Music in Toronto

So, last weekend, I took a 6 hour bus to Toronto (one of my favorite Canadian cities, it’s the hub of music) and I spent 2 nights/3 days there with one of my best friends. I would have written about it sooner, except a)I didn’t have time to upload photos until a week later and b)I was so busy coming home on Tuesday, that I barely opened my computer until my work-week was over on Saturday!

But enough of that. Here’s a small re-cap of a much needed getaway into the land of music. 

We left VERY early on Saturday morning (June 15th) to catch our 6 hour bus ride that would take us straight to downtown Toronto. 7am departure meant my alarm was going off at 5:45am. I seriously debated not going anywhere for the weekend, but luckily I dragged myself out of bed and made it on time.

IMG_2263My favorite kind of ‘me-time’ is on long bus rides!

When we arrived in the city just after lunch time, we took some time to get ready in our hotel room for our busy afternoon and evening, as well as just to decompress after the long bus ride. Our hotel was conveniently just 5 minutes away from the bus station, and only about 10 minutes from the heart of Toronto, which made walking everywhere VERY easy and convenient for us.

IMG_2268Late afternoon lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe- one of my fave restaurants in any city!

3After the Hard Rock, we walked all the way from Dundas Square to the Rogers Center for the Ed Sheeran/Taylor Swift concert that night! It’s right next to the CN Tower, so of course we got a few stellar views of the monument along the way.

IMG_2280Normally a baseball field, the Rogers Center was converted for the two-day Taylor Swift extravaganza. We got upgraded seats to the 200-levels, which still seemed quite far from the stage, but we made the best of it!

IMG_6163Ed Sheeran on the big screen, because we were too far away to get any good close-ups. But as always, my fave singer/songwriter blew me right the heck away. I can’t say I would recommend a show at this venue (it’s WAY too big and the acoustics are awful) but I loved getting to see him one more time before he likely heads back to the studio.

IMG_6169TSwift at the beginning of her 2 hour show on the big screen! So gorgeous in real life, and very talented. It was a really great show and she played all her classics. I can’t say I was AS blown away as I’d hoped, but honestly I think it’s partially because of the weirdness of the baseball field venue. I think she was also a *bit* too rehearsed, if I’m being honest, but I’m still happy I got to see her live.

IMG_6171The venue was SOLD OUT, which was awesome. The glowsticks gave a really awesome effect throughout the stadium, too!

And that was our first full day in TO! Sunday was another busy day for us; we headed out for an 11am breakfast with our friends from Ottawa that we met up with, as well as two of the writers for CONFRONT Magazine who live in Toronto. It was so fun to get to meet them for the first time, and, really, I’m never one to say no to breakfast.

Afterwards, we headed back to our hotel to relax. The theme of the weekend, I swear, was “how fast can we get into bed when we walk in the hotel room?’ and I think Jenia & I did really well in that department. Later in the afternoon, we spent some time getting ready for an evening on the red carpet for the MuchMusic Video Awards!

IMG_6188We took some cute photos on the roof of our hotel :)

IMG_2290Panorama of the Toronto skyline from our hotel roof

IMG_6193The red carpet experience proved to be significantly less interesting than we’d hoped, but we still got a sneak at a few celebrities, including Kunal Nayyar of Big Bang Theory (above) and Patrick J Adams of Suits (below). The two I was most looking forward to seeing- so I was happy!

patrickadamsPhoto credits to Jenia. How is it possible to just be so good looking?!

Unfortunately we couldn’t watch the MMVA’s or hang around the area to listen from a distance, because everything was completely blocked off. After a much needed dinner, we ended up trekking back to our hotel room, where I watched the entire 2 hour event when it re-ran after it’s original airing at 11pm.

Finally, Monday was our last day, we were up bright & early to enjoy the most of it before we got on a bus back home. A quick breakfast at Time Hortons later, we spent the entire morning and early afternoon shopping with our Ottawa friends, and ended with one last meal on a terrace all together before saying our goodbyes.

IMG_2311I also bought this shirt. Best purchase of the weekend!

And that was our little 3-day trip to Toronto! Moral of the story? We probably won’t end up back at the MMVA’s next year, I think it’s just a thing we’ve outgrown now that we’re nearing 24. But the experience was really neat, getting out of the city was even better, and all the gorgeous weather was just the cherry on the top! I love being in Toronto at this time of year because of all the amazing music though, so I’m really glad we made the trip out.

