If you live in Toronto you know that the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon is one of the most popular sporting events in the city each year. I’m excited to announce that after 7 years in Toronto, I will finally have the opportunity to be in the city and run this amazing race. The race course showcases some of Toronto’s best scenery during a beautiful time of year, so I couldn’t be more thrilled.
What I like about this race is that participants can personalize their race by choosing any participating charity in the Scotiabank Charity Challenge, and 100% of the funds raised go directly to charity. Scotiabank has raised over $50 million nationally for Canadian charities through its marathons across the country since 2003.
For the Scotiabank Charity Challenge, everyone who has registered for the race, including myself has the opportunity to pick one charity to fundraise for and support. Though it was hard to pick just one charity out of the close to 200 listed on their website, I decided to pick the Toronto Humane Society. This independent non-profit organization is a no-kill shelter does great work bringing awareness about adoption and educating people on how to best take care of their animals. They also rely completely on donations to take care of the animals in the shelter and do the great work they do.
Those taking part in the race have the option to run either a 5k, half-marathon or full marathon. Unfortunately, due to my recent back injury I can only run the 5k this year but am excited to be a part of this great day of running! A lot of my friends ran the race last year and had a wonderful time so I can’t wait to experience it for myself this year.
Just days after the race I will be leaving the city for a few months so I can’t imagine a better goodbye to the city I love so much. The reason why I run today is because of Toronto. Before moving here 7 years ago, I had never ran or participated in any races. Over the last 2 years, running has become an instrumental part of my life. I’m so grateful to the city for having had such a positive impact on my health, fitness and overall well-being. I’m therefore excited to celebrate my love for running in the city and support a great charity at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on October 16th 2016.
I am all about wholesome living and when I find a brand of snacks that shares the same philosophy on healthy eating and living your best life, I am all about it.
If you haven’t heard of PRANA before, they’re one of my latest healthy snack discoveries. This family-owned Canadian company was born out of the love for food and the belief that food can fuel our appetite for life. I couldn’t agree more! I love fueling my body with food and ingredients that will help me become the best version of myself that I can be.
This 100% organic, gluten-free, GMO-free, preservative-free and vegan line of product is the perfect compliment to my active lifestyle. I can enjoy these snacks before and after workouts while feeling guilt-free!
The PRANA coconut chips are a great post-workout snack and easy to drop into your workout bag in the morning. I also love their PRANAProactivchia seeds. It is the fusion of two beneficial foods, a « 2 in 1 » solution where you get all the goodness of chia combined with 4 BILLION LIVE probiotics in just one portion. I make homemade chia seed pudding with them. This is one of the only things I can eat before I head out on an early morning training session or run because it isn’t too sweet and filling yet very nutritious. I sometimes even add some of their PRANAKilimanjaro mix (which is comprised of dark chocolate chunks, almonds, walnuts and salty cashews mixed with sultana raisins and sweet cranberries) in my chia seed pudding to make it even more wholesome.
Not only are their snacks healthy and tasty, the company itself also works on making this planet a better place. They obtained the B Corporation certification in 2015, which is awarded to companies that meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency. More companies should follow in their footsteps when creating a business.
With all of these great products available, I’m excited to see what this family brand will come out with next!
Ragweed season is here but there are still lots of great ways to stay active during this sensitive time of year.
Unfortunately ragweed is a plant that can produce a million grains of pollen each day. Ragweed season usually begins in late summer, i.e. now and can continue up until September or even October depending on the year. Southern Ontario is particularly affected by ragweed and though one might think that living in an urban area like Toronto would help, ragweed can grow just about anywhere and therefore is also present in the air in big cities. Due to global warming, ragweed season has been getting longer as a result of trees and plants getting a longer growing time. However, this shouldn’t stop anyone from remaining active as there are many ways to fight against or reduce ragweed allergy symptoms.
If being outdoors is too much to handle, there are lots of great free fitness classes that are available around the city every week. These full body conditioning-type workouts will keep you active even if you have to stay indoors. Also, Toronto being a very fit city, there are a ton of drop-in classes being offered across town at all times during the day and evening. Anything from boxing, barre classes, yoga, boot camps, etc. You name it, Toronto’s got it.
