I traveled on a girl’s trip this Spring with some girlfriends I’ve known for more than half my life, and we went to Canada!
It was my first time in Canada and we left the agenda/itinerary planning to Rowena, because she is an awesome trip planner/researcher and that make sit so much easier if you just let one person take charge of all the planning.
Rowena is a big fan of Hallmark (holiday) movies and loves visiting charming towns that’ve served as a backdrop for the films, and/or have that romantic feel. So, the main destination for our Canadian getaway was Quebec City, but our first order of business was 24 hours in Toronto!
As I mentioned, it was my first visit north of the (US) border, so I was happy to explore a little of Toronto, which I’ve heard so much about. We scored right away when we lucked out on a super cool ride-share driver who gave us some great recommendations and offered us red carpet/VIP service. We did some eating, sightseeing and dancing.
My favorite stop on our quick Toronto tour was a trip to a champagne bar (Coffee Oysters Champagne), which had an unassuming store front, but quickly transported us to a secret speakeasy where we were told to keep our cell phones off. Exquisite decor with delectable bites and drinks!
The one exception for snapping pics, was only for taking photos on the “horse.” LOL!
After our exciting day and night in Toronto we flew to Montrael and landed in Quebec City, the birthplace of Canada, where we stayed in a castle! The Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac along the St. Lawrence River is now a hotel, but was once home to French royalty in the early days of what is now Canada. It is said to be the most European city in all of North America.
The area offers amazing views and is very walkable, it felt very European and French. Cute shops and restaurants, with history at every turn, definitely a fun place to explore and relax. Not only did the castle/hotel have so much history to explore and learn about, but the cobblestone streets and building in the immediate vicinity also offered a glimpse into the past.
We did venture outside of the Old Quebec area to an “island” with artisans of wine, nougat, jams, and chocolate!
Another fun stop during that excursion was the falls, which had a suspension bridge to walk across with great photo opps!
All in all, a good time with great friends. A much needed getaway, and a new destination explored which I can add to my list of places I’ve visited.
I’ve been a little inspired of late. I unexpectedly launched an Etsy Shop as a side hustle to sell some T-Shirt designs and other items that I have come up with along with my boys. It’s been a nice creative outlet and I am no graphic designer, but if you have an idea, there are programs out there to help you get your words out…literally, which is why I’m writing this post.
Respect My Vote. It sounds like an easy enough concept, right? I’ve never really though of my right to vote being “disrespected,” but sadly, in today’s current political and social climates, I do feel like my vote is a bit threatened. So, I put it on a shirt.
First, I do believe in the power of voting and having your voice heard. Both of my parents were immigrants to the U.S. and they took voting seriously, I recall election days as a young girl, waiting in long lines in my neighborhood so that they could vote. I always thought it was an interesting process to go into someone’s house in my neighborhood (polling place), where there would be a steady stream of people patiently waiting their turn to submit their ballot. All that to say, the act of voting was a big deal for my parents and the house I grew up in, so I take advantage of my right to vote.
Second, all this talk about mail in ballots and voter fraud, totally rubs me the wrong way! I have been voting absentee, which essentially is a form of mail-in voting and until this year, I have never questioned if my ballot was going to get hijacked on the way to being counted at an Election’s Office. I use the right ink for the bubbles, I seal it, sign it and put the right amount of postage or drop in the ballot box near me. I have great faith in the U.S. Postal Service and their ability to get my mail and packages delivered on time and in one piece. Is the the Postal Service perfect? No, but I tend to prefer the USPS over UPS or Fed-Ex…just saying! I respect the hard work the mail carriers and sorters put in, and I trust them to deliver my vote, if additional funding, mail sorting machines and blue post office boxes are taken away, and I have seen photos that suggest this…I find that disrespectful. Never in my life would I have ever thought that would be a thing.
Thirdly, tensions are high, we all know that. People are on polar extremes fighting and arguing for beliefs along party lines. Life is completely uncertain in a pandemic and unemployment, mental health issues creeping up on all of us and here in California, my world is literally on fire. The upcoming Election Day should be the one thing in our control. We have the opportunity to vote, we can choose who we want to vote for, and we should be able to vote using whatever method we feel safe doing so…and the way I choose to submit my vote, needs to be RESPECTED! I’m not going to tell you who to vote for or what to believe in, but I can tell you registering to vote is the right thing to do, it’s part of your civic duty and it’s one ( meaningful) way to enact real change in your community.
This is why, I was inspired and motivated to create the “Respect My Vote” T-Shirt. I plan to wear mine as we count down to November 3, 2020, and if you want to support me and order an election day shirt of your own, head over to my Shop 53 Weeks Etsy Shop! To see all my shirt designs click here. Also, you can use promo code SHOP20 until the end of August to save 20%. BTW, shirts are available Unisex or a Women’s Jersey Tee, if you prefer something more fitted. There are also two subtle design differences, one has the lettering in all blue with a red vote box check mark, and the other has blue and red lettering with the red vote check mark. But if you do anything, make sure you’re registered to vote.
My favorite interview this past week was with the sports reporter at my station, Lina Washington. I feel very fortunate to be in a position where I not only get to tell stories and give people and organizations a platform to tell them, but also have the space to use my own curiosity and inclinations to push forward and shed a light on important issues and causes.
In Lina’s case, she is one of 3 women who spearheaded a project called “Boards for Change.” The effort was spawned as a response to the recent calls for justice and change in our communities. Many businesses felt a need to board up their storefront because of opportunists and other non-peaceful indiviuals who were using the situation as a chance to vandalize and destroy property. So, Boards for Change paired artists with business owners to add some beauty and color to the wooden window shields, which also served as another outlet to spread messages about social justice.
It was awesome to talk to Lina about it on my show because she is very passionate and outspoken. I think a lot of times as people who work in media or on TV, we feel like we can’t be too visible when supporting certain social causes or events. But, in this case, Lina’s project has garnered so much well-deserved attention and really took on a life of it’s own. Boards for Change has also partnered with the MLS Sacramento Republic FC. The artwork is being displayed in the (empty) stands at the field and an auction is being held to raise money for the under-served youth in the community and all the funds collected will stay local.
All this to say, I’m super proud of my ABC10 colleague and when I get to do interviews like this, it certainly puts a smile on my face.
Everything is virtual, we’re living our lives on “zoom,” and coming up, I am excited to be hosting a virtual walk for The Aneurysm and AVM Foundation or TAAF.
TAAF is dedicated to bettering the lives, medical care, and support networks of those affected by aneurysm, AVM, and other vascular malformations of the brain. The official event is on August 9, and be sure to tune in by registering: http://bit.ly/TAAFWALKlive
We all want to say it’s not about the “look,” but presentation and the “look” can go a long way, especially when it comes to virtual meetings! Now that so many of us are working from home and having to use Zoom, Skype and FaceTime as our means for socializing and connecting with co-workers, effective (virtual) communication is important!
For some of us, it’s easy to carve out a niche at home to work and do these online calls, but for others it may be a bit more challenging. Clare Kumar spoke with me about ways to fix up our spaces at home and how to make yourself look and sound better using our laptops and smartphones!
Clare was a great interview and really has easy tips to improve the way we communicate virtually. My biggest takeaways are her advice for finding your “color” and also ways to improve the audio quality on these calls.