Xperience #27: Dodgers Game

In 2015 root for the home team.

I’ve lived in LA for a little over a year and I have yet to go to a single sporting event for California. I grew up playing softball and have always enjoyed watching it live so I knew a Dodgers game needed to happen eventually.

One of my coworkers and I made the drive to Dodgers Stadium and ate a Dodger dog while watching the game. I recently came to the realization that out of all the baseball games I have been to in my life the majority have always been playing against The Colorado Rockies. Whenever my team plays against them the home team always wins, so I knew that the Dodgers would win in the end.

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When the Seventh Inning stretch occurred Josh and I enjoyed sining Take Me Out to the Ballgame with the Los Angeles locals. It was a really fast game and The Dodgers won 2-0 in the end.

I know that this Dodger game is the first of many sporting events to come because I love rooting for the home team!

Xperience #26: Abbot Kinney

In 2015 don’t rule out an option until you at least suggest it.

There are days when I want to go adventuring and I feel like I’m just forcing something to happen. I will do my research but nothing is really jumping out of the screen telling me, Theresa you must go here. When this happens I feel like I’m trying to make myself enjoy the day. It might sound crazy but I just want the overall experience to feel natural and NOT forced.

Wednesday came around and my roommate and I didn’t know how to spend it. She had some errands to run in the morning and she left me to figure out our plans. I proposed multiple options to fill the day but I could tell that both of us weren’t really excited about any of them. We both paused in thought for a moment and I was thinking about what some coworkers were suggesting at work a couple of days prior. One girl told me that I should just pick a random part of town to go to and see where my feet take me.  Another girl told me that her second job is working at a boutique in Abbot Kinney. When she said that I asked her what that was and she explained that it is a road in Venice that is lined with Boutiques and restaurants.

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I turned to my roommate after getting lost in my thoughts and asked, have you ever heard of Abbot Kinney? Danielle had no idea what I was talking about and so I pulled up some Google images online and we both decided that it sounded like a fun idea. We drove through the streets of Venice blasting old school Taylor Swift and parked along a side street and started our Adventure Wednesday uncertain of where the day would take us.

We walked in and out of LA local boutiques, commenting on the clothes, hats, and accessories. We spent time laughing at clever greeting cards and took many pictures of the wall art that surrounded us at every turn. Danielle and I even stumbled upon a small art gallery. What I loved about Abbot Kinney was that there was something happening in every nook and cranny of this road. You would look down an alleyway and see a small coffee shop or another clothesline of the latest fashions. Eventually we stopped into an ice cream shop, N’Ice Cream, because I have a crazy sweet tooth and man did this dessert not disappoint. It was delicious.

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When snack time was over we entered a leather shop, Will Leather Goods, where everything was super expensive. We met a really nice guy that worked there that asked if we wanted to press leather. We asked how much it costs and he said that it was free. Danielle and I spent way too much time in the shop hammering letters into strips of leather to make a keychain. The employee was definitely entertained by us.

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Once we had seen our fill of Abbot Kinney we realized that three hours had gone by. Danielle and I really enjoyed our time in Venice and to think we almost didn’t go because I didn’t think it was an idea worth suggesting. After all, don’t rule out an option until you at least suggest it. 😉

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Xperience #25: Hidden Mickey’s of Disneyland

In 2015 take on a challenge.

I recently became a Disneyland Annual Pass holder. Being a pass holder has opened up so many opportunities to explore Disneyland through different lenses. My roommate also has a pass and we have decided to have dedicated days devoted to different activities throughout the parks. A recent trip to Disneyland was devoted to “The Hidden Mickey’s of Disneyland.” This book is available in most shops throughout the theme park.

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We got to the park around 11am and the scavenger hunt began. The book breaks down where to find the Mickey’s by the different sections of the park; Adventureland, Tommorowland, Main Street, etc. Mickey’s can be found in restaurants, on the ground, in rides, and so forth. I will admit that you can not complete finding them all in one day. There are just too many and too little time.

