DSLR Diaries: Pittsburgh Vacay

At the end of February, I took a fun road trip to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with my guy and had a blast. I honestly was so psyched to take my DSLR camera out of New York for the first time, and I had such a fun time taking pics and video during the trip. I did leave my camera behind during some parts of the vacation due to a few places not allowing professional cameras and whatnot (I’m also not great at night photography yet so I didn’t really bother taking my camera out after 6pm), but I am happy with the shots I got.

We stayed at the Oaklander Hotel, which is right near the University of Pittsburgh in Oakland, so at night there were tons of college kids out and about in the streets and the bars.

The hotel itself was a bit odd as the check in desk is not in the lobby on the first floor, but instead on the 10th floor (you read that correctly, TENTH) where the Spirits & Tales hotel bar is. Other than that, the room was great (the stand up shower situation was also odd but after a while you get used to it) and I would stay there again if I were to go back to Pittsburgh for another vacation.

Enjoy some of my favorite shots from my Pittsburgh vacay!

Chasing the sunset on the Pennsylvania Turnpike while traveling to Pittsburgh.

The Pitt Panther Statue

The Cathedral of Learning

Inside the Cathedral of Learning

Austria Nationality Room – The Cathedral of Learning

Israel Nationality Room – Cathedral of Learning (imagine sitting at one of these desks!)

Heinz Memorial Chapel

Inside of the Heinz Memorial Chapel

Dr. Thomas Starzl Statue at UPitt

Oakland Mural

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

Oakland Ave

View from the terrace near Litchfield Towers at UPitt

Oakland Square

Saint George Antiochian Orthodox Church

Mad Mex Restaurant

Bouquet Gardens

Love locks on Schenley Bridge

Christopher Columbus statue in Schenley Park

Phipps Conservatory

Dinosaur statue wearing a scarf near the Carnegie Museum of Natural History

Downtown Pittsburgh

Heinz Field

PNC Park (Home of the Pittsburgh Pirates)

Wagner Statue at PNC Park

Birmingham Bridge

Heading back to NYC

Be sure to follow my Instagram @thewhisperboxpix for more photos!

A vlog featuring the footage I took during my Pittsburgh trip is up on YouTube as well:

Summer 2019 Vacation Playlist

It’s SUMMERRRRRRRRRR!

After these terrible rainy days that we can’t seem to get a long enough break from in NYC, I’m finally sitting down to share a playlist of 10 summer vacation-themed tracks! From basking in summer activities to traveling to your next vacay destination, this playlist is a fun mix of mellow and exciting.

Enjoy!

1. Holiday, Qveen Herby. Request that PTO and get ready to “put on your grass skirt and hula” all summer long.

2. Summertime Magic, Childish Gambino. Let the vacation festivities begin!

3. Cheapest Flight (Aluna George Remix), PREP. Already booked.

4. Swimming Pool Summer, Capital Cities. “Can’t escape the heat.”

5. Permanent Vacation, 5 Seconds of Summer. It has only just begun.

6. Frequent Flyer, Chromeo. Using up those frequent flyer miles this season.

7. Tuttifruitti, Phoenix. “We’ll be trashing motels.”

8. Flight Mode, Mr Sanka. Mood.

9. The Beach, Cannons. Here’s to letting go of that summer love that was never really worth it.

10. Glamorous, Fergie ft. Ludacris. A fancy little reminder to get on a plane back home once you’ve run out of vacation money.

Enjoy your summer vacation 😉

Photo Diary: Three New Yorkers in Puerto Rico

This is how we do it down in Puerto Rico.

– Luis Fonsi, “Despacito”

As you may or may not know, I recently got back from a week-long trip with my friends to Puerto Rico, La Isla del Encanto! We stayed at Luis’ Condominio San Tropez Airbnb in Carolina and also spent some time in Old San Juan.

Our trip consisted of multiple visits to the beach, a Casa Bacardi Rum tour, a trek through El Yunque National Forest, delicious food, and pretty cocktails.

