Clothes Clothes Clothes – Tried and True + One Moneysaver

August 15, 2019

It took a few years of over-packing, but I think I’ve finally got a good handle on packing clothes. Comfort, comfort, comfort. No more wasting time getting into Prom Princess Hitler on Roller Skates.

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No more struggling with too long, over-full skirts (WHY DID I TAKE A HOOP SKIRT?? AN ACTUAL HOOP SKIRT.). I want to be comfortable and able to move as I please, from hopping on and off a bike to climbing a wild rotating boar. I have the same amount of fun if I’m wearing a Lewk or a wifebeater. So, from head-to-toe, here’s my musts:

Underwire can be a bit much, but I want some support and prettiness. This bralette is my absolute new favorite. I wasn’t expecting to like it, figured the cups would be too small and the support laughable. The cups are just big enough to cover and leave some cleavage. The support is surprisingly good. Not supportive, per se, but definitely provides perk.

Bralette with a little more coverage. I especially like the softness of the lining. You want to be nice to your skin out there.

Silk is great to go from day to night (layering is boss). Check out your local thrift store, it’s hard to find at reasonable prices – real, actual silk. I have a couple of tank tops I live in. It’s soft, dries fast from a cooler water soaking, stays fairly clean compared to other fabrics.

Underwear is important, cuz sometimes it’s all I’m wearing. It’s IMPOSSIBLE to find women’s underwear in black, 100% cotton, and for big butts. Enter these. They’re on the granny side, but don’t come over my belly button AND COVER MY ENTER ASS.

I bike more than walk, but sun and playa dust can wreak havoc on inner thighs. I got a pair of these for a trip last fall and was satisfied. Thick enough to preserve your modesty but thin enough to be comfortable. Way less hot than I expected, I didn’t notice I had them. They didn’t totally stay put around the knee but they didn’t ride up-ride up.

I need more than one pair for 2.5 weeks, though! These are SOFT AF, just the right length, comfortable waistband, looked fine under cut-offs and dresses.

If you’re not into black, get an assortment of patterns.

Nighttime, I don’t have many links because I have a motley assortment of wool and cashmere. Maybe if I could afford fancy new-fangled, cold-weather clothes I’d like them, but old-school wool and natural fabrics have served me well.

I will say: it’s all about layers. You’ll be freezing in camp, and pile on the clothes, but after a bike ride or a jaunt to the other side of Esplanade, you’re sweating.

These arm warmers are perfect for the dusk transitional period, especially as warm as it’s been the past few years. I’ve had mine for…at least six years.

Balaclavas are a hat, dust mask, and scarf in one. The one I have is WARM, though, so you might want to try a lighter option.

If you gotta have something shiny, don’t fall for the first FB ad you see (I’m looking at you, Dolls Kill). For example, you could pay $60 for this,

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Or you could pay $10 for this.

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Or $24 for a lammie pocket, so you don’t have to keep up with lanyard, and zippered pockets.

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Nevermind! These cats did it for you.

August 6, 2019

I mean…it actually is a good bundle of stuff, and at a great price.

Jaded Veteran’s Guide to Burning Man: Feed me, Seymour!

August 6, 2019

 

As always, the hot pink links are hilarious, helpful, maybe both.

Food at Burning Man. What a PITA. At least for me, being gluten-free and surprisingly healthy, when it comes to food.

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I don’t think, due to the large amount of MOOP, I’d live off cold cans of ravioli even if I could buuuuut it’d be nice to have the option. Food is hella important at a burn. Because your body is important. Take. Care. Of. Your. Body.

One tip I always give n00bs: Time your eating. Don’t wait until you feel hungry. Try to give your corpse some calories every few hours so you can keep running around acting a fool.

Eat food when it’s offered. Put it in your pocket for secret eating. Drink water when it’s offered.

