The Publicist Group – Beauty Inside Out

Publicist Group: Beauty Head to Toe & Inside-Out

The Publicist Group is made up of a small, but mighty, group of motivated, business-savvy, stunning, and strong women.  Led by Melissa “MJ” Jovanoski and Cheryl Willberg, the entire TPG squad is worthy of a mega girl crush/ #WCW/ #goals. The women of TPG would have sat at the “popular table” in high school. This time, however, they actually want you to be the best you can be (and they invite you to every party!) Over the past year I’ve been invited to a number of events and activations all with a common goal: Beauty and Strength Inside & Out.

We are The Publicist Group aka TPG! We are a full-service communications agency that offers everything from traditional PR programs and marketing initiatives to ambassador programs and direct-to-consumer activations at the retail level, utilizing both traditional and digital platforms. Most importantly – we work with brands we love, including fashion, beauty, food, health & wellness, and lifestyle. Check us out @PublicistGroup! #TPG

Be seen and heard in all the right places with The Publicist Group. As a full-service communications agency located in the heart of downtown Toronto,
TPG offers an array of services from PR and marketing to events and influencer programs. Our team executes 360-degree strategies; delivers original, creative and result-driven campaigns; and loves to make noise across  the country with our clients’ initiatives.

We’ve got you covered, literally.

The Publicist Group is a collective of digital strategists, event planners, marketers, creative geniuses, social media gurus, and publicists. We don’t follow trends; we are trendsetters. Staying in tune with current events around the globe, the TPG team identifies shifts in the marketplace and are experts in creating relevant, newsworthy, and impactful programs that leave a lasting impression.

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How do you stay on track when results are slow? . . It's no secret that fitness has played an **active** role in my life, especially over the past 4 years. When I went to Korea, I had way more time to dedicate to my goals by spending time in the gym AND in the kitchen. Over the past 7 months my body has been recalibrating, and even though I spend as much time in the gym (if not more!), am drinking less, and sleeping more, I've gained about 25 lbs back. Does that mean I'm giving up? Absolutely not! I am, however, looking for new ways to keep on track. . . One way I stay focused is by watching/ reading the content of other creators in our social media/ content marketing space locally. Check out my new pal @theventiblonde for healthy ways to refuel after breaking a sweat! This is when we met at @fitfactoryto earlier this year 🥊💪 // #fitness . . . . . . #gym #fit #fitgirls #fitgirl #fitgirlsguide #fitfactory #toronto #416 #progressnotperfection #progress #cardio #boxing #girlswholift #blondeshavemorefun #healthy #healthylifestyle #gymrat #gymtime💪 #goodlife #yyz #torontofitness #resolutions #newyearsameme #피트니스 #휘트니스 #복싱다이어트 #복싱

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Fit Factory

The Publicist Group introduced me to the Fit Factory Fitness when I was right in the middle of tapering off at Big Hit Studios and kicking off a challenge at F45 St. Clair West. Conveniently located on King St. West a few blocks East of Spadina, it’s billed as the #1 Gym in Toronto. Personally, I found their Bootcamp to be overcrowded. With only one trainer providing a very quick overview of an intense workout, I was concerned about my safety as veterans tossed around heavy weights and newbies tried to follow suit. The boxing class, on the other hand, was a stellar workout. The trainers were energetic and the class itself had varying levels of intensity. The water bags were also pretty wild and fun to smack around!

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IT'S #CONTEST TIME! 🔥 This St. Patrick's Day, I will, of course, be seeing green. This time, it won't start with green beer. 🍀🍻 @city_shred is taking it to the turf to honour the strength of women in the #fitness community in #Toronto! Want to win 2 tickets to #workout with me on March 17, 2019 from 9 AM to 1:30 PM? Steps to enter: 1. Like this photo 2 Follow @thatgirlcartier and @city_shred 3. Comment your No. 1 fitness goal for 2019! 4. For additional entries, tag your #gym buddy and/ or your fave place to break a sweat in #YYZ! 💪 *Canadian residents only. Winner chosen at random. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Instagram. Tickets are being generously donated by @publicistgroup and City Shred (thank you!) Contest closes at 12 PM EST on Thursday March 14, 2019 and winner announced shortly thereafter! 🏋️‍♀️ One Day. One Community. One EPIC workout. // #Cityshred #giveaway #prize #416 #fit #gymrat #progressnotperfection #progress #fitfam #fitnessmotivation #fitlife #cardio #health #getstrong #weightlifting #girlswholift #sweat #youcandoit #noexcuses #goals #fitfluential #exercise #active #iamstrong

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City Shred

City Shred is a massive group workout hosted once a quarter by The Publicist Group and sponsored by Genuine Health. The energy is electric and it’s an opportunity to meet some of the biggest names in fitness in Toronto, as well as special guests from around the world. I missed the July edition due to the rat situation, but back in March I crushed their Women’s edition. I got to enjoy a day which started with round-table discussion with the coaches who would be leading us through the day.

The key to mastering City Shred is to go at your own pace. I’m not the machine I was 2 years ago, and I certainly wasn’t prepared to compete with fitness professionals who coach several classes a day while I’m at my desk. Find your own space, take yourself beyond your comfort level, and have fun making friends and admiring those showing off their bad-ass muscles. Ps. Can you spot me in the preview of the video above? #SweatyBetty

Sproos Life

Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body. Taking a collagen supplement can help improve your skin, relieve joint pain, boost muscle mass, prevent bone loss, promote heart health, aid in digestion and gut health, and make your hair and nails grow. The benefits of adding collagen to my diet weren’t clear until I stopped taking it daily. Subtle aches and pains after sitting at my desk for a while suddenly returned. Bouncing back after a night out wasn’t quite so easy. My poor bleached and butchered hair started to break again. Sproos Life is a collagen supplement to which I was introduced by TPG at the gorgeous Pray Tell on College St. We mixed cocktails and mocktails which each had a serving of collagen mixed-in.

