From Music

Lightning in a Bottle Festival 2014

Join us at Lightning in a Bottle 2014 for yoga, music, art and heart- and mind-opening experiences

Lightning in a Bottle Festival 2014
Lightning in a Bottle Festival 2014

Written by Nadia Ibanez, Photos courtesy of Lightning in a Bottle

After spending the day at V Elements Festival in San Diego, I’ve been on the search for my next big innovative and inspiring event. I’ve been hunting for an event full of live music, spiritual workshops, yoga and art installations with a backbone heavy in environmental consciousness. Alas, I found my next adventure: Lightning in a Bottle Festival 2014.

Celebrating its 9th anniversary, Lightning in a Bottle (LIB) has moved its roots once again to the San Antonio Recreation Center in Bradley, CA – a quick five-hour drive from home. (I’ll actually be in Oxnard that week for a press trip so the drive will be even shorter. The stars are already aligning in my favor!)

Lightning in a Bottle 2014 LineupLIB is a music and arts festival that brings in people from all over the world. You can expect music this year from Moby, Phantogram, Gramatik, Little Dragon, Beats Antique, and so many more. Word on the streets is that a few acts will “mystify their devout fans with their visually enriched live-performance.”

Oh, I’m so in.

yoga at Lightning in a BottleThe festival is also home to The Lucent Temple of Consciousness, which is built from recycled and found objects. There you will find yoga, workshops, world music, massage, bodywork, and other unique curiosities.

If you’re a LIB newbie like me, familiarize yourself with this awesome festival.

Lightning in a Bottle 2014 will take place from May 22-26. Prepare yourself for installation art, live performances, workshops, and so much more. For more information, visit www.lightninginabottle.org. See you there!

Lightning in a Bottle

Sound healing at the Space Stage at V Elements

An afternoon of sun, yoga, beats and gratitude at V Elements Festival, San Diego

Sound healing at the Space Stage at V Elements
Sound healing at the Space Stage at V Elements

Written by and photos by Nadia Ibanez

I can honestly say that I’ve been to nearly every music, food, wine and art festival in San Diego so you can only imagine how thrilled I was to hear that V Elements Festival had been added to the roster. V Elements isn’t your average music festival with yoga and art sprinkled in. This transformational afternoon and evening absolutely blew me away.

Outdoor yoga led by Vytas at V Elements Fest
Outdoor yoga led by Vytas at V Elements Fest

From acro yoga, sound healing, live art installations and educational workshops, to yoga under the sun and funky music to end the evening, V Elements packed in all of the components a yogi could ever ask for from a single day.

Check out some of our photos from the event.

Live art at V Elements

Art installations and artists were all over the event grounds. Community art projects encouraged people to get their hands dirty and leave their mark.

The Community Art Project at V Elements
The Community Art Project at V Elements

Everyone at V Elements had a story to share. I sat down with artists and strangers and they happily shared their stories about how yoga or the community helped to carve their own path.

Henna and face painting at V Elements
Henna and face painting at V Elements
There were all kinda of places to get out of the sun for a moment to reflect and relax.
There were all kinda of places to get out of the sun for a moment to reflect and relax.

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Dr. Bronner's at V Elements
Dr. Bronner’s at V Elements

We loved seeing Dr. Bronner’s at V Elements. Rather than selling product, the team helped to spread awareness of ethical sourcing, fair trade and progressive business practices.

V Elements by night
V Elements by night

We can’t wait to see what’s in store for future events. Thank you to Indie Yoga, Alternative Power Productions and Madero Group for allowing us to cover this beautiful event. For more information, visit www.velementsfest.com.

Here’s hoping to many more transformational events to follow V Elements’ lead in San Diego!

V Elements is a yoga and music party set in Liberty Station, Point Loma.

V Elements Festival Hits San Diego on April 5 at Liberty Station

Written by Nadia Ibanez, Photos courtesy of V Elements

V Elements is a yoga and music party set in Liberty Station, Point Loma.
V Elements is a yoga and music party set in Liberty Station, Point Loma.

