Bonne annee, 2016!

I’m sitting comfortably in the den with a half-read book and a cup of hot Persian tea fogging up the lens of my glasses every time I take a sip. In the background, my nine year old Yorkshire Terrier walks towards me from his spot under the Christmas tree and whines for me to pick him up. His whines turn into tiny barks, and moments later, he nestles himself in the cracks between my legs and the chair. It’s Thursday evening and I’m joined by my parents in the living room as they’re watching their Persian satellite TV, what seems to be a nightly post-dinner routine. It’s the new year, 2016, and I feel so comfortable in the safety of the white walls of my home, in close proximity of my family. I could sit in this chair, read, drink my tea, and stroke my pups fur all day.

In two weeks, I’ll pause my life in my sweet Texas and go wheels-up for Paris, France, where I’ll call home for the next four months. My decision to study abroad stems après mon grand voyage en Europe last January. In fact, January 7, to this date, marks the one year anniversary of my vacations. I wrote all about my adventures on Green Tea, No Splenda, and I fully intend to continue the tradition once I begin my semester abroad.

It’s been a while since I’ve written to you, and well, I have a reason. Excuse my absence, I’m still here. I’ve been visiting with friends, getting my French student visa, moving out of my Austin apartment, exploring my home town of Houston, preparing for my semester abroad, and tomorrow I’m road-tripping to New Orleans.

I just wanted to stop by, say hi, and share how much I’ve missed writing to you. Here’s a little bit of what I’ve been up to lately.2

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At the beginning of the semester I accidentally (now 4 months later, fortunately) came across Supernatural. Telling the tale of two brothers hunting all things “not natural,” while boasting 11 seasons (and still filming!), Supernatural claims the title of my favorite TV series. Every episode tells a new anecdote while adding on to the big picture storyline, introducing new characters and things that go bump in the night. And did I mention that I met Jensen Ackles (Dean Winchester) at ACL this year?

Hand in hand with the Beatles Spotify debut, Netflix released Can’t Buy Me Love, a 1987 coming of age film starring a baby-faced Patrick Dempsey. The story follows high-school outcast Ronald Miller as he literally pays his way to the fast lane. I’ve always had a weakness for vintage COA films as they take place in simple times with happy-go-lucky energies.

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My relationship with Spotify Premium has officially reached a full a year and I’ve realized that love almost all types of music. I’ve curated a playlist just for Green Tea, No Splenda, including of a couple of my favorite tracks that I can’t stop listening to these days. This playlist mixes a motley of genres, but you’re always welcome to look on my public Spotify account for genre-specific playlists.

 

look upinto the stars.

There is nothing on earth quite like a music festival: the sense of community, the hedonistic atmosphere, and of course, the music. Over the past two years, I’ve seen two Coachellas, one Austin City Limits, and this weekend will mark my third Free Press Summer Fest. Each festival has taught me certain lessons on how to make the most of my festival experience, lessons that I hope will help any first-timer or seasoned veteran have the time of their lives.

  1. Wear What Makes You Happy and Comfortable.

While festivals can be great showcases for your personal style, you have to keep in mind that you will be wearing these clothes all day in the heat/cold/rain/etc. Knowing that you’ll look good is one thing, but knowing that you’ll be comfortable is something else. By all means, dress up for the occasion: wear a flower crown with pride; adorn yourself with a bear coat a la Workaholics; hell, show up in as minimal clothes necessary, if that’s your game. Just remember, no one will judge if you’re wearing a comfortable t-shirt and shorts. Wear what makes you happy and comfortable.

  1. Download the App.

If the festival you’re going to has an app, use it. Most of these apps have features that will give you the performance schedule, maps of the venue, and send you notifications of any pertinent information. You can also compile a list of the artists you want to see and receive notifications so that you’re always where you want to be, when you want to be there. Download the app.

