A weekend in Memphis - what to do with 48 hours in the home of blues, soul and rock ‘n’ roll.Read More
We’re heading to one of those magical Music City places where legends are made. It's a storied place that's launched superstar after superstar - where music makers and music lovers travel hundreds and thousands of miles just to get their fix (because after all, isn't the sound and the stage one of the truest loves?).
It was a cold evening in a sleepy Tennessee town, November 28, 1925, when across the AM air waves a radio announcer introduced Uncle Jimmy Thompson as the first performer on a new show “The WSM Barn Dance.” It was the show that made country music famous....
Yes. It's the Grand Ole Opry.
About two years ago Ben & I had one of our first Nashville dates: a cocktail hour in the backstage dressing rooms of the Grand Ole Opry. It was MAGIC! This weekend we had our second Opry date night, this time at the Ryman, the famous former home and winter residence of the Opry, for the full show experience!
I'm asked regularly:
What should I do in Nashville if I'm a lover of style
I can only make it to one venue where should I go?
My people, ya know and I've shared a post about that.
I'm asked what should I do if I've only got a weekend, and I've got a post about that too (and lots more in my book). There's truly so many ways to enjoy the city! Today I'm giving you a peek inside one of the best date nights I've had, and one of the most dazzling places in Nashville.
Go On Tour
We started our evening early to get a little Opry history lesson. To experience it all there are three tour options available: Daytime Tour, Post-Show Tour and the ultimate VIP Tour, where you’ll get to be on stage as the red curtain goes up before being escorted to your seats. (BRILLIANT.)
We checked out famous set lists and guitars and perhaps my favorite part was seeing designer to the rhinestone cowboy stars, Nudie Cohn's embroidered and embellished suits up close and personal. Nudie was the tailor to everyone from Johnny Cash and Graham Parsons to Dolly Parton and Elvis.
It's Wine Time
After the tour we stepped into Cafe Lula - named for the secretary turned manager of the Ryman - Lula C. Naff. Lula was hired in 1904, eventually going into the booking business on her own and finally taking her business savvy skills into the top position at the Ryman before her retirement in 1955.
We sampled several small plates, and I'd go back for the Smoked Gouda Chips alone. Try them. You'll love 'em.
Magic in the Music
To me, the beauty in any given Opry night is seeing country music’s newest stars, superstars, and legends take to the stage one after the next. The Opry showcases all types of music under the country music umbrella: hit country, classic country, bluegrass, gospel, Western swing, and more. In addition to having welcomed to the Opry stage virtually every top artist in the genre, the show also introduces special guests every single week.
On our night we experienced a special moment as Rory Feek, who recently lost his wife (and musical partner) to cancer, was joined by his two daughters on stage to sing a tribute song to her. We sang along to a quirky and hilarious version of "Let It Snow" by Opry members since '82 - the Riders in the Sky. We reminisced to childhood days as Restless Heart played their #1 hits from the 80's.
The show, btw is live broadcast (just as it's always been) on 650 AM WSM (plus online, on Sirius and on the Opry app too) and it was a treat to see the behind the scenes moments involved in the making of the radio show.
Perhaps the highlight of the evening was the surprise collaboration as Jason Isbell joined his wife Amanda Shires on stage (a serious talent and star in her own right!) to play guitar alongside her headlining performance.
Ben & I left the night with a new appreciation for country music, and finding ourselves fans to several artists that were totally brand new to us. It was also a magnificent reminder of the starshine that is the musical community that Nashville is made of.
Interested in Planning Your Own Opry Date Night?
The Opry highlights country talent past and present, including the likes of Minnie Pearl, Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Little Big Town, Carrie Underwood, Darius Rucker, Brad Paisley and countless others. The Grand Ole Opry hosts a rotating cast of talent at its live shows every Friday and Saturday year round. Additionally, Tuesday shows run from February to October and Wednesday shows from June through August.
During the winter months each year, the Opry moves back to its most famous former home, the Ryman Auditorium. Cafe Lula is open daily 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. and later on show nights.
Opry tickets, show information and tour details are available here.
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*this post was sponsored by the Grand Ole Opry; thank you to the Opry team for a brilliant evening. opinions as always, are mine.
The journey to the metaphysical mecca of Joshua Tree, deep in the Mojave desert is a spiritual one. There’s a connectedness and a solitary easeful feeling that arises passing through those gnarled trees that give this area its name.
To get prepared for any adventure I like to get the vibe going at home first. I have my own little bohemian traveler library and there's a full list in my book for every single chapter and destination. I've pulled a few favorites from the "Way Out West" chapter to get you in the desert head space!