If you can still manage working out outdoors, there are a handful of tips that can help you stay active even if your allergies flare up. The first recommendation is to be able to identify what ragweed looks like and to stay away from it. Second, if you have a home, make sure to remove (or get someone to remove it for you) ragweed from your property. A third tip that is essential if working out outdoors is to shower and wash your hair immediately after coming in from a workout. Also make sure to leave the clothes you wore working out, outdoors and wash them right away. If you do plan to exercise outdoors, be sure to use REACTINE® before going outside, as it can start to work in 20 minutes and lasts 24 hours. For extra help when your nose is also dry, REACTINE(R) NaturEase Nasal Spray will help reduce symptoms of dry, irritated nose.
Workout locations are also key. Opt for working out in sand, or on gravel or even asphalt. Things like outdoor green gyms or alternatively riding your bike, rollerblading or running on a multi-purpose trail are great options. Also, doing yoga, a HIT or fitness class in the sand can help. Additionally, if you like watersports, it’s a great way to stay active without having to suffer from these allergy symptoms. Swimming, , kayaking, canoeing are all great activities you can do far away from ragweed.
If you want to know when the best time is for your outdoor workouts, you can keep track of daily pollen forecast by following @ReactineCA on Twitter. The times to avoid are usually mid-morning until afternoon. So early morning and evening workouts are usually best!
It’s officially festival season and when you work in music like I have been for the past 10+ years, it’s basically like Christmas or your favorite time of year. Festival season is a great time to be outdoors, hang out with friends and also discover new music.
Growing up, I would save all the money I would make working at camp to be able to buy Vans Warped Tour tickets or outdoor concert tickets. When I started working in music and started obtaining media passes, I was so incredibly stoked to be able to spend my summers traveling across North America at some of the raddest music festivals. Some of the most memorable festivals that I attended were Festival d’été de Québec, the inaugural Osheaga festival and going on tour with Vans Warped Tour for a couple of dates.
These days festival season also means festival fashion. Come to think of it, I would always pre-plan my festival outfits even as a teen. I would pick out my favorite pair of skate shoes, pants, tee and accessories. I guess not much has changed over the years, except for the actual clothes I wear to a festival have evolved quite a bit 😉
If I were to put together my favorite festival outfit for this year, this would be it! Dressing for a cause is also pretty cool. I love incorporating a few TOMS pieces into my festival wardrobe. Their One for One policy of giving back makes me feel good about wearing these pieces. For each eyewear purchased, sight is restored for a person in need and for each pair of shoes purchased, a pair of shoes is given to a child in need.
Growing up, I never missed out on an opportunity to be active and play sports. I was the kid that played sports at lunch and every night after school. Whether it was being on the swim team, skipping, skiing, figure skating, karate, playing soccer, volleyball, or even dancing, I was always encouraged to throw myself into sports.
When I hit adolescence, a lot of my friends stopped being active, for a variety of reasons. Unfortunately, this is a phenomenon that is quite common. More than half of girls drop out of sports by the time they end puberty. Instead of following in their footsteps, I decided to dedicate myself even more to sports.
Sports are without a doubt what helped me deal with all the changes I was experiencing both physically and psychologically. Like many girls, I experienced a drop in confidence during puberty. But, as I began to compete in karate and also dance semi-professionally, I felt stronger both physically and mentally. Both of these activities kept me busy and focused. Every time I would partake in a competition or even perform at a dance show, I felt a big sense of accomplishment. Luckily, I had a mom who encouraged me to pursue my passion for sports and did everything she could to keep me active. Her support and understanding was key in me continuing to pursue athletics well into my adult life.
I am a true believer that being involved in sports growing up is key in building one’s self-esteem and confidence, especially during adolescence. It definitely did for me.
