Category Archives: Blog

Be Bold, Not Abrasive

I don’t talk a lot about my job on this blog. Which I realized as I started writing this post I should do more of. I call myself an Alpha Female after all due to juggling a full time career & being a fitness personality. I’m really blessed at my job at Kobo. I still call it a dream marketing job two years later as much as I did when I landed it. I’m blessed in my second year at this company to be supported in leadership skill development and wanted to share my review of a course I recently took to develop personality presentation & communication skills.

When searching the world wide web for a course that could help my leadership skills I found the Women of Influence: Be Bold, Not Abrasive, Advancement Centre course. I have been told on more then one performance review that I can be blunt, straightforward or direct at times. I’ve learned to soften my tone after being let go from a former ad agency job in 2011. I wrote a blog post (Why Being Let Go Can Be Good For Your Career) that you can read if you’re curious. I’ve made leaps and bounds since then but I believe communication style & presence is something you can always improve upon and want to continuously become better so I signed up ready to learn.

I headed off to the Spoke Club last week for a full day of learning, armed with old school pen and paper.

Be Bold Not Abrasive

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Book Review: Ruby

What kobo.com says:

The newest Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 selection! The epic, unforgettable story of a man determined to protect the woman he loves from the town desperate to destroy her—this beautiful and devastating debut heralds the arrival of a major new voice in fiction.

Ephram Jennings has never forgotten the beautiful girl with the long braids running through the piney woods of Liberty, their small East Texas town. Young Ruby, “the kind of pretty it hurt to look at,” has suffered beyond imagining, so as soon as she can, she flees suffocating Liberty for the bright pull of 1950s New York. Ruby quickly winds her way into the ripe center of the city–the darkened piano bars and hidden alleyways of the Village–all the while hoping for a glimpse of the red hair and green eyes of her mother. When a telegram from her cousin forces her to return home, thirty-year-old Ruby Bell finds herself reliving the devastating violence of her girlhood. With the terrifying realization that she might not be strong enough to fight her way back out again, Ruby struggles to survive her memories of the town’s dark past. Meanwhile, Ephram must choose between loyalty to the sister who raised him and the chance for a life with the woman he has loved since he was a boy.

Full of life, exquisitely written, and suffused with the pastoral beauty of the rural South, Ruby is a transcendent novel of passion and courage. This wondrous page-turner rushes through the red dust and gossip of Main Street, to the pit fire where men swill bootleg outside Bloom’s Juke, to Celia Jennings’s kitchen where a cake is being made, yolk by yolk, that Ephram will use to try to begin again with Ruby. Utterly transfixing, with unforgettable characters, riveting suspense, and breathtaking, luminous prose, Ruby offers an unflinching portrait of man’s dark acts and the promise of the redemptive power of love.

Ruby

What I Say: I started reading this book while in the Dominican, during flights to and from Miami for the cruise and finished it on my recent business trip to New York City. I really didn’t LOVE this book. It was more a like. I didn’t love the struggle and the tough subject of prostitution, women’s abuse and rights. I guess I really do live in a rose coloured bubble of positivity these days. However, the book was very well written. The prose was elegant and excellent. Seeing the love of a man so strong that can help heal a women’s brokenness was beautiful but I definitely need to pick up a light hearted subject next that does not deal with any heaviness as my next read.

Skulpt Aim Product Review

Disclaimer: I was sent this device at no cost to review

I’m a big fan of science and how exercise & nutrition is basically one big science experiment. I don’t weigh myself so I don’t really have any baseline tracking to see how my training is going. When I had the opportunity to review the new Skulpt Aim device I jumped at the chance. They created the product to revolutionize fitness tracking. The device can measure your muscle quality & body fat percentage.

