Vancouver Is Expensive AF – Thrifting Is My Solution!

What was once just for fun, has turned into a lifestyle and necessity for me. Through one of my Instagram alter egos, Miss M: https://www.instagram.com/missmsthriftyfinds/ – I am your guide to thrifting and share my thrifty finds that I purchase mainly via Facebook Marketplace sellers, but also at my favourite thrift store, Clothes For Change in North Vancouver and various other thrift stores sprinkled throughout our city such as BC SOS Thrift Stores in Steveston.

Thrifting brings me such joy. I plan a whole day around my Facebook Marketplace appointments and make it an adventure! On Saturday, I had two appointments in Port Coquitlam and invited my Mom, Mako to join me in my modern day treasure hunt.

We picked up a NYX eyeshadow palette for $10.00, an IKEA rug for ONLY $5.00, enjoyed lunch at Arisu where the food was so yummy that it immediately became my new favourite Korean restaurant. After lunch we went downstairs and did some grocery shopping at Hanam Supermarket.

The pricing was good at the market, fresh produce AND best of all they have a customer loyalty program in which they reward us with points and exclusive special prices. They gave me 3 key tags so I gave one to my Mom.

Hanam customer service actually recommended sharing their loyalty program with family and friends when they gave me the key tags. Great for sustainability and since Mako would be coming with me it only made sense that we would open just one loyalty account.

Thrift shopping, even if you’re just looking is a great way to spend the afternoon with friends or family. On Sunday, I met up with one of my BFFs and Big Sis, Mona on Commercial Drive in the heart of Vancouver thrift.

We went to Miscellany Finds for the first time and it is a huge store with lots of great thrifty finds! And the best part we didn’t spend a dime. A truly thrifty experience – we were just window shopping …

Family means EVERYTHING to me…

My family is very small. It’s just me and my Mom, Mako or Mama Izumi as I affectionately call her in my Instagram posts. My father, Hiroaki lives in Japan with his second wife but he didn’t have any other children – just me.

I’m the last Izumi and because of this I have decided to keep my last name if I get married. As I get older, marriage is not my goal but having children is of utmost importance to me.

I already have my children’s names picked out Ryder, for my son – my “big sis” and bff, Mona suggested it and I agreed. And my daughter will be named, Mia.

Who’s my baby daddy?! He shall remain unnamed and a mystery… Lol!

Subscribe and stay tuned for MORE on my family stories …

Procrastination – Why am I doing it?!

I thought I had beat my Enemy – my self-saboteur … But apparently NOT. I am a Communications student at Capilano University in North Vancouver and for reasons not clear to me I am procrastinating doing my assignments. So much so that it becomes too late to submit them.

And my wonderful professor had even given me extensions on our first two assignments due even though I didn’t ask! And then we just had our midterm. It was a straight forward exam and had I studied properly I could have aced it. Nope, I failed it by 1.5 marks!

Although, these marks say something about me as a student it is sending the wrong message. It’s painting the wrong picture. I am a former honor roll student, winner of top 100 student in my school district, highest mark in my English 12 class and awarded 3 English awards during my high school years.

After high school, I studied Fashion Design at the International Academy of Design & Technology in Toronto, Ontario, Fashion Merchandising and How to Start a Small Business at VCC in Vancouver, BC.

Last year I enrolled in the Applied Digital Communications & Social Media program at Capilano University and just one course shy of completing the program and receiving the Award of Achievement. I just registered for the last course, Effective Writing for Web Content. I can’t wait! It will be taught at our new campus, at the historical Shipyards District.

Possible reasons for my self-sabotage: fear of success, fear that I may truly get EVERYTHING THAT I DESIRE, or to balance the success I am experiencing in my life …. I’m not sure why I am doing it.

I was hoping that by the end of this blog I would have it figured out … Apparently not. I will keep you in the loop when I know the answer. Stay tuned …

When you subscribe to www.mayumiizumi.com you will receive our Fall Newsletter.

