Local Businesses I LOVE

With the economy suffering so much from this pandemic, I thought it was a good time to share some of the small, local businesses I support and love. I’ll keep this one concise, and just get started.

  1. DIY Dye

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Maxine is making the CUTEST custom tie dye pieces on Instagram. And did you even survive Quarantine ’20 if you didn’t wear a tie dye hoodie and/or sweatpants daily? I know I didn’t. Go to her order form on her Instagram and get you a vibrant, gorgeous piece. You won’t regret it!

2. KyKy Kookies

EasterKOOKIE_1024x1024@2xGuys, I can’t even with her cookies. They are the most gorgeous things I’ve ever seen, and they’re packed with sweetness and flavour. Order on her website (linked in heading); she ships nationwide in Canada and does local pick up in Etobicoke or Vaughan.

3. Yumi Organics

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Based out of Montreal, this overnight oats company was created by nutritionists and is an amazing start to your day. They’re in ready-made packs; all you have to do is pour them into a glass jar, fill with your choice of milk (I use unsweetened vanilla oat milk), and leave overnight. Nothing makes me happier than waking up knowing my breakfast is ready! They’re delicious, organic, and keep me full for 4-5 hours, so honestly it’s a no-brainer for me. I do have a coupon code for this product too! It’s THEATHLEISURETEACHER15, and it’ll get you 15% off your order. Also, PSA, I like to top mine with cookie butter. Not the healthiest choice, but damn, it’ll change your life.

4. NextDoor Restaurant and Smash Kitchen

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If you’re in the Markham area, these two sister restaurants are still doing takeout and delivery, and are two of the most delicious spots I’ve been to. Both of them are doing weekly family platters (pre-orders recommended), and offering 15% off on pick up orders.

5. Herbaland Gummies

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This Vancouver-based company makes the best gummy vitamins and clean candy (low sugar, high fibre and HELLA delicious)! I’ve been buying their protein gummies forever as my 3 pm snack, but I recently started taking their supplements (love their vegan calcium, daily multi, and sleep aid), and buying their candy as well. They currently have an initiative to donate immunity gummies to healthcare workers during the crisis, and honestly, I feel so honoured and proud to associate with a company doing such good things right now. Use my code THEATHLEISURETEACHER15 for 15% off their website (linked in heading).

6. Sorry I’ve Got Plants

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I love this vegan meal delivery service. Their meal kits are low-waste, easy to make, nourishing, and incredibly delicious. Every week their menus change, and you can choose to order 2, 3, or 4 meals per week. Each meal feeds 2, and it’s really cost effective when you do the math. The produce is super fresh, and they come up with the most creative dishes. I highly recommend!

In a New York Minute

Last weekend, me and my sis took a three night trip to NYC. It was her first time, and I wanted to show her around (because, yannow, I’m basically a local at this point), and I thought I’d share some of our trip highlights with all you cuties (AKA, my mom, best frand who lived in NYC, and the two other blog readers who might have still stuck around for some gd forsaken reason).

Our trip began around 9 pm on Friday night. We stayed right in midtown Manhattan, and were fortunate enough to have a great bar (and rooftop bar) right in the hotel. So we immediately got a drink, relaxed a little, and then wandered around our neighborhood.

We awoke the next morning relatively refreshed, and headed to Ess-a-bagel to carb load for our lengthy day ahead of us.

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Requisite New York bagel shot, because duhhhhhhh.

We then took the subway up to Central Park for the morning. I’ve learned to navigate the subway system there like a mfin boss, and I’m pretty proud about it. My sister picked it up quickly too because she’s got good navigation skills due to being a seasoned traveler.

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The morning was a bit chilly, but it warmed up quickly. We wore a lot of layers and I went from jacket and hoodie to tank top in a matter of like 8 hours. Anyway, Central Park is nice and quaint, and it never gets old. I mean, it got a bit old, but she wanted to see it, so there we were.

