Discovering the New 2018 FORD F-150 Lariat

I love getting to test drive new vehicles, especially when I’m allowed to go adventure with them.

This past week, I got to try out the 2018 FORD F-150 Lariat. Though I’ve test driven some of FORD‘s vehicles before, I’ve never had the opportunity to try out one of the most popular vehicles to date, the F-150. Out here in BC, these trucks are everywhere and after spending a week driving around in one, I totally understand why the truck is so popular.


The Lariat is one of 7 models that you can choose from in the F-150 family. It comes in a variety of colours including “Race Red“, which is a definite eye-catcher when driving around. The Lariat comes with a chrome front and back bumper, halogen headlights and fog lamps, same colour handles for the doors and tailgate, 18-inch machined-aluminum wheels, as well as a Chrome Two-Bar Style with Four Minor Bars grille that has black surround and background mesh, making the truck look powerful yet also high-class. The inside is incredibly spacious allowing for 3 people to sit very comfortably at the back with ample leg room. The driver’s seat can be adjusted electronically in all planes, allowing for pleasant long drives like the ones I did this week. Other details worth mentioning are the cargo box hooks that allow you to easily tie down things such as motorcycles, sleds, etc. in the truck bed as well as two front tow hooks. The model that I was driving also had the super luxurious Twin panel Moonroof (SuperCrew), which allowed for so much additional light in the truck and perfect for viewing the night sky and the beautiful outdoor BC scenery.


The F-150 is equipped with all the state of the art safety accessories one would want. From the Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) to Curve Control – which helps slow down the vehicle when going too fast on a curve, to the 360 camera with split-view display that allows you the driver to get added support on the road. This truck also has rear view camera Dynamic hitch assist, so that if you’re wanting to carry a trailer (or even a tiny house!) you can easily direct your hitch ball to the trailer. ABS breaks as well as driver and front passenger airbags plus side curtain airbags are also included in the vehicle’s basic package.


The F-150 is great for driving in all sorts of conditions. There was a huge snowstorm this past week in BC yet I was able to drive the truck around with peace of mind. I was so happy that I was able to switch to 4WD during my snowy and icy travels. The truck comes with an electronic 10-speed Transmission with Tow/Haul, Snow/Wet, EcoSelect and Sport Modes. I love that it has automatic start and stop engine technology, which is a big plus for people like myself who are very conscious of their emissions. The 2.7L EcoBoost engine is according to FORD 30% better on fuel efficiency and emits 15% fewer greenhouse emissions. The estimated fuel consumption is 11.9L/100 KM for city driving and 9L/100 KM for highway driving. In a full week of back and forth driving from North Vancouver to Downtown Vancouver, Squamish and back and then all the way out to Joffre Lakes, Pemberton, Whistler and finally Sasamat Lake, I couldn’t believe that it only took me 1 full tank of gas!


This is probably one of my favourite parts about testing new cars. I love checking out all the new features that come with vehicles these days. From the aforementioned 360 cameras on the truck to the heated seats and steering wheel and the SYNC 3 – which is an 8-inch LCD touchscreen system that allows you to control navigation, audio, climate, etc. With this system you can easily connect your iPhone (which is what I did as soon as I received my new iPhone X this past week), allowing you to use Bluetooth, play Spotify wirelessly (or SiriusXM Satellite Radio which comes with the vehicle!), receive/send text messages, etc. The system also allows you to perform voice commands and you can also use the No-Extra-Charge 911 Assist in case of an accident or roadside emergency. All this technology makes it possible for you to keep both hands on the wheel at all times.


All in all, driving around in this vehicle made me feel safe, comfortable and gave me all the little luxury items that I could ever want in an adventure vehicle. No matter where I went, it was easy to maneuver, park and drive. I think it’s the perfect adventure vehicle especially for someone like myself who always has so much gear and wants to go absolutely everywhere, no matter the terrain. Whether I want to bring my surfboard, bike, snowboard or even if I were to want to carry a motocross bike or my motorcycle in the future, this truck would be able to handle it all. Looking forward to more road trips with the F-150 Lariat in the future!

For more information on the F-150, go here.

Video shot entirely with GoPro Hero 6 + Karma Grip, thanks to Sport Chek and GoPro.
Big thanks to Tourism Vancouver, TAG Whistler and also MEC for their support!

Tech Talk: Huawei Nova Plus


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.

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.

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.

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.

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!


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



I recently purchased a brand new laptop for all of the editing and freelance work I’ve been doing as of late and with a new laptop comes the need to get a new cover to protect it. I immediately thought of CaseApp, a super user friendly website that allows you to create your very own custom computer skins and phone cases.

They have skins available for iPads, MacBooks, iPhones, Samsungs, etc. and also hard cases for a variety of smartphones. You can either choose from a pre-made selection of prints, marble, tiling, etc. that you can modify or build yours from scratch very easily.

I decided to both make a personalized iPhone case and laptop skin, using some of my recent travel photography. I love personalization because not only is it unique, it’s also a great conversation starter and can even be a form of inspiration. For my laptop case, I chose a photo of one of my favorite surf spots in Southern California and for my iPhone case I picked a sunset photo of Kauai that I took on my trip last month. Both are great reminders of the things and places that make me happy and that evoke tranquility.


If you also want to make your own custom CaseApp skin or case, make sure you use the code MELSAYS20 at check-out to obtain 20% off your purchase!

Polar M600


I love trying out new technology that make my workouts more informative and exciting.

I recently had the opportunity to try out the new Polar M600. This GPS Sports Watch is an Android Wear™ smartwatch that is perfect for those leading an active life. Its cool sleek design makes it the perfect watch for your workouts and also every day life. The watch is waterproof and combines both practicality and power.

Though I do not have an android phone, the Android Wear app is easy to download directly from the Apple store thus making the watch set up super simple. Through Google, it allows me to sync my phone up with my watch, so that I can get notifications directly to my watch.

I also downloaded the Polar Flow app, which allowed me to track my activities from my watch on my phone. The app enables me to track my workouts, set daily goals, etc.


I tested out the Polar M600 on a few test workouts to see how it would fare compared to other watches I have tried in the past. The first feature that I immediately loved was the wrist-based heart rate monitor. In just a few seconds, the watch calculates your heart rate using your radial pulse and keeps feeding you that info throughout your workout. This is great information to have when training or running, as you can get accurate information about your level of exertion throughout.

The integrated GPS is also a huge plus. It allows you to accurately track your speed, distance and route, making it a big plus when running in new terrain and also to keep score of your speed improvements, etc.

Another watch feature that I particularly like is the activity tracker that computes steps, calories and sleep information. The watch’s activity guide gives you practical guidance and info that can help you reach your daily, weekly and monthly goals.


I also loved the motivating feedback you get right after a training session with the Training Benefit feature. It is always uplifting to get real feedback immediately after finishing a workout that will tell you what you’ve improved on, the real benefits from the workout, etc.

The watch also offers Running Programs, which is perfect for anyone wanting to train for an upcoming race. The running programs offered range from 9-15 weeks with easy-to-follow instructions, supportive exercises, etc.

I couldn’t talk about this watch without mentioning battery life. The one inconvenient that usually comes with these watches is how long the battery lasts. Surprisingly, even while connected to the Android app, the battery can last for up to 2 days without needing a charge.


Finally, the watch is perfect not only for working out but also as a fashion accessory for every day life.

For more information on the new Polar M600 smartwatch, go here.

Photos by: Offner & Cabello by Carolina

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



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I recently had the opportunity to try out a great new app called TURO. For those who are not familiar with TURO already, it’s a great car rental app that can be used when traveling. Think of Airbnb but for cars.

This easy to use app allows you to rent a unique and locally owned car (here!) in the destination of your choice (you can also list your own car in your city if you want!). TURO allows you to rent any car of your dreams, from that fast sports car to a pick up truck where you can throw your surfboard in or even a super small compact car that will be great for fuel economy. You have so many more options to choose from than any conventional car rental dealer. I had always dreamed of trying out a SCION so I went ahead and booked a classic SCION car for my recent trip to Southern California.

