Coachella 2016 Photo Diary

As you may know by now, I went to Coachella two weekends ago. While it already feels like an eternity ago, I’m still basking in the festival afterglow. It may have been the company of my two best friends, or near perfect weather, or performances by LCD Soundsystem, Ice Cube (NWA Reunion!) and Disclosure, but this may have been my best Coachella yet. Three years down, and I’m still overwhelmed by the sensations – you are treated to a feast of people watching, music, art, food and fashion. My pictures don’t do the energy justice, but I wanted to share my favorite photos of the fest.

 

Maybe my favorite pic of the trip – we made multiple trips to the popsicle stand.

Upon arriving, we were greeted by a dust storm and alien desert landscape. The bandanas couldn’t prevent a Coachella-cough, but they did make for some great Mad Max-esque photos.

 

 

Each year I look forward to the different art installations. Besame Mucho was a fan and instagram favorite.

 

Coachella hair, don’t care.

 

I swear, I think the lighting is just more flattering in California. We took too many Ferris wheel selfies to count. I just love the pure joy on our faces – festival love!

 

 

Sunset is by far the best time to catch a show. Some of my favorite sets were at that time – Chvrches, Disclosure and The 1975.

 

I introduced my friend M to In n Out. The experience was legendary. I don’t know if we were just ravenous from the day of travel, but we inhaled the burgers in silence punctuated with shameless “OH MA GAH”s.

 

The Outdoor Stage was marred by sound issues during the Cold War Kids and Edward Sharpe sets, but it still made for great photos.

 

Another epic sunset. Living in California, I definitely took these for granted. I made sure to take in my fill that weekend, especially when you have a picturesque carnival ride dotting the skyline.

 

My forever friends L and M! They met each other for the first time that weekend, and there is no better feeling than your besties also becoming friends. Literally the best friends to travel with – no drama and always ready for an adventure.

 

Another great art installation, that also provided a shady spot to rest.

 

Girl gang! I always say this will be my last Coachella since it’s so expensive, but every year I’m reminded of why I’m so addicted. I can’t wait to make my desert return!
Our Coachella fashion:

 

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Coachella Road Trip: 5 Places to Stop on Your Way to the Festival

Also be sure to decorate your car for Carpoolchella!

So, you’re heading to Coachella Weekend 1 this Friday, have your face paint stored, fringed booties broken in and every LCD Soundsystem song memorized – ready to go, right? What about the ride down to Indio? You don’t have to wait until you arrive for the Coachella party to start! Turn your getaway into a fun road trip filled with these 5 stops that are practically required for all Coachella vets making the great pilgrimage. If you’re road tripping from LAX, the OC, or anywhere north of Palm Springs, I’ve got your covered after the jump!

1. Hadley’s Fruit Orchard
The drive from LA is only a couple of hours long, but even if you ate a large breakfast you’ll still want to make a pit stop for refreshments at Hadley’s. Banana date shakes are always worth it. Yes, I said banana date shakes. In fact, you can get dates in any imaginable form at Hadley’s – shakes, jellies, butter, cookies, you name it. Check out their brand new store right off the 10 for a snack to start your trip right – it’s a SoCal right of passage.


Location: 47993 Apache Trail, Cabazon, CA 92230. Right off the 10, just south of the Cabazon Outlets.


2. Cabazon Dinosaurs
Once you’ve grabbed your date shake, you can drive a few minutes down the 10 and enjoy it under a Brontosaurus at our next stop – the Cabazon Dinosaurs. A quirky roadside attraction – the dinos (World’s biggest supposedly), are the perfect spot to warm up your Coachella instagram skills. You may recognize them from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure or National Lampoon’s Vacation! Hop out of the car to stretch your feet and take in the perfectly weird Americana and snap some photos. Just don’t fall prey to paying for photos inside the dinos and  avoid the weird creationism gift shop nearby.


Location:50800 Seminole Dr, Cabazon, CA 92230

 

3. Palm Springs Wind Mills
Your last stop before entering deep Coachella country is the Palm Springs Wind Farm. There isn’t much to do here per se, unless you are fascinated by wind turbines and want to take a tour, but the turbines are a stunning backdrop for photos. Take the five minutes to pull over and grab a few unique snaps of the mammoth structures and yourself in front of them.


