Blog

  • Outside Lands

    I have always liked going to San Francisco. My first memory of the city is from a trip with my Girl Scout troop in elementary school. Since then, it has been the only big city I have wanted to go back to again & again. So naturaly, I had to check out their music festival, Outside Lands!

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    As someone who loves music festivals, I was super intrigued when I first learned about Outside Lands. I had been to a couple of festivals at the time (2013) but never one in the middle of a city! So, my co-worker & I decided to go! The festival was a blast! It was my first time in San Fran on my own & I loved every second of it. Even walking back through the Tenderloin to our cheap hotel. haha (Not recommended!)

    Tickets

    One cool thing about OSL is that in addition to 3 day passes, they still do single day tickets. Music Festivals are awesome, but they can be tiring & expensive. Plus a lot of festivals have similar line ups. So it is nice to be able to go for just one day.

    Getting There

    Located in Golden Gate Park, it is pretty easy to get to Outside Lands. The past couple of years I stayed outside the city. From there, we took BART to Civic Center, then an Uber or Lyft to the park. It was a bit of a mission, but for a free place to stay it was worth it.

    After the concert, they have free city busses outside the venue taking people back to Civic Center (the busses don't make other stops FYI). The first time I got on one, I thought I was all sneaky & cleaver, but they are there every year. Having to find a ride home after a long day can suck, so I love that they do this & wish more festivals would!

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    The Basics

    Outside Lands is one of the more laid back festivals. They always have a solid line up & friendly festival goers. The venue is not too huge, but they have several music stages/tents. With a reservation, you can also see a comedy show at the Barbary. For food & drinks they have Wine Lands, Beer Lands, Chocolate Lands, food trucks & all the basics.

    My only complaint with Outside Lands is that they could step it up in the art department. I always think of San Francisco as an artistic city, so I expected to see that reflected at the festival. They do have murals throughout the venue. But since my first time in 2013, not much has changed. I really hope that they continue to add more art installations & maybe yarn bomb some of the trees or something! haha

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    My Tips

    What I love most about Outside Lands is the weather & venue! The days can be warm, but then the fog rolls in & it gets chilly! For me the perfect OSL outfit consists of comfy shoes, pants, light layers, & a fun jacket! I brought a crochet shawl I made to keep me warm too! Unlike some of the other festivals I attend, I like to keep it pretty casual & comfy there.

    I also recommend getting a locker! It is super nice to have a place to put any unwanted items. Plus, you can keep your stuff in it over night. I also bring tissue packs (because the porta potties tend to run our of TP) & a few sandwiches so I'm not spending all my money on festival food.

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    Crochet

    For last years festival, I knew I would need something to keep me warm. So I began to make my first crochet shawl using this pattern. About 2 weeks before leaving, I started to make the flowers. My plan was to connect them all on the drive up, but I WAY underestimated the amount of time that would take. I didn't end up finishing the shawl until several months after the festival. However, I LOVED wearing it this year & already want to get started on another one!

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    Till next year!

    XoXo,

    Megan

     

     

     

  • A Sustainable Set with Wool & The Gang

    I’ve always been interested in fashion. My first job was at a small boutique in my hometown. The place was packed with dresses, tops & all the latest trends. I would spend my afternoons trying on different styles & falling in love with the way a good outfit can make you feel. 

    From there, I went on to work at Nordstrom & my clothing collection grew to an overwhelming size. It got so out of hand, I left my job in an attempt to rid myself of temptation. Now, every few months I go through my closet & select several things to donate or re-purpose. But the task has never been easy. Not only do I feel awful about having wasted money on another unnecessary outfit, but also I began to realize that these purchases were hurting more than just my wallet.

    Fast Fashion is creating an environmental crisis. Every year 13 million tons of textiles are thrown out, which accounts for about 10% of America’s non recycled waste. I’ve been doing my best to buy vintage pieces & find brands that offer more sustainable fashion. Being a maker, it has become important for me to find materials that are eco-friendly too.

    As a new crocheter, I was overwhelmed by the different yarn choices. But after I made my first granny square cardigan with cheap itchy yarn, I quickly realized that I needed to be cautious about my fiber selection. If I was going to spend days crocheting a new dress, I should use quality fibers I felt good about wearing & encouraging others to use too.

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    That is why I was so excited when Wool & The Gang came out with their Tina Tape Yarn! 100% vegan & made from sustainably sourced eucalyptus tress, the tencel is manufactured by lenzing fibres in a closed-loop system, where water and solvents are reused instead of ending up as pollution and waste.

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    Having never worked with this type of material, I first played with different stitches & hooks untill I found ones I liked. I had only seen Tina Tape used for kniting projects so it took me a few tries before I realized more elaborate or tight stiches looked best (in my opinion).

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    Wool & The Gang Tina Tape White Wrap Skirt 06-16-2017 - 14Being summer time, I wanted to make a cool basic outfit I could wear over & over again. After asking my Instagram friends what they thought I should make, I began to work on a crop top & wrap skirt.

     Once the skirt was long enough I put it on & realized the wrap style was a little more beachy (& scandalous) then I hoped. So I spun it around & started working on a new pattern for an a-line mini!

    odyssey designs 07-2017 wool & the gang tina tape set-7I spend a lot of time undoing my projects. I’ll start a piece, realize it is not going the way I want, & pull all the stitches out. Sometimes the yarn does not like to be used, undone, rewound & used again. But I was pleasantly surprised how well the Tina Tape Yarn stood up!

    I am really excited for how the top turned out. It started as a rectangle that laced up in the back. Then I added some thick straps so I wouldn’t have to worry about it coming undone or being uncomfortable.odyssey designs 07-2017 wool & the gang tina tape set-49They say exercise makes you happy. I believe that making also brings happiness. Crochet has become my go to stress reliever. No matter where I am, or what is going on in the world, I know as long as I have my hook & yarn with me, I can find a little peace. Being able to use sustainable yarn, well, that makes it even better!

    XOXO- Megan

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • A Day at the Lavender Festival!

    If you have ever read my About page you may remember that one day I want to have a farm! So this place was basically a dream come true! Having never heard or seen anything about the 123 Farm, I had no idea what to expect. But it blew me away, complete with a lavender breeze!