We then subwayed back down south to Soho for an afternoon of brunch and shopping. In hindsight, we should have done the shopping in the AM so we actually had energy to try things on, but our bank accounts thanked us for not doing it correctly. We had a boozy brunch in Nolita at Pietro, where I met my awesome Instafriend @thepizzakween, AKA Jenna, and we had the nicest time. Until we got rudely kicked out because the table was needed for a reso. The food was actually so good, and the company was even better. PK is a real one, and I’m basically obsessed with her! Go follow her. She’s hilarious and genuine and so cool!

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She cute af.

After lunch and shopping, we went back to the hotel to relax before dinner and a night out. We had dinner at Koi in Bryant Park, which is the most incredible Japanese resto, with locations in NYC, Vegas and LA. Cocktails were on point, as was the food.

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Sis snapped this in front of the carousel in Bryant Park.

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Crispy rice with spicy tuna. NO WORDS.

We then head out to 230 Fifth Rooftop, because every damn tourist needs to go there for a drink to see the Manhattan skyline lit up at night. It got a little messy, not gonna lie, so here’s the requisite tourist shot and I’ll end this night here.

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Views.

The next morning, I did a quick photoshoot with the most incredible photographer, @wildnyc. I wasn’t feeling my best, but I think the shots turned out incredible. Here’s my fave one:

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On Instagram, I dubbed this one “2019 Blair Waldorf.” Outfit is entirely from Aritzia, obvs.

We spent the rest of the day exploring different neighborhoods in Manhattan, and then went to check out Brooklyn, because I had never been.

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Iconic.

Overall, it was a whirlwind long weekend, but as always, I left my heart there and will have to return ASAP. There’s just something magical about this city. I get butterflies every time I fly in, and my heart sinks every time I fly out. Thank you for the fun times NYC; ILYSM!

Spring Fashion Trends

Guys, I forgot I had a blog. True story. The other day I got an email notification reminding me that my auto-renew was coming up for my domain name because it’s almost been a year, and I was all like “Oh right, the place where I used to put the words, and sometimes the photos. That thing.” I almost decided not to let the auto-renew happen, because DUH, writing’s hard y’all, but you know what? I’ma leave it, because an Instagram blog and a podcast need a domain name to support them. ALSOOOOOO, maybe this summer I won’t be so cool and actually have time to rediscover my roots. Don’t bank on it. Okay, so here we are. Easter long weekend and I’m writing. Well, mostly posting photos and sharing some insight into my spring fashion choices, but enjoy anyway, here you go, and ok bye.

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First look up. I dub this one “2019 Peggy Bundy.” I’m sorry, I just really love leopard print, and also the look of a fitted shirt tucked into a baggier jean. If I had topped this one off with a heel, for sure I would have been Peggy Bundy 2.0, but alas, I think the dad shoes give it a more modern feel, and hey, I’m into it. I’m in the mood for taking risks and elevating my game a bit.

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I am LOVE LOVE LOVING neons for spring. My wardrobe is usually so dull; my closet filled with neutrals like black, gray, and white. But NO MORE. A friend persuaded me to go brighter, and I dug this old yellow shirt out of the back of my closet, and the world raved (and by world I mean 15 of my 3400 Instagram followers). The positive encouragement prompted me to head out to Aritzia and purchase this neon pink sweatshirt, along with the bicycle shorts, and honestly I’m thrilled that I did. I rocked this outfit in 12 degree weather, got some stares, some DMs questioning my sanity, etc., but #whatever.

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By far the best purchase I’ve made for this spring is this hat from Aritzia. Blair has dubbed it my “influencer hat”, but I guess it’s a fedora in layman’s terms, or something. I’m totally not a hat person, and I usually look like trash in ’em, but this one is versatile and I pair it with almost anything, so I’m basically obsessed. Also, the jeans in the second picture are also from Aritzia, from their new denim line called Denim Forum, and they were legitimately reasonably priced. Like $120 I think, which is way less than I’d usually spend on jeans there.

Annnnnyway, I hope you enjoyed my spring line-up, where I actually did you no service at all, because I didn’t hyperlink to any of the items, mostly because I’m way too lazy, but also, not doing it til Aritzia sponsors me. Aritzia, sponsor me please?

