Not Your Average Cup of Joe

When I walked into the trendy, rustic, open layout of Coffee & Tea Collective, Don’t Pass Me By from The Beatles cued simultaneously as the bright, cheery smile from the barista caught my eye.

Advertisements

coffee2I closed out 2017 in California. The weather was crisp and cool, perfect for hot lattes and winter coats. Early mornings I wandered the streets of San Diego’s gaslamp district in search of new places to satisfy my endless love for coffee. When I walked into the trendy, rustic, open layout of Coffee & Tea Collective, Don’t Pass Me By from The Beatles cued simultaneously as the bright, cheery smile from the barista caught my eye. She had gorgeous green eyes hiding behind her oversized glasses, with giant hoops to match. Appeared to have just stepped out of the eighties, her tiny bangs and poofy hair framed her adorable face.

coffee3

She whipped up a one-of-a-kind frothy Raleigh
latte seasoned with house made cinnamon, and garnished with love. Staff members shared smiles and friendly nods to the early risers as they waited patiently to catch their morning buzz. The deliciousness didn’t stop there, the latte even complimented me as I took my last sip, “well done” it read at the bottom of my cup. I mean seriously, what else can you ask for in a your coffee experience?

Now, a month later, I’ve been to countless other coffee shops, but I still salivate reminiscing on that Raleigh latte. In my years of bartending and event planning, I’ve become quite the experience maker. I can say without a doubt, there are countless factors that made this experience so memberable. The establishment’s uniqueness started with employees’ personalities flaunted through their fashion, the choice of tunes that resounded an era of simpler times, and ended with the subtle compliment at the bottom of my glass. If I would have purchased this same latte from a cookie-cutter Starbucks, with employees in green aprons, and presented in a paper cup, I probably wouldn’t salivate thinking about it today.

So often, people, and establishments, lose their contrast with the world around them. Companies blend in with their competition, and people get lost in the crowd. Whether you’re a start-up company, an established business, industry professional, housewife, musician, or entrepreneur, you owe it to the world, but mostly to yourself, to find the freedom of authenticity. Everyday we are given another opportunity to reinvent ourselves. Find, and flaunt your uniqueness! That’s what this world needs. As we wrap up the first month of 2018, embellish this “You are a once in a universe expression”.

January Promises New Beginnings

Although I’ve never been a fan of New Year’s resolutions, every year I get conned into making at least one. Unofficially these ten goals have helped me adopt new strategies to achieve happiness in 2018.

If 2017 fell short of amazing for you, find comfort in knowing you aren’t alone. As much as I love the New Year, and all its festivities, it’s boils down to a night celebration for me. Every 365 days people get excited to “start over” and make new resolutions.  Although I’ve never been a fan of New Year’s resolutions, every year I get conned into making at least one. Last year I decided I wouldn’t start any new painting, only finish ones that needed to be completed. This limited me exponentially. Whenever I was inspired to paint something new, I wouldn’t. I learned a lot in 2017, and it was particularly rough year for me. By early November, I was ready to put the pedal to the metal and leave 2017 in my rear-view mirror. Like most, I was eager to let it be called the past, and clung tight to January’s promise for new beginnings.

So here we are 6% done with the new year, and January nearly over. Has it lived up to everything promised? Quite honestly, for myself, yes. 2018 has been awesome. In this new year, there has been no rules, just guidelines in hopes for exciting opportunities and new experiences. Unofficially these ten goals have helped me adopt new strategies to achieve happiness in 2018.

  1. Meet new people (1,000 people a year = 2.74 a day) doable!
  2. Travel to 3.5 countries, Spain in March (Ireland, Brazil next?)
  3. Make 3 new friends
  4. Give and take zero F.U.C.K.S. (theme of 2018)

    F: fears due to peer pressure
    U: unaccepted responsibility for others
    C: cares about what others may think or say
    K: kind words I don’t genuinely mean or euphemisms
    S: self-inflicted judgements caused by conditioning 
  5. Wear more hats (at least 3 a week, Why?!? …because I love hats!)
  6. Go to the beach 30 days consecutively (I live in Hawaii, how hard can it be 😉 )
  7. Smile everyday
  8. Listen to my intuition (In previous years I’ve dropped the ball on this one)
  9. Be the friend I desire
  10. Laugh and learn from my mistakes

Every year that passes brings new lessons and challenges. Sure 2017 may have broken our banks and crushed our hearts, but we made it this far. We may lose the people we love, miss the experiences we had, and dream about the things money could buy, but quite truthfully, we all have so much to be grateful for. If you’re reading this, you have access to the internet, and you can read! In 2016, 4 billion people were still living without internet access. With 285 million people visually impaired, and 781 million illiterate adults on Earth, I think anyone reading this has at least a few things to be grateful for.

Don’t let expectations get you down, and always find something that fills your heart with gratitude. Remember, you can start over today, and any day till December 31st, you don’t need the New Year’s blessing. Don’t fall into the same mentality as previous years, find something new and refreshing about your life in 2018! 

Hawaii Missile Alert Resonates a Theme of Letting Go in 2018

Waikiki Beach packed with hundreds, panicked and fear stricken, deciding how to spend their last twelve minutes until missile impact.

As like most Saturday mornings, on January 13th, I cruised through Queen’s Beach on the east end of Hawaii’s famous Waikiki Beach. Routinely I walk the same course week by week. I say good morning to the familiar and unfamiliar faces as I stroll the sidewalks, sandwiched between a picture perfect beach and a collection of vibrant and colorful paintings. The artists chipperly assemble their vending displays every Saturday morning, decorating the zoo fence with projections of their personalities and creativity.  With the recent welcome of 2018, the New Years spirits were still clinging to those who seem to always have something to cheer about. I said hello to my artist friends, wished them good luck for the day, and continued on my way. The clear blue skies backdropped the turquoise sea, the streets bustling with vacationers motivated by the morning sun. Rewind one hour, these same streets were filled with frantic tourist and terrified locals. Confusion and fear was the commonality in each individual as they accepted their fate.

At 8:08 AM, alarms rang from every corner of the room. It was three minutes past my arrival, and I was five minutes late, or as the locals would say just in time, island time. The beach bar is bright and cheery, with surfboards lined by the door, and waves crashing in the distant view. It was promised to be another gorgeous day in paradise, slangin tropical cocktails at Lulu’s Waikiki. I strolled in the bar sporting a huge smile, a black flowery dress with knee high socks, and black boots to match, my typical bartending attire. After a few short conversations, and a couple warm hugs, I poured myself a hot coffee and got working. Before I could put my coffee down, I spot my coworker bursting from the kitchen doors, marching behind his forward projected arm, iPhone in hand, faced screen out. I could tell something was urgent, but he’s out of ears reach. As he approaches the manager on duty, the manager accepts the phone from his frantic grip, and cradles it in his hands. Then it was like a chain reaction. Every person in the restaurant started taking out their phone. I could see panic in their eyes. The open air view of Waikiki’s crashing waves seemed to be the next place the blank faces turned to. I couldn’t make out what my coworkers were saying. I knew it was serious. No one responded to me after the third time as I proclaimed, “What going on?!?” For a split second, I thought maybe it was a tsunami warning. But no! My coworker was much too frantic, it couldn’t be a tsunami warning. We get those all the time. Then I recalled hearing a tsunami alert (which happens to be the same alarm that would sound for catastrophic event) just minutes prior. But with Hawaii’s frequent squawking of monthly tests, and tsunami warnings, most of us have grown accustomed to unconsciously dismissing the alarm completely. I ran to the back of the bar, pulled out my phone, and read the following alert, “Emergency Alert BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”

image1 (1)

I lifted my head wearing the same blank stare I witnessed dozens of others with. The TVs started flashing alerts on the local surf channels, yet the NFL games continued  to play uninterrupted. I looked at the one gentleman sitting at my bar, and said, “Are you seeing this?”, projecting my phone forward in the same fashion I witnessed my coworker share the news with our boss. The sixty-something year old gentlemen replies, “I don’t carry my phone on me, what is it?” After I graced him with thirty seconds to read and reread the alert on my phone, I start remembering all the research I’d done previously after the official warning went out to the University of Hawaii students in the fall of 2017. Twelve minutes. Twelve minutes was how long it would take for a North Korea missile to hit after hearing the alarm. My body starts to catch up with my brain, as my blank stare turns into panic. I retrieve my phone, the gentleman throws twenty dollars on the bartop and scurries out as another gentleman sits down. I look at the arriving man and say, “I’m not sure if you got the warning, but Hawaii is under a missile threat”, he replied with a calm, “Well, can I still get a drink?” By this time my boss has made his way behind the bar to notify me that we are officially closed. I look at the gentleman, and I look at my boss, and I said “I’m going home to be with my dog.”

