May was a bit of a crazy month! I touched down in Spain, France, Germany, and Switzerland. Had an amazing press trip in Spain, went to Cannes Film Festival, Collision Conference, Lift&Co Expo, was in a fashion show, and gave the graduation address at Conestoga College. Today I’m writing this from the cottage in Muskoka and after a few days in the woods, I feel back to my old self again.
I am so incredibly thankful to work with a partner like Telus. During my whole trip, I never once missed an email, text, or phone call because I didn’t have data or a working phone. I also always carry a spare phone battery while I’m on the road (I like this Mophie one). I look forward to the moment my plane lands and I get that familiar text from Telus that saying “Welcome to [insert country]. You have Easy Roam.” After long flights and meals on the go, it’s comforting!
With Telus Easy Roam you can access your Canadian data plan from and you pay a daily fee to access the data in 190+ international destinations. Honestly, as an entrepreneur, the $12/day is so worth it to not be constntly hunting for wifi to share my adventure on social or reply to work email. Telus even has Cuba on their country roster which is so great, I can’t wait to plan a trip there over the winter. [You might remember when I went there last time and had NO SERVICE.]
I love being in transit.
Photos from Cannes Film Festival France
I really loved Spain and want to go back to explore more. Read my post on our Spain trip here.
Next week I’m heading to Vancouver for the Telus Creator Summit with the Canada-wide group of Telus Ambassadors. I can’t wait! I went last year and it was heaps of fun, plus we created some really cool content in their studio and volunteered to help out a local organization benefitting youth.
I’ll be sharing our whole adventure on IG and Twitter and doing a wrap-up post here after.
For more information on US & International roaming with Telus, visit the Telus website at telus.com.
We drank heaps of wine, explored Spanish cuisine, ate lots of tapas, met great people and explored a few historic sites. It was my first time visiting Spain and I was lucky to travel with a great group including Jen Kirsch, Jess Glover, wine expert Konrad Ejbich, and wine podcaster Matthew Cauz.
I loved learning more about wine, touring vineyards, meeting winemakers, and learning how their wines are made. I’m not a wine expert but I definitely know more than when I left and sampled my fair share along the way!
We went to 13 wineries and countless restaurants over the course of the week and I’m sure I’ll be sharing stories about the trip for a lifetime. In this post, you’ll find some of my favorite moments including beautiful wineries and unforgettable experiences.
On the first night, we met for a great dinner at Lobo 8 in Madrid and tasted wines from the D.O. Rueda that paired with our meal. We stayed at Hotel Ibis Styles, a cute boutique hotel in the heart of Madrid that was walking distance from just about everything.
Rueda, located in Castile and Léon, is about 2hr northwest of Madrid and comprised of 72 municipalities in the provinces of Valladolid, Segovia and Avila. Rueda is the only region that specializes in white wine and is a leader in the commercialization of quality white wines.
On our first full day, we ventured to Segovia, a historical town centered around a Roman aqueduct with 160 massive arches. I absolutely LOVED it there!
Right beside the base of the aqueduct is a famous restaurant Meson de Candido where we were served a traditional meal from the area of Segovia suckling pig. Next, we took a great walking tour to the aqueduct and visited at Alcázar de Segovia castle. This castle inspired Walt Disney to create Cinderella‘s castle at Disneyworld.
We left Segovia to spend the next three days in Vallodolid about an hour north. Before visiting our first vineyard, we had a wine tasting at the DO Rueda office to learn about the region and to get familiar with local wines.
The vineyards of Rueda specialize in the production and development of their 1000-year-old indigenous grape variety Verdejo (a top-selling white wine in Spain).
The wines’ from this region have a taste profile more complex than Pinot Grigio and a great substitute if you’re into Sauvignon Blanc. High elevations and gravelly stone soils here allow the Verdejo grapes to ripen by mid-September and develop deep aromas and flavors resulting in dry, fresh wines that are food-friendly and accessible. The vineyards are about 600-700 meters above sea level keeping temperatures cooler, even during hot summers, which maintains the acidity Rueda wines are known for.
Over the last few years, I’ve had some amazing adventures with Aeroplan. In this post, I’m excited to share that Aeroplan has a booking tool that will help you earn more miles, faster.
Making Memories with Aeroplan
Looking through travel photos gives me so much joy. I was browsing iCloud finding photos for this post and was reminded of how travelling is truly one of the greatest things in life. You learn so much about yourself, other cultures, and it enriches your life, leaving you lasting memories.
Portugal 2018: On this day I took a bus tour around Lisbon by myself, listening to facts about history and architecture. I went shopping, ate a fresh Portuguese egg tart by the Belem Tower, and had ice cream on the beach. I took heaps of photos of the city and hardly any of myself. When I think back to this moment I was so warm and free, happy in the sunshine. It was one of my all-time favourite adventures with Aeroplan. If you’re heading to Lisbon and looking for some tips, check out this post.
Aeroplan’s Booking Tool
In addition to earning Aeroplan Miles on flights and purchases, Members can earn miles with 250,000 hotels and more than 11,000 car rental locations in 50 countries. You also earn miles on bookings made through aeroplan.com when you book using cash.
“travel has never been easier and more achievable”
They’ve made it super convenient and enhanced the online experience so you can add multiple items to your shopping cart and check out with ease. One of my favourite ways to earn is through my Aeroplan-affiliated financial card. I love logging in to aeroplan.com and seeing what purchases earned the most each month. I’m more likely to shop somewhere if I know I can earn more miles!
Limited Time Offer: Get double the miles
Book, earn, repeat!Enjoy a special double the miles offer until April 14, 2019, and earn an additional 4 bonus miles per dollar spent. That means you’ll get a generous 8 miles per dollar spent on hotels and car rentals booked with cash through aeroplan.com! Kick off your earning with an Aeroplan-affiliated financial card and with just one booking, you could earn enough miles for a short-haul round-trip flight reward. How amazing is that? Before you know it, you’ll be back on a plane!
Years ago Sean and I went to LA and we rented a convertible, as you do! Earning miles on things I’m already doing or buying is my favourite. I love logging into Aeroplan and seeing where I earned the most on my purchases that month.
I’m taking advantage of this double miles offer myself and planning a family vacation. Where should we go next?!
My connection to the Aeroplan started a loooooong time ago when mum got me my first Aeroplan card as a kid. I’ve been earning miles for 20 years! If you missed my video about this from last year, watch it here or below.
After what feels like the longest winter, it’s finally spring! This post is for all the weekend warriors, the road trip people, and anyone ready to roll into the sunset with the wind in their hair. Raise your hand hands! I can’t wait to get back up to the cottage and continue the opening duties.
Over the summer months, we spend a LOT of time back and forth from Muskoka to Toronto. I recently chatted with OK Tire about how to get your car in top shape for spring. Answers have been edited by me but the info is from an expert! Scroll down for a few tips on safety, changing a tire, and link to playlists. ? You will also find photos of me and cars I’ve driven/seen recently!
Q1: How does one prep the car if you’re a ‘weekend warrior’ that takes regular trips out of town?
A: Preventive maintenance is the best way to make sure your car is always ready for your weekend adventures. OK Tire recommends having your car inspected at every tire change and make sure you stick to that vehicle maintenance schedule.
Keep an emergency kit filled in the trunk with essentials
GPS is key, I love Google Maps/or Maps on iPhone
Don’t wait till you’re nearly out of gas to get gas, keep your tank at least 1/4 full!
Tunes are essential, have your passenger take care of this if you can (FYI – OK Tire also has Spotify playlists here)
Don’t forget snacks and games (for kids!) LIKE, WHO DOESN’T LOVE SNACKS!)
