a quick trip to charleston

Why hello!

I guess I am back from an unscheduled hiatus. It’s been frustrating trying to get back into the swing of things and keep myself from getting overwhelmed from everything going on within the last month. But it is starting to slow down and I’m getting over this writer’s block and what not.

Anyways, last month I celebrated my 24th birthday and it was so friggin’ relaxing! A huge thank you to my parents, Anthony, and my friends for all of the birthday wishes. I stuffed myself silly with cake and food. And literally the weekend after, Anthony and I went down to Charleston for a couple days as I had my cousin’s bridal shower to attend.

charleston

To be honest; this trip wasn’t as relaxing as I hoped it would be. It felt like there was always something we had to do, but there was a day or two where Anthony and I were able to go out and shop a bit and grab a delicious bite to eat. And on top of that, my camera won’t recognize my computer when I plug in the USB so there’s an entire day’s worth of photos that I can’t upload. Ughhhh. BUT I WILL TRY.

bridal shower

So, the day after arriving was my cousin’s bridal shower and it was so lovely. She had such pretty decorations and the party favors were champagne flutes with our names on them. For a gift I got her a cute towel that says “Mrs” on it along with a knife she had asked for in her registry. I enjoyed seeing her again after what has felt like years and so happy she’s finally getting married to such a kind fellow.

myrtle beach

The next day (also the day my current camera is holding hostage), we went to Myrtle Beach as a day trip so that we could go and see the Hollywood Wax Museum. The museum was okay, definitely not what I expected in terms of realness to the celebrities portrayed but still fun. The museum also has two extra interactive rooms; a Zombie room that I ended up having a huge anxiety and panic attack during and a Mirror room that…was designed for kids. After the museum, we went out for lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe which was mine and Anthony’s first time. It wasn’t like how I initially imagined, but the food was decent so there’s that. Afterwards, we all took a stroll along the boardwalk where we found some really cool stores but my main concern was filling my dairy-allergic belly with ice cream because #aesthetic.

shopping

Our last two days in town, we went out shopping at the outlet stores. I ended up finding two dresses for under $50, accessories, and goodies for mad cheap! My shopping addicted little heart couldn’t process it. We were also on the hunt for South Carolina mugs at Starbucks, but alas…they do not have any. How upsetting. But still, we found so many great deals and even had a magnificent lunch at a new Japanese restaurant that was surprisingly authentic and not that expensive.

Overall, our trip was fairly busy and I didn’t really get to do all of the things I wanted…but it was still so wonderful to see my family and spend time with Anthony in my hometown. Hopefully next time we go down, we can go to the beach and visit downtown. But that is it for today’s post! I hope you guys enjoyed and like I said, I am so sorry for the lack of pictures…I am trying to troubleshoot the issue, but nothing is working unless I get an SD card reader. (le sigh) Anyways, I hope you all have a wonderful week ahead of you and I shall see you next time! ❤

Thanks for Reading~! ❤
With Love,
Taylor Rae

 

SimplyMe: My First D.C. Sakura Matsuri!

Hello guys!

Ahhhhh!!!! Why do I always take so long in between posts? (・д・`o) To be perfectly honest though, I have really found it hard to find any motivation. It’s not because of you guys though! You guys have been really awesome and patient. But there has been a lot of stuff happening at home and it’s hard to kind of hard to get myself back into the swing of things. (๑•̀ㅂ•́)و✧

ANYWAYS, I figured I’ll kind of share a fun day with you guys in an updated SimplyMe post.

Title Sakura Matsuri

So this past Saturday was Washington D.C.’s 56th Annual Sakura Matsuri Festival and my friend, Chami, invited me to go with her this year! I’ve been wanting to go for so long and I’ve been living in the area for like 9 years now? I was so excited and I definitely needed a pick-me-up after this past week. And holy goodness, we had a blast! Although…I’m 99% sure we have a slight fear of Metros now though…

Eating Sakura Matsuri

Before I start, we were well aware that we’d be stuffing our faces for most of the day so about 80% of the money we spent ended up going towards food and drinks. (Which is probably the best way to spend money in my opinion.) There were so many goodies to eat and snacks that we couldn’t get a full grasp of it all. But oh my gerd you guys, it was amazing. Here’s a little list of what I personally ate:

  • イチゴ持ち (Ichigo Mochi)
  • カレーライス (Curry Rice)
  • C. C. Lemon
  • ビーフおにぎり (Beef Onigiri)
  • 抹茶ボバティー (Bubble Green Tea)
  • たこ焼き (Tako Yaki)
  • Pocari Sweat
  • 抹茶チョコレート (Green Tea Chocolate)
  • Beard Papa’s シュークリーム (Cream Puff)

I think that about covers it…thinking back I feel like we ate more, but I could be wrong. But oh my gosh, it was so delicious. It was like being back in Japan for a quick moment; the takoyaki tasted so delicious and wasn’t overpowering with the fishy taste, the curry rice was better than anything I ever made, the onigiri was on point, and all of the green tea sweets just made my life. I’ve never felt so completed food wise. Take me back.

Doing Sakura Matsuri

You guys, when I saw the program for the matsuri, I DIDN’T EXPECT IT TO BE SO FREAKIN’ BIG. Oh my gosh. We did a lot of looking around; not really much shopping though we did manage to buy a few things. We found our way over to the NHK booth where you could take pictures with Domo and make a letter to yourself to put in a huge Domo time capsule. So we did…and then we were told that MOTHER FREAKIN’ SEBASTIAN MASUDA WAS IN TOWN AND MAKING AN APPEARANCE AT THE BOOTH.

For those of you who don’t know who Sebastian Masuda is; he has been Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s art director for one of her tours and a few of her music videos as well as the creator of the Kawaii Japanese brand, 6% DOKIDOKI. I’ve been a fan of his work (though you probably wouldn’t be able to tell…I can’t dress the way I want to due to work…) and when I was told we could meet him…I made it a mission to stay through the day.

AND I DID. I MET SEBASTIAN MASUDA. (But I was so nervous…all I could tell him was “Nice to meet you” and “Is it okay if we take a picture?”…) And a part of me was a little upset because I wished I had dressed up but I don’t have many of the clothes I had back in the day when I followed the Japanese fashion trend. Argh, ONE DAY WORLD, ONE DAY.

AHEM. Moving on.

We also got a chance to relax and watch a few performances on the Matsuri’s Jpop Stage including the incredibly talented and beautiful KuroPOP! They do a lot of dance covers and are currently on their SaKURO Tour! You all should go and check them out; they’re really funny and it was such a pleasure to meet them and now I’m regretting not asking for a picture. (I’m totally tempted to ask them for a Cyber Thunder Cider collab…OMG.)

Thank You Sakura Matsuri
Overall, we had such a great time and we are totally up for next year! If you went to D.C. Sakura Matsuri; let us know! Go ahead and comment down below with your thoughts and definitely let us know if you saw us. Next year I will be sure to take more pictures and maybe even vlog if I get really fancy with it. Anyways, I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Thanks for Reading~! ❤
With Love,
Taylor Rae

The Geeky: 2015 Holiday Gift Guide

Well Hello Everyone!

Oh no guys, it’s almost Christmas and if you’re like me…you like to do that little thing you learned in school at an early age.

PROCRASTINATION.

Oh yes, the concept is a lovely one. But have no fear, I’ve devised a lovely list of perfect gifts for the lovely ladies in your life.

holiday gift guide

Ah, yes. Who’s ready for some incredibly cute, geeky, and classy gifts!? Tay Tay sure is. ೕ(⁍̴̀◊⁍̴́ฅ) This year we are going to go through each of the STR categories; Fashion, Geeky, Beauty, & Food. ARE YOU READY!? Let’s do this.

fashion

You guys already know how big of a Star Wars nerd I am and this year, ModCloth has the cutest Change Purse with Greatest Pun of a Name: Be the Change Purse you Wish to C-3PO. For $19.99, you can get that awesome Star Wars nerd in your life some flippin’ style just in time for the new Star Wars movie release! I am personally loving it like crazy.

geeky

Oh my, yes yes yes to this. This is a bit more expensive than 99% of the items I’ve posted on the blog before, but believe me…it’s worth it. I’m talking about that beautiful New Nintendo 3DS XL from GameStop. At the tender price of $199.99, you can experience faster processing while playing phenomenal games such as Super Smash Bros. and Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer. I recently got one as an early anniversary/Christmas gift from Anthony and I LOVE IT. I highly recommend this for the gamer who ignores you. (I mean, why not right?)

beauty

You guys know I couldn’t do a gift guide without something Sailor Moon, right? ∠( ᐛ 」∠)_ And guess who just found a seller for the BEAUTIFUL and limited edition Creer Beaute Sailor Moon Make Up Powder? You guess it; YesStyle.Com! I’m not one to wear make up but if I could open up that gorgeous broach every day, I’d consider it greatly…or just keep it to look at and stare. This lovely powder will be a bit pricey at $66.90, but I’m sure the Sailor Moon loving fangirl in your life will adore you and it FOREVER. Just saying.

food

Finally, we’ve reached my favorite subject; Food. Although you’ll probably be eating loads of food on Christmas Day; why not give the wonderful gift of reading and teaching via a cookbook? I’d highly recommend Shirley Wong’s “Kawaii Bento” cookbook which you can purchase on Amazon. For $23.01, your friend can make the most ridiculously adorable food that you’d regret eating because it’s that freakin’ cute. Pair it with a cute lunch box or bento box, and I’d think you got a marvelous gift idea on your hands.

Picture Source:
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Well, I think this year’s holiday gift guide was an incredible success! I hope this helps you in some way, shape, or form. (Quite frankly, I’m tempted to spoil myself on a couple of these items…whoops.) If you have any gift ideas or have purchased these bad boys before, drop a comment down below! I love to hear from you all. ღゝ◡╹)ノ♡ I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday and a very safe Holiday weekend! Next week, I think I’m going to do a more personal post. There’s a lot going on here and I really just want to share it with you all. Anyways, take care guys!

Thanks for Reading~! ❤
With Love,
Taylor Rae ( ื▿ ืʃƪ)

 

SimplyMe: A Well Needed Vacation (Part One)

Hello everyone!

Long time no see….

WHOOPS.

Yeah, I have to admit…it has been a while. I’ve been going through kind of a rough patch in terms of the blog. Honestly, this month marks three years since I purchased the domain for Simply Taylor Rae. I am so incredibly happy with the progression and how many lovely blog friends I have made over the years. However for a brief period, my mentality went south; I began to focus on how many followers I was gaining rather than producing quality work and enjoying what I do. It got to a point where I was incredibly discouraged with the lack of participation with my first giveaway and…I actually wanted to give up. I wanted to stop and just not even look at my blog.

But then, what has all this work been for? Three years worth of work that I poured my heart into wasn’t for waste. There are people who have read my posts and found them helpful or entertaining. Although they may not physically type it in the comments, I know in my heart that people are looking and sharing and enjoying it in some way shape or form. Although it’ll take me some time to rebuild the same motivation that I had throughout the last three years, I promise to continue to bring quality posts to the site and to enjoy each and every bit of it!

simplyme vacation

With that said, this past week, Anthony and I went to Luray, VA for a mini vacation since it’s been stressful for us at work and with finally planning the wedding. It was definitely what we needed and I managed to get some great photography shots and I want to share the photos with you all! I managed to take a lot of pictures, so I’ll break this post into two to save the scrolling.

outside the hotel

We had the pleasure of staying in a lovely hotel called The Mimslyn Inn. It was truly breathtaking with the gorgeous architecture and simply yet elegant rooms. However, the outside was most beautiful of all to me with a lovely view and an eye-appealing garden.

fancy dinner

For our first dinner, we dined at the hotel’s own restaurant; The Speakeasy. It was nice and the food was actually quite good. A bit on the pricey side for the items we ordered, but definitely worth it for the quality.

Dinner

Cavern Entrance

During the second day of our trip, we spent a good portion at Luray Caverns. I honestly enjoy these types of touristy attractions that get you one on one with nature and natural formations…and surprisingly Anthony did too! It was such a beautiful sight to see.

into the cavernsinto the caverns 2

Alrighty guys, I think that’s a pretty good place to stop for today! I’ll be doing a 3rd year anniversary post soon, I promise but I hope you all know how dear to me you all are and how I treasure each follower, reader, and supporter of Simply Taylor Rae! It’s been an awesome three years and I’m going to make the fourth year SO MUCH BIGGER AND BETTER! So watch out guys! Until next time…

REMEMBER: Life is a series of experiences, each one of which makes us bigger, even though sometimes it is hard to realize this. For the world was built to develop character, and we must learn that the setbacks and grieves which we endure help us in our marching onward. – Henry Ford

Thanks for Reading~! ❤
With Love,
Taylor Rae

WE DID IT! ~100+ Followers + Giveaway~

HOLY HELIX GUYS.

