Tips for Coachella Music Festival

Coachella is just around the corner… actually it’s HERE for all you Weekend 1 festival goers! Here are just a few tips and reminders to make your experience a more pleasant one:

Besame Mucho

1. Stay hydrated!
Water is essential for life. Make sure you drink lots of it because the sun and the dancing can take a lot out of you. Bring a CamelBak or water bottles to fill up, there are several free water stations spread throughout the festival grounds.
Bonus: Tip a chill bartender and ask if you could fill your water pouch with ice (YMMV).

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2. Be shady!
No, I don’t mean be untrustworthy, sneaky, or backstabbing. What I mean is bring a hat to shield yourself from the sun and sunglasses so you can see when it’s bright outside.

3. Keep your body temperature low
The temperature will increase during the peak hours, you can seek refuge and free air conditioning at the tents such as Heineken House (21+) or the Antarctic Dome. Also, bring your own fan or spray bottle to keep yourself from overheating, especially if you are day drinking.

4. Sunblock is your best friend
It gets hot in the desert (obviously) and you want to enjoy the weekend without burning and peeling of your skin because that’s not cute.

5. Bring a bandana to cover your mouth and face
Winds in the high desert can pick up an abundance of dust. Bring a bandana to cover your mouth and face from it, you don’t want to end up getting sick with black snot.

6. Wear comfortable shoes
You will be on your feet most of the time, dancing and walking from stage to stage. Make sure you wear shoes that you can walk all day in and don’t mind getting dirty.

Coachella

7. Pack a blanket
The Polo Fields is an actual field (surprise!) and is great for a picnic or laying down on the grass. It is relaxing to sit down and gaze up at the clouds while your favorite music artist is playing live music in the background. This part was a highlight of my Coachella experience. Weekend 1 typically will have grass but come Weekend 2, there is only dirt. Regardless, having a blanket to set on the floor and claim as your little area is nice to have. You can lay down or sit with friends without having to worry about bugs and dirt.

8. Keep an eye on your belongings
Phone thieves are at large. Make sure you store everything safely and tightly. It is best to keep your items in your front pockets if you don’t have a fanny pack or a bag. You don’t want your stolen items to ruin your experience.

9. Locate the flush restrooms
One thing I hate about festivals is the dreadful porta potties. Luckily, there are actual restrooms on site with many stalls and flushable toilets. HALLELUJAH! The bathroom facility is next to the Do Lab.

10. Germs and hygiene are a real thing
Nothing is worse than getting sick. When there are a lot of people congregating together, it is inevitable for germs to spread rapidly. Bring wipes and hand sanitizers because it can and will get dirty out there, especially if you are using the porta potties and sitting on the ground.

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11.Set a meetup spot and time stamp your texts
If you lose your friends or part ways, set meeting spots and times to catch up with them later. The reception will be spotty so make sure you time stamp your texts when checking where they are.

12. Purchase a battery pack and a cellphone charger
Your phone will drain battery life quickly with all of the photo taking and video recording. Make sure you have back up battery juice to meet up with friends and post your photos on Instagram (if you can get reception). If you don’t have a power bank, purchase one, it is a good investment. There are also outlets placed throughout the festival for you to recharge your electronics, but make sure you bring your wire.

13. Don’t forget to recharge
Often times you can get carried away at events that you forget to eat. This is important to keep yourself from fainting and feeling weak. Remember, Coachella is a marathon, not a sprint. Plus, the food at Coachella is actually pretty tasty (shout out to Crab Fries!).

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14. Let yourself be flexible
Don’t get too caught up with your schedules on who you want to see that you end up missing things that are happening around you. There are small surprises (such as special guests) that are sprinkled throughout the festival.

15. Be mindful of others
If you see someone in trouble, help get medical attention. After all, we are all human and we should look out for one another.
16. Most importantly, HAVE FUN and GET HOME SAFELY!

Coachella

Bang: Potent Brain and Body Fuel

There is a new energy drink craze that targets frequent gym goers with the advertisement of “Super Creatine”, “Ultra COQ10”, and BCAA Aminos. What does all of this mean? I am not quite sure, but Creatine aids your muscle cells to produce higher amounts of energy when performing high-intensity physical activities.  From the limited research I did, the amount of creatine it has in the drink is too little to even have any effect on your body.

