Wednesday, 12 September 2012

10 Favourite Things I Did In... Philadelphia and Washington DC

Although I haven't started my road trip yet (it starts tomorrow!), my boss took myself and some of my housemates to Philly and DC last week, so this is the first taste of my travel posts. After taking 300+ photos, I decided a "Top Ten" post would be a good idea for this trip, and I think I will carry on with this format throughout my travels. Obviously, I did more than 10 things during the trip, and this is just my own personal top ten list, so it's likely I missed a lot of things out- I don't think you need to see all 312 photos I took, nor every little thing I did! Anyway, here are some of the things I got up to...

1. The Room Where the Declaration of Independence was Signed
girl next door fashion outfit
As you probably know, my degree is in English and American Studies, so my inner American Studies nerd was fully out during my time in Philadelphia and DC. It was so amazing to actually be in the places where such iconic moments happened. Being in this room was absolutely fascinating for me.
2. The Philadelphia Museum of Art
girl next door fashion outfit
AKA, the Rocky Steps. I admit that I have never watched any of the Rocky Movies, but my housemate David loves them, so we ran up the steps like in the movies. While I couldn't appreciate the pop cultural status of the steps, I could definitely appreciate the view of Philly.
3. The Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Memorial
girl next door fashion outfit
girl next door fashion outfit
girl next door fashion outfit
First stop when we arrived in DC was the Lincoln memorial. Again, this was another iconic place, fixated in my mind from its appearances on TV and in film, and remembered as the place where Martin Luther King Jr. made his "I have a Dream speech". We managed to catch the light right before the sun went down, and sitting on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, looking out at the Washington Memorial and the rest of DC was just magical.
4. The Air and Space Museum
girl next door fashion outfit
Initially, I wasn't all that excited about the air and space museum. I mean, I think space is cool and everything but planes? Not really my thing unless they're getting me from A to B. But the Air and Space museum ended up being one of my absolute favourite things that we did! We had a fantastic tour guide who was full of amazing stories, plus it was incredibly cool to see a real life space ship! This is a picture of the Discovery, which has only been at the museum for a few months.
5. The National Museum of American History
girl next door fashion outfit
girl next door fashion outfit
Oh my inner American Studies nerd was loving the exhibits in this museum! Admittedly, I didn't think the museum was executed especially well. I felt like you had to really search to find some of the best exhibits. Despite this, there were some amazingly iconic things to see; the Woolworths lunch counter where some of the first protests of the civil rights movement began, the hat Lincoln was wearing when he was assassinated, a video camera used at 9/11 and Michelle Obama's inauguration dress.
6. Arlington Cemetery
girl next door fashion outfit
girl next door fashion outfit
girl next door fashion outfit
Arlington Cemetery, resting place of thousands upon thousands of American troops, is hauntingly beautiful with its rows and rows of neat white graves. We visited the grave of JFK and Jackie O, and also watched the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. 
7. The Capitol Building
girl next door fashion outfit
girl next door fashion outfit
girl next door fashion outfit
The architecture of this building is amazing, and it was very cool to be able to go inside and actually see it! We had another absolutely fantastic tour guide and he was very knowledgeable about the history of the building. This ceiling image was my absolute favourite.
8. The National Archives
Unfortunately, no pictures as you cannot take photographs inside, but my mind was blown to see the actual Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. They were obviously very faded but it was amazing to see these historic documents in real life.

9. Ford's Theatre
girl next door fashion outfit
It was amazing, and a little creepy, to see not only the room where Lincoln was shot, but go across the street and enter the room where he died, which is perfectly preserved. I absolutely loved this little mini museum as it was so full of information about Lincoln and his assassination. This was definitely one of my favourite things that we saw. 
10. The White House
girl next door fashion outfit
Finally, we had to go and see one of the most iconic buildings in America, The White House. Unfortunately, the Obamas were not home as they were at the Democratic convention in North Carolina, so I was a bit gutted we didn't get to see any presidential helicopters! The White House Museum was actually closed too, which was a bit disappointing, but it was definitely very cool to see the building in real life!

Overall, I absolutely loved my trip. DC is an absolutely amazing city and I was bowled over by all the history. It's actually the first stop of my road trip so I'm going back for two days tomorrow, so I'm hoping to go fill in the gaps on the places I missed. I also went to Niagara Falls yesterday so keep your eye out for photos from that! I start my road trip tomorrow so I'm moving out of my apartment today and I'm off to New York to meet my tour group in the morning! Wish me luck!

Monday, 10 September 2012

The Next Four Weeks

I've always been a creature of habit. Somewhat neurotic and obsessively organised, I like things to go according to plan. I like my to do lists. I like to think ahead. I have issues with spontaneity. I get stressed out what I don't have a plan. When I don't know what I'm going to be doing from one day to the next.
Today was my last day at the waterpark. My last day of routine. The last day of knowing what I'm doing, when I'm doing it and where I'm going to be.
For the next 4 weeks, every day is going to be a mystery.
Tomorrow, I'm spending two days in Niagara Falls, and then from Wednesday onwards, I start my road trip.
For 22 days I am going to be travelling across America, through 13 different States and 19 different places. Then, I take a flight back to Minnesota, to visit the friends, professors and the school I loved during my year abroad in Duluth. On 10th October, the adventures ends and I fly back home to the UK.
In an ideal world, I will have internet access and power every day, and after each day I will be able to sit at my laptop and edit photos, and bring you my travel stories right away. In reality, I honestly don't know what will happen. What I do know is that girl next door fashion will be a travel blog for the next month. What I don't know is the form that will take, or how often it will be updated. 
I hate not knowing what is going to happen and I hate that I won't have the time to blog, nor the sense of catharsis and structure that blogging gives me. But I know I have to take these adventures as they come and enjoy every minute. Enjoying the moment without trying to capture it in words or on film.
I guess what I'm trying to say is bare with me. I'll be back. I'll be here. I just don't know when and how and how often. 
But what I do know is I'll be having one hell of a good time, and I can't wait to tell you all about it.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Charlotte Everyday

girl next door fashion outfit
girl next door fashion outfit
girl next door fashion outfit
girl next door fashion outfit
I have been really, really uninspired lately and really sick of all the clothes I brought with me. And I still have a month left! I feel like I was really inspired at the start of the summer and full of ideas for making the most of the tiny wardrobe I had, but now I'm kinda getting bored. Thankfully, there are bloggers and pinterest. This outfit is 100% stolen from Kendi. I even copied her red shoes and red lipstick. Luckily it was cooler today so I could get away with wearing this. I'm getting tired of living in shorts. I also took advantage of the cooler weather by wearing my hair down and putting my glasses on. I feel like my hair gets everywhere at the moment and all I want to do is put it up, and it's nice to be able to wear my glasses without burning my retinas.
girl next door fashion outfit
leopard jeans- c/o Bebop
chambray shirt- Primark
red flats- H&M
necklace- Forever 21
girl next door fashion outfit
I'm starting to get seriously sad about leaving New Jersey. This summer has undoubtedly had its ups and downs, and definitely has not always been sunshine and butterflies, but it has always had a lot of amazing good points and I've met some amazing people. I can't believe it's almost over. I've said goodbye to a lot of people over the last few days, but I know at some point I will be back here, even if it won't be for a while. I suck at goodbyes, so I prefer to think of it as a see you later! I am excited to go travelling though. The next few weeks are going to be intense; I'm off to Philly and DC tomorrow until Thursday, then after working my last two shifts at the park next weekend I'm off to Niagara Falls for two days, and then I start my roadtrip next Wednesday. How is it next Wednesday already?! It's going to be crazy and intense and I'm going to be exhausted, but it's going to be wonderful and life-changing and full of amazing experiences. And then I get to go home which I am so excited for! I can't wait to see my friends and family! Leaving NJ and these wonderful people behind is going to be sad though. I already ordered my NJ necklace and I bought a NJ shirt today! Oh speaking of New Jersey, I went for frozen yoghurt last night Jwow from Jersey Shore came in while we were eating! I've never watched it so she could have walked past me in the street and I would have never known (she actually probably has), but my friends got all excited and told me who she was. You kinda get used to it when you live on the Jersey Shore (the whole cast walked past me on the boardwalk once) but it still gets me bragging rights when I tell people back home!
girl next door fashion outfit
I'm off to Philly and DC for the next few days so I'll be back later in the week!

Charlotte x

Sunday, 2 September 2012

This Week I...

- ate delicious Mexican food at Surf taco
- braved going out on a date wearing my glasses
- actually got really into wearing my glasses!
- had a really great night out at Hooks Bar
- was sad that the karaoke machine broke RIGHT BEFORE my song 
- enjoyed my first Little Beer shot!
- had a lot of fun at staff breakfast on Wednesday morning
- went to the boardwalk after work with amazing people for amazing pizza
- and a deep-fried brownie (not as good as it sounds but it had to be done!)
- went to bed at 8.30pm on Wednesday night
- had my second rescue! (this one was actually kinda scary. The guy was  a grown man and almost double my size, plus it was in a bigger pool than my last rescue. I have never swum so fast in my life!)
- counted down the days until my road trip!
- ate lunch looking out over the ocean
- ate more dippin dots!
- had a delicious sushi date on Thursday
- teamed up with Josh to name all 151 pokemon. It took us about an hour and a lot of head-scratching, but this might be my greatest achievement to date
- had a really, really fun party at our house on Friday night
- got two new housemates! They're super-fun though, and fitted in perfectly during our party!
- drove (and by that I mean, sat in the passenger seat and napped) four and a half hours to go visit my Breakwater Beach BFF Bri at school in Pennsylvania yesterday
- enjoyed watching her play field hockey!
- got far too over-excited about unlimited soup, salad and breadstick at Olive Garden
- and then got even more excited about drive-thru starbucks!
- ordered my NJ necklace to match my MN one

- had one of the best weeks I've had since I've been here. Lots of fun dates and time with my friends! I'm starting to get really, really sad about leaving NJ so I'm trying to enjoy it all as much as possible! I'm off for froyo tonight but I'll be back tomorrow!