Yesterday, as I scrolled through the train wreck… not even, the nuclear meltdown that was #FyreFestival, I was overcome with shame for every time I complained the vegetarian options outside of VIP sucked at Coachella. Dan and I survived working the Coachella record store another year and have officially decided not to do it again; we even bought hoodies as a commemorative souvenir. Coachella is an emotionally and physically exhausting event to work, and I’m still getting over my Coachella induced cold. But Coachella overall is an amazing festival that really takes care of its attendees. There is so much that goes on behind the scenes to create a great experience for those that attend the festival, that to complain about any of it just shows the amount of delusion us first world people live in (and I’m super guilty). Anyways, one of the little details you’ve probably never thought about when it comes to festival production is ‘pest’ control. I’ve been to Coachella five times and not once did it occur to me they have an onsite beekeeper to remove hives until I sat down to dinner with him. The Coachella Beekeeper.
Dan and I like to retreat to catering where there is an oasis of iced tea, fruit infused water, and a dessert bar. It also has buffet food for those working in production and have an artist pass, but we don’t get access to that. Anyways, as Dan and I went to catering to rest our weary legs and drink some free cold beverages, I sat down at a table with a friendly looking guy. Since I don’t have permission to use his name, he will be referred to as Mr. B.
Mr. B looked like an old rock dude with shoulder length hair. Out of curiosity and polite dinner conversation I asked what he did for the festival. Mr. B then proceeded to tell me he relocated beehives. I was shocked and excited. My face lit up! We then went on to talk about the dwindling bee population and how he got into bee removal. He grew up in Colorado and started beekeeping at the age of 12. Later, when he moved out to Palm Springs in his early twenties, he was working as a waiter when the opportunity to remove a beehive came up. With the experience he had from his days of beekeeping in Colorado, he attempted to remove the hive and was successful. He immediately saw a business opportunity and never went back to waiting tables again. For the last 30 years, he’s been relocating hives from businesses and buildings to his farm where the hives can thrive in safety.
I loved talking about bees with Mr. B, who had removed at least five different hives from the festival grounds. Coachella bee removal, a logistical element I would have never thought of, but this pro-festival has it on lock. Mr. B also worked Desert Trip, and his eyes lit up when talking about meeting Mick Jagger.
It was an awesome and unexpected interaction. I wasn’t even going to share this story until I read about the Titanic failure of Fyre Festival. Production is not an easy job, and Coachella really runs a tight ship. So this is 1) me sharing about the most interesting man I met at Coachella, 2) a giant apology for ever complaining about anything, 3) a massive thank you to the amazing people that coordinate an experience for 125,000 people.
** p.s. Before anyone makes a comment about Coachella funding hate groups because you saw a viral video. Please see the below comment I made on another friend’s Facebook post.
I’ve attended Coachella once as a festival goer, and have been working at the festival in the merch department for the last 3 years. That totals up to 4 years of Coachella experience. So let me share my insight with you! The desert elements can be brutal and I keep a few essential items in my purse while going between my shifts at the record store and favorite band sets. My camping guide is even more comprehensive and hopefully, I can put that together between now and Thursday, but none-the-less here is what I keep in my purse.
- My cell phone/camera. Instead of carrying around an extra camera, I will just be filming and taking photos on my cell. I also keep my phone on airplane mode most of the time to save its battery. The first time I went to Coachella as a festival goer, I challenged myself to unplug and not be on my phone to distract myself from my awkward social anxiety. There are so many friendly people in the world, open yourself up to meeting a few by just saying hello!
- External battery charger. Fortunately, there are dozens of charging stations inside the festival. But do you really want to be attached to an electrical box instead of discovering a new band? No, no you do not. Bring an extrenal battery charger and you’ll be safe from experiencing FOMO.
- Tissues. There is a lot of dirt and dust. Tissues keep me from driving myself crazy with the sniffles.
