El Avion Restaurant & Bar in Costa Rica

10th March 2018

El Avion Restaurant

This scene may look like a plane landed in the middle of a rain forest but it’s actually El Avion. A restaurant that’s built into a US cargo aircraft with a cliff-side patio that spans two levels. It’s located on the main road in the beach town of Manuel Antonio.

El Avion Restaurant

The story is that this is the sister plane of the C-123 which was shot down during the scandalous Iran-Contra Affair in the 1980’s during the Regan Administration. (You can read the full back story here.)

El Avion sunset

I’ll have to say this is my favourite restaurant in Costa Rica! We ate here 6 times during our one month stay. The dining experience is truly unique — when can you grab a cold beer and just chill in the cockpit right?! But what I enjoyed the most was coming for an early dinner (around 5:30pm) and catching the sun set over the ocean.

Shrimp and rice

The food is tasty with a large menu featuring classic American fares like steaks and pastas as well as, traditional Costa Rican dishes. As a seafood lover, I recommend this grilled shrimp and rice plate or the yellowfin tuna salad. Vegetarians/vegans would appreciate the delicious black bean burger or veggie sandwich.

 

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Update: From Toronto to Las Vegas to San Francisco to Costa Rica!

1st March 2018

Volcano Villa La Fortuna

Hola from Costa Rica!

It’s been two months since we left Toronto. Sorry I’ve left this blog neglected! I haven’t been able to find the right words to describe what I was going through without bringing on the tears. So I decided that what I really needed to do was unplug, soak up life and take it day by day rather than battle it out with writer’s block.

Moving Boxes

The last quarter of 2017 was intense and anxiety ruled me.

My departure was an overload of emotions. I was excited to escape the deep freeze that blanketed the city over the holidays, yet all the farewells and moving out of our King West condo — the home where we started our little family, completely broke me.

I could still hear the screeching sounds of tape running across box after box after box. The never-ending packing did eventually end and now it was just waiting for our ‘grand plan’ to unfold.

Everything was about to come together or maybe not! Over the next three months, we would be checking into 10 hotels and Airbnb’s… so I was anxious about double booking or worse, skipping a day and not having a roof over our heads!

Zumanity Las Vegas

Deep breaths… because adventure awaits!

What I told myself as I watched the New Year’s Times Square ball drop on TV… is that I probably won’t ever truly be ‘ready’. But it’s still ok to say yes even if I don’t have all the answers yet.

Nervous AF or not, it was 2018 and our first stop was Las Vegas. (You can read all about how I kept CJ entertained in Sin City while hubby attended his annual marketing conference here.)

After we flew to San Francisco where I had three weeks to pull together a plan and figure out where to live, where to setup our office, which school CJ would attend and all the other fun grownup stuff. Yep this is #momlife!

San Francisco Caltrain

By the end of our SF lag, poor hubby commented that he felt like an Uber driver. Sitting in I-280 traffic and patiently driving me from one neighbourhood to the next as we went through our extensive check-list.

Twenty one (yes, 21!!) neighbourhoods later, we shortlisted the top four: Burlingame + Los Altos on the Peninsula side and Lafayette + Walnut Creek in East Bay.

 

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What Should A 4 Year Old Know?

25th February 2018

Westside Montessori Toronto

A friend posted this great article on Facebook “What Should A 4 Year Old Know?” and I’m sharing it here because as parents we always wonder if we are doing ‘enough’.

I was touring a school in the San Francisco Bay Area recently and walked into a very academic looking classroom. At first I thought I mistakenly went to the grade school wing but a teacher confirmed that this indeed was the KINDERGARTEN class!

She then showed me some sample books the kids were reading (they looked like grade 1 level) and over on the bulletin, I saw pages of work — impressive that these 4-5 year olds were writing in full sentences already!

