Healthy Swellness: 2022 in Review


Yes, I’m writing this on January 19th. The end of 2022 snuck up on me, and then I caught a cold at the beginning of the year that I’m still recovering from.

Also, maybe it took me awhile to write because 2022 was pretty unremarkable year for me. It feels like it just ‘happened’ rather than me truly living–I’m sure it being the third year of the pandemic added to that feeling. Did you feel like this about 2022?

But even with a year where life seemed to be on hiatus, I had some bright moments:


I made it into the Century Club on Peloton when I trialed the Bike+. It took biking daily so I could hit that target while I had the bike. I also ended up buying a spin bike once Peloton picked up the Bike+–I haven’t ridden it much as my focus this year was getting my running back on track. Speaking of Peloton, I also got to test out the Peloton Guide and interviewed Matty! Yes, I fangirled. and asked for a photo at the end of our zoom interview. I really need to get myself to the Peloton Studio in NYC!


As for running, it took many months, but finally towards the end of summer onwards, I got back to running 3-4 days a week. All shorter distances (the longest was 12k) but my goal was consistency. A couple of setbacks — mainly getting Covid in September — but I was happy to be running 100k a month for the last few months of the year.

Boybands 4EVER

You know that I love both Backstreet Boys and NKOTB and it seems I’ve now started to travel to see them. And good thing I did–I went to Detroit to see NKTOB in the summer, and they ended up cancelling their Toronto show, so it’s the only time I got to see their Mixtape Tour with En Vogue, Salt & Pepa and Rick Astley.


Backstreet Boys and their DNA Word Tour —  I saw it three times this year (this is on top of seeing this show back in 2019 in Toronto and Brooklyn) and I also went to Jingle Ball in Detroit for them, and I know that might seem crazy but their shows bring me such happiness. I went to the July 1st show in Toronto, and when tickets in the pit for the show the next day were cheaper than the original price, I snapped up a ticket and it was the best decision ever because Drake made a special appearance. I’d have been devastated to have missed that. Such an epic Toronto moment. I also drove to Ottawa to see the again and Nick pointed and smiled at me. Life made.



So many great opportunities the past year work-wise. Banff (love!); got to write up some fun pieces for the Star (South Algonquin, Paris, a series about biking and more), Destination Toronto, NUVO (Brazen, W TorontoCasa MaderaSimpl Things, Sunny’s Chinese and Superfresh) and CAA. Events started again, too, and had the opportunity to attend some fun ones (including one with President’s Choice where I got Billie Jean painted as latte art!).

Ice bath, baby

In February, I reluctantly emailed a pitch about the cold plunge/ice bath trend…reluctantly because I knew the pitch would be accepted and that would mean I’d have to try an ice bath. Oh how far I’ve come since that first ice bath  experience at Othership (where I was gripped with anxiety about it all week leading up to it), I did my first lake plunge with Unbounded with Yeti, have been back to Othership another couple of times, and did a weekend with Yeti and unbounded at the Trace Resort at Oak Lake. Where I got to do at least three ice baths (I kind of lost count!), including one where I managed to do 4.5 minutes. Unbounded has since opened Unbounded Well at Stackt Market, where I’ve been a few times. I also took part in the huge event in the Beaches to kick of cold season. The challenge of it is what I like most about it. And nothing beats being able to accomplish something that makes you feel stronger and more resilient than ever. That’s the draw of running marathons for me as well.



Have I mentioned one of my favourite spots I’ve visited? Yes, I’m talking Alberta–I love, love, love the Rocky Mountains and got to go to Banff twice in 2022. And once was food-focused with Pursuit! Eating great food and those majestic mountains? I think that’s what’s called #blessed, haha!


I also got to visit Edmonton for the first time, or just a bit outside of Edmonton with Hydroflask, Arc’teryx, Keen, Sunday Afternoons and Leatherman for an unforgettable glamping trip. You know it was an incredible trip if I’m calling it incredible despite having to rough it with very exposed outdoor showers and thunderboxes (which I managed to only use once when we were out in the wood, as I trekked 4 minutes to the actual washroom the entire time at our glamping site). What made it so incredible? Besides the stunning yellow autumn leaves at our site and the great group on the trip, one day was devoted to From the Wild. If you’re able to attend anything with From the Wild and eat and drink with Kevin Kossowan, do it. Sometimes I find myself in situations that are so great and I think “How did I get here?” and that’s what walking through the forest, learning about his adventures and tips and tricks for cooking delicious things in the field felt like. In awe of the magical beauty of everything around me, that I’m learning about and tasting…