4 Myths That are Keeping You Fat! – Monthly Fitness Contributor, Fawn Gill

Are you working your butt off but still fat? I hear so many people complain about doing all the right things but not losing weight. This all leads to feeling frustrated, being overwhelmed and eventually the ‘forget this’ attitude that then leads to eating the whole bag of chips.  Sound familiar?

If so, then maybe you’re buying into these four myths.

Myth #1:  If I eat fat, I’ll get fat.

Truth:  Incorporating healthy fats into your diet will actually help you lose fat. Eating fat from sources like avocados, olives and coconuts can actually help you increase your metabolism, keep you full longer and each your body how to burn fat when you remove sugar from your diet. Choose fats like nuts, seeds, fatty fish, eggs, full fat yogurt and grass-fed beef. Remember, that non-fat foods actually have crazy high level of sugars and it’s sugar that makes you fat.

Myth #2: I need to do tons of cardio to burn fat.

Truth: While cardio burns calories, if you want to burn fat, choose HIIT (high-intensity interval training).  Incorporating HIIT into your workouts will make your body and metabolism function at a higher rate of burned calories for hours and hours afterward. So yes, you could be reading AND burning fat at the same time! Lifting weights will also help you increase your resting metabolism. When you have more lean muscle on your body, your metabolism increases. This basically means you could be burning fat while sitting and watching Netflix.

Myth #3: I need to significantly reduce my calorie intake.

Truth: This is actually partially true. The reality is, we eat too much. Take a look at how much you actually consume in a day. We often underestimate how much we eat and overestimate how much we burn.  And ultimately to lose fat, you do need to be in a calorie deficit. The calories you take in need to be nutrient dense meaning that they are full of the good stuff the body needs. Not empty calories from things like non-fat foods, processed foods, sugar, and pop.

Ultimately, what you eat is truly the most important factor when losing fat. Be sure to eat a diet high in lean proteins (whatever your source), vegetables, healthy fats, and carbs from plant sources. Don’t forget to move your body daily, get plenty of uninterrupted sleep, reduce your stress levels and you will find the weight will drop off.

Myth #4: It’s too late to start.

Truth: SO NOT TRUE! It’s never too late to start an exercise program or healthy eating! We CAN reverse the damage done AND move forward feeling better than we ever have! The trick is to get help! You can’t do it alone. Grab a friend and just start walking every day. Hire a trainer. Workout with a YouTube workout. Or join a program that will help you get there.

No matter what you choose, you can start today! Right now!!! 

If you have not taken the time to invest in yourself yet, today is the day.


Fawn Gill is the Group Fitness Manager of Steve Nash Fitness Clubs for the North Shore. She is a Certified Personal Trainer, Fitness instructor, Pilates Instructor, Barre instructor & Accountability Coach. Fawn has over 25 years experience teaching others the benefits of living healthy and has helped thousands of people lose weight & get fit. Check her out at www.fawngillfitness.com

Carson Graham Grad Reunion – Doing Now What I Wanted to Back Then …

Carson Grad Reunion

Last night I attended my high school reunion at Seymour’s Pub in North Vancouver, BC. And I feel like I have been given a 2nd chance to do EVERYTHING I wanted to back when I was in my final year at Carson:

  1. I was the organizer of our reunion and I had really wanted to be on our Grad Committee back in high school.
  2. I am attending Capilano University and I had wanted to when the Cap U reps came to Carson to talk to the soon to be grads.
  3. I am on the Board of Directors for Capilano Students’ Union and I had wanted to be on Students’ Council at Carson.
  4. I am a Contributor on Capilano Courier’s monthly magazine and I had wanted to be part of the year book committee.
  5. I am part of the Capilano Radio Club and I had wanted to get involved in clubs.
  6. I am the Social Media & Events Consultant for Cap U’s YWIB (Young Women In Business) and I had wanted to be a group leader.
  7. Last night I spoke to everyone that came out to Our Reunion even though I didn’t recognize some of them initially. I am now the social butterfly with the gift of gab and schmoozing that I always wanted to be.

I am so happy that I organized last night’s event because it made EVERYONE THAT CAME HAPPY TOO! There was a comfort seeing my former classmates because we are all the same age (all of us holding our cell phones & yearbook that Candi brought at a distance for us to SEE! Hahaha… ), no one-up man-ship, and a unity that I think we ALL FELT.

