Culture · Events · mental health · music · relationships · Travel · Wellness

Life Lately, Bonnaroo 2017, and a Summer Vibes Playlist

 

 

What a sight for sore eyes this screen is. I have missed my blog. I have missed you, dear friends. All of it.

Yet every time I have sat down to post, I have been overwhelmed with anxiety, which is not a feeling I typically associate with this blog. I planned to take a week off for Bonnaroo, only to hop directly back on the blog train to tell you all about my wild adventures and hear about some of yours from while I was away from my little blog community.

Then last week happened.

Last week was just a continuous stream of weird, unfavorable events for my family. Some of these events are laughable, and some are quite serious. There are some major health problems plaguing a couple of family members, which means I’ve been “ON” more constantly, and really trying to help out with my nieces and nephews, since it is summer break for them.

In light of some of the bad things going on, I have enjoyed being around my family so much over the past week and a half. Last night, I spent an awesome few hours with my youngest niece, who is almost three years old. We ate strawberries, tried on sparkly jewelry, and played hide and seek until sundown!

The caveat to this refreshing time spent with family is that when I finally have a few quiet moments to myself at night…I am exhausted and a little disoriented because my routine has been let go with abandon. I’ve not just been absent from [W]IT GIRL, but from social media in general. I’ll sometimes go nine hours without touching my phone because I’ve been so engaged in everything from handling a damaged AC unit (4 days, no AC, 90 degree weather), to prepping for my nephew’s birthday party, to helping care for my sister’s ill pup. In a way, unplugging has been rejuvenating. But also, it has interfered with a blog routine that has been manageable, successful, and fulfilling.

Cue anxiety—you see, normally I pour myself into each post, and it is planned, edited, and ready to go days prior to when it is to be posted. Bonnaroo obviously got in the way of my usual weekend workflow; however, when I would sit down to catch up, I’d find myself exhausted, concerned about giving you less than my best.

[W]IT GIRL started over two years ago as a way to play with concepts I was picking up from my Technical Writing courses during undergrad. Over time I’d held onto it hoping to one day turn it into something valuable. 2017 has been my year to create quality, authentic content, and the notion that perhaps creating content while exhausted would take away from the progress I’ve made over the past half of a year opened the flood gates for waves of anxiety.

After much internal deliberation, I decided that while I should not let exhaustion rob my blog of quality content, exhaustion does not make my writing any less authentic. If anything, it makes it more authentic.

So here I am. I’m not as caffeinated as I’d prefer, but I am showing up, and sometimes that’s the beginning and end of everything.

 

Let’s talk Bonnaroo.

Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival

As I mentioned in my previous post, I first attended Bonnaroo in 2011 and then again in 2012. Those were two of the most magical experiences of my life, and I truly believe seeing Radio Head live and witnessing Thom York’s sweet moves up close impacted who I am today. These glorious memories had me pretty pumped to return to the farm!

Five years later, Bonnaroo is a different crowd. A little younger than I recall. Yes, I am a good bit older than when I first attended; however, I did not see any of the older hippies who hop festivals as a lifestyle. I have vivid memories of such individuals from my first trips to Bonnaroo. This time around, it definitely gave off a more trendy Coachella vibe, but Benny had nothing to compare it to, and I wasn’t about to let the difference throw a wrench my good time, so we just went with it.

We arrived early Thursday afternoon and set up our campsite. Each morning we’d chill at the campsite for a few hours before trekking into Centeroo for the music and activities.

Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival

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There were only a couple of acts Thursday that I recognized, so we really set out to explore and discover awesome artists. We got mighty close for The Orwells. I was so pumped to get Benny in such a good spot for our first set, only to immediately regret this moments into their first song. I failed to realize that The Orwells have a rather rowdy following who “dance” in an aggressive matter with little attention to their surroundings. We immediately backtracked our way to higher ground, safe from the mosh pit.

My sunglasses were the only casualty. We are thankful for their sacrifice. Could have been a limb or a phalange or a face instead. Jesus took the wheel on that one.

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Throughout the course of the weekend, Benny and I had a blast being moved by the incredible talent that swept Bonnaroo stages. A few of my favorite acts were Glass Animals, Tove Lo, Tegan and Sara, Chance the Rapper, and Lorde. And that’s the condensed list.

My freckles came out to play. We gained Chaco tan lines. We walked until our feet were numb. We came back sun-kissed, sleepy, and free-spirited. ‘Twas a good time, most definitely.

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Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival

I’m not sure when I’ll next return to the farm, but I urge you, [W]IT GIRLS, go see some live music this summer. Make it a priority. And when you do, don’t film it all on your phone. Be there. Be enchanted. Be present.

You can shop my adorable off-the-shoulder swimsuit here. I received so many compliments on it!

Last, but certainly not least…..I’m gifting you a Summer Vibes playlist that is Bonnaroo 2017 inspired, since it is OFFICALLY SUMMER!!

Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festivalxx-Lona

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Culture · Food & Drink · huntsville · Living · Travel · Uncategorized

Green Sangria is Basically the Same as a Juice, Right?

Hello & Happy Monday!

Here’s to hoping everyone had a great and safe St. Patrick’s Day weekend! May the theme of green carry on as you detox post-Patty’s Day celebration.

Benny and I chose to branch out on Friday night. I had been hearing about a Korean fusion restaurant in downtown Huntsville for well over a year now, and seeing their Instagram photo of a green sangria finally won me over. Big Oh’s Korean Fusion for this Irish holiday Americans use as a reason to go hard it is! Makes sense.

Big Oh’s is nestled on the north side of the square downtown, and like many of the restaurants on this block, it is two stories. We elected to sit upstairs in a cozy dining room decorated with photographs of Korea. This is an assumption based on my deductive reasoning. The photos might not actually be of Korea. My photography eye is not yet refined enough to detect the authenticity of such subject matter.

Benny ordered a stout (his drink of choice St. Patrick’s day or not), and I ordered my coveted green “Winter Sangria.” The sangria was great–there was a nice kiwi flavor to it!

We were quite hungry upon arrival, so we knew we wanted an appetizer. I was tempted to order their rice paper spring rolls, which looked amazing on the menu, but we decided to leave our comfort zone and try something crazy. Like…a kimchi bacon pancake.

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Perhaps this menu item would more aptly be called a kimchi bacon flatbread, as Benny pointed out that it really didn’t have much in terms of a pancake going for it, aside from its round shape possibly. I digress, this appetizer was really quite delicious! The kimchi gave it a sour, briny flavor, which paired nicely with the salty bacon. Packed with flavor, the kimchi bacon pancake did not disappoint our adventurous hopes.

For an entree, I ordered spicy Korean ramen with pork, also an item I admired from Big Oh’s Instagram. Hear me when I say that I am a changed woman after eating this ramen. It was just that good, and we are both looking forward to the next time we can order it (Benny got the mild ramen with chicken). This dish was so well seasoned, packed with fluffy egg, and topped with crispy pork and melted cheese.

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It is a regret we must live with daily that we were too stuffed after our drinks, the appetizer, and our entrees to even take a gander at the full dessert menu. The obvious silver lining to this sad situation is that we have to return for more ramen and to give Big Oh’s dessert menu the chance it deserves.

Jokes aside, we definitely plan to return to Big Oh’s. They had a great menu selection: everything from burgers and wings to traditional Korean cuisine. I highly recommend the ramen! My mouth is watering as I type!


What is the craziest food you’ve tried?

 

[W]IT GIRL

Culture · lessons learned · reflection · travel · Travel

Thursday Throwback: Three Ways we Saved Money on our Trip to Chicago

Happy Thursday!

Since it is #ThrowbackThursday, I thought what better way to celebrate than to reflect on one of my favorite trips we took last year!

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Cloud Gate

Last June, Benny and I took a long weekend trip to Chicago, on a budget. That’s right. On a budget. And man oh man, was our trip packed!

Here is a list of ways we saved bank and made this trip happen:

  1. We stayed in a Hostel. Sounds crazy, but I promise it’s not. Three nights in the hostel was priced to one night at a decently located Chicago hotel. I elected to go the hostel route because I knew we would hardly spend time at our lodging place. We stayed at HI Chicago and had an amazing experience! We booked a private room. Much like modern dorm rooms, we shared a living area and bathroom with three other private rooms. Everything was clean, and the hostel provided breakfast each morning (another money saver!). The hostel itself was in a great location and had such a fun atmosphere. We’d definitely stay again without hesitation.

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    Clean, safe, functional….we survived! (People are SO weirded out by this tip.)
  2. Groupon! I was able to find some amazing deals for Chicago dining on Groupon. A Venezuelan restaurant was having a deal, so I bought two deals, which covered two different meals. I also found an awesome deal for deep dish pizza that included drinks under the deal. Groupon is a great resource for traveling anywhere, so it is one of my first stops when planning a trip.img_1879img_1878img_1980img_1839img_1838Processed with VSCO with m5 preset
  3. Go Chicago Cards. We wanted to hit up all of the classic Chicago tourist destinations, each of which has its own admittance fee, and those add up quickly! I explored our options as far as getting the most bang for our buck, and I elected to purchase us both Go Chicago Cards. There are three purchase options offered, and we chose to do the all-inclusive for three days of travel. This hands down was the second largest money saver after the hostel. We downloaded the app, and bam–we had our tickets to all of the attractions we wanted to see. There is also a Chicago City Pass that can be purchased on a similar concept; however, I found it to offer less. Check out the Go Chicago Card site here!img_1902img_1919img_1950img_1908img_1944img_1937img_1918img_1940img_1934img_1923img_1854img_1850-1

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It goes without saying, Chicago is an amazing American city. I miss our awesome weekend trip, and I look forward to returning in the future!

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No matter where I go, I am always on the hunt for a good bargain or a way to save money. I hope these tips serve you well on any upcoming travels you have to Chicago, or maybe another big city because these can be quite versatile travel options.

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What tips do you have for traveling on a budget?

 

[W]IT GIRL