run, Forrest, run.

Staying active has always been very important to me. Not only is exercise good for your body, but I truly believe it is key to your mental health and wellness. Anytime I’m in a bad mood, a workout (no matter how short) or going for a walk, always cheers me up. Working out also helps you to de-stress – something that so many of us need as our lives get more and more demanding.

Growing up, I was fortunate to be given the opportunity to explore many different types of physical activity. I tried my hand at softball, gymnastics, swimming, ice skating and other un-organized sports like waterskiing and snow skiing. I even had an unfortunate summer playing soccer, where I learned very quickly that soccer was a sport I did not excel at.

What really captured my interest was dance, and it is something that I have stuck with all my life. I take a few dance classes a month at a great studio in Toronto and teach younger kids a variety of dance styles at a studio in the east end of Toronto.

My sister, a kinesiology graduate, always reminds me that doing the same kind of exercise day in and day out will make your body plateau – she always suggests switching up your exercise routine family frequently to keep your muscles confused and working hard. So on top of dance, this year I decided I would sign up for a 5k run. Which run? The Holly Jolly Fun Run!

I have never been a big runner, but I was convinced to sign up by a friend who did the same run last year and had a blast. The run takes place the morning of the Toronto Santa Claus Parade and you get to run the parade route while people are lining the streets.

While 5k doesn’t seem like a long distance to some, to me, it’s terrifying – especially because there will be an audience watching me huff and puff along the streets of Toronto.

Below are some of my tips for future runners who may be interested in doing a 5k one day:

  • Check out exercise websites like Tone It Up or Popsugar – they have really great resources to help you train without getting hurt
  • Always stretch before and after you run – this really goes for any type of exercise, but I have fun that the morning after a run, my hamstrings are incredibly sore and tight. A hot bath and good stretch usually fixes the problem.
  • Invest in a good pair of running shoes – they are the only things separating your feet from hitting the pavement over and over again. While workout clothes have definitely become a fashion category of their own, a good pair of running shoes should be supportive and not necessarily trendy.
  • Drink lots of water! This one should go without saying
  • Finally – enjoy the scenery. Below is a sunrise picture I took in October after an early morning run.


xx jamie.


a lesson in painting.

Being a twenty-something condo owner in downtown Toronto has its ups and downs. Toronto is amazing. Everything is steps from my front door, the people are generally kind and helpful, and I can’t remember the last time I was bored – there is always something going on. I can see the lake from my balcony, which sometimes makes me forget I’m even in Canada’s largest metropolis. But Toronto is also extremely expensive and home ownership comes with many (read: A LOT!) of costs – one time costs and repeating costs that never go away.

I bought a resale condo in a building that is about 10 years old. The building’s interior was in the process of being refreshed (new carpet, wall paper, paint, etc.) and my suite was bright, airy and had a stunning view. But I hated the paint. HATED it. Olive green and yellow were not my cup of tea when it came to paint colours.

I decided that I would roll up my sleeves, grab a brush, and paint the condo all by myself. “It will build character” my Dad said. Character – I should have seen the giant red flag and went running as soon as I heard him say this. Instead, I went to Canadian Tire, picked out a colour I actually liked, and bought a few gallons of paint.

Here are a few things I learned while spending a weekend painting:

  • Lesson one – paint is really heavy. Like really heavy. It took me multiple trips from my car, through the parking garage, up the elevator and finally into my condo, to carry the paint and painting supplies.
  • Lesson two – it will get everywhere. I don’t care what people say, I had drop sheets everywhere and I still got paint all over the place. Maybe that speaks to my inexperience with painting, but five months later and I am still scraping little paint flecks off the floor.
  • Lesson three – it’s really hard work. I painted alone (read more about this is lesson four), and it took me two full days and a lot of Advil. My back and arms were incredibly sore and there was a lot of climbing on furniture and stools to paint the bulk heads and hard to reach places (like around cupboards).
  • Lesson four – have someone help you. Timing was not on my side the weekend I decided to paint. My family was out of town and none of my friends were free. I should have waited for another weekend instead of going at it alone. It was lonely, and took me a really long time.

Final verdict? I will never ever paint again. The amount of effort and time that it took me (inclduing setting up, taping, cutting in, actually painting, doing a second coat, removing tape, touching up, cleaning and cleaning some more) it was not worth it. But hey, it was character building right?

Below are some ‘during’ and ‘after’ photos.

xx jamie.

'during' - yellow & green walls (ew) with some of the light blue on the yellow wall.

‘during’ – yellow & green walls (ew) with some of the light blue on the yellow wall.

'after' - this was only after the first coat.

‘after’ – this was only after the first coat.


Thanksgiving is less of a ‘holiday’, and more of a ‘time of year’ for me (although I do love having the day off work). It’s a time to see family, reconnect with friends, and a reminder to enjoy the little moments that otherwise get brushed under the rug. I love that Thanksgiving isn’t as commercialized as other national holidays – there are no presents, no pressure and no high expectations.

Historically, Thanksgiving is a holiday that celebrates the annual harvest and the good things that happened over the past year. While I’m not a farmer, I am thankful for the plentiful amounts of fresh food that is grown right here in Ontario. One of my favourite Thanksgiving activities is going to Farmer’s Markets – whether it be my staple St. Lawrence Market, or markets farther away like St. Jacobs. There is something satisfying about buying your food right from the farmer who grew it – and there is always great flowers at these markets.


A lovely reminder to be thankful everyday – taken on Queen St. W.

Below are a few (of the many) things I am thankful for this year.



As you get older, making and keeping friends gets harder. The distances grow larger, lives get busier and priorities changes. I always try to prioritize making time for my friends – regardless of how busy other aspects of my life get. Knowing a solid support group is only a phone call or a text away is priceless.



This cat.

Right now, I am fostering this little bub. He was abandon outside of an animal services building in Toronto. Since moving downtown alone, I had been wanting to get a pet, but I had never had a cat before and felt my condo was too small for a puppy. So, I decided to foster a kitten through Toronto Cat Rescue. He has brought a lot of smiles to my day – I will be sad to see him eventually leave, but I know he will make a family really happy.


The Jays.

I love sports. While baseball isn’t my favourite sport (I am a Leafs girl through and through), having a Toronto team finally make the playoffs for something has been amazing. This team has united Toronto in a way that I haven’t seen in a long time.

What are you thankful for this year?

xx jamie.