Was it real life? Or was it fantasy?

LET ME TELL YALL ABOUT THE TIME THAT NAT AND I GOT TO GO SEE (the remainder of, ft. Adam Lambert) QUEEN IN CONCERT!!!!!!

I will begin by expressing how reluctant I was to hear Adam as the front man for Queen, one of my favorite bands of all time (and no, I do NOT say that about every band I go see in concert). I remember him from his early 2000s music and though I was impressed at the time, and he didn’t strike me as ‘front man for the one of the greatest rock bands of all time’. Now let me tell you how stinkin wrong I was.

Firstly, he came out STRONG and in a pink suit. ‘I’m up here in the gayest suit trying to live up to one of the greatest rockers of all time’ – a paraphrase of Adam Lambert. IT WAS BRIGHT PINK FOR GODS SAKE. He sang a few songs and gave tribute to our man Mercury and said that he wasn’t trying to fill anyone’s shoes (because no one can do that) but that he was up there trying his best. Totally won me over. He was spunky, had great presence (wasn’t trying to overpower the other members, made sure everyone was recognized throughout the course of the night), and he had an AMAZING vocal range. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Nat and I set out for the United Center around 5pm, 3 hours before the show was supposed to start. This gave us time to drive up, battle traffic and Chicago in general for parking (which we paid like $22 for…. it’s free at Tinley…. #notsalty) and made our way to the shirt booth for our pre-show ritual of buying shirts, going to the bathroom, and finding our seats. As amazing as it was, we ran into someone from high school in the bathroom! It was both shocking and awkward.

Nat and I took the elevators all the way up to the third section, aka nosebleeds as we were about 15 rows from the top of the stadium. This did not decrease anything about the performance, except maybe the quality of the photos and the amount of second hand smoke we inhaled being produced by the lower levels.

Queen was amazing. Adam Lambert was amazing. The awful puns that I was not able to get on camera were a blessing to all those that heard them, and I was in happy tears for most of the performance. Words cannot describe, so here are a bunch of photos of the concert:

 

 

To continue our concert ritual, Nat and I stopped at a Steak N Shake on the way home for post concert munchies. As we were inhaling nuggs, I was informed via text that another one of my friends had been at the concert, same level, but on the other side of the stadium with his family! So I did the only thing appropriate and tagged him in my Instagram photos as though I knew he was sitting there the whole time. It was supposed to be funny, but looking back that might be a little weird. Sorry Ben.

I hope all of you are having a great summer and aren’t still in summer school like me! ENJOY THE WEATHER! ❤

RayeDeSol

Update: Here’s a new article that says the same thing but with more info and better quality photos “http://www.mlive.com/music/index.ssf/2017/07/queen_and_adam_lambert_pay_tri.html”

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Over the river and through the woods and over a mountain and across the plains…

New York Trip Day 2

Wednesday morning had me up with the sun.

That morning we were headed to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. Nat, Steph, and I took an Uber to the Botanical Gardens and boy were they GORGEOUS! The security guard that we bought tickets from recommended the rose garden, and Stef wanted to see the green houses that had the cacti and bonsai trees. A picture is worth 1000 words though, so I’ll let them do the talking:

Packing up and heading to lunch:

We went to lunch at the ramen shop, but because it took so long, and traffic and parking was so bad, we had to skip out on MOMA and Central Park. I was a bit disappointed, but there was really nothing we could do. I did get some NY pics of places that I had wanted to see before we left though!

We drove out to New Jersey and played with Stella on the beach for a bit before packing up and heading home.

We spent the night in a hotel, got up early the next morning, and drove to the airport to drop me off, from which I drove to Jeremy’s house to show off all of my souvenirs. I took a nap and later that night was Melvin’s 20th birthday party!

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Kinky Boots and other fashion wear

Hey guys! Sorry for the short hiatus there~ I just returned from my week of gallivanting across the Eastern Coast of the Estados Unidos! Let’s start from the beginning, shall we?

New York Post #1: Tuesday

Tuesday morning at o’darkthirty (2:30 am) I awake and leave for the Indianapolis International Airport for my too-early-to-be-sane flight to Newark, New Jersey.