  1. Stay at Shows Until the End.

Ok, I know that this can be probably the hardest tip, especially when there are so many great artists on the lineup; but trust me, it’s the most rewarding. Each show is a performance, one that should be watched from start to finish. While it’s not always possible to see the start of a show, it is within your power to stick it through to the end. Imagine showing up to a movie late, walking in front of a bunch of people to get to your spot, then not knowing what the film is about. Not only does it throw you off, but it disturbs the illusion of the performance for others as well. Then you have to go through it all again when you leave before the show is done. That is no fun for anyone. If you stay to the end, you might see the artist’s big song or surprise guest or any one of the numerous things that can happen at a festival performance. Plus, at the end of the day, you’ll thank yourself for sticking at shows for a while and not running around the festival grounds like a chicken with its head cut off. Stay at shows until the end.

  1. Scheduling Conflicts: Listen to your Gut.

Unfortunately, there will probably come a time where two artists that you want to see have been booked for the same time. It sucks. It really does. However, I’ve come to the conclusion that your gut will always tell you the proper course of action in these trying times. After seeing one of my favorite bands perform at Coachella, I was confronted with the difficult choice of seeing either Tyler, the Creator or Jack White. I’d been a fan of both artists for years, and I had no idea what to do. I walked over to Tyler because his stage was the closer of the two. After a couple songs went by, I felt this nagging voice in my head saying, “Jack, go to Jack. JAAAACKKKK, GO TO JAAACKKK!!!” Upon realizing that I was not hearing a hallucination, but rather, my gut, I obliged. What ensued was one of the greatest performances I’ve ever seen. The next day, I read online that Jack White’s performance at Coachella would be one of his last performances before a multi-year hiatus from touring. I spoke to a girl named Rayne earlier in the day who told me that at festivals, everything will happen as it should. She couldn’t be more correct. Listen to your gut.

  1. Stay With Friends, or Make New Ones.

One of the most beautiful aspects of the festival experience is the sense of community that permeates the air. Seeing the artists you love with the people you love makes the festival so much more memorable. If your friends are aching to see an artist that you don’t really know, go with them anyways. Not only could you discover an artist that you’ll love for years to come, but also your friends will remember that selflessness and be more likely to do the same for you. There might be times, however, when you’ll find yourself at a show alone. No worries, either enjoy the solitary time, or talk to those around you at the show so you have people to sing with. Breaking out of your comfort zone will help you meet so many new and interesting people; people who want to experience the community atmosphere just as much as you do. Stay with friends, or make new ones.

  1. Put Your Phone Down!!!

I must address the elephant in the room by saying, yes, I did write the first draft of this article while on my phone during Florence + The Machine at Coachella. We must accept our mistakes, and learn from them. Regardless, what makes a festival truly incredible is being to enjoy it in the moment with the people around you. Sure, take the occasional picture or video, but let them serve as reminders of the memory and not BE the memory itself. When you spend the entire concert recording, you are experiencing it as an outside observer, not as the participant you are. Social media can wait. Worlds will not crumble if you wait to post after the day is through. Enjoy the privilege of being where you are. Put your phone down.

  1. Be Safe.

Now I’m not one to tell you what activities to partake in,  but please be careful in what you do. Getting drunk or high to a dangerous degree will not only jeopardize your day, but could seriously harm your well-being. It is of utmost importance that you know what you’re putting into your body, and that you know your limits. Also, there are water stations all over the festival, so you have no excuse to not stay hydrated. Oh, and wear sunscreen. Trust me. Be safe.

  1. Embrace your emotions.

There are fewer feelings like looking out into the crowd and seeing tens of thousands of people gathered with the sole intention of hearing live music. At times, it can be overwhelming, but in the most beautiful way. Look into the eyes of your friends, and tell them that you’re happy to experience this moment with them. Sing along to your favorite songs and dance, baby, dance. Embrace your emotions.

guest writer (1)

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Jack M. Keller

Jack was born and raised in Houston, TX. He is a big fan of comedy, cooking, and music festivals (obviously). At the moment, he is exploring his future with bright things to come.

Music Sunday

I haven’t done one of these posts in a while, so let’s talk music. This past week I was given the opportunity to go to the mtvU Woodie Awards during SXSW right here in Austin. I saw big name artists such as Fall Out Boy and Big Sean, to new and upcoming artists like MisterWives, Clean Bandit, James Bay, and Years & Years. To make sure I was front row for the show, I lined up at the venue at 1.30 pm with my best friend. As you may know if you were at South By, rain storms were on the radar for the entirety of Friday. Fortunately, I came prepared and ready to dominate the Woodies with a white poncho and portable iPhone charger. Though I’ve been in a country music whirl lately (especially with the Houston Rodeo in full swing in March), in preparation and as a result of SXSW, I’ve discovered a few new artists and songs that I’ve become absolutely obsessed with.

