Moved!

IMG_6411Hey everyone!
I just wanted to let you know that I’ve moved my site! Yes. I have finally retrieved my own domain woop woop! So please head over to my new site lerenardbleu.me and check out what I’ve got going over there! You can subscribe for my posts to show up in your reader or by email too! Jut click the Subscribe link on the right side of my new site.
 Be sure to go on over there so you don’t miss any of my new posts! Thanks. See you soon

P.s. There are already a couple new posts waiting over there for you about my USA road trip!

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USA Road Trip | Day 5

DSC_0042So this is technically day 6, but I literally took 0 pictures on day 5 so I’m just going to pretend like it never happened. We drove from Seattle to Portland that day then basically became zombies from driving so often. We immediately checked into our hotel. The Crystal Hotel is a part of the McMenamins collection of breweries and hotels. I’d never heard of it before, but it was truly amazing. Apparently, they upcycle historic buildings and turn them into something new. This building – named after the Crystal Ballroom across the street – named all of its rooms after different songs played at the named ballroom (pretty cool, amiright?) There was also a restaurant on the first floor, The Zeus Cafe, a bar below that, Al’s Den, and on the same floor as the bar a soaking pool. You heard me. Basically a pool-sized salt water hot tub. Oh Yeah!

It’s interesting, because the vibes were a complete 180 from the vibes in the Ace Hotel in Seattle that we visited, but I still loved it! It was so much darker and luxurious. It almost felt like were in a haunted hotel? Maybe not, I don’t know what I’m saying. Anyway, it was very cool and I would recommend it!  We woke up the next morning and knew exactly where we would head first – Voodoo doughnuts. Ohhh Yeah. This was literally the only thing I had planned for my trip to Portland. I knew that I needed to make it to this shop. I’m not a crazy doughnut person like some people, but the creative approach to these made me need it. Also – yes, the bricks outside the place are covered in gliter. (!!!!)DSC_0005DSC_0007DSC_0008DSC_0011DSC_0009DSC_0010I decided to go for a standard doughnut covered in chocolate frosting, rice krispies, and peanut butter drizzle. (Idk the name, sorry) Oh god it was good. DSC_0013After a quick sugar coma, we decided to check out Powells bookstore. If you haven’t heard anything about this bookstore before  (like me) then I will tell you that it is supposedly the largest bookstore. Ahhhh! It boasts collections of books across five stories (wow!) We basically got lost in there for awhile. I snagged a copy of Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. I’d never heard of it before, but it intrigued me. So, new book!DSC_0020Lindsey had read something about how the Crawfish restaurant across from our hotel was supposed to have the best happy hour. So, naturally we had to check it out. I got a pomegranate mojito (mojitos happen to be my favorite drink) and she got some type of alcoholic peach iced tea. We then shared some pepperjack fried cheese (still not as good as cheesecurds IMO). Sorry, I didn’t take any pictures! DSC_0043 DSC_0019 DSC_0017

And that is all from our first day in Portland! Be sure to check in for day 2 in this beautiful city! Hint: there will be flowers.

Bye!

USA Road Trip | Days 3 & 4

DSC_0341Hello all!

So days 3 and 4 feature the beautiful Seattle, Washington. Unfortunately, day 3 was basically 11 hours of driving from Yellowstone to Seattle and there was maybe 1 or 2 pictures taken, so I’m going to lump together the 2 days. I didn’t have high expectations for Seattle, but oh my god. This city is great. The vibe, the people, Sasquatch country. This city was made for someone like me.

Day 3 evening we got to the city late, but we decided to still go out. Luckily, we stayed with our friend and she knew a bit about the city (she just moved there 2 weeks before). We went to a club and the people were CRAY dancing. It was really fun, but after driving for so long I was not at the top of my game for dancing.