As someone who’s practiced yoga for almost seven years, I have a true appreciation for the uniting tradition. When I walk into my yoga studio, I feel a sense of community as I stretch, move and breathe to find my true self. When I’m feeling stressed, tired, confused, or sad, I head straight to my mat for clarity, peace of mind and to shake off the negative. I recently heard about the V Elements (pronounced Five Elements) Festival and couldn’t be more excited about this new outdoor yoga and music event.

In its second year, the solar-powered yoga and music party will attract thousands of locals to the grassy fields within Liberty Station in Point Loma. Local yoga instructors, DJs, bands and artists will convene to share their work and spirit with like-minded yogis in our city. I’ve been lucky enough to be invited to cover this one-day event on April 5, 2014.

Take a seat under the solar-powered stage at V Elements, San Diego.
Take a seat under the solar-powered stage at V Elements, San Diego.

There’s nothing like doing yoga outside in a park, on the beach, or among hundreds of strangers. If I know anything about how much yogis love practicing with the community to live music under the sun, V Elements will surely be unforgettable. The event promises a day full of classes led by national yoga instructors, workshops, performance artists and the musical stylings of Emancipator Live Ensemble, Orgone and more.

The festival will focus on balancing the five elements: earth, wind, fire, water and space. Take a walk through the event space and you’ll see these elements carried through in the form of yoga, music, community, art, health and environment.

V Elements 2014 poster
Here’s what you can expect at V Elements 2014.

If you’re in the area, come for a day full of meaningful practice and an evening full of some awesome electronic, hip hop, funk and world music. For more information, visit www.velementsfest.com.

See you there!

 

Hidden spots in New Orleans: Free Tours and Local Jazz Galore!

With the breathtaking landscape and remarkable history, does New Orleans ever really need a tourism bureau?

The beautiful St. Louis Cathedral in the heart of New Orleans beckons visitors
The beautiful St. Louis Cathedral in the heart of New Orleans beckons visitors

People have come from around the world to party and parade about the Big Easy, with its French inspired buildings, cobblestoned streets and rowdy crowds. Last year, NoLa was home to the Superbowl, and had endless amounts of people pour in for Mardis Gras, on top of the traditional tourists in January.

With these numbers, nearly all parts of New Orleans has been discovered, and everyone about knows about the infamous adventures you can get into on Bourbon Street, and all are well aware of the various ways you can get your own set of beads for showing off your … well, beads.

So with all of the debauchery that happens in New Orleans, you have to be asking yourself, what’s the more bookish, introverted of the Wander crew doing in New Orleans? I found myself asking the same question, but I was determined to find something that was more up my alley in the loudest party town on this side of the Atlantic.

Always the history buff, I was determined to find some of the more historical aspects of the city, but without it costing me an arm and a leg. There are tons of tours in New Orleans — walking tours, carriage tours, and boat tours galore are waiting for you, if you can pay the price. Some of these tours can be pretty pricey, especially if they are some of the longer routes that go to more historical avenues. Since I didn’t have that kind of cash, I wanted to see what a simple tip would get me.

Beautiful architecture abounds throughout the city of New Orleans.
Beautiful architecture abounds throughout the city of New Orleans.

Funnily enough, it got me a lot, if I didn’t mind a tour by foot. Free Tours by Foot is a company that runs solely on a pay-what-you-want model, and takes you through all of the best parts of New Orleans. It doesn’t matter if you’re interested in the New Orleans ghost tour, the French Quarter tour, the St. Louis Cemetery tour, or the Garden District tour — they had a knowledgeable staff member ready and waiting to tend to your New Orleans free requests. My friends and I decided on the ghost tour, which was far more informative that spooky, which was perfect for me. The guide knew plenty about every stop we made, and even encouraged us to look up the deaths and murders online with our smart phones to check her facts.