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I recommend developing a strategy. My roommate and I only searched for the ones that were not on rides in order to avoid the long lines and therefore maximize our search time. In the end we found 46 throughout Disneyland, California Adventure, and Downtown Disney.

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In 2015 take on a challenge because the thrill of success after the hunt is so rewarding. I know I am talking about a simple Disneyland Scavenger hunt but in life following clues, uncovering hints, and building alliances (with Disney Cast members), can teach you a lot about what it’s like to have fun.

If you want to purchase the book I have written the title and author below:

The Hidden Mickey’s of Disneyland

by: Bill Scollon

Xperiences #21-24: Carnival Cruise

In 2015 set sail on your next great adventure.

I recently embarked on my first cruise with my family this past June. We learned real quickly that the cruise we signed up for is the best for beginners. My family and I left out of Long Beach for a 3 day cruise to Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico. I had heard of some pretty incredible stories of the fabulous food, shows, and activities that were offered aboard cruise ships and I must admit this fell super short of my expectations.

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Overall the food was pretty mediocre and the room was a shoebox and they had a poor excuse for a pool, but the entertainment is truly what won me over. We had a Bingo night, live performances of singing and dancing by Playlist Productions, as well as a nightclub. My sister and I also did Karaoke for the first time. It was actually a blast.

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My favorite part of the entire trip was when we docked in Ensenada. We decided to book a tour to see the La Bufadora which is a naturally occurring blow hole in the ocean. It is actually one of the largest blow holes in North America. A word of advice, don’t book the tours on the cruise ship. I recommend waiting until you dock because the same tour is almost half the price in Mexico. The water shoots up almost every minute and it is next to outdoor shops with purses, clothes, knickknacks, food and Piña coladas.

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In the end, I must admit for the price I am happy I was able to have my first cruise experience. I now know that you get what you pay for. Next time I will invest in a little more money for an overall higher quality cruise. I would say do your research ahead of time, read reviews, and don’t forget to travel often!

Xperiences #11-20: Las Vegas

In 2015, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas…..unless it is worth sharing.

My recent trip to Vegas had a lot of firsts even though I have been many times before. This was my first time going over the age of 21. Two of my friends and I packed up our car and drove to Vegas. Since we drove we were able to make a stop at the Famous “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign. It actually has a mini parking lot so you can stop and take pictures. There is also an employee that manages the line and can take your photo for you. It was a perfect start to the trip.

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I will tell my readers that Vegas is all about the hook ups. There are so many ways for you to save money on your trip, that is if you are not planning on gambling. Vegas hotels have a lot of deals that are available through various sites. That was how I was able to book a hotel suite at The Venetian for $150 a night. The first night we went to Tao Nightclub because we got on a VIP list from a Promoter on Twitter. If you tweet with a hashtag Vegas (#Vegas) anytime before or during your trip, I can almost guarantee a Promoter will reach out to you, especially if you are a girl. They will most likely have you text them and then you and your guests make the VIP list. What does that mean? You don’t have to pay for entry. Sometimes that could even include an open bar or drink vouchers.

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The following day it was all about Tao Beach. I must admit, beach clubs are now my favorite thing about Vegas. You still get to party like you do in a nightclub but without needing to get all dressed up and wear heels. The laid back atmosphere was fantastic and we got to dance to music brought to you by Brody Jenner. Our second night we spent some time at XS and left shortly after to go to Marquee. XS has a cool outdoor area near a pool, which means I will need to check out The Wynn’s day club during my next trip, but the actual nightclub was just alright in my opinion. The DJ that night wasn’t that great. We found out that if we would have stayed till 2am David Guetta had taken over. So we kinda missed out. Marquee was incredible though, especially their DJ Heart of Vice. The club has an outdoor area on the rooftop as well as a a dark indoor space with lots of flashing lights to keep your adrenaline up. It is one hell of a ride.