Location: 62950 20th Ave, Palm Springs, CA 92262

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4. Coachella Sign
Made famous by Beyonce and Nicki Minaj in their Feelin Myself video, and every hipster on Tumblr, the “Coachella City Limits” sign is a great photo op once you enter the city. Apparently it’s pretty difficult to find but located at the intersection of Grapefruit Boulevard and Avenue 54 off a rural stretch of road. There are train tracks on one side and a factory on the other. Stop by on your way to your hotel or during a free morning festival weekend. The hassle to find it is well worth the photo souvenir in my book.


Location: Intersection of Grapefruit Blvd and Avenue 54 – map here

Post Festival Bonus!

I’ll just let this photo do the selling of In n Out



5. In n Out Burger
Once the festival has ended, you’ll begin the excruciating (was the drive this long on the way down?), soul-sucking drive back to reality. Coachella is over, and you’re going through withdrawals already. But, wait – what is this beautiful mirage in the middle of the desert beckoning you from the crawl of festival traffic? Why, it’s none other than In N Out Burger, the pinnacle of Southern California dining. Luckily, there is an In N Out located on the way to both LAX and the Orange County airport, so you can nurse your Coachella depression with a double double (protein style) and animal style fries. The perfect end to the perfect weekend.

Locations: 72265 Varner Rd., Thousand Palms, CA 92276 (closest to Palm Springs), 49188 Seminole Dr., Cabazon, CA 92230 (by the dinos and Hadley’s) and 9149 S Sepulveda Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045 (LAX)

Thank you for stopping by, and for those of you heading to Weekend 1 – have fun! I’ll be stalking your photos until my turn Weekend 2! Let me know in the comments if there are any other great places to stop on the way or required stops in Palm Springs.


Check out my Coachella essentials:

 

 
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Travel Tuesday: Coachella Essentials

Happy Tuesday, internet friends! Better yet, it’s Travel Tuesday – my favorite blogger linkup! With Weekend 1 of Coachella less than two weeks away (don’t worry, the inundation of posts should end then :)), I thought I’d share my essentials, so you can run out for any last minute necessities. While my car camping post linked to a few consummate packing lists, today I’m focused on the must-haves you’ll tote with you inside the festival. I shared a “What’s In My Festival Bag” last year, but changed it up a little this year to accommodate a few more newly discovered Chella hacks.

THE BASICS
First, you’ll need the perfect crossbody bag. Mine is on its last legs and could probably be traded in for something more overtly bohemian, but I can’t bear to part with it. My grandma bought it for me in Italy, but it looks like you can buy some on eBay.  It is the perfect size and has so many pockets to keep all my little knick knacks organized. I’ll also pack a small wallet with just the bare necessities – ID, credit card, insurance cards and some cash – leave the gift cards at home in case you lose this. Last, but not least, make sure your wristband is on and activated! No use in packing the best day pack ever if you can’t even enter the fest.

More bag options:

PROTECT
Did I mention that it gets hot at Coachella? You will be spending hours in the heat of the afternoon sun in Palm Springs smack dab in the middle of the Sonoran Desert. Sunscreen and sunglasses are a must. On-trend reflective glasses will protect AND look great in photos. I may not wear them, but I”ll also pack ear plugs just in case the Guns n Roses set is too loud to take in unfiltered. I’ll also stash a bandana for those notorious nighttime sandstorms.

A technicolor dream-widget of sunglasses!

REFRESH
As I mention here, Coachella sun combined with too much tequila can sometimes lead to dehydration induced breakdowns. Don’t let your concert fun get ruined, so pack a few things to keep you refreshed and energized. I’ve learned my lesson and now always have Advil or Aleve in my bag. Visine and cough drops are great for freshening up after frolicking in the dust all day, and Aquaphor is a savior if your lips get sunburned.  Little luxuries like a hair tie and hand cream will keep you feeling good in the ultra hot and drying sun.  Similarly, lipstick is totally unnecessary, but I love this nude (Thalia) by Nyx to spruce up my otherwise natural makeup. Wet Wipes will be your Coachella secret weapon – perfect for wiping off a layer of dust, cleaning up Spicy Pie stains or in a pinch if you can’t find a sink to wash your hands.

