Travel Swellness: The Porsche Experience

Porsche Experience 1

Um, drive a Porsche on a track? Hell, yes! As I’ve only ever been in a Porsche once before, when I was invited out to a track day with Porsche Canada at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, I couldn’t pass up the chance because this isn’t an opportunity many people get to have!

We arrived bright and early on an surprisingly windy and somewhat chilly day. I was glad I’d grabbed an extra layer before I left the house (from my last day on the track—getting on a track appears to be a regular thing for me now!—I recalled it being rather drafty on there track. Maybe I need a full-on racetrack jumpsuit…does Tibi make one? I’d want an ultra chic one…must research…

We started with some lessons on what we’d be putting into practice that day. I found out what a friction circle is (the amount of grip a tire gives you) and that we would be learning how to get the most out of the driving dynamics by managing how the vehicle’s weight is transferred. Don’t forget that the track conditions and also that water, snow or ice affects the tires’ grip, too.

I also learned what oversteering and understeering is: understeering is when you turn the steering wheel and the front loses traction and slides, and oversteering is when the rear loses traction. When you oversteer, the idea is to countersteer and turn into it, and to look in the direction of where you want to go.

When driving the track, you should be looking to make the track as wide as possible for yourself; always be looking ahead to connect the dots (which on the track is indicated by orange cones) and this way, by looking ahead, you have more time to be in control of the stability of the vehicle.

Porsche Experience 2

 

This all makes sense when they’re explaining it, but putting this into practice once on the track is a challenge for me. For our first drives through a course outlined with cones, I was never quite able to manage coming to a hard brake sufficiently enough that the hazard lights came on as we were instructed to do (I was pretty nervous to be going hard on the gas with one of the instructor’s right in front of me, and braking hard when he indicated to go left or right—this little exercise is daunting, you feel like you’re going to run him over!). Also, maybe it’s just me but when a course is outlined with traffic cones, I don’t find it that entirely obvious (you may recall I have gone the wrong way on such a course in the past).

Porsche Experience 3

My favourite part of the day was when we drove a Porsche with easy drift tires on. It’s funny because you feel as though you’re driving a decent speed in a circles but it’s actually only about 10-15k an hour. I’m not sure if this experience will help me if I were to ever oversteer in real life (but hopefully so!), and I definitely won’t be starring in the next Tokyo Drift flick but it was hella fun.

We did another challenge in which our goal was to make it through the course as quickly as possible without knocking any cones down, and I didn’t even check the results as I’m sure I was last! This just simply isn’t my forte.

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I skipped doing my last few individual laps around the track because I felt a bit nauseous from the track time and I also had my glasses on for the day (rather than contact lenses), and this always makes me generally feel less at ease plus having my glasses on with the helmet is also not comfortable.

I’m not a car geek but I think doing exercises such as these all help to making me feel more comfortable behind the wheel and builds my knowledge of how to be in control of a car. Now having a chance to regularly test drive different cars, I enjoy the experience of seeing and feeling what one vehicle feels like over the next. Even if I may not know the technical driving terms, I think it rounds out my understanding of how to evaluate a car’s performance in my own way.

Thank you Porsche Canada for the informative and fun day on the track in your beautiful cars!

 

Leave a Comment June 25, 2018

Healthy Swellness: My 100-nights of Endy review

 

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Finally, my sleeping beauty report! If you recall, a few months ago I partnered with Endy and received an Endy mattress, pillows and sheets to try out.

This Canadian-owned mattress company has a 100-night trial for all of their customers, which I think is a great bonus since who can tell from a brief lie-down that a mattress offers what you like in a mattress?

And I was especially grateful for this risk-free trial period with the Endy mattress because it took me about a month until I was truly enjoying this mattress. I had high expectations from the get-go, because everyone I knew who has an Endy seems to adore it so much. And my first few weeks, I wasn’t digging it and I couldn’t see how my experience was so different.

For several weeks, I felt super aware that it was not the coil-type mattress I’d grown up with, and as a result I felt like I’d wake up in the night and would get up in the morning feeling out of sorts. Not in pain but with my muscles feeling a bit ache-y, as though my body was just slightly off kilter. And, I worried I’d made the wrong mattress choice (even though, yes, I was still in the trial period).

Over time, though, I noticed that the general aches subsided (keep in mind, those aches may have been tied to other factors such as my running and workout regimen), and I was growing to love the Endy mattress. It offers enough firmness that when you sit on the edge of the mattress, it doesn’t sink, and yet when you lie down it has a great plushness. That nice give, though, is just the right amount, as it also offers a level of firmness I look for in a mattress. The mattress’s comfort and firmness is thanks to its open air cell structure, which provides support while reucing pressure but also contouring to your body. I look forward now to jumping into bed each night. As you can see in the photo above, Billie Jean very much enjoys the Endy as well!

While the mattress took some time to adjust to, I loved the Endy pillows immediately. I left them as is (you can adjust how plush and full they are by removing or adding foam to the pillow core) and they offer the support my head and neck needs. As someone who has often suffered from neck pain, I really appreciate these pillows doing exactly what I need them to do.

