28 June 2018

Summer in Ontario: Muskoka


I'm on the Go Train heading north as I write this, and I can't help but think that Go Train stations are the prime example of "paving paradise and putting up a parking lot". I pass so much beautiful green space every day and at each stop I see endless amounts of pavement that could have been stacked parking lots to save some greenery. Maybe it's because I am heading up to Muskoka this weekend that I am feeling very passionate about the loss of green space?

I spent many many summers in Muskoka as a teen, and then during college I worked at Muskoka Woods, and Rosseau quickly became my "second home". Now as an adult I still long for weekends when I can get away and spend some time on Lake Rosseau. But in the past few years Muskoka has exploded into a place I could definitely call HOME, let alone a second home. It has everything now; From great restaurants, amazing yoga studios, cute bake shops, and specialty stores with products I could once only find in the city. It used to be a mission getting Hollister orders to deliver there, now I can shop the greatest brands in some of the cutest boutiques.

Since we're heading up there this long weekend, I thought I'd share some of my favourite places in Muskoka to check out! Follow me on Instagram this weekend to see everywhere I go :)

Power Yoga Canada
Located steps away from the JW Marriott in Minett, this state-of-the-art yoga studio has indoor and outdoor classes overlooking the lake. A studio I've seen grow immensely over the past few years, their outstanding ability to lead quality yoga classes has helped them grow a huge following. I often talk to people who tell me they can't wait for summer to get back to their regular classes at PYC Muskoka. Can't wait to join the girls there this weekend for some more yoga on the dock!

Health Hut
Located in Port Carling along 118 is the most amazing store with the best selection of clean makeup, skincare and lifestyle essentials. Holistic Nutritionist, Tara, opened the store several years ago and has since expanded to owning a second location in Toronto. Both stores I frequent often for their amazing selection of hard-to-find brands!

Teenie Weenie Bikini Co.
I've been shopping here since the first year it opened (2005), and every year it grows bigger and bigger. It started as a little wooden shack and through the years has grown to be one of the cutest not-so-little shops in Rosseau. Owner, Ashley, spends the winter curating new designs for her own line of bathing suits, and scouting out the best accessories to sell in her store. Every summer I go home with at least 1 new item from her shop, and this summer I am eyeing a Bali bag!

McPherson Ave.
Want to find some of the hottest looks straight from the runway? You have to stop by and see Elle at McPherson Ave. She has hand picked some of the most amazing pieces just for her pop-up shop in Muskoka. And if the Summer's over and you haven't gone to see her? That's ok, you can shop online at her website (link above!)
(Note: The SWS Marina Pop-up is open now and is home to many great brands for Summer 2018 including: Lululemon, WaxOn Wax Bar, Abbey's Bakehouse, McPherson Ave., and more!)
Abbey's Bakehouse
With 2 locations in Muskoka, the first being situated inside an old church, Abbey's is one of the cutest ways to spend your morning. With delicious baked goods and some amazing iced drinks (yes - iced! because it gets HOT in the summer!) meet up with friends and catch up at Abbey's. Their peanut butter cookies are to die for. Their second location is in Minett at the SWS Pop-Up Village!

Belle's Boutique
Located in the heart of downtown Bracebridge, this boutique store stocks great brands with pleasant price tags. I actually haven't even found a store as amazing as this in Toronto, so when I head up north I usually go home with stacks of new clothes. Belle has an eye for trendy, quality pieces and her store never disappoints!

Muskoka Natural Food Market
What started as a small natural food store has become a massive market in Bracebridge. It's always been the place I went for non-toxic shampoo, toothpaste and supplements. I still find myself back there every summer looking for new products they're carrying, or trying new plates at their Deli Lama vegan restaurant. This weekend I plan on stopping by Buddha's Bakery for some gluten-free treats!

