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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

Let’s Make Flats Great Again

For the last few years I would wake up, look at my closet and would literally be late to wherever I have to go because I couldn’t decide what to wear. The funny thing is, I would stare at the options and continue to pick the same few items and repeat, repeat, repeat. I kid you not, only 20% of my closet had pieces I actually loved and used. I purged a ton this summer and still need to get rid of another garbage bag (or two) worth of items. My plan: To set aside a clothing budget each season and only buy the items I truly LOVE and not pieces that I will wear once and would be thrown in the back of my closet or tossed in our storage.

I have made a commitment to flats this fall. Well, Maxwell becoming mobile and running all over the place actually gave me no choice but to fully embrace them really. I figure, if I am going to wear flats, they better be pretty. I’ve had my eye on this Aquazurra’s for a minute and pulled the trigger. After buying my Gucci loafers, I still felt like I needed a pair of flats that could easily take a laid back look and make it look less casual, if you know what I mean. I did a quick poll during a trip to David’s Footwear a few weeks back when I went to check out the newly expanded flagship location and you guys were adamant about me getting these Mondaine Mules. Well SPOILER ALERT: I listened and got these but I also scooped up the Rene Caovilla open toe beauties ya’ll thought were over the top. But I digress… The new David’s store in Yorkville is now 6,000 sqft and they have added so many new contemporary brands, so good luck walking in there thinking you’re only coming out with one pair.

What I’m Wearing

Shoes: Aquazurra Mondaine Mules  //  Sweater: The Group by Babaton  //  Skirt: Artizia  //  Bag: Gucci  //  Hat: Old but found a similar one here // Bracelets: Vintage

I will be bearing my ankles in these Aquazurra’s for as long as possible. I love them so much, maybe until the snow arrives. This past weekend I wore this outfit not once but TWICE. With no shame at all LOL! The skirt and sweater I picked up on separate occasions from Babaton and Artizia stores respectively and are both available online. The sweater is the coziest and if it wasn’t covered in remnants of what the Maxwell and her cousins ate today, I would probably wear it again tomorrow.

FLARE Magazine ‘Fashion For All’ Campaign in Partnership With Joe Fresh

#BoPo. Yup, I just started a sentence with a hashtag and unless you’ve been living under a rock or have no imprint on social media, this term is not new to you. BoPo, short for “Body Positivity” is a topic that has been swirling around the industry for the last few years but really ramped up some speed in late 2016 with top models, actresses, and other industry insiders speaking up about the topic. An issue that has obviously long plagued the fashion world was finally being brought to light by some very brave souls willing to champion this fight and lead the way for others to openly speak out in hope for change. There’s been a lot of progress over the last year and a half and I have actually been super lucky to be apart of some incredible projects highlighting this topic.

I, like most women, have had body image issues over the years and if I can be honest here, still do from time to time. It’s been an interesting road postpartum getting back into shape after baby to say the least. As a mama to a little girl though, I want to help Maxwell feel good in her skin and be confident in who she is from a really early age.

Shop My Joe Fresh Look: Military Skirt – $34 // Turtle Neck – $19 // Block Heel Booties – $59

Fashion should be for every body – literally. Not exclusive to only those of a certain size, shape or colour. Last month I got a chance to be involved in a really cool project with Flare Magazine and Joe Fresh, which you guys know I have worked extensively with over the years. Their mission was to really show some of the leading faces (and it’s a pretty phenomenal line-up of amazing young women) and how we are redefining style for ourselves – wearing key pieces from Joe Fresh’s fall collection that reflect a bit of our own personal style. I am sure you already know or recognize some of the other faces and if not, this is a great opportunity to learn a bit more these women that each have a distinct voice, perspective and add something of value to the creative community.

Fashion For All - Flare Mag x Joe Fresh

Shot by Robert Caruso. Styled by Ingrie Williams (stylist) and Natasha Bruno (Stylist Assistant). Hair by Kristjan Hayden. Makeup by Claudine Balthazar. Nails by Rita Remark

 

I don’t want to spill all the tea here, so you’ll have to head to Flare.com to see the full interviews from each of us. Not only is it pretty damn cool but it’s also so refreshing to see all this diversity and representation in one campaign. You did good, Flare & Joe Fresh…you did good!

For more on the Fashion For All campaign head to Flare.com/fashion-for-all

“You Can Have It All, Just Not At Once!”

You can have it all. Just not all at once!” I’m not quite sure where I heard that for the first time. Could have been Oprah. Could have been someone’s Instagram caption. Who knows. Just kidding, it was definitely Lady O. But I never really understood what it meant until I became a mother. I am sure all you mama’s out there will agree with me, it’s  bloody hard to keep it all together and I only have one baby. How the hell do y’all do it with multiples? I had delusions of grandeur that my modified mat leave was going to afford me time to do all of the things; hang with Max, learn how to edit videos, take cooking classes, host a mommy group for other new mother’s and periodically work on projects somewhere in between. Hahaha, well that has NOT been the case. A slew of amazing working opportunities have come my way and I’ve found it difficult to say no consequently creating a workload that has not only caused some anxiety but has also interrupted my ability to create a harmonious balance that I so desperately need. Taking on more than I probably should because…well, because life and bills need to be paid. But you know what? It’s f*cking tough when you’re self employed and your household requires two incomes to stay afloat. The blog and my branded partnerships comprise most of my time however, there’s also modelling gigs, consulting projects, guest speaking and commercial work also taking it’s share. So, full time hours. Full-time mommy. Struggling to somehow also fit in workouts, family time, a social life, and Réjean. Jesus, I just realized I typed out that list probably the way I am currently prioritizing them. Welp. Not intentional at all and yet another indication that I need to make a change.

Poppy's Collection - So Sasha

Poppy's Collection - So Sasha

Poppy's Collection - So Sasha

Poppy's Collection - So Sasha

Poppy's Collection - So Sasha

Poppy's Collection - So Sasha

That begin said, I will be going on a short hiatus for a bit, taking some much needed time to focus on my little nugget who seems to be growing at lightening speed right before my eyes. After my trip to Le Monastere des Augustines, I realized I need a proper re-set. My life and my brand is based on wellness and if I am going to talk the talk, I better be walking the walk. So, I have booked a vacation. Like, a real vacation not a press trip. I will be spending my first Mother’s Day away in México and will be drinking all of the margaritas. Our departure day cannot come soon enough, let me tell you. I also just really want to enjoy the rest of Maxwell’s first year, rather than having my head buried in a laptop or phone most of the day. Therefore, there won’t be as much action on my blog and social channels during the month of May. Unless it’s work I have already created prior or organic stuff I just feel like posting in the moment if I feel like it because exhaustion, weather inducing seasonal depression and lack of time has literally depleted my creativity.  I chose a career change to be able to be my own boss and creative my own rules, so it’s about time I action a plan that let’s me have as close to everything at the same time as possible.

And yes I know,  life looks glossy and perfect sometimes on the gram…but it really isn’t.  I try my best to share my experiences; the good, the bad and the ugly. Do y’all remember the dog eating Maxwell’s shit the other day? If you see me killing it at work, just know there’s other things that have fallen by the waist side that week in order for me to get shit done. I don’t even remember the last time I cooked a proper dinner for our family because I just don’t have the time.  That’s sort of become Réjean’s job tbh and I have had someone come in bi-weekly to help with cleaning until until a few weeks ago but I’ve fired them and realized how tough it is to fit in cleaning 1200 sqft while trying to juggle admin work and a baby at the same time. If you see me taking extra time to do cool things with Maxie like Giggly’s Baby Spa in the middle of the week, best believe that something work related was sacrificed and depending on how the day went, may have even skipped my workout.

Poppy's Collection - So Sasha

Poppy's Collection - So Sasha

Poppy's Collection - So Sasha
Photography by Nicole Cohen. Styling by Elizabeth Phipps

On Maxwell: Poppy Collection’s Anjali Romper // On Me: Zara’s Embroidered Dress With Perforations

I am not really sure what direction I will take going into June but I have a vague idea. An update will be shared once I am back in full effect. Just wanted to thank you guys for all your support. Honest to goodness, it’s all your the comments and DM’s that have gotten me through.

*Special thank you to the amazing and talented Nicole Cohen (@BlondeCoffeeBean) and Elizabeth Phipps (@Somersette_) for creating these magical images that I will not only cherish forever but is making me seriously reconsider baby #2.

For those who have wanted to details on Maxwell’s gorgeous romper from Instagram, you can find it and shop more of our faves from ultimate online baby boutique, Poppy’s Collection. Insanely adorable, it’s almost impossible to not to want everything. If I feel up to it I will share Maxie’s Mexico wardrobe which will consist of Poppy’s summer pieces.

A Look Into My 2018 Buick Enclave Avenir

LIFE UPDATE: Life seems to be moving at warp speed lately. Maxwell turned six months last week.  How this child has just celebrated half a year in the world is beyond me. Work has been busier than ever and feeling truly blessed to be able to have a career that allows me to work and spend as much time with the baby as I do. I actually have some cool new projects in the works that I can’t wait to share with all of you. I’m also back in the gym working my butt off to reach the goals I’ve set for myself post baby. Sold my first investment property a couple weeks ago and pleasantly happy with the outcome (profit). I’m now working on developing a plan to expand my real estate portfolio. Oh, and I also upgraded my car and said goodbye to my 2017 Envision earlier this month because the new 2018 Buick Enclave Avenir is on a whole other level when it comes to luxury, functionality and convenience.

