Sunny New Orleans w/  Blue Skies & Beignets

Hello from down south! This week I’m in New Orleans staying at Mardi Gran Manor with a few friends from TO. We each have our own apartment in a beautiful set of units behind a big gate in the French Quarter. I’m stocked up on groceries and all moved in for the week. Hoping to catch some sun and start off December with a nice tan. I’m sitting at a small table outside my unit by the pool as I write this.

I was here in September to speak at a conference so spent a few hours then getting my bearings. In the French Quarter, we’re a few doors down from Brad & Angelina’s old place and Nicholas Cage has a spot down the street. I love the architecture and the streets are alive with music. All the buildings are hidden behind huge window shutters and or large gates. At first, I thought it seemed kind of run down but as soon you’re lucky to get a glimpse into someone’s house or behind a gate, there’s see nothing but beauty. Chandeliers, fountains, and gardens all over the place.

This morning Natalie and  I went to Cafe Du Monde for coffee & beignets then walked down the Mississippi River to the shopping outlets. It’s not nearly as hot as it was in September but it’s warmer than home and lovely in the sunshine.


Tonight we’re all having dinner together in at Compère Lapin owned by Chef Nina Compton and her husband. She was a runner-up on Top Chef and I met her a couple years ago in Toronto. Also coincidently, Sean and my really great friends from Muskoka are also here in NOLA so we’re all meeting up on Frenchman for drinks tonight.


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Speaking in New Orleans + Cute Dress from Studio Fitzroy

Cambridge represent!

Last week I flew to New Orleans to speak at a conference, first talk outside Canada. Woo hoo! It was also my first time in NOLA! I’m heading back to New Orleans in November for a week vacation w/ some friends. I was booked via my agency, the National Speakers Bureau, I’ve been with them for about 2 years now. Check out my NSB profile here.

My talk was ‘Get Trending: Building Campus Engagement with Digital Media and it went great! Conference attendees stuck around for half an hour after to chat, take selfies, and ask questions. I get a little nervous/excited in the 5min before I go on stage, then, once I get going it’s over before I know it. The Q&A at the end is always my favourite part.

I even met someone from who was from my hometown in Cambridge, Ontario. Hi David!

The hotel was right beside the Superdome and U2 played while I was there. I was tucked away in my room putting finishing touches on my preso so didn’t make it over.

The view was pretty cool and the Superdome photo was taken from one of the huge glass hotel elevators.



I wore the cutest little, crushed velvet dress by For Love & Lemons from Studio Fitzroy. I loved it!

They have heaps of beautiful new dresses for rent, you’ll love it.
Visit shopfitzroy.com to scroll the gowns or your dreams.

studio fitzroy, dress rentals, casiestewart, speaker, blogger, fitzroy boutique


Took a little walk around the hotel early Friday before I got ready to hit the stage. It was so warm and sunny. There was a Starbucks inside the Hyatt, so convenient! I imagine that happens a lot in the USA. I wasn’t sure if conference attendees knew I was a speaker or not but I definitely had a *different* style.

I got heaps of positive feedback from organizers and attendees. I absolutely love being on stage and speaking about something I love, THE INTERNET!

Feeling refreshed! Here’s to a great week!

casiestewart, blog, blogger, toronto, canada, travel, tech

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Need New Headshots? No Problemo!

Last weekend on my way home from New Orleans I popped into the Iris Photobooth at the MSY Airport. I’d seen these booths on the internet and really wanted to give it a try. I thought the company was owned by LinkedIn but I have since learned it is not. The pop-up headshot station is marketed to LinkedIn users for new profile photos. Amazing idea if you ask me.

Photos are $20 for 6 photos including retouching and you get 1 hi-res download. I unlocked the remaining 5 for $5. I also did 2 sessions because I love having my photo taken! 😝

I think the photos turned out really good despite the fact that my hair wasn’t done, I did my makeup in the car, and had rushed to the airport. The lighting is super bright, almost better than a human headshot setup. (Sorry photographers, the robots are coming!) You can edit the photos right in the booth before saving in a FaceTune kinda way (smoothing, remove blemishes, whiten teeth etc).

If you’re looking to get some new photos done in Toronto there’s a booth at Ryerson near YD Square or you can catch them at airports around the USA. See locations here. I would love to be able to book it for a day at our office. I think I’ll pop into the Ryerson one next time I’m on the area. I had been meaning to get a couple photos for ages and this was SO EASY.


OK THAT’S ALL FOR TODAY OFF TO GET MY HAIR DONE BYE!

This is not sponsored I don't even know them.

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I’m so excited for this month. I love doing Christmas things like baking and getting the tree with Sean and Emily. I love Christmas music! I can’t wait to take the trip of a lifetime w/ my mum. Next week I’m shooting a fun video I already can’t wait to share. Feeling grateful to be starting the month in New Orleans and ending it in New Zealand. It’s been 7 years since I’ve seen ANY of my family and 18 years since I’ve seen most of them! Looking forward to making lots of memories this month. Flying home tomorrow and can’t wait to see my bf!

With love from New Orleans!

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Did you buy any stuff today? I’ve been out and about around New Orleans but I’m back in my apartment to check on and share a few deals before the day is done. Last week for Black Friday I ordered a new Instant Pot from Amazon and an Echo Dot. I’ve been obsessed with the Instant Post since we got one last year for Christmas and I use it a couple times a week.


SOME OF MY FAV DEALS ON AMAZON TODAY!


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It Pays To Have Friends! Use Booking.com & get $40

Some people like aisle seats but I always pick window if I can.  I like something to lean on and I love staring out the window. Takeoff is one of my favourite parts. I love being on planes, it means you’re going somewhere!

I’m deep in planning my winter vacations and couldn’t be happier, it’ all starting to come together!  I leave for New Orleans in 2 weeks, then for a big 21-day adventure in December. I can’t wait. Nothing like knowing you’ve got sunshine in your future!

View from our room in Montego Bay, Jamaica


If you’re looking to get away soon, I’m sharing this link for you to get some $$ back on your accommodation. Use Booking.com and they’ll reward us both with a $40 CAD gift if you use this linkOnce you check out of your hotel, the reward from booking.com  will show up as a refund on your credit card. If you have questions about how it exactly works, read the FAQ here. The Nice thing about booking.com is they have no booking fees, free cancellation (most rooms), and price matching.


Also, if you haven’t signed up for Ebates make sure you do that before going to booking.com, you’ll get 2% back on your purchase! Their average cashback per order is $6!

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Make It A November to Remember: #NaNoWriMo + My Next Travel Adventure

The other day I scrolled an article on Vogue w/ Wes Anderson’s best interiors and discovered Hotel Chevalier. I’m obsessed now,  watched it 5+ times. It’s a 13min American-French short with Natalie Portman and Jason Schwartzman, set in Paris at Hotel Raphael. I have not been to Paris yet but I will go to this place one day.

The more I learned about the film the more I wanted to know. Wes Anderson is so creative with the minute details of everything and I love it so much. Have you seen Grand Budapest Hotel? In Hotel Chevalier, Natalie Portman was cast after W. Anderson get her email from Scott Rudin, the producer of Closer. [Another movie I totally love and it super weird.] This movie is only 13 minutes but is so beautifully written and styled, it inspires me. I love it. I love the colours, directing, script. It’s great. 


This month I’m heading on a week-long vacation (sponsored by ME!) back to New Orleans and staying at a beautiful villa w/ a few friends in the French Quarter. I was there for my first time in September for a speaking gig. Booked this trip months ago and would love Sean to come with me but I also love travelling alone. I love being in airports and on planes or writing in my hotel room. I’m really looking forward to warm weather and wandering the streets. There is also a Christmas store I only had a couple minutes in last time that I plan to spend a good chunk of time in.


Today is the start of National Novel Writing Month and I’m really giving it a go this year.  Have been writing a lot more lately. Planning for to write 500+ words a day for the month between novel/blog. I didn’t know about National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo) until this week when I read Casey Palmer’s blog (aka Casey #2) but I am going to try that too. I’ve waited/worked my whole life (ok well the last 10 years of adult life) to have my job as my blog and I’m taking full advantage of every single day. In August I worked really hard to be mentally and physically fit, then September was super busy, and October flew by and I felt like I hardly did anything. November for me is No-spend-November, No-drink-November, Say No-November, I need to stay home. November is my writing month.

Sometimes I think ‘THIS IS MY LIFE‘ and I feel so glad I called my blog that 12 years ago. I never imagined this would actually be my life. Well, I dreamed about it being something like this but didn’t know it would actually happen. Thank you for following and reading and being part of it. 


