One thing I was really crossing my fingers for was an Andrew McMahon show in the SoCal area. For the past few months, I’d been obsessively checking his website for some kind of announcement because I was so let down that he was only playing a certain tour’s east coast dates. He announced some headliner shows after that, but none of them were in California.
The stars all aligned on my last Monday morning in Burbank. (I’m trying to not make this sound so dramatic.) I was usually never up so early, but since I came from New York the night before, my body clock was still in a different time zone. Andrew tweeted that he was going to have a show that Wednesday in West Hollywood. That was in two days. Just thirty minutes away from me. In a two hundred capacity venue. Yeah, I freaking the eff out.
I was jumping up and down and running all over the apartment being way too excited and purchased my ticket right away without really thinking. This was Andrew McMahon. There was no way I was missing out!
The show was at the held at the legendary Viper Room, where River Phoenix died of a drug overdose back in 1993. I heard the venue was tiny, but it was still a lot smaller than I expected—which meant that no matter where you stood, you had a good view of the stage. It was the perfect place to see one of my all-time favorite musicians for the first time.
I was set on going to places I missed out on last time around. Though I didn’t get to stroll through Central Park or get my fill of Serendipity 3’s Frozen Hot Chocolate this year, I found even more places in the city to fall in love with.
My absolute favorite place we visited was Governors Island. Though technically still part of Manhattan, it takes a ten minute ferry ride to get there. The island used to be closed to the public as a military base for almost two centuries, but a huge chunk of it was sold to the people of New York since then and has been transformed into a beautiful park and public space.
I went with my friends Joyce and Jim again, along with their cousin Paul. The first thing we did was rent bikes, and I managed to get my hands on an adorable light blue Cruiser, complete with a basket in front. The view of the skyline from the island was amazing, and it only got better the more we went around. We kept pointing out specific spaces to each other and said, “You can get married here! …Or here!”—pretty much every ten minutes. We decided that whoever gets married next gets married in Governors Island.
I’ve been home for almost two weeks and I miss these two so much.
Matthew and Ava are my two (almost three!) year old twin cousins, and are pretty much the cutest kids in the entire world. Matthew is a smartypants—he’s obsessed with trains and uses words like “derailed” and “locomotive” on a regular basis. He once laughed at me for getting Thomas mixed up with Gordon. (I’m sorry.) He also picks up words and sentences like nobody’s business. He actually quotes TV shows now! Crazy.
Ava’s a lot quieter, but she’s much more adventurous than her brother. While Matthew sits on the bench when they ride carousels, Ava’s already on her own horse. She loves swimming and jumps into the water without hesitation. (As long as someone’s there to catch her, of course!) She also loves “organizing” things—stacking and sorting whatever’s lying around. When I visited last year, I left my suitcase open while taking a break from unpacking. Suddenly all the jars and canned goods I had were all lined up on the couch. That’s Ava’s handiwork!
I can’t believe these two aren’t really babies anymore. They’re growing up so fast, and I hate that I live so far away from them. Take me back to California, please. :(
I got to visit New York for the first time just a little over a year ago. It was a very last minute thing; after graduation, I was supposed to visit my aunt in Florida and then fly out to California to see my cousins. I’d been planning the trip for about a year but for some reason held off on booking my ticket until the very end. While I was on the airline website trying to piece together my itinerary, I ended up with something that went from Manila to Tokyo to New York as a point of entry, with a final connecting flight to Tampa.
We spent Christmas in Florida a few months before, so I knew more or less what a flight to the east coast would be like. The difference was that a few months ago, my point of entry was Detroit. This time, it was New York. New York. If I went with that booking, it meant that the first time I would get to step foot on that city was during a two hour layover. I didn’t want that. It was New York—I had to go. Visiting that city had been a dream of mine for years, and I couldn’t possibly fly all that way just to fly out two hours later.
I tinkered around with my booking a bit more and found out that if I took that same exact route, but with New York as a stop instead of just a layover, it would cost exactly the same. Take note: this all happened five days before I was scheduled to leave. Changing my itinerary obviously wasn’t easy, and securing that ticket was a big hassle, but things thankfully went my way. I got to go to New York, and it was everything I imagined it would be. I fell so in love with that city and promised myself I would come back soon. At the time, I didn’t know that soon meant exactly a year later.
It’s 2:15 in the morning in Burbank, and I’m recovering from one of the most insane weekends of my life. I have Go To Warped Tour literally written on my bucket list, and living halfway across the world, I wasn’t sure if it was ever going to happen.
The night before, I got dropped off at my friend Nissy’s house because she lived closer to the venue. “I can’t believe you’re actually here,” she told me. Earlier this year, I was playing around with the idea of flying out to California to catch Warped. She probably didn’t think I was serious about it, and I don’t think I was either—but I ended up doing it anyway. We spent the night packing our bags and drafting up a schedule. The plan was to be up by 5 in the morning and be out by 6:30—which did happen, but we ended up missing the bus by five minutes. That worked out for us later on, though.
Warped gives you the option to skip the line by donating either three canned goods, a used cellphone, or $5. After giving our donations, we were about make our way to the skip-the-line-line. (It was really just a priority lane.) In the distance, I saw a couple of signs promoting The Maine’s set time for the day and I just naturally started gravitating towards it. It was Garrett, Pat, and Kennedy from the band, and Halvo, formerly of A Rocket To The Moon, who was helping them out this summer. I was slightly freaking out on the inside because I was at the venue for literally ten minutes and I already got to talk to my favorite band. They were selling a Warped-exclusive version of their latest album for just $5 so I bought a copy.
We took our place in the line and started drafting our schedule for the day. Bands play at different times for each stop of the tour and you only find out who plays when once you get inside.
After a bit of waiting in line, we were finally let in the venue. The first thing we did was buy the $2 map and schedule for the day because it was much easier than spending quite a bit of time jotting down set times in front of the giant inflatable schedule. As we were about to enter the merch tent area, Nissy pointed out someone in the crowd—it was Nick Santino.