It’s a bit more work stay my sunshiney self during the winter. Today we had freezing rain that looks and feels like kosher salt. The last few weeks have involved a lot of staying inside and I wrote about a few ways to boost your mood here.
Today I had my first Light Therapy session at MOCA Toronto. It was cool!
Light Therapy is included with your museum membership unless there is a private session booked. I had purchased a membership because I thought it was only open to members. I booked weekly sessions for the next few weeks and today I found out I have the room ALL TO MYSELF for each one!
There’s a cafe on the first floor and drinks are permitted inside the installation. There’s parking across the street and coat check on the first floor.
If you are interested in coming to check it out, please let me know. I have the room booked weekly and can bring a few people each time. We can chat or you can do your own thing!
What is Light Therapy?
Light therapy involves exposure to intensive light under controlled conditions. The installation is designed to simulate a bright, sunny day with LEDs generating 5,600 K of low Ultraviolet, full spectrum daylight-balanced light. Everything in the room is white and you’re encouraged to wear a lab coat and white shoe covers to maintain the brightness. I am very into the lab coat. Light therapy can help with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). In winter we lack vitamin D from the sun, our skin is dry, and sometimes, depression sets in. This installation is an experiment as part of the Art in Use project and Light Therapy is by Apolonija Šušteršič.
History of Light Therapy
Light Therapy was originally produced for the Moderna Museet in Sweden in 1999, to explore how contemporary museums function as a public space, and as a social or healing device. The project was restaged at the Van Abbemuseum, The Netherlands in 2014, where Apolonija began to also consider new forms of artistic practice that are socially engaged — those which involve people and communities in debate, collaboration or social interaction. In its third iteration at MOCA, we add to this developing research, thinking about how museums might be places that support wellbeing, and more recently as spaces that support mental health.
I don’t know if I’ve ever spent so much time at home, inside the house, as I have the past month and during the Polar Vortex. Thankfully, today our upstairs patio door is no longer frozen shut but winter is far from over. Long winters like these are often hard to get through and the constant dull weather can really bring down your mood. My friend recently started taking an l phenylalanine supplement to help boost her mood in this bleak winter. If you’re feeling stir crazy or craving some something to boost your mood, here are a few things I like to do to make me feel happier when the SAD kicks in.
Love yourself and self-care your mood to a higher frequency with a little time, DIY beautyhacks, and products. You don’t need heaps of money or fancy stuff to pamper yourself like the queen you are. I love doing masks and usually get them from Shoppers. Also recommend checking out the beauty section of Winners, they almost always have a good selection at a great price. I got this set of metallic masks to nourish, brighten, and hydrate plus an applicator brush there the other day for $7! ?
I Pinned a few DIY recipes with ingredients you probably have on hand here or scan the pin code in the Pinterest App. Make a quick body scrub by mixing your used coffee grounds with coconut oil. Or make a simple lip sugar scrub with and a combination of white/brown sugar plus olive oil/coconut oil/honey, with peppermint, lemon, grapefruit, lavender, or activated charcoal to brighten. My mum makes a GREAT, thick, face cream with marigold, frankincense from New Direction Aeromatics. I love it!
This helps to boost your mood, deal with SAD, and can (not an expert!) help depression. I have the Phillips Hue light system in my room that includes Hue Light Bulbs and Hue Go Lamp. I use them every single day and can set them to create the illusion of a warm spring morning or a summer sunset. I also created a custom setting to replicate natural light that makes everything seem sunnier during grey days. There’s a soft pink that’s really nice on sunny days. ??
Next week I start Light Therapy at MOCA Toronto not too far from home. It’s only available for members so bought a $50 individual membership and signed up for 1 session/week for the next 5 weeks. Can’t wait to see how it makes me feel.
Exposure to light is used as a treatment for seasonal affective disorder (SAD), milder winter blues and sleep disorders caused by jet lag and overwork, or lack of daylight. Because it has no proven side effects and everyone can use it, light therapy can improve our busy lives and make us feel happier.
I am turning into a plant lady and I love it. I’ve always been connected to nature and I love being surrounded by lush green leaves. It makes me feel warm and they inspire creativity. Plants always brighten my day and there’s always room for one more. I wrote about some planty places in this post. ?
