Empowering women through music…and spiffy restrooms

July 12th, 2010

This is sponsored content from BlogHer and by the makers of ob tampons, CAREFREE Pantiliners and STAYFREE pads.

pretty flowers

You know what I love about this side job I have of reviewing random products? I love that I never know what I’m going to be doing next. Some days I’m sampling ice cream, other days I get to drive cars or test out new recipes and some days I’m reporting on bathrooms.

LiliPad Tent

Yep, you read that right. I have visited a restroom with my very keen eyes and sense of smell and I’m back here to report that it was AWESOME!

Perhaps the FREE concert tickets to Lilith Fair 2010 with Sarah McLachlan and a bunch of other headliners influenced my opinion of said bathroom but I do have to say that I’ve been to many concerts in my day and what I experienced at the Luxury Lilipad Ladies’ Room and their “Lilipad Lounge” was nothing like I’ve ever experienced before. Like night and day difference, I’m telling you.

testing out the "lounge" fancy restrooms

There were no lines, no stinky sticky floors with wads of wet toilet paper everywhere, no overflowing trash cans or empty paper-towel dispensers. There were candles and fresh flowers and those incense sticks that make everything smell foofy, like you’re in a fancy boutique. There were mini magazines to read if you felt like sitting down on a white leather ottoman for a few minutes. It was crazy! I thought I was at a department store for a minute.

Before I give you the wrong impression that the makers of STAYFREE© pads, CAREFREE© liners and o.b.© tampons (who are sponsors of the 2010 Lilith Tour) went out and built new swanky buildings or invented some kind of out-of-this-world portable toilets to set up at each and every Lilith Fair venue, I should clarify that they did not. They just cleaned up and decked out the existing restrooms. The walls were the same, the cement floors were the same, even the tight, cramped stalls were the same. But a little cleanliness, some free products, some mood lighting and attention to detail go a long way when you are hot and sweaty at a concert.

fresh cool cloths

And the cool refrigerated cloths at the Lilipad Lounge were genius! They were flavored (aka scented) in peach, mango and lemon, and refreshingly cool! Such a great idea. I stashed a few in my purse because they make great washcloths. These are the kind of hand-outs I like. You can keep your bendy pens and key rings, the way to a woman’s heart is a nice cool cloth on a hot and sticky day. They had lots of other samples there too, and an interactive photo booth where you could take your picture and put yourself on stage or walking down Abbey Road. That was pretty cool too, but I really liked the refrigerated cloths.

So how was the concert, you want to know? It rocked! I had so much fun.

Sarah talks about beauty

Even though I’m just a blogger who reviews bathrooms, I was invited to a press conference and we sat in the front row, merely feet away from some of my favorite female vocalists. I was a bit star-struck. I was dying to ask some really good questions like, “I’ve heard rumors that sales are soft and a lot of big-name performers are pulling out of the tour. Is this true? If so, how do you plan to continue Lilith Fair in the upcoming years in light of our economy’s recent downturn?” AND more importantly, “WHERE IS NORAH JONES, my favorite musician of all time?!!!”

But I was too shy. Surprisingly, not many other journalists were asking questions either so I gathered up all the courage I could and sort of mumbled something into the microphone I was handed. I truncated my real question and asked Sarah if she planned on continuing Lilith Fair next year and the year after that. It was totally lame and my voice was shaking. But she looked me in the eye and smiled and said, “I hope so.”

I really hope she does too.

Obviously I don’t know all the ins and outs of organizing a tour like Lilith Fair but I imagine it is no small feat. I do know that having some of the big-name artists pull out of the tour did make opportunities for lesser-known artists to shine. While I missed my darling Norah, I was blown away by music and talent I had never even heard of before. I admit I do tend to live under a rock now that I’m a stay-at-home mom whose big outing on most days is a trip to the park or the grocery store but this concert was just all around entertaining and enriching.

Brandi Carlile

From Brandi Carlile’s gristly-voiced, Patsy Cline-esque ballads to Miranda Lambert’s firecracker, boot-stompin’ power-country songs…the talent kept me riveted to the stage.

Miranda Lambert and her rifle mic

singing with a side of tequila sunset act

What really caught me off guard was Jenni Rivera and her full mariachi band. I thought it was just some lively intermission music at first but then this amazing full-figured woman in a tight purple satin dress sashayed onto the stage and belted out torch songs in Spanish. I didn’t understand a word but if I’d had a bundle of roses, I would have thrown them on stage and pledged my admiration. What a performance!

summertime at the amphitheatre

Of course Emmylou Harris was her old wonderful self. I’ve seen her in concert before and I always love her. She just seems to get more amazing and beautiful with age. She sang an a capella song at the end of her set to her children (and granddaughter!) and it almost made me cry.

