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The Praries: Ford EcoSport Cross-Canada Tour

The Praries: Ford EcoSport Cross-Canada Tour

This year for Canada Day weekend I was part of the Ford EcoSport cross Canada road trip with Ford Canada. My friend April and I were Leg 14 of the adventure and driving from Regina to Medicine Hat, SK and finishing in Calgary Alerta. It was both our first time in Regina and we had heaps of fun along the adventure. Thank you Ford Canada for this experience! Scroll down to see what we got up to along the way.


The Ford Eco Sport Tour involves 14 different content creators each driving the exact same Ford Eco Sport for a relay across the country. When I first received the email I was so excited and even more so that I got to bring a friend! I’d been wanting to go on a trip with April since that great weekend we spent glamping up north a few years back.

We started in Regina, SK and it was the first time there for the both of us. We arrived late afternoon and checked into Hotel Saskatchewan, an extremely elegant hotel. Ford hooked us up with a 2 room suite and it was perfect! The hotel offered great views of the city, was walking distance to restaurants and bars, it had a nice gym and a hot tub too. We drove around and made use of the SYNC® 3 with Apple CarPlay™ and FordPass Wifi HotSpot.

Instead of doing typical tourist stuff on our road trip, April and I made a point to stop at different vintage and second-hand stores across the two provinces. We love to shop! I’ve always found that shops in small towns are where you really find the gems. Our first stop was T&A Vinyl & Fashion and the owner was so cool. We shopped the vintage finds/records and he gave us pins, stickers, and a whole bunch of tips for things to do along our journey.

After a busy day of travelling and some shopping, we were ready for relaxation. Instead of going out we ordered room service from the incredible kitchen at Hotel Saskatchewan and pigged out in our rooms wearing our robes.

In the morning, we woke up pretty early (with the time difference) which it earned us time to hit the gym, have a coffee, and be on the road by 9am. Our goal was to do as much driving in the early part of the day as e could so we had some time at our next destination, The Resort at Cypress Hills. The car was great to drive and features like SYNC and wifi kept us on track and connected the whole time.

We had no shortage of great places to stop along the way. A lot of the drive looked the same with wide open Canola fields of yellow, green grass, and blue skies. We sang along to 90s on 9 on Sirius XM and stopped for photos and shopping along the way. It was really fun. As we turned off the Trans-Canada highway we came across a cute stop with a goat farm. So cute. Always stop for baby goats!

It was just about dinner when we arrived to our room at Cypress Hill Resort, a nice resort in the middle of a provincial park. We had a great dinner and turned in early to watch TV in our beds. We’re a real wild bunch! haha.

It was Canada Day when we woke up on Sunday so we both wore red and hit the road for the final leg of the trip to Calgary. It’s amazing how wide and flat the Prairies are. Really makes you appreciate how big and beautiful Canda is. Especially on Canada day! 🇨🇦

We made a few stops along the way including a Sunday market. We talked to shopkeepers whoever we stopped and people asked about the Ford Eco Sport wherever we went.


Sunday night we stayed at my fav spot in Calgary, Hotel Arts. I filmed this video there with Tourism Calgary a couple years back. We had a great dinner at Yellow Door Bistro inside the hotel and watched the Canada Day day festivities from the balcony.

Althouth we were on a self-guided adventure,  we had Denis who worked with Ford to drive across Canada to make sure each participant was a-ok along the journey. He also put gas in the car overnight so we were ready to roll in the morning. Thanks Denis! 

Overall the Ford Eco Sport was a great car to drive. It’s comfortable, good on gas, nice sound system, and my fav feature was the automatic windshield wipers. It didn’t rain much but when it did, they started up themselves!

Check out @FordCanada on Instagram for some of the other people who were part of the relay. It was such a  cool experience to be part of and to explore a new part of Canada.

Thank you Ford Canada! 

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Two Sisters Vineyard, Niagra on the Lake: Local Flights, Wine, & Baby Goats

Two Sisters Vineyard, Niagra on the Lake: Local Flights, Wine, & Baby Goats

Monday was just a casual day y’know? I flew to Niagara on the Lake (NOTL) with a small group for lunch & wine tasting at Two Sisters Winery w/ the two sisters. It was such a great experience!

Small groups or private adventures are a great way to get people  (media, content creators, friends) familiar with your brand. Thank you, Two Sisters (the actual sisters!) for hosting and Fly GTA for the great flight.

Can’t wait to try their Muskoka route soon! 

Scroll through the IG post below and read the captions below. I shared 10 great things about the day. This is an expansion of the original IG post. I’m not sure if I’ve done before? It usually goes the other way (WP->IG vs IG->WP). 🤓

1. Arrived at the airport I was a last minute invite so I went right to the office like HELLOOOOO. Thank you Stilez for hooking me up! 😊

2. The flight is 10-25mim depending on route and $99. Very beautiful!✈️

two sisters winery, fly GTA, muskoka, niagara on the lake, NOTL, casie stewart, wine country, ontario

3. Hot pilot alert 👨🏻‍✈️

two sisters winery, fly GTA, muskoka, niagara on the lake, NOTL, casie stewart, wine country, ontario

4. Two sisters took over a peach 🍑 farm 4 years ago.

5. They have a great team who takes care of the vineyard by hand.

6. I love Italian food and lunch was INCREDIBLE. Love the Burrata & polenta. Also HOT SAUCE.

7. What a voice, don’t miss this video or check out my NOTL Story on IG. Impromptu acapella performance from a band visiting from Portugal. 🇵🇹

8. Step inside the wine cellar, theres a table for private dining. 🍷 (See IG video)

9. Private tour of the family farm with BABY GOATS 🐐 🐐 🐐

10. They also have a hidden pond on the vineyard with a family of ducks and ducklings + heaps of fish.


two sisters winery, fly GTA, muskoka, niagara on the lake, NOTL, casie stewart, wine country, ontario

THE CREW! Maurie from 92.5, Joanna Sable, Solmaz, @meetandeats.

 

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This adventure was hosted by Two Sisters Winery and I was SO MUCH FUN.  I love documenting adventures with words and photos so I can always remember them.

Portugal: Europe’s Hottest Destination for 2018

Portugal: Europe’s  Hottest Destination for 2018

I’ve always dreamed of summer in Europe and although I’ve travelled to heaps of countries, I’ve never done a Euro trip. I KNOW! Well, ladies and gentlemen, the time has come. As part of my ongoing partnership with Aeroplan, tomorrow I’m heading to PORTUGAL. We leave mid-month and we’re back on the 30th.  Have I said I’m excited, yet?

I was originally heading to Paris with Sean but that trip is a little delayed and I’m so glad this worked out. It’s a great feeling to text your friend and say ‘hey want to come to Europe this summer?’. Ahhhhh pinch me, it’s times like this I’m like omg, this is my life!

I am so excited. Portugal is the hottest spot to go this summer, just check your Facebook feed or of your fav online celebs and they’re all checking in to Lisboa, Porto, Sintra, and beautiful coastal beaches.

Yesterday I was reading this article on W Magazine and it’s one of many about how Portugal is THE SPOT to be. We’ve planned out most of the adventure but I’ve left a few days up in the air to figure out as we go. I love not having a plan and the freedom to make things up as we learn more about secret beaches, hidden hideaways, and locals only spots.


If you have any food & drink recommendations, family, friends, hotels, Airbnb, vacation properties, restaurant owner friends, anything, PLEASE COMMENT.

We have a Google doc and Slack set up to manage everything (yes, we are nerds) so I will add all of your suggestions.



So far we’re arriving in Lisbon, going to Sintra, then to Porto, we’ve got a few days with no plan, then back to Lisbon before coming home. We’re gone for almost 2 weeks. It is going to be so hot and I can’t wait.

Sintra, Portugal – we’re staying in this great city for a night!


If you haven’t checked out the new Aeroplan, I suggest popping over to aeroplan.com. They’ve got deals on getaways, vacation packages, and more. You can also earn Miles at Amazon, Costco, and heaps of other online shopping spots. I’ve had an Aeroplan credit card for years and love racking up those rewards.

Thank you Aeroplan for making this dream come true! Follow along all our posts tagged #withAeroplan. I’m so excited!

 


Over the holidays this year took mum back to New Zealand for a month with Aeroplan and it was such a  great adventure. Watch this video we made w/ 1188 before our vacation.

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Vancouver: Hello from the other side!

Vancouver: Hello from the other side!

Hi! I was up early and out the door about 5:30am, arriving in Vancouver just after 9:30am PST. Driving to the hotel it was clear today was going to be beautiful! It’s MUCH different from my last visit in March when it was cold & snowy! When I’m travelling for work I try to get there with a few hours to spare so I can relax, nap, eat, get some computing done, or check out the area.

Fellow #TeamTelus friend, Christine (lifeonmanitoulin.com) was on my flight. so her and I decided to check out the area. We walked along the sea wall past parks and people until we got to Cactus Club Cafe. We’d been in Van for less than an hour before we found a great patio and refreshing cocktail.  I have a real knack for this haha.


Our waitress said we had to check out the award-winning Bella Gelateria for gelato and MY GOD IT WAS FREAKING AMAZING. I almost always get chocolate and this was truly one of the BEST I’ve had in my life. There were chunks of brownies. I can taste this photo.

The view from the Westin Bayshore is beautiful. My room overlooks the pool with mountains in the background. I popped down to the pool to sit in the shade, catch up on emails, and read my book in the pool.


Tomorrow is a full day of activities with Telus and I’m excited to see what we get up to. I’m heading out tonight to meet the team for dinner. It’s so nice out, planning to leave early and walk.

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San Francisco: 5 Great Things to Do

San Francisco: 5 Great Things to Do

There’s no shortage of things to do in San Francisco, you have the water, the Wharf, the city, parks the hills, and over 3,500 restaurants. The key is finding a few ways to see the city with enough time to explore. If I’m on a short trip to a new city, I like to pick 3-5 things I really want to see and give myself lots of time to do it. That way I can leave early in the day and take the scenic route, enjoy meals, take streets without a map, and follow the sunshine.

In this list, you’ll find five great things to do in San Francisco if you’re on a short trip but want to see a lot. I’ve also included my runner-up for street art and FOOD. 


Fisherman’s Wharf & The Grotto 

There is no shortage of great food in SF but if you’re looking for fresh (and sustainably served) seafood, you’ll want to book a table here. The Grotto was first opened in 1935 and the first sit down restaurant at Fisherman’s Wharf. It’s recently been renovated, restoring many of the original features, giving a modern touch to the 1930’s decor. Here you’ll find great views of the bay, the bridge, and boats while taking in the incredible menu by Executive Chef Paul Bruno. Make sure you check out the new beehive on the roof as you walk in the dining area, it’s not be missed!


Golden Gate Bridge & Alcatraz Tour

I was keen on getting to Alcatraz and biking across the bridge but found myself a bit short on time. I found the perfect way to get some sun and see the sighs from the water with Blue & Gold Boat Tour. Over the course of an hour, you’ll get a great view of the city from the bay, get up close to the bridge (by going right under it), loop around for a look at Alcatraz, and catch the sunbathing sea lions at Pier 39. Make sure you have your camera and a jacket, it’s a little windy out there!

 

 

 


Ferry Plaza Farmers Market

Each week up to 40,000 people visit the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market where you’ll find live cooking demos, great food, and beautiful views of the city. Operated by CUESA, the nonprofit Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture, the market features local and sustainable farmers, food artisans, prepared food, and plenty of flowers. Local chefs stop here to pick up produce and meat for their restaurants. The year-round market operates rain or shine and is open Saturday and Tuesday to Thursday.


San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Walking around the city there’s no shortage of art. The streets are lined with murals, bright coloured buildings, and beautiful architecture. Located in the heart of downtown, SF MOMA holds an international collection of world-renowned artwork. Around the building are beautiful spaces where you can step outside and admire the architecture, it’s also home to the largest living wall in America. Selected works include Frieda and Diego Rivera by Frida Kahlo,  A Set of Six Self-Portraits by Andy Warhol, and Collection (formerly Untitled) by Robert Rauschenberg.


SF Segway Tours 

You might not look the coolest doing it but a Segway tour in San Francisco is really fun. Don’t be afraid of the hills or railway tracks, San Francisco Guided Segway Tours will put you through enough training to make sure you’re ready to hit the road before they take you on a guided tour of local attractions. We stopped by the Aquarium, Comic Museum, and took in a great view of the city. Highly recommend this one with a group of friends!

 San Francisco Guided Segway Tours, SF travel, travel SF, san francisco, casie stewart, travel blogger, segway, downtown san francisco


OK, one more bonus thing to do if you have a couple hours! Avital Tours is a company that offer local food tours in cities around the USA. We did the Mission District Culinary Experience with Kevin Longa (also a filmmaker!). He gave us the lowdown on street art, history, the best food, and what’s cool/changed in the Mission District. I have so many photos from this that I need to do a post of jus street art! Highly recommend the walking tour!

sf travel, daily hive, san francisco, casie stewart, travel blogger


SF travel, travel SF, san francsico, casie stewart,

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A version of this post was originally published on Canadian Geographic, who sent me to cover San Francisco travel on their behalf. 

Lac-Leamy Casino: Vegas Vibe w/ Canadian Kindness!

Lac-Leamy Casino: Vegas Vibe w/ Canadian Kindness!

Last weekend Sarah and I had so much fun at Lac-Leamy in Gatineau. We took off Friday from Porter and flew back Sunday afternoon in time for Easter. Overall the entire experience was super fun, our favourite was the food and great service. Awesome local getaway if you’re in Ottawa, Toronto, or surrounding area and looking for a Vegassy getaway without crossing the border.

Here’s a video recap of our girls getaway!

Lac-leamy Casino Recap Here’s a little recap of our BFF weekend at Casino Lac-Leamy in Gatineau. It was super fun and relaxing! See more about our experience on the blog! Their Now Boarding theme runs till April 22. 🙂 https://casiestewart.com/lac-leamy-casino-review Posted by casie stewart: this is my life on Friday, April 6, 2018


Casino Lac-Leamy sent me and my lovely guest to experience their ‘Now Boarding’ promotion that runs till April 22nd. All the staff were dressed in flight attendant uniforms, they had dancers performing each night, and a variety of other games and promotions happening. We tried to do it all! Sarah and I had two great dinners, checked out the cafe, learned to play table games, hit the slot machines, played Blackjack, got a massage, went to the pools, hit the club, slept in, ate chips in bed, and had brunch in the executive lounge. I was very glad I had practiced on the two up casino on my phone before playing!It was perfect.


On Friday night we had had dinner at La Baccara, a great spot for foodies. It’s no wonder they’ve won so many awards, the food and service were both incredible. Sarah had a specially prepared vegan meal (they knew she was coming) and I went for the lamb (I love lamb, I’m kiwi!). The food presentation was out of this world and our entree was delivered each with its own server on a silver platter. It was one of the best meals both of us have ever had.


After our meal, we grabbed drinks and took some lessons in table games. Some of my friends often use websites such as www.norgescasino.com/ to check out all the latest online casino games so I was glad I had asked them for a few words of gambling advice before our trip! Using a site like dream casino is sure to get you up to scratch with how all the games operate and is also where you can have great fun gambling from the comfort of your home. You can have open alcohol in the casino and there is no smoking inside (thankfully!). There was a live band and an area called The Zone where you can play a variety of table games with a live dealer running a few games at once. We played a fun airplane game and it was on ALL THE TVs IN THE WHOLE CASINO. LOL. A little embarrassing but it was totally fun haha. The next day we both slept in and went to the indoor/outdoor pools before massages at the spa. We ate chips/takeout in our beds for lunch and watched tv/napped before dinner. It was the most relaxing day, an A+ recharge. Our second dinner was at Arôme, Sarah had tofu and I ate a HUGE seafood platter. The service here was also really good. After dinner, we had a drink at Banco Bistro then went at back to the casino to try our hand at Blackjack (no luck!) and hit up ALÉA nightclub. It was definitely a younger crowd in the club but it was still fun. (We were the cougars LOL!)


I would 100% go back for a romantic weekend or in the summer. The Hilton Hotel attached to the casino looks out over a small lake with a marina. In the summer people kayak/paddleboard and there’s a nice running trail.


Thank you Casinos Quebec for the invite and hosting us! Travel adventures are my most favourite and it’s the absolute best when you get to bring a friend.

Hope you have a great weekend!

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This post is in partnership with Casinos Quebec I've been compensated for my time and most of the weekend was covered.

Best job ever!

