Have Bloggers Destroyed the True Purpose of Coachella?

Being an avid Youtube and Instagram user, I have noticed the increased hype over Coachella this year with popular fashion and lifestyle bloggers. Hype may even be putting it lightly… I think the term obsession may be more appropriate. While Coachella has always been viewed as an event to show off the best of festival fashion, it has been taken to a whole new level this year. I keep asking myself, why is this?

My favorite fashion bloggers like Danielle Bernstein of WeWoreWhat and Chiara Ferragni of The Blonde Salad have been documenting their last few months spent preparing for Coachella. Yes, months. There have been constant Instagram stories and snapchats of them receiving packages in the mail from companies as well as their various visits to brand showrooms in preparation for their finest festival-inspired looks. From what I can recall of the past years, there has never been this much obsession over what to wear and what types of statements are to be made.

(pictures via @weworewhat on Instagram)

Being a fashionista myself, I absolutely recognize all of the fun that goes into preparing your looks for music festivals. It gives you a chance to dress in ways you may not typically dress in your everyday life. I mean who doesn’t love the glitter, boho dresses, and cowgirl-themed accessories? Coachella gives you a chance to be someone new and embrace the gypsy fashion while listening to some of your favorite bands in the middle of the desert. However, I can’t help but wonder if Coachella has now become more of a brand investment rather than a fun source of self-expression.

We all know that fashion bloggers get paid by brands to wear their clothing and post pictures of them wearing it. It is also no question that Coachella fashion gets A LOT of attention and A LOT of searches. This makes me wonder if Coachella is just an excuse for fashion bloggers to get increased exposure from social media and magazine articles, which is why bloggers are spending so much time preparing for it. The more preparation, the crazier the looks, the more exposure, the more money bloggers are paid by brands.

(pictures via @chiaraferragni on Instagram)

Not only has this festival turned into a business venture for fashion bloggers, but it has become hard work for all of the brands involved as well. If you work for a popular bohemian fashion brand you can forget about enjoying the music at Coachella. Countless months are spent planning parties, looks, press events, showroom invites, and more. I mean, I thought music festivals were a fun place to enjoy music, but have you once heard a blogger talk about what artists were going to be there or who they couldn’t wait to hear live? I know I haven’t. All the talk is simply about wearing which look which day and getting this shot, in that location. I have mentioned this before, but life should be about enjoying the moment rather than planning it. We don’t want to see posed picture, we want to see people genuinely enjoying themselves.

While I am excited to not only hear the live performances from Coachella this weekend, I am also looking forward to all of the Instagram posts of what everyone is wearing. However, some of the magic for me will be lost. Just knowing all of the business that has gone behind an event that is supposed to be so fun, carefree, and effortless, loses Coachella’s sense of purpose for me. What do you think about the evolution of Coachella and its attendees? Let me know by leaving me a comment!

The Power of Being Awake

February is almost over… The month where those New Year’s resolutions you set are no longer so new. And when things are no longer new, they usually are no longer any fun either. Resolutions, your new iPhone, your latest boyfriend… Everything loses its glisten  as January 1st fades into February and February fades into March.

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During these long winter months after the holidays, it is hard not to dig yourself into a funk. It is easy to lose motivation and not want to leave your house or spend those hours studying in the library. Often I need to find something small to motivate me to push towards these goals that I have set (like reading a new book every week).

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One of those little treats that I use to motivate myself is caffeine. I know, not the best choice for my health, but it is the one thing that always gets me going. Luckily I recently discovered the brand Sunup. Sunup is a company based in Brooklyn that sells green coffee. Green coffee tastes like coffee and tea in one- the best of both worlds. Now I don’t have to decide which I would rather drink in the morning!

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Green coffee has the same amount of caffeine as a medium iced coffee but doesn’t leave you with jitters and a bitter after taste. I genuinely look forward to waking up, grabbing my laptop and books, and hitting the library when I have a Sunup in my hand.

Don’t let these long winter months get you down. Find something small that you can look forward to everyday to get you up and ready for the day. Or, better yet, think about all the steps you could be taking towards achieving your wildest dreams. Success doesn’t come easy, it comes with hard work.

What were your New Year’s resolutions, and have you continued along with them into February? Let me know by leaving me a comment!

LOVE YOURSELF

Happy Valentine’s Day! Or maybe you know it as the day everyone in love loves to love and everyone not in love loves to hate. This “holiday” brings with it a lot of pressure from society to find someone to spend this day with. It is almost as if society looks down on you if you are single.

As Justin Bieber once sang, “you should go and love yourself”. And guess what? You should!  Ok, this is definitely not how he meant it in his *now Grammy-winning* song, but he still speaks the truth. We should view Valentine’s Day as a day of love rather than a day to love a significant someone. Who said you can’t be your own Valentine?

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It is so much more important to love yourself than someone else. Self-love is something that truly deserves to be celebrated. Loving yourself is one of the hardest things to do. Self-love takes courage, acceptance, and a realization that you are an amazing, beautiful person. At the end of the day, you will always have you. You are the one you spend 24 hours a day with, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, an entire lifetime. How can you not love yourself?

Instead of moping around wishing you had someone else to buy chocolate and flowers for, do something that makes you realize why you love the person you are. Take a yoga class. Visit an art museum. Walk your dog. Everyone deserves to feel love on this holiday and the easiest way to do that is to find it from within.

A New Year, A New Adventure

2017 is just a few hours away and with this new year comes the new year’s resolutions. Have you decided yet what you are striving for once the year turns? Many people make it their goal to exercise, eat healthy, or maybe read a few more books, but a new year is about so much more than just these minuscule goals. Yes, miniscule. In the grand scheme of life are these things the secret to your happiness? Definitely not.

In the middle of January I am leaving the United States in order to study abroad for five months across the Atlantic Ocean, in London. As the day of my departure comes closer and closer, my parents and friends keep asking me why I have to leave. Of course my parents thought I was crazy when I said this, but I told them it was because I was getting too comfortable here.

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I am someone that needs to be constantly challenged or I get bored and fall into a “funk”. In the last few months I have been experiencing this funk greatly. While I was happy, I knew I needed a change and I to push myself outside of my own limitations. What better way to do this than to move to a new country where you know nothing about the culture or the people?

There is something so frightening yet so exciting about living an entirely different life for a few months. I am ready to meet new people, explore new cities, and experience the discomfort of something entirely new. When is the last time that you went into something blind and alone? These leaps of faith are the ones that help us to learn the most about ourselves and grow into the person we want to be. It gives us a sense of clarity about what we love, appreciate, and want in the future.

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If you have the feeling of extreme comfort in your life, go out and destroy that feeling. Move somewhere new, take a trip alone, or do something that scares you. You will never know what you can learn about yourself until you try. Nobody progresses anywhere by being comfortable in life. So make 2017 a year of growth and happiness, not by losing weight or earning an A in one of your classes, but by going outside and experiencing life.

Be sure to follow me here, on Instagram, on Twitter, and on Facebook in order to keep up with my European adventures!

 

The Enslaved Africans’ Rain Garden

Picture yourself on a crisp spring day, walking by the Hudson River in Yonkers, New York. You hear the sound of flowing water and birds chirping. Luscious green trees and bushes line the path that you are walking. You are surrounded by towering bronze sculptures, each with their own unique personality. These elements of nature and art come together to tell the story of the city’s past.

Vinnie Bagwell Enslaved Africans Rain Garden

This is exactly the experience that Vinnie Bagwell is creating through her “The Enslaved Africans’ Rain Garden” initiative. What exactly is a rain garden?  A rain garden is a planted depression that allows the surrounding greenery to be watered using rainwater run-off. Having this in place in the city of Yonkers will save water sources and reduce pollution in the area.

Not only is she helping the natural beauty of Yonkers prosper, but she is sharing its rich history through the personalities of her sculptures. Bagwell will be focusing on the enslaved Africans who once lived at the Philipse Manor Hall, a popular slave-owning household in Yonkers during the 1680s and 1690s. Six of the slaves that lived here were the first to be freed from slavery, exactly 76 years before the Emancipation Proclamation.

Vinnie Bagel Enslaved Africans Rain Garden

Bagwell aims to create a life-size sculpture like this one to be the main focal point of the garden. She says, “The strongest aspect of the Enslaved Africans’ Rain Garden Project is that its underlying values and goals begin to address the righting of this wrong by giving voice to the previously unheard via accessible public art…”. Bagwell wants everyone to experience the emotions that these slaves felt by looking at the expressions on her sculptures’ faces. Yonkers must finally hear what the people of its past have to say.

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When asked why she feels so powerfully about this project she says, “Despite the hardship and injustices of slavery, the enslaved people of African descent made important contributions to our cultural and intellectual life, and their experience is among the richest of legacies. Yet, there is no permanent, public, interpretive recognition of them”. Bagwell is trying to do exactly this. She wants to open Yonkers and the rest of New York up to the deep history that it holds but has forgotten. She is expressing this message in the most beautiful and powerful way she knows; through sculpture.

Be sure to follow this project by liking the project’s Facebook page, following Bagwell on Instagram, and watching this short Youtube video.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Lewis
Site-Plan Illustrations: Brown Craig Turner Architectural Design

The Great Expectations of Turning 20

A few favorite memories from my 19th year…

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Laying in bed with a seaweed sheet mask on my face, easing the pain of my sunburn, I ring in my 20th birthday. I can’t help but think, is this what 20 years old feels like? I also can’t help but wonder, is this birthday post going to be nearly as inspirational as Carrie Bradshaw’s 30th birthday post? After all, most of us aspire to be the Carrie Bradshaw of the modern-day.

Your 20s are the decade where you become legally able to drink, move out on your own, obtain your first real job, maybe meet the man of your dreams, and, for some, have a baby. How can all of these important life events be squeezed into only 10 years? While you are a teenager you only go through three major life events; puberty, graduating high school, and attending college. It just doesn’t seem right that we are expected to accomplish so much in our 20s and know exactly where we are heading in life.

Just two years ago I was still living in my parents’  house and now I am expected to pay my own bills and create my own family? What happened to a transition period? While moving in with your parents after college is becoming more and more common, how are we supposed to accomplish the things that are expected of us while under the roof of those who have nurtured us all of our lives? Our parents aren’t going to just stop caring for us once we graduate, pushing back the time we will be able to have sustainable things of our own and a meaningful relationship. In a way, this prevents us from growing up.

After graduating college my goal is to pack up my life and move to New York City where I will pay for my apartment entirely on my own, without the help of my parents. I believe this is necessary in order to truly grow and reach the milestones expected of us in our 20s. Our 20s are the years of our independence. This is why it is so essential to step out of your comfort zone, do things you never would have done before, and make your dreams happen.

This year, and the next 10 years, I want to push myself to limits that I thought were never even possible. I want to grow this blog into a work of art I am proud of. I want to intern at Google, making a difference in the world of technology. I want to travel Europe and experience all the different cultures the world has to offer. I want to make a difference in the lives of others who are not as lucky as I am. I want to read as many books as possible, learning about all different subjects. I want to find new ways to meet new people, expanding my social circle. I want to truly grow myself as a person.

I am promising to myself right now, and I want you to also promise to yourself, that I will push my limits and make my 20s the years of accomplishment and growth. Everyone says these are the best years of our lives, so lets truly make it the best years we can. Accomplish what you’ve always dreamed of accomplishing. Meet the person you’ve always dreamed about. Make things HAPPEN.

UPDATE: As I am writing this, discussing these same ideas with my cousin who is next to me in a small coffee shop, a 24 year old woman comments on what I am saying. It is absolutely crazy to have your life together by the time you turn 30, but it is necessary to throw yourself out into the world in order to even have a chance. She told me that there’s nothing to worry about and you learn to accept that nobody really knows what they are doing in their 20s. As long as you are trying, you’re doing something right and heading in the right direction. I couldn’t agree with her more.