National Park Weekend With Free People

What is life? The flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.
— Blackfoot
JOSHUA TREE X OUI WE.jpg

Over the last 12 months I've had the tremendous opportunity to travel to 8 National Parks, 5 National Forests and countless other local and state parks. Every time I take off for an off the beaten path outdoor adventure I think of winding dirt roads and buffalo roaming freely juxtaposed against beautiful girls with easels painting wildflowers and ravens circling overhead. 

Joshua Tree Cactus x Oui We
Joshua Tree x Oui We 2

The National Park experience can range from blistering heat in the summers to stark white cold in the winter, sprawling across ecosystems, from the dramatically high peaks, ancient desert badlands, old-growth lush rainforests and wildly rugged coasts. At each of the parks I’ve experienced (the full list is at the end of this post) the visitor centers always offers fantastic itineraries for day visit and overnight stays.

This weekend is weekend #2 of the National Park free weekend, so to celebrate I've got a quick run down of a few need to knows that will help you plan a dynamite experience in preparation for the great outdoors!

Before we get to that, however, a note about the park program, it's current funding situation and a way you can help!

Our National Parks are currently facing extreme budget cuts, there are 84 million acres of National Park land at stake. In honor of National Park Week (through April 24) Free People has created three vintage-inspired tees that represent three of the most traveled National Parks: Yosemite, Yellowstone and Joshua Tree. They're $68 and a portion of each sale will be donated to the National Parks Foundation. 

I've always been a fan of the brand and now I'm like 🏞  💕 🙋🏼  seriously high fiving them for taking on this initiative. Get your hands on one of the tees to donate to the Park Foundation (and to represent your park love all year round).

You can shop the tees directly here:

Each purchase of Free People's National Park tees will contribute to their donation of $50,000 to the National Parks Foundation. See the full lookbook to get totally outdoor inspired. 

So next up! Here's a few things to keep in consideration before you venture out this weekend:

Hours and Seasons:

The National Parks are open year-round, however, which parts of the parks you can access varies with the season. Depending on where you're traveling to and what the weather conditions have been - all roads aren't always open. Take a read back through my post on making out of the desert alive for a little reminder on how significantly a little bit of rain can impact a seemingly easy off road adventure.

Even if all the roads are opened, not all the trails will be open. When we visited Glacier National Park last May many trails were still snow covered, some were closed for grizzly sightings and others had avalanche conditions - including the Going to the Sun Road (one of the highlights of the park).   

Always call or stop into the visitors center to get current information about what's happening out on the park roads. You'll have a beautiful time no matter, but safety is always first!

Camping, Lodging, and Where to Stay: 

There's typically so many options for camping, or parking an RV, however, if you haven't planned in advance you'll need to get a game plan before making your way out, don't assume you can just pitch a tent and crash. Often camp sites are first come first serve, and I'll tell you, one late night as I Ben and I drove along the primitive roads of Big Bend we came across campsites wayyyyy out.

There's no way I would have wanted to stay where rattlesnakes and scorpions make their home and I don't watch movies like Texas Chainsaw Massacre for a reason. We typically Airbnb or stay in roadside lodges in nearby towns, however even these can fill up quickly on weekends like this one. If you're braver than me check in early to get dibs on a campsite; and - if you'll be spending your day hiking make sure you remember how to get back to your tent, things can look very different after dark. 

What to Pack

I shared this list before in my Glamping Essentials post however, it's a good one I think so here it is again:

Tent, sleeping bag and pillows (or an air mattress and an SUV) - unless you're traveling in an RV, of course or staying in an Airbnb or lodge

Bug Spray, Bear Spray (yep, that's a real thing) and a Traveling First Aid Kit

Jugs of Water (lots of it)

Sunscreen (I can't stress it enough, you need it even when you're not swimming or in direct light!)

Bathing Suits (I like to pack a one piece and a two piece, the one piece can double as a top when worn under skirts or shorts)

Layers of Clothes (hot days transition to cold nights)

Baby or Makeup Wipes (there isn't always water for washing your face at night)

Your Favorite Read (I like to pick up used books on the road too)

A Journal and a Pen

Travel Beauty Products (just the basics!)

