5 Questions With: Perdita Felicien

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Athletes have always inspired me. Whether it would be their discipline, their strength or even just the lifestyle of being a professional athlete, I have always been fascinated by what it must feel like to be considered the best in the world at something.

Perdita Felicien is a retired Canadian hurdler that paved the way for many female athletes in Canada. Not only did she become the first Canadian woman to ever win a medal at the World Championships, in Paris in 2003 but she also still holds the Canadian record for the 100 m hurdles that she set in 2004. Throughout her career she went on to win multiple medals at the national and international level.

Since retiring from competition, she went back to school to study journalism at Seneca College.

I’m thrilled to have her share some of her journey thus far with us on the blog today.

1) When did your love for track begin? What drew you to this sport?

I was introduced to track when I was around 9 years old by my teacher. I found success quickly, but I wasn’t passionate about it. I did it because it was something social to do after school. I quit for two years in high school; the only reason I went back was because my mother kept nagging me. Right away I was offered full athletic scholarships from American universities, but I turned them all down. I was a reluctant athlete despite my success and obvious talent. I eventually got some sense talked into me and accepted a scholarship from the University of Illinois in 2000. It was there that my real love for the sport developed, after a disappointing performance ignited a passion and determination I had never felt before.

2) You are the current Canadian record holder for the 100 m hurdles and the 2003 world champion, what does that mean to you?

To be the fastest female sprint hurdler Canada has ever had, and the first woman in Canadian track and field history to win a world championship title makes me proud. It means I’m a trailblazer and another woman can see what I’ve accomplished and chose to follow or surpass me. I competed for more than 10 years, and it’s only now, three years into retirement that I can look at my list of accomplishments and understand their significance and truly enjoy them.

3) You are a Seneca alumni and are taking part in their #BecauseItMatters campaign that highlights the school’s ability to prepare their students not only for their career but also their life as a whole through combining education, training and experience. How has your time at Seneca helped you with your professional career post athletic life?

While I graduated with honours from the University of Illinois with a degree in Kinesiology, when I retired in 2013 my passion was no longer in that field. I had to reinvent myself, but I was in my early 30s’ and didn’t have the time to go back to school for years at a time. I knew I wanted to enter the broadcast journalism industry quickly, but I also wanted to be competitive. After some research Seneca was the perfect fit. My instructors were knowledgeable and everyday we entered the class as if it were a live newsroom. We experienced all the intensity, stress and expectation we would face in a real job situation. I’m great under the pressure of deadlines; my ability to write quickly and clearly for media is due to the fact that we spent hours doing that in class. There are so many other skills I gained that I apply in my everyday life as a broadcaster. But the most important thing is my education from Seneca has media outlets taking me seriously as a journalist and not an athlete turned “talking head.”

4) What are your thoughts on society being more accepting of fit women and women in sports these days? How much change have you seen (if any) during your career?

I love it! I think we’ve seen society embrace athletic women as beautiful. There used to be a time where some women were afraid to lift weights because they thought they’d leave the gym looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger. Now women want toned muscles and curves, because not only is it attractive, it’s a symbol of health. Dealing with women in sports specifically we have made progress: Equal prize money in many sports, recognizing women’s athletic achievements on the same plane as men’s and countless movements devoted to the advancement of women in sports. These are all great, but sport will likely be a male dominated space for a long time. That’s why I encourage everyone to support organizations and causes that promote the participation and inclusion of women and girls at all levels of physical activity and sport.

5) What are your career aspirations for the future?

In addition to what I’m doing with sports broadcasting and public speaking, I’d plan to write a children’s book for young kids in sports, dealing with overcoming obstacles and self-efficacy. I’d like to write a cookbook that teaches parents what to feed their little champions. I’m always asked by parents what to feed their children! In a perfect world I’d love to be on a morning news show with a panel of diverse, opinionated women covering headlines in Canada and around the world.

For more information on the #BecauseItMatters campaign, please visit: www.becauseitmatters.ca. Don’t miss the Open House at Seneca on Saturday, April 2, 2016.

This post was sponsored by Seneca, however the opinions expressed are my own. 

