travel

What's in my Carry-On (Tech Edition!)

As a frequent traveller, I learned how to really whittle down how much I carried with me on long distance trips. However, with my field of work I had a bit of trouble nailing down the amount of tech stuff I brought with me. pg161132-c19d6c15-dd5a-4424-9d13-2277ce486e52 Watch my video to see what tech items made it into my carry on to China!

Did I miss anything? Let me know what you would want to bring with you on a trip this faraway.

30 of the Best Travel Quotes

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Travelling can be taxing, difficult and tiring. In spite of the cost, regardless of resources and no matter where life takes me, I will always revere travel. Travelling has taught me so much about myself and the world around me and I never want to take that for granted.

Here are 30 travel quotes sure to inspire you to get out there to see the world.

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1. “We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.” – Anonymous

2. “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” ― Lao Tzu

3. “I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move.” ― Robert Louis Stevenson, Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes

4. “It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” ― Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness

5. “Travel brings power and love back into your life.” ― Jalaluddin Rumi

6. “The traveller sees what he sees. The tourist sees what he has come to see.” ― G.K. Chesterton

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7. “Travel far enough, you meet yourself.” ― David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas

8. “I read; I travel; I become” ― Derek Walcott

9. “Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” ― Gustave Flaubert

10. “I think you travel to search and you come back home to find yourself there.” ― Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

11. “Everything I was I carry with me, everything I will be lies waiting on the road ahead.” ― Ma Jian, Red Dust: A Path Through China

12. “Adventure is worthwhile.” – Aesop

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13. “To travel is to live.” ― Hans Christian Andersen, The Fairy Tale of My Life: An Autobiography

14. “Travelling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” ― Ibn Battuta

15. “Never did the world make a queen of a girl who hides in houses and dreams without travelling.” ― Roman Payne, The Wanderess

16. “There are no foreign lands. It is the traveller only who is foreign.” ― Robert Louis Stevenson, The Silverado Squatters by Robert Louis Stevenson, Fiction, Historical, Literary

17. “If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion, and avoid the people, you might better stay home.” ― James A. Michener

18.“Some beautiful paths can't be discovered without getting lost.” ― Erol Ozan

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19.“One's destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” ― Henry Miller

20.“The world is a book, and those who don't travel only read one page.” ― Augustine of Hippo

21. “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” ― Mark Twain

22. "I will never lose the love for the arriving, but I'm born to leave.” ― Charlotte Eriksson, Empty Roads & Broken Bottles; in search for The Great Perhaps

23. “There is a kind of magicness about going far away and then coming back all changed.” ― Kate Douglas Wiggin, New Chronicles of Rebecca Douglas Wiggin, New Chronicles of Rebecca

24. “Travel is glamorous only in retrospect.” ― Paul Theroux

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25.“The journey itself is my home.” ― Bashō Matsuo

26. “A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.” ― Tim Cahill

27. “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” ― Augustine of Hippo

28. “I think one travels more usefully when they travel alone, because they reflect more." (Letter to John Banister, Jr., June 19, 1787)” ― Thomas Jefferson,

29. “Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.”― Anonymous

30. “Just go!” ― Elaisha Jade

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Did I miss any of your favourite quotes? Share one with me below in the comments.

10 Travel Mistake's I've Made (and How to Avoid Them)

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Travel can be exhilarating, exciting...and a nightmare. I've learned that anything that can go wrong when travelling or leading up to a trip will go wrong. Here are 10 travel mistakes I've made and how I learned from them.

1. Not Bringing a Pen The number of times I've had to ask a flight attendant or fellow passenger for a pen shouldn't be as high. I remember breaking into a sweat when the immigration forms were handed out on my way from New York and London and I couldn't fill them out. Also, germs travel on items touched by several people (ie. a PEN!) so bring your own and save yourself the hassle.

2. Not getting a cell phone plan If you have the financial means to get a cell phone plan, do it! To some, buying a cell phone plan for a vacation seems frivolous but when travelling alone and as a woman, it's been worth it for me. I'm happy I have an unlocked phone that I can use internationally and switch up my SIM card as needed.

3. Not learning basic phrases/language skills I definitely got by in Montreal and Paris with my rusty French and made a whole lot of hand gestures in Spain, but I really should have studied my destination's mother languages a bit more. The joy of learning a new language is only surpassed by using it with local people. This also gives you the flexibility to explore unbeaten paths without the anxiety of getting stuck (especially without Google translate or maps available).

4. Not Setting Aside more Time I'm breaking the habit of procrastination. The addictive habitual state of putting-off travel things until the last minute (reviewing my itinerary, packing, re-packing, buying important items) is something I'm definitely guilty of. Or doing my hair last minute (not a good idea with natural hair). The worst consequence of procrastinating was overpacking. Thankfully I haven't faced any additional baggage fees as a result of overpacking, but I was definitely angry at myself when traipsing across London (where there were minimal elevators and escalators on the tube) with my stuffed suitcase, carry-on bag and backpack.

5. Not Exploring Enough I don't know about you, but there is only so much roasting on the beach I can do. My mum (my long-time travel partner) isn't a big excursion fan. However, after taking trips that weren't on all inclusive resorts (that baby you into not needing to leave the hotel grounds) I learned how to really vacation outside of the box. Make sure you pick a location where public transportation is accessible then get on out there! I had a great time doing this in Barbados and Barcelona. I wish I had done more research on Scotland, I would have definitely explored some more. 