Get A Glow
I absolutely love a sun-kissed glow but it’s a little hard to get naturally when you live in temperatures like Toronto winter. Obviously, vacation is the ideal situation but that’s not always an option.??? I’m a big fan of St. Tropez products, you can get them at Shoppers. beautyBOUTIQUE. I’ve been using this brand for years and use the products year round. My favourite for a nice bronze boost is the Classic Tan. For a slight glow on light skin try the Bronzing Water Mist. If you want a deeper tan, the Extra Dark will have you ready for the beach.
Get ff the couch. Go outside. Do some situps. Make a Pinterest board of exercises you might do. Take a walk. I’m trying to learn to love the gym and am getting back into yoga after my shoulder injury. I have to woek at not letting things get in the way but I like how working out it makes me look and feel.
Exercise is good we all know this, but most of us (deff me) need a reminder to get in gear. You got this.
No really. Over the last month (with the help of the Marie Kondo documentary) I organized almost everything in the house and I feel good. I hardly ever show photos of our house because, to be honest, it’s not always spotless and until recently, there was stuff everywhere. I started with the pantry, moved to the kitchen drawers, closets, clothes, under the bed ( was hiding a lot of clothes here), and Emily’s room. We’re not 100% done but the ball is rolling. I find clutter clouds my brain and stresses me out. I am a recovering hoarder, I used to keep everything! I’m having less stuff is bringing me joy because everything has a place now and I can get to it with ease.
It might seem daunting at first but start with something small and go from there.
Hope you find this useful or inspiring. I’m sending you sunshine thorough the internet!
This cold weather is so damn freezing it hurts. I’m thankful to work from home. Took Em to school, got groceries, turned up the heat, had an old school house music dance party w Sean. ❄️
Good thing about this weather is staying inside and working on yourself. Going through your notebooks, updating your website, fixing buttons, organizing your beauty products, cleaning boots, reading, taking an online course, or doing Kon Mari on every room, closet and drawer in your house. That has been my January. 😊🙏🏼
If you put in the work and make the most of this cold/stay inside time, you‘ll feel lighter and accomplished.
There is no time like right now to make a change and shift your direction.
I love San Francisco. The city is bright with lots of neighbourhoods to explore, each with a distinct look and history. There’s plenty of great spots to take in the city including the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Pier 39, or the Coit Tower. SF is known for frequent fog so all views come with a recommendation for a clear sunny day. ☀️
Here you’ll find a great 180 view of San Francisco from the centre of the city at an elevation of 922 ft. The hike takes about 45 minutes but the drive is only 10 min. I love the way the road and city and look from the top of the hill. You’ll notice the Sutro Tower in the middle of the hill (not pictured). I learned that it’s become ironically iconic and was once seen an eyesore but is now kind of, cool? Ha! There’s shirts, souvenirs, and a selection of sellers on Etsy with Sutro Tower merch. It reminds me of something from Aliens or War of the Worlds.
If you can get a ticket, the views here are like something you’d find in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The Museum of Ice Cream is located near Union Square inside a former bank. Aside from learning worldly facts about the famous food, you’ll find incredibly cute backdrops for photos. The museum is 100% family friendly and encourages you check in as a kid at the door. They’re closed each Tuesday to re-paint and fix any of the fixtures throughout the interactive exhibit. Small groups are taken through the museum giving you enought time to take photos and tast the treats. Check out ticket dates and availability here.
At the very top of the Hilton Union Square, on the 46th floor, you’ll find Cityscape, a 360 view of San Francisco. On a clear day, you can see everything from the bridge to Coit Tower, and across the bay. They offer a selection of SF inspired cocktails and open daily at 4:30. If you’re a guest at the hotel, you can pop in anytime for photos or to use the wifi.
You might not recognize the name but trust me, you know the view. Anyone who was a fan of Full House recognizes these houses from the opening credits. It was a childhood dream to visit this park! ‘Postcard Row’ is located at 710 to 720 Steiner Street across from Alamo Square. The best shot is at magic hour just as the sun sets in the west. I could almost heat hear Uncle Joey saying “cut it out!“.