5 Questions With: Abigail Keeso of That Clean Life

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This year, I really took it upon myself to become a healthier and better me. While doing some research on healthy eating, I recently discovered a cool local website called That Clean Life. Abigail Keeso is the co-founder of the site that aims to help people create meal plans, find new recipe ideas, make grocery lists, etc. Her goal is to help people achieve a healthier lifestyle. I was curious to know more about what inspired her to start this site so I’m happy she was able to answer my questions below. Hope you’ll enjoy my 5 Questions With Abigail Keeso:

1) What inspired you to create That Clean Life?

When I was in my late teens, I fell into a downward spiral of self-hate and severe body image issues. I spent years trying fad diets and compulsively exercising but never feeling better inside or out. After some serious health issues, I  vowed to take control and truly love myself once and for all. I discovered the concept of eating clean, which really resonated with me. I taught myself to cook with fresh ingredients in ways that were absolutely delicious, stopped depriving myself and learned to listen to my body. The weight started to fall off effortlessly but other things started to change in my life too. I was more positive, creative and inspired. I was a better person to myself and to everyone around me.
Looking back, I could have saved myself a lot of time, money and heartache by just fueling my body with real food instead of looking for a quick fix. That’s why we’ve created That Clean Life –  a platform that allows users to feel inspired by healthy recipes, have fun planning their meals and eliminate the guesswork from eating healthy.   


2) What is your goal with this platform?

Our goal is to make eating healthy simple and fun so our members can look and feel their best today and for the rest of their lives.


3) How can a “clean” diet impact someone’s life?

A clean diet can literally impact every aspect of your life from your physical appearance, to your self-esteem and your mental health. Whether you are dealing with breakouts, depression, weight gain or chronic fatigue – nine times out of 10, it comes back to diet.


4) What are your thoughts on the current food industry?

It’s a bummer, but the reality is that the food that surrounds us is still heavily processed and contributing to massive health issues. The trouble with processed food is that it is stripped of its nutrients and pumped full of additives that our body has no idea what to do with. The worst part is that the food giants are making these processed foods highly addictive so we end up on a merry-go-round of constant junk food cravings (as they continue making more money).
With this being said, we’re seeing more and more people asking questions, connecting the dots and realizing the profound effect of food on our overall health. Our hope is that the more people we can get to reach for fruits and vegetables instead of Doritos and Coca-Cola, the more we can nurture a healthier food landscape and healthier policies. Can you imagine if we continued to do this overtime while encouraging more-and-more people to do the same? The processed food giants wouldn’t be able to survive. We’d be left with a food system composed of real food and world full of healthier, happier people.


5) What are some of your favorite summer foods?

Watermelon, strawberries and peaches have so much flavour in the summer. And nothing says summer nights like grilled asparagus or a caprese salad made with fresh, juicy, summer tomatoes!

5 Questions With: Phylicia George

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Thrilled to have on the blog today an Olympic Athlete and also all-around inspiring woman. The timing couldn’t be more perfect with the Pan Am games about to hit Toronto and today’s 15k race in Toronto. Phylicia George is a track and field athlete from Markham, Ontario. She made her Olympic debut in 2012 in London and finished in sixth place in the 100m hurdles. I’ve been following her training journey these past couple of months via social media so I couldn’t be more thrilled that she took some time from her busy schedule to answer the questions below. Hope you’ll be just as inspired by her as I am. Enjoy my 5 Questions With Phylicia George:

1) What first got you interested in track and field? What is it about this discipline that you like so much?

My earliest memories of running was racing my dad in the parking lot. I loved racing kids on the playground and putting everything I had in me to be the first at the finish line.  So I guess you could say I’ve always had this innate competitive nature.  One of my first introductions to the sport of track and field was watching the 1996 Olympics. I instantly fell in love with the intense competition and the raw emotions that I saw. I love the fact that track and field is an individual sport. It’s very much a personal journey about pushing yourself past your limits. When you line up at the start line, It is literally you vs. 7 other people; your best vs my best, which is an amazing feeling.  It’s a sport that continually encourages you to grown as an athlete and as a person. It’s a very difficult sport to train for and takes a lot of sacrifice, however that dedication makes achievement all the more enjoyable.