In any case, aside from its somewhat false marketing, what I am really after is the taste. Unlike the other energy drinks like Monster and Red Bull, I have tried 12 flavors so far and am excited about the different limited flavors that come out from time to time. Here is my current power ranking:

Rainbow Unicorn

The “Rainbow” flavor is typically associated with bursts of sweet, fruity, the same appeal to Skittles, Fruit Loops, and Fruity Pebbles. Rainbow Unicorn is nothing short of that. It is a mix between Sprite and fruity flavors. Different people have different takes on what the flavor could be. Others proposed that it tastes like strawberry dragonfruit. Great flavor nonetheless. I enjoyed this more than I thought, this is one of my top favorite flavors.

Blue Razz

To be honest, I am not a fan of Blue Raspberry flavors (looking at you Icee Blue Raspberry), because it is usually super sweet and leaves your lips and tongue blue (nothing screams out child more than blue candy). However, I think the Bang Blue Razz flavor figured it out, I’m a fan now. Blue Razz is has a subtle raspberry taste, rather than a heavy, overpowering blue raspberry taste like Jolly Ranchers. This was actually my favorite flavor until I had been blessed by Rainbow Unicorn.

Peach Mango

Peach and mango are two of my favorite fruit flavors when it comes to drinks, so how fitting that Bang decides to put these two flavors together. As expected, Peach Mango is a fruity flavor and a delicious combination as well. You can really taste the presence of both peach and mango but the peach flavor is more in the foreground whereas the mango is in the background.

Power Punch

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Power Punch tastes exactly how it should be, a combination of  apple, pineapple, pear, and grape flavors, all packed to punch your taste buds. If you like punch, you will love this flavor. It resembles a Gatorade or Minute Maid Punch flavor so much that you will question if it’s not real fruit juice.

Purple Guava Pear

As you pop open the Purple Guava Pear can, you smell the sweet scent of a pear. Not quite sure how the combination of guava and pear should taste but this works deliciously! There are subtle hints of artificial pear and guava in the background but the main spotlight is the crisp, refreshing, tart pixie dust flavor. A top flavor to try.

Black Cherry Vanilla

The best way to describe Black Cherry Vanilla is a cross between cherry coke without the excessive sweetness from the high fructose corn syrup and vanilla coke. I am not a fan of vanilla in my drinks and Black Cherry Vanilla only has a very slight taste of vanilla, perfect for me.

Star Blast

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Remember those Firecracker popsicles you ate as a kid? Star Blast reminds me of that. It is on the sweeter side of the other flavors I’ve had but pretty solid nonetheless. My brother, however, disagrees. He thinks it tastes like cough syrup so it can be a hit or miss depending on your taste buds.

Georgia Peach Sweet Tea

Again, peach is one of my favorite fruit flavors when it comes to drinks, so Georgia Peach Sweet Tea works for me. Here, the peach flavoring is strong and is married by the sweet tea. I am not quite of a fan of the sweet tea flavor as it is has a strange aftertaste.

Sour Heads

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If you are a fan of puckering your face and sucking on limes and lemons, Sour Heads Imagine if the warhead candy was a drink, If you are a fan of puckering your face and sucking on limes and lemons, Sour Heads is going to be your go to. Many would describe Sour Heads as similar to sour gummy worms, my brother thinks it tastes like the green airhead. To me, I did not enjoy this flavor as it is too sour and not the good kind of sour. The aftertaste was funky and reminds me of Lime Away cleaner.

Lemon Drop

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Lemon Drop is my first ever flavor of Bang and I am surprised that I continued to want to try other flavors of Bang after having this one. The first sip I thought it was okay but as I continued to drink it, I felt like I was drinking a can of Lysol lemon cleaner flavor. If you like lemon flavoring, I would suggest the Lemon Drop Sweet Tea as that is a better flavor than the original Lemon Drop. My brother thought it tastes like lemon-lime soda but it most definitely doesn’t compare to a Sprite or 7-up.

Purple Haze

Yuck, Purple Haze is tied for my least favorite flavor. It tastes like grape cough medicine, Purple Robitussin, a wine that’s aged poorly. I may be a little biased since I am not a fan of artificial grape flavor but real grapes? I’m cool with it. It isn’t for me, it’s for fans of grape flavored anything.

“FUEL YOUR DESTINY!”

What’s your favorite flavor of Bang to work out, study, party, or stay awake? I’d love to know your opinion! Please leave a comment below.

Mouthful of Osaka

When travelers decide to make Japan their destination, Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto are often at the top of the list of cities to visit. Each city is specifically known for something special that sets them apart from others.

Osaka is known as Japan’s Kitchen and got that recognition for a valid reason. Food fills the continuous alleyways in the city with snacks, cafes, and restaurants. Every corner you turn, the delightful smell of food greets you. Although Osaka has an abundance of eateries, it does not lack in attractions.

