Rexall Opens New Flagship Store in Toronto’s Historic Brunswick House

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It’s rare these days to see the heritage of properties and venues across the city of Toronto being preserved. However, when Rexall decided to open up their new flagship store in Toronto’s iconic Brunswick House, they made sure to not only preserve but also celebrate the venue’s musical past.

The Brunswick House is without a doubt one of the coolest landmarks in Toronto. What initially started off as a saloon in 1874, evolved into many things over the years including a hotel, a dance hall, a jazz and blues place as well as a concert venue and bar more recently.

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I have a personal connection with this iconic place, as Brunswick was the first street I lived on when I first moved to Toronto back in 2009. I frequented the Brunswick House on several occasions for drinks and to watch hockey games during my first couple of years in the city. What I did not know is just how much musical history there was in that building.

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“The Brunny” as locals like to call, served as a concert venue for heavy hitters such as Etta James, Buddy Guy, Gordon Lightfoot and even Canadian guitarist Jeff Healey. Artifacts, instruments and old gig posters from these concerts are all featured in the music exhibit and memorabilia collection currently on display inside the Rexall.

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In addition to preserving these items, Rexall worked closely with the City of Toronto’s Heritage Preservation Service to restore the building’s outdoor façade and many interior elements that made this place so unique, such as the chandeliers, the tin ceiling, signage and the infamous keg barrel bar. All have been included in the drugstore’s new design.

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Rexall‘s new flagship store will offer residents of the Harbord Village and surrounding area high-quality health services and personalized health experiences. There will also be a health centre, which will include a family physician and walk-in clinic in addition to providing drugstore and pharmacy products all under one roof.

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Make your way over to the new Rexall store to check out the Rexall Brunswick House Music Artifacts Exhibition before it moves to its permanent home at Calgary’s Studio Bell in 2018.

The new Rexall flagship is located at 481 Bloor St. West in Toronto.

This article was written in collaboration with Rexall but all opinions are my own. 

5 Questions With: Christina Culver of Culver City Salads

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Photo by: Valerie Legere

Young female entrepreneurs are a plenty here in Vancouver. Christina Culver is the brains behind the ultra popular Culver City Salads, Vancouver’s first completely plant-based and gluten free mobile salad company. Started back in 2012 as a delivery service for friends and colleagues, in just a few short years, the company has grown exponentially. I sat down with this inspiring boss babe to talk about her mission and how it all started.

1) What inspired you to start Culver City Salads?

I have worked in a million different jobs in my life. Six years ago, I was running a high end photo studio and was an artist booker, so was booking hair and makeup, stylists, etc. I also worked as a nail artist. After a year and a half, I couldn’t do it anymore so I quit and my plan was to go do nails full-time but wasn’t making enough money. So one of my really close girlfriends and her boyfriend at the time, called me and pitch at me. They said that since I was always making food for everyone and that all of my friends really liked the food that I cooked, they suggested I just bring it to their office and they’d pay me for it.

So I went out and bought a bunch of tupperware and a ton of produce and started off with a Facebook Fan Page, email and text. It started off with my friend group and of course, being in Vancouver, a lot of them worked at Lululemon HQ and all the local startups. I did it out of my apartment for over a year and always thought that this was just a means to an end. I was still doing nails but then I got an offer for a partner and stuff just got real. I decided to get a kitchen and also start branding. Then, the Juice Truck started selling my salads on their truck. We had the same branding team and they thought that we would be a really great fit. That really started building momentum. Also at that time, we had Shopify set up so that you can order salads online. I was making all of the salads myself, trying to borrow my sister’s car if I could or taking the bus to deliver everything, running around town with the Ikea bag filled with tupperware. The cool thing is that I would take the tupperware back from them, wash it and re-use it, always trying to keep my imprint really small. Not too long after, we decided to get a food truck and that’s when my sister came into the picture. She’s a trained pastry chef, ski instructor and was in holistic nutrition school at the time. We ended up getting our food truck permit and it was go-time. The truck is in its 4th year but everything keeps evolving and changing all the time. 

