Rest in Peace, Betty

Last night when the plane landed I received a text saying that nana had passed away. Mum and I left SF and I guess around that same time in NZ, Betty passed peacefully.  In a message from my auntie, she said ‘we were all in-flight together’.

Mum and Betty with her freshly painted nails

It was hard being there and seeing her struggling to eat or sit up. Nursing homes have this old smell and it is sad seeing people in their last days of life. It was my first time experiencing that and I felt sad but I wanted to be there, yet part of me wanted to run away from it. It gives you all these conflicting feelings about life and death, sprinkle that with a bit of family drama and it would give anyone anxiety.

I’ve spent my whole life on the other side of the world from my family and not been there for any death or sickness. This trip was the first time I’d been there to experience something like this with relatives. We visited nana each day I was there in Palmerston North and mum stayed an extra week to be with her. I took photos and printed one of her and mum, then put it in a frame to put beside nana’s bed. Mum went through some of nana’s things and we all took a few mementoes to remember her. I painted her nails and did her lipstick. We told stories about Canada and our families here. Mum put some nice cream on her frail dry hands.

I’m so glad we were able to be there with her in those final days, especially mum. I can only imagine how hard it was for her. Seeing her, and also leaving her.

Betty was a strong woman. Always dressed well and wore lipstick. Her hair was always permed with a perfect curl. She always had her nails painted nicely. She had 5 children, 3 boys and two girls, including 1 set of twins, my mum and Jimmy. She was a sassy woman, known for saying exactly what was on her mind. A good listener. Very sweet but still a hard case. She liked to do things her own way.

Twins, Jimmy and mum at The Batch over the holidays

We felt a little bit like she was holding on just to see us. We first visited her on January 2nd and she passed away January 15th. Each day we were together we could see her health declining. I didn’t know what else to do but be there and tell stories. She was so happy when I did her nails. I always like to have my nails done too.

Mum and I were saying to her that she could ‘go anytime, it was ok‘ and she mumbled ‘bitch‘. Mum and I couldn’t help but burst out laughing, I think she’s been hearing that from people the last couple months and was like ‘I will damn well go when I please thank you very much‘.

This trip was special in so many ways but taking mum back to see her family and spend time with her mum before she passed away was priceless.

I’m going to get my nails done a bright red today for you Betty.
Rest in peace.

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Settling Back Into Work Mode

This week I have two Mondays. I woke up about 7am Monday in Auckland, NZ and flew to San Francisco in the afternoon. Then we travelled back in time, and here I am experiencing Monday morning again in San Francisco. It’s 8:30am now and my flight is at 12:30pm. The wifi is great.

Luckily for me, I’m someone who looks forward to Monday, it always brings new opportunity and you never know what will happen. I’m glad to have North American power outlets, walk on the right (not left) side of the halls, and Starbucks everywhere. The wifi here is also great and I’m really glad to sit at my computer and settle back into work mode.


Since I’ve been on vacation for the first part of the year I kinda feel like I’m only starting 2018 now. Well, when I get home and wake up in my own bed. I’m excited for what this year will bring. I’m focused on doing more directing, travelling, and speaking. My blog will always be my diary but it’s important to constantly innovate. You don’t want to get left behind and I prefer to be ahead of the pack! 

The last month has been an opportunity to learn more about the things I really love doing and what I don’t want to do. I got a glimpse of lots of different lifestyles and perspectives. I strive to bring more joy into my life and keep my sunshiney positive attitude. The more you live that way the more you bring it into your life. Like attracts like. I have no time for negative attitudes, people, or perspectives.

Last year around this time I had a big awakening during my trip to LA.  This post was written Jan 14th and this one on January 31st if you want a refresh. When I came back to Canada I made a few changes that I stuck with all year.

  1. Do what you want – don’t fall into pressure to go places, hang out, or do anything you don’t want to do. You are the director of your life.
  2. Put yourself first – you need to self-care and make time to be creative, healthy, workout. Make yourself happy and you’ll have more sunshine to share.

I signed up for unlimited classes at Yoga Yoga Studio and went 3-4 times almost every week. At the start of each week, I put in classes my calendar and don’t miss one unless something important or a job comes up. There were obvs exceptions but I was focussed on making my classes because they make ME FEEL GOOD. They’re good for my mental health and great for stretching my bod.

