Finding the Right Mattress For Better Sleep

A good night sleep is one of those simple things in life that I value the most. Growing up, I suffered from insomnia and had a pretty negative relationship with sleep. As I’ve grown older, I’ve found ways to combat my insomnia and one of those ways is making sure I had a mattress that made me excited about going to bed at night.

After almost a year of non-stop travels and not having a place permanent place to rest my head at night, we’ve finally found a place to put down our suitcase for a little while. Having sold all of our furniture before our great adventure, I was on the lookout for a new and comfortable mattress that would fit in our new place.

I first heard of Casper last summer, during one of their sleeping pod tours in Toronto. I had the opportunity to take a mid-day nap in downtown Toronto on one of their Casper mattresses and was immediately interested in the brand. So when came time for me to pick a mattress for our new place in Vancouver, I thought of Casper right away.

One of the things that makes Casper so great is their 100 Night Trial policy, that allows customers like myself, to sleep on their mattress for up to 100 nights and if you aren’t completely satisfied, you can return it for free without any questions asked.

The mattress gets shipped to you for free in just a few days from the time of purchase and arrives in a small box with super clear unpacking instructions. The mattress’ pressure-relieving memory foam is breathable yet also springy, allowing for the most support and comfort. Casper recently added a fourth layer to their mattress after doing further research and after having received precious customer feedback. The mattress’s removable cover allows for easier cleaning and added durability.

The Casper mattress comes with a 10-year warranty and is available in 6 different sizes, so that it can fit pretty much anywhere.

In addition to the mattress, Casper also provides customers with a wide range of other sleeping goods such as pillows, duvets and sheets.

I have yet to reach the 100 nights on my brand new mattress but I’m already convinced I made a great choice. I wake up every morning feeling relaxed, refreshed and ready to take on the day’s adventures!

For more information on Casper, go here.

This post was written in collaboration with Casper but all opinions are my own.

5 Things to do in Tofino

With Tofino being one of the summer travel hotspots in British Columbia, there’s no doubt that a lot of people will be coming to the area in the next couple of months. Having said that, there are lots of great things to do in and around Tofino, so I wanted to highlight a few of my discoveries from my first trip there last week!

1) Go surfing at Long Beach – Long Beach is definitely one of the most coveted surf spots in all of Canada. The long strip of sandy beach draws people from all around the world and with reason. It’s a great spot to learn how to surf or catch some smooth waves with your longboard. It does tend to get a little crowded this time of year, but the beach is so vast that there’s always a quieter spot somewhere in the water. It’s also an ideal spot to enjoy a post-surf picnic, BBQ and even watch the sunset.

2) Grab a beer from Tofino Brewing Co. – You can’t go to Tofino and not want to stop by their one and only brewery in the area, the Tofino Brewing Co. Their brewery is located on Industrial Way, on the way into downtown. You can get a tasting flight for just $10 and they also serve the local Tofino Kombucha, if you’re more in the mood for a non-alcoholic beverage. The spot is quaint, decorated with lots of surfing photos, and artwork. It’s a fun and casual place to go post-surf!

3) Visit Ucluelet – Ucluelet is located just a short drive away from Tofino. This small town is a lot quieter than Tofino but offers just as many things to do. I highly recommend doing the Amphitrite Point Lighthouse hike, visiting Small Beach, grabbing a homemade snack from Zoë’s Bakery and going shopping at Gypsy Drifter, the cutest bohemian-inspired shop! You can also hop on a sea plane for a tour of the area, go SUPing or visit their aquarium.

4) Tofitian Café – Looking for a place to grab your morning java or a homemade snack? You’ll want to go to Tofitian. It’s a super popular spot with both locals and visitors because they serve up delicious scones, muffins and croissants as well as tasty matcha lattés, coffees and drinks. The café is located in a cute shopping area, where you can sit on picnic tables and enjoy the proximity to the woods.

5) Rainforest Trail – There are tons of hikes to do in the area, but one that must be added to your list is the Rainforest Trail. Located in the Pacific Rim National Park, this lush green trail will make you feel like you’re in a magical wonderland. Though it tends to get crowded in the summer, there’s always room to feel alone in the vast forest. There are tons of different loops that you can choose from, which will please everyone from a newbie to a seasoned hiker!

Go Camping with MEC’s Gear Rental Program

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Looking to start camping this summer or in need of some extra camping gear to make your travels more epic? If so, check out MEC‘s camping gear rental program.

