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LIFESTYLE

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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.

Activia Women #InSync Series and Commercial

This year has been very emotional for me. The word “emotional” usually has a negative connotation to it, but in this particular instance, its all positive. A few months ago I was approached by Danone to be apart of an amazing campaign with Activia Yogurt. The very first thing that stood out about this potential partnership was that it did not appear to be a blatant product push. In fact, when I read the campaign overview I was surprised to see that the project was not product focused at all, but rather a chance for 9 Canadian women to be able to tell the country their story on how they live a balanced life.

Could this really be possible? Can a company actually want to focus on my personal story and journey, rather than promoting their existing products or a recent product launch? Well…turns out, yes they most certainly did and the timing couldn’t have been any more perfect. After the struggles I’ve had to endure, there has been many times where I wanted to give up and didn’t understand why I kept getting faced with so much adversity. However, 2016 has been my best year yet and I have finally started to reap the rewards of all the hard work I put into getting healthy and building a personal brand.

Activia Women InSync Series

I’ve fought my illness for a very long time, only becoming more successful with managing it’s ugly symptoms in recent years by learning to live in sync. Meaning, putting a system in place and developing a new lifestyle for myself that contained the right amount of exercise, activity, diet and meditation. Furthermore, also learning to create boundaries between my work and personal life. So goodbye to working until midnight and never having a day off.  Creating a more harmonious balance in my life not only helped facilitate my recovery, but it also allowed me to spend more time with my family, friends and to nurture the first serious relationship I had been involved in for what seemed like ages. Don’t get me wrong, this was no easy feat. This turn of events began almost five years ago and at this time, my full time job was to just get healthy. My weekdays were filled with medical appointments, meetings with my dietician, naturopath, acupuncturist, reiki specialist, chiropractor and RMT, oh and let me not forget my psychologist and the numerous Cognitive Behavioural Therapy classes I had to attend to help me deal mentally with everything going on. My illness isolated me and caused me to become anti-social, ultimately was the end of my engagement (which truth be told was a relationship that was flawed and toxic from the start) not to mention the tangible losses such as; my loss of income from not being able to work, my vehicle, and having to move back in with my parents as an adult. Trust me, it was a lot of loss all at once and looking back now, it’s not at all surprising why I was also suffering from depression and anxiety.

People always ask me how I found the strength to turn things around. To be honest, a lot from that time was a blur and I cannot really remember every single detail. I am athlete and competitive by nature so I think I just wasn’t going to go out without a fight. I knew truly deep down that up until that point, I had not done everything I could to rehabilitate myself, besides drowning my body in pharmaceutical meds prescribed by specialists and laying in bed watching my life pass me by – which was clearly not working. I mean, I didn’t think things could possibly get any worse, so I decided to attempt the alternative route with eastern medicine. This change of direction, in addition to my ridiculously supportive family, eliminating stress, changing my diet and consistent exercise was critical in getting me to where I am today.

As part of this multi-faceted campaign with Activia, I shot an individual commercial going a bit deeper into my personal story, which was shot earlier this summer in Montreal. When you live something day to day, it’s difficult to see how far you’ve come but being a part of this project has allowed me to reflect on everything that has happened and see my exponential growth. I cried uncontrollably the first three times I watched this video.  Almost not recognizing the person in it because just five years ago I was a young women on bed rest suffering from a debilitating illness not knowing what the future holds. My life has changed dramatically and through balance I’ve created, I feel strong, I am happy, I am creative, I feel limitless and I am finally in sync.

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There’s so much more to come in this campaign and I can barely contain my excitement, so stay tuned. In the meantime, click here to learn more about the other 8 women and their stories, search the hashtag #InSync on social media or follow Activia Canada on Instagram and Youtube.

