A Reflection of My Blog 2.0

Screen Shot 2018-02-06 at 1.20.11 PM.png

I am laughing at myself for calling my blog “mediocre” last year. I mean, it still is, but guess what—it is still making me happy!

Like I said in my “reflection” post that I wrote just over a year ago, I have thought about changing my blog into a “.com,” but I decided against it. Why? I have no idea what the future holds and I do not know how much time I will be able to put into my blog after graduation and once I start graduate school. What if I have nothing about which to write? What if I never leave Hofstra’s campus again and will have no more stories to tell? I’m kidding of course; I know that will not happen.

As I reflect on my blog again, (because why not), I wonder if the person sitting next to me is reading anything I type (go ahead, it’s free advertisement). I also wonder how many people have actually read my posts or even benefitted from them. I know a few have, and that makes me feel accomplished. This of course is not the ultimate travel blog that is going to tell you how to explore every city around the world, but I do hope people who come across it hear my voice, relate to it and it helps them in some way.

I am actually quite proud of myself for keeping up with the blog this past semester. After my hiatus in the summer after Australia, I told myself I would not let myself go without posting with the excuse of school in my way. From my transitioning tips post (which may be my biggest hit) to my Fall Concert Series 2.0, I published reviews, thoughts and advice of which I am proud.

I am super excited to continue my blog and see what direction it takes as a chapter of my life closes and a new one begins. To finish this post off the way I did last year, I will leave you with this: “To whoever reads this, I hope I have interested you.”

Whitmanythought 1: February is against me. It does not want me to post. I shall persevere!

 

Advertisements

Fall Concert Series 2.0: Tash Sultana

I am no longer physically in Australia, but I would like to say my trip was extended until October 5th, when I saw Melbourne native Tash Sultana perform at The Brooklyn Steel.

After falling in love with her music and seeing her at Groovin’ the Moo music festival in Australia last semester, my roommate Sierra and I searched to see if Sultana had any American dates. Before we knew it, we had tickets in our inboxes and a few months of torturous waiting ahead.

IMG_1664.jpg
Sultana at GTM 2017

The wait was well worth it. I remember the calming vibe that she radiated into the crowd at GTM that allowed me to get lost in her folk-reggae music, despite the enormous mosh pit of rowdy people in which I was standing. Not to my surprise, she did it again, but this time it was even more beautiful. For one hour, Sierra, the hundreds of people that filled the space and I swayed our heads to her peaceful vibes.

Sultana opened up her solo show by laying out the house rules: Don’t ruin the fun and accept everyone. She called the the old steel manufacturing plant-turned concert space a “house of love” and wanted everyone to feel comfortable and safe. She then transported the whole crowd to a place of serenity and positive feelings as she effortlessly created music right before us.

22406435_1955898741105642_4214824699541122305_n.jpg
Sultana at The Brooklyn Steel 

Sultana is a looping artist, so she creates all the sounds right then and there and plays them over each other, resulting in beautifully layered melodies. She is definitely someone who can pick up any instrument she sees. Although I could easily listen to just her guitar, trumpet, pan flute and synthesizer playing all day, her raspy and sweet, but strong voice adds a whole new dynamic to her tunes. She is almost hypnotic to watch as she passionately bounces to her dreamy songs.

Before she wrapped up her show, Sultana gave a motivational speech about purpose, during which she said, “You will never find your calling because your calling will find you.” This is the perfect reminder to anyone struggling with their identity and goals. Being the vehement, wild artist she is, she played until the exact last second her manager would allow.

I also have to give Sultana credit for bringing such a thrilling opening act along. When I arrived at the venue, I was not excited to hear the opening act because I was there, of course, for Sultana. However, The Pierce Brothers, also from Melbourne, absolutely blew me away. The twins were unbelievably animated on stage and really brought the energy with their indie rock/pop music. Between their energizing attitudes and playing of multiple instruments, including the didgeridoo, the brothers encompassed what a talented opening act should be.

