Festival in General
VooDoo Fest was 3 days packed with music, food, and fun. From roller coaster rides to a decorated "cemetery", it was very themed and a ton of fun. Around 64 bands/performers played over the course of 3 days and that included all different types of genres including rock, pop, EDM, and more. Each day began around 12pm/1pm and finished up by 9pm/11pm. It was not only a music festival, but also falls on the weekend of or before Halloween as per New Orleans tradition. This means that there are an insane amount of incredible costumes and during some of the shows it was not uncommon to see whole families at the festival along with the crazy 20-30 somethings.
While the food was a little pricey, it really wasn't too pricey. There was a long line of booths similar to the BAR booth pictured but with sturdier structures. that were set up to have similar labeling and decorations, but were essentially food trucks from around NOLA. This was called the "Forked Up Food Court". My favorites were the pretzels at Bratz Ya'll! and The Big Cheezy's Grilled Cheese (yum!). I also did not hear any complaints about anything ordered from our friends, which is saying something because we came with a group of 30+ people.
For beverages there were cans of water, High Brew Coffee, Red Bulls, Seltzer Water, Sodas, Beer, Wine, and Cocktails. There were also quite a few hydration stations to fill up water bottles, hydration packs, or canteens for free. The coffee was great considering that the days are long and a quick boost can really make a difference, but I also enjoyed that the bars were selling White Claws at every bar in the park.
The transportation system was extremely organized and efficient. On Friday night we left a little early during the Guns N' Roses and Big Gigantic sets, meaning that while there was a line for anyone seeking an Uber it was not a super long line. We arrived, asked for help on how the process worked (there were ropes and people scattered everywhere), and ordered our Uber. That evening there were only 4 of us so it only took 10 minutes for our Uber to arrive and get through the lines.
On Saturday our group was a bit larger, including 6 people instead of 4. The Ubers in line were pretty strict on only taking 4 individuals at a time, so we needed an Uber XL and getting one at the festival gate was unlikely. There were also a lot more people leaving at once because we stayed for the full Bassnectar set. We took advice from the Uber driver who dropped us off and walked 4-5 blocks away from City Park before we attempted to call one. While the wait was still around 10 minutes it did allow us to have an Uber that fit all of us at once, was about the same price as the 4 person rides, and we were able to avoid some of the initial traffic going back into the city from that area.
All in all the separation of Lyft and Uber, the nearby parking, and the racks for bicycles all seemed to provide adequate and reliable transportation for attendees. While my experience was pretty limited I did talk to others who took different routes and no one seemed displeased with the system. In fact, one of our drivers commented that of all the years he has worked VooDoo Fest this one was the most efficient for Uber/Lyft drivers.
Throughout the festival the staff was great. They were nice, they were helpful, they offered ADA services to individuals who needed them (including interpreters for those Deaf or Hard of Hearing), and consistently sent out helpful updates about the festival. This translated into the App. The VooDoo App was extremely helpful in sending push-notifications to inform patrons on any changes to the shows or times, entrance locations, messages from sponsors, and other helpful information. When first downloading it I was worried because it did not show a lot of information, and even after purchasing my ticket there was no way to log anything for it to recognize that I had done so. However, a week or two before the app started to develop and gain different features, and even allowed you to build your own schedule for the shows you wanted to see and when.
Personally, Adam and I had a great time! It rained a lot the first night which was pretty rough, but our ponchos made it bearable. It helped that we signed up knowing rain was a possibility, and it did not get to cold even with the weather being the way it was. You can see a picture of us and a few of our friends below on night one all 80s themed dressed and poncho-ed up! A bonus to this was the Speak Easy lounge, a hidden lounge set for individuals who registered for the festival in the largest group/groups through Fevo. Originally it said that the top 3 groups would be chosen, but as the festival grew closer we noticed the marketing changed to "groups over 50, limited to top 3 groups". Our group, the Three Eyed Ravers, placed 2nd with 32ish people, and while we weren't technically granted admission to the Speak Easy Lounge, once we found it the entrance staff let us in anyway. In the Speak Easy Lounge there were tables, chairs, and a bar that served cheaper drinks than what you could find at other bars in the park. This was a great place to meet new people and for us to get off of our feet every once in a while. It really added to our group's experience and made me consider looking at the VIP or Platinum passes for future years.