6. Not Raiding the Duty-Free Before my return to Europe last year, I usually hustled past the duty-free to grab a good seat before boarding my flight. However, I purchased some cute things (like my favourite Ted Baker wallet) in the duty-free at Heathrow. I am now a sworn duty-free advocate (just make sure you check how much money and goods you're allowed to bring back into your country)

7. Not getting Good Souvenirs I am a very nostalgic person. Collecting souvenirs has never been on my priority list (probably because I've overpacked way too many times) and because I didn't do enough 'keepsake research'. Looking up what kind of art or products a particular place is famous for (ie. Barcelona and their bomb custom espadrilles) would allow for purchasing worthwhile keepsakes.

8. Not Getting Travel Insurance My trip to China will be my first time purchasing travel insurance! Wild right? After all of the research I've done on travel insurance and knowing how much it would benefit my loved ones, I realized just how crucial it is.

9. Not Printing Off my Documents China is another land of firsts for me. For the first time, I have printed off my travel documents (Visa, travel itinerary and copies of my passport) to carry with me while I explore and leave where I'm staying. This is literally travellers 101: have copies of your documentation.

10. Not bringing enough money Once again with my last minute self, I've gone on trips and vacations without really considering how much money I should bring/setting a budget. There were times I had the opportunity to go on a shopping spree in some fashionable cities (Paris and London) and I wish that I had set more money aside for those trips to ball out a bit.

Have you made any travel mistakes? Share them with me below so we can learn together.

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6 Mini Purses you Need for your Next Trip

img_0452 I revealed my purse addiction in my previous post. My obsession grew when I realised a penchant for mini-purses. I bought a small wallet and frequently switched between my favourites. If I'm travelling for longer than a week I need more than one purse. Mini-purses don't take up too much room in my luggage which gives me the variety I love while away.

When I heard Amazon.ca would launch Canada's largest selection of purses I couldn't contain my excitement. Keep reading to see what purse you could get for your next vacation.

[photo credit: Desiree Thomas]

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Liebeskind Berlin Lennja Laced Saddle Cross-Body Bag When your outfit is boring, a purse can be the perfect statement piece. A suede mint green accessory definitely makes an impression.

ZAC Zac Posen Eartha Iconic Top Handle Mini This bag captivated me before I even did research for this list. If you're a bit bolder than me, check out the big and bold red version (complete with flowers on the second handle)

Rebecca Minkoff Large Multi Tassel Saddle This purse screams music festival.  The line of short suede tassels and combination of studs give this purse a rock-chic look. Get your fringe fix before it's off-trend with this baby!

Calvin Klein Smooth Leather Cross-Body Bag Love the simple design of this bag. A gold and geometric touch for the clasp and a soft pink for the body (without obvious branding). It's the perfect purse to throw on before a stroll down Avenue Victor Hugo in Paris.

Vince Camuto Baily Quilted Cross Body Bag Who says small bags can't be roomy? This bag comes with a secret expansion zipper on the bottom that fits right into the design. Plus the colour is bomb.

LOEFFLER RANDALL Medium Rider Tumbled Leather Satchel Love the structure on this baby. I've always wanted to own something in periwinkle, this purse seems like the perfect opportunity. Some of my friends wonder how I can carry a mini purse. The secret is organisation. This bag has ample pockets for storing keys a wallet, some key makeup items and more.

 

6 Mother's Day Gifts for the Travelling Mama

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My mum was my first travel buddy. She passed her wanderlust gene over to me when we flew to New York for the first time together. At 7 I rolled my Mini-Mouse carry on suitcase up the ramp and held her hand as my stomach did cartwheels at takeoff. Here are all of the things I know she'd love for Mother's Day!

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Airplane Necklace For the woman who inspired me to travel, I would want her to bring a piece to remind her of all the fun times we've had travelling together.

Ecco Shoes Comfy shoes are essential for travelling. These are definitely my mum's style and I'd love to see her face when opening it.

Lancome Genifique Youth Activating Concentrate Beauty gurus and skin experts all agree that air travel is taxing on the skin. This product will rejuvenate and add needed glow to your mum's skin. Lancome's products are expensive, but your mum is worth it, right?

TUMI Alpha 2: 4 Wheeled Expandable International Carry-On Frequent travellers eventually whittle their luggage down to only a carry-on. Get your mum the Ferrari of carry-ons; a TUMI.

Cabeau Evolution Neck Pillow This is my favourite travel pillow. I've tried several and I've tried no pillow at all. When I'm not flying first class/priority, this baby keeps my neck in place when my head starts rolling from fatigue.

Fjallraven Kanken Daypack I added this to do list because thinking of my mum in a backpack is the cutest! I favour a backpack as my 'personal' item.

Do you have a travelling memory with your mum? Share with me below. 

#ElaishaGoes to Terre Bleu: A Lavender Surprise

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Last summer I headed up to Terre Bleu, one of a few lavender field destinations in Ontario (especially near Toronto). The drive up past the Premium Outlet Mall was painful, I wanted to stop in and raid Restoration Hardware, but we trucked on to the remote Terre Bleu.

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We parked and walked up to what seemed to be a wooden house with a pathway cut right in the middle of it. It towered above me as we quickly scuttled in to avoid the sun. Workers in their purple shirts strolled about busy with tasks of the day. We signed up for a tour of the fields where we learned about the types of lavender when lavender would be in season and the medicinal uses of the sweet smelling bush. We visited the bees and saw them at work making lavender honey.

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After the tour and spending some time in the shop, my mum and I were ready to buy everything there. The summer sun bore down on us and I indulged in the lemonade and she got the ice cream. Since I avoid ice cream I only got a small lick off of a drop on my hand and fell in love. The flavour was subtly sweet and delicious. Thankfully the lemonade satiated my sweet tooth!

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On to the macarons: if you go, buy at least 3 boxes. Eat one either in the fields or on your way home and put the other two in the fridge (if they make it that far). The adorable purple french cookies were filled with a creamy ganache that I still fantasise about today. I also purchased some lavender oil and a pouch filled with dried lavender for my chest of drawers.

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I had the chance to meet the owner of Terre Bleu and experience the location from his perspective, too. He was very nice and educated my mum and me on lavender and how they keep the small business going.

Get a quote for this trip

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Terre Bleu reopens June 1st and I highly recommend visiting and taking the tour! The scenery, snacks and relaxation were worth the journey.

Top 6 Carry-Alls You Need for Your next Vacation

I’m excited to announce my partnership with Amazon.ca! I will be curating my favourite products available on the website that I recommend for travellers.  square

While I favour backpacks as carry-on options, I am the biggest fan of carry-all bags as my 'personal bag' or purse on the plane. Last year I was on the hunt for the perfect one (I thankfully found two!). However, I'm always on the lookout for other huge totes to bring along with me on my journeys. Check out my current faves below!

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1. Calvin Klein Sonoma Quilted Fara Reversible Tote Anything quilted is an automatic yes in my books since it reminds me of my favourite style; equestrian. Pretty cool that it's reversible too!

2. SQLP Women's Waterproof Handbag This large purse is in the lower price point range among this group. The vegan bag also has an inner attachment that matches the interior of the bag.

3. ECCO Jilin Shopper  I'm a fan of the kinds of leather Ecco uses. The simple design with geometric details is a trademark of the Danish brand and I'd love to rock this one in the airport.

4. Rebecca Minkoff Multi Tassel Tote  Now, this bag is a Rebecca Minkoff purse I can get behind! While the tassels are a little flamboyant for me I think a little flare never hurt anyone.

5. TUMI Voyageur Just in Case Travel Duffel This big bag is one of my favourites. I've always wanted a TUMI luggage set and for now, this is as close as it's going to get for me. This piece (like several of the other bags) also comes with a mini bag inside so you can clip your essentials to the handle for easy access.

6. Vince Camuto Riley Medium Tote This triple-interior purse would be a dream come true while on the plane. I try to be organized when I pack my purse for the plane: important things in one pocket, entertainment in the other and a spare pocket for last minute things that didn't fit in my knapsack.

You might have noticed that they're all black. While I'm pretty adventurous with what I wear, my purses tend to be black or brown. Maybe I should try something else?

Elaisha Goes...To The Viamede Resort

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Pictures by: Desiree Thomas, Ted Baker Shoes, everything else GAP

After the recent and tragic passing of a very close friend, I was really looking forward to this trip. The Viamede Resort was a 2-hour drive out of downtown Toronto and just 20 minutes north of Peterborough. While I couldn't escape my problems and grief, I was happy to at least spend time in a quiet space and get out of my head a bit.

As we pulled up to the blue and white painted front of the resort, I instantly felt at ease. Desiree, however, was a bit nervous since we visited during the slow season at the resort and were only one pair of the few guests staying there. After an easy check-in, we brought our bags upstairs and took in the view of the ice-covered lake on our way up. Our spacious room was fitted with a full bathroom (with a shower) a sofa, two lounge chairs, the comfiest king-sized bed, a television and an office table. Two doors lead out to the second story balcony where we shot pictures and regularly insta-storied the icy lake-view.

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Breakfast and dinner were served in the main dining area of the resort, as Boathouse, the other restaurant would open later in the summer. In spite of the rustic feel, we were offered unexpected options of mixed green salads, flatbread pizzas and decadent desserts for our meals. For dinner on the first night, I satiated my week-long craving for honey garlic chicken wings and blue cheese dip. For breaded wings, they were delicious, the blue cheese dip wasn't my favourite though. The caesar salad was topped generously with cheese and bacon and tossed in a creamy dressing. I also loved the sweet potato fries and snagged a bite of Desiree's flatbread pizza (spoiler: it was amazing too).

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Before we ate, Desiree and I took a dip in the indoor pool. The pool area was conveniently fitted with lockers and was heated nicely. It lead to an outdoor hot tub that we sadly didn't take advantage of. Like many areas of the resort, the pool was fitted with huge windows so we could take in another angle of the gorgeous view outside.

Get a quote for this trip

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Hiking Boots & Jacket: Columbia, Leggings: Hyba

A slight break from the arcadian feel of the resort was Mount Julian, an Inn and restaurant just across the street from Viamede. Surrounded by the history of the Inn built in 1874, a 7-course feast presented to Desiree and I was served with another gorgeous view of the lake. Each of the courses sent our taste buds on a rollercoaster. Earlier that day, the resort manager asked us if we had any allergies or food preferences. It turned out that Mount Julian was the kind of farm-to-table place with no menu, but where the chef made food as he felt inspired by what was in season.  I listed the menu we were served below (but note, this won't be exactly what you would be served if you visit!)

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(A pre-course, course) 595 Pork belly, whole hog mustard, pork fat crouton, tomato and watercress (a fancy BLT)

  1. Asparagus, wild rice salad, wild leek vinaigrette, Ontario bocconcini, honey balsamic
  2. House smoked rainbow trout, candy cane beets, Blueberry gastrique
  3. Golden beet soup with honey and cream, warm bread and duck fat butter, apple walnut chutney, pristine soy oil and blueberry gastrique
  4. Pork tenderloin with butter poached blue potatoes and wild leek marmalade
  5. Beef tenderloin with mushroom confit and red wine jus
  6. Cheese board: Lindsay, Ontario ‘wrapped’ goat cheddar, rhubarb chutney
  7. Chocolate walnut brownie with chocolate whisky and orange and soy iced cream

My favourite dish was a tie between the Golden Beet Soup (I couldn't stop talking about the duck fat butter, Desiree wanted to hurt me), the pork tenderloin and the final desert. Each course was served with a delicious drink. I loved the Sortilège made with their own 595 Maple Syrup. After a lovely chat with Chef Jay Nutt about travel and the dishes he crafted for us, we retired to our room full and ready to sleep.

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Sweater & Jeans: GAP, Shoes: Ted Baker

Each night I went to bed full and excited to learn something new about the area. I can't wait to visit the Viamede Resort again and explore the trails a bit more and get some more of that elixir syrup.

7 of the Best Audiobooks for Your next Plane Ride

I stopped reading books consistently a while ago. I was an avid reader growing up and devoured at least 2 books a week throughout my teens. However, as I grew older I found it harder to make the time to indulge in my favourite pastime. Plus my favourite time to read (while on the bus or another form of transportation) sadly was taken away from me by car sickness that I developed as I got older. So I took to enjoying podcasts and audiobooks. As a Toronto Public Library card holder, I have access to a huge catalogue of audiobooks for free on my phone through the Overdrive App. If you live in Toronto and have a Library card, get on this! Here are some of the books I’ve listened to while in the skies, milling about at home or while exploring a new city.

Modern Romance: An Investigation Book by Aziz Ansari and Eric Klinenberg If you want to giggle to yourself while also learning something, this is the book for you. Jenn Im’s January favourites included this audio book, and I finished it within days of her recommendation. I loved listening to ‘Modern Romance’! While I would have liked it if Ansari touched more on how race affects dating, I appreciated his insights and willingness to provide insight into women’s side of dating throughout the book.

Around the Way Girl: A Memoir by Taraji P Henson This biography gave me a new insight and appreciation for Henson. While I never watched cult hits, Empire or Baby Boy, I noticed her rise to stardom. This book, however, gave me the chance to not only appreciate her talent but her journey as a successful actress. I got a bit emotional throughout certain parts of the story (especially about her dad). If you enjoy coming of age stories with a twist of dark humour check this out.

The Art of Seduction by Robert Greene Shout out to Shannon Boodram for getting me on this book! I like learning about my flirting style and how that affects my love-life. It’s also cool to learn more about the women around me and how they express their sexual prowess in their daily lives.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn Ok, you’ve probably read this already or watched the movie. However, the dramatised narration brought me on an even more dramatic rollercoaster ride than just reading the book. I finished this audiobook in 2 days. At the time I was working from home all day so other than bathing, this book was playing all day either aloud in my apartment or in my headphones while out (as you can tell I’m very social).This would be an amazing book for a long haul flight, although I’d recommend watching a comedy here and there to take a break from the dark and enrapturing storyline.

Why not Me? by Mindy Kaling This book got me laughing. I remembered loving, The Mindy Project when it first came out because I could watch a brown girl be the heroine of a love story. I found in this book that she sounded more mature and sure of herself than in her previous book, Is Everyone Hanging out Without Me?. She was more vulnerable and shared not only funny self-depreciating bits about herself but tips on confidence and how she found her voice. There were a few problematic statements she made in the book that automatically brought up my screw face, but they were few and far between.

The Chemistry Between Us Brian Alexander and Larry Young I loved this book! From learning about the Machihembra of the Dominican Republic (they grew up as women, but were revealed to be men as teenagers!) to the physiological differences between men and women, this book opened my eyes to the world around me within the realm of sex, relationships and love. While the studies cited in this book are very clinical, it’s narrated in a very fun and interesting way.

Food Junkies by Vera Tarman MD, Phil Wedell I know I was addicted to food as a kid. I was very unhappy and spent the better years of my early teens with my head in the fridge. While I learned to successfully break several of those habits and the destructive cycle, I still feel an odd need to overeat when I’m feeling stressed or sad. While I have yet to confirm the studies cited in the book (audiobook, remember!) I learned a lot from the authors. While the content was a bit dry in some parts, it was a great resource and reminder that many people struggle with food addiction and depression. I like that they cited the destructive cycles of people in the public eye including Oprah and Princess Diana along with everyday people that they interviewed in Toronto and beyond.

You might have noticed that none of these books are about travel. Leading up to my adventures I tend to obsess over my itinerary and destination. When on the plane or on my way to the airport I take a mental break from all things travel so my brain will be rested and ready for the adventure ahead.

Did I miss any books? What are your favourites?

My Music Festival Bucket List: 6 Festivals I Want to Go to in 2017

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You guys already know, I love music festivals. When I went to Gov ball in New York, we extended our trip by a few days to explore the Concrete Jungle.

Now I feel that music festivals are a great way to get out and visit somewhere new, while also enjoying several live acts a day. From dancing away to OutKast or vibing Cashmere Cat, I've experienced some of my favourite memories at music festivals.  While 2017 might be a slow year for me, I hope this summer and fall I can get out to a few local and international festivals. Keep reading for the music festivals that topped my 2017 Bucketlist.

Shipsomnia Barcelona, Spain (June) After checking out the itinerary of sailing from Barcelona to Ibiza, I was hooked. Deep house and party DJs top their lineup list along with a range of activities on the ship like Yoga and Q&A sessions with the DJs. I've never been on a cruise before and I wouldn't mind making this my first.

Osheaga - Montreal, Canada (August) Come on! My favourite city (Montreal) and some cool alternative artists? Oshega of late has become the music festival to go to if you live in southern Canada, especially Ontario. While we have a few fests that pass through Toronto, Osheaga's lineups are always more interesting to me than what I've seen at festivals here.

Sziget Festival - Budapest, Hungary (August)

Hungary has been on my list ever since reading 'Paris, a Love Story' (it's about the incredible Hungarian humanitarian and Journalist Kati Marton who planted the seed of European wanderlust in my heart). What I especially loved was that Sziget Festival's after-movie wasn't just blonde girls in short shorts rocking butterfly wings, but a mix of what seemed to be a really fun time beyond just the musical acts and fireworks.

Glastonbury - Glastonbury, England (July) I'll definitely make it out for this festival within the next few years. Glastonbury's lineup never disappoints. With a range of big and small acts along with a variety of genres, it hurts every time I see street style roundups of everyone in their wellies

Iceland Airwaves - Reykjavik, Iceland  (November) I've been Iceland-obsessed since I watched my first Icelandic film, 'Jitters' as a teen. I wished my layover there was longer last summer, I would have loved to explore Reykjavik. With smaller acts headlining the festival (so far) it's the perfect chance to discover new music and the Nordic country.

Meadows in the Mountains-Rhodopes Mountains, Bulgaria (June)

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My girl Rya (of Style Controversy) put me on to visiting Bulgaria. This festival takes place in the mountains with an incredibly breathtaking view. It seems much more communal than bigger festivals and that it would be a really relaxed time.

Are there any music festivals you want to go to? Or are there any that didn't make my list but should have? Comment to let me know!

Elaisha Goes...To The Beverley Hotel

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Staycations are the best. Amy and I had a little get together at The Beverley Hotel here in Toronto.

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Pants: EXPRESS Turtle Neck: ESPRIT Nail Colour: essie

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I climbed all the way to the top of the hotel stairs to a room 41 with a view of snow-covered Toronto below. I had frequently passed the underrated Queen West destination while on harried journeys across the city.

Natural light filled the room and the peek-a-boo bathroom (Amy and I could have totally watched each other pee...) and made for a Pinterest-perfect space.

(All pictures by bae, aka Amy at Bratty B

For a boutique hotel, the room was incredibly spacious (much bigger than my standard hotel rooms in Paris and London...). We ordered breakfast which arrived quite quickly (after our order was taken by a staff member who came right to our door to deliver a menu). Amy ordered the generous parfait while I enjoyed the lemon ricotta pancakes.

While I do love pancakes from Mildred's, with the first bite, these ones became my favourite in the city. The medley of lemon mixed with maple syrup and the light texture of the pancakes sent me for a loop. I'll definitely return for those again.

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I wholly recommend the Beverley Hotel for a budget staycation with a touch of luxury in the city. The prompt room service, space of the room and delicious food make me want to visit over again!

#ElaishaGoes to Hailed Coffee

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Next stop on my list of perfect IG spots is another east-end favourite, Hailed Coffee.

Pictures by Desiree of A Desired Journey

Hailed coffee was a welcome and warm escape from the wet and dreary day outside. It was a cute space with the classic coffee grinder and milk steamer noises sounding off here and there. The white washed cafe thankfully carried dairy alternatives! I ordered a decaf latte with almond milk and a hazelnut shot. The gorgeous drink was delicious. I don't drink coffee so this was a little treat for me! It was a super cozy space and I quickly found a spot to sit.

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Desiree and I split a super decadent croissant and chatted a bit of business over our snack. With only a few customers in and out of the space, the atmosphere at Hailed Coffee was super chill. I would definitely recommend one of the tables at the back for a work-day since the music wasn't blasting in there and it wasn't crowded.

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Wearing: EXPRESS Jeans, EXPRESS shoes, Missguided Top

Have you visited Hailed Coffee? Let me know in the comments below!

#ElaishaGoes to Versus Coffee

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It's not played out just yet! Versus coffee is one of several east end spots that I will be mentioning in my #ElaishaGoes series while I'm in Toronto. Desiree chose the spot and I'm super happy she did!

We were able to chat over our drinks and catch up after only talking on the phone for the past few weeks. It was pretty quiet on Sunday afternoon with only a few people milling about the shop just before it closed.