22310381_1955898881105628_9170723711751163576_n.jpg
The Pierce Brothers

Sultana exemplifies sincere talent and passion. Being in the same space as her one more time was unbelievable and I left wondering when the next time I will see her is. I suppose you can take me out Australia, but you cannot take Australia out of me.

Lake George: Good Eats

The only thing that motivated me through the whirlwind of September was my weekend getaway to Lake George at the end of the month. It was an extra special trip because my mom and step-dad let me come along with them and helped me surprise my grandparents and aunt. The astonishment on their faces when I arrived was priceless and the consistent “I can’t believe you’re here,” statements made the four-and-a-half-hour drive to and from well worth it. While my only full day there was overcast and rainy, the weekend’s redeeming quality—besides being with my family on a trip for the first time—was the food.

bgeneral.jpg

The Silo

Between its history and mouth-watering food, The Silo is aesthetically appealing by sight and taste. The original silo of the restaurant was used to house corn and then was repurposed alongside two local 19th century farms which were combined and made into The Silo Country store in 1982. At first, the breakfast and lunch area was small, but business began to boom and several changes were made to expand the eatery into what it is today. The Silo is bombarded every morning with hungry guests and long wait times can form. I suggest getting there by eight in the morning to avoid long lines.

bfrenchtoast.jpg
Stuffed French toast

The Silo offers everything from buttermilk biscuits and gravy and giant pancakes so large that they only serve two to cheese quesadillas and crab cakes. I can personally vouch for its stuffed French toast which is filled with cream cheese and berries and finished off with whipped cream. The warm, thick, cinnamon coated bread was complimented beautifully by the sweet cream cheese and berries. I barely used syrup, which is unusual for me, because it tasted so nice without it.

bdonuts.jpg
Silo’s cider doughnuts 

If there is a long wait and you are too hangry (hungry and angry) to wait for food any longer, try The Silo’s delicious cider doughnuts from the country store. They have a delicate taste that would be paired perfectly with some warm apple cider. The best part is they are only one dollar each, $5.50 for six or $8.50 for 12 donuts.

Adirondack Pub and Brewery

 The Adirondack Pub and Brewery began as response to the high quality European beers John Carr experienced during a backpacking trip. He decided to brew his own after being unable to find something in America that competed with anything he tasted in his travels. People became interested in his brewing, which led him to start his own brewery in the center of Lake George Village in 1999. To this day, people can visit for quality ales and comfort food.

bbeer.jpg
Pretending to taste the beers..

The pub’s selling point is its tasting option that comes with six beers that the staff chooses each day. If you find one you cannot live without, they sell huge jugs of their ales and lagers to take home. The Adirondack Pub and Brewery prides itself in using fresh, local ingredients to produce beer that can be comfortably drank any day of the year. This is an experience that beer fanatics do not want to miss. And if someone is not into beer, the pub’s food is exceptionally tasty as well.

Ambrosia Diner

Is the wait too long at The Silo? You can’t decide what you want to eat? Ambrosia is a classic American diner offering a range of foods from paninis, soups, steaks, and fish to eggs and pancakes. I enjoyed the Anastasia Pancakes which were slathered with Nutella and sprinkled with banana slices that sent my mouth into a sweet, chocolate-filled bonanza. The rest of my family was also satisfied with their delicious and large portions. The family who opened a diner in 1984 still owns and operates its now three locations, so I am confident the rest of the food at Ambrosia will taste like it was right out of their own kitchen.

IMG_1519
Anastasia Pancakes

If I had more time, I am sure I could have sunk my teeth into more delicious food, but I guess that will have to wait until my next adventure!

