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Live from the Lake, it’s Vacation Week!

Live from the Lake, it’s Vacation Week!

Helloooo and happy Monday Tuesday! It’s a short week and I’m happy to working beside the lake. Tomorrow is Sean’s birthday and each year we spend this week up at the cottage.

The weather this weekend was amazing. Got some good sun on Saturday. Drove the truck with the boat trailer and backed it into the water perfectly. Did dock yoga with coffee.  Already finished a book and hope to get through another one or two on my Kindle this week. The lake is so warm and perfect for swimming. Went out on my stand up paddleboard (SUP).  We have been out in the boat quite a bit and I’m comfortable taking Sean out wakeboarding. This was ‘relationship goals’ for him!

I love cooking at the cottage but I rarely share what I’m making. To social media all the things I create makes it feel like work. I love spending time prepping for dinner, making marinades, and finding recipes on Pinterest.

I have been working on perfecting bbq cauliflower, there are so many great ways to cook it. Grapefruit is a favourite for breakfast. Meat from Costco has been great for bbq, comes seasoned and these Korean ribs were incredible! I’ve had perfect avocados 3 days in a row. Brought back some incredible olive oil from a winery in Portugal and it’s amazing the difference from what you buy at the grocery store here. Good olive oil is worth the $$!


We made some lake friends this weekend who invited us to a concert. There was a full on band playing covers and heaps of people around our age hanging out. We boated over for a couple beers and it was so fun. 


I’m grateful for rainy days just as much as the sunshiney ones to get things done inside or on my computer. It’s so nice to have a break from city life. I know I was just on vacation in Portugal but it was the opposite of relaxing, go-go-go everyday! My next post on visiting Porto will go live later today or tomorrow. Lots of great stuff from there to share.

Sending sunshine!

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Oh my blog: WordPress Finally has a New Editor!

Oh my blog: WordPress Finally has a New Editor!

First, a short story about this great card. I ordered it from Dani Kreeft‘s print shop, Dani Press before she shut it down. I loved her cards, the perfect short sentences paired with perfect photos she took herself. 

This one reminds me of mum, she’s always there slow clapping behind me. I talk to her a lot. She’s the person I ring when something exciting happens and sometimes that’s few in a day. This card is also a reminder for me to be that person for others, to remind them there’s someone in your corner. Even when you feel alone, you are not alone, someone is rooting for you. If you feel like you are all by yourself, reach out. 💕


I’m writing this post using the new WordPress Editor, Gutenberg. It takes some getting used to and I had almost finished my post when I accidentally deleted it so now I am paying more attention. It allows you to add content blocks, ex. a paragraph of text, image, gallery, audio, subheading, columns (beta). It’s similar to how Medium works or LinkedIn work for posts. 

It’s much easier to move parts of your post around without cut/paste. I think that columns is a neat idea. Wondering how I can use this in a creative way to tell a story. The new format is similar to medium or LinkedIn where you are working with content blocks you add to the post. They’re easily searchable and you can add favs to a quick menu. [Columns didn’t work for me they looked ugly, still in Beta so I’m sure will improve]

WordPress Gutenberg – Columns


One of the really great things is adding Twitter/Youtube/IG/FB embeds from the blocks, it would be nice if they were auto centred. 


You can also easily add almost any kind of content. I’ve been using WordPress for years and I think this is a real step in the right direction. I wonder if they will add more photos editing options?!


If you want to try the new Gutenberg editor you have to install and activate it as a Plugin while it’s still in Beta [dowload here].

WordPress dashboard has a welcome message for the latest update outlining some feature and benefits (I am using the fully hosted option not wordpress.com). I‘ve been thinking about editing my theme and might do that during my vacation next week.


I’ve decided I like the new editor. Hello Gutenberg, my new friend that I will spend countless hours with. Drop cap is kinda nice. I feel like using the old editor will be like going back in time. This post is not sponsored by WordPress, I just spend some much time using the platform I decided to blog about it while I was using it this morning. I love blogging about blogging. Ha!


