The Hip & Urban Girl’s Guide is a lifestyle website “dedicated to the busy city girl”. Authors Lisa Ng and Wendy Kam Marcy started the site two years ago. Aimed at city gals, it focused on food and shopping in their native Toronto, Ontario. They’ve since started to dwell more on travel, posting trip reports and travel advice for their readers, whom they call HUGs (Hip Urban Girls).
Lisa, who was a professional DJ before launching the site, and Wendy, who also runs a digital advertising agency, take turns travelling and “manning the fort”. Next up for these urban girls? A trip to Japan and a redesign of the website.
Where are you now and what are you up to?
Lisa: I’m in Toronto, packing my bags to attend Winterlude – an outdoor winter festival in Ottawa. When one of us leaves, the other is usually returning.
Wendy: I escaped to the Bahamas for a week and now I’m back in Toronto.
You both have other jobs, too; how do you manage to travel so much?
Lisa: Hip Urban Girl is my main focus right now and I do take on freelance writing and social media projects on the side. My priority is to travel, so I’m not really looking at work that ties me to one place.
Wendy: I retired from my corporate job a year ago and co-founded Adfluent Media. I can pretty much work anywhere in the world as long as I have my laptop and Internet.
How many countries have you travelled to so far?
As you’re both homegrown Canadians, how much of Canada have you seen, and what place in Canada is at the top of your list to visit?
Lisa: Driving 19 hours from Toronto to Prince Edward Island was one of my most memorable trips. I love being close to the ocean and eating fresh seafood. Banff is high on my wish list right now for the beautiful mountains and scenery.
Wendy: I was born in Toronto, lived in Vancouver briefly and have family in Alberta, so I visit the west coast often. I would love to tour the east coast, especially PEI.
What have you realized about Canada or Canadians as a result of travelling the globe?
Wendy: Canadians are so polite! If someone accidentally steps on us, we end up saying sorry first.
What has been one of your funniest or weirdest moments while travelling?
Lisa: Bumping into Harrison Ford at a food truck festival in LA. I’m eating a donut and am like, “Wha? Was that Indiana Jones?”
Wendy: My husband and I were in Bangkok and a tuk-tuk took us to a “club” that ended up being a brothel.
Is there any place you’ve visited that you would move to in a second if you had the chance?
Lisa: California. I love the laid-back cool of the west coast.
Wendy: New York City. I lived there briefly and I would move back in a New York minute!
Where is one place you always take friends or family who are visiting you in Toronto?
Lisa: The Distillery District for a guided walking tour and to browse all the interesting shops and galleries. Finish with a pint of Mill Street Beer from the on-site brewery.
Wendy: Richtree Market. I love seeing my friends and family walk around in awe looking at the different stations and having a hard time deciding on what to eat!
What’s the best thing that has happened as a result of starting your blog?
Lisa: I was asked to fly to Spain last October by American Express Canada, to cover the Coldplay concert from a bullring. Runner-up, we were asked by the National Ballet of Canada to make a cameo appearance in The Nutcracker!
Wendy: I come from a tech/dot com background but since starting our blog, I have crossed paths with amazing people from all different industries—fashion, food, nonprofit, etc.