Travel Swellness: Testing performance with the 2019 Ford Edge ST

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“Karen, how would you like to try something terrifying?”

Okay, okay, that’s not what the invite read. In April, Ford Canada approached me with a fun challenge. They wanted to know if I was up for testing my performance through a fitness performance adventure such as rock climbing or trapeze, while also testing the performance of the 2019 Ford Edge ST. And, of course, I said yes (hello, have we just met, I love semi scary adventures, hahaha!).

My gut reaction was to try trapeze…but then I got kind of nervous as I thought about it some more (I don’t mind heights per se, but I don’t like the sensation of free falling or being upside down much) and thought “Oh, I’ll just do rock climbing.” But I’ve done rock climbing several times (in CEGEP I did several rock climbing gym intensives (when you could get your gym credit completed in one weekend, so convenient!), plus I’ve been climbing since then both out in nature and at climbing gyms). And I knew I’d be disappointed in myself if I didn’t push myself to try trapeze, so I decided to go for it. And then I had to think carefully about which friend would be up for this as well, and sure enough, my friend Amanda, who’s always up for just about anything, said she was game.

I drove us out to the trapeze class in Scarborough in the Ford Edge ST, and we were laughing on the way there because we knew the teacher would think we were a bunch of injured misfits who’d signed up for trapeze: Amanda was having knee surgery two days after our class, and I have a pinched nerve in my neck that’s been plaguing me with a sore shoulder for weeks. Not exactly peak performance mode for either of us! Also funny: we both had to google to confirm what trapeze actually is. We watched YouTube videos and fretted about actually being able to do it.

After some quick instruction, we were apparently good to go. Even just climbing the ladder up to the platform was nerve-wracking, but that was nothing compared to when they tell you to grab hold of the trapeze with one hand. It’s so taut that it feels like you’ll be pulled right off of the platform. I very much thought “I don’t know if I can do this!” I might have even said it out loud. I was doubting the decisions I’d made that lead me to be standing on this platform. Then, I grabbed it with my other hand when they said to and then (gulp) stepped off of the platform…

Whoosh! Once I was actually in the air it was less terrifying. I had a hard time hearing the instructions being shouted from the ground on my first try and didn’t quite understand when I was supposed to do what (with the first swing out is when you start to try to move the trapeze bar to behind your knees). I entirely missed it my first try, got closer the second try and by my third try I completed the movement! And I am entirely hooked. It was such an exhilarating feeling to be smoothly flying through the air, and also so satisfying to be able to complete the acrobatic move of moving your legs onto the bar, hanging down upside down and then moving your legs off of the bar to flip off of it. I only managed half of a flip off of it the whole class (I think my dismount is too slow, so I lose the momentum that’s necessary to do the flip).

I wholeheartedly recommend trying a trapeze class if you’ve ever been intrigued by it, I think you’ll love it. I hope to go back some day soon! Amanda and I still rave about it!

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We left the class totally high on adrenaline and piled back into the Ford Edge ST, and since we were so pumped, we got the ST’s 12 speaker B&O Premium Sound System by Bang & Olufsen going with some high-energy music to match our mood.

That was Friday night, and I used the car over the weekend, too, and took full advantage of having some wheels in the city and took it out several times each day. Since I was out and about a lot, having a fully charged phone is always an essential. And the Edge is the first car I’ve test drove with wireless phone charging. You just place your newer phone (like my Google Pixel 3) in the designated charging space, and your phone gets charged. No wires to fuss with. That is truly a life-changing feature, in my opinion.

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The Ford Edge features a dial to change from park to drive, and I think that’s a new design that would take some getting used to (I would always automatically go to look for a stick over the days I had the car) but I’m sure after a week, it’d become the norm. I did test the car’s performance once by hitting the S to put the car into sport mode. Now, I was only doing a slowish drive of the car on the Gardiner (thanks Toronto traffic), but I did sense that the car sort of stiffened up and was ready to GO, but driving in the city didn’t really allow me to do much with the feature, unfortunately. I should’ve planned a drive on a less busy country road to better test drive the 335 hp, 380 lb.-ft. of torque,  and the 2.7L V6 turbocharged EcoBoost engine (but I’d have had to bring a more car-savvy friend to help walk me through how those features were contributing to our drive, because short of a car having good ergonomics and visibility, and maybe how smoothly I feel it drives on a basic level, I am not, as I have mentioned before, super knowledgeable about those details; I assess cars more on comfort, safety and lifestyle features). The Ford Edge ST, by the way, is the first SUV from the Ford Performance Team.

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Always a bonus in a car is an sizable trunk, which I got full use out of by doing errands and picking up bulky grocery items (namely dog food and cat litter, those pets require lots of heavy lifting!). And I threw in more fitness fun with a hike at Dundas Peak in Hamilton, and a few foodie outings with friends (and driving with the Edge’s GPS is such a relief for someone like me with zero sense of direction; it got us to our destinations every time with no issues). The car also features Ford SYNC 3 AppLink with Waze, which we put to use when we ran into traffic on way to dinner on the weekend.

Oh, and the steering wheel in the Ford Edge ST is heated, which was fantastic when I test drove this vehicle because as you may know, it’s taken a very long time for spring temps to arrive in Toronto, and in fact, it snowed on the weekend I had the Edge ST and that heated steering wheel warmed up my frozen hands after a long hike. What an ultimate luxury, right? I think once you go heated steering wheel, you can’t go back.

