One of the best things about Whistler is the brilliant 25,000 sq ft outdoor spa located just a few minutes away from the slopes. The Scandinave Spa Whistler is the perfect place to unwind after a day of skiing, hiking or outdoor adventure in the area.
Situated right in the heart of nature, this Nordic-inspired spa enables guests to decompress and enjoy a relaxing and rejuvenating escapade. The mountain views and fresh air transport you into an oasis of wellbeing.
One thing the Scandinave Spa is renown for is its topnotch amenities. Their baths, wood burning Finnish Sauna, eucalyptus steam room and waterfalls come together to create the most luxurious experience. This past year, they inaugurated a brand new building at the spa that features a state of the art sauna, observatory deck, lounge as well an additional eucalyptus steam room. You can also book a massage with one of their highly qualified therapists to prolong your Scandinavian bath session.
There are many health benefits associated with Scandinavian baths, also known as hydrotherapy. In addition to it being relaxing and energizing, the baths also help cleanse the body as well as stimulate blood circulation and the release of endorphins.
The spa’s eco-friendly and sustainable building allows them to truly be in harmony with their natural surroundings. They pride themselves in their “green” roof as well as the use of sustainable fibers and stainless steel water bottles. They also make sure to work with as many local suppliers as possible.
The Scandinave Cafe is a real treat, no pun intended. Their delicious and healthy locally-made snacks are the perfect pick me up after a few hours spent unwinding at the spa.
Get a 360 tour of the spa’s facilities below with the Samsung Gear 360. For more information on Scandinave Spa Whistler, go here.
Located less than an hour drive from Los Angeles, Long Beach has become one of the hottest travel and living areas for millennials and young families. With rent still being pretty affordable, the city has really transformed a lot in the last couple of years. Long Beach is renown for its great cultural activities, food and outdoor activities just to name a few. Here are just a few recommendations for your next trip in the area.
1) Grab coffee at Portofolio. Located on East 4th St in Long Beach, Portofolio Coffeehouse has been a local favorite for years. It’s a great place to grab breakfast, coffee on the go, vegan treats and also a fun spot to spend the day working remotely. The coffee house also puts on a series of community events in their back room. It’s the perfect spot to meet locals and people watch.
2) Go vintage shopping on Retro Row. If you’re on the hunt for new vinyls, cool books or unique threads, Retro Row is your go-to spot. Also located on 4th St., this super cute walkable strip of stores has become one of the city’s most coveted shopping area. Whether you’re on the lookout for antiques, you’re in the mood for thrifting, looking for records or wanting a bite to eat, you can find it all. The 4th Street Long Beach Association also puts on a handful of special events throughout the year.
3) Eat lunch at Ahimsa vegan café. Praised as one of the city’s best vegan spots, Ahimsa vegan café is a restaurant that prides itself in using only the freshest and best local ingredients to craft delicious vegan plates. All of their food is made from scratch and all bursting with flavour. Their bowls and burgers are definite must-haves as well as their freshly made cold-pressed juices and desserts.
4) Find local street art. Long Beach is renown for its beautiful street art. Their street art festival POW! WOW! Long Beach is one of the most popular street art festivals in the United States, bringing in artists from all over. Searching for local street art around the city is a great activity to do while in Long Beach as it will make you discover many different neighborhoods in the city. Plus, they have some of the most beautiful art to see.
5) Satisfy your sweet tooth at Scratch Bakedgoods. This cute little bakery is the perfect place to stop at after a busy day of walking around and exploring in Long Beach. Scratch Bakedgoods makes some of the most delicious homemade baked goods from scratch daily. Whether you’re looking for cookies, a slice of cake, brownies, tarts, gallettes, brioches, bars, etc. they’ve got you covered. Everything in the shop is to die for.
This week, I share my final favorite spin studio in Vancouver. Spin Society opened up their first studio a few years ago on Granville St. in downtown. After a successful couple of years, they launched their second location just a few weeks ago. Everyone at the space is so incredibly welcoming and friendly and their master trainer Lucy is one of the most passionate instructors I’ve ever met. The studio’s founder Dominik Desbois shares the story behind Spin Society.
What inspired you to start Spin Society?
I am an engineer, my background is in bridge engineering. I went to McGill to get my engineering degree. I worked as an engineer for six years and was not satisfied with where my life was going. I stopped and thought about everything as a whole and thought that I needed to serve a bigger purpose. The whole computer 12-hours a day thing was not for me so I decided to go back to school. I went to do my MBA and it’s during that time that I met my wife, who’s a spin addict. She was spinning every single night and just couldn’t get enough of it. So I started researching the subject and thinking about what makes it addictive. At the end of the day, what makes it addictive is the people. You can throw a bunch of bikes in a room and play loud music, anybody can do that. You can throw money at it, build it but unless you have the right people, it won’t work. That’s the part that intrigued me. I’m a builder so how do I build a team that will give people that feeling of “I can’t get enough”, so that’s what drives what we do. From the very start of Spin Society was how do I put together people, because I definitely have my shortcomings when it comes to marketing, that I’m not good at, but I think I have an ability to get people together and work as a team. How do I assemble a team so that we can thrive as a business and I think that’s what we’ve done.
What would you say separates you from other spin studios in the city?
It was tough because when I opened Spin Society, I thought I would be the only one because when I wrote my business plan and the financing and all that stuff, it was a few years before we opened our doors. And then we opened our doors and four other spin studios were popping up. I think through time, was has made us different is the wide-range of people that we can bring together. There’s a really cool feeling at Spin Society when somebody walks through the door, there’s an energy where they feel like they belong right away. We’re a no judgement, no ego zone, you work as hard as you want to and if it takes you a little longer to get to where you want to, it’s fine. At the end of the day, it’s almost like we’ve created a space that’s all about transformation and giving you the opportunity and permission to laugh, to cry, to yell to be angry. Our trainers are amazing, I couldn’t be prouder of our team. All of our instructors are phenomenal at what they do. They will break you down with music to a point where they can inject a lot of positivity. The whole team is super upbeat and positive. It’s a people business.
What are some of the classes that people can take and what kind of experience can people get when they come to Spin Society?
We pride ourselves on the Spin Society method. We work really hard with all of our instructors and our master instructor Lucy. She spends countless hours making sure that everyone is consistent. We want people’s identities to shine but we want everybody to operate within a box that we’ve created, that is Spin Society. One of the big key things here is that no matter what class you take, you’ll get that consistency. The only thing that changes is the music. Besides the music, the very challenging workout, every instructor teaches the same way and uses the same language. You’ll get your ass kicked and if you’re into that, then you’ll get that no matter who you take on the schedule. And besides that, we have a really nice approach to customer service, where we really value the relationships we build. We try to get to know the people that come in by name. We like to cater to everything that you need to make this experience the best that we can.
Spin Society opened up a second location in North Vancouver. There seems to be a big demand for fitness studios out there, can you share your experience with opening up this second studio?
We just opened on December 12th, we really built a unique vibe and space and interior design there. There’s crazy demand on the north shore because people who are over there are just tired of that bridge. You want to be able to stay on the north shore and be able to go to the good restaurants and good fitness studios. There’s no real reason to come downtown anymore and there’s a very young crowd moving in. North Van’s ready for it but it’s going to take time to build. As much as I’d like to think that we’ve built something really cool here, the fitness names don’t quite creep all the way past the bridge yet so it’s just starting from the bottom. Building the classes and the community and letting people know that we’re there.
Where would you like to see Spin Society within the next five years?
I don’t like the franchise model for what I do because I’m really particular about what I wanna build and the energy in every studio so I’d like to keep control of that. But I would love to keep growing it as much as I can. I’m a builder so once I finished building the studio and it’s functioning, I want to be completely hands off and trust the people to just do a really good job and want to move onto the next build. I’m already looking at the third and negotiating the space for the third studio, so when that’s done I’ll probably move onto the fourth. I’ll stop when someone tells me to stop or when the market tells me to stop.
Squamish has become one of the country’s most popular locations for outdoor sports and adventures. One of the latest and greatest activity to come to the area is the Sea to Sky Gondola, located just a few minutes from the city centre.
