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.