Surviving Coachella

For those of you that attend music festivals, Coachella will be returning this and next weekend. After experiencing it a few times and with different groups of people, I wanted to re-share a previous post of how I prepared for this event. Hopefully this will be useful to both previous and new attendees.

Coachella Essentials: AKA How to Survive Weekend 1 or 2

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2018 Rewind

It’s been a while since I’ve posted to this blog. I’m hoping to somehow restart it since it’s a new year. But before I do that, here’s a look back on how 2018 was for me (yes it’s about to be mid-February Whoops?).

A few highlights from the year:

  • Weddings – A friend of mine that I worked in retail with and also attended nursing school with got married. I was one of the bridesmaids and our friends from SD came up to celebrate, so it was a ton of fun. Near the end of the year, another friend from college got married in Hawaii, which I attended as a guest.

 

  • Travel – Made a few trips to Vegas for my friend’s bachelorette party and for Christmas. Also attended my 10th year at SDCC, which was an awesome experience (as usual). Since one of my friend’s wedding was in Hawaii, my friends and I also took advantage of the days before and after the event to take in sites and get our grub on.

 

 

 

 

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  • Music – I attended quite a few of these events, all of which were firsts. I decided to skip out on Coachella and instead checked out Bottle Rock for one of the days. The drive was long, but seeing celebrities on the culinary stage and also performing on one of the main stages was awesome. As an on and off fan of Korean music, I finally got to check out some artists that came to California. Loved Eric Nam‘s intimate set, and his opener Loote made their way onto my Spotify playlist. I also got to meet him after the show. He’s adorable! TLC was performing at the San Mateo County fair, so a few friends and I jumped in at the chance to see them. No regrets here! They sound just as good as they did back in the 90s. Since last year, I slowly but surely became a fan of BTS, who’s by far the most popular Korean group known in the US to date. After listening to their albums beginning from their debut in 2013, I couldn’t help but be hooked. You could imagine my excitement when I found out they were touring the US. I was able to get tickets to their LA and Oakland shows, (yes, I saw them twice and it was totally worth it) and it was an amazing experience. The Oakland show was a special one since it was the group leader’s birthday the day of. The audience and the guys sang to him and he looked so happy. I also did a last minute upgrade and got incredible seats. It was the closest I could have imagined being near them without having to stand in the GA sections right next to the stage.

 

 

 

 

 

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  • For the ‘Gram – There were a few exhibits that came to SF last year. I visited 29 Rooms and Candytopia. Both were entirely different experiences, but I liked the latter the most because my friends and I left with a good amount of free candy (score).

 

 

 

 

 

Already have a few things in store for this year. And as with every year, I hope to try new things and make more great memories to look back on.

My Coachella Weekend 2 Experience

My post-Coachella high has finally come down 2 weeks later. Although it was only my second time there, it was more fun and less stressful compared to my first. I was able to see more of the performers and stay for the whole weekend. I did spoil myself a bit by watching the Weekend 1 live streams, but it actually made me more excited for what I’d be seeing the following week. Plus it gave me an idea of who would and wouldn’t be worth watching. Heading down from the Bay Area on Thursday gave me a chance to decompress a bit and check out the local area before the next few days of madness. Thank goodness I booked a hotel that had a shuttle stop.

Most attendees love dressing up at Coachella, but knowing how hot the temperature would get in the coming days, I wanted to look nice, yet feel comfortable in what I wore. I brought 2 pairs of shoes and planned to alternate them between outfits, but ended up wearing my black Chuck Taylor lows for all 3 days since they would eventually get dirtied up. I couldn’t think about possibly messing up my lightly used Vans! But I also brought some cute strappy sandals to wear during the time before heading to the venue (e.g. while running errands or grabbing breakfast/brunch earlier in the the day). Unfortunately, I barely have any photos of myself in these outfits, so instead here’s layout of what I wore each day.

 

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Day 1 – Top and shorts from Old Navy

I loved the detailing on the bottom of this off the shoulder top, so that was a no-brainer to bring on my trip. I’ve had the shorts for a few years. Luckily they still fit me (heheh).

 

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Day 2 – Floral top from Forever 21, lace tube top from Nordstrom Rack, skirt from Charlotte Russe, necklace from Express

I actually wore the F21 top last year to a friend’s “Coachella” themed bridal shower, so I was glad to see it put to use for the real thing. Since it had a low neckline, the tube top peeked out nicely underneath it. Hard to tell with the skirt, but it has a slit on the side. I didn’t accessorize with my Day 1 outfit, so I added the necklace to this one. This was the most “dressed up” outfit I packed, and of course I decided to wear it on the hottest day of the festival. But no worries, it didn’t make me overheat!