Me…I don’t even know…even after 10 years of TTiTD and regionals I end up not having enough of something or too much of something else, despite meticulous notes from the previous year. Pro tip: don’t go shopping for one person at Costco. 

How I pack: I sit down with pen and paper, close my eyes, and run through my day. Wake up: what do I need? Breakfast: What might be good? Getting ready to leave camp: what do I need to do?

Every year I list what food I pack and I keep my Reno receipt to see what I bought (which is always interesting, because it’s at a strange grocery store with an unfamiliar layout and unknown offerings.

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After the burn (theoretically) I examine both lists to see what worked, what didn’t work. This has been tremendously important to me as Burning Man has never happened for me when I could afford it (got the time, no $$, got the $$ it means I’m employed and don’t have the time). I cannot buy shit I will not use. I often have to fly, which means flying with my cooler and not having the luxury of shopping where I want, when I want, with a second cooler (or the option to buy one).

For the most part, my insane note-taking and list-making is a boon. My packing is minimal, my personal comfort is maximized. Except…freakin’ food. Here’s what I have figured out:

I don’t cook at burns. That’s time I could be spending doing awesome shit.

I don’t cook at burns. That’s space wasted on pots and pans – and a stove and fuel, and dealing with grey water.

The point of food for me, at a burn, is sustenance. Maximum feed and nourish (I hate that word) my body, minimal effort and mess.

Sooooooooooooooooooo…I eat a lot of sandwiches! Sandwiches are great. Carbs, fat, protein, no mess, portable, can make it ahead of time to make future you happy (see my notes on drinking at Burning Man).

I covered coffee in the post about how I start my days, and my coffee mug in the post about drinking at Burning Man. Here’s the food stuffs I count on, splurge on, and don’t bother with.

Must-haves:

GF bread – usually just one piece, with: packs of mayo from gas stations, salami, havarti, maybe lettuce if I had room in the cooler. I don’t really like other deli meats, they’re dry. Prepackaged chicken salad and whatever else the deli section has.

If I have the budget I’ll get Swiss cheese, too. If I had a free-for-all budget I’d have spinach artichoke dip, chips, sliced onions, and avocado. You can also get squeezable mayo, as a compromise between MOOP and cooler space.

Schar’s was my go-to, since you can get it at WalMart and I like supporting a GF bakery that’s been around for ages. Their ciabatta buns make PERFECT little sandwiches.

For bread-bread, though, new player Canyon Bakehouse makes the best slices. Perfect toast. Not too dense/heavy.

BM aside, if you have a GF person in your life win their heart forever with Schar’s chocolate caramel cookies and chocolate shortbread cookies. Have some in camp to surprise GF people with and enjoy the tears of joy.

This year I’ll be taking my paleo bread. It’s thinner, nuttier, sweeter but grain-free and fewer carbs. I get a loaf when it’s on sale at Kroger and freeze it. AND DEAR LORD THESE BROWNIES. Y’ALL. BROWNIES ARE STUPID. EAT SOME CAKE. BUT THESE ARE SO GOOD.

And that’s it! Sandwiches and brownies. Have fun!

Just kidding.

….mostly.

A new thing for this year is Siete’s grain-free wraps. Siete is a family of witches who make magical gluten-free, healthy wraps that don’t suck. Make a cold wrap and it’s not too chewy. It holds together. Make a quesadilla. It doesn’t get all greasy and weird. I’ve only had the cassava, so that’s what I’m getting; if you try another one let me know how it is!

Lance’s gf cheese crackers, serving size: one fist-full shoved into my mouth. In 2017 I backed over my bag of dry groceries and ate cracker crumbs all week.

Chocolate milk The only good thing to come out of that Costco saga. I don’t drink it IRL and the MOOP is annoying, but out there, crackin’ this cold one, changes your day. If you have cooler space, Silk’s Dark Chocolate Almond Milk is a real treat.

