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 –

Face Your (Gym) Fears!

(Image/Inspiration via Pinterest)

If you’re wondering if I’m currently buried under feet of snow- the answer is yes. Yesterday’s “Bomb Cyclone” (another, unintentionally funnier way of describing a Nor’Easter or massive blizzard) started bright and early yesterday morning, just as I was headed to work- and powered on through the afternoon and last night. Shoveling proved to be a waste of time since driveways and sidewalks were covered again in less than an hour’s time. After about 3-4 passes up and down my walkway throughout the day- I finally gave up and saved the bulk of the cleanup for this morning.

My back, shoulders and arms are killing me right now- but I suppose it sort of makes up for not being able to get to the gym yesterday, right? It was sort of like an impromptu weightlifting and strength-training day- although it was very cold.

Speaking of which. With the New Year underway, many of us are pushing hard to keep up with our resolutions so we don’t throw in the towel by the end of the month- only to promise ourselves we’ll succeed next year by the time December 31st rolls back around again.

And there’s a good chance that one of the resolutions on many lists involves getting into better shape/losing weight/staying fit/living healthier. It’s a great goal to have- but it’s also one of the more challenging ones to keep up with. It’s easy to get discouraged, sidetracked, distracted- and it’s even easier not to get the momentum started because of procrastination/hesitation. “I’ll start tomorrow” turns into “I’ll start next week”, which turns into “I’ll start next month-” and before you know it- the whole year has gone by before you even realize it.

Believe me- I’ve been there. Multiple times. A lot of people have.

From everyone I’ve ever spoken to has reached a road block in terms of working out/getting fit- more often than not- their reason for it is one surprising thing: they’re afraid to go to the gym.

As someone who had to overcome that fear on my own- I get it. There is the fear of judgment. There’s the fear of not being able to keep up with others. There’s the fear of not using the equipment properly- or even the fear of overdoing it and getting injured. I think more than anything- there’s the fear of failure.

But 2018 is YOUR year- and I’m here to try to keep you motivated! Aaptiv, a fitness app– created this infographic to help those struggling with gym related anxiety overcome their fears. Check it out!

Above are some surprising statistics and some really sound and helpful advice from Aaptiv- and I’d also like to touch base on some of them.

You are worth taking that first step – First and foremost, it’s great that you want to get into better shape and be healthier- and you should be really proud of yourself for even considering making that commitment because it’s going to take time, dedication, and hard work. That being said- as daunting as going to the gym can be- try to remember that the payoff is worth powering through whatever initial discomfort you might feel once you’ve gotten started. You’re going to look better and feel better- and feeling better is what’s important.

Nobody at the gym is there to point at you or gawk at you – That self-conscious feeling gets the best of all of us- and although you might feel eyes on you in spin class or while you’re wiping down your equipment after you use it- try to think positively. Like Aaptiv said- everyone is there for the same reason- to get healthy. Just because someone might be looking at you doesn’t automatically mean they’re mocking you or judging you. They might just be watching your technique for when they use the equipment you’re on, or they might just like your outfit and are wondering where you got it- or they might think you look amazing and are appreciating the results of the work you’ve been putting in. Whatever the reason- own it and just focus on you- and nobody else.

Socializing helps squash any lingering feelings of awkwardness – One way I’ve opened up at the gym and have felt more comfortable is by talking about my goals with the people in my yoga or spin classes. It’s always nice to both give and receive feedback, and it makes going to the gym so much easier (and feel so much more welcoming!) when you know you have people you can smile at and say hello to. I’ve also found that some of the people in my classes offer great insight for at-home exercises/programs they participate in- or other classes that might be really fun to try and that I otherwise may never have heard of!

Don’t get discouraged and DON’T give up – It can be really disheartening to work out every day for a couple of weeks, get on the scale, and not see any immediate results. It might even make you want to just call it quits- but I’m telling you not to. I’m telling you to keep going. Nothing worth achieving ever came easy- so get back in there and keep working hard- because eventually you’re going to see and feel a difference!

Talk to a trainer and gauge what they recommend if you’re looking to change/add more to your routine, too! It never hurts to learn new techniques or different methods that can help you get closer to achieving your goals.

When all else fails, turn it up and tune it out – On the days where I’m struggling to stay motivated and/or can’t seem to concentrate- I make sure to get a thumping, pumping and upbeat playlist going through my earbuds. Not only does it drown out any noises I might not want to listen to while I’m working out- but it makes the time go by SO much quicker, too! Aaptiv has plenty of updated playlists- featuring some of today’s hottest and most popular artists/songs- to choose from!

And now, for a limited time for the New Year- you can get access to Aaptiv at a reduced price (because who wants to pay the full amount when the year has only just begun?) When downloading Aaptiv in your carrier’s app store- use the code GETFIT for a 20% discount off of a 30 day trial of an annual membership. Just because the holidays are over doesn’t mean the giving has to stop, right? So why not give yourself the gift of a pocket-sized, portable personal trainer to help you get on- and stay on- track!

And if you’d like to share your own tips on how to overcome gym-midation (see what I did there?) or stories of your own triumphs- feel free to leave a comment!

xx

– Ashley –

Favorites: June 2017!

We’re almost near the end of the month, and one of my posting traditions back at Legally Redhead was to share the items/products/miscellaneous things that I had discovered and/or otherwise enjoyed over the previous weeks. Most Vloggers call this their “Hits & Misses” list, or just “Favorite Things”- but I don’t typically upload anything to YouTube apart from the sporadic concert clips now and then- so I just photograph and/or categorize them there!

A good portion of June was spent at various beaches around New England- typically on the weekends or afternoons off from work- so a lot of the items (particularly cosmetics and hair care!) that I got plenty of use out of this past month were surf and sun-appropriate.

Let’s take a look at those before I dive into some of the other random things I’ve been loving lately!

Sun Bum is a brand I discovered through my favorite surf shop in New Hampshire a couple of years ago- and I always make it a point to stock up whenever I’m in the area and pop by for a visit. Not only are the company’s collection of SPFs, tanning oils and hair sprays/protectors are not only super effective for anyone and everyone planning on catching some rays- but they all smell like a delicious combination of bananas and coconuts, too. If that doesn’t get you into a tropical state of mind- I don’t know what will!

Lately I’ve been utilizing two of their products more than usual- their after-sun cooling lotion, which keeps my skin hydrated and smooth after I’ve been in the salt water all afternoon- and their leave-in conditioner spray (infused with Argan Oil and sunflower seed oil). The spray has been a lifesaver when it comes to preventing my hair from getting dried out or damaged in these scorching Summer temperatures!

I’ve also been coveting those healthy, beachy, “spent all day surfing” waves (even when I’m at work!) so I’ve been turning to Not Your Mother’s Texturizing Hair Cream after my showers in the morning to smooth away frizz and define the shape of my curls a little more. This cream feels like a paste on contact, but once it’s spread evenly in the hands and fingers it glides through damp hair easily and dries quickly. The result are mattified, natural-looking waves- no salt water needed!

I recently wrote about my experience with introducing Glow Recipe’s Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask into my regimen- and I’ve continued to maintain amazing results with it. This was definitely a stand-out product for me in June, and I still have so much of it left that I know I’m going to be using it throughout July, August- and maybe have enough of it for September, too!

And we all know how much I love spoiling myself with new clothes/accessories/shoes at Primark in Downtown Crossing- but I was unaware that they make incredibly efficient and surprisingly low-priced cosmetics, too. One of my favorite finds in the month of June was this sparkly, slightly golden-hued bronzing oil for the face & body. I like to mix this in with my moisturizers and body creams before applying liberally to give myself an extra boost of hydration and a natural-looking sun-kissed glow, too. For someone as pale as I am- this is a big deal!

