Get Fit at Fly Studio: Ariel & Suspension Yoga

Article by Stephanie Smalls

I’m not one of those people who are all about fitness. I do not like exercise, by any means. I believe taking the stairs instead of the escalator in the subway falls under “exercise”. I believe the walk to and from brunch can and should count as “exercise”. I believe if I run to catch the bus that also counts as “exercise”.

I’m in shape as far as appearances go. People often ask me what I do to stay in shape and I tell them, I do nothing. I was very active as a child and into my teen years. Even as a young adult, I had a gym membership that I utilized daily, I ate well, went to bed at a respectable hour and limited my alcohol intake. Then came my 30s…

It wasn’t that I got older and cared less about exercise, ok well yes that actually was it, but also because I became more confident in my own skin. I became less concerned with what other people thought and made sure I was happy with myself. However, I do understand the importance of physical exercise for more than appearances and that is why I decided to find something that I actually wanted to do to get fit and be healthy.

I’ve always enjoyed Yoga, Pilates and Spin but I tried classes at my local gym and found that it wasn’t what I was looking for. I wanted something more relaxed; come in at any level and have some fun while getting fit together. That’s when I found Fly Studio, a boutique Yoga and Pilates Studio on Queen West. When I saw they have an Aerial Yoga class and the prices were affordable, I was sold.

I called to reserve my spot and spoke to Chris who was extremely friendly, answered all of my questions and explained Juan would be the instructor for my class. I arrived to a brightly lit, small studio with energizing music playing and a Reformer Pilates class in full swing. Chris actually remembered me from my phone call (uncanny) and showed me where to change. That’s when the nervousness kicked in. I hadn’t been in a class in so long, I couldn’t even remember the last time. What if I didn’t know the poses? What if I fell out of the fabric? What if everyone in the yoga class is a Yogi Master and I’m the uncoordinated one holding the class back? I took a deep breath and stepped out of the change room. My mouth was feeling dry from my brief anxiety attack and I noticed glass bottles of water hanging on the wall. Luckily for me, if you forgot/didn’t bring a water bottle; the studio has one for you. Bonus!

Juan was friendly and advised he wouldn’t pick on me, thankfully. The class size was small, eight of us to be exact, which I appreciated. Juan had time throughout the class to go around to each person, including myself, and assist with the poses or offer alternative ways to achieve the current pose. I befriended a couple of girls in the class, who are sisters, and we apologized to each other several times because you it’s common to accidentally nudge the person in front of you with your foot. We shared many laughs throughout the class and congratulated one another when someone achieved a pose. I was the first person in class to achieve the upside down “vampire” pose thing. I’m not sure what it’s called but that’s what we called it. Sorry Juan…

After class, you truly feel like you could be part of Cirque De Soleil, Ok maybe not but I did. Remember, I haven’t done anything active in years. Be as proud of me as I am of myself. I highly recommend Fly Studio for many reasons but personally, it’s affordable – they have pricing options to fit your lifestyle and budget, staff are friendly and welcoming – thank you Chris and Juan, they have a variety of classes to fit your schedule all at a convenient location in one of the hippest neighbourhoods in the city. So, have you signed up yet?

Strength in Beauty & Fit for Fashion

TEXT: Jennifer Bannon

Toronto-based model Jennifer Bannon

“You can be gorgeous at thirty, charming at forty … and irresistible for the rest of your life”.

 – Coco Chanel

In the world of all things fashion, there is always the craving for something more, something breathtaking. The difference between ordinary and extraordinary, is just that little ‘extra’. It takes an incredible amount of dedication and stamina for the Amazon-like stunners of today such as Adriana Lima, Gisele Bündchen and Candince Swanepoel to own that runway. Long before the hair and makeup, sweat is shed and muscles are worked in the active preparation behind-the-scenes. They are fierce. They are confident. They are strong. They are beautiful.

Gigi Hadid, named model of the year, jabs and punches her way to a fit figure at Gotham Gym in NYC. This model doesn’t just strike a mean pose, she also has a powerful uppercut. Behait Prinsloo lets us in on a secret that, “Every girl, after the fitting, is like, ‘OK, I can relax with the butt squats because it’s covered”. Yes they squat! No, it doesn’t come naturally (for most of them – some are just …. let’s just say blessed). Alessandra Ambrosio takes her yoga, Pilates and cardio barre practice seriously. Lima loves to box and you’ll always find a skipping rope by her side. Bündchen does a little bit of everything but her secret weapon is kung fu. For Swanepoel, it’s focusing on her swan-like legs using resistance while keeping it fresh between boxing and yoga. It’s all about balance and maintaining a lifestyle that will carry you into the next phase of your successful career, whatever that may be for you. Health is wealth.

Developing the endurance and nurturing the dedication it takes to attain supermodel status can be tough. The magic is in the progress to perfection. Being unhealthy to the point of developing eating disorders and sickly skeletal bodies is not as fashionably expected as it once was, thankfully. Top models and the high fashion world at large are realizing the long-lasting benefits of promoting health alongside beauty. The women (and men) of the fashion industry have a chance in the spotlight to make a huge difference guiding the next generation towards a new rubric of measuring up to top model status.

