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This fest season I feel so incredibly fortunate to be invited by Subway to hit the road with them to attend a few of the top music festivals across the country. I shared my 10 Things to Stay Cool at Summer Fests' list right before taking off for Hangout, and I'm happy to report back that my packing list served me well. This post is a behind the scenes look from one seriously killer weekend!
I stumbled across an IG post the other day, right before taking off for the Hangout Festival - it included an excerpt from a reddit thread and said this:
Man, did that post hit me. The reality for me is I DO care about the Grand Canyon, and I care about every other place we share with you here in this space. Travel has truly set my life on fire. Since I spent that summer in Spain a few years back I never, ever, not even kind of - wanted to look back. That summer marked the moment I left my corporate job, decided to pursue my creative passion fully (with plenty of bumps along the way) and live this life with my eyes focused forward.
However, it got me thinking, when I look back on this space, especially, years from now, I want to remember all the in between moments too, not just the ones that made the instagram cut.
When I make a list of things that inspire me it looks something like this:
Travel: road trips, long haul international, beaches, mountains... you name it, I want to do it * Creative expression through style & beauty * Music: all kinds of it * Learning: especially things that engage my more mystical side * Relationships: my romantic one with Ben, and the friendships I've cultivated too
Really, those are the things that do it for me. And, often "Relationships" gets left off the list, because, well maybe it's obvious, but it's truly the most important. So this post is a combination of all of those things, and, in honor of that little note above, it's also a behind the scenes look at what a festival weekend really looks like... not just the pink skies at the top of the Ferris Wheel, but the crazy stories and wild laughter, the moments caught in the rain and the friendships that run through every aspect of that.
First a little back story:
In regards to travel & music: I've been following bands since I was 15. I remember my very first fest, it was a famous one, now based in Chicago, back when it was still a touring event. My bestie and I braided our hair, tie dyed our favorite t-shirts, made flower crowns and drove my '84 Jeep CJ7 to the fest to dance the next several days away.
I was bitten. I couldn't begin to tell you how many festival events or shows I've traveled to at this point in my life... and it's no surprise I ended up with a touring musician as a partner. Every Spring & Summer AKA fest season, I still get as excited as I was that day I went to that first fest. And truly, I still do it the same way. Friends, fest fashion, road trips and all the dancing we can squeeze in over the course of the weekend.
So here we are: below I'm sharing the behind the scenes moments from my time at the Hangout Festival in partnership with Subway. Every photo was shot on our iPhones, like I said, this is what it really looks like (and in the spirit of keeping it real I even shared quite a few of these to insta too 💁🏼)!
Hangout Festival Behind The Scenes
Michelle and I arrived and made a mad dash to catch the first bands. As I mentioned last week, I've been to this festival 4 times now (told ya, I'm a fest junky), and doing this weekend with my sister was so incredibly special. We were well prepared, we'd picked up a little festival kit with hand cleanser, deodorant, wipes and things of that sort plus a rain poncho in case the weather got crazy (which in our case it did)! We were fully prepared for a brilliant good time.
On our list of must sees for the weekend: Mutemath, Band of Horses, Phoenix and MGMT. Bands we saw that I wasn't expecting to kill it as hard as they did? The Suffers, Local Natives and Lany topped my list.
We headed into the Subway Green Room to check in with the team and caught up with a few of the other girls that were in for the weekend too!
One of my first 'jobs' (sometimes I can't believe I get to call it that!) for the weekend was to interview the band Coin in the Subway Green Room. I asked questions like "what job would you have if you weren't a touring musician" and "what songs make you think of the beach?" The guys were a blast, I could feel such a chemistry between them and their acoustic set in the Green Room was stellar.
We closed that first night seeing Phoenix (second time in a week)! wayyyyy down front in the VIP area.
For day 2 I decided to channel my 17 year old self and went full on hippie vibes. Grateful Dead vintage T, with my new dip dyed hair making a full on appearance.
I had another MC'ing sort of job scheduled in the Subway Green Room so were back there mid afternoon. This time I'd be introducing LP, a singer / songwriter out of New York who's written for all sorts of mega stars.
