RIDE: my journey.

It was the end of September ’18 when it hit me like a tonne of bricks that I really needed to get my ass in gear because my wedding was just 10 months away. Up until this point, I really hadn’t done much by way of exercise apart from the odd HIIT class here and there and even that’s a stretch.

It was around the same time that my friend Nathalie had messaged me to see if I wanted to come out to a spin class in the next few days. Intrigued, I signed up. Cardio was “never my thing” but I figured that with the help of some loud music, I would love it. To be honest, I literally just needed something…ANYTHING…to get me into shape. Correction…wedding shape!

Cue the seriously lame part of my story. I was doing some chores around the house one day when I picked up the vacuum and began to make my way through the house. I bent down to pick something up, turned to the right and…POP…I couldn’t stand up. For someone who’s never put their back out before (umm…hello, this doesn’t happen in your 30’s does it?!), I had no idea what to expect.

Low and behold, I could barely sit comfortably in an office chair for the next two weeks and getting in and out of my car was an absolute joke. My method of getting out of bed in the morning was rolling myself to the right and practically throwing myself off the bed until one foot hit the ground and I was able to push myself up to a standing position. Putting pants on was an absolute chore and I often needed my fiance’s help to do so! Needless to say…ouch.

After a few physio visits and a whole lot of “ow ow ow’s”, I was cleared to ‘start working out again’. Hah. Seeing as I had missed the class my friend invited me to, I reached out to RIDE and booked myself in for another one.

At that time I had no clue that I would be sitting here almost 6 months later absolutely obsessed with RIDE and everything it offered.

For anyone who has never been to a spin class (that includes choreography and heart pounding music), I suggest you try it at least once in your life. It’s fucken fun.

For anyone who’s been to a class, gotten completely discouraged and never gone back…I hope the next little bit of my post helps you out.

As my friend (and seriously wicked instructor) Barb likes to put it, for probably the first 20 classes I looked like a wet spaghetti noodle on that bike because I had absolutely no friggin’ clue what I was doing. I remember messaging her and asking a million questions about how to “properly” ride with the rest of them. With that said, here are my tips to you:

  1. Listen to the beat. The whole point of these classes is to RIDE to the music and RIDE as one. You’re not here for your own god damn dance party, you RIDE together. I’m not gonna lie, the first number of classes were overwhelming. The instructor was giving direction by saying things like “3-4 turns, right foot leads”. Well, to me that may as well have been Greek because it didn’t click, I didn’t get it. I think I was still trying to figure out how to snap my spin shoes in at that point.
  2. Don’t try to be a hero. If you think you have it, chances are you probably don’t unless you’re some sort of a coordinated superstar. It took me a solid 10-20 classes to finally understand the coordination and the importance of the tension and the beat. Trust me when I say that it is better to sit down, find it in your seat than look like that wet spaghetti noodle we talked about earlier.
  3. Don’t ever put yourself in the first row until you absolutely know whats up. Seriously, you will feel so much more comfortable by watching those in the front row and riding behind them. I looked at A LOT of butts and legs to figure out what to do with my own before someone *cough cough* made me RIDE in the front row. I’ve never looked back! Seriously, it helped a lot. Honestly, take your time, work on your strength and coordination and then be a fucking superstar.
  4. It’s not just about the legs. Your core strength is EQUALLY as important in this whole process as being able to pedal. Just because you’ve ridden a bike before, doesn’t mean this is going to be a walk in the park. My core strength was basically non-existent and being able to hold my body up and out of the saddle took quite some time. I’ll actually never forget the day I successfully made it through a run without having to sit down. It was a GOD DAMN MIRACLE but it felt SO good. It was then that I knew that all of my prior classes were starting to pay off.

Trust me when I say that you get better with every single class. Practice does make perfect and I’m not saying I am. You build on that coordination and you build on that strength. Before you know it, you’ll be in that front row having the time of your life.

Now, for me it’s not just all about the fitness part so listen up.

One key word that comes to mind when I think of RIDE is: community. Call it whatever you want to call it from the outside looking in but for me, it is a place I look forward to being in every single day. It is an hour out of each day where I am able to disconnect from the outside world. It’s where I can just enjoy the time to myself surrounded by a lot of awesome people.

The girls (and guys) at RIDE have been fucken fire. I won’t mention individual names for the fear that I leave someone out but you all know who you are and you all know that you make walking through those doors so awesome. I’m sure I’m speaking on a lot of people’s behalf when I say that too.

