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Mia goes M.I.A: Blue Mountain Resort

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After living in the Southern United States for seven years, returning to the cold winters of Canada wasn’t an easy task. For the first few years, I decided to hibernate from November until May, however this year I made a pact to myself to get out and enjoy winter, starting off with a weekend getaway to Blue Mountain Village and Resort.

Blue Mountain is just a short two-hour drive from Toronto, making it the perfect weekend destination to escape the city. The ski resort has 42 runs accessible from 16 different chairlifts there are slopes for all different levels. When your legs are tired from the day on the hills, there is an adorable European style village to get some shopping done, or find a spot to sit down for Après. There are also several hotels and cottages in the area to stay and get your zzz’s.

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What to do:

On my recent trip to Blue Mountain I arrived bright and early to make sure I would get a full day on the slopes. I really wanted to check out all the sides of the mountains. I even dared myself to go outside my comfort zone and try some double black diamonds.

After one tumble it was time to take a time out. It is a ski tradition of mine to stop a hot chocolate break. I made a stop into Bullwheel Pub. This pub is the only one located on the South end of the mountain and offers a beautiful view of the slopes. The rustic deco makes you feel like you are inside a cabin.  It offers delicious Canadian comfort food. I had the chicken fingers and mac and cheese along with my hot chocolate.fullsizerender-5

After a full day of skiing and some sore muscles, it was then time to relax at my favourite après spot, Rusty’s at Blue. Rusty’s is located right at the base of the slopes in the village. It offers a beautiful view of the mountains and live music in the afternoons and early evenings which offers the perfect atmosphere to unwind with a beer in hand.

Next it was time to shop until I dropped. The Village at Blue Mountain has so many unique stores, boutiques, and even candy shops. My personal favourite spot is Red Devil Sports. They have so many vibrant outfits, that is where I got my favourite ski jacket.

After dropping off all those bags, and a delicious dinner (you can find my favourite spots for food under where to eat) it was time to put the dancing shoes on. I went to check out Twist Martini Lounge Bar and absolutely loved the elegant interior, delicious cocktails, and amazing DJ that had me moving all night long.Screen Shot 2017-02-18 at 6.56.48 PM.png

Day two of the weekend I needed some serious R&R after all the skiing and dancing, and so I made a trip to the Scandinavian Spa. The spa is located just a shot 10-minute drive from the mountains and with big trees surrounding it, it is very secluded and tranquil. I arrived early to make sure I would have a spot in their famous baths. Basically you rotate from hot to cold baths which is meant to cleanse the body and get blood circulation going. I must say I felt surprisingly energized afterwards.

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Where to Eat: 

The Village is packed with amazing restaurants for all taste buds but the following are a few of the spots I really enjoyed on my recent trip.

After a full day of skiing, my legs were exhausted and I didn’t want to venture far from the hotel, so thankfully there was Oliver and Bonacini Café and Grill right in the lobby, and what a teat it was. The restaurant offers a fine dining experience with a beautiful view of the village. The food was delicious to say the least. I absolutely loved the Miso Glazed Salmon.

The following day for lunch I was craving more of a carb loaded meal to say the least, and so I made a stop into Firehall Pizza Co. I absolutely loved the decoration, modelled after a Northern Ontario Firehall. The menu itself was a pizza lover’s dream. They had everything from the Sexy Texy Mexy (a Mexican style pizza) to the Meat Head (self-explanatory) creative and delicious.

For the last supper I decided to go Greek and give Tholos a try. The restaurant was so beautifully put together. It really transforms you to an ancient Greek ruin. I love the interactive experience this restaurant has to offer, from dancing and traditional plate smashing. And of course the food is delicious. I personally love the Stuffed Florina Peppers.

