hacking the national art gallery with museum hack

Howdy folks, how’s it going?

Welp, looks like I took forever to post again. It’s been kind of crazy here at home with my sister’s wedding and summer semester starting back up. But I got ya’ll for this week so there’s that.

museum hack title pic

So, a couple of weeks ago, I received an e-mail from a wonderful NY based company called Museum Hack and they were kind enough to offer Anthony and I tickets to one of their Washington D.C. tours at the National Gallery of Art. It was an offer I couldn’t refuse and I am so happy I didn’t.

museum hack guide

For our tour, we had the lovely Molly as our guide. She was so friendly and knowledgable with every piece she’d selected for our tour and anything else we inquired about. Not to mention the secret stash of “art appreciation” (a.k.a. chocolate) she had to keep us going during our two hour tour.

museum hack images

Our trip began with the Portrait of Ginevra de’Benci in which we were told of her many admirers and the secrets that lie in the back of the painting. It was then I realized that this tour wasn’t going to be your standard tour…Molly immediately proposed a two hour length game where we have to find a new lover for Ginevra using any painting or statue within the gallery. We then proceeded to the selection of beautiful Raphael paintings including the highlighted work, The Alba Madonna.

museum hack images 2

Throughout our tour, we learned about scandalous behavior, Napolean’s…little Napolean, ugly children, and even played a good ol’ game of Burn, Buy, Steal. So needless to say, when it came to the end of our tour I was a little sad. Molly asked one final request of us and that was to pose with a statue for a souvenir polaroid to take home. It was sad parting from the tour group and even Anthony, who was at one point skeptical, found himself having such a good time that it didn’t even feel like two hours. I hope at some point, we will have the chance to do this again…and again…and again.

To sum it up; Anthony and I really enjoyed ourselves. We learned so much and had a great time doing so. If you are in the DMV, or even in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, a few other locations, I would highly recommend checking Museum Hack out. They do group tours, bachelorette parties, engagements, and more. If you’re interested in a tour, please check out Museum Hack’s website HERE.  If you are interested in attending the National Gallery of Art, please click HERE for operating hours and more.

museum hack thank you

Thank you all so much for reading and a H U G E thank you to Museum Hack for the incredible opportunity. I absolutely adored my time and will be recommending to all my friends, strangers who aren’t rude to me, and family members I am still in contact with. You have a wonderful group of folks working for you and I just can’t stop gushing about it.

Picture Source
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Anyways, that’s it for today’s post. I hope you all enjoyed and I hope you have a wonderful week ahead of you. Also, my prayers and condolences to the friends and family affected by the tragedy in Manchester last night. My heart goes out to you all.

Thanks for Reading~! ❤
With Love,
Taylor Rae 

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infinity mirrors: yayoi kusama exhibition

Holy crap, two posts in one week?

APOCOLYPSE!

Just kidding, but like I said in the previous post, I am starting to find my groove as the amount of things happening this month is slowly coming to an end. But I really wanted to share my thoughts on something a friend and I had the pleasure of seeing when I came back from Charleston!

infinity mirrors

Can you tell I have a new favorite font? Pfffft. Anyways, my wonderful friend Mariko invited me to the Yayoi Kusama exhibition at the Hirshhorn Museum up in D.C. and I was ecstatic. I have seen pictures (including Jenny’s which you can see here) and it looked so interesting and my type of exhibit with all the polka dots and what not. So we found ourselves getting off the metro and waiting in line for about 2 hours to get time passes which was cold, wet, and yet successful! After we had a quick lunch at Starbucks, we were finally able to make our way into the exhibition and OH MY GAWD.

flowers - overcoat

(“Flowers – Overcoat” (1964) & “Love Forever” (1966))

Just to be clear; this is not a review. This was a wonderful exhibition that I just wanted to share the memories of with you all!

Needless to say, I was never really familiar with Yayoi Kusama or her work prior to this day. I was surprised to read and see how her work related to her fear of sex and the male anatomy as well as her mental state throughout the years. There were pieces that I felt I could relate to on a personal level, but also pieces that left me in a state of shock or confusion.

dots obsession

(“Dots Obsession – Love Transformed into Dots” (2007))

When you step into the exhibition, you are greeted with a video of Kusama herself, talking about the exhibition and her view on humanity and the world and how she wishes her works to be perceived. She seemed very child like (not in a bad way…) but also very sincere. There is also a video when you are waiting in line for the “Dots Obsession” room where she is singing and motioning with her arms; although Mariko and I were unable to hear what she was saying, but it really emphasized the child-like quality in her and within the meaning of the “Dots Obsession” exhibit.

infinity mirrors comp

(“All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins” (2016), “Phalli’s Field” (1965), & “Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity” (2009))

The popular exhibits were of course, the infinity mirrors, all with an incredible wait time but worth it. We discovered a part of us that had a love for pumpkins as well as experiencing the awkwardness that is explaining what “phallus” means. It is incredible though to feel the emptiness of what Kusama presumes is infinity even while surrounded by objects on the ground. However, the most uplifting and beautiful exhibit in my honest opinion…was the “Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity.” You stand in a dark room surrounded by tiny lights and lanterns, reminiscent of the lantern festivals in Japan. It’s calming (until the lights suddenly shut off for a brief moment in their cycle) and gives you perspective. Is the end of eternity really that beautiful or still?

obliteration room

(“Obliteration Room” (2017?))

The finale of the exhibition (also known as the “point of no return” by Hirshhorn staff) is the “Obliteration Room.” They provide you a sticker sheet and you are able to place polka dots wherever you’d like and let me just say – people do not disappoint. The entire room was covered and my heart felt cluttered but happy at the same time. We took so many pictures in this exhibit and I want to go back for round two.

Honestly, this exhibition was wonderful and worth the two hour wait. If you are able to go, you may as well make it a day trip as the time to see every exhibit with wait times and such is probably around 3+ hours. If you’re in the DMV area and would like to learn more about the exhibition and how to get tickets, click here!

Anyways, that is it for today’s post! I hope you all enjoyed and I shall see you next…but a little throwback before you leave…

“Our earth is only one polka dot among a million stars in the cosmos.” – Yayoi Kusama, 1868

Thanks for Reading~! ❤
With Love,
Taylor Eck

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 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.

thanks for reading

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