 

Fall Concert Series: Carrie Underwood

Carrie Underwood has the most effortless voice in the world. You won’t catch me listening to country music very often, but Carrie is an exception to all the laws of the universe. Honestly, she might not even be human; she is more like an angel.

carrie
Before the show

I recall my nine-year-old self watching Carrie on American Idol and rooting for her until she claimed victory, and seeing her in concert not too long after. I yearned to see her again ever since. When I heard she would be touring this year, my friend and I immediately bought tickets for her first-ever show at the “World’s Most Famous Arena,” Madison Square Garden.

carrie2
The stage

Upon arrival to MSG, I was mesmerized by the setup of the venue. Carrie’s stage was in the middle of the floor, right where I stood at the 2016 Video Music Awards. The stage was composed of a main circular part in the middle, with two long legs jutting out and stretching out across almost the length of the arena floor and ending in two more circles. There were also two shorter legs reaching out from the opposite direction, which also ended in circular platforms.

carrie6.jpg

Carrie’s opening acts, Eatson Corbon and the Swon Brothers, were fantastic and really got the crowd going. Before I knew it, it was time for the queen to arrive. The center, circular part of the stage rose, and a few seconds later, there was Carrie, looking like an edgy, rockstar cake topper rising above the audience high in the sky. She started the show with the first song on her album and one of my personal favorites, “Runaway Renegade.” I was in awe and I did not expect to have as large of a reaction to her presence as I did, but the mixture of tears, my shaky voice screaming “OMG SHE’S PERFECT,” and my rapid heartbeat were all there.

carrie3
Carrie rising above the crowd

Carrie put on about a two hour show filled with nothing but talent and sincerity. I honestly don’t know how she does it. One minute she was blowing on an electric harmonica, and the next moment she was belting a 16 note lyric. I’m telling you, she’s an angel. A highlight was when she cast pictures of her adorable son and husband on the screen as she beautifully sang “What I Never Knew I Wanted.” Talk about a sweet love story. I also got lost in her powerful voice with throwbacks such as “Before He Cheats” and one of her favorite songs, “Jesus Take the Wheel.”

The night was remarkable. I am so proud of Carrie for being a new mom, being in the business for over ten years, and still giving an unmatchable performance. I also appreciate that Carrie seems to still be a down-to-earth, “normal,” person, despite having a legendary career. The post-concert depression I felt after the show left me no mercy, and I cannot wait for warmer weather so I can blast her in my car as I drive around with my windows down.

MTV Video Music Awards 2016: FAQs

Almost two weeks have passed since I experienced the most insane show of my life: the MTV 2016 Video Music Awards. I have been asked a decent amount of questions about my dream night, so I thought it would be beneficial to address them here for any other curious readers.

img_0891

How was it?

Obviously it was AMAZING. It was different than I expected, though. On television, the award show looks like an ongoing party. In reality, as I said in my previous post, it is a constant rotation of performances, awards and seemingly never-ending commercial breaks. However, I saw some of the most iconic people in the industry and performances of the top songs from the year. Nothing will ever beat that.

How did you get tickets?

I went to a taping of MTV’s Joking Off and there was a raffle at the end. I rarely win anything, but somehow I was lucky enough to spare a pair of tickets.

How did you get to go to the taping of Joking Off?

I get my show tickets through an incredible website called 1iota. I highly recommend using this site to retrieve tickets to show tapings and special events in the largest cities in America.

Where were your seats?

Well, I did not actually have seats. I was in the pit section, which is the section of animated fans going crazy, jumping and dancing around the stage. I was about five feet from the stage. Yes, it was magical.

IMG_0892.JPG
Before the celebs arrived

Was it crowded?

I felt like a sardine.

How did you pick an outfit to wear?

Of course, this was not easy. 1iota gives some guidelines and even included a few pictures of sample outfits. I actually bought a cute skirt and crop top hook-up, but I thought it would be too fancy to wear in a pool of random, sweaty people. Then, I was going to wear an outfit I already owned. Finally, I decided on my sister’s old homecoming dress. I saw it and it just seemed perfect for the event. I made sure to wear comfy shoes, as I knew it would be a long night. My mom had the perfect pair of sandal wedges that were stylish and comfy.

img_0874

Did you meet any celebrities?

I wish! However, I made awkward eye contact with Mac Miller (who was looking very cozy with Ariana Grande all night).

Do you have any more questions regarding my night? Let me know!