My G Adventures experience

The view from Victoria Falls

As many of you might have read by now, I went on my recent (and incredible) Africa adventure with a Canadian tour company called G Adventures. While I have shared a lot about the trip overall, I haven’t really talked about the experience with G Adventures and why I decided to travel with them in the first place.

I have actually done group tours in the past. I travelled to Europe with Contiki, Greece with the Yacht Week, and even some more local Canadian Tours. However, for a place that is so special and close to my heart I wanted to make sure I went with a group that would make sure I a special experience.

How I discovered G Adventures 

Like many of you, I have heard the stats, South Africa isn’t necessarily the safest place in the world to travel. Between the crime rates and the fact that I didn’t want to have to drive through the Kruger and run in to lions on my own, were the main factors I wanted to do a group tour in the first place.

After hours and hours of researching “South African Safari Group Tours” (trust me there are endless options) I landed on G Adventures. I had heard of them before, particularly because they were Canadian. But I didn’t actually know too much about their trips.

Endless options 

The first thing that struck me was the variety that they offered. We knew we wanted to travel to South Africa, we didn’t know we would have so many options. We could chose either just a tour of the Kruger, Kruger and Cape Town, Kruger and Zimbabwe, or all three options. We had discussed going to see Victoria Falls so being able to book our dream trip with one tour company was a huge plus for us.

Discovering local communities

The second thing that stood out for me was the opportunity to explore the local culture. So many of the trips I have done with tour groups in the past have either revolved round amazing parties or visiting tourist attractions. Both are amazing don’t get me wrong, but the thing I love most about travel is getting to learn about the different cultures and having a more local experience.

On the tour we chose, there was an opportunity to have dinner with a homestead in Zimbabwe. Flatter welcomed us in to her home, fed us local homemade cuisine from her garden, and told us stories about life in their small town. It was amazing to hear authentic stories from a local and be able to share a traditional meal. 

The belief in responsible tourism

The third part that I loved about traveling with G Adventures is their commitment to responsible tourism. G Adventures believes that we can save the planet through travel. 

Recently they launched the new Ripple Score. The Ripple Score calculates how much money is spent in each designation of the tour and then calculates what percentage goes back to local businesses or services. The more the money stays local, the better the ripple effect. G Adventures actually averages a 92% meaning that the majority of the money spent stays in local communities and helps them strive. 

They also focus on other areas of responsible tourism by donating to wildlife and child care programs as well as their Planettera Foundation. 

When we were on our tour we had someone from the Wild Cat Foundation coming in and give us a talk about the diminishing number of cheetahs in the wild. We had a chance to learn all about these beautiful animals and find out how they are working with G Adventures to make sure we can continue to see cheetahs in their natural habitat. It was truly inspiring. 

Traveling with a local guide makes a difference

The fourth and final reason I loved traveling with G Adventures was the local aspect. On tours I have done in the past, the guides are extremely knowledgable, but none have actually been from the country I was visiting. When we were in South Africa, our guide was local from the area. When we took the flight to Zimbabwe, we met another guide who was from the town of Victoria Falls. 

I loved traveling with local guides because they really knew the area, made me feel safe, and could answer most of the questions I had. They were also able to share stories of growing up in the country and teach us what life is like in that town. It really made the experience unforgettable. 

Traveling with G Adventures was a truly memorable and amazing experience. I was able to create once in a life time memories, make new friends, and learn about the culture and lifestyle of the places I was visiting from the locals. I cannot wait to book my next adventure with the team. 

In the meantime happy exploring my friends, 


Why you need to visit Phoenix’s growing craft brewery scene

With the warmer weather finally here, I am sure that patio beers are on your mind. When I visited Phoenix, Arizona I was surprised to find out that their craft brewery scene was as hot as the weather.  In fact, at the 2017 Great American Beer Festival in Denver (basically the oscars of beer) four Phoenix breweries took home awards.

In the last year or so, the city has seen a run of craft beer bars, new breweries, and new local brews popping up all over the area. The total craft breweries in Phoenix surpasses 50, and so I just had to check some of them out for myself.

