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5 Questions With Amy Seder Of Away Lands

Bloggers have an uncanny ability to send us on an adventure both near and far. Their stunning snaps encourage wanderlust in all of us and act as a travel guide no matter the destination.

These social muses possess a keen editorial eye and a willingness to try new trends, and for that, we thought we would spotlight another personal favourite. Amy’s love of all things inspiring fills our feeds with relevant travel happenings. With nods to style and dreamy vacations captured in video, this is one blog you absolutely need to bookmark.

Here are 5 questions with Amy Seder of awaylands.com

awaylands.com

1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your blog?

“I have been playing around with blogging, building websites and social networks since the very early 2000s – pretty much the dawn of time in internet terms. I was always first and foremost a photographer – I received my Bachelors in Photography from Brooks Institute and set off to New York to become a fashion photographer; and spent a number of years and wore a dozen different hats within the industry.

When my boyfriend, Brandon, and I started travelling extensively together we started putting together short films, and we both just fell completely in love with the process – and then everything started to come together, and Away Lands was born. We were both into our careers but knew that we had to take a chance to leave it all and see if we could build something we actually really loved – and not just get by. We spent a year and a half making plans, building the blog, learning, and working together to create a life and business that truly reflected both of us.

AwayLands.com as a blog is a mix of all of our interest and is constantly evolving – from fashion photography stories to travel guides, to showcasing films, and an interview series that we are starting up in the coming months.”

awaylands.com

2. What Instagram filter or editing app do you swear by? 

“I shoot raw photos and always process them on my computer in PhotoShop. I’m one of the only people that doesn’t use Lightroom – after working with PhotoShop for so long, I never made the switch! On the fly, I will colour phone snaps in VSCOcam, and to keep my Instagram grid consistent, I always use just a touch of Clarendon filter before posting.” 

3. What are your top 5 cities, and what trips do you have lined up this year? 

“My top 5 favourites cities (so far) would be:

  1. New York City – it was my home for 8 years and I still refuse to admit I don’t actually live here anymore!
  2. Tokyo – the most amazing 48 hours of my life, I’m dying to go back.
  3. Singapore – I was surprised by how much I loved it here, but the gardens are incredible, there is so much to do, and everything in the city is clean, friendly, and efficient. And the hawkers in little India are amazing!
  4. Barcelona – Such a cool mix of old cathedrals on one side, and a huge beach on the other. 
  5. Rome – One of the first foreign cities I ever visited, when I was 15, and I was so blown away by it – I can’t wait to finally go back this summer.

We have spent a lot of time in South and South East Asia this year, but up next we will be travelling across Western Europe for the rest of the summer and I am beyond excited. On the schedule is sailing through the Island of Croatia, visiting friends in a small village in Germany, stops through Amsterdam, and Paris, and then a road trip through Italy retracing Brandon’s family roots.”

4. What city served you the best meal, and what was it?

“This is a tough choice – but it has to be when your guide in Morocco – we trekked from Marrakesh to the Sahara Desert over 4 days – invited us into his home and his wife made us Madfuna – a spicy, meaty “Moroccan pizza” baked in a brick oven. The village, Rissani, is hours into Morocco and one of the most foreign places I have ever visited – but the pizza was absolutely incredible.” 

5. What are the pieces you never leave home without? 

“I always travel with at least 2 pairs of extra headphones and my pillow. I have the perfect pillow that I have learned to roll perfectly into my carry-on purse – and is has been around and around the world with me. And when I’m travelling from my home in LA, I always bring a couple of avocados – no one in the world grows avocados like my mom.”

awaylands.com

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Luxury Hotel Hopping On The Island Of Saint Barthélemy

Saint Barthélemy, or St. Barth’s, is a small French island located in the Northern Caribbean. This island is well known for its glitz and glam and is a big draw for wealthy travellers and celebrities who want to get away and unwind.

Just head to the main port called Gustavia and you’ll be blown away by the luxury yachts and sailboats bobbing in the clear blue Caribbean water. It’s basically like the St. Tropez of the Caribbean.

Girl at Beach Exotic Island

I’ve been to this island many times and each time is an experience not to forget. I’m always blown away by the beauty and luxury that this island has to offer. Every detail is perfect. There are a number of insanely gorgeous hotels here which are mostly small and privately owned which I love because you get such a special and unique experience. No big resort chains. A lot of the time you will meet the owner wandering around the property talking to the guests. It’s very personalized, and when I travel I prefer to stay at places like this.