 

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Day 3 – Shirt from Kohl’s, bralette from Express, shorts from Old Navy

As the weekend wound down, I kept things a bit more casual for the last day. I didn’t button the shirt all the way up so the straps from the bralette could be seen. I’m not one to include much color with what I wear, so this was a fun outfit for me.

 

I’m glad I had made a post of Coachella essentials ahead of time. I followed most of my advice and brought a few things from the list everyday to the venue.

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Hang Ten Classic Spray SPF 30 – This retails at over $10, but I lucked out and only got this for about $3 when it was on sale at Urban Outfitters. Aerosol sunscreens weren’t allowed inside the venue, but I applied this liberally before leaving the hotel. Never got sunburned. *pats self on back*

Inside my purse:

Eye drops – Came in handy when I was feeling tired and my eyes got a bit irritated from the flying dust.

Bandana – Covered my face with this, which saved my nose and throat from getting irritated from the occasional windy conditions. I actually brought a black one.

Purell wipes – Loved using these after eating, especially if a restroom wasn’t nearby to wash my hands.

Mini Chloe perfume spray – A little of this went a long way when applied to my pulse points.

Lipgloss – Luckily I wore long-wearing lip color. I just used this gloss to top it off and reapplied a few times after eating and drinking.

Mints – After crab fries, cold brew coffee, beer, and slices of Spicy Pie (not all at once, of course), these were a must to freshen my mouth up!

Downbeats – These ear plugs are more like acoustic filters. When I put them in, the sound wasn’t at all muffled. Instead, it lowered it by a few decibels, which made it more enjoyable to listen to. Plus I didn’t have that annoying ringing in the ears that people sometimes experience after being exposed to consistently loud music. I bought them from Amazon and plan on using them for future concerts/music festivals.

Everything fit nicely inside the mini cross body bag I got from Target, along with a small wallet. There was still enough room to put in my external battery and mini USB cord when I had to charge my phone.

I got to see some of the artists I watched on Coachella’s YouTube live stream the week before, plus some I didn’t expect to see. That’s pretty much the point. I even made a withdrawal playlist on Spotify with both the popular and new artists I discovered at Weekend 2.

Friday – Kungs, Big Gigantic, Bonobo, Crystal Castles, Glass Animals, Phantogram (YES, loved them.), Little Dragon (I think I have a woman crush on their singer. Her voice is so unique), and Empire of the Sun (the crowd was way larger than when they performed at the festival 2 years ago, but it was still a good set.).

Saturday – Two Door Cinema Club, Future, Lady Gaga (she performed her latest single, which was still a bit new then).

Sunday – Kaytranada, Hans Zimmer, Lorde, Justice, New Order, Kendrick Lamar.

Coachella was also Foodchella for me, as I reunited with an old favorite (Spicy Pie, FTW) and picked up on some new ones too (Cold brew coffee and crab fries).

 

Not sure yet if I’ll be back again next year. That would depend on if my friends want to go and if a possible Beyonce appearance will occur (please say yes). But I’d probably still go anyway if the lineup is a good one.

Coachella Essentials: AKA How to Survive Weekend 1 or 2

Coachella will be upon us real soon! I’ll be returning after attending my first one 3 years ago (and again on Weekend 2), so I’m excited knowing that a good number of friends will be there as well. However you manage to prepare yourself for the festival, whether it be your first time or just another year hanging out in Indio, here are a few things to consider for the weekend.

1. First and foremost, don’t forget your wristband! This is your way in and out of the venue. I activated mine as soon as it was delivered. You probably should too. It’ll be one less thing to worry about while planning out the rest of your itinerary.

2. Stay hydrated – Water will be your bff, especially with the hot and dry weather that the area gets year round. Trust me. You can bring water bottles to the event as long as they are plastic and not the metal/glass reusable type. There are refill stations scattered throughout the venue in case you start running low.

3. Sun protection – Again, it will be hot in Indio! Sunscreen is a must if you don’t want to burn to a crisp. It ought to be an essential in addition to bringing sunglasses and/or a hat. Might as well throw in a bottle of aloe vera/after sun lotion to use in the unfortunate event of overexposure.