Cancun 2018

New year, who dis?

Happy 2019 friends! As I look back and reflect on 2018, I’m honestly so grateful I was inspired to start this blog in June. It’s opened the door to so many opportunities for me on Instagram. I’ve met so many wonderful new people, said yes to things that were waaaaaay outside my comfort zone, and even began a podcast all about self-care! Having a voice and a creative outlet has been so wonderful for my mental health, and it’s lead to me conquering so many of my fears and anxieties. I socialize and go out more often, drive downtown (where as I used to say no to things because downtown driving scared me shitless), and it’s just generally made me less self conscious in public (hello taking food photos with a ring light while other patrons stare at me). It’s also brought me and the hubby closer together, as he’s often my partner in crime on my foodie outings. He’ll take the photos (he has more of an eye for the aesthetics and plating), and then I edit and post. We’re quite the duo!

Anyway, this post isn’t about my year in review. It’s about our trip to Mexico over Christmas. We stayed at a resort on the Cancun strip called Panama Jack, and it ended up being a solid choice. It was a last minute booking, and we weren’t disappointed at all!

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When we first arrived, we asked for a larger suite. The rooms are quite small, and we needed to accommodate both kids on separate beds, because we just knew they wouldn’t sleep well together in the same bed. So we opted for a room upgrade for about $50 USD a night. Pricey, yes, but worth it I think. It was still a smaller room, but we fit two beds in for them, had an ocean view, and also had 24/7 access to a VIP buffet that served tons of delicious food and top shelf alcohol. The room itself was super clean, modern, and had solid amenities. The only downside was it didn’t have a bathtub, so the kids had to shower, which isn’t their favourite, but it was massive and we made it work.

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The food and the drinks were amazing. Generally speaking, the staff at the resort are very eager to please and provide amazing service. Everyone seemed happy and friendly, and the chefs were really into presentation of the food. Most of the food tasted as good as it looked. I mostly had omelettes made every morning for breakfast, and tacos for lunch. I drank mango margaritas mostly, but they also had this drink that I think is called a Miami Vice or something and it’s green, red, and yellow, and it was delicious as all heck. My daughter ate relatively well, but my son did not. He survived on fries, boxed cereal, ice cream, and mac and cheese. Some things they just couldn’t do, like Asian food night. It wasn’t working for me. Also, full disclosure, we did get food poisoning one night, which is pretty common in Mexico at an all-inclusive where the water can be contaminated, buffets have lots of hands touching things, and food might not be kept at the required temperatures. My other complaint is they only had 2 a la carte restaurants, neither which took reservations, which meant long line ups if you didn’t go as early as 5:15 pm! Other all-inclusives we’ve been to have had upwards of 10 a la carte restaurants with ample seating. But on the plus side, this was a smaller resort, with everything in close proximity, and we liked not having to walk far to the pool, restaurants, our room, etc. Especially because our bellies (okay just mine) were constantly full of tacos and margaritas, so frankly we were lazy af most of the time.

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They also had an amazing coffee shop in the lobby where I was able to get hot coffee and cold brew daily. This might’ve been my favourite feature of the hotel. The weather wasn’t great (extremely windy, overcast and rainy some of the days), so I’d often just sit at the coffee shop or get over-caffeinated and work out at the indoor gym.

The best part of this resort was how kid-friendly it was. EVERYONE there had young children, and those who didn’t chose the wrong hotel. They had so many amazing activities geared towards kids, and there was an amazing water park with tons of water slides that my kids had a blast going on. The kids club was for children 4+, but we lied about our 3 year old son’s age (let’s pray no one from the hotel reads that), and they took him along with my daughter. So every afternoon between about 1 and 3 or 4 pm, we’d drop them off and have some time to ourselves by the pool. They’d come back from the place with candy, face paint, arts and crafts, and other awesome things that made us confident with our decision to drop them off daily.