I also gave up going to so many events. For years I went to heaps each week, I WAS EVERYWHERE. Back then, it was essential to getting my name out there and for building relationships. I highly recommend doing that if you’re just getting started! These days, my priorities have changed. I’m doing work I love and have some amazing partnerships. This year I’ll be continuing my work with Telus and Sassoon Toronto. I’ve got some projects on the go with 1188 and am represented by the National Speakers Bureau (Global Speakers Agency). This work brings me so much joy! 


2017 was the year of cutting the fat from my life. I went full Marie Kondo on my whole damn life. If something doesn’t bring me joy, byeeeeeee.

2018 is the year of love and light and I’m excited. 

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The last couple days have been so incredibly lovely. We’ve been staying with Catherine and having so many laughs. The first day we visited nana who was doing ok but she seem’s a bit better. My last update I was feeling super emotional, it was real talk. Happy to report I’m feeling much better now. I’ve been meeting up with cousins and getting to know my family and my heart is full of love.

Yesterday we went to Himatangi Beach for a long walk and swim.  IT WAS AMAAAAAZING. Both my mum and dad used to go there heaps growing up. My granddad used to have a beach house but I didn’t know which one so I don’t have a photo lol.

I walked along with mum, and my cousins Alec (dad), Margot (his daughter), and their two little Scottie dogs. It was so much fun. They call them ‘doggos’! We ran up and down the beach playing with the pups and walking on water while the tide was out. After we stripped down to our togs (kiwi for bathing suit!) and body surfed in the ocean.

That night Alec invited us over for dinner and we had a good kiwi bbq w/ salad, potatoes, steak, sausages, and wine. Lots of wine! Mum drove home lol. We all told stories around the table and laughed our heads off. We had more wine back at the house with my other cousins and I loved every minute of it. Doing a good job of making up for lost time while I’m here. Did a pop by and made dinner plans for my mum’s twin brother’s daughter and her family next week (another cousin party!).

Today we tried to go to yoga but it was closed for the week. It’s crazy how everything shuts down here for the holidays. After not doing yoga we stopped into one cafe that had a closed kitchen for the week. See?! Crazy! We had a nice brekky at another little spot before mum and I met a different cousin in the park. I bought her girl’s an ice cream each and it was so hot out they melted all over the place by the duck pond. It was pretty funny!

We had a few laughs and a brief afternoon visit with nana too. She remembered us today. Next week I’ll be on adventure by myself mostly. I bought mum a one way flight on a local airline so she can spend more time here with nana then meet me in Auckland a couple days before we come home. I’m looking forward to it! Have some fun stuff planned.

Tonight for dinner we had fish & chips from Mork & Mindy’s and MY GOD THEY WERE GOOD. They’re best when wrapped in paper. When I was a kid they were wrapped in newsprint. That would never happen now! New Zealand ‘fush & chups’ are so fresh and delicious, it’s hard to explain but they’re just so GOOD. We ate heaps with lots of laughs and had a nice night at the house.

Tomorrow we drive out to the coast. I can’t wait to be back there. It’s incredibly beautiful. Everything here is stunning. Another cool thing about New Zealand is how the air smells. It’s fresh, sweet, and exotic after a good rain. There’s a storm right now so hoping it clears up by morning!

LOVE FROM NEW ZEALAND!
I THINK MUM IS HAPPY! 

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Well my friends! It’s been almost 10 days since I’ve been away and it feels like forever! I had a nice time over the weekend at Coromandel with my family and the weather was beautiful. We had fresh fish everyday and I took as much time to read at the beach as possible. It’s lovely here but I can’t help but miss home, I miss everyone, my bf, my house, and even the snow. I’m grateful but it’s been a bit hard.

I’m in Pamerston North now which is about 6 hours south from Auckland in the North Island. The air is warm and the air here smells fresh and clean. I love the smell of new Zealand. Yesterday I met some of my cousins for the first time and we shared laughs and stories at a cafe called Baristas.