Peter Lim
Toronto-based model Peter Lim

Personally, I love heavy lifting yet my dearly beloved genes force me to mix things up to stay lean instead of oh-so-easily giving into the curves. I’ve found that apart from focusing on single-leg exercises during my leg day routines, yoga and HIIT circuit routines keep me in line with a longer silhouetted physique and more consistent symmetrical rhythm. I’ve also enjoyed training briefly at Mississauga Elite Training Centre (Dundas St East/Dixie) that delivers top quality training in Muay Thai, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, strength and conditioning and boxing. The facility is headed by Kru DJ Dallaire of D1 and Claude Patrick. Fellow Toronto-based model Peter Lim regularly mixes weight training and compound movements with rowing, stair-master and cycling HIIT for cardio. He is currently turning towards circuit training to transform his strong physique into one more suitable for fashion modeling. Anastasia De Lyon, who also hails from the GTA, loves to get her Zumba and RMP classes on for her go-to cardio with a combination of yoga practice for strength and flexibility. She will occasionally turn to lifting light weight to tone desired areas.

Anastasia De Lyon
Toronto-based model Anastasia De Lyon

Overall, the theme is balance. A model’s physique needs to be strong to endure all that is required at photo shoots and runway shows. All this takes its toll, mentally as well as physically, and the dedication that goes into consistent training is a powerful tool that aids in the development of a top model.

Now as Beyoncé says it “Do the scissor leg, touch ya heels touch ya toes … Do the Naomi Campbell walk, Naomi Campbell walk … Walk across the room like Naomi Campbell”.

Fail- Safe Valentine’s Day Gift Guide for the Woman in Your Life!

Anthony O’Dell, Fashion Contributor.

It’s that time of year again, that men dread and women can’t wait for: Valentine’s Day. Although it’s still a week and a half away, don’t wait until the last minute and be stuck getting the clichéd roses and chocolates. An unforgettable Valentine’s Day for her starts with a gift that she’s going to remember and use for more then just the night. Whether your girl’s into the healthy lifestyle craze or just wants to spend some quality time with her man, check out these 4 fail-safe Valentines Day gifts.



Following the popular deliver to your door subscription model, Wine Collective lets you pick your package and delivers 2-6 amount of bottles straight to your doorstep each month. If you’re stuck on what to get her, Wine Collective is a surefire winner. Check it out here.



If spending quality time with her man is all she wants for Valentines Day, get pampered at Elmwood Spa. One of Canada’s leading spas, complete with two couple suites, there’s no better place to spend some quality time getting spoiled with your woman. Check it out here.



If your girl’s into beauty but is tired of the typical department store fragrances, Vetiver Aromatics might be the right fit for her. 6 fragrance oils are included as well as instructions to mix her own perfume, so she can finally find a scent that fits her. Check it out here.



For all the girlfriends buying multiple $5 dollar Kale smoothies at your local juice bar every day, this is for her. If she’s into clean eating, she’ll appreciate the option customize her drinks, the bundle of money she’ll save as well as not having to venture out into the blistering winter for her favorite drink. Who said being practical isn’t romantic? Check it out here.


This gift guide is the first in a series of articles we’re doing for Valentine’s Day.  Check back often! 


FGI: Making Scents

(Photo Credit: JR Bernstein, Thalia Lazano)

November’s FGI Scent Event at the Thompson Hotel Highlights Thierry Mugler’s “Les Exceptions” Through a Fragrance Experience

The evening began with an olfactory pleasing presentation of Thierry Mugler’s “Les Exceptions”, a collection of five unique fragrances that delight the senses and entice the imagination. Novella had the opportunity to attend this FGI (Fashion Group International) event at the Thompson Hotel and had the pleasure of experiencing these fragrances through the mouth of a wine glass. The presentation method allowed the scent to slowly emanate up from the glass and allowed the depth of each fragrance to come to life.

Sponsored by Hudson’s Bay and moderated by Jim Hicks, retired Publisher of Cosmetics Magazine, the second part of the event provided an educational and informative look at the fragrance industry through a forum discussion.

Panel members included:

David Titheridge, General Manager, LVMH Fragrance Brands Canada Ltd.

Deborah Fulsang, Journalist, Founder of the Fulsang Company and Creator of The Whale and The Rose

Heather Josey, Prestige Fragrance Buyer, Hudson’s Bay

Sandy Silva, Canadian Fashion & Beauty Industry Analyst, The NPD Group

A note on FGI……

Founded in New York City in 1930 by former VOGUE Editor-in-Chief, Edna Woolman Chase with nine other influential women prominent in the fashion and beauty industry, FGI is an organization that strives to advance professionalism in fashion and related industries through monthly events. The Group is the pre-eminent authority on the business of fashion. FGI events offer networking opportunities and a platform for members and guests to discuss fashion business and fashion-related issues.

Members must be involved in the fashion industry for at least three years and be approved by the main chapter in New York. Membership offers valuable returns like access to business professionals who are influential in the world of fashion as a business.

Many thanks to FGI member, Anya Nordstrom of ANPR, for extending the invitation to the Novella team as we thoroughly enjoyed the evening!

To learn more about FGI and membership benefits, please contact

Please visit FGI:

Instagram @FGItoronto

Twitter @FGItoronto