I’m thrilled to see a brand like Always championing girls’ confidence on a global level and right here in Canada. Via their campaign, they have transformed the simple sentence #LikeAGirl to mean powerful and amazing things. Their mission is to help stop the drop in confidence among girls and they want everyone to show the world how they can Keep Playing #LikeAGirl.
How do you Keep Playing #LikeAGirl? Share a photo on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag to show how you keep playing!
This post was written in collaboration with Always but all opinions are my own.
I was back on the road this weekend visiting yet another region of Southern Ontario for the very first time with Ford Canada. This weekend’s travels brought me to Prince Edward County.
Growing up I heard a lot about Sandbanks so I was excited to finally make the trek up that way and see some of the things that are new and exciting in the county.
For the trip, I had the pleasure of driving Ford’s brand new hybrid the C-MAX Energi. This was my first time driving a hybrid and to say I was excited would be quite the understatement. I’m all about finding ways to be more environmentally friendly on a daily basis and driving a car like the C-MAX Energi is also a step in the right direction. Just driving around with a green Ontario license plate was a big sense of pride for me throughout the weekend.
The C-MAX Energi combines a high-voltage lithium-ion battery and electric motor with a gasoline engine allowing for both gas/electric hybrid driving. You can fully charge the vehicle in 2.5 hrs using a 240-volt home charging station or 7 hours with a 120-volt outlet. The EV Mode on the car also allows you choose your mode of driving – electric only, gasoline only or a combination of both. Furthermore, the dual-LCD next-generation SmartGauge® with EcoGuide allows you to get real-time information to help maximize efficience from the C-MAX Energi Plug-In Hybrid.
The car also comes with all of Ford’s signature features such as the voice-activated SYNC® 3 system, available active park assist, rear view camera and reverse sensing system, heated front seats, etc.
My weekend in Prince Edward County started off with an exploratory drive of the area before heading to the stunning Drake Devonshire for a delectable dinner. Though this property is often talked about in all PEC-related things, it’s well-worth the visit and lives up to the hype.
Saturday morning we headed to North Beach, one of the many beaches in the county but one that is definitely less crowded and more wild than Sandbanks. You can park right outside of the National Park to avoid paying parking fees and can just walk to the beach from there. The beach is stunning because of its clear blue water and sandy bottom. The mix of rocks and sand on the bluffs, make it the perfect spot for a picnic or day-trip.
I also discovered an amazing little café called The Vic Café located in Picton. It’s THE spot if you’re looking for healthy, vegan food options for brunch, lunch and dinner. This super cute space offers some of the yummiest bowls and smoothies as well as homemade treats. I could have eaten there the entire weekend if I would have wanted to.
I couldn’t go to Prince Edward County without stopping by the Shed Chetwyn Farms. I have always loved alpacas but my love for these animals grew even fonder when I watched the hilarious alpaca eating an apple video on YouTube a few months ago. Low and behold, the exact same thing happened this weekend at the farm. You have to watch my video below, it was the funniest thing. These animals truly are special!
Cheese being one of my favorite things, I wanted to go on a little “cheese crawl” while I was in the area. We drove all the way across the county to the Fifth Town Artisan Cheese Co., where we met the owner and her partner who taught us about the place’s history, etc. They produce all of their cheese on-site and the company prides itself in environmental and sustainable practices. They offer a $10 cheese plate that allows you to taste a selection of 5 cheeses. They also have great outdoor space where you can relax and enjoy the pristine view.
Another stop on the cheese crawl was Black River Cheese, a company that has been around in the county since 1901. Though this is a much bigger cheese company and production no longer takes place at the shop, it’s a great place to taste and buy some of their cheese.
Finally, another spot to visit on a “cheese crawl” would be the Windhover County boutique farm. This farm offers not only accommodations, special events but also farm to table organic cuisine and the possibility to grab a delicious cheese & charcuterie platter. They also have the sweetest animals on property: Dave the donkey, Molly the mule and a handful of chickens and sheep.
Our Saturday ended on a high note at the Mustang Drive-In. This super unique outdoor cinema experience runs all summer long with movies for the entire family. Admission is $11 for adults and offers you the possibility to see two movies back to back.
