[Life Hack] Booking A Fun Filled Getaway for Your Crew

We all have them, those days that go so erroneously wrong that you’re not just committed to the fact you woke up on the wrong side of the bed, it actually – literally -feels like you woke up on the wrong side of Mercury Retrograde. Thankfully, that all ended on February 11th and according to Punxsutawney Phil, we’re* going to be suffering* through another six weeks of winter.  For the record, those asterisks are to denote that we is the Royal, East Cost, we and suffering is because I’m empathetic; I live in California, we watch winter from TV while we tan; anyways.   Last December, my friends took me on an impromptu road trip to Big Bear – it was my first time really playing, hiking, reveling and flat out dancing in the snow and I simply couldn’t get enough.  And to boot, I was reveling in a bit of pre-Retrograde good luck: the company I’ve been contracted to for work was bought out, and in the happiest of mishaps, I woke up with a some extra bounce in my step and cash in my bank account.   If an adventure with just a few friends was fun, an adventure with more was obviously better – so I immediately started plotting our escape from LA. It might sound a little silly, but I’ve never in my thirty years of living planned a getaway for more than two people – so this was an adventure in more ways than one and I’m eager to share my do’s – and don’ts! – of booking a group trip.

Booking dot Yeah

Photo by Jimmy Eid

Being the first time I’d ever secured a trip for a group of more than two, I was more than a little nervous. Sure, when I’d gone to Avila Beach the year before I had a group of seven with me – but I’d taken over another friend’s booking, and as it turns out I only got to witness the easy part.  Considering the state of the economy and current wages, I abide by the principles of  ‘Balling on a Budget’ and I do it well.  Next time you want to secure a cabin rental for a group of 6+, there’s a few ways to do it.  The incredibly rote way, would be a Google search on “Location” + “Group Cabin Rental”; but if you want to get more bang for your buck, there are a few sites that feel like striking gold.  We all know that  AirBnB is a hip, happening, wonderful resource.  From single room to entire home, you can rent based on your necessity – but for large groups, the options dwindle down or are exponentially expensive. Three equally wonderfully options are FlipKey, VRBO and Home Away.  FlipKey has spotted luck depending on your Metro, so obviously the more obscure the more difficult; and for the last two, I’m a huge fan – so it’s no surprise to me that they’re actually tied to the same information hub.   If you’re looking to book an entire cabin or house, these are the sites that you want.

Location, Location, Location

Sandy beaches, blossoming blue skies and sunny dispositions – that’s my vacation personality, so when it came to booking a Winter vacation – I had to do some crowd-sourcing.  Don’t get me wrong – I definitely  have fleeting fancies of being a snow bunny, at least for a night or two.  When you’re planning your group’s getaway, you’re not only taking your preferences into consideration – but you’re taking a simple random survey and through intelligent data analysis, you’ll find the best options.  Yes, I got all statistical on you for a second but for good reason – you at least want some people to come; right? Make sure you pick a vacation, or staycation, spot that has plenty to do for the whole family.  When we were in Big Bear, there was skiing and snowboarding for my snow kittens, a hot tub for the ones who preferred to stay warm and a national park just moments away; we had DJ equipment, photography gear, mood hoops, Cards Against Humanity and Mood Hoops – literally something for every personality type.

All My Party People In The House

Last, but most definitely not least – your crew!  It’s not a party without the posse, but be sure to set some ground rules before you go because let’s face it – money and friends not only don’t mix, but have the potential of ruining an otherwise wonderful weekend.  If you’re fancy enough to finance the cabin yourself and have your friends pay you back, more power to you – because of my aforementioned work situation, I was finally able to do that and it took such a load off of my shoulders.  But I’ll be the first to tell you, it doesn’t always work that way – as I found out when I went to Arizona at the beginning of the month.  Alleviate your anxiety, and tell your friends that the way to secure a spot over the weekend is to drop a little down payment for the room.  From their entire deposit to a simple $20, every little bit helps in getting you back to square one – and keeps you from discussing or dealing with money on an exciting weekend away from the “real world.” If you’re feeling frisky and want to get super organized, Facebook Events are a great way to keep track of RSVPs and last minute notes, while Google Docs provides the perfect forum for shopping lists and sharing ideas.

Photo by Jimmy Eid

[Doing it Right] Armin Van Buuren’s Post-Grammy Award Show

Being a California native, it takes me a little more than the average bear to get ‘starstruck‘; but, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.   Back when I was working in El Segundo for Internet Brands, I saw Gary Payton at the local dive bar and started shaking in my boots I was so excited!  It’s not everyday that you’re standing in front of a childhood idol, and there I was – jaw to the floor in front of ‘The Glove’ and I couldn’t even muster enough syllables to form a coherent sentence. When I worked at Mercedez-Benz Fashion Week in Los Angeles, I hugged and interviewed Christian Audigier of the infamous Ed Hardy clothing brand. Now, no – I don’t ‘love‘ his clothes, and you might have to pay me to wear about a third of what they produce – but absolutely nothing can compare to meeting an idol, fashion mogul and exceptional business brain.  A year ago this weekend, I started writing for The DJ List’ – an internationally respected, EDM webzine, and the number of opportunities I’ve had that take my breath away are simply magnificent.  What started as me wanting a ‘hand in the EDM cookie jar’ has catapulted to me with a foot in the door in the EDM world.  I’ve had the privilege of rubbing shoulders with the best and brightest, and have amazing memories to show for it.

Last Spring, my boyfriend and I met Markus Schulz and covered the details of his Scream 2 Album and Bus Tour.  Then, to throw a cherry on top of my musical ice cream sundae – this past December as a little belated birthday present from the world at large: I got to meet, touch and hug the #1 Trance DJ in the world, Armin van Buuren at an exclusive Press and Fan meet and greet opportunity at the House of Blues in Hollywood where he dished about his latest one man tour, Armin Only: Intense, as well as his first Grammy nomination for the smash single ‘This Is What It Feels Like’ featuring vocalist Trevor Guthrie. Fast forward to last week and I’m churning through my emails, trying to find a ray of sunlight in my bleak inbox – and stumbled across an email from his PR agent who I simply adore: Sound Nightclub was pairing up with Armin and Trevor to celebrate their Grammy nomination for ‘This Is What It Feels Like’ and they wanted me there.  What?!  This is one of the first, and only moments, that’s left me laughing historically, wondering who in the world I am and exactly how I’ve gotten so lucky?  Granted, hard work and dedication have paid off – I’ve penned almost 60 articles for The DJ List, which isn’t anything to sneeze at – especially when you consider my full time job, and penchant for wild and crazy fun, and inherent need to basically do everything under the sun.  I want it all, and somehow, I’ve managed to get it.

Last night, three of my favorite people in the world – my wonderful boyfriend, one of my best gals that I started Beatnet EDM with and my friend who pioneered the amazing EDM Event site ‘Music Alerts’ – strutted into one of the hottest, and newest Hollywood clubs for our first time to see the man, the myth, the Trance Legend – AVB!  The venue was small enough that it’s an intimate setting, and the party was small enough that there was room to shake your groove thing and get down with your trance arms wherever you felt necessary.  Most parties at Sound pack the place to the brim, but since this was Armin’s party – no real tickets were sold; the show was invite only and the crowd, as plastic as 80% of them looked, was having the time of their lives.  Unfortunately, Armin didn’t take home the Grammy for ‘Best Dance Recording’ but the category was chalk full of amazing singles, and could’ve easily been anyone’s ball game. The rest of the category played out like this –  This Is What It Feels Like was up against Clarity from Zedd and Foxes, Kaskade’s Atmosphere, Calvin Harris and Florence Welch for Sweet Nothings, and last but certainly not least, breakthrough smash ‘Need You (100%)’ by Duke Dumont, MNEK and A*M*E.  At the end of the night, the award was much deservingly given to Zedd and Foxes – and I couldn’t be happier with the choice.  As much as I was rooting for Armin, if I had to pick a single of his to be nominated – that would not have been it.  In and Out Of LoveFine Without YouVirual Friend – they each have an immense depth, heavy layers and ethereal vocals that build throughout the track and IMO, were much more deserving of a Grammy nod; but that was a different world back then.  I’m more than interested how EDM effects other, more mainstream genres and infiltrates both Pop Music, and our Pop Culture;  Dance Music has been on the rise over the last ten years, and I can’t wait to see how EDM pushes the musical boundaries next.

Armin 2


ARMIN2