Natalie Portman: Are you running away from me?
Jason Schwartzman: I thought I already did.

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Best Buy Life and Tech Show 2017

Earlier this month I attended the Best Buy #LifeandTech event at YD Square. This is my second year attending and honestly, it feels like Christmas for tech lovers! I got to test out and bring home some of the coolest tech around. You can find everything mentioned in this post at BestBuy.ca. I’ve been working with Best Buy Canada for the last couple years and it makes ME SO HAPPY. I love being invited to test out the latest wearable tech, smart home gadgets, and overall life-enhancing products.

Here’s a few of my favourite things from the Best Buy Life and Tech show!


SMART HOME

SECURITY: One of my ultimate favs is this Ring Wi-Fi Video Doorbell Pro. I haven’t set it up yet but I can’t wait to creep anyone who comes to my door or walks past. Since moving into a house with a front door (from a high-rise condo) I get so freaked out when I’m home alone and someone knocks on the door. Who does that! Unexpected! Gah! I get all packages delivered to the office so it’s extra weird if someone sends something to the house.

With the new Ring, you are able to monitor hour home with audio and video from anywhere. The rep I chatted with was from Minnesota and he showed me his backyard while we were chatting in YD Square. He’s able to record video, sound an alarm, or say something to an intruder if he see’s someone suspicious around. So cool! Imagine yelling ‘HEY BUDDY GET OFF MY LAWN‘ from another country, haha!

 

 

 


SMART LIGHTS: Earlier this year I went to the National Home Show with Best Buy Canada and decked out our house with the Nanoleaf Aurora Smart LED Light Panel and Phillips Hue smart bulb starter kit. The lights are so cool, I have them set to dim every night at 11pm and have really grown to love the ‘concentrate’ setting for its bright whites.


BIG SOUND for INDOOR OR OUTDOOR: Talk about boom for your buck! This little UE Wonderboom speaker has loud, 360 sound, and is waterproof. I took it on my recent trip from Toronto to Montreal and New Orleans, the battery lasted the whole trip for hotel room dance parties and background noise while I worked (up to 10 hours battery!).

I also tested the waterproof-ness at the cottage over the weekend and can verify, it is definitely water safe.  I only tossed it in the lake for a couple seconds but the speaker can be immersed in up to 1 meter of water for 30 minutes. It’s also avail in pink, red, black, lilac, and grey.

ui portable speaker, life and tech, bestbuy, best buy, speaker, 360 sound, casie stewart


WEARABLE TECH

MEDITATION: I got one of these a couple years ago around TIFF and I can tell you Muse, the Brain-Sensing Headband definitely helped me feel calm. Muse is like a personal meditation assistant, it measures how calm or active your mind is, then helps you channel that energy with guiding sounds. It’s created by Toronto company Interaxion and the co-founder Ariel Garten is a friend!


FITBIT: Fitbit’s new wireless headphones are so cool! Since I’ve been working on trying to live a healthier life, I’ve come to really love my FitBit. I currently have the new Fitbit Alta HR and Sean has the brand new Ionic (with Fitbit Pay!). These headphones can withstand the sweatiest workout, have great sound, 6-hour battery, and have music & call controls. This is my first pair of wireless headphones, I love the future! 

DON’T LOSE YOUR STUFF:  What is that tiny little gadget you ask? This is TrackR Bravo, a Bluetooth tracking device you can add to your keys, wallet, luggage, purse, child, anything, then keep an eye of its whereabouts from the app. I used it recently on my luggage and although I was only doing carry-on, I knew where my stuff was at all times.

You know when it’s a full flight and they still make you check your tiny suitcase? This is a great way to make sure all your outfits are on that plane. I also keep one inside my purse, god forbid I ever leave it somewhere!


Another great moment from the day was chilling in this Lamborghini w/ Alcantara interior. Microsoft was on site to highlight the Alcantara fabric used in the new Surface Laptop. I tested the Surface Pro earlier this summer, great machine! The laptop has a 13.5″ PixelSense touchscreen and Alcantara fabric covers the keyboard for comfortable, quiet typing. Find it at Best Buy here.

Ok, when can I take this baby for a test drive?!


LIFE AND TECH FTW!

