume exhibition as a super early birthday present.
One thing I didn’t do so well was watch out for my health. I regret to say I’ve been turning into a bit of a lumpy space princess over the course of the last year or so, which isn’t such a bad thing except I’m starting to not fit in some clothes! NOOOOO! If there’s one thing about being in a loving, wonderful relationship that kind of suck, it’s how comfortable you get. I used to go to the gym 4 times a week on top of eating a strict diet, but when you have other options like hanging out with your beloved partner and drinking copious amounts of beer and cider and eating delicious foods, well… you figure it out. I’ve always struggled with my weight but now I’ve put on a few extra kilo’s I realise how silly I was being back then because I looked HOT and I need to take a much healthier and less harmful approach to weight loss instead of hating myself for not being slim enough. So it’s going to be less drinking, more balanced diet and exercising for the health benefits, not just to stay a certain size.
I have big plans for what I want to do with myself career-wise, some of which might take a few years to fully work out. I’m sick of working in an office in an industry I am not passionate about, I want to be creative and do something I love instead of suffering through the daily grind like all of the sheep I catch the train with each morning. I will keep y’all updated on this as I figure things out!
2014 will also be a year of reconnecting with old friends who I’ve been a bit to slack to spend much time with, because I love them and miss their company and have no excuse except sheer laziness! I’ve always been a bit of a loner, only having a few good friends who I’m nopeless at catching up with, but I’ve been especially bad lately and hope to have it all fixed ASAP.
So that was my year that was, and my plans for the coming year. I look forward to having lots of adventures in every aspect of my life, and hopefully I will improve on my blogging which were less than average last year.
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December is a pretty hectic time of year for everyone, but it’s especially so for me as it’s also the month of my birthday! I was actually born on December 23rd which is a big ol’ inconvenience because who has time to celebrate a birthday two days before Christmas? Ah well, I usually make the best of it :)
I had a great month though and thought I’d share some of the photos from this crazy time of year!
I celebrated my birthday a day early on the 22nd by having a BBQ with friends and family at our house, which means we finally got to utilise our awesome deck properly! We only just bought a table and chairs for it so it was great to make use of them. We’d also inherited the BBQ from the previous owners so it was nice to make use of it finally.
On my actual birthday I had to work (booo) but afterwards we had dinner at Papa Jack’s which is amazing. It’s New Orleans inspired which rocks because I still constantly think about the amazing foods we ate in NOLA (I will finish my posts about our trip, I promise). I had a few delish cocktails as well as some proper southern style cooking such as grits, gumbo and mac ‘n’ cheese. Yum!
On Christmas eve, which I also had to work (boooooooo) we had afternoon lawn bowls at the most fantastic and quaint little club. As it turns out I am a bit of a natural at lawn bowls! Despite the heat I simply had to rock the Jake the Dog leggings Ben got me for my birthday!
Christmas day was at our place again where my family came along as well as our two friends Tony and Renae as their families are in the USA and we were keen to spend as much time as possible with them before they moved up to Rockhampton. We ate lots of tasty food and drank soooo much delicious booze including a wide range of beers provided by Ben, a proper bottle of champagne (that was surprisingly delicious) and the cake flavoured vodka I brought back from the USA.
Boxing day was all about going to see the new Hobbit (it was excellent, as expected) and then relaxing for the rest of the day, occasionally stuffing my face with Christmas leftovers
I got pretty spoiled with presents between both my birthday and Christmas:
I got lots of Black Milk including a couple of vouchers, shoes, perfume, jewelry, books, stationary, a plant, a giant clock, a voucher to get my hair cut (finally), a Sodastream, a tattoo voucher and so much more! In fact I later realised I forgot to include a few other presents! I am so spoiled :D
I hope everyone else had a lovely Christmas and got lovely things and spent time with those who mean the most to you!
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Welcome to the first post of my US trip. I have taken so long because I kept writing way too much! I had multiple paragraphs, probably a couple of pages worth of writing and I had only covered the first couple of days. Guys, I am not going to subject you to that. That is why I have a livejournal, not a blog. So please forgive me for being so slow, I just get so excited to recount my trip and the words just come flowing out! OK enough BS, let’s get started!
We arrived into LAX on Wednesday the 23rd of October, about 4 hours after we’d left Brisbane (gotta love timezones). We were exhausted from a long flight that was crazy turbulent but we arrived in one piece and were super excited about our upcoming adventure. Our first mission was to collect our hire car, which was daunting as LA roads and highways are meant to be scary, but we managed to get to the hotel (via a spot of shopping and fast food sampling along the way) unscathed and in good spirits. Awesome work, Ben!
