My Coachella Experience

Where to begin…
Let me preface this post by saying Coachella was my FIRST festival experience EVER! I know, I know, it’s shocking given my love of music and the lineup of concerts I have attended. It’s true though.
The reason I have never attended a festival before is that I have some issues with claustrophobia (I’ve left subway trains and elevators due to panic attacks before) and I’ve just been afraid of what to expect with the crowds. I had always wanted to go to Coachella because, like most, I have followed the plethora of Instagram posts and fashion #ootd that circulate before, during and after the festival. I’m not going to lie, the hippie fashion and the idea of wearing glitter absolutely everywhere was my ultimate goal when I bought my tickets. #noshame
Originally, I was meant to go with someone else but after that fell through my cousin Jeni ended up signing on to go with me! Although I have kept in touch and spent some time with my cousin over the years, we have not spent time alone together like that since childhood and I can honestly say (I hope she will agree!) that we had the BEST time of our lives!
IMG_4524 2
We started our Coachella adventure by driving from Venice Beach to Palm Springs for lunch (and a photo op) before heading to Indio and our motel. We did make a pit stop at Target and I fully understand the hype in the US. Nearly $200 later, a couple of pool floats and a few bottles of wine, we finally made it to Palm Springs. We had a nice lunch at LuLu’s (although it took too long to get served initially) and I saved room for dessert which happened to be the biggest cotton candy I have ever seen! We then continued on to our motel.
IMG_F5652C697611-1
IMG_4036
The Western Sands Motel was the most expensive shit hole I have ever stayed in, obviously because it was Coachella weekend and everything was exuberantly overpriced. But it did the job, the bed was clean and we were a mere 8 minute drive to the festival entrance. I’d do it all over again too, so that’s saying something.
We arrived around mid-afternoon and got to work getting glittered-up for day one! I opted for a classic high-waisted jean short and poncho combo with a silver silk tank top, on-trend bum bag and black boots. I loaded up on accessories, a crapload of glitter on every surface of my skin and hair and added every necklace and bracelet I own plus a scarf. The dust is real but for some reason, I never actually used the scarves I brought to cover my face; they looked darn cute though at least. My hair which had previously been a bit frizzy from the ocean air in Venice Beach, now magically became Insta-worthy waves from the mix of salt residue and desert heat. I’m still daydreaming about that hair…
IMG_06085EC4895B-1
Since neither of us had been to Coachella before, getting around took a minute to get used to. We may have also entered the beer tent (a couple of times) thinking it was our VIP area and wondering why the lineups for drinks were so long… *facepalm* But eventually, we figured out our way around and took in some shows! Day 1 highlights for us were Diplo, Janelle Monae and Childish Gambino, the latter being absolutely incredible and unexpected in his musical brilliance.
Getting back to the motel was a lot harder to navigate then getting to the festival grounds (ps. Lyft was the best for that) and our first night we ended up walking all the way back, about 45 mins in total. But keep in mind a good 15 minutes of that is just exiting the grounds themselves. We didn’t have the hook up for any after parties and being that we both wake up regularly very early for our day jobs, we called it a night!
IMG_4525
