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What to Pack

Old school physical book, Onnit Shroom TECH Immune and Shroom TECH Sport, are 3 of my 9 favourite items to travel with.

Beyond the obvious of my iphone and computer, I’ve compiled a list of my favourite items I travel with – always, and automatically. I’ve been experimenting my whole life on what is most effective, so you don’t have to. What to pack can sometimes make or break a trip.

I find if I have these items, then I’m set – both mentally and physically.  Some key components to enjoying your travels, whether it’s for business or pleasure are: you get enough sleep, you feel healthy and energized, you can relax or dial it in at any given time. The combination of goods listed below ensures I have tools to have all these components nailed down regardless of if I’m in the middle of no-where in an exotic newfound location, or just hanging at my parents place. Full disclosure: the first three products are from Onnit, a company that I am officially partnered with, but I can genuinely say these three products are very effective for me and even if I wasn’t partnered with the company, I’d still be purchasing them. 

What to pack…

Onnit Shroom TECH Immune. I take two capsules during breakfast on the days I travel (extra germ-y days like planes, trains, big cities etc). If I feel like my body is not at its best, I take at least two capsules every day during my travels. If I’m feeling good, I generally just prioritize taking them on the actual travel days. (This is my go-to at home as well if I feel a cold coming on. It legitimately works very well for nipping anything like that in the butt).

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GIRLS TRIP IN PALM SPRINGS

We booked our girls trip in Palm Springs because we wanted to feel our skin sun kissed, and let’s be honest, a little crispy, from those rays. What we ended up getting was next-level heat. We experienced a heat wave with highs of 105 farenheit and thankfully our itinerary allowed (mostly) for this kind of heat and we had a pool with our AirBnb house. The following are suggestions for any time of the year in this weirdly sleepy yet simultaneously somewhat trendy area.

The famous Joshua Tree National Park.

Day 1 …

Like on most travel days, we were craving substantial nutrients upon arrival. Thankfully we found a place to deliver on that, right away. Palm Greens Cafe is in a nondescript plaza (like many things in Palm Springs) and is perfect for a casual lunch where you want to load up on your vitamins and minerals. They offer super healthy bowls, salads, wraps and smoothies and juices. The service is pretty relaxed (read: slow) so go in with a true vacation mentality.

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COSTA RICA: LIVING LA PURA VIDA!

As is commonly known, the trademark expression used in Costa Rica is “pura vida”, and once you’ve experienced life here – whether it be one week, or an entire lifetime – it is abundantly clear that this is a no BS expression with regards to the country that breeds fresh air, fresh food and happy people.

I first visited Costa Rica in 2007 and immediately knew it would be one of my favourite countries in the world. On this most recent trip a few weeks ago, my love for the country was even more solidified – possibly because I was there with my whole family (including baby), possibly because I met and worked with some locals, possibly because I’m going through a time of my life where I appreciate the “pure life” even more.  Regardless of the reason, I am totally feeling the country on a whole other level and am excited to go back soon.

Boats in Tambor, Costa Rica.

Tambor, Costa Rica.

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Food Guide for the Windy City

Chicago. To most, a coveted city full of fascinating and powerful people – former presidents, TV and media moguls, world class athletes. To me – up until my latest visit – just another American city, often compared to Toronto, my hometown. Because of this latter bit, I have to confess I didn’t feel the curiosity I usually feel for places I don’t know much about – if it’s always being compared to my hometown city, why bother exploring it? Well, as I discovered recently, there’s a lot to be admired about the Windy City. And yes – it does remind me of the place I grew up in, but in really fantastic ways: the people are friendly, the shopping and food is world class, and it’s a relatively clean place for being such a large metropolis. We were there in the heart of the winter so our focus was on food, with a little shopping and health and wellness mixed in. Herewith, my food guide –

Shared platters at Girl and the Goat in the West Loop, Chicago.

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Whistler in the Winter: Part Two

On top of the world in Whistler!

You know a travel destination is a true gem when you can easily write not one, not two, but three blogs on the same location! I’ve written a blog on Whistler in the winter, and Whistler in the summer, but I still feel compelled to share my experiences once again as I’ve come across another round of great finds.

For a list of my favourite hotels in Whistler, see my first piece (January 2016)

If you’re looking for more of a livable space, with a kitchen and laundry, Evolution in the Creekside Village is a fantastic option. We stayed in a two bedroom, two bathroom condo. The building has two large hot tubs, a heated pool, steam room and sauna and it was never overly busy. Possibly the biggest plus to this accommodation is that it’s ski in/ski out. There’s a small grocery store in the same complex and a gas station and pizza place serving super delicious food across the street. Since it’s ski in/ski out, you won’t need to head to the main Whistler village much, but when you do, it’s only a 5 minute drive (or approximately a 45 minute walk on the Valley Trail with stunning views).

