Girls, Get Ready for SXSW: A Survival Guide.

Music Festival Illustration by Jazzia on Shutterstock
It’s been 4 years since I traded in my Fashion Week stilettos for Texas BBQ and I couldn’t be happier. Hanging with smart techies beats watching starving amazon women trample the runway any day! But there are a few things ladies should know before they head to Austin for the 10-day festival:

  1. Bring chargers with you everywhere. Trust me, you’ll need them. Because of the number of phones around, and the amount of texting you’ll do, all your gadgets will need recharging 2-3 times a day.
  2. Your twitter handle is your new business card (and personal assistant).  For those attending Interactive, clean up your feed and tweet what you find interesting. It’s a great way to build your influence and meet cool people. And most importantly, twitter should be your go-to to find out what’s trending and where the best unofficial parties are. Follow the tags #SXSWFree & #SXSWUnofficial to get all the latest info.
  3. Get Screened. This one has a double meaning. First, bring sunscreen. It’s hot in Austin and many of the best events take place outdoors. Second, go to the film screenings. I’ve seen some of the best movies at Sx, so grab some popcorn and recharge with some much needed down and dark time. The Vimeo theatre has a whole lineup of great films this year.
  4. Secret performances. Secret performances and parties will be popping up like crazy throughout the 10-day festival. Follow insider handles on twitter to get the latest updates. Also be on the lookout for password protected parties, like this year’s Wall Street Journal Pool Party.
  5. Get a badge. Even though off-site events are getting bigger and bigger each year, you still need a badge to get anywhere official. Many of the parties will require them for admission. Also, a word from the wise: pick up your badge the day before the conference begins. They’re open until 10pm. Otherwise you’ll wait in a 2+ hour wait – and there’s 0% chance they will let someone else pick up your badge for you. Trust me, I’ve tried.
  6. Leave the stilettos at home. Even at the best parties people will be wearing jeans. You should still dress to impress, but be comfortable. (Comfortable stilettos = win win.)

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Music to Jet To: 12 Albums to Download Before Your Next Flight (date, or dinner party…)

Old Fashioned Music Player Illustration by Cristian Amoretti on Shutterstock

One of my favorite things about traveling is the time spent in that anonymous-yet-familiar place high above the clouds. I get some of my best writing and reflection done at 35,000 feet – earphones on, journal out. And even though I’m no music expert, having good tunes on my iPod is critical to getting me into the groove. These are some of my go-tos when it comes to travel music (if there is such a thing). They also happen to be excellent tunes for working, lounging, entertaining, and just about anything that needs a mellow-but-rhythmic soundtrack: (In order from slowest to fastest.)

  1. Gem Club, Breakers – Slow, moody and dark. Love this album for writing to. 
  2. Bon Iver, Bon Iver – If you don’t know Bon Iver, please just download. 
  3. The National, High Violet – Dark, soft, indie rock.
  4. Angus & Julia Stone, Down the Way – Julia Stone is my favorite artist right now. Her music is airy, light and soulful.
  5. Massive Attack, Heligoland – The original trip-hop group delivers electronica at its finest in this beautiful and delicate album.
  6. Frank Ocean, Orange – Soulful R&B with a dash of synth.
  7. The xx, Coexist – Indie electronic/dream-pop.  The xx is one of those bands that you either get or you don’t. In my opinion they are one of the greatest groups of our generation, and this album might even be better than their first.
  8. Waldeck, Ballroom Stories – Jazzy, swingy, soulful R&B. Great for dinner parties.
  9. Best of Hôtel Costes by Stephanè Pompougnac – I have almost all of the Costes albums after hearing one at the hotel in Paris. This compilation features latin infused and electronic beats.
  10. Cat Power, Sun – Cat creates her own brand of magical indie pop with this soothing, upbeat album.
  11. Chromatics, Kill for Love – Where do I begin? The Chromatics are another favorite group of mine but they’re not for the faint of heart. Best described as dark, electro-pop-slash-disco, this album includes a remake of Neil Young’s Into the Black.
  12. Miike Snow, Miike Snow – Indie electronic. Another album that will go down as one of the best of our time; Miike snow perfectly balances rock, pop and electronic.

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