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.

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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 

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

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: back home in California

Hey everyone!

Oh wow; it’s December already. WHERE DID ALL THE TIME GO!?

california-title

So yes, your girl traveled back to California for a week-long vacation and boy was it packed with loads of fun. It was weird being back after 9 years…even though it wasn’t the area I lived in. Honestly, I’ve never been to Los Angeles…or anywhere near it. It was honestly a culture shock much like New York was. But it was honestly so wonderful meeting Anthony’s family and reuniting with my cousin after so long. ♥(ˆ⌣ˆԅ)

california-arrival

The day we left; we woke up at 3:30am…such an awful and horrible idea but we had to get ready so we could leave for the airport. We got through check-in and security rather quickly, much to my surprise so I felt the need to awaken myself with a Starbucks drink. Let me tell you; the line for Starbucks was 15 minutes longer than actually arriving and checking in and passing through security combined. But ya girl made it and got her green tea latte with Anthony claiming I experienced “First World Problems” and “Basic White Girl Syndrome.” Our flight arrived and hour and a half later and it was packed. 6 hours of awfully cramped aisles on a tiny plane, but we made it through. (๑•̀ㅂ•́)و✧ We arrived in LAX and were picked up by Anthony’s aunt and uncle and they immediately took us to the motherland…In-N-Out Burger. The Lord has never been so good until I tasted a Double Double for the first time since I left.

california-aquarium

We spent our first day saying hi to Anthony’s family and grabbing food like authentic Mexican tamales and within the first 12 hours of arriving I managed to gain 10lbs. #WORTH Our 2nd day was his aunt’s birthday so we took her out and celebrated with her and did a little shopping. The 3rd day we decided to go to the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach. Now, let me just say…after having gone to the Monterey Bay Aquarium…this aquarium is fairly small but it was quite cute. I absolutely adored the Jellyfish exhibits and petting Stingrays. Across the street from the Aquarium was a Bubba Gump restaurant which we ate at and it was quite delicious and I got to share my love of knowing useless trivia which included “Forrest Gump.” We then went a did a little more shopping and made our way back home. ƪ(΄◞ิ۝◟ิ‵)ʃ

california-alley

The 4th day was probably the most culturally shocking and anxiety driven day for me…we visited Santee Alley. I understand that most people probably wouldn’t be too worried about this and are considering me childish for being afraid…but when that tiny alley gets packed with people you don’t know and you’re not familiar with the area. BOY OH BOY. The anxiety goes up high. I was grabbing on to Anthony every chance I got and breathing was rather difficult. Thankfully, near the end of our experience, we stopped for a breather and grabbed some food; bacon wrapped hot dogs with pico de gallo on top and a side of chili mangoes. I don’t know how we made it out or how we got back home, but we did. With little time to rest…because Anthony’s family threw a get together since he was back in town. It was a great time with great food, but I had severe anxiety from the day and the best feeling was just sitting down and petting the family dog, Rocky.

california-tokyo

On the 5th day of Christma- I mean California; Anthony’s cousin took us to Little Tokyo to meet up with my cousin and her fiancé. There was anime goods galore, delicious food everywhere you turned, and just so much to take in. I couldn’t contain myself. I stopped by a cute café called HoneyMee and grabbed a green tea to warm up. My cousin’s fiancé got us 銅鑼焼き (dorayaki) and we did some shopping. And by some..I mean A LOT. For lunch, we drove to the Grand Market where there are so many different food vendors and little restaurants and it was everything dreams were made of. Since I was craving ramen, I went and ordered from Ramenhood which was all vegan if I remember correctly. It was incredible and the noodles were the perfect consistency. Sooo good. ( ᵕ̤ ‧̫̮ ᵕ̤ ) Finally, we made our way to The Last Bookstore which was so enchanting and full of wonder. If you enjoy bookstores and just sitting in the silence and reading a good book or three; this is the perfect place. We spent a lot of time here just exploring the labyrinth and art gallery. It was the end to a perfect day and I am so happy to have spent it with my cousin.

california-disney-p1

FINALLY. Ya girl went to Disneyland and loved it. Let me explain though; I will never understand why people take their kids out of school to go to an amusement park on a Monday when we all know full and well that school is not out for Winter vacation yet. Needless to say; lines were long for just about anything. We did manage to ride on It’s A Small World and one rollercoaster…for children. But we walked around and took in the beautiful view of Disneyland during the Christmas time.

california-disney-p2

We were able to get pictures with one character though and I am upset that I forgot to include the picture of us but it’s on social media regardless; Darth Vader. It was a short wait and so worth me embarrassing myself by asking for a selfie. After walking around Tomorrowland, we made our way to Main Street for the Christmas Parade and it was incredible and full of “AWWWWWWWWWWW.” Mickey and Minnie hit me right in the feels and the Disney Princesses…were lacking Moana, Mulan, Pocahontas, and what not which was a tad upsetting. But they did have Tiana which was lovely. When the parade was over, we went through all of the shops and bought a few souvenirs which was incredibly difficult because Disneyland is expensive and suitcase space was running out. We then left the Happiest Place on Earth and made our way to an Italian Restaurant for Pizza and Salad, then home to rest.

Our last day was just dedicated to resting and relaxing. We did go to a local mall and had an amazing dinner at the Cheesecake Factory, but it wasn’t as rushed or busy. We just wanted to gather ourselves and prep for the day of traveling to come.

All in all; our trip was amazing and full of fun and I am so thankful to Anthony’s family for inviting us and taking us in for the week. They were so incredible with their hospitality and took wonderful care of us. I am also thankful to my cousin and her fiancé for taking us around LA to the good spots and finding time in their schedule to meet up. ໒( •́ ∧ •̀ )७ I wish we didn’t have to leave so soon, but I know we’ll be back.

Anyways, that’s it for today’s post guys! I hope you all enjoyed this post and I promise, I got some more to come this month!!! IT’S FREAKIN’ CHRISTMAS AHHHHHHHH. I hope you all enjoy the week ahead and I will see you next time.

Thanks for Reading~! ❤
With Love,
Taylor Rae 

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gif source: yui

Recent Purchase: Miku Expo & NYC Haul

Howdy and Hello!

I don’t know why but I somehow keep mistaking today as June 1st but it’s the 31st and I am so confused…

Anyways; I originally planned for this post to be a video but while editing I noticed that my camera didn’t focus properly and the slight blur actually hurts my eyes so I’m going to work on that and see how to better it for future reference.

Therefore, here’s a recent purchase post featuring all the lovely items I purchased during our trip to NYC and Miku Expo! ❤

recent purchase title

A heads up; I did purchase a few more items than that shown today but they were purchased for other people so I don’t feel it necessary to share those items. I also had a budget so I didn’t buy as much stuff due to having participated in the PledgeMusic Campaign and the such. With that said, LET’S GET STARTED!

recent purchase tote

First up is the Miku Expo Illustration Tote. While I’m not the biggest fan of the illustration, the tote itself is rather cute. I wasn’t intending on purchasing this item but after I had two shirts and other goods in my hand and nowhere to put them…I ended up buying the tote for $15 and it actually held strong through the night. It’s pretty roomy so I will more than likely use it again for like an overnight stay or something. I also ended up decorating it with a teal bow I purchased at Claire’s a while back…it fits really well.(๑•́ ₃ •̀๑)

recent purchase pouch

This was an intentional purchase. I have a weird obsession with small pouches but since I wasn’t planning on spending $50 on a backpack with the same pattern, I’d go ahead with the tiny pouch and use it for smalls like makeup or something. The quality isn’t too bad to be honest and the print is growing on me the more I stare at it. I also like how the logo is sewn onto the pouch also…it adds a slight touch of class.

recent purchase shirt

HERE’S MY FAVORITE PURCHASE FROM THE CONCERT. Okay, my original goal wasn’t to buy a shirt since I already had the shirt from the PledgeMusic Campaign…but LOOK AT THAT ARTWORK. I love it and Anamanaguchi was phenomenal opening and closing the concert. The shirt sizes are unisex and I normally fall between a small and a medium depending on how I want the shirt to fit. I wanted it to fit snug so I bought a small and it fits perfectly and comfortably. The shirt quality is actually quite nice and as I said; the artwork is gorgeous to me. So worth the money spent.

recent purchase vip

And now…may I introduce you the extremely teal Miku Expo VIP Package?! I actually enjoyed this year’s package whereas some people thought it was a bit cheap. The bag is definitely smaller but overall a better quality. Inside was the Miku Expo VIP Badge and Lanyard which are A LOT better than the VIP badges from 2014 and we actually got them before the concert which was nice. You also get a set of stickers which I don’t know if I’m even going to use because…I’m scared to ruin them. (。ŏ﹏ŏ) AND TO TOP EVERYTHING OFF…you get a Modify Watch x Miku Expo watch in what I am assuming is a VIP exclusive color. I know these were available during the PledgeMusic Campaign but I don’t recall the band color being available but please let me know in the comments below if I am wrong! I really love this watch though; it’s so comfortable and looks quite nice on my wrist. It’s not a tight fit at all.

recent purchase mug

Moving on from Miku Expo; I wanted something to remember New York by since I didn’t get myself a souvenir back in2014. I really love the designs Starbucks uses for their You Are Here Collection so I went ahead and purchased their New York mug design and I love it. It wasn’t too expensive either at $11. I’m debating on whether to use it or store it as decoration…THE INTERNAL STRUGGLE IS REAL.

recent purchase miku box

And of course I bought more Miku products. The morning after Miku Expo, we explored NYC and ventured into a game store called J & L Game where they add so many video games and accessories. It was heaven. I ended up finding a Hatsune Miku Project Mirai 2 Accessory Set for only $40 which isn’t awful. It comes with decal stickers, 3DS cases, a carrying pouch for your 3DS and a carrying pouch for your petit Nendroid if you own one. It’s rather cute and I couldn’t resist buying it…one more thing to add to my Miku Collection.

Aaaaand that’s a wrap. I didn’t buy too much and that’s probably a good thing for my bank account. But I hope you enjoyed today’s post! Let me know if you went to Miku Expo and purchased anything! I’m interested to hear about your experiences and thoughts! Anyways, I hope you have a fantastic rest of your week and I’ll see you next time!

Thanks for Reading~! ❤
With Love,
Taylor Rae ᕕ( ᐛ )ᕗ

Travel Diaries: Miku Expo & NYC

I’m back from New York and oh boy, do I have a lot to tell you guys!

For those who didn’t know; I traveled 4 hours up the road to New York for Miku Expo and it was an amazing trip. I originally planned to vlog it but unfortunately, Anthony couldn’t find his camera and I didn’t want to carry my big camera all around the city, so I just decided blogging it would be best. SO TA-DA.

miku expo title

This was definitely a more prepared trip than when we attended back in 2014. We secured our train tickets a bit closer to home rather than from D.C. and we also booked a hotel room right beside the concert venue since I would be walking back to the hotel by myself. I also anticipated spending a lot of money on merchandise and goods, so I prepped that as well. I’ll start this blog from the beginning of Saturday morning…⁽(◍˃̵͈̑ᴗ˂̵͈̑)⁽

miku expo train

Saturday morning; Anthony and I were awake by 5:30 to get showered and dressed as well as to finish packing for the overnight stay. It was definitely an off morning for me; I forgot a lot of Miku Gear I wanted to wear and I almost left behind my phone charger which was crucial. But I managed to bring everything necessary for the trip and we made it to the train station a bit ahead of time.

