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A Beery Visit to Wellington

August 25, 2015
Fashion and makeup, My Life, Parties and Fun, Travel

Last week Ben and I went to Wellington, New Zealand with a bunch of beer-industry mates for a short trip away and to visit a huge craft beer festival called Beervana. Ben has been to it twice before but this was my first time, in fact it was my first proper visit to Wellington as we didn’t stay there when my family traveled around New Zealand back in 1999.

When we left Brisbane is was pretty much t-shirt weather but Wellington was super chilly. After taking the above photo I popped on a 2nd pair of stockings, changed into a bigger coat and grabbed my scarf because whooooaaa!  I was dramatically unprepared for just how cold it was going to be, though I was assured it was a brief cold snap. We stayed in an excellent unit thanks to AirBnB which was lovely and central. Our first evening was pretty easy, we went to ParrotDog, a local brewery for a few drinks before eating ourselves silly at Sweet Mother’s Kitchen. Mmm beignets!

 

The next morning Ben and I headed to Dr Morse INC for tattoos! Ben had booked us spots about six months before but I didn’t really think of what design I wanted until two weeks before. I finally decided it was time to make my love of Lumpy Space Princess a permanent thing and opted for a cute ice cream, design because ice cream is delicious! I was tattooed by Nursey who was absolutely lovely and came up with such an excellent design that looks better than I possibly imagined! I highly recommend her and the studio, though I’m sad to say they probably won’t be in the submarine that you access via a tardis by then! I know that sounds bizarre but their studio was literally designed to look like a sub and the lifts were made to look like the tardis. AMAZING! But alas they’re changing locations soon :(

 

Friday was the first  day of Beervana and I was determined to wear my recently put together Simpsons-themed outfit! I bought the top from Peter Alexander which I matched with my Black Milk Beer leggings, a bow we made for Ruby Kawaii and a Duff beer charm Ben usually has on his keychain! I was definitely the brightest person there, everyone else wore dark colours so I stuck out like a sore thumb. It was incredible! Georgie took this brilliant photo as we were leaving which summed up the contrast pretty darn well!

Afterwards we went on a pub crawl back into the centre of town with what appeared to be most of the other people who’d been at Beervana, which turned a little bit messy within no time. I’d personally enjoyed a lot of delicious beers (and cider!) so I was in very high spirits too. We wound up back at ParrotDog where we terrorised the staff by having a very spirited dance off thanks to the DJ who was playing a decent selection of old RnB and hip hop tracks.

On Saturday we went back to Beervana for our second session, some of us were feeling a lot worse than others thanks to our actions the night before. Thankfully Ben and I went home pretty early on so we weren’t too dusty. We sampled some of the beers and ciders we missed the day before and revisited our favourites. It was so much busier than the day before and therefore a bit hectic but still fun. We ran late so I missed out on a talk about women in the beer industry which was a damn shame, especially because I later found out a few men kept mansplaining stuff which I would have loved to have argued against! We partied a lot less hard that evening, spending quite a lot of time in our unit watching Netflix which suited me just fine!

 
 

On Sunday we went to WETA Workshop! It was AWESOME! We couldn’t take any photos on the tour but I’m sure you get good idea of the cool stuff we saw from the trolls they had out the front! They showed us the process of making props and other special effects from concept to the end product, we saw lots of cool stuff from some of our favourite movies (ie. Lord of the Rings, District 9, Braindead etc) and learned heaps about the industry and even got some hints about some of their future projects. Afterwards we wandered to the Roxy Cinema to look at the Gandalf statue out front and because it’s the most beautiful old cinema that gets used for a lot of the stuff WETA works on too.