EXTRAS
While not required, a watch will come in handy if your phone dies and you still need to keep an eye on time to make all of your sets. Don’t wear something too expensive, as it WILL get dirty. While we’re talking phones, pack a portable charger, so yours doesn’t die mid Snapchat of the Cold War Kids set. If your phone does die, it’s nice to have a separate camera on hand, so you’re still able to document the best (aka most photogenic) weekend ever. Instax polaroids make nice keepsakes when your back to reality and in full withdrawal mode.

Thanks for stopping by, and let me know if there are any other must-haves that I should pack in my last minute planning/shopping spree!

 

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Festival Fashion: The Best Shoes for Coachella

While I normally worship at the altar of footwear, shoes are even more important than usual at Coachella. The whole festival has turned into a fashion show of every wannabe bohemian parading around in their best Woodstock-esque gear. This pressure to look good is made more complicated when you realize that you will be standing and walking a whole damn lot of hours.

My Coachella shoe mantra is thus: booties and sneakers. Repeat after me: booties and sneakers.
No, no gladiator sandals, and no, definitely no wedges. You will look, at best, like an amateur, and at worst, a diva. More important, your feet will also feel like they need to be amputated by the end of day 1. So, hard pass on anything with more than a one inch heel and anything open toe.
You want three things from a Coachella shoe: comfort, protection, and a little bit of style. Comfort because, like I mentioned, you will be standing and walking all damn day. Protection from the desert rocks, sand storms, drunk guys spilling beer on you, people dancing on your feet, etc. And, least important, style, as long as it doesn’t forsake the aforementioned comfort and protection.
My previously mentioned beloved booties and sneakers meet all three criteria. Yes, your feet will probably still be sore, but they won’t be ravaged by your fellow festival-goers, and you won’t feel the need to amputate them at the end of the Guns n Roses reunion.
I’ll be packing some variation of the three pairs of shoes above.
Sam Edelman Booties: Beat up already, so I won’t be distraught if they need to be thrown out after the trip. My favorite casual bootie.
Colorful Converse – I may get a white pair or pair of white vans instead, so I’m not rocking too many prints. Be sure to break them in!
Matisse Booties – Leopard and zippers and a lucite heel!!!! They were on sale, so I couldn’t pass them up! Perfect for a more simple, cut offs and band tee outfit.
Shop some more comfortable and Coachella approved options below, and may you be able to focus on the music and that cute hipster dancing three rows over instead of your aching feet.

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Coachella Survival Guide

Apologies in advance, my friends, but this blog is about to turn into Coachella central! In less than a month, I’m heading to the desert wonderland for my third time, so I am in full on planning (ahem, obsession) mode. Since my first experience at Coachella was a disaster (you can read about that here), and my second one was a marked improvement, I’ve definitely gleaned some tips during my time dancing in the Indio sun. I thought I’d share my wisdom, so you can not only survive, but thrive at the queen of all festivals. Check out my tips below!

Register Your Wrist Band

Before you even set foot in Indio, you need to register your wrist band. Find full instructions here. If your friend is receiving your wrist band for you, get the unique ID number from them, so you can link your wristband to your Coachella account. You can’t make changes once it’s registered and won’t be able to get in if it’s not activated.

 

Go With a Plan…..
Coachella can be overwhelming for newbies, as there are so many bands to see, foods to eat, and outrageous outfits to take in. Go with a plan. Make a list of your favorite bands, know what food you want to try and have a general idea of the schedule for each day. You don’t want to miss out on a ferris wheel ride at sunset or set by your favorite artist because you weren’t paying attention to scheduling.

….but be flexible
That being said, be prepared to break your plan. Some of the best moments are spontaneous, and you don’t want to be the schedule nazi of your group who can’t go with the flow.

Hydrate All Day Long
Dancing to Grouplove in 1PM sun can be very hazardous to your health. It may seem like overkill, but you want to be chugging water ALL day long at the fest. The sun will be blazing, and you will get dehydrated easily. Water bottles have been $2 since Coachella started, but there are also free refill stations if you want to be economical and less wasteful and bring your own bottle. I love this water bottle that will pack flat in your carry on.
Refuel
You may feel full from guzzling down water all day, but try to eat all three meals. You’ll want the energy to make it all night (and that looooong car ride back to your hotel). Plus, you really should try the Spicy Pie and Crab Fries. It would be a sin not to.
mmmm I wait all year for the glory that is Spicy Pie

Have a meeting place
With thousands of people trying to upload Snapchats of their flash tattoos and Sahara tent selfies, you can bet that it will be difficult to send texts and get a hold of missing friends. Designate a meeting place at the beginning of your trip in case you get separated. Plan to meet there at the end of the night or other specific times throughout the day, so you can regroup. Pro tip – don’t choose something too crowded like the ferris wheel or the art exhibits which tend to move around throughout the day.

