Boots and Hearts 2014 – Safety Tips

The following post arose from a conversation between Josh Murray and myself. We hope it helps to keep you safe.

From Thursday to Sunday this week thousands of country music fans will descend on Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville for Boots and Hearts 2014. That’s awesome. it’s also a good reason to stop for a second and think about your personal safety and security at this weekend long event and all festivals like it.

After every major festival there are stories and rumours about awful things happening. Boots and Hearts will be no different. But we really hope that we’re talking about rumours and not true stories. With this in mind, we offer you a few tips and ideas to think about going into the festival.

Boots and Hearts 2013 crowd canadian flag evening sky

Drink Smart: Look, we all know there’s going to be a lot of drinking going on this weekend, and we’re really okay with that. Just be smart about it. The days are long, so pace yourself. Drink some water and stay hydrated. Know your limit and watch out for each other. Friends don’t let friends act like idiots.

Put Away Your Keys: If you’re camping and drinking you DO NOT NEED TO BE DRIVING! This includes showing off your awesome pickup truck or revving your muscle car. Those of us who appreciate nice wheels will already think that your ride is cool. Promise. Too many people are hurt and die in drunk driving accidents already. You don’t need to contribute to that. Likewise, if you aren’t camping and want to drink, go for it – but HAVE A DESIGNATED DRIVER!

Be Nice: Booze can make some of us a little loud and aggressive. If you’re one of those people, you know it. So, keep track of how much you’ve been drinking and don’t start any nonsense. No good will come of it. We saw it happen last year and everyone just ends up looking stupid.

Sleep It Off: Whether you’re camping or going home/to a hotel, make sure you get some sleep and give yourself a chance to sober up and recharge. While pulling the occasional all-nighter might be cool, the days at Boots and Hearts are long, and trying to enjoy 4 of them in a row without the sleep you need probably isn’t the best decision.

Boots and Hearts 2013 crow
Don’t Be Alone: Drunk or sober, this is a good rule. Canadian Tire Motorsport Park is a big place and it will be filled with a lot of people you don’t know. Lower the risk to your safety by using a buddy system.

Don’t Be A Dick: In the words that Wil Wheaton loves so much, we find a valuable point. Thousands of country music fans will be trying to get a good spot to see Luke and Blake. They’ll be lined up to get BBQ and Blooming Onions. They’ll be lined up to ride the Durango Mechanical Bull. And they’ll all be excited. So to  make sure that we all have a good time… don’t push, don’t rush, cut people a little slack, don’t fight and DON’T BE A DICK!

Don’t Leave Valuables In Your Tent: We wish this didn’t have to be a rule… but you just never know. And as they say, better safe than missing your good shit. Leave the nice stuff in the car, especially during the day when you aren’t on your campsite.

Be Careful: We want everyone to have their best weekend of the summer in Bowmanville at Boots and Hearts. So while you’re partying and dancing and singing along to the music, be aware of what’s going on around you and BE CAREFUL!

We can’t wait to see every single one of you at Boots and Hearts this weekend and we hope you’re as excited for the Coors Banquet kick-off party as we are. So spend the next few days getting ready, and we’ll see y’all at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on Thursday night!

Boots and Hearts 2013 crowd

Want to see more posts about Boots and Hearts – search Boots and Hearts on this blog or visit The Reviews Are In and search Boots and Hearts.

Posted in Bloggers, Music | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Boots and Hearts 2014 – Four More Sleeps!

It’s almost time. I can hardly wait. I’ll be heading up early Thursday to Boots and Hearts and I’m looking forward to everything! Artists that I’m familar with, artists that are new to me, food, drinks, and cool merchandise. I’m excited.

Opening this year’s festival, last year’s SIRIUS XM EMERGING ARTIST winners, The Reklaws. This brother and sister act, made up of Stuart and Jenna Rae Walker are Ontario born and bred. Their mix of country and pop get people up on their feet. Their harmonies are amazing and I was lucky enough to be there last year when they won and if you haven’t heard them yet, you’re in for a treat. This year they’ve got a single on the radio. You may have heard it, Seeing Stars. Can’t make it for Thursday? They’ll be on the main stage on Sunday at 1:00PM.

