SLIDER

Tonight is Halloween || A poem

Saturday, October 31, 2015

She exhaled listlessly
& her spirit escaped.
Her body called it quits
& thus, her soul reshaped.
She began a new life
in the pale, grey moonlight.
This was a special time,
it was Halloween night.
She opened her blue eyes
Do you know what she saw?
She looked at her still self;
it was her last hurrah.
Her name was Athena,
like the goddess of war.
She dusted herself off
& arose from the floor.
Her body just lay there,
but her soul was alive.
That's when she decided
it was her time to thrive.
So she floated away
& explored somewhere new.
That's not really something
she would normally do.
Quiet & heartbroken,
cheerless, sad, & somber,
Timid & powerless,
too frightened to wander.
Fearful of everything,
she was not at all brave.
However, that all changed
when she sprung from the grave.
You're probably asking:
"Why on earth should I care?"
The reason is plain but
it may give you a scare.
She would like you to know
that life is not easy.
There are troubles to have;
it won't all be breezy.
Life is quite difficult
until the day you die.
Then you take your last breath
& mutter a goodbye.
Your body soon decays
& you become a ghost.
You'll meet with the others
& you'll all raise a toast:
Cheers to life & to death,
to the haunting we'll do,
to spooking the children,
& always yelling "BOO!" 
To tricking & treating,
to pumpkins & to pranks, 
to stealing some candy
with no need to say thanks.
To goblins & spiders,
& to the webs they weave.
Because of all of this
our souls shall never leave.
That's why it's so spooky.
No one will hear you scream.
After all, don't you know?
Tonight is Halloween.

Tonight is Halloween
A poem by Carmen Varner
++++++
halloween pumpkins

Wishing you a happy Halloween. Have fun & stay safe!

Did you enjoy this poem? Feel free to share it! What are your plans today? :]

The Beach Goth 4 Experience

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

This past weekend I attended my very first Beach Goth festival in Santa Ana, California. The music festival took place on October 24 & 25 at The Observatory in Orange County. Presented by The Growlers, this was the fourth year of Beach Goth*. The lineup was pretty stacked with guests such as Die Antwoord, Mac DeMarco, The Drums, Juicy J, Warpaint, & of course, The Growlers. General admission passes for both days cost a total of $100. I, however, received a complimentary ticket & photo pass to cover it for my blog. Here are a bundle of photos & some of the things I liked & didn't like about Beach Goth.

Beach Goth 4, Beach Goth, Carmen Varner, Santa Ana, The Growlers,
The Growlers 
Beach Goth 4, Beach Goth, Carmen Varner, Santa Ana, The Drums,
The Drums

Beach Goth 4, Beach Goth, Carmen Varner, Santa Ana, The Adicts,
The Adicts

Beach Goth 4, Beach Goth, Carmen Varner, Santa Ana, Riff Raff,
RiFF RaFF

Beach Goth 4, Beach Goth, Carmen Varner, Santa Ana, Warpaint, The Observatory,
Warpaint

Beach Goth 4, Beach Goth, Carmen Varner, Santa Ana, Warpaint,
Warpaint

Beach Goth 4, Beach Goth, Carmen Varner, Santa Ana, Juicy J,
Juicy J

Beach Goth 4, Beach Goth, Carmen Varner, Santa Ana, Grimes,
Grimes

Beach Goth 4, Beach Goth, Carmen Varner, Santa Ana, DIIV,
DIIV 
Beach Goth 4, Beach Goth, Carmen Varner, Santa Ana, mystic braves,
Mystic Braves

Beach Goth 4, Beach Goth, Carmen Varner, Santa Ana, Mystic Braves,
Mystic Braves

Beach Goth 4, Beach Goth, Carmen Varner, Santa Ana, The Strokes, Julian Casablancas,
Julian Casablancas + The Voidz

Beach Goth 4, Beach Goth, Carmen Varner, Santa Ana, Mac DeMarco,
Mac DeMarco

Beach Goth 4, Beach Goth, Carmen Varner, Santa Ana, Die Antwoord,
Die Antwoord

Beach Goth 4, Beach Goth, Carmen Varner, Santa Ana, Die Antwoord,
Die Antwoord


Things I Liked About Beach Goth:

The Costumes - Half the fun was spotting the crazy outfits people wore to Beach Goth. After all, it's a costume party just in time for Halloween. Even many of the artists dressed up while they were on stage. Some people went all out (one girl wore a penis hat/mask all day in the hot sun) while others were a bit mild with cat ear headbands. I saw a lot of blood & gore makeup. Oh you know, the usual Halloween stuff. One of my favorites was a group of people who dressed like Mickey Mouse the sorcerer's apprentice in Fantasia.

beach goth 4


The Music - I was pretty impressed with the lineup & the live performances. There were minimal problems with the sound system, it was fun, & the artists seemed like they were having a great time. I got to enjoy several bands that I had been really looking forward to seeing such as Die Antwoord & The Drums.