 

On our last day on Monday we managed to find the house from the cult classic Braindead to have a look at before having lunch and heading to the airport (where I finally saw the giant Gollum). Unfortunately our flight was super delayed because of bird strike so we had to wait around the airport for over five hours!!! It was pretty shit, especially since one lady took great personal offense to this and acted like a complete arsehole, even after police were called in to keep an eye on her! But we made it home safe and sound and without tearing our hair out so it was all good in the end!

 ruby_sig_2012

Japan: A Quick Summary

May 28, 2015
Japan, Life, My Life, Nails, Nerds and Geeks, Parties and Fun, Travel

godzilla

Hello friends! Ben and I are officially back from our 3-and-a-bit weeks in Japan and we’re already back at work! No time for rest ever, apparently! We had an AMAZING time on our trip, we barely stopped until close to the end and only because we were totally exhausted.

Our first stop was Tokyo where we spent 10 days. The first two we stayed with our friends Anekie and Iain who have been there for four years and are both teachers. They took us around a few of the days we were there including a huge day in Harajuku, to an Oktoberfest (yes, in May) in Odaiba, to a traditional street festival with lots of drunk people carrying shrines, karaoke, maid cafes and much more. On our own we explored places like Shinjuku (where we stayed), Nakano Broadway, Roppongi, Akihabara and Shibuya. We visited the Ghibli Museum, took a day trip out to see the plum blossoms in the shadow of Mt Fuji, went to the Robot Restaurant and both Disney parks.

The 2nd stop was Osaka where we stayed for one week. We discovered Ame-mura for fashion, music and pinball arcades. We explored Dotonbori and it’s many touristy sights. We wandered through rose-filled parks and visited excellent looking shrines (not all of which were open, damn 5pm closing times). We took a day trip to Nara to pat deer, look at massive shrines and then sneak into abandoned theme parks. We made friends with the owners of an awesome toy shop who happened to be famous Universal Monsters collectors, who took us out and about and made us feel incredibly welcome. I even got my nails done and we spent a day at Universal Studios.

The 3rd spot was Hiroshima where we had four days, which turned out to not be nearly enough. We met a heavily tattooed man named Potty who’s famous for being the #1 fan of the Hiroshima Carp baseball team and his sweet wife Misa. They took us out to dinner and were fabulous hosts, though I got stupidly drunk at the BBQ we all went to (possibly the drunkest I’ve been in many years, but gosh it was fun). We went to the Hiroshima Peace Museum which probably would have been a lot more moving were it not for the 200 or so school kids crowding the place and being rowdy. We went to Miyajima Island to pat more deer (much nicer than the ones in Nara) and admire the floating shrine. We spent a day traveling to and on Okunoshima Island (while I was stupendously hungover) which is overrun by wild but friendly bunnies who were more than happy to climb all over you for the perfect photo. No amount of hangover can withstand the power of bunnies!

Our last stop was Kyoto because we knew we’d need a place to wind down after so doing so much. We still managed to visit a number of shrines and temples, walk through the bamboo forest and got halfway up the Fushimi Inari Shrine walk. We even stumbled upon the delightful Kyoto Arashiyama Orgel Music Box Museum which we highly recommend! We did manage to find a decent amount of time to wind down, relax and get acquainted with the fact our trip was ending. We’d done so much that we were actually pretty ready for it, plus we missed our dogs :)

I won’t be so bold to suggest I will get around to posting more detailed accounts of the trip (we all know how badly I did with my US trip in 2013) but I’ll definitely post a bit more about some of my favourite days, such as the time spent in Harajuku and our Nara day trip.

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Super Quick Melbourne Trip

March 17, 2015
Feminism, Kawaii Klaws, My Life, Nails, Travel, Wonderful Weekend

Last weekend Ben and popped down to Melbourne very briefly, in fact we only had two days there! The main reason for our visit was because some friends of Ben’s were getting married, but I was also fortunate enough to coordinate a nail art gig for a feminist fundraiser event for the same weekend! It was my first ever interstate nail art event too so it was all very exciting.

We flew in early afternoon of the Saturday where we pretty much had to get ready for the wedding right away (well I did, Ben only took 10 minutes to get ready, the chump). It was held at Collingwood Children’s Farm which is a fully operational farm right in Melbourne City. Amazing! It was such a lovely venue for a wedding and I got to pat/stare at a bunch of animals :D


How good does Ben look in a suit? It’s the one he had made in Thailand last year and this was his first time wearing it! My dress is from Dangerfield and stockings by Black Milk Clothing.

The next day we took it easy die to some hangovers from partying hard at the reception, stuffed our faces with vegan fare at the Cornish Arms, went home for a nap and then headed to the Tote for my nail art event. A friend on Facebook approached me to do nails at her event because local nail artists wanted to charge a booking fee which she was unable to do as it was a fundraiser event, so I was delighted to offer my services. It was called Y LISTEN and was held on International Women’s Day and was raising money for YWCA Victoria. There were lots of bands and musicians playing, all female-dominated and it was a really cool night. I was shocked by just how stylish the women of Melbourne can be, Brisbane has a long way to go.

 

We flew out the next morning feeling somewhat worse for wear, but it was fun to have such a whirlwind trip to Melbourne and get back to our regular schedule again!

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A Week in Melbourne

November 16, 2014
Halloween, My Life, Nerds and Geeks, Travel, Wonderful Weekend

Last weekend Ben and I went to PAX AUS, the gaming convention. Unlike last year though we decided to make a little holiday out of it instead of just flying in and straight back out again (seriously, that was such a bad idea last year). We left Brisbane bright and early on what was obviously going to be a very hot day (in fact it got to 38 degrees which it stayed for three more days, yuck) to arrive in Melbourne on the tail end of an enormous thunderstorm. On ya Melbourne!

We spent the week staying with our awesome friends Josie and Tom in Brunswick East which meant we were nice and central (and didn’t blow the budget on accommodation, yay). Apart from PAX, we didn’t have any solid plans and just decided to take it pretty easy, catching up with friends and having good food and drinks, which we did in abundance.

As it was the lead up to Halloween and I was almost at the end of my #31DaysofHalloweenChallenge (I’ll be posting about it soon), things were distinctly Halloween themed for the first five days. In fat we had a Halloween party to prepare ourselves for! Josie is actually completing a PHD in Monstrology (not even kidding) with her focus being on Australian Monsters. She’s even started up a publishing company and wrote an awesome article on the Australian way to do Halloween. As a result the theme for our costumes was “monstralian” which was challenging but very fun (even though I didn’t manage to get the pieces for my costume until the afternoon of Halloween itself).

Instead of boring y’all with a wall of text, here’s a photo essay of our trip :)

First beers of the trip with Josie!

We surprised Caz with a visit to her work, All Star Comics. That is how a comic book shop ought to look. No wonder they’re award winning!

I got to catch up with Mia who was about to embark on a massive trip of the USA. Sahhh jelly.

 

Found some hilarious boob-things while costume hunting. Ben contemplating his vegan double down.

 

We caught up with a bug bunch of mates at the Catfish where Dave Callan and I were creepy in doorways.

Hanging out at I Scream Nails who I’ve been a fan of for a while now and get a lot of my nail art inspiration from.

Halloween day was a good one, not only did I get cool nails but  I got another Halloween tattoo! This was done by Shell Valentine from Dangerzone Tattoo. How cute is it??? Many thanks to Danella who drove me around town to get all my Halloween stuff done!

Ben and I ended dressing up as the Babadook and Lola from the Loved Ones for Halloween, two excellent Aussie horror films.

 

Imitating the poster from the Loved Ones and hanging out with Tom (were-dingo) and Josie (the siren from her book).

 

Day one of PAX with Josie and Tom where I saw a couple of seminars and tried out the console and indie games. Later on we had dinner and coffee dates with Caz and Liam in the city.

 

Day two of PAX was spent playing lots of tabletop games with Ben. We even tried out a miniatures war game which was surprisingly good fun! We also learned a few indie boardgames before heading home, exhausted from our week.

