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Maldives on a Budget

Picnic Island Rashdoo Maldives

How to Plan for the Destination of your Dreams.

Make this THE YEAR to head to paradise.

It’s time.

Vision boards, bucket lists, wistful sighs that comes along with every instagram post we see.

There is always that one SPECIAL place in your heart you have always wanted to see. Big travel dreams dance in our head. Oh the places we would go, the sites we would see.

And they get stuck there. They become the “someday” in our sentence. Often times staying on those vision boards without ever actually becoming a reality.

Maldives Picnic island
Our view across from island we stayed on – Rasdhoo

We’re here to show you how to make it a reality

You might need to make some big decisions around determining the “when” this will happen. It might have to become a priority in your life when it comes to budgeting, planning and saving for this adventure of a lifetime.

But we can honestly say, if you are able to find the money to go to an all-inclusive resort down south, you are able to travel to the Maldives as a family.

Our goal on our world trip was to hit every destination we had on our bucket list (& we actually did it). But we were also highly strategic in THE WAY we did it.

Below is the very first dream destination that we opted for when planning our Cuppa Round the World Tour (#CuppaRTW) & one that we managed on budget with a Family of 4.

Trust us, make this the year to follow your dreams.

Truly a highlight of all the paces we saw in the world, the Maldives is near the top.

The Maldives

When to Go: We went in early April when there was a little more availability, flights were a bit cheaper and there were a lot more possibilities in bookings & negotiations.

Weather: Weather was beautiful, wish you were here. Average temp year round 30C/86F. Average water temperature 28C/82F.

Getting there: Search sale flights to get to either Colombo, Sri Lanka or Dubai, United Arab Emirates. There are a significant amount of flights from both locations that can offer up competitive pricing. I often set up a Fare Compare to watch the patterns on how/when different airlines start discounting their fares. We also ALWAYS look at the whole month on SkyScanner to see if there are better/cheaper options on when to fly. These are two of the most inexpensive (& shortest) routes to the Maldives. (I recently found flights for under $950CDN/$800US to Colombo.)

Hopscotching to the Maldives: We managed to find $200US/flight/person from Colombo to get to the Maldives via Emirates Airlines (which on an aside note is probably our family’s absolute favourite airline).

If you didn’t know already, Spencer’s very favourite airline on the entire planet is Emirates. The entire crew were phenomenal to him both legs of our flight.

Sometimes separating flights can make a HUGE difference vs trying to package it all up. If you have time, stay a day in Colombo or Dubai, both are amazing places in their own rights and great places to overcome jet lag before heading onward to the Maldives.

Emirates Flight Attendants & kid world travelers
Emirates is bar none one of the most luxurious airlines we have travelled on. If there is an option to fly with them within our budget, we will always choose Emirates.

Get me to Fantasy Island

Travelling from the airport in Male to your island destination: When we arrived in Male, we caught a speedboat from Airport/Male to Rasdhoo (the island we were staying on). Each guesthouse/location has transport arrangements, our options were to go either morning around 10am or in the afternoon around 4pm, (you catch the boat from Airport or from Male). Cost $40US/person. We took the public ferry on the way back which takes longer but hard to argue when on the ocean surrounded by Maldivian islands.

How you find your resort transfer when you arrive at Male airport in the Maldives
I’m a huge believer in using local SIM where possible. You can find them here at the Male airport or use the wifi at your location.

Show Me the Money (Aka How Much Do I Need To Save)

How to do it on budget: Consider staying locally. We opted to stay at a lovely guesthouse Acqua Blu Rasdoo on a residential island which in itself was a beautifully unique experience. Women were fully dressed in Birkas and we enjoyed the serene beauty of Islamic call to prayer daily. We felt it important to respect the culture on island so were sure to cover arms & legs when walking through town. There is a specific area called Bikini Beach dedicated for tourists who want to wear regular swimwear. Our cost for the guesthouse was $135CDN/$100US per Day and would pay $20US/day to rent kayaks, heading off to picnic at our very own island which sincerely felt like paradise. (We wore our bathing suits on the island).

Walking the island of Rasdhoo
The guest rooms were lovely at the Acqua Blu guesthouse we stayed at.
Respecting cultural & religious values was paramount for us on the road. No one ever insisted that we be covered but we felt it important. Note; it was less of concern for my daughter as other children on the island were dressed similarly in shorts. I simply used two sarongs as we traversed through town.

What to Do: Snorkelling, kayaking, dolphin tours, whale sharks, mantas, chilling by the beach and Diving. We worked with the guest-house to organize a manta excursions, the kayaks and snorkelling and utilized the Rasdhoo Dive Centre on the island for our dives. Honestly (after having experienced many across the globe) feel that the Maldives were one of the very best dives we have ever had. Coral is still alive and colourful, marine life is off the charts and the visibility range was well over 40m.

It was almost impossible to image waters this crystal clear. It made every part of being in the water glorious.

IMPORTANT NOTES: The Maldives are 100% islamic which means no alcohol anywhere apart from international resorts (& no you can’t bring any on island). We felt fine going without for our time in the Maldives. Consider dividing your time between the expense of an oceanfront bungalow & a less expensive option. Find locations nearby. It is not too difficult to make arrangements for either a plane or boat pick-up/drop-off to another island.

