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)

Road to Nike Women’s 15k – Week 4

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Week recap:

Can’t believe we’re already at the end of week 4! Time is flying by! This week started off with an awesome 6k run on Monday morning with the #BetterForIt ladies followed by an amazing private cooking class from The Drake Hotel‘s chef de cuisine – Alexandra. She gave us some of her favorite recipes to make pre & post-run. Tuesday was an EPIC day of training. It started off with a soccer-inspired #NTC workout on Tuesday morning with Nike Master Trainer Eva Redpath and two of the Canadian Women’s National Soccer Team players – Adriana Leon & Sophie Schmidt. We previewed this month’s new NTC workout. That evening, we were brought by Nike Toronto to a secret location for a soccer inspired speed workout with Adriana and Sophie. In case you missed it, check out my interview with Adriana Leon on the blog here. Wednesday I took a much needed rest day but continued my training with another morning NTC class on Thursday and then a speed track workout on Friday afternoon. Clocked my fastest km & mile thus far, another exciting moment! This weekend, I took advantage of the beautiful weather and went for a longer run today, running 10k. Felt really inspired by all those who ran the GoodLife Fitness marathon & half-marathon today. I’ve said this before, but what an awesome community of runners we have in Toronto. We’re incredibly lucky!

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How I’m feeling:

The week started off great, except my knee started hurting on Tuesday during the speed run. It was ok the rest of the week until the track workout on Friday. I made sure to use the tennis ball and stretch properly using Dr. Bubbs tips (see them here), after my runs, hopefully it will feel better for my 1st ever race next week! I’m also feeling a bit under the weather, my throat has been sore and my head has been pounding, so I’m trying to load up on vitamins to make sure I’m 100% for race week! Not going to lie, today’s 10k was incredibly hard for me. The first 5, I was feeling really sick and even had to stop at one point but seeing everyone from the race still on Lakeshore and also seeing some of the last competitors walk or job past me, I know I had to keep going. Hey if they’re running 20-40 kms, then I need to finish my 10! Thanks to Offner for sticking with me until the end.

What I learned:

The importance of wearing the right shoe. This week I had the privilege of trying out new Nike running and NTC footwear. Below, from left to right, the new soccer inspired Nike Free 5.0 TR Fit 5 Breathe Print Women’s Running Shoes – perfect for my weekly NTC classes, the new Nike Free 5.0 2015 Women’s Running Shoes – great for quick runs and working on speed. They are lightweight and are good for building up your muscles and finally the Nike Air Zoom Vomero 10 Women’s Running Shoes – perfect for longer runs with a shock-absorbing cushion and good outsole that maximizes traction and durability! Excited to have taken these three new pairs of shoes for runs and training this week. I’m definitely enjoying the extra cushiony feel of the new Vomeros, they make me feel like I’m reducing the stress on my body as I’m running longer distances.

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Listen to your body. With training comes fatigue and with fatigue comes injury. With my first race just a week away, I want to make sure I listen to my body when it’s hurting or feeling fatigued. I think I pushed myself way too much last week so this week, I took it a bit easier. With my knee not feeling 100%, I’m being careful with the amount and type of training I do. I don’t want to make it worst!

This week is a pre-race week! I’m excited to let you all know how my first ever race goes. Anyone else running the Sporting Life 10k? Wishing you all a fabulous week! xo

 Photos by @Offner

5 Questions With: Adriana Leon

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Photo credit: The Ottawa Citizen

Earlier this week, the roster for the Canadian Women’s National Soccer Team was announced in preview of the FIFA Women’s World Cup. One of the athletes that will be joining the team for her first ever world cup at the senior level, is Ontario native Adriana Leon. In addition to being a part of the National team, Adriana also plays for the Chicago Red Stars in the National Women’s Soccer League as a winger and attacking midfielder. Adriana will be playing along with 22 other women at home for the FIFA Women’s World Cup, which starts June 6th in Edmonton. Canada is currently ranked No. 8 in the FIFA world rankings.

