Sinking in the Vegas Desert

lifestyle, travel

w e e k l y   m u s e 012

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When I think of Vegas, I think of lights, music, drinks and people on the side of the street handing you tickets (sometimes tickets for things you don’t want… lol). This was my first time not staying on the Vegas strip and staying on Fremont Street. I’m going to be super honest… I truly love the Vegas strip and everything that they have to offer. But there is something about Fremont Street that makes it so much more fun! Maybe it’s the lower price on the drinks and food… lol. Okay maybe it is that too, but the atmosphere there is so different. It feels like the side street to your typical downtown/uptown street. It’s filled with tourists, but when we found ourselves in other areas with less people.. we ran into other locals. And I felt so good because we found a local spot! Fremont Street’s music may not be as good, but its soul is definitely way more lively!

We stayed at the Four Queens Hotel and it was across the street from the venue where Odesza’s show was playing. It was kind of nice to be in an old school casino/hotel. The decorations were so vintage. Literally, the corridor felt like a part in the movie “The Shining.” 

The Odesza Experience

lifestyle, music, travel

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The day after seeing Odesza’s show, my best friend texted me and asked, “if you could describe it all in one word, what would it be?” … it really took me a while because the show itself was indescribable. There are so many components incorporated into this tour that make it very unique. So, after a few hours, I finally responded with what I thought summed up my personal overall experience.

extremely-moving 

Okay, okay… I don’t even think it’s a real “one word,” but whatever.. the (-) makes it one word so I’m good with that. 

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Overall, I don’t think I could’ve been any happier or more satisfied with Odesza’s new album and their opening fall tour. It really has been a while since I’ve been to a show that has literally put me in awe. And it’s not only because of the fact that I’ve been dying to see them for the last three years!! **see my last post ** Okay.. and maybe I dropped a few tears at the end then came back on stage to play “Corners of the Earth” …but truly, it’s the way that they have both evolved within their music; all the while still keeping their sound deeply rooted. Yeah… you know what I’m talking about – that good Odesza feel.

I want to list a few points from their show that really stood out to me and pushed my experience to cloud nine. 


THE ODESZA DRUM LINE
How do I start off… I think hearing music live is always better. You know, going to shows or festivals… we go so we can truly experience the music we love and allow it to flow through our ears and to the rest of our bodies. And I feel that including the Odesza Drum Line in this tour really enhanced this feeling for me. I was standing in the grass swaying to the music, bending the knees to every beat in the song… and then, BAM. The true sound of beats came from them. And it was amazing because every one of their movements were coordinated. When they held their sticks high in the air together and the way everyone’s head turned to be a part of the full experience with the song and visuals. It was sick! I loved it all!


THE TROMBONE + TRUMPET
And this leads me into to trombone and trumpet player. It’s like drinking hot chocolate. You can have the best brand of hot chocolate in a packet and pour it with hot water or steamed milk to sip on and it would taste delicious! But, when you drink a hot chocolate that’s made with real chocolate – you know.. the real good stuff – you get to enjoy a delicious cup of hot chocolate that has a true richness to it. Both of these instruments added in a very deep, enriching sound to every song. Ah man… when they opened up after the intro into “A Moment Apart” slowly with their trombones… I was seriously stuck in that moment and time. Magical and intense at the same time. 

VISUALS! VISUALS! VISUALS!
Japanese Dad has really outdone himself this time! Luke, he is the Creative Director and Visual Artist for Odesza’s live shows. I still remember the first time I saw Odesza and was blown away! I really like the way Luke incorporates actual realistic people and things into the screen. He displays it in a way where it feels like a memory or something futuristic. It’s always very intriguing and matches each song perfectly. I’d love to learn about his thoughts and processes one day. One of my favorite scenes was when the metallic beating heart – a real human heart – was rotating in display. The heart beat with every beat of the song. So many other visuals that were so, so mesmerizing. 

