Running through winter means you need to be prepared for all the elements, especially in BC. There are three key things that I look for when choosing my running gear for winter. All of my running gear needs to be:
1 – Waterproof – because rain is definitely often in the forecast during the winter in BC so you don’t want to be running and feeling completely drenched.
2 – Reflective – because the sun goes down so early every night, reflective stripes or designs on your gear are so crucial so that cars and other pedestrians or cyclists can see you when you’re running.
3 – Warm – because even if the weather doesn’t get to be that cold in BC, it’s still important to pick pieces that will keep you warm especially during your longer runs.
I like shopping for my running gear at Sport Chek because they always have such a great variety of products. I’ve definitely been a big Nike Running fan for the last couple of years. They’ve got great technical pieces that not only fit really nicely but that work well. My latest running finds include the Nike Air Zoom Pegagus 34 Shield Running Shoes, Nike Women Power Epic Lux Flash Running Tights and Nike Women’s Essential Flash Running Jacket. These items will be perfect to keep me dry, visible and warm for the next couple of months training in BC for upcoming races!
Traveling is a big part of my lifestyle, even since I’ve moved to the west coast this past year. My travels have taken me up and down the west coast quite a bit already and I’m looking forward to exploring even more in the new year. I wanted to share with you below some of my favourite travel accessories that I’ve been using lately. These are great gift ideas for the adventure travelers you know!
1) Saje’s Travelling Farmacy – This is one of the latest kits that Saje has released. It’s the ideal kit for those who travel as it contains all of Saje’s greatest remedies in miniature format. The Travelling Farmacy contains Peppermint Halo, Stress Release, Eater’s Digest, Immune, Pain Release, Quick Study, Energy and Sleep Well, all of which come in handy when you’re on the road.
2) Ucon Acrobatics Lotus Series Backpack – This backpack is the perfect travel companion. This Brandon Backpack from the Lotus Series is not only is it made fromphthalate free PVC but it is also waterproof. It also contains a 15“ laptop compartment on the inside and has tons of different pockets where you can store all of your accessories and gear while traveling. This 20L bag is also incredibly lightweight and robust making it not only great for flying but also for any adventure you may be going on during your travels.
3) TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller mini – This is the best foam roller for traveling hands down. It’s small and easy to pack in your bag and oh-so-useful when traveling. If you’re like me and you keep active while traveling, you want this guy in your carry-on or backpack, especially if you’re leaving for a long period of time. The TriggerPoint Foam Roller is crucial for muscle recovery, pain relief and improved flexibility.
4) Hydro Flask Water bottle – The one thing I cannot travel without is my reusable water bottle. I take it with me absolutely everywhere! Hydro Flask has amazing durable products that are great for travel and adventuring. The Hydro Flask 18 oz Standard Mouth bottle is always in my backpack. You can choose from tons of fun colours and different caps (flex cap, sport cap, etc.). They also have a full line of tumblers, coffee, food and wine containers that you can also purchase.
5) GoPro Hero6 – Though I just only recently got my hands on this new camera, I already know this will become a go-to when traveling. It’s the perfect lightweight and high-quality camera that you can use to document all of your travels and outdoor adventures with. From 4k video to slow motion, photos, time lapses and more, the GoPro Hero6 is sure to be able to follow you no matter what you get up to. Check for a full review coming soon!
6) Women’s Terradorra Wintershell Waterproof MID – These boots were my go-to all summer long. I brought them with me on every single trip I went on. KEEN has just released a winterized version of the Terradorra for these colder months, it’s a good boot for trails, powder and any kind of weather you’ll run into this winter. These boots are also completely waterproof, so they’ll keep your feet nice and dry.
7) Columbia Women’s Luna Vista Hybrid Jacket – This is a great jacket to layer underneath pretty much anything this winter. It packs light and keeps ultra warm. Great for those hoping to venture outdoors a lot during the colder months or just a great piece to relax in after skiing/snowshoeing or a long day of travels. The Luna Vista Hybrid Jacket comes in a variety of colours and is made from breathable and flexible material.
