Germany Travel Guide

Guten Tag! Germany is full of amazing history, vibrant culture, interesting street art, hip urban cafes & bars, delicious street food – bratwurst & pretzels, Haribo gummies, BMW/Mercedes Benz, tall skyscrapers, Oktoberfest and beer halls. My favorites of Germany are listed below:



Berliner Dom – Go to the top to see the panoramic view of the entire city, one of the best things I did in Germany. The inside was ornately decorated and beautiful as well. Has the best views of the TV Tower and down the Spree River (located on Museum Island)


Brandenburg Gate – From 1961 to 1989 this gate symbolized divided Germany, it’s one of the iconic monuments in Berlin


East Side Gallery/West Side Berlin Wall – Rich with historic past, the Berlin Wall was a guarded concrete barrier that physically and ideologically divided Berlin from 1961 to 1989. Very interesting to see – the murals were amazing and I heard some of them have rotating artists who change the art work. We got to see the famous Socialist Kiss mural


Berliner Fernsehturm (TV Tower)/Alexanderplatz – One of the main squares and the tv tower was intended to be both a symbol of Communist power and of Berlin


Holocaust Memorial – Very somber place, interesting to learn about all the history


Berghain – One of the most famous nightclubs in Berlin, iconic DJs have played here and it’s one of the hardest to gain entrance to. We biked by it and it was pretty neat to see


Ritter Sport Chocolate Museum- Iconic chocolate of Germany, one of the best European chocolates I’ve ever had. Loved the cute square packaging. Do the create your own chocolate bar – Meine Schoko Kreation – I selected the milk chocolate with strawberry pieces, raspberry pieces and rice crips. Best souvenir ever so amazingly delicious!


Checkpoint Charlie – Checkpoint Charlie was the name given by the Western Allies to the best-known Berlin Wall crossing point between East Berlin and West Berlin during the Cold War. Just north of here during our historic walking tour we also got to see where Hitler’s underground bunker remained – it now stands as a dirt parking lot


NH Hotel Berlin City Ost- We stayed here and it was great, so much variety for breakfast and can we tell European breakfast was one of my favorites



Hofbräuhaus Beer Hall – Multi floor beer hall with intricate paintings and massive long tables, fun atmosphere


Beer stein – Such an iconic souvenir to bring home. These were super neat and they sold all different kinds and sizes. Lots of them hand made – we learned how beer steins were crafted at this little shop below


Rathaus-Glockenspiel – Famous clocktower in Marienplatz. It’s huge and has the most beautiful architecture, such an amazing town square to see


Birkenstock – There’s Birkenstocks sold everywhere in Germany since they were founded here. I didn’t think these were my style before, but the more and more I saw locals wearing them the more I started to like them


Cuckoo Clock – These are iconic in Munich and can be found everywhere, saw one of the world’s largest hanging cuckoo clocks in St. Goar



Rhine Valley and the German Countryside were absolutely beautiful. It’s a cute river front town along the Rhine. Probably one of my favorite places in Germany besides Munich. Loved the nature, so peaceful. Charming fairytale town with castle like buildings


ARCHITECTURE – some of my FAVORITE views throughout Germany of the ornate intricate architecture in the beautiful towns



FOOD – some of my FAVORITE foods I had in Germany were the pretzels, apple strudels, chicken, sausage/bratwurst, potato dumplings, beer (my go to was the Radler – half beer half lemonade), gelato, gyro, pasta and schnitzel. I’m always on a mission to try gelato everywhere I go



And even the police cars are BMW! How cool – we witnessed some crazy driving on the Autobahn


Auf Wiedersehen! Time to head back to Tegal Airport.

To See/Eat Next Time: 

German Ice Wine

Neuschwanstein Castle

Reichstag Parliament Building



Sweden Travel Guide

When I dream about Scandinavia I think of viking ships, brooding castles, salty harbors, deep green fjords, churches, farmhouses, vast lakes, mountains, waterfalls and ferry boats. I had the pleasure of spending time within nature while in Norway and a little in Stockholm while kayaking around the archipelagos.

Sweden was so awesome and such a fun city. I can’t wait to come back soon, here’s some of my favorites of Stockholm!


Gamla Stan (Old Town)

My favorite part of Sweden was Gamla Stan also known as the Old Town. It had the most beautiful architecture and I loved walking down the cobblestone streets and through the colorful Stortorget Square.


Nobel Peace Prize Museum

One of my favorite museums in Scandinavia. It was so neat and interesting to learn and read about all the Nobel Peace Prize winners over the years. There were a lot of interesting video clip documentaries and artifacts within the museum. It was located right within the Stortorget Square.


Vasa Museum

The Vasa Museum is a maritime museum located on the island of Djurgården in Stockholm. The museum displays the only almost fully intact 17th century ship that has ever been salvaged. The 64-gun warship Vasa sank on her maiden voyage in 1628 and sat for 333 years before being rescued.


ABBA Museum

Super cute museum about the singing group ABBA. If you’re a fan of anything ABBA, especially Mamma Mia you won’t want to miss this fun interactive site. Lots of opportunities to karaoke to your favorite ABBA song and even dance on the stage to a choreographed ABBA routine.


Icebar at Icehotel Stockholm

ICEBAR by ICEHOTEL Stockholm is the world’s first original ice bar (built in 2002) and has a constant temperature of -7 degrees celsius (19 degrees fahrenheit). The interior is made out of sculpted ice from the arctic Torne River. The bar has room for up to 60 people. The entry fee includes a cocktail and a visit lasts about 40 minutes. They provide you with a warm coat and thick gloves to wear before you step into the ice room. The ice bar is beautiful and the interior has artistic colorful lighting. When we went there was an ice sculpture throne and pirate’s ship. Each cocktail is served in a glass made of ice. The drinks usually carry a common theme.


Archipelago Kayaking

Definitely one of the hardest physical activity sports I’ve ever had to do, this gave me such the arm and leg workout. We paddled for so long up and around the islands. The sites were amazing and it was so neat seeing Sweden from afar. It was one of the best unique experiences! I was in a tandem kayak, which was fun.


Royal Palace

Stockholm Palace or the Royal Palace is the official residence and major royal palace of the Swedish monarch. Stockholm Palace is located on Stadsholmen, in Gamla Stan in the capital, Stockholm. It neighbours the Riksdag building.



IKEA Swedish Meatballs & Lingonberry

Haha a classic Swedish place! We love IKEA in the states. IKEA is a Swedish company that designs and sells ready-to-assemble furniture, kitchen appliances and home accessories, among other useful goods and occasionally home services. It has been the world’s largest furniture retailer since at least 2008. IKEA will always remind me of my college days since practically my whole dorm room/apt. was furnished by them. I had to try out the Swedish meatballs from here and they did not disappoint, very much comfort food. They’re definitely better than our IKEA food at home.


Swedish Meatballs (svenska Köttbullar)/Lingonberry

Can you tell this was my favorite dish to eat in Sweden? I had Swedish meatballs at almost every restaurant for dinner. Each place had their own spin on the sauce which was cool to try. Lingonberries are usually served with the meatballs and are sweet, sour and tart. The flavoring is similar to cranberries. Here’s three of our favorite restaurants that served them:

Restaurang Kaffegillet (Gamla Stan)


Sallys Restaurang & Bar Sidenhuset Pärlan (Gamla Stan)


We also tried their bolognese lasagna here which was surprisingly good (see above)!

Carpe Diem (Gamla Stan)


We also tried the fish & chips and bolognese pasta (see above) here which were amazing and delicious as well! Highly recommend this restaurant.

Cinnamon roll (Kanelbullar)

It’s a must to try a cinnamon roll in every Scandinavian country. Each vary slightly and are delicious. They’re sold at practically every coffee shop and perfect for Fika. I love the ones with lots of cinnamon and there’s even some delicious ones with chocolate.



Known as taking a “coffee & cake break”, Fika is a concept or a state of mind or an attitude and is a very important part of Swedish culture. Many Swedes consider it essential to make time for Fika every day. Fika is like a social hour where Swedes make time for friends and colleagues to share a cup of coffee (or tea) and usually cake. There’s so many cute coffee shops in Old Town with the best iced coffee drinks and chocolate cake (see below), yum!



Lejonet & Björnen

Of course it wouldn’t be a Lauren post without my favorite sorbet place. We loved Lejonet & Björnen located in Gamla Stan. The lemon and berry sorbet were amazing!



Clarion Hotel Stockholm

This is the hotel we stayed at in Stockholm and it was the best. Perfectly located in the center of the city and made it super easy to get to and from Gamla Stan. It was nicely decorated, very modern and we loved our stay here. This hotel is huge and has so many floors. There’s a quaint bar downstairs and it even has a gym and spa.



Dala Wooden Horse

Everyone needs to bring one of these hand painted horses home. These are traditional carved painted wooden horse statues and are a classic symbol of Sweden. They can be found all over the town in various sizes and colors. I got one as an ornament to hang on my Christmas tree to remind me of my wonderful trip to Scandinavia.




Experience a traditional Swedish massage

Golden Hall at Stockholm City Hall

Katarina Hissen Tower/Katarina Viewing Platform

Skinnarviksberget Stockholm View

Santa Barbara Travel Guide

When I picture Santa Barbara I think of a cute charming coastal town with Spanish colonial revival architecture, Moorish inspired decor, Santa Ynez mountains, red tile roofs, palm tree lined streets, pristine beaches, Mediterranean influences, wine country and American Riviera. Here’s all my favorites:

State Street

Main shopping street in downtown Santa Barbara; has super nice boutique/souvenir/mall shops (Paseo Nuevo), outdoor plazas, fine & casual dining, bars/nightlife, cultural venues & entertainment (parking is plentiful with structures & street parking) goes straight to Stearns Wharf


Santa Barbara County Courthouse 

National historic landmark with the most gorgeous panoramic view of the city in the open air clock tower; love the Spanish architecture, red roof tiles, beautiful gardens & grounds and mural room (located on 1100 Anacapa Street)


Old Mission Santa Barbara

Beautiful and historic monument known as the “Queen of Missions”; overlooks the Pacific ocean and city, take the quick tour and see the pretty rose gardens (located on 2201 Laguna Street; 4 miles from downtown/wharf area)


Stearns Wharf

Wooden pier at the end of state street where the dolphin fountain meets filled with lots of restaurants and shopping; cute place to watch the sunset and enjoy the amazing views of the beach


The Harbor

Lots of restaurants overlooking the waterfront beach, city and mountains, located just a stroll past Stearns Wharf, loved seeing all the different boats


West & East Beach / Chase Palm Park

Located to the left & right of Stearns Wharf, prettiest views of the water and conveniently at the end of state street


Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort

Located right at the end along the beach close and within walking distance to state street; beautiful hotel with stunning views of the ocean


The Douglas Family Preserve Hiking Trail

Fun short hike with the prettiest ocean views, this trail is also dog friendly. We ate lunch at a restaurant right at the bottom of this trail. Trail starts up higher in a residential mountain area and descends down towards the beach


Holdren’s Steaks & Seafood

One of my favorite filet mignon’s I’ve ever had. The steak dinners are amazing and the presentation is beautiful. The portions are perfect and steak dinners come with a salad or soup (loved the vegetable soup) and a potato style side dish (try the twice baked potato or the garlic mashed)


Finch & Fork 

Cute place for brunch & mimosas! We got the peach and grapefruit mimosas and loved them plus there’s so many fun breakfast options from caramelized banana french toast to pork belly benedict


Boathouse at Hendry’s Beach

Gorgeous panoramic ocean views and perfect for seaside drinks with friends or a fun date. Serves upscale seafood and brunch


SB Wineries

We went to Paradise Springs Winery on State Street and Deep Sea Tasting Room on Stearns Wharf. Loved Paradise Springs winery the best out of the two and my favorite wine was the 2015 Sauvignon Blanc Happy Canyon (layered flavors of granny smith apple, asian pear, and subtle tones of brioche) and the 2016 K 3 Santa Ynez Valley (bright red fruit notes with cranberry and bing cherry). We ended up doing the $15 tasting flights so we could try all the different whites, reds and rosés


Blenders In the Grass

Smoothie chain all over Santa Barbara; my favorites in order are Strawberry, Blue Apple, Red Orange, Original and Red Pineapple (of the ones I tried), can’t wait to try more when I come back


Garretts Old Fashioned Restaurant

Located on State Street this cute diner is perfect for brunch, their homemade blueberry pancakes are some of the best I’ve ever had; this place is always so crowded in the morning (best variety for breakfast options)


Backyard Bowls

My go to acai bowl place in SB, my favorite is the berry bowl with açaí, banana, strawberry, apple juice base, topped with granola, banana, strawberry, goji berry, blueberry and honey (located just off State Street)


McConnells Fine Ice Creams

Saved the best for last of food – this ice cream is famous in SB made from scratch since 1949 and has some of the most interesting unique flavors; my favorites are the wild berry chip and eureka lemon and marionberries


List for Next Time:

Butterfly Beach & the Four Seasons Biltmore in Montecito


Copenhagen Travel Guide

I absolutely loved every minute in Copenhagen and thought for sure that Denmark would be my favorite Scandinavian country…that is until I saw Norway, but more on that later. Copenhagen took my breath away…everything was so clean, bright, architecturally beautiful and the food was amazing! So many smørrebrød open faced sandwiches.

Here’s a list of highlights of my favorite things/eats from Copenhagen (not pictured below…the rainbow shots and trying jäger for the first time at Stereo Love Bar in King’s Square, fun times)

Nyhavn Harbor 

#1 on my list – please visit here and enjoy a cute lunch or dinner along this waterfront. It’s slightly touristy, but such a beautiful fun atmosphere with all the colors and boats. I felt like I had stepped into a real life painting. I wish I could go back in time and enjoy this place once more. Probably the most photographed street in Copenhagen.



