Vinothérapie Spa Pedicure

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If you’re looking for the ultimate foot relaxation treatment, then you must stop by the Miraj Hammam Spa by Caudalie at the Shangri-La Hotel in Toronto.

Since I’ve been running so much these past couple of months, I was in dyers need of some major foot care and this ended up being the most luxurious experience!

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The Miraj Hammam Spa is located on the 5th floor of the Shangri-La and is a beautiful haven featuring architectural and cultural elements inspired by Paris, Marrakesh and Istanbul. As soon as you walk into the spa, you’re immediately taken into a world of tranquility and relaxation.

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The staff at the spa were all incredibly kind. When I arrived, I was immediately escorted into their manicure and pedicure room, given a class of water and was set up in one of their comfortable booths. The decor is warm, I particularly liked all the plush pillows and the fact that each booth had charging areas for your phone.

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Not long after I sat down, I was brought a glass of water as well as a tray of Middle Eastern snacks. I was brought some fresh homemade baklava, grapes and a mint and chai tea. The snacks were delicious!!

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The Vinothérapie Spa Pedicure is an 80 minute long treatment that incorporates some of Caudalie‘s signature products that originate from the Bordeaux region in France. The Vinothérapie includes the application of actual grapes on your legs (a great natural moisturizer and exfoliant for the skin!), a Merlot Friction Scrub, an Elixir spray to enhance luminosity of the skin as well as Moisturizing Mask. Your feet will be cleansed, soaked and groomed with the utmost care. This was hands down the longest and most splendid foot treatment I’ve ever received. My runners’ feet were transformed and are now ready for summer. I’m making a mental note to return after my 15k race on June 14th!

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Following the nail polish application and the finishing touches of the pedicure, I was brought to their Alhambra Relaxation Lounge for a few minutes, while I waited for the polish to dry. The dimly lit lounge is a Moroccan oasis, filled with plush beds, complimentary tea and snacks. You can also opt to go out on their adjacent outdoor patio. It’s majestic place to continue your relaxation if you’re staying for an afternoon or for the full day.

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I had a very pleasant first experience at the Miraj Hammam Spa by Caudalie. It feels so good to get pampered once in a while. In addition to their signature Vinothérapie Spa Pedicure and Manicure, the spa also offers a variety of Hammams, Massages, Facials, Body Care and other delightful treatments. Find out more about the spa here.

Road to Nike Women’s 15k – Week 7

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Week recap:

This past week has been pretty rock n’ roll to say the least! Even if Monday was a holiday last week, the #betterforit ladies and I got out early to clock a 7km run. It being a holiday allowed for a nice peaceful run along the streets of Toronto. Tuesday was my only day off but it was much needed one since I had lined up a double workout on Wednesday. I joined a small group of ladies on the rooftop of the Thompson Hotel (the raddest rooftop in the city!) for a #NTC workout as the sun rose. This was my first #DoneBeforeDawn class and boy was it memorable! That night, I also went to the Nike Running Club for a fast 5k run. I was up bright and early the next day for my routine NTC morning class with Eva Redpath, which was a lot harder than I was expecting. I was still sore from the previous morning so my work out was less than stellar. This past weekend, I went up to Blue Mountain for a special fitness retreat and the 1st #BowerFitxKalola with three lovely ladies (thanks for the invite Sasha!) who are also currently training for the 15k. The retreat was organized by Nate Bower, a boxer that I’ve had the chance to meet when I took his boxing class at Equinox (check out my special blog on his class here), as well as Kalola Spa at Blue Mountain. It was really neat to take my training to a different location and switch it up a bit. We had the most awesome weekend hiking up Blue Mountain, playing beach volleyball, doing yoga, boxing, doing some strength training, stretching and also getting a lovely massage at the end of it all. I didn’t get as much running in this past week but it was a nice change of pace!

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How I’m feeling:

Though I don’t feel anything major aching, my knees definitely seemed to still be inflamed a little so I’ve been trying my best to stretch properly, apply cream and not push too hard when training. With only 3 more weeks to go, there’s no time for injury.

