Fight Night Team and a Fancy Girl

In anticipation of the returning Fight Night II, a white-collar boxing event on March 31st, a fancy girl like me cut her Maldives trip short for exclusive behind the scenes access to the training zone. What a night it is going to be! Fourteen Dubai seasoned executives including two female brave hearts have traded their business dinners at Roberto’s for an opportunity to physically interact with one another face-to-face, surrounded by a roaring crowd and yelling coaches. Great news, the event is free to attend and will take place at the Round 10 Gym at 2pm on March 31st in Dubai. Exciting!

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Not wanting to admit what a complete idiot I am in connection to  boxing or any competitive sports (my last attempt with Muay Thai failed due to a lack of aggressiveness), I turned my desperate eyes to Hollywood, a trusted source of reliable information. From the adventures of Sherlock Holmes, a talented amateur boxer, I studied Kubrick’s Raging Bull followed by unbreakable Rocky. However, it was Gigi Hadid’s defence strategy during Milan Fashion Week that convinced me to jump into my favourite Zumba outfit, tie my hair in a quick chignon and put on some bright long-lasting lipstick prior to committing to an hour of live trial.

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“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place, and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. Nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep on moving forward; how much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done! Now, if you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you are worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hits…” Rocky’s alarming voice was looping in my ears again and again as I made my glamorous entrance to the Warehouse Gym reception. My first sweat appeared a few seconds later when I shook hands with Roy, the technical coach of the Fight Night Team who unlike me was chill and confident. After Roy promise not to hurt me, I was ready to take the hit.

The training started with a warm-up followed by an intense three-rounds skipping routine. “Side to side, faster, knees higher”. Joe’s voice was lost on me as I struggled to produce five decent skips in a row. Everyone around me seemed absolutely fine, skipping like pros. Joe, the Fight Night fitness coach continued to be very nice, not yelling for extra push-ups like the movies.

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When sparring began, I did what I do the best – giggled and batted my eyes to avoid participation at any cost. The fighters in front of me were engaged in an incredible boxing waltz, mixing rapid steps with sleek shoulder moves and sneaky defence strategies. I couldn’t believe these were the freshmen who started their first boxing class at the end of January this year.

I was mesmerised until someone tapped me on the shoulder and pointed at resting gloves. “I’m Frank, let’s get you started,” and that was an offer I couldn’t refuse. Frank, was a tough looking guy with the most charming smile. He helped me with gloves, moved my feet apart, stretched and curled my arms in a defensive position. In a matter of minutes, we were practising the basics: “one” and “two”, (“three” was a challenge). Needless to say, my glam had faded away.

During short breaks I noticed how dedicated and focused the whole Fight Night crew was. I was the only one out of breath, quietly sobbing in a corner with my long lasting lipstick smeared all over my face. The fighters were constantly on the move, from bags to sparring and back to the bags.

The last part of the training was mat power exercises. Joe gathered us in a circle so there was no change of sneaking out. Without escape, I dove into rounds of burpies, high jumps, full body crunches and some other painful moves. Believe it or not, I survived!

It was a real pleasure to chat with the crew who didn’t have a single laugh at my ridiculous attempts to beat them at their game. With the attitude of real champions, they were supportive, encouraging and helpful. I really can’t wait to see them in the ring. Are you gonna be there? Do come to say hi if you see me.

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Natural radiance prescribed by Dr. Roebuck’s

After a hot and eventful summer, I am looking forward to the fall as it offers a much needed break for skin to cool down, restore and rehydrate before winter hits it with the freeze. A significant drop in temperature and sunshine allows a more advance approach to skincare without worries of developing that “impossible to deal with” pigmentation. In Toronto the local wisdom is: “when in trouble head to Shoppers Drug Mart”, so there I was a desperate beauty consumer looking for a quick yet permanent fix.