When we woke up on day 4 we went straight to a farmer’s market in the Ballard district. They had so many great foods and beautiful vegetables for sale. I bought a rhubarb ginger soda which was sooo delicious. YUM! Some of my friends bought a vegetable quesadilla (I tried, also yum) and a pizza which I did not try, but looked very good.DSC_0344DSC_0349DSC_0347DSC_0350DSC_0351DSC_0353DSC_0359DSC_0360DSC_0361DSC_0363DSC_0365DSC_0368I’d like to make a confession: I am obsessed with Sasquatch. And if you know anything about Sasquatch a.k.a. ‘Big Foot’ you will know that he resides in the Pacific Northwest – Seattle. This was basically my dream. We found statues, murals, newspaper covers – all with his beautiful face on them! I may have also snagged a t-shirt and magnet pertaining to the subject of Sasquatch. He Lives!DSC_0375 IMG_2546IMG_2545If you find yourself around the Pike’s Place area I would head to the wall of gum. I have no idea how this weird thing got started, but it is amazing. Basically, it is a wall in an alley way covered in gum. All of the tourists do it – everyday. I really don’t even want to know how many pieces or hanging off of that wall. Even when I went it had a disgusting amount of layers that were melting all over into each other. And of course for your viewing pleasure I’ve added a few photos… (My piece is the apricot colored one in the middle FYI)IMG_2539Pike’s Place Market was like a farmer’s market on steroids. The most famous part of the market is the Pike’s Place fish market. If you wait long enough and decide to buy some fresh fish they tend to throw the fish around to one another and may even through the slippery fish to you in you ask. Not for me, but fun to watch! When we were there I bought a blackened salmon fish sandwich with rosemary mayo. OMG. It was delicious. Coastal seafood is disgustingly better than the ‘fish’ we get back in the midwest. We walked through a bit more and looked at all the fruits and vegetables and the home made pasta. Nom.IMG_2517IMG_2514IMG_2518Right outside the market you will find the first Starbucks store! Apparently there is always a ridiculously long line just to get into the store, I’m talkin’ down the street. Luckily, the day we went it was only to the door so we decided to go grab some coffee/pictures. It’s interesting, because everything was the same as your average Starbucks store, but a little bit different. They kept the original logo and there are a few exclusive mugs for the store if you want to pick one up!IMG_2521IMG_2525IMG_2526IMG_2523After Starbucks we bid adieu to our Seattle friend and went venturing on our own. We headed to the Unicorn. Apparently some of Macklemore’s  Thriftshop music video was filmed at this place. He’s from Seattle if you didn’t know! The place was amazing. Unfortunately you need to be 21 just to enter, so sorry to all you minors! It looked a little bit like a circus on drugs or something. Everything was candy colored and awesome. I ordered a local IPA beer with a Magical Unicorn Burger. Nom. Huge & amazing.DSC_0382 DSC_0383DSC_0384After finishing up eating we headed downstairs to another bar called the Narwhal where we heard there were some video games. I attempted to play some pinball and failed miserably. Oh well! After all the excitement from the day we decided to head to our hotel called Ace Hotel. This place was amazing. I don’t believe I have any pictures (Sorry!) but I could not recommend it more.  This probably is not an ideal place for families, but if your traveling solo/with a friend/SO I would definitely come here. It has one of the best vibes of any hotel I’ve stayed in. They feature local artists throughout the hotel and boast their sustainable lifestyle. The bathrooms are shared with other hotel guests, but they’re all private stalls (not college dorm bathrooms here). Check it out if you’re ever in the area – I hear they have a few in other cities, but this is the original.

Well, that is all from day 3 &4 I will see you again for Portland! Woop woop!

USA Road Trip | Day 2

DSC_0257Hello!

