Thursday, May 29, 2014

College Graduation

"Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."

My final weeks as a USC student passed by in a blur. It all started with Scott's graduation weekend. I joined his parents, siblings, grandparents, and my mom for one last weekend in Redlands to cheer while he walked across the stage. The ceremony was followed by celebratory pictures and lunch that consisted of calzones the size of my head. My mom hadn't seen Redlands before, so Scott gave his last tour of the campus complete with one last stop at A La Minut for an Orange Honey ice cream.

Graduation felt closer once I left Redlands for the last time and realized it was my last week of classes in college. After my hardest final on Monday, it was time for the senior celebrations. One last Whiskey Wednesday night at the 90, sorority senior wills, and of course the Fountain Run. An SC tradition is that the last Thursday night of classes, all seniors run around campus and jump in the dozens of fountains on campus. It's filled with debauchery, ridiculousness, and some inevitable bruises. It was an unbelievably fun experience and madness on campus.

The marathon week continued with our final invite that Friday. Luau falls on the last friday of classes every year, and all the seniors celebrated with a party bus to Manhattan Beach for drinks at Sharkeezs and then took the party bus back to the sorority. Everyone was a little nostalgic about our past four years of invites, and I was so happy that Scott could make it to be my date from the first invite to the last. The actual invite was at Gladstones in Malibu--right over the beach and with free calamari and snacks. It was a great way to end the week, and I spent the rest of the weekend at Scott's house in San Diego before taking the train back to school.

Before I knew it, it was graduation. The day before we had a mother daughter brunch at the Jonathan Club downtown. It was a little rough in the beginning because the seniors had "senior bonding" the night before, but the food was delicious and the club was beautiful.

Graduation day started with a 4am wakeup call since we were heading to the 90 bar to open its door at 6am! By 4:45 we were standing in line with coffee cups full of mimosa watching the sun rise and the line turn into hundreds of students (with a few parents thrown in there). The 90 was completely packed with loud 80s rock, and a lot of spirited seniors screaming out the lyrics. By 7 am, we back at the house eating breakfast before snapping a few pictures with friends and making our way to campus.

After a horribly hot main ceremony with 92 degree weather and thick black robes, we headed to The Shrine for the Political Science graduation. It was such a relief to be in a beautiful and air conditioned venue, and I'm proud to say I graduated walked across the stage without falling.

The rest of the night was spent celebrating at home for a graduation dinner with all the family. My college experience was absolutely amazing, and it's bittersweet to end my career as a student of USC. 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Coachella Part 2

Saturday ended up to be a little bit of fail which had something to do with dehydration and missing all the concerts, so we will move swiftly past it.

Easter Sunday included brunch with Madison's family and a nap before heading out at 3. Outfit--my daisy sneakers, cut off shorts, blue crochet top, and a flower crown.

Although I didn't know The 1975 that well, we started off our day by sitting on the grass and watching their set before heading off to explore a little bit. We had already seen a lot of the art installations--it's a little hard to miss the moving giant astronaut or the tall robot in the middle of the festival--but we wanted to check out the Do Lab.

We met up with a few other friends from SC, and took their advice on trying a famous Portland ice cream stand to fuel our exploring. After grabbing a salted ice cream with carmel cone, we had fun looking around and listening to a random DJ at the Do Lab. It was made even more fun by the fact that there were misters and water guns all over the area to keep us cool too.

We eventually found ourselves wandering into the beer garden by the Coachella stage for a beer (expensive but cold and so nice) while we sat on our scarves/handkerchiefs and listened to The Naked and Famous in the background. Sitting, talking and listening to live music with a beer was the definition of pleasant, and in that moment I kept saying I couldn't be more content.

Calvin Harris was amazing and the crowd was going crazy (me included since I ended up on someone's shoulders for part of a song), but we knew going into it that we were going to leave early so we could make sure that we wouldn't miss Lana Del Rey.

Going into the weekend, Lana was the one of the artists I was most excited for and she did not disappoint. From being barefoot on stage and kissing her fans on the cheek when she walked into the crowd, she was flawless. It may have also been from the stress of the weekend, but I almost teared up during her set.

After her performance ended, we fought our way to get food (I got crab fries, but they made me feel a little sick) before seeing Disclosure. We left Disclosure a little early because we wanted to make sure we had decent spots to see Arcade Fire. I wish I had words for how amazing Arcade Fire was--it was the perfect way to end the weekend and they are one of the most incredible live bands I've ever seen. Everything from their outfits and dancers to the short appearance of Beck (who we missed due to Disclosure) was amazingly well done.

The best part was at the end after everyone is pumped up, and they walk out into the crowd and the every person at the Coachella stage starts singing. It was an unforgettable experience, and truthfully it made me so happy because I knew that even missing Saturday, I walked away from this weekend with positive memories and seeing acts that were incredible.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Coachella Part 1

Two weekends ago, I spent the weekend dancing my life away at Coachella. While it seems everyone from LA makes the trek our to Palm Springs for the festival, this was my first time going. The price may have been outrageous and Weekend 2 was over Easter, but it was definitely an experience to be remembered.
Half the fun of Coachella is picking out outfits to wear, but since the tickets are already so expensive I decided to limit my budget. After scouring my closet, I pulled out a gold lace vintage vest I bought in San Francisco in high school (and have never worn because it's a little much), a dress I already bought, and leather boots. I allowed myself to splurge on a new pair of jean cutoffs for $50 since my other pair is frayed past the point of comfort, a cheap crochet top and an $4 flower crown along with an $8 head chain. Armed with my outfits for the weekend, my friends and I started the road trip Thursday night complete with a Coachella playlist and newly downloaded Coachella app.

Even though this weekend had been planned for so long and a lot of money was saved for it, I think our whole group was a little overwhelmed by going. All of us had gone to Vegas at some point in the two weekends before, final projects were approaching, and graduation was (let's be real, still is) looming. Part of me was wishing just to have a weekend to lay around and sleep all day, but we all finally got in the spirit in the car as we used the Coachella app to start making a plan about who we wanted to see each day.

We were lucky enough to stay at Madison's place again, so we were able to escape the craziness and sleep in a real bed each night with air conditioning. We had bought shuttle pass tickets, so we had an easy way to get dropped off at the gates.

Our Friday began a little before 2:45 to see our first show MS MR. I knew a few of their songs, but I was blown away by their performance. I didn't realize how much I would like every song they played (plus their cover of Arctic Monkeys), and the lead singer looked like she was having as much fun as we were. We all decided that we would recruit her as a new best friend, and once their set ended we hunted down some watermelon slices on our way to Aloe Blacc.

Our feeling from the night before was completely gone after watching our first band and running around the grounds. We checked out some of the art pieces on our way to the tent, including an obligatory selfie at the large group of mirrored rectangles. But, my favorite was definitely the giant hollow caterpillar that was made out of flowers, grass, and succulents. It was not only pretty and hippyish, but also gave necessary shade while we waited for people to run to the restroom.

After some watermelon photo ops--note the head chain and vintage vest--Aloe Blacc began. He was really great, and once we heard the songs we were excited for we left a few minutes early to make it to Haim.

It was nice to be able just to sit on the grass, but I wasn't really impressed with them. I think their whole attitude isn't for everyone, I enjoyed being able to just hang out. The only down side is that by the time we made our way to Bastille the tent was so filled that even all the pushing in the world couldn't get us inside. We heard a few songs, but not being able to see or move had us leaving before the set ended to grab some food.

I had an amazing gyro followed by some fries from the Pink's hot dogs stand for dinner which was delicious (and expensive). After we headed to the Coachella stage to see Ellie Goulding (great) followed by  Chromeo. I didn't know them very well, so I wasn't really into it, but I was excited to stay at the Coachella stage so we could get close  for Girl Talk.

It was worth hanging out because Girl Talk was amazing, and there set was complete with fun dance songs and confetti being blasted from the stage. Finally, we waited in the area for Outkast, and while I thought it was fun, I didn't know Outkast well enough for an hour and a half set.

We left day 1 feeling happy and exhausted, but we still managed to have some fun avoiding the dust storms with our handkerchiefs. PS handkerchiefs were the best thing I could have possibly brought. They kept dust out of mouths and nose walking back and also served as seat when hay or dirt was irritating. Once we were back at our place, we all went to sleep happy and excited for the rest of Coachella.