 

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Bonjour! In Montreal for a Hot Minute ✈️👋🏼🇨🇦

Spent the day w/ Audible taking the train to Montreal. I listened to Claire Danes read The Handmaids Tail. Feeling pretty exhausted and will be up early for a 6am flight back to Toronto. I fly to New Orleans at noon. 


Ordered a pizza. It was ok. The hotel is really beautiful. Stayed here in 2015 and they’ve really made some beautiful design changes since! 

They have Le Labo products and you can bet I asked for an extra couple lotions! My fav scent from Le Labo is Santal 33, it’s amazing!

XO Montreal! Have a great day! 

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It’s In The Cards

Today was so much fun. I’m feeling really excited and inspired this week. It’s one of the busiest few days I’ve had in a long time with a different job each day and 3 different cities but I wouldn’t have it any other way!

I met up with a blog OG friend Danielle Meder, who recently started Drawing Tarot where she combines ‘a thoughtful Tarot reading with a live watercolour portrait session‘. Mine portrait is above and I framed it when I got home. The reading was just what I needed today, this week. I’d like to go back again in a month or so. You can book an appointment to see her at the Darling Mansion or her studio near the Junction Triangle here.

Danielle Meder, Drawing Tarot

Tonight I bailed on going to anything TIFF so I could stay home and put in a few hours on a presentation and get a good sleep. I have no FOMO only JOMO (Joy of Missing Out) because I know that self-care is important and if I don’t take care of my priorities, I’ll lose my mind.


This week is a crazy one, especially after my very relaxing summer. Monday was filled with TIFF stuff and celebrities (Justin Trudeau, Angelina Jolie!). Today I was the #LifeandTech event with Best Buy Canada. Wednesday morning I’m at a top secret event then head to Montreal on the train for the night. I fly back to Toronto early Thursday morning then to New Orleans, Louisiana in the afternoon. On Friday morning  I’m speaking at a conference and fly back to Toronto in the evening. On Saturday I’m in front of the camera for a commercial and Sunday I am doing N-O-T-H-I-N-G.

Cutest entry way, also GOLD STAIRS and the whole inside is pretty & pink!

Popped into Studio Fitzroy today, my favourite dress boutique to rent a dress for my talk on Friday. Took my sister with me to show her around and get her opinion. It was so fun looking at all the dresses together!


 

Sending sunshine wherever you are. Remember to take care of yourself and don’t let anyone or anything get in the way of what you truly want to do in this life. You can make anything happen if you throw all your energy at it.

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The Flight Pack Kickstarter is LIVE!

I love travel and as you know am always on the go. My next trips (aside from the cottage) are Two Islands Weekend and a speaking gig in New Orleans. Travelling all the time means I almost always only take carry-on and keep my tech accessories/toiletries to a minimum. Seeing people who haven’t packed things up properly or don’t have their things organized at airport security is a pet peeve.

Gloria, one of my friends and long time blogging babe created something to solve this problem, THE FLIGHT PACK. They’re almost half funded and only launched today, congrats girl!


The Flight Pack is a travel bag that’s meticulously designed to keep your essentials the way you want it.

  • Minimal: We decided less is definitely more. The Flight Pack has a simple, sleek silhouette created for a hassle-free experience at the airport.
  • Modular: Carefully designed to keep your travel essentials organized your way with a removable vanity panel and detachable compartments that snap in and out of the bag.
  • Durable: Well made for people on the move – this is not the kind of bag you’ll want to replace anytime soon. This bag is simple to clean, and builds character over time.

The Flight Pack launches on Kickstarter TODAY and they’ve got some great options available including the EARLY BIRD for $85 CAD which includes 1 product and you save $55 off future retail cost ($140), with free shipping worldwide.

CHECK OUT THE KICKSTARTER


Gloria is an awesome human, you might recognize her from the last couple GIVING BACK VIBES lunches we cooked up at Evangel Hall.


Love supporting friends doing cool things.
If you have a cool side-hustle or project on the go, lmk!

 

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When I was in Florida I met this adorable darling from Louisiana. She shocked me with what she does to fill up her time…I found it to be very interesting. Much different from my life in IT blogging away in Toronto.  She’s working on a crazy Ph.D and also does fetish porn. I know! So, I wanted to interview her.  She has some crazy stories and she’s cute as a button.

This is Part One of my interview with Fetish Porn Star Sicilia Ricci in New Orleans, Louisiana.florida-121-june

That’s not your real name! Where did it come from & where do you come from?

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I really liked Sicilia, because my dad’s family is from Sicily. I grew up around a lot of my Italian family and I love the family recipes and all the yummy desserts.  So, I thought Sicilia would be perfect!   And then the Ricci just seemed to really flow.  I really like going by Sici Ricci for short!!!

You’re hot.  Is the weather as hot as you in New Orleans?

Thanks my little Cas-nugget!  I think I am so hot because I live in New Orleans.  There is nothing like New Orleans heat.  Have you ever been to a lovely spa and had a luxurious treatment and then sat in there glorious sauna and felt all refreshed after 10 or 15 minutes? Well, imagine if a scary gnome came and locked you in.  Welcome to summer in New Orleans.  There is no such thing as saunas in our spas down here…we just call it outside.  And yesterday marks the beginning of hurricane season, so please keep your fingers crossed that there’s no Katrina stirring in the waters this year.  Or, I might be up visiting all my friends from Toronto very soon!

What do you do in New Orleans besides Fetish stuff?l_adef8bccfb26c5aed4ba5122b02e6d7c

I am in New Orleans working on my Ph.D. in immunology.  It’s a lot of fun and really rewarding.  It’s like opening up a book of mind-boggling questions everyday and you get to use cool CSI-type experiments to find out the answers.  For those curious at heart, it’s perfect.

Why don’t you tell the world how we met and where? That’s a fun tale.

Casie and I were roomies with two of our other friends at a big huge fetish event in Florida.  It is called Fetish Factory and their anniversary weekend, which falls every Memorial Day, is a huge event that draws in over 2500 fetishists.  We had a killer time this year and I know there will be more to come in the recent months!!!

If you could get a gift in the mail of anything you want, what would it be?

The Samurai.  I tried it out about a year and a half ago now and it gave me the most intense orgasm ever.  It is a long metal tube that inserts into your favorite hole and is attached to a tens unit.  When you turn it on, it makes your vaginal wall muscles contract, so when you cum…you really CUM!!!

Wow. Sounds pretty intense. You’re pretty awesome Sicilia Ricci. Do you have a website were people can stalk you?

You can stalk me on myspace.  Unfortunately, I do not have my own website up yet, but hopefully soon.  You can see some clips of me at www.thebondagechannel.com or www.wasteland.com.  Hope you check them out and I hope you like them!
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I had a great weekend, this is obvious. However, there is something else…Mum I never told you I was going to this party because I didn’t want you to worry!

This weekend in Florida marked the Festish Factory 14th Anniversary Weekend.  It was my first time ever going to a fetish party and it just so happened to be the world’s biggest and best. I wasn’t able to bring my camera to the parties but there will eventually be some great photos that show up from the many professional photographers that were there.

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Here’s one from my camera and one that my friend took of us before going out.  I hung out with the cool kids known as the NYC Tribe.  It was badass. Sunday night was the Fetish Ball and what a night that was! OMG.  I’ll update this post as I get more pix. florida-redguyI met some really awesome and really hot people. I wore latex and leather and some other stuff too.  If you ask me, maybe I’ll tell you. This red outfit was what I wore the first night. I didn’t want to be too crazy for my first night there.

I made friends with some lovely ladies from Boston & New Orleans. They have been to these parties before. I was super nervous yet excited, I had no idea what I was in for. It was amazing, I loved it. There were pool parties and afterparties all over the place and the whole hotel was full of people attending the event.  You gotta go.  Seriously.

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My friends picked me up from the airport and we went back to the hotel. It felt so nice to be in the hot hot sun and surrounded my air that was so warm. florida-032 I did lots of cool stuff like drink and tan and I even went to a nude beach. I was a good girl and didn’t take any photos  there (it’s VERY frowned upon).  I love going to nude beaches, I usually keep my bottoms on. You feel so free just hanging out and not having anyone really staring. I was with some babes and we frolicked in the waves which did in fact attract some attention. The girls were both buck , so I can see why!!

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My friend June (aka: June Bug or Sicilia Ricci)  from New Orleans got a really, really, big hot dog. I got a big pizza but her photo was way more entertaining. Look at the size of that wiener! MASSIVE UNIT!

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I think this is a very artistic one. As we were coming off the highway there are these people selling flowers. I can’t imagine what that must be like or how you even get into a job like that.  I wanted to capture a pure expression and snapped this photo of him.  It’s so real. florida-102

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