Monthly Archives

September 2014

New York North America USA

An Old Venue Revived: Forest Hills Stadium

Typically when you go to a concert, it is held at a venue you have been to, or at the very least, heard of. In this case I had never heard of, or been to this venue. When I heard that Drake and Lil’ Wayne were going on tour, and they would be in my hometown of Queens, NY, I had to go.
The venue they chose? Forest Hills Stadium.
It is a tennis stadium. Even radio personalities and everyone I asked didn’t know what to expect from this venue. No one had ever been there. I did a little researching to get a feel of what I could be getting myself into, but I still felt a little left in the dark. I had been to Forest Hills so many times and have never seen this stadium.
I did however find out that not only was it the site of the US Open in the 1920’s before it was moved to the Arthur Ashe Stadium, but that The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Barbara Streisand, and Simon & Garfunkel have all performed there in the 60’s and 70’s.
When the day final came to go to the concert, I was anxious to see what this place was going to look like, and how the seating was going to be. I could tell I was in the right place when I got to the area because I saw an excess amount of people, even though Forest Hills is usually crowded, and an abundance of police. After stopping to grab some food because concerts never start on time, the best thing to do was follow the crowd.
If you drive to the venue, prepare to park far and walk or get towed or booted if you try to park close by. There are signs saying you can only park with a permit.
***Take public transportation to the stadium. The E/F/R subway lines to Forest Hills – 71st Avenue or the Long Island Rail Road to the Forest Hills Station.***

Forest Hills Stadium Drake vs Lil Wayne Concert
Forest Hills Stadium Drake vs Lil Wayne Concert

As I walked to the venue I realized that it was a trek to get to the actual entrance of the stadium. Not sure how long I was walking, but it felt like awhile. It also seemed a bit disorganized. The lines were more like groups of people everywhere. If you wanted to drink inside, you had to stand on another line to show your ID and get a bracelet, otherwise you could just go in. I skipped that line and headed in.
Once inside there were a bunch of pop up places to grab food, which I thought was pretty cool. Standard prices, $4 for water. There were also merchandise stands and a porta-potty area. There were a ton of porta-potties, with no set line to use one. As usual they were so disgusting. Holding it if you can is suggested.
Heading to your seat is a bit of a challenge in itself. Before you can climb the steps to get to your seat people are re checking your tickets. Then you walk up steep narrow steps. Once you finally get up the steps you can see the entire stadium. It looked pretty cool. The concert was sponsored by Capcom so they had Drake Vs. Lil Wayne on the stage in video game form. There was an app you could download to determine who came on stage first, which I thought was pretty cool.
Seating at the Forest Hills Stadium ©2014 Holly Dayz

The seats weren’t the best. The majority of the seats in the stadium were actually hard benches. I picked great seats as far as the stage was concerned. The benches are numbered so you have a little spot. People were spilling drinks on others, and there was no back support. It was very uncomfortable. I knew it would be murder on the back. There is however a small section of the stadium with actual seats, unless you sat in the fold out chairs in front of the stage. If you aren’t a fan of smoke or people being too close to you, this isn’t the venue for you. You’re in very close proximity to people,and whatever it is they are doing. I was a bit annoyed, but I tried to block it out.
Crowd as Drake Flies Over the crowd ©2014 Holly Dayz

The entire concert looked sold out. I was wondering how the neighbors felt about all the people and very loud music as the stadium is in a residential neighborhood. The concert was amazing and as a Drake fan I was glad the audience chose him to win the battle that night.
Drake Performing for the win! ©2014 Holly Dayz

Once the concert was over and you begin to take that long walk back, I noticed how much garbage was everywhere. It was pretty disgusting. If I lived in the neighborhood I would be pretty upset. There were also bright lights the police set up that were shining into apartment houses, which would have also upset me if I lived there. Some of the residents were sitting outside watching everyone walk by.
Overall it was a great concert and a pretty cool venue. It was an experience and depending who would be performing there, I would consider going again.

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Nevada North America USA

Series: Las Vegas or Bust (The Finale)

The fourth and final day in Las Vegas, and we made sure to end it right!
The first thing we attempted to do was get tickets to see Michael Jackson’s, “ONE” Cirque Du Soleil. We asked around the day before and did some research, but apparently there are no discounts to be found. All the relatively affordable tickets weren’t available.

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4 The Foodie Nevada New York

Serendipity 3… AMAZING!

