Monthly Archives

February 2015

Abu Dhabi Tips of the Trade

Etihad: Things To Know Before You Fly

It seems that many people have been or will be flying on Etihad this year to their numerous destinations. I had never flown them until recently when I went to Abu Dhabi. To make future trips for others smooth, I decided to give some insight on my experience. These are some things to know before you fly through my own experiences and what I learned.

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California My Travelz North America Tips of the Trade USA

5 Fun Things To Do In Los Angeles

Between visiting and living in Los Angeles I have had the opportunity to do many things. There is so much to do there it would take a few trips. One tip if you’re thinking of living there yourself for a while; find a home in Rancho Palos Verdes, it’s the bee’s knees! I’ve never seen homes like them.
I have a few friends that live in LA actually and they always tell me about how amazing the real estate opportunities in Los Angeles are. Moving around the area has never been easier either. For instance, did you know that you can sell your Los Angeles home without a realtor’s help? I often find myself looking at some of the fantastic properties out there and dreaming of a new life in Hollywood.
Anyway, even if you have never been there, certain things should be seen or checked out while there whether you live there or you’re just visiting! So here is my list of 5 fun things to do in Los Angeles. Knowing me I will put a part 2 of this out.
5 Fun Things To Do In LA
1. Go horseback riding at Sunset Ranch Hollywood! I love going there, even if it is just to walk around. The prices are very reasonable and affordable. You can also take a ride and then stop and have a BBQ. You will be able to have an amazing view of Los Angeles, the Hollywood Sign, and more. I had a great horse named Kennedy. It can be a little scary as horses walk on the edge, but it was an amazing experience! If you do happen to go just to walk around be mindful of the horse poop. Also I have seen women show up in heels, bad idea! Come in comfortable footwear, it is pretty much a bit of a hike.

Horseback Riding at Sunset Ranch in Hollywood, CA ©2015 Holly Dayz
Horseback Riding at Sunset Ranch in Hollywood, CA ©2015 Holly Dayz

2. Head over to Lake Hollywood. There are a ton of Angelenos who didn’t even know this place exisited. I have seen a few tour vans go up there, but it still seems to be a bit low key. There is an amazing view of the Hollywood sign as well as a gorgeous view of the lake. Down the hill is a dog park. But please be careful if you go to a dog park though as you never know how other dogs may react towards you. If you get bitten or hurt by a dog in any way, then don’t hesitate to contact a personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles for further help and support on how you can make a claim. If you keep driving you will end up very close to the Sunset Ranch Hollywood, just be mindful of the blind turns when driving.
Lake Hollywood ©2015 Holly Dayz
Lake Hollywood ©2015 Holly Dayz

3. It is a tourist attraction, but not everyone seems to make it to The Griffith Observatory. I absolutely adore this place! I have seen their Centered in the Universe show countless times and I always enjoy it. The seats are extremely comfortable and you want to get tickets early as they sell out fast. The views from there are gorgeous as well! Getting their early is ideal, the later you wait the further down from the observatory you have to park. The further down you go the less light there actually is when it gets dark and you will be doing a lightly steep walk. They also have star parties, where people come out with their telescopes and allow you to use them. Amazing place!
Griffith Observatory pic courtesy waymarking.com
Griffith Observatory pic courtesy waymarking.com

4. Not exactly in LA, but not too far from it is Pasadena. Specifically Colorado Blvd. There are tons of places to shop, clubs, bars, lounges, and restaurants. It is beautiful. Enjoy the day just walking up and down the street stopping in at different places. Another favorite thing of mine to do in Pasadena is to hike at Eaton Canyon Falls.
Me on Colorado Blvd. ©2015 Holly Dayz
Me on Colorado Blvd. ©2015 Holly Dayz

5. Hit the beach! I’m not talking about Santa Monica or Venice. Try Zuma and El Matador State Beach out in Malibu. Much cleaner, less tourist, and an amazing scenic drive on the way. Another great beach is Dockweiler. Many people hang out there and even have bonfires and get togethers.
Overlooking the beach ©2014 Holly Dayz
Overlooking the beach ©2014 Holly Dayz

Have you ever been to Los Angeles? If so have you done any of these things?