Travel Tips: Packing a Stylish Carry-on

Travel Tips: Packing a Stylish Carry-on

Thankfully Thursday is here, best day of the week! I’m so excited for this weekend I’ve been counting down the days hours of what has felt like a really long week. Yesterday I posted an IG photo with the caption ‘hump day lol’ and it wasn’t until about 4pm I realized it WASN’T EVEN WEDNESDAY.

My BFF Sarah and I are flying Porter to Ottawa for a relaxing, fun-filled few days at Lac-Leamy Casino in Gatineau, Quebec. From now until April 22 they have a ‘Now Boarding‘ theme that’s all about travel and adventure. My fav things!

After all these years, I’ve almost perfected the art of packing the right mix of stuff for fashion and function. With the help of 1188 Films, we created a cute video with some of my trusted packing tips. Click here to watch on Facebook or hit play below!

Travel Tips: Packing a Stylish Carry-on

This weekend I’m heading to Casino Lac-Leamy w/ my BFF. I’m so excited! Here’s a few of my trusted packing tips for a weekend getaway! https://casiestewart.com/packingtips-casinosquebec

Posted by casie stewart: this is my life on Thursday, March 29, 2018


I’m so excited. I honestly can’t wait. Lac-Leamy Casino has hooked us up with a great room at the hotel, dining at their 5 restaurants, a spa visit, and of course, we’ll be hitting the CASINO! Big money, baby! I mean, I hope we win some $$$ but we’ll have heaps of fun no matter what. They’ve got a whole bunch of travel activities to accompany their current ‘Now Boarding’ theme and it is going to be SO FUN. I love gambling and I often play games online on websites like https://kolikkopelitnetissa.net/rahapelit/, I can’t wait to make some big money!!

I’ve been on heaps of trips and try to travel with just a carryon whenever I can. Once I did 2 weeks in Thailand with just a carryon! I still managed to look stylish the whole trip, it became ‘a thing’ with our group to see what I walked into the lobby wearing each morning. Haha. If you want to go on an amazing trip like this you might have to be flexible with your travel dates or destination because it wasn’t cheap I can tell you! But anyway, onto packing tips!


Travel Tips: Packing a Stylish Carryon

  1. Scarves come in handy
  2. Bring a bunch of sunnies
  3. Travel pillow
  4. Travel sized essentials & ziplock bags
  5. Packing cubes are ??????
  6. Dryer sheets to keep things fresh

A couple other things, I always dress nicely when I go to the airport, you never who you’ll run into/sit beside, and it’s helpful in scoring upgrades. I usually wear all black, leggings, loafers (or whatever shoes take up the most space!), a loose-fitting black top that looks tidy, and my khaki trench coat. I take most of my tech accessories zipped up in my big black purse and throw my Mac charger in the suitcase.

The travel pillow, packing cubes, and my go-to iPhone charger are all from Amazon, I’ve linked them below. I never go anywhere without them! For this trip, I ordered Sarah and I these super cute matching robes and this disco laser light for our soon-to-be hotel dance party. I can’t wait. I’m so excited!


Follow our adventures on IG Stories and Twitter. For a sneak peek at what we’ll be doing pop over to the casino website.

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This post is in partnership with Casinos du Québec. I've been compensated and I'm SO EXCITED to share this experience. Even better, I'm taking my BFF! So fun. Best job ever!

Check out their Now Boarding theme here and think about Lac-Leamy Casino for your next weekend getaway!

Travel Essentials: Don’t forget these on your next trip!

Travel Essentials: Don’t forget these on your next trip!

I’ve been travelling a lot this year and have a routine when I pack.  I never forget, a hat, an eye mask, thongs (aka flip flops), multiple pairs of sunglasses (no matter what the temperature), a couple scarves, insurance, and my passport. Wardrobe and accessories always depend on where I’m going. Something  REALLY important people often forget is INSURANCE.

Millennials, I’m lookin’ at you. Apparently, we’re more likely to hop on a plane without insurance (55%) than without our cell phone (45%). Raise your hand if this is you?!

In a recent TD Insurance survey, more than 1/3 of Canadians forgot to purchase travel insurance at least once (37%) or said it’s the last thing they think of (36%).


