About Dawn McAlexander

Dawn has been a music lover her entire life. She went to college in Boone, NC, an area that is rich in music and culture. She also worked as a radio deejay for 8 years and grew up in Southeastern, Va, a melting pot of different musical styles and traditions. She has been to more concerts than she can count in every genre you can imagine. She resides in North Carolina with her furbabies and her massive collection of Disney memorabilia.

2020 Carolina Country Music Fest Lineup So Far + 2019 Recap

2020 Carolina Country Music Fest Lineup

This year was my 2nd attending Carolina Country Music Fest and the music was amazing this year just like it was last year. Last year the headliners were Toby Keith, Luke Bryan, Zac Brown Band and Cole Swindell. This year the headliners were Alabama, Thomas Rhett, Dierks Bentley and Florida Georgia Line. Read on to 2020 Carolina Country Music Fest Lineup so far!

2020 Carolina Country Music Fest Lineup So Far

2020 Carolina Country Music Fest Lineup

If I haven’t stressed it enough, if you missed the last five years of Carolina Country Music Fest in Myrtle Beach, SC, you lost out on seeing some of the hottest country shows around. And it looks like the lineup for the 6th annual music festival won’t disappoint either. The 2020 Carolina Country Music Fest lineup so far consists of headliners Eric Church, Luke Combs, Darius Rucker and Jake Owen, along with supporting acts Jon Pardi and, just announced, Chris Janson. You can learn about more acts as they are announced here.

Where To Stay For Carolina Country Music Fest

I camped out at KOA Myrtle Beach again this year. I can’t say enough about KOA. I love the whole camping/music festival experience, and this way you can still have that, while at the beach. KOA Myrtle Beach even has cabins if you aren’t the camping type, but I love camping so it’s totally my jam. KOA also offers free shuttles to the beach, so you can catch one of those and walk a few blocks to the festival or you can catch an Uber and be taken right to it. I tried both ways, depending on my mood, time of day, etc. I also love that KOA had free pancake breakfast every morning. I mean, who doesn’t love pancakes? One night after the festival I came back to the campsite and there was karaoke. I didn’t do it because people don’t need the punishment that is my screechy voice, but it’s cool that they offer fun activities for the campers who are talented and/or enjoy these things.

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In a world full of tan, be orange. ❤ . I'm kidding. 😂 All camping is great. But how hot 🔥 is my easy up tent from @bassproshops? I used it at @epicenterfest but didn't really get to experience it all that much [except for how durable it is] due to weather issues. So I'm trying it out again, this time for @ccmflive! Check out my home for the weekend @myrtlebeachkoa. 🐿🐿🐿 . #KOA #MBKOA #solotravel #camping #nature #travel #adventure #outdoors #outdoor #camp #campinglife #explore #roadtrip #camper #photography #wanderlust #photooftheday #beach #naturephotography #instagood #tent #getoutside #summer #wilderness #campinggear #campingadventures #campinglove #trip #naturelovers #campingfun

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Another Year Of Top Notch Music At Carolina Country Music Fest

My favorite acts of the whole festival were Morgan Evans and Dan + Shay. I really liked “Tequila” and “How Not To” by Dan + Shay but I really wasn’t aware of much else by them. But when I saw them in concert, they sounded so great, their songs were fun and Shay’s voice is ridiculously good. So now I am a huge fan and have downloaded tons of their songs.

All I knew about Morgan Evans before CCMF was that he sang “Kiss Somebody,” he is married to Kelsea Ballerini and that he is from Australia. But he really did amaze me. He had some kind of foot pedal machine that allowed him to “play” all the instruments. It was only him on the stage and I seriously think it was all him as far as instrumentation was concerned. In all of the concerts I have ever been to, I have seen some things, but that’s not one of them. I was mesmerized.

On Thursday night, I got to see one of my all time favorite bands, Alabama! I have never seen Alabama until this year and now I have seen them TWICE! That’s the same night that Morgan Evans hit the stage, too, so it was, overall, a pretty amazing night.

On Friday night, I got to see Dierks Bentley and Brothers Osbourne do “Burning Man” together! Yes! That is one of my favorite songs by Dierks and the live performance did not disappoint. I also saw Randy Houser, Gabby Barrett, Sweet Tea Trio [their version of Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain” is fabulous], Jimmie Allen and I got to meet Danny Kensy.

On Saturday, we were evacuated due to bad weather for a short period. Florida Georgia line was set to perform that night, so I wasn’t too worried about it. I know I will get some hate for that but I just don’t love them. Their newer music is endearing them to me, though, I will give you that. “Simple” is a wonderful song. I really didn’t want to miss Dan + Shay that night though. But you guys already know I didn’t. I also saw Cam [so good!] and Gone West that night.

