Festival Survival: The Essentials

Festival Survival: The Essentials

Good Morning and Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Today is a busy one for me. I’ve got work, meetings, and dinner plans with a friend of mine visiting from outside the country who is here for this coming weekend’s Boston Calling Festival. I’ll be at the show bright and early on Friday- but then it’s off to Washington D.C. on Saturday!

Preparing for a day out in the sun, listening to some great bands and artists got me thinking about ‘Festival Essentials’, though. If you’ve got Instagram, then chances are your feed was being overwhelmed by posts from Coachella this year. Loads of pretty people wearing some seriously impractical outfits (and flower crowns) in the sweltering Indio heat. Sure, it looked great in photos- but how did it feel after a couple of hours? Probably not great, I’d imagine.

Inspired, I came up with some items that I consider to be reasonable and comfortable must-haves when it comes to braving those outdoor Spring/Summer music festivals- and things I’ll personally have on me when I roll into Boston Calling on Friday!

And while I’m sure dressing up in tulle, leather, or suede with lots of fringe is a good time- I’ll be sticking to a breathable pair of cotton shorts and a lightweight t-shirt, thanks! I want to be able to dance!

First and foremost- ditch the wedge sandals or the stilettos and settle on a practical and comfortable pair of sneakers, ankle boots or flats. You’re going to be standing for hours on end- or, if it rains- you’re going to want to keep as much material between your toes and the muddy ground as possible. Think support and think fitted insoles to absorb moisture and to keep the inside of your shoes from getting ruined..

I’ll be sporting this pair of moccasins I bought solely for flying (slip on/off = quicker TSA checkpoint time) and for standing for long periods of time. They’re soft, lined, and cushioned at the bottom- so my feet stay cozy and dry for as long as I have these on!

The second most important thing after reasonable shoes? Sunscreen. The higher the SPF the better. If you’re going to be roasting under the sun for an afternoon while you wait for your favorite band to take the stage- then you need to go all out and protect yourself from damaging UV rays that could cause skin cancer (and/or a seriously painful burn!)

I live for this spray-on SPF50 from Trader Joe’s- which makes applying/re-applying sunscreen during the day a lightweight and mess-free breeze. It’s not greasy or sticky, and doesn’t clog your pores. It just sinks in like water.

Speaking of H20- you need. to. stay. hydrated. I know the idea of spending $14 on a bottle of water is ridiculous (and it truly is)– but dehydration and heat stroke are serious business and need to be prevented at all costs. If security is strict and won’t let you bring your own bottle inside the venue- then splurge on one and seek out options for free re-fills. Some vendors will have a “one time purchase/unlimited refills” policy- so take advantage of it!

I’m not gonna’ sweat shame- because we all do it and it’s nothing to feel gross about- but if you’re looking for a quick and easy refresher to cool yourself off and make yourself smell a little nicer for when you’re huddled in a crowd with hundreds of strangers- then I highly recommend carrying a pack of deodorant wipes with you.

These ones from Pacifica have been a long-time favorite of mine. They smell crisp, clean and a little tropical- but they also soften and hydrate your underarm area so that you feel even more refreshed and are more inclined to throw your arms up during that one song you really, really like.

I, frankly, don’t have the time or the patience to apply a full face of makeup that I’m going to sweat off right away- so I keep it simple when I’m headed to a festival. A tinted moisturizer with sunscreen mixed in (of course!)– a hydrating lip balm, and a lightweight cream-to-powder eye shadow in a neutral tone to brighten my eye area for when I’m posing for that selfie by the side of the stage is really all I need to get by.

This coconut balm and shimmery beige shadow from Sephora keep me looking glossy (not sweaty) and put together. Add a couple of swipes of waterproof mascara and you’ve got an effortless look that won’t be running down your face by the end of the night.

And it goes without saying- but bring a pair of sunglasses. Even if it’s just to hide your tears when that one band plays that song that reminds you of your ex. You’re taking steps to protect your skin during this adventure- so you gotta’ remember to protect those peepers, too!

And when I know that electrical outlets may be scarce- I like to bring a portable charger with me to plug my phone into when it starts losing juice but I need to keep it up and running. This one- from Triple C- is the size of a tube of lipstick and can get my battery life up considerably in under an hour. I just connect it to my phone, tuck the phone into my purse- and let it work it’s magic.

And finally- bring a bag that is big enough to carry everything- but small enough to carry around comfortably. I typically use a small, drawstring backpack, my cross-body bag, or this mid-sized beach tote slung over my shoulder. The magnetic clasp sewn into the inside keeps my belongings secure and doesn’t weigh me down.

I also try to keep a big hat with me to protect my scalp from burning under the sun, too. It’s an area that often gets overlooked while we’re slathering on the SPF on our bodies and faces- but it can burn just as easily, too! This wide-brimmed hat was a purchase from Primark a couple of Summers ago for a beach weekend I had planned with friends- but it’s held up since then- and is still consistently useful!

And those, my lovelies- are my “Festival Essentials”- for a carefree and comfortable day out in the sun with other fans listening to music we love. I’m so excited for Friday!

