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Life Update: Burnout, Mental Health & Side Hustles


Life Update: Burnout, Blogging & Side Hustles

With World Mental Health Day this past week and I'll be honest, I've been feeling burnt out, a tad stressed and after a conversation with friends, I realized I might need a break. On top of it all, it doesn't help that I am sick with a cold or perhaps the flu which has been out like a light. With a full-time job, a side hustle, balancing both, making plans with friends, finding the time to visit parents in another province and spending quality time with my partner (and dog!) gets pretty overwhelming.

Personally, I struggle to speak up about my mental health and sometimes blame being tired on a bad night of sleep or a long week. Whether that's because of my upbringing, my South Asian roots and the community viewing mental health as a taboo or personal weakness, I can't say but it's something I want to bring up.

Lately, I've been fatigued most of the time to the point where I don't have energy or motivation some days meaning creativity goes out the window. I know it's partly my own fault (maybe? an excuse again? urgh I don't know), I haven't been eating properly, exercising or getting enough hours of sleep. Let's just say self-care has been put on the back burner.

MY 9 TO 5

Could this be due to my day job? Partly. If you weren't aware, along with having a blog and being a freelance content creator, I manage multiple social media accounts and digital platforms for various tourist attractions in South Eastern Ontario. Well, social media never sleeps (it's always on) and when you work with various people in different locations and properties that deal with customers first, let's just say my schedule has been a hot mess even though I'm supposed to work a certain amount of hours a day. Thankfully I'm able to be flexible with my schedule but trying to take even a day off, use a lieu day or a vacation day has proven to be difficult (unless I go to a remote island or off the grid).

When your job requires you to be online, all the time, it can be hard to simply unplug. The job might seem easy with the perception of scrolling on Facebook and posting pretty photos but it takes planning, research, strategizing, analyzing data, getting content along with attending meetings, keeping on top of emails and dealing with requests from colleagues. But it's also not fairies and pixie dust, there are days where you have to also manage bad reviews, respond to upset customers and deal with trolls.

Let's just say being a marketer, social media manager or creator is not all hunky-dory.

"We're expected to be marketers, creators, analysts and customer service people. We're stressed out." - Thea Neal

While being called a 'unicorn' from those in your industry is a compliment, it's also a sign that one person can't do it all. I'm passionate about the work I do and the stories I share that create engaged communities, it keeps me going on a daily basis. But it's hard to complain to people who don't work in social.

"Social media managers, entrepreneurs, and influencers have a unique set of mental health challenges because they spend their days in the trenches of the internet. Self-care is an important part of mental health, and sometimes that means taking a break from social media, our phones, and technology." - Taylor Loren

Positivity has played a huge role and having support from my partner at home has been crucial to staying afloat along with a supportive team at work backing me up. So remember that next time you comment on a brand page, there's an actual person behind it.

STEPPING AWAY?

So have I thought of taking a social media hiatus? Of course, I have. Giving your mind a break from screen time is important and the truth is, stepping away from social media when your side hustle and full-time job both focus on it, is hard taking a complete hiatus. But I have found things that have helped me a LOT to stay sane:

TIP 1
This one has been my saving grace! Remove all notifications on your phone and put social media apps into folders where they're hard to reach.

TIP 2
Set boundaries with colleagues. Let them know it isn't appropriate to message you on your personal channels about work. Make it clear how you would like to be contacted. I say this because there are some who forget to communicate via proper work channels. No thanks, I don't want to do work while I'm having dinner on a Friday night that I'm not scheduled.

TIP 3
Use a social media management tool at work if you manage multiple accounts. You don't want your phone dinging every five seconds. My absolute favourite is Sprout Social!

SIDE HUSTLES AKA BLOGGING

 This blog started out as a creative outlet to deal with the stress of my post-secondary studies when I was studying Computer Engineering (shocking right?!). Though my love for the city I lived in - Kingston, Ontario while attending Queen's University slowly grew on me and eventually, I escaped the campus bubble. I married my hobby of writing and my foodie knowledge to share my favourite local eats, weekend adventures as well as go-to events. Fast forward today and I am fully committed to my passion.

WHY? Because it is my voice when I feel like I don't have one.