Love another spot in Muskoka? Believe me, me too! There are so many great spots I haven't featured here, so let's chat about them in the comments below :)

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14 June 2018

My At-home Yoga Space

What I really wanted to do when I left the city, was create a personal yoga space. Away from the TV, away from distractions, and away from my dog (who by the way, loves to hog my mat). In the city I was so used to doing yoga in any crevice I could fit my mat. It was usually between the couch and the TV, between the bed and the wall, or in the middle of the kitchen! When we bought a bigger house I immediately started to think of ways I could create a personal space, which I will eventually turn into a private yoga studio.
When I first started dreaming up this space I had this idea to keep it local. Above is a snapshot of my original idea board, which I strayed from. Instead, I created a space full of my favourite things!
The final product is amazing. I can fit up to 3 mats in the space so I am really looking forward to sharing my space in the future with some private clients or small groups. But for now just one of my mats is in use.
I was definitely inspired by the patterns and colours in the fabric of my SamYoga Zafu Meditation Cushion. I wanted this piece to be the focal point of the room since it's the centre of the space, the centre of my practice and the spot where I spend most amount of time.
Building around the meditation cushion, I chose a new Saffron BYoga Everyday Mat to match perfectly. The Yoga Everyday Mat is my favourite mat to practice on. It is grippy in both hot and regular classes, and provides enough cushion to protect me from the hard surface of the floor.
I chose a lot of neutral and cool blue tones to keep the room feeling light and breathable. Elephants are my favourite animal. They are also good luck, and a symbol of strength. I think the coolest part of yoga is your ability to build strength through your core and your roots, regardless of your shape or size. A lot of people think of yoga as a workout. But it is so much more than that. It's about finding balance and building strength in both body and mind. This elephant reminds me that I am not on my mat to look a certain way, but to feel a certain way.
I am currently using my lucky elephant as a stand for my new business cards, which I personalized on Zazzle! I found the elephant at Homesense.
This wooden "namaste" sign was hand-painted by a talented #girlboss in British Columbia. I had shown my mom and sister-in-law one of her door signs back in the winter and by chance they stumbled upon the AllyBeth Design Co. booth at The Vintage Barn Market in Chilliwack, BC last April. I was lucky enough to have my mom bring this home for me. Check out the AllyBeth Design Co. Etsy store for SO MANY MORE adorable designs!
Of course I also have props handy. I am using SamYoga stretching straps to help with any flexibility issues, and a SamYoga eye pillow to rest my eyes during Savasana (see green floral eye pillow in previous photos). Read my previous post about SamYoga founder, and ultra-inspiring Girl Boss, Samantha Stephens to see why I love her products, and am so proud to see this Toronto-company doing so well. Her products are now available on well.ca one of my FAVOURITE online stores. By the way, she hand dyes a lot of her fabrics in her own home!

The purchased my yoga blocks at Homesense years ago, but Lululemon has some really cute blocks for a reasonable price right now. Blocks can be so helpful during your practice, to help build flexibility and in restorative sessions to stretch and invert your spine, especially after spending long days hunched in front of a computer screen.
I have so many amazing books which I am collecting to eventually start a Yoga Library for my clients. One of my favourite books is The Complete Guide to Yoga Inversions which helps me look at life from a whole new perspective. (Read: Upside down!)
Another necessity in ANY yoga space is a mat cleaner. Your yoga mat can be a huge trap for bacteria. It's important to clean your mat with an essential oil-based cleaning spray after each practice. I especially love the scent of this one from Saje Natural Wellness.
Since yoga originated in India -- it's meaning in Sanskrit is literally "union" -- I thought it was important to have something made in India surrounding me. This macrame wall hanging was handmade in India and is so beautiful. You can find similar items here.

I hope you love my personal yoga space as much as I do. I can't wait to start sharing it with clients in the near future. And as I keep building on the space I will keep sharing through my Instagram, so be sure to follow along!

Namaste.