Keep your mouth full of Osaka eats and travels with this list of food and attractions:

1. Dotonbori

 

Kuidaore! To eat until you drop, or in literal meaning “to eat oneself bankrupt”. Similar to a food fair, Dotonbori is every foodie’s dream with many different food stalls available to satisfy your taste buds. Instead of eating one big dish from a restaurant, you can try a variety of snacks and even share them so you will be able to tackle more food. There are several places and items you can eat at Dotonbori such as:

Takoyaki (Octopus balls)

Octopus Balls at Dotonburi in Osaka, Japan

Originated in Osaka, this ball-shaped Japanese snack can be eaten at Takoyaki Juhachiban, Creo-Ru Takoyaki & Okonomiyaki (¥450), or Ootako. Although it can be tempting to put the whole piece in your mouth, try to let it cool down as it is served hot off the grill and will not hesitate to burn your tongue. See how these octopus balls are made when you place an order from a street vendor.

24 Hour Ramen Restaurants

Hungry? No problem. You can get ramen every hour of the day at Kinryu Ramen (~¥600) or Hanamaruken Namba Hozenji (~¥950). At Hanamaruken, you can get slow-cooked pork rib ramen and delicious gyoza. There are several of other 24 hour ramen shops you can find if you take a walk around Dotonbori.

Gyoza  (~¥280 for 6 pieces)

Speaking of gyoza, make sure you stop by a stand to get some in Dotonbori. Gyoza is a Japanese dumpling that is often fried. Delicious!

Crab legs at Kanidoraku (¥700)
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Kushikatsu

You can get meat and vegetables deep fried on a skewer known as Kushikatsu at Daruma Nanba (¥80-200)

Okonomiyaki (Japanese pancake)

Taiyaki

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A waffle fish often filled with custard or red bean.

2. Go shopping in Shinsaibashi

 

No trip to Shinsaibashi would be complete without imitating the Glico billboard with a winner stance and a picture in front. Shinsaibashi is a large shopping street with vibrant, neon signs packed with both low and high-end department stores and restaurants. You can find a multitude of items here within every budget, such as snacks, souvenirs, and Gucci wallets.

At Shinsaibashi, you can find many international stores and bakeries such as Laduree Daimaru Shinsaibashi (Address: Daimaru Shinsaibashi North Bld 1F; 1-7-1 Shinsaibashisuji Chuo-Ku, Osaka-shi). Here, you can drool over sweets such as macarons (¥300), Isaphan (¥933) and Religieuse Rose (¥800) without having to travel to Paris.

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One can’t say they’ve been to Osaka until they’ve walked around Shinbashi and Dotonbori at least once.

3. Umeda Sky Building

A beautiful, tall building with an observation deck. On the top of the Umeda Sky Building is a Floating Garden Observatory. There is an entrance fee of ¥800 and is opened from 10 AM – 11:30 PM.

4. Osakajo (Osaka Castle)

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One of the most iconic landmarks in Osaka and a popular tourist attraction. The castle is surrounded by a body of water and built high above the ground to see its surroundings. The castle was once the biggest structure in Japan and has a history of uniting feudal Japan. It was built solely for defense but even the mighty fall since the castle was eventually overtaken.

Although it is beautiful on the outside, it can be disappointing on the inside. Skip paying the entrance fee as the Osaka Castle is only worth admiring from afar. If you are absolutely interested in visiting the inside, there is an entrance fee of ~¥600 and opened from the hours of 9AM to 5PM.

 

During cherry blossom season, the park surrounding the Osaka Castle is a beautiful place to visit and explore. The peace and tranquility of this park take you away from the reality that surrounds. Visitors are completely consumed by nature that they will not realize the city full of technology within the half-mile radius.

4. Nipponbashi (Den Den Town)

Similar to Tokyo’s Akihabara, Den Den Town is a small electric town filled with J-culture, games, electronics, and anime in Osaka. At Den Den Town, you can find Japanese pop culture items as there are toys and anime that every otaku could dream about. Make sure you go early and check the store hours as many shops in Nipponbashi closes early.

5. Hozenji-Yokocho & Hozenji Temple

Hozenji Temple and Hozenji Yokocho

Take a walk around the alley, Hozenji-Yokocho, where restaurants line up the streets. You can feel the atmosphere of how Japan was in the olden days. Due to the bright lights and livelihood, it is better to visit at night.