    Located in Cherry Valley, CA., I first heard of this farm from my Grandma who lives near by! Last year I went to a wedding at the flower fields in Carlsbad. I told her about how beautiful it was & she mentioned some lavender fields that were near her house I should check out.

    For my first, but certainly not last time at The 123 Farm, I went to the Lavender Festival to celebrate some family birthdays!

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    Planning your Trip

    The farm is home to several different festivals & events. Each year they have a Lavender Festival in June, a Fermentation Festival in August, & an Olive Festival in October. You can also see a live Sheep Shearing demonstration, visit the Organic Galleries, eat at the onsite farm to table restaurant The Grand Oak, stay at one of the Rooms on the Ranch, or plan an event or wedding!

    If you can’t make it to one of the events, you can still check out this lovely place! To view the lavender in bloom, visit in early June to late July (i.e. “Lavender Season”). Visits during Lavender Season cost $5 per person ($3 for seniors and students). It is recommend to you call prior to going to ensure the grounds are open for visits.

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    The Lavender Festival

    As I drove up to the 123 Farm for the 2nd weekend of the Lavender Festival, I started to get a better idea of what this place was going to be like. Cars were lining one side of the street as I approached & I could see a large purple field along the other. Having purchased my ticket in advance online, I parked my car & began the hot trek to meet my family inside.

    My mother, grandmothers, aunts, cousins & all of there kids were already inside watching a puppet show! As I wandered in, I was surprised to see how large this place is & how established the event was. Everywhere I looked there were different activities to do, things to eat, shops to see & countless lavender goodies!

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    Throughout the day I tried lavender mojitos, lavender beer,  lavender honey ice cream & lavender earl gray tea! Shockingly, I enjoyed each of them! My mother also arranged for us to have afternoon tea! The tea was a little pricey, but it was really nice to sit down & relax with everyone in the shade over finger sandwiches & macaroons. Be sure to book the tea in advance if you’d like to do it!

    Another thing we booked in advance was a horse drawn carriage ride around the farm. The ride was quick but we learned a little about the farm’s history. During the ride we saw one of the oldest oak trees in the world & gained a better understanding of how huge this place really is.

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    Overall my day at the Lavender Festival was quite lovely! It was a great place to relax & connect with my family. There was something for everyone to enjoy no matter their age. I also left feeling inspired & hopeful that I too could make my own farm a success! You bet I will be going back next year & checking out their other events!

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    XOXO Megan

    ❁❁❁

    What I’m Wearing!

     Blue Skies Slip Dress by Spell & The Gypsy Collective

    The Wild Gift Sunglasses by Crap Eyewear

  • The Museum Of Ice Cream!

    The Museum of Ice Cream! You have probably seen it on Instagram & if you haven’t, then you have most likely been living under a rock this past year. But for those of you who didn’t get a $29 tickets, don’t fret! I went & ate all the stomach ache inducing deserts just so you don’t have too! Well that & I really wanted to see the pool of sprinkles for myself.

    A friend of mine said something that reminded me so much of this place. “Growing up is not leaving your childhood behind; it’s learning how to preserve its simple glory and share it with everyone who’s forgotten.” –Rachel Cushman  That is exactly what you will find behind the big pink door at the Museum of Ice Cream!
    Museum Of Ice Cream 2017_Once you have entered, the “museum” is one way. You have to go through each room until you get to the end, or in my case, the restroom! (pee before you leave!) Every room is different, each with it’s own wacky art & “ice cream”. Some are better than others. But everywhere you turn, there is a little something for the kid in all of us!

    The first room has a bunch of pink phones. If you pick one up & listen REAL hard, you may be able to hear someone on the other end! But I couldn’t quite make it out.

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    Next was the room with the best samples! When I went, they were from one of my favorite L.A. (& Portland) ice cream spots, Salt & Straw! But online I found that it does change.

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    Then you will most likely find a line of people waiting to get on some swings & take photos with the hanging bananas. I’d have to admit, it was starting to feel like I was walking through Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory! Only instead of Umpa Lumpas, you’ll find teenagers with cameras.Museum Of Ice Cream 2017_-8

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    My favorite part was next, The Mint Room! Here you got to try some delicious mint chip mochi! My sample was pretty small… but it was yummy! Be sure brush up on you mint trivia or be ready to do a little dance if you want to try it!

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    Trying to smell the different mint plants but all I could make out was the chocolate soil!
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    Me wondering if these plants are really growing…

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    P.S. There was nothing in this watering can.

    The next section had the coolest art in my opinion! However, no longer will they let you get near some of it. I was very disappointed about this, as I had seen other visitors laying on melting popsicles. Yet I wasn’t even allowed to stand next to the orange one I wanted a photo with.

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    My “I’m trying to not looked pissed I have to stand infont of this chain” face…

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    The Gummy Bear was invented in 1922 by Hans Riegel Sr in Germany, FYI.

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    Museum Of Ice Cream 2017_-38After a little gummy bear quiz & treat, we moved to the next room. There you were given a chocolate looking ice cream cone & asked to guess what the “ice cream” was. Here’s a hint, it wasn’t ice cream! But I did get it right on my first try! I guess I eat a lot of sweets…

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    After a short wait, we finally made it to the infamous sprinkle pool! Before you go in, you have to take off your shoes. Probably because you’ll sink in like quick sand & fill any hole or crevice with the synthetic bacteria free sprinkles. But get some photos fast, your time there is limited.

    Another sort of icky thing to note is this place is HOT! By the time I made it to the pool, I was dabbing beads of sweat left & right. The sprinkles were warm & many stuck to my skin after I left the pool. Hopefully, it is not as hot if you ever visit!

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    Overall the museum was a fun way to spend an afternoon! I’m not rushing back, but I’m glad I was able to see it for myself. Perhaps the coolest part was that I got to experience someone’s dream come true. We were told the creator, Maryellis Bunn, dreamed up this crazy idea, quite her job, & made it happen. For me, seeing how she was able to turn something as silly as this into a success made me feel like I can accomplish my goals too!

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    Thanks for reading!

    XoXo-

    Megan!

