Got Barrelled While Handboarding

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I LOVE anything ocean-related so when I first heard of handboarding a few years ago I had to give it a shot. I was lucky enough to get in the water with the rad crew at Slyde Handboards (I even wrote about it here!) and was immediately hooked by the sport.

If the name sounds familiar, it may be because you’ve watched the episode of Shark Tank (watch it here), where guest shark Ashton Kutcher and Mark Cuban invest into the company. How rad!

I had been itching to get back in the water with the crew for quite some time, so I was stoked to have been able to stop by their headquarters this week to check out some of their new board models (can’t wait for you all to see them!) and also get into the water with Slyde Handboards’ founder Steve Watts. Here’s a little recap of the fun we had out in Dana Point.

For more info on Slyde Handboards, go here.

Shot by: TheOffners

Van Life Playlist

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Listening to good tunes while doing a road trip is a must! Prior to leaving on this travel adventure, I was still working full-time in the music industry. Immediately after I left my network television gig I was in need of a “music detox” from the 10+ years I spent working in the music biz.

Living in an Escape Campervan these past two months has reignited my love for music. Driving around has allowed me to discover great new artists and has opened my mind and heart up again for music. Though I will no longer be pursuing a career in the industry, I’m happy to be reconnecting with music as “fan” instead of a critic.

I have decided to share with you today some of the songs that have been playing in the Escape Campervan these past couple of weeks in hopes that you might also discover something new!

Speaking of enjoying music, I’m doing a giveaway on my Instagram profile right now that allows you to win a brand new LG Bluetooth speaker! You can check it out here.

LA Theater District

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The architecture in downtown LA is absolutely gorgeous! The Theater District is my favorite area of town because it is filled with tons of gems from the golden age of Hollywood.

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These past couple of years, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time discovering some of the beautiful architecture left from that time, imagining what it was probably like in the early to mid 20th century. I can only imagine big Hollywood premiers or elegant soirées and plays being held in some of these stunning theaters.

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If you are to venture down to the Theater District, some of my favorite buildings to check out are the Palace Theater, Orpheum Theater, Cameo Theater and Roxie Theater, which are located on Broadway. They are just as pretty inside as they are outside. I think the fact that they are a little run down gives them even more charm. I’m happy to see that a lot of them are still being used today for different reasons.

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A must-see if you’re in the area!

Photos by: Laci Havens

What I’m wearing: Elizabeth Stone Jewelry Moon Gazer statement necklace (get it here), Elizabeth Stone Jewelry Moon Gazer Stacking Ring (get it here), The Debut Medium Watches (get it here), Bench dress.

10 Tips for Living in a Van

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1) Pack smart. I used to overpack all the time and then I realized that I almost never used 50% of the stuff I brought along with me. So when came time to pack for the van, I knew I needed to pack smart. Packing smart means, bringing one of everything and only keeping essentials. If you’re traveling for longer periods of time and different climates, it can get tricky but layering and planning ahead will help. For this trip I brought, 1 pair of boots, 1 pair of runners, 1 jacket, 1 raincoat, 3 pairs of pants, a week’s worth of t-shirts, 2 dresses, 1 pair of nice shoes and 1 pair of every day shoes. Depending on what you’ll be doing day to day, your clothes may vary but you often end up wearing the similar outfits all the time.

2) Organize and compartmentalize. When you get the van you’ve purchased or are renting, take a good hour or more to organize everything the way you would want it. It’s kind of like when you move into a new house, you will have to find a place for everything. You may want to purchase a few boxes or organizers (a quick trip to the dollar store is all you need!) that will help keep everything tidy and clean in the van. You want to make sure you place your things at the same spot all the time, so that you don’t end up losing them in this tiny space. If you don’t take the time to do this, you’ll get frustrated and van life will be stressful.

