#GirlBoss: Zoey Shamai of Tonica Kombucha

16th February 2017

Tonica Zoey

A few years ago I tried Tonica at the Toronto Veg Food Fest and I think it totally beats any soda or iced tea! It’s raw, organic and authentically Canadian. I’ve been a fan since so of course, I had to find out who was behind this refreshing fizzy bevy. Meet Zoey Shamai, the #GirlBoss and Founder of Tonica Kombucha.

What is a day in the life of Zoey like?

Busy! I start each morning with gentle yoga vinyasa and meditation to tune myself in for the day. Then I’ll head to scheduled meetings in the morning with retail buyers and visit existing accounts or suppliers. After that I’ll often pop into Tonica HQ to pow wow with my operations manager and chat with the staff to see what’s up. After lunch I like to head to my gym and work off any stress and get pumped for the rest of the day. From there if I don’t have anything booked I let my intuition guide me and often end up visiting stores and sharing laughs with grocery managers and staff.

Zoey Shamai

Tell us about Tonica Kombucha and how the idea all began.

While studying yoga at a yoga ashram in the US over 10 years ago, I discovered kombucha for the first time. It was amazing for my digestion and I immediately felt a metabolism boost, so we became fast friends! I learned how to make it and soon began brewing it for friends and family. When I returned to Toronto I continued to make kombucha and soon people were asking to buy bottles from me on a regular basis. So as demand grew I learned how to build a commercial kombucha brewery and the business from scratch.

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We Visit the Googleplex in Mountain View!

15th February 2017

Our ad agency turned 6 end of last year and we celebrated at the Googleplex in Mountain View.

As part of winning a mobile marketing challenge (from the Google Partners reward program), we were treated to a tour, lunch and plenty of gourmet snacks. We even got to record a Hangout at the YouTube studio!

Seriously my geek girl dreams have come true!

Googleplex

Google dinosaur

Did we fool you? We posted this photo on Facebook and so many people told us they thought it was a video and clicked on the YouTube button… gotcha!

Google bike

The Google Campus sprawls over 2 million sqft so Googlers cruise around on these colourful bikes. To get to/from home to the office, they commute on shuttle buses (wifi enabled of course).

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Best Places To Eats At Blue Mountain

14th February 2017

Sunset Grill

Part of a great vacation is being able to indulge in food and Blue Mountain offers no shortage of great restaurants. Here are my top places for breakfast, lunch and dinner in The Village…

Famous for its ‘All Day Breakfast’, Sunset Grill is a California-style breakfast house with a warm and friendly community atmosphere. The portions are generous at very wallet-friendly prices. It’s my go-to spot to bring my family before hitting the ski slopes or going hiking in the summer.

Craving chocolate chip pancakes, eggs benedict or a club sandwich with home fries? The question is what does this place not serve in their expansive menu?!?!

Firehall Blue Mountain

You can’t miss the iconic Firehall in the middle of the Village. Firehall Pizza Co. serves pizzas (of course!) with every topping imaginable and they all have fun names like High Stakes Porker, Jimmy The Greek and Hawaii Five-O.

It’s the place you come to for your pub fix and comfort foods but feel free to order a heaping salad if you prefer a lighter meal. I recommend the Spinach Salad because I love their tangy mango vinaigrette.

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Furniture For Your Condo Or Small Home

13th February 2017

Condo Generation

I curated this list in 2010 when I bought my first condo… now I’m on condo number three (and married with a rambunctious toddler)!

Choosing to raise our family in downtown King West, I know all about maximizing small spaces. If you recall Toronto Life’s cover story 2 summers ago, that was my little family featured in an article called ‘Condo Generation’.

When it comes to furniture shopping, the experience can be overwhelming and frustrating – not to mention, the huge dent it puts in your wallet. So here’s my list of places (beyond Ikea!) that I found during my own quest to seek out stylish furniture that is of good quality, design and reasonably priced. Happy Shopping!

