Hvr: Where Browsing Meets Social

Right before the pandemic hit, Sean and I spent a weekend hanging out with my good friend Talia and her husband Nelson. I’d met Nelson briefly in passing but we’d never really chatted. Once we got to talking, he shared what he was working on and we bonded over our thoughts about the web, publishing, and social. Nelson grew up in the publishing business as his family were co-owners of the Toronto Star. He and his brother Henry were building an app called Hvr that blends the features of browsing and social, bringing engagement back to websites. One of the first things he said was “We’re making browsing fun again” and from that moment, I was on board. As a long-time creator and publisher to the web, I’d never seen something so exciting! Since 2005 my blog has been my home base on the internet. As social media emerged in 2010, conversations moved to platforms like Facebook and Twitter, taking engagement with them and away from websites. Today, when I hit publish on a blog post, then copy-paste the URL from a browser to a social platform, people will talk about it there. This gives engagement to huge platforms but doesn’t do much for me as a creator or for my website. Fast forward to 2022, the web is changing, social media is just rented space, the best thing you can do as a creator is have a place you own online, a website. Introducing Hvr, Where Browsing Meets Social For the past year, I’ve been working closely with the Hvr team to develop the app by sharing my experience on the web and contributing to everything from design to copy and marketing. We’re changing the browsing experience by making it easy to follow your favourite sites, discover new content,…

View Post

Collision Conf 2023 – See You There?

Next week, Toronto’s biggest tech conference is back! Collision Conf is like the ‘Olympics of Tech’ and brings together people and companies redefining the tech industry. Nelson and I were there each day last year and it was so much fun (see blog post here!). We even filmed a couple of Cast of Creators episodes in the glass podcast booth. Including one with Raine Maida from Our Lady Peace! Trending Topics to Watch I chatted with the Collision Conf team this week to see what sessions and topics are trending: There are some big-name speakers (see here) and I’m looking forward to hearing from Geoffery Hinton, the founder of artificial intelligence. Early registration is open this weekend at the Union Station UP Express platform and then onsite at Beanfiend Centre from Monday to Thursday. I’m planning to get my badge this weekend to avoid the chaos. I’ll be at the opening party on Monday night and then at the conference each day. I look forward to seeing familiar faces and meeting new people. My experience last year was so great I left feeling excited, inspired, and with a few new friends! If you’ll be there LMK, download Hvr to leave a comment on my blog!

View Post

Self-Care: Cold Plunge, Meditation, Sunshine, Mani

This is me right before spending a good 2.5 minutes in Lake Ontario in the middle of winter, on a windy -11 day. Sean and I joined Meghan Yuri Young & Chloe Wild for a cold plunge hosted by Soho House Toronto. It was, as you would expect, cold, but fun. I had a full day of self-care and it was lovely. Sean dropped me off at the 1 Hotel (the old Thompson!) as I was attending a workshop hosted by NüLove featuring my friend, Coach Carey. The best thing happened, walked into the lobby and looked over to see Lisa Sonshine, who was also attending! Both Lisa & Coach Carey have been guests on our Cast of Creators podcast watch or listen to all our eps here. The workshop was so good, we meditated, had a healthy lunch, got inspired, and wrote letters to our future selves. 1 Hotel is going to mail the letters to us in a couple of weeks. I really love this idea and might send my future self a few letters this year. My wonderful day of self-care continued with a walk down Queen Street in the sunshine, popping into shops. My friend Angela has just re-opened her new shop in her old shop’s old location. Check out aka The Store on IG or in person at 662 Queen. There are so many cute things, clothes, shoes, jewelry, glitz, and glam! My final stop (before spending a quiet night at home) was a bright mani with my girl Amanda. Her manicures last WEEKS and I love how she’s helped my nails grow longer & stronger than ever. If you’re looking for a great gel mani, book an appt here. (I realized after that these colors are a little Mcdonald’s but IDGAF, I like it.)…

View Post

Playsuit Party w/ Biddell!

