Category Archives: Blog

MEC Outdoor Nation, Climbing Challenge & $50 Giveaway!

MEC Outdoor Nation arrived in Toronto this past weekend. 150 young adults camped out at Evergreen Brick Works in Toronto, experiencing two days in the great urban outdoors alongside good friends, meeting new ones, live music, outdoor activities and campfires and of course camping. I was really lucky to be invited by MEC to attend one of the outdoor activities on Saturday, the climbing challenge.  I also got a chance to chat with the Outdoor Nation organizers and find out more about what the weekend was all about.

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The goal of the weekend is simple. Celebrate a love for being outside while dreaming-up projects that can help other young people experience the outdoors in new ways. If you think about it as today’s young people (under 30) enter adulthood, their level of physical activity, let alone outdoor physical activity declines the fastest out of any other age group. As a 32 year old I can fully understand that. When I started working after University I was very focused on my career and didn’t really have the disposable income either to go adventuring outdoors as much as I am now or as I did as a kid attending summer camp. MEC started MEC Outdoor Nation in order to support a movement of young adults sharing their love of being active outside with other young adults so that we can install a new love for the outdoors peer to peer so they don’t have to wait until their older like me and realized they missed out on all this time they could’ve been adventuring outside.

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Endurance Tap Product Review & Giveaway

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. I received product at no cost.

There is a new kid on the endurance fuelling block and I’m as in love with them as I was with NKOTB back in the day and on their reunion tour.

NKOTB

Endurance Tap‘s tag line is FUEL SIMPLY. I love so many things about this product from the branding, the old school packaging, the natural ingredients, how easy it is to digest and I kind of love maple syrup so I figured I’d fall fast in love with this run fuel.

Bucket of Tap

The ingredients are so simple: Canadian maple syrup, sea salt, and ginger. That’s it, that’s all folks.

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BattleFrog Tri-State 2015 Race Recap

I’m really glad I had the opportunity to run my first Battlefrog Series race this past weekend in New Jersey. The wonderful folks over at Obstacle Racing Media sent me to run the open heat so I could review the race & my experience. You can read my RACE REVIEW here.

There is a couple of things I didn’t get to cover in that post so I thought I’d save those thoughts for my personal blog.

THE COURSE MAP

I’m really confused about the course map that was posted in advance as the course failed to deliver all 32 obstacles.

BF Course Map

We didn’t have an Over after the Wreck Bag Carry. The Normandy Jacks were placed there instead. There was no Delta Cargo.The Tsunami was also placed after the Delta Ladder but didn’t have the warped wall climb with rope but a cargo net climb instead. There was no Monkey Bars. And the water crossing had a dumpster with cargo net climb before it. Despite the confusing map this it was still a really good course. It was not as challenging as I expected but still hard.

THE AMAZING PEOPLE I ROOMED WITH

I can’t say enough good things about my Alpha Family. April, Eddie, Sylvie & Jesse shared a hotel room with myself, John and Tomasz. The 4 pictured below with me drove down the Thursday before the race and waited up for John and I to arrive Friday night as we had to work. Tomasz was a last minute addition and was a crazy man and took the Greyhound bus to New York City, followed by a NJ transit bus close to the race site and then walked over 6km to get to the race. He wins most dedicated to getting to the race.

Robyn, Sylvie, Jesse, April & Eddie

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Book Review: Down The Rabbit Hole

What kobo.com says:

The shocking, never-before-told story of the bizarre world inside the legendary Playboy Mansion—and, finally, the secret truth about the man who holds the key—from one of the few people who truly knows: Hef’s former #1 girlfriend and star of The Girls Next Door

A spontaneous decision at age twenty-one transformed small-town Oregon girl Holly Sue Cullen into Holly Madison, Hugh Hefner’s #1 girlfriend. But like Alice’s journey into Wonderland, after Holly plunged down the rabbit hole, what seemed like a fairytale life inside the Playboy Mansion—including A-list celebrity parties and her own #1-rated television show for four years—quickly devolved into an oppressive routine of strict rules, manipulation, and battles with ambitious, backstabbing bunnies. Life inside the notorious Mansion wasn’t a dream at all—and quickly became her nightmare. After losing her identity, her sense of self-worth, and her hope for the future, Holly found herself sitting alone in a bathtub contemplating suicide.

But instead of ending her life, Holly chose to take charge of it.

In this shockingly candid and surprisingly moving memoir, this thoughtful and introspective woman opens up about life inside the Mansion, the drugs, the sex, the abuse, the infamous parties, and her real behind-the-scenes life with Bridget, Kendra, and, of course, Mr. Playboy himself.

With great courage, Holly shares the details of her subsequent troubled relationship, landing her own successful television series, and the hard work of healing, including her turn on Dancing with the Stars. A cautionary tale and a celebration of personal empowerment, Down the Rabbit Hole reminds us of the importance of fighting for our dreams—and finding the life we deserve.