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Hydrolyzed bovine collagen peptides sourced from the hides of grass-fed, pasture-raised North American cattle, to help restore and rebuild your body’s natural collagen.

  • 10 g of grass-fed bovine collagen per serving
  • Pure collagen – nothing else added
  • Highly soluble
  • 100% grass-fed and grass-finished
  • Free of antibiotics, hormones and pesticides
  • Add to your favourite hot or cold beverage, or even to soups or oatmeal

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The 4th Annual T.O. Vegan Social Pop Up

Toronto Vegan Social Pop-Up is happening Thursday September 5th from 6:30 PM – 10:30 PM at Love Child Social House!

Reserve your tickets by 9 PM EST on Monday, September 2nd, 2019, to automatically be entered in the draw to WIN AN EPIC $1,000+ VEGAN PRIZE PACK!

Tickets are $35 and available on Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/toronto-vegan-social-pop-up-presented-by-vegan-social-events-tickets-48658251139

This year, Vegan Social Events will be collecting donations on the Eventbrite page, in support of Save Our Scruff, a registered charitable organization dedicated to rescuing dogs.

Vivier

At the end of February, the team introduced me to Vivier. We learned about how to combat signs of aging using skincare products including retinol and spf. With my upcoming vacation to The Philippines, I wasn’t quite ready to play with tools which would initially irritate my skin (the purge!). So, I waited until the beginning of May to get started with this line. I haven’t yet written a full-scale review because 3 of the 5 products in the kit we were so generously gifted are still trucking along 4 months later!

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Running through the 6 & Looking for love in all the wrong places. Self love is a good place to start though, right? ♡ Last night we took in a guided meditation at @myndfulme right above @caliiloveco on King West in Toronto. They have an amazing deal right now: 30 days for $30 (which I purchased yesterday at their media event and which is available to the public T O D A Y only!) 💗 // #bemindful . . . . . . . . . . . . #mindfulness #yoga #pilates #selflove #heart #Toronto #yyz #yyzblogger #blonde #expat #expatwomen #gltlove #calilove #cali #california #yogastudio #meditation #meditate #416 #dametraveler #sheisnotlost #eatingfortheinsta #cravethe6ix #girlswhotravel #tbt #throwback #throwbackthursday #style

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Myndful Me

Myndful Me was sadly a bit of a bust for me. We went checked out the space and learned how to make charcoal cookies with adaptogens after being led through a meditation practice. The music and the direction made for a very pensive, but relaxing evening. I purchased their $30 unlimited 1-month special and was told I could use it whenever. I had a couple of upcoming trips, so I didn’t want to use it until the new year. When I tried to apply my purchase I was told it had expired. Correspondence to correct the issue was never responded to. Not so zen, eh?

Toppik Canada & Viviscal Canada

Big thanks to @publicistgroup for bringing me along to the stunning #LoveYourStory event at @stregistoronto! I got to hear from a plethora of women who have learned to love their own stories of struggle and trauma and turn them into an armor of confidence with a lining of understanding.

  • Events with this team always have motivational speakers, the most stunning décor, phenomenal food, and an interactive component so you don’t just see a product/ brand, you become part of it.
  • I woke up the next morning and treated my stressed tresses to @viviscal@viviscalcanada shampoo, conditioner, and desensifying elixir. My hair is already thick, so this leo was rocking a full mane that day! It actually dried faster and was easier to manage when straightening. I typically have a lot of breakage (bottle blonde) , so let’s see if we can put an end to my split ends! 👱‍♀️

Featuring a PR team on my personal blog isn’t exactly the status quo around here. Every time I get an e-mail about an event or activation from TPG I think to myself, “Wow – that’s out of the box”. There’s only so much you can see on my  feed/ in my stories, and because of this I wanted to share something a little more permanent. Over the past year The Publicist Group has proven that  being true to yourself and your vision, rather than accepting business for the sake of having business, goes a long way.

Low-Carb Cartier: Keto Egg Roll in a Bowl

Keto Egg Roll in a Bowl Recipe

Keto Egg Roll in a Bowl 

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 package Mann’s Sunny Shores Power Blend
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger (I used dehydrated ginger because I didn’t have time to chop)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Brown the ground pork (I used a saucepan to keep the veggies contained, but a large wok or frying pan would work, too!)
  2. Combine the onion with the browned ground pork.
  3. Mix together with sesame oil and continue cooking over medium heat.
  4. Once the onions have softened, add garlic, ground ginger, and soy sauce.
  5. Add the Power Blend (or your favourite Keto-friendly vegetables).
  6. Continue stirring over low-medium heat for approximately 5 minutes to ensure the vegetables have softened and the sauce has mixed evenly.

Keto Egg Roll Approximate Macros (per serving – recipe yields 4 servings):

  • 285 Calories
  • 19g Protein
  • 11g Carbohydrates
  • 4g Fiber
  • 20g Fat

Click here for more low-carb/ keto recipes!