Three precious years ago I created Simply Taylor Rae with one goal in mind: to have fun and inspire others! We’ve grown incredibly since 2012 and I am happy to announce that we have reached a major milestone…

WE HAVE REACHED 100+ FOLLOWERS ON THE WEBSITE!

Hachune Miku 2

Oh my gosh! This is so wonderful you guys! I am so happy, proud, thankful, and astounded with you readers and followers. I want to continue to make a website that you all can readily enjoy and I want continue to grow as a blogger and gamer with all of you by my side.

To celebrate reaching such an encouraging milestone, I have decided to host my very first Giveaway, here on Simply Taylor Rae!

Giveaway Announcement 2

Do you guys remember when Anthony and I went to New York for the Hatsune Miku Expo as VIPs? We ended up saving a VIP package for a special occasion and I think it is the right time to give it an amazing home! This VIP Packages includes:

Prize

1x VIP Badge featuring the Virtual Diva herself!

1x VIP Only “Sharing the World” by BIGHEAD Vinyl LP

1x VIP Only Vocaloid Fan

1x VIP Only Miku Expo Reusable Shopping Bag

1x Miku Expo x Good Smile Company Reusable Shopping Bag

Giveaway Rules

AS FOR THE RULES, THEY’RE SIMPLE:

1.) To Enter: Leave a comment down below with your favorite Vocaloid song and why! I want to know what brought you all to enter the world of Vocaloid or what makes you love it!

2.) You can only enter ONCE.

3.) You must use a valid e-mail address; this is because if you are chosen I will be notifying you by e-mail! Please make sure to check your e-mail the day of the drawing.

4.) You must be willing to give me your address. This one is self-explanatory.

5.) Open to U.S. Residents Only. Once we build up more followers, international giveaways will be soon to follow.

6.) The last day for entries will be JUNE 1ST! The Drawing will happen DURING OUR TWITCH LAUNCH ON JUNE 5TH at 6PM.

thanks

Picture Source:
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Thank you guys so much for all of the awesome support and love! I do have a couple of announcements! We will be attending the Pokemon: Symphonic Evolutions concert in Vienna, VA in July! We also will be holding a MIKU-CHAN SPECIAL TWITCH LIVE on September 8th or 11th depending on my work schedule. This is because “Hatsune Miku Project Mirai DX” was originally suppose to release next week and be a main part of our Twitch launch however, it’s release was delayed 4 months. (Thanks SEGA.) So I still wanna make a big deal out of it, but it’ll just happen 4 months from now!

Anyways, I am so excited to see what Vocaloid songs you guys choose and I hope you find this giveaway ridiculously fun. As always, I hope you all enjoy your week and AHHHH:

REMEMBER: Miku is Love. Miku is Life.

Thanks for Reading~! ❤
With Love,
Taylor Rae

The Foodie: Earl Grey & Orchestras at Tea Tyme

Hello Everyone!

This week I am back with a review for “The Foodie” section and I am super excited for this review! We are going to review another local Tea Room in the Downtown Fredericksburg area; “Tea Tyme & Whatnots”. (❛ัॢᵕ❛ั ॢ)✩*ೃ.⋆ So, without further ado, here is The Foodie: Earl Grey & Orchestras at Tea Tyme.