The Distance to Kuramanthi (an international resort option) is literally across the bay.

If you follow our path of the North Ari Atoll, there is a beautiful resort called Kuramathi Island across the bay from Rasdhoo, which is significantly more expensive but can provide that luxe Maldives experience you might be looking for. It is ultimately still the same ocean, still the most incredible diving and still the most beautiful beaches. The main difference is the luxe experience if you crave it and alcohol as an option.

Cost for a week in Maldives: $800US in flights, $810US in accommodations, Boat /airport transfers $180US (Boat to island and Ferry back), Food/Snacks $400US, Diving $300US, Excursions $240US, Kayaks $80US.

TOTAL COST: $2810US (with flights from wherever you are coming from)

See. Totally doable. We hope this helps in getting you moving towards your bliss. Stay tuned for more posts on family adventure travel & amazing places around the world.

Put yourself here. This is the private picnic island we would head to daily. Not too hard to see yourself there is it?

TOP TIPS: Arrive in the morning to take advantage of the boats heading out that day (there is usually a restriction that they stop going after a certain time.) If you arrive late, stay in Male overnight, then catch a boat in the am. If you try to bring alcohol into the Maldives, your bag is flagged. (We had bought gin thinking that would be our drink of choice while there.) While initially I was convinced I was about to go to prison, I submitted the alcohol to a customs clerk (as directed) and they simply gave me a claim check to pick up on my way out of the country.

Just cause. These little guys were everywhere so I thought I would give em a shoutout.

Heading to certain destinations on a shoulder season can mean thousands upon thousands of dollars difference, while doing extra research on where flights connect to and from can mean a steal. Skyscanner, Google Flight Matrix, Kayak, and Fare Compare are all your very best friends.

*** Costs are estimates based on our experience. They of course will be subject to research, timing, negotiations and availability. But trust me, if you think you can get there? GO. Definitely GO. It’s so worth it.

To Learn More About Dream Destinations on a Budget:

Maybe check out our post on the Galapagos on a Dime

To check out our Round The World adventures simply search up #CuppaRTW,Follow us on Instagram Or Subscribe to our YouTube Channel.

We are happy to answer any questions you have so hit us up! (& Get Planning).

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Real Life

The Naked Truth.

Posing naked in your 40’s

Our Relationship with Our Bodies.

Why I posed naked when I was at my very heaviest.

In this season of love, I’ve been thinking a lot about different kinds of relationships we have outside of a mate. One that keeps rolling through my head is the relationship women (in particular) have with their bodies.

Can’t We Just Get Along?

For our ENTIRE life, we seem to be on a quest for better. Our ENTIRE life. Skinnier leads the charge, pre-baby weight, bikini wearing, snapback bullshit, “if I could just get rid of..”, expectations that don’t make sense during any part of our life. If you have struggled with how you look at your body, I want you to know you are not alone. Loving our bodies can be one of the hardest parts for us to honour & to love.

So I took a moment and looked at my personal relationship with my body and each decade that has influenced where I’m at now. To be conscientious, I have to issue a TRIGGER warning as I do jest about eating disorders, sex & sexiness, motherhood, plastic surgery and what ever else I can find that is amusing. I by no means intend to be disrespectful. This is a raw account of my personal journey and I find humour is an antidote to all the seriousness the world deals with on a daily. If you get offended easily, maybe don’t read. If you have specific opinions, you don’t need to voice them here.

You Do You.

And well, I’ll share me. Because I truly believe I am by far not the only one who feels this way, and by talking openly, I believe we can move the conversation from awkward to comfortable.

So here is my story about my body.

Teenage Dream

When I was 15, I joined a Summer Dance Intensive Workshop at my local studio. Was it intimidating? Sure. Was it also going to be amazing? Hell yes. The dancers for the most part were supportive yet competitive. And this community had a very sick club.

To be invited into the club, the first thing I was given was a toothbrush and a ziplock bag. The next thing I was given was an instructional on how to puke quietly into said ziplock in the bathroom, and then how to hide it in my bag so that I could sneak it out and throw it in the trash later in the day. Sounds a bit F’d up doesn’t it? To be fair, the studio was aware to some degree that there was problem. Posters flanked the entrance way, the change rooms, the washrooms. It was easy to say. Messaging displayed everywhere about healthy eating and how eating disorders would not be tolerated. They went so far as to check the washrooms before we flushed (thus the ziplock) to ensure no one was actually vomiting (or so they thought) and insisted on watching everyone eat balanced and nutritious meals at lunch.

15. Told often that my frame was way too large to be a dancer.

It’s easy to say. It’s harder to convince a culture of girls determined to maintain dancer’s bodies to not do whatever it takes to stay thin.

I tried to be bulimic. Seriously, I did. The very best efforts over here. I especially dug the gorging out on all the junk food crap before they would collectively gather to vomit it all out. It felt inclusionary. You know all of us puking together, one big screwed up family.