Before moving to British Columbia, I had never really gone camping as an adult. There are many reasons why I had never done so but the major reason being that I did not own or know anyone that owned good camping gear. The few memories I have camping as a kid are that it was always uncomfortable, that our old tent would always get wet, that we didn’t have the proper cooking gear, etc. So camping was definitely not one of my favorite activities growing up!

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Now with mountains and the ocean in my new backyard, I’m making it a point to rediscover camping and give it another shot. Since I don’t own any camping stuff and am not ready to buy a ton of gear without knowing if this is something I will like doing, I was thrilled to find out that MEC has an easy to use camping gear rental program. Their gear is available to rent out in most stores located across the country including those in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. Even as a long-time MEC member, I had no idea MEC rented some of their great gear out. They rent anything from camping gear to snowshoes and even SUPs!

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What’s awesome about this program is that not only is it incredibly inexpensive to rent gear, it’s also a great solution for those who like myself, don’t have a lot of storage space or aren’t ready to make that investment just yet.

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Thanks to the help of MEC, we put together a great pack for our first camping weekend in Tofino that included sleeping bags (they even have double sleeping bags for couples!), sleeping pads (that can be velcro’ed together to make a double pad) and a tent.

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The gear is of utmost quality and super easy to transport. The MEC tent is also fast to set up. Sadly, it did rain on one of the days we were camping but unlike my experiences as a kid, the tent did not flood and all of our gear stayed dry!

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Camping last weekend turned out to be so much more pleasant than I remembered. I know now that it’s all about the gear you bring (and also the company!). So whether you’re a seasoned camper or a total newbie like myself, camping is one of the coolest things you can do during the summer to spend time surrounded by nature. I highly recommend giving it a try, if you haven’t already!

For more info on MEC‘s camping gear rental program, go here.

This post was written in collaboration with MEC but all opinions are my own.

Become a Skin Checker with La Roche-Posay

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This year marks La Roche-Posay’s 3rd edition of Become a Skin Checker campaign, which is designed to help individuals be proactive in detecting melanoma. The beauty brand’s mission is to educate Canadians to help them live a better life and to help prevent and fight skin cancer. As someone who is fair-skinned, freckled and has skin cancer running in their family, I feel compelled to talk about this initiative.

Started this June, the campaign wants to raise awareness for melanoma and other types of skin cancer through early detection via self-examination. Although 90 per cent of skin cancers are curable if detected early, 2 out of 3 Canadians have never had a mole checked by a dermatologist. And I myself, am one of them!

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La Roche-Posay’s Become A Skin Checker initiative can help not only protect your own life but also help friends and family learn more about spotting suspicious moles. The brand recommends 3 easy steps that Canadians can follow in order to save their skin and adopt safe sun habits:

1 – Become A Skin Checker by checking your skin and the skin of loved ones on a regular basis with the ABCDE method. (I will be going in depth on how to use this method in an upcoming post, so stay tuned!)

2 – Protect your skin with broad-spectrum sunscreen such as Anthelios, the #1 recommended suncare by dermatologists in Canada and most advanced in UVA/UVB sun protection.

3 – Play safe in the sun by wearing your UV patch. (I will take the patch out on some of my outdoor adventures and report back in my next post!)

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My UV patch is a cute heart-shaped wearable technology that has been proven to improve safe-sun behaviour and minimize sun burns. It is paired with an intuitive app that monitors sun exposure in real-time. Users can scan their patch using the My UV patch mobile app to determine the UV exposure level. With the help of an algorithm using your personal data (phototype, skin type, location and weather), the app will generate essential information on what behaviours to adopt plus what protection to apply and when. La Roche-Posay will be distributing 20,000 of these UV patches across Canada.

Stay tuned for an upcoming post detailing the process of skin checking and more!

This post was written in collaboration with La Roche-Posay but all opinions are my own.

5 Things to do in Seattle

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1) Grab lunch at Wayward Vegan Café. This little Seattle hotspot serves up veganized versions of American diner food. Around since 2004, the Wayward Vegan Café has become a community favourite for its bottomless coffee, generous portions and comfort plates. They offer an extensive menu of all-day breakfast, lunch and dinner items as well as many gluten-free options. Waffles, sandwiches, salads and scrambles are just some of the many delicious dishes to choose from.

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2) Walk around in Capitol Hill. Located just east of downtown, Capitoll Hill is one of the liveliest areas of Seattle. Renown for its eclectic array of shops, restaurants and attractions, the colorful area has also become the city’s LGBTQ hub. Whether you’re looking for the trendiest urban offerings or quiet tree-lined parks and streets, the area has it all.