Our first evening was… well, a drunken one. We went to some nearby craft beer bars in Hollywood and got a bit over excited (craft beer in America guys, OMG it’s amazing) and wound up at an old speak easy era jazz bar on the other side of town, based on the recommendation of one guy we chatted to at an earlier bar. It was a lot of fun but such a silly idea as we had an early start the next morning.
The next morning I had an appointment to get awesome 3D deco nails by a lady called Mari in Torrence, which is south-west LA, about a 40 minute drive from where we were staying in Hollywood. Oh, and we’d be in peak hour traffic. Darn. Being hungover while experiencing LA highways ended up being quite the adventure, in fact it was one of the scariest experiences of my life. The roads would just split and we’d be whisked off in the wrong direction without knowing how or why. Our gps didn’t make any sense because of the crazy roads and we ended up running so late. Thankfully Mari still managed to squeeze me in and gave me the most kawaii Halloween nails ever!
Once we got back to the hotel and had an anxiety-induced nap, we felt refreshed and ready for the rest of our big day. We ended up walking to the main strip of Hollywood because we weren’t driving and cabs aren’t easy to find in LA, but it was a lovely warm day so we enjoyed the stroll. We followed the Hollywood Walk of Fame (where we stumbled upon the only star I really cared about, Buster Keaton!), stopping at a bar for a beer, standing outside of the Chinese Theatre as it was closed for an event and then had lunch at Hooters which was hilarious. Ben was very excited indeed to get a photo of me with a bunch of the Hooters girls.
Now full of food and drinks we grabbed a cab up to Universal Studios for Halloween Horror Nights! It was just dark when we arrived and there were teenagers everywhere. Once inside we were almost immediately mobbed by people dressed as people from The Purge, brandishing chainsaws (I think they were real too, just with the chains removed) which was absolutely terrifying! Once I got past them and screamed my head off, we were able to have look at the park. Naturally we were immediately drawn to Krustyland where I finally got to go on the Simpsons ride (I’m still sad the Back to the Future ride was scrapped for it, but it was still a lot of fun) and marvel at all the cool Simpsons merchandise. We managed to go through all of the mazes which were all pretty darn scary and mostly filled with zombies (the main theme was The Walking Dead) as well as all of the rides that were open. It was a really fun night!
On the Friday we got up early for a proper American diner breakfast and went on a tour of Paramount Studios which was just up the road from our hotel. While Paramount isn’t as easily recognised as some of the other big Hollywood studios, they’ve had an amazing history and so many cools films and TV shows have been made there. Our guide was also such a cool dude which made it all the more fun. After the tour we went and sussed out a couple more craft beer bars before I headed to the Beverley Centre to do some shopping at Sephora and Forever 21. FUN! Once my shopping quota was filled we then headed to the Largo to see a performance by Jon Brion, something Ben has always dreamed of doing (it was really cool but I was so exhausted I almost fell asleep like a total jerk).
Because of how much we loved the Paramount tour, we booked a tour of Warner Bros studios for the next morning, which was amazing simply because of all the Harry Potter stuff they had on display everywhere. This your guide was a bit of a dork and really stuck to the script so it wasn’t quite as interesting but still a bunch of fun! We then headed back to the main strip of Hollywood to look at the autographs and hand prints at the Chinese Theatre and other touristy stuff before I (kind of) randomly got a tattoo. OK so I had considered it already but it wasn’t until we found a really cool place in the back of a rockabilly shop called Tinta Rebelde that I decided to go for it. I got a Jack O Lantern candy bucket which Chris drew up perfectly the first go. I got it on the inside of my leg (above my ankle) which, in retrospect, was a poor placement choice (I’ll elaborate later). Once I was all done there we went back to the hotel to decide what to do that evening. We initially wanted to see a film at Hollywood Forever cemetery (The Craft was screening which neither of us were crazy about, but seeing it in a cemetery sure had its appeal) but then Ben found out there was a screening of Elijah Woods new film which he’d even be at! Along the way we planned to go look at all the shops further up Melrose Avenue but we kind of ran out of time. I did manage to get to Japan LA and buy up a storm though, so that was well worth it.