So I’m here to tell you about another day on my American road trip. This day is particularly exciting for me because we visited the Badlands. I’ve visited them once before with my family, but it was nice to see them again! It amazes me that there are natural landscape formations such as these ones so close to us. Not only were they glorious to look at, they were also HUGE! The national park continued far longer than I thought it would have. I love how natural they look.DSC_0255DSC_0266DSC_0269DSC_0273DSC_0274DSC_0275DSC_0279So I just realized that the same day we visited Yellowstone. Yes, we drove. Yes, we are crazy. On top of that neither of us had slept well the night before so we were basically running on zero by the time we got to Yellowstone and had to drive through the foggy, snowy mountain at an elevation of 10,000+ ft. Let’s just say we were a bit stressed. After that debacle, we thought we were in the clear. However we were not, as there was another mountain between us and Old Faithful which was also about 2 hours away. Within the park! Along the way we were greeted by a few different types of wildlife including some bison! We finally made it to the beautiful geyser at about dusk, although we did need to speed past a few of the other attractions which was a shame.

If you ever get the chance to visit the national park I definitely would. There is so much to see inside and it is HUGE! Just plan ahead as we had not. Also, if you’re planning on visiting many National parks I’d recommend the America the Beautiful parks pass. IT was $80 for our car and if one person has it they can bring 3 others with in one car! It lasts one year from when you buy it. A good investment in my opinion.              DSC_0288 DSC_0294 DSC_0302DSC_0326DSC_0335DSC_0336DSC_0337

 

See you for day 3!

USA Road Trip | Day 1

DSC_0184Hello All!

So I’ve finally begun my road trip across the west of the United States. We’ve already locked in a ridiculous amount of miles and have spent far too much time riding in a car. Day one was spent mostly in our car and stopping at a few random kitschy tourist traps before we made it to our hotel in Wall, South Dakota. We decided to stay there so we could wake up and go straight to the Badlands – so stay tuned as that will be on day 2.

The first tourist trap we found on the highway was the Spam Museum found in Austin, Minnesota. Luckily there was a last minute sign pointing off the highway towards the magical building. I was pleasantly surprised with the museum as it was quite modern and had many different attractions. DSC_0183DSC_0185DSC_0187DSC_0190The next tourist attraction we stopped at was the largest Green Giant statue in Blue Earth, Minnesota. Now this thing was HUGE. They even had steps for us to take pictures underneath his legs. Beautiful. He stands at only 55.5 ft tall! Crazy.DSC_0192DSC_0197Lastly, we stopped at a statue park that we assumed to be a collaboration of many different artists in a public park, In actuality it turned out to be $8 for adults to walk through these statues that one man made. They were very creative and interesting, but the whole set up was a bit creepy/sketchy. At least I got some bomb photos out of it.       DSC_0200 DSC_0211 DSC_0212 DSC_0217 DSC_0221 DSC_0225 DSC_0227 DSC_0231 DSC_0235 DSC_0240 DSC_0241 DSC_0245Stay tuned for Day 2 in South Dakota!

The All American Road Trip

Hello All!

So, I apologize for my hiatus. The end of my semester got a bit hectic, but I am finished now and ready to reboot this baby. Excitingly, I am leaving for a 2 and 1/2 week road trip in 2 days! Woohoo! Tomorrow I’m headed to a Vampire Weekend concert that has been a long time coming. I planned to go to their concert just over a year ago in Paris, but unfortunately it was rescheduled to after I was already back in the States. This concert has not yet been rescheduled or cancelled, so I think we’re in the clear!
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I am ridiculously excited for this road trip. We’re starting in Milwaukee, WI where the Vampire Weekend concert is and then we’re straight heading to the Bad Lands in South Dakota. From there we’ll go to Yellowstone and then our first city on the trip which is Portland, Oregon. I’ve never been their before and I’m super excited for VooDoo doughnuts MMMM. Next we’ll head to San Francisco where we’ll be visiting some friends. One will tag along with us to Yosemite Park and then VEGAS, BABY! I am so so excited for Vegas (possibly because we’ll be there over my birthday!). After Vegas we’re heading to The Grand Canyon and from there Colorado to see both Denver and Boulder.