Overall, despite our illness (there was a doctor visit in there too in addition to the food poisoning, because my son got a high fever for a couple of days), we had a really great time. Because he was ill, he was pretty sleep deprived and miserable for a lot of it, and badly behaved, but we made the best regardless. Going to all-inclusives with kids isn’t easy, but I’m glad we did it, and I think we’d probably go back to one…

….without them.

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Toronto Christmas Market

This past weekend I visit the Toronto Christmas Market in the historical Distillery District (55 Mill St.). This year it runs from Thursday November 15th to Sunday December 23rd, and is free on weekdays and $6 per person on weekends. The market has a bunch of vendors and pop-ups with gifts, little chotchkes (I totally spelled that wrong), amazing food, and other fun things (shout out to Beekeeper’s Naturals for having a vendor there so I could stock back up on my lifesaving bee propolis throat spray).

The highlight of our visit was these cookies and cream donuts from Holey Dough.

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There were 6 mini donuts ($9) in there, and we split them halfway. They were perfectly light and airy, and went down a little too easily because they weren’t too rich. We both agreed we could have easily eaten all 6 ourselves.

Other than that, we mostly just strolled around and window shopped, stopping periodically for a photo op (PSA: It’s much prettier at night with all the lights, but alas my grandma lifestyle does not allow for evening outings much lately). If you’re looking for a meal beforehand or after, I highly recommend El Catrin, which serves amazingly authentic Mexican street food and cocktails.

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Name a more iconic duo. I’ll wait.

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Obligatory lifestyle blogger photos.

Coat: Aritzia

Jeans: Gap

Shoes: Town Shoes

Headband: Saks Off Fifth

Purse: Marc Jacobs

Pizza, Podcasting, and Promotions

Oh my gd, I just love an alliterative title so effing much.

Anyway, hi. This is a shameless self promotion post. But no one else is going to do it for me, so here we are.

Some exciting things have been going on for me in the blogosphere. First of all, I started a podcast!

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This is Blair, my 22 year old former student, and podcast co-host. Not only could she be my little sister, but she’s eloquent, mature beyond her years, so cool, and just generally very knowledgeable. Her values regarding self-care totally align with mine, and so we decided to make something special together.

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This is our podcast. You can find it in the podcasts app. Give it a listen if you want to hear about how we live our lives, caring for ourselves through food, exercise, meditation and mindfulness, beauty, and lifestyle. Right now we just have our introductory episode out, but stay tuned for episode 2 very shortly! Please subscribe if you like what you hear!

Also, I wanted to share a clothing promotion I currently have going on. I’m an ambassador for a women’s fashion website called Poppy Apparel!

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(Purchase this top and other amazing pieces here.)

Use my code ATHLEISURE10 at checkout for 10% off your order! Their stuff is so cute, and shipping is free!

Lastly, I’ll leave you all with pictures of me stuffing my face with tacos, because well, that’s what I do best.

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7 Stages of Grief – Acceptance

This is a post about accepting the impending doom of fall and back to school. I know my post title sounds serious af, but it’s not. My dad always said I have a flare for the hyperbole and called me the “hyperbole queen,” and maybe he isn’t wrong. Like, sorry for being dramatic, but this past week I went through a lot of stages of grief, and here we are…acceptance.

So I did what any normal woman does once they accept the inevitable. I shopped. I retail therapy-ed it up, and I have no regrets. I bought some cute fall pieces, and I’ll link ’em for you, because maybe you also need an amazing vegan sherpa jacket or oversized sweatshirt to help you work through your grief.

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Purchase here. Mine is an XS for reference, because I know you’re all thinking it’s hella big. But no, that’s just the style. I received some hate for this one via an Instagram story poll (which is of course, written in stone, much like the word of god), but forget the haters. I feel like a mf pimp in this, and it stays. I’m gonna get myself a pair of OTN (over the knee) boots to pair with this beautiful baby, and I’m gonna ROCK IT.

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And continuing with the oversized theme, you can purchase this sweatshirt here. Pretty sure this will be my Friday ZFG (figure out that acronym yourself) go-to outfit for work.

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This dress was $19.99! S’cute, right? Not sure how I’ll pair this yet, but it looks pretty versatile, so I think it’ll be okay.