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All pictures by Desiree at A Desired Journey

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I wasn't the biggest fan of my matcha because I'm not used to the flavour with unsweetened almond milk (I try to avoid sugar and milk in my drinks). However, the aesthetic of the small space was to die for. The open concept blended well one into another and was filled with natural light from the floor to ceiling windows. We were able to catch some gorgeous shots while we huddled over our carefully crafted drinks.

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Visit if you ever get the chance (even if for the adorable cup filled with their famous s'mores drink). Have you been to Versus before?

#FitFam: 5 Ways to Stay Fit for Travellers

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After I had got back from Vegas, I was thrown into a new job and didn't take the time to focus on myself. I got comfy in my oversized sweaters and leggings and didn't realize that they were getting a bit tight! Then before I knew it, I was away the next weekend in Blue Mountain after Vegas then on a 3-week trip to Europe in the summer. I put together a little plan to make sure I can be fit and feel comfortable in my skin, no matter where I am.

I joined a Gym

While I've had steady results working out at home, seeing money leave my bank account is motivation enough to ensure that I get my butt moving before I leave on a trip and after I return. No matter how good I feel that I look, I'll ensure that I head out to the gym and put in work. Plus I love working out in classes! I've taken some of the moves that I've learned in those classes and personal training sessions and modified them for hotel room and hotel gym workouts.

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I Surrounded Myself with Inspiration

From the people I hang around to the body-positive Instagram accounts I follow, I try to surround myself with fitness inspiration every day. Jetsetter, Iskra Lawrence is one of my faves to follow on Snapchat and Instagram. From city to city, the Australian model works hard, trains hard and looks amazing while doing it all. Another is Canadian Running magazine cover model (and one of my faves), Sasha Exeter. The frequent traveller's body is ridiculous (she looks even better in person), and I love watching her fitness journey and Snapchat adventures online.

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I Made Fitness Part of my Adventure

From hiking across Ben Nevis in Scotland to walking over 10k in a day in Barcelona and New York, I try to incorporate some activity into my day when travelling. I can count only a handful of times that I've hopped in a taxi or Uber while away. I prefer to see and explore cities by foot and public transport. When stuck in a car most of the time in Scotland (while eating everything that came in my path deep fried...) I made it a point to find hiking spots along the way.

I Got out of My Comfort Zone

While I'm still a bit shy about walking right up to the squat rack to do some damage at the gym, I've tried to do things that make me feel uncomfortable. First thing: kickboxing. Oh my gosh, that class kicked my butt! And I felt super uncomfortable walking into it and punching the bag...let alone the warm up. But I did it! And while I haven't returned (yet) I know that literally anything is possible if I could survive that class. So next time I feel uncomfortable jogging across the shoreline in Cancun or hitting the hotel gym, I know I'll be able to move past that emotion and just do it.

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I loved My Body

I'm not getting fit because I hate my body, I'm getting fit because I love it! Maybe someday I'll get into some of the body issues I faced growing up, but for now, I just want to encourage you to find one thing to love about yourself. Then slowly you'll see the list growing until self-love just engulfs you.

How to do you keep fit while you're travelling? Let me know in the comments below!

Top 2017 Bucket-list Destinations

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I love travelling and it's my mum's fault. I can remember my first time flying at 7 years old. The excitement I felt about taking off  to New York City and how cool I thought I was with my Minnie Mouse luggage. img_4919

All photos Bratty B

I'm currently deliberating where I want to visit next year. The questions I keep asking myself are, 'Do I want to hit the tropics?' 'Should I visit a new city?' 'Is 2017 the year I visit Asia?' Well, keep reading to find out where I want to go in 2017.

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Wearing: Rag & Bone Jeans from Aritzia, Zara Jacket, Banana Republic Purse, Uniqlo Turtle Neck, Urban Outfitter booties, Kate Spade Bow Bracelet

Las Vegas I know, I know, I already went this year! But hear me out. My favourite boy band, Backstreet Boys will have their own residency in Las Vegas. Obviously, your girl has to support and cheer them on. Plus I still have some exploring to do in Vegas. The museums, the desert and restaurants...there's so much more to do that I can't miss out on.

Alaska I like active vacations and I really want to go on a cold vacation. The chance to go dog sledding or snowmobiling really gets me going. So Alaska obviously made it on to my list. Apparently, there are cruises that you can go on to see whales as they migrate. I would probably bawl the entire time. Sign me up!

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Alberta Have you seen the pictures? Someone could post a picture of a garbage can in a field and it would look like a postcard or a painting. It's ridiculous. And I can't wait to get my own shots while marvelling in awe of the gorgeous scenery. I'm getting excited thinking about all of the hiking opportunities.

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Iceland From the lagoon to the black sand beaches, Iceland seems like a world of its own. While there has been an uptake in popularity, Iceland still seems like a cool spot to explore. When I connected to Europe from Iceland I was impressed with the washrooms in the airport alone! Should I write about my WOW Air experience?

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But for now, this little bird is grounded until the travel bug bites me again.  Comment below to let me know where you will or want to be heading in 2017.