Manulife Vitality: Life Insurance That Rewards Your Healthy Lifestyle

What do you live for?” is a question I was recently asked at work while discussing an upcoming project and a million thoughts and answers rushed into my head at once. Family, love, unity, peace, and health were just a few of the words that immediately came to mind. Sure, I do a pretty good job at taking good care of myself by eating well, working out and staying active, but I have not been thinking about my future in regards to my family/loved ones after I pass. I have always found it difficult to think about death and what happens following but now that I have started thinking about starting a family at some point, the topic can no longer be avoided.

As we grow older, get married, build families and even start businesses, you come to realize that life insurance is a fundamental part of a sound financial plan. For some reason our generation doesn’t normally think about life insurance for ourselves until we are forced to and truth be told, up until a few weeks ago, I did not have a life insurance policy of my own. Turns out, life insurance is more affordable than you may think, so there’s no excuse why more can’t entertain obtaining coverage before any these milestones.

Trust me, I know the idea of life insurance can be daunting or better yet, confusing and it’s hard to know what you really need or want. So here are four reasons why you should be considering it:

  1. To add financial security. Trust me, once you decide to have children, you will want to know your kids (and partner) will be taken care of when your gone.
  2. To protect your family and loved ones if they depend on your financial support for their livelihood. In this instance, it will replace your income when you pass.
  3. To leave an inheritance.  Even if you don’t have any other assets you can create an inheritance for your loved ones by purchasing a life instance policy and name beneficiaries.
  4. To bring peace of mind. No amount of money could ever replace a person. Period. There aren’t many things in life that are guaranteed, but having life insurance can help provide protection for the uncertainties

Photo by Darren Goldstein/DSG Photo.

That being said, I recently discovered Manulife Vitality – a life insurance program that actually rewards people for leading a healthy, balanced lifestyle. For those of you who make a conscious effort to stay active, workout and eat clean, these dividends plus the affordable program options just may encourage some of you to begin thinking about life insurance as well, sooner rather than later. This past Tuesday, I got a chance to help kick off the launch of the Vitality program in Toronto’s Yonge-Dundas Square, alongside dear family friend, Mike “Pinball” Clemons, Vice Chair of the Toronto Argonauts. The theme/question of the day was, “What do you live for?” and visitors at the event got to share their answers with the Former Argo QB and two time coach. The Manulife branded pop-up had fun, fitness focused activations and visitors were able to get free bike tune-ups, discover TRX exercises with the help of Goodlife Fitness staff, jump into the boxing ring with Pinball to test out Canada’s first ever “Workout Computer”, receive prizes/giveaways and learn more about why Manulife Vitality may be a suitable option for life insurance.

So how does it work exactly? After purchasing a product with Manulife Vitality, you are then required to fill out the Vitality Health quiz online to see how your health measures up against your age. Through this process, you’ll be given your Vitality Age, which could actually be higher or lower than your real age and serves as an indication for your overall health. Part of what makes the program unique is customization – and seriously who doesn’t love products or services created just for them? One of the best parts about Vitality is that once the system has gathered all your lifestyle and health data; a customized, goal oriented program is created to encourage and inspire people to make healthier choices by using convenient and easy-to-use tools. Manulife has have even partnered up with Garmin to include a free wearable tracking device to make tracking healthy activities a breeze. And not to worry all you Apple Watch and Fitbit lovers out there – you can connect these devices to the Vitality system as well!

Manulife Vitality

As you may assumed by now, Vitality program status is simply based on the number of Vitality points you earn each year which results in a tiered system; Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. This status is used to determine a member’s eligibility for rewards and to calculate their annual cost of insurance. By being active, getting regular health screenings and even reading online health related materials, earns more Vitality Points when you track them using the easy online tools provided to members or the Manulife Vitality mobile app. Intrigued yet? If you’re interested in learning more information on the Vitality program or would like to sign-up for your own customized life insurance, head to manulifevitality.ca

This post is sponsored by Manulife, but all thoughts and opinions are my own!

