Our Family Tradition at Lollapalooza and Kidzapalooza 2016



Lollapalooza is officially a family tradition for us. You read that right…FAMILY tradition. This is the fourth year (in a row) that we’ve attended and keeps getting better and better. From the outside, the festival may be viewed as a big, loud party with crowds of young people at every stage, especially when some are scantily dressed. Well, this may be the case in the evenings, depending what evening you attend. But from the inside, the festival uses Grant Park to showcase the beauty of Chicago. We went on a Saturday this year and noticed so many more families there, not only families with young kids but we saw parents and their teenagers hang out together during the early hours of the festival.


One of the main reasons we make Lollapalooza a summer family event is Kidzapalooza!   For one thing, kids under 10 get in for free with an adult ticket! It’s like “a festival within a festival” because Luke got to enjoy the activities and we got to enjoy watching him and listening to live music on a real stage. The types of activities there are getting better and better every year. Last year was the first year that The Land of Nod set up a play area for kids with teepees and all, which was a great addition.  They returned this year with more teepees and a camper tent for kids. Some of Luke’s favorites this year was getting his hair styled into a mohawk  by Snippets Mini Cuts and colored, painting on the wall, getting a personalized tote by Psycho Baby, and getting a tattoo.  Luke was totally rocking it in the Kidzapalooza play area!




The Kidzapalooza area is quite large and plenty of room for kids to run around. It doesn’t get very crowded (which I love). I think Lollapalooza does a great job with the artists who perform on Kidzapalooza stage. Our favorite artists are the Q Brothers (great improv rappinng skills) and School of Rock (interactive and they really get the kids into the music).  Finally, the music from the stage is not too loud so there’s less worrying about your kid’s eardrums.


There are plenty of  vendors (mostly local) to choose from. Most all are lined up on Columbus Drive or what is called “Chow Town.” Some of our favorites were the crack pie from momofuku, lobster corndog by Graham Elliott, ice cream by Rainbow Cone,  baos by Wow Bao (perfect snack for toddlers), and the Uncorked Wine Lounge where I got a cocktail pop.

Lobster corndog by Graham Elliott

Lobster corndog by Graham Elliott

As a tip, if your toddler likes cheeseburgers (as much as Luke does), there’s a vendor very close to the Kidzapalooza stage (one of the buildings on the grounds of Buckingham Fountain) that makes and sells great cheeseburgers. You don’t have to walk far.

I wish I would’ve taken more food photos to share but unfortunately, we devoured them before thinking about pictures. That’s living (eating) in the moment, right?


Walking our way up to the Red Hot Chili Peppers

Walking our way up to the Red Hot Chili Peppers

We made Lollapalooza a full day event, meaning we took Luke there during the first half of the day, then got a babysitter for the evening so we could see the Red Hot Chili Peppers at night. To be honest, I don’t think bringing a toddler to Lollapalooza in the evening is a good idea. Just trust me on that. Although it made for a long day, Charlie and I had a great time watching and singing to RHCP songs without worrying about Luke not enjoying it, which I don’t think he would since there was nowhere for him to run.


Purchasing Tickets – Tickets go on sale in March and sell out within a few hours or so. So mark your calendar and be ready to wait in a long digital queue on the day tickets go on sale  as there are probably thousands of other people who are online at the same time. I normally try to log in a few minutes before the official time. Somehow that has helped or maybe it’s been just luck?

When To Get There – I recommend getting there when the gates open and entering from the Monroe entrance. The lines and crowds are smaller. By arriving this early, you have Grant Park all to yourself (for a little while). It gives your kiddo a chance to run around (especially Buckingham Fountain) without the heavy foot traffic and more opportunities for photo opps (with less chances of someone walking by as you snap a picture or two).

Tag Your Kid – There is both in front of the Kidzapalooza stage called “Tag-A-Kid” where parents can register their children with the festival. Your child will receive a wristband which helps locate your child, if your child ever gets lost.

What To Wear – Comfort is key, especially shoes.  Sunscreen. Unless you’re 19, I don’t suggest wearing cut-off mom jeans and a half shirt.

