Tag Archive | concerts

The 2015 Recap Edition

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This is my 2015 recap. I wouldn’t say that 2015 was a banner year. But I don’t have those. I think not having many major life milestones is a contributing factor. No wedding, engagement, babies or new businesses. So it was just like any other year. Two items of note:

  1. I barely blogged this year. I ended up in a very toxic, soul sucking work environment and all I want to do when I get home is collapse on the couch and work on lump status. Ironically, my last project at my previous job was conducting employee focus groups. I was so amazed at how miserable employees were. People would be near tears when we asked the simple question of “how do you get along with your boss?” Now I get it. Bad workplaces sap every ounce of energy you have.
  2. Being miserable at work caused me to reevaluate my life. I became very Shalina-focused. I decided to not spend much energy chasing behind other people. I realized that I put forth much of the effort in many of my relationships and that ceased. I didn’t call first, extend many invites or deal with much selfishness. I just didn’t have the energy. This also affected my Top Ten Life. Not as many outings to discuss.

So without much further ado, here are my Top 15 moments of 2015. This is no particular order as I am trying to be more freewheeling and doesn’t include events already discussed on the site.

  1. I was so artsy. – Crafts are a good release. I made Kente cloth, painted pottery, created jewelry, adult colored.
  2. I binge watched. – I am not a tv person despite being raised by an absolute tvaholic. I like leaving the house (hence this blog). However, as mentioned by the two items of note, I didn’t cajole people to hang out and didn’t want to be bothered, so thank you to: Jessica Jones, Orange is the New Black, Broad City, Master of None, etc. for keeping me occupied. I saw some good ones and bad ones – I won’t mention Younger. So much shame.
  3. I did lots of road trips (on my Vision Board).- New York, three times! I went to Harlem (visited many places that I later saw reality shows either good or bad) and Brooklyn. I went to Hampton’s Homecoming for the first time in 10 plus years. I am now a big fan of all the suite parties! I went to Michigan twice. To quote Murtaugh, “I am getting too old for this.” That trip is getting harder and harder to do. I went to a Delmarva beach for the first time for an extended time (4 days, not a day trip) in the 20 years I have been here. While Dewey is nice, turns out honey doesn’t like sitting in the hot sun because he works outside all day.
  4. Afro Punk.- Grace Jones topless hula hooping. Lenny Kravitz jumping into the crowd. Enough said.
  5. D’Angelo returned to form. – However, he had the ridiculous idea that his 35+ year old fan base should attend a four plus hour standing show on a work day. Unfortunately, we needed to leave early as my honey’s feet were killing him one hour into his performance (four hours into the night). Apparently he performed for two hours. Standing shows need rules! Thou shall not have opening acts. Thou shall start promptly after doors open. Thou shall only book acts whose audience is 25 years old.
  6. Prince bestowed us with his presence. – Prince came to Baltimore and all was right. Actually not really because of the reason he was there after “riots” resulting from Freddie Gray’s death. I could talk about that issue for hours but will move on. So many funny things happened at the show just in the audience! One thing, Royal Farms Arena needs screens. I never knew who any of the “special guests” were and had to rely on sneak looks at my phone (phones were banned which caused some of the audience hilarity).
  7. I was considerate. – I did stuff that I really didn’t want to because I am a good person. I gave up Trevor Noah tickets (taping his Comedy Central special!) to go to my honey’s club event. I wanted to go to a wine festival but instead went to the movies with friends. There should be prizes given out for this behavior.
  8. Carefree outings. – I joined meetups. They are such an easy way to hang out. You don’t have to call people. You don’t have to endure being stood up. If you don’t have plans, you pick a pre-arranged event and show up! Honey thinks things are weird, but I came to love them. I golfed regularly. I zip lined. I sang karaoke. I grooved at Motown the Musical. Easy peasy.
  9. Childhood dream. – I hate to admit this but I’ve never seen a full New Edition show. As equally as Jill was moody, New Edition was fun. Damn they can still dance except Johnny who is turning into Eddie LeVert. Yay guys! I saw BBD on Valentine’s Day and they can work their 6 songs hard! Then I saw the full shebang at the Holiday Jam. So happy for me.
  10. Food and libations. You know what is fun? The Bourbon and Brew Classic! Bourbon tastings combined with horse racing. What a great idea. I ate the most divine Lobster Rolls (I wrote it down) at the Baltimore Seafood Festival. I drank so much wine at the Vintage Virginia Festival while dancing to Trouble Funk. I went to a violently okay wine festival at the Navy Yard though so they aren’t all silver and gold. I like these things a little too much.
  11. So fancy. – I was invited to not one but two tea parties. I am very elegant and this is the reason why.
  12. I got some cool deals this year. – Enjoyed the Black and Brown Comedy Get Down based on a random discount code. Took honey to a cool brunch. Found an okay hotel in Brooklyn. I still want my playlist, dammit! Vegas was a great hotel special.
  13. Celebrated Detroit. – Went to D.C. Loves Dilla for the first time with special appearance by Common who did one song though Dilla produced entire albums. But I digress. Though it’s weird seeing only two people in Slum Village. I was reminded of my dark dusty days at St. Andrews in the late 90’s. Remember this, rap battles are terrible. No, they weren’t good. They are terrible.
  14. One down, two to go. – So I finally went to Preakness. I just have Belmont and the Kentucky Derby to go. Plus, I need to start on the rest of my sports bucket list: U.S. Open, the Masters, and the World Series. The sky’s the limit. Hopefully, they will have less drunk people. Preakness has so many drunk people. But I had a great hat. That’s what is most important.
  15. Diner en Blanc. Last and my favorite. I worked hard on this. After seeing that the waiting list was in the five digits I decided to be creative. While I may not be the most social being (which is the key to getting invited) but I’m Cleva (shout out to Erykah). I created a fabulous infographic as to why I should be invited and voila, I was in. On paper it seems ludicrous but in practice, awesome.Honey was dubious. My friend bailed. But what a fun time for a tremendous amount of work. Plus as a treat, honey booked a room at the Marriott Marquis which isn’t as luxurious as it could be though it has the spa water with fruit in the lobby.
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The Hard Work Edition