SF MOMA, San Francisco, United States


Over a third of Canadians think they have travel insurance with their credit card (37%) or their job (37%), but don’t check what coverage they really have. You should definitely double check before you get on that airplane and consider buying a supplemental health insurance policy if you don’t have out of country emergency medical coverage.

We’ve all heard stories of people having accidents on trips and you don’t want to rely on a GoFundMe to get you home safe. 

Drake Devonshire, Prince Edward County, New Zealand

Sutro Baths, San Francisco, United States


Almost half of Canadians travel outside the country/province more than once a year. It’s important to have Canada-wide coverage as well as international. DYK that government health plans won’t always cover out-of-province emergency expenses like bringing a family member to see you in hospital, returning you home, or ambulance rides?

If you travel heaps like me, check out the TD Annual Plan that covers you for unlimited trips of 9, 17, 30 or 60 days throughout the year. This will save you from *forgetting* insurance again and save you unwanted expenses in the event that something bad happens.

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This post is in partnership with TD. I love to travel and insurance is really important. Don't be one of those people that forgets to take care of it!

HAPPY FRIDAY!

HAPPY FRIDAY!

I’m back in TO and what a great week I had. I love California and especially San Francisco. I have over 2,000 photos and so many stories to share. If you were following me you’ll know I was pretty busy. On my last day I went to the famous Museum of Ice Cream (more photos coming!), then a boat tour, and a bus tour. It was so fun but today I’m exhausted.

I’ve been switching back and forth from EST to PST for two weeks with being in Vancouver and SF and I think it’s catching up with me. Plus, we have Daylight Saving this weekend. This weekend I’m looking forward to some quality time at home with my computer writing about my adventures. I’m sticking around the city for a couple weeks before I visit Montreal and Paris.  I’m really looking forward to opening the cottage soon.


Sending you some California sunshine, I tried to bring back as much as I could! 

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Hello from San Francisco!

Hello from San Francisco!

Hi!!!! This is a quick little update from the Bay Area. I just checked into my hotel in Union Square and am meeting the other journalists shortly for dinner. It was sunny when we landed then a few showers rolled in. It was raining on the way to the hotel, sunny when I got to my room, then it rained, and one second later a beautiful rainbow appeared. Magical!

san francisco rainbow casiestewart


I’m really excited to explore the city over the next 6 days. I’ve been here a couple times but mostly just quick work trips with Virgin America. I’m here w/ SF Tourism this time writing for Canadian Geographic and we have a really great itinerary including a Segway tour, Alcatraz, Mission District, dinner theatre, and heaps of good food.

WELCOME TO SAL FRANCISCO!


Follow along on Twitter @casiestewart or IG @casiestewart here. I love sharing my adventures and am really excited about what the next few days will bring.


The rainbow at sunset from my balcony!!!

Here’s to a great weekend!

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Happiest When Travelling

Happiest When Travelling

Hellooooooo! Good morning from Surrey, BC. I’m here as a consultant for a conference and that’s all I can say about that right now. Arrived yesterday afternoon after a great flight on Air Canada. I’m staying at a pink hotel called Pacific Inn that looks like a Caribbean resort. I’ll take some photos before I leave!

Today we’re at a beautiful golf resort with mountains in the background. The view below is from the beach in White Rock, BC were I had dinner last night.

Tomorrow I’m heading to downtown Vancouver for the day and booked and Airbnb for the night. Back home Thursday.

Sending sunshine from the West Coast!

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Go Ahead, Use Your Phone! Telus Has Easy Roam!

Go Ahead, Use Your Phone! Telus Has Easy Roam!

Even though I was really glad to be home from New Zealand, I would LOVE to be back there on the beach right now. This winter seems never-ending and I even missed a month of it!

While I was away I didn’t miss a beat posting things to the internet. For three weeks I used Google maps as my navigator, Stories, Twitter, and Facebook to share photos, and was able to stay on to of emails.  

A few people asked about my phone data usage and what plan I had. If you have ever travelled overseas, the phone/data situation can be stressful and very expensive. That was, until now! 🤩

Telus has a great add-on called Easy Roam where for you can use your phone’s regular data plan in over 100 countries. If you’re in the USA, Easy Roam is $7/day and capped at $100 per billing cycle. For international destinations, like New Zealand, the $10/day fee is capped at $150 per billing cycle.

Telus Easy Roam lets you use your Canadian rate plan while travelling in the US and 100+ international destinations – now and on all future trips.

 


Honestly, this is such a good deal. I remember travelling to the states for a weekend and a friend racked up $1,000 because she didn’t have a data plan like this.

The good things is, you’re only charged for days that you access your Canadian plan in your destination. So, if you don’t need to use your Canadian data plan (hellooo wifi!) you’re not charged.

While in NZ, I had wifi at almost every place I stayed, so that helped for nighttime/morning scrolling (just like home haha).  Safe to say, I didn’t go over my monthly data and or get a shocker of a bill when I came home.

If you’re planning a winter getaway, you’ll find these useful:

Next week, I’m travelling to Vancouver to speak at a conference and before I head home, visiting the Telus HQ. I’ve wanted to visit Telus Garden since it was built!

The building takes up an entire city block downtown Vancouver and blends architecture, art, and environmental sustainability. It has 10,000+ square feet of outdoor space on six different levels, a community garden, bike storage, electric car charging stations, and more. I’m excited!

See you next week Vancouver!

 

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Mammary Memory, Thanks Facebook!

Mammary Memory, Thanks Facebook!

Two years ago today I was in Cabo with Sean on a sponsored trip w/ Sunwing. It was an ok trip. We had a pretty strict itinerary and were at a remote resort but the sun was beautiful and we had a great room. When I look at this photo, I think about how I had to post a certain number of things each day and it was kinda stressful. This was one of the photos I posted to IG during the trip to document stand paddle boarding. The other thing I see when I look at this photo is the size of my boobs.

Surfing photo, hiding the boobs here again.

Six months after this trip I had a breast reduction. For years I would hide them, they never fit properly in a bathing suit, or a bra, especially a sports bra. I hated them and was at the point where I was willing to pay for the surgery myself when the phone call came in. I am so glad I went through that process and have smaller boobs now.

The biggest change, aside from working out in 1 bra only is the effect it had on my mental health. I’m happier. I’m more confident. I was always a happy person with confidence but the change for me is in how I feel on the inside. I don’t stress about shirt buttons popping open anymore, I can just throw on something and get dressed really fast, I wear tighter stuff without feeling likes someone might say “whoa Tits McGee!”. That happened a few times before lol. I can laugh about it now, but having huge boobs was something that I really stressed about. I had a DD and was 100Lbs when I started high school, it wasn’t fun. For the last few years before the surgery, I never wore v-neck, low cut, backless, strapless, tank tops, or spaghetti strap. And the only t-shirts were definitely baggy.

If you have ever thought about going through the process of getting the reduction, I am happy to chat you about my process. It was covered by OHIP and I saw a great surgeon in North York. I personally know a couple women who have done it for me and it’s a real life changer.

These days I love working out, the gym, yoga, and running outside. I’m working on my summer muscles already and I can’t wait for summer. There are 46 days until the first day of Spring and according to the groundhog, we’ve got 6 more weeks of winter taking us to March 16th.

Sean and I on a jetski in Cabo! You can barely see the famous archway in the distance!

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Let’s Talk

Let’s Talk

Three events today. Ignore…. 33 Facebook notifications. Too many unread emails. Twitter notifications. Instagram notifications. Unread messages. It’s overwhelming. Then add on [that you’ve been keeping a public diary about your life for a decade and] all kinds of people who don’t really know you who think they ‘like totally’ know you because they’ve known you for 5+ years.

They know about the cottage and people, places, things, thoughts. Boyfriends, birthdays, best friends. They’ve had babies and you’d recognize their kids now, but you don’t really know them.

They know you, part of you, the sunshiney part where you’re always smiling and wearing bright colours, or going somewhere great looking good.

They don’t see behind the screen, in the pile of clothes or messy closet. The days when you just can’t even, when you think about leaving the house. Or going to that event. When all you want to really do is stay home and cook in your kitchen or go to yoga because it makes you feel better.


I feel like I need a break and maybe it’s the winter blues talking post vacation SAD*.  Maybe it’s because I’m on the waitlist for yoga at noon. Maybe it’s Time’s Up or Me Too. I don’t know. It’s freezing outside and blowing snow gives limited visibility. It’s also Bell Let’s Talk and Spring is just a few weeks away.

It’s ok not to be ok. I’m not always ok. The last few weeks have been really hard. The trip to New Zealand was super fucking hard. My nana died and one of my uncles was being super controlling from the day I arrived to the point where I blocked him on Facebook. Travelling with your mum is not easy. I cried a lot for the first week of the trip. I cried while driving with my mum in the car yelling at each other. I pulled over to cry while mum walked off. I fucked up the car by putting diesel in the gas tank after having a big cry with my BF. I fucked up a tire by driving over a storm grate to take a picture of a sign that said ‘Beaconsfield’ like the old Queen West Bar. I drove alone on really insane roads where death was less than a metre away. But I did it. I did it all and I made it home safe. I was worried at times I wouldn’t make it and other times I wanted to drive mum and I off the damn ledge because I was so annoyed. But I didn’t do that either.

Over the course of the NZ trip, I learned a lot about myself and had a lot of time to think about what I want to do with my life. What’s next? I kept a diary of the trip with mum. I haven’t posted as much for the last 2 weeks since I’ve been back but I’ve still been writing. I’ve been working on more projects w/ 1188 and Occupied VR. I’ve been eating well, going to the gym, and doing yoga. Today I baked a lasagna from scratch.

I’m continuing my 2017 mantra of doing what makes me happy and making my time a priority. I guess you could say I’m reclaiming my time.  Last year after my LA trip, I shifted the way I think about things and it has made all the difference. I am more considerate and calm, and I try to listen more and talk less.

Being a positive person is something you have to want to do and decision I try to make every day. Post NZ I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what I want to do next and I feel like the winter is a perfect time to hibernate and do just that. I always feel better when I write it down. Having a diary really helps me through those days when I don’t want to get out of bed.

If you’re having a hard day, hang in there. You are the director of your movie and you decide how the story goes and who plays a starring role.

You can also reach out to me anytime, I think you probably know me better than I realize. I’m always here. 

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FYI in case you aren't from Canada and don't have the long cold winter!
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that's related to changes in seasons —SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year. If you're like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody.

“Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.” – Willie Nelson

Years ago when I worked with Virgin America I helped them launch service in Dallas Texas. It’s a really cool thing when a new airline joins a city. All kinds of celebrities and media are flown in on their biggest plane and before anyone exits the aircraft, a huge water cannon washes over the plane. It was so neat. Stephanie Pratt (Spencer’s sister) from The Hills, Eric Stonestreet from Modern Family, and Xeni from Boing Boing were on the plane too. Read the full post here from Dec 1, 2010.

On this trip I met Richard Branson for the first time, Willie, LMFAO, a few other great people. This quote of his came up in my Facebook memories from this day in 2014 so I thought I’d share a little more about the day I met the author.

Redwood, redwood, coming in for landing xo. 

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Redwood is the Virgin America (VX) callsign!

Tramping in New Zealand

Tramping in New Zealand

OK, I know what you are thinking and I THOUGHT THE SAME THING.

When I arrived in NZ we picked up the rental car at the airport. Next, we pulled into a parking lot at the airport to change into summer clothes. I took a few laps of the airport to get used to right-hand drive and being on the other side of the road. I was fine.  I drove us down to the Viaduct in Auckland to look at the boats. [Mum is really into sailing and has a boat, sailed from Ontario to the Bahamas and lived there for a year.]

We went into a sailing shop and I saw this mug…

We walked out of the store and very serious I came close to mum, and whispered in her ear “mum, what is tramping?

I was so serious. Tramping?
What is a tramping club?

Mum, WTF IS TRAMPING?

Because to me, ‘tramping’ would be something to do with tramps or going out to find a man. Something you might have done in college that involved a lot of shots. Nothing I would ever do, now.

In New Zealand…
TRAMPING IS HIKING!

Tramping, known elsewhere as backpacking, rambling, hill walking or bushwalking, is a popular activity in New Zealand. Tramping is defined as a recreational activity involving walking over rough country. Wikipedia

“tramps, ranging from easy to difficult”


WELL, THANKS FOR LETTING ME KNOW.
Here I am thinking something bad and it’s totally hiking. 

So, I went tramping on Piha beach and it was AMAZING.

Black sand due to volcanic sand and iron oxide. Cool eh!

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