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The next morning before we drove back to LA we grabbed breakfast and a huge banana split from Serendipity 3 at Caesar’s Palace. Their food was seriously fantastic. I recommend making a stop there on your next trip too.

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I hope you can feel like a true VIP on your next trip to Vegas because I know I did.

Xperiences #9-10 Salvation Mountain & Salton Sea

In 2015 remember that every experience makes a great story.

Since I started this blog I have always emphasized on the positive new experiences that I have had throughout the years. After this day trip to Salvation Mountain and Salton Sea I thought I might have an experience that I can tell people to shy away from. After reflecting on this not so amazing trip I knew I had to write about it.

A little back story: Salvation Mountain was built of straw, clay, and paint by Leonard Knight back in 1985. A devoted Christian, Leonard wanted a way to show the world that God is Love. He hand built this monument for all to see in truthfully the middle of nowhere California. My best friend and I decided that this would be a cool place to drive to on a day off. So we took a 3 hour drive to check out the famous Salvation Mountain.

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Of course we go on a day where the wind was out for vengeance. Since this site is surrounded by nothing but dust we were fighting off little grains of sand as well as our hair as we tried to climb up the mountain. We walked through the caves of paint and read the different messages that covered the walls. When we finally took refuge in our car we couldn’t help feeling disappointed. I think we were just expecting more, especially because it scored 5 stars on Yelp out of 119 reviews.

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We hoped that a stop over in Salton Sea would help make up for our disappointment. Unfortunately we weren’t really told anything about the sea’s history ahead of time. This sea was accidentally created back in 1905 and has a very high level of salt. In the 50’s Salton Sea drew more tourists to the location than Yosemite. In the late 1980’s toxicity levels heavily increased and a terrible smell from algae started.

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The smell is literally what forced us to leave not even 30 minutes after we had arrived. From the outside it is a gorgeous lake with birds flocking around and amazing mountains that surround the whole area. Once your there it is a toxic wasteland with a shoreline of salt deposits and dead fish.

Everything about this trip was laughable. Driving to Salvation Mountain and feeling like if we had a flat tire no one would ever find us. Arriving at the Mountain and expecting so much more/fighting to not be swept away by the wind or swallow mouthfuls of sand. Then going to Salton Sea and trying not to up chuck from the smell. It sounds terrible and it really kind of was but you want to know what, as Danielle and I were driving home we couldn’t help but smile and laugh. Nothing about the day went as planned but we had awesome company and a great drive jamming out to the new Mumford and Sons album. Plus, every person we have shared our story with has gotten a great laugh out of it and sometimes that’s what makes it worth it.

If you do want to make a trip out to either of these locations I would only recommend it if it’s a stop by detour versus your final destination. Remember every experience makes a great story.

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Xperience #8: Red Carpet Premiere

In 2015 spend a day in the world of the famous.

There is a whole world out there within the world that we live in. This is the world of the famous. Can you imagine a life of interviews, filming, paparazzi, and fans screaming your name? It seems like a great dream you have after a long day at work. There are few opportunities that arise that allow you to feel apart of that life temporarily. One of those is a Red Carpet Premiere on Hollywood Boulevard.

I was lucky to have the opportunity to attend the Red Carpet Premiere for the movie Avengers: Age of Ultron. It was an all day event of setting up. I watched as they closed the street and rolled out the red carpet and built up the wall for photos. I watched as they wheeled out props like wax figures from Madame Tussauds, Motorcycles, and Audi cars.

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I got to take turns saving my group’s spot along the road and wait for the actors and film makers to arrive. The press arrived first and then the actors appeared one after the other. I got to see Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Robert Downey Jr, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Stan Lee, Samuel L Jackson, and many more. It was fun to shout out their names and strain your neck just to catch a glimpse and maybe steal a smile or a wave.

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I must admit that their is a certain adrenaline rush as you are standing in the crowd desperately hoping for a photograph or a signature from your favorite actor. It was an experience to remember.

