Happy New Year!
We’re back from Las Vegas. It was a really fun getaway and in an ironic way, Sin City provided the pause we needed to relax and recuperate from an emotional and very hectic month of moving and holidays.
Despite some hesitation whether Vegas would be suitable for CJ, we found it very family friendly. There was lots to keep us entertained while daddy attended his conference!
Checking-in at The Aria Resort
Vegas has a few hotels geared towards families like the obvious Circus Circus but I opted for Aria. A hip resort style hotel with all the grow up bells + whistles yet spacious enough even for the most rambunctious of kids.
Endless blue skies. Every day. Yep, that’s Sitges. Known as the ‘St. Tropez of Spain’, this coastal town in north eastern Spain is packed with glam, great food, lively night life and 17 beaches! We spent a week here and it was such a lovely escape from the bustle of Barcelona.
Arrive by Renfe in 45 minutes from Estació de França in Barcelona. A one way ticket cost 4€ per person.
Stay in the town centre. Sin Street (Carrer Pescado) is the hub where all the restaurants, bars and shops are clustered and the beaches are right there. It’s touristy though so expect to pay a premium for the convenience. It’s also really loud… like louder than NYC Times Square! Between the patios, people partying and 5am recycling trucks making their rounds, it’s a full immersion of noise 24/7!
We booked this Airbnb ‘White Sitges Apartment’ for $350/night in July.
If you are a light sleeper or prefer something more residential, Hotel Subur Maritim is a cute seaside inn with a pool.
This past long weekend we made the 2 hours drive to Blue Mountain to immerse ourselves in nature. For three glorious days we woke up to birds cheerfully chirping instead of the typical city construction.
Blue Mountain has become our favourite family getaway for the last three years. We usually visit during the winter so it was definitely odd seeing bikes on the grassy hills instead of the snowcapped peaks, but honestly, I enjoyed it more this time with the warmer weather.
Check-in: Westin Trillium House.
I’m part of SPG but had forgotten that I was a Gold Member so our standard room was upgraded to a Preferred Guest Suite on the fourth floor. Yasss, I love surprise perks!!! There was a balcony, kitchenette, dining area, living room and even a den (that could easily be used as a second bedroom with a pull out couch). The highlight of the suite though was the magnificent giant 20 ft windows over-looking the hills.
BY GUEST BLOGGER, DANIEL LEE
Aloha from our beautiful beachfront home-away-from-home in Oahu’s North Shore! Pristine blue ocean, waves crashing, fine stretches of sand bending around the curves of the island… yup it’s everything you can expect to see on a Hawaii postcard and more!
Witnessing such beauty on an empty stomach can be quite challenging so upon arrival, our family immediately stocked up on a steady supply of Poke or raw seafood salad marinated with soy sauce, sesame oil and seaweed green onions. You can get a delicious Ahi Hawaiian style Poke pre-made with Ahi Shoyu and creamy scallop wasabi from Tamura’s Market for $7 USD each.
Now navigating the island of Oahu with a family of seven means transportation needs to be thoroughly planned in advance. A minivan from Enterprise was our best option and ran up a tab of about $250 USD for a week.
I’m part of an active Worldschooler’s Group on Facebook. Every Monday, members toss around money making ideas. And since I’ve done my share of extensive traveling (anywhere from 2-8 months at a time), I’m always getting asked “how I fund my jetset lifestyle”… so take note, here are a dozen ways to (remotely) earn your way to that beach hut or scuba excursion.
Monetize your blog
I’ve been blogging for 7 years! I never thought I would get paid to eat food, do spa reviews and go on press trips but it’s true that you can generate a healthy side income from sponsored content. Build out your blog with ‘valuable and authentic stories’ then reach out to your favourite lifestyle brands and pitch them ideas on how you can help promote their products or services. You can also join Collective Bias and The Blogger Programme that connects bloggers to paid marketing campaigns.
Love social media? Be an influencer!
With Instagram and Snap, it’s easier than ever to get paid for sharing your travel moments. Grow your community, engage, follow your favourite travel brands and connect with relevant sponsors to form partnerships or join influencing marketing platforms like Influenz or TapInfluence.
Know your stuff? Educators can now earn money using the Clark app. It handles every aspect of a tutor’s business, from drumming up students, to managing scheduling and payments, to making it simple to communicate with parents. VIPKID is another platform (based in China) that connects English-speaking educators with Chinese students.
