Date Ideas, Events/Performances, Fun, Travel, United States

Richard Marx and Rick Springfield at Wolftrap

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“… so after three days of recording the album with N’Sync, they had to sneak out the back door, because there were 800 girls waiting in the front, and I, not being known, went out the front… to my car… in the main parking lot. Out of no where, a smoking hot girl runs up to me and asks, ‘Are you Richard Marx?’ To which I reply, ‘Why yes I am!’  She responds with, ‘My mom LOVES you!’…” (Richard Marx on his age.)

This is just a small snippet of how wonderful the evening was with both Richard Marx and Rick Springfield.  They are (self-deprecating) funny, relaxed, and prove that they are still willing to tour, solely because they love their fans, and they love performing.  While I agreed to accompany my mom to see her longtime heartthrob (Rick Springfield), I found myself truly enjoying the show they put on separately, as well as together.  The entire thing was done acoustically.

Check out some of my videos and pictures below.  More videos can be found here.

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Events/Performances, Fun, Travel, United States

I Love the 90s Tour at Wolftrap

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A few weekends ago, I relived junior high school, high school, and college, all in one night, at Wolftrap.  When I heard a 90s tour with artists, such as Snap!, C+C Music Factory, Kid n’Play, Montell Jordan, Rob Base, TLC, and more were coming, I had to go.

The downside to going to these concerts is a. Realizing how old you are, and b. Realizing how old the artists are now, and how they no longer look exactly like they did in your childhood memories.  (To put it in perspective, Kid n’ Play’s “House Party” is 25 years old, and Kid is 53.)

The upside was that it was fun to hear the old songs again, and hear of what these artists are now up to.

Check out my videos and pictures below (more videos of each can be found here).

Snap!

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C+C Music Factory

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Montell Jordan

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Kid n’ Play

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Each of them were having so much fun… until…

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TLC

My mom and I left the concert after their second song, because it was that bad. T-Boz seemed incredibly unhappy to be there, and while Chili looked amazing, you could tell she was doing her best to carry the now duo.  They were singing along to recorded tracks – the whole thing was just awful.  I feel for them, but I’m unsure I’d recommend staying for their performance, or even going to one of their concerts.

Overall, it was a great night, and I’m so happy I got to relive the best part of that decade!

Events/Performances, Fun

Dreamscape Festival 2017

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I have never been to a music festival, as typically, larger crowds of people (for more than an evening or afternoon) aren’t my thing.  Friends of mine that have made this a side hobby, say that it makes you appreciate not just what you have in your own life, but those around you as well.  They weren’t wrong.

Naturally, the “stigma” associated with a festival, especially an EDM one, is that it’s drug and alcohol-fueled, which many chalk up to dangerous behaviors, and unsafe environments.  While the first two were present, the last two weren’t seen even once.  Instead, this is what I saw:

  • People dancing everywhere, smiling and laughing
  • These same people celebrating themselves and others, for who they are, not what they looked like
  • These same people bringing their artistic talents to life
  • These same people actually said “excuse me” or “I’m sorry” if they bumped into you (politeness)
  • More security than all rappers combined
  • Enough music in every direction to not feel as though you’re being overcrowded

Sure, there was a lot of people watching, and the majority of the festival-goers were not my brand of style.  However, there wasn’t a moment of feeling unsafe, judged, or otherwise bothered.

As for the Music

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My friends and I were there to support DJ MLEM, which if you are an avid reader of this blog, know who he is.  He played three sets in two days, which allowed us to not only spend time listening to his great mixes, but also allowed us to meet (and hear) some of the most talented EDM artists, such as Chris Lake, Destructo (thanks for letting me dance on the stage – I finally got to check something off my bucket list), Autograf, Keys n’ Krates, Bad Ginger, and many more.

Take a look at some of the videos from their performances below, as well as a slideshow of pics.  At the bottom of the post are some recommendations.

DJ MLEM and Julius Jetson B2B in the VIP Lounge

Chris Lake at City of Dreams, Hosted by Nu Androids

Keys n’ Krates on the Main Stage

Autograf at City of Dreams, Hosted by Nu Androids

Note: For a full set of Dreamscape videos, click here.