Right off the 99 Highway, the gondola allows guests to get a panoramic view of the area while heading up the mountain. Once at the top, they offer a wide variety of activities to choose from. Whether you’re into snowshoeing, a casual walk, tubbing or ski touring, the Sea to Sky Gondola has got you covered.
We opted for a snowshoeing excursion, which last 1.5 hours, with a super friendly and knowledgeable guide who has been residing in the area for 10+ years. Our guide brought us on some of the most scenic trails that tower the snow capped peaks of the mountain. They have trails for all levels and even have some light up trails and offer special themed activities depending on the time of year. The trails for snowshoeing and walking come at no extra cost once you are up at the top of the mountain.
In addition to the trails, you can also walk over the Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge or get some breathtaking views of Squamish at the Summit Lodge Deck.
Following our snowshoeing excursion, we tried out their winter tube park, for some old-fashioned tubing. Situated just a few steps away from the Gondola, you get to slide down one of their four designated lanes as many times as you want for just an extra $5.
Once you’re done your activities, you can either sit fireside or grab a snack while warming up in their cozy in their mountaintop lodge.
Can’t make it this winter? Not to worry. They have just as many activities to do in the summer time. In the summer, you can also hike up the Sea to Summit Trail (and can bring your dog along with you!), go rock climbing, do mountain top yoga, etc.
If you’re headed up to Whistler or looking for a great day excursion, head over to the Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish!
For more information on the Sea to Sky Gondola, go here.
I love combining technology with running. Over the past two years, running apps have been key in documenting my progress as a runner and also keeping tabs on the runs that I have done when I travel. I recently heard of the running app RunGo, which was developed by Vacouverite Craig Slagel. Since I’ve been spending time running around Vancouver, I thought it would be interesting to find out more about this local startup.
1) What is the inspiration behind the RunGo app?
RunGo was inspired by Dynasty, my retired guide dog who I adopted in 2012 just after starting the company. As a runner and frequent traveler, I often had the issue not knowing where to run or getting lost when I tried to explore. When I adopted Dynasty, my friends joked I should use her to guide me and that sparked the idea of RunGo.
2) What separates this app from other running apps currently on the market?
RunGo works like other running apps but also offers voice guided turn-by-turn directions for your runs. With a library of over 50,000 routes worldwide, including running tours and runs curated by local running communities, RunGo is great for traveling and allows you to re-discover your own cities by trying different routes. RunGo also provides all the usual statistics such as distance, pace, calories burned and provides a logbook to store your results. The app navigates you offline, and only requires data or wifi when you add runs to your library. After that, you can use RunGo to guide you, without any data or wifi.
3) You had the opportunity to present your app on Dragon’s Den, why are shows like that and Shark Tank important for startups?
Apps can be very hard to market, especially since there are some really big players in the market who have very big budgets. As a startup we have limited resources and are constantly looking for creative ways to expose ourselves. Dragons’ Den has over 1 million views so being on the show can be a great way to promote your startup as long as you have a good idea and don’t embarrass yourself. It was also great for us as a company – as we prepped our pitch, we really went back to make sure we understood our business, brand, and numbers. It was a great experience and you can see our pitch on February 15th on CBC.
4) Where is your favourite place to run in the world and why?
That’s a tough one – I’ve run in so many amazing places around the world! I love trail running and we are lucky to have amazing trails in Vancouver, BC. But if I had to pick, I think my favourite place would be Marin headlands in the San Francisco Bay Area. It is where I started running so it feels like my running home. The Headlands Run that took you from Crissy Field, over the Golden Gate bridge and up into the Headlands onto a peak with a panoramic view (on a clear day) was probably my most memorable run when I lived in the city.
5) What would you like to accomplish with the app in the next five years?
There is so much I’d love to accomplish in the next five years on top of being one of the leading running apps by then. It’s often said that the best way to explore a city is by foot and our ultimate goal is to give as many runners worldwide as possible, the freedom and confidence to discover all the amazing running routes around them. I was in Dublin just over a year ago and was able to explore the city by running a different route every day. The feeling of completely immersing myself in the city was amazing as I explored routes created by a local running store. It was a completely different experience from when I used to travel for business years ago and was usually recommended to run up and down the river bank by the hotel.
If you are on the hunt for the perfect vehicle for living in British Columbia and also want to help out the environment, then you may want to consider giving the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid a test drive. This compact crossover is the ideal car for all of your BC lifestyle needs. Whether you’re an adventurous couple, a traveling single or a young family looking to explore all that BC has to offer, the RAV4 Hybrid should be your number one pick.
With fuel prices continuing to soar, the sale of Hybrid vehicles across Canada has increased 45.2% since 2015, thus allowing consumers to save money and also help out the environment at the same time. Hybrid drivers use about 30% less fuel than regular cars, thus reducing their carbon footprint. The switch to Hybrid is a no-brainer because it does not affect or change one’s lifestyle or habits, other than allowing them to frequent the gas station less often.
The RAV4 Hybrid is an incredibly versatile car that features some of the best innovative technology, comfort and safety features currently on the market. Some of my favourite features that come with the car are the Toyota Safety Sense P – including the Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, which are very helpful for driving around busy downtown Vancouver. The Dynamic Radar Cruise Control also allows for maximum safety when going on some longer trips. The heated front seats and heated steering wheel also allows for utmost comfort while traveling in the winter time.
The RAV4 Hybrid also has a ton of room for passengers both in the front and the back and with up to 73 cubic feet of cargo capacity, you can comfortably take your friends with you on your next sporting expedition out of the city.
The RAV4 Hybrid offers 194 net system horsepower Hybrid Synergy Drive, built around a 2.5L four-cylinder, Atkinson Cycle engine. Some additional standout characteristics are the Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control System (TRAC), Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) and the All Wheel Drive with Intelligence (AWD-i), which is essential when driving on wintery Canadian roads.
Moreover, you know your friends and family are safe when traveling in the RAV4 Hybrid thanks to Toyota’s excellent safety standard, which include eight airbags, a back-up camera, Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross Traffic Alert and the Vehicle Proximity Notification System, just to name a few.
The RAV4 Hybrid‘s vibrant Electric Storm Blue colour, 18″ Aluminum Alloy Wheels, sleek black interior and sporty features allows you to ride in style all around British Columbia and wherever your adventures take you.
Eastwood Cycle is unlike any spin studio I’ve ever been to. As soon as you step into the Hastings St. flagship, you’re immediately transported into an oasis of tranquility and wellbeing. Their beautifully designed studio brings decoration elements from Morocco to create a colourful and warm environment. The spin studio itself is without a doubt one of the largest I’ve seen, providing a lot of space for bikes and also for pre or post-workout stretching.
Jillian Sheridan started the space with her husband two and a half years ago. She took a few minutes at the studio last week to answer some of my questions about the space.
What inspired you to start off this space?
I had never personally really found a studio, prior to opening Eastwood that I had been to and had felt that I was part of the community right away. I always felt that I was either not a part of the community or a number and no one would ever notice when I would come or go. That was something that I was always searching for; a really strong community. Then my husband and I found spin and fell in love with it. We were looking to do something different and while we were on vacation in Sayulita, Mexico, we did some brainstorming (we do our best work on the beach!) and decided that if there’s something we want and can’t find, then we should just create it. So we decided to take a leap of faith.
What makes Eastwood Cycle stand out from other spin studios?
Our experience and the space for sure. That was really important to us, we wanted to create a space where people would come and want to stay. People can hang out and enjoy the time while they’re here. The design as well because for us it’s not just about the ride itself, but everything from the minute you walk into the studio. We call our front desk staff the “Experience team”. We’re all about the little touch points.
What are some of the different classes that you offer?
The ride is also huge for us, so we’ve created the Icon class and the Athlete class. We found that when we opened, we had this massive demographic that wanted different types of classes. The Icon is more rhythm-focused and structured to the beat of the music and incorporates weights. Whereas the Athlete class, that my husband created, is more in the saddle. It’s great for people training for the road, it’s intervals, hill climbs and usually does not incorporate weights. A lot of our regulars will take both classes and as a result are getting a different experience when they ride each time. It also attracts different people from all walks of life.
In addition to providing spin classes, you also have a variety of products that people can buy when they come to the studio, can you expand more on that?
I do all of our retail. For us we’re not spin, we’re not fitness, this is a lifestyle, it’s about what makes you feel good, what you’re doing and what you’re wearing. All of the products that are here are an extension of who we are. It’s the biggest compliment when you see someone wearing your logo on their chest. The retail for us has been pretty special. We use a couple of different brands out of LA and we also have RYU, who are local. We also have custom yoga mats that were designed for us by a company called Yeti Yoga. We started ordering from them when they had a small Etsy shop and now they’re on Shopbop. They do a bunch of custom designs for us and are out of Portland.
What is new for Eastwood in 2017?
We’re doing a lot with the GranFondo this year. It’s a ride from Vancouver to Whistler. There is about 5000 people that take part in it and we’ll be holding a bunch of different training rides for them. We’ll also have our bikes at the finish line so that cyclists can spin out the lactic acid after their ride. That’s been a huge project that we’ve been working on. In the spring, we’ll be turning downtown into our true flagship that will hold all of our concepts – Eastwood Cycle, Eastwood Boxing and Eastwood Meditate. So when we opened Eastwood, we always wanted to house different concepts, that’s why we chose a name that was more of a place that you were going to and wasn’t necessarily associated with one specific workout. So we’ll be doing a rebirth of Eastwood, which is exciting. We’ve been waiting to open box since day one. It’ll be great to refresh the studio and open up new concepts. Once those are up and running, we’ll also be doing boutique studios.
What can people expect with Eastwood Boxing and Eastwood Meditate?
People can expect a different experience for each workout. Boxing will be done with dim lights, loud music and all bags. We’re building it so that each separate room that you walk into, you will have a different experience in terms of lighting, smells, noise and even how you enter. Meditation will be a totally different experience as well. You can get the vibe from our Instagram account, with the colours and quotes, so it has been a fun project and something we’ve been researching and waiting to launch for so long, so it’s fun to finally be able to talk about it and see it come to fruition.
For more information on Eastwood, go here. Check back next week for my 3rd spin studio recommendation in Vancouver!
For years now, I had been dreaming of riding in Whistler but I was never able to get the time off or travel to the area during the ski season. So I made sure that this year would be different and made it a point to include Whistler Blackcomb in my #wintergetaway destinations.
If you haven’t been to Whistler yet, then you have been missing out! Since the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, Whistler Blackcomb has become North America’s most popular ski resort. And there are many reasons why it has become the top winter riding destination.
The first being the incredible skiing and riding you can do at the mountain. With over 200 trails, 37 chairlifts, 5 parks and over 8,171 acres of skiable terrain, even on their busiest days, you have so many options to choose from that it never feels crowded. What’s amazing is that no matter your level or riding preferences, there’s something for everyone. The resort is renown for its freeskiing and powder-filled bowls as well as gladed trees and also dedicated family-friendly zones. The views while riding are absolutely breathtaking. The infinite chain of mountain around you make you feel at one with nature.
Also, it’s slope-side pedestrian village offers some of the best accommodations, top restaurants, hip shopping and fun activities one could want either pre or post-ski or for those who would rather just spend the day walking around.
With reference to accommodations, I had the pleasure of staying at the Aava Whistler, a hotel located right in the Whistler Village thanks to the hotels.com mobile app. Whether you’re going on a budget or looking for luxurious après-ski digs, the app has it all.
The energy at the mountain and in the village is electrifying. Everyone that comes to Whistler Blackcomb know they are about to have one of their best ski experience of their lives. It is understandable that this resort has become world-class over the years. With it being less than two hours away from Vancouver, it is definitely worth the visit!
Responsible for creating “Activewear” as we know it today, Australian designer and entrepreneur Lorna Jane has been creating inspiring gym wear for women since the late 80s. Today, she’s a force to be reckoned with in the industry. Having inspired countless women to start sweating and look great while doing so, she is someone to look up to for active and healthy living. Lorna Jane recently opened her first flagship store in Vancouver and I had the opportunity to chat with her about her brand as well as her plans for 2017.
1) What inspired you to start the Lorna Jane brand?
