Monthly Archives: May 2013

What do you mean “Starbucks”, in Venice we have the streets

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After spending a week between Hollywood, Malibu, San Diego and Santa Monica, it was about time for something different. In the afternoon I got a new haircut (it felt so posh drinking complimentary mimosa’s in a Hollywood hair salon!) and by the time the sun went down, we found ourselves strolling around the streets of Venice.

Venice is a cute little place with all of the original Californian features we see in television shows and movies. We walked by the canals in Venice just like Hank Moody did with Rebecca in Californication. It’s funny how I recognise more things from media the more I travel around the globe.

It’s a different place. You’d see the cool skateboard guys, surfers and even lifeguards with their lifeguard cars as we know them in the movies. If you’re planning on visiting LA, the Venice beach area is a good recommendation to spend at least an afternoon! The guy in the first picture was working on his laptop outside on the streets. Guess he’s too cool for Starbucks!

They’re all about contradictions though. Check out these restaurant signs:

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Thomas Hamburgers “world famous chili” – China Beach “Vietnamese bistro” – “grill & sushi”

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Tsunami evacuation signs throughout Los Angeles – Phil, this should be your buildings’ art!

Before heading back to Hollywood, we had dinner at a quirky place. The food was surprisingly good and the decor was different. See below. I can’t recall the name but it’s the restaurant with the “grill and sushi” sign.

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These are some other snaps shot in Venice:

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From LA to San Diego and more

Everything they say about this city is true. The grass is perfectly cut, there’s always traffic, everyone seems to be an actor and the list of things doesn’t end. But it’s truly a wonderful place. Wherever I go I’m astounded by the scenery, people and beauty of the city.

On Thursday we went to Disneyland in Anaheim. I’ve wanted to go here for a while now, but I was kind of disappointed by the insanely long lines that go up to 1.5 hours. We stood in line for Space Mountain for more than an hour when all of a sudden, the attraction broke down for the second time that day. Guest Services gave us fast passes for three attractions after we talked with them, so in the last hour we got to skip the line for three attractions. It was a nice day, felt like a kid again!

On Friday we took the car to San Diego. Surf was finally up!! The drive there was incredibly long. It should’ve taken us 2 hours but it took us 4 hours instead. LA traffic was killing us! Once we were out of LA, it all got better. Yeah, LA is definitely not the place to be if you’re in a hurry. Everyone always drives as if they’re in the Fast and the Furious, but when Highway Patrol drives by, everyone suddenly drives like angels.

We arrived in San Diego around 3:30 pm, parked the car and rented surfboards at a local shop. The people in the store were typical surfers. Blond, tanned, blue eyes, lean and beef cake-ish and talked in the most relax way you can imagine. The shop closed at 6 so we only had 2 hours surf. The guys from the shop didn’t charge us for the second hour, sweet!

So my boyfriend had never surfed before and I went to a surf camp twice when I was a little younger. This doesn’t say anything though. I have the knowledge of how to surf, but when I’m actually in the water, I still don’t know what to do (ok.. a little bit exaggerated). I taught him the basics on the beach and we subsequently walked to the ocean. Time to practice! I kind of hoped I could impress my boyfriend and luckily for me, I caught the first wave and stood up as if it was nothing. I guess the Californian waves are easier to tame than French waves!

I was very proud of my boyfriend. Even though he wiped out many times, he also managed to stand up, and one time he even jumped up (so without the knee-step in between). Yaaayy we have a natural! I feel a lot of surf holidays coming up!

On our way back (took us 2 hours), when we entered the LA zone again, we noticed how only LA’ers have crazy driving habits. It’s a combination of Formula 1 and go karts. It’s so dangerous and it really requires full attention on the road. But ok, enough about LA traffic. This is the least interesting thing to mention about this spectacular city.

On Saturday we went to Universal Studios in Hollywood. I didn’t know what to expect but it was awesome. They sure know how to entertain and it’s not a mystery why they’re the top production studio in the world. We went in the Jurassic Park water ride, the high speed Revenge of the Mummy dark roller coaster ride, the 3D Transformers ride (my absolute favourite, and I don’t even know what Transformers are) and a couple more. We also did the Universal Studios Tour which took about an hour. It was cool to see what it looks like on stage. The King Kong 3D ride at the end of the tour was amazing. Within a couple of years, every cinema will have moving chairs and stuff to make the experience of a 3D movie even more believable. When going to Universal Studios, do go on this tour! It’s so mind blowing!!