This past week I had the pleasure of training with Adriana and her colleague Sophie Schmidt, thanks to the folks over at Nike Women. It was super neat to receive training tips from these professional athletes on how to overcome mental & physical fatigue, preparation for a race or big events, etc.

I’m thrilled to share with you today my 5 Questions with Adriana Leon.

1) What first interested you in soccer?

I started playing when I was four. I have two older brothers, who I’m super competitive with. We used to just play in the backyard, just competing against each other. I always wanted to beat them and always wanted to win. So I think that they inspired me to continue to play soccer. 

2) How has playing in the US and playing for the Chicago Red Stars in the National Women’s Soccer League impacted you as a player?

I think I did a really good job at taking it step by step. The last couple of years has been a pretty long process of ups and downs. I didn’t have the best NWSL season my first couple of years in the league but I pushed through it. Now I’m starting to see more improvements, I’m getting stronger, I’m getting quicker and I’m getting adjusted to the game. I’m really excited for June because I think we’re going to do great!

3) What are some of the things that have helped you overcome hurtles both mentally and physically as an athlete?

I think that meditation has helped with shutting the little voices out. Through experience, you’ll learn that your body can go through so much more than your mind thinks. Just having the courage to push through those moments and realizing you can do it. 

4) The FIFA Women’s World Cup will be taking place in Canada next month, what does that mean to the team?

Having a home World Cup, to just see our fans in the stadium in Edmonton, it’s going to be such a special moment, to stand next to my teammates and sing that national anthem with the entire stadium.

5) The sport of soccer has been gaining in popularity in North America and Canada in recent years. How has that helped the women’s league?

Women’s soccer has grown so much in the last few years, it’s crazy! We’re hoping to, win or lose this World Cup, we’re hoping to inspire a younger generation to go and pick up a soccer ball, buy a new pair of boots and start playing. Hopefully with this World Cup we’ll get an opportunity to change women’s soccer in Canada and around the world! 

Healthy Skin

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As I’m transitioning towards a healthier and better me, I feel like the next logical step in this transformation is to take care of my skin. I’ve been eating as clean as possible, and working out, so the next logical step is to make sure that what I put on my skin is also healthy.

I started wearing makeup when I was in high school. I remember buying and wearing foundation because I didn’t like my freckles to show and as the years went on, my makeup collection just kept growing. Since I’ve been working in television the past five years, I’ve had the privilege of being able to get my makeup done when I shoot. That said, with having to wear a lot of makeup all the time, I started wondering if what I was putting on my skin was causing my breakouts, eczema, etc.

I never really cared about what I put on my face until very recently… When I started moving towards healthier and toxic-free living, it came to mind that I should also look at what I was putting on my body, since I was already keeping in check what I was putting in my body. After trying out a few local natural brands and after talking to my dear friend Maggie (if you haven’t already, check out her amazing wellness blog My Whole Healthy), it became obvious that I should also make the transition towards healthy skin.

So a couple of weeks ago, after chatting with Maggie and after checking out EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Database she recommended, I decided it was time to clean out my makeup bag and only keep the cleanest and most natural beauty products. I also went online and ordered a handful of new natural and clean beauty products following the the Skin Deep guide of recommended brands. If you haven’t used this site before, it’s a must! You can find more than 68 000 products on their site, which they grade from the safest to most harmful for your skin (using the scale below!), listing what ingredients you’ll find in each product and their effects on your body.

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The products pictured at the top of the blog are all part of my new beauty routine. Juice Beauty, Eco Bella and Avalon Organics are products I just recently ordered online after checking out their their toxicity and reading reviews on the database. Kaia Naturals and LOVEFRESH are local Toronto brands that I’ve been really loving recently. I’ll keep posting some of my new favorite natural products as I find them along the way.

I still have a long way to go, but it’s such a great feeling to know that I’m not putting carcinogens or toxic products on my face every day. What are some of your favorite all-natural makeup brands and beauty products? I would love your recommendations! :D