March Moments

I’ve been feeling very busy and disconnected from my blog, and it’s not a feeling I’m used to in the least. It’s strange to look at my recent archives and feel like there is a gap between my life and my writing, and there is very little I can do about it because I’m so short on extra time in my life. But I do my best to keep my blog going when I can, and knowing that I’m still writing a little bit everywhere helps a lot too.

March has been a crazy, beautiful month. Normally, I hate this month. I have for the past decade, because it is just tainted with a lot of bad dates that have followed me through my life. But this year I have been fortunate enough to stop thinking about it, even for a little while.

Here are the moments that have made this year’s month of March so wonderful for me, also known as another way to update about all the things going on in my everyday life!

1. Feeling under the weather and having a good friend surprise you with freshly baked cookies and a little care package that included a candle and some bubble bath. Relaxation, yes please!

photo (5)

2. Interviewing two amazing Canadian bands for CONFRONT Magazine, Inlet Sound & Lakes of Canada, and then attending their show that evening which was tons of fun.

I reviewed the show right here!

photo (3)Not to mention spending the evening with one of my favorite people <3

3. Somehow finding the time to write THREE guest posts. One about my favorite travel reads, another about my job at CONFRONT (going live later this week, link soon!), and one more about how much I love music.

4. Babysitting my nephew a few times, which is always the highlight of my weekends! 

photo (2)

5. Dinner for a friend’s birthday turns into a girls’ night & reunion with some of my favorite people

meandlisaWith one of my favorite girls! 

6. Finding out that I will be taking over presidency next year for CASA Cares, the charity association that I am currently the VP Public Relations for this year. I have LOVED being a part of this year’s team. It has not only changed my University experience, but I’ve met tons of amazing people, worked with some great charities, and have learned so much about myself in the process. I’m terrified, but so excited, to see what next year brings to the team that I am currently putting together.

7. Seeing P!nk live in Montreal for the very first time. She has been a long-time favorite female artist of mine, and a role model throughout high school and CEGEP. She was, hands down, one of the best concerts I have ever been to.

pinkshowEnjoying the show with some crazy friends :)

IMG_5757One of the best female artists in music today, in my opinion

IMG_5784Definitely the best concert I’ve been to all year! 

8. NEW YORK CITY for four days, a much needed trip away from home & getaway with friends

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9. Spontaneously having a day off after a very long week coming home from NYC… I *really* needed to just sleep and do my own thing. It was wonderful!

10. Last, but certainly not least, everything this month related to the CASA Cares fashion show. The event took place this past Friday March 29th, and was beyond a success I could have imagined. Our team worked tirelessly for 3 months putting this event together, and seeing it sell out, seeing the models work the catwalk, the performers engage the crowd, and everyone having an amazing time? SO worth it. I’m still on a high after that 20+ hour day, and although it’s difficult to wrap my mind around doing it in another year, I’m already SO excited. What an insane, beautiful experience to be a part of!

I stole a bunch of people’s Instagram photos to share below. Everyone helped spread the word with our hashtag #Platinum10, and from there I grabbed  bunch of awesome pics. Here’s a little look at how the night went:

platinum10setupSetting up & people arriving at the beginning of the evening, after a long day of rehearsals & preparations at the club!

platinum10workitSome models walking the runway, wearing Montreal brands such as Rififi and Valerie Dumaine. Amazing sponsors!

platinum10confettiA confetti-filled ending to the 2 hour show, right before the after-party!

platinum10xpos
Models on stage with their final outfits on for the finale

Official photos right here, with hundreds more to come. I’m sure I ended up in pictures somewhere during the night, which I’ll be sure to share as more pictures come my way!

& how was your month of March?! Any great stand-out moments?

2012 in Music

IMG_4062

2012 was an amazing year for music. Not only did some amazing albums come out, but I had the chance to attend and interview so many of my favorite musicians out there right now. My top 5 concerts below are not only some of my most memorable experiences, but 4 out of the 5 were the best interviews I did for CONFRONT Magazine this year.

I know I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again- I love that magazine. It started off as a neat side project to get me involved in music and writing more often, and it has now become something that I could see myself pursuing for a long time. Writing about music- combining two of my passions in one- is literally a dream come true. Interviewing some of the biggest names in the industry? That is just a really, really awesome job perk.

This week on CONFRONT, I’m sharing my top 5 albums of 2012, so I thought it was fitting to share my favorite concerts over here on the same day. 2012 was definitely one of the best in terms of working and enjoying music, and 2013 is already gearing up to be really great too. Seriously, what is life without music but a quiet existence?