DISCLAIMER: I was not paid, asked, or offered any discount for this review. This review is based solely on my own experience as a customer and the meal was paid for entirely by my party. Thank you for your understanding. tea tyme title Honestly, something about Tea Rooms and Houses bring about a lovely feeling inside me. Seeing beautiful tea cups, incredibly cute miniature sized finger foods and desserts…it’s something I enjoy seeing. It is also something that makes me yearn to come back. Tea Tyme & Whatnots is located in Downtown Fredericksburg on Carolina Street in the middle of a building surrounded by another restaurant and a bridal store. Thankfully, they have a large sign out front to remind any passersby’s of their location. Tea Tyme Interior When walking into the restaurant, you are immediately greeted by a lovely pink color theme, many sparkly items and gorgeous tea cups surrounding you. Tables are decorated with lacey cloths with tiers of different sugars, salt and pepper shakers. Unfortunately, there is little room when the restaurant is full of customers. The tables are in close proximity to each other. There’s also the fact that the chairs sometimes don’t fit underneath the table.  It can force you to sit with your side towards the table much like I did during this visit. It’s a bit of an inconvenience, but the wonderful atmosphere kind of kept me from thinking too much about it. There was a large TV above the table we were sitting. On it was a DVD of some violinist and orchestra playing. I did enjoy the music and video, but I would have much rather there be no TV. Just classical or jazz music playing in the background, in my opinion, would be better as it adds to the ambiance of a tea room. Tea Tyme Food For this visit, Anthony ordered a BLT with a side of Potato Salad. I ordered the Victorian Afternoon Special with Cucumber Sandwiches on Wheat Bread, Chocolate Chip Scones, and Creme De La Earl Grey as my Tea choice! The Potato Salad came out first and Anthony and I were both fairly impressed…it didn’t taste funky or anything. It tasted like a potato salad should, however it didn’t set itself apart from others that I have had in the past. After the potato salad I received my pot of tea and it was splendid. I was incredibly happy with my choice of tea as it had a light vanilla taste while still maintaining that Earl Grey excellence. I added a bit of creamer to mine. It made the tea smoother to drink while leaving the taste mostly unaffected. Then came Anthony’s BLT which he found most adequate. The BLT included avocados which had shocked him a bit initially. He said the sandwich, as a whole was good, but all in all a little pricey. Finally, I was presented with my Victorian Afternoon Special. The plate design was rather adorable; cute miniature finger sandwich filled with refreshing cucumbers, dill sauce, heart-shaped scones, and a teeny tiny strawberry cupcake with an even tinier tea cake on top. Despite the presentation, I was sort of underwhelmed. You pay about $15 for this plate and tea, but it’s filled with rather small portions. In terms of taste, the cucumber sandwiches weren’t terrible. I felt the bread was a bit firm and tasted somewhat stale. The scones were delicious I just wish they had more of a variety. And the teeny tiny cupcake with the teeny tiny tea cake on top was good, but gone in a second. If I had to say anything, you’re mostly paying for the atmosphere if anything.

The service was okay, I suppose, it was rather slow. I guess we had arrived right after a large party had left. We noticed two of their servers were still cleaning up after them. During our meal the service was incredibly slow; we waited a while for my tea. It came after our food did and our wait for the check felt excruciatingly long. I had to go up and remind the servers that we were ready to pay and leave. The servers were very nice, but slow and inattentive service is, sometimes, frustrating to me. Overall, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend Tea Tyme for their food. It’s overpriced and lacks anything special to make it feel like it is worth the price you’d be paying. However, if you were to go in for a pot of tea and scones with the intentions of relaxation to the elegant sound of classical music then this would be a quaint spot to do it. Tea Tyme Thanks If you would like to visit Tea Tyme & Whatnots, visit their webpage HERE for their menu, operating hours, and more.

Picture Source 1

I feel like I haven’t typed this much up in so long. I had to take a break just to rest my fingers! I hope you all enjoyed this post or found it helpful in some way, shape or form! As for my next post I am sincerely debating about whether to do a Sailor Moon collection post or a Sailor Moon Recently Purchased Items post…which would you prefer? Leave a comment down below on which you’d like to see! AND PSST! GUESS WHAT!?

WE REACHED 100 FOLLOWERS ON THE WEBSITE YOU GUYS! WE DID IT! ˚‧*♡ॢ˃̶̤̀◡˂̶̤́♡ॢ*‧˚

So, in celebration of this beautiful achievement, I will be hosting a giveaway in the near future! So be on the lookout~. As always, thank you guys so much for your amazing support and continue to spread the word of Simply Taylor Rae and the STRCrew! Have an awesome week/weekend and YOU KNOW THE DRILL:

REMEMBER: There’s always time for tea.