The Reklaws Kiss Kiss cover





Next up Natalie Stovall and The Drive. Natalie is a fiddle player and from what I’ve read, they put on a mean live show. Natalie is originally from Columbia, Tennessee and she’s been playing professionally since she was 10. The Drive includes drummer James Bavendam from Seattle, Chile’s Miguel Cancino on guitar, Zach Morse from Cheyenne, Wyoming on bass and vocals and Redding, California guitarist and vocalist Joel Dormer. Their music is vibrant, driving, and exciting. I’m expecting them to wow me.

Natalie Stovall and The Drive EP Cover





Third in the line up is a huge favourite of mine, Brett Kissel. His current album, Started with a Song has multiple radio hits and with eight CCMA nominations, let’s just say, Brett is making quite a name for himself. This album is a regular on my playlist and I’m looking forward to seeing him play live.

Brett Kissell Started with a Song




Dallas Smith will be headlining Thursday night. I’ve been wanting to see Dallas, well since, forever. I’ve been a fan since the Default days and while I might have been surprised when he made the move to country music, I wasn’t disappointed. He was all over the radio last year as we were heading into Boots and Hearts and the new album Tippin’ Point is doing pretty well this year. Did I mention how adorable he looks. Yeah, he’s adorable.

Dallas Smith Tippin' Point




If you’re sticking around… there’s a party afterwards! Join the Rock Star Late Night Dance Party!

I’m too excited to sleep!


Posted in Music | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Queen’s Plate 2014 – Flare Fashion, Bloggers, Hats & Horseshoes

Sunday was a beautiful day. A gorgeous day at the races. The Queen’s Plate at Woodbine Racetrack brought out the best in Toronto fashion. Along with many others, I donned a pink dress to help raise awareness of the Rethink Breast Cancer Campaign. $1 from every ticket sold was donated back to Breast Cancer research.

There were celebrities and our very own celebrity photographer, Mr. Will Wong. Will was in his element and he was a gracious host. Thanks to Will, Flare and to Jasmine Brink-Li for being my +1. It’s a surprise to me that most of my photos from the day are not of horses. There was so much going on, the races were the highlight but, so much activity!

I was thrilled to be there and if you’ve ever thought you might like to check out the races, I hope this post helps tip the balance. Oh and I did pick Lexie Lou to win. I left up a few dollars Sunday. It’s true, you can’t stay in your seat.

Mr. Will Wong #QP14

Mr. Will Wong #QP14

Mr. Will Wong Celebrity Photographer Becomes the Photographed #QP14

Flare Fashion Tent #QP14

Flare Fashion Tent Smiling Bartender #QP14

outdoor screen QP14 wm-9267

Outside the Flare Fashion Tent #QP14

Love this Hat #QP14

Fascinator QP14 wm-9549

Hats #QP14 Queens Plate 2014

Fascinators #QP14 Queen's Plate 2014

Hats #QP14 Queen's Plate 2014

Hats #QP14 Queen's Plate 2014

Fascinator #QP14 Queen's Plate 2014

Patrick Husbands #QP14 Queen's Plate 2014

#QP14 Queen's Plate 2014

#QP14 Queen's Plate 2014

#QP14 Queen's Plate 2014

#QP14 Queen's Plate 2014

#QP14 Queen's Plate 2014

#QP14 Queen's Plate 2014

#QP14 Queen's Plate 2014

Turf Crew #QP14 Queen's Plate 2014

In the Walking Ring #QP14 Queen's Plate 2014

In the Walking Ring #QP14 Queen's Plate 2014

In the Walking Ring #QP14 Queen's Plate 2014

Marching Band #QP14 Queen's Plate 2014

Scotty Newlands #QP14 Queen's Plate 2014

The Horses are on the Track #QP14 Queen's Plate 2014

Getting Ready to Load #QP14 Queen's Plate 2014

Patrick Husbands on Lexie Lou #QP14 Queen's Plate 2014

Ahead Lexie Lou #QP14 Queen's Plate 2014

Behind #QP14 Queen's Plate 2014-9494


Almost Over #QP14 Queen's Plate 2014

Woodbine in the Background #QP14 Queen's Plate 2014

Posted in Bloggers, Horses, Photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Boots & Hearts 2014 Coors Banquet Kick Off Party – Line Up Confirmed!

