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

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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

 

 

24 hours in san francisco

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Hello hello!

How has everyone’s week been? I’ve been having a lovely week: I’m actually taking PTO from my internship this week since I’m attending a few conferences, so it’s been pretty relaxing. Today, I wanted to recap my weekend trip to San Francisco!

Right after work on Friday, I hurried over to the airport and waited for a few hours to get on a flight to SFO. A few days prior, I had gone in for my TSA Pre-check appointment, but it hadn’t been approved yet. I was a little nervous getting to my gate in time, but it ended up being fine – I spent a a few hours sitting at the gate reading (current read is Save the Date by Morgan Matson!).

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I ended up catching an 8pm flight and when I got to SFO around 10pm, my two sisters were there waiting for me! It was my first time in SFO (my family and I usually just drive to SF when we go); needless to say, I was so lost inside the airport, lol. It took me nearly half an hour to find my sisters! You’d think after flying in and out of European airports all last summer, I’d be able to figure out how to find someone in SFO, but nope!! They were pretty frustrated when I finally found them, but I think they were just glad I got there safe. When we got to my sister’s apartment, we talked a bit and got ready for bed.

The next day on Saturday, we all got to sleep in a little (I was exhausted) and went to go eat brunch at Lale. It was my first time meeting my sister’s boyfriend (!!) and I was pleasantly surprised. I ordered the Milan fritatta and shared the French toast with my sister. It was all pretty good and a decent price!

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After brunch, we walked around the area. We started toward the Tiled Steps since all of us still haven’t seen it. We didn’t end up climbing it (tbh it does look really daunting!), but we spent awhile photoshooting there.

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Then, we headed to Home, an adorable coffeeshop! I know this was one of the places I NEEDED to try upon arriving in SF. I ordered the infamous Birthday Cake Latte, where the aesthetics (and taste!) are to die for. It was pretty packed when we got there, but we managed to snag some seats and chat for a bit.

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I didn’t want to do too much of the tourist-y stuff in SF; instead, I wanted to see my sister’s favorite spots since she’s been living there for a few years now. She brought me to Green Apple Books, an independent bookstore in SF. I was in heaven! It was so cozy and actually had a huge selection. They even have an annex store! It was so hard resisting buying something.

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It was around 2pm when we decided to go back to the apartment and take siesta naps. I edited my photos while my sisters slept (I was caffeinated, they were not!). Around 4pm, we headed back out to the Painted Ladies. Now, I haven’t actually seen Full House and am not a die-hard fan, but I wanted to go for the cute houses!! (Side note: the entire trip, I couldn’t stop saying how “cute” SF was. I was getting annoyed at myself for how many times I was saying it. But San Francisco IS an adorable city!). The area in general is relaxing and stunning. There were tons of people at the park adjacent to the Painted Ladies, Alamo Square.

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Since my twin and I both love ramen, we demanded our older sister to take us to one of her favorite ramen spots in SF. We headed to Japan Town and ate at Waraku. It was pretty good! I don’t think anything will beat Kizuki in Seattle, but it was definitely satisfying. For dessert, we stopped at Uji Time Dessert, where we got Taiyaki Matcha ice cream!! Definitely a splurge, but it was delicious 😋 (and now I don’t have to try it in NYC).

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I was catching a 7am flight the next day, so we called it a day after dessert and headed back for an early night in. We were going to have a sister movie night, but ended up talking until we fell asleep (I was out like a light).

I remember when I went to San Francisco back when I was 14 and hated it – I was in a bad mood during that trip for some reason, and so my perception of SF has been pretty negative up until this past weekend. I’m so grateful I was able to make it this weekend and spend quality time with my sisters! There’s something different about traveling with your siblings; there’s overall less pressure and you just feel safer. I’m so content with my 24 hours I spent in San Francisco!

