9 Newborn Must-Haves

Sharing with you today some of the things I’m most excited to have for my new daughter. Most of these products were either recommended to me or things I wanted to invest in after watching countless parenting and baby videos on YouTube. There are so many things you are “supposed” to need with a newborn but we’ve really tried to keep it to the basics, to have the least amount of clutter possible. I will be posting more in depth posts about a few of these in the future but for the time being, here’s a quick list.

1) Snuggle Me Organic – I’ve heard lots of great things about this baby lounger from friends who have used it for their newborn babies or toddlers. The Sensory Lounger is designed to curve around the baby’s back, giving them a comforting hug, which can be incredibly calming for the baby. The lounger can be used for supervised naps, lounging, tummy time and more.

 

2) Burt’s Bees Baby – These products were sent to me and I’m excited to use them with our daughter because like all of Burt’s Bees products, they do not contain any harmful chemicals that could potentially be harmful to a baby, especially a newborn. They have a whole bunch of baby hair and body care products as well as other baby essentials such as burp pads, onesies, bedding, etc.*

3) Wildbird Sling – This is an item that I have been coveting for a long time. I’m very excited that this small mom-centric brand has gifted me one of their beautiful slings for my daughter. These slings are quick and easy to use, made from soft and breathable linens from Europe and the US and are incredibly versatile; allowing you to carry your baby on your front, hip or back. Their fabric even doubles as a sunshade, nursing cover and more. Plus, they’re also incredibly pretty! There are a variety of slings to choose from and all of them can be used for babies from 8-35 lbs.*

4) Baby Dreamer Bag – I was recommended this bag by a mom that I follow on Instagram. This diaper bag comes from Denmark and is without a doubt one of the coolest and most versatile bags that I’ve seen. I love the minimalist look and also the functional inside. Not only is it made from recycled polyester it is also very spacious, water repellent, has a built-in changing mat and looks like a normal discreet backpack.

5) Musky DY 28 Light & Clock – We scoured the internet for a long time before finding this multipurpose night light. Although there are some very popular brands like Hatch who make some awesome night lights, white noise machines, etc. we wanted to find something that was a little more affordable. This LED night light not only comes with 3 different brightness settings (and a bunch of colours!) it also acts as an alarm clock, a Bluetooth Speaker, Wireless Portable HiFi Stereo that can be used for indoor or outdoor. It has a line in jack, a USB plug and a Micro SD slot. We have therefore downloaded a bunch of white noise tracks on a USB key that we will be able to use at night and will be able to take care of the baby without having to turn on any big bright lights during night feeds.

6) Philips Avent Bottles – I was gifted this set of Avent Natural Baby Bottles because my husband and I are considering combining breastfeeding and bottle feeding. These bottles can be used for bottle feeding or gathering breastmilk from breast pumps. They also have wide breast-shaped teats that allows for natural latch on, are made from soft material to mimic the feel of the breast, have an anti-colic valve that is designed to reduce colic and discomfort and are easy to clean and use.*

7) Grovia Reusable Diapers – One of the best discoveries I’ve made during all the months I’ve prepared for the birth of my daughter is finding these Grovia diapers. The one non-negotiable that I wanted to abide by with our daughter was trying our hardest to ensure we produce the least amount of waste possible with our daughter, so the thought of throwing away hundreds or even thousands of diapers into landfill was a no go for us. I will be doing a more in-depth post about these diapers in a few weeks, but for the time being I wanted to share with you all my excitement about this product. We have chosen to go for their Hybrid Cloth Diapers, that will suit our busy life on the go.*

8) Lebenswert Organic Infant Formula from Organic Baby Food – Because we are planning on combining breastfeeding with bottle feeding, the hunt for the best organic infant formula was a long one. I really wanted to find a 100% plant-based formula but most of the plant-forward formulas here in North America are riddled with junk and not 100% plant-based and the only one I could find in France was sold out and would not ship to Canada given the current state of the world. So I finally decided to try this German formula that is hands down the cleanest formula that I was able to find, with the least amount and best quality ingredients. Although I did not plan on feeding my baby a non plant-based formula, the most important thing for me was for her to get the cleanest and top quality product possible. I’m grateful I found the Organic Baby Food website, who made it so easy to obtain the formula. They shipped the formula from Europe and I received it in less than a week.*

9) Baby Car Seat Cover – I’ve read lots of posts and watched a ton of videos about the benefits of having a car seat cover. Not only can it serve as a 360 cover for sunlight, wind, cold, insects, dust and bright lights, it can also be used as a nursing cover as well. It also allows you to carry the baby around, letting them sleep without anyone coming up to the baby, taking a peak at them, etc.