#5 Of Monsters and Men

I don’t even know where to start with this band- I first heard of them a couple years ago thanks to blogger friend Dana, and from the moment I put their album on, it hasn’t left my ‘repeat’ playlist on iTunes. I can’t get enough of their music, and their live shows are just stellar. I got to interview them for CONFRONT when they were in Montreal the first time (last April) and was completely smitten over them- since then, I’ve only fallen more in love. I can’t WAIT for a second record- I hope it’ll be in 2013!

#4 The Rocket Summer

It was the first time I could ever remember TRS headlining a show in Montreal and I left the venue SO SAD that it was over. Another artist I got to interview for CONFRONT before the set, he was just as down to earth in person as he seemed- and his live performance? Beyond amazing. It’s no wonder his album made it to my top 5 of 2012.

#3 Snow Patrol

One of my all-time favorite bands, SP came back to Montreal for the first time in YEARS, and they brought Ed Sheeran along. I got to interview one of the founding members of the group beforehand for CONFRONT, and then I enjoyed hours of an absolutely amazing live show. Snow Patrol have literally never disappointed me in all the times I have seen them in concert.

#2 Bon Iver

Not only did I get to road trip to New York City for a weekend with three people who love music as much as me, but I got to attend one of the final Bon Iver concerts for the next few years at Radio City Music Hall. I always enjoyed Justin Vernon’s music, but this show just set the whole thing in stone. Absolutely  mind blowing.

#1 Ed Sheeran 

If this is a surprise to anyone reading this, you don’t know me well enough yet. This 22 year old musician stole my heart nearly two years ago, and his headlining show in Montreal in September was just the cherry on top of it all… Not to mention that I got to interview him for CONFRONT Magazine. And I’m still listening to his music every single day. Definitely earned the number 1 spot!

Any great 2012 musical moments in your life?

On… The best part about music

When I was 16, I started going to concerts. I don’t know what it was about seeing live shows that attracted me even as a teenager, but I could never get enough of them. A favorite band was coming through my city? I needed to be there. Some of my favorite memories in high school are rocking out and meeting a favorite artist with my best friends. I wouldn’t change that for the world.

Now that I’m older, that hasn’t changed one bit. Wherever I am in the world, I’m always looking for the next show I can go to. When I’m traveling, I will always look up my favorite musicians to see if they’ll be nearby when I’m around. I have a lot of trouble passing up a good show in my home city. But the BEST part about music & live shows?

The road trips that get planned JUST FOR the love of music. 

The number of pictures we have like this is crazy. But I wouldn’t change it for the world! 

Especially in the last few years, I’ve had the most unforgettable  music memories by packing a car up with some food and some best friends, and driving to a city for a concert. I hope it’s something I’m always able to do, but as long as I’m young enough and still able to? I’ll keep road tripping for concerts.

Toronto in 2009 with two of my favorite girls. This is still one of my favorite days and road trips so far <3

Toronto in August 2010 for Something Corporate

Burlington in 2011 for Jimmy Eat World

New York City in 2012 for Bon Iver

I’m so lucky to have so many friends that are in love with music as much as I am. I’ve been able to grow up surrounded with something I love, and through all of it I’ve been able to get work in the music industry too. Not only do I get to manage a music magazine (staffed with the most amazing people) with one of my best friends, but this girl is always up for a road trip if it means music, long car rides & some good company.

When she suggested that we spend a long weekend in Toronto this coming June for Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran, I don’t think I could have said “YES” any quicker. One of my favorite musicians, and the worlds’ cutest country singer… PLUS A WEEKEND in one of my absolute favorite Canadian cities? Next to traveling the world, road tripping for concerts is my favorite thing to do ever.

More of this in 2013? Yes please :)

We’re getting ready to buy tickets in the next couple weeks, and I’m already counting down the months until we GO. I love knowing that I have fun plans to look forward to next year. I know there will be so many more good shows and road trips, but this one? I know this one is going to be especially awesome.

Are you a crazy concert go-er like I am? What’s your favorite part? 

A Weekend in New York City

A couple months ago, I planned a short weekend trip to New York City with three friends. We randomly decided it would be totally worth it to go see Bon Iver perform one of his 4 back-to-back shows at Radio City Music Hall. I was so 100% down for this idea immediately because I hadn’t been back to NYC since 2008 and it’s been on my to-do list since I came home. I’ve always loved that city, so it was like two awesome things in one. Not to mention the fact that I knew I’d be missing traveling around now & it would be a nice little getaway.

