Mia Goes M.I.A: Top 6 Festivals in the Six (or close to Toronto)

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With the warmer weather,  that means summer is right around the corner. With summer comes my favourite time of the year, festival season. While the Coachella’s and Lollapalooza’s of the world sound like a blast, there are plenty of local festivals that are guaranteed great performers and great times. I decided to share with you my top six music festivals in Ontario, and I promise, you won’t be left with fake tickets and mugged like a certain Fyre Fest.

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Wayhome

Wayhome is the vision of Republic Live and will be rocking into its third year. This has become my favourite local festival. What makes it so good? Well it could be the incredible headliners. This year they will host Cage The Elephant, Frank Ocean, and Imagine Dragons as well as plenty of other talent. It could also be the art factor, interesting designs around the festival grounds. Or it could be the festival atmosphere. When the show is done for the day the fun doesn’t stop because you stay on site camping. Lastly it could be the fact that there is something for every music lover; indie, rock, electric, rap. The list goes on. It is truly a festival lovers dream.

Where: Burl’s Creek Event Grounds 

When: July 28-30

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Boots & Hearts

Grab your daisy dukes and cowboy hats because this is one of the best summer parties. Another Republic Live event this festival has become the holy grail of music festivals if you love country music of course. The festival, going into its 5th year is getting bigger and bigger every year. This year is no different. Luke Bryan, Keith Urban, and Brantley Gilbert will be headlining this year. Just like Wayhome you camp on site and dance all night long. The ambiance makes this festival truly special. Grab your cowgirls and boys and have an unforgettable weekend.

Where: Burl’s Creek Event Grounds 

When: August 10-13

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Field Trip 

An amazing music, arts, and food festival right in the heart of downtown Toronto, what could be better? This year the festival headlines Broken Social Scene, Phoenix, and Feist. What makes Field Trip a must not miss event is that it is so much more than just the music. The festival prides itself on local and creative food as well as interesting art installations. Grab a bite and see some incredible pieces in between acts.

Where: Fort York & Garrison Common

When: June 3-4 

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Bud Light Dreams Festival 

Formally known as Digital Dreams this is a must see for any electric music lover. The festival will yet again welcome some of the biggest names in electric music such as Steve Angello and DVBBS. Just like the name, the festival itself is getting a makeover this year. It will now have three stages including a waterfront stage. This festival is also unique in the sense that instead of having a variety of genres, it just sticks to electric music that will have you dancing all weekend long, and along with electric music comes insane sets so have that camera ready.

Where: Echo Beach 

When: July 7-8

NXNE

If a weekend isn’t enough for you then how about 10 days of an incredible music festival? That is what NXNE has to offer. Taking after its sister festival SXSW in Austin Texas, this festival showcases amazing talent as well as gaming, comedy, and other performances. According to the U.K Guardian, this is Toronto’s leading music festival, and I have to agree. While the headliners this year include Post Malone, Tyler the Creator, and Passion Pit, I fell in love with a bunch of the smaller acts and I know you will too.

Sound of Music 

The beautiful backdrop of Burlington’s Spencer Smith Park sets the stage for this fun and affordable music festival that brings in some big names. The Trews, The Road Hammers, and even Offspring will be performing this year to name a few. The festival also offers plenty of activities such as a parade, streetfest, market place, and carnival to keep you busy for the whole weekend. It is also kid friendly so the whole family can come and enjoy.

Where: Spencer Smith Park 

When: June 10-18 

Well there you have it, some of my favourite musical festivals this summer in and around Toronto. Do you have a favourite festival that didn’t make the list? Would love to hear about it!

Also coming this week my tips on how to survive a camping festival, and how to even glamp (when showers are a rare commodity). I will have that for you later this week.

In the meantime thank you for checking out the latest Mia goes M.I.A

xo

Mia

Places in the 6: Mascot Brewery/Odd Thomas

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I have been living in Toronto for the last 5 years and during that time I have discovered my favourite restaurants and bars. I am a creature of habit and always seem to end up at the same handful, and so I am almost ashamed to say that I had never been to Mascot Brewery or Odd Thomas before a friend had invited me out for their V.I.P experience and how could I possibly turn that down.

I must say that I am so glad I decided to venture outside of my regular spots, because Mascot and Odd Thomas are truly hidden gems in this city (expect for the cool people who already knew about it and kept it hidden from me).

Mascot is located on the lower level with Odd Thomas upstairs. Their location is right in the heart of downtown Toronto but tucked away on the quieter and smaller Mercer St. therefore if you aren’t looking for it, it may be a little tough to stumble upon.

Mascot Brewery is the restaurant located on the lower level and it offers a delicious menu variety as well as a slew of tasty local beer options. The restaurant is a really laid back atmosphere, and quieter than I expected so it was easy to have a conversation with my friends. The menu offered shareable, appetizers, and main course so whether you are hungry or just want a nibble there is something for you. I tried the Fried Brussel Sprouts which were actually to die for ( I could of eaten 10 of them not a word of a lie) and the Buttermilk Fried Chicken which was finger licking good, I literally licked the hot sauce off my fingers.