HARRISON + CLAY
Last but not least, the men of the hour. I’m grateful for every producer out there who’s out there making music that they love and enjoy. And I love it even more when the people can find a connection with it. Whether its healing, uplifting or just good jams to have fun and let your body loose to! I feel like I get all of this from Odesza. And I’m genuinely happy that Harrison and Clay stuck to their music throughout college to keep themselves from getting real jobs because now I have their music to listen to. Their new album A Moment Apart has a wide dynamic range and, as I’ve felt about their last album, is very diverse. I always thought… is it because they’re from Seattle? Seattle is super diverse. Whether it’s a small melody or a type of voice or sound.. I’ve felt the sound of different cultures in it all and I love it. I hope this train never stops. 


The full production of this tour is so incredible! If you follow them on Instagram, you can see their story feeds with the things they do to prepare for the show. It made me appreciate everything afterwards so much more. If there is a show in your city or near you that’s not already sold out, I HIGHLY suggest you to go see them. It’s worth every penny, worth every second. I’m just praying that they do a spring/summer tour that focuses more in the south this time so I can catch them again!

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Thank you to my amazing husband for surprising me with this sweet escape. This poor guy has had to deal with me for the last 2.5 years talking about wanting to see Odesza, but when this new album was released.. it was like all hell broke loose. I talked non-stop every day.. lol, so in order to get some peace, he bought our tickets to Vegas and took me to see my favorite producers! I think he actually really enjoyed the full show though. All the hype that I’ve been giving him about the visuals and music.. I have a feeling it met his expectations… I may have created one more Odesza fan 🙂  I love this man! Thank you, Davee!

Until next time my friends, thank you for dropping in on one of my favorite memories of this year and probably forever. 

 

Always,
Emily

ODESZA – TOP 5 FAVORITE SONGS

lifestyle, music

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The first time I saw Odesza was on New Years Eve at Lights All Night in Dallas. It was the end of 2014 and we were about the ring in the new year of 2015. I had no idea about who they were or what kind of music they did, so our group followed one of my friends to their set. We got there about five minutes before they opened their set.. I still remember to this day the moment they started. 

“We are Odesza and we like making weird music.”

The drums for their intro and the visuals .. all I could think to myself was “wow, wow, wow.” I don’t think I’ve ever been so taken by a set like that before. This was also the year that they released their album “In Return”. After LAN, I came back home, downloaded their album and let the Odesza fandom take over me. Ever since this set and this album, I have been eagerly waiting to see them perform live again! I mean… it’s only been almost three years now….


Now here we are with the recent release of Odesza’s new album A Moment Apart. Christmas came early this year and I haven’t let an album replay like this in my car since high school! My poor husband has not heard the end of me since its release date. Odesza this and Odesza that. 

So basically in the last month, I have completely submerged myself in this holy grail of an album. I’ve always enjoyed listening to the albums where each song connects and leads to the other, and then once it reaches the last song, the ending ties back to the intro. This album is exactly that – a continuous wave. I understand that everyone doesn’t have time to sit and listen to the full album, so I wanted to share my top five favorite songs with you! 

*hit play on the music player above to hear all of my favorite songs listed below*


1. Intro + A Moment Apart
Okay, literally. The only proper way to fully set yourself for this album is to listen to that Intro lead into “A Moment Apart.” Just do it. You won’t regret it. I didn’t expect anything less from Odesza opening with a track like this. Excuse me now, but I’ve visualized so many images in my mind for each song in this album. A Moment Apart felt like the lift off into space for me. Driving through earth’s force and seeing the galaxy for the first time. 
There are so many layers to this song: drums, bass, the animated voice and the soft melodical tune in the background. The add-in with the symphony brings so many early emotions to surface and it pulls you right in.

2. Boy
The first time I listened to this song I didn’t know what to expect. It was a flirtatious, soft opening that blindsided me from the rise in the chorus. Whoo, boy. I was in my work’s parking lot just jammin’ in my car! Like, okay – get it Odesza! I guess I didn’t expect this from them so to see them sprouting their roots out into other areas was real nice.

3. Across The Room
I absolutely love this song. It makes me feel some kind of way. It brought back old memories of my childhood; hanging out on the streets with my cousins and playing until the skies were dim and street lights turned on. It’s got that classic, old school feel that resonates with soul. I just love it! They chose the perfect voice for this song.

4. Thin Floors and Tall Ceilings
I don’t know if it’s because life has been like a rollercoaster lately, but this song gave me so much peace and feelings of detaching from all things negative. This was the rift in the album that made me feel like I found the silence I’ve been seeking for. A quiet moment to  hear my thoughts only. When you do listen to this song, allow yourself to just relax and let go and ride with the slow motions. 

