Sunday, 19 February 2017

THE NYC SERIES: TIMES SQUARE

Hey hey heyyyy! I'm back with another installment in the little NYC series (I hope you're not bored yet because I'm not done with this baby) and I gonna tell you about a little low-key spot in the city.

Wait, you've heard of Times Square? Well that's awkward.

Okay okay, it's ridiculously popular and may cause a little bit of anxiety (so many real life people, say whaaaaat?) but I'm telling you, it's the most incredible place I have ever been. Standing in the middle and spinning 360 degrees, the lights whirling, the people bustling and the general atmosphere is probably something that never gets old.

I seemed to end up here at least once a day during the vacay, some accidental (although I'm not saying no to Broadway) and every time if felt so brand new, yet oddly familiar like I'd been there a hundred times over already.

And the most bizarre thing? Wandering the streets on my own at night did not have me phased. I've never felt so safe -whilst being alone - in my life. Remember; so. many. people. Literally the city that never sleeps.

Tips / Recommendations

1. Be aware of your belongings
 This may seem like a painfully obvious point, and I had absolutely zero problems with theft, but as there are so many people in the area I would really advise being careful with your handbag / backpack / pockets etc. Crowded areas are the best place for pickpockets so be safe and not sorry.

2. Take a picture on the red steps
I feel foolish not knowing this was a thing that people did, I don't even seem to remember about hearing about the red steps before I saw them. Wait - was there a scene in Glee with them? (Update; yes, Season 2)
Anyway, it's cliche and cheesy, but taking a picture with all of the billboards and lights behind you is really cool.

3. Hit the shops
There is a massive Forever 21 in the square, it's on about 3 floors and has the best selection of brand. I purchased a lush pink faux-leather jacket and a printed tee in there for $45!

4. Visit the Hard Rock Cafe
It's been 11 years since I first went to one (in Florida) and I don't remember it all too well, so when we decided one night that we'd go there to eat, I was in awe as soon as I stepped inside. 
The interior, memorabilia and layout is incredible and the seating area is like an auditorium with a huge screen playing music videos of all genres. 

Be prepared; it's very loud and not the cheapest, and be wary of tips because the servers are VERY hot on it despite the fact they hardly do anything for your table...

Other food recommendations;
Ruby Tuesday - I wish we has eaten here every single night. So reasonably prices for the city and the location, plus the drinks are refillable for less than $4 and the service is unbeatable.

Bella Vita Pizzeria & Trattoria - Again, reasonably priced. I would recommend get a bigger pizza and splitting it between 2 because the portions are really generous. So tasty too!

5. Hershey's Chocolate World vs. M&M's World
Across the road from each other, you'll be in the midst of chocolate heaven. Although I love M&M's, there is a 4-floor store in London that I've yet to actually purchase from, and I much prefer Hershey's. Especially Cookies & Cream.

Whilst M&M's World is ridiculously overpriced, I found 90% of Hershey's to be really reasonable. I'm definitely regretting not buying 4 bags for $16.

6. Broadway Theatres
This is the home of American theatre and the place that I was most excited to seek out. 41 theatres to search for? Count me in. If you're a fan, most theatres will give you free Playbill's if you go and politely ask the security on the door, or the box office. I asked at the Brooks Atkinson theatre for a Waitress playbill and was handed 5! (More about all of this in it's own post coming soon)

7. Take it all in
With so much to do and see, take absolutely everything in. Take a tonne of photos, observe the people around you and stand in the middle to soak everything up. There is nothing quite like it.


Have you been before? If so, were you as obsessed as I am? 

Leave your thoughts, recommendations and tips in the comments for anyone wanting to find out more info. There's still so much I probably didn't do so I'd also love to know for next time.

S xo
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Friday, 10 February 2017

HARRY STYLES AND GUCCI HAIR

 Since starting university in September, free time has felt relatively sparse (save for a few evenings or weekends when I've had a super productive week) which is why my little blog has fallen by the wayside since August (aside from my new wave of travel posts).

So why not share with you some of the work that has kept me away from you all?

Our most recent project, in Fashion Promotion, was to create 4 magazine covers for publications of our choice based on our research of their readership, which sounds relatively easy until a tonne of artistic techniques are thrown your way. Suddenly your head is reeling with a million and one ideas that seems way too out of reach for a six-week module.

I have mixed reviews with my final pieces, things I would change if I could, components I'd add etc, however overall I'm pretty impressed with what I produced.
Besides, who doesn't love Harry Styles with Gucci print hair?

Now that semester is over, I'm busy busy busy with the newest project that has the quickest turnaround, so who knows when you'll next see me?

Has anyone else recently started their second semester? What are you studying?

S xo
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Sunday, 5 February 2017

THE NYC SERIES: GROUND ZERO & CENTRAL PARK

A few of the most chilling yet reflective moments of my life so far was stood in the area of the World Trade Center. The names etched into the National September 11 Memorial, the roses placed into the grooves, the grey skies and the autumnal trees (rather Winter) all set a sombre tone but standing in such a worldwide known place leaves you swirling with so many emotions. It's dizzying, and somewhat incredible.