This is the best place to see the sunset. The Sutro Baths are located at Lands End and opened to the public as the world’s largest indoor swimming pool establishment in 1896. The former mayor of SF and wealthy entrepreneur, Adolf Sutro created the baths which burned down in 1966, amongst years of complications. There’s a path from the Cliff House down to the remaining ruins but you’ll want to check the weather and tides before walking down. It’s really magical here.
As I was updating this post I went through my photos from this trip and I would love to get back to SF. It’s such a beautiful city full of colour, great food, and stuff to do. There is also HEAPS of street art! I’ll get those photos rounded up into a nice gallery and share with some food recos.
Half of this trip was covered by San Francisco Tourism & Hilton SF, the rest was all me. Would 100% do it all again!
And we’re glad for that! I don’t know what it is about this weather that makes me just want to stay home all the time and make things or sort through clutter. Today is slightly warmer than it’s been but there is no end in sight as next week the temp dips back down to the unbearables. There are 54 days until spring and each day brings a little bit more daylight. ☀️
On Monday this week I had breakfast with Sunwing to announce their Blue Monday deals. I also found out the commercial I’m in playing at Yonge Dundas Square! If you’ve still not seen the latest version I posted it on IG this week here.
Tuesday I went to Art Battle Toronto, a monthly event in its 9th year that is live competitive painting. If you’re intrigued, I highly recommend checking it out. There are two round of painters, the crowd votes via text for who makes it to round three, and all paintings go up for silent auction throughout the night. It was really fun. Lots of telented people. Check out artbattle.com for more info or events around the world.
In other news, I spent some time this week updating my portfolio site. Feel free to check it out at casiestewart.biz or by clicking below. It’s a work in progress!
Added some new stuff here if you’re curious to see some of my work all in one place, brand partnerships, speaking, film/tv. https://t.co/LnCBIz2PgV
We have quite a few stairs at home, so I decided Roomba would live at the 1188 office. Honestly, it’s been such a hit with everyone, they were all so excited when the big box arrived, it would be interesting to find out what is best robot vacuums to try out. It feels like we have an office pet again!
I would say the only downfall about the Roomba Robot Vacuum is that it can’t do stairs, yet! It does have Cliff Detect so it won’t fall down or take a tumble should you have some stairs around.
Once I got everything set up, it was really quick to download the app and connect the device. The Roomba i7+ is the smartest robot vacuum yet. It has a cleaning dock to empty itself plus an app that lets you control it and see where it’s cleaned.
You can see it was super quick to set up. I snapped these screenshots all in the same minute! My favourite part aside from clean office floors is the app (by the way, this is the perfect vacuum for wooden floors). I’m able to see if there’s an issue, what’s been cleaned, or set it to clean at any specific time.
Two features that make this an amazing machine are 1) Dirt Detect™ Technology and 2) The Edge-Sweeping Brush. Dirt Detect gets to know areas that need more cleaning like high traffic spots and prompts the robot to be more thorough when cleaning there. The magical Edge Sweeping brush gets into the edges and corners. I found this quite useful in the kitchen and around office chairs.
This is a handy feature. The robot cleaned 4h 57minutes before needing to be emptied. This feature means you don’t have to worry about emptying the little robot once it’s full saving you time and energy. It’s really easy and not messy to take out the full bag, toss, and put a new one in. The vacuum set comes with 2 bags and it was about a month before I needed to empty the bin. You can order new bags from theiRobot shop.
I love this feature. Some people mentioned it’s ‘kinda creepy‘ that it makes a map of your space but honestly, that doesn’t really concern me when I arrive at the office and the floor is tidy.
The Roomba i7+ robot uses Imprint™ Smart Mapping technology to learn the floor plan and it gets better over time. You can set it to just clean certain areas, pick specific times, or set to a schedule. Watch the video below to see how it works.
Another really cool thing is that the Roomba connects to Alexa enabled devices or Google Assistant. The joy of saying “Alexa, run the vacuum” makes me so excited for the robot future.
Great vacuum. Highly recommend.
Also, this is my favourite comment from Sean about the new Roomba, haha.
“I dropped some chips so I woke up the Roomba”
Disclaimer: iRobot sent this for me to review in exchange for my honest opinion and that's exactly what you've got here!
