Thursday, October 23, 2014

Life :: Travel Journal no.2 - Belgium

Let the RV Camper adventures begin! The first city that we visited in this beast was Antwerp.

Amazingly, we found a parking spot, although at the time we didn't realize how amazing that would be until later on in our journey. We parked the beast, and set out towards the city centre for some sight seeing.

Now, to my downfall, I didn't do much any research into what the city had to offer in terms of sights and attractions. But no matter, we were content to just meander and browse the streets as we came across them. We probably missed a lot of cool things, but we also weren't exactly looking for them.

Antwerp-39

Antwerp-20

After a quick Google, here are some of the things that we missed, but I wouldn't mind seeing in Antwerp:


Museums

Fashion Museum (MoMu)
Diamond Museum

Architecture

Medieval
Gothic

Attractions

Ruien Antwerp Underworld
Palace on the Meir

After a lovely day in Antwerp, we headed towards Brussels, and stayed at a campsite just outside of the city centre. We did plan on going into Brussels, but after terrible instructions to get to the train station by the guy who ran the campground, we finally found it. But, due to the camper's large size, we couldn't find any parking! We drove around the Atomium Museum thing for way to long before deciding to cut our losses and continue onwards and upwards. 

Belgium-Atomium-03

It was a pretty interesting day... to say the least. Lovely fall colours, and we just kind of stumbled upon the Atomium. Who knew? In retrospect, we probably should have just gone inside and up in the weird little atoms that I think are rooms.



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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Beauty :: New Morning Routine

Going on vacation has made me feel like a changed woman.

Ever since I went to that Vichy skin consultation (way back in April), I've been trying to incorporate sunscreen into my daily routine. Some mornings I will admit that it's a complete flop, and I can't just seem to get out of bed quick enough to throw some on.

I've been using Neutrogena's sunscreen since last year, and I don't know if it's working with my skin quite as well this year. I've noticed that it's quite a bit more "sunscreen-y" in smell and texture, and while I love the fact that it goes on matte, it's probably not the best for every day under make-up.

During the Vichy Skin Consultation, I received a sample for their 60 SPF sunscreen, which I've used a couple times and I am really enjoying it. It's very smooth and light - it seems more suited for every day use, especially if you have make up that has SPF in it as well. But, for the cost, I decided to go for something a little nicer on the wallet.

And, because I'm lazy and don't want to have an added step - I just removed face cream in the morning. I just apply sunscreen before my makeup and voila! I have sunscreen on! It's actually quite nice, and I'm pleased with how it's working out for me. It's also nice and light on my skin, so it doesn't cause any breakouts either. Most days I just apply the sunscreen and some powder to take away the shine, and then I run out the door. Oh, I usually attempt mascara too. Ultimate every day make-up without looking like I'm wearing make-up.

But part of my new regime that's inspired by my vacation, I'm going to get up early and make the time to put on make up and wash my face and everything. Fingers crossed that it lasts!! 



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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Life :: Travel Journal no.1 - Netherlands

The first leg of our trip - The Netherlands!

Andrew and I landed at 12.30 in the afternoon, after a long night on the plane. Andrew got some sleep, but I definitely didn't. I spent the time watching movies, and being annoyed by a random man that REEKED of B.O. So uncool, man, uncool.

First note, I left my phone at home. Next time, definitely not going to do that. I miss having photos on it, and the ease of Instagramming while getting some Wi-Fi. Plus, I had absolutely no contact with my cousins as they were waiting in the airport for us. Oops. Lesson learned there.

Holland-Family-02 

But we found them (easily) and then we hopped in the car to head to their house in Cuijk. So, so gorgeous. I haven't seen this side of the family in about 8-9 years. It's nice because my third cousins are roughly the same age as me, so it was easy to chill out with them. And chill out we did. We stayed in Cuijk for about 4 days, and literally just vegged out. Slept in, went on bike rides, they took us out for a boat ride, it was so relaxing.

Holland-Bike-Ride-02

Holland-Bike-Ride-01 

Of course, it wouldn't be real if we didn't have a family photo! And sadly, Andrew fits in more with my family than I do (looks wise)... Who's that random Asian girl! Haha.

Holland-Family-01

They helped us figure out where to find an RV camper for the first leg of our journey, and were so accommodating. I'd love to go back with my mom in the spring for a graduation present to myself!... And I think a few want to come out this way maybe this Christmas, which would be lovely!

Holland-Family-03 

One goal for sure is to keep up better communication. Especially since we are so close in age!

I loved Holland, and being out in the countryside. Every where you look are green fields and animals. Horses abound! I could easily live there, and just have a cute house and a horse in the backyard. After a couple super relaxing days, we were onto the next country and adventure! 
 


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Monday, October 20, 2014

Life :: Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy [Belated] Thanksgiving!

Last weekend was the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend. As Andrew and I were off in bonnie ol' London that week, his family decided to postpone it until we came back. Isn't that just lovely? Especially since Andrew loves this holiday!

A small get together of his family, but lots and lots of delicious foods. Mm turkey!

I guess I can't really complain that I missed out on the long weekend though, can I? 
 



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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Life :: Bon Voyage!

So this post was supposed to go up before I left, but due to terrible planning, and last minute rushing around, it did not.

So it's going up now! I am back from my 3 week Europe trip. It was amazing. I definitely had some surreal 'pinch me' moments (especially in France) but it was definitely one of the best trips I've ever done.

Versailles-Marie-Antoinette-Village-01 Andrew and I did our romantic getaway starting in Holland, before heading to Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, France, and ending in the UK.

3 weeks is not enough time to do everything that can be done in Europe. That's for sure. I hit most of the major 'tourist' zones, and I'm already planning our next trips out there. More time in the country side for sure!

So I will be bombarding this here blog with a million pictures and travel posts, so keep your eyes on the look out!

It's definitely good to be back though. 



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Friday, September 19, 2014

Toronto :: BlogPodium 2014 Recap

Fun-filled day of learning and networking, a room full of bloggers from across Canada. That is what BlogPodium was, as it descended upon Toronto last Saturday.

Etsy, Blogpodium, Conference, selfie, Canada, Toronto, bloggers

I was up bright and early on Saturday morning, full of anticipation and a small amount of sleep, 6am is just not a time in the morning that I do well. Make-up on, bag packed, double and triple checking that I had everything that I needed [business cards, glasses, pens, notebook!] and then I was out the door at 7. A slight hiccup with the subway, [why is St Andrew always closed on the day that I need to get to Union?] I made it there at 8. 

As I arrived, I bumped into a couple of ladies also heading towards the conference. We chatted, introduced ourselves, and got registered. The inner stationery nerd in me rejoiced at the fact that with registration they had a little package including a notebook, pen, candy, and name card. There was a bit of a crowd, but it wasn't completely filled up yet, so it was a little less stressful to take it all in. It was nice to put real faces to some of the ladies that I've been chatting to on Twitter, although I didn't have quite to courage to go up to them all. 

There were an assortment of sponsor booths, and it was lovely talking to them all. Photos galore were happening in the foyer section, one for Etsy, a professional photographer doing headshots, and an Instagram photo printer. I had fun chatting at the Etsy booth in the morning, before going to get a seat and some breakfast. 

The interesting point that did come up, that I never really thought about before is thinking of myself as an entrepreneur. I've always enjoyed working for other people, and not having to take that extra step of responsibility, but lately the thought of working for myself definitely has some appeal. I've actually come to terms with some things that I'm not even 100% capable of sharing... yet.

Highlights from the Sessions I Attended: 

  1. Keynote Presentation - Donna Williams: I actually have never heard of her blog before this conference, and she is fascinating. I loved that she shared her starting story, and it was really inspirational. She's a fascinating woman, and makes the coolest things around her house! She had some great thoughts about how to keep your passion in blogging by creating a mantra that you read to yourself every time you start to get bogged down, or sidetracked from the original message you were trying to portray. 
  2. Do's and Don'ts of Attracting Brands: As I've never really given much thought to attracting brands, this was a good intro to the side of working with brands. Some good tips included Know Your Brand, Be Transparent and Loyal, Engage with Brands you Love, and make a Brand Wishlist. 
  3. Bloggers and Brands: After the previous seminar, it was the perfect segway into this seminar, as this was a little more in-depth, discussing pitching to brands, negotiating contracts, creating content, reporting the final stats, and building long term relationships with the brands. 
  4. Keynote Panel: The panelists comprised of Scott McGillivray of HGTV's Income Property, Jennifer Flores of Rambling Renovators, and Monika Hibbs of MH [previously Doctor's Closet]. I found this to be extremely interesting and inspiring. My favourite thought from this was Scott's - "Being an entrepreneur is like being a farmer. Long days, and hard work and knowing that the reward is worth the delayed gratification". 
  5. Blogging to Vlogging: This one was interesting, because I'm not sure what I thought it would be like going in, but it wasn't really what I thought it would be? She went over the major points of why and how, and briefly went over editing programs. This is something that I might be interested in getting into. I just need to get over myself on camera. 

Highlights from the Entire Conference:

  1. Brand Booths: It was really interesting interacting with the brands, I loved finding out that stores that I love shopping, and just browsing also work with bloggers. Definitely a lot of food for thought in the future!! 
  2. Networking: Possibly the best part of conferencing, meeting new people! This year I met the lovely Amanda of Amodachic, Paige from Heirloom Keepsakes, and Vanessa from The Shimmer
  3. Swag: Ah the freebies. I got quite a few new bags, and a chair. I won a little contest that I got something that I'm not sure what I'll do with yet... Paige suggested using it in a gallery wall project. Good idea! 
Would you attend next year's conference? I highly recommend it, even though it's a bit out of the wallet, but definitely worth it!
 



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