A trip to Core Body Science (Pilates)

27th January 2016


I seem to be on a bit of a Pilates kick these days as the second studio I tried out on my mission to try new places was Core Body Science. Years ago I used to do Pilates a lot and loved it. But then I moved away from the area that my favourite studio was in and my love for Pilates disappeared.

Core Body Science is another one of those studios that I have often wondered about, but never visited. It is located in a bit of a random block of storefronts within a pretty residential area along Millwood east of Bayview. I had no clue what to expect and didn’t even realize that I had signed up for the intermediate/advanced Legs, Bums & Tums. Oh well, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

What’s the studio like?
Pretty open concept. You walk in and there’s a small front desk to the left and then there’s all the reformers. There’s a back room with some additional equipment – assuming it is more used for private sessions. When I arrived there was already a class in progress, so I just sat and waited until mine began. I didn’t seem to need to check-in or anything which is kind of odd, but I guess as it is a small studio that is what they do.

What was the class like?
I really liked the class. It was challenging, but doable. The instructor, Adrienne, also had a great teaching style about her and walked around throughout the class to make sure everyone was doing ok.

Who goes there?
My class seemed to skew older. I mentioned this to my husband as typically the studios downtown attract a much younger clientele. But I guess the area’s demographics are a bit older. I also realized as I was talking to him that I too am older now. Sometimes I forget that I’m not in my 20s anymore 🙂

What was my favourite part?
The jumping bit at the beginning of class to warm up our legs. I had forgotten how fun this was and how great it made me feel.

How did the class make me feel?
Once again I felt great leaving the class and excited to start my weekend. I really need to do Pilates more.

Would I go back?
Absolutely. This studio too is a bit of a hidden gem.

My visits to Serendipity Yoga & Pilates

22nd January 2016

Serendipity Pilates

I’m not necessarily one to make resolutions, but I do find myself at the beginning of each year thinking about what I’d like to do or achieve this year. One of this year’s goals is to challenge myself to try new workouts and studios in Toronto. Long story short – many years ago I used to blog about health and fitness in Toronto. For a reason that I can’t seem to remember I let the website domain expire and along with it all of the content I wrote. I miss being able to look back on this time on my life and trying new workouts!

First on my list was Serendipity Yoga & Pilates studio. They have two locations in Toronto, but I only went to their Leaside location (Eglinton/Laird). I’ve noticed the studio before and have to admit that the exterior signage and the fact that they are located above a Shoeless Joe’s made me think that I wouldn’t really enjoy the studio. I’m totally guilty of judging a book by its cover and while the studio itself is not fancy at all I found that the workouts were ones that I really enjoyed!

What class(es) did I take?
I signed up for their introductory offer (10-days for $20) and went to two of their classes – Deep Core Pilates and Tone Pilates. The classes I took at the studio had a great energy and style. The instructors were fun and knew how to lead the class through a complete Pilates workout. They both also knew when to push and when to give breaks.

What was the studio vibe?
Completely unpretentious. The studio was basically the studio – no front desk, no additional frills. Before each of the classes the instructors came up to introduce themselves to me and already knew my name.

Who goes there?
Is definitely an interesting mix of people. Both of my classes skewed on the older side, but this didn’t mean that the classes were an easier!

What were my favourite parts of the classes?
Learning that you can do the mermaid move with a foam roller. Never thought of this before! I also really liked that the classes were taught more in the classical Pilates style.

How did the class make me feel?
Challenged and energized.

Would I go back?
Yes! The regular class passes were also more reasonably priced than some of the other places I’ve been too.




What it is like to travel with a toddler

20th November 2015


We’ve been away on a few bigger trips since C was born, but this was our first one where we traveled with a bonafide toddler. Here’s what we found and some travel tips…

1. Traveling with a toddler is a completely different ballgame to traveling with an infant. When we traveled to Scotland last Christmas, Chloe could be entertained with o-balls, Sophie and other sensory toys. These weren’t going to cut it. The good news here is that you will be so preoccupied with entertaining your little one that the flight will go by way faster.