If you know me, you have probably heard me talking about a Frrozen Hot Chocolate. Then go about attempting to explain what one is.
It is one word..AMAZING!
One of my favorite restaurants, where you can get this frozen treat is Serendipity 3.
Serendipity 3  also have some really good food, and other great desserts to choose from! They have a few different locations that include New York City, Florida, and Las Vegas (at Caesar’s Palace). It is a famous and well-loved restaurant for a reason, especially by me!
The original one where it all started is in New York City on the East Side.
Serendipity is known for certain things…

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Nevada North America USA

Series: Las Vegas or Bust (part 3)

Since we didn’t get the opportunity to go to Lake Mead the day before, we thought we would try again. So we got dressed for a day out on the water.  Before we started our drive back out to the lake we decided to stop at In & Out. If you have never been there, you should when you get the chance. Good tasting burgers and affordable.
 

In & Out Cheeseburger and fries
In & Out Cheeseburger and Fries. ©2014 Holly Dayz

After we left In & Out we began our drive back to Lake Mead. In the distance it looked dark and cloudy, but we kept driving anyway. When we arrived to the entrance of Lake Mead, we saw huge rocks and water every where. The news van was there as well. We asked the lady in the booth what had happened, and she said a storm had come through earlier that morning. I bought the $10 seven-day pass the day before, so all we had to do was drive in.
We started driving closer to the marina, but the closer we got the worse it looked. Rocks and water everywhere. We ended up finding out that the storm that came through messed up the marina. They lost power and ended up being closed for the day. So just like everyone else we walked sadly back to the car. We quickly decided to drive over to one of my favorite places…Lake Las Vegas.
The Town in Lake Las Vegas
The Town in Lake Las Vegas. ©2014 Holly Dayz

The weather by Lake Las Vegas was the total opposite of Lake Mead.  Simply gorgeous!
Since it was a Thursday it was pretty quite. Not too many people around and the sun blazing. We walked over to the boats with snacks in hand. I actually ended up with the same boat I had rented a couple of years ago. It didn’t look as nice as it had then and the table was missing. It cost $65 an hour to rent. I was told they had got brand new boats and those cost about $79 an hour to rent starting that following Monday.
Homes on the lake
Homes on the lake. ©2014 Holly Dayz

It was a little windy, so we were told we couldn’t go past the West in with the boat, but since there is no actual signage we just went up to the bridge and back a few times. The houses are gorgeous to look at. I couldn’t help but to plot out the ways I could one day own one of the houses. You don’t get a driver, you drive the boat yourself so we just took turns driving the boat. We also stopped it to get some good pictures.
Me driving the boat
Me driving the boat. ©2014 Holly Dayz

After about an hour of driving the boat up and down we had to decide if we wanted to keep it for another hour. We decided to drive it back and go do something else. We walked over to Watercraft Rentals at Lake Las Vegas. I really wanted to try paddle boarding, but after a lot of back and forth we decided to go with the pedal boats.
Bad idea!
First of all it just seemed like too much work and we were hardly going anywhere. The other thing was, it was too hot to fiercely pedal in circles, or to essentially no where! So we peddled our way back to the dock and decided to give the paddle boards a try.
The man operating all of this didn’t seem to want to show us how to use them at first, but he did. We initially thought we were going to stay around the dock, but we ended up on the other side of the lake. I was very proud of myself that I never fell in on my first time paddle boarding. It was upsetting not to have a camera out there. So many photo ops that were missed. It felt like forever to get back to the dock. We were out there so long I think I got a little dehydrated.
Paddle boarding at Lake Las Vegas
Paddle boarding at Lake Las Vegas. ©2014 Holly Dayz

Once I finally got back to the dock, I told the guy that I never fell in and he told me I should just jump in the water since it was so hot.
Ha! Not the best idea!
I jumped in and it felt good, but it was so hard to get out of the water. The guys cute pitbull Chocolate, jumped in and started swimming and pulling at my swim suit. I was so tired and there were no steps or anything. Getting out of the water was so hard I had to get some help. I drank a couple of bottles of very warm water and Gatorade when I finally got out the water.
Me in the Wockees Store
Me in the Wockees Store. ©2014 Holly Dayz