Annie’s GF mac and cheese Another trade-off between MOOP and mental health. Pour in boiling water. Add a gross-ass can of chicken (tuna, whatever). Late-night snack turns into a treat.

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Alternately, less MOOP and more fat girl (due to the larger one-serving size), Annie’s “deluxe” works the same way. Add boiling water, let the pasta sit, stir in sauce.

Also new this year, if I can find it: Roots Hummus. I don’t really like hummus, except maybe my own, but this Asheville company makes hummus I *want* to eat (the garlic or beet one). You know, as opposed to eating it because it’s the only thing left besides the snow peas from the ranch dressing platter nobody wanted.

Which is also how I feel about hummus companies getting high in the development room.

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…I’m blanking. Let me see if I can find my list.

August 5, 2019

pillowcases https://amzn.to/31iuyRI

flask https://amzn.to/2YM5Lnm

lip gloss https://amzn.to/2TjF48r

charger https://amzn.to/2YQTGgS

bike lock https://amzn.to/2YQTLBc

goggles https://amzn.to/2YS3Pd3

 

legings https://amzn.to/2KpTSjf

Jaded Veteran’s Guide To Burning Man: Better Living Through Chemistry; Alcohol

August 3, 2019
Previously, on How To Go To Burning Man: Start Your Day the Jaded Way; Minimal Basics for Personal Care
Save yourself endless searching and wondering, all of the links will take you right to what you need on Amazon.

Burning Man is built on bars. Sure, if you ask a random person what Burning Man is, they’ll probably say, “….drugs and boobs?” But there aren’t drugs every other step, on both sides of the road, screaming at you to stop and have one of their shitty drinks. NO. I DON’T WANT YOUR PLASTIC JUG SPICED RUM VOMIT, NO-ICE COCKTAIL. YOU PACKED IT IN, YOU PACK IT OUT.

So, what’s the best way to do alcohol and Burning Man?

  1. Have your ID. It will be checked. Your cup will stay empty. Bars can and will be fined thousands of dollars if caught serving to people without ID. A popular trick is to tape it onto your drinking vessel. I don’t like this idea for reasons: that’s where stickers go, people know how cool you are; what happens if you lose your cup or don’t have it on you at the time?, it’s ugly.

Photocopy your ID (copier at work, scanner at home, Kinkos, etc.). Laminate it. I have several copies: one for my general burn bag, one for my Ranger bag, and one that stays in the tent in case I lose both of those. Laminate sheets are also just fun. Laminate any signage you have to make it easy to adhere to things and keep it from spills.

2. BYOC – Bring your own cup, the end. You want a drink? Some french fries? Stew? Ice cream? You better have a cup on you.

You could have a funny cup. Be That Guy. Have them stocked at your bar so, from afar, you look like idiots.

You could have classy funny cups.


 
For practical save one huge flaw, carabiner cups rule.

Clip them onto your backpack, your pod belt, your bike basket, your shoelaces. Get the bear one here.

Pros: great size for cocktails, hard to lose, good for stickers
Cons: ain’t no lid.

And the tiny screws are prone to coming out, meaning you might get back to camp from Point 2 and discover your carabiner no longer has a cup attached to it. Problem solved!

In addition to the handles being way more attached, THEY FOLD FLAT.
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That is cool. I *just* found these, writing this post, and I want one!

They are much better suited for regionals, as I am walking and not riding a bike over god-knows-the-condition terrain of rocks and dust. I’m saying you need a cup that has a lid because if you try to ride and sip you will regret it. Bouncy, bouncy, not such a good time. Messy. MOOPy. And you’re left with a cup full of sober tears, a trail of Costco margarita on the ground behind you.

If you want to be different, try a viking-inspired wooden cup.
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Squishy cups were a thing when I started burning, but I never understood why.

They don’t really save much space, if any. No handle. Easy to knock about/spill. Could be cute as a little shot glass, I guess. Works well for drinks and food. Nowadays you can get squishy wine glasses and rainbow squishy pint glasses. Which is actually kinda cool…

OH SNAP THERE’S A GLOW-IN-THE-DARK ONE!! And they have lids?!? Cute rainbow wine glasses!

