Electric Forest 2015

I wish there was a way to put into words the life-changing experience that is Electric Forest.

The person who walked into the forest isn’t the same person who walks out. And not only because they haven’t had a proper shower in 5 days.

Electric Forest is a 4-day music festival in Rothbury, Michigan. It takes place in Sherwood forest, an expanse of tall trees and fields that host various artists, vendors and musicians on stages to perform over the 4-day period.

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The experience showed me the value of traveling in big groups, making new (and incredibly amazing) friends and the importance of positivity and good vibes in every day life.  I wish that everyone could have a music festival experience, as I think it really helps foster a connection with people, even strangers that one only sees for a few seconds.

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After being to two very different music festivals in a short period of time, I’ve definitely had my fill of car camping for awhile, but I really loved both experiences.  I was blown away by the music, the friendship and the overall experience at Electric Forest. It was also a much more enjoyable music festival experience because of the climate of Michigan vs. Tennessee. It was much cooler weather and the ability to sleep past 7a.m. without being roasted alive in a tent provided much needed relief when we would be boppin’ around until 4 in the morning.

My favorite show at the festival would probably have to be Odesza. Their lights and set were something I had been looking forward to,and they did not fail to disappoint. A new artist that I hadn’t heard of before that I really enjoyed were Charles Bradley, who donned a sexy velvet suit and belted out songs in a manner that really blew me away. Kaskade was incredibly fun to dance to and Lindsey Stirling didn’t fail to impress on her violin, although the tent she was in eliminated a lot of mobility in being able to see the stage.

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Our totem

Stay tuned for a Music Festival Survival Tips post, coming soon!

Watch my Electric Forest video experience:

Bonnaroo 2015

Bonnaroo is a 4-day music festival in Manchester, Tennessee, that has been ongoing every year since 2002. It is a huge event that brings people from not only all over the United States, but all over the world together for four days of positive vibes, amazing music, great food and art exhibitions as well as a plethora of other vendors of interest for anyone under the sun. Considering I had never been to any sort of multi-day festival before Bonnaroo, it’s safe to say it was quite the adventurous undertaking for a first experience, and surviving it helped me to cross off #40 on my bucket list.

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My two friends and I started our journey on the 12-hour drive to Nashville the Wednesday before the festival started. We stayed in a hotel for the night in Nashville before the festival started at Aloft West End which I would highly recommend as an affordable and centrally located hotel in the middle of the city for anyone visiting Nashville. They also have a 12pm check out time, which is just awesome when you want to sleep in after a night of partying. We also saw Tove Lo in the lobby with her gang of tall Swedish band members, so that was pretty legit.

We went to Edley’s Barbecue for dinner, which was also amazing and inexpensive, right in the middle of midtown Nashville. Even though we were in the city for less than 24 hours, I fell in love with Nashville rather quickly, mostly because if I lived there, I could drown my body in pulled pork every day of the week. There is so much going on, especially with regards to live music, every single night in Nashville.

After the short tour of Nashville, (which included a glimpse at the complex that Taylor Swift calls home, don’t worry I didn’t take a crap on her lawn) we were off to Manchester to start off the Bonnaroo experience on the Farm. I was most excited for Moon Taxi, Mumford and Sons, Tove Lo, Childish Gambino, Kendrick Lamar and Trampled by Turtles. The amount of shows was overwhelming, but we managed to see a majority of all of the artists that we wanted to.

Because we opted for a later check-in time, we were put in a “campsite” that was much farther away from “Centeroo” than others, but we also only had to wait about 20 minutes to be processed for entry while others reported to wait for more than 5 hours. A little extra walking everyday was worth it in my opinion, as it helped me feel better about the daily slice of pizza that I stuffed in my face and the case of beer that was downed on the daily. Being on the outer edge of camp also made it easier to get out when the festival was over.

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The festival was HUGE. More people than I could ever imagine were roaming about, drinking, eating and overall just having a great time There are multiple tents and stages set up all around Centeroo, with hundreds of food truck options to choose from as well as crafters and artists selling their pieces. My personal favorite items was the Greek food from the international foods tent, spicy pie pizza and the Nomadic State of Mind rope sandals. The list goes on and on but there’s really no explaining the quantity of options available to the Bonnaroo goer.

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It was very hot the entire long weekend that we were there, making drinking water to stay hydrated absolutely essential. I brought SPF 70 sunscreen and a huge floppy hat and still got extremely tan after four long days of exposure.  We made a makeshift awning to get extra shade back at the car to prevent getting burned while hanging around waiting for shows to start. Thankfully Bonnaroo has various shade tents set up around the main event area and some of the stages are shaded, but I would still recommend bringing serious sun protection.

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There is a mushroom fountain in the middle of Centeroo that many people run around in during the day to rinse off some of the dirt and grime from the day and to just in general cool down after baking under the sun. We went in it every day and it was a lifesaver during the hotter parts of the day. We also would fill up our 1 gallon water jugs and use them to take minimalist showers to get somewhat normal every day, which worked better than I expected. One group of guys had a watering can that they used for a shower, a brilliant idea.

