Governor’s Ball: One Sweet Music Festival

This past weekend I went to Governor’s Ball, a music festival in New York City on Randall’s Island. Many of you may

One of many lost shoes.

One of many lost shoes.

have heard about this already, but after Friday’s serious rain showers the place was a complete mud pit. I’m talking 5 inches of thick, goopy, smelly mud. It was like quick sand or something– so many lost shoes, sunglasses, and even a few iPhones. The mud was so thick it ripped my friend’s shoe in half! He lifted his foot and half his shoe came up and half stayed in the mud, forever to be lost.

 

However, if you think some mud ruined an entire music festival full of great bands and awesome people, you are mistaken. The weekend was EPIC. Funnel cake, falafel, cheese fries, milk shakes, beer, shandies, soft pretzels, corn dogs, and more. The food selection was out of this world. The food trucks were so popular, many of them ran out of food. They kept all types of people in mind too– I was very happy when I found the vegetarian booth. Any type of food you wanted, you could find. There was even an arancini truck (arancini balls are basically fried risotto balls with different types of things added).

 

The lineup was great as well. I personally saw Dillon Francis, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Thievory Corporation, The Lumineers, Naz, Kendrick Lamar, Bloc Party, Beirut, Kanye West, and a couple of others. Guns N’ Roses was a big name that I didn’t get the chance to see, but from what I heard they put on a killer performance. Kings of Leon were also incredible. Unfortunately, Pretty Lights didn’t get to play due to the weather and then they had to take off for Baltimore, but since they come to Boston every Fall, I’m sure I’ll get to see them soon.

Sunset at Governor's Ball

Sunset at Governor’s Ball

 

When it comes down to it though, my favorite part of the festival was the attitude of the crowd. I saw very few people complaining about the mud, and many people just embracing it. People walked around bare foot just digging their toes in and accepting what it was. As difficult as it was to get around at times, the mud kept us all laughing and light-hearted. The event planning could have been a bit better, but it was a weekend full of friends, music, beer, and laughter. What more could you ask for?

 

If you haven’t been to a music festival, you should go some day. I didn’t think I would enjoy it at all, but even in the conditions we had, I had a great time!

 

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A Simply Sweet Secret: Meditation

I’ll bet that you if you stood on the street (anywhere in the world) and asked people if they would like to get rid of their stress, be more at ease on a day to day basis, and free from anxiety, every single person would say yes. Why wouldn’t they? Stress is a major cause of pain and suffering, so why not be free of it?

As a college student in a busy city with high ambitions, I often feel stressed and anxious. It got so bad I finally decided to do something about it! Running relieved my stress, but only for a couple hours. Shopping relieved my stress, but only for a day or so. Anti-anxiety medication gave a false and temporary relief, but I didn’t want to rely on it. Nothing could give me lasting freedom from the constant tension…until now.

Many people have told me I need to meditate in order to quiet my mind and calm down. I have always resisted this idea though because just the thought of being alone and silent, doing nothing, but breathing, for more than 10 seconds made me jittery and almost panicky. How could I possibly do it? Well, how can someone possibly run a marathon? They train. They start off slow and run short distances and then after months or years of training, they can finally run a marathon. It’s the same with meditation. You need to practice, but FIRST you need to actually try it.

My mind was going so fast all the time to the point where I thought I would just collapse. There was nothing left for me to do, but try it. I’m so glad I did. I started off small and just did a simple 10 minute guided meditation. That way I had something to focus on instead of just silence. Each day I was able to relax more, quiet my mind even further, and just focus on my breath. I was amazed. I have been doing just 15 minute meditations every day for the past 20 days and I can promise you, I have felt the difference.

When I’m walking to work, instead of my mind thinking of all the negative possibilities that lie ahead (a busy shift, having to stay late, a terrible clean up, the stinging of the sanitizer on my hands after washing 100 dishes), I now just walk and breathe and enjoy the fresh air and feel the sun (or rain). No more stress, no more anxiety, no more medication, just 15 minutes a day of peace.

I dare you to try it.

If you’re not sure where to start check this website out: CLICK HERE

For some nice music to meditate to: CLICK HERE

For proof: CLICK HERE

Youtube has a million free meditations, you just have to find one that works for you. However, you can also buy meditation CDs or MP3s. You just have to find what works best for you, but I promise, it will wok.

Sweet Starbucks Secrets

White Mocha Frappuccino

White Mocha Frappuccino

I’m completely addicted to Starbucks. I know it costs a little too much and I know how to make many of the drinks from my job, but there’s something about holding a lovely Starbucks cup that just makes it worth it. However, after going almost every day (sometimes twice) I get tired of my same old drinks.

 

Starbucks claims to have over 80,000 different drink combinations…I want to try them all, but what are they? When you look up at the menu there are only maybe 30 options that you can change up, but this Starbucks addict wants a bit more. WELL, there is a secret menu filled with other drinks just waiting to be ordered!!