Day 2 saw us blowing up our pool floats (I forgot how hard that was by mouth) and attempting to get cute shots in our not-so-cute motel pool. Thank you portrait mode! And once again we got ready in our Coachella-finest as we drank some more wine and Straw-ber-itas. This day I chose my new favourite leopard-print skirt with a low-back ribbed bodysuit and matching scarf. Once again my bum bag and boots made an appearance, as did the copious amounts of glitter and jewellery. We thankfully had a locker on-site, as this night we needed to go back for warmer layers as the evening wore on. We were warned the evenings got chilly but the first night had been so mild that the second night took us a bit off guard. This day we also ventured more around the festival and found a second VIP area, taking in more artists along the way. Highlights from this day included Maggie Rogers, Wiz Khalifa, Billie Eilish (who we admittedly had not heard of prior, somehow) and of course Weezer. I cannot believe it took me going to Coachella to finally see Weezer live but they did not disappoint!
Seeing as Kanye was set to host his Sunday service for Easter the following day (which we did not attend) and Kid Cudi was playing, I knew he’d make an appearance and thankfully I was right. This was the first time the whole festival that we both got a bit claustrophobic because the crowd was just crazy and we were in the thick of it. Now I’m not the biggest fan of Kanye but when he performs, you cheer and sing along, it’s what you do. It was a pretty epic experience for us both and I’m glad we braved the crowd! Tame Impala was the headliner this night but after a brief stopover at his performance, we moved on, definitely not our thing. #sorrynotsorry
IMG_0AA431F5F8AA-1
And just like that, it was Day 3. By now we both began getting some stuffy noses from allergies we thought but we were both excited and sad for our last day at Coachella. My hair was still on point though and that’s really what mattered most, let’s be honest. My outfit today consisted of a crochet crop top, black shorts topped with a long fringe wrap skirt and the same bum bag and boots previously worn. I had brought other shoes but the boots were so comfy I decided not to chance it with other footwear. This was the first day I tried on multiple outfit options but I wanted to really go all out! I did bring another outfit for later on but decided against the effort of changing as the night wore on. This was by far my favourite day at the festival as Jeni and I really got to have a heart-to-heart and bond a bit more. By now I also knew the pizza place was the best for food and we found a bartender who would make us lemon drop type cocktails (shots aren’t allowed technically). I haven’t touched on that yet but the food was pretty hit and miss inside the festival and drinks were ridiculously tiny. Although nothing was particularly awful, it was severely overpriced and even more so when you consider it was in US dollars ($16 US for a minuscule glass of wine? *another facepalm* Ok, give me two, thanks).
The highlights from the performances this day were Khalid, Dermot Kennedy, Zedd and of course, Ariana Grande. Zedd brought out both Maren Morris and Alessia Cara to perform their songs with him and I was again pleasantly surprised. He puts on a great show with remixes of everything from AC/DC to Queen! We danced the most to this show and couldn’t get enough. Fun fact, we both grew up in Brampton which is where Alessia Cara is from too and it occurred to me how lucky we all were to now be at Coachella!
The headliner was Ariana and by gosh did she ever deliver! The group of guys behind me kept screaming how much better she was live than on the radio and I couldn’t agree more. That woman can SING! She performed for about an hour and a bit in total and even brought out the Biebs himself (Justin Bieber) to an eruption of screams from the crowd. Again, love him or hate him, you cheer when he comes on stage. She was probably my favourite from the whole festival but I really didn’t see one bad performance, it was an incredible experience.
IMG_5A1CCDCE4637-1
Truly, I would do it all again in a heartbeat and desperately want to! This was by far one of the best experiences of my life and I think it was only made better by my cousin getting to attend with me.
I think she said it best, “nothing will ever be the same again after this”. #coachella2019
IMG_4526
xo Shawn Marie