Thanks for Reading~!

SimplyMe: 22.

Hello!

Shoop De Whoop! Currently, I am in the process of testing out some recipes for the Awkward Chef series and it’s still… awkward. Anyways, last week was my 22nd birthday. So today I will finally be sharing the photos I took during the day! I hope you enjoy them and thanks to everyone for the amazing birthday wishes!

22

birthday

birthday 2

birthday 3

birthday 4

birthday 5

birthday 6

That is it for today, everyone. Once again thank you for the ask of the kind birthday wishes and I hope you all enjoy your weeks and weekends! We are also a few steps closer to announcing the launch date for our Twitch Channel! We are currently updating our computer and attempting to expand bandwidth with our internet company…ugh. Anyways;

REMEMBER: RAISE THAT HYPE!

Thanks for Reading~! ❤
With Love,
Taylor Rae

The Foodie: What the Phô at Phô Tây Dô

Hello & What is Happening!?

Honestly, what better way is there to start off the new year than with a delicious post about food!? I believe it’s been a wee bit of a while since my last foodie review. Though, I promise today’s post is going to leave your mouth watering as I describe my experience visiting the Richmond located restaurant, Phô Tây Dô.

DISCLAIMER: I was not paid, asked, or offered any discount for this review. This review is based solely on my own experience and opinion as a first time customer and the meal was paid for entirely by my party. Thank you for understanding.

what the pho

Phô Tây Dô is a small restaurant located in the west end off of Rigsby Road in Richmond.  Kyler would not stop talking about Phô Tây Dô and how amazingly delicious it is~. So, during one of my most recent trips to Richmond, I decided that the entire STR Crew would go and try it out.  I was pleasantly surprised with my experience!

exterior interior

The exterior is that of a small ranch style house that you may pass by on the road if you did not known otherwise. They do have a private parking lot that is kind of small with only 6 or so spaces available. Although they do have a relatively large orange sign that lets you know you’re in the right place.

The interior appears larger than it looks on the outside with the help of some large mirrors. It has somewhat of a diner/ dive feel with the hand painted retro cutouts of people that double as clever advertisements. It posses a  super comfortable atmosphere. My only complaint would be the Christmas music instrumentals that sound like cheesy 8bit ringtones. It threw me off for just a second.

appetizers

For an appetizer, we ordered 2 egg rolls and 2 vegan friendly spring rolls. I’ve never been a big fan of egg rolls, so I didn’t try them personally, but Anthony said that they were quite good. I did eat a vegan spring roll and they were tasty and wonderfully light on the stomach! The somen noodles were refreshing and even better in the peanut dipping sauce!

the pho

Now we get to my favorite part; the phô! My brother and I both ordered the vegetarian phô  which was filled with tofu, vegan broth and rice noodles. They also included plenty of bean sprouts, basil leaves, sliced jalpeños and lime wedges. For my bowl, I added a squeeze of lime, plenty of bean sprouts, and hoisin sauce and after being mixed, it was heaven~. My heart was heavy with happiness during my meal. I will say this; I couldn’t really eat the tofu for weird reasons that had nothing to do with the restaurant. However, they did not go to waste because my brother was kind enough to finish for me. It was an incredibly delicious meal that was perfectly portioned so I didn’t feel the least bit sluggish after eating.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Phô Tây Dô! The waitress was wonderful, the food was fantastic, the prices were totally reasonable, and the atmosphere was quiet, small, and comfortable. I would highly recommend trying a bowl of their phô if you’re ever in the Richmond area. A word to the wise though: they only accept cash payments!

thanks 2

If you would like to visit Phô Tây Dô, visit their Yelp page HERE for their menu, operating hours, and more.

Honestly, after making this post over…I am craving phô again! AHHH. Anyways, I hope you all enjoyed today’s review and I would enjoy hearing your thoughts on Phô Tây Dô! To comment, just do so below and if you’d like to suggest topics for future posts, please click the “Contact” button above! Here’s to a wonderful week and you all know the deal…

REMEMBER: “If you believe you’re beautiful, you will be. I did.” – Tina Belcher (Bob’s Burgers)

Thanks for Reading~! ❤
With Love,
Taylor Rae

Welcoming 2015

Well, Hello everyone & Happy New Year!