Where To Go Potty – There are tons of port-a-potties around the park. And they are “clean” by my port-a-potty standards as they seem to be surfaced on a regular basis. For kids still in diapers, there is a changing station or mother’s area in the Kidzapalooza area.

What To Bring

  1. A Stroller – Even if your child may be a little too big for a stroller or may not like the stroller, I recommend bringing one, just in case. Grant Park is big. There will be a lot of walking. Sometimes little feet get tired or Luke decides to take nap. The stroller has been a lifesaver or in our case – armsavers.
  2. An Umbrella – Weather can be unpredictable and chances of rain showers in early August or during Lollapalooza are fairly high. We’ve been caught in a few rain storms.
  3. An Empty Bottle – Staying hydrated is key, especially for a rambunctious toddler. Fill the bottle at a water station for those necessary water emergencies.
  4. Headphones –  We don’t stay in the Kidzapalooza area the whole day. But we try to venture out to see different music acts on different stages. The volume at some of the stages can get loud. I always feel better knowing Luke has headphones on.

Walk Around and Discover New Artists – We tend to stay way from the main stages during the day as it can get quite crowded and hard to maneuver through with a toddler. But we do try to check out the smaller stages to discover new music and bands. So take a leisurely walk around if you don’t have an agenda or bands to see. Also, Lollapalooza offers so many great experiences or things to see (that are provided by the festival’s sponsors) around the park. So check them out before leaving.

Peace out, Lolla! See ya next year!

Peace out, Lolla! See ya next year!









What To Do When One of Your Pictures Shows Up on a Company’s Website Without Your Knowledge

A few months ago I posted a picture of a handbag on Instagram. I tagged the company that makes the bag on the photo and hashtagged the company’s name in my caption. To my delight, the company reposted the picture on their Instagram page and gave me credit for it.  Based on my experience with Instagram, that process has been accepted by me and others. I know in some cases that my pictures have been reposted without my knowledge and I was not given credit. It seems like with the social media platform, there are no clear rules or laws for how this all works. But I know at the end of the day, all  we want is credit, right?




Last night, I was browsing through the company’s online website because you know, I had the online shopping bug. To my surprise, I saw my same picture being used on the company’s website. At first, I was shocked, then flattered, and finally frustrated. The company never asked me if they could use the photo on their website nor did I give permission for them to do so. I purchased the product and was never “gifted” it. So I feel like the picture is my property unless someone wants to purchase it and use it.  To make it even more frustrating, the company did NOT credit whose picture it was on their website.


sezane website

sezane calvin bag scm


My experience with other retailers (when they want to use my pictures on their website) is that they ask me to use a unique hashtag relating to their company in the comments section of Instagram. By doing so, I agree to the terms and use of the photos by the company. Most of the  time, my photos show up the company’s website at the bottom of the product but not as the main picture for the product. But they always provide credit to who the picture belongs to. Usually my Instagram handle.

What I’m doing about it

At first, I thought I could let this go and not do anything about it as there aren’t laws on this or if there are, I don’t know about them. But then realized that this is not right, especially for Instagram users like me who should get credit for their work.  So this morning, I decided to email the company telling them about the situation, even showing my original Instagram photo, their Instagram repost, and what was on their website. I know I’m a small person in this social media world but I want to let companies do what is right, which is compensate the photographer or give them appropriate credit. I’ll keep you updated on what I hear back from them.


Within 24 hours of receiving my email, the company emailed me back and apologized for what had happened. They ensured me that what had happened was not “malevolent” and immediately added my Instagram handle in the product’s description as a way of adding attribution to the photo. In addition, they offered me an article of clothing of my choice as an apology….and I guess to let them use the photo on their website?

updated sezane

I posted my experience about this on my Instagram account. Most of the comments suggest that  it’s possibly illegal, the company could be sued, and that I should receive compensation for this. My friend even sent me this post by Sara F. Hawkins (http://sarafhawkins.com/instagram-copyright/)  that basically says that companies can be sued for doing something like this. But this is a French company, so can the US laws regarding using someone’s photo be the same in France?