    ❁❁❁

    What I’m Wearing

    Shoes by Adidas

    Dress from Isabelle’s Cabinet

  • Vintage Inspired Orangesicle Set

    One of my favorite things about crochet is that it has been around for decades. As much as I will try to create something totally original, I will almost always find someone who has done it before.

    At first, this kind of discouraged me. I didn’t want anyone to think I was copying them & I sure as heck didn’t want anyone to pass my designs off as their own either. But the more I think about it, the more I can find the beauty in it.

    We are all apart of this world, we should let our work bring us closer together, respecting each mind that played a part in its creation.

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    Nothing is new anymore. 9 times out of 10 someone else has made that same one of a kind piece just like me. As difficult as that has been to accept, I find it much more honorable to take that into consideration whenever I am designing, creating, or sharing something.

    Always give credit to the people or things that influence you! Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we all were more respectful of that? Instead of trying to copy someone, let your mutual interests & taste bring you together.

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    Vintage crochet patterns have brought me so much inspiration. The cuts, textures, & colors all make me want to bust out my hooks & start working on a new piece. I can flip through old patterns for days. Check out my Pinterest board for a collection of Vintage Crochet Patterns I love.

    For Lightning In A Bottle, I wanted to make something that would combine my love of dancing & vintage style. I searched for weeks to find the perfect vintage piece I could put my own twist on. Finally, I found this Vintage 70’s Crochet Sun Spoke Skirt & knew it would be perfect! I love to spin & twirl when I dance, so the full skirt seemed like a fun challenge that would be worth my time!

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    I started looking for yarn to use & after weeks of debating colors & materials, I couldn’t wait any longer. I purchased some Shiny Happy Cotton from Wool & The Gang to begin crocheting. I had never used any of their products before & was excited to find how soft this cotton was!

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    When I originally found the pattern, I planed to use it. Like actually read what it says to do & listen… But I was at my boyfriend’s house & did not have it with me when I was ready to start. So, I tried to make it from the memory of the photo I had seen.

    The first few tries did not end up looking the way I wanted. But that can be half the fun (if you are not stressed for time!) haha. I undid the top of the skirt several times until the stitches flowed as seamlessly as I envisioned.

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    The bottom of my skirt turned out totally different than expected. To be honest, it wasn’t until I tried the set on, that I was even a remotely happy with the outcome. I spent the first few days in a bad mood thinking I was going to look like a pumpkin.

    I never ended up looking at the pattern but without it, I would not have been able to make this amazing set! I think the top of the skirt is almost the same as the vintage original, but my version has a fuller, & I’d argue, more playful bottom.

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    I spent several days working on this project, but I would not have been able to do it without Kenzie Wool Shop where I first saw the vintage photo & pattern.

    In addition to my inspiration, this set would not have been the same without such amazing yarn. I truly hate putting so much time into something only to have it fall apart later due to poor quality materials.

    I loved my Shiny Happy Cotton from Wool & The Gang so much, I (for the first time ever) reached out to the company! More than anything I love to create. For me, I get the most pleasure out of dreaming up a new piece & figuring out how to make it a reality. I am so excited to announce that I will be designing another outfit with Wool & The Gang‘s sustainable Tina Tape yarn! Check back for my first pattern!

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    I hope you enjoyed my take on this vintage pattern. To learn more about the event I made it for & my experience there, check out my Life Lessons from Lightning In A Bottle post! You’ll find a little more about what gave me the courage to push myself & collaborate with The Gang there too!

    XoXo-

    Megan

     

  • Life Lessons from Lightning In A Bottle! 

    Every time I go to an event like this I leave feeling like I have learned so much. I talk to many people, have lots of different encounters, & am exposed to tons of unique world views.

    Some of the people I spoke with at this years festival helped me realize it really is not as hard to accomplish your goals or make a change in your life as you may think. Everywhere I looked there was someone chasing their dreams or educating others about a cause close to their hearts.

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    Part of the reason I wanted to go to Lightning In A Bottle was because it is one of the most transformational & eco friendly festivals around. They put a huge emphasis on living a healthy life & honoring the environment we are all a part of. It is wonderful to see them taking a stand for what they believe & inspiring others to do the same.

    For me, living a healthy life goes beyond what you eat & how much you exercise, it is a mindset. Being healthy is knowing what your body & soul needs. It is loving & being confident in yourself. I have also found that “healthiest” people are open & receptive of others. They understand not just want they need, but what the people in their life need as well.

    In this post I will be exploring how understanding people’s energies has helped me to make better connections, build deeper relationships, & basically have the best time possible! I’m also sharing a little about the people I spent time with, the amazing things they do, & how they have helped me to live a healthier life.

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    Understanding Energies!

    Going to a festival takes a lot out of you! Long days of exploring & even longer nights dancing, can really take a toll on your body & mind. I spend most of the week by myself in a office so the social interaction alone can be exhausting. When you add other people into the mix, things get even more complicated. But I am getting better at it & this is how!

    The concept of reading people’s energies or that humans even have an aura was something that used to seem so silly to me. The idea that there is some sort of field around us that our mind & soul controls seemed a little too Hocus Pocus for me to believe.

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    Once in High School a friend gave me some Sage for my room & I thought it was the stupidest thing. Way to supernatural to have a real impact, I didn’t want to accept that a place could have a bad energy. So I wasn’t open to understanding how to pick up on it, correct it, or use that knowledge to strengthen my relationships with other people.

    But as I got older, I’ve kept & open mind to these beliefs. In doing so, I have realized that knowing how your energy is received & how to read other people’s, can really help you to communicate happily. As well as get the most out of the connections you do make.

    It’s really not as mystical as I once thought!

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    The Witches Hut in the Craft area of LIB, These ladies get it!

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    Different herbs that effect your energy, I tried one my first day at LIB!

    I usually go out, or to a festival, with one close friend or significant other who has my primary attention. To make this easier to explain, I will refer to this person as my “primary relationship”.

    For the time we are together, they are the one who’s energy I am going to be reading the most. It is important for me to make sure they are feeling good, because we will be feeding off each other & are there primarily to bond & deepen our connection.

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    Alli & I went together to LIB, So she was my “Primary Relationship” for the weekend!

