Festival Review: And We Danced at Osheaga

IMG_2841

The sun has set on Parc Jean Drapeau and the festival goers have returned home after three crazy days in Montreal. I loved Osheaga this year. The lineup was great, the crowd was fun, and with the exception of a few showers, the weather was beautiful. I went with Kelly, her longtime friend Laurel, and Laurel’s sister Alana. Though we have different taste in music and different energy levels — thanks for putting up with my gratuitous amounts of energy! — we worked well together.

IMG_2936

These are the lovely ladies I travelled with. Part of what made travelling with Kelly, Laurel and Alana so great was that we were comfortable with going our separate ways. By doing that, we were all able to see who we wanted to, and still saw a number of the major acts together.

Over the course of three days I saw: Oberhofer, Daughter, Ben Howard, Alt-J, Two Door Cinema Club, Ellie Goulding, The Gaslight Anthem, Phoenix, and The Cure; Jimmy Eat World, Flogging Molly, Stars, Tegan and Sara, Frank Turner, Imagine Dragons, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, and Porter Robinson; Icona Pop, The Lumineers, Kendrick Lamar, New Order, and Mumford and Sons.

IMG_2680

I was amazed by the number of people at Osheaga this year. Unlike last year, the main stage was packed even early in the day. As a result, the earlier shows were a lot more fun to go to. I enjoyed nearly every show I saw, but a few stood out for me.

Image

I loved Flogging Molly’s set. I’ve been a fan for years, and was so happy to finally see them live. Their sound was even better than it is on their albums, with tin whistle and banjo solos throughout. Dave King drank Guinness the entire time, as the leader of any good Celtic punk band should.

My friend Jessica is a big fan of Frank Turner, and she told me I had to go to his show. He played on Scène des Arbres, the smallest of the stages. I’m so glad I made the detour away from the main stage, because Frank Turner’s performance was one of the best I saw all weekend. Of course Recovery was a lot of fun because everyone in the crowd knew it well enough to sing along, but even cooler than that was when he taught the crowd the chorus of “Photosynthesis.” The show closed with everyone singing, “And I won’t sit down, and I won’t shut up, and most of all I won’t grow up.”

Imagine Dragons put on a great show, closing with an absolutely electric performance of Radioactive. The most memorable part of the show for me, however, had little to do with their music. A guy standing beside me turned and asked for a bite of my sandwich, and I gave him one. He liked me so much after that, I was worried I would never get rid of him. Luckily he left after I refused him a second bite.

Following the sandwich incident was Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. The simplest way to describe the show is that all the energy Macklemore has in his videos, he brings to the stage. Their set was so good, I considered calling this blog post Osheaga: “This Is Fucking Awesome,” but I decided against having a profanity in the title. The coolest moment of the show was when Macklemore brought Tegan and Sara on stage for “Same Love.” His positivity was even more impressive than his stage presence.

IMG_2774

I went to the Porter Robinson show at Scène piknic électronik in an attempt to meet up with Kelly, Laurel and Alana, because I had lost them earlier on. If you have ever been to an electronic show, you will know that they do not make the ideal meeting spot. I knew I wouldn’t find them until after the show, so I made my way into the centre of the crowd and joined in the dance party. The photo above was taken with the SlowShutter app.

Image

This one was taken with the regular iPhone camera set to HDR.

I had never been on an electronic show before, and I couldn’t believe how much fun I had. When I met up with Kelly for Porter Robinson’s encore, she agreed that it was one of the highlights of her day. Let me tell you, we both have impressive rave dance moves.

The opening picture is from the Kendrick Lamar show. You can’t see him on stage in this photo, but at least I caught him on the jumbotron. I’ve really gotten into Kendrick Lamar this summer, and was amazed by his ability to command the stage. In addition to performing the hits from Good Kid M.A.A.D City, he played a few songs off of Section.80, with “HiiiPower” playing in flashes between songs.  I would love to see him in the future because an hour definitely wasn’t enough.

IMG_2962

Mumford and Sons was exactly as good as I thought they would be. At times they had eleven people on stage, with a three man horn section that created the most incredible sound. By contrast, they played what Marcus Mumford called “a very quiet song” with only the four band members gathered around a microphone. Just when I thought the show couldn’t get any better, this happened.