2017 GMC Acadia Whistler, BC Experience

With fast paced lifestyles being the norm these days and car consumers becoming far more discerning each year, it’s not surprising that drivers are looking for much more out of vehicles now more than ever before. We need more cargo/storage capacity. Additional space for more passengers. Want better fuel efficiency. Desire a luxury aesthetic with premium finishes. We’re intrigued by next generation technology (who ever thought we would be living in a world with 4G LTE wifi in cars?!). Or require 4WD capabilities for winter driving conditions. I mean, the list of Canadian customers reasons for purchasing a vehicle can just go on and on. In the past I viewed cars similar to the way I looked at real estate and men. It sounds odd and funny but ti’s true. I believed that there was no perfect vehicle, house or man – and finding one that ticked all the boxes wasn’t realistic. For years car customers have sacrificed in one way or another. Twenty years ago, if space was high on your priority list, you were probably sacrificing on style by having to choose a minivan to accommodate a family of 7. Wanting better performance meant a heavier vehicle frame and increased engine size; resulting in poor fuel efficiency. Japanese and German vehicles were known for their style and design, but it was the American manufacturers that were known for comfort. Fast forward two decades and we may be moving towards a world where it’s possible to get your whole wish list in one vehicle.

2017 GMC Acadia

2017 GMC Acadia

2017 GMC Acadia

2017 GMC Acadia

Last week I ventured all the way to beautiful Whistler, British Columbia for a couple days of adventure and to discover the all new 2017 GMC Acadia. Our drive from Whistler commenced from Vancouver Airport, where we headed up the scenic Sea to Sky highway, giving us our first taste of the brand’s most innovative Acadia to date. On our itinerary during our surprise filled visit with GM Canada…an unbelievable outdoor experience that included learning how to ride like the mountain bike pros on the GMC sponsored Pump Track, an exclusive ride inside the Guinness World Record Breaking Peak to Peak Gondola that spans the entire distance between Whistler and Blackcomb, lunch overlooking a breathtaking vista of snowcapped mountains at Christine’s on Blackcomb, an ATV off-road excursion with RZR Tours at Cougar Mountain and dinner at Whistler’s premier dine dining and award winning restaurant Bearfoot Bistro. And if that wasn’t enough, after our delicious four course meal at Bearfoot, we headed to the restaurant’s lower level where patrons will find the Ketel One Ice Room – the world’s coldest vodka tasting room and only sub-zero vodka room in Canada. If you followed my trip on snapchat, you most likely saw our group donning white Canada Goose parkas to help us brave the -32C (-25) temps in there, while we sampled a few of the vodka’s in their 50 plus collection.

2017 GMC Acadia

2017 GMC Acadia

2017 GMC Acadia

2017 GMC Acadia

2017 GMC Acadia

GMC, a brand known for it’s professional grade heritage, bold features and craftsmanship, has refined the latest Acadia with the help of premium finishes, innovative features and tons of space options for both passengers and cargo. Here’s a quick look inside the 2017 GMC Acadia:

The revised mid-sized SUV’s exterior has modern updates with sculptural lines that made our motorcade of Acadia’s stand out as we made our way up the winding highway. But it’s the car’s interior and tech features that really stand out in my opinion. It may not look like it from the outside, but this cross over fits up to 7 passengers quite comfortably despite losing a bit of interior room compared to it’s previous year’s model, thanks to premium seating and the vehicle’s easy access to it’s 3rd row. How? With the assistance of Acadia’s fold flat 2nd row seats that allows you to be ready for whatever your next adventure might be. You can go right ahead and file the enhanced second-row Smart Slide® seats under “Mind Blown”. This row can tip, pitch and slide forward even when a child seat is attached. Shocking I know! And this should go without saying, but this feature is only recommended when a child is NOT strapped into it’s car seat. If more cargo space is what you really need, designers have placed built-in seat release levers to make it super simple to fold the second row seats completely flat from the back of the car.

