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Taking My Look from Day to Night with First Canadian Place

Toronto’s Financial District is famously known for its architecturally stunning office towers, restaurants and as the shoot location for cult fave legal show “Suits” but unbeknownst to many, the city’s best kept retail secret lives underground inside First Canadian Place and Exchange Tower. I discovered this gem a couple years ago while trying to seek refuge from the cold winter temps after a workout at Equinox down in the PATH. What I found that day below the cluster of buildings was almost another world in itself, with stores satisfying all one’s needs.

First Canadian Place Exchange Tower

First Canadian Place #MyFCPEx

First Canadian Place Exchange Tower

It is not unusual for me to not have time to go home between work and evening events, so I make an extra effort to dress in an outfit that can easily be transitioned from day to night with just a few simple edits – like the change of a jacket, accessories and lip colour. Located conveniently in the downtown core and close to many of my client’s offices, First Canadian Place has become my one-stop shop for clothing, footwear, accessory and beauty needs when I’m on the go.

The success of a transitional look for me starts with colour. Blacks and neutrals are by far the easiest to dress up and dress down – and seriously nobody ever looks bad in black. Second, you can never go wrong with leather when it’s done right folks. Leather pants and skirts, the latter at an appropriate length of course, has become acceptable for daywear in the office and with just some minor changes to your outfit can be chic and even sexy for the evening. Last but not least, a black turtleneck will always be a standard item in my closet. It works well no matter what proportion you’re wearing on the bottom. They are light enough to be layered under a warmer coat but generally warm enough to be worn under a leather moto jacket. These two looks were pulled together in a pinch from two of my go-to boutiques at First Canadian Place – Hangar 9 and Sisley/Benetton.  If you were born in the 80’s and the 90’s was a time you got to first express yourself with fashion, you will remember Benetton for it’s classic Rugby shirts and colourfully diverse campaign ads. The brand’s older, more refined sibling, Sisley, is the perfect spot for office separates and more. If you have yet to step foot into Hangar 9, then I highly suggest you rank it high on your list of things to do this month and brace yourself friends, you will be overwhelmed by the pieces from Derek Lam, Maison Marie Saint Pierre, Missoni, Iro Paris, Helmut Lang, Carven and more carefully curated by the boutique’s owner Rachel.

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My Rag and Bone leather jeans, turtleneck from Sisley and black shoes works quite well for my day to night look. I paired a long vest as my outerwear for my day look and since I am not a fan of briefcases or standard laptop bags, I opted for this beautiful oversized clutch, that is actually large enough to fit my MacBook and other small personal items. And of course sunnies. I never leave home without a pair (or two) and this Chanel pair has a dramatic mirrored lens that I love.

First Canadian Place

First Canadian Place Exchange Tower

FCP

First Canadian Place Exchange Tower

Opting for more a more street than chic look for after work cocktails or an event, I replaced the long coat with a buttery soft pink lambskin leather moto jacket from Iro Paris and ditched the oversized clutch for a smaller bag for evening that comes with the cutest fur accessory. And even though the black Chanel’s would have worked well with my night look, I just couldn’t resist these Miu Miu’s and it’s pink velvet case. If you love sunglasses as much as I do, you will find endless pairs you will want to add to your collection from Specs and Contacts, also inside Exchange Tower.

First Canadian Place Exchange Tower

First Canadian Place

First Canadian PlacePhotography by Lindsey Drennan

What I’m Wearing: Leather Jeans (Rag & Bone), Black Coat, Leather Iro Paris Jacket, Handbags courtesy of Hangar 9. Turtleneck courtesy of Sisley, Sunglasses (Chanel and Miu Miu) courtesy of Contacts and Specs all at First Canadian Place

Close to Toronto’s financial district? Make First Canadian Place your first destination for all your shopping needs this holiday season. For shopper’s convenience, First Canadian Place and Exchange Tower will be open Saturday’s starting this Saturday November 19th until Saturday December 17th with FREE parking . Retailers will be open from 11AM – 5PM. Enjoy the holiday shopping without the holiday stress!

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.

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!

