A Vegas 21st

So I turned 21.  And it’s still so weird to think about.  Like, I’m 5’1 and look as if I’m 15 years old, how am I already 21!?  I will say though that it’s pretty awesome to be able to go to bars now and finally be legal.

So what better way to spend the big 2 1 than in Las Vegas, the city of casinos, bars, nightclubs, and everything else 21 and over?

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I’ve been to Las Vegas a couple times before turning 21, but finally being able to do things I couldn’t have done before made it so much more fun this time around.

As a Seattleite, and just human in general, the 115-degree weather nearly killed me.  I had never been in such intense heat, it was awful.  Although I was super thankful for the tan I got from the trip.

One of the very first things I did on my first day in Vegas was eat lunch at In-N-Out.  I had no idea there was an In-N-Out in Vegas until I was walking through the malls and saw so many In-N-Out soda cups.  I was like “oh my god, I need to go there right now,” I was SO excited and instantly tracked it down on my GPS.

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One of my favorite parts of the strip is New York, New York.  I absolutely love New York City and I think a small version of it in Vegas is really cool, replicating the types of buildings and especially the Brooklyn Bridge.

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Walking through New York New York was a ton of fun, although literally anywhere I walked in Vegas on this trip required me stepping inside the AC filled buildings any possible chance I could get, or even stepping through the misting stations that were sprawled out all along the strip.  Which always led to me buying a drink, gambling at the casinos, or going on shopping sprees!

Seriously the only thing that made me sad was the shopping I did, my poor bank account!  So many cute clothes everywhere I just couldn’t resist, although I am totally satisfied with the clothing that I purchased.

Out of all the clothes I bought, I have one, in particular, that is my absolute favorite buy.

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This little black dress that I purchased from French Connection I absolutely adore.  I bought it to wear to the nightclubs and is perfect for clubbing and a night out in the city.  What made it even better was the super sale that it was on.  I mean, who wouldn’t get super pumped at a $200 dress marked down to $40?!  Talk about the deals.

But this brings me to my next adventure.

One of the big things I decided to do in Vegas for my 21st was to go to my first nightclub.  I figured it would be a lot more fun to check out a nightclub in the city with some of the best nightclubs in the country compared to those at home.

I am a total Calvin Harris fan and was stoked to find out he was performing at Omnia Nightclub at Caesar’s Palace on Friday nights, so of course, I chose that!

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Being at Omnia was so cool.  The nightclub was awesome.  The terrace overlooking the strip was amazing to see at night, and the inside of the club was really cool as well.  With so many flashing lights and good music, it was a ton of fun.  Probably one of the best parts of the trip.

As it kept getting later and later in the night, more and more people kept showing up and it was totally jam-packed full.  I’ll always remember my first nightclub experience as basically being hovered by so many people behind me to the point where I needed my personal space.  Besides the negative aspects of the nightclub, I still enjoyed it the most, it was just so cool and something I had never done before.

 

Now, as it has been a month since the trip, I am missing the poolside smoothies, endless sunshine, and all the fun things to do on vacation.  Cheers to 21!

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Exploring Oahu, HI

I’ve been to Hawaii a couple times throughout my life and absolutely love it.  From the amazing beaches, great weather, endless amount of palm trees, tropical fruit, sightseeing, and total relaxation, what’s not to like!

I typically visit Maui or the big island of Hawaii, just because those are my favorite Hawaiian Islands and totally give off the Hawaiian island lifestyle.  But this time, I traveled to Oahu to explore Waikiki Beach and Honolulu in the city.  And being a total city girl, I loved it just as much, especially since it was in paradise!

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Reflecting back on the trip, I’d like to share a roundup of some of my favorite things about the trip, including my favorite places to eat, see, visit, shop, etc.

 

Where to Eat:

What’s fun about traveling and going on vacation is eating at new restaurants that you don’t always see at home.  As a semi-frequent Hawaii tourist, I have a few restaurants that I am always sure to visit each time I’m on the islands.  Here is a list of some eats from my visit in Honolulu that I definitely recommend.