We’re staying with a friend of mum’s, like a sister, and she is so incredibly lovely. An artist who is all about positive energy with a garden full of monarch butterflies, apple & lemon trees, grape vines, and green grass. She also has 5G wifi and I’ve got my own room, so, about as good as it gets!

Travelling with a parent is kinda stressful and if you have any tips please share. Stayed at a great Airbnb at Lake Taupo yesterday and then drove to our next destination Palmerston North. We visited my nana yesterday, mum’s mum, who isn’t doing that great and tbh don’t think will be around much longer. I’m glad I was able to bring mum to see her but just the weight of it all is heavy. I’ve cried a lot the last two days.

Beautiful New Zealand, it looks like this almost everywhere once you leave the city/town.

It’s kind of weird being here because a lot of it is familiar from my previous trips but so much is different. I’m taking it one day at a time but knowing in the back of my mind that nana could go at any minute is hard to ignore. This afternoon we’re planning to go to the beach if the rain holds up. I’m sitting outside at a cafe drinking a flat white and using wifi outside. I found a yoga studio and am planning to pop by for a class in about an hour.

CUTE CAFE. GREAT WIFI!


Sending sunshine from New Zealand!
I’ll be home in 11 days!

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G’day from down under! Haven’t had great wifi the last couple days and it’s actually been quite lovely! We’ve got a small cabin at a park on the beach about 2 hours north of Auckland. I was 12 when I was last here.

It’s so great to spend time with my cousins and family. Today we’re having a New Years Eve Hāngi, a traditional Māori method of cooking for special occasions. Instead of cooking it in the ground, uncle Donald and Linda are cooking the food all day in a beer keg!

Today I went fishing w/ my cousin and caught this big snapper!

Being out on the water was incredibly beautiful and HOT. My god the sun here is brilliantly warm and sun block is essential because there’s a hole in the ozone layer. I’m going for safe gradual tan and we’ve still got 2 weeks to go.

Tomorrow we drive to Taupo and stay in a farm house Airbnb for one night. Next we head to Palmerston North for a couple days then out to the coast near Masterton for the weekend.

Sending love and sunshine from the future (18 hours ahead of Toronto)!!!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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Land of the Long White Cloud

Some photos from our first full day here in Auckland. We went to the beach, the mall, had a meat pie, and a nice visit with my auntie, mum’s sister.

Mum and her sister Robyn

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2018: Do What You Love, Do It Now

Don’t waste time. Don’t stay in a job you hate or a love you don’t have.
Do what you love. Do what makes you happy.

Whatever you truly want is out there waiting for you to grab on and take it for a ride.
Find it. Build it. Break it. Make it. Bring it into your life.

Find your happiness and take it everywhere you go. Share it around and it will spread.
It’s contagious in the best kind of way.


If you don’t want to do something find a way to change it. Don’t feel bad about staying home or changing your mind. It’s ok to change your mind, realize you don’t want something anymore. Make lists and cross things off. Do the thing you have always wanted to do.

Do what makes you happy. Find a way to make it your life.


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I’ve Got No Roots, But My Home Was Never on the Ground

People often think short hair is low maintenance, it’s not. I  mean it’s quick in the morning on a daily basis but this short blonde hair is totally high maintenance. Through my partnership with Sassoon this year, I’ve had regular salon trips to trim my hairline and bleach + tone touchups every 6 weeks or so.

The crazy thing is, I’m almost always just between having it cut or needing a cut. I wouldn’t change it though, this short blonde hair is something that makes me unique, stand out, feel good, I love it.

I really love getting my hair done at Sassoon Toronto. Kimberly, who does my blonde is hilarious and I would love to have beers with her. She is also blonde, same age, has a beardy BF, and incredibly good at getting the perfect blonde.

Last week 2 things happened that were super great but stressful. One, I learned never to change my blonde and two, was in a commercial shot by 1188 (Sean’s company!).

At my Tuesday hair appointment, I told Kim that I wanted to go ash blonde. A little more ashy blonde, this on someone with long hair isn’t that big of a change. On short blonde, it is major. My hair is normally the ‘Baby Blonde’ you see below, ash is the light blonde in the bottom right. Big difference!