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3) Grab a mid-afternoon snack at Mighty-O Donuts. Looking for a sweet stop during your explorations? Stop by Mighty-O Donuts in Capitol Hill to satisfy your sweet craving! This ultra-popular shop has been around since 2000 and prides themselves in creating donuts and glazes from scratch using only certified organic ingredients. Plus all of their donuts are egg and dairy free!

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4) Visit Olympic Sculpture Park. This free outdoor park is open to the public all-year-round. Part of the Seattle Art Museum, the Olympic Sculpture Park was opened back in 2007 and features both permanent and visiting installations and spans 9=acres across a park and beach. It’s a great place to admire and get inspired by art as well as a great place to enjoy ocean views or even have a picnic!

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5) Have dinner Harvest Beat. If you were to ask me my top 3 vegan meals I’ve ever had, the one I had at Harvest Beat in Seattle, would definitely be in that list. The restaurant uses seasonal ingredients from local farmers to produce their daily menus. The 100% vegan 5-course prix-fixe dinner menu can be paired with wine or non-alcoholic beverages. The dinner is set in a very intimate and warm setting that allows conversation with the chef and for a truly wonderful evening!

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3 Things I’ve Learned about Yoga

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Yoga was never really my thing. I have practiced yoga on and off for almost ten years now. I’ve tried countless studios, methods, teachers, but it never really stuck. I even tried going with friends or my mom at a point in time to be more motivated but it never really clicked until I moved to Vancouver. As cliché as it may sound, moving to Vancouver really made me discover yoga for the first time. Though I’m by no means a yogi, I’ve come to appreciate a 1-2 x a week yoga practice. It’s a great way to switch up my work out routine, increase flexibility, workout a few kinks and also allows for some quiet and down time. There are several things I’ve learned about yoga in the past couple of months but here are the most important.

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1) You don’t have to be flexible. When I look at videos of people doing yoga or even in classes, I used to think that you absolutely needed to be flexible to be able to do yoga properly. The thing that I didn’t realize was that practicing yoga itself would actually make me more flexible. Growing up, I used to dance and used to be quite flexible, but I was never one of those girls that could do the splits both ways and had the longest jumps or jettés (hence why I opted to specialize in hip hop and tap!). But as an adult, my flexibility decreased dramatically (like real badly!) so yoga has always been somewhat of a “painful” hobby for me. What I’ve been realizing, just like with anything, is that the more you practice the better you get at it.

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2) Find the right instructor that works for you. This is probably the most important thing that I’ve learned about yoga. Just like with anything else in life, there will be yoga teachers that will not vibe with you, that you won’t like, that will not inspire you and will not make you want to come back to class time and time again. That just means, you haven’t found the right person. It may take quite a bit of time to find the yoga teacher that offers a class that connects with you. So far, I’ve found two teachers in the city of Vancouver (Betty Meng @ Yyoga and Ally Maz @ The Distrikt), both offer different practices but I immediately feel welcome whenever I’m in their class. They offer a no judgement zone and help people no matter where they are in their yoga journey.

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3) You do you. The thing I had always found with yoga was that it always intimidating. I always felt insecure to go to a yoga studio, worried what people would think, that I wasn’t advanced enough, that I wouldn’t get the moves right and that my practice wasn’t developed enough. But then I realized, no one really cares. As long as you do you, you focus on your own practice, yoga can be quite magical.

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What are your thoughts on yoga?

Photos by: @Offner

What I’m wearing: Hyba sculptor biker shorts (get them here), Hyba printed bra tank (get it here), Always x Always yoga mat (get it here).

This post was written in collaboration with Hyba but all opinions are my own.

5 Questions With: Steph Corker

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Photo by: Jon Chiang

A few weeks ago, I was invited to attend a really interesting panel organized by InnerVoice.Life in Vancouver, on storytelling and inspiration from endurance athletes. This is where I first heard of Steph Corker, a Vancouver athlete, business owner and all-around inspiring woman. She shared her incredible journey with everyone present in the room and I was immediately drawn to her no-bullshit #realtalk attitude. So I got in touch with her following the panel to find out more about her story and what led her to start up The Corker Co. as well as her thoughts on being the current Ironman Canada title holder.

1) What first got you interested in competing in Ironman and why?

Ironman was a super bucket list item — I wanted to finish my first IM by the time I was 60, because I thought it would take a full life time to build up to that crazy distance! When I moved west from Toronto, I immediately fell in love with watching IM Canada in Penticton, BC. I guess you could say the rest was history…

2) After finishing 16 Ironman races as an amateur athlete, you decided to go pro this year for the very first time. Why was it important for you to make that transition? How much has it changed your life as an athlete?