Amazing Sarah

And then there is Sarah. Sarah, Sarah, Sarah.

Sarah Mclachlan

She seems so down-to-earth and normal when you meet her in person. Her hair is a little bit fly-away, her jeans a little tight. She’s just a mom like me, and we could probably share stories about teething and potty-training…UNTIL she opens her mouth to sing!!! Then the world stops and angels fly out of her mouth. The notes from her piano chase each other like rippling waterfalls. Okay that sentence is a little bit flowery but if you are a fan, you know exactly what I mean. Her music takes your breath away just like the lyrics to her songs. Only someone like her could invent something as wonderful as Lilith Fair.

grand finalé

Maybe if she keeps it up, women will take over the world someday. Just imagine it: world peace, and it will be completely normal to visit a concert restroom that is clean, smells pretty and has no lines!!! Now that would be empowering!

Because this is a sponsored review, I do have a Blogher $100 Visa gift card to give away. That’s how these things work. But I have a twist this time that is purely for me. I’d love to hear what you would have asked the women on the Lilith Fair panel if you’d been me sitting in the front row of a press conference with a microphone. Who knows, maybe I’ll meet Sarah or Brandi or one of the others in an elevator someday and I’ll be able to redeem myself with one of your brilliant questions. If you draw a blank, that’s okay too. (I know the feeling!) You can just tell me who your favorite female vocalist is. But seriously, humor me.

To enter this contest, leave me your brilliant comment below or you leave a link to your own blog post and/or twitter. That’s three chances to win total! The contest will run 7/20—7/26/2010 (one week). Make sure that the e-mail address you leave is correct.

Rules:

  • • No duplicate comments.
  • • You may receive an additional entry by linking on twitter and leaving a link in the comments.
  • • You may receive an additional entry by blogging about this contest and leaving a link in the comments.
  • • This giveaway is open to US residents, aged 18 and older?
  • • Winners will be selected via random draw, and will notified by e-mail.
  • • You have 48 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
  • Please see the official rules here: Official rules

91 Responses to “Empowering women through music…and spiffy restrooms”

  1. CC Says:

    Yay!!!!

    Thanks again for bringing your sidekick along. It was sooo much fun.

    Jenni Rivera was definitely fun to watch. The women and men loved her equally.

    My favorite was definitely Miranda Lambert. I can’t  help it. I love me some redneck.

  2. Tracy S. Says:

    I don’t know what I would ask, but I would tell Emmylou Harris that her version of Long Black Veil takes my breath away and brings me to the verge of tears every, and I mean EVERY, time.

  3. michelle Says:

    I don’t really know hwat I would ask, I would probably have stage fright just like you! I love, love, love Sarah Mclachlan, I first saw her 12 years ago when I was 13 at Lillith Fair and it was amazing!

  4. jen Says:

    Right now it’s Lucinda Williams – she is amazing!

  5. parsingtime Says:

    I would ask how they handle kids and touring.

  6. Jess Says:

    How do you chose who is invited to tour/perform with you (at Lillith Fair, but in their individual bands would be interesting, too!)

  7. elz Says:

    I would ask what Women inspire(d) them. And, what one thing do they think is most important to share with their daughters and granddaughters.

  8. Kerri Anne Says:

    Hmm…I would want to know:

    What is there favorite part about touring? (And probably their least favorite part, too.)

    How they choose set lists for certain events? (Is it a super analytical or a more organic process; are there certain songs they just don’t like to sing live vs. ones they love to sing live?)

    What Lilith Fair means to them, personally.

  9. Leta Says:

    I would ask if their restrooms were as nice as the Luxury Lilipad Ladies’ Room.

  10. Karen Says:

    I love Sarah and Miranda! I would have tried to think of a smart question to ask Sarah about breaking out of the Canadian music scene and onto the world scene. Of course, I am drawing a blank now so heaven knows I wouldn’t have been able to think of something good to ask anyway.

  11. Stephanie M Says:

    Oh man…that must have been an awesome experience.
    Personally, related to asking how they handle kids and touring…I’d like to hear how they just keep themselves going! Sometimes it’s hard with me, to juggle work and home — I can’t imagine doing it while away from home! I wonder how they keep themselves from being burnt out all around.

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  13. bonnie Says:

    I’m totally shy like you. I might ask about some stories from behind the scenes, or favorite songs to perform. Of if we could be BFFs and go get some coffee.

  14. Becca Says:

    I think my favorite would have to be Sarah McLachlan, but I’m very easy and LOVE (almost) all music.

