Alfred Tea Room: LA’s Most Instagram-able Tea Shop

img_4255-copy

If you’ve ever seen a social media post about Alfred Tea Room, you already know that it is probably the cutest, pink-est little cafe you’ve ever seen.

I have been meaning to visit all semester, but finally just got around to it and I absolutely loved it. It’s super cute inside and outside with the pale, ballerina-pink color scheme, and gold color and floral accents. If I could have designed a cafe in my head, it probably would look something like that.

Everything from the tea cups to the tea related puns written on the wall beg to be photographed for an Instagram, which is why the place is so popular to begin with. It’s tucked away off of Melrose, which also automatically gave it a cool factor.

My chai latte was great, which I’m normally very picky about, and I had a really nice morning there. Just be aware- the name holds true and you can only get tea there. So if you’re more of a coffee person, I’d recommend going to Alfred Coffee, which is pretty much just across the street (but not as beautiful). But if you are a tea person, there’s so many different drinks to choose from I think it will be hard to be disappointed.

img_4253

Once a fangirl, always a fangirl: Finding Niall’s Billboard at Capitol Records

This is sort of a two-part blog post: (1)  My official review of Niall Horan’s first solo song, AND (2) the story of trying to find his billboard in Hollywood.

On Wednesday night this past week, there were so many rumors and deleted tweets and screenshots of people trying to prove that there was a solo Niall song coming out on Thursday. So much conversation was happening, that Niall’s unreleased, unconfirmed song was trending worldwide on Twitter (#ThisTown).

After reading through all of the speculation, I was completely on board with the conspiracies and I was so thrilled to see that Niall had actually dropped the song on Thursday morning.

I genuinely love “This Town” and I was really nervous I was going to hate it (Niall had written Summer Love for 1D, which I’m not the biggest fan of). The reason I love it so much is because it’s a song that I know I would like regardless of who the artist is. I’m a big fan of Vance Joy/Ed Sheeran-esque songs and I think “This Town” fits into that genre. It’s folky, I love the story of the lyrics and I think Niall sounds incredible on it. I felt like such a proud fan for the smooth and grown up transition he had made musically.

Which is why when I saw on Instagram that Capitol Records had put up a Niall billboard, I knew I HAD to see it. It was supposedly on the back side of the Capitol Records Tower, which is right in my neck of the woods.

IMG_3675.jpg

The only problem is we literally couldn’t find the billboard/had problems getting to it. We were in the general area on Friday night and tried to walk around the Capitol Tower to see the billboard, but a bunch of construction blocked the sidewalk and we couldn’t get around it. Since it was already super late we decided just to head home instead of walking all the way back around the building the other way.

Yesterday we were going to try to find it again, but ended up being too tired after a morning of volunteer work. We didn’t want to bother with wandering around Hollywood Blvd/Vine without any specific information on where the billboard was. So, we went home to rest and I scoured social media posts to figure out exactly where it was and how to get to it.

Today we set out on a walk SPECIFICALLY to find the billboard, and were able to find it with no problems. It really was right behind the Capitol Records tower, and if the construction wasn’t there, we would have found it easily on Friday night. We were literally just around the corner!

But I’m glad we got to see it today when we did. The sun was starting to set and they turned on the billboard lights as we were standing there looking at it.

img_3690

This isn’t the coolest or most adventurous LA outing, but it’s something I really enjoyed nonetheless. If I was still in Boston, I would have looked at the photo of the billboard and wished I could’ve seen it in person, and now that I’m here I had the opportunity to. And, I’m a huge geeky One Direction fangirl and that will literally never change. So all that being said, there was no better way for me to spend my Sunday evening. xo

LA County Fair Adventure

img_3612

Yesterday, we decided to go to the LA County Fair, which I was SO happy about! It has been running for pretty much all of September, and I have really wanted to go for the whole month but it never seemed to work out. This was the last weekend the fair was going to be open, so it was sort of a “now or never” situation. And despite the fact that it was nearly 100 degrees (and I was sweating all day), I had a great time!

We decided we were going to do rides right when we got to the fair (because we didn’t want to get sick after eating all the food), and my favorite ride was definitely one called G-Force, which is basically an adaptation of the classic “Pirate Ship” type of ride, except you are spinning while you swing back and forth. It was actually a lot scarier than I thought it was going to be, but I love that feeling when your stomach drops as you swing down from super high up!

IMG_3611.JPG

I had originally gone into the day super ambitious, wanting to eat so many different fried foods, but the heat definitely got the better of me and kind of ruined my appetite. I was able to get some really yummy garlic fries (with which I downed multiple bottles of water), and then all I wanted after that was a vanilla soft serve- for some reason I think that the soft serve at fairs and carnivals tastes the best.

I had to eat my ice cream super fast because it immediately started melting and losing sprinkles, but it was so refreshing at the end of a long, hot day.

IMG_3608.JPG

IMG_3600.JPG

We all tried to play some of those classic, impossible, carnival games, which we obviously didn’t win. Watching people try to play the ring toss was crazy because I’ve still never seen someone get a ring over a bottle, even though it always looks so close!

I did play the ballon popping game like I used to when I was a kid, but I was even horrible at that game and just got a little tiny stuffed fish. But, it’s cute so who cares, right?

IMG_3610.JPG

I hadn’t been to any type of fair in so many years, but I’m so glad we were able to get a group of people to go this weekend. There’s something that I find so fun about just walking around and people watching, plus it’s always great if you’re ready to eat some food that is very, very bad for you.

I will say, however, that I am very much missing the New England fall weather at this point. I wouldn’t have been so hot on a late September afternoon in Boston! But I guess it’s all just part of the LA experience.

Bastille on Jimmy Kimmel & Fan Event

This week, we really took advantage of our new (temporary) home in Hollywood and got some free tickets to a Bastille concert taping at Jimmy Kimmel. As a Bastille fan, I was super excited to get to see the band live- I’ve always missed out on them when they were in my city, so it really felt like a long time coming.5.jpg

Going to a taping is something that I knew I wanted to do during my semester in LA, and the fact that we found such a perfect one so quickly felt like serendipity! It was really interesting to watch the setup of a taping and see how everything works from engaging the fans to watching Kimmel come out to introduce the band.

6.JPG

Bastille performed a total of 5 songs, 3 from their new album “Wild World” and 2 old songs, including their huge hit “Pompeii.” We weren’t allowed to use our phones during the 1st two performances, because those are the ones they would likely use for the actual TV show, but for the last few performances I was able to snap some pictures.

7.JPG

At the end of their set, the band told the crowd about a fan event that they were hosting around the corner in celebration of their new album, which we decided we were going to check out. We got to the event site relatively quickly, but the line behind us ended up winding all the way around the corner with the huge number of people who showed!

We waited in line to get into the event for around an hour and a half, and almost left because it was taking so long to get in and we were exhausted, but we stuck it out when the line started to pick up.

The fan event, called WW Comms, was a sort of performance art experience that connected with concepts of the band’s new album. We got to walk through the building and see different stations set up, one of them being the band behind a class pane with the words “I Want To Be Free” on it. It was a little creepy, but definitely cool.

8.jpg

My biggest complaint about the event is that it took us so long to get in, and then we were really rushed through it. It looked like the event staff really let the first waves of fans linger within the event. So by the time we were allowed in, they were really rushing us through because they were running out of time. I didn’t get to look at everything for as long as I would have liked to, but I’m overall glad that I went. I just think it could have been run a little better.

9.JPG

We did get this cute picture taken before we left, though. And I was able to buy a signed copy of the vinyl of the new album– so with all things considered it was a positive experience.

I have exactly 3 months until I have to move out of my LA dorm room and I’m so excited to see what adventures I’ll have until then.

The Big Move To Cali: First Few Days

It has officially been over a month since my last blog post, but I am (hopefully) going to get back on track to posting regularly on my page again. The past month has been crazy- I finished my Marketing Capstone summer class, wrapped up my summer job as a camp counselor, moved out of my first-ever apartment, and packed up all my stuff to spend my last college semester in LA!

1

This is only my 4th day here, but I’m really enjoying my time so far (even though I’m still very nervous about driving around here with all of the traffic). I have an internship in the fashion industry, which starts tomorrow, and my campus is smack in the middle of Hollywood on Sunset Boulevard. Needless to say, I am a very lucky girl.

My dad and I got up at 3am (Eastern Time) on Saturday to fly out here, and landed at LAX at a little before 11am. Even though we were totally exhausted, we didn’t want to waste our day, so we pushed through the sleepiness to get some tourist-y activities in.

For lunch we, of course, had to go to In-N-Out. As East Coasters who always hear people brag about the burgers there, we knew it was something we had to try. We were also really hungry at this point and fast food seemed like a good idea.

2

After we ate lunch and got settled into our hotel (which had incredible views of the Hollywood sign and the Capitol Records building), we set back out for our next adventure- a studio tour of the Paramount Pictures lot. Since it was a Saturday, things were pretty dead around there, so we didn’t see any celebrities, but it did give our tour guide more opportunity to let us into sound stages and see some behind the scenes stuff!

3

On Sunday, my dad helped me move into my new dorm room, but we also had some time to walk around the Walk of Fame and find some cool stars. We had been looking for some of the Beatles’ stars and we couldn’t find them that day. Today, I went out exploring by myself and found all of them right in front of the Capitol Records building on Vine. Since I spent all of my spring semester doing a PR project on Capitol, it was so surreal to stand outside the building and see their musician’s stars on the sidewalk.

5.JPG

I’m excited to see what this semester will bring with my internship and my time in this new city. I have never been to California before, and now I have 3 months to explore so much! From here on out, I’m going to try to post regularly about my adventures.

Sounds Live Feels Live Mansfield: 5SOS Concert Experience

Last night at the Xfinity Center in Mansfield, MA, my sister and I had the best time seeing 5 Seconds of Summer! Between our special Soundcheck Experience tickets and the show itself, it was truly an incredible night.

IMG_2814

Because we had the soundcheck passes, we got to arrive to the venue early and watch the band play a few songs, as well as participate in a Q&A session. They told stories about pantsing Calum on the bus, revealed some info about their next music video, and talked about memes that they had seen of other bandmates on the internet. And, because our soundcheck crowd was so big (over 1,000 people) the band played 3 songs instead of their usual 2. One of the songs they played, If You Don’t Know, is one of my all time favorites and I had never heard it live before, so in my opinion the entire soundcheck was completely worth it.

After we got out of soundcheck, we wandered around the venue a bit before the gates opened for everyone else. We got some food, including some yummy cupcakes, and I got my first legal drink at a concert (woohoo!).

Pretty soon after the doors opened we found our seats, which were amazing, and the first opening act Hey Violet came onstage. I really enjoyed their set, and will probably purchase some of their music in the future! The second opening act, One OK Rock, wasn’t really my cup of tea but I could see that a lot of other concertgoers were loving them, so it was still good for the overall vibe.

When 5sos finally came onstage the venue was electric. I have seen them perform many times now, but it truly never gets old. The guys are so talented and bring such energy to the stage it’s impossible not to have a good time. Some of my favorite bits of the show were when they performed Castaway, Outerspace and Permanent Vacation, as well as when Ashton left his drums to do a headstand onstage (with a little help from Michael).

IMG_2821.jpg

However, the absolute best part of the night was during Vapor, which happens to be one of my favorite songs (I’ve previously written about it here). As we first walked into the venue that day, fans were handing out orange hearts that they had made and instructed everyone to hold them up during Vapor. As the first few chords of the song played out there was a pause around the venue and slowly I started to see the hearts go up. People turned on their phone flashlights and held them up behind the hearts, making the whole arena glow in orange.

It’s become somewhat of a tradition to hold up orange hearts in Boston. Last year at the same venue we did it, but it all started at a tiny acoustic show in 2013. Being present at all three of them has been magical and beautiful, and you can tell that the band always appreciates it.

Screen Shot 2016-07-10 at 4.35.27 PM.png

Even though it’s always a bit of a hike getting out to Mansfield, it was completely worth the long day. 5sos are one of my favorite live bands and the day will probably go down as one of my favorites from the summer.

 

 

Jamie Lawson at Cafe 939’s Red Room

Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 2.58.15 PM.png

We were at the very BACK of the room. The most intimate venue in Boston.

On Sunday night, I attended a Jamie Lawson concert at Berklee College of Music’s Red Room at Cafe 939. I’ve gone to one other concert at the Red Room, a Passenger concert in 2012 with my dad, and I have a lot of love for the venue for two reasons.

  1. It is incredibly small and intimate (200 capacity).
  2. When I went to the Passenger concert in 2012, Ed Sheeran made a surprise appearance and I quite literally cried (I could write an entire post about this event)– grainy iPhone 4 quality photos from that night are below.

So when I saw in March that Jamie Lawson was playing a show there, I knew it would be a great night and bought tickets within an hour of them being on sale. After serendipitously getting to see Jamie open for Vance Joy in April, I was even more excited for this concert.

I know that I wrote fairly extensively about Jamie Lawson in my Vance Joy concert post, but I can’t emphasize enough how talented this guy is. His voice is incredible. This probably is going to sound like I’m exaggerating, but his live voice is ten times better than the recorded version, and I feel like any video I ever took didn’t even reflect what I was hearing in that moment. Hands down one of my top 3 favorite voices.

Since the crowd was so small, and skewed more adult than teen, the show was very mellow, which was nice for a Sunday night. I’m a huge pop music fan (as I’ve stated many times), so often when I go to concerts I’m with all the teens. I have nothing against them, and I actually think that people need to cut the teens some slack in most cases, but I will admit it was nice to be at a show where people weren’t screaming at the artist on stage in between songs.

Jamie of course sang his radio hit “Wasn’t Expecting That,” along with other songs from his newest album, older songs that many people weren’t familiar with, and even some new unreleased songs. Since I’m only familiar with the most recent album, I appreciated getting a taste of more of the Jamie Lawson discography. Still, my two favorite songs of the night were “Ahead of Myself” and “Don’t Let Me Let You Go,” which are just my favorite songs by him in general.

Jamie very kindly stayed in the lobby after the show to meet/take pictures with the fans, but since we had already met/gotten a photo with Jamie at the Vance Joy show, we opted not to wait in line for round 2 (at risk of appearing like stalkers). Still, it was something that he didn’t have to do, and I think it speaks to his character.

Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 2.58.36 PM

Post-show with Jamie after Vance Joy in April

Just last week, Jamie’s song “Someone For Everyone” got a music video, and I found it to be very charming. It’s available to watch below, and if you like acoustic singer-songwriter types I’d highly recommend checking him out. The music is available in all the usual places. 🙂