As my luck would have it (& sincerely I mean this) the universe intervened. If you have ever heard me upchuck, it sounds like I am trying to exorcise a demon out of my body. If you have ever seen the post-vomit results, you will know that all the blood vessels break in my face and I ended up doing a killer impression of Pippi Longstocking.

I know all of this sounds a little nuts (& it is). But what makes me extraordinarily aware (as I raise children of my own) is the fact that I (with wisdom and intelligence by my side) still wanted to TRY to have an eating disorder in order to feel connected to my community. That was then. The peer influence now, feels 100X more intense, 100X more concerning. Let us not forget the power that peer pressure has on a child’s mind. I’m not sure it will ever change, but arming our kids with language, tools to get out of situations, making it OK to come talk to us as parents and keeping a close eye on social media interactions (especially for our younger teens is EVERYTHING.)

Our family body type is very much the same across all generations. The conversation around weight with our kids now is about healthy & strong vs. any kind of number.

Our Epic 20’s

Ahhh our 20’s, when we could drink copious amounts of booze, dance all night, get an hour sleep and be up the next morning ready to roll. It was amazing to bounce back like that wasn’t it? At that age, we feel invincible, capable of burning the candle at all ends. Our bodies listened to us despite the gross negligence we showed it. And did I do a number on my body, or should I say it was all about the numbers then.

As a student, my nutrition consisted of Pepsi and Old Dutch potato chips at Uni, tuna casserole for dinner (like every night because nothing is cheaper than rice, tuna and cream of mushroom soup) and the biggest jar of peanut butter you have ever laid your eyes on. I was also working (& dancing) in a ballroom studio dancing for several hours a day. I was proud of my body. I had abs without having to “work” at it, I loved that you could see my ribs, the Brittney crop tops and low slung jeans were personal favourites and I was slim (in my world).

For me, to wear a Size 6 anything was serious #Goals given I jumped from a children’s 16 to a woman’s 10. A size 6 was beyond my wildest dreams. Yet I got there. Was it healthy? Oh my god no. I got there from a mix of starving student, working too many jobs and dancing daily.

I thought I looked good (& I also thought I was BIG) Ha! Girl..Just wait!

When I look at those photos now, I see a girl whose eyes look sunken and body bony. I think of how I viewed and treated my body back then and it was full of misconceptions. I believed a Size 6 meant success. I was frivolous in how I cared for it & made assumptions that I would stay this size forever. I learned that even when you are young, you need to honour your body because ultimately its sets the foundation for what it about to come.

Silly Putty 30’s

By the time I moved into my 30’s, I was married and pregnant with our first child. Our 30’s are a funny business and when it comes to our bodies, I would consider this our silly putty years. You know silly putty right? When you first open the package, its a sleek, beautiful egg, no dents, no edges. When you start manipulating it, it never goes back to that shape again right? So why do we have such high expectations for our bodies to do that?

I fluctuated from a Size 18-Size 12-Sie 10-Size 16-Size 1X-Size 12-Size 14. Every number you can think of between 10-20 in the span of 10 years. See? Silly Putty, pulled this way and that. Stretched, Out of whack, into true, out again.

I had 2 C-Sections. The second was a massive screw up, leaving me with what I affectionately called my pouce or pouch (like what a Kangaroo would carry their young in). I loved and hated that pouce. I felt the shame attached to all the constant messaging around “you should love your body because your kids came from it” (because I didn’t). It was all I would see. I consulted physiotherapists, personal trainers, sports therapists, you name it and was told that this piece of belly would never go away.

In my 30’s, I also proved to myself that I still had it. I ran 3 half-marathons, climbed up Kilimanjaro, finished my Bronze Medallion (even AS the saggy bottom bathing suit mom), and did a 40lb Couples Weight Loss Challenge with my guy. I learned to live with this silly putty body, (pouce and all).

Bringing Sexy Back 40’s

With 40 came a lot of letting go. I walked into my 40th year with so few F*cks to give that it was simply divine. The pressure I had put on myself in the past to look or lose started to disappear but there were still a few persisting pieces that I wasn’t a fan of. So I decided to change it.

When I was 42, I opted to do a breast reduction and a tummy tuck. The “Mommy Makeover” people say. I say “one of the very best decisions I have made in my life”. My breasts were sitting halfway through the alphabet (I’m not kidding), and that C-Section stitch up was pulling my body out of whack.

PSA: An important note to any of you who have had C-Sections, often when you are stitched back up, it can wreak havoc on your body (Mine pulled greatly on the right and was loose on the left). If you find yourself with back pain or stomach pain, don’t shy away from investigating to see if has something to do with your C-Section scar. Advocating for yourself and your health on all fronts is huge.

My surgeon was amazing. The surgery was amazing. My breasts were smaller, manageable and I was able to work out without being in constant pain. The tummy tuck got rid of the pouce and I was happy. Like honestly, truly happy with my body.

I was so excited to have smaller boobs that I shared the whole experience on a FB live. You would have too had you suddenly felt a magic weight lift off your shoulders after years of pain!

We went on a trip around the world and I had more doses of sunshine that I can possibly ask for. My body was strong from carrying a backpack and hiking every day. My husband vocal about how much he loved the white patches between the wrinkles near my eyes, a sign of smiling A LOT and living life in the present.

