Next Chapter

"What happened to Beauty and the Bod?! I LOVED your blog?!"


Well I love YOU. And thank you for your support over the years. This is not goodbye it's just a snap crackle and a POP in a new direction.

Here's the thing: I am a do-er. As many of you know I am a bit of an action junkie. I love discovering new and exciting workouts, recipes, neighbourhoods, the list goes on! And over the last six months really I have decided to shift my focus onto doing more of what makes me happy - doing things.

I love love love blogging but here is the honest truth - it's a lone sport. In Beauty and the Bod's peak I was spending hours behind a computer screen editing a blog post to get it just right. I would read my posts over and over, spend hours taking photos, making collages and brainstorming fresh content. I did love parts of it - mainly the daily connection with you guys! But the very thing I preach - activity and movement was slipping further away from me. Bloggers I give you HUGE credit. To do it right requires HOURS if not days of behind the scenes work. I had one too many lonely screaming fits with my computer and I realized that I needed to take a bit of a breather.

When I came up for air I realized I could still have the same awesome connection with you - if not better because it's more frequent! - on Instagram and my facebook page. I post there daily about health, fitness, workouts, running, yoga, my life, great recipes. Lots and lots of fun stuff! Please follow me.

As for the social media name change. The story behind "beauty and the bod" was that at the time of it's conception my sister Lindsay was in school to become a make-up artist and I was a brand new trainer. I was the "bod' she was the "beauty" expert. As it turned out Linds went on to become a bonafide business lady and she works at an online payment company now and loves it. Writing beauty and the bod without really having a CLUE what to do about the beauty side did not feel authentic to me. Because, let's be honest - half the time if left to my own devices I look like I did my make-up in the dark (because it's IS usually dark out when and if I ever do it!). 

This is absolutely not the last you will hear from me! I will continue to have an active voice on social media through instagram and facebook. At this time the content on the blog will stay but for the new good stuff you will be able to find it live and in the moment on those platforms.

Thank you for ALL of your support. It has meant the world to me. This blog gave me a voice and absolutely helped me grow my wings to start the business I have and love today. You're the best. 

Accountability = Achievement

In the past four years of owning my own fitness company I can broadly state that there are two main types of clients: the ones that will do workouts when nobody is looking, and the ones that need guidance every step of the way.

:: via ::

At first glance you'd think that the ones that go off and happily do their own thing would always be the fitter and better off of the two groups but that isn't always the case.

The key is that the client has to know and acknowledge which of the two categories they fall into and set up their routines to suit their workout style.

Truth be told I fall into the second group, 90% of my workouts are done with other people. I don't like to workout alone so I don't force myself to do that. I go to classes often, run with buddies and the odd time I'll workout to an exercise video. The idea of going to the gym and lifting weights by myself does not appeal to me so I know I won't do it.

If you have been trying to force yourself into a fitness pattern or program that you fundamentally don't enjoy whatsoever then you are forcing yourself right into a failing pattern. It gets confusing here because not EVERY single workout needs to be fun, and certainly there are moments in every workout class or run that I wish I could have just gone for a latte instead but overall the experience is generally a positive one. I am a people person, I like workouts with people for the camaraderie first and the competition second!

The key to getting the most out of a workout program is knowing yourself. Holding yourself accountable to a plan that actually fits your workout style. If you like running on your own but your friend wants you to come to zumba, you're better off just meeting her after the class. Don't make it any harder than it needs to be. If you know you're only going to workout if there is a class on, make sure you book that class. At the end of the day the only person who you really need to be accountable to is you.

Know thy self, work thy workout!

More from Beauty and the Bod

Top 15 for 2015

When I was first asked to be an ambassador for lululemon two years ago the thing I was most excited about was the potential for free stretchy pants! What I have come to learn is the clothes ARE amazing BUT most importantly the people have made an even bigger impact on my life. I'm lucky to call many lemons great friends!

Last week I sat down with Jess, an assistant manager at my cumberland lululemon store. She asked me to write down my top 15 goals for 2015. I loved this task because my goals could be anything from super serious relationship/work/life goals to silly fun goals that serve only to make me more happy.

I did my goals and came home to ask Matt to do his. The funny thing was at least five of our goals were the exact same! 

I LOVE goals. The nice thing I've learned about them is that they don't all need to come true. Some are just there to point you in the right direction.

Without further adieu here are my top 15 for 2015.

1. Go to Thailand
2. Start an online bod squad class
3. Create a Bod Squad retreat in Nicaragua for spring 2016
4. Master a pistol squat
5. Master a handstand (with press up for bonus points)
6. Complete house purchase
7. Go snowshoeing
8. Go to three new restaurants
9. Crush the 40 minute barrier for my 10k
10. Watch all Oscar nominated movies
11. Create a budget 
12. Do yoga at least twice a week
13. Meditate 
14. Cut down on drinking and sugar consumption 
15. Find and buy a great pair of jeans that I love since my last ones that I had for seven years just ripped!

I highly recommend this project. Set yourself a limit of no more than 30 minutes to make your first draft, you can always go back to them. Then share them! Part of turning goals into accomplishments is actioning them by putting them out into the universe! Make it a goal to tell at least one person your goals! Good luck and happy goal digging!!

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So You Want to Start A Business?

So I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that if you've clicked on this post you're thinking about starting your own business.

My overall advice: do it.

1. Don't procrastinate.

I think that we all have this innate need for perfection. Especially when you're putting yourself out there it is easy to think that you need the perfect camera, the perfect outfit, the perfect life before you can really get going. This is SO not true!
I know first had that progress is way more attractive than perfection
Just think of it this way, if you walked into the gym today and saw a gorgeous supermodel woman ... if you're like me you'd probably secretly hate her for a second. But if you saw a sort of overweight looking lady and then three months later she came back in and was that supermodel you would be wowed and want to know exactly what she did and how to get there. 
That's how I've seen my business. I know it's not going to be supermodel perfection right from the get-go but you can't learn unless you do. So just do it. 

2. We are in the Wild West - embrace it!

There has never been a better time to connect with people EVER. We have entered a wild west thanks to the internet and the world is literally our itty bitty oyster. Eat it up! 
I remember wayyy back in the day when I took a grade six typing class our teacher gave us an hour long lecture about how we should never EVER put our picture up on the big bad internet because then someone could take it and add it to a naked body and we would suddenly become a pornstar. Seriously, that was the mindset just over a decade ago! Now there are so many selfies of naked bums and beach bods if all those online pictures were thrown into a pile it would almost be impossible to distinguish your own bum! 