Of course, I took way too many photos for this diary, so here’s a curation of the best ones, organized by day, beginning on August 16 and ending on August 22:

Day 1: Hitting the beach after landing in Puerto Rico

Isla Verde Beach in Carolina, PR

Beach chillin’ with Kristell

Day 2: Casa Bacardi & Raices Restaurant

Casa Bacardi Rum Distillery Puerto Rico

Fun Fact: I’m almost positive that 95% of cocktails made in Puerto Rico’s restaurants and bars contain Bacardi.

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Mid-Summer 2017 Around the World Playlist

We’re midway through the summer, and if you haven’t already gone on vacation, you’re probably going somewhere fun soon to escape work and all the stress of everyday life.

As with most things, traveling is so much fun when you’ve got great tunes to go along with you.

This year’s mid-summer playlist is music themed, with songs about different places around the world to feed your wanderlust soul.

I hope these 18 tracks take you on an unforgettable summer excursion.

1. Hollywood, RAC feat. Penguin Prison. Here’s to trying hard not to be that person while visiting the Land of Stars.

2. Hamburg, Kapekoff. “Together we’re alive.”

3. Michigan, Grammar. “In a heavy fever” indeed.

4. Chicago, Canon Blue. A song for those hot summer nights in Chicago.

5. Monterrey, TW Walsh. I bet you can “find a way to get to Monterrey”.

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Photo Diary: 7 Days in Niagara Falls, CA

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From May 27th to June 2nd, I visited Niagara Falls in Ontario, Canada. Yes, I’m crossing one off my 30 Before 30 list, because I’ve finally visited a foreign country!

I went with the ‘rents, who decided to take the 7 hour drive up there from NYC. Thankfully, I’m not a kid anymore, so I didn’t keep asking if we were there yet, but jeez, that was the longest ride!

Having only seen Niagara Falls in pictures, seeing the falls in person literally took my breath away. Majestic doesn’t even begin to describe the scene.

That's my "I can't believe I'm actually in Niagara Falls" face.

Behind my mom and I is the beautiful American Falls. That’s my “I can’t believe I’m actually in Niagara Falls” face.

Here’s a rather lengthy photo diary of my time in Canada:

Day 1 – May 27th: Crossing the border into Canada, seeing the Falls for the first time, and Clifton Hill at night

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Spring Break 2016 Getaway Playlist

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Spring weather + wanderlust = ROAD TRIP!

The temps are finally hitting the upper 50s and 60s, and everyone is excited about spring break. For those of you who love to travel long distances by car for spring break with friends, I’ve made you a getaway playlist.

So put some gas in the tank, hook your tunes up to the car stereo and get ready to road trip it with this 17-track Spring Break 2016 Getaway Playlist.

1. Runaways, Betty Who. Start your engine to the sound of Betty Who this spring.

2. Tourists, Wilhelm Tell Me. No matter how you put it, you’ll be tourists wherever you don’t call home.

3. 48 To Go, The Fray. For that cute couple that keeps stopping in every state to make it a special moment. ❤

4. The Getaway, Hilary Duff. “Gotta make a getaway.”

5. You Are a Tourist, Death Cab for Cutie. Oh, it is most definitely time to go.

6. Ride, 21 Pilots. How fun would it be to actually go on a road trip with the guys from 21 Pilots?

7. Run, Coin. “Maybe we can run.”

8. Border, Years and Years. Sing along with this one every time you hit a new border line.

9. Somewhere Only We Know, Keane. Run away to somewhere only you two know.

10. Coastal Brake, Tycho. When the night falls and all the city lights line the highways, this song will remind you of your newfound freedom.

11. Run Away, Anthem Lights. Yep, “we can ride all night.”

12. I Wanna Go, Britney. We all wanna go, don’t we?!

13. Joy Rides, Mutemath. I call shootgun for this one.

14. Runaway (You & I), Galantis. Stretch those legs with this EDM track.

15. Anywhere We Go, Kaptan. Sing this chorus at the top of your lungs. Who cares what the other people in cars think…

16. Kidnap Me, CRUISR. For the goofball moments during your trip.

17. Runaway, Mr Little Jeans. Just remember, “When you run away you can go anywhere.”

Have a wonderful and safe spring break!

