I hope you enjoyed ringing in the new year with people you love (or at least enjoy)! At 8 months pregnant, we decided on a low-key, low pressure evening this year. I could have gone for good movies on the couch, but we’ve been doing a lot of that lately, so I thought the man could use a night out. Not looking for a fancy deal, we had dinner at Oak City Grille in Royal Oak before heading over to our friends house to party in the new year. We had a reservation for 8pm and about half way through dinner the live music started on the stage over the bar. All-in-all it was a fun, festive environment. The food was decent, and it was nice to get out of the house. Once at the party I found a nice comfy post in the corner, put my feet up, cup of water in hand, and eased my way into 2015 in style.
But last year, last year we celebrated just a little bigger. We had been TTC for a few months already, and were really hopeful that New Year 2014 would be our last as a family of 3 (including Brinkley dog of course). I figured that once we have kids it will be harder to justify expensive concert tickets, so I went all-in and bought 2 general admission floor tickets to the Zac Brown Band at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.
It was a frigid night, and we nearly froze our buns waiting in line to enter the arena with our light coats. I was worried we wouldn’t have a good view if we got there too late (since it was general admission), so once inside we had to wait some more for things to get going. Man was it worth it.
We ended up just left of the peninsula sticking out of the stage. Brian was concerned it would be too loud if we got too close, so we found a good view a little ways out. Man, did it turn out to be perfect. The band made it out to the end of the stage many times throughout the show, and it was a great view of the main part of the stage.
Surprisingly, the Canadians in the crowd were the really rowdy ones! We had some trouble with pushy drunkards, but not nearly as much as would have suspected for a new year’s eve show. It was a great atmosphere, and a really great show. There are just some bands that are even better live, and this is one of them. These guys are true musicians. There are so many different instruments on the stage, the sound is incredible (Brian hardly needed his protective ear plugs, they kept the sound level at a good point), and the play list is really well put together. They didn’t play my favorite song, Free, but they played a number from what was their newer albums, and we found a few new favorites to love.
When it got to just before midnight, they projected the New York City ball-drop countdown on the big screen, and the whole arena counted in the New Year together. This was followed by a flurry of red, white and blue confetti from the rafters. Seriously, one of my favorite New Year’s Eve countdown moments ever.
For the encore, the guys came out in mechanic’s suites painted as skeletons. It looked pretty awesome in the black lights. I wish I could recall more about the line-up, but the songs they chose for the encore went perfectly with the scene.
If you ever have the chance to see the Zac Brown Band, I would definitely recommend you do. Brian isn’t a country music fan and was really skeptical about how much he would enjoy the evening. A few songs in and he was sold. We had an amazing New Year’s Eve, and made memories that helped get us through the year to come.
In the last few months I’ve seen tons of posts to Facebook and Instagram from friends at concerts and music festivals. Smokey stages with ethereal lighting and itty bitty figures on a stage. This got me thinking about how much I miss live music.
In the hot and sticky summer of 2009 I was living in Sacramento and preparing for my big move across the country to Michigan to start grad school. I didn’t have a ton of money saved up, and what I had I wanted to save for moving and school costs. Going on a vacation felt like too much of a stretch. Mid-recession the phrase “staycation” was the local entertainment marketing rage, and I decided that was the way to go. I went on a concert binge that summer. I saw Kenny Chesney, Coldplay, and Keith Urban. Each show was a different vibe, and wonderful for completely different reasons, but afterwards there was always the same outcome: I felt renewed, rejuvenated and relaxed.
There is just something so cathartic about listening to music live, singing along with a group, and getting wrapped up in the entertainment and atmosphere of the production and crowd.
