TIFF 2017 Survival Guide - The Essentials

Whether you're a film lover, fashionista or press like me, the next 10 days can be brutal. Especially if you're covering TIFF and TFW - Toronto Fashion Week.

Since I've been at this for years, I've come to count on a little survival kit that helps get me through the early mornings and late nights (one party invite lists the arrival time at 11:59pm because that's just how Harvey Weinstein, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Holland, Nicholas HoultKatherine Waterston, et al. roll.

I thought I'd share it to help first timers (or those just generally already wrung out by the frenzy that the beginning of September) get through. It also works for any type of short travel, long day, etc.

Here's what you need:

- Water, Coconut Water, etc.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. All this running around, sitting in bone dry rooms sucks the life outta you, including any moisture, so glug back as much water as you can. 

This will also benefit you with all those cocktails, extended 4am calls, and endless glasses of champers you down at the bar while voraciously scanning the room for Charlie Hunnam.

- Portable snacks 

Despite being a full-time restaurant writer, it seems I've barely eaten and the week's just getting started. Any kind of nuts are great, energy bars, coconut chips, that kind of thing [I scarfed down the bag of Hungry Buddha Coconut Chips I found in my Bask-It-Style by GLO Communications bag from their media event this week. Not only are the freakin' delicious (I had Cheeky Chocolate), half the bag is only 120 calories, so when I polished off the whole thing, I didn't feel so bad. And, it got me through the entire day (dinner didn't happen 'til 10pm)].

I don't recommend produce as you are going to be jostled and jammed in all types of crowds. Hand-held foods that you can eat while on the move or standing are good too. Hot dogs, pizza and other fast food are bound to happen, so don't freak out that you can't down a salad while crossing town. You will get back on track. In ten days or so.

- Comfortable shoes

This one's a biggie, so pay attention. No matter how long you think you can withstand wearing your heals, think again. Like a 9-hour wedding celebration, you're going to be on your feet longer than you think. You'll also walk farther than you plan, so bring along a pair you can actually wear when you're not taking a selfie with Idris Eldra, Allison Janney, or Ruth Wilson.

- As many phones as you can get your hands on

I'm serious. Hundo p serious. On a regular day i charge my iPhone two to three times, my laptop at least twice, and my iPad once. And that barely gets me by. How the hell am I supposed to keep it on lock all day? You don't want to have the opportunity to get a pic with Jason Sudeikis or Jennifer Lawrence and have your phone die. Crumple.

Just as important - make sure to bring the coordinating cables and chargers for each. You're gonna need 'em.


In case you're stuck in a cold room and your nose starts to run. In case you need to blot your makeup. In case you catch a sad flick. Trust me, they'll always come in handy.

And it's amazing to be able to offer one to someone in need. "Here you go, Julianne Moore."

-Duffle/tote bag

Whatever kind of bag is up to you - just make sure it's super light and can hold a lot. You never know what people are going to give you and now you've got somewhere to put your sweater/jacket if it gets too hot (and you thought a SoulCycle class made you sweat). Lifesaver.

- Travel wallet (or something for passes, tickets, booklets, receipts, and other assorted paper you'll be loaded down with)

You know those wallets the size of Montana meant to keep your passport and tix in? They're perfect for the full on day you're about to have, where you have to show credentials to everyone a thousand times. Sure you're wearing a badge, but trust me, this will make the whole process as efficient and smooth as checking in can be.

- Business cards

A couple of years ago, someone told me they were done and I was idiotic for still using them, but I'm telling you - it's the fastest way to give your number to someone and everyone still does it. I was at a fashion show yesterday and not one person asked for my IG handle, but everyone wanted a card. 

If you have 'em, stock up. If you don't, get some this minute. And believe me, they don't have to be pricey or on expensive paper- yesterday a publisher (he works in paper!) took my card and said, "Wow, fancy," while obsessively caressing it.

It's from Vistaprint

- Gum/mints

Because if you mowed down on a hot dog before showtime, and you find yourself face to face with director Luca Guadagnino, you don't want to be the one he refers to later as "the one that smelled like sauerkraut."

- Breathe

I see so many people completely lose it by day two. Take a moment to remember:

- how cool it is to be here
- how fortunate that this is considered a "work" day for you
- this is so much fun, no matter how much running around or lack of sleep takes place.

Enjoy the ride. You've got just 9 days left.


p.s. Thanks to everyone at beautyBOUTIQUE by Shoppers Drug Mart TIFF Suite for the red carpet transformation last night. Especially OverCat CommunicationsSophie EvansSt. TropezAnna Barseghian, Hairstylist;  Melissa Forrest, Nail Artist at Tips Nail Bar & Brand Ambassador for Shoppers Drug Mart; and Isabel Mooree, Makeup Artist, ACI Brands. It takes a village. I'll have an in-depth behind-the-scenes look for you soon. 


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