The other day I joined a bunch of Toronto fashion ladies to hang out with Evan Biddell at a gorgeous studio where we modeled his new line of Playsuits. It was a Playsuit party! If you haven’t heard of the Biddell Playsuit, it’s ‘an oversized flying squirrel-shaped onesie for any body type that inspires movement and creativity.’ I swear, as soon as you put one on you feel fabulous. I. ordered my first one in 2020 and now I have 3! View this post on Instagram A post shared by The Biddell Playsuit (@biddell) Black & White Playsuit The Black & White Playsuit has pockets! This new edition to the lineup is 92% Bamboo, 8% spandex, machine washable, and “equal parts casual & dressy”. I love it. It’s super soft and so comfortable. Gold Lamé Playsuit An absolute stunner. Perfect for the holidays, or any day. This one looks so nice layered with big jacket, a belt, and great shoes. She fancy. All The Playsuits I also have one in yellow and this glamorous black & gold chain print. Seriously comfortable and can be worn around the house (for hosting?!), with heels/accessories, or as a casual look for any time, really. The best thing about the Playsuit is it fits EVERY BODY. This photo from the 2021 summer Playsuit show is so fun. Look at all these beauties. I love you Evan Biddell! Thank you for your friendship and fun times! P.S. We talked about having an actual Playsuit party. Do you have one? Download our Hvr browser on your phone so you can comment on my blog & LMK if you’re interested.

View Post

Press the Pause Button

I heard this quote in today’s ‘Daily Calm’ in the Calm app and it stuck with me. I got out of bed went right to my computer looked it up, found the author, and got his book on Audible. Finished my latest read yesterday and wasn’t sure what to read next but usually, when I least expect it, something happens to inspire my next read or listen. “When you press the pause button on a machine, it stops. But when you press the pause button on human beings they start,” argues my friend and teacher Dov Seidman, CEO of LRN, which advises global businesses on ethics and leadership. “You start to reflect, you start to rethink your assumptions, you start to reimagine what is possible and, most importantly, you start to reconnect with” ― Thomas L. Friedman, Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations I’ve been working on more of a slow-living type of life and honestly, it’s bringing me so much joy. Exercise, more sleep, good food, less drinking, and lots of time with my thoughts. Slow living means going through your life in a more thoughtful, meaningful way. Before the pandemic, I was always on the go, for like, my entire life. That 2-year pause we all went through + living up north in the woods, taught me so much about myself. I am resilient, creative, and determined. I’m thankful for each day and there is so much happiness to be found in what you already have, who you are, and the people around you. In other news, today I signed up for a course starting in January that I am so excited about. I’ll share what it is soon. If you can guess I’ll give you a prize. Until…

View Post

Blogtober: Find Comfort in Keeping a Diary

I really wish I had thought of this BEFORE the END of October. I know Blogtober is a thing but I had totally forgotten about it until right now. I’m listening to Taylor Swift, in my dimly lit room, surrounded by plants, looking through photos to share, browsing pottery classes, and other winter activities. It’s glorious. The last few weeks months have been weird. I guess everything has been weird since 2020. I haven’t written here much lately but I started writing in a notebook again. Have filled so many notebooks in my life and each is s time capsule, a treasure to find and relive. In high school, I used to document the highlights of each day by writing on my calendar. Blogs weren’t invented yet. In other news, I’ve been enjoying the fall weather, layering, light jackets, mixed prints. This office mirror is a great selfie spot. I’ve taken a lot of photos here. FYI: Blogtober is a blogging challenge for the month of October where bloggers blog every day or blog once a week. For some people, it’s more of a ‘Get Back to Blogging‘ thing and well, that’s where I am. I have been blogging for 17 years. It’s a habit, a hobby, a passion, a business, this is my life (haha! Blog joke). Diary blogs are where it all started, the early days of blogging. Lauren and became friends through our blogs. We talked about it on the podcast recently. When I haven’t blogged in a while, it makes me anxious. I like to sit alone in peace at my computer. I find comfort in keeping a diary of what I’m doing. Each blog post is like a balance sheet for a moment in my life. I guess you could say I’m going, going, back,…