I’m supposed to be writing about things I know are awesome, not finding new toys I want to try! And this would be a cute way to keep the dust and roofies out of your drink, if you go the lid-less, spillable route…man, cup life has come a LONG way since I started researching gear in 2006!

In 2016 I did it. I found the perfect playa cup.

Small.
Light-weight.
Spill-proof.
Attachable.
Conversation starter.
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Pop it out fully, pop it out halfway. Attach it to yourself.
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PRO-TIP: IF YOU ARE DRINKING A CARBONATED BEVERAGE, DO NOT CLOSE THE THINGIE ALL THE WAY DOWN.

The only thing I don’t like is drinking from the thingie like a toddler – and the accordion folds can be harder to clean. But, it’s so, so worth it for all the pros. I don’t know why it’s not more common. Get you one.

They offer one with a carrying case, which is pretty…

…but I personally don’t know what use the case would have. I like having the carabiner attached to the lid, because then I can’t set it down and lose it! Often I’ll leave it attached to me and just unscrew the cup part from the lid.

I also have my name and camp address Sharpie’d on the lid and the cup part. I lose things. I sharpie my name and camp address on e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. Headlamp. Pee funnel. Coat. Bike.

In 2017 I found perfect burn cup #2.


It’s the opposite of what I like, big/bulky and hard. Attachable, but not nice to have hanging from your waist like the Hydaway or a carabiner cup.

Super sticker-able. Super spillproof. Insulated, so unlike the Hydaway it will keep cold drinks colder, and hot drinks hotter – without the outside getting moist/hot to the touch. The cork lining on the handle is actually quite nice and it’s easier to find a carabiner that fits the handle. And now it comes in purple!

So, you’ve got your ID. You’ve got your cup. Hit the town.

Tips on ordering: know what you want when you get there. Avoid mixers that aren’t club soda or water. One party cup of booze, one party cup of water (bonus: this helps keep your cup clean). Burning Man amplifies everything, including hangovers. Electrolytes! Don’t drink on an empty stomach. Don’t go to bed drunk without eating food and ibuprofen. Seriously, eat. Throwing up at Burning Man is awful. You’re face-first in the porto, which will make you throw up for different reasons. You’re in your tent and because you’re a Real Burner TM, you don’t have any plastic grocery bags. Get some bags made just for this reason.

Having had to go the plastic grocery bag route twice, now (not bc of drinking), I wish I’d thought to have something like this handy. Hanging onto bags of puke, or trying to empty them into a porto is…just…just get the bags.

Most, if not all, “hangover cures” are lies. Read labels, y’all. Don’t pay 5x as much for a multivitamin you’re already taking. I tried Flyby for the Kesha cruise

And didn’t notice any difference. It does have at least one ingredient that’s got some actual research behind it, N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC).

The only way to not get hungover is to:

Stay. Hydrated. Water and electrolytes. No sugary mixers. Vodka soda is your boring, boring friend.

Eat. Before you go to bed eat something as substantial as you can figure out. Piece of bread with salami and cheese. Two hard-boiled eggs and mayo. I always go for protein/fat/carbs, to help soak it all up and feed my body, so make a sandwich before you leave for the night. Drunk you will cry tears of joy.

Sleep. FOMO is a harsh mistress, but sleep repairs you. Alcohol destroys sleep, so not only do you have fewer hours of sleep, but you have little restorative sleep. Do what you can to get as much sleep as possible, when you go to bed drunk.

Cheers!

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Jaded Veteran’s Guide to What You Need: Wake Me Up Before I FOMO

August 2, 2019

Morning

Wake up in the morning feelin’ like…you just slept for one hour, consumed gods-know-what all night long, and FOMO is kicking you out of bed. Or even better, you’ve got a volunteer shift to show up for.

