Holly at the Hollywood Bowl

CALLING ALL LOVERS OF THE ARTS, PERFORMANCE, VIEWS AND FOOOOOD. Getcho booty to the Hollywood Bowl ASAP.

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A few months ago, Kelly, Kristyn and I were sitting at a coffee shop (Romancing the Bean for those of you who are coffee shop hunters) trying to get our lives together when Kelly randomly signed up for updates from the Hollywood Bowl. To be honest, I wasn’t even entirely sure what that was. I knew there were concerts and stuff there but that’s about it. Part of the perk of signing up was a discount on tickets. Impulsively, Kelly bought 3 tickets (only $18 each) to Mama Mia. I’ve seen a lot of shows (small secret I’m a huge musical buff), but I had yet to see Mama Mia.

When we bought the tickets, it felt like July would never come. The show seemed sooo far in the distance but, like I keep saying, It felt like it was time for the show only a week later. We all took off work for the evening and planned to get there hourrrrrs before the show to picnic our lives away. How fun?! On our way over we hit up Trader Joe’s for cheap(ish) wine, and plenty of snacks.

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Once we got there, we headed to the very top of the hill (our seats were front row…..of the very back section of the entire Bowl). They have cute little picnic areas set up for you to chill out at before the show. We’ve all been staying busy with different things and completely opposite schedules so it felt so good to catch up with Kelly and Kristyn about life over a bottle (or two) of wine and a ridiculous game of Cards Against Humanity. Also very lowkey announcement that the vegan oatmeal chocolate chip cookies from Trader Joe’s are actually burning hot lava fire flames. And yes, I said vegan. To be extremely LA, I challenged myself to two weeks of it to see if I could do it. Still going strong for your information.

I do this weird thing at musicals where I cry….and that was already happening by the end of the national anthem. Nice! The rest of the waterworks held off until the end of the second act (thank God). The song that always gets me in Mama Mia is ‘Slipping Through my Fingers’. So good.

The talent on the stage was overwhelming and I couldn’t help but wish I was up there. Definitely on my list of goals. It was so unbelievably cool to see so many people from all different backgrounds singing along to ABBA and enjoying themselves just as much as we were. There is such a large community of support for the arts out here and I truly can’t express how thankful I am for that. With this in mind and the Hollywood sign in the background of the stage, I could help but get a little teary eyed (again).

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Dang. How did I get so lucky?

Weekend getaways & why they are 1000% necessary

It’s May. That means it’s about to be one year since I walked in the commencement ceremony at Iowa. Wtf. As I sit here typing this, in what might quite possibly be the polar opposite of where I would have typed this a year ago, I can’t help but feel incredibly blessed and proud that I made the leap. And while LA is great and all, I think I kind of forgot that life existed outside of good ole La La Land. This huge bubble of a city. Luckily for me, this realization that I needed to gtfo for a hot second came at the perfect time. So I put my wheels to the road (and also reimbursed my friends for gas monies…thanks friends) and have spent the last four weekends basically running around like a crazy person.

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Let’s start with my first weekend trip away from LA in the 6 months I’ve been here: Coachella. I caught a wild hare the day tickets went on sale and treated myself to weekend 1 tickets with my coworker #splurge. And yes I still made rent that month (god bless). I’ll preface this by saying that contrary to popular belief; I had never been to a music festival of any kind until Summerfest in Milwaukee last June. While that was literally the time of my life (shout out to the squad that weekend), Summerfest and Coachella have little in common other than music and alcohol. You may be wondering what more there is to a music festival? Well first of all, three days in the desert heat is HARD. Yes everyone wants that “do it for the gram” photo moment at Coachella, but dang I don’t know how some of those people survived the heat in those outfits. I tried to choose my wardrobe wisely and made sure to have a bandana to protect my lungs from the dirt/dust/sand/god knows what else that’s blowing around all day and night. I was blessed to have gone with some ‘Chella vets, so I had a bit of an upper hand on the must-do’s.