5. Corners of the Earth
The song of self-rejuvenation and wonder. I’ve never heard a more beautiful song. You know me, my heart wanders for life and love. I saw images in my mind of past memories with family and friends and all of the adventures we’ve been on. I really can’t explain it, but it’s a must listen to. I’m so glad that they closed the album with this song. It was the end to a new beginning. 


Okay seriously though, making a list with only five was so hard! I felt like I needed to expand my list to my Top 8 favorite songs because I left out so much more favorites. But then I started thinking and all of them slowly slipped into my favorites list, lol. Overall, just listen to the full album. Go lay outside on a blanket with this perfect fall weather, go stargazing or cruise in your car looking at beautiful landscape for an hour while you play this album. It’ll be the best hour of your life! I hope you enjoy the album as much as I do. 

I’d love to hear what some of your top favorites are. Leave them down in the comments below! 


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Always,

Emily

california dreaming

travel

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The last time I was in LA, it was winter of 2011 with my family for Christmas break. I seriously can’t believe it took six years to come back and visit. I missed the dry air, perfect sunny rays, the salty ocean air on the Santa Monica boardwalk and just the lifestyle there. 

My brother and sister-in-law recently moved here this past summer, so we were able to find some time to visit them. And fortunately, it lined up with some of my other sibling’s work schedules and it became a family weekend trip. As we’ve grown older, we have all separated into different cities and honestly, it’s tough really budgeting time to pull off something like this. So truly, I tried my best absorb every moment of this trip. I’m crossing my fingers that we get more weekends like this! ** 

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Daikokuya – Little Tokyo

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September Refresh

lifestyle

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There’s something about September that makes me feel so re-energized. It’s the mid-year month for everyone to recollect themselves. A time to self-refine. Maybe it’s all the “going back to school” posts on social media. The feeling of mentally preparing yourself for a whole new semester and absorbing all of the positive vibes you can inhale to last you through these last four months. (It’s crazy how much longer the last four months of the year actually feel!) One thing I really enjoyed about college during this time was the feeling of buying new stationary, pens and pencils. I don’t know what it is, but having nice stationary just gets me so excited! It seriously encourages me to create lists with weekly tasks or monthly goals to help organize myself. Plus, my handwriting looks like chicken scratches anyway, so it forces me to attempt to “write” better and nicer on each page.

I’ve been spending these first few days of September with myself and doing some self-reflecting. I’ve been thinking about old and new goals, how to prioritize them and most importantly, how to keep the will of fire going without getting lazy and stopping again. That is probably my biggest challenge because it’s always easy giving yourself excuses to not do something. And I guess in some ways, I’m tired of disappointing myself with the progress I could’ve made within those weeks or months.

So! I have set a few small goals for myself for the remainder of this year. I hope that writing it down here will push me to hold myself more accountable on keeping them alive and steady. 

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1. Continue eating 3-4 vegetarian meals per week. For the past month or so, David and I have been trying to incorporate more vegetarian dishes into our lifestyle. I would call it a diet, but then I know that I’d end up looking at it like it was a temporary thing. My long-term goal would actually be a full vegetarian by the age of 40-45. I’m really happy that we’re both in it together and decided to start the slow transition early on. 

2. Post more frequently! I want to write and create more content throughout the month. I’ve noticed that I only post once or twice a month and I want to push my creative limits more. I always tell myself “ugh, work was tough today and I’m too tired..” or “I’m not sure if I’d have anything interesting to write on that topic or idea..” I need to find more confidence in myself and put out content that makes me happy. 

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3. Stay organized. In all honesty, I am one of those people who’d be able to find an item in a pile of mess rather than a super clean room. I don’t know, something about the way my brain works that makes it that way. Lately though, I’m realizing that I have less levels of stress when things are more organized around the house – and even my work cube! It allows me to think clearly and be more focused on my task at hand. 

