Music Monday! Album & Concert Review – The Rocket Summer “Zoetic”

Hello again!
For today’s Music Monday I’m going to be talking about my favorite band, The Rocket Summer. I previously discussed TRS in November when I went to the “Returning West” Tour at Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco, click here to read that blog post. On April 12th, I went to the “Zoetic” Tour at The Troubadour in Los Angeles – the following post will partially be a Concert Review of that experience with some video footage.

I’m also going to review “Zoetic”, the new Album. As I’ve never done an Album Review before, I’m not exactly sure how to format it. For my first attempt I’m going to write a basic summary of my thoughts because I don’t want this post to be TOO long with the Concert Review attached as well. Writing could get too lengthy, in the future I may do this all via video, but we’ll see. Let me know what you would prefer in the comments below!!

After reading the reviews, if you’re interested in purchasing any of the songs/albums, they’re all available for free on Spotify or of course, you can buy the album on Itunes or through The Rocket Summer website. I highly recommend buying through the website because they have a bunch of really unique deals, for example, I got an actual CD – autographed! – & a digital download for about $15/$20.

UPDATE 5/2/16: After many more listens & getting these lyrics stuck in my head, I’m updating my Album Review to 4 stars. Bryce’s passion for music & the subjects he sings about are hard to deny & infectious. Perhaps there’s something to be said rating-wise about an album that takes a few listens to connect to, but I’m sticking with 4 stars. I’m still saying I don’t necessarily connect with ALL of these songs lyrically, but the music is just SO good. Give “Emergency Landings”, “Sharks”, & “White Fireworks” a listen or two or five or 50 RIGHT NOW!

Album Review – 11 songs, overall – 3 out of 5 stars
I think I’m too biased. I fell in love with The Rocket Summer as an alternative pop semi-Jesus loving kind of sound & lyrics. “Zoetic” is DIFFERENT. I’m happy for Bryce, that he’s getting the chance to expand his horizons & follow his heart – as happy as you can be for someone you don’t know, haha!
I enjoyed the album from a musical perspective. Bryce tapped into ALL his talents in terms of the music arrangement, vocal range, & style. “Zoetic” definitely has an edge to it, a harsher, angrier style that fans haven’t seen before, & I appreciate it. It’s always nice to see your favorite artist grow & show different sides of themselves. I’ll be adding most of these songs to my Gym Playlist, a place TRS songs don’t usually go.
Unfortunately I feel like so much work into the music that the lyrics were an after thought. Some of the songs are super repetitive which I’m used to hearing with pop songs on the radio, but is not usually Bryce’s style.
Overall I enjoyed this album because as always you can tell Bryce is super passionate & he puts so much effort into his work. I have to give him props for that even if I wasn’t able to connect with the lyrics this time around. In my perfect world, a future album will include lyrics in the style of previous album “Do You Feel” with music in the style of “Zoetic”.
Favorite Tracks: “Cold War”, “Same Air”, “Get Over It”, “FL, CA”


Concert Review
The Venue – I’d never been to The Troubadour in Los Angeles before, but was pleased with the venue. Parking was convenient, $12-$15 for Valet, & the area seemed safe. There’s two rooms, the first is super small off the left & has the bathrooms, a bar, & the merch table. That area was super squishy crowded, but the main room was pretty spacious – or maybe there just weren’t that many people there. There were seats available on an upper level & another bar in the main room. The drinks were fairly expensive though, $9 for a Jack & Coke. It might look like a dive, but don’t forget you’re in LA. One cool new (to me) thing about this show was that they were selling Giving Keys that said Zoetic on them. Giving Keys is a charity that employs those transitioning out of homelessness to stamp empowering words on keys. The idea is that you’re supposed to buy a key with a word that means something to you, wear it until you feel like you’ve accomplished a related goal, then pass the key on to someone who needs the empowerment from that word. I’ve wanted a Giving Key ever since I first heard about the company, actually I talk about them in Vlog #2!, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity to buy one.