Condo Furniture

KROFT: designs and makes beautiful handcrafted furniture right here in Toronto. Condo dwellers and small home owners will especially appreciation their collection of bedroom, dining and living room furniture with clean lines and modern finishes. They also meticulously customize pieces. $$$

Design Republic: my fave store because how can you not love a place where their mantra is “Furniture for the People”? Whether you are searching for the edgiest modern sofa, design classics or industrial and vintage pieces, you can find it here at their Queen West showroom. Great service and custom solutions available as well. I bought most of my living room furniture here and they made me a cool custom wooden bench! $$$

Modern Sensibility: find your stylish condo furnishings here without paying an arm and leg. They don’t sacrifice on quality and are proudly Canadian owned. Lots of double-duty furniture and sale items too! $$

Urban Mode: a hidden gem and another one of my favourite shops. This place is not very big but it is owned by a couple of very friendly knowledgeable ladies. They do have some condo furniture on display as well as lots of cool decor pieces and the popular Chilewich mats in all sizes and colours. $$

CB2: a modern destination from Crate and Barrel that will furnish every room in your modern apartment, loft or home without too much denting in your wallet. Conveniently located in condo land on the corner of Queen West & Bathurst. $$

BoConcept: furniture in their collection is functional, contemporary, timeless and comfortable. They also provide an in-home design consultation service and turn-key furniture solutions so that you can move in or have your rental property fully furnished in less than three weeks. $$$

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Organic Raw Food & Juice Cleanse

8th February 2017

Collard Wrap

I never realized how often I thought about food until I did this detox. Like twice every hour, at least!

I had falafel cravings. I walked into a bagel shop and walked right back out remembering that I was not allowed to eat! Then on my way to pickup my son from Montessori School, I thought about how yummy it would be to share a granola bar with him. Well not today.

Giving up eating for 2 days is a pretty big deal for me!

But all in the name of health right?! I commit to doing one cleanse annually and this year, I went with Belmonte Raw. Their Beginner’s Cleanse is made for active lifestyles – it’s higher in calories which is just what this working momma needs!

The cleanse was delivered to my door at 7am and included 8 cold-pressed juices + 4 organic raw meals. My breakfast, lunch and dinner for the next 48 hours.

I chose Monday to start my cleanse and this is how it went…

7:30am

As recommended, I woke up and had 1 litre of room temperature water with lemon.

8:30am

Between attempting to get dressed while chasing around my toddler to get him prepped for school, I sipped on the Antiox Smoothie: a pretty purple anti-oxidant and anti-aging concoction of blueberries, almond, oat, vanilla, chia, dates and acai. I liked that it was flavourful but not overly sweet.

10:30am

Checked emails and did a light 30 mins workout + 10 mins of meditation (with Headspace) before being rewarded with Clarity: lemon, ginger and carrot juice, all great for skin nourishment. I was feeling alive and focused. I’ve got this!

12:00pm

Yay lunch time! Yes, in this cleanse you are allowed to eat (a bit). I chowed down on the Collard Wrap made with crunchy veggies like cauliflower, jicama, carrots and drizzled with madras cashew curry dressing. Yum! This was my favourite meal out of the four.

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How I Beat The Winter Blues With Light Therapy

5th February 2017

Philips Wake-up Light

My morning routine goes something like this…

Alarm #1 goes off. I stir and hit snooze. Then alarm #2 goes off. I’m annoyed but not enough to get out of bed. By alarm #3, I want to quit life. Sounds familiar?

The struggle is real!

To help combat fatigue and the winter blues, Philips sent over two buddies to help me wake up and stay up!

The Philips Wake-up Light is a light therapy device that has replaced my alarm clock. For the last few weeks, instead of being jarringly awoken abruptly by noise, I arose to gentle sounds and light that simulated the morning sun.

Philips Light Therapy

How it works: I set my alarm at 7:15am and it goes off to either the FM radio or one of 2 natural sounds. BUT at 6:45am (or 30 mins before your set wake-up time), the clock lights up prepping your body to wake up – dimly at first then it gets brighter. To turn off the ‘alarm’ just tap anywhere on the surface.

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My New Year’s Solutions

3rd February 2017

New Year Resolutions

Happy Lunar New Year! 

It’s the year of the fire rooster, the tenth sign of the Chinese zodiac which is associated with productivity and protection. So this year, we can all look forward to progress, honour and integrity.

Every year for as long as I can remember I’ve more or less been making the same resolutions… and breaking them. This year, I decided to create a list of solutions instead.

So here are 5 things to help me live a more happy and balanced life that I can actually commit to…

1) Single-tasking is the new multi-tasking!  

Those who know me know I have the attention span of an Instagram story so I’m really going to have to work on this one by learning how to better prioritize, stay focused and avoid procrastination.  I truly believe I’ll get way more done if I worked on completing one task before moving onto the next rather than juggling several things at once.  Part of the problem though is I get bored easily and like having many options!

2) Be in the present.

This means actually being more social and less glued to media. Hubby reminds me that I REALLY don’t need to document my entire life on Instagram!!

3) Allow myself to do absolutely nothing (and not feel guilty).

I’m always running around doing something, anything! I was talking to a friend just the other day and blew her away when I told her that I basically NEVER travel without my laptop. Even on my honeymoon, babymoon and every trip in between, this Macbook has crossed oceans and should have it’s own frequent flyer card! I don’t always work but knowing it’s within arms reach comforts me. So this year, I’m really going to try to stop being ‘super mom’ and be okay with it… okay to go to bed knowing my little boy’s toys are all over the floor, okay to leave that email unanswered for another few hours, okay not to feel obligated to go out with friends and of course, okay with saying no!

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What To Expect When You Get An Oxygen Facial + Special Promo

31st January 2017

Holts Spa

Last week, I took a mommy time-out at the Holts Salon and Spa where I was treated to a 60 mins oxygen facial.

The wonders this type of facial can do to dry winter skin!

Asmeret, my esticician was all about making me feel comfortable and relaxed, explaining every step of this “miracle facial” that many celebs swear by.

Unlike your typical spa facial with luxurious smelling creams and golden potions, this one is all about ‘results’ – so hydration and rejuvenation to help eliminate toxins, tiredness and signs of aging.

Asmeret first cleansed my face, then exfoliated it with a grainy scrub before applying warm steam for 3 mins to open up my pores. After some brief extraction around my nose area, she applied a fruit-based enzyme peel and left it on for 10 mins while she offered me a lovely hand and arm massage. The peel felt tingly but not stinging which meant it was doing it’s thing of removing dead skin cells to ‘reboot’ the skin naturally.

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Restaurant Openings: Tabülè Bayview Village

28th January 2017

Tabule1c

BY GUEST BLOGGER, TIFFANY VITTI

Tabülè is known throughout Toronto for their consistently delicious Middle Eastern cuisine.

Its 11am but mixologist Nishan Nepulangoda (of Blowfish) insists on starting off with either a tequila or gin based cocktail. I choose the tequila based ‘Arabian Chiquita’. A sweet citrus drink served in a martini glass, the green chartreuse and basil add unique herbal notes.

Tabule7c

We are also served a Watermelon Sangria and both drinks are refreshing and light which will no doubt counter the richness of the food.

The starters begin to flow from the kitchen, home made Hümmus, Babaganüj and Labni in generous portions are quickly devoured. With my warm pita I kept reaching for the Labni, a homemade yogurt cheese that is topped with garlic & Lebanese spice. It is incredibly creamy and showcases the point of simple done well.

Tabule5c

Next we were served the namesake Tabülè, a parsley salad with bulgur (a grain similar to couscous), tomato, and lemon + mint oil dressing. It adds a much needed herbal element to the previous dips.

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3 Things To Do Before You Call It Quits

24th January 2017

Sparkler

Who really likes to admit defeat? I’m especially not one to back down from a challenge. As a matter of face, I’ve got one of those relentlessly determined personalities where I want to turn every #loss into a #win.

From working out, to mundane tasks, jobs or even quitting relationships, think of the last time you threw in (or thought about throwing in) the towel. Did you rationalize why it’s wasn’t worth it or create road blocks (I just didn’t have enough time!) or were you simply afraid of failure or rejection?

Even if it’s uber unpleasant I assure you there is a way to turn it around. Maybe you won’t ever love it but you’ll at least learn to appreciate it more. Here are 3 tips to help you not quit and I promise you will feel much better knowing you conquered it!

1) Get a liability partner

There’s no shame in admitting you can’t do it on your own. That’s where friends and mentors come in. A liability partner is someone who holds you accountable for _________. So find someone who you can share a very honest relationship with, someone who will call you out for slacking off and who’ll be your cheerleader to keep you on track and on the path to success.

2) Change things up one variable at a time

A lot of my friends have joined running clubs and some have even become marathon fanatics but I never really liked running. When Nike Women released their gorgeous new line of active wear, my interest in exercise piqued because who doesn’t want to buy cute outfits and fancy shoes right?! But my running career was short lived.

Then one crispy fall day, I dropped off my son at Montessori School and had to rush back to do something else. So I ran all the way home. And I loved it.

Nothing really changed except I accidentally discovered that I prefer running in the cold!! All the other times, I would run outside when it was warm or inside on a treadmill (boooring).

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