When we came back, we got sedentary. We forgot the importance of an active lifestyle and lived super chill (emphasizing the importance of finding peaceful family time over running around doing activities all the time). Parts of me started failing. I had to start wearing a knee brace and going for physio. I stopped liking my body again, not because of how it looked but because it wasn’t co-operating. The ailments a perfect excuse for not taking care of myself & it hit me hard. Anxiety started to take on a significant role again and as we all know, when you start spiralling, its really hard to find the path to get back up.

Naked. And so not Afraid.

And then this odd thing happened.

I was offered an opportunity to do a naked photo shoot. Being open, being vulnerable and being uncomfortable are things I don’t actually have a hard time with. I always find that the stories I tell myself beforehand are FAR worse than the reality of the situation. So I decided to do it. I decided that if I could be happy and comfortable being naked at the heaviest weight I have ever been, then I pretty much can rock anything.

So I did it.

I felt good doing it. I felt strong. Fierce. Female.

Do you know what that did for me?

It proved to me that SO much of the issues we carry around our weight or about our bodies are just stories in our own head. Who really cares right?

I started to honour my body and everything it provides me. If I wanted something to change, then I would have to change it.

One step at a time, One day at a time.

The Now. Never stop treating your body with love.

Here we are now.

More than ever, I am feeling strong, sexy, sassy and confident.

The Sass

I have rediscovered my love of dance. I had always wanted to check out Army of Sass, a heels dancing class that teaches you how to strut, dance, do choreo, and evokes a Wonder Woman meets Beyonce kinda sexiness in you. Doing AOS has brought back an element of feisty and flirty that I haven’t seen in me in years and I love it. (As does my husband).

PSA: I did the Army of Sass performance show late last year. Trust me, the idea of being up on a stage, in front of 500 people in a BODYSUIT caused more than a few sleepless nights. I consistently tried figuring out how to McGyver a spanx that would somehow fit accurately under very little clothing simply because I could hardly deal with the back-fat sitch.

I finally got over myself on the show and proudly pranced around in my santa suit. I was on a high, feeling amazing, feeling all powerful. I had many props from fellow dancers and my friends who came to the show. Then a kind-hearted woman at the show paid me the most amazing compliment. “You looked SO good up there. For a BIGGER GIRL”.

And I cried. Blue for days because of one silly little comment from a STRANGER.

Come-on.. Do you see how ready we were to rock this show?

It will happen. We will falter. We will struggle. But more now than before, I have a longer amount of days in which I can sit and look at myself in loving, positive way.

The Work (Out)

It took a REALLY REALLY long time of creeping their Instagram feed but I trialed and ultimately signed at F45 Etobicoke Central. I knew the only way I would start feeling better was to commit to working out again. Trust me, getting me into the habit of working out is like putting a cat in water, I will do anything to claw my way out if I can. F45 is a 45 minute team training workout that has everyone going through the same paces of a workout with 2 trainers pushing you throughout.

This is good for me for a few reasons. 1) I go full on gym negotiator on my own (I will start with a plan for 3 X 15 reps, then move down to 12 and then say 2 rounds is good enough). 2) There is a community there. Connecting with other workout pals who are consistently showing up helps push me to show up and it makes a helluva motivator. 3) We are eating balanced, nutritious, non-processed foods and it is making ALL the difference in how we feel, how we poop, how much energy we have…ALL THE DIFFERENCE. 4) I can feel so many distinct changes in my body. I feel strong, I feel healthy & I love it.

Shifting. Mind & Body

I am working on mind shifting and goal setting by exploring kinds of fitness that I might love so it doesn’t feel like work. Unique classes like Get Shifted at Misfits Studio and Beginner Hip Hop at City Dance Corps have been amazing trials while I continue to work on my stillness and mental health through reiki studies and a lot of personal work (& it can be really icky personal work to look AT yourself and see your triggers).

The BIGGEST thing I have learned about our relationship with our bodies is that we spend WAYYYY too much time worrying about how we look vs. whether we are ACTUALLY taking care of ourselves. Fitness and healthy living are all part of a lifelong journey (I know gross but really it IS lifelong.) You can’t really quit the gym, it needs to be part of your daily routine. Just like in our 20’s, what we do now GREATLY impacts our future wellness. The layers of our foundation need to be strong and healthy in order to have full and abundant lives for as long as we can.

The bottom line, I am grateful for this body. I appreciate that it allows me to breathe, to play outside, to dance and to be present. And these days, I feel just fine in it. Those are some of the very best gifts a girl could ask for.

As for the past? I say let it go. Do the best you can to leave that in the past and set intentions for what you want to see in the future.

For Now? Well, I would say just OWN IT.

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Real Life

How to #KonMari your Digital Media

KonMari your Digital Media

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up & Not Giving a F*ck

Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up & her Netflix series “Tidying Up” is EVERYTHING when it comes to decluttering these days. In them, she offers a specific process around how to get rid of (& stay rid of) the countless clutter we accumulate in our lives.