Looking for some places near NYC to visit? Check out my road trip gems on Mapquest!

Mini Vacay in Austin: SXSWedu, Texas Capitol & More

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austin mini vacay

Last week, from March 7th-9th, I took a mini vacation to Austin, Texas with my mom!

March 8th was the main day of our trip, which was loads of fun since it was the day of the SXSWedu Expo, National Pancake Day and International Women’s Day.

This trip marked a few firsts for me, as it was the first time traveling to a central time zone and the first time I used an Airbnb. I also ended up using Lyft for the first time on this trip as well.

I stayed about 30 minutes from Downtown Austin at this Airbnb. I totally recommend it for the price and comfort. My host was very nice.

We started the day on March 8th with a trip on the Capitol Metro Rail.

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It was so crowded that morning because of the SXSWedu Expo, which was taking place at the Austin Convention Center less than 100 feet away from Downtown Station.

It was pouring rain by the time my mom and I arrived in Downtown Austin. Since it was National Pancake Day, it would have been unwise to skip a free short stack from iHop, so we ran through the rain to get there.

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Before going through the door at iHop, an elderly man dressed in a suit draped in party favor necklaces offered us what he called “iHop Beads.” I gladly took a gold one.

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By the time we’d finished eating, the rain had let up, so we went over to the Austin Convention Center for the SXSWedu Expo. I think my favorite part was watching all those talented kids perform on the Next Stage!

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At the Raindrop Turkish House booth, my mom and I were presented with roses for International Women’s Day. That was just too kind of them! We had to leave the roses at the Airbnb, though :/

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After we were done walking around at the expo, we went over to The Austin Contemporary to see Mark Mothersbaugh: Myopia. It was a fascinating exhibit. I loved all of Mothersbaugh’s prints and the interactive exhibit upstairs as well.

MARK MOTHERSBAUGH: MYOPIA

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I drew the one on the blue piece of paper!

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This pair of glasses in the interactive exhibit confirmed Austin’s weirdness.

We could see the Texas Capitol from the street outside the museum, so we headed there in time for the 3pm tour.

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texas capitol senate room

The Senate Room

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texas capitol elevators

The Elevators.

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We ended the day with a short trip to Lady Bird Boardwalk.

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My mom.

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Before leaving Austin on March 9th, I tried the famous breakfast taco and my mom tried a breakfast burrito from Fuzzy’s.

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I wasn’t really fond of it. I think it needed more flavor in the chorizos.

At the airport I bought this keychain to remember this short but fun adventure!

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If you’re interested in using Airbnb, use my link for $20 off your first trip: www.airbnb.com/c/danag194?s=8.

 

California Day 5: LA Traffic, Getty Museum & Bubble Tea

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I think you lost it in the Hollywood Hills …

– Hilary Duff

My mom decided we should try to go visit the Getty Museum again since we couldn’t get parking when we attempted to visit on day 2 of our trip.

I was surprised the traffic wasn’t awful on our first few days in California, but I suppose it was because of the holiday. As soon as the festivities were over, we had to endure the notoriously terrible traffic jams on the highway, especially since we were tourists that were too afraid to get stuck in the express carpool lane for fear of missing our exit on the GPS.

Our attempt to visit the Getty Museum was successful. The museum is located in the hills, so we had to take a tram from the parking lot to the museum after parking the car.

We ended up spending about 2 1/2 hours there looking at European art from the 16th and 17th centuries, strolling though the beautiful gardens, and viewing some animal photography.

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We accidentally ended up in the family room of the museum where we found this bed and some books on it.

Of course I couldn’t get enough of the gardens. It looked and smelled amazing!

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My mom and aunt underneath a floral arch in the gardens.

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On the way back to the hotel, my aunt realized that there was a bubble tea shop across the street from where we were staying in Montebello. I was so happy. You don’t understand how bad I wanted to find boba in California!

I got a mango flavored bubble tea that evening with my dinner. My day was made.

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Stay tuned for day 6 (the final day of my California adventure :/) tomorrow!

California Day 2: Shopping, Hammer Museum & More Shopping

Los Angeles, Los Angeles, don’t ever let them change you …

– The Bird and the Bee

Since I screwed up real bad the day before with the whole walking to the store thing, my mom and my aunt vowed to never again walk long distances for the duration of our trip.

My dad decided to drive us to the mall complex after finally hearing about our fiasco when he woke up the next morning.

First we stopped at this gem of a grocery store called El Super. WHY DO THEY NOT HAVE ONE OF THESE ON THE EAST COAST?! THE PRODUCE IS SO CHEAP!!

After buying wayyyyy too much food for the fridge in the hotel, my mom realized she needed a knife to cut the fruit so we went to the 97¢ store to get one. I also ended up buying some nail polish because the nail strips I was wearing were already coming off.

Kleancolor Nail Polish in the shade Silver Lining

Kleancolor Nail Polish in the shade Silver Lining

Then we went over to Kmart where I found this lovely top for $5! They charge tax on clothes in California though. :/ So it was like $5.50.

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After we went back to the hotel to drop our stuff off, we took a trip to LA to visit the Hammer Museum. As soon as we got there, my dad and I went crazy on their awesome spin top chairs. (My aunt refused to sit on them, and my mom only sat for like one spin before screaming her head off).

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We walked around the galleries and then my parents enjoyed a game of ping pong. I was terrible at it.

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Then we tried to visit the Getty Museum but the parking lot was full so we went back to the hotel. Before heading to our room, we asked the friendly bus driver on the street nearby how much the bus costs.

$1.10 guys. NEW YORK MTA, GET IT TOGETHER!

My mom, aunt and I decided to let my dad take a nap while we went to the Shops at Montebello on the bus. I bought these Seventeen brand oxford shoes at Sears. I love them so much! They’re like sneaker boots, if that makes any sense. So comfortable too!

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Stay tuned for day 3 (Labor Day) tomorrow!

California Day 1: Walking to the Wrong Store Location in Montebello

Last week I went to California with my family! I’ve decided to document my 6-day trip with a daily blog post of my adventures. We stayed in a hotel in Montebello, and visited Los Angeles for the majority of our sightseeing trips. Here’s what we did on day one!

Hoped off the plane at LAX with a dream and my cardigan …

– Miley Cyrus

After a long flight and a long wait for the rental car, we made it to our hotel to find that our room wasn’t ready. So, to kill time, we went to the Domino’s Pizza place in Montebello because by then it was already 6 p.m. New York time and we hadn’t yet eaten anything since breakfast.

Cue the pizza pig out.

(Side note: Check out this ginormous fish in the hotel lobby’s fish tank!)

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After the pizza we decided we wanted to fill our mini fridge with some groceries, but my dad had already dozed off and my mom was too scared to drive as a tourist in California. So we went by foot. The walk was only supposed to be 20 minutes long, so my mom and aunt agreed to it.

We stopped at Starbucks for free cups of water. The Starbucks in Montebello has a drive thru! Whattttt!

The scenery in Montebello is so gorgeous. Everyone has such beautiful shrubs and gardens.

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We even saw a lime tree!

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So after 20 minutes of complaining about the crappy pathway we had to walk on to get there (the concrete was severely damaged by tree roots), we finally get to the last turn on the Google Maps directions.

But instead of the supermarket we ended up at the supermarket warehouse, which doesn’t sell to the public. Oops.

My mom and aunt were so pissed. We tried waiting for the bus to go back but it never came. Until we started walking again.

Figures.

Anyway, we found a cute kitty in the Starbucks parking lot on the way back to the hotel.

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The time difference caused me to fall asleep at 9 p.m. and wake up at 6 a.m. California time. #Jetlagged.

Stay tuned for day 2!