I also took so many great road trips this year and I really have come to enjoy driving alone. This year I went to Southampton to the very chic Beach Motel. Home to Montreal a couple of time where I got to eat so much of my mom’s home cooking and some of the spots in Montreal I’ve been dying to try. I went to cottages, visited Buffalo and Windsor/Detroit (a few times now so much so that I now have some solid favourites for food and it does not include the Cheesecake Factory in Buffalo–not that there’s anything wrong with CF, I’ve actually never been!). So much time on the road and the best thing about that? Billie Jean being my co-pilot, obviously! Thank you to Buick, Chevy, GMC, Mazda–that’s a Mazda CX-50 we’re in at the top of this post–and Volvo (that’s the XC90 Recharge just above) for the test drives this past year. Being able to drive so many different vehicles has both made me both a more confident driver, and also has given me a good sense of features and design elements that make a difference. Whenever I get a car, I’ll be well versed in what’s a priority for me.

Alright, 2022, I guess you were more than OK.

Up next, my goals for 2023!


Leave a Comment January 19, 2023

Travel Swellness: Road tripping with the 2022 Buick Enclave


I’ve come a long way when it comes to solo road trips. Last month, I drove by myself six hours to cottage country in Quebec like it was a breeze, followed by driving into Montreal and then back to Toronto (with a morning jaunt to the Scarborough Bluffs). I did this all in the 2022 Buick Enclave that I test drove, which was ideal for my busy itinerary: sleek and chic for city adventures but also sporty for cottage-country fun. And let’s not forget all of the interior space – the Enclave can seat 7 and while it was only me and Billie Jean (and for part of it, my sister), we needed all of that room for luggage (I’m not someone who packs light for 11 days!) not to mention all of the home cooking my mom made for me to bring home (so much food!) – the Enclave’s 60/40 split-folding third-row seats came in clutch!

A big reason I feel comfortable driving the Enclave? I find it is just the right size (I get a bit anxious driving anything much bigger), and I’ve always preferred SUVs for giving me some height on the road, plus it’s got so much connectivity built in. First off, wireless Apple Car Play; I am so directionally challenged and having the ease of using Google Maps via my iPhone is possibly the single thing that makes these solo road trips possible. (Google Maps, by the way, is my driving directions app of choice – I’ve tried several options and it always gives me plenty of notice so that I don’t miss my turn or exit). Besides using it for Google Maps, I love easily receiving and sending text messages by voice (I usually send updates to friends as to how my drive is going, anyone else do the same?).  Oh, and if you’ve got Android, the Enclave’s got Wireless Android Auto Compatibility, too.

The Enclave I test drove also featured a Wi-Fi hotspot, which I obviously can’t use while driving, but whenever I made a stop it was nice having the wifi to use, and also, I feel a bit relieved to have it should I run into any issues with my data plan (like when I reach my phone plan’s data limit and it goes into slo mo).

Also, having the remote starter is essential when road tripping by yourself with your dog, especially in the summer. When I haven’t had a remote starter, stopping at an OnRoute for a bathroom break and to buy a coffee is impossible. There’s no way I’m leaving Billie Jean in the car in the summer heat. But with the remote starter, I can switch the car on so she’s got air conditioning, and I start a timer for 15 minutes, and should my stop take longer than 15 minutes (there’s always long lines for coffee!), I step outside at the 15-minute mark to restart the car for another 15 minutes. As a dog mama who often drives alone with my puppers, the sense of relief this feature gives me is priceless.

The Enclave also features Quick QuietTuning® technology with Active Noise Cancellation, which helps reduce, block and absorb unwanted noise by utilizing many measures including triple door seals acoustic laminated windshield and a noise-reducing five-link rear suspension. For me, this means we can easily chat in the car, and I get to enjoy my podcasts and music (hello, Backstreet Boys!) with little other noise interference.

The interior is also extra comfortable – which became super key on the drive home from Montreal, which took 8 hours. Yes, EIGHT HOURS. Long weekend traffic can be brutal so what the usual five-hour drive became eight hours the Monday we drove home to Toronto. Touches like the warm wood tones, brushed chrome accents and leather seating made for a luxe drive, and I wish I’d remembered that the first-row seats have a massage function! It would’ve broken up those eight hours with mini spa experiences!



Now, let’s talk safety features. When you only drive occasionally like me, I think it makes me appreciate the safety features even more so compared to someone who drives regularly. Having driven vehicles without Safety Assist, I know I miss these technologies when I’m driving other cars. The Safety Assist technologies (which are standard on the Enclave) that I appreciate most:

  • Front Pedestrian braking and Rear Cross Traffic Alert: Always helpful in parking lots, for example.
  • IntelliBeam Auto High Beams: No need to think about switching high beams on or off when driving country roads and night (and much of my driving tends to be country roads for my road trips as my destination is often cottage country).
  • Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert: I recently drove a vehicle where someone had toggled this off and I had to find out how to turn the feature back on. Even though I always check my blind spot, it’s a nice-to-have feature that makes me feel extra safe on the road.