Clothes, books, paper, sentimental stuff, kitchen, bathroom, and miscellaneous items are all tackled in the #KonMari method. The approach is about looking at each item you own and determining where or not it brings you joy. If it doesn’t, thank it for the time it had in your life and then let it go.

Doing the #KonMari method makes me ridiculously happy. Not necessarily because of the process but because decluttering helps me clear my mind. The chaos that comes with too much stuff often worms its way in to how I process life on the daily.

But there is one big piece that #KonMari doesn’t cover. The one thing that we can’t escape and probably stresses us out the most. The thing that we are more involved with than pretty much anything else on a day-to-day basis doesn’t even get mentioned in her process.

Above all else, we need to #KonMari our digital media. Phones, computers, emails, social media, texts, the final frontier. They suck us dry. This is a key step to CHANGING HABITS that will CHANGE YOUR LIFE.

1) SOCIAL MEDIA

Social Media: What Feeds Your Feed should Feed Your Soul

Social Media can take a normally cheery person and sink them to a blue abyss by the end of the day.

Take a moment and consider the kind of posts you LIKE to see. The ones that inspire and excite you. Curate the crap out of what really sparks feelings of joy for you & let go of any one who brings you down.

If there is a dear friend you want to keep up with, be sure to specifically follow them through Instagram and Facebook. Is there a person who continually sounds like Eyore or more like sadness from Inside Out? Mute Them. (You are still friends but you don’t always have to see their stuff). Is there an element of envy (however unwarranted) when you see particular people posting their “best life”? Unfollow.

Think of this as the ultimate self care.

**Edited to add from experience: Two big tactics I took this year was to let go of giving a F*ck around notifications/social likes. All notifications got turned off (which meant I opted to go see what was going on vs that visceral response to a ping that “someone said/did something & I had to respond in the moment”. I also shifted social apps to the second scroll on my phone. You would not believe how less active you get when its not right in front of you.

2) PHONE

Do you really need that many apps?

How many apps do you have on your phone currently that you don’t actually use? We did this exercise at work and realized that of each of us had almost 100 apps currently sitting on our phones. Of those 100 apps, we were clearly able to identify 40% of the apps were ones we hardly ever (or possibly never) used. Letting go of all that extra junk, never mind the amount of data/memory it saves, is off the hook.

Important note: When you delete an app off your phone, don’t fret. You will see when you go to the app store that the ones you have downloaded previously or paid for will show open vs download. Easily accessible on the off-chance you need that missing app suddenly.

Consider the amount of time and energy you are putting into social media

HOLY CROKINOLE!

Did you know that on your phone you are able to see exactly how much time you spend on social media, entertainment, even how often you pick up your phone? I have to say I was more than a bit shocked when I started keeping track of the time spent (& sucked) on my phone.

Screen Time is available for iPhone users as an integration in your settings. Another option for Android and iPhones is the BreakFree App. Becoming AWARE of the time helps you start making choices on how to change it. You can set limits to when you are able to access the apps on your phone. For me, I am consciously working to reduce the total amount spent on my phone on the daily.

**Edited to add from experience: I set my phone to go into downtime from 10pm-6:30am. It’s a simple shift (& took awhile to get used to) but I intentionally do not access apps after the shut off as much as possible. It really HAS made a difference but again, its making an active effort to not buy into the hype. YOU CAN DO IT. I promise.

Texts, Voicemails, Notifications- Clean that Sh*t up

Taking the time to go through these at the beginning of the year helps you feel like you are starting fresh. Deleting those old texts also gives you a good excuse to touch base with friends you want to. Send a quick text to stay connected and then say goodbye. Clean slate. PHEW.

**Edited to add from experience: I haven’t been able to do this yet based on work requirements but a friend has simply stated on her voicemail that she doesn’t check her messages and to text her instead. It’s as simple as that. She has established those boundaries and I know that’s how I will connect with her. Easy peasy.

3) COMPUTER

Clean up your Desktop

It’s the very first thing you see when you open your computer every morning. Starting this off tidy and cleared up will help you on a plan to continue this way. If its not a program/document you are currently working with, archive it. Icloud, hard drives are perfect for this one.

Unsubscribe is your best friend

Email Newsletters are fantastic when you are interested in what the business has to say. Yet too many times, I have been added to a list without permission. My favourite game-changer is using Unroll.me. You simply sign up with the email you use for newsletter subscriptions and it allows you to determine what actually comes into your inbox and what gets unsubscribed or rolled up to check when you actually have the time. (Which of course is like NEVER, so just unsubscribe all that EXTRA).

Check in on your bills/subscriptions- They can cost you a mint.

Auto renew subscriptions will be the death of me. I actually took the extra time (which was fine because I am ahead on my taxes now), to look at the charges going through my credit card/PayPal on auto renew. Are you ready for this? I found $1,350 of unnecessary charges/subscriptions/renewals that occurred through the past couple years!!! That’s a TRIP! (& you know how much I love trips).

Do you really use cable any more? Are you reading the magazine you get? Are there programs that you once trialed that now just show up as a sneaky yearly charge? Are there now cheaper or free alternatives? (I know this might sound silly but I got hit with an $850 Dropbox for Business that as soon as it went through I was unable to get refunded. We use AirDrop now so Dropbox is hardly an essential anymore.