#MyAdvantage at Rogers Cup with National Bank

For over 20 years Toronto’s first and only professional tennis tournament has had a special place in my heart. Now known as Rogers Cup, my earliest memories date back to being 10 years old tagging along to watch some of the world’s best players back when it was called the Players and DuMaurier Open. It was then I knew it was the sport I wanted to play seriously and I had dreams of one day playing on centre court. At 13, I no longer wanted to sit and watch matches from my Mom’s company’s private box and starting working each summer on the “Ball Boy” squad, quickly working my way up to an “On-Court” Supervisor by the time I was 15. As a kid, nothing was cooler than being on centre court under the starts for a big match.

National Bank Rogers Cup

As my own game excelled and I began traveling extensively as a junior, I stopped working at the tournament but some of my fondest memories from my childhood has been on the grounds of this tournament held at York University. Fast forward many (many, many) years LOL and I am still heading to the tournament each summer, but this time with clients, brands I work with or to cheer on my former hitting partners who are still on tour.

National Bank Rogers Cup

Frankie AbandaMontreal’s Franckie Abanda – National Bank of Canada Ambassador

This year, the National Bank of Canada celebrates it’s 10th year as the title sponsor…you may have noticed I recently I traveled to Montreal for the bank’s #ALTCourt soirée to commemorate their anniversary. Unlike the rest of the sponsors that have preceded National Bank, their partnership extends beyond the staging of Rogers Cup.  They have helped many young athletes reach their full potential on the international tennis circuit by providing performance grants and brings significant support to the sport providing opportunities for future Canadian starts like my friend Franckie Abanda. And if that’s not enough, National Bank’s “On The Ball” initiative has been a huge hit – no pun intended! The program collects tennis balls that have lost their bounce and places them on the bottom of classroom chairs across Ontario and Quebec. This reduces the noise levels in classrooms, which increasing students’ ability to focus. To date, the program has collected over 1 million balls helping almost 340,000 students.

National Bank Rogers CupPhotos by Meghan Yuri Young 

I am back at the grounds today to watch the top 3 seeded players take on their opponents and will be enjoying some complimentary drinks between matches at the National Bank booth by centre court. If you’re heading to the tournament today, be sure it to check it out. You can win seat upgrades, prizes, plus their GIF cam and cinq a sept (5-7pm) cocktail hour is the perfect way to pass some time in between games. Get social and make sure to share your images on your favourite social channels from the booth using the hashtag #MyAdvantage.

Tickets for the remaining matches are still available for sale. Head to RogersCup.com to purchase online.

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 

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!

Ombrelle Sport Endurance: Major Keys to Sun Protection

Summer is in full swing and after what seemed like a never ending winter, everyone is outside enjoying the sun. For me, one of the best parts of warmer weather means I get to switch things up and take my workouts outside. Any exposure to sun calls for protection and during this time of the year I become extra obsessive around skin protection and sunscreen. To some, this comes as bit of a surprise as most make the assumption that darker skin isn’t affected by sun damage. WRONG!!!!!! That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Both black and white skin can become damaged by exposure to the sun. Even though black skin has a natural SPF of 13.4 while white skin 3.3, both skin colours are equally susceptible to damage.

Ombrelle Sport Endurance

Ombrelle Sport Endurance

Ombrelle Endurance Sport

Ombrelle Sport Endurance

Ombrelle Endurance Sport

When I’m outdoors, especially working out or playing sports, I need a sunscreen that is SPF 50, high performing and can stand up to my active lifestyle. Ombrelle Sport Endurance is non-greasy, oil-free formula that provides wearers with 80 minutes of water and sweat resistance. It goes on clear, so I am never left with that unsightly white residue that makes my skin appear grey and even on wet or sweaty skin (think reapply-ing while playing beach volleyball) it still provides an even coverage. My sunscreens of the past were greasy and left my hands annoyingly sticky, not to mention dripped into my eyes on runs or when playing tennis and burned like crazy when I would sweat. Not ideal at all! Not all sunscreens are created equal. Ombrelle Sport Endurance doesn’t drip into my eyes, my hands aren’t left sticky and also gives me protection against both UVB and UVA rays. Are both UVB and UVA protection important? Absolutely. You want to stay protected from UVB as they these are the rays that cause skin surface damage such as sunburns but you should also want to stay protected from UVA as well. Those are the rays that cause long term damage and contribute to premature aging and skin cancer.