Blonde Blogger at Beach Chair With Palm Trees and Sand

Photo: @serenohotels

During my recent trip, I had to stop by one of my all-time favourite hotels, Le Sereno. Just walk through the reception and to the view and you will know why. Set on a secluded private beach with water a hundred shades of blue and giant palm trees swaying in the breeze. I could relax by their beachfront infinity pool every day and never get tired of that view – it’s pure heaven. The design is very chic with whitewashed buildings set into the lush jungle flora and fauna. This hotel is family owned, and you can tell how much this family loves their little piece of heaven on earth.

Swimming at the villa in St Barts

Photo:@ villamariehotels

I also stopped by one of the newer hotels on the island, Villa Marie. I had been hearing a lot of buzz around this new property so I wanted to check it out. Villa Marie is also family owned, the family owns a few other hotels in France but decided to spread their roots to the Caribbean. The theme of this hotel is without a doubt bohemian, tropical chic. Rich textures, colours and prints in every direction. Much different than the sleek Le Sereno, but just as lovely. Villa Marie is set high up on a hill with gorgeous views of Flamand’s Beach (one of my favourites). The grounds and pool are very private, surrounded by palm trees, bougainvillaea and the sound of parrots in the background. It’s like your own little private tropical bungalow. And as expected, the service is exceptional and both properties.

Once the reality of where you are has set in, St. Barth’s is a great island to explore and enjoy the natural beauty. The beaches are mostly secluded and so gorgeous. Take a 15-minute hike down to Colombier Beach and be the only person there. Be sure to bring snorkelling gear as you can walk out into the ocean and swim with sea turtles and starfish. Or, hike up to the beautiful natural swimming pools in Grand Fond and go for a dip. Luxury and nature at its best!

Girl in a sundress at the beach

Photo: @ambhasaa

5 Questions With Natalie Alysa X Pop Of Black

Millennial muses possess a keen editorial eye and a willingness to try new trends, and for that, we thought we would spotlight another personal favourite.

Natalie Alysa’s love of all things fashion fills our feeds with chic and stylish inspiration. With nods to fantastic travel and trends, this is one blog you absolutely need to bookmark.

Here are 5 questions (and answers) with Natalie Alysa of Pop of Black.

1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your blog?

“Hey Siren Travellers! My name is Natalie Alysa and I am the founder of fashion and lifestyle blog, Pop of Black, created right downtown in the city of Toronto. It is no mistake that my blog name literally explains the colour scheme of 99.9% of my outfits (hint: black). My platform aims to inspire others to, “define style through finding your edge”. I feel as though my personal style has pushed me to take risks and feel confident in myself to just be me, and ultimately, find my edge. This is what pushed me to create a blog, where I want others to feel inspired to do the same, whatever their edge may be. While putting my heart into my blog, my mind has been consumed in completing my final year of my undergrad degree in business management with a major in marketing. I’m almost done, woo! My hope is to be able to one day make blogging my full-time career! (Fun fact: I have a Mini Wiener dog named Louie who you will see a ton of insta-stories about #lovehim)”

2. What filter or editing app do you swear by?

“I have such a process when it comes to editing my photos! But, good news! They are all apps you can use right from your phone, which makes it so easy. I first use the app, Facetune, where I mainly use the “whitening”, “defocus”, and “patch” effects. I swear this app saves my life! Secondly, I move over to VSCO, where I use one of their filters (which one you may ask…a girl can’t give away all her secrets right!?) and then play around with the brightness, contrast, and shadows on the photo. Lastly, I upload the photo onto an app called, UNUM, which lets you plan out your Instagram feed before posting. Sounds easy enough right?”

3. What are your top five favourite cities, and what trips do you have lined up this year?

“Sadly, I don’t think I can name five as I haven’t been able to travel as much as I would have liked to. But, last year I visited New York City with my boyfriend for the first time and for a girl who loves fashion, it might have been my dream city. I seriously hope to live there one day! In terms of specific trips lined up, I don’t have any dates set yet. Although, I am definitely planning to go to Los Angeles by the end of the year & hopefully get to go back to New York City! I also need to squeeze in somewhere warm this year…the beach is a must!”

4. What city or country served you the best meal, and what was it?

“I will have to give credit to my own city, Toronto, as after living down here for almost 4 years, I have had some awesome opportunities to try some amazing dishes. Not too long ago I tried Pho for the first time at a restaurant called Pho Pasteur, and it might have been the best meal I had ever had. I ordered some spring rolls on the side (which were homemade and so fresh) and it was to die for! Since I went there for that first time, I have yet to find better Pho in the city!”

5. What are a few things you can’t leave the house without?

“Okay, well definitely my phone and camera, because you never know when you are going to get a perfect insta-opportunity! I also can’t leave without my Mac Pro Longwear Lip Pencil in the shade, “Nice n Spicy”, which I use all over my lip like every day. I swear it just makes me feel so fresh! Lastly, I always bring my agenda with me. When new dates pop up that I need to remember, or even business ideas that come to mind, I need to physically write them out right then and there!”