Fears, Tears & Transition Years – 10 Ways to Destress & Feel Youthful

Thirty, Flirty, and Thriving

Jenna Rink (13 Going on Thirty) gave me unrealistic expectations about what “Thirty, Flirty, and Thriving” might mean. I am all of those things, for the most part, but when I envisioned life in my early thirties I remembered the movie with rose-coloured goggles and neglected the negatives. Millennials on the whole are reflected in these lenses. Contrary to popular belief, we don’t grow up and inherit a closet full of designer dresses which we wear to parties choreographed by legends of the past. We’re struggling to meet many of the milestones and youthful hopes and dreams we expected to achieve by a particular time in our lives.

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For me, the biggest of these milestones is home ownership. I genuinely thought that since I was managing a department at a pretty well-known online media company before finishing my Bachelors degree, I could take success for granted. For others, climbing the corporate ladder hasn’t been as linear a path as anticipated. Some of my friends thought reproduction would be more straightforward. Others, like myself, find dating to be pretty pathetic. I’ve set it aside for the moment.

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These are what I like to call “transition years”. We’re no longer halfway there/ livin’ on a prayer partying and living large on $20/ night. We’re not curling up and falling asleep on the couch to 60 minutes, either. My world through these transition years has been stressing me out. On top of it all, I’m approaching another rotation around the sun. At a time when I should be celebrating, I’m just kind of over it. I’d rather be celebrating exciting moments of accomplishment rather than reminding myself that time marches on. Maybe I’ll celebrate my career anniversary with a housewarming party (yes friends, we’re rat-free!)

Brave the Brow Bar

I had been tweezing for some time and thought I was doing a decent enough job of cleaning up. Wowza – how could I have been so wrong? After a few hackjobs in the past, I went to WAXON in Riverside. Latifah not only kept my shape natural, she gave my brows a bit of a trim which made all the difference. Your brows surround the windows to your soul. Make sure they’re a pretty frame!

BONUS: I bought this Citrus Twist Loofah Scrub (Blood Orange & White Grapefruit) and it’s making my morning! “This loofah scrub duals as a loofah and luxurious soap in one! Exfoliate and cleanse daily with your favourite delicious scent while saving time in your daily body wash routine. Perfect for everyday use to help keep those pesky ingrown hairs away! Oh, and did we mention… it smells DELICIOUS!”

Available scents:

  • CITRUS TWIST – Blood Orange & White Grapefruit
  • LEMONRAZZ – Raspberry Lemonade
  • POMTINI – Pomegranate Mango

I love that it’s smooth on one side and exfoliating on the other. The scent is out of this world, too. Will let you know how long it takes for the full loofah to emerge!

Bet on a Blowout

I got to enjoy a blow-out in Leaside earlier this year at their Grand Opening, which was to dye die for. I’m kind of obsessed with the community Farah (owner of Blo Blow Dry Bar Leaside) has created. The small shop leaves lots of room for inclusive conversation and lots of laughs!

Farah’s words of wisdom? “It’s important to be coifed, kissable and connected – never leave home without a comb, gloss and phone! Oh, and keep your head, heels and standard high. When it comes to hair, Farah’s mantra is Big Hair For Life.”

BONUS: They do makeup applications (their GLO brand makes insanely beautiful lip glosses). They also stock some of my fave hair care brands like UNITE Hair  7 Seconds Condition Leave In Detangler and the Color Wow Dream Coat (to de-frizz and tame your tresses!)

 

Get a Manicure

Her Majesty’s Pleasure is one of the pricier places you can go for a manicure in Toronto. The ambiance, décor, and cheerful chatter (due to some fantastic cocktails, no doubt) are a can’t-miss for those who want to feel whimsical and girly.

BONUS: Look at these *perfect for the ‘gram* “Call for Champagne” rotary phones? We did, in fact, call for some bubbly – a bottle is virtually the same price as 2 cocktails.

Invest in Skincare

This one I can’t stress enough. A new, easy to follow skincare routine is such a blessing and a great way to rejuvenate. I’ve been alternating Miracle 10 Skincare with other great quality brands for 7 years. Their starter collection is perfect for someone like me who has aging skin, but who isn’t quite a prune. The sticker price may shock you ($328), but when you think about the ease of use and how long the products last (months, truth be told) it’s worth it.

“This combination is designed to visibly improve damage caused by sun exposure, extreme weather, pollutants, smoking, dehydration and age-related conditions such as fine lines, wrinkles, sun spots, dull skin surface and uneven pigmentation. Highly effective ingredients including exfoliants, antioxidants, decongesting botanicals, along with skin brightening agents provide correction and healing.”

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Looking at you😍 #glowgetter 📸 @revealwinnipeg

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BONUS: They have seasonal events with wine, hors d’oeuvres, a speaker series, and plenty of deals. I’m talking buy $150 worth of product and get $250 – $500 worth of products free. Last time I bought their Platinum cleanser and got a facial, a giftcard for cosmetic services, a make-up application (for a later date), and a full-size toner as gifts with purchase. Sign up for their e-mail list – it’s a total no-brainer!

Fancy a Facial

Getting your glam on all in one place is easy. After the winter beauty event at Miracle 10 Skincare, I booked a facial at The Plastic Surgery Clinic. Both are located on Scollard Street in Yorkville, so you can feel completely chic (and Gangnam Style) for your treatment. The easiest way to glow up quickly is through dermaplaning. This treatment is often added to a facial. It removes the fine hairs which are known for trapping dirt, oil and dead skin cells in your pores. This is the main cause of acne. Dermaplaning leaves your skin brighter giving you that “baby smooth” and glowing look and feel!

Investigate Botox

I did that thing everyone warns you against. Finding my nurse injector, Fresh Cosmetic Clinic, through Groupon was a massive gamble, and thank goodness it turned out well! In Korea, the only people who did my botox or lip injections were board certified plastic surgeons. Here, they tend to be done by nurse injectors, which for some reason made me really nervous.

