Two Weeks in LA: Days 1-3

I’m visiting my boyfriend, Bryce, in LA for the next two weeks before I move here in December.

On Tuesday morning, my mom and I packed her car with my two carry-on bags that I had filled as full as possible. I have a little lock to make sure my suitcase doesn’t come unzipped accidentally, so I wasn’t worried about shoving as much as possible in it.

I was flying out of Minneapolis, so we left early to drive there. We had time to visit a brewing store to get my mom a cheese making kit and some Christmas presents for my brothers. We also stopped at Blick’s art store where my mom got herself a drafting table. Our final stop before the airport was the aquarium at the Mall of America. We had gotten season passes at the beginning of the summer, but this was only our second visit since we got the passes.

My flight left at 3:15, so we got to the airport around 2. The road we took to the airport didn’t have the airlines listed for each terminal, so I had to look up on my phone which terminal my mom should drop me off at for Sun Country (Terminal 2). MSP does not have a recombobulation area after security, so it was super annoying trying to get my shoes back on and my computer and liquids back in my bag. Every airport should have a recombobulation area after security.

Since I got to the airport an hour before my flight, I didn’t have long to wait before boarding. Overhead baggage space filled up really quickly, so I had to check my little suitcase. It was free to check, since it should have been a carry-on. When I boarded, however, I noticed that there were several overhead compartments that were almost empty or completely empty, so I should have been able to keep my suitcase with me.

My flight was four hours next to some teenage boy who had giant elbows and no concept of personal space. I texted Bryce when I landed at 5:15 (I lost two hours due to the time difference) and he was 20 minutes away still, but he ended up having to circle the airport once when he got there because I had to wait for my suitcase I’d been forced to check.

Traffic was backed up on the roads Bryce said are normally quicker because there had been an accident, so it took us about 20 minutes to get home. Bryce promised me nachos when I arrived, so after we dropped my bags off at the house, we walked down to The Holloway, which was a much longer walk than I was expecting. Bryce was disappointed with the nachos and said they weren’t as good as they used to be, but I thought they were fine.

Wednesday morning, we went to Echo Park Lake and got breakfast burritos and coffee at a cute little cafe before walking around the lake. There is an island in the lake, but Bryce said the gate on the bridge is always locked, so you can’t get to it.

After our walk, we went home and unpacked all my stuff. I have way more stuff than Bryce wanted me to bring, but he’ll get over it.

Bryce decided I need new clothes, so we went to a thrift store, but couldn’t find anything that fit me. We then went to a big outdoor mall and found some cute things at Cotton On. Bryce made me promise to get rid of one thing for each item he bought me.

Bryce wanted to get German food for dinner Wednesday night, but his cousin George was hosting an open mic, so we went to that instead. I liked most of the comics and performers. Bryce told me afterward that he loves things like that where you can see the raw performance before it’s been refined into a great act and I’ll never see anything like it in Wisconsin. I have been to plenty of open mics in Wisconsin and they are pretty similar. Bryce is just pretentious.

Thursday morning Bryce decided we needed to go to the Huntington Library. It’s full of gardens and art collections, exactly the type of thing my mom would love. Bryce is trying to help me refine my Instagram, so he was taking lots of pictures of me and telling me how to pose. There were so many gardens to walk through, we got exhausted and only made it through the European art collection.

For lunch we went to In-N-Out, my first time there. Bryce had me take a picture to commemorate the occasion.

Bryce got me a subscription to VSCO as an early Christmas present, so when he and George went to work in the evening, I played around with all the filters and editing options I can use for my photos. Bryce sent me a bunch we had taken at the gardens, so I chose my favorites to mess around with.


November 2017 Stitch Fix Review

Stitch Fix is a fashion subscription box that costs $20 per box for a shipping and styling fee. They send 5 items a month and the $20 fee is applied to anything you choose to keep.

When you sign up, you fill out a style profile.

When you’re finished, you choose when you want to receive your next fix. The $20 fee is charged to your credit card when the stylist chooses your items.

You have three days to decide what you want to keep and what to return. If you choose to keep all five items, you receive a 25% discount.

For more information on signing up for Stitch Fix, click here.