After a while the trip did get tiring, even though we were moving at a slower pace. With that in mind, if walking isn’t your thing, New Orleans Free tours also offers free tours by bike, which requires you to BYOB (that’s bring your own bike, kids) for an easier, faster way to see the city. If you feel that the guide did a great job, pay him or her well. If not, walk away.

The Frenchmen Street Corridor is always bustling and thriving
The Frenchmen Street Corridor is always bustling and thriving

After the tour, we wanted to make sure to catch some of the local flavor and see some of the bands that make the Big Easy famous. However, we knew we wouldn’t get any of that on Bourbon Street, which was made solely for tourists looking for one particular thing. Once again, I asked around and found that the Frenchmen Street Corridor, which is a bit away from the hustle and bustle, provides the homey feeling you’re looking for. Known as the “Thinking Man’s Bourbon Street,” Frenchmen Street is where the artists and musicians come to be inspired, with ramshackle buildings housing New Orleans’ best jazz clubs, restaurants and funky little shops lining the walkways.

This doesn’t mean that the streets are quiet; as a matter of fact, the roads are just as rowdy and as hard to drive through as the main parts of town. If you’re looking for a good drink and some great jazz, stop in at either the Spotted Cat Music Club or Maison on Frenchmen Street. Each place is petite, but packs a wallop of fun and a good time. The music you will hear here is the same that’s been playing for decades, and will lure you into swaying your hips.

The Cat always is thriving and bustling
The Spotted Cat Music Club always is thriving and bustling

If you need some fresh air, or feel like buying one of a kind wares to take home from your trip, skip the souvenir shops and go to the Frenchmen Art Market instead. Located at 619 Frenchmen Street next to the Spotted Cat, the Frenchmen Art Market is open every Thursday through Saturday night from 7pm to 1am and Sundays from 6pm to midnight.

The Frenchmen Art Market always thrives at night
The Frenchmen Art Market always thrives at night

This is the place to pick up handmade headbands with intricate beadwork and feathers sewn in, or artwork that was etched on glass with chisels and acid. Maybe you’ll find leather suspenders that have beautiful designs that were branded a few hours earlier, or perhaps you’ll find a mustache necklace made out of stainless steel. Either way, since the market is held at night, it’s got an eerily beautiful quality that you would expect to find elsewhere, not just footsteps away from bars, jazz clubs and throngs of people partying in the street.

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Why wouldn’t you want leather suspenders?

Of course, you’ll have plenty of experiences around NoLa, but you definitely don’t want to miss out on these experiences that would otherwise be tucked away in between the excitement and insanity that can only be found in New Orleans.

For more information on Free Tours by Foot, go to http://www.freetoursbyfoot.com/new-orleans-tours, call (504) 222-2967, or email nola@freetoursbyfoot.com.

For more information on the Frenchmen Art Market, go to  https://www.facebook.com/Frenchmenartmarket.

Just a cool spot to hang out in the Art Market
Just a cool spot to hang out in the Art Market
street art in Austin, TX

Best Places to Play and Shop in Austin, TX

Great vintage finds and curiosities from Laced with Romance in Austin, TX
Great vintage finds and curiosities from Laced with Romance in Austin, TX

Written by Nadia Ibanez

Looking for some cool places to check out during your next visit to Austin? Check out our favorite places to play and shop in Austin, TX.

WHERE TO HEAR THE TUNES

Just one of the dozens of bars you'll find on Sixth Street in Downtown Austin
Just one of the dozens of bars you’ll find on Sixth Street in Downtown Austin

If you’re looking to grab a drink or a meal, locals will most likely direct you to one of the restaurants and bars lining Sixth Street. You’ll have your pick of bars and every imaginable type of cuisine is available, but make sure to drop by this heavily trafficked street for some great live music. Deemed the live music capital of the world, Austin has dozens of bars bursting at the seams with country, jazz, blues, hip hop, and other forms of musical sounds just about every night of the week. We visited Sixth Street on Monday night and still had our fair share of live music options.