8) Pelican Marine Case – This case is ideal for all climates. Whether you’re going to the snow, the water or the desert, it will protect your phone no matter the elements. The Pelican Marine Case is waterproof, tested to survive multiple drops as well as scratch resistant. MEC has a bunch of similar cases for your phone, so perfect for the adventure traveler.
9) Black Diamond Spot Headlamp – Chances are if you’re going out adventuring this winter, one of these Black Diamond Headlamps will come in handy. Because the sun sets so early in the winter, it’s perfect for trail runs, cycling, hiking, snowshoeing and whatever other crazy excursion you might be going out on. The headlamp has 6 modes: white proximity, bright white distance, dimming, strobe, red proximity and red strobe. It also has an indicator that tells you how much battery there’s left in the headlamp.
10) MEC Hut Booties – These were a lifesaver for me this fall when I went out camping in Mount Baker. They’re super easy to pack and will keep your feet nice and toasty if you’re tent camping, van camping or they are even just the best thing to put on after spending your day outdoors adventuring. These MEC Hut Booties come in a bunch of different colours and sizes, so you’re sure to find a pair that fits.
This week I chat with Indigenous singer Carsen Gray, who hails from Haida Gwaii. She won the award for “Best New Artist” presented by SiriusXM, at the Indigenous Music Awards earlier this year and is about to release some brand new music in the coming weeks.
The podcast is just one click away or you can also listen to it below. If you enjoyed our chat, make sure you subscribe to the MELSAYS PODCAST here -> iTunes and Google Play.
1) Go on a Food and Drink excursion in Kelowna. The region of Kelowna is well-known in the summer for its amazing wineries, but winter is as good of a time as any to visit the Okanagan Valley. Most of the wineries and wine trails are open all-year-round plus there are now tons of awesome local breweries popping up all over town, making it a great destination for wine and beer enthusiasts. Farm to Table is also a huge trend in Kelowna and the valley. Local farmers and chefs take pride in serving locally grown food from the neighbourhood farms. While you’re in the area, you can even take a self-guided farm tour to visit the local food growers and learn more about what the area can produce.
2) Go surfing in Tofino – Winter or the shoulder season are truly the best times to visit Tofino. Yes, the water will be cold but you get to avoid all the crowds and madness that you get during the summer. There are lots of great surf shops open all-year-round (Long Beach Surf Shop, Surf Sister, Pacific Surf School, etc.) and tons of spots to get surf lessons from if you’re new to the sport. Plus, the après-surf is that much more enjoyable when you’re sitting fireside with a warm beverage either at a nice Airbnb, an oceanfront cabin (check out Ocean Village Resort!) or even in your van. Van life is very much alive and well all-throughout the year in Tofino!
3) Go Hiking in Nelson – The Nelson Kootenay region offers a handful of amazing hiking options for those looking to spend some time outdoors this winter. Whether you’re looking for a quick jaunt like the 1.6k Pulpit Rock or something more grandiose like the spectacular Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park, Nelson has all sorts of hikes that can be explored throughout the winter season with either regular hiking boots, crampons or even snowshoes.
4) Visit Halcyon Hot Springs – Open 365 days a year, these beautiful hot springs are located right on the waterfront of Upper Arrow Lake. While relaxing in the restorative and healing waters, you get to enjoy the beautiful views of the Monashee Mountains. The hot springs are just over an hour away from Revelstoke, making it the perfect après-ski relaxation spot. You can spend the entire weekend at the Halcyon Hot Springs exploring the area and renting out one of the chalets or cabins on property.
5) Go explore the backcountry in Whistler. Chances are, if you’ve visited BC in the winter time or your reside here, you’ve probably already gone skiing or riding up in Whistler. But have you explore the amazing backcountry before? There are lots of great local touring companies (Extremely Canadian, Altus Mountain Guides) that offer AST courses, clinics and tours for mountain enthusiasts of all levels. You can also purchase some backcountry tickets for Whistler Blackcomb, that are more than half the price of the regular lift tickets.
Taking some time to reflect on this past year and some of the running goals that I’ve accomplished.
It wasn’t a perfect year health-wise but was pretty good all-in-all. I was taken out of training for just two months and have been battling a little injury for the last couple of weeks but otherwise, I’m pretty happy with this past year and what I’ve been able to do. I ran my first ever half-marathon in the spring, started trail running, started a run club called RUNDISTRIKT, then PB’ed on my second half-marathon and recently started doing some trail races as well. The last one was just this past weekend in North Vancouver and let me tell you, it’s a whole other ball game. Trail races are no joke! The 13k race I did last weekend was hands down the hardest race I’ve ever done.
So as 2017 draws to an end and I start planning my goals for 2018, I know that trail running and even alpine running are going to be quite high on my list of running goals. Call me crazy but I’ve already started a list of races I’m interested in participating in, a lot of them being out here on the west coast. I love adding some travels to the mix, so whenever possible I make it a destination run as well.
In addition to doing some more trail and alpine races in 2018, I want to compete in my first ever SWIMRUN event. I’ve never been a big cycling enthusiast so having the opportunity to skip that discipline altogether, sounds right up my alley. The first one in British Columbia is happening next August in Victoria. I also hope to have the run club partake in more events and represent them at the races I’ll be doing in the new year.
My one hope for this upcoming year is that I’m as healthy as can be! Injuries are the worst, especially when you have races lined up so I’m putting all the chances on my side to have a successful 2018. Lots of yoga, swimming, cross-training, healthy eats and self-care!
What are your running goals for next year? Will I be seeing you at a race?
Thrilled to finally announce the launch of the MELSAYS PODCAST!
My goal with this podcast is to bring to life the 5 Questions With interview series from this very website and to celebrate women. I want to give a platform and a voice to some of the most amazing women out there. Whether an athlete, an entrepreneur, an artist, a community leader or a woman with a remarkable journey. I hope that these women and their stories serve as inspiration for you the listener.
My very first episode is with mountain biker and artist, Micayla Gatto. I hope you’ll enjoy our chat!
The podcast is just one click away or you can also listen to it below. If you enjoyed our chat, make sure you subscribe to the MELSAYS PODCAST here -> iTunes and Google Play.
Looking for a wellness-filled weekend? May I suggest heading to Victoria, BC?
Victoria is just a quick 30-minute flight away from downtown Vancouver via Harbour Air. Harbour Air is without a doubt the loveliest and most convenient way to travel to the island. With a quick check-in process, a relaxing lounge where you can obtain free coffee, tea and pastries, traveling with this local company always makes you feel VIP. The flight views are also comparable to none. On this most recent trip to Victoria, it had just snowed for the first time this year, allowing for the most stunning views of the islands and surrounding mountains.
Once in Victoria, there is such a wide-variety of things to enjoy for wellness enthusiasts.
Discover some of the most amazing local trails and scenery with Rainforest Tours, a local touring company operated by the lovely Toni Chalk. She is the most insightful and knowledgeable tour guide, who will pack you an amazing lunch and take you on some incredible expeditions. The Mystic Beach hike on the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail is a great way to get introduced to the many kms of trails along the coast.
Another great area for outdoor adventuring is around the Westin Bear Mountain Resort. The resort offers a Hiker’s Reprieve Experience, which combines a guided hike through the Goldstream Provincial Park (where Canada’s mountain bike team trains!) followed by their signature Elements Mountain Massage at the Sante Spa Victoria. The treatment includes a clearing sage smudge, foot scrub and purifying foot bath before getting a full-body massage with B.C. Jade stones and essential oils. Truly the most relaxing and soothing experience. Following the massage, you can use the spa’s facilities – steam room, sauna and mineral pool at your leisure. They also offer snacks, tea and water plus there’s a full food menu to choose from after your treatment.