*All the products with an asterisk were gifted to me but I whole heartedly believe in these products and am incredibly honoured to have the support of these brands for my daughter.

MELSAYS PODCAST – EP. 30 – JENNIFER HOLLINSHEAD

Hey what’s up everyone! Welcome to another edition of the MELSAYS PODCAST.

I hope that you and your loved ones are healthy and safe during these unprecedented times. It’s been a hard couple of weeks for everyone, including myself. I didn’t know if I wanted to keep the podcast going or not during this time, but figured it might bring some relief, distraction or even entertainment your way, so I figured I would keep at it. I will try to record a few episodes from home for the first time this week, so stay tuned for that.

My guest for this episode is Jennifer Hollinshead, she is the founder and also the clinical director at Peak Resilience, a women-run counselling practice located in Vancouver. I think during times like these, the work that Jennifer and her colleagues do is paramount. This was obviously recorded previous to the pandemic and everything that’s currently going on, but she still shares some awesome tips and advice during our chat, which I hope might help some of you. So here’s my chat with Jennifer!

The podcast is just one click away or you can also listen to it below. If you enjoyed our chat, make sure you subscribe to the MELSAYS PODCAST here -> Apple Podcasts and Google Play. Also, feel free to send me some guest suggestions for future episodes!

10 Ways to Preserve your Mental Health during these Uncertain Times

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a proper blog post other than a few posts here and there, but in light of what’s been going on around the world I’m compelled to share some of the things that I have been doing to preserve my mental health and relax as much as possible while being asked to stay at home. I hope that some of these things can also help you get through the next little while!

1) Download the Calm App – I’ve been overcome with a lot of anxiety as of late, as I’m sure many of you have. I recently downloaded the Calm app, a great app for meditation, relaxing music, story time, etc. I’ve committed to doing at least 10 mins of mindfulness or meditation a day, which I find has already been helping me a ton. There are other great apps like Headspace, Oak, Relax Meditation, etc.

2) Take some online classes – With a lot more free time due to contracts being cancelled, I’ve decided to take this opportunity to do some additional learning. There are a handful of classes being offered online for free at the moment, so why not seize this opportunity to learn something new? Since I’m expecting my first child in less than two months, I’ve decided to gain a better understanding of the pelvic floor and diastasis recti, with the help of Dr. Sarah Duvall‘s free online courses.

3) Discover new music – Music has always had the power to heal in my opinion. In times of stress and anxiety, I’ve always turned to music as a way to let out how I’m feeling. We’re lucky to have so many great music streaming services at our disposal these days such as Apple Music and Spotify. I love being able to discover new tracks and playlists that are curated based on moods, genres, etc. This above playlists is one of my current favs.

4) Workout from home – If going for a walk, running or cycling isn’t your thing, there are tons of free apps available online that provide great HIIT, no equipment, full body workouts that you can do from home. Some of my favourite free workout apps include Nike Training App, Sweat (you get 7 days free!), Daily Workouts Fitness Trainer, Seven – 7 Minute Workout. If yoga is more your thing, there are lots of free online yoga workouts on Youtube and a lot of local yoga studios are offering daily or weekly videos online either via Instagram or Facebook. Moreover, several boutique fitness studios in cities around the world are offering free live classes that they will stream via Instagram. Lots of ways to stay active even from home!

5) Clean/Declutter your home – Since being asked to stay at home, there’s no better time than now to do your spring cleaning, declutter your home and put things in a donation pile. With a move potentially coming later this spring, it’s a great way to go through everything and see what I want to take with me or donate. Plus there’s no greater feeling than spending time in a place that is clean and organized!

6) Catch up on the latest podcasts – With so many amazing podcasts now available online, why not take the time to catch up on some of your favourites. Some of my favourites include: Joe Rogan, Rich Roll, Anna Faris, Trail Running Women, Sibling Revelry, Armchair Expert & more!