I’m not a confrontational type of person to be demanding compensation or additional products from the company but feel that more should have been done by the company. I suggested that they first ask for permission from the photographer before putting it on their website. In addition, they should either compensate the photographer (similar to how they compensate for their in-house photographer or provide products that are comparable in value to the amount they pay their photographer).   For now, I am happy they updated their website to include an attribution to it, as the photo is clearly not their property or taken by one of their in-house photographers. And as one of my friends told me, although it is frustrating to have something like this happen, it is also a compliment.

Tell me your thoughts/experiences

What are your thoughts on social medial “resharing” pictures? Are there some clear rules on this? Have you experienced something similar? I would love to hear how you handled it and the outcome.




4 Things I’ve Learned During My First 4 Years of Motherhood


I wanted to write about this when Luke turned four in March or on Mother’s Day but found that I had too little to share or too much to share. But last night, I had a light bulb or “a-ha” moment. I think this sums up how I’ve been feeling lately. And hey…Luke is still four so this post still applies. Let me know what you think. What is one thing have you learned about motherhood that you would want to share?



We’ve always wanted to have more than one child. So in the beginning, I figured if I didn’t get it right with Luke, I can make it right with the next child. This is probably true for people who tried to do everything right for the first child but kinda slacked with their second child. (Well, that’s what some of my friends have told me, anyway.) But going through secondary infertility, I’ve realized that I may never get a second chance. I’ve come to realize that I need to make every moment with Luke count, outside the home as well as inside the home. To be present and mindful. Put my phone down (I blame social media). These first four years have flown by and I sometimes I want to go back in time to do more.  I’m not saying that I’m always on my toes at each moment because I admit, there are days that I’m mentally tired from work or just need to rest. But I do try to plan our “adventures” not only for him to enjoy but for all of us.  In the past year, I’ve made the conscious effort to put my phone and camera away, to be in the moment and to give Luke my full attention. I’ve come to realize that he’s happiest when I’m 100% there. He doesn’t care about the pictures, just me listening to him and playing with him. And this is also why I love bedtime. Before he goes to bed, we sit and talk about his day (what he learned at daycare, what made him happy, who he played with). I’m getting teary-eyed thinking about it.


It’s easy to get caught up with the things other moms are doing. And it’s hard not to compare or feel like you’re not doing this motherhood thing the right way.  But a few years ago, I decided that the only way I can make me (and my family) happy is to do it our way.  Luke didn’t have to be in all the music classes, sports classes or play at certain parks that people were talking or buzzing about. I wanted to give Luke the whole city living experience.  I think it was about the time I was really getting into Instagram, which really inspired me to get out the house and explore the city and share what we did or saw (including finding doors and walls for Luke to stand in front of).  We had a lot of fun discovering the city as a family and I got the opportunity to improve with photography. In doing so, we have so many fun memories to talk about and look back upon. Including meeting some fun friends.

3.  You can have it all, but not all at the same time

I knew that after we had Luke that I still wanted to work and wanted to be a good mom. When I returned to work, I found that my drive to advance my career wasn’t the same anymore. I still want to progress but not at the same pace as before. I still want to work but realized that my time with my family is more important now. My priorities have changed but not my goals. I still want to advance in my career, have a social life, manage a blog with good content, improve my photography, and hopefully publish a photography book one day….BUT, I know I can’t do that all at the same time.  I would never accomplish anything by trying to fit it all in and it would certainly take time away from my family (which is the most important thing).   I just need to prioritize what’s important now and get to the other goals later. And hey, I didn’t even add that I want to be a good cook. LOL! Charlie and Luke will have to endure with my sub-par cooking for a long time. But I’m fine with that.


My mom came to help us with Luke when he was first born. I’m so very thankful that she did because it gave her and Luke the opportunity to bond. But most importantly, it changed our relationship to another level. I found a new appreciation for her.  I’ve always admired her for everything she has done but now I “get it” or at least I thought I got it. I couldn’t stop telling her how thankful I was and how she’s so important in my life and always has been. When she left, we hugged and cried. Because for the first time, I understood what she went through and the depth of love she has for me. Just like the love that I have for Luke.