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Hotels New York Reviews

Review: The Local NY in LIC, NY

I have never stayed in a hostel, so when I got the invite to stay at one I jumped at the chance! After talking to different people, many had no idea New York had hostels much less in Queens, NY. I knew there were hostels in Manhattan, but finding out about one in Queens was new to me. Located in Long Island City, Queens, NY there is a very nice and modern hostel, The Local NY.
Location 
The Local NY is located in Long Island City, Queens. It is extremely close to the city. You can see parts of the city from their rooftop, so you know your not too far from Manhattan. A few blocks away there are several trains that can be taken into Manhattan, and other parts of Queens.

View from the rooftop of Manhattan ©2015 Holly Dayz
View from The Local NY rooftop of Manhattan ©2015 Holly Dayz

The hostel is also in the vicinity of Silvercup Studios, and not too far from Kaufman Studios. The Local NY is also near a few bars and the LIC Flea Market. There is a decent amount of street parking, and there is also a bike rack right outside the entrance.
The Local NY
Walking into The Local NY, the first thing you see is the bar. There is also benches with tables and chairs that you can relax, and eat at. It has a very cool industrial modern look! There are great pieces of art all around. When you continue to walk you will see the front desk. The staff is awesome! They are very accommodating and friendly.
Entrance & Bar Area ©2015 Holly Dayz
Entrance & Bar Area ©2015 Holly Dayz

There is a huge open room with seating. You can lounge there and chat it up. They also have a projector screen and you can watch television or a movie. They also use this space for performances and to host parties. In a corner you can find a bunch of vending machines. Right by the front desk are some restrooms. The women’s restroom had a bunch of metro cards on the wall which looked pretty cool.
The Local NY Lounge Area ©2015 Holly Dayz
The Local NY Lounge Area ©2015 Holly Dayz

As you keep walking to the left of the front desk there is a sitting area. One gentleman had his shoes off, feet kicked up, watching a movie on his iPad. They really allow you to be comfortable. As you continue to walk you see a big table. People were on their laptops or on the hostels computers. There were also a bunch of books and board games. They really make great attempts to have their guests interact.
Front Desk & Sitting Area ©2015 Holly Dayz
Front Desk & Sitting Area ©2015 Holly Dayz

As you head around the corner, to get to the rooms, there is a kitchen. There were a few people in there eating. There is also a board on the wall. The board informs you what events are going on at The Local NY and what day. There are also tour options that a guest can take, many for free or discounted. If you head all the way up the stairs you will be able to step out on to the roof top. There are some great views to take in. You can also sit down and relax on a nice day.
Rooftop ©2015 Holly Dayz
Rooftop ©2015 Holly Dayz

Rooms
There are about 36 rooms. Rooms start at $39. Most of which are located on the second floor of the building. I saw 2 other rooms on the first floor. There are dorm rooms, private quads, and double/twin. To get to the majority of the rooms, you have to climb a bunch of stairs. You then enter an apartment style hallway. The room numbers are above each door.
The Hallway  ©2015 Holly Dayz
The Hallway ©2015 Holly Dayz

The rooms have electronic keys. You simply tap your room key and the door unlocks. The room that my friend and I got was a double room. Upon walking in there was a small sink and a couple of towels. It was very nice. Walking further into the room there are two twin beds in an L shape and two small stools. The window looked out to the front of the building.
Room  ©2015 Holly Dayz
Sink, Towels, Doorway to shower, and entrance to room ©2015 Holly Dayz

Beds  ©2015 Holly Dayz
Beds ©2015 Holly Dayz

There was also an AC unit in the room. It was pretty cold so I turned the heat on. The room itself had a door that could be closed off from the front half of the room. There was another door, upon opening I found a toilet. On the door is a sign letting you know not to bring any food or drinks into the room. I saw another door next to the sink which I thought was a closet, but it was a good sized shower.
Bathroom in room  ©2015 Holly Dayz
Bathroom in room ©2015 Holly Dayz