The Endy sheets are also a dream. They’re ultra soft and feel great on your skin, and I love that there is the Endy name embroidered on one end so you can easily identify what direction to put the sheet onto your mattress.

My advice to you if you’re interested in the Endy: Make full use of the 100-night trial because the adjustment period may be longer than you expect. And definitely get a set of the sheets as well. The pillows are probably a bit more subjective, but worth trying out (Endy offers a 60-night trial on the pillows so it’s risk-free, too!).

While I’m still working on improving my sleep habits (although I have managed to get to bed before midnight a few times in the last few months!), the sleep I am having is cozy and comfortable and providing the rest and recovery I need. I have the good sleeping set-up, now just need to work on better habits.

Have you switched to an Endy? What’s your experience been with this foam mattress? And here’s something fun if you want to buy an Endy: I’ve got a discount code for you! Use the code KAREN50 and you’ll save $50 off of anysize Endy mattress. Enjoy!

#endypartner

Leave a Comment June 13, 2018

Pet Swellness: Billie Jean’s origin story

Billie Jean puppy

Welcome to Who Do You Think You Are: Billie Jean Edition. 

I don’t know why it’s taken me over a year to look into Billie Jean’s origin story. Well, I know part of the reason is I often feel I don’t have time for anything…like all of us, ‘I am very, very busy,” haha. But the main reason is because when I asked Save Our Scruff about her back story when Billie Jean was my foster, all I was told was that she was at the rescue in the Dominican Republic for a year (and she was only a year old when she landed in Toronto, so she’d spent most of her life at a rescue) and I took this to mean little else was known about her.

Then a couple of weeks ago, I was on Facebook reading about another Scruff’s origin story and it included a link to a video of her dog, who also came from the DR. I watched it and then thought “How many rescues in the DR does SOS work with, can’t be that many…” so I clicked through to the Facebook page of Cocomutt Shak Dog Rescue and searched for “Billy Jean” (I changed the spelling to Billie Jean once I adopted her).

Billie Jean puppy 5

And BAM! Up came an album devoted to her! And my heart just about exploded. I never ever thought I’d see puppy photos of my sweetheart. I now look at them daily (and one is my screensaver, yes, I’m that person now).

Billie Jean puppy 3

A few days after that, I decided to message Cocomutt Shak. I explained that I’d been Billie Jean’s foster through Save Our Scruff and had ended up becoming one big foster fail. I let them know that she was doing great. I added that when she arrived she was extremely timid and terrified but that she has come so far, is now dog social and is great with people once she gets to know you a little. I asked if they could tell me anything about her as I was curious about her occasional anxieties and just wanted to know where my sweet pup came from.

And the lovely woman who runs it, Tauny, messaged me back right away! So what’s Billie Jean’s orgin story?

Billy Jean puppy 4

Billie Jean was being sold on the beach, her eyes were barely open and her ears not fully formed yet. When the woman could not sell her, she left Billie Jean on the beach. A beach vendor named Billy knew about the Cocomutt Shak rescue so they called them up and brought Tauny to see Billie Jean.

“We brought her home and she thrived. She was not too nervous here, but here she is surrounded by dogs and only Len and I.”

I shared some of Billie Jean’s recent photos, and Tauny told me she still had the beach bracelet they had on Billie Jean’s neck when she first lived with them at the rescue:

Billie Jean beach bracelet

And get this — they had to make the bracelet smaller to fit her week little neck! That’s how tiny she was!

Given puppies are best off to be with their moms until two months (that’s what I’ve always understood and what a quick Google search confirms), I consider it a miracle Billie Jean survived.

Billie Jean puppy 2

As for Billie Jean’s initial stressed-out state, I think it was due to not knowing anything other than Tauny and Len and the dogs she lived with. She went from living in a three-bedroom house (no kennels or crates) with the doors open so she  could come and go into the yard (which is on a half acre lot) as she pleased when Tauny or Len are home, to being stuffed into a crate, shoved into cargo on a plane and landing in a freezing climate and having a very excited person (me!) trying to show her love ASAP in a condo with a scary elevator and loud traffic and so many people all around . It’s no wonder she tried to bite me out of fear during our first interaction.

What is pretty wondrous is how quickly she adapted to life in the big city. I rejoice each time she playfully approaches someone in the park who wants to pet her or whenever she walks relaxed and happily beside me, but now knowing her beginnings and how her world was turned right upside down by coming to Canada (and making me the luckiest girl ever), every little success of hers is even more special. I’m so proud of her.

Thank you Cocomutt Shak for rescuing the most darling dog. It’s because of your care for this abandoned little beach bum that she made it into my life and I can never thank you enough for working with Save Our Scruff to help find her a forever home.

For more on Cocomutt Shak Dog Rescue, check them out on Facebook and Instagram. And Billie Jean’s got her own Instagram account, follow her @billiejeanxoxo.

 

 

 

 

 

1 Comment June 11, 2018

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