ORANGETHEORY FITNESS WITH HOCKEY LEGEND TREVOR LINDEN

When I got the call asking if I’d like to work out with hockey legend and Canucks President Trevor Linden, I didn’t hesitate to say yes, but I’ll admit, I was a little intimidated. I mean, working out with a professional athlete made me feel like I should train for the occasion! The invite was to attend a group class at the newly opened Orangetheory Fitness location on Davie Street in Vancouver. Ok, a group class, I thought – I can handle that!

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the concept behind Orangetheory, it’s a one-hour group personal training, heart-rate monitored, high-intensity workout that is scientifically designed to keep your heart rate in a target zone that spikes metabolism and increases energy or as they call it, “the afterburn”. The result is more energy, visible toning, and extra calorie burn for up to 36 hours. Sounds like my kind of workout so I signed myself up!

I made my way to Orangetheory Fitness on a typically dark and rainy evening to be greeted by Trevor himself in the lobby. I’ve interviewed him over the years on my talk show, so we played catch up for a bit and I confessed how nervous I was. He warmly encouraged me that the workout is designed for everyone and we would be having tons of fun while we worked up a sweat. So I laced up my New Balance Fresh Foam kicks, strapped on my heart rate monitor and got ready to feel the burn!
We started off on the very bouncy, brand spanking new treadmills and our Orangetheory coach encouraged us the whole way through to listen to our bodies and make sure we pushed ourselves as hard as we could to stay in the zone, but make sure we take it easy when need be. I’m usually one to workout solo, but the group environment with all our results displayed in real-time on the leaderboard made for a fun and competitive workout which definitely encouraged me to go as hard as possible. We moved on to some weight training and then to the WaterRower machines that rounded out a tough, but thoroughly enjoyable 60 minute class.
I have to say that this was one of the funnest workouts I’ve had in a while – and not just because Trevor was sweating with us and cheering us on! The combination of maximizing my time at the gym, being challenged and having fun doing it is a winning combo. I had an absolute blast and I’ll definitely be back for more!
All photos courtesy of Brendon Purdy Photography

ATLAS STEAK + FISH

Every now and then, you go to a restaurant and have the pleasure of having an experience, not just a meal. Atlas is self-described as a “flirtatious and modern twist on the iconic North American steakhouse” and it does not disappoint. After a $5 million dollar renovation, the culinary jewel in the Grand Villa Casino has opened its doors, so we made our merry way to Burnaby to check out what all the fuss was about.

Our group was seated in a cozy booth with a great view of the entire room. While we all enjoyed our cocktails, I was captivated by the non-stop action in the open kitchen as the chefs busily worked away.  For my appy, I decided to order the Baby Kale and Spinach Salad with warm bacon, mustard vinaigrette and shiitake mushrooms. Like the classic steakhouse Caesar Salad they also offer, this was prepared tableside which is always fun to watch and makes for great conversation. Oh, and did I mention it was delicious?

As we moved on to our mains, I didn’t hesitate to take Chef Brian Everett’s suggestion to go with the classic and nostalgic Steak Oscar which was a delectable 9oz Alberta Angus Reserve tenderloin served with dungeness crab, grilled asparagus and béarnaise sauce – medium rare of course. Now, I don’t say this lightly, but this may have been one of the best steaks I’ve tasted in recent memory. When I asked Chef what made it so flavourful, he credited their Josper oven with grill fired with mesquite charcoal and of course, the skilled kitchen staff.  My friend Michelle who ordered the Miso Glazed Sablefish with shitake and edamame succotash said her dish was outstanding – and I can verify this as I stole I couple of bites. Whatever their secret is? We’ll be back for more!

Executive Food and Beverage Manager Sylvain Cuerrier made his way over to our table and convinced us that dessert was a must – and who are we to argue? We all decided to share the Baked Alaska. After all, if you’re going to enjoy the full steakhouse experience, why not? This divine little treat with raspberry coconut ice cream, lemon sorbet, orange vanilla cake and italian meringue was flambéed tableside and  was the perfect way to end the meal.

ATALS Steak + Fish served the perfect amount of steakhouse nostalgia with a modern twist. I will definitely be paying them a visit again soon!

CONTEST ALERT: Want to win a fabulous food and wine sampling for 4 served tableside at ATLAS Steak + Fish? Just write in the comments why you want to win!

Draw date: December 31, 2017 Expires: February 28, 2018. Max value $400

 

Santa’s Little Helper With Best Buy Canada

I had the wonderful opportunity to do a very special day of filming with Best Buy Canada and play the role of Santa’s Little Helper. My mission was to surprise unsuspecting shoppers with a gift from their wish list after asking them to share their weirdest gift experiences. Best Buy had an interview booth set up for me where my little elves would bring shoppers to me and I would ask them a few questions about weird gifts they’d received over the years and chat about their holiday experiences. During my interviews, I would try and get our shoppers to tell me what their dream gift would be from Best Buy for themselves or a loved one and by the time we would exit the booth, voila, the Best Buy elves would be waiting with the best gift ever with a big bow on top!

Be sure to check out the video get a behind the scenes peek at how we set up this operation and made people’s holiday dreams come true! Big thanks to the folks at Best Buy and the talented team at Georgia Street Media for such a fun and fulfilling day of filming!

CONTEST ALERT: You could win a $1000 Best Buy gift card. Just find Best Buy on Twitter or Instagram (@BestBuyCanada) to see how you can participate in the #BestGiftsBestBuy contest. Contest ends December 23rd.

Click on the link for full details! http://ow.ly/nGdv30hbKJd

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Jump For Joy Photo Project

When my friend and photographer Eyoälha Baker asked me to participate in her Jump For Joy Photo Project, I had no idea what to expect. Her concept is simple: capturing the beauty of the human spirit — in mid-air — around the world. She instructed me to bring something with me that gives me joy – which is my trusty little pup Chewbacca, of course – and pick my favourite spot which is Kits Beach. We met on a beautiful, blue sky afternoon and had way too much fun trying to catch both me and Chewy jumping for joy in unison and the results are indeed joyful!
 
Eyoälha has travelled all over the world with her camera in hand, bringing people joy with this wonderful project. If you want to find out more info or check out some of the fantastic photos, be sure to visit her website at https://jumpforjoyphotoproject.wordpress.com/
Joyfully yours,
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Genesis on the Sea-To-Sky

Whistler has always had a special place in my heart and I had a fantastic girlie getaway weekend with Genesis Motors. Negotiating the winding curves of the Sea-To-Sky highway was a breeze in Genesis’ G80. This luxury whip not only has fantastic handling and all the bells and whistles, it’s full of power with the 5.0 V8 engine! The G80 has impeccable performance, tons of room and is luxury by design. I’d highly recommend taking one for a for a whirl to see if it’s the ride for you!
To find out more, visit my friends at Genesis Vancouver: http://www.genesisvancouver.com
Happy driving!