Shower in room  ©2015 Holly Dayz
Shower in room ©2015 Holly Dayz

The room was immaculate! The beds were pretty comfortable. Even with blasting the heat for hours the room was still pretty cold and their was a slight draft. I also counted about 6 outlets in the room, so all electronics can be charged up. I wasn’t able to see the other rooms, but they do have the traditional dorm room style rooms.
The dorm style rooms have bunk beds. Each bed has an outlet, a reading light, and under bed storage. If you don’t have a lock they will lend you one to use. Each bed also has a privacy panel. There are all male, all female, and co-ed rooms. Each of the rooms has its own bathroom. There are also towels and if you need new ones the front desk is happy to provide you with another. The private quad has two bunk beds in the room with an en-suite bathroom.
Bunk Beds. pic courtesy of booking.com
Bunk Beds. pic courtesy of booking.com

I am not sure how many bathrooms are on the floor, but they can be accessed by anyone with a keycard. Inside the “public” bathrooms on the floor are three sinks and two shower/toilet combos. It was very clean.
Hostel Amenities
Upon arrival your keycard comes in an envelope. With that envelope you get a complimentary welcome drink at the bar between 7-8 pm. The welcome drink consists of certain wines, beer, or soda. I tried the rose wine. I don’t really drink at all, but it was good. It is also to help promote meeting other guests. Although no other guests talked to us we still had a great time. I heard they also have coffee. All they need is some hot chocolate!
My wine I got as a welcome drink ©2015 Holly Dayz
My wine I got as a welcome drink ©2015 Holly Dayz

There is a coin operated laundry room! There are 2 washes and 2 dryers. So if you are staying for a long period of time or just didn’t bring that much clothes you can wash!
Laundry Room ©2015 Holly Dayz
Laundry Room ©2015 Holly Dayz

There is free wi-fi. It doesn’t get any better than that right? It was pretty quick too. I was able to access it everywhere.
If you don’t feel like going out to get food there is a huge binder full of menus to bring the food to you in true New York City fashion. Pretty much anything you can think to eat can and will be delivered to you. We ordered some food and had no issues with them finding us. We ate near the bar.
The Kitchen ©2015 Holly Dayz
The Kitchen ©2015 Holly Dayz

The kitchen was cool too. A few people were cooking spaghetti. There are two microwaves and two fridges. They ask that you take a yellow sticky and write your name and check out date on your food. There is also a dishwasher. The fridges were pretty crowded. They were filled with left over food and some groceries guests bought. There was also a FREE area for items left from past guests that they didn’t use. There is a small counter to sit at and eat.
Everyday of the week they have something going on! Monday is Open Mic Night were you can show off your talent or come and listen to some local acts perform. If you would like to perform at The Local NY you can do so on their site! Tuesday is Drink & Draw. I saw some pretty awesome drawings hanging up on the wall. The Local has some very creative guests. Wednesday and Saturday is Live Music where you can listen to local acts perform. Thursday is Trivia Night were 4 teams face off to win a $50 bar tab. Which most likely would go along way because the drinks aren’t expensive. Sunday is Movie Night and they give you free popcorn. Every 3rd Sunday they have comedians do improv and standup.
Activity Board ©2015 Holly Dayz
Activity Board ©2015 Holly Dayz

There is a table with outlets so that you can sit and use your electronics. They also have their own computers and printers you can use as well for free. There are a ton of books and games to play as well.
Computer/Game area ©2015 Holly Dayz
Computer/Game area ©2015 Holly Dayz

There are a few vending machines to get snacks and drinks out of. There is one vending machine in particular that is pretty cool! This vending machine was mounted to the wall and was touch screen. This vending machine allowed you to purchase headphones, toothpaste, chargers, converters, and other little items you may have forgotten. You can also get a ride from Uber from the machine. There is also an ATM.
Vending Machine ©2015 Holly Dayz
Vending Machine ©2015 Holly Dayz

The lounge area is awesome with the seating and projector. They also host many events in that room. If you are looking for a space, reach out to them. There is a guitar that I thought was just for show, but found out I can actually make an attempt to play. It was one of my favorite areas to be in! It was a bit chilly though so I suggest a light jacket when there.
Lobby/Lounge Area & Vending Machines  ©2015 Holly Dayz
Lobby/Lounge Area & Vending Machines ©2015 Holly Dayz

The Local NY provided a great experience. This is a great hostel to stay in and I would highly recommend it when visiting the New York City area. It is clean and has so many guests from all over the world. There is a great vibe. Even if you live locally they invite you to come and hang out! So if you are in the area or planning a trip, check out The Local NY!
Disclaimer: Whilst receiving a room to review, all opinions are my own and have not been influenced.

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New York North America Tips of the Trade USA

5 Fun Things To Do In Queens, NY

Being from Queens, New York I had to write this. Especially since Lonely Planet named Queens the number 1 destination to visit for 2015. When flying into New York you land in Queens at either JFK or LGA. There are so many things to see and do in Queens I could be writing for along time. Here is my 5 fun things to do in Queens, NY!

Queens Unisphere in Flushing Meadow Corona Park ©2015 Holly Dayz
Queens Unisphere in Flushing Meadow Corona Park ©2015 Holly Dayz

1. Head over to Flushing Meadow Corona Park. There is so much to do there I can make an entire other post about it! If you love soccer that is definitely the place you want to be! There are tons of games going on all around the park. There are also a ton of volleyball games happening as well. Bike riding, skateboarding, rollerblading and more can be done here. Many people also have picnics and parties. Pay a visit to the New York Hall of Science and the Queens Museum. Even visit the Queens Zoo while your there. You can even ice skate at the World Ice Area year round. It is beautiful and was once home to the Worlds Fair. Some structures are still standing.
2. Eat your way around the world. Queens is extremely diverse. Food from all around the world can be found right in Queens. Head over to Jamaica and taste some amazing Caribbean food. If you are in the mood for Greek or Italian then Astoria is where you want to be. Fancy some Chinese food? Flushing is certainly the best place to find it. Craving some Indian food, no problem, Jackson Heights has got what you are looking for. Queens is heaven for a foodie.
Far Rockaway Beach pic courtsey of nycgovpark.org
Far Rockaway Beach pic courtsey of nycgovpark.org

3. Walk around on the beach. Yep, Queens has a beach. You can hop on the A train out to Far Rockaway and relax or take a stroll along the beach. Far Rockaway Beach is the cities only legal surfing beach! There are also concession stands or you can enjoy a picnic. Basketball and volleyball courts can also be found there.
Crossing the Street to the trail ©2015 Holly Dayz
Crossing the Street to the trail ©2015 Holly Dayz

4. Make your way over to Forest Park. There are many things to do at this park. Go horseback riding or on a hike. You can even try your hand at an 18 hole golf course. Be nostalgic and take a ride on the carosel. Hit the running track, play some handball, or baseball. There are constantly events going on at the park.
CitiField pic courtesy of nyulocal.com
CitiField pic courtesy of nyulocal.com

5. Enjoy watching the pros play sports. Queens is home to the New York Mets. Fan or not the new Citi Field Stadium has been gushed about. They also have the infamous Shake Shack inside the gates. Firework displays have been known to happen after some games and around the 4th of July. Performances have also happened after games as well. If baseball isn’t your fancy then not too far away is the Arthur Ashe Stadium, home to the US Open! This stadium is actually in Flushing Meadow Park.
Pin for future reference
5 Fun Things To Do In Queens, NY
There is so much more fun things to do in Queens that I will have to write more in the near future!
Have you ever enjoyed any of these things in Queens? Did you even know you could find all of these fun things to do in Queens?