Before we headed back to the city, we stopped by Trenchtown Wake Park a brand new cable park for wakeboarding that opened up just two weeks ago in Trenton. The two co-owners, who are longtime friends, have been working on developping this project for the past six years. After hearing that the city was going to build a new marina and building soccer fields on the old one, they seized the opportunity to build a new business in the area. The cable wakeboarding park is equipped with state of the art installations, kicks and jumps. A must-try!
All in all, we had yet another epic weekend with Ford Canada. I really think a car like the C-MAX Energi is the car for the future. I hope more people will turn to hybrid or electric cars and that they will become more affordable and more common on the road.
For more information on Prince Edward County, go here. A big thank you to April from The Sportsman Motel in Picton for her help with this weekend’s trip. Make sure you check her motel for great local accommodations in PEC.
This past weekend I had the pleasure of staying at one of Hotels.com‘s hundreds of thousands of properties that are located in over 200 countries. For my trip to Prince Edward County, I stayed at the TownePlace Suites located in Belleville.
This was my first time booking a hotel with Hotels.com and I found the entire process to be super quick and easy. What I like about their policy is that after every 10 nights you book with them, you get 1 night free.
One of the things I’m particularly found of on the site, are the guest ratings. They are quick and easy to find and provide great insight when booking a room.
I downloaded their app for free, which made my check-in even easier because I had access to my reservation right in the palm of my hand.
Another unique thing to Hotels.com is their post-check-in survey that allows hotel guests to immediately rate the room and check-in service only minutes after arriving and thus providing real-time feedback to the hotel.
The TownePlace Suites was the perfect combination of comfort and class. We had all the amenities we needed for our weekend in the area. Our suite was equipped with a beautiful kitchenette (which to my surprise even included a dish washer!). There was also a desk area that was perfect for the blogging I had to do over the weekend. The bed was incredibly comfortable and plush. The bathroom was spotless. Even if the room was a little small, it contained a lot of storage and state of the art amenities. A great plus was also the free breakfast in the morning, the perfect way to kick-start my day!
I made a little Unrooming video to show you guys the room that we stayed in and also gave a rating on 5. These Unrooming videos are also a great way for you to see what the room in a particular hotel actually looks like at the moment and also get a full review of the room.
Lately I’ve become a lot more conscious of the water bottles that I use. Because hydration is key before, during and after a workout I’m always bringing water with me everywhere I go. The one thing I’ve been doing a lot more this year is putting water in reusable containers or also using Boxed Water.
There are several reasons why I prefer Boxed Water to regular plastic bottles. The first is that Boxed water reduces the use of non-renewable resources, plastic waste and also carbon footprint (<0.055 vs 0.120 kg/ liter for PET). They also use paper from well-managed forests and ship their cartons flat to be filled afterwards so that they can reduce shipping waste and carbon footprint. What I also like are the creative ways they use to recycle and repurpose the boxes such as transforming them into building materials.
In addition to all of these environmental benefits, Boxed Water just has cool branding and a great motto: Waste Less, Do More and Live Well. Living well means not putting anything that could be toxic to your health in the water so the water is triple filtered for purity and 100% BPA and phthalate free.
Finally, for every photo of Boxed Water posted with the #ReTree hashtag, the company plants two trees.
A great alternative to those plastic water bottles!
Boxed Water is available for purchase at Loblaws and Sobeys across Canada.
I’m thrilled to share with you today the first of three destinations located just a few hours from downtown Toronto. These destinations are perfect getaway ideas for those living in Toronto or Southern Ontario. This weekend’s destination was – Norfolk County.
For these weekend getaways, I’ve also partnered up with Ford Canada to try out some of their latest models while driving to different areas of Southern Ontario. For this past weekend, my ride was the 2016 Ford Edge Titanium. I became familiar with the car in the spring during stress awareness month (you can see the post here) so I was excited to take it for much longer ride and explore more of the car’s many features during the weekend.
