March 24, 2017

Personalize Your Phone and Laptop with CaseApp {& A Giveaway!}

Ever since I one dropped my (previous) phone on concrete and smashed the screen to bits, I vowed to never go without a phone case again. As much as I love the sleekness of not having a case on my phone, and granted, screens can still crack even with a case on, I'm in the camp of some protection is better than none. And while I want to protect my phone as best I can, I'm just not a fan of huge, bulky cases. I also think it's fun to personalize your phone with a cute/pretty/loud/stylish case.
marble phone and laptop case from CaseApp
When CaseApp reached out to me asking me to design my own custom phone case and laptop skin, I was pretty pumped! At the time, I was currently rocking a clear phone case and I was ready to change it up. The hardest part about this whole process was deciding on a design. CaseApp has a ton of pre-designed phone cases and laptop/tablet skins, to which you can add font or your own photos/designs. Or you can completely design your own case from scratch. The options are pretty endless!

I went back and forth between different design options, but ultimately, this marble one kept catching my eye. I loved the pop of pastel and I decided that this time around, I wanted a sleek, yet eye-catching phone case.
marble and pink phone case
CaseApp offers phone cases in two different styles: a "regular" slim-fitting one, which offers light protection from bumps, scratches and shocks, or a "tough" case, which offers protection against more aggressive falls and bumps. The cases also come in either matte or high gloss finish.

I opted for the tough case in a matte finish, and I'm so glad I did. It's not nearly as bulky as I feared it might be, and the quality is top-notch. The matte finish makes the phone less slippery, which I really appreciate when texting one handed, or transferring my phone into and out of my purse or diaper bag.

For my MacBook skin, I matched it to my phone case, but I added some text to customize it.
custom phone cases and laptop skins
marble and pink custom iPhone and laptop case

But I've saved the best part for last!  I'm giving away to one lucky person, their choice of either a custom phone case or custom laptop/tablet skin! Head over to my Instagram page to enter!

In the meantime, you can use code SLICEOFBRIE20 to receive 20% off your order on CaseApp
Code is good until March 31/17 so don't wait!

*I received a custom iPhone case and MacBook skin from CaseApp in exchange for this post,
 but as always, all thoughts and reviews expressed are my own. 
Thank you for supporting the companies that continue to make this hobby of mine possible!

March 22, 2017

Meet Me at the Barre

The other weekend, The Alberta Blog Squad was invited to have a private class at Barre Body Studio at their Ramsey location here in Calgary. I'm no stranger to barre, I've even done Mommy & Baby classes at one of their Edmonton locations, but it's not an activity that I get to go to very often. Plus, a private class with my girlfriends is always a good time. And the youngest honorary member of the Blog Squad, Emmy, even got to tag along! I had planned to wear her, but the little slacker slept through the whole thing in her carseat.
Barre Body Studio Review
Anyway. Barre class. It's not a new fitness trend and I'm pretty confident it's not going anywhere anytime soon! I'm also pretty sure that if you haven't yet tried a class, you have at least heard all about it. And if you haven't tried a class yet, you should really get on that! (Psst - there's a discount code for you at the bottom of this post!)

Barre Body is a low-impact workout, consisting of a million repetitions (not even joking!) in order to build lean muscles, tighter behinds and stronger cores. The phrase "up an inch/down an inch" will haunt you in your dreams! Little pulses are no laughing matter. Classes often utilize equipment such as light weights (1, 2, 3 or 5 pound weights - I stuck to 2 pound weights and was sore the next day!), resistance bands, a ball, and a balance disk, but a lot of the class focuses on using just body weight as well.
Barre Body What to Expect
Barre class review
In your one hour class, you are put through a warm-up, strength exercises for your arms, leg exercises which can consist of movements both on and away from the barre, cardio sprints and a core workout, ending with a cool down. If you think you aren't going to sweat just because this class is low-impact, you would be wrong! Our instructor Lanette, put us through a gruelling workout that had us all sweating by the end.

Barre is one of those classes that you go into thinking "this is no big deal, how hard can this actually be!?", only to find yourself swearing under your breath at the burning sensation in your gluten and thighs! This class works muscles you didn't even know existed! Which is why I love it. Plus, the inner ballerina in me loves me some barre work. Plié, first position, second position, all takes me back to my days of dancing. 
Review of Barre Body Studio Calgary
Review of Barre Body Studio Calgary
Barre Body Studio Calgary
Alberta Blog Squad Barre Body Class
Anyway, the class is tough, but the beautiful exposed brick walls and pretty lighting in the studios at the Ramsey location distract you from the pain a bit. The locker rooms are equally as stunning, and offer guests complimentary hair dryers, deodorant, hand cream, hair elastics, as well as free lockers. There's even a private shower should you wish to use it. The entire ambiance of Barre Body is on point! 