I realized recently I know quite a few people who don’t drive and/or never got their license. (or who don’t drive outside of their neighbourhood, and never on highways), and often it’s out of fear. The technological features have come such a long way since I got my license that I wish people who might feel a bit fearful about driving would give it a shot and see how safe and easy it feels to drive a vehicle like an Enclave. There’s a world to explore out there, after all, and the Buick Enclave makes it a safe and enjoyable adventure!

Thank you to Buick Canada for the test drive – it made exploring Montreal and cottage country safe and easy.


Leave a Comment October 5, 2022

Healthy Swellness: Lake Plunge Adventure with Yeti


As lake plunges and ice baths have gotten more popular over the last couple of years, I’ve scoffed at the fans. And then I tried it. And I liked it. A lot.

My first experience was in March at a session at Othership. The guided session starts with a long stint in the sauna, followed by two minutes in the ice bath, and then more sauna time. I wrote about the ice bath/cold plunge trend for Fashion–you can read it here.


But a lake plunge is a whole other story, in my opinion. For one, I wouldn’t be be in an intensely hot sauna beforehand; at Othership I was almost craving some cold relief after an intense 30 or so minutes in the sauna. With the lake the water is moving more and there’s the rocks to content with underfoot. And what I saw as the most difficult hurdle: you have to walk into the lake (versus simply stepping into the ice bath and lowering yourself down). I envisioned myself ankle-deep in freezing water, my body saying NUH-UH and I’d just turn and head straight back to the beach.

I interviewed Unbounded, a Toronto-based company that offers guided lake-plunge experiences, and they invited me to do a lake plunge with them. Which I figured I’d try but I wanted some moral support and haven’t found a friend who wants to do it. But then I got an invitation from Yeti to do a lake plunge at sunrise. I told them right away to count me in.


We met at sunrise in early April. The experience was actually facilitated by Unbounded, and we started with a meditation and a little warmup session of stretched and a little cardio on the beach (think jumping jacks and high knees). They recommended water shoes, so I got on my HBC x Tevas and before I knew it, we were hand in hand and walking into the water.

I think the water was as cold as the ice bath I’d done at Othership (so about 2 Celsius). I think we walked until we were about waist deep and then we all lowered down to about our shoulders together. It was shocking to the system and I remember exclaiming out loud a little (“Oh my–!”) and locking eyes with the guide–he nodded encouragingly–and I know I focused on taking deep breaths to alleviate the panic I felt percolating.


Then two minutes was done! I can’t say it passed quickly and I was eager to get out. We all sort of scattered a bit as we got out of the lake – I had a hard time getting my legs moving and thankfully one of the girls came back to grab my hand. We changed quickly out of our bathers and into a warm Yeti hoodie and gathered around the campfire for some hot coffee as the sunshine danced on the lake, and we all had a little extra sparkle in our eyes from the exhilarating experience.


For any adventure, it’s always a good idea to be well prepared with your gear to make the experience as smooth – being well prepared is something I’ve really come to appreciate from my camping trips (or maybe I came to appreciate it  from my Brownie days – that was the motto, “Be prepared.”). For this sunrise plunge, Yeti kitted us out so we had a ton of Yeti gear–Lowlands Blanket, toque, hoodie, and a Rambler travel mug for the hot coffee post-plunge–and a towel. And all of the gear was easily totable to the lake in a Yeti Camino 35 Carryall. The Carryall is the best: it has a flat bottom so it stands upright, and I like to use it for road trips for things I like to have easy access to such as my tripod and toiletries, and for camping, I tend to pack the dry food goods in it (anything that I don’t need to put in my Yeti cooler, which is another favourite of mine).


Once I’d warmed up by the fire and I packed up my gear into the Carryall and headed home (way before I’d typically even by up on a weekday), that post-plunge high lasted all day. I immediately texted a few friends again to say I think they’d love it (they still don’t believe me!). And while I know the health benefits that Wim Hoff promotes aren’t proven, the mere rush you feel and the confidence boost it gives you (well, it gave me a confidence boost because it’s not something I ever thought I could do!), I can see how it is addictive.

I no longer scoff at people I see doing cold plunges; in fact, you might see me out there too! Thanks to Yeti for the sunrise cold-plunge adventure and all of the gear I’ll be using all year long!

Photos courtesy of Yeti. I did take a time-lapse that morning, but the phone I recorded it on didn’t save it properly (doh!) – but you can view the IG Reel I made of that morning here.


Leave a Comment May 15, 2022

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