Working Hard

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Is it just me or has January flown by? What a busy month it has been for me. I definitely started 2015 with a very strong work ethic and have been busting my butt clocking long hours and putting in all of my heart, knowledge and creativity into my work. With so much going on and so much coming up (got tons of traveling coming up in the next couple of months, so excited to share with y’all new travel blog posts following these travels), it’s hard not to work hard. As a kid, my mother would always say, “do your best and f*ck the rest“… Yes, maybe not the “f*ck” part when I was a kid but would always encourage me to work hard and do the best that I can at everything I did.

During one of my meetings today, I had a moment where I couldn’t believe that after all these years of work, I was where I am today. It was a weird out of body moment, where I was looking at myself and what I was doing in disbelief. My career holds a very important place in my life and the only reason I’ve attained the job status I have today is because I’ve worked my butt off, not counting my hours, working without getting paid for years while paying my dues and then when finally attaining my first real job, working hard to get to the next level.

I think having a hard working ethic will lead to positive results no matter what area in your life. Whether it’s your career, family, personal goals, health, etc. without putting work into it, you won’t get any results. As of late, I’ve been focusing a lot of my energy on becoming the healthiest person that I can be and with that comes work. By registering to a 10k run, comes work. By wanting to eat clean every day, comes work. If you work hard in life, it will pay off! That’s what I’ve always believed in and hopefully always will. Who’s with me?

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Photos by @Offner

H&M camo jumpsuit 

The Kooples Faux Python Embossed Boots (get them here)

H&M thick camo belt

H&M black felt moto jacket

Getting Through Winter

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Well, we’re definitely in the thick of winter right now. Temperatures are well below freezing point, it’s snowing pretty much all across the north east and unfortunately spring is still a ways away.

Those who know me how much I don’t like the cold and winter. I used to not mind it as a kid because it meant going skiing every weekend with my family, getting snow days, going sliding with friends, making forts, etc. As an adult, living in a big city, I find winter to be more of an annoyance than anything. That said, this winter I decided to make an attitude adjustment (or at least try my best!). Since I’m all about positivity this year and since it seems like I’m unfortunately not moving to a warm far away place just yet, I still have at least one more winter to deal with so why not make the best of it! I know a lot of us suffer from a mild or sever form of “winter blues” or aren’t too excited about this season, I figured I’d share with you some of the things that are making my winter a little more bearable this year and are helping me get through the next couple of months:

1) Travel – Even if it’s just for a weekend, traveling and getting away from the cold is definitely a morale booster for me. Getting some much needed Vitamin D during these grey winter months can have a serious positive impact on how you feel and how you deal with winter. It’s also something to look forward to. Some of my favorite destinations that are still relatively cheap and close enough to travel to for a weekend are: Miami, Las Vegas, California, Arizona, Memphis, etc. If you can’t take any time off, I recommend looking to travel during Family Day and/or Easter. Though it may be more expensive to travel during those weekends, if you book enough in advance, you can definitely find some deals. Also, if you’re desperate to get away and want to make it the cheapest trip possible, try booking red-eye flights, or early morning flights that way you don’t even have to tell your boss you were away or ask for any time off, you’ll be at the office at the same time as everyone but with an extra glow! You can check out my travel section on the blog here to get more travel ideas!

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2) Treat yourself – Whether you like massages, manicures, trying out new restaurants, going for brunch on the weekend, playing board games, visiting a museum, cooking, being crafty, making dyi beauty products, etc. it’s the perfect time of year to treat yourself and do things for you. I find that I have a lot more free time in the winter and so I take that opportunity to take care of myself. Sometimes, it’s the littlest thing that will be a moral booster. I definitely feel like when I treat myself or just take care of myself, I automatically feel better. Some of my favorite things to do in the city this winter: Having dinner at Electric Mud BBQ, grabbing the goûter at The Tempered Room – the best French bakery/patisserie in the city hands down, eating brunch at The Drake, enjoying the pools and get a massage at Body Blitz Spa, going for tea at the Shangri-La Hotel, grabbing a snack from Bolt Fresh Bar, etc.