The instructors are all so unique and carry their own styles, its honestly amazing. Some of them even theme their classes to certain artists or genres of music which is so fun. That alone gives you so much class selection. The front desk staff are all so helpful and welcoming, it’s infectious. They’re just amazing. Last but not least, the acquaintances and friends I’ve been able to make (at a place that I thought was going to be pretentious) are the best EVER. You know who you are.

And if you’re still reading this far down, I want to wrap up by saying that this whole RIDE journey has inspired me to maybe, possibly, hopefully teach one day. The impact that RIDE has made on my life is undeniable both physically and mentally. If I can create that same meaning for someone else, well sign me the fuck up!

Since October 15th 2018, I have attended 154 classes. That’s 154 classes in 187 days. If that doesn’t scream “hooked” than I don’t know what does. I’ve really only missed classes to injury, travel or illness otherwise you can find me there every single morning before work and on weekends.

If you’ve read this far and are feeling a bit more inspired, come RIDE. I promise you, you won’t regret it.

xo

-ML

New Year. New Feels.

It’s 7:55pm on December 30, 2018.

I’m 1000% sure I’m not the only one that is sitting with my “Notes” app open on my iPhone trying to drum up some goals for 2019. Quite frankly, I’ve been thinking about this all week.

It is so cliche that come ‘the end of the year’ everyone is setting goals for ‘the upcoming year’. Before you attack my opinions, I don’t find anything wrong with this, I just simply find it silly that there is a ‘deadline’ on a start and a finish to creating and accomplishing goals.

Christmas just passed and the New Year isn’t quite here yet. It’s a super weird time of year where most of us have no clue what day it is, no clue whether we should be at work, at home, sleeping in or getting up early. The other day I literally woke up and said to myself, “Is it Monday, Thursday or Sunday?! Who knows.”

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Let’s face it, you don’t need a calendar year to dictate when you’re going to set or crush your goals. All you need is a positive state of mind and an attitude that is going to get you where you want to be – maybe that and your “Notes” app or wherever you record important things.

The end of December or the beginning of January are definitely not the only times during a year where you can start eating healthy, start saving money or start going to the gym. You can start that shit proudly on any day, during any week or at the beginning, middle or end of any month.

It. Does. Not. Have. To. Be. January. 1st.

I asked my fiance tonight if he had set his goals for the year yet and his response was “I don’t set goals at the beginning of the year, I keep setting goals all year long.” Don’t quote me on that being the exact thing he said but it was something to that degree.

“Smart”, I thought to myself.

Our goals don’t have to be achieved within a year. Our goals can be set and/or achieved within days, weeks or months. They can be physical or they can be mental. They can be big or they can be small. They can be public or they can be personal. While I don’t think that we should put a timeline on achieving goals, I do think that we should set them.

Here are a couple of simple but effective tips while goal setting:

  • Create a plan, don’t wait for someone else to do it for you.
  • Start small, start simple.
  • Write them down and include a deadline that works for you, not the rest of the world.
  • Be specific.
  • Leave room for failure, don’t expect perfection.
  • Track your progress.
  • Reward success, don’t beat yourself up over failure.
  • If you need to, or can, find a support system or a friend who might have the same goals in mind. You don’t have to do this alone.

Out of sheer curiosity I looked at the goals I had set for myself last year around this time and my goals were:

  • Be present.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Spend more time with family.
  • Paint more.
  • Buy less but buy quality.
  • Make positive changes. 

Here’s where I honestly ‘finished’ at the end of this year…

I feel like I certainly didn’t become more present. In fact, I feel like I got worse.

I started exercising regularly (and I still am) but it wasn’t until about halfway through the year. Honestly, I think this had a better effect on me than handcuffing myself to a treadmill on January 1, 2018.

I did get quite a bit of family time in but I can certainly improve in this category.

I painted once, maybe twice, but I did create a bit of a love for baking…or what I like to call “making a DISASTER of my kitchen and finishing with deliciously baked treats”.

Did I buy less? I don’t think so. Did I buy quality? Kind of. I don’t really know where to measure myself on this one, to be honest.

Did I make positive changes? 1000-fucking-percent I did and I am SO proud. I’m going to keep these positive changes to myself for the fear that someone takes something the wrong way but as 2018 winds down, I did make positive changes and IT FEELS SO GOOD.

So if you’re wondering if I am going to set goals for myself today, for 2019…I haven’t yet decided and I’m not going to get down on myself for not having a list by the time the clock strikes midnight on the 31st.

2019 is already going to be a big year for me because I am marrying the love of my life. I genuinely look forward to the goals we are going to set together, as a small team of two but I also look forward to creating my own.

Stay tuned for my goals as I set them. You’re welcome to follow me on Instagram @martalozynska – I am private on there but don’t be afraid to request! Unless you’re a complete weirdo, I’ll let you follow my life!

This will definitely be my last post of the year, so with that said I wish all of you a VERY Happy New Year. I wish you all nothing but health, love, laughter and gratitude in 2019.

-ML

Delicious Fall Apple Galette

appleGLately I’ve been feeling very inspired by fall. The weather is definitely starting to change in Vancouver, the cozy fall sweaters are coming out and I’ve even had to pull my Hunters out for a day of pretty intense rain. Welcome to the west coast…the next 4-5 months will be mostly grey and gloomy but I’ll gladly take the milder temperatures over -40 degrees Celsius and 5 feet of snow!

So my mom visited from Whistler the other week and she brought us a bunch of little (but extremely delicious) organic apples from a farmer’s market. I ate through quite a few of them but I still had about 6 apples left so I decided to get my baking hat on and make something delicious.

I don’t have a Kitchen Aid mixer so I don’t get overly creative when it comes to baking but this recipe was simple and so darn delicious. I usually just stick to things I can whip up in a bowl without too many kitchen gadgets. I guess it’s time to up our kitchen game…

I’ll share the recipe and hopefully inspire you to get your baking hat on too. Ps. Sorry for the terrible photo of the finished product but it didn’t last long enough for me to photograph it properly.

INGREDIENTS:

For the pastry:

2 cups of whole wheat flour

1 1/2 teaspoons of brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon of Himalayan salt

1 stick plus 2 tablespoons of cold unsalted butter cut into small pieces

1/3 cup of ice cold water

For the topping:

4-6 apples (depending on size)

2 tablespoons of brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

1 tablespoon of wildflower honey (you can also use regular honey)

1 tablespoon of cold unsalted butter cut into small pieces

Directions: 

In a food processor, combine the flour with the sugar, butter and salt. Process for about 5-8 seconds. Sprinkle the ice cold water in and process the pastry for about 10 more seconds. You’ll still be able to see the butter chunks and that ok! Transfer the pastry onto a large enough piece of wax paper, roll it into a ball, wrap it up in the wax paper and put it in the fridge for about 20-30 minutes.

2. In the meantime, peel and core the apples. Slice the apples in half and then into 1/4 inch slices. Set the larger 1/4 inch slices aside and chop the end bits up into small pieces. This will make the filling a little later on. You should use roughly half of the apple slices for the coarsely chopped apples. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon.

3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

4. Flour your kitchen counter or a surface to work on and roll out the pastry into a 12 inch by 14 inch rectangle. Transfer the rectangle pastry to a large baking sheet.

5. Spread the chopped apples over the pastry to within 1 inch of the edge. Drizzle the honey over the apples and decoratively arrange the apple slices on top. You could also get wild and use like a salted caramel or something!

6. Sprinkle the cinnamon/sugar mix over the apples and dot with the pieces of butter.

7. Fold the pastry edge up and over the apples to create a 1 to 1 1/2 inch border.

8. Bake the galette for about an hour or until the pastry is nicely browned. Transfer from the pan to a rack and let it cool.

9. This is optional, but you can melt some more butter (who doesn’t love butter!) and paint it onto the edges of the galette.

I used whole wheat flour in this recipe and thought that it was going to make it very dry but the filling actually makes it amazingly moist and sweet.

Let the pastry cool, cut it into slices and maybe, just maybe, serve it with some vanilla bean ice cream and enjoy. Trust me, you’ll be coming back for more!

Most importantly, I wanted to share this recipe because you really don’t need very many ingredients and it’s sure to be a crowd pleaser. I had everything that I needed kicking around the house.

I wanted to share my galette with others but sadly it didn’t last very long. This would also be a perfect treat at Thanksgiving dinner. Bon appetit!

-ML

 

 

lost in the lyrics

It’s been a while and it’s so good to be back.

I’ve been meaning to get back to writing for so long. I recently found my push.

What I’m about to share spoke to me in a big, BIG way.

I recently started a two week trial at @ridecycleclub in North Van. What I thought was going to be absolute torture, became a bit of an obsession and hopefully a habit I continue for many reasons.

First, I want to start off by giving recognition and praise to one of my (already) fave coaches, Barb.

Barb – you kill it every time you teach. Your energy is infectious. Your spirit is wild. It’s hard enough getting out of bed for my own workout sometimes, let alone getting out of bed to teach a class of random people at 6am. BIG kudos to you. Ps. I hope you’re enjoying every minute in Mexico right now.

***

The purpose for my post is the fact that I heard one song at RIDE that just absolutely spoke to me. So much so that I repeated the lyrics in my head until the class was over. My second purpose? The fact that I know it will speak to the majority of you too. You’re welcome.

The next time you’re in your car or working out or even just looking for a song to jam out to, throw on Odesza – Falls (feat. Sasha Sloan).

Turn it up LOUD, REAL loud.

If you’ve already heard it and appreciate it as much as I do, keep playing it over and over again.

***

The first time I heard this song, I was clearly at spin. I was on my bike, the room was dark and my eyes were closed. Sweat was absolutely dripping down my forehead. What was supposed to be a solid push on the bike, ended up being a series of thoughts and emotions that would lead me to write this post.

Including myself, we are ALL going through something, big or small. Everyone is fighting a battle. Let’s face it, we’ve all been at our lowest lows.

We’ve all been down in the absolute dumps.

We’ve all faced adversity at one point or another.

The crazy thing is that only a small fraction of us have been lucky enough to or will be lucky enough to overcome whatever it is we were fighting.

Cue the lyrics. 

I wanted to share this tonight because there are SO MANY important messages in this song:

“Everybody falls down. All the way down. You just gotta hold on tight. You gotta get up.”

I challenge you to melt into this song and really believe in the lyrics.

I challenge you to take this song and take these lyrics and overcome whatever it is that you’re battling right now. Muster up whatever courage you have inside you to make things better, to work towards an end goal or to get help.

And if not, I challenge you to, at the very least, help someone who’s fighting.

“It’s gonna be alright. Never gonna leave your side. It’s gonna be alright.”

YOU are so strong. YOU have so much fight inside you. YOU are going to overcome whatever it is you’re fighting.

At the end of the day, sometimes we all just need a helping hand or a little ‘push’ and no matter how incredibly shitty you think your life is right now, someone else’s is worse.

You’ve got this. I promise you.

Be kind to one another. Help each other and be there for each other.

It’s SO good to be back.

-ML

all kinds of crazy.

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You learn all sorts of valuable lessons in life so here’s a little something…

We are all NUTS. Everyone is CRAZY in their own way and if you stand here and go “I’m not nuts”, that makes you even more crazy.

Everyone has their own shit. Whether its family or friends or work or life in general…we ALL have our own shit.

The truth is, your shit makes you…YOU.

It’s the way you bounce back from adversities or challenges or those uncertain obstacles that life gives you.

Sit back for a second right now and think of the hardest thing that has EVER happened to you and ask yourself…how has this made me a better person?! Seriously, just think about that for a second. 

Whether it’s work or family or I don’t even now what, we get faced with challenges each and EVERY day. The way you decide to react to those challenges…that’s your shit.

I can think of just about 1001 things that have made me stronger, more independent and, perhaps, a bit more resilient. Take that “shit” and build on it. Build a stronger foundation, build a stronger mindset and build a stronger (and better) life.

All of this right now might sound like every meme, every life lesson and every inspirational quote you’ve ever heard or read…BUT…it has a whole lot of truth to it.

-ML

 

 

 

RIP Kate and Anthony

I’m not usually one to post long rants or opinions but when I woke up this morning, I felt the need to speak out.

This week has been an emotional roller coaster for many. Icon and fashion leader, Kate Spade, took her life at the young age of 55 and today we woke up to the news that world-traveler, celebrity chef and author, Anthony Bourdain, 61, has also succumbed to suicide.

I can’t even begin to imagine the emotion that immediate friends and family are feeling. My heart breaks for them. Many have always argued that suicide is such a selfish way to go. That there are people willing to listen and help. Each time that someone passes away as a result of drug/alcohol addiction or mental illness, everyone always comments that help is just a phone call away.

Is it? Is it really that easy? If it was, icons, mentors and millionaires like Kate and Anthony would be calling too, wouldn’t they?!

We idolize, follow and live our lives vicariously through celebrities/athletes/influencers each and every day. They make such an impact on our lives. We need these people to bind together and make a difference. We need political leaders to stop f***ing tweeting nonsense and start paying attention to what matters in this lifetime.

As a just-turned 33 year old I can safely say that this is such a difficult time to be “growing up” in. These are some of the most challenging times that we are living in right now. Life is complicated, it’s stressful and unfair. We need a movement, we need help and we need it now.

Anxiety lives in my family and I am extremely thankful that my my mom, sister or I have never had any life-altering episodes. Knocks on wood. 

I want to be super clear that I am not a specialist, a doctor or a genius in these topics but what I do know is that I try to do little things to avoid negativity in my life and I want to share those things with you in hopes of them making the slightest little difference in yours, especially if you’re struggling:

  • Cut the bullshit (that you can control) out of your life. Stop immersing yourself in the Trump disgrace, stop reading articles that are going to make your blood boil. Stop following garbage on social media. Find the stuff that makes you smile and follow that.
  • Get 8 hours of sleep a day. This has changed my life! It’s changed my energy levels and it’s changed how I function on the daily. It allows me to wake up with a clearer and rested mind and it helps me make the most out of my days. Sure, we all have days where we are dragging our butts but only you can control that.
  • Eat healthy and exercise. I honestly give thanks to my fiance, Jordan, for being the one to guide me to a healthier lifestyle. I don’t think I could have done it on my own. We workout together, we workout often and we hold each other accountable to eating healthy. Grab a friend or your significant other and do the same. Trust me you’ll be happy you did.
  • Slow your life down. I used to be a ball of STRESS each and every day but I had control over whether or not that was going to be how I continued to live my life. I made a change and I’m happier and healthier because of it. You can too.

Disclaimer: Now let me make one thing very clear here…I’m not saying that by doing the 4 things I just mentioned you are going to prevent suicide, anxiety or mental illness. But what I am saying is that they are baby steps to achieving a healthy mind. They are little steps towards surrounding yourself with the right people. People that can hopefully make a difference in your life.

I don’t know what the answer is to preventing suicide or mental illness but what I do know is that I can, and you can too, control things that make a small difference. Small things that would otherwise bundle up into bigger things.

Thanks for reading. I hope that at the very least you’ve become a bit more aware.

Rest in peace Kate and Anthony. Thank your for your contributions to this world.

-ML

joe fresh faves

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Last week Vancouver had a couple of super warm days and it made me so excited to bust out all of my open toed shoes/sandals! I am so sick of boots and booties and SO over the winter months. For some reason I checked the Joe Fresh website one morning and I had found a super cute pair of block heels (mine current black ones are so done and need to be thrown out but they are such a staple in my closet!). I went to go check the Joe Fresh one’s out in person to see if they were actually a) comfortable and b) what the website illustrated. I ended up walking out with a nude pair (see picture) but I am going to go back and get the black and coral ones too! A girl can NEVER have too many shoes!

I wore them to work one day thinking that they might ruin my feet but they were fantastic. I mean, any shoe is going to hurt if you’re gallivanting in it all day but these ones were actually quite comfortable! I highly recommend them.

So this afternoon I went back to Joe Fresh and found a couple of other gems for the Spring. As you can see in the picture there are the three different colours of the block heels I bought.

The trench coat in the top right is SUPER cute and only $49! I had to order it online because they didn’t have my size in store. I have an army green spring coat but was looking for something light and fun in a beige colour. The detail on the cuffs is so adorable and it fits really really nicely!

The army green and navy pants are my fave. I bought them in navy today (they were $29!!). They’re amazing because you can put them on with a pair of heels and dress them up OR you can throw on a pair of chucks and dress them down – you decide. Super versatile pants and extremely comfy to boot!

Lastly, the super super super cute ruffle sandals! They are absolutely adorable and would look gorgeous with a pair of white jeans. They actually have them in solid black as well.

I know that the Joe Fresh stuff (quality wise) might not last as long but for these prices, it is a no-brainer to wear these items for a season or two and then retire them.

So with that being said, I hope I brought some springtime inspo to your closets! 🙂

-ML