1/24/2017

County of Los Angeles, California

California, USA


I had previously mentioned that I have recently visited San Diego, well that was the first part of my journey. In the second part I visited the County of Los Angeles - over 2 days. This one was a tad bit confusing as the movies would have you believe that Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and Santa Monica are in the city of LA. When really the City of Los Angeles, City of Beverly Hills, and City of Santa Monica are in the county of Los Angeles. Upon learning these demarcations, I only wish I had more time to see the cities properly.

City of Los Angeles and Beverly Hills

I got the Amtrak ($37 for a single ticket) from San Diego Santa Fe to Union station, Los Angeles. It was a 3 hour journey, but it felt like a few minutes and it was worth it as the views from the train were wonderful. I stayed in a hotel in China Town, not really knowing that it was in Downtown Los Angeles itself.
We actually learnt that Downtown Los Angeles was more of a financial hub with a huge business presence, which would be exciting to some people I am sure. Though to me, I did not find much interest in it at all.

Nevertheless, we ended up going to West Hollywood in the evening for dinner, at Saddle Ranch Chop House, which was wonderful. Then visited a few bars in the Sunset Strip (LA) and found ourselves in Sierra Drive (Beverly Hills). Needless to say, I couldn't take my DSRL with me. Though we had a brilliant time and managed to spam Snapchat for a few hours.

The following Day, we got lost trying to walk from China town to some touristy place in LA. Eventually though we found ourselves in Hollywood Blvd, where we managed to get day tickets ($44 each) for the sightseeing hop-on hop-off tour bus. In a happy coincidence we had to get the bus from the street with the Hollywood walk of fame. So I obviously had to walk up and down the street taking pictures of stars as I was so elated by the whole experience. The only sort of con of the Hollywood walk of fame, was that there were a lot of people trying to forcefully peddle their music. Even if you politely refused - some of those people would mutter a few insults under their breath. Other than that - there were also some great celebrity lookalikes, and the weather was even warmer than San Diego.

We got to see places like the directors glide, many studios (e.g. fox studios), celebrity agencies, and celebrity shopping centres.

Beverly Hills is actually so beautiful and worth the visit with a tour guide. Because the amount of information I learned from the tour bus made me appreciate the place more. For example which first celebrities made Beverly Hills famous; how it was the party Central during the 1920 prohibition; which chicken shop Brad Pitt worked at before becoming famous; which hotels and restaurants the celebrities frequented and much much more!










 

City of Santa Monica

Such a beautiful city, with plenty of eateries and bars. Including the beach that BAYWATCH was filmed on. Along with many other great movies. Santa Monica pier was also lovely. Though out of all the places in California I visited - the people in Santa Monica were rather intolerant of tourists which was odd.

On my way back to LA from Santa Monica, we got stuck in Bel Air traffic for two hours but luckily I got to some amazing inspirationally houses.


The whole trip gave me inspiration and motivation to work hard so I could go back.

1/01/2017

Happy New Year!



I am thankful that my 2016 was not all bad. All the hardships aside, I am thankful that I went to Ibiza and California, finished postgraduate studies and met someone special. I can not say the same for the wider world though, what with brexit to Trump winning to terrorist attacks. Nonetheless, I am hoping that 2017 will be an even better year for myself and for the wider society.

In 2017 I would like  to achieve to following goals (no particular order):

🔆 Move house 🔆

🔆 Visit 3 different countries that I have not visited before (i.e. not America, Australia, Thailand, Singapore, Spain, France, Netherlands, Greece, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Cyprus)  🔆

🔆 Get a Job 🔆

🔆 Publish monthly posts 🔆

🔆 Read 16 books in honour of my baby sister turning 16 and finishing school this year 🔆

🔆 Complete a short photography course 🔆

🔆 Exercise more 🔆

🔆 Create a Photography Portfolio 🔆

🔆 Grow my Instagram to 1,000 followers 🔆 

🔆 Learn intermediate computer programming 🔆

🔆 Do something adventurous (e.g. dragon boat racing, hiking)...nothing at height though 🔆

🔆 Learn how to bake wedding cakes 🔆


Do you have any goals set for this year?



12/30/2016

My 2016 Book List

COMPLETED


The first instalment of the Bill Hodges trilogy. A thrilling story about a retired detective (Kermit William Hodges) who gets targeted by an elusive serial killer (Brady Hartsfield). This was my first ever Stephen King book, so I stuck with it till the end even though there were times I nearly dropped it. I quite liked this book in the end though as it set a good scene for the rest of the books to follow.

The second instalment of the Bill Hodges Trilogy. This book centres around one of Brady's victims and his family. This book has a slightly different story about the grim consequences of being obsessed with books. Into Addition to the consequences of stealing from a thief. Whilst our favourite character (Brady) from book one is in the background somewhere. I quite liked this book so much so that I read it in 5 days.