  • Cheeseburger in Paradise

This is my all time favorite burger restaurant in Hawaii.  They serve some of the best hamburgers I’ve had and pretty tasty french fries along side of that.  Paired with a fruity tropical drink, Hawaiian Sunburn (consisting of raspberry, orange, vodka, and fruit on top), it’s one of the best Hawaiian meals.

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  • Lulu’s Waikiki

Overlooking Waikiki Beach, Lulu’s offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day and some good views of Waikiki Beach.  Right across the street from my hotel, my boyfriend and I came here for breakfast one morning and it was so delicious.  Sitting at the bar top overlooking the beach was a total bonus with good food too.  I basically consider myself a connoisseur of french toast so obviously couldn’t help but order it at Lulu’s when I saw it on the menu, and of course, it was delicious!

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  • Arancino di Mare

Conveniently located at the hotel I was staying at (Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa), Arancino di Mare offered probably one of the fanciest breakfasts I’ve ever had, because “treat yo’ self,” right?  With such fine Italian dining, I couldn’t even pronounce half of the food on the menu.  However, what stood out to me the most and what I could actually pronounce were the Frutti di Bosco breakfast crepes.  Consisting of strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, banana, and whipped cream, it was seriously almost too fancy to eat, very high quality.

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  • Sarento’s At The Top Of The Ilikai

Sarento’s offered some great food and probably some of the best restaurant service I’ve ever received.  With about five waiters/waitresses ensuring my boyfriend and I always had everything that we needed, we had a great full course meal from appetizers, the main course, desserts, and drinks.  And a huge plus, the view is amazing.  Located at the penthouse, very top of the Ilikai hotel, you have all around views of Honolulu and other parts of the island as well.

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  • Cuckoo Coconuts

A cute, little outdoor restaurant with live Hawaiian music was a fun restaurant to eat at to enjoy the Hawaii heat and listen to local music artists perform.  Their teriyaki chicken and rice were super good as well!

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Where to Shop:

Some great stores to shop at, excluding retail chains that aren’t typically offered around the rest of the country are:

  • Honolulu Cookie Company
  • ABC Stores
  • Billabong
  • Island Sole
  • Mahina
  • Angels By The Sea
  • Cinnamon Girl

These shops are all very unique as they are not in every single state of the U.S.  With cute island clothing and other little gifts, it’s so much fun to look around, even if you’re not planning on buying anything.

 

What to Do:

  • Dolphin Encounter at Sea Life Park

One of my bucket list things to do has always been to swim/interact with the dolphins at some of the Hawaii parks, and I was beyond happy to finally have the experience on this trip.  Sea Life Park in Waimanalo on the east side of the island is a really cool marine mammal park and aquarium that was a lot of fun to bus over to and spend a couple of hours interacting with the dolphins and exploring the park and nearby beaches.

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  • Hike Diamond Head

Probably one of the most popular things to do in the Honolulu area is hike up Diamond Head for great views of Honolulu/Waikiki and all of the ocean surrounding the island.

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Rainier

Living in Western Washington, I see Mt. Rainier every day just about anywhere that I am at.  It’s always somewhere in sight and one of the best mountains that I see.

For the number of years I have lived in Washington, I figured it was about time I finally explore the area, and the weather could not have been more perfect on the day I went.  I did one small hike for just about a mile or two, and even that was enough to see so much of the mountain and the surrounding area.   Both the hike and driving around the park for a couple hours were awesome, there was so much to see and it was so cool to finally see the mountain up close.  Plus, there really are not a lot of places you can hike around the snow during summer time in shorts and a tank top and still be warm!

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The Best of the Pacific Northwest: San Juan Islands

Exploring is easy when you live in a state that offers so much sightseeing.  The San Juan Islands offer some of the best views of Western Washington, no matter which island you visit.

Last week I took a day trip up to Friday Harbor, located on San Juan Island, and I had a blast.  Friday Harbor is a cute little town right on the water that I love to visit during the summer time.

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Being totally honest, the commute to the island was definitely not ideal.  After about an hour driving and three hours of ferry rides, I was so excited to finally arrive.  And it was all worth it.

One of the main reasons I visited the town this summer was because I was dying to drive the mopeds around the island.  Susie’s Mopeds in Friday Harbor offers mopeds, scoot coupes, and electric bike rentals for a fun day on San Juan Island.