SO, Kimberly did what I asked and gave me a beautiful ash blonde. When I sat up from having the colour washed, I was like WHOA. No. Omg no. I didn’t like it. To anyone else, it was a cool ash blonde but to me, I looked like someone with brown hair! I don’t know what I was thinking changing my look. I’m never doing it again, and the week of a shoot fml. The team at Sassoon, especially Kimberly were so cool about it and we gave it a special rinse/wash with a product called ‘Malibu‘. It helps to rinse out the toner that made the bleach blonde turn to ash.

After I came home Sean said I looked different and I wasn’t happy with how I looked. I ended up texting the head colourist at Sassoon and making an appt for the next day at 9:30am. I woke up early the next day and bought a ton of pastries from the Portuguese bakery before yoga. After class, I went to my appt offering Kimberly a couple big boxes of croissants & egg tarts as a peace offering for having to come back/being annoying. Never hurts to be kind!

It wasn’t long before I left the salon with a beautiful white nordic blonde I’m used to. Thank you, thank you, thank you!


The title is a lyric from this video. Watched it for the first time when I posted this. After directing a music video this summer I look at things like this differently. I know she probably sang the song at a slow pace to get a specific frame rate that gives it a soft/slow feeling but she sings at the right pace in the video. I learned a lot shooting this w/ Jillea.

This week I’m directing a real estate shoot for a commercial and series of social ads. I love this type of work the most.

Enjoy!

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STAY TRUE BABE

Follow your dreams. Don’t give up. Believe in yourself. You can do it. Push through. Work hard. Be nice. Don’t give up. Keep going. Great things take time and hard work. It will be worth it. You can do this. The road is long but there is joy in the journey. Savour each moment. Keep going. Try harder. Work harder. Believe in yourself.  Try new things. Keep working hard. You’ll be glad you didn’t give up. You can do this. 

This week has been pretty busy and I was sick for a couple days but I am really happy to be doing the work that I am. Last week I filmed a commercial as part of my ongoing project with Aeroplan. This week I’m directing a commercial for a new King West property. It’s gonna be so cool! Next week I’m on set for a feature film. You have no idea how many times I say to myself ‘THIS IS MY LIFE!”.

STAY TRUE BABE, DON’T GIVE UP ON YOUR DREAMS

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’ve always loved this quote and on my first draft of this post, the title was ‘That idea is stupid’ because those words were the motivation to write this story down. Also, I know there’s a lot of ‘fake’ Einstein quotes so I hope he actually said this!

Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.
– Albert Einstein


A long, long time ago I got a job at a Canadian media station. Most the girls there were not particularly nice to me. From what I gathered I was the weird internet girl and they didn’t like me. That’s ok, I’ve always been a little different and danced to the beat of my own drum.

The boss I was hired by believed in me and my weird internetness. I was doing something unique and it was 2009, the start of mainstream social media. I was excited to learn from him and work together making cool internet as a team. Then he left for another job. My new boss had been there for a lonnnnnng time. Like before the internet long time. He was NOT into my ideas and along with the girls, thought I was weird.

One meeting I suggested they put hashtags on tv screens while a show was on and he said “that idea is stupid“. Well, we all know how that turned out, don’t we…

A couple years later I worked a full-time job as a Director at an agency. We were planning a big event for the launch of a new vodka flavour. I knew about this cool social media printer setup that would print any Instagram post with a pre-determined hashtag to a little paper that was also a sticker. I’d followed this company since it’s Kickstarter and knew it was finally available for hire. In a meeting I recommended it and everyone loved the idea. I priced it out and we had to fly in the guy and the four printer machines from NYC and put him up for a night in a hotel. It was kinda expensive but compared to the entire event not thaaaaaat much. In the next meeting, my idea was on the chopping block. I fought like hell to keep it on. Pleading that it would be the coolest thing and social media feeds narcissism, meaning everyone will want cute photos of themselves to take home. Thanks to that idea and the printer the event was a HUGE success, trending in Toronto then Canada for most of the night.


Moral of the story

Don’t let what someone else says stand in your way.You might be able to see something they just can’t visualize it because you’re ahead of the game. Go with that. Go with your gut, believe in yourself. Put your ideas out there. Don’t be afraid to speak up. 

You never know how big your idea will be until you put it out there.

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