- Cottonelle Flushable Wipes. A few years ago flushable toilettes were installed at the Empire Polo fields that helped provide alternative options to the porta potties. But regardless you are using the same bathroom as hundreds of other people, and in case you happen to go in one when there is no toilet paper – now you have a backup. (the tissues are good for this too obviously)
- Wet Ones. A lot of the food inside the festival is finger food and after touching money, grass, dirt, just everything… my hands feel gross. Before eating I like to wipe my hands with wet wipes to keep things clean. Instead of just using regular gel antibacterial, the wet wipes actually remove the dirt instead of turning into sanitized mud.
- Face Mask / Bandana. It gets really windy in the desert causing dirt to fly into the air and get lodged in your lungs. Even if it’s not a windy day/ night, upon exiting the festival dirt is kicked up into the air by everyone walking around you. Stay healthy by protecting your lungs, keep a face mask on you. Don’t get the Coachella cough – it’s not cute.
- Sunscreen. Pretty self-explanatory. Skin cancer, also not cute.
- Band-aids. Blisters happen. If you’re not used to being on your feet for 12+ hours while dancing and walking about 5 miles over the course of the day, then just have some band-aids on hand. Better safe than sorry.
- Allergy Medicine (Zyrtec). You technically can’t bring allergy meds into the festival, so take some before going in. I get pretty bad allergies since there is so much grass and dirt in the air. I take a little Zyrtec and I’m good to go for the day.
- Cash Diet. I like to bring cash to the festival because it helps me manage my spending. The food is amazing, the beer garden is on point. So instead of using my card, I like to use cash. Plus then I’m able to tip the vendors. It’s physically exhausting working the festival, especially for the food vendors working in hot tents cooking yummy eats for everyone. Tips can be super encouraging.
- Sunglasses. I bought my first pair of prescription sunglasses in 2012 for my first Coachella experience. I knew I’d be in the sun all day and I wanted to protect my eyes. It’s been one of the best investments I’ve ever made. I recommend for those who do not need prescription sunnies, to bring cheap sunglasses so they don’t get lost. But for those that wear glasses like me, treat yo’ self.
I seriously have so many tip, tricks, and hacks for navigating Coachella.
If you have a question, feel free to leave it below!
Happy festival season my fellow music lovers.
LOVE & LIGHT
March was an insanely busy month. The digital marketing company I work with took on 3 new clients. I went to a natural products expo and volunteered at the LA Marathon while sick. Dan and I took amazing engagement photos in Long Beach, and we also managed to go on an adventure out to see the super blooms in Anza Borrego State Park. Also, in the last few weeks, I’ve started something new in my life, that I’m just not ready to fully share about – but it’s time-consuming and fun.
My new mantra is I am an abundance of energy and good health. It’s the only way I can look at my to-do list and not spiral out. Yet, the underlying stress of the month definitely manifested itself yesterday as in the middle of a dental filling I started to have a panic attack. I do have a fair level of dental anxiety, but I’ve never had a panic attack. So while my mouth is wide open, the dentist is doing his thing, and I’m listening to Hindustani music to drown out the drilling; I felt my jaw tremble, body start to shake, and I just went into “mind over matter” mode. Fortunately, I was able to get through the attack but not without a few tears.
Why am I sharing my dental panic attack? Basically, as a reminder that as much as one might think they are a machine we’re actually human. Stress will manifest in the most inconvenient ways, so maybe I should have done a yoga flow that morning knowing the anxiety I already have about the dentist. I’ve become more and more aware of my stress levels. Every unicorn hair on my head is a reminder of how my body reacts to stress. With the awareness, I’ve also learned tricks to help manage it. Like even though it was a stress inducing month, I also managed to balance it out with enough fun that I feel I’m not feeling completely burned out. I think I’m finally getting a grasp on how to manage work and play (said in the voice of Sarah from the Labyrinth).
