Travel Tuesday: Five Faves in Ghana


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I went on a six week vacation to Ghana this Christmas. I know, six weeks. Believe me, logistics were involved. I was born there to Ghanaian parents who moved to Canada when I was two. The culture has been a rich constant in my life, like eating the food (okra soup, please) and being scolded by my parents in both the official languages of English and Twi. Plus, I have visited, volunteered, worked, and been proposed to there.

Since I said yes to my husband Ian five years ago, we had a daughter and decided it was important for her to meet the family. That, and we liked the idea of free childcare so we could party until 5 a.m. the week after Christmas.

It was an awesome time. Here are five highlights.

Togo Fetish Market:

fetish market
The very first thing we did was join Adventure Junkies Ghana on their 3-day trip to Lome, Togo. Our mixed group of expats, volunteers and locals gelled pretty quickly and we all enjoyed the Akodessewa Fetish Market. Here, the word fetish is understood in its original sense: the attribution of mystical qualities to inanimate objects. The practice of voodoo started in West Africa, and this is the oldest market for everything voodoo, from horse head bones to wooden dolls with large genitals to tails of all kinds. It’s like a big pharmacy for traditional healers. If you want to buy something, they take you to a small room, a fetish priest will present a few items like a doll to protect your home or talismans for travelers. Then you decide what you want, he’ll make you touch it three times to your chest or blow someone’s name into the item and then you haggle on the price.

Christie Brown:

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90 Day Challenge – Week 4 Challenge, Try Something New!



Ok, so last week it was all about NTC – hope you all got your workouts in!  (Don’t forget to friend me, @cocobesmart :)  This week we’re trying something new!  It’s hard to get workouts in, but it’s even harder to get them in when you’re bored or worse, have hit a plateau.  When I get that feeling I know it’s time to switch it up.  I’m always up to try something new and it’s amazing how good your body can feel and look when you throw in a switch up.

With that being said, since I am into trying new things, I’ve got the deets on quite a few awesome studios in the city that are perfect for those of you looking to shake it up.

This week’s challenge – try a workout you’ve never tried!  Bonus – a lot of studios offer free or discounted rates on your first try.

Here’s a list of a few I love (and 1 I can’t wait to try):

1. Studio Lagree - For sure one of the hardest workouts I’ve ever done, yet the one that equally makes my body feel the best it’s ever felt.  We liken Lagree to pilates on crack but man does it do a body good.

2. Studio KO – Located in the same facility as Lagree, KO is the craziest kick butt boxing class you’ll do.  The founder, DJ, has coached and trained some of the best competitive boxers and from that, created an incredibly intense workout that is the perfect amp up to a lagging workout routine.

3. Barre Works - ballerina I am not (oh, how I wish) but this workout will show you how hard those ballerina’s and ballerino’s work for their bodies.  First class $10 or 2 weeks unlimited for $40.

4. Big Hit – High intensity kickboxing at its best.  I once went here on a particularly stressful day and couldn’t have been happier kicking and punching the heck out of BOB.

5. Hourglass – I can totally vouch for this insanely amazing workout.  I did the 3 Month Challenge before my wedding and though it wasn’t easy, I got the results I wanted and then some!  Founder Lyzabeth Lopez is a health and fitness superstar who knows all about whipping your body into that sexy hourglass shape.

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Fit Club Friday: Cleansing




It’s that time of year!


January often marks the time when people feel motivated to embark on new beginnings and fresh starts to better themselves.


The saying “New Year New You” is commonly referred to and reflected in increase gym memberships and attendance and new restrictive diets.


A cleanse is an easy “reset” to offset the overindulgences from the last few months of parties, holiday baked goodies, eggnog and perhaps a few too many glasses of champagne. But does a cleanse mean you have to fast, and drink offensive tasting juices and starve for days in order to feel better?
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