3. Build a brand - get out there.

If you're just starting a business then get firing on ALL social media channels available to you. The number one thing you need to do is  get vocal. If people don't know about your business how will they ever be able to support it? As difficult as it is for me to display myself on social media at times I understand that it is absolutely vital to the success of my business. Not everyone is going to LOVE it ... but luckily the internet is a HUGE world and they can (and should) just click off elsewhere :o)!

4. Believe in what you're selling!

I always ask myself - would I want join bod squad? Luckily I've always thought - absolutely. If you're not drinking your own kool-aid it is pretty tough trying to pour it down someone else's throat. 
If you wouldn't be willing to buy your product perhaps that's where you should focus first.

5. Charge your mother.

You just can't live for free so stop working for free. If you play it you pay for it. I love my mom and I'm so glad she's an awesome business lady who can afford Bod Squad a few times over but that's not really the point! The main message here is STOP discounting everyone because at the end of the day the person you're really discounting is yourself. The second you offer a "sale" or any kind of discount you're only taking a notch off your own business belt. It is soooo easy to get in the habit of taking cuts left right and centre ... before you know it you will be trapped in a relationship that doesn't seem at all fair. Believe me almost everyone is going to try to get a discount somehow someway. Don't do it. In business, nothing says I love you like cash.

6. Be nice to people.

In university I started to finally notice that the smartest people in the room where usually the ones going around and helping other people with their questions. They weren't hoarding their notes or keeping all to themselves. They were quizzing their friends, tutoring them - because really helping others also can totally help you to. And it's just good karma, don't be a bitch - be a business. 

7. Stop taking everything so personally.

This is totally still super hard for me but I must admit I am wayyyy better than I once was at this. People are always going to have opinions and that's just what they are, nothing less or nothing more than what you want to make of them. It is SO easy to read a comment online and take a negative tone away from it. Just keep positive and keep moving forward. Most of the time they probably meant no harm in the first place ... but if they did then do as they say and let your haters be your motivators!  

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Welcome to the Next Level

Hi I'm Christie!

Welcome to those of you who are just visiting Beauty and the Bod for the very first time today! And high fives and huge hugs to those of you who have followed this blog's progress from the very beginning! 

I am SO excited to finally show you what I have been working on for the past two months! I built this website entirely on my own. All images unless specified were taken by me, my husband Matt or my extremely talented friend Sam

Rebuilding the website has been a true labour of love. I'm NOT a natural techie by any stretch so this was a real and welcome challenge.

Here's the story of how this all started:

This summer I broke my foot and spent just over six weeks on crutches in an air cast. As much as I absolutely hated every single second of being immobile one great thing came to be: the injury did allow me the chance to step back from running my business and really decide what my next steps would be. 

I've spent the past four years building Preston Fitness, a company that I am extremely proud of. I've run over 1,152 Bod Squad classes, been a personal trainer to many wonderful people and have had this blog as a platform to communicate and share the journey of a young entrepreneur. Starting this business wasn't easy but it has easily been the best thing I've ever done. This is absolutely without a doubt my passion and my purpose.

I grew up in an amazing family and with that came a lot of amazing expectations. When I initially announced that I'd be pursuing a career in fitness (and not finance...) it was met with some reservation from my business-minded mentors and parents. And I totally don't blame them! Fitness is NOT an easy place to make big $, it's certainly not the career for you if you're looking to get rich quick with minimal effort! I know that part of what drives me so much to be successful doing what I love is to prove that I'm actually good enough to make it in this industry.

For years I dreamed of building my own space. I went SO far down many roads looking at potential gyms, creating mock class schedules, running by financial models and refining my business plan without ever really pausing to ask myself what I really wanted out of all that. What am I really good at? Fitness. What do I love to do with my day? Inspire people to lead healthy + happy lives. So why do I need 4 walls around me to do that when my potential reach could be SO much bigger than that. Think Big. Think World Wide.

It took me one broken cuboid bone to realize that I was really looking for inside those spaces was the validation that I am good enough. That I had made it work. Standing in one of five potential spaces a few weeks ago that finally hit me like a ton of bricks. I'd been completely ignoring and taking my blog for granted. I loved writing the daily blog and got sidetracked on what I thought I'd wanted because it just seemed like it should be the natural progression. What if it could be so much bigger than what I had thought? What would happen if I really went for it?

I am SO excited to relaunch this blog with an entire new energy, direction and appreciation. It's GO time and this is just the beginning. 

This new website will feature new weekly workouts, recipes, fashion and generally keep track of fitness inspiration everywhere. My goal is to create a one-stop source for healthy living motivation; essentially a modern, healthy Martha Stewart meets Jane Fonda. 

I'm excited that this launch date has finally arrived and I can't wait to hear what you guys think! Any feedback (good and bad) is absolutely welcome.

Thank you 

Ambassador Summit Summary


What a week.

Truthfully I'm still taking it all in: the INCREDIBLE people, the intense leadership workshops, the west coast, the workouts, the early morning runs, the food, oh the food!, the Four Seasons, the wine, the hot tub, the adventures. What a week!

I arrived at the airport to quickly find fellow Torontonian Gavin checking in right beside me! lululemon gave us bag tags to identify each other in the lounge… although we were a pretty easy group to spot! Just look for anyone stretching dressed in head to toe luon and with a wide smile and there was a good chance they were with us! The flight was quick and it was fun meeting a few of the other ambassadors from Montreal, Burlington, Ottawa and all over the GTA. Other ambassadors where flying in from all over the globe – from China, Germany, Australia and all across aMerica! Ontario was the biggest region! Woo!

Once we arrived in BEAUTIFUL (seriously stunning) Vancouver we took a taxi straight to the lululemon head office. From there we had a delicious lunch and were given a tour of the entire lululemon building, in a nutshell it was apple + google + fitness. Amazing. We went to their brand new "white space" room which is their product testing hub. They had an underwater treadmill, a massive treadmill big enough to fit a bike, a electronic yoga testing mat, a sauna room that could actually make rain!! It was every engineer's dream. And a little robot!

