Monday, April 28, 2014

Thoughts on Edgefest 2014

Edgefest is an all-day alternative music festival. This year was the 24th year for KDGE (the radio station) to put it on. Unlike the early years, when it was held at the now Gexa Energy Pavilion, it is in the large Toyota Stadium home to FC Dallas. There is one large stage on the North end, and the performers are shown on the large screens. On the South end is a smaller stage, but still with an impressive sound and lighting set up. The cover the field with these plastic sheets that are put together much like an indoor dance floor. You can have a regular stadium seat, General Admission (which allows for field access), VIP up in the terrace with special wristbands, and then backstage/all-access passes, which I don’t think can be bought.

This years line-up included:
Beck
Bastille
The Avett Brothers
Cage The Elephant
Grouplove
New Politics
Switchfoot
The Neighbourhood
Chvrches
Kongos
Bear Hands
MS MR
J. Roddy Walston & The Business
Smallpools
 
I am a mother now, so I was delayed in my arrival because we had hockey, then reading, then lunch, and dinner prep. I am a mother first before anything else.  I scored a Living Social deal and got my GA ticket for half off! I had wanted to go and lamented missing out on The Black Keys in 2012 because I didn’t have anyone to go with—at that time, I told myself I wasn’t going to let that stop me from experiencing something. Heck, the last time I was able to attend was back in 2010, when my secnd wasn’t even born yet.  Because of the deal, I told myself I’d go with an open mind because I’d be going solo. No big deal. It is quite empowering to go to concerts solo! Heck, I’ve done it a couple of times this year, but none were for all day! Of course, it never fails that I happen upon friends at the shows or I make new ones. Such was the case on Saturday. Already, we all have something in common because everyone there is there for the music.
I like to let out my inner bohemian/hippie at events like this. The weather was perfect! I wore a white sundress and sandals. I’d packed a scarf, sunscreen, my collapsible Vapur  water bottle, and my used copy of Mindy Kaling’s book. Yes, I took a book to Edgefest…and read it. Hey, not everyone is in love with all of the performers, so it is a good way to pass the time lounging in the sun, reading, while live music plays in the background. I just wished I would’ve had my large latte to accompany me…then that would’ve been perfect. I used to be cool, or so I thought.

A nifty addition were the vendor booths on the field. I really enjoyed the hair academies and their offering to do hair chalk and braids for really cheap. Plus, you could charge your phone for free. Not to be outdone, there was another booth that was selling those portable phone chargers for $20. That TOTALLY came in handy, especially towards the end of the night. I Am Second was there offering free rides from Uber for anyone who was unable to drive home. High five to that collaboration! Oh, and the real fun kicker to do, just because you could were the La Bare dancers! They were so nice…and made me feel so, so, so old.


Anyway, the performances:

I missed out on Smallpools because I hadn’t yet arrived (drat because I really enjoy their song, Dreaming) and J. Roddy and the Business (I heard them, but was up in the line for swag—I scored a Beck canvas bag, yaaay for new weekend bag!)--edited to add that I also missed the Jessie Frye Band. For me, all of the performers brought their A game. Seriously, there was always constant gleeful screaming from the crowd, the energy was high, and everyone was so happy. My favorites were: Beck, Bastille, Cage The Elephant, Grouplove, Chvrches, and MS MR. The Avett Brothers were so fun, I especially liked their cellist. It was my first time ever hearing them. The Neighbourhood’s voices took me back to San Diego to nearly a year ago. The rest were really great, too!

I found myself just roaming around, smiling at people, striking up conversation, avoiding what I thought was blue body paint, but ended up being actual paint, and just enjoying the gorgeous afternoon.


I lingered in the back mostly or to the side.
Grouplove’s energy and spirit had me hopping up and down, singing along, punching beach balls, smiling, and high-fiving. Bastille had me shouting and singing, crying, and feeling ever so very much consumed with the music. You see, music has always made me feel, in one way or another. Bastille’s Pompeii has a very visceral reaction. Singing with them fills me with all of the feels—for lack of a better way to put it. Then he put me over the edge by singing SNAP!’s “Rhythm is a Dancer.” Why was I the only one within earshot who knew all of the lyrics? Whatever, I’m owning my age.

I braved the masses for Cage the Elephant---love those guys, and helped push forward more than my fair share of bodies while they crowd surfed. At the end of the night, I carefully slipped off my wristband, exited the field and handed it to a hungry concert-goer. You know the one. The big fan standing as close to floor as possible, hungry to be there in all of it. I do this at nearly every show I go to. It is like my little gift to the music world for paying it forward. She was more than appreciative and in a bit of disbelief when I handed it to her. She quickly scurried off and I lost her in the masses. Didn’t matter. I went up, found a seat, gazed to the sky as Beck performed “Blue Moon.” Eyes filled with tears, I smiled, enjoyed the flickering lights of the fire flies dancing.

There were drunk people, but not like from times past. There weren’t women flashing…I remember, lots and lots of flashing from years past. No, I did, however see more than enough booty cleavage, that I had visions of it hours later. Ugh, that fashion trend should’ve stayed in the 80s when people were more in shape or much thinner because they were hopped up on coke or heroin. I’m not saying people should do drugs, at all. I am saying that it wouldn’t kill anyone to do some lunges. You are a teenager, there is NO REASON you should proudly display all of your cellulite. I didn’t see any big fights, either. I noticed some roadies giving high-fives to the people coming through the barricade after they finished crowd surfing. That was really cool to see that support. Even more so when I discovered that these roadies were actually the morning show from the EDGE, Jagger Mafia. No wonder people were taking photos with them! It was a good time, mostly wholesome, and about the tamest of Edgefests I’d ever attended, actually. This was refreshing.

I couldn’t agree more with New Politics frontman David Boyd’s statement from the Dallas News write-up:

“This is the definition of magic,’’ Boyd said, staring out at the crowd as the sun dipped behind Toyota Stadium on warm, blustery night. “Good friends, good music -- this is what life is about.”


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Look for the light


"Mama, why are you taking a picture of the sky?"
Look baby, right there. See that break? There's always light. You don't always see it, but it is there, I promise. See how the sun makes the clouds pop, giving them texture and definition? The light is what defines, so always look to the light.
"Mama, I'm gonna need some more white to add to my paintings. The light really does make everything so pretty!"
Yes, Sugarbug, absolutely.
___________________________________________________________
Even though we were running late, I took a moment to stop and stare at the beauty before me. I was mesmerized, and to my daughter, I’m sure she sat in her seat wondering what was happening, hence our conversation. I took a deep breath, and drove her to school. Our commute is short. Carpool line drop-off makes it fast. But today, I pulled up much slower than normal, grateful to all of the pedestrians. I stared at my little one in the rearview mirror, unapologetic for the tears that were forming in my eyes. She was wearing a navy shirt with pink and white writing, a turquoise skort, her long hair in braided pig tails. Her eyes bright, her heart full of love, her spirit inquisitive. How did I get to be so blessed? Where has the time gone? Every single day, I give a little more silent thank-yous to my parents. In spite of all of the internal struggles I had, despite all of the difficult life-lessons, they were there to hold me close, love me—even when I didn’t think they were there. They were, without hesitation.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter Tradition: Make Homemade Cascarones (confetti eggs)

Easter is probably my favorite holiday with Thanksgiving being a close second. Imagine that, two holidays that really stand out with food and sweets! Growing up, I was very lucky that my mother held tightly onto traditions. She built these traditions into our family and I’ve now passed on those traditions to my girls. Easter dresses, chocolates, grilling, and cascarones (confetti eggs)!

The Goods

--Egg shells

--confetti

--food coloring/dye + white vinegar…to color eggs

--1/4 c flour + water…natural glue

--tissue/crepe paper (squares large enough to cover the egg)

The Process

To make your own you will need egg shells. This requires some planning—saving of shells or some epic baking. I decided to start saving our shells for the past month. This means you save the shell and the egg carton. You rinse off the inside of the shell, and let them dry until you are ready for use. My family eats a lot of eggs. Plus, I made some homemade goodies, so we had 11 dozen shells to decorate and fill.

Step One – Prepare Work Area

Have a decent sized work space and be sure to cover with newspaper, plastic wrap, etc. Also, have on hand, spoons, paper towels, refreshments (because this is gonna take some time), and some music. Also, wear some work clothes!

Step Two – Color Eggs

Lay out your eggs, boil your water, and measure out vinegar/food coloring for dyeing eggs. Need help with that? Check out these gals.

Note: Brown eggs DO NOT color as great as white eggs.

Step 3 – Fill Eggs with Confetti

When your eggs have dried, place them back in the carton and fill the shells with confetti! If you are NOT like me, you already have your confetti and have had it for a while. If you are like me, then you have to take your trusty Marta Stewart Fringe scissors and make some confetti! (see, now you know the REAL reason why it takes so long!) You give up making confetti and you dive into your decorative stash of flakey glitter and fill your eggs because your smallest one has gotten into the glue and decided to paint herself and the dog. Much excitement, for sure!

Step 4 – Cover Eggs

So you can use regular glue, but I like to get messy! Here is where I take my flour, add a bit of water until it is just the right amount of creamy. You don’t want it runny, but a thick creamy like regular glue. Dip your finger into the glue and line the top of your egg shell. Then cover with the paper and run a layer around the top edge again to secure. Gently put aside to dry. Go to the next egg. It took my eldest about half an hour to get through a dozen. In that same time, my smallest one successfully completed one egg. And managed to get glue on herself, the dog, and all over the workplace. It was fun times watching them and just giggling. Be prepared for much laughter and complaining.

Step 5 – Let Dry

Once you have covered all of the eggs, let them dry at least over night. They are so pretty! You did a great job, you deserve a glass of wine. But you can’t have one because you have to chisel off the homemade glue from yourself, your little ones, and your dog. By the time you are done, you will just want a long bath and a nap.

Step 6 – Crack on Heads

Now the hard part is over. Go out and have some fun. Chase each other cracking the eggs on top of the heads for good luck. When it is all over, witness the aftermath on the floor. A nice storm will help wash it all away. You can also sweep it up.