Movies to watch: Stones For Ibarra (1988), Lo Sound Desert (2015), Bagdad Cafe (1987), Young Guns (1988), Tiger Eyes (Judy Blume), The Darjeeling Limited (2007)
Books to read: Wind, Sand and Stars (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry), Joshua Tree (Rudy Vanderlans), A Field Guide to Getting Lost (Rebecca Solnit), Desert Solitaire (Edward Abbey), Complete Astrology: The Classic Guide to Modern Astrology (Alan Oken)
Bands to set the tone: U2, Queens of the Stone Age, Emmy Lou Harris, The Flying Burrito Brothers, The Rolling Stones, Best Coast, Wavves, Eagles of Death Metal
Painters, writers, poets and musicians have been making the pilgrimage to Joshua Tree for decades. John Lennon famously recorded “Imagine” and Come Together” from The Joshua Tree Tapes here. There’s a love story to enlightenment transcending from these rare landscapes.
There’s a ghost of melancholy romance in the atmosphere.
Gram Parsons of the Byrds and the Rolling Stones, who died suddenly in room Number Eight at the Joshua Tree Inn, spent time there. He had a deep chemistry with Emmy Lou Harris - and while the two never quite solidified their love affair, the cosmic cowboy sound they created is reflective of the electricity between them. Outlaw artists of the early 70’s went for wide open spaces, psychedelic enlightenment, in an outpost surrounded by monumental rock formations, mojave yucca, juniper and sage.
What to pack for a trip to Joshua Tree
The Joshua Tree girl hangs with friends channeling the proper 70s-era rocker. She dresses in glamorous maxi gowns or in leather, fringe and concert tees. In Joshua tree she blooms. She’s a delicate cactus flower, stylish by nature mixing high end designer finds with hand-me-downs vintage beauties from her grandmother’s closet.
Where to stay
There’s so many Airbnb options, from tree houses to homestead cabins each offering a unique experience and a shift in perspective. On my most recent visit we chose the Cozy Dezert Retreat - for less than about $100/night there's 2 bedrooms, an outdoor firepit, jacuzzi tub and scenic views abound.
Another (super instagrammable option) is the Dome in the Desert. An 80’s era geodesic dome, stocked with books on palm reading and fortune telling and all sorts of knick knacks you’ll want to find for your house back home. Light up the palo santo here and allow your inner creativity to be unhinged.
Can't Miss Joshua Tree:
FOR THE SPIRITUALIST: Schedule a visit to the Integratron for a chakra alignment and sound bath. The Integratron is an energy machine built on a geomagnetic vortex in Landers, California, twenty miles north of Joshua Tree. According to the creator, the wooden dome was built utilizing the design of Moses’s Tabernacle, the writings of Nikola Tesla, and telepathic directions from extraterrestrials. Mmmhm, not quite sure who ET contacted but interesting right?!
According to the website, “The structure is designed to be an electrostatic generator for the purpose of rejuvenation and time travel.” You’ll float out the door afterward.
FOR THE FASHIONISTA: Throughout Joshua Tree and the neighboring Yucca Valley are several boutiques and bohemian-chic vintage shops. Ricochet Vintage Wears (packed with groovy printed frocks), the End (curated by a Hollywood costume designer), Hoof & the Horn (full of Americana styles), Funky & Darn Near New (for leather, fringe, and cowboy boots), and Trailer Trash (stocked with handmade art, clothing, and music memorabilia) are all worth an afternoon of deep rack diving.
FOR THE MUSIC LOVER: Ease into Joshua Tree local life at the Joshua Tree Saloon for karaoke under a disco ball. Give the crowd your best Jagger and settle in for a night of cheap beer and deep conversations.
It's not a full trip without a visit to Pappy & Harriet's Pioneer Palace, so make sure to put it on your list. Standing on the site of an Old West Frontier Town movie set built by Hollywood investors including Gene Autry and Roy Rogers this place is a roadside dream. Known for its’ mesquite barbecue and mac and cheese Pappy & Harriet’s offers raucous good times and intimate music shows with bands like Best Coast, Vampire Weekend and the Pixies.
As you leave Joshua Tree, gaze up into the ethereal California sky, feel the heaviness of the air, and take off into the dreamscape, knowing you’ll never forget the out-of-body experience this whole trip has been.
I can't wait to see what you find on your own adventures. Be sure to tag #AWanderfulLife so we can all follow along together.
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In my coming book there's a whole chapter on what I've nicknamed the rock n’ roll highway; it features quite a few backstage beauties that live and hang along the route from Nashville to Florence, AL to Athens, GA.
The backstage beauty is the type of girl that knows the words to every Rolling Stones song, and lives on a weekend diet of cheap beer and diner food (we can all have a cheat weekend now and then right?!). She throws the best house parties and she and all her friends are right on the brink of discovery. She’s always the most laid-back, glamorous girl in the room in her vintage band T-shirt.
Since I moved to Nashville I've been asked A LOT to share a list of where that type of girl shops and hangs here ... last summer I shared this where to hang for 24-48 hours list (and I stand by it still) so this is the expanded list of venues and shops that made it into my book.
This little tour today is where to get your music fix and find the most fabulous vintage gems all around town. So here we go: a music & vintage tour of Nashville.
Can’t Miss Nashville
For the Music Lover:
Most visitors to Nashville come for the music because there’s truly so much to see and hear. Here are a few favorite spots, and trust me... there's SO many more:
The 5 Spot: What I love about this place is that you can catch a killer early show on a weekend night (I saw my friend Andrew Duhon play to a packed house on a Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.) or go on a Monday night for the Motown Monday dance party. SO. MUCH. F'N. FUN.
Robert's Western World: If you’re ready to spend the night two-stepping the real deal, Honky Tonk is Robert’s Western World. Fried bologna sandwiches, dancing cowboys, and cheap beer make for a wild night down on the Broadway strip.
Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge: A world famous historic watering hole, legend has it that Tootsie kept IOUs behind the counter for the hungry musicians. At the end of the year, the Grand Ol’ Opry guys would pay off the IOUs for the up-and-comers to make sure Tootsie stayed in business.
The Ryman Auditorium: The Ryman Auditorium is the birthplace of the Grand Ole Opry. Not only have the famous feet of Elvis and Johnny Cash graced the stage of this stunning gothic auditorium, but the acoustics make it one of the best places in the country to see live music. Recently Phoenix was there (my fave) and I'm planning to see Father John Misty in September.
The Grand Ole Opry: “The show that made country music famous” continues to feature a broad spectrum of country styles nightly. Take the backstage tour and gaze into the mirrors where gals like Dolly Parton and Carrie Underwood get dressed before their shows.
For the Vintage Devotee:
An entire week could be spent diving into the vintage shops of East Nashville. On my personal best-of list:
Opium Vintage: by appointment only - stocked with a vibrantly obscure collection, including Japanese vintage sourced by owner Laura Citron. It's my favorite of the entire list.
Hip Zipper: great for well-priced denim and accessories.
Starstruck Vintage: gorgeous winter coats for under $100.
Local Honey: hand-dyed vintage by Magness Collection, and this is where I get my hair done... super hip salon and good vintage shopping, win win.
High Class Hillbilly: the place for authentic cowboy goodies and western wear.
Goodbuy Girls: located in the Idea Hatchery (a test kitchen shopping center for new brands) this shop is great for graphic T’s and loads of fringe.
Old Made Good (OMG): Just north of the East Nashville neighborhood is this kitschy vintage shop with a glitter covered floor and adorably charming handmade goods.
Savant Vintage: Over in 12 South, find this favorite of Vogue magazine, photographers, rock stars, and stylists—Savant has an extensive collection of highly curated pieces. Be prepared to spend a little more for the tremendous quality of the jackets, dresses, ponchos, and hats filling its racks.
Hope you guys put this list to good use, and if you haven't pre-ordered my book I would LOVE for you to do so now! Let me know how you love Nashville!
Hi loves! I'm barely a week out of the wildness of Bonnaroo and it was one of those somewhere over the rainbow, traveling to the north star and back, 100 trips around the sun types of experiences.
I could write for days on end about the feelings, the music, the friendship and the food we experienced.... however here today I've got three things to share with you.
1. How to get in the mood for a festival of this size.
2. How to spirit guide yourself into the best style & beauty choices for a festival weekend.
3. My top picks of the weekend in regards to bands, pop-up shops and food!
Sound good? Let's go.
Getting in the Mood
1. Focus on the possibilities to come: to be honest if I was an impatient person a festival of this size could be daunting... the first day will require you to navigate traffic, figure out parking, sort out gate entries, and learn the grounds... however keep in mind that every moment is an opportunity to experience something new. I traveled to Bonnaroo with my little sister, and lucky for me, she'd been several times before... so good news! She knew how to navigate our way around as we finally got settled on day 1. We sorted through the waves of people and settled in ready to take the weekend in stride.
2. Be Present: There is so much good music, yes - but a festival like this will give you time to connect with your friends (new and old) on a completely different level. I checked my iPhone health meter and we were literally walking 8-10 miles everyday... journeying from stage to stage, to the campgrounds and back... and with that sort of time you can really bestow some heartfelt attention on your traveling partners. Michelle and I were able to connect on so many things during that time, I think it's truly one of the reasons I love festivals the most.
3. Find a thrill in curiosity: If I only saw the bands I knew when I arrived at Bonnaroo I would have missed so much. On the first night we saw Mondo Cosmo... why? I had never heard of them, but the name sounded right up my alley (hi "cosmo") so we went and it was a blast. The last day Ben joined us and recommended a UK band Royal Blood... again, never would have thought of it, but watching the wild 90's style mosh pit that formed at 2 pm (from a safe distance) was a bit of a thrill!
Spirit Guide Your Style
I am girl that dresses myself the same way I did when I dressed in costume as a child. There were a few mornings that I wondered... is this too much? However, here's my thoughts when it comes to festival style.
1. Be your boldest you: Well, first start with a comfortably stylish shoe and then move forward. There's not many times on a given week that you'll feel comfortable donning loads of patches, fringe, sequins and twirly dresses.... or dying your hair shades of highlighter yellow (which I did the night before) ~ however, this IS a time to be bold. I honestly pursue getting dressed in the morning for me and me only, and I highly recommend taking that approach too... so if you're your boldest you on the festival grounds you'll surely get more comfortable being that in regular life too.
2. Let it breathe: while being bold is one thing, keeping your skin happy and healthy goes along with it. I chose light weight dresses and cotton patterned sets and layers and layers so as the cold air set in at night I'd be able to warm up. Quality fabrics will allow your skin to breathe and you'll feel better for it.
3. Channel your inner dancing queen: I truly danced the days away every.single.day. When I was little I was certain I'd be a dancer on one of those 80's TV shows... Solid Gold anyone? So put your hair up, slather on the glitter and make the festival grounds your own personal dance floor.
Top Picks of the Weekend
1. Favorite shows: Mannnnn, this is a hard one - there was so much good stuff! However, here's a few acts that I was MIND BLOWN 💥 by:
Crystal Castles (for their punked out ghostly insaneness), Glass Animals (hiiiii that's me twirling madly way down front), Tegan & Sara (yep, me again down there), The XX (the interaction on stage is sheer magic), & Aaron Lee Tasjan (best dressed, best guitar shred and the best of Nashville for sure).
2. Best pop up shops: Mamie Ruth! I stopped by everyday for glitter freckles and new wardrobe.
3. Best food: Subway. Every day at 4:30 we ventured back to the Subway Greenroom (they literally built an entire store including a stage for acoustic sets on the fest grounds). We ate red pepper hummus wraps (soooo much better than overpriced fest pizza), an awesome vegetarian option and dudeeees it was free - to everyone.
I truly can't thank you guys enough for following along on my festival adventures. As the music loving girl that I am, these trips have been so incredibly special. So as the sunsets on Bonnaroo, I promise to be back again with more of these to come!
This fest season I've been 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 was a paid partnership.
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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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I'm finishing packing up for a weekend down at Hangout Festival in Gulf Shores, Alabama. I've been to this festival many times, some of my favorite memories of times with friends have happened at this fest. I'm doing this year a little differently, however. I'll be staying at a beautifulllll b'n'b about 30 miles away, and taking notes on things to do for the female adventurer too. (Come back for that post, and follow along on my IG stories to get an inside look at our b'n'b starting tomorrow!)
I've always loved festivals on the beach and to be honest, I JUST checked the line up and am kinda wayyyyy excited: Phoenix, Band of Horses, MGMT and Mutemath are topping my list. It's my first beach weekend of the year, and as a girl that's always happiest by the water it feels like it's the perfect kick off to the summer.
I took a last minute road trip this past weekend to Shaky Knees Festival in Atlanta (and wow, it was a good one! Two weekends in a row of Phoenix, my faveeee, and omg I'm a happy camper.) One of the things I love most about a good road trip is the excitement of jumping in the car and just, well - going for it.
I'm truly thinking through my festival packing list this go round since it's a three day deal. I'll be meeting up with a group of travel & style bloggers in partnership with Subway (yummy salads and "green room" accommodations at the fest, yes please!), and there's two things I'm thinking about as I get my trunk loaded up:
1. Festivals give us the perfect opportunity to rock out our most adventurous bohemian summer fashions (I mean, c'mon whether we like it or not Coachella seems to be the new Fashion Week).
2. I don't want to look like a "fest girl wannabe." At all. And you shouldn't either. Be your best you, and maybe funk it up a bit and you'll have the best time.
So here's what I'm packing and a little of the prep I'm doing before road tripping to the beach tomorrow.
So there we have it loves. I'll catch you guys at the top of the ferris wheel and I hope you guys will follow along this weekend on insta. I'll definitely be sharing a post festival recap. Share your thoughts on my packing list in the comments. Anything I'm missing?! What's your festival style?