So, I had a surge of creativity this last week that helped me build out my new playlist ‘cactus bloom’. I also gave Blanket Fort Adventures a little makeover with a new aesthetic on the blog, youtube, and twitter. I have felt a shift within and I want what I’m doing now to reflect that too. April is going to be equally non-stop. Dan and I are headed back to the Coachella record store, my client “50 objects / stories of the Japanese American Incarceration” will finally launch, and the wedding will only be 7 months away ( so I need to send out save the dates, start a wedding website, look into this and that).
I am an abundance of energy and good health!!
I’ve always been an observant person, and when I was a kid I figured out that being one of the boys allotted girls some sort of power. I wouldn’t consider myself a tomboy as a child, but I wasn’t afraid to climb fences or get hurt. I never wanted to cry or show fear. I never wanted to be perceived as meek or girly. Yet, I was proud to be a girl. I knew girls could do anything just as well as boys. We were just as smart, brave, strong, clever; all the positive attributes given to great leaders or successful people.
So when I was eleven-years-old and was being taunted by a boy at summer camp about being a girl, I slapped him in the face to shut him up.
It probably wasn’t the best conflict resolution but his expression of shock is still imprinted in my mind.
All the pre-teen kids were hanging out on the playground waiting to be picked up by the camp van. Boys and girls from the ages of 11 to 14 waiting to head out on a fun excursion. This one boy relentlessly taunted me, saying “woman or girl” over and over again. I tried to express to him how rude and ridiculous he was being. I tried to fight back with words and tell him being a girl isn’t an insult. I was proud to grow up to be a woman and infuriated that he thought being a woman was something less than he.
I can’t even recall when exactly I slapped him or what I said afterward, but I imagine my pre-pubescent-self wanted to literally slap the stupid out of him. After I shocked him with my might, I said something to the equivalent of “just because I’m a girl doesn’t mean I am anything less than you, and me being a girl or woman is not an insult. So stop taunting me like it is.”
Later when the vans picked us up. The pre-teen councilors were informed of what went down on the playground. The councilors were both women, feminist, and lesbians. I know they were feminist because of the patches and buttons on their bags, and I didn’t find out about the lesbian part until 6 years later, but that is a different story. I remember watching their faces as they were informed I had slapped this boy. I could see this conflict within them, knowing they needed to reprimand me for my act of violence but also understanding the world this idealistic girl was going to grow up into, and this may be the only male she ever gets to slap for his stupidity.
I was told don’t do that again.
That was it. That was my only punishment. Don’t do that again. I wasn’t barred from that day’s activity. A letter was not sent home to my parents. I did tell my Mom and Dad what happened and all they said was, don’t do that again. That boy’s parents never called my parents. I was never severely reprimanded for standing up for being a girl, for being a woman and that stuck with me. Because what the adults’ actions told me was that my anger was well placed, but let’s not resort to physical violence. I’m thankful for the councilors and to my parents, they shaped the woman I am today. I grew up knowing my voice had value in the collective conversation that is society. I grew up knowing that I am equal to a man. Sometimes society doesn’t necessarily reflect that, obviously. But it doesn’t make the truth any less valid. As its International Women’s Day, this act of feminist rebellion surfaced to the top from my memory bank.
I remember that boys name and what he looks like, and his face of shock is burned into my memory. I slapped him hard. The sting on my hand from making contact with his cheek. The cut he got on his cheek from my nail. As an adult, I realize this way of insulting a female was likely something he heard on TV or maybe at home. And I don’t condone violence, but I can’t help but be a little proud of my younger self and I hope that boy treats women with more respect now. I know he never messed with me again.
A micro February recap + New Playlist:
I’ve been burdened with deep thoughts ranging from “why have I limited myself as a writer” to “how do I incorporate more glitter into my makeup routine and wear lipstick on a daily basis.” Last month, Dan and I celebrated another rotation around the sun. We allowed ourselves to indulge in various alcoholic beverages and delicious, expensive dinners to celebrate. Our birthday month ending with one final friendship fueled bash at Clifton’s in Downtown LA.
The following day, surprisingly with little to no hangovers, we explored Downtown LA on foot. We love walking around a city and getting a feel for its character when we travel, so why not do it in our backyard. It was an adventurous month filled with art, music, and lots of freelance work. My management of the freelance work caused a hiccup in my personal content production, and I feel backlogged with stories I want to share, video footage that needs to be edited. A never ending wave of ideas and inspiration that I am just writing down and saving for later because I’ve yet to find the time for execution. Yet, I feel a little disheartened and resentful to my idea bubbles. They just keep coming, and I haven’t figured out the time to actually work on them. This past weekend I saw a very astute doodle/ illustration about having ideas that elicited a bit of shame within my bones.
I am the girl in pink. What is worse is that I have a tendency to share my ideas before actual execution, which then make me feel like it isn’t the ideas yelling at me to finish them it is the world asking where that idea went. I’ve decided I’m going to stop sharing ideas out loud. Although I had this one idea, no, I shouldn’t say it. But it was an idea around ideas. Anyways, the real point of this post is to share February’s playlist before I’m too far into March. So without further ado … Decade Dance Playlist
*this blog post includes affiliate links
I’ve had two kinds of pizza so far this evening, frozen CPK Sicilian pizza and the best cornbread crust pizza by Vicolo. I’ve also enjoyed one highball, which is a glass of La Croix plain sparkling water topped with High-West Rye Whiskey, and have watched the first part of episode two of The OA with Dan. All the elements for a perfect “Friday Night In” survival kit. Later, we will be busting out Boggle and seeing how well we can spell with a few glasses of whiskey in our system.
I love words but have major spelling insecurity. Dan is an impeccable speller but isn’t as confident with word selection. I feel this helps to even the playing ground. This week I became a Grammarly affiliate! I love Grammarly because it helps me feel a little more confident before I hit publish. I was using the free version for over a year, but last month I purchased the premium subscription after I made a mistake on whether a sentence was supposed to say ” Bekka and me” or “Bekka and I.” When I was a child I was a terrible student; I was tested for ADHD and Dyslexia because I would disrupt the class and be terrible at my spelling exams. I won’t go into the details of my childhood and education, but at the end of the day, because I rebelled in school while I was supposed to learn the fundamentals of grammar and spelling, I grew into an adult not knowing any of the rules. I excelled at reading comprehension, and I was enrolled in AP English classes. My love for words and knack for patterns helped me pass, as my essays were acceptable and although my grammatical errors were circled in red, Word Doc corrected all my weak spelling. Now, with Grammarly, I’m able to learn all the rules while I am writing. I absolutely love the program and can proudly say this blog is powered by Grammarly. It tells you when a word is overused or writes in a passive voice. My writing is getting stronger because I finally have a responsive teacher, it’s always been the nuances of grammar that has eluded me but Grammarly takes away that mystery.
I wasn’t intending on writing about Grammarly this evening, but my Boggle filled future made me want to share about this awesome program. If you haven’t installed Grammarly’s free program for Google Chrome, you should ASAP – you’ll never mess up their, there or they’re again!
I’m currently watching Abstract on Netflix and the first episode featuring illustrator Christoph Niemann just reminded to check in on the blog. He commented on how musicians practice their instruments daily, so artists should do the same thing and create their art every day. I don’t know what I am exactly, my label is malleable, but I like to consider myself an artist. It’s taken me a long time to become comfortable with that title, but I have the heart of an artist – so let’s run with it. Anyways, this week I’ve been writing a little post every day and it’s been really fun for me. When Niemann made the comment to practice something every day it reminded me of the beauty of daily practice. Like, in January I did a yoga flow every day for two weeks and really felt the wondrous effect of this daily ritual. I eventually fell out of practice, and am once again getting back on track. But like my yoga flow and now this daily blog writing, I can only try my best.
