Hi, I’m Shani

NPR once called me a humor essayist, let’s go with that.

A First Timer’s Mardi Gras Packing List

A First Timer’s Mardi Gras Packing List

I made it to 36 without so much as a Mardi Gras. Shocking, mildly embarrassing, and thankfully being remedied in 24 hours. So many questions have been swirling around in my mind like so many sequins in the wind. Am I skinny enough to wear this sparkly wrestling singlet? Do I need to wear a wig or is this cute-ass haircut enough? Where will I pee? No seriously where will I pee?!

I am a planner by nature, lists and well-packed bags contributing exponentially to my enjoyment of an experience. So below, an amalgamation of everything the internet and my best friend have taught me regarding packing for Mardi Gras when it’s your first time. Let the good times, and one slightly beat up Away suitcase, roll.

1) Fanny Pack: Apparently hands free is the way to be so that you can catch all the cool stuff flying off the floats. I could go with a cross-body for familiarity, but apparently when in Rome, when in New Orleans, means you carry this Golden Girls grandma shit . I find fanny packs uncomfortable and untrustworthy, and will not hesitate to wear it like a sling like the youths on their YouTubes do if I feel any kind of hula hoopage happening around my waist.

2) Cash—specifically singles: I guess there’s shit to buy everywhere? And public restrooms cost money? I don’t give a shit what they’re charging, my Mardi Gras wardrobe consists mainly of jumpsuits, I need somewhere to undress myself in peace and I have the “hold it” capabilities of a six year old who just left the house five minutes ago.

3) Wipes: My biggest pet peeve on earth is actually not the child across my airshaft who plays the recorder each day at 3pm, instead it’s sticky hands. I cannot tolerate sticky hands and I don’t care who knows it. Have you ever touched something sticky and just been…cool with the aftermath? No. I’m bringing wipes, both to disinfect my airplane vicinity and to remove unidentified adhesive substances from my epidermis.

4) Tissues: You’re telling me the city’s toilet paper supply is actually prepared for this event? Sure, Jan.

5) Cell Phone Battery: While I intend to live more than photograph during this Mardi Gras adventure, I would like to be able to flag a Lyft in the event of an emergency. My prepper nature does not allow me to be without requisite backups. I’m actually packing TWO packages of hand wipes. I’m going to treat this like a European vacation and post the goods to Instagram (@shanisilver) all at once after I get back to home base and wash off the glitter.

6) Portable Nutrition: I am hypoglycemic so I never leave the house without a bar of some kind. Having decided to massively reduce my carb intake two weeks ago because I’m an animal, I was shocked to find out how many grams of carbs are in my favorite bars (Cliff Bar’s Peanut Butter & Honey with Sea Salt), so when I get back from this trip I’ll need to do some research. But for now they’re what’s around and I don’t want to get hangry while catching beads.

7) Comfortable Shoes: Per the photo above, I have sacrificed my old adidas on the alter of Mardi Gras, bedazzling them to high heaven with tweezers and the patience of a marble bust. I was informed that closed toed shoes are the only acceptable footwear during this event (sticky feet aren’t my shit, either) , but I wanted the shoes to be on-theme for the weekend. I am not bringing any other shoes. Wish me well.

8) Batshit Style: If it is iridescent, a size 8-10, and exists on the internet, I bought it for Mardi Gras. Every sequin jumpsuit Amazon has on offer is now rolled up into my suitcase next to something else covered in sparkle, too. Each piece is far more revealing and quite frankly chilly than my age and maximum discomfort tolerance are prepared for, but this is Mardi Gras, people. Go glitter or go home. I also bought peel off adhesive for all of my body art which is a sentence I didn’t think I’d write after 2005 but here we are.

With that, I’m off to eat my first and fiftieth carbohydrates in awhile in the form of King Cake flavored everything. I hope my packing list proves useful to those of you also embarking on their first Big Easy big deal. I hope you catch everything you’re hoping for. Wait…

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