Once you have found the car of your dreams, the owner of the car will either confirm or decline your trip within 8 hours. Certain cars can also be booked instantly when the listings have the “Book Instantly” badge.

I received my confirmation almost immediately and was able to chat with the owner about arranging a pick up location. A lot of owners also offer delivery so you can have it brought to you directly. For this particular trip, I needed the car at the airport so the owner dropped off the car right by the arrivals terminal at the San Diego Interional Airport. The owner even offered a LYFT and UBER code so that I was able to get to the car with my suitcases for free.

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Once at the car, depending on the owner, you will either meet them to get the keys and show them your license, or in this case, I had sent my license in advance and was able to key in a code on a lockbox on the car to obtain the car keys. After a quick walk around the car and a few photos (it’s always a good idea to take photos of the car to protect yourself!), I was able to take off with it.

Another advantage with renting a car with TURO is that you can choose your protection package for physical damage and liability protection. Additionally, they provide a 24-hour emergency line that is available to all TURO customers and each car they provide must meet their rigorous eligibility standards for safety, condition and operations.


All the registration and car info is in the car when you rent it so it is easily accessible. Returning the car at the end of the trip is also very easy. All I had to do was replace the gas I used and drop off the car at the same location I had picked it up. Some owners will also meet up with you so that you can hand off the keys directly to them. All of that is simply arranged via the app messaging system.

The SCION I rented was the perfect car for my trip to Palm Springs and also in the San Diego area. The car was big enough for me to put my surfboard in as well as carry our suitcases around. The car allowed me to discover new areas around Palm Springs such as the Salton Sea and Salvation Mountain. The SCION was in great condition and perfect for my travel needs.


The app was fabulously simple to use, my account was easy to access throughout my trip. All the rental information was also added to my Apple Wallet so that I could access it even without an internet connection. With its convenience, the options that are available to you and for the price, I would highly recommend downloading the TURO app and renting a local car for your next trip.

Chevy Cruze Diesel Adventure Recap

Last week I had the privilege of test driving a brand new Chevy Cruze Diesel from Chevrolet. I was extremely excited to be partaking in my first ever test drive and to be able to take this beautiful car home for the week!

Since I first got my drivers license 12 years ago, I’ve had the chance to rent a handful of cars for work and vacation. In addition, I also owned a car for over three years. It goes without saying that I’ve driven my share of vehicles over the years and none of them had been a Chevrolet.

It was therefore with much enthusiasm that I picked up my Chevy Cruze last Monday. My goal for the week: take the Chevy Cruze on as many adventures as possible to really see what the car was made of!

First off, I was thrilled to see I was getting a beautiful red car (red is my favorite!) for what would be one of the coldest week’s I’ve ever spent in Toronto since I moved here four years ago. Immediately when I sat down in the car, I was excited to see all of the car’s gadgets. The first thing that really caught my attention was the MyLink radio that came with a voice activated system, which could also work with Bluetooth or with the touch screen display. I was happy to see a USB port, auxiliary audio inputs (we’re in 2014 and some cars still don’t have them!!) as well as SiriusXM Satellite Radio. Since I always forget to bring my audio cable with me, I was happy to have some extra radio stations to choose from with the Satellite Radio feature.

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Other things that immediately made me happy were the comfortable heated seats, that could easily be adjusted, Cruise Control, the Rear Cross Traffic Alert (which made it so easy to park all week!!) as well the spaciousness of the car. For a compact vehicle, I was pleasantly surprised by how big the trunk was and how much legroom was available for those sitting in the back seats.



So I took the Chevy Cruze on its first adventure, which consisted in first going to work and then spending the night running errands at Target and Ikea in Mississauga, two stores I rarely get to since I currently don’t own a car.

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photo 5 (10)The thing that I most liked after my first day of driving was the Side Blind Zone Alert, a super neat feature on my side mirrors that alerted me any time there was a vehicle in my blind spot. I know that even if I’m a super prudent driver, there’s been several close calls where I’ve almost gotten into an accident because I didn’t see a car when I was changing lanes. I think having this safety feature on your car will greatly reduce your risk of having that kind of accident.