If you’ve got your own Festival Essentials (I do love a good recommendation!) that you’d like to share- feel free!

But for now, I’m off to get to work. Enjoy your Hump Day, everyone!

xx

– Ashley –

Drizzly Days, Royal Weddings and Doughnuts…

Drizzly Days, Royal Weddings and Doughnuts…

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

This week is shaping up to be a pretty busy one for me. I have a friend coming into town on Wednesday for a couple of days, Friday is the first day of the Boston Calling Music Festival- and Saturday I’m leaving for a weekend away in Washington D.C. to spend Memorial Day with friends who are flying in for a vacation. Between preparing for all of that and work- I have to make sure I stay on top of things (including getting enough sleep!)

Thankfully this past weekend was pretty laid back, and I was able to get some R&R without wasting the days. The weather, for the most part- was a bit gloomy- so staying indoors and under the comfort of blankets to watch the Royal Wedding bright and early on Saturday morning was nice (and what a beautiful ceremony it was!)

Afterwards, while the guests at Windsor Castle departed to enjoy some lemon elderflower cake at the reception- I decided to enjoy an indulgent treat myself- and braved the chilly temperatures and light drizzle to head to Harvard Square for a doughnut-pop up that was being hosted by Harvest. Although I had missed out on their take on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s wedding cake- I did pick up some of their tasty Strawberry Shortcake, Chocolate Caramel French Cruller and Blueberry Citrus doughnuts, instead.

On Saturday night, after catching up on some e-mails and resting my eyes for a quick refresher- I headed off to Mohegan Sun to meet with friends at the Bow & Arrow Sports Bar to eat some nachos and watch the Celtics and Red Sox (simultaneously.) On a completely unrelated note- how GOOD is Las Vegas’ hockey team? It’s their first season and they have just been dominating lately. It’s going to be so much fun to cheer them on and go to their games when I’m living in the area!

Sorry, I’m getting off track.

Yesterday, after running errands to save myself some time later on this week- I decided to savor the brief break in the rain//fog and soak up the sunshine that had peeked through the clouds up in New Hampshire. I drove along the coast just in time to catch high tide and sat by the water for a couple of hours before grabbing a bite to eat at The Beach Plum and heading home just as the sun started to set.

It was beautiful, peaceful, scenic, and super relaxing.

A little later on this week, I’ve got my trusty “Festival Survival Essentials” to share with you all in preparation for Boston Calling (hint- there’s a lot of sunscreen)– and on Friday- I’m giving everyone access to a playlist I’ve been gradually piecing together to help those of you looking for some new tunes for the Summertime to kick things off during the impending long weekend.

I’m so excited for the coming days and to share my adventures along the way. Be sure to peep my Instagram for the shots I snap while I’m out and about.

Until then, though- let’s power through this Monday and get it out of the way!

xx

– Ashley –

“An End Has a Start…”

“An End Has a Start…”

The first time I ever saw Editors live, it was a complete accident.

Well, let me back up a bit- because the word “accident” implies a bad or tragic outcome- and the experience was anything but.

It was 2007, and I was in San Diego (one of my first visits!)– not only for a little vacation but to party at Street Scene San Diego- an outdoor music festival that used to take place annually around the city. I had friends from different bands (and their crews) on the lineup- making it one of the largest gatherings ever of people I knew and cared about in one location/setting. Considering how many hectic schedules people had at any given time- something like that rarely happens! Arctic Monkeys, The Killers, Louis XIV etc. Everywhere I turned was a friendly and familiar face, a big hug- and a cold beer.

At one point, while looking for a place to charge my phone- I happened to catch a voice singing from the stage that reminded me of both Paul Banks from Interpol and the late, great Ian Curtis from Joy Division- and immediately hurried over by the performance area to see who it was.

It was Editors- and two minutes into their set- I completely forgot about charging my phone all together.

From that moment on I was a fan- and dove headfirst into their discography (both past and future albums that were released)– but I kept missing them on their tours whenever they’d stop in Boston. One of their last shows in the city, circa 2008/2009- saw them bring a friend’s band on the road with them as an opening act. I was so excited to see them again- but ended up getting a little too drunk with said friend after their opening set and missed Editors entirely.

With a new (and fantastic!) album out earlier this year- the band is currently on their North American tour- and on Wednesday night they made a stop in Boston at our famous Paradise Rock Club. It’s definitely my favorite venue in the city- because there’s not a single bad spot to watch the stage from anywhere in the building- and the sound quality is perfect.

It’s been over ten years since I’d last seen them live, but they were just as great- if not better- than they were on that stifling hot day in San Diego way back when. I was completely blown away and absolutely captivated.

Editors’ sixth album, ‘Violence’, is out now- and I highly recommend giving it a listen and seeing them live if you can. They put on an amazing, energetic, passionate performance. It’s been almost 48 hours since the show and I’ve still got goosebumps!

I’ve got a lot to do today at work, and should probably get to it- but I’m rewarding myself for a busy and productive week with post-office burgers tonight with one of my co-workers. My mouth is watering already!