Being a blogger definitely challenged me to learn new skills from social media, photo editing, networking, the ability to market myself and simply getting outside my comfort zone. (All key things that have contributed to where I am today!) I've been thankful to have been exposed to different types of knowledge and ways of thinking which have helped me become unique in my main 9 to 5 career.

But there's a downside...with blogging comes negativity as well where people will find a reason to project their insecurities and their fears onto you, your life and your creative work, and you’ll have to deal with it. I've learned the art of not caring as I can't do anything other than changing my own perspective. You should never have to second guess the content you put out to the world. Rather use it to fuel your passion and go that extra mile. I am so proud of what I have achieved, the connections I've made and how my creativity has blossomed. Though this has come with struggles of burnouts, criticism and negativity on a local level.

The other downside to being a blogger is if your day job already uses some of the same skills, it’s too easy to get drained. And that's me right now!

Lastly, the one thing I want to make clear about blogging is that it isn't all fun and games or the next hot trending thing to do. There's a business side to it, there's research, content to be planned, negotiation, taxes, and the list is never-ending. It's full time in itself if you take it seriously. When I'm asked if someone should be a content creator, travel writer or blogger, I ask them, why do you want to do this? In my mind, I'm thinking to myself, please have the right intentions. The glamorization of the side-hustle economy seemingly glows with possibility. There's definitely an allure to being a blogger where you get the opportunity to go to cool places and meet interesting people. But what people don't realize is that a lot of hard work goes into building and fostering relationships and a lot of behind the scenes tasks that take time and energy.

Remember, while I may seem like I have it all together, yeah I don't. I'm slowly figuring things out one day at a time. But my one piece of wisdom is when I'm struggling internally, getting outside whether it's watching a sunset or strolling along a waterfront, definitely is at the top of my list for improving my morale.

Life Update: Burnout, Blogging & Side Hustles

Life Update: Burnout, Blogging & Side Hustles

Life Update: Burnout, Blogging & Side Hustles

Life Update: Burnout, Blogging & Side Hustles
Rosalyn Gambhir
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Get Inspired at Art Bomb Festival in Gananoque This Weekend


Plans for the weekend? An art lover? Or an enthusiast? Like road trips? And small towns? 

Well, I've got the most perfect event (that's also free!) for you taking place this Sunday, September 29th from 12pm-8pm in Gananoque! This picturesque destination is the gateway to the 1000 Islands but also home to some talented folks. An idea that was sparked by two local artists Heather Haynes and Pam Staples, Art Bomb Festival was the creation of wanting to provide people with an insider perspective of how an artists mind works and showcase how they create their inspiration.

"Art Bomb Festival will transform our community into an open-air gallery for one day inviting the community to engage and experience the Arts in all forms. This one-day event will take place in all around this community...from the waterfront to the downtown in participating galleries, restaurants and shops, as well as public spaces."

A sort of art crawl through the town, visitors of all ages will have the chance to discover Gananoque while also learning more about the arts. Temporary art installations will be installed in various locations around the community, so get your walking shoes on and get ready to explore, learn and engage! Did I mention it's free?

Art Bomb Festival - Gananoque Ontario - Culture Days

Art Bomb Festival - Gananoque Ontario - Culture Days

JUST A FEW OF THE FEATURED EVENTS:

Wall of Courage - Heather Haynes Gallery
Arts & Crafts Collective - Silkscreen Printing & Pottery Workshop
Arts & Crafts Collective - Pottery Workshop & Kids Art Workshop
Su Halle & Ray Vincent - Groovy Interactive - O’Connor Gallery
Steve Behal & Jeannie Catchpole - Art Installation - O’Connor Gallery 
Otis Tamasauskas & Cathy Mckennitt - Printmaking 
Su Halle & Ray Vincent - Groovy Interactive 
Plein Air Group - Around town 
Houssam Alloum Art Show -1000 Islands Heritage Museum 
Kids Paint Workshop -1000 Islands Heritage Museum
Bring YOUR Art Gallery - Town Park 
Gananoque Secondary School Band
Thousand Islands Boat Museum Paddle Painting  
Yarn Boom Demonstration - Rug Hookers 
Canjo Workshop 
Grafitti Workshop 
Colour Blind Test 
and more!

VARIOUS LOCATIONS

1000 Islands Heritage Museum
Thousands Islands Boat Museum
Heather Haynes Gallery
O'Connor Gallery
Arts & Craft Collective
and more!

