It's been almost two months since I've committed to taking care of myself. I signed up at The Motion Room for a weekly training session and haven't missed a workout yet. I'm already feeling better.
What I didn't realize when I started training with The Motion Room is they have two secret weapons.
The first one's name is Bee and she has given me the best massage. Ever. In my life. On this planet. No exaggeration.
Bee does Trigger Point Therapy which is followed by an Aromatherapy massage. The treatment is done immediately after my workout so I'm not drowning in lactic acid and unable to move the next day.
Bee goes deep. I'm talking climbing up on my back on all fours and using her hands and knees to dig into my uber tight hamstrings and back. She pulls and twists me in curious ways, stretching my crooked spine in pleasurable pain, my out-of-shape legs into muscle-lengthening contortions. It kills, in a good way, if you know what I mean.
I walk out of those sessions like I have taken a heavy dose of a happy drug. Maybe this is what it feels like to be on ecstasy?
Bee is originally from Thailand where she first studied massage. Wanderlust took her to Dubai, then Bahrain where she scored a job at the Ritz Carlton.
While at the Ritz, she worked on the royal body of the King of Bahrain. If she's good enough for the Royal Family, she's good enough for this tired, achy mom in Toronto.
Secret Weapon Number Two at The Motion Room? They also run the Kidz 360 Learning Activity Centre in the next room over, which creates specialized Learning Through Play programming for kids while you work out and get worked on.
Best Trigger Point Therapy on the planet, workouts to make you feel better and an Active Learning Center for your kids. These guys make it hard for moms to make excuses for not taking care of ourselves. You should check it out. I'm there on Saturdays.
When I used to work at MuchMusic, we were a tight little team. Most of us were fresh out of school - naive, passionate and driven. We spent hours creating leading edge television which resonated with a whole generation of music lovers. Some of us left early on, others jumped midstream and there are still a couple who are still there.
It's always fun for me to reconnect with old "Much" friends and see what path they've taken. Serendipity put me in the same room with one such old buddy when American Express invited me to the meet Evan Malach, winner of the travel category for the Room For Thought program.
My old colleague Les Stroud, also known as Survivorman, was invited to mentor Evan as he brainstormed his winning travel concept into reality.
When Les spotted me across the room, he raced over to give me a huge hug. We haven't seen each other for literally decades. Les was a floor director at Much while I was on air. Amazing how both of us have taken such different paths that lead us to this event.
The irony of us sitting together brought together by a brand whose tag like is Realize Your Potential wasn't lost on us. Les remembered how our boss, Moses Znaimer, gave everyone who worked for him an open field to do whatever we wanted. It was up to each individual as to how much of the opportunity you took advantage of.
We chatted about the fact that we're both opportunists in the best sense of the word. Les shared how he quit Much, went to work as a gas station attendant and pondered what he wanted to do in life. His love was adventure, so he took the inititiative to take every kind of outdoor wilderness course - kayaking, dog sledding, outdoor survivor, etc!
After watching an episode of the very first season of Survivor, he was inspired to cold call Discovery Channel and offer them a low budget documentary he would shoot himself (thanks to his former days at Much) capturing a year living in the wild with his wife. They bought it and he had a new career.
Les Stroud is a self made success story. He leads with is heart and works incredibly hard to have the amazing life he's enjoying with his teenage kids. He's been working hard on making sure his kids don't become the "entitled ones". He reminds them to be grateful for all they have and reinforces the importance of hard work and perseverance.
That's some of the advice Les shared with Evan Malach, a 24-year-old idealist who dreamed up the winning travel concept for the Room For Thought program.
Second Chance Travel was inspired by an incident where Evan was skiing in Blackcomb and went out of the designated area. He lost his way and was forced to spend the night freezing in the mountains, hoping to survive ordeal alive! It was the survival tips he remembered from the Survivorman TV series that allowed him to survive.
While waiting to be rescued, Evan pondered a quote texted to him just that afternoon.
"What we have done for ourselves alone lies with us. What we have done for other and the world remains and is immortal' - Albert Pike
It was then Evan dreamed of creating a program in which survivors volunteer to work with those struggling with their own quests for survival. And to bring it full circle, his mentor was Les Stroud. Evan calls it all coming together kismet.
Talking to Evan, you can feel his enthusiasm and youthful exuberance. Les helped him temper his naiveté and is helping take his project from idea to reality. His advice: hard work, align yourself with like-minded organizations, and trust your heart to lead you to the right place.
Hats off to American Express for bringing all of us dreamers and entrepreneurs together. I walked away inspired.
This blog is proudly sponsored by our friends at
American Express Canada
For five years I've been on the receiving end of packages showing up at my front door with products PR companies want me to review. Occasionally some of these parcels are filled with products I need, which is always fun. Once PR reps from Olay saw me tweeting about moisturizer and sent me a few relevant products which I used and reviewed.
This past week I was sent one of the best packages I've ever had the pleasure of opening up! It came from GolinHarris, the PR agency working with McDonalds, who was given the job of letting women who blog know about the new McCafés popping up everywhere.
Here's what was in the bag:
A coffee mug with my Twitter handle on it.
A pretty stainless steel business card with my Twitter handle engraved on it
A USB stick with my Twitter handle engraved on it
A bag of chocolate covered espresso beans
A bunch of coupons for McCafé lattes and cappuccinos
A map of Toronto with all the locations of McCafés for me to visit.
A personal note from the Sr. Manager of External Communications from McDonalds with this note which read:
Mom. Blogger. Business woman. Your work is never done. And break? Those are too few and far between.
Let our McCafé "Break Kit" help you #bringbackthebreak.
One taste of our authentic espresso beverages and we hope you'll be glad you made the time to take some me time.
Let us know if you lose yourself to a latte or take time for a mocha moment @McD_Canada or www.facebook.com/McDonaldsCanada.
Here's why the package was awesome. It was highly personalized, it was relevant and very thoughtful. It spoke to me with respect and acknowledged how hard I work, that I'm a businesswoman and that I need some me time. Smart on their part because McCafés are wireless and can be a good place for quick business meetings.
It was incredibly well thought out on their end, including the way the laid out their agenda.
And if you're wondering, this post was NOT sponsored by McCafé. They didn't have to. This is my personalized gift back to them. Cuz in my business, it's all about relationships and they've started a great one with me.
So, if you're in the business of trying to win over the hearts of digital moms, take note of this personalized promotion. It worked on me.