What I’ve learned:

Injuries can occur at any moment. This weekend I witnessed one of my friends get injured while training and it was incredibly scary to see. Luckily, her injury wasn’t too serious but it made me realize that injuries can occur at any moment in time. As a result, I’ve become a little more careful with all of my training.

Training in nature is so different. Spending time at the mountain this weekend really gave me a new perspective on training in nature. Training in the city has been wonderful but sometimes seeing new sceneries and changing the location of your training can really help motivate and inspire you, especially when you’ve been training for so many weeks consistently.

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Distance is less intimidating. When I started training, running 5 or even 10km seemed incredibly daunting but with so many runs under my belt, these distances don’t nearly seem as far anymore. There are only a few more weeks to go but having already run 15km three times now, I’m a lot less apprehensive about race day. Yay! :D

Only 2 more weeks to go!!

5 Questions With: Miranda Malisani

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Nutrition is one important subject. Whether training for a sporting event or just going about your every day life, what you fuel your body with has the utmost importance. I met holistic nutritionist Miranda Malisani a few weeks ago at the Nike Run Club. She gave an incredibly informative talk about nutrition for those preparing to run the Nike Women’s 15k on June 14th. I really liked all of the things she talked about so I wanted to know more about her journey as a nutritionist and get some tips from her for those who like myself, are currently training for the race. She was kind enough to answer the questions below. Hope you’ll find this #5QuestionsWith interview with Miranda Malisani informative and helpful.

1) What first got you interested in nutrition? What made you want to become a holistic nutritionist?

I spent many years as a kid complaining about stomach pains, nausea and other digestive issues until the age of 8 where my parents discovered I had many food sensitivities including a severe one to MSG. Even at that young age I remembered feeling such a difference when it was taken out of my diet and that experience planted the seed for my passion of nutrition. I realized growing up that I could change the way I felt and looked with certain foods and I became really excited about learning more about how to be healthier that my elementary school friends would call me Dr. Mir. Fast forward many years and I am just as excited to inspire others to make the connection that their body is unique and finding the right foods for you can completely change the way you feel.

2) What would you say is your mission as a nutritionist?

I feel my mission is to help others connect to themselves and understand that the body has unlimited wisdom. By tuning into our intuition you can maximize your health potential and never need to rely on any diet or fad. The diet industry is geared to take accountability away from an individual where following the diet guidelines becomes the awareness, then when someone decides that the diet is no longer working they go back to their old patterns that contributed to weight gain in the first place. The missing links are education and accountability. I take on clients for one on one programs for 6 weeks and 3 months at a time, where I learn about their style of eating and educate them on how to make small shifts that can really alter the way they look and feel. I provide them with weekly follow ups and help to draw their attention to the way they are feeling through these new foods. A big part of my mission is to also bring awareness to the holistic enormity of our lives. It is not only the food we digest but the thoughts and emotions that play a crucial part in our overall health. It is by no coincidence that certain personality types may have weaker areas of the body. For example, those who have a hard time expressing their voice or connecting to their creativity may have problems with their thyroid. The incredible part of what I do is inspire others to realize that changing your health can happen at your next meal and with your next thought.

3)  For those training for a run or a big sporting event, what are the three things they should keep in mind regarding nutrition?

1) Food Train to Maximize Performance. Just like you allocate time to train for your event, setting aside enough time to prepare healthy meals is important to maximize performance. At first, trying new foods or removing some comfort foods can feel uncomfortable. You can compare this to when you began training with extra ache muscles, digestive complaints and other body reactions, but with time, they go away. Challenge yourself to give that extra effort with healthy food to get the most from your sporting event.

2) Be Conscious of the Train & Treat Mentality. I’ve trained some athletes who work really hard during their training and then naturally want to treat themselves to reward this effort. This becomes a slippery slope that can reduce the performance that you are training so hard for. Your body is most vulnerable after training and it waiting for the correct fuel to help repair to reduce inflammation, increase lean muscle mass and restore glycogen for your next training session. Protein, premium carbs, healthy fats, fibre and antioxidants should be included post-train. Reward yourself with something non-food related and reserve food for fuel.

