What Motivates You?

fullsizerender-45

What motivates you to get out there, day after day, week after week, month and month and year after year? What motivates you to do what you love, to keep going during hardships and never give up on your dreams or goals? What motivates you to keep your head held high when everything around you seems to be bringing it down?

fullsizerender-46

For me, it’s my passion for life, my desire to be better, my want to surpass myself and my inner voice that just won’t quit. For the first time in a long time, I’ve been faced with a health issue that just won’t go away. I have always said in my life that all that really mattered to me at the end of the day, was my health. Because without my health, I can’t really accomplish much. You can have all the motivation and passion in the world, but if your body doesn’t follow, there’s sometimes not much you can do. My health has always been a huge motivator for me. Growing up, living with my mom who unfortunately faced numerous serious health issues, I always told myself that if I had my health that I would be invincible.

fullsizerender-44

Since I started running and training last year, I’ve had clean medical chart. No injuries, nothing to worry about, the coast was clear. I felt invincible but also reminded myself on a daily basis to be grateful knowing all that could change in an instant. And change it did, this summer. I went from working out twice a day to being told to stop everything, as I mentioned in my post earlier this week.

Instead of being down, and losing motivation to get better and to get back out there, this injury has motivated me EVEN MORE than ever to pursue my dreams and do all the things I love. It’s when you can’t do them that you realize just how much you love certain things, how important they are to you and just how positively they affect your life. Running and being active has done so much for me in the past year and a half, I can’t even begin to explain.

fullsizerender-43

Thinking of running again, motivates me every day during my injury to do all the things I can to get better. I’m dreaming of all the races that I can sign up for in 2017, all the places I want to run in, what I would wear, etc. This injury has made me so grateful for the fact that I can run and I know will give me even more purpose when I am finally able to run again.

fullsizerender-42

Until then, I’m practicing patience, mindfulness and keeping my head high, staying positive because I know that it’s only a matter of time before I wake up again and can finally lace up those shoes and go out there for a run. That will be one of the best days of my life, hands down!

Photos & hair by: Cabello by Carolina

What I’m wearing: Hyba Contrasting Legging (get it here), Hyba Performance Printed Tank (get it here), Hyba Striped Performance Tee (get it here).

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

Dreamy Summer Picnic

FullSizeRender

I have always dreamed of having a Pinterest-worthy picnic in the park. Last week, my summer picnic dreams came true with my lovely friend Aylin (that you may recognize from my hairspiration posts!). She suggested we get dressed up and make flower crowns. I’m no Martha Stewart but I have always loved making crafts. Last December, I used Pinterest to make all of the DIY decorations for my wedding and they turned out to be a hit.

f1

FullSizeRender

f4

No hang out with Aylin would be complete without a bunch of laughs and us acting like complete goofs. Dressing lady-like is one thing but acting lady-like is a whole other. Our amazing photographer Nelly (thehogtowntable.com) who made the entire shoot and afternoon possible brought us some delicious homemade beverages and pies to complete the picnic (you can see her yummy drink recipe here).

f2

f5

f6

I love when friends challenge me to do something outside of my comfort zone. Making these beautiful crowns was tricky but allowed me to be creative and do something different. I’m pretty stoked on how they turned out!

f7

FullSizeRender(2)

Photos by: @thehogtowntable

Hair by: Cabello by Carolina

Bike to Work Day

p18Today is Bike to Work Day! If there’s one thing I love about Toronto is that I get to bike to and from work every day at least 6 months out of the year. There’s nothing I love more than a leisurely bike ride to start off and end my work day. It clears my head and is a form of meditation for me. While I’m biking, I’m 100% in the present moment, I’m not on my phone, I’m looking around at the beautiful scenery and am fully immersed in my cycling experience. Cycling in Toronto has taught be to be a better and safer cyclist, opting to always wear a helmet, get great bike lights, etc.

p21I can’t think of better shoes to bike in than these UNEEK shoes by KEEN. Excited to have them on my feet throughout the summer!

p19p7Bike Month kicks off today in Toronto. For all the details, go here.

p9p1Photos & hair by: Cabello by Carolina

Top 3 Summer Workouts – Big Hit Studios

PAM_0036If you’re looking for a great way to get your daily frustrations out while also getting a full-body workout in, make sure you take a class at Big Hit Studios. Their Sudbury St. studio in Toronto has been one of my favorites since the beginning of the new year.