We saw Grand Piano at the Silent Film Theatre, where I happened to get into a conversation with Elijah at the candy bar. I HAD A CASUAL CHAT TO FRODO AT A SCREENING OF HIS OWN FILM, GUYS! It was awesome. He just started talking about the cupcake I was buying (Halloween themed, of course) and I totally played it cool and chatted back!!! The film itself was great, it’s by Spanish director Eugenio Mira so possibly won’t get a mainstream release but worth checking out if you like the idea of a somewhat light-hearted thriller about a famous pianist getting blackmailed by a crazed sniper (really, it’s a lot of fun)!
On Sunday we had a road trip down to San Marcos to visit some breweries (Stone and Lost Abbey). Ben drove the whole way and was getting pretty darn good at it too. We stopped along the way to look at San Onofre beach and had Denny’s for lunch (so. much. food). I got pretty drunk because Ben kept giving me his beers so he could drive home. It was such a nice day, and a little bit of a chance to unwind after doing so much already.
And then the big day came, it was time to go to Disneyland. We chose to go Monday to avoid crowds and boy did we. We barely had to line up for more than 10 minutes all day! The weather was pretty cool and even rained a bit in the morning so it was especially quiet, which suited us! Oh man I love Disneyland, I went when I was 14 with my family and it was still as magical as ever. Plus this time we got to go to California Adventure which was SO GOOD. Not only do they have two awesome rides (Tower of Terror and the California Screamin’) but there was a craft beer bar which served pumpkin cider which was the tastiest thing EVER! It was such an intense day though, and my tattoo was so sore I could barely walk by the end, but we lasted nearly 12 whole hours. I also bumped into Stephiee who I’ve followed online for years, dressed as a superhero version of Rapunzel for the Halloween party at Disneyland – cute!
The next day was our last day and we only really had the morning as we had a flight at lunch time so we just spend some time wandering through the Hollywood Forever cemetery (so many ostentatious graves, and most of them weren’t for celebrities either) before we drove to LAX, bound for Vegas!
Posted by Cara » Add Comment »
I’m still typing up my blog posts about my trip but I thought in the meantime I’d do a vlog post. Enjoy!
(It’s a bit longer than expected, I guess I got a bit over excited, heh)
Posted by Cara » 3 Comments »
Well howdy y’all! Guess who got back from the USA today? Let me just start off by saying it was AMAZING and I’m a tiny bit bummed to be back in Brisbane. I mean, being able to rest, hug my pup and walk around the house in my underwear has definitely been wonderful but I really do love travelling and the USA was incredible.
I am going to write up a bunch of blogs about my trip, which will probably focus on each place we went to as well as a post or two about some of my America-wide experiences. This is mostly for my own benefit so that I have an everlasting memory of my trip but I also hope it will give people some helpful tips before they embark on a trip to the crazy ol’ US of A. There are more than a few tips I know I wish someone had told me about before we went, so I’d love to help other people have the best trip ever by giving them plenty of heads up about what to expect.
While I upload all of the happy snaps to my flickr, I thought I’d share some of the highlights of my trip to get the ball rolling (in no particular order):
- THEME PARKS! We managed to go to four (yep, FOUR) on this trip. Disneyland and Universal Studios in LA and Disney World and Universal in Orlando.
- THE WIZARDING WORLD OF HARRY POTTER! Need I say more?
- Getting a Halloween tattoo in LA (even if it caused me much duress for most of the trip because of the placement).
- Finally getting to see Japan LA in real life and buying so many awesome things. I was in a rush (see next point) so I could have gone REALLY crazy if I’d had more time.
- Going to see Elijah Wood’s new film in LA and standing beside him in the line at the candy bar where he struck up a conversation with me!
- Going to Las Vegas as an adult, walking down the street drinking booze and discovering the majesty of Downtown Vegas. Oh and spending Halloween there!
- Falling in love with New Orleans completely and utterly.
- Trying so many delicious American craft beers everywhere we went.
- Finally seeing New York where we saw and did SO MUCH! That city is crazy and wonderful!
- Catching up with Cam, one of my best friends who I lived with in London. Also finally meeting Maya who I’ve known online for 10 years now!
- Meeting and spending a lovely evening with Twinkie Chan who’s a bit of a crafty, kawaii hero of mine (she even blogged about our encounter!)
- All of the animals! Squirrels, scores of dogs in coats, lizards, alligators, birds… there were so many!
OK that’s all I can think of without going totally berserk and just listening ever single thing we did. Ben and I had an amazing trip and I really can’t wait to share it with you all. Lots of photos will be coming soon!