View Post

Summer Vacation at Stoney Lake

Sean and I went to stay with our friend Jake at a cottage in Stoney Lake for a week and it was lovely. I honestly, can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t have to work on ‘vacation‘. A career in social means you are kinda ‘on’ 24-7′. I’ve never had a job like Funday/Hvr, where they actually value a break.👏 Grateful to work with such awesome people! This is the first time in my life my work was like ‘no, you’re on vacation‘ and didn’t reach out or ask me to do stuff. It was absolutely glorious! I took naps, read my book, listened to a whole novel on Audible and did next to nothing. Highly recommend Wrong Place Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister, get the audiobook, great story. My sister and I listened at the same time and texted about it non-stop. Sean also rented a sea doo (that he later purchased!) and we cruised the lake together in the sunshine. It was magical. I left the cottage feeling relaxed and refreshed. 😎

View Post

Our New Podcast, Cast of Creators is LIVE!

THE TIME HAS COME! Cast of Creators IS LIVE! I’ve wanted to do a podcast for ages and creating this with Nelson & the Hvr Team has been a dream. I have truly never had so much fun ‘working’ in my entire life. Nelson & I have spent our careers in media and publishing now we’re setting the stage for industry leaders, bloggers, creators and more to share their passions & perspectives. Each week, guests join us at Hvr Studios for a conversation about their lives, content creation, and business. We’ve had incredible conversations with inspiring people and laughed so much while doing it. Cast of Creators is presented by Hvr, our new social browser, if you don’t have Hvr yet, download it here! If you’d like a little more info about Hvr, read this blog post. Our initial guests include Raine Maida of Our Lady Peace, performance artist DevoDLive, multimedia host & producer Brigitte Truong, and more. For a peek at other upcoming guests, read our release on Financial Times here. Hvr, developer of the first social-forward web browser, today announced the launch of the Cast of Creators podcast, hosted by its CEO Nelson B. Thall and award-winning blogger Casie Stewart. The video and audio podcast features perspectives on innovation and the future of content with notable guests including Our Lady Peace frontman Raine Maida, performance artist, DevoDLive, and multimedia host & producer, Brigitte Truong, and is available for download wherever you consume podcasts. You can subscribe to the podcast at castofcreators.com. Hvr is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play. Financial Post, June 20,2022 Please subscribe/follow on Youtube, Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. Listen to our first episode with Jules Mercanti here or scroll down to watch the first three episodes on YouTube. If you like the show, please follow,…

View Post

Ok, I Like It, Picasso

The weather has been kinda nice and that makes me happy. Can finally wear cute outfits & transitional coats. Totally forgot about this stunning pearl duster jacket I got in New Zealand a few years ago. Had a pretty good week. Spent Thursday/Friday at the Hvr office and Nelson and I are really getting things together for the podcast. I can’t wait to start recording! Shoutout to Flow Water for sending over a case in honour of earth month. Flow has saved 150+ million plastic bottles from entering the environment and they’re focused on replacing plastic bottles with mostly renewable-resource-based, recyclable cartons. NICE WORK. GREAT WATER. Saw this on my commute to the office, ok I like it, Picasso.

View Post

Five Good Things

It’s been a hard few months but winter is nearly behind us and hopefully this pandemic too. I’m looking forward to wearing my transitional coats, rain boots, and flowers starting to bloom. Hang in there, things are getting better. Here are five good things helping me stay positive: 1. Connecting with friends and family. I went to see mum last week, it had been months since I’d seen her. We had a nice walk and laughed over dinner. Nothing quite like a hug from mum. LOVE YOU! 💖 2. Getting outside. Even if it’s just for a walk around the block, fresh air and vitamin D are magic. I try to run each morning but if I don’t get there, I go for a mid-day walk or an evening stroll. Longer days make all the difference. ☀️ 3. Keeping busy. The gym has been keeping me busy and I’ve been planning dates with friends I’ve not seen in a while. Now that things are opening up there’s more fun to be had out in the world. 🤗 4. Practicing self-care. You don’t need to wait for the weekend to do that face mask, have a nice bath, or pamper yourself. I love a good self-care hour or evening during the week. I’m pretty dedicated to sleep lately and rarely go to bed without a calming meditation. 🛌 5. Trying something new. A friend and I have started a crypto class and Nelson and I are launching a PODCAST. YAY, NEW THINGS. 🎉 I’m pretty excited about it and it feels good to step out of (…or maybe into?) my comfort zone. I’ll share more on this soon.