Start With A Dream

I am optimistic, spiritual, and AMBITIOUS AS F@%*! Great combination, right?! Hahaha …

My life is charmed. Everyday I am happy just to wake up. Grateful for everything that God/Universe brings to me. My life journey has not always been so blissful. I have faced many challenges and hurdles. Depression, thoughts of suicide, anxiety, insomnia …

But I conquered all of those conditions AND FAR WORSE … How did I do it?! Perseverance, a lot of pain, and tears. The key is to keep busy, doing something you love, enjoy, and get involved in something, someone, a cause you believe in …

When you have these negative thoughts it’s important to remember you ARE NOT ALONE! And DO NOT ISOLATE, HIBERNATE, AVOID PEOPLE… I know that when depression has you in it’s clutches ALL YOU WANT IS TO BE ALONE. BUT trust me when I say that is the worst thing you can do! You will go deeper into the hole and it will get harder and harder to climb your way out when you isolate.

In 1999 my dream was to be a Famous Fashion Designer. I grew up watching Jeanne Becker’s “Fashion Television” & “Fashion File” … I have a different dream$ now … AND some of them I am making come true everyday through writing & editing my blogs, posting short stories/snippets on Instagram, taking photos, and through Creating Content & Digitally Marketing,

Work, School, Life Balance

Being a mature student is challenging. But I am embracing the challenge with open arms. I work full time for a software company and I am taking one class in the School of Communications at Capilano University that meets twice a week.

On the suggestion of the President of Capilano Students’ Union I am a candidate and running for Mature Student and Student Parent Representative. My candidacy was made official by the Chief Returning Officer and my Election Campaign began yesterday, Friday, September 27th .

I have embraced student life by becoming active on campus by joining Capilano Radio Club in which I will be managing the radio’s Social Media platforms with another Communications Student & I am hoping to start a podcast of my own . I will be a Consultant for YMIB’s, Young Women In Business, Marketing Department regarding their Social Media & Events and I have attended my first pitch meeting with Capilano Courier, the University’s Monthly Magazine. During my first volunteer shift as a Theatre Usher, I was fortunate to watch a great film by filmmaker, Tom Radford at the University’s theatre, Blue Shore Financial .

I am unapologetically ambitious. But I am grounded. I balance my work, school, and campus activities by:

  • Exercising – taking Pilates & Yoga classes at Lonsdale Steve Nash Fitness Club where I am a Fitness Ambassador.
  • Seeing my family & friends – namely my Ma, Mako and my Big Sis, Mona.
  • Taking & enjoying my alone time. Doing things that make me happy & indulging my inner child.
  • Attending the North Shore Alliance Church, volunteering at their coffee bar and reading spiritual & motivational books.

Want to Know a Secret to Lose Unwanted Weight? – Fitness Contributor Fawn Gill

Want to know a secret to lose unwanted weight? There is no secret. I wish there was a simple easy way to lose fat and to keep it off.

Trust me. I truly wish there was because if there was, I’d be all over it. I’d love to lose that last 10 lbs by simply taking a pill or getting rid of my cellulite by rubbing some cream on it. I’d buy that shit in a heartbeat!

But the reality is, there is no such thing. If there was, why is obesity such a major issue in our society? Science has proven time and time again, that in order to lose fat & to keep it off, you need to do 3 things:

  1. Exercise daily
  2. Eat a diet rich in whole foods
  3. Practice mindfulness

That’s it folks.

Now, within each of those 3 points are variables. For instance, there is debate as to what type of exercise is best for fat loss. But all agree that daily exercise is needed. Within the “diet” world, there is debate as to which way to eat is healthiest but all can agree that we need WAY more veggies & fruits and foods that are real and whole and not processed.

Mindfulness is a newer topic but again, all agree that in order to lose fat & to keep it off, people need to change their habits. And that is done through a mindfulness practice of some sort. Whether it be meditation or journalling or seeking the help of a counselor or all of the above. You can’t change your outside until you change your inside:)

I’d also like to add to that list “consistency” and “accountability”. Those are two subfactors that are just as important. We can all lose weight through radical dieting and sheer willpower, but it’s being consistent that will keep it off. You can’t change your diet, lose the weight, then go back to your old way of eating without gaining it all back. And you need to be accountable to someone other than yourself. Be that a support group or coach or online FB page, you need to be accountable in order to stick to your goals.

This is why the latest “fad” diet or weight loss supplement or whatever is being hocked out there at the moment does not work. They may temporarily work BUT if you don’t make lifestyle changes to support the change, it will not stick.

The diet industry preys on our pain. Our pain of feeling fat. Our pain of not fitting into our jeans anymore. Our pain of getting older and dealing with a changing body. I get it.

As a Fitness Expert and Accountability Coach, I’m doing the same thing. I point out your pain (not exercising, excess weight, lack of time, etc.) in order to get you to exercise with me. The difference being, I coach you through lifestyle changes to help support new eating & exercising habits along with keeping you consistent & accountable. I’m also going to be straight up and tell you this isn’t going to happen overnight. That you’ll have to work hard. And I’ll probably make you do push ups and burpees.

The diet industry is a billion dollar industry simply because we are in pain. We want an easier way to feel better. And quickly. So taking something that will accelerate our weight loss or suppress sounds really great. We want instant results. We want to feel better RIGHT NOW!

But then what happens? Do we take it for life? What happens when we stop taking it? Is our life magically better for once and for all? Yes, I know I’m starting to rant but this topic really pisses me off. I wish we wouldn’t get sucked into buying shit because we think it will fix us.

So, what’s the point of this blog? To remind you that ‘”f it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

Fawn Gill is the Group Fitness Manager of SNFC for the North Shore. She is a Certified Personal Trainer, Fitness Instructor, Pilates Instructor, Barre instructor & Accountability Coach. Fawn has over 25 years experience teaching others the benefits of living healthy and has helped thousands of people lose weight & get fit. Check her out at www.fawngillfitness.com

Happy Birthday to ME ….

Bday ootd cupcake skirt

It’s my Birthday today … I’m listening to Elvis’ “Little Sister” and drinking Vancouver’s Ethical Bean coffee. If you have never tried it, you HAVTA. I am happy to say they serve it at my school, Capilano University.

I was born on Monday, September 20th at 10:40 pm to Masako & Hiroaki Izumi in Vancouver, BC on Oak Street. Coincidentally, it’s one of my favourite streets in Vancouver – not only was I born there, but the beautiful, Van Dusen Garden is located there as well as one other reason that shall remain unsaid . Yup, that’s riiiigghhht I AM A TRUE VANCOUVERITE, born AND raised! And OH, SO PROUD of it!

I am hoping my colleagues fulfill my desire for a Tiramisu birthday cake as I requested a month ago …. Hahaha ….I am not shy about asking for what I want. I am always the one who organizes everyone’s birthdays at the office so why not?!

Sooo this afternoon when I make my wish before I blow my birthday candles out, I do have everything I want or could possibly need BUT one thing – I’m not superstitious so I am going to share my wish with you … I wish for a family. A husband (or life partner), 2 kids (boy & girl), a Husky dog, and a house on the North Shore. And during the summer months we will live in Tofino, BC.

Well, I did receive my wish for a Tiramisu cake …. NOW, let’s see WHEN my other wish comes TRUE! I will keep you in the loop …

If this was a rom-com the man I wrote about in my Love blog: https://mayumiizumi.com/2019/09/07/man-of-my-dreams/ would appear at my work as he did in real life: https://medium.com/@mayumiizumi/unrequited-love-d723ce1388ab. I am no longer in love with him BUT … I once thought he was my IDEAL MAN …

5 Essential Exercise Elements – Featured Fitness Contributor Fawn Gill

As a Fitness Professional with over 25 years under my belt, I’ve seen many people start an exercise program only to quit in 3 or 4 weeks down the road.