Here’s a little update with what I’ve been up to so far this year, my latest Sunwing commercial, and some Netflix recos for the winter storm that’s coming this weekend. I’m prepping to stay inside for more hibernation!
First up, I’m doing quite a bit better with the collarbone and took some much needed time off over the holidays. I got new x-rays today and my bone is healing slowly with no complications. Thankful it’s winter and totally a-ok to stay home for days on end in lazy clothes.
Sean and I went to the cottage for almost a week during New Years and it was the perfect break from everything. We kept warm by the fire, watched movies on DVD, and went for walks on the frozen lake. Woke up New Years Day feeling fresh and ready for a new year.
2018 started pretty rough. I was in New Zealand with mum and on New Year’s Eve, I accidentally put diesel in the gas car the on New Year’s Eve. I was stressed out and upset when I got gas. I’d never done that before and hopefully won’t do it again! However, the car was toast! 😩 We had to have a flatbed truck come to our cabin in the park to bring a new car and take the old one. I was hungover, embarrassed, and frustrated. It also set us back a few hours on our trip to see Nana. The first 2 weeks of the year were pretty stressful as we spent time with family and Nana before she passed away. It was a hard time to go through but it also brought us closer.
After all 2018’s ups and downs, I was ready to start 2019 with nothing but positive vibes.
I’ve watched heaps of great shows over the last few weeks. Highly recommend YOU, Sex Education, Instant Hotel, Bird Box and Marie Kondo on Netflix. The book YOU is one of the best books I’ve ever read and I’m glad to see the second book from Carolyn Kepnes ‘Hidden Bodies’ will be Season 2. Gillian Anderson is really great in Sex Education. I’m not usually one for reality shows but Instant Hotel is an Australian show where people rate each others Airbnb’s. One of the pairs is from Bondi Beach, Sydney when I used to live so I was loving it. The show is full of drama and has heaps of tips if you’re looking to have your own Airbnb.
When we got home from the cottage I went hardcore on the Marie Kondo‘s Kon Mari. I started with the pantry, went through all the and went through our cupboards, the whole kitchen, out closets, and all the clothes I own. Emily even got into it and went through all her stuff. It was a family affair!
I tweeted about my experience and one of them ended up in a CBC article. Ha!
I finally saw the lastest Sunwing commercial I’m in when I was watching the Golden Globes. I had people messaging me from everywhere! It’s national and playing on a few channels (CP24, Global, CTV). I was quite pleased to see it during Y&R and Jeopardy.
Click the ‘Play’ button below to watch in the tweet.
I’m still recovering from the shoulder injury so taking it easy but I’ll be ready to come out of hibernation in a few weeks. I’ve been doing more work at the 1188 office lately and we have a few reallllly cool things coming up. I’ve signed on for another great year of the Telus partner program and will have more to share about that soon. I’m still working with Sassoon and have really let my hair grow the last couple weeks. The future is looking longer and blonder!
Overall, I’m starting to feel like my old self again.
Here’s to a great year of adventures, storytelling, sharing advice, and growth.
I went out on Friday this past weekend for a hot minute but it was a very special and amazing short time. I popped out to Super Wonder Gallery to see ECHLO. Chloe Charles aka ECHLO was having an album release party & art show and I didn’t want to miss seeing her live. We met in the summer at an event hosted by ZANE and totally hit it off. Ended up having a great time that warm summer night with patio drinks and our best friends.
After 5 weeks on the CBC’s top songs chart, last week she made it to #1 with the song below (that I love) called Head High. I have no doubt you will love it too. Aside from music she is a super talented artist check out her website at echlomusic.com and follow her dope IG @ECHLOMUSIC.
“I tried to be normal, love like the rest, and my demon takes over, and straddles my chest, I can’t breathe”
Hey girl congrats! You were amazing!
P.S. Discovered this GEM she did for CBC last year while I was on the Google and WHOA. So good. Love the acoustic at the start!
I’ve been laying low the last month, posting less, staying in. I just haven’t felt like it. The other day I wrote down something I overheard Sean said on the phone when someone asked how things were, he said “a mix of awesome and shitty“. It stuck with me, that’s how I’ve been feeling the last month.