Ombrelle Sport EndurancePhotos by JessBaumung.com

If you’re wondering what SPF actually stands for, trust me you’re not alone. Funny enough, this week is #SunAwarenessWeek and the inquisitive person that I am, I have been chatting with people about the topic of sun protection and how well their understanding is of how sun screen works to keep skin safe. Interestingly, 60% of those I spoke to had no clue what the acronym SPF stands for and almost 90% didn’t know what SPF’s corresponding number means. For years I had swore the SPF number (i.e. SPF 15) simply represented the sunscreen’s strength but in actuality, that number is the length of time that sunscreen protected skin can be exposed to the sun before burning.  Is your mind blown yet? This means, if you normally start to get a sunburn on unprotected skin in twenty minutes in the sun, then SPF 15 would provide you with 15 x 20 minutes (or 300 minutes) of protection.

If some of this information is news to you and you would like to learn more on sun protection and #SunAwarenessWeek head to OmbrelleSunFacts.ca.

NBA PlayOffs Ultimate “Girls Night Out” with BMO

“Oh what a time, to be alive.” Drake’s line couldn’t be any more apropos if you’re currently living in Toronto. There seems to be so much going on here right now and even if you’re not into sports, its almost impossible to not get caught up in the energy. The NBA All-Star game was hosted here on the coldest weekend of the year. The Raptors have reached the second round of the playoffs for the second time. BMO Field, home of the TFC and now the Toronto Argos this season, just celebrated their grand re-opening this week revealing more seating and a covered roof – finally! The 104th Grey Cup will be hosted here this coming November and how can I not mention the release of Drake’s highly anticipated album, Views.Toronto is literally on fire right now and I couldn’t be happier to call this city home.

Since the team’s inaugural year in 1995, the Toronto Raptors has had some great players gracing the hardwood; Damon (Mighty Mouse) Stoudamire, Tracy McGrady, Vince Carter, Marcus Camby, Chris Bosh, Doug Christie, Mo Pete but have yet to successful make it to the Eastern Conference finals, but maybe this could be our year. Thanks to BMO, the Raptors official bank and title sponsor,  my birthday was made extra special this week with an ultimate “Girls Night Out” at the ACC for the game two of the Raps/Heat playoff series.  If you followed my snapchat story you saw the arena was out of control. I can guarantee you the team’s overtime win shaved a few years off my life and biting my nails down to the cuticle destroyed my birthday manicure but hey, a win before the team heads back to Miami is all a girl could have asked for on Thursday night.

NBA PlayOffs Girls Night Out

So yeah, not our typical girl’s night but but trust, Lauren McPhillips and I enjoyed every second of our VIP #BMOBallStar experience. The evening kicked off at Jurassic Park, the team’s appropriately named fan zone. It’s kind of intense (in a good way) with tons of activations for fans to engage in but seriously my fave was the Raptor’s replica locker room that was created by BMO. The perfect spot for ultimate fans where you can snap and post shots in front of your favourite player’s locker. It’s here where we almost passed out from excitement after receiving our customized Raps jersey’s with “So Sasha” and “Renegade” on the back. How badass right?!

NBA PlayOffs Girls Night Out

I cannot express how much I detest line-ups. I have actually been known to arrive at sporting events late just to avoid waiting with the masses to get into an arena. But guess what? If you’re a BMO cardholder, line-ups don’t exist for you at the ACC. With a private entrance into the arena, you are treated like a VIP before the game even starts. Seeing as though I’m usually arriving to games late, the other night was the first time I have ever gotten a chance to be court side before legions of crazed fans thirstily show up early before tip-off. And as you can imagine, an empty stadium with seats draped in “6ix” shirts as gifts for fans, which is pretty dope, made the perfect backdrop for pics and snapchats.