Going along with Nyhavn, if you’re walking this iconic street stop at my newest favorite gelato/sorbet place. The outside drew me into the shop alone with the instagram worthy aesthetic. I went back no joke probably three times to get the “Limesorbet Med Jordbær” flavor…it was truly unbelievably good.


Church of Our Saviour

The best view of the entire city! Super famous for its helix spire with an external golden winding staircase that can be climbed to the very top (400 steps of fun). I’m afraid of heights so this was definitely a scary experience, but so worth it. It’s 90 meters above street level, which is insane. The last 150 steps are outside of the spire and I held so tightly to the staircase so I would minimize my fear of falling.


Little Mermaid Statue

A lot tinnier in person than I was expecting. The bronze statue was made by Edvard Eriksen as inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale the little mermaid and is displayed on a rock by the waterside at the Langelinie promenade in Copenhagen, Denmark. It is 1.25 metres tall and weighs 175 kilograms. The sculpture is about 105 years old.


Neptune’s Fountain 

A short walk from the Little Mermaid statue along the harbor. Slightly hilly in this park area and also watch out for the bikers.


Kronborg Castle

Beautiful castle that we saw from our ferry from Berlin on our way to Copenhagen. Known as Elsinore in Shakespeare’s Hamlet.


Carlsberg Brewery 

Taste world famous Danish beer and take the historical tour behind the company. I’m not a big beer drinker, but this one was pretty light and refreshing. I prefer the Somersby Ciders in nice fruity flavors. The collection of beer bottles was huge and it was interesting to see how the beer is made.



WarPigs is a big, hip brewpub in Copenhagen’s buzzing Meatpacking District. Has great Texas style American BBQ, which hit the spot after being away from home for so long. They had so many different unique sauces to try. We got the beef brisket and some mac & cheese, yum!


Cocks and Cows

Found inside the Tivoli Food Hall. These burgers and fries are amazing! We got the cheese n’ smoke burger and twister fries. Twister fries taste just like American curly fries from Jack In the Box.



Another Tivoli Food Hall favorite, not as good as Cocks & Cows though. European style pizza. Ordered the Hawaiian pizza. Pretty standard.


Amalienborg Palace

Home of the Danish Royal family, the architecture was so ornate and stunning. See the changing of the guards here in the beautiful courtyard. Someday I’d like to come back and tour the inside. Reminds me of when we went to see Buckingham Palace in London.


Støget Street

Largest shopping street with an abundance of stores and home of Pandora, Lego, Fighting Tiger, Coca Cola (fav. soda) and all other Danish stores. It’s one of Europe’s longest pedestrian streets. I had to get myself a Pandora charm where the company originated to commemorate the trip. Another favorite purchase was my new black Rains raincoat. The Rains boutique store was beautifully set up, I felt like I was walking into Nordstrom. Now I can’t wait for it to rain so I can try my new jacket out. Also got to see the flagship store with the Royal family blue fluted mega dinnerware, super fancy and cute. Didn’t have any room in my luggage to take any home, but maybe next time.



Flying Tiger

Interesting store in Denmark that sells the most unique products to encourage social activity and creativity. The store is meant to inspire and has crazy games, decor, party ware, food, etc. Was super fun to walk in. Plus they sold my favorite candy…sour belts. I could not get enough of these.


Pølser Carts

These are everywhere. I normally don’t enjoy or like hot dogs, but figured I had to try this famous Danish fare. It’s brightly colored red boiled pork sausage and actually tastes quite delicious. The toppings vary depending on where you get one.


Royal Opera House 

Famous for the performances and the Hans Christian Andersen stories about him falling in love with one of the ballerinas. Would have been super neat to see a performance here.


Hans Christian Andersen Statue & Town Hall

This is the main city square and a great meeting point to start before walking up the streets of Støget. Right across from Tivoli Amusement Park.


Rosenborg Castle & Gardens

Features 400 years of royal art treasures and the Crown Jewels and Royal Regalia. Beautiful rose gardens. We biked to the castle and the grounds were impeccable.



Had to try Danish pastries and they were very delicious – get the kanelsnegl (aka cinnamon snail or cinnamon roll) and wienerbrød (vienna bread). Located on the main shopping street. Ranked as one of Copenhagen’s top 10 bakeries.



Known as the freetown. An interesting place, definitely not somewhere I’d come again. Very hippie, boho vibes, alternative neighborhood. You’ll be shocked at what you see. This is the only photo I got since you’re not allowed to take any pictures past the main entrance sign. For your own safety, visitors are advised not to film nor photograph in Christiania, especially not in the area in and around Pusher Street, mainly due to the hash dealing, which is illegal in Denmark. Not quite a highlight or favorite, but thought I’d mention it since it attracts so many tourists and visitors. It’s a very eclectic and peculiar place. Don’t come here alone. Christiania is a mix of homemade houses, workshops, art galleries, music venues, cheap and organic eateries, and nature. It is still a society within a society.


Yellow Houses in Nyboder

Nyboder (English: New [small] Houses) is a historic row house district of former Naval barracks in Copenhagen, Denmark. It was planned and first built by Christian IV to accommodate a need for housing for the personnel of the rapidly growing Royal Danish Navy and their families during that time. Very beautiful to see.


Gelato Rajiissimo

Didn’t get to try their gelato this time, but they have amazing chocolate dipped churros. Located on the main shopping street.


Bike Tour

While in Scandinavia rent bikes, it’s the easiest way to get around and see so much of the city in a short amount of time. We saw such pretty views of the city.


Rundetaarn Tower/ Round Tower

The 17th century tower and observatory Rundetaarn, or the round tower, is the oldest functioning observatory in Europe. My 2nd favorite view of the whole city and located right in the center on the main shopping street area.


Opera House Harbor

The prettiest place to go biking along the waterfront. Such gorgeous views.


Tivoli Amusement Park 

Saved the best for last, the place that inspired Walt to create Disneyland. I wasn’t keen or crazy on the rides since they were a bit much….definitely more six flags or Knott’s Berry Farm style than Disneyland rides, but nevertheless the grounds were beautiful. The gardens and flowers reminded me of being at Disneyland. The different touches on cultures was very neat to see, my favorite was the mock Taj Mahal. We went when they were celebrating the park’s 175 year anniversary, which was super special. The park is lit up at night, very pretty.


Had a blast and wonderful time in Denmark, can’t wait to come back soon!

Places to See Next Time:

Christiansborg Tower

Frederiksborg Castle

Palm Springs Travel Guide

This summer was my second time to Palm Springs and it was so much fun! The weather was sunny and hot, but it made for the perfect summer getaway weekend.

