HAPPY FRIDAY!

I’m back in TO and what a great week I had. I love California and especially San Francisco. I have over 2,000 photos and so many stories to share. If you were following me you’ll know I was pretty busy. On my last day I went to the famous Museum of Ice Cream (more photos coming!), then a boat tour, and a bus tour. It was so fun but today I’m exhausted.

I’ve been switching back and forth from EST to PST for two weeks with being in Vancouver and SF and I think it’s catching up with me. Plus, we have Daylight Saving this weekend. This weekend I’m looking forward to some quality time at home with my computer writing about my adventures. I’m sticking around the city for a couple weeks before I visit Montreal and Paris.¬† I’m really looking forward to opening the cottage soon.


Sending you some California sunshine, I tried to bring back as much as I could! 

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Hello from San Francisco!

Hi!!!! This is a quick little update from the Bay Area. I just checked into my hotel in Union Square and am meeting the other journalists shortly for dinner. It was sunny when we landed then a few showers rolled in. It was raining on the way to the hotel, sunny when I got to my room, then it rained, and one second later a beautiful rainbow appeared. Magical!

san francisco rainbow casiestewart


I’m really excited to explore the city over the next 6 days. I’ve been here a couple times but mostly just quick work trips with Virgin America. I’m here w/ SF Tourism this time writing for Canadian Geographic and¬†we have a really great itinerary including a Segway tour, Alcatraz, Mission District, dinner theatre, and heaps of good food.

WELCOME TO SAL FRANCISCO!


Follow along on Twitter @casiestewart or IG @casiestewart here. I love sharing my adventures and am really excited about what the next few days will bring.


The rainbow at sunset from my balcony!!!

Here’s to a great weekend!

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Happiest When Travelling

Hellooooooo! Good morning from Surrey, BC. I’m here as a consultant for a conference and that’s all I can say about that right now. Arrived yesterday afternoon after a great flight on Air Canada. I’m staying at a pink hotel called Pacific Inn that looks like a Caribbean resort. I’ll take some photos before I leave!

Today we’re at a beautiful golf resort with mountains in the background. The view below is from the beach in White Rock, BC were I had dinner last night.

Tomorrow I’m heading to downtown Vancouver for the day and booked and Airbnb for the night. Back home Thursday.

Sending sunshine from the West Coast!

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Go Ahead, Use Your Phone! Telus Has Easy Roam!

Even though I was really glad to be home from New Zealand, I would LOVE to be back there on the beach right now. This winter seems never-ending and I even missed a month of it!

While I was away I didn’t¬†miss a beat posting things to the internet. For three weeks I used Google maps as my navigator, Stories, Twitter, and Facebook to share photos, and was able to stay on to of emails. ¬†

A few people asked about my phone data usage and what plan I had. If you have ever travelled overseas, the phone/data situation can be stressful and very expensive. That was, until now! ūü§©

Telus has a great add-on called Easy Roam where for you can use your phone’s regular data plan in over 100 countries.¬†If you’re in the USA, Easy Roam is $7/day and capped at $100 per billing cycle.¬†For international destinations, like New Zealand, the $10/day fee is capped at $150 per billing cycle.

Telus Easy Roam lets you use your Canadian rate plan while travelling in the US and 100+ international destinations ‚Äď now and on all future trips.

 


Honestly, this is such a good deal. I remember¬†travelling to the states for a weekend and a friend racked up $1,000 because she didn’t have a data plan like this.

The good things is, you’re only charged for days that you access your Canadian plan in your destination. So, if you don’t need to use your Canadian data plan (hellooo wifi!) you’re not charged.

While in NZ, I¬†had wifi at almost every place I stayed, so that helped for nighttime/morning scrolling (just like home haha).¬† Safe to say, I didn’t go over my monthly data and or get a shocker of a bill when I came home.

If you’re planning a winter getaway, you’ll find these useful:

Next week, I’m travelling to Vancouver to speak at a conference and before I head home, visiting the Telus HQ. I’ve wanted to visit Telus Garden since it was built!

The building takes up an entire city block downtown Vancouver and blends¬†architecture, art, and environmental sustainability. It has 10,000+ square feet of outdoor space on six different levels, a community garden, bike storage, electric car charging stations, and more. I’m excited!

See you next week Vancouver!

 

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Mammary Memory, Thanks Facebook!

Two years ago today I was in Cabo with Sean on a sponsored trip w/ Sunwing. It was an ok trip. We had a pretty strict itinerary and were at a remote resort but the sun was beautiful and we had a great room. When I look at this photo, I think about how I had to post a certain number of things each day and it was kinda stressful. This was one of the photos I posted to IG during the trip to document stand paddle boarding. The other thing I see when I look at this photo is the size of my boobs.

Surfing photo, hiding the boobs here again.

Six months after this trip I had a breast reduction. For years I would hide them, they never fit properly in a bathing suit, or a bra, especially a sports bra. I hated them and was at the point where I was willing to pay for the surgery myself when the phone call came in. I am so glad I went through that process and have smaller boobs now.

The biggest change, aside from¬†working out in 1 bra only is the effect it had on my mental health. I’m happier. I’m more confident. I was always a happy person with confidence but the change for me is in how I feel on the inside. I don’t stress about shirt buttons popping open anymore, I can just throw on something and get dressed really fast, I wear tighter stuff without feeling likes someone might say “whoa Tits McGee!”. That happened a few times before lol.¬†I can laugh about it now, but having huge boobs was something¬†that I really stressed about. I had a DD and was 100Lbs when I started high school, it wasn’t fun. For the last¬†few years before the surgery, I never wore v-neck,¬†low cut, backless, strapless, tank tops, or spaghetti strap. And the only t-shirts were definitely¬†baggy.

If you have ever thought about going through the process of getting the reduction, I am happy to chat you about my process. It was covered by OHIP and I saw a great surgeon in North York. I personally know a couple women who have done it for me and it’s a real life changer.

These days I love working out, the gym, yoga, and running outside. I’m working on my summer muscles already and I can’t wait for summer. There are 46 days until the first day of Spring and according to the groundhog, we’ve got 6 more weeks of winter taking us to March 16th.

Sean and I on a jetski in Cabo! You can barely see the famous archway in the distance!

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Let’s Talk

Three events today. Ignore…. 33 Facebook notifications. Too many unread emails. Twitter notifications. Instagram notifications. Unread messages. It’s overwhelming. Then add on [that you’ve been keeping a public diary about your life for a decade and] all kinds of people who don’t really know you who think they ‘like totally’ know you because they’ve known¬†you for 5+ years.

They know about the cottage and people, places, things, thoughts. Boyfriends, birthdays, best friends. They’ve had babies and you’d recognize their kids now, but you don’t really know them.

They know you, part of you, the sunshiney part where you’re always smiling and wearing bright colours, or going somewhere great looking good.

They don’t see behind the screen, in the pile of clothes or messy closet. The days when you just can’t even, when you think about leaving the house. Or going to that event. When all you want to really do is stay home and cook in your kitchen or go to yoga because it makes you feel better.


I feel like I need a break and maybe it’s the winter blues talking post vacation SAD*.¬† Maybe it’s because I’m on the waitlist for yoga at noon. Maybe it’s Time’s Up or Me Too. I don’t know. It’s freezing outside and blowing snow gives limited visibility. It’s also Bell Let’s Talk and Spring is just a few weeks away.

It’s ok not to be ok. I’m not always ok. The last few weeks have been really hard. The trip to New Zealand was super fucking hard. My nana¬†died and one of my uncles was being super controlling from the day I arrived to the point where I blocked him on Facebook. Travelling with your mum is not easy. I cried a lot for the first week of the trip. I cried while driving with my mum in the car yelling at each other. I pulled over to cry while mum walked off. I fucked up the car by putting diesel in the gas tank after having a big cry with my BF. I fucked up a tire by driving over a storm grate to take a picture of a sign that said ‘Beaconsfield’ like the old Queen West Bar. I drove alone on really insane roads where death was less than a metre away. But I did it. I did it all and I made it home safe. I was worried at times I wouldn’t make it and other times I wanted to drive mum and I off the damn ledge because I was so annoyed. But I didn’t do that either.

Over the¬†course of the¬†NZ trip, I learned a lot about myself and had a lot of time to think about what I want to do with my life. What’s next? I kept a diary of the trip with mum. I haven’t posted as¬†much for the last 2 weeks since I’ve been back but I’ve still been writing.¬†I’ve been working on more projects w/ 1188 and Occupied VR. I’ve been eating well, going to the gym, and doing yoga. Today I baked a lasagna from scratch.

I’m continuing my 2017 mantra of doing what makes me happy and making my time a priority. I guess you could say I’m reclaiming my time.¬†¬†Last year after my LA trip, I shifted the way I think about things and it has made all the difference. I am more considerate and calm, and I try to listen more and talk less.

Being a positive person is something you have to want to do and decision I try to make every day. Post NZ I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what I want to do next and I feel like the winter is a perfect time to hibernate and do just that. I always feel better when I write it down. Having a diary really helps me through those days when I don’t want to get out of bed.

If you’re having a hard day, hang in there. You are the director of your movie and you decide how the story goes and who plays a starring role.

You can also reach out to me anytime, I think you probably know me better than I realize. I’m always here.¬†

FYI in case you aren't from Canada and don't have the long cold winter!
Seasonal affective disorder¬†(SAD) is a type of¬†depression¬†that's related to changes in seasons ‚ÄĒSAD¬†begins and ends at about the same times every year. If you're like most people with¬†SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody.
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Years ago when I worked with Virgin America I helped them launch service in Dallas Texas. It’s a really cool thing when a new airline joins a city. All kinds of celebrities and media are flown in on their biggest plane and before anyone exits the aircraft, a huge water cannon washes over the plane. It was so neat. Stephanie Pratt (Spencer’s sister) from The Hills, Eric Stonestreet from Modern Family, and Xeni from Boing Boing were on the plane too. Read the full post here from Dec 1, 2010.

On this trip I met Richard Branson for the first time, Willie, LMFAO, a few other great people. This quote of his came up in my Facebook memories from this day in 2014 so I thought I’d share a little more about the day I met the author.

Redwood, redwood, coming in for landing xo. 

Redwood is the Virgin America (VX) callsign!

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Tramping in New Zealand

OK, I know what you are thinking and I THOUGHT THE SAME THING.

When I arrived in NZ we picked up the rental car at the airport. Next, we pulled into a parking lot at the airport to change into summer clothes. I took a few laps of the airport to get used to right-hand drive and being on the other side of the road. I was fine.  I drove us down to the Viaduct in Auckland to look at the boats. [Mum is really into sailing and has a boat, sailed from Ontario to the Bahamas and lived there for a year.]

We went into a sailing shop and I saw this mug…

We walked out of the store and very serious I came close to mum, and whispered in her ear “mum, what is tramping?

I was so serious. Tramping?
What is a tramping club?

Mum, WTF IS TRAMPING?

Because to me, ‘tramping’ would be something to do with¬†tramps or going out to find a man. Something you might have done in college that involved a lot of shots. Nothing I would ever do, now.

In New Zealand…
TRAMPING IS HIKING!

Tramping, known elsewhere as backpacking, rambling, hill walking or bushwalking, is a popular activity in New Zealand. Tramping is defined as a recreational activity involving walking over rough country. Wikipedia

“tramps, ranging from easy to difficult”


WELL, THANKS FOR LETTING ME KNOW.
Here I am thinking something bad and it’s totally hiking.¬†

So, I went tramping on Piha beach and it was AMAZING.

Black sand due to volcanic sand and iron oxide. Cool eh!

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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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JUST HOLD ON WE’RE GOING HOME: live blog from 35,000ft!

Helloo! I’m on United flight 916 from Auckland, New Zealand to San Francisco, California. Mum and I are watching Battle of the Sexes movie about the Billie Jean King story. For years I’ve had a Billie Jean King quote framed on my wall that was given to me by mum when I was a teenager. Perfect timing for this movie considering what’s happening in the world right now. As the plane took off I put through an order for a ‘Time’s Up’ shirt via PayPal on my phone. Mum thought that was pretty cool and such a ‘me’ thing to do as the plane was taking off.

As we were boarding I got a notification a new game of HQ Trivia was starting. I’ve got mum hooked on it this trip. We haven’t got higher than 7 questions but what does it matter?! we both love Scotty (the hilar host) and we have a bunch of laughs every single time.