3) Set your Intention & Visualize. Numerous studies have shown that attitude and perception of our experience can drastically impact performance. During training, keep your affirmation strong and powerful. Visualize the way you feel when you cross the finish line, make clear and impactful statements on a blackboard to keep you directed during especially busy or challenging times.

4) What are some of your go-to food items for a healthier life?

I am a mom of two young boys, so I am always thinking fast and nutrient dense. I am often snacking on goldenberries which are rich in potassium, vitamin C and anti-bacterial properties which is crucial with boys ;)

I try to add as much colourful fruits and veggies to my family’s plate as this amps up the antioxidants to keep our cells young and healthy. I also stock up on healthy fatty foods like nuts and seeds, avocado and hemp hearts. I am also a lover of dark chocolate so I always have a batch of my favourite Dark Chocolate Caramel PB Cups in the freezer for when a craving arrives. They are made with coconut oil, cocoa, maple syrup, medjool dates and nut-butter. Easy and delicious.

5) What are your thoughts on the current food industry in North America?

I could go on for a while about this one, but I’ll keep it short. I feel there’s quite a disconnect between many producers and consumers. Good marketing has gotten in the way of the consumers ability to gage if a product is the right choice for them. I am often reading labels in the grocery store and disappointed seeing how certain companies spin their products to sound healthy. Just because it has some fibre doesn’t make it okay that sugar is the first ingredient. As a mother, I think it’s ridiculous that it’s not mandatory to label GMO foods in Canada. I feel it’s my right to know this information so I can make a conscious decision for my family. I am pleased to see many local producers doing their best to get good quality products to communities and I feel we need to amp up our support for these small businesses to create better quality foods for everyone.

Summer Planning

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With summer right around the corner, it’s time to start summer planning! After having spent the spring primarily at home, I’m excited for all the travels that are coming my way this summer. For the first time since I was a teenager, I will actually get one full month of vacation, I can hardly believe it! I couldn’t be more excited to be spending this time in my favorite place on the planet, you guessed it: California!

This upcoming trip will be a fun one since we’ll be incorporating a mini road trip along the way, spending time in Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Nevada. We’ve already started planning for it and I can’t hardly wait! We’ll also be spending time in my favorite little beach town - Encinitas as well as Los Angeles and also going out to Palm Springs for the first time ever. If you have any travel recommendations, or must-see things while we’re there, please send them my way. I’ll be publishing a special series of blogs during and after the trip, so lot’s of travel tips coming your way this summer!

Today’s outfit, couldn’t be more representative of the California state of mind. This is the perfect post-surf and biking outfit. Boyfriend jeans, a California tee and a pair of brand new Sanuks. I love these new ones called “The Boardwalk“, they’re the perfect summer colour! Comfort and class, all wrapped into one!

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Photos by @Offner

Sanuk The Boardwalk shoes (get them here)

H&M distressed boyfriend jeans

Zara TRF California tee

5 Things to Do in Miami

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1) Explore South Pointe. This beautiful park and beach area located at the most southern tip of South Beach, is the perfect place to spend a morning or afternoon while in Miami. The 17-acre county urban park features a beautiful oceanfront bike path, a quiet beach as well as panoramic views of the Miami port and pier. You can rent one of Miami’s DecoBikes and picnic on the waterfront or go snorkelling close to the pier. They sometimes even have big enough waves for surfing. There are also lot’s of great shops and restaurants in the area to enjoy such as Jugofresh, Joe’s Stone Crab, Cibo Wine Bar, F1rst Surf Shop, just to name a few.

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2) Eat at Lee & Marie’s Cakery. While you’re in the area, stop by this super cute family-owned shop for a yummy lunch or just to grab a sweet snack. They offer a great selection of homemade sandwiches, quiches, salads, scones and of course a ton of homemade sweets. They have a super cute patio and a lovely ambiance.