 

I first heard about this when my friend ordered a “Zebra Hot Chocolate” which has white and dark chocolate. I asked her how she could order that and she explained. I forgot about it for a while until I found some of the secret drink options online and now I’m going to share some of them with you! (I’m a chocolate lover, so many of these will be the deliciously chocolatey options)

 

  • Chocolate Cream Frappuccino
  • Red Eye (espresso in regular drip coffee)
  • Biscotti Frappuccino
  • Chocolate Dalmation (white chocolate mocha with java chips and chocolate chip)
  • Zebra Mocha (similar to the zebra hot chocolate, but mocha)
  • Chocolate Covered Strawberry Frappuccino
  • Raspberry Caramel Macchiato
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Mocha Coconut Frappuccino

 

There are a whole bunch of other Starbucks secrets (including secret sizes, secret ways for cheaper drinks, etc.) Also keep in mind, Starbucks caters to whatever customers want. You can customize your drinks as much as you want, so never limit your orders to just what’s on the menu (like I’ve been doing). Writing this blog has given me so many new drink ideas!

 

To see more secret menu recipes: CLICK HERE

For ideas on how to custom create great frappuccinos: CLICK HERE

***I’m sure there are some Starbucks stores and baristas who won’t always know what you’re talking about when you order a secret drink…but don’t feel stupid, these things are real.

(images from frappuccino.com)

A Wonderfully Sweet Movie: Life of Pi

Many people have probably already seen the movie Life of Pi. However, if you haven’t you should really go ASAP! This

life-of-pi-poster2

movie portrayed a character who respected animals in a way that was reasonable, perfect, and much-needed.

The tiger, Richard Parker, didn’t unrealistically become best friends with the young boy and magically become a vegetarian. The tiger remained a tiger. The boy remained a boy. They co-existed the best they could as a tiger and a boy. The boy obviously put in great effort so he could join the tiger on the boat, instead of staying on his raft. He could have killed the tiger and had the boat and food to himself. However, he respected Richard Parker as a life. The boy wasn’t going to just kill him because he was an animal. I think the tiger’s very human name (Richard Parker) helped to emphasize this point.

This attitude needs to be carried by more people. Animals live on this planet too. They are lives too. We can’t just take from them and ignore them and act as though we are more entitled. This movie captured that attitude perfectly and in a way a lot of people can comprehend. I loved this movie for many reasons, but this was certainly a massive one.

Life of Pi has teamed up with the WWF to raise awareness for tiger conservation. Tigers are ripped apart and every inch of them is used in illegal trading. This movie carried many great deep messages, I’m not overlooking that. I just hope that this message in particular is picked up by many people around the world.

Also, just a side note: The visual effects in this film were FANTASTIC along with the life messages it carried. It was a seriously beautiful film on all levels.

What Does Love Mean? The Sweetest Responses

A group of children ages 4-8 years old were asked what love means. Their responses are better, deeper, and truer than the responses you get from most adults. It’s amazing that at such a young age, love is still evident to everyone. Here are a few of the sweetest responses:

“When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.” -Billy (age 4)

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“Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.” -Bobby (age 7)

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“Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday.” -Noelle (age 7)

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“Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day.” -Mary Ann (age 4)

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“Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well.” -Tommy (age 6)

Sweet Beasts

I’m on a stumbling rampage right now. That’s what snow does to me.

98412I found a page that had 6 ADORABLE stories of pet beasts. There is a story of a young boy who is best friends with a 20 foot python. A man with a pet hippo (hippos are the most dangerous animals in Africa…keep that in mind). There is a man who has a lion friend and a couple other really great bonds.

I love this stuff. I think it goes to show that it doesn’t matter who or what you are, if there is a special bond there, it’s there. Always cherish your relationships, whether they are with a 20 foot snake or your mother. They are important and they are beautiful.

I want a panda best friend!

To read these stories: CLICK HERE

The Sweetest Thing I’ve Stumbled Upon…

It’s a long snowy day. I have a bit of cabin fever, so I’ve been stumbling (stumbleupon.com). I just stumbled upon the sweetest story I’ve seen in a long time. I felt it needed to be shared.

ImageIt’s a love story told only with pictures, but you’ll get it. It expresses the kind of love more people to need find. An absolutely beautiful story.

I know this blog is about smiling and this will definitely make you smile, but I’ll warn you now: there might be a tear or two.

Here is the link: CLICK HERE TO SEE THE STORY 

In Need of Some Spirit Lifting

I’m in the middle of midterm week. It’s hell. I’ve spent at least 24 hours in the library in the last few days. I love school and everything is totally worth it and all. But sitting in a stuffy, over heated, library with practically no human contact is getting to me. So I needed something to put me in a better mood. AND I FOUND IT!

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Man saving the woman’s dog from a river.

There have been a few of these “restore your faith in humanity” lists before. Basically it’s a list of pictures and explanations of things that are so surprisingly sweet, it makes you want to tear up, smile, and laugh all at the same time. Just something to think about though: wouldn’t it be better if these things weren’t so abnormal. For example, if someone’s dog falls into a river and they can’t swim…shouldn’t it just be human nature for a bystander who can swim to jump in and save the dog? Instead, it’s a miracle that someone would do something so selfless. Don’t get me wrong, it’s beautiful. But it should be normal in my opinion.

Anyways to see this list of adorable sweet human acts of kindness: CLICK HERE

I promise you’ll smile!