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NEW BROWS, WHO DIS? PART DEUX

*THIS IS A FOLLOW-UP TO LAST YEAR’S POST ON MY MICROBLADED BROWS!*

It’s been a whole year plus a few months living life with microbladed brows and you know what? That life is damn good. I wrote a post last February on my experience getting microbladed (if you’re new to my blog you can check out last year’s post here) for the very first time by Nicole Guerrieri, also known as @BrowsxBianca on Instagram. I went back to the infamous brow goddess last week for a touch up…just to make sure the glow up was still on 100. I found her in a cute new space, just seconds from her old spot, and armed with new tricks up her sleeve to help create the most beautiful brows ever for her clients.

Here’s a little peek inside Nicole’s new spot at 260 Carlaw Ave. It’s a lofty vibe with high ceilings and original wood flooring. She also plays old Motown music during brow sessions!

WHAT’S CHANGED

There is still three passes of microblading like there was before, but wait for it…no numbing of the skin before the first pass. Nicole knows how much I hate pain, so she neglected to tell me this before my appointment, but did tell me to take some Advil just before coming in. It’s odd because I’ve have had a natural child birth with Maxwell so I probably shouldn’t find this so intolerable, but I do until I get the numbing gel and then it’s smooth sailing. If you’re wondering what it feels like, imagine a cat dragging it’s sharp nails across your delicate skin. Ask Nicole, and she will tell you most of her clients find the pain a 4 out 10 but to me it’s like a 7.5 or even higher.

Apparently, microblading is far more effective on skin that is hard so a pre-numbing cream is no longer used before the first pass of blading. Having the cream sit on your skin for 30 min softens the skin too much and therefore does not allowing for the ‘strokes’ to heal as sharp as they would without the soft skin. Before the second pass she will apply a gel that will numb the shit out of your brow area and it’s glorious. It works instantaneously, helping to make the process much faster than before. Also…we, and by we I mean Nicole, has introduced the shading technique into her offering.

BROW SHADING

So yes, there is blading and shading and both are different, plus yield different results. According to Nicole, most clients actually need the combination of both. Why? Simply because microblading alone isn’t enough. This is especially the case if you have sparse brows, baldness in some areas, no tails, etc. If you have dense hair at the front of your brow and no tails, microblading cannot give you the density to blend the front with the tail and that’s what the shading does. And if you’re wondering if the shading technique will make your brows look less natural…it is actually the opposite. They will look MORE natural with both. Trust me! If you already have a full brow but still find yourself having to do a little penciling in, you can totally considering just doing the shading alone.

Last week’s fresh brow glow up

PRE-BLADING AND SHAPING

I think the question I have received the most is, “How will I know she won’t fuck up my brows?” It’s funny how blunt some of y’all are. To be honest, this questions generally comes from WOC because with darker skin, there is always a fear that a new technology, machine, etc could damage our skin in some irrevocable way. But ladies, you need not worry as I was happy to be the guinea pig for y’all.

The shape made for each person is going to be completely unique because it’s based on geometry and Nicole uses the nature curve of your brow to determine the shape. The line work is based on each client’s natural hair flow and density. What you can expect first is still the mapping process, where she shapes with a thin wax pencil. This stencil process will ensure everything is measured to perfection. Also new is the measurement app Nicole has started using to triple check symmetry and from there she makes the necessary adjustments before starting the microblading process.

Pigment colour is not a guessing game either. Nicole chooses the pigment best suited for your brows and complexion. A colour swatch of the pigment is not the same colour as a healed brow, therefore she doesn’t really bother showing clients a swatch, although we do discuss the lightness/ darkness of colour choice together. She does this with everyone because really wants you to be happy with the end result.

AFTERCARE:

If you workout daily or generally are a sweaty person, you’re not going to like this part, but please remember it’s all for a good cause. Absolutely no sweating or water on brows for 7 days. Trust me, sounds a lot easier than it actually is. I know you’re wondering how this has been possible for me and to be completely transparent, I have actually worked out every day since I had mine done – but no runs because my face actually sweats when I run. If it’s just cross training and lifting, I sweat only on the lower back and chest so I am able to get away with it. I could workout in full glam makeup and go to an event immediately after if I wanted to because my face somehow stays dry. That being said, I don’t suggest this to anyone else and after forking over the coins to get them done, you won’t want to run the risk of anything happening to your fresh brows.
So how do you wash your face then? You have to just work around the brows with a cloth and take your shower with head tilted back to wash your hair. Or skip hair washing all together if you can. Nicole will provide a very detailed aftercare kit with all the information you need to properly care for your brows and ensure the best healed results.
PRO TIP: You can expect a lot of changes during the healing period and should not judge the result until at least 2 weeks after your appointment. Your brows will be dark, flakey, too light, etc. but just trust the process!  90% of Nicole’s clients come back wanting darker and thicker brows.

PRICING

What’s the cost? Well, if you ask anyone that has gotten their brows properly microbladed they will tell you it’s priceless so don’t worry about how much it is, but I know that answer is not going to fly with most of you. Although, that really is the truth. All jokes aside though, the blading will run you $575 and the shading $650. Also, there’s a touch up 4-6 weeks after your initial session included in the initial cost, to make any adjustments necessary.

HOW TO KNOW IF YOU’RE AN IDEAL CANDIDATE FOR MICROBLADING

Well, unfortunately not everyone is a candidate for microblading BUT there are other options for you. If you have oily skin, large pores, thick/ textured skin or mild rosacea, you would be a candidate for a ‘powder brow’ instead. This technique is something I just heard of last week and is actually what Nicole does on her own brows. Yes this is the brow that looks filled in with makeup, but its not the harsh shapes you’re thinking of aka “Instagram Brows”.  It’s soft and powdery (hence the name). Microblading on skin types like these will not allow you to achieve the natural looking feathered hair strokes. Rather, what you will end up with is a blurred brow and you’ll no doubt be disappointed. Powder brows can be as soft or dramatic as you like.

Why It’s So Cool To Sweat at Dew Sweat House

Something new has popped onto Toronto’s wellness scene and dare I say, it just may be the best thing since sliced bread, or celery juice, if you’re a millennial 😉  Newly opened Dew Sweat House, an minimally designed infrared sauna spa in the city’s east end, is the first of it’s kind in Canada. Co-owned by Sue Kuruvilla, whom I’ve known for so many years I can no longer keep count, and her long time friend Julliane Smola, opened this spot with hopes of introducing the amazing benefits of sweat detoxification north of the border. Sue’s first sweat house experience last year in LA was so life changing, it became the catalyst for the duo’s new venture.

Dew Sweat House - So Sasha

Dew Sweat House - So Sasha

Dew Sweat House

I’ve been a devout fan of infrared saunas for the last decade. It played a big part of my road to recovery and helped me tremendously with the detoxifying process of my pain meds, insomnia, skin issues and most importantly the joint and muscle pain I had caused by Fibromyalgia. But you don’t need to be suffering from a chronic illness to reap the benefits of sessions at Dew Sweat House.