4. Find a family doctor. Oh, the joys of adulting! Now, I’m feeling extremely thankful for my parents on finding us such great doctors and dentists when we were kids. Searching for either one is like finding a good friend. I want to find someone who actually cares for our well-being and building some kind of relationship with us during those visits. I don’t want to be just another patient. So, with medical insurance fully aligned, I’m hoping we find our “right fit” by the end of the year.

5. Please… please just work out. Have you ever reached one of those grooves where you just feel like crap? And then suddenly, a surge of motivation pushes through and you’re working out and eating healthy for like two weeks, feel better about yourself and then stop? Yeah…. that’s me. I wish that I could go on that two week workout streak and just stay on it. Even if it’s not a hardcore workout, just getting in 30 minutes a day at least. These years are not moving any slower with the older I get, so I want to strive on keeping my health and fitness up for myself and my family. 

IMG_5362I just caught up with all the seasons in the Game of Thrones within 2-3 weeks… so as you can tell, I’m still having some GoT withdrawals…

And that is it folks! I hope to find some success with these goals at the end of the year. I’m going to gather all the strength that I can to make it! In my darkest hours though, I know that I can usually count on a Pumpkin Spiced Latte. #daREALMVP – What are some of the ways you find motivation through your toughest days? I’d really love to read your thoughts on this! Feel free to post them in the comments below with some of your own personal goals. 

Thanks and see you soon!

Always,

Emily

Weekend Runaway: Houston

food, Texas Ventures, travel

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So lately, it feels like everyone has been traveling and getting in their beach time this summer. Everyone except for us, lol. So we decided to drive down to Houston and get in some sun at Stewart Park Beach in Galveston. Besides his ball, I think that the beach is the second thing that Arty loves most! He loves getting in the water and sunbathing in the sand. He was scared of the waves at first, but eventually learned how to jump over the little waves. It was seriously the cutest thing ever! This small getaway was a very much needed trip for all of us and we had the greatest time.

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Cooking Fresh From the Garden

food, travel

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Happy Friday!! Hello to you and the start of our weekend! *cheers* I recently took a trip back home to Arkansas with David to visit his parents and the farm. They have three acres of land filled with rows and rows of produce, which are sold at the farmers market every Wednesday and Saturday. We went with my father-in-law to the Tulsa Farmer’s Market on Saturday morning to help him sell at his stand. I was going to take a few photos there, but the rain decided to take a three hour visit… so that was that. There was still a pretty good crowd though! People usually like to come by to grab their weekly veggies and see what produce are in, but during the summer season, they come for one thing.. and one thing only — tomatoes. 

And I really can’t blame them because *goodness!* these homegrown tomatoes are, literally, everything! Sometimes when you buy tomatoes from the store to cook, some are hard and taste kind of like water and nothing. But these homegrown tomatoes are filled with so much juiciness and flavor, you just want to take a bite out of it right after picking it!

I took a stroll around the garden with my mil (mother-in-law) in her van to pick out some veggies to bring back home to Dallas. We used to just pack a ton of random veggies home and sometimes they would go to waste in our fridge, so I told her that I wanted to select just a few that I know we would be able to cook within the week. And of course, all I needed was a good bundle of fresh basil to make some homemade pesto and some green, red and cherry tomatoes. And let me tell ya … I put these babies to some good use! 

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The Struggles of Living From Afar

Dallas, TX

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Happy July!!! I hope that summer has been treating you well! July has been an amazing month so far for me! Not only because it’s my birthday month *woot! woot!* but I’ve gotten to see quite a bit of family and friends within the last few weeks and have been feeling extremely grateful.

We traveled to Minnesota during July Fourth weekend for David’s family reunion, and I got to celebrate my birthday with some of the dearest people. I truly had the best time, but sadly, these types of weekends just never last long enough! It makes you feel so homesick on the road back home. It’s a little bit easier to deal with now, but it was definitely tough during our first year in Dallas.


Moving to a new city can bring all kinds of emotions to the mind and body. The feeling of excitement, hope, motivation, sadness and fear… it all sits there tumbling inside of your mind and stomach in the back seat with your packed boxes.

My brain laid numb, taken over by the rush of wonder.