 

Address: 1 Chome-2-16 Nanba, Chuo Ward, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 542-0076, Japan

At the end of Hozenji-Yokocho, there is a small Buddhist temple with bright white lanterns. Hozenji Temple sits beautifully as it attracts crowds of people both day and night. Make sure to check out the main attraction, a moss-covered statue of a deity.

6. Shinsekai

This vibrant neighborhood was once destroyed in WWII and was left untouched for many years until it was reconstructed. Now, it is a market filled with cheap shops and restaurants as well as pachinko parlors and other entertainment. From a distance, you can see the Tsutenkaku tower, which has an observation deck available to view the city of Osaka down below. After you are done wandering the Shinsekai neighborhood, you can stroll to the nearby Buddhist temple, Shitennō-ji (Shitennoji Temple)

7. Visit Don Quijote, Japan’s Biggest Discount Store

Dotonburi in Osaka, Japan

Make sure you visit the Don Quijote near Dontonbori for tax-free snacks, souvenirs, and other household items! This multi-story Don Quijote store in Dotonbori is packed with visitors and sells almost everything imaginable. You can grab your flavored Kit Kats and Umaibō here. Don Quijote has many locations throughout Japan and U.S. currency is accepted here.

8. Amerikamura (American Village)

A look into how the Japanese perceive the American culture with fashion, restaurants, and stores in Osaka. Amerikamura is a mecca for young people as it has a thriving nightlife. The Video Game Bar Space Station bar located in Amerikamura is a barcade with American video game consoles, both old and new. Sankaku Park, also referred to as Triangle Park, is a place to eat and hang out with friends and people watch. Whatever your interest may be, it is interesting to see Osaka’s take on the American culture and its traditions.

Other Recommendations:

  • Scream your head off on the rides at the movie-themed amusement park, Universal Studios Japan
  • Smell the cherry blossoms at Japan Mint
  • Relax at Nakanoshima Park located at the waterfront
  • Create your own cup of noodles at Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum, a museum dedicated to instant noodles!
    • Address: 〒563-0041 8-25 Masumi-cho, Ikeda-shi
    • Hours: 9:30 AM – 3:30 PM
    • Entrance fee: free
  • Satisfy your sweet tooth at Laduree Cakes at JR Osaka Mitsukoshi Isetan 2F
    • Address: 3-1-3 Umeda Kita-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka 530-8558
    • Hours: 10 AM – 8 PM
  • Buy cooking utensils and kitchen items at the “Cooking Tools Street Shopping District”, Doguyasuji Shopping Street
  • See Abeno Harukas, the tallest building in Japan
  • Admire the stone statues at the Buddhist Isshinji Temple
  • Explore the nightlife at Kitashinchi
  • Stuff your face with some tasty chicken at Sauce Boss
  • Hike to the Waterfall of Mino
  • Admire the expensive but pretty fruit from Kuromon Market
  • Jog around Nagai Park
  • Take a photo with the iconic red bridge at Sumiyoshi-Taisha (Grand Shrine)
    1. Hours: 6 AM – 5 PM or 6:30 PM
    2. Entrance  Fee: Free
  • Martial arts enthusiast? Check out the Sumiyoshi Budokan.
  • Walk through the secret tunnel at Sankō Shrine
  • Pray for the safe birth of a healthy child at the Buddhist temple, Nakayama-dera
  • Tenjinbashi suji shopping arcade
  • Watch a kabuki show at Osaka Shochikuza
  • See the huge mythical lion head and cherry blossoms at Namba Yasaka
  • Umeda Joypolis Sega has virtual reality rides
  • Have lunch at Kuromon Ichiba, Osaka’s answer to Tsukiji Market

 

Wander the streets of Osaka and eat your way through the city as you stuff your face with the delicious food that Osaka has to offer!

HAPPY EATING AND TRAVELING!

Mouthful of Air + Style

I had the opportunity to hang out at Air + Style this past weekend in Los Angeles, California. Air + Style is a two-day festival for skate, snowboard, music, art, and food hosted by Shaun White, the Olympic gold medalist. Tickets run for about $80-90 one day and $180 for the weekend. When it was closer to the date, there were tickets sold on Groupon for about half the price.

Although I was unable to go for both days, I was finally able to experience it on Sunday since the annual event first started in 2014. Here’s a recap of my day:

From Orange County, we left at around 3 PM and grabbed a bite on the way at Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken. We got the half chicken with mac and cheese and french fries. Also got fried pickles as an appetizer. The employees at Gus’s are SO NICE!

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After picking up the fried chicken and eating it in the car, we were on our way to Exposition Park in Los Angeles. We drove around to look for parking in the neighborhood but we had no luck. Parking was $25 per car, ouch.

Pro tip: Do not will call your tickets for this event if you can help it. You will be in line for 1 hour!

Food

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When you first enter, you are greeted with a few sponsors, one of which is Clif Bar. They were giving out baked Clif Bars! It smelled really nice with the blueberries. After getting our bars, we moved onto other things. There are a LOT of food stalls available to find food. Of course, the food is at festival pricing. Along with food booths, there are food trucks. Some of which are prominent in Los Angeles and Orange County, such as Ridges and Kogi.

In the alcohol department, there weren’t that many interesting choices. You can choose from shots of Smirnoff ($12), Don Julio ($14) and High West ($12). That will be three shots of Don Julio, please.

Music

There were 2 sides, Winter and Summer, where each side lies either the Winter Stage or the Summer Stage at the end of it. The atmosphere felt like a chill beach event with a lot of space to roam around. Although the venue was small, there were a few things I found to occupy my time.

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I was mostly there for the music and the snowboarding. I mainly wanted to just see Phantogram and Phoenix but sadly, I wasn’t able to stay that long to catch Phoenix. I also got to catch Tinashe, Washed Out, Griz and Gucci Mane. Tinashe wasn’t a very good performer, in my honest opinion. Washed Out was pretty good, this is the music I like. Griz was too trashy but I do enjoy the live saxophone. Last but not least, Gucci Mane… which I thought was just a bunch of mumbling. It sounded like he put his music in the background and tried to sing to it like how I would sing his song in the car. I wasn’t impressed.

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Other than the music, we went around to the booths to see what they were about. Every booth either had some freebies or some merchandise for purchase. There were some cool things you could do such as try to throw a cap on a bear for a free insulated water bottle or create your own tote bag.

Snowboarding & Skating

This year, there wasn’t big air which was lame. It was more of a skate style/freestyle type thing which I feel like you can just go to a skate park and watch. The area was so cramped that it was hindering their abilities and skill because I know the snowboarders are capable of so much more.

Art

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Art was happening all over the place at Air + Style. Artists were spray painting murals on walls and even cars. It made the place a lot livelier and we can appreciate the beauty that surrounds us. After all, earth without art is ‘eh’.

Overall, Air + Style is a nice event to have a feel for a little bit of everything. However, it feels a bit disorganized and I hope they step up their game if they would like to continue on with the event.

Relive Past Memories at Warped Tour

Heard the news that Vans Warped Tour will no longer be a full cross-country tour and 2018 will be the last year. I’ve always been into rock music before everything else, so hearing this made me a bit nostalgic and sad. Warped Tour was the start of my music festival going experience. It was responsible for many things, such as the first time I crowd surfed and moshed, and a few of my friendships that still last to this day. Although I haven’t gone to Warped Tour in forever (back when Cash Cash used to be rock instead of EDM), I will always cherish the memories I made there.

This year, I think I will be attending one of the dates as a final farewell. Saddened that Pomona is on a Thursday and SD is on a Friday though. See you out in the sun, drenched in sweat!

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Here are the dates:

6/21 POMONA, CA
6/22 SAN DIEGO, CA
6/23 MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA
6/24 VENTURA, CA
6/26 PHOENIX, AZ
6/29 LAS VEGAS, NV
6/30 SALT LAKE CITY, UT
7/01 DENVER, CO
7/03 ST/ LOUIS, MO
7/05 BONNER SPRINGS, KS
7/06 DALLAS, TX
7/07 SAN ANTONIO, TX
7/08 HOUSTON, TX
7/10 NASHVILLE, TN
7/12 VIRGINIA BEACH, VA
7/13 CAMDEN, NJ
7/14 HOLMDEL, NJ
7/15 HARTFORD, CT
7/16 PITTSBURGH, PA
7/17 TORONTO, ON
7/18 CUYAHOGA FALLS, OH
7/19 CINCINNATI, OH
7/20 DETROIT, MI
7/21 CHICAGO, IL
7/22 MINNEAPOLIS, MN
7/23 MILWAUKEE, WI
7/24 INDIANAPOLIS, IN
7/25 DARIEN CENTER, NY
7/26 SCRANTON, PA
7/27 MANSFIELD, MA
7/28 WANTAGH, NY
7/29 COLUMBIA, MD
7/31 CHARLOTTE, NC
7/31 ATLANTA, GA
8/02 CHARLOTTE, NC
8/04 TAMPA, FL
8/05 WEST PALM BEACH, FL

 Tickets on sale Feb 26 at 10AM local time!