It’s already 2015, what the heck? Time has flown by way too fast! I suppose I want to use today’s post to kind of reflect on 2014, and share my resolutions for the new year. Sounds a bit cliché, I know, but I enjoy sharing these things with you all. Plus, many things happened in 2014 that have made me incredibly happy. Although, I have a feeling 2015 will be one of my biggest years!

welcoming 2015

It’s hard for me to accurately describe 2014.  There were so many things that happened, both good and bad, but I believe that’s the case for many people. There were definitely more highlights than low points,  though overall I think 2014 was a very productive year!

highlights

One of the biggest highlights was going to New York and finally seeing Hatsune Miku live! When Crypton announced that they would hold a live concert on the East Coast, I decided that I would anything to see this concert!  So Anthony and I bought train tickets, made arrangements, and on October 18th, we went to Manhattan for one of the best concerts EVER!!!

Another grand highlight was attending Katsucon, the anime convention, for the first time since 2008. Although the wait in line was most frustrating, it was still great fun and I found some awesome items.

I also trained for and ran my very first 5k Zombie Run! I was incredibly sore afterwards and I had bruises for a good week or so. Still, it was all totally worth it to run with my brother, Kyler, and my mom!

In terms of Anthony and I, I think this year was a bit ground breaking for us. We celebrated a year engaged and yet another year together. I am incredibly thankful to have spent all these years with him. 2014 was really a year of us learning to communicate a heck of a lot better. We still have some hurdles ahead and we argue at times, but what couple doesn’t? We are still learning but we are slowly prepping for the lifetime commitment of marriage, though there isn’t any rush.

2015 resolutions

Now, I guess, it’s time to talk about my 2015 resolutions:

1.) First and foremost, I want to save up as much money as possible. This seems like a popular resolution throughout the world, so it doesn’t need much explaining.

2.) I want to build up more self-confidence & began to experiment with Cosplay.
Something I have always wanted to do but never felt comfortable enough to try was Cosplay.  I want to start researching and figuring out what characters would fit me best! I think it would be incredibly fun and a great addition to the blog.

3.) I want to learn how to cook at least 5 recipes & 2 baking recipes. I suck at cooking, so I feel that this is a valid resolution.

4.) I want to participate in at least 3 different 5k runs! I think I may have finally caught that runner’s high, so I want to fill my year with 5ks!

5.) Finally, I want to learn how to compete in Pokemon battle competitions. I spend way too much time playing anyways, I may as well put it to good use right?

I’m keeping my list super simple this year since, I really didn’t complete much of my list last year…but I think you all deserve an idea of what is to come this year with SImply Taylor Rae.

I am going to do everything in my power to start learning how to use Twitch so I can share my shiny Pokemon catching adventures amongst other things. Along with that I want to do more video game posts, so I hope you all will look forward to that. As I said earlier I am trying to do some cosplay posts so if you have any ideas or suggestions, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE comment below. I will also be doing more product reviews throughout the year and more photography specified posts. These are my overall goals, but if I think up anything else then I shall let you know!

thanks

I hope you all enjoyed today’s post! I hope you all have an incredible year full of happiness and geekiness!  Play all of the games you want to, dress how you like, do what you feel is right and all that good stuff! Let us make 2015 an epic year indeed! If you enjoyed today’s post and wanted to share your thoughts, go ahead and comment below. If you would like to suggest a topic for a future post please hit the “Contact” button above. As always, you all are the best and…

REMEMBER: I WANNA BE THE VERY BEST NO ONE EVER WAS. – Pokemon

Thanks for Reading~! ❤
With Love,
Taylor Rae

P.S. Be sure to check out the “About Us” page to learn more about the team behind Simply Taylor Rae a.k.a. The STR Crew!

The Foodie: Lost Time at Before ‘n’ After Café

Hello Everyone!

Sorry for the week off! As always, my schedule is becoming rather crowded and now my full-time schedule has been extended until the end of the year…literally. I am noticing that a lot of posts I used to do are becoming less frequent and for that I do apologize, BUT I am back with The Foodie and today I’m reviewing Before ‘n’ After Café!