Botox/ fillers were not at all taboo in Seoul. In Toronto, it’s becoming more popular to discuss openly, and I hope people feel more comfortable sharing their experiences soon. We go to the dentist to keep out teeth clean and cavity free. The gym’s the spot to keep heart healthy and in good shape. Why shouldn’t we invest in our faces which change with diminished collagen production and elasticity?

High Quality H20

Stop, drop, and drink! I try to ensure that I’m getting about 4 L of water throughout my day. It gives me something on which to focus and gets me out of my chair and away from my desk when I fill up my water bottle. I don’t need to lecture you on the benefits of drinking water, do I?

Go See Some Stand-Up

I love to sit back and listen. I also love a good belly laugh. Seeing a set at your local comedy bar and watering hole accomplishes both! If you go on an amateur night you’ve got the added bonus of seeing someone else worth through their issues. The last time I caught a show one of the comics was a later in life laugh who was going deaf. Hearing about some of his life experiences being more than hard of hearing had me in stitches. The man’s timing was impeccable!

Run Through a Sprinkler

…or do something equally as juvenile, refreshing, and deliciously youthful. We’ve literally coined a term to show how poorly we’re doing as grown-ups (“Adulting for Dummies”, amirite?), so why not flip back to the joys of earlier days?

What do you do to relax, look your best, and feel youthful?

Let us know in the comments!

Summertime Gladness – Tasteful Twists on a Moscow Mule

Moscow Mule Variations Just in Time for the Long Weekend

The August long weekend is always a little upsetting special for me since it’s in and around my birthday. The city is quiet as most lucky people head off to a cottage. This is why I used to celebrate my half-birthday in February as a child.

Now that I’m back in Canada and my parents live outside of town, I tend to either soak up the stillness of Toronto, or head out to visit them in Port Hope. We celebrated Canada’s birthday in the backyard with a gorgeous backdrop of peonies and a kit sent from Wheatley Vodka and Siren Communications. In this magical delivery (dropped strategically on my desk while I was working on 5 projects) were all the fixin’s for a Moscow Mule! Here’s how to make the cocktail in the traditional way:

Wheatley Vodka Moscow Mule

Recipe:

  1. Pour vodka in a copper mug with ice
  2. Top with ginger beer and lime
  3. Stir and enjoy!

Keto Moscow Mule Recipe

This recipe is a modification of I Breathe, I’m Hungry‘s Keto Moscow Mule Recipe. Approximate nutritional info per 7 oz serving:

  • 134 Calories
  • 0g Fat
  • 1.5g Net Carbs
  • 0g Protein
Ginger Syrup:
* You can make your own or just buy Diet Ginger Beer on Amazon
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced, peeled ginger
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar substitute (such as Stevia)
      1. Combine the ginger, water and sweetener in a small saucepan
      2. Bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes
      3. Cool for 1 hour, then strain and store in a clean jar in the fridge for up to 2 weeks

Recipe:

  • 2 oz Vodka
  • 0.5 oz Fresh Lime Juice
  • 0.5 oz Ginger Syrup (recipe above)
  • 4 oz Diet Ginger Ale
  • Fresh mint leaves to muddle/ garnish at your leisure
  1. For a stronger mint flavor, muddle (smash) the mint leaves around in the bottom of the copper mug
  2. Add ice and vodka
  3. Top with ginger syrup, ginger ale, and lime
  4. Stir and Enjoy!

Cherry Moscow Mule

  • 4 Fresh Cherries (pitted)
  • 2 oz Vodka
  • 0.5 oz Fresh Lime Juice
  • 4 oz Diet Ginger Ale + 0.5 oz Ginger Syrup (recipe above) OR 4 oz Ginger Beer
  1. In the bottom of your copper mug, muddle four pitted cherries with the juice of half a lime
  2. Add vodka, lime juice, and ice then top with ginger beer or Keto alternative
  3. Garnish with a lime wedge and a fresh cherry
  4. Serve and Enjoy!

Garden Party Mule

  • 2 oz Vodka
  • 0.5 oz Fresh Lime Juice
  • 4 oz Diet Ginger Ale + 0.5 oz Ginger Syrup (recipe above) OR 4 oz Ginger Beer
  • Rosemary
  • Mint
  • Cucumber (diced)
  • Edible Flowers
  1. In the bottom of your copper mug, muddle cucumber and mint with the juice of half a lime
  2. Add vodka, lime juice, and ice then top with ginger beer or Keto alternative
  3. Garnish with an edible flower or fresh rosemary for visual appeal and scent
  4. Serve and Enjoy!

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Mexican Mule

Jalapeño Vodka

  • 2 jalapeños, sliced
  • 1 cup vodka

Combine the sliced jalapeño and the vodka in a jar and shake.  Let it sit for 24 hours. The longer it sits the stronger it will get.  If you want just a hint of jalapeño, let sit for just an hour.

Mexican Mules

  • 2 oz Jalapeño Vodka (strained)
  • 0.5 oz Fresh Lime Juice
  • 4 oz Diet Ginger Ale + 0.5 oz Ginger Syrup (recipe above) OR 4 oz Ginger Beer
  1. Add jalapeño vodka, lime juice, and ice then top with ginger beer or Keto alternative
  2. Garnish with a jalapeño wheel and lime wedge
  3. Serve and Enjoy!

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Bourbon Mule

The mastermind behind this Wheatley Vodka is Master Distiller Harlen Wheatley, of Buffalo Trace Distillery, which is based out of Frankfort, Kentucky.  Adding a Bourbon Mule was a bit of a no-brainer!