2) You always have some very empowering and inspiring posts on your blog for athletes and also for women in general, who inspired you along the way?

I’m inspired by so many people. Anyone who overcomes the odds, strong women that defy societal standards, positive people working to make real change in the world, and the list goes on. More specifically my mother was a huge inspiration to me. She was a very strong woman with great values, who always encouraged me to be great. As well, my father is the ultimate humanitarian. I grew up seeing him helping people and going out of his way to make others lives better. I try to fashion my life and my impact after both my parents. They both inspired me to not only be a better person but to also be good other people.

3) You made your Olympic Games debut in 2012 in London and will be going to the 2016 Rio Olympics, what does a typical training week look like for you?

Training is pretty intense. I usually train 5 days a week. Sometimes I’ll have training blocks where I train 6 days a week. On average 3 days a week will be high intensity and 2 days a week will be recovery days.  Different parts of the year we have different things we focus on. For example at the beginning of the year, it’s all about conditioning and getting in shape, so it’s a lot of long runs, high volume, lower intensity. As we get closer to competition, we decrease volume and increase intensity. Throughout a training week I also make sure to have great emphasis on my recovery and sleep, which is a huge to make sure I’m getting the gains I want from my training.

4) What 3 tips would you give to people who are currently training for their 1st ever race or who are just getting into running?

1)     Don’t try to do too much too soon. That is the fast track to injury. Its easy to get really excited about training and take on more than your body can handle. Its important to have a plan to stick to which will help you increase smartly

2)     It’s a process. Things won’t always be amazing. You’re body won’t always feel great.  There will be ups and downs but during the downs its so important to trust in the process.  The path to success is never straight. 1 step back and 2 steps forward, is still moving in the right direction

3)     Set Goals. I’ve always found having something to work towards helps with my training. I usually set big goals at the beginning of the year and then small ones throughout the year. It really helps to keep you focused and it can be the extra motivation you need to help you get through those tough workout

5) What is your next career goal?

My main goals right now is winning an international medal. I’m aiming to be on the podium at World Championships this summer and then next year at the Rio Olympics. I’m also looking to break the Canadian record in the 100m Hurdles.

5 Questions With: Ashley Cuff of CEDAR Juice

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Photo credit: CEDAR Juice

I LOVE fresh pressed juices. Hands down one of the best purchases I made last year was getting my own juicer. I try to make at least one fresh juice a day but when I don’t have time to make them myself, I love grabbing a CEDAR Juice.

Since I’ve started training intensively for my two upcoming races – the 10k in May and the Nike Women 15k in June, I noticed that adding these juices to my daily food regimen, have been a great energy boost. In case you haven’t heard of them yet, CEDAR Juice, is a rad local fresh pressed juicery based in Toronto that has been making delicious organic juices for the past couple of months. They’re known for their doorstep delivery cleanses but they also offer maintenance packages and custom juice packages for those wanting to incorporate juices into their daily diet. If you live in the city, you’ve probably seen their juices pop up more and more at different shops and events.  I really wanted to know more about the benefits of drinking these juices particularly when training so I was thrilled that Ashley Cuff, the co-founder of CEDAR Juice agreed to answer a few questions about their juices. Hope you’ll learn as much as I did from reading this 5 Questions With interview!

1) What was the goal behind starting CEDAR Juice?

Everyone is working hard, living busy lives, but wanting to be healthy. It’s just hard to do when you are constantly on the run. We wanted to create a healthy juice, which tastes amazing that people can incorporate into their daily life and make being healthy just a little more easy and simple. There is a lot out there which claims to be healthy, but is really just filled with sugar.  At CEDAR the only ingredients are listed on the label, so you know exactly what you are getting – all 3-4 lbs of fruit & vegetables  in each bottle. 

2) How did you go about creating these juices?

The juices which are apart of our cleanse were developed to replicate our normal eating throughout an average day.  We give you our Kale Made Good at breakfast & lunch when you are looking for a hit of energy & nutrients.  As the day progresses and you are looking for something heartier we have Skip to the Beet (our beet, carrot, apple, lemon, ginger) and lastly  Cracked It (cashew, hemp, vanilla and coconut nectar), which has the health fats, glucose and protein you need for a restful sleep.  The juices are chosen to have a balance of green juices, fruitier juices and lastly a cashew nut milk to end the day.  We try to really balance the efficacy of the juice from a cleansing perspective with flavour.

3) What separates CEDAR Juice from other cold pressed juices?

There are some great cold pressed juice companies across Canada, but we hope that ours tastes better…nutritious & tasty! Our juices are 100% organic & cold pressed.  We use local ingredients when we can (tough in the winter), and are made in the west end of Toronto in the Junction.  

One of our big goals is to excel at simplifying the cleanse experience.  By having our bottles numbered, making it easy to order, shipping to your door at a reasonable price (quickly) and providing a lot of resources and support for our juicers during their cleanse, we think we achieve this.  We get a lot of positive feedback on our customer service and this is keeping us motivated to keep moving in this direction – make it simple, stupid.  

4) Can you explain some of the benefits you can get from drinking these cold pressed juices?

A cold pressed juice has 2-3x the nutrients of a typical juice.  With minimal heat & oxidation of the fruits and vegetables during the making of the juice all of the nutrients, minerals and enzymes stay intact.  That really is the simple science behind cold pressed.  Our most nutritious juice is our Kale Made Good. This is because the 3-4 lbs of greens which is in just one of our bottles, such as kale and swiss chard are alkalizing, loaded with minerals such as calcium and magnesium, plus they contain a lot of vitamin C.

5) How you would recommend incorporating these juices into one’s training regimen and diet?

Any one of our juices can be a great addition to your diet if you are training for a run, or other sport event.  However there are 3 juices in particular that I think should get a particular shout out!  Skip to the Beet (beet, carrot, apple, lemon & ginger) is a great endurance enhancer & is the perfect juice to have 2-3 hours before a workout.  Cracked It (cashews, hemp seed, vanilla & coconut nectar) has got the right amount of protein and carbohydrates, is easy to digest, and is therefore your perfect post workout juice. Lastly is our Kale Made Good – our green juice is filled with the nutrients and alkalizing effect your body is craving. 

**Ashley and CEDAR Juice are offering a 10% discount to those interested in their doorstep delivery cleanses and also maintenance packages. They offer free shipping to anyone in the Toronto area but can ship elsewhere across the country. Get all the shipping details on their site. If you’d like to place an order with them, please use the code: melsays10% to receive a 10% discount! If you’re looking for a great package of juices to drink while training, I recommend getting the “Fitness Freak” pack but you can also make your own customized pack by emailing: orders@cedarjuice.com. Want to pick up a CEDAR juice at a local retailer in Toronto? Click here for more info. 

5 Questions With: Sheila Reid

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A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of getting trained at NTC by Canadian Olympian Sheila Reid. Sheila is a track and field athlete and a professional runner that participated in the 2012 London Olympics. She is currently training for next year’s Olympics in Rio and also this year’s Pan Am Games in Toronto. She was in town for the announcement of Nike Women‘s upcoming 15k race happening in Toronto on June 14th (In case you didn’t already know, those interested in participating in the race will be able to sign up on March 9th!). Training with Sheila was incredibly inspiring to say the least. Getting to spend time and talking with an athlete of that level was very enriching. I’m looking forward to following her next running achievements. Hope you’ll get inspired by this week’s 5 Questions with Sheila Reid:

1) What first got you interested in running? Do you remember your first race and how it went?

The first race I can remember was in grade 4- that was the first year we were allowed to participate in sports at school outside of gym class, so I joined the cross country team. I came in second and everyone from my school was really proud of me. I remember being really confused by that because I wanted to win. The team didn’t train at all, and the only requirement was signed consent from a parent to compete. So from the start, for me, it was all about racing; how far could I push my body on any given day? By the end of elementary school I was a champion.

2) You are currently training with the Oregon Track Club Elite, what does your training regimen look like? How has training in the US helped you as an athlete?

My training regimen consists of running, cross training, and weight training. I run every day (twice a day 4x/week), lift weights 2x per week, and some days I will supplement my training with cardio work in the pool or on an ElliptiGo machine. Specific race preparation happens during interval workouts; these are running sessions I do twice a week to work on pace-specific training. I decided to go to America for school to compete in the NCAA system because I felt that the high level of competition would force me to compete at that same level. I’ve remained there based on many of the connections I made while at university. 