After drying off we headed back to the hotel to shower. My friend really wanted to see the Jabbawockees since she voted for them on the MTV show America’s Best Dance Crew. We had a coupon from the book the Luxor gives upon check in. It gave us $20 off the ticket. Then we used our MLife card (Discount card for MGM Properties) which I believe also took a discount off.  So we bought our tickets, and then ran to the food court to try, and quickly eat chicken tenders and fries before the show started.
We got into the theater, which wasn’t that big, so pretty much every seat is a good one. Now they don’t allow any pictures or video to be taken whatsoever. A lady tried to take pictures anyway, and they made her delete it off her camera. I also heard one of the Jabbawockees smacked her camera down.
The show was entitled Prism and was great!
The crowd was alive and amazing. Much more alive compared to the Zarkana show.  They kept the crowd engaged by being interactive, bringing people on stage, and having great comedic timing. I really liked it a lot because it also had a story line.
So if you’re in town or staying at the Luxor go see them because it is a great show!
Also with the ticket we purchased we got a free t-shirt!
High Roller
High Roller ©2014 Holly Dayz

After the show, we drove down the strip to park and walk to see the Bellagio Fountains, and then walk over to the new area The Linq.
The plan was to get on The High Roller, the biggest ferris wheel in the world. It goes up to 550 feet. They have tons of kiosks everywhere to buy your ticket. To go at night the tickets are $34 compared to the day time $20. We really wanted to go during sunset, but this was the second best thing to us.
We didn’t have to wait on a line, and went right in. They have a bar you can stop at before you get on. I saw some very drunk women get escorted out when their ride was over.
Me with the beautiful view
Me with the beautiful view. ©2014 Holly Dayz

When you look at The High Roller, it almost doesn’t look like its moving, but in reality it doesn’t stop moving. We quickly hopped on and off while it was moving. We got really lucky and had no one in our ferris wheel pod. There are seats and air condition, but if you have to use the bathroom go before you get on because it is a thirty minute ride round trip. There are also televisions and they show you how high up you are. They also have music and a guy talking on the TVs which was a bit annoying. The High Roller was great and worth the time and money for the experience.
The Linq area is pretty awesome. We walked around there for a while. They have put some many cool places such as Yard House, Sprinkles, Ghiradelli, and Brooklyn Bowl. I wanted something from Ghriadelli, but they closed at midnight. Sprinkles was still open, but they ran out of the ice cream I wanted so I was a little sad. They also had a lot of great artwork.
Art by the High Roller at The Linq
Art by the High Roller at The Linq. ©2014 Holly Dayz

After an extremely long and exhausting day we headed back to the hotel to call it a night.

Stay tuned for the last part in the series!

We certainly topped off the trip with some amazing experiences!

Have you been on The High Roller? How about a show in Las Vegas?

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LifeStyle Technology

App of the Month: SeatGuru

There are so many travel apps out there. Some I use religiously and some I am trying out. I usually like to go look through the travel apps section on my phone to see whats new and what looks beneficial or fun for me.

 This month the app that I have gravitated towards is Seatguru by Tripadvisor. There is also a website www.seatguru.com

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4 The Foodie California Georgia Nevada New York

Sprinkles ATM Cupcakes!!

When I think of Sprinkles, I think of innovation.

Not only do they make good cupcakes, but their expansion, and ways to get it out to the public, are pretty cool!

There are many Sprinkles in different cities, so if you have never had one, I suggest you see if one is near you.  (www.sprinkles.com)

While other cupcake places are closing their doors, Sprinkles keeps expanding.  Not only have they popped up at several new locations, but they have also ventured into cookies and ice cream….

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LifeStyle Massachusetts Spotlight Travels

Spotlight Travels: Brockton, MA with Noel Gourdin

Brockton, Massachusetts with Noel Gourdin


Soul and R&B singer Noel Gourdin (Gor-Deen) emerged on the music scene with his number one hit song “The River”, which stayed on the Urban AC charts at number one for 15 weeks! Noel’s childhood was not a traditional one; he was born in Brockton, MA., but spent his summers with family in Pachuta, Mississippi.
His current album,“City Heart, Southern Soul”  is a musical expression of his life. It is already producing hits like “FOXXXY”,  which is currently top 10 on UK’s urban radio soul charts and is in getting heavy rotation on UK radio. The single “Don’t You Wanna”, which was featured on VH1’s  “Love and Hip Hop – Atlanta” show,  is also becoming a fan favorite.
“I grew up on music that had meaning and it’s still around today; that music was made in the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s. What I want to be remembered for….. Timeless, Real and Soulful, music,” said Noel Gourdin.
The result is a man who is city to the heart but southern to the soul!

 

 Noel Gourdin: His hometown of Brockton…

 

Holly Dayz: What are your favorite things to do while in Brockton?

Noel: Well first and foremost it would have to be visiting and hanging out with my Family and Friends. Since moving down South to Alabama a few years ago, I really don’t get a lot of opportunities to get back home except for if I’m performing or attending an event. I try to catch up with the people who I grew up with and that had an impact on me and helped me become the Man I am today.

Holly Dayz: What are your favorite places to go in Brockton that bring out your creativity?

Noel: One place would be DW Fields Park, which is a huge park with biking and walking paths, and bodies of water. Whether your feeding the ducks or just sitting on one of the benches and watching the water, it’s always been such a serene and peaceful place to go to be creative. Other places would be the golf courses, DW Fields Park Course, or White Pines, or Ponkapoag. I know it may sound weird but I’m a very visual person and golf courses are beautifully manicured and it’s easy for me to be creative in such places. Haha….

D.W. Fields Park
D.W. Fields Park
Holly Dayz: What spots do you have to go to eat when you go back to Brockton?

 Noel: The first place that I have to go is Cape Cod Cafe for their pizza, it’s impossible to explain how good they are if you haven’t tasted one. Next would have to be Supreme House of Pizza for their steak & cheese subs, as well as D’Angelos for their subs. Frank’s and McMenamy’s Seafood for my favorite seafood plates, and Mee King’s for the best Chinese food in the City. I know I may seem like a glutton with all these must eat spots, but hey…

Holly Dayz: Three things you would recommend doing while in Brockton?

Noel: If you’re there in the summertime then I would most definitely recommend going to experience the Brockton Fair while it’s in Town. Another things that I would say is to eat at any one of the spots that I talked about in the answer just before this one, haha… The third would be to check out a game of the sport that’s in season, whether it be the Celtics, the Patriots or the Red Sox, for obvious reasons of course. Haha… But the electricity while being there live is incredible and unforgettable.

Brockton Fair
Brockton Fair

Holly DayzDo any of your songs reference Brockton and have you ever shot a video there?

Noel: I always have Brockton in my mind while I’m writing songs, like the reference of riding up to the lake in my song “Foxxxy” off my latest album “City Heart, Southern Soul” is actually about parking near the bodies of water at DW Fields Park in Brockton. I have never shot a video there and that’s just because I’ve never really had the opportunity to do so, wherever the videographer has been is where I’ve shot my videos due to budgeting.

Holly Dayz: What are some family friendly places to go in Brockton?

Noel: There’s a lot of places to go, but I’d say you should take the short ride to Cape Cod, to really experience an unforgettable time and all that New England has to offer. Fun Parks, beaches, board walks with arcades, and shops with souvenirs etc..  If at all possible take a ferry over to Martha’s Vineyard as well, but try to spend at least a week there.

Martha’s Vineyard Photo courtesy of: www.fodors.com

Holly Dayz: How is your hometown different from where you live now and does it affect your writing?

Noel: Brockton is a little faster in terms of pace and how folks are always in a hurry and here in Alabama, things are a lot more spread out and folks are a lot more laid back. It’s quieter where I live now, and I prefer quieter. Doing what I do for a living, I’m frequently in places that are so loud and lively and I like getting back home to peace and quiet, and peace of mind. So if it’s had an effect on my writing, I’d say it’s been a great effect, and I’ve welcomed it.

Holly Dayz: Besides Brockton, what has been your favorite place to visit and why?

Noel: I absolutely love and feel blessed to go and perform where ever people request and want me to perform, but my favorite places would have to be Atlanta, Georgia, and Mississippi. Simply because when I go to those places to perform, I know I’m gonna get a chance to see my family that I haven’t seen in a little while. It’s always good and worthwhile to hang out with the Fam!

Holly Dayz:  Any hometown performances in the near future?

Noel: I do have a few things in the works, and I’m so hoping that they pan out because it’s always a special place for me to perform and show out! My People are my People and it’s all about LOVE!

Holly Dayz: What is your favorite hometown venue to perform at, or a place you would love to perform at?

Noel: There are well-respected, “hole in the wall joints”,  in Brockton named “Pete & Mary’s” and “GiGi’s” and they were always a couple of my favorite places to perform! Everybody went there, I mean generations and they were the types of places where everyone knew everyone. So when I would perform there and get props, it was like getting recognition from Family.

Holly Dayz: In your opinion, when would be the best time to visit Brockton?

Noel: I would say the best time to visit would be the summertime. There’s just so many things to do, and if you do go, tell them Noel Gourdin sent you and you just might get a discount! I’m not promising anything, but you just might! Haha…

Learn more about Noel Gourdin at www.noelgourdin.com and follow him on twitter @noelgourdin

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