Courtesy of Library of Congress

Courtesy of Library of Congress

So I meant to write last week but my Office was giving me the blues. I will bypass discussion of the American Cool exhibit to recount my latest musical adventure and an adventure it was. I need to start writing things down. I saw the announcement about the Gregory Porter concert at the Library of Congress and plum forgot to get tickets. By the time I remembered it was sold out. As a result, we decided to try for tickets as they make some available at 6p on the day of shows or so I thought.

I was really proud of myself. First I got there early. I had no food in my stomach but I was there. Luckily I arrived at the same time as half of the quartet so instead of being confused as to where to go I followed them. So imagine my little amazement when I got inside to wait for tickets and it was packed. I just figured a handful of people or so would give it a shot. I didn’t know how many tickets they hand out so I spend 30 minutes trying to figure out how to best position myself for success and wondering where my buddy who decided to accompany me was. I realized first that you don’t get tickets, you get something called rush tickets. These tickets enable you to be the waiting list if the event isn’t filled. Since the show is free, a lot of people order tickets online and don’t show up.

The wait quickly become contentious as the line wrapped around the hallway and the old folks who must have arrived promptly at noon were turned up. They wanted to know exactly how the tickets will be distributed and how the staff planned to ensure there was no cutting. I cannot wait until I get old! Anyway I hate conflict and started to just move on but then my Gregory Porter guardian angel swooped in and saved the day. He told me that I can get in front of him. I ended up with tickets 74 and 75 of 100. Without his benevolence, I never would have made it. The staff told us that we needed to come back at 7:30 to see if we will make it in.

I will say that this method of giving tickets requires a lot of effort on the part of the attendees. You wait in line prior to 6p and come back in 90 minutes to do it again? Anyway we were back. We sat in the overflow room which looks likes the lounge of a Vermont bed and breakfast and queue back up (well in chairs) and proceed to wait. It was hilarious. Folks were antsy. The staff would call numbers and people wouldn’t show up and folks cheered. One lady claimed to be holding tickets for friends who were en route and she was promptly booed. Amazingly my guardian angel did not return. Maybe the arguing at 6p got to him or he realized this is the stupidest method ever to get into a sold out event. Why couldn’t we just queue up at 7:30p and they just let the first 100 people in? Folks had jokes. Joy spread as we burned through the first 50 numbers. However everything slowed down after that and sadness ensued. People started plotting. I convinced a couple to double up if it got down to the wire. Then…yes! Our number was called.

We entered and the usher guided us to an entirely empty row save for two people on the end. Unfortunately the lady at the end refused to stand up and she wasn’t the kind of person you could squeeze by. A note: if you are heavy and have mobility issues, please do not sit at the end of an aisle. I watched without being able to hear my friend argue with the lady and then dart off. I followed quickly behind to discover that she saw better seats. We found great seats about 7 rows up from the stage, next to a man who didn’t even know who Gregory Porter was.

Thank goodness the concert was awesome or I just wasted 2 hours stressing for no reason. I swear after his amazing rendition of Work Song I wanted to throw my panties or give him some kind of reward. The audience was obviously filled with fanatics who screamed song requests. Umm…that’s not how concerts work. Everyone demanded an encore and sat down like the little brats we were when we got one. It was 90 minutes of excellence as an award for 2 plus hours of work. A really good deal.

Stay Cute Mondays – On Tuesday! The Outdoorsy Edition

As a disclaimer, the storm knocked out my internet yesterday, but it’s up and the post is done.

This weekend I made my annual pilgrimage to the Capital Jazz Festival (more to come). I swear getting ready for a two-day (it’s actually three but if I tried that I would pass out) outdoor music festival is a serious process. There are tons of these things: Bonarroo, Coachella, Rock the Bells. I think it is because I am a super J on the Myers Briggs scale and I put a lot of effort into preparing for this event. I wasn’t always a J. I used to be solidly in the middle of P and J but my family is comprised of mostly P’s and someone needed to create some semblance of order. Below are my tips to properly prepare for summer outdoor events.

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This year I gave in. Every year, it rains (to quote Mary J). And every year, I wear cute sandals that make my feet disgusting or cute sneakers that get ruined. I sacrificed my adorable Nike ballet slippers on Saturday and finally gave in. I wore rain boots. Boy, did my little feet feel protected from the evil elements and potential trash. I always see some ridiculous celebrity at Coachella in shorts and cowboy boots or something similar. I think, “Who wears shorts and boots?” Me that’s who.

I love a cute flirty dress. Outdoor concerts are not the place for a cute flirty dress because of sheer logistics. You are carrying chairs and coolers, sitting low to the ground and surrounded by mud and dirt. This is all negligible if you are in the premium seating. But ten hour concerts are not conducive to straight back seats, which is why I do lawn. I usually opt for a dark pair of capris or shorts (I wore white once and it did okay). I also opt for a simple shirt: either a polo or razorback tank. I see the cutest clothes at the event and think, nice but no. There are opportunities to be rain soaked, grass rubbed, food spilled and it’s best to stick to basics.

Of course, you must pack a lunch. With this I struggle. I can never figure out what to eat and am obsessed with not having my food spoil in the sun. Cooler or not. I stick with lots of snacks, fruit and salads: pasta, chicken, tuna. I really like a spicy Thai tuna salad that is available in a can. A can.  I usually raid the salad bar at Whole Foods but decided this year to make my supper. Boy did I want fried chicken. Man, I cannot make proper fried chicken. It is the quintessential picnic food. I attempted some Safeway chicken that made my stomach angry. Typically, I usually buy frozen Chicken tenders, bake them in the oven the night before and pack. Amazingly I like Safeway brand the best as it lacks that floury taste frozen tenders usually have. My mom has the palette of an eight year old, so we tried many frozen tenders before finding the perfect ones. Otherwise, don’t do as I did. Buy fried chicken from the deli in the afternoon when it is freshest and refrigerate immediately. I purchased mine in the morning and it probably sat too long.

ice blanketPro tip: I hate filling my cooler with ice because when you reach in it makes your hands cold. I buy ice blankets that can be frozen the night before. For my mom’s trick, I also freeze a couple of bottles of water and place in the bottom of the cooler. I place stay cold items on top and cover with the ice blankets. My items stay cold and by the end of the night when the water melts and the food is gone, the ice bottles turn into cold, refreshing water.

So what you take for a weekend in the sun, according to me:

  • A zippered tote. I got mine from a tradeshow as I was once a booth diva (babe is so degrading). However, the ever popular LL Bean makes ones that can be monogrammed and customized.tote_bag
  • Lots of plastic. I am talking about tablecloths, tarps, clear furniture covers. This will sit on the ground underneath your blanket for minimal cleaning and cover you in the event of rain.
  • Insect repellent arm bands. My latest discovery due to a friend’s addiction to Groupon. They sort of work and keep you from being stinky.insect repellent
  • A cute rolling cooler. I decided that I am upgrading soonest because carrying my cooler gets exhausting. So exhausting.

cooler

  • Lots of paper towels, plastic and paper utensils if you like them. I don’t care about the plates and cups but others must have them.
  • Wipes. I adore individually wrapped wipes. I usually stock up when I am in New Jersey because there’s a Bed Bath and Beyond in Menlo Park that has an entire section devoted to tiny toiletries. I have yet to see a similar set up in the D.C. area. My wipes are sanitizing wipes, Cottonelle wipes, glass lens wipes, and face wipes for sweat.
  • Miniature bottles of wine and liquor. Of course this is only if allowed in the event. Pack straws to stay classy.
  • Lots of store plastic bags. This came over time when I realized that I would stupidly stuff containers and food back into my cooler.
  • Sunscreen. I often forget it and then my skin hurts.
  • Towels. I usually use my really raggedly Wal-Mart ones. Seriously, never buy them for actual bathing. They can be used to protect your car, wipe off sweat (though I hate this usage personally) or dry off from the rain.
  • A big blanket. I scored a really durable canvas one from Target in the clearance section one fall. However, if you are cheap like me and don’t quickly find a $7 one, head to Ikea and purchase some $3 fleece throws.throw
  • An umbrella. For rain, of course.
  • A nice outdoor chair with a roof. I still remember the first year that I saw them at Capital Jazz. I was instantly jealous and needed one immediately. In fact, I headed to Sports Authority that month and copped one on sale. That chair is my outdoor everything.

chair

What I know I need next: the aforementioned roller cooler in an adorable pattern. And, a portable phone charger. After 11 hours outdoors, my iPhone is usually on 5% and that’s only by charging it until I reach the venue with no interruptions, ignoring calls, texting only, not playing games and sending a tweet an hour.

I am also considering carrying less food. I always have leftovers, which I discard. I am completely fascinated by friends who come to these events with a deli sandwich, big bottle of water, chips and a cookie. They are so unencumbered. I once attended an all day wine festival with stuff I already had in the kitchen that included: three bottles of water, a fruit cup, strawberries, grapes, chicken tenders (from frozen), chips, cheese, crackers and a chocolate chip granola bar. In fact the entire thing fit into regular lunch bag. I wonder if I could make that happen again. No trips to the grocery store, no fixing pasta salad. Just ease. But I am a J, so I am sure that won’t happen.

2012 – The Year That Was

“Have more fun in 2013” – Nas

Courtesy of Hip Hop Wired

Courtesy of Hip Hop Wired

I spent my last day in 2012 at Radio City Music Hall listening to Nas. The concert was amazing (a little too short) and being in NYC on NYE is an experience all its own. It was the end to a unique, but not quite, year. 2012 occurred with no major life changes: no new job, romance, accomplishment. That could be why I was so disenchanted with it. 2012 marked a significant birthday as I graduated from the cool kids club, without feeling it at all. I spent the aforementioned birthday at the opening of a new supper club, that I am not sure still exists. I wasn’t impressed and didn’t check on its progress.

I decided that I needed to push myself more, personally. I am the kind of person who can stand up to a 6’4” screaming E9 in the office or climb a mountain in a foreign country, but won’t speak to a stranger at a party. Thus, I vowed to go out more and take chances. None of these things I like, by the way.

To recap my year, I am using the same system I’ve employed since 3rd grade. It first starts with best friends and new friends. I did make a few new friends, so go me!

Favorite TV Shows:

  1. Parks and Recreation
  2. Scandal
  3. Chopped

Least Favorite Show:

Who has time for that?

Favorite New Show:

Nashville

Fun Fads:

  1. Ridiculous VH1 Reality Shows
  2. over-the-top nails,

Sports:

My Pistons weren’t good this year and my Tigers were swept at the World Series

Best Concert:

So difficult… as I went to a lot of great shows, but I’ll give it to Nas, since he was  last

Honorable Mention:

Summer Spirit Festival, since I went free and Sharon Jones is awesomeness

Best Songs:

This was not a great new music year for me, meaning that I really haven’t been  exploring music like I should. That should be something I vowed to change in 2013

Favorite Movie:

Honestly, the only movie I thought about a week even after viewing was The Silver Linings Playbook. I just loved it.

Honorable Mention:

The Avengers, because I was so amazed that they pulled it off

Funniest Moment:

There will be a ham. This line represents the ridiculousness of my work environment perfectly

Strangest Moment:

That awful wind storm in June, plus I was stuck driving in it

Worst Moment:

Having my car towed, darn it

Fun Moments:

  1. All the moments on this blog, of course
  2. The annual Boo Bash
  3. Finally visiting South Beath

Favorite spots:

  1. Panera, which shouldn’t be shared but I eat there once a week, lol
  2. My beloved yoga studio, a good one is hard to find
  3. Queen Makeda/1920, who knew I’d be happy going to the same spot every  week

Favorite meal:

Drag Brunch in Miami, honey

Regrets:

Oh my

Highlights:

  1. Achieving a headstand in yoga, I joke that this is my single biggest accomplishment this year
  2. Completing The Warmth of Other Suns, as that was a long book