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5 Questions With YouTuber Sylvia Jade

YouTubers and influencers have the uncanny ability to transport us through their deskside videos and curated photography. They quickly make us feel like friends and effortlessly pull us into their exciting yet relatable worlds.

Their adventures near and far always serve as some kind of inspiration for our bucket list hopes and dreams. From personal style shots to food and landmark photos, their feeds fill our pending itineraries with not to be missed hot spots.

These millennial muses possess a keen editorial eye and a willingness to try new trends, and for that, we thought we would spotlight another personal favourite. Sylvia Jade’s love of all things fashion fills our feeds with chic and stylish inspiration. With nods to beauty, travel and food, this is one channel you absolutely need to bookmark.

Here are 5 questions (and answers) with Sylvia Jade of Beautycakez.

1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your blog?

“I’m Sylvia! I like to call myself a digital content creator because I’m not bound to one platform. I create YouTube videos where I currently have 200k subscribers and my Instagram of 46.4k followers. I do fashion, beauty, lifestyle.. and whatever just interests me!”

2. What Instagram filter or editing app do you swear by?

“VSCOcam is my jam! Currently using the H1 filter religiously.”

3. What are your top 5 cities, and what trips do you have lined up this year?

“My top 5 favourite cities currently would have to be…Nassau for that laidback beach lifestyle, New York during the holidays, Paris for the shopping, Las Vegas for food and fun.. and of course, Toronto, my home base! I have Las Vegas booked for February – Backstreet Boys, here I come! I’m also in the midst of planning a trip to Vancouver, and London.”

4. What city or country served you the best meal you ever had, and what was it?

“I have two answers for this! Best meal, if we’re talking about experience, would definitely be Paris. I got to experience the two Michelin Star restaurant, L’Abeille, and it was such an amazing experience that I will never forget. But even the restaurants I’ve visited in Paris have also given me a food experience, unlike North America. I think it has to do with Europeans valuing food differently than Westerners. The best meal in terms of amazing food where I could totally eat there every day… has to be in Miami. They have such authentic foods, but also amazingly healthy options – my fave in South Beach is DIRT.”

5. What’s are the pieces you never leave home without? 

“Obviously, my phone. My camera, an external battery charger, lip balm, and Pepto Bismol (haha). I’m a very practical person.”

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5 Questions With Stephanie Sterjovski

Bloggers and influencers have an uncanny ability to make an unfamiliar place feel like home. They somehow assure us that roaming down the road less travelled will prove to be fruitful in more ways than one.

Their curated adventures are nothing short of spectacular and act as a city guide for our travels. From style flat lays, to foodie snaps and cultural landmarks that are not to be missed, bloggers have them checked off and filtered to perfection. We can’t think of a time we didn’t reference one of our favourite feeds before boarding a flight.

These modern day muses welcome us into their lives, and for that, we’re spotlighting some top talent you absolutely need to start following. One influencer that has been bookmarked since the beginning is Stephanie Sterjovski Jolly. Her love of all things lifestyle fills our hearts with necessary pops of positivity. With nods to decor, hints of Canadiana and a whole lot of love, this is one blog you absolutely need to frequent.

Here are 5 questions (and answers) with Stephanie Sterjovki Jolly.

1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your blog? 

“I am a lover of life. I am grateful for experiences, travels, the beauty of the earth, the details of garments or a great accessory, so much so that I share the things I love as a Husband + Wife Team running my life, style and travel blog together for the world to be apart of. Everything from home decor, beauty, marriage, life, faith, travel and fashion is what I bring to the blog. The blog follows our life and our lives are very much the blog. We love what we do, which I think is the highest blessing on earth.”

2. What Instagram filter or photo editing app do you swear by?

“Depending on the photo and when/where/time the snap was taken, I like to use different apps. VSCO, PicTapGo, Snapseed and good old Instagram editing are some of my go-to apps.”

3. What are your five favourite places you visited, and what trips do you have lined up this year?

“Iceland, Santorini, Banff, Mexico and Paris. All of them are quite different, but I love them all for different reasons and memories made. This year, you will definitely see a lot more Eastern and Western Europe from our travels.”

4. What city or country served you the best meal you ever had, and what was it? 

“We loved our food at Encanto, Acapulco – which is where we honeymooned. Everything from the morning smoothies, to the amazing pico de gallo. Mexico is one of our favourite places on earth, so naturally, we love their food!”