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13 June 2018

Safer, Cleaner Sunscreens with California Poppy Extract

This week the ALL NEW Countersun sunscreens start shipping out to everyone who preordered them! This has been a long time coming for us Canadians, since the US got theirs a few months ago. The good thing is... it's because Canada vigorously screens sunscreen to ensure its SPF really stands up to what it says it is going to do.
I preordered some Countersun Sunscreen Mist and am so excited for them to come. I had some smuggled to me from the US so I know exactly what I am waiting for, and let me tell you it is AMAZING and so worth the wait. This is the first sunscreen mist I have used that sprays on white but rubs in CLEAR. Not to mention the California Poppy extract which was added to the new formula and acts as an antioxidant and ultra moisture-surge for your skin.

The coolest part about this new sunscreen is it also protects against Blue Light damage. Blue Light is the light emitted from cell phone, tablet and computer screens - something many of us are guilty of staring at ALL DAY. Bet you didn't think THAT was harming your skin. But it is. And it's contributing to your skins overall health and aging process. Yuck!
If you're worried about the aerosol, stop your worrying! This mist is powered by compressed air and contains no aerosol or chemicals. Which means it's safe for YOU and the environment.

So shop CLEAN and SAFE sunscreen options HERE. And if you have any question, you know how to get in touch.

xo.
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12 June 2018

A Cleaner, Safer Home

I know a lot of people who make their own home cleaning products to avoid chemicals, but I'll be honest, I barely have time to make my bed. I am BUSY, and I am sure you are too. So I've done some research, lots of testing, and am now ready to share with you some of the best SAFE home cleaning products on the market. I've also linked to each of them so you can shop them online. (In case you're like me and avoiding stepping foot in real stores)

A Safer Alternative to Windex
Glass cleaner is one of the products I use most around the house. I use it to shine faucets, clean toothpaste splashes of mirrors almost every day, dust tv stands, tv screens, even my cellphone screen. I had to find a GOOD one that wouldn't leave streaks. I tried a few and decided that Attitude's Window and Mirror Cleanser did the best job. Best of all? It is available at Rexall and Foodland stores now, which means easy access to clean products!
Clean, Gentle Detergent
Ecomax, Ecomax, Ecomax. I say this because a small bottle goes a LONG way. One jug of Ecomax Laundry Detergent should last you 100 washes, which means you need a VERY LITTLE amount of product in order to do a load of laundry. New baby in the house? Choose unscented. But I personally love the Lavender scent. Another product that is easy to find. I usually buy it off well.ca but it can be found in most grocery stores now!
Non-Toxic Dish Soap
I think it's really important to remember that what we wash our dishes with eventually ends up in our food. So it's really important to choose a dish soap that is save enough to ingest. I choose Seventh Generation Dishwashing Liquid because we go through a lot of dish soap around here and I need something that is not only non-toxic, but also affordable. I also LOVE the Lavender Floral + Mint scent!
Countertop Cleaner
The Sapadilla Grapefruit + Bergamot Countertop Cleanser smells so good you WANT to clean. I find so much joy in wiping down my counters after a solid day of cooking. Nothing like a sparkly clean kitchen! What I like best is that it is safe to use on all non-porous surfaces including sealed granite and marble. The company markets it as "nose candy straight from Mother Nature" so you can imagine how good this stuff is!
Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Think about every time you flush the toilet how many germs get into the air. Now think about every time you clean your toilet and then flush that blue stuff down. Not only is it getting into the water system, but it's also getting into the air you breathe. Use non-toxic toilet bowl cleaner for cleaner lakes and oceans, and cleaner breathing air for you and your family. I love the Lemon Aide Toilet Bowl Cleaner, which harnesses the power of essential oils to wash away hard water stains from your porcelain throne.
Safe Hand Soap
Think about how many times a day you wash your hands in public washrooms... it upsets me to think about all of the chemicals I unwillingly have to subject myself to. So at home I am very careful to choose CLEAN, non-toxic hand soaps. I love Rocky Mountain Soap Co. Lavender Foaming Wash. I choose the Lemongrass scent for the kitchen! I also have these as body washes in my shower. I love the 2-in-1 factor, and love that this is a Canadian brand.

If you are interested in learning more, join me and Norwex Consultant, Brenda, this Thursday for a special Facebook LIVE event on Learning to Live Chemical-Free. Join our event HERE!
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