We had an absolute blast frolicking through the desert, people watching and of course finding open space to do literal choreography. It really is so special to see SO many different types of people, enjoying the festival in whichever way they felt fit (and there are about 1 million ways to do so), coming together because of music. And let me just say that the music was INSANE. Especially Bon Iver, The XX and Gaga. It made me realize how many different types of people are in California. Duh, Holly that sounds like a no-brainer. But in North Hollywood 98% of everyone I come into contact with is an actor, dancer, singer etc. Yeah, I definitely gravitate towards those types anyway…but it was a good reminder that there is so much more to see outside of LA. And it’s so wild that these different places and sights are right at my fingertips. Coachella always seemed so far away when I admired pictures from afar growing up but now that I finally got to experience it for myself, It was only a three hour drive, filled with snacks and catching up away.

After returning back to LA, I had a whole three days to recover and head home for the first time for a few short days. Going home, even if it’s just from college, is always a tough one. There are a million people you want to see, sights you want to revisit, and events happening…where do you find the time to relax?? For me, the challenging part of this trip home was leaving my dogs and my parents. I spent the whole first day cuddling next to my (very old, like fossil old) poochies and watching movies with my parents. The next few days were spent trying to see everyone I possibly could in a short amount of time. I started by going to an old dance friend’s wedding and WOW was it great to see her so happy, as well as all of my old friends from the studio days. I could have sat and talked to each of them for hours, but time is limited and my trip was so so short. Next, we met as much of the family (AND MY BEST FRIEND THANK GOD!!! If you know India and I you know we have the most polar opposite schedules ever) at ice cream in between the wedding and our next stop, the Carrikers (aka my second family). We enjoyed a night of home cooked food, drinks and multiple desserts. Before I knew it, I only had one more day left. I had enjoyed a lot of down time so I was PUMPED to spend it dancing.

I taught my first class, since moving to LA, at Dance Vision. To say that I was inspired by the dancers that attended would be an understatement. I always get so stressed before teaching. I start questioning myself, doubting my choreography, my class structure and my qualifications. But from the second the class began to the final time doing the combination I felt so respected and at ease. I left with my heart SO full and even got to see my Des Moines crew (minus 1 @kaylameyer) for dinner before heading home. What a good freaking week. I said my goodbyes, and hopped on a plane back home. I was inspired and ready to crack down on my eating, workouts and goals.

I started the week back with a trip to Trader Joe’s (my favorite). I’m gonna write a separate post eventually about this, but I decided to commit to the #PaleoLyfe. Not so much because it’s trendy, but because I do so much better when I have specific guidelines. I’ve always been a pretty healthy eater but calling myself “paleo” with specific do’s and don’ts makes it a challenge. And I love a good challenge. Especially when it comes with so many health benefits.

After a week of getting back on track, Kelly and I headed to Vegas for an audition on a whim. We woke up at 3:30 am, packed some healthy eats for the day and headed down the road. Although the audition didn’t turn out how we had hoped, we decided to make the most of our little adventure to Vegas. One of Kelly’s old friends from Illinois happened to be there so we headed to the nearest bar for a few drinks. I may or may not have ordered a dirty martini at 11 am. The bartenders treated us to a few on the house which then led to us sneaking into the pool at the Aria thanks to our new friend, the old man security guard. Lit! After a few hours of sun, we hit the road…after all we were heading back to Vegas in 4 short days for Kristyn’s 21st. HERE’S THE BEST PART. We stopped to see the Seven Magic Mountains, an art installation in the middle of the desert, which honestly made the whole day worth it.

