A Life Full of Color

I spent my day in a cloud of color at The Color Run in Minnesota.

Instagrammed photo of the Color Run

If you think I resisted making “Purple Rain” jokes, you are mistaken.

As a social media volunteer for Open Your Heart to the Hungry and Homeless, this meant running around with my iPhone, snapping pictures and tweeting and Facebooking and generally doing things that actually don’t look that helpful but hopefully are (awareness, you guys!).

The event itself was pretty overwhelming. About 19,000 runners, starting out all in white and eventually turning into human canvasses, ran or walked the course. A portion of their fee was already given to Open Your Heart, but quite a few made extra donations at our booth. And a few of them apologized for the money being covered in color.

That’s Minnesota nice for you.

In preparation, I spent the past week thinking of color. Favorite colors (mine, obviously, are yellow and purple – SKOL Vikings), color quotes (“When in doubt, wear red.” – Bill Blass), color songs (“Lady in Red” is welcome to leave my head anytime now. Anytime.), and color references in movies (“Buddy the Elf, what’s your favorite color?”).  But after participating in the event, and knowing the good these donations will do – going towards the people who truly need them – there’s one song lyric I think sums it all up for me.

What good did it do?
Well hopefully for you
A world without war
A life full of color

Now, I recognize The War Was in Color is not about a war on hunger. But today was a day full of color – and a day to fight hunger.

Let’s all enjoy our lives full of color.

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Social/Life

A while back, I went to a totally not embarrassing concert and mused about what the experience would have been like if I’d been able to “live-Tweet” during it. Would it take away from the experience, or would it add to it? At the time, I didn’t have a smartphone, so sharing the experience while it was happening was not an option. Well, now I have one, and after figuring out the basics I’ve managed to become a slight oversharer.

Instagrammed photo of bird poop on my car

“I appear to have deeply offended a large bird.”  Okay, a huge oversharer.

I keep making vague promises to myself that I’ll settle down, but the honeymoon phase between me and my new friend Siri has overlapped with the start of summer. Like any true Minnesotan, I’m not about to let this all-too-brief season slip by. What people in less volatile climates do in a year, I’m going to try to do in three months.

That’s not anything new; last summer, you may recall, I did plenty of things. The difference is now I can share my nonsense in real time.

I think we can all agree this might not always be a good thing.

Dog of Censorship

Someone needs to invent a “Dog of Censorship” App ASAP.

Anyway. Last Saturday, I took myself to another totally not embarrassing concert at the Target Center: Aerosmith. And because I love Aerosmith for no and beyond all reason, my guess from last year’s NKOTBSB concert was not far off – once Steven Tyler hit the stage, I basically just went “Squeee!” and forgot about the ability to share/brag beyond one fairly good picture:

Steven Tyler Instagram

Instagram gets the save on this one.  Some of that confetti is still in my purse.

That (amazing) experience over, I thought I’d answered my own question about how I’d use social media at events. I’d managed to do some sharing while staying in the (really amazing) moment. And anyway, I’d blown my summer budget on that (really, REALLY amazing) ticket, so I didn’t expect to get the chance to try it out again for a while.

Less than 24 hours later, I found myself enjoying some Trampled By Turtles from the comfort of the terrace view at Target Field. Since I didn’t know about the bonus concert until I got to the Twins game, and since I was an hour early for the game thanks to my pops, I had to share the news of my good fortune.

All the mascots at the Twins Game

I was too disturbed by the presence of literally all the mascots to take a picture of TBT, however.

This caused a tiny uproar amongst some die-hard TBT fans I call my friends, but more importantly, it made my pops wonder why I kept looking at my phone. As much fun as it would have been to keep spreading the joy/jealousy of a bonus concert (not to mention a 15-inning baseball game), it was more fun to enjoy Father’s Day with my pops. (We actually only made it through 11 innings and I did respond to a few messages, but hey. We tried.)

After determining that “losing your mind to your favorite band” and “hanging out with your father” are not quite the right times to go live-Tweeting, social-sharing crazy, I struck upon a much better opportunity: the River’s Edge Music Festival in St. Paul on Saturday.

I managed to win free tickets* last week and took Lacy, another twenty-something with a smartphone, and we did it all. We admired the lead singer of Coheed and Cambria‘s magical hair. We blew our budgets on outrageously overpriced beer. We held a few inebriated souls upright in the Sublime with Rome crowd. We soaked in some much needed sun rays to the tunes of Blaqstarr. We lost our voices to Tool. We Facebooked, Instagrammed, Tweeted, sang and danced.

We shared a wonderful day with each other, and then we shared jokes about it on the internet. And that, #youguys, is the best balance of social media and social life I’ve found yet.

girls who look like girls

Just your average Tool fans.

*I won 2 single-day tickets through a Twitter contest, which is awesome. However, the publication which ran the contest was non-responsive about how to get my tickets until two days before the concert despite three attempts to contact them, then they told me (twice) to pick up my tickets at will-call at the River Centre (which is a place in St. Paul, but has nothing to do with the River’s Edge Festival). Finally, the tickets, which were not at the regular will-call at the event either but rather at the media tent, were not for “either day” as promised, but for Sunday only. Luckily two very nice Live Nation employees took my declaration that “75 minutes of Tool is infinitely better than 3 hours of Dave Matthews Band” seriously, and switched the tickets for me. Despite this rant, I did get in completely free, so thank you, Live Nation; less of a thank you, publication with really poor communication/customer service skills.

Fashionista/Best Things

I had initially planned to do a “Fashionista Flashback” every Friday, but didn’t last week because a) I found something more important to write about and b) I can’t even honor arbitrary deadlines I make up for myself.  So let me preface this Best Things of the Week post with this:

Sweet Yellow Cardigan

As Michael K would say, this is The Look.