Upon arrival at the terminal, I park in short-term parking ($9/day) and take a shuttle to the airport. There was a suspicious looking man on the bus with me and 20 other poor souls that had to be awake that early in the morning to catch a flight, and when I was standing on the escalator to get to the second floor of the airport, he tried to kill me by ‘accidentally’ letting his suitcase fall down the escalator. Me, being the superhero with lightning fast reflexes that I am, caught it and returned it to the suspicious man who had just tried to kill me. I saved the whole airport (He was really super nice and kept apologizing. Not suspicious at all- it just makes for a better story. Don’t call the cops on him or anything please~ thanks).

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After saving the airport I went to retrieve my ticket for my flight from the flight desk. Only when I went to put my number into the machine that prints tickets, it said that my number was invalid and that I had no registration. I freaked and thanked my lucky stars that I had come as early as I had because there was a decent amount of people there, and finding an attendant was tricky at first. The attendant walked over, took one look at my phone with the flight number on it and said ‘Sweetie, the airline that you’re looking for is over there’ and points to the other side of hallway. She then proceeded to LOUDLY assure me that stuff like this happens all the time and that I shouldn’t be worried about it. Only then did people stop and stare at the girl who couldn’t read her ticket. Luckily, the people across the hall didn’t hear about my mistake and throw up a sparkle banner in my honor that said ‘Congratulations, you can’t read’ so I got my ticket and went to see what sort of foods this airport had.

I’ve recently been on a McDonald’s kick where all I do is crave McDonalds, so I went to McDonalds thinking I would get a caramel hot chocolate, sit around, watch the sunrise, etc. No. I got in line, ordered, and they gave me a mocha. I took one sip and almost cried, but by that time the line was so long that it wasn’t worth waiting around in to have my order changed. I pitched it and rationalized that I didn’t want to have to pee on an airplane anyways.

Security was easy to get through as I didn’t have luggage (I had given it to Natallie earlier in the week so that when she drove to NY the week before, she’d have my clothes and I wouldn’t have to pay for a carry on), and the people in front of me smiled at my unicorn shoes and Eeyore sock combination. Once through security I caved and bought a hot chocolate at the chocolate store and sipped on that until my plane arrived. The lady at the chocolate store is some kind of character- let me tell you. What an interesting little old lady. She was just the liveliest little thing. Didn’t even come up to my shoulder, bright white hair dyed bright purple in spots, clown glasses that were three times the size of her head, and the chattiest Cathy I’d ever met. But she made it extra chocolatey and extra hot without having to be asked so shout out @ her.

The plane was the smallest commercial aircraft I’ve ever been on, or even seen. There were 24 rows, one side had 2 seats, the other side had a single seat, and I was lucky to be able to squeeze down the aisle as is. Of course, having the cheapest ticket on the flight meant that I got on last, and was in the very last row by the window. The poor lady who had the aisle seat had to stand in the bathroom to let me pass, and the a$$hole in front of me had his chair leaned back the whole way the entire trip. ^#$(&*a^@#$.

We landed in Newark, and because I was at the back of the plane I felt every single bump x10. It felt like the pilot had gotten his license off of GTA, but I made it out alive so not too many complaints here. I walked into the airport and was met instantly with the nicest, most smiley airport workers to have ever exist. Everyone smiled at me. I don’t even get that here in the Midwest, and we’re supposed to have that Midwest-friendly-or-whatever stereotype. Nat and Stef had been caught in traffic, so they were delayed by an hour or so. I grabbed some floor next to an outlet and kept myself busy learning the ins-and-outs of my new Google Pixel.