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3) Showering. Finding showers if you’re not staying in campgrounds or on someone’s property can get tricky but there are clever ways you can find showers and stay clean even while living in a van. My latest find are public pools. Because I like staying active while on the road, I research local public pools of where I’m going and their swim times and go for a few laps and get a free shower while I’m at all. Getting a membership from a chain of gyms is a good idea, though maybe a bit costly depending on budget. Picking a chain is important so that you can go no matter where you’re traveling to. I have also found showers in truck stops or rest areas. If you’re planning on traveling off the radar but still want to shower, get a portable solar shower (like the Helio Pressure Shower below) that you can just hook up to the van and either leave out during the day to heat up or put hot water in.

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4) Solar panel charger. Most of us traveling in a van or living in a van will also be using electronics – mobile phones, computers, iPads, lights, etc. Since I have to be working while traveling, I found that having a solar panel charger on the roof of the van has been so incredibly helpful. Other options are the cigarette lighter USB charger but solar is definitely super practical if you’re traveling to somewhere sunny.

5) Curtains. These are a must not only for your own privacy and safety but also if you want to sleep past sunrise every day. Curtains are great to keep nosey people from looking into your van. They also give you the possibility to change in the van when you need to.

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6) Wi-Fi. If you don’t have data in the country you’ll either be traveling too or just don’t have data on your phone, free Wi-Fi is pretty easy to find these days. Most fast food restaurants have Wi-Fi (McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC, Starbucks, etc.). Also, some city have wifi hotspots around town. A lot of malls, airports, grocery stores (like Whole Foods), cafés, etc., have free Wi-Fi you use. If you’re too broke to go inside to buy something, I recommend either staying in the parking lot or going to public places. Because I am working remotely, I decided to get a pay as you go phone with a data plan. There are lots of companies in the US that offer these plans. I was able to get 7 GBs of data + unlimited nationwide texting and calling for only $60 at At&t. You can even bring your own phone from another country and just change the SIM card in it. No contracts to sign, no activation fees either. A last option is getting an internet stick or mobile Wi-Fi box, but I found it easier to have a local phone to make calls, stay in touch with people at home, etc.

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7) Where to park. If you’ve gone camping before, you’ve heard that Walmarts are great places to park. That said, they’re definitely not the only place you can find free overnight parking for your van. If you’re in California, chances are you will be able to find some easy street parking in quiet neighborhoods, since so many people live in their vans in the state. However, not all states have the same regulations, so make sure you read up on it before deciding to park in front of some quaint little house. If streets aren’t an option, there are some great rest areas along the highway that you can stop at, also Flying J’s or truck stops. Some municipal parks will allow overnight parking. If you know someone in the area, you can always inquire about parking in their driveway. If you’re willing to dish out a bit of cash, there’s a great site called Hipcamp, like an Airbnb for campers where you can find unique and cheap places to stay with your van. If not, campgrounds are also an option but tend to get pricey after a while.

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8) Make friends. I was immediately surprised by the great sense of community you feel when you meet other people also either traveling or living permanently in a van. Everyone always has tips to give you, will invite you to have a beer, food, etc. I was astonished by the amount of people that either by choice or not, decide to pursue this lifestyle. Everyone has been so incredibly friendly to us during our travels thus far, it’s been really uplifting and nice to know that you’re not the only one in this adventure.

9) Write a journal. Because every day will be different and filled with so many incredible adventures, writing a journal is a great way to keep track of all the incredible things that will happen along the way and all the amazing people you will meet.

10) Books. If you’re either off the grid or looking a way to pass time in the van, then reading will become an important activity. There are lots of great used bookstores around where you can find books or even trade some with the new friends you’ll be making along the way. I’ve never read so many books in so little time since I’ve been in the van.

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If you also want to give van life a try, make sure you check out Escape Campervans!

Tech Talk: Huawei Nova Plus

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One of the things I love most is documenting my travels, as I’m sure you may have noticed if you’ve been following my adventures on this website these past couple of years. Whether it’s through photographs, videos or via social media, I love sharing with everyone some of my travel finds, activities, encounters, etc. Because I’m always on the go, I don’t always bring along my camera so having a reliable phone that I can use not only as a means of communication but also as my main camera is a huge plus. I was therefore incredibly excited to take the Nova Plus on my most recent road trip up the California coast.