Follow them on Facebook to learn more about what all the BOOM is about!
Rosalyn Gambhir
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Celebrating Kingston’s Arts & Culture Community During Culture Days


 One word...

WOW!

It's the first weekend of fall and Kingston is the place to be with all the fun activities going on and better yet, it's also Culture Days. The amazing folks at the Kingston Arts Council are the host organization for this year. In case you didn't know, Culture Days is a nation-wide, three-day national event that celebrates arts and culture aka a weekend to shine a spotlight on the creative life of your community and recognize the importance of cultural engagement! It is set to kick-off in Kingston and across Canada on Friday, September 27th, 2019 and this year, the Tett Centre for Learning and Creativity is an official Hub for Culture Days events, inviting the community to learn more about the different organizations they house and to partake in workshops and activities at their Open House.

Scroll down to see some of the amazing Culture Days (free!) events taking place in the city of Kingston from September 27 to 29:

Celebrating 10 Years of Creativity with Culture Days

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 27

Kingston Writersfest presents: Voaden Prize Play Reading

Lorna Crozier Book Launch: The House the Spirit Builds
Studio 22 and Kingston Writersfest

Art After Dark – Fall
Downtown Kingston

Open House
Kingston School of Art

Afrisa Dance Workshop
Tett Centre for Creativity and Learning

Art Exhibition by Pengyuan Wang
Tett Centre for Creativity and Learning

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 28




Participainting
Tett Centre for Creativity and Learning

Sheep to Fall
Tett Centre for Creativity and Learning

Kids Creativity Club
Tett Centre for Creativity and Learning

Art Exhibition by Pengyuan Wang
Tett Centre for Creativity and Learning

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 29

Bonus: Artbomb Festival
Various locations in Gananoque

Kingston Writersfest presents: Visual Storytelling with Claire Bouvier
Holiday Inn Kingston Waterfront

Kingston Writersfest presents: And the Journey Continues…
Holiday Inn Garden


Community Drum Circle with Ollin
Tett Centre for Creativity and Learning

CRAFT Hub
Tett Centre for Creativity and Learning

Play with Clay!
Tett Centre for Creativity and Learning


Create your own Hexaflexagon
Tett Centre for Creativity and Learning

Art Exhibition by Pengyuan Wang
Tett Centre for Creativity and Learning

Tett Centre Open House
Tett Centre for Creativity and Learning

Rosalyn Gambhir
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Summer Braai Supper at Norman Hardie Winery


In the heart of beautiful Prince Edward County, Norman Hardie Winery and Vineyard hosted its last Summer Braai Supper of the season this past weekend and I had the pleasure of attending with my foodie partner-in-crime. The evening was all about delicious local food and wine both of which will be the primary focus of this blog post. Between wineries, lavender farms, alpacas and food trucks, the Hillier region of the County is bountiful in all aspect. Known for its vineyard views and wood-fired pizzas on weekends, Norman Hardie first opened in the early 2000s in the most stunning of locations in southeastern Ontario with limestone-rich and fertile soil that produces great wines.

WHAT IS BRAAI?

Okay, so the concept of the evening surrounded this 'word.' But essentially, a braai entails grilling food over coals and part of the traditional South African culture and even though they seem like one and the same thing to a novice, they are not synonymous with barbeques. As the owner Norm, grew up in Africa, “Braai” style cooking was a huge part of his food culture and upbringing, so the evening was paying homage to his South African roots.

"It’s more than just a meal."

Summer Braai Supper at Norman Hardie Winery

As we reach the destination on Saturday evening, the forecasted rain cleared right up and guests were graced with a gorgeous sunset as we were greeted with their popularly known wood-fired pizzas and a glass of vintage 2015 Reisling - a blend of Niagara and County grown fruit which bae and I ended up purchasing a magnum. Seriously if you like a wine that much, you better stock up!

Summer Braai Supper at Norman Hardie Winery

Summer Braai Supper at Norman Hardie Winery

The simple yet understated tablescape of the night set the tone for the evening.

Summer Braai Supper at Norman Hardie Winery

Summer Braai Supper at Norman Hardie Winery

Summer Braai Supper at Norman Hardie Winery

LOOK, SWIRL, SMELL & SIP

 Ready? Let’s go!

