LAX Airport Survival Guide

Los Angeles International Airport is the 5th busiest airport in the world and the 2nd busiest airport in the United States. Here are my top 3 tips in helping you navigate LAX:Los Angeles International Airport

  1. Leave early – If you are driving to LAX be sure to leave time to sit in the traffic that is almost always present around the airport.
  2. Layout – There are 9 different terminals that make up LAX (Terminals 1 thru 8 and Tom Bradley International). Be sure to check which terminal your flight is leaving out of before you get to the airport. Most airline apps will be able to tell you which one to go to.Airline Terminal Location Map_EL18-0727 - LAX-Airline-Location-Map.ashx
  3. 2 Hour Connection Time – LAX is a fairly large airport. Some airlines operate out of more than one terminal and if you are connecting to another airline that means you may have to go through security again.

Santa Monica, California: Candytopia


img_0559Pop-up museums are popping up all over the place (Get it? Yes I know I’m not that funny). I went to the Museum of Ice Cream last year and loved it so I was really excited when I learned about Candytopia.

This place was really fun but it’s about time for it to move on. I’m sure when it first opened and the features were shiny and new it was amazing. Now it is run down and you can tell a lot of people have come through.

It’s a super cute idea but there needs to be better maintenance throughout the whole operation. I really hope I can check it out in NYC when it first opens to get the best impression and the original intent of the pop-up.

The venue isn’t air conditioned so it wasn’t the most comfortable environment temperature wise but there were fans located throughout the rooms. So if you want a img_0584cute outfit for photos just keep that in mind. Also there is no restroom in the venue so be sure you go before entering. There is one near by, just go up the escalators and down the hall from the entrance of Candytopia.

img_0572I recommend getting the Sugar Rush code for photos. Their Sugar Rush feature are cameras set up in certain rooms that will take photos from high angles that you may not be able to get. Not all of your photos will come out great since a lot of people are inconsiderate of what others are doing but you will get a few gems.

Just like the Museum of Ice Cream, Candytopia has it’s own pool….. a marshmallow pool! It was a lot of fun to swim around in a bunch of marshmallow like things but be sure to leave all your valuables in the cubicles as it is very easy for things to get lost in the pool.

I’d definitely go again in New York if I get a chance!

Malibu, California: Malibu Cafe

Took my mom here for lunch and had a nice little time. The food and drinks seem a little overpriced but were very delicious. I am a big fan of the frose (reminds me of NYC a little). I had the BBQ Chicken Sandwich with Fries and for dessert we split the S’mores Cake. The cake was delicious and I wish I could have had 3 pieces for my entire meal. The staff is nice and helpful.

The scenery is just adorable and I love the little games they have around like corn hole, giant jenga, and giant chess. They have a few different areas where you can hang out and relax with a cocktail. This would be a great location if you are looking for a venue for an upcoming event.


Glendale, California: The Nail’ery & Co

img_2743This place is awesome! I drive the 45 mins to get here because I love their service and the services offered.

The salon is clean and the staff is nice and open to answering any questions. The chairs are comfortable and I like the decor and music.

I have been here twice and both times were great! I like to get the unicorn polish which I can’t find at many salon at the same rate as The Nail’ery & Co. Their color options for gel is amazing and I often have difficulty picking a color. Both times Kelly has done my gel mani and it turned out perfect. No chipping in the 3 weeks between manis.

I like that they offer different drink choices including coffee, tea, water, juice, and MIMOSAs! It adds a little touch that you don’t find at other places.

I will definitely continue to come here!

Westminster, California: Eiswelt Gelato

img_2736Bunnies, Pigs, and Bears oh my! This place is so cute. My mom came across it on social media and insisted we go when she came to visit me.

The location is pretty easy to find and there is plenty of parking. The venue itself is fairly small but there is limited seating inside and outside.

We arrived at the right time as there was no line when we went which gave us plenty of time to decide what we wanted. Their characters are almost too cute to eat and their flavors are great too! There are almost too many characters toimg_2721 choose from. The characters you can choose from are bunnies, pigs, piglets, bears, and pikachu. Their decorations are made out of chocolate and marshmallows. I had a salted caramel bunny and my mom had a salted caramel pig with a pistachio piglet. Characters can come on a cone or in a bowl. Some of the flavors to choose from are salted caramel, pistachio, coconut, red velvet, jasmine milk tea, green tea, mango, strawberry, and chocolate.

I will definitely stop by again when I’m in the area.

Malibu, California: Malibu Wine Safari

img_2613Zebras, Giraffes, and Wine Oh My! I absolutely LOVE this place! My mom came to visit and wanted to take her some where fun that we haven’t been to yet. We did the Giraffe Tour so we could meet Stanley and were not disappointed. Our tour guide was Kristine and our driver was JC. On the tour you get to sample 6 wines (3 whites and 3 reds) and meet a bunch of different animals on the ranch. Everyone gets to sample each wine and if there is anything left over you can get another sample once everyone in the tour has tasted.

img_2556There are plenty of opportunities for photos in the scenery and with the animals. Kristine was very knowledgeable about the property and animals. I really enjoyed all of the animals’ names (like Llama Del Rey and Zebrina The Teenage Witch). I really want to know who gets to name the residents of the ranch because that might be the coolest job ever. I like that you can feed the animals but be sure to listen to your guide if there are any specific things to know about certain animals. The llamas love carrots and take great selfies and you definately don’t want to get your butt bit by a zebra.

At the start of our tour the weather wasn’t that great but it cleared up about half way through. I highly recommend researching the weather so you can dress accordingly. You really don’t have to bring much with you on the safari. I recommend a camera (or cell phones work too), wallet (for check in), sunglasses (if it’s going to be sunny), and jacket (for those colder days).