It's such a well thought out re-design, with 2 memorials, a museum and even a Westfield shopping centre in the bird-like Transportation Hub. 

If you're passing through the area, I really suggest popping a few dollars in the collection box to contribute to additional remembrance building and ensuring the continuation of the memorial for years to come.

One World Trade Center also has an observatory for you to see the view of the city from the top of the building. If you purchase from their website you can save some cash, who doesn't love that? We didn't do this on our trip but I would definitely consider it next time.
I can't even begin to tell you how many times Laura pointed out locations in Central Park and re-told the scenes from Home Alone 2. Yeah, that was totally a thing. I'm also disappointed that I've only seen that particular sequel once or twice and most areas were completely lost on me. I'm brushing up for next time, promise.

We headed out there during the Thursday afternoon, after travelling back from Lower Manahattan to see the World Trade Center, and when we arrived the sun had appeared and it was absolutely scorching! What I hadn't realised was Central Park is located at the top of Fifth Avenue (hello, shopping central) so it would be a great start/end point before of after splashing your cash.

Central Park Highlights

1. Ice Skating
There are 2 ice skating rinks in the park, north and south, which are open from November to March each year and it looks SO much fun. I'm a complete scaredy cat though, and whilst I ignored my fear of heights in NY, I couldn't quite handle the thought of sliding around on the ice.

2. Architecture
And because I really love architecture, there was some big appreciation for all of the building that surrounded the park.

3. Park Rides
There are cart rides, and also horse rides, around the streets through the park which looked so cute. Be warned though, they're about $3 per minute for a ride. Ouch.

4. Umpire Rock
Find Umpire Rock at the South End of the park and take lots of pictures. It's a perfect location to shoot outfits, or fun ones like what were taken of me (see below).

Central Park is way more gorgeous (and massive) than I expected. If you're heading out in the summer, take a picnic!
NYC got me feeling this happy and the girls had me laughing this much *sassy girl emoji*
Let's be honest, this post was my excuse to show you some snaps of these wonderful places. Next post should definitely be featuring some recommendations and tips.

S xo
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Thursday, 2 February 2017

THE NYC SERIES: STATUE OF LIBERTY

The feeling of having your biggest dream come true is absolutely unreal, the most surreal feeling you could imagine. It may have taken about 15 years for me to visit but it was worth every single day of those years.

I was so snap happy this trip that I'm breaking down all the sights into their own posts with tips and recommendations for all of you lucky so-and-so's who are visiting some time soon!

I'll admit, seeing the Statue of Liberty has never been high on my list of 'NYC - Tourist To Do List', whilst it's so iconic, it's never appealed to me nor made me want to part with my money for a boat ride. This is precisely why I'm glad that my first NY trip was with my university friends because they wanted to do all the things I wouldn't have done off my own back.

Seeing the statue itself wasn't too shabby but the best thing of all was seeing the Manhattan & Brooklyn Bridges and the all of the buildings that surround the waterfront - uh wow.

Tips

1. Book in advance and check the boat times
We bought our tickets on the day from a street vendor without checking the boat schedule first which resulted in us hanging around for 2 hours all because we didn't get the shuttle bus about 15 minutes earlier. As students we bought our tickets for $28 which included the boat ride, and shuttle to and from Battery Park/South Ferry & Pier 36, however normal prices are around $35 so I would suggest checking online first to see if there are any better deals.

Maybe you'll also be able to get the shuttle back from the Pier, not be stranded for 40 minutes and not have to take a limousine back to Battery Park unlike us. Check for reputable retailers!

2. If it's Winter, layer up!
Going in January made me expect dire freezing conditions, and thankfully we were lucky for it to not be so extreme but if you're taking the Statue of Liberty boat ride, make sure you take an extra layer because it's gets bloody cold out there!

3. Choose the best time of day
We knew the Wednesday would be the best day, in terms of weather, during our trip which is why we decided to do all of our tourist-y outdoors-y stuff that day. If it's a beautiful day like we had, I would really recommend a later excursion, seeing the sun starting to set over the water and the bridges was a truly stunning sight.

4. Eat beforehand
Okay, so maybe don't eat 15 minutes before the boat because you may see your food much sooner than anticipated, however do not do it on an empty stomach because there's nothing around the Pier area. I mean nothing. If you're stuck there longer than planned, you will definitely feel your stomach eat itself. Oh boy, have I learnt that lesson.

5. Take that obligatory selfie
You most certainly will not be alone if you fill your camera roll with (mostly failed) selfie attempts with the Statue of Liberty. I tried to resist - and failed - but in the end I took a few awful ones (no, you really won't be seeing them - ever) and stuck to the group selfies.

Side note; Be Careful. An unfortunate selfie taker ended up on the floor because she was a little to eager to get the perfect one.

6. Enjoy
Enjoy this adventure, and experience, for what it is. Take in every feeling, sight and even the cool, brisk air because who knows if you'll experience this again?
I really recommend doing this trip, even if you feel indifferent like I first did, you won't know what you're missing out on until you experience it.
Check back on Sunday for the next NYC-filled post!

S xo
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