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Friday, 29 January 2016

Yoga On Tap - A Positively Uplifting Experience!

The day my friend, Ashley, told me she was leaving our Clark Kent Day job to pursue her dream (aka Yoga), I was SO proud of her and sad all at the same time.

Proud that she was pursuing something she loved, and sad because I wouldn't see her glowing face and radiating positivity around the office any more.

If you have ever met Ashley, aka the Happy Yogi, aka founder & owner of Yoga on Tap, she just oozes positive vibes, has a contagious smile, and is just my one of my favourite people to hang out with (aside from Husband and the Zoo, of course!).

I knew as soon as she told me in confidence about her plans that she  would excel at whatever she put her heart into. 

I also knew that we would stay friends after she left.  I have like no friends at work whom I hang out with outside of work. But for some odd reason, we clicked from Day 1, and it's been an awesome journey so far.

Yeah. This is us. Being us.

Her initial plans turned out to be not as she planned. 

Anyone who knows the Happy Yogi knows she is HIGHLY organized, and loves her lists and plans.

What did she do instead? 

She went to India to obtain her Yoga Instructor Certification.

A few months later Husband and I went to her apartment for dinner with her and her now-husband and she looked SO excited she was going to burst.

This is common and I love her enthusiasm - it's hard not to get excited for and with her.

She told us about her plans for Yoga on Tap - Husband and I looked at each other, and we couldn't help but to become invested emotionally in this rollercoaster with her. 

What an amazing idea.  And something that the growing beer community in the Ottawa area didn't have.  We had never heard of such a thing before. 

If anyone could pull it off, Ashley could!  And she has.

Because she's an artist, she created her own symbol (yoga character with hops), and does it all.  Marketing, paperwork, projections, plans, and of course, teaching! 

Ashley's mantra for Yoga on Tap is to create a sense of Yoga + Beer = Community.

She is very involved with the local community, supporting local businesses, and create an overall life balance. 

After a great YOT session @ Bicycle Brewery
What is Yoga on Tap?

It's balance.  There are normally 4-6 sessions of Yoga on Tap per season, and you can purchase single, double, or all exclusive passes.

With each session, you meet your Yoga partners at the chosen brewery a few minutes before your Yoga session is to start, place down your mat, and get ready for an exhilarating experience.

You don't have to have Yoga experience.  During your practice with YOT, you are encouraged to go at your own pace.

Ashley brings us through an hour journey of Vinyasas, Yoga Breathing, Warrior, Tree poses, and more.  It's very flowy and relaxing.  At the same time, it *is* a test of your strength and power.  Each yoga practice teaches you more about your body, strength, and the ability to clear your mind of negativity.  It is energizing and empowering for women and men alike. It's such a thrilling feeling afterwards - literally your stress just drips away.

During the session, she uses Red Solo Cups, hops, and beer references to add some beer fun to the practice. And the hour long Yoga session goes by in a flash.

With thoughtful music choices and Ashley's support throughout your practice, you really just  don't want it to end.

Oh wait, it doesn't - there's more!

Next up are healthy snacks (prepared by Ashley herself - she's an AMAZING chef!) and beer tastings! 

After a taste or two, you go on a tour of the brewery.  They explain what they do, their history, go through the beer making process, and answer any questions you may have. 

It's a very social atmosphere and a lot of fun. 

Although the sessions are slated for 2 hours - people generally stay longer as they are too busy chatting and meeting members of their community with some common interests (beer and yoga to say the least). 

So sign up for a Practice with Yoga On Tap, or book your private or group lesson (great party idea!) with the Happy Yogi today!  You won't regret it!

And if you don't think Ashley will make you grin from ear to ear by the end (or beginning) of your session, you're mistaken.

She is a contagious spirit whose attitude and zeal for life is one we can all strive for.

Watch out, World, this is only the beginning for Yoga on Tap and Ashley!