 

Can you imagine being able to remote start your car, locate it in a packed parking lot or check how much fuel you have before you leave the house from an app?  What about not having to fumble with your keys to lock/unlock to the doors or get access to the truck? Wouldn’t you love to be able to charge your smartphone without needing a charger? Have you ever wanted full 360 visual access to the exterior of your car for safety or to helping you look like a boss when you’re trying to parallel park in the downtown core?  How awesome would it be to only have the cleanest air running through the cabin of your car at all times keeping your family safe from germs and viruses? If you think this sounds like the future, you’re wrong. This is what you can get in a 2018 Buick Enclave Avenir, plus SO. MUCH. MORE.

I got a sneak peek of the vehicle at its unveiling during the New York International Auto Show last spring, but the presentation barely scratched the surface when it came to all the features unique to Buick’s new range topping Avenir sub-brand. So what exactly makes the Avenir different from the rest of the 2018 Enclave models? The name, signifies an elevated trim design that can be equated to the Denali trim available in GMC vehicles, and is the Enclave’s most prestigious model offering available with unique interior and exterior treatments. The new exterior design is far sleeker and 2 inches longer than its predecessor, but I believe its the luxe design treatment inside that takes people by surprise. The contoured dashboard, woodgrain details, leather wrapped steering wheel, 8 inch colour display in the centre cluster, the Avenir logo etched into the headrests, floor mats and sill plates are all proof of the continued hard work Buick is doing to reposition the brand.

2018 Buick Enclave Avenir - So Sasha

2018 Buick Enclave Avenir - So Sasha

I’ve never thought of any car I’ve owned in the past as just something that gets me from point A to B. All my vehicles in the past have reflected my personal style and I was proud to say I was the owner of a ______. However, this is the very first time I have truly been in love with a car and can’t stop talking about it to basically anyone who will listen.  Actually, anyone who has gotten a chance to ride in it with me gets out in disbelief, refusing to believe its a Buick. Some of the features have been highlighted on my Instagram stories but I literally have to hold myself back from raving about it every day in fear I will come across as inauthentic.

In less than a month, this my Enclave has become a critical part of my life and helps make even my craziest of days like today more bearable. With my hands perpetually full juggling everything under the sun for both myself and the baby, I’ve come to love the conveniences of some features like the Enclave’s Foot Activated Lift Gate that allows me to open and close the trunk by hovering my foot over the Buick logo that illuminates the ground below the hidden sensor. I also no longer stand outside in a cold parking lot, digging through my bag for my keys to unlock my doors. I think its pretty amazing l that I can simply press the unlock button on the door handle or use the MyBuick app (available for both Apple and Android), which also allows me to start the engine ensuring the temperature is perfect for Maxie before we even get in the car. I use this at least once a day usually before leaving the house in the morning or after wrapping up a meal or meetings. And let me tell you something, I’m not trying to ever go back to that cold car commute life.

2018 Buick Enclave Avenir - So Sasha

2018 Buick Enclave Avenir - So Sasha

Working on the go has never been easier. The wifi hotspot literally turns the car into a mobile office, not only for myself but my passengers as well. Six USB ports throughout the vehicle, two per row, makes sure nobody is fighting for over who gets to charge their tech devices first, which sometimes happens when you have a creative team rolling with you on shoot day. Plus, I no longer have to worry about transferring that one iPhone charger I have back and forth between home and the car, thanks to the wireless charging station that is compatible with the iPhone 8.

While getting people or cargo into the back of a three-row utility vehicle is usually a nuisance, the Enclave Avenir is designed with a second row SmartSlide seat that provides easy access to the rear of the vehicle. Located on the passenger side, the SmartSlide captain seat provides pitch slide functionality to allow access even with a forward facing child seat (without the child of course) or car seat base installed using the LATCH system.

2018 Buick Enclave Avenir - So Sasha

2018 Buick Enclave Avenir - So Sasha
All smile after a quick feed and diaper change in the spacious rear cabin

2018 Buick Enclave Avenir - So Sasha

When you’re responsible for the well-being of a tiny human being, their wellness and safety on the road becomes very important. The Avenir trim model comes equipped with the  Driver Confidence II package that includes Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, Safety Alert Seat, Front and Rear Park Assist, Forward Collision Alert and Following Distance Indicator. And if that wasn’t enough, on the days a full car doesn’t allow me to properly see out the rear windshield because it’s jam packed with stuff for a shoot, I not only have cameras giving me 360 views of the vehicle’s exterior but the rearview mirror also turns into a rear cam with the flick of a switch. But what really blew mind is learning how the vehicle is also a healthy choice for my family. The Enclave Avenir comes equipped with an ionizer. So yeah, it’s own air filtration system folks to ensure the cabin smells fresh and to keep allergies, dust, pollen, viruses at bay, leaving only the cleanest of air for passengers to inhale. Cue the “hands clapping” emoji.

Photography by Jess Baumung

Now it’s impossible for something to not have at least one flaw. Its just simply not possible for a car to be perfect and trust me, Réjean and I have tried our best to find something wrong but we just couldn’t find any holes to punch through. Minus the 3rd row being a  bit too tight in my personal opinion and the prices climbing quickly as you add on features (and starts at $61,000), the Enclave Avenir passes my test with flying colours so far. We thought perhaps the air filter system could possibly end up being a pain in the ass to maintain and service but after digging and reading up online, turns out that it doesn’t require any maintenance at all.

I have an upcoming road trip for a very special wellness experience next month in which I will be able to see how the car does with fuel consumption, comfort on a long haul drive and cargo space but in the meantime, you can head to www.buick.ca to learn more 2018 Enclave and Enclave Avenir.

5 Reasons to Fall in Love with Las Vegas, Nevada Off The Strip

For the 30+ years I’ve been on this earth, I’ve travelled the world for both work and play but Las Vegas was never amongst my list of conquered destinations. This action packed location just outside the desert has become almost a right of passage if you will, for most North Americans in their 20’s looking to celebrate moments like milestone birthdays or their last days of single life before tying the knot. Usually filled with champagne showers and epic night outs, that may or may not be remembered, after their “What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas” weekend experience is over. After discovering that Vegas hosts nearly 40 million visitors each year, it had me thinking that it’s quite possible the city is not as one dimensional as I once thought. This past January, with my interest piqued, I flew to the state of Nevada for four days to see if there really is life and entertainment off the strip. And let me tell you, I was in for a big surprise.

Obviously well known globally for it’s lavish hotels, casinos and nightclubs, turns out Vegas can also be added to the bucket list of anyone who is an adventure seeker or loves the outdoors. I can easily say that the only time I was indoors during this trip was to either eat or sleep in my hotel room and have zero regrets. If you followed along IRL on my Instagram stories, you may recall some hilarious, outrageous and breathtaking moments but I am summarizing the best of the best below that will 100% have you thinking a bit differently about this destination.


VOTED: MOST BALLER EXCURSION

When it comes to sightseeing experiences, I don’t think there is anything cooler than a helicopter tour. I’ve done a few  of them over the years and it never gets old. If you’re anything like me and the Grand Canyon has been on your bucket list for as long as you can remember, a heli tour over the canyon’s vast expanse and down to the depth of it’s floor in one of Papillon’s state-of-the-art choppers is definitely a must!  During our hour long customized tour, my mind was blown by the most majestic topography I’ve ever seen in my life; 100% making the canyon worthy of it’s status as one of the World’s Seven Natural Wonders. Papillon, the world’s aerial sight seeing company has helicopter tours starting at $200 and is perfect for a romantic date for two (ideal setting for a proposal) or a small group activity.

VOTED: MOST DARING AND ADVENTUROUS

If speed and excitement is your thing, Flightlinez Bootleg Canyon will not disappoint. Just a 30 minute drive from the strip and starting at just $159 per person, it’s the perfect adventure for those obsessed with adrenaline. After a brief drive up the hills of Boulder City, followed by a short hike to the top, is the first of four separate runs that span over a total of 1.5 miles long. If you have a slight fear of heights, the scenic views and friendly guides are just the recipe you need to overcome it and enjoy the experience. We laughed our asses off for days about Jenn’s elegant finished on the final run of the day. So thankful to have have captured some of the fun and laughs that morning in an Instagram video:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BP_TlfaAglA/?taken-by=sashaexeter

 VOTED: MOST NIQUE PLACE TO FIND YOUR ZEN

I used to think that I had done yoga in some very unique and beautiful places but leave it to Vegas to take my yoga game to new heights, and I mean literally, with a 60 minute vinyasa flow at 550ft in the air inside the High Roller Vegas. The pièce de resistánce of the LINQ’s outdoor shopping and entertainment promenade, the High Roller is the world’s tallest observation wheel, eclipsing both the London Eye and Singapore Flyer. Facing both north and south and running parallel to Las Vegas Boulevard, the gigantic observation wheel, is compromised of 28 glass enclosed cabins, gives riders expansive views of Vegas and the strip and if you planning on adding this to your list of things you “Must Do” while you’re in town, and is most spectacular at sundown.

Each revolution of the wheel takes 30 minutes to complete, so our private session with our Silent Savasana yoga instructor meant that we got double the pleasure, doing the journey around twice. And as if the experience wasn’t already cool enough, we all donned state-of-the-art LED headphones so we could be guided through the sequences while also listening to a curated playlist of Beyoncé remixes.

