Music Midtown 2017

     I spent the weekend of September 16th and 17th standing within crowds that totaled 78,000 at Music Midtown.  This was my second year attending the festival, and it was just as great as my first!  I was completely awestruck the first time I saw the lineup over the summer and I’m so blessed to have been able to attend.  This year I went with my friends Scout (who came with my family last year) and Patty as well as Scout’s mom.  I decided not to attempt bringing in my Canon camera again because it was such a struggle to get through security with it last year so unfortunately I didn’t make a montage video.  However, I’ve included a ton of videos I took of the performers on my phone, so hopefully you’ll forgive me!  I’m so excited to share a little about this fun weekend with y’all, enjoy!

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Saturday

10:00 a.m. – I drove over to Scout’s house where we all (Scout, Patty, Scout’s mom, and I) packed and piled into her mother’s car and left for Atlanta.

12:30: p.m. – Finally, after a fun ride of singing songs we would soon hear live, we arrived in Atlanta.  We checked into our hotel, the Atlanta Marriott Suites Midtown, which was an amazing place to stay, then quickly changed into our outfits for the festival.

1:00 p.m. – We walked from the hotel to Which Wich? for lunch.  After we finished eating, we walked around a few furniture stores in the area for a couple hours or so with Scout’s mom since the first set we wanted to see wasn’t until 4:30 p.m.  Once she’d finished shopping we walked back to the hotel to make sure we had everything we’d need for Music Midtown.  When we were sure we were ready, we got in the car and rode to Piedmont Park.

3:00 p.m. – After much anticipation, we made it to Music Midtown.  Security seemed surprisingly less taxing this year, so it only took a few minutes to actually get in.  Immediately after getting in, we found a water fountain to fill up our reusable water bottles (you’re allowed to bring in one factory-sealed bottle full of water or one reusable bottle that holds equal or less than a liter) then hit the merchandise stands because by the time we got to the merchandise stands Saturday night last year everything we wanted had already sold out.  I bought a super soft light blue tee with the Music Midtown lineup and logo on it and found a way to stuff it into the small crossbody bag I brought in.

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4:30 p.m. – AJR’s set began at the Cotton Club Stage and the band was so fun to see live, they’re all great performers!  You might recognize this name from their hits “Weak” and “I’m Not Famous” – they’ve finally been getting some recognition lately and I have a feeling they won’t be going away anytime soon.   They opened with “I’m Not Famous” but my favorite song in the set was definitely “Drama.”

5:30 p.m. – Tove Lo came out on time and was such a hoot.  I’d technically seen her another time as Taylor Swift’s guest in Atlanta on the 1989 World Tour (read my post about that concert here), but she’s way different when she’s not performing for a Taylor Swift audience.  Regardless of the age rating that should be on her set, she’s crazy talented.  I’d been dying to hear her sing “Say It” by Flume since I found out I was going to Music Midtown and aside from the absence of the iconic DJ’s base drops, it fulfilled my expectations.  After her set ended, we stayed in the crowd and slowly moved towards the front, eventually scoring third row for Big Sean.

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7:30 p.m. – I had been so excited to see Big Sean and he definitely didn’t disappoint.  He’s so humble and grateful for how far he’s come.  My favorite moments in his set were his moment of silence and prayer for all the victims of recent tragedies and hearing “Beware,” “Bounce Back,” “Blessings,” and “I Know.”

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8:45 p.m. – We had planned on staying at the Salesforce Stage to wait out a good spot for Bruno Mars, but then we realized we had all run out of water and still hadn’t eaten dinner.  We ended up leaving the crowd to eat dinner and refill our water bottles.  The food truck lines were crazy long so I actually ended up buying a Minute Made soft frozen strawberry lemonade for dinner (so healthy right?).  As we were walking back to the Salesforce Stage we briefly stopped to listen to Wiz Khalifa.

9:30 p.m. – The moment we’d been waiting for, Bruno Mars’ set, had finally come.  Hearing his hits, new and old, like “Treasure,” “That’s What I Like,” “24K Magic,” “Uptown Funk,” “Marry You,” and so many more was surreal.  My favorite song had to be “Versace On The Floor” but he’s such an incredible dancer and overall performer I even loved his songs I didn’t know.  He sounds exactly like he does on his records, I’m so lucky I had the chance to hear him live!

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10:30 p.m. – After Bruno Mars’ set we headed back to the hotel to shower and rest up for another exciting day at the festival.

