Ask Me Anything!

IMG_20141205_201048(1)

I want your questions! Ask me anything, whether it be about me, college, makeup, fashion, my pets, going vegan/cruelty-free, living straight edge, my advice/opinions, or anything else you may be wondering. (Just keep them respectful, please! 😉 ) Leave me your questions in the comments, and I will answer them in a Questions and Answers post later this month or early next month. ❤ So ask away!

Best,

Leila

Advertisements

My Vans Warped Tour 2014 Experience

I recently attended the 20th Vans Warped Tour! 🙂 As it was my first time, this post is dedicated to my preparation and experience. I hope it offers some guidance to other first time attendees!

What I Brought

003

I mainly followed the packing list on the Vans Warped Tour site. I packed my belongings in a drawstring backpack, which proved to be roomy enough to hold everything I acquired during the day!

Food/Drink

  • Blueberry Belvita Biscuits: These are high in fiber and help to boost and regulate your energy.  As you will spend a lot of time in the sun and on your feet during the day, it is important to fuel up in a healthy way.  Energy drinks, sugary foods, and fried fast food are not the way to go!
  • Uncrustables: I brought these sandwiches for lunch. As I was unsure of whether homemade food would be allowed inside, these prepackaged sandwiches were perfect. I kept them frozen, and they had defrosted by lunchtime.
  • Water Bottle: A water bottle you can carry with you will be important.  Obtaining drinks is surprising difficult, especially if you are crunched for time. Not to mention that they do not let you keep the cap so you have to hold onto the water bottle! I would suggest bringing two, so you can drink one as you wait in line.

Personal Care Items

  • Kleenex: These were useful for mealtime. The pocket form makes them easy to pack. It will not hurt to bring some along, especially if you have allergies, since you will be outside all day.
  • Sunscreen: This is so important! As there is little shade, your skin will be red as a tomato if you skip sunscreen! Remember to reapply during the day. As you get busy, it is easy to forget. I focused mine on my shoulders and back, as those areas tend to get burnt the easiest.
  • Hair Ties: If you are considering wearing your hair down (which I do not suggest), you will be happy you brought these later in the day! It feels great to get your hair off your neck during the hot afternoon.
  • Sunglasses: Being out in the sun all day is difficult on your eyes. Putting these on during the day helps to protect them. Not to mention that it is very uncomfortable to be constantly squinting as you try to watch one of your favorite bands!

Other Items

  • Wallet: This is an obvious one! You will need to bring your ticket with you and some money. I recommend bringing $40-$100 with you in cash, depending on how much merch you plan on buying. If you are planning on buying food, definitely bring more, as it is rather expensive. (I had a $6 lemonade!) Bring some singles and fives, as breaking bills can be annoying!
  • Phone: This is also an obvious one! If you plan on taking pictures with it, make sure it is fully charged. I recommend bringing an emergency charger to ensure that your phone will still be operating by the end of the day.
  • Sharpies: These can be useful for autographs and planning out your day with the schedule.

What I wore 

???????????????????????????????

I decided to dress very comfortably for Warped Tour. I wore a lace bralette, a loose-fitting white tank top, and some cotton athletic shorts. Of course, I had to wear my black Vans. I recommend wearing light colors and breathable, flexible materials so you can move comfortably. I suggest against sandals, as it is easy to get your feet stepped on! I don’t feel that it is a priority to be dressed extremely fashionably. It is more important to feel comfortable and focus on the music! Just go to have a good time and don’t worry about what other people think of you!

Makeup

???????????????????????????????

I would avoid any face makeup, as your face will become hot and sweaty throughout the day.  Just rub some sunscreen on your forehead, cheeks, and nose and let your skin breathe!

I wore some waterproof eyeliner from Stila. By the end of the day, the wings were still clean and sharp. As pencil can smudge and bleed, I suggest using a liquid like this one.  I wore clear mascara to define my lashes and hold the curl.  Because a dark mascara can bleed, I suggest skipping it or using a waterproof version.