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3) Explore downtown Miami. If you’re staying in South Beach, one of the fun things you can do is to either rent a DecoBike or a scooter (you can get a scooter for $50 for 24hrs) and take Venetian Causeway through all the little islands towards downtown Miami. Not only will it be a stunning ride there (you’ll pass all the beautiful homes on  the islands, you’ll also get a beautiful view of Miami on the way there), you’ll also arrive right in the hype Edgewater and Wynwood neighborhoods of Miami. There are lot’s of great waterfront parks to see in the area, up and coming shops and restaurants. If you venture North you’ll enter the Buena Vista neighborhood and if you go south you’ll venture more towards downtown and Brickell. One of the rad things Miami is renown for is its amazing street art. Next time I’m in town, I want to spend an entire day in Miami checking out all of the beautiful urban murals and the downtown core a little more.

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4) Eat at Mignonette. While you’re in downtown Miami, make sure to stop by Mignonette for dinner. This new restaurant is a collaboration between Blue Collar owner and executive chef Daniel Serfer and Miami food blogger Ryan Roman. Not only are they specialized in fresh seafood and oysters, they’ve also got an amazing selection of vegetarian options. They have a tasty selection of salads, sides and appetizers as well as the best homemade bread pudding I’ve ever had!

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5) Spend the day at the Standard Miami Beach. You don’t need to stay at the Standard Miami Beach in order to enjoy their dreamy facilities. It’s the perfect spot for a relaxing day, far from all of the ruckus you can usually find in South Beach. Tucked away on an island, this little slice of heaven has become one of our go-to spots when in the city. You can enjoy this lovely property when you spend $75 or more on any of their spa treatments. They have an incredible selection of massages, treatment baths, bodywork, etc. to choose from. With a day pass, you can spend the rest of your time lounging by the pool, swimming in the ocean, napping in one of their gardens, eating at their delicious restaurant, getting rid of toxins in the sauna… whatever your heart desires!

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Road to Nike Women’s 15k – Week 6

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Photo credit: Jess Baumung

Week recap:

This week started with a short post-race run on Monday morning with the #betterforit ladies. We also had the privilege of spending time once again with holistic nutritionist Miranda Malisani, who gave us some amazing recipe ideas and nutrition tips for the last couple of weeks we have left of training. I took a much needed day off on Tuesday and went for an 8k run with the NRC on Wednesday night followed by an early morning NTC workout on Thursday. This weekend, our amazing pacer Paulina offered to come pace a few of us for a long run at the NRC on Saturday morning. It was so neat to finally run a long distance with the girls. There’s no greater feeling than the feeling improvement. Lately I’ve been feeling improvement not only on my pace but also on my running form and breathing, which is super motivating! That said, I still have some work to do if I want to keep up the same pace past 10km. Thanks again Paulina!!

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How I’m feeling:

After a harder week 5, I’m back in topnotch shape this week! I took the proper amount of rest time on Tuesday and Friday to really push the workouts that I’ve been doing. My knee did hurt a bit during the long run on Saturday morning but overall I’m feeling a lot better. I also feel like I have a lot of energy this week. I’m making sure that I’m getting as much sleep as possible. I’ve realized that if I get a solid 8hrs of sleep a night, I usually perform a whole lot better.

What I’ve learned:

The importance of having a morning of run routine. This week the coach for the Nike Run Club in Toronto, the super rad Rejean Chiasson, gave us a handful of tips as we prepare for the 15k race. The one thing he did emphasize that really stuck with me was having a morning of run routine. I’m not an early riser and I can’t usually eat or drink much when I wake up super early. That said, when you’re gearing up to run 1-1.5 hrs, you need to hydrate and fuel your body properly before heading out on the run. I’ve been testing out what my body wants or requires in the morning before running or even before doing a morning NTC workout. I realized that the best thing for me to do is to a) eat half to a whole banana b) drink 1-2 cups of water c) have 1-2 spoonfuls of peanut butter or half a PERFECT BAR (my favorite pre & post-run snack, made in San Diego!). This has become the winning combination before any of my intense early morning workouts. I try to have this combo at least 1hr before running (Rejean even suggests waking up several hours before the run to make sure you eliminate the fluids and don’t have the food stuck in your stomach while running). Realistically I know that I won’t be able to wake up several hours in advance to hydrate and eat. So I try to hydrate as much as I can the day prior and also a little before, during and lot’s after the run. I really think that’s what saved me last week during the super humid & hot Sporting Life 10k run. All of our bodies are different so I highly recommend like Rejean said, trying to figure out your morning of routine a couple of weeks before the race!