    One of the speakers I heard in the Craft section at Lightning In A Bottle was lecturing on the Throat Chakra. If you don’t know, the Throat Chakra controls our ability to communicate. He was petitioning to have the name changed to the Throat & Ear Chakra. I was so happy to have heard that little bit of his lesson because communication is something I have been working on improving & your energy plays a huge part.

    His point was: To have good communication, you not only need to take time to think of a reply, but also concentrate & listen to the other persons words before you form that response. 

    For me, listening goes beyond paying attention to just the words that come out of someone’s mouth. It includes noticing their attitude, aura, mind-set, & soul (AKA their Energy!). I believe that all of these things play a role in how the interaction & connection will go.

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    Fellow festival goers learning about the power of the Chakras & Listening.

    Here is how my understanding of this concept is put to use:

    When I start talking to strangers, I wait to see how they react. Not just with their words, but I try to notice how open they are to having this encounter. I try to listen to their tone & pick up on their body language. If their response does not give off the same frequency I put out, I won’t continue to give them my positive effervescence, in hopes it will rub off on them. I will just let them pass or remove myself & the people I’m with from that situation.

    Now, you may think that is selfish of me, why shouldn’t I be willing to spread positivity 100% percent of the time?

    Because it can really have an impact on your primary relationship.

    I firmly believe that trying to reach someone who isn’t open to listening (not just with their ears but with their spirit & energy) is more draining than anything else. Sometimes, no matter how much you give, you are not going to get anywhere, & that can be hard to accept. Nothing gets me more down than trying to help, or get to know someone, & them being closed off.

    We all have our own way of dealing with this, so it is important to notice how it affects the other half of your primary relationship. After all, they are the ones who are there to connect with you & vice versa.

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    The performers here totally played off the energy of the people in the audience. It was cool to see someone else thinking about this as much as I was haha

    I went to LIB with my friend Alli  who is the kindest sweetest girl you’ll ever meet. She constantly wants to spread her positive vibes with the world. I too am a very outgoing & energetic person. Part of why we get along so well is that it brings us both so much joy, seeing & helping other people to be happy. But not everyone is like that.

    Over the course of our friendship, I have seen people get rubbed the wrong way by us & it wasn’t until I understood this concept that I truly realized why.

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    The two of us are very similar, we feed off of each other so well. But sometimes she will start talking to a stranger &  I can feel that they are not totally receptive to her positivity. She is used to it, so she wont let it bother her. But for me, it can be so draining. I can lose any energy I have left. I just want to pull her away so we can continue along our journey feeding off each other, sharing our good vibes with one another, bringing us closer & strengthening our primary relationship.

    When you are with other people, it is important to realize that the way you spread your energy can affect them as well. Although you may be okay that someone doesn’t want to talk with you, it can be hard for the other person to let go of that encounter as quickly as you do, draining & exhausting them.

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    Our quite place to rest & recharge ❤ I find it so important to take time for yourself. Especially at events like this!

    I used to be blissfully ignorant to the impact my actions could have, releasing all of my positive energy on people who were closed off to receiving it. Depleting myself & exhausting my primary relationship by interacting with strangers that didn’t actually matter, instead of the people who came to interact with me.

    Noticing these energies, has helped me to be a better companion to those I am with & deeply care about. It has also helped me to find the places & people who will bring me the most joy. For example, the music you are drawn too! Other people with similar mind-sets & energy are probably drawn there as well.

    I’m still working on improving how I communicate, listen & read people’s energies, but I think it can be applied in so many ways. Not to mention, seeing how your energy is received & recognizing that you may not be coming across the way you intended (aka my biggest struggle).

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    We liked the music & went on this raft. I was a little afraid we wouldn’t be able to get off, but our intuition took us on a nice ride!

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    Chasing Your Dreams

    I had always wanted to go to Lightning In A Bottle, but year after year, I did not have anyone to go with. Finally, I met two amazing women who said I could tag along (this was prior to Alli joining)! If it wasn’t for Corina & Natascha I would never of made it to LIB & I’m so thankful I was able to get to know them both a little better.

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    Coachella 2017

    I first met Corina at Coachella in 2016 when I saw her wearing a sold out crochet set from one of my favorite companies, Spell & the Gypsy Collective. Since I had just started to crochet, I was so curious about her outfit! I ran over & started talking to her. At the time, I had no idea she was a successful blogger & designer. It is still crazy to me that my curiosity & intuition lead me her because she & her brand Wild & Free Jewelry has become one of my biggest inspirations. Seeing how she has been able to turn her passion into a business that lets her inspire others is incredible. I feel so lucky to call her a friend. If you are ever in need of some festival inspo or accessories check out her beautiful Butterfly & Mermaid Crowns.

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    Eco Friendly & Vegan Lifestyle

    Both Corina & her festival soul sister Natascha are vegan! I’ll be honest, I’ve always been skeptical of a 100% vegan diet. I eat pretty healthy, but I’d say at least half of what I consume & crave is meat or eggs. But seeing how they both stick to it so effortlessly was motivating. Over the course of the weekend, I tried countless vegan, gluten, & sugar free dishes, even pizza! All of which left me feeling way more full & satisfied than I expected. Which is a huge deal when your averaging 16 miles a day!

    Life Lessons from LIB Natascha

    As a world traveler & model it was amazing to me how good Natascha is at sticking to her healthy lifestyle, encouraging others to give it a try, & doing it all with style & grace.  Check out her blog In Search of Sadie to see more about her journey & inspiration. You can also try your hand at some clean cooking with one of her many Healthy Recipes!

    For me the biggest reason to eat less meat, is the impact cattle farming has on the environment. You may not care about the animals, but shouldn’t you at least care about yourself & the world you live in? Food for thought!

    The End!

    Overall I had an amazing weekend. I feel more ready than ever to pursue my dreams, make healthier choices, & improve my communication & relationships. I hope that sharing these realizations sparks a desire for your to do so as well. I truly believe that so many of the conflicts & negativity in the world can improve if we all pay a little more attention to those around us & how we interact or affect them.

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    XoXo-

    Megan ❤

     

  • My Pageant Journey!