Coming to Dallas was the second biggest move in my life since moving to Arkansas. It was an exciting time for the both of us and we were so in love with this city – and still are! – but times also got quite lonely. I mean, we moved from a place where we grew from teens into adults, and built a strong foundation with people we admire, love and grew so comfortable with. So for me, moving to a city and knowing only a hand full of people (literally) was tough. I had to start all over again. And to be quite honest, as an adult, it was socially harder for me than it was when I was a teen, but that’s a whole other topic of its own.

Weekends just weren’t the same. There was always a yearning for home and being where your comfort lived and wanted to be. I missed our family and friends and the weekly hangouts we all had. I missed people who were already far but were now even farther since we moved further south. Plenty of times during my first couple of months, I pondered about the moments and inside jokes I’d miss out on – causing major FOMO (the fear of missing out). Desperately wanting to live in that moment with your loved ones, attending all of their life changing events and only getting to imagine what it might be like. I always just wanted to be where I couldn’t be.

Though I felt like this most of our first year here, we were so fortunate to have visitors almost every month! All the visits made us feel so much more at “home,” and were the cure to our most lonely days. So thank you.. thank you to all of you.

For those of you who are curious, thinking about it or ready to make the big move, don’t let my thoughts and emotions scare you off. I’m honestly just a sensitive and emotional person. (I can cry for no reason when I listen to a sad song, lol… so that says a lot.) But I think that at some point, everyones goes through these wave of emotions and you know what? It is totally normal and okay. You learn from them, grow and learn how to adapt without ever truly losing the connections you want to keep. I’ve been here for almost two and half years and don’t plan on leaving any time soon.

p.s. these are candy cigs that we bought from an old school candy shop in Deep Ellum

I experienced the loneliness, but I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting new people, creating more friendships and building stronger bonds with the people we already knew here. ‘The more the merrier!’ is what I like to say. Living in a new city with David has also molded our relationship in so many ways. It didn’t necessarily force us to be together more, but it taught us how to truly enjoy each other’s company. We were so used to group gatherings so it just felt a little different when it became just the two of us. It was a good learning curve and I feel that we’ve really found fulfillment within ourselves.  

So never be fearful, my friend. We live this life only once. Go and fulfill your heart’s wildest dreams! The people who love us will never truly be that far away. 

Always,

Emily

 

 

A U S T I N

Texas Ventures

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For me and David’s twelve year “dating” anniversary, we decided to drive back to one of our favorite cities – AUSTIN! We haven’t been there for about a year, so truly, it was hard to try new places since we had a few spots on our mind since our last visit. (which means we just need to make another trip out here sooner!) We also got to bring along our little dog child, Arty, this time — big thanks to La Quinta!! They’re one of the hotels listed that allows dogs to stay there.

When we first got to our room, I think he was a little unsure of what he could and couldn’t do. He sat on the small lounge chair with a towel under him and then after an hour of getting cozy he finally brought himself to find a good spot on the bed. He tucked himself right in the middle and we found him in the same spot when we got back from Sixth Street. So overall, I think one would say that he had a pre–tty good staycation there.

We hit the hiking trail right when we got into Austin on Saturday morning. We really, really wanted to go check out the Hamilton Pool Reserve, but since it’s been gaining so much attention on social media, tickets are booked until the end of August. I’m hoping to come back in September to finally see it. So we settled on hiking at McKinney Falls State Park.

May I remind you that we are extremely fearful and scared of snakes, lol. So going hiking there during the summer time was a big leap for the both of us. When we pulled in to pay to enter the park, I asked the ranger if there were a lot of snakes there. He kinda chuckled at us and mentioned that there weren’t too many but they do see snakes cross the trail from time to time. They had a lot of signs that said “Please Stay on the Trail” … so for the first hour, I literally turned on my inner snake radar and turned my head left to right every second. I did manage to get over the fear after the hour and focused on self-meditation while hiking. At then end we stopped at the waterfall for Mr. Arty to cool down.

Scarborough Renaissance Festival

Dallas, TX

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Gray skies with a touch of rain. Dwellings made of brick and stone and surrounded by pathways made of dirt. Thou ears were often found accompanied by tunes of the lute, harp and cornett. My Lord and I had had an exceptionally delightful time at the Scarborough Renaissance Fair and do plan to return next year. The landscape, structure and people really took me to another time and place and that’s what I loved most about this festival! 

I want to show you around town now, so sit you down and have a look!

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