View Post

The Best Is Yet To Come

On Friday I worked from the Hvr office in Yorkville. We’re gearing up for some very exciting things including a new podcast! Nelson and I are co-hosting with a bunch of amazing creators, brands, and business people. We spent part of the afternoon organizing the main office room for our new podcast studio and Nelson ordered all the gear. Also took my new bag from Spruce Vintage out for a spin, fits my computer and work stuff perfectly! ? If you’re not on Hvr yet, what are you waiting for? Hvr turns every webpage into a social space where you can chat with friends without leaving the browser app. Visit this link to download on iOS or Android and skip the waitlist while we’re still invite-only. Here’s an example of one of my posts in Hvr, when you’re on the app, you can comment on any page or post to share with friends. Fun. ? The last few weeks I’ve mostly been at home or the gym. It’s so nice to get dressed up, leave the house and work in an office. Looking forward to spending more time here as we set up the podcast and kick off PR. Idk if I’ve ever been so excited in my whole life. The best is yet to come! Weee!

View Post

Day 571: Have a Good Day!

Had a relaxing weekend at home. We tore up a bunch of the carpet in my room and it’s mostly concrete floor now. I’m into it, looks cool. Have wanted to do this for a while and after we had a leak from the rain, it was time. That’s all for today, hope you have a great week!

View Post

Day 525: A Return to The Office (Kinda)

Wowza, after almost a year I made a return to the office! I spent the afternoon working at Hvr in Yorkville and it was great to be back. I won’t be working there every day but it was great to see the gang and work in the same room. Saw this guy from the office balcony, maxing out that patio bro! Went for a bike ride (again!) in the evening and noticed Door Number Two vintage near our place was open. I’ve gone past here so many times during Covid and it’s never been open. Such a cute shop with 3 floors of treasures. I got a pair of green wedge sandals to wear at Val’s wedding next weekend (Emily’s mum).

View Post

Day 522: Live from the Lake

Comin’ at the live from the lake! Set up my WFH space on the dining table and had a productive day at work. It’s so nice to be able to work from anywhere. I’m really enjoying my role at Funday and what we’ve been creating with Hvr. The view here is absolutely stunning! We’ve been visiting this same cottage on Stoney lake for about 4 years. How about this for a view? haha. Did a poll w/ this filter on IG. I made a kinda hot dude, bit of a Bieber vibe. On the way home, we stopped by Cityplace, Sean and I both used to live here in these neighbouring condos. We passed by Michelle’s place to meet Beau, her new puppy, so cute!

View Post

Day 499: See You In My Dreams

Starting to feel better from the vaccine side effects. I want to get back to myself. haven’t run in days. Tomorrow we’re helping Sean’s parents pack up their house for a few hours. I plan to spend the rest of the day working in my room and I am happy to do it. Feel so grateful for my space and the projects I’m doing. By end of summer, I’ll be sharing more about my work with Hvr and our new app. I am so excited! Looking forward to this week. I love Monday because you never know what the day might bring. Sending you sunshine and ALL THE BEST FOR A GREAT DAY. Watched ‘See You In My Dreams’ on Netflix today, cute movie, bit sad. This song is nice tho.