I took up the sport of triathlon as I like to call myself — a tri-hard! I wasn’t very great at riding or running, but did have a swimming background. So I would swim relatively well and then spend the rest of the day “trying-hard!” It was through some great races and many not great races that took me to the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii. Truth be told, I haven’t yet had an awesome race in Hawaii — it is sort of the elusive goal of many of us. However, I thought I could continue to race at the top of the amateur field and continue working toward Hawaii, or I could take a super leap of faith and see what trying hard with the pro girls was like. This transition was important to me because I’m a raging feminist in all things – business, sport and life. I think we owe it to each other to show up – win or lose – and be a female on the start line! 

In terms of changing my life as an athlete, I do think my training intensity/volume has gone up this year — because, it has to in order to compete with the full time athletes that I now race with. Yet more importantly, it has me eating humble pie every darn day. My first pro race, I finished last (as a pro). I mean, I guess there is only one place to go from there, right? 🙂

3) You are the current title holder of Ironman Canada, what does a typical week of training look like for you? How do you balance training with owning your own business? 

I did win the amateur race at Ironman Canada in 2016, however, there was no female pro field. So 2017 is going to be a really sweet return with such a large and awesome group of pro women. My training is rather intense leading up to an IM race — I swim nearly every day, I log 2 long bike rides each week and run 3-4x/week. To be honest, it is not the training that requires as much balance as the sleeping, eating, maintaining daily necessities that consumes time in my life. I’m not sure I really balance anything particularly well, instead I think I’m ruthlessly focused and only allow so many things to be in my life at one point in time. I start work 4 days a week at 10AM and try really hard to get to bed early — that is the best version of balance I have found in work and sport.

4) What has been the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome in your career as an athlete and how were you able to overcome it?

I don’t think this is spoken about enough and I’m happy to be at the front of this conversation — but body image is a really big deal to me. I do not look like 90% of the triathletes in the sport. And I especially do not look like a runner. This can be really easy to hold onto as dead weight (no pun intended!) and feel really inferior on the start line. My biggest practice has been in ensuring that the food I eat gives me fuel and the self-talk I tell myself gives me wings! Women come in many different shapes and sizes, and my work, my obstacle has been to remind myself that no one can see the size of my heart or the guts of my mental fortitude. Most importantly, my work is to surround myself by the people who believe in possibility….regardless of how we look.

5) How has support for women in the sport evolved over the last couple of years? Are there more women partaking in the sport nowadays?

Ahh, I’m so passionate about this topic yet to be honest, I’m not super well versed in the true stats behind it. If anything, I’d say it appears there is a decline in women participation, yet I could be so wrong about that. My first race of the year there were 20% females/ 80% males – if that is any indication, I just wish the numbers were skewed differently. 

I think it is really important that women show up to sport to encourage more women to also show up — I think we like to see examples of what’s possible and then ask ourselves: could that be me one day? I hope so!

You can follow Steph’s journey and upcoming races on Instagram and on her website.

Summer Travel Essentials

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Today I share some of my favorite summer accessories for the active traveler out there. If you’re hitting the beach or plan on going on a surf trip, you may want to add these items to your suitcase!

1) Wander Wet Bag – This is the perfect accessory for your bathing suit this summer! Wander Wet Bags is a local company based out of Encinitas, California. Each wet bag is made 100% in the United States and all the materials used from the bag are also local. The creator of Wander, Eileen, has come up with a beautiful variety of prints and colours. It’s the ideal bag to throw in your bathing suit after a day at the beach, swimming or even surfing!

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2) Colorescience Sunscreen – Want a quick and easy solution for makeup and UV protection while you travel? Try out Colorescience‘s Daily UV Protector. This lightweight, non-greasy and water-resistant cream blurs imperfections and also protects the skin from environmental stressors. It’s an easy foundation to use under makeup or even wear alone.

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3) Bikini Village Bathing SuitBikini Village is back with fun new bathing suits this summer. They have really stepped up the ante with the collections that are available in stores and online. Whether you’re looking for a bikini, a one-piece suit, a tankini, boy shorts and more, they’ve got you covered. Bikini Village offers 50 + brands to choose from for classic, trendy or more sophisticated beach and summer looks.

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4) Reef Escape Sandals – Flip flops are a must in your suitcase this summer! Reef has released a series of cute printed luxury sandals that are easy to pair with a bathing suit or a cute summer outfit. The sandals are water friendly, free of PVC (which is better for the environment!) and also provide arch support for added stability and comfort while you explore.