Rosemary Bourbon

Add a few sprigs of rosemary to a bottle of Buffalo Trace Bourbon and let sit for a week or two. Remove the rosemary, strain, and enjoy!

Bourbon Mule

  • 2 oz Rosemary Bourbon (strained)
  • 0.5 oz Fresh Lime Juice
  • 4 oz Diet Ginger Ale + 0.5 oz Ginger Syrup (recipe above) OR 4 oz Ginger Beer
  1. Add rosemary bourbon, lime juice, and ice then top with ginger beer or Keto alternative
  2. Garnish with a fresh cherry and a sprig of rosemary for visual appeal and fragrance
  3. Serve and Enjoy!
Image for Wheatley Vodka from LCBO

About Wheatley Vodka 

$36.95 at the LCBO

Craft Distilled by Master Distiller Harlen Wheatley and his dedicated team at the Distillery, Wheatley Vodka is made in small batches using Harlen’s one of a kind micro-still and a unique recipe of wheat and other grains.

Distilled a total of 10 times, triple filtered, and bottled at 82 proof, this artisanal vodka has a clean, crisp, and fresh taste.  Harlen has always wanted to make a premium vodka, and knows from experience that  wheat offers a delicate and balanced flavor profile.

The wheat recipe is cooked, fermented, and distilled seven times on the micro-still before being married with a recipe made from other grains and distilled an additional three times.  As Harlen describes it, “This is how vodka is supposed to taste.”

Tasting Notes: Crafted in small batches, it has notes of citrus, wheat and traces of vanilla. Medium-bodied and clean, pure, and crisp on the nose, it has a long finish.

Wheatley Icon

Candidly Cartier – My Rodent Problem is like My Ex

Let’s be real – living in Toronto has not exactly been a cakewalk. My last apartment was actually affordable. It was also far from the modern amenities I enjoy downtown as a single Sally in the city. In this creaky old house divided into apartments, my upstairs neighbours (and their new, massive puppy) stomped around, bounced a ball, argued constantly, and played “How I Met Your Mother” on repeat. “Ba ba ba ba baaaaaaaaa ba ba ba baaaaaa ba ba ba da da dum ba da da da daaaaaaaa” haunts my nightmares to this day. I had no heat from November through January, and in February decided enough was enough and I had to vacate.

Nearly everywhere humans dwell, rats can be found living, too. I’m not just talking about the backstabbing betches spewing lies and exhausting themselves spewing vitriol. I’m talking about actual rodents. They’re all over the place, and unless what I saw was the biggest MoFo-king mouse, they’re in my new apartment, too.

We often equate rats with being dirty and diseased, yet we also describe humanity as a rat race. Are we all just dirty, diseased beings trying to bypass one another, grab that brass cheese (er – ring), and make it out alive? Maybe it’s just that we’re both warm blooded, we’re all mammals, and we give birth to living young. here are the ways in which both my exes and these rats are unwanted guests.

I never know when he’ll come to visit

While rodents are nocturnal animals, I’ve noticed that certain bait I’ve put out at before leaving for work has disappeared by the time I get home. My little furry friend is much like my big furry friend. Mr. “Doesn’t Believe in Monogamy” works on his own terms and comes to visit when he pleases. No part of me thought my new place would invite either. Both are unexpected and unwanted pests.

He lives in a hole in the wall

It’s amazing how shady some of my exes’ living arrangements have been. From Ex-CoP on the army base with no kitchen, all-burnt sienna errythang, and a broken couch (yes, I’m aware), to the aforementioned non-monogamous douche-canoe who lives in the dingiest corner in the basement of a nice Leslieville house he actually owns, it’s no wonder my exes want to spend the majority of their time at mine. It’s tantamount to Ratty ratterson climbing through pipes . I’m just as afraid of finding vermin in the toilets as I am my ex!

He doesn’t pay rent

My mouse/ rat/ whatever contributes nothing to my home, and the ex I adored sure didn’t either. Adonis lived with me rent-free and I’m pretty sure it damn near killed him to play a role where his masculinity was threatened. I do, however, miss having someone to do my laundry, tidy up my flat, and make me dinner. There’s only I one I could do without snuggling up to at night, however.

He wakes me up in the middle of the night

Speaking of nightly activities, while my pajamas parties have hit a staunch halt, my rat pal is up at all hours. My ex snored loudly, and would head for a midnight snack, a trip to the loo, or for a bit of a frisk at unexpected hours. Mr. Rat, however, is up looking for one thing only – food. I can no longer keep paper or plastic out in the open, and any garbage is taken out immediately. Also, just the thought of him potentially scampering about my space keeps me up at night.

He’s very active

Great for the ex, bad for the rat. Looks like marriage has sure softened up ole Co-P, but when we were together we were very active and worked out a lot. Not sure if I can hack a 4 AM workout these days, though. Mr. Rat and I will not be fitness pals.

He eats my food, but I still have to feed him

You can’t keep food in unsealed containers if there’s a boy or a rodent about. They. Will. Eat. It. And. Expect. More. At least with the rodent I’ve put out peanut butter and eco-friendly rat bait which seems to be an enjoyable snack for my guest.

I clean up after him

They leave their shit everywhere.

I don’t know how many others he’s seeing

As evidenced by my relationships with Adonis, Co-P, and Mr. Non-Monogamous I am not great at knowing when the apple of my eye is getting too friendly with others. As they say with rats: where there’s one, there are many.

 

I have no idea what diseases he’s carrying

Rats and humans often suffer from the same diseases, and I’m worried as to what’s being brought into my home. At least with an unfaithful man you can get tested and (hopefully) treated. What rodents bring into your home can be deadly. We have similar organs, basic physiology, similar hormones, we both have nervous systems that work in the same way, and similar body plans. While research on rats has been done to propel human disease control, vaccines, and cures, I’m not sure I want testing going the other way around.

Ultimately, I kind of want him dead

Okay, I’m mostly only talking about the rat in this case, but I often feel I would have been better off not knowing a couple of my exes. Adonis burrowed a hole in my heart I don’t think can ever quite be patched up. Ex-Co-P was a strain on my resources and the source of constant drama. The guys I’ve dated in Toronto have been a blur of pathetic POS. If I could wipe them all out from my memory, I absolutely would.

Low-Carb Cartier: Coconut Low-Carb Cookie Dough Recipe

Cookie Dough Balls, Fat Bombs, Low-Carb Cookie Dough

Low-Carb Cookie Dough bites are super easy to make, have no eggs, and hit the spot every time! Read on to find out how to make these keto-friendly eats.

Ingredients

Yields 14 servings

  • 4 tbsp. Butter
  • 8 tbsp. Cream Cheese
  • 1/3 cup Erythritol
  • 1/2 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup coconut flour
  • 3 tbsp. Dark chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Whip butter until light and fluffy. I didn’t use a hand mixer, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea if you have one.
  2. Add cream cheese and continue to whip.
  3. Add erythritol, vanilla and salt and beat until combined.
  4. Add the coconut flour slowly and mix until there are no lumps.
  5. Toss in chocolate chips.
  6. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put in refrigerator for 20 minutes until firm.
  7. Scoop into little balls and roll until you’re satisfied with the shape.
  8. Enjoy your Low-Carb Cookie Dough Fat Bombs!

Nutritional Information

Per Serving

  • 127 Calories
  • 3.5 g Net Carbs (5.9 g Carbs &  2.4 g Fiber)
  • 7.9 g Fat
  • 1.4 g Protein

I made another version of this Low-Carb Cookie Dough recipe adding a bit of cocoa powder and a bit of peanut butter. Maybe not the greatest when trying to make something portable, but taking a spoon to it after dinner and letting yourself have a bite? Pretty tasty!

*Don’t try baking these into actual cookies. They won’t taste great!

Low-Carb Cartier – Easy Keto Ice Cream Dessert Recipe

Keto Ice Cream, Keto Chocolate, Low Carb Chocolate, Low Carb Ice Cream, Recipe, Dessert

I genuine hate finding recipes on blogs because you have to sift through the story of why and for whom this keto recipe was made on a particular spring day in ZzzZzzZzz…

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 1 Tablespoon Stevia (or 0 Calorie Erythritol)
  • 1 Tablespoon Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

Optional Additions:

  • 1 Tablespoon Sugar Free Chocolate Chips
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Peanut Butter
  • Nuts? Add in whatever you like – just consult the nutritional facts first.

Instructions:

  • Combine all ingredients in a jar with a screw top. Make sure it’s one you can shake without the contents going everywhere.
  • Shake vigorously for 2-3 minutes.
  • Freeze for 2 hours +
  • Enjoy!

Nutritional Information

  • 217 Calories
  • 3.4 g Net Carbs (5.4 g Carbs & 2 g Fiber)
  • 22.7 g Fat
  • 1.7 g Protein

The backstory: I have a massive sweet tooth. I’m pretty good about watching what I eat on a low-carb or keto diet, but when it comes to that time when PMS starts to rear its ugly head, I want a little something sweet. This keto recipe was inspired by Peace Love and Low Carb , but I genuinely had to scroll through the website and a gazillion ads that find the ingredients and instructions. No bueno!

Hope you enjoy this recipe – I only make as much as I’ll allow myself to finish in one sitting, but if you’ve got more willpower than me go ahead and batch up a bunch for your keto diet!

 

Candidly Cartier: Conflict Resolution – Why Don’t We Try A Little Harder?

Conflict Resolution in Relationships

In healthy relationships there’s always a little conflict. Whether it’s the cat and mouse game when first pursuing/ being pursued or the “will they/ won’t they” I once fondly remembered as being “juicy”, conflict and conflict resolution make for healthy relationships. If there’s no conflict, typically one party is sacrificing who they are as a person to appease the other. If your partner doesn’t respect how you think or feel, I might question how strong the relationship really is. It can be so easy to give up and walk away. You can swipe right on your next love, bff, or even your job! Why aren’t we trying harder to resolve that conflict and level up inter-personally?

Fixing Failures

After my ex and I broke up we both started dating others in an effort to put a band-aid on our poor little hearts. My relationship didn’t work out because, let’s be candid, I always had one foot out the door and was waiting for the other shoe to drop with him. The ex, on the other hand, learned from our “failed” relationship and has bent over backwards for his much younger lady love. Why? Well, he said he couldn’t face the hopeless feeling of another failed relationship. Rather than giving up and getting on Tinder, he’s making an effort to manage and resolve conflict. I wish we had tried that hard, and I commend him for his efforts.

Repairing Through Conflict

If ex’s new(est) relationship has taught me anything, it’s that maybe I need to give a closer look to conflict resolution. If someone as stubborn and sarcastic as he can make it work, I think it’s time I take a look at ways to navigate conflict in my next relationship (you know – if I ever meet a dude I want to see a second time in this city).

Make Eye Contact

Give the person your full attention. If they’re bringing a complaint your way, give them your eye contact and listen actively. If you’re bringing a complaint to the table, don’t be sheepish. Ensure your body-language is open so that your partner feels you’re emotionally connected and open to what he or she is saying.

