Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Best Concert Venue (Higher Ground)

Now, most of you know that I am a HUGE fan of concerts. Something about seeing your favorite artists performing live, with a group of people who love the music just as much as you do...well, it never gets old! There's so much energy at concerts that you can't get from just listening through your earbuds.

I've been to a lot of concerts--at least one (usually more) every year since the 6th grade. So, I've seen a few venues. You might imagine that my favorite place for a concert would be in some ridiculously massive stadium. The crowd is a part of that energy, so the more the merrier, right?

Going to the Bell Centre for Jason Mraz was surreal...but smaller shows have their benefits!

Truth is, I actually appreciate smaller venues. As awesome as it is to see thousands of people all gathering for the same music and to be a part of something that big, a more intimate setting is nice because you can be a lot closer to the performers--and you have a much better chance of actually meeting them! Every time I've gone to Higher Ground, a popular venue in South Burlington, I've been able to talk to a band member or see the show from the front row! On Sunday, I went to see Eric Hutchinson at Higher Ground with (you guessed it!) my concert buddy Sheila.

For those of you who may not know him, Eric Hutchinson is a pop-rock singer/songwriter with a natural ability to lift your spirits. I had first heard of him a few years ago when I randomly walked into Target, picked up the first 10-dollar CD I saw, and bought it. His album Sounds Like This was full of upbeat music that just put a smile on my face! When Sheila and I first met in high school, we initially bonded over our interest in his music and we went to a concert together. Since then, we have been to quite a few concerts, but we knew we had to go to this one. We're now in college together, we still love Eric, and he was coming here! I think that when she first told me, I actually screamed (I know...typical fangirl).

Sheila and I in tenth grade at an Eric Hutchinson concert...some things never change!

We had been sitting in the front row!
The show was incredible! He performed songs from his older albums as well as his newest one, Moving Up Living Down, which he wrote after moving to New York. It was really cool to hear all of his stories about the songwriting process. He was really funny too!

After the performance, we got to meet him and tell him our story. He loved the fact that we first became friends because of him. He enjoyed the fact that his music is "bringing people together."

The opener for the show was phenomenal as well. I had never heard of Jessie Payo before going to the show, but as soon as she began her first song I knew she would be amazing! She's such a talented singer and musician, and she was hilarious. She had a great stage presence and really got the crowd excited for the show. I enjoyed all of her songs, and she even did a cover of "Pumped Up Kicks" by Foster the People. We talked to her before Eric Hutchinson came on, and she told us that it was her first time in Burlington and she really liked it here.

Jessie Payo was a sweetheart, and really stylish too!

Jessie Payo joined Eric Hutchinson for his song "Back to Where I Was".

So my last Higher Ground experience was tons of fun. I've been there a few other times too, and I have to say, it's my favorite place to see concerts! I love all of the people who perform there--sometimes it's hard to choose! But the other awesome thing is that it's not very expensive, either. I have never bought a Higher Ground ticket for more than $25. I went to my first Higher Ground concert last November for Jon McLaughlin and Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers. We also went to see Fun. last year, which was awesome because it was the first show on their tour!

Here I am with Sheila (far right), her sister Maggie (far left), and Jon McLaughlin. I remember that he smelled good even though he was sweaty!

Jack Antonoff made our night when he took a picture with us. We're huge Fun. fans!

We've actually been debating whether or not to go see Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers again, because they're coming back to Higher Ground this Thursday. However, it's a school night, and we're actually going home this weekend to see Maggie's play. We didn't want to cram too much into one weekend, but maybe they'll come back again sometime! :)

Here's a video of Jessie Payo singing "Take it On", one of our favorite songs of hers.

I hope you're all having a great week. I'm off to go listen to some good music!


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Checking In and Plans

Hello everyone!

So, I don't have much time tonight, but this post is just to check in with you all and plan out my next few posts--it'll be some interesting stuff, so stay tuned throughout the week!

First of all, I would like to send my best wishes to those readers who are or have been affected by Hurricane Sandy. Luckily, we haven't had much damage here, and we're not expecting to get the storm full-force. Some precautionary measures were taken, though. Any classes starting after 4 PM were cancelled today, as well as events and activities. It was suggested to all of us to stay indoors due to high winds. We will find out tomorrow morning whether or not classes will resume. I was also relieved to hear that my family in New York is doing well. The last time we spoke, they still had power and nobody was experiencing flooding issues. Let's hope it stays that way! So, I have been extremely fortunate. Dear readers, I hope you're not experiencing any emergency situations!

Other than freakish weather, I've been occupied here with various assignments, events and activities. This past weekend was a lot of fun as our campus celebrated "Halloweekend" with a Halloween dance and related fun activities. I live in Linnehan Hall on North Campus, which is right next to the Vermont Public Television station, and I have to say that one of my favorite things this weekend was seeing all of these children lining up in front of the station in their costumes. They were adorable!

I also have a few upcoming posts. One will include more details about my weekend, which involved another concert at Higher Ground. My ever-present concert buddy Sheila and I re-lived the first performance we ever saw together: Eric Hutchinson. Needless to say, it was a memorable night, and we loved every minute of it! I can't wait to get the pictures from the show and tell you more about my past Higher Ground experiences.

I'm planning on some other posts, too, including one about registration. That's right: it's that time of year again (already)! Time flies when you're having fun! I'm glad to say that I've figured out my ideal class schedule, so I will let you know how it goes!

I also need to tell you about my major and minors. Exciting things are happening in all of my areas of study, and I absolutely can't wait to share!

So, stay tuned throughout the next week or two. I'll be updating regularly.

Stay dry everyone!


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Fall Break and a Pumpkin Party

Hello everyone!

Last Friday I told you that the upcoming weekend was a long one, because we had Monday and Tuesday off. Last year during Fall Break, I went home to visit my family. This time, I stayed here and they came to visit me! My parents have obviously been here before, but they brought my aunt and uncle, who had never seen Saint Mike's. It was so much fun showing them around!

Dad, Mom, Aunt Tracey and I hanging out on Main Campus.

My mom left her mark in the Word Garden!

The weather was a bit cold and rainy when they first arrived, but it cleared up pretty quickly and it was beautiful on Saturday! We took advantage of the nice day and went on a drive up to the Champlain Islands in northern Vermont. At one point, we were only about a mile away from the Canadian border! We also took the bridge over to New York.

Hmm, which way to go?

A lovely view of Lake Champlain.

After the ride, we came back into Burlington, where we went to Church Street. I insisted on getting kettle's one of my favorite snacks to have while I'm downtown. I could live on that stuff!

Mmmm...kettle corn!
We tried to cram as much as we could into the days they were there, so it was pretty hectic but lots of fun! Everyone had a great time, and I was so happy to see my family after seven weeks without them!

This weekend has been jam-packed with fun stuff, too! Yesterday, my friends and I decided to have ourselves a "fall party". Some of us went apple and pumpkin picking that morning. It was a beautiful day, so we took a drive out to Shelburne Orchards. We had a great time picking apples, and they were delicious!

Cara found a good one!
Greta likes liberty apples!

Once we picked up pumpkins, we returned to campus and began making apple and pumpkin pie. Other friends contributed cupcakes, cookies, and pretty much any dessert you can think of...there was a LOT of food!

Nobody knew where to start!

Cait and Emma mixed the apple pie filling.

Emma, Alex, and Merrill made delicious cupcakes! (Click on the linked names to see their blogs!)

We also brought our pumpkins outside and carved them to make jack-o-lanterns. It brought me right back to my childhood! I know some people get freaked out by "gutting" the pumpkin because it feels so slimy in your hands, but I have to admit that's one of my favorite things about pumpkin carving! It turns out that most of my friends are the same way. It got very messy very fast!

Getting started!
Liz with a "pumpkin beard"! She separated all of the seeds so that we could roast them :)

And here are the finished products! Maya and I carved the one in the middle with hearts for eyes.

Our party was definitely an awesome way to spend the day. The fun will continue later on when Green Up, an environmental club here at SMC, hosts their annual Harvest Fest. There's all kinds of food and tons of fun activities. But for now, it's time to study!

Enjoy the rest of the weekend, everyone!


Friday, October 12, 2012

Weekends at SMC

As you can tell from many of my posts, weekends at Saint Mike's are one of my favorite things about college. Don't get me wrong, it's still awesome during the week--I absolutely love everything I'm learning in my classes and wouldn't trade it for the world! However, weekends are the best time for relaxing and catching up with people I don't get to see much during the week...including my own roommate! You'd think that since we live together, we get to see each other all the time. But we're both really busy, and we each have really different schedules. We're lucky if we get to eat together! So normally, during the week, we only get to see each other and talk for a few minutes before bed each night. That's why you can bet we're attached to each other on the weekends!

My roommate, Maya, and I at Friday Knight Dry.

This past weekend was a lot of fun, and it started with Friday Knight Dry, an event that promotes sobriety on campus. This is an awesome night held once at the beginning of each year where students can attend a bunch of different activities, like open mic night in Alliot or a screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show (a personal favorite!). The more activities you go to, the more raffle tickets you get, and then you can enter to win prizes at the end of the night! This year's prizes included an ipod shuffle, a Keurig coffee maker, gift cards, dvds, as well as various other prizes.

My favorite part of Friday Knight Dry is right at the end when all of the students go to Alliot for yummy treats. Before the raffle tickets are drawn, our 3 a capella groups perform their first concert of the year. They are the Sleepless Knights, the Aca Bellas (an all-female choir) and Mike Check (an all-male choir). All three groups are amazingly talented and they do a wonderful job at their performances.

After an awesome night, I spent most of my Saturday afternoon out on Church Street with Maya and our friend, Tanya. We got bagels at Bruegger's and then went browsing through a few cool stores like Second Time Around, a designer consignment shop (read: WAY cheaper than you can get this stuff for normally!) and Old Gold, a really cool store that's perfect for trying on Halloween costumes! I'm no sure what I'm doing for Halloween yet, but I did buy a Snow White costume, so I better figure something out!

When we got back, we had to get ready to go bowling. Our friend Sheila's dad, Jim, was visiting for the weekend, and his birthday was this week. Jim has been an important person in all of our lives since we met him, and we wanted to celebrate with him and do something special. I think he had a really great time!

Here he is getting ready to blow out the birthday candles (I won't tell you how old he is!)

So, next comes the part of the weekend that (I admit it...) I dread a little bit: Sunday (dun dun duuuuhhh). Sunday is homework day, of course, but not without brunch first! Normally, my freinds and I meet in Alliot for brunch, where we always make Belgian waffles. This weekend, however, we decided to have breakfast up North in our dorm building, Linnehan, and make it ourselves since we have a kitchen!

I must say that having a kitchen this year is pretty awesome. It's definitely one of the perks of living up North. About 40 students share this kitchen, though, so we always make sure to clean up when we're done!

It was an awesome brunch! Tanya and Cori, who live on Main Campus in Founders Hall, came to eat with us, so they stopped at Dunkin Donuts (conveniently placed between campuses!) and bought Munchkins on the way. Danny made biscuits, Maya made potatoes, and Shawn made...well, everything else. I contributed by helping to clean up and mostly staying out of the way while everyone me, that's the best contribution I could've made for all of us!

Shawn was very proud of his omelette-making skills.

Maya, Danny, Cori, and Tanya (looking away from the camera...a little shy in the morning!) enjoying our lovely breakfast.
After that, we all had to part ways to do the homework and laundry that we had been avoiding. But, we had an awesome weekend together, and there was so much to talk about from the week before! This weekend should be fun too, since we have Fall Break. That means no classes on Monday or Tuesday! Most of my friends are going home, but I'm really excited because my parents and my aunt and uncle are coming to visit for the weekend. My aunt and uncle have never been here before. I can't wait to give them a tour of Saint Mike's and some of my favorite places around Burlington! I think they're really going to like it.
I hope everyone is having a great week. Til next time!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Tandem Biking, Mountain Hiking, and Other Shenanigans (Just an Average Week at SMC!)

