Since it’s winter and we’re all dreaming of sunshine, I’ve decided to get a little more organized with my travel stories. Starting this week and each following Tuesday, I’ll be writing about my adventures past, present, and future. As part of my quest to keep more memories, it’s great to relive those moments and what better time than RIGHT NOW. Guys, it’s -5 in Toronto right now and I’m wearing a big fur hat as I work.
This week, we adventure to Cuba! I visited Havana back in 2010 w/ a friend. We stayed at Hotel Nacional, a famous spot where gangsters, famous people, and socialites used to hang out. The hotel opened in 1930 and Notable guests include Ernest Hemingway, Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Backstreet Boys, Naomi Campbell and tbh there’s so many!
I absolutely love being in a country that speaks another language. Best way to learn I reckon! I danced to the sounds of Buena Vista Social Club, ate delicious fresh fish, and took in heaps of history about Cuba. Each day I watched different coloured taxis roll up with old white walled tires. It was like going back in time, I loved it. My dad builds hot rods so I’ve been around old cars like this my whole life.
My friends at Air Transat made this video a couple weeks ago and gave away all-inclusive trips to passengers. Did any of you guys see the Cuban Cab? Would you have taken a ride? I can’t imagine the being handed a trip so random like this! I could love to go back to Cuba. Especially today!
Stay warm out there!
I rolled down the window as soon as we got to cottage county this weekend, Toronto didn’t have snow yet and I wanted fresh air. It smelled like winter, crisp and clean. Closing the cottage is bittersweet, it looks so nice all covered in snow but we can’t stay. I wanted to. I imagined staying up for weeks, making fires, taking trips to town for groceries. Wearing jogging pants.
There was more snow than I thought and it crunched with each step. Tossed a few snowballs in the lake and watched them stay in little circles. The water is really, really, cold, small ponds alongside the road are freezing over.
Picked up this blanket and mugs from the Target for TOMS collection. They were sold out of the poncho I wanted but I got Sean one of the chambray shirts. He has at least five that look similar but this one was nice. He’s totally one of those ‘Lumbersexuals’ everyone is talking about with a beard, who wears plaid and the Canadian tuxedo (denim on denim).
Had to pour out our homemade beer and tried snow painting. No Picasso!
Winter is a season I find inspiring. I’m planning to lay low and hibernate the next few months. Working on something I hope to launch in April.
In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.
For now, lights out at the cottage. The very last step of closing for the season.
Until next time Muskoka, see you in the spring.
On Monday night I travelled to Toronto’s Queen East for a mini escape to Saint Lucia with Chef Nina Compton and their tourism board. I’ve never been to Saint Lucia but I’ve also never wanted to go more than right now after tasting the food and hearing travel stories from other guests.
Chef Nina cooked up some seriously delicious food. My fav was the cacao beef short rib with polenta and baby veg. The spicy cacao martini was a nice start to the night. You might recognize her from Bravo’s Top Chef, she was the runner-up and fan favourite on the most recent season. Chef Nina is in Toronto as the first culinary ambassador of Saint Lucia. Now that’s an awesome gig!
Here’s some snaps from the night by the lovely Becca Lemire. Did you know Saint Lucia, aside form it’s natural beauty, has a tropical rainforest and one of the world’s few drive-in volcanoes. DRIVE IN VOLCANO. A DRIVE IN VOLCANO. I can only imagine the other magical wonders waiting there for me.
Thanks to the Saint Lucia Tourist Board and Chef Nina Compton for a delicious dinner and some time to catch up with Andrew (aka Dobbernation). I had a great time meeting Charlene who has been reading THIS IS MY LIFE for years had never ran into me IRL. HI CHARLENE. It’s a truly humbling and awesome experience meeting people who have been reading for a while. It’s nice to get to know ya. You know heaps about me!
Here’s to a wonderful day. It may be getting cold outside but that doesn’t mean you can’t take the sunshine wherever you go.
Yesterday I had brunch w/ Montreal Tourism at The Richmond. They were in town promoting all the wonderful events that happen in their great city over the next few months. I was treated to Montreal’s mouthwatering cuisine, charming joie de vivre, and a look into fall and winter adventures.
Tourism partners and chefs included Guillaume Cantin from Les 400 Coups, Sophie Ouellet from EVO and Christian Faure from Maison Christian Faure along with Via Rail, Igloofest, Montréal en Lumière, Quartier des Spectacles, Phi Centre, The Montréal Museum of Fine Arts, McCord Museum and Grévin Montréal.
Earlier this month I was in Montreal to get a look at MTL à TABLE, their food festival starting October 30th. Three Ontario blogs were matched with three Montreal blogs then paired with a Chef to get a behind the scenes look at what goes into making their MTL à TABLE menu.