2) What are some of the goods that you offer now?

We retail with The Juicery Co., they are basically our market place as they sell some of our dehydrated crackers, cookies and homemade dressing by the bottle. We’re also trying to work on more of that now. We also do a fair amount of catering and retreat work. We just got back from Guatemala where we just did 4 days in the Yoga Forest in San Marcos, making salads for a 50-women gathering. I really love that kind of stuff. I also get hired as a private chef for events or photoshoots. 

3) You seem to collaborate a lot with local fitness studios and athletes, why is that important for you to be a part of?

I grew up in a family where we were all competitive athletes. It’s part of our foundation and Culver City Salads was created with that in mind. Also, we are plant-based and we’re seeing it more and more now, that plant-based performance food. That’s something that I always strive for, I want to show people that you can be successful on a plant-based diet. The Tight Life Challenge at Tight Club at the beginning of the year was something I actually created with them, it’s the perfect trifecta of what is important when you’re trying to make a real healthy change in your life. I want that to carry on. I love working with athletes, it’s so cool to get feedback from them and just be in that world. 

4) How important is the community aspect in what you do?

Honestly it’s everything. I’m a firm believer in strength in numbers. This scene in Vancouver is pretty new but I haven’t met anyone that is on the same “mission” that isn’t awesome. The Juice Truck is the perfect example, we worked in the same kitchen together for over a year. It is also super cool to have the possibility to be able to call someone else in the community and ask for advice or help. I can’t even imagine it being any other way. I think if we’re all in the same direction, we can help each other. Everyone shouts each other out and I think it’s the best way to be. I’m so grateful it exists. 

5) Where would you like to be in 5 years time with Culver City Salads?

It’s so hard to say because so much just happens with flow and things will come up all of a sudden. I would love growth, whether that’s building the brand or obvious things like having a cookbook. We’re always toying with the idea of opening a storefront. I would also like to get the crackers that we’re making into grocery stores. Also, more travel for sure!

For more info on Culver City Salads, go here.

 

 

Must-Try Fitness Studios in Vancouver: TurF

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TurF recently opened its doors on West 4th St. in Kitsilano. TurF is unlike any other place in the city because they combine a workout space, café and also cute shop all into one. It’s a place where you can “work out, hang out and take out” as they say. I had the pleasure of stopping by for some delicious vegan food and take one of their unique classes led by TurF’s GM Angela Hartman. She also took a few minutes to give me the lowdown behind this magical space.

What was the initial goal and inspiration with TurF?

TurF’s mission is to “create a daily practice to live a life that is enormous”.  The idea behind TurF is like a modern day community centre a gathering place for people to grow and contribute to their communities.  We put all our favourite things: a conscious sweat, a considered menu and a thoughtful assortment of things we love.  

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What are some of the classes and services that you offer that are unique to TurF?

We are the only studio outside of NYC and LA that has the method The Class by Taryn Toomey.  I’m so happy to offer this class to the community in Vancouver as it has deeply impacted my life.  We also have a Boxing Conditioning Program that we worked on with one of our teachers, Tom Taylor.  It’s a great mix of proper technique and a great workout.  We also have a lot of strength classes like TRX classes and a hip hop based dance program that it SO MUCH FUN.  

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In addition to being a workout studio, TurF is also a kitchen and café. What is the philosophy behind the food and drinks you serve?

We want people to eat more plants.  The base of our menu is Vegan (with a couple vegetarian exceptions) and ethically sourced protein to add onto the menu for those who are not vegan or vegetarian.  all the recipes for both the bistro and the bakery came from the kitchens of our founders Delaney and Deanne.  The menu was created to nourish and fulfill you.  For us this means you can have a great workout and have breakfast afterwards and it would support the workout you just did, along with not getting hungry an hour later.  

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You also have a boutique of carefully curated lifestyle and workout products, can you share a bit more info about what people can find there?

