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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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Beauty :: E.L.F. Lip Lock Pencil and Blush

E.L.F Cosmetics is known to be an affordable range of make up. These are the two newest pieces I picked up at Target.

I should not be allowed in Target. I went in there looking for some Altuzarra goodies [there were very little] and just happened to walk by the beauty section. Probably the one good thing about Target coming to Canada is that we now have easier access to ELF products.

Target doesn't always have the biggest supply of anything at one time... But that's a different discussion altogether. But as I was browsing the Cloverdale Mall location, they did seem to have a fair selection this time. I decided that a blush is always a good thing to have, and I don't have one that I'm currently using.

I also decided to splurge and buy the clear lip liner, because my Benefit one is no longer being made! *cry me a river*. I always like the clear liners because they are a) much more versatile, and b) the bargain way to get many different colour liners in one pencil. Especially since this one is only $4, sign me up!

ELF-Cosmetics-Eye-Cheek-03

ELF Tickled Pink Blush

The Packaging

Again, it's matte, with a nice little window to see the colour of the product. This feels easy in the hand to hold and maneuver, with a small mirror. I always find that those mirrors are slightly useless - does anyone actually use them? 

The Product

A medium pink - it was the middle shade that they had. It looks a little brown in the picture, but it's a very sheer colour. Perfect for every day. 

The Verdict

For $4, it's a good product. Definitely worth the re-buy at a later date.

ELF Clear Lip Lock Pencil

The Packaging

I love the sleek look of it, matte is always a winner in my books. The twist up base, like a regular lipstick is a plus as well. Nothing was worse than trying to sharpen the Benefit pencil. The lid and the bottom feels cheap. It doesn't click closed, so there is some wiggle room, and the bottom turns. I actually thought that was where you turn for more product. Note to self: It's not. Does take away from the more "expensive" look and feel.

The Product

Easy to apply with the pencil format, and creates a smooth line. 

The Verdict

This one I'm not 100% sold on. I think in this case, it does feel like a $4 product. I'm not sure that this is one that I'd buy again, unless I can't find a better clear liner. 




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Monday, September 15, 2014

Life :: Planning a Trip Abroad

Planning a trip does require some organization. How do you stay on top of planning?

I leave in a couple days for one of the biggest trips in my adult life. It hasn't been the easiest thing to plan because I am planning it for 2 people. Andrew, who has already done a Euro-trip, was uninterested in helping me plan this thing, or make any decisions regarding what he wanted to see or do. So unhelpful. Perhaps I'm just being to caring about what he wants to do ;). Regardless, I've been doing research, and trying to figure things out, but I easily find myself overwhelmed. What's a girl to do?

Apparently, plan a trip. No feedback from a partner going with you is extremely tough. Right now I'm kind of just hoping for the best. I should be better at this for the next trip.

5 Things I have learned so far:

  1. Don't procrastinate. Time has a way of just flying by, and when you think you have plenty of time - you really don't. I am learning this the hard way. And I am still procrastinating.
  2. Enthusiasm. It's harder to stay excited about a trip when every one is asking how excited you are. I am excited, but every time you mention the trip I am reminded about #1 - which leads to just a little bit of anxiety. But as we're just over a week away, I'm getting really, really excited. 
  3. Packing. I always have good intentions of packing light. I'm a little bit more worried about things I end up buying on that side. Although - I can't really afford anything that can't fit in my bag anyways. I have also been compiling lists upon lists of things to bring. I'm always a fan of a good check list, so I don't forget anything at any point in my trip! 
  4. Budget. Things cost way more than you actually realize, and so it's good to have a rough ball point figure. Also, when the numbers start to add up - don't panic. It's totally worth the money for the experiences! 
  5. Suggestions. Once everyone finds out that you're going on a trip, if they've been there, they will let you know. I've heard more suggestions on things to do, places to go and stay, and how to get around. As it's all pretty informative, I'm always appreciative, but don't let suggestions force a decision. Only you know what you actually want to do and see. 
I am completely ecstatic that I'm going to be travelling, and as we get closer to the date, Andrew is also getting more excited. Let the countdown begin! Do you have any suggestions to add to this list?



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