In Photos: Riverbend Music Festival

Okay y’all, I know I’ve been absent for a while, but life has been cray. If it drives me to say “cray” instead of “crazy,” then you know I’ve been insane lately. #sorrynotsorry But crazy busy for all the best reasons!

One of those reasons was the Riverbend Music Festival, which happened June 10-18 right here in Chattanooga. I had the amazing opportunity to cover the festival for, so I was there for most of the eight nights. Riverbend was also my first music festival, so lots of firsts in just eight days!


Wouldn’t be a good photo without a photobomb, right?

I could write a whole post about how incredible the experience was and how much I loved listening to live music down by the Tennessee River for a week. I could talk about seeing Thomas Rhett (oh be still my beating heart), ZZ Ward, Get the Led Out, Kane Brown, Heart and so many more incredible acts. I could write a whole other post about seeing the city of Chattanooga come together to celebrate great music in a great city and talk even more about how much I love living here. But I do that all the time anyway.

So this time, I’ll just show y’all all the pictures I took. Well, maybe not all of them; I took a lot.

Here are my top highlights of Riverbend Music Festival 2016, in photos!

The world-famous Coca-Cola Stage, where all the headliners performed.

riverbend chattanooga coca cola stage

Thomas Rhett was night one’s headliner. Oh my goodness gracious. What a man.

thomas rhett riverbend 2016

thomas rhett riverbend 2016

Best part of his set: about halfway through, he handed his guitar to a stage assistant, hopped on the drum set, and then broke out into “Cake by the Ocean” by DNCE. So unexpected, so awesome.

ZZ Ward also killed it on night one.


Little known fact: I am a huge Led Zeppelin fan. So when I heard tribute band Get the Led Out was performing, I had to check them out. Lead singer Paul Sinclair is Robert Plant to a tee.

get the led out riverbend 2016

And can we observe this crazy awesome 12-string guitar?


Southern rock band Blackberry Smoke was also pretty rad.

blackberry smoke riverbend 2016

Another really awesome act was Chattanooga-North Georgia native Kane Brown. He’s 22 and signed with RCA Nashville earlier this year and has since released his EP Chapter 1. He’s really talented and I can’t wait to see where his career takes him!

kane brown riverbend 2016

For all y’all American Idol fans out there: does the name Bo Bice ring a bell? He’s now performing with rock-jazz group Blood, Sweat & Tears.

blood sweat & tears riverbend 2016

Richmond, Va.-based rock/jazz/jam band The Shack Band jammed for fans at the Chevy Stage.

the shack band riverbend 2016

And I didn’t actually “watch” Chris Young’s set, but I listened to him from the other side of the river. This view = worth it.

riverbend 2016 chattanooga

Riverbend Music Festival is definitely a highlight of 2016, and of my time in Chattanooga. I’m already super excited for next year’s festival and will be anxiously awaiting the lineup announcements next spring.

Sam Hunt please?

Side note: my one-year anniversary of moving to Chattanooga is coming up. Talk about something crazy to think about!

2 Simple Ways for Anyone to Create Abstract Art

This post is coming to y’all from Allie Bigoness of Allie Explores!

At the beginning of this year I had a sudden urge to start painting. I had done my fair share of paint and sip classes and found that I was pretty good at it. Next thing I knew, I found a hidden talent and passion with painting as it became something I would do in my free time and would delay my blog posts. It’s sort of become a passion project of mine and I just sold my first painting about a week ago; I’m still pretty excited about that. Sort of unbelievable actually, that for me to start painting at the beginning of this year and to be able to start selling my pieces so soon is pretty impressive, or at least I think so.

Today I wanted to share with you two ways to create simple abstract paintings for your home. I’m a self taught painter and I have found some methods that have resulted in some kickass pieces that are so simple you don’t need to have years of experience. I sure don’t, in fact I thought I was terrible at painting because of my one experience in a high school art class. My teacher told me my painting was awful. He gave us no direction or technique, just sat us in front of a still life and told us to paint. When you have to paint curtains and the shadows of objects with no experience doing so of course it’s not going to turn out great. That’s where my loathing of still life paintings comes from. Both of the paintings today will be a way to create a blended look, my personal favorite technique and style.

What you will need:

  • 2 Canvas (any size you prefer, I picked a smaller size to change it up)
  • Some paint (any colors you prefer)
  • A brush
  • Water
  • Paper plate or towel (this is to put your paint on)

Blending Tip: When doing both of these paintings, do not wash your brush. You can wash your brush if you plan on banging both of these out in one sitting; otherwise don’t do it. Blending works best when you have a messy brush, as it allows for the two colors to combine easier.

Gradient/Ombre Painting: So many people find blending challenging but I find blending relatively easy which is great because it’s the style I prefer. For this you will need a ton, I repeat A TON of white paint and whatever other color you want to be fading from light to dark.

The first step of this painting will be to paint a white streak down the edge of the canvas, I typically do light to dark from left to right but if you want to do from right to left you can. It doesn’t matter where you start as the process of the gradient will be the same, so change it up if you like. Then you will put your paint brush in mostly white with a little bit of the color of your choice. I chose green and this is illustrated in the photo below. 

Allie Explores Photo 1

Then add to your canvas painting up and down right next to the white. This will create a very faint color, mostly white. Then you are going to repeat that step but add a little less white and a little more of whatever color you chose. 