    As for a question to ask – I don’t think I could. I’d want to, and I love the question you wanted to ask, and the one you did ask – but I don’t think I could squeek one out at all. Unless my kids where with me, I’m a lot braver when I have them around…I like to think I could ask a famous person a question if they were there. But then I would ask what they would want to know.

    I retweeted you – http://twitter.com/smiles4u2have/status/19093044871

  15. Holly F Says:

    Thanks for the chance to win!

  16. Mindi Says:

    I went to all the Lillith Fairs when I was younger. Such good times! I wouldn’t have a clue what to ask when faced with the opportunity in person. But, Sarah M. really got me through some tough stuff. I think I would just say “thank you.”

  17. Tanya Ihnen Says:

    I would ask them what is their absolute favorite song to perform live and if they make sure to always put it in their song list.

    I’m always curious if the performers favorite song is also a fan favorite, or the opposite!

  18. Kandi Says:

    I wouldn’t have a clue what to ask- especially on the spot like that. Maybe what their biggest inspiration has been?

  19. mamalang Says:

    I am so jealous, and I love love love Miranda Lambert.

    If I could overcome my complete shyness, I would ask what the most embarassing mom moment was for those that had children.

  20. Jill Says:

    I would be too shy to ask it as well, but my question would be (for Sarah): what has improved for women breaking into the music industry since she began and what are some additional challenges women face now?

  21. Ruth Says:

    Yay for Lilith Fair! I’m going next week in CT and cannot wait–although, like you, I’m sorely disappointed Norah Jones won’t be in attendance! I totally would have asked her who cuts her hair and if she could get me an appointment with them. Love her!

  22. Kerri Says:

    I would ask Miranda Lambert if we could please be best friends. :)

  23. the ambitious mrs Says:

    Those bathrooms sound divine. Something like that can turn around an entire concert experience in my opinion!

    I might ask Sarah who makes HER star struck? I always like the idea of a celebrity being a fan too.

  24. Dena Says:

    What an amazing experience! I would have been tongue tied for sure!

  25. Calee Says:

    I would ask how they maintain relationships when they’re on the road. Also, have you listened to Rebeca (sp?) Spektor yet? I know I’m late to every music trend but she reminded me of Norah and I thought of you!

  26. Brenda Says:

    I went to Lilith Fair up at the Clark Co. Fair grounds in Vancouver, WA. I was a tad dissappointed . they never told you who was up next and we were in the GA grass, so we couldn’t see real good, but that’w what I get for buying cheap tickets. And you could only bring in low sand chairs….. so our backs were killing us. We left before it was over.
    I don’t have a question.
    Recently got to see Jewel and you’d like Katie Herdzig. She has lots of her music on her myspace page. Saw her again the other night. first saw her with Brandie Carlie…. I totally misspelled her last name.

  27. Brenda Says:

    nope, guess I didn’t misspell her name.

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  29. Linda Stewart Says:

    I would draw a total blank and not be able to ask one question. I do that with celebrities. I do however have a favorite female vocalist! It’s Reba McEntire

  30. Melissa Says:

    I love Sarah and Jenni and would have loved to see them on the same stage! I always love hearing who music artists are listening to on their own iPods. I find it fun to hear whose music inspires them.

  31. Sally Says:

    I have no idea what I would have asked. I’ve always, always loved Jewel, though.

  32. Rachel Says:

    I’m so jealous. I couldn’t go this year but remember it all vividly when I went in back in High School.

  33. TJ Says:

    Maybe ob/Carefree/Stayfree can get a second business going, where they make porta-potties?

    It would be SO hard to come up with a questions… the best I can do is, “How is performing for the Lilith Fair audience different than a regular concert?”

  34. Mim Says:

    I went to the original Liliths! And I was already married and had a kid! I’m old!!!

    My favorite female artist is Amanda Palmer.

    I would probably ask the panel how they feel they have influenced young female singers and songwriters.

  35. Kate Says:

    I really like “This Is Us,” Emmylou Harris’ duet with Mark Knopfler, so maybe my question would be whether Lilith Fair would prompt her or any of the other performers to write a song for an all-female ensemble. Also, I can’t figure out how Sarah McLachlan hits those crazy notes like in her song “Fear,” and I wonder if there are some days when she switches her lineup because her voice isn’t up to it.

  36. MargieK Says:

    I’m not sure what I would say, either. Probably something tired, that they get asked all the time, like “What were your musical influences growing up?”

    But really, wouldn’t it be great to ask them something totally unusual, like “What is your biggest fear?” or “What’s your favorite food?”