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3) Try a new outdoor activity – Yea being outdoors when it’s -20C might suck, but if you’re doing something fun with friends or even by yourself, you might not think it sucks as much. Plus, I realized after all these years, my mother was right – Dress warm and you’ll be fine! I’ve come to terms with the fact that if I’m planning on being outdoors for a while, style or any kind of fashion sense gets thrown out the widow. I’d prefer wearing my big dorky boots and huge jacket than freeze my butt off! As you may have read in one of my previous blog posts here, this year I’ve given winter running a try. To my surprise, it’s a whole lot easier than I thought it would be. Layers are super important and make sure your extremities are covered, but once you’re out the door, you’ll be sweating in no time. Also, if you’re lacking the motivation to run by yourself, there are tons of great clubs out there. Just in Toronto, you can run on Wednesday nights and Saturday mornings with the Nike Queen West Run Club, on Thursday evenings with the Academy Of Lions run crew and also on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays with the Parkdale Roadrunners. These are just some of the many clubs in Toronto and there are run clubs in just about every city! And with all of these clubs, no matter your level and speed, no one gets left behind!

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Another thing I recently started doing is snowboarding. I grew up skiing but in Ontario, the “hills” are so small that skiing is quite boring if you’re an avid skiier. Luckily, Offner offered to teach me how to snowboard three years ago and these small “hills” have been the perfect place to learn and progress. I’ve also noticed that a lot of ski stations offer discounted day rates online, which makes riding a little more affordable! Walking is also a great way to spend time outdoors. The streets are almost empty in Toronto in the winter, so it’s actually really nice to explore the city when there’s no one around. Offner and I often walk at night from work or walk around on weekends. Plus, there’s nothing more awesome than going into stores to warm up or stopping by your favorite coffee shop to grab a treat mid-walk.

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4) Catch up on all the movies & television series you’ve missed – Two years ago, I made the decision to get an Apple Tv and I must say it’s been a lifesaver during the winter. I love making myself a warm cup of tea (currently obsessed with the rose bud tea that I got in California), lighting my new Dyptique candle and watching a movie wrapped under a blanket on my couch. In the summer, I’m usually so busy traveling and being outdoors that I rarely get to sit down and watch “television”. So I write down all the new series and movies that interest me and catch up on them in the winter. Currently, I follow about 7 series and try to watch at least 1-2 new movies a week, so it gives me something exciting to watch every night if I want to. Some of my favorite movies lately: Virunga, Copenhagen, Boyhood, Chef, Interstellar, Fed Up, etc.

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5) Read a book – I’ve said it in one of my previous blogs, I’m making a real effort this year to read a lot more. I’ve also noticed that I tend to read more during the winter, I think the reason being because it’s a nice form of escapism. Don’t get me wrong, I know I’m not escaping winter but it’s nice to get carried away in a story once in a while. It’s the perfect way to also disconnect from your busy day at work and relax.

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So those are the top 5 things that are currently keeping me sane this winter. What about you?

Friday Faves

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1) I’m sad to say I don’t know who made this beautiful necklace. I know she’s a jewelry designer from Quebec. I was gifted this super uniquely designed piece at Christmas this year and have been wearing it non-stop since. I like it because of its shape and intricate metal work. I also love that it’s bronze, a color that I rarely wear. It really has a cool bohemian yet badass feel to it. If anyone recognizes this jewelry designer, please let me know :)

2) Alex and Ani Om Charm Bangle – You’ve probably seen the Alex and Ani bangles everywhere. These cute stackable bracelets are new to my collection of jewels. I was gifted this beautiful “Om” bracelet by the ladies at Lotus Leaf Communications and immediately added it to my stack of jewels. I love the charm because on a busy day, when I’m stressed it, I look at it and it reminds me to breathe, to remain calm and peaceful. They have some awesome colorful new bracelets and jewels coming for the spring and summer. I like that there are charms for just about everyone!