VOTED: MOST BAD ASS DESERT EXPERIENCE

I don’t care who you are, how old or where you come from, everyone should experience at least one ATV excursion in their lifetime. Sure, it can be a bit intimidating at first and depending on what type of landscape your driving in, it could get pretty messy but you’re guaranteed to have a blast. Most of the others who joined me on the trip were ATV virgins and so I contently sat back as I watched each of them get fitted for their helmets and goggles with some slight fear in their eyes.  I’ve done it a handful of times before on press trips and from experience it always winds up being a fave of everyone on the trip. A few hours riding around the desert might seem like too long but trust me when I tell you, this is one activity you will be begging you wish went on just a bit longer. It wasn’t long before the ATV newbies got in their groove and with increased confidence we were able to pick up some speed and handle some more technical driving along the dusty trails.

We chose Awesome Adventures for our ATV tour of Eldorado Canyon, located only 45 minutes from Las Vegas, and our guided tour took us through desolate desert trails and through the Tecchaticup Gold Mine – the oldest, richest and most famous gold mine in Southern Nevada. The gold mine ran from 1861 to 1942 and most of what is on site was is preserved and looks exactly the way it did 70+ years ago. The Eldorado Canyon tour starts at $199 for a single seater ATV and $160 for a two seater and also includes round trip transportation from wherever you’re staying, a professional guided tour in addition to a boxed lunch.

VOTED: MOST BREATHTAKING VIEWS

With the most awe inspiring views you wouldn’t expect to see so near to a major metropolitan city, the desert beauty of Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area was the perfect way to conclude our active trip to Nevada. Not to worry if you’re not a highly skilled hiker or mountain climber, because I’m certainly not. Due to being so quiet and isolated, the conservation area has become very popular amongst tourists, sightseers, joggers and cyclists as a temporary getaway from the craziness of the strip and expertly recommended and arranged by the overly accommodating concierge at the J.W. Marriot hotel.

More vast than you can imagine, there are actually a total of 19 trails with differing difficulty and gains – making this activity appealing to all. For those not able to explore the grounds by foot, you can still experience Red Rock’s beauty by car via the 13 mile scenic drive loop. The speed limit around these parts is actually 35 mph (and in some areas even lower) to purposely encourage drivers to enjoy the spectacular scenery and also for the safety of runners, cyclists and wildlife. On a time crunch and of course thirst for the most epic landscape photos, our crew hit up Calico Tanks trail. With a distance of just 2.5 miles and rated as “moderate” on the difficulty scale, it’s a great trail for families or those wanting a relatively short intro to Red Rock Canyon because it combines all the elements that make Red Rock famous – a colourful mixture of sandstone, a hidden water pocket and an awesome view of Las Vegas. Open daily between 8am – 4pm. Entrance into the conservation area is only $7 per vehicle and free for cyclists and hikers who park and leave their cars at the loop.

Have I enticed you to re-think your own outdoor adventure to Las Vegas? For more Vegas inspo head to LasVegas.com or be sure to follow the destination on Instagram and Twitter.

The Meghan Markle for Reitmans Collection You Need This Fall

I think a common goal for most women-on-the-go is to build a closet full of wearable pieces that can seamlessly take them from the “desk to dinner”. We actually wear only 20% of our wardrobe, 80% of the time, so it only makes sense to arm ourselves with classic items that we can shamelessly keep on heavy rotation all season long.

Megan Markle for Reitmans

Megan Markle for Reitmans

Megan Markle for Reitmans

Megan Markle for Reitmans

Meghan Markle is legitimately one of the kindest people I know, happens to be a lead characters on one of my favourite TV shows (Suits), and has such amazing personal style, the beauty has teamed up with Reitmans for the second season as a design collaborator on a capsule collection. And the results…quite amazing if I do say so myself! The collection features everything you need for the fall/winter season. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Megan Markle for Reitmans

Megan Markle for ReitmansPhotography by JessBaumung.com for Reitmans

Reflecting Meghan’s personal style, the 5 piece collection consists of cropped pencil pants, white boyfriend-style blouse, a ridiculously gorgeous cashmere blend poncho and what everyone is going to want – a leather pencil skirt that literally hugs every corner of your curves and a super versatile turtleneck bodysuit. And not only are the pieces good quality, the price point is affordable, making the collection attainable for so many.

Based on this look, I am anticipating that the Meghan Markle Fall Collection is legit going to fly off shelves. It will be available both online and in select stores across Canada as of November 3rd, but my friends at Reitmans are graciously giving you exclusive access to pre shop the line. Click here to learn more and to become a registered shopper for early access to the collection. Get updates and style inspiration for Meghan Markle for Reitmans by following the hashtag #MMxReitmans on Instagram and Twitter.