    Or maybe those aren’t unusual questions to ask Lilith Fair performers; what do I know? (Besides I’d like to win, of course!)

  37. mar Says:

    Gosh, so many good questions already! I like the one about how they choose who comes on the tour … or do their sponsors choose or …. or maybe what is their favorite caffeinated drink, since there is no way they play at Lilith Fair at night and spend the day with the kiddies the next day w/o caffeine …

  38. the chatty housewife Says:

    Wow, you talked to Sarah and she talked back. Does it all seem real?

  39. Kate Says:

    Amazing to be so close and have a chance to talk to Sarah! I would totally go blank if I had to talk to them and turn red with my fair skin! So glad that Tegan and Sara are in it, I love them. Hope Kyler England makes it to Lilith sometime!

  40. Amanda Says:

    What do they like best about touring?

  41. Rebecca Says:

    I would love to know how they juggle motherhood with touring as well as wanting to know what female artists inspired them… Never been to Lilith Fair but I would LOVE to go someday!

  42. Tammy Says:

    I would have asked Miranda Lambert where she got that AWESOME, ROCKIN’ Lead Guitar Player. WOW!

  43. Erin Says:

    I would ask Brandi Carlile if she is dating one of the twins ;) She’s my favorite.

  44. Shannon S. Says:

    I would love to see Sarah. sounds like a fantastic time was had!

  45. Danna Says:

    I think I would have choked on my own spit……but by the slim chance I didn’t choke, I would probably ask Sarah what Lilith Fair hopes to pass on to the next generation of women and girls.

    I’m 90% sure I would have drooled on myself though. :)

    Thanks for the add.
    Danna

    http://twitter.com/dannastarr2002

    http://catawissacrafty.blogspot.com/

  46. Isa Says:

    I would have asked Sarah: Would you lend me your voice for just one day?

  47. Brenda Says:

    I totally wish I would have gone when it was in St Louis last week (my husband secretly loves Sarah) — maybe next year.

    I would ask — What songs do you sing to your kids? Do you get to bring your kids along on tour?

  48. K girls mom Says:

    I am so jealous, I’ve loved Sarah Mclachlan since City of Angels. I guess my question would be what song inspires you currently.

  49. Tiffany Says:

    wow you’re so lucky, i worship sarah mclachlan.

  50. Sam Says:

    I do love Sarah McLachlan. For a long time I was a die hard Tori Amos fan. I would have been one of those people who follow her from show to show if I had the money, seriously! I used to read updates on her set lists and people would have statistics on how often she played songs, and analyze where they were placed…can you say obsessed?

    I have no idea what I would have asked her, maybe something about how her career has changed over the years?

  51. karen Says:

    What a fabulous review to get to do! In your place at the panel, I would ask what they sing in the shower or if they’re ever tempted to belt out in public when they find a room with really great acoustics, like a marble rotunda or a stairwell with some reverb. :)

  52. nicole i Says:

    Sounds like a fabulous outing…and to be int he front row. Wowsers. We’ve watched Miranda Lambert since her Nashville Star days.

  53. Liz Says:

    I think your question was great! I am wondering why those performers did pull out of the show. And also what performers will be in the show next yer.

    What a cool experience!

  54. Jenn Sagotsky Says:

    What is your favorite song?

  55. BeachMama Says:

    Boo I am Canadian :( But, so happy you had fun at the concert! And I would love to have attended a concert with clean beautiful bathrooms.

  56. Amye Says:

    Great to read, hope I get to attend one day!

  57. Beth A Says:

    I would have asked who the ladies would love to record a song with (current company excluded…because who wouldn’t want to record a song with any of those ladies?).

  58. Poppy Says:

    I would ask who inspired them. Sounds like a fun time. Bunch of chicks supporting each other.. yea!

  59. Anna b bonkers Says:

    Doh, why do I have to be Canadian!?

  60. Sarah Says:

    I’d ask if they’d be interested in taking Lilith Fair to some of the smaller markets. I’d love not to have to drive hundreds of miles to see it!

  61. Carlie Says:

    That sounds so fun!

  62. Linda B. Says:

    Amazing — A public restroom you don’t want to rush out of because it is so disgusting!

    Bug did a great job on your makeup! It looks like you had a lot of fun.

  63. Nicky Says:

    Love love LOVE the restrooms! Even department stores tend to have kinda nasty ones these days. How refreshing!

  64. Mami2jcn Says:

    I can’t think of any questions to ask…sorry! My favorite vocalist right now is Alicia Keys.

  65. Michelle B. Says:

    What a cool thing! I’d love to know how they balance motherhood (if they are mothers) with touring and being on the road. And what keeps them sane when they are away from home for long stretches.