My boyfriend wanted to see shows so we watched the Special Effects show (there’s so much they do with and without computers, it’s crazy!) and went to the Waterworld show which was one of the raddest things I’ve ever seen. It’s based on the movie Waterworld, starring Kevin Costner. There was fire, and flying people and obstacles (amongst others a plane) and – of course – water. During a fight scene, one of the actors (woman) accidentally got hit by another actor (man). But I think she was okay. Those actors really have to be in top shape, it’s inhuman what they’ve to do! Running, jumping away from fire, swimming, jet-skiing and all of that at a high pace. I recommend everyone to see the Universal Studios!

It’s Sunday now and we’re going to Malibu in a bit. Exciting! Hopefully we’ll be able to surf again!

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Stars, botox and the pier

After sleeping in till 11 am, the boyfriend and I decided to have a relaxed, touristy day in the City of Angels. We took the car to one of the most touristic places in the United States: the Walk of Fame. Personally, I’m not really into the touristic way of exploring a city, but when in Los Angeles, one should definitely check out the Walk of Fame.

The first names of the street (it’s soooo long) didn’t say anything to me but the more you walk towards the commercial stores part, the more names you’ll recognise. Honestly, it wasn’t that interesting or whatever, but it was cool to see it for once. There weren’t many tourists around but that’ll come next week after Memorial Day. That’s when the big crowd is free from school and everything.

We had a nice lunch with a view over the famous Hollywood sign and took off to Beverly Hills after. There we checked out some stores and had a stroll through the streets of district 90210. The streets are very clean, people are dressed to impress (everywhere in LA really) and massive plastic surgery  failures occur every 100 steps you take. From way too full-of-botox-injected lips to Michael Jackson kind of nose jobs. It’s really funny to see and hideous at the same time. The houses are gigantic, as well as the extremely tall palmtrees. I wonder how much an average villa in this neighbourhood is..

I was craving ice cream and the first ice cream shop we found was one of the best I’ve ever been to. I’m a real ice cream and milkshake addict so this was quite the experience. The place is called Ice Cream Lab and they make the flavour of ice cream or shake you want while you’re waiting. Pretty cool and one of the nicest things you’ll every taste. Prices go from $5 and it’s definitely worth it to take a big cup (= more expensive) instead of a small one.

People in LA have their own way of driving cars. They give priority to every pedestrian, but make their own rules for driving on the road. They drive fast, cut you off if you’re a too slow driver, they stop their cars in the middle of the intersection if they missed an exit, but driving around LA is the best. It feels so liberating. Don’t push the pedal too hard though, because there are transparant speed bumps everywhere on the smaller street (not the avenues).

After taking a brief break in our Melrose Ave guest house, we drove to the Santa Monica Pier where we paid $12 for parking. Insane. It was after 9 pm already so every activity on the pier – the ferris wheel for example – was closed or closing. A bit of a waste of money but the beach was all worth it. The sand felt so nice and so different from the Miami sand. Beautiful.

I looked up a trendy restaurant on Santa Monica Boulevard and after being seated at the bar for 20 minutes, we finally got placed at our table. The restaurant is called Tar & Roses and it’s a fairly new LA restaurant. The crowd is young (25 – 35) , lively and good looking. The service was outstanding. We had a very friendly waiter who said “how were the first couple of bites?”, every time he served out a new course.

We had a bruschetta-cheese-charcuterie platter that was one of the most surprising food starters I’ve ever had, followed by a ricotta-gnocchi with asparagus. Delicious! The boyfriend had a lamb with chutney. Dessert was interesting. We had bruschetta with roasted strawberries and ice cream, and a toffee pudding with whipped cream. Melts in your mouth!! Two of the tastiest desserts you’ll ever try!

The cool thing about their menu is that you can combine some small veggie-cheese-charcuterie starters for a reasonable price of 3 for $14 and 5 for $20. The menu doesn’t have normal sized starters or main courses, but it’s divided in small and bigger plates, and veggies and snacks. Their combination of food is exceptional and the price is really good too. If you don’t want to spend too much, there’s plenty of cheaper priced plates, as well as for more expensive plates. Prices for desserts range from 8 to 11 bucks. The food is from local farmers and it’s organic.

Now back in the guest house, ready to go to sleep. Tomorrow I’m gonna add some pictures of today!

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I’m in California!

It’s a dream coming true. Ever since I was 15 years young I wanted to visit this part of the world, and finally I’m here!

I landed safe and sound in Los Angeles and now waiting at the baggage claim for the boyfriend to arrive from Detroit.

The travel from our campus to JFK was long and exhausting, needless to say I’m pretty spent and hungry as we didn’t get food on the plane – or maybe they did but I was sleeping. I passed out directly after take off and woke up after three hours. Watched Life of Pi on the plane (great movie to watch on the plane! It finished exactly when the plane hit the ground) and read a book about wine. Good flight, nothing to complain about.

JFK was – once again – total crap by the way. Everything such as escalators, elevators and stuff were out of order and with three mad heavy bags to carry, oof don’t let me get started. LAX on the other hand is a convenient airport. It’s big but divided into sections and it’s very easy to find everything you need.