As guests mingled and enjoyed the surrounding sites of the winery, the actual evening started with a tasting of six vintage wines, three reds and three whites. We learned about the unique stories behind each wine, the amazing County soil but also the hard work that goes behind operating a winery and how together County wines are more elegant and refined in taste than let's say its Niagra counterpart, thanks to the abundance of limestone.

Sampling the different whites and reds, it was clearly evident even as a novice wine-taster but someone who appreciates the art of winemaking, that even though grapes grown from the same vines, with age wine tastes and feels very different from the younger version which was apparent between the 2007 County Pinot Noir and the 2012 County Pinot Noir. It was like night and day.

 Vintage White Wines Sampled
2008 Melon de Bourgogne
2012 County Chardonnay
2012 Cuvee ‘L’ Chardonnay

 Vintage Red Wines Sampled
2007 County Pinot Noir
2012 County Pinot Noir
2012 Pinot Noir (Niagara)

Summer Braai Supper at Norman Hardie Winery

Summer Braai Supper at Norman Hardie Winery

Summer Braai Supper at Norman Hardie Winery

DINNER IS SERVED

Served on large communal tables, supper was served family-style which allowed for a more laid back feel among guests. As the wine tasting wrapped up and we took our seats, it was followed by a sampling of house-smoked trout (caught that weekend!) with pita and squeezed lemon over top.

Summer Braai Supper at Norman Hardie Winery

Summer Braai Supper at Norman Hardie Winery

Summer Braai Supper at Norman Hardie Winery

With conversations flowing, it was neat to learn that guests had travelled from Toronto but also from right around the corner. The food was the exact same - local sausage from Seed to Sausage, smoked salmon with a sweet and savoury rub that complemented one another, again caught that weekend (doesn't get as local and fresh as that) and beef from PEI. Seasonal veggies served included green beans and my new favourite, a creamy sweet corn risotto. Pleasantly light, it was packed with flavour that I passed on the green beans for more of the corn.

The food at the braai was simply delicious and props to the staff for preparing all the dishes that night, but the whole experience of the braai was essentially a social gathering over a few hours eating, drinking and enjoy each other companies.

Cheers!

Summer Braai Supper at Norman Hardie Winery

Summer Braai Supper at Norman Hardie Winery

Summer Braai Supper at Norman Hardie Winery


Summer Braai Supper at Norman Hardie Winery

DESSERT

The food was part of the whole experience and as dinner wrapped up, several guests made their way down to the bonfire to escape the pesky mosquitos and for warmth under the night sky.

With dessert approaching, all I have to say, scrumptious. The wild blueberry peach pie made by local County resident Suzanne DeFrance was the perfect last bite of the evening.

Summer Braai Supper at Norman Hardie Winery

In summary, the braai supper experience by Norman Hardie Winery was filled with wonderful conversations, delicious local food and overall great tasting County wine.

Summer Braai Supper at Norman Hardie Winery

Where: 1152 Greer Rd Wellington, Ontario
Rosalyn Gambhir
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Kelly's Bake Shoppe Comes to Prince Edward County


Kelly's Bake Shoppe in Prince Edward County

Kelly's Bake Shoppe in Prince Edward County

Kelly's Bake Shoppe in Prince Edward County

I'm not sure where to start this blog but it definitely wasn't all sugar, spice and everything nice just a few months ago. I say this lightly as I was experiencing eczema and well I didn't know it at the time. I was feeling super low, wore scarves, long pants and shirts just to hide my skin and my neck, thankfully it was winter so no one ever noticed. I honestly didn't know that a) the weather was a huge part of it b) stress c) but also that the food I was eating was hurting my body. Fast forward to spring, I realized I had food sensitives to gluten, eggs, dairy along with a few other items. Thankfully I was/am able to still consume meat, veggies and fruit as I get my gut health in check. As a foodie, this wasn't a shock so to speak as I knew I could I find alternatives because what else was there to do. Though let's just say that I had cravings for something sweet. 
But long story short...