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Big Sur, California shot with the Huawei Nova Plus.

Huawei‘s latest release, the Nova Plus smartphone, an incredible device that features some of the best technology currently on the market at a low price point.

One of my favorite features on the Nova Plus is the exceptional 16-megapixel rear camera that allow for some of the highest definition photo and video captures. The photos and videos produced with the phone are sharp and vibrant.  The phone’s long battery life enables you to take thousands of photos and countless videos without having to run and charge the device. Furthermore, the phone’s internal photo editing parameters and software, allows me to edit my photos directly on the phone without having to pass them through other app before sharing.

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The Nova Plus shoots perfect contrast on gloomy days in San Francisco.

It also allows you to shoot in 4K, which has become the new industry standard for videos. Moreover, the internal OIS image stabilization system allows for pristine photos and videos. Plus, the camera allows for wide-aperture photography and quick photo taking, so you don’t ever miss out on any action, which is a huge deal for me since I’m always being so active. The camera also fares incredibly well in low light settings.

Additionally, the phone’s 5.5inch display screen and 1920×1080 resolution screen allows for great viewing capacity. The phone’s size and curved edges also makes it easy to hold in the palm of your hand when taking photos. Plus, the new 2.5D glass material allows for a greater sense of depth and most importantly improved scratch resistance, which is a must when traveling non-stop.

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The vibrant colours of a sunset shot with the Nova Plus.

The Nova Plus’ high-performance 14nm processor allows me to upload and share the content that I shot while on the road at very high speeds, without consuming ridiculous amounts of power.

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Each photo shot with the phone is so crisp, almost making you feel like you’re there!

All in all, it has been a great asset to have with me on the road these past couple of weeks. I’m thoroughly impressed by the content quality that I have been able to produce with the Nova Plus. I will be sharing a few videos in the coming weeks all shot with the new Nova Plus. Stay tuned!

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For more information on the Huawei Nova Plus, go here.

Do Everything, Regret Nothing

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Because life is short, I’m always trying to make the most out of any situation or time I have in a one place or with people that I love. Since we have no idea what tomorrow will bring, I’m all about making the most of the present moment and enjoying every minute of it.

I have been crushing hard on Medium Watches for quite some time now. The reason why I love this Canadian brand so much is not only because they make amazing designs in Canada but also because they also allow you to customize and make your own unique watch.

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Their latest design for women called, The Debut is the perfect combination of style and functionality. You can customize your strap and also etch the caseback of the watch with a life motto or an inspiring quote. Getting back to the theme of making the most of your time, I decided to etch the saying “Do Everything, Regret Nothing“.

I picked the classic gold and black combo with the woven mesh stainless steel strap. The watch is my daily go-to because it goes with just about anything. A little detail that I like on the watch is the “16” indicator has been highlighted to mark the year of the watch.

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For the past three years, I have decided to stop holding back and say yes to opportunities that come my way, always keeping an open mind and also making the most of any situation that may arise.

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This quote has been a huge motivator for me when I have doubted myself or questioned doing certain things. This quote is also my background on Facebook and has been at the forefront of my thoughts on a daily basis.

What motto would you engrave on your watch? #Whatsyourmedium

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For more information on Medium Watches or to customize your own, go here.

Moving Forward

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Ever felt stuck in a rut or stuck on a path that you didn’t want to be on? Prior to leaving my full-time television gig at the end of the summer, I really felt stuck in a situation and world that I no longer wanted to be in. Moving forward in life is something that isn’t easy to do but is necessary in order to find happiness and fulfillment. I’ve learned over time that when situations become unbearable, it’s better to break free and move forward and that goes not only for your professional life but also for your personal life (health, wellness, etc.).

Moving forward in my career isn’t the only obstacle I’ve had to overcome this year. My recent back injury totally made me feel stuck and powerless especially as months went on and I was seeing no improvement. I felt like I wasn’t getting better or getting myself out of this situation. I thought on several occasions that I was on a path of healing and change only to be stopped dead in my tracks and have to start over.

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2016 has taught me that moving forward isn’t easy but super necessary both personally and professionally. So I wanted to share with you today some of the things I’ve learned from this experience.

My 5 tips for moving forward: 

1) Figure out what’s stopping you from moving forward and making that change in your life. Take time to reassess your goals and aspirations and use that as a motivator to help yourself to get “unstuck”.

2) Stop listening to everyone else. When I went to leave my steady job, everyone was questioning why, trying to scare me by telling me I wouldn’t get another steady paycheck, that there were no jobs on the market at the moment, etc. Same went with my injury, I was told healing could take forever, that I may never run again, etc. The key to moving forward was blocking out all the noise around me.

3) Spread positivity. Surrounding myself with positive thoughts and people helped me focus on the goal at hand and helped me conquer my fears of moving forward. I made sure to celebrate little progress I made with my injury and focus on the pros of leaving my full-time job.

4) It won’t be easy. Whether it was having to cut down on spending after leaving my job or dealing with not being active, both were incredibly hard things to deal with or adjust to. There will be days where you will doubt yourself or days where you question your decision, but it’s important to persevere throughout the process.

5) The end result will be worth it. Once you realize that you control your destiny, that taking risks always pay off and that if you focus on what makes you happy and overcome the speed bumps along the way, you will be successful in your transition! You will be able to get yourself out of that situation that you no longer want to be in. Though I’m not by any means making a killing as a freelancer, I’m a lot happier, calmer and fulfilled than I was prior to leaving my job. Also, finally being able to be active again has motivated me beyond belief. I’ve never been so excited to pursue a sport in my entire life. I can’t wait to see what I can accomplish now that I have moved forward!

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Photos & hair by: Cabello by Carolina

What I’m wearing: Hyba Printed Winter Legging (get it here), Hyba Long Sleeve Boot Camp Tee (get it here), Hyba Mixed Media Vest (get it here).

This post was written in collaboration with Hyba but all opinions are my own.

5 Things to do in Porto

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Why Porto should be on your next European itinerary!

Portugal is one of the most beautiful countries in Europe yet we rarely hear much about it. I was lucky enough to be able to travel there earlier this month to find out more about this history-rich destination. One of my favorite cities during the trip was Porto, which is jaw-dropping city. Today, I share the 5 things you must do while in Porto.

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1) Visit the Sandeman Port cellars. Founded by the Scotsman George Sandeman in 1790, Sandeman Port is to this day, one of the most renown brands of Port wine around. You can visit their cellars on one of the many multi-language tours they offer. Furthermore, you can also learn about Sandeman via their little museum, go for a tasting or just simply enjoy a drink and snack on their outdoor patio bar.

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2) Take a tour of the Livraria Lello bookshop. If you’re a Harry Potter fan than you’ll definitely want to add this stop to your Porto itinerary. The Livraria Lello is the infamous bookshop that author JK Rowling frequented in the 1990s, when she taught English in Porto and that eventually inspired her series of novels. The architecture and design of this bookshop is unlike any other!

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3) Eat at Taberna D’avo. This restaurant located in the basement of a traditional Porto house offers rustic meals in a classic Portuguese setting. They serve some of the best local products in homemade recipes made from scratch. Yet, a table of 4 can eat a 4-course meal with wine for $60 Euros total!

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4) Take a walk on the Ponte de Dom Luís I. The Ponte Dom Luís I bears a lot of ressemblance to the Eiffel tower. The bridge’s top and lower deck allow for fantastic views of the Douro river as well as its two shores – downtown Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia. It’s a great sightseeing spot as well as great way to get to and from the central area of the city. Finally, there is also a tram line that crosses the top portion of the bridge for those not wanting to walk.