AAAAAAAND because I’m an asshole and talking about fall, I’ll leave you all with some summer content now.

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I love summer. SUMMER FOREVER!!!

I Live Under a Rock

This summer has truly been one of new discoveries. I’ve been exposed to many new things that haven’t just changed my summer; they’ve changed my life. I don’t know how I didn’t know about some of these things, but in case you didn’t either, I thought I’d share them with you, because sharing is caring and I’m nothing if not the nicest most generous person in the world.

Spotify – Apparently I’m living in 2015, because I didn’t know there was a free version of Spotify. But there is, and I downloaded it, and now I have a soundtrack to my summer. Virtually the only difference between the free version and premium is you get a limited number of skips (6 per hour I think) of tracks you don’t want to hear, and you have to listen to an ad every 30 minutes. I’d invest in the premium, but tbh, my matcha habit is really effing expensive. I’m especially loving using the app at the gym, because it can stream on the wifi while I run on the treadmill, do my cardio circuits and my strength training

Aerie – WTFFFFFF guys. How did I not know this is literally the best store on the face of this planet? My travel companion/bad influence bestie (love you A) introduced me to their cute bralettes in early July, and since then, I’ve dropped half my summer lump sum there. I love it all. Their workout gear, comfy pj-esque clothes, and undergarments (you know you’re a real adult when you use that word) are all amazing. Well priced, good quality, and so adorable. Plus their ad campaigns support the #bodypositive movement; featuring models of all shapes, sizes, and abilities.

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Exhibit A

Calm – This app is life changing. At the beginning of the summer I discovered it, and questioned whether to invest in the $77/year membership. A super kind former colleague alert me to the Calm for teachers application, which gives educators in the classroom a FREE membership! Needless to say, this was a no brainer for me. I got the free membership, and have spent the last 6 weeks or so beginning my meditation/mindfulness journey. Full disclosure, I totally suck at it, but I’m getting better. I like it because it’s helped me work on things I struggle with, like non-reactivity (I like reacting. Reacting is fun), letting go of control and other negativity that doesn’t benefit me, and just generally being more in the present and not dwelling on memories, plans, etc. What I still grapple with is not letting my thoughts wander during the practice, but I like that the narrator tells me not to judge myself for it, and to gently bring myself back to the moment. Like, obviously I still judge myself, because it’s kinda what I’m best at and I like to recognize my strengths, but I appreciate her telling me not to.

Snapchat – Okay so this was a re-discovery for me. I used to have it before Instagram Stories existed, and it was a lot of fun using the filters with the kids and posting them publicly. This summer I’ve used it differently, because I don’t think people post their stories publicly anymore. Now I kinda just chronicle my life in quick photos and send them to my nearest and dearest. It’s a great time waster, and that’s why I use it. Don’t worry though, I’ve already read three massive novels this summer too, so my brain hasn’t turned entirely to mush. I’ll likely delete it the second I step foot into my school.

VSCO and Lightroom – How did I not know about editing apps before I made this public Instagram account? Here I was thinking people actually *use* the Instagram pre-set filters. But like ew, they’re all hideous in hindsight! Even though I’m the world’s shittiest photographer still, I can make my pictures a little less horrendous by increasing the exposure, saturation, contrast, etc., and it really improves their quality. I don’t spend too much time editing them, but I just try to make the finished product look a little prettier.

Anyway, have the greatest weekend friendships, and…you’re welcome.

 

Summer Staples

While I’m definitely going to miss my students tremendously (especially my graduating grade 12s that I’ve had an amazing semester with), my mind is on the summer. With one month left of school, I constantly find my mind drifting to my upcoming girls’ trip to NYC, my daughter’s birthday visit to Great Wolf Lodge, and all the other amazing plans I’ve made for July and August. It’s been hard trudging through all the essay marking, but I find looking forward to everything has helped me stay focused to get through it all. I wanted to share some of my summer staples with you, because 1. they’re super helpful and/or cute, and also 2. capitalism.