Sunday

11:00 a.m. – We slept in a lot then threw on some comfortable clothes to go to brunch in.  We went to the West Egg Cafe and it was awesome.  I got this incredible banana bread French toast and it lasted me through lunch.  After breakfast we went back to the hotel room to finish getting ready for the day (glitter and all) and pack our stuff.  On the way to the festival we picked up another friend of ours, Anna, who was staying with some family friends in Atlanta.

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2:00 p.m. – We got to Music Midtown over an hour before any of the artists we wanted to see were performing so I could get in line to meet Zara Larsson (but we stopped on the way to the Honda x Waterloo Records Artist Signing Stage to take a few pictures!).  I’ve been listening to Zara Larsson since I was in eighth grade and I was ecstatic when I saw they put her name on the meet and greet list.  I purchased her album to have her sign then waited in line for over an hour but was so lucky to meet her!  She’s so sweet and absolutely gorgeous in person (we aren’t smiling at the camera in the picture because security said they wouldn’t have time for everyone to meet her if we did posed pictures).

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3:30 p.m. – Once we left the meet and greet we saw Judah and the Lion at the Honda Stage.  I absolutely love their songs “Take It All Back” and “Suit and Jacket” and they sounded just as good live.  The band members loved to dance and get the crowd involved so it was a really fun set!

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4:30 p.m. – We walked over to the Roxy Stage to go see Zara Larsson perform.  She was wearing the coolest dress and looked just as pretty as when I met her earlier.  I didn’t realize she was such a good dancer, but she had a ton of choreography, so much that she actually ran backstage and got sick in the heat.  She handled her queasiness like a champ and finished her set in a more stationary position.  My favorite songs from the set were “TG4M,” “Symphony,” and “So Good.”

5:30 p.m. – As we were walking to the water station we heard Lizzo’s set starting at the Cotton Club Stage and decided to stop and listen for a while.  Lizzo has quite the personality and despite not really knowing who she was we had a fun time watching her.

5:45 p.m. – After about fifteen minutes of Lizzo we decided to grab some pizza for dinner.  The pizza at Music Midtown is overpriced (like all of the food there), but actually comes in pretty large slices, so I’d say it’s the best food option there.  Once we finished our food we returned to the Cotton Club Stage in anticipation of Russ’ set.

7:30 p.m. – When Russ finally came out the crowd went crazy.  My favorite songs from the set were “Do It Myself,” “What They Want,” and “Psycho Pt. 2.”  We left Russ’ set twenty minutes early to start finding a spot in the Future crowd and I’m really glad we did, about ten minutes after we got to the Roxy Stage a huge crowd came in.

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8:40 p.m. – Future, being one of the biggest names in rap music right now, was such a neat experience and a fun “I can say I…”.  I hate to admit this but I haven’t actually listened to a lot of Future’s music so I enjoyed his more popular songs “Jumpman,” “Mask Off,” and “Low Life.”  He actually brought out Young Thug (who I also don’t listen to oops) for a rendition of “Pick Up the Phone.”

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(I’m sorry the “Jumpman” video is sideways… I’m still really not sure why that happened.)

9:30 p.m. – We left before the end of Future’s set to avoid the traffic getting out and get home a little earlier since we were going to school the next day.

Just like last year, Music Midtown was an incredible experience.  If you ever get the chance to go I’d definitely recommend going!  If you’d like to read my post about Music Midtown 2016 you can find it here!  Thanks for reading!

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September Playlist 2017

     The month is almost over and I’m so excited to share all of the music I’ve been listening to lately with y’all!  These songs are sort of all over the place, coming from artists I saw at Music Midtown a couple weeks ago, Taylor Swift’s newest releases from her upcoming album (don’t lie, I know you’re excited to hear more too!), and the singer who played for us during YoungLife camp last weekend.  My absolute favorites this month have definitely been “Beware,” “Suit and Jacket,” “…Ready For It?” and “Don’t Hurt,” so be sure to give those a listen if none of the others!  I hope you find some new songs in this playlist!  Enjoy!

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Tap on the name of a song below to listen to it on YouTube!

…Ready For It? // Beware // Suit and Jacket // TG4M // Psycho Pt. 2 // Look What You Made Me Do // Don’t Hurt // You Make Me // True Feeling // Love Galore // Versace On The Floor // Hey 17 // Always There When I Need You // COPYCAT // Weekend

(playlist background via Katy Smail)

Thanks for reading!