Like I said, we had plans to head back to Vegas for Kristyn’s 21st birthday extravaganza with me, Kelly, her coworker Rocco, and of course the birthday girl…AND BONUS GUESTS the Hoffman superiors!!! I had been working with her mom during the weeks leading up to the trip to surprise her. For those of you who know Kristyn, she is the absolute hardest person to surprise. But we did it, y’all!!!! Between the nightclubs, day clubs, casinos, shows, restaurants, surprises and memories, the weekend could not have gone better. To say that she rung in her birthday the right way would be an understatement. I can honestly say I have never laughed that much in a weekend…ever. Our abs were actually sore and definitely not from working out during that weekend, although we did do our fair share of dancing. As in we literally never stopped dancing. So now the 362 clan is officially all legal…and very over drinking after this last weekend’s liquid diet (so in line with my paleo-ness)

SO. I’m back in LA, most likely until I go home in August for a bit, back on track and can’t wait to continue this kick I’m on of being adventurous. Seeing all there is to see and meeting everyone there is to meet.

I think a lot of times people our age get too caught up in the whole “I’M BROKE” mindset. Yeah. So are we. Who isn’t at this stage? It does not by any means equate to staying in your apartment to “save money.” Not only are you making yourself miserable by focusing on your lack of extra money, you’re missing out on SO MUCH of the world around you. Pack food, skip the expensive drinks, Google free shit to see. It’s out there. Stop making excuses.

 

OMG VALENTINE’S DAY

Who’s with their s/o right now? How great is this day? Did you get breakfast in bed? How cute is that bouquet of flowers gonna look in your room? How will you ever finished that box of heart shaped chocolates and still stay true to your spring break diet? How much Formosa are you going to devour? And OMG how much Netflix are you going to binge watch afterwards???

Ew.

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It’s Valentine’s day folks. The holiday that holds the record for most cliches. I’ve never been your biggest fan St. Valentine. Half because of my perpetual single-ness half because in high school I thought leading an anti-Valentines day revolt and wearing all black was bad ass (no one joined the movement by the way).  And how freaking annoying is social media on this day every year??? We get it you have a boyfriend. We get it he rocks. We get it if you’re single and that means you’re like required by some unwritten law to post a photo talking about how pizza is your Valentine. Still probably tossed it a like though.

So as I sit here doing non-Valentine’s Day things (by myself), I have taken it upon myself to hand select ten songs for you to listen to as you sulk about your lack of V-day plans (alone).

1.  Love on the Brain by Rihanna. Let’s just take a moment to TRY and get in the Valentine’s mind set.

Nope.

2. The appropriately titled UGH! by my favorites. Listen to this when you “literally can’t even deal” with all of the red and hearts and pizza.

3. Nicest Thing by Kate Nash . You know hat person you’ve been silently stalking for the last several months? You’ve invested a lot of time into that and I’m gonna go out on a limb and say he/she has yet to acknowledge your existence as a being.

 

4. Bridges by Broods. Watch the music video and recall the three thousand times you’ve fallen victim to the classic “Oh you thought we were more than friends…?” ordeal. *Cringe*

5. The Rose by Bette Midler. This song goes out to all those rose photos on Insta. Keep being you. Oh and also Ben Higgins. This song goes out to Ben Higgins too.

6. Never Be Like You by Flume. This song is you hoping that you will never turn into that person that you h8 when (if) you’re ever not single on V-day.

7. Touch by Shura. Oooooooh those lyrics. Also probably a lot of what you’re not getting.

8. Linger by the Cranberries. That guy/girl you liked last year is still not your Valentine.

9. Don’t Wanna be your Girl by Wet (who rocks, go check out their other music). No. I am still not interested.

10. And finally, My Heart Will Go On. You should have seen this one coming from me.

 

You’re welcome. Now go eat chocolate.

Wilkinson – Afterglow

Ok, so I’ll admit the first time I watched this I thought it was some sort of advertisement. I stumbled onto Wilkinson after watching a few of Wet’s music videos (which if you don’t know who that is then do yourself a favor and check them out). I paid zero attention to the song in the background, but yes. It is, in fact, a music video. And it’s sick. Song isn’t bad either.