Palm Springs in a snippet – desert oasis, palm trees, Coachella vibes, bohemian flair, tropical drinks, Rosé, floppy straw hats, sunnies, pineapple fusion, flamingo pool floats, flower crowns & beaded headbands, sunshine, bright colors, cactus, mid century modern architecture, mineral springs & spas, stylish boutique hotels and cute little shops lining Palm Canyon Drive.


JW Marriott Desert Springs Palm Desert

The most beautiful hotel, it feels like Hawaii almost. Located in Palm Desert which is farther out from the main Palm Springs Strip with all the restaurants. I actually love Palm Desert more than the Palm Springs area. This resort has a golf course, amazing pool, Starbucks, boat track to take you across the resort to the restaurants, flamingos in the front and the cutest boutique shops. I loved the shop Queenie’s and even found my favorite blanket on sale – Barefoot Dreams


Hyatt Palm Springs

This resort hotel is beautiful and in the perfect location downtown within walking distance of all the cutest shops and fancy restaurants. The rooms were suites and felt very luxurious. The 24 hour gym on level 2 was a cool perk too. Our room was in the inner portion of the hotel which was great because if our room would’ve been on the outside it would’ve been too hot. We stocked our room with all our favorite snacks for the weekend. The lobby was super nice. My favorite was the view from our room overlooking the pretty pool and mountains. Located at 285 North Palm Canyon Drive. Parking is valet only and $25 p/night, but there’s also free short term parking.



Saguaro Pool Party

The funnest summer event, the Saguaro Hotel hosts a DJ pool party that you can attend by purchasing wristbands if you’re not staying at the hotel. There are a lot of bachelorette parties present, but it’s an awesome atmosphere. Super instagram friendly with all the bright neon bold colors. The furniture and decor is very hip. Rent a daybed with umbrellas if it’s super hot and they’ll also provide hot pink towels. There’s a ping pong table in the lobby. Also they allow you to bring in your own pool floats and even have a generator pump to blow them up with by the pool. It was cute seeing all the unicorns, flamingos, intertubes, etc. many that I’d seen from Target. There’s also fire-pits for bonfires late at night when it gets dark.


Zelda’s Nightclub

Didn’t expect to have as much fun as I did here. The music was great, lots of House & EDM style electronic dance tunes. They have platforms with poles if you’re brave. Our group brought in glow-sticks which were super fun and made it easy to spot our group in the group. Other groups had balloon strands that they danced with (the kind that you make balloon animals from). They have a huge bar in the back and plenty of bar top tables to sit out. The jello shots and jello test tubes were a hit among the crowd.


Palm Canyon Drive Shopping

So many cute boutique shops down this pretty palm tree lined street. Take a stroll down this lane with a nice Starbucks in hand.



El Jefe

This Mexican food is terrific. El Jefe is a bar inside the Saguaro Hotel. We had the grilled cheese sandwich with white cheddar, bacon and tomatoes which also came with french fries. Also had the pork carnitas tacos. Yum! The poolside frozen drinks we tried were the That Frozen Strawberry Drink and Strawberry Banana Swirl. Both were super sweet and strong and not my favorite, but we also tried the Banana Piña Colada frozen drink was amazing!


Lulu California Bistro

The cutest retro brunch spot. It has such a fun and funky flair inside with the modern furniture and light fixtures. They have everything, the menu has such a great variety. I got the chicken filet sandwich for lunch which had grilled chicken breast, avocado, swiss cheese, bacon, tomato and mayo with a mixed field greens side salad. The mimosas are tasty. If you’re celebrating a special occasion they’ll provide a huge glass filled with delicious cotton candy to toast with. Also liked the bolognese pasta


Tommy Bahama Marlin Bar

I’ve been to the Tommy Bahama Restaurant before, but never the Marlin Bar. The guava glazed baby back pork ribs were delicious. Half rack jerk rubbed mango guava bbq slightly spicy with a side of island slaw and fries. I’ve had their world famous coconut shrimp appetizer which is pretty tasty. The painchiller pineapple, orange, cream of coconut and nutmeg drink is always my go-to favorite.


La Bonitas

The best Mexican food I had in Palm Springs. Their burritos are amazing! I had the California Burrito which had shredded chicken, pinto beans, monterrey cheese, french fries, salsa, sour cream and avocado wrapped in a large flour tortilla. So delicious! It came with Mexican rice and beans on the side.


Lappert’s Ice Cream

Come here for the best pineapple dole whip. Tastes just like the one from the Dole Whip farm in Hawaii and the famous one from the Tiki Room at Disneyland.


Cabazon Outlets

Stop off at my favorite outlet mall on the way to Palm Springs or on the way back home. Outlet mall is called Desert Hills Premium Outlets. My favorite stores are Lululemon, Kate Spade, Tory Burch, Ted Baker, AG, Pandora, Saint Laurent, Valentino and Victoria Secret. Also treat yourself to a smoothie at Surf City Squeeze in the food court or a coffee at Starbucks.


Next time I Need To Try:

Spencers – Grilled Chicken Breast

Jakes – NY Steak, Filet Mignon, Sorbet Flight

Ice Cream & Shop(pe)

London Travel Guide

Home of the royals….love Will & Kate. London is magnificent, historical, charming and everything I imagined. Bustling city streets, cute little black cabs, bright red double decker buses, picturesque red telephone booths, fish & chips, high tea with scones, and a plethora of pubs. London you were amazing (see the view from the Shard above)! Here are some of my favorites:


Big Ben / Elizabeth Tower Houses of Parliament

Iconic and always reminds me of the Peter Pan movie. Beautiful tall golden clock tower, it was under construction when we went in the summer. Walk over the bridge to get a closer view of the ornate architecture. It used to be open to climb up the clock tower to see the Big Ben strike (needed prior security screenings and approval), but I think this remains closed while the structure is being worked on.


Houses of Parliament / Palace of Westminster

Going along with Big Ben Clock Tower, next to the iconic structure is the Palace of Westminster. The seat of the two parliament houses of the United Kingdom, House of Lords and House of Commons. Also under construction with Big Ben when we went, but still such a gorgeous sight to see. I think you can tour the building if you set up reservations in advance.


Buckingham Palace

London residence of the Monarch of the United Kingdom. I didn’t get to see the Queen or the Royal Family while I visited, but did catch a glimpse at the changing of the guards ceremony which was neat. Someday I’ll have to come back to tour the palace when I have more time.


London Eye

Giant iconic ferris wheel on the South Bank of the River Thames 135 meters tall and 120 meters in diameter. Has a pretty view of the city and is sponsored by Coca Cola.


Thames River Cruise

We went on a City Cruises river tour down the Thames. Super neat and would recommend it! It’s available in a ton of different languages (it’s live commentary in English and recorded audio in other common languages). The whole tour took us about 70 mins each way (10 mins from Westminster to London Eye, 30 mins from London Eye to London Tower and 30 mins from London Tower to Greenwich). The best part is cruising underneath the Tower Bridge which is such a cool experience. Some highlights you’ll see along the way are the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben Clock Tower, London Eye, Millennium Footbridge (Harry Potter made this more famous), St. Paul’s Cathedral, London Bridge, Tower Bridge, The Shard, Shakespeare’s Globe, Tower of London and Greenwich Park. They sell food/snacks/drinks onboard and they have several different departures from the piers (Westminster, Tower, London Eye, Bankside and Greenwich) depending on where you are located. River Thames is the longest river entirely in England and second longest in the United Kingdom at 215 miles flowing through Southern England.


Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge is a combined bascule and suspension bridge in London built between 1886 and 1894. The bridge crosses the River Thames close to the Tower of London and has become an iconic symbol of London. This is one of the most beautiful bridges I’ve ever seen. It was awesome seeing it from all different angles: if you get the chance walk across the bridge and also take a river cruise underneath the bridge like we did. The bright turquoise blue details were unexpected and eye catching.


Tower of London

The Tower of London, officially Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London, is a historic castle located on the north bank of the River Thames in central London. You can take a tour inside the grounds which is pretty cool. They also have the cutest most adorable gift shop that I bought way too many souvenirs from and spent way too much time in. They had the best presents for all my friends and family.


Kensington Palace & Gardens

Kensington Palace is a royal residence set in Kensington Gardens, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in London, England. They had a really neat Princess Diana exhibit when we visited in the summer. The golden gate right outside the palace was super grand and incredible.


St. Paul’s Cathedral

St Paul’s Cathedral is an Anglican cathedral, the seat of the Bishop of London and the mother church of the Diocese of London. It sits on Ludgate Hill at the highest point of the City of London. Go to the top of the world famous dome to the Golden Gallery for breathtaking views of the city skyline.


The Shard

95 story glass skyscraper with one of the best and highest views of all of London. Offers 360 panoramic views for up to 40 miles from the observation deck viewing platforms.


Leicester Square

Home of some of the best broadway performances in the West End of London. Some of my all time favorite broadway shows are Wicked and Phantom of the Opera.


National Gallery / Trafalgar Square

The National Gallery is an art museum in Trafalgar Square in the City of Westminster, in Central London. Founded in 1824, it houses a collection of over 2,300 paintings dating from the mid-13th century to 1900. My favorite artists Van Gogh and Monet had some famous paintings here that I loved seeing including Sunflowers, Wheatfield and Waterlillies. Trafalgar square was under construction when we visited in the summer so the fountain was coned off sadly. One of my favorite museums (liked it better than the British Museum) and it reminded me a lot of the Met in NYC.


Hyde Park

350 acres of lush greens and basically like the Central Park of NYC for London. It is the largest of four Royal Parks that form a chain from the entrance of Kensington Palace through Kensington Gardens. Serpentine River flows through Hyde Park and is so pretty.


Millennium Bridge

Mentioned already above this is the crooked bridge famous in the Harry Potter movies.


Shakespeare’s Globe Theater

In the London Borough of Southwark, on the south bank of the River Thames. Will have to go back someday to see a performance here.


London Bridge

Not as hyped up as the Tower Bridge, but still an original classic landmark. Box girder bridge built from concrete and steel. Neat to see once on the River Cruise along the Thames. Does anyone else have Fergie’s “London Bridge” song playing in their head?


Piccadilly Circus

Corner between Shaftesbury Avenue and Coventry Street and one of the busiest corners in London. Has a beautiful fountain in the middle of the ground as a meeting point. There’s lot of cool stores and eating places around here.


Westminster Abbey

Royal Church in the center of London. Where Prince William and Kate Middleton had their royal wedding ceremony. The grounds were stunning!


Greenwich Park

One of the royal parks of London. Saw this through the River Cruise mentioned above. The Royal Observatory is neat and you can see the Prime Meridian line here.



Harrods is a luxury department store located on Brompton Road in Knightsbridge, London. One of the most famous department stores in London, it’s huge with many floors and fun to check out.


Hop on Hop Off Bus Tour

Some say these are cheesy and touristy, but I think it’s fabulous. We got to see everything very quickly. Super convenient because it drops you off right in the front of all the famous landmarks. They travel around so often (seems like I’d see one stop every 5 minutes) so it was very easy to spend as much time as we wanted at each place and get on to our next destination. Highly recommend doing The Original Tour. There’s an audio recorded guide giving you highlights and historic facts of each place which was very interesting and it was super fun to ride on the double decker bus.


Fortnum & Mason

My favorite tea brand in all of London. Their packaging is to die for and perfect for gifts for friends and family. My mom absolutely loved their teas. And for those in the States, they now sell this in Williams & Sonoma!


Miscellaneous London Sights

The double decker buses are so fun and loved seeing the beautifully decorated English pubs lining all the quaint streets. The little mini black cabs were funny to see since I’m used to seeing our obnoxious bright yellow ones in the States. Also love the cute red telephone booths on some of the corners.


Underground Tube

The London Underground is a public rapid transit system serving London and some parts of the adjacent counties of Buckinghamshire, Essex and Hertfordshire in the United Kingdom. Loved using the metro to get everywhere in the city, it was super easy. I recommend purchasing an Oyster Card if you will be traveling a lot to many places.



London has two international airports in the center of the city Heathrow and Gatwick. I flew in through Gatwick which was super quick and easy.


Imperial Hotel

3 star hotel in London in Bloomsbury, Central London right by Russell Square. Very simple and loved the cute quaint neighborhood we stayed in. The vibes in this hotel were fun, funky and eclectic. Very close to the metro stops and easy to get to from the Gatwick airport via public transit.



Take time to appreciate the amazing ornate architectural designs throughout London. We saw so many cool buildings with unique character.



Skips Cocktail Chips

Pawn cocktail chips, light tingly melty snack chips in star shell shaped form. I grew up with these as a little kid and love them so much. I have to get some every time I go to London.


Rowntree Fruit Pastilles

Rowntree’s Fruit Pastilles are small round sweets measuring about 1.5 cm in diameter; they have a jelly-like consistency, due to the gelatin they are made from, and are covered with sugar. I had a few of the candy version, but on the River Cruise they had these in Ice Lolly form which was delicious.


Burger Fi

I’ve had both Shake Shack and In&Out in the States so thought I’d try out Burger Fi which is another burger chain. The root beer float hit the spot and it was cool how they stamp their burger logo into the bun.


Caffe Nero

Caffè Nero or Caffè Nero Group Ltd is a European style coffee house brand with its headquarters in London, England. Hands down my go to London coffeeshop, reminds me of Starbucks because they were on every corner. I went here every morning. From the biscuits to the scones to the mocha coffee to the mango smoothie, everything was delicious. Can anyone tell that the mango smoothie was my favorite and I couldn’t stop re-ordering it every time?


Caffe Russell

Cute little cafe right by our hotel in Russell Square among the park area. One of my favorite cuisines is Italian so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to eat at this adorable outdoor cafe. We were gearing up for our next adventure to Italy. The pizza, pasta and gelato were very good. Also the start to my collection of gelato pictures since I had to try gelato in every European city we went to.


Pret A Manger

An international sandwich shop chain based in the United Kingdom commonly referred to as Pret. I had first tried Pret in NYC and Boston and finally got to try it in London where it is headquartered. I loved their freshly prepared juices and fruit bowls, but their coffee drinks and food is delicious too.


 A collection of some of my favorite souvenirs and momentos from my trip below: (Luggage tag from Buckingham, Harrods Guard bear, Oyster card, city cruises and Hop on Hop off brochures, Fortum & Mason fruit silk tea bag tin and Ted Baker makeup bag)


Cheerio by for now London!


Places to See / Food to Eat Next Time:

  • Scotland
  • Stonehenge
  • Meat Pies at Pie Minister / Beef Wellington
  • Windsor Castle
  • Tour Buckingham Palace

  • View from London Eye
  • Afternoon Tea – London Marriott County Hall or The Orangery

Boston Travel Guide

Definitely a west coaster by nature, but an east coaster at heart. Dad’s hometown is beautiful! Loved visiting the place he grew up in and called home. From the historic brick and brownstone architecture to the rich history to the cobblestone streets to the long tall row houses to the gas lanterns, New England I love all your charm.

Here’s to my Boston favorites:

Freedom Trail 

There is so much to see and so much to do, but don’t be fooled while I thought this would be a short 3 mile walk it ends up being close to over 12 miles and took us all day to complete. Super neat, but I would suggest biking it or maybe even taking the hop on hop off bus or even utilizing the T subway system. The trail is marked with this cute red brick road that you follow the entire way. All main stopping sights are marked with this golden symbol below. Use the fun interactive iPhone app to find your way or you can pick up a paper map at the visitor’s center.


Boston Common and State House

First stop along the freedom trail is Boston Common and State House. It is magnificent. Boston Common is the nation’s oldest public park originating in 1634. The State House overlooks Boston Common and its gold roof glistens under the sun in beauty. Park Street Church is the next stop and right down the road but it was under construction and closed when we were visiting.



Granary Burying Ground 

Third stop of the Freedom Trail. The cemetery next to Park Street Church (second stop) closed during the time of our visit. John Hancock, Paul Revere, James Otis, Samuel Adams,  Robert Treat Paine, Boston Massacre victims and Franklin’s parents were among those famous buried in this ground.


King’s Chapel and Burying Ground

Fourth stop along the Freedom Trail. King’s Chapel was the first Anglican congregation in Boston and has one of the most elegant Georgian church interiors of the colonial era.


Franklin Statue and First School Site

Fifth stop along the Freedom Trail. This statue of Benjamin Franklin overlooks the first site of the Latin School, the oldest public school in America established by Puritan settlers in 1635. Franklin, Samuel Adams and John Hancock all attended.


Old South Meeting House 

Sixth stop along Freedom Trail. Largest building in colonial Boston in 1729. In the days leading to the American Revolution, citizens gathered here to challenge British rule, protesting the Boston Massacre and the tea tax.


Old State House 

Eighth stop of the Freedom Trail (seven was the Old Corner Bookstore which I did not see). Old State House was built in 1713 as the seat of colonial and state governments as well as a merchants’ exchange. A cobblestone circle under its balcony marks the site of the 1770 Boston Massacre when British soldiers fired into a crowd of Bostonians.


Faneuil Hall 

Ninth stop of Freedom Trail. Old market building on the old town dock where there used to be town meetings in 1764. Also right by the Tea Party Museum and Ship.


Paul Revere House 

Tenth stop of Freedom Trail. Boston’s oldest residential neighborhood the North End built in about 1680. Paul Revere and his family owned and occupied it most of the time from 1770 to 1800.


Old North Church

Eleventh stop of Freedom Trail and Boston’s oldest church building. Memorialized the start of the Revolutionary War and the “Midnight Ride of Paul Revere”.


Copp’s Hill Burying Ground

Twelfth stop of Freedom Trail. Another famous burying ground.


Bunker Hill Monument

Thirteenth stop of Freedom Trail and one of the coolest things I did in Boston. The view is incredible! (note featured image for this travel guide) It is a 221 feet obelisk commemorating the Revolution’s first major battle. I climbed the monument’s 294 steps which definitely kills your legs afterwards but the view is so worth the pain.


Charlestown Navy Yard / USS Constitution

Fourteenth and final stop of the Freedom Trail. USS Constitution is the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world.



Not really a site, but there is so much charm in the architecture of Boston. Please don’t forget to admire the beauty and craftsmanship of the buildings and homes. I love the ornate stone work and brick work, amazing! The BackBay neighborhood was my favorite to stroll through.


Mike’s Pastry’s Boston Cream Puffs

Best known for their cannoli’s which are round tube like Italian pastries with cream cheese filing. These looked amazing, but I could not pass up the Boston cream puffs which are my favorite. We went to the North End location which is the cutest, but there’s also one in Harvard square.


B. Good’s Kale Smoothie 

Hands down the best Kale smoothie ever. Kale Crush was life changing. Thank you Boston Marathon for introducing me. I never even liked Kale before. Tried about a 1,000 bad kale smoothies after this, nothing compares. Whenever I’m in Boston I’m going to get one of these every morning. Still dreaming about the wonderfulness.


JP Licks Ice Cream 

I don’t even remember what flavor this was, maybe chocolate cookies n’ cream. But it sure was delicious. The cutest little ice cream shop.


Atlantic Fish Co. 

So if you know me, you know I don’t like seafood and on most occasions won’t eat any fish. But when in Boston, one must eat fish and chips and clam chowder with oyster crackers. I definitely didn’t regret my decision. Best fish and chips I’ve ever had, sorry London. Nobody does fish better than New England. Was also trying to find some corn chowder but had no luck, next time.


Boylston Street & BAA Half Marathon

So the real reason I was in Boston was to run my biggest bucket list race…the Boston Half Marathon. It was so much fun and it’s a race I will remember for the rest of my lifetime and never forget. Glad I was able to check it off the list. Running through the Emerald Necklace is tough – lots of hills, greenery, basically one giant hilly forest-like park intermixed in a residential area. But the BAA (Boston Athletic Association) running culture is unlike any other and some of the best world class athletes run in this race. Boylston Street is the street of the Boston Marathon finish line as well as home to the Boston Marathon Adidas store front where I picked up all my racing gear and legendary finisher’s jacket.


Charles River

The view of the skyline & marina were spectacular and we could see the Harvard crew team practicing, which was neat.