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5) Rip Curl Hooded Towel – This towel is an absolute must for surfers and swimmers who are looking for a great way to keep warm and dry after going in the water. The Rip Curl Wettie Gift Hooded Towel is also an easy way to change at the beach, without having to find a change room or toilet. It’s lightweight and easy to roll up in your suitcase.

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Staying Active During Your Period

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SUP or Stand Up Paddle Boarding is one of the sports I’m hoping to do a lot more of now that I am based on the west coast. Having access to the ocean and with so many lakes nearby, it’s a great opportunity to improve on my balance and also my paddling skills.

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Since I’m a firm believer in challenging myself, I decided to venture off on a SUP excursion last week that departed from beautiful Granville Island and had me paddling all the way through False Creek and to Science World. It was a great way to not only enjoy the warm weather but also work on my SUP skills.

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As someone who is constantly in movement and who trains 5-6 days a week, I’m always looking for products that keep up with me and help me perform no matter the time of month. So I was curious to try out the new U by Kotex FITNESS line that was specifically designed for active people, like myself. Whether you prefer pads, liners or tampons, the new series of U by Kotex FITNESS products were engineered to move with your body during any workout or sport. In my case, SUP!

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Here are the top 4 things I loved about the new line:

Convenient Packaging: The pads and liners come in a drawstring package so they stayed put in my bag all day and I didn’t have to worry about them falling out, especially as I was constantly grabbing my sunscreen or water bottle. It’s just one less thing I have to worry about when I’m on-the- go.

FitPak* Case: Each box of tampons come with a FitPak* case, a small and discreet pack that protects the product in my bag. This is so important to me since I’m always finding and tossing damaged tampons at the bottom of my bag.

Design: The pads and liners are designed to be more flexible and actually move with your body while you’re active. I tried the liners during the excursion and they stayed perfectly in place. I forgot that I was wearing them!

Comfort: Since I’m always on-the- move, whether it’s working out or travelling, I love that the pads are fast-absorbing and keep me dry. They aren’t stiff or bulky at all. Knowing that the product I was using would keep me protected while I was out on the water gave me peace of mind so that I could give it my all and fully enjoy the beautiful views during my SUP session!

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For more information on the new U by Kotex FITNESS line, visit ubykotex.ca. Use this coupon when you purchase any of the new FITNESS products!

5 Questions With: Simone De La Rue of Body By Simone

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Photo by: Tony Felgueiras for WINNERS

Dance and fitness are two of the things I love most. Most people don’t know, but dancing was a huge part of my life growing up. I started dancing at the age of 2 and danced for 23 years, even teaching dancing and doing a bunch of dance contracts as a professional dancer throughout my teens and early life. So when I found out that celebrity dance fitness trainer Simone De La Rue was coming to Canada, I had to chat with her about her ultra popular method called Body by Simone

1) What inspired you to start up your own training method – Body By Simone?

After 18 years of a professional dance career, I was ready to move on and the question I always got was: how to get a dancer’s body? It’s simple, the answer is: dance!

Years of dancing gave me an understanding the body and anatomy, which brought me to the fitness world. I had a desire to bring dance to the everyday woman and help her achieve a dancer’s physique. Hence Body By Simone was born five years ago!

2) What would you say is the main component that separates your method from other dance-cardio fitness classes?

Our dance cardio features interval training and the choreography is more athletic so it appeals to even the most uncoordinated of clients.

3) What are your thoughts on the current state of the fitness industry and particularly the focus on women’s fitness these days?

I think we are really moving into boutique fitness. People are stepping away from traditional gym workouts towards group classes. People want to spin on Monday, do BBS on Tuesday, Yoga on Wednesday.

It’s great for your body and helps keep your mind and body stimulated so you won’t plateau. I think that particularly for women who might be intimidated by traditional gyms and machines, classes like BBS are accessible and appealing because they only require your own body weight.

4) What are some of your favourite songs to dance to at the moment?

  • Show me love 2015-Orignal Mix By Sean Finn
  • Pony (Jump On It) Sick Individual’s Remix By Tough Love
  • Needs to 136 BBM or more!

5) Over the years, you have worked with a handful of high-profile and celebrity clients, what has been the most rewarding part of your journey thus far?

The most rewarding part is working with clients towards a goal, like a movie premiere or red carpet for the Grammys, Oscars etc. It’s really wonderful to see them on film and see our hard work come to life (and my name come up on the screen!). I started off with 5 clients and to see that grow to 5,000 is thrilling!

For more information on Body By Simone, go here. Thank you to Winners Canada for setting up this interview.