Here’s hoping you all have an incredible weekend. For those of you who are participating in Royal Wedding-themed fun (guilty as charged)– I can’t wait to see your photos!

Enjoy your Friday, everyone!

xx

– Ashley –

May Flowers, Margaritas and Mirror Selfies…

Good Morning, everyone!

Although Cinco de Mayo was this past Saturday- I held off on hitting up some of my favorite Mexican food restaurants and/or any bars until Sunday afternoon at the absolute earliest. It’s a tricky holiday (much like St. Patrick’s Day), especially in the city- and even moreso when that city has a large college population. There’s a lot of drunk people running around- most of whom don’t know what Cinco de Mayo actually commemorates- and an alarming amount of white people wearing sombreros and making packed places somehow feel even smaller.

I digress. While many people were recovering from their hangovers on Sunday morning/afternoon- I took the opportunity to visit Citrus & Salt in Back Bay to try one of their signature cocktails and catch the Bruins game while I chowed down on homemade tortilla chips and fresh guacamole. Some of my friends had been there before and raved about it- so I decided to check it out on my own while I was in the area.

Firstly, the decor to the place is gorgeous- like a mix of a beach party meets a Día de Muertos celebration- so many pretty colors and skulls everywhere- and the food was awesome. Everything was made fresh and had so much flavor to it.

My cocktail of choice was the “I Didn’t Text You- Tequila Did”- which combined tequila, a coconut puree, and a big Popsicle  dunked into it. It was strong- but delicious- and got me a little buzzed right away. I liked that the name of the drink was prominently displayed on the bathroom mirror, too…

When I was done dining, I headed back towards Boston Common and the Public Garden where I was meeting friends who had gotten a late start due to those aforementioned hangovers. Although the sky was a bit grey and dreary at  times- the park was vibrant with the newly planted tulips along the pedestrian walkways and around the statues/monuments. I couldn’t resist getting a little tourist-y and snapping some pics while I waited. Below are a few of my favorite shots!

I’ve got a meeting to get to this morning and some work to catch up on this afternoon before I head back downtown for dinner plans with some friends and to pose in one of my favorite dresses for the Spring/Summer season. Keep an eye out for it this Friday!

‘Til then- enjoy your Wednesday/Hump Day, everyone! We’re almost to the weekend!

xx

– Ashley –

Mid-Week Hooky

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone!

Okay, so technically this past Wednesday wasn’t an actual day of hooky- since my job knew I wasn’t coming in just for the sake of having a day off while the temperatures hit the mid-80s (!!!)– but there was something kind of thrilling about being out and enjoying such a beautiful day when I knew my co-workers were back at the office. The day was made even more fun, of course- since I didn’t make any specific plans and was just sort of rolling with the punches as they came.

There were plenty of options. Would I catch the Red Sox game at Fenway in the early afternoon? Tempting- but my seats would have had me roasting under the sun well before the fourth inning. Would I go day-drinking and enjoy one too many margaritas near the park? Also a possibility- except that finding parking on a weekday around lunchtime is a nightmare- and leaving the car while I went from place to place until the evening when I would be back to normal and ready to drive home would have likely landed me with expired meters and plenty of tickets tucked onto my windshield. Or, would I head to Cambridge to see Ronan Farrow discuss his new book? This choice nearly won- and I would have loved to have gone if I hadn’t gotten sidetracked.

Instead, my best friend (who ended up playing a bit of hooky as well) and I packed some snacks, a couple of towels, and some SPF 50 and headed to Singing Beach in Manchester-by-the-Sea to get our 2018 “Beach Bums” season underway while the coast wasn’t crowded.

5/2/18. Beach Bum. Literally.

I couldn’t find my swimsuit from last year and had to improvise with one from 2014/2015- but I’ve been meaning to buy a new one anyway, and a lot of the cuts/colors/embellishments I’ve been seeing on this year’s hottest and trendiest swimwear has me excited to try something completely new! I’ll share whatever I eventually go with- but I’m hoping to find something bright, colorful, flattering- and comfortable!

But I digress- the water was still a bit too cold to dive into- so I kept things dry and laid back on the sand. I sat under an umbrella and read while my friend worked on an assignment they’re completing for degree work. Afterwards, when it started to get dark out and the late-night beach goers began rolling in for their planned bonfires- we headed back to Melrose where we stopped at Wood + Fire for some salad and to split a pasta dish (their wood fired Gnocchi is delicious,  by the way!) before it came time to call it a night and get ready to head back to work the next morning.

Overall, a “Just Because” day off was just what I needed. It was laid-back, stress-free, spent with the comfort of a good friend in beautiful scenery- and included a fantastic meal. I highly recommended taking a day off every now and then to decompress, unwind, and then prepare yourself to get back to work and start fresh. It’s invigorating!

Speaking of, I’ve got to get to work so I can begin re-organizing my schedule for next week. I like to stay a couple of steps ahead of things!

Enjoy your Friday and your weekend, everyone! See you all on Monday- where I’ll have a BBQ/Cookout-inspired recipe to share!

5/2/18. Manchester-by-The-Sea

xx

– Ashley –