Why You Should Travel Alone​

“Travel far enough to meet yourself.” -David Mitchell
IMG_3667
As some of you may know, I just returned from an incredible trip to California! I have some more blog posts coming soon telling you about my favourite parts and sites worth seeing, but first I wanted to delve a little deeper and explain why I think it is so important to travel alone. Now, I don’t mean that you have to travel every single time alone, but travelling alone at some point in your life is necessary.
This was not the first time I have travelled alone out of the country, back in 2013 I backpacked through Europe for 4 months all by myself. At that time, I was using it as an escape and as a way to deal with my grief over losing my father. It taught me more than I can put into words. Travelling and seeing those spectacular places, sites and sceneries brought back a sense of joy into my life again. But travelling alone brought me back my sense of self, my independence, my inner strength and the ability to appreciate my life again. That trip put me back together emotionally, helping me to grow and heal. I was 28 during that trip. Returning home, I felt like I could do anything, I felt invincible.
This time around, at 34, something shifted and a new piece of myself appeared. It’s hard to explain but basically, I stopped caring what other people thought of me. I used to care a lot what others thought of me or if they liked me, etc. and was picked on and teased a lot during my formative years which only increased those feelings. As I have grown older, those feelings have diminished over the years and I’m now well aware that I can’t please everyone, nor do I want to anymore. However, like most, I’ve still had moments of embarrassment, self-doubt, people pleasing and unsureness. On this trip, those feelings all but disappeared. If I did have a moment of hesitation I was quick to shake it off and move on. Some of us are built to worry and question ourselves and others have an innate ability to be completely self-assured and confident. For me, travelling alone is where I’ve been able to grow and become a more confident version of myself and at 34, I can honestly say I’ve never been more self-assured. Travelling alone is where I see how capable I truly am. I can rent a car and drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles. I can speak up and let the front desk know when my roommate is freaking me out. I can go to a restaurant and have a meal by myself. I can avoid being hit (or spit on) by a crazed homeless man. I can trip and fall on a curb, take care of myself and not have it ruin my day. I can make new friends. I met two amazing women on this trip, both in their 30’s travelling alone also. As women, there is more concern for us travelling by ourselves and worry about our safety. It made me so happy to see these women just out there, living their lives, seeing the world and not letting fear stop them! Returning home from this trip, I am actively trying to keep that confidence, to not let thoughts of self-doubt creep back in. Like my cousin said (she joined me for Coachella!)- “nothing will ever be the same again”. Travelling changes you.
Seeing the world is important and I wish everyone could travel, widen their perspectives and expand their minds. My hope from this post is that even if you can’t backpack for 4 months or travel out of the country, you could at least go to a meal, a movie, a weekend getaway alone. Become okay with being alone sometimes and learn who you really are.
“To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.”- Freya Stark
April 12- 23, 2019

Nice, France | Part Deux

It occurred to me recently that I have not written here in such a long time! I have a new website venture (www.thesleepypineapple.com) where I am focusing more on food and fitness. Travel is my first love though and this blog was such a big part of my life for so long! There are many more places and sites I have yet to tell you about too! It was sad for me for awhile there, my life in Toronto became a bit stale when I first returned from my whirlwind trip. Talking about my adventures made me sad and I became a bit depressed again. The good news is I persevered! I am now teaching Pilates and working at the studio full time! I began school for Holistic Nutrition and I am doing very well over all. I still give myself too much to do and I’m trying to juggle multiple jobs and new endeavours, but I am happy. I continue to dream big and I am working towards those dreams everyday!

Last fall I got to return to the place where it all began, Nice, France. I was lucky enough to bring my boyfriend this time and show him around. He thought it was picturesque and stunning. If they didn’t speak French, I could probably get him to move there with me! I showed him the Promenade des Anglais, Place Massena, the Chateau de Nice and the old town Vieille Ville.IMG_1752IMG_0190IMG_1635We stayed in a six floor walk up, we found on Air Bnb, that had the sweetest little balcony that looked out on the city. I would 100% stay there again, even with all the stairs! I was blocks from the beach and the lively tourist section of the city, which wasn’t as busy due to us arriving in early September.

We did lose our luggage on the way there, as we flew via Frankfurt from Dublin and there was a bomb scare that very morning. Thanks to a mix up we also lost two days waiting for the luggage to arrive and had to go to the airport to pick it up in the end, 3 days after we arrived. While I do hate we couldn’t even go swimming because we were waiting for luggage and I missed out on seeing some of my old haunts from when I was there in 2013, I still loved every second of being there! I’m also incredibly thankful for my travellers insurance!

Luggage aside, we did get to the beach multiple days and I swam my little heart out! We also took a day trip to Monaco and Eze! If you look at past posts, Eze is magical and it was just as beautiful as I remembered. Lovely little shops and cafes, stunning views and adorable surroundings. We sat on a patio over looking the sea and had some drinks. We wandered through the small pathways and up to the church, where I lit a candle for my father (as I do in all churches). We even hiked down to Eze sur la Mer, which was MUCH longer than I remembered and definitely much hotter as well!

In Monaco, I changed my mind at the last minute and we went to the old town first and then to Monte Carlo. That was a mistake! Because, we by the time we made it to Monte Carlo, it was passed 1pm and my boyfriend couldn’t get in with his flip flops. I think I was more disappointed for him, then he was about not getting to go in. We did sit in front at a cafe and had some Monaco brand beer, which was quite good though. Afterward we made our way into the smaller casino next door and lost some money, all in good fun of course! There was a lot of construction though and I will admit, it did ruin the ambiance of the area quite a bit. It didn’t have that same luxurious quality and the designer sports cars were lacking in numbers. It was still a fun excursion and a great day!

We did buy some groceries and had a full kitchen but surprisingly we ate out quite a bit more than we expected. There is no shortage of foods to try and while we tried to eat cheaply at breakfast and lunch, dinner out and drinks seemed to be standard practice. It is just such a lively and fun vibe at night, the city comes to life! It’s hard to explain but we loved wandering the streets and stopping to have a drink at an outdoor table, people watching and talking. It was my favourite part of the trip.

I hope to return again soon, it seems to be every three years right now, just by coincidence! I do hope to make it back sooner the time. Of course, I want to see many new places as well, but Nice will always have my heart!

September 2016

 

 

Arizona

Arizona is a magical place. You can feel the energy from the earth, mountains and wind. It is breathtakingly beautiful and unlike any place I have ever been, and I’ve been around. For my 30th birthday, my friend and I went to Las Vegas and on that trip we also visited the Grand Canyon. That was spectacular! This time around I visited Gold Canyon (near Phoenix), specifically we stayed at the base of Superstition Mountain. If that name doesn’t tell you about the beliefs of the land in Arizona, I don’t know what will. To be honest, we saw so many things in my short trip it is now blending into one lovely memory. We visited the Mesa Market, Tortilla Flats, Salt River, Saguaro Lake, Queen Creek Olive Mill, and Goldfield Ghost Town. I’ve probably forgotten a place but we drove through many little towns as well, stopping for lunch and taking in the winding mountain roads.

The main thing I noticed was that the attractions were generally free; they want you to see what they have and if you want to buy souvenirs, food, etc., then that is where they are making money. I thought it refreshing, to go to a landmark and not even pay for parking! That is how it should be and the places were busy.

The scenery was beyond stunning, yet the only words I could seem to find- “it’s so pretty”. Pretty does not do it justice and everywhere I looked was a picturesque landscape. Thankfully my uncle understood this more than most and stopped at many lookouts for me to snap away!

I stayed with my great-aunt and uncle in their RV. It was cozy and comfortable (I’d never stayed in one before) and their hospitality is next to none! They even got me vegetarian food and ate some themselves for dinner! I was very touched by the gesture and by the effort they put into giving me a great vacation.

Every evening starting at about 3-4pm we had Happy Hour, sometimes at the pool (where we also went every afternoon) and sometimes back at the RV in time for sunset. At the pool the drinks included popcorn and if you know my love of popcorn, then you know this was like heaven for me. A pool, sun, popcorn and wine= my idea of happiness!

The sunsets were just as stunning as the views and apparently I got lucky with some gorgeous ones. That is the problem, no clouds means no sunsets; we had little clouds a couple of nights that gave us picture worthy views.

Overall, I highly recommend Arizona to visit. My third time to the state will be to visit Sedona as I’m told it is spectacular and has even more energy to it. Given what I’ve seen already, I can’t wait!

February 13-18, 2016

I need some adventure!





This is not a new picture (see Berlin, Germany post) but I recently posted this to my @thirst.living Instagram page and it got me thinking.. I haven’t posted here in forever! It’s not because I’m busy though (which I am); I stopped because every time I go through my photos I become sad. I haven’t had an adventure worth writing about in a year, and my vacation this year will only be a repeat of last year. I’m in a slump. Don’t get me wrong, I’m beyond grateful for my 4 days off that I was able to swing and to go to my favourite place again. I’m also focused very hard on the future and I realize this period of time is just a means to an end. The toughest part for me is waiting, I’ve never been good at that. I want what I want, when I want it! But self restraint is a key life skill that I’m putting into practice. I can’t just run away and teach Pilates in a forgien place because I have responsibilties and goals to accomplish here before that’s possible. I spent the better part of the last 2 years trying to become the person I want to be, the one I used to be and the one who knows who she is. Self discovery and development is ongoing but taking the time is important. I rushed the last trip, I went whole hog and, while I planned it out, I didn’t take care of my life back home. I wouldn’t trade that trip for anything and I wouldn’t change it, but in retrospect I’d do some things differently (including going for longer!).   I’m taking more time for myself now, trying to balance personal time and work. It’s difficult but it’s necessary, work was taking over my life! I’m taking every spare second to have fun and relax, because summer is here and it’s time for some adventure! 