The Bathrooms - Although they were extremely dirty by the end of the day, I vastly prefer real restrooms rather than nasty portable bathrooms. I went to the porta potty just once during the festival because it would've taken 20 minutes to wiggle my way through the crowd, wait in the line for the bathroom, & then come back to make it in time for the next set. Let's just say there were approximately seven different disgusting items & bodily liquids there. Real restrooms for the win.

Things I Didn't Like About Beach Goth:

The Parking - $25 per day for parking? I know you have to make money but it was so unorganized that my boyfriend & I backed out immediately. The line was so long. We just ended up parking on the street & walking a bit. Much better.

The Smoking - If there's a beer drinking section there should be a smoking section. I inhaled so much secondhand smoke that my head still hurts two days later. I understand that festivals are about enjoying oneself & I have no problem with smokers, but I can't savor the moment when billows of cigarette smoke are wafting into my face. Not to mention I had to actively avoid getting burned by lit cigarettes as I walk through the bustling crowd.

beach goth, crowd surfing


The Rowdy Crowd - There's no problem with having fun & getting pumped up by the music, but when people are getting kicked in the face, pushed, shoved, & passing out that's not a good sign. While I was in the media pit, the security guards had to consistently pull passed out concertgoers from the front barrier.

The Disorganization - On day one the disorganization was just awful. Getting in & out of the inside venue took so much longer than it should. You had to push & shove your way through the traffic. By day two they had put up entrance & exit signs & security was enforcing it. It was much better. In truth, for the amount of people that were there the location was simply too small.

The Lack of Water - I think it should be vital that festivals provide free water refill stations for patrons. I'm not talking about free water bottles, I'm talking about a station where you can fill up your water bottle or just get a drink. It's really irresponsible when people are exposed to the hot sun, dancing, possibly drinking, & everything else. You need water. If you wanted water at Beach Goth you had to buy a bottle for $3 or maybe slurp some from the bathroom faucet.

Hey! I had a pretty damn good time at Beach Goth 4. Just like any music festival, it has its positives & negatives. At the end of the day it's about your attitude. I seriously had a blast seeing some of my favorite artists perform live. Experiencing Die Antwoord definitely places itself on my top 10 acts I've ever seen. Can't beat that.

Which artist would you most like to see? How does Beach Goth sound to you? :]

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*Disclaimer: I received a ticket complimentary from Beach Goth. All opinions in this are 100% mine aka Carmen's. :]

Work in Progress // OOTD + a Ralph Lauren Giveaway (Closed)

Monday, October 26, 2015

Don't you love it when an outfit makes you feel confident, powerful, & beautiful? It's brilliant that a mixture of fabrics can alter your mood in such a positive way. That's how this look makes me feel. Like a badass. Like I can accomplish anything I put my mind to, crushing the competition. I'm sure there's some type of psychology behind the phenomenon.

ralph lauren ootd

ralph lauren sunglasses

I recently purchased a plethora of items online from Rue 21 & Urban Outfitters & literally couldn't wait to wear them. Seriously. Once I received my Rue 21 package, I basically got dolled up to go buy groceries because I was so psyched. "Oh yes I will buy these veggie chips," I said as I clomped around in my 3 inch boots. However, it's difficult purchasing items online because you never know if they're going fit or not. Some looked utterly fabulous whilst others made me look like Thanksgiving dinner. Stuffed. But what are you gonna do?

california lifestyle blogger

california lifestyle blogger
Anyhoo, I took a little trip to North Park with my boyfriend. North Park is a cool, trendy neighborhood in San Diego. They have a lot of funky places over there -- from gourmet ice cream to a music venue that functions as a church on Sundays. I had some brewery reviews to do so we made a day out of it. After getting a flight of tasters we stopped by to grab a bite to eat & found this gated area. Turned out it was the perfect location to snap some outfit photos. 