The Shop was created to have a thoughtful assortment – we have either designed it, tested it or curated it to all go together.  We want people to have quality and less things – this means the product you can find at TurF can have several uses or functions in your everyday and that it can all go together.  We tried to bring in product that was either not available in Vancouver (like the athletic brand The Upside) and that we think is the best brand in a particular category, like the 2xU compression tights.  We also created our own product of pieces we wanted to wear every day.  

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Where would you like to see TurF five years from now?

Such a good question!  I would like to see more TurF locations that support living into our mission for people to live an enormous life.  I hope that we are doing something that I can’t even think of right now – we are a group of people committed to always learning and growing and I think TurF will shape in ways that we don’t even see coming.  

For more information on TurF, go here.

Spring Beauty Essentials

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With spring just around the corner, the weather changing and the possibility of spending more time outdoors, I felt compelled to share some of my recent go-to beauty products that I’ve been incorporating into my beauty routine. Most of these products are either green or very clean so I’m thrilled to share them with you all today.

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DERMA E Hydrating Facial Oil Treatment

This face oil is 100% vegan, cruelty-free, paraben-free, sulfate-free, mineral oil-free, lanolin-free, gluten free and GMO-free. It’s perfect to mix in with your daily moisturizer as it helps target dull, dehydrated and also premature signs of aging. I take this Californian green beauty product with me on my travels and use it either once or twice a day depending on the weather and how my skin feels.

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DERMA E Hydrating Night Crème

This clean night cream has been my go-to these past couple of months. Its extra-rich properties deeply penetrate the skin helping to moisturize and reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles. The cream is enriched with antioxidants, Vitamins C and E as well as aloe. It also helps your skin fight against free radicals and the effects of the environment. It is also, 100% vegan, cruelty-free, paraben-free, sulfate-free, mineral oil-free, lanolin-free, gluten free and GMO-free.

 

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Dermalogica Overnight Repair Serum

Slowly getting to know this incredibly popular and successful line of products. This overnight serum helps enhance skin nourishment, cell renewal and also hydrates your skin while you sleep. Argan and rose oils help revitalize your skin and smooth away fine lines. This product contains no artificial fragrances or colors.

 

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Dermalogica Skinperfect Primer

Dermalogica’s primer is a great asset in your daily makeup routine because it does many things at once. Not only does it contain SPF 30, thus protecting you from the sun but it also helps smooth away fine lines while also creating a great base for your makeup, so that your makeup lasts all day. I usually combine this primer with my moisturizer and face oil.

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EOS Active Protection Lip Balm

EOS’s latest product combines jojoba oil, shea butter and antioxidant-rich Vitamin E along with SPF 30 to create a lip balm that will not only nourish your lips but also protect them from harmful UVA/UVB rays while you’re outdoors. The lip balm is also 80 minute water resistant as well as PABA-free, Petrolatum and paraben-free. I know it will become my go-to on warmer spring days or in the summer while I’m out running or surfing!

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Belif Cleansing Gel Oil Enriched

This Belif product is the latest addition to my daily beauty and wellness routine. Their light gel cleansing oil helps remove makeup and residue while also leaving the skin feeling refreshed. The oil is free of synthetic fragrances, dyes, preservatives and animal-origin ingredients.

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Belif Peat Miracle Revital Cream

I have been blending this Belif cream along with my face oil and primer every morning. The cream which contains peat extract, helps rejuvenate and hydrate the skin while also helping to increase the cell turnover cycle of your skin. This cream is free of synthetic fragrances, synthetic colors, preservatives or any animal by-products.

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Consonant Natural Foaming Face Wash

Consonant have become one of my favorite organic and green beauty brands. Added bonus – they’re Canadian! I recently tried their 30-day discovery kit and realized that their products left my skin feeling great throughout. I particularly liked their 100% natural face wash that is packed with tea tree oil and grape see oil that help not only remove makeup but also hydrate the skin and fight blemishes. It is the perfect travel buddy!

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Consonant Ultra Moisturizing Organic Face Cream For Dry Skin

Another great travel-friendly product is their non-greasy hydrating face cream. The use of cassia angustifolia seed extract and grape seed oil help with hydration and also work as antioxidants to help make your skin feel hydrated and radiant.

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Saje Wellness Tingle Mint Invigorating Foot & Body Lotion

Get your feet and legs feeling minty fresh and energized post-shower with Saje’s 100% natural, vegan and plant-based peppermint, shea and tea tree lotion. Their body lotion has become a favorite of mine post-runs and also in the morning.

Must-Try Fitness Studios in Vancouver: Movement 108

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Vancouver is filled with so many unique fitness studios. Movement 108 stands out in the city because of its unique approach to group classes and while also providing a very intimate and friendly setting. In addition to their indoor gym classes, they also offer outdoor group classes, a refreshing option for those looking to switch up their workout routine. The space’s founder Aaron de Jong shares the inspiration and philosophy behind Movement 108.

What inspired you to start Movement 108?

The idea that exercise is this mandated portion of our day that can’t be social, interactive or educational really bothered me.  I came from working in the personal training world of ‘punching the clock’ and wanted to create my own space where meeting and connecting with people and moving your body really well could all happen under one roof.

How does the Movement 108 philosophy differ from other fitness studios or workout spots in Vancouver?

We are grounded in movement and strength training.  Often coined as ‘sneaky workouts’.  I’d say that the majority of exercise classes focus on high repetition and high heart rate activities that sacrifice form in the long run.  To get strong, you’ve got to strength train, we can’t just keep going to the same classes or hit the treadmill for longer.  There is a place for everything in the healthy workout schedule but we like to play the piece of moving really well in progressions and strength training really well to feel strong in your body.

What are some of the classes and services that you offer?

We love using bodyweight, Kettlebells and TRX as our tools in our functional training.  Our classes consist of Combo classes which incorporate all those tools, Kettlebell classes which are more strength focused and Metabolic classes which focus on strength and conditioning (high heart rate!).  Those are our mainstays on the schedule and we round out the balance with our stretch recovery classes, run group, hiking group and Strength and strength classes.

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Photo by Britney Gill

How important is community at Movement 108?

It’s hugely important.  More and more in our full lives do we want to connect socially during our sweat times.  It’s the only way to cram it all in!  We love it when people who have made 108 their exercise base integrate themselves into the community.  It all starts from us as instructors connecting and grounding into relationships with one another and then opening that space and opportunity up to anyone that walks in the doors.

Where would you like to see Movement 108 in 5 years time?

That’s a tough one to imagine.  Really our goal is to make basic, consistent movement a mainstay in our communities lives.  That starts by us being consistent in our space and not always jumping to the ‘next thing’.  That being said the idea of a second location within the city has got us thinking.  

For more info on Movement 108, go here.

Scandinave Spa Whistler

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One of the best things about Whistler is the brilliant 25,000 sq ft outdoor spa located just a few minutes away from the slopes. The Scandinave Spa Whistler is the perfect place to unwind after a day of skiing, hiking or outdoor adventure in the area.

Situated right in the heart of nature, this Nordic-inspired spa enables guests to decompress and enjoy a relaxing and rejuvenating escapade.  The mountain views and fresh air transport you into an oasis of wellbeing.

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One thing the Scandinave Spa is renown for is its topnotch amenities. Their baths, wood burning Finnish Sauna, eucalyptus steam room and waterfalls come together to create the most luxurious experience. This past year, they inaugurated a brand new building at the spa that features a state of the art sauna, observatory deck, lounge as well an additional eucalyptus steam room. You can also book a massage with one of their highly qualified therapists to prolong your Scandinavian bath session.

There are many health benefits associated with Scandinavian baths, also known as hydrotherapy. In addition to it being relaxing and energizing, the baths also help cleanse the body as well as stimulate blood circulation and the release of endorphins.

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The spa’s eco-friendly and sustainable building allows them to truly be in harmony with their natural surroundings. They pride themselves in their “green” roof as well as the use of sustainable fibers and stainless steel water bottles. They also make sure to work with as many local suppliers as possible.