This month I noticed that my items were picked by a new stylist. Last month they were picked by Danielle, this month they were picked by Anne. I thought Danielle did a pretty good job last month. I only kept the coat she picked for me, but I strongly considered keeping the sweater and the bag. I didn’t quite love them enough to spend so much money on them. I liked the style of the dress, but it was an awful fit on me. The shirt was cute, but kind of boring and 100% rayon, which I have had issues with falling apart in the past. I put my comments on why I was sending each item back in the comments when I was checking out, but it seems like my comments were not passed on to Anne.

Here’s what I got this month:

Bellucci One Pocket Top – $58.00Stitchfix_Buttonup_Top
Brand: Napean Sea Rd

Like the Covington One Pocket Top last month, I like this shirt, but there’s nothing interesting about it. This one is a pullover that only buttons halfway up, but it’s still pretty much the same button-up shirt I can get anywhere and most similar shirts would be much cheaper. It’s also 100% rayon, just like the shirt last month. I don’t want to spend $58.00 for a basic shirt that will fall apart because I don’t know how to care for it properly.

Verdict: Sending it back.

Anuka Cotton Blend Pullover – $78.00
Brand: Harper Lane

This sweater is so cute. I love the color. It has a split back, which I love. Unfortunately, from the front it looks super boxy on me. I really wish this looked amazing on me so I could keep it, but it does not.

Verdict: Sending it back.

Liza Distressed Skinny Jean – $98.00
Brand: Lila Ryan

I don’t like the distressed trend. Rascal doesn’t look thrilled either. I’m not going to pay almost $100.00 for an item that already looks damaged, even though that’s how it’s supposed to look.

Verdict: Sending it back

Quin Keyhole Crochet Top – $64.00
Brand: Daniel Rainn

This shirt is super cute from the front. I don’t like the split in the back, and it’s also 100% rayon. If I knew how to take care of rayon, I would probably consider keeping it, but I will send it back because I’m not confident I won’t destroy it.

Verdict: Sending it back.

Calven Cable Knit Cardigan – $68.00
Brand: RD Style

I have a super similar cardigan to this one from Charlotte Russe, but this is much higher quality. However, it is also 78% acrylic. I have been trying to fill my closet with mostly natural fibers, and while this cardigan is also 22% cotton, there is so much acrylic I can’t justify spending over $50.00 on it.

Verdict: Sending it back.

I’m pretty disappointed by the items I was sent this month. Some of the things are cute, but made with fabrics I don’t like or don’t know how to care for, I hate that the (otherwise great) pants are distressed, and the only thing I was super excited about doesn’t look good on me.

I’ve also learned not to let my dad take pictures for me.
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Outfit of the Day: November 2, 2017


I went blue for my outfit today.

Abercrombie & Fitch Blue Buttonup

I got this St. John’s Bay sweater from JCPenney a year ago. I really like the style, so I have it in a bunch of different colors.

This button-up is from Abercrombie. They don’t have this exact one anymore, but they have some similar ones. The one I have is 99% cotton, but the similar ones I found are only 46% lyocell (a wood fiber similar to rayon), 35% polyester and 19% viscose, so I probably wouldn’t buy one of the new ones.

Dark Blue Jeggings from Hollister

My jeggings are from Hollister. They’re super comfortable and I have them in a few different colors. I figured out my size so I can order online if I need new ones, since I hate going into Hollister and Abercrombie. I definitely recommend ordering online if you like Hollister and Abercrombie clothes, but you do have to either pay a $7 fee or go into a store if you need to do a return.

Black Converse Hightops from Famous FootwearThese Converse high-tops are my favorite shoes. These have elastic laces and velcro at the ankle. They slip on really easily, so they’re so easy to wear. I get them in the children’s section at Famous Footwear. If you’re a women’s size 8 or smaller, you can probably fit into certain children’s styles and they’re usually about $20 cheaper than adult shoes, so it may be worth trying some things on if they don’t look too childish.

Outfit of the Day: November 1, 2017

It’s getting colder out, so layers are super important today.