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Recommendations:

  • If possible, either book a cabin early or book a room at Days Inn Perryville.  The hotel is a 14-mile drive, but if you have a DD, it’s worth it.  It’s also about $70 a night.
  • The parking passes are $40
  • Get the open bar VIP package, skip the food (Super VIP package).  They never listed cafeteria times, so we always missed the food.  They have a food pavilion instead – you can also bring your own.
  • Take out lots of cash, and do it off site.  By Day 2, one of the ATMs was broken
  • Bring extra toilet paper, or even the travel rolls – you will thank me later
  • If you end up booking a room in Perryville, the Hollywood Casino is one mile away.  The Green Turtle restaurant is 24 hours.  (You could also win some cash like I did!)  Walking distance from that hotel is also Denny’s (breakfast) and a large Exxon Tiger Mart.
  • Bring a battery pack to charge your cell phone – one of the smartest things I did!
  • Definitely attend at least once – while it’s different than most festivals (so I’m told), the music was worth the attendance
Events/Performances, Fun

The Weekend Comes to the Verizon Center

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6lack warming up the crowd

(Note: There is an image slideshow at the end of this post.  All videos can be found on my YouTube channel.)

On Thursday, May 18th, 15,000 people were treated to a dance party by Belly, 6lack, The Weeknd, and some surprise guests, including Rae Sremmurd and Gucci Mane, to perform “Black Beatles”.

One to make an incredibly strong entrance, the crowd went positively insane when The Weeknd appeared in the middle of the runway stage, to perform “Starboy”.

His set list included all of the crowd’s favorite hits, including “Party Monster”, “Often”, “I Feel It Coming”, “Six Feet Under”, “I Can’t Feel My Face”, “Reminder”, and “Secrets” (amongst others).  Which, whenever he began another song, he had to shush the crowd, due to the deafening roar.

But the special touches are what made the show amazing – he performed along with a live band the whole time, which when you look at the overall stage shape, made you realize he was walking along a futuristic guitar.  The floating stage morphed into so many different origami-ish shapes, including a spaceship, a plane, and an X (amongst others).

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Overall, I kind of wished I had bought floor seats, as opposed to my 200-Level ones, as it would absolutely have been worth the ticket price.  If you’re on the fence about spending the money, do it!  If I had the chance to do it all over again, I would!  (Click here to access his tour dates.)

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Date Ideas, Events/Performances, Fun, Other Things I Like

Celebrating Love, Friends, and New Adventures!

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On top of the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C.

I had a couple of messages this morning, asking me if I stopped meditating, since I’ve not posted in close to five days.  I’ve definitely had my morning practice however, I did not finish the 21-day Meditation Challenge.  So much of what I shared, over the last 2 1/2 weeks, was already shared.  I felt as though a bit of it was too repetitive and thus, I’m not comfortable writing a blog post if I can’t give unique, applicable content. So instead, I’m going to show you proof of what “hope” looks like…

This past weekend (includes Thursday) was filled with celebrations of love, new milestones, and great friendships.  It’s one of those rare weekends that I was constantly on the go, but so happy to share in the joy in so many other people’s lives.  Below is a peek into my weekend, and what I am most grateful for because of it:

Thursday: A New Year, and New Connections

My “weekend” kicked off with the birthday of my BFF, and a date auction.  (Yes, I’m taken but I also happened to throw a male friend up there, and wanted to be there for moral support.)

I am so grateful for my girlfriend (pictured below).  While I have so many amazing women in my life, she’s seen the good, the bad, and the ugly.  We often joke we’ll be living together at age 80, watching Star Wars movie marathons, while knitting.  Thus, a year hasn’t gone by where I’ve not celebrated a birthday with her.  In fact, it’s also the anniversary of when we met!

For her celebration, a bunch of us girls took her to Cafe Milano for dinner (complete with a firework slice of cake).  (If you have never been there, I HIGHLY suggest it!  It’s home of the power dinner, where the “who’s who” goes to dine.  It’s also home to some of the best gluten-free pasta and rosé in D.C.)

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While her own personal celebration had concluded, we weren’t done with the evening.  We all headed over to Capitale for our friend Sher Mathew’s date auction.  She is in the running to be LLS Woman of the Year, and she’s knocking it out of the park with about three events A WEEK!  It was there it felt like one, big friend reunion, complete with stage takeover to sing my friend Happy Birthday!

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Photos, courtesy of Vithaya Phongsavan

Friday: Celebrating My Most Favorite Person in the World

My other half is seriously THE BEST.  Between the move into our new home, my compulsive behaviors to get everything unpacked, put away, and decorated; AND putting up with my work schedule, he’s a complete rockstar.  Thus, I wanted to surprise him with a dinner outside (check out Cactus Cantina if you want some great Mexican food and drinks, on an outdoor patio with a view of the National Cathedral) and a quick stop at a private Tiffany’s event in Chevy Chase, to buy him something he’s always wanted” a Dog Tag.

