Rock Climbing and Manicures

Working out is exactly as hard as it sounds. It even has the word “work” in there! That’s why it’s so important to treat yourself every now and then for all the hard work and effort that you put into your workouts!

A lot of people like to have “cheat meals” or “treats” where they indulge in a deliciously, sinfully unhealthy food like fried chicken, full fat ice cream and poutine.

I’m definitely not against that! Poutine is especially delicious with some bacon in it, so I’m totally guilty of indulging myself more often than most. But, at the same time, I’m usually the first to reach for the plate of veggies at dinner.

So instead of indulging in food, I like to pamper myself with some spa activities like manicures!

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I love sparkly red nails and they still look amazing when they’re as short as mine!

But, I was also curious to see how well (or how badly) a short, well done manicure would hold up against rock climbing.

I also got a pedicure, which does absolute wonders for refreshing tired running and climbing feet!

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If you’ve ever tried buying your own rock climbing shoes or talked to someone who’s bought rock climbing shoes, then you’ll know that certain materials that manufacturers use call for very, VERY snug fits. Mine are made of leather, so I had to go about a half size down when I bought them to make sure that they’d be snug against my foot after wearing them in.

Even though my shoes are nicely worn in, my toes still get squished against the edges and I figured it’d be a good test of how well a pedicure would hold up as well!

As I mentioned in this week’s fitness update, I spent quite a bit of time focusing on challenging my current skills in rock climbing. During all the 5.9s I was tackling, I was concentrating a lot on my hand and feet positions to scale up the routes in a more efficient way.

That also means that I really put my mani-pedi through a lot! My hands were completely covered in chalk and my feet were so gross afterwards.

But, how did the mani-pedi hold up?

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My nails were surprisingly still in good condition! My left hand was barely affected but my right hand suffered a casualty on my pinky.

I knew exactly when it happened because a hold I was reaching for was a lot closer to the wall than I thought!

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My big toes were a little smudged at the tip, so that’s probably a good sign that my shoes are super snug (but not painful!) against my forefoot. In this case, that’s a very good thing!

Other than that, the pedicure was almost untouched.

One other thing I noticed was that my skin was pretty much unharmed. In fact, the mani-pedi procedures scraped away a lot of dead skin and rejuvenated my fingers for a better tactile awareness!

Verdict – Short manicures and pedicures are fine for rock climbing, especially to get rid of built up dead skin. But, I’ll probably get a mani-pedi the day before I go climbing to really make sure the polish doesn’t get as damaged!

How do you treat yourself to a good string of workouts? Do you like to do “refereshers” like spas or massages?

xoxo,

B.elle

Nike Women’s 15K Toronto Run – Race Report

I did it!!! I actually ran a 15K race when I couldn’t even run 5K this time last year!

I entered and ran on my own because I didn’t (and still don’t) know anybody close to my area who would want to train with me. All of my parkour friends who also run are so far away! 😦

Anyway, here’s my take on the Nike Women’s 15K Toronto!

Training

I had about 11 weeks to train for 15km, but I was already running at about 5km as “long runs” because I was being ultra careful with healing a shin splint while doing parkour at the same time.

So, I more or less followed Hal Higdon’s Novice 15K Training Guide as a general guideline rather than a schedule since I’m still searching for that delicate balance between work and home life.

Luckily, I managed to do a 14km long run to the Eaton Centre’s Nike store to pick up my race packet! Yay! Two birds with one stone!

Race Day

Yup, I bought a separate tank top because I knew I’d likely overheat in the tshirt that they gave out!

Nike Toronto Run

Bright and early and pre-gear drop off on the Toronto Islands!

Nike Toronto Run

Selfies are part of a healthy, pre-race breakfast

Even though the race started at 9:30am, I was slotted for the 7:30am ferry since it was probably dedicated to Wave 5 runners. Luckily, the Island had lots of music and amenities that Nike organized pretty well. They had a ton of photo op stations, a really awesome drumline by the name of 416BEATS (who were really impressive), a warm up location, MuscleAidTape tent, tons of Nuun stations, heat sheet tents, gear drop off and, luckily, a MASSIVE amount of port-a-potties to accomodate so many people!

Nike Toronto Run

The course was amazing to go through even though it had rained while we were in our corrals, but it dried up during the race. My absolute favourite part was running on the Billy Bishop runway while the planes were landing close by!

Combined with a pee break at the 3km part, it added about 5 minutes to my chip time, but it was totally worth it.

Nike Toronto Run

Courtesy of Nike Women Toronto

Courtesy of Nike Women Toronto

Here’s my official results:

City: Toronto

Province:ON

Bib#: 3429

Division: F25-29

Division Rank: 1284/2256

Overall Rank: 4707

Split Times: Avg. Pace: 0:06:44
3k:0:19:52 Start Time: 09:58:30
6k: 0:42:03 Gun Time: 2:09:09
9k:1:01:13 Chip Time: 1:40:50
12k: 1:21:13 Finish Time: 11:39:19
Betty L, aka me, courtesy of Nike Women Toronto

Betty L, aka me, courtesy of Nike Women Toronto

The gun time is so different from the chip time because it took about 30 minutes for Wave 5 to get to the start line.

Does the Nike Women’s 15K Toronto Run’s medal look awesome?

Nike Women Toronto Medal Nike Women Toronto Medal

HELLS YEAH! I’ve already worn it a bunch of times! It looks amazing and definitely wearable for all occasions!

Of course, I thoroughly enjoyed a glorious post-race meal of dumplings, noodles and delicious soup.

Post-Race Meal

I actually felt great the day after the race, so that means I’ll be training to do the Oasis Zoo 10K Run in September in under and hour!

Well… Not completely great.

I literally injured myself on the finish line and ended up with a dropped cuboid, aka cuboid syndrome. More on that later!

xoxo,

B.elle

Topbox – January 2015

First Topbox of 2015!!!

I was pretty excited to know that it was coming in the mail, but I was already halfway to Montreal for a snowshoeing outing with the Monsieur and his friends by the time the Topbox got to the house. It’s taken a little while for me to actually get myself to post about it, but here it is!

Topbox January 2015

I know, I actually used the terrible flash, but it’s still too dark when I get home to get nice pictures using natural light and I’m far too lazy and strapped for cash to invest in a proper lighting setup.

Anyway, I’m pretty happy overall with the first Topbox of 2015!

What is it?

Topbox is a Canadian monthly beauty box subscription that features 4 deluxe samples for $12 per month, shipped right to your door via Canada Post. Some months even include full sized products! Keep in mind that they do have a waitlist of about 2-3 months from initial sign-up before you start your subscription!

So Susan’s Dual Brow Powder – $18 for 4g

I already use the Brow Zings in Dark by Benefit to shape up my brows and it’s not even halfway done yet, so I was intrigued by the So Susan version but also kind of sad because I don’t feel like I want to try a new brow product!

The powder colour itself should match most brow colours, except for very light hair tones like blonde and ginger.

Topbox January 2015

See? It’s quite nice and the powder itself feels pretty smooth. My mom’s almost finished her own brow pencil so she’s stolen this from me.

Matrix’s Oil Wonders  – 10mL sachets each

I couldn’t find a reliable price on the Matrix Oil Wonder line since it’s only sold in salons.

When I got my hair cut a couple months ago, my hair stylist used a Moroccan oil-based shampoo and conditioner and my hair came out so silky and soft, even before she hit it with the hair dryer! I’m definitely going to be trying these out tonight!

Elizabeth Arden’s Flawless Future Powered by Ceramide Moisture Cream Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 30 ($5.83 for 7mL) – $60 for 50mL

Elizabeth Arden doesn’t say that it’s an anti-aging cream. But, the description on the website says that it’s supposed to help “intercept the first signs of aging.” Um. Okay. Sure.

Anyway, I do like that it’s absorbed really quickly and how smooth and light it feels. Am I going to be using this? Probably not, but I do appreciate the SPF protection.

(It seems that my mom’s also stolen this for her own stash…)

Eyeko’s Mascara Off Makeup Remover Wipes – $12 for 10 sheets

I was so excited to see Eyeko again in my box! This brand makes some truly amazing cosmetics!

I’m going away again this weekend with the Monsieur, so I’m definitely going to be taking this pack with me. I haven’t tried them yet, but I’ve heard really great things about it and I’m really curious to see how they compare to Benefit’s They’re Real Remover!

Verdict: 4.5/5 – Nothing truly jumped out at me, but January’s Topbox was really well balanced and I can confidently say that all of the samples are going to be used!

What was in your Topbox?

xoxo,

B.elle

Topbox – December 2014

December’s Topbox was shipped early! It arrived at my doorstep on the 11th and totally caught me off guard when I got home!

I wished for the Be A Bombshell prive box and I got it!

Topbox December 2014

What is it?

Topbox is a Canadian monthly beauty box subscription that features 4 deluxe samples for $12 per month, shipped right to your door via Canada Post. Some months even include full sized products! Keep in mind that they do have a waitlist of about 2-3 months from initial sign-up before you start your subscription!

First, here’s a quick swatch of both products on my skin!

Topbox December 2014

Be a Bombshell’s Lipgloss in Vixen – $14 for 3 g (Full Size)

I really like this lipgloss! It has a nice orange base tone on me even though it’s a cherry red in the tube. You can’t really see it in the picture, but it has some gold shimmer in it, too. It’s flattering for most occasions, even for evening wear!

I’m not a fan of lipglosses because I don’t like their stickiness, but I really like this one! The pigmentation is really good and it’s not too sticky!

Be a Bombshell’s Eyeshadow in Birthday Suit – $14 for 1.5g (Full Size)

It’s not the most flattering colour in the spectrum, but it’s meant to be a highlighter shade or used as a base to get a really vivid colour from other eyeshadows. I definitely can’t use this on its own just because it looks really, really unflattering on my tan skin!

The eyeshadow itself is pretty nice, but it’s a tad dry. I’d say that it’s a product that needs a good primer or to be mixed with some moisturizer for a cream eyeshadow!

Verdict: 4.75/5 – What a great value in this month’s Topbox! I’m sure I’ll use up the lipgloss until it’s gone and the eyeshadow is going to be saved for special occasions. Together, they’re going to make an amazing addition to the holiday look!

xoxo,

B.elle

Topbox – November 2014

Okay, so I totally used the LouLou box without remembering to post on it. But, that means it was a really good box!

I can’t believe it’s already November of 2014… It’s already cold and it feels like we JUST got over that snowstorm that encased the city in ice!

Luckily, there’s a new Topbox to cheer me up!

I really do like getting the regular boxes. Even though they’re not always complete hits, I love getting a surprise in the mail!

It also looks like I’ve temporarily misplaced my proper camera, so I’ve been using my phone lately… Hopefully, I find it soon!

What is it?

Topbox is a Canadian monthly beauty box subscription that features 4 deluxe samples for $12 per month, shipped right to your door via Canada Post. Some months even include full sized products! Keep in mind that they do have a waitlist of about 2-3 months from initial sign-up before you start your subscription!

Eyeko’s Black Magic Mascara ($10.75 for 0.13 fl oz) – $24 for 0.29 fl oz

I don’t think this is the waterproof version, but I really like how it’s in a squeezy tube instead of the traditional hard plastic tube. It’s going to be so easy to use up all the mascara instead of having to dig around for everything!

I have thin, short eyelashes so I hope this mascara will give me some curl and definition without giving me spider lashes…

Eslor’s HPT System

There were four different sachets in this deluxe sample from Eslor: Soothing Refiner & Cleanser, Chlorophyll Lifting Mask, Firming Collagen Day Cream, and Botanical Peeling Gel.

In combination, they’re supposed to hydrate, protect and treat your skin to overall better skin health. The full sized versions are $38USD or over, so it’s unfortunately not likely for me to be buying them in any case. It’ll be fun to try, though!

UniqOne’s All in One Hair Treatment ($1.20 for 9mL) – $19.95 for 150mL

It’s a leave-in hair spray of sorts that helps increase shine and softness without weighing your hair down.

I think I’ll probably end up trying this at least once. I’m not a big hair product user since my hair’s fairly limp and I’m also really lazy, but I’m curious to see if it’ll actually keep my hair up.

Benefit Cosmetics’ Stay Flawless 15-hour Primer ($2.94 for 9g) – $38 for 15.5g

Yay, Benefit! I do love this brand. Their samples’ packaging is just as amazing as their full sized counterparts!

Luckily, the Stay Flawless primer doesn’t leave any sort of residue on your skin and it really does blend flawlessly into your complexion. I was a bit worried since it looks rather light in the tube, but a quick swatch told me that it blends perfectly under foundation!

Verdict: 3.25/5 – Although I really like the Eyeko Mascara and the Benefit Stay Flawless primer, the Eslor skin system and the hair treatment just aren’t for me.

xoxo,

B.elle

Thompson Diner

It’s actually surprisingly hard to find a 24-hour diner in Toronto. Mind you, I’m not exactly on the active lookout for one, but it’s always something convenient to know in a city where anything can happen.

Fran’s is usually the first one that comes to a Torontonian’s mind when someone asks for a 24-hour diner and, if you’re following me on Instagram, you’ll know that I paid them a visit a while ago for some really delicious meatloaf!

But, I’ve noticed another 24-hour spot in downtown called the Thompson Diner, located at 550 Wellington Street West.

Thompson Diner

An Upscale Diner, as they say

I was leaving the Monsieur’s place one day after he had left for a climbing trip and figured that I’d try to get some brunch before meeting up with Chris for an afternoon run. I had to get something delicious and filling to sustain me!

Thompson Diner

I sat down around 11:30am on a Sunday, so they were luckily serving both breakfast and brunch menus.

I ordered their Breakfast Eggs Benedict with Home Fries and I was not disappointed!

Thompson Diner Eggs Benedict

 

It was a little expensive for some Eggs Benedict ($12), but they definitely serve some high-quality food here. The eggs were perfectly poached and the yolks rolled out so delicately and silky smooth. The home fries were crisp, well seasoned and extremely soft and absolutely mouth-watering.

I’m not too sure when’s the next time I’ll go back, but I’m looking forward to getting some of that poutine…

PS – It definitely wasn’t the smartest pre-workout breakfast…

xoxo,

B.elle

Topbox – October 2014

It’s Topbox time! I was actually expecting my box this October since I remembered it was after Thanksgiving!

What I didn’t remember was that I ordered the LouLou box and I completely forgot what was supposed to be in it. More on that in a separate post, though.

Topbox October 2014

Anyway, I got the original tube packaging but this month’s box looks pretty good again!

What is it?

Topbox is a Canadian monthly beauty box subscription that features 4 deluxe samples for $12 per month, shipped right to your door via Canada Post. Some months even include full sized products! Keep in mind that they do have a waitlist of about 2-3 months from initial sign-up before you start your subscription!

Bioderma’s Sensibio H2O Micelle Solution ($8.78 for 100mL) – $21.95 for 250mL

I’m starting to really like Bioderma’s products. The sample of face cleanser I got from an earlier Topbox is now hiding at the Monsieur’s place and it works really well alternating with my usual face wash!

Their micelle solution is absolutely legendary and I know so many people who swear by it as a makeup remover, mild cleanser and toner at the same time, so I’m super excited to try this!

MeMeMe Cosmetics’ Eye Inspire Mono Collection in Mirage – £4.99/$9 for about 5g (Full size)

Mirage is actually a burnt bronze colour that’s deep enough for some light definition on a natural look or as a base colour to layer on a smokey eye.

It feels pretty good and light, but I already have a colour very similar to this, so this might go into my swap pile…

Topbox October 2014

Prestige Cosmetics’ Back to Black Makeup Eraser Pen – Unknown price (Full size)

At first, I wasn’t sure what the product card was talking about and I actually thought that it was a misprint of some sort! The summary on the card was so vague that I wasn’t sure if I got the right product or not. To me, Back to Black is an eyeliner or a mascara of some sort.

It turns out that Back to Black is Prestige Cosmetics’ product line, like how Maybelline has their Eye Studio collection and Expertwear collection. The makeup eraser pen takes care of minor mistakes really, really well, which comes in VERY handy when it comes to liquid eyeliner! This may be a life-changer for me…

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Serum Synchronized Complex II ($20 for 4mL) – $75 for 15mL

I’m not too sure if I’ll use this one since I’m trying not to use anything like serums or chemicals near my eyes. I might give it to my mom if she wants to use it since she likes to try things like this. However, I think that the sample size is very generous compared to the amount you’d get in a full size!

Verdict: 3.75/5 – I’m not going to use a couple of the items in the box but I do like how there’s full sized products from brands I’ve never heard of before! Plus, the Bioderma micelle solution and makeup eraser pen are GENIUS.

xoxo,

B.elle