3) Elizabeth Stone Jewelry Double Geode Cuff Ring – My dear friend from Los Angeles, Elizabeth, is one talented lady! You may recall me posting about her jewels several times on my blog in the past (check out my interview with her here). She recently underwent a name change from OIA Jules to Elizabeth Stone Jewelry, a name that I find is a lot more representative of the beautiful creations she has been making. Elizabeth truly has a knack for picking out the most beautiful stones and making unique designs with them. I love that her jewelry is also bold but also feminine. This new cuff ring is my latest obsession. It adds glam to every outfit!

Juice. Cleanse. Energize.

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Yes, this post is about a juice cleanse but this is a different type of juice cleanse, a cleanse that includes the consumption of food. Yes, you read right!

If you’ve read about my previous cleanse experiences (here), you know that my experiences have not been positive. As someone that works out several times a week and that has a very active job, I simply cannot afford to not eat anything solid for a couple of days. The last cleanse I did, consisted in 2 days of raw food, 3 days of juicing and 2 additional days of raw food before eating “normal” again – that’s a full 7 days of not eating regularly. Some people swear by cleanses, but it left me feeling terrible, so much so that I vowed never to do a cleanse again… Until I was asked to try Freshii‘s 1-day #JuiceCleanseEnergize.

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I like Freshii, they offer healthy food options for people on the go. They’ve been a saver many times when traveling to the Pearson Airport, offering the only healthy food option around! Plus, they’re also a Toronto-based company, which makes them even more appealing to me.

Being a big consumer and maker of fresh juices (I usually make at least 1 fresh juice a day – anything from green juice to an apple, carrot, ginger juice to a yummy grapefruit juice in the morning!), I know the benefits of making your own fruit and veggie juices. In the past year, since I purchased my juicer (honestly, best purchase ever!), I’ve cut out store bought juices all-together from my diet and grocery list. Wohoo!

Last week, I went to the Freshii headquarters in Toronto to learn more about this new juice cleanse along with some amazing people from the fitness and media community in Toronto. I was immediately surprised when Freshii’s nutritionist explained that this 1-day cleanse would also include food. WHAT?!  Yes, it IS ok to eat something during a juice cleanse. Some will argue that it isn’t but to me, it’s a WAY more realistic approach to juicing if you can actually EAT something and not starve yourself for days on end.

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Photos by: Natalie Sorichetti

Though I’m a very clean eater, I do have a sweet tooth and a thing for baked goods (Can you blame me? Part of my family is from France!). That said, I’ve been making a real effort as of late to only eat homemade baked goods or organic locally made baked goods, that don’t contain any preservatives, any added sugar, etc. That said, taking a day to super-charge my nutrient intake and energize my body can’t hurt so I gave it a shot!

Basically, the cleanse is super simple. You have 4 juices to drink 2.5-3 hrs apart and you finish your day with a salad. Here’s basically what your day looks like on the cleanse:

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1) You start off your day with a glass of warm lemon water.

2) You have the Green Energy juice (apple, cucumber, kale, lemon, carrot, romaine, spinach) to start.

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3) You then have the Carrot Zinger juice (carrot, apple, ginger) a few hours later.

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4) Your next juice is the Mighty Detox juice (pineapple, cucumber, celery, apple, ginger).

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5) And your last juice is the Red Power juice (beet, carrot, lemon, ginger).

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6) You finish your day off with the Metaboost Salad juice (field greens, spinach, kale, carrots, mango, edamame, almonds, goat cheese and balsamic vinaigrette).

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All the juices were super yummy and the salad was also a nice treat at the end of the day!

You can conveniently pick up the cleanse at one of the Freshii locations in Toronto in the morning or the night before your cleanse. If you’re a big fan of the juicing, you can also opt for a 3 or 5 day cleanse. For me, the 1-day cleanse was sufficient and the only thing I could do realistically, but I know that everyone is different. Whether I’ve fully cleansed my body or not, I personally believe it all has to do with maintaining a healthy lifestyle, eating clean as much as possible and being active. Also, a healthy body isn’t the only thing one should strive for, I think a healthy mind is also incredibly important. I know that when I’m in a positive mindset, my stress levels and anxiety decrease and I always feel so much better about everything.

All in all, I did enjoy my Freshii experience. It was nice to not have to make my own juices for a day and I did like their more realistic and healthier (I find!) approach to the whole juicing craze!

