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South Western Ontario Road Trip!

This week I’m making my way from Toronto to Cambridge, then to Leamington, Ontario visiting my family along the way. I’m really excited to visit my dads new house. He’s lived there for 2 years and I’ve never been! 🤦🏼‍♀️ Leamington is the most southern point in Ontario, on the same latitude as Northern California, with a slightly warmer climate than Toronto. The last time I saw dad was in the summer when he came to the city in his hot rod. I’m looking forward to hanging out tomorrow and exploring the area.

Ford Canada lent me a 2020 Ford Edge for the week. This vehicle is a great compact SUV, it’s good on gas, has a great system, and I’m in love with the heated steering wheel. I’ll share a more thorough review of the car after my trip this week.

2020 Ford Edge

I drove around the city quite a bit this past weekend visiting my sister, hanging with friends, and helping a friend move some new furniture.

Today I’m going to my hometown (Cambridge, ON) to spend some time with mum. I can’t wait to see the house renovations and spend the night in my childhood home. It’s always an adventure at home, especially going through my old stuff in the basement.

It takes about 4 hours to get to dad’s from Toronto so I’ve downloaded Jessica Simpson’s ‘Open Book‘ on Audible and I can’t wait to listen. I’ll also catch up on The Papaya Podcast and listen to my favs on Spotify.

I love road trips and being in the car by myself. The last time I took a long solo drive was in New Zealand two years ago. It’s a great way to clear your head and get some perspective. I’m hoping to come back with a few new ideas and some inspo. I am also looking forward to my parent’s home cooking! 😁

Here’s to a great week!

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Beat Winter SAD: Sweat!

Since making exercise part of my life over the last few months, I’ve started to crave the feeling I get from working out. Each night I lay out my gym stuff and look forward to going each morning. I wrote a bit about my fitness journey here and once I started to see results, it motivated me to keep going.

I’m committed to not letting this winter give me seasonal affective disorder like last year, I never want to get that way again. I’m sure there will be sad days here and there (there deff are), but I know I can fight it with fitness.

Today’s tip to beat Winter SAD is to SWEAT. Find a class, get a YouTube video going, download Nike Training club, dance, or jump around.

Do something to get yourself moving, create endorphins, get your brain high on body moment.

My Fav Apps & Fitness Resources

I like the NTC app for exercises and the NRC app for running. I often do Yoga with Adrienne on Youtube or find workouts on Pinterest. There are so many free resources available online if you don’t have a gym membership.

If you are in GTA and want a workout buddy to try a class, ask me anytime! I love hanging with friends and movement makes us all feel good.

You got this, we can beat winter SAD!

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byMINISTRY Enlightened Dining Club

I recently attended a new kind of dinner with amazing food that was infused with cannabis (THC & CBD). The entire experience was highly curated to take us on a journey through incredible food and unique experience.

The team at byMINISTRY aims to show how cannabis can be integrated into life through food & drink, culture, and wellness. They’re taking your plant-forward lifestyle to a higher place and I am here for it.

The Experience

Sean and I arrived to be greeted with a non-infused temperance cocktail as there was no alcohol on site. Before each course, the chef (Ted Corrado) walked us through what we were about to eat and if it contained CBD or THC. It was nice to learn about the food before eating it, including how the mushrooms were foraged or fish arrived at our plates.

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Get to Know High Beauty, Sativa Seed Skincare

I recently went to the launch of High Beauty, a line of skincare made with Cannabis sativa seed oil you can now find at Hudson’s Bay in Canada. I’ve been using the products for a week now and my skin feels soft and radiant.

I was so impressed with the products and beautiful packaging, I wanted to learn more about the brand. I’m really interested in new products that contain anything derived from hemp for cannabis.

I reached out to the founder to get a bit of a backstory and learn more about the company. Scroll down for my interview!

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Beat Winter SAD: 50 Self-care Ideas

Self-care can legit mean just about anything these days. For me, there are a lot of things I like to do and sometimes it’s as simple as putting away that pile of clothes or saying no to leaving the house. I made a list of things I like to do for myself, usually on a Sunday to prep for the week. Self-care is taking a few moments to yourself to do something for yourself, which makes you feel good and alleviate stress.

Thankfully this winter hasn’t been as brutal as last year’s super cold months where everything was covered in ice. The 2019 winter blues really got me down and I am trying to best to make this winter not seem as dark, lonely, and depressing.

It may seem like I am out on the town quite a bit but I assure you, it’s usually not for long. I love staying at home. I love hair masks, face masks, exfoliating, nice lotion, naps, cooking, and doing things inside the house.

I started this list to make 10 things but kept going and now there are 50. Most of these you can do without leaving your house of opening your wallet. I added a shoppable section at the bottom in case you want to grab any of my favorites via Amazon Prime.

If you are feeling down, do one little thing each day to bring happiness into your life. You DESERVE it. Treat yourself!

50 SELFCARE IDEAS
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This post contains links from my Amazon beauty favs

 

Life is too short not to try.

You should do the thing you want to do, figure it out as you go. Don’t let anyone stand in your way. You know what you want to do with your life. What are you waiting for?

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Beat Winter SAD: Hire a Cleaner

Beat Winter SAD: Hire a Cleaner

Cleaning the house at any time of year can be a challenge. When you have the long dreary winter where it’s dark before work and dark when you get home, it’s even harder. Also, how do we go through so many dishes and kid’s clothes in a week? IDK.

We have been meaning to do a deep clean on everything for longer than I care to admit.

AskForTask gave me two hours of free cleaning to try the service and let me tell you, IT WAS AMAZING. I booked the cleaning via askfortask.com and was able to list the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and share comments. The whole process took about 5 minutes and I paid the difference (after my discount) with PayPal. I booked the recommended 3 hours and our Tasker arrived Sunday morning and cleaned for the requested time. They require you to be home for the cleaning so I booked a time that worked for us.

Starting the week knowing the work is done has me feeling grateful. I can’t believe how much she deep cleaned! At one point I went to our first floor and she had completely moved our furniture to clean behind the couch. Our while place looks great. Highly recommend Maria with AskforTask, very thorough.

For all the work you do in a day, a week, a month, treat yourself and hire a cleaner. There’s a handy app that allows you to communicate with your Tasker and add more hours if need be.

Use code CASIESTEWART for $10 off your first task and give yourself some peace of mind. You deserve it.

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2020 Home Renovations: The Plan

It’s happening! We’re starting renovations on our house and I am so excited.

This past summer a good friend reached out to me about her client to see if we had any plans to renovate our bathrooms at home or the cottage. After a few months of talking, making plans, and sign-off, we’re renovating both bathrooms at home with American Standard.

I am 100% at the age where things like this give me great joy. I loved picking out fixtures, toilets, sinks, and faucets. For years, Sean and I have been thinking about doing renovations but it can be kinda overwhelming. We’re also planning to paint and make some changes to the kitchen. I’ve been building a Pinterest board with ideas and DIY tips for ages. All the current bathroom fixtures and accessories will be moved to the cottage to update that space and saved for our future shipping container project.

During our staycation at Hotel X Toronto, I was admiring the nice toilet in our suite when I noticed the brand, American Standard. This is the Townsend Vormax toilet we are getting! Yes, I ‘m excited about a toilet, this is my life now.

For the upstairs full bathroom, we’ve picked out matte black fixtures from the American Standard Studio S Collection. They’re modern and similar to the ones below. I can’t wait to paint, tile, and install everything. We’re planning to do most of the work ourselves, both Sean and I are pretty handy.

matte black, American Standard

We’re starting with the downstairs bathroom in February and making our way to the second larger bathroom next. If you have any tips or thoughts to share about home renovations, I’m all ears!

My goal is to try and stay calm through the process!

Casie Stewart, signature, iPad Pro.
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This is a partnership with American Standard.

Beat Winter SAD: Book a Staycation

Beat Winter SAD: Book a Staycation

We are almost through January and the countdown to spring is ON! OK, it’s 50 days, and yes I’m counting. I’m really working on finding ways to make this winter not seem as long, cold, or depressing as 2019. Last week, I shared a post about beating winter Seasonal Affective Disorder by taking a vacation.

This week, I’m sharing an AWESOME recommendation for a staycation. Sean and I spent a relaxing ~24-hours at Hotel X Toronto in downtown Toronto and it was a really nice mini-getaway. If you’d like to see more of my stay in video, check out my Staycation highlight on Instagram.

Hellooooo snow!

I magically picked the BEST day for a staycation because we had a major snowstorm that morning. I arrived at noon for a hot yoga class and to see the amenities before checking in at 3pm.

From the moment you walk in the hotel, it feels luxurious. It makes for a great staycation because there are lots of plants, several restaurants, a great gym, and amenities, meaning you don’t have to leave the hotel. There’s also a kid’s play center if you have little ones. I have added the Guerlain Spa to my ‘must visit‘ list for next time.

Hotel X Toronto definitely has a resort-type feel. There’s a pool on the roof that I imagine is absolutely stunning in the summer. Yes, I did test it out in the winter. Scroll down!

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Thank you, Hotel X and Duet PR for hosting our stay. The thoughts expressed here are my OWN, obviously. It was a really nice experience. Highly recommend! 

Show Up For Yourself

I am no expert on self-love, recovery, or life, I can only speak from my own experience. I posted this image on my Instagram Stories 6 weeks ago and made a Story Highlight (the little circles) called 2020 MOOD as a reminder of the person I am going forward. Healthier, happier, a girl who can handle anything.

It is definitely scary to be who you really are (especially to share it online) but I figure, there’s not really another option! Why not be the most YOU that YOU can be? Do what you want. Pursue all the things. Make a list and start checking off those goals. What are you waiting for? The time is NOW. Get creative, write your own story. It’s your life, you’re in control, you only live once.

Thankful for Sassoon helping me grow my hair healthy and LONGER the last year. I’m obsessed!

If there is one thing you can take from this post, it’s that you do not know your own strength or power until you try to use it. Put your mind in the right direction and push it further than before. Open doors for yourself. Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.

My mum has had this on her fridge since I was in high school. It has always stayed with me as a reminder to do what I want!
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@gabriellarosie

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casiestewart, blog, blogger, toronto, canada, travel, tech
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My Fitness Journey (So Far)

Let me start this by staying I felt like complete shit for a lot of last year. Behind the many smiling selfies, I was in pain, depressed, and trying to ignore nerve damage in half of my face. I had been treating my body like garbage with alcohol, bad food, no sleep, and something had to change. I gained a bunch of weight and after being small my whole life, I wasn’t happy. I couldn’t live like that anymore.

For a lot of 2009-2019 I went to multiple events a week, sometimes several per night. I was always on the go. I ate like crap and drank multiple times a week. When I hit my 30’s, my body changed, I gained weight, then I had a breast reduction, nearly broke my back w/ two cracked back ribs, and closed out the decade with a fractured my collarbone. A lot of good things happened in the last decade too but I’ve already shared that stuff.

For years I dreamed of being a better me, one who ate healthier, felt good in a bathing suit, had longer hair, and genuine happiness that shined out of her face. That’s who I wanted to be so I started doing things differently. From September to January, I lost 20+Lbs and man does it ever make a difference. I’m saving time every day by not stressing over my clothes not fitting. I feel mentally and physically stronger. I have more energy and I’m happier. Here’s the low down on how I get here and I feel confident that I will stick to it this time because I love the way I feel. 😊

Fasting

August 2019 I started intermittent fasting, 8hrs eating window (noon-8pm) and fasting the rest of the day. I started to feel healthier, more energized, and leaner (slowly). This doesn’t work for everyone but I like it. I recently started using an app called Zero that tracks your fast. Some days I stick to my 16:8 goal, some days I go longer, sometimes I don’t. I try to do what feels good.

