G’day from down under! Haven’t had great wifi the last couple days and it’s actually been quite lovely! We’ve got a small cabin at a park on the beach about 2 hours north of Auckland. I was 12 when I was last here.
It’s so great to spend time with my cousins and family. Today we’re having a New Years Eve H?ngi, a traditional M?ori method of cooking for special occasions. Instead of cooking it in the ground, uncle Donald and Linda are cooking the food all day in a beer keg! How cool is that? Luckily they remembered to remove these Custom tap handles for your beer keg which they picked up when they bought the keg, beer and all.
Today I went fishing w/ my cousin and caught this big snapper!
Being out on the water was incredibly beautiful and HOT. My god the sun here is brilliantly warm and sun block is essential because there’s a hole in the ozone layer. I’m going for safe gradual tan and we’ve still got 2 weeks to go.
Tomorrow we drive to Taupo and stay in a farm house Airbnb for one night. Next we head to Palmerston North for a couple days then out to the coast near Masterton for the weekend.
Sending love and sunshine from the future (18 hours ahead of Toronto)!!!
Mum and I arrived in New Zealand earlier this week and the flight was pretty great. I was a little nervous about driving in NZ on the other side of the road with a right-hand drive car but it was totally ok.
I was super alert after sleeping half of the flight from San Francisco to Auckland.
Everyone knows the travel pillows below but they’re bulky, not that stylish, and don’t really hold up your head.
Well, do I have the best travel accessory ever for you!
I ordered the Trtl pillow from Amazon and when mum came over before we left, she was like “ok I need one of these too”. So now I have ordered two. It was an absolute lifesaver for the journey here. It wraps around your neck like a scarf and the plastic bit under the cover holds your head up. I slept 5 hours on the 11-hour flight, incredible!
I picked up a few other things for this trip and they’ve already come in super handy. We’re in Auckland this week and driving up to the Coromandel Peninsula tomorrow to spend some time at the beach with some family on my dad’s side. I love it here so much.
I’m nervous/excited today and that’s my favourite feeling in the world. The feeling you get before something big happens, before you make a significant change or a go on a great adventure. Tomorrow I’m on set for a few scenes of my cameo in a feature film. Yes, me! Huge call sheet with lots of scenes and set times, characters, craft, lighting. Soexciting! On Sunday mum and I leave for New Zealand.
This is where we are spending 3 days over New Years with my aunt, uncle, and cousins.
In other exciting travel news, Aeroplan just launched a new tool for using your Miles to book flights and get travel deals. I’ve been an Aeroplan member since I was a teenager and redeeming miles has been helpful in my adventures. I also have a credit card that helps me earn rewards.
I got a chance to check out the site as soon as it launched and obvs my first instinct was to check the great deals. As more people book the great deals, more will come available. Some of the destinations on my vacation dreams list are Barcelona, Venice, Lisbon, and Athens. The interface is nice and clean and it’s easy to navigate.
I found a great deal to Paris in the springtime which has been a dream of mine for the last few years. I imagine Sean and I riding bikes with berets and baguettes, romantic walks by the tour Eiffel. Lots of flowers and cafes.
I’m really excited and can’t wait for adventure that lies ahead.
See my Aeroplan video below and check out the new travel site here.
I’m so excited for this month. I love doing Christmas things like baking and getting the tree with Sean and Emily. I love Christmas music! I can’t wait to take the trip of a lifetime w/ my mum. Next week I’m shooting a fun video I already can’t wait to share. Feeling grateful to be starting the month in New Orleans and ending it in New Zealand. It’s been 7 years since I’ve seen ANY of my family and 18 years since I’ve seen most of them! Looking forward to making lots of memories this month. Flying home tomorrow and can’t wait to see my bf!
Yesterday was so lovely. I spend hours walking around and taking in the sunshine. I sat in the park reading my book for over an hour then managed to get in some shopping and good food later in the day. Today is a bit overcast and we might get rain but I’m loving the warm air and finding inspiration around every corner. There are so many friendly people and bright buildings here it’s hard not to walk around with a smile.
Hello from down south! This week I’m in New Orleans staying at Mardi Gran Manor with a few friends from TO. We each have our own apartment in a beautiful set of units behind a big gate in the French Quarter. I’m stocked up on groceries and all moved in for the week. Hoping to catch some sun and start off December with a nice tan. I’m sitting at a small table outside my unit by the pool as I write this.
I was here in September to speak at a conference so spent a few hours then getting my bearings. In the French Quarter, we’re a few doors down from Brad & Angelina’s old place and Nicholas Cage has a spot down the street. I love the architecture and the streets are alive with music. All the buildings are hidden behind huge window shutters and or large gates. At first, I thought it seemed kind of run down but as soon you’re lucky to get a glimpse into someone’s house or behind a gate, there’s see nothing but beauty. Chandeliers, fountains, and gardens all over the place.
This morning Natalie and I went to Cafe Du Monde for coffee & beignets then walked down the Mississippi River to the shopping outlets. It’s not nearly as hot as it was in September but it’s warmer than home and lovely in the sunshine.
Tonight we’re all having dinner together in at Compère Lapin owned by Chef Nina Compton and her husband. She was a runner-up on Top Chef and I met her a couple years ago in Toronto. Also coincidently, Sean and my really great friends from Muskoka are also here in NOLA so we’re all meeting up on Frenchman for drinks tonight.
OK, this post is kind of long, the TL;DR is I’M GOING TO NEW ZEALAND! I’d been saving up money & Aeroplan miles for months and in an amazing twist of events, Aeroplan is sending ME AND MUM and we’re going on a 21-day road trip next month. I’m so excited. I’ve wanted to go back and see my family for SO LONG and I’m thankful to Aeroplan for helping us get there, especially around the holidays! ????
It’s been hard to keep a secret until now but get ready for non-stop NZ for the next few months!Scroll to read a lovely story of how this came together!
Last year around the holidays time I really missed my family, as I do every year except the one Christmas we had together when I was 12 (see above). I said to Sean, maybe next year I’ll get back to NZ for their summer. It was kind of a dream because it’s really far and expensive and you need to go for a while (few weeks). A few months into 2017 I started saving for a trip. I figured the only way I was going to actually get there is if I started focussing on it with active intentions and putting some money aside.
In August I was in touch with Aeroplan about helping them promote a giveaway. A couple weeks later we started talking about a video project that you will see before the holidays. Another thing we talked about is how much I wanted to go back to New Zealand. I remember that call so well, it was a Friday morning, I was wearing a blue leather jacket, walking my bike and drinking a coffee after a manicure. We talked about the video project, going to NZ and they said ‘we can make that happen’ followed by the option of two tickets and I had to sit down. I was honestly overwhelmed with excitement and all kinds of feelings about seeing my family that I’ve spent most of my life away from. I called mum at work to say she was my guest and we set the plan in motion. I think she thought I was joking at first. Three years ago mum went back to NZ on an emergency trip because we thought her mum (my nana) wasn’t going to make it. Luckily, she made it through the holidays and hit her 90th birthday this year. I can’t wait for her to have both of us there this year.
My last trip back was in 2010 for New Zealand Fashion week where I extended my trip to spend a week with my aunt and nana in Auckland. Before that, my last trip was when I was 18. Which, hard to believe is nearly half my life ago!
Mum and I leave on Christmas Eve and arrive in Auckland on Boxing Day. Yes, we will experience Christmas on a plane but we’ll be together! After a few days in Auckland, we head to Shelly Beach, Coromandel Peninsula where I spent holidays as a kid. I booked us a cabin for 3 days over NYE! I can’t WAIT to be back there. I’ve rented us a car and we’ll be doing a mother-daughter road trip around the North Island for 21 days. There were so many cars and SUVs to choose from but I think I made the right decision in the end! In the true spirit of adventure, I haven’t planned it all out and we’ll make it up as we go. We’re both excited to stop at little shops and towns as we drive from place to place. Growing up I remember getting my first Aeroplan card and earning points, since NZ is a pretty hefty ticket. I’m incredibly grateful for this trip and to have Aeroplan help make it happen. It’s honestly a Christmas miracle. I know mum getting to see her mum again this year is priceless. I can’t wait to hang out with my grandma, aunts, uncles, cousins, jump on their trampolines, eat all the meat pies, lots of lollies, have bbq, watch NZ TV, and hit the beach.
We closed the cottage yesterday. As soon as we got north of the city there was snow. I’ve seen snow every winter of my life but I still feel a burst of energy and excitement for the first snowfall of the year. As we got progressively north the snow continued and we drove through our first snow squall (almost blizzard!).
Since the cottage isn’t winterized, closing up involves putting huge wood panels on the windows, draining the lines, dryer sheets everywhere (to keep critters away), emptying the fridges (we have condiment overload now), cleaning, and final lock up. There is a lot of lifting, garbage, flashlights, and tools. I always take a minute to be grateful for the work, the views, and doing it together. Sean and I have been opening and closing it for about 5 years now.
I got to thinking about how our lives will change before we make it back up in the Spring. It’ll likely be late March or April, and a lot can happen in 4 months. I’ll be away for about 4 weeks over the holidays and I really hope we can take a family vacation in February. Emily will be 10 my blog will be 13. Maybe we’ll start a renovation or have a new couch and TV? I’m hoping for more speaking at the start of the year and am working on that with my agency. I like thinking about the time passing because it’s easier to set goals when you have a timeframe to work with. I’m upping my fitness routine and hopefully, by then I’ll feel better in a bikini. I’ve never really been on to set New Years Resolutions, why wait will the new year when you can make a change now?
Come NYE, you’ll wish you started today!
Woke up super groggy but dragged myself to the gym and although it wasn’t a long workout, going is the first step to making a habit (AGAIN). So, tomorrow I’ll try. I have yoga tonight but I want to get more cardio into the mix. I always hated the idea of going to the gym but I actually feel better every time I go (surprise!) so I try to think about that feeling instead of the anxiety I get before going. After my workout, I took myself for a much-needed mani to kick off a big week with nice nails.
For the last few years, I’ve been following through on the ONE New Years resolution I ever set. I made a promise to myself to always have my nails looking nice. It’s a small thing but I swear it makes a huge difference. If I have my hair and nails done, I can do anything. It makes me feel like I have my shit together, whether I do or not.
This week is a really busy one. Tomorrow I’m at Influence TO a huge entrepreneurship & influencer conference. Side note, the worlds #1 and my all time fav YouTuber, Casey Neistat RT my tweet about it nbd. I am speaking at 2 events on Wednesday and Saturday I leave for a week vacation in NOLA.
Some people like aisle seats but I always pick window if I can. I like something to lean on and I love staring out the window. Takeoff is one of my favourite parts. I love being on planes, it means you’re going somewhere!
I’m deep in planning my winter vacations and couldn’t be happier, it’ all starting to come together! I leave for New Orleans in 2 weeks, then for a big 21-day adventure in December. I can’t wait. Nothing like knowing you’ve got sunshine in your future!
If you’re looking to get away soon, I’m sharing this link for you to get some $$ back on your accommodation. UseBooking.com and they’ll reward us both with a $40 CAD gift if you use this link. Once you check out of your hotel, the reward from booking.com will show up as a refund on your credit card. If you have questions about how it exactly works, read the FAQ here. The Nice thing about booking.com is they have no booking fees, free cancellation (most rooms), and price matching.
Also, if you haven’t signed up for Ebates make sure you do that before going to booking.com, you’ll get 2% back on your purchase! Their average cashback per order is $6!
P.S. If you're looking to save money and get smart using Amazing, check out this post on thebabbleout.com.
Last week my sister and I went on an adventure to Prince Edward County. PEC is southern Ontario with a coastline on Lake Ontario’s northeastern shore. It’s been about 20 years since either of us were in The County. I have fond memories of Jenie and I camping at Sandbanks Park with our parents, playing on massive sand hills, making things with clay.
Our trip was courtesy of The Drake Hotel and their PEC property, The Drake Devonshire. We were there to experience Countylicious, similar to Winterlicious/Summerlicious where restaurants feature 3-course prix fixe menus for $40/pp (+ tax & tip). In 24 hours we did so much more than just eat great food. The County has so much to offer so here are a few thing I recommend for your PEC road trip.
5 Things to Do in Prince Edward County
There’s 40+ wineries in PEC and a whole bunch of breweries. If you love great wine, you deff want to visit the princeedwardcountywine.ca and make a plan of places to visit. On our tour we stopped into Wapoos Winery, the very first one in the region. It’s absolutely beautiful and right on the water. Check out the Wapoos menu for Countylicious here. If you happen to drive a Tesla, they have a charging station.
Eat Great Food
There is no shortage of great places to eat in Prince Edward County. Starting today, Countylicious kicks off with a celebration of fine dining featuring prix fixe menus from local restaurants. Chefs have created unique, County-inspired menus with an appetizer, entrée, and dessert.
Have you ever smelled fresh carrots from a farm? Had arugula straight from the earth? I can tell you that the produce from Blue Wheelbarrow Farm is incredible. We met the young/cool farm owner at The Public House and were all so impressed with him we took a little tiki tour to his farm. They supply fruit & vegetables to heaps of restaurants in the area. He showed us around the grounds, introduced his cute dog, and picked fresh farm foods for us to try.
Go to a PEC farm if you can, it will make you want to move out of the city!
The County Wine Tours
If you’re a wine-loving foodie, check out The County Wine Tours, a company co-founded by friend Erin Bury. They have local guides that’ll take you on a wine or brewery tour by bike. Much better than trying to get around by car. They also do custom tours and company retreats. Bosses take note!
The Great Outdoors
If you feel at home in nature like me, you’ll absolutely love it here. I spend a lot of time in Muskoka but Prince Edward County has its own beauty. It reminds me of travelling back in time a little, it doesn’t have the busy you’ll find in Muskoka. Well, not yet!
There’s nothing like a getaway to the country, or county, to hit the refresh button on your life and recharge your batteries.
For all the great restaurants taking part in Countylicious visit countylicious.com. Have something I missed? Tweet me your recos for my next trip!
The other day I scrolled an article on Vogue w/ Wes Anderson’s best interiors and discovered Hotel Chevalier. I’mobsessed now, watched it 5+ times. It’s a 13min American-French short with Natalie Portman and Jason Schwartzman, set in Paris at Hotel Raphael. I have not been to Paris yet but I will go to this place one day.
The more I learned about the film the more I wanted to know. Wes Anderson is so creative with the minute details of everything and I love it so much. Have you seen Grand Budapest Hotel? In Hotel Chevalier, Natalie Portman was cast after W. Anderson get her email from Scott Rudin, the producer of Closer. [Another movie I totally love and it super weird.] This movie is only 13 minutes but is so beautifully written and styled, it inspires me. I love it. I love the colours, directing, script. It’s great.
This month I’m heading on a week-long vacation (sponsored by ME!) back to New Orleans and staying at a beautiful villa w/ a few friends in the French Quarter. I was there for my first time in September for a speaking gig. Booked this trip months ago and would love Sean to come with me but I also love travelling alone. I love being in airports and on planes or writing in my hotel room. I’m really looking forward to warm weather and wandering the streets. There is also a Christmas store I only had a couple minutes in last time that I plan to spend a good chunk of time in.
Today is the start of National Novel Writing Month and I’m really giving it a go this year. Have been writing a lot more lately. Planning for to write 500+ words a day for the month between novel/blog. I didn’t know about National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo) until this week when I read Casey Palmer’s blog (aka Casey #2) but I am going to try that too. I’ve waited/worked my whole life (ok well the last 10 years of adult life) to have my job as my blog and I’m taking full advantage of every single day. In August I worked really hard to be mentally and physically fit, then September was super busy, and October flew by and I felt like I hardly did anything. November for me is No-spend-November, No-drink-November, Say No-November, I need to stay home. November is my writing month.
Sometimes I think ‘THIS IS MY LIFE‘ and I feel so glad I called my blog that 12 years ago. I never imagined this would actually be my life. Well, I dreamed about it being something like this but didn’t know it would actually happen. Thank you for following and reading and being part of it.
Natalie Portman: Are you running away from me? Jason Schwartzman: I thought I already did.
At the start of September, Lauren O’Nizzle (my bff) and I packed the car with all our gear and hit the road to Camp Timberlane in Haliburton for Two Islands Weekend. Imagine, 250 campers, mostly 30-40, sleeping in cabins, eating in a mess hall, doing group activities, and an open bar for the entire weekend.It was so much fun!
The organisers invited me early in the summer to come to camp as a guest and my email reply was something like ‘OMG YES I WANT TO COME OMG‘. I went to camp as a kid but this place sounded legit amazing. There were heaps of activities like Beyonce Dance Class, archery tag, dance party, karaoke, talent show, jazzercize, movies, camp sing-a-long, and heaps more.
We were a bit of a situation when we arrived. Both of us were super excited after the 3hr drive, parked the car, and walked down the big hill past everyone, wearing huge sunglasses, city clothes, and more luggage than two people need for a weekend. We were so extra, haha!
For our first event, Welcome Drinks, we wore matching INTERNET sweaters by Shelfies from a shoot with Becca Lemire a few years back. Everyone stared at us like we were weird but we didn’t care. We ARE weird! And matching outfits were part of our weekend plan! Also duh, internet is our jam!
I don’t know what I was expecting but it was totally a real camp! There were about 8 girls in our cabin and we slept in stacked bunks. We made heaps of new friends and had so many laughs the whole weekend. The organizers did an amazing job of wrangling everyone to and from activities and meals. Thank you!
On the last night, there was a talent show followed by a dance party. I really pulled out all the stops and busted some fire 🔥 moves on that dance floor. It felt so good to just let go, I even left my phone in the cabin. I wish there was a video of my dance solo to ‘Single Ladies’ because I drew a crowd and they all cheered after. It was so much fun. I love dressing up and busting moves!
Aside from all the drinks, new friends, sing yelling, hangovers, AND losing my voice, the best part was the environment. They have a zero-tolerance policy for hate, discrimination, or bad vibes, everyone was accepted. When we first arrived I had a flashback of high school like ‘omg, they’re gonna hate us‘, but that never happened! Everyone was so incredibly nice and fun. It was something truly magical.
They were also super accommodating of different diets and allergies, offering vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and allergy-specific foods. There was no shortage of snacks and the food was good. Special thanks to Great Lakes Brewery for ALL the beers I drank, love you! 🍻
Thank you so much to the team for having us as your guests. We had an incredibly memorable time. I would love to make Two Islands Weekend an annual thing and go back to see the camp crew.