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Eat good snacks. Speaking of snacking, having the chance to speak to a nutritionist on more than one occasion during this journey has really helped me figure out what type of snacks that I want to eat before and after a run. Because we don’t always have time to make homemade snacks right after a run, Miranda Malisani introduced us to a handful of yummy and healthy alternatives that we could find in local grocery stores. Some are my favorites are pictured below: The Chia Pod from The Chia Co. (didn’t know this but Kelly Slater is also a fan!),  Ipanema Valley Banana Brownies (an all-fruit brownie) , Amazing Grass Green Superfood (the perfect addition to smoothies) and Flow water (naturally alkaline spring water from right here in Ontario).

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 What are some of your favorite pre & post-run snacks?

Next week on the blog, don’t miss my next #5QuestionsWith interview with Miranda Malisani. She will be giving some last minute nutrition tips as the Nike Women’s 15k race approaches plus will be talking about what first got her interested in nutrition. It will go live on the blog next Sunday.

Only a few more training weeks to go!!! Have a great week 7 everyone!!

Friday Faves

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1) PAI Copaiba Aha Deep Cleanse Mask – I recently discovered this brand of certified organic, vegan and leaping bunny beauty products. Pai started in London in 2007, having as a goal to create a line of products that were clean and plant-based. This mask features ingredients like rosehip, strawberry leaf (who knew?!), copaiba and pink pomelo. My skin is pretty fair and sensitive so I enjoyed the delicateness of this mask. My skin always feels super smooth afterwards.

2) Saint Cosmetics Precarious Peach Blush – This vegan and natural brand of cosmetics is from Pickering, Ontario. Their products are created from naturally occurring and derived ingredients from nature. They are all free from parabens, sulfates, petrolatum or any products that could be harmful for the skin. I’m a big fan of the packaging, it looks very high-end. I also really like the color of the blush, it doesn’t look too bright and also feels very light!

3) Pureology Red Illuminating Caring Oil – Though I have natural red hair, I sometimes like to give my natural color a little boost. I recently heard of this vegan hair oil that I’m very excited to try. The problem with dying your hair red is that it always comes out so incredibly fast so I’m hoping that this oil will help make it last a little longer. I like that the brand is a Global Green partner and is working to create a sustainable future in the salon professional community. I’ve always disliked going to the salon because of the heavy use of chemicals in their hair products but it’s nice to see that brands are slowly moving towards more natural alternatives. Here’s hoping it continues that way.

Road to Nike Women’s 15k – Week 5

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Week recap:

Can’t believe we’ve already passed the halfway mark on this training journey. This past week was by far the hardest week thus far. The reason being: I was sick. I started off the week with a speed run on Monday morning with the #BetterForIt ladies and couldn’t even keep up. I had to stop several times to catch my breath and felt really terrible. Tuesday, I took a sick day from work and basically slept all day so didn’t train at all. Wednesday, I went to the NRC club to do a short and slow 5k run to try to get back into it. I was happy that it wasn’t a complete disaster. Thursday was my regular NTC morning class with Eva Redpath. I could tell that I was still under the weather and had less energy and strength then usual. Took the day off on Friday but went to get my bib in preview of the 10k Sporting Life race on Sunday. Can’t believe the time has finally come to run my 1st ever race! Saturday I went for a quick “shakeout run”, as they call it, running 3k slowly just to warm up my muscles. And today, Sunday, was D day! It was a muggy but rainless morning. There was so much excitement in the air as people lined up in their corrals, it brought me back to my teens and all the years I spent as a competitive swimmer, skippers, etc. It was truly an incredible feeling to not only be able to run down Toronto’s biggest street but to also see everyone cheering on the sidelines (PDRR‘s has the best cheering squad, hands down!). I can honestly say that I enjoyed every bit of it. Though it did get hard with the excessive humidity near the end, seeing everyone cheering motivated me to keep pushing. I even got a little emotional as I crossed the finish line realizing that I had indeed finished my 1st ever 10k race. Not only did I run my fastest 5k but I also ran my fastest 10k ever. Two PBs for me today! After a pretty bad week of training, this was a huge surprise! If you would have told me a year ago that I’d be running a 10k without stopping (I could barely run 3km before without stopping!), I wouldn’t have believed you. Today’s run was incredibly meaningful. So stoked for the Nike Women’s 15k race on June 14th!!