I made a few ‘last calls’ yet only one was answered. After a brief explanation of the nature of the call, the only thing I could say was “I love you”, which gratefully was comforted by the response of “I love you too.” My eyes filled with tears, and my hands began to lose their stability, I realized this may be the end. I grabbed my belonging and pried my way into the streets of Waikiki. There were people everywhere. The hotels had more guests than they could contain. New conversations could be heard with every step. Hundreds of people in the streets. People were calling home to loved ones to say their last goodbyes. Some phone calls frantic, some calm, others with no words just sounds of sobbing. As I rushed through the crowds, I see dozens of people surrounding a police officer. I quickly approach the officer, unapologetic of what I may have been interrupting. “Excuse me officer, is there any information that you may have that the general public may not?” He holds his radio closer to his ear to catch the last few words of the voice on the other end saying, “The alert was only a test.” He looks in my eyes and says, “Everything is fine, we are in communication with the Secretary of Defence and it has been confirmed that this is just a test, there is no missile threat to Hawaii.

Skepticism begins to set in. Why would they tell us anyway? Wouldn’t that just cause mass hysteria? I hastily began making my way closer to where my ride was set to pick me up. I’m abruptly halted by a tourist couple, both frantic and panicking. The young man looks at me with tear filled eyes, clenching her hand tightly, he says, “Where do we go? They are telling us to seek shelter, but nobody knows where to go!” I pointed to the great crater of Leahi, I said “Go as far as you can in that direction, get out of Waikiki!” With fear in their faces, they ran, hand in hand, crossing through streets, with disregard for common traffic laws and practices. There was no time to consider anything but survival. For minutes, which seemed like hours, I watched the fear of death possess the population. There were no thoughts for the future, or about the past. Time decelerated as hundreds of people panicked through the streets of Waikiki. As we made our way closer to home, and out of the city, we saw neighborhoods gathered outside looking to the skies over Waikiki. The eeriness progressed as we distanced ourselves from town, the neighborhoods had less and less people outside. We saw one of our own neighbors, he was on his way to a bomb shelter. We exchanged a few brief words, the last of which were “Good luck to you.” 

I shut the door to my house, closed all the windows, retrieved my gas mask, and started filled water jugs. After group messaging my family, smothering my dog with kisses, and saying my last goodbyes, I could have died happy. image2But as the story goes, 38 minutes after the initial alert was sent to Hawaii, a second one was dispersed with the following message, “Emergency Alert There is no missile threat or danger to the State of Hawaii. Repeat. False Alarm.” As much as I secretly hope to go survivalist in this lifetime, it was bad timing on this one. It would have been awkward being the only person in my house with a gas mask when we’re all planning on “surviving” under the same roof. Nonetheless, the experience will be remembered for years to come. With nearly a million people on island, the last few moments were spent in countless ways. Each person had their final twelve minutes to enjoy how they chose (except one roommate we let sleep through it all). Hundreds of thousands of calls and texts left Hawaii to parents, children, sisters, brothers, lovers, and friends. It was a moment when nothing mattered except those you love. There was no saving us. On an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, it was time for making peace and letting go. Which may just be the resonating theme of 2018.

 

Cali Roots Final Artist Announcement & Video is Here!

If you’re like me, then the last four weeks you’ve been playing a guessing game with yourself and your friends called “Who Else is Playing Cali Roots?” Many hypotheses swirled, and you were torn between wanting to see all your faves for the twelfth time, yet also wanting to see those new bands that you haven’t listened to yet, the ones your Facebook friend from that festival says are ~amazing~. I’m happy to report that it is a balanced mixture of both, with some legends thrown in because why not? Without further ado, here is the final artist announcement for California Roots Music and Arts Festival 2018 (and check the new video above):

  • Iration
  • Tribal Seeds
  • E40
  • Tash Sultana
  • Ozomatli
  • Xiuhtezcatl
  • Ocean Alley
  • Darenots

The Australian influence is heavy this year! Along with previously-announced Xavier Rudd, the producers are introducing singer-songwriter Tash Sultana and the psychedelic six-piece Ocean Alley and I’m telling you right now they are both going to surprise you. Their diverse music and fan base should bring a breath of fresh air to Monterey this year. Another artist we’ve never seen at Cali Roots is seventeen year old Boulder, CO native, Xiuhtezcatl Martinez (pronounced Shu-tez-caht), and he echoes this years underlying theme of activism to a tee. The hip hop artist, indigenous climate activist, and public speaker is a strong voice for the environmental movement and youth alike and helps spread and inspire awareness about the earth through his music and lyrics.

Heavyweights E 40 and Ozomatli are also new on the bill, and with them they bring early 00’s nostalgia and that funk that is perfectly on-brand for Cali Roots. Tribal Seeds isn’t new, but they are definitely exciting and also definitely a band to watch. Lead guitarist Ryan Gonzo suffered a major stroke while on tour a few months back and is on the road to recovery while his band mates promote and execute the Roots Party EP and corresponding tour. No word whether he will be performing at Cali Roots (my fingers are crossed), but regardless we are all ready for more Tribal Seeds. As per usual.

That’s a wrap! We have the full lineup and new names to check out along with it and Bulldog even made us a lovely Spotify playlist to get familiar with all the new music. Cali Roots 2018 is shaping up to be one of the most diverse, eclectic mix of artists ever, with activism and social awareness at the forefront of it all.

Here’s the rest of the lineup in alphabetical order in case you forgot:

  • 311
  • Alpha Blondy
  • Anuhea
  • Atmosphere
  • Brother Ali
  • Chronixx
  • Dispatch
  • Fortunate Youth
  • The Green
  • The Hip Abduction
  • HIRIE
  • The Holdup
  • J Boog
  • Mike Love
  • The Movement
  • New Kingston
  • The Original Wailers
  • Raging Fyah
  • Rebelution
  • The Ries Brothers
  • Sammy J
  • Slightly Stoopid
  • Steel Pulse
  • Stephen Marley
  • Trevor Hall
  • Tropidelic
  • Xavier Rudd

 

#IsItMayYet? Exclusive Interview with Dan Sheehan & First Artist Announcement: Cali Roots 2k18!

#IsItMayYet? Nope, but we’ve got the first taste of what you’ll be hearing! I got to chat with Dan Sheehan, talent buyer and co-producer/co-owner of California Roots, about all the deets including who he’s excited about and what he looks for when booking new up-and-coming artists. All of us at Bulldog Media are very pleased to announce the first lineup of artists for California Roots Music & Art Festival 2018, watch the vid and give us a share 🙂

Slightly Stoopid
311
J Boog
Steel Pulse
Chronixx
Alpha Blondy
Mike Love
HIRIE
The Holdup
Sammy J
Raging Fyah
New Kingston
The Ries Brothers

 

AA: So what artists excite you the most out of this first announcement?

DS: I’m really excited to see Alpha Blondy play this year.  He has always been a favorite. Raging Fyah is really good as well. They are young and really deliver a great message.

AA: I’m not super familiar with Alpha Blondy, what made you wanna book him?

DS: I grew up in Hawai’i and reggae music was everywhere, I’ve been listening to it as long as I can remember. I’m 40 year old so an artist like Alpha Blondy was a big part of my childhood and also the landscape of reggae in Hawai’i; songs like “Jerusalem” and “Cocoa de Rock” and were pretty much anthems. He’s been a big influence in the reggae community as well, supposedly Cocoa the Tour Dog is named after that song. He’s headlined Reggae on the River, Sierra Nevada World Music Festival … he’s definitely a fan favorite, especially in the roots reggae world. He’s a special artist and we’re super excited to have him next year.

AA: That’s why Cali Roots is so amazing, you get exposed to all these artists you’ve never listened to and you fall in love with them. I can’t wait to check out his set.

DS: I feel like that’s part of my responsibility as a talent buyer. The responsibility of any festival is to open people’s minds up to new music, or old music that they may not have heard otherwise. Bands like Rebelution, Iration, Slightly Stoopid, Tribal Seeds will get people through the gates …  then they get exposed to the roots. Last year we had Yellowman, a legendary roots artist. We also had the younger generation of roots artists like Jesse Royal. Hopefully people can expand their musical repertoire and listen to some of the foundation artists.

AA: Yeah, where their favorite music actually came from and who it was inspired by.

DS: Exactly.

AA: So how do up-and-coming bands catch your eye? How do you book new talent?

DS: I’m constantly looking–from Hawai’i to the east coast. I look at what other festivals they’re doing, but moreso it’s about who’s working hard on the road touring and who has a strong social presence. And if the music is good. But to get my attention to listen to the music, there has to be a lot of hard work and effort. Even if they’re grinding it out in their van, playing shows to five people; they’re still putting in the work. In this day and age that’s really what it takes. Grinding. There really are no overnight successes in our genre of music. Even bands like Rebelution and SOJA were grinding for years before they made it big.

AA: Yeah when people talk about Rebelution’s success I don’t think they realize those guys were playing literally every weekend in Isla Vista for years for free.

DS: Yeah they put in the work, you know?

AA: How long does it typically take you to book an artist, start to finish?

DS: From my first offer to my last offer, it takes about six months

AA: If you could pick any artists to play Cali Roots who would it be?

DS: That’s such a hard question… An artist like Manu Chao is someone I would love to have play the festival. A lot of people don’t really know who he is in our little world, but he’s a big name and I think he’d be a really good fit.

AA: Oh my gosh he’s amazing, I’m getting goosebumps thinking about it

DS: Yeah, I saw him 7 or 8 years ago at Smokeout in San Bernardino at the National Orange Show Event Center. He was pounding his chest onstage and the energy he has is really what Cali Roots represents. I would love to have him on our bill at some point.

AA: He would put Cali Roots on the map, no doubt.

DS: I agree, I’ve always said if we could book Manu Chao it would be like our trump card … “They did what?!”

AA: Well, year ten for Cali Roots will be here before we know it. Maybe he will come around for our decade celebration and make it the best ever.

DS: Absolutely.

AA: I’m looking forward to it. Wow we’ve been chatting for awhile…

DS: Yeah thanks for taking time out on a Saturday to do this.

AA: Same. Thank you for the opportunity, Dan.

 

*Get your tickets to Cali Roots HERE and we will see you there! xx

Eli-Mac Releases EP “Tricky One” … YASS!

Byline: Lo Hatmaker

After 3 long years, the wait is finally over! Fresh new music from Eli-Mac has arrived and it is better than I could have ever imagined. It combines the same sultry, soulful feel that Eli-Mac is known for, with the mix of infectious bass drops and upbeat danceworthy tunes.  Tricky One showcases her unique sound and edginess and further expands upon it with a bit of roots. The roots reggae influence is apparent in this EP, especially with her cover of “Young Girl” by Don Carlos. The dub-heavy “Poor Lover” is one of my favorites on this EP, with its’ dreamy, melodic vibe. This is definitely the type of record for cruising with all the windows down and the volume ALLLL the way up.

eli1

Tricky One EP
Released: 9/29/17
TRACK LISTING:

  1. Mr. Sensi
  2. Poor Lover
  3. Young Girl
  4. Tricky One
  5. Nighttime Session

LH: Thank you for sitting down with me! I just wanted to talk to you about your new EP, Tricky One, coming out this Friday, Sept. 29th.

EM: Yeah! Absolutely!

LH: What was the most exciting thing for you recording this?

EM: That’s a really good question. You know, it’s been 3 years since the Dub Stop EP and we were just going back and forth with direction and we didn’t know what we were going to do.  You know, it’s the same guys I work with; JP from The Green and  Leslie from the Hot Rain Band.  We just made these sounds. I don’t know if there was a big highlighting moment, I’m just excited to put it out after 3 years.  It was a long 3 years but it was worth it.

LH: It was definitely long-awaited and we are all so excited to have this new music from you!  Do you think your sound is any different than your past music and the Dub Stop EP?

EM: I feel like maybe it’s a lot similar to the Dub Stop EP. It’s kind of in that same area but I think we pushed the sound. Went a little more rootsy with it and we had Gumby from Ooklah mix the record and so he put his thing on there. We did a Don Carlos cover, “Young Girl” which is one of my favorite songs of all time. So yeah, it’s a fun EP.

LH: Speaking of Don Carlos, were there any particular artists that influenced this record?

EM: You know what? I was listening to a lot of Eek A Mouse and you know that song… *sings*

“…every night and every day it’s a wonderful world that we live in today”?  

That was kind of the inspiration for Mr. Sensi. I was listening to the record and so that song, just the way the bass dropped, I was listening to it and I was like, “Dang, I wanna make a song kind of like that”. So, I got the idea for the bass drop *sings*

“Mr. Sensi, give me your love…”.

We kind of just flipped it and then we had it. I would say Eek A Mouse is into a lot more roots. We wanted to go towards a more rootsier sound and it progressed into that.

LH: I definitely got the more rootsy vibe off this EP. So, before I started recording, you mentioned you had some interesting projects coming up, including collabing with your boo. Can you elaborate on that and any other things you have planned for the future?

EM: Haha, yeah.  So, me and my better half, Louie Castle [he’s in Tribal Seeds]. He’s an amazing singer, songwriter, wicked producer and we are actually working on a duo right now. We’re not too sure of the name but right now it’s looking like Eli Castle. We’ve got some wicked tunes coming up and we are really pushing the sound even further, further than Eli Mac and further than Louie Castle. So, we are looking to release something the end of 2018. Be on the lookout for that Eli Castle!

LH: I can’t wait to hear! Are you planning on doing any shows or tours in the near future?

EM: I do have a show 12/2 at HOB Anaheim and then as of right now, I don’t have any tours scheduled. I’m just waiting for Friday, Sept. 29th for the Tricky One EP. Cop that! Hopefully, some people will pick me up to go on tour for the summer after this is released. That would be awesome.

LH:  Yass! We need an Eli Mac tour for sure. Well, again, thanks so much for sitting down with me and congrats on your new release!

 

*Listen to the “Tricky One” HERE and follow Eli-Mac on Instagram and YouTube.

The Keeney’s | #JnKweddingday

You know those serendipitous moments in time where everything goes as it should, there are no major setbacks and a whole lot of love and friendship is happening all around you? That was last weekend in Nevada City for Kyser and Jennifer’s wedding. Joe called me last minute to cover with him for Bulldog Media and I’m so glad I did, it truly was one of the most beautiful displays of love I have ever witnessed.

The day started off with Joe and I filming the entire wedding party, plus the bride and groom’s family, as they got the reception venue ready. It was so sweet seeing everyone hanging out and arranging centerpieces, setting up the bar and laughing at how crazy it was that “the day” was finally here. The building itself is called the Miner’s Foundry, and it’s a historical cultural landmark and quite honestly looks like a scene from Game of Thrones. The thing I noticed most during this time of setup was how calm and relaxed Jennifer was. There was no stress, no worry, just a bride happy to be celebrating her special day with her loved ones.

DSC01676Noon rolled around and the bridesmaids and I walked the few short steps up the block to the EPIC wood-and-stained-glass-pretty-sure-it-used-to-be-a-church appropriately dubbed the “Two Room Inn” where they all stayed. The bride and her bridesmaids were like models getting ready for the catwalk in their matching robes and I could NOT stop taking pictures of Jenn in the picturesque chaise upstairs. After her bridesmaids helped her into her dress, the father of the bride got the first glimpse of his daughter. “Beautiful”, he says admiringly. You can feel the pride in his gaze as the afternoon sun sequined her with light.

We realize the ceremony is supposed to start in fifteen minutes and hurry down the stairs to the car where a frantic last-minute decision is made.
“Who can drive a stick?”, Jenn asks (because she’s not driving to the ceremony herself!)
“I can, but it won’t be pretty”, one of her bridesmaids says.
Even though it’s been years since I drove manual, I volunteer. A
fter a curvy and, let’s be honest, sketchy ride I get us to the Old Highway 49 Bridge, where Kyser is waiting beneath the flower-adorned archway for his bride. They are married by his friend Rich, as the bright sun shone and the soft breeze danced around them (just like their adorable pup did). 

After pictures (Kyser wouldn’t jump into the river for a photo opp per Jenn’s request–lame) we all drove back to the Miner’s Foundry for cocktails. I mean Jameson. Following that merriment was barbeque and the most heart-felt, HILARIOUS back-to-back speech train I’ve ever seen. There was so much great music and dancing (thanks DJ!) it was hard to pull people away to watch the cake be cut and witness some mild cake-smashing to the face. Everyone was having the best time; taking silly pictures in the photo booth, vibing, laughing, taking shots … it was like a lil mini festival. The pinnacle of the night was when we all headed outside and the sparklers were lit. That’s when the magic happened and the celebration morphed back to ceremony. I will never forget the image of Kyser and Jenn, hand in hand, her beautiful face adorned with that gorgeous flower crown, walking through the crowd of their family and friends, surrounded by glowing light and abundant love.

After the twinkly send-off, the reception party at the Miner’s Foundry ended. The after party started and big group of us, including most of the wedding party, headed to Cooper’s and shut down the bar in the grandest of fashions. I feel like Jennifer and Kyser’s wedding day was metaphorically very much like them as a couple: chill, tons of fun and full of love.