Joan Jett at Harrah’s Casino

 

My best friend Sydney and I have been crazy about 80’s rock icon Joan Jett for about 7 years now since she started playing free shows at the San Diego County Fair every summer. Then, when Kristin Stewart was chosen to play her in the film The Runaways, based on Joan’s first band, our love for her as an artist and as an awesome person only grew stronger. It was with great fortune that we happened upon free tickets to see her at Harrah’s Casino this past weekend so we decided to make a whole day out of it and see what fun was to be had at this casino that seems to be out in the middle of nowhere, but is really only a quick drive east from downtown San Diego.

Our day at the casino started in their Mexican themed cantina bar where I started with a delicious peach margarita and Sydney sipped a similar concoction with blood oranges. Chips and salsa was complimentary and came with a whole selection of yummy salsa options! My only mistake was asking the bar tender to make me something special for my second drink and ending up with a tequila-infused avocado smoothie that was made with an entire avocado! I like avocados, but two sips of that thick, rich drink was more than enough for me!

After hitting up a few other drinking spots and downing a hamburger to stay focused we made our way to the concert “pre-party” where we joined a lot of people our parent’s age dressed in their finest leathers and studs, in true Joan Jett fashion. We tried to sit by the outdoor fire pit until the opening band was over, but alas, even after we waited half an hour outside we still had 45 minutes of Night Rangers to listen to before our girl got on stage. At least it gave us plenty of time to mosey our way up to the front by the stage, where we were able to get so close that Joan Jett actually sweated on us (sorry, I’m not sorry)! She was amazing as always and even though it’s been a while since her hey day she’s still the ultimate badass rocker lady and my personal hero.

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Guest Blog Post: Sydney Dowson, Disneyland Expert

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There are few things I love unconditionally in this world: my family, my friends, my dog, and Disney. So, when Cathleen (my best friend and the lovely owner of this blog) asked me to guest blog for her about Disneyland, she must have known she made the right decision. A little background information on me and Cathleen, we met when we were 12 years old in middle school, and on the outside, we couldn’t be more different. However, luckily we were forced to work on a project together, realized that we were essentially one soul split into two, and the rest has just been part of our incredible best friend-ship for 11 years (wow, I feel old now).

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Disney was one of those contributing factors that we bonded over with many late night Disney movie marathons, and biannual Disneyland trips with her parents. And then, we finally turned 16, got our drivers licenses, saved up our first few paychecks from our crappy minimum wage jobs, bought Disneyland annual passes, and spent the rest of our high school career going to Disneyland practically every week thanks to free period and a quick 50 minute drive. Then we had to go away to college in San Francisco (which I call the Disney dark ages) and it was then that I really realized what a huge part of my life Disneyland truly was. Since those dark ages I actually ended up moving to Orange County and now live ten minutes away from the Disneyland Resort and even work at the Downtown Disney District. So, it is with extreme confidence that I say I am pretty much a Disneyland expert, and am therefor am an extremely credible source for you to take this list of Disneyland Dos and Don’ts from!

DO

– Bring snacks to munch on throughout the day waiting in lines. Trust me on that one.

– Bring your own camera. PhotoPass photographers will take pictures with it as well as their own so if something happens you have double copies.

– Take advantage of the Fast Pass system. If you play it right, you’ll be able to get on everything that you really want to.

– Save Fantasyland rides for AFTER the fireworks if you don’t go straight away early in the morning. Most of the little kids are long gone and asleep by then.

– Eat breakfast in the park. There are so many incredible early morning treats you’ll miss if you don’t.

– Take advantage of the transportation on Main Street. I didn’t discover how awesome it really is until not too long ago.

 

– For the 21+ readers, take advantage of all the bars in Disney California Adventure and in the Disneyland Resort Hotels. You’re day will be much more enjoyable after a Fun Wheel or two.

– Plan your day around the parades, fireworks, and shows. Even if you don’t want to see them, there’s going to be traffic EVERYWHERE.