5. What pieces do you always pack in your carry on?

“I always pack a pair of fuzzy, warm socks because I tend to get cold on the plane. Another thing I can never forget is moisturizer and a huge water bottle because I get so dehydrated flying! Lastly, a notebook. You have a lot of time to sit and think on a plane, so I like to put all of my ideas down on paper so I don’t forget (whether it’s a blog post idea or something I want to capture when we land at our destination).”

5 Questions With Stephanie Sterjovski Jolly

Photo: http://www.stephaniesterjovski.com/

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Villa In Anguilla: Paradise Found At CéBlue

Anguilla

I’ve travelled to Anguilla many times and each visit is just as magical as the last. Anguilla is a tiny British-owned island (about 16 miles long) in the northern Caribbean. As tiny as it might be, it packs a punch and has 33 of some of the most beautiful and mostly secluded beaches I’ve ever seen. Powdery white sand and water so turquoise it’s surreal. The tone in Anguilla is very laid back. Unlike some of its neighbouring islands like St. Martin and St. Barth’s, Anguilla doesn’t have a big crazy nightlife scene. With the exception of Anguillan reggae legend Bankie Banx who has a lively concert at the Dune Preserve every Friday night, the name of the game here is very relaxed and low key. Not to mention, the locals are some of the sweetest people I’ve ever met while travelling.

Anguilla

I’ve always stayed at one of the many hotels on the island, which is why I was so happy to stay at CéBlue Villas & Beach Resort this time around and have a different experience. First off, the location of CéBlue is hard to beat. Perched high up on the cliffs surrounding Crocus Bay, you have stunning views of the bright blue Caribbean ocean. Waking up each morning and opening up the doors to my private terrace was an absolute treat, I could never get tired of looking at something so beautiful! CéBlue Villas is the perfect combination of privacy and service and amenities. You have the privacy of your own luxury villa, but the ability to order room service, daily housekeeping service and the use of the restaurant, gym and spa. It really is the best of both worlds.

Days on Anguilla are pure paradise, spent on one of the many beaches and dining in the sand at one of the beach shacks serving delicious and fresh Caribbean-inspired dishes. Lunch at Blanchard’s Beach Shack on Mead’s Bay is a must try! Another favourite activity is going to Little Bay, one bay over from Crocus Bay and perfect if you are staying at CéBlue. Find Calvin in Crocus Bay and he will boat you over. A quick 10-minute ride and voilà, a completely private and secluded beach awaits you. Bring a cooler with food and drinks and snorkelling gear (CéBlue provides) and make an afternoon out of it – an experience you won’t forget.

As an avid traveller, specifically with beach destinations, Anguilla is still on the top of my list in terms of unparalleled beauty, service, accommodations and it’s “non-touristy” feel. It truly is a little piece of heaven on earth and a place I plan to return to many times to come.

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5 Questions With Kira Paran Of Northern Style Exposure

When it comes to blogging, Canadians have the market mastered. So much so that many of these talented faces have the luxury of circling the globe in search of the best bites and views around. This of course means that we’re treated to constant and curated content that finds its way to our screens on a routine basis. While we may not be along for the ride, we can always live vicariously through their Instagram accounts.

If you’re anything like us, you definitely have a selection of go-to sites that help feed your soul with sartorial snaps that could send a stone heart aflutter. Of course, one blogger comes to mind when we think of our beloved blogroll, and that’s Kira Paran of Northern Style Exposure. Her love of all things lifestyle fills our feed with necessary pops of positivity. With nods to personal style, hints of Canadiana and a whole lot of love for her family, this is one blog you absolutely need to bookmark and frequent often.

Check out our quick Q&A with this amazing mother and blogger.

1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your blog? 

“I’ve been blogging for over 6 years. Full time for 3. It started out with a style focus only but slowly over time became about my full lifestyle. My home, babies, beauty, travel and recipes joined my fashion foundation. I’m lucky enough that blogging is my full-time job, so I get to stay at home with my little guys to make my own hours.”

2. What Instagram filter or photo editing apps do you swear by?

“Snapseed is a must for getting a more professional look to your phone photos.”

3. What are the top five places you’ve explored, and what trips do you have lined up this year?

“I love anything warm for the most part. Maui is my number one for the relaxing factor, we go yearly. Las Vegas is my fave for food and shopping. New York a close third for all of the above. Montreal and Victoria round out my picks for my favourite Canadian destinations.”

4. What city or country served you the best meal you’ve ever had, and what was it? 

“Las Vegas, Bacchanal in Caesars Palace. Worth the price and the daily giant lineup.”

5. What’s your advice for travelling with young children?

“Pack a few more snacks, diapers and outfits than you think you need. Because it’s better to have too many compared to the awful alternative, not enough!”