Snacks and Organic Canned Foods (things that wont spoil)

Solar Powered Chargers and a Portable Record Player (there's nothing better than old records under the stars!)


I'll close with a few of my favorite photos from our journey across the park system. Over the course of the year we visited Big Bend, White Sands, Zion, The Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Glacier, Rocky Mountain and Joshua Tree. The National Forests we spent time in: Los Padres, Santa Fe, Gallatin, Shadow Mountain and Arapaho. Whew, I'm having such nostalgia just thinking about it! So much of these adventures are covered in my coming book! Be sure to pre-order you guys!

Grand Canyon at Sunset

Grand Canyon at Sunset

Yellowstone Geiser
Yellowstone afternoons

Yellowstone afternoons

Driving in to Big Bend

Driving in to Big Bend

White Sands

White Sands

Joshua Tree

Joshua Tree

I hope this list is useful and I'd love to see your National Park photos! Share with me where you'll be going in the comments and tag #OuiLoveParks to share your park photos!

Wanderfully yours,

Andi

All photos were shot by Ben (the landscape shots from the parks are all 35 mm). 

An (Un)Belief in Happy Accidents

Oui We A Color Story

A dandelion rose:

Under the spell of a 5 a.m. full moon and

a blur that comes an hour and 57 minutes of clock ticking time later she woke, again.  

She lived each night begging for a coaxing by the sun, 

swaying from luring with syrup yellow and lucidly driving thorns into story covered fingers all the same.

I'm not so sure that I should call this post a travel post. Perhaps traveling back in time a little bit. I used to spend my nights, sometimes days anxiously scribbling, typing, brain dumping the ideas that came slamming through my mind. 

I never considered myself a writer, and when I became one a good warm up was to let these mind wanderings take shape as little stories. The words I create need the imagery, the imagery needs the words, I'm never quite sure which inspires the other.

In the present, on this particular day Ben and I wandered for an afternoon at the Botanical Gardens. I sipped rosé, and lingered below the sun flair. Snapping photos in a harsh light, creating happy little accidents. 

He by the way, is the happiest accident I can ever imagine. 

Last night over drinks with a cousin I haven't seen since in a while, I talked about how Ben and I met. I told the story, but the part I left out was when I glanced across a room, his eyes catching mine. I left out how I knew that moment was never an accident at all.

I haven't looked away from Ben since, the prickly rose thorn of a girl I could be before him took flight like the seed puff on a dandelion.

p.s. I think sometimes I'll come back to sharing these little mind wandering stories like I used to. It feels good to me, so maybe you too?

p.p.s. I love you guys forever for reading. And those that were reading those stories summers ago, when all I could do was drink wine and wander off to the next little adventure, I'm so glad you're still here.


By the way, Nashville darlings: if you want to experience your own Springtime spell go visit Cheekwood Estate & Gardens.

By the numbers there's 103,100 tulips, 20,000 + daffodils, and the same number of violets and pansies. There's a beer garden and space to picnic and I'm grateful for the ushering in of Spring feels those bloom create.  

In this post I'm wearing Nars Velvet Matte Pencil in Famous Red.

Shop the full look (and my new book too) here: 

Fresh Habits for the Beauty on a Budget

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SoFreshSoFrench #CollectiveBias

I wrote a post the other day about beauty habits I've acquired from gorgeous ladies I've met out on my travels. Spending the majority of 2016 out in the world either road tripping or jetting off to far away places really gave me an opportunity to learn some new ways. On my travels I was researching style and beauty tricks to feature in my coming book and so I made it my mission to comb through the beauty bags of the girls who seem to have that enviable ability to look like a star no matter where they are. Whether it's hiking in a national forest or dancing all night under the glow of city lights they're the types that just, well, have it. 

As a bohemian at heart, I like to keep things sunny and simple. Glowing skin, warm and nostalgic aromas, those are the things that make me feel beautiful. 

As I was packing for a recent trip, one that would be fairly lengthy, I considered my beauty bag, as I do just about anytime I'm taking off for a new adventure. It occurred to me: in regards to products, much of what I consider to be necessities are pretty spectacular, budget friendly finds. (Oui!) And! The habits that I've acquired, are often things that are uncomplicated routine additions that anyone can do without spending a fortune.