It was a really lovely week full of catch up’s with friends, delicious beers at cool venues, Halloween adventures and good ol’ fashioned geekery. Considering how jam packed our holidays tend to be, it was lovely to have a laid back week in another city for once. Until next time, Melbourne!

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Our USA Trip – New Orleans

September 21, 2014
Travel, USA Holiday

Our third stop in the USA was New Orleans, and the first city I’d never been to before so I didn’t know what to expect. I always hear people raving about New Orleans though I’d never been able to work out exactly what made the place so appealing except that there was  a special “feel” to the place. We had high expectations, Ben especially, and we were not let down.

As we’d had very little sleep the night before we were feeling absolutely exhausted by the time we landed and got dropped off at our hotel. The plan was to take it easy that night and get into it the next day. But as I was napping, Ben looked up what was on in town and immediately found a million things to do, so a restful night was no longer on the cards. Plus it was Friday night, and we’d already been warned we hadn’t allowed enough time there, so of course we needed to go do something!

   
We went straight into the French Quarter and directly to Bourbon Street which people told us was only worth a quick look and then to avoid. It was still only early evening but we could see why it wasn’t some peoples cups of tea, but we loved it! Basically, Bourbon Street is the big party strip where the street is closed from traffic at night and people get drunk and girls flash their boobs for beads (not just during mardi gras either, this is apparently an all-the-time thing, as we witnessed). It’s gaudy and bright and full of super drunk people of all ages, but god it was fun. You can also drink on the streets of New Orleans and there are daiquiri bars EVERYWHERE so we started at one end with a daiquiri each and wandered down the street, watching people and admiring the tacky neon lights and free entertainment. At midnight we went to a jazz show at the Preservation Hall which was amazing. The hall looks a million years old and is pretty nondescript except for all the people lining up to get in. Inside you try to find a space to sit or stand before being entertained with their own jazz band or one of the special guests (in our case it was Shovels and Rope). It was delightful and we totally forgot how tired we were when we were leaving and amongst the madness of Bourbon Street again.

  
The next day we felt refreshed and were very keen to see New Orleans by day. We cabbed it back to the French Quarter (note to selves: any money saved by staying outside of the French Quarter just got spent on expensive taxi rides. Next time, stay in the Quarter) and wandered the streets, looking at shops, having an awesome lunch (fried green tomatoes are the BEST), watching buskers play jazz on the streets and generally absorbing as much as possible. Bourbon Street is much quieter by day but most of the bars are open and we witnessed one hosting a booty dance competition with a bunch of middle aged white women shaking their butts on stage which was hilarious. We also came across a Caribbean celebration in Louis Armstrong park where ladies were dressed in proper carnivale gear and twerked on stage. Yes! We then started walking over to Frenchman Street (the lass trashy, cooler street for partying than Bourbon Street) while admiring the incredible homes throughout the Quarter. Along the way we found the oldest bar in New Orleans and saw a wedding procession come down the street, the bride and groom had elaborate parasols and danced down the street followed by the wedding party and a freaking brass band! Gosh it was cool.

 
On Frenchman Street was had tickets to see John Boutté at the d.b.a with his band. Ben is a huge fan of the TV show Treme so was very excited to see him live (he performs the theme song to the show). It was a really cool show in a very busy bar with the tiniest stage. Afterwards we happened upon another show Ben was desperate to see, the Rebirth Brass Band at Maison which was just up the road. These guys were also on Treme a few times and were amazing! To look at them you’d think they were rappers, not incredible jazz musicians. The show was so much fun, I danced so much despite the venue being absolutely packed out to the point of suffocation. It also happened to be the Day of the Dead festival so it was really cool to see people dressed up for it (with full sugar-skull makeup) as well as Halloween. Frenchman Street is kind of known for being a less trashy version of Bourbon Street but still great to party on and I won’t disagree, it was very busy and packed with bars and restaurants but it didn’t feel as touristy as Bourbon Street (no tacky souvenir shops for one).