Friday was NEW YORK CITY DAY. We were supposed to get our stuff together and leave no later than lunch time and get to the place we were staying in Long Island just after dinner. Unfortunately, through a series of rather hilarious events, we were stuck in a car for somewhere close to 12 hours (instead of 8) and we only arrived in Long Island at almost 3 in the morning. Our driver realized about an hour in that he had mixed up his passport with his friends’, so we had to go all the way back home to get the right one. Then, we decided we’d ignore the GPS and try another route but we ended up driving straight through New York and into Connecticut… Basically it wasn’t so funny at the TIME, but once we found our way, we joked that we TOTALLY meant to take a short trip into an entirely different state. Good times.

 
Finally arriving at the border & driving at sunset

 After only about 5 hours’ sleep, we got up around 8:30am on Saturday. We only had ONE DAY in the city (and the concert was that night) so we wanted to make the best of it. We hopped a train to Manhattan and got in around 10:45am. Two of my friends are regulars in NYC, but I was immediately jumping up and down from excitement. I WAS BACK IN NEW YORK CITY. It was just as busy, hectic, bustling, dirty and awesome as I remembered it to be.

On the train early in the morning with my favorite (other) Mel! 

Hello again, NYC :) 

We made a stop at Macy’s & Crumbs Bake Shop for a delicious cupcake before walking straight for Times Square. I think this is still my favorite part of NYC that I’ve seen so far. I know it’s the most touristy place, but there’s something about being in that exact place that just makes me smile uncontrollably.

SO MANY CHOICES!

This cupcake was AMAZING.

Times Square was PACKED with people! The city was crazy busy. 

 
Soaking in my favorite part of the city before heading to SoHo! 

We had to have a photo all together in the M&M store… I also had to hold myself back from eating everything

Our glasses matched the M&M’s so we just had to do this. Ha :)

We wandered through a couple more stores in Times Square before getting on the subway to SoHo. It was too busy & hectic to take pictures there, but I enjoyed some delicious street vendor food (weirdly the yummiest gyro ever) and we shopped around for a couple hours. Since I’m still extremely broke from Europe, I avoided shopping as much as possible! It was still fun to look around and just enjoy the fact that I was in actually there. I mean really!

Once we were tired of shopping, it was like 4:30pm or so. My friend Mel had been talking about a famous chocolate place called Max Brenner, so we decided to check it out. They actually serve AMAZING food and it’s the coolest concept for a restaurant ever. I mean it’s based on chocolate so how could it not be?!

I just love the inside design of this place and it has SUCH a good vibe. I highly recommend it if you’re ever nearby! It took me forever to order food, too, because I was having so much fun reading the menu over & over again. I could have eaten EVERYTHING but I settled on fish tacos with a chocolate milkshake. Probably the best I’ve ever had (and will ever have!)

 

When none of us could eat another BITE of food, we headed out to walk off all that chocolaty goodness. It was almost time to head to Radio City Music Hall, but first we made a quick stop at the NBC Studios store where I stocked up on Community merchandise (FINALLY got my ‘Troy and Abed in the Morning’ mug and couldn’t be happier!)

FINALLY we walked over to the theater and headed inside.

I really didn’t know what to expect from Bon Iver in concert. I mean, I love his music but it’s so mellow & I was so tired… I was scared I might fall asleep! That was not the case in the LEAST. They performed for an hour and a half, and the time just FLEW by. I didn’t check the time for the entire first hour because I was just SO mesmerized and he sounded so freaking amazing live. I’d go to another one of his shows in the blink of an eye.

Their song ‘Skinny Love’ is, if possible, 10 times better live than it is recorded. And I absolutely adore that song. I’m still beyond words for this show, but suffice to say it was fantastic. I also bought a really cute t-shirt which I wore on the way home because I was so sad it was over.

On Sunday morning we went out for breakfast at a real, legit New York diner. It reminded me of the opening (and closing) scenes of Pulp Fiction and I totally wish I had something like that closer to home. Afterwards it was a full day of driving straight back to Montreal. We listened to lots of good tunes, talked, and just usual roadtrip-ness all around!

It was a gorgeous drive home!

Hysterical photos at the gas station after WAY TOO MUCH SUGAR at Friendly’s :D

My traveling for 2012 is officially ALL DONE. I’m so sad, but I must admit my bank account heaved a huge sigh of relief when I stepped through my front door. Now it’s time to focus on school and my three jobs that patiently let me take a nice long-weekend off!

Happy Friday & Links to Love

Happy Friday! This week has been all kinds of awesome, and it’s not over yet. I’m leaving today for for New York City! I’ve been excited about this trip since before I even left for Brazil in July. I’m heading up there with 3 friends. We’ve got about a day in the city and on Saturday night we’re going to see Bon Iver perform at Radio City Music Hall.

This trip comes just in time (as I predicted). I’m already missing traveling like CRAZY, and I haven’t even been home for a month from Europe yet. I don’t know how I’m going to survive all YEAR without another trip! Although I’m so busy, hopefully I don’t notice too much.

I’m going to keep this post nice and short. Here are a few pictures from my week, and a few links that I enjoyed around the internet this week.

In case you somehow missed it on my Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram… THIS HAPPENED. After talking about his music for months on end, Ed Sheeran came to Montreal and I got to interview him for CONFRONT Magazine. It was the most nerve-wracking 10 minutes of my life even though he was a complete sweetheart. & now, the second best part, I get to write a two thousand word article about it for the magazine. Stay tuned for that in a couple weeks on www.confrontmagazine.com if you’re a fan of his music too :)

His concert that night was absolutely unbelievable. It was BEYOND sold out, first of all, and even far back as I was, the experience was just more than words. He has a mix of stage presence and raw talent that is so rare. He goes up on stage with nothing but an acoustic guitar & a loop pedal, and by the end of the near two hour show my brain could barely function I was in such awe.

On Wednesday I finally went and got my 10th and final piercing! It’s the little gem on the right hand side above my 3 earrings. It’s a more simple piercing, but I love it. I don’t want to go another 2 years taking care of a cartilage piercing (my snug on the other ear took that long!) and I’ve always loved the positioning of this one in relation to my tragus one. Next up? I think it’s time to look at those tattoos I’ve been wanting!

& now a few links for your internet enjoyment!

- Judy Blume, Henry, and Me [via Sometimes Sweet]… I just love this. Kids should grow up to love books, not hate them!

- (Saving) Dolla Dolla Bills, Y’all [via Our Little Apartment]… We could all use some of these budgeting tips from Ashley, she’s really got this frugal living thing down.

- Owl City, Bombay Bicycle Club, Circa Survive [via CONFRONT Magazine]… I reviewed some of my fave summer albums. You should be listening to them, too!

- 5 Tips to Beating the Blogging Blues [via Sweet Green Tangerine]… Love these tips to get into writing when you’re feeling uninspired

- I love the entire new P!nk album ‘Truth About Love’, but I really adore this duet with her &  Nate from the band fun. SO GOOD GUYS. Enjoy :)

Music and Travel

Lately, it feels like if I blink for a second too long, I might wake up from the dream that is my life. I barely have time to process everything that’s happening to me before something else equally amazing gets added onto the pile of THINGS that are HAPPENING to me.

On Thursday, 3 friends and decided we were going to New York City in September to see Bon Iver. Today? We bought our tickets and that was that. Now we just have the rest of our trip to plan! I’ve been wanting to go back to New York City ever since my first visit in 2008. It’s actually one of the goals on my 101 in 1,001 that I was beginning to believe I’d never complete. One of my good friends has a family house  where we’ll be staying for 2-3 days in September, one of those nights specifically to see Justin Vernon (otherwise known as Bon Iver).

If you’ve never heard of Justin Vernon, you are MISSING OUT. He is an amazing artist that I first discovered because of his amazing song ‘Skinny Love’. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t adore this song right away. I don’t know the rest of his music as well as I’d like to, but I fully plan on changing that by the time I see him at Radio City Hall in NYC. I do know it’s going to be an amazing and unforgettable concert, and I’m so excited to be able to say that I’m officially (and spontaneously!) taking another trip in 2012. That will bring the total count of actual vacations to FOUR for 2012. I don’t think I’ll be able to beat this year in my life ever again. I’m still hoping I will though. Either way, this will be an absolutely unforgettable year in my life.

I’ve had this picture stuck to my mirror for YEARS as a reminder that I want to go back. See you soon, NYC! 