Hope y’all had a wonderful Easter!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Sartorial Find at Nordstrom Rack: Cobalt Blue Diane Von Furstenburg Dress

Something magical happened at Nordstrom Rack.

What a random statement, but let me back up. On Sunday evening, our new puppy chewed up my youngest daughter’s  sneakers. Completely chewed ‘em up, to where they could no longer be used. I was sad because they were her first pair of sneakers she’d picked out herself. She wasn’t very happy about it because she didn’t have any sneakers that fit. I made it a point to go to Nordstrom Rack to pick up a new pair for her. (Did y’all know they have a wonderful assortment of kids shoes for not nearly as much money as you might think? I love them for this reason.)

When I arrived, they were having a HUGE clearance on Women’s clothing. ADD kicked in and  I wanted to resist the urge, but resistance was futile. “I’ll just look.” If I found something, I might get it. I wanted to reward myself for maintaining my size for more than a year now. I’ve fluctuated some, but I’ve maintained a shape-range I’m comfortable with. Browsing wouldn’t hurt. Immediately, I found two lovely cardigans for less than $15 each! My office remains perpetually cold, so cardis are a must. Plus, they are a great layer to add on to almost any thing. While I was browsing, there was a Diane Von Furstenburg dress misplaced in the area where I was looking. The dress was on clearance, but definitely the wrong size and definitely the wrong rack (instead of the shirts, blouses, tops area—I told you it was a giant clearance sale).

I’ve gotta back up again. I grew up thumbing through the pages of Vogue magazine at the grocery store. My grandmother was an expert seamstress. During my summer visits, we made MANY trips to Cloth World, where I’d thumb through the pages of the Vogue pattern book. It was here that I was introduced to “the wrap dress.” I found it so simple, yet the lines on it so delightful. DVF became an icon to me, just like Coco Chanel. These female powerhouses with such creative energy and beautiful clothes. “Mija, some day you will own a dress designed by her! Not because you couldn’t make your own, but simply because they are beautiful dresses for women and you will be able to get your own.” I never forgot about that remark. I’ve not bought one of her dresses, in all of the clothes I’ve purchased. Certainly, clothing inspired by, but not actually one of her own. Until…

I went to the dress area and began glancing through each frock, that familiar hanger on metal squeak as you pass each one by. I went through about 50 dresses before going to the second rack. Cobalt blue always attracts my eye. My eye was drawn to the color, the brain wanted to see more.  I found it! This one. A cobalt DVF dress! This beautiful dress in my size in a price point that justified dipping into my “what if” fund—still less than my normal dress prices. So very many possibilities with this! Even better…IT HAS POCKETS!!!

Today, I will call my Abuela and tell her of this dress. Tell her how her words lived inside of me for 30 years, then mail her a photo.

It wasn’t about the designer label. It was about the memory. It was about how someone who created something 30 years ago made my grandmother feel, makes me feel the same way. That’s timeless. Truly words have power and can lay dormant for years before they emerge. Grateful for my grandmother’s words.

*and yes, I did find a replacement pair of sneakers for my little one. She was even more excited about this pair.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Open Letter to my Sugarbaby on her 3rd birthday



My dear sweet Tesla Jane,

It is hard for me to accept that three years have flown by in a hurry! Last night, when I kissed you goodnight, I paused to stare for a moment. I took a deep breath. Three years. Wow, what a ride. And you, my sweet girl, embrace all that is given to you...in your very own way. You have quite a little personality, but can be incredibly shy. Your vocabulary and comprehension levels are outstanding. You say these unintentional puns or quote things that are quite fitting and absolutely hysterical. Once I was having a frustrating moment. You could tell. You just looked at me, and erupted into "Let it go!!!" yeah, I needed to let it go and you were a good reminder for that.

We welcomed a new addition to our family in the past 6 weeks. In that time, you and Diego Jack have become best of friends! He follows you along. Together, with your sister, you all have spent hours and hours in our backyard!

You also enjoy drawing, taking things apart, helping out with chores (you are a great helper!), and having fun. You play and play and play. "Little Einstein's" is your favorite show. You love it when I do your hair. You still enjoy playing with my hair. You know what? Every time you do, I melt! You've done that same things since you were a newborn. You don't clutch and pull on my hair, you just gently pet it or run your fingers through it. I've since made it a point to have my hair brushed so you can calm yourself with it.

Your soul is gentle. You enjoy singing in church with a loud and clear voice. You also enjoy dancing in church to the music. No, not just church. You very much enjoy dancing. Right now, you are 36.5 inches tall and weigh 32 pounds. You enjoy eating pizza, berries, and most any kind of sugar we will give you. You like the crunch of corn tortillas, but say they very much hurt your throat. We think you have a gluten intolerance like your father, so we've been limiting your gluten intake and have noticed much improvement in your eczema. Your hair is still very, very curly, your eyes, a bright brown with splashes of yellow/green.

Your daddy and I are so excited to see all of the awesome experiences you will share with us this year, witness first-hand your discoveries, and smile proudly in wonder!

all my love!
-Mama.


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