On Sunday, I saw Midland, Dustin Lynch, Rhett Akins [I have loved him for years!] and Thomas Rhett. Thomas Rhett rose from a lift within the stage and jumped really high when he came onstage. You could literally feel the excitement in the crowd. What a fun, energetic way to end the music festival.

Incidentally, this year is Alabama’s 50th and CCMF’s 5th anniversary. I thought that seemed like a great pairing. And, of course, I made a trip to The Bowery. I mean, how can you go to a music festival at Myrtle Beach, the home of Alabama, where Alabama is also playing, and not go to where it all got started? Come on, people!

2020 Carolina Country Music Fest Lineup

What Can Carolina Country Music Fest Improve On?

After my 2nd year of attending Carolina Country Music Fest, I see there are a few things they can improve on. I am hoping that they will start offering free water as I saw several people pass out [including myself on Thursday night] due to the heat and/or various health conditions. Since free water stations and/or sponsors offering free drinks is standard at most music festivals I have been to, I am hoping that Carolina Country Music Fest will join in.

I would also like to see more seating, that is easily accessible, and made ready available, especially to those with disabilities. I was told that to sit in the accessible section a doctor’s note is required. Since I attend music festivals and concerts all the time and have never been asked for a doctor’s note before, I did not have one. However, I have a heart condition and, given that experience, I now have a doctor’s note that I take everywhere with me. The accessibility section in the main stage area is also view obstructed so if you don’t get there and secure a good seat early, you can see very little, if any, of the concert, depending on where you sit. I am also unsure if any of the other stages even have disability seating. I do know that every time I tried to sit at the Blue Moon area I was turned down, so I stopped going to that stage.

Overall I Highly Recommend Carolina Country Music Fest

Having said all this, Carolina Country Music Fest does have a lot going for it. It’s a pretty new festival, so I am hoping that these kinks I did mention can be worked out soon. But that musical lineup though! It is absolutely amazing, probably THE BEST [in my opinion] of any music festival that I have ever attended. And it’s consistent. The talent is always great, with major names that people can easily recognize and fabulous up and comers that are so worth your time to see.

They also keep the party going nonstop on the mainstage between sets with a deejay. I enjoy this because once I was able to secure a seat, I did not leave to go to other stages as I was worried I would lose it. I definitely recommend Carolina Country Music Fest, especially to those who are young and in great health. If you are in need of certain accommodations, just consider everything I said and decide or make accommodations according to your particular needs.

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Artists You Need To Watch: Travis Denning

Travis Denning

Over the years, I have been to Coyote Joe’s in Charlotte I have no idea how many times. I have seen so many artists there that I couldn’t even begin to name them all. Coyote Joe’s is a bar that I consider a staple for up and coming artists and those who are winding down from the huge arenas after a meteoric career. So, Saturday night I rolled out to the Charlotte music venue again, this time to catch Travis Denning’s show.

Artists You Need To Watch: Travis Denning

Who is Travis Denning, you might be asking? I first became acquainted with him when he was on the roster for this year’s Carolina Country Music Fest. I saw his name, looked up a few songs to familiarize myself, and instantly fell in love with “After A Few.”

 

After A Few – I think we all know the drill. We break up with someone that we know is bad for us, then we run into them out somewhere, in this case a bar. We fall back into conversation, reminiscing, and then we end up right where we don’t want to be, back with that person that is so wrong for us – and hurt all over again.

This song is super relatable with a catchy hook that I just can’t get out of my head. And the fact that Travis Denning looks like the adorable boy next door, instead of some jerk just using the girl, helps to make his delivery and credibility perfect. Oh, and he confirmed that wholesome image by dressing up like Captain America for Halloween. I rest my case.

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AVENGERS…..assemble. Thanks for the party @hardy

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I think Travis Denning will be big. And the fact that he is touring in 2020 with Dustin Lynch doesn’t hurt. Check out Travis Denning’s tour dates and go see what all my fuss is about. You can thank me later.

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Things To Do This Weekend: See Les Miserables In Charlotte

Les Miserables
Les Miserables: Mary Kate Moore as Fantine

It’s almost the weekend and we don’t have to give this week to the kiddos and Halloween [Happy Halloween, by the way]. The kids get today. That’s it. This weekend can be yours! So here’s what you need to do. Get dressed up, go out to dinner with your friends and catch Les Miserables at Ovens Auditorium in Charlotte, NC. You can thank me later.