I usually prefer an outdoor summer concert. There is something truly magical about sitting outdoors at night, listening to great music, looking up at the stars in the hot summer air. The night we saw Coldplay it was beyond any concert experience I’d had before. The Sleep Train Amphitheater in Wheatland, CA is the perfect venue for summer concerts. Nestled into what looks like a hillock in the middle of a farm field, this venue is made for breezy, steamy summer nights. The stage production and surprises Coldplay used for this show felt like they were designed from the imaginative experience of a child. There were oversized large yellow balloons bouncing through the audience during “Yellow”, that when they burst, sprinkled the audience with yellow confetti. There were air rockets shooting multicolored neon and metallic paper butterflies on the audience from every direction timed perfectly with the music and building energy during “Lovers in Japan”, or was it “Strawberry Swing”? I don’t recall, but it was awesome. There was just so much imagination in this show it was like an altered state. They even gave out a CD of the set recorded live at previous shows. It was an incredible experience and the gimmicks all worked on me.
The night I saw Kenny Chesney in San Francisco at AT&T Park, it was less of a production, but enjoyable all the same. The cold San Francisco summer air was enough to make him put on a shirt with sleeves (if you know Kenny Chesney, you know what that takes). Lady Antebellum opened, and though Sugarland didn’t make it to open, Miranda Lambert did and she was AWESOME. AT&T park is great, but cold and big for the kind of show I like. The music was enough to carry us to a warm beachy state of mind.
To be honest, when I decided to see Keith Urban at the Arco Arena in Natomas, CA that summer, I was really going to see his opening act, Leann Rimes. Leann was the first country artist I liked as a child. I used to stand on the trunk at the foot of my mothers bed with Leann’s debut album Blue blasting on the stereo. I’d hold my moms brush to my lips as a microphone and belt out each song, word for word, to my (very tolerant) audience of 1 (my mom). Leann and I are almost exactly the same age (a matter of days) and that just made me love her singing even more.
Excited to see one of my childhood idols, I did a little research online to see where the best seats for my money (which there wasn’t much of) would be. I read a few reviews that suggested there would be a second stage at some point in the show were Keith Urban would play a few songs out in the audience. I looked up the layout of the Arco Arena seating charts and made a guess as to where that would be. When we picked our tickets up at will call they told us the seats we purchased weren’t available because a camera would be placed there, so they were moving us. I was livid! I had purposely chosen that location, how could they ruin my plan! Well, it was all for the best. We ended up seated what seemed like a mere 5 feet from the second stage, right on level with him as he sang. This was our view:
It was AMAZING. I hadn’t been a big fan before the show, but by the time it was over I was sold. 100%.
Since I moved to Michigan that August of 2009, I have made it to a few great shows. Jay Z and Eminem at Comerica Park in 2010 was most memorable (Dr. Dre showed up! Beyonce was dancing in her seat!). Brian got me a ticket as a birthday present and we had a blast. We also saw Jason Mraz at a local outdoor venue, DTE Energy Music Theatre, summer 2012 around my birthday again (a theme I guess). I love Jason Mraz, but the set list wasn’t fabulous and it was a weeknight. By the time the vibe picked up and he started playing songs more familiar to the audience we were already headed out for the night… but at least it was outdoors!
With New Years Eve creeping up on me this year, I started longing for a musical vacation. It is such a stress reducer for me, seeing bands I like play, the thrill of the evening, the music. Last New Years we went up north here in Michigan to Petoskey and rented a house with a few other couples (Details will have to be for another post). It was so much fun exploring the northern lake towns with my hunny, playing in the snow with our puppy, and hanging out with friends. How could we top that? Well, the Zac Brown Band is here to save the day.
I can’t wait to head down to the historic Joe Louis Arena on the Detroit River tomorrow night to ring in the new year with my brand spankin’ new husband and the Zac Brown Band! I really hope they play “Free,” that violin intro melts me and I can’t imagine how it will rock my soul live.
What more are Sundays for than long walks with your pup, baking, and watching football? It may be early fall (or technically late summer) but we are settling in to Michigan’s finest season in style. Yesterday my alma mater #BeatND while we watched from my sister-in-laws birthday dinner celebration. Today, we are watching our Detroit Lions in style while enjoying delicious healthy muffins and even more delicious Mimosas. Ah weekends, I love you so.