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5) Cruise down the Douro River. Another great way to see some of Porto’s most beautiful architecture and sights is simply by hopping onto a “Rabela barcos”, one of their traditional boats, while enjoying some local Porto wine and learning about local traditions, history and so one. Most noteworthy is the fact that the cruises are available all day long and in several languages.

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5 Best Vegetarian Spots Paris

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Vegans and vegetarians traveling to Paris rejoice!

Heading to Paris soon and looking for the best vegetarian and vegan restaurants in the city? I’ve got you covered! Check out my top 5 spots from my most recent visit!

1) Wild and The Moon – This new Paris hotspot located in the 3e arrondissement reminds me a lot of places like Café Grattitude or The Butcher’s Daughter in California. This juice bar, to-go counter and dine-in vegan restaurant is without a doubt one of the best in the city. Unlike their American counterparts, they’ve added a French twist to some of the dishes they serve adding different ingredients and serving things like a raw tarte. They’ve got a great selection of organic cold-ressed juices and milks, homemade salads, soups, crackers and snacks as well as desserts. Their hot drinks are also incredibly tasty. The perfect spot to eat clean, plant-based pure meal.

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2) Season – This farm to table group of restaurants and to-go spots combines fresh, local and seasonal ingredients to make delicious tartines, bowls and salads that are perfect for a breakfast, brunch or lunch. Their restaurant located in the 3e arrondissement in Paris is always packed at lunch time so make sure you arrived before 1pm if you don’t want to have to wait in line.

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3) Café Pinson – Also located in the 3e arrondissement in Paris, this restaurant serves healthy and organic meals that change on the daily. Their small carte of appetizers, mains and deserts features delicious seasonal ingredients that combined together with beautiful sauces and accompaniments create comforting dishes good food for the soul. The beautiful and cozy decor makes it a perfect date-night spot.

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4) Hank Vegan Burger – This small vegan burger joint located in Le Marais, one of the most sought after neighborhoods of Paris, serves up cheap but finger-licking-good burgers for 8 Euros. Their 4 different burgers are all equally tasty. You can add potato wedges or coleslaw and make it a combo with or without homemade dessert. It’s a great place to have a quick lunch or dinner.

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5) Ten Belles – You’ll find this cute coffee shop nestled on a side street right by the Canal St-Martin in the 10e arrondissement in Paris. Though not everything they offer is vegetarian, they have a great selection of focaccia and bun sandwiches, salads as well as soups that are vegetarian. Their homemade cookies, breads and treats are also incredibly yummy.

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Jane Goodall Collection by G Adventures

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Growing up, I spent countless hours reading National Geographic because my family had a subscription. I remember reading a really inspiring article on Jane Goodall and was immediately intrigued by the work she had been doing with chimps. Since, I have read countless articles about her work in Gombe and with the Jane Goodall Institute. Along with legends like marine biologist Sylvia Earle and environmental activist David Suzuki, Jane Goodall has always been on my dream interview bucket list. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to spend a day with Dr. Goodall.

I’m thrilled that G Adventures, a Toronto-based adventure travel company, the biggest for small group travels recently announced a partnership with the Jane Goodall Institute to help promote the importance of wildlife-friendly travel.

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Called the Jane Goodall Collection, this program of 20 curated wildlife trips has as a goal to raise awareness of the importance of wildlife-friendly tourism. These trips are a great way to learn about the natural world as well as our relationship with it. They also hope to raise awareness for the Jane Goodall Institute, which supports research into the behaviour of wild chimpanzees, and community-based conservation programs that protect chimpanzees and their forest environment.

The Jane Goodall Collection trip destinations include Borneo, Madagascar, the Galapagos Islands, Kenya and more. I can only imagine how awesome and inspiring it can be to potentially walk in the footsteps of Jane Goodall during one of these trips!

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For more information on the Jane Goodall Collection by G Adventures please visit www.gadventures.com.