**Edited to add from experience: We have been working on a refuse cycle of buying into consumerism. We just don’t need more sh*t. That monthly subscription, is it REALLY something that will make your life easier or better? (Listen I get it, Wine or Sausage of the Month have HUGE benefits to your happy place so keep them if they really bliss you out.) If not, don’t buy in. The packaging, the delivery (& the cost) are just not necessary unless it REALLY & TRULY brings you joy.

Look at your habits and practices, check in to see what you REALLY need and what are items that you just need that extra push to get rid of. Then DO IT.

The Nemeses (cause I have two)

Inbox Zero & Photos

These most definitely a work in progress. I have for a number of years been working towards Inbox Zero. While I can get there intermittently, I still haven’t been able to stay there, even though I tried this Fast Company post for last year.

I will keep trying and TOTALLY open to suggestions if you have any. The unsubscribe took care of a lot of what was cluttering up my inbox but I will continue to pursue this utopia of being completely free of emails on a daily.

Someday!

**Edited to add from experience: This still is my nemesis. I have yet to figure out a solution to stay on top of this sitch. Hit me up if there is ANY process that has really, seriously worked for you.

In terms of photos, I DID find a Duplicate Photo Cleaner which worked initially on sections of photos but overall didn’t recognize the full library I have with 40K+ photos. In the end I purchased Gemini 2, which is a recommended Mac Cleaner software for images. It was $20 but ultimately cleared me of nearly 6GB of duplicate photos. So lesson learned (& now I have an on-going duplicate application I can use to clean my computer each purge). Please let me know if you have other suggestions.

Learn more about our #KonMari experience (Then & Now) with KEY TIPS on how to get through this sucker and TRULY create life-changing habits by following our YouTube Playlist.

If you enjoy our information, be sure to like, comment and subscribe to our channel as more and more conversations around travelling the world and shifting into a simpler life will be unfolding.

To learn more about our story and how we sold everything to travel the world, check out some more posts on MomDadCuppaKids.

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Real Life

Gift Guide for the Adventure Traveler/Camper

numbered gg

1. Expandable Travel Cubes 2. 360 Fly HD Video Camera 3. Floating Hand Grip for Go Pro 4. Portable Weight Scale 5. Travel Drone 6. First Aid Kit
 7. PacSafe Anti-Theft Shoulder Bag 8. Travel Solar Charger 9. Sun Shirt 10. Aqua Dry Bags

It really is the most wonderful time of year isn’t it?

Spending time with those we love is our biggest git, bringing us pure joy in all the moments. But for those still having to get holiday gifts, it can cause enormous amount of stress in the midst of all this bliss. 

So we thought we would save you some trouble and have got you covered below for the traveler or camper in your life.

We learned a TON of what to pack and what not to pack from our trip around the world. We are big believers in the less-is-more philosophy so these products all had to meet a particular level of merit in order to get featured on our gift guide. The majority of these pieces are ones we used on our travels, tried, and tested. Al the items are ones we would personally recommend and the perfect solution for those lovers of travel, adventure & exploration.

We have offered up a variety of price points to suit your gifting needs. If you need any further insights on the items, don’t hesitate to reach out. Happy Holidays!

1. Expandable Travel Cubes

We have become HUGE advocates for carry-on travel and have managed to do all of our travel in 2018 just with the packs we have on the plane. Travel cubes are a HUGE help in taming your packing to the very minimum needed. 2 of everything is our rule so to get that into a small pack (& still have room for a few pairs of shoes), you gotta be strategic. These cubes are even expandable which allows you to add those few extra treats you got in your travels. 

2. 360 Fly HD Video Camera

 This was a blast to play around with. With a 360 degree view, we found we used it alot while snorkelling, doing sports like white water rafting and around animals (we have the best image of a marine iguana walking right up to it in the Galapagos that is one of a kind).            

3. Floating Hand Grip for GoPro

This might seem obvious but it wasn’t for us UNTIL we were out on the road and realized we had to search high and low for a floating hand grip for our go pro. These cameras are expensive! Losing one in the ocean is NOT an option so this became an essential item on our travels.       

4. Portable Weight Scale

We used this ALL the time. You are fine when you are leaving from home but on the road, sometimes you have no idea how much you have bought or how heavy it is. This helped us even out the weight distribution of our packs to avoid those costly airplane charges. 

5. Travel Drone

 The latest trend now in travel photography & video is getting an image from the sky. We have seen some incredible imagery of the areas we were in via drone footage and it really is amazing. *Its important to note that there are certain locations that have now banned drone usage for safety and to keep the experience sacred. Machu Picchu and Angor Wat have both nixed usage but overall the amount of coverage you CAN get is well worth the expense.

6. First Aid Kit

 This might seem silly but its the perfect stocking stuffer for someone who loves to be outside or on the road. This kit is small enough to not take up too must space but allows you to add a sleeve of things like Imodium, gravol, ibuprofen, ginger tablets, tums and more in the small space available. We have learned our lesson awhile back to always have a first aid kit full of band-aids, blister moleskins and more as we travel. 

