I love being able to discover new gems in Toronto even after having lived here for six years. Last week, Offner and I spent a few hours at the Humber Bay Park in the west end. I’ve run in the area before but had never been as far west in the park. To my surprise, the park is stunning; there’s a nice beach area, picnic tables, a beautiful view of Toronto, etc. It’s the perfect place for a picnic or to read a book. If you’re in need of a relaxing spot and want to get away from all the craziness that you usually find in other parks downtown ie. Trinity Bellwoods, this is a great option that is easily accessible via the Martin Goodman Trail. I brought my new SanukYoga Slinged Up sandals with me for the trip, perfect for the relaxed waterfront vibes!
Growing up, the word Toyota was always synonym with the following adjectives: durability, reliability and quality. The Toyota Corolla was also the “it car” when I started driving, many of the kids at school bought used Corollas. Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to drive a handful of different Toyota models but had never spent time driving the Corolla. I was therefore extremely excited to have been given the chance to re-familiarize myself not only with Toyota but also with the new Corolla.
I spent a week test driving the 2015ToyotaCorolla S in and around greater Toronto. My initial thought when I first saw the new Corolla was how sleek and cool the exterior looked. Some of the features of the Corolla I love the most are:
– 6.1” Touchscreen Display Audio with Bluetooth® and 6 Speakers (having great sounding audio in a car is so important)
– Power Tilt/Slide Moonroof (my favorite way to get fresh air and enjoy the sunshine during the warmer months)
– 17” Aluminum Alloy Wheels (sleek sport wheels!)
– Integrated XM Satellite Radio (XM radio was key for the longer distances that I did with the car during the week. So much more enjoyable than just having regular radio)
– Premium Navigation (which included voice recognition and could easily be used to get to your destination of choice)
– Softex Simulated Leather Seating Surfaces (so much better than leather yet with the same kind of badass feel, easier to clean, eco-friendly and more durable!)
– Smart Key System (which allowed me to get into the car without using the key. All I had to do is approach the car with the key in my bag, press and hold my finger on the handle and the car would unlock)
– Electrochromic Rear View Mirror with Digital Compass (always helpful when backing up or parking)
I took the Corolla with me to all of my week’s adventures. I went SUPing at the Scarborough Bluffs, went to spend time at the Humber Bay Park, went swimming in High Park, went on a special movie date and also took it to Clarington for the Spartan Race.
During the week, I got to test the many features of the car, got to bring it through different terrain, whether it’d be the highway, the city streets or on country roads. The car reacted well on all the different terrains. It was high enough from the ground to go over branches and trees in the countryside and had enough horsepower to perform quick lane changes and for speeding up quickly on the highway.
The car’s fuel efficiency was incredibly surprising. I was astonished by how little the car consumed in the entire week I had it, both in the city and on the highway.
Another great feature of the Corolla is its spacious and clean interior. The trunk is big and there’s plenty of legroom and foot room for both the passengers at the front and those riding at the back, which is key for longer trips.
Key safety features: the car’s 8 airbags, Whiplash-Injury-Lessening (WIL) front seats, Tire Pressure Monitoring System as well as Toyota’s Star Safety System™ featuring six advanced accident avoidance safety technologies.
It comes as no surprise that the Toyota Corolla is the #1 selling compact car in North America. For more information on the car, you can visit the Toyota Canada website here.
A few weeks ago, during the Nike Women’s 15k race weekend in Toronto, I had the privilege of meeting one of the top female surfers in the world – Lakey Peterson. Lakey is a 20-year-old professional surfer from California currently ranked #7 on the WSL World Tour. She started surfing at the age of 5 and began her rookie year on the ASP Women’s World Championship Tour at the age of 17! If you’ve seen Lakey compete before, you know she’s a powerhouse in the water. She’s such a great athlete to watch because she always seems so fearless against the other competitors. I’ve had the privilege of watching her compete and she’s incredibly inspiring. I’m beyond thrilled that she took a few minutes out of her busy training schedule before the US Open of Surfing to answer a few of my questions. Hope you’ll enjoy my 5 Questions with Lakey Peterson:
1) What first drew you to surfing? What is it about surfing that you love so much?