Would you try a juice cleanse? Share some of your personal experiences with me!

Color Psychology

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I think I have an obsession with grey. Just putting it out there. I don’t know if it’s the grey weather, me getting older or what, but lately I’ve found that I’ve been particularly drawn to grey. According to color psychology (if such a thing can be true), grey is the color of compromise, it’s detached, neutral, impartial and indecisive – the fence-sitter. It’s interesting to reflect on the meaning of this color. The one word that does stick out in this color analysis is “neutral”, I often feel in life that I’m the “neutral” person, whether that directly reflects in what colors I wear, I doubt it but it’s an interesting exercise to figure out why I’ve been drawn to this color lately.

I’ve noticed over the past couple of months, I’ve been shying away from bright colors and prints for my every day clothes but have opted for that color scheme when working out. Maybe it’s a workout motivator to wear bright and fun colors and prints? Either way, I find it fascinating to see how my own personal style is evolving. Anything you’ve noticed in your way of dressing these past couple of months?

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Photos by @Offner

The Kooples Faux Python Embossed Boots (get them here)

Zara structured grey coat (get it here)

Zara grey sweater dress

Springsioux Shaman pendant (get it here)

Wild Horses

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One thing I’ve been meaning to do for a long time is go horseback riding. As of late, I’ve been thinking of all the things I have yet to do a lot of in my life and getting to know horses better and try horseback riding again is one of those things. Horses are such beautiful animals but I’ve only had the chance to be around them a handful of times in my life. My aunt is actually a champion at show jumping and barrel racer out west and there are several photos in my mom’s house of me as a child beside my aunt’s horse before or after her competitions. As a kid, I remember visiting her bedroom and seeing dozens of ribbons, medals and trophies for her achievements in horseback riding. Lately, I’ve had the opportunity to visit a bunch of places in France that had ponys but have yet to spend much time with horses. One more thing to add to the bucket list I guess :D

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Photos by @Offner

Zara TRF Leopard Furry Coat

Fjällräven Ovik melange beanie (get it here)

Recycled leather and fur gloves 

Malorie Urbanovitch knee high socks

Urban Outfitters mixed knit eternity scarf (get it here)

Friday Faves

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1) Le Petit Marseillais deodorant spray – France loves Le Petit Marseillais. I’m always on the lookout for new beauty products and had never really seen any spray deodorants for women in Canada before, especially some that didn’t contain paraben or aluminum. These spray on deodorants are so awesome because they don’t leave any white stains or yellow marks and dry super quickly! I also love the smell of this one – “green tea“, it’s light and also a little sweet. I was so stoked on this product, that I actually brought back a bunch of them with me. You can get some Le Petit Marseillais products online via Amazon, if ever you’re not planning on making it out to France any time soon.

2) BelVita Biscuit Petit Déjeuner – I recently discovered these amazing breakfast cookies while in France. They come individually packaged in packs of four and are great accompanied by fruit or even yogourt in the morning. They have a bunch of different kinds – some sweeter than others. To my surprise, I found BelVita cookies at Fiesta Farms in Toronto, but funny enough in Canada, they’re made by Christie and not by LU and don’t have the same health standards. So to my utter disappointment, these cookies in Canada as healthy and awesome as they are in France. Luckily we brought back a few boxes but that just means we’ll have to go back and get more ;) SO YUMMY!

3) Chestnut Spread –  As a kid, my mom would eat chestnut spread from France every morning. She would put it on toast with butter. I never really liked chestnut spread until I became an adult but now, I love putting it on raisin bread toast (any one else grew up eating raisin bread all the time?!). I like it because it’s not too sweet and this particular spread we brought back from France is actually local and all-natural. You can find similar chestnut spread at Whole Foods or even Fiesta Farms in Toronto.

Sporting Life 10k Run

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I mentioned this fall in my “Winter Running” post here, that one of my goals in 2015 would be to sign up for my 1st ever official run. Well, I said I would, so I did! I’ll be running the Sporting Life 10k run on Sunday May 10th in Toronto. I’m incredibly excited but also nervous to take part in my first competitive event since my teens. I know I’m technically only competing against myself, but it’s still a nice thing to work towards. The nervousness I felt after signing up for the race yesterday reminded me of all the competitions I took part in as a child and teenager.