3) You took part in the 2012 London Olympics and placed 28th in the 5000 meters, how did that experience change you as an athlete?

Like after any competition, you go back to the drawing board with your team and assess where you can improve. After this particular instance, I felt more energized than ever to be more calculated with my training and listen to my body during each session. I decided quickly that London wouldn’t be my last race and was vocal that I was ready to give running my all for myself, my teammates and my coaches. 

4) What advice would you give to people who are just getting into running?

If you’re just starting your running journey, my advice would be to create a routine and find a positive community that will push you. Even if you set a goal to run 15 minutes a day without stopping, you will be surprised by the improvement and momentum that can spring from something as small but routine as that. From there, build your goals by attainable bite sizes. The best way to find inspiration to keep moving is by surrounding yourself with positivity and community. By committing and finding a strong community like a Nike+ run club, you will push yourself faster and further, and the people around you will help you go beyond your limits. 

5) You’ll be taking part in the Nike Women’s 15k Race happening in Toronto on June 14th as well as this year’s Pan Am Games in Toronto. What are your career plans for the next couple of years?

My training program is largely focused on going faster. I’m constantly focusing on developing my fast twitch muscles and pushing my cardio abilities to keep me at my peak speed for a longer duration of every race. In my training over the next couple of years, I’ll be aiming to improve my speed with the long term goal of competing in the Rio 2016 Olympics. I’m fortunate enough to have some amazing competitions and checkpoints along the way, including the Pan Am Games in 2015 in Toronto, and the 2015 Track & Field World Championships in Beijing in August. 

5 Questions With: Eva Redpath

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When I think of some of my current role models, I think of this lady – Eva Redpath. I met Eva, fitness expert and Canada’s first Nike Master Trainer this past summer at a Nike event in Toronto and was immediately blown away by her presence and energy. I got to work out with her that evening and not only was it one of the hardest workouts I’ve ever done in my life but it was also one of my favorite workouts. There is no doubt that Eva’s passion for fitness and positive attitude has rubbed off on me. Since then, I’ve had the privilege of having her as a coach every Thursday morning with the Nike Women NTC crew at Academy of Lions and have become an NTC addict. NTC is now a very important part of my life and has been key in my transformation towards a healthier and better me. I couldn’t be more honored to have this inspiring woman on the blog today. Here are my 5 Questions With Eva Redpath:

1) What inspired you to become a fitness expert and trainer?

I have a strong background in dance and through the years began to really notice that a lot of the women I was dancing with have poor body image, so it’s been a personal passion and mission to create and build a strong support system and network for women. Empowering women through fitness and building community is truly what Nike Training Club is all about, which is why I jumped at the opportunity to work with Nike. It’s a brand and program that I personally connect with and can leverage to reach and inspire more women.    

2) The fitness world has changed a whole lot in the past decade, what do you think of its evolution? Is it easier or harder to live a healthy lifestyle today?

I think there are so many accessible resources and options out there for women who want to lead a healthy lifestyle, including apps she can use at home, group fitness classes and communities of women who all motivate each other. So what it comes down to is putting pen to paper. Just write down one realistic – and be honest with yourself – goal that you can achieve today. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with larger goals that require life changes, so try taking it day by day honouring one simple intention per day and celebrate your little successes. 

3) Being a personal trainer and fitness instructor goes above and beyond simply working out. How do you want to impact the women you’re working with? What do you think separates you from other trainers?

For me it’s all about empowering women through sport. This is just one of the reasons that I think building community is such an important element to training. I think it’s so important for women to empower other women, whether that means finding a group of girlfriends who share similar fitness goals and scheduling workouts together or coming together through live NTC and other group fitness classes.

4) You were the first Nike Master Trainer in Canada, what does this title mean to you? How important are programs like N+TC, the one that Nike developed?

For me, being Nike Canada’s first Master Trainer was a really natural fit. My role with Nike has presented me with an amazing opportunity to reach more women and N+TC has been a powerful tool in showing women what fitness can do for their lives. As women, our time is scarce and fitting in a workout can be a challenge for even the most dedicated athletes, which is why I’m a huge advocate for the N+TC app. The app is literally designed to be a personal trainer in your pocket, allowing you to fit in a workout anytime, anywhere, no matter if you have 5 or 45 minutes to spare.

5) You are a woman of many talents. You are a dance instructor, an actress and an entrepreneur, amongst many other things. How does each of these aspects of your career help you achieve your life goals?

Through my career as a trainer, I’ve learned that you have to be willing to try new things in order to exceed your perceived potential and discover that you’re stronger than you think you are. The same is true in life and for me, the mental and physical challenges I face in training, give me the strength and perseverance to overcome the obstacles – big and small – I encounter in my day-to-day life.

What’s next for Eva Redpath?

As Nike Canada’s first Master Trainer, I couldn’t be more excited for the Nike Women’s 15K Toronto. I think it marks a new experience for athletes in two ways. It’s a proving ground for women to put themselves to the test and rediscover the joy of running faster, and running further.

As someone who’s just returning to running, I’m really looking forward to training for the race with a strong a community of women who are supportive, encouraging and celebrate your achievements. Yet if you’re a seasoned runner, it’s your opportunity to crush a new personal best.

5 Questions With: Anine Bing

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Photo by: Anna Maria Zunino Noellert

Couldn’t be more excited about this last blog interview of the year! If you’ve been following my blog, you know just how much I LOVE the designer Anine Bing. Not only is she my favorite designer, she’s also someone I look up to and an inspiration! The Los Angeles designer by way of Denmark, is also an entrepreneur, a model, a singer and a mother of two young children. Since she launched her first collection in 2012, my closet has slowly been filling up with a lot of her designs. I love her minimalist yet rock n’ roll designs. Her clothes always have the perfect balance between edgy and feminine. I feel 100% myself when I wear her clothes. Her blog is also one of my daily go-to’s. I’m beyond thrilled that she was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule to answer a few of my questions. To finish off the year, here are my 5 Questions With Anine Bing:

1) Do you remember when your love for fashion started? What made you want to become a designer?

My love for fashion started already as a kid. We didn’t have a lot of money growing up, so I got most of my clothes from my older siblings. But I did the best out of it and I got very inspired by my older brother who always wore cool jeans, Dr. Marten boots and a pallastina scarf. My dream of starting my own line started 4 years ago. I wanted to create the perfect pair of jeans and other great basic pieces that was easy to mix and match.. 

2) Where do you draw inspiration for the clothes that you design for your Anine Bing line?

I get inspired where ever I go. There is so much inspiration living here in LA. Wherever I go I feel inspired. I also love traveling and experience different cultures. Old movies, books and magazines are also places to look for inspiration..

3) What are some of your must-haves for the winter season?

For the winter I love layering. I am a big fan of chunky oversized knits, skinny jeans and a big scarf. Boots is also a must during winter, or actually all year around 🙂

4) In addition to being a designer, you are an entrepreneur, a singer, a model and you are also a mother of two. How do you balance all of these different aspects of your life? How each of these things feed your creativity and your life in general?

I love being creative and everything I do is very creative.. In different areas. Being a mom is the most important roll. Being a designer takes up must of my time and I just LOVE what I do.. It gives me energy to do so many different things. I love every part of my life and that makes it easier to balance then.. 

5) Those who follow you on social media will note that you also seem to love good food. What are your favorite spots to eat in LA?

I love Urth Caffe for lunch. Pace for dinner and Le Pain Quotidien for breakfast… 

What’s next for Anine Bing?  

I have soooo many exciting things coming up.. but I can’t give you any details right now… 🙂

Thanks to everyone who took the time out of their busy schedules to take part in my 5 Questions With blog series this year. I’m incredibly honored and grateful! Here’s to more inspiring interviews in 2015!

5 Questions With: Dylana Suarez

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Dylana Suarez is a stylist, photographer and blogger currently based in New York City. If you’ve been following my 5 Questions With series, you may have noticed that I’ve also had the privilege of featuring her lovely and also incredibly talented sister Natalie Suarez on the blog before. The Suarez sisters are a powerhouse duo. Dylana often works with her younger sister, photographing and styling her for shoots. Dylana’s many talents really fascinate me. She’s always working on the coolest creative projects with some of the most amazing brands and people. Her blog is one of my daily go-to websites. I love her unique style and her passion for food, travel & fashion! Dylana is currently in Vancouver to shoot a city guide for Free People and will then be heading to LA to photograph some more. She dreams of traveling the world and showcasing her adventures on her blog. Hope you’ll enjoy my 5 Questions With Dylana Suarez:

1) Do you remember when your love for fashion started? When did you make the decision to work in the fashion industry?

It started when I was really young, before I even started elementary school! My mom always sketched when I was younger, and I’d color in the patterns of the clothes the characters in her pictures wore. She also made clothes for us sometimes! I always loved what my mom wore, she was so stylish, so I think it just rubbed off on me. Imagery is so important to me, and I just automatically fell in love with pictures and what people wore. But I didn’t decide to work in fashion until way later. Halfway through college, I decided to switch majors (I used to be a biology major) and dabble into the idea of a career in fashion. So I did a few internships to see how I liked it that helped me network and inspired me to start my blog, and it slowly went from there.

2) You are a stylist, photographer and blogger, how do each of these things feed your creativity?

Being a stylist is so much fun for me because it brings me back to my childhood days of playing dress up at home. It’s the reason why I fell in love with fashion in the first place. I love playing with colors, shapes, textures, etc. Standing back and seeing a look you put together that instills a feeling or vibe feels so good to me. Photography is something I am truly very passionate about. I learned how to take photos myself, and slowly got better and better. I think because I grew with it, I feel most connected with it. Nothing makes me feel more happy that a gorgeous photo that inspires myself and others. Blogging is amazing because it has allowed me to do all the things I love: write, style, take photos, meet new people and collaborate. it has opened so many doors for me as a person and as a creative, it really is amazing. It has driven me to explore and challenge myself, and keep creating more and more 🙂

3) What are some of your favorite brands or go-to designers when styling?

I really, really love Free People, Topshop, Junim and Spell and the Gypsy. But if it was all up to me, I’d be pulling from Saint Laurent, Miu Miu and Dries van Noten! I never stick to just one brand, I pull from everything and even lots from my own closet just to change things up!

4) You were raised in Southern California but you now call NYC home, how much has the city impacted your career? Is Manhattan in your opinion, still a great place for fashion?

Moving to NYC has probably been the best decision of my 20’s so far! I’ve experience so much here! I love how go-go the life is here, and how many interactions I can have in a day. I meet so many people here and everything is so accessible. The city is so stimulating and really inspires me to keep pursuing my dreams, especially when I am able to work with a bunch of really great supportive people. Manhattan is full of fashion everywhere. So for someone like me, it’s an awesome place to live. All the brands, PR firms and creatives are here. There’s always something going on, and the fashion scene thrives because of it.

5) What are some of your must-haves for fall this year?

I distressed red leather boot, an oversized leather moto jacket, over-the-knee socks, and a beret!

5 Questions With: Kaya Turski

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Last January, I was one of the many Canadians that was thrilled to see the introduction of half-pipe and slopestyle skiing into the Olympic Games at the Sochi Olympics in Russia. I know that many women skiiers including freestyle skiing pioneer Sarah Burke fought incredibly hard to get the sport to where it is today. Another amazing Canadian athlete who’s been paving the way for women in the sport is 26-year-old Montrealer Kaya Turski. Kaya competed at the 2014 Sochi Olympics and is currently the reigning Winter X Games slopestyle champion. To this day, Kaya has won 4 Winter X Games slopestyle gold medals. Kaya is currently taking some classes at her local community college and will be back to competing in the winter. She’s definitely an inspiration for women in the sport and a force to be reckoned with. I’m honored that she took time out of her busy schedule to answer some of my questions. Here are my 5 Questions With Kaya Turski:

1) When did you start skiing? Do you remember when you decided that you wanted to compete and take it more seriously?