Down The Rabbit Hole

What I say:

I couldn’t put the book down due to the sad, endless stories of what can only be summed up as a manipulative, low self esteem, sad life of a Playboy Bunny and what it was like to be Hugh Hefner’s #1 Girlfriend. I read this book the way you can’t tear your eyes away from a horrible reality tv show. I had watched the train wreck of her life on the screen in the early 2000s and have now delved into the secrets of her life in print. If anything her book is a cautionary tale to star eyed girls that the glitz and the glam of fame is never all that it’s cracked up to be. I’m glad she was able to grow into her own person outside of the mansion and share her lessons. But you can only wonder why she decided to write this book now?

Book Review: The Girl On The Train

What kobo.com says:

Three women, three men, connected through marriage or infidelity. Each is to blame for something. But only one is a killer in this nail-biting, stealthy psychological thriller about human frailty and obsession.
Just what goes on in the houses you pass by every day?
Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and evening, rattling over the same junctions, flashing past the same townhouses.The train stops at the same signal every day, and she sees the same couple, breakfasting on their roof terrace. Jason and Jess, as she calls them, seem so happy. Then one day Rachel sees someone new in their garden. Soon after, Rachel sees the woman she calls Jess on the news. Jess has disappeared.
Through the ensuing police investigation, Rachel is drawn deeper into the lives of the couple she learns are really Megan and Scott Hipwell. As she befriends Scott, Rachel pieces together what really happened the day Megan disappeared. But when Megan’s body is found, Rachel finds herself the chief suspect in the case. Plunged into a world of betrayals, secrets and deceptions, Rachel must confront the facts about her own past and her own failed marriage.
A sinister and twisting story that will keep you guessing at every turn, The Girl on the Train is a high-speed chase for the truth.

The Girl On The Train

What I say:

While I found it riveting and couldn’t put it down I didn’t exactly find it nail-biting. I agree that the book truly focuses on human frailty and obsession in the Rachel character but she is so hard to like that she really frustrated me. As an unreliable narrator and character I couldn’t get into her story and just wanted to smack her every time she turned to drinking. If you’ve read Gone Girl then I won’t recommend this book but if you haven’t read Gone Girl yet then read this book first to get into the mood and then pick up Gone Girl.

2015 Nike Women’s Toronto 15K Race Recap

Today’s post includes a recap of an epic inaugural women’s race in Toronto, all the feels and a Tiffany’s necklace to show for it.

I signed up for the Toronto Nike Women’s 15K on a whim. I saw a bunch of the female run community talking about it before sign up opened and got swept up in the hype of the event. I didn’t want to miss out (Full on FOMO) so I registered and got in. Along with everyone else in Toronto! They must not have had the registration numbers they needed as everyone got in and they even let men register.

I picked up my race kit the week before the race at the new Nike Running Room in Liberty Village by my office. They had set up in the parking lot and registration went smoothly. I received my bib, a course map, my race shirt and two packages of Nuun hydration.

The night before the race I lay out my standard pre-road race outfit for a social media picture and for easy dressing in the morning. I wore the race shirt (which I never do but got swept up in the hype again), my HyperKewl cooling sport cap to keep cool with in case of heat, Mizunno Running Hitogami shoes & run shorts from last season (which I’ve run in several times before), my brand new 2XU race compression socks (I went to the warehouse sale on Saturday), my Polar M400 GPS & HeartRate monitor, my ipod shuffle and I tried out Endurance Tap for the first time. I definitely did two things you should never do before a race – 1. run in a new top you’ve never run in and 2. try out a new gel but thankfully both of those things went fine.

Toronto Nike Race Outfit

The race logistics were so massive I was expecting some glitches but it was actually well organized. I knew there may be long wait times to get on and off the Toronto Island but it was done in such a great manner that Nike race organizers deserve props. I lined up at 6:40am for my 7am ferry and they started loading around 6:50am and left by 7am. Well done Nike.

Ferry

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Leon’s Find Your Zen Event

Disclaimer:  This is a sponsored post. I received compensation for promoting this event.

I have had “convert my den into a writing and yoga space” on my home to do list for a while now. My den has no window so the space is quite dark. I re-painted it last fall so it’s a lot brighter than before. I started with one red wall and 3 brown walls (as seen below) so anything lighter was an improvement. It is now beige and where the red wall is I painted it a light blue.  I am actually giving away my childhood desk as I want a smaller one for writing the book I’m working on. I also want to figure out how to make it a space that I can practice yoga in and meditate. Hopefully I’ll be inspired to do a post with after pictures soon once I get my decorating act together. Den
When Leon’s invited me to the Find Your Zen event I got really excited as it was a perfect opportunity to take advantage of free yoga classes to de-stress from a month of racing (I have 3 races in June) and get some feng shui advice for my den.