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Saturday: Celebrating New Beginnings

Last year, my mom, sister, and myself held an annual Bags, Baubles, and Bubbles fundraiser at Westwood Country Club, to raise money for the Stroke Comeback Center.  I wrote about the Center last year when we were getting ready to hold the first annual event.  It’s a wonderful place for Stroke and Trauma victims to rehabilitate, and certainly, there have been some amazing comeback stories because of it!

This year was bigger and better, with a private fashion show, hosted by Bloomingdales; hundreds of auction items, a beautiful luncheon, and even more attendees!  I was so grateful to be a part of it again!

When it was over, I was down for a quick nap and then onto the last event of the evening: Saying goodbye to one of my close friends and her husband (plus pending baby), as they are moving to San Antonio!

It couldn’t have been a more perfect evening, atop the Watergate Hotel (I HIGHLY RECOMMEND you check this out), with the sun setting (everyone was grateful for being able to witness the most perfect sunset from the best view in DC), being surrounded by good, close friends.

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Sunday: Celebrating Love

To cap off the weekend, we were grateful to be able to celebrate two amazing people who are the absolute epitome of true love.  It was so special to be amongst our close friends, and both the bride and groom-to-be’s respective families, in one of the most beautiful historic homes in D.C.

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It’s weekends like these that make me thankful for the friends, family, support, and love I have in my life!  Stay tuned for Mother’s Day weekend, when I take you all down to Williamsburg, VA with me!

 

Events/Performances, Fun, Travel, United States

TJR and Knife Party at Echostage

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The masses getting sucked into TJR’s EDM vortex.

My exact Facebook comment to my friend’s check-in at Echostage, “TJR!  Holy mother of…” I later found out TJR saw that and it put me over the moon.

Last night was one of the best EDM shows I’ve ever been to, and I’m still smiling from it.  Never has Echostage put a better opening act, that could absolutely SMASH any hopes of Knife Party being able to top it.

Quite often, I comment to people about how I’m so over DJs mixing other people’s music. HOWEVER, there was something so infectious about TJR’s mixes, combined with his use of graphics, his energy, the lights/lasers/smoke, and the crowd’s response, that all of us were on a euphoric high for close to two hours (and we wished he could have kept going).  There wasn’t a moment when I wasn’t dancing, cheering, jumping up and down, and grinning from ear-to-ear.

Then came Knife Party…

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Last year, I heard their laser show was ridiculous, couple that with great hit after hit that they turn out, and I had to see this for myself.  It wasn’t a bad show but it didn’t wow me either (see TJR for more on why I think I might have had way lofty expectations).

The first issue was the time it took to recalibrate the soundboard and set up.  I’ve never seen a pause in between performances like that at a club.  It was definitely too much down time.  The second came down to it being a completely different style of music, so it was hard to shift into that mode of hardcore EDM.  As for their light show, they mostly did away with lasers, in favor of strobe lights, which if you’re sensitive to that, don’t go.  Even for me it was a lot.

They did, however, play some of my favorite hits, which you can watch below.

All-in-all, if these two acts come to your hometown, definitely grab tickets.  It’s completely worth it!  The rest of the videos can be found here.

And oh yeah, shout out to TJR for favoriting my tweet 😉

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Events/Performances, Fun, Travel, United States

Partying With the Masses at Anjunabeats @ Echostage

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I will be the first to admit, I hate being in a crowded place with no viable way to escape.  It’s why I’ve always had a fear of festivals, and other venues, that require acceptance of no personal space.  It’s also the number one reason why I always opted for a table at  large venues.

But, this past weekend, as a last minute “sure, why not?” my other half and I went with some friends to Anjunabeats, General Admission at Echostage, and HAD. A. BLAST!!! There was something so infectious about being in a crowd, filled with happy (albeit, probably medicinally) people that were all there to have a good time and dance.  I also considered it a “warm up” to Dreamscape Festival in June 🙂

Check out some of my videos below:

While it was totally fun, and certainly a different experience, I’m looking forward to my table, overlooking Knife Party, this weekend!

Events/Performances, Fun, Travel, United States

DJ MLEM and Darude and Soundcheck

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Pretending like Darude wasn’t insanely awesome (he totally was).