This weekend, I’m looking to hopefully go to Vegas, Chicago, or Los Angeles – who knows. Come back next week on the blog for my full recap post, but be sure to follow me on Instagram for live updates 😉

tourist in seattle: chihuly x evoke

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How was everyone’s long weekend? I’m having a pretty quiet week, but I am taking two finals on Saturday so I’m gearing up for that right now. When the weekend started, I sat down with some girls in my sorority for a movie night and watched Bridge to Terabithia (I read the book in 4th grade and loved it, but sadly did not cry while watching the movie) and Mamma Mia (my first time seeing it and LOVED! Can’t wait for the second one to come out this summer). In between studying, I also headed down to South Lake Union by the Space Needle to go to the Chihuly Glass museum! It was gorgeous, so I wanted to share my experience in this (bear with me) photo-heavy post. This will be another Tourist in Seattle segment!

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One of my closest friends in my sorority is interning with a communications firm and managed to snag two free tickets to the museum. Having lived in Seattle, I’ve never been to the Chihuly Glass museum, so I was more than excited to make my way to South Lake Union to see it. I remember seeing Chihuly’s work in London at the Victoria and Albert Museum, so it’s really awesome how Chihuly’s work has touched people even internationally.

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The exhibit was pretty small; my favorite shapes are the chandeliers for sure. I was looking forward to the infamous room with the hanging flowers – I even intentionally wore something that would match the flowers for optimal photoshooting! It was really fun; at one point, I was laying flat on my stomach getting the best shots of my friend with the hanging flowers.

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Side note – I got this top from J.Crew for $5 – you heard right. I don’t usually gravitate for orange tops but I’m so glad I bought it because it’s the perfect shirt to wear to Chihuly!

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How gorgeous is the Space Needle from down here?!

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We spent about an hour at the museum, so not too long. I haven’t spent a lot of time in South Lake Union in my three years in Seattle, so when I’m down there, I try to see new things (because it’s a trek to get down there by bus too). We walked to Evoke Coffee, a relatively new place that I’ve seen on Instagram a lot. It has the infamous “but first, coffee” sign and even a shop dog!! Unfortunately, the dog takes its off-days on Saturdays, so it wasn’t there when we went.

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I ordered a 12 oz. latte and it was great – they serve coffee from Heart, which is a coffee shop from Portland, Oregon. They also had acai bowls, breakfast foods, and more on their menu, but it was pretty pricey. The space itself was really minimal and open, with multiple outlets and different types for seating. I can definitely see myself coming here to study or just read a book! The glass for holding my hot latte was really cool too: double-walled so it was insulated and not hot to hold.

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A fun weekend indeed! I just need to power through this week now, and then I’m home free!! Talk to you all next week before my last final! Thanks for reading!

Jen

PDX trip recap

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Hi all!

How was everyone’s latter half of April? I really needed that blog hiatus since April was just crazy busy (although May is going to be way crazier, what with all the end-of-year banquets). Right when I was taking my blog hiatus, I went to Portland for an accounting conference! I was there for less than 48 hours so it wasn’t much, but it was still fun. I took the train from Seattle to Portland with my officer team and stayed on the east side of Portland. The weirdest thing? The hotel we were staying at was hosting a haunted/horror convention (because April 13th was also a Friday, so spooky!). It was pretty much a full hotel with people in business suits (my conference) and the people in gory costumes.

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When we got there early on Friday, lunch wasn’t served as part of our conference, so we ended up at Garden Bar, a really healthy build-your-own-salad place. If you’re familiar with Evergreens, it was similar to that. I got the Bliss Detox salad which was so delicious and filling!

The rest of the conference was interesting because I was able to network with students from other universities from the Pacific Northwest. My friend and I presented in a case competition (and won first place!) so that was a relief.

After the conference, we headed to Voodoo Doughnut! I had actually never been, although student clubs on campus are always having Voodoo for fundraisers so I’ve had it through those. We anticipated the line being long since it was Saturday afternoon, but we only waited in line for 10 minutes. NOTE: they only take cash! But there is an ATM inside the store.

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All the pink boxes!!

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I had to get the classic voodoo doll of course!

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Overall a short, sweet, but worthwhile trip to Portland. I got to know my officers a lot better and I can tell I’m going to have such a fun time with them this year. I was trying to study on the train ride back for my three exams I had the following week, but the laughs and bonding time was better.

What have you all been up to?

Jen