  1. Hydrate: I fill up my camp bottle* when I go to bed so it’s ready to chug when I wake up. This OXO bottle rules because you can scoop powder into it without looking like Scarface afterwards. And, ICE! oxo-strive-advance-bottle-0What powder? Vitalyte, of course. My first year I was miserably, physically thirsty until Thursday. I was drinking anything I could find – IRL I mostly drink water, coffee, and booze. Out there I was drinking Coke and other sodas (huge deal, I don’t drink them ever, never have in my life), flavored milks, ANYTHING I could get to try and stop being thirsty.

“Have you been taking electrolytes?”

…d’oh. This is a MUST. That first bottle of water of the day has a scoop, I take a scoop before bed, and whatever in-between. Vitalyte’s lemon is my favorite, but it’s hard to find these days.

Why Vitalyte and not one of the others? It’s only-what-you-need ingredients, invented by a chemist, mild flavor, instant dissolution (even in champagne), and the fact that it absorbs directly into your stomach lining.

If you’re going to mess with your keto diet during the burn, this is where to do it.

2. Morning Pills:

  • Ibuprofen for inflammation aches, preventative measures, and handing out to people who will now owe you a favor.
  • Naproxen Sodium for headaches, especially those induced by alcohol.
  • Probiotics for pooping.
  • Poop pills if you’re horribly clogged and have to do SOMETHING. Take two in the morning. Within 8 hours, relief. Trust me on this one. This is my miracle pill year-round (yay celiac’s). Can also take one before bed, to try and keep things flowing.

I used to take multi-vitamins, Emergen-C, B-12, etc. but I don’t take them in real life, so I don’t take them out there. If you plan on really…”partying,” then start your 5HTP prior to the event, it’s not a miracle day-after cure. It needs to build up. I really like this brand, and I’m almost positive their melatonin actually helps me get to sleep.

I have a pillbox like this one, organized by pain/sleep/energy/emergency. For bigger stuff like the probiotics me and Reggie Watts swear by, I just take the bottle and use it for whatever other vitamins/supplements. Can be a pain shaking it all out to get to what you need, but saves space/trash bottles.

If you need to travel with pills, these cookies are totes adorbz and super great gifts. 

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Also, Plan B. 

Eyeballs: Ok, now that you’ve chugged some Vitalyte water, taken your meds, moisten them eyeballs. Perfect time to lay back down and question your life choices.

Theoretically, single-use is best; remains the most sterilized. Also great to have on you as you go about your day. PRO TIP: DON’T USE THEM IN A DUST STORM IN A PORTOJOHN. I’ll explain later. (I’m not going to explain later, just trust me.)

I’m vain so I like to do Visine for redness (also works if you have blooming pimples, to lessen the redness of your skin) then moisture stuff. Post-LASIK we tried EVERYthing, and this was our favorite.  I used to try the overnight stuff, it’s basically just vasoline.  If you’ve already got dry eyes IRL, you might want to try it. Everyone is different, of course, and there’s a lot of variables determining how your skin, nasal passages, nail beds, and eyes will react to the desert. Better safe than sorry applies no where more than it does at Burning Man.

3. Face: Everyone has a thing that just makes them feel better. For me, it’s washing my face. Water and soap. This routine probably isn’t for people with dry skin and/or who don’t have to worry about acne.