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Portugal Pt.2: Sintra & The Yellow Castle

Portugal Pt.2: Sintra & The Yellow Castle

I went to Sintra, Portugal, the most romantic place! The true romance was really how great this blazer matched the Pena Palace.  I bought it just before leaving Toronto knowing full well that it would match perfectly. Ha! Aeroplan was open to me picking the places I wanted to visit for this trip and Sintra was top of my list. It’s a small resort town in the foothills of the Sintra Mountains, about a 20min Uber from Lisbon. It’s amazing how close this is to Lisbon and yet so different than the city. There are a couple beaches nearby, but unfortunately, I didn’t make it there.

Casa do Valle

I stayed at a beautiful place in Sintra about a 10 min walk from the centre of the tourist area. I booked it almost 2 months ahead and paid $149.42 CAD the garden suite near the pool. When I check to extend my stay there, it was almost double the price. Book early! Get $40 if you use this booking.com link. 

Casa do Valle is owned by a family from Finland, they built it to have family stay with them but they didn’t come so they turned it into a bed and breakfast. We met them they were so incredibly nice. Breakfast was served in our room and we had a few different options to pick from + coffee and tea. Wifi was included and from the pool area, you can see Pena Palace and the Moorish Castle.

Pena Palace

This is the red/yellow castle. I mapped this place out and added it to my itinerary as soon right away. I was told to get there early in the day to avoid crowds but we went around 4:30pm and it was busy, but not ridiculous. I was still able to get great photos without too many people in the background. I was actually quite surprised how patient people were for everyone taking photos. Thanks, Instagram! 

I purchased ‘Park & Pena Palace: Skip the Line’ mobile tickets from tiqets.com a couple hours before visiting or 14 Euros. I really didn’t need the ‘Skip the Line’, there was no line.

The hilltop 19th-century Pena National Palace is known for its design and bright colours. You can get a great view from the mountain top and explore the beautiful park before the castle. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes because you have to walk from the park up the hill to the castle and you’ll really feel it in your booty.

When leaving Pena Palace you pass the Castle of The Moors, a medieval castle where you can tour the grounds to a lookout over Sintra. (You’ll need to buy a ticket!)

Sintra

Sintra’s downtown is a cute little area beside The Palace of Sintra is in the heart of the old town. There are cabs, Uber, and tuk-tuks to take you around the tourist areas. I didn’t have any great meals but there’s a pastry you must have a Piriquita, the most famous pastry in Sintra.


I highly recommend going to Sintra. It’s magical!

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This vacation was in partnership #withAeroplan. Earn miles and rewards by shopping at your fav spots (ex. Amazon) and redeem for travel almost anywhere in the world. I've been an Aeroplan member since I was 11 years old and love redeeming my miles to visit new & exciting destinations. Check out aeroplan.com!Aeroplan Logo
 

Up North: Summertime Glamping at The New Farm

Up North: Summertime Glamping at The New Farm

I went glamping on a farm and it was amazing. 🏕Chefs cooked all the food, we did yoga in a barn listening to Tragically Hip, I went in a greenhouse, there was a pond, the outdoor showers were glam, and there were 250 people. I knew this would be cool based on the invite, it was unique. 🙏🏼🌳☀️

50 Luxury Tents for us!

The glamping trip was hosted by Up Cannabis at The New Farm. The Tragically Hip are big investors in the company and the band was there the whole day and had dinner with the group. It was the first big cannabis event I have been to. It was also the nicest camping experience I have ever had and would 100% do that again. Up Cannabis can’t actually share their product with us but for the 50 media that stayed over to camp, they infused the same terpenes found in the product into the soaps, drinks, food, and everything around us.

The event was really well done. The tents were like little apartments with electricity, real beds, furniture, lights, and fans. It was reallllly hot those days.  In the morning, outside our tents were little baskets with reading material, breakfast snacks and cold brew coffee (that was cold!). They gave us heaps of little things to take home, wool Glerups slippers, snacks, and my favourite item is this soap which you will soon find in the Up Cannabis store soon.


The Up brand has positioned themselves in the ultra-premium segment with a strong connection to music. By having The Tragically Hip as major shareholders and strategic partners,  the band weighs into every major marketing decision and infuses their brand music.

Given the upcoming legislation gives event sponsorship the green light, you’ll see more cannabis companies at festivals, events, and consumer touchpoints.