The Ford Edge ST is both slick enough for urban life but rugged enough for those fitness-fueled outings, which is essentially how I live. Thank you Ford Canada for nudging me to try new things and the opportunity to put such a sweet ride to the test.

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Leave a Comment May 27, 2019

Fitness Swellness: I’m running the Sporting Life 10k Calgary in support of Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada

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Sometimes when I’m feeling sorry for myself (because we all get in those moods every once in awhile, don’t we? Pity party of one…), I actually often remind myself of the incredibly brave kids whose stories I’ve heard through Starlight Children’s Foundation.

So many surgeries and treatments and medications they endure, at such a young age, and with such positivity and brave outlooks, it’s truly humbling and inspiring. I’ve read their stories, and have attended the Starlight gala dinner in the past (and helped volunteer with set up for this year’s gala) and I know I am always moved by how they’ve gone through so much and yet are filled with hope, smiles and gratitude. We could all learn so much from these kids, and I love the work that Starlight Children’s Foundation does to bring some fun and escape to their lives.

And this is why I’m proud to work with Starlight in support of their first ever partnership with the Sporting Life 10k Calgary and help bring awareness and raise funds for the cause. How can you help? There are so many ways:

  1. Register for the Sporting Life 10k Calgary. It’s a net downhill race, so you could potentially PB! And it’s dubbed Calgary’s Fastest Road Race! It’d be great to see you out there on the course!
  2. Support someone who is running the race. Come out to cheer and donate to their fundraising! I’m fundraising for the cause (if you’d like to sponsor me, you can do it right here with this link) and there are an estimated few thousand runners slated to run this race that you could also support, too!

Stay tuned as I train over the next month in preparation for this race, and I’d love to hear from you if you’re running it, too!

#partner

Photo: Jess Baumung

 

 

 

Leave a Comment May 23, 2019

Foodie Swellness: Cocktails for Cinco de Mayo

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While Cinco de Mayo is meant to commemorate the Mexican Army’s victory over the French Empire, Google tells me it’s become more of a celebration in the U.S. than it is in Mexico, with a focus on Mexican-American culture. I have to admit: the only way I’ve celebrated it ever is here in Toronto and it has involved going out to enjoy Mexican cocktails and tacos.

And since I love any reason to celebrate those two things, and I’m betting a bunch of you do as well, I’m sharing a couple of the recipes I got to try recently at a dinner with Don Julio Tequila held at El Rey Mezcal Bar so that you can celebrate Cinco de Mayo this weekend in the best way. But you’ll be making these cocktails all season long. Trust.

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The Don Julio Paloma is the cocktail we kicked off the evening with. Palomas are one of my go-to cocktail orders in the summer, and yet I’ve never made them at home. The last time I had one before this dinner at El Rey was when I was in Mexico City in December, so now I’ll always associate them with that incredible city, which I’m dying to get back to as I didn’t get to try nearly enough of the food or saw only a tiny fraction of the sights. Hope to get back there soon. In the meantime, I’ll drink this cocktail and reminisce about the amazing sights I did see (I wrote about it for VITA)!

DON JULIO PALOMA

Ingredients  

1 ½ oz. Don Julio Blanco

½ oz. Grapefruit Juice

 ½ oz. Grapefruit Sherbet

½ oz. Lime Juice

1 ½ oz. Soda

Pink peppercorn

Strawberry and chilli salt

Method

Combine all ingredients except for soda in a shaker tin, shake for 30 seconds and strain into a glass that’s been half-rimed with salt and filled with ice. Top with soda and a grapefruit half-moon.

Grapefruit Sherbet

  • Zest of 1 grapefruit
  • Juice of 1 grapefruit
  • Equivalent amount of sugar to grapefruit juice by volume
  • 10 pink peppercorns

Add all ingredient to a pot and heat until sugar dissolves.  Allow to cool complete, then fine strain and use.

Don Julio Jalisco Express

The second cocktail we had as we enjoyed the starters was the Don Julio Jalisco Express. I love pineapple and enjoyed how bright and refreshing this cocktail is. I admit I can pretty much guarantee I am too lazy to make this cordial to enjoy this cocktail if I’m just at home myself, but I’d make it if I were hosting a summer BBQ.

DON JULIO JALISCO EXPRESS

Ingredients

1 ½ oz. Don Julio Blanco

½ oz. Trinidad Pepper

½ oz. Lime

½ oz. Black Pepper Cordial

½ oz. Fresh Cucumber Juice

½ oz. Fresh Lime

1 ½ oz. Soda

Mint

Method

Combine all ingredients except for soda in a shaker tin, shake for 30 seconds and strain into a Collins glass filled with ice. Top with soda. Garnish with a straw, a cucumber ribbon and a fresh mint tip.

Trinidad Pepper, Lime and Black Pepper Cordial

  • Zest of 3 limes
  • Juice of 3 lime
  • Equivalent amount of sugar to grapefruit juice by volume
  • 5 Black peppercorns
  • 2 Trinidad peppers

 Add all ingredient to a pot and heat until sugar dissolves.  Allow to cool complete, then fine strain and use.

Salud!

 

 

 

 

Leave a Comment April 29, 2019

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