Be Direct

Don’t dance around the issue. Before coming to the table with an issue or set of problems, consider why you feel a certain way, and what you might say (and how you’ll say it) in an effort to come to a resolution. Be direct in saying what you’re feeling or how something is particularly effecting you. Wishy-washy statements using “maybe” or “I dunno” aren’t effective. Say what you feel and let the other person react. Working through issues as they come up can help you/ your partner’s self-esteem, and make big blow-ups a thing of the past.

Don’t Assert Blame

The person may not even realize that a particular action is bothering you. Passive aggressive comments will just upset the other person, bringing you much further away from intimacy and mutual respect. Statements like “my problem with you is ___” can be better positioned as “it’s a problem for me when ___”. Avoid saying “you did___” even if what the person did is entirely infuriating. You want resolution, not further conflict, right?

Image result for oh brother eye roll gif

Avoid Making Sweeping Generalizations

Use specific instances and “I Feel” comments. Be genuine and pick your battles wisely. Don’t name-call, use sarcasm, or roll your eyes (I personally have serious work to do on this one – Tina Fey and I share epic eye-rolls).

Listen

We have two ears and one mouth – maybe we should be listening a little better! Hear your partner’s complaint(s) thoroughly without interrupting. Respond when they’re finished and try to use elements of what they’ve just told you without contempt. Don’t just wait to speak. Listen.

Find Positive Even in the Negative

When I have a tough day at work, I’ll typically start considering feelings about particular moments or actions. When I turn my thoughts to my daily tasks and long-standing projects on the whole, I think about how interesting my career is and how much I love what I do. Your relationships are the same. Certainly there are moments which will make you want to strangle the other person, but on the whole – do they bring you joy? Is this person a major contributor to your life? Focus on those elements and, if possible, bring them up. If you find ways to make (non-sarcastic) jokes in the midst of a negative conversation, you might be able to lighten the mood and find a break-through. Try to brainstorm a solution rather than letting the issue sit as a problem.

Conflict – Just Move On

Ultimately, conflict is a significant source of stress for most of us. It makes us uncomfortable. Often we don’t know what to say or there you’ve just tried too many times to make the other person comfortable. Are you constantly bending over backwards for someone who is just using you? Evaluate whether it’s worth the conflict resolution or if you should give up and move on. You might just find it’s a great relief to back off and move on. Take a break. Sometimes it’s worth coming back to and sometimes it’s better left alone.

Conflict is a sign of maturity when resolved through open and honest communication. Using Tinder, Hinge, Bumble, or any of the other hundreds of dating apps and sites out there to find the next best thing instead of putting a little effort into your current relationship is immature and irresponsible. You wouldn’t send a perfectly good car to a chop-shop due to a flat tire, right? Don’t throw away a solid relationship due to a disagreement or even a fundamental issue which could be resolved through communication and changed behaviour.

Candidly Cartier: It’s Not About You

Sometimes I feel like I shouldn’t have to write this part, and sometimes it’s more of a reminder for myself: this is a blog. This is a place where I throw away all the academic writing I’ve learned for school. Writing guides at my current job have no place here. Toronto Seoulcialite is where I write my informative pieces, not here. This is a stream of consciousness and sarcasm allowing me to communicate with you, lovely readers, but also for me to figure out how to handle what’s going on in my life.

I so desperately wanted comfort from one person in particular Thursday night when this all transpired. Instead, he turned the conversation almost immediately to himself and his “problems” and completely dismissed mine.

I told someone recently, single people in Toronto are like Baskin Robbins. The women are the ice cream. You have 31 sweet, rich, basic, colourful, fun, fat-free, and decadent flavour options available at any given time just ready and waiting to be scooped up. The men are the cones: small, regular, large, plain, waffle, chocolate, or sprinkles (what it do, Church Street?) and they’re almost ALL broken. How I could have expected my Mr. of a year (May 2nd, bro) to actually be there for me was clearly insane.

Not Okay, Grief, Frustration, Candidly Cartier, That Girl Cartier

I’m not okay. The last couple of weeks had left me feeling pretty defeated, already. Thursday night I returned home from an event to find that a tradesperson who had been contracted by my property management company had left my apartment in complete disarray, with filth covering my freshly swiffered floors. What’s more – several luxury skincare items, some costume jewelry, and a pair of my pants were missing.

Physical items can be replaced, and if this person (who I’m certain clears double what I make annually) really needed what I had, then fine – take it. What I can’t replace is the feeling of security in my own home. I know that I have a 3 bolt lock system on my door. I thought the last person was just paranoid, but I’m starting to understand. The bolt locks have me covered while I’m sleeping, but what about when I’m at work? How do I know that this person who was clearly left unsupervised doesn’t have a key to my apartment? What kind of assurance do I have that he or she won’t return to hawk my laptop or sentimental items passed down from my grandmother?

Not knowing exactly what to do, I called a couple of people who I thought might help me calm down. Two of the three have a ton of personal issues going on right now. Marriage for one, divorce for the other, sleepless nights and therapy for both. These people have so much going on in their personal lives, but they both asked if I needed them to come stay the night so that I could regain some trust and, even if I didn’t feel safe, protected at the very least.