What a time to be alive. Back when social media started, new technology was bringing people with like interests together, all over the world. We were all on Twitter and it was magic. That same energy is floating around right now about the upcoming cannabis legislation. Working with Weed VR has been an eye-opening experience.

We’re on the cusp of a new $20 billion dollar industry with unlimited potential for retail, tech, marketing, education, and medicine. “It’s not like putting a new candy bar on a new shelf, it’s a whole new store” (4:19 Podcast). Great listen about the industry on the 4:19 Episode 1 w/  Shekhar Parmar Founder/CEO, Harvest Medicine Chief Strategy Officer, ABcann (🔊here).

 

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Building a Great Influencer Program

Building a Great Influencer Program

This summer I went to Vancouver to meet with the Canadian team of Telus Advocates. I’ve shared my love for Telus over the years but this experience was truly amazing. They flew in content creators from across the country to visit their Vancouver office, tour Telus Garden, create, eat, explore, and build relationships.

I’ve worked with heaps of brands but I truly admire the influencer program Telus has built over the years. Ok yes, I am a little bias because I chatted with the team before they created the program and shared my likes, dislikes, and brand experiences. They have set the bar high for what it means to work with a telecom company or a big brand. The experience (as an influencer) is tailored to each person’s style of content and audience.


In this post, I’m sharing a few of my tips for creating a great influencer program with Telus as my example. 

Build Relationships

The thing about being an influencer is that you’re usually sharing your real life, so when you work with a brand, it means authentically integrating their content into your own experience.

You have to get to know each other in order to learn what works and create opportunities that mutually benefit the relationship.

It’s cool when you work well together and even cooler when it becomes a friendship. I’ve worked with Telus for about 8 years now and we’re colleagues but also friends. I can text with jokes, links, or that odd time on the weekend when I broke break my phone. (Sorry!)

Since we’ve built a good working relationship, we all reach out whenever something cool comes up like an event, giveaway, or content idea.

 


Customize Content

It really sucks when you’re scrolling Instagram and you see a sponsored post that seems kinda generic, but then you see another Influencer say almost the same thing, then another, and god forbid another. It doesn’t show personality, it’s not that creative, and it’s boring. Everyone is different and creates content (hopefully) in their own style.

Your influencer crew should be talking in their own voice and sharing photos that look like their real life, not just an #ad.

Telus is really cool about knowing what each of us likes and letting us create our own stories. At the start of the year, we have a 1-on-1 meeting where go through content ideas for the year. Each influencer picks out the events and ideas that speak to them, and we plan around that.

This means everyone has a unique story to tell that integrates with their life. In the past, I have talked about Telus travel plans, tech giftsgreat coverage at the cottage, giving back, their use of VR, and more.


Get Together

I am amazed that this doesn’t happen more. Brands have groups of influencers, sharing content around the same #hashtag, often in the same city, but they never hang out. Bring your people together! It’s a great way to build relationships between client/influencer but also between the creators.

We like hanging out, taking photos together, meeting new people. It helps strengthen the team, give each other ideas, and the brand has an amazing opportunity to create original content.

#TeamTelus, Vancouver, influencers

(Some of) #TeamTelus 2018 in Vancouver!  


Give Where You Live

If you have a great team of people you like working with who are sending out good vibes and great content, why not use that power for good? Telus gives $45M a year communities across Canada and half a billion since 2000. This year at TELUS Days of Giving events 35K employees will be involved in 2,000 events across Canada.

In Vancouver, the Telus Advocates (us) and a bunch of Telus employees joined forces to pack 200 bags with weekend snacks for Backpack Buddies. This charity was started by two women to help fill the weekend hunger gap for Vancouver kids in need. We went around the room in a circuit with people doing different jobs to hustle through packing. It was a lot of fun and it brought us together. Love to see more of this from other brands. See more at #GiveWhereWeLive.

#teamtelus, Vancouver, casie stewart

We packed 200 bags for Backpack Buddies and Telus donated $10,000!


Ask Questions

If you’re building an influencer team or already have relationships, remember they’re good at what they do because they have experience. They work with multiple brands, agencies, timelines. You don’t need to get super specific but asking questions is a great idea. What do they like about other programs? Do they have ideas on how to make things better, faster, smoother? How could we use technology to tell stories in a different way? Asking questions helps you learn and when you learn you have more ideas, and everything gets better.