I skied when I was little, about 3 until 9 years old. Then I played around with snowboarding a little bit but my main focus after that was aggressive inline rollerblading. I competed in park until I was about 14 when I took a break from doing it professionally. When I was 16, I tried skiing for the first time in years and something clicked! I really enjoyed it and caught on pretty quick because of my background in inline skating. I decided to move out to Whistler after high school and the fall semester of college to see what I could do on skis… and then it all took off from there. Once I got into the groove I wanted to start competing, it’s something I’ve always liked. The challenge, the adrenaline, the focus it takes…. all very appealing to me.

2) What is it about freeski that appeals to you and that you love so much?

I like the freedom it gives me. On the hill, I can do (almost) whatever I want. In the air, I can try whatever I feel. And the lifestyle and travel opportunities it has given me have been amazing. 

3) Last January, slopestyle skiing made its Olympic debut at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, how much has that impacted the sport and for women more specifically?

It’s hard to say yet how it impacted the sport. I think it’s made it more known, for sure. It’s great to see our sport grow into more mainstream culture. And I think the spirit of free skiing is still there, it’s freestyle core, so all in all I think it was a good thing! 

4) You’re currently ranked number 1 in the world by the Association of Freeskiing Professionals, what are some of your most memorable moments in your career thus far?

Most memorable moments that’s a tough one. So many really cool memories. I’ll give you some of my faves… landing my first switch 7! First try, I just thought I could do it and I went for it….. very cool feeling. I think that’s when it clicked that I could potentially take my skiing to the next level. Winning my first X Games! Cliche but always a dream of mine to compete at the X Games. World champs 2013 because it was a really crutch moment…. I was struggling all week and couldn’t wrap my head around anything, and I finally pulled myself together and landed my second run. Some of the best moments are when you’re really struggling and you dig deep and somehow find something within to pull you right into the light. 

5) You have a cool web series called “State of Mind”, where you share your life adventures with your fans. What are some of your favorite things to do when you’re not skiing?

I love arts, crafting. I like reading, hanging out with friends, trampolining, the beach, hiking. 

5 Questions With: Lizzie Renaud of Speakeasy Tattoo & Pinky’s Nails

lizzie renaud

I first heard of Lizzie Renaud a few years ago when I was looking to get a new tattoo after having just moved Toronto. Lizzie is one of the top female tattoo artists in Toronto. Not only is she an incredible artist, she is also the owner of the super rad Toronto tattoo shop Speakeasy Tattoo and a few years ago also opened up a luxury nail art studio called Pinky’s Nails in downtown Toronto. Lizzie is not only a badass entrepreneur but also a visionary woman. She’s always on the lookout for new projects and opportunities, which is one of the reasons why this woman is so inspiring. I hope to one day have the pleasure of being tattooed by her. In the meantime, here are my 5 Questions With Lizzie Renaud:

1) When did you start tattooing? What made you want to become a tattoo artist?

I started tattooing in 2003’ish.  Those first few years was a lot of learning. I wanted to be a tattooer because I really liked working with people at my first job and I wanted to be a bigger part of it all. It seemed like a good way to make art as a full time job.

2) How much has the perception women tattoo artists changed over the past couple of years?

I think that as long as people keep asking that question, little has changed in general. Clearly we must still stand out as different. I’m not a “woman” tattoo artist just as much as there’s no such thing as a “woman” dentist or “woman” baker. I would love for there to be a day that we are just tattoo artists like anyone else.

3) What in your opinion makes a good tattoo?

I think when a client is able to simplify their tattoo ideas into the fewest elements possible, they will get their best tattoo. I also think that a client should really like the artists style of tattooing before engaging in any work with them. 

4) In addition to being a tattoo artist, you are also a businesswoman. You are the owner of the Speakeasy Tattoo shop in Toronto and also Pinky’s Nails, a luxury nail art studio. Why was it important for you to start up both of these businesses?

Sometimes I get ideas for fun projects and they’re fizzled out within a week… Other times a special motivation strikes me and I can see an idea through to a bigger end goal. My two shops are examples of ideas I was just motivated to see through. I think it’s important to take advantage of those feelings. 

5) What was it about nail art that you were drawn to? Do you think it’s a trend that’s here to stay?

Nail art was an escape for me, and I can’t really tell you why.  Some people like baking, some people do ceramics… Painting nails just was something that let me meditate through a creative medium.  I think my fixation on it lead to me wanting to create a dedicated space for it.