IMG_2958

Everyone left the show after an awesome encore laughing and covered in confetti. It was the perfect end to Osheaga.

In closing, this is what I learned from Osheaga 2013.

1. If you really want to see certain artist, go and see them even if you have to go alone.
2. Check out the side stages.
3. Celebrate the artists you saw and not who you missed. Usually the artists at the side stages play great sets, but to take a detour to a side stage, often you miss one of the bigger acts. If you go to enough concerts and festivals, you will probably see anyone you missed in the future!
4. Talk to the people around you. The experience is a lot more fun if you feel a connection to the people around you, especially if you’re at a show alone.
5. If the people around you are really bothering you, leave the area! Even if you’re in the perfect spot, it’s not worth it to stay there if the only thing you can focus on is the drunk girl beside you.
6. Take photos in HDR. It ensures your pictures have the best possible lighting. Often you can get a double exposure effect, which looks very cool for crowd shots.
7. Wear comfortable shoes. More specifically, wear comfortable shoes that can get muddy.
8. Stay until the end of the night shows. This is when the fireworks go off and the confetti comes down.
9. Focus on the positives.
10. Accept the experience for what it is. Most of the day is made up of show sets played to large crowds. Most of the artists only have the chance to play their biggest hits, and tend to play them to appeal to the largest possible audience. Though it will lack the intimacy of a regular concert, being surrounded by people who are as excited to be there as you are is makes the experience so incredible.

Song of the Day: I Will Wait by Mumford and Sons

Pattern on Pattern

Image

Pattern on pattern is a look seen both on runways and at circuses. It is difficult to pull off, and yet it is so enticing. I have had successes and failures with pattern on pattern because often I don’t know if something looks good until I actually go out in public wearing it. (I can tell by the reactions of my friends that I should wear floral and plaid together a little less frequently, and minimize the appearance of braided pigtails.) The thing is, while I do not want to become socially alienated on account of my sartorial choices, I think style is about wearing what makes you feel good. Pattern on pattern makes me feel good. If you would like it to try mixing patterns and have been hesitant to do so, here are some of my favourite outfits to encourage you.

Image

This is a subtle combination of patterns. From far away, the shirt looks like it is just a light purple. I recommend trying pattern on pattern out for the first time with something like this.

Image

Another recommendation is to try patterns in similar colours. Though the contrasting patterns may be jarring, at least the colours are not. Wearing these pieces together makes me feel like I’m in California, but since I’ve never actually been, this look likely has nothing to do with the West Coast – Seattle grunge plaid aside.

Image

Wilder patterns can be easily paired with more basic patterned neutrals. Above is the classic pairing of stripes with intergalactic. Classic in the sense of the Beastie Boys song Intergalactic. I actually listened to that song right before my Astronomy exam. It helped me a lot, I’m sure. I bought this skirt right after that.

Image

Stripes and florals are among my favourite patterns to pair. Here I demonstrate how to wear the two together, and how to keep your skirt down on a windy day. Both are skills worth mastering.

Image

Eventually, mixing pattern will become second nature, and you won’t be able to stop at just two. And that, my friends, is where accessories come in. My mom has the most amazing floral scarves, and I want to wear them with all the striped sweaters in the world.

Image

As I said before, it’s all about wearing what makes you feel good. Camo and cheetah? I dig that. Have fun, and don’t be afraid to look different!

For a professional lesson in mixing patterns, check out Clash of the Textiles on the very cool blog Runway Hippie. She wears whatever she wants, and I love that.

I’m off to Montreal for Osheaga tomorrow. Until we talk next, keep on wearing those pinstripes and zebra prints.

Song of the Day: Oceans by Coasts

The Burger’s Priest

Image

I was eating lunch with three of my co-workers yesterday when the topic of burgers happened to come up. Cassandra turned to me and asked, “What was the place you were telling me about the other day?” That place was The Burger’s Priest. BlogTO considers The Burger’s Priest to be the best burger in Toronto, and though the site’s commenters tend to have criticisms for any restaurant that is posted, I have had great success with restaurants I’ve encountered on BlogTO’s Best of Toronto lists. (The sandwich that make the world better was on the Best Sandwiches list.) So engaged were my co-workers when I told them of The Burger’s Priest’s multi layer cheeseburgers, they decided that we not only had to go, we had to go as soon as possible. Wednesday was going to be the day.