PAM_0019Led by a brilliant team of trainers, including my personal favorite Karina Vottchal (she’s a badass lady that will get sweating and out breath in a few seconds!), their mix of kickboxing, crossboxing, powerboxing and coreboxing classes will make you stronger and get you toned. I like their classes because they’re a great mix of cardio and technique. Don’t be surprised if the trainers ask you to do a few burpees or push-ups, even with your gloves on!

PAM_0025

If you don’t live in Toronto, fret not! Big Hit Studios also has an additional space located in Oakville. For more info on Big Hit Studios, go here.

PAM_0292Notes from the hairstylist:

Braids on braids
“A small twist on these boxer braids, instead of the usual two boxer braids, I decided to do six individual braids. I braided each one the length of Mel’s hair, and then took three on each side and braided those together, to make them look like two long individual braids.”

Photos: Pam Lau
Hair: Cabello by Carolina
Makeup: Michelle Gardin

What I’m wearing: Nike Free TR 6 Women’s Training Shoe (get it here), Nike Pro Hypercool Limitless Women’s Training Capris (get it here), Nike Flow Graphic Women’s Training Tank (get it here), Nike Pro Fierce Women’s Sports Bra (get it here).

Top 3 Summer Workouts – MISFITSTUDIO

PAM_0398I had the pleasure of finally discovering MISFITSTUDIO after having heard great things about this place for the past couple of years. Located on West Queen West, this beautiful space divided into two different studios, is definitely unique to the city. The stained glass windows and antique details in the studio creates a very special and charming atmosphere.

PAM_0426They offer a mix of pilates, yoga and movement classes. Their MISFITMETHOD is “a mindfully created experience where strength and grace support each other, where you are guided to allow the body to flow and the mind to quiet. A wild physical journey full of connection, challenge and technique each class will leave you with a touch of magic.”

PAM_0405-2I had the chance to take one of their Reformer Pilates class with the lovely Michelle Jobin. This supermom teaches Wednesday mornings from 7-8 am in their cozy Pilates room. The studio offers a great variety of classes that are sure to get you moving and make you leave feeling inspired.

A lot of great things are coming the way of MISFITSTUDIO, so make sure you follow them online here to stay tuned.

PAM_0534PAM_0526Notes from the hairstylist:

Perfect Pilates Fishtail
“A french braid is so easy to do, and it’s a go to for all of my indoor workouts, but why not switch it up with a fishtail french braid. Would you believe it’s done with just two strands?”

Photos: Pam Lau
Hair: Cabello by Carolina
Makeup: Michelle Gardin

What I’m wearing: Nike Zoned Sculpt Women’s Training Tights (get them here), Nike Zoned Sculpt Strappy Women’s Training Bralette (get it here).

Top 3 Summer Workouts – SPOKEHAÜS

PAM_0693Opened just a few months ago, Spokehaüs has without a doubt become one of my favorite places to sweat in the city. Located on Dan Leckie Way, this modern and cool cycle studio has built a great community of spin enthusiats in just a few months.

PAM_0666The classes and instructors always offer fresh and cool new playlists to ride along to. Not one class is the same but no matter what class you take, you always end up sweating your butt off. It’s probably one of the only places in the city that will get me up on a Saturday or Sunday morning just because of how great I feel once I leave the studio.

PAM_0682In addition to regular classes, the studio is doing more and more events. They had their first ever HIGHRIDE a few weeks ago, a special riding event with glow sticks, candy and serious beats. They’ll be doing these kinds of events once a month, so stay tuned for future HIGHRIDES!

The 45 minutes of riding will go by in a flash and will have you feeling great all day!

PAM_0597Great gear and a proper riding hairstyle are two musts for me when I ride. The last thing I want is hair in my face when I’m sweating profusely.

PAM_0608Notes from the hairstylist:

A Spinning Topknot
“Take your topknot to a new level. I added two dutch braids, tied Mel’s hair into a high ponytail and instead of leaving it loose, I put it into a topknot so that it wouldn’t be in her way while she’s giving it her all in class. Putting all of your hair up helps with not having so many knots, tangle, and keeps the frizz down too 😉 I also just wrapped the ends of her dutch braids around the topknot to make it look pretty. Why not have pretty hair while you workout?!”