Years & Years

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If you’ve spoken to me lately or stalked my Spotify most frequently played songs, you’ll find at least a couple of tracks by, I’m calling it now, a trio that’s going to be huge in the near future. Hailing from London, the trio is set to release their first album early this summer. Electric beats that you’ll find yourself playing on repeat, Years & Years have made it up to the top of the list as one of my favorite artists. If you want to get a feel for their music, give a listen to their latest release, Kings, which available for download on iTunes or streaming on Spotify.

Zella Day

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“People like to say I’m the happier version of Lana Del Rey” 

Playing six shows just her first time at SXSW and quickly gaining exposure in the Los Angeles music scene, expect to hear Zella Day on radio stations soon. Her music is a combination of organic keys and effortless melodies, reflecting on her childhood growing up around her parent’s local coffee house. Her album, Kicker, will be released early this June and delivers 12 fresh tracks perfect for your summer playlist. And yeah, that’s her real name.

Listen to This

The weather is warming and my playlists are changing, here are the tracks that I’ve been listening to lately.

Lean On x Major Lazer

Forbidden Voices x Martin Garrix

Hero x Family of the Year

Never Let You Go x Dash Berlin

Hypnotic x Zella Day

Cucurucu x Nick Mulvey

Cigarette Song x Raury

Music Tuesday

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Normally, this post would be titled “Music Friday,” and well… it would be released on a Friday. But it’s Tuesday. Friday isn’t for another three days. I’m taking a break from studying for an exam. And I have some really awesome new tracks I wanted to share with my readers. Last Wednesday night I went to my first ever Parachute concert with one of my close friends. I’ve been such a huge fan of Parachute’s music since when I first discovered them my freshman year of high school– so you can imagine the hype, having been able to see them live. Before they took the stage, there were two openers: Mikey Wax and Matt Wertz. I had not heard of either of them ever before, and to my excitement, they both proved to be extremely talented musicians. This Music Tuesday post is inspired by the music I’ve been loving for years, in addition to some newer material I’m easily learning to love.

5:19 x Matt Wertz

All Night Longer (Remix) x Sammy Adams ft. B.o.B.

Born To Run x Afrojack ft. Tyler Glenn

Kiss Me Slowly x Parachute

Jealous x Nick Jonas

Drunk Last Night x Eli Young Band

3005 x Childish Gambino

You Lift Me Up x Mikey Wax

There’s no line of best fit amongst these tracks, as they’re a mix of different genres and moods. I hope you enjoy these songs! Let me know what you think.

One Month

Frick ya!!!!! It’s almost summer. Which means an array of things, so let’s list them. But before you start, press play and let this play in the background:

 