After all of this adventuring, it’s important to be able to retreat to a calm and quiet place. The Inn at Laurel Point is located right on the waterfront in downtown Victoria. It is the only carbon neutral hotel in British Columbia and one of only a handful across Canada. The hotel has luxurious amenities including beautiful decks for each room, you also have access to their outdoor gardens, fitness room and pool. Their restaurant AURA serves up local and organic dishes. Their hotel rooms are spacious, inviting and beautifully designed. The marble bathroom and soak tub is a perfect spot to relax after a busy day of exploring.
The city of Victoria is one of the best cities in the entire country for healthy eats. They have so much choice when it comes to plant-based restaurants or general healthy eating. Local must-visits include Be Love, Superbaba, JUSU, Rebar, Bliss and Nourish. Nourish has become a recent favourite thanks to the meticulously crafted dishes they serve at brunch, lunch and dinner. It’s impossible to not fall in love with this cute restaurant and café, located in a Victorian house in downtown Victoria.
There are tons of other wellness-inspired things to do in and around Victoria, whether it’s going for tea at the Terroir Tea Salon, going on a bike tour with The Pedaler or simply walking around downtown and in some of their beautiful parks by the waterfront. It’s so incredibly easy to have a wellness-packed weekend while in Victoria. You will go home feeling energized and ready to take on whatever the week throws at you!
A big thank you to Tourism Victoria for setting up this visit. I hope you’ll enjoy the little recap video of my wellness adventures below!
Last fall, when we decided to leave Toronto, we sold all of our things, not knowing how long we would be travelling for or where we would end up eventually.
Fast forward almost one year later, after having spent months travelling across Europe, living in a van in the US and then deciding to give British Columbia a shot, we finally put our suitcases down and found a permanent, or at least semi-permanent home, in North Vancouver.
We have really enjoyed exploring British Columbia these past couple of months, getting to know the province that is so far from home, that much better. There are just so many things to do here, so many adventures to be had and so many outdoor activities to pursue. Because I’m all about experiences and exploring, I have quickly realized that in order to keep discovering my new province and new backyard,
getting a vehicle would be necessary. While I lived in Toronto, it was never something I considered getting but because there are so many great activities to do out here, it has become something I can no longer avoid. Therefore, it has become my goal to save up for a car in the next couple of months.
Luckily, Scotiabank just recently launched their Scotiabank Momentum PLUS Savings Account, an innovative new digital savings account and the first-of- its-kind in Canada, that enables Canadians like myself, to save for one or multiple goals in just one account. The longer we save, the higher the interest rate. For deposits between now and December 29, 2017, you can earn a bonus interest rate of up to 2.30% on those funds until February 28, 2018. This is the highest daily interest rate on a retail savings
account amongst Canada’s Big 5 Banks. All with no minimum balance or monthly fee.
So I stopped by my local Scotiabank branch in Lower Lonsdale to set up my account and also discuss my savings goal for a car. In addition to the account’s annual interest rate of 0.70%, you can also obtain Premium Interest between 0.75% to 0.90%, depending on the savings period selected. So we planned out a 180-day savings Premium Period (you can also choose 90, 270 or 360-day Premium Period) for the
car. With this Momentum PLUS Savings Account, a longer Premium Period will allow me to earn a higher Premium Interest Rate, with regular interest paid monthly and the Premium Interest paid at the end of the Premium Period. What’s great about this account is that no matter how I choose to save up for the car, my money will always be accessible, so that if ever I reach my goal before the end of my savings goal period, I can always go out and buy the vehicle immediately (although that would mean we forgo the premium interest rate).
My goal for the next 180-day period is to save up to $5,000 CAD in order to buy a second hand vehicle to keep exploring more of my beautiful new province. Though this is quite a large goal for someone like myself who is now a full-time freelancer, I believe that with the help of this new Scotiabank Momentum PLUS Savings Account, I will be able to attain my short-term goal. I will also be able to monitor my progress online and re-adjust the amount of money I put aside for my savings period as the months go by.
You can follow my #SavingsJourney progress on Instagram and check back in a few months to see whether or not I have been able to attain my goal of finally purchasing a car for BC!
This post was written in collaboration with Scotiabank, but all opinions are my own.
