“In the future, there will be no female leaders. There will just be leaders.” 
― Sheryl Sandberg

OUT OF OFFICE: Babes, Bourbon and Beyond

OUT OF OFFICE: Babes, Bourbon and Beyond

When I launched BWH in 2016, I simply didn’t anticipate the off-screen, in-person adventures and opportunities that our future community would afford us. Fast forward two years, and today, myself (Chelsea, BWH Founder) and Mara (BWH Creative Director) are en route to Louisville, KY for Bourbon and Beyond fest, courtesy of an invitation from our very own featured babe, Lindsey Medina.

While this isn’t the typical BWH press opportunity, it’s one we’re thrilled to experience together —conveniently on our brand’s two-year anniversary weekend— as a new professional endeavor including its own set of unique tools and skills to add our team’s repertoire. See also: meeting members of our community from cities we haven’t yet visited — and crashing in their guest bedrooms. (Thanks, Marissa!)

With headliners like John Mayer, Robert Plant, Lenny Kravitz and (OG BWH) Sheryl Crow as obvious perks, we’re most excited to experience and share the fest through our unique BWH lens, and truly immerse ourselves in the culture of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. To us, this means meeting legends like Marianne Eaves: Kentucky’s first ever female master distiller and Peggy Noe Stevens: the world’s first female master bourbon taster and founder of Bourbon Women, as well as Stephanie Izard: James Beard recipient/Iron Chef title winner and Alex Thomopoulos: equal parts comedian and Great White Head Chef.

With help from my team —Mara, roadtrip queen and (play)list maker extrordinaire + Ina, professional music fest-goer— I’m excited to loop you in on all of our tips and tricks for a successful BWH x Bourbon and Beyond experience.

Mara’s Pre-Fest to-do list

The key to any successful trip is the prep you put in before take off. From packing to playlist-making, there are endless moving pieces to thrive and survive during any vacay. Leading up to today’s BWH trip that’s for both work and play, there were a few (hundred) more bullet points on the to-do list to make sure our road trip/music festival/business trip/bourbon tasting/girl’s trip goes off without a hitch. Here’s how we’ve prepped for our weekend of bourbon, blues, and all things soul.

Get ahead of your inbox

Whether that’s getting down to inbox zero or just prioritizing what has to be done before your trip, it’s always best to get ahead of the game instead of catching up while nursing your post-vacation blues. While you’re at it, set that witty OOO signature (the adult version of clever IG captions?), to let everyone know you’re living your best life (and will get back to them on Tuesday).

Pack before the panic

We’ve all spent a vacation rotating two pairs of underwear or buying all the gas station toiletries after procrastinating our packing duties until the last minute. You’ll thank yourself later for spending a spare 10 minutes of your pre-trip morning routine planning your outfit and double-checking your stock of essentials (chargers, makeup remover, and any necessary meds). Headed to B+B yourself this weekend? Read our team’s official packing list for inspo. (You’re welcome.)

Boost your immune system

As someone with autoimmune issues, I am infamous for getting sick the day after I return from almost every vacation. The older I get, the more determined I am to save my white blood cells and PTO, and load up with as much EmergenC, vitamin packs, and water as possible. Don’t skimp on anything that will keep you happy and healthy through the weekend— pack all of the supplements, sustenance, and hangover cures necessary to keep you functioning at your best. For me, that means Pedialyte and multivitamins. For Chelsea, that means Benadryl, Excedrin Migrane and essential oils.

Set the mood

Every road trip is only as good as its accommodations. After you get the basics out of the way (tire pressure, oil change, AAA card, etc.), stock your vehicle with all the ingredients for a cozy Sunday. That means snacks, blankets, pillows, and all of the entertainment you’ll need to stay sane and make the ride worth the time off. Pro tip: download your podcasts while you still have WiFi, pick a book in-theme with the adventure at hand (Whiskey Women by Fred Minnick) and curate the perfect playlist.

This is your weekend, babe, make every detail count.

Ina’s Festival Tips + Tricks

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t incredibly bummed that I’m missing out on this badass festival due to previously booked travel plans of my own (cue immense FOMO), but because I’ve been to my fair share over the years, I’m here to dish out some of my tips and tricks for survival.

(Please) stay hydrated

I can’t stress this enough. Staying hydrated will help with energy, staying cool, and avoiding that elusive day two hangover. Remember to also apply sunscreen before you head out for the day. Whether you’re showing a lot of skin or not, the sun will inevitably get the best of you so apply, apply, apply. Lastly, eat breakfast! Festivals have no shortage of food (and I recommend you try some), but when you’re running from stage to stage and dabbling in all the workshops/art installations/etc., it can be easy to go hours without eating. Breakfast ensures you at least start your day with a full belly before all the madness ensues.

What to Wear

Whatever the fuck you want, obviously. Just make sure you check the weather beforehand and pack any necessary items (raincoat/poncho/sweater, etc). Regardless of your outfit, wear comfortable shoes! I don’t care how perfectly your shoes match your outfit, if they’re not comfy, ditch them. You’ll thank me later.


In all seriousness, be aware of your surroundings. Know your exits, emergency care tents and bathrooms. Look out for the fellow babes (and honorary babes) around you, because they might need your help. If you don’t feel good or safe, speak up! Pro Tip: leave 15 minutes before the last act. Sometimes the music is just too damn good to walk away, but leaving a bit earlier will mean you’ll get out without a huge crowd and the inevitable shoulder-to-shoulder exit.

Be present

I’m all for capturing moments and sharing them with friends, but don’t get so caught up in the perfect shot that you miss out on the moment. Take a few good pictures/videos, then put your phone away. Enjoy the music, engage with the people around you and be 100% in it. Sometimes the best place to store your memories are in your mind.


As we embark on our 12-hour drive en route to interview master bourbon distillers, eat our weight in soul food and sing along with the anthems we once sang in the passengers’s seats of our mothers’ cars, we’d love for you to follow along with our journey on Instagram, send us your podcast and music recommendations, and watch out for our highly-anticipated selfies with Sheryl Crow (though we’d probably settle for John Mayer, TBH).

Thank you for helping us get to this point in our BWH journey — it feels like this is just the beginning.

—Chelsea, Mara and Ina

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