Where to Stay:
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If you are looking to stay in a luxury hotel for the weekend, the Westin Trillium is the place to be! I had a beautiful room that overlooked the skating rink, village, and the mountains. There was so much space and a fireplace to warm me up after a day on the slopes. The hotel really payed attention to detail, from their custom made soaps and shampoo, to bed side mist supposed to help you sleep better. The bed was heavenly. In fact, this was probably the most comfortable hotel I have ever stayed at. Besides the incredible lodging, the hotel has so much to offer, including their own mini spa, with two hot tubs and a heated swimming pool, perfect after a long day of skiing.img_0729

I think the whole experience at Blue was an eye opener for me. I realized that Canadian winters can be enjoyable if you embrace it. Secondly I learned that Ontario has so much to offer. Having had the chance to ski at Whistler last year, I was very impressed with what Blue Mountain had to offer, from the ski experience, to their village, to their nightlife. I will definitely be making a trip back there soon, and I hope you will as well!

 

Why Traveling Solo is a Must

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Early this year I had the opportunity to write an article for DailyHive about my personal experience of traveling to Thailand all on my own.  As I continue to share travel tips, I feel that this is an important one to pass along because this was honestly one of the most life changing experiences.

So why did I decide to pack my bags and travel half way across the world all by myself? Well in all honesty it was a last minute decision. After making a career as one of the youngest national news anchors in Canada, my station shut down and less than 24 hours alter I was dumped. So I did what any logical single and recently unemployed girl would do, I booked a solo trip to Thailand.

I regretted the decision the moment the ticket was booked. Nerves took  over and I called my dad in tears. He reassured me that everything was going to be ok and that this would be the trip of a life time.

I regretted the decision again after 20 hours on an airplane when I arrived in this foreign land with no luggage (Thankfully 7-Eleven’s carry every thing you could ever need or want).

As soon as I woke up the next morning to the beauty of the mountains and the white sand beaches, the regret washed away with the tide and I was ready for whatever adventure was waiting for me.

My ten-day trip included stops in Phuket, Phi Phi and Krabi. I visited the incredibly beautiful Ao Phang Ngo (aka James Bond Island). I partied at a ladyboy cabaret show. I fed wild monkeys. I swam with sharks. I visited the beach from the movie the Beach (even more beautiful in person). I overcame my fears and rode an elephant. I danced my butt off at a full moon party. I prayed for the first time at the Big Buddha. I ate my weight in Thai food.

But the most important thing I did was find myself again.

Travelling by myself was truly the best thing I ever did. And here are five reasons I think everyone should travel by themselves at some point in their life.

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You are the master of your itinerary10455655_10205702136488630_2935447828426095752_n

Sure, traveling with a group can be a blast, but it can also be a pain because you all have to agree on what to do and when. Traveling solo you can do whatever you want whenever you want no permission or compromise needed. I am a morning person, so I could wake up at the crack of dawn and see the sunrise, and I didn’t have to party until 3 am because of peer pressure. You truly get to do you.

You have chance to connect with yourself10953900_10205724079357188_7011318694399846369_n

Maybe this is the trip to the big Buddha talking, but traveling on your own allows you plenty of you time. During that time you can dig deep and figure out what makes you really happy and what you want out of life. There are no distractions.  It is an amazing opportunity to connect with the most important person, you.

You become more independent

I found myself constantly singing that really catchy tune from Kelly Clarkson, you know “Ms. Independent” because that is how I felt.  You have to make your own decisions, you have to solve your own problems, you have to learn how to use a real map, you know, that’s made from paper and you can’t update with every new destination (yes, they still exist and are hella useful when data is like $100/GB). You only have one person to rely on and that person is yourself.11070515_10205717261626749_5157240473514403247_n

You feel more satisfied at the end of the trip

It seems that whenever you travel with a group no matter how close you are there is always some drama, some fights. When you are on your own it is just peace and quiet. The only thing you have to worry about is if your margarita is near the bottom.

You make a ton of new friends

Traveling on your own can be scary. Will you be lonely and miserable the whole time? Only if you want to be. You have the choice to connect with other people, get tips from the locals or learn from like-minded travellers. You may even find a travel buddy for your next adventure!

I know, traveling on your own can seem pretty scary, so I also have a few tips for planing that solo vacation.