#ElaishaGoes to Scotland: Photo Album and City Guide

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Scotland was incredible. I didn't visit any of the bigger and well-known cities like Edinburgh or Glasglow. We road tripped through Scotland from Aberdeen to Inverness then made a loop to Dundee before heading south to London. I spent most of the trip there gawking out of the car window. I couldn't believe that a place so beautiful wasn't listed on destination recommendations everywhere.I have so many pictures and experiences I want to share, but I won't bombard you. Keep reading for my must-see places in the land of rolling hills and sheep.

How to Get Around 

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My flight from London wasn't bad at all! British Airways spoiled me, and I was in economy. A hot breakfast of a cheese omelette with toast and a cup of tea (orange juice for me) were all served so nicely. I was thoroughly impressed. And our flight left on time!

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Buses aren't always reliable (or even available) in the smaller towns. If you can rent a car, do it. Driving through Scotland was like driving through a story book. I saw double rainbows, yummy restaurants and the cutest sheep. Cabs are not cheap in Dundee, so watch out for that. Oh, and there's no Uber in certain spots so watch out for that too.

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Fish and chips and mozzarella sticks. Life was great in Scotland. 

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Where to Go Inverness was my favourite stop on this road trip. The picturesque town wasn't too touristy when I went. First line of business after a quick nip into Tesco was visiting the castle, which also happened to double as a beautiful lookout point!

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Wearing: Old Navy Leggings, Uniqlo Vest, Uniqlo Shirt, Reebok Woven Furylite Shoes, Champs Men's Shirt

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Another gem you need to pop into is Leakey's Bookshop...it was possibly the cutest place I had ever been to. I was in book heaven. It was dead quiet when I explored the library and I loved it. I wish I bought one of the vintage maps or paintings there (they were over 100 years old!).

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We took a quick stroll about the small 'downtown' area. There were several restaurants and more historic buildings to 'ooo' and 'ahh' over.

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Where to stay

Tigh Na Coin Beagan was the most memorable spot I rested my head in in Scotland. The owner was super pleasant and his Scottish Terriers were just as friendly.

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The house was located across from a gorgeous loch and decorated in tartan (carpets, pillows etc.). The view outside of my room was stunning. My window looked over the loch Mhor and the rolling hill behind it.

Where to Hike

Ben Nevis and Falls of Foyers were the two places I went hiking in Scotland. It was recommended to us by the owner of Tigh Na Coin Beagan.

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Wearing: Columbia Outdry™ EX Gold Trench Jacket, Columbia Leggings, Reebok Woven Furylite Shoes

Falls of Foyers was an easy hike because I took the 'easy' way. Otherwise, it would have been a 2-hour journey to the bottom. I prioritized being able to see Ben Nevis that day instead.

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Wearing: Columbia Leggings, Reebok Woven Furylite Shoes, Columbia Hoodie Shirt, Uniqlo Vest

In Ben Nevis, we hiked for almost half an hour which lead to an incredible clearing that faced the falls. I was in absolute awe of its beauty!

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Be very careful and wear shoes with intense grip. The trek up was very slippery and wet which I didn't mind. Sadly my hiking shoes didn't arrive in time, but these kicks still came through.

Dundee

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Wearing: Stella Nova Jacket, Old Navy Leggings, Kooba Bag, Reebok Woven Furylite Shoes

Dundee was pretty cool. We swung by the Overgate Centre (which you've got to visit, it's huge) and the high street. I went a bit overboard in M&S, but #YOLO. There was this awesome lookout point too that gave us a view of the city.

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St Andrews I was nearly hit by a few golf balls, but other than that hazard St Andrews was incredible. It was cute hanging at the place Kate and William fell in love. We grabbed fish and chips and ate by the beach. While my chips were nearly stolen by greedy seagulls, I really enjoyed it there. With old boy's club establishments and grey stone buildings, I felt like I was in Johnny English or a James Bond movie.  It seemed like a super luxe spot (for a University town). I'd definitely visit again with more time to explore.

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Wearing: Zara Jacket, Thrifted Scarf Old Navy Leggings, Kooba Bag, Reebok Woven Furylite Shoes

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I can't wait to return to Scotland and tour the northern coast and also hit the bigger cities. Is there anywhere I visited that stood out to you? Comment down below with whether you'd like to visit!

#ElaishaGoes to Barcelona: Photo Story & City Guide

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Barcelona was a dream. I honestly feel like I woke up and couldn't possibly have been there. Travelling to Europe to visit some of my greatest friends (and making new ones) was a treat. I'm not picking favourites here, but Barcelona was a city I had the chance to really immerse myself in and explore. Thankfully my girl Katie rounded up her favourite places in Barca and my good friend Graeme and I were able to visit a lot of them. Keep reading for what to do in Barcelona Guide and Photo Story!

Where to BrunchPicnic is the spot. After strolling past the Arc and down a back alley I found the quaint (and popular) restaurant. I sat down and ordered a burrata and mimosa immediately. Both were sweet and amazing. I'm still dreaming about the tacos I got too. Graeme grabbed fluffy pancakes and a beer and we just ate the day away before exploring Barcelona.

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How to get around Cabs are pretty cheap, but as a city girl taking public transport was the way to go. I had a European data plan from three which worked all over the city (I didn't visit the outskirts, however). So this allowed me to just quickly use Google maps and plot out a trip using public transport. Grab a 3-day pass and wear comfortable shoes. Exploring a city by foot has always been my favourite way to learn the ins and outs of different neighbourhoods.

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Where to go dancing After a later dinner at midnight (yes, that's how late people eat out there) hit up the club district by the beach. At about 2am we noticed things were picking up and lines were immense at Opium especially.

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What to see There were so many historical places to visit so we decided to hit up as many as we could walk to within a day instead of tiring ourselves out too much.

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Where to Beach  We did not hit up the beach on the weekend but instead decided to settle on a weekday to beat the crowd. We went to what's considered to be the 'Gay Beach', which is an LGBTQ-friendly space with mostly men. What we didn't realize is that it was right next to the nude beach. I was unbothered and Graeme was entertained (but polite obviously). I felt comfortable and for the first time in days no men came up to me or cat-called at me. Then we hit up Xiringuito Escribà for a delicious meal by the beach.

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Where to go Shopping  There were so many spots dotted across the city. Of course, La Rambla (aka tourist trap) was the obvious option. However, we ducked down some little side streets and I was able to purchase some cute shirts. However, the salesgirl didn't let me haggle at all. I also hit up Glòries Centre Comercial. It had the stores I really wanted to see (Zara, H&M and Massimo Dutti) without the crowds of the most popular malls. It also had a Walmart-type store where I was able to buy gifts for some friends and pick up food for the weekend.

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Plan on visiting Barcelona? Leave me any questions you have in the comments below!

Accesories Gift Guide for Frequent Flyers

As a frequent traveller my holiday wish list is quite different from my friends’. Organizers, mini versions of beauty products, carry-on bags..my list could on forever. I tried to curate a unique bunch of things I either use frequently or really want to try.

1. Sanuk Bianca Shoes Apparently Sanuk shoes are super comfy. One of my fave bloggers, Marla from Trendstruck was rocking a pair in one of her recent snapchats (go follow her, she’s hilarious) and I loved them. If I’m wearing a pair of heels take a look in my purse; I’m guaranteed to have a pair of flats in there. I always wear flats to and in the airport. These flats would have been great for me this year when I took a day trip to NYC for a meeting! I could have thrown on a pair of heels after hopping off of the subway in Soho.

2. Packing Cubes from eBay Packing cubes are legendary among professional travellers for organization and space optimization. I’ve wanted a pack of them for a while so I sprung and got them off of eBay. I’ll let you know how they go!

3. Cabeau Neck Pillow I gave up on Neck pillows a while back until I got my Cabeau this summer. It’s like a plush and comfortable brace for your neck. I reviewed this pillow in my LA haul which you can watch on my YouTube channel.

4. Agape + Hesed Palm Leaf Print Case Victoria at Haute Canada is a talented designer with a generous heart. This clutch gets10 kids breakfast!  I'm over marble, so this banana/palm leaf patterned clutch or tablet case is a great alternative. For it to fit a 13" sized laptop, you can contact Victoria to customize it.

5. Sony Extra Bass XB950  The reason why I usually opt for earbuds when on a flight is: headphones usually start to hurt my ears after wearing them for while. I won these headphones last month (thanks Sony!) and I've been using them almost everyday and can honestly say: they never ever hurt. I fell asleep and woke up with them on and I felt no soreness at all. Aside from the extreme comfort the sound quality is also great. With the comfortable and sound blocking cushions sounds feel three dimensional and alive...which can also get a little creepy if you're listening to a track with footsteps or whispering.

6. AWAY Carry On When feeling overwhelmed at the airport a dying phone seems like the least of your concerns…until you need to get your boarding pass out. Or book your hotel while in the boarding line (I totally did that when on the way to Paris…).

I found the Away Carry-On on Product Hunt and I can’t wait for it’s launch next year. When you fly more than 4 times a year you learn how to pack strategically, especially if it’s a short trip. On most of my trips in the past 3 years I only brought a carry on and a knapsack. While the AWAY’s minimalist design and muted colours are nice, what drew me to this carry on was it’s internal phone charger. Compatible with tablets and phones you wouldn’t have to worry about digging through your stuff for a portable charger or laptop or be next to a wall outlet while at the airport.

7. Sony RX100 IV There are photos and videos I didn't shoot because I was either too embarrassed to whip out my massive DSLR or I just didn't want the inconvenience of carrying a large camera around with me. My favourite YouTubers all have vlogging cameras that capture their fun day-to-day adventures and I'd love to do the same. The Sony RX100's sensor is ridiculous and it shoots faster than other cameras it's size. With 4K shooting capabilities and a secret electronic view finder this a must-have on my list. [Watch a full review here]

8. Blanket Scarf from Halogen at Nordstrom I tend to run cold so I always keep a sweater or scarf nearby, no matter what season it is. I am a big fan of blanket scarves while on a plane. I can wear them to the airport as a jacket and on the plane as a scarf, but it won’t take up too much room in my luggage or purse when I arrive somewhere. That’s especially important if I’m headed somewhere warm and won’t even use the scarf while there.

9. Ralph Lauren City Tote There’s nothing like a bag that can fit everything you need in it. On flights you’re allowed to bring a personal bag on and if I’ve decided to not check in a big case I'd usually go for a knapsack. But if I have checked in luggage a roomy and stylish purse is the way to go. I've had my eye on this Ralph Lauren City tote for a while. It's the perfect dupe for the Prada double bag which I've wanted since Fleur de Force did a review a while back.

*Some products used in this post were provided free of charge, all opinions are my own.