  
On Sunday we were keen to spend the day being good little tourists and go look at some of the sights by day. Our first stop was City Park to play mini golf which should have been easy enough but most of the park was closed for the Voodoo Festival! It was a very pretty golf course and I’m proud to say I was quickly getting good at mini golf! Afterwards we walked through the park against the stream of festival goers where I was delighted by a enormous group of obnoxious birds by a lake. We then made our way to the Garden district where we wanted to look at the fabulous homes in the nicest part of town, which still had their Halloween decorations up, much to my delight. We caught the trolleys to get around which were dirt cheap and so much fun! One stop was at The Avenue Pub which is a massive, famous craft beer pub that’s open 24/7 and has something like 40 taps! THere were so many beers to try we ended up getting a bunch while sitting in the sun on the balcony and got a bit tipsy pretty quickly. Ben being the sort of guy he is got talking to some locals who happened to be the brewers of one of the beers on tap, before we were approached by a lovely lady named Jan whojoined us to discuss craft beers and Australia. After a bunch more beers were had we found ourselves going to a house party with them as they had a friend who lived near City Park an you could see the main stage of the Voodoo Festival from their front yard. So we went and watched Kid Rock and The Cure at a NOLA local’s house while drinking their beer and eating their delicious homemade food (hey were aghast when we offered them money, insisting that was what southern hospitality was all about). It definitely wasn’t how we’d planned to spend our day but it was such an awesome experience!

  
The next day we decided we really needed to knuckle down and see some sights since our Sunday was hijacked by all of our random adventures. We started off back in the Garden district where we had a late breakfast at a nice restaurant (including breakfast cocktails, yum!) before wandering through to some of the cemeteries which were incredible. Where Hollywood forever had been an extravagant, flashy showbiz-style cemetery, the ones in New Orleans were proper looking cemeteries, cluttered and kind of run down but still very beautiful. We were blown away when we overheard a man complaining about having to fix a broken tap in order to maintain his own plot! Crazy! We attempted to track down Nicholas Cage’s tomb but had no luck. After  few hours in the Garden district we made our way to the National WWII Museum which was interesting though the highlight for me was probably finding the hot pink, blinged out souvenirs in the gift shop. We then made our way back to the French Quarter, browsing in various shops (I still regret not getting the “Heisenberg” porkpie hat we saw at the hat shop Goorin Bros, it was divine) and popping into a few bars recommended by friends (such as Aunt Tiki’s). We found a restaurant to have dinner at where our waitress was absolutely fascinated by us, she kept commenting on everything we said and did and apparently found our “posh” accents delightful. Our final adventure was to get some beignets at Café du Monde which I’d never heard of and immediately fell in love with. Think of a croissant cross  donut (but not a cronut) covered in an inch thick of icing sugar and washed down with cold milk. Yep, heaven!

Heading back to our hotel we both agreed Nw Orleans was probably going to be the highlight of the trip and we already couldn’t wait to return!

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Homesick for the USA

September 19, 2014
My Life, Travel, USA Holiday

I have been having a hard week but I’m really ashamed to admit why. I have been feeling very, very sad in an almost homesick kind of way, about the USA. It’s honestly the only thing I’ve been thinking about, and knowing I have no plans to go back any time soon is actually kind of heartbreaking. I can think of a few reasons why this is, I have a few friends in the US right now and their instagram feeds have been absolutely fantastic to watch. We had our American friend Tony and Renae stay with us this week for work/fun reasons who are both very happy to talk about America with me, and are going back to the US for a holiday over Halloween. I am so jealous! They’ll be celebrating Halloween in Chicago, where I’ve always wanted to visit. Then two girls I know from instagram who happened to be in the US the same time as we were last year are both going back again! Then on top of everything I follow a bunch of Americans on instagram who keep doing awesome things (like The Simpsons Take the Bowl, going to Disneyland, buying Halloween stuff etc). So yeah… I’ve been feeling kinda blue about it!

It really does feel like a “first world problem” (a phrase I usually loathe but can sometimes be apt) because it’s been less than a year since we went… which is probably another reason why it’s been on my mind so much now I think about it. I mean it’s not like we don’t have more travel planned! We’ve already been overseas this year when we went to Thailand in April, and we’ve booked a three-week trip to Japan in May next year! I’m so excited about that and am planning to make this trip 1000x better than the one in 2009 because my travel companion was crap and we only had a week there which wasn’t nearly enough. I’m actually hoping it’s coming up to that-time-of-month so I’m just extra emotional, I don’t wanna feel like this any longer!

So I’m writing this to vent and try to get it out of my system, and also mention that I am going to finish my posts about our US trip which I only did two of! Out of six! I’m not sure if you guys like reading them but I sure loved writing them and reading back over them (very therapeutic this morning) so I’ll try to get them done in the next week or so. Please bare with me in this difficult time (lol) and enjoy my America-trip musings!

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Current Mood: (anxious) anxious

A brief trip to Thailand

May 12, 2014
My Life, Travel

Over the Easter break Ben and I went to Thailand for the first time ever! To behonest we weren’t quite ready for another overseas holiday but seeing as it was for his little sisters wedding, of course we had to go!

Thailand has never been very high up on my list of countries to visit, mostly because there are other Asian countries I wanted to visit first (South Korea, Hong Kong and Japan again, obviously) but instead of grumbling I figured it was a good way to gauge how much I liked the country to decide to have a longer trip in the future. Plus it was a chance to finally have a relaxing holiday where there wasn’t an expectation to go sight seeing and adventuring every day.

We flew in before everyone else, arriving late on Wednesday night, with Air Asia who were actually pretty good despite being an extremely budget airline. The Gold Coast -> Kuala Lumpur leg was actually incredibly spacious which worked well for my fractured foot. Our five hour stop over in KL wasn’t great, it’s a pretty crappy airport so five hours dragged like crazy. But we only had a 45 minute flight to Phuket so we were there in no time. My first impression was “Bloody hell it’s hot. And muggy!” before noting how non-Westernised the place looked as we zoomed across the island to our hotel. It’s hard to explain but I guess because I’ve only ever traveled to first world countries, I’m used to seeing everything being pretty similar in terms of buildings and roads with only some minor differences to differentiate countries from one another. Seeing Thai style shops and homes, street food carts everywhere, hundreds of people zipping around on scooters (usually without helmets) or packed into the back of utes was fascinating! We were also struck by how busy the place was despite it being 11pm mid week, there were people (including kids) everywhere and it was positively bustling.

We stayed at Cape Panwa Hotel which is waaaaay down the bottom right of the island and was very lovely. By the time we arrived we were pretty beat so we both had a drink at the bar before getting a good night sleep. The next day we decided to explore the hotels private beach and get our relaxing well under way, especially before all of the relatives started turning up. Needless to say sunbaking on a beautiful private beach with a cocktail is one of the nicest things anyone can experience! Ben’s parents arrive at lunch time so we caught up with them and the other rellies who were trickling in.

tuktuk

One the Friday we decided to check out Phuket Town but we went on the wrong day and at the wrong time because it was really quiet and all the markets were closed. Bummer! We did have lunch at an amazing little restaurant that had only opened that day. In fact we were their first customers! We also rose our first ever tuk tuk which was so much fun! On the Saturday we kept things chilled again in anticipation of THE WEDDING the next day!

The wedding was absolutely beautiful, and because it was all organised by the resort, it was pretty much stress free too! The ceremony was held down the far end of the private beach and was so ridiculously picturesque. The layout was simple and beautiful, and the flowers used were the most glorious yellow and purple orchids I’ve ever seen. Tara looked gorgeous in her gown (a beautiful off-white with silver beads and included delicate butterfly wings draped across her back) while Phil looked so relaxed and happy, possibly because he didn’t have to wear shoes!

 

The reception was held at Panwa House near the beach and was a beautiful place for photos and the ridiculous amazing feast we had to eat (I may have possible eaten a lot more than I needed to). The only downfall was the fact it was so hot it was almost impossible for anyone to dance for longer than a song or two so we all ended up sitting in groups chatting with our fancy cocktails until late. Though there was a moment after the first dance where they played “Everything is Awesome” from the Lego Movie where everyone danced like crazy which was absolutely hilarious!

The next day a small group of us decided to make our way to Patong which we were told was where most of the stereotypes about Thailand comes from. But first we stopped over at Karon Beach for Dino mini golf! The whole place was awesome, the restaurant and bar looked like they were plucked straight from the Flintstones and they served cocktails in coconuts! We played a vigorous game of minigolf which Danny won, much to Ben’s disgust, made sad eyes at the baby elephant out the front that you paid less than a dollar to get a photo with (I’m against using animals as attractions in Thailand, though it was pretty dang hard to resist this little guy) before catching a tuk tuk to Patong.

 

Well… Patong sure was an eye opener! I don’t know how else to describe it, really. We mostly just wandered up and down Bangla Road which was pretty revolting albeit in a fun kind of way. You have to literally dodge the hawkers who try to lure you to the ping pong shows (which we didn’t have any interest in seeing, as we’re also against using humans as attractions), and your eyes are assaulted by neon lights and rows upon rows of bars with girls table top or pole dancing. Oh and all of the middle aged white men who hung out in all of the Aussie bars, clearly there to exploit the local sex industry. Gross. We ended up drinking a lot, making friends with a stripper in Suzy Wong’s Ass Smacking Fun (yes that was a real place) and caching an overpriced disco tuk tuk back to the resort super late.

Photo by Ben - bigfry.com

The next morning was hard, but we had to get up early as we were going on a yacht cruise to Phi Phi Island. I managed to get some much needed sleep on the yacht on the way to the island so I was feeling pretty decent again as we arrived at our first stop, Monkey Island! To my great delight the boat crew were throwing bread into the water and thousands of small, tropical fish were swarming and going CRAZY for it. I immediately jumped in and got involved by holding bread just out in front of me and giggling like crazy as they swarmed around me, even nibbling my hands and back! After swimming around a bit, we realised there were actual monkeys on the beach! We weren’t meant to be actually going on this island but Ben and I were determined to see the monkeys so we swam ashore (Ben even took his camera gear with him by putting it in a waterproof bag and holding it over his head). They monkeys were SOOO CUTE! They were all rummaging through the trash on the shore or eating the watermelon someone had apparently dumped there for them. There were even a couple of babies who I just wanted to cuddle but they got pretty angry at you if you got too close! We ran out of time to actually go to Phi Phi Island (not a very well organised yacht cruise, apparently) so we headed back to the resort. Definitely worth it for the fish and monkey adventures though!

The next day was our final day in Phuket so we chilled out, going for some swims and much to my excitement, finding the lone resort monkey people kept telling me about! He was wandering down the hill towards the beach as we were heading down where someone gave him a mango so he sat and ate it for long enough for me to get some photos and give hi a good staring at! The rest of the day was pretty lousy as I managed to catch some sort of stomach big which rendered me useless for the afternoon. Boo! We flew home that night which worked out well for us because they took pity on me and my moon boot (oh yeah, I still had to wear the damn moon boot around Thailand) and bumped us up to premium economy! Yay for the moon boot!

It was a really fun trip and I got a badass tan to show for it. If I do end up returning to Thailand I think I’d do it to volunteer for one of the many animal rescue organisations, most likely one of the ones for stray dogs. It definitely showed me why people love Thailand so much, so I’m appreciative I got the chance to go!

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Our USA Trip – Las Vegas

January 18, 2014
My Life, Parties and Fun, Travel, USA Holiday


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 Fright 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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Our USA Trip – Los Angeles

December 6, 2013
Movies, My Life, Nails, Nerds and Geeks, Parties and Fun, Travel

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!

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Holiday Vlog

November 28, 2013
Travel, vlog

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)

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