2. Make sure you pack lots of surprises and snacks for the plane. We brought along a few new books, colouring supplies and sticker books. We also loaded a few toddler-friendly games onto the iPad (sometimes you just got to let screen time happen). While these didn’t occupy Chloe for the full flight they did help pass a bit of the five hour flights.

3. Your little one isn’t going to be 100% well-behaved throughout the flight (unless a miracle occurs). Chloe was good about 80% of the time and the other 20% was getting antsy, irritated, spraying puree onto the person next to us…my advice is just to go with it and hope that the people around you are understanding. If they aren’t, the good news is that you probably won’t have to see them again after the flight ends.

4. Pray that someone tires themselves out on the plane and takes a nap. That will pass some of the time.

5. If you can rent things like car seats, cribs, strollers and high chairs at your destination. This will be a big help and also mean you don’t have to bring these things along. If you happen to be traveling to Scottsdale, Sweet Pea Baby rentals was great and the stuff we rented was of high-quality. They even met us at the airport rental car location.

6. Avoid staying in standard hotel rooms, unless you like going to bed super early 🙂 Since having C we’ve found it a lot easier to stay in places that have a kitchen (key!) and a separate living space. It means that we can make some food while we are away and also have a place to relax in the evening. The Westin Kierland villas were a great choice this trip.

7. Expect and be ok with the fact that the vacations you take with little ones will be different than the ones you did before. This may be a given, but I wanted to share 🙂 At the moment, our vacations are pretty low on the adventure scale and off-the-beaten track excursions. Once C is a bit older we will begin going back to our regular type of vacations, but for now we’ve been finding it easier to be a bit more mainstream. We do miss places like this and activities like this, though.

8. On a similar note that vacations are different now, try to plan a few activities that are just for your little ones. On our recent trip we planned outings to the Phoenix Zoothe Children’s Museum, and the McCormick Stillman-Railroad park.

9. Try to follow some of the same routines. It helps keep everyone sane. Even when we are away we do try to keep some of the same routines we do at home. The bedtime routine is the one we tend to always try to keep as it means that someone won’t be overly cranky the next day…

10. Having just uploaded all of our photos, I realized I am only in a couple of photos. Make sure to take some family photos and photos with mom! Since I’m the one we takes the photos I usually forget to get in the photos.

PS: You never need as many clothes as you pack 😉

How we began solid food

17th October 2015


The idea of starting to feed Chloe solid food terrified me. Unknown territory. I have a huge fear of choking, so was petrified of this. What would happen if she had an allergic reaction to something? All of a sudden I was Googling things like ‘allergic reaction to apples and pears’. Thankfully I have a very rationale husband who was much more excited about feeding Chloe, so he’s made sure that Chloe has tried lots of new foods. Below is a bit of mix of tips, advice and resources for how we began solids…

Trial and error
I’ve found that things are always changing when you begin feeding baby real food. We began with the purees at five and a half months (1 new food every three days), but ended up moving to a more baby-led approach around 7/8 months. One of the things that I have realized is that it is important to adjust your approach for the type of baby you have. I would’ve stuck with the purees much longer than we did, but Chloe really wanted chewable food. Purees were not cutting it for her. She wanted more.

The power of friends
Hands down the best advice about how to do this solids thing came from friends. It was so helpful to have other moms to turn to and ask about what they did – I lucked out as the group of moms I met when Chloe was a few weeks old were all people going through the same phases of baby life as me and could share tips and recipes.

Aviva Allen’s introducing solids workshop
When Chloe was around four months old we took Aviva’s workshop. It was a couple of months before we actually began solids and I found this workshop helpful in the sense that you learned what foods were best to feed, when to give them and the difference between baby-led/purees. There’s also a virtual option for this workshop, so you don’t need to be located in Toronto to take it.

My Lovely Little Lunchbox
A friend referred me to this Australian blog and it has become one of my main go-to resources for recipe ideas, especially in the beginning when I needed ideas. All of her recipes are pretty tasty!

Annabel Karmel’s books
We have this one and while I don’t really refer to it anymore it was helpful in the beginning as it has a lot of recipes for purees (apparently I needed help figuring out how to puree carrots…lol).

One day it is a hit, the next it is a miss
Some days Chloe loves some things and other days she won’t even touch it. I’ve found that it doesn’t necessarily mean that she doesn’t like that particular food. She just doesn’t want it at the moment.