From the head office we went straight to Whistler on the sea to sky highway. Sure beats the 401! The views on the way up were spectacular. When we arrived at the Four Seasons they told us that lululemon had purchased the ENTIRE hotel. Like every single room! Nuts! I got assigned my room thinking that I would have a roommate but to my surprise I was in a single! Sweet! On my bedside table was a welcome package from lululemon … as if this entire trip wasn't enough!! We all received personalized scuba hoodies, travel yoga mats, a bottle of wine, a water bottle and a food box with healthy snacks and bars. So nice!

The first night was a great chill dinner event with a talk from Laurent, the new CEO of lululemon. He along with Chip Wilson, the founder, were with us for the entire weekend. That was really special and showed how much weight they put into this ambassador program. Like a kid in the candy store I sat front row and took the whole talk in. Very inspirational and action driven. LOVED it. Then came more wine and getting to know everyone! A small group of us decided we wanted to do a run before the yoga class the next morning. With a 5 am wake-up it was off to bed for me!

The first full day began with an early morning run through the Whistler trails. It smelt like Christmas so fresh and piney! The scenery was spectacular and the conversations were awesome. Basically at summit you could go up to any person at any time and they were the most friendly, caring people I've ever seen in one big room. Loved that! On our way back we got a little lost and if you know me well you know directions are not my forte. MIRACULOUSLY I was person who actually lead the group back the right way. Crazy! This started a great internal dialogue with myself that I need to believe in myself more – and stand up for it! This was something I took directly into the leadership and goal setting session.

After the run we did a yoga class – it was fun and I like to think I actually held my own and maybe, just maybe fooled some of my fellow ambassadors that I taught yoga! It was Jivamukti style yoga. Lots of fun and the instructor – Tina – from Whistler was excellent.

Then came the meat of the trip. The igolu coaching with Susanne ConRAD. Admittedly at first I was slightly skeptical, as I always find myself whenever someone labels themselves as a "coach". Susanne is related to lululemon because she is married to Chip's brother. Again hmm. I was COMPLETELY wrong. Susanne absolutely rocked the house. In her three hour session (which felt like 30 seconds) Susanne totally transformed lives in front of our very eyes. We were asked to create a 10 year vision and in that to dream BIG, make bold requests, and declare a definite direction for our future. It was incredibly powerful and certainly got my wheels turning BIG time!! Such a powerful morning and if I took one thing from this entire trip it would be this session.

We ate lunch. Again delicious. They sure knew the way to our hearts!

Chip Wilson, the founder of lululemon did a talk about the history of lululemon and how he grew the company. His main message was that the skills that brought us here today got us to this point but there will be an entirely new set of skills to bring us up to the next level. Chip learned he needed to rely on others to help make lululemon what it is today. 

The rest of the afternoon we were able to ski, zip line, get a massage or explore the village. I chose the exploring village option. Whistler is a beautiful little town. It has a lululemon, an Aritzia and a Roots … what more do you need? We had some fun taking pictures on the Olympic rings. Kind of a nono but it wasn't our idea so that made it sort of more ok!

The 80s après ski party was so much fun! Ambassadors love to dress up and dance! Dinner was yummy pub food with a big salad bar to offset the potato wedges. It was fun to get out to a pub and chat in a new spot. The weather was amazing the entire time! It was 19-23 degrees. Perfect patio weather! We came back to the hotel to a giant candy bar!!! And then watched a bit of Modern Family – the very first season is so cool to watch! After an episode I started to head to bed and then smacked myself a bit and got dressed in a bathing suit and went down to the hot tub! Lots of fun and again great conversations. At 11:30 I bid everyone goodnight because I had another morning run to get to!

The second run was a little longer than the first with three incredible women: Lissa, Libby and Christy. I felt like we had all known each other in another life and that this was our 2,001th run not just our 2nd! It was wild how close I felt with them only having known them for just one day! We went out for a 6 mile trail run then came back to join the morning fitness class. My group was lead by Dr. Dribble – a basketball coach, trainer and one of the most caring people I've ever known. The class was a lot of fun and creative given there were 26 people in a room that normally might hold 10! 

The final day of goal coaching was divided into four breakout sessions with a lunch in between. These sessions were great because we were able to split off from the big group and really share our ideas with each other. My favourite session was called the "declaration" station. We had to write down our worst negative self talk and throw the piece of paper on the floor. Then we had to pick up a piece of paper that wasn't our own and read it out to the room yikes! It was pretty heartbreaking hearing everyone's worst critic. Mine was: you're fat, you can't do this, you're too young and not skilled enough. After that was done – phew! – we wrote our declarations. Positive messages about ourselves.  Mine was: I am a leader of leaders, an old soul with a well calibrated compass. It felt good to get that done!

The last workout was called nia. I had never heard of it before – it was explained to us as a animal dance fun class. I was excited to give it a go. Within 5 minutes I was totally into it, I WAS a dolphin diving. It was an absolute blast and if you get the chance take a class!

Our last dinner was a delicious BBQ – some of the best steak I have EVER had! So great. It was awesome talking by the fire pit and meeting a few last familiar faces. 

All in all I had high expectations for the summit and the real thing completely blew it out of the water. I'm ready to take on the world one burpee at a time now and I have summit to thank for that. I am SO grateful for lululemon (especially cumberland!) and the people I have met so far along this journey. I can tell you one thing, this company is about WAY more than black stretchy pants. I'm proud to be their ambassador and so honoured that I was able to attend the event. 

It's Not About the Nail

Learning to listen to people is the single most important skill any great leader needs.

How many times have you been in a conversation with someone and you know EXACTLY what's wrong with them but they can't see it at all. And when you tell them directly they look at you like you're crazy for suggesting that is the root of their problem.

For A types like myself it can be so hard to let people figure things out for themselves but the truth is that is the only way anyone will learn and realize and take action. Listening to people, asking great questions will get you places. As a trainer my job is 80% listening, 15% touching and 5% talking. I've tried preaching to people but it's a waste of time, a decision to commit to a program has to come from within, the more I force it and no matter how badly I want it for my client I can't do it all for them. I wish I could! 

It's Not About The Nail from Republic Content on Vimeo.

I come from a family of leaders. Whenever there is a problem we all want to help, we are not afraid to be incredibly blunt with each other, we will role play together to play out confrontational moments that haven't happened yet just so we can be ready. Seriously we do this a lot, like before interviews, important meetings, phone calls, etc. When Matt first witnessed this he thought we were all crazy but I think he's starting to see we might not be that nuts haha!

I'm far from perfect at this skill but I do think like fitness the more we work at listening the better off we will be. The best party trick I have is knowing how to get people talking about themselves right away. Everyone loves a listener! Next time you're in a conversation and what to tell a story stop and ask a question instead. It will feel weird at first but ultimately questions lead to communication and communication leads to connection. 

p.s. This video was introduced to me last week at the ambassador summit. Thank you!!

Ambassador Summit

I have some supercalifragilisticexpialidocious news today!

I'm SO honoured and excited to have been selected to take part in this year's lululemon Ambassador Summit event. Woo hoo!!

In two weeks I will be on a plane to Vancouver, then to Whistler, to meet over 100 other lululemon Ambassadors form around the world! Yippie!! 

The summit is three days long and from what I've heard it will be nothing short of amazing, transformative and inspirational. I can't wait! This will be a huge opportunity to connect with fitness fanatics from everywhere and share some ideas and success. From the profile pictures of some of the other attendees it looks like I'll be there with yoga supermodels! 

I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to be an ambassador and this gift from lululemon is nothing short of remarkable. When I first heard of the ambassador program I was just excited to meet some people and maybe get a free pair of pants. Little did I know the opportunities and exposure lululemon has provided me have been FAR greater than just a closet full of luxtreme and luon. This conference is a dream from true for a young business owner.

I hope to represent Toronto well so I'll be brushing up on my yoga over the next few days … hopefully there will be a burpee contest so I can show the yogis a thing or two!! 

Happy weekend everyone! I hope you're enjoying some of this wonderful spring weather!

Branksome Presentation - A Full Circle Moment

Yesterday I had the great honour of speaking at my alma mater, Branksome Hall, to 800 high school students.

:: Branksome Hall – I went here from grade four to graduation ::

I was asked to speak about how I took my passion for athletics and turned it into not only just a job but into a career, brand and a business. I wasn't given a single restriction, just told to speak from the heart.

Honestly I was really nervous!! I've done talks for larger audiences before but they've been on topics other than myself. I called my sister Lindsay right before I went up to speak and she said, "don't worry, half the kids will be on their cell phones anyway." Thanks Linds!! To my delight they were an incredible group of people to speak to – not a cell phone in sight! Here is a mini-recap of my 10-minute talk with a few slides from my power point.

Beauty and the Bod at Branksome Presentation:

This is my grade 6 class photo – top left second in

This is my grade 6 class photo – top left second in

I was just nine years old when I started my journey at Branksome. I was a PAINFULLY shy kid with a major learning disorder. I couldn't read at all, speaking in front of one other person would have been the worst thing ever back then! Branksome, along with my parent's support completely brought me out of my shell and into the person I am today. 


One of my dad's favourite lines is: life is not a dress rehearsal. I remember him sitting my sister and I down when we first started getting involved in sports at school. He would tell us to just go for it, if we didn't make the team so what, at least we tried and there would never be an opportunity to give it a go again so just go!

I took his advice to heart and at one point or another I was on pretty much every single team that would take me. Eventually I narrowed it down to running and rowing at Branksome. I worked really hard on both teams and that paid off with great results. I think my 7:41 2k erg score still stands today for a school record! Woo hoo! The number one thing that I learned being on the rowing team at Branksome was how to have integrity. Rowing taught me how to wake up to an alarm all by myself, how to work hard for a team, how to not be a flake, how not to take a 'sick' day, and how to be dependable and depend on other people. Rowing was and probably is still to date one of the hardest things I've ever done but the rewards and lessons I learned rowing were life shaping and absolutely helped me have the success I'm enjoying today.

After Branksome I went to Western for Kinesiology. I really didn't have any idea what I wanted to do with a Kin degree but I loved sports and liked the idea that I could still have gym class in university. My parents were happy I was happy. In my first year I aced my electives in business and psych – thinking that was a sign and in retrospect falling into the trap that I should go into a psych business route because then I'll actually get a job (not true!) I switched into psych with a minor in business for my second year. After about 3 hours I realized this was the wrong call – where were all the spandex wearing, gym going, sports loving, high fiving Kin people?! I switched back into Kin and never looked back. 

In my third year I had been doing the standard issue aerobics classes at Western for awhile and I was getting so bored with them. They were always the same routines and I never felt like I had a great workout from them. A few of my girlfriends and I decided to start our own workout group – we called each other the "Bod Squad" and so it was born. The group started with 3 and quickly grew into not only the highlight of my week but also quite popular, one of my last classes there were 30 people! It was awesome and I knew I was on to something… sort of!

In my summers at Western I had the best summer job, I worked at SickKids Foundation. The people there were incredible and my job responsibilities were very tough yet fun and it was a great learning experience. I drove across Ontario and gave presentations about the Hospital to Walmarts, Costcos and TD banks. Some days I'd talk to 2-3 people and others 2-3 thousand! I loved my job at SickKids but at the same time I found myself getting more excited about the morning free Bod Squad workouts I was hosting in our backyard then my presentations. When the summer was up in my forth year I was offered a full time job – that would have been the cushy, easy, 90% love, respectable way to start my career. Instead I declined with thanks and moved halfway around the world to start an adventure with Matt. Bold, and totally out of character for me!

We moved into a tiny flat, for the first time ever I was totally responsible for all of my expenses. My parents did a lot of smart things with us but probably one of the things I am most thankful for is they made us pay our own way as soon as we were done school. That meant that after university if I wanted to move back home I could have but I'd be paying them rent and buying groceries to live there – NO thank you! It's crazy to look around at a lot of my friends and they are still living at home in their mid to late 20s … if you ask me life doesn't start until you're off the parental payroll. Move out! I digress… So we were in England and I was a housewife (with no house or husband!) for about 3 days and then I started to go crazy. Matt suggested we start filming Bod Squad workouts for the Bod Squaders back at home. It was a great idea and the start of my blog career. Three months later I was convinced it would be a fun idea to go to Thailand with one of my best friends Jules. There I filmed a workout a week and uploaded them back on my website. I knew 110% after that trip that fitness wasn't just a hobby for me but something that I genuinely loved doing and that I would come home and work hard to make it work!