Growing up, I did A LOT of sports and took part in A LOT of competitions, mostly in swimming, skipping and karate. I just remember being so nervous leading up to these competitions, eating proper “prep” meals a few days before the competition and barely sleeping the night before. The night before, I would also always prepare my team uniform, my bag, my snacks, etc. The morning of, I would barely have an appetite, would get dressed nervously and would drive to one of these competitions with my parents. Luckily, I was one of those kids that thrived under pressure. I usually ended up getting my best results when performing under stress. Now, 15+ years later, I know the nerves will be there the morning of May 10th when I get to the run. Even if I’m not competing for medals, even if I’ve run a 10k before, I know that I will be feeling something special that day. Once the race starts, I know everything will be ok and will be looking forward to the feeling you get once you cross the finish line. Priceless!

I’m lucky that some of my fellow NTC ladies are also planning on running with me. Though it isn’t a half-marathon or a marathon, I will still be training leading up to this race and will be documenting part of my process right here :)

If you’re also interested in signing up for the run, you can do so until April right here.

I think this is the beginning of a beautiful new adventure!

Downtime

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What do you do in your downtime? Are you someone who likes to read? I realized recently that I read less than 10 books this past year. How scary is that? I used to read all the time but with the advent of Netflix, getting and iPad, blogging, etc., most of the downtime I spend indoors is connected to some form of technology. I got a major reality check this month when Offner and I rented a house in Malibu in the middle of the canyon with no wifi, no tv and basically no technology whatsoever. What else is there to do at night when you take technology away? We’re so tied to it that it feels funny at first to not be able to “refresh” your twitter, instagram, etc. every 5 minutes.

We decided to embrace this lack of technology and found ourselves playing games (mimes anyone?), talking a lot more and reading a bunch before going to bed each night. It was actually quite calming. Though I’m not one to make yearly resolutions every January, one of the things I will make a conscious effort to do more this year is to read. It’s another form of relaxation that I often overlook and want to make sure I don’t as much in the future.

I’m always looking for reading suggestions so if you’ve got any good books you’d like to share, comment below! :D

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Photos by @Offner

Fjällräven Ovik melange beanie (get it here)

Springsioux x Jannah Roy “Little Wing” bracelet (get it here)

Springsioux x Jannah Roy “Machine Gun” bracelet (get it here)

Zara France TRF plaid boyfriend shirt

Anine Bing Skinny Jeans Double Zipper Black (get them here)

 

Outdoors

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 presetOutdoors! Beautiful outdoors! I had an amazing time hiking around the Griffith Observatory while I was in Los Angeles last week. Even if it wasn’t the sunniest day, it was so nice to explore new trails and enjoy the warm weather. I love the outdoors, I always have. As a kid, my mom would make us stay outdoors all day long when we had days off or on the weekend. It didn’t matter what temperature it was, it could be freezing outside but we had to find a way to entertain ourselves. My mom would always say that being outdoors could open our appetites and that getting fresh air is so important.

As I’ve grown older, I’ve always kept my love for the outdoors. Even if I unfortunately have to spend a lot of time indoors each week due to work, I make an effort to always go outdoors. Whether it’s a walk, a bike ride, picnics, a run, skiing/snowboarding, wakeboarding, surfing, etc. I love being outdoors!

As I write this, it’s -20C (-4F) outside in Toronto and though it’s hard to motivate yourself when it’s that cold to do anything outdoors, there’s nothing quite like getting some fresh air after a long day of work or on the weekend. Fresh air and outdoor activity sure beats the gym or anything you can do indoors. It’s a great mood booster and no matter how I feel, it always makes me feel better! Excited to keep celebrating the outdoors all throughout 2015, regardless of how warm or cold it is!! :D

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Photos by @Offner

Nike Legendary Waves Tights (get them here)

Nike G87 Mezzo (get it here)

Nike Zoom Fit Agility (get them here)

Nike Dri-FIT Wool Infinity (get it here)