This is where it gets messy: Nat called as soon as she was 5-10 minutes away and said that she was in Parking Pickup C-2, because supposedly (according to the airport’s website) it was the closest to where my flight dropped off. This meant nothing to me, and I went in search for terminal C, pickup 2. Doing the most logical thing, assuming that I was in the right area, I walked out the closest exit and asked a parking attendant where I was supposed to go. I said “Excuse me sir, do you know where I can find Terminal C Parking pick up?” Thinking I would find terminal c parking pickup, then find lane 2. The guy points at the parking lot and says, ‘Yeah, Terminal C is over there’. I thank him and walk into the parking lot towards a small building only to find that it is a bus pickup. I walk all the way back into the airport (about 10-15minute walk) and the same guy finds me and says ‘You should take the AirTrain there’ (thanks for telling me that 20-30 minutes ago) so I say ‘Okay! How do I get to that’. He gives me instructions that I all but forget within the first few seconds and walk up the stairs in doors to get to the second floor (which was the first part of his instructions). This whole time I am on the phone with Nat and her sis trying to find out where it is that they are parked. My neck is beginning to hurt, so I open my backpack while I’m walking up the stairs to look for my headphones. I get to the top of the stairs, and I’m greeted by the sight of 10 news cameras and security that would make the White House weak at the knees. At least 4 security/secret service men make eye-contact with me as I dig through my bag all suspicious like to find my headphones and I walk up to one of them to ask where I can find the airtrain. He points me in the right direction, and I manage to walk by it about 3 times before I see it. I get up to the platform and ask Nat, ‘OKAY. Are you at Terminal C? Or parking 2? Because they are LITERALLY in opposite directions of each other’ (and I mean parking 2 was on the South end of the track (2nd to last stop), and terminal c was on the North end (last stop)). They said ‘Parking 2!’ So I hop on the train for parking 2. When I get off, I ask them if they see all the construction or the Budweiser building. They say no, and I get on the train for a 15 minute ride to the other end of the airport. Long story short, I find them and we get lost for another hour or so trying to find the apartment we’re supposed to stay in.

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Stella (pupper) Stef (driving) Nat (cutie)

 

My mom later Googles why there was so much security in the airport, and it is because I ran into the Mayor, giving a speech about making the airport easily accessible and quick to navigate (http://www.fox5ny.com/news/261010152-story). The irony is not lost on me, I assure you.

Once settled into the apartment, we strategize a plan of attack for the next day or two that we are in New York which went as follows:

Tuesday Evening:

  • Cookie Do (I couldn’t find the special character for it, soo….)
  • Kinky Boots
  • Times Square

Wednesday Morning: (pictures in next post)

  • Brooklyn Botanical Gardens
  • Come back, pick up Stella

Wednesday Afternoon:

  • Lunch at 5 star noodle restaurant
  • Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)
  • Central Park
  • NJ Beach
  • Head for home

Thursday:

  • Drive to Airport and drop Raye (me) off at car
  • Drive back to Champaign
  • Melvin’s birthday party

 

That evening we took the Subway to Times Square (a nice old black lady was our savior and told us tourists where to get on and off), grabbed some McNuggs, and stood in line for KINKY BOOTS!!!!!

What a great show. It was really incredible and I am so disappointed that the sound track didn’t have the cast from the show that we watched. They would have sold SO many copies!!! But that aside, I went for Brendon Urie and came out a true lover of the musical. The cast was truly gifted and I want Lola to be my best friend. The show had us in tears, laughter, and all the emotions in between. I’m a little salty that I didn’t know about the mug until after I had bought all of my souvenirs, but if Jeremy saw me buy one more mug for my collection, I might get in trouble.

We waited outside after the show and got pictures with a cast member, as well as BRENDON URIE’S AUTOGRAPH!!!!!!!!! Nat and I were in shock for the rest of the night. I mean- I got the autograph of one of my favorite singers of all time since who knows when. I tear up every time I see it. (pardon my fan-girling) BUT WE WERE SO FREAKIN CLOSE!!!!

After our encounter with bae-urie, Nat and I toured Times Square, and I was disappointed that I couldn’t buy Hershey Kisses the size of my head to bring back with me because it was quite literally 100 degrees outside, and they would have melted. Taking the subway home was much easier, and I crashed the second my head hit the pillow.

Tuesday’s extra Pictures:

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Not the Color Run

Holi is a traditional Indian celebration for the coming of Spring. I was made aware of this holiday last year by my roommates and have been enamored with it ever since! Last year I brought my friend, Natallie, with me. This year I brought both Nat and my boyfriend, Jeremy, and NEXT YEAR I’ll be bringing even more people as I’ve had SO many questions about what this event is and how to become a part of it. The event that I hope becomes an annual occurrence for me is run by ASHA UIUC (for those of you who are looking forward to attending next year but don’t want to come with). This year Michael Giger Photography was there and he took such amazing pictures of my friends and I that I just HAVE to share them and get his name out there. For those of you who follow me on Facebook and Instagram, I’m sure you’re sick of all my Holi posts, and I’m sorry! This will be the last one! Swear!

Love you all!

RayeDeSol