Fenway Stadium Home of the Red Sox

This stadium tour blew me away, it was so historic and neat especially for major baseball fans. It truly is one of the most beautiful baseball stadiums ever. This is one of my favorite memories on the trip. They have their own growing garden even. Got to sit in the famous Green Monster chairs. There are special sections in the stadium where you can sit in the old navy wooden seats. Got to see the press room. The view of the Boston skyline from the stadium is amazing! The red seat marks the longest HR ever hit in Fenway. The museum at the end of the tour showed the stadium seating over the years, memorabilia from opening day at Fenway and Babe Ruth gear. Bought the coolest unique souvenir in the gift shop – MLB authenticated and bottled Fenway field dirt.


Boston Public Gardens

Easily the prettiest most beautiful park in Boston. The Central Park of Boston. So serene and so magnificently beautiful. Hoping I can come back during the summer one day to ride the Swan boats in the lake. The duckling statues are so cute.


Loved being in Boston during the fall! Can’t wait to go back soon. Next time I’m definitely going to see Cape Cod & the Islands (Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket).




Disney California Adventure Travel Guide

The sister park to the original Disneyland Park in Anaheim. Listed are all of my favorites, enjoy!



Frozen Live at the Hyperion – cutest broadway like performance of Frozen, if you adored the movie like I did the theatrical interpretation of the animated film is amazing. I do miss the Aladdin show though since it was just as wonderful (In Hollywood Land)


World of Color – get a fastpass it’s one of the neatest outdoor shows Disney puts on every night before the park closes, looks just like the Bellagio fountain experience in Vegas but Disney themed. The colorful dancing water sprays and water screen showcases the beloved Disney and Pixar film scenes coordinated with music and fire/fog/water/laser effects


Soarin’ Around the World – used to be Soarin’ over California which I absolutely loved, however love this rendition just as much. It’s so awesome hang gliding over all the international landmarks, monuments and famous landscapes (In Grizzly Peak)


Carsland Radiator Springs Racers – the cutest land in the park, auto race in Lighting McQueen through the Cadillac Mountains desert landscape (In Cars Land)


Guardians of Galaxy: Mission Breakout! – super fun even though I miss the old Tower of Terror ride, Rocket is adorable plus you’re on the coolest free fall adventure to rescue the Guardians from the Galaxy from the Collector’s fortress (In Hollywood Land)


Jumpin’ Jellyfish – cutest little kiddie 40 foot parachute drop in the beautiful colorful jellies (In Pixar Pier)


Toy Story Midway Mania – cannot wait for the new Pixar land to make its debut, fun 4D Midway inspired experience where you challenge your car to a series of various action packed carnival games. Sister ride of the Buzz Lightyear Astroblasters in Disneyland (In Pixar Pier)


Games of the Boardwalk – win the cutest Dumbo stuffed animal, isn’t he adorable? (In Pixar Pier)


Animation Academy – receive step by step instructions to draw your own character sketch, usually a 30 minute session and makes for a cute souvenir to take home (your own masterpiece) In Hollywood Land


Pixar Pal-A-Round – previously Mickey’s Fun Wheel. Ferris wheel with the most amazing sky view overlooking the entire park, the swinging gondolas are pretty scary but I enjoyed the outer standing baskets (In Pixar Pier)

Jessie’s Critter Carousel – This replaced the old sea animals carousel that used to be a part of the old paradise pier (before Pixar pier). It’s cute, I like the bunny critters. Good for little kids


Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind – This kind of reminds me of the old Flick’s Flyers ride from the Bugs Land they recently got rid of, but I still enjoyed every second of it. Dumbo like ride – loved the pretty colored hot air balloons (In Pixar Pier)


Mickey’s PhilharMagic – Love this cute little show and glad they brought it to California Adventure. I had first seen this in the Tokyo Disneyland theme park. Located in Hollywood land by the Animation Academy


Incredicoaster – previously California Screamin’ this roller coaster is one of my newest favorites. It’s so much cuter with the Incredibles theme and I love all the character sightings throughout the ride. Located on Pixar Pier



Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta – part of Pixar Pier by the Jumpin’ Jellyfish and Silly Symphony Swings, loved the chicken sundried tomato pasta yum. My favorite pizza was the special limited edition Thanksgiving Dinner one.


Lucky Fortune Cookery – in the Pacific Wharf SF themed section of the park, love their teriyaki chicken with steamed vegetables and rice. The pot stickers were a nice snack


Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill – in the Pacific Wharf SF themed section of the park, I always order the chicken tamale plate with rice, beans and guacamole


Flo’s V8 Cafe – located in Carsland and super cute route 66 inspired diner with neon light signs, get the beautiful secret menu Neapolitan shake


Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop – another favorite on the pacific wharf, they even give out the Ghirardelli square chocolate samples at the door. My favorite is their banana split, it’s delicious


Paradise Pier Ice Cream Company – Most adorable ice cream stand off paradise pier, I hope they don’t get rid of this when Pixar Land takes over because the soft serve is a huge Costco portion. *Update* they did get rid of it, but there’s a super cute Adorable Snowman Frosted Treats hut which serves new lemon soft serve.


Adorable Snowman Frosted Treats – New to Pixar Pier, previously the Paradise Pier Ice Cream Company. The Pixar Pier Frosty Parfait is my favorite (shown below). It’s the non-dairy lemon soft serve mixed with blue raspberry icee slush. Delicious!


Schmoozies – In hollywood land, get the Malibu Mocha smoothie off the secret menu it’s a great refresher on a hot day (note not a strong coffee taste more chocolate like)


Cove Bar – The secret menu drinks are beautiful! My favorites are the Neverland Tea and Pina Colava. The Mickey’s Fun Wheel is a classic and looks very cute, but beware because the alcohol taste is strong. And the tri tip nachos were delicious. Part of Paradise Pier soon to be Pixar Pier. Heard that these drinks are available at the Alfresco Tasting Terrace while the pier is under construction. *Update* – they got rid of this place when Pixar Pier opened now it’s Lamplight Lounge


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Cozy Cone Motel – The chili cone queso always hits the spot on a cold chilly night, everything about these cones are adorable, also really liked the bacon mac & cheese


Lamplight Lounge – The newest addition to the dining in the park. Super cool with the animation studio touches like the menu sketches. This took over where the Cove Bar and Ariel’s Grotto restaurant used to be. Located on the new Pixar Pier.

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Señor Buzz Churros Stand – Disney always has delicious churros especially the original cinnamon sugar ones.


Festival of Holidays – Only during the holiday time usually November through December. The festival foods marketplace is set up with a bunch of various booths throughout the park. I loved the Making Spirits Bright Mimosa flight – my favorite was the pomegranate one


Disneyland Parks are definitely the happiest places on Earth. Always a treat to spend the day here! Looking forward to my next visit.




Japan Travel Guide

In honor of the bestie coming back from her recent trip to Japan, thought I’d share my favorites with you all for this long awaited guide. Got to spend an entire month in Japan (Sept. 2015) before I started my full time job and it was a blast. Even despite the wonderful Typhoon Etau that hit the day I decide to go to Tokyo Disneyland, the fabulous 5.3 earthquake in Tokyo and the Mt. Aso volcano eruption. Mother nature at its finest, quite the experience i’ll never forget.