Here are some snaps I took from my seat on the plane. I’ve seen snow, desert and typical American neighbourhoods.

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I see my boyfriend standing at the baggage claim. See you!!

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Goodbye east coast, hello west coast!

Exactly four months ago I left the Netherlands for the east coast. I didn’t know what to expect but it has exceeded all my expectations, and more. Now, I’m sitting in my dormitory lobby, killing time before – once again – going on a new adventure: California.

This spring semester was better, cooler, crazier and much more than anything else I’ve ever done in the 21 years on this globe. Reality hasn’t hit me yet, I’m still chilling at the university like every other day, but it’s really over. The last words of this chapter have been written. 

In two hours I’m leaving Fairleigh Dickinson University once and for all, and I’m really sad to be leaving but also this amazing chapter has to end. I’m flying from JFK to LAX at 4 pm so in less than 9 hours I’m in the Golden State. Woohoo!!

Sun, sea and beach, here I come! 

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I miss the Netherlands..

I miss the Old Amsterdam cheese, bitterballen, kroketten, hagelslag (chocolate sprinkles) and stamppot (mash with cale or other veggies). I miss the Dutch sing-a-long songs. I miss the black and white cows with yellow tags that are everywhere where you go. I miss the directness of people and their free spirits. I miss the tulips and wind mills. I even miss the clogs even though no one wears them. But most of all, I miss my friends. I love you guys, can’t wait to see you guys again! June 10th, mark it in your agendas.



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Stress week

Oof, I’ve four stressful days ahead of me. I can’t believe four months have almost passed by already but there’s still so much stuff left to do! I just finished my final exam for Events Planning (it went well!) and now I’ve to finish two out of five drawings for my arts class that are due tomorrow night and have to be presented in class.

After the presentation, I’m gonna taste wine with a friend for the final paper I’m writing for Wine Studies. Very much looking forward to start writing this paper! I’m gonna write about food and wine combinations, for those who’re interested in my topic. Hopefully I’m able to WOW my professor. Small chance as he’s been in the wine business for a longer time than Bill Gates has been in the computer industry.. Wednesday afternoon I should be finished writing the paper.

Wednesday night and Thursday are dedicated to finalising five projects for Advertising Design. I’m super happy with the magazine cover, feature spread and secondary spread I made but I’m a perfectionist and won’t rest until the job is perfected. Life as a perfectionist is hard! Besides these projects I also have to work on a poster and brochure and I still don’t know which way I want to go.

To be honest, I’m not stressed, I’m barely ever stressed out. For everyone who reads this and is in the same boat as I am: you’ll make it! Believe in yourself and work hard. I know the last mile is the hardest but you can do it!

Just keep in mind there’s only three more nights until Thirsty Thursday!

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For all the men I know

Hi, I’m a girl and I love meeting new people but there’s something you need to learn about women in general. Have you every heard of the song “Hello” by Martin Solveig? That’s the womens’ national anthem. For all us girls (okay, most of us), giving a compliment to men does not mean “hey, I want to get into your pants!”. If a girl says “I like your beard”, she literally likes your beard or whatever she just complimented you about.

From my experience, men don’t get compliments. They love receiving them, but they always, and I mean ALWAYS believe there’s something behind this little compliment. No. I like giving people compliments, give them a little confidence boost, make them happy for a second. It really is as simple as it gets.

If you ask me for my number, you’ll probably get it because I’m a nice person and I want to be your friend, but just your friend, nothing more nothing less.

The thing with men (I shall be honest, this goes for a lot of women too) though, is they’re desperate for attention. This may or may not be deliberate but there will always be this hope in everyone’s mind that someone will like them in the way of “like like”. Hang on, there’s definitely someone out there for you! I’m sure you’ll find that person but until that time, don’t take every compliment too seriously. Just let it be, say thank you. You don’t have to compliment back, simply smile and thank the other one.

Another thing. Some people are in relationships. Men tend to forget this which leads to awkward situations. Guys and girls will never have a conversation like this in a bar/nightclub/etc:

Girl “Nice shirt!”
Guy “Hey thanks. What’s your name?”
Girl “My name is Elja and I have a boyfriend. What’s your name?”
Guy “..”

Yeah, that’s when we lost you. Can’t guys and girls just be friends? The one thing girls want is a pure platonic relationship with guys other than their love interest. (If you’re our love interest, believe me, you will notice. We will make it very, very obvious. That obvious, there’s no getting around that fact anymore.)

I’m just another girl who seems to like flirting and hanging out with people, and that person could be you.

Okay, now I proof read this post I see it’s kinda weird and awkward.. Well, I guess we just have to give in to the fact that it will always be like that.