Tech Talk: What You Need to Know About Apple TV 4G

I did a TV detox for almost a year. Not intentionally, but with Netflix, Shomi, Crave and other online streaming options allowing us to watch our fave programs on our laptops, what was once one of the most used things in my household ended up sitting on a console collecting considerable amount of dust. Well, a lot has changed around here since getting Apple TV. Since it’s launch in 2010, it’s design had really not evolved and it was still using an interface dating back to the iPod days, quite possibly the reason why the device has consistently been eclipsed by it’s prodigy siblings, the iPad and iPhone. If you’re one of those people who prefer to wait for a later generation of a product so a brand has time to get all the kinks out, then now would be the time to try out the best version to date of Apple TV.

The latest version has powerful hardware, a significantly redesigned remote and an operating system worthy of an Apple product in 2016. Plus, there’s a legit app store now, which turns the device into a killer platform for entertainment, workouts and gaming right in the comfort of your own living room.

Apple TV Fitness Apps

The ultra sleek new Siri remote not only looks attractive when placed on your coffee table or TV console, but it’s also super functional. Say goodbye to endless button pushing kids. With the smooth touch surface, selecting and navigating is made so much easier with swipe capabilities. In addition to the menu and play/pause buttons, which the remote had before, there is now a home button and volume controls. Plus, since it’s wireless you don’t even have to point it directly at the Apple TV console. Worried about having to add yet another remote to your collection? We’ve trained the intelligent Siri remote to adapt to work as our television remote control.

Apple TV Fitness AppsHere’s what you will receive with you Apple TV purchase. *Note HDMI cable is sold separately

Once you’ve set up your Apple TV, which can be done simply on the corresponding app on your iPhone, the well laid out home screen makes it easy to search iTunes for movies, shows and music, and search/download from the app store etc. There aren’t any third-party apps installed by default, which is kind of a good thing in my personal opinion. This means, only the apps you love and use frequently are displayed on the home screen. The only downfall so far to be honest, is not having access to some of the new and amazing third-party apps that have been developed for 2016 that are not available in Canada *welp*. I frothed at the mouth thinking of all the potential binge watching I could do on HBO, Showtime and HULU and the workouts on Beach Body On Demand but nope – no dice for us Canadian residents. However, there are still a handful of apps making Apple TV a worthwhile purchase even if you reside south of the border…and let’s start with some that will get/keep you in shape:

Apple TV fitness apps

Fitness Focused Apps

Think you have no time to get to the gym after work? Can’t get out of bed extra early to make it to that yoga class? Or better yet, need some inspiration for some active mobility stretches before you run? I’ve combed the app store and online to find fitness apps that ticked all the boxes; high quality videos of varying lengths and forms of exercise, affordable prices, an app perhaps with an iOS version that sends me push notifications to nudge me when I haven’t worked out. Even a corresponding Apple Watch app component that will tap into the watch’s sensors to track my heart rate and cals burned. This may be too much of an ask, but I remained hopeful. After spending some considerable time trolling and testing, I’ve realized there is a HUGE potential for health and fitness apps on this platform and has even got me thinking of someday creating my own third-party app. With the updated version of Apple TV, tvOS has made it much easier for third-party apps to be created, so I suspect we will see a lot more comprehensive fitness apps popping up in the near future. Although there are some great options out there, I still think the fitness focused apps haven’t reached their full potential yet. Here’s a few of the contenders that were able to meet some of my tough criteria…

Zova:

Apple TV Fitness AppsPhotography by JessBaumung.com

One of the first tvOS fitness apps created, Zova also comes highly recommended by the peeps at Apple. It offers a ton of free video content, which is awesome, and is even equipped with Apple Watch integration so you’re able to see your heart rate on the TV screen while you workout. However, you have to pay $10+ a month to unlock the premium version. Still cheap in comparison to most others though, but I would have liked to see at least one option in the app store that was available free to users. Furthermore, majority of the videos are much shorter than I would have liked to see – 15 mins or less and no instruction. There’s just a model demonstrating each move sans voiceover. On the plus side, Zova is great for those who want to be led through a quick ab workout, short flow sequence to start the day or pre run stretch routine.

Daily Burn:

Apple TV Fitness Apps

Daily Burn has been featured in Vanity Fair, the New York Times, Shape, Good Morning America and the Today Show because of the success of it’s subscribers and now I know why. With over 500 workouts in 20+ amazing programs from strength training, HIIT, weight training, yoga, dance and more – there is something for everyone. Plus, there is a new 30 minute Daily Burn 365 workout every single day at 9am EST that replays on demand for 24 hours, specifically designed for beginners. When you download the app on Apple TV, your eligible for a 30 day free trial – something that most apps should allow you to do so you can ensure you are getting what you’re promised prior to purchasing. Once your free month is up, the premium membership will run you $36.99/mth. Workouts average anywhere between 30-40 minutes making them great on their own but also works well when you add in a run or other cardio workout but the app does not sync with the Apple Watch to monitor calories burned and heart rate.