Sixth Street in Austin, TX by day
Sixth Street in Austin, TX by day

WHERE TO SHOP

Blackmail Shop on South Congress in Austin
Drop by Blackmail on South Congress for some cool finds

A trip to Austin wouldn’t be complete without a couple “Keep Austin Weird” t-shirts or some quirky tchotchkes from a local artisan. We fell in love with South Congress Street and managed to find some cool shops offering the standard tourist t-shirt intermingled with jewelry, art, apparel and accessories crafted by locals. Drop by Blackmail for some great leather goods or some apothecary-themed gift ideas, Friends of Sound Records for the album you’ve been searching for, The Impeccable Pig or Maya Star for a trendy outfit for the evening, Laced with Romance for some rad vintage clothes or a taxidermied friend, or any one of the boutiques offering one-of-a-kind treasures.

Vintage cowboy boots from Laced with Romance in Austin, TX
Pick up a pair of boots from Laced with Romance on South First Street, just a couple blocks from South Congress

WHERE TO DRESS UP YOUR WALLS

Parts & Labour on South Congress in Austin, TX
Parts & Labour on South Congress was our fave for art, vintage-inspired tees, and jewelry from local artisans
Art prints from Arts & Labour in Austin, TX
Just a small selection of prints from Arts & Labour

Just about every shop on South Congress has some form of art to adorn your walls. Whether you’re seeking a vintage poster, or three-dimensional installation, you’ll certainly have your pick. If you’re looking for old concert posters, pop art graphics, or quirky prints, you definitely need to check out Parts & Labour for its huge selection of affordable printed art. Drive a bit off of the path and you’ll find Mondo, one of our photographer’s favorite art galleries. Shows change every month or so allowing patrons to visit often and follow the works from their favorite artists. The gallery has quite the following so if you find something you love and it’s still for sale, buy it immediately.

Art from the Adventure Time Show at Mondo in Austin, TX
Art from the Adventure Time Show at Mondo in Austin, TX

WHERE TO REST YOUR HEAD

Austin Motel on South CongressThere are a number of hotels and boutique B&B’s throughout Austin so you’ll never run out of lodging options. The Holiday Inn Austin Town Lake was generous enough to offer accommodations during our stay and we were extremely pleased with its amenities. Traffic in Downtown Austin can get a bit hairy everyday and our hotel was situated a few blocks away from the main drag and also was butted up against the beautiful Town Lake. I’d highly recommend this hotel because not only are you just minutes away from restaurants, shops, and bars, but you can also wake up with views of paddle boarders kayakers in the lake below. Also, take advantage of the hotel’s shuttle service if you’re exploring downtown.

WHERE TO GET AN OVERALL VIEW OF AUSTIN

Downtown Austin, TX
Just some of the sights you’ll see on the Austin Overtures tour

If you plan a visit to Austin with either short notice or not much of an itinerary, you might be at a loss when trying to map out your stay. There is a TON of places and things to see so I suggest you find an Austin tour guide to show you some of the main attractions, historical landmarks, and more. We went on a tour with Austin Overtures on our second day, which made for a perfect way to get a tour of the surroundings, ask for restaurant recommendations, and get an insight into the town’s people and history. On our tour, we got a glimpse into where the celebrities stay when they’re in town, learned about current legislation at the Capital, drove by Moody Theater and learned about the history of Austin City Limits, and discovered a couple neighborhoods and districts we would have never known about.

street art in Austin, TX
Just some of the street art you’ll come across in Austin

Whether you’re spending the afternoon or an entire week in Austin, there’s no shortage of things to do and places to see. Go on a tour, ask locals for recommendations, explore by foot, and take advantage of your hotel’s concierge to find the gems within Austin. For more information, visit www.austintexas.org.

Capital Building, Austin TX
Don’t forget to take a tour of the Capital Building while you’re in town