Q2: What’s the difference between winter/summer tires?
A: I know winter tires have more traction but there must be more than that so I investigated. DYK, winter tires are specifically designed to perform on wet, cold, snow-covered and icy surfaces? Winter tires have 2-3 times the number of sipes than your regular all-season tires, that provide hundreds of extra biting edges for better traction. The rubber compounds in winter tires are formulated to operate in colder weather and stay more flexible in temperatures below 7 degrees. This softer compound will wear down rapidly in the warmer months, so best to put those all-season tires back on before you hit the road.
While we’re talking about all-season, there’s a few different kinds to consider:
Low rolling resistance for fuel economy
Reduced siping and grooves for ride comfort and reduced road noise
Long tread life for high mileage use
Varying degrees of performance
Q3: Long car ride, what do you need to have on hand to be safe?
A: My friend recently got a new car from ICL and we’re thinking of going somewhere long distance in it. But you need to be well prepared! You want to have a few essentials in the car at all times in case (god forbid!) there’s an emergency. Sean keeps a bin in the back of the truck with a bunch of this stuff in it. Things you want to have: phone charger, blanket, matches, candles, some type of non-perishable food, bottled water, first aid kit, jumper cables, gloves, spare tire, duct tape, tire gauge, and of course, a paper road map. Imagine you had no service or phone battery?! You’re gonna need that map! You need to make sure you have the correct car insurance policy too. I know someone who owns a Lexus and he got some lexus insurance which was perfect for him. Shop around and find the perfect policy!
Hot Tip: If you’re a passenger on a long car ride, do yourself a favour and order the Trtl pillow so you can sleep in the car. It’s amazing.
Q4: How do you change a tire?
A: Confession, I’ve never had to change a tire myself so i wanted to ask this to get the low down.
Golden rule: FIND A SAFE LOCATION. As soon as you realize you have a flat tire, don’t abruptly brake or try to turn. Slow down and scan around for a level, straight stretch of road with a wide shoulder. An empty parking lot is ideal. Look for level ground to prevent your car from rolling. Also, straight stretches of road are better than curves because oncoming traffic is more likely to see you.
Never attempt to change your tire on a narrow shoulder near oncoming traffic. Move slowly until you find a safer spot. It sucks to drive on your rim but honestly, it’s better than being hit by a car.
Consult your trusty owner’s manual and review for specific steps on how to change a flat tire for your vehicle.
We can’t prevent flat tires but taking good care of your car improves performance and ensures your tires last as long as possible. Be safe out there!
Q5: If you puncture a tire, do you need to buy a whole new tire?
A: Key thing here, don’t try to repair a punctured tire yourself, it needs a specialist. In some cases, a tire can be fixed. Have a certified technician take a look and follow their recommendation.
When I was growing up my dad had a hot rod shop, ‘Toys For Boys’ and we spent heaps of time around old cars. Love this 1936 Ford 5 window coupe I found on their IG @OKTire.
If you have any questions for me or a tire expert, feel free to comment or send me a tweet.
Now that Daylight Saving time has kicked in it’s finally starting to feel like spring. I can’t wait to be back up at the lake!
This post is sponsored by OK Tire and the thoughts and interest is all me. I hope you find it useful!
About OK Tire As the largest independent tire and auto service retailer in Canada, OK Tire experts have the experience and knowledge to help you make the right decisions for your vehicle, no matter what the year, make or model. With over 300 locations coast to coast, OK Tire is 100% Canadian owned and operated. Customers can count on national support and the personal service of a local owner who lives in, shops in, and supports their community.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. it’s amazing what a weekend away can do for your happiness, health, relationship, and spirit. Over the winter we don’t get away too often so when Ford Canada offered up the new Ford Expedition and hotel stay, I was so down.
We stayed at the JW Marriott Muskoka, one of Canada’s top 10 luxury resorts as voted by Conde Nast. I’ve wanted to stay here for ages and tweeting back in forth about Muskoka and cottage life for years. The staff were nice, the food was good, it was quiet. We didn’t do much other than eat and sleep but it was just the relaxing 24 hours we needed.
The lobby is quite modern and the whole place has a country house vibe. There was warm apple cider in the lobby, complimentary snowshoeing, snow bikes, and valet.
We were upgraded from a standard room to an apartment style suite which was verrrrrry roomy. A family of 4 could have stayed here no problem. It had a full kitchen, fireplace, two tvs, a private bedroom, washroom with 2 sinks, and a separate toilet/bath/glass shower, so you could use each independently.
I could have honestly stayed there for a week working on the great Americancan novel, or my blog.
Inside the JW Mariott Muskoka
The hallways feel a bit like you’re in a movie. We’re definitely going back in the summer to take in the outdoor spaces and activities.
The weather wasn’t great and neither were the roads. I was happy we were in a vehicle with 4 wheel-drive. The 2019 Ford Expedition Platinum is huge, especially when you are only 5’2 driving an SUV that seats 8! It’s also rollin’ on 22’s so you’re seated above most cars on the road. Great for visibility! The amazing traction control was very useful on icy Muskoka back roads.
“This is a very smart vehicle.”
Sean on the way home through a blizzard
This car definitely got dirty driving through lots of huge of slushy puddles, snowy roads, and a slight blizzard on the way home.
Some of my favourite features of the 2019 Ford Expedition:
heated steering wheel
Hands-free liftgate (open back door with foot movement!)
There’s also entertainment screens in the back of the front seats but we didn’t use them as it was only us this weekend. Although, earlier in the week Emily absolutely LOVED sitting in the front seats, the middle seats, sleeping in the back seats, and the varying technology in each passenger location.
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!
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!
If you haven’t seen this yet on CTV, Global, or CP24, here it is! I was in Mexico earlier this month and I was a little hush hush about what I was doing there and now I can share, we were shooting a commercial for Sunwing Vacations! It’s part of their fall-winter 2018 Vacation Better campaign and the entire thing was shot on iPhones!
From finding the perfect couples getaway with the best on-site spas to booking the most Instagram worthy swim-out suites and everything in between, we want you to #VacationBetter this winter! Look for our tips all season long to help you make the most out of your next vacation! Watch on Facebook.
We stayed a new all-inclusive resort called Riu Dunamar, 30min from Cancun. Heaps of food variety, bars, pools, waterpark, spa, nightclub, shopping, minibar, and huge comfy beds. We were shooting most the time but I still carved out a bit of time to get a massage at the spa and read by the pool and with a piña colada. One thing I learned is to always bring a white outfit because white parties are totally a resort thing. I had nothing! On our last full day we went in on a catamaran cruise to Isla Mejures, a Mexican island in the Caribbean Sea about 13km from Cancun. It was beautiful.
I’m obsessed with these sunnies from Shade & Glory. My friend Mel who lives in California now started a sunnies company and sent me a couple pairs. Thank you!!! Check out other styles here and use code ‘shipit‘ for free Canadian shipping, USA shipping is free.
This week I am shooting a commercial with Spin Master for a new game. A couple friends are in it as well so it will surely be a hilarious day for behind the scenes.
Earlier this year I was in Vancouver for a city planning conference and stayed an extra day to pop by the Telus office and have lunch with a friend. I’ve been working with Telus since my days at Much/MTV Canada, about 8 years ago. I’ve had the opportunity to do some really neat stuff like volunteering, videos, city adventures, and making friends.
A couple years ago I helped them with some ideas to create their influencer program and it’s really grown into something awesome. Next month, they’re taking the ENTIRE GROUP of Canadian influencers (including me!) to their HQ in Vancouver.
Fuel for the day
I was really stoked to visit this building. I remember when it started in 2012 and was opened in 2016. The Telus Garden building takes up an entire city block downtown Vancouver, totalling 1M sq ft. It has amazing energy saving features, a fantastic garden, and has won a bunch of awards for the design and sustainability. Unfortunately, I was there in winter so I didn’t get to see the outside areas, it snowed!
“TELUS Garden is Canada’s most beautiful and ambitious LEED Platinum building, and one of the most environmentally-friendly developments in North America,” Darren Entwistle, TELUS President and CEO
Telus Innovation Centre
I met up with Ana from Telus (check out her IG @msanadouglas) and she took us up to the Innovation Centre where. I was amazed to see a beautiful bright space filled with technology.
One of the coolest features were the doors. Telus has created a set of doors that have screens instead of windows. Hello, why didn’t I think of that!? They’re the only 4 doors like this IN THE WORLD and they’re right here at Telus in Vancouver. A couple of them have cameras where you can host meetings and have the person you are talking with will show up on the screen. Other ones have touchscreen and heat sensors, so they can tell when there’s a person standing in front of them. This blew my mind. Imagine the possibilities? Our guide said they were originally developed for hospitals (Telus Health does heaps in healthcare, telushealth.co).
The space has a number of workstations, fully equipped with pop-up monitors for video conferencing. They pop up OUT of the tables! The card with wifi details doubles as seeds you can plant later at home. As a lifelong lover of tech, this was like being a kid in a candy store!
They also have a 3D printer where they create and test out innovative ways to make our lives easier. For example, this small purple object made with PLA plastic could never be made by hand but it is 3D printed in a way that makes it unique and super strong, you can stand on it without it breaking. It can hold up to 300lbs!
I was really impressed to check out the mock apartment they have to test smart home technology. I’m not just talking a couple smart lights, they’ve got smart home everything. It’s not just the appliances and light bulbs, there’s a laser that reads prescriptions in your cupboard, smart pillows, smart bed. It was like living in the future and tbh, I’m totally into it.
Everything here is smart even the bed, pillows, lamps.
Smartest kitchen I’ve witnessed.
I can’t wait to be back on the West Coast with the #TeamTelus crew. There’s some really rad people on the team, a few I’ve known for years and some I’ve never met. I’ll be documenting as I go next week and fill you in on the details.
It’s amazing what a few days away will do! This week I was on a client project in Cancun, Mexico and it was so great. In between the things we needed to get done I made time for some self-care. I read my book at the pool, drank piña coladas in the sun, and went to the spa. I walked along the beach, ate great food, made new friends, and danced at the disco.
I landed today in the crazy wind storm and it’s nice to be home. I’m excited to share more about this project over the next few weeks but for now, I’m looking forward to some family time. I’m feeling refreshed, inspired, and ready for the weekend!
Sending you love and sunshine through the internet!
What would you do with a Million Miles? Where would you go? I visited New Zealand and Portugal #withAeroplan this year and if I had a million miles I’d be off to India, South Africa, and Japan. I’m so inspired by adventure! Travelling is the best way to enrich your soul, feed your curiosity, and expand your mind. Portugal #withAeroplan
Aeroplan is back this summer with their incredibly cool contest, Moments Worth Millions. They’re giving away 5 Million Miles over the course of 5 weeks where 5 winners will each win 1 million miles. Think of the possibilities?
5 weeks. 5 winners. 5 million miles.
Do you know how many trips you can take with a million miles? You can take 20 friends to Hawaii in economy or a handful of besties in business. You can take 40 trips from Toronto to LA or take someone you love on a first class trip around the world.
That trip created so many memories and was really special for mum and I. Road trip sing-alongs in the car while driving the other side of the road, exploring the North Island, Eketahuna, Taupo, Dessert Road, visiting family, friends, and spending our last moments with Nana. It was an experience that enriched my life in so many ways my heart swells with love thinking about it.
If you win the contest and need a great travel buddy. I’m always here haha. Love you!