I think for me it has always just been such a freeing feeling when I surf… I forget about everything else in life and am entirely in the moment. Not many things in this world that make you do that or feel that.
2) What are your thoughts on the current level of women’s surfing in the world?
It’s really exciting to be a part of women’s surfing at the moment… The girls are absolutely ripping at the moment. We are all pushing each other to surf better and more powerful. I believe the future is really bright.
3) How do you usually prepare for a competition? What is your day of competition routine?
During contest I am always up by 5 or 5:30. I’ll have a bite of fruit and go for a warm up surf. Then eat breakfast, lots of veggies, 1 egg and avocado. Before my heat I listen to my music, warm up, talk to my coach and off I go.
4) What are some of your favorite breaks to surf and why?
When I am back home in California, Rincon Point is by far my favorite place in the world to surf. I also Love Fiji and Honolua Bay
5) What are your next career goals? Where would you like to be in 5 years?
In 5 year i hope I am still on tour surfing and going for the world title. I want surfing to be my life for as long as possible. So hopefully I’ll be on tour until I am 30 or so. After that I want to really help people with nutrition and fitness. I am starting a website called TheSaltyCoconut.com it’s going to be all about healthy living. Amazing style tips, recipes, workouts, photography etc. So i hope that goes well and I can turn it into a business and carrier one day.
Catch Lakey Peterson compete at the US Open of Surfing this week and check out her new website TheSaltyCoconut.comthat launches Friday July 31st at 10am PST.
Next week, I’ll be leaving on a 5 week trip across the southern United States. Because I’ve been training so hard these past couple of months, the one thing I don’t want to do while I’m away is stop working out. I know it’s easy to stop when you’re not at home, when you’re on the road or in a different country so I’ve enlisted the help of my favorite Toronto trainer, Nike Master Trainer Eva Redpath to give me tips on how to stay fit while traveling. In case you aren’t already doing the new 12-week NTC Find Your Fast challenge, this is the perfect time to get familiar with the app and what’s great is that you can easily build a core circuit with a small amount of space in your hotel room. Hope these tips will be helpful to all of those also traveling this summer!
Eva’s 3 simple training exercises for traveling this summer:
1) Hollow body: is a time challenge, hold it for 60 seconds or 30 seconds. From a seated position, lower to the ground and focus on keeping your lower back connected to the ground, and your core contracted. Extend raised legs and arms out at a 45-degree angle. Keep neck relaxed, core tight and shoulders off the ground.
2) Side plank with rotation: out of Ready, Set, Zoom, Mary Purvis’ brand new workout on the N+TC app. Start in a seated position, from a seated position, rest your forearm on the ground and get into a side plant. Keep your hips lifted and aligned with your shoulder and knee. Rotate through the chest as you extend your free arm to the ceiling and down towards the ground. Repeat for 60 seconds.
3) Mountain Climbers: This can also be a time challenge, 30 or 60 seconds. Start kneeling. Placing hands on the ground, directly under shoulders, form a plank. Back straight, core tight, weight over shoulders. Drive knees into your chest as fast as you can. Keep your hips down, arms strong and upper body still.
Eva’s general fitness recommendations while traveling:
-“I make a rule for people when they travel, for them to keep in mind that their regular program will shift but in exciting ways. You can explore your city and make exercising a priority. Sometimes, I’ll tell people when they reach their destination, drop their bags and go for a little 5k run. Put on your GPS or your app and go out for a little run to get to know the neighborhood. If you make it a rule that you check-in, drop your bags, you get dressed and you go, if that works with your schedule, then it’s a good way of making some form of physical activity a non-negotiable.”
-“In terms of exercising when you’re going to be on the road, any little pocket of time that you can find to get into the N+TC app and do either a 15 minute or you’ve got the Zoom in 5 with Skylar Diggins, which is literally a 5 minute workout. I think that when you travel, it’s really about fitting your exercise into the windows of time that you have available to you.”