Honestly, the train ride wasn’t as bad as the last time. We arrived only 15 minutes late because of engine problems during the switch from diesel fuel to electric, so I had plenty of time to explore NYC with a friend.

miku expo minny

And of course that friend just so happened to be Minuettee from Twitch! We’ve been friends since around the time after I started streaming and I absolutely adore this cutie-patootie. She showed me around NYC and took me to Starbucks (of course, because we are so freakin’ classy omg), Skylight Diner, Macaron Cafe, and Midtown Comics! We also chatted on Skype with our friends and I was so excited to finally be with Minny~! ꒰♡ˊ͈ ु꒳ ूˋ͈꒱.⑅*♡ She also took me on my first NYC cab ride…it was so interesting but I felt like I lived such a sheltered life; everything seemed so new and it was like more culture shock. (∗॔꒪⺫ॢ꒪)

miku expo concert 1

miku expo concert 2

After taking me on my first cab ride, Minny and I sat in the VIP line for about 2 hours or so where we chatted with other fans including a couple employees from Good Smile Company in Japan. To be honest; Miku fans are some of the nicest fans I’ve ever met. It’s an incredible sight to see so many people from different backgrounds coming together for one concert.

Anyways, around 6:30 we were able to go into the venue where we received our VIP bags and got early access to the merch table. Speaking of which; Minny and I had a plan. Minny would go secure a location as close to the front as possible and I would go purchase the merchandise. The plan was successful and we actually had a good spot; but we are so freakin’ short and the people in front of us just so happened to be really tall but they were nice enough to move around so we could see.

So the concert started with the opening band, Anamanaguchi, and they did a phenomenal job getting the crowd pumped and ready to go. I wish I had taken pictures during their set but I was honestly jumping up and down have a blast. They had a relatively short set, but it was amazing. After Anamanaguchi performed; within minutes the opening animation began and Miku popped up with “The World is Mine” and the entire audience ERUPTED with 「世界で一番お姫さま!」(Sekai de ichiban ohime sama!) and it was on from there. There were so many awesome songs played but I think my favorites were “Remote Control” by Rin and Len, “Ten Thousand Stars” by Miku, and “Sharing the World” by Miku and Anamanaguchi. It was an emotional rollercoaster and at the end during “Star Fragment” I looked over at Minny and we just hugged each other. Miku Expo has always been a positive experience for me and to see it again and feel so much excitement and to sing loud and obnoxiously and wave glow sticks around…it was such a happy feeling inside of me and I wish it never had to end.

With that said; the concert was beautiful and amazing and I am hoping that another one will be around in the future. We ended up leaving the venue around 10:50 or 11pm and headed to CVS to pick up some snacks and drinks. After that, Minny and I parted ways sadly and I went to my hotel room and passed out.

miku expo after

The next morning, Anthony and I woke up fairly early to explore NYC before heading to our train back to VA. It was a lot of fun; we got pancakes and Starbucks while attempting to find the Disney store. Needless to say we didn’t find it, but we found a cool gaming store in the area and I ended up buying something from it…har har. We ended up just heading to the hotel to get our stuff, check out and wait at the train station until our train arrived.

And that pretty much sums up our entire trip…(๑́•∀•๑̀)ฅ

miku expo thanks

Thanks for sticking around with that long post…I was so excited to share the trip with you guys! I’ll be posting a video and a haul post tomorrow hopefully if all goes well! As for today I am going to call it a night but I wanted to say a huge thank you to Minny for taking me around NYC and making my Miku Expo experience amazing. ❤ I’ll see you guys next time!!!!

Thanks for Reading~! ❤
With Love,
Taylor Rae (๑꒪▿꒪)*

 

SimplyMe: A Well Needed Vacation (Part Two)

Welcome back guys!

This recent week has been a rather stressful one with my full-time schedule officially starting back up! I’m still trying to get back into the habit of blogging, but I think I’m doing pretty well after such a long hiatus! And without further ado here’s the second, and last, part to our vacation in Luray, Virginia!

title

First off we went through the beautiful Luray caverns. We were informed, afterward, that our tickets also permitted us to enter all of the other museums within the premises. This included the Luray Valley Museum!

museum hopping

mining

In all honesty I think this was Anthony’s favorite spot in the valley. At the Luray Valley Museum, typically, visitors learn about the Luray area prior to the 1920’s…but, in Anthony and my case, we did more “gem mining” than any actual…learning.

