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 

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

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

The Foodie: Searching for Soul Food at Woodlands Vegan Bistro

Well good evening everyone!
What a rather exciting week!! So much has happened: I GOT MY WEDDING SHOES! Well…Anthony got them for me and I love them so much! I would post a picture, but I’d rather keep it a secret for our big day. I can say that Anthony and I will be (once again) matching!! So happy. Another is my brother and I finally got to hang out for a day and he introduced me to a vegan restaurant located in the heart of Washington DC! So of course I had to review it…

DISCLAIMER: I was not paid nor asked nor offered any discount to do this review. This review is based solely on my own experience and opinion as a first time visitor and the meal was paid for entirely by me. Thank you for understanding.

imageWell, let me just say that for me personally…this was not the funnest drive. I’m not entirely used to DC driving and roads, so if you’re not either; I warn you now. I will also say that this restaurant does NOT have a parking lot or a parking garage near it. There are plenty of parking meters though…which is not fun because I never carry change. Luckily, my brother did so. Otherwise, this building is brown with quite a nice a logo on the front. It is kind of easy to miss however, so do be cautious while driving.
image_1The interior was nice and a bit modern.  The color scheme was brown with a beige wall and a light green wall. When you walk in, you’re welcomed into a foyer area where white letters spelling out different words and sayings surround you. It’s cool, in my opinion, because it gave it a little industrial look to it. Beware, the door that leads you from the foyer to the physical restaurant SCREAMS. It is loud and my ears/head were not too happy about that. It took me a moment to locate where the kitchen was and my brother had to explain to me that the kitchen is where you pick up your food, kind of like a cafeteria. So, we headed to said kitchen and it didn’t scream style or anything, just a kitchen. The food did look quite delicious, I will say that. The ordering system was kind of confusing seeing as how they went from the first customer to the third and I was all over the place. After ordering, you bring your plate to the checkout counter (once again, like school) and pay for your meal and order your drink there.
image_2For food, my brother and I both got the kale (cooked like collard greens) and the mashed bean curry. He ended up going for the broccoli and I opted for the Asian noodle salad. For drinks, we both ordered the Tropical Paradise. Let me just say that the smoothies are made with fresh fruit and you can watch them make it at the juice bar which is always nice, plus it was freakin’ delicious and refreshing. The kale was cooked perfectly, exactly how I enjoy my collards because I’m pretty picky with my greens! They tasted a tad salty and had tons of flavor! The mashed bean curry was quite refreshing because they didn’t overuse the curry taste which I hate with most curry. It was calm and the veggies weren’t overcooked. It still had a crunch, which I liked. The Asian noodle salad was probably my favorite part of the meal. None of the veggies were cooked, so they were crunchy and all those lovely nutrients were still present! The noodles were cooked perfect, so they were soft but not soggy. The sauce was sweet and tangy and made the veggies taste even better. And it was just too good for words. I was in vegan heaven because I didn’t crave a slice of meat whatsoever during that meal! It was nice to see that they achieved soul food cooking without the typical ingredients. I loved it.

Overall, I should know better not to judge a restaurant by it’s interior or screaming door. The chefs really gave me the soul food taste that I craved and grew up on while making it ultra healthy and I didn’t feel bloated or terrible for eating so much! It was truly a great eating experience, so I would suggest it for those looking for healthy alternatives!

If you would like to learn more about Woodlands Vegan Bistro, visit their website HERE. They also have live performances too!

Well that is it for tonight’s post! I am so happy I got to share this experience with you all and I hope you found this review informative. I am so happy I finally reviewed a restaurant that wasn’t Korean though…I’M BRANCHING OUT YA’LL! Tomorrow I will be attending my first sponsored party hosted by Play. Party. Pin.‘s Britni! So, I will be spilling the details of that party once I get home.

With that said, I hope you all have a fantastic and safe weekend! Stay warm and cozy and remember to enjoy life!
Thanks for Reading~! ❤
With Love,
Taylor Rae