Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Bunbury and Buckle Up: The Vendors!

Bunbury and Buckle Up Music Festival are two events that occurred in the last couple weeks in Cincinnati, Ohio. I was lucky enough to get media passes to both events and to entice others to attend next year (you really should), I'm here to share a bit more about these festivals...aka the VENDORS!

All photos taken by either Kari or Lauren Becker

First up, we have Krochet Kids, which was a booth available to purchase from at both festivals. This wonderful non-profit has women from other countries create beautiful headbands, hats, and more and the profits go back to them to better their lives. If you want to learn more, definitely visit their website. What I really loved about the pieces is that each one is hand signed by the woman who made it on the tag.

My sister and I really loved the hats they had available, and I also would have loved to have gotten a shirt. Unfortunately, I didn't have the money to purchase at the festival, but I do hope to support this organization soon.

This is one of the official merchandise booths, so if you heard someone play and really loved it, you could check these out and see if they have an album or other merch item available. Plus, you can get official merchandise dedicated to the actual festival.

The photo above is Bunbury, and I got my Jesse Thomas c.d. here, but obviously Buckle Up had these booths too. There was one on each end of the festival grounds.

I really liked that they took a few credit cards instead of just cash, since most of the booths only allowed cash. It makes sense, of course, but I was only able to buy the c.d. at the festival because they took my card. Also, they sold ponchos for $5.00, which is so great as it rained at least one of the days for each festival.

The booth above is for the Music Resource Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. This is such a great program, as I firmly believe that music is an important part of many people's lives and can give many something to focus their energy and emotions on. Unfortunately, it was a bit rainy when I visited this booth, so the instruments were covered up. Normally though, people could visit the booth and play around with the instruments and learn more about this youth-based program. They were another vendor available at both festivals.

From their website: For a membership fee of $24/year, teens in grades 7-12 can attend MRC to learn computer music production & recording, and take private music lessons.

These two photos come from the vendor Baizaar, a traveling boutique that offers a variety of jewelry, journals, and more from countries such as India and Thailand.

This was another vendor that allowed you to use credit cards, so I had to purchase something for myself and my sister. She chose a silver ring (sorry for the lack of a photo) and I got a small journal from India.

This shop was definitely cool to visit and the women running it were very sweet. They only attended Bunbury, however. 

Real Leather Stuff was a vendor available at both festivals. I can't say for sure, but I imagine it got more interest at the Buckle Up festival, with all those country fans and whatnot. 

I took a long shot of a few other vendors at Buckle Up, including WNKU (a local radio station who was at Bunbury too), the Music Resource Center, and Down n Dirty Hats (only at Buckle Up, as they sold cowboy hats).

Pure Romance was a larger vendor that was at both festivals. They even offered a charging station for your phones! They were giving out some free items, including a pair of sunglasses that I saw a lot of guys wearing (including a friend of mine).

Cincy Shirts was definitely at the Buckle Up festival, though I can't say for sure about Bunbury. I believe they were at both though! It would make sense, since their shirts are representing the city!

And that's it for the vendors. There were obviously some other vendors at Bunbury and Buckle Up, but I tried to focus on as many as I could, especially if they were at both festivals. I still have Buckle Up musical acts, food, and reasons to attend next year coming up! I hope you're enjoying the festival posts!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn + Movie Trailer

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Review by Lauren

Source: personal copy; all opinions are my own

Official Summary: On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?    As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?

Review: I've been a fan of Gillian Flynn since her first book, Sharp Objects, came out. I read it with the online book club I was a part of at the time. Then, when Dark Places was coming out, I was lucky enough to receive a book for review. Then, Flynn comes out with her latest novel, Gone Girl. I bought it the week it came out but because of life and reading all sorts of other books, I just recently sat down to read the book. And here we are...with the film version of Gone Girl being released this October and I'm finding myself even more excited to see it.