HOW IT WORKS

Each session is 55 minutes. When I arrived, I switched into a sweat-friendly outfit that I was told to bring along with me – sweatpants, long sleeve tee and socks. These items helped absorb the sweat and prevented me from reabsorbing anything back into my skin. As I settled into my bed underneath the infrared blanket, Sue adjusted the blanket temperature setting for me, which can go up to 80 degrees celsius, as I decided what I was going to watch on Netflix. I love me some hot yoga. Actually, I love me some hot anything, so I was able to start at a slightly higher setting than a newbie. But if this whole sweating thing is new to you, they will be sure to ease you into to process at the starting level if you prefer. Fun fact for those who are interested in how much you will really sweat during your session…you can expect two to three times the amount than you would in a conventional sauna.

Here’s the deal, you can walk in to this experience thinking you just want to just zone out, meditate or sleep. You may be there with a friend and you want to gossip or you can choose to catch up on an episode of Dirty John on Netflix. Any of those are all good and fine but without sounding too pessimistic, the meditation route will be the most challenging. If you make it 40 minutes long of deep meditation or sleep, you may find it difficult during the last 10-15 minutes of your session. This is when shit get’s real. This is when the heat really ramps up. I actually decided to x nay Netflix and my noise cancelling headphones, preferring to catch up with Sue instead and chat about life and business and found the time flew by. However, just like she predicted, with 12 minutes left on the clock, I was desperately looking around for the bottle of lemon water she set out for me and happily welcomed a cold towel infused with lavender.

WHAT TO EXPECT POST SWEAT

First of all, you’re going to be a sweaty mess but I kinda loved it and it’s proof you know shit was working. I don’t think I’ve ever been that sweaty in clothes before. You’re going to want to get out of those wet clothes ASAP and into something dry. Heads up, they don’t actually have showers on the premises but they also suggest you wait 45 minutes to an hour before showering anyways. I brought a little plastic bag to house my dirty clothes for the commute home. The Dew team really encourages guests to hang around and chill after their session. I certainly did to enjoy a cup of Pluck tea and a plateful of oranges. I swear they were CaraCara oranges and the sweetest ones I’ve ever had. This is kind of set up so you can take your time and allow your body temp to return back to normal before heading out the door.

Dew Sweat House - Sue Kuervilla

Photography by Bettina Bogar

You will definitely feel amazing right after your session, but you know what…you’ll realize most of the benefits later that night when you go to bed. I guarantee you, it will be the most restful and deep sleep you’ve had in ages. Dew does a body good and every time you sweat, you will do a bit of good too. By sweating at Dew, you’re helping the team donate free sessions to folks that have recently gone through cancer treatment.

Are you ready to “Dew” this? For more information, pricing and to book online, hit up www.dewsweathouse.com

10 Ways To A Healthier You in 2019

February is a tough month. For one, it’s freezing cold, unless you live on the west coast. It also seems to be the month that people start to find it hard to keep up with their new year’s resolutions, especially when it comes to health and wellness. Why? Well, most make the mistake of setting one huge goal that is difficult to attain, instead of one more smaller goals that when achieved, can give them the confidence to set more larger goals. However, when someone falls off track towards this one big goal, it becomes harder to stay motivated to stay the course.

Full transparency here, I’m not into New Year wellness resolutions. Come to think about, I am not into resolutions at all. I do however love to find ways to incorporate more healthy habits into my daily routine that help keep me happy, healthy, focused and closer to my goals. Luckily for you, I’ve collaborated with long time partner, Joe Fresh, to dish on some of these things that you can start integrating into your life right away. I’ve linked some of my favourite pieces from the current collection as well and stay tuned for next week but there will be a giveaway announcement here and you won’t want to miss it!

TREAT YOUR WORKOUTS LIKE AN APPOINTMENT IN YOUR CALENDAR

I know, sounds a bit dramatic, but implementing this has significantly changed my life once I started working out again post baby. Blocking time out in your calendar pretty much ensures that you’re not going to miss that workout, run or class, even if you’re schedule get super hectic because guess what? – You’ve already accounted for that time off work or mom duties.

IMPLEMENT ACTIVE RECOVERY

Our bodies are designed to move every day and suffer when we don’t. Some form of activity, even if it’s not intense, is beneficial. It also keeps the momentum going. Have you ever had a lazy weekend or came back from the holiday break and struggled to get back into your workout routine? One missed workout can easily turn into two and from there; it can be a slippery slope. Momentum actually works both ways, so keeping up a habit of doing some sort of movement even on off days from workouts, means you’re more likely to stick to it. Plus guys, it’s important to mix things up, it can’t be hardcore workouts all the time. An active recovery session like Yoga can reduce soreness and speed up the muscle building process.

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DRINK LEMON WATER (THE RIGHT WAY) TO IMPROVE DIGESTION

Indigestion issues are so common today. The foods we eat are usually the main cause but there are a few simple things that can make a world of a difference like; not having your morning coffee on an empty stomach, taking a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and starting the day with lemon water before you do anything.

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I do ALL of these things before my morning workout and noticed BIG changes. Everyone at some point has done this little trick, but did you know lemon water is most effective when it’s warm and not cold or hot? It’s important that warm water is used because the temperature is what extracts the Vitamin C from both the lemon and it’s peel. Besides aiding in digestion, it helps to balance pH levels, hydrates your lymph system and promotes healing in your connective tissues and cartilage.

GET AN ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER

Not new news by any means, but it’s one of the best ways to keep you on track and motivated. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to do all your workouts with your accountability buddy, but at least having someone to check in with or to push you even via a text when you feel the least bit motivated helps. I have a few accountability partners. Réjean, a small group of equally obsessed fitness fanatics who I share Apple Watch metrics with and of course Maxie because she watches my every move and is my biggest cheerleader.

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THINK OUTSIDE THE (WORKOUT) BOX

Not every single workout needs to be intense and sometimes I find choosing to walk instead of driving, taking the stairs over escalators and running after my kid all day can yield more steps and calories burned than some low impact workouts. Now that Max isn’t always in her stroller, I take full advantage when we don’t have the stroller with us during outings and we take the stairs.

On Me: Sherpa Sweater $29 // On Maxie: Long Sleeve Graphic Tee $8 // Essential Leggings $8

Strappy Sports Bra $19 // Active Short $19

With her in my arms, it’s an unbelievable workout. Some days, I even bypass the elevator and climb or go down 12 flights of stairs in our condo building. Moms don’t be afraid to incorporate your kiddo into your workouts either. Babies are the perfect size to add weight to lunge, squat overhead movements, and you know what…? It’s so much fun and a great way to bond with your baby.

PRACTICE MINDFULNESS OR MEDITATION

We live in a busy world and if you’re not multitasking and doing four things at once, society views that as being lazy. We do the laundry, cook dinner and keep one eye on our kid. We plough through our food during meals and even spend what should be restful time like getting a manicure or massage, brainstorming for meetings, creating to-do lists and responding to emails. We all need to slow down, just a little bit anyway.

