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. My friend did the same when booking her trip to Crete, she then checked out e-mietwagenkreta for car rental deals, so I hear and it just made her trip so much better.
“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. When it comes to this, you may find that you have a lot of questions, such as is aarp any good? What is third party insurance? or What is the best policy for me? Take your time to do some research, as this is very important. 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.