california lifestyle blogger

california lifestyle blogger

That's where the problem lies. I still get incredibly anxious while taking outfit photos in public. Like a bitter, frigid, icy winter, I freeze up. I'm no model. Anytime someone passes by I get really self-conscious, making my photos look extraordinarily awkward. The look of discomfort can be read so easily on my face. I think I need to create some sort of persona & just roll with it, pretending to be that confident, powerful, & beautiful person the outfit makes me feel like I am. But it's a work in progress.

california lifestyle blogger
california lifestyle blogger
I received these Ralph Lauren sunglasses from the Sunglasses Shop* to style however I wanted. I love the tortoise shell design & maybe you will too because they were kind enough to do a giveaway for my readers! Are you excited? I know I am. Now we can wear matching sunglasses. Oh yeah! 

Enter the giveaway:

What you'll win:
 A pair of Ralph Lauren sunglasses! Over $100 in value! You get to choose from this list.

1. Please enter by choosing one, any or all of the options above. 
2. This giveaway is open worldwide!
3. No giveaway accounts!
4. This Ralph sunglasses giveaway closes 12 a.m. Monday November 9, 2015.



california lifestyle blogger

california lifestyle blogger
Sunglasses: Ralph Lauren* // Button Down: H&M (similar) // Top: Rue 21 (similar) // Shorts: LL Cool J (similar) // Boots: G by Guess (similar)

Perhaps with these fierce boots & righteous sunglasses I can feel as powerful as I wish to be. It's all in my head & it's time to change how I take photos. I've watched enough America's Next Top Model by now to get the gist of modeling. Thanks Tyra! If anything, at least I know how to smile with my eyes.

Do you get self-conscious when taking outfit photos? Have you ever watched America's Next Top Model? What do you think of this outfit? :]

* Disclaimer: The sunglasses were received complimentary from Sunglasses Shop in exchange for an honest review. All opinions in this review are 100% mine aka Carmen's. :]

5 Things I'm Loving Right Now ♥

Friday, October 23, 2015

Life can sometimes a hectic monstrosity so it's important to take a moment to unwind, enjoy, & breathe. Whether you choose to meditate, grab some dinner with a friend or spend just half an hour watching your favorite show at the end of a busy day, you need that moment to relax. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), chronic stress can lower your immune system, cause headaches & sleeplessness, affect your mood such as anger or irritability, & more. That said, be sure to spend a little bit of time every day to calm your soul. Here are five things that I am loving right now. These are things that bring me joy, make me smile, & make my quality-of-life a little bit better. 


Dragon fruit

I spotted this fruit at my local grocery store & picked it up immediately. I normally don't see them around these parts. Dragon fruit, also known as pitaya or pitahaya, has a mild flavor with not much sweetness. In my opinion, this dragon fruit was opened before it was ripe. Then again I've never tried dragon fruit so I have nothing to compare it to; I did some Youtube research & it seems that a ripe dragon fruit has crispy brown leaves & kind of looks like it's dying. Mine was a beautiful green & pink hue. Regardless, I think it's gorgeous.


The Great British Baking Show

My boyfriend & I took a break from our usual watching of The X-Files (still have two seasons to go) & blasted through this baking series. This show is about British bakers competing to be the best amateur baker in the U.K. I really liked it because they baked a wide variety of items, many of which I've never heard of such as a kouign amann, prinsesstårta, & schichttorte. Basically, it felt like I was on a trip around the world. Yum!


Succulents

I mean come on! How cute are these succulents? I'd like to say that I'm actually pretty good at caring for plants, but succulents are especially perfect for those of us who aren't green thumbs. They've become the new trend & I don't blame anybody. They are adorable. They are versatile. They are easy to keep alive. Go ahead & buy some if you haven't already.


Autumn leaves (at last!)

In San Diego it's barely started to mildly cool off. It's still hot enough at night where I have a fan on, the window open, & a light sheet to cover me. But by the time it's five or six in the morning it gets pretty chilly. Yay! That counts for something to me. I've been making an effort to go on walks/attempt to jog more regularly & I spotted the first sign of autumn leaves. They're gorgeous.


Gwen Stefani

Gwen Stefani is on fire these days! I saw her play with No Doubt last month at KAABOO & she/they rocked. Just so you know her abs are seriously rock solid. Gwen is currently in the news for a couple reasons: she's pairing up with Urban Decay for an eyeshadow palette & her new single "Used to Love You" just came out. Music video has gotten mixed reviews, but I love the song. Go Gwen!

Are you loving any of the things I'm loving right now? How do you like to relax after a long day? What do you think of Gwen's new song/video? :]

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The Final Say on Rough Draft Brewing Company

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The day was Saturday. It was slightly gloomy in the morning but developed into the true California sunshine as the day rolled on. I walked in to Rough Draft Brewing Company* in San Diego; there were only a handful of people sprinkled throughout the establishment. I went up to the beertender & introduced myself. She told me that I would be able to try a taster of all the available beers on tap. My boyfriend, Fred, & I found a spot at the concrete bar top & sat down. 

Rough Draft Brewing Company, Rough Draft Brewing, Rough Draft Brewing Review, Rough Draft Brewing Company Review,
Rough Draft Brewing Company, Rough Draft Brewing, Rough Draft Brewing Review, Rough Draft Brewing Company Review, craft beer

She worked on pouring the beers. I took a moment to walk around. Rough Draft Brewing had the usual barrels as tables as well as stools to sit on. Many breweries choose to go with that particular aesthetic. They also had some wooden chairs & wooden tables with plastic succulents, a couple couches, & of course the concrete bar top we were at. 

Rough Draft Brewing Company, Rough Draft Brewing, Rough Draft Brewing Review, Rough Draft Brewing Company Review,
Rough Draft Brewing Company, Rough Draft Brewing, Rough Draft Brewing Review, Rough Draft Brewing Company Review,

Decor & Ambiance: 

Rough Draft Brewing has an industrial vibe with high, exposed ceilings & six 30 barrel fermenters sprinkled throughout. They included a beanbag toss game just in case you want to have a bit of fun. I later inquired about the name of the game; it's called Cornhole. I spotted a water cooler with deliciously refreshing cold water to ensure that patrons stay hydrated & happy. Rough Draft also has another room to rent for corporate events, special events, etc. The day we were there they were slated to host a wedding reception. 

Rough Draft Brewing Company, Rough Draft Brewing, Rough Draft Brewing Review, Rough Draft Brewing Company Review,
Rough Draft Brewing Company, Rough Draft Brewing, Rough Draft Brewing Review, Rough Draft Brewing Company Review,

Service: 

Both the beertenders came up & introduced themselves, asking if we had any questions or needed help. I found out that their names were Melissa, the tasting room supervisor, & Nikki. Both the ladies were friendly, cordial, & knowledgeable. It wasn't too busy so they were able to provide quick, personalized service. 

Rough Draft Brewing Company, Rough Draft Brewing, Rough Draft Brewing Review, Rough Draft Brewing Company Review, beer,
Rough Draft Brewing Company, Rough Draft Brewing, Rough Draft Brewing Review, Rough Draft Brewing Company Review,
We received 11 tasters to sample. Tasters are usually served in 4 ounce glasses; it gives you the opportunity to try the beers without committing to a pint. My boyfriend & I each received a little bowl of popcorn & then we got to it. As the blogger that I am, I took photos prior to sampling the beer. I arranged them, photographed them, & got to work. We slowly made our way through the variety of beers. We each took a couple sips & moved on to the next one. Once we made it through all the beers, we finished the taster, each taking another sip or two to get a final opinion. 

Rough Draft Brewing Company, Rough Draft Brewing, Rough Draft Brewing Review, Rough Draft Brewing Company Review,
Rough Draft Brewing Company, Rough Draft Brewing, Rough Draft Brewing Review, Rough Draft Brewing Company Review,

My Favorite Beers: 

Amber Ale - This brew has a gorgeous color, very true to its name. It has a full body, caramel maltiness, & hints of chocolate. The Amber Ale has a whopping 7.5% ABV (alcohol content) which is quite surprising because it goes down so easily. This is a scrumptious beer with a classic taste. 

Grapefruit Weekday - This beer is so infused with grapefruit that I'd like to pretend it includes one serving of fruit. It uses local organic grapefruit & leaves a tempting aftertaste. It's citrusy, zesty, & refreshing. My boyfriend deemed this one of his favorites as well. The smell alone leaves you feeling nostalgic of summers past & memories past. The Grapefruit Weekday has 4.8% ABV; the mild alcohol content makes it ideal for a quick after work brew. 