After realizing that I was too short and too underweight for the mopeds, my boyfriend and I decided to drive the scoot coupes instead.  It was SO much fun! At first looking at it, I didn’t think I’d enjoy it as much as the mopeds.  But I was totally wrong.  It was awesome!  My boyfriend and I took turns driving around and got to sit next to each other this way and experience it together.

In under three hours, we were able to see some of the islands greatest sights without seeing the entire island itself.  We drove to a couple beaches and had a great time cruising around in our fun vehicle for the day.  Plus, the view of the Olympic Mountains and all the other mountains around us on such a nice day was amazing.

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When I first started driving the scoot coupe, it took some practice before I could get the hang of there not being pedals, as everything was controlled from the steering.  I would like freak out and try to use the brakes, but there would be no pedal.  It definitely took some getting used to lol.

After we were done cruising around the island, I had to visit my favorite ice cream shop right on the water in Friday Harbor.  I visit the ice cream shop everytime I come to the island.  Definitely a must-have.  Friday Harbor Ice Cream Co. offers 72 flavors of the best ice cream I’ve ever had.  The Cookies ‘N Cream is my personal favorite.  Enjoying some ice cream on the water as evening was approaching was the perfect way to end the day.

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Hiking Little Si – North Bend, WA

Summer is here and that means hikes, hikes, hikes!  Probably one of the best things about living in the Pacific Northwest during the summer time is the endless amounts of hikes to do.

I am slowly starting to get back into hiking after not doing so since last summer.  And honestly, I felt so out of shape, lol!  One of my bucket list hikes this summer is Mt. Si in North Bend.  In preparation for that, I am starting off slow with some easier hikes before I advance on to some of the more challenging hikes.

So yesterday, I hiked Little Si.  Even though the clouds decided to come back out on the day this hike was planned, it was still a lot of fun, and still a great view.

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The hike was steep in some places and flat in others, but had great views all around.  I love this view of North Bend and into the mountains that surround my home.  So cool to see some rain pouring down in the distance too!  I would definitely recommend this hike for those who are on the same boat as me and want to ease their way into more advanced hikes.

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A Traveler’s Guide to Vancouver’s Top Attractions in Just Two Days

Back at it again. Summer is definitely my favorite time of year and pairs perfectly with my love of traveling.  The convenience of heading up north to British Columbia from Seattle is always a fun little excursion to enjoy on a weekend off of work in the summer time.  This trip marks my third summer in a row visiting the big city.

So what all is there to do in Vancouver BC?

A LOT.  The total pacific northwest scenery and nature surrounding the large city makes for so many excursions and activities, including many things to do downtown as well, mainly all being within walking distance. And the best part?  It can all be done within just two days (and on a budget!)

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The perfect way to begin the trip is walking around Vancouver’s historic district, Gastown, to see the iconic steam clock and stop by the town’s many shops, bars, and restaurants.  One of my favorite bars in Gastown is 131 Water Kitchen & Bar.  They offer a great selection of food and drinks right in the center of Gastown.

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After walking through Gastown, Vancouver’s shopping district is a great place to go.  There are so many shops to choose from including Nordstrom, Prada, Gucci, Brandy Melville, Adidas, Urban Outfitters, and much more for those who love to shop.  For me personally, I am totally in love with Brandy Melville apparel.  I could not resist stopping by the store in Vancouver as there are none in the Seattle area or anywhere nearby.  It was seriously like a dream come true, lol.

Another must-see in Vancouver is Granville Island.  It is a little bit further and takes a while longer to walk, but is definitely not horribly far away.  I’ve walked there once and rode the aqua bus across to the island which was fun to do.  However, on this trip, I drove.  The public market on the island is basically like a huge expansion of Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle.  There are so many food, antique, and beauty vendors in the market to look at that I feel like I could get lost in there.  They all offer great products that you definitely want to spend a bit more time through the market just to see everything. Of course, walking around that cute part of town is always fun too, not to mention with a great view of downtown Vancouver on the other side of the water.

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Continuing the festivities of day one in Vancouver, driving over to Stanley Park from Granville Island is probably one of the best parks in the city to visit.  Other than the fact that it is huge, it’s a nice city park right on the water with great views all around.  Although I love the scenery of the pacific northwest, I got so excited when I saw a portion of the park with a bunch of palm trees.  The palm trees only enhanced the beach walk experience.