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 Tips for traveling on your own: 

  • Plan ahead of time. I felt pretty safe on this trip because I had my hotels and transportation booked ahead of time instead of worrying last minute and putting myself in a potential unsafe environment
  • Always carry good identification on you
  • Don’t draw attention to yourself with flashy clothes or jewellery, don’t make yourself a target
  • leave a copy of your itinerary and contact info with a friend so someone knows where you are at all times
  • keep to open and public places especially at night time 984297_10205709531953512_2372907246794993417_n

So what are you waiting for? Grab your passport and go explore the world. It is your oyster after all.

Top 6 in the 6 with Cabbie Richards

Christmas 2.0 is here, or should I say the Big Game! That is right it is that time of the year again where the football king will be crowned. While my Miami Dolphins didn’t quite make the cut this year (thanks third string QB) I will most definitely be watching the Patriots and Falcons in action Sunday February 5th. Now the question is where?

In the past I have done the whole home party, but with a hectic work schedule it has been tough to plan having the gang over. So I sat down with TSN’s very own Cabbie Richards to find out the top sports bars to watch to cheer on your favourite team (for any sport you choose) in this edition of Top 6 in the 6.

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  1. Amsterdam Brewhouse: Cabbie says this is one of his favourite places to watch sports during the summer. With a massive two story patio down by Lake Ontario the views are perfect and there are giant TVs. While it may be a little chilly to catch the game outdoors, indoor football watching is just as great. There are giant TV’s around the bar area and according to Cabbie the Smokehouse burger is legit. Plus, you can enjoy a craft brewed beer made in the Amsterdam Brewery.
  2. The Fox and The Fiddle: This bar is in a prime location, very close to the Sky Dome and the ACC so you are right beside the game action. According to Cabbie, the lamb burgers are his personal favourite. Also the décor is more upscale than a lot of sports bars.screen-shot-2017-01-31-at-8-21-29-pm
  3. Jack Astor’s (John Street): Cabbie loves the atmosphere at this bar. This location is right in the heart of the entertainment district, and during the summer the perfect location to catch the Jays game on their patio, which is heated in the winter time. There is also a giant big screen inside so you will almost feel like you are at the game itself.
  4. Dog & Bear: This bar is located in the very trendy area of Queen West and is always filled with die hard sports fans on game day. There is an old school feel to this bar with wooden screen-shot-2017-01-31-at-8-21-56-pmbooths and large wooden pillars holding up the roof. Cabbie highly recommends the Chicken Quesadillas and says they have an amazing drink menu at a reasonable cost.
  5. Speakeasy 21: This bar is located right in the heart of the financial district with huge TV’s inside to catch the big game. Make sure to try the beef tacos and fried chicken, Cabbies personal favs.
    1. Dublin Calling. This bar has the big TV’s and the sound to watch the big game, but there is also so much more. Feel like a game of darts? Check. A round of pool? Check. A ping pong show down? Check. Soon the game on the screen won’t be the only game going downscreen-shot-2017-01-31-at-8-20-38-pm

Would also love to hear your recommendations of great spots in Toronto to catch the big game? Happy Day of football everyone!

XO

Mia

MIA goes MIA: Black Wolves Home Opener

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This weekend was an exciting one. It marked the first time I had the opportunity to travel for a game with the National Lacrosse League as the New England Black Wolves hosted the Buffalo Bandits at their home opener.

One of my absolutely favourite things is being able to take in the atmosphere and excitement of a live sporting event, particularly with the NLL, so despite this not being a vacation, I was extremely excited to be able to experience a game at the Mohegan Sun.

The trip started early Friday morning, double checking to make sure I had all the equipment in tow. Camera? Check. Tripod? Check. Batteries? Check. The list goes on. Once I had checked for the zillionth time, it was time to head down to the Toronto City airport.

Since there are no flights that get you close to where Mohegan Sun is located, the trip consists of a flight and a drive. I jumped on a porter flight to Boston and from there rented a car.  I have only flown into Boston for work, so one day I will definitely have to come back to experience the city for itself.

I was definitely that annoying person on the flight with way too much carry on that wasn’t going to fit anywhere, but hey I am not checking a camera. A quick flight followed by an hour and a half drive and I was checked into the hotel down the street from the Mohegan Sun.