I joined forces with Arizona Brewery Tours. I really loved working with AZ brewery tours because they offer private brewery tours that fit your particular taste buds and beer preferences.

Stop #1: Helton Brewing Company

Our first stop of the night lead us to Helton Brewing Company, a cozy newly renovated brewery located in an old tire warehouse. The spot includes a beautiful outdoor beer garden, games, live music, and of course an endless drink menu. I loved that the fact the owner of the brewery created most of the furniture inside by hand and really cares about the product he produces. My personal favourite drink was the IPA, a perfect balance between citrus, floral, and fruit. Enjoy it with their delicious shrimp watermelon salad.

Stop #2: Mother Brunch

Next up was Mother Brunch. A fun family run brewery with a chalk list filled with their hand crafted beers. Julie and her husband William are serious beer nerds, and that shows clearly in their delicious drinks. What I really loved about this spot was the combination of delicious drinks and comfort food. The contemporary pub food has a unique twist. You must try the jalapeño infused mac and cheese. You will be licking your plate clean.

Stop #3: North Mountain Brewery

The last stop on the trip was North Mountain Brewery. This place is like a real life Cheers, the set where everyone knows your name. NMB celebrates the history and art of the Arizona desert culture. The decoration of this cozy microbrewery celebrates the history of brewing, and how the creation of beer has brought societies together. The goal here was to create a community feel, and they hit the nail on the head.

I was blown away by the quality of the breweries in Phoenix. Each one had its own personality and speciality that made each one unique. I wish I had more time to explore and discover the amazing breweries spread throughout the town.

Why Phoenix is the best spot for your next girls trip

I had always known the beauty of Arizona. From the stunning landscapes, the depths of the grand canyon, the colours of Horseshoe Bend, but I had always thought of Phoenix as a place where my parents would go for spa days and tee-off times. I was wrong. On a recent trip with some friends to Phoenix, I realized there is so much more to this city. Mixed in-between the desert sands and mountain range, is a bustling nightlife, craft breweries, and adventure that this is the perfect spot for your next girls weekend.

Sure, usually my ladies weekends are a trip away to Vegas or New Orleans. Yet in 48 hours with two close friends, we discovered all that Phoenix has to offer with the help of Visit Phoenix.

The stay

There are so many adorable boutique hotels in the heart of Phoenix, but during this trip we decided to stay a little outside of the hustle. We decided to check into Civana, located in the adorable town of Carefree and trust me the name says it all. This brand new wellness resort is a place of total R&R.

From the moment you walk inside the doors, you know this is a special place. Friendly staff, beautiful mountain views, and a stunning salt water pool surrounded by natural vegetation. It was truly beautiful.

The resort  believes in healing through movement. Civana offers complimentary daily programs including yoga, juice making classes, and local hiking, which I sure took full advantage of. It really has unique activities to fit whatever journey you are hoping for.

There are also plenty of other amenities on site that ensure a relaxing and rejuvenating stay. From their world class spa, to farm to table fine class dining this is spot is the perfect combination of luxury and wellness.

You can find out more about this beautiful resort on their website;


What to do

trying to fit everything Phoenix has to offer into 48 hours was a whirlwind, but we honestly got to see and discover so many unique activities. Here are so of my top things to do with your girlfriends in Phoenix.

1) Enjoy some local brews

What I didn’t know about Phoenix is that it has over 50 craft breweries. We joined forced with Arizona Brewery Tours to discover some of the best spots in town to grab a cold one. What I loved about AZ Brew Tours, is they can organize private tours that fit your beer preferences, and they also provide a party bus from stop to stop.

The three stops we visited during the trip included the rustic “Beer Garage” at Helton Brewery, the open kitchen at Mother Brunch, and the funky North Mountain Brewery. I will have more on the specific breweries in an upcoming blog, but in the meantime you can find out more about Arizona Brewery Tours here;

2) Take a cactus selfie at the Gardens

Sure, Phoenix is filled with wonderful hiking trails, but where can you find and learn about all of the plants in one spot? the Desert Botanical Garden. They really create a world class experience through their exhibits, giving each guest the chance to discover and learn about the desert life. Have a chance to meet one of the gardeners and ask questions about the flowers and vegetation, get up close and personal with some flutter friends at the butterfly sanctuary, and take in the local art. This place is definitely a must see.