– Sit in the back row of Big Thunder Mountain and the front of Space Mountain. If you ask POLITELY instead of demand, they’ll move you to the side for three minutes tops and get you in the row you like.

– Go to City Hall and get pins for any occasion.

– Visit the Animation Academy in DCA, there’s so much really cool unique and fun stuff to do in there. Also a good place to take a semi-nap on a hot day.

– Use the single rider line if you don’t mind splitting up with your friends for a minute if the line is too long and/or Fast Passes are gone.

– Take pictures with the characters early in the morning; more of them are out and about then!

– Respect people’s personal bubbles. Being two inches closer isn’t going to change anything.

– DOLE WHIP FLOATS. Enough said. Oh and pickles.

– Go to Toon Town as early as possible. The lines there get really long very quickly and it closes very early as well.

DON’T

– Go with too big of a group. Eating, rides, staying together, not hating each other is all much more difficult with too many people. Especially if it’s a bunch of girls. Trust me, I know from experience.

– Wear heels. Why would you think that’s a good idea? You don’t look cute, you look ridiculous. Especially pushing around a stroller all day.

– Eat at a table service restaurant if you’re not prepared to tip. Yes, Disneyland is expensive, but there is plenty of really good and yummy quick service restaurants throughout the parks that you can eat at while avoiding having to tip anyone. I could go on about this all day, but I’ll leave it at that.

– Wear anything with spikes or studs, no matter how fashionable they are right now. They won’t let you past security. I know it’s ridiculous, but still.

– Sit in the front Big Thunder Mountain. You can’t see anything and it’s so much slower.

– Sit in the middle row of Tower of Terror. Just no.

– Take flash pictures on dark rides. It’s rude and ruins the ambiance.

– Walk around eating turkey legs. If you must indulge in that (ew), sit down and eat like a civilized person. This is not the Stone Age.

So, hopefully if you make your way to the Happiest Place on Earth anytime soon, you’ll keep these tips in mind. And if you’re a Tumblr user like myself, feel free to follow my blog at http://sydieee.tumblr.com/ where I occasionally reblog some pretty cool Disney stuff and more often post pictures including my own Disneyland adventures!

Sun, Beach & Breakfast

One of the things I will surely miss most when I move to the bitter cold north of England next month is the beautiful California sunshine. I need to take advantage of every sunny day in the next six weeks because I will surely not see it very often in Newcastle. For example this is my weather today:

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And this is the weather in Newcastle (on a “lovely Spring day,” mind you):

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I know to much of the United States right now 50 degrees seems relatively good, but I have never lived in any place that drops beneath 60 at the coldest! My whole suitcase is going to be full of jackets.

But in the spirit of celebrating all things warm, I went for a lovely breakfast at Ruby’s Diner on the Oceanside Pier, where the sun beating so hot on our table I couldn’t even order coffee, but had to have a diet Coke with my omelet to cool me down! #sandiegoproblems

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Exploring San Diego

Last week my boyfriend arrived from Newcastle, UK after a long 4 months of separation and is staying with me for 3 weeks! This means we get to have fun exploring my town and making up for lost time. Yesterday was a little too gloomy for the beach so we drove down to the Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego for some lunch, a walk, and a movie.

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We ended up eating at one of our favorite restaurants, The Blind Burro, a Baja-style Mexican restaurant that has delicious drinks and appetizers. My boyfriend LOVES this thing called the queso crisp, which is basically a pizza made on a huge fried tortilla with spicy sauce and seasonings. We got that and split some chips with quacamole and I splurged on a massive glass of red sangria! Next time we’re going to go during happy hour because even just ordering apps and drinks was pretty expensive!

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After lunch we went to a small, independent theater called the Landmark Hillcrest and saw the new Wes Anderson film, The Grand Budapest Hotel. We both agreed it was better than Life Aquatic, but not as good as Royal Tenebaums. Even so, I still loved it, as I do all Wes Anderson films!

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