Photos: Pam Lau
Hair: Cabello by Carolina
Makeup: Michelle Gardin

What I’m wearing: Nike Pro Hypercool Frequency Women’s Training Capris (get them here), Nike Pro Hypercool Frequency Women’s Training Tank Top (get it here), Garneau Women’s Multi Air Flex Cycling Shoes (get them here).

Get Lost

FullSizeRender(2)This summer, I want to get lost: Lost in a new country, in a new scenery, in a new adventure. Summer is when I feel most alive. I cannot wait to explore some beautiful new locations near and far away from home.

I’m obsessed with the Tuck Shop Trading Co‘s x Bather Trunk Co. first ever swimwear collection. This GET LOST bathing suit is the perfect addition to my summer travels. The line was inspired by vintage maps that both designers are fascinated by. They worked with both Bather Trunk Co’s Kyle Kaminsky and Bathing Belle’s Danica Salajko on the design of this swimwear line (they designed some similar swim trunks for men as well!).

Who’s ready to get lost with me this summer?

You can support these local Toronto brands and designers by checking them out here.

t2t1t5t4Photos & hair by: Cabello by Carolina

What I’m wearing: Tuck Shop Trading Co’s x Bather Trunk Co. GET LOST Bathing Suit (get it here), TOMS Traveler sunglasses (get them here).

Top 3 Summer Workouts in Toronto

IMG_8278Last week, I had the pleasure to shoot with an incredible creative team on a new series I’ll be releasing on 3 consecutive days next week.

In preview of the summer, I’ll be sharing with you my 3 favorite workout classes in Toronto that you should absolutely check out. These are three completely different fitness studios and workouts that you can find in the city. Though I love to workout outdoors as much as possible, these classes are the exception to my rule.

I had the chance to team up again with photographer Pam Lau and hairstylist Cabello by Carolina, who I had the pleasure of working with on last year’s 15k Hairspiration series that you can see here. The lovely Michelle Gardin also joined us for makeup.

I’ll be releasing the series on Monday May 23rd, but in the meantime, here’s a little behind the scenes preview of what we did.

Photo: Pam Lau
Hair: Cabello by Carolina
Makeup: Michelle Gardin

What I’m wearing: Nike Tech Hypermesh Women’s Vest (get it here), Nike Bonded Women’s Shorts (get them here), Nike sports bra.

 

Wedding Inspiration – Look 4

DSC_5174

No matter how old I get, I will always remain a rocker at heart. I think the fact that Offner and I will be going to see Motley Crue’s last show at the Staples Centre in LA just a few hours before getting married, is proof enough.

DSC_5225

Look 4, is maybe the least traditional wedding look but one of my favorites. A leather jacket, cute boots and a black dress with lace, is my idea of a cute rock n’ roll outfit. I think that when getting married, you have to be yourself and there’s nothing wrong with a little rock in what you choose to wear. The key is to feel great and not like an impostor (which is totally how I would feel if I went for the traditional wedding dress!) in what you’re wearing.

DSC_5127

DSC_5170

DSC_5152

For the hairstyle, we tried the faux hawk ponytail. As Aylin explains, “give the top part some volume, pull tight on the sides, and tie it in a ponytail. You can curl the hair or leave it straight. Chic rocker style“.

DSC_5195

Photos: Aleyah Solomon
Hair: Cabello by Carolina
Makeup: Michelle Gardeen
Dress: NARCES

 

Wedding Inspiration – Look 3

DSC_5268

Today’s Look 3 without a doubt has more of a bohemian feel to it. Not only with the setting we chose but also with the hairstyle and dress we picked.

DSC_5256

DSC_5255

We decided to go with a short but incredibly cute floral lace gown. Wedding dresses don’t always have to be long with a train. Short dresses can be just as cute and also a lot more practical. We accessorized it with a gold belt and gold shoes.

As for the hairstyle, we decided on a fishtail braid and added a strand from the bouquet in the braid to complete the look.

DSC_5316

DSC_5302

DSC_5308

This look is super romantic and flirty. Perfect for a more casual wedding.

5242

Photos: Aleyah Solomon
Hair: Cabello by Carolina
Makeup: Michelle Gardeen
Dress: NARCES