JC Penney St. John's Bay Cream Sweater

I’m wearing this red t-shirt from Forever 21. I usually don’t like a lot of the fashion pieces at Forever 21 and since they are fast fashion designed to only be worn a few times, most of the stuff there is pretty low quality. However, basics like this are usually pretty decent there. A lot of the t-shirts and camis I’ve gotten at Forever 21 are mostly cotton, and most of it is under $10.

This cream cardigan from JCPenney. I couldn’t find my exact one on the website, but this one is similar.


This crystal necklace is one I made for my Etsy store, Fox&Phlox.
Dark Blue Jeggings from Hollister

These jeggings from Hollister are so comfortable and fit me perfectly. The front pockets are fake, which is understandable with the fit. Luckily, the back pockets are real, so I have somewhere to keep my phone when I don’t have my purse with me.

Brown Bamboo Combat Boots from Charlotte Russe

I got these Bamboo combat boots from Charlotte Russe a while ago. Charlotte Russe always has super cute shoes, but they’re not always the best quality. I’ve been impressed with these boots because they’ve lasted a year or two now with only some minor scuffing.

Working Toward Minimalism

My boyfriend, Bryce, and I have been discussing where we are going to live in the future. His first choice is California, where he currently lives. I have never been to California, but in a month I will be flying to LA to visit for the first time. Unless I absolutely hate it, I will probably be moving there within the next year.

Bryce’s main concern for me moving is that I have a lot of stuff, and in California I will have a small apartment with nowhere to put my stuff. Where to put things is something I’ve never had to worry about before, because my parents have a very big house. If I didn’t have a place for something at my apartment, I could leave it at their house until I found a place for it. Or forever, if I forgot about it.

Another reason I have a lot of things is that my parents have a lot of things. It seems natural to me to have stuff. My dad doesn’t wish he had something; if he wants something, he’ll go out and buy it. My mom takes having things a step further. To her, nearly everything can be recycled. She always has a project, whether it’s in her garden or a craft she wants to make, and most things can be used in her projects. If she can’t use a thing in her current project, she will save it for the next project.

The result of this is that they have so many things they are overwhelmed by it. My mom will take boxes of stuff to donation centers, but it never seems like they have less. I am starting to see that it is better to have less. There will not be enough room for all my stuff at an apartment in LA and I don’t think there enough room for it in my life at all.

My goal is to get rid of one thing a day until I feel like I have enough and not too much. I will sell things or donate them or throw them out until I only have what I want and nothing extra. I don’t think I will ever have a true minimalist lifestyle, but getting closer to it will simplify my life and make more room for the things I really like.

October 2017 Stitch Fix Review

Stitch Fix is a fashion subscription box that costs $20 per box for a shipping and styling fee. They send 5 items a month and the $20 fee is applied to anything you choose to keep.

When you sign up, you fill out a style profile.

When you’re finished, you choose when you want to receive your next fix. The $20 fee is charged to your credit card when the stylist chooses your items.

You have three days to decide what you want to keep and what to return. If you choose to keep all five items, you receive a 25% discount.

For more information on signing up for Stitch Fix, click here.

Here’s what I got this month:

StitchfixBagJak Zipper Detail Tote – $68.00
Brand: Urban Expressions

This tote is huge! It’s super cute. I love the color. I tend to go for neutral colors, especially in bags. However, it is made of polyurethane, which is synthetic, and has a polyester lining. I do love it, but I can’t justify spending so much money on synthetic materials.

Verdict: Sending it back.

Niall Ribbed Knit Swing Dress – $68.00StitchfixDress
Brand: RD Style

This dress does not fit me correctly. Even for a swing dress, it looks like a bag on me and the bodice is not cut correctly for my body at all.

Verdict: Sending it back

StitchfixShirtCovington One Pocket Top – $58.00
Brand: Le Lis

I do like this shirt, but there’s nothing really interesting about it. It’s just a basic button-up that I could get anywhere. It’s also 100% rayon, which is difficult to care for properly. I have had issues with rayon shirts falling apart in the past, so I don’t want to spend $58 for a shirt that’s going to fall apart.

Verdict: Sending it back

Chaplin Essential Hooded Anorak Cargo Jacket – $88.00StitchfixJacket
Brand: 41Hawthorn

I adore this jacket. I’ve been looking for an anorak jacket for a few months now and this one is perfect for me. The color is a sort of purply-gray, which I love. It’s light, but not too light, so it will still keep me warm in spring and fall without overheating me. It’s also 100% cotton!

Verdict: Keeping it

StitchfixSweaterSharon Thumb Hole Detail Pullover – $78.00
Brand: 41Hawthorn

This is cute, but it’s only 58% cotton and closer to $100 than it is to $50. I love the cowl neck and the the thumb holes, but it’s a little pricey for me and doesn’t really go with anything I already own.

Verdict: Sending it back
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A Trip to Prague and Budapest: Day 9

My dad and I are on a Rick Steves Tour in Prague and Budapest. Today is our last day of the tour.

You can find all my previous posts about this trip here.

This morning we met in the lobby and went to the Hungarian State Opera House, which is right next to our hotel.


The Opera House is super pretty. The chandelier in the theatre is really cool, but it must have been terrifying when the lights were gas. Our guide told us that much of the Opera House is made of wood, so it’s amazing it never burned down before electric lights were installed.

The wallpaper in the Opera House was my favorite. Almost all of the materials the Opera House is made from are from Hungary, but some things are a bit of a stretch to call Hungarian. Our guide told us that some types of wood used can’t be found in Hungary, but came from other parts of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, so the Hungarians decided it was fine to call them Hungarian goods.

After the Opera House, we went to Heroes’ Square and saw the statues of many famous Hungarians.

Then we stopped at the adorable Gundel cafe for coffee and crepes. In Prague and Budapest both they have things that locals tell us are pancakes, but they are crepes. Before we left the cafe, I bought a box of chocolates for my mom.

The last stop on our tour was the Szechenyi Baths, which had really cool lights. Several people in our group stayed at the baths to get the full experience. I bought a swimsuit, but I decided to go shopping instead of going into the baths.

I didn’t find anything I liked when I was shopping, so I just ended up getting dad a Hungary Starbucks mug, since he spent the afternoon napping at the hotel.

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Getting creative with the mirror selfies.

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This evening we met for one last tour group dinner. We went to Urban Betyár, which was not far from our hotel. At the end of dinner we all exchanged email addresses so we can keep in touch and Peter gave us one final gift. Hungary had changed their currency to forints in 1946. The previous currency, pengő, was introduced in 1927 to replace the korona and was one of the worst currencies for hyperinflation ever. Peter gave us each a pengő bill to remember our trip to Budapest.

As we were leaving the restaurant, we walked through the gift shop and I found some earrings that were exactly what I was looking for earlier today.

Two of the women on our tour are on our 6:30am flight to Amsterdam, so we are getting a taxi to the airport with them at 4am tomorrow. Prague and Budapest have been fun and I’ve loved making new friends here. I’m already planning my next visit.


One last tour buddy selfie.

Find all my posts from this trip here.

A Trip to Prague and Budapest: Day 8

My dad and I are on a Rick Steves Tour in Prague and Budapest. Today was our first full day in Budapest.

You can find all my previous posts about this trip here.

In the morning we took a bus to the Buda side of Budapest and toured the Castle Hill. There were several fancy buildings, but the statues were cooler than a lot of the buildings.

The Matthias Church is beautiful inside and out. The tile roof is amazing to see in person.

After we explored the castle district, we went to a cooking class to learn to make traditional Hungarian food. We drew slips of paper to determine which part of the meal each of us would make. I was on Team Dumplings. Dumplings are much easier to make than I thought. Bryce is excited that I will make him dumplings when I get home, but he’ll still be cooking whatever the dumplings are going in.

As part of the class, we were given cookbooks, so I will be able to learn more Hungarian recipes.

After we finished eating, we went to the Market Hall and had some free time. I spent most of the evening shopping with some of the other ladies on our tour, while dad went kayaking on the Danube with one of the other men.

In the evening we took a boat cruise on the Danube. It was chilly, but super pretty.

Dad is having fun.

Find all my posts from this trip here.

A Trip to Prague and Budapest: Day 7

My dad and I are on a Rick Steves Tour in Prague and Budapest. Today we left Prague and took an 8 hour bus ride through the countryside of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary to Budapest.

You can find all my previous posts about this trip here.

We left our hotel in Prague at 7:30am and walked across the Vltava to where our bus was waiting. Most people slept as we were leaving Prague. We left, Martin, our Czech guide, behind in Prague and will only have Peter, our Hungarian guide, with us in Budapest.

We stopped at a McDonald’s somewhere in the Czech Republic. The cashier didn’t know the words hot chocolate or cocoa and I didn’t know how to say it in Czech, so dad didn’t get his hot chocolate. I got a latte and a hash brown. The hash brown was a little different than the ones at American McDonald’s. It wasn’t nearly as greasy, so I wonder if they cook it some way other than deep-frying.

We passed Bratislava in Slovakia and saw all the prefab apartment buildings from the communist era.

When we got to Hungary, we stopped at a weird buffet place that had all the foods. I got salad and pasta salad and bruschetta, since they didn’t have vegetables in the Czech Republic.

We got to our hotel in Budapest and had an hour and a half to get settled before heading out into the city.

Peter gave us all subway tickets and took us to get on the subway. He told us if we get on the yellow line, if the word for the direction has ‘smart’ in it, we are headed toward the city center. If it has ‘mexico’ in it, we are headed toward the baths.

Peter had us wait a few minutes for a less full subway car. He told us that subway cars are like lovers: when one leaves, a new one arrives in a few minutes.

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Budapest is full of statues. This is a little princess.

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We saw some of the statues overlooking the river. This one, the little princess, is across from the castle, but since it was evening, the lighting on her was terrible until the train went past.

Peter took us walking around the shopping area and showed us the first McDonald’s behind the iron curtain, which opened in the 80s. He told us getting McDonald’s was a status symbol and people would save the cups even after they had finished their drinks so people would know they had been to McDonald’s.

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We finally got salad.

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We had dinner at Gerlóczy Cafe and learned that Hungarians know what a salad is. This salad had goat cheese and some sort of raspberry dressing.

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Scalloped potatoes, pork and paprika sauce.

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Instead of the dumplings that were everywhere in the Czech Republic, we had scalloped potatoes and the sauce was a paprika sauce to go with the pork.

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Mousse! 🦌

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In the Czech Republic, nearly every dessert was apple strudel. Our first dessert in Budapest was a chocolate mousse.

I think everyone in our group is relieved that there seems to be much more variety in Hungarian food than there was in Czech food.

Find all my posts from this trip here.

A Trip to Prague and Budapest: Day 6

My dad and I are on a Rick Steves Tour in Prague and Budapest. This is our fourth day of the tour and our sixth day in Prague.

You can find all my previous posts about this trip here.


This morning we did a communist tour of Prague, where we walked around and learned about what life was like under communist rule.

We learned a lot about the Velvet Revolution in 1989. The hands of this sculpture represent the hands of the students who took part in one of the first protests against the communist government.

Martin, our Czech guide, took us to Wenceslas Square and told us about the day thousands of people flooded the square and shook their keys in protest.

We also saw several sculptures by David Černy, including the moving head of Kafka and King Wenceslas on an upside down horse. I like the detail of the horse’s tongue sticking out.

Dad and I went to the Choco Cafe, which had been recommended by his friends yesterday. He got hot chocolate with whipped cream and I got hot chocolate with sea salt along with quiches and elderberry lemonades. Dad didn’t like the lemonade and wished he had gotten a raspberry lemonade instead. I love elderflower and elderberry flavored things, so I liked it. The hot chocolate was more of a liquid bar of chocolate than a drink. It was good, but it was way too much chocolate.

We finished getting souvenirs, then went to change our money to Hungarian forints since this is our last day in the Czech Republic.

In the evening we went to the Smetana Museum and had an opera concert given by the soprano Yukiko Kinio, the baritone Vratislav Križ, and the pianist Petr Smetáček. The last song they sang was Papageno and Yukiko Kinio’s son, Matej, played Papageno at the end.

Find all my posts from this trip here.