What you should know before taking your first class at Barre Body:
  • you must wear grip socks (bring your own, purchase a pair for sale at the studio, or rent a pair for $1 - proceeds go to charity)
  • wear comfortable athletic clothing (think yoga/dance wear)
  • bring a water bottle, you will need it!
  • most importantly, don't be afraid! Even if you don't have a dance background, the moves will be explained and nothing is overly complicated (meaning you will pick it up quickly!)
  • 1-Month New Client Intro pass: $65
  • Drop-in: $25
  • 5-Card Class Pass: $112
  • 10-Card Class Pass: $195
  • 20-Card Class Pass: $390
  • Mommy &b Me Class: $225 (I did this in Edmonton with Sully when he was 7 months old and highly recommend it!)

  • Ramsey: 1202 20 Ave SW, Calgary, AB
  • Bow Trail: 4251 Bow Trail SW, Calgary, AB
  • Whitemud Crossing: #184, 4211 - 106 Street, Edmonton, AB
  • Holland Plaza: 11996 - 109A Avenue, Edmonton, AB
Barre Body Studio Review

And good news for you! Use code BRIE10 to receive $10 off either a 10-Card Class Pass, 
or a 1-Month New Client Intro!

Thanks again to BBS for hosting the Blog Squad, and to Ange for organizing it! 

Have you tried Barre before? Thoughts? Let me know in the comments!

March 21, 2017

A Little Mountain Getaway

Last week, we decided on a whim, to head to the mountains for the weekend! Meaning, we booked a hotel room Friday afternoon, packed that evening and loaded up the car Saturday morning. Who says all spontaneity dies once you have children? ;)

We didn't have too much of an agenda - the hotel we booked had a pool with a waterslide, and we knew we wanted lots of time to enjoy it with Sully. He loves swimming right now, and loves going down waterslides, so we knew it would be a big hit with him (it was!). We stayed at the Best Western in Canmore, and I would definitely stay there again. The rooms are nice and clean, there was a fridge and microwave (a definite must when traveling with kids!), and a fireplace! Plus, my other must have when staying at a hotel: hot continental breakfast. Nothing makes you feel like you're getting your monies worth than a free breakfast for you and your kids! Unlimited juice for everyone!

On Saturday, we headed out past our hotel, to Banff, where we had lunch and then walked around for about an hour. It was unfortunately raining all day, but it wasn't too cold so it wasn't miserable. Plus, Sully had a blast jumping in all the puddles and throwing snowballs on the sidewalks (snow plus light rain equals the best snowballs).
Banff, Alberta Weekend Getaway
Banff, Alberta
Banff, Alberta
Explore Banff, Alberta
Explore Banff, Alberta
The hotel had a late check-in time of 4pm, so around then, we made our way from Banff back to the hotel. We changed into our swimsuits and headed down to the pool for a few hours. Emmy slept in her bassinet the entire time, which allowed me to get a few runs in down the slide and some time in the hot tub. We ordered pizza in that night for supper and when it was time for bed, Jim and I wished each other the best of luck! Haha! We chose a room with two queen beds so that Jim and Sully could sleep in one, and Emmy and I slept in the other. Sully was pretty restless all night and fell out of bed once (oops!), but thankfully Emmy slept well, other than needing to be fed and changed once in the middle of the night.
Pool and Waterslide at Pocaterra Best Western
Pocaterra Best Western
Best Western Pocaterra
We didn't have time to go swimming again Sunday morning, but we did take advantage of the hot breakfast, and then once we were packed up, we headed back out towards Banff to drive around and explore. There's so much out that way that I've never actually seen and we made lots of notes of places we will return to once it's a) warmer out and b) the kids are older.
Lake Minnewanka, Banff, AlbertaTunnel Mountain, Alberta
Then on our way back into the city, we detoured a bit towards Kananaskis and attempted to hike to Troll Falls. I did this hike on a girls weekend trip just over a year ago, and it's an easy, family friendly hike. I knew I wanted to return with Jim and Sully one day, but unfortunately, all the rain turned the trail into a sheet of ice. We managed to get about 3/4 of the way by walking on the edges of the trail where there was still some untouched snow, but it was challenging for Sully and for me since I was wearing Emmy. But my family was a great sport about it and Sully walked the entire time, so I was proud of him! I'm sad they didn't get to see the frozen waterfalls, but we will be back!
Troll Falls Family Friendly Hike
Troll Falls Family Friendly Hike, Alberta
Troll Falls - A family friendly hike in Kananaskis, Alberta
Troll Falls - A Family Friendly Hike
And that was about it! Our little hike ended around 5:30pm, so we hopped back in the vehicle and made the drive home. Despite the logistics of traveling with a toddler and a newborn (ohhhh the logistics!!), we had a really nice time. The weather didn't end up being as nice as we had thought it was going to be, which made everything a little bit more challenging - like stopping to nurse and change diapers - everything had to be done in the vehicle with it running. But I think we made the best of it, and a trip to the mountains, no matter how short, is always so good for the soul.