My Lollapalooza Experience

If you’re unfamiliar, Lollapalooza is an annual music festival held in Grant Park, Chicago, IL. It’s usually held the first weekend of August and is known for huge crowds, delicious food (Chow Town), and above all, incredible headliners. This year’s included big names like Bruno Mars, Travis Scott, Post Malone, Vampire Weekend, Logic, and The Weeknd.

Although it’s a four-day music festival, my friends and I opted for the cheaper route of attending only one day: Friday – and we saw and experienced plenty.

Let’s get into it.

First of all, the weather forecast for Friday, August 3rd in Chicago, Illinois was 95 degrees. Pair the temperature with a million people, add alcohol, and you’re in store for a whole lot of porta-potty lines. Probably TMI, but I spent a lot of time in lines with sweaty people with full bladders.

We took the red line from Molly’s apartment to Grant Park, our bodies varnished in glitter and iridescent fanny packs in tow, arrived around 1:30 and were greeted by a deep pit of people: the line to enter. After 25-30 minutes of waiting and sneaking past unsuspecting Lolla-goers (well, sort of. One person yelled at Brittany. Whatever.), we finally reached bag checks and entry.

Once finally in the park, it was overwhelming. Buckingham Fountain greeted us, as did our friend Jesson (who went to ALL FOUR DAYS. God bless him.) There were thousands upon thousands of people going in every direction. You really had to be careful to not get lost or lose your people. And if you weren’t familiar with the park, finding the artist you wanted to see was a bit of a challenge. Lollapalooza is broken up into eight different stages in Grant Park – and they do supply you with plenty of information on when specific artists are playing and where, plus you can download the app. But I mean, who even remembers the app when the time comes? I don’t.

The hilarious tweet that is this post’s featured photo is absolutely true as well – I truly felt as though at least half of the Lolla-goers were under 18. I almost evaporated.

To be completely honest, the first few hours of Lolla were a blur. I was in complete sensory overload… and I’d had a few drinks. We saw a few songs from each of Bebe Rexha and Lizzo’s sets, then we headed for CHOW TOWN. Chow Town is offered by local food vendors and is actually fairly reasonable in price, but the real attraction for us was the lobster corn dog. Molly brought up that she’d heard about this delicacy and decided it was an essential addition to our Lollapalooza experience. And it was bomb.

After hydrating at one of the many hydration stations (we brought in our own empty water bottles. You’re only allowed an empty water bottle up to 36oz. upon entry), we headed to Post Malone’s hour set. He’s one of the grungiest artists in modern day hip-hop/pop/whatever, but he’s undeniably talented and despite the ‘Always Tired’ tattoos that cover his under-eye area, he brought his all during this performance. After one of his many hits, I Fall Apart, the crowd started chanting ‘F— That B—-“. You go, Austin Post. F That B.

Soon after Post’s set, we headed for Brockhampton and I was truly pumped. We caught all of BLEACH, but ended up leaving shortly after to secure a good spot at Bruno Mars. And we really did. Bruno was phenomenal and at certain points in his performance fireworks went off which made the whole experience really cool. Bruno sang his hits – and one of my favorite songs ever, Just The Way You Are, and when I say it’s one of my favorite songs ever, I mean it. When it came out in 2010, I was thirteen. The song came out during the genesis of my adolescence. I  will always know every word.

Walking the streets after Lollapalooza was officially over (for the day, at least) I felt my whole body collapsing limb by limb from exhaustion. Once I didn’t have the distraction of enormous crowds of tweens, teens, and others, I felt true fatigue. My head, shoulders, knees, and toes were dragging and all I wanted was a shower. But funneling into the streets of Chicago with thousands of other people was almost comforting – everyone was tired, but everyone seemed content and fulfilled. It was nice.

Sweaty, tired, and dirty, we took the train back to Molly’s. In each of our consecutive showers, we each blew our noses and dirt came out. It’s fine. We’re clean now.

The next day we woke up and were sore, but happy. I’m not sure if I’d ever go to another music festival again, but who knows. It was an incredible experience – and I’m doubly glad I got to experience it with the people that I did. See you later, Lolla.

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Improve Your Mood with a Simple Sniff

Believe it or not, working at Little Trees CAR-FRESHNER this summer has piqued my interest in fragrance! We do so much with fragrance at work (and I’ve smelled some of the best and the absolute WORST aka malodor) that I’ve decided to do a little research of my own on fragrance.

Obviously if you’re smelling something nasty, you’re going to feel nasty, too. Bad smells alert your brain to danger. Is your milk expired? Give it a quick sniff. You’ll know.

What I really want to focus on are the good smells out there and what they can really do to improve one’s mood – and why.

As babies, our olfactory senses are the first to develop and although we aren’t as gifted as dogs are in the smell department, we have a highly developed sense of smell (some more than others). Our body’s limbic system (see below) is directly connected to our olfactory bulbs – so what we smell plays a bigger role in our moods than we might think.

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Recently businesses like hotels and clothing stores have begun to use scent as a marketing tactic. While clothing stores like Abercrombie & Fitch and Hollister, Inc. douse their product in their signature scent, they’re really training your brain to identify with the brand in a positive way. If you don’t like the scent, however, this tactic may have the opposite effect.

Studies have been done, like this one where participants were exposed to certain fragrances and asked to identify which mood they elicited. This method is called Mood Mapping and has been trademarked by Stephen Warrenburg at Oxford. While studies like this one have been done, lots of others (most likely less qualified than Mr. Warrenburg) have gathered evidence of specific natural fragrances being useful for a variety of stress-relieving outcomes.

Here’s what I found:

Ah, Vanilla. 

You know the smell. I’m sure I don’t have to do much explaining to convince you that the warm and sweet scent of vanilla makes you feel nurtured and content – and gives you a sense of nostalgia, too. P.S. Hot tip: the scent of vanilla wards off pesky flies.

Grapefruit

This sweetly sour citrus scent spikes energy and clears the mind giving you the extra boost you need to get through the day. Eat half a grapefruit a day, or even once a week, and you’ll reap the benefits of the combination of fiber, potassium, lycopene, Vitamin C, and cholene which all contribute to a healthy heart. It also helps regulate blood pressure.

Turmeric

The pungent and bitter root spice has an encouraging benefit: the release of serotonin. Low levels of serotonin signal depression, so turmeric plays an adverse role on the mental disorder.

Bergamot

Feeling irritable or angry? Take the edge off with a fragrance that includes bergamot. Bergamot scent is derived from the bergamot orange. It’s a fragrant yellow/green citrus fruit roughly the size of a Florida orange. Bergamot is supposed to be mood balancing.

Jasmine

Personally, I’m not fond of the scent, but it has some pretty great qualities. Jasmine is supposed to be deeply sedating to the body’s nervous system. It’s perfect to use after a long day – just try to stay away from stressors and take a few deep breaths after applying.

Lilly of the Valley

One of the cutest and most fragile flowering plants, Lily of the Valley, is known to help with sadness or grief by inducing a sense of security and comfort. Keep an eye out for those little white bells!

Rosemary

Rosemary improves memory retention and fights headaches, mental fatigue, and physical burnout. It’s also delicious and has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that prevent brain aging and improves digestion.

 Coffee

The magical scent of coffee. Mmm. I feel more relaxed just thinking about my morning cup. A study was done by Han-Seouk Seo of Seoul National University in which rats were stressed out because they were being deprived of sleep, but once exposed to the fragrance of Colombian coffee beans, brain protein levels changed and had a calming/antioxidant effect on them.

Try these out. You never know, a better day might be a sniff away.