Everyone starts with fantastic intentions but something happens along the way that makes them fall off the fitness wagon. After years of observation, I’ve decided it comes down to 5 Essential Exercise Elements that people don’t take into account when starting an exercise program.


If you are a beginner just starting out on your fitness journey or returning to fitness after a hiatus and you want to be successful at maintaining a consistent routine, follow my 5 Essential Exercise Elements.


Disclaimer: Before beginning an exercise program be sure to let your Health Provider know.  It is always better to be safe than sorry.


Here are My 5 Essential Exercise Elements:
1. Schedule Exercise into the Reminders in your Smart Phone.
Mistake #1 – What I see happen to new exercisers….they do not schedule exercise time into their daily schedule.
You must treat your exercise time as you would any other appointment in your day. Would you ever just not show up to your dental appointment? Or your work review meeting? No way!
To ensure exercise adherence, actually sit down with & SCHEDULE IT IN your phone’s REMINDERS. If it’s not scheduled, it’s not real. Meaning, if life gets busy (which it will guaranteed), the first thing you will drop is exercise. If it’s not a notification popping up, it’s also super easy to get pushed to the end of your ‘to do’ list which pretty much guarantees it not happening.
Remember that it doesn’t have to be hours and hours of exercise.  A 15 minute walk does wonders for your health. Consistent exercisers schedule exercise in as the first thing they do in the morning. That way it’s done & off your plate for the rest of the day.  AND it fills you with great energy!


2.  Start with Baby Steps.
Mistake #2 – I see people at my gym going too hard, too soon.  After about 3-4 weeks of that, I don’t see the person anymore. They went big and then they went home.
To stick with an exercise program you must start small.  Plan for 3 days a week of 30 mins of exercise. Stick with that until it becomes a habit (which takes approximately 1 month). Once you have maintained that, then add another day. Once 4 days a week is a habit, add another day.  See where I’m going with this? If you start out too hard, too much you will end up either too tired to go or injured and then you miss a day and then you feel bad about that so then you’re hard on yourself and then you don’t go again, and on & on it goes. Set yourself up for success by starting small.


3.  Get Expert Help.
Mistake #3 – Another mistake I see is people do not hire a trainer to give them a program to follow.  Maybe they think it’s too expensive or just for celebrities but I have to tell you, successful exercisers have a trainer.
Do you know what to do when you’re in a gym? Most people do not. A trainer will give you a program to follow, based on your goals so that you do not waste your time while at the gym. It’s an investment in yourself.  A good trainer will cost you the same price as a good dinner out.  Going to the gym without a plan to follow is the same as trying to follow a recipe from the picture alone – impossible & frustrating.


4.  Set SMART Goals.
Mistake #4 – Why are you working out in the first place?  Is it because you’re training for a 5 km race?  Is it because you want to take up snowboarding this winter?  Is it because you want to lose 10 lbs? Setting fitness goals will help you “see the light at the end of the tunnel”. Goals will provide guidelines so you can actually see your progress & achievements. SMART is an acronym for specific, measurable, attainable, reward & time frame. I want to lose 10 lbs in 10 weeks is very specific, you can measure it, it’s attainable for most people and there’s a time frame around it.  Don’t forget to reward yourself when you hit your goal (not with food, you are not a dog).  Your trainer can help you figure out your goals and write them down.


5.  Get an Accountability Buddy.
Mistake #5 – Not being accountable to anyone. If you want to be super committed to your exercise plan, workout with a friend.  Not only is it more enjoyable & fun, but you have someone else to be accountable to.  We all know how easy it is to skip our workouts BUT if you are supposed to meet your friend there too, you are more likely to not skip it.
Consistency is key to see & feel real changes in our health & physiques when it comes to exercise.  If you follow my 5 Essential Exercise Elements consistently, you will feel & see the positive results in no time.

Fawn Gill is the Group Fitness Manager of Steve Nash Fitness Clubs for the North Shore. She is a certified personal trainer, fitness instructor, pilates instructor, Barre instructor & Accountability Coach. Fawn has over 25 years experience teaching others the benefits of living healthy and has helped thousands of people lose weight & get fit. Check her out at www.fawngillfitness.com