*Foods You Must Try*

I’m not even much of an adventurous food person so my friends will laugh that I’m posting this section, but without further adieu here’s my food favs:

I should start off with the interesting concept of having Drink Vending Machines on every corner…..and I truly mean every corner (I remember seeing some remotely standing there on the side of the street by themselves thinking “wow it’s like a drive up vending machine haha)


My favorite were of course the kiddie orange, grape and apple minute maid juices…I know so American of me to not venture out.

Steak – BEST RESTAURANT IN JAPAN if you go to Arita please come here for me. You’ll thank me later. Will go back to Japan just for this place, hands down my favorite meal of the entire trip


Not even sure what this restaurant is called (see below), but it was a fancy place my dad’s friend took us to. The food looked like art masterpieces (to tell you the truth I had no idea what I was even eating, but I did try jellyfish for the first time–the only meal on the trip that I ate things I would typically never eat)


Traditional Japanese Sit Down Meals – You need to experience at least one of these, it’s such a treat and great way to appreciate the Japanese culture (plus the shabu shabu here is amazing). And if you’re brave enough the blowfish is a delicacy to try.


Matcha Green Tea – classic favorite, honestly tastes like leafy water yum!


Parm Ice Cream – Favorite ice cream I tried in Japan and they sell these everywhere (kind of like those dove bars back home)


Pinocchio’s  – BEST PASTA IVE HAD IN MY ENTIRE LIFE! Chef was from Italy of course living in Japan. Loved the cute Pinocchio theme of the restaurant (born and raised Disney fan right here), located by Kujukushima Islands on the port. Still dreaming of this pasta and this lunch with the gorgeous views.


Joyful – The mango strawberry shaved ice is so good (one on the right)! I mean…we should’ve guessed mine wouldn’t be the green tea matcha one with azuki red beans on top 😉 Way better than shaved ice in the states because the ice is so fine, flavors don’t taste like artificial food coloring and they add ice cream in the middle


More shaved ice – this was from the Kujukushima Islands next to Pinocchio’s (not as goods as Joyful, but still tasty)


Tonkatsu – Ironically the best tonkatsu I had was in the bento boxes at the train station, which is funny because I even had some at fancy restaurants and it wasn’t as good (don’t worry I didn’t eat the stuff on the right just the rice and meat)


Figs – These were the highly popular dessert option (fig salad was amazing on the right) while I was there and I had never had figs before this trip, now I’m hooked and can’t get enough

Green Tea Ice Cream – surprisingly this flavor is up there on my top ice cream choices (behind spumoni of course) Can you blame me if Haagen-Dazs is my favorite brand?


Miso Soup – If you actually know what miso is it might gross you out, but I grew up on this soup so I crave it occasionally. My favorite is always the tofu, weird but I’d rather have it than meat sometimes


Udon Noodles – My favorite type of noodles to get in Japan. Second would be miso ramen and third somen. Not a fan of soba sorry.


Leave it to me to find Gelato in Japan (needed some comfort food)


Somen Noodles – Mentioned earlier above but these are amazing cold on a nice sunny day


Ice Cream – Had some amazing ice cream cones (my favorite kind of vending machine Haagen Dazs) and one very bad one in Fukuoka (bottom one very aesthetically pleasing but tasted awful)


Starbucks – Had to try this over there and ordered the same frapps that I have here Vanilla Bean and Mocha (tasted different because they used lighter milk)


Breakfast – This is what my breakfast looked like every morning (bowl of tomatoes, orange juice, strawberry toast and bananas)


Lotte Koala Cookies & this apple juice – Favorite train snacks by far


Mandarin Orange & Pear Fruit Jelly Cups – These are the best (another one of my favorite desserts)


Will update this section later.


Arizona Travel Guide

Since I just came back from a trip to Phoenix with a bunch of my friends, thought I’d finally post my Arizona travel guide. Got to see a ton of cactus, orange dirt, red rock and the fascinating solar eclipse. Here are my favorites:



Grand Canyon/Petrified Forest & Painted Desert/Sedona– The beginning to my love for nature and visiting national parks. Went here when I was super young, hence why there aren’t many pictures to post, but I remember the Grand Canyon was beautiful and one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen as a kid. Hoping to go back to see it soon now that I’m older.

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Antelope Canyon – Very neat, did the lower canyon tour with Dixie Ellis which was pretty cool to see all the intricate rock formations. Will have to climb down and up some narrow metal staircases, not handicap friendly. Pretty short trek with a tour guide explaining the history.


Horseshoe Bend – Short less than a mile hike to the beautiful horseshoe bend lookout point. Gets really hot out in this desert area so try to go early or bring lots of water and sunscreen. The rock reminded me of the grand canyon with all the array of colors. I highly recommend staying overnight in Page which is a cute quaint town about 10-15 minute drive to both the bend and antelope.


MLB Spring Training Festivities – Baseball is my favorite sport to watch so I love getting to see the spring training games and staying in Scottsdale. I always head to Camelback Ranch since I’m a loyal Dodger fan. They share a stadium with the Chicago White Sox. It’s an excellent way to get to meet the players and if you’re lucky you’ll come home with a bunch of signed autographed balls.



Lake Mead & Hoover Dam – See my Las Vegas post for more details and pictures because this place is stunning.


Top Golf – This place is so much fun, it’s like a driving range for golfing except it kind of works a lot like bowling where you are put on teams to challenge each other to see who can get the most points. Their are flags and hole where you can score more points than others based on how easy the hole is to hit. Each team will rent a bay to hang out in and they have great food and drinks too!


Diamondbacks MLB Game – Chase Field is wonderful, one of the top stadiums on my list because it has a covered dome which is perfect for the hot days and nights in Phoenix. They even have seats with a jacuzzi. And of course can’t forget that now they have our ex-Dodger pitcher Zach Greinke.



Bobby Q’s – The best bbq I’ve ever had. Every time I come to Arizona I try to make it to this place. Their meat is amazing and I’m in love with their bbq sauce. I like to try a bit of everything so I recommend ordering the Whole Hog Heaven family meal. You can order two types of ribs, two types of meats (always order the brisket and pork yum), three sides  (i like the mac & cheese, mashed potatoes and roasted corn) and cornbread. Also their dessert Miss McGee’s Mud Pie is delicious. On your way out you’ll get mini cinnamon little donut rings too.


Raising Cane’s – These are a chain and they have these everywhere, but I first ate here in Arizona. It’s simple to order, I like the box combo which comes with four chicken fingers, crinkle cut fries, texas toast, coleslaw and the amazing cane’s sauce which distinctly kind of reminds me of chick-fil-a sauce.  Goes perfectly with their homemade lemonade as well. Definitely my favorite chicken fingers.