For those of you have have kiddies or nieces and nephews you look after on weekends like I do, the comprehensive suite of available Driver Alert and Active Safety Technologies to help protect drivers from the unexpected on the road, would blow you away. With the increase in deaths of babies being inadvertently left behind in cars, the Acadia has the industry first “Rear Seat Alert System” that reminds drivers that items and/or children may still be in the vehicle’s 2nd or 3rd row seats. Knowing you have the added safety of sensors, radars and cameras to help detect potential crash situations, can bring comfort to drivers with young children and babies on board. Other notable technologies that are a first for the Acadia that can even probably help with yearly insurance fees are the Front Park Assist, Lane Change Alert and Lane Keep Assist, Knee Airbags and much more.

2017 GMC Acadia

2017 GMC Acadia

2017 GMC Acadia

I’m not sure about you, but I’m always a fan of anything that makes long road trips bearable or working on the road manageable and GM’s fleet was ahead of it’s time introducing 4G LTW wifi connectivity via OnStar, Apple Car Play capabilities (allowing drivers to utilize all the functionalities of their iPhone or Android devices to make calls, send texts, listen to music and access maps all displayed on an 8″ colour touch audio system), plus Five USB ports ensures everyone is happily connected and charging.

A common worry for those moving from a car to cross over or SUV is no doubt gas mileage and rightfully so. Advanced design and engineering as allowed the 2017 Acadia to be over 700 lbs lighter than it’s predecessor, resulting in better fuel economy. You will find fuel range for the Acadia different depending on the model and engine size of course. For car buyers who’s priority is fuel efficiency the clear choice is the 2.5L engine getting drivers 11.0/9.2/10.2 L/100km (City/Highway/Combined). If fuel efficiency take a back seat to performance, then the 3.6L V6 engine with 310 horsepower plus active fuel management is the way to go with 13.0/9.3/11.3 (City/Highway/Combined) L/100km.

The 2017 GMC Acadia is already available in showrooms now in Canada and price points for the base 4-cylinder front drive only Acadia SL start at $29,995, with the top line Acadia Denali AWD starting at $47,845. For more information on all Acadia models head to GMCCanada.ca

GapFit x AKT Hamptons Summer Retreat

As picky as I can be with my workouts, I’m just as particular about the clothes I wear when doing them. Gap has been making workout wear for several years now and it’s growing success and popularity was the catalyst for @GapFit launching separately on Instagram last week, which will focus solely on promoting the latest from the brand’s activewear collections. To celebrate their coming of age in the social space, the GapFit team hosted a fitness retreat in the Hamptons, the destination every New Yorker dreams of spending their summer at!

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So what was on the itinerary for this epic summer weekend? Sweat, sweat and more sweat. Gap teamed up with Canadian cutie and the creator of AKT in Motion, Anna Kaiser, to put us through a handful of workouts and ended the weekend with a stretching and foam rolling class designed for us to test out the GapFit’s hero pieces from the current collection. Women from all over the world arrived in Montauk last Friday (Editors from some of your fave glossies and digital publications; Vogue, Elle, Refinery 29, and Fashionista.com just to name a few) and stayed at the infamous beachside resort Gurney’s Montauk. If you’ve never been to the Hamptons before, the Gurney’s property is exactly what you would expect a hotel there to look like. Fresh minimal, clean aesthetic but not in a stuffy way. A very relaxed vibe that immediately makes you feel like you’re at home visiting a friend at their beachside compound.

Gurney's Montauk

gurneys montauk

gurneys montauk

Aside from the hotel being dreamy, it was the workout gear that got most of the ladies excited when we each arrived to our rooms. Beautifully coloured prints adorned the bras, tights and shorts and the perfect light weight tanks to layer over our looks during or post workout were all packed into the a black quilted Gap backpack. My faves –  Lightweight Mesh Tank and the Breathe Air Twist Back Tank, which both have GDry moisture wicking fabric to keep you cool and dry even during the most intense workouts. Not to be outdone by the Summer Sports gFast Training Tights and matching bra. I’m actually a “workout in my sports bra” kind of girl and the GapFit bras did not disappoint. It was legit 95 degrees during our Hamptons stay so we greatly appreciated the Coolmax® lining in the bras and four way stretch fabric.

GapFit AKT Summer Retreat

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Capris are not my favourite thing and if you’ve been following me on snapchat you are already well aware of this. I have had many a rants about how I feel about my long legs in capri tights BUT I couldn’t deny the cuteness of the gFast cross training tights that also came with matches bras. Not only do they look good but their functional too! The four way stretch system in the tights allowed to move during our sessions with ease and they each seemed to retain their shape throughout the day without the fabric becoming baggy in the wrong areas (you know the unsightly sagging in the bum, crotch and waist areas). Also, have you ever had the drawstring from your favourite pair of tights come completely out of the waistband in the washing machine? It’s one of my pet peeves to be honest. The gFast capris include an adjustable enclosed drawcord to prevent this from ever happening and a flat lock system to also stop everyone’s worst nightmare – chaffing.

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GapFit2016-Montauk_6368Photography by Max Breslow Photography for GapFit

Special thanks to Gap Canada and GapFit for an unforgettable experience in Montauk. I left the Hamptons with sore muscles, a belly full of amazing seafood, new friendships and memories that will last a lifetime. All these GapFit looks are currently available in store and can also be found online at GapCanada.ca.

Household Obsessions: The Dyson Small Ball Animal Vacuum

It’s been two months since we’ve officially moved into our new digs by the waterfront and it’s everything we were looking for, including double the square footage. Before taking possession, I thought of all the amazing benefits of having the additional room until after the second week when I realized the amount of time it takes to keep this place clean – eeeek! Between residential construction going on outside next door, our dog and my boyfriend dragging crap in on his running shoes from trail runs, I literally spent the first month cleaning the floors every single day. Obviously not my fave way to spend the little free time I had at home.

Enter my new Dyson Small Ball Animal! Honestly, I dreamed of owning a Dyson my entire adult life. I mean, it’s the Bently’s of vacuums and I am almost certain my friends (and snapchat followers) were slightly disturbed by my excitement the day I got it. I am still wondering if my happiness over a house hold cleaning appliance makes me a weirdo or god forbid a real adult.

Dyson Small Ball Animal

In our home, sweeping only just wouldn’t do. I had found the sweeping motion allowed me to scoop up some dirt but for the most part I was simply sweeping the dust into the air which just ended up settling back onto the floor minutes later – super annoying! Dyson’s are known for their ability to maneuver easily into difficult spots, around furniture and the Small Ball has the latest ball technology that makes reaching hard to access spaces easy.

Dyson Small Ball Animal

Dyson Small Ball Animal

Most vac’s trick us into believing they’ve captured all unwanted dust particles with their loud motors but this bad boy’s 2 tier 19 Radial cyclones capture even the finest of dust, while also generating 30% less noise. A feature Brooklyn thanks me for. My old one terrified the crap out of my dog and she would bark incessantly until the vacuuming was over. Also, as a pet owner, a vacuum that has unique tools designed specifically for your fury friends is pretty cool. The Tangle Free Turbine tool removes hair from rugs, carpets and upholstery and believe it or not, there is also the Dyson Groom tool that removes hair directly from our pup before she sheds it around the condo. It also captures and removes dead skill cells and loose hairs keeping Brooklyn’s coat and our home tidy between her grooming appointments. With the majority of our floor being hardwood, the Articulating Hard Floor tool has soft nylon bristles that makes our floors look exactly the way they did the day we moved in…and if that’s not enough, the entire device only weights 5.5 kg.  It’s sleek, small design saves storage space, making it perfect for condo living.  Check out this video to see how the Dyson Small Ball Animal in action:

Photography by JessBaumung.com
I love finding things to make my life more efficient. With my new Dyson, I’m no longer cleaning our floors every single day, giving me more time to actually enjoy our condo instead of cleaning it. Learn more about the Dyson Small Ball Animal and the rest of the brand’s amazing products by heading to DysonCanada.ca.