The third person I called is a man who I’ve known for a year now. He has sought solace in my words and my company. I’ve brought him lunch at work and have made him tea at my home. When he returned my call, he told me the same thing as the police on the non-emergency line: do my own thorough investigation as there’s nothing else which could be done. This single man didn’t have hair dye cooking. He certainly wasn’t preparing for a weekend of division of assets. Dude was tired from work, continuing education, and hockey. After telling Mr. “Doesn’t Believe in Monogamy” that I felt in distress, he had the audacity to start complaining about how hard it was to juggle his full-time job, part-time studies, and physical fitness. I’m the last person to pity someone for an attempt at work ethic. Work, studies, fitness, and freelance deliverables are par for the course in my world, and if that hasn’t been apparent to him by now, then he’s clearly not taken an iota of interest in who I am as a person.

My reaching out to you when I’m in a pickle is not an opportunity for you to complain. I called you because you continue to rely on me for psychological and physical support. I thought just this one time you might reciprocate. The physical things which were taken are not the issue. Vulnerability in this instance comes not from thinking I’ll be hurt physically, it’s the mental turmoil associated with a violation of trust. This isn’t about you, but at the same time maybe it is. Maybe this is the wake-up call for which I’ve been waiting. In your world (and too often in mine) it’s always about you.

F45 Challenge – Do As I Say, Not As I Do!

woman, abs, fit, fitness, f45, f45 challenge

As I’ve written here on a number of occasions, I adore the unique community cultivated at F45 St. Clair West. I’ve tried a couple of other F45 locations, and they just were not for me. I love having the space to move around unique to St. Clair West. The trainers there keep in touch 1 on 1 through Whatsapp and on Instagram. They genuinely care about your well-being and your loyalty to the community.

Some people say there’s a bit of a cult element to F45. Overall, I can see it, but there’s a fine line between the optics of that kind of encouragement and dedication demands. Once you’re involved, it’s just a party of people trying to live their best lives in health. I’ve made some greats friends, reconnected with some old ones, and have learned a lot about myself. In particular? I often go way harder than is necessary, and it’s not always a good idea.

woman running, f45, f45 challenge, running, track, anger, determination

First and foremost, there’s something to be said for over-training: DON’T DO IT. Do as I say, not as I do, right? Before the F45 Challenge began, I had already been eating fairly well and making it to 3 – 4 F45 classes per week. At lunch, I usually hit up Goodlife with a colleague of mine who continuously chirps me for not having yet raced a 5 km. Add in the fact that I have been walking 4 km to work at least 3 times a week and you’ve got a case for chronically elevated cortisol levels.

f45, f45 challenge, weightlifter, weightlifting, man, sweaty

When your cortisol levels are too high, there are a variety of complications which can arise. Weight gain is what has effected me the most, but other symptoms include: high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis, exhaustion – effecting daily hormone cycles and disrupted sleep patterns, memory (ever felt like you were in a mental fog?), and infections due to compromised immune systems.

How to Combat High Cortisol Levels?

sleep, can't sleep, woman, cartoon, f45, f45 challenge

Sleep and Cortisol Levels

This was a tough one for me considering I was living in a basement with totally inconsiderate neighbours and a rich landlord who took the “hands off” approach.  I even moved apartments losing out on over a thousand dollars when I cut my lease short. My F45 Challenge team coach would often reprimand me for not getting 8 hours of sleep. I took that really personally as I was climbing into bed around 8 PM in the hopes that I could get any sleep before getting up to exercise before work. I was killing myself, and that wasn’t enough for him. This was my biggest problem with the F45 Challenge because I was trying so hard and it never seemed to be enough.

woman, exercise, fit, fitness, crunches, sit ups, f45, f45 challenge

Exercise and Cortisol Levels

Double-edged sword, non? Exercise in moderation can lead to lower cortisol levels. Over-training runs the risk of affecting neurotransmitters such as glutamine, dopamine and 5-HTP. Ever wonder why the road to fit can throw your emotions through a loop? Over-training can lead to feelings of depression and chronic fatigue. Symptoms of hypothyroidism are also a side-effect of over-training, and I think they may have hit me hard throughout the F45 Challenge. Rest and recovery time need to be penciled into your schedule, just like exercise.

macaron, sugar, sweets, dessert, f45, f45 challenge, cortisol

Sugar and Cortisol Levels

Cutting down on your sugar intake should help balance your cortisol levels. I have such a sweet tooth. If I go a couple of days incorporating limited levels of natural sugars (fruit, for example), I find myself craving “real foods” (you know, the ones you get from shopping around the outside of the grocery store) so much more. I went out for a post-challenge celebration with a gal pal recently and we shared a bunch of tapas including: grilled halloumi (cheese), roasted squash, brussel sprouts, and a beet and goat cheese salad. It felt like I had just binged on fast food, but realistically it was all pretty healthy and within moderation for my day. Once you’re off processed sugar, something as simple as a beet tastes like heaven-on-Earth candy. Dwight Shrute may have been on to something…

yoga, inversion, strong ,strength, fit, fitness, f45, f45 challenge

Cortisol Conclusions

Last week I went to the Philippines. I spent my days island-hopping, eating food I would neeeeever eat here in Canada (Filipino food is really greasy!), and enjoying cocktails liberally. I felt so puffy and bloated when I arrived home, but lo and behold – hadn’t gained a pound. It’s Friday today, and since Monday I’ve dropped 5 lbs. This is more than I had lost during the F45 Challenge.

I haven’t been stressed about scheduling a particular number of workouts throughout my week. Pizza has been on the menu not once, but twice. I’ve enjoyed a couple of spin classes and have focused on weights at the gym on my lunch break. If your workouts, or goals of a particular challenge, are consuming your entire life – take a step back. Take a night off and head out with your friends. Skip the morning workout and sleep in. It’s cliché, but actually take a minute to stop and smell the roses and breathe in some fresh air. You might find some unlikely (and positive) results!