24 hours in atlanta, georgia

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Happy first day of August!

Another Wednesday, another travel post! This past weekend I headed to Atlanta, Georgia, aka my first time in the South! I had originally wanted to go to Atlanta with my twin sister but she’s still abroad, so when I found out that a few other interns wanted to go, I agreed.

I flew out of Seattle on Friday night with the redeye, sleeping for about four hours before arriving in Atlanta at 5am. Once the other intern got to the airport an hour later, we headed straight to downtown to drop off our stuff at the The Westin. Our room ended up being on 60th floor (and there’s only 73 floors, the tallest building in Atlanta!) so the view was amazing.

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Nothing’s really open on a Saturday at 7am, but we managed to grab some coffee at Cafe Lucia and just stroll the streets of downtown Atlanta. It actually really reminded me of downtown Seattle, except maybe even cleaner. We came upon a few blocked-off streets because there’s always something being filmed in Atlanta; this time, it’s for the Superintelligence movie coming out next year! Then we went back to the hotel to grab breakfast really quick.

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Me and the other intern decided to then stop into the World of Coca-Cola, a must-see when in Atlanta. We got there at around 10am right when it opened (which was a good move since it got so crowded later in the day!). We enjoyed a lot of free Coca-Cola and even waited in line to take the most cringe-worthy photo with the polar bear (SO. SPOOKY). This was one of my favorite memories from the trip though, to be honest!

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After that, we were kind of unsure of where to head to next. The intern was pretty ambivalent and flexible about what we did, and there was the other intern we could meet up with. We took an Uber to Underground Atlanta and then didn’t end up going under. Our Uber driver was rude but basically told us that the Underground is just like Penn Station in NYC with little markets and such. It wasn’t worth it – so we went to go find the other intern. The CNN Studio Tours are also in downtown Atlanta, so we went to the food court there and I succumbed to Arby’s curly fries 😂. I wasn’t particularly interested in going on CNN‘s tour, so me and the intern headed to Buckhead up north to see if we could find a place for drinks.

We ended up going to Lenox Square mall and window shopped for a bit before hopping over to the W Hotel‘s bar. It was nice chatting with the bartenders because I feel like I got a sense of what locals are like in Atlanta; apparently, everyone works hard and has a side-hustle. Around 5pm, we went upstairs to the rooftop bar, Blue Whiskey where we met up with the other intern once again and had a happy hour.

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Thanks to Yelp, we settled on a dinner place in Buckhead: South City Kitchen. I know I wanted genuine southern food, and we heard South City is a modern rendition. I ordered shrimp & grits and it was to die for – the flavors were awesome and it was a really filling meal for sure. The service was also top-notch!

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One of the main things I had wanted to do in Atlanta was explore Midtown and the Ponce City Market, but we didn’t really get around to doing it, unfortunately. We strolled through Midtown all the way back down to downtown and our hotel after dinner. We went up to the top to the Sundial (in the same building as the Westin) and got another round of drinks and just chatted. It was a solid way to end the night.

I had a great time in Atlanta; I feel like I could have more fully immersed myself in the city’s culture by getting out of downtown, so I’ll definitely have to make a trip back soon. For now, I’m exhausted but still so excited for my next trip this coming weekend! Hint: it’ll be on the East Coast again!!

Thanks for reading,

Jen

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24 hours in orange county

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Hello hi!

How is everyone’s week going? Mine is flying by; my mosquito bites are slowly healing (anyone have tips for scarring? I’ve been putting on coconut oil since that’s what my boss suggested 😂). I was pretty lonely at work since my co-intern took PTO to travel earlier this week, but she’s finally back!! Crossing my fingers I’ll get to travel with her this coming weekend!

This past weekend, I decided to take it easy on my wallet and body by taking a chill trip to Orange County, where a close friend of mine is living in the summer. I studied abroad in London with this girl Jo, and we’re so close now! I’ve always only visited LA if I’m going to Southern California and haven’t actually spent time in the beaches in Orange County, so I thought this was the perfect opportunity to catch up with Jo and just relax.