Gem mining in the Luray valley is when you buy bags for rocks, gems and sand that you can mine for yourself.  You can also wash your wares yourself outside at a watering station. Anthony and I decided to go hard with two JUMBO BAGS!!! We ended up making it out with a lot of amethyst and pyrite!

outdoor breakfast

The next morning we did a lovely breakfast outside of the hotel. It was so nice since the weather was rather beautiful!

relax

horse feeding

After breakfast Anthony and I made our way to the White Oak Lavender Farm for some relaxation! Also, so I could shop for a few things to help me relax my anxiety and stress. However…as soon as we arrived Anthony started having a pretty bad allergic reaction to the lavender ask around us. So, we made our trip a quick one. We played GIANT checkers and saw some lovely farm animals! Anthony said I could go ahead and pick some lavender and buy a few things. But, for his sake, I chose a lavender and strawberry ice cream as well as lavender dark chocolate…yum! Both treats were amazingly delicious and well worth the price you pay!

And there you have it! That was our valley vacation. It wasn’t too  busy because our main goal was purely to relax and enjoy being away from work and home! We are so happy to share these photos with you and we hope you enjoy them. An anniversary post is on the way soon, too, guys. I promise. And like I always say…take care and have a wonderful week and weekend! I shall see you all next time.

REMEMBER: Cherish Each & Every Day!

Thanks for Reading! ❤
With Love,
Taylor Rae

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

SimplyMe: Christmas & Travels… (+Pics)

Well Hello Everyone~!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season! It’s been a bit more relaxing here lately. My full time work schedule has ended so I now have more time to dedicate toward taking pictures and working on future posts. It’s about to be 2015 or it may already be, after this post is edited…haha *cough* get to work broham *cough cough* haha, but I thought I would share with you all the pictures of my and my family’s Christmas holiday! So I hope you enjoy~!

title

CHRISTMAS

Christmas 1

Christmas 2

Christmas 3

RICHMOND

Richmond 1

Richmond 2

Richmond 3

Well, that’s it! For now at least… I’m currently working on a New Year’s post so be sure to look out for that. Also stay sharp for a new addition to “The Foodie” series! Wanna guess what it is? It’s another noodle soup. I’ll also be doing a recent purchase post soon, as well, once my final package arrives~. If you liked today’s post and wanted to share your thoughts, go ahead and leave a comment down below. If you’d like to suggest topics for future posts, please hit that “Contact” button above and send me an e-mail!

As always, I hope you all have a Happy & Safe New Year and I shall see you all in 2015…

REMEMBER: Herp Derp Insert Cheesy Quote Here.

Thanks for Reading~! ❤
With Love,
Taylor Rae

Miku Expo 2014 Photo Journal

If you are unable to tell already; we are back from Miku Expo in New York~! We weren’t able to attend Wallplay due to a delay with our train in Delaware, but we definitely made it to the concert. We were able to get a few pictures throughout the day for you all!

Miku Expo

I will warn you before I show you all of the pictures: this was my first trip to New York where I was able to actually walk around the city. As such some photos may come off a bit touristy and what not so please bare with me.

DC

We all woke up around 7am to get ready for the train that was leaving at 11. The ride to DC was rather uneventful, and my brother and father were super awesome taking us and dropping us off at Union Station. Because we arrived about an hour before our train departed, and we are never in the area, we decided to walk around and check out the shops. Surprisingly enough, we found an f.y.e filled with awesome merchandise from Sailor Moon keychains and even Hatsune Miku lanyards.

Once it was time to board we met an older gentleman who helped explain the boarding procedure. We ended up having a pleasant conversation with him for a few minutes. Once we were boarding and seated, we got as comfortable as possible for the 3.5 hour ride to New York Penn Station.