Summer 2015 Session @ Bicycle Brewery

Fall 2015 Session @ Whiprsnapr Brewery

Sunday, 24 January 2016

My Review on Beachbody's Brazilian Butt Lift

I've wanted to try out Brazilian Butt Lift for quite some time now.  I was WAY too excited about Cize to try this in the summer, so it was left on the backburner.

After my Hybrid Cize/21 Day Fix fiasco, I've decided Hybrids are the way to go to keep Systic motivated.

After this program, I'm excited, as I'll be submitting my results to Beachbody for a pair of Booty shorts for my Boom Boom!

What does Leandro promise us?


We're not all lingerie and bikini supermodels. But who says we can't learn their secrets to getting a firm, lifted butt? Leandro Carvalho, trainer to famous supermodels, combines Brazilian dance, cardio, and his own signature lower-body sculpting moves to help you make your booty your best feature.
Leandro's proven TriAngle Training method works all three major muscles of the buttocks from multiple angles to lift your butt, reduce your hips and thighs, and tone those stubborn trouble zones.
booty-blasting workouts that combine cardio with lower-body sculpting moves.
The Routines

 Sculpt - 47 minutes

In this video, Leandro takes you through a total-body workout with a sexy Brazilian twist to sculpt your entire body while focusing on your glutes. Look like a sexy supermodel—lean and toned, without the bulk.

I was quite excited when I realized this day includes weights - my arms won't lose ALL of their muscle over with this Hybrid combo!  

I recommend starting out with a lower weight, as you are using them for the majority of this particular workout.  You'll burn your arms out and have nothing to give pretty quickly otherwise.

This really is a total body workout - and still includes squats and lunges.  But not as many as some of the other routines.  My hips didn't totally max out, and I was able to walk up the stairs the remainder of the day without feeling it.  

The day after this workout....the backs of my legs are killing me!  This is an awesome feeling, as I know something is working, and my muscles are building. 

I did have to miss out on about 3 minutes of the planks-type workout.  My neck can't hold up to the strain, and I really wasn't sure how to modify it.  Know your body, and know its limits to prevent injury.

Today was also the day I realized that the girls who are exercising on the beach...are likely just exercising in front of a green screen.  I will still dream of going to the beach with the waves at my feet, the sun beating down on me while drinking some sort of alcoholic beverage that is pink, fruity, yet knocks me off my feet.

I don't call that a cheat day, I call that not feeling guilty when I'm enjoying life. I work damn hard and deserve it!

Bum Bum - 35 minutes

In this video, Leandro takes you through a total-body workout with a sexy Brazilian twist to sculpt your entire body while focusing on your glutes. Look like a sexy supermodel—lean and toned, without the bulk.

Squats, side squats, and more variations of squats.  

The moves start out basic, and Leandro builds upon them, increasing the intensity of the workout throughout each move.  The Rapido version of moves is REALLY intense, usually with your leg behind you up in the air pulsing until your boom boom (what Leandro calls your bum) is on fire.

The girls like to smile. Toothy smiles.  I was I was so smiley and sweat free during MY workouts.  

Half way through this routine, my hips like to stiffen up, and I have to work that much harder.  
This program forced me to search for hip opening yoga, and opened up a whole new world of stretching for me. I have now replaced the lame Beachbody stretches with more productive Yoga stretching afterwards. 

I wasn't sure at the beginning if I would like Leandro, but he growing on me.  He's quite uplifting and positive actually.  I just don't feel we could hang out every day (yay Hybrid routines)

Cardio Axe - 30 minutes

Feel like you're dancing in the streets of Brazil with Leandro's signature axe (pronounced "ah-shay"), a fat-burning, cardio-blasting, dance-based workout that delivers all-over slimming results fast.

Oh, Leandro!  He asks us to feel sexy and touch ourselves within the first 5 minutes.  It's awesome!

My hips weren't quite as tight with this one - I think it's the Brazilian Step that does my hips in - you step with your hip at an angle to the side while facing forward.

