When Life Gives You Lemons…

When Life Gives You Lemons…

…wait in line for Dole whip!
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So, I originally drafted part of this blog with the intention of just filling in the gaps for all the pre-planned activities I had last weekend. Let’s just say, nothing really went according to plan, but we persevered!

Planned itinerary:
Saturday: photoshoot in Beverly Hills
Sunday: Disneyland
Monday: Dua Lipa concert at Hollywood Palladium

Real itinerary:
Saturday: spilled oil from escargot on my outfit for the photoshoot and Cynthia’s car broke down
Sunday: purchased 7:30 a.m. Amtrak tickets to get to Disneyland and our train got canceled, so we had to Lyft (got a refund from Amtrak though); had a magical day at The Happiest Place on Earth πŸ™‚
Monday: headed to Hollywood two hours before the show and got drenched in a downpour of rain…in southern California…where it never rains…and where all the weather apps said, “10% chance of precipitation;” smelled like rain and burgers (from Shake Shack), but Dua Lipa brought the Palladium down ❀

We were convinced that the universe was against us this whole weekend, but ultimately, we did just about everything we set out to do. No, I did not end up getting all of the photos I was planning to share in this blog post, but I got some other content that I cannot wait to share at a later date.Β Obviously, this was not your typical L.A. trip for any first-timers out there. It was definitely on the more “as seen on TV” side, but the major things that I set out to do are still options for long vacations in L.A.

β—Š Disneyland:
Disneyland is a major investment. Besides the fact that you have to drive 45-60 minutes outside of L.A. (without traffic) to get to Anaheim, it’s $110 for an adult ticket as a non-California resident–and that does not include access to Disney’s California Adventure! I still haven’t been to California Adventure because I cannot convince myself to dole out $165 for a park-hopper pass. Once inside though, you kind of understand why people love it so much. I have written about Disneyland in a previous postΒ so I won’t go into too much detail about what we did, but it is important to note that I managed to buy another set of Minnie ears (they were rose gold!).
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Space Mountain: the fastest and most popular ride at Disneyland

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β—Š Dua Lipa at Hollywood Palladium:
There are always concerts happening in L.A. from smaller venues like El Rey Theatre to major venues like The Rose Bowl. It’s L.A. which means there is no shortage of entertainers and up-and-comers. This is Dua Lipa’s first tour for her self-titled album and she did a phenomenal job. She sang all of my personal faves, including “Dreams” and “Thinking Bout You,” and ended with an encore of the fan-favorite, “New Rules.”
IMG_0046IMG_0031IMG_0037She also had some of my favorite graphics that I have seen at a concert lately.
Hollywood Palladium is an old venue that is conveniently located and very large, but unfortunately, the submerged stage was a huge negative for the show, despite my five-inch chunky boots. This was the first concert I have ever been to where I literally could not see the artist. My arms were fully extended in the air to take all of these pictures! I still danced the night away though and got really good footage.IMG_0044IMG_0038IMG_0040IMG_0045

β—Š Transportation and Lodging:
As always, I stayed with my best friend, Cynthia, so I luckily did not have to factor in cost for that. However, as stated earlier, Cynthia’s car broke down so we had to make some budget adjustments. I initially planned this trip around Dua Lipa’s concert, and with the addition of Disneyland, all other expenses only went to food and transportation. Though the L.A. Metro is not the most efficient of public transport in the U.S., it actually worked out with where Cynthia’s apartment is located.
We were able to get everywhere we needed using the metro. California does have the wonderful options of uberPOOL and LyftLine (which I’m still waiting to get to Dallas), so sometimes the cost of one of those ends up evening out if you catch it at the right time. Overall, the metro was still cost-saving with just $1.75 each way. I would definitely consider it if you are trying to reach popular destinations like Hollywood Boulevard (Hollywood/Vine) or Downtown L.A. (7th Street/Metro Center). The Expo Line even stretches all the way out to Santa Monica now!

β—Š Total costs:
Disneyland: $158.19 (including the ticket)
Hollywood Palladium: $58.20 (including the ticket)
uber/Lyft/Metro: $85.93*
ALL (excluding food purchases): $302.32

Overall, the trip was an amazing disaster. I’m just happy I got to do everything I set out to do, regardless of the obstacles. As I wrote in my last post, L.A. is a second home to me so I will be returning regularly with updates on new or different things to do there. Despite what I have just shared about my personal trip, L.A. doesn’t have to be incredibly expensive. Clearly we had to make budget adjustments with some last-minute changes, but I will be sure to make it a mission on my next trip to prove just that for my readers’ and my wallet’s sake. πŸ™‚

xx, AE
P.S. Be sure to follow me on Instagram and Snapchat (@alexasdrawde) for live updates on my trips! ❀

*uberPOOL/LyftLine do not provide service to Disneyland, but available to and from LAX

What To Expect for 2018

I hope everyone had a productive start to the new year and stuck with their resolutions for at least the first month. I know I have which means it’s time to get back to seeing the world! After about three months of not traveling, I am going to kick off my first trip of the year this weekend in The City of Angels. ❀ L.A. is really a second home to me, especially considering how many of my friends live there, so you can definitely expect to see multiple posts this year featuring it. That being said, it is also time to discuss the new path that I plan to take this blog down. Continue reading “What To Expect for 2018”

Summertime Chi

Summertime Chi

If you ever thought two days is not enough time for a vacation, you are sorely mistaken.

This weekend I went to Chicago for the first time and honestly, this post went through an insane amount of editing to get it down to a . So far, I have left all of the cities I have traveled to making a list of things to do next time; however, my cousin, Tanya, managed to show me every corner and crevice of the city to the point where if I didn’t visit for another year, I would still feel like I had done enough. But I mean this in the best way possible because I got to see the city from a native’s eyes.

Where I stayed: Country Club Hills, Illinois
Fortunately again, I had a place to stay when I visited. I stayed with my aunt, uncle, and cousins about 45 minutes south of the city (without traffic).

What I did:
1. Skydeck Chicago
I went to the infamous Skydeck where you go to the 103rd floor of the Willis Tower and step into the glass box overlooking the city. I am not afraid of heights so I never anticipated feeling scared, but once I stepped in, it was a crazy feeling. I felt pretty nauseated, and it also didn’t help that the person/people in the box next to me were jumping up and down. But once I remembered there is nothing forcing me to look down and that this has obviously been tested for stability, I turned my focus toward getting a good shot with my limited time.
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It is best to get here right when the Skydeck opens at 9:00 a.m., and even better on an off day where tourists aren’t ready to be out early in the morning like a Friday or Saturday. Frankly, you need to have or know someone with good editing skills because if it’s a sunny day, don’t expect to get a good shot of both the city and yourself. Continue reading “Summertime Chi”

Merry Times in Maryland

Merry Times in Maryland

It has only been a week and I am still thinking about the most amazing Labor Day weekend I have ever had. Besides spending a four-day weekend in a city I have never been to before, I shared these days with an incredible group of friends.
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Where I went: Baltimore, Maryland
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Where I stayed:
Fortunately, I have two friends who live in Baltimore so I was able to utilize both of their places during my stay. For first-time visitors looking to stay near ‘the action,’ I would recommend Fells Point or the hip neighborhood of Federal Hill–not just because my friends happen to live there.
ANE_0343 Continue reading “Merry Times in Maryland”