As for the actual book, it's probably best if you know as little as possible about Gone Girl before reading it. It's told in parts, through various points of view, and it paints a picture of domestic bliss turned angry...but did it turn violent? That's the ultimate question of course. Nick might not be the best husband, but is he bad enough to kill his wife? I found myself questioning him while I read, as I'm sure most will, because he honestly does not help himself when it comes to certain situations.

Because I said less is better for this book, I won't really say much more. Of course, I did really enjoy this book. Gillian Flynn is one of my favorite authors and I'd recommend her books to anyone who likes darker mysteries. My favorite of her work is still Dark Places, but I can see why so many people have fallen for Gone Girl. It takes a story from the headlines, one we so often see, and mixes it up into a shocking, horrifying read.

Gone Girl- Official Movie Trailer

Monday, July 21, 2014

Two John Green Book Reviews

An Abundance of Katherines and Paper Towns by John Green

Reviews by Lauren

Source: personal copies, but all opinions are my own

Inspired by Aylee at Recovering Potter Addict, who did a Great John Green Read of 2014, I decided to finally read the last two books I had yet to read by this author. Both were quick, wonderful books that are signature John Green. Paper Towns is actually going to be the next Green book headed to the screen.

For those that haven't read these books, however, I will share a bit more of the summaries and my thoughts. Katherines is about a former child prodigy named Colin who has dated nineteen Katherines. After his last breakup, his best friend Hassan, decided that they need to take a road trip and get away for awhile. This trip leads them to the house of Lindsey, whose mom employs them for the summer interviewing the older residents of the town for an oral history project. While doing so, Colin tries to get back to his prodigy roots in the hopes of creating a formula about relationships (specifically who will break up with who in a relationship).

 John Green creates wonderful characters who often talk above their years, as people have stated. However, I think there are people in the world that sound smarter and can voice their inner thoughts more easily, so this doesn't bother me. I thought Colin's adventure was great as it shows the importance of learning to move on and recognizing the past for what it was, especially when people tend to remember things the way they wish.

Now, we reach Paper Towns where Quentin Jacobsen is dragged out in the middle of the night by his crush Margo Roth Spiegelman, where they go on a one night journey of freedom and revenge. The next day, Q thinks things will be different with him and Margo, except she's missing.  Margo is known for disappearing every now and then, even leaving clues behind, but this time, the length of time seems too long. Q goes on the hunt for the clues he's sure Margo has left behind in the hopes of finding and possibly saving this eclectic girl.

 Again, friends are important in John Green books and Q has his best friends Radar and Ben along for the find-Margo ride. They might not always be as invested, but they do care about Q and will ultimately do what they can to help. Both of these books involve road trips of a sort, really good friends, and fascinating girls. There are similarities between these books (and John Green's other novels) but I do feel like they are all worth reading for their own particular "message."

Between the two of these, I'm not sure what my favorite book was, though I may lean a bit more toward Paper Towns. In general, I think my favorite Green book is still Looking for Alaska (which was my first book from him).

Friday, July 18, 2014

Buckle Up Music Festival- All Things Country

The Buckle Up Music Festival is owned by the same guy that does the Bunbury Music Festival, except this time, the music is all country. It takes place like Bunbury as well, covering Friday-Sunday and is located in the same spot of Cincinnati, Ohio. Buckle Up is premiering this year but I think it will do well. After all, right across the river is Kentucky! Around here, a lot of people love country music and are not afraid to dress in cowboy boots and hats whenever they see fit.

For me, I grew up on country music. I don't listen to a ton of new country acts these days, but there are people that I still like such as Miranda Lambert and The Band Perry (who will be playing this Sunday!) Since I covered Bunbury these past few years, I signed up for media passes for both festivals (Bunbury and Buckle Up) and I was accepted for both. Therefore, I will be attending Buckle Up this weekend and bringing you some fun coverage! Since I still have Bunbury posts to go, I might mix the two festivals when it comes to vendors, foods, etc.

For now though, who out there likes country music? Share your thoughts below! And would you go to a country music festival like Buckle Up?