This is basically a rough overview because we have a lot of time for roaming and stopping at places we just feel like seeing. We have the opposite of a strict schedule and it makes me feel better knowing we won’t be rushing. The only place on this trip I have been to before is the Badlands, so I’m excited to see all of these new places.

This post is basically a heads up that there will be many more posts to come of my travels so get your eyeballs prepared for some beautiful American road trip pictures.

p.s. I’ve also just bought a new DSLR camera – Nikon D3200 – so be prepared for some better quality shots!

Voyager Vendredi: Belgium

IMG_2170A few people I studied abroad with an I decided to make a weekend trip to Brussels! The main attraction of the weekend, however, was the crazy party called Sensation. You can see a shot I took at the concert/rave/party above. This was not until Saturday, though so I shall start with my arrival in Brussels. Lindsey and I arrived a day before the rest of our friends so we had the pleasure of finding our hostel. In the rain. Usually this is not a problem. Unfortunately for us, Belgium speaks French, Dutch and English. Some people speak multiple, others only speak one. This in addition to the fact no one we knew had heard of our hostel created quite the challenge for us.

We stayed at the Auberge des Trois Fontaines. I’m not sure if I would recommend this hostel or not. 1. It is on the very outskirts of the city. I mean the metro does not reach all the way there. Hence the problem with the rain and walking etc. 2. This hostel is not only a hostel, but also a YMCA type building. There were teams of children playing soccer, adults playing racquetball, volleyball, and other sports in the main building. 3. There was a cafe/bar built into the building. Two of the beers I tried are below. The raspberry one was especially delicious! (I’m gonna say #3 is a plus.)

We were starving and needed food ASAP. We found a little Italian restaurant on the corner of  Chausée de Wavre and Boulevard de Souverain. I don’t think I could recommend a restaurant more. I had a four cheese pizza and it might have been my favorite pizza I had while in Europe (and yes, I went to Italy). If I haven’t persuaded you enough, we went their twice over the weekend.IMG_2145IMG_2156The next day we decided to take a look around Brussels. Obviously, we needed to stop for some authentic Belgian fries and waffles (gaufres in french). And yes, they were just as delicious as you are imagining.That night we went to look for somewhere to eat, Unfortunately we got stuck in a tourist trap and the food was mediocre, so I didn’t take any pictures. The views at night were spectacular though.  IMG_2153IMG_2154IMG_2155After some bad dinner, we improved our game when it came to drinks. First we went to a bar called Delirium Cafe. They post a menu of over 2,000 beers. Yes, that is correct 2,000. We had multiple round of beer, which were all delicious of course. Luckily, all of use were fans of beer otherwise I’m not sure how it would have went.Next on our list of bars was the Floris Bar. Which was conveniently located right across the (very narrow) street. Here, we decided to give a try to absinthe. This is the kind that is illegal in the U.S. for some reason. Taking shots of absinthe is an art. First you prepare a shot of absinthe, next you place a slotted spoon on the glass and set a sugar cube on it. Next, you take a lighter to the sugar cube until it melts into the shot. Finally, you take the shot with the melted sugar inside. Unfortunately, the sugar does not mask the intense black licorice taste enough for me. On to Saturday night. Sensation was held in the neighboring city of Hasselt. Luckily, there was a free train for all Sensation goers. We boarded the train after a bit of pre-gaming and headed to the party! P.s. this party requires you to wear all white which is pretty exciting in my opinion.IMG_2157IMG_2165IMG_2169IMG_2178IMG_2184IMG_2186It was basically a crazy light show with a crazy amount of people all wearing white. I’m not sure on the exact number of people there, but I do know it was a lot. This was very fun, but I doubt I would ever go again. Staying up until 7 am and walking through the snow to get to our hostel (in shorts) is not something I want to do again. If the rave/techno music scene is your thing I would definitely look up some tickets. I know they have shows across Europe and a few in the U.S. now!