After scrolling through Instagram one evening, I stumbled upon a neat post. It mentioned that Kelly's Bake Shoppe, a popular bakery in downtown Burlington was coming to Prince Edward County for a pop-up event! The best part of it all was that they offered gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free, peanut-free and vegan products. Ding ding ding! I was over the moon as I was able to finally indulge once again. If you know me, I have a major sweet tooth and well, Kelly’s Bake Shoppe to the rescue. As soon as bae and I got home from our adventures in the County, I took a fork and sampled each cupcake. Oh, goodness was I in heaven and in a bit of a sugar coma. These cupcakes were filled with so much flavour and topped with all the icing! My favourite cupcake was the strawberry shortcake vanilla that was filled with strawberry jam and topped with strawberry buttercream. Drool!

I had my fair share of other desserts with alternative ingredients that were just okay, so it's safe to say that I have since become obsessed with Kelly's Bake Shoppe that was created by the fabulous mother and daughter team and the dynamic duo of Kelly Childs and Erinn Weatherbie.

"Kelly and Erinn are sharing their love of food with the world, one delicious bite at a time."

From cupcakes, cookies, brownies, muffins to ice cream, to know that their treats were made with the healthiest ingredients and leaving out processed junk, just made my day. Along with the sweet and delicious cupcakes that we scooped up from the pop-up event, bae and I also bought their cookbook, Made With Love and the sweet duo were so gracious to sign it. The coolest part to hear was that as they had sold out on Saturday, they got their products flown in for Sunday!

I look forward to their official opening in the County!

Kelly's Bake Shoppe in Prince Edward County

BIRTHDAY CAKE CUPCAKE

Vanilla cake with plant-based multicoloured sprinkles mixed throughout, topped with chocolate buttercream and more sprinkles.

Kelly's Bake Shoppe in Prince Edward County

MILE HIGH BROWNIE

Topped with chocolate buttercream, vanilla buttercream, a mini brownie, chocolate ganache and organic caramel.

Kelly's Bake Shoppe in Prince Edward County

Kelly's Bake Shoppe in Prince Edward County

Kelly's Bake Shoppe in Prince Edward County

Kelly's Bake Shoppe in Prince Edward County

Find this eatery on Instagram: @kellysinthecounty

Where: 13633 Loyalist Parkway, Prince Edward County, Ontario
Rosalyn Gambhir
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The Marans Dinebar in the County


The Marans Dinebar in Prince Edward County - Picton

The Marans Dinebar in Prince Edward County - Picton

It's been a good few weeks or so since my last blog post and I'm not sorry but that's because I actually took some time off for a slight digital detox from both my day job and blogging. But I will say that it's no surprise that during this time that my foodie partner-in-crime and I ventured to Prince Edward County (once again of course) for a day trip for lunch to visit Picton's newest dining experience - The Marans Dinebar.

Originally from Hamilton, Ontario, Chef Guerin Sykes previously helped revamp the kitchens at Waupoos Winery before taking the leap and opening up his own venture. Featuring Middle Eastern with Asian inspired cuisine, this new spot by Chef Guerin and his wife Jessica puts the emphasis on locally sourced ingredients and all things County including their drink menu. Located right between the Regent Theatre and Picton Library on Main Street in Picton, you wouldn't believe it, but it doesn't have a full commercial kitchen! With only a few induction burners and other equipment, Chef Guerin creates flavourful dishes with such freshness and efficiency, might I add. As comes with small spaces, also comes creative thinking, being wise in how you cook and operate, which means the menu rotates and keeps you guessing every few months.

Scroll down to have a peek at some of the dishes we enjoyed:

DEVILED EGGS

Vibrant, savoury pickled eggs, whipped filling with salted caviar. 

The Marans Dinebar in Prince Edward County - Picton

MUSHROOM GNOCCHI

Puffy gnocchi in a savoury, creamy sauce with mushrooms and caramelized onions.

The Marans Dinebar in Prince Edward County - Picton

LEMON CURD CRÈME BRULÉE

This one is pretty self-explanatory.

The Marans Dinebar in Prince Edward County - Picton


The decor was right up my alley of farmhouse chic with cute accents all around.

The Marans Dinebar in Prince Edward County - Picton

Chef Guerin and his wife Jessica!