I left feeling a bit discouraged and questioned my own parenting abilities because I long ditched the flash cards and CJ is ‘drawing coconuts’ (a circle with a stick on top haha)… a proud momma moment when he showed me and I thought it was a BIG DEAL! Yet now I felt like he was soooo behind… despite attending a wonderful Montessori School in Toronto (that’s a photo of him in his Casa classroom up on top), I wondered if this was a Silicon Valley ‘norm’ and were we in for a rude awakening? 

 

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What Happens In Las Vegas…

23rd January 2018

Zumanity Las Vegas

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!

Aria Resort Spa

Aria Resort

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.

 

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Indoor Places For City Kids In The Winter

12th January 2018

ROMkids

Baby it’s cold outside! And when you can’t hibernate in your McMansion and your pre-school kids are climbing all over the condo walls, city moms on mat leave have to get creative.

Luckily in downtown t.dot there are plenty of hot spots to hunker down during the frosty season…

Ripley’s Aquarium, AGO and ROM

Annual memberships saved my freezing butt so make the investment or asks grandparents to give these as birthday or x’mas presents. Experience over things!

Regular admission is also free on Wednesday nights at AGO.

Pursuit OCR

Let kids be kids at this obstacle course! Now here’s a mindful play space to develop creativity and concentration, and let them hide, run, climb and crawl. 90 min sessions can be pre-booked for $10 every Sunday.

The Rec Room

Think a cooler version of Chuck-E-Cheese for kids and grow-up kids! There are lots of redemption and video games for various ages. Grab lunch/dinner or a drink at the bar and make it into a day of family fun. Next door is the aquarium and Steam Whistle train park.

Jumblies Theatre

Conveniently located in CityPlace right by the library is a drop-in place for both parents and kids to do arts & crafts and dance. There is a wooden train set to keep babies entertained. Check their schedule because they are only open at certain times.

 

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Happy Holidays And Only Good Vibes For 2018

16th December 2017

2017 City Refinery 1

Hello friends!

I just resurfaced from fighting off one beast of a cold and now I’m onto my next battle – packing up our lives in Toronto and getting ready for our move to California in the new year!

2017 was a whirlwind of uncomfortable challenges, self discoveries and big emotions but many fond memories were also made….

BFF and I celebrated our birthdays in Barcelona. I was part of #TelusStories. We got our US Business Visas after a long and tedious administrative process! CJ started Little Kickers soccer and it’s so freakin’ cute. We threw a DIY pizza + cupcake party and went to Great Wolf Lodge for his 4th birthday. We also spent the summer exploring our beautiful Ontario backyard with trips to Blue Mountain, Deehurst Resort and Prince Edward County. After four years, I taught my final CampTech blogging class. Adfluent recently turned 7.0 and we celebrated our second year as a Google Partners ad agency! And well, since it can’t all be sparkly unicorn farts year round… I did have a mommy meltdown earlier this month. Lost my sh!t working through the insane logistics of our move and travel itinerary while trying to answer CJ’s gazillion questions (he’s at the ‘why’ phase now).

 

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This Is Spaces Toronto

7th December 2017

Spaces Queen West - Elevator Lobby

I am really excited that Spaces has opened up in Toronto! This means freelancers and girl bosses like myself will have another place to call their ‘second home’. Or third, fourth home. That’s right they have 60 locations worldwide!

I was invited to their launch party a few weeks ago and got a chance to check out the stunning new space myself.

Spaces Queen West - Entrance

Having the ‘right vibe’ in a co-working space makes all the difference. It’s the place where you get your hustle on, find inspiration and meet other creative makers. So it’s way more than just a place to plug in your laptop… think of Spaces Toronto as a cool 46,000 sqft office (without the politics and drama)!

Spaces Queen West - Business Club

Spaces sits snug in the Queen West neighbourhood. It’s actually the former Urbane Cycle. Which explains why there are bicycle spokes dangling from the lobby ceiling. And that wooden spiral staircase… it takes you up to the glass meeting rooms, private offices and reserved desks on the 2nd and 3rd floors.

