episode-52-1024The first time I ever heard of The Moth was on my favorite show! It’s no secret that the show Girls on HBO is probably one the the things I cherish the most in this whole world! I even embarrassingly created a FB group to connect with other girls who loved the show. lol! I know, I’m lame! (If you want in click > Girls Who Watch Girls…The TV Show) Anyways! I saw this episode where Hannah got on this stage and bared her soul, by telling a true story, in in front of a ton of people at this place called The Moth. It was so beautiful to me. So I did what everyone does when they don’t understand something, I googled it, and I was fascinated by what I found. And I knew right then and there, I HAD to go!

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The Moth has been around since 1997. They have events in bigger cities, held once a month. At these open-mic-style events there is one topic which is announced 3 months in advance. The topics are usually one-to-two words, and sort of up for interpretation. They are all something that humans, by nature, experience in some capacity or another. For example the next upcoming months topics (in most locations) are, “Fresh“, “Karma“, “Cheating“. They call these events “StorySLAMS“. People come prepared with a 5 minute TRUE story on the given topic, and the hopeful story-tellers all place their names in a hat. The Moth draws from those names, and 10 people are chosen. The names drawn are the story-tellers for the night. They each get up, one by one, stand on stage and pour their heart out, with experience and truth. There are also 3 judges in the audience, picked at random. Sometimes in teams of two and sometimes just 3 separate people. Judges simply hold up a number that can be seen from the audience to the stage, and it is recorded on stage the old fashion way, hand to paper.  The judging and winning isn’t important though, it’s the  getting up and sharing. That is the real prize. Everyone in attendance can feel it too. However, after 10 StorySLAMS in a city, they have a GrandSLAM Championship, where each winner steps on a bigger stage and again bares all. The only real prize to win is human connection. It’s beautiful, in every sense of the word.IMG_2046 2-2

If you live in the Panhandle of Florida, like myself, the closest cities with The Moth are New Orleans, (3 hours Pensacola, 5 hours from Panama City Beach) or Atlanta (5 hours from Pensacola or Panama City Beach) On The Moth’s Website, is a full list of cities where you can search for events! As I said before, they are in bigger cities all over the country!IMG_3223-2IMG_4313-2IMG_9719

New Orleans is closest to me! 3 hours, not too bad! The GrandSLAM was the next event The Moth had up, so I just had to go! I bought tickets, booked a room at my favorite hotel in Nola, and convinced my mom to come with! We had a magical experience at The Joy Theater. We drank champagne, and listened to stories from people of all different ethnicities and ages, 21-87. The girl who runs The Moth Nola was soooo freaking funny!!! All the stories were so special! We laughed, teared up, and felt almost every emotion. Leaving the theater, I remember feeling buzzed off human connection. It really says something about humans in general, that although we are all so different, with different families, friends and cultures, we all experience the same range of emotions, and that somehow we are all connected. The Moth is really about The Human Experience.

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The Moth made me grateful to be alive, and I hope you make it a point to experience it. I’m thinking of entering next time! Let me know what you think about The Moth, and if you’ve seen that Girls episode I’m referring to! Or even if you watch Girls at all! I really hope you look into The Moth and if you ever want to go, I AM SO DOWN! Seriously, hit me up! Well, I love you! I’m going to leave you with some super cute New Orleans pictures of my FAVORITE hotel The Catahoula!

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Last, but not least, here’s a super cute pic of my mom!!

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Okay, I love you BBYYYEE!

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I feel like V-Day has grown stale. Which is very sad to me because, little fun fact, IT’S MY FAVORITE HOLIDAY! Kind of strange, I know, but I love showing love! Valentine’s Day isn’t just for people in relationships and that’s where the V-Day haters get it wrong. I think everyone could use more love in their lives. What better of a day can you ask for than to give and receive love from the people you care about? Okay, I will stop being so Hallmark card-ish. You’re probably nauseous by now. Since everyone normally just goes to dinner, and restaurants have totally capitalized on this, with “A Special Valentine’s Menu”,  THAT’S usually about $75 a person! I’ve taken it upon myself to give you some awesome ideas. Do not get me wrong, I LOVE going out to dinner. I LOVE everything about it, the ambiance, good company, the options, and not having to cook! But, I mean you can go to dinner any night of the week. Why go on the most crowed AND expensive night of the whole year? No thanks! I love planning “fun days” it’s one of my specialties. If you know me, then you know I’m always on the hunt for something fun to do! So I think I got you covered!

 

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ARCADE: What is more fun than an arcade!? Its also romantic, and playful. Dates like these are just the BEST kind, filled with innocence, and laughter. Personally, I strive to do things that I don’t do on the regular, like all the time! It keeps life interesting! It’s easy to spend all day in an arcade. Picture it, corn dogs, ice-cream, air hockey, skee ball, cheap beer, and shooting hoops! Life simplifies, it’s easy to feel in a different world in places like that. That kind of environment makes for a perfect date and makes for an unforgettable time!IMG_1242.jpgIMG_1249.jpgIMG_1211.jpg

Roll your own sushi: I’ve personally never done this before, but I’ve always wanted to! A night in trying to do a new activity together, especially making a meal, is such a bonding experience. No phones, no TV, just a really awesome playlist! Don’t forget wine, and a pallet on the floor, or a blanket fort! Matt and I used to do this all the time, only we bought the sushi! Sometimes we would play “Heads up” too. Highly recommend “Heads up” ESPECIALLY after wine! But any game will do! Now that sounds like a perfect night to me!

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Bike Ride: This is most definitely one of my ALL TIME FAVORITE THINGS! We normally take our bikes to the beach, with some beer or wine, and stop at little spots on the water, or a bar for a drink. Being outside like that, makes me feel so carefree! This is what you call some QT with your QT! (Haha! OMGosh I need to go to sleep) You just kind of go where ever the ride takes you! It’s very romatical and make sure to get the sunset in.

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Picnic: I know this is not an original idea, but I have to mention it because even though it’s simple, it can be so thoughtful. Bring mimosas! Matt surprised me one time on our anniversary with a picnic and it always makes me smile when I think about that day. I want everyone to feel like that. Here’s a pic from that day!IMG_1256

 

A whole day: Start the day together. Go get coffee and order for each other. Go to your FAVORITE coffee shop. Everyone has one. Next, go to a record store, spend about 30 minutes browsing and listening to music. Then take turns buying a record for each other, but don’t let the other see. Then do a reveal at the same time! Repeat at your favorite book store. This is such an intimate way to explore each others interests. Ideal! This date, in my opinion, is ideal!mattbodo!.jpg

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Okay I’m done being super cheese pizza! I really do hope that Valentine’s Day is a happy one for you. Make your best friend your Valentine. Go see 50 Shades of Grey and get wine drunk! Have fun and celebrate the love you have in your life, at whatever capacity that may be. Be thankful for the ones who love you! JUST HAVE AN AWESOME DAY AND GO HUG SOMEONE!!!

(I’m going to leave you with the first picture Matt and I ever took together!)

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Remember I love you! Okay bye!!!!

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The Sundance was something I have always, always, always wanted to do! And thought, “Ah, I’ll probably never, ever get to do that.” I’ve wondered, “How do you even get tickets? How much are tickets? What all do you do there?” But this had been something on my bucket list for years! Then, I got an opportunity at work to win a trip. And guess what? I WON! It was this time last year, and it’s one of my most favorite things I’ve EVER done in my entire life; and as a FUN connoisseur that is saying something! I’m so sad I’m not there right now… ah, I will be back though, I promise! Anyways, I’m going to explain what Sundance is and what it’s like to actually go!

****** 90 PERCENT OF THESE PHOTOS ARE SCREEN GRABS FROM VIDEOS!!! PLEASE FORGIVE ME FOR THE QUALITY, THIS IS NOT MY NORM! I JUST WANTED TO INCLUDE SOME FOR REFERENCE! SORRY AGAIN!******

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TICKETS: Since I’ve been eyeballing tickets for years, on top of talking to other people at the festival, I know how this works. We were lucky and had tickets for 6 different movies waiting for us in our hotel! However, if you don’t win a contest and just want to go on your own free will, you will need to make an account at: http://www.sundance.org/festivals/sundance-film-festival/get-tickets                             Once you have made an account, they will send you a link with a time and date you are available to log on and order tickets. Tickets to the big, good movies, and most of the movies in general, sell out FAST. Like a few hours FAST! Tickets are not expensive which is nice, because they totally could be! Only $20-$25 dollars! The Sundance encourages people to give their tickets away if they are not able to attend. NO resale! I just think that’s so cool because it makes it about the art instead of money!

STANDBY TICKETS: They also sell Standby Tickets for the same price, once the regular tickets sell out, online or at the box office in Park City, UT. These ticket get you into the show if someone doesn’t show up on time for a movie; which with all the action, does happen.

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THE LINES: Now for the kicker, just because you have tickets does not mean you are guaranteed a seat! I know that sounds crazy! Since the tickets are in such high demand, and so hard to get, they sell the Standby Tickets, like I mentioned earlier. When you arrive at the theater there are two different lines: Ticket Holders and Standby Tickets. If you are a “Ticket Holder” (meaning you have a Regular Ticket, not a Standby Ticket) you absolutely HAVE to arrive at least one hour ahead of time! If not, your spot will most likely go to a Standby! Be prepared to stand there for an hour. In most of the venues, you wait in long lines under these white tents. Also, if you have someone with you, have one of you hold your spot while the other goes and grabs snacks! Yes, they sell popcorn and candy in most venues and sometimes beer and wine too! Here is a picture of Matt with popcorn while we were waiting in line! It’s awesome too, because most of the time you’re in line with great people who love movies too. You never know who you could be standing next to and most everyone is excited and friendly!

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The Theaters: Park City, UT is probably one of the cutest towns in America! It literally looked and felt like we were inside a snow globe! It’s a quaint little town. The theaters are spread all over town and some showing just outside of town. We went to three different theaters while we were there, some we went to more than once. One was in a school Library, another was at the high school’s Performing Arts Center, (Sundance donated TONS of $$$, so this one was new and HUGE!) and luckily, THE FAMOUS EGYPTIAN THEATER! I was kind of surprised with how small the screens were in all of these!  The Library was super cool, just snacks and absolutely NO alcohol. The high school’s Performing Arts Center had sandwiches and hot chocolate, but no booze (it was YUM and hit the spot!) The Egyptian was so iconic! ALSO, snacks and WINE!

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Premiers: Premiers are kind of what they sound like. The stars of the movies are there, most of the time; definitely the writers and directors. The coolest part of the Sundance, in my opinion, is after the movie, the cast and directors stand on stage and take questions from the audience. You can ask them ANYTHING! Like, “What were you thinking when you were writing this character? How did you prepare for the role?” etc. etc. ANYTHING! It was so cool to be in that position but of course when SELENA FREAKING GOMEZ walked by me I completely froze and missed my chance to convince her that we are BFFs! I also froze when I had the opportunity to ask Paul Rudd a question, and definitely when it came time to make John Krasinski fall in love with me. Oh well. You win some, you lose some.

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BARS/NIGHT LIFE: So a BIG misconception when you hear the word FESTIVAL, is that it’s sort of a roped off, exclusive thing. At the Sundance it’s not like that! Yes, the movies are roped off and you better have a ticket, but other than that, ANYONE can go to the scene down there. At certain places there are parties that are exclusive, but that’s it. Main Street is where all the action is! The street is lined with the amazing bars, cafe’s, and upscale dinning. The thing is, since it is Sundance time, every bar charges a $20 cover. Not too bad, unless you bar hop like we did, lol. I had two favorite places. Funny story, I could NOT remember the name of one of my faves! I google researched and finally found it! Just GUESS what the name is? It’s “No Name” NO WONDER!!!! (But I have no excuse, bc a bar in my hometown is called that too!)  No Name had a super cool cabin feel, with huge antler chandeliers, and white Christmas lights everywhere. Their upstairs bar and balcony was a dream!! It over looked all of Main Street. My second favorite was Flanagan’s downstairs bar. It was sssooooo cozy and they had the most talented girl playing live! Wish I could remember her name! Anyway, it was perfect! BTW, we’re not really club people!

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PRO TIP: DO NOT DRIVE! There is NOOOO parking anywhere! Just Uber into town everyday, eat and play around there! If your theater is not near Main Street, just Uber to it! You will thank me later!

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SKIING/SNOWBOARDING: I’ve heard Utah has the best snow! Being from Florida, I don’t have much experience in this, lol. It was super fluffy and softer than any snow I’ve seen. SO, we went skiing/snowboarding one of the days. I mentioned I’m from Florida right? Well I was sssooo good…JK they had to completely STOP the magic carpet when I fell on it, and my ego only got slightly crushed as the 6 year olds whizzed by me. HAHAHA  It was a blast though, you have GOT to go ski there, it’s just completely breath taking! After you’re fed up, you can make your way on over to the Chateau, take those HORRIBLE contraptions known as ski boots off, and order yourself a stiff one! You deserve it! In all seriousness, it was one of the prettiest mountains I’ve seen. Highly recommend, even if you’re not the pro skier you’d thought you’d be.

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FESTIVAL FESTIVITIES: I know I have mentioned Main Street a lot. That’s where EVERYONE goes in-between movies! At any given time you’re stand next to writers, producers, directors, actors, etc. Also, it is a festival, so they have lounges all over Main Street that are free to enter and all have cool actives inside. They also have panels that are free to attend, with writers and directors or shows you know and love. Like I mentioned before, you don’t even need tickets!

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Seriously, this trip was a DREAM experience! I HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommend putting it on your bucket list! I’m just going to put it out there and say I am going next year for sure! I hope you got the feel for what it’s like to go and how it works! I wanted to provide some insight, because I was so curious for so many years!

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I can’t end this post without telling you my favorite movie we saw though! “The Fundamentals Of Caring” you will laugh, cry, and feel all the feels. Its a true story! We got to see the real people, along with the cast, and its SUCH a good movie! It’s on NETFLIX!!! YOU’RE WELCOME!!! I’m a TOTALLLLL movie buff!! ESPECIALLY Indie movies! Please leave me a comment and tell me what your favorite movie is so I can go watch it!!!!

k LOVE YOU BYE!!