Comfort > Fashion
There’s something about 100 degree weather and standing in said weather for 8 hours that makes you throw all vanity out the window. More simply put, you will want to be comfortable at Coachella. Wear breathable clothing that is easy to walk in and you won’t mind getting caught in a freak dust storm. Ladies, avoid heels, wedges and sandals. Stick with sneakers and flat boots for comfort and protection. Vans or these booties are my all time faves.
Go Later in the Day
Unless you are a festival warrior and HAVE to see one of the lesser known bands, skip the early shows and arrive after 2PM. You’ll thankfully skip most of the mid-day sun and will have more energy for the magic that is Coachella after dark. Singing acapella to “Wake Up” with Arcade Fire and thousands of your new best friends once the sound has been cut for the night will be worth it.
Recharge in the Morning
Want a successful afternoon and evening? Stay chill AF in the morning. Sleep in, eat breakfast ( a green juice is a good idea), lounge by the pool and stay in the shade. I avoid alcohol in the morning as well, so I’m not dehydrated before even stepping foot on the Empire Polo grounds.

Text Specifics
Say you get separated from your friends after seeing Lana del Rey, but you want them to come meet you at MGMT. Do NOT text “Where are you?” or “Come to the Coachella stage.” Send specific actionable items with times, such as “Meet me at MGMT at the Coachella Stage at 3PM.” If your text goes through later due to lack of connection, you will have a much better chance of finding each other.
Bring a Flashlight
Every girl in a romper and booties will start to look the same when covered in darkness, so bring a small flashlight so you can easily find your friends or in case you drop your phone on the ground. Crawling around aimlessly in the sand like Velma from Scooby Doo looking for her glasses won’t be cute.
Print a Setlist
This is so helpful! Setlists are posted publicly at the fest, but in limited spots. You’ll be easily able to plan your next show and double check times without having to give up your perfect spot at the main stage.
Rent a Locker
I haven’t tried this yet, but I’m hoping to rent a locker this year. Many of the Coachella pros online recommend it, and it will be so convenient to leave a sweatshirt (or even jeans) in there for the chilly nighttime sets. You can also stash any beers you managed to smuggle in 😉 You can rent a locker in advance here for each weekend.
Go Easy on the Substances
Yes, you can have a few beers, but go easy on the liquor and other substances. You don’t want your Coachella to end early for you and your friends because your seizing on the ground at the Sahara tent.
Keep Your Phone on Airplane Mode
Save that precious battery!
Bring Cash
I believe some food vendors still only take cashola, so bring extra to have on hand just in case. Also be sure to notify your bank before your trip that you’ll be in the Palm Springs area, so they don’t freeze your card during the middle of the festival.
Buy the Souvenir
Yes it’s probably overpriced and the line is way too long. Yet, one of my few regrets from my first Coachella experience was passing up on merch to save money. Save up and buy a shirt or at least the poster, preferably something with the year and lineup on it. They are unique collectibles and will bring you back to your Coachella happy place when you are back in the real world and deep into withdrawals.
Document Your Trip
Take lots of photos! I’m going to basically empty my phone camera/video roll before my trip, so I have plenty of storage for all my snaps. Coachella is absolutely stunning with all of the art, palm trees, wild colors, and glorious sunsets. You will want to document everything. In addition to my phone camera, I’ll also bring an Instax and travel journal. I’m trying to write down more of my travels, so I don’t forget all the little moments that make trips so memorable.

But Live in the Moment
Don’t get me wrong, I can be quite the selfie whore, and I will be snapping away like crazy come Weekend 2, but remember to put the phone down and live in the moment. Take it all in! You’re finally at Coachella and you will want to commit every otherworldly moment and scene to memory.

 Check out some of my Coachella must haves:

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I’m linking up with the awesome girls at Travel Tuesday, hosted by Bonnie Rose. Check it out if you love finding excellent new travel blogs!