I flew out Saturday morning since I was at a Mariner’s game the night before. I flew into John Wayne (SNA) and it was so freaking clean – one of the nicest airports I’ve been to! Jo picked me up and we headed straight for brunch at Urth Caffe. I’ve had it in LA before and loved it, so luckily we got seats pretty quickly. The meal was actually a little disappointing and not as good as the LA location, but we had fun catching up nonetheless! (Also, can I say how proud I am of Jo? She’s doing AMAZING things!!).

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After, we changed in the car and drove straight to Laguna Beach. I’ve only ever known about Laguna and Newport Beach from the middle-school Hollister shirts, so it was cool to me to finally be setting foot on these beaches. I was ready to get my tan on! We lay down by the water for two hours and definitely got some sun (unfortunately, I don’t believe in sunscreen so I burned a little bit, but it’s mostly a nice golden crisp now!!).

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After the beach, we stayed in the area to get banzai bowls. It was pretty hot out, so these tasted amazing. Then we went to Fashion Island, where we mostly window shopped, but I couldn’t help but pick up a new pair of tortoiseshell sunglasses from Express.

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After Fashion Island, we went to BCD Tofu House since we both love Korean food – and ate like kings. We were stuffed after but it was so worth it. Needing to walk it off, we hopped over to the Anaheim Packing District, a cool food-court like area. We tried to get into the speakeasy but since we weren’t planning on getting drinks, we decided to stay out. We did get some ice cream though!

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Since Downtown Disney is free and was close by, we decided to stop by and see the fireworks at 9:30pm. It made me want to visit the park so badly!! Another time – soon, hopefully. We pretty much just strolled around until we got tired and drove back to her house to call it a night. I knocked out: between waking up at 5am that morning, getting a ton of sun and lots of walking, I was beat.

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It was so nice to sleep in until 9:30 the next day! There’s an Orange County hot air balloon ride that’s only $10 so we figured we’d try it out; unfortunately when we got there, the line ended being a long wait and I needed to catch my flight, so that was the end of that trip 😭 Turns out, the flight got delayed and then cancelled, so I ended up having to take a layover in SFO before getting back to Seattle, TEN HOURS LATER. What a wild ride.

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Orange County is so relaxing – the beach towns, the carefree breeze, everything. My favorite part of the trip was honestly driving from place to place with Jo and jamming out to our favorite bops, catching up, the wind (or most of the time, AC) blasting our faces. I left OC feeling so content, even if the flight back was long. I’ve already made plans with Jo to try to visit her in LA for a quick dinner during the week – let’s see if I can make it happen!

Thanks for reading as always – look out for another trip post next week!

Jen

24 hours in nyc

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Hey pals!

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend – as I’m writing this on the Sunday after this recap, it’s a sweltering 85 degrees in Seattle and I’m resisting the urge to scratch my 30+ mosquito bites (more on that in a bit 😂).

And you read that title correctly!! I made it to New York City this past weekend, so here goes a LONG recap!

Prior to this weekend, I wasn’t too sure where I wanted to go. The flights to JFK were looking pretty good but there’s always the chance that I wouldn’t get on board. Nevertheless, I texted my friend Hannah and she agreed to take two on getting to New York. On Friday the 13th (I’m really not superstitious, thank goodness), I headed to the airport right after work and sat at the gate for a few hours while eating my Beecher’s dinner 😍 At 10pm, we got on!! It truly felt like a lucky Friday the 13th; I even got a window seat… until I saw that my seat was surrounded by not only babies, but crying, wailing babies. Oh boy, I was not sleeping on this red-eye (I was right, I barely did).

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We landed at around 6am at JFK and grabbed Starbucks for breakfast, and then took the Airtrain and LIRR to the city. We got off and honestly just started walking. We made our way toward the Empire State Building, and decided we didn’t want to pay $37 to see the view (sad, but we were on budget). I grabbed a coffee from Stumptown Coffee within the Amazon Books (lol it’s like I never even left Seattle) because I desperately needed the caffeine.

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We kept walking and made it all the way to Union Square Park, and the Flatiron Building. At 10:30am, Hannah and I met up with a good friend who we met freshman year (now interning at a fashion retailer in NYC in the corporate division!!). It was a relief having someone who knows the city pretty well to show us around.

We took the Metro to Nomo Soho to get brunch! Y’all, this place is truly stunning. It’s part of a hotel and the exterior has the most gorgeous greenery – I’ll let the pictures speak for itself. Numerous groups were stopping by just to do quick photoshoots, including us. Not only was it stunning, but the seating inside was breathtaking as well. We sat under a glass ceiling so there was tons of natural lighting. And the food, oh my goodness. The three of us decided to share all the plates (eggs benedict, salmon scramble, and the lemon ricotta pancakes). I was in heaven.

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After, we strolled around pretty much everywhere. We stopped by Little Italy, Glossier, and Joe and the Juice to re-caffeinate. Our friend showed us a little art gallery, Galeria Melissa that had a really abstract and cool exhibit. It was Paraiso, and I felt like I was in an alternate universe. You can’t visit New York City without seeing some art! We walked by a grand opening for Aerie and they were giving out free ice cream as part of the promotion, so that was pretty cool! I was definitely double-fisting my cone and my coffee at one point. 😂

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I knew that one of the things I needed to visit was Strand Bookstore, one of New York City’s independent bookstores. It was HUGE and amazing!! We spent close to an hour exploring all the floors. Afterward, we went back to our friend’s apartment to cool off, recuperate, and change our clothes for the night. Then we headed out to Joe’s Pizza, a classic. I split a cheese pizza with my friend since I knew I wanted a more filling dinner later. Then we went to Cha Cha Matcha! I had seen this dessert place on Instagram and knew I wanted to pay a visit. We got the soft serve and it was so refreshing!!

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Then, me and my friend headed to Ichiran in Midtown while Hannah took a nap at a hotel. Ichiran is a world-famous ramen restaurant originating from Japan: you sit at these cubicle/booths alone because the whole point is to focus and enjoy the ramen with no distractions, even from the server (it’s a no-tip restaurant because the server barely interacts with you). To be honest, it was quite the spiritual experience. Simply amazing.

After dinner, we went back to wake Hannah up and then headed to the The High Line. On the way there, we strolled through Chelsea Market; I loved it! I wish I was still hungry because everything looked so good there. We walked a good portion of The High Line and tried to find some frosé with no luck 😪

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At around 9pm, we decided we wanted to go grab drinks. On a Saturday night in New York City, most things are packed with long lines. We randomly found The High Line hotel’s dining, The Golden Hour and sat down to get drinks. I got a Negroni and we sat outside and chatted for a few hours. This was when my legs started to itch. I swore I was getting eaten alive by mosquitos. Right when we were leaving, our waitress suggested we go to Bathtub Gin, a hidden speakeasy. It was right around the block, so why not?

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We walked over and came upon a coffee shop instead. Suspicious – there was a line out the door at midnight. This was no coffee shop! We got in and had so much fun.

At around 2am, we decided we needed to go see Times Square since we hadn’t made our way there yet during this trip. It was so crazy and alive, even in the wee hours of the morning. Even the horse carriages were still running! I loved it.

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Since our flight was at 7am, we decided just to pull an all-nighter. We went back to the apartment and cleaned up. That’s when I noticed the 30+ bites on my arms and legs. My limbs are still a war zone, y’all. At 4:30am, we headed out and of course, it was monsooning outside. What happened to the 90-degree weather?! Within seconds, we were drenched. There was no way we were walking to the subway in this rain. We ended up calling an Uber to Penn Station and took the transit from there to JFK. Needless to say, Hannah and I knocked out on the plane ride home.

It was a crazy 24 hours in New York City – I think my body took its toll with the blisters (we walked 30,000 steps that day!), bug bites, and black circles under my eyes. I joke that I didn’t get jet-lagged: just sleep-lagged, period. And it’s not a memorable trip without some lows (unlucky July the 15th?). I had so so much fun though, and cannot wait to make my way back to the city that never sleeps. We didn’t even get to The Met, Central Park, Brooklyn, or Dumbo! Another time, for sure.

Thanks for reading!! I think I’ll be taking it easy this weekend and staying on the West Coast, probably somewhere in CA. Talk soon!

Jen x

36 hours in las vegas

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Hey y’all!

So funny story – remember last week when I said I was going to somewhere on the East Coast? Yeah, that was supposed to be New York City but it DIDN’T. HAPPEN. I’m so bummed because I was set to go with my friend until literally 12 hours before our flight. We’ll go for it another weekend, but I obviously still wanted to go somewhere. I knew some of the other interns were going to Vegas, so… why not? I asked if I could join and before I knew it, I was shoving a swimsuit into my carry-on tote.

I got off work on Friday a little earlier than usual to catch the 4pm flight (thank goodness for TSA pre-check!!), and I met up with Jordan, one of the few female interns, and a new intern I had never met before, Hudson. It was the craziest thing to be traveling with interns I barely knew, but I was willing to give it a go. We flew for about two and a half hours, and when we landed, it was 113 degrees. 113!! I thought I was going to die (Seattlelite amirite), but it was all dry heat, which makes it pretty bearable, actually.

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We stopped by our hotel at the Platinum Hotel (it’s definitely not one of the main hotels, but it was cheap and close enough to The Strip), and then headed straight to The Strip. For dinner, we went to In-N-Out (obviously)! Our first drink of the night was the 18-inch tall daiquiris to keep us cool throughout the night. After that, we hopped in and out of casinos just to see everything. Even after 36 hours in Vegas, I still can’t wrap my head around the idea of Vegas. It’s so outrageous and carefree. You can literally be whoever you want to be in Vegas and no one will look/think twice.

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I tried gambling at a slot machine and promptly lost the $5 I put in; I quit pretty quick after that but Jordan got so lucky! Walking around at night was probably one of my favorite things. The water show at Bellagio was stunning and even though the Venetian and Paris were really glamorized versions of the real deal, it was still pretty amazing to walk around in.

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On Saturday, we got up bright and early and tried to make it to Egg Slut, but pretty much any food place in Vegas requires a reservation, so we ended up, sadly, at Starbucks instead. It did the job – after, we went back to our hotel to lounge by the pool for a few hours. Calvin Harris was playing at a pool party that day at a different hotel, but we couldn’t bring ourselves to splurge 😂

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After the pool, we headed back out to The Strip and did some more exploring of casinos we didn’t see yesterday. We ended up back at Caesar’s Palace, where we were smart enough to make dinner reservations at Trevi Italian. I ordered the Gnocchi and was pleasantly surprised. Then we walked to the older part of Vegas where MGM and New York New York are, strolling through the M&M and Coca-Cola buildings.

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We wanted to take it easy since we had to be up super early the next day, so we actually headed back to the pool at our hotel to cool off again after sweating our way through The Strip 😂 I fell asleep briefly, and at one point, we were the only ones left at the pool. At around 10pm, the three of us looked at each other and said, “what are we doing at our hotel on a Saturday night in Vegas?!” So we promptly changed back into our clothes and headed back out, this time just to Planet Hollywood. I have to say that PH is definitely the place (in my opinion) with the most 20-somethings, and less creepy old guys.

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It ended up being a great night that ended in yet another trip to In-N-Out. It was poppin’ at 11:30pm, so we weren’t the only ones craving Animal Fries. The three of us crashed pretty quick when we got home, and woke up at 4am to catch our flight.

There’s a lot of things I didn’t get to do in Vegas this time around; it was really my first time around (apparently I went when I was four years old but I have no recollection of it) so I took it easy, and I think it definitely depends on who you’re with. Vegas is impossible to do in 24 hours, so who knows – I might return a few weeks!!

Thanks for reading,

Jen

10 hours in juneau, alaska

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Happy 4th to my American readers!

I hope everyone has fun plans for the day! I myself am planning on going to the beach with some girls in my sorority to see the fireworks tonight. It’s my first Independence Day spent in Seattle! I’m not excited to have to wake up early for work tomorrow though.

Over the weekend, I was in Juneau, Alaska! I’ve been meaning to go to Alaska for awhile now. I just had to decide between Anchorage, Fairbanks, or Juneau (although I have heard amazing things about Sitka too!). I did my research last week and found that Juneau was easier to get around without much public transportation since it’s a smaller town and thus, more walk-able. Unfortunately, since I was planning so last-minute, a lot of the lodging was already booked for the weekend. However, I was still determined to go, so I made it work with the only solution: spending zero nights there.

I called up my best friend Hannah and asked if she wanted to go with me. This was Friday at like 4pm, and my plan was to leave for Juneau the next morning to catch the 7:30am flight. This is why I know she’s one of the best: she excitedly said yes to this spontaneous trip with me! We were up bright and early Saturday morning and flew for about two hours and got to Juneau around 9am.