NBA Play Offs Girls Night Out

NBA PlayOffs Girls Night Out

As for the game…my anxiety was so high, I don’t even think a prescription for Xanax could have calmed me down. It’s nice to see Toronto fans actually get into a game and cheer their asses off. If you were watching Lauren and I’s snaps, to say the arena was electric would have been an understatement. The game being tied at 84, taking it into the first overtime didn’t help either. To help take the edge off, we drowned our nerves and footlong hotdogs with ridiculously delish Raptors Coladas until the buzzer went off with the Raptors winning the game close to 11:30pm.

NBA Girls Night Out

As an avid sports fan with true love for my city, I’m excited to see the investment being made by corporations in Toronto’s professional sports teams and our childhood sports communities alike. Corporate sponsors like BMO plays an integral part in creating excitement during the season and post season for the Raptors and TFC. Not to be outdone by their fostering of sport in communities across the country with highly successful community basketball and soccer programs that help to breed Canada’s next basketball and soccer super stars.

Thank you BMO for an incredible experience that I will never forget. It will legit to difficult to top this birthday next year!

Degree #BeTheMovement Series – Fly Queen West Aerial Yoga

Degree #BeTheMovement

One of my major rules to live by is making sure I move at least once a day. I can almost hear you say, “sure, that’s easier said than done!” but today as a society, we move less than we have ever before. Between commuter traffic, jobs that keep us strapped to our desks, and let’s be honest, freezing temps during the winter that makes us want to stay inside with a glass of red wine, it’s sometimes hard to find the time or motivation to exercise. Trust me, I get it, but this is actually the reason we have to make an effort to make fitness and wellness a priority for ourselves.

Degree #BeTheMovement

It doesn’t matter if you’re a self-proclaimed workout fiend or just the type to partake in an occasional sweat sesh, we all fall victim of getting in a workout rut from time to time. I am definitely in one right now. When I am feeling uninspired, I use it as an opportunity to look for cool and unique new workouts to try out that are so fun, I actually forget I am working out.  In an effort to get my Hannah Bronfman on, I decided to challenge myself to a session of aerial yoga at Fly Queen West.

Processed with VSCOcam with a5 preset

Whether I am running a 10k, spinning/cycling or doing a restorative yoga class my sweat does not discriminate, which is why my antiperspirant is one of the most important parts of my beauty regimen each day. After years of using the same deodorant, I was recently introduced to Degree Women ActiveShield Dry Spray Antiperspirant and now I could’t think of using anything else for sweat protection. Why does it work so well? With my lifestyle, I need an antiperspirant that can withstand my super busy schedule and keeping me smelling just as fresh at the end of the day as I did when I started it. This level of protection is only possible because of its 3 part anti-bacterial system to help control sweat and its MOTIONSENSE technology to protect from odour as you move. The best part, it goes on completely dry meaning no awkward white clumps under my arms or residue left behind on my favourite garments like this bodysuit from Adidas Women’s SS16 collection. Degree understands the importance of exercise in everyday life and I am teaming up with them this year as part of their #BeTheMovement campaign to help motivate and encourage others to keep moving so we can all enjoy the benefits that come along with leading an active lifestyle.

Degree #BeTheMovement

Degree #BeTheMovement

Aerial yoga, also referred to by some as anti-gravity yoga, combines the practice of traditional Hatha yoga with beautiful silk hammocks that are suspended from a few feet off the ground. I may be a lot of things but I will admit, flexible is not one of them. I find it difficult to get into certain postures due to my lack of hip and ankle flexibility because of my injuries and the brilliant thing is – the beautiful silk hammocks in the studio actually served a purpose and just aren’t pretty to look at. Similar to a block or strap, they are intended to assist with alignment while executing more challenging moves, deepens awareness while also providing the immediate benefits of spinal decompression. Completely out of my element, which was a bit daunting I have to admit, I forced myself to relinquish my fear of solely relying on a silk sheet to stop me from dropping on my head during inversions. Once I let go, trusted my body and my amazing instructor Kaye to help guide me through the positions; something amazing happened. Tight muscles and joints began to slowly loosen up. I was able to get deeper into certain positions and I actually started to have fun. It was like some sort of therapeutic treatment that had me giggling like a 6 year old and ending on a complete high.

Degree #BeTheMovement

 Why should you give aerial yoga a try? Here are 5 reasons…

 1) Total Body Workout: Due to the nature of the workout almost all body parts are forced to move and stretch. Toning, redefining, regenerating and strengthening the muscles and joints are happening during the workout.

