Sinking in the Vegas Desert

lifestyle, travel

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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

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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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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New York City

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New York City – I’ve never been in a more crowded city until here. And it’s so packed with tourists (like me, HA) that it feels like they make up a quarter of the population here. But you really can’t blame them for wanting to visit a place with so much to see and so much to do!

My husband, David, and I decided that we wanted to travel more this year. We made a list of places that we definitely would want to make stops in, but New York was one of the top contenders. We are MAJOR foodies – so for our first wedding anniversary this year, we thought it’d be pretty fun to take a trip to a city that is notorious for its mouth-watering food.

Besides the amazing food, I’ve really been wanting to see some of the other national monuments in the area – Statue of Liberty, Central Park, Brooklyn Bridge and the 9/11 Memorial. Scroll on down to check out photos of our stops at each one.