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.
With the cool weather slowly creeping in, I wanted to share today some of my fall essentials that will keep me cozy and warm either while out adventuring or while relaxing at home.
1) Native Apollo Rain Shoe – Being a Vancouverite, I know that I will be spending lots of time outdoors regardless of impending rain fall, so having a good pair of rain boots is KEY! I love the Native Shoes boots because they’re so incredibly light and comfortable, they’re easy to slip on and look super sleek. The perfect shoe to keep your feet dry.
2) Stance Hike Socks – Whether for hiking or to keep your feet warm while lounging at home, the Stance hike socks are the perfect blend of merino wool, polyester, cotton and nylon fibers that help keep your feet cool while also pulling moisture away faster. They also come in a cool variety of patterns!
3) Escents Squalane Enriching Body Oil – With colder weather comes dry skin, so I’ve been using this great new all-natural oil from Escents that contains Olive Squalane, Rose Hip Seed Oil and Carrot Seed Oil. It penetrates deep to hydrate without clogging pores and also reducing dark spots, improves skin tone, treats fine lines and wrinkles, just to name a few.
4) Saje Aromagem 2.0 Gold Diffuser – This diffuser is has become my go-to relaxation technique. The Saje diffuser is super easy to use and can mist for up to 4.5 hours. It is quiet and super energy efficient and can also be used as a humidifier. You can diffuse all of your favourite Saje 100% natural essential oils with it!
5) Brunette The Label Crew Sweater – Cozy sweaters are an absolute must for me in the fall. I recently discovered this awesome Vancouver brand called Brunette The Label. They’ve got super cute tees and oversized sweaters that have really simple writing on them. I am definitely fond of their new special “Redhead” collection!
6) Botanica Turmeric Golden Mylk – This is my absolute go-to fall drink. This organic Botanica ayurvedic beverage is comforting and also contains anti-inflammatory properties. The mylk is made from turmeric, coconut, ashwagandha and black pepper. There are no fillers or artificial ingredients. It mixes great with warm coconut or even almond milk!
Being a new cyclist in the greater Vancouver area, I’ve learned a lot about cycling around the city these past couple of weeks. So I wanted to share with you today, some of the things I’ve learned if you’re thinking of starting to ride a bike (even as fall rolls around!) or if you’re planning to rent a bike when you come to the city for a visit.
1) Bike lanes – Unlike Toronto, where I’m from, bike lanes in Vancouver are legit. Every bike lane is clearly indicated at the top of street signs. Some of the bike lanes are also painted in green, reminding drivers that they are not allowed on that area of the road. Additionally, a lot of the bike lanes here in Vancouver are separated either with cones, plants or even a cement median, thus protecting cyclists even further when biking around town. To get a full cycling map of the downtown core, go here and for the North Shore go here.
2) The hills are alive – If you’re like me and you’ve never really biked up hills before, be prepared to be doing a lot of uphill climbs. No matter where you are in the city or on the North Shore, the hills will have you sweating up a storm. That said, what goes up must come down, so the downhill rides are always that much sweeter. In all honesty, I’ve stopped or even walked my bike a couple of times when I couldn’t pedal anymore, it definitely takes some getting used to but it’ll make you that much stronger!
3) Relationship with cars – I’ve found that compared to a LOT of other cities across North America, a cyclist’s relationship with automobile traffic in Vancouver is a lot more pleasant (most of the time!) than it is in other places. There’s an awareness here that isn’t present in most parts of the country and because so many drivers are also cyclists, I think it makes a huge difference in their attitudes towards you and your bike. That said, buses and cabs are still the scariest, so definitely always be vigilant when riding around town. I’ve learned that the best thing to do is be VERY visible and loud. Invest in bright lights for your bike, a good bell and even a reflective vest or clothing. MEC has a ton of options for you to choose from, including the vest below.
4) You need rain gear – It’s inevitable, no matter how sunny it is right now, if you’re coming to Vancouver and planning on biking or hoping to bike well into fall and winter (which is very doable, as temperatures stay quite warm all-year-round!), you’ll want to invest in rain gear, or else cycling won’t be nearly as enjoyable. Since I’ve been commuting with my bike to and from work, I know that I will soon have to invest in proper slacks and jacket to protect me from the rain. Luckily, MEC has a ton of cool and reasonably priced items like these waterproof pants priced at $69 that can definitely do the trick.
5) Get to know your bike – I’ve never owned a brand new bike before and never really cared much for learning about bikes. But when I got my new bike from MEC, I was able to learn a ton about how my bike worked, how to take it apart, how to pump up its tires, etc. Whether your bike is fromMEC or not, you can easily bring it in the store and not only get a tune up and bike parts but also get some education about cycling and your bike in general from one of their store experts. MEC even has cycling clinics and events that you can register for (check them out here). That way, you can ride around the city having all of the knowledge necessary for a safe ride. Plus, in times of crisis, you can always resort to YouTube tutorials. I did just that the other day for my back tire and I got it all figured out.
My Happy Place can mean so many different things to so many different people. It can also evolve over time.
My Happy Place, has always been close to the ocean. Whenever I am close to the ocean, I feel at peace, I feel calm and I feel energized. So moving to Vancouver and most recently to North Van, has been such a huge boost for me. I’m happiest when I’m outdoors being active and having the ocean in front of me when I work out is such a huge bonus.
The views from North Van are epic, to say the least. I get to see the city skyline, the ocean as well as the mountains. It’s also so much calmer on the North Shore, allowing me to workout in beautiful spots almost all by myself!
Whether it’s going for a run, cycling, doing a little HIIT circuit, practicing yoga or whatever kind of activity I get up to, doing it outdoors and close to the ocean, is what makes me the happiest!
Hyba is launching a *CONTEST* today. They’re giving you the chance to win a $50 gift card. All you have to do is post a photo of you in your happy place on Instagram and tag @hyba while using the #HybaHappyPlace hashtag for your chance to win. The contest ends September 30th 2017. Good luck!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 upThe 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!
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.
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.
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 FITNESSproducts were engineered to move with your body during any workout or sport. In my case, SUP!
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!
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!
Also! Looking for a little workout motivation? Check out these two special Spotify playlists created by U by Kotex: