Week 31 – For a healthier body and mind, think PURE!

It’s common knowledge that in order to improve your mental and physical wellbeing, you have to adopt a healthy lifestyle! There are many approaches to take but one that is both successful and readily available in Ottawa goes by the brand name of PURE!

Week #31 Challenge: Try a class at Pure Yoga and indulge in a meal at Pure Kitchen!

Please Note: Pure Yoga generously offered me a class at no charge and a gift card to try meals at Pure Kitchen!

If you haven’t heard of these sister businesses you are in for a treat! First let’s talk yoga, shall we? You can practise yoga in all types of locations but Pure Yoga Ottawa happens to be one of the best in the business!

Why? Because they specialize in the art of hot yoga! When you take a classe there you gain access to top quality yoga classes but most importantly you become part of the Pure Yoga community.

Pure Yoga leaves you feeling like a member rather then just another client!

Pure Yoga Classes

They vary from Pure Flow: a series of classic poses that stretch and strengthen your body, to Pure beats a high energy yoga class enhanced with upbeat and current music to Pure Sculpt a more advanced yoga class meant to tone muscles. They have many more varieties of classes, see the schedule for more information.

Pure Yoga Workshops & Training

If you are looking for something a bit more in depth, why not attend a Yoga or Nutrition Workshop? Pure Yoga continuously offers a variety of workshops/training to enhance your health and yoga practise knowledge.

Pure Yoga merchandise

While you visit the studio, make sure to have a look at the yoga merchandise! They sell quality yoga supplies (mats, clothing, towels, etc.) and other fun items such as candles, jewellery, essentials oils, water bottles and so on.

The Pure Yoga studio I visited was located in Westboro and parking can be a bit tricky! I found a quiet street near Churchill Avenue and parked there. As my sense of direction is horrible and I didn’t take note of the address, I managed to get lost on Richmond Road while looking for the studio. I eventually entered a flower shop and as I approached the florist I said: “Um.. I think I am lost!” She looks at my yoga mat and responds: “Oh dear.. yes you are. This is not a yoga studio but you can use the open space over here if you want!” We laughed and she explained that Pure Yoga is literally across the street. Oops!!

I walk over and as I enter the studio I noticed it smelled of essential oils which was really calming. I was greeted by the receptionist, Zu, and she directed me to the women’s change room. I was able to quickly change into my workout outfit and joined my friend in the class. The room was very warm as you would expect in Hot Yoga and quite full! Even though the classroom was filled, I still had plenty of room to complete the moves.

What you need to bring:

  • comfortable workout clothes
  • yoga mat
  • towel
  • water bottle
  • lock

Ciara our instructor lead the class by demonstrating the moves and, at times, by describing them. As I don’t practise Yoga often I was sometimes utterly lost! Oh, you know! That girl who is still bent over while everyone it standing upright, that was me! Don’t worry if this happens, simply do your best to mimic the more experienced members of the class. By the end, I caught on to the name of a few poses which was encouraging! If you are doing a lot of weight lifting, hot yoga really helped me stretch and relax my muscles therefore I highly recommend it, yes that includes you boys!

New to Pure Yoga and want to try?

Here are but a few of the available options:

Intro month promotion

Available for $40 and you get unlimited access to classes for a month;

Karma Power class

A $5 class (cash only) offered on Friday evenings at 7:30pm. It’s a very affordable way to try the studio.

Drop-in class

For $18 you can attend any one class you would like!

For all their packages, select this link.

There are 3 Pure Yoga studios in Ottawa:

1) Pure Yoga Westboro at 279A Richmond Road

2) Pure Yoga Downtown at 71 bank street (suite 3)

3) Pure Yoga Centretown at 359 Bank Street

Once the class finished I made my way back to the change room to shower before heading to Pure Kitchen, which is at walking distance. I will admit that the showers made me feel a little uncomfortable since they are slightly open. If you are a very private person you may want to keep that in mind and possibly shower at home! Otherwise, the change room was big enough to accommodate the flow of women and even had complimentary hair dryers and hair straighteners to use! Overall, I had a great experience and believe that if you want to experience hot yoga at it’s best than give Pure Yoga a try!

Now on to Pure Kitchen we go…

What type of restaurant is Pure Kitchen? It’s a vegetarian restaurant and juice bar. Therefore the menu is filled with nutritious food options that are vegetarian or vegan. They also offer nut-free and gluten-free options.

On our way to Pure Kitchen, we spot my friend’s neighbour inside The Barley Mow Pub but choose to continue to the restaurant. It was around 8:00pm when we reached Pure Kitchen and we notice a line. I know Pure Kitchen is popular, but I was surprised to see just how in demand it is. We walk in and are advised it’s going to be up to an hour wait.

What do we do? Should we go somewhere else? Well that’s the cool thing. They took down our name and number and would reach us by phone when our table is ready. I thought that was great customer service since it meant we had the liberty to pass the time anywhere we wanted. So naturally we walked back to The Barley Mow to join the neighbour for a drink. I certainly didn’t mind, since I had noticed that the bartender was pretty cute. In typical fashion, I ordered a sparkling water with a cherry! The bartender didn’t give me one cherry, no no he brought me an entire glass filled with cherries! It was pretty priceless! Then 30 minutes later we get notified that our table is ready.

Once at Pure Kitchen, we asked if our table of two could become a table for three since we had another friend join us. They were able to accommodate us no problem which was really nice! Now to keep things a surprise I hadn’t looked at the menu online prior to arriving since I wanted to discover my options in person.

Everything, I mean EVERYTHING sounded delicious! From almond, blueberry & banana smoothies to loaded avocado appetizers or even tempeh BLT wraps with a side of fries and in house tomato dip sauce (like ketchup). We looked at the menu for a while trying to decide and I have to say the dish names are really cute, have a look for yourself: Pure Kitchen Menu.

We started off with water to drink (it’s all we were craving after Hot Yoga) and an appetizer to share, a plate of Radical Cauliflower Wings (cauliflower covered in Korean BBQ sauce, scallions, cilantro and sesame seeds). I am getting hungry just thinking about them…

As a main meal, I ordered a bowl of Enlightened! Was is that you ask? It’s a green Thai curry dish with vegetables, lime jalapeno tofu and rice noodles.

The lovely ladies I was eating with had walnut mushroom burgers, I took a shot of the Awesome burger!

Fun fact: If you can’t decided on a side of fries vs salad, you can ask to split your side into both! Cool, right?

We quickly dug in and enjoyed every single bite. I don’t often eat out since finding a healthy restaurant is difficult but Pure Kitchen managed to combine health with amazing taste. This is why it is at the top of my list and will certainly become one of your favourites too!

Thank you so much to Jen Conlon and Caitlin Doan for the wonderful opportunity, I look forward to going back!


Week 30 – One order of full fat ribs with extra sauce please!

Are you tired of eating the same old thing? We often get into a habit of preparing the same types of meals and, with time, boredom sets in. At that point, food often loses a bit of it’s appeal! This food routine is worst when you live alone and anyone who has knows exactly what I am talking about. When one lives alone we have the luxury of making anything we wish BUT keep in mind that whatever you prepare will easily become what you eat for the next 4 days. That is what I call a serious commitment. If you have reached the point of food boredom here are two things I recommend:

1) Invest in a freezer! This wonderful device can allow you to store leftover portions for later dates so that you don’t have to eat the same thing for days on end.

2) Look for cooking inspiration! Visit a new restaurant for meal ideas, buy a cook book or resort to the Internet for recipes.

Since I purchased a vegan cookbook, see last week’s post, I decided to go vegan this week. It was surprisingly easy and fun to change things up. I like to consume a lot of protein therefore I simply found meat alternatives such as chickpeas, beans, tempeh, edamame, vegan protein powder and so on.

All was great until I remembered what blog event I had scheduled for the week, uh oh..I am going to the Orleans Ribfest?! Well this is a little awkward but a girl’s gotta do, what a girl’s gotta do! I was just going to have to break my rule for one evening and try ribs for the first time in my life!

Week #30 Challenge: Taste freshly grilled ribs at Ribfest!

This was the first year a Ribfest was held in Orleans, it took place from September 16th to 18th, 2016 and is to be an annual event!


What you need to know:

Parking is challenging: the event was held off of Centrum Boulevard and nearby parking was limited. Try to get there early enough in the evening, or you may have to park further away and walk a bit. Keep in mind the walk isn’t a bad thing especially after eating so much!

Be prepared to wait: only 4 vendors were on site and it took over an hour to order. The line may be faster depending on the date and time. Friday evening around 8pm was very very busy..

Entertainment: there was a live show taking place in the eating area which was fun! Also, waiting in line with friends helped by making the wait more enjoyable!

Bring your appetite: the portions are pretty large which is why I recommend you arrive hungry. This ensures nothing will be waisted!

What did I think of the ribs? Well, I ordered a half rack of pork ribs from the Kentucky booth and it was so tasty! I don’t know if it was the fact that:

  1. I worked out right before
  2. I had to wait over an hour for the food; or,
  3. The ribs were just incredibly delicious

…but I ate every single rib in a matter of minutes! To say I was hungry is an understatement and ,unfortunately, I didn’t capture a picture in the midst of my eating rampage!

Next year, if you are looking for a meat lover’s paradise, I say give the Orleans Ribfest or any Ribfest event in Ottawa a try!

Week 29 – Will reading make me smarter?

Do you enjoy spending a rainy afternoon drinking a warm cup of coffee, wearing reading socks (oh yes there is such a thing, I own a pair lol) and reading a fantastic book? Ok yes, I know that we don’t all have the patience nor the time to delve into novels but please hear me out! For those of you brave enough to explore the world of books, I have a perfect activity for you!

First I must admit, I haven’t spent much time reading any hard copy books in the last few years BUT I do know that it is an excellent hobby since it can:

– help you visualize and develop your creative side;

– teach you new words and expand your vocabulary;

– increase your knowledge on any topic known to men;

– be a form of relaxation and much more.

Now keeping these benefits in mind, when a colleague approached me a few months ago about joining a Book Club I decided that it was worth giving it a chance!

Week #30 Challenge: Attend and join a Book Club!

Now I realize, I didn’t actually seek out a Book Club since in a way it sort of found me! Nonetheless, if you take a moment and research online, meetups are great for this, or ask your surroundings, you will certainly be able to find a Book Club that would interest you. I can’t attest to the format used by every Club but I will use my experience as a guideline to what Book Clubs are like!

Book Selection Process: since the Club I joined was created years ago, the structure is well established. A few weeks before the meeting, a book poll is held. Members can nominate books and 4 or 5 of the nominations will be retained. The votes will be made at the end of the upcoming meeting!

Book Club Dining: To create a certain atmosphere, a few different restaurant options corresponding to the theme of the book will be proposed and members must vote for which one they would prefer. Since the book in question was set in Paris, the restaurant we ended up choosing was : Savoy Brasserie in Westboro! Beautiful restaurant but what is up with all the flies?

Book Club Review: Once every book clubber arrived, the Book Club Chair (that’s right we take things very seriously ha ha) proceeds by asking everyone for their thoughts on the book! The book was entitled : The little Paris Bookshop.. A story about a book apothecary who owns a floating bookshop. He navigates the Seine prescribing the perfect book to solve peoples life struggles! He has the gift to help everyone but himself… The book seemed promising; however, the majority of clubbers admitted that the book content was simply disappointing!

Following the book review and discussion, we proceeded by rating the book (5 out ot 10) and voted for the next book, out of the 5 books previously nominated by email! The Winner being: When breath becomes air.. The fun element of Book Clubs is that it allows you to discover books you may never have considered reading and that may result in finding a few hidden treasures!

Not the social type? Not to worry! There is a heavenly place called Chapters! I can easily spend hours roaming their book selections, home decor, stationery supplies, etc. If you have a free afternoon, I recommend you find the nearest chapters to pick-up a few books that interest you. Afterwards, go read your new purchases in a cozy place such as: a bench by the Ottawa River, a coffee shop terrace or even on your sofa! Last time I visited I purchased a little vegan cook book you might have heard of: Oh She Glows Every Day, a dating book for a bit of light reading and pink reading socks… Just because!

Would you prefer reading “en français”? Voici une option pour toi, Le coin du livre Bookstore on Cyrville has a great selection of French books and, if the book you desire is not in store, they are happy to order it for you! 

Have fun reading everyone!

Week 28 – To fly away.. balloon style!

Sometimes the most peaceful of activities can be the most enjoyable! If you have an eye for photography or have an appreciation for beautiful scenery this is a perfect activity for you! I have been missing this event for the last few years but  I was dead set on going this year.

Week # 28 Challenge: Get a glimpse of the Hot Air Balloon Festival!img_0944-3

When to go: The Gatineau Hot Ait Balloon Festival is a 5 day event that typically occurs during the first weekend of September!

What to see: The festival’s main attraction are of course watching and/or riding hot air balloons but this is merely one element. There are performances, fireworks, amusement park, arts and crafts, car show and much more.

How to access: One day passes are 27$ a person while multi-day passes start at 70$.
I was indecisive about whether to go to the festival itself or to choose a more quiet and scenic location to watch the hot air balloons! This second options consisted of walking along the Ottawa River path. My friend and I opted for the river walk since we felt less rushed that way. So it’s set, on Friday at 6pm we head there and as we arrive we see people awaiting the rise of the balloons! We find a spot and we wait… and wait.. and wait!! Why haven’t they risen?! Well just our luck, the balloons are cancelled tonight!

It was such a let down! I enjoyed the company I had but I took the night off from work to see the hot air balloons! Luckily for me, I have an amazing sister who went on the Sunday evening and captured these pictures for me:


Oh but I wasn’t ready to consider myself defeated, no way.. Come Monday evening I had planned on cleaning my house but found out the festival was on for one more night! So at 6pm I grabbed my keys, stopped by my local Starbucks for a coffee (a decaf of course as I am wild but not THAT wild lol) and headed to the river! Guys it’s sooo worth it! I saw a few people riding bikes and walking along the path but with the sunset, the water and hot air balloons decorating the sky, it was an awesome place to be! The balloons appears tiny in the pictures but the view was breathtaking: