In Anticipation of Summer Break

OMGGGGGGGG hi friends. I’m well aware I am legitimately, certifiably, the world’s worst blogger. I don’t want to know how many months it’s been since I last posted. BUT, here I am, June 25th, just a few more exams to mark, and then I’m free for two whole months! I promise to be present and post often. Promise. Pinky promise.

I swear the anticipation of summer break is sometimes better than the actual summer break. People have been asking me if I have a lot of plans, and other than the August long weekend in Prince Edward County, I do not. I made a conscious effort to keep the summer open to be spontaneous. On weekends, we’ll go to Wonderland and the park and splash pads with the kids, and during the week while they’re in camp, I’ll do my standard morning workout followed by leisurely lunch thang. And hopefully I’ll have a lot of tastings and events lined up, in light of the momentum my Instagram has gathered over the last few months. These pictures are some highlights of the last couple of weeks, which scream SUMMER to me.

Exhibit A: Dinner at Rosalinda – margs, shorts (American Eagle outfitters for those who like), wedges, and a cute aesthetic. The embodiment of summer.

Rosalinda

Exhibit B: Watermelon macaron from my SPOT (it’s a wholesaler called the Bakehouse in Markham, but they do allow walk ins). It actually tasted like watermelon and dang, it was cute to boot!

watermelonmacaron

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exhibit C: Ice cream cones from Chocolats Favoris – OUR favourite ice cream place. We only go when we’re celebrating (in this case, it was both kids getting their swimming badges), because it’s stupid indulgent and rich, but it was the first of many ice cream dates to come this summer, and I’m here for it.

chocolatfavoris

Exhibit D: Mimosas on the patio at a brunch tasting – This restaurant is called King Rustic, and having attended this tasting with all my friends this past weekend, I can honestly say this is the epitome of summer anticipation. My goal is to drink a summery beverage on a patio at least once a week. I know I’ll exceed that goal, but best to set the bar low for me so I can actually follow through. (Dark pic, but shorts are Aritzia, top is Lululemon x Soul Cycle.)

KingRustic

So there you have it. What I’m most looking forward to in July and August. What are YOU looking forward to? Leave me a comment or hit me up on my Insta @theathleisureteacher and let your girl know! XO, worst blogger ever.

Media Tastings, Collabs, and Podcast Promotions

Hey boo! It’s been about 6 weeks, and I felt it was important to write something here for the 1 person left who actually looks forward to my blog posts. My absence is entirely my fault. I’m learning that maintaining an Instagram page, blogging, AND podcasting, realistically cannot coexist and is not sustainable. Something had to fall by the wayside, and unfortunately it’s the writing. This obviously saddens me, because it’s my passion, but when there’s so much momentum elsewhere, and sometimes blogging feels like a dying art, you have to accept defeat and realize where the casualty will lie.

Anyway, I wanted to fill you in on where I’ve been. In the last couple of months, my Instagram has really taken off. I’ve been invited to media tastings, been given products to promote and giveaway, and just generally have grown a very active and organic following that feels really special. I wanted to share some of these highlights here.

Feng Cha Canada Media Tasting

fengcha

Feng Cha is the cutest little bubble tea and fruit tea spot in Scarborough. The aesthetic was adorable, with a floral wall and a giant stuffed bear. We got to sample a bunch of their teas, as well as their pastries and buns, and I had so much fun meeting other foodies in the city and partaking in all things cutesy and Asian.

Podcast Promotional Photoshoot

A few weekends ago, me and Blair (along with her boyfriend in tow as our photog) went to Lov’t Studio (cutest little studio with amazing sets and props) to take some podcast promotional photos. Our podcast has really taken off, and we’re having so much fun spreading our message of self-care and self-love! We decided to take some photos to help promote it and increase our listenership (is that a word?), and I LOVE LOVE LOVE the way they turned out.

Welo collaboration

welo

Welo (short for We Love) is my favourite Canadian brand of organic, vegan probiotic bars and beverages. My kids love their kids’ bars, and I love the ingredients in their products. So naturally this was an organic (pun intended) pairing, and I thoroughly enjoyed everything they sent to me, and doing a product giveaway with them! Hilariously enough, the winner of this giveaway was a new follower and someone I didn’t know, but it turns out he lives around the corner from me!

Revive Organics collaboration

reviveorganics

Revive Organics is also a Canadian company, selling ready-made organic and vegan smoothies that just require adding liquid and blending. I LOVE the concept, and felt like this partnership was very on-brand and made sense as a busy working mom of two. They sent me some of their smoothies, as well as their new overnight oats product, and me and the kids thoroughly enjoyed all of them. The company was also kind enough to send me a coupon code for my followers and readers, so if you’re reading this and want to try them out, you can use my code LAUREN50 for 50% off your order!

Imperfect Fresh Eats Media Tasting

imperfectfresh

A couple of days ago I attended a media tasting at Imperfect Fresh Eats, a new restaurant at 318 Adelaide St. W. The concept is amazing. They use imperfect/slightly flawed produce in order to keep costs down and reduce food waste. The bowls were beautiful and full of fresh, delicious ingredients, but for a very reasonable price (small bowl is $9.50, a large is only $11)! You pick from a base of forbidden black rice, Asian sweet potato noodles, spring mix or spinach, add your protein (chipotle chicken, tofu, shrimp or kalbi beef), and then you can add unlimited toppings and dressings. I tasted the chicken and had a base of all four options, and honestly, it was amazing. I love what they’re doing there. Stay tuned for a giftcard giveaway!

Anyway, this is where I’ve been. Yes I’ve been neglecting my OG baby, but I’m out there hustling and I promise to give this blog more loving in the coming months.

XO,

The Athleisure Teacher

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!

mexico1

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.

mexico2

mexico3

mexico4

mexico6

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.

mexico5

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.

mexico7

My 37th Birthday

Yes, I am aware I’m legitimately the world’s worst blogger. BUT…I’m back. I swear. Life is really getting in the way of my oversharing, and I recognize it’s a problem. I promise I’ll find some inspo and get back to my regularly programmed blogging schedule ASAP.

Aaaaaanyway, this past weekend I celebrated my 37th birthday. I had something called “the Birthday Experience” at Assembly Chef’s Hall (111 Richmond St. W. if you haven’t been, highly recommend for delicious food), and it was so much fun! Included in my package was 5 guests, a bottle of champagne (it was pink obvs), and the most insane, OTT, extra cake by Short and Sweet Cupcakes.

birthday5.jpeg

Mostly did it for the photo ops. Just being transparent as always.

birthday3.jpeg

Yup, it was all for the ‘Gram.

birthday4.jpeg

We had some delicious food. This was the burger and parmesan truffle fries from Resto Boemo, which is owned by that hunky former Canadian Bachelor, Brad Smith.

birthday2.jpeg

Guys, I’m so unbelievably fine with aging, it’s not even funny. It’s so liberating and fun!

birthday.jpeg

Oh look, it’s me, in cake form.

Thankful.

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving friends! I know I haven’t blogged in forever, but the reason for this is threefold:

  1. I’ve been bogged down with planning and marking at school.
  2. I’ve been focusing on our podcast (episode 2 about food and nutrition as self-care is now available on the podcast app! Just search “Self-care with Lauren and Blair” to listen!)
  3. Aaaaand I just haven’t been inspired to write, unfortunately, and I didn’t want to blog for the sake of blogging.

But here we are, and damnit, I’ll try to write something relatively coherent and engaging for all of y’all, because I know my 5 loyal followers want it.

What am I thankful for this year? Like, a lot. It’s been a really good time both personally and professionally, and I need to make a list because I love lists and lists are awesome.

1. My health. Always first and foremost. How lucky am I that my body is healthy enough to allow me to do high impact exercise 3 days a week? To run around with my children? To get out of bed every day and live a productive life? I will never ever take this for granted. When I sit on that spin bike, I thank gd for my health multiple times. I also thank gd I’m not pregnant, because being in that body really freaking sucks, but that’s a whole other blog post.

2. My family. I mean, duh. I’m eternally grateful that my children are happy and healthy and not the spawn of Satan. I also feel so blessed to have a wonderful husband, the best parents, and the cutest of sisters eva.

appleorchard

Apple picking when it’s still hot out is fun too. (TB to a few weeks ago…)

3. My friends. I tightened my inner circle A LOT this year and it’s been very liberating. I have the world’s most patient friends, because for the last four months, my conversations, meals, and life in general have revolved around Instagram. They don’t get to eat until I’ve photographed (or rather, they’ve photographed because I’m a shitty photographer) their meals, and my conversations with them are a steady stream of follows and unfollows, podcast plans, and asking which picture to post. I’m sorry guys. I really truly suck. You’re all amazing for tolerating me.

4. Impromptu weekend trips to NYC. The fact the most incredible city in the world is just a one hour flight away is nothing short of amazing! I don’t want to live there, but every few months I just feel the pull of the city and gravitate towards it. It’s an addiction, I suppose, but the energy, food, nightlife, and shopping are beyond magnetic.

nycdresspic.jpgrooftopnyc.jpg

5. My job. I have the best students this semester. We have the most interesting class discussions, and they’re all so engaged and participatory. It’s rare to get a group where the majority of the students have strong opinions, so this is pretty much English teacher heaven for me! Also, in case people think teenagers are rude and disrespectful, I want to tell you that every morning, my students come into my class and greet me with a “hello” or a “good morning.” When they leave the class, they say “have a good day miss,” or “bye!” They’re such mensches! I really appreciate their warmth and kindness, because it keeps me in a good mood and sets a really positive tone for the day.

6. Refined carbohydrates and gluten. Pizza. Donuts. Tacos.

bacondonut.jpg

This maple bacon donut from Dipped Donuts in Kensington Market is pretty much the epitome of fall in Canada, amirite? I think I am most grateful for this donut. Like, I love my family and stuff, but…donuts win.

Best of Summer Eats

As you are all fully aware of, I spent approximately 95% of the summer eating. So I thought it would only be right to share some of my best summer eats with you all, and hopefully inspire you all to the level of gluttony I achieved.

Enjoy! (Especially because I likely won’t have time to blog in the next coming weeks as I get acclimatized back into my work routine.)

Best salad (starting off light) – Parallel Salad at Parallel, 217 Geary Ave., Toronto

parallelsalad.jpeg

This new Middle Eastern restaurant has been getting lots of hype, and rightly so. They nailed it with this salad of kale, sweet potato, lentils, walnuts, and beet tahini. It was filling from the vegan protein, and was tangy and savory AF. Note: there is also goat cheese on this salad, but I fear all things goat, so I omitted. I’m sure it’s even more delicious with the cheese.

Best pasta – Gnocchi Gorgonzola at Scaddabush Italian Kitchen and Bar (various locations across the GTA)

Processed with VSCO with g3 preset

I eat a lot of carbs, so I consider myself a carb connoisseur. This gnocchi wouldn’t be something I normally order, probably because I don’t think I like Gorgonzola cheese, but these little babies were cooked to perfection, and the sauce wasn’t nearly as rich as I anticipated (but still plenty rich). Basically this dish was a solid 10/10 for me, and I highly recommend it, and various other pastas and pizza from this Italian restaurant.

Best avocado toast – Oliver and Bonacini (various locations across the GTA)

avocadotoast

This avocado toast was to die for. It had hummus on it for a little zip, and it was essentially a salad on bread, with tons of fresh veggies. I put bacon crumble on top for $2 (I think), and it added some much needed protein, saltiness, crunch, and just general happiness.

Best dumpling/dim sum – Yu Garden, 8750 Bayview Ave., Richmond Hill

yugarden.jpeg

While all the other dim sum restaurants we used to frequent north of the city have gone out of business, Yu Garden has been around for quite some time. We were reluctant to try it, because it’s very authentic Chinese food from Shanghai. They’re known for their soup dumplings, and other than the odd scalding here and there from the various times we’ve gone this summer, I have nothing but good things to say about this place. The food is incredible and you will leave very very very satisfied.

Best cocktail – Green Sangria from Scaddabush Italian Kitchen and Bar

greensangria.jpeg

What can I say? This delicious fruity concoction pairs well with gluttony, carbs, and cheese. I drank this on their adorable patio multiple times this summer. Runner up for best cocktail goes to Radisson Admiral Hotel (249 Queens Quay W., Toronto), for their delicious white sangria as well…

radissonsangria

Best pizza – Sorelle and Co. (various locations across the GTA)

sorellepizza.jpeg

Never in a million years would I have thought that the best pizza I’d have this summer would be a vegan one! I did eat a lot of pizza this summer, so that’s saying a lot. This Sorelle and Co. pizza was topped with tons of fresh veggies, and was perfectly balanced and not greasy like most of the pizza I traditionally consume. I highly recommend it!

Best ice cream – Cacao 70 Dip Shop, 180 Enterprise Blvd., Markham

cacao70

Once you eat your ice cream smothered in decadent chocolate, you can’t go back. There was way too much ice cream in here and I had trouble finishing it, but the rich coffee flavoured chocolate (pictured right) was to die for!

Best appetizer – Kung Pao Caulifower at the Keg (various locations across the GTA)

kungpaocauliflower

So this summer I won a whopping $300 gift card to the Keg from an Instagram food account (Shout out to ToFoodies)! I don’t eat steak/don’t really care much for meat in general, so this cauliflower app was the real MVP for me. It was fried and tasted like Kung Pao chicken. It was incredible!

Best vegan dessert – Cookie Dough Cinnamon Bun at Cinnaholic, Promenade Mall, 1 Promenade Cir., Thornhill

cinnaholic

Feast your eyes on this baby for a moment, will ya? It only cost me $10, but it was well worth every penny. You’d think the frosting mixed with the chocolate sauce, chocolate chips and vegan cookie dough on top would be a bit much, but somehow I managed to devour the entire thing. Pro tip: I recently tried a basic cinnamon bun there and was disappointed. It didn’t fill me with the same kind of happiness. So my suggestion is if you’re going to go there, go hard and splurge on something extra.

Best sushi – Tomo Japanese Restaurant, 9625 Yonge St., Richmond Hill

minesushi

The sushi at Tomo is fresh, high-quality, and super delicious. Pictured are the dynamic roll (above), and the spicy beef roll (below). The service is amazing too!

 

 

Mommy Blogger for a Day

Let me preface this post with two things:

  1. This is the post where I officially give up on censoring my kids’ faces. That was fun while it lasted, but I’m two months into my blogging journey and now I’m too lazy, so like…meh. Enjoy their faces.
  2. I promise after this parenting post I’ll resume normalcy with my lifestyle, food, exercise and fun content.

So last week we went to Great Wolf Lodge in Niagara Falls for two nights to celebrate my daughter’s 6th birthday. Wait. Let me pause for a second. SIX!? How have I been a mom for so long? Good lord I’m old.

GWL6.jpeg

gwl4.jpeg

gwl5.jpeg

gwl3.jpeg

gwl2.jpeg

GWL

As you can see, the kids had the most amazing time! As for the adults, there are certain things you must accept if you’re going to go:

  1. The place is a cesspool of germs. I feel like all the chlorine in the world can’t kill the gonorrhea that likely exists there. Sorry to alert you all to this, but it’s a reality. So make your peace with it before you go.
  2. You can’t look cute here. Due to humidity and all activities being water related, you need to embrace looking like a homely dirtnugget for the duration of your stay. I threw my hair up in the rattiest top knot (see above for evidence) and didn’t wear a stitch of makeup. I looked like a troll for 48 hours and frankly, it’s okay. I’ll be okay.
  3. The margs at the pool aren’t strong enough. Ask for a double, because #sanity.
  4. The talking animals are scary as shit.
  5. Get comfortable dancing to Taylor Swift and doing the Cha Cha Slide in public. Likely sober. The struggle was real.

Anyway, this was my token mommy blogger post. How did I do? Now I’ll leave you with something more fun, because of course the second I got home from the trip, I needed to do some serious adulting and went for a night on the town.

CNTower.jpeg

Unapologetically living my best life this summer.

Real Housewives of Thornhill – Episode 1

Hi friends! Happy Friday! For those of you working for the weekend, congrats, you’ve made it! I’m just over here losing all track of days of the week because let’s be real, every day is the weekend for me. Sorry, not sorry.

I can’t believe it’s July 20th. July is flying by, and pretty soon it’ll be August. August is a special kind of hell, because it’s an entire month of the Sunday Scaries and the feeling of impending doom sits with you daily. So my plan is to just savour each day and keep saying yes to just about anything that comes my way.

Here’s a little insight into what I’ve been up to.

matcha1.jpeg

joey

shellac.jpeg

Matcha, lunch, pampering. All day every day, on repeat. Am I getting tired of it? As if! Pretty sure I could live like this 12 months a year, not just two. I’m flying through my summer reading list, seeing friends I haven’t seen in ages, and just generally living my best life. It’s been so amazing for my mental health to rest and recharge, and be more free spirited.

wonderland1.jpeg

park

And the best part of feeling so recharged, is that on evenings and weekends I feel way more equipped to parent. I’m more patient, slower to anger, and much more hands on because of how rested I am…

Kidding. Totally kidding. I’m the same mediocre mom I am when I’m at work. I just threw these in here because I know you assholes are judging me for being selfish and not parenting during the day. XO Love you guys.

 

Livin’ for the Long Weekend!

Hiiiiiii! Your girl is back and here to stay! I’m officially off for the summer, and expect to be coming at you pretty regularly for the next two months!

This past weekend was, in a word, magical. It was a perfect combination of rest (but not too much, because #fireworks, rage hulk smash), gluttony, and pretending I enjoy schlepping my kids from activity to activity to entertain them. [side note: I do enjoy it, please don’t judge me.]

Friday night we celebrated my last day of work with carbs, cheese, and cocktails at my favourite restaurant, Scaddabush.

drink

Processed with VSCO with g3 preset

Green sangria and gnocchi Gorgonzola. Here. For. It.

¬†Also, aren’t my food photography skills improving? To get that one, I actually moved to a vacant table with good lighting. People watched me transporting my meal and normally I’d have been pretty self conscious, but I’m working on developing blinders and not GAF, because to be a blogger in this day and age, you gotta get comfortable talking to your phone in public, working angles for the best shot while people give you weird looks, etc.

Saturday we went to the splash pad with our best friends, and it was a blast! Leetle story about this playdate. While my kids played, I camped out under a tree with my best friend and her baby, and we just chat. I totally ignored my kids, and damn it felt good. I had a brief moment where a tiny voice in my head whispered, “Lauren, have another baby. They play too well independently now. They don’t need you. Find yourself another spawn that needs you.” And for a minute I actually entertained it. Then I burst into maniacal laughter, regained my sanity, and resumed my convo about all the bad decisions I’m going to make in New York City this week on my girls’ trip.

splash.jpeg

splash2

ootd

I dare you to find a look that screams “haute couture” more than this. You wish you could pull off fash-un like this, yes? Truthfully, this mom style moment is brought to you by a solid 5 minutes to get ready, 45 degree humidity, and the known truth that wearing navy blue and black together makes you look like a bruise. (But in all seriousness, I do love me this Aritzia romper, mostly because it eliminates me having to figure out a top and bottom that semi-match. So thanks for that Aritizia!)

Sunday we had a BBQ with friends, which was so adorable. We got so lucky having friends who had a daughter four days after ours, and then a son two months after our son was born. Watching them grow up together has been so sweet!

bbqfriends

All dem blurred faces.

And then Monday we went to Woodbine Center Fantasy Fair, because four days of heat warnings and crazy humidity were really taking a toll on us (us being my hair).

fantasyfair2

fantasyfair

sweetjesus.jpeg

The sweet moments were all well and great, but I just came for the ice cream.

So there you have it. Installment #1 of the Teacher on Summer Break series. Have a great Tuesday friends! (Especially if your kids are off to camp. Especially especially if that camp is overnight.)