View Post

409: Like Plants, We All Grow

This week has been hard, I feel so drained and tired. Maybe it’s the rain, or the lockdown, I’m not even sure anymore. Work is good and I look forward to laughs with colleagues. I’ve been going to bed early but skipping my morning run to catch a bit more sleep. I’ll get back to it next week. A new month always feels like a new start and May is my fav month. My birthday is May 8th and I think Sean and I will be sending the weekend up north. In other news, my plants are FLOURISHING. I love tending to them and watching them grow. I’ve got a bunch of cuttings growing in water. Like plants, we all grow and I’ve changed heaps over the last year too. I trimmed my Monstera about a month ago and the new roots are about 2″ long already. Hang in there, we’ll get through this NEVER ENDING LOCKDOWN.

View Post

Day 393: Keep Your Spirits Up

I know it’s hard to stay positive with everything going on but I encourage you to look for joy where you can. Go for a walk, call a friend, organize your cupboard, do a workout. Keep your spirits up! This will all be over one day and we’ll look back at how we’ve grown from it. Feels so good to be outside now that it’s a bit warmer. Looks like we’re gonna have a lot of April showers next week. Gonna try and find that sunshine in the little things each day. ☀️

View Post

Day 372: Social and Culture Manager

Woke up with a killer toothache this morning and took an easy morning for my Advil and CBD to kick in. It was another beautiful day and I am loving the energy I get from this weather! I ended up taking an afternoon nap and felt nice and refreshed when I woke. Went for a nice walk to the grocery store to get supplies for the week. Sean is shooting something up north this week so I’m home by myself, which I don’t mind. ? This week I am starting full-time at Funday Agency and I am so excited! I absolutely love working with this team so it was a natural progression to move from contract to FT. My role is Social & Culture Manager and I’ll be working on Funday initiatives, branding, and merch. This is a new role that was created just for me and I’m really keen to develop the Funday brand. One of the recent tasks my team completed was our first round of Funday supplies including notebooks, note cards, Sharpies, and stickers. They turned out so good. Here’s to a great week! Sending sunshine!

View Post

Day 366: Big Spring Energy

I’ve been waking up so early this week and I’m not sure if it’s Daylight Saving Time or general excitement. Knowing spring is around the corner has me feeling some kinda way and I’m working on a couple of projects that have me BUZZING. Last year when I was off work for a couple of months, it made me think about life and what I truly wanted. I’ve been working in social media for so long and felt like I needed a change. I joined the Advisory Board at Hvr then took a contract with Funday Agency. I’ve been so inspired by the work I’m doing, it’s transferred to everything I do. I spent years not being *truly* happy and I think this past year really gave me a chance to revaluate what matters. I reprioritized a few things and through that gained a new perspective on life. I am truly excited for the next year and what I might can accomplish. Here’s to BIG SPRING ENERGY. ☀️? She’s ready to BLOOM!

View Post

Testing Embeds

Fixed Responsive Twitter Embed ❤️?❤️?❤️? https://t.co/YzWO3CP9mh — CASIE ?☀️ (@casiestewart) February 18, 2022

View Post

Day 190: Hiding Out At Home

I can’t remember the last time we were home for the weekend as a family. I got groceries in the morning and did some food prep in the afternoon. It kinda felt like things were normal. Emily is back at school and making her own lunches this year. ? Last night we had one of Sean’s oldest friends and his GF over for dinner with her daughter. Em is old enough to take on babysitting duties and we had so many laughs while the kids played upstairs. Today we’ve been watching Ratched on Netflix and it’s so good. I love the styling, Sharon Stone’s looks are so good. I don’t have much planned this week aside from work but I hope it’s nice out. Please stay safe and WEAR YOUR MASK.

View Post

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 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.