    My first memory of pageants is from when I went to see my cousin compete at Miss Seal Beach. I can’t remember how old I was, but as soon as the show began I was mesmerized. From that day on I dreamed that one day it would be me getting all dressed up, wearing my very own poofy dress & competing for the title. Little did I know the impact they would have on my life.

    Miss Seal Beach

    A few years later I was old enough to participate in the Miss Seal Beach pageant. I remember seeing the perfect dress in a store window as my dad drove me to school. Fit for a mermaid, it was aquamarine & exactly what I thought I needed to win. I got the dress & ended up placing first runner up. Year after year I came so close to the title but unfortunately I never got the coveted queen crown.

    Pre-Teen Miss Seal Beach Princess 2007

    Lucky for me I did get to be a member of the court. Miss Seal Beach is a small city pageant, the queen & the runners up were all apart of the Miss Seal Beach Court. Together we participated in various city events like Music on Main, The Classic Car Show, The Polar Plunge, & The Seal Beach 5k 10k. Through these events I made countless memories & met some of my best friends.

    Miss Teen Southern California CPP

    A few years later I was missing the joy pageants brought to my life. Unlike anything else I have done, pageants not only pushed me to be the best version of myself, but also gave me a platform to help & connect with other people.

    Feeling unfulfilled at community college, I decided to compete in Miss Teen Southern California. This pageant was coed & much like Miss Seal Beach, the court would do community service events together throughout the year. I was so nervous I would let down my family & friends by not winning yet again, I barley invited anyone to come to the show. But after years of competing, I finally won my first pageant & was crowed Miss Teen Southern California 2012 CPP.

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    It was a wonderful year full of events & friendships. But no matter how many things I did, I knew this wasn’t the end of my pageant journey. I had finally won a pageant & I felt like the sky was the limit. I was a little bit closer to competing in what my mind was the only real pageant, Miss California USA.

    Miss California USA Prelims

    Like other sports (yeah I’m going to consider pageants a sport), there are different leagues or systems. For pageants you have a tone! Most recognizably, The Miss USA/ Miss Universe System & the Miss America system (which has a talent).

    In 2006 I was on vacation with my family when we were given tickets to the Miss Teen USA pageant. I was so excited but I had no clue what we were about to walk into. OH MY GOSH, it was so different from Miss Seal Beach. These girls all looked like professional models. Every single one of them deserved to win. I thought to myself that maybe one day I could be just as worthy as them, but I sure didn’t have the confidence to try then.

    10 years later, I finally felt ready to give the Miss USA system a try. I was sick of seeing so many girls accomplish something I had always dreamed of. I wanted to try it for myself.

    Miss Malibu & Miss Beverly Hills

    I signed up for the Miss Malibu USA & Miss Beverly Hills USA pageant thinking it was the best place to start. The director Kristen Bradford had coached several Miss CA USA’s & Miss USA winners. I felt that if anyone could teach me what it takes to be a queen, it was going to be her.

    I went to a couple Crown Diva Pageant Bootcamps & did a few coaching sessions with Kristen. I practiced my walk, caught up on current events, & for the first time in my life, followed a fitness & nutrition plan!

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    Trying on dresses at Crown Diva Bootcamp!

    Another thing I was super excited about doing was head shots! I love taking photos, but I’ve always been a little nervous behind the camera. I had never tried letting a sexy side of myself show before, so this was new territory. Part of me has always wanted to model, so it was really fun getting a taste of what that is like shooting with the official photographer for Miss California USA, Raphael Maglonzo.

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    For interview, I wanted to make the most of the time I had with the judges. Since you only have 2 minuets, I thought the best way to showcase my personality would be to show off my crochet designs. With 3 hours of sleep before the big day, I finished crocheting an interview dress while I was having my make up done by Lisa G. Even though the dress wasn’t perfect, I had so much confidence walking into that room wearing something I made myself & sharing my passion with the judges.

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     Swimsuit was the section I prepared for the most. No longer able to go to a school gym, I signed up for Equinox a week before I decided to compete in the pageant. There & with the help of Get Fit By Rob, I developed an exercise & nutrition plan that helped me loose 10 pounds before I hit the stage.

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    For evening gown, I had a vintage dress re-purposed into a new style. It was so much fun working with Christian Pelayo & turning an old gown into something modern.

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    I didn’t end up placing at my first prelim pageant, but I had so much fun competing & learning about myself along the way.

    Sometimes when I tell people I do pageants, they say they could never do it because they hate comparing themselves to other people. As much as I wish I never did this, I think everyone can be guilty of it now and again. But instead of telling myself I’ll never be in as good of shape as this person, or I wish I was as accomplished as another, I find it motivating to surround myself with other girls working towards their dreams. If they can do it, so can I!

    And so my pageant journey continues. Helping inspire me to dream bigger, work harder, and never give up. I can’t wait to see where it takes me!

    XoXo-

    Megan!

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    What I’m Wearing & Who Helped!

    Swimsuit by Syrup Swimwear

    Dress by Christian Pelayo

    Jewelry by The Urban Charm

    Shoes by Chinese laundry

    Hair & Makeup by Lisa G Artistry & The Foundation Studios

    Photography by Raphael Maglonzo

  • Desert X- Mirage

    Mirror mirror on the wall who’s the fairest one of all? Well when it comes to the 2017 Desert X installations, id say Mirage by Doug Aitken takes the cake! This place was packed when I went. There were even people filming a video! But I am so glad I made the stop. Despite the crowds this was beautiful & worth the trip!

    “With every available surface clad in mirror it both absorbs and reflects the landscape around in such ways that the exterior will seemingly disappear just as the interior draws the viewer into a never-ending kaleidoscope of light and reflection. As Mirage pulls the landscape in and reflects it back out, this classic one-story suburban house becomes a framing device, a perceptual echo-chamber endlessly bouncing between the dream of nature as pure uninhabited state and the pursuit of its conquest. ”  – Desert X

    Unlike the other Desert X installations, Mirage will remain on view after the exhibition closes through October 31, 2017. Visiting hours though April 30th are Monday- Friday from 3:30pm- sunset. Saturday & Sunday sunrise to sunset.

    If you liked this post, check out my trip to Desert X – The Circle of Land & Sky. You can also learn more about this exhibit & Doug Aitken on his website

    For where Mirage is located, see the map below!

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    What I’m Wearing

    Crochet Top by me, Odyssey Designs

    Skirt by Topshop

  • Guide To Coachella: Stages & Environment

    After attending the festival several times, you get a pretty good idea of what Coachella is like. But there is so much going on, it can be hard to figure out what you should spend your time doing. That is why I decided to go into a little more about the stages, events, & activities at Coachella in hopes it will help you have the best experience possible.

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    Chiaozza Garden by Chiaozza

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    Is This What Brings Things Into Focus by Joanne Tatham & Tom O’Sullivan
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    Crown Ether by Olalekan Jeyifous

    The Stages & Areas

    One of the things I like most about Coachella is that I feel like I can find music I’ll enjoy just by knowing what each stage is like. Having been multiple times, you start to realize that bands with a similar sound or fan base will often times be on the same stage. I may not be the best person to describe what these artists are like but below you will find my description of each stage & what type of music you’ll find there.

    Coachella Stage & Outdoor Stage

    These two stages are the largest at Coachella & usually where you’ll find the biggest names of the weekend playing. They are both fully outside & do not have any shade or coverage. Most years there are art installations at the back (photos above), or between the two that you can sit at & still hear the music from. If you are trying to get close, Id suggest making your way to these stages about 15 minuets before the artist you’re seeing starts. The sound will be better the closer you are. The speakers & lights also have numbers on them. So if you are meeting a friend at one of these stages, just tell them what number you are by & it’ll be a little easier to find each other.

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    Lamp Beside the Golden Door by Gustavo Prado

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    Mohave

    The Mohave tent is pretty similar to the Gobi but the artists can be a little more diverse. You’ll find everything from rappers & bands, to pop singers, & dj’s at this stage. The tent is a pretty good size & has chandeliers, but theirs are a little funky or art deco. My favorite sets at the Mohave tent have been Gesaffelstein & Capital Cities! There are also restrooms, a water refill, & food area located to the left of the Mohave stage & along the edge of the Outdoor.

    Gobi

    Gobi may be my favorite stage at Coachella. The walls of this medium size tent are lined with lush red fabric. They have fancy chandeliers hanging all throughout the tent, adding a little more ambiance to the performance. To me the artists that play in the Gobi tent are unique. And although a wide selection of people play there, I like to think they all have a similar artistic quality. Some of my favorite sets at the Gobi tent over the years have been Glass Animals, Yelle, Stromae, Banks, NAO & The Gaslamp Killer Experience. I had never really listened to any of them before, but after seeing their performance, I fell in love! Every year I find a new artist I enjoy at this stage so I am always down to see who is there. You should definitely stop by for at least one set!

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    Sahara

    The Sahara tent is where all the big name, popular electronic artists will be. I believe it is the third largest stage (after Coachella & Outdoor) but it is still not big enough. This place gets packed. I do not enjoy being crammed in like sweaty sardines, so I tend to stick to the back of this dome shaped tent where there is room to dance. This year [2017] they added some screens that go all the way around the top of tent which was pretty neat! I had never seen something 360° like that before. I hope they make this tent bigger next year, it definitely could use it.

    The area around the Sahara tent can also be traffic jam central if you are there at the wrong time. One of the benefits of being VIP is that you can take a different path from the Gobi that goes behind the Gobi & Sahara tents through the Rose Garden to the right side of the Sahara.

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    Rose Garden

    This is one of the VIP areas located next to the Sahara Tent. Inside they have more food & drinks. I also saw a golf cart pick up area, but I’m still learning how that works!

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    The Terrace

    I’ll be honest, I didnt know this area had a name until I worked the event, but the Terrace is a great place to meet up with your friends & re-charge. Here you will find a majority of the food options & a shaded picnic area. It is also home to nicest restrooms at the venue, several stages, & the craft beer area. Outside the restrooms are a bunch of lamps, think Alice & Wonderland. They are all different shapes so it is an eaisly identifyable spot to meet friends.

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    FYI That lemonade was amazing & totally worth $10.00

    Do Lab

    When I first went to Coachella I didn’t realize the Do Lab was a stage. I thought it was an art installation on your way from the Terrace (picnic & food area) to the Outdoor stage. They played music, had dancers, & misted water on you as you walked through. It is crazy to see how this stage has grown. Now located on the Terrace at the end of the nice restrooms & craft beer area, The Do Lab has become one of my favorite places. I can always count on them to have some funky or electronic beats that make you want to get down. I find the overall vibe to be very playful & fun. I also love how they have platforms you can dance on in the back! They usually have a surprise act on last at the Do Lab, so I like to stop by the rest rooms & see who is there before I decide to stay at one set for the rest of the night.

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    Heineken Tent

    Located on the Terrace, the Heineken tent is the smallest stage at Coachella. I’d say it tends to have DJ’s that play some harder beats & maybe even a little dubstep. I always have fun in there, but thank god it’s air conditioned.  With this style of music, I really like to “dance”. I put that in quotes because i’m not so sure what I do is considered dancing. It’s more of some variation of wiggling, jiggling & head bobbing to the beat. I really liked seeing Doctor P, Must Die, & SNAVS here! Since this tent is pretty small, you can usually get super close. It is also the only stage you can get a drink at, but you do need to get your ID checked first & maybe wait in line to enter!

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    Yuma

    I didn’t go into the Yuma that much until the last year or two, but as my appreciation for music has grown, I have started to love this place. This tent is also air conditioned, so that is a plus. Walking in, it reminds me of an underground club you’d find in a foreign country. I also get a little bit of vampire vibes haha. If a really popular artist is playing, I suggest getting there early. A line does form to get into this tent sometimes. I think the music & disco balls in Yuma will keep you dancing, but if you want to chill for a bit the back of this tent has huge cushions people sprawl out on. They also have restrooms you can only access by going in the tent, so they can be a little cleaner than others.

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    Sonora

    I didn’t get a chance to see a full set in the Sonora tent but it was so nice in there! Also air conditioning, this tent had art all around the edges & even some drawings on the floor. New this year, I can’t wait to see what bands I will discover at the Sonora stage! I have a feeling this is where the more punk & alternative groups will be.

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    Outfits, Packing & Where To Stay

    For my thoughts on outfits, camping, or where to stay, check out my previous post Guide To Coachella! I added a little more info after Weekend 1 of Coachella 2017!

    Things To See At Coachella!

    Antarctica 

    Antarctica is a show that is totally worth waiting for. I wanted to see it twice!  Located near the lockers, you can see it during the festival or access it after from the campsites. You sit down & look up at the center of the dome while a video plays. I wish I recorded some of it, because it is a little hard to describe. But it is almost like you’re inside of a kaleidoscope. It reminded me of Griffith Observatory a little bit, only way cooler.

    Sephora

    A few years ago they had a little Sephora area & this year [2017] they brought it back! Inside you can touch up your make up, get your hair braided, try out some new products, & do a photo booth! It was pretty fun & since I was one of the first people there, I got a free gift!

    Boutique, Posters,  & Record Store 

    The Boutique & Record Store are other places to get merch inside the festival. Last year I found the coolest blanket in the boutique. As soon as the sun went down I wrapped my blanket around me & bonded with all the other people doing the same thing #CoachellaBlanketGang. It is super hot during the day but dang those winds make it chilly at night. I have also purchased Coachella work out clothes from the boutique that were perfect for when the temp started to drop! If you like souvenirs, Id check out what these places have on the first day, in my experience they do run out!

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    The Silent Disco

    Located in the camping area, the Silent Disco is exactly what it sounds like. Everyone inside wears headphones that play music from a few different channels. You can pick which one you like & dance, no one will ever know what your headphones are playing. It is pretty funny to watch, but if you wanna go in, be ready for a line. In my experience there is always one.

    Other Things To Know

    Weekend 1 vs. Weekend 2

    Now a lot of people seem to think that Weekend 1 is the better choice. But id say it depends on what you are going to Coachella for. To me, weekend 1 is for all the social media, blogger, & a-list types. It is the weekend you go to see people & be seen. During weekend 1 there are a ton of parties. So many that some of my influencers friends had to make spread sheets to keep track of it all. But these parties aren’t just for anyone, for most, you have to be invited. I was lucky enough to get on the list for Neon Carnival, one of the most “exclusive” parties.  But I was having too much fun with my friends that didn’t get invites to make it on time. Personally, I think the festival has enough going on that unless you’re attending these events for publicity, you’re better of spending your down time relaxing & storing up energy for the real reason you’re in the desert, the festival!

    Another argument for weekend 1 is that it is when all the guests come. But when I went to weekend 2 we had just as many, if not more! I also think that they have all of the kinks worked out by weekend 2. Some of the set times are changed & you have a better chance to see more popular artists. To me, the crowd at weekend 2 has bigger music fans & a more laid back vibe.

    Crowds

    As I am sure you are aware, tons of people go to Coachella. Usually I find it to be more crowded each day & get busier as the night progresses. Before they increased the size of the venue, there were times I had to just stop walking as people swarmed past me in all directions. It can be a little overwhelming. Thankfully, the added space did seem to make a difference, only a few times did the crowds seem insane. If you are GA, you will need to wait in line for most everything. Year after year, I would underestimate the amount of time it would take to get from one place to another but luckily I’ve gotten better about it.

    Lockers

    This year [2017] was the first time I rented a locker & it was amazing. Each day I would leave my blanket & change of clothes (usually workout stuff) there. Once the sun would set, I ditched by hat, flower crown, & sunglasses & put my warm clothing in my backpack. It was super nice to have a secure place to keep stuff since I was not camping.

    Thanks For Reading!

    As different topics come to mind, ill be sure to add more info to this & my Guide To Coachella: Packing & Accommodations post!! Let me know what you think. Id love to hear your opinion & what you think Coachella is really like!

    XoXo,

    Megan

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    What I’m Wearing

    All Crochet Pieces by me, Odyssey Designs

    The Sunnydip Hat by Lack Of Color

    Round Flash Lens Sunglasses by Ray-Ban

    The Scarlet Skirt in Rus Geo Bloom by Novella Royale

    Flower Crown by Petals & Pop

    Monarch Fairy Hair Clips by Wild & Free Jewelry

  • Guide To Coachella: Packing & Accommodations

    I was in High School the first time I heard of Coachella. Friends and I were planing to go to Stagecoach, a country music festival also held at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, CA. From that year on I remember fantasizing about going to the huge music & art show in the desert. I bought tickets in 2012, but it was not until 2013 that I went for the first time.

    Since then, I haven’t missed a show! Throughout the years, I have learned a few things that make the experience so much better. What some people don’t realize is that these events are HUGE. The weather, crowds, transportation, & your accommodations all play a giant part in how your weekend is going to go. Not to mention your attitude  & expectations when these things get a little out of hand. My wardrobe is also something that has evolved since my first show. I’ve learned that while some trends are worth sporting, others can be more of a pain. So without further ado, here is my guide to Coachella!

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    How To Make The Most Of Your Time At The Venue

    Once you’re in the venue the first thing I like to do is get a lay of the land. I love getting a feel for what there is before I head to the first artist of the day. Every year there are different art exhibits & things to see. I tend to find these installations the most exciting part of the weekend because you have no idea what they are going to be! Plus if you go in early, there are less people in your photos 😜!

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    Phillip K Smith III’s Portals at Coachella 2016
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    Jimenez Lai’s Tower of 12 Stories
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    Katrina Chairs by Alexandre Arrechea
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    Coachella 2015
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    Portals by Phillip K Smith III at Coachella 2016
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    The catapillar that turned into a butterfly during Coachella 2015
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    The Earth Mover by Christian Ristow Coachella 2015

    Another thing to note is that the venue is kinda a circle. One of my favorite things to do is start at one stage, walk in for a few songs, then head to the next, making my way around the festival! You’ll find that similar artists will be at the same stage. The Gobi is where I have discovered some of my favorites. Learn more about the different stages & areas in part 2 of

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    The Sahara Tent Coachella 2015

    Also, they have real restrooms! The restrooms have two rows of stalls, no one ever checks the back row, so you can usually find an empty stall there! The tables outside are a great meeting spot too. My friends & I always pick a landmark (or lamp) to meet at all weekend after we use the restroom.