Kathleen started our morning off with an email that said HAMBURGER DAY. Oh yes, we were that excited. We spent the morning debating about choices. Not only was there the regular menu to choose from, but also the only posted online Secret Menu. Finally, the hour came. It was decided that I would be the one to get the burgers because I’m the fastest walker and the only one who knew where the place was. Before I left, I emailed the ladies I was ordering for — the men were too intimidated by the menu to join us — and told them that like the Blue Brothers before me, I was on a mission from God.

Like a gazelle I moved, not stopping for anything! Except for this picture, because the lighting was nice.

Image

I arrived at the restaurant at 12:10 and the line was already out the door. Since I came with orders for three others, I couldn’t back out. I waited in line and looked at the posted menu. I was surprised to see that the religious theme extended beyond the menu. Scripture passages lined the wall, along with a picture of a lion and a lamb.

Image

Though The Burger’s Priest’s website calls it a typical American cheeseburger joint, the philosophy behind the restaurant goes deeper than that. Included on the website are links to articles about the Gospel, and suggestions of churches in the downtown core.

After waiting in a twenty minute line, I had the chance to order.

Image

I ordered The Priest, a burger with a beef patty and their veggie patty called The Option. The Option is made up of two portobello mushrooms with cheese in the centre, breaded and deep fried. (Apologies to my vegan friends. Though The Burger’s Priest has a vegetarian burger, they do not currently have a vegan Option.) I stepped up when my name was called, proud of my two bags of burgers, and prouder still that I did not order them all for myself.

Image

This is The Priest intact.

Image

This is The Priest looking a little less intact. You just can’t fake that kind of cheesiness.

The verdict: The Burger’s Priest is worth going to. Next time, I’m getting the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Two beef patties and two Options in between grilled cheese buns. On second thought, that would be a bit difficult to eat at my desk.

Song of the Day: Welcome to Love by Johnny Rain

Christmas in July

IMG_0855

Every once in a while, my parents go away for a few days, and when they come home they realize I’ve done something crazy. Yesterday they came home after a week at the cottage to find I had decorated for Christmas. You see, I had wanted to celebrate Christmas in July for years. A few weeks ago I decided that this would be the year to do it.

Image

I was really excited about this. Perhaps a little bit too excited. Sometimes I think of an idea, and get caught up making something out of it. That can work really well when I have friends around to get on board with my idea, but this time I had only my parents. That’s the problem with being a family of three. Ideas that seem really cool with a big group of people seem really strange went it’s a gathering of three people. I decided we would celebrate Christmas in July anyway, and hoped that my parents would eventually share my enthusiasm.

Image

The morning started with pancakes, because Christmas (in July) morning needs pancakes. Then the festivities were put on hold because I needed to go to work for the day. I considered wearing red and green, but I didn’t want my co-workers to think I had gotten dressed in the dark.

Finally I returned home and the festivities continued! Actually, it was at this point that I realized that I wasn’t going to have the elaborate celebration I had originally planned. Instead of a grand feast, we had grilled cheese and tomatoes. It wasn’t fancy — or festive — but grilled cheese is always something I get excited about. We didn’t have any apple cider, so we drank Somersby out of snowflake glasses. We ate chocolate chip cookies with sprinkles, and we pretended that the sprinkles in them were Christmas colours.

Image

When it finally got dark, I turned on the Christmas lights and we got together to take a family photo. Because I asked them nicely, my parents wore Christmas clothes. Thanks Mom and Dad. That meant a lot to me.

Merry Christmas in July from the Heffernans.

IMG_0869

Song of the Day: Just Like Christmas by Low

Photos You Should See on Instagram

Many people like Instagram. I like Instagram. Life through an Instagram photo is filtered reality. I like that sometimes, certainly, like when my skin looks bad at a formal event or when a cloudy day makes my family’s trip to New York City look like a trip to Weldon Library. But sometimes, when the highlight of my week really is a trip to Club Weldon, I want my photos to look like what they really are. I recently came across the article 8 Photos You Don’t See On Instagram (But Probably Should). The article focused on eight types of photos that would present a decidedly more authentic take on our lives as seen through Instagram photos. Proposed photos include chipped nails when you don’t have time to fix your manicure, cheap liquor and your day spend in bed (which usually follows a night of cheap liquor). I liked the article, but after reading it I thought, one cannot simply say that those photos should be on Instagram. One must post those photos on Instagram. And until I hear people talking excitedly about their crying selfies, it seems I’m going to have to be the one to post them.