The book is about an ordinary guy (Shadow) who starts working with an old god (Wednesday), and they prepare for war with the new gods. This book is over 700 pages long, and was a complete waste of my time. I gave this book a chance because it's been talked about so much, and is being made into a TV series as we speak. Nonetheless, It did have some good parts, like when shadow discovers who he really is.
- Covered in Currently Reading 2


This is the 2nd instalment of the Midnight Texas trilogy. This book is about the little town of Midnight in Texas, and it's supernatural inhabitants. I loved this book, it was slow but it has significant links to the Sookie Stackhouse series (BKA True Blood). As previously mentioned, I have read all 13 of the True Blood books so I was really thrilled by this book.

CURRENTLY READING

A book containing 21 short horror stories.

The Fireman by Joe Hill
This book is different from anything I have ever read. It is about a virus that causes people to self-combust. I am really excited to find out why this happens.

The Prince by Tiffany Reisz
Another instalment of the Original sinners of series.

The Scent of Winter by Tiffany Reisz
A winter novella - Father Marcus spends his birthday in a cabin with no electricity.


DROPPED

I could not carry on reading the books below, as they were not engaging and far too wordy.



The Oversight by Charlie Fletcher


I am hoping to read more books in 2017, so I am open to suggestions if anyone has any



12/27/2016

Balboa Park, San Diego

Following on from my San Diego post. One of my favourite places in Central San Diego was Balboa Park. When I got into my first ever Uber to Balboa Park, I initially thought it would be a park with lots of trees and grass; and nothing more. When I got there I was pleasantly surprised that it was more than just trees and grass. There was over 20 attractions, from science exhibitions to San Diego Zoo. In addition to Museums, Gardens, Art installations and Eateries. Unfortunately it was really difficult to take pictures due to the multitude of other people who were there. Nevertheless, it was a wonderful place for all ages, and you can spend a whole day there, without even realising it.











12/23/2016

I Have Completed My Masters Degree


I recently finished my masters in Forensic Psychology. This has probably been the hardest thing I have ever done. For the reason that it was full time and thus made balancing all aspects of life quite difficult. Additionally, there is no financial help from the government at this level and it was not possible to get a scholarship. Nonetheless I have passed every single assignment within all my modules with flying colours and thus I am hoping for a merit overall. we do not officially find our overall grade till February 😩.

I wanted to share what life lessons that I have learned from completing this course, and they are as follows:

One of the best feelings in the world is finishing something you initially thought you could not do.
A masters is not for everyone, its extremely hard. Especially one that focuses on morbid complex issues. My lecturers always said "If you aren't finding it hard or/and stressful then you are not doing this right". With that said, the sense of accomplishment is all worth it.

Completing a Masters does not mean that I now know what the capital of Mongolia is.
People presume that just because you have a masters then you must be extremely knowledgeable about everything in the world. I am certainly not, as I'm only an expert in the area of forensic psychology. I am horrendous at geography. Additionally contrary to popular belief, psychologists can not read minds - the though I hope to learn one day.

Having a masters gives you the confidence to go for higher paying jobs
This is pretty self explanatory, however our course emphasised that work experience is equally as important as a degree.

Deadlines are helpful organisation tools.
Having a non adjustable goal to work towards may seem daunting at first,  but at least you can use it to prioritise your time. This has also proved to be beneficial in everyday life.

You just can't win them all.
I gave each assignment the same high degree of effort, whether it was 20%, 40%, 60%, 80% or 100% of the mark. And still, there were some which I didn't get the grade I wanted, and that was fine. I just moved on and focused my efforts of doing the next one. I found that this helped with being resilient and staying motivated when faced with negativity.

Having a MSc at the end of your name
It just looks so pretty. A lot of blogs say this can come off as pretentious or arrogant. My question is, when did it become a negative to be proud of something you have worked so hard for?

People who find out that you have done a masters...
They feel the need to explain to you why they never went to university - when you never even asked them why in the first place. This one I still don't fully understand, each to their own and god for us all. Going to university is not everything. Not everyone wants to go into higher education or can go into higher education, so it's not my place to judge.

Your way of thinking changes how you approach things in life.
I am now very critical of what I read online, in newspapers, what people tell me and even some scientific research. For example, companies can hire scientists to conduct research that will support their narrative that something is good or bad for you. When really said companies should also report opposing findings, so we can make our own mind up about things.

Whilst being critical has a negative connotation, it's really a tool to positively or negatively appraise something in equal measures. I think, and I hope most people think that we need to be more critical of news especially since the rise of fake news.

Its not all negative though, I am now more open minded about everything in life, because anything can happen even if we can not prove it.

Personal and professional development

In my course they really drilled into us what we can actually do with our degree, and the steps I need to take to get a job with my degree (within module one). Additionally I got plenty of opportunities to speak to people in the field I would like to go in. People who were newly qualified as well as those have been in the game for years. With in the first modules that you complete. I found this really helpful and so did my classmates, as this kind of information is not available at undergraduate. This also gave us enough time to get a refund, if we decided that the degree was not for us.

With all that said, I am glad to be out of education for years to come!


*P.S. Merry Christmas!



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