Things To Do This Weekend: See Les Miserables In Charlotte

Tuesday night, my friend Leigh and I did just that. Neither of us had seen Les Miserables on the stage previously. And I really knew very little about the plot of the musical except what my friend, Jason, told me: that a man’s life was forever changed after he stole a loaf of bread to feed a child.

Les Miserables
Les Miserables: Allison Guinn as Madame Thenardier

Cameron Mackintosh presents the new production of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg’s Tony Award-winning musical phenomenon, Les Misérables, direct from an acclaimed two-and-a-half-year return to Broadway. With its glorious new staging and dazzlingly reimagined scenery inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo, this breathtaking new production has left both audiences and critics awestruck, cheering “Les Miz is born again!” (NY1). Set against the backdrop of 19th-century France, Les Misérables tells an enthralling story of broken dreams and unrequited love, passion, sacrifice and redemption – a timeless testament to the survival of the human spirit. Featuring the thrilling score and beloved songs “I Dreamed A Dream,” “On My Own,” “Stars,” “Bring Him Home,” “One Day More,” and many more, this epic and uplifting story has become one of the most celebrated musicals in theatrical history.

Les Miserables may have been written by Victor Hugo in the 19th century, but the story still resonates. Poverty is an issue that is, unfortunately, quite prevalent today. And the punishment and “invisibility” to other members of society that can often come with an impoverished existence is something that we may never overcome. Why is it that the people who have often feel like the people who have not deserve their placement in life? Why is it that the people who have often feel that their fortunate placement in life at birth has more to do with their rights than sheer luck?

Les Miserables
Les Miserables: Josh Davis and Nick Cartell

Instead of giving a hand up and out of poverty, we often punish those that are poor with anything from late fees [more money they don’t have] to punishments that are both biased and disproportionate to the actual crime committed. These “deterrents” often drive the convicted, and also their family, further into poverty, thus producing a virtually impossible to break cycle of recidivism. It’s hard to change your life when the system seems to work against you.

Les Miserables
Les Miserables: Jillian Butler as Cosette

The themes of Les Miserables are relevant today and the music will break your heart. When Fantine tearfully sings, “I Dreamed A Dream,” how many of us can relate? We’ve all experienced heartache, sadness, loss and desperation. And many of us have felt utter hopelessness at some point in our lives, as well.

Through all of the heartbreak and loss, in the end, Les Miserables is a story about hope and redemption. Though life can sometimes seemingly beat us into submission, there is still always the possibility for change just around the corner. Most of the characters in Les Miserables have no material possessions. But what they do have is hope. Though “..life [may have] killed the dream I dreamed,” it will never stop me from dreaming a new one.

See Les Miserables now through November 3rd at Ovens Auditorium. Get tickets here.

Les Miserables
Les Miserables [Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy]

Things To Know Before You Go

Ovens Auditorium has convenient parking in a lot right beside the building. I had not been to Ovens Auditorium prior to this night and was glad for the ease of parking as that is not always the case in cities. One of the parking lot security guys also told me that Ovens Auditorium has been in operation since 1955.

Learn about how you can support Blumenthal Performing Arts through donation here.

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Viva Chicken Opening In Winston-Salem 10/30

Viva Chicken
Viva Chicken: Arroz Chaufa & Sweet Potato Fries

Yesterday I took my nephews, Bradley and Preston, for a day out in Winston-Salem. We were heading there, specifically, for the soft opening/launch party of Viva Chicken, the new Peruvian Chicken restaurant that will be opening in Winston-Salem on Wednesday. I had never had Peruvian chicken before and neither had my nephews, so we were pretty excited to experience it for the first time.

Viva Chicken Opening In Winston-Salem 10/30

Viva Chicken is a Peruvian Rotisserie Joint specializing in Pollo a la Brasa. Their menu is fresh, flavorful, and packed with inspired recipes that will transport your taste buds to the streets of Peru. Viva Chicken is not only hip and healthy, it’s quick and convenient and a great spot for dine-in or takeout.

As I said, Bradley, Preston and I had never tried Peruvian food before, so ordering was an adventure. Viva Chicken’s menu is really descriptive, though, so even if you are a Peruvian novice, you still get a pretty good idea of what you are getting in advance.

Viva Chicken
Viva Chicken: Arroz Chaufa

I ordered the Arroz Chaufa [Peruvian Fried Rice] – Jasmine Rice, red peppers, green onions, red onions, egg, soy sauce and ginger. I also ordered Sweet Potato Fries. I really wanted to order one of their Signature Juices but couldn’t decide which, so I asked the cashier to decide for me. I ended up with the Chicha Morada [Peruvian purple corn, cinnamon, clove, pineapple, apple, lime], which we all agreed tasted a bit like pumpkin pie – I am thinking because of the cinnamon and cloves.

Viva Chicken
Viva Chicken: The Great & Cilantro Infused Rice

Bradley ordered a sandwich called The Great [Pulled rotisserie chicken, lettuce, tomato and onions, rocoto mayo]. He also added Jalapeno Bacon and he got it on ciabatta bread. For his side, he chose Cilantro Infused Rice. Everything we tried was great but the cilantro infused rice was my personal favorite thing of the whole meal, along with my Signature juice.

Viva Chicken
Viva Chicken: Cilantro Infused Rice

Preston also ordered The Great but he ordered French Fries for his side. Admittedly, I am not that big of a french fry person, but Viva Chicken‘s are really good. Viva Chicken has 3 sauces that you can choose from and we tried all 3 for the French Fries and the Sweet Potato Fries. I liked them all but my personal favorite one was Aji Amarillo [the yellow one]. The sandwiches are pretty big and Preston wasn’t able to finish all of his. Both boys also had Cheerwine with their meals. Even though Cheerwine is from North Carolina, it isn’t all that easy to find in restaurants, so they were pretty excited about this.

It was a beautiful day so we sat outside on the open air patio. Of course, there is lots of indoor dining space, too, for those days when the weather is not as inviting.

I feel like the prices are pretty cheap for the area and you get a nice portion of food that tastes great for your money. There are a few more expensive items on the menu but you could easily eat there for less than $10 a person.

I had leftovers and the boys argued over who got to eat the rest of my Arroz Chaufa. Um, what about me? Haha! I did let them take my leftovers, though, because I am as awesome aunt, naturally.

Viva Chicken

Viva Chicken is located at 3493 Burke Mill Rd, Winston-Salem, NC 27103 and opens to the public on 10/30. Check out their full menu here! Try it out and be sure to let us know what you think in the comments below or on social media!

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“Mary, Queen Of Scots” At Piedmont Opera + Tips For First Time Opera Attendees

tips for first time opera attendees

I love music. What I find funny is that, since I was an on air personality at a country radio station, I have run across many people that mistakenly assume that ALL I like is country music. And that is not even remotely close. I think my musical tastes are pretty well rounded and I like at least a few artists in in most any genre from Bluegrass to Rap.

“Mary, Queen Of Scots” At Piedmont Opera + Tips For First Time Opera Attendees

Here’s an example: in high school, I went on a trip to Canada and saw “Phantom Of The Opera” off Broadway and I was mesmerized. I came home and immediately found the Broadway soundtrack and played that poor cassette into the ground. “The phantom of the opera is here inside your mind…”

tips for first time opera attendees

Fast forward to the present where I found out that the Piedmont Opera was doing a production of “Mary, Queen of Scots.” Since “Phantom Of The Opera” is the closest thing to an opera I have ever actually seen, I really wanted to expand my cultural repertoire and check this out.

tips for first time opera attendees

Freedom. After 18 years of being held prisoner by Queen Elizabeth, her cousin, Mary, Queen of Scots breathes fresh air. Believing herself to be the true heir to the throne, Mary has been imprisoned first for plotting against her cousin, and ultimately for attempting to murder her. This day of freedom turns to condemnation as these empowered women have a momentous meeting.

My Thoughts On “Mary, Queen Of Scots”

On Friday night, I took myself to Winston-Salem. I went shopping and then to the Piedmont Opera’s production of “Mary, Queen of Scots” [starring Yulia Lysenko as Elizabeth I and Jodi Burns as Mary Stuart] at the Stevens Center in Winston-Salem, NC and I thoroughly enjoyed my evening. I don’t know all of the proper terminology to describe my opera experience sufficiently to you, but I did attend the opera pre-talk so that I can start educating myself. If given the opportunity, I think you should always choose to learn. You are never too old to expand your horizons and to expose yourself to new things. You never truly know what you will like until you try it. And I absolutely loved the opera! The singing was amazing, I mean next level amazing. The costumes were gorgeous, the educational experience beforehand was interesting and I had a great experience overall that I hope to get to do again really soon.

tips for first time opera attendees

Tips For First Time Opera Attendees

Don’t let your not having previously experiencing something stop you from ever experiencing that thing. That’s absurd. I had many questions before I went to the opera, but I really wanted to go and I did not let my questions stop me. Let me share some tips for first time opera attendees with you so that hopefully I can alleviate any fears you might have before going to the opera yourself.