Telus Vancouver dinner and the day I first wore my fav dress.


Bring Them In

I love learning about a program while it’s still in development and giving feedback or sharing a related experience. I usually have a different perspective and turn it on its head.  Last year, Telus brought a few of us in to ask about a new program they’re thinking about and while we were in Vancouver we talked a lot about Telus programs and the future.  It’s great to hear about what the company is doing, planning, how you can work together.


Create

You know what all content creator influencer people have in common? They all like to make things, create things. A lot of them even like the camera. đŸ˜‰ Make stuff with them!

Telus had each of into Telus Vancouver Studio (inside their building) to shoot some fun stuff on camera. They planned it out well, has scripts, full crew, and we each took turns for private studio time. It was fun and now they have a whole bunch of fresh-faced content.

Last year before Mother’s & Father’s Day Telus had a bunch of us come to the Toronto office and shoot us talking about gadgets & gift ideas. We also called our parents to ask about their favourite present we ever gave them. You will laugh at mine because I was born on Mother’s Day and like, what is a better gift than THAT!? 😜


Learn & Grow

Through building relationships, coming together, and asking questions, you learn a lot about people, marketing, and what works best. Your program should be agile and change with the times, the content, technology, the people. New feature on IG or app to make something cool, try it. Find a great new creator, reach out to them. Someone not posting as much as they used to bc they just aren’t really into it, cool no problem, work with that or move on.

You need to be constantly innovating or you will be left behind. Innovate or die.

Finally, this goes without saying at this point, if you’re working on all this stuff with someone or a group of people, you should pay them for their time and expertise.  It can be cash (cheques are good) or in-kind (must have great value) but please recognize the immensely unique perspective and value someone of this nature can bring to your program or organization.

Sidenote, Vancouver is really beautiful. Especially in the summer!

 


How to Build a Great Influencer Program

  1. Build Relationships
  2. Customize Content
  3. Get Together
  4. Give Where You Live
  5. Ask Questions 
  6. Bring Them In
  7. Create
  8. Learn & Grow
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I love working with Telus as you can tell from this post. Check out some of my other stories over the years here. 💚

Image result for telus logo png

Portugal Pt. 1: What to Do in Lisbon

Portugal Pt. 1: What to Do in Lisbon

Portugal is amazing! My trip with Aeroplan this month was great and if you were following on social you’ll know because I posted heaps of photos!  The air was hot, the food was good, and I found inspiration in the bright colours and kind people. I took over 2,000 photos and kept notes during the trip. I did a bunch of research before I left and have been asked heaps about recommendations, so, I’ve broken down my trip into 5 posts based on things I did, which is only a fraction of what there is to do. Next trip I’ll rent a car and drive around to see the Algarve, Braga, Cascais, Coimbra, Aveiro (the Venice of Portugal), and the historic town of Óbidos.

I’d like to take a second to thank Telus for keeping me connected. I have an Easy Roam package on my plan where for the cost of a coffee & snack each day I could use the data of my Canadian plan without having to worry about roaming. It’s great to disconnect but for me, being able to still share my experience as it happens is part of the fun!

Links to other Portugal Posts are at the bottom and I’ll update as each is published! Obrigada!


What to Do In Lisbon

I arrived in Lisbon with a loose plan of what to do for the next 10 days. It was my first visiting and I’d been building a Pinterest board of the things to see and do for weeks. The city is so beautiful, bright coloured buildings fill the streets and the hills make it so picturesque. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes and be prepared to walk a lot.

When you arrive from the airport it can be a bit confusing, if you don’t want to Uber or taxi, there’s a green bus that will take you downtown to a variety of spots for a couple Euros (the ticket is good for 24 or 48 hours).


The main streets will present heaps of opportunities to dine on a patio, have wine, visit a museum, or go shopping. We found a great little store for clothes at a good price at the bottom of  Santa Justa Lift. I ended up getting a 2nd suitcase to bring home all the things I bought on this trip! You can go up the lift for a 360 view but there was a line so I didn’t bother (this is included in your Yellow Bus ticket, see below).