4. Comfortable shoes –  This is an event where people love to showcase their outfits. Go ahead, werk it! But do keep in mind that you’ll be walking around on a field, so your shoes/feet are bound to get a bit dirty. I’d recommend staying away from crowded areas to prevent getting stomped on in case you’re wearing strappy sandals or (God forbid) flip flops. Limping out of Coachella doesn’t sound like a fun time.

5. Cash – I plan on withdrawing a couple hundred before I head down there. It seems like too much, but when you think of the food and drink you’ll consume within the festival’s 3 days (hello, Spicy Pie and beer!), your expenses will add up. Of course ATMs will be available, but having cash with you in advance saves on forking over fees and waiting in line.

6. Light jacket/hoodie/anorak – So it’s the desert where you’ll be getting your rage on, but why bring these? Believe it or not, it does get cooler in the evening. It even rained a few years ago. Doesn’t hurt to have them handy.

7. Extra battery/external power bank – The great outdoors won’t care about your need to be connected to the tech world. That said, data usage on your phone will increase, causing its battery to drain quickly. This will be more apparent if you plan on using your social media platforms (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) to document your time at Coachella. Need I say more? Bring an extra power source (and don’t forget the charging cord)!

8. Bandana – If you’ve ever gotten caught in a Coachella dust storm, you know why this is necessary. Attendees use them to cover their faces. Add on sunglasses and you’re good to go.

9. Download Lyft/Uber – For those of you staying a few minutes away from the venue without a car or aren’t at a hotel with a shuttle route to it, these apps will be your savior. You’re welcome.

 

Miscellaneous items

Bring them or not. It’s up to you.

Hand sanitizer/wet wipes – Because you might not be able to get to a restroom right away to wash your hands.

Band aids/small first aid kit – Good to have in case you need to cover up a few scrapes or cushion blisters from your poor choice of foot wear. Just sayin’.

 Saline nasal spray/Neti pot – It’s not uncommon to feel stuffed up after a day at Coachella. I recommend them to help clear your sinuses if you’re prone to seasonal allergies.

 Allergy meds/eye drops – Listed this for the same reason as above. Take/use them before heading out.

Whether you’re a party of 2 or 12, be sure to set up a meeting place and time in case you separate from each other (it will happen). If you don’t plan to leave the venue at the same time, have an alternative means of transportation to get back to wherever you’re staying. All the more reason to have #9 installed on your phone, given that it still has battery life.

Already packed but not sure if what you have will be allowed inside Coachella? Check out what you can bring here.

 

 

The Nintendo Switch Preview Tour Visits SF

Nintendo will be releasing its latest console tomorrow. In preparation, The Nintendo Switch Preview Tour made a few stops at select US cities. Attendees to the event were able to get hands on with the console before anyone else. The San Francisco event took place last weekend and ran for 3 days. The first 2 were open to invite-only attendees, while the public was welcome on a first-come, first serve basis for the last. I was still a bit skeptical about whether or not I wanted to invest in the Switch. It wouldn’t be keeping certain aspects of past consoles like the Wii and Wii U (e.g. Netflix streaming and free online multiplayer service). Would this event convince me otherwise? Let’s find out.

Here’s some info about the Switch console:

  • Easily transition between home and mobile play using the portable handheld and Joy-Con controllers. Think of the latter as mini sized Wii controllers, except these can slide into either the handheld or the Joy-Con grip. They can also be used individually with select Switch games.
  • Play solo or with friends. If all of your group owns the console, each of them (up to 8) can be linked so you can have game time anytime and anywhere.
  • 32GB of internal memory can also be expanded via micro SD card.
  • Battery life can last up to 6 hours (varies depending on software and usage conditions)

Since I registered for the first day of the event, I was among the first group of people to see the Nintendo Switch up close. Heck yeah I was excited! After a quick scan of my ticket and handed a freebie, I was on my way. A few staff members were lined up on each side of a lit up catwalk of sorts that the attendees walked through. It led to the main stage where the host kept everyone informed about different activities taking place. The playable demos included games that would be released the same day as the Switch, along with ones that will be released within the next few months and later this year.

After circling the space, I headed to a play area located next to the stage and tried out Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (out April 28) . I got to use the console as the portable handheld, which felt similar to the Wii U, except less bulky. Having the joy sticks of the Joy-Con controllers on opposite locations needed getting used to. I also didn’t get all of the button functions since the staff member explained them too quickly before I started playing. Aside from that, this was just as fun to play compared to previous Mario Kart games. The graphic output on the handheld was nice as well.

 

I was going to walk around some more afterward until I realized it was time for my demo session with Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Tickets with different time slots were handed out for attendees to play a 20 minute demo of the game. This was played using the Joy-Con grip, which feels like a traditional style controller. I didn’t get to do too much in game, but I did get the gist of how the controls work. And the graphics are amazing. This is one of the games that I’d look forward to purchasing alongside the console. That is, if I decide to. More on that later.

 

Here are the other games that I played at the Preview Tour:

Splatoon 2 (releases Summer 2017) – Being a fan of the first Splatoon game, I was happy to check this one out. This version introduces new battle areas, characters, and weapons. Players can also take advantage of local and multiplayer battles using the Switch in either TV, handheld, or tabletop mode. This is another game I’d love to add on to my collection.

Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers (release date TBD) – This game is also adding more characters to their lineup, 2 in particular being Evil Ryu and Violent Ken. Choose either classic pixel-art or updated graphics to customize how you play. Can’t take down a certain CPU player? You can now team up with a friend to show them who’s boss.

Puyo Puyo Tetris (releases April 25) – I wasn’t familiar with Puyo Puyo (think of match 3/more games like Candy Crush) prior to playing this, but I quickly got the hang of it and had a blast playing a few rounds. Do your best to clear as many lines as possible to beat either the CPU or other players. Up to 4 can participate for a competitive gaming experience like no other. This is a must have for any fan of puzzle games.

 

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Switch swag, FTW.

Although there was still time left before the next wave of attendees were let in, I felt confident checking off what I wanted to do at the event. I was handed even more goodies on my way out. Overall, this was quite the experience, and I had an awesome time trying out this console. I will definitely consider purchasing one, but probably not until some time after its release. The last leg of the Nintendo Switch Preview Tour will take place in Los Angeles this weekend between March 3 – March 5. For those of you in the area, I highly recommend that you check it out. More info about the Nintendo Switch Preview Tour can be found here.

Do you plan on purchasing the Nintendo Switch? Sound off in the comments.

An Evening with Alton Brown

This past Wednesday, I picked up a copy of Alton Brown’s cookbook Everyday Cook. This is his 4th cookbook, and his latest in 10 years. I’ve been a fan of his ever since I watched an episode of his show Good Eats on Food Network. Thanks to Netflix, I’ve been able to marathon the series (Sometimes falling asleep to it. Not his fault, I’m just tired after my 8 hour shifts!). He had 2 Bay Area appearances in San Jose and Menlo Park. I attended the latter since it didn’t fall during my work hours. It was nice to get to know a little more about him before the audience got their books signed.

Here are some random facts I learned:

  • One of his favorite recipes from the book is the Midnight Mug Cake for 2 (Although he’s never shared it).
  • All the book’s photos, with the exception of one at the beginning, were all taken on an iPhone.
  • A favorite food he enjoys that he cannot make himself is sushi.
  • His favorite part of a chicken is the drumsticks/thighs.
  • He tends to say “Oh, bother.” Someone in the audience asked where he got that from. His answer? Winnie the Pooh.
  • Although he watched his mother and grandmother cook growing up, he finally got around to it from reading magazines (most likely ones about cooking or food, I forgot what he said).

 

There was a good number of attendees, including kids. When it was finally my turn to get my book signed, I told Mr. Brown I was glad to hear he was a fan of sushi and drumsticks (I too love them both). “I wouldn’t eat drumstick sushi though”, he said. 😛 He’s funny and awesome, just like he is on TV.

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After his book tour, he’ll kick off his live show Eat Your Science. I’m hoping to check it out when  it comes to SF next year. It’s still a but surreal to me that this opportunity actually happened, but it did. I look forward to trying out some new recipes!

 

My Visit to Facebook Farmers Market

Since the beginning of August, Facebook has held a weekly farmers market on their campus every Saturday. For the most part, the event is free to attend, but the one I visited at the end of the month was a bit more on the larger scale. In addition to the market, they also put together a small “county fair” with rides, games, and kid/family friendly activities. Reservations had to be made via Eventbrite for crowd control. I believe this may be the only time that would be needed.

 

Local Bay Area vendors set up shop selling various types of produce. There was even a cooking demonstration, florists, food trucks, areas selling craft beer and wine, and live entertainment. I sampled some tasty berries and got an ear of grilled corn. It was either that or Kettle Corn. I had to go for the former.

 

 

The market’s theme changes every week. It’s not as big in size compared to other markets I’ve seen, but hey, any excuse to visit the Facebook location is a good one in my opinion. There’s also free parking available, but early arrival is highly suggested. Visit their site here for their current schedule.