2016 Lolë White Tour Toronto Giveaway

Yoga has come in and out of my life over the last several years and played an integral role in keeping me injury free as a tennis player, helped me on my road to recovery after being diagnosed with fibromyalgia and has allowed me to find a connection with my mind, body and breath. Although my practice hasn’t been as consistent as I would like, there is one thing that remains the same  – every time I get back into it my first thought is always, “I should have never stopped” because I just feel so amazing afterwards.

Lolë White Tour

Through yoga you’re body becomes stronger, leaner and more flexible. Most see changes in terms of their body fat, are able to cope with stress better, learn to slow down and be more mindful, and let go of things that no longer serve them. And interestingly enough, the more more you become in tune with your mind and body, you actually begin to listen to your intuition and inner voice more often.

Lolë White Tour

I’ve tried many yoga studios in Toronto and definitely have my favourites that I hit up; Moksha Yoga, Misfit Studios, 889 Yoga, Chi Junky and believe it or not, the yoga classes at Equinox are pretty damn great…but there’s nothing like doing a flow outside, especially close to water.

Lolë White TourPhotography by Tristan O’Brien (@tristancobrien)

On Thursday July 28th, Lolë brings back their cult fave “Lolë White Tour” yoga event to Toronto at Exhibition Place. This is one of the most unique yoga events you will ever experience, where guests dress in all white and are guided through an incredible session at sunset dedicated to inner peace by some of the Toronto’s leading Yoga instructors. Tickets are not easy to come by but thanks to the Lolë team, I am able to give away a pair of tickets to one lucky reader. Entering the giveaway is easy…you must follow @LoleWomen on Instgram and leave a comment on my most recent Lolë post on my Insta account (@SashaExeter) letting me know why the practice of Yoga is important to you. The winner will be announced and contacted directly on Wednesday July 27th at 8pm. *Please note, contest is open to Toronto residents only. Good luck!

#LoleWhite #LoleWhiteTour 

National Bank ALT COURT Soireé in Montreal

Tennis has long been known as a heritage sport that still embodies the ethos the game had when it was first created over 140 years ago. Although the sport’s culture has changed slightly over the years, thanks to the new generation of tennis stars, you can still expect to see players wearing “all-white” at Wimbledon, complete silence during match play, and many other traditions. However, on the night of July 7th, National Bank wanted to change our outlook on tennis. Here’s a glimpse of the insanely eclectic evening they hosted at Montreal’s Uniprix Stadium:

To help celebrate the bank’s 10th year as the Rogers Cup title sponsor, ALT COURT (short for “Alternative Court”) was created and luckily myself and 11 other friends from Toronto flew in for the grand soireé. The event embodied contrasting elements one would never expect to find on the court – hence the party’s ‘apropos’ name.  It featured dope light installations, vintage-style games, the largest table tennis set up I think I’ve ever seen; for up to 10 players at a time, tunes spun by DJ Ryan Hemsworth, choreographed dance performances by Tentacle Tribe and much more. I even loved how the models were styled by Tinashe Musara in what looked like the futuristic version of the tournament’s ball girl uniform’s. It was the perfect evening to celebrate this decade long partnership and to help create some excitement for the upcoming men and women’s tournaments in Toronto and Montreal respectively, taking place July 23-31st.

ALT COURT

National Bank ALT COURT

National Bank ALT COURT

National Bank ALT COURT

National Bank ALT COURT

National Bank ALT COURTPhotography by Sarah Birkett and Karel Chladek for National Bank

For more information on Rogers Cup and to purchase tickets in advance online head to RogersCup.com

5 Important Tips For Better Sleep When You Travel

Getting adequate sleep at night in your own bed is a challenge in itself. Since January I have been doing research on the topic of sleep in search of effective ways to increase quality shut eye. You may have seen this chronicled right here not too long ago, where I shared some of the things my boyfriend and I have incorporated into our nightly routine at home. But sleep can be even more tricky when your traveling. If you don’t get enough sleep, especially when switching time zones, there is a good chance your trip, whether it be for work or play, may not pan out the way you intended. There’s nothing worse than traveling a long way for a fun filled trip and spending the first few days in the destination living in a jet lag fog. Of course, only to be outdone by being in a sleep deprived, induced coma when on a business trip. If you’re traveling anytime soon, you may want to take notes on the below so you can arrive at your destination looking refreshed and ready to take over the city.