Grokker:

Apple TV fitness apps

This yoga focused app also provides users with nutritional plans and cooking videos for those who are looking for some food inspo. Grokker’s program ranges from one week to six weeks in length and the series are designed to save you time with over 70 goal oriented series to choose from. My suggestions, “Get Tight in 28“, “x5 Intensity“, “Daily Muscle Relief” and the “21 Day Relax Mindfulness Meditation“. Love that you can schedule workouts in the in-app calendar as a reminder of which series you should be doing next. Users can also easily track progress such as total minutes of exercise and calories burned to stay motivated. If you have an Apple Watch, you will be able to track your heart rate and active energy during both fitness and yoga workouts while also contributing to your Activity Rings. Free to download and use, but just like the rest of the more sophisticated fitness apps out there, you have to pay for the good stuff. A premium subscription enables you to download an unlimited number of premium videos per month and will cost you $14.99 or $119.99 monthly or annually respectively.

Cody:

Apple TV Fitness Apps

Cody is the priciest out of the bunch because you actually pay per plan, not by month – so if you’re looking for an affordable fitness app, this isn’t it! The cost depends mainly on which plan you pick but on average will cost you somewhere between $40-50 and there is no free trial option. Some may argue that it is in fact good value for money because the videos are super high quality plus Cody offers offline downloads so you can do your workouts on your iOS device while traveling. If you’re the type that likes a variety and prefers to switch things up each day, you may not love that the app forces you to stick within a program, however on the plus side, this is the best way to achieve results.

Honourable Mentions

I would be straight up lying if I told you this was my only use of my Apple TV at home. Let’s be honest here, there are a plethora of entertainment, news, music, food and television streaming apps to make you forget all about cable television. On heavy rotation at our place right now – Netflix, TED Talks, Shomi, CityTV, People Entertainment Weekly Network, The Scene, Kitchen Stories, Made to Measure (for all my fave fashion documentaries and movies), and RedBull TV.

Apple TV is available at Apple stores, Best Buy locations and online at Apple.com starting at $199.

4 Simple Tricks to Stay Motivated When You Work Out Alone #TasteVectory

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Kellogg’s® Vector®. All opinions are 100% mine.

If you’ve just begun to work out or have been working out for years, there is one thing I’m sure everyone can agree on…it can be insanely challenging to work out alone. I am certain that more than half of the people that spend big bucks on trainers and pricey group classes do so because they need the motivation and accountability, not because they don’t know what they are doing.  Over the years I’ve learned some slightly tactical ways that not only help me avoid skipping solo workouts but also push me a bit more while doing them.

1. Find a Community Challenge:

Vector 21 Day ChallengePhotography by JessBaumung.com

Challenges are good. Finding a community is also good. Combining both is great motivation. I’ve seen both the Adidas and Nike Women community execute this so well over the years. One of my favourite aspects of social media is that other people’s posts can easily inspire you. You can discover new workouts, learn new recipes and even share your own progress if you want. In case you missed it,  I recently posted details regarding this summer’s Vector® Challenge which is perfect for those trying to stay on track with their solo workouts. The Vector® 21-day Challenge acts as a form of accountability in a way, as you must post an image of yourself on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook that shows how you push yourself physically or mentally using the hashtag #TasteVectory for 21 Days. Participating in the contest allows you to be eligible to receive Vector products delivered to your home for 21 days and also gives you an entry for the grand prize, a $1,000 fitness prize pack.

Vector 21 Day Challenge

*You can find full contest details at the end of this post.

2. Listen to Audiobooks or a Podcast:

It is much more easier to get bored on a relaxed, easy run than it is when you have an intense interval or speed workout. Even for those who don’t love running to music, you may be surprised at how many more kms you’re able to run when you are entertained by an entertaining podcast or an audiobook.

3. Make Whatever You Do To Exercise Your Favourite Thing:

If you find an activity you love that counts as exercise, you are almost guaranteed to not miss a workout. And sorry loves, just because you love shopping – it unfortunately doesn’t count as cardio. I always giggle to myself when people say they hate running but have started doing it and find they struggle to stay motivated. Isn’t it a no-brainer that you will find every excuse in the book to get out of doing something you hate? Working out is a bit like a job. Find something you love and you will want to do it everyday. Just because everyone seems to be running or doing crossfit, don’t feel pressured to follow others. You may resonate more with rock climbing, kayaking, aerial/acro yoga or cycling.

4. Create Goals:

It’s not rocket science and definitely nothing new. When you work out day in and day out on your own with no coach or trainer to push you, it’s super easy to fall into a slump. Goals are something we should be setting for ourselves in all aspects of our lives and fitness should be of no exception. They can be big or small but in the best-case scenario, you are setting both. You may have a goal to do 10 pull-ups in a row without assistance or stopping or a goal of running a distance race (half-marathon or marathon). Whatever sounds fun and challenging to you and will make you proud of your accomplishment, set that as your target goal.

Vector 21 Day Challenge

To be eligible for the Vector® Challenge and make sure your entry is counted, please make sure that you tag the appropriate brand handles (Instagram/Facebook @Vector and Twitter @Vector_Ca) and ensure your profile is “public” on the platform you are posting on. Winners for the grand and secondary prizes will be chosen at random from those properly using the hashtag for the 21 days. *Contest is open to Canadian residents only, excluding Quebec and ends September 5th. Click Try Vector®, Taste Vectory® for more detailed rules and regulations. Good luck!

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UPDATED: Get Inspired to Move This Summer With Me and Degree Women

*This post has been updated on July 1st, 2016. Scroll down for details on my #BeTheMovement challenge

One of the most valuable things my parents taught me is that it always “takes a village” to get anywhere worth going in life. A solid support system is critical in my life and the secret to my success to date has been to surround myself around people that inspire me and push me to be the best possible version of myself in both my personal and professional life.

#BeTheMotion Degree

#BeTheMotion Degree

A large part of my recovery to health has to do with exercise. Do I love waking up at 5:30am for a gruelling workout? No, not really. Would I much rather be nestled in the arms of my man in bed with our pup laying at our feet. Absolutely. Do I get sore for days after a hard session? Of course. Is it fun to run outside in -25 degrees during our Canadian winter? Nope, not really. My illness means I am in moderate to severe pain pretty much daily…some days are better than others but sometimes it’s challenging just to get out of bed in the morning to be honest. But here’s the thing folks, although it can be a bit difficult to get moving, what keeps me on track are all the physical and mental benefits of working out and leading an active, healthy lifestyle. Actually, my life depends on moving every single day and as hard as it can be to get that workout done, there is no better feeling than the endorphin high I get afterwards.

Every now and again I receive sweet emails from followers saying how much my personal story motivates you. Some of you have even shared your personal goals and achievements with me. Reading messages like these pushes me to keep going and forces me to continue to challenge myself every single day. I’m also extremely lucky to have an amazing supporting cast around me. Some special peeps that also help to inspire, motivate and keep me accountable.

#BeTheMotion Degree

#BeTheMotion Degree

My other half, Réjean Chiasson (Creative Director and Head Coach of Adidas Runners), on most days runs 20-30kms and seeing his drive and determination naturally rubs off on me. This is not a household for the weak and unmotivated. As a former Canadian marathon champion, clearly I am no where near his level, but he always has my back when I need a training partner. Working out with him is not only fun, but I have a tendency to push myself a little harder when he’s around just because I want him to be proud of me. Speaking of which, he has just asked me to join him in a pull-up and push-up challenge which makes me think that he too needs an accountability partner 😉 And if he’s not enough, I have the best friend a girl can ask for, Eva Redpath – Canada’s Nike Master Trainer. We often refer to her as the “Ultimate Accountability Partner“. This woman is unreal. Not a day goes by without her checking in to make sure I have knocked off all the items on my to-do list, pushes me during our weekly workouts together at Toronto’s Goldring High Performance Centre and has dug me out of more emotional holes than I would like to admit. My antiperspirant is just as important as my support team. Degree Women ActiveShield Dry Spray Antiperspirant has Motionsense technology that detects when I move from underarm friction causing it to release immediate odour protection and keeps me feeling fresh all day long.

#BeTheMotion DegreePhotos by JessBaumung.com

Knowing how important it is to have that one person to help you stay on track, I want to be your accountability partner this summer. For the month of July, I’m going to challenge you to #BeTheMotion for a minimum of 30 minutes everyday. To some a half hour seems like it’s either too short of a time to do any good and conversely there may be some that think 30 minutes daily of exercise or movement is not attainable. It most definitely is and you would be surprised at what can get accomplished during this time. So if you’re down for a realistic challenge, I will act as your personal support team via social media with tips, tricks and feedback. It’s funny how it works but when you know someone is going to check in with you to make sure you’ve done what you said you were going to do – it significantly increases the chances of you getting shit done. To add yourself to my “Be The Motion Challenge” list, just tag me (@sashaexeter) on Instagram or Twitter and I will touch base with you daily to ensure your daily 30 minutes is in the bag and to encourage you throughout the next 31 days. Have a question or need some suggestions – just shoot me a DM, we’re in this together. Let’s do this!

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