The Juneau Airport (JNU) is really small. We wanted to get to Downtown Juneau, which is about a 20 minute drive from the airport. There is a *very* limited amount of Ubers & Lyfts there, so that was out of the question. Thankfully, there’s a Visitor Information desk at JNU with a ton of pamphlets, which is helpful. When we headed outside to the taxi/cab pick up loop, we were hit with the freshness of the air. Juneau air is crisp and so unreal. We ended up taking a taxi to the city center, and it only cost about $22.

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We were dropped off right in the middle of downtown (fun fact: Juneau is Alaska’s state capital). Downtown is surrounded by mountains and of course, right across the river from Douglas Island. The low-hanging clouds were gorgeous with the mountains.

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Since we took such an early flight out, the first thing we wanted was brunch. The Rookery is one of Juneau’s most popular spots, and I can see why. Luckily there was seating for us when we got there, and I got the Eggs Benedict (surprise surprise 😂) and it was JUST what I needed. The Rookery is super cozy and just all-around good vibes. There seemed to be a constant drizzle the entire time we were there.

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After, we needed coffee ASAP so we stopped by Heritage Coffee, which is basically Juneau’s equivalent of Starbucks (there was 2+ Heritage Coffees in downtown alone). We strolled around downtown, stopping by the local independent bookstore and various shops. We made it to the docks and saw a ton of cruises (I forget that most people get to Alaska by cruise, not by plane!).

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One of the main things I wanted to do in Juneau was take the tram up Mount Roberts. We got our tickets on the dock ($34 for adults) and went up. The views are stunning. We went up 1,800 feet to the top! Once we got to the top, you had the option to do gift shopping, eat at the restaurant, watch a complimentary film, or do some light hiking. Hannah and I decided to watch the film that focused on the Tlingit tribe and origin in Juneau. We also did the light hike in the rain and then strolled around in the gift shops.

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Somewhere along the way, my obsession with finding a bear in the wild grew and it kind of became the inside joke of the trip, haha. We ended our time up at the top by eating some homemade blueberry ice cream (to die for) before we made our way back down the mountain.

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At this point, it was only around 2pm, so we stopped by the public library (only Hannah and I would stop by a public library in a new city) to explore and really, to charge our phones. We had a late lunch at Tracy’s King Crab Shack; I got the Crab Cake Rolls, which was delicious but pretty pricey, unsurprisingly. We still had so much time in the day, so we spontaneously decided to head out to the Mendenhall Glacier, which wasn’t part of the original plan. We caught the #4 city bus at 4:30pm, where it took us an hour to get the drop off.

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After we got dropped off, we had to walk a little more than a mile to get to the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center. It was a really fun walk though: it’s alongside a straight stretch of road. The entire time, Hannah and I were on the lookout for bears. It took us about half an hour to get to the Visitor Center. Unfortunately, both of our phones died right when we got there. We had to think fast because a) we needed our phones to call a taxi later to get to the airport and b) we wouldn’t be able to take pictures of the glacier!!

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Lucky for us, the front desk at the Visitor Center let us leave our phones with them to charge while we went to go see the glacier. Hannah had her Polaroid with her so we used that to take photos. The glacier is free to see, but you do have to pay to use the Photo Point (only $5). The glacier was so beautiful. It’s funny because I remember learning about glaciers in middle school but never really thinking they were real. It was awesome finally being able to see one in real life!!

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We only spent about 45 minutes at the glacier, so we had enough time to take the bus to the airport instead of calling a taxi. We got to the airport at 6:30pm, with enough time to grab a quick bite and then board our flight at 7:30pm.

Juneau surprised me in the best way possible. I think 10 hours is the perfect amount of time to spend in Juneau since it’s so small. Although I didn’t see a bear in the wild, I’m so happy that we ended up going to the glacier because really, it wouldn’t be a trip to Alaska without seeing a glacier!! If you’re looking for a relaxing, low-key trip, I would highly recommend Juneau. I don’t think there was one point during the trip where I was stressed (maybe slightly when both of our phones died), but it felt pretty safe overall and there are enough directions and people willing to help if you’re not sure how to get around.

Thanks for reading this lengthy travel recap post, y’all! Look out for my travel post next week (hint: I’m going to the East Coast!!).

Talk to y’all soon!

Jen