By Saturday the weather improved immensely so a few of us took some time to explore the French Quarter. We had breakfast at Cafe du Monde, checked out some of the street art, and tried gelato macaroons at a corner cafe. Since Adam and a few others in our group had never visited New Orleans before this weekend it was an added bonus to the festival because of all of the exploring and history the city has to offer. At the festival the grounds were pretty muddy still, but everyone who had appropriate shoes (rain boots, teevas, or washable Walmart shoes) didn't mind. The festival was a lot more crowded which could have been because it was Saturday or because it was not raining as much, but even so it never felt "too crowded". You could always get semi-away from large groups if needed, and the views of the stages even from farther back were still really good.
We weren't able to stay through Sunday because Adam and I needed to be back for work and my sister needed to get back for an accounting test, but the friends who did stay said it was a blast! VooDoo Fest was a lot of fun and I hope we can make it back sometime in the future.
So this year is my first time going to VooDoo Fest in New Orleans and I am stoked! Adam is also coming and we are meeting his friends (several of whom have gone many times) as well as my younger sister. VooDoo Fest is a large music festival in New Orleans typically taking place on a weekend around Halloween. This year it is October 25-27th and there is a wide variety of artists from big to small and almost every genre you can imagine. A few to name include Post Malone, Guns N’ Roses, Brandi Carlile, Rezz, Bassnectar, and Beck to name a few. As an added bonus our group (the Three Eyed-Ravers) won second place as the second largest group so we are all getting bands for unlimited free amusement park rides at the festival.
This is not only my first time going to VooDoo Fest, but also my first time attending a music festival all together. As such I have been pretty peculiar on what I am packing since I’ll only be bringing a carry-on bag for the trip and I want to make sure I don’t miss anything. If you are going to VooDoo Fest, or any music festival in general, feel free to check out my lists for tips! (Edited 10/29/19 post-festival)
Everything In Between:
Germ Ex - this was a necessity!
Plane Entertainment (books, video games, etc.)
Gold Armor Rub Sticks
Our Festival Wristbands
Zip Lock Bags (this was a life saver for our phones)
There is nothing quite like a homecoming at Oklahoma State University. This year (2019) was my third homecoming in Stillwater, OK and it is one of my favorite times of year. In Stillwater homecoming is celebrated from the Sunday before when we dye the fountain orange, filled with chili cook offs and harvest carnivals throughout the week, and closes with a parade and the Saturday game itself. However, my favorite part of homecoming would have to be the traditional Friday Walk-Around event. Several streets around campus are closed because of the massive crowds that flood south campus to see Greek Life's house decks, Residence Halls' Orange Reflections, a plethora of food trucks and food stands, and so much more. If you have never attended an OkState homecoming walk-around I would 10/10 recommend planning a trip to Stillwater for next year's festivities (tentatively set to fall on Halloween weekend 2020).
It is important to know that OkState's homecoming is more than just an event for the students. Alumni and the Stillwater community play a huge role in different events that occur, overall attendance, and general support. Even so, the students put in hours - weeks - and months of preparation for an OkState homecoming, and it can look different for each student on what they participate or help with. There is a board of students dedicated to planning and coordinating homecoming as well as regulating the Residence Halls and Greek Life Homecoming Sweepstakes competitions. There are also a number of organizations that host alumni reunions, Greek houses only being one of them, throughout the weekend. Thousands of people flock to Stillwater to reminisce, see old friends, visit students, and to enjoy the fun! For a recap video of this year's homecoming check out this link. It does not do the week justice in showing all that goes on, but it will definitely give you an idea of why you should consider making your way to Oklahoma for a great homecoming event! To recognize the many students and supporters as well as show the schedule from homecoming check out the Homecoming Publication for 2019.