Yellow Bus Tours

For 20 Euros I got a 48-hour ticket for Yellow Bus Tours which allowed me to take 2 bus lines and the trolley unlimited for 2 days. This worked out really great because they have an audio guide on the bus that tells you all about the history and landmarks, it also saved me paying for Ubers to get to all the places I wanted to go.

Parque Eduardo VII

One of the great views from the bus tour is Parque Eduardo VII, the largest park in Lisbon. I would have loved to walk around the park. There’s some greenery that looks like a maze! The park is 26 hectares and in between Avenida da Liberdade and the Marquis of Pombal Square, right in the centre of the city.

casie stewart, portugal, travel blogger, lisbon, aeroplan, withaeroplan, travel

Belem

One route on the bus tour took me to Belem and Torre de BelĂŠm (Tower of Belem). It was built on the northern bank of the Tagus between 1514 and 1520 and in 1983 was classified by UNESCO as “Cultural Heritage of Humanity”.

There’s also a place in Belem called PastĂŠis de BelĂŠm, the original spot for Pastel da Nata (Portuguese egg tart), since 1837.  Be prepared to wait but sooo good! 

belem, casie stewart, portugal, travel blogger, lisbon, aeroplan, withaeroplan, travel

LX Factory

This is a really cool area with bars, restaurants and shopping. It’s great for photos and has heaps of street art. This was where I saw the most hipstery people in Lisbon. There was live music and really cool shipping container/bus things to check out.

Barrio Alto District

Grab a beer at a little store and walk around, it’s really busy here! (Also, you can drink in the streets!) There are heaps of little bars and restaurants. We had dinner in an alley at an Italian restaurant. I was also surprised by how many police and families were walking around late at night. Hold onto your stuff though, if you were going to get pickpocketed, this would be the place.

Park Bar, Lisbon

If you’re looking for a great view, Park Bar it’s a busy hot spot on top of a parking garage with wooden seats and drinks. The entrance is on a small side street but they will likely be people hanging out or checking Google Maps on their phones to get there. You’ll have to walk up a few flights of stairs but the view is amazing. Unfortunately, I didn’t get there before sunset, the view in daylight is amazing.

Praça do ComÊrcio (Yellow Square)

The Royal Palace used to be here before the Great Earthquake in 1755. The square is beside the Tagus River, it has a beautiful archway (Rua Augusta Arch) and a bronze statue of Joseph I of Portugal (1750 – 1777)  (King of Portugal during the earthquake).

Time Out Market

This is a HUGE market with all kinds of different food. It’s really busy at night with people eating and drinking. It’s right across from the train station if you want to get to Sintra, Cascais, or Praia De Carcavelos (beach).  I stayed at a great Airbnb just behind the market with a great host who showed me how to navigate the train station. If you haven’t used Airbnb yet, visit this link to get $45 CAD off your first stay.

time our market, lisbon, casie stewart, portugal, travel blogger, lisbon, aeroplan, withaeroplan, travel


Hope you enjoyed my photos and recommendations.

Check out my other posts about Portugal below! 

Casie Stewart: Guide to Portugal

  1. Portugal Pt. 1: What to Do in Lisbon
  2. Portugal Pt. 2: Sintra & Pena Palace
  3. Portugal Pt 3: Porto (Coming Soon!)
  4. Portugal Pt. 4: Douro Valley (Coming Soon!)
  5. Portugal Pt 5: Highly Instagrammable Places to Photograph (Coming Soon!)


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This vacation was in partnership #withAeroplan. Earn miles and rewards by shopping at your fav spots (ex. Amazon) and redeem for travel almost anywhere in the world. I've been an Aeroplan member since I was 11 years old and love redeeming my miles to visit new & exciting destinations. Check out aeroplan.com!Aeroplan Logo
 

About Casie Stewart

Casie Stewart is a Canadian writer, director, and entrepreneur. She’s an award-winning content creator and expert in digital. During her decade-long career in media, she’s been named Canadian Screen Award Winner (Voice Pioneer), Best Travel Blog, and Top 30 Lifestyle Blogs in Canada. Casie has been a keynote speaker at SXSW, NXNE, TEDx, and spoken at YouTube Canada and the United Nations of Canada. She lives in Toronto with her boyfriend and loves summer weekends at the cottage when she’s not travelling.

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