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How I’m feeling:

For the past week, I’ve been feeling pain in my left knee so thanks to Eva’s recommendation, I went to seek professional advice on Friday. I had acupuncture and physio done by a really nice RMT at the Toronto Pain and Headache Clinic . He also told me to ice my knee and see how I feel after the 10k run. Since I’ve also been sick, I’ve been trying to sleep as much as possible to try to recuperate. Even a week later, I was still not feeling 100%. I was also very nervous as of Thursday night going into my first race, not knowing what to expect from the event. I’m please to say that my knee didn’t hurt the entire 10k and that I’m now feeling 100% :D

What I learned:

-Injuries suck. There’s nothing worse than not being able to give it your all because of an injury. What I learned this week, is to be in tune with your body and to not wait until something gets really bad before going to get it checked. Being injured can definitely throw a wrench in someone’s training so the best way to deal with it is to seek professional advice ASAP!

-Enjoy the journey! A 10-week training journey is bound to be filled with ups and downs, personal victories, disappointments, etc. The important thing I’ve learned, is to enjoy the process. Our amazing Monday morning pacer Paulina, reminded me this week before the 10k race to just have fun and enjoy the experience. I think it’s truly the best attitude to have. I feel incredibly lucky to have the raddest group of people supporting me. Stoked on this first running accomplishment and excited to see what the future holds!

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On to week 6, only 4 more to go!! :)

#DoneBeforeDawn

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In July, I’ll be celebrating my one year anniversary of taking NTC classes. If you’ve been following my blog, you’ve probably read about NTC before. Doing NTC for the past year has really changed the way a) I view group classes and b) the way my body feels and looks. I think NTC has made me a whole lot stronger and healthier overall and has also allowed me to meet such an awesome community of women not only in Toronto but across North America.

This week, Nike Toronto launched a special #DoneBeforeDawn series of NTC classes across Toronto. This special 6-week series offers Torontonians some early morning classes that will have you sweating while the rest of the city sleeps. You’ll be able to train with Nike Master Trainers in some of the city’s most beautiful locations. Classes are offered in the Annex, CityPlace, The Village, King West, Downtown, St. Lawrence and Queen West!

Want to find out more? Check out the Nike Toronto page here.

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Photos by @Offner

Nike Free 5.0 TR Fit 5 Breathe Print Women’s Running Shoes (get them here)

Nike Dri-FIT 360 Arm Sleeve (get them here)

Nike Advantage Printed Women’s Tank (similar one here)

Meet the Apollo

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True story: When I was a child, I met an astronaut from Apollo 14. His name is Edgar Mitchell (look him up, his story is badass!). My mom was organizing a tourism event in Montreal and she got to go pick up the delegates at the airport. Knowing how much of a space nerd I was and that I wanted to be an astronaut (yes, I went through a phase as a child where I wanted to be an astronaut, didn’t we all?), she let me skip school for a day so that I could go greet Edgar Mitchell at the airport and drive him to his hotel. I remember asking him as many questions as I could on the ride to the hotel. I asked him about the Apollo 14 mission, UFOs (which he says he’s seen a bunch in his lifetime!), going on the moon (he became the 6th person to ever walk on the moon!), life as an astronaut, etc. I remember being so captivated by the stories he shared with me. When he left, he signed a piece of paper for me and gave me an Apollo 14 pin. I can honestly say it was one of the highlights of my childhood. I had met an astronaut! The summer after, I enrolled in space camp and spent the following year being even more obsessed with everything space-related. Though, my desire to be an astronaut lessened as I became a teenager, to this day I remain fascinated by the skies and the Apollo missions!

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Photos by @Offner

Native Shoes Apollo Moc – Jiffy Black / Shell White (get it here)

Fjallraven Duffel No. 5 (get it here)

Anine Bing Cropped Jeans with slit – charcoal (get them here)