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The Scandinave Cafe is a real treat, no pun intended. Their delicious and healthy locally-made snacks are the perfect pick me up after a few hours spent unwinding at the spa.

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Get a 360 tour of the spa’s facilities below with the Samsung Gear 360. For more information on Scandinave Spa Whistler, go here.

5 Questions With: Craig Slagel of RunGo App

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I love combining technology with running. Over the past two years, running apps have been key in documenting my progress as a runner and also keeping tabs on the runs that I have done when I travel. I recently heard of the running app RunGo, which was developed by Vacouverite Craig Slagel. Since I’ve been spending time running around Vancouver, I thought it would be interesting to find out more about this local startup.

1) What is the inspiration behind the RunGo app?

RunGo was inspired by Dynasty, my retired guide dog who I adopted in 2012 just after starting the company. As a runner and frequent traveler, I often had the issue not knowing where to run or getting lost when I tried to explore. When I adopted Dynasty, my friends joked I should use her to guide me and that sparked the idea of RunGo.

2) What separates this app from other running apps currently on the market?

RunGo works like other running apps but also offers voice guided turn-by-turn directions for your runs. With a library of over 50,000 routes worldwide, including running tours and runs curated by local running communities, RunGo is great for traveling and allows you to re-discover your own cities by trying different routes. RunGo also provides all the usual statistics such as distance, pace, calories burned and provides a logbook to store your results. The app navigates you offline, and only requires data or wifi when you add runs to your library. After that, you can use RunGo to guide you, without any data or wifi.

3) You had the opportunity to present your app on Dragon’s Den, why are shows like that and Shark Tank important for startups?

Apps can be very hard to market, especially since there are some really big players in the market who have very big budgets. As a startup we have limited resources and are constantly looking for creative ways to expose ourselves. Dragons’ Den has over 1 million views so being on the show can be a great way to promote your startup as long as you have a good idea and don’t embarrass yourself. It was also great for us as a company – as we prepped our pitch, we really went back to make sure we understood our business, brand, and numbers. It was a great experience and you can see our pitch on February 15th on CBC.

4) Where is your favourite place to run in the world and why?

That’s a tough one – I’ve run in so many amazing places around the world! I love trail running and we are lucky to have amazing trails in Vancouver, BC. But if I had to pick, I think my favourite place would be Marin headlands in the San Francisco Bay Area. It is where I started running so it feels like my running home. The Headlands Run that took you from Crissy Field, over the Golden Gate bridge and up into the Headlands onto a peak with a panoramic view (on a clear day) was probably my most memorable run when I lived in the city.

5) What would you like to accomplish with the app in the next five years?

There is so much I’d love to accomplish in the next five years on top of being one of the leading running apps by then. It’s often said that the best way to explore a city is by foot and our ultimate goal is to give as many runners worldwide as possible, the freedom and confidence to discover all the amazing running routes around them. I was in Dublin just over a year ago and was able to explore the city by running a different route every day. The feeling of completely immersing myself in the city was amazing as I explored routes created by a local running store. It was a completely different experience from when I used to travel for business years ago and was usually recommended to run up and down the river bank by the hotel.

For more information on the RunGo app, go here.

Top 3 Spin Studios Vancouver – Eastwood Cycle

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Eastwood Cycle is unlike any spin studio I’ve ever been to. As soon as you step into the Hastings St. flagship, you’re immediately transported into an oasis of tranquility and wellbeing. Their beautifully designed studio brings decoration elements from Morocco to create a colourful and warm environment. The spin studio itself is without a doubt one of the largest I’ve seen, providing a lot of space for bikes and also for pre or post-workout stretching.

Jillian Sheridan started the space with her husband two and a half years ago. She took a few minutes at the studio last week to answer some of my questions about the space.

What inspired you to start off this space?

I had never personally really found a studio, prior to opening Eastwood that I had been to and had felt that I was part of the community right away. I always felt that I was either not a part of the community or a number and no one would ever notice when I would come or go. That was something that I was always searching for; a really strong community. Then my husband and I found spin and fell in love with it. We were looking to do something different and while we were on vacation in Sayulita, Mexico, we did some brainstorming (we do our best work on the beach!) and decided that if there’s something we want and can’t find, then we should just create it. So we decided to take a leap of faith.