Before driving to the airport I bought 2 books of stamps and sent off a pile of postcards I’ve written this trip. I asked people to give me their address and also sent them to people I’ve worked with or haven’t seen in a while.

I love travelling so much. Sending postcards is something I’ve been doing the last few years and it always makes me feel great writing them and sending sunshine to people around the world.

This trip was really awesome. I saw parts of NZ I’ve always wanted to and spend a good chunk of time driving the open road by myself.¬† I learned a lot and mum’s said she learned a lot from me about travelling too.

HOMETIME! Have an extra bag because of all the SHOPPING!


I’m really proud we made it through the 21 days together and came out strong. There were some hard family times to go through and a bit of drama but we stuck together. Both mum and I feel at peace with Nana, it was hard but it’s good we were there. We have nothing but pure joy when it comes to the family and all the cousins. I got to see so many people and build/form new relationships. Mum spent a few extra days in her hometown hanging out with cousins and old friends.¬† I feel non-ironic, honestly actually, blessed to have great people in my life.

I also feel pretty lucky to have such a great mum. Yes, there were times she drove me crazy (what mother doesn’t!) but we also had so many laughs, went for walks, stopped at nearly every vintage shop we saw, and drove long country roads singing along to Adele (haha). we didn’t make it yoga but there’s time for that.

Excited to be coming home and have memories to last a lifetime. They are serving lamb as the lunch on the way home with couscous and it is delicious. I love new Zealand food! We are also having Heineken!

With love from the sky at 35,000 ft!

 

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On  The Road Again: Palmerston North to Lake Taupo

I spent most of today in the car on a 3hr road trip from Palmerston North to Taupo. Woke up feeling a bit groggy from loud singing Adele with mum after an amazing dinner and few bottles of wine with my cousins. We had so much fun together last night. I love having my family close, getting to know them, making jokes together, them making fun of me, and laughing. This trip has been so exciting.

PETER, ISAAC, COOKIE, ALEC (and the doggos!)


I went to say my last goodbye to nana at the home this morning. She was doing better than yesterday but she’s had quite a decline from the first day I saw her over a week ago. Getting old is sad. Next, we visited my cousin Lisa and gave gifts to her three darling little daughters. It was nice. Lisa came to visit us in Canada when she was 9. Her and my sister used to look so much alike. Lisa is 1/2 Maori and beautiful. Mum is staying in Palmy this week to spend more time with her mum and I’m on the road alone.

The best parts of my trip today were stopping at least 10 times to take photos and post things on the internet. A long drive on the open road is nice but I like to take photos so luckily for me, New Zealand has a lot of rest stops.

Aside from driving on the other side of the road, it’s pretty challenging because the roads are narrow and twist and wind all over the place. You really have to concentrate. I had my GoPro along for the drive and haven’t even checked the card for that yet. I’m planning to do some data backup and management¬†on the long, nearly 24-hour journey back to Canada.

I stopped to take some photos from this lookout.

Stopped at Mt Ruapehu, an active stratovolcano at the southern end of the Taupo Volcanic Zone. On the way in we drove past but it was too cloudy to see the peaks. Still looks good from the last time I saw it back when I was 18! The last eruption was in 2007.

Then went to the Tokaanu Hot Pools about 45 minutes outside Taupo. For $12 you can get our own private pool. I took a dip in the public one too and was out of there in just over 20 min. One of the joys of solo travel is zipping in and out of tourist attractions really fast. In Wellington, I did both the National Museum Te Papa and the War Museum in about 30 min each. That post is coming soon. I’m a few days behind!


At Lake Taupo I stopped for ice cream at the beach and read my book in the sun. It was so lovely. People were swimming, riding bikes, riding seadoos, parasailing, and boating.

This thing was melting so fast, was hot AF outside!

After a little rest up on the beach, I drove over to my Airbnb. My hosts are super nice. We talked over tea before they headed out for a night swim at the pool. I took in the sunset and soaked up the wifi to write this all down.

Hosts have a nice patio where I sat with my computer for a bit.

I love you New Zealand.

I’m really having a great time. I miss Sean and home but I also love being on the road. Can you believe we sill have 5 more days!? Tomorrow I drive to Auckland to stay with a friend. Can’t wait!

With love from New Zealand,

 

 

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