Mia Goes M.I.A: The Festival Survival Guide

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One of my favourite summer activities has to be attending music festivals. There is something so special about being out in the sunshine, listening to some incredible music and artists, the unique culture of people from all around the world coming together, the beautiful art, the delicious food, and of course the fun camping.

If you are new to the festival scene, it can seem intimidating and overwhelming. Don’t worry, I am here to help. Having attended several music festivals in the past (5 to be exact) I have learned a few tricks to ensure a successful festival weekend. Today I wanted to share with you my music festival survival handbook.

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Comfort is Key

I know that Coachella’s instagram feed makes one believe music festivals are really fashion shows, but this is just not the case. Reality check, music festivals are hot, sweaty, dirty places. You are sleeping in a tent for days, there is a serious lack of showers, there is dirt everywhere, and it is hot hot hot! This is not the time to crack out your favourite designer duds.

Do not wear white, do not wear expensive, do not wear uncomfortable. In fact everything you do wear you must be ok with ruining or else do not bring.

So what should you bring? From past experience I promise the more comfortable you are, the more you are going to enjoy the experience.

  • Loose shirts: I know, the adorable tight fitting crop top is totally in right? Leave it at home in this case because you are not going to be happy walking around in that for 10 hours straight. Oversized yet stylish shirts for the win
  • Jean Shorts: If any clothing is going to survive the apocalypse it is jeans, so they can survive a simple festival weekend. Bring on the mud, the food, the drinks. None of these are a match for jeans, they will survive the elements.
  • Running Shoes/think sandals: I remember the worst day of my music festival life. I had just bought an adorable pair of fringe heels that would complete my perfect festival outfit. I was wrong. Half way through Kendrick Lamar’s set I needed to quit the dance party because my feet were killing me. Make sure the shoes you rock are made for walking because there will be a lot of walking, and dancing, potential dirt and mud. A music festival is no place for heels or any shoe that is uncomfortable.
  • A blanket scarf: This multi purpose accessory is perfect to add some flare to your outfit and also to sit on if you don’t want to be on the ground.
  • A sweater: This may seem unnecessary since it is the middle of summer but if it rains, or the temps drop at night, you are going to be glad you brought one with you.

So in recap, dress for comfort, don’t bring anything you don’t want ruined, and for god’s sake leave all the heels at home!

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Suns out so protect the guns… and everything else 

Last year at Wayhome a dear friend of mine missed at least one full day because she was suffering form heat stroke. The second day she was still feeling sick. Don’t be that person who wastes your entire festival experience because you didn’t take care of yourself. Music festivals take place during summer, meaning hot temps. They take place all day, which means being outside in these hot temps for hours and hours. Make sure you are taking care of yourself.

  • SPF Yourself: Make sure that you are constantly applying SPF because the sun is not your friend when you are outside all day. Protect that skin!
  • Be the team’s waterboy: Wayhome was fantastic in the sense they had hydration stations laid out, but still so many people were experiencing dehydration. Sun and alcohol are not the best mix, so make sure to add some water to the combination. Even if you aren’t feeling thirsty drink up because when heat stroke sneaks up on you.
  • Bring a hat: Hat’s can be stylish and cool and they can also help keep you cool when you are outside all day.
  • Listen to your body: Despite looking forward to Third Eye Blind all day (yes I am dating myself here) I had to leave half way through their act at once festival because I wasn’t feeling great. Festival grounds do not offer a lot of shaded area, so if you need to, find a spot to take a break whether it be the camp site or a tented area.

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Create Your Own “Glamping” Experience 

This could be the most helpful tip I give you. I am not too keen on camping. Sleeping on the ground for three days straight surrounded by bugs  is not my idea of fun. This year at Wayhome we macgyvered a way to camp in style, and by camp I mean sleep in my car in comfort. I brought a blow up mattress, sheets, and bug nets so we could sleep with the windows down and it was as comfy as a 3.5 star hotel (as comfy as camping can get.)

If you like the idea of sleeping in a tent, I do highly recommend bringing a mattress of some sorts. It is not fun sleeping on the ground and I know this from personal experience.

Bring Snacks 

One of my favourite parts of festivals is the different and delicious food options. Food trucks upon food trucks line the festival grounds. The downside is long lines and expensive options. That is why I am always sure to pack breakfast options as well as snacks for during the day. You aren’t going to want to buy every meal because it is going to cost you and you definitely don’t want to leave your perfect spot right by the stage because your stomach is growling uncontrollably.

Splurge on the Showers 

I have experienced two different types of festivals. Festivals where I showered, and festivals where I didn’t and trust me the showering kind is far superior. Yes there will be hundreds of people on the grounds that haven’t seen a shower in three days, but you don’t want to be one of those people. Pay the extra $$ for a shower pass. It will help you feel more refreshed, energized, and ready for an exciting day of music.

Here are a list of some shower needs during a festival;

  • Dry Shampoo: Your hair will get dirty and greasy. Dry shampoo will be a lifesaver during the weekend
  • Less is more: Don’t go caking on makeup at a music festival. With the hot sun it will melt right off. This is the perfect time to give your skin a bit of a break and go for the natural look
  • Deodorant: Since showers are few and far between make sure you are going a little deodorant overboard to avoid the b/o

Pack a charger

Charing outlets are in high demand and difficult to come across at festivals and in a day and age where if it isn’t online it didn’t happen you want to make sure your phone is as ready as you are. A portable charger for the weekend is key!

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Buddy System

I haven’t really used the buddy system since grade 4, but in a festival environment it is key. When everyone is drinking and having fun it is also important to look out for one another because you never know what can happen. Cell service at festivals is pretty bad and you don’t want to get lost. Make sure you have a meeting point and a friend that you are with at all times because safety should be your number one priority. Safety and having a fun time that is.

And there you have it. My Music Festival Survival Handbook. Have you been to a music festival or are planning on going this summer? I would love to hear from you and for you to share some of your survival ideas.

That is all from now, until I go M.I.A again

xo

Mia

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!