This particular class showcases some Brazilian dance moves - and the foot work + arm work wasn't quite happening for me, so I started out with just the foot work.  I am not coordinated enough for dance classes.

It was over as quickly as it began!

So, despite my lack of dancing co-ordination, I had fun, time passed like a snap, and I didn't feel defeated afterwards.  Winner! Gagne!

c/o Pinterest
Tummy Tuck - 15 minutes

Leandro's surefire way to get flat, sexy abs in just 15 minutes. 

This workout starts off with basic crunches, but Leandro adds his own twist with "Short" movements (pulsing), and some Brazilian Flare.

The latter movements are a bit more difficult for me and my weak arms (no biking = loss of arm strength) as they consist of plank work.

This is a great quick abs workout for helping with core and arm strength!

c/o pinterest
Bum Bum Rapido - 10 minutes

This extra bonus workout is the express version of Leandro's signature "Bum Bum" workout for when you're short on time.

This may be a quick workout, but it burns.

It's full of intense squats, lunges, plies, and side leg lifts.  And yes, Leandro has 3 levels of "fun" with each move, so you get the pulsing "short" lifts when your behind and hips are already burning.

This is a great quick leg/bum workout if you want to add in some abs work afterwards or just need a quick fix.

Because sometimes when you miss a day working out because you are busy with life, you get twitchy and REALLY need a workout.

As Leandro says, this is the way to a Latino boom boom.

High & Tight - 35 minutes

Focus on all those stubborn trouble zones: the hips, glutes, and saddlebags. Leandro uses his secret weapons—the Booty Resistance Band and ankle weights—to lift your butt to new heights.

For this particular workout, you require a booty band, ankle weights, and a yoga mat.  I failed on 2 out of 3 of these items, and have a kick arse thick workout mat my lovely mother-in-law got me for Christmas that is MUCH better than a Yoga mat in my workout area (aka the basement living room).

But even without the equipment, it BURNS!

It works out your thighs, butt, and hamstrings.

It starts with variations of squats...and eventually move your to the ground for the evil Clamshells (hip + clamshells = OMG), and into a variety of donkey kicks (which normally aren't bad...but after the previous workout moves, is more difficult than usual).

I love it! It's probably one of the more challenging workouts in this series.

Leandro's Secret - 25 minutes

Want a targeted toning workout that delivers results in just 20 minutes? Leandro takes aim at your trouble zones and helps you transform them, using a simple hand towel. The routine is short, but you'll feel the burn and see dramatic, visible results. Pretty soon, your better bum bum will be anything but a secret when you slip into your favorite "skinny" jeans.

This is a separate workout from the original Brazilian Butt Lift, but is a great compliment to the set.  Apparently on the Beachbody site, you can get this for free with the purchase of the regular Brazilian Butt Lift program  best value for your $.

As usual, there's a variety of squats, lunges, side and back lifts. It works the large muscles, so it's definitely a sweat inducing workout!

There are minimal "short" lifts, so it's a nice change for my tight hips.

There is only one fitness girl in this video...which takes place in California or New York City. I can't remember. My brain is mush.  And the fan in the background is turned off to induce sweat from both Leandro and the girl.  I didn't need to do that - it just happens naturally.

The stretch at the end is about 5 minutes, so longer than most.  I prefer my 15 minute Yoga stretches at the end now.

Variety is good, right?



This program is fabulous at helping with those trouble areas - abs, butt, thighs, and hips.  Over the last few weeks, my hips have gotten a bit stronger and more flexible, my behind is looking pretty perky (if I do say so myself), and I really do have fun doing this program.

Leandro takes a different take on working out, and expects you to have fun with it.

I am motivated by the beach in the background and of course, looking forward to my Booty Shorts at the end of the program!

