From Camping

Glamping across California with Shelter Co.

Written by Nadia Ibanez, Photos courtesy of Shelter Co.

While we’re on the subject of glamping, the Daily Candy pointed us in the direction of Shelter Co., a pop-up lodging service aka professional glamping connoisseurs. Believe us, we’ve done our fair share of camping throughout the country, huddled up in nylon tents eating beans and hot dogs from our outdoor, makeshift kitchen. But Shelter Co. is doing camping/outdoor events right with their fully furnished, European-style canvas tents.

Take a peek inside Shelter Co’s tents

Event planner Kelsey Sheofsky and construction/furniture sage Mike Sheofsky are the brains behind the brand and they have an impressive crew with accolades of their own. Whether you’re planning a wedding, girl’s weekend, corporate event, music festival, or the like, Shelter Co. provides everything you could ever want for a luxurious, comfortable, outdoor event.

Let Shelter Co. spice up your next outdoor event

Just a few of the amenities you will find in a tent include a wood framed bed with a real mattress, 400 thread count bedding, down comforter, bedside tables, lounge seating, fully-carpeted floor, rugs and lighting. Want to add on some extra perks to your outdoor event? They can provide bathrooms, mood lighting, bar set ups, beauty station, library, outdoor movie theater, yoga and fitness activities, dog tents, and so much more.

With home bases in San Francisco and Los Angeles, Shelter Co. is continuing to grow its list of venues up and down California. For more information, visit http://shelter-co.com.

Gearing up for Firefly Music Festival 2013

Written by Nadia Ibanez,Photos courtesy of Firefly Music Festival

It’s the last workday of the year. Andrea is in Chicago and will be heading to Indiana to enjoy a snowy New Year’s Eve. I will be heading south to Tijuana this Saturday to dine at one of the city’s forward-thinking restaurants. Needless to say, the travel bug is on the brain and we’re already planning our travels for 2013. We’re starting to map out our trip up to San Francisco for Outside Lands 2013 and we just happened to fall upon one of the newest music festivals that we’re keeping our eyes on: Firefly Music Festival.

Located in Dover, Delaware, the Firefly Music Festival is the East Coast’s newest gathering of indie and emerging musical performances over three days, offering unique dining options, and interactive sights set in the woods. The event space, called The Woodlands, is 87 acres of lush greenery and was the perfect setting for the inaugural event. Fans got their nosh on in eight unique pop-up restaurants, with items like burgers, soul food, comfort food, and more.  Attendants could also sip on wines in The Vineyard or have a craft brew at The Brewery sports pub if that was more their style.

And just like Coachella and Outside Lands are known for its interactive and urban art and structures, Firefly offered a full-blown arcade, photo flipbook stations, TOMS Style your Sole station, interactive art galleries, and hot air balloon rides. How cool is that?!

Lodging at the event included onsite camping, offsite hotel rooms, and glamping for those who want to feel like they’re in the wilderness but can’t give up their running water. We would have totally gone for the glamping package for our own luxury tent with our own outdoor seating and access to the Lounge for a breakfast buffet, late-night snacks, bar, and entertainment.

The line-up was pretty impressive considering it was the event’s first showing. Acts in attendance included Imagine Dragons, Mariachi El Bronx, Mayer Hawthorine & The County, The Head and The Heart, Cold War Kids, Girl Talk, and more. Headliners included Cake, Modest Mouse, The Flaming Lips, John Legend, Jack White, The Killers, and The Black Keys.

The dates for Firefly Music Festival 2013 are June 21-23. For more information, visit http://fireflyfestival.com

Water pools are ideal for reflection

Find tranquility at Yellowstone National Park

Written and photographed by Andrea Verdin

Water pools are ideal for reflection

Let’s consider this time of the year the eye of the storm. It’s not quite Halloween, but the moment All Hallow’s Eve is past, we’ll be attacked with the insanity that is holiday festivities, celebrations and family and friend times. While there’s nothing wrong with this, it can be hard to find your focus, center and feel at peace.

The bison take over the fields every night.

I’ve found that to make it through by reflecting on some of the more beautiful places that I’ve seen this year. One of the top destinations that I wasn’t expecting to love so deeply was Yellowstone National Park.

My family has been camping for years, but those trips did not prepare me for the gorgeousness that comes with being in the heart of the country’s greatest wilderness. Not only do you have the

Yellowstone is brimming with beautiful views.

world-famous Old Faithful spewing while surrounded by hundreds every hour, but you’ve also got smaller geysers and hot springs sprinkled throughout the wide valleys.

There is even a “Grand Canyon” of Yellowstone, which changes colors as the sun sets and the clouds move over the depths of the canyon. I genuinely was not anticipating it, and couldn’t help but gasp when I arrived.

Old Faithful waits for no man!

Bison and bald eagles are common sights, as are moose and elk. You can’t help but feel one with nature here.

It’s oddly quiet here. If you want to get away from it all (with all including your cell phone, your emails, and your TiVo list), then this is where you want to go. It’s several hours from anything civilized, but you can still access a few small towns for a few activities. Jackson Hole, Wyo. has a plethora of white water rafting, canoeing and even standup paddle boarding on the river year-round. That’s right, you can jump on a paddle board in the middle of January snowstorms if you wanted to… but don’t expect to stay upright.

To dry off, grab a meal at a mom and pop restaurant, then head back to your tent for a

Elk come out to the water to play.

chance to laugh at each other’s antics. Or if you would rather, find one of the springs where it leads into the river and warm up there. It’s not uncommon to be driving by the river and see a pack of families splashing in the warm water that has been cooled by the ice-cold water, leveling out the water to being the perfect temperature for bathing.

This is not a trip that you should do over a weekend; you need more than a few days to have the full effect of this beautiful place.  The reminiscing of these trips are the types of experiences that will keep you from going insane when inundated with the wrap-up of the year.

For more information, visit http://www.nps.gov/yell/index.htm.

How to Survive Coachella

Coachella at sundown
Coachella at sundown

By Nadia Ibanez

Our weekend at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival has gone and past and I can’t help but look back on the beautiful five days that we spent in the desert. It didn’t help that I was surrounded by some of my favorite people, or that I had a relaxing mini vacation in the midst of 106 degree weather and the innate chaos that comes with going to an infamous outdoor music festival.

Considering it was all four of our first times at Coachella, I’d have to say we did it right. From opting for shuttle passes, sharing a hotel villa, and taking some time to enjoy the scenery, we conquered and survived Coachella with minimal damage. Here are my tips on how to survive Coachella – the heat, the costs, the crazy people, and the bounty of amazing music and art.

Start early when it comes to booking a room. If you know me, you know I love to plan ahead. Whether it’s reserving a hotel room, or planning summer vacays during the winter, I absolutely love to think ahead when it comes to traveling. Once you lock down your posse of friends heading out to the desert, start looking for hotel rooms immediately. Of course, I have a few favorite hotels out in the desert, but at nearly $400 a night for a teensy Mountain View Queen Room, we opted to stay a bit further away from the Coachella action.

Luckily, I am a bit familiar with the area so booking a room in the heart of Palm Springs was perfect. The four of us got a room at the Marquis Villa Resort, which was just two blocks away from the main drag in Palm Springs. The “room” was about 2,500 sq. ft. which we knew would come in handy after spending upward of 10 hours at the festival with the sun beating down on us and dirt and grass paths to take us from stage to stage. Our room was affordable when compared to the other resorts around town. We had two bathrooms, a full kitchen, dining area, TV area, huge patio and even a fireplace.

Poolside in Palm Springs at the Marquis Villa Resort
Poolside in Palm Springs at the Marquis Villa Resort

Bring your own food, drinks and booze. My man and I checked into the hotel late Thursday afternoon and got situated in our room. The four of us hate paying for overpriced restaurant chain food so the full kitchen was perfect for storing our snacks, ice cream, beer and wine. The kitchen area was a god send and saved us from eating out ever meal before Coachella and pigging out on greasy festival food throughout the day and night.

One of the many finds at Palm Springs Village Fest
One of the many finds at Palm Springs Village Fest

 

 

Walk around and explore the city a day before the festival starts. Little did we know that our night time walk around the hotel (which was about 90 degrees at 8 p.m.) would lead us to the city’s Village Fest, a farmer’s market/street fair of sorts, filled with peculiar characters, local food vendors, drum circles and an interesting friend named Marston. Walking into Village Fest was a pleasant surprise and we wouldn’t have found it if we didn’t go out and explore.

Shuttle it in. The group and I were a bit hesitant about out how we’d get to the venue everyday. We would be arriving at the venue at different times, some of us felt like drinking, and we had no idea what the weather would be like so trekking half a mile from the parking lot did not sound appealing. We all spent some time reading posts on the Coachella forum and everyone seemed to be praising the event’s shuttle service. Paying to take the shuttle everyday to Coachella was a great idea. We didn’t have to worry about traffic or walking for 15 minutes from one end of the parking lot to the festival entrance. A shuttle stop was across the street from the resort, and despite the $80 price tag, was pretty convenient.

Inside the H&M tent
Inside the H&M tent

Stay cool, whatever means possible. Coachella weekend one goers complained of the dreary and cold weather. Weekend two felt like we were walking on the sun and I literally could not stop sweating. It’s hard to find a shady and cool spot at high noon in the desert at Coachella so we hung out in the Cool Down zones whenever we needed a moment to get out of the sun. There were a few different tents that offered fans, cushy seating and water and we frequented them often in between sets. The H&M tent offered free water, fans, waterbeds, photo booths, a beauty bar to freshen up, and more. These tents may have looked a little hokey from the outside but was an oasis inside. Don’t ever think you are too cool to take advantage of the corporate sponsored tents at music festivals. You’ll never know what you might find.

Take your time and enjoy your vacation. I think we learned on Day One that the heat wasn’t worth the sun stroke we’d get while watching some awesome musicians. Sure, we wanted to get there a little after noon to watch some great bands, but standing out in 107 degree weather with thousands of people just wasn’t worth it. Instead, we spent some time at the hotel’s pool cooling off and relaxing, as well as walking around town and taking advantage of the bar and restaurant scene. There’s something about getting wasted outside in the desert heat and long lines at the bathroom that just didn’t sound fun, so we waited until Sunday to start day drinking and headed to the venue at nearly 7 p.m. to avoid the hottest day at Coachella. We missed out on a couple bands, but took some time to enjoy the sights. And drinking a 40 of PBR on the shuttle ride over just made the afternoon that much sweeter.

Explosions in the Sky at Coachella 2012
Explosions in the Sky at Coachella 2012

All in all, Coachella was a pretty amazing experience. The trip was pricey but worth all of the performances and time we got to spend with each other and exploring the city. Outdoor music festivals can be exhausting and expensive, but if you plan ahead and just take some time to relax and enjoy the scenery, you’ll have some experiences that you’ll never forget.

Coachella 2013, I’m ready for you.