Pssst- it’s only $4.50, too!

I honestly don’t know how I got on without spray versions of sunscreen when I was younger. They are just SO much easier to use than traditional lotions/sticks/etc. You just spray them all over, give yourself a quick pat-down to make sure everything is covered- and boom- you can enjoy your time in the sun until it’s time to reapply. This SPF50 formula from Top Care was inexpensive and is currently nestled in my beach tote for whenever I venture outdoors for any great length of time.

The formula isn’t sticky or greasy- and dries clear- which is important when you own an all black bikini like I do and don’t the fabric to get ruined or discolored!

In the Summer, I really like my lips to pop (okay, so that’s during every season, but-) and another favorite-find from Primark was this screaming neon pink lipstick/lip gloss combo from the company’s Havana-inspired seasonal collection. At $3 a tube, I wasn’t sure what to expect- but the color is so rich, so pigmented, and so long-lasting that it could easily be the best $3 I’ve ever spent anywhere.

I’m head over heels in love with the color and the creamy, non-drying formula!

One last item from Primark- I swear. I couldn’t resist snatching up these pink and gold oversized cat-eye sunglasses for my recent beach excursion with my friends this past weekend (pictures will be up shortly!) These shades seem to fit the shape my face really well and the colors of the lenses combined with the subtle sparkle of the frames are DAZZLING in the sunshine. You can see a couple of shots of the shades HERE and HERE through my Instagram.

I seriously just feel cooler than cool whenever I have these on- which has been all the time lately!

Okay, hear me out- I know that canned wine sounds a little tacky and more than a bit gross- but most of the beaches around here have some pretty strict “no glass bottles” policies (completely understandable, of course. Nobody wants to step on broken glass while they’re barefoot in the sand!) so when I want to get my rosé wine on while I sprawl out on my towel under my umbrella- my options are a little but limited.

Fortunately, though- Underwood’s canned wines are actually really, really good and well-made, you guys. These have been awesome to have stored in a cooler when I’m on the shore with my friends because they’re convenient and taste delicious (and aren’t overpriced like some bottles can be!)

I’m actually incorporating some into an upcoming Summer drink recipe I’m making soon- so keep an eye out!

I think that’s everything that I could photograph easily- but there’s still a few other things that made my list of favorites, too!

– MUSIC/MOVIES –

The Killers – “The Man” Who would have thought that one single from a yet-to-be-released album would be my most-played track this month? Fusing a bit of Bowie with a little bit of Queen- my favorite band has returned with a bold, confident and swagger-filled anthem for the ages. With lyrics like “They kiss on the ring/I carry the crown/Nothing can break-nothing can break me down”- it’s really difficult NOT to get pumped up while listening to this. I’m so excited for the new album (and the tour that will undoubtedly follow!)

Lorde – “Melodrama” – Speaking of anthems for the ages- Lorde is back with a new album this month and it’s SO good! I’ve been jamming out to this one while I’m shuttling back and forth between the office and it just puts me in such a good mood. My favorite track varies day-to-day, but right now I’m loving “Homemade Dynamite” the best. Check back with me in a few days and I’m sure it will have changed again!

– TECH/APPS –

“Ice-Cream, Please!” – What if I told you there was an app, similar to Uber, but instead of hailing affordable transportation to your destination- it hailed nearby ice cream trucks to come to your location so you can indulge your creamsicle craving, instead? Yes- it’s a real thing. Yes- it works. Yes- it’s amazing- and yes- the app is free! I’ve been having an absolute blast with this one- especially when I get the opportunity to blow my friend’s minds by having an ice cream truck roll up to us when we’re out at any given point.

This one is gonna’ save your Summer, everyone. Mark my words!

________________________________

And I think that’s pretty much it for my June 2017 favorites! Not a bad compilation of things, if I do say so myself!

If you have any favorites from June/recommendations for July that you’d like to share- feel free to drop me a line!

xx

– Ashley –