The Chipped Manicure

IMG_2144

This was my manicure two days ago.

IMG_2551

This is my manicure now. I like having nicely painted nails, but it seems all I have to do to make my nail polish chip is look at it the wrong way. (I’ve tried everything to make it last, but with no success.) Often I don’t have the time to repaint my nails or remove my nail polish, so the two days later look is one I have come to accept.

The Ordinary Dinner

IMG_2552

Healthy eating has really taken off in the last few years. Many people are moving towards vegan, gluten-free and clean diets. That’s a great thing. We are healthier for it, and by moving towards vegan diets, the environment is better off. Not only are all the pictures I see on Instagram of #cleaneats, they are pictures of beautifully arranged dishes! (As an aside, does #fitfam refer to a cute little family that goes on 5K runs together followed by Paleo picnics, or does it refer to a group that becomes like a family through their shared interest in fitness and healthy eating? How close is this fit fam really?) I try to eat clean, I try to cut carbs. I’ve even been trying to eat vegan. Some days, however, I do none of those things. Case in point, the above picture of the eggplant parmesan sandwich I made myself for dinner. Unlike most of the food photos I see on Instagram, this was not a meal artfully arranged, though it was a meal artfully cooked. Does this call for a #sogood? I don’t think so.

The Work Day

IMG_2554

Throughout the summer months, Instagram is filled with pictures from beaches, cottages and more amazing vacation destinations that I could have ever imagined. While I am glad to have a good job with regular hours, the excitement of my days does not compare to those of my friends travelling through Europe and Asia. The above image is what I see seven hours a day, five days a week. On the upside, I’ve figured out the kind of camera techniques that make even keyboards look cool. More to come on that later.

The Lunch Date

IMG_2553

I meet my friends and co-workers for lunch some days, but for the most part, I use my lunch hour as a chance to get away from my cubicle. Since I like to go on walks and most people don’t, I usually spend my lunch alone. And I’m okay with that! The only issue is that the empty side of a picnic table outside of the St. Lawrence Market doesn’t usually make Instagram feeds. Today, I’m putting it there. This is a photo of my romantic lunch date with myself, and I’m not ashamed to share it.

The Old School Car

IMG_2557

This is the 1999 Nissan Pathfinder with a cassette player I mentioned in yesterday’s post. What it lacks in modern technology — and air conditioning — it makes up for in speaker quality. I’m crazy about this car, even though I have arrived at my final destination looking like a hot mess on more than one occasion. Instagram is full of car photos, usually of sports cars or beautiful vintage restorations. This car is neither, but I like it anyway. The filter seems to, too.

The Crying Selfie

IMG_2555

Last but certainly not least, the aforementioned crying selfie. After denying you the mugshot selfie I sent to my father yesterday, I thought I would present you this beauty to show you I still care — in a melancholy filter, no less. Some days are good days. Some days are bad days. Some days are ‘I should have worn waterproof mascara’ days. I’m not saying we should take pictures every time we have a breakdown for the sake of sharing on social media. What I am proposing is that we are at least honest and admit that we have those days. For the record, I wasn’t feeling sad when I went to take my crying selfie, so I watched a clip from We Are Marshall. It was moving, certainly, but it didn’t bring me to tears. Then I watched a clip from Les Miserables. Tears welled up in my eyes, but they did not fall. Finally I watched a YouTube video of “Memory” from Cats. I was nearly hysterical. (You know how I feel about cats.) And there you have it, the crying selfie.

In closing, ladies and gentlemen, let’s bring a bit more reality and humour to Instagram. Not every meal has to be perfectly presented, and not every selfie has to be flawless. I’ll still appreciate your photos, even if you don’t get thirty likes. If you want to follow me on Instagram, I’m @cheffernan08. I post pictures of cats, sunshine and friendship bracelets. I hope you like those things too.

Song of the Day: Entertainment by Phoenix