Monday, June 2, 2014

Music Mondays: 2014 Summer Concert Season

Hello again!

First of all, apologies for my months long hiatus from this blog. While unexpected, my self-imposed hiatus allowed me to discover many new artists which I will share with all of you in upcoming blogs entries.

For this entry, however, I chose to focus on something a little different. Today is the first Monday of June and no matter what the calendar says, it is already summer in my mind. With that thought, I would like to talk about one of my favorite times of the year, summer concert season! There are a lot of great concerts happening this summer and I will talk about the three that I am looking forward to the most, beginning with Bruno Mars.

Bruno Mars Superbowl 48 Half Time Performance

If this year's Superbowl proved anything, is that this guy can put on a show. I was always a fan of his music but after this performance, I had only one thought in my head: I have to see him live. Although he's only two albums into his career (Doo Wops and Hooligans & Unorthodox Jukebox), Bruno has more than enough hits under his belt to put on a great show. And that's not counting the songs on his albums that aren't singles. The Moonshine Jungle tour starts on June 4th and goes until September. You can purchase tickets here.

Steve Aoki

You would be hard pressed to find someone who would disagree with the statement that EDM (electronic dance music) is the biggest thing in the music world right now. From music festivals to official remixes of songs that are outside of the genre, EDM slowly built itself into the monster that it is today. Enter Steve Aoki. The son of Rocky Aoki (owner of the world famous Benihana restaurants), Steve has become one of the biggest names in EDM. This summer he will be doing a worldwide tour starting June 4th. If you happen to live in one of the countries he visits, I highly suggest you go to a show. If you're lucky enough, you will be caked. Tickets can be purchased here.


I cannot close this blog entry without speaking about what will be the biggest tour of the summer, Beyonce and Jay-Z's "On The Run" tour. It is well known that I am a huge fan of Jay-Z so I was sold on his half of the tour, however, I was never a fan of Beyonce...that is until I listened to her latest self titled album. Mega stars in their respective genres, the Carters will begin the tour on June 25 and end on August 6th. Tickets can be purchased here.

Below I've listed more artists that are touring this summer.

One Direction - April 25th - October 5th Tickets
Jack White - May 29th - August 31st Tickets
Justin Timberlake - July 9th - August 12th Tickets
One Republic - June 2nd - August 1st Tickets
Queen (with Adam Lambert) - June 19th - September 1st Tickets
Romeo Santos - May 21st - July 12th Tickets
Katy Perry - June 22nd - October 11th Tickets

Of course, there are many tours happening this summer. If you know of one that I didn't list but should have, please comment below.

-JSR

Friday, April 4, 2014

Nair Shower Power Max with Moroccan Argan Oil Review

Nair Shower Power Max Argan Oil

 It seems like I'm always looking for new ways to get rid of my unwanted body hair. I'm just a hair short (and a few thousands) from getting laser removal. Lately I've been finding it damn near impossible to find my Brazilian spa clay shower power. Maybe I'm not looking hard enough. Who knows. But I was in Walmart the other day and stumbled across this one - Shower Power Max with Argan Oil. It had my name written all over it. Maximum strength for coarse hair - Check. Pump and lock - Check. Same amount and price as Brazilian spa clay - Check. The ingredients are pretty similar as well!

 I ran home giddy with glee and hopped in the shower to try it out. (I find it easier to apply in the shower and wait before turning on the water than doing it outside and getting Nair everywhere. I'm a slob sue me.) I was surprised as all get out that it smelled even better than the spa clay! No horrid Nair smell at all. It was tropical and fruity and only developed a slight chemical smell, but no where near the original Nair that stank up your whole house for days.

Did it work better than the spa clay? Yes it is for sure stronger. Even with spa clay I have to shave over some spots that don't come clean. With this one I didn't. I also felt a little tingling on my legs after a few minutes while I was slathering it on my arms. So this is for sure some higher strength stuff. Don't do what I did though. I missed a few spots on my arms and tried to Nair again. Big mistake. It burned and I got some red marks and bumps on my arms. Although I should've known better as my arms are way more sensitive than my legs. Also I had a small scab on my wrist that I forgot about. Between the Nair and the rubbing of the sponge the scab was gone and the scratch was raw and bled a little.. So definitely don't use if you have any scrapes or scratches. I rubbed my arms and legs down in jojoba oil immediately after showering and that took away the sting of the Nair burns (on my arms) and made my skin silky smooth and soft. The redness was almost gone the next morning and my arms didn't hurt or feel overly sensitive.

PROS:
  • Smells better than traditional Nair 
  • Works on tough stubborn hair 
  • Residue washes off without much effort
  • Scent is not strong or overbearing

CONS:
  • Shorter working time 
  • Can be pricey 

Would I buy this again? Absolutely. Hands down. I would even buy this over the spa clay! I would have to manage my time better and apply more evenly so I don't miss any spots and give it enough time to work its magic. Bottom line this is a great product and I'm willing to shell out for it. I just wish that higher strength meant I could go longer before doing it again. But the time in between Nair's was the same as with the spa clay - about 3 days. But that's better than shaving and having my hair grow overnight.

More pics below!

- L

Nair Shower Power Max Argan OilNair Shower Power Max Argan Oil

Nair Shower Power Max Argan OilNair Shower Power Max Argan Oil


Nair Shower Power Max Argan Oil Brazilian Spa Clay

Monday, January 27, 2014

Music Mondays: The Civil Wars "Barton Hallow"

Fame is a funny thing. You can have one of the most respected and critically acclaimed albums of the year, win several Grammys and have songs on TV shows and yet,  people won't know you by name. Such is the case for The Civil Wars. In 2011, the duo (Joy Williams and John Paul White) released the album Barton Hallow and received numerous accolades for their work, however, because of the current zeitgeist of music, this amazing folk album went largely unheard.

The Civil Wars Barton Hallow

Barton Hallow opens with the mysterious 20 Years. This chorus-less, relatively short song (the lyrics are only twelve lines long) about a note left for someone to read perfectly sets up the tone of Barton Hallow. In many instances in this album, we are never directly told certain things. People, objects, and even emotion are only hinted at without being directly spoken about.

20 Years



For the most part, most songs on Barton Hallow take the tone of 20 Years. However, there is one song that diverges from the trend and completely stands out because of how dynamic it is. The eponymous Barton Hallow appears half way through the album and is a powerful wake up call to make you focus again. However, though this song bucks the trend of the soft and quiet sounds of the rest of the album, it does maintain the theme of not completely telling you everything. All we know is that the speaker committed a crime/sin and he or she feels that they are a long way from salvation.

Barton Hallow

Unfortunately, as amazing as this duo is together, it appears as though we will not be hearing from them for the foreseeable future. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Joy Williams reveals that she and John Paul White had a falling out after completing their second album, 2013's The Civil Wars. While the band hasn't announced a breakup, they are on hiatus and Joy is quoted in the aforementioned article saying, "If John Paul and I can find a place to meet in the middle, I believe that there could be a future for the band."

This is truly a shame because John Paul and Joy make amazing music together. Not only are they great song writers and singers, they can cover a song like no one else I've heard. Take for example, The Jackson 5's I Want You Back. John Paul and Joy strip the song down to it's bones and where there was once a danceable tune, now exists a melancholic song about longing and despair. 



-JSR 


Monday, January 13, 2014

Music Monday: M.I.A - Matangi

First and foremost, happy 2014!

2013 was an amazing year in music and I can't wait to see what 2014 has in store for our ears. For this post, I will focus on an album that I and (judging by it's chart performance) a lot of people completely missed last year, M.I.A's Matangi.


Is it too late to add this album to my "Best of 2013" list?

I have to thank a good friend of mine for introducing me to this album because wow. I have been a fan of M.I.A since she broke here in the States with the Diplo produced single Bucky Dun Gun. Since the release of that song in 2005, M.I.A has seen significant success with songs such as XXXO, Born Free and the immensely popular Paper Planes. These songs, however, are just a taste of M.I.A's true talent; experimentalism. With previous albums M.I.A played with experimental sounds, however, it's with this album that she truly shines.


The first for single for this album, Bad Girls, was released early in 2012. Filled with middle eastern influences, this song is an appropriate first single because it sets up the tone of the album. However, it must be noted that while great, this song is only a hint of what's in the album. For a better idea of the album you have to look to the second single, Bring The Noize.



 M.I.A. has never been afraid to push the boundaries of her music and with this album, she did so magnificently. The only other album released last year that I can compare Matangi to is Kanye West's experimental Yeezus. That's not bad company to be in.

-JSR