5 Must-Dos at OkState's Homecoming Walk-Around:
4. Metro Minis Donut Truck
For all three homecoming walk-arounds Adam and I have attended we have managed to get a Metro Mini Donut Dozen to split! With pumpkin spice, pecan bomb, bedrock, and so many other flavors they have never disappointed! This year there were 2 Metro Mini food trucks out, one along Monroe with the other food trucks and another in between Greek houses.
Summer cake is a pineapple-coconut-walnut mixture of absolute deliciousness and joy. It is everything I loved about spending a week at my Cici's (grandmother) house and is equally as good in the winter as it is in the summer. The pineapple-coconut flavors remind me of vacation and the walnut is a great compliment to level out the sweetness with a little bitter/savory side. The cake is incredibly easy to make and I am excited to share it!
Almond-Whipped Cream-Cheese Frosting
Recently I reached out to a lot of my friends for family recipes that Adam and I could make and add to our family cook book. There is a recipe I have been dying to try from our close friend Holly because it is a true "Minnesotan Hot-Dish" recipe. It is packed with ham, cheese, hash-browns, calories, and love. Holly came to visit us this past weekend and with the first real cold front of the season it only seemed appropriate to make a huge plate of hot dish!
This recipe is cheap and easy to make, it freezes well, and it fed 3 adult humans from Thursday-Sunday. You can add an egg for a yummy breakfast, or just enjoy it microwaved when you're in a rush. It is pretty calorie heavy but a winter must. It should be noted that I did forget to use the Parmesan cheese as an end-factor to sprinkle on top for a nice crust and instead mixed it in with the rest, but rest assured that it is great either way!
Holly's Hash-Brown Hot Dish
Happy Friday! As some of you know, I am an academic advisor at an institution in Oklahoma currently. I am still in my first 5 months in this role, but I was given the opportunity to not only attend the Annual Oklahoma Academic Advising Association (OACADA) Fall 2019 conference, but I was able to join the OACADA committee as a member at large. While this is not my first professional conference, it was my first state-only and my first academic advisor specific professional conference to attend. If you are an academic advisor in Oklahoma and you are not sure what OACADA is or if you should join, definitely check it out at the link here. For a little more information here are some details about how the day went:
The conference was a 1 day Friday conference in September, which worked out perfectly for advisors with a busy schedule who needed something during work hours. It started around 9:00 AM and went until a little after 2:00 PM, allowing for the Oklahoma State Regents to speak and present, keynote Kathleen Smith to give an exceptional kick-off to the conference, 2 program sessions (with 8+ programs to choose from), and a lunch meant for mingling.
One benefit was the intention from the committee to build a community within advisors around the state, demonstrated through the ways our groups were broken up during an afternoon activity. Another was how cost effective the conference was for a professional development opportunity. It ranged from $55-70 depending on if you were a member and got the early-bird discount or not, and signing up to be a member resulted in a fun new-members gift with stickers and a lapel pin. What stuck out to me the most though was the incredible kindness and sincerity of the committee and their want to serve and support academic advisors in the state of Oklahoma. It is clear that they stuck to their mission and the conference theme, and I am excited that I was able to be a part of it. They welcomed me in even as someone with significantly less experience in the field and have been very supportive of me and the team as a whole.
I look forward to more OACADA conferences, as well as the NACADA regional and annual conferences to come. If you are an academic advisor out there looking to build a community check out OACADA, and if you don't live in Oklahoma, know that OACADA is affiliated with NACADA (The Global Community for Academic Advising) and is here to offer an outlet for your work specifically. If you have any questions or want more information, feel free to reach out to me or check out the links included.
My absolute favorite meal is breakfast, and if I had to choose a favorite food, a lot of my top competitors would be breakfast foods. This stems from a love of sweets and eggs to a borderline unhealthy level. For example, Adam and I's every day breakfast habits stray significantly on the weekends. So for any one curious, or any friends and family coming to visit, here are a few of the potential meals you can expect to eat when staying for more than a few days:
Do you ever get a hankering for a specific food or dish? Maybe a craving for a specific flavor? Well, last night it was all I had in me not to order take-out Chinese from Adam and I's favorite american Chinese restaurant in town for their coconut crusted chicken. Lately Adam and I's diets have not been great; we did indulge in cookies and donuts this weekend, so we wanted to finish the weekend strong with a healthier meal. We have a ton of ingredients left over from the Ohana Bread, so I realized I could try to make my own coconut crust on something we already have. Next thing I knew we had mushroom tortellini, pan-fried coconut crusted salmon, and asparagus ready to go. For the tortellini I bought a pre-made bag at Walmart that took 4 minutes to make, and the asparagus was a great-value steam-able bag from the frozen food isle. We tossed the tortellini in pesto sauce and the asparagus in walnut oil with walnuts, salt, and pepper. It was delicious! Here is the recipe for our coconut crusted salmon that really hit the spot:
Coconut Crusted Salmon
Last week Adam and I started Rachel Hollis's "Last 90 Days" Challenge. The first week had a focus of accomplishing your "5 to thrive" for a week straight. We did not know much about it besides the general overview in the link above, but we were invited to join by a coworker. I've heard of a few of Rachel's books and have been recommended to read them or to follow along with the activity books and I just haven't gotten around to it yet. The 90 Day Challenge came at a great time because all of the points she makes are correct. We are hitting a time of year where it is colder and you don't want to be outside as much, when food is everywhere and diets go out the window, when it is easy to grow negative about the goals you have not yet accomplished, and when traveling and visiting family can be stressful.
So, for the last 90 days of the year (93 if you started on September 30th by mistake) Adam and I are working on our "Five to Thrive" by completing a few activities every single day. These include:
So far we have been really successful with drinking more water, finding a way to move every day, practicing gratitude, and I've had a good time with cutting out a food category. I chose to get rid of candy in the month of October because I have been eating so much recently and I already feel better. Adam did not choose a food for this month, he said he'd prefer to wait until month 2 so we shall see.
The other area we've been struggling in is waking up an hour early. This stems from the hour not really being for individual time because waking up an hour early just wakes the dog up an hour earlier. To cope we realized we'd already started our wake up change a month or so ago when we decided to wake up at 5 AM or 5:30 AM instead of 6 or 6:30 to give us the chance to go on a morning walk with the dog together every morning and adding a run in on other mornings. This really encouraged me to keep going because I realized that the Five to Thrive does not have to be 5 new things you've never done before. Instead, this can be things you've been working on, it is just being more mindful and working for consistency.
The first week has been good overall, but I realized I have not yet watched on of Rachel's videos or kept up with the recommended live stream. This week I look forward to reading through the email and hopefully making time to add in the live stream as well. For anyone else on this challenge or anyone wanting to join this challenge it is not to late! Check out her website and let me know how it goes for you as well.
Popcorn Deer Nuggets
2 years ago on September 29th Adam and I picked up our sweet cat Leo. He was 6 weeks old, coated in fleas, and in need of a forever home. Since then we have been through many adventures and in honor of him I thought it would be fun to write him his own interview page. So here it goes!
After spending my honey moon in Disney World there is one memory my husband and I consistently bring up and talk about, and that is our breakfast at Ohana's. I have a big obsession with Stitch and we both fell in love with the food and the atmosphere. After a guava juice mimosa we were seated and had some of the best breakfast bread either one of us had ever tasted. Since then we have tried to re-create the deliciousness, experimenting with different recipes and ways of baking it. The truth is we still have not been able to replicate the look/exact flavor, but this recipe is pretty dang close! We love this recipe we've been able to create together, and while the egg wash finish does not give it a perfect golden-brown color it does give it a light crunch of texture. Check it out:
Knock-Off Ohana Bread
I am a student affairs professional, an amateur chef, and an adventurer at heart.
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