The Valley Trail connect’s all of Whistler’s neighbourhoods. So good!

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Vegas Again and Again…

The Wynn/Encore sister hotels on the North end of the Vegas strip have been my go-to accommodations when staying in Sin City, dating back to seven years now and they ALWAYS deliver. For this reason, I figured I would write a blog highlighting only them. There is so much to do in Vegas, in addition to Wynn and Encore (like the burlesque/ballet show that is Crazy Horse – sooooo good!) but for this blog’s purpose, I’ll stick to the sister hotels. I’ve been there a handful of times and overall, I highly recommend them, so here it goes:

First of all, let’s establish that these two hotels are side by side, owned by the same company and essentially run as one large hotel, so for simplicity sake, just assume I’m talking about one or the other, or both, unless I specifically note otherwise.

Here are my observations on ….

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Whistler in the Spring

Big Sky Golf in Pemberton, twenty minutes outside Whistler.

The charming ski village Whistler, in British Columbia, Canada, is one of my favourite places in the world. It’s most well known for its epic winter season with its world class mountainous ski terrain, and that’s definitely my number one reason to go there. That said, it’s also become a year round destination with many attractions to suit most needs. I’ve blogged about Whistler before, but today I’m going to focus on springtime in this loveliest of towns.

Let me begin by making clear that skiing/snowboarding in Whistler in early spring is still alive and well, and can sometimes be the best time to go because the lineups disappear and the hot weather comes out to play. If you can get time off during a weekday, it’s especially glorious, as you will often come across runs that are all to yourself.

One of the many runs we had all to ourselves during our April Whistler trip.

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Ice, Ice, Baby! Iceland Top Travel Recommendations

Like many people these days, the small island country of Iceland had been on my list of places to visit for quite some time. Actually, I remember distinctly the first time it made its way on to my radar – I was in my first year of university in England and we were taking advantage of the fact that we were living in Europe to travel to a new country a few times a month. My little group of friends didn’t make it that year, but it was forever marked on my list of “must-see” locations ever since. And a must-see country it is! It is equally barren and alive, and just as magical as everyone makes it out to be.

I eventually made it to Iceland on a work trip, traveling with the Nobis team to model for their Fall/Winter 2017 campaign, in September. The weather was as you’d expect it to be – cool, wet, with sun and rainbows shining through multiple times throughout the day. As I understand it, the key to packing, basically at any time of the year, is layers. Nobis is a high quality outerwear company with the most gorgeous designs and fit, so I was well equipped. Something else to prepare you for is, it is an expensive place to be. Items both big (accommodations, guided tours) and small (groceries and transportation) are significantly and consistently more expensive than most countries. I tend to have expensive taste, but this is one of those places where even the more frugal traveler will find it hard to cut down totally on costs (we literally bought a bag of peanuts, some apples, some crackers, bottles of water and granola bars at a grocery store and it cost the equivalent of almost $150 US.) That said – it’s all worth it. If you visit, it is almost guaranteed to be a memorable trip, with some of the stunning landscapes seared in your memory for life.

One of the dozens of waterfalls we came across in our short four day trip in Iceland.

One of the dozens of waterfalls we came across in our short four day trip in Iceland.

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The Green Island

Sao Miguel: this somewhat hidden gem is the largest and most populous island that makes up the archipelago known as the Azores. Part of Portugal, the island is less than a 6 hour direct flight from the east coast of North America and is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts who want a little culture mixed into their travels. We spent time on this beautiful island and then flew to mainland Portugal, an itinerary I suggest for a balanced, satisfying and thrilling visit.

The city centre Ponta Delgada is made up of old architecture that you’d expect in any european city, with cobblestone filled streets and small independent hotels and bakeries. I recommend taking a day to explore the city of 45,000 but the real fun in Sao Miguel is the outdoor activities throughout the entire island. We were there to shoot an episode of my travel/fishing tv show Hookin’ Up so we were well taken care of by the local tourism board, allowing us to experience a lot in a short amount of time.

One of the dozens of breathtaking lookout points on the island of Sao Miguel, Azores.

One of the dozens of breathtaking lookout points on the island of Sao Miguel, Azores.

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Mayakoba & Playa del Carmen

I love Mexico. I’ve been to three different parts of the country and I love them all for different reasons. My newest favorite location is an area just south of Cancun, called Mayakoba, which refers to a span of about 5km of resorts and beaches along the Caribbean coastline, as well as the nearest town – Playa del Carmen.

All three luxury resorts in Mayakoba are pretty exceptional – Fairmont Mayakoba (generally the cheapest of the three and the most family friendly); Banyan Tree Mayakoba and ultimately, my absolute favorite, Rosewood Mayakoba.

One of the two main pools at the Fairmont Mayakoba.

One of the two main pools at the Fairmont Mayakoba.

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