The People – As I said in my previous TRS Concert Review, the crowd at these shows are pretty respectful, mostly women or couples. There was an overly enthusiastic guy standing right next to me that was kind of weirding me out, but he wasn’t being aggressive so eh, to each their own! One thing that surprised me was the amount of children! I’ve seen teenagers before, I’ve been a teenager at a TRS show (!!), but these were kids younger than 10. It seemed like a weird parenting decision to allow kids out late at night in such a loud setting, but what do I know about raising kids!?

The Performance – The music was harsher than I’ve ever heard, but that’s the nature of “Zoetic”. It seemed like there were a few technical issues, a couple times the music sounded off & Bryce looked off stage at the tech & looked sort of irritated/frustrated. There was definitely one problem where his guitar wasn’t sounding right or something & he looked for the tech – & nobody came. He kept looking around & was holding out the guitar while trying to continue singing, but no one came. Bryce did his best to stay professional & ultimately it was kind of funny, a moment that showed a real human side to the show, but was probably stressful for him. As you’ll see in the video, Bryce brought a Fan on stage to play Cello during “Never Knew” – a VIP experience he’s offering on his website. I couldn’t hear one note of the Cello, I felt bad. My mom was sitting in the upstairs seating & said she heard it & it was great, so I’m not sure if there was a sound issue, or maybe that just wasn’t the best venue to use a Cello..?

Final Verdict: Obviously amazing, awesome, magical! I didn’t wait for Bryce to come out after the show because I’d been at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (!!!!) all day + had to drive back to Orange County, so I was ready to get going. I have plans to see him THREE more times, PHX Rebel Lounge, SNA Constellation Room/Observatory, & SF Bottom of the Hill. I will probably wait for him in SF because that’s the first place I met him & that’s the last stop on the “Zoetic” Tour, so it’ll be a nice bookend. Of course, if you like TRS I definitely recommend seeing him live. There’s not a lot of time left, but click here to see if he’s playing near you!

What do you think? For those of you that hadn’t heard of TRS before, did I make you a fan!? If you’re going to any of the shows I’ll be at, let me know in the comments below – I’d love to meet up! Please remember to SUBSCRIBE/LIKE/COMMENT/SHARE to my YouTube & this blog, thanks for reading 🙂

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Try This! Mainland Ink

Hey everyone!
Try This! is going to be a little bit…unique today! Usually Try This! will be more of a Haul/Product Review piece, but today I’m going to be reviewing my experience getting a tattoo at Mainland Ink with my best friend Katie.

Disclaimer: Getting a tattoo is a HIGHLY!!!!! personal choice that requires thought & planning. I am in NO WAY saying that you should run out & get a tattoo at Mainland Ink or anywhere else. I am simply sharing my experience & the thought process behind our piece. If you have any questions/comments/concerns, please feel free to leave them in the comments below! Also below, check out a quick video of Katie & me in the tattoo process!


I’ve known Katie since high school where we caused much mayhem & mischief together as cheerleaders. Being on the same team, we obviously knew each other & were close, but my Junior year we were co-Captains of our team & the rest is Best Friend/Soul Sister history!

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The tattoo is, from left to right, the Alchemical symbol for Air (Gemini is an Air sign), the Gemini symbol, & the Deathly Hallows from Harry Potter. Another best friend, Marcela, pointed out an alternative interpretation that Katie & I are equally happy with – it could be all Harry Potter related with the symbols standing for the Sorting Hat, the Time Turner, & the Deathly Hallows.