    The app is also great for keeping track of artists. I like to set my schedule as the wallpaper so I don’t waste time on my phone. Another good thing to grab is the paper schedule booklet, they make it really easy to keep track of where & when everything is.  Each stage will also have a set times posted at the back.

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    What To Wear

    Coachella fashion is so fun. Some years I will see something months in advance & get it knowing it’ll be perfect for the festival. Last year [2016] was the first year I made my own outfits. It is such a fun place to show off something you love. Or rock an outfit that is a little more of the crazy side. I always take advantage of it. Plus there are so many small unique brands out there, Coachella is a great place to support these designers & rock something one of a kind!

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    Coachella 2016 in some of my first crochet tops!

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    Coachella 2016 in a Jen’s Pirates Booty set purchased on Black Friday
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    Coachella 2015 in a Jac Vanek outfit
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    My friends all wearing tops I made for coachella 2016
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    The first outfit I ever wore to Coachella in 2013!
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    Coachella 2014, I lost the braclet im wearing & took off the necklaces because they were so uncomfortable!
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    Coachella 2014, I hated this outfit so much. I ended up going barefoot too due to blisters!

    I also like to have a balance of comfort & practicality when it comes to my festival wardrobe. My main accessory is a watch or FitBit & hat. In 2017, I walked 19 miles on day 1 & 16 miles day 2 & 3! So having a comfy change of clothes to put on once the temp drops is a must.

    For me, long days of dancing means I need comfortable shoes too. I love wearing a fun pair of running shoes so my feet are happy all day long & I always bring a sweatshirt. It can be really hot during the day, but the wind makes it chilly at night. Plus sunglasses & bandannas can help protect you from the dust that will inevitably cover your body throughout the weekend.

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    Supper windy walking into day 1 of Coachella 2016

    What To Pack

    I like bringing a few other things with me inside the venue. Having a camel back type bag is great (especially if you can have a guy to carry it for you!) The past few years I have used a GoRuck or a lightweight waterproof Patagonia backpack . They are super sturdy & have just the right amount of pockets. I’ll put my jacket, a few snacks like granola bars, beef jerky, & energy chews in there. I also bring a few personal care items with me. Peppermint essential oils, sunscreen, chap stick, gum, band aids, tissue packs, a fan, & wipes with me. The peppermint oil feels great on the back of your neck or sore muscles. It also helps keep you cool!

    For photos, I like to bring my Nikon D3300 & a go pro. I love photos so it is worth it to me to have a quality camera. But it does get obnoxious. I rented a locker this year [2017] so I don’t have to have it on me the whole time. I always put an extra batteries in my bag & bring a portable charger for my phone.

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    My GoRuck Backpack for Coachella 2014
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    Steve wearing my backpack at Coachella 2015

    Where To Stay

    You have a few different options for where you can stay at Coachella. You can camp, get a hotel, rent an AirBnb or VRBO, RV, or if you’re lucky, find a friend who has a house.

    Camping:

    The cheapest & most convenient option is for sure camping. Just BE PREPARED. It gets HOT! By about 6 or 7am the sun is beating down on your tent. The campsites are also a major party area. So it can be pretty loud & lively all hours of the day & night. I enjoyed camping when it was just my boyfriend & I. We had friends camping in a big group so whenever we wanted to hang out, we went over to their campsite. Keeping ours as more of a quite place to chill. Just be sure to bring trash bags & secure your campsite. It can get very windy. I have seen entire easy ups blow away (& hit cars).

    I like to use a small luggage lock to keep the things in the tent safe. I also find it convenient to leave my car keys inside a pocket in the tent so I always know where they are & dont loose them.

    If you want to get a good camping spot, get there early. The sooner you arrive, the closer to the entrance you will be. If you are planning to camp with friends, make sure you arrive together to get a spot next to one another. For food we brought way to much stuff. It was so hot we didn’t want to cook anything. Plus the festival has so much food you’ll want to try. I’d suggest bringing snacks & backpacking meals so you don’t have to worry about cooking or keeping things cold. I love having things like apples, bananas, watermelon, jerky & trail mix. My other tip for campers is to take the shuttle to the grocery store! It is free & you can get stuff at Ralph’s or just enjoy a little air conditioning. You can also make a reservation to have your hair done at the Beauty Bar in camping area, just be sure to tip!

    Hotels:

    Last year I stayed at a hotel for the first time. It was really nice having a clean & air conditioned room to go back to after a long day (plus a lazy river!) If you can afford it & don’t get stressed over things like time, I’d say getting a hotel & a shuttle pass is the way to go. The shuttles can take a little while depending on what time you are trying to get on one, but they are way easier & overall cheaper than trying to get an Uber. Last year Uber was a mess, there were girls crying because it was so hard to get one. We snuck out the parking lot & ran about a mile to get ours.

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    Enjoying the Lazy River at our hotel!

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    Lunch at our hotel during Coachella 2016

    Houses:

    The first few times I went to a festival my family & friends rented a house in PGA West. PGA West is a golf community in La Quinta, CA about 5 min from the venue. It is super pretty but you do need to figure out your own ride to & from the venue. One time I walked it, but that was a little to tiring after a long day of dancing. I will be staying here this year. My plan is to ride a bike to & from the festival so I don’t have to deal with traffic or getting a ride.

    Having a house is pretty much the same as getting a hotel, minus the room service. However, I wouldn’t recommend packing it to the brim with people to make it as cheap as possible. Every time I or a friend has done this, it just leads to drama & you kinda lose that whole relaxing factor of being away from the venue.

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    A house we rented in PGA West for Coachella 2013

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    Walking back to our house in PGA West after the show!
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    Staying at PGA West for Coachella 2013

    Be Kind, Make Friends, & Enjoy The Show!

    Most importantly, Coachella is all about having a good time. If things don’t work out perfectly, don’t let it get to you! If your friends want to see a different show, let them! You can always find friendly people to dance & enjoy the event with. My biggest piece of advice is to go with the flow & see where it takes you. Some of my favorite sets were ones I never planned on seeing. If your standing in line & connect with the person next to you, ask who they are excited about, they may become your new favorite artist!

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    Happy Coachella! Have a safe trip!

    Xoxo-

    Megan