***I am not a Beachbody Coach (nor will I ever be), I just really enjoy Beachbody Workouts for a fuller, healthier lifestyle***

Saturday, 23 January 2016

My Review on the January Topbox - Monthly Beauty Kit

I love my Topbox, and due to a Canada Post error, I received Decembers and Januarys kits both within a few days of each other.

Beauty supply overload!!

For $12 a month, you can also get excited each month with 4-5 beauty samples - 1 of them usually being a full sized product.  It's a great way to test out new beauty supplies without paying for a full sized product.

January TopBox 

Make Up For Ever - Step 1 Skin Equalizer - Smoothing Primer - For Large Pores & Fine Lines

A makeup primer that assists with balancing the skin's texture and tone for smoother, more even, and longer-lasting makeup wear.  SMOOTHING PRIMER instantly fills in and blurs imperfections for silky soft skin.  This satiny, non-oily formula evens out skin texture by minimizing pores, wrinkles, and fine lines.  

30ml for $43 at Sephoria

Meh.  I didn't find any changes with my make up's effectiveness or the smoothness of my face with this equalizer.  It didn't get rid of my rosy cheeks, and my fine lines are already being taken care of by moisturizers.

I have used other primers in the past, and this doesn't have a satiny feel to it as some other do.

Model Co Eye Define Eye Pencil

A must have tool for intense, long lasting colour.  Long wearing, creamy, densely pigment pencil complete with an inbuilt sharpener for precise application anytime.  

16g for $19.52 at

I really like this pencil.  Normally I find pencils break SO easily and then don't sharpen properly - ever.

This pencil has a nice tip, and goes on pretty smoothly to create a nice accent for my mascara.  The sharpener as the lid is an ingenious idea!  I'll never lose my sharpener!

I see this pencil lasting me much longer than most pencils and gel pencils I've used in the past.

Teez Trendd Cosmetics - Read My Lips Lipstick

This long lasting lipstick combines the power of highly-pigmented coverage and a unique satin, mate finish.  The lipstick's smooth, ultra creamy texture and added coconut oil extract nourishes and hydrates the lips, with colour that lasts for up to 8 hours.  

2g for $28.94.  Available at

Meh. The colour I received was pretty red.  So maybe good for Halloween as I rarely wear lipstick.  If I do, it's light pink or a gloss as my lips are REALLY dry normally.  I'm a lip balm kind of gal.

I also didn't like the tube - the tube twirls, and the lipstick doesn't, so it's at an odd angle to apply.

It applies smoothly, but as described, is a matte finish, so quite drying for my lips. There was no hydration of the lips as the product describes.

Skyn Iceland - Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels 

An intense 10 minute weekly treatment packing the wrinkle erasing power of a muscle relaxing injection that instantly flattens expression lines you have, while preventing future ones from forming.

8 gel patches for $35.  Available at

These were really simple to apply to my face, and felt kind of cool underneath my eyes.

I took them off 10-15 minutes after application, and didn't really notice a difference (before is left picture, after is the right).

I am thinking that if this is a regular part of your beauty routine, it may make a difference, but one application is difficult to tell with. I hate testing and review products with only the chance to try it one time.

Science is about experiment, repeat, repeat, repeat.

Until my next Topbox review!!

December TopBox Review - The Benefit Package

So. I love Topbox.

For $12 a month I get 4-5 beauty product samples shipped to me on the 15th of each month.

One of the products is usually a full-sized product, so that in itself more than pays for the monthly fee.

December was shipped out on December 13th. And sat in's still showing there. So, I contacted their support staff after a few weeks to see if they could reship out a new package.

January 4th, they shipped out a second box.

It is still sitting in the York sorting plant....and never arrived.

This week, I contacted my person again, and she sent another box. It arrived the following day!

I think because Topbox is printed on the outside package, they were most likely taken by the postal staff instead of being delivered, as they never showed tracking leaving their original centres or show that they came close to Ottawa.  They ARE pretty awesome kits!