After Asia I flew back and gave myself two weeks to get Bod Squad – for money – started. It was hectic and nerve racking, talk about putting yourself out there. Most people do not believe me now when I say I'm a naturally shy person but the truth is I've learned how to talk in my lifetime, it did not come easily at all! I made about 2000 flyers and walked all over my neighbourhood distributing them. The first class had 12 new people in it!! And Bod Squad was born. The first summer went really well, I had lots of new clients in the classes and a few personal training clients around town. There was only one problem: winter. At the time I didn't feel like I had enough momentum to move Bod Squad indoors so I decided to put it on hold for the fall-winter and stick to personal training. I couldn't afford a car + my condo rent so I had to bike around to client's homes. One morning I biked from Bloor and Yonge to north Lawrence park with a 25 lbs kettlebell in my backpack. I got to the client's house and he could not believe I had done that. Get. It. Done. A road block isn't a road block unless you make it a road block. Biking became my cardio that year – some days I'd bike upwards of 50 km just getting to and from houses. Crazy! But that experience certainly put some hair on my chest and made me appreciate my business that much more.

In my "off" times that fall and winter on the advice of my clients and family I started blogging every single day here. As most of you know I want this blog to be a friendly take on fitness. I felt and feel like there is a lot of pressure out there to be skinny, eat just kale and workout 8x a day. I want this blog to be real and the community here to be supportive. I'm so proud of what we have built here and last year accepted the honour to start writing for the Huffington Post! For someone who struggled to get a 70% in English class I still pinch myself that I'm now writing for my job. If I can do it you can do it! 

The second summer of Bod Squad was awesome. We were growing and it was time to seek out some indoor options. Without knowing any gym owners I made a list of the places I'd heard were cool and I walked in and talked to all the managers there. Tim from Totum and I clicked and got each other quickly, within a week I'd signed a contract with him locking me and the Bod Squad into a monthly lease agreement. Ekkk! The first six classes sold out in two hours, in the end I had to add six more onto the schedule. This was a massive relief and it was so exciting to have a home for the squad.

At the same time I was working with lululemon on a few summer class events and was VERY interested in their ambassador program. Hi free clothing! And the chance to be part of an incredible Canadian success story. After months of worthwhile and fun effort I was so grateful when they asked me to represent their yorkville location. This experience is even better than what I had dreamed it would be. I've made life-long friendships and of course my closet is a workout Barbie's dreamland!! 

Bod Squad celebrated it's third summer this past year and we are well into fall programming now. I can honestly say I love every minute of my job. Changing the way people see themselves, not just physically but mentally the confidence they gain is just an incredible privilege. This is absolutely what I was born to do and I'm so grateful that I've followed a bumpy-ish path to get here. 

My message to the high school ladies yesterday was the same message my dad gave me a decade ago. Life is not a dress rehearsal, sometimes you've just got to go for it. You won't discover your passion sitting down or by always taking the comfortable route. When you do what you love you will be surrounded by people who support you and who will be cheering for you at the same time you're cheering for them. It's ok to want to be something other than a banker or a lawyer or a doctor or a teacher. It's ok to want to make your own job now because we have this really cool tool called the internet and it will connect you to so many amazing opportunities if you go for it. 

I was proud to be back at Branksome yesterday. The school is certainly embracing health and their new fitness centre on Mt Pleasant looks like it will be an incredible facility. I'd be lying if I said that I never hoped and set a goal to be able to speak back at Branksome. I certainly did visualize years ago me speaking in front of a group of young people – ideally back at Branksome. Yesterday was a goal accomplished moment for me and far faster than I ever thought it would happen! I had some amazing feedback from the girls and I hope that my ten minute chat sparked a little courage in one or two of them to not be afraid to follow their heart. 

Red, green, black and white, see our colours in the fight, toss em high toss em low come on Branksome GO GO GO! 

How to Wake Up at 5 am

I'll be the first to admit it: waking up at 5 am everyday was not a natural thing for me.

When I was in high school my parents took the nice approach at first. My dad would come in and wake me up with a tea every morning. And then I would doze off and he would come back with a hot face cloth. And then I would doze off again. Finally after one morning of threats my dad just left me and I woke up at 8:13 am in a complete panic – it was December and I had to bike 7 km to school to write a test. BAHHH. I got there and figured, 'ok, that was brutal, there's no way he will do that again.' The very next day I woke up at 8:14 am BAHHH HAAAAA. He did. And it worked. From that day on I set my own alarm and hauled my bum out of bed. 

Here are the four things I do that help make the mornings easier:

1. Snooze button is not an option. Snoozing is the absolute worst thing you can do if you're trying to become a morning person. Do not fall prey to the snooze trap. Set your alarm for the time you need to get up and like a bandaid you should rip out of bed. Go! Snoozing not only makes you feel gross but it will also REALLY bug your bed buddy. So be good to yourself and your fellow sleepers and stop the snooze. 

2. Don't think about "balance" first thing. Here's the #1 excuse I get for early morning e-mails about missing Bod Squad – "my body was out of balance and I needed the rest." Ok, no. Stop that. If you're getting up for something anyway your body will be up to write that e-mail then when you actually go back to sleep for 40 more minutes you're not getting a full cycle of sleep so it's not that helpful. If you've decided the night before that you're going to something then gosh darn it you're going. Don't give yourself the option to not go. Just do it.
I like to "balance" out my early mornings once a week with a 3 hour long extended nap. I usually take Friday afternoons off and I need to nap then so I can be a normal person and stay up past 9!

3. Don't drink coffee. I don't like to NEED anything ever. So the idea of NEEDING to make coffee before I can function properly just seems like a waste of time. I'll maybe grab a coffee later in the day but water works great first thing!

4. Be ready. I usually plan my outfit and food the night before I need to be up early so that I'm ready to go right away. This helps save time and I just feel like I've got a step up on the day if I have everything ready to go. 

Here's the truth: NOBODY is a morning person for the first 30 seconds. Nobody. And if they tell you they are then they are just lying to themselves and you. To get used to mornings takes some practice and a little tough self-love. After the first 30 seconds I LOVE the mornings, I feel like I live more because I get up and get lots done before 9 am. Good luck and snooze OFF!!

Why Gen Y Are Unhappy ... A Rebuttal

Last week, "Why Generation Y Yuppies are Unhappy", an article written on the Huffington Post went viral. ERRRR it made me angry.

For those of you who haven't read the article here's a quick summary of the author's main point: when the reality of someone's life is better than they had expected, they're happy. When reality turns out to be worse than expectations, they're unhappy.

So basically we should stop setting big goals for our futures and start accepting that our fate is to be average, or better yet a little less than average so that when something decent happens we will be really happy about it. If you want to read the full depressing article please click here. I warned you.

I so strongly disagree with this article and I find it disturbing how many people have found it somehow touching and reassuring. If you believe in this then you are settling for less in life.

Here's my truth:

Happiness = setting big goals and reaching themand even if I don't knowing that I gave it my 100% and I'll be that much better prepared the next time 

Here's the deal. I'm a goal setter. And, if nothing else, I'm a hard, hard worker. I set goals every single day. Goals for my own workouts, goals for my business, goals for my clients, goals for five years from now and goals from ten years for now. I set them, stick to them and then re-set them. I don't always hit my goals on the first go, in fact I rarely achieve my goals on the first go around but that's why they are GOALS – they are meant to be tough! I recently raced a 5k and set a goal to break 19 minutes. I ran a hard race and I finished wayyy off at 20:20 but I'm glad I made that goal because it pushed me. I know if I didn't have that goal my time would have been much slower so I was happy I had the goal and I can't wait to crush 19 next time. 

Shoot for the moon … even if you miss you will land among the stars.

Three years ago I set a goal to start my own fitness business. I didn't settle for less and I've made my dreams come true by working hard, setting goals and dreaming of success. I've followed my passion, taken leaps of faith, I scare myself on a daily basis, made new contacts and had the opportunity to change the way people feel about their bodies and themselves. I am SO grateful for my career and I know I have it because I dreamed big, didn't settle for expecting small and being satisfied with getting a little extra. I went for it and go for it always. Go big or go home. My life rocks and I am special.

To my generation, everyone - YOU ARE SPECIAL! And never ever let any article tell you otherwise.

If you stop expecting great things you will start accepting less than your best which is never good enough. 

We have SO much more exposure and potential for happiness than generations before us. Our dreams should have rainbows and unicorns in them. We have this amazing tool: the internet. I've met people that make thousands of dollars a day blogging about what outfit they are wearing. Don't get me wrong, happiness isn't about money. I'm the first to believe Biggie, "mo' money mo' problems", but having enough financial stability to not base life decisions around money is really what I define as being truly wealthy. 

My advice for the future:

1. Be inspired by everyone else. It's taken me a long time, and I admit I'm still not perfect at this, to look at others and be truly happy for their success and not feel envious or somehow more deserving. But I've learned that feeling jealous is really just a waste of time and if I spend a moment to think of my blessings I realize my life is pretty great and when I think about it more of course I want my friends and family to be happy and have great lives and reach their dreams. Why wouldn't I? If someone has a beautiful house, or family or gets a great job and shares it on facebook – go them! – they probably worked really hard and deserve it. 

2. Start thinking you're special. The second you start to de-value yourself and stop thinking you're special the world around you will start to de-value you. I'll never forget when I first started to promote the Bod Squad my sister told me that if I didn't have passion and enthusiasm in my pitch then nobody would show up. And she was absolutely right! If you walk around projecting that your skills are just average then you are going nowhere fast. You have got to believe that you have something amazing to contribute to this world because you do! You might not know exactly what it is yet, and that's ok, but you will one day and when you do you are going to rock it out. Believe it, achieve it.

3. Stay hungry and look back with gratitude. My goals for the future are big and I'm excited to keep driving hard toward them, at the same time not a day goes by that I don't reflect back on how far I've come. Not only professionally but personally. Integrity is essential to progress. Helping others is the best gift you can give to the world and to yourself. Love is really all you need. 

Now go live long and prosper, while you're at it dream of GOLDEN unicorns.

The Importance of Owning YOU inc.


If you're around my age (24) most of us are in an interesting limbo phase of dependence and independence; you've been or you're about to be cut off the gravy train. And let me tell you, it's not as scary as it sounds!

I have the best most supportive parents in the world; an incredibly strong business mother and an incredibly caring dad. When I was little, about 10ish I clearly remember having a conversation with my mom stating that if I decided to come home after university that would be fine but I would be paying rent to live at home. And she was absolutely dead serious. 

After graduating from university I decided to move to England with Matt and live over there for a year. Minus the plane ride over as my 21st birthday present, that trip was all funded on my own savings. I paid rent in pounds, travelled through Thailand on my own baht, relaxed on a beach in Bali on a towel paid for with my own rupiah and finally flew home on my own dollar. I came back with nothing and started my own business literally from grass roots in the park behind my parent's house. For the past three years I've paid my own rent – condo rent and business studio space, bought my own toilet paper & groceries and last but not least paid my own cell phone bills. I am SO grateful for it. Don't get me wrong, growing up in the world that I was blessed to it was tough initially to look around at my friends and see their parents shell out big bucks for their insane wardrobes, watch them save tons of money living at home meanwhile I was burning right through rent cheques! But I really think that being cut off was the catalyst and created the fire under my ass that has driven me to be independently successful today.

It might sound crazy but being cut off was one of the best things that ever happened to me. I grew up. I understand how money works. My relationship with Matt certainly went to a deeper level, we both didn't have jobs when we moved into our condo. We had to take a leap together and for the first time ever I actually carefully examined grocery store sale flyers – a great life skill! If you're about to move out on your own stop worrying about saving tons of money, I had $177.93 in my bank account the day I moved home and not much more than that a month later when we signed our lease! The bottom line is you will make it happen and life gets so much better when you take ownership of it. 

One thing I wish someone had told me before I started this business was how to think about making money as a business person. Before running my own business I'd never thought about the concept of paying myself a salary from the business earnings. That's the way I live this way now, it makes so much sense and it helps me forecast for the future – did you know that a commercial treadmill costs $10,000? To build the space I one day dream of having I'm going to need at least 10 of them. That's just one future cost I'll need to cover with the money I'm making today. I spend SO much less now than I used to and I've learned to appreciate things a lot more. Pay yourself an income with your current income put the rest in a fund or savings, it will help you so much down the road!

I get asked this question all the time: what do you make? Two years ago I would have though about it very differently, I would have said, $x and have been done with it. Today the "Christie Inc." answer is Preston Fitness can do really well if Christie Preston works her bum off. There are days that Preston Fitness can bill over $1,000 but then there are also days that the business can spend double that on operational costs. I'm sure you probably lead a stressful job but when was the last time you were asked to rent your own phone, desk, and single-handedly source all of your own clients? Start acting like you do now! When you have your own business there is no such thing as vacation, sick days, even off days aren't an option. In my case I've also got to look the part of a fitness professional, daily workouts are also not an option but an expectation. This is true for all of you though! Every single day we make choices that impact the rest of our lives. If you're not walking into work like you one day want to own the place then you're wasting your time! Even if you don't have a business yet start treating yourself and your books like a business. Make decisions based on your dreams and goals and own them.

With your own business you are not just trying to climb the corporate ladder. You have to source your own materials and build that ladder and then try to climb it and hope that your work doesn't crumble beneath you. But that's how it should always be. Own "You Inc.", the faster you start thinking of yourself as a business the better everything gets!

Uncomfortable vs Exhaustion

My clients know there is one thing that drives me crazy – not trying. I don't care if you can do 1 push-up or 101 push-ups but I do care when you're clearly not trying your best. Whenever I see that happening I get angry and believe me that's not a good sight – kill mode switches ON! This video is perfect because it separates the thought process from the action. When you think you're doing all that you can do there is usually about 2-3% more inside you.

I love this video because it outlines how I feel about starting my own business and also how I try to help people understand their own training potential.

If you want to be successful you have to ACT on it.

Nobody spoon fed me clients, I didn't sit around for a year hoping more people would come try my workouts I ACTIVELY built my brand on this very blog every single day. I made flyers, offered free training sessions at charity events, blindly reached out to companies like Totum and made my own connections. I still wake up every single day and ask myself – how can this all be better? What can I do to make Preston Fitness, this blog, myself better? Everything is my business.

If you want to change your life, start a business, get fit first you need to make a decision. Once that happens you need to focus in on it and go for it. Ask yourselves, five years from now what are you going to wish you did today? Then do that.

The secret to getting ahead is first getting started. That's the biggest obstacle for many people starting a training program is just getting their shoes on and out the door. That's the same for a business – just get your website up and go from there. Don't worry about being perfect from the start – I sure wasn't and I'm still FAR from it. The truth is perfection bugs people; we all want to see progress. It's the natural instinct to root for the underdog. Embrace the fact that you (and I) are probably underdogs right now and work that angle! Stop worrying about what everything will look like three months from now and focus on that first step and make it the best step you've ever taken. Take it from me, everyone has days when they don't want to workout, write their blog, do yoga whatever it is just get moving – it gets a lot better.

Once you get started you cannot let fear get in the way of your dreams. I'm scared to some degree everyday but I turn fear into more action. Fear is natural but don't let yourselves get psyched out, get psyched up. Make your fear productive. This time last year I was fearful that I wouldn't be able to make rent, I was charging almost half of what I do now and biking around Toronto to client's homes because I didn't have a car. Lots has changed but I'm still pedal to the metal like I was then and maybe even more so now. Believe in the process and see it through to the end. 

You have to jump into the deep end. Decide you're going to do it and DO IT.

Realize that not everyone is going to like you. In fact, most people are going to be a little bit jealous of you and they are going to try to get in the way of what you're doing. Don't let that happen. It's quite common once someone starts to lose weight, become more healthy, or get a promotion, etc. their support system will go a little wonky. Take only the good and leave the bad. This concept of taking the good took me awhile to grasp – my very first blog was about cereal – read it here. For those of you who know me know that I don't pretend to be a perfect eater, I enjoy my daily dose of chocolate but I work for it big time! I was a little nervous about writing my first blog but I thought who could really have anything bad to say about natural peanut butter cereal?? Well I was wrong! My post was basically cyber bully style attacked on facebook by a friend of a friend's extremist crossfit person who told me that I was feeding more garbage to the internet and that I should know better – the best breakfast is actually steak and nuts. We went back and forth on the topic and more than 44 comments were written in total. If you read the article I never stated that it was the healthiest choice, but just a better one from my alternative of a bagel and pb. At the time I was embarrassed and I felt like my credibilty was totally undermined.

Anyway the point of that ridiculousness is that it put me off my game for months. I was scared to post anything new because I didn't want it to be attacked again. Then I realized, "what the hell am I doing giving this guy exactly what he wants?" and I started blogging again. 

The process feeds the fire.

I was glad that set back happened early because I don't take all the negative stuff to heart like I used to. When you're passionate about something and you have something to say (you all do!) then say it!

Once you get started then it's three simple things that will keep you going: hard work, dedication and direction. Believe in yourselves because if I can do this then you totally can too.  

Ambassador Photo Shoot Behind the Scenes Look

My ambassador photo shoot yesterday with lululemon went really well! 

:: Me with their expert photographer Bruce ::

And much to my delight I got to keep the outfit!! Top: Scoop Neck, Crops: Wunder Under.

But, let me just say I'm glad I had a little practice with the whole photo shoot thing before yesterday! It's not easy having five people watching you attempt a flying tuck jump screaming, "chin up, pull up your pants, keep your arms down, smile more, smile less, flex those muscles!!" They were all awesome model coaches.

The weather was perfect, we shot at the Brickworks, which is really close to the summer Bod Squads so I knew which areas would be great to explore.

The main photos should be out soon and I will let you know when I'll be up in the Cumberland store in Yorkville on a poster! Honestly this all still feels like a dream come true. I'm so lucky and grateful to have this opportunity and I can't wait to do more with lululemon.

Ambassador Love

No, I'm not engaged!

My big announcement is I was officially offered a position as a lululemon ambassador!

My Tuesday + Thursday night Bod Squad group is filled with Lululemon people (aka "lemons"). They have the BEST attitudes and seriously are up for anything and everything. I love training them, they leave me smiling after every class!

I heard about the ambassador program over a year ago now from a friend who worked at the store and thought I'd be a good fit. I honestly did not think it would happen for a long time so I was shocked and completely thrilled when they asked me before class on Thursday night.

I'm not quite sure what all the details are but I do know I will be working closely with the Cumberland store. There will be more FREE classes with me there and lots of events that I will let you know about here! Thank you all so much for your support and well wishes! I can't wait to start my term as an ambassador, this role is a dream come true.

How I Landed My Dream Job in Sequins

When I was in third-year University my dream job was to work at SickKids Foundation. I love kids and obviously I have a passion for health so I knew it would be a perfect fit. A friend of mine had worked there the summer before and offered to make the first introduction. From there I was forwarded along from e-mail inbox to inbox; the entire process took about six months of me writing in weekly telling them how much I loved them and how badly I wanted to work for them. Then one day finally I received an invitation to interview for a pilot program with the corporate partnerships team at the foundation. PERFECT!! I was so excited for the interview; I couldn’t wait to get back to Toronto.

