Sunday, September 27, 2015

The VMAs

...was a month ago. And I went. Allow me to reflect. 

On August 5, Eli sent me a sweet email (from Japan, I think) asking if I'd be his date to the VMAs on August 30. Before the email, I'd never considered going. I'm not sure why; it just didn't occur to me. Things have been kind of crazy as of late with work and travel so getting to LA in August wasn't even on my radar. But OF COURSE I said yes and that we'd discuss in person in Minneapolis August 21-23 which (I think) is the next time we saw each other. Looking back, August 5 to August 30 seems like a lot of time, but it truly felt like 4 days notice. Because, what the hell was I going to wear, you know?

That's where my ladies came in. The whole "look" talk was fun but stressful too-- the most I've ever talked about one outfit in all my life. I went to try on dresses two times-- the first time I bought one and the second time was full of second guessing that first choice (y'all know the drill). I was open to wearing a variety of things and (you can ask Harper) I basically tried on every dress in Cincinnati one Tuesday night, but it was really important to me that I still look like ME, just fancier. Anyway, it all came together--- many peeps in my lady posse contributed text opinions and support which I really appreciated. Even now I am feeling lame writing so much about this outfit, but it is the #1 question I was asked when people found out I planned to go (lol #askhermore) so maybe you're interested? I bought a long dress and leather wrap belt from Anthropologie (shout out to the super sweet sales girls there for being so kind and staying open late!), Sam Edelman shoes on sale, some cheap gold bangles from Charming Charlie, and I borrowed BEAUTIFUL vintage gemstone pieces from my friend and talented collector Tonya. I loved wearing the ruby rings especially-- they were so fun and pretty and definitely dressed up my flowy getup. 

Then, after much discussion about how to transport the aforementioned outfit, I folded everything up, threw it in a suitcase, and crossed my fingers for access to a steamer on the other side. I flew to LA after work on Friday August 28 and crashed on Jesse's couch (thanks again Jesse!) so I could be there first thing Saturday morning to connect with Eli who was flying in from Vegas early Saturday morning (poor guy). We met up at a fitting, then there was promo, VMA practice, and a show on Saturday night. We explored the red carpet which was actually not red but these colors: 

Eli performed in a fuzzy coat we bought at the Farmer's Market in Minneapolis the weekend before and we posed for this picture. I am told there was free Taco Bell but I did not experience that firsthand. 

Call time on Sunday, VMA day, was at 10am. For me, the day was mostly spent in a trailer outside the Microsoft Theater where we all got ready. HUGE shoutouts to Bethany Johnson and Sarah Dougherty who hooked us all up with professional hair and make-up. That was probably the thing I was most stressed about possibly having to take care of myself (because in real life, if I wear mascara it's a good day). I was so glad to be in the care of these lovely and talented women. Here's what some of us looked like!

At 4:45pm we walked from the trailer to the red carpet and watched the boys absolutely slay their performance on the pre-show. Here we are on TV-- thanks to whoever sent me this screen shot. I didn't watch the recorded performance until I visited my parents weeks later. The little arrow is covering up Sway! 

After that was the VMAs itself, which was some of the best people watching I've ever experienced. I felt somewhat out of touch because I didn't know a lot of the artists sitting around us / walking the carpet. Then, Kanye did his Kanye thing-- first there were literal minutes of silence while we all stood and clapped, and then-- finally-- he spoke. I was alternatingly like-- these are good points-- and-- oh my god WHAT. His speech, more than anything else, inspired the most interesting post-VMA conversations and maybe that's why he's a genius. We're all still talking about it. 

Okay, then some other stuff happened....honestly it's hard to remember now. At the end, the boys collected swag bags which were actually mid-sized swag suitcases full of things like rum cake, liquor, slippers, and a card good for five days in Thailand (?) which obviously we need to find (!) and look into. 

More than anything else, I was so glad to be with Eli at such an important professional event. WALK THE MOON has worked so hard, and I am so very proud. I love Eli. I love the band. 

Here are a some more pictures. The end. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Oh, hey.

Hey y’all.

It’s unlikely that anyone has been waiting with bated breath for a new blog entry (except for maybe my mom—hi mom!), but just in case I’ll offer an excuse as to why I’ve been so delinquent. I’m in the middle of a five week stretch of life in which I travel every single weekend and work all of the days in between. Everything is really good—the travel is all for fun stuff and I love my job most days, but winding down (and sleeping enough) has felt really tough as of late. Plus, Eli’s been out and back lately and every day he’s home feels like a weekend so we’ve been going out together and seeing friends on work nights and I have the bags under my eyes and pimples to prove it.
Two weekends ago I flew to Minneapolis to spend time with my cousin Lynn and meet up with Eli who was flying there to play a show directly after tour dates in Japan/The Philippines. The bad news: WALK THE MOON escaped not one but two typhoons in SE Asia and made it to Minneapolis just in time for their show to get rained out. The good news: WALK THE MOON escaped two typhoons, AND spending time with my cousin Lynn was awesome. Lynn, whose full-time job is to bore college kids with economics lessons, has been bugging me to visit for years and I enjoyed eating my way through Minneapolis with her. I don’t get to see anyone in my extended family much because I’ve always lived a few hours away, so it was nice to connect about our parents and grandparents and just be with one another outside of the annual holiday gathering.
Here is a photo of Lynnie and I, a photo from a dope sculpture park she took me to, and a musical wall Eli and I encountered on a morning walk.

Last weekend I flew to LA for the VMAs.  That’s a whole separate entry that I hope to write in the near future. For now, I will tell you that I totally used the VMAs as an excuse to extend a freelance deadline by one day (which was a hilarious email exchange—if you’re reading, thanks again JW!). Can’t use that excuse again anytime soon. But seriously, my goal is to get it together enough to dissect my VMAs experience and let you all know if Kanye is getting my vote in 2020. Stay tuned.
Since I’ve been flying a lot, I’ve been digging into some quality media (and maybe you guys want to bond around media?). I’ve been reading When Nietzsche Wept by Irvin D. Yalom. It’s about a fictional relationship between Nietzsche and Josef Breuer and it's full of digestible psychotherapy and philosophical concepts (this may be of particular interest to my therapist friends). Also, I listened to a few episodes of this podcast—Call Your Girlfriend—which is basically just conversations between long distance besties Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sow. I found it to be funny and comforting.
So, what’s up this weekend?
Deep Creek! (Previously Deep Creep, future-ly Deep Fleek—read my entries about this annual friend trip in years 2012 and 2014). Eli is an exciting addition to this year’s boat posse.
And now, the real reason for this post—I write tons of notes to myself in my iPhone (seriously, I have a list of possible book titles for just about everyone in my life should any of them decide to write a memoir, a future baby name list, and about 454 grocery/packing lists that need deleting) AND I recently found this happy note I wrote to myself (apparently) on May 24. I’m pretty sure the last bit is a writing idea I was fleshing out and promptly forgot about, but you get the gist.

I was happy find this note. I hope it inspires you to take a minute and reflect when things are good and save those positive vibes for a rainy (or, in this case, random) day.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Our weekend with Martha

Over the 4th of July holiday weekend, a veritable gaggle of us traveled to Martha’s Vineyard so WALK THE MOON could play a benefit show supporting the local YMCA. The band performed at this event two years ago (I wrote about that trip here), and we were all super excited to make our triumphant return. 

The island did not disappoint; MV continues to be magical. I never expected to make it there period, let alone twice—it’s really expensive, and getting to the island is a complicated ordeal. We flew from Cincinnati to Boston, rented a van, drove two hours, and barely caught the last ferry out of Woods Hole (everyone was stress-buying provisions in case we didn’t make it over). It’s a world removed in so many ways, and a truly beautiful corner of our country (as all of my friends on Facebook/Instagram have already seen many, many times—sorry, not sorry).

Now, you may have paused at the end of the first sentence thinking…MARTHA’S VINEYARD needs a benefit show!? (Because that was my first thought.) The answer is apparently yes. As you might imagine, the wealth gap between folks who live and work on the island and those who seasonally vacation on the island is enormous. I felt lucky to hitch a ride and tag along (again!) in support of such an important event. I’m proud of the boys for contributing their talents—you can read about Stars + Stripes Festival here.

So, the show was on Friday...what did we do the rest of the weekend?

Eli and I took a long walk down to the beach in Aquinnah and were blown away by the clay cliffs (and a bunch of butt-naked sunbathing dads).

The hospitality in Menemsha was top notch yet again (I cannot recommend Beach Plum Inn enough), and we shared many beverages with our friends by the pool.

We spotted some celebrities and watched fireworks explode over the water.

Most of all, I repeatedly had these three thoughts in this order:
So much of touring isn’t as glamorous as people think.

This weekend was a beautiful exception.

I am grateful.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Settling in

After every blog post, I think: “Writing stuff down feels good. You should do this more often, champ. You should do this like three times a week….ha ha! Just kidding—maybe you could manage three times a month. Yeah, that sounds doable.” Then, satisfied with my resolution, I pick up a magazine or pet my cat or text my friends about something on Netflix and I forget. 

Days turn into weeks until something reminds me that I have a blog, and I fall into a shame spiral: “Come on, Alex! How will you ever reach your big goals if you can’t even manage this super low-pressure personal writing goal?!” Then, I write an entry that begins with some version of this: “Hey. Long time no write. I wish I was better at this thing.”

Because it’s true. Maybe I’ll set a weekly phone alarm.

But while I’m here, let me tell you about my life, okay? 

Things are going well. 

April and May were filled with grad school wrap-up, tons of traveling (including a couple weeks on tour, my Grandpa's 92nd birthday party in northwest Ohio, and a rad weekend warrior trip to Pittsburgh), and general anxiety about finding a job/THE FUTURE. Memorial Day Weekend felt like a big, deep breath. It was the first weekend I had spent at our house in over a month, and it was b-e-a-utiful. By now, I've settled back into this 9-5 thing. Days are varied enough, and my office has a window. When I worked at Children’s Hospital and Community Action Agency, I had interior offices with no windows; I’ll never again underestimate the importance of natural light. I’m still freelancing too, but I feel like my workload is pretty manageable which is an important change. I live my life in constant pursuit of balance and, at the moment, I feel pretty even.

Eli and I celebrate 6 years of hanging out together this month. Relationships of all kinds are difficult, but it’s much easier to work on one if you’ve got a solid partner. And dude makes me laugh, which is hugely important. I’m glad he’s around more this summer.

Hmm, what else?

Recent fun: Bunbury & Cincinnati Fringe Festival.

Upcoming fun: 4th of July travels—expect a photo blog entry (some interested person--hi Mom!--please hold me accountable).

And…let’s hang out! New job means less travel / more time for Cincinnati adventures. 

Can’t wait to see you.