Happy October and Happy Monday!

Last week I had to finish a project for my Nature and Outdoor Writing class called Encounters. Basically, we've been working on this project throughout the whole month of September, trying to spend as much time as possible outdoors and documenting what we saw. I spent a great deal of my month walking through the woods taking pictures...sounds awesome, right? It gets better though! We also get to spend a lot of our class time outdoors, and we journal about all of our adventures. Our class this past Thursday was a bike ride! We went to Local Motion, a local business that supports biking in Burlington, and rented bikes (a cost that we were luckily able to get funded by the school). I got to ride a tandem (two-seater) bike with my friend Nate. On the way back, I rode with Professor Sultze--we had some laughs trying to coordinate our pedaling. It was so much fun!

"You'd look sweet upon the seat...of a bicycle built for two!"
It was such a relaxing day, and I still can't believe that I got to go on a bike ride for class. It'll definitely be one of my favorite and most memorable classtimes ever!

Anyway, I started off by telling you about my Encounters project and kind of forgot where I was going with that. Woops! On Friday morning, only a few hours before I was to hand in my project, I was sitting outside on a bench with my friend and we saw a squirrel jump into a trash can. Now, the squirrels here at Saint Mike's are pretty crazy, so there was nothing new about that, but the problem was that there apparently wasn't enough trash in the can so the poor squirrel got stuck all the way at the bottom! It was trapped and couldn't get out.

So sad!
No fear, though. Saint Mike's students to the rescue! A few people crowded around as we took the lid off of the trash can and slowly tipped it on its side. The squirrel had been scared and was hissing at us (who knew they could hiss!), but it scampered away as soon as it was freed. I hope none of the other squirrels jumped in after we left! I decided to give the last page of my Encounters Project to this little squirrel. It certainly was an interesting encounter!

So, as you can see, I had an interesting few days. But it gets better! I was doing a lot of homework over the weekend, so I was happy to take a break. Earlier this month, I had signed up to take a hike with the Wilderness Program. The Saint Mike's Wilderness Program is really cool because it offers you a chance to go explore all of the awesome natural wonders of Vermont in a safe environment with people who share the same interests. Plus, it's pretty cheap! You can even borrow and equipment you might need so that you don't have to buy all of your own.

Each trip has student leaders who have been trained as wilderness instructors. Our group had two awesome leaders, plus four other students in all. I liked having a smaller group...we all got to talk and get to know each other while doing something we loved!

This was my first activity with the Wilderness Program. Every time I signed up for something last year, I unfortunately had to cancel. So, especially after a long week, you can imagine how pumped I was to hike Mt. Hunger!

A beautiful view of a waterfall about halfway up Mt. Hunger.

The hike was a 2.2-mile trail to the top, so 4.4 miles in all. Some areas were pretty steep while others were a more gradual ascent. As we got toward the top, it was much rockier, and we had to climb some parts of it. To be honest, it was quite the workout!

It was also pretty rainy, so it was difficult to see. I imagine that the view from the top would have been awesome, but we lucked out enough with the weather. At the summit, we stopped to eat lunch. It wasn't raining yet and there wasn't much wind. It was cool, but it felt nice after all of that hiking. It only started raining on our way back down, and there was enough tree cover that it wasn't bad at all.

The summit of Mt. Hunger on a foggy day.

Still, I was soaked by the time we got back. It was a bit slippery on the way down, especially in muddy areas. Being the clumsy person that I am, I definitely had to take it slow at some points. The group was really understanding though, and we all helped each other out.

I'm pretty sore today, but I can't wait to do another hike. Vermont is beautiful, and there are so many opportunities out there. I'm so excited to have another experience like this!