The group included tour included myself, Amanda Cosco (Girl About Toronto), Taylor Stinson and Natalie Sehgal (Girls on Bloor) from Ontario and Jason Lee (Shut Up and Eat), Adnan Albakri (514 eats), and Na’eem Adam (Mechant Mangeur) from Montreal.
Check out this vid Amanda, Girl About Toronto, made of her experience.
Read about my trip to a farm and fromagerie w/ Chef Jason Nelson here. For more info about what’s happening in and around Montreal visit their blog at tourisme-montreal.org. To learn about MTL à TABLE and participating restaurants tourisme-montreal.org/mtlatable.
I recently had the opportunity to travel to Montreal with their tourism board to learn about their upcoming food festival, MTL à TABLE. I had an awesome time discovering their culinary scene, meeting other bloggers/media, and being back in my second fav Canadian city. This is part one of my experience.
Scroll down to see what I got up to and get details on how YOU can win a round trip, including airfare to Montreal to experience MTL à TABLE for yourself!
MY MTL à TABLE EXPERIENCE – Part One
I arrived at Renard Artisan Bistro at 9am to greet Chef Jason Nelson and my blogger partner in crime Jason from shutupandeat.ca. After visiting the smallest coffee shop in all of Montreal and we decided to venture 45min outside the city to get local meat, wine, and cheese, a trip Chef often takes on Sunday afternoons.
It was about 10am when we did a wine tasting at Vignoble Vertefeuille. I loved being at the farm. The air was fresh and the wine was good. Not a bad start to the day! Chef gets chicken, rabbit and wine from the farm on a regular basis.
Our next stop was Fromagerie Au Gré des Champs where we sampled cheese and said hello to the animals. It was my first time at a fromagerie and I have never tasted cheese so delicious!
This award winning fromagerie is one of very few in Quebec that uses raw unpasturized milk to make the cheese. It was DELICIOUS!
Love this beautiful lady.
We had heaps of laughs on the way back to the city where blogger Jason from shutupandeat.ca and I met up with the other bloggers for lunch.
Later in the day I really got my hands dirty prepping dinner. And by dirty I mean I got blood on my hands! This is the blood used for blood pudding. I tried not to think about it too much. Look at my crazy face, ahhhh!
Stay tuned for the next post about the rest of my MTL à TABLE experience…until then enter the contest below to win a MTL à TABLE experience for yourself.
Contest closes Friday, October 17, 2014
Savour Montréal’s foodie paradise with the MTL à TABLE contest. Enjoy a trip through Montréal’s creative gastronomy at MTL à TABLE Montréal’s Restaurant Week. Enter the contest and you could win a foodie experience in Montréal including:
- Air transportation for two provided by Air Canada.
- Two night’s accommodation for two in a Sweet Deal Package hotel.
- Gift certificates for two including two dinners in a MTL à TABLE participating restaurant.
- A culinary tour for two with VDM Global DMC
- 10 transit passes for bus or metro.
Total value $2,192
Winner announced Monday. Bonne chance my friends!
On Tuesday Brock and I are going to New York City. Yeaowwwwwww!
We’ve been besties for like 5 years so this is pretty rad.
Our friends at Cat Footwear are opening a new store and we’re going to celebrate with them. These are Brock’s fav boots.
And these mine. See photo for link to blog posts!
Heading to the cottage tonight for Thanksgiving weekend!
This morning in my Timehop notifications I was reminded that four years ago today, I was riding the streetcar when I got a phone call from San Francisco saying I’d won Richard Branson’s Virgin America Contest. I was so excited that I left my phone on the streetcar! Luckily, the stars were aligned and it was returned to me within the hour.
The contest went for about three months and there were about 10K entries. We had to make a YouTube video saying why we’d be the perfect ambassador to represent the world’s loudest and sexiest airline. As the Virgin America Provocateur, I travelled North America with Virgin and gave away heaps of flights. It was a great experience and the campaign got heaps of attention.
Some of my fav moments from being the Virgin America Provocateur 2010-2011:
Making the announcement on my blog. Cute hair!
Launching Virgin America in Dallas, TX
Virgin America’s Halloween Event at Parts & Labour w/ Broke Social Scene
Wilie Nelson at the Opera House in Dallas
First trolly ride in SF
Xeni from Boing Boing
The man, the legend, Richard Branson
VIRGIN AMERICA TORONTO PROVOCATEUR CASIE STEWART. from Victors & Spoils on Vimeo.
Casie Stewart was chosen as the Toronto Provocateur for Virgin America.
= = =
The crazy folks at Virgin America contacted us with an opportunity. They were about to launch service to Toronto, the first destination outside the U.S. for Virgin America. And they wanted a way to garner excitement for the launch of this service among local Torontonians. Together with Jesse McMillin – Creative Director at Virgin America – we devised a plan. Let’s create a web platform and initiative whereby we search to find one Toronto local to be our brand ambassador in Canada. The perfect person who embodies the sexy and cheeky brand attributes of Virgin America and can work to be a firebrand for the brand itself. So we decided to create a competition where the best video entry would win this coveted position. We decided we would call it “The Search for Virgin America’s Toronto Provocateur.” And we were off. We designed the site, wrote the site and produced the site with the help of Google moderator. And we launched it. The competition worked great. And Virgin America found their Toronto Provocateur.
Back to the grind today after an absolutely wonderful weekend up at the cottage.
Sean and I went for a nice long canoe jaunt yesterday in the sunshine. How lucky are we to have this weather!? You can like this photo on Instagram right here.
We attempted to go through this tunnel to another lake where our friends cottage is. It was like being inside a beautiful painting. The colours of the leaves are so vibrant and the sky was incredibly blue.
We were ill prepared to portage the canoe over this little blunder. Next time I’ll wear better shoes and put my phone in something more secure than a ziplock bag. Did you know you can still use your phone while it’s in a ziplock? The more you know. Learned that trick in Thailand last year.
I finally got to float in my donut. The water was pretty cold but I really didn’t care!
Went on a crazy fast seadoo. Heaps of fun!
MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, MY FAV.
This week is gonna be a busy! Tonight my sister and I have a date for the premiere of Gone Girl starring Ben Affleck. I’m hosting a Twitter chat with Hotels.com X Nine West tomorrow then speaking to fashion students at Seneca College. Thursday I fly to Montreal for a couple days exploring culinary awesomeness with Tourism Montreal.
It will be the weekend again before we know it! Happy Monday, make sure you soak up some of that sunshine!
Turn on your internet ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in New York City. Here you’ll find every runway show from the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Spring 2015 Collections, being held in New York September 4th to 11th.
NYFW SHOW SCHEDULE:
Look for this image in the sidebar and you can click on it any time your little fashion loving heart desires. Love to know your favs if you take a peek!
On another note…
CAN YOU BELIEVE IT. No, think about it for one second. It’s 2014 and you are on my little bloggy blog about to watch runway shows as they happen in New York City. A privilege once reserved for only the highest fashion royalty, and now we are among them (from our couches!).
I love seeing brands create good video content. Now, I’m a little bias on this one because I’ve been working w/ Ted Baker London for over a year and I absolutely love the clothes. Here’s a look at what’s coming to a store near you for Autumn/Winter 2015.
Since it’s Thursday, here’s a pic Ted Baker posted from my visit to their 5th Avenue Grand House in New York last August. We had a blast! Later that day I met Justin Bieber. NBD!
Take a peek at all the beauties in the latest collection at tedbaker.com. There’s a downtown store opening on October too FYI! Huzzah!
On Friday night I stayed at the Trump Hotel and booked my room using Hotel Tonight. I’ve known about the app for a while but was yet to use it. I was contacted to take part in an exclusive influencer event where a group of notable Torontonians met up for cocktails with HotelTonight co-founder Jared Simon.
We were asked to pack a bag and come to the event where we’d leave to stay in a hotel later that night. Exciting! We were each given a unique code that allowed us a stay that night at one of Toronto’s best hotels. I was gunning for the Trump Hotel as I’ve never stayed there before and it’s oh so fancy. Others in the group stayed at The Gladstone, The Beverly, and the Thompson Hotel.
Earlier in the day I chatted HotelTonight co-counder & COO Jared Simon about the app and what’s next. HT is the world’s leading last minute hotel app with a rotating selection of rooms made available each day with bookings open until 2am. After working in the travel/hospitality industry they were inspired to create HotelTonight, knowing that most hotels operate at a 60% occupancy.
I personally think it’s an awesome idea and recommend the app when someone visits my city or when friends are looking to do something special with their partner. It was very easy to book my room using the app; pick a hotel, add credit card, book, arrive at hotel, checkin, stay, checkout.
I asked Jared what’s next for HotelTonight and he told me expanding to even more than the current 500 cities, growing consumers (like us!), and innovating the app experience. I love adventure so next time I travel somewhere I’m gonna wing it and book a random night w/ HotelTonight. Jared dared me!
HotelTonight is one of the first brands to launch a campaign on Instagram. I love seeing brand get creative with their marketing on such a popular, visual platform.
It’s called #tonightiam and ‘the campaign juxtaposes mundane everyday situations (painting a house, waiting for the subway) with the potential of where you can go and who you can be with HotelTonight (“Tonight I am Starlet; “Tonight I am Surfer”). ‘ Read more about it here.
Have you used this app before? Love to know your thoughts!
A couple years ago Sean and I drove to Montreal in a Fiesta for a weekend sponsored by Ford Canada. It was really fun and the weather was warm. We stayed at the W Montreal which I totally love, ate good food, and spent afternoons in the sunshine.
This is the video Sean edited of our weekend ‘Postcard from Montreal’. Summer, please come back soon. I’m dying to get back up the the cottage ♥ CASIE