How NOT To Camp at Coachella

We are officially one month out from Weekend 1 at Coachella 2016! I’ll be basking in the desert festival bubble During weekend 2, but I’m already in full-on ‘Chella planning mode. With ticket prices topping out at $400 and funds needed to invest in your festival wardrobe budget, the fest can seem quite expensive, thereby off-putting to potential Chella goers. The most economical way to do Coachella, and the most intimidating in my book, is car camping. You get a 30 x 10 plot of land for you and your vehicle and are mere yards away from the festival grounds. With this great access though, comes great responsibility.

I highly recommend camping on-site your first year as a rite of passage. I bitched the whole time, compared camping to a refugee camp and almost had a dehydration induced breakdown on day 2 (tequila and lack of water will do that to you) and made my angel friend Ryan miss the Phoenix set, but I wouldn’t change that experience if I could. Luckily for you, since I arrived at my first Coachella so unprepared to camp, I made almost every mistake in the books so you won’t have to. Check out my top tips for how NOT to camp at Coachella below.

Don’t buy your tent at Target the night before you leave
It somehow seemed like a great idea to do some casual tent shopping the night before the festival at the West Hollywood Target. Luckily, they weren’t out of tents (clearly that possibility hadn’t crossed my mind), but put in more planning than I did. Get a decent tent (our two person abode was cheap an small but did the job), but more importantly get an EZ Up (more on that later) and some tarps.

Don’t ignore your engineer father’s advice
My dad had the brilliant idea of crafting a three sided shelter over our tent with an EZ Up, zip ties and tarps. I laughed him off at being an overzealous engineer that worried too much. Boy, did I eat my words. EVERYONE who is a pro at car camping makes one of these sun shading sanctuaries. See below for an example of one of these refuges. Be sure to also pack stakes in case of a sandstorm, so your beautiful home doesn’t blow away.  I’ve learned my lesson – father knows best.

Don’t arrive on Friday night
If at all possible, take the day off work and head down Thursday night. We weren’t able to use PTO at our new jobs that first year, so we suffered through LA Friday rush hour and made it to Indio around 9PM after all the security checks. We were literally in the last row of tents on the camp ground. Coachella camping has so many amenities (food vendors, general store, showers, water stations,etc.), but we were about a 15 minute walk to all of this. You also won’t miss the whole first day of concerts. The only plus side to us arriving so late, was that our spot way out in East Jesus meant our bathroom remained very clean, since no one else wanted to walk so far to use them. If clean port-a-potties are a thing, then we had them.

Remember said tent? Don’t sleep in it.
Two words: air flow. The desert sun shoots up at 7:30AM, and you will start baking in that tent. Either sleep in your car or on the ground under your EZ Up and between your car and tent. If you followed step 2, you will still have privacy, but more important, a breeze and few extra hours of sleep.

Don’t sleep on the ground
My friend Ryan was smart enough to bring mats for us to sleep on, but bring an air mattress with a battery operated pump if you can. That desert ground is rough, and you’ll want to savor the few hours of sleep you can squeeze in.

Don’t sit on it either
Folding chairs are your friend! You’ll have several hours to kill before the fest, so you’ll want your site to be homey, inviting to new friends and with comfortable seating in between beer pong sets and yoga sessions (yes there is campground yoga #california).

Our rookie setup. Notice lack of shade. But at least we thought to pack a chair!

Don’t go light on the refreshments
Water is your life force at Coachella! You will be in the sun ALL DAY, so don’t just grab a few frozen bottles of water like I did. Bring more than you need or a large Camelbak to refill. Also pack some powdered Gatorade and breakfast treats. You’ll spend later meals inside the fest, but have some snacks on hand for after and in the morning. Check out some of my favorite packing lists here and here.

Don’t forget advil or emergen-C
Remember the tequila and lack of water induced breakdown I mentioned earlier? That and my missing of Phoenix’s closing set could have been easily avoided if I had Advil on hand. You will at some point get a headache or sore feet, so be prepared and don’t let a little pain ruin your well coordinated concert schedule.

But definitely don’t pack a hairdryer or straightener
Every year I stare in dumbstruck awe at the basic betches straightening their hair outside the trailer showers. Like, why is this necessary? If you wanted the glamazon Coachella, you should have stayed in the hotels down the street. Plus, once you start sweating, that hair labor will be for naught! Camping is all about embracing the grittiest bits of festival life and that includes *gasp* air-dried hair. Braids and waves look cuter anyway.

Don’t shower naked
Weird, but shower with your swimsuit on. Sounds gross, but you’ll be thankful to have the relief of a wet suit on during the oppressive mid day heat.

Don’t just pack for the heat
Once the sun goes down, so do the temps. Sleeping outside can get quite chilly so pack some sweats and socks to keep cozy.

Don’t get caught in the dark
Carry a small flashlight wherever you go. You can play the hero when the hot guy a few tents down drops his phone in the dark.

Don’t be an amateur
You WILL be searched upon entering the camp grounds. These are super thorough aka some years they even take paneling off of cars to look underneath. No glass is allowed (even jam jars will be confiscated), so pour your liquor into waterbottles and stash yo shit! Be smart and careful and you should be good to go. The wait for security checks is also a great time to pop open a beer and meet your future neighbors đŸ™‚

Happy camping, friends! Are you headed to Coachella this year? Let me know if you’re going or have any other fests on the docket this summer!

Shop my Coachella faves below:

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Look for Less: Kendall Jenner’s Double Buckle Bri Belt

Hello friends! Sorry for the lack of posts lately. No excuses, but it can be tough sometimes to focus on blogging with a full time job and all of the rest of life’s pesky responsibilities. Since I don’t plan on becoming a full-time blogger anytime soon (per chance to dream), I’ll need to better prepare and figure out how to make it work. Making it work includes me spending more time preparing posts on weekends (I’m sure I can squeeze it in between brunching and Vanderpump Rules reruns), so here we are!

I’m dusting off my flower crown and attending Coachella for the third time in April, so I am already in full on fashion planning mode. While I’m not normally too inspired by Kendall Jenner’s style, I am loving her double buckle western belt that she seems to wear everywhere and think it would really elevate cutoffs or a dress while doing my best hippie impression at Coachella.

Funnily enough she wore it to Coachella last year. Thanks for test driving it for me, Ken!
Her belt is the Bri belt by B’low the Belt, and while it’s gorgeous, I can’t justify spending over $140 on a belt of all things. That’s like two tops! If you’re wanting Kendall’s exact belt, by all means, snag it HERE.
Looks great with skirts, pants, dresses, you name it.
Our friends at Missguided, luckily, have created a perfect dupe that retails for only $25.50. They are the best store for on trend dupes, and are quickly becoming my favorite stop for quality fast-fashion. Sorry, Forever21!
Snag the spot-on look for less HERE. Plenty of high street and mall stores are doing a version of this belt this season, so I’ve included other options below.


Let me know if you’re also heading to Coachella or any other festivals this year – would love to know what is on your packing list!
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Love traveling? Grab $35 in Air BnB credit when you create an account through THIS LINK! It’s free to you, and I’ll receive a credit when you sign up. Thanks and happy traveling!

This is not a sponsored post and all products were purchased with my money. Affiliate links are occasionally used when linking products. This gives me a small percentage of a purchase total through these links. This does not affect the price you pay for items through these links. All ShopStyle & AirBnB links are affiliate links.

Everything I Ate In LA

I visited my friends (aka adopted LA family) Michele and Andrew in LA this weekend, and if you watched my Snapchat story you would think I simply ate my way through the city. As a self confessed restaurant addict, I love that Michele and Andrew are the perfect friends to enable my addiction. I’d much rather spend my money on a beautiful meal in a gorgeous restaurant than on a night watching D-list reality stars party at 1 Oak. While I still have a long list of old favorites and new spots to devour on my next trip, I’d thought I share a glimpse into this little culinary tour de LA.

As soon as I landed , I went straight to Coffee Bean, as you do. There’s really no replacement for their Vanilla Ice Blended – I’m looking at you Starbucks. If your’e on the West Coast, you need to try one; it’ll ruin Starbucks for you forever.

Once Michele and Andrew were off work, we made a dash to an old favorite, Umami Burger. With convenient locations across LA, it’s delicious food and trendy atmosphere at an affordable price. No shrinking violet, I went straight for the “Manly Burger,” truffle fries and cheesy tots. A light meal.
The next day, I met my old friend Adam for lunch and a catch up at Mendocino Farms. Another affordable staple, it’s a quick sandwich spot right across the street from the Grove. I inhaled the “not so fried” chicken sandwich.
After wandering around the hordes of tourists at the Santa Monica Promenade, I pranced over to Dogtown Coffee off Main Street Santa Monica. I sipped on their famous sea salt caramel iced coffee in the perfect beachy surfer hangout, just steps from the beach. Totally worth the $20 Uber back to Weho.


For dinner Andrew and Michele introduced me to a new favorite, Honor Bar in Beverly Hills. It’s South Beverly Grill’s cooler younger brother, and a upscale casual spot to grab shared plates and drinks. I had the Osaka style sushi (stacked in a layered cube instead of rolled), fries and a margarita. Andrew and Michele had kale salad and the famous chicken sandwich. A weird combo, but super yummy.
Not ones to pass up dessert, we grabbed ice cream from Sprinkles and windows shopped around Beverly Hills. Nothing better than a scoop of Rocky Road and eyeing some Chanel.
Saturday morning, we punished ourselves for Friday’s feasting with a beastly hike of Runyon Canyon. I thought I’d spend the rest of my life on that damn canyon. Miraculously finishing the hike, we then headed to breakfast at Backyard Bowls. Capitalizing on the acai bowl trend, it’s a healthy option in the middle of endlessly hip West Hollywood.
Our healthy interlude was quickly interrupted, however, when we headed next door to Blue Bottle Coffee. Instead of just sampling coffee like normal people, we behaved like hobbits and had our second breakfast of poached eggs on toast. YOLO.
We napped off our breakfasts and thankfully didn’t have dinner until 9PM. Michele, the best hostess, had made reservations at Weho staple and celeb favorite, Cecconi’s. Owned by Soho House, the restaurant pleasantly surprised me. Most of these “sceney” places have horrible service and food, but Cecconi’s exceeded expectations. We dined on their beautiful patio (the restaurant is very glamorous and Mediterranean style), and devoured bruschetta, meatballs and pasta. The food was very authentic and damn delicious. My photos really don’t do it justice. Plus, we were one table away from Paula Deen. The quintessential LA dinner.
Before I had to head back to St. Louis, Michele took me to one more LA staple, Joan’s on Third. We tried their new Santa Monica location, and it was a perfect morning. Michele had the Chinese Chicken Salad, and I had Grandma’s Italian Sandwich – all under the sun right near the beach. Head there for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or to pick up prepared food, but whatever you do, make it to Joan’s.  It was the perfect goodbye to the perfect Angeleno weekend.
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