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LifeStyle Technology

App of the Month: GlobeConvert

Converting information is really important when traveling. Much of our time as travelers is spent figuring out currency, temperature, and more. These are important elements to know when heading to different countries. Knowing an exchange rate or what to wear are important factors. The GlobeConvert app is a great app to help figure this all out and more.

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California Events LifeStyle

LA Cookie Con

The LA Cookie Con made HollyDayz Travel one of their official bloggers to their completely sold out event! The event was such a success that next year will be a 2 day event. Thanks to Shelly for representing HollyDayz Travel!

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LifeStyle Spotlight Travels

Spotlight Travels: Italy with Gaetano

Gaetano – A rising R&B star born and raised in the Bronx, New York is a singer/songwriter/producer/musician, and has been making a very respectable name for himself on the New York music scene. A soulful tone, smooth falsetto, and captivating live show has allowed him to build a growing fan base with ease. He has opened for some of the biggest names in the business, sharing the stage with artists such as Musiq Soulchild, SWV, Carl Thomas, & more.
image3 (1)
Gaetano is a self taught musician, who plays electric/acoustic guitar, piano, bass, and drums. He recorded his first song in the studio when he was just 6 years old; “Torna A Surriento”, an Italian classic.
Throughout his teenage years, Gaetano developed a deep love for soul music by studying some of the greats: Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Babyface, D’Angelo, R Kelly, Lauren Hill, Bob Marley, to name a few.
Besides an artist, Gaetano is also a songwriter-producer, and has been working with some very notable artists in the industry, and has also landed placements on movie soundtracks and commercial jingles.
Gaetano released his debut EP, “Fade Away” in fall 2013. The project features production from Grammy Award Winning producer/songwriter Kaleb “K Quick” Rollins, as well as self-produced/written tracks from Gaetano. He is currently working on his sophomore project, hoping to release it by end of 2015.
Gaetano


Holly Dayz: What took you to Italy?
Gaetano: Relax, eat amazing food, drink delicious wine, and visit my Uncle Mario and cousins (many of them!)

Gaetano and Zio Mario
Gaetano and Zio Mario

Holly Dayz: What part of Italy is your family from?

Gaetano:My family is from Salerno. A city in southern Italy, region of Campania.

Holly Dayz: I know you went to Milan, Torino, and Liguria. What makes each city different?

Gaetano: Milan is a central commercial city, with lots of clubs (discoteca), name brand shopping, markets, street vendors. There is also Malpensa Airport, a subway system, and a major train hub, Porta Garibaldi. Torino is famous for it’s beautiful Piazza’a (village squares), and proximity to the Italian Alps. Liguria is a region of Italy located on the north-western coast by the sea.

View from my flight of the alps.
View from my flight of the alps.

Holly Dayz:What are some of the top 3 things to see in those cities?

Gaetano: In Milan – The Duomo, in Torino – View from Monte Di Cappucini, and in Liguria – Beautiful view of the ocean and coast.

The Duomo
The Duomo

View from Monte Di Cappucini
View from Monte Di Cappucini
Ocean and Coast (this picture was taken in January!)
Liguria – Ocean and Coast (this picture was taken in January!)

Holly Dayz: What are some of the off the beaten path places to see in those cities?

Gaetano: Milan – Definitely the Teatro Alla Scala. It’s one of the most famous opera houses in the world. It’s a bit off from the shopping centers and the Duomo, but it’s worth checking out. Torino, Piazza San Carlo.

Torino Piazza San Carlo
Gaetano in Torino Piazza San Carlo

Holly Dayz:How did you get from one city to another?

Gaetano:Italy has a wonderfully advanced train system, which travels everywhere in Italy. It’s comparable to the Amtrak here in the States. It is called, ITALO. A super fast train that travels at 175 mph! I used this train to get from city to city.

The modern high speed Italo train, offering e-tickets and free WiFi. Photo Courtesy of RailEurope.com
The modern high speed Italo train, offering e-tickets and free WiFi. Photo Courtesy of RailEurope.com
Holly Dayz: Where was your favorite place to go that would bring out your creativity?