Reasons My Kid is Crying by Greg Pembroke

Reasons My Kid is Crying by Greg Pembroke

Review by Lauren

Source: book for review; all opinions are my own

Official Summary: It all started when busy father Greg Pembroke posted a few pictures online of his three-year-old son, mid-tantrum, alongside the reason his son was crying: He had broken his bit of cheese in half. In Reasons My Kid is Crying, Greg collects together photos sent from parents around the world, documenting the many, completely logical reasons why small children cry.  Among them: “I let him play on the grass” . . . “He ran out of toys to throw into his pool” . . . “The neighbor’s dog isn’t outside”.  The result is both an affectionate portrait of the universal, baffling logic of toddlers—and a reminder for burned-out parents everywhere that they are not alone.

Review: I might not be a parent, but I have a niece and nephew and many of my friends have children, so I knew I would find this book hilarious, and I was right! The book is broken into various sections like We are Family and It's My Party with a little intro by Greg Pembroke beforehand. In between some of the photos are dispatches from the front line, as well, where Pembroke shares fun and amusing stories about his own two toddlers, the inspiration behind the hit website.

I can definitely see why parents love the website, and now this book collection, because it gives a sense of camaraderie. Your little one might be crying over all sorts of ridiculous things, but you aren't the only one. There are people all over the world dealing with their toddler's tantrums, and these pictures allow them a chance to laugh at the craziness in their lives. Tantrums will come and go, so you might as well just let some of them add amusement instead of stress.

pages from the book; I do not own
 One of the fun additions to this book are a collection of pages with frames so you can add your own crying photos, along with a line below to share what happened to make your little one so upset. I thought this was a cute way of letting other parents get in on the fun, even if they don't wish to submit their photos online for the world to see. You can just stick them in the book and share with family and friends.

Reasons My Kid is Crying is such a fun gift book! It's sure to make anyone who has been around children laugh, and I would definitely suggest gifting this to any parents in your life (especially if they have toddlers)!

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review, but again, all opinions are my own! Learn more about the book through the links below:

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

Review by Lauren

Source: personal copy; all opinions are my own

Official Summary: It begins as an assignment for English class:

Write a letter to a dead person. Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain because her sister, May, loved him. And he died young, just like May did. Soon, Laurel has a notebook full of letters to the dead. People like Janis Joplin, Judy Garland, Amelia Earhart, and Amy Winehouse—though she never gives a single one of them to her teacher. She writes about starting high school, navigating the choppy waters of new friendships, learning to live with her splintering family, falling in love for the first time, and most importantly, trying to grieve for May. But how do you mourn someone when you haven’t forgiven them? And how do you find your true identity when so much of who you were died with the person you loved? It’s not until Laurel has written the truth about what happened to herself can she finally begin to accept what happened to May. And only when Laurel has begun to see her sister as the person she was—lovely and amazing and deeply flawed—can she truly begin to discover her own path.

Review: I had a feeling that I would love this book. For one thing, I love books written in the form of letters. For another, some of my favorite books are contemporary novels that focus on tough issues (such as The Perks of Being a Wallflower, whose author wrote a blurb for this book). In the end, I was pretty much right. I did really love this book, even if aspects were a bit easy to guess as the novel went on. That may have been intentional though; it's almost as if the letters Laurel writes to the dead are slowly revealing who she was even before she's ready to admit it.

I think the letters were done well. They switch between a variety of people from Kurt Cobain to Amy Winehouse, but every particular letter usually has something that relates to the person she is writing about. Laurel probably addresses Kurt the most because he was a favorite of May's before she died. His music is a first connection between the sisters when May seems to have grown up too much for Laurel.

Love Letters to the Dead is heartbreaking in various respects. Laurel has been through a lot and you do wish for her to find her own personal happiness, instead of trying to mimic May, who had plenty of her own troubles slightly hidden from her sister.

I thought the secondary characters were great too. You have Tristan and Kristen who are high school sweethearts but know that once they graduate, a lot is going to change. Then you have Laurel's best friends Hannah and Natalie who are in love with each other but unable to truly be together. I thought it was great that the book focused on other aspects of Laurel's world, such as her friends and family, because it made it more true to life. Laurel might be stuck in the past, in a world where May was alive and flying, but that doesn't mean that life truly stops. People move around you, stuck in their own battles.

I would definitely read another book by this author. Her writing is beautiful and I thought the letters were really well done.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Bunbury: The Last of the Musical Acts

The Last of the Musical Acts by Lauren Becker
Pictures by Kari Becker

We are back at the Amphitheater stage for the next two bands I saw at Bunbury Music Festival. I saw Jesse Thomas in the afternoon and it was a really fun show. I actually enjoy when singers talk to the crowd and share tidbits about their life or music. Too much can be annoying, because ultimately, you do want to see them perform, but sometimes artists mix talking and singing in the right way and Jesse Thomas was definitely one of those people.

Here are some of the members of Jesse's band. I'm afraid I don't remember names, but I have to say that I love that the guitarist was also a girl. Sometimes it's rare to find girl members of a band.

Jesse played a lot of songs from her newest album, Burn the Boats, such as "Lorraine", "Swallow That Pill", and "I'm Not Scared." I'd heard some of Jesse's music before the show, but after seeing her live, I can definitely say that I'm a fan. She mixes upbeat and slower songs well. You can dance and sing along to a lot of them. Jesse is currently in L.A. but from Cincinnati, which I didn't know, so that's awesome!!

I think a lot of people will enjoy Jesse Thomas, so I definitely suggest checking her out. A friend of mine met up with my sister and me at the end of Jesse's set, and she really enjoyed her too. I actually was able to go to the Meet and Greet about a half hour after Jesse performed and get my newly acquired copy of her c.d. signed. She was very friendly and thanked us for buying the album.


Next up was Pluto Revolts, a local band, who played about a half hour after Jesse Thomas. I didn't get to see too much of their set, but they were definitely fun and upbeat.

During this set, there was a pretty big crowd, which is always exciting to see for Cincinnati bands. I think they had a nice set time, because it was later in the day. Despite not seeing the entire set, I did get to hear a lot of the music as I moved around the area and they sounded great. I love that Bunbury allows you to see local acts, smaller acts, and then as the day goes on, you get to enjoy some more well-known bands.


On the main stage, there are two big screens on either side so that people in the way back can see. The pictures for Paramore and Fall Out Boy are mostly from these screens, to give you a look at the show without the people being teeny tiny.

Paramore were a lot of fun. I swear Haley Williams must be in great shape because she ran around and danced through most of the set. They did have some slower songs, but most of the show was fast paced and fun. They sang older and newer songs, which I like. Sometimes bands stick to really new songs, but it's always fun to hear some classics like "Pressure." They ended with "Ain't It Fun" which was very suitable. During different songs they had cannons firing off streamers and whatnot, which was fun to see!

In the middle of "Misery Business", Haley invited a fan on stage to help sing with her, which was so cute! I can't imagine being this girl; being on stage with a band you love and hearing all the screams for you! I believe the girl's name was Olivia.

Overall, it was a great show. I had never seen Paramore live, so it was exciting to see them in Cincinnati! They played for an hour and fifteen minutes, the same as FOB below.


Fall Out Boy was the final band on Saturday night. I've seen them live once, but it was great to be able to hear them again. I had a different spot near Main Stage for this one. It was a bit closer, though more to the left. I had to watch the screens for the most part to see what was happening, but it worked out fine.

Fall Out Boy started at 10 and went to 11:15, which is why the pictures are a bit dark. Sorry about that, but I still think my sister caught some good moments. We just wanted to share a little bit of the live show with you all!

There you have it, my final post about the live acts at Bunbury (at least from me; I might have some guest posts or photos to include)! Don't worry, I'm not done with this festival though. Be on the look out for some other fun posts in the next couple weeks! I like to break things up between "regular" posts.

blog advertising is good for you