ZzzQuil

ZzzQuil

1. Modify Your Sleep. This may be a very ambitious rule, but if you can figure out a way to do this, I can almost guarantee you will be unfazed by a time zone change and long travel days. Shifting your bedtime a couple days before you depart to be in line with what your destination’s time is a veteran trick. It’s natural to find it difficult to get on a different time zone – generally we become sleepy during the day and restless at night. Not ideal! Many well heeled travellers have a few tricks up their sleeves to combat this and one of mine is ZzzQuil. Although ZzzQuil is made by the makers of Vicks NyQuil, it’s not for colds. It’s not for pain. It’s just for sleep. It contains diphenhydramine – a big word for a small compound that can be used to relieve occasional sleeplessness. When used as directed and when you can donate a full night to sleeping, it reduces the time it takes for you to fall asleep. I make sure to have it packed inside my emergency travel kit that I store inside my carry-on bag, just as a precautionary measure in the event my luggage gets lost or misplaced. It helps  me fall asleep easily so I can wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day.

Sleep Better

2. Stay Hydrated. In high altitudes, it’s not uncommon for your body and skin to get dehydrated. Also, with prices at the airport being so expensive, it literally deters people from purchasing a couple bottles of Fiji water before take-off. Really, you should be increasing your H20 intake 1-2 days prior to your departure. To make sure you get adequate hydration while in transit, skip buying the pricey water at the airport and bring your own large refillable water bottle to fill up during the flight instead of relying on the miniature cups of water cabin crew hand out. Proper hydration will prevent you from feeling groggy when you wake up from sleeping on the plane.

3. Avoid Red-Eye Flights. Red eye flights are awful and I really only recommend them if necessary when flying overseas internationally. Many assume they are doing themselves a favour by flying overnight so they can make the most of their time in a new city. Not so much! In actuality, the transit time in the air is short in comparison to the time it takes to get to and from the airport, baggage claim, going through customs and getting situation at your hotel, basically throwing you off your sleep for most of your trip.

ZzzQuil

4. Dress For Comfort. Ok, it is very important to understand that I am not sagging that one shows up to the airport looking like a schlep, especially if you a re traveling for business. My father always told me to look presentable when traveling because you never know who you will cross paths with. However, you don’t want to be so uncomfortable that you can’t get rest on the plane. For flights over two and a half hours, I usually bring a pair of compression socks to avoid symptoms like heavy legs, leg pain, swollen feet and ankles. These symptoms can occur during long haul flights where movement is constrained and blood circulation in the legs is restricted. I also typically wear a long sleeve top, an additional thin layer plus a light weight cashmere scarf that can easily double as a blanket when the cabin temperature drops during the flight.

ZzzQuilLimbo Multiwheel Créme White Luggage c/o Rimowa Toronto

5. Reduce Stimuli. Whether you’re attempting to sleep on the plane or in your hotel room on the first night of your stay, reducing the amount of stimuli is crucial to getting good rest. I always find it funny when people say, “I don’t know why, but I can’t sleep on planes!” and then later find out they spend the entire time in flight working on their laptop, watching a movie marathon or blasting music in some pricey noise cancelling headphones. It’s no wonder they can’t get some decent rest. Restricting screen time of any kind; TV or computers and staying off your phone an hour before bedtime works wonders even when you’re not traveling. Light music is fine I suppose but I prefer a sound machine app, I mean who doesn’t feel calm hearing the sound of waves or falling rain, right!