Find Your Zen

Where: Leon’s Roundhouse 255 Bremner Boulevard, Toronto (across the street from the Roger’s Centre)

What: 3 FREE yoga classes with instructors Laurie Campbell, Sheldon Shannon and Naomi Zahler, a juice & smoothie bar and design advice consultations. If you bring along your home décor photos you can receive a FREE one-on-one consultation with celebrity Feng Shui expert, Helen Peacock.

Leon’s Roundhouse offers beautiful, affordable and contemporary home furnishing and décor options perfect for both condo and home owners so we can shop at the same time. Leon’s Roundhouse Find Your Zen Yoga Event is FREE, but space is limited! Beginners to experts are welcome. A donation to Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada is encouraged and can be made on the Facebook registration page or at Leon’s Roundhouse.

When: Saturday, June 27, 2015
First Class: 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Second Class: 10:15 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.
Third Class: 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

REGISTER HERE on Facebook for the class you’d like to attend. I’m signed up for the 9am class.

Who:
Helen Peacock is an accredited Feng Shui consultant through the Canadian Schools of Feng Shui. Her mission is to use her gifts to enlighten, clarify and help others heal from within and with their environment to bring balance to their lives. Helen has spent many years studying Yoga, Mediumship and Holistic Therapy.

Yoga Teachers:
Laurie Campbell has worked with many of Toronto’s prominent and accredited yoga studios and was fundamental to their training programs. Laurie is currently the managing partner of Studio Lagree and continues to lead yoga teacher trainings and retreats internationally.

Sheldon Shannon is a Toronto based Ashtanga yoga instructor accredited through the Downward Dog Yoga Studio. Sheldon brings a unique perspective to the world of yoga. Drawing from his competitive gymnastics background and knowledge of the Ashtanga discipline, he designs energetic, sweat-inducing Vinyasa flow classes that build strength, flexibility and stamina. He is known for his challenging yoga routines, creative sequencing and inventive approach to helping students access postures.

Naomi Zahler has more than 10 years of teaching experience. Naomi dedicates her time to understanding the intricate connections between the physical, emotional and intellectual systems of our bodies. She combines her knowledge and experience in Yoga, Pilates, The Alexander Technique and Fitness to create classes that emphasize breathing, postural awareness, core strength and inner confidence.

Join Me on June 27! Namaste.

Book Review: Finding Audrey

What kobo.com says:

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Shopaholic series comes a terrific blend of comedy, romance, and psychological recovery in a contemporary YA novel sure to inspire and entertain.
An anxiety disorder disrupts fourteen-year-old Audrey’s daily life. She has been making slow but steady progress with Dr. Sarah, but when Audrey meets Linus, her brother’s gaming teammate, she is energized. She connects with him. Audrey can talk through her fears with Linus in a way she’s never been able to do with anyone before. As their friendship deepens and her recovery gains momentum, a sweet romantic connection develops, one that helps not just Audrey but also her entire family.

Finding Aubrey

What I Say:

I was hooked by the first chapter and giggling by the second. Kinsella’s debut as a Young Adult author is a fresh and easy read that I couldn’t put down. I fell in love with the characters and the dysfunctionality but realness of the family. I loved that she threw in witty documentary scripts as a style of writing and I think everyone can identify in some way with Audrey and how she is dealing with having an anxiety disorder. She’s so easy to relate to and I love that Sophie delved into a hard topic in a way that will although those who read to understand what it’s like to go through a tough time in life. The best part of the book is watching young love happen right in front of our eyes and when you get to the coconut ice cream moment it will make your heart melt.

XMan Montreal 2015 Race Recap

X Man Montreal 2015 did not disappoint! The X Man Race Series was my favourite race series from 2014!  Last year my teammates from Alpha and I ran the X Man Sherbrooke & Quebec City races. This year we came back for more and since we hadn’t run the Montreal location yet this was going to be new for everyone going! You know I’m excited when jump shots are taken.

X Man MontrealWe brought an amazing crew of approximately 20 people from Alpha and our honorary teammate Jen from Ottawa in the picture below. We adopt teammates as we go.

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How To Make Kombucha

Last week I met my friend Michelle Clark after work to get her baby Scoby (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) from her so I could start my own Kombucha batch. Kombucha is a fermented tea drink that is believed to help digestion and gut health. Michelled gave me her baby Scoby in a bit of Kombucha liquid in a mason jar. My friend, Google helped me figure out how to make the drink from the baby. I found several sites that gave me the same steps that I’ve written out below for you. Here’s how I made Kombucha for the first time.

Kombucha Scoby

Step 1: Boil Water. I used 3 Mason Jars of Water. After it comes to a boil add sugar. I used 2 cups.

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Step 2: Add 2 tea bags. I used Lipton White Raspberry Tea. I removed from heat and filled my sink with cold water and placed the pot in the sink to cool.

Steep Tea

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