-“The nutrition part of it will be so key. So trying to make healthy choices while you’re on the road, whether or not that means bringing some protein powder or if you’re eating out at restaurants, you can make food substitutions or watching portion control. Staying properly hydrated. I have two parts of advice for people traveling or on the road: stay as true as you can to the way that you eat even though you’re not prepping your own food, which I always recommend to do. The only way to guarantee you know what you’re eating is to prep it yourself. That’s number one. In terms of getting your exercise in, it’s where it can fit with a couple of basic tools you can bring along with you like your running shoes, your training shoes, you have access to both of the running and N+TC apps, explore your city, walk as much as you can and then when you wake up or when you go to bed, because you know those are two things you’re always going to do, fitting in some sort of physical activity. Every little bit will count and add up!“
Since I moved to Toronto, I’ve always fancied cycling through the Niagara wine country. I’ve had the opportunity to drive to a few wineries but always daydreamed about how beautiful biking through the area would be.
Last weekend, I finally got the opportunity to make this wish a reality with GO Transit’s seasonal service to Niagara. It was my very first GO Transit experience so I was excited to see what it would be like to travel with a bike.
I invited one of my girlfriends along for the day trip. We packed a picnic and got up early on Sunday morning to take the 9 am GO Train. The GO Train conveniently stops at Exhibition, which is a 5 minute bike ride from my house, so it made the commute hassle-free.
The train arrived on schedule and, to our surprise, had dedicated bike coaches, which allowed for easy boarding with our bikes. Inside, they had bike racks to store your bike during the trip. We got to Niagara under 2 hrs; it was a short and comfortable ride down.
When we got to the Niagara GO Station, my friend and I hopped onto our bikes and headed towards the nearest bike path: the Niagara River Recreation Trail. The Niagara River Recreational Trail is a scenic 56 km paved trail that allows you to ride in nature. We followed the path along the water and made our first stop at the Botanical Gardens.
We continued our biking adventure by passing through the pretty Queenston town, where we stopped for corn on the cob. The farmer’s stand was located beside the beautiful 1-acre pool, which made us regret not having our bathing suits.
We parked our bikes and had lunch at the Reif Winery, one of the top wineries in all of Niagara. We ate our picnic outside with a nice glass of wine. The winery was beautiful and serene. We topped that off with some homemade wine-infused gelato and a tour of the property.
At the end of our cycling adventure, we had clocked more than 40 kms. Exhausted but completely content with our getaway, we took the 7pm train back to the city. We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day in gorgeous wine country. I’m thrilled to have been able to spend the day with one of my best girlfriends!
We live for the weekends, especially during the summer. And planning them is just half the fun. Exploring the big city or biking through wine country – it’s good to have weekend options and we give them to you. Toronto to Nigara. Barrie to Toronto. Either way, we’ll take you there. Seasonal weekend train service runs until Sept 7. Discover a different side of GO this summer at gotransit.com/getaway
This post was brought to you by GO Transit via Mode Media Canada. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Metrolinx.
I couldn’t resist posting about this wonderful new French bakery & café called MAMAN that just opened up in Toronto. The reason being: it’s a little piece of French heaven! I first stopped in before the weekend to get a first look at this cute place that just opened up on the Mezzanine Level of First Canadian Place. I’m always curious to check out anything France-related so I was enchanted when I got to MAMAN. Not only did the decor remind me of beautiful Southern France and La Provence, the food and drink menu seemed just as dreamy.
MAMAN is a collaboration between five partners including Armand Arnal, head chef at Michelin star restaurant La Chassagnette in the South of France. They serve breakfast, lunch and are also open for cinq-à-sept or cocktail hour from 5-7pm from Monday to Friday. Their menu consists in a variety of yummy quiches, savoury tarts, sandwiches, salads and a ton of delicious baked goods. Everything is made fresh in-house. I was delighted to see some traditional French items like Madeleines, Financiers, Croques, etc. I also like that they added their own unique twist to some classic French items, making them even more special.
The atmosphere inside the place is very serene and beautiful. They have two beautiful communal tables, a small bar area and also a decent sized patio outside. Though it’s not an area I typically hang out in, with organized Bingo nights soon coming and my constant search for yummy French food in the city, you may catch me there pretty often!