Before the game today we took Brinkley for a long walk around the neighborhood. We had planned on putting her in her Lions jersey, but discovered that she is nearly twice the size she was last football season and will definitely need a new Jersey this year. I mean, a girl needs a jersey if she is going to watch football with her daddy, right?
Sunday’s are usually my meal prep day for the week (when I’m being good). So I spent the beginning of todays game making Banana Oatmeal Breakfast muffins that I discovered on Pinterest (here). I’ve made them once before and they taste and smell amazing! Full disclosure they stick to the muffin liners but are delicious enough that I don’t really mind. I used Trader Joe’s Gluten Free rolled oats and I added pecan pieces and some cocoa powder to personalize the recipe. They are serious yum.
To top off this relaxing afternoon, Brian suggested we pop open some wedding celebratory Champaign and make Mimosas. I’m telling you, these muffins pair very well with orange juice and Champaign. Happy Sunday and Happy Football day!
I’m headed to Atlanta for the week for what I hope will be an awesome health communication conference. Exciting right?
After nearly missing my flight due to takeoff time confusion (you mean my flight is at noon? Not 2pm? Crap!!!) and a harrowing drive from Royal Oak to DTW; I made it to my seat just in time to learn the plane was broken. Sad. face. Sarah.
We sat patiently on the plane as our takeoff went from 12pm to 1:30, then from 1:30 to 3pm… They finally let us off to get food only to ask us to get back on the plane to grab our stuff and head to the other side of the airport. And now, as I wait for a 5pm flight to Atlanta what else should I do but plan my wedding?
Thank you Delta. Thanks.
So- here are some inspiration boards I have been piecing together with Picstitch using images I have found on Pinterest. Here is a link to my pinterest board where you can find links to all of the image sources (these are not my images).
I really want a warm feel for the wedding, classy but not uptight. We chose a Wtoo bridesmaid dress Macadamia (tan/champaign colored) for my ladies, which means the men will be in rich navy blue suits instead of tan linen as Brian had hoped…. But I think it looks fabulous!
Since more than half of our guests will be coming from out-of-state (the wedding is in Berkeley, CA where I’m, from Brian’s from Michigan) I want to draw in a few little nods to our home states. One of the ideas I’ve had for this is to find vintage travel postcards for Michigan and California cities to use in place of table numbers. Brian says if we do this the bridal party is sitting at “Detroit“. I’m down with that.
My mother and I both love cobalt blue glass. I thought it would be cool to make our centerpieces from little clusters of different size and shaped blue glass containers (bottles, vases, pitchers, jars), and to fill them with fluffy flowers like peonies and vintage roses in white, pale yellow and pale orange. Like this-
Oh look, now the sign says 6pm takeoff. I’ll be done planning before I reach Atlanta at this pace! Ok, I was nearly done already, but you’ve got to look for silver linings right? Thank goodness for iPhones and charging stations.
I’m really liking how the blues, yellows, golds, oranges and tans are all coming together. It will all go nicely with my dress which we found when my mom was in town last week! It’s a stunner if I might say so myself… and it is much more dramatic than I ever would have thought I’d choose. Since I can’t show off the dress, I’ll just share a few pics from the dress shopping adventure.
I ended up falling in love with the first dress I pulled off the rack and tried on a The Wedding Shoppe on Woodward. It was meant to be! The consultant, Natalie, at the Wedding Shoppe was awesome. I would definitely recommend her if you are looking for a wedding dress in the Detroit area. When we went back to take pictures of the dress the next day I noticed the adorable sign welcoming the brides with appointments! I’m the first one on the list!
Update- I finally made it to my hotel in Atlanta at 10pm… that’s a 12 hour travel day for what should have been a 2 hour flight. I could have driven here at that rate and seen a whole lot more of the country!