Skulpt

The Skulpt Aim analyzes thousands of data points on 24 different muscles, to track when you’re losing fat and gaining muscle. Initially used in the medical space and by NASA, this new tech revolutionizes fitness tracking, giving you greater insight into your body and fitness. The device is easy to hold. You simply spray the electrodes on one side of the device and apply to your skin. After you take the measurements it easily connects via bluetooth to the app on your phone. I downloaded the iOS version.

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Polar Rush 2015 Race Recap

On Saturday an Alpha Army attacked the Polar Rush race up at Horseshoe Resort near Barrie. A bunch of us from Alpha Obstacle Training drove up to the resort to tackle this new winter obstacle course race.

Polar Rush

The course and it’s set up was technically a lot of fun but the weather made the day pretty rainy, wet & miserable. We arrived around 9am and it had just started raining. For the 10am elite heat it rained the whole time. When people asked me how the race went my response was simply: gross.

Polar Rush Course Map

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Book Review: The Everything Store

What kobo.com says:

“An immersive play-by-play of the company’s ascent…. It’s hard to imagine a better retelling of the Amazon origin story.” — Laura Bennett, New Republic

Amazon.com’s visionary founder, Jeff Bezos, wasn’t content with being a bookseller. He wanted Amazon to become the everything store, offering limitless selection and seductive convenience at disruptively low prices. To do so, he developed a corporate culture of relentless ambition and secrecy that’s never been cracked. Until now.

Brad Stone enjoyed unprecedented access to current and former Amazon employees and Bezos family members, and his book is the first in-depth, fly-on-the-wall account of life at Amazon. The Everything Store is the book that the business world can’t stop talking about, the revealing, definitive biography of the company that placed one of the first and largest bets on the Internet and forever changed the way we shop and read.

Everything Store

 

What I Say: I wanted to read this book because of my day job. If you follow my career journey you know I work at Kobo. Hence why all my book reviews link to our homepage :) I wanted to read the history of the company that is our biggest competitor to understand a bit more about them. I always find it fascinating finding out how a company got started. I liked reading about Amazon’s business practices when wanting to acquire a company. They are really painted as a bully so it was interesting to delve into the book. They barely mention Kobo so that was also fascinating to see how the author also ignores Amazon’s biggest eReading competitor. It will be interesting to see how competitors attack the global eCommerce engine that is Amazon in the future. A good book but I wouldn’t recommend it unless you’re in the eCommerce world.

Spartan Cruise Review

I’ve already blogged about the Spartan Cruise Sprint Race Recap on the blog but I wanted to also review the Cruise. The weekend trip was amazing but the highlight of the trip was definitely the race vs. the ship. Here’s how the weekend went down…

My partner in crime for the weekend was my friend from Alpha Obstacle Training, Richard Lee Yuen. We flew to Miami on Friday, March 6th and boarded the ship mid afternoon. We had an inside stateroom that was fine for a weekend but nothing to write home about. Limited space. No place for our luggage on the floor but the bathroom was surprisingly large for what I anticipated.

Pre-Boarding Photo

We took a #theface photo as we boarded and proceeded to explore all the decks of the ship. There was 12 decks in total. We had a cabin on deck 10 which was one level below the pool deck. The ship left the dock a little after 4:30pm and we were spoiled with an amazing front deck yoga class with Anna Arsenault (Mom Strong) as we left the port.

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Mom Strong Yoga

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How To Make Beach Vacations Fun

I have developed ADD in my adult age. I can’t sit still for very long. Which means… If I have to go on a resort or beach vacation I can only sit still and tan for several hours before I have to do something. Thankfully I have friends that understand me and are similar so we go on adventures together since we can only workout so much on vacation!

My roommate, Katie, on my recent Dominican trip for the Transformation Retreat came armed with a photo album of images on her phone that she wanted us to try and replicate while we were down South. Here are the results!

Climbing A Tree

So sometimes we look funny getting into position… But then we pull off cute.

Tree Pose

Our standard day looked like this. Wake up, make coffee, get dressed, check social media, morning meditation, yoga, beach run, breakfast, check work email for an hour, get into bikinis, lie around for an hour getting a tan, go for a 2 hour walk taking silly pictures, eat lunch, go on another walk adventure, bootcamp, shower, get ready for dinner, dinner, dancing & bed. Repeat.

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Spartan Cruise 2015 Race Recap

I feel like I’ve been running Spartan races for years but this was actually my first Spartan Sprint! In 2014 I ran my first Spartan race and chose the Ottawa Super distance after being injured for the Toronto Sprint. This was also a first time event for Spartan! I traveled to the event with my Alpha Obstacle Training partner & friend Richard Lee Yuen. Early Saturday morning Rich and I got up and got ready to race. We got ourselves down to deck 3 to grab the first tender boat over to the island. We arrived shortly before 9 and had an hour to walk around and find the lay of the land before our elite heat started.

Welcome

For me this race had my nerves on edge as I had no idea how my body would handle racing in the heat. Would MS symptoms like numbness, tingling & hand tremors come on? At what point in the race might this happen? And how do I avoid it? As I’ve written about before the team at TechNiche International are taking care of me. I had two kinds of vests with me in a cooler bag. So I had to drop my cooling vest bag at the medic tent for safe keeping. I wore my KewlFit vest to stay cool while walking around and left my HyperKewl vest (which I had activated with water on the boat) & extra ice packs for the KewlFit vest (to swap out after the race) in the medic area as it was shady and they would have it in case anything happened to me on course. I got to meet all the medics and they were alerted that I have MS. It was slightly embarrassing but I felt good knowing they could take care of me if need be.  From there Rich & I found the starting line, the bag check & a shaded picnic table area where competitors were gathering. We said hi to Christopher Rutz from Tough Training & Richard Diaz from Diaz Human Performance and watched elite & open heat athletes gather. I took a ready to race photo! I’m grateful for Mizuno Canada for outfitting my bottom half in capris, compression socks & Wave Kazan trail shoes.

Ready To Race

 

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BCBD 2015 Transformation Retreat Fitness

One of the reasons this was my third time attending the BCBD Transformation retreat is I love having a relaxing vacation that is also full of fitness. I love the opportunity to go somewhere warm in the middle of winter and take advantage of the opportunity to mix workouts with suntanning on the beach or by the pool.

Our schedule for the day usually looks like this: meditation & yoga in the morning, eat breakfast, do a bootcamp mid morning and then finish the day with a group goal setting session in the afternoon and a beach run at sunset. This year the format was slightly different. We started the morning with meditation & yoga as usual but then had the entire day to ourselves. We were supposed to finish the day with an evening bootcamp at 5pm & beach run. However, on the first day the tide was too high to have a beach run after bootcamp so we moved it to happen after our morning meditation & yoga the next day. This year’s morning yoga spot was on a stage by the pool looking out at the ocean. It was definitely not as epic as last year but still gorgeous. It was a bit windy on most days so we got to deal with flying yoga mats as an obstacle to our practice. Definitely good for patience :)

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2014 Yoga Spot

versus

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2015 Yoga Spot

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Macao Surf Camp Review

After my trip to Surf Tours Nicaragua in October to learn how to surf I had definitely caught the surfer bug. I wasn’t able to get up at the time. I blame the ridiculously large waves and my ability to overthink things :) I needed to try again and soon! When I found out that this year’s BCBD Transformation Retreat (a fitness retreat I’ve gone on for the past 2 years) was in Punta Cana I looked up the best surf camps according to Trip Advisor. I contacted Macao Surf Camp in Punta Cana and convinced 6 other girls from the BCBD retreat to come with me! It was ranked #2 out of 58 for Boat Tours & Water Sports in Punta Cana and had a 99% rating out of 511 reviews.

Surfer's Code

We booked private instructors for the cost of a group lesson at $95 USD each. We also paid $20 USD for photos & video of our experience which was amazingly done. They got so many shots of us! It was definitely well worth the cost.

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