Other resources we use for food ideas:
Little Grazers
Jaime Oliver’s weaning guide 
Bebe Gourmet

Happy eating! What are some of your favourite tips and resources?

Easy mango salsa

9th October 2015

The cooler weather has me missing summer living already. All of a sudden I have a craving for mango salsa. This salsa is the perfect side for fish tacos. I love it as a summertime dip as well.


Here’s all you need to do:
2 mangoes diced, handful of chopped cilantro and red pepper, 1/4 red onion finely sliced, 1/2 diced jalapeño, juice of 1 lime, salt and pepper to taste.

What’s on my mind this week?

7th October 2015


What’s on mom’s mind this week?
Christmas. I know we haven’t even made it to Thanksgiving yet, but it looks like we’ll be spending Christmas in Canada this year. My first one here since 1987. My parents will be visiting us which I’m excited about. I am a little sad, though, that my time of jetting off to somewhere warm over the holidays has to come to an end. I will miss you Christmas brunch at Grovesnor House in Dubai.

What I’m currently coveting?
Most weekday mornings I hit up the Davids Tea by my work (current favourite tea is glitter and gold). I recently checked out their revamped website and am wanting to make this soup. Seems like the perfect fall food. Warm and nourishing!

What I’m loving?
The new local Pilates studio that opened on Bayview. It is clean, bright and welcoming. And my abs definitely felt it after one class!

What’s headed to the recycling bin?
This SkipHop bath mat. I love SkipHop products, but this one did not live up to expectations. It basically disintegrated.

What I read on the Internet this week that was kind of cool
Since going back to work I’ve been really aware of articles that discuss the pros and cons of sending your kids to daycare (i.e. are you a bad parent if you aren’t keeping them at home with you?). This article is written by one of Canada’s top health journalists and looks at why we need more data in this area to really make an informed decision. My two cents we are all doing the best we can do for our children.

What Chloe’s eating or not eating
In an effort to get Chloe to eat more than just pasta, I made zucchini/carrot fritters recently. I grated up half a zucchini, one carrot, some onion. Mixed in 1 egg and a little bit of flour to make it substantial enough to form into patties. I fried these up and served with some plain yoghurt. I enjoyed them. Chloe did not. Oh well! On to the next recipe…

Books, books, books
We went to a local church fair over the weekend and scored 8 kids books for $4. After mom wiped them down with toy wipes they were perfect (yes, I’m that person). One of the books we picked up, Winnie the Pooh and Ten Busy Bees, Chloe loves. I think it may be an older edition, but you may be able to find it on Amazon.

Chloe’s jam of the week
Ex’s and Oh’s by Elle King.

What to do if you happen to be in Toronto this week with kids
We’ve been wanting to go to a harvest festival at a local farm. We’ve been eyeing up Springridge farm in Milton as a place to check-out pumpkins and fall fun. After all what’s the fun of having a little one if you can’t get your requisite photo of baby with pumpkin?

If my husband and I had a night out this week
We’d be eating out at George. We went there once for Valentine’s and it was delicious.

Busy moms need quick solutions
Sometimes you just don’t get 8 hours of sleep and need this product.

Rant of the week
This isn’t really a rant, but I have to say it…if I see one more pumpkin spice advertisement I may scream. Nothing against pumpkin, but it is pumpkin spice overload right now. And I know I said I wanted to take photos with pumpkins above 🙂

And just because…
As I live in Toronto this is kind of interesting.

Our favourite books at 15 months

1st October 2015


When I first found out I was pregnant I started building Chloe’s library. I had visions of us snuggling up together reading lots and lots of books. Over the past year and a bit we’ve had some learning to do about what it means to read books to a baby! In no particular order here are the books that Chloe loves at fifteen months old (as chosen by my husband who does most of the bedtime reading these days):

1. I learned about Marla Frazee’s version of Hush Little Baby in our story time class last year. Although it doesn’t necessarily put Chloe to sleep, we love the illustrations. I also love listening to my husband try to sing the story out via the baby monitor. It gives me amusement.

2. Good Night Moon is now a book that Chloe loves. We first tried reading it to her in the early days but gave up as we didn’t like the story. But Chloe seems to like it and as it has been around for 60 years or so there must be something to love 🙂

3. All of Barbara Reid’s stories about Zoe throughout the year are combined into one big board book in Zoe’s Year. We think Chloe loves it as Zoe is just as curious and mischievous as her!

4. This book has been ripped, pulled apart and is much loved. Over time we’ve learned that anything to do with babies is a hit.

5. I would hazard a guess that over 90% of babies and toddlers in North America have at least one Sandra Boynton book in their bookcases. Moo Baa La La La is the one that Chloe prefers. I tend to like Barnyard Dance. I also know the Going to Bed book by memory now if anyone would like a rendition.

6. Peek-A-Who? is short and plays on babies love of peekaboo. I think Chloe’s first word was ‘Boo’ because of this book.

7. I credit this book with helping Chloe identify her body parts. It also features the much-loved star of books in our household – the baby 🙂

8. Chloe is as curious as the Curious Cat. She loves this book gifted by one of our closest friends and likes pointing to all of the animals the cat meets along the way.

9. Sophie the giraffe was a hit in her younger days and the love still carries on through the books about Sophie. We have Playtime with Sophie and is all about Sophie playing with her friends. Spoiler: there isn’t much of a storyline 🙂

10. And finally….Wheel on the Bus. I guess some stories/songs never get old 😉

Coffee with Chloe’s mom – September 14, 2015

14th September 2015


If we were having coffee this week, here are ten things I would be telling you about…

1. Chloe’s only been in daycare a couple of months, but I’m already trying to figure out what to do with her artwork. At the moment I’m just stuffing it into a storage box in her room. A friend of mine mentioned this artwork scanning app that stores your child’s artwork electronically. Why didn’t I think of this?

2. Kid & Coe is like the AirBnb for family vacations as all of their offerings are kid-friendly property rentals. We haven’t used it yet, but will definitely be taking a look at this website for any upcoming travel plans.

3. I hate when summer ends. It depresses me. Thankfully the release of Entertainment Weekly’s Fall TV preview cheers me up a bit. It is like my bible for the year in terms of what shows I will be watching.

4. I think I may be the last parent to discover Convos with my 2-year old. It’s funny, although kind of creepy at the same time as the 2 year old is played by a full grown man. My favourite episode so far is ‘dinner time‘.

5. This article. My favourite line in it is ‘as parents, we need to do what we need to do in order to get the most sleep possible. Everyone else can take their fresh eyes and rested faces and shove it.’

6. Sometimes you find yourself reading a book that you just love. If you haven’t read The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry go out and buy a copy now (I’m also willing to lend you mine!). 

7. The fact that the Royal Ontario Museum is continuing their mom and babies programs. In the spring, when Chloe and I participated in one of their classes we were told that it may be the last time they run it. We’re so glad that the administration changed their minds, listened to everyone who wrote them and decided to continue.

8. My ‘You know you’re a mom when‘ blog post for Mommy Connections. Shameless self-promotion I know.

9. Smitten Kitchen’s butternut squash galette. One of my best friends will be impressed that I actually made it and I didn’t find it as hard as I thought I would.

10. This Instagram account. Their posts usually put a smile on my face.

Our go-to breakfast

8th September 2015


When all else fails this is our go-to breakfast. Cut up some fruit, cheesy scrambled eggs (1 egg with a touch of milk, dash of pepper and grated cheese) and a piece of toast with butter. Served with a bowl of yoghurt.

Feeling grateful

4th September 2015

This week is different. My heart feels heavy after seeing so much sadness in the news. I feel sadness because I am a mother and to see a child’s life taken away at such a young age is a horrible thing to see. I also feel ashamed that I have been living in my own little bubble and been more or less oblivious to the pain happening in the world. I won’t post the photo here, but if you haven’t looked at it you should. We all need to wake-up and shouldn’t close our eyes or turn away because it makes us feel uncomfortable.

This weekend hold your babies a little tighter and be grateful for what you have. I know I’ll be doing this and also spending time thinking about what I can do to make a difference. We can all do something to help now and in the future.

I can’t imagine living in a world where you think the sea is safer than the land you live.