Put on some lip balm, preferably one with sunblock in it. Lips can become burnt too!

Tips

  • Eat a healthy breakfast! As you become busy during the day, it is easy to forget to eat! At least if you have a hearty breakfast working for you, you can remain energized. I recommend eating whole grains and fruits. Avoid sugary foods.
  • Buy a schedule. This is very useful for planning out your day. It takes a lot of the stress out of Warped Tour! It includes a map and lists of all the stages and the times the bands are playing there. You would hate to miss your favorite band because of ill planning! It costs $2, so bring a few singles.
  • Stay hydrated.  Remember to take a few sips of water every once in awhile. The heat is exhausting, so some fresh, cool water can go a long way.
  • Check up on those with you. If you came with a friend, communicate. Make sure they are feeling comfortable and well. Remind each other to drink, eat, and apply sunscreen throughout the day. And stay together, as it is easy to lose track of each other in a sea of people!
  • Take a break. Block out some 20 minute time frames to sit down, drink, have a snack, and relax. These will help to keep you going throughout the day and give you an energy boost.  An all day concert is already difficult enough on your body. It deserves a break!
  • Go to signings! The lines can be daunting, but they are well worth the wait, especially if it is for one of your favorite bands!
  • Put away your phone! I really advise against snapping tons of pictures and videos. Soak up the moment through your senses, not through your cellphone screen! There will be plenty of professional videos and pictures online afterwards. So maybe take a couple of pictures, but forget about your social medias for one day and enjoy yourself!
  • Listen to new bands! With such a large lineup, there is bound to be a band you have never listened to before. Give someone new a try instead of just listening to bands you are familiar with. Maybe you will discover a new favorite!
  • Get sleep! I went to Warped Tour on 3 hours of sleep…Not the best way to prepare for an all day outdoor music festival! Don’t be me. Get a good night’s rest!

My Experience

Highlights

Icon For Hire is one of my favorite bands, and when they announced they would be at Warped Tour, I knew it would be difficult to miss out on seeing them! The show was amazing! I recommend to anyone attending a future Warped Tour 2014 date to put them on your list. I wish their performance could have been longer! They had a signing afterwards. Though I had to wait almost an hour, it was well worth it!

I purchased their first album, Scripted (which you need to listen to if you have not already!), while in line and got it autographed by all three members of the band! 😀 I also purchased a lyric t-shirt.

089

And then, this happened. Yes. That is me and the lead singer of Icon For Hire, Ariel!

034

So overall my Vans Warped Tour 2014 experience was amazing! I definitely want to go again next year! To anyone whose tour date is coming up, you have a great Warped Tour to look forward to! I hope this post gave you some useful advice!

Best,

Leila

Summer Vibes: A Playlist

summer vibes

During the summer, I love to jam out to fun and upbeat pop-punk, indie, and alternative vibes. In this post, I organized a playlist of 13 songs I have been listening to this summer!  Even though nine out of ten times I am listening to music while wandering around the internet, this summery playlist helps me imagine that I am at a beach-side concert at sunset! Wherever your happy place is, I hope this playlist transports you there!

Happy Listening!

Leila

 

War Eternal Track by Track Review

“This is hellish inferno! This is WAR ETERNAL!”

Yes. The time has come…I’m reviewing Arch Enemy’s new album War Eternal! This album dropped on June 10th. I had been anxiously awaiting its release since it was announced in March, so it is hard to believe that it has already been out for a month! As everyone and their grandmother has heard by now, this is the first album with the new lead vocalist Alissa White-Gluz, as Angela Gossow stepped down and chose Alissa to replace her.  Though some fans were rather disgruntled by Angela’s departure, I was still very optimistic about the future of the band.  I am a huge fan of Alissa White-Gluz and her work with The Agonist, so I was confident that War Eternal would be amazing! It is only July, but I already know that War Eternal is going to be my favorite album of 2014. So here is my track by track review of War Eternal!

war eternal

Let’s start with the sick cover art. Interpreting artwork isn’t one of my strong suits. But after I watched an interview in which Alissa White-Gluz explained the meaning behind the cover, its significance became clear to me. Most notably, the baby is surrounded by danger, but the only thing protecting it is death (represented by the cloaked figure holding it). This art reflects the nature of life, as well as the theme of the album itself.

Tracks

Tempore Nihil Sanat (Prelude in F minor)

This track captures the melodic elements of the album.  It features orchestral and operatic music, leading up to Never Forgive, Never Forget. You can feel the intensity building as you listen to this track, until it launches you head first into one of the heaviest songs on the album.

Never Forgive, Never Forget

If you are ever mad at someone and need something to listen to, this is the song you have been searching for!  The instrumentals are loud, strong, and fast.  The lyrics are angry and vengeful. Paired with Alissa White-Gluz’s brutal vocals, they deliver a true punch in the gut.  Let this snippet of lyrics show you what I mean: “Time heals nothing! I’ll never forgive! Never forget! Never! Never!”

War Eternal

The title track is the first single that was released, and I had been listening to it nonstop prior to the album release. I love the resounding strength of the chorus.  It has a melodic cadence, yet also carries the crushing metal attributes Arch Enemy is known for.  One of my favorite lyrics on the album comes from this song: “Back against the wall, in danger of losing it all. Search, deep inside–remember who you are!”

As the Pages Burn

I love the fast-paced verses in this song. They are so exhilarating to listen to!  Then, the song slows down for the chorus, which is screamed to a melody.  I love how Alissa White-Gluz takes a vocal style that is typically not thought of as melodic and turns it around. The powerful chorus (written while White-Gluz was suffering from insomnia) is worth reciting: “Sweet amnesia, here to free you, as the pages burn!”

No More Regrets

The most notable feature of this song is the fast and heavily involved guitars and drums.  The opening sweeps you off your feet and blows you away!  Behind these crazy-exciting instrumentals, I find inspiration in the lyrics. Most notably: “No, no more regrets. What’s done is done, can’t be erased. All I know, is that regret, can’t change this bitter after taste.” This song is about moving forward in life and leaving behind the past, a theme that runs strong in this album.

You Will Know My Name

This song begins slow and soft with sounds of children in the background, but becomes heavier when the vocals emerge. The vocals are filled with pain and emotion. For example: “Judging eyes, watching me, is all I’ve ever known! When I try to open up my heart, I am ridiculed, and torn apart!”  I feel an outpouring of soul and and personality, as if I am climbing inside someone’s mind and reading their fears and insecurities.  Alissa White-Gluz definitely mastered the vocals on this track! She also does an amazing job portraying the emotion of this song in the music video, which is my favorite of the videos released for this album so far.

Graveyard of Dreams

This song marks a transition from the Arch Enemy we know into uncharted territory.  All three singles that were pre-released are found in the previous half. Additionally, the following half of the album takes creative leaps by incorporating more melodic and orchestral elements.  This track lies as a buffer between the sound we are familiar with and their new, evolved sound that is inevitable with the inclusion of a new vocalist.

Stolen Life

This song is filled with anger and strength, captured most potently by the aggressive vocals. Though this is one of the shorter songs on the album, the screams and the lyrics behind them pack a powerful punch! From the chorus: “Do you ever really know someone until you look away? Displace my trust, only to learn, honesty is just a word!”

Time Is Black

I love this song! The beginning is beautiful and meaningful. At first, soft glockenspiel and the sound of a baby crying fills your ears. Then, the song bursts into heavy guitar. I appreciate the meaning behind the arrangement of this song and the lyrics. I absolutely love the line: “If I could pull the fabric of time and bring the future near, the answers wouldn’t be so far, the truth would be so clear!” In the middle of this song, the glockenspiel returns and is echoed back by the guitars, a juxtaposition of two music worlds that is breathtaking to hear.  An interlude of harp and violin is also incorporated before diving into the gut-wrenching chorus: “Time is black, and nothing will escape! Nothing will remain!”

On and On

The beginning of this song is loud and fierce, quite an awakening from the soft glockenspiel that closed Time is Black. (I flinched when this song began on my first listen of this album!) The vocals and lyrics are filled with strength and power. The commanding chorus transports me to a battlefield: “On and on! The battle knows no victory! On and on! Weapons high, reject defeat!” I love the abrupt ending and of this song and the whimsical echo of guitar that is left tingling in the listener’s ear.

Avalanche

This is my favorite song on the album! The incorporation of orchestral elements adds profound depth and beauty.  The emergence of Alissa White-Gluz’s beautiful clean vocals in the background of this song gave me chills on my first listen!  Listening to this song makes me feel as though I am in an avalanche, rocks tumbling around me. This song grabs me from within and moves me to close my eyes and head bang along. I love the lyric “Stand up as the whole world turns away!” Satisfying every musical desire, this song marks the climax of the album.

Down to Nothing

The bar is truly set high for the song that follows Avalanche, but Down to Nothing still leaves me headbanging along, partly from the adrenaline rush left over from Avalanche. The lyrics of the chorus are empowering: “I will not let this moment define who I am…I am strong, eternal! Now you see me, now you don’t!” As this is the last original song that includes vocals on the album, it feels as though Alissa White-Gluz is alluding to her new found role in the band and promising a bright future for Arch Enemy. The final lyric she screams is “I will return!”

Not Long for This World

This song releases the listener from War Eternal‘s powerful grip.  I find it calming and reflective–a time for the listener to contemplate the songs that have been filling their ears for the last 45 minutes.  I think the ending of this song is one of the best album endings I have ever heard. It is somewhat spoiled by the inclusion of the bonus track, but I am definitely not complaining about that! It ends with steady beeps and heart beats, contrasting with the noises of children and babies included throughout this album, as if War Eternal captures an entire human life.

Shadow on the Wall

This song (A Mike Oldfield cover) is very different from anything Arch Enemy has ever recorded, but I enjoy its fun, catchy, and interesting vibe. This song cheers me up after Not Long for this World and allows me to hear Alissa White-Gluz’s vocals one last time. The lyrics are not nearly as deep and meaningful as the rest of War Eternal. I am glad they are not original! However, Arch Enemy definitely did an excellent job on this cover. Shadow on the Wall is an upbeat and positive way to leave the listener.

This concludes my track by track review of War Eternal! Arch Enemy truly took the world by storm with this album during a time of doubt and criticism. War Eternal is a remarkable achievement! I prompt you to listen to this album, and then listen to it a few more times!  It is impossible to intake the full meaning behind this album in a single listen.

Best,

Leila

The Perfect Summer Album

all the ways

I am super excited that the first album I am reviewing is All The Ways You Let Me Down by the Candy Hearts Band! In case you are not familiar with them, Candy Hearts is an alt-indie band fronted by Mariel Loveland, whose girly-meets-punk fashion is beyond enviable. This album (which was produced by Chad Gilbert of New Found Glory) came out on June 10th, and I have listened to it almost every day since! 🙂 In my opinion, it is the perfect summer album. Here is why you should make All The Ways You Let Me Down the soundtrack to your summer activities!

First off, the whimsical lyrics are bound to steal your heart. Each song is held together by strong instrumentals and carried by catchy, upbeat melodies. The open and honest lyrics bring this album to life by painting vivid pictures in your head. Just like a book, each song builds upon the last and the album as a whole tells a story. In addition, Loveland’s natural-sounding vocals are full of personality and expression, matching perfectly with the lyrics. Each song is like a drifting thought that blends seamlessly with the next, weaving together a daydream suitable for a summer night.

My favorite songs on the album are: I Miss You, The One to Get Me Out, Michigan, Coffee With my Friends, and Brooklyn Bridge.

My favorite lyric is: “Tell me that happiness was sent to the wrong address, and if we wait a while it’s still coming to me,” from Playing with Fire

So if you haven’t heard Candy Hearts’ album All The Ways You Let Me Down, I suggest you give it a listen. I promise it won’t let you down! 😉 😉

Best,

Leila