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Nearing the evening of day one, I would definitely recommend a nice, fancy dinner in Yaletown.  This year, I had my first dinner in Gastown, and while that was nice, I prefer the dinners offered in Yaletown as there are so many nice restaurants to choose from in that part of town.  Definitely a younger part of town for people my age to go to at night for the restaurants and bars.  You also get to see more of the city that was not seen earlier in the day by choosing Yaletown over Gastown.

My all-time favorite bar in Vancouver that I have gone to each year now is Steamworks Brewing Co. located right on the water near Gastown.  I always get the same drink each time I am there, the bellini.  The drink consists of Captain Morgan white rum, peach liquor, champagne, peach slush, and sangria, topped off with a large gummy worm candy.  It’s a bit sweet but very good.

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Starting off day two, I took an excursion just 20 minutes away from the city to Capilano, just north of downtown, to visit the Capilano Suspension Bridge.  This was the first time I have visited the bridge and it was definitely thrilling for me.  Even though I have an intense fear of heights, the experience was totally worth it.  I walked across the wobbly suspension bridge as well as the cliff walk which both seemed as if they were thousands of feet off the ground.  I was only slightly terrified haha.  Nevertheless, whether you are or are not afraid of heights, it is definitely a must-see while in Vancouver.  There was a lot of great scenery to look at and photograph.

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Another excursion that I did in place of the suspension bridge last year was visiting the University of British Columbia (UBC) campus.  That is also something fun to do in Vancouver as well.  The campus was probably one of the nicest and fanciest college campuses I have seen.  It contained so much modern architecture and a very nice botanical garden overlooking the water and mountains in the back.  I would also recommend visiting the campus after Capilano.

And you’ve basically seen it all! It’s amazing how much of the city you can see in just under 36 hours.  Of course, there is a lot more to look at such as many other shops and restaurants, Chinatown, as well as hikes and other outdoor activities.  But overall, you have now seen Vancouver’s top attractions on a fun mini-vacation!  I always have so much fun visiting each year and love exploring new parts of the city I have never been to before and trying new things each time.

Presidents’ Day Weekend Festivities

After being at school and away from home for six weeks, I was so ready for a much needed weekend trip back home in Seattle and it was so much fun.  It was probably one of the best weekends I have had in a while.  Being such a short trip, it went way too fast and I am missing home already.

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After a night of traveling, the next day could not have been more perfect.  As a late Valentine’s Day and anniversary celebration, my boyfriend planned the best surprise for us to spend the day together and celebrate.

The first thing planned was to go to the top of the Space Needle in downtown Seattle.  As a Seattleite, you’d think I have been to the Space Needle before, but I have not! As my boyfriend knew that, he surprised me by taking me there and spending time on the observation deck for some great views.  It was so much fun and I loved finally being able to go there, even on a rainy, typical Seattle kind of day.

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After visiting the Space Needle for a few hours, it was time for surprise number two, a visit to Discovery Park.  As my boyfriend also knew that I hadn’t been to Discovery Park either, he surprised me by taking me there as well!  I loved it.  It was a total pacific northwest kind of beach and it was so fun to walk around the beach area and look at the cute, old lighthouse.  Despite the fact that it was totally freezing and a rainy and windy day, it was totally worth the visit.

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When we were ready to leave after hanging out at Discovery Park, my boyfriend surprised me by taking me out to dinner at one of my favorite Italian restaurants, Maggiano’s (Little Italy) in downtown Bellevue.  It was the best.  We both enjoyed our pasta’s and fancy dinner to celebrate Valentine’s Day and our anniversary together.

To finish off our perfect day together, there was one surprise left for me.  My boyfriend rented out his apartment’s movie theater for the two of us that night to watch some of my favorite movies and eat some of my favorite snacks.  The day could not have ended any better.  It was perfect.

We spent the next day on Whidbey Island, visiting with family and celebrating my grandpa’s birthday.  I always have a great time visiting Whidbey Island and love riding the ferry boat over and back.

It was sad to have left after one of the most perfect weekend’s and I cannot wait to come back home again soon.

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