It was then time to prepare notes and have a concrete game plan for the next day. Being a videographer is one of the hardest yet most rewarding jobs because you are responsible for all aspects of the production. I needed to make sure I had my questions ready for the players, the camera batteries charged, the computer ready to edit.

After a long day of travel it was a hotel gym, followed by room service, followed by a movie kind of night. Mohegan Sun is one of the most incredible and fun casino’s I have ever been to with endless shops, restaurants, and bars, but I knew if I made my way over it would be a late night, and I sure needed my beauty sleep.

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An 8 am wake-up call, I was at the Mohegan Sun for the Black Wolves shoot around at 10am. At that time I also had my first interview of the Day with the NLL Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz to talk about what is going on around the league with partners, expansion, etc.

I then had to gather b-roll and interviews for the game preview stories. Once I had gathered everything I needed I only had about 3 hours to head back to the hotel and edit the two stories and get them posted to NLL TV.

Once that was all done it was time to head back to Mohegan Sun for game time. I spent the majority of the pre-game upstairs getting some video of the crowds coming in. Fan after fan in their Black Wolves or Bandits gear. I was quite impressed with how many people packed the stands, but I didn’t realize I was in for a history making night.

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The clock ticked down to the final minutes and then it was go time. I had the chance to be on the field as the players ran out of the tunnel. I don’t know how to put that experience in to words. The arena went dark, and fans got their glow sticks out to light the stands , and then all of  a sudden bright lights and the players came running down the floor. I had goosebumps down my arms experiencing this from a front row seat.

The stands were full, the cheers were loud, the game was intense. The overall atmosphere can be summed up as electric. Fans with wolf heads on, or orange bandit hair. They were hard core, true lacrosse fans.

I had heard that after every Black Wolves goal, the crowd lets out a howl. It was amazing to experience this in person. The entire arena coming together and cheering on their beloved team.

The game was as tight as can be separated by one goal at half time. Both teams fighting for the ball, going back and forth with goals, back and forth with hits, back and forth with saves. It was impossible to decide who was going to come out on top.

The game wasn’t decided until less than a minute was left on the clock, and New England Black Wolves all star Kevin Crowely came up with a huge game winner. The crowd was on their feet roaring and howling.

It was at this point we were also informed that for the first time in franchise history, the New England Black Wolves had a sold out crowd. No wonder it was so loud, so energizing. It was amazing to see the standing ovation when this was announced. Fans on their feet supporting their team, supporting the game.screen-shot-2017-01-29-at-5-44-17-pm

It was an incredible experience to be a part of history and to see the growth of this game first hand. To talk to the fans who drive from hours away to cheer on their favourite team, to support their favourite player. It made me fall even more in love with this sport.

It was incredibly fun, but also incredible tired. Once the post-game interviews were done, it was time to head back to the hotel, pack my, bags, and hit the hay because I had a flight to catch the next day.

Work trips are always hectic. There is always so much to get done. They are also some of the most amazing trips, especially when you get to experience two teams battling head to head, when you get to talk to the incredible die hard fans, when you get to feel the cheers in your soul.

Thank you for the Black Wolves and Bandits for an amazing game and an amazing experience, I can’t wait for my next game.

Now first order of business, finding time to get a massage after luging that heavy equipment around!

Can’t wait to share my next adventure with you

Xo

Mia

The One Thing I Learned From My Makeup Artist: Smoky Eyes

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I should start this blog off with a disclaimer, I am no make-up expert or beauty expert and I am not going to try to pretend to be. As a competitive tennis player I was a bit of a tomboy growing up. I hardly wore makeup and when I did the blush was way too pink and the eye shadow way too blue.

Having worked in TV for the past five years, I have had the opportunity to work with various makeup artists and I have picked up a few tricks of the trade.

A few tricks to the point where I have been asked by friends, colleagues, and even strangers how I do my on camera smoky eye. So I decided to share my very easy, very simple steps to how I do it.

If you are a visual learner check out my YouTube video here:

 

Still reading? Well, the first step is finding the right colours for your eyes. I have green eyes, and so I have been told by makeup artists that the best colours to use to make the pop are purples and greys. Want to know what colour eye shadow would be best for your eye? Well it all goes back to the basics of the colour wheel and using contrasting hues that complement each other.