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Introduce mindfulness into your daily routine. Mindfulness is the practice of purposely focusing your attention on the present moment and accepting what comes your way. Introducing mindfulness techniques or meditation can help relieve stress, reduce chronic pain and play an important role in the treatment of anxiety and depression. There is more than one way to practice.

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I started by just sitting quietly for 10-20 minutes focusing solely on my breathing or on a mantra that I would repeat silently. Then worked my way up to doing this for longer periods of time, practicing mindfulness during other times in the day; while I was eating, while out on a walk, even while I was in labour. This practice will allow your mind to focus more on the present moment in times during the day when you need it the most.

KEEP A JOURNAL

This is a new-ish habit I’ve introduced into my own life and now that I am doing it, I could go on and on about the benefits of writing in a journal.

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It’s effective for many different reasons and can help you reach your goals sooner. My old coach used to say that the goals you have for yourself are not real until they are written down. Writing things down somehow just makes you more accountable. are only real until they are written down. The process of writing can also help you clear your head, make an important connection between thoughts, feelings and even reduce the effects of mental illness.

INCREASE YOUR FRUIT & VEGGIE INTAKE BY JUICING

More and more folks are juicing these days after either discovering or re-discovering the New York Times Best Selling book, The Medical Medium. This is great, however people seem to be hung up on this celery juice fad that the author pushes in his book.

While it definitely has some benefits, you can get way more out of juicing than sticking to just celery juice. Our consumption of fruits and veggies is far below the suggestion consumption, so juicing is a great way to consume not only a large number of them but also a variety. I’ve done it for years and have found that consuming fresh juice super charges the body with phytonutrients, which has helped me with my illnesses and with liver detoxification. The time spent in the kitchen also allows me to introduce these veggies and fruits to Maxie in a fun way. It’s never too early to start introducing healthy eating habits and she gets to discover all the different textures, colours and sometimes tastes while I press the juice.

On Me: Soft Knit Knot Tank $19 // Essential High Waisted Legging $16 On Maxie: Long Sleeve Graphic Tee $8 // Essential Legging $7 // Leather Footlet $16 – similar here

How Can Maximize the Benefits of Juicing

  1. Buy only organic fruits and vegetables, this should be a no brainer, and buy in small amounts. The best juice is made from fresh produce so buy only what you need and use within a week.
  2. Wash your veggies thoroughly and with citrus fruits, you may want to remove the peel because they can leave a bitter taste in the juice. However, make sure to keep the white portion of the rind because it’s super high in antioxidants.
  3. Make sure not to load your juice with fruits and veggies that are high in natural sugars like carrots, apples and oranges. It will make it your juice taste great no doubt but just winds up being counter productive.
  4. Chew your juice. Sounds odd but this is one of the first things I learned when I started. Our mouths produce an enzyme when you chew that is necessary to initiate the digestion of carbs and makes them readily available for energy. Chewing while you’re drinking your juice also matches the temperature of what you’re consuming to the temperature inside your body so the nutrients are best assimilated and bioavailable.

GET THE BEST SLEEP OF YOUR LIFE

Yes, keeping your bedroom dark, cool and quiet are obvious ways to help induce sleep, but there are some other tips that I’ve found helpful over the last couple years that have dramatically made a difference in my quality sleep. To be honest, quality sleep is often compromised with a baby in the house, which is to be expected, but for the most part, I have developed some really good habits in the bedroom that set me up for sound sleep and here’s some of them:

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Set a schedule and stick to it. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every single day, even on weekends. If you have a baby this can a bit difficult unless he or she is sleep trained. But here’s the deal with consistency, your body cannot establish a normal rhythm, if you don’t allow it to get into a pattern. If you stay up late, don’t sleep in.

Establishing a sleep ritual that you start an hour before bed works wonders. Mine now includes 15 minutes of reading or writing in my journal. NO SCREEN TIME.

Ditch Your Cell Phone. Did you know radiation emitted from your cell or iPad can increase the amount of time your body requires to reach deep sleep cycles and also decreases the time in those cycles?

Improve The Cortisol Awakening Response (CAR) The more awake you feel in the morning, the more tired you will feel in the evening. The best way to do this is to expose your body to natural sunlight shortly after waking up so draw those blinds open as soon as your alarm goes off.

SWEAT IT OUT

Never underestimate the powers of sweat therapy. For me, infrared saunas are like a cure all for everything. It aids in detoxification, relaxation, provides relief from sore muscles and joints, clears skin, improves circulation and more.

Photography by Bettina Bogar and David Pike for Joe Fresh

I swear by it and lucky enough to have a sauna at home but for those who don’t, using one at your gym or hitting up spots like Dew Sweat House for a 55-minute session works wonders. I just had my first Dew experience and can’t wait to tell you all about it.

Now I want to hear from YOU so let’s make this a giveaway. What are the healthy habits you incorporate into your daily routine? Mainly because I am always looking for ways to improve my health and life and I think others would benefit from learning new things too. Post your favourite healthy habit on this IG post for a chance to win a Joe Fresh gift card valued at $250. To be eligible you must 1) Like the photo, 2) follow me and @Joe Fresh and 3) comment with your healthy habit. For bonus entries you can leave more than one habit or tag friends, but sure be sure you tag each one in a separate comment. Contest is open to Canadian residents only and closes on Friday morning at 10am. You can enter as many times as you want until then. The winner will be DM’d directly on Saturday March 2nd.

This post is in partnership with Joe Fresh however all views and opinions are my own

The Lowdown on Laser Hair Removal For Dark Skin

The topic of laser hair removal is still going strong since I started posting from my monthly appointments, so it only makes sense to answer all your questions in one place right here. My decision to begin laser hair removal came from an extreme dislike to bikini waxing. I swear, I would be like a fish out of water on the table during waxing appointments. Flipping and flopping each time the wax was ripped off my skin. Dreading every session and leaving a puddle of sweat behind on the table whenever the poor lady was finished. After I had Maxwell, I knew I had to try something else. Shaving with a straight razor wasn’t going to be it because it left me with razor bumps, nasty ingrown hairs and scarring. I am at the age now where I just don’t want to be bothered with hair removal. Well, at least down there. It needs to GO!

Even though I hate most forms of hair removal, the decision to start laser hair removal treatments wasn’t exactly easy. For one, it’s not cheap. Two, I was worried about my skin and whether I would be able to find someone in the city who really understood how to do this safely working with coarse hair and skin with melanin. Appears like y’all have the same concerns too after reviewing the questions y’all left for my on IG stories. So here’s the list of FAQ’S:

HOW DO I CHOOSE WHERE TO GO FOR YOUR LASER HAIR REMOVAL?

Without a doubt, the most important decision, especially if you have dark skin. You need to go somewhere that has amazing aestheticians and have equipment with technology that is safe for a variety of skin tones and hair. I go to The Ten Spot on Queen St West and I have my Instagram community to thank for that. I used my IG stories to ask women of colour in the city for laser recommendations and the responses for the Ten Spot was quite overwhelming. There were of course, a few high end medical clinics that charge an arm and a leg and some cost effective recco’s made, but the Ten Spot locations seemed to have great staff and had the most technology advanced equipment. Plus, there are locations in every corner of the city (and across the country). If you are not in Canada or choose to go somewhere other than a Ten Spot location, make sure wherever you go, has the Vectus Laser Cynosure machine. My suggestion to you would be to do searches in your city for places that carry this machine and then do some price point comparisons.

WHAT MAKES THE VECTUS CYNOSURE BETTER THAN OTHER LASER MACHINES?

Technology has come a long way since laser hair removal was first introduced to the beauty industry. The secret to the Vectus Cynosure is it’s technology. It actually targets and destroys hair cells responsible for hair growth without damaging the surrounding skin.

It has different sized applicators, making it easy to remove hair from faces (with the exception of the eye area), backs, chests, arms, underarms, bikini lines and chests and the important thing to point out, it’s suitable and safe for all skin types; including very light and dark skin tones and hair colours thanks to the diode technology. For those with darker skin complexions that are worried about potential skin damage, the machine has a Skintel melanin digital reader device used prior to every treatment which determines the laser’s power level avoiding in any guess work for the aesthetician and can guarantee no burning. It even has an advanced cooling system to help eliminate any discomfort that may occur the further you get in your treatment.

DOES IT HURT AND HOW MANY SESSIONS DOES IT TAKE?

As you can imagine, almost all of you wanted to know if the process hurts and providing that there may be some discomfort, thought to go ahead and ask how many sessions it takes. And I don’t blame you. If you are considering this form of hair removal, it’s probably because you don’t want to deal with the pain of waxing. The deal is this, my first two appointments (I just finished my sixth treatment) were completely pain free. Like, I literally felt nothing at all and was even became skeptical that this shit was going to work. However, as I’ve progressed through the treatments, the laser strength has increased to help minimize hair regrowth and I am starting to feel some discomfort. And I say discomfort because it is not pain, well at least not yet. Apparently, once you get to the end of your treatment cycle where there is little to no hair left in the follicle, it can become painful but that means you’re closer to semi-permanent hair removal and you won’t have to endure it much longer. As things are starting to intensify, I decided to get myself a numbing cream to help with any discomfort so the aesthetician can use the appropriate laser level. It made a significant difference during my last appointment and I will continue to use the cream moving forward.

We all have different pain thresholds and after going through a natural labour for 43 hours, I would like to think my pain tolerance is pretty high but the cream just helps as I know Glaze wants to go a bit higher with the frequency. If you’re wondering what it actually feels like? It’s no where near the pain level of strip waxing, thank God! You may not feel anything at all in some places, especially in the first few sessions. While over other passes across the treatment area, you will feel a sensation similar to a zap or an elastic snapping, that happens so quickly and disappears just as fast. I almost wish the zaps were consistent throughout the treatment though. Not knowing when the zaps coming, which is probably determined by how much hair is left in the follicle in a certain area, makes me feel a bit tense throughout the entire appointment….even though I am only zapped a handful of times during my treatment. Glaze always has episodes of Friends playing on TV in the treatment room so watch and chat with her to keep me distracted.

HOW MANY SESSIONS DO YOU NEED AND HOW MANY HAVE YOU DONE?

The number of sessions is depends on several factors. Your skin tone and hair type for sure but also the area you are getting done. The upper lip or sideburns may only take 6-7 sessions while doing a Brazilian may take double the amount of sessions. I have just finished my sixth session and we anticipate that I will probably have to do 10-12 in total. But, we shall see!

IS LASER HAIR REMOVAL PERMANENT?

I think this is the most common misconception. I am sad to report that it is not permanent but for what it’s worth, it’s as close to permanent as you’re going to get. I’ve spoken to several women who have gotten laser treatment done and they have all said that they are for the most part hairless but they do get the odd stray hairs popping up and they either pluck or quickly shave but it happens only a couple times a year.

IS IT SAFE TO GET LASER ON DELICATE AREAS LIKE YOUR BIKINI LINE AND VAGINA?

Yup, that is exactly the treatment I go in for. I opted for full Brazilian and I will be honest, it takes some getting used to having a stranger getting so up close and personal with you. She gets in places that not even Réjean sees to be honest. Even handles inside the bum crack.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

This shit is not cheap boo’s. You can go to a medical clinic, in Yorkville for example, and literally thousands and thousands and then there are a few cost effective spots but at the same time, do you want the cheapest option when you’re dealing with your skin? Probably not. The prices at The Ten Spot can be found on their website. I get the “Brazily” laser treatment and it costs $210 + taxes per session. This is their signature style with everything off – including treasure trail, full vajay, and between the bum cheeks.

WHEN DID YOU FIRST START NOTICING A DIFFERENCE

I started to notice a difference with the speed of growth after the third session. I am still getting hair growth now though after six appointments. I find that the hair on my bikini line is coming back slower and the hair is much finer. The rest of my vagina still has a ways to go yet, which is why we increased the frequency during my last appointment. I am hoping to be finished after 10-12 sessions.

IS IT TRUE YOU CAN’T GET LASER IF YOU’RE ON ANTIBIOTICS?

I don’t believe that is true but you can consult your physician if you have any concerns about this.

DOES BLACK  SCAR FROM LASER HAIR REMOVAL?

Lots has changed in laser technology since it was first introduced 25+ years ago. The old laser machines were only able to treat and remove hair on one type of skin tone. It worked best on white skin and moderately dark hair. Those with skin too fair or too dark often got burned and suffered from hyper pigmentation. The machines back then were not sophisticated enough to detect hair colour and melanin, requiring an aesthetician to use guess work to determine the laser frequency level to use during treatments. Now, with machines like the Vectus, there is no more guess work. A digital reading tells the aesthetician the exact range they should use throughout the treatment. It stores all the client’s information as well from previous appointments to closely track progress.

WHAT DO YOU DO WITH HAIR GROWTH IN BETWEEN SESSIONS AND WHAT IS POST CARE LIKE?

Between sessions I usually just leave the hair to grow in for the most part. However, with being on set for shoots and in bathing suits during our travels, I more likely to keep the area more trimmed than most. I use my Philips Bikini Genie Trimmer to maintain the area.

As for post care, absolutely nothing is required. The only thing you will be advised about is that within the first few days of having your session done, you should avoid direct sunlight to the area treated. That is not always avoidable so you need to make sure that you are applying sunscreen as well. I went to Miami the day after a treatment back in November and I just made sure none of the bathing suits I wore were high cut and while I was on the beach, I made sure to stay under an umbrella. I usually am not on the beach baking in the sun a day after going in so normally I don’t have anything to worry about.

The Ten Spot Laser Hair Removal - Sasha Exeter

DID YOU FIND ANY PIGMENTATION ISSUES BECAUSE I HAVE SO MUCH DISCOLOURATION?

Nope. Absolutely none since starting my treatments. I used to get awful in grown hairs when I waxed and shaved with a straight razor which left marks behind on my bikini line. I have not had one single ingrown since I started my treatments and I am even noticing the marks I once had are actually even fading now.

CAN LASER HAIR REMOVAL CAUSE KELOIDS?

There is almost zero risk of getting keloids, if you’re prone to them, from laser treatments unless your skin gets severely burned during a treatment which would only happen if you have a poorly skilled technician and/or a machine that is not meant to be used on dark skin. To be honest, the chances of burning today with the right laser machine is slim to none.

IS IT TRUE IT’S POINTLESS TO DO LASER BEFORE YOU HAVE KIDS BECAUSE THE HAIR WILL GROW BACK?

I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s pointless to do it before kids. I mean, there are plenty of women who have not gotten pregnant yet and they are lasering their lives away. I waited until after having Maxwell to do it but that’s just because I procrastinated for years. I did ask Glaze to confirm or deny during my last visit and she did say that she advises if you’re planning on getting pregnant soon, wait until post baby. When you’re pregnant, your hormones and prenatal vitamins promote crazy hair growth, so you won’t want to be wasting time and money removing hair that is just going to grow back thicker and faster during those nine months. As for fertility, some of you have asked whether treatments may affect fertility and you will be happy to know that it doesn’t.

THE CONCLUSION

Well the question y’all all want to really know is, “Does it work?” Well, I can’t quite answer that just yet. Am I seeing some results so far? Yes, but truthfully, I would have thought I would be seeing far less hair re-growth by now. But, perhaps I just have stubborn hair that is going to need a full round of treatments. We shall see, but if all goes well, I will be getting my armpits done next. If you’re in the Toronto area and want to try out The Ten Spot, ask for Glaze. She’s amazing and has won all kinds of awards for her laser work in 2018. I will circle back with you all in a few months with another update once I have finished my 12th session.

THIS REVIEW IS SOLELY MY PERSONAL OPINION AND IS NOT SPONSORED OR IN PARTNERSHIP WITH ANY OF THE BRANDS MENTIONED IN THE POST.

Peloton: The Most High Performance Workout Designed For The Home

This post has been a long time coming. I wanted to answer all your questions about Peloton when I got back from Miami, but then I was asked to speak to my experience as a user with CBC News and thought maybe best to wait for the segment to air and the article to come out, which you can read here.

 

Before I dive into it, I feel compelled to let you know that this post is NOT in any way a sponsored post. I am not being compensated by Peloton to share, which I know may be a shock for some of you. I, like many other Canadians, have waited patiently for the brand’s arrival this side of the border after having gotten a taste of a couple classes while visiting NYC. Leading to a full on obsession with the workout. It’s been a competition of sorts amongst some of my friends…who was going to get one first. Two were actually savvy enough to smuggle their bike in long before the release here almost a year ago,

Lots of questions have come through my DM’s on Instagram, so I am going to answer the most popular ones below. But I want to start by saying this…most workouts get skipped because of lack of time, lack of energy, and most importantly lack of motivation. Running, cross training and lifting are all apart of my weekly routine and before having Maxwell, I never had an issue getting my workouts done. But things have changed considerably since having her though. Fatigue, the unpredictability of the baby’s sleep schedule or her getting sick, and trying to balance a lot more on my plate, made skipping a workout here and there more likely. Not great for a new mom who needed the endorphin high and movement to keep her chronic pain illness in check. My Peloton makes getting in that workout SO much easier. Could you imagine, getting in the best cycling workout right in the comfort of your home? Without having to drive or Uber anywhere. At any time of the day, even while your baby naps. It’s like having a private cycling studio in your house and it’s actually pretty damn amazing.

How It Works

Welcome the world’s largest cycling class! Peloton, originally solely an indoor cycling studio in NYC, is now a high performance workout you can do at home. You can jump in the saddle and do one of the 14 live studio classes a day and feel like you’re right there with the NYC class riders or select one of the 11,000+ on-demand workouts to do when your schedule allows. You get guidance and motivation from some of the world’s best instructors to help you reach your potential with real-time metrics visible on your screen throughout your workout to keep you on track like; cadence, resistance, output, and heart rate. There is no guessing game when it comes to your progress either. The bike keeps a very detailed record so you can track it over time.

You can follow other riders around the world, give them high fives during class and also challenge other riders. I’m super competitive so this sometimes gets really out of hand. On the right hand of screen is where you’ll find the leaderboard. You can see every single rider that has taken the class or ridden the course plus you can also query to see which riders are currently cycling at the exact same time you are, to see how you rank against them. It’s crazy motivating and usually it’s just the thing I need to push myself that extra bit when I think my tank is on empty. And if you’re motivated by Apple Watch badges, you’re going to looooooove the achievement badges you get to celebrate your milestones. It’s pretty dope to hear the instructors announcing some riders achievements. during a class. To think that so many people have received the Millennium Club (1000K rides) or more, gets me on that bike at least 1-2 times a week, unless I’m traveling.

Classes and Programming

The best part, YOU get to create the workout that YOU have time for that day based on your personal fitness level, preference for upper body weights or without, music genre and instructor. There’s 90, 60, 45, 30, 20 minute classes and even 10 minute classes that actually work well as a warm-up or cool-down alongside another workout. Is the Peloton only for experienced riders? One of question I am asked repeatedly and the answer is absolutely not. There are classes and even multi-week course (think, cycling for beginners) where you can build and improve with a program designed for first timers.

Music is the one thing that can get me through a workout I am not really trying to do or when my energy is low. The playlists some of these instructors come up with are craaaaaaaazy good. I usually query the music genre and instructor before every ride to make sure I have the right vibe for my workout. Friday nights are kinda lit…and I get it poppin’ with Robyn Arzon’s Live DJ Ride. For 45 whole minutes I get to do a HIIT or Tabata ride to a live DJ mix right there in the studio. Anyone who has a Peloton will say it’s one of their favourite parts of the class programming.

The smartest thing Peloton has done for consumers, is not make it only about workouts on the bike. Yup, you are not confined to just riding folks. Valuable information for those of you who travel a ton. The Peloton app, compatible for both smartphones and iPad, also has workouts off the bike like pre-run warm ups, guided runs, bootcamps, strength, stretching, cardio, walking and now Yoga, which was just launched last week. So now, you can take your workouts on the go.

Bike Specs

Open concept living spaces, home gyms or even small condos, the bike just works anywhere you put it because of it’s design and small footprint. I live in a 1150 sqft condo and we never thought having cardio equipment in here would be possible. Mine lives in my home office and the  4 x 2″ footprint means all my office furniture and decor got to stay put, yay!

My plan when I got the bike was to ride while Maxie was asleep or during her nap time so the quietness of the belt drive was a huge plus. It’s almost silent and as long as my office door is closed and my headphones are in – I can ride without disturbing anyone else in the house. I prefer my cycling workouts to mimic outdoor rides so I’m not really into using the weights but if you who love spin classes that incorporate upper body weights, you’re going to love the classes that use weights which can be conveniently stored within reach in the weight holders.