After that we took off to go spend the rest of the day in the music. My favorite set was Local Natives. dude! Watch these guys rock out the close of their show... uhm insane! And, truly the vibe out there that afternoon was so full of love. No one pushing and shoving, just people having the time of their lives. Later we had the funniest experience - a semi crazed party girl came to chat with us while we were eating, we just happened to be sitting at the same table as the band, and she somehow believed she'd seen me on stage dressed as a butterfly. We all just went with it, and the guys told her yep, I am the lead singer, and we're a family band. Ha.
We met up with my New Orleans friend Whitney after that for some pool time and caught the MGMT set pool side. (Have I mentioned how insane the VIP accommodations are at Hangout?!)
The rest of the time the rain came and went. For us, we were just happy to be together and there was plenty of places to take cover and just spend time laughing, eating, drinking and laughing some more. We stayed in the VIP Grove for most of the final day: complimentary drinks, a food tent (with Subway of course, but lots of other additions too). We watched Lany from the special VIP riser in the Grove and caught some serious lounge time too.
I hope you guys have enjoyed this behind the scenes trip to the Hangout Festival. I'll be back out with Subway again at Bonaroo in just a few weeks! Let me know if you'll be there! I love each of you for following along and would love to meet as many of you as possible in person! (Relationships, you guys)!
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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:
This feature has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and HP. All opinions are mine alone. #CreateWithHP #CollectiveBias
This week has been one for the books. Or at least, about a book.
After traveling all year creating the content for A Wanderful Life (the book I'm releasing next Spring if you're new here!) I'm finally back in my home office getting this baby underway. My big submission, 35,000+ words and hundreds and hundreds of photos, went off to my editor on Monday.
My three traveling partners on the book's 9 trips:
Allister Ann: A music and fashion photographer by day, an ethereal wildflower of a girl by night.
Keiko Lynn: My makeup maven and indie fashion loving friend with the swoon worthiest closet on planet earth.
T’Ben Alleman: My tour bus living bf with an electric cowboy style. A mariachi jacket layered over tie dye? It’s his grocery store attire.
I'm forever grateful to the three of them for being my soul mate travelin' crew. One of the best parts of these trips has been experiencing each destination with each of them.
Big advanced thank you to Hunter too, who shot the photos for both the Florida road trip and the Southern swamplands trek as well.
There's still so many photos in edits, however, I was way too excited to not at least give you guys a little peak at a few of my favorites Wanderful girls photographed on the road.
So here we go!
We had such a blast along the way and I can't believe it's finally time to lay everything out. Over the last several weeks my intern crew and I have been pulling our favorite photos to start narrowing down what will make the book. The process of going from idea to concept to finished product requires so much pre-planning!
One of the things I find to be important when I have new interns on our team is a quick lesson on how to build the mood boards, and the importance of creating a shot list.
Here's how we do it:
1. Pinterest Boards: We start with a basic Pinterest board that everyone on the team can pitch in ideas to.
2. Once we've created the board, I go back through the pins and create a shot list. It's important to know exactly how many photos we're intending to get in each set up, what the model will be wearing for each shot and if we require props, certain lighting, etc that needs to be noted as well.
3. I create the shot list with detailed notes of what our intended outcome. For example: if we want photos to tell a story that takes place over several days, we need to change wardrobe, hair, makeup and sometimes lighting and location too. As we work through the shoot it's important to check back and ensure no detail is missed. I use Go Moodboard, here's an example from our Route 66 Shoot. I can add the notes and organize the mood photos according to the shot list.
4. After the shoot, I like to select the photos that will best fit the story and then print them to get a perspective of what we have from each shoot. It's super helpful when working with the photo editor to have everything in front of you when making final selections!
Big thanks to HP for showing up fairy godmother style. We were in serious need of an affordable, high-quality printer for the office, something with high-yield ink cartridges that would print hundreds of photos without killing the cartridges (and the piggy bank). The printer we picked up prints twice as many pages with Original HP high-yield ink cartridges. I'm blown away by the quality and speed in which this thing gets work done.
Once we got the printer set up, which took a whole 2 minutes, we were able to print wirelessly from each device in the office - laptops, smartphones and tablets. We're also able to scan illustrations, memorabilia and all that fun stuff from the trips.
Btw, this was a first for me: because the Deskjet 3636 was the printer that would be exaclty what we needed I ordered online at Wal-Mart and picked it up in store. No line, no wait, just picked it up and was right back out the door. It's available in the Electronics Aisle too if you want to walk in and shop.
Can't wait to share more with you guys! What do you think so far?