  1. Is there parking near the Stevens Center? Yes, there is. I parked in a nice garage about 1 block away and paid for my parking in advance with my card. The machine takes cash, as well, so it’s super convenient. The deck was not crowded and I was able to easily pull away after the opera as my parking was already covered.
  2. Do people dress up for the opera? Yes, many do. Most men were wearing suits and ties, but I did see a few in nice pullovers or button down shirts. Many of the women were in cocktail dresses, but many were also dressed business casual. I was wearing a nice top, leggings and slip on shoes and felt completely comfortable. I do not recommend wearing jeans, tshirts, or other super casual clothing.
  3. Is the opera in English? I am sure that many of them are, but “Mary, Queen of Scots” was in Italian. However, there was a screen above the stage with the dialog in English for you to easily follow along. No, it was not running super fast like you sometimes experience with movies with subtitles. I find that stressful. I think the opera subtitles shared just what was necessary so that you could follow along and still be engaged with the production taking place on the stage.
  4. Can you donate to Piedmont Opera? Yes you can! Click here to learn how you can make a tax-deductible donation to the Piedmont Opera.
tips for first time opera attendees

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6 Non-Music Things To Do In Nashville

7 Non-Music Things To Do In Nashville
Music City isn’t just all about the music

Nashville – the home of all things country music. In fact, just try mentioning the place without someone saying Dolly Parton or Kenny Rogers and see how far you get. It’s the Mecca of country music and for many fans, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see where the magic takes place. But for every avid country music fan visiting the Grand Ole Opry or the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, there’s a family member that’s tagging along and quite possibly bored out of their mind. 

Well, thankfully Nashville isn’t just the home of country music. It’s actually a pretty great city to visit with plenty of things to do. So forget Dolly and Kenny (yeah that’s not going to happen is it?), from checking out giraffes to playing a hand of Texas Holdem, here are 6 great non-music related things to do in Nashville.

Head To The Zoo

Yes, there’s a zoo in Nashville. Well, it’s located in Grassmere, about 6 miles from Downtown but if you have a car, then it’s pretty close. The zoo is one of the best in the area and is home to around 339 species of animals. 340 if you include the visitors. There are over 6,000 individual animals and they are all really well looked after.

What’s great about this zoo is that it’s laid out in such a way that it’s incredibly easy to get around not to mention relaxing. Did you know that it is the state of Tennessee’s most popular paid attraction? That’s a record not to be sniffed at considering that the Country Music Hall of Fame is just down the road. If animals are your thing, then this should definitely be on your itinerary. 

Hitch A Ride To A Casino

There are no casinos in Nashville so if you want to go all Kenny Rogers and play some poker like the Gambler (sorry, musical reference!) then you have to hitch a ride out of state. It’s such a popular thing to do that there are companies that organize luxury transport from Nashville directly to the poker tables of Harrah’s or Tropicana Casino. They pick you up in the morning and drop you back in the evening. You can play everything from slot machines to roulette but there’s only one game you should be playing and we all know that’s poker, right?

Now, you may think you know how to play poker and maybe you do. But for those of you that think it’s all about luck, we’ve got news for you – It ain’t! Poker is a game of strategy and you’re not going to get anywhere playing your cards close to your chest and throwing what you think is a poker stare at your opponents. Nope, if you want to hold your own at the table, then you’ll really want to have at least a basic understanding of the rules and hand values. If you want to try your luck, then stick with the slots!

Learn About Science

7 Non-Music Things To Do In Nashville
The Center is situated on a hill overlooking the city

Photo credit: Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

Science rocks but you already know that. What you probably don’t know is that Nashville is home to the Adventure Science Center. This is a non-profit science museum that is actually a place for people of all ages to learn about the wonders of science. Here you can learn about beekeeping, have fun in the adventure tower, pick up some interesting facts about space and the universe, or sit outside in the Galactic Gardens. The best activity though has to be Virtual Reality. That’s so much fun and well worth a look. 

Even if science isn’t really your thing, the center is a great place to go as the views of the city are pretty spectacular. Nah, forget that, this place is amazing, so get back inside and check out the planetarium or one of the many temporary exhibits that are held throughout the year. 

Visit Andrew Jackson’s Plantation

You know Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of the US? Yes, that Andrew Jackson. Well, his former plantation is called The Hermitage and is located and easy ten-mile drive from Downtown Nashville. You may be wondering why you’d want to visit what is essentially and old farm but the thing is, The Hermitage is so much more than a plantation. 

This is a chance to step back in time and learn about the inner workings of the former president’s plantation. There are guided tours that take you through the plantation and the museum, while you can also wander around a bit yourself if you’re feeling a little more adventurous. If you’re feeling tired from all that country music stuff you’ve been doing downtown, then there’s a nice wagon tour that’s highly recommended. 

Gawk At Old Cars

7 Non-Music Things To Do In Nashville
Some of the incredible cars in the Lane Motor Museum

Photo credit: Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

If you like old cars and motorbikes, then you’re going to love Lane Motor Museum. It’s a non-profit museum established by Jeff Lane in 2002. He’s a local car enthusiast who loves nothing more than finding old cars and restoring them to their former glory. 

The museum is home to over 150 cars and motorcycles and the largest collection of European cars in the United States and known as one of the top car museums in the country. You’ll find cars there from all over the world and there are even a few old prototypes that never went into production. Their claim to fame at this museum is that every car and motorcycle in the building is in perfect working order. Even for non-car enthusiasts, it’s quite an interesting way to spend an afternoon. 

The Honorable Mention

The honorable mention has to go to Madame Tussauds. Even though the Nashville location is pretty much totally musically-orientated, it’s a fine spot for some fun and photos. Yeah, I know this is supposed to be non-music stuff but where else can you get a photo of Miley Cyrus, Rihanna, and Katy Perry? They even have Bono, too.

So there you have it. Whether it’s a day trip to the casino for a few hands of poker, or an afternoon spent checking out the largest collection of European cars on this side of the Atlantic, there are plenty of things to do in Nashville that don’t revolve around the Grand Ole Opry. Now, there’s no excuses for being bored even if country music isn’t your thing.




5 Of The Best Fitness Apps

5 Of The Best Fitness Apps | Eat Play Rock
Mobile apps can be a great way to take advantage of your ever-present mobile phone to increase your fitness

Photo by Stocksnap / Pixabay License

Making fitness a part of your life is mostly about routine. Healthy eating and exercise need to become a regular part of your life in order for you to be able to properly commit to them. One easy way to build that routine is to take advantage of the other thing that is a major part of everyone’s life: the smartphone.

Your phone is almost always on you and, with the range of fitness apps available, you can use it to build exercise routines, remind you to do them, track your food intake and break that intake down into specific data, such as calories or nutrients.

The only downside to using apps is the sheer number of them you have to choose from. There are literally thousands on the market and it can be hard to know which ones are the right ones for you.

To help you out, we’ve put together a list of the top five best fitness apps you can use on your mobile phone.

MyFitnessPal

MyFitnessPal has risen to become one of the most widely recognized and popular fitness apps available on mobile. The reason for its popularity is that it works well and has a fantastic range of features. 

You can track your calories with the calorie counter, add in food by scanning the bar code, use different specific diet plans, and break your food intake down into macros. On the exercise side, MyFitnessPal allows you to log periods of exercise and connects with dozens of peripherals and other devices to help you track your exercise data.  

It might not have some of the finer detail of other, more specific apps, but few apps can match MyFitnessPal for pure, all-round, usability.

5 Of The Best Fitness Apps | Eat Play Rock
Not everyone has the time to go to the gym, so bodyweight exercise and yoga apps are great for getting in an office or home workout to keep fit

Photo by lograstudio / Pixabay License

Sworkit

Sworkit is an exercise app that provides you with workout routines, an exercise planner, and fitness tracker. You can customize your workout schedule to fit your personal timetable and the app will provide you with daily routines to do, as well as a personalized 6-week program to get your fitness journey started.

There are thousands of pre-generated workouts for you to choose, from quick no-equipment office workouts to longer sessions that you can do on a day off or over the weekend, giving you the freedom to workout wherever and whenever.

You Are Your Own Gym

Not everyone has the time to go to the gym or the space to store gym equipment at home; You Are Your Own Gym, often shortened to YAYOG, solves that issue by giving users a range of over 200 bodyweight-only exercises, that are organized into different categories.

These bodyweight routines come with instructional videos, so you can see them in action, and are great for people who need to fit exercise into a busy work routine.

5 Of The Best Fitness Apps
Gamifying exercise is a growing trend in fitness apps, because nothing gets you running quite as fast as being chased by a horde of zombies

Photo by Free-photos / Pixabay License

Pocket Yoga

One of the major benefits of yoga is that is can be done with limited space and no equipment, ideal for space-starved travelers, office workers, or really anyone who spends a lot of their time sitting in a chair.

Pocket Yoga gives you the added benefit of having a miniature yoga instructor with you at all times. The app gives detailed voice and video instructions to help you through the poses and breaking exercises, and 200 beautifully illustrated images to make sure you are entirely sure what you are doing.

Zombies, Run!

Getting the motivation to run, especially after a long day at work, can be difficult. Zombies, Run! Solves that problem by providing you with an interesting narrative and the motivation of running from a horde of the shambling undead.

Getting more of the story requires you to not get caught by the zombie horde and that means running at a certain pace for a set amount of time. Zombies, Run! has over 300 story missions and a variety of different interactive play modes, similar to other AR games like Pokemon Go. The app does all the usual running app functions, like tracking distance, heart rate and time.

Zombies, Run! is great at giving you the motivation to run and something to concentrate on other than you aching legs, but it’s probably not the best app to use if you are running at night!

*This post contains collaborative content.




9 New Downton Abbey Character Posters #DowntonAbbeyFilm

9 New Downton Abbey Character Posters #DowntonAbbeyFilm

Who is as excited for the forthcoming Downton Abbey film as I am? I remember when I watched the series, I informed my family that from then on they were to start referring to me as “Me lady.” I am shocked to say that for some ridiculous reason they weren’t having it. Oh well… If you are into elaborate courtships, being referred to as British high class society and the epic side eye and biting sarcasm that is Violet Crawley, this is your year! Downton Abbey is coming to theaters on September 20, 2019. Grab your afternoon tea and check out the trailer and 9 new Downton Abbey character posters below.

9 New Downton Abbey Character Posters #DowntonAbbeyFilm

9 New Downton Abbey Character Posters #DowntonAbbeyFilm
9 New Downton Abbey Character Posters #DowntonAbbeyFilm
9 New Downton Abbey Character Posters #DowntonAbbeyFilm
9 New Downton Abbey Character Posters #DowntonAbbeyFilm

Story: The television series Downton Abbey followed the lives of the Crawley family and the servants who worked for them at the turn of the 20th century in an Edwardian English country house.  Over its 6 seasons, the series garnered 3 Golden Globe Awards, 15 Primetime Emmy Awards, 69 Emmy nominations in total, making Downton Abbey the most nominated non-US television show in the history of the Emmys – even earning a Special BAFTA award and a Guinness World Record for the highest critically rated TV show along the way.  

Director:  Michael Engler

Writer: Julian Fellowes

Producers: Gareth Neame, Liz Trubridge, Julian Fellowes

9 New Downton Abbey Character Posters #DowntonAbbeyFilm
9 New Downton Abbey Character Posters #DowntonAbbeyFilm
9 New Downton Abbey Character Posters #DowntonAbbeyFilm
9 New Downton Abbey Character Posters #DowntonAbbeyFilm

Cast:  Hugh Bonneville, Laura Carmichael, Jim Carter, Brendan Coyle, Michelle Dockery, Kevin Doyle, Joanne Froggatt, Matthew Goode, Harry Hadden-Paton, David Haig, Geraldine James, Robert James-Collier, Simon Jones, Allen Leech, Phyllis Logan, Elizabeth McGovern, Sophie McShera, Tuppence Middleton, Stephen Campbell Moore, Lesley Nicol, Kate Phillips, Maggie Smith, Imelda Staunton, Penelope Wilton

Get Social With Downton Abbey

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2019 Louder Than Life Lineup + Win 4 GA Weekend Passes [US, Ends 7/3]

2019 Louder Than Life Lineup + Win 4 GA Weekend Passes

Louder Than Life is coming to Louisville, KY, September 27-29. This year’s acts include Guns N’ Roses, Slipknot, Ice Cube, Godsmack, Disturbed, Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson, Breaking Benjamin, Stone Temple Pilots and so many more and here is your chance to WIN 4 GA weekend passes to the music festival!

2019 Louder Than Life Lineup + Win 4 GA Weekend Passes

Who is ready to rock? I don’t know about you, but I have not seen a lot of these bands yet, so I am ready to blow this popsicle stand and get to this music festival right now. But, alas, it’s not til September. What?! Oh well, that gives us plenty of time to plan, doesn’t it? 😉

And I am so ready to rock 80s Guns N’ Roses style. I might even tease my hair for this event. And you guys know I don’t fix my hair, so that’s saying something.

2019 Louder Than Life Lineup + Win 4 GA Weekend Passes

I gotta be honest. I am most excited about Guns ‘N Roses and Ice Cube. And Epicenter made me a new fan of Motionless In White, so they definitely are now on my priority list for Louder Than Life. Who are you most excited about seeing? Secure yourself some tickets today before this bad boy sells out or take your chances and try to win some below.

2019 Louder Than Life Lineup + Win 4 GA Weekend Passes

Win 4 Louder Than Life GA Weekend Passes

Here is your chance to win 4 General Admission Weekend Passes to Louder Than Life Music Festival. So enter now and maybe in September you will be packing up your favorite friends to check out this epic rock festival in Kentucky. Be sure to come back daily for the free entry. This giveaway is open to the US and ends on July 3. Eat Play Rock is not responsible for prize fulfillment. Prize delivery will be via Louder Than Life Music Festival. Best of luck!

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2019 Louder Than Life Lineup + Win 4 GA Weekend Passes

Get Social With Louder Than Life

Tickets / Official Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify

6 Music Themed Restaurants In Myrtle Beach

6 Music Themed Restaurants In Myrtle Beach

On Thursday I am headed back to Myrtle Beach to go to Carolina Country Music Fest. Last year was my first time attending and I tried to keep the restaurants music related to make it a whole themed trip. Because I am cool like that. If you are like me, and I might be making your acquaintance at this year’s music festival, be sure to check out my favorite music themed restaurants in Myrtle Beach and plan your food festivities accordingly.

6 Music Themed Restaurants In Myrtle Beach

Hard Rock Cafe – If you haven’t been to Myrtle Beach in a few years, you might not know that Hard Rock Cafe changed locations. They used to be in the pyramid building but now they are at Broadway at the Beach. I asked why they moved and was told that they are trying to streamline the look of the Hard Rock Cafes, to make them more uniform, so that the focus can be more on the music. So RIP pyramid and hello brand new Hard Rock Cafe.

I always buy and/or trade souvenir pins when I go to Hard Rock Cafe and now have quite the collection. Unfortunately, I never got one at Gatlinburg before they closed down that location, so if any of you want to hook me up with one, I sure won’t be saying no. 😉

Wahlburgers – I remember when I went to Coney Island a few years ago and laid my eyes on my first Wahlburgers [a franchise co-owned by Paul, Donnie and Mark Wahlberg]. It wasn’t completed yet but I had been watching the show [still do] so I was at least familiar with the franchise. Fast forward to last year and I finally got to eat at one – in Myrtle Beach. If you are able to make it, be sure to order something with “government cheese.” Soooo good.

And for any of you who might not consider this restaurant to be “music themed” I beg to differ. Who can forget about New Kids On The Block and Marky Mark? In the restaurant, you’ll find tons of memorabilia from their music days [as well as their acting careers] hanging around for you to peruse.

House Of Blues – Some of my absolute favorite memories of Myrtle Beach include House of Blues. I remember one time, a few years ago, leaving for Myrtle Beach kind of late and being really exhausted when we finally got there. So, we headed over to House of Blues for the Murder Mystery Dinner Theater and then we hung around to listen to the Journey tribute band that was playing afterwards. It was the perfect way to relax after a 5 hour car ride.

And last year during Carolina Country Music Fest, we tried out the Sunday Gospel Brunch for the first time. I know that many of you who are attending this year’s music festival will be looking for Sunday church. Why not go to House of Blues? There you will find amazing gospel music singers and a buffet full of fantastic southern food. If you really want to immerse yourself in southern culture, be sure to try chicken and waffles. It was a first for me [even though I am from the south] and I left a fan.

Margaritaville – Anytime I travel, I make it a point to stop by Margaritaville. And, after years of promising me they would soon have them available for purchase, they finally have souvenir pins. I believe I now have pins from both the Pigeon Forge and Myrtle Beach locations. But I will be checking my pin collection before I head out to make sure. Otherwise I will be picking up one on this trip.

Anyway, who doesn’t love Jimmy Buffett? Even if you don’t love his music, if you are headed to a beach, you are probably down with his vibe. Seriously though, if you don’t love “Come Monday” can we even be friends?

The Bowery – I mean, come on people! How can you go to the 5th annual Carolina Country Music Fest, where Alabama will be playing Thursday night by the way, without going to The Bowery? Did I mention it’s Alabama’s 50th year and they got their start at the legendary Bowery. Plus, it’s located right next to the music festival. So, if you aren’t driving, you don’t even have to worry about paying the Uber fare. Just walk on over. Convenience. I got you. 😉

I stopped in last year and you can trust that I will stop in again this year. Who knows? Alabama might even drop by The Bowery, too!

Dave and Buster’s – I am throwing Dave and Buster’s in, too, because they have music themed games and the TVs play music videos that you can watch while eating. So, even though it might not be predominately music themed, they offer enough that I think all of you music aficionados will still really enjoy the atmosphere there. Plus, they have really good food and offer money saving deals on food and game combos. I recommend joining their email list for specials.

And did I mention cocktails? Dave and Buster’s has some super fun drinks to choose from, too, many that come with fun monsters on the side! Yes, I am an overgrown child. 😉

These are just some of the music themed restaurants that I have tried out in Myrtle Beach and, of course, I haven’t been everywhere. Do you have a favorite to suggest that I missed? I’d love to hear about it if you do!h

Still don’t have your tickets for Carolina Country Music Fest? What the heck, people? Get on it already before they run out and you are left sitting at home, watching my Instagram for updates!