Train

For most of the ride Anthony and I were either asleep, looking at passing towns and cities, or on our phones. There were certainly some picturesque views with some even leaving me speechless. We managed to grab something to eat on the train; a vegan barbecue burger and fresh fruit. The burger was meh; filled with loads of sodium and preservatives. However, the fruit was delicious and managed to hit the spot. Unfortunately, we ended up with a 20-30 minute delay due to rail work in Delaware.

Manhattan

When we arrived, we already knew Wallplay was out of the question which wasn’t too painful because they managed to sell out of the Halloween Nendroid I wanted to try and get my hands on. So what did we decide would be the next best thing to do? White Castle. So classy, right? It didn’t really whet my appetite, but as a White Castle first-timer Anthony seemed to have enjoyed it. Afterwards we just walked around the area looking at a few shoe shops and made our way back to Penn Station to purchase our tickets to New Jersey and then headed towards Hammerstein Ballroom.

Concert Lines

We made it to Hammerstein Ballroom with a little less than 2.5 hours to spare and wait in line. When we initially arrived we looked at the line to the left and were immediately frightened. The line was huge and making its way toward the next block. Thankfully Anthony had the common sense to ask a Miku Staff member where the VIP line was… It was to the right and significantly shorter. After they gave us our yellow VIP wrist bands, we made our way over and proceeded to wait in line for about 30 minutes. During the wait we found two fellow fans who attended the previous night. I asked them if they felt the concert was worth it and they said it was indeed. One thing I noticed was that the film crew from the original Miku Expo in Indonesia was filming interviews and shots of the line, so maybe we’ll appear in the next “Road to Miku Expo”?! After about 25 minutes of waiting, VIP was allowed early entrance and we made our way inside.

Pre-Concert

The minute we stepped into the building we were greeted by Miku Staff. And in a surprising twist the Simply Taylor Rae cartoon logo recognized by the lovely lady running the Miku Expo twitter account. She told us thanks for tweeting and sharing about the event so much. We handed her my business card and they handed us our Miku Expo/Good Smile Company grab bags with the exclusive Miku Expo glowsticks. Finally, made our way inside the ballroom.

Concert

When we entered we immediately made our way to the front, as close to the railing as possible. We actually got quite an awesome view and I was in heaven. After we found our spot Anthony took a few moments to go and purchase a few items before they sold out and came back. Two hours later of listening to the same three songs, the Sega chant and beating Anthony up with my glow stick…the show began! And what a freakin’ concert! It was everything I dreamed it would be: Amazing special effects, awesome band, a wonderful and huge crowd of incredible fans, and Miku Love all around. The songs were the typical songs of MikuPa concerts circa 2011-2012 with the few exceptions of “Sharing the World” by Bighead, “Parades” by whoo, “Just Be Friends (English)” by Dixie Flatline, and “Glass Wall” by GuitarHeroPianoZero. We danced to “PoPiPo” and “Himitsu Keisatsu” and swayed to “Starduster.” By the end of the show, I was sweating, my arm was exhausted from the glow stick movements and I was on the verge of tears. After the encore Anthony and I made our way out to pick up our VIP packages from the same lady who recognized us earlier. We managed to also pick up some Rin & Len plush dolls. Then we did the unthinkable…went to McDonalds and waited for our train to New Jersey to arrive.

See You

Well, that is it! This ended up being a ridiculously long post but I feel like I owe you all something of quality after being away for quite a bit. I will have another Miku Expo post up tomorrow which will focus on my haul from the day so please stay tuned to that! I really want to know if any of you went to Miku Expo in either LA, Jarkarta, or NY and hear your thoughts! Did you enjoy it? Did it meet your expectations? Feel free to comment down below and if you would like to suggest topics for future posts, please hit the “Contact” button above and fill out the form! I hope you all enjoyed this post and as always…

REMEMBER: “It’s a Freakin’ Hologram, Taylor.” – Anthony (I laughed a lot at this.)

Thanks for Reading~! ❤
With Love,
Taylor Rae