Boots & Hearts 2014 Coors Banquet Kick Off Party – Line Up Confirmed!.

Posted in Bloggers, Music | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


Chances are that you’ve already heard of Smitten Kitten, they’re in lots of stores (click here for where to buy) and they’ve received a little bit of press.

Smitten Kitten Press Page

They’ve been doing great things in the papergoods & gifts world for a while, but this week Smitten Kitten opened a store front in Liberty Village. They had a great opening day party, a party that included beer, wine, noodles, caviar and cupcakes. I had an amazing time checking out all of the cool stuff and mingling with some interesting people. I HAVE A CRUSH ON YOU is a gift shop, a gallery, a design studio and a sweat shop (good, honest, local sweat) rolled into one. Located at 51 Jefferson Avenue, Unit 201, they’re one block south of King, behind Liberty Village Cafe. Monday – Friday 11-6, Saturday 12 – 6, closed Sunday.

Smitten Kitten Gallery Studio Shop Smitten Kitten Gallery Studio Shop
Smitten Kitten Gallery Studio Shop

Smitten Kitten has been around since 2006. Amy Kwong, the designer behind the brand, has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and an innate ability to create and feature products that make you fall in love with them. If you’re a local artist and think your stuff fits with the feel of the shop, get in touch with Amy.

Smitten Kitten I HAVE A CRUSH ON YOU

To see all of Amy’s stuff go visit her website or to see some stuff in person, go visit her store!

Smitten Kitten hand soap

These were my favourites of the night… hand soap, the perfect hostess gift.

Smitten Kitten Saucy Balloons

The most appropriate inappropriate balloons ever!

Smitten Kitten balloons I never really liked you Smitten Kitten balloons I think we should see other people

Smitten Kitten Tip & Strip Pens

You know you want them!

Smitten Kitten toy boarders

Toy soldiers too violent for you? The peace loving alternative… toy boarders.

Smitten Kitten can opener

I’ll be buying a bunch of these. They’ll be mighty handy in the zombie apocalypse… I mean if there’s a power failure or something.

Smitten Kitten travel tags

So your bags stand out on the baggage carousel.

Smitten Kitten cracked rob ford plates

Cracked Rob Ford dishware… the best.

Thanks to Joshua Murray for the instagram photos!

I didn’t take any shots of the greeting cards and I’m sorry I didn’t. These are the kind of cards that say what you’re really thinking. You know when you go to the card store and flip through 100 cards and none of them really say what you want to say. That doesn’t happen here.

Smitten Kitten greeting cards

PS… that Santa, he lives at the studio -

Smitten Kitten - neon I have a crush on you

I love this place and Amy, of course. A retail place where you can find unique and limited edition pieces. Where you can find just what your looking for, even if that thing you’re looking for, is a little bit odd. Best of lucky to Amy!

Smitten Kitten Logo

Posted in Art, Reviews, Shopping & Gifts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Canadian Music Week 2014 Begins

It snuck up on me. Out of nowhere it was here. Canadian Music Week or #CMW, y’all. One of the biggest Canadian music and media festivals, it has been touted as one of Canada’s most influential conferences. Started in 1981 this year CMW is 32 years old. Now offering music, media, comedy, film and award shows, there’s something for everyone. There are shows for everyone, including free and all ages shows at all kinds of venues from Massey Hall to The Cameron House. The 2014 festival runs May 6 to May 10th. Visit the CMW website for all of the schedules.