Working Out

When daylight saving time kicked in October 2019, I stuck to my same sleep schedule (early riser) and used that extra hour to go to the gym. I started with 10min a day on the treadmill. I already had a membership at LA Fitness and after not going for most of the year, I was ready to put it to work.

I didn’t post about working out and I didn’t really talk about it until recently. I did it for me, that’s the only person I had to show up for. Since then, I have learned to love working out. I keep my gym clothes beside my bed and almost every morning, I make coffee, get into my gear, and go straight there. I like the treadmill and Nike apps for the gym (NTC, NRC), and Asana Rebel or YouTube for home workouts.

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Beat Winter SAD: Take A Vacation

Last winter was really hard, we had one of the coldest seasons in ages, there was ice everywhere, and my arm was messed up. I spent most of the winter inside our house going Marie Kondo through every cupboard and drawer. This winter, I’m determined to find joy in simple things and actively make an effort to warm myself up and beat winter SAD.

Varadero Beach, Costa Rica

I wrote a few posts with ways I’m trying to combat Seasonal Affective Disorder with the hope it will help make our days a bit brighter. Some take a little more money/planning but others you can do at home right now. I’ll update this post with a link to each so you can scroll once they’re live.


Vacation

The easiest way to boost your mood in winter? Take a vacation. I know this isn’t an option for everyone with work/family/finances but if you can do it, it’s so nice. This year, I took a 7-day all-inclusive trip to Cuba with a friend. We have been talking about doing a low-key beach getaway at the start of January for 2+ years and finally did it! Cuba was a good option because we were not going for luxury, our conditions for the trip were affordable, beach, sun.

The beach was beautiful and the sun was hot. The food wasn’t luxe but we managed to eat simple, the main things I ate were bread, rice, fruit, pasta, and eggs. I read an entire book, took heaps of photos, and finished the week well-rested and refreshed. We went to bed early (and sober) most nights. I stuck to Amy’s 1K a day challenge and did some type of activity each day (long walk, dance, NTC). It was just what I needed and a perfect reset to start the year. I feel more creative, inspired, and ready to show 2020 WHO I AM.

I went to Cuba for the first time about 10 years ago and when I tried to blog or access the internet, it was a no-go. If I could access, it was expensive and super slow. Luckily, things have improved a bit! With Telus EasyRoam, I was able to have full 3G/LTE and access my data plan from home for $12/day. It allowed me to keep up on emails and share my vacation via social media.


If you are looking for somewhere to go. Here are a couple of vacation spots I’ve been to and recommend.

Anamaya Resort, Costa Rica

A couple of years ago I took Sean to Costa Rica for a much needed digital detox. I absolutely LOVE Costa Rica, it’s my favourite country to visit (so far). Over the last decade, I stayed at Anamaya Resort twice for a full week of yoga and surfing. It’s located on the southern Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica, Pacific Ocean, near Montezuma, about 30min drive from Santa Teresa. If you are looking for a super relaxing getaway with great organic food, fitness, nice people, and a great vibe, go here. Highly recommend.

All-Inclusive in Mexico

One January, Sean and I spent a week in Cabo at Sheraton Los Cabos Hacienda Del Mar. The resort was really nice, beautiful beaches, buffet, spa, pools, and several restaurants on-site. We rented a jet ski in town, surfed a small beach, and went on a boat adventure. We really appreciated having (pretty good) wifi included in our stay. I’ve also been to Playa Del Carmen, Mexico which has a lot of beautiful resorts. Mexico is a nice winter getaway, just remember to be smart and safe.

Online Deal/Last Min Getaway

If you need to GTFO and soak up the sun ASAP, Cuba is pretty affordable. We stayed at an all-inclusive on the beach that had multiple pools, bars, restaurants. We went off the resort a couple of times to eat and overall each spent ~$100 the WHOLE WEEK. It was not fancy but I was grateful to be in warm air, sun, and sand.

There are some pretty good deals online today for Blue Monday. I highly recommend signing up for Rakuten before buying online because they are partners with TripAdvisor hotels.com, Expedia, a bunch of airways, and car rental companies. Save yourself some $ and get cashback on your purchases. I earned over $200 last year from stuff I bought online (hello, Amazon). I hope you find a good deal! I’m heading to breakfast with Sunwing at YD Square where they’re giving away a couple of trips today.