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Xperience #7: Santa Barbara

In 2015 allow your friends to surprise you.

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, Wednesdays have quickly become my adventure days with my best friend. We take turns deciding what new experiences will fill our day. On a recent Wednesday, Danielle wanted to surprise me with our activities. We were probably driving for almost an hour and I started guessing where we were going. She finally revealed that we were going to Santa Barbara for the day.

When we arrived we parked by the court house and walked around the beautiful grounds as it started to lightly rain. We climbed up some stairs to get a 360 degree view of the town but stopped in the clock room for a little bit. We learned that room is only open twice a week on Saturdays and Wednesdays from 1-2pm. We happened to be there at 1:30pm on a Wednesday. Talk about coincidence. We learned something intriguing about the bells that I won’t reveal to you. You will have to make the trip yourself.

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Anyways, we made it to the top and took photos capturing the newly wet rustic red roofs. After the courthouse we walked all along the streets of downtown until we made it to the pier. The ocean water looked grey as it reflected the cloudy sky. We watched the boats floating by and the seagulls fly across the sky. On the way back we stopped for ice cream at the famous McConnell’s Ice Cream and ended the day with a movie at their local theater.

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If you are looking for a fun day in a cute quaint beach town, Santa Barbara is for you. I was so happy that I let Danielle surprise me and I was able to take the back seat on the planning train for once.

Xperience #6: House of Blues Los Angeles

In 2015 go out on Saturday night.

You enter a nearly empty room with dim lighting and an abandoned drum set in the corner. Other people slowly start to file in and order a drink from the bar. The musicians arrive and the sound of tuning strings is in the air. You look around to find a comfy place to sit as you prepare for the show to start. A group of other guests sit next to you and start to converse. When the show begins you sit back and let the music overtake you. Doesn’t that sound like a great way to spend a Saturday night?

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That is how I spent a recent Saturday evening at The House of Blues on Sunset Blvd. My friend Taylor and I met up after a hard days work and enjoyed some live music in the Foundation Room. There were multiple artists playing throughout the night in a few rooms in the House of Blues. Will Makar, from American Idol, headlined. This was my first time hearing his music and I absolutely loved it. I downloaded three of his songs the moment the show ended. I would recommend listening to Supernatural Love, Free, and Circles.

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When the performance concluded we were talking with some people who we discovered worked for the same company we do just at a different location. We really do live in a small world? We talked with our new friends for awhile before it was time to hit the road. I would say it was a Saturday night well spent.

Next time you are debating whether or not you want to go out or stay in on a Saturday night, just go out. I promise you won’t regret it. If you do and want to catch some live music at The House of Blues I have provided the address and website below:

8430 Sunset Blvd,

West Hollywood, CA 90069

http://www.houseofblues.com/losangeles/

Xperience #5: Paradise Falls

In 2015 be the star of your own Disney Movie.

Growing up just south of Phoenix you had to drive at least 2 hours to see a decent waterfall. Not only that, but usually the trek to get there was meant for experienced hikers. So imagine my surprise when I discovered that there was a waterfall only 45 minutes away from my apartment and the hike was indicated as easy.

The true icing on the cake was the waterfall I had researched was called Paradise Falls. Not to be confused with the South American Paradise Falls from the movie Up, but they might as well be twins.

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The hike is located in the gorgeous hills of Thousand Oaks, CA. The trail is surrounded by countless others leading you to additional sites like an Indian Cave or Lizard Rock. If you just do the round trip hike to the falls and back it will take you just over two hours to complete, that is if you stay and enjoy the site for a bit.

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My motto throughout the day was Adventure is Out There. I really felt like I was Russell hiking to win my wilderness badge. The trail brings you to the side of the falls and you will need to cross the water with a hop, skip, and a jump that will involve some splashing in order to see the waterfall straight on. I’m telling you that it will be worth it. I had a true feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day and got to experience my own piece of Disney magic. I definitely recommend the hike.

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