On March 3rd, one of my favorite DJs from my college years (yes, I’m dating myself), came to Soundcheck to euphorically “bring the house down” and it was everything I ever could have hoped for.

Darude became a US icon in 2001 for releasing “Sandstorm”, which was one of very few EDM songs to hit mainstream airwaves in a time when pop music (especially boybands) was at a fervent pitch.  He, along with the likes of Armin Van Buuren, helped to create the “stickiness” of trance almost 20 years ago, which if you can remember back that far, all started to sound the same.

However, Darude, who needed to re-invent himself after massive success off of that one song, found a way to embrace “Sandstorm”, remix it… and then throw in live-recorded crowd-interactive hits that made us all stay until the very end of the night, to see what else he’d perform.

Check out some of my video clips below.  There’s a whole host of them on my YouTube Channel if you want to check out more of his new album.

NOTE: Scroll past the videos to read more.

Sandstorm Remixed:

Live-recorded “We Love DC” Crowd Chant, Mixed Into His Song:

One of Darude’s Newest Hits:

This post would not be complete without also mentioning the opener – DJ MLEM.  You guys have read many of my previous posts about my affinity for this up-and-coming EDM DJ, who has quickly found his own sound, to which is gaining a mass following.  His new mix, “Son of a Mix 004” has received rave reviews, and even got the attention of Darude, who danced in the crowd to DJ MLEM’s closing set.

This isn’t just a testament to MLEM’s work, but also to Darude’s fun-loving spirit, who spoke volumes by supporting an opening/closing act when no other veteran DJ has done the same.

If you have the ability to see Darude and/or MLEM perform, make it a must!

Events/Performances

DJ MLEM’s Newest Mix

If you follow this blog, or have at least read my EDM review posts, you will know that I’m a huge fan of DJ MLEM’s sound.  His consistent, danceable beats and smooth transitions make him one of the most underrated DJs in the country (even ask those he’s opened for).  Today, his newest mix came out and it’s definitely his best yet. You can listen to it in its entirety below.

Events/Performances

DJ MLEM Opens for ZEDD at Echostage!

 

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My friends are rockstars.  Each one of them has incredible life goals and each of them are hell bent on achieving them.

Right before the New Year’s festivities kicked off, and after an insane year of working his way up the DJ chain, opening for acts such as Tommy Trash, Cazzette, Hotel Garuda, Mat Zo, as well as playing a number of local festivals; DJ MLEM was given an opportunity to open for Zedd at his dream place: Echostage.

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Naturally, we all went out to support him, as he played for a few thousand people in a venue that brings in some of the biggest acts in the world.

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Some of MLEM’s many fans, include his gorgeous girlfriend (in blue).

DJ MLEM’s sound has warmed up tens of thousands of party-goers, offering his own blend of sophisticated deep house with highly danceable beats.  His consistent sound of his own mixes has gotten the attention of not just some of the biggest names in D.C. area club and festival ownership, but also more and more loyal EDM fans as well.

Take a listen to a tiny part of his set, here:

But what amazes me more is how responsive the main acts have been to his sets, attempting to match his style in a thoughtful and smooth transition, so that they can continue on with their own performances.   While all have succeeded at it, they fail shortly after taking over.

Most of these big names “borrow” or “parrot” others’ music, in order to create a danceable set for a few hours.  Rarely do they play their own tracks (I’ve heard the Titanic song be remixed by Diplo, Hotel Garuda stopped what they were doing and played R. Kelly’s “Ignition”, and I’ve even heard Zedd play an entire song from another EDM artist) and if they do, they only cover a small part of it .  When listening to an opening set of a DJ who has a passion for this talent, it’s clear that the bigger names have (mostly) lost what the art form is truly about – bringing new sounds into the world.  DJ MLEM has consistently outshone the main acts I’ve seen come after him, which has caused me to leave shortly after they start playing, on more than one occasion.  True EDM fans can understand why this is the case – we want to be immersed into songs the performer has created – I don’t go to a Drake concert to see him perform one of Jay Z’s songs. Instead, I want to experience, in-person, the talent that have brought them to this level.  It’s my hope that DJ MLEM and more artists like him, can bring back DJing as a true art form.

On a more personal note, if you have never heard of DJ MLEM, follow him on Facebook, see where he’s playing next, and definitely be there to listen to his talent in-person.  Oh, and he’s also one of the nicest guys in the world too.