Katie has a few tattoos already, whereas I’m a novice to the game. I have one other tattoo which I’ve kept under wraps because it’s not finished yet. We had been talking for a bit about getting something matching but never seriously pursued the idea because I didn’t have any tattoos yet. However, after I got my first tattoo the idea of doing something together became way more real so we started planning. We’ve always bonded over the fact that we’re both Gemini, her birthday is June 1st & mine is the 7th. We also are both huge Harry Potter nerds. The piece is special because it appeals to us individually yet also references interests we share.
I’ve wanted a Gemini tattoo since I was in high school because I’ve always felt it was so spot on in describing my personality. Also, my dad had his sign tattooed on him, & in a weird turn of events, the tattoo artist was named David (my dad’s name) & we got the tattoo on the anniversary of my dad’s passing so it all felt very…spiritual & a way for me to connect with him.

We decided to place the tattoo on our foot for practical & “meaning” reasons.
Practical – We’re aware that tattoos in the workplace are still not totally welcome so we wanted to make sure it was something we could semi-easily hide. My other tattoo is on my side, so I couldn’t watch it being completed. Being able to watch was quite a different experience! The pain is about the same, at worst it’s like a sharp pinch. One weird thing that happened was when the needle hit a certain…nerve/muscle/tendon…? my foot would twitch. I was holding my leg down because I was afraid the motion would ruin the lines, but it turned out basically perfect. There are a couple minuscule wiggles but they are SO hard to notice, you literally have to be nose to foot. David asked if I wanted him to go over the lines again, but I said no because its hardly noticeable & we were both concerned that more touch ups would run the risk of more twitching & henceforth more wiggles.
“Meaning” – Being a Gemini, our connection to HP, & our connection to each other are what makes us who we are, it’s our roots. Placing the piece on our foot symbolized that roots/ground idea.

About Mainland Ink
Positives: The shop was clean, comfortable, has a great rating on Yelp, & they were able to work us into the schedule, even staying late two nights in a row. Everyone we talked to (Ozzy, David, & another guy but I didn’t get his name – sorry!) was really nice & willing to work on the design & placement with no attitude. They treated us with equal amounts of respect even though I’m a newbie & Katie has more tattoo experience. This is important to me because my first tattoo artist seemed annoyed by my questions or when I wanted to adjust the placement/stencil. I felt like she wanted me to just do what she wanted because I didn’t have any tattoos & she did. I’m still allowed to have an opinion about what goes on my body! This was not the case at MI & it was greatly appreciated. The shop minimum was on par with what I expected.
Negatives: Communication was a little weird. I emailed our design & inquired about pricing/availability. No answer. Later that night I called & we ended up stopping by. We were told Ozzy would call the next day to set up a firm appointment time, but by late afternoon we hadn’t heard anything. I called the shop & Ozzy said he was planning on calling when he had a bigger chunk of time between clients. I understand he’s busy but we were starting to stress & wonder if they even wanted our business. At the shop we’re eventually told David will be doing our tattoos – what?! Who?! He didn’t have any examples of his work to show which made me extremely nervous. Thankfully we had a pretty simple design because if we had been doing anything more complicated I wouldn’t have let him tattoo me.

Should YOU Try This!? – In regards to a tattoo in general – Maybe
In regards to Mainland Ink – If you’re looking for a Tattoo Parlor, yeah!
Like I said, tattoos are not for everyone & should be very carefully considered. I shouldn’t have to say this but THEY. ARE. FOREVER.  I don’t advise getting a matching tattoo with anyone unless your relationship has stood the test of time & the piece means something to you individually as well as in regards to your friendship. Katie & I have been friends for over 10 years & had a really honest talk about the idea of doing a matching piece. Coincidentally, or maybe not too much of a coincidence considering we’re best friends & think alike, we both want another Harry Potter tattoo using the same quote & a mermaid themed tattoo, so someday we’ll have a couple similar pieces anyway. We figured we’d get the ball rolling with one that was an exact match 🙂
Mainland Ink was great! Other than the communication issues, everything was awesome & I would recommend this shop. I’m beyond obsessed with my tattoo, I can’t stop looking at it, & am so excited to show it off!