Fact: I did not wear jeans until about age 12.  So pants like this happened a lot.  I’m not really sure about the tiny old man cardigan, though.  Another fact: the back of this picture says “first day of 2nd grade,” so you know I picked out this outfit ahead of time.

Best Things of the Week!

1. A great day for America

Rae, Ma, and A

As my mom (Miss America in the picture above) said, America is a better place today now that we’ve officially got my sister-in-law.

2. My high tech lifestyle continues

On Thursday, my phone learned a new trick:

cell phone down

Man down.

I tend to wear things out well beyond the point of sense, but after two days this was too much for even me.  Upside: I got a new phone! Downside: still not a smartphone!  It turns out I like being cheap more than I like being cool.

3.  All these things also happened.

Friday: birthday pub crawl (Billy’s and The Onion…we didn’t crawl very far)
Saturday: bachelorette party (The Shout House, with at least 20 other bachelorette parties)
Sunday: Uptown Art Fair and sushi (Sushi Tango)

Weekends like this make me happy I live in the Cities.

#NKOTBSB (New Kids, Old Technology, Backstreet Boys)

Honestly, I haven’t thought that much about the New Kids on the Block in the past two decades. It would be weird if I did. But you cannot unlove the things you loved before you were twelve, and I loved NKOTB, hard, from about ages 5-7. There’s a reason I never got rid of that t-shirt – and not just because my brother bought it for me (he was 9 and I was 5, how adorable is that?). It was so I’d have something to wear 21 years later when I finally saw the, um, “New Kids” in concert.

Rachel in the NKOTB tshirt now

Once again not wearing pants; that's a skirt.

It gets better, of course, since the men of my childhood dreams are on tour with the men of my teenage dreams, the Backstreet Boys.  They have combined into some new entity called, and I still wonder if they’re kidding about this, “NKOTBSB.” Really guys?  Are you sure you want to go with that?

I dragged my “but I was an NSYNC girl” best friend Lacy* along for the ride.  I think I wore her down with repeated viewings of this video:

She could not resist those moves or outfits.

Lacy and I arrived at the concert in time to see the opening act, Matthew Morrison (yes, the guy from Glee), which would have been more exciting if either of us liked Glee.  And while he is amazingly talented, he was not in a boy band from our childhood, and couldn’t quite hold our interests.  Instead, we people-watched and joked.  Lacy posted a few of our choice statements on Facebook through her BlackBerry, and I thought, “this would be a great event to live-Tweet.”  Unfortunately, I seem to like my cell phones like I like my boy bands: from the ’90s.  My phone makes and receives calls and texts (most of the time), but that is the extent of its power; Tweeting was not an option.

I’ve been thinking of upgrading my phone for a while now, as I live in a world where instant communication is expected and goes beyond just phone calls or texts.  I’ve resisted out of a strong desire not to spend more money on something I’ve lived without so long (for a social-media-expert-in-training, I can be a real curmudgeon).  I can check my email at home; I do not need to “check in” everywhere I go because if it’s fun or awkward I’ll just write about it here later; and GPS? Try a paper map from 1989 that doesn’t even include the Target Center.  I’m all set!  Right?

There’s also the benefit of paying attention to reality.  Had I had my eyes on my cell phone, I would have missed the nostalgic magic.  And a strange kind of magic it was; the kind that can only exist in a room of 15,000 screaming 20-40 year old women.  The kind that made me realize I will never not be five years old, because the second Jordan Knight came on stage I lost my damn mind.  If I had been able to Tweet, there’s a good chance I just would have gone “Squeee!” and then forgotten about it anyway.  So here’s a more coherent translation of what I thought during the event:

1) All of these dudes aged really well.  Surprisingly well.  I did not come into this evening expecting to develop a crush on Donnie Wahlberg, but these things happen, right?

New Kids in Minneapolis

Donnie Wahlberg, commanding the Target Center with his abs.

2) I know all the words to songs I forgot existed.  Good job, brain.  You could be doing other things, like remembering your friends’ birthdays, but no, this is clearly a better use of your time.

3) Donnie wore a “Public Enemy” t-shirt, much like the one he wore in the “Step By Step” video, except glittery.  Drink that in for a second.

4) I’ve never heard Howie from Backstreet Boys speak before, and it turns out he sounds exactly like the cartoon character Phineas from Phineas & Ferb.

5) Like every musician who comes to Minneapolis, both bands referenced Prince and yelled “Minneapolis” a lot.  To which I say “I’m not from Minneapolis! Give some love to the right side of the river!” If I ever become a major pop star and play the Target Center, I promise to give St. Paul a shout out, too.  And reference Prince.

6) There’s Jordan Knight again, SQUEEEE!

7) The Backstreet Boys wore white suits during “Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely,” then threw the coats on the ground during “Incomplete.” White coats are for complete people!  Or doctors!

8 ) Near the end (but before “Hangin’ Tough, much to Lacy’s annoyance), the Kids introduced the Boys and vice versa.  This is a nice idea, but I’m fairly certain that if you’re at an NKOTBSB concert, you know the names of the band members. And possibly their birthdays, star signs, marital status, hopes and dreams as described to Teen Beat in 1989, etc.

9) 12 year old girls who are currently obsessed with Justin Bieber…we are your future.

10) This was so much more fun than I expected.  Really, I bought the tickets out of a strong desire to giggle and experience ridiculous things, but the reality was even better.  Oh-oh-OH-oh!

What do you think? Was the Twitterverse at a loss without these deep thoughts on Friday night?  If the New Kids on the Block can’t convince me I need a smart phone, who will?

*At this point I should add that Lacy is a good sport, a great friend, and usually has way more “highbrow” tastes than me. But she also appreciates the silly side of life, which is how we’ve stayed friends for the past decade.