My inspiration was really quite simple, but I guess unusual for the time. I wanted to design activewear that would inspire women to workout. My thoughts were that if I could make my designs both fashionable and technically functional, that women would put them on in the morning and wear them all day so that when an opportunity presented itself for her to workout she was ready to go! I was working as a fitness instructor at the time and there was absolutely nothing available for women that was anywhere near feminine and fashionable. So when I started wearing my designs to the gym, the women in my classes wanted to place orders – and it grew from there. The demand was overwhelming and within a few weeks I decided to take the plunge, quit my day job and pursue designing activewear full time, and you know what? I haven’t looked back since.
2)What would you say is the biggest change in activewear since you started in the industry?
I started designing activewear before it was even a ‘category’ so I’ve always had a very strong vision for it to be something so much more than what you put on to work out! To me, the fact that sport luxe is now such a huge global trend is true testament to just how strongly activewear complements the modern woman’s busy lifestyle – and believe me when I say this is just the beginning! I am often asked if I ever would have believed that activewear could be such a huge category and my answer is always – “you’re kidding right – I have been talking about this for 25 years!”
3) What separates Lorna Jane from other activewear brands?
We were the first to coin the term ‘activewear’ and are the ultimate believers that wearing activewear can actually change your life! At Lorna Jane, everything we do as a brand is aimed at inspiring and empowering women with our activewear, our Active Living Philosophy and daily practice of Move Nourish Believe. We are an Authentic brand that has heart and is on a mission to empower and inspire women all over the world. We believe that activewear can’t change the world – but the women that wear it absolutely can!
4)What are some of your proudest achievements with the brand to date?
There have honestly been so many, from winning Fashion awards, Marketing awards, Retail awards opening stores around the world and even meeting Oprah. But one of the moments that will stick with me forever was as far back as 1993, we had just l opened our first retail store in Australia and my husband Bill was working in store that day, while I stayed at home to design and sew the next range. I remember Bill walking through the front door long before closing time and I panicked, asking him “what was he doing? Who is looking after the store?” and he just smiled and said to me “Lorna, we’ve sold everything”. And we actually HAD… a woman from Malaysia had walked in to the store and taken every single thing! That was a real turning point for us and when we realised this crazy idea of ‘activewear’ was so much bigger than we ever could have imagined.
5)Can you talk us through some of the new collections you’re releasing in 2017?
2017 is an exciting year for activewear. At Lorna Jane we have a big focus on Women’s Technical Fashion and are asking women to re-think their Active wardrobe this year more than any other! We deliver 70 to 100 new Lorna Jane pieces every month, and this month (Feb) we have a huge focus on ACTIVE CORE STABILITY our trademarked technology that will seriously change the way you see yourself in tights. They come in a variety of shapes and colours (so there’s something for everyone) but believe me when I say – they are seriously life changing. They’re the most flattering tights you’ll ever own because they shape and support your curves like nothing else in the marketplace. But they’re also really functional and the perfect workout essential.
To find out more about Lorna Jane and her active living brand, go here.
Moving to a new city or have recently moved to somewhere new? The best way to get to know a new place is to start running. Since I started running two years ago, I have been able to get to know the places I travel to or reside in remarkably better. It has become my go-to way to explore neighborhoods, landmarks and also a great way to meet new people. Here are my three tips for running your new town!
1) Join the city’s run clubs. One of the best ways to make new friends, find like-minded people and discover your new home is by joining the city’s local run groups. They are usually pretty easy to find, either online or via social media. Another way is to look up running-specific stores or brands that make running apparel, as they often have local run groups as well. These run clubs are mostly free and you can drop in at any moment, so it is easy to run with different clubs all around town.
2) Sign up for local races. Local races always showcase some of the best running routes in the city. It is also a fun way to see some of the city’s attractions and get a feel for the running community in your new home. It will also allow you to meet new people and stay on top of our fitness goals, all at once!
3) Research different running routes. Before going out for a run, map out your run online or search for some alternate routes. Long runs are especially fun to plan out because they allow you to cover so much ground in the city. I sometimes even stop at certain points of interest to take photos or take mental notes of places I want to come back to after my run.