I was first introduced to Norfolk County a few weeks ago at an event. I had never ventured down to Lake Erie before so I was excited to make my way to a new area of the province. This area is located just 2hrs from Toronto and offers some of the best outdoor adventures as well as local food and wine options in Ontario.
The Ford Edge Titanium was a smooth and comfortable ride down to the county. I took advantage of the car’s cooling seats and extra-large sunroof to keep me cool during the ride. I was also happy to find Voice-Activated Sync 3, which allowed me to pair my phone and use voice commands to help me navigate and also choose my favorite Sirius XM radio station – Lithium! (Am I giving my age away by saying that?) Another thing I thoroughly enjoyed while driving is the lane-keeping system that gently nudges the wheel to help you stay alert and maintain proper lane position especially during those longer drives.
When we reached the county, we checked-in to Long Point Eco-Adventures. If you’re a camping and nature enthusiast, you will want to add this spot to your weekend itinerary. This eco-friendly adventure centre offers some of the coolest lodging accommodations in all of Ontario. If you’re looking for a rustic experience, you will want to book your weekend in one of their wilderness pods. This ultra-cute pod can barely be called “ruffing it”, with its beautifully furnished wooden interior and extra comfortable bed. The glass and screen doors as well as private wooden deck allow for beautiful nature and relaxing views. They have brand new showers and toilets located just a few steps away.
If you’re looking for something a little fancier, Long Point Eco-Adventures also offers beautiful glamping wilderness suites equipped with king or queen beds, private bathrooms and beautiful outdoor showers. Amenities such as a mini-fridge, hardwood floors, hot and cold running water, electrical outlets and free outdoor parking, make these suites comparable to any 5-star hotel.
No matter what type of accommodation you’re staying in, you’ll have access to a delicious complimentary homemade hot breakfast every morning in their main tent. Their super friendly staff know how to kick-off your morning the right way.
What’s great about Long Point Eco-Adventures is the array of activities they offer. Because I’m all about trying something new, I took the Ford Edge Titanium to the nearby waterfront for a few hours of fishing and kayaking with Baer Fishing Adventures, one of Long Point Eco-Adventures many expedition offerings. My fishing days go back to grade 5, when I had caught a crab in PEI and that’s about it. We spent 3 hours in the water learning about casting a line, different fishing techniques while also pedalling in this super unique kayaks. Though it took a bit of time, I finally caught my first fish with the help of the super rad guide. What’s great about the expedition is that it’s a small group and also, you are encouraged to release the fish, only a select few are actually brought back to shore. The expedition was a great experience and a whole lot of fun. It was so neat to be out on the water while learning new skills. I even got to eat the fish that I caught a few hours later for dinner thanks to the kind folks at Burning Kiln Winery, who cooked up the bass with fresh lemon and lavender. A first for me!
Located just a few steps away from and affiliated with Long Point Eco-Adventures, Burning Kiln Winery is a repurposed tobacco pack barn that has been transformed into a multi-award winning winery. They have 27 acres and produce 4 reds and 4 whites, including my personal favorite of the weekend, the 2011 Kiln Hanger. Before going this winery, I had never really found an Ontario wine that I thought really lived up to Californian or European wines but that changed this weekend when I had this delicious red. We were given a tour of the beautiful property which includes the UNESCO-designed Long Point bay World Biosphere Reserve where you can find turtles, migratory birds and all sorts of wildlife. We were also shown their brand new garden where they grow most of the produce they use to serve dinner.
From May to September, in addition to wine tasting you can also eat some of the most delicious food made by Chef Scott McRae of David’s restaurant that features some of the best local products. Their local charcuterie and cheese board is a must and so is their Korean Fried Cauliflower (which is vegan) and also Aranchini Balls. Their patio or even beautiful wine tasting room and indoor dining area (perfect for weddings!) are all great locations to enjoy their delicious food and wines.
If you aren’t staying at Long Point Eco-Adventures, you can easily access the winery and other great spots in the region via the Norfolk shuttle that runs across the whole county. It only costs $6 for a day, can drop you off and pick you up at a handful of destinations in the county and you can even bring your bike onto the bus if you so desire.
After all this food and wine it’s only normal that I wanted to go spend more time exploring the outdoors and some local activities. One of the fun things I got to do over the weekend is spend time at Turkey Point beach. This beautiful sandy beach on Lake Erie is perfect for a picnic, a swim or even watersports. Turkey Point Watersports rents SUP, kayaks and even sea-doos for those seeking even more adventure. I took out a SUP board for a beautiful paddle out in the calm water. It was a great place to spend the afternoon. They’ve got a few shops and restaurants by the waterfront so you can easily spend the entire day there.
Before leaving the area, I wanted to make sure I tried zip lining again. I had had such a blast in Whistler in the fall that I couldn’t resist zipping around the area for a few hours. What was great about the Long Point Eco-Adventures zip line and canopy tour is that it not only features 8 zip lines, 2 suspension skybridges and a 40-foot rappel but it’s also a great way to learn about the area. The two guides that spend the 2-2.5 hrs on the tour with you give you a lot of info about local history, wildlife, etc. The tours are nice and small, which make it relaxing and also very easy to make friends along the way.
One thing we wished we would of have time for was the observatory at Long Point Eco-Adventures. They have one of the biggest telescopes in the country and offer great nightly sessions to learn about the beautiful sky that surrounds us.
On the way home we stopped in Port Dover to grab lunch at the Urban Parisian café. I hope to spend more time there on my next trip, as the motorcycle culture is huge there and the city looks incredibly cute.
We couldn’t have gotten a better vehicle for all of our outdoor expeditions this weekend. The Ford Edge Titanium had lots of space for gear, suitcases, tents, etc. and most importantly, was incredibly comfortable to drive.
Even if it was an action-packed weekend, we only got to scratch the surface in Norfolk County. There are so many other cities and activities I would have liked to explore so I hope to have the opportunity to make my way back there again for more firsts. Everyone in the area that we met over the weekend were so incredibly hospitable, friendly and proud of their region and after spending time there, I can totally see where that pride comes from!
For more information on Norfolk County and all the local accommodations, activities, restaurants, etc. please go here: http://www.norfolktourism.ca/
Stay tuned next week for a brand new destination. In the meantime, I hope you’ll enjoy my little recap video below.
There’s nothing quite like a cold-pressed organic juice on a warm summer day so I decided to compile some of my favorite summer juices for today’s #FoodieFriday post!
1) Village Juicery – These guys always come up with great summer flavours that will not only quench your thirst but that are also super nutritious. Their special “Spring & Summer 2016” juice with hazelnuts, strawberry, coconut water, alkaline water, vegan protein and salt is my favorite refreshing and also filling snack. If you’re looking for something with more veggies in it, “Be Radiant” is my go-to. It has carrot, sweet potato, lemon, granny smith apple and fresh tumeric root. Finally, if you’re the active type, you’ll want to try “Be Active“, with pear beet, apple, ginger, lemon, perfect for energy after your workout.
2) Dose Juice – Newly available in Ontario (you can find them at Whole Foods, amongst other places), this little company from Montreal makes a great selection of original and tasty juices. I was particularly drawn to the names of their juices like Amazon, Cactus, Yogi and Tango, just to name a few. They have a huge variety of juices but some of my favorites are “Basil“, the perfect refreshing lemonade with a bit of basil and also chia seed. I also love to drink “Samba” before my workouts which contains apple, beet, carrots, cucumber, orange, kale, lemon and ginger.
3) Forbidden Fruit Juice – This is one of my latest dicoveries, I had never heard of them until very recently. They are also great with creating original blends of juices and clever with their names. I love “Breathe” because it gives me the perfect morning kick with pineapple, cilantro, kale and jalepeno. I’m a big fan of “Blue Majik“, for its antioxidants. The juice is made of blue pigment algae from E3 Live as well as homemade young thai coconut milk and pineapple. Another one of my favorites is “Breath of Fire” for its super original ingredients – dragonfruit, pineapple and chilli.