Gaetano:The mountains! I had a jam session with my cousin Emanuel, who loves music and is learning how to play guitar.

Gaetano with his cousin Emanuel
Gaetano with his cousin Emanuel
Holly Dayz: What is the music scene like in Milan?

Gaetano:Little to none unfortunately. However, There are a number of street musicians, one who I met actually was quite brilliant. He was like the Italian version of Ed Sheeran. A guitar player and singer, named SOLTANTO. He was dope! I’m actually hoping to work with him when he comes to the U.S.

Holly Dayz: Have you ever performed in Italy?

Gaetano:Sadly, no. There aren’t many platforms for musicians and singers there, if any at all. Makes you realize how lucky we are to be in New York, we have so much here that we take for granted :/

Holly Dayz:Are there any musicians or artists you would like to work with in the near future?

Gaetano: Yes, so many, too many to name. Carlos Santana, Timbaland, D’Angelo, Tank… to name a few. If I could work with any Italian artists, it would be Andrea Bocelli & Eros Ramazzoti.

Holly Dayz: You can’t go to Italy, and not expect to get some great food. Any suggestions on the best places to eat in Milan, Torino, and Liguria?

Gaetano: Oh my…. where to begin! Milan’s Piazza Del Duomo has some of the best Italian restaurants in the world. Torino’s Piazza Vittoria and Piazza San Carlo has dozens of great places too. In Liguria, you’ll find a lot of seafood joints because it’s right by the sea where fresh fish is caught daily!

Piazza Del Duomo - Photo courtesy of FamousWonders.com
Piazza Del Duomo – Photo courtesy of FamousWonders.com
Holly Dayz: What was your favorite meal to eat while there?

Gaetano:Believe it or not… it was a Cappuccino, with a Nutella filled croissant! At an amazing cafe and pastry shop in Torino called DeGusto’s. And of course I had pizza at a bunch of places while I was in Italy, every single time was ridiculous! And you have to eat it with a fork and knife!

Cappuccino
Cappuccino
Holly Dayz: How was the fashion there different from your hometown of the Bronx, NY?

Gaetano: Fashion in Milan is slick and trendy, comparable to 5th ave in New York or Paris. There’s a lot of wealthy Russian and German tourists, you can tell because they dress flashier than usual. But fashion in Italy is generally important. It is common to dress nicely even to make a trip to the local cafe, or even for a family dinner.

Holly Dayz: When is the best time of year to go to Milan?
Gaetano: I went during the holidays, for Christmas and New Years, which is nice because it’s not too touristy, and you can enjoy the beautiful churches if you’re religious. It’s also nice in the summer because it doesn’t get unbearably hot. I rented a lovely villa (you can see more properties here) and it was so nice to have my own space to sunbathe as well as being able to get into the city in a short amount of time. Summer is a great time to visit! Flights are generally more expensive in the summer though. So I guess it depends on your budget and time off from work.
Via Roma in Torino
Via Roma in Torino
Holly Dayz: How would you describe Milan to a person who has never been there?

Gaetano: Hmm good question. It has an international vibe, a lot of Swiss, French, German tourists. It has a downtown New York feel. The streets are cobblestone and rustic, with a lot of cool scenery and architecture. And it has it’s own subway system too. It is not a main tourist destination like Roma, but it is definitely worth checking out. You need to see it for yourself!

Holly Dayz: Do you have any tips for someone who has never been to Milan, Torino, or Liguria?

Gaetano: Main advice would be to learn some Italian before going, there aren’t as many English speakers as you would think. The Italians will appreciate when you attempt to “conversate” with them! Just make sure to work on your Italian Pronunciation too! Also beware of Gypsies, they are vagabonds wandering from city to city, and are notoriously known for petty thefts like robbery and pick pocketing. The gypsies will take advantage of easy targets like confused and lost tourists.

Learn more about Gaetano at www.OfficialGaetano.com
***Photos are by ©Gaetano unless otherwise noted.***
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