ZzzQuil

In case you missed it, you can check out more of my sleep tips to help you get your best rest yet. This post is sponsored by ZzzQuil Canada but all opinions are my own. Before you take medications, it’s important to know what is actually in them. I always recommend you read the label and if you have further questions about the product, please consult your physician, pharmacist or call the 1-800 number on the product packaging. Head to ZzzQuil.ca for more information.

Fight Tough to Beat Odours with Tide + Downy Odor Defence Collection

I don’t think there is anyone more happier than I am about athletic wear becoming a larger part of people’s everyday wardrobes. I thoroughly enjoy the idea of being able to hit up a workout, make one edit to my look and then continue on with the rest of my day still on trend and comfy may I add. After spending a good portion of the last 25 years in workout clothes, I’ve come to realize one thing. The technical fabrics used in today’s activewear are no doubt functional, making them ultra comfortable, flattering and moisture wicking, however they often become odour magnets making your workout clothes the home of trapped in dirt and sweat. Have you ever hit the gym in an outfit you’ve just washed and noticed the garments start to smell before you’ve even begun the workout? It’s actually happened to me a several times and had me thinking I had lost my damn mind and put on dirty clothes or that our top load washer was no longer doing the trick. After switching to a new front load washer, the problem still existed. Turns out, I’m not a lunatic – go figure! This occasionally smelly situation has a term and it’s known as “Rebloom“. If not in your gym clothes, some of you may have encountered this with towels shortly after laundry day. You know for a fact you washed them, but you smell a hint of mildew releasing while drying off post shower.

Tide + Downy Odor Defense

Tide + Downy Odor Defense

The only way to combat the rebloom effect is to break down dirt and body soils at a different fibre level so smells don’t come back. With all our daily workouts and activities, I am literally drowning in dirty laundry desperate for some TLC by the time the end of the week rolls around. Now was a better time than any to try out the new Tide + Downy Odor Defense Collection, which I am referring to as the “Trifecta”. I am a bit of a skeptic when a new product is said to be “ground-breaking”, “life-changing” or a “game changer” and after years of experiencing the same odour issues with my workout gear, I didn’t set my expectations high. Tights and a sports bra are my go to when I’m working out in the gym, so I used items with Dry-Fit, Nike’s moisture wicking fabric, to put Tide + Downy Collection through the ultimate test. I am not quite sure how well each product works independently but combined together, all of my garments smelled unbelievably fresh, even heavily sweat soiled sports bras and running shorts with absolutely no hint of the rebloom effect making it’s way back into the clothes – thank God!

Tide + Downy Odor Defense

Tide + Downy Odor Defense

Tide + Downy Odor Defense

If you are using regular liquid detergent or god forbid powder, stop what you are doing right now and proceed directly to your nearest grocery store and pick up Tide Pods Plus Febreeze Odor Defense. Never again do I want to worry if I am putting too much or too little detergent for each load or whether or not a detergent has to the power to eliminate deeply rooted odours. The 4-in-1 pod is power packed to remove residue and surface stains. But just like any good sports team, the other teammates need to be equally as strong. Enter Tide Odor Rescue with Febreeze Odor Defense and Downy Fresh Protect with Febreeze Odor Defense. The former is a mega in-wash booster that penetrates deep down to remove odors and dirt trapped in the fibres while the latter contains motion activated beads that also banishes doors but more importantly seals in the odor protection technology so clothes stay fresh long after their washed, making it a critical component to the collection. Basically, deodorant for your clothes!

Tide + Downy Odor DefensePhotography by JessBaumung.com

Looking to avoid the embarrassing and smelly result of rebloom in your activewear clothing? This incredible trio of products can now be found in most mass retail and grocery stores nationwide. Check out Tide.ca for more information on their products and special offers.

I created this post as an ambassador for Tide. All opinions and advice are of my own and I only work with companies I either genuinely love or have used prior to being contracted.

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