For me, since I'm traveling so much, there's always a chance I could accidentally leave a product behind in a hotel. The optimist in me says surely that would never happen! but last month I accidentally left my smoothie cup at a hotel, not a big deal I suppose, but I often travel with a cooler of fruits and veggies so I can make smoothies wherever I go. I do it because it's so much cheaper than buying a $9 smoothie at a juice shop every morning. So leaving that cup behind was a bummer for my wallet. There's also the chance I  could have to discard a few things to keep my bag under the weight limit (especially on my way home if I've picked up extra trinkets for gifts) and so knowing all of that I don't want my beauty bag teeming with high price items.

This rundown includes 3 beauty habits and/or products I'm living by and even better, habits that are budget friendly!

1. Artful Aromas 

In regards to body care: I've personally become obsessed with one of France's biggest beauty secrets: Le Petit Marseillais™. My French bff regularly shop at the drugstores for her beauty buys and this product is the #1 body wash brand in France (and say Bonjour!) it's finally available here in America so it's a fabulous way to create a little nostalgia at home.  
Hand Cream

The artful combinations of scents inspired by nature are designed to transport you to the south of France. The mandarin & sweet almond oil are enough to have me skip my usual go to essential oil application. The hand cream never leaves my bag and sometimes a signature aroma is all a girl really needs to feel her best. 

2. The Eyes Have It

They say the eyes are the window to the soul right? So, for me, if I'm keeping my makeup simple I'll focus on my eyes, and specifically my lashes and my brows. In regards to brows: you may have heard of micro-blading or permanent brow makeup, and truly it's not something I've considered. However, I am, like so many of us, interested in having eyebrows that are standout without having to spend hours in a salon.

I've tried much of it: threading, waxing, pencils, however - as the trend moves toward fuller brows I've found Stencil Kits (win!) at the drugstore and Walmart too for a just a few dollars. You can pack them right down in your beauty bag and they work with shadow, gel or powder, just choose the color that suits your skin tone. 

I also love a good eye mask for sleeping, eye gels for plane rides, preservative free eye drops and a thickening mascara to keep my lashes full. If there's nothing else makeup wise in my beauty bag, these things are my essentials. 

3. Dry Brushing 

When I was shopping for Le Petit Marseillais - located in the specialty bath & body aisle, where loofahs are sold, I came across a fantastic selection of dry brushing products. It got me thinking about a tip from a friend who's spent so many of her days jetting back and forth across the Atlantic. The thing she full on swears by: dry brushing. It's the first thing she does when she checks in to a hotel or when she arrives home. Why? Well one, it just feels good, two, it's incredibly easy to incorporate into your routine and three, it's so energizing too! I have a mini one I found in that same aisle that I use for my face. It's the first thing I do before mixing up my morning smoothie: brush, apply oil, and then by the time I finish my smoothie and check a few emails it's time to rinse the oil. Voila! 

beauty flat lay

It was so much fun to put this post together in partnership with Les Petit Marseillais. If you're interested in incorporating a little bit of the south of France into your own life you can do it without having to jet across the ocean.

The carefully-curated collection includes an assortment of eight body/hand moisturizers, two liquid hand soaps, six body washes and a bar soap with prices ranging from $3.99 - $7.97. 

The complete line is newly available and features 17 products, it's available online at Walmart.com too. My personal favorites are these three: 
Le Petit Marseillais

 

  1. Le Petit Marseillais™ Mandarin & Lime Extra Gentle Shower Gel
  2. Le Petit Marseillais™ Shea Butter, Sweet Almond & Argan Oil Nourishing Body Milk Lotion
  3. Le Petit Marseillais™ Shea Butter, Sweet Almond & Argan Oil Nourishing Hand Cream

I'm so glad you girls are loving these travel meets beauty posts! I'll be back out in California at the end of this month and will certainly be taking notes from the Venice beach beauties while I'm there. 

p.s. we're launching a new column over here this weekend: it'll be printable checklists, full of styling and beauty tips, packing lists, and more. I cannot wait to share that so come back by soon!

Wanderfully yours,

Andi