Hiking has become one of my favourite things to do here on the west coast and fall is hands down the prettiest time of year to go out hiking. So I figured I would share my 3 favourite hikes to date in BC to hopefully inspire some of you to also go out and hike around your area this month.
1) Watersprite Lake – This trail is located just off an old loggers road in Squamish. It takes quite a bit of time to access the trailhead by car but is well-worth the drive. Once you get to the trailhead, you’ll go through a variety of terrain. While hiking, you’ll pass over a few creeks, some forested areas, a couple of more rocky and steeper sections but the trail offers some of the most spectacular views of the valley below as well as surrounding mountains. The lake’s colour is unlike anything I had ever seen before. It is surrounded by beautiful rocky mountains that depending on the time of year can even be completely covered in snow. It is a great 17k day hike!
2) Cheakamus Lake – Located just a few minutes from the Whistler Village, this beautiful out and back loop can span either 6k, 12k or even 14k. It is a relatively flat trail that takes you into different forest settings, along the lake and right at the base of some of the most beautiful local mountains. It is the prettiest in the fall because of all of the fall colours that surround you throughout the hike. If you’re game, there are also a few camping spots along the trail right by the waterfront.
3) Garibaldi Lake – The trail can easily be accessed via Highway 99 between Squamish and Whistler. The trailhead starts right from the parking lot. This 18k out and back trail leads you to the turquoise-coloured Garibaldi Lake that is nestled between the most beautiful alpine scenery and glacier mountains. It is definitely a must if you’re new to the area like myself. It is a lengthy climb for the first couple of kms, but that just means the way back is that much easier. On your way up, you’ll cross a few other lakes, trailheads and make your way through a beautiful Douglas Fir tree forest. The trail is easily marked and well maintained making the trek up the easiest possible. Seeing the lake for the first time left me absolutely speechless!
Got any hike suggestions? Send them my way. I want to get out as much as possible before the end of the year!
Planning a trip to LA soon and want to stay active while in the area? I share some of my favourite local workouts that will keep you sweating while on the go!
1) Barry’s Bootcamp – There are now 3 Barry’s Bootcamp located across the greater Los Angeles area. They offer a variety of classes, ranging from full-body workouts to leg or arm specific-classes. Half of the workout happens on the treadmill and the other half will have you working on different muscle groups from the floor with free weight and bodyweight exercises. Their easy circuit keeps you on your toes the entire hour. Their post-workout smoothie bar is also a great post-workout treat.
2) Flywheel – Their latest LA location just opened up a few months ago in downtown Santa Monica. Unlike other spin studios, the Flywheel studio is set up like an auditorium and the workout is based on RPMs and TORQ. The instructor will give riders suggestions of where they would like them to be during each song. There are two tv monitors at the front of the class that will show riders how they’re doing throughout the class (if they choose to register a profile) and will also throw in a few 30-second challenges throughout the class. Always one of the hardest spin classes.
3) Playlist Yoga – Located in West Hollywood, this small yoga studio revolves around creating the perfect hip hop and pop playlist for a Vinyasa Flow. Playlist Yoga is a candle lit yoga practice that includes lots of planks, downward dogs and warrior poses that will get you sweating. Though there are no showers or many amenities provided in the studio, each locker and studio quote was carefully curated to match the studio’s hip hop aesthetic.
4) BoxUnion – Also located in Santa Monica, BoxUnion is a trendy boxing studio offers boxing enthusiasts or the curious seeking a new fitness experience, the chance to glove up and throw a few 1-2 punch combos. Think of it like SoulCycle but for boxing, as in working out to the beat of the music. The 45-minute class is a great workout for cardio because it involves lots of dynamic body movements and +2000 punches per class.
5) SpeedPlay – One of the most talked about workout spots in downtown LA that boasts incredible city line views from their rooftop studio. SpeedPlay offers a variety of 45 or 60-minute workouts, some also include a special strength, glutes or ab portion. They incorporate running, rowing and a floor workout to create a great full-body workout. Watch for their second location opening up in West Hollywood soon!