In the first twenty minutes my usual approach to sourcing the ultimate remedy had completely failed. A quick orientation led to the thought that there were too many tempting products around with exotic fragrances and big promises. I needed a strategy and I needed it fast. “Care for minimum ingredients with maximum results, eh?”, a smiley face appeared out of nowhere. I nodded impatiently. “How about some radiance?”. I smiled  too and soon ended up holding tight to two bright green bottles unable to make any further decisions.

Dr. Roebuck’s products were not new to me. I was a big fan of the famous “Pure”, all natural and luxuriously rich face cream, initially developed  in Australia more than 30 years ago by physician parents for their twin daughters with sensitive skin. What I was holding now were newly launched BPA and Parabens free active serums, “Ultimate Hydrating” and “Reverse Aging” formulated to give me healthy radiant skin (just like baby’s).

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Ultimate Hydrating and Reverse Aging serum slightly differ in packing – one shines with silver and the other with gold, suggesting that a closer look at active ingredients is a good idea.

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After a thorough investigation, I discovered that both serums have the following active components in common:

A. the popular Hyaluronic Acid which preserves elasticity, improves hydration and treats photodamaged skin;

B. Retinol (Vitamin A) which helps improve the appearance of fine line and wrinkles

C. Vitamin C which stimulates collagen production

D. Vitamin E which acts against free radicals with a potential to reverse the process of aging

E. Carnosine, a multi-functional (just like me) naturally occurring peptide which repairs, regenerates and protects skin from UV damage

F. Creatine. It provides a noticeable reduction in skin textural changes

J. Vitamin B3. It firms, reduces signs of aging and signs of pigmentation (hooray!)

H. Aloe Vera, which needs no introduction

The Ultimate Hydrating serum additionally contains Ubiquinone, an antioxidant naturally produced by our body, but which decreases with age. So having it in the serum helps cells to generate more collagen and elastan. Ubiquinone, together with other active ingredients, allow this serum to hydrate, firm, moisturise and revitalise. I noticed that after several applications (3-4) that naughty pigmentation on my cheeks had faded away at first and then gently pealed off.

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The Reverse Aging serum is enriched with Evening Primrose oil, a wonderful antioxidant that smooths rough spots and lightens dark circles around the eyes, plus Borage Seed Oil (high in Omega-6) and Gatuline In-Tense (reinforces dermal architecture). The Reverse Aging serum actively promotes collagen production and helps skin cells to regenerate and repair. I experienced a surprisingly satisfying feeling when, in the morning, my skin felt as soft and supple as a baby’s. Not to mention it radiated some serious happiness and signs of good beauty sleep.

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You may wonder: “Which one is the best for me?”. At my age, 34, I decided to start with the Ultimate Hydrating serum and once it runs out switch to the Reverse Aging to keep my skin surprised. Remember, it’s very important to spot-test these products (for example on the inner side of your arm) prior to applying it to the face and neck because it contains Retinol. For the same reason, don’t skip using sunblock (SPF 20-30) if the weather is treating you to some sunshine. As a rule, for the first 10 days I use a new product every other night (not every night) to better determine the chance of any sudden sensitivity or irritation. Dr. Roebuck’s advises to lock-in these serums with a thin layer of Pure for maximum results. I’ve chosen to top up 4-5 drops of a serum with Face anti-aging day and night cream.

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Here’s the best news! Do you want to try the Face anti-aging day and night cream (in new packaging!) without purchasing it? For a chance to win Face, follow me and Dr. Roebuck’s on Instagram and then drop me a friendly letter to antrestain@gmail.com. I’ll select the winner on November 1o and personally send this product. Deal?

P.S. The winner is Carissa K. Congratulations!

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City Chick gone Wild

Good girls go to Pataya. City girls go to the Wild Wild North.

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Beginning of June, +14C, partly cloudy and windy. I love Canadian summers!

Or – just a girl, me. Like a survival reality show, I’m competing with the grumpy Canadian weather, bears, beavers, and lovely deer-flies for food, entertainment and decent photographs. Set in isolation with minimum outfit options and… (say what!) – limited WiFi, I’m challenging my wits, biceps and questionable sense of fashion to prove that a city chick is the best type of a chick.