  1. Less than one month of school – HYFR. I am so frickinnnnn’ done with late nights where I spend more hours studying on campus than in my bed. I can’t wait to not have to complain about Geology to my friends. Or you know what, CALCULUS (get out of my life!!!!) You know, I’ve said it countless times. UT is hard. But it’s a good kind of hard, like strength training.
  2. Final exams – a necessary evil? I don’t know.
  3. Rising temperatures – has it ever occurred to you why Hawaiians are so happy and laid back? HEAT. WARMTH. Temperatures that get your blood pumping, not iced to bits.Winter came and stayed way past its welcome. I’m pretty certain I wore down my favourite pair of boots this past season, which I’m lowkey upset about.
  4. Tanning – @God bless @God for giving me the ability to tan my pasty, white, winter, embarrassing pale-ness away to a golden, honey, sunkissed tan.
  5. Tropical colours – I absolutely love summer colours so much. Say goodbye to the dark cool tones and hello to the orange hues, coral, and beach blues. This one goes hand in hand with tan skin too. There’s nothing I love more than my Essie and OPI’s.
  6. Green leaves and blossoming flowers – there is nothing greater than spending time outside under beautiful green foliage and fresh cut grass.
  7. New music – this one’s directed to the Calvin Harris, Iggy Azalea, Daft Punk, Justin Timberlake, Passion Pit, Luke Bryan, and Katy Perry’s of the music industry. My favourite time of year for new music is the summer, simply because all new songs are upbeat, happy, fresh, and perfect for getting you upbeat and spending time out and about.
  8. Home – if there’s one thing I’m looking forward to more than finishing my final exams, it’s going home and seeing my parents, my two puppies, and my friends who I haven’t seen (the majority of) since last August.
  9. LifeTime – home also means gym, and in the summer, I have so much more time to spend on myself and at LifeTime. And where I’m from, the LifeTime is like a social gym. So imagine everyone from your neighbourhood, your high school, and pretty much all of the 024, at the gym. I love it, but if I’m honest, I rather not have my summer fling see me as I’m dripping sweat but trying to look suave on the elliptical (so don’t look at me).
  10. Shopping – new season, new trends! This one’s directed to H&M, Urban Outfitters (that is, if they have anything left in stock after Coachella), Anthropologie, and BCBG. I know you have game, step it up for the summer season. And last summer, if you spent even a single moment with me you’d know that oversized bright sweaters, white shorts, and stacked bracelets were my summer trend. I can’t wait to see what this summer has in store! Literally. And let’s not forget the new candle scents at Bath & Body Works. To. die. for. Let’s take a trip to the beach, or for now, let’s hold on to that thought and light up Tiki Beach.

That concludes my list for now, but I could go on forever. I just love summer so much! Spending time outside, with friends, traveling, doing things for the sake of yourself. Spending time with yourself and with the people who make you who you are!  Summer time is the best time.

Oh, and how could I forget! One last thing: FREE PRESS SUMMER FEST! This will be my third year going, and to say I’m stoked… is an understatement. Last year FPSF was the day of my high school graduation. So basically, I graduated, had a BBQ lunch with my family, ditched the red robe for shorts, and hit up Eleanor Tinsley. Maybe I’ll even invest in a CamelBak this year. Here’s a few shots I took myself at Free Press last year, where the lineup was absolutely incredible (Calvin Harris!!!! Passion Pit!!!! Macklemore!!!!!) DSC01035 DSC01034 DSC01024 Until next time!

– Golbs

 

 

Music Friday

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Once again the picture has nothing to do with the post, but here’s a post I’ve been wanting to make for a while. Another Music Friday. When I’m typing up my notes, I’m finding that it’s easier to be productive whilst listening to music. Whether I’m at the PCL or FAC and need to just tune everything else out, I put on my Songza playlist that has a generally chilled and has a mentally stimulating feel. Here are just a few tracks I’ve come across that I’ve seem to have fallen in love with, so give them a listen and tell me how you like them. They all give a pretty relaxed vibe and can be listened to while you’re studying, hanging out with friends, or just kicking back on your own.

Embrace x Goldroom

Movement x Us

Coming of Age x Foster the People

Paris x Magic Man

Without You x Odesza

Yoncé & Partition x Beyonce*

After the Fall x Kodaline

*this one isn’t chilled or relaxed it’s just really good and I’m stubborn so I didn’t listen to it until like a day ago

Music Friday

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This post is actually completely unrelated to the picture, but I just wanted to post a few songs that I really love and want to share. Some songs I discovered this past summer, some I came across in local Austin coffee shops (oh, how cliche). Most of the songs have a really calm, relaxing, electric feel to them. I’ve had these songs on repeat for so long, and they just have this vibe that’s especially perfect for the winter time. It’s honestly hard trying to capture the essence and emotion of the song in a few words, so just take a listen and tell me what you think. They’re not in any particular order, just the way they’re uploaded in my iTunes.

Hold On x SBTRKT

Flawless x The Neighbourhood

Waiting All Night  x Rudimental

I’m Into You x Chet Faker

Fools Game x This Century

Doin’ It Right x Daft Punk

Everybody Loves Me x OneRepublic

Natural Blues x Moby

We Come Running x Youngblood Hawke

Sparks x Coldplay