2) Improves Balance: While going against gravity is obviously super fun, aerial yoga also helps with balance and stability in daily activities as well.

3) Aids Digestion: The different types of stretches and movements can help in healing various digestion related issues including constipation and indigestion.

4) Increases Strength: Aerial yoga also improves strength and flexibility, which is a huge bonus for those who run or cycle. The core workout is really beneficial for runners and helps them increase stamina and is the perfect active recovery exercise to help re-set muscles and joints.

5) Mood Elevator: The first thing I was told by one of Fly Queen West’s owner’s was, “I dare you not to smile during your entire workout!”  Well, that was a bet I was no doubt going to lose because it’s impossible not to smile while flipping upside down and hanging from the ceiling. It gets your adrenaline going and releases “happy” hormones like serotonin, endorphins, and dopamine, which boost your mood and gives you energy.

Degree #BeTheMovementPhotography by Jillian Botting

Although not as intense as my typical HIIT (high intensity interval) style workout, I still managed to break a bit of sweat during my aerial yoga experience. As beautiful as these poses are to look at, don’t for one second think that it doesn’t require some strength and balance to execute properly. There’s no better way to get out of a workout rut than finding an activity that is so fun, you forget you’re even working out. For more information on this workout, check out FlyQueenWest.com.

Degree Women Dry Spray Antiperspirant is available now in stores nationwide. Use the hashtag #BeTheMovement and make sure to follow me on Instagram as I will be sharing more out of the box workouts and small changes you can make everyday to stay active, healthy and happy!

NBA All-Star Weekend Toronto NTC Court Fit Experience

NTC Court Fit

NBA All-Star Weekend in Toronto may be over but I am still feeling the effects of our special basketball inspired NTC workout lead by Nike Master Trainers Eva Redpath and Emily Hutchins. At 6:30am on Sunday morning we arrived at Mattamy Athletic Centre, which was converted into a Jordan Brand court for the weekend. To help take the sting off having to wake up at 5:30am after a long week of events, Nike treated the ladies to a braid bar experience pre workout. Just before our sweat sesh commenced, we were introduced to Canadian Olympian basketball player (and former Notre Dame Fighting Irish) Natalie Achonwa. The 6’3″ Forward, who currently plays for the Indiana Fever, graciously helped us through the ball handling skills after a dynamic warm-up and killer workout created by Em and Eva, based fundamental Nike Training Club exercises from workouts in the NTC+ app. And it wouldn’t be a ball workout if suicide sprints weren’t in the mix too.

NTC Court Fit

NTC Court Fit

NTC Court Fit

NTC Court Fit

NTC Court Fit

NTC Court Fit

NTC Court Fit

NTC Court Fit

NTC Court Fit

NTC Court Live

NTC Court Live

NTC Court Fit

NTC Court Fit

All the pieces we wore for the early morning workout were super lightweight, breathable, and the tights had just the right amount of both stretch and coverage. A workout with both cross training and agility/speed drills needs the right pair of shoes. The Lunar Sculpt Training shoe has a form fitting upper that offers lightweight support and plus the lunarlon midsole provided the responsive cushioning we needed for the plyometric jumps during in the workout.

Don’t have access to Nike Master Trainers in your city? No problem…download the NTC+ Nike Training Club App on your favourite wireless device for free to access over 100 workouts. No matter what you’re fitness level is, the app serves as your own personal trainer and where you can stay motivated from the millions of other female users within the Nike Women community.

What we’re wearing: Nike Legendary Fabric Twist Veneer Tights // Nike Pro Calssic Padded Tidal Multi Bra // Nike Elastika Elevate Tank // Lunar Sculpt Training Shoes // All clothing courtesy of Nike Canada. Shop Nike Women gear now at Nike.com

NTC Court Fit

NTC Court Fit

NTC Court Fit

NTC Court Fit

NTC Court Fit

NTC Court Fit

NTC Court Fit

NTC Court Fit

NTC Court Fit

NTC Court Fit

NTC Court FitPhotography by Jackie Beale and Nathalia Allen for Nike Canada

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