Top 5 Hiking Essentials for Summer

Since hiking is everyone’s favourite activity here in British Columbia, I have also started going on a handful of day trips across the province. Your success as a hiker can definitely be determined by the gear your wear and bring with you so I wanted to share with you today some of my current hiking essentials for the summer and fall!

1) Camelbak Hydration Pack – I loath carrying around several water bottles with me when I hike, so getting the Camelbak pack was one of the best ideas I’ve ever had. It comes equipped with 2L hydration bag as well as tons of pockets and storage to put snacks, my phone, wallet, etc. This one also comes equipped with a whistle, which is a must when you live in bear country!

2) Saje Wellness Journey On Kit – This customized Saje kit is perfect for staying energized and refreshed during those long hikes. The kit comes equipped with deodorant, lip balm, lotion and their energy remedy. It also comes in a super lightweight bag that is easy to strap onto your Camelbak or backpack.

3) KEEN Terradora boots – These lightweight boots are a must-have for any short or long hike. KEEN specifically designed these boots having women in mind making sure they fit like a glove and can be used in all sorts of terrain. The boots are also breathable and waterproof.

4) MEC Aquanator Jacket – Because you can never be sure what type of weather you’ll encounter during a hike, this MEC waterproof jacket with fully taped seams is a great layering piece to bring along. It comes equipped with underarm zips for cooling as well as adjustable cuffs and hood.

5) Stance Socks – A good pair of socks is crucial when hiking for a long time. These Stance Peak Hike socks are made with merino wool, polyester, cotton and nylon fibers that help keep your feet cool, pull moisture away faster and will last you hike after hike!

Some other must-haves include: a headlamp, trail poles, bear spray/bear bell, hat, etc.

Happy Hiking!

Become a Skin Checker in 3 Easy Steps

I love being out in the sun. With summer being my favourite season and constantly being in search of my next outdoor adventure, I spend considerable amounts of time outdoors every day. That said, over the years I’ve become a lot smarter with my sun habits.

Research has shown that skin cancer is more common than all other cancers combined yet it is highly treatable. 90% of skin cancers are curable if detected early. Because 86% of melanomas and 90% of non-melanoma cancers are caused by sun exposure, adopting safe sun habits is crucial.

Today, thanks to the help of La Roche-Posay, I’m sharing with you some of the habits I’ve recently adopted in order to not only save my skin but also play safe in the sun. It’s a simple 3-step approach that you can also follow.

Step 1: Become a Skin Checker and check for moles using the ABCDE method

Because skin cancer is a type of cancer that can be seen with the naked eye, becoming a Skin Checker and using the ABCDE method is key in early detection of skin cancer.

A – Stands for Asymmetry. A mole that has an asymmetrical shape, that isn’t round or oval, that has contouring and colouring that isn’t evenly distributed around its centre.

B – stands for Border. If borders are irregular or jagged like on a map.

C – stands for Colour. If the mole has several colours (brown, red, white, etc.)

D – stands for Diameter. If the mole is greater than 6 mm (the size of a pencil eraser)

E – stands for Evolution. If the mole evolves quickly and changes in size, shape, thickness or colour.

If any of the moles you have checked fall into any of the above categories, they must be checked by a dermatologist.

Step 2: Apply high broad spectrum sunscreen. 

Because not all sun protection is created equal, it’s important to choose your sunscreen carefully. UVA rays represent 95% of UV rays and penetrate through clouds and even glass, making these rays damaging all year long. When looking for a sunscreen, you should look for the UVA logo, that indicates that the UVA protection is in line with the Canadian sunscreen requirements. You should also look for High broad-spectrum protection and also look for Mexoryl® technology (is a specialized UVA filter capable of dissolving in water, thus giving unrivalled UVA protection and creating a homogenous protection for your skin). Also, contrary to popular belief SPF (Sun Protection Factor) does not indicate the time you can stay under the sun but rather indicates the UVB protection factor. La Roche-Posay‘s Athelios provides this advance protection for your skin. The sunscreen is dermatologist tested, suitable for sensitive skin, fragrance-free, non-comedogenic, allergy tested and is also free of parabens and water resistant. It comes in a variety of formulas including the new 100% mineral filter lotion. They offer both body and face lotions that are made for every skin type and kind of exposure for both adults and children.

Step 3: Play safe in the sun with My UV Patch, a wearable “sun-safer behavioural coach”

My UV Patch has proven to improve sun safer behaviour while also minimizing sunburns. The heart-shaped patch is easy to use with an intuitive mobile app that monitors your sun exposure in real-time. You can scan the patch and the app will use the different photosensitive dyes on the square to determine the UV exposure level. Using an algorithm that factors in your personal data (phototype, skin type, location and weather info), the app will generate essential information on what behaviours to adopt and what protection to apply. The app is incredibly user-friendly and easy to navigate while the patch is easy to scan. La Roche-Posay will be distributing nearly 1 million patches for free across the country so that you too can play safe in the sun.

By following these three steps and also making sure to avoid long sun exposure, especially during peak sun hours in the middle of the day, I’m one step closer to preventing any potential onset of skin cancer.

For more information on La Roche-Posay‘s Become A Skin Checker campaign, go here.

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

My Happy Place

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!

Photos by: @Offner

What I’m wearing: Hyba Reflective High-Impact Sports Bra (get it here), Hyba Fast Track Capri Legging (get it here), Tom Tom Spark 3 Watch (get it here).

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

Cultivate Wellness

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Mark your calendars! On June 25th, The Habit Project will be organizing an incredible day of wellness in Chilliwack, BC called Cultivate Wellness to raise money for the BC Cancer Foundation’s Workout to Conquer Cancer. If you aren’t familiar with The Habit Project already, they’re a wellness company created by two families that make delicious cold-pressed juices and nut mylks. Danielle and Mariah, took a few minutes out of their busy schedules to share more about what they do at The Habit Project and what people can expect to experience at the Cultivate Wellness retreat in June!

Can you explain what the Cultivate Wellness event is all about? 

Cultivate Wellness is a collaborative wellness mini-retreat benefiting the BC Cancer Foundation’s Workout to Conquer Cancer.  We are so excited to gather participants from Vancouver to Chilliwack to take part in this event. 

What are some of the things that people attending will be able to experience?

Participants will be guided through a series of fitness workshops: featuring boxing with All City Athletics, the Class by Taryn Toomey led by Turf, yoga with Studio B and meditation by Moment Meditation. Our sweaty morning will be complimented by inspirational wellness and nutrition discussions by Mariah Vermeer of The HABIT Project, Kate Horsman and Katrina Vanderveen of Fortify Natural Wellness. Our retreat is designed to educate, inspire and provide space for individuals to take time for themselves and to forge new relationships with like minded community members.  A nutritious brunch will be provided by Faspa and Co, coffee by Jack Coffee and cold-pressed juice by The Habit Project. 

View More: http://yingerdesign.pass.us/cultivate2016

Why was it important for you to put together an event for physical and mental wellbeing? How does that tie into your mission at The Habit Project?

We believe habits are powerful and that everyone has the ability to take small steps in their daily lives to incorporate more balance and wellness habitually.  It is our sincere belief that with a focus on quality, balance and intention, we can all create healthy habits that benefit our day to day lives immensely.

We grew up here in Chilliwack on a small farm where we sold bags of apples on the side of the road.  Our parents instilled in us a passion for agriculture and took the time to show us the importance of eating and cooking with whole, natural foods.  In an era where the art of farming and the understanding of where your food comes from has been lost, we would like to continue this path of education and agricultural awareness.

We feel privileged to have the space to host such an event at our family farm, The Chilliwack Corn Maze.  We met Genieve last year at Cultivate, our long table dinner, and were immediately drawn to her motivation to inspire individuals to holistic living.  From there, Cultivate wellness was envisioned and a dream team came together to put on this amazing event.   

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In addition to being an event, this day is also a fundraiser for Workout to Conquer Cancer, why did you want to work with this organization?

Everyone has been touched by cancer in some way or another.  We can all relate to it’s power over our lives.  We wanted to work with an organization who focused not only on the research but also preventative health.  Work out to Conquer Cancer is a month long movement in pursuit in raising awareness and crucial funds for the BC Cancer foundation.  These funds fuel ground breaking cancer research and care at the provinces 6 BC cancer agency locations.  Funds raised towards Work Out to Conquer Cancer will support research initiatives for all cancer including breast, ovarian, lymphoid to name a few where researchers are making major advancements into early diagnosis treatment and prevention of these diseases.

After we had already chosen to work with Work Out BC, we hired someone at HABIT who we later found out battled cancer for three years.  Katrina Vanderveen is going to speak at our event for the very first time about her experience and journey through this difficult time.  She is strong and extremely inspiring and sure to touch everyone she meets.  She passionate about healthy living and has recently completed her Nutrition certification and ready to help guide others with cancer prevention.  She started Fortify Natural Wellness under which she will provide nutritional consulting for individuals as well as a granola line.  It’s really the best granola you’ve ever had!!!  We just adore, Katrina.

How important is community for what you do at The Habit Project?

Community is a core value of our company.  We want to be more than just a juice company.  We want to inspire people to reach their goals and build each other up along the way.  We hope to create a HABIT community; a group of people passionate about creating healthy habits and a life made better by wellness.  We hope that in enjoying our products people will feel nourished as well as supported on their own wellness journey by a community of people bound together by kindness and strength.

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There are only a few tickets left for the Cultivate Wellness event taking place on June 25th in Chilliwack, BC. All participants will be receiving a free Lululemon yoga mat at the event and have the opportunity to win some amazing raffle prizes. For more info or to get your tickets, go here. Hope to see you there!

Summer Fitness Bucket List

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Summer is officially here on the west coast! It has been nothing but blue skies this past week, which is very welcome after a series of rainy months. Since this is my first summer out west there are a lot of things that I want to do while the sun is shinning. So I have decided to create a summer fitness bucket list!

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Topping my list is this summer is training for several half marathons. I did my first ever half in May and loved it so much that I decided to register for a few more down the road. I am taking full advantage of the fact that I’m out west to pick races in beautiful destinations that showcases some of the best Pacific Northwest scenery.

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Obstacle course races are also high on my bucket list. There are so many great events being held across British Columbia that I want to hit up as many as possible. So I’ve been doing a lot more strength training and training with weights to get in the best shape possible in order to be a strong competitor for these races. I’ve always lacked upper body strength so it’s something that I’m really working on.

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Races aren’t the only thing that are on my summer fitness bucket list. I’m also hoping to do more trail running, outdoor cycling, hiking, open water swimming and rock climbing. Basically, I want to be outside as much as possible and be as active as possible for the next couple of months!

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What is on your summer fitness bucket list?

Photos by: @Offner

What I’m wearing: Hyba Racerback Low-Impact Sports Bra (get it here), Hyba Printed Fast Track Cropped Legging (get it here).

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