In other music news, I attended one of my most anticipated concerts of the year last night. The Rocket Summer (one-man-band & musical genius Bryce Avary) played for almost 2 hours in Montreal and it was more than I could have ever imagined. I’ve only seen him play a short 30 minute set at Warped Tour a few years ago, and I couldn’t wait to see what kind of full live show he put on. I was NOT disappointed in the least.

It started off with Jenia & I interviewing Bryce for CONFRONT Magazine. We’re both long-time fans of his work and he was one of the nicest, most genuine people I’ve met in a long time. He had inspiring things to say about his music and he made it into more than just an interview. There is nothing I love more than meeting my favorite artists and finding out that they are down to earth and SO deserving of all their success. If possible, the combination of meeting him & listening to him play has made me fall more in love with his music than ever before. I sincerely hope he comes back very soon!

I also absolutely loved one of the opening bands called ‘States‘ and ended up buying all their records. Female vocalist Mindy White blew me away almost immediately. I love her style of voice, which reminds me a lot of Hayley Williams from Paramore. I’m currently listening to their album ‘Born to Run’ and it’s just fantastic. So happy I bought it.

That’s basically all I’ve got for now! This weekend is for blaring music, preparing for Brazil, shopping for last minute things, seeing friends, writing, and celebrating CANADA DAY on Sunday!

How have you been? What are your weekend plans? What music are you listening to today?

An Adventurous Weekend

Today I am guest posting over on Stephany’s blog Stephany Writes about vacation must-reads. I’d love for you to check it out and let me know what books you would recommend to someone leaving on a trip? Steph is currently on a cruise. You should all be jealous.

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So I ended up taking a relatively spontaneous long weekend off from blogging. Often by the time Friday rolls around, I’m already beginning to draft up posts for next week. But as of right now, I have NOTHING. I think every once in a while it’s nice to just take some time to LIVE and everything else will catch up eventually.

I had one of the best weekends that I’ve had in a long time. I had a spontaneous 4 days off from work, and although I already had a little road trip to Vermont planned with two work friends, I ended up packing my entire weekend with plans. Since today I’ll be heading back to work (in just a few hours, sigh!) I thought I’d share some photos from the last few days before truly getting back to reality.

Thursday- I don’t have any photos, but I had a really lovely day anyway! I spent the afternoon at a L’Oreal sale with one of my best friends where I spent FAR TOO MUCH MONEY on makeup and hair products, followed by a really nice dinner and an Italian restaurant with some friends. Another one of my good friends is leaving for Florida tomorrow so we all wanted to get together for a little goodbye dinner kind of thing.

Friday- I got ready and met my two work friends (well, ex-work friends. I mean we’re still friends, we just don’t work together anymore!) and we drove over the border to Burlington for the night. We bought tickets to see FEIST in concert months & months ago, and had planned to stay overnight to do some shopping the next morning before heading home.

Sitting & waiting for Feist to start! Not our best picture, but the only one we got together

The lovely & extremely talented Feist! She put on a great show. Can’t wait to see her again in August!

The service at our hotel was amazing, but the place itself was SO sketchy. These tips were nailed crookedly to the back of our door…

Walking the gorgeous streets of Burlington on Saturday morning. We walked through a Farmer’s Market before heading into the mall for some serious shopping!

Although Vermont is only a couple hours from home, it still feels like an entirely different world. I always love going to the States for little trips because I get to eat and shop at places that don’t exist just a couple hours North here in Montreal. Although I do go a little crazy turning my cell phone off most of the time, I actually enjoyed it SOSO much this weekend. I happily turned it on to Airplane Mode as soon as crossed the border, and just spent the entire day enjoying a lovely city without worrying about who was trying to get in contact with me. It was VERY nice. ‘

We had a quick lunch at Panera (my first time there!) before heading the 2 and a half hours back home. I was VERY excited about trying this place out because I’ve heard so many good things about it, and it did NOT disappoint! My food was the bomb.

On Saturday night, we had a big girls’ night with a bunch of the ladies from work. I wasn’t able to stay for very long because I had to be up early on Sunday, but I was there long enough to take some yummy jello shots, HOLD A SNAKE (my friend’s pet!) and spend some time in the hot tub.

A few of us girls around the kitchen table!

Me being terrified while trying to hold Timmy the snake! I actually can’t believe I was convinced into doing this, ha :)

Sunday- Mother’s Day was another non-stop day for me. I woke up bright and early for a brunch with my family, followed by a baptism & finally the most delicious meal EVER as an after party for the baptism. I was out basically from 10am until 7pm and by the time I got home I was completely exhausted.