My rock star businesswoman mom kindly offered to lend me a power-suit for the occasion, which I gratefully accepted and didn’t think twice about bringing my own back-up outfit home with me from school. When I started trying on my mom’s suits there quickly became a very apparent problem. I didn’t realize until then how much weight I had lost; I was literally swimming in the suits, they all looked ridiculous – like I was playing dress-up and clearly not wearing my own clothing. When I came down in the first suit Matt burst into laughter … not encouraging! With 15 minutes to change I made a very unorthodox decision: I opted for a knee length cream sequin skirt and a monochromatic cream silk blouse. I looked like a million dollars for a semi-formal dinner date but totally not typical interviewee apparel. I decided then to go big or go home so I added red lipstick and off we drove to SickKids.

When the panel first saw me they smiled right away – I was quickly nicknamed “The Glamazon” due to my athletic resume and sequin attire.  I was later told by my first and fabulous boss Dee Diaz that she knew she would hire me from the second I walked in the room because the position called for a person who could instantly make an impression and wasn’t afraid to go outside the box and be bold.

The lesson I learned that day is just because a book or a fashion expert or even your mom tells you that you really should wear a navy conservative power-suit to an interview doesn’t mean you have to. Don’t be afraid to colour outside the lines every now and then! SickKids did become my first dream job, it’s where I really grew comfortable and confident in connecting with people and I might never have had the opportunity if I hadn’t gone big and added a few sparkles!

So choose to shine, you won’t be disappointed.

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Go Confidently

I've learned now in business to listen to everyone but actually take advice from a very small list of people. One person on that short list is my younger sister Lindsay. She told me right from the get go that a business will only be as successful as you believe it will be. She was absolutely right.

Lately I've been meeting with many people interested in starting their own business ventures. They have been inspired by my story and are eager to hear my outlook on their ideas. In the past week alone I've talked to six entrepreneurs – Matt thinks small business consulting is becoming my part time job! I had specific pieces of advice for every one of them but the only constant was the same thing Linds told me: you need to have confidence in what you're doing more than anything else. If you don't, how can you begin to expect that somebody else will?

It's interesting now having the perspective of actually starting a business how I approach ideas very differently than I would have before. I've learned that there are no bad ideas – there are just bad believers in those ideas. If you don't believe in what you're selling, pitching. promoting, etc. 1000% of the time then you might as well just give it up now. In order to be successful you have to be steadfast in your thinking and stance. If you go around asking people what they think of you your business it just won't work – the second an idea is born you need to back it – know the difference between seeking validation and information, if you need the former then you need to drop the idea. 

I know that the way to tell if an idea will work is that the pieces will naturally fall into place. Just like a great relationship a great business idea should just click – I learned that the hard way! If it feels like you're pushing water uphill with a rack the business will never ever be authentic and natural – it will always be and feel forced and you won't feel confident.

The point I'm trying to make here is that confidence is the most essential ingredient in starting a new business. Believe you will and you most certainly can.

Entrepreneurship and Responsibility

In the past month my business has literally tripled. I've hit what feels like my first real "tipping point" and the feeling has been nothing short of overwhelming, rewarding and nerve racking!

The biggest reason for my success so far is I have total confidence in what I do and I'm 100% accountable 100% of the time. And, as one client noted – I work like there's a "fire under my ass"!

A typical day starts at 5 am (ok, I sleep in Mondays and Wednesdays to 5:30 am) and ends around 7:30 pm. I have time off in-between but I'm always doing something businessy – a workout, blogging, phone calls, e-mails, program development, etc.

I can never be late, never sleep-in, never call in sick, always have to look my best – workout, eat right, brush my hair, dress nicely. I have to be happy and up 110% of the time, which 109% of the time is absolutely not a problem because I'm in love with my job but nevertheless it is my mandate.

Being good at what you do is one thing but being an entrepreneur is a totally different ball game all together. If there's something wrong – it's your problem, someone sleeps in or gets sick and feels like they should get a free class – that's you're call, if someone is rude or moody – that's yours to confront or ignore, if someone tries to wheel out of not paying you – it's up to you to deal with them. If you have a client that's a total drag – it's up to you to tell them you can't work together anymore (believe me this is never fun but totally necessary to grow the right business). It's heavy stuff.

On the flip side you're in charge, you set your schedule, you control your destiny and you can make buckets of money.

There's practically not a day that goes by that I don't wish on some level that I was more "normal". Less intense about business and fitness, more relaxed and carefree but the truth is I would probably go crazy if I didn't have a certain level of demand on my shoulders, it's just how I'm wired (thanks mom).

I truly believe entrepreneurs will shape this generation and I'm proud that I can now finally start to consider myself one of them. We are so lucky to live in a world where we all have a voice (the internet), the playing field in business is leveling. If I can do this – start a company literally out of the park behind my house – so can you!

Although it is a great responsibility I still consider entrepreneurship a great privilege and I've been blessed to have such tremendous support around me. I found this video about a year ago and every now and then when I have the desire to be "normal" I take a look back at it, I find it very motivating and I hope you do to!

lululemon lesson

One of the reasons why I date Matt is because he is a sane person. I would classify myself as slightly insane … which is part of the reason why I can blog daily! He keeps me grounded and always looks on the bright side of life and people. A trait I admire and aspire to have more of myself.

Yesterday we needed to go to the bank but while we were out and about I managed to squeeze in a quick visit to Lululemon. In the dressing room's obligatory man bench Matt came across this great story in a children's book:

Two monks are walking from one monastery to another. Along the way they cross paths with a wealthy, beautifully dressed, woman who is rude to them. They meet up with her party again at the river, where she clearly needs assistance to get across to avoid damaging her outfit. The older monk offers to carry her across the water and at some risk to himself in the swirling waters, he gets her across. She doesn’t even say thank you, and leaves.

The two monks continue walking for a few more hours until the younger one bursts out ‘how rude that woman was, first she didn’t acknowledge us properly and then she didn’t thank you after you carried her across the waters.’ And the older monk looked at him and replied, ‘I put her down hours ago, why are you still carrying her?’

{Me with a Monk in Thailand last year – they are not supposed to touch women … hence our statue pose}

Ahh those monks know a thing or two. Why am I still carrying her? The real takeaway lesson though is Matt should become a monk.

And yes, I did get another outfit! I'll show you guys tomorrow.