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5 Essentials for a Smooth School Year

     As a junior in high school, I think I’ve finally found a few things that help me not only get through the school year, but get through it successfully.  In today’s Back to School post, I’m sharing five essentials for a smooth school year!  These are items I practically live by during the school year and would definitely recommend to anyone looking to become more organized or productive this year.  This is the eighth blog post in my Back to School series this year, so be sure to check out the rest here if you like what you read.  Enjoy!

#1: A Planner

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     Planners have been absolute lifesavers for me.  I’m currently using my fifth one and I love it so so much.  I use my agenda to jot down homework assignments, remind myself of due dates, schedule blog posts, make plans to hang out with friends, mark volunteering dates, and more.  I actually wrote a whole post on how I organize my agenda, read it here!  I used to use Lilly Pulitzer agendas, which are amazing, but I now use a Kate Spade agenda simply because I currently like the simple design better than Lilly’s brightly printed pages.  I’ve also heard really good things about the Day Designer agendas, which help you map out basically every hour of your day.

#2: A Quizlet Account

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     I would have failed tons of vocabulary quizzes and Spanish tests had I not discovered the Quizlet program as a seventh grader!  This free website and app allows you to create digital flashcards (complete with pictures and diagrams) and offers a variety of ways to study the terms and definitions.  My personal favorite method of quickly memorizing vocabulary words is to create a Quizlet set and play “Write.”  I also love how this website has its own app, so if you’re on a car trip, waiting for a friend, eating a snack, or doing literally anything else with a smart phone in your hand you can study!  I still love old fashioned flash cards, but you can’t lose a term in a Quizlet set like you can accidentally lose one flash card.  Sign up for Quizlet here!

#3: A Homework Folder

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     Up until this year I refused to keep paper assignments anywhere aside from the respective class’ binder.  This method required me to go home with a completely full backpack and an armful of books and binders everyday, and I was tired of it.  This year I decided to try out a magnetic closure envelope folder and I’ve loved keeping all of my homework in it!  It’s super convenient and since it’s so thin it easily fits into the laptop sleeve in my backpack along with my laptop.  Mine is a really pretty rose gold folder from Office Depot and I was unable to find it online, but I found a similar folder in a neat iridescent white color on Office Depot’s website!  Find it here.

#4: Highlighters

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     I was never much of a highlighter type of gal (mostly because I often end up highlighting half the page) until this school year.  My AP U.S. History teacher constantly assigns readings to highlight for homework and I’ve found that searching for the important pieces of a reading to highlight as you skim the text is a much more productive method of getting through a reading assignment than being bored and thinking about something else as you read every last word (what I used to do).  My favorite highlighters are nothing fancy, just the bigger Sharpie chisel tip highlighters.  Find them online here!

#5: Sticky Notes

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     Sticky notes are something I rarely used for anything besides doodling until I got to high school but boy have they been helpful since!  I use sticky notes to stick on my wall to remind myself of assignments (then I take sticky notes off the wall as I finish each task, super motivating!), to stick on my mirror to remind me to bring things to school, to stick on textbook pages so I remember the information is important, and the list goes on.  You’re probably well aware that the Post-it brand makes a variety of sticky note shapes and sizes, you can find my favorite options pictured and linked above!  I love the little flags for marking pages in my agenda and AP workbooks, the regular size for sticking memos around my room, and the 3in x 3in squares for writing notes in my novels for AP Language!

Thanks for reading!  I know most of these items are things you might already use, but hopefully this post has given you ideas on different ways to use them for more productivity!

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25 Motivational Quotes for the School Year

    Until the end of September, Tuesdays are Back to School post days, so I bet you can’t guess what today’s post is (haha)!  If you’ve missed any of my other Back to School posts this year (I’ve already written six excluding this one), you can find them all, as well as my Back to School posts from previous years, here!  Today’s post is a list I’ve compiled of twenty-five motivational quotes that I take to heart and think will inspire you this school year!  I’ve wanted to write a post like this for quite some time and I’m so glad I finally got around to it.  Enjoy!

