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Relax and Reset in the Spa at Equinox

Equinox Spa

Achieving optimal physical results means not only do have to train hard, but you also must make time for recovery. For the last couple of months I have been pushing my body to the limits with high-intensity group classes at Equinox however I have made sure to carve out time in my schedule to enhance my performance with the spa services at the luxe Bay Street location.

Equinox Lounge

As you can imagine there are several benefits to having access to spa services at the gym. Not only is it extremely convenient but it can also be very motivating. I would be lying if I said I’ve never treated myself to one of the services for surpassing my weekly fitness goals. More importantly, it’s pretty amazing to have spa staff that have an understanding of not only the facility’s group classes but also your personal training program. Having this knowledge allows you to have tailored treatments based on your workouts that will help speed up recovery, enhance your performance and achieve your fitness goals. By knowing the muscles used during my weekly METCON 3, Stacked and boxing classes, RMT Maria Kovatchev is able to give my body the attention and treatment it needs.

Equinox Toronto

With massage, facials and specialty services – think body wraps, bronzing, laser hair removal, nails, teeth and even lash treatments, Equinox’s highly skilled team has you covered. Similar to the other high end amenities used on the premises, their best in class treatments involve only superior products and there’s literally something for everyone on the spa menu.  You can check out the full list of services here.  With chocolate, strawberry and caviar indulgence facials now on the menu, a gift card to the Equinox spa makes a great gift idea for someone special (or yourself) on Valentine’s Day (non-members welcome).

For more information on Equinox and to find a location near you head to Equinox.com. If you liked this post, you may also want to check out:

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Step Up Your Training With Boxing at Equinox 

The Miraj Hamman Spa by Caudalie Paris at the Shangri-La Hotel

Miraj Hammam Spa

Marrakesh has long been on my travel “bucket list” and seeing as though I’m not heading to there anytime soon, I figured a good consolation would be to enjoy a Moroccan inspired treatment at the Miraj Hammam Spa by Caudalie Paris located on the fifth floor of Toronto’s Shangri-La Hotel. Within this expansive 9,000 sqft, otherworldly oasis, patrons can enjoy unique body and face treatments by the spa’s highly trained staff using Caudalie Paris products – known for their anti-oxidant properties.

Miraj Hammam SpaMiraj Hammam Spa by Caudalie ParisShangri-La High Tea

I began my afternoon with an hour long tea service in the hotel’s heavenly smelling lobby lounge. I would like to consider myself somewhat of a high tea connoisseur and for the past couple of years has been my favourite high-tea service in the city. After noshing on delectable treats and a lavender custom tea blend from Pluck Teas I was welcomed by the spa’s warm staff and immediately escorted to the lavish change room to begin prepping for my Hammam and Gommage treatment. After dressing in a traditional sarong, I was then guided into a private Jerusalem gold marble steam room, infused with an intense amount of Eucalyptus. This Eucalyptus was used to help me detoxify, relax and help open up my respiratory passage.

Miraj Hammam Spa by Caudalie

My treatment commenced in the High Intensity steam chamber, set at 115 degrees, for a 15 minute detoxification. This was then followed by a 15 minute body exfoliation in the Low Intensity area with a temperature set at 105 degrees. Here I lay on a large marble slab and used my sarong as a protective layer between myself and the slab, while my informative and sweet therapist Kassie (you must request her, she is a dream) exfoliated my body from head to toe using traditional black Moroccan soap…infused with Eucalyptus and made with an olive oil base.  This black soap mixture helps in drawing out more toxins, allowing my skin to be fully prepped for maximum exfoliation and was applied with a “Kessa” mitt. The mitt is somewhat of a traditional exfoliation glove used to remove dead skin cells, leaving behind nothing but new, smooth and rejuvenated skin.  I had to fight to stay awake to ask my questions about this procedure because I was literally being rubbed into a dream-like state. Once the exfoliation was finished, my body was hosed down and I was able to see the copious amounts of dead skin cells that collected on the sarong. I highly suggest adding the Rhassoul Clay Body Masque following the exfoliation. It is a stimulating mineral rich clay that leaves your body feeling invigorated and more nourished.

If Hammam steam baths are not your thing, not to worry. Miraj Caudalie has a wide variety of body, facial, massage, hand & feet treatments and they even do St Tropez tan applications. After finishing off my treatment I chilled out in the Miraj Relaxation Lounge. Here guests can enjoy delicious Baklava and fresh grapes which is served with the spa’s exclusive Black Moroccan Chai Mint tea blend, which will have you begging the staff for some to take home. Unfortunately, this is specially imported by the head office in Vancouver and is not available for sale. My Miraj Hammam Experience was truly wonderful and will forever change the way I spa in the future!