On November 21st I was given a prestigious award from the President of Conestoga College, Alumni of Distinction. It was a proud moment when I sat at the back of the crowd with my mum and my ‘Fairy Godmother‘ (mum’s best friend) who watched me walk up and make a speech in front of the group. It felt amazing to be recognized for my career, not something that was voted on by social media but actually recognized by people older than me who didn’t really know me personally. This part of the night was awesome.
It was really cold that night we were happy to get home and cheers over a glass of wine. We were all filled with such excitement. We weren’t up late but I went outside for a minute before bed. This part of the night was shitty. I slipped on some ice on the concrete stairs outside mum’s house. I fell on the concrete steps resulting in a black eye and later found out I fractured my collarbone. I went to the doctor the next day, swollen and bruised. I got acupuncture. I felt like garbage, how could this happen? I barely remember falling, mum holding frozen peas on my head, the drive back home the following day.
I tried to hide it, act like nothing was wrong. I covered up my face, wore glasses, stayed home from events. As for my shoulder, it was 1 week and a trip to New Orleans before I thought, ‘ I really should get an x-ray‘. I knew something was wrong and I was right. I don’t need a cast or surgery but it hurts and I’m taking it easy. Tomorrow I’m heading to the fracture clinic at the hospital for more x-rays.
It’s crazy that this would happen right at the same time two really great things happened.
“a mix of awesome and shitty”
Aside from the Alumni Award at Conestoga College, I was nominated for the Premier’s Awards. A provincewide award recognizing alumni in Ontario from all 24 colleges. I was nominated in the Creative Arts and Design category amongst some pretty well known Canadians whom I admire. Although I was smiling and had fun with mum at the awards. I was wearing my glasses and trying to not let my eyes water to reveal the makeup covering the dark bruise around my eye. I left for New Orleans the next day and spent most of the week wearing sunglasses.
I’m doing a-ok and will be back to normal in a couple weeks. The holidays are a great time to sit back, rela, take inventory of the year and set intentions.
Life has a way of making you slow day, teaching you lessons, and making you think about your life in different ways.
This injury has really made me slow down. I’ve missed a bunch of holiday events but then again, am I really missing anything? I’m taking the next 2 weeks off to Marie Kondo our house, exlore my creativity, and get ready for 2019. Can you believe we’re only 1 year away for 2020?
I installed the new WP 5.0 that came out last week right away. I like to be the first to try things out. I’ve always been an early adopter. There are a few glitches but I believe this is the start of a new, modern, flexible WordPress. It gives you so much more customization in the way your work is displayed, photos, galleries, quotes.
I ran into an issue when I first installed WP 5.0 where it reverted me back to the Classic Editor. I lost Gutenberg when I installed 5.0 then I installed the Classic Editor and couldn’t get Gutenberg back. I searched a whole bunch of WP developer forums and it was VERY CLEAR, people HATE Gutenberg and they HATE Blocks. To fix it I disabled the Classic Editor plugin, and deleted, reinstalled the Gutenberg editor. I also disabled Page Builder (Site Origin) and a couple other plugins that I wasn’t using and probably weren’t updated for WP 5.0.
I blogged about my fav parts of the new Gutenberg Editor back in August when it was released here.
One of my favourite things in the new editor is how you can display images wide across the page. I love the way galleries look stretched out instead of just within the pixel width of your blog text. So pretty. These photos are from Ashley Longshore gallery in New Orleans, LA.
What are your thoughts on the new WordPress, do you love it or do you hate it?
Over the past 2 years, I’ve been on a mission to be healthier, both mentally & physically. Ever since I took that solo trip to LA I’ve been paying more attention to my body and taking more time for myself. My next quest is to learn about gut health.
Did you know that your overall well-being, including your weight and immunity, may be tied to your gastrointestinal health?
In the summer I went to a workshop hosted by Koena, an over-the-counter probiotic supplement to promote gastrointestinal health. This was my first introduction to gut health and got me thinking about my family. Last month I went to another workshop focussing on food sensitivity, leaky gut, and overall gut health. I’m learning but there’s so much to know.
A key takeaway is you really are what you eat and your gut is connected to your brain which is connected to everything else.
What are Probiotics?
Probiotics are “friendly” bacteria that live in the gastrointestinal track and help maintain and protect gastrointestinal health.