7. PacSafe Metrosafe LS200 Anti-Theft Shoulder Bag

 I can’t rave enough about this bag. It was a perfect companion to travelling. All the zippers were lockable and the straps consisted of a lightweight steel mesh that prevented anyone from cutting through. In addition there was an RFID blocking pockets to keep credit cards safe. We used this every single day for 9 months and it stood up to everything. This size was a perfect solution to manage our entire families needs on a day of adventuring. The inside pocket was big enough to house a wrap, light sweaters, a DSLR, a Go Pro, Snacks, bottled of water, emergency TP and our wallets. We felt totally secure using this bag and loved how light it was travelling with it. 

8. Travel Solar Charger

This was THE very best item we used both when we climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro and when we travelled around the world. If you are going remotely off the beaten path, this is a godsend. There are a significant amount of places where electricity is a challenge ESPECIALLY if you are travelling in remote areas, on buses, or even camping. We would hook this charger on to the back of our backpacks or even clip to the chair while travelling by bus in South America or Southeast Asia. The amount of times we used this to keep our phones going (aka our life line) was beyond measure. 

9. Sun Shirt

I know. I know. Everyone loves a good golden tan but these days (ESPECIALLY in water) a burn can show up pretty fast when the intensity of the sun is higher. Snorkelling can make you a victim really fast as your back plays mercy to the sun’s rays. 

TOP TRAVEL TIP: If shopping for kids sun shirts, go for a colour (ideally neon or bright), it shows up much easier if you are at the age to be able to supervise from the shore.

10. Aqua Dry Bags

Hands down another must have for the adventure traveller. We would use one of these as our carry-all when going on a snorkelling or diving adventure, and used weekly as our laundry solution (travelling can get stinky and these can cover any sweat, dirt, mud that comes with your adventures in order to keep your pack smelling nice. The smaller one is great for sheltering your DSLR on a rainy day in Thailand and we even stuffed all of our cold items into one to get as small as possible in our pack when travelling to hotter countries. 

Disclosure: Items in the gift guide potentially include affiliate links of which we would be compensated. This will help us continue to build the site, get more creative, edit more videos and share information we think you will find helpful in travel & in life. 

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Healthy LivingReal Life

Can Social Media and Mindfulness Share the Same Space?

reconnecting with your bliss

Deepak Chopra & The Future of Wellbeing.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what the future holds for us.

How we are shifting as a society, how social media is playing a role and how much technology continues to insulate itself in all parts of our lives.

I think of how our kids are processing all of this and what it will be like when they grow up. How we are managing through daily life, the push to be “on” all the time quietly suffocating our memory of what it is like to quiet, or even better to be still.

Deepak chopra future wellbeing toronto

Can you let go of your phone?

When was the last time you left your phone at home? I mean intentionally. For me, I work, live, connect through all waking minutes and days using my phone. It is my lifeline and feels like an appendage missing when I don’t have it on my person. That did I leave the stove on feeling, less the actual possibility of real bad things happening.

I will tell you very honestly that I had some distorted belief in my mind that while we were on our trip around the world, I “needed my phone” in order to capture all the divine moments we were experiencing. I will also tell you that on said trip, I believed that I would figure out the answer to the meaning of life, my purpose and where my life was meant to go.

Spoiler alert: That didn’t happen.

Another spoiler alert: I never needed my phone.

Ever.

Halfway through the trip, my husband began challenging me to leave my phone behind for the day. To be all in, 100% present. The first few excursions I repeatedly (& frantically) kept checking for it. Once I got used to not having it on my person, it felt like freedom.  Tech-free days are ones I am most grateful for now.  The closest epiphany I got to was that all that EVER really matters is being IN the moment, not recording it.

Deepak chopra future wellbeing toronto

Has social media helped or hindered how we connect with each other?

As the event producer of BlissDom Canada, an event anchored in the midst of social influence, content creation and industry standards on social media we are at the core of this conversation. There has always been a thirst for understanding better ways to create content and an engaged community online but I have one deeply-rooted fear.

In all of this design, is social media becoming more and more about MEDIA and far less about SOCIAL? Are the connections we create & crave only on the surface? Are the rewards through likes and comments providing a false sense of importance and addiction to positive review in a world where your heart is ultimately what should be guiding you? Our event is successful not just because of the programming it provides around social media but because its taking online connections and making them far deeper IN REAL LIFE.

What is the Future of Wellbeing?

You can feel it. There is a conscious craving towards mindfulness and connection, yet there are few paths that guide us in finding the balance between hustle and heart.

Recently we had the privilege of being able to sit down with Deepak Chopra and ask him a few questions around wellness, life and staying aligned in the midst of social media, entrepreneurship and parenthood.

It was a day I had dreamed of years ago and one I will remember for my lifetime.

His perspective on the Future of Well-being looks far past simply focusing on health and wellness but rather talks of an entire shift. A holistic approach on our emotional, physical, spiritual,  financial, environmental, and social wellbeing. We are becoming more conscious and see the need to be more mindful and he has the blueprint on where to begin.

You actually have a chance to see Deepak Chopra LIVE this October.

Vancouver on October 10th, 2018 and Toronto on October 13th, 2018.