Rough Draft Brewing Company, Rough Draft Brewing, Rough Draft Brewing Review, Rough Draft Brewing Company Review,
Rough Draft Brewing Company, Rough Draft Brewing, Rough Draft Brewing Review, Rough Draft Brewing Company Review,

Unique Beers: 

Emboozlement Tripel - This is aged for one year in bourbon barrels. It will give you a kick in the taste buds & leaves you feeling like you got sucker punched in the stomach. It's unique with a sweet aftertaste. Beware because this triple has a 9.5% ABV. Wowza! 

What the Ale? - My boyfriend really loved this pale ale & claimed it as one of his favorites. It's aged in French oak Pinot Noir barrels, so you get a little bit of that wine-y kick. Not to mention the name of this beer is quite amusing. 

Stout, Stout Baby - I love stouts especially during the colder months of autumn & winter. This malty vanilla stout has a classic, delicious flavor to it. You can't go wrong. Once again I'm drawn to its clever name. 

Weekday IPA - This session IPA is one of their best-selling beers. It's easy to drink & approachable with a 4.8% ABV. The Weekday IPA is ideal for those who want a beer after work without the regret of having a hangover the next day. Win win. 

Rough Draft Brewing Company, Rough Draft Brewing, Rough Draft Brewing Review, Rough Draft Brewing Company Review,

The Verdict: 

My experience at Rough Draft Brewing Company was quite excellent. The service was friendly & the beers were delicious, which is pretty much all you can ask for in a brewery. There is a wide variety of brews to fit your needs & overall, they have wonderful, unique flavor. I enjoyed the fact that there were enough patrons there so you know people enjoy it, but it wasn't so jam-packed you have to shout to hear each other speak. 

Rough Draft Brewing Company, Rough Draft Brewing, Rough Draft Brewing Review, Rough Draft Brewing Company Review,

You don't have to physically step foot in the brewery to get their beers. Rough Draft sells their beers in the multitude of location such as 7 Eleven, BevMo, Costco, & more. The set of tasters we received would normally cost a total of $18, which is standard when it comes to craft beer.

Do you like craft beer? Have you ever visited Rough Draft? How does it look? What's your drink of choice? :]

You may find Rough Draft Brewing Company: 
8830 Rehco Rd. Suite D 
San Diego, CA 92121 
(858) 453-7238 

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* Disclaimer: These beers were received complimentary from Rough Draft Brewing Company in exchange for an honest review. All opinions in this review are 100% mine aka Carmen's. :]

The Beauty of the Notre Dame in Paris

Monday, October 19, 2015

Oh Paris. You beautiful city filled with fashion, art, culture, & gastronomy. Paris is a sight for sore eyes. It was my third time visiting the remarkable place. If you happen to find yourself in the lovely capital of France, you must take a look at the Notre Dame.




Tourist Information:
The Notre Dame Cathedral also referred to as Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris or Notre-Dame de Paris, is open every day of the year. Did you know that it translates into "Our Lady of Paris?" Its hours are from 8 am to 6:45 pm; on Saturdays & Sundays it's open until 7:15 pm. Access to the cathedral is free of charge during the open hours. However, you may have to wait in line. The line goes by pretty quickly but it also ranges by the day or even hour.



History:
The Notre Dame is a historic Catholic cathedral with French Gothic architecture. It's about 800 years old! In 1163, construction began for the Notre Dame Cathedral; the original cathedral that stood there was demolished. Construction took quite a long time & was eventually completed over 100 years later in 1272. Since it was built, the Notre Dame has remained one of Paris's & France's most recognized symbols.




I love viewing the grandeur that is the Notre Dame. It's a wonderful place to visit regardless of how many times you've seen it. I am obsessed with churches & religious art. I always have been; I remember it started in my ninth grade world history class. Last time I featured the Cologne Cathedral in Germany.



Once you get inside it's up to you what you want to see. There's no right or wrong way to do things. Walk around. People watch. Look at the stained-glass. You can buy a candle, light it, & say a little prayer. Take a moment to soak in the glory of the Notre Dame. If you're in Paris, France this is a must see experience. It's just one of those things you have to do!



The Notre Dame is a world wonder. It has so much character after being developed over hundreds of years. When you visit Paris make sure to set some time aside to visit the Notre Dame Cathedral. After all they made a whole Disney movie about it, The Hunchback of Notre Dame. That has to mean something, right?

Have you ever visited Paris or the Notre Dame?  :]

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