IMG_4081Tuesday the adventure began with a drive to work (driving to work reduced my commute time by 45mins!) and after work I took the Cruze to my favorite place to shop for healthy food in the city – Whole Foods Market. Driving around with the Cruze reminded me of just how lucky people are to not have to carry big grocery bags around with them on the streetcar or outside. Shopping with a car is so hassle-free. I then followed that up with a nice dinner at the current Toronto hotspot – Playa Cabana Hacienda. I had heard a lot about it but had yet to visit because it is pretty far north in the city. They have an amazing churros poutine dessert, it’s to die for! I capped off the night with a little visit at my friends’ album release party.

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photo 2 (41)On Wednesday I took the car again to meet one of my girlfriends at my favorite vegan restaurant in the city – Hogtown Vegan. Look at that Southern Combo below, it was SO Yummy! The day was really cold so I made full use of the heated seats and features like the defogger. I think it’s so important when driving in the winter time to have a good defogging system in your car as well as good wipers because of all the dirt and slush that gets thrown onto your windshield while driving.

photo (63)I was really excited about my Thursday adventure because it was an activity I’d been meaning to do for quite some time but had never been able to get there. I decided to take Offner, my partner in crime, to Skyzone, the indoor trampoline park located in Mississauga. It was great to take the car on the highway again to see just how great the traction, acceleration and suspension was. The car proved to be solid on all fronts! We had such a blast at Skyzone- not only did we get to jump around on all sorts of trampolines but we also got to do flips, play basketball and dodgeball. I totally recommend checking it out!

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Friday after work, Offner and I headed to Polson Pier to watch the sun set. Polson Pier is my favorite view of Toronto! It was a cold but beautiful day so we also took that opportunity to take a few lovely pics of the car.


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IMG_4016I couldn’t believe that after 5 consecutive days of driving to and from work and around Toronto and Mississauga, I was still left with more than half a tank of gas!

All week I had done a bunch of city driving so I was excited to take the car to the country side and on the highway for a longer period of time. So Saturday, Offner and I headed up North to spend the day antiquing. What made the trip even better was that it was snowing during the entire day, which made it the perfect occasion to see how well the car handled the snow. On the 4+ hrs of driving we did, never did we feel unsafe. The car reacted well when I needed to break rapidly, steering was easy and the car was also heavy and sturdy enough to not slip very much while driving over snow. We were both very impressed! The Cruise Control was super easy to use and always a relief to have when driving several hours. Though we didn’t find what we were looking for, we did bring back some cute little vintage teacups!









IMG_4177Sunday we took the car on a last spin around the city. We made full use of the radio system, listening to new tunes loudly in the car. As a music fan, I can say that the makers of this car definitely did a good job with the sound system. Every type of music we listened to sounded great.

Before returning the car on Monday morning, I filled up the tank with diesel. I had never driven a diesel car (except a tour van!) before but my dad has always owned and vouched for diesel cars. A lot of cars in Europe still run on diesel but it seems a lot rarer here in North America. I was astonished at how great the Chevy Cruze was on gas. An average of 4.2L per 100km (67 mpg) on the highway & 7.5 L per 100km in the city? Amazing! What I also learned about the car after doing a bit of reading is that the 2014 Chevy Cruze Diesel or as they call the Chevy Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel has the best highway fuel efficiency of any gasoline or diesel powered car in Canada. In addition, the car also meets the very strict new clean diesel standards plus the noise and vibrations that were once associated with older diesel cars are no longer there.

All in all, my 3 favorite things about the Chevy Cruze Diesel were:

-Side Blind Zone Alert

-Gas mileage

– MyLink system

All in all, I truly had a wonderful week with my Chevy Cruze! I was sad to say goodbye to the car but the Chevrolet staff were super kind and even offered me a lift to work after dropping off the car at the dealership.

If you’re on the lookout for a new car, I highly recommend checking out the 2014 Chevy Cruze Diesel. The car is safe, has every feature one could possibly want/need, is cool and will give you more bang for your buck!

*Photos by @Offner