  1. My holy grail face soap
  2. Korean scrubbie
  3. towel to keep soapy water from hitting the dust, a must-have when I did contacts, to catch the saline
  4. towel to dry my face – If you haven’t used these “camp towels” before, it’s weird. Trick is you don’t use it like a normal towel, rubbing and buffing. You wipe yourself dry. Also useful for catching spills, but not as thick as the Sham Wow. Hang INSIDE your tent to dry or it will be useless!
  5. Face sunscreen – Yeah, it’s expensive. But crying in my tent because I have a big zit on the way costs more. For years I used Elta MD. I switched to Nia 24. I think it might make my skin look better…not quite as greasy as the Elta (which would be a downside, for some).
  6. Tattoo sunscreen – The tube I’ve got is almost gone. I’ll probably switch to a straight-up zinc stick, maybe?
  7. Rest of me sunscreen – Natural, poisonous, cream, spray, stick: I’ve tried them all (except expensive fancy ones, like Super Goop, which I’m dying to try!). This keeps being my favorite.  Neutrogena gets second place, too. Sunscreen is difficult for me because I don’t like lotion and feeling greasy. But hoo-boy, you think you burn easily…wait til you get to the desert. After the first grease-up of the day, keep a smaller size on you to touch up as needed. 
  8. Weleda Skin Food for any spots that still feel dry, after slathering on the lotions. I was using Nivea and whatever other thick creams I could find on sale. Then I found Skin Food on sale. Insanely worth the cost. Pat it under my eyes several times a day/night and apply as needed elsewhere.

Now that you’ve taken care of your flesh and bones, it’s time to eat!

And of course by eat, I mean drink coffee until you vibrate.

  1. Boil water – this Jetboil is all we take, no more stove.
  2. Add instant coffee – I am a coffee snob, die-hard French presser, but eff that noise out there
  3. Or instant Thai tea

Or add the Thai tea packet to your coffee! Works like creamer and sugar in one. Half/half is one of my cooler items, if you know a powdered/non-cooler creamer that’s GOOD (not Coffee Mate, not powdered milk), please let me know!

Y’all know I love my collapsible drinking vessels. Nalgenes are stupid. Camelbaks are stupid. One exception:

 

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Why? Spill-proof. Keeps hot hot and cold cold without burning your hand or dripping condensation anywhere. Cork-lined handle is comfortable and fits a carabiner. Ooooooooooooh snap, now they have purple!!

Until recently I just wanted hot coffee in the morning, no matter how hot the air was. I don’t know. Just did. Thankfully a camp mate brought a bottle of Stok’s, and I learned how amazing iced coffee can be.  I can go through one bottle myself while I get ready.

Another awesome cold treat, any time of day, is espresso coconut water.

NOT THIS ONE. Though try them all, see which one you like best. Me, Coco Cafe is the best. Coming back to camp after riding around or volunteering all day, one of these cold out the cooler is just….just a real treat. They’re often on-sale at the grocery store, and I’d buy whenever they were and save them up.

Lastly, brush your teeth. MOOP-free with these toothpaste “nuts” and a box you can burn. Spitting into a water bottle/mason jar can get gross. Spit out onto these, and burn them.

Side note, I was super anti-Wisps, the disposable travel toothbrushes until a surprise vomit incident. The people I was visiting handed me one and it was the most amazing feeling in the worrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrlduh. So, if you’re prone to vomit or away from your toothbrush, consider killing the planet a little more with these things. Give it a second to activate the toothpaste/soften the bristles.

So, to sum up my morning routine: hydrate, medicate, moisturize, clean and sunscreen, caffeinate.

Previously:

Jaded Veteran’s Guide to What You Need to Survive Burning Man, and Maybe Even Have Some Fun: Personal Care

Ziploc bags, a burner’s best friend

May 13, 2019

*lost draft from 2016, I don’t know what I was going to write about but the title is true fax

Quote of the Day

May 13, 2019

*another lost draft, from 2011, RE Zach Galifinakis

About one of my all-time favorite people (that I’ve never met and are sort of fictional in that way).

“…his lack of fear comes from a sharp sense that no one is better than anyone else. ‘I wouldn’t overthink it, though,’ Blancha adds. ‘There’s a good portion of plain old redneck in there too.’

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/arts/article/0,8599,2072446,00.html#ixzz1MvKXYadl.

May 13, 2019

Burning Man is the loneliest place

May 13, 2019