  1. Ace Hill Pineapple Vodka Soda ($3.15 per can)

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Purchase here

Leave it to me to start with booze. I’m sorry…priorities. Anyway, this pineapple vodka soda is the most delicious canned beverage I’ve ever had. It’s made with real, organic pineapple juice, and it goes down real easily. A little too easy. It’s the perfect patio drink!

2. Adidas Adilette Slides ($45)

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Purchase here

This is the perfect unisex slide. A word of caution: they might tear your feet up a bit while you’re working them in, but once they’ve stretched a bit, they’re super comfortable and versatile. I love being able to put them on with ease, which makes impromptu backyard play super fast. The students at my school are wearing these with socks. It’s not a good look. But if the teenagers are doing it, that must mean it’s socially acceptable. I’m not advocating for it though.

3. Season 2 of the Handmaid’s Tale

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Okay, okay, so dystopian horror probably isn’t the best summer genre, but hear me out. This show is beyond binge-worthy. I mean, anything is better than season 2 of 13 Reasons Why, am I right? Somehow this show seems even more realistic, even though it’s set in a fictional time period and world. This season is definitely more gruesome and dark than the first, but I just can’t look away. Watch it. Thank me later.

4. OPI “Let’s Be Friends” shellac polish

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I’m obsessed with this colour for the summer. It’s the perfect pale pink. That is all.

5. Dew and Poesy – Body Lotion in Nectarine Blossom and Mimosa ($18)

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Purchase here

This is the most delicious summer scent ever. I also have it in a convenient, on-the-go roller ball perfume, and I bring it everywhere. A little mid-day spritz, and you’re instantly transported to somewhere tropical!

6. Emily Giffin – All We Ever Wanted (On sale for $19.20 if you pre-order online)

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Purchase here

It’s not out for another month, but I can’t wait to read Emily Giffin’s new novel. Her books are summer reading at its finest. This one is about scandal, love and loyalty, and honestly, I’m here for it.

7. Halter neck jumpsuit ($74.95 but can usually be purchased on sale. I got it for 40% off.)

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Purchase here

I got this jumpsuit in black, and it’s the most comfortable, flattering piece I’ve found for this summer. The whole having to pee thing is mildly irritating, but for all the compliments I’ve received on it? #worthit. I took a gamble on an XS, and it fit perfectly. I dress it up with wedges when I go out, and I pair it with flat sandals or Toms when I wear it to work.

8. Paul Mitchell Sculpting Foam ($17.97)

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Purchase here

This is the perfect lightweight mousse for summer beachy waves. My hair is naturally quite curly and frizzy, but I gently scrunch this in after I wash my hair, and it gives my hair a subtle bounce and perfect shape. I’ve been using this forever, and I highly recommend it.

New Blog, Who Dis?

Welcome friends! Thanks for stopping by! My name is Lauren, and I’m a 30 something year old high school English teacher, mom, exercise, and food enthusiast. I’ve had various blogs in the past, mostly about my journey into motherhood, but I never felt they fully reflected who I was beyond being a parent. Recently, my grade 12 students asked me what type of writing I’m passionate about. “Poetry?” Definitely not. “Creative writing? Short stories?” Nope. So I told them I used to have a blog and miss writing one, and they encouraged me to rekindle the flame. “I’d read it,” one 18 year old boy mused. Now, I don’t know why that would be the case, because I don’t really think he’s my target audience, but a bunch of other students chimed in, and here we are. The Athleisure Teacher. What can you expect from this blog? Probably some self depricating humour sprinkled with a healthy dose of sarcasm. Maybe some posts about things I eat, because I really like to eat (but not cook). You’re going to hear about my workouts, but I promise you I won’t talk about my “gains.” I’ll probably want to chronicle my upcoming endeavor to become a spin instructor. I promise I won’t try to sell you something. This is not my side hustle; just a hobby. I might talk about my kids a little. The two that I have at home (a girl, almost 6 years old, and a boy, almost 3), but also the 90 I teach every semester, because they have a pretty big impact on my life too. Anyway, I hope you enjoy reading!

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