1. “She believed she could, so she did.” – R.S. Grey

2. “One day or day one. You decide.” – Unknown

3. “She remembered who she was and the game changed.” – Lalah Delia

4. “Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.” – Jennifer Lee

5. “Mistakes are proof that you are trying.” – Unknown

6. “Everything is hard before it’s easy.” – J.W. Von Goethe

7. “Fortune favors the bold.” – Virgil

8. “Reach for the moon.  Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” – Les Brown

9. “Don’t call it a dream, call it a plan.” – Unknown

10. “Remember, the moment you accept total responsibility for everything in your life is the moment you claim the power to change anything in your life.” – Hal Elrod

11. “Whatever you are, be a good one.” – William Makepeace Thackeray

12. “Good things come to those who hustle.” – Unkown

13. “Opportunities don’t always just happen, you have to create them.” – Chinese Proverb

14. “She turned her can’ts into cans and her dreams into plans.” – Kobi Yamada

15. “If you stumble, make it part of the dance.” – Unknown

16. “Some people want it to happen, some people wish it would happen, others make it happen.” – Michael Jordan

17. “Sometimes you just have to take the leap and build your wings on the way down.” – Kobi Yamada

18. “When you are free from self-doubt, you fail better.  You accept criticism and listen.” – Jennifer Lee

19. “Stop watering dead flowers, give life to new blooms.” – Unknown

20. “Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” – Theodore Roosevelt

21. “Work hard in silence.  Let your success be the noise.” – Frank Ocean

22. “Life is always rocky when you’re a gem.” – Unknown

23. “Love the life you have while you create the life of your dreams.  Don’t think you have to choose one over the other.” – Hal Elrod

24. “Follow your dreams.  They know the way.” – Kobi Yamada

25. “You didn’t wake up today to be mediocre.” – Unknown

Thanks for reading!  I hope you stay inspired this school year!

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My Goals for the 2017-2018 School Year

     Happy Tuesday!  Today, as I have been every Tuesday since the beginning of August, I’m sharing another Back to School post!  If you haven’t read my other Back to School posts, you can read them all, from this year and years’ past, here!  This post is all about my goals for this school year, my junior year of high school; academically, athletically, spiritually, socially, and for my blog.  I personally find making goals to be very beneficial because even if they aren’t accomplished, they give me something to work towards.  Posting them here will somewhat hold me accountable for them, so I’ll try to share my progress in December and at the end of the school year!  I hope reading my goals will inspire you to come up with a few for yourself.  Enjoy!

Academic Goals

  1. Complete the school year with all As and Bs.
  2. Be somewhat successful in A.P. Environmental Science (Science isn’t really my best subject.  It’s not that I’m really bad at it, I just typically don’t perform as well in that subject as I do in my other classes).
  3. Get a 100 on a test.
  4. Make 4s and 5s on my three A.P. exams at the end of the year.

Athletic Goals

  1. Attend as many preseason lacrosse practices as possible.
  2. Workout more.
  3. Play more in lacrosse games than I did last year.
  4. Make the varsity lacrosse team again.
  5. Score a goal during a varsity lacrosse game.

Spiritual Goals

  1. Make lots of new middle school friends as a WyldLife leader.
  2. Go to YoungLife club every week that I possibly can.
  3. Feel refreshed after fall weekend at Windy Gap (a YoungLife camp in North Carolina).
  4. Read the Bible daily.
  5. Pray more often.
  6. Use my devotional daily.
  7. Go to winter weekend with WyldLife campers as a leader.
  8. Apply for YoungLife camp summer work crew.

Social Goals

  1. Make five new friends (or at least acquaintances).
  2. Do something really fun one weekend with a friend(s).

Blog Goals

  1. Post at least twice a week every week.
  2. Reach 20,000 total site views for 2017.
  3. Collaborate with a big brand.
  4. Host at least three giveaways.

Thanks for reading!  If my post inspires you to write your own blog post about your goals for the school year, I’d love it if you’d link my blog so I’ll get notified and can go check it out!

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August Playlist 2017

     I have to admit, this playlist is honestly my favorite playlist I’ve shared with y’all to date.  It’s packed with songs my friends from WJMC showed me, songs that I listened to with my cousins while in Texas, and quite a few other really good summer jams.  My favorite songs in this month’s playlist are “Hurricane (Arty Remix),” “Too Young,” “Bellyache,” and “2faded.”  I hope you love this playlist as much as I do!  Enjoy!

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Tap on the name of a song below to listen to it on YouTube!

Too Young // I Don’t Wanna End the Night // Blue Cheese // Barcelona // Another Day In Paradise // Just Friends // Ahead of Myself // Wake Up (Cuebrick Remix) // 2faded // Bellyache // Hurricane (Arty Remix) // Love On Me // The Other (Shallou Remix) // Something Just Like This (Jai Wolf Remix) // Show You

(playlist background via Katy Smail)

Thanks for reading!

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