Get one, two or ten freelance jobs
Fiverr has created an efficient freelance marketplace where you can hire or sell your services to anyone in the world. From writing gigs to web design projects, editing videos, making arts & crafts, giving advice, even online guitar lessons and everything else in between (there are over 100 categories)! You determine your rate and get to keep 80% of the transaction. Here’s a list of popular sites for freelance worker.
BY GUEST BLOGGER, DANIEL LEE
My travel goal is to cultivate an abundance mindset. Not rushing to seek out many places in a day but rather explore a few parts of the city — at a relaxed pace on my bicycle, believing that to see everything is to miss everything.
So hello California! I’m grateful to spend 9 days with you before bouncing off to Hawaii with my family.
During my stay I made 2 cycling trips into San Francisco from the East Bay.
- Taking the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) from downtown Oakland into Mission District to explore the neighbourhood’s vibrancy. ($3.70 USD one way per adult.)
- Embarking on the Jack London Ferry from Oakland into the San Francisco Ferry Terminal Building and riding towards the engineering marvel that is the Golden Gate Bridge. (Fares range from $5 to $6.60 USD one way per adult.)
Here is a recap of my journey and the beauty that I captured through my lens.
Using the Clipper Card (think Toronto PRESTO) to board the BART subway, I ended up with my trusty bike on the 16th Street Mission Station during the early morning of Martin Luther King Jr. Day — a statutory holiday in the U.S — and was free to roam the empty streets of the Mission District (similar to Kensington Market with its rich history of South & Central American diaspora).
Our ad agency turned 6 end of last year and we celebrated at the Googleplex in Mountain View.
As part of winning a mobile marketing challenge (from the Google Partners reward program), we were treated to a tour, lunch and plenty of gourmet snacks. We even got to record a Hangout at the YouTube studio!
Seriously my geek girl dreams have come true!
Did we fool you? We posted this photo on Facebook and so many people told us they thought it was a video and clicked on the YouTube button… gotcha!
The Google Campus sprawls over 2 million sqft so Googlers cruise around on these colourful bikes. To get to/from home to the office, they commute on shuttle buses (wifi enabled of course).
Every year hubby and I retreat to Scandinave Spa to unplug and relax. From downtown Toronto, it’s a 2.5 hour drive heading North West. There truly is no better way than indulging in a Nordic bath experience to unwind and reset!
This outdoor spa is situated on 25 acres of tranquil forested mecca. So turn off your phone, refrain from taking selfies and use your spa voice!
The experience begins with sitting in a wood-burning Finnish sauna or eucalyptus steam room for about 10 minutes. This helps open up pores and begin the detoxifying process.
Next comes the cold plunge! In the winter, you can lie in the snow and make snow angels. Yes, it’s wickedly cold but the purpose of the plunge is to enhance blood circulation, increase heart rate and close the pores. The key is to step right into the cold pools rather than taking your time to meander in.
The third phase is my favourite – ahhhh relaxation. Melt your worries and stress away in one of the 3 hot baths, soak in the thermal and nordic waterfalls or rest in one of the solariums with a book.
With so many exciting outdoor adventures right in our own backyard, why let this cold discourage you from having fun! Bundle up and book yourself a weekend getaway at one of these top 4 winter travel destinations…
The town of St. Jacob’s is a popular summer destination but the winter themed activities during Maple Sugar Rush are not to be missed. Enjoy horse-drawn sleigh rides, sample homemade edibles at St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market and get ready to indulge in lots of maple syrup! My son who is obsessed with trains also loves the Aberfoyle Model Railway! Stay at the historic Walper Boutique Hotel in downtown Waterloo.
‘Tis the season to go dashing through the snow, on a one horse open sleigh! Hit up the nation’s capital and take an old fashioned sleigh ride through Ottawa’s Greenbelt or enjoy the festivities during Ottawa’s Winterlude festival. Rest up at Hotel Indigo Ottawa Downtown City Centre.
It’s important to look after our bodies especially with such hectic city lifestyles. The last few months in particular have been extra busy so I was delighted to be invited to take a journey to the Middle East… ummm I mean to the Miraj Hammam Spa at Shangri-La Hotel. Close enough right?!
Here I got to experience the Hammam & Gommage. A steam & body exfoliation that is part of the authentic traditions of the Middle East.
My treatment began with an invigorating 15 mins steam between high intensity & low mist steam – the Hammam. In centuries past, the Hammam was known as the “silent doctor”.