But the most impressive is the screen guys. I swear, it’s like being behind the wheel of a Tesla. The 22″ HD touchscreen is completely sweat proof and so large it makes any rider feel like they are front row and center in every class.

Pricing

Ahhh, alas the part you’ve probably been waiting for. You may actually be pleasantly surprised at the pricing. You can take a look at the full pricing online but the Basics Package (meaning bike only) will run you $2,095 CDN that also includes a 1 year warranty. There are three other packages, including a family package perfect for couples who are both looking to ride. I actually have the Essentials package that comes with clip shoes, headphones, and weights. The package is on sale now for $3,034. Oh and I also got the bike mat as well. Turns out, the mat was necessary because the amount of sweat that drips onto the floor during my workouts is insane. It can double as a yoga mat or use it for floor workouts so that’s a bonus. It doesn’t matter which package you choose, or if you get the bike only, your purchase comes with a white glove delivery service and set up so you don’t have to lift a finger or waste time with the assembly.

So should you get the bike? Well, I can’t tell you, or anyone else, what to do, but what I can say is this…the Peloton bike is going to be best money you’ve ever spent on your health. Monthly subscription fees for bike owners is $49 but you can purchase a digital subscription if you don’t have the bike and have access to all the classes via the app for only $19/mth. If you’re love spinning or cycling and find yourself weekly at Soul Cycle or one of the other boutique ride spaces, then Peloton is really a no brainer.

Not yet convinced…? Check out a Peloton bike live in a studio nearest to you and sign up for a free ride. Test the bike out as much as you want before purchasing. They say consumers touch (ride) the bike 7 times before making a purchase, but I am certain you won’t need that many trial rides to know this investment is worth every single dollar. There are currently 5 studios in Canada – 3 in the GTA area. For more on Peloton and to find a studio near you check out OnePeloton.ca.

The Answer To All Your Last Minute Holiday Shopping Needs

The idea of going into the final week before Christmas without one gift being purchased yet would cause most folks insane anxiety. Rightfully so, if you expect to be picking up all the gifts on your list from *gasp* the MALL! I have learned from years of unnecessary panicking that last minute mall shopping is not the way to go if you want to enjoy the holidays without getting high blood pressure by December 24th. My motto has simply become this…No mall. No lines. No stress. It’s really just that simple and it means I get to chill and actually enjoy the holidays.

 

There are a handful of online retailers that I rely on during this time of the year, but I swear, Best Buy is the move for last minute shoppers. Why? Their “Reserve + Pick-Up” service is the ultimate destination for all the tech-obsessed people on your list, even the youngest ones. It’s actually brilliant and so incredibly efficient. A couple of days ago I reserved some items online and seriously within 20 minutes, I had received a confirmation notifying me that they were not only set aside at the store but also ready to be picked up at the Best Buy location closest to my house.

I got a chance to test out the service earlier this week when I ordered a special little pre-holiday surprise for my little girl that was delivered to our home by a Best Buy Blue Shirt employee. I partnered with Best Buy to add an extra-special step to this already awesome service – even though this is a service they don’t offer, we had the opportunity to have the gift delivered to our home by a Best Buy Blue Shirt employee to capture the full-effect of the surprise. It was actually really cute. We cruised the website until she found something that made her squeal and giggle. Not surprisingly, it was the Spin Master Zoomer Playful Pup. A bit of a mature toy for her but the kid is obsessed with dogs and a toy robot dog that can roll over, bark and answer to commands is the coolest gift ever, so I could never say no.

Reserve + Pick-Up is available all the way until December 24th, so Best Buy has you covered down to the wire. Just find the items you want, click the “Reserve in Store” icon and choose a location nearest you for pickup. An email confirmation is sent shortly after notifying you that everything is good to go for pick-up and will be kept on hold for you to pick up within 24 hours.

Ok guys, its probably time to stop reading about how to shop stress free this season. Let’s get you actually shopping and crossing items of your gift giving list right now by heading to BestBuy.ca.

Moments That Matter With Aeroplan: Miami Edition

Hot and sunny Miami. Another stamp in Maxwell’s passport and a pretty sweet place for Réjean and I to spend our third anniversary. Every year around this time when the weather gets cold, the two of us moonlight about spending our winters away somewhere warm like premature Snowbirds. Being down south for the entire winter is still quite a stretch but escaping the cold for a beach rendezvous a couple times during the season is somewhat reasonable and is now actually realistic thanks to some new benefits for Aeroplan Members.

Aeroplan + So Sasha

Aeroplan + So Sasha

Aeroplan + So Sasha

South Beach may not seem like the typical family vacation destination, but turns out more and more young families are heading to South Florida over other warm weather spots. The short three-hour flight is definitely a plus for parents traveling with young children, For us, it also made sense because Réjean’s parents are there all winter and we figured it was a great opportunity for them to spend some extra time with Maxwell. We had SUCH an amazing time during our trip and seriously wish someone had suggested this to me before. If you’ve yet to travel with your little one, there honestly couldn’t be a better destination to get over first family trip anxiety.

There’s lots of new features available to Aeroplan Members now, that we finally got a chance to take advantage of during this last family trip. Réjean and I earn miles in a few different ways. Through online purchases, but mostly through booked airline travel and credit card charges. We have a TD Aeroplan Visa Card, but Réjean just recently acquired an American Express AeroplanPlus Gold Card and we just scored a ton of Aeroplan Miles on it (I will share how a bit later!). In the past, we’ve only used our miles to book flights but this time, we actually used it to book our hotel stay and rental car. or earn miles on so much more than just flights. It’s been a long time coming but it was worth the wait. The new Aeroplan online travel booking portal allows members to use their miles or cash to book hotels and car rentals cars. It can be accessed through the homepage by clicking on the “Book Travel” tab. There you will not only be able to book but you will also find great deals based on recent bookings from other Aeroplan Members as long as you’ve signed into your account. And the new site has more than 25,000 hotels to choose from.

A pretty sweet and generous welcome gift from the Loews Miami team

I did some research specifically on family friendly properties in South Beach, which is how I discovered Loews Miami, then double checked to see if it was one of the preferred properties available for booking on Aeroplan.com. Not only was it there but by booking through the portal, we were able to earn four miles for every dollar spent, which HELLO…we can use towards future travel bookings. So we planned on four days and three nights there before heading to Deerfield to see the in-laws and it was the best spot in SoBe for our little family. A full baby concierge that provided us with a real crib (not a pack-and-play), bath time essentials, a bottle warmer and get this – even a stroller because guess who left Maxie’s Bugaboo back in Toronto by accident? I’ll save you the drama behind how that happened but our lives were saved upon arrival by the Loews concierge, who got a stroller for us within seconds of checking in.

The rooms at Loews Miami may be on the smaller side but more importantly, it’s quiet. NO CRAZY DAY PARTIES!  Day drinking foam parties isn’t really ideal when you’re traveling with a little one. The property has seven insanely delish restaurants that are SO good and convenient, you don’t even really need to go anywhere else if you don’t want to. We had the most exceptional buffet breakfasts every single morning at Preston’s Market, that truly felt like the ultimate indulgence. So much so, it left us no choice but to make sure we exercised at least once a day.  The best french toast I think we’ve ever had was served and I’m pretty sure I ate my weight in smoked salmon and capers. Max loved the mini pancakes and fruit kebobs from Preston’s kiddie corner. A separate section of the restaurant dedicated to guests under 10 years old.

Maxie was a good sport and allowed us a couple dinners out so we enjoyed a night of oysters and cocktails at the Lure Bar, also connected to the hotel, and relished the fact that we only had a short walk back to the room so we didn’t have to worry about drinking. South Miami probably has more restaurants per capita than any other city, so we did check out a few other spots as well like Byblos, who also has a Toronto location that I love. Yardbird Southern Table & Bar was just down the street from the hotel and seemed to keep coming up every time I searched or asked for the best foodie spots in the area. We even went to the neighbouring Kimpton Surfcomber Hotel’s restaurant, The Social, for a relaxed late night meal with live music.

Aeroplan + So Sasha

The pool is the hub of the hotel and flooded with families with small children, so Maxie made some friends there. With the Loews being oceanfront we also got some good beach time in. It also backs onto the infamous South Beach boardwalk, which was a dream. We were able to take long walks together as a family and Réj and I were able to get some runs in.

Being able to rent a car seat from Avis for our rental was super convenient

Four days in SoBe was more than enough for us and the last two nights were spent with Maxie’s grandparents. We rented the Dodge Journey SUV from Avis and you will never guess how much it cost us. Free.99 folks because we were able to use Aeroplan Miles for the rental, which was a blessing. For convenience, we rented it from the airport, so we were able to drive ourselves into the city and use the car to get around locally to take Max to The Children’s Museum and to discover the city. We were even able to rent a carseat from Avis at an additional charge thank goodness, so we were able to travel lean and light without having to bring hers along with our luggage. This is actually the first time we have rented a vehicle on vacation and I am so glad we did. Deerfield Beach is a lot more spread out than Miami was, so it was critical to have a set of wheels to get around while we were there.

Miami Children's Museum - So Sasha

Miami Children's Museum

Miami Children's Museum

We’ve traveled quite a bit as a family now. Short trips, long trips, destinations with different time zones…we learn something new every single time we travel. This trip was no exception. So here are the key learning’s:

  • Always, always, always check Aeroplan’s portal before booking a hotel. If where you want to stay at is listed on the website, you will get 4 miles for every dollar spent on your hotel booking. It’s genius and trust me when those miles add up and you have enough to apply it to your future travel bookings, you’ll thank me.
  • Book a room with a separate living space or an extra bedroom. Ok, so I know this may not entirely be realistic for everyone. but having traveled with a baby in one room with us and having a separate space for her to sleep during naps and at night is a game changer. This trip was the first time since Maxwell was a newborn that we all shared the same room and it did affect our sleep quality and I am sure hers as well. Having a separate space for parents once the baby is asleep also allows you to have some adult time watching movies or chatting over a glass or two of wine.
  • Whether it’s on purpose or by accident (like me forgetting our Bugaboo), travel as lean as possible. When looking at hotel options, it’s always a good idea to check to see what they can provide or have on site for babies and toddlers such as; strollers, bath amenities, toys, bottle warmers and sterilizers, so you can avoid having to lug a ton of unncessary extra stuff.
  • Rent a car. Don’t limit yourself from exploring the city you are in because you aren’t mobile. Depending on what city you’re in, especially in the United States, Uber drivers won’t take you if your child is not in a car seat. Having your own set of wheels and renting a car seat can definitely makes it easier and more convenient to get around.
ALL PHOTOS FROM THIS POST WAS SHOT ON MY IPHONE XS

So what’s next for us…? Well, you know we can’t stay put in one place for very long. We are heading to another sunny destination in early January but you will have to wait and follow along to find out where. A place we’ve both been to before on our own but never together as a family and the home of Maxie’s favourite musical artist. Yes I know, she’s only 15 months but she is obsessed with reggae music. Booking our January trip in full on the new American Express AeroplanPlus Gold Card scored us a ton of new miles, so who knows, there may be more travel adventures happening early next year.

December is the perfect time to set your wanderlust goals for the new year. Now that there’s are even more ways to earn and redeem your miles as an Aeroplan Member,  you can quickly make your travel dreams a reality.

This post is in partnership with Aeroplan however all views and opinions are my own!

Huggies Holiday Giveaway for New Moms

It’s December so that means I’m in a festive mood. My perspective during the holidays has changed dramatically, and this year I am way more focused on giving than getting. Since I got pregnant and had Maxwell almost a year and a half ago, I gained a whole new demographic of followers than I was used to of moms and moms-to-be.  I have connected with so many of you and over the last 15 months you all have watched along as I figured out this thing called motherhood and supported me every single step of the way.

It’s now my turn to give back and give a little something to one lucky follower who is expecting or a new mama. I know many moms say the first month was a blur, but I remember every single detail of every single moment and I remember making the decision to choose Huggies as the diaper and wipes brand I was going to use for my baby like it was just yesterday. For you first time mamas, it’s kind of impossible to really know which diaper is going to be the best for your baby when you don’t even have a baby to test the diapers out on. So, I am going to give you a helping hand by gifting some of our favourite Huggies products that got us through the last year and a half to help make that diaper decision a bit easier and get you started.

Maxwell has worn Huggies Little Snugglers since the day she was born. When you welcome your baby into the world, you want them to have the best on their brand-new skin, and the Little Snugglers diaper is designed to emulate a hug and keep your newborn’s perfect skin clean and healthy. The Huggies Little Snugglers newborn diapers have an umbilical cord cut out that is the best thing ever to help baby belly buttons heal quickly,  and the Huggies diapers’ gentle absorb liner creates the most cushiony layer between your kiddos tush and the mess. I also have Maxwell’s nursery fully stocked with Huggies Natural Care Wipes and our diaper bags and my handbags always have a Clutch N’ Clean pack for messes on the go. It’s the brand’s simplest formula ever and is gentle on even the most delicate skin because it’s made with aloe and Vitamin E.

This is a special time, so I want to add in something sentimental for the occasion. When I was expecting I received tons of books for Max, so I am including her current favourite, The Hug Machine, to add to your bub’s collection, plus, a Hug Plan to help you prepare for baby’s arrival and Little Snugglers diapers and Natural Care Wipes...enough to get you started at least. For the mama, the gift of relaxation with a one hour prenatal massage at Spa My Blends Clarins at the Ritz Carlton in Toronto, plus a few other surprises because every mom needs a little pampering.

To be eligible and enter to win:

  1. Like and comment on my most recent Huggies post on Instagram (linked here)
  2. Tag friends who are expecting or new mamas for BONUS entries but be sure you tag each in a separate comment.
  3. You MUST live in the Greater Toronto Area

Contest closes Thursday, December 20th, at 9pm EST and the winner will be announced on my IG stories. In the meantime, to learn more about Huggies or to find a diaper and wipes to fit your baby’s needs visit www.huggies.com/en-ca/

This post is in partnership with Huggies Canada for however all opinions are my own

My Go-To Cold Weather Running Gear

Well winter has arrived, which means we can pretty much expect single digit temperatures for the next several months. If you’re anything like me, your runs and workouts don’t stop because of a little snow or cold weather, so the only way to feel comfortable and avoid skipping them is to have the right winter gear that can handle the elements. I have certainly worn my fair share of technical winter running clothes over the years in the worst elements imaginable  – rain, hail, sleet and tons of snow so I am pretty particular with the pieces that I wear. They must have breathable fabrics, allow me to move freely, keep me warm of course, plus also be wind and waterproof. That is pretty much a non-negotiable. A combination many brands can’t seem to execute successfully across the board.

Asics Canada + Sasha Exeter

Asics Canada + So Sasha

The  ASICS Lite-Show collection and you can find pieces from it on their website under “Cold Weather Running“. It’s all I’ve been running in over the last two months and so far…so freaking good. I’ve actually found myself wearing less layers than I usually do for this time of the year and have persuaded so many of my my friends to grab pieces from the collection too. I know so many of you also follow my homegirl Ana of BlueBirdKisses.com and she’s been raving about her pieces on her IG stories lately.

Asics Canada + Sasha Exeter

ASICS Canada + Sasha Exeter

ASICS Canada + Sasha Exeter

ASICS Canada + Sasha Exeter

ASICS Canada + Sasha Exeter

So yay, no more double layers of tights and four layers up top that used to make me feel like the abominable snowman moving as slow as a tortoise. Now on the bottom, it’s just the one pair of the Lite-Show winter tights.  They are extremely thick with an ultra warm lining that make them a little more stiff than regular running tights. Right now, I have three in rotation; two pairs of black (one 7/8 length and one full) and the deep blue. All black is usually my favourite for running and workouts, but for some reason I’m really into the blue. For my easy runs, I’ve only needed to wear one of my Thermopolis Plus LS long sleeves and my jacket but for faster runs or doing hills, where the jacket is just simply too warm for right now, I opt for all season long sleeve as a base layer with the Lite-Show Winter 1/2 Zip over top (also comes in Performance Black and Red Alerte in case you’re not into the Mid Grey/Ironclad colourway I’m wearing above). On the days that it’s colder, I sometimes wear the jacket until I’ve done a 2k warmup and then drop it back off at my concierge before back outside. 

ASICS Canada + So Sasha

ASICS Canada + Sasha Exeter
I am literally obsessed with these Dynaflyte 3 running shoes from the Lite-Show collection

But guys, it’s the Lite-Show jacket that’s really going to be the hero of the collection once the deep chill arrives. I literally have no idea how it’s only priced at $100 CDN. I swear, if it was a product from a competitor, you would 100% be sold in stores and online for over $350. And please don’t let the affordable price point fool you. It’s still one of the best winter outerwear pieces I’ve ever worn. It comes in black and the colour I’m wearing here is called Cordvan. It’s lightweight but still SO thermal and moisture wicking – the number one combination you need to be looking for when it comes to winter running gear! If you’re new to running in the cold, then my suggestion is to invest in the jacket, a thermal plus a regular long sleeve for layering. Those should be top priority but if you can, go the extra mile (no pun intended), and grab a pair of the Lite-Show tights too.

Accessories. Can’t forget those because they are obviously super important this time of year. I know a lot of you had questions about the gloves, ear warmers, hats I wear. You can find all the winter appropriate accessories you’ll need this season at the Toronto flagship location at 364 Queen St West but my Lite-Show headband and beanie you can find right now online. For my American friends though, you can shop all the winter accessories online on the US site. My Lite-Show gloves were great for the fall but as the temperature drops I have had to layer an extra pair overtop so I will probably be upgrading to a new thermal pair shortly to make sure my little fingies are warm during rain and wet snow. The socks will also get an upgrade too. I love the look of no-show socks but once December rolls around they won’t be very practical. I usually switch up to a single tab or quarter sock to protect the ankles more.

Y’all seem to love all the new training and running gear you’ve been seeing on IG and my stories so I will be sure to post and link the items here too as new collections drop.

SHOP ALL MY COLD WEATHER RUNNING PIECES

The One Diaper You Need From Newborn to Toddler

So much has changed in the last 14 months and there have been plenty of transitions. Clothing, sleep cycles and moving from pureed to big girl foods. I feel as though Maxwell went from crawling to full on running in the blink of an eye. Time is moving way too quickly I’m afraid and I am doing my best to savour every single second. There has been one thing that has remained constant since day one. Huggies Little Snugglers and Natural Care Wipes.

Making a decision on the right diaper for your baby is an interesting one because you make that choice usually long before your bundle of joy arrives. I did a lot of research online and turned to my friends who have babies to help me decide, because who better to turn to than your mama tribe, right? My mom also used Huggies with us growing up so I knew it was a brand I could trust.

Let’s face it, every choice you make for your child is an important one but I place diapers and wipes super high on the list simply because they will be in contact with your baby’s skin all day, every single day for years. If you’re an expectant mother, what makes Little Snugglers so amazing for newborns is the GentleAbsorb® Liner that’s made up of these teeny tiny soft pillows that provides a cushiony layer between your kiddo’s skin and the mess. I actually have memories from my childhood watching my mother fold down the top of the diaper when she was changing my brother in an effort to protect his healing belly button but today, Little Snugglers brilliantly integrated an umbilical cord cut out to help facilitate the healing. And trust me, it may not seem like a lot but it means one less thing for a new mom to think about. Our midwives were blown away at how well (and quick may I add) Maxwell’s belly button healed and I credit that to her diapers.

We love the wetness indicator. So helpful when we were new parents and today, it’s so useful when we’re traveling as a family. It remains yellow when the diaper is dry and turns blue when it becomes soiled.
Seems like just yesterday Maxie was in newborn Huggies Little Snugglers. I have kept one diaper from each stage from newborn to size four and look back at how small she used to be.

Over a year later and here we are. One super active baby with a giant personality, who gives me a run for my money every single day. She’s moving, like NON-STOP, so we really rely on her diaper’s pocketed waistband to keep messes trapped inside where they belong while she plays, dances and runs circles around this place. The wetness indicator strip gives me the heads up when it’s time for a diaper change. No need for the sniff test my mom used to do on us, which is the best when we are out and about or traveling. And not only are they functional, they are really darn cute too with adorable Disney and Winnie the Pooh designs.

So here’s the thing about me, I get really attached to products that that work well for me and my family. The brilliant thing about Huggies Little Snugglers is that they come in a wide range of sizes that has transitioned so well with Max from day one until now. There’s no reason to switch diapers (or brands) after every single growth stage. Instead, Huggies will be with our family for years to come.

To learn more about Huggies or to find a diaper and wipes to fit your baby’s needs, visit www.huggies.com/en-ca/

This post has been created in partnership with Huggies for monetary compensation and/or product. However all views and opinions are my own!

 

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