Opening night found me at Tattoo Rock Parlour. The headliner, The Reason was what brought me but there were three other bands on the bill. First up, The C’mons. I really liked them. The violin infused rock sound was a treat and front person, Steph Bosch was mesmerizing. The sound is rounded out by bassist Jamie McDowell. violinist Roslyn Green, guitarist Scott Hanenberg and drummer Cory Snider. They were engaging and they were my favourite surprise of the evening.

Canadian Music Week 2014  C'MONS

Canadian Music Week 2014  C'MONS

Canadian Music Week 2014 C'MONS

Canadian n Music Week 2014 C'mons

Canadian Music Week 2014  C'MONS

Canadian Music Week 2014  C'MONS

Not that I didn’t like the next two bands. I did! Stuck On Planet Earth were fun and energetic. This band out of Vaughn (yeah, that’s right, Vaughn) were tight, gritty and they rocked it. Adam Bianchi (vocals/guitar), Al Capo (vocals/bass) and Andrew Testa (drums) have been playing together since 2007 and it feels like they’re on the verge of a big break. Listen for these guys.

Canadian Music Week 2014  Stuckon Planet Earth

Canadian Music Week 2014 Stuck On Planet Earth

Canadian Music Week 2014 Stuck On Planet Earth

Next up, The Dirty Nil. Loud, fast, intense. THERE WERE PEOPLE MOSHING! Yeah. It was awesome. They’re playing again Friday night at the Bovine. Go check them out.

<a href="" rel="attachment wp-att-2103"><img src="" alt="Canadian Music Week 2014  The Dirty Nil" width="640" height="426" class="alignleft size-full wp-image-2103" /></a>

Canadian Music Week 2014  The Dirty Nil

Canadian Music Week 2014  The Dirty Nil

Canadian Music Week 2014  The Dirty Nil

Canadian Music Week 2014  The Dirty Nil

Canadian Music Week 2014  The Dirty Nil

Last up was The Reason. Adam White, James “Cubby” Nelan and Ronson Armstrong were joined by Michael Caputo on guitar and Serge Sargento on drums. They were a little late hitting the stage but they were worth the wait. I love this band and they were full of intensity last night. There was talk about the upcoming release of the documentary and not knowing when they’d be playing again. Adam was in a very talkative mood and told us about their first experience at CMW and how this festival is a chance for all of us to go out there and see a ton of music and maybe witness the beginning of something amazing. Great performance. I hope we see them soon.

Canadian Music Week 2014 The Reason

Canadian Music Week 2014 The Reason

Canadian Music Week 2014 The Reason

Canadian Music Week 2014 The Reason

Canadian Music Week 2014 The Reason

Canadian Music Week 2014 The Reason Michael Caputo

Canadian Music Week 2014 The Reason



Posted in Music, Photography, Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pause Beauty Giveaway

There is no better way to end a tough week than by visiting the spa and my favourite spa is Pause Beauty. You know I love these guys. I can’t say enough great things about this place and it seems like I’m doing a pretty good job of working my way through their list of services. It was time for some spring maintenance and a late Friday afternoon appointment was just what I needed. After my appointment with waxing ninja Erica, I was treated to a pedicure. Performed by the newest staff member Jamila it was just what I needed. A chance to sit, soak my feet, chat with staff and other clients. A chance to relax.

pedicure pause beauty

One of the topics that came up was a giveaway, for you guys, my followers. So here is a chance to win a free facial at Pause Beauty. I’m going to make it as easy as possible to win. To enter you can do any of the following: Share this post and leave me a comment letting me know you’ve shared it. The share buttons are all at the bottom of the post. I will also be posting the link on twitter, facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram. Share those for additional chances to win. Contest closes May 3rd at 5:00pm. Prize must be redeemed by the end of May. Thanks to Pause Beauty for the prize and good luck to all of you!

Pause Beauty Boutique Logo

PS Today’s wax cost my under $5 thanks to my Pause Points!

PPS I am loving my pink toes, they match my cupcake!

PPPS You can follow Pause on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

pink polish pause beauty

disclaimer – Friday’s pedicure was complimentary.

Posted in Beauty | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments