Maui Helicopter Ride

Maui Views Above

Went to Maui, Hawaii for a few days, and a few friends recommended that a helicopter ride was a MUST! So my boyfriend and I did it. Since we didn’t get to spend a whole lot of time on the island, it was a great way to get a gist of what the island is all about. The pilot gave us some info on the history and nature of the island. It’s so sad, but Maui is stopping production on their sugar cane farms and using the land for something else. I hope the history of Hawaii doesn’t get lost.

I was really inspired by the color palette of the land and wanted to share pictures of the landscape. It’s truly beautiful and vast with everything from rain and sunshine in one place, reefs with beautiful tropical fish in the ocean, windmills, large waterfalls and streams, windmills, and forests with eucalyptus trees.

The Helicopter Route

We went through Blue Hawaiian Helicopter Tours and took the Eco-Star tour of Hana/Haleakala. It was about 50 minutes in the air, where we flew past the Haleakala Crater, Oheo Gulch/ Seven Pools, Hana Town, Hana Rainforest, and the Northeast Maui shoreline. I felt like we visited 5 different climates and landscapes in one trip, while flying through some rain clouds and finding rainbows.

 

 

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Fremont Street, Neon Museum, and Seven Magic Mountains – Vegas Like Never Before

Julia Lee Las Vegas Seven Magic Mountains

I don’t know if I can say this proudly, but I’ve been to Las Vegas a fair amount of times. The first when I was 12 with my family, feeling weird about people on the street passing out business cards with naked women. But also in awe of how there were outdoor escalators, like rain didn’t exist in this unnatural city. Then I went back for one week with one of my hometown besties for her 21st birthday party. I also went back to just plain party for a weekend with models I met in NY and had one of my first dates there with my now boyfriend (he plays professional poker, so vegas is home sweet home…almost).

Last week I went to Vegas to spend time with my boyfriend before he started in the World Series of Poker he plays every summer. We did a couples trip and visited a lot of really cool places that tell the story of how Vegas came to be. I had never seen the city like this before, but now I have a new perspective. Plus we checked out something new that looks far out of this world.

Fremont Street: Bites at Park on Fremont

Fremont Street is historic for being the old Las Vegas where the Rat Pack hung out in the fifties and sixties. It was “the spot” for Sammy Davis Jr. and Frank Sinatra. Today, Fremont has grunge with a tacky sparkle to it. Ok, don’t get me wrong, but there is a lot of character when you walk into the restaurants and casinos. We checked out Binion’s where the first World Series of Poker was held.

  Julia Lee Las Vegas Binions Casino Julia Lee Las Vegas Binions Casino

Also had a quick bite at Park on Fremont. This place definitely had its quirks. Like an Alice in a Very Dodgy Wonderland. The art in here is super eclectic with golden antlers and rifles, wallpaper that will make you dizzy, dead bird decor, and mismatched beer taps. There is also art from Mark Ryden showing a girl wearing a dress of meat. Is this what inspired Lady Gaga for her meat outfit?

 Julia Lee Las Vegas Park on Fremont Julia Lee Las Vegas Park on Fremont

For bites, we tried the Samurai Teeter Tots, Crispy Brussels Sprouts, and Mac + Cheese Balls. The food at Park on Fremont was good, but the vibe is definitely worth checking out if you’re into something off the beaten path. You’ll feel like you’re living in a Die Antwoord music video real time.

Julia Lee Las Vegas Park on Fremont Julia Lee Las Vegas Park on Fremont Julia Lee Las Vegas Park on Fremont

Neon Museum: Tour of All of the Lights

Next stop was the Neon Museum, where we took a guided tour and saw the old neon signs from casinos and loacal businesses. It was interesting to see how lights were the first form of advertising back in the day. I will never look at Las Vegas the same when I see it lit up at night.

Julia Lee Las Vegas Neon Museum Julia Lee Las Vegas Neon Museum Julia Lee Las Vegas Neon Museum Julia Lee Las Vegas Neon Museum Julia Lee Las Vegas Neon Museum

In With the New: Seven Magic Mountains

Out with the old, and in with the new. We took a 30 min drive to see the Seven Magic Mountains, an exhibit by Ugo Rondinone. This is a public exhibit of stacked boulders painted with bright neon colors. It reminded me of being in an art supplies store looking at chunks of clay or pastels. These tall  figures represent human life in the desert, the coming together of the artificial and natural worlds. The site is a great place to take pictures, but I recommend going to the Seven Magic Mountains early before a crowd comes and the sun is directly above. It was hard to get a shot without people in the background the way the structures are lined up.

Julia Lee Las Vegas Seven Magic Mountains Julia Lee Las Vegas Seven Magic Mountains Julia Lee Las Vegas Seven Magic Mountains  Julia Lee Las Vegas Seven Magic Mountains  Julia Lee Las Vegas Seven Magic Mountains

What are your favorite memories from going to Las Vegas? Let me know in the comments section below… And check out my staycation at Four Seasons Westlake.

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Four Seasons Westlake Staycation

A few weeks ago, my boyfriend and I decided to take a day trip to Malibu. We wanted to check out a spa and get a couples massage, so I did my fair amount of yelping and found the Four Seasons Westlake! The Four Seasons is a little north of Malibu and a great getaway from the city. We drove from LA for 1 hour with traffic.

The Hotel

When we arrived, the grounds looked like a Westlake estate. There was definitely an Asian vibe going on with the decor. The zen pagoda behind the pool made me feel like I wasn’t in California. The outside gardens were beautiful, and there was a country club like vibe with the great service by the pool and classic bar.

      

The Massage & Spa

The couples massage was just what we needed, and the one of the best massages my boyfriend has gotten in 10 years! There is a men’s and women’s changing room when entering the spa, . This area is equipped with lockers, bathrooms, showers, toiletries, jacuzzi, infused water, light fruit & nut mix, and daybeds facing a waterfall fountain. After getting your treatment, you can stay and relax at the daybed or hot tub.

Extra Fun

We also had lunch by the pool, checked out the garden, and watched a basketball game at the bar. I recommend the Four Seasons Westlake for any couples or someone looking to get away and do nothing but relax. There was also a really cute cafe when you first enter that has little bites and gelato. The grounds are super spacious, so there is plenty of room for parking. You can park in the garage for four hours, but we didn’t have a problem on Sunday staying longer without getting charged.

  

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San Diego, Dallas, & Home – Places to See

Stopped by a few places before heading back to NYC for bridal week. My boyfriend and I drove from LA to San Diego. The nightlife is a lot smaller than LA & NYC, but there is Omnia night club where we saw Tiesto play. The layout is exactly the same as the Vegas one but on a smaller scale.  We were in the Gaslamp Quarter, which is a couple of streets and pretty safe at night. Besides the few nightclubs, there’s also lots of casual bars and late night food spots off Market Street, main street. It’s walkable, but you can also take a taxi or pedicab. My top spots are Rustic Root for outdoor rooftop views at night, Nobu for sushi, authentic Thai at Sab Lai Thai Kitchen, and Water Grill for oysters and a rustic/modern pub feel.

 

Also went to Dallas for a Fall wedding. First time there, and the city felt really modern and hip. Looked like there were lots of cool places to check out for food and drinks, so next time I’ll have to explore more. I did find this amazing snack that’s perfect when you’re on the go and craving something sweet. It’s called California Crisps and they have a whole line of dried fruits, chocolate drizzles, and simple fruit lollipops. I got blood orange slices with white chocolate drizzle and it was amazing

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Also got to go home (I grew up outside Philadelphia) in the past few weeks. I did another episode of my bidchat.com show Juicy Endings with my sister. We talked about childhood memories and made an easy fried rice we always cooked as kids over the summer. Found a throwback of silly bands, does anyone remember these? Go Phillies. Oh yea, and practiced this Chopin song I played as a kid. I played classical piano for 9 years of my life and it was intense.

 

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Last Stop – View from Marbella, Spain

Just one more! My boyfriend and I wanted to stop by one more place before leaving Europe. Our friends swore by Marbella, Spain. We took their recommendation and went to this beautiful, relaxing gem. I always say Spain has the bluest skies I’ve ever seen.

 

It was hard getting around if you couldn’t speak Spanish. Marbella is a vacation spot for Europeans, who can speak English, French, and Spanish. We had a little trouble telling the taxi drivers where to take us, so we had to dig deep to remember the old school Spanish classes we took back in the day.

We went to a romantic Italian restaurant called Villa Tiberio. The outdoor seating makes you feel like you’re dining like a Roman. During the day we checked out Ocean Club Marbella. They had everything on the menu, and fun cabanas to lounge in. Great place to enjoy the sun and people watch…if you’re into that.

 

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