7) Get some fresh air & vitamin D – Although it has just been announced here in Canada that all national parks have been closed, if you can get outside for a quick walk or for a bit of sunlight and nature, your body and mind will thank you. Vitamin D is key in keeping your health on track. Healthy bodies and healthy minds are the best way to fight this pandemic.

8) Stay in touch with your friends & loved ones – We’re so lucky to live in a time where we can not only stay in touch via phone but also via video messaging, group chats, group video calls, emails, etc. My family in France and I have created a group email chain, some of our friends have created Whatsapp groups, etc. Although in-person meetings are being cancelled, virtual meetings with your friends and loved ones from all around the world don’t have to be.

9) Watch stand-up comedies, your favourite movies/series – Laughter is key to help fight anxiety and to relax. I’ve been making it a point to watch a lot of stand up comedies as well as some of my favourite movies and series to help boost my mood. One of my favourite discoveries this week has been Taylor Tomlinson’s Quarter-Life Crisis. Tons of great content on Apple TV, Netflix, Amazon, etc.

10) Practice self-care – This can mean so many different things to everyone. For me, it has meant trying to sleep more, taking the time to up my skincare routines, taking baths, making delicious plant-based homemade meals, going for runs, reading, etc. Take this opportunity to take care of yourself, it’s primordial in preserving your mental health.

Share with me what are some of the things you’ve been doing during the past couple of days to stay relaxed and keep anxiety at bay while we’re all at home. Never thought we would be going through something like this but we are all in this together. Sending much love and health to you all!

Mel xo

MELSAYS PODCAST – EP. 29 – LYDIA RICARD

Photo credit: Bryanna Bradley

Hi and welcome to a brand new episode of the MELSAYS PODCAST. How’s everyone doing? Got a brand new interview for you all this week.

My guest is Tofino longboarder Lydia Ricard. She is one of the best long boarders in the country and one to watch out for in the coming years. I had the chance to sit down with her a little while back in Tofino to talk about the growth of the sport in Canada, her journey as a Canadian surfer and more! Hope you’ll enjoy our chat!

The podcast is just one click away or you can also listen to it below. If you enjoyed our chat, make sure you subscribe to the MELSAYS PODCAST here -> Apple Podcasts and Google Play. Also, feel free to send me some guest suggestions for future episodes!

MELSAYS PODCAST – EP. 28 – VALERIE DUPRAT

Hi and welcome to another edition of the MELSAYS PODCAST! Happy New Year! Hope you have wonderful holidays and that 2020 is off to a fantastic start! 2020 is shaping up to be a crazy year, as we are expecting our first child in May. So my goal is to get as many episodes out and edited as possible before the arrival of our daughter.

I’m super excited to have Valerie Duprat as my guest today on the podcast. She is a surfboard shaper, surfer and mom. She was recently featured in the new book Surf Like A Girl and today she shares how she went from growing up in Paris to shaping boards in Encinitas and become one of the first local female shapers. I hope you’ll enjoy my chat with her!

The podcast is just one click away or you can also listen to it below. If you enjoyed our chat, make sure you subscribe to the MELSAYS PODCAST here -> Apple Podcasts and Google Play. Also, feel free to send me some guest suggestions for future episodes!

MELSAYS PODCAST – EP. 22 – Kat Drew

Hey what’s up everyone! Welcome to another edition of the, MELSAYS PODCAST. How’s it going? Thanks for all of your positive feedback, following the last episode with Farinaz Lari, I always appreciate hearing from everyone. If you haven’t listened to it already, check out episode 21 here.

Super excited to release today’s episode, before I head off to Europe for a few weeks.

My guest for today, is Kat Drew. She’s a local Vancouver runner, who recently took part in one of the most prestigious trail races in the world; the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Race. Not only did she finish it, but she placed 8th female overall! I happen to meet her while doing some trail work on the north shore, just a few days after her race, and asked her if she wanted to share her story on how she got to this legendary race. She was really lovely to speak to, and it was super interesting to get more insight on her experience at Western States. I hope you’ll enjoy!

The podcast is just one click away or you can also listen to it below. If you enjoyed our chat, make sure you subscribe to the MELSAYS PODCAST here -> Apple Podcasts and Google Play. Also, feel free to send me some guest suggestions for future episodes!