3) Tea time with a twist

Visit the Camby hotel for a modern twist on Tea Time, in what we like to call a Tipsy Tea Party. Sip on classic teas like English Breakfast or Earl Grey infused with spirt and sparkling wine. The teas were delicious and refreshing. The drinks are also served with some favourite tea time snacks and a surprise sweet treats to finish off the night. It is the perfect afternoon treat for you and your girlfriends.

4) Take to the Skies

Ever wanted to know what it feels like to fly? What Phoenix looks like from a birds point of view? For as long as I can remember a hot air balloon ride had been on top of my bucket list, and I had heard Phoenix was the perfect place to make that dream come true. We woke up bright and early and joined Hot Air Expeditions for an high flying adventure. The views of the desert, mountains, and lakes was spectacular. We landed our balloon in the middle of the desert and had breakfast, complete with mimosas to cap off an incredible day.

5) Relax and unwind at the spa

Alright, there are plenty of adventures in Phoenix, but it is important to find some time to relax and unwind also. Phoenix has some of the best spas in the world, why not take full advantage. We stayed local and got a spa service at Civana. I enjoyed an amazing double exfoliating facial. It was the perfect way to finish the trip.

I learned something new about Phoenix on this trip. That beyond the beautiful exterior landscapes, there is a whole city filled with life waiting to be explored. For outdoor lovers to cocktail connoisseurs, there is something for everyone I will definitely be planning plenty of girls trips here in the future.

Happy traveling my friends,



Here are a few more snaps from Phoenix

48 Hours in Phoenix, Arizona: Vlog part 1

“great things never come from comfort zones”

April has been one of the busiest months of my life with work. Three home games for the Saskatchewan Rush, meant plenty of travel back and forth to Saskatoon. During our one bye week, all I wanted to do was sleep in my own bed until noon each day, but what would be the fun in that.

Instead an opportunity came up to hit the road yet again, but this time to Phoenix,  Arizona. What I knew about Phoenix was that it is desert terrain, it is hot, and it has great golf courses.

What I didn’t know about Phoenix was it has such a unique nightlife. It has an incredible craft brewery scene, a beautiful botanical garden, and is one of the best places in the world to fly a hot air balloon.

Guess what? On this trip I discovered it all. I will be sharing this trip with you through blogs and videos. My first vlog from the trip discovers the wellness resort, Civana Carefree that I had a chance to stay at, the beautiful hikes in the area, and a local brewery tour with Arizona Brewery Tours . 

Also don’t forget to subscribe to my youtube page so you don’t miss any of my future vlogs and travel tips!



New York Hotel Guide

“One belongs to New York instantly, one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years.” –  Tom Wolfe


New York, New York ah the city that never sleeps. I love visiting the Big Apple because there is truly so much to see and do that you can’t possible conquer it all in one trip. From incredible Broadway shows, to world class shopping, to amazing speak easy bars, and fine dining to drool over, this city truly has it all.

But as I get a bit older, I realized even in the City that doesn’t sleep, I still enjoy to get my beauty sleep. Another aspect that I love about New York is the unique buildings and hotels. It can be overwhelming because each part of town offers dozens of hotels ranging from 5 star to boutiques to hostels that it can be intimidating to try and navigate. During my several trips to NYC, I have had the chance to stay at some incredible hotels and I wanted to share with you some of my favourites to hopefully make organizing your stay a little less intimidating.

Library hotel 

This boutique hotel is in the perfect location, right in the center of Midtown Manhattan. It is just steps away from the New York Public Library, 5thAvenue Shopping, and Time Square. Aside from the unbeatable location, I truly loved this hotel because it really sticks to its unique theme, making it really stand out from other spots.

The moment you walk through the doors at the Library hotel, you are greeted by bookshelves filled with over 6,000 books of every possible genre. There are even quite areas with comfortable seating so you can take the books right off the shelves and read. The hotel goes a step further and organizes their rooms and floors based on the Dewey Decimal System. The 10 floors of this hotel honour 10 different categories. Fittingly, I was on the Communications floor.

Another great part about this hotel is the amazing amenities. The Library hotel offers complimentary continental breakfast buffet and when you need a midday pickup, the hotel also offers a complimentary afternoon happy hour complete with wine or prosecco and snacks. Another amenity that I loved about this hotel is you don’t have to get off track, you can take complimentary classes at any New York Sports Clubs in Manhattan.

My personal favourite part of this hotel though, was their beautiful rooftop patio. Each drink on the menu is named after a book or author and all of them are delicious!

Hotel Giraffe 

Another one of my favourite boutique hotels in New York is Hotel Giraffe. This hotel is located in the classy NoMad neighborhood, right in the middle of Manhattan and downtown. It is surrounded by amazing shops and restaurants. The hotel also stays true to its giraffe theme, with statues and pictures throughout the hotel. The architecture itself reminds you a bit of a giraffe, elegant and gentle. The design was inspired by the Art Modern period, which is a common trend in the NoMad neighbourhood.

Aside from the beautiful design and convenient location of the hotel, it also has unbeatable amenities. Again it  offers a free continental breakfast, a three hour wine and cheese hour complete with a live piano player, workout classes at the New York Sports Clubs, and refreshments and snacks available 24/7.

This hotel boasts outside patio complete with stunning views of the city, and a relaxed area to unwind after a day of shopping. Downstairs they have the delicious Bread and Tulip restaurants, which offers 20% discount to hotel guests. A V.I.P. treatment if you ask me.

The Pod 51 and 39 

On one of my first trips to New York I stayed at the Pod 39, and absolutely loved this quirky and surprisingly affordable spot. The Pod 39 is located in the heart of Manhattan, and their motto is to create a comfortable and functional yet compact spot and not charge an arm and a leg. In fact, when I stayed here I slept in a bunk-bed and loved it.

It was actually hard to leave the hotel because it has so much to offer. Challenge a friend to a ping pong showdown in their playroom. Devour some delicious Mexican cuisine at their lobby restaurant, Salvation Taco. Grab a drink at their stylish rooftop bar that has become a staple in New York.

Class and comfort at an affordable price, this place is almost too good to be true.

The Ace Hotel 

History meets modern design at the Ace hotel. The hotel is a historic midtown Manhattan building, and on the outside that is what you get, but as you walk through the doors you get the hustle and bustle of modern New York. The lobby of the hotel is lined with local art and décor. The hotel is centrally located and easy to get to museums, shops, and of course the theaters all by foot.

There is also plenty to do right in the hotel. One of my favourite coffee shops, Stumptown Coffee is right in the lobby, while The Breslin Bar offers live music most nights.

What I loved most about this hotel was their rooms. Compact but oh so comfortable. The beds were some of the most comfortable I have ever slept in. There was also an old school bath tub right in the middle of my bed room. Told you compact meets comfort.


The Soho Grand Hotel 

Ready to spend a pretty penny on a luxurious stay? Well then you have to check out the Soho Grand Hotel. The first truly luxury downtown boutique hotel located right in the heart of SoHo. The hotel is just steps away from world renowned art galleries and shops. It truly offers the perfect New York location.

Inside prepare to be amazed. When you walk in the doors you are greeted by the hotel’s stylish lobby. There is plenty of art hanging from the walls and romantic furniture lining the room. As for your rooms, no detail is spared.  Expect art and decoration to be in rich chocolate palettes complemented by vintage décor. This hotel is a masterpiece in itself. Get this, you can even request a pet goldfish if you want a friend for the week.

What I really loved is the hotel also offers complimentary bikes to their guests so that you can get around town in style.

No matter where you stay in New York, you are going to have an amazing time. This city is so full of life, that you probably won’t spend much time in your hotel, but trust me, if you stay at one of these spots the time you do spend will be enjoyable.

Happy Traveling my friends,