Miraj Hammam Spa

 

Additional MUST-KNOWS about Miraj Hammam Spa…

  • Spa guests spending $150 or more on services are granted free access to the Shangri-La’s fitness centre and pool *The pool was ranked one of the top 10 hotel pools in the world by Conde Nast.
  • The relaxation lounge also includes a sun deck in which patrons can dine on lunch or sun tan during the Summer months.
  • Reservations can easily be made via the spa’s online reservation system.
  • Extended hours Monday-Saturday 9am to 9pm and Sunday 9am-7pm making it easy for even the busiest of clients to find time to unwind
  • Valet parking available at the Shangri-La Hotel

Luxurious Glamping at The Pop-Up Hotel Glastonbury


popup
During the Summer months it is not uncommon for a friend or two to ask me if I would be interested in going camping and without fail my answer is always, “No I don’t do camping BUT I am totally into ‘Glamping’ – and by ‘Glamping’, I mean resting my head at a Four Seasons property in an exotic location. It’s obvious that I am not the only one who would only want to take in the outdoors without sacrificing certain amenities. Glamping, which is actually a real thing now, allows people to seek the refuge of nature without forgoing some of life’s luxuries. Since 2011, The Pop-Up Hotel has been visiting some of the most beautiful locations across the UK to provide people with an upscale alternative for festival and event accommodation. The bespoke company’s mantra is “wherever a tent can be pitched, the hotel can ‘pop-up’!” and I can’t help but think why it took so long for someone to develop this concept.

The-Pop-Up Hotel

The Pop-Up Hotel

I first heard of The Pop-Up Hotel from a friend who attended Glastonbury Music Festival this year and I was immediately compelled to find out everything possible about this unique and luxurious temporary accommodation. Providing all the amenities one would expect staying at a hotel, The Pop-Up Hotel provides guests with pillows, duvets, crisp linens, double size beds, lighting, toiletries, in addition to full access to private amenities like showers. Guests at this year’s Glastonbury Pop-Up Hotel received round the clock first class service. Upon check-in, luggage was delivered straight to the tents with round the clock security. In between concert sessions, festival goers could chill by the campfires, dine at the Pop-Up restaurants or hang at the tented sitting room which contained a full service bar.

The Pop-Up Hotel

The Pop-up Hotel

The Pop-Up Hotel

New for this year at the music festival was the Pop-Up Spa which was nestled on the grounds located in five indian hand-painted tents. The spa provided a vast array of treatments for guest to enjoy before a day of concerts or at the end of a long day of partying. Trained therapists and aestheticians from London’s premier spa Elemis also provided body painting and henna tats while a cocktail hair bar provided specialized treatments to keep festival locks ready for Instagram selfies.

The Pop-Up Hotel

If you’re lucky enough to nab tickets to next year’s festival, you can choose from one of 14 room options at The Pop-Up Hotel, which includes the Classic Room a 16 sqft Bell tent, to the uber luxe fully furnished Tenthouse Suite or the ridiculously huge Mughal tent with four bedrooms, two bathrooms, dining and living room totalling 2,000 sqft. Festivals not really your thing? Then head over to the Pop-Up Hotel’s website for further information on other pop-up locations and bespoke private hire services here.

My Beauty Go-To’s in Toronto | Lashes, Spa, Make-Up, Nails, Wax & Hair

 

beauty in the city

Lately I’ve been getting questions about where I go in Toronto for my eyelash extensions, to enjoy spa treatments, who does my make-up for events, where I get my “hair did” and where I chose to go for nails and waxing. I am a believer in “Sharing is Caring” therefore, I am sharing with you some of my beauty go-to’s in the city!

My Eyelash Fairy Godmother | Jennifer Cowaan of The Forma Group and SFYGF.com

The Forma Group

I have to be completely honest, I have tried eyelash extensions a few times over the last two years, along with my cousin/bestie Melayna and I’ve always run into issues with them – either the lashes would fall off prematurely, which is saddening after spending so much money on a fill or my eyes would literally burn each time they would water due to the glue used. The latter was extremely problematic because my eyes tend to water quite frequently. After a long lash extension hiatus, I decided on giving it one more go with Jennifer Cowan of The Forma Group, who is also the creator and writer of SFYGF.com, a successful fashion and beauty blog. I swear, I truly think this chick is doing the lashes for every blogger, stylist and cool media personnel in the city. As Jennifer is a bit of a perfectionist (in a good way) she takes some serious time for applications, educates on how to keep them clean – the proper way, tips for longevity and you leave with a clean wand/brush after each visit.