My next post in this series is STAYCATION and I’m excited to share about our awesome day with Hotel X Toronto this past weekend. Together we can beat SAD!

Casie Stewart, signature, iPad Pro.
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Just Take the Photo

2020 is bringing more of the #oneleggedselfie, a fav of @hey.maca and the original Man Repeller. This is the year I start taking photos of my outfits. If I see an opportunity, I’m taking it.

I used to share my looks a lot but I stopped because I didn’t feel good in my clothes, in my skin. So, I made a change, I’m moving forward. I want to document what I wear so I can remember. Like this dress over a mesh t-shirt and pants, with running shoes? Oh, yes.


I am finally, after all these years, starting to plan content out a little more long term. I have some great stuff coming including a series on beating winter sadness, cause we all need to try and avoid Seasonal Affective Disorder. Last winter really got me down so I’m actively attempting to stay in high spirits till summer.

I am here when you need a pick me up on cold days or a reminder of what spring feels like. I AM IN BLOOM. Saw this on IG and thought it was a nice finish to a great week.

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2020: It’s My 15th Blog Anniversary

2020: It’s My 15th Blog Anniversary View Post
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Hi from Cuba!

I’m excited to be returning home tomorrow from a very relaxing getaway. For years I’ve wanted to take a trip somewhere warm to start the year and I finally did it! I needed some time to clear my head and recharge my batteries. It definitely worked! Check out my posts on IG or my Cuba Story to see what I’ve been up to.

Did lots of reading, walking, a few morning workouts, early nights, and relaxing. A bit of sun, sand, and sandy air will do wonders for your soul and skin.

Love these old cars!

I’m really looking forward to coming back to Toronto to see my family and get moving on 2020 business.

Sending you love and sunshine from Cuba! 🇨🇺

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Review: iRobot Braava jet m6 Robot Mop

I don’t have an actual pet but when our little robot is cleaning the office floor and docking near my desk, I feel some kinda love.

For the last few weeks, I’ve been testing out the new Braava jet m6 Robot Mop. This latest innovation from iRobot is a smart mop that cleans your floors, charges itself, maps your space, and keeps you updated on what it’s doing through the iRobot HOME app.

Cleaning

The Braava jet m6 Robot Mop definitely does a good job of cleaning floors. The last few weeks have had a lot of messy shoes, drink spills, and holiday snacks so we gave it a good test. It’s easy to use and able to get in close quarters like around desks & close to walls. One of my fav features is that it’s small enough to get under the edge of the kitchen cabinets where it can get pretty messy.

Wifi + iRobot HOME App

The app is pretty great and sends push notifications when a job is completed or the device needs your attention. iRobot uses Imprint Smart Mapping technology, mapping your space, creating a digital document in the app of where it’s been or it needs to clean. You can also pause and resume the cleaning job at any time.

If you have a Roomba sweeping device, you can sync both so that once the Roomba is done cleaning dust & dirt, it can signal the Braava jet to start mopping the floor. You can also set the cleaning time within the app so it gets to work while you’re out for the day, sleeping, or at work. We have ours set to clean at 10am, 3 nights a week when the office is free of humans.

Other things to Note

  • It’s pretty quiet, you won’t hear it on a phone call
  • Only one account can be connected to a device at a time
  • The iRobot branded Braava jet Hard Floor Cleaner is the only product suitable for the device and you have to order it from iRobot for $9.99
  • Washable pads are available on Amazon
  • You still need to clean those baseboards yourself!
Overall, great product and pretty darn cute!

Last year I wrote a review of the iRobot Roomba i7+ and it is such a hit with the whole office. I wasn’t the only one who felt love for it like a pet and my bf loved that it would clean up his chip crumbs. Check out that review here!

Any questions, ask away!

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The Brava jet m6 Mop was gifted to me for review from iRobot PR.