  66. Jenn Bo Says:

    Earlier this month, Sarah M. played a little concert at my work (3 songs). My impression was exactly the same. Down to earth, might not recognize her on the street, talented musician, extraordinary voice.
    Question A: I read once that breaking through to radio (for Sarah) was difficult because the “women performer” slot was filled. Is it any better today; is it equally difficult for all performers regardless of gender?
    Question B: What performance was the most awe inspiring and maybe made her nervous?

  67. Jennifer Says:

    I’m not so good with the questions, but I love, love, LOVE Mary Chapin Carpenter. Her song-writing is second to none!

  68. CAROL S-U Says:

    I think I would like to know what keeps them going on a tour – how do they get up and give it their all each day? What do they do to break out of the rut when perhaps they just don’t feel like performing their hit song again?

    Looks like a wonderful experience and after traveling for a month at the beginning of summer, I can appreciate a nice, clean restroom!!

  69. erica Says:

    love love love sarah mclachlan! what a great experience.

  70. flyingbird Says:

    Sadly I would have frozen at the mike…you are brave! I also love Norah Jones…her music immediately calms me down, makes me feel grounded.

  71. Jen Says:

    I LOVE Sarah McLachlan!!! She got me through high school.

    So glad you had such a great time. And I love your bangs. They look great on you. :)

  72. Milissa Says:

    I would ask what advice they have to young female vocalists trying to break into the music business.

  73. KarenG Says:

    I would love to know what they do to maintain an energy level they have to perform the way they do~ I could use it for my every day routine life with kids and a job.

  74. Jade Says:

    I can’t enter because I am Canadian and I don’t have a question but that must have been a great day. I love, love, love Sarah. I wanted to go to Lilith Fair this year but can’t make it work I did however go to Lilith fair the first year and still have fond memories of it! Glad you enjoyed yourself.

  75. ~Mad Says:

    Gaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh! I wish I’d been there.

    ~Mad(elyn) in Alabama

  76. Kaitlin Says:

    I would have done the same thing as you and been to shy to spit out a good question! :)

  77. Ali Says:

    After reading everyone else’s comments I feel lame, cause just like many I’m shy and probably wouldn’t have the nerve but if I did I’d like to know about their most embarassing kid moments and that kind of thing.

  78. Ellen W Says:

    How do you eat healthy when you’re on the road? Maybe they have a chef that travels with them…

  79. Lori Says:

    It sounds like you had an awesome time! I think if I were sitting front row, I would have choked just like you. Or maybe done something worse like asked what kind of pie one of the artists like…

  80. Sarah Says:

    Sarah is my all-time favorite, and it breaks my heart that I am in Alaska this summer, missing out on Lilith Fair. Thank you for writing about it and posting such beautiful pictures — I will have to live vicariously through you! :)

  81. Laurie Says:

    I think I would ask if the performers feel that today’s women can “have it all”. Searching for balance is something many of today’s women (and men!) struggle with… would love to hear how some of the performers could answer that question.

  82. Kristen Says:

    I would have no idea what to ask Sarah! They canceled the Phoenix concert in protest of the immigration law. Sighs. I love Kelly Clarkson, but I think she is one of the big names who dropped out. Yeah, I would have never come up with a good question from all of that.

  83. Bex Says:

    Not sure what to ask, BUT!

    My favorite female vocalists (because I love these two equally, I think) are Ingrid Michaelson & Maria Mena :) They make me happy and I never ever tire of EITHER of them.

    <3

  84. Mysh Says:

    I would have asked them if they had visited those awesome restrooms! I love Sarah and would have been just as blown away by her. :O)

  85. Debra Says:

    Clean bathroom at a concert ? I can’t comprehend !

  86. julie c. Says:

    It looks like you had an awesome time! I would ask how they balance being a mom and being on tour.

  87. Melinda Says:

    who is another female artist that you would like to join the tour with you?

  88. Iris Says:

    It looks like you had a great time! And I’m happily surprised Jenni Rivera was part of the tour! She’s big in the hispanic community. My question would be “Would Lilith Fair ever consider including groups such as Lady Antebellum or Sugarland, where although the group includes males, a female is a main part of the group?”

  89. Aurora Says:

    Indigo Girls and Lucy Kaplansky—I’m glad you had a good time at Lillith Fair!

  90. db Says:

    She was in Vancouver on the 1st and I missed it, and after reading your post, it makes me wish I had gone.

  91. katie Says:

    Lucinda Williams!!! I would ask any of the women to teach me how to sing so that I could finally break free of the shower!!