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The music was really incredible, and a few artists that I hadn’t heard of before the festival that I really fell in love with after seeing their live sets include (links are to their soundcloud pages) Temples, Sylvan Esso, Brandi Carlile (Ok I had heard OF her, but never listened to her music before) Caribou, Jamie XX and Alabama Shakes. Alabama Shakes was probably one of my favorite performances, along with Trampled by Turtles (MINNESOTA PRIDE!!!).
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I would definitely recommend the Bonnaroo experience to music enthusiasts, but it is definitely not for everyone, especially those who cannot function off of little sleep and who are prone to heat exhaustion. It was so much fun for me and my friends, definitely the experience of a lifetime.

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The highlights video I made for Bonnaroo 2015: Please subscribe to my channel! Enjoy

Cures for Writers Block

This post is more relevant to my online blogger friends who, like me, probably suffer from momentary bouts of serious writers block. The worst kind of brain fart, when you have maxed out your creativity and can no longer think of new things to write about. Whether it is for a short story, a novel, a blog post or an essay for some sort of application (ahem, cover letters…) Writers block can hit and it can be really hard to work your way out of such a rut. I am by no means an expert on overcoming writers block, as I don’t think it is a science that can really be understood, but here is a list of things that I do when I suffer from a mental blockade and inability to come up with new ideas, hopefully it can help anyone struggling to complete a writing-related task!

1. Make an inspiring playlist.

Souncloud or iTunes are great places to save specific songs to a “writing” playlist, and if you listen to it while typing away, it can help to stimulate new ideas or change your mood to better suit your writing situation. Here is the playlist I am currently using when I’m working on my book, maybe my choice of songs will clue you in to what it’s about 😉

2. Throw in an absurd plot twist – even if it gets removed later, it can bring up new ideas.

This is something that can be extremely useful in cultivating new ideas. Throw in the most absurd, dramatic plot twist, or a huge lie if the work is supposed to be professional or factual information. Just be sure to delete it later, before actually submitting it for the job. Throwing in these complete warps of reality can help stimulate the brain into thinking creatively, thinking of new ideas that would otherwise never come up if the storyline was pursued in a uniform, sensical matter. A Dr. Seuss quote that I really love speaks to this

Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living,

it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope,

and that enables you to laugh at life’s realities.

Dr. Seuss

3. Go for a walk

Sometimes, removing oneself from the immediate physical situation that is perpetuating writers block can be very helpful. Getting out in nature and getting the creative juices flowing can help to inspire a new segment or envision a new interaction between characters. I try to imagine myself as a bystander, watching my characters interact from a removed distance. What are they doing? What are they saying? What does their body language look like? What did they choose to wear today?

This advice is more specific to the creative writing realm, but going for a walk out in nature is healthy regardless, and can seriously help to refresh a cluttered mind. Various studies have concluded that going for a walk is actually proven to clear a cluttered mind, bringing much-needed relief to a stressed out writer.

4. Write yourself into the book

If you aren’t already writing a memoir and instead your characters are completely fictional, creating a space for yourself within the words of your story can help increase the personal component of the whole process, bringing you closer to the words you put on the page.

5. Have a friend read it, and give their reaction.

This seems like a no brainer, but in a world where we are all very busy, our lives filled with an endless list of daily commitments, it can be hard to ask a friend to read over your work, especially if it is a long piece. I am lucky that I am blessed with people who will read over my material and send me honest feedback, and generally this feedback works wonders in inspiring new ideas for where I can take the story, helping me identify possible issues in the plot and also add flair to my characters and the story itself. I highly recommend finding a critical friend who will not have an issue giving honest feedback, because for any written work, a cover letter, poem, short story etc, this personal, intimate response can work wonders for a writer suffering from composition obstacles.

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”
– Benjamin Franklin

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Playlist

Despite being far cry from a music junkie, I still love browsing soundcloud for new music and indulging in many artists’ free downloads as well as adding new favorites to my workout playlists every month to keep things interesting. Here are a few of the songs I have been jamming out to this month:

One addition to my life that was a bit pricey but completely worth it was my Bose headphones. I absolutely love them and they make listening to music so much more enjoyable. They are less expensive and more comfortable than beats in my opinion and the mint color is one of my favorite things in the world. They come with a case that I have been diligently using to always put them back into when I am putting them in my backpack or not using them for awhile to avoid scratching or otherwise damaging them. Traveling with them has made it much easier to enjoy long flights, as the over-ear design seals out background noise and gives my music a much clearer sound, despite the background roar of the plane engines that everyone endures on any flight.


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I hope you enjoyed this post and some of the music I’ve included in it 🙂 I’ll try to do updated playlist posts, as I now know how to embed soundcloud playlists in my blog!

xoxo

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