I had SUCH a lovely day and spent tons of time with my nephew who I hadn’t seen in almost two weeks. It felt like way longer- every time I see him he changes and does fun new things. Plus I think he gets cuter every time too. Seriously.

Me and my super giggly nephew at brunch. I freaking love this little munchkin! <3

My brother and I with my nephew at brunch :)

Happy Mother’s day! I’m extremely lucky to be able to call this woman my mom :) <3

Hanging out with daddy during the baptism. His eyes just melt my heart!

It was my sister-in-law’s first Mother’s Day! Baby loves his mama :)

Goodness, it takes a long time to write about 4 days of awesome. I love weekends like this, and I hope there are many more to write about this summer. So far, May has been such a good month to me.  I’ve been working so hard at making the best out of all the little moments I have- with family, friends, and just the time I spend on my own. This weekend was, if anything, the exact kind of thing that reminds me why I’m so lucky to be surrounded with the family and friends that I have in my life. 

Did you do anything special this weekend? 

Feel the Music

Music has been one of my biggest loves for as long as I can remember. As a teenager I would spend countless hours sitting in my bedroom, doing homework or surfing the internet, with the familiar sounds of my favorite bands in the background. I would become addicted to a record and have it on repeat for months, or I would have a rotation of a couple of favorites and play them over and over again, one after the next.

It’s almost no surprise that my life has led me further into the music industry as I got older. The only surprise is that I’m lucky enough to be able to say that. So many people love music, and I am fortunate to have little inside views on the workings of the business through my job with CONFRONT magazine.

Me & one of my favorite female artists, Juliet Simms, last summer after my interview with her at the Vans Warped Tour. You can now catch her on Cee Lo’s team on The Voice! Don’t forget to vote! 

Me & Jeremy from Our Lady Peace after my interview, just 2 weeks ago! 

But working for CONFRONT is really just an experience that was lucky enough to fall in my lap, and I have made the absolute best of it in the last three years. I’ve interviewed dozens upon dozens of musicians- both well known and some still making a name for themselves- and it’s just been very humbling overall.

An interview earlier this year with the incredibly talented Charlie Winston from England

I’m feeling kind of introspective about this today for a few reasons:

1) Yesterday, I interviewed one of my all time favorite bands, Snow Patrol

2) I also got to attend the Snow Patrol concert after, opened up by the incredibly talented British solo artist Ed Sheeran

3) Earlier this week I interviewed another overseas band, Of Monsters and Men. They were not only AWESOME and HILARIOUS, but so down-to-earth. I love when that happens!

4) The magazine is really beginning to make a name for itself here in Montreal and I’m so proud to say that I’m part of it’s success over the last 3 years.

5) I really wanted to talk about music in a way that differs from my regular album reviews

In the last two years or so, I’ve had to tone down the amount of concerts I attend because of money. I spent a couple years around the age of 18 going to every concert I wanted, and it took a serious toll on my bank account. I can’t do that anymore because I have other priorities and things I want to accomplish, so I really make the best of each experience I DO get to have, like last night.

My interview yesterday went really well. I sat down with Nathan, and he was such a sweetheart and so incredibly polite. It’s a weird thing, but when I have the opportunity to chat with a band that I’ve adored for so long, I tend to love them even more when I know that they’re actually very humbled about their fame. It’s the mark of a band that’s never let the bad parts of the industry get to them- they’re still in it for THEIR passion, and I love being able to see bits and pieces of this through 15 minute conversations. I’m so excited for exams to be over so I can sit down and write a great article about a band that I’ve followed for over six years now.

Nathan is second from left!

The show last night was truly amazing. My city is well known for being an EXCELLENT crowd, as artists are often incredibly humbled on stage and sincerely say so. As an avid music person, this makes me very proud to be a Montrealer. I know we’re awesome, but when a band that has been together for over 15 years and sold over 10 million records are speechless on stage, that’s just a really incredible moment.

So last night Ed Sheeran played a half hour set and it was phenomenal. He’s a one man act, and he’s amazing at it. He stood on stage with nothing but himself, his acoustic guitar, and a loop pedal, and he played a better set then MANY opening artists are able to do. I love his album, so please DO check him out! His single A-Team is fantastic and his music video Lego Houses features Rupert Grint so… Yeah. Awesome.

Ed Sheeran on stage in Montreal last night

It was the third time I got to see Snow Patrol live, and it was just amazing. I love every record they’ve put out, and their music is even BETTER in concert. They played all their hits as well as a few other random tracks, and came back for something like a 5 or 6 song encore performance. Some of my favorite moments of the night? The song ‘Lifening’ during the Encore, as well as Chocolate, Chasing Cars, All I Have, Run, and Crack the Shutters. But honestly the entire thing was still more than I could have imagined.

The one and only Gary Lightbody :)

The best part though was a toss up between a solo version of ‘Set the Fire to the Third Bar’ and a duet between Ed Sheeran and Gary Lightbody for the song ‘New York’. You can watch an acoustic version of their duet New York that was recorded in a Montreal piano store below, it’s well worth the three minutes:

What are some of your favorite concert experiences?

Disappointment (& one bright spot!)

This week I had crazy awesome things planned almost every single day. I had a funny feeling when I woke up last Monday morning that I may not be able to go through with all of my crazy awesome plans, but I was still hoping to catch up on some sleep somewhere and power through until I had a catch-up day sometime this weekend.

Unfortunately after Monday, everything went downhill.

Well, first, about Monday. Other than feeling like something bad was coming my way, I had a fantastic night. After work I headed straight downtown and met up with one of my best friends for the Hedley show. Most of the people I told where I was going kind of rolled their eyes at me like “Really? Hedley?” but I’ve adored those boys since their first album and I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of the music they put out. I’d been looking forward to their Shipwrecked tour since their latest album, Storms, came out in September, and it did not disappoint!

They were shipwrecked, so naturally they showed up in a boat!

The incredibly talented Jacob Hoggard <3

Even though we had floor seats, we were sitting pretty far back so we didn’t have the best view, but we made the best of it and danced & sang the night away! It was so great to hear all their new songs live, not to mention to hear some of my favorites from past records. I think the highlight of the night, though, is when Jake came out and performed the 8 minute song ‘I Won’t Let You Go’ which is, in my opinion, the most beautiful song on the album Storms.

Can’t wait to see those boys again!

On Tuesday I woke up feeling AWFUL, but not really SICK. I headed to work and tried to push through my shift because I had ALL ACCESS passes to the Black Keys show that night.

I didn’t make it to the show. With an hour left in my shift I completely broke down and couldn’t do it anymore. The exhaustion from the past month of sleepless nights and nonstop activities had left me drained, exhausted, and verging on collapse. I had to break the news to my friend that I wouldn’t make it that night, I got home around 5:30PM and slept right through until 6:30am the next morning.

Since then? I have BARELY made it out of bed. I can’t remember the last time I was so sick. It’s awful. Today is the first day I’m able to stay out of bed for longer than 5 minutes without feeling like my head is going to fall off. I’ve coughed so much in the last 5 days I genuinely feel like I’ve bruised my ribs. I’ve gone through 4 boxes of kleenex. I’ve eaten less in 5 days than what I eat in a day, maybe two. I feel emaciated (I’m not, but without an appetite the pounds are just falling off) and I can’t focus long enough on anything to feel productive whatsoever. I’ve missed class, 3 days of work, gotten no homework or work done and just yeah. It’s been awful.

Lots of tea & TV when I can stand to stay awake for it!

I tried going to the doctor on Friday afternoon but everything was closed. I was so drowsy I could hardly keep my eyes open and I truly thought I would never begin to feel healthy again. To be fair I’m a rather dramatic sick person, but I can honestly say I haven’t been this sick in at least two years. Sigh.

This little monster has been helping me through my long days with lots of cuddles! The other puppy too, but I couldn’t photograph him on my black comforter… He mixed right in! 

Today, my family is getting together at my brother’s house for a nice little afternoon of fun with my nephew. I’ll be stuck at home once again and I’m missing yet another show this evening with all my best friends. Life really knows how to hand me an illness during a crappy week. I know it could be much worse, but I never thought I’d be the person saying that I can’t be home ANY longer. I need to go out and experience something in the real world without feeling like I’m going to break into a million pieces.

So this week, other than my one bright spot on Monday, has been quite the disappointment. I needed to vent a little bit (after hardly being able to sit upright long enough to blog this week) and now that I’ve been able to rant a little I feel a TINY bit better. I’m REALLY hoping to be able to get back to work by Monday because I don’t think I can stand to lose any more money over this God awful cold… I’m crossing my fingers this weekend will be all about getting better & hopefully I’ll be able to stay awake long enough to get a few other things done in between!

How’s your week been? Better than mine, I hope?!