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What makes Eastwood Cycle stand out from other spin studios?

Our experience and the space for sure. That was really important to us, we wanted to create a space where people would come and want to stay. People can hang out and enjoy the time while they’re here. The design as well because for us it’s not just about the ride itself, but everything from the minute you walk into the studio. We call our front desk staff the “Experience team”. We’re all about the little touch points.

What are some of the different classes that you offer?

The ride is also huge for us, so we’ve created the Icon class and the Athlete class. We found that when we opened, we had this massive demographic that wanted different types of classes. The Icon is more rhythm-focused and structured to the beat of the music and incorporates weights. Whereas the Athlete class, that my husband created, is more in the saddle. It’s great for people training for the road, it’s intervals, hill climbs and usually does not incorporate weights. A lot of our regulars will take both classes and as a result are getting a different experience when they ride each time. It also attracts different people from all walks of life.

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In addition to providing spin classes, you also have a variety of products that people can buy when they come to the studio, can you expand more on that?

I do all of our retail. For us we’re not spin, we’re not fitness, this is a lifestyle, it’s about what makes you feel good, what you’re doing and what you’re wearing. All of the products that are here are an extension of who we are. It’s the biggest compliment when you see someone wearing your logo on their chest. The retail for us has been pretty special. We use a couple of different brands out of LA and we also have RYU, who are local. We also have custom yoga mats that were designed for us by a company called Yeti Yoga. We started ordering from them when they had a small Etsy shop and now they’re on Shopbop. They do a bunch of custom designs for us and are out of Portland.

What is new for Eastwood in 2017?

We’re doing a lot with the GranFondo this year. It’s a ride from Vancouver to Whistler. There is about 5000 people that take part in it and we’ll be holding a bunch of different training rides for them. We’ll also have our bikes at the finish line so that cyclists can spin out the lactic acid after their ride. That’s been a huge project that we’ve been working on. In the spring, we’ll be turning downtown into our true flagship that will hold all of our concepts – Eastwood Cycle, Eastwood Boxing and Eastwood Meditate. So when we opened Eastwood, we always wanted to house different concepts, that’s why we chose a name that was more of a place that you were going to and wasn’t necessarily associated with one specific workout. So we’ll be doing a rebirth of Eastwood, which is exciting. We’ve been waiting to open box since day one. It’ll be great to refresh the studio and open up new concepts. Once those are up and running, we’ll also be doing boutique studios.

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What can people expect with Eastwood Boxing and Eastwood Meditate?

People can expect a different experience for each workout. Boxing will be done with dim lights, loud music and all bags. We’re building it so that each separate room that you walk into, you will have a different experience in terms of lighting, smells, noise and even how you enter. Meditation will be a totally different experience as well. You can get the vibe from our Instagram account, with the colours and quotes, so it has been a fun project and something we’ve been researching and waiting to launch for so long, so it’s fun to finally be able to talk about it and see it come to fruition.

For more information on Eastwood, go here. Check back next week for my 3rd spin studio recommendation in Vancouver!

5 Steps Towards a Healthier Self in 2017

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The new year is just around the corner so I wanted to share a few tips on how to make 2017 your healthiest year yet!

1) Get Inspired. The one thing that got me motivated throughout the year, especially during my injury and throughout the winter, when it was hard to get up before the crack of dawn to go work out or when it got really cold out, was to follow some inspiring people on my social networks. I chose to follow some other ladies that were also leading a healthy lifestyle and doing some of the things I aspired to do in order to motivate myself to get out there. I followed well over 50 inspiring women who were either cross-training, running, cooking healthy meals, meditating, etc. And since I’m guilty of spending a lot of time on my phone and on social media, it was a great way to find inspiration during tougher times.

