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BLOG NO. 1 // VANS WARPED TOUR '16 x MARINA CITY

Here were go again. The second tour blog of the year, and working on it was just as bittersweet as the last one. Let's dive right into it though.

DAY NO. 1 // CHICAGO -> SALT LAKE CITY (OFF DAY)

I met up with the boiz at around 2:30pm, I was late because of who I am as a person (stole that off the internet) but it didn't matter because we were still waiting on some packages. So in the meantime, I hung out with Matt and his dog Lilo (pic below), we ran some errands, I convinced him to take me to Panera because I was dying, and we hand delivered some packages. Back at his house the rest of the guys were signing CDs and getting ready to mail their new EP, Lost ≠ Alone. Afterwards, Matt and I went to Ryan's house so I could say hi to everyone else. I got to meet Lyndsey's dog, Tucker, who is the softest lil cotton ball ever!! (pics below for reference) 

We didn't end up leaving the burbs until 6pm maybe? Probably a bit later. We had a 20/24 hour drive to Salt Lake City, and the guys decided to just drive straight through. I'll admit that it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be; it just didn't feel that long to be honest. Along the way, we made some stops that were filled with cute animals. We saw some horses, even met a lil frog that Brian somehow managed to catch at like 2 in the morning. 

We finally arrived to the hotel way before we thought we would, and we had all of the next day to rest and get ready for warped. Some of the guys went out to eat, Aaron went on a run, and Brian and I decided to explore a bit. We were a block away from an FBI building which was pretty strange, not going to lie. 

DAY NO. 2 // SALT LAKE CITY (OFF DAY)

We checked out of our hotel and went on a Walmart run where we bought some last minute essentials. Eric decided to buy a hammock because why the heck not? We set up the merch tent (and hammock) in the parking lot while people drove by and questioned everything about us. Eventually, Walmart employees came over and asked if we had permission to sell our merchandise to which we explained that we were simply seeing how we would be setting up at Warped, they were cool about it and left us alone afterwards. 

We finally left after easily 1-2 hours there and went to our next hotel which had a pool so the guys relaxed for a bit. Before this, I pulled the best prank ever, on Ryan, with the help of the rest of the guys. You see, the new van is pretty huge, (15 passenger), and I was slouching in my seat which was right behind the driver's seat. So Ryan asked if everyone was inside, and asked about me since he was all the way in the back. Matt and Aaron were driving, and Matt turned around and saw me but he decided to say I wasn't there. I didn't object since I thought, what the hell, sure. So everyone began freaking out and Matt and I kept going. Matt suggested I sneaked out to the McDonalds inside Walmart to get chicken nuggets because honestly it's something I would do. Ryan began to freak out so Eric came up to see if I was really not there, he understood what we were doing and was like "it's true she's not here!" It's safe to say Ryan had a heart attack in the van. I finally gave in when he called me since I couldn't hold my laughter any longer. and he was kinda pissed. Sorry Ryan, it wasn't only me though. :~)

ANYWAYS. HOTEL POOL YES. I took some photos of the dudes at the pool but left them alone after a while since I figured they needed some space and to be honest, I am not a fan of pools or beaches. Afterwards, the guys got ready and some of us went to In N Out. When we came back we caught Brian sleeping so obviously we took some photos. 

It wasn't until later that night, after some of the guys had relaxed and showered to go pick up Lindsey (Ryan's GF and our Merch goddess) and Nate (driver and occasional life advice guru, miss u friend) that I realized I had left my towel at the last hotel. Lucky for me, we were only a 7 minute walk away so I stole Matt and we went. These shady ass people (kidding they were very nice) bleached the heck out of my towel!! It was in their possession for less than 20 hours and they had already bleached it and were probably going to try and pass it as one of theirs. To give you an idea, my towel was dark gray, almost black, and when I picked it up it was pearl, with a hint of yellow. 

Anyways, we got back and I saw Nate and soon after Lindsey arrived. The gang was together! We called it a night around 10:30/11 and went to bed since Warped was the next day.

DAY NO. 3 // SALT LAKE CITY 

Wow, the day was finally here. First day of Warped. We arrived pretty early to make sure we knew everything we needed to know, got set up, and the guys hit the lines to meet people and promote. I saw a cute dog and had to go pet it. I already forgot its name but pics are below. I also saw Brother Sam and made sure to bother him very quickly.

Just an FYI, these next few recaps will be short because there's really no point in repeating what we did at every date since it's the same. Basically, you find a place to park, load out your merch, find a place to set up your tent, set everything up, wait for set times, and then wait 'till you play.

What you do in between that time is up to you. The guys were promoting all day before they played, and after they played they walked around or stayed at the tent meeting people, giving out free cd's, and just getting to know new fans. I hung out at the tent, sometimes walked around, and sometimes rested for a bit since I was co-pilot (a crappy one but hey I tried). I had to stay up for the whole drive with Nate making sure he didn't fall asleep, but it wasn't easy at all. I fell asleep many times (sorry Nate) but I really did try! I don't know how he did it. Well, I know how. Coffee, Monster, Five Energy, and bananas. 

QUICK SHOUT OUT TIME TO TY, CORY, ALYSON AND KRISTEN (PALAYE ROYALE MERCH/TM) FOR BEING SO HELPFUL AND KIND. Alyson put up with me all of Warped whenever I had questions about anything and I'm eternally grateful. She could have easily been like FIGURE IT OUT YOURSELF but she showed kindness and patience which I can't thank her for enough. Kristen was one of the most hard working and kind people on Warped and I'm thankful for that. Solid solid solid human.

DAY NO. 4 // DENVER, CO

Denver meant I got to see the lovely Shannon + meet Jordan (finally!!), and Dom. All are PHENOMENAL humans and and the gals are wonderful photographers. I cannot express how much I adore these humans. Denver was a game changer for the guys. They discovered the power of water guns, and consequently had a massive crowd and line waiting to meet them afterwards. I'd be lying if I said I didn't get a bit emo when I saw it. It's really nice to see their hard work pay off. I know I say this a lot, but I do adore and love these dudes. They're some of the kindest and most hard working people I have ever met. Seeing them hussle their butts off was pretty inspirational, and I'm thankful for that. 

DAY NO. 5 // ALBUQUERQUE, NM

After the Denver show, we went out to eat to this burrito place and there was a good looking dog there. And I saw Shannon, Jordan, and Dom again. So I win. In NM we had to play first which was pretty terrifying but it turned out to be amazing. No one else was playing, so that meant people had nothing to do and they came over to check the guys out. Not bad at all. After their set I went to edit a bit, visited Brother Sam, talked about life, and saw some bands. Before we left, I saw this really cute tiny dog who didn't stay still so I couldn't take a good picture but she was wearing the cutest flower ever. I miss that dog. 

DAY NO. 6 + 7 // TUCSON, AZ (OFF DAYS)

These off days were much needed. We stayed with Eric's brother who was so rad. We talked in Spanish which I missed doing, had some of the best tacos ever, and I met more dogs!! The guys needed to go to Guitar Center but there was a Petco next door and I missed my guinea pigs which meant I had to sneak away for a bit. So I did, and it was the best decision ever. There was the cutest pitbull ever, her owner was surprised that I went up to her because of her breed. That bums me out a lot. Story time. My neighbors own a blue nosed pitbull/staffy and when they first moved in and I met them, their pup went up to me and they yanked him away from me and looked in horror to see my reaction. I was like no no let him! They were so surprised because they said people had been crossing the street just to not meet him. What!? Weirdos. Who would cross the street to not meet a cute dog? Crazy people. Anyways, I took a photo of her and went off.

Then I kept walking around and saw an older lady being a bit aggressive with her puppy so I got worried for its safety and approached her. I saw the dog had no leash or even a collar, and she was shopping for one so I offered to help. She explained that she had bought one but it was too big and now he wouldn't sit still enough for her to browse for another, so I ended up carrying this pup for about 10 minutes. I ended up having to find the collar, which I then suggested to get a harness incase since it's a puppy and he wasn't leash trained yet, which meant a collar would hurt him. She ended up being so thankful and explained that she would never hurt the dog, but she was just stressed about a lot and it would never happen again. I felt bad, but I really do believe she loves that dog. She had everything she needed for it and took all of my advice, hope they're both doing ok. 

I then left and reunited with the guys in guitar center. Matt wanted to meet some dogs so we went back to Petco and met another cute pup who's name I forgot but he was up for adoption. We left soon after, went to walmart, and then back to the house. 

This day was pretty busy. We went to see some beautiful scenery, and then went back to the house to shower, eat, and go to a charity bowling contest that Warped was hosting. All in all, it was very fun. 

DAY NO. 8 // SCOTTSDALE, AZ

Arizona was FREAKING HOT. I legit stayed the heck out of the sun most of the day. I walked 25 minutes to McDonalds + Starbucks because I needed wifi, food, and AC and I felt disgusting. All I could think was get me the heck out of here. 

DAY NO. 9 // SAN DIEGO, CA

San Diego was very pretty. I hung out with Brother Sam for a long time, and we facetimed my friend Anam and Sam. I missed them so much. I was able to watch a few bands which was nice, until Eric caught me and shamed me for it (kidding he's great). 

DAY NO. 10 // MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA

Mountain View was probably my favorite day because I was able to wear jeans. JEANS. AT WARPED. AND A HOODIE. Plus got to meet Courtney and Amanda who are wonderful human beings and photogs. Seriously, they're so great. Check out their work. After shooting I went on an In N Out run with Matt and we waited way too long for an uber driver. I don't know why but the dude didn't drive straight to us, he decided to make ridiculous turns and in the end, I cancelled. I don't have time for that. The new driver was kind enough to take us, wait for us, and then bring us back. Homie, you're a real MVP. We were carrying like 8 burgers, tons of fries and drinks, and he still let us in the car. MVP!

Ps. the last photos were taken by Matt who was taking my job.

DAY NO. 11 // POMONA, CA

Pomona was probably one of the prettiest places. I got to meet one of my favorite publicists, Michelle (Epitaph) and got my ears molded for custom ear plugs. Sweet. 

DAY NO. 12 // POMONA, CA -> VEGAS (OFF DAY)

This off day rewarded me with Panera. I was the happiest human ever. But it also brought a lot of sadness since it meant that A. Nate was leaving and B. I had to return the beautiful Sigma 35mm I had rented. My love. My life. The guys said "so does this mean the photos are going to suck from here on out?" It took every ounce in me to not hurt them. Whatever. (They were right though).

 We drove to Vegas and it was honestly super fun since I was in charge of the music and obviously I am the queen of that. They didn't appreciate my JoBros or Camp Rock, but they appreciated Evanescence and all those throwbacks. 

We got to Vegas, showered, and went off to explore. At the end we all ended up doing different stuff. Matt and I walked around for a bit, realized we are 90 year olds at heart, and went back to the hotel to watch Hannah Montana, House Hunters, and Cutest (is that what it's called? It's a show with really cute animals idk). 

DAY NO. 13 // LAS VEGAS, NV

Vegas was beautiful. It was at the Hard Rock Cafe which meant pools, casino, and AC. Hehe. The guys got bumped up to the Cyclops stage which was huge for us. The show was great, the crowd was great, everything was just great. Vegas. I have a love hate relationship with you. After the show, Uncle Billy (Eric's uncle and our new driver) joined us. Uncle Billy is a great man. 

DAY NO. 14 + 15 // VEGAS -> IDAHO // NAMPA, ID (OFF + SHOW DAY)

I unfortunately don't have photos of this off day because it was pretty much the longest drive ever. But onward. Idaho was probably the smallest show ever. The venue hosted a couple thousand kids (less than 3k) which meant the crowds were tiny. Still, MC had a pretty nice crowd and many people wanted to meet them. At one point, I accidentally fell asleep while watching a band. That's how tired I was. Afterwards, I went to Walmart and waited 30487340 hours for a subway sandwich. I'm still annoyed at that. We ended the day by stealing ET from Too Close To Touch. Whoops!

DAY NO. 16 // AUBURN, WA

I finally got a break from being co-pilot and I'm so thankful. Well, Todor had relieved me before, I forget when, but I owe him big time. On this date, the guys got bumped again to the Cyclops stage. Insane. After the show, we went to Uncle Billy's house which was where we were staying and ate the best meat ever. Plus his pup is so cute. I also met the prettiest cat ever. I miss her. She slept beside me and I didn't care if I was allergic because she was perfect.  

DAY NO. 17 // PORTLAND, OR

Oh god. The last day of warped. Well to kick it off, I met two frenchies!! Cutest pups. They almost knocked me down with their butts. THEIR BUTTS. Ughhhhhh I miss them guys. I spent most of the morning outside the van working on some photos, and eventually went into the venue. The guys had been bumped up to play Poseidon. How awesome was that?! Very awesome. Closing out warped on Poseidon. Geez. Ok done being a proud emo Pebbles. 

DAY NO. 18 // YELLOWSTONE 

We left uncle Billy's house a few days after warped ended and went off to Chicago, but Eric made sure we stopped at Yellowstone before. I woke up around 5:30/6am and I don't think I have seen anything more beautiful in my life. He eventually saw I was awake and got Ryan to switch spots with me so I could ride up front and nerd out. Anyone who knows me knows I love nature and forests and anything that has cool colors and texture. We were here almost all day and it was a blessing. After this we continued our journey back to Chicago and arrived on the 17th. 

This was the best summer of my life hands down, and I have the guys in Marina City to thank for that. They trusted and believed in me and I don't now how I will ever repay them for that. Thanks for being the best people, the best friends, best brothers anyone could ever ask for. Thanks to everyone who I met this summer, to my friends back at home who kept me grounded and sane, Anam for being one of the best pals anyone could ever have, Nate for showing me tough love all of the tour, Uncle Billy for teaching his grandson to say Papi Chulo so he could bully me, Colleen for the dog pics and kind words when I needed them the most, Lori for holding it down at Focus, Brother Sam for putting up with me, Alyson for being kind and amazing, Ryan W for being welcoming, kind, and inspiring, Old Wounds for allowing me to photograph them everyday and being great humans (thx to 3/5 of you for spitting on me),  my mom for checking up on me and making sure I was eating and safe. There are too many people to add to this but I'm eternally grateful. I hope the rest of the year is as great as this summer, and I hope there are more tours after this. Onto the next journey.

Ps. This is one of three blogs. The next will feature all other photos from Warped, and the third will focus on my workflow + editing since people are interested in that. If there's anything else you'd like me to talk about, tweet me! Or email me with any questions you may have, I'm always down to help as much as possible.