As the social media sponsors of Deepak’s Canadian Tour, we have been provided a special promo code to pass on to our community. You can use Bliss15 for 15% off a single purchase ticket and on the 4 for the price of 3 package.

If you are coming to Deepak Chopra’s Toronto event, let us know. We would love to create more & more heartfelt connections to this beautiful community of ours.

If you want to try to WIN a ticket to join us at Deepak’s tour date, you have a chance by doing the following:

  1. Follow @MomDadCuppaKids & @BlissDomCanada
  2. Like one of our #BlissfulDeepak posts & answer the question “What do you believe is the Future of Wellbeing?” 
  3. Comment and tag the person you would love to share this experience with

Legal:

Open to Canadian residents until September 21st, 2018 at 11:59pm EST. Prize giveaway consists of (2) Deepak Chopra Event Tickets (Gold or equal to/greater value ticket: Value $260). This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Instagram.

If you want to join us at Canada’s premiere social influencer/creator conference, by all means buy your ticket here and come to Blissdom Canada. It’s pretty much magic.

 

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Real Life

Moody Blues & Seeing Red. Period.

Feeling the blues

Why women need to talk more openly about our ever-shifting hormones.

I am bleeding out like the elevator scene in the Shining.

I just cried my way through Avengers: Infinity War.

I hit a level of blue monthly that I don’t even recognize myself when it comes. Really unkind words come into my head that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.

I am as horny as teenager and have a fervour for sex similar to an animal in heat, while friends have zero interest in even a kiss.

I am a member of the Walking Dead, having not slept a full night sleep in months.

I have actively put myself in a time out to prevent losing it on my family. Sometimes I don’t make it in time.

I ask you people? What the fresh hell is this? What in the world of Aunt Flo is going on here?

Photo Credit: Antonio Arcos

Hormones. I am officially bemoaning the ‘Mones.

I know, probably too much information. You don’t really need to know any of this. But I think if you are a woman in her 40’s, you maybe do. You do, so you know that you are not alone in the myriad of challenges you are facing at the moment.

I am sharing this stuff because I have felt alone.

Surprisingly alone in trying to grasp how to process all of this.

I have spent more time than I want to admit searching the Googles on a laundry list of what happens when your hormones reek havoc on your system.

Emotional toll of perimenopause
Photo credit: Luis Galvez

I manage through this kind of stuff by wanting to talk about it. Yet when I bring up anxiety, depression, peri-menopause or sex, I immediately see people shirking away from having a conversation about it. Why? Why do we carry so much shame when it comes to our bodies, our mental health and how we are functioning in each phase of our life?

We live in a society full of perceived prettiness. Talking honestly about women’s health is something still so hushed up and hidden. Post-partum is JUST finally getting to the point of being discussed, a crucial support to Moms flooded with hormones. We need to let go of judgement & deeply-rooted stigmas. We need to stop focusing around how believe women SHOULD be and start focusing on the reality of how we ARE.

We need to know that This. Is. Normal.

MomDadCuppaKids
Photo credit: Alex Povolyashko

Hormones hit us hard at all stages of life

We gotta figure this out. Nobody benefits from us putting on these shows that everything is ok. It’s not. At least it’s not for me. I am watching my daughter trying to figure out her hormones as she edges into teenage hood. She is having a tremendously difficult time identifying what is making her cry, what is making her mad and why the hell she suddenly feels so sad. I am watching a friend, post-partum, desperately not wanting to go down a path of depression when she worked so hard to have this baby in the first place. I am going through a phase in life that I am aware I am changing, but I don’t quite know how to manage it peacefully & quietly. Rather it seems to be a raging kind of roller coaster for all us. If we identify that hormones are a natural part of WHO we are, and that they can affect HOW we are, we might find ways to treat them (& ourselves) better.

How to handle hormonal imbalance?

When I went to the doctors recently to see what to do about these 2-3 blue days I have been experiencing every cycle, his response was shocking yet disturbingly expected.

I got an eye roll, a “well its OBVIOUSLY hormones” and an offer for an anti-depressant prescription.

For me, personally, that’s not on. I already feel that I have put enough medication into my system in my lifetime, if I can help it, I don’t want to add more. Instead, I am trying hard to figure this out naturally. I have signed up for Jenn Pike’s Hormone Project which covers off the foods we eat that affect hormones (I had no idea that gut & liver health influenced so much of our body & hormone function), our medical histories, exercise, tracking your cycle, movement, meditation and more. Our family are changing eating habits. I am laying off so much wine because I KNOW that is a direct hit to my system and my mental health. I am pushing myself to exercise more. I have started back meditating & working on gratitude every day.

I will keep you posted how these changes are affecting my ability to manage through this. The possible shifts in my well-being and finding a harmony in this process have me super stoked. I am looking forward to finding solutions that don’t bring such deep dives to my system.

I know, it all sounds messy. I sound messy. But honestly, I would rather be open and talk about how this is affecting me than hold any shame around it. And if YOU want to talk, well, do it.

I am always hear to listen.

Finding hope in hormone imbalance
Photo Credit: Raquel Raclette

 

 

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