DISCLAIMER: I was not paid, asked, or offered any discount for this review. This review is based solely on my own experience and opinion as a first time customer and the meal was paid for entirely by my party. Thank you for understanding.

before n after cafe

I had seen this small but incredibly adorable cafe, once, when my friends and I decided to get our nails done. I wanted to stop by, but they were unfortunately closed. Almost a year later I found the chance to swing by for a quick meal and finally do the review I’ve been wanting to do!

bac interior exterior

Before ‘n’ After Café is located in Stafford, VA on Walpole Street in a gorgeous town center.  The outside is decorated with a large, adorable clock and patio seating. There is plenty of parking throughout the town center so there was definitely no issue finding a spot. When Anthony and I arrived, it seemed very lively outside as there was a large group or party happening. This wasn’t too much of a bother, honestly. However we decided to eat inside, as it was much more quiet and less chilly. The inside was decorated with a little bit of everything. From cute clock and time motifs to quotes from a random pirate on the left. All in all, it was crazy yet comfortable…except for one thing: there was a TV. I know this is really just a personal preference and many of you may say, ” I am just being picky.” However my reasoning is this: When I go to a cafe I go specifically for the atmosphere. I enjoy quiet surroundings where I can enjoy my food without worrying about people yelling at a sports game or being mindlessly distracted by something I am constantly surrounded. Granted this little pet peeve of mine won’t take away from what I thought of the food, it is solely a personal preference.

chai tea

When we arrived, we were immediately greeted by two employees who took my order: A Chai Tea Latte with soy milk and  Tomato Bisque Soup. The first to come out was the Chai Tea Latte and I was incredibly happy that they were accommodating to my dairy allergy. My first sip was heaven; the perfect temperature, the perfect ratio of milk to tea so the chai was not overpowering compared to others I’ve had in the past. Each sip got better and better and when I reached the end I was pleasantly surprised by the lack of tea leaves or any gritty textures. It was incredible. I applaud Before ‘n’ After Café on their wonderful latte craftsmanship as it left a lasting impression.

kosher dog

After the latte arrived, I was notified that they were out of the Tomato Bisque Soup and gave me the option of choosing anything else on the menu regardless of price. As generous as the offer was, I decided to choose something as close to the original price as possible and went with the Kosher Pretzel Dog. A part of me was craving something far from healthy and another part never had a hot dog on a pretzel bun before and really wanted to try it. Well, I went for it.

When the plate…or platter arrived I must admit that I was a little underwhelmed with the presentation. The portion size was incredibly spot on and filling without being too full. Although there was a giant white and empty space in the middle of my platter. My suggestion, in this case, would be to use a smaller plate or platter to accommodate the amount of food they use. I also was a bit put off by how greasy the pretzel bun was. I’m not too sure if it was the butter if they used butter, but it made me contemplate for a few seconds on how I should eat it without making a big mess. After coming to terms with the fact that my fingers were going to get messy and I should just use the napkins given, I took a bite. The pretzel bun, greasiness aside, was actually quite delicious. The texture fit perfectly for a gourmet hot dog and added a bit more flavor than that of a regular white bread bun. The hot dog was cooked all the way through and tasted…well, like a hot dog. I didn’t eat many of the chips since Anthony decided to devour them but I am pretty sure they weren’t made by the restaurant and were more than likely store bought. And then there was the pickle which was delicious by itself, so no need for judgement there.

Overall, I was happy with the service provided! My chai tea latte was to die for while my kosher pretzel dog was better than good, but the presentation and chips left more to be desired. I would suggest this café for people who are looking for a more relaxed cafe than that of a traditional coffee house as Before ‘n’ After Café offers alcohol and meal choices alongside coffee and pastries.

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If you would like to visit Before ‘n’ After Café, visit their website HERE for their menu, operating hours, and more.

HUZZAH. I actually really enjoyed how the pictures came out for this review. I hope you enjoyed today’s post and I would love to hear what you all think! If you would like to comment, please do so below and if you’d like to suggest ideas for future topics, please click on the contact button above!!  I wish you all an awesome week/weekend, remember to stay safe, and…

REMEMBER: Don’t Forget to Spread a Smile. 🙂

Thanks for Reading~! ❤
With Love,
Taylor Rae