This week I’m starting with Koena Probiotic Supplement for adults. Their products have no GMOs, are vegan, gluten free, preservative free, with no dyes or artificial flavours. The adult formula has a blend of probiotics and a prebiotic (fibers).
Koena’s also offers certain blends for women and children’s individual needs. Their products are crafted from naturalmedicinal ingredients to promote healthy gut flora.
Our intestines are populated by a large number of various bacterial strains: a well-balanced and rich intestinal flora, also called the microbiota, is able to protect us from many disorders. Its activity helps with everything from digesting food, to fighting infections and protecting the body from toxins.
If you have any tips for gut health (or remembering to take your vitamins) I’m all ears! I’ll be sharing an update in a few weeks on how I’m feeling and my recommendations on probiotics.
I started drinking kombucha this summer, I wonder how long till I start making it myself?!
In partnership with koena.This product may not be suitable for you. Always read and follow label instructions. TM: Trademark owned or used under license by Sandoz Canada Inc.
A couple weeks ago I went on an autumn adventure to Stratford, Ontario. Home of Justin Bieber and the Stratford Festival, the city has lots to offer and is just a 2hr drive from downtown Toronto. We have so many great plces to visit within a 2hr drive of Toronto and it was so nice to visit Stratford again. I hadn’t been since I was a kid! I spent the day with Stratford Tourism and learned it’s quite the quaint destination for culture, food, shopping, and of course theatre. I was happy to find a few cute boutiques with vintage finds, local brands, unique jewellery, and beautiful housewares. Luckily I drove so I had room to fit my purchases in the boot!
What to Do: Stratford Ontario
Here’s a few of the things I really loved about Stratford aside from catching a show. If theatre is your jam it’s definitely worth seeing one of the many nightly shows, we saw To Kill A Mockingbird which was great. (I did not know this story which is like whoaaa btw).
The Stratford Festival is world renowned and for $29 you can get a bus to and from the theatre from Downtown Toronto. Upcoming shows include Billy Elliot, Othello, The Neverending Story and more. See the full list here.
La Osa Vintage – This store is amazing. It’s on a side street from Market Square and FULL of vintage and new items from Canadian designers. They also carry heaps of unique jewellery. I could have really lit some $$$ on 🔥🔥🔥 in there!
Wills & Prior – This spot in the heart of Market Square has heaps of beautiful items for your home. The owner used to live in TO and work in PR and she’s left the city for small-town life. I was kinda jealous hearing about her journey and the store is so beautiful you’ll want to move right in!
Distill Gallery – The spot for well-crafted Canadian design, this shop has over a hundred different artisans and they have heaps of great accessories and gifts, plus a great selection of creative cards. I picked up a pair of gorgeous silk socks by Strathcona.
Revival House – This spot is an old church that’s been renovated and is run by a local couple. It’s a beautiful space for weddings and the huge windows let the light in to create a bright dining space. Upstairs is a bar called Belfry Lounge that offers incredible cocktails made with local ingredients. On Thursdays, they have a record night where people can bring their own records and the owner DJs. It caters to the 35+ crowd and honestly sounds like a total blast. Great spot.
Revel Coffee – This shop is a hub for fairtrade coffee and homemade pastry & sweets made in their open kitchen. It had a steady flow of locals and lots of tables if you want some creative time. We all sat at a large main table with recycled wood from the shop the used to occupy the space. They have a great patio for warm temperatures and are located right in Market Square.
Stratford For the Holidays 🎄
Christmas Trail -This is a shopping tour of 25 shops downtown Stratford. You’ll get six gifts along the tour for just $30(+HST). You’ll even be able to see lookout for seven swans a swimming! 🦢 It runs until Dec. 20th, details here.
Outdoor Christmas Market– Their Very Victorian Christmas is at Market Square and has all kinds of cute things that will surely get you in the spirit and boost up your holidays IG content. 🤶🏼 Ex. carousel rides, mini markets and Santa, of course.
For more info on Stratford check out visitstratford.ca. Huge thank you to the team at Stratford Tourism for taking us on an adventure. Great to explore part of Ontario I hadn’t seen in a while!
Stratford Tourism invited me and covered my expenses but the experience is all mine!