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The beer menu has its own separate spot on their website because there are just so many amazing options. I wanted to try something local a little outside of my comfort zone and so I gave the Collingwood Saison a go. It was the perfect introduction to the Saison, light and easy to drink.

After finishing up dinner and drinks, we then went upstairs to a booth at Odd Thomas. The bar had two booths behind the DJ booth and then two on the side with a dance floor in the middle. What I loved about the space we had was it was big enough for all 12 of us, and we were also right by the dance floor because we all know I love to show off my finger dance moves.

The D.J. for the evening was one of my favourite in the city, Conor Cutz. He played an amazing mix of old school favourites. I don’t think there was one song that came on where I didn’t have my hands up in the air. In fact for the first time in a long time I actually stayed at a bar until it closed.

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Overall between the delicious food downstairs at Mascot combined with the great music and casual vibe upstairs at Odd Thomas this spot really impressed me. I will for sure be coming back for round two sometime soon.

I highly recommend Mascot and Odd Thomas for anyone who is looking for a more casual and laid back bar scene in downtown Toronto where you can wear your sneakers but also dance the night away.

Monday Motivation: Fenom

Screen Shot 2017-03-13 at 6.30.30 PM.pngHappy Monday Motivation y’all. You know what that means, another one of my fav workout classes in Toronto!

Walking up the stairs was a challenge today, my legs still feel like jello. The signs of a damn good workout if you ask me. I have fallen madly, deeply, and truly in love with Fenom training, despite the sore muscles that are sure to follow the next morning.

What is fenom training you may ask? Well it is a strength and conditioning training camp held at King West Club. Basically they offer elevated small group circuit training designed for women.

More like personal training, the small group allows the instructor to really focus on technique and personalized nutrition coaching.IMG_0387

So how does the class work? Well the group consists of about 5-10 girls. A perfect size class because the trainer can ensure that you are doing all the exercises correctly. With smaller classes, the trainer has more opportunity to focus on your form to make sure  you work the right muscles, but also helps avoid injury.

Jen, our totally awesome trainer, first goes through the different exercises. Each circuit has about 3-4 different ones that we do that each target a specific muscle. Usually starting with squats or lunges for lower body, we will then move to arm raises or pull ups, and finish off with  some really difficult ab burning exercises.

You would do 10 reps of each exercise before moving on to the next, and you would repeat those 3 to 4 times before moving on to the next circuit.

It had been a long time since I had worked with a personal trainer, and I realized quickly what I missed so much about it. When you have that instructor pushing you, motivating you, telling you that you can work that much harder, you believe it and you do it.

With Jen is  in my ear telling me to add that one extra weight, to push up to the bar one more time, to keep my plank a little longer, it is almost like I don’t want to let her down so I do it. I push myself that little bit harder than even I thought possible.

And it isn’t just Jen pushing me, but the other girls in the class too. When I first stepped into the class, everyone was a stranger. By the end of the class we were all friends. There was constant encouragement to push a little higher, lift a little heavier, get one more rep. IMG_0374

Each class is different, different exercises, different circuits, different movements, but yet the same goal, to strengthen your body, your mind, your soul.

To sum it all up this class is perfect for anyone who is;

  • Looking for training specific to the female body
  • not ready to splurge on one-on-one classes but doesn’t want to get lost in a big group class
  • looking to strengthen your overall body
  • looking to do more weight training
  • looking for a kick ass full body workout

For more info on the Fenom training classes check out their website; fenomtraining.ca 

you won’t regret it!

xo

Mia

Monday Motivation: F45

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As I am writing this blog, my abs are aching, my legs are sore, and my arms feel like they are being weighed down by bricks, and the truth is I love it. So why am I feeling like this? Well I would bet it has everything to do with completing my first week of f45 Liberty Village.

Ok so you might have heard of f45 but not entirely sure what it is? Yeah that was me about a week ago, so let’s break it down.

Back in 2012 in Australia the F45 CEO wanted to create a group training facility that featured dynamic and effective training. He wanted to create the best workouts that could reach the masses. A structured system that could be implemented across the world.

Now F45 is breaking ground across the world by combining three times of leading edge fitness training styles into one. It incorporates high intensity interval training, circuit training, and functional training. The fusion of these training concepts has created 27 different 45-minute workout experiences, so you never get the same workout twice.

Now that you know a bit of F45’s background, here is a bit of my own background. From the age of 8-21 I played professional tennis. That meant 5 am wake up calls to go and train, three hours on the court, and then more fitness pretty much seven days a week.

From 21 until now, I have taken things a bit lighter. I still love to work out, but my workouts have been more cardio based as of late, so the idea of circuit training that involves weights made me a little nervous.IMG_0846

What I found out is that there are two main kinds of workouts, ones that are weight focused and ones that are more cardio focused.

The first class that I took was Renegade. More of a weight focused class where you focus more on heavy lifting and proper form that helps burn away fat. I was definitely sore after this class

Next up was Firestorm. The hardest of all the classes in my opinion. 54 stations and no time for breaks (except during your giving hydration period). With so many different stations, you are guaranteed a full body workout with cardio and speed training combined in there as well. After this class I couldn’t make it up or down stairs. Not for the faint at heart.

Then we were back to weight focused workout with Angry Birds. As they say Angry Birds plot revenge, and this workout was insuring I was ready for revenge. Again plenty of weights that targeted my whole body.

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Thursday was Wingman. Sure I may have been doing this solo, but that is the great thing about f45, you are never doing this workout alone. There are 20 other people in the room who are fighting through these workouts just as hard as you are. You are pushing each other to work harder, better, faster, stronger, or some other Kanye West quote. “believe and squeeze” is the motto in this class, and your glutes are definitely going to get formed here.

And alas my first week of amazing, incredible, feel good torture was Romans (who doesn’t want to have a body of a Roman God right?) with this workout resistance meets functional movement patters and it is definitely a full body burn. Weights, squats, lunges, you name it you do it in this class.

One week was not enough that is for sure. I am actually addicted to these classes for a few reasons;

  • As someone who I am pretty sure has undiagnosed ADD, I really like the idea of changing up the workouts. Not only do you do a bunch of different activities each day, but every day you have a different class, a different challenge
  • The instructors are amazing and will really help make sure you are doing the exercises correctly to get the most of your workout
  • You get to do it as a group, which at least for me pushes me to work harder. When I am in the gym by myself I spend most the time finding the right playlist for the day, at f45, you have a whole team working hard together
  • You know you are changing your body and your life. I am not going to lie to you, these workouts aren’t easy. They hurt but they also build, strengthen, and improve.

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F45 has not just changed my body, but has also changed my mind. I used to be afraid of weight training. Afraid to bulk up as they call it, but these classes have taught me that lifting weights actually burns just as much if not more calories than cardio, and the harder you push your muscles, the longer they burn.

F45 has taught me that working hard is rewarding, it is life changing, it makes you not just physical stronger but mentally, it showed me what a community can do when they come together, and it proved the saying that strong is beautiful.

If you haven’t tried f45 yet, sign up right now (well finish reading this blog and then go sign up). Plus, the first two weeks are free, that is a win win!

 

Toronto Gets Soul

Screen Shot 2017-02-28 at 10.53.03 AM.pngSoul Cycle has been a spinning phenomenon in New York for years, and now the six is getting their very own Soul Cycle this week on King St. West. I had a chance to check out this high intensity low impact workout, and had to share my experience.

If you follow me you know two things, 1) I love working out and fitness and 2) I have a new found love for spin classes. I always used to find them repetitive and boring, but recently my opinion has changed. And as you will find out if you keep reading, there is nothing boring about Soul Cycle.

Ok so you have heard about this Soul Cycle everyone is speaking of, but what is it? Basically it is a 45 minute spin class that combines fat burning cardio, a full body workout (arm weight track included), and choreography that forces your core to stay engaged all class long. Spinning and dancing all at once, sounds fun right?

My first impression was that they have really put thought and effort into their set up. The moment I stepped into the candle lit room I was impressed with the ambiance.

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We were told by our instructor Jenna to put our cell phones away and get ready to let loose. I loved this idea because it really forced me to focus on my mind and body for the full workout as oppose to worrying about work calls and emails.

As soon as the first song started, I found myself singing and spinning along to the beat. The class combined springs, hills, and heavy legs ensuring that I was working different muscles and getting my heart rate up.

What I really loved was the added choreography of arm pulls and pushes. They distracted me from how much my legs were burning from pushing myself harder each song.

About five songs into the class and a 10 sprints later, we were told to pick up the weights for the arm track. Although I was lifting 3 pound weights it was such an intense workout. For an entire 6 minutes you have your arms up and out doing all exercises from bicep curls to triceps, my arms were definitely burning.

Alas all good things must come to an end. The last track was us letting go of all of our stress and anxiety and instead focusing on our breathing until the last note of the last song.

I really loved the class from start to finish. From the music, to the workout, to the amazing instructor the entire workout was amazing. Speaking of workout, despite the low intensity of the spin class, I was drenched in sweat walking out.

Now mind you, I may be a little biased, because throughout the entire class I felt like I was cheating on the Spokehaus. Spokehaus was the first spin class I fell in love with, the first spin class I got my groove on at, the first spin class I learned figure eights. I love washing my face down with their cold Eucalyptus towel after a hard ride on the bike.

Both of these studios are fun, hard, and a workout party and I would recommend trying both of them out!

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Also make sure to come back and check out my blog, because I will be sharing some of my fav Toronto workouts. As they say Summer bodies are made in the winter, and we don’t have much winter left!

xo

Mia