MELSAYS PODCAST – EP. 21 – Farinaz Lari

Photo credit: Ben Owens Photography

Hey what’s up everyone! Welcome to another edition of the MELSAYS PODCAST. Can you believe it, it’s already mid-august, I feel like the summer is flying by. This week, I recorded 3 new episodes of the podcast, so I’m excited to share these new episodes with you all, in the coming weeks.

Today’s chat is with Farinaz Lari. Farinaz, was born in Tehran, Iran and moved to Canada almost 10 years ago. In addition to being the co-owner of the District Warrior gym in Vancouver, she is also a kickboxing World Champion. She has paved the way for other female martial artists not only in Iran but also in Canada. Her story is incredible and is definitely one of my favourite chats so far. Hope you’ll be as moved as I was by her story!

The podcast is just one click away or you can also listen to it below. If you enjoyed our chat, make sure you subscribe to the MELSAYS PODCAST here -> Apple Podcasts and Google Play. Also, feel free to send me some guest suggestions for future episodes!

How the Apple Watch Has Become the Ideal Fitness Partner

Photo by Mirae Campbell

As an early Apple Watch enthusiast, I’ve always been excited by the possibilities that this watch offers. From being able to track your workouts, to keeping you accountable with friends by closing Activity Rings to now having integrated some great fitness-related apps, the Apple Watch Series 4 has become the ideal fitness and health partner.

I’ve talked about some of my favourite features of the watch on the website before but am happy to share with you today, some of my latest and greatest watch discoveries.

Photo by Matt Massa

Snoww

Though the season may be coming to an end, it’s with tons of enthusiasm that I tested out a cool social ski and snowboarding app last week while in Whistler. Developed by Eddy Healey, a ski fanatic from the UK, Snoww is a ski and snowboarding tracking app that allows you to follow friends and compare vital ski/snowboarding statistics or even compete with skiers/snowboarders to climb your way to the top of the mountain’s leaderboard. Think of Strava but specifically designed for skiing/snowboarding. You can even add Siri shortcuts to get information about your runs while you’re on the mountain but my utmost favourite feature on the app is being able to track in real time the people you follow on the app to see their whereabouts on the mountain. As someone who lives in BC, where backcountry skiing and out of bound riding are a thing, this could potentially be really helpful if ever you were to be out with a group and lose someone. They also have an augmented reality feature that allows you to track someone and see in more detail where they are. The metrics from the Snoww app will then seamlessly be added to your Activity App once your day on the mountain is complete.

Photo by Mirae Campbell
Photo by: Mirae Campbell

Yoga

As someone who does a lot of running, yoga has become a great way to cross-train and also stretch plus take care of my body. Therefore, the new Yoga Workout in the Workout App is a great addition to the slew of activities like swimming, cycling, spinning, hiking, etc. that are already available. It’s a fantastic way to set goals for your practice, measure your heart rate as well as calorie burn during each session. Additionally, a great way of ending your practice is by using the Breathe app, which will guide you through 1 minute of deep breathing before moving onto the next thing on your agenda for the day.

Photo by Mirae Campbell
Photo by Mirae Campbell

Running

I’ve been using the Running Workout on the Apple Watch for the past couple of years. Though I’ve already talked about some of the things I love most about the Running Workout, one of the things that I have really enjoyed is being able to run without my phone, thanks to cellular connectivity with the Apple Watch Series 3 and Apple Watch Series 4. Another plus is being to run wirelessly thanks to my AirPods. I’ve enjoyed listening to podcasts and some of my favourite tunes without having to worry about wires. As someone who sometimes forgets to start my workout, having the Automatic Workout Detection is a great reminder to start and stop a running session if ever I have forgotten to do so. Like I’ve alluded to in a previous post, additional features like the rolling mile pace, cadence and target pace are all tools that can help, especially when training for a race.

Photo by Mirae Campbell
Photo by Mirae Campbell
Photo by Mirae Campbell

In short, these are just some of the many fitness and wellness features that come with wearing an Apple Watch. With all the testing that Apple is continuously doing and the addition of trackers such as the accelerometer, the altimeter, GPS, heart rate tracker, etc., it comes as no surprise that the Apple Watch has become highly coveted by both people like you and I and Olympic athletes like Canadian Ski Cross Olympic gold medallist Marielle “Big Air Mar” Thompson and Brady Leman, who is also a Canadian Ski Cross Olympic gold medallist.