Allie Explores Photo 2

Allie Explores Photo 3

Then we are going to continue to do until we are only left with our color. Now if you find you reach this step with a good amount of the canvas left you can add the tiniest amount of black to darken your color. Sometimes with lighter colors will need this step, if you have already started with a deep purple or deep color in general you will most likely not need to darken your color. Easy right? You end up with a beautiful color gradient abstract piece.

Allie Explores Photo 4

Allie Explores Photo 5

Blending tip: Reminder to go up and down, or side to side depending on the direction is going. Just keep it up and you will notice the colors will start to mix, when you see that, keep going until you are satisfied with how it looks. If you are using a different canvas you might want to stand up. I totally do when I do pieces like this on a standard canvas size. In fact it looks like I’m angrily painting because to blend across that length you really need to spread the paint. I tend to put some momentum behind it when standing up to get the results you want. Don’t be afraid to rotate the canvas either, once you get towards the bottom it’s easier to flip it, again don’t be afraid to move the canvas or change up how you paint. Do what feels comfortable to you. You might notice a difference in the way you paint, who knows you might like it better.

Abstract Pattern Painting: So I don’t really have a name for this technique and you are about to see why. I just want to do a disclaimer about how easy these techniques are. This was the first time I approached/tried painting this way and I’m head over heels for this piece. So much so that I’ve decided that I really love painting abstracts; it was so easy and it turned out beautifully.

First, you are going to choose one background color and a few standout colors. I chose light gray as my background color and then four standout colors (magenta, yellow, black, and a weird mix between green and teal). Then I took the background color and painted randomly all over. Basically I was messy and all technique or neatness went out the window. Try and be as messy as possible with your strokes to add some texture. Only leave a little bit of canvas blank where you think you would ideally like to have your stand out colors. 

Allie Explores Photo 6

The next step is to add dots/globs of these stand out colors in the blank parts of the canvas illustrated below. Then spread those colors out, it’s okay if they don’t all blend well or easily, I have a trick to help you make them blend like you want. 


Allie Explores Photo 7

Allie Explores Photo 8

After you’ve done that, don’t wash your brush, add the background color and paint over the edges of the stand out color. If you want the color to remain a statement and not completely blended, just do this over the edges to keep them soft. Unless you want the colors to remain sharp, you don’t need to do this (I prefer soft blends). If you want the color to be muted, paint the background color over your color, continue to move the paint up and down without adding any more, you will notice that the original stand out color will start to peak through and eventually blend with the background color. Continue to do so until you are happy with your piece and voila! You have a kickass abstract piece for your home. 

Allie Explores Photo 9

So there you have it, two awesome abstract pieces where the techniques were simple and you can hang these on your wall to decorate your home. I would love to see if you guys create these yourself! Feel free to tag me on Instagram @allie.explores or on Twitter @abigoness. I can’t wait to see what you guys create!

11 Things to Do in Chattanooga for $20 or Less

When I moved to Chattanooga almost a year ago (wow how time flies), I had no idea how much this wonderful little city has to offer. I spend many weekends downtown exploring new places, trying new things, checking out new restaurants and bars, attending special events and more. There’s so much going on, especially this time of year. Spend a few days here (or even just 36 hours) and you’ll see the excitement for yourself.

But doesn’t all that get expensive at some point? Well yeah, it can get a little pricey. A lot of people my age operate on tight budgets (myself included); sometimes finding fun things to see and do that won’t break the bank is a challenge.

But not completely! Chattanooga has some awesome budget-friendly offerings to keep you, your friends and families entertained.

things to do in chattanooga under $20

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5 Tips for Adulting (That Everyone Needs)

Adulting ain’t easy. And it seems to happen so fast: you graduate college (or grad school, in my case) and suddenly, boom, you’re not a student anymore and you have to be a real adult. And now there’s bills and a 9-5 and other payments and surprise expenses and all kinds of other things.

The struggle is so real.

I’m certainly no expert at adulting–is anyone, really?–but I have learned some valuable lessons in my adult life. The struggle will always be there, but there are some things to remember that make adult life a little easier.

5 tips for adulting

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The Best Happy Hour Spots in Chattanooga

By now you’ve probably noticed that I’m obsessed with the food scene in Chattanooga. There are so many amazing places in town to find good eats and a good time.

One of the best parts of the food scene is all of the awesome Happy Hour spots in town. It’s nice to drop in for a drink after a long day at work, or to kick off a fun night on the weekend. Or just to go try something new. You know the phrase, “Why limit happy to just one hour?” These places take that to heart.

best happy hours in chattanooga

Here are eight awesome Happy Hour spots in downtown Chattanooga!

These are listed in no particular order. Of course there are more awesome drink spots in town–this list features mostly downtown places–but I am a repeat offender at most, if not all of these.

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College Graduation, 2 Years Past

It’s college graduation season. Almost every day, I see new senior portraits and grad cap designs and job or grad school announcements shared across my Facebook and Instagram feeds. It makes me a little nostalgic; I was doing all that just two years ago.

It doesn’t sound like that long ago when I write it. But when I mentioned in a recent conversation that I graduated from college two years ago, I felt ancient. But I’m really not!

When I graduated college, I knew where I was going afterward. I’d been accepted to grad school and I had a summer internship set up. Many of my friends were going straight into the working world, or were still trying to land that first job. The way my friends talked about their job searches, I was glad I had another year before I had to worry about that. I had no idea what was coming. The following year, after I finished grad school, I was lucky that I only had about a month between graduation and accepting my first job offer in Tennessee.

college graduation

Now, two years after college graduation and a year after finishing grad school, I’ve learned a lot about truly living on my own and life after school.

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