View Post

The Commenting Game

My sister and I used to play The Quiet Game. Be quiet for as long as you can and first person to talk loses. I lost all the time. DOH! That’s not what this post is ab out THOUGH… One of the things I have ALWAYS loved about my blog is when you leave comments. Starting now, like right NOW, I’m going to reward one commenter each week with a prize. It’s going to be a cool prize and I am going to send it to you, in the mail, with my own money.  All you have to do is leave a comment on ANY post from Sunday – Friday. Winner will be picked on Saturday and mail sent out Monday. Comments will be shown in the sidebar so you can see who else is hanging around, who you are up against, or make friends. After all, you already have a common one here. (I mean ME!) You have been getting to know me for god knows how long and when you comment, I get to know you. It makes me feel more human, this is not just a dot com or a magical blog-thing that updates itself, there is a real live person here typing on keys and smiling at the camera. Also, you commenting makes me feel like I am talking to myself less. Not that i mind talking to myself or that there is anything wrong with that. So there, The Comment Game starts NOW and everyone who comments today on any post is entered to win a prize. This contest has no end date. It will hopefully go on forever (just like my blog). Don’t be shy. Have fun! It’s just you and me here on the internet. BTW this is my fav song right now.…

View Post

tv on the internet

Coming soon to a screen near you. HI from a park in Mississauga Aug 8, 2011 | Source: Keek.com Hi from the new Fox & Fiddle on Fort York! Aug 5, 2011 | Source: Keek.com hi from a photoshoot w/ @laurenonizzle! Aug 3, 2011 | Source: Keek.com hi from taxi Aug 12, 2011 | Source: Keek.com

View Post

sometimes i don’t feel like it #3

I’m immersed in technology from the moment I wake up to when I go to bed.  I often wonder what it’s like to wake up and not check the internet. Blogging about your own life is a wierd and wonderful thing but sometimes I don’t feel like it.  This isn’t a new feeling. I didn’t feel like it Jan. 13, 2011, Oct. 6, 2010,  Aug. 2, 2010, Jan. 30, 2010. Everyone has days they don’t fee like clocking in at the office. Remember going on vacation and being out of touch and not knowing what is going on at school or around the water cooler? That doesn’t happen anymore. I’m addicted to connecting, multitasking, multiplatform updates. When I  break I escape to tumblr. Well, that’s not really a break from the inernet but it’s really nice 🙂

View Post

young & restless: open a bottle of wine with a shoe

I’ve gotten used to jokes about how much I love the Young and the Restless. It’s true. I do and you know it. It’s a great show and I will watch it as long as it lasts. This pic is from NZ Fashion Week. Aw, I miss my down under loves. Anyhooters, every once in a while I learn something from the show, yesterday was one of those days. Lilly was locked in the wine cellar with the bad Australia guy and they didn’t have a cork screw so he opened the wine, WITH A SHOE. A SHOE! If y’all know this already and I am late to the game please tell me. I’ve had a boy try with a kitchen knife, a jack knife, a hammer/nail and who knows what else but NEVER EVER HAVE I EVER (remember that game?) seen someone do this with a shoe. After carefully doing the appropriate research on the worlds largest video site I came up with the following conclusions. 1 ) If this guy can do it so can I. 2) I recommend you try this at home. Here’s how. I hope you can listen in French, I think it is best explained that way. Attention everyone, if you try this at a party or picnic, in a dark alley or at a hipster party, you WILL IMPRESS someone. You would for sure impress me. I’m going to impress someone with this right after I go buy a bottle of wine. BTW if you try this and film it, tell me I will so totally post it. And if you ever see this please buy it for me. Is it an allergy bracelet or a symbol of my one true love? I am here to give you advice on things that will…

View Post

incredible india wecomes you!

Saturday night Brown Barbie and The Blondetourage hit up the Smirnoff Nightlife Exchange India party at the Munition Factory. It was fun. Thanks Smirnoff! Doesn’t this look like a bunch of fun? Super cute, Keri & Raymi. Say wha? 5 rupees? No way. More blondes! Blonde Jovi! There was heaps of food and a market with all kinds of things I reckon you’d find in India. Man I love a good theme party. Christine, April, Carly. Babes. Dance party! Lauren’s BF Sean is the best. Great sport takin’ heaps of photos of us, THANK YOU! You know this rascal.Always with the ladies 😉 Thanks Mum for having this wiked vintage Kaftan. It was a hit!

View Post