Edit

Old friend. New friend. 



I haven’t wrote in a while because, to be honest, I couldn’t find the words. Recently my car (my first car) finally gave way and the rust got the better of him. His name is Monty and for the last five years he has been my best friend. He was there for me when I needed him; when I was sad, angry or happy. Singing my heart out driving to Wasaga beach or balling my eyes out as I sit in my driveway, he was there. My grandma bought him in Alberta and drove him to Ontario when she came to live with my dad and I. That car drove her and my late aunt everywhere! When my grandma could no longer drive, she gave the car to my dad. My dad drove it for a few years before finally passing it on to me. He was really proud to be able to give the car to me, really proud. I was ecstatic to get my very own car! I’m also one of the most sentimental people in the world and it meant more to me that it was passed down through generations. 

So can you see why it is breaking my heart into pieces to have to say goodbye? I feel like that safety and comfort is gone. That the connection to my family that I feel each time I get into that car will be gone forever. This may seem silly to most but it’s how I feel. I know it’s just a thing, a piece of metal but to me it’s so much more. 

Since Monty is literally undrivable (I held out as long as I possibly could) I gave in and bought a brand new car. I feel safer then I did at the end with Monty and I know my dad would be just as proud that his little girl was able to do that for herself. I’m trying to be positive. But Monty is still in my driveway and once he gets carted off to the scrap yard I don’t know what will happen… That’s the truth. 

Sorry for the sad post but I had to get that out. 

Thank you.

Love is in the air…

20150214-225728.jpg

20150214-225812.jpg

It’s Valentine’s Day and what is more romantic then Paris? There are many places within the city that scream romance, like the Eiffel Tower. Then there are some places that are a little less obvious, because yes, I find a cluttered old bookstore named after Shakespeare romantic! Plus it’s just across the Seine from Notre Dame and churches have become one of my favourite travelling pastimes.
My second photo shows the padlocks of a love lock bridge. The lock is initialed by the couple and the key tossed into the water, to symbolized unbreakable love. On a side note: As romantic as it sounds and as neat as they all look, the weight of the locks is damaging to the bridge structure. So I wouldn’t actually recommend doing it yourself.
Not pictured but equally as romantic is the The Paris Opera. This girl absolutely adores the ballet and wishes all the time that she could have been a ballerina. I guess I’ll just settle for pretending I am, as I dance around my living room. Seeing the costumes, stage and just the beauty of the building was a dream come true!

What are your favourite romantic spots to visit in Paris? Or anywhere for that matter? Comment below, I’d love to read them 🙂

Happy Valentine’s Day!

June 14-17, 2013

NYC #FBF

20150130-233824.jpg

20150130-234627.jpg

20150130-234725.jpg

A while ago I was talking to some friends and it came out how I am obsessed with Regis Philbin… Not in a stalker way! Just in an admiration sort of way. I watched Live! back when it was Kathy-Lee and I watched as Kelly Ripa was selected as her replacement. I’m a fan, but I watched it mostly for Regis. His story telling is unparalleled, it’s a gift to be able to do that well. So in honour of #flashbackfriday I decided to recall my 27th birthday trip to New York City to see Regis live on his show!
To get tickets you send a postcard in advance requesting your day, and then you wait… And wait! We ended up booking our trip hoping we got tickets because it took so long. Obviously, I was ecstatic when they arrived in the mail a few days prior to our departure. It was really going to happen, I was going to see Regis in his final month of the show! He was set to retire in late November and my birthday is October 25, so I was cutting it close. My mother came with me, she had never been to NYC before so it was a real treat. I had gone a few years earlier for another birthday, but that’s the thing with New York; you can go twenty times and not see it all. To be honest, I don’t remember it all step by step, it was a blur. We stayed 3 days and 2 nights at The Salisbury Hotel, which is quite close to Central Park. We visited Rockefeller Center, the “imagine” stone marker, Time’s Square, Bergdorf Goodman and we took a tour bus of lower Manhattan. It was a bit rushed and obviously there is a ton you could do, but we had a blast. It was the first birthday after my dad passed, and I desperately wanted it to be memorable for any other reason. The day of the show was hurry up and wait, we bought nearly every item from the gift shop before being ushered into the studio. It was smaller then I thought it would be and we almost didn’t even get to sit beside each other. Our guest for the day was Tea Leoni and it was pretty standard as far as a show goes. I almost spoke to him but froze and then lost my chance. I was really disappointed by that and when he shook the hand of the person who was in my original seat! It was everything I had hoped for though and a couple weeks later I went to his book signing where I shook his hand and spoke actual sentences with him! Moral of the story?
You win some and you lose some, then sometimes (if your lucky) you get a second chance!

October 24-26, 2011

Happy New Year 2015!

Can you believe this time last year I was in Dubai? This whole year has flown by, almost too quickly. I’m not one for new year resolutions, mostly because I try to continuously better myself year round (and I believe your new year begins on your birthday). I’m well aware of what I want to improve on in myself but I think change is ever evolving. This year was one of soul searching and deciding what makes me happy. It was a very memorable year as I said good-bye to my 20’s and embarked on a new career path. I am blessed to have found my passion and to be officially starting that new chapter in 2015. I still have more career goals to accomplish in the new year, including becoming certified and taking additional classes but learning is a life long endeavour. Of course I have some travel goals for the new year as well!
It was also a year of learning to trust myself. Often I second guess my decisions or wonder if I made the right choice; what I’ve learned is to have no regrets, mistakes are what make us human. Things might not happen how I thought they would but they happen how they are suppose to, my new career is proof of that.
Your never going to be ready; even if your unhappy, there is comfort in that familiarity.
Be positive; I know some incredible people and for 2015 I want to surround myself with that positive energy.
I’ve spent too long being unhappy and I took this year to make some much needed changes. I wasn’t always sure it was right and rarely was it easy but I didn’t give up. When my dad passed, I lost the most stable and secure element of my whole life. I was lost and I’ve spent the last three years trying to find my way back. Europe helped to put me back together; I finally felt a joy for life again. Not a day goes by that I don’t miss him and not a day goes by that I don’t think of him. The holidays are hardest time of the year; Christmas was his favourite and every new year, right at midnight, he always called me. It still makes me sad when I think of him, but I know he would be so proud of how far I’ve come. I spent so long being sad. So, for the first time that I can remember, I am making a new year resolution; to be more happy and bring more positivity into my life. This is true for all areas of my life from work to friends to family. My dad always had a positive outlook on life and he found joy in his pets, family, friends and hobbies. I think sometimes we forget the little things.
Time flies and life is too short to be unhappy; take a moment to be grateful for all the good in your life.

Here’s to a very happy 2015!

Below are the pictures of some of the people who made 2014 a memorable year and a couple of those who aren’t with us anymore, but who I cherish in my memory and who shaped me into the person that I am.
Thank you.

20141231-110031.jpg

20141231-110043.jpg

20141231-110054.jpg

20141231-110104.jpg

20141231-110115.jpg

20141231-110129.jpg

20141231-110146.jpg

20141231-110154.jpg

20141231-110207.jpg

20141231-110222.jpg

20141231-110231.jpg

20141231-110239.jpg

20141231-110254.jpg

20141231-110310.jpg

20141231-110322.jpg

20141231-110329.jpg

20141231-110337.jpg

20141231-110349.jpg

20141231-110357.jpg