Do you have any tattoos? If so, tell me about them or send me a pic in the comments below! If you don’t have any tattoos, do you plan on getting one someday? I’ve wanted a tattoo since I was 15 & didn’t get one until I was 25. If you need a shoulder to cry on about your waiting struggle or someone to talk to about future plans – I’m all ears because I’ve been there too & I love hearing what people have planned! Remember to hit that FOLLOW button to stay updated on all the posts here. Thanks for reading & watching 🙂

DIY! Valentine’s Day Wreath

Hi everyone! Today’s Vlog is a DIY Valentine’s Day Wreath tutorial! I wanted to get this DIY out to you ASAP so you’d have time to make it & use it as a decoration before Valentine’s Day.
I am thinking about starting a “DIY Wednesday” series, but wanted to do a “test video” before I jumped into committing to a full series. Please let me know with a LIKE, SHARE, or COMMENT, if you enjoyed this video & want to see more like it.
Please note – this video was mostly created for comedic purposes. I don’t consider myself crafty. I don’t expect my DIYs to turn out well at all – I realize I’m not creating high quality material, haha! I just want to attempt some things & see if the average person can be capable of creating some fun stuff.

Big thanks to Opulent Cottage for the inspiration for this DIY!

Watch the video below to find out if I was successful at this Valentine’s Day craft! Please don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE to the YouTube channel & FOLLOW this blog!
If you decide to try this DIY I’d love to see it! Follow me on Instagram: @MissAl_Leigh, tag me, & use the hashtag #MissAlLeighDIY so I can see all your awesome creations! Thanks 🙂

Event Recap! The Steve Jobs Movie

Hello all!

I’m excited to finally announce…I was an Extra in “Steve Jobs” – the newest Steve Jobs biopic being released THIS WEEKEND!!! The film was directed by Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours) & written by Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network, Moneyball – which I was also an Extra in). The film stars Michael Fassbender as Steve Jobs, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen, & Jeff Daniels. I saw the director & all the stars except Seth Rogen, which I was kind of upset about, but it was from far away anyway so it’s okay. The film takes place backstage during 3 key Apple product launches leading up to the 1998 launch of the iMac. Obviously it will delve into what was going on with the company and Jobs during these times.

Filming took place in San Francisco at the Davies Symphony Hall and the surrounding streets. During the scenes at the Symphony Hall we were portraying guests at the unveiling of the “brand new” iMac so we did a lot of sitting, waiting, and cheering when Fassbender came on stage as Jobs. During the outdoor scenes we were portraying guests arriving for the unveiling. As these were large crowd scenes, I do not expect to have any screen time AT ALL, but hey, ya never know! It was a long day. There were some slight scheduling issues & we didn’t get a food break until we were done filming around 7pm! People were VERY upset because we had been waiting quite awhile & it had started to get cold. I had a great time, my mom was an extra with me & we quickly made friends with other extras & of course had each other for entertainment. However, to a certain extent, I understand why others were getting a bit peeved, especially because we weren’t getting paid to be on set.

All in all it was an awesome experience! A major highlight of the experience was overhearing this conversation…
Woman 1: “Is Steve Jobs actually going to show up?”
Woman 2: “GIRL, he’s been dead for years! If he shows up we’re all in trouble!!!”
With conversations like that, it’s no wonder I love to be on set! Take a look at the pictures I included below, they’re just picturse of my “’90’s costume”, but I’m curious to see what y’all think. We were told to dress like it was 1998, but when I was 7 & 8 years old I was definitely NOT wearing anything that I wanted to wear to a movie set in 2015, haha! I wanted to dress my current age within the staged time period, not wear clothes I actually wore during that time period. I did a lot of research on Google & Pinterest, but even that proved to be somewhat difficult as certain ’90’s trends are making a comeback. There were a lot of modernized looks, but of course, that wasn’t what I was aiming for. Anyway! Please let me know what you think of my look! Also, please see the movie & let me know if you spot me! 😛 Thanks for reading!

DIY Tutorial: Decorative Headband Holder!

DIY Decorative Headband Holder

DIY Decorative Headband Holder

Hey y’all!
Today I’m doing a DIY Tutorial that will show you how to turn an Oatmeal container into a Decorative Headband Holder! This is a really super simple version of those more complicated tutorials you may have seen on Pinterest. My tutorial doesn’t require fabric, card stock, or any kind of glue. All you need is an empty, cleaned out 38 oz container of Oatmeal (or smaller if you’re crafting for a child), scissors, & duct tape in your preferred pattern/print/color!
This project is great for beginning DIYers, busy bees who don’t have a lot of time, those working with limited crafting space or crafting on a budget! As this is a pretty easy and safe craft – be careful with the scissors! – I think this would be a good project to do with crafty kiddos. I can see myself taking my little cousins on a trip to a craft store to pick out their favorite tape & spending some time crafting.
My basic Tutorial is very simple & allows for a lot of trial & error. If you make a mistake, rip the tape off and try again! If your container gets bent out of shape, take the lid off & pop out the dent! However, if you’re looking for something more, I’ve included some tips and tricks throughout that will help you spice this DIY up a bit! Let’s get Crafting!

Start wrapping the tape around horizontally, wrapping as you go. Cut the ends instead of tearing for a cleaner look.

Start wrapping the tape around horizontally, wrapping as you go. Cut the ends instead of tearing for a cleaner look.

Start by cleaning your Oatmeal container. I put the oats in a large Tupperware & dusted out any debris. I chose to start my tape alongside the seam of the container. Working in horizontal sections, wrap the tape around, as pictured. I worked one section at a time, pulling the tape as I wrapped rather than measuring or estimating how long each piece needed to be, but it’s up to you. I chose to overlap the pieces sometimes or start the sections in other areas to make the flowers match up so I didn’t create a uniform seam going vertically down. You can choose to line the tape up perfectly, but I don’t think that’s necessary because, really, who is looking that closely!? Most of your headbands will cover up the tape lines. If you’re using a less busy pattern, like maybe a chevron print, it would probably be more beneficial to match everything more closely as it will be more obvious if your rows disturb the pattern.

The base

The base

On the last row, I worked in smaller vertical sections to fully cover the base. As you can see it took me a few tries to make all the pieces the same size, but no one will see, so it doesn’t really matter. I covered the overlapping pieces with one last horizontal taping & the container is finished – next up, the lid!

I was considering leaving the lid bare, but the plain plastic just looked so odd in comparison to the flowers. I secured a small piece of the tape under the lip of the lid, folded it up, then down onto the top. Again, this took me a few tries to get all the same size, but it doesn’t really matter because you’ll cover it up. I covered any remaining plastic in sort of a patchwork style. I wasn’t too precise with this either because I’m pretty sure I’m going to find something to decorate the top with & mostly cover the tape, but I’m not sure what yet. There you have it – that’s it! I attached a few headbands of different types so you could get an idea of what this Headband Holder can do. I will most likely be making another holder so I can separate stretchy “gym” type headbands from the more standard non stretch type.

Did you enjoy this DIY Craft Tutorial? I think this is so fun & easy! It would also be really simple to spice this DIY up a bit by using E6000 Permanent Craft Adhesive or a hot glue gun and attaching a decoration to the lid, or securing the holder to the center of a cake plate for a fancy base.
Now that I’m thinking about it, you could create this same project, punch small holes down the side, insert pegs, and voila! – you just made a stand to hold multiple pairs of sunglasses. Or cover up a large gum holder like the Mentos containers, and use it to hold bobby pins/hair ties, or just have a fancy gum holder! Hmm…the wheels are turning!
What do you think of any of the ideas I listed above? Will you be trying out this DIY project? Please let me know in the comments below or tag me on Instagram/Twitter: @missal_leigh so I can see your finished product! Click the FOLLOW button on the top right to get an email notification when I write up my next DIY Tutorial – thanks for reading!