In case you didn’t follow my motorcycle adventures this weekend, I’m happy to report that I passed my M2 license! I couldn’t be more thrilled! It was a hot and sweaty weekend for motorcycle lessons but it was incredibly amazing to spend the entire weekend outdoors finally realizing one of my lifelong dreams of riding a motorcycle!
Since the weekend, all I’ve been thinking about are motorcycles. I think it’s kind of like surfing or even traveling, once you do it, you’ve totally caught the bug. I can honestly say, I’ve caught the motorcycle bug. We’re looking at potentially renting a motorcycle during our travels this summer, so I hope there will be more riding in the near future!! Can’t wait to explore the world on two wheels!!
This weekend, I’ll be realizing one of my lifelong dreams to ride a motorcycle. After thinking about doing lessons for years, with a little extra push from my fiancé, I’ve finally decided to give it a shot. For years growing up, I would always watch all the reality television bike shows: Orange County Choppers, West Coast Choppers, Great Biker Build Off, etc. and became a complete bike fan. That said, I’ve never had the opportunity to hope on a bike or go for a ride. I recently made a list of things I wanted to within the next five years and learning how to ride a motorcycle was pretty much at the top of my list. So I figured, why not now?! Make sure you follow my motorcycle journey, I’ll be posting videos on snapchat from the lessons this weekend. Follow @melsays!
Lot’s of running plans for the summer so I figured I would share with you some of my go-to running essentials for the season. All runners have gear, fuel and hydration preferences but hopefully this can help those still trying to figure out their running routine!
When I’m going for speed: Nike Zoom Elite 8 – I tried them on the track last week and they proved to have a great kick to them. Did you know they have a mini airbag like structure in the heel? The cushioning in the heel is very responsive to your stride and the pressure you apply to it.
When I’m going for distance: Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 32 – I’ve been taking these out for a spin on my longer runs. They’re a neutral shoe but give your feet all the support they need. I particularly like the fact that you can adjust the entire shoe with the flywire cables. The Pegasus shoes are very breathable so they don’t make my feet overheat.
2) The gear
With the weather being so warm these days, I’m keeping my running gear light. These training shorts are great for NTC workouts but also for running because they’re very light and keep me super dry during the run. I also like that the waistband keeps the shorts from moving around when I run. A proper fitting sports bra is also a must. This one is good for any kind of workout and if you’re not too top heavy, you can also take it out running. I never run without a running hat. It keeps the sweat from rolling down my face, my hair in place and protects my head from harmful UV rays.
3) Energy & Hydration
NUUN Active – These tablets are my go-to for pre and post run hydration when I’m on the go. I just drop one in a bottle of water and they give me all the electrolytes needed without the sugar or carbs. These packs are also great for traveling.
VEGA Electrolyte Hydrator – Is specifically designed for sports. It’s an all natural and plant based powder. I love adding this to water immediately after I run. The powder isn’t too sweet and is packed with electrolytes.
Perfect Bar – It’s important to get lot’s of protein when running and these Perfect Bars have become the thing I love eating the most right after a run. They immediately give my body natural sugar, carbs and protein without giving it the bad stuff. I like that all of their bars are handmade in San Diego and that they’re all natural, NON-GMO, Gluten Free and a good source of Super Foods. My favorite kind is the Peanut Butter bar!
Hope you all had a lovely Canada Day! I spent some time reflecting yesterday on how lucky I am to be living in a country where you can be whatever and whomever you want to be. Though no country is perfect, I’m definitely grateful to live somewhere where as a women you can achieve anything you put your mind to. If you believe it, you can achieve it in Canada. I never want to take that for granted.
Speaking of Canada and this beautiful country, I recently found out that I’ll be spending the entire fall touring across the country in a bus. I haven’t done a cross-Canadian tour or a Canadian road-trip since 2006, so I’m beyond thrilled that I’ll get the opportunity to do so again in the fall. Fall is also such a beautiful time to go across the country, so much to see and discover! I can’t wait to share all of my adventures with you via this blog. Definitely stay tuned!