For more information on the Apple Watch and how it can enhance your workouts, go here.

*I was not compensated for this post but was gifted the Apple Watch.

2019 Ford Escape Titanium

Just before leaving for Australia last month, I had the opportunity to test drive the brand new 2019 Ford Escape Titanium. I lined up a couple of excursions during the week I had the vehicle including my first trail race of the year, thinking it would be a great way to put the vehicle to the test. Here are some highlights of the vehicle.

LOOK

Over the years, the Ford Escape has gotten a lot sleeker looking. The once boxy compact SUV, now has gotten a major facelift thanks to new key elements such as the 19-inch aluminum wheels with lustre nickel painted spokes and pockets, a body-coloured rear spoiler, both an upper and lower grill, cool looking fog lamps and dual chrome tipped exhaust just to name a few. You can choose from 9 exterior colours including Ruby Red (as pictured above!), Sedona Orange, Baltic Sea Green, etc. With the Ford Escape Titanium’s current look, it comes as no surprise that the vehicle can appeal to a large audience.

SAFETY

Though things such as rear view cameras, reverse/forward/side sensing systems as well as integrated blind spot mirrors have become common in most new vehicles, driving the 2019 Ford Escape Titanium will make you feel that safety was one of the main concerns of the makers of this car. Its additional features like Driver’s knee airbag, SOS Post-Crash Alert System™, Perimeter alarm, Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) and Emergency Brake Assist System, that really make you feel like you can drive with confidence.

PERFORMANCE

If you’re all about the numbers, then you’ll be happy to know that the 2019 Ford Escape Titanium comes equipped with a 6-Speed Automatic Transmission with SelectShift® Capability and gives you 245 horsepower. But one of the elements that is most important, in my opinion, is the 2.0L EcoBoost Engine which has automatic Start-Stop Technology, which allows you to reduce not only consumption but also very importantly, emissions while driving around in the city. Other important features like Curve Control, which senses if you’re going too fast and can slow you down using throttle reduction and anti-lock breaking plus Traction Control will help keep the car on the road.

TECHNOLOGY

It comes as no surprise that the 2019 Ford Escape Titanium comes equipped with the latest technological features. From Ford’s Wi-Fi Hotspot FordPass Connect to Voice-Activated Touchscreen Navigation System with SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link that allows for turn-by-turn guided navigation and a touchscreen that has swiping, pinching capabilities. Moreover, this ultra smart system comes up with adaptive search results based on your preferences. Other characteristics such as Enhance Park Assist and Parallel Parking, can without a doubt come in handy when maneuvering in tight spots. Finally, the Hands-Free Foot-Activated Liftgate is definitely a nice little extra when grocery shopping or packing the car for a snowboard session or road trip.

RECAP

All in all the 2019 Ford Escape Titanium is a versatile compact SV that is suited for all types of lifestyles. Whether you have a family (the interior space/comfort is wonderful!), you’re an adventure enthusiast, a city dweller or use this car for business, the new Escape has appeal for everyone. Plus, it is perfect for the variety of terrain that offers a place like BC. Driving it around from Vancouver to the snowy and slippery roads of Squamish and Whistler or towards Port Coquitlam and the trails of Belcarra Regional Park, the car handled all environments and terrain. go here.

For more information on the 2019 Ford Escape Titanium, go here.

*I was not compensated for this post but Ford lent me the vehicle for the week.

MELSAYS PODCAST – EP. 15 – Courtney Burt of Run Like a Girl

Celebrating the end of 2018 with a brand new podcast!

My guest for this episode is Courtney Burt, she is the co-founder of Run Like A Girl. She is a BC-based long-distance runner who has run races anywhere from 50 to 250 kilometers long. Courtney runs all the behind the scenes stuff at Run Like A Girl and also leads some of their retreats. I’m thrilled to have her share more about this awesome community that she has helped create. So without further a due, here’s my chat with Courtney.

Thanks so much for all of your support with my first year of podcasting! I hope you’ve enjoyed the episodes that I released in 2018 and hopefully were inspired by the women that I spoke with, I know I was! Hope you’ll join me in the new year for tons more!

Happy 2019!