 

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Holiday Gifts Worth The Splurge

1st December 2017

Holiday Gifts Guide 2017

Have someone super nice on your list that is splurge worthy? Then these luxury gifts will surely surprise and delight…

I love Tumi products for their stylish functional designs. This leather trimmed Dara Carry-All is the perfect go to bag to tote around a laptop, wallet, makeup and everything else in between. Free personalization available. $475

The Sonos compact speaker is mini but has mighty big sound! Streams over wifi so the dance party and beats never stops. $200

The Dyson Pure Cool Link removes up to 99.97% of pollutants and does so while directing a cool stream of fresh clean air. City condo dwellers can breathe a sigh of relief again. Available in blue or white. $500

You don’t need to be a gamer to fall in love with the new sleek Xbox One S. With a library of 1300+ games to chose from, it’s also a solution for your cable box and can stream 4K content from Netflix and YouTube. My son will soon be introduced to the world of Minecraft and I can’t wait to play Cuphead, an unique 1930s-inspired art style game with a banging soundtrack. $250

Give the gift of rest because sleep really is the new luxury! Casper has created this unique pillow-in-pillow design that boosts the perfect balance of softness and support. $85-100

Foodies will be obsessed with the Philips Air Fryer. Prepare healthier versions of favourite comfort foods lickety split with minimal mess to cleanup. $330

APL has made a pair of TechLoom rose gold sneakers for her. And these heather grey kicks for him are pretty sweet too. $140 USD

 

Winter Holiday Events In The 6ix

23rd November 2017

Winter Events 2017

Bundle up and check out these fun holiday events that will get you into a holly jolly spirit…

Nov 16 to Dec 23 – Experience the romance of an old-world Christmas Market in the Distillery District.

Dec 2 to Jan 2 – Casa Loma is all dressed up for the holidays! Wander through the dazzling lighting display in the gardens and witness Professor Wick’s magic show.

Every Saturday Dec 2 to 30 – Enjoy wintry outdoor activities, shop local gifts and sample tasty eats at the Evergreen’s Winter Village.

Dec 2 – Modern Mama Social kicks off their inaugural event with mini makeovers, delicious nibbles, giveaways and private shopping at Anthropologie.

Dec 3 – This very special edition of The Bunz Flea (cash + trades) is happening just in time to get a good start on your holiday shopping.

Dec 8 – Round up your social media peeps for the annual #HoHoTO Party.

 

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Farewell Camp Tech!

20th November 2017

Camp Tech

Came home to find this lovely bouquet from the nerd ladies at Camp Tech.

I still remember hobbling into CSI to teach my very first blogging class. I was nervous as heck and 38 weeks pregnant! Last week I taught my LAST class. (We are moving to California!)

It’s been four years of dropping marketing and social media knowledge bombs. I’ve enjoyed sharing my own story of how I turned my hobby blog into an ‘accidental business’ seven years ago. I loved that I inspired hundreds of eager writers to start their own blogs and turn their passion for story-telling into side hustle businesses. And in return, I learned what goes into creating an effective presentation… and have conquered my fear of public speaking!

Avery, Tara and the rest of the CampTech Team, It’s been so much fun geeking out with you ladies! Thank you for letting me be a part of the coolest camp. Xo

Camp Tech

Jen McNeeley of SheDoesTheCity.com will be carrying on my blogging torch as of February 2018!

I’ve been reading her blog for a decade and it inspired me to start my own in 2010! I got the chance to get to know Jen while working on various campaigns and as an Amex Ambassador. She rocks and always keeps it real!

Camp Tech offers half and full day workshops with an emphasis on developing practical skills you can use right away. Topics include Digital Marketing, Social Media, Podcasting, WordPress, HTML, Google Adwords, Google Analytics, SEO and more. Expect small classes and instructors that are engaging, fun and know their stuff! Locations in Toronto and Ottawa.