SFYGF

Jennifer Cowan – Founder of The Forma Group and SFYGF.com

Bonus – I always thought that wearing mascara was an absolute no-no in relation to lash extension but according to Jennifer, she lives and dies by mascara on her own set of lashes…and you know what, it actually does work and looks FAB. For more information on hours and services head to www.theformagroup.com.

 My Spa Haven | The Stillwater Spa at The Park Hyatt Yorkville

Stillwater Spa

There are many dope spas now within the city that offer phenomenal treatments, but I’m sorry, I just cannot stop going back to the Stillwater Spa. It is still THE spa to go to in Toronto for businesswomen, brides-to-be, fashionistas and the city’s “women who lunch” crew. Located in Yorkville on the ground and lower level of the Park Hyatt hotel, patrons will find 17 treatment rooms, a couple’s therapy massage room, an aqua therapy room, steam room, sauna, whirlpool and a fab tea room where you can enjoy lovely coffee, teas and some of the tastiest biscotti you will ever have in your life. My ultimate fave treatments are the essential Swedish massage ($143/60 mins) and the Red Carpet Rescue Wrap ($235/90 mins).

Stillwater Spa

Stillwater Spa

The aqua therapy room and tea room at the Stillwater Spa Toronto

Bonus – with any treatment purchased, you have free access to the entire facility (gym and water/steam therapy rooms, etc,) so make sure to get your money’s worth and set aside time for an entire day of relaxation.

Park Hyatt Stillwater Spa 4 Avenue Road Toronto, ON M5R 2E8 416.926.2389 Stillwater Spa Website

My Make-up Magician | Michelle Crichlow: Makeup By Michou

Makeup By Michou

I mean, if her stunning face and flawless make-up isn’t already an indication, Ms. Michelle Critclow is the bomb.com. I had the pleasure of being introduced to this young talent by a mutual friend and recently used her for a photo shoot and she is now my resident make-up artist. Michelle has been playing around with make-up and beauty products since she was  a teenager and two years ago she finally decided to turn her love and hobby into a career after lending her skills last minute to a “down on her luck” bride. She is currently studying Make-Up at George Brown School and Makeup and Esthetics and will be opening up a studio space this summer.

Michelle’s work can currently be viewed on her Instagram account and her current rate for make-up application is $75

Makeup By Michou

Makeup By Michou

Makeup by Michou

Bonus – Michelle will travel to you, either on site or a client’s home for make-up application and can be contacted at makeupbymichou@gmail.com.

My One-Stop Shop for Mani, Pedi and Waxing | The Ten Spot

The Ten Spot

If you live within the GTA then you probably already heard about The Ten Spot. It’s  no-fuss beauty and grooming boutique where you can get manis, pedis, facials, waxing and even male grooming done…I actually like to call it a “beauty bar” seeing as though it doesn’t really operate like an orthodox spa, which is pretty cool for those who aren’t into the fluff and they make it super easy for peeps to just pop in for a treatment. I usually go in for a mani/pedi but they also have affordable facials (and just $65)  that are done at their “facial bar” which is similar to a mani/pedi station, where you can just grab a table beside other facial clients within the same room.

The Ten Spot

The Ten Spot

The nail and facial bars at the Queen St. location – Photos courtesy of  The Ten Spot

Bonus – They pretty much have the entire GTA covered, with 6 different locations; Bloor West, Roncesvalles, Queen West, Leslieville, Beaches and Hamilton and very accommodating hours of operation.

Queen West (my go-to location) 749 Queen St. West Toronto, ON 416.915.1010 ext. 1

Sunday-Wednesday 8am-8pm

Thursday-Saturday 8am-9pm

For more information on services, locations, private parties and/or to book online check out their website here.

My Hair Guru | Sharon Nyah of Lids Lounge and mizshaaz.com

Miz Shaaz

Now that I have found my hair guru, Sharon, I don’t think I will turn to anyone else to take care of my tresses. For years I’ve scoured the city to find the perfect hairdresser whose prices aren’t astronomical, who is located centrally, can actually cut/style/weave hair properly and more importantly, one who doesn’t have me wasting my entire day at the salon because they booked three clients all at the same time (black women everywhere know what I am talking about)…I don’t think I have ever spent more than 1 1/2 hours in Sharon’s chair – no matter what I’m getting done. And, I receive nothing but compliments each time I leave her salon. One of my fave parts of going to the Lid Lounge – the fabulous convos on fashion and men with the gay men who make up the other 5 stylists in the salon.

mizshaaz

Bonus – Sharon specializes in all hair types (not only black hair) and you can book your treatment (cut, colour, wash, blowout, weave) directly on her website www.mizshaaz.com.

The Lid Lounge 115b Church Street Toronto, ON M5C 2G5 416.937.6436

Thursday- Saturday 10am-7pm

XO,

S

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