Enough of boring science, let’s get into the fun makeup. To create my smoky eye look I am going to use some beautiful Mary Kay products and colours including their two palettes Moroccan Dunes and Paris Starlight

Get your brushes ready ladies because here we go!

Step 1: Eye ConcealerScreen Shot 2017-01-27 at 9.19.12 PM.png

I don’t know about you but no matter how much beauty sleep I get; I always seem to have dark circles or bags under my eye so the first thing I do is always conceal them. I use the Mary Kay Perfecting Undereye Corrector

 

Step 2: Primer

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It is very important to prime the eyes to make sure that the makeup will stay on all day. I love the Mary Kay Foundation Primer with SPF 15. All you need is a few dots and it covers your whole face. It is so light and goes on so smooth.

Step 3: Highlight

Now for the fun part, the actually colours. The first step is to highlight with the lightest colour you are going to use. For this I use the light highlight from the Moroccan Dunes palette. I sweep it just under the brow and also in the corners of my eyes to brighten them up and make them look bigger.screen-shot-2017-01-27-at-9-12-38-pm

Step 4: Colour your Eyelid

The next step is to choose the main colour you are going to use on your eyelid. Like I said since I have green eyes, I use a purple colour to cover my eyelids. I love the light purple from the Moroccan Dunes palette.

 

Now comes the va va voom. Again I am going to use a purple, but this time a darker colour from the Paris Starlight palette. I always start at the edge of my eye and then work my way with a soft line above my eyelid. I start at the end because I want to get rid of most of the colour so it doesn’t overpower the colour you have put on the lid. What I really love about the Mary Kay products is they go on so smooth and light, that you don’t really have to worry about making it too dramatic. I also like to take this darker shade under my eye like an eyeliner to really up the drama.

Step 6: A little more drama.

If I am going out with friends, I wouldn’t add this step, but when you are on air, you sometimes need to over exaggerate the colours so the camera picks it up. So just on the outside of my eye I am going to add a darker colour, usually a black or dark grey. I love the dark grey from the Paris Starlight palette.

 

Step 7: Liquid Eyeliner

Warning: go with the lightest line you can possible do on top of your lid. Because you are going with such a dark smoky eye, adding a cat eye or line would just be overpowering. Start small and build your way up. I love the thin line of the Mary Kay Liquid Eyeliner Pen

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Step 6: A little more drama.

If I am going out with friends, I wouldn’t add this step, but when you are on air, you sometimes need to over exaggerate the colours so the camera picks it up. So just on the outside of my eye I am going to add a darker colour, usually a black or dark grey. I love the dark grey from the Paris Starlight palette.

 

Step 7: Liquid Eyeliner

screen-shot-2017-01-27-at-9-22-16-pmWarning: go with the lightest line you can possible do on top of your lid. Because you are going with such a dark smoky eye, adding a cat eye or line would just be overpowering. Start small and build your way up. I love the thin line of the Mary Kay Liquid Eyeliner Pen

 

Step 8: Eyeliner Pencil

You may not even need this step, especially if you used eye shadow underneath the eye in step 5, however if you haven’t figured it out yet, I love a more dramatic look so I will also just line my lower lash line with eyeliner, the Mary Kay Eyeliner to be exact. Again what I love about this eyeliner is it goes on so smooth and not too dark.

 

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Step 9: Mascara

In my opinion this is the most important step in any eye look. The bigger your lashes the bigger and wide your eyes look, which is a necessity for any look you are going for. Even if you don’t wear any makeup at all, use mascara! I use the Mary Kay Ultimate Mascara. I always coat my top lashes twice for extra lift and my bottom lashes once.screen-shot-2017-01-27-at-9-23-24-pm

Step 10: Finishing Spray

Congrats, you survived my smoky eye steps. Now to finish it all off you just need to spray so it stays in place all day long. I use the Mary Kay Makeup Finishing Spray. You just hold it an arm’s length out and spray twice and you are ready to hit the town!

Well ladies congrats, you are all expert makeup artists now! Just kidding but I really do hope this helps simplify the smoky eye for you all.

Xo

Mia