The Marans Dinebar in Prince Edward County - Picton

The Marans Dinebar in Prince Edward County - Picton


Find this eatery on Instagram: @themaransdinebar

Where: 222 Picton Main, St Picton, Ontario
Rosalyn Gambhir
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Cirque du Soleil Comes To Kingston With a Brand New Ice Experience


When I was younger, I remember being glued to the television screen watching Canadian figure skaters from Jamie Salé and David Pelletier to Joannie Rochette and Elvis Stojko twirling around and seamlessly gliding across the rink. So when Cirque du Soleil announced its first-ever experience on ice, I was over the moon and the little girl inside me was beyond thrilled. CRYSTAL blends circus arts into unchartered territory - the world of ice skating, taking audiences on a unique journey to a frozen playground where the lead character Crystal dives into her own imagination and curiosity as she discovers she isn't like everyone else and out of sync with herself.

To escape her reality, she ventures out on a frozen pond and falls through the ice into an upside world. In this underwater world of her imagination, she sees a reflection of herself. Her reflection guides her through this new world and wakes her up to her own creativity.

Cirque's CRYSTAL Show - Kingston, Ontario
Cirque du Soleil CRYSTAL artists perform by Kingston Trolley as they toured around town.
Throughout the show, both gymnasts and skaters perform acrobatics on the ice and in the air, combining multiple disciplines together. Synchronized skating, freestyle figures, and extreme skating are featured alongside circus disciplines such as swinging trapeze, aerial straps, and hand to hand. Figure skaters learned how to be pushers on Chinese poles, while circus artists learned how to skate, and extreme skaters learned figure skating moves. Just spectacular!

AND! Did you know the cast of this show represents eleven different nationalities?! All from the figure, extreme and freestyle ice skaters, acrobats, musicians and comic character.

Photo by Matt Beard.
After being wowed by the show on its first-night performance, I was thoroughly impressed by the music, the artistry, the acrobatics, the visual projections and most importantly the show's theme.

"The show CRYSTAL is about looking at things from fresh angles, peeking through the veneer of everyday life, reframing one’s daily reality to see what one might have missed. Sometimes the only way to appreciate things is to look at them sideways. Discovering one’s individuality and uniqueness requires venturing out on thin ice."

When it came to the music, it was lively, intense and intriguing. It was neat to see that CRYSTAL had popular cover versions of well-known pop songs - a first for a Cirque du Soleil show, that included Sia and Beyoncé, specifically recorded for the show that definitely got the crowd going. Cirque also paid homage to the music of Canada's Maritime provinces while preserving the signature sound of Cirque. This was combined with showcasing Canadian pride through a hockey act where extreme skaters performed crazy flips, twists and jumps at full speed, turning the ice into a giant pinball machine. I'm sure kids in the audience were mesmerized and what better way to keep the celebrating going as Canada Day long weekend was just here. As performers zipped by, the best part, was lead character Crystal jumping out sporting a Kingston Frontenac jersey. Well props to whoever was responsible for that neat marketing plug! 

Here's a sneak peek of the act and set design:

Photo by Matt Beard.
Overall this performance is definitely worth a watch and treating yourself! As Cirque du Soleil’s 42nd creation and the company’s first ice experience, you'll be amazed at the level of artistry and beautiful blend between skating and acrobatics. Playing double duty of figure skating while performing stunts such as aerial trapeze, balance poses and straps or playing an instrument, well I was left speechless with all these showstopping moments.

Cirque's CRYSTAL Show - Kingston, Ontario

CRYSTAL is being presented at the Kingston’s Leon’s Centre for a limited run of performances from July 3-7, 2019.

Tickets available here.

Cirque's CRYSTAL Show - Kingston, Ontario
Cirque du Soleil artists showing an acrobatic act in front of Fort Henry.
Enjoy the show!
Rosalyn Gambhir
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[name=Rosalyn Gambhir] [img=http://i1139.photobucket.com/albums/n543/Rosalyn_Gambhir/Rosalyn_1.jpg] [description=Rosalyn Gambhir is the gal behind the blog The Staycationer. Whether its exploring the local food scene with her foodie partner-in-crime or taking in the view from her favourite cafe, Rosalyn is always a tourist, looking for the next exciting adventure. The Staycationer allows you to rediscover hidden gems in your very own backyard.] (facebook=https://www.facebook.com/thestaycationer) (twitter=https://twitter.com/rosalyngambhir) (instagram=https://www.instagram.com/rosalyngambhir/)

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