I would definitely recommend this tour to anyone visiting the Malibu area!

Hollywood, California: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

IMG_2794“You’re a WIZARD Harry!” Anyone who has read the Harry Potter series will love The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in the Universal Hollywood theme park. This has to be my favorite section of the park! I wish it was a little larger but it is still a lot of fun anyway. Be sure to try the Butterbeer while you’re here!

There are 2 rides in this area, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and Flight of the Hippogriff. Ollivanders is considered a ride but it’s more of a show. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey has to be my favorite ride in the entire park. I could spend all day riding it over and over. There is a locker room you must put your belonging in before going on the ride. Even the walk through the castle before you get to the actual ride is a fun experience.

If you purchase an interactive wand, throughout the wizarding world you can cast spells. Just look for the medallion on the ground and it will show you the wand motion as well as the spell.

There are also 2 shows that happen throughout the day. You have the Frog Choir and the Triwizard Spirit Rally. At the end of each show there is an opportunity to take photos with the performers.

The Three Broomsticks is where you would want to grab a bite if you’re hungry and looking for a place to eat. Hog’s Head Pub is your place to grab an adult beverage. The women’s bathroom also has a little surprise for those Harry Potter fans. A certain ghost may be hanging out in there.

There are many different shops to look through to find the Hogwarts gear you need for yourself or as gifts.

Museum Of Ice Cream

IMG_0310I scream, you scream, we all scream for ICE CREAM! This has to be one of my favorite “museums” ever! I absolutely love this exhibition! How could you not love a museum with an ice cream theme?! Each room has a different flavor or inspiration and you are given samples throughout the whole experience.

You do need to purchase a ticket online before going to the venue. Tickets cannot be purchased there so be sure to get yours as soon as possible for the day you want. They also want you to arrive around your specific ticket time. If you are early there is a waiting area with seating and some outdoor games to keep you occupied until they’re ready for you.

You don’t really have a time limit (except for the sprinkle pool) and you can’t go backwards. I recommend you take all your photos in your current area before moving on to the next. Be sure to check out everything the room offers before moving on. The sprinkle pool was my favorite part and I wish we got a little more time to spend there. If you’re with a larger group it is hard to get everyone’s pictures in during the short time they give you.

The Museum of Ice Cream started in New York City before migrating over to Los Angeles. After some time in Los Angeles it moved onto San Francisco where it is currently. I highly recommend going and I hope I can go again!

Hollywood, California: Universal Studios Hollywood

img_4060I recently went to Universal Studios Hollywood to celebrate a friend’s birthday and then went back with my sister a few weeks later. We had an absolute blast! It has been years since I’ve been there and it was fun to see all the changes and felt nostalgic to see what has remained the same.

First things first. The park is divided into two sections. Theres the upper lot and the lower lot. I recommend hitting up all your must do attractions in one lot before heading to the other. It takes about 5-10 mins to get from one lot to the other. Limiting traveling between lots will give you more time for rides, finding characters, and seeing shows.

img_4735My favorite area has to be The Wizarding World of Harry Potter! Butterbeer, wands, and spells… OH MY! Being in this world is like taking a small peak into the magical land of Harry Potter. Reading the books growing up I’ve imagined what it would be like to wander the streets of Hogsmead and now I can make that a reality, magical spells included! My  favorite ride in the park also happens to be in this world, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey! It feels like a real life ride through the books. (*SPOILER ALERT!*) You come face to face with a dragon, the whomping willow, and demeanors all while following Harry around some of the memorable places near Hogwarts.

Some of the rides I highly recommend going on are the Studio Tour, Jurassic Park, Transformers, and the Revenge of the Mummy. I also recommend seeing the Water World show. Rumor has it that the live show will be closing to make room for an expansion of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter to include Diagon Alley. So go see the show while you still can!

There are plenty of options for dining in and around the park. If you are looking for a sit down restaurant you will have to go outside of the park to the City Walk. The dining options in the park are an order and take to a table type of dining. I usually go to the Jurassic Cafe on the lower lot. It has chicken strips, burgers, and salads.

If you can go during the off season, on a weekday (preferably Tuesday or Wednesday) you can do pretty much the entire park in one day. If you go during the weekend or during the peak season you may need a few days as wait times for attractions will be longer, limiting how many you can go on in a day.

I have a great time every time I go and can’t wait until I have the opportunity to go again!

Aptos, California: Best Western Seacliff Inn

I recently stayed at the Best Western Seacliff Inn with my family. It is a cute little place. The staff was friendly and helpful. The location isn’t too bad but it could be better. There is not much to do within walking distance but there is a mall just a short drive down the highway.

I really liked how big our room was. We had a standard queen room with two queen size beds that can comfortably fit four people. The room had a mini refrigerator, coffee maker, desk, and complimentary wifi. The bathroom was a little small for the three of us to share but we made it work. The complimentary breakfast was also a plus. There is also a nice pool area with a hotel employee on duty who has magazines and sunscreen for guest use. No lifeguard though so if you have children be sure to keep an eye on them.

A downside of the hotel is that it does not have an elevator so if you have a room on the second floor be prepared to carry your things up a few flights of stairs. Just use it as part of your workout for the day. 😉  Another little downside to the room is that sounds carries throughout the hallway. So if you don’t have your tv on you can hear your neighbor’s conversations as they walk down the hall.

On a scale of 1-5 I would give the Best Western Seacliff Inn a 4. It was a great stay but there are little improvements that the hotel can make to become a 5 in my eyes.