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One learns very quickly that country living is about hard rough work – chopping, lifting, splitting, fixing (you name it). Equipped with a basic tool – Mr. Axe, I’m armed and dangerous to any dead tree in the way.

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Being a fitness freak is paying off. A quick warm-up, stretches and chop, chop, chop… My personal trainer ( Leo ) loves to repeat: today’s pain – tomorrow’s gain.

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Have you ever wondered how Thai-Chi was invented?

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Thinking of what was going through Geppetto’s head when he created Pinocchio, I generated a super swing that any country boy would envy:

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Like in business, it seems that behind every successful project stands a pair of well-trained and qualified individuals.

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Where the iron rusted and broke, I pushed further and further and further. If only those awesome shades could reveal the tears of joy sparkling in my eyes.

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As the day progressed my KPI’s were booming. I attacked every milestone of country living and successfully carried out every bit of it. My biggest accomplishment was laundering bed sheets in a boiling hot water using nothing but a stone, a piece of soap and bare hands.

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The country wisdom says: it takes a craftsman to carve a beautiful canoe.

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But it takes a fearless City Chick to sail it.

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A bientôt!

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Take me down to the Paradise city

Where the sea so warm and rays are pretty…

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Maldives!

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In the age when traveling is all about reaching a destination – a trip to Maldives is a big bright adventure. Start with careful packing – think ridiculous bikinis, speedos, tuxedos and gowns (for after 6), as every second of the island life is a perfect photo-opportunity. Tip: the sun is killer – invest in serious sunblock (SPF 100) are cover-it-all swimwear for snorkeling. Fly high and keep your eyes open!

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The only downer on arrival is an endless queue at passport control. Business class passengers and families with kids are given a priority – use your time wisely and blend in with the right crowd 🙂

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Banyan Tree resort  is 20 minutes on a boat away from the airport, so after a breezy trip, a very quick and pleasant check in, one is ready to par-ty.

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Maldives is known for unforgettable, aquarium-like snorkeling and diving adventures.  Surrounding coral reefs are inhabited by all sort of creatures – rays, barracudas, exotic fish, turtles, sharks, octopus, girls in tight suits and so many, many more. Banyan Tree diving center provided masks and fins for no extra charge. Tip: ask for a life-jacket to wear on your snorkeling expedition for extra confidence and comfort (saves back from sun-burns too).

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The best part about the Banyan Tree resort – you can swim directly off the beach to discover the treasures of the Indian ocean. The water is slightly lower than a body temperature reflects all shadows of blue creating a fancy aquarium effect. Just jump in and keep your eyes open to be amazed. When the time comes to get onshore, there is so much to do and experience! Here is my selection of things you need to try at Banyan Tree.

1. Wake-up with the sun for a fragrant self-brewed coffee experience in a batik gown:

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2. Indulge in a non-sharable exotic breakfast:

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3. Walk on the softest white sand late in the afternoon and let the disappearing sun bronze your skin a little:

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4. Did not burn all the energy swimming? There is plenty of space on the island for all type of outdoor exercises, including energetic Zumba moves:

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Or questionable skipping:

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5. Spend evenings sipping refreshing cocktails (because you deserve an exotic Margarita). Keep an eye for happy hours:

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6. Sunbath. Literally:

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7. Participate in sting-rays feeding show or visit a real Marine Lab on the island and sponsor your own coral garden:

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8. Watch sunset and re-watch the sunset:

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9. Share your happy moment with the world – Instagram’em:

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10. Learn to cat-walk (a very helpful skill):

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11. Pick a new hobby – full moon, night-time photography for instance:

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The milky-way is just a mile away:

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12. Hide from early afternoon sunshine:

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There is plenty of shade at any time of the day:

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13. Enjoy the “golden-hour” in full glory:

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Never say good-bye. See you soon Maldives!

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