Tonight I had plans to see the Crocodiles, but then decided against it after I found out my friend wasn’t going to be playing in the band after all. My incentive to stay up late and go out on a “school” night was specifically to support an awesome creative human. After my incentive was taken away, the reality of my responsibilities seeped in. Yet, what makes me glowing with love and smiles this evening is that my fiance’ was completely supportive of my desire to stay in. He’s currently at the show and I’m in my pajamas. I’m exactly where I want to be and his supportiveness makes it all that more special.
Well, I guess I should get ready for bed as it’s almost midnight. But I have to say doing something daily or practicing every day really helps to create a resilience in one’s ability and work – so I’m going to try to stick with it.
In a moment of brilliance, I figured out how to work at the record store in the desert again this year. Back in January I had said I was going to have to be an adult, but today I figured out how to have it all. Well, attempt to have it all while being incredibly disciplined with my diet and supplement intake. The record store in the desert is not an easy job, the elements and long days drain every ounce of energy from my aching bones, but it is also is addictive and invigorating. The waxtastic team is like a family after working 4 weekends on the polo fields together, and I didn’t want to miss out on all the fun. Plus with a wedding and apartment hunting in my future, I could really use the extra income. So, I’m going to once again live out my Empire Record dreams (#ilovelucas) and possibly see Beyonce live.
Just another wacky Wednesday in the life of Bekka
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Earlier today Dan and I celebrated with a delicious Indian buffet. We usually go to Umami Burger on Valentine’s day but decided earlier this month we’d keep today low key. Dan and I both have February birthdays, and Valentine’s is just right smack dab in the middle, so we figured it doesn’t hurt to be a little frugal. We do however have cards to exchange later tonight. We’re big card people and love giving each other love letters. Our collection of love notes is pretty extensive for having been together for only four years and inspired me to create a fun video all about our love letters. It’s a sweet reminder you don’t have to wait for Valentine’s Day to give your loved one a letter, nor do you have to spend a lot because a letter has lifetime value.
In the video, you will see that my first Valentine’s Day card from Dan has two dates on it. The February 7th date is because Dan had given me my Valentine’s Day card a week early having forgotten that Valentine’s Day is February 14th. Since he works in retail, a customer had come in and purchased something remarking it was for Valentine’s Day. The customer’s comment put Dan in a panic. That night when I went to see him, Dan apologized for not getting me anything for Valentine’s Day but handed me the card. I started cracking up and told him not to worry because he had 7 more days to figure it out. I didn’t open the card until the 14th, but I’m so happy I wrote the 7th on the envelope because it reminded me of this little story.
2015 VALENTINE’S VLOG
Like I said, our normal Valentine’s Day tradition is going to Umami Burger, but sadly we just couldn’t make it happen this year. Here is a vlog of our 2015 Valentine’s Day adventure in DTLA with Loulou who we had adopted two days prior. She look’s so little in this video!
Remember Valentine’s Day is a holiday created my a card company…and I’ve totally bought into it.
love & light
“We Plan, God Laughs” – Yiddish Proverb
Dan is currently making popcorn and we are going to spend the evening together, so I’ll make this short. I have all these inspired ideas this week for Valentine’s Day and tonight as I go to execute one of them in an attempt to upload it tomorrow morning, I realize I won’t be able to film until tomorrow morning. Unfortunately, my light set up just won’t illuminate my scene the way I imagined. So I have to shelf those plans until the sun rises and instead surrender to a romantic evening with Dan. Aww shucks!
So what is this wave of inspiration? I have three ideas for videos this week…
- A stop motion animation of a few of the cards Dan and I have given each other over the years. We are suckers for romantic stationary.
- A few recipes using Moon Juices’s Sex Dust powder, “a lusty edible formula to ignite and excite sexy energy in and out of the bedroom.”
- A Q&A video with Dan and I – now I don’t even know if I have an audience interested enough in my relationship or love life to ask questions, but if you’re curious ask by Wednesday!
Even though I have mounting work demands and a rewrite of chapter one of my young adult novel on my plate, I feel I’m caught in a wave of inspiration I must ride. Until tomorrow, I hope you’re having a lovely Galentines or Palentines!