Nashville + Tupelo

img_0778.jpg

Good evening all! I am finally back to writing for this blog, after what seems like forever of being away. I have been so incredibly busy these last few months with moving house, settling in, hosting numerous dinner parties and getting in as much time with my friends and boyfriend as I could before leaving for the summer. But now, I am in Florida and you can expect a huge flood of posts this summer for sure, as I plan to keep very busy with things I'd love to share with all of you! Recently, I was lucky enough to get to visit two of the places I have been dying to visit for a very long time, those places being Nashville, Tennessee and Tupelo, Mississippi. If you've been following this blog for awhile, you may already know that I am a huge fan of Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley. Thus, when we passed through the southern United States on our drive to Florida, we just had to stop at the Johnny Cash Museum in Nashville and Elvis Presley's Birthplace in Tupelo.

Our first stop of the two was the Johnny Cash Museum. Immediately, when we arrived in the city, I was head over heels in love with Nashville. It is a beautiful city and I wish I could have seen more of it, but sadly we were quickly passing through just to visit the museum and head straight onto Tupelo. Around mid-morning, we went from our hotel just outside the city in Goodlettsville to the museum. IMG_0756IMG_0779IMG_0788

I was particularly excited about the display they had on the film Walk The Line, which showed a couple of the costumes that Joaquin Pheonix and Reese Witherspoon wore as Johnny Cash and June Carter. Walk The Line is one of my all-time favourite films so I was in heaven seeing their costumes right before me.

 

IMG_0816

Another really cool artifact in the museum was this chair, which was featured in Johnny Cash's unbelievably moving music video for his cover of "Hurt". It was just so crazy to be up close to such important pieces of musical history.

After finishing up at the museum and buying a few cool things from the gift shop (a t-shirt, a pin, and a leash for my dog - yup, you read that right), we made the three-and-a-half hour drive to Tupelo, Mississippi. Finally, after what seemed like a hundred hours on the Natchez Trace Parkway (look it up, it's nuts), we arrived at Elvis Presley's Birthplace.

You always hear about how poor Elvis' family lived when he was growing up, before his big break at Sun Records. But until you stand in front of his house, you really don't understand how hard his life and the lives of his parents really must have been.

IMG_0829

The white, small house has only a plain porch to its exterior, with a swinging chair hanging from the front. In person, the house is even shorter in length than pictures make it out to be. IMG_0833IMG_0834

The house is made up of two rooms: the bedroom and the kitchen. The bedroom is home to an average-sized bed, a dresser, a fireplace, and some chairs. The guide informed us that it doubled as a bedroom and sitting area/living room, and that Elvis and his stillborn twin brother were born in that very room. IMG_0839IMG_0836

The second room, the kitchen, was just as small as the first. As the pictures show, it really doesn't fit more than kitchen appliances and a small dining table with four seats. And that is all. Just two rooms that this family of three lived in. It truly puts so much into perspective to see it up close.

IMG_0850

Another interesting site in the nearby area was the church that Elvis attended as a child. It wasn't originally located where it sits now - a few years ago, the whole building was actually transported from down the street to its current location, to be better accessible for guests visiting Elvis' birthplace. We went in just before closing and were treated to our very own showing of a film which gave a reenactment of a typical service that Elvis himself would have attended. It gave a really good idea to how the music he heard at church would later influence his own personal music style.

In a split second, I would go back to visit both Nashville and Tupelo. Southern USA is so beautiful and lush, it really is so heavenly, and the history of some of my favourite artists is so present there. I can't wait to go back someday.

NYC: Rockefeller Center + Museum of Modern Art

Welcome back to my New York City blog series! This is the third day of my mini-holiday in the city. If you're looking for my day one and two New York City posts, you can find them here and here!

In the morning, my boyfriend was, unfortunately, unwell, so we stayed back at the hotel while my parents went to see Rockefeller Center and Central Park. They walked around for a couple hours while my boyfriend rested in the hotel and I kept him company, and though we did miss out on some of the sights, my parents got some amazing pictures to share with us. This also happened to be the day that we decided to start to experiment with my camera's Super Vivid filter, which you can see made a huge difference in the quality of the photos.

IMG_0521IMG_0526IMG_0529IMG_0535IMG_0538

In the early afternoon, we met up with my parents and headed to the Museum of Modern Art, which was one of my definite must-dos while in the city. I'm a huge art fanatic so I was really excited to see what the MoMA had to offer. This museum offers more recent artwork, dating back to the 1800's up until the present. Though I'm not hugely keen on contemporary art, I found myself liking quite a few pieces including Andy Warhol's work and the Drowning Girl painting by Roy Lichtenstein. Above all, however, my absolute favourite contribution to the museum was Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night, which is arguably my favourite painting of all time and the main reason why we visited the MoMA.

IMG_0578IMG_0583IMG_0584IMG_0592IMG_0597IMG_0602IMG_0607

After the Museum of Modern Art, we headed to Times Square to dine at the Olive Garden. We were lucky enough to get a table at the window which looks out over a portion of Times Square, so we had a nice view while we ate. Afterwards, we popped into both the giant M&M's and Hershey's stores and awed over the huge selection of chocolate in each. We spent the rest of the night walking around the city, enjoying the nighttime atmosphere, before heading back to our hotel room to rest up for our last day in the city.

The last post, day 4, is located here.

 

NYC: Double-Decker Bus, 9/11 Memorial + Madame Tussauds

Welcome to Day 2 of my New York City adventures! Again, here's the warning (and apology!) in advance for a word heavy post, but I promise there will be a tonne of lovely photos included as well :) But before you go any further, make sure you've read day 1 which is linked here.

Our first full day in New York started off at Pure and Fresh, a cute little place literally a minute's walk from our hotel, where we had a quick breakfast. My mum had a bagel, my dad had just a coffee, and my boyfriend had Cheerios. I opted for a chocolate croissant and a Mochachino, for a bit of an indulgent treat to start off my morning!

IMG_3416 copy

We then quickly headed a few blocks away to a pick-up location for the Big Bus double-decker hop-on-hop-off tours. We got a two-day pass and as it was unlimited for those two days, we were able to use the bus as many times as we wished within the two-day period. We chose to get picked up near the Empire State Building and take the Downtown line all the way to the 9/11 Memorial. The views from the open top floor were AMAZING. It was a chillier day, about 14 degrees Celsius, but it was a sunny morning so the cold breeze was bearable. We saw some beautiful sights, including a gorgeous church, the Washington Square Arch, and, my personal favourite, the Flat Iron Building.

IMG_0378

IMG_0389IMG_0393IMG_0401

The 9/11 Memorial consists of two main parts. One is the actual memorial, which consists of two massive waterfall structures in the ground where the World Trade Center towers once stood. The edges of the waterfalls are engraved with names of the victims of the 9/11 tragedies. In the background is the One World Trade Center, or Freedom Tower, which is the sixth tallest building in the world. The memorial was absolutely beautiful, and it was so heartbreaking to be standing in the place where these buildings stood tall not too long ago.

IMG_0422IMG_0423IMG_0428

Not far from the 9/11 Memorial was St. Paul's Chapel, which is the church just opposite of the World Trade Center. Not only is the church the oldest surviving one in Manhattan (since 1766), but it also survived the 9/11 attacks without a single broken window, which is seen by many as a miracle given its proximity to the site. I was also interested to find out it had a long history, as summarised in the blue sign outside its gates.

IMG_0414IMG_0413

The second part of the 9/11 Memorial was the museum. It was unbelievably huge. We spent about an hour or so walking through the museum, which was full of pieces of the buildings and other artifacts that showed the damage of the attacks. There was a whole room dedicated to showing the pictures of all the victims, which included some glass cases of belongings of some of the victims. It was so personal and so very sad. I am far too young to remember 9/11 (I was only three years old at the time) but it is still so tragic to hear all the stories and especially the recordings of voicemail messages left on loved ones' phones by people who were in the towers or on the planes.

IMG_0437IMG_0439IMG_0444IMG_0460

We then made our way to Century 21, a massive department store just a few blocks away from the 9/11 Memorial. It's about six floors of discounted designer clothing and we went to town. I bought a bunch of stuff, which I'll make a post about later. It took us two whole hours to get through the whole store, plus the extremely long line to pay. So, once we were done, we were starving - and it was off to dinner!

We dined at a restaurant in Little Italy where we ate in 2010, called Caffe Napoli. The windows at the front of the restaurant were opened so that the seating inside flowed with the outside patio, but it would have been much nicer if it hadn't been about twelve degrees at that point haha. We ordered the Bruschetta for an appetizer, and I had the Gnocchi Pomodoro for an entrée.

IMG_0465IMG_0466IMG_3414IMG_3415

 After dinner, we rushed all the way to another Big Bus location and got on the Uptown loop which took us to Times Square, where we got to spend an hour going through Madame Tussauds. I've been to Madame Tussauds in London and Orlando before, so it was interesting to see the difference in wax figures from city-to-city. I got a few pictures of some of my favourite wax figures, including Prince Harry, Melissa McCarthy, and Johnny Cash. IMG_0494IMG_0506IMG_0518After that, we just walked around Times Square, popped into a few shops, and then headed back to the hotel for the night!

Ready for the next post? Follow this link for Day 3.