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2) Set Goals. Make a schedule with short, medium and long term goals throughout the year. Whatever you want to accomplish, you can do it easily if you break it down into smaller easier goals that you can achieve along the way. There’s a great quote that says “Without a goal, you can’t score” and I couldn’t agree more. Set yourself a few goals throughout the year, goals that can be measured, that are specific and that require concrete results and you’ll surprise yourself with what you’ll be able to accomplish.

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3) Visualize. If you want something really badly in life, make sure you visualize it, express it in your every thought and breath. Take 2 minutes each morning when you wake up to visualize your goals. Visualize what you want for yourself, what you want to achieve and how you want to do it. The more you believe in what you visualize, the more it’ll manifest itself and you will get it. It may sound phoney but it really truly works.

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4) Make it fun. Find new buddies to work out with, have people over to make recipes as a group or look up cool new workouts in your area. The only way you’ll become healthier, fitter and happier is if you’re having fun while doing so. Don’t make it a chore, make it something you’re excited about. Break up your routine, keep yourself interested, entertained and you’ll stick with it.

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5) Make yourself your number 1 priority. My injury late this year was a major reminder to make myself my number 1 priority ALWAYS. We often forget to take to take time for ourselves every day and as a result things can happen. I would make up excuses as to why I didn’t need to take the time to stretch pre and post-workout and as a result, I paid for it and had to be out for a longer period of time than if I would have taken those few minutes each day to help myself. There really are no excuses. Make sure to take time for yourself every day in order to make 2017 your healthiest year yet!

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Photos by: @Offner

What I’m wearing: Hyba Lettered Tank (get it here), Hyba Lettered Leggings (get them here).

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

5 Ways to Reduce Stress During the Holidays

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The holidays are just around the corner and though it can be the most exciting and joyful time of year it can also be a very stressful time for some. Because I have been on the path to reduce and eliminate as much stress from my life as possible these past few months, I thought I would share some of the things I’ve learned in hopes that it may lead to a more relaxing holiday season for you all!

1) Download the Headspace app. The Headspace app has been my go-to during the past year when my schedule’s gotten crazy, when I’ve wanted to decompress or deal with a stressful situation. The app is a guided meditation and mindfulness app that helps you deal with whatever situation or feelings you may be going through in life. You can download their free introductory series Take10, they offer 10 sessions of 10 minutes. It has been a HUGE help with my anxiety, insomnia and has helped me become more calm and focused as well as a happier and healthier person.

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2) Get sunlight. The sun is a great way to produce serotonin, the feel-good chemical, which is a great way to alleviate stress and anxiety during the holidays. It can also help reduce the Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), something I have been affected by in years prior. My favorite things to do even during these colder months is either going for a walk during the day, go for a run, riding my bike (when there’s no snow!), go snowboarding, etc. Vitamin D will be a huge mood booster and stress reliever during this busy time of year.

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3) Stick to a routine. During the holidays, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the parties, events and things you have to do. Hence why sticking to a routine as much as possible is incredibly important. Prioritize the things that you absolutely have to do and ditch or play by ear the things that aren’t mandatory. Squeezing in too much can lead to extra stress for nothing.

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4) Don’t forget to work out. The holidays may be extremely busy but there’s no reason why you shouldn’t make time for yourself every day. Even if this means getting up an hour earlier every morning, or taking some personal breaks during the day, this oh-so precious “me time” will have a huge impact on your day and how you feel during the holiday season. If you don’t have time for a long gym workout, run, swim, etc. get active for 15-20 minutes, anything counts. Even if you can only do one quick NTC app workout in the morning by your bedside, your head and your body will thank you. I always feel so much calmer and energized after I take time to work out every day. Plus it’s a great way to reflect, focus and make sure that you are taking care of yourself.

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5) Ditch the smartphone. Take time to really enjoy the holidays this year. Enjoy in-real-life conversations, debates, enjoy the quality time with your friends and family. Make an effort to put your phone away or put it on airplane mode. You don’t need to be browsing Instagram, obsessing over what everyone got during the holidays, what people are doing, etc. Be grateful for the present moment, the interactions you’ll have. It’ll make you feel a lot calmer and most definitely less stressed!

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