I normally order the regular kit (surprise as to what you get), but they sent me he Benefit Box as my replacement.  This is okay, as \I have received some of their samples before and love-love-loved them!

The December Benefit Box

They're Real! Tinted Primer - dual-purpose tinted lash primer - 8.5g for $31

This is a brown colour primer - a product type I have never used.  I think some people put multiple layers of mascara on, so they would be the target audience for lash primer.

I applied it, and it's not too thick - it would even look good just on its own.  It did create an awesome base for my mascara, and my lashes really DID look like they were't real without all the fuss and muss of fake eyelashes.

They're Real! Mascara - Dramatic length and volume mascara - 8.5g for $31

This is an amazing mascara - my lashes looked nice and full, and as hard as I tried, they didn't clump.
My lashes even curled upwards and really did look like high quality false eyelashes!

It was easy to apply, and the mascara doesn't clump on the brush either.

Roller Lash Mascara - Super curling and lifting mascara - 8.5g for $31

This mascara I have tried out previously and recently ran out of, so I was happy for a replacement.

It's another fabulous non-clumping mascara that adds a really nice natural curl to my eyelashes.

It applies really easily, separating the lashes with each stroke, and one coat is perfect for my lashes.

They're Real! Remover - take it all off - waterproof eye makeup remover - 50g for $23

This is a nice creamy gel formula that is rather gentle yet effective in small quantities.  Just apply a bit to a cotton pad, and it removes your eye makeup and mascara SO easily.

It also doesn't irritate my eyes (which happens with my normal remover).

Gimmie Brow - volumizing fiber gel - 3g for $30

This one I actually gave to an acquaintance at work, as I know she loves Benefit products and had mentioned how excited she was to get the Gimmie Brow in her first Topbox kit.

I just let my brows go au natural, so it would of just sat in my cupboard until I decided to give it away anyhow.

Pay it forward to make someone's day when you can :)

January's review is up next!

My Review on Beachbody's Hip Hop Abs Fitness Program

When I first "met" Shaun T, I didn't like him. 

His Stare through the TV is intimidating. And he doesn't give water breaks.

But After completing T25, Insanity Max 30, and even Cize, I have learned to embrace him.  Shaun T is good for my body.

I've also become quite fond of Hybrid workouts since my Cize/21 Day Fix Fiasco.  It means I become less bored, and stay motivated with a different instructor daily.

I know my only fallback on this Hybrid will be the lack of working out my arms.  I just REALLY want to get my mid section under control this year.  Arms will come later.

So I'm reviewing Hip Hop Abs here, and Brazil Butt Lift in a different blog page.

What Does Hip Hop Abs Promise?

"Dance your way to hot, sexy abs.
If you love to dance and you want to lose weight and tighten your midsection without doing sit-ups or crunches, Shaun T can show you how. Shaun uses a technique called “Tilt, Tuck & Tighten” to help you burn fat as you dance your way to six-pack abs.

In Hip Hop Abs®, Shaun breaks the dance moves down into steps, so almost anyone can do them. And the workouts are set to hot dance music, so they're high energy and fun.

You’ll get 4 routines (plus bonus routines) to learn Shaun T’s training techniques, burn calories, sculpt your abs, and lose fat all over. And you’ll have fun dancing to the hottest hip hop music.
Hip Hop Abs also includes the Step-by-Step Nutrition Guide to help you lose weight, the Results on the Run Diet Guide that shows you how to eat at your favorite fast food restaurants, the 6-Day SlimDown plan, a 30-Day workout calendar, 24/7 Online Support, and measurement tools to keep track of inches you lose." - Beachbody Site

The Routines

Fat Burning Cardio - 30 minutes

30 minutes of stand-up ab crunching moves!  The dance moves were simple, and set in about 5 minute increments with 3-4 moves incorporated into each set. 

After Cize, this was a breath of fresh air.  I could actually keep up and one doesn't have to be super co-ordinated to keep up.

I think I have to crunch more, as a day after the routine, I expected to feel my abs from all the side crunches...but I don't feel the pain from the routine the following day.  I probably just have to up my game and add some weights in.

Hips, Buns, and Thighs Workout - 25 minutes

Lift and firm those stubborn problem areas.

I did this the first time after completing Brazil Butt Lift's Bum Bum.  My Boom Boom was quite stiff getting off the bus on the way to work after 2 days of extreme booty workouts.

I got a bit of sweat on with Shaun T throughout this workout.  We learn some "dancy" type moves to get our behinds into gear - for REAL! 

The last 5 minutes of the workout were intense - with pulsing and holding the entire time.  I LOVE it! 

I don't get the cardio I normally do with Shaun T, but I am enjoying the variety of moves in this workout.

There is a "modifier," but she doesn't really modify anything.  So I just went full out in my squats and pulses.  The 25 minutes just flew by!

Secret to Flat Abs - 13 minutes

Shaun's exclusive training techniques target your upper abs, lower abs, and obliques while you burn fat.

No, it's not a miracle cure like the Ab-Hancer pictured above...but it's all about the standing up and moving while getting an abs workout.  I felt this one mainly around the sides with some funky oblique twists, which is good, as these love handles have to go!  

If you have done a Shaun T Abs workout before, this one isn't as intense as his other abs workouts, but it does target some different areas that the other don't.  

I recommend this program after one of Shaun T's other routines within the program to get a full body (minus the arms) workout.


Total Body Burn - 45 minutes

A head-to-toe workout that combines cardio and total body sculpting with even more ab-defining moves. 

This workout includes weights.  And a LOT of squats and oblique twists.  And push ups near the end.  
I am glad for the arm workout, as I was beginning to get a bit weak in the arms without my regular fix.  

Near the end, my hips were getting quite tight with the movements - I found the cure for this is not the flimsy "cool down" exercises, but I did a quick You Tube search for Hip Opening Yoga which has been my saving grace lately.  I think too many squats leads to tight hips for me. 

Ab Sculpt - 25 minutes

More moves to get you the six-pack you've always wanted without a single sit-up or crunch. 

First off, by this point, I dance and sing along with Shaun T to his corny rap at the beginning of the workout. I can't help it. 

Don't judge me.

With this workout, I feel I could do a million of these abs moves and still go. Obviously that would lead to me not being able to walk the next day.  So, just follow the program.  

I am sweating like anything after the first 10 minutes - moving all those big muscles definitely works.

The majority of the workout is standing up abs, with lots of hip lifts and gyrating your mid-section.  

I do not feel I could do this in a fitness class with others, as I would be giggling too much.  How old am I??

The last 5 minutes before stretching is on the floor - and includes more oblique-type twists and a fun move called the bow & arrow (it's pretty much the movement you think it is - like shooting a bow an arrow from the ground).


I give Hip Hop Abs a 4.5/5.

It's slowly getting rid of my one pack, and I'm starting to tuck in in all the right places.  I don't feel pain in my abs the following day though, hence not the 5*. 

I need to feel pain for there to be a 5*

You can make the moves harder with light weights - and feel ALL the pain.

This program also taught me that my hips are really quite tight and I need to focus on more stretches and releases for them - hence incorporating Yoga into my programs instead of the flimsy "stretches" the Beachbody programs offer at the end of each workout (that's another Blog Post for another day). 

The dance moves were easy to follow, and I always get my sweat on with Shaun T.  It's not his most intense program by far, but part of exercise is having fun with it and exploring new programs so your body doesn't plateau. 

Again, I just feel pressure with meal planning, so I didn't follow the meal plan.  I try my best to eat well, and that's all I have the energy for. 

I am looking forward to finishing up Hip Hop Abs/Brazil Butt Lift so I can score myself another t-shirt!  

***I am not a Beachbody Coach (nor will I ever be), I just really enjoy Beachbody Workouts for a fuller, healthier lifestyle***