My staycation at the Vancouver Marriott Pinnacle

I love to travel and I am so fortunate that I get to travel quite a bit for both personal and work reasons, however this month has been a busy one to say the least. With short trip to Toronto and Merritt I was pretty wiped. When the long weekend rolled around I felt like I wanted a vacation but at the same time I felt like being close to home, so a staycation offered the perfect solution.

I decided to book a night stay at the Downtown Vancouver Marriott Pinnacle Hotel. Located right in Coal Harbour the hotel is just a short 15 minutes away from my house but with the ocean front views, downtown shopping, and nearby attractions it seemed like I was miles away.

The hotel

When I checked into the hotel the first thing I noticed was the beautiful lobby and the jar filled with cookies at the check in desk (a treat while you wait, I love it). I was also so impressed with the friendly staff who wanted to make sure we had everything we needed.

The room 

We made our way to our room on the 31st floor. I cannot believe the incredible ocean front views that we got to look out onto right from the comfort of my bed. You could see all of downtown Vancouver, the Lions Gate Bridge, the boats in the harbour, and the stunning North Shore Mountains. I have never seen such a beautiful view from a hotel window before.

Speak of the bed, I was so impressed with how comfortable it was. You truly just drowned in the pillows.

 

Dinner at Showcase

While it was hard to leave the beautiful hotel room, we did have reservations at Showcase restaurant. The hotel lobby restaurant has just launched a brand new menu right in time for summer and Chef Jesse Hauchhuasen was giving us a little taste.

We had  a little booth in the back and started off with some delicious refreshing cocktails. The first thing that I noticed was the wide variety of cocktails, wines, beers, and even food. While I thought a restaurant like the Marriott would be pricey, I was impressed with the reasonably priced menu for such a creative selection.

Chef Hauchhuasen came out to explain some of the dishes we were going to eat. What I loved is that he told us a lot of his inspiration comes from his Japanese background and his wife’s Korean heritage. He added that he has traveled to these places a ton to get inspiration for the dishes.

Appetizers

First up were two appetizers, the Albacore Tuna Tataki and the Seared Scallops and Pork Belly. I loved that the food was made with sustainable seafood approved by Ocean Wise. The Tuna Tataki was seasoned with delicious ginger soy vinaigrette and the savoury taste was matched with sweet mango. The Scallops and Pork Belly were seasoned with the most delicious carrot puree. I literally was scooping up the leftover sauce with my fork.

Main course 

Next up, the main course. We were treated to Miso Grilled Sockeye Salmon and Seared Ling Cod. The cod  was possibly the best dish I have ever tasted. The broth was perfectly seasoned with crispy onions and chili oil, while the baby bok choy was the perfect side to compliment the asian inspirations. As for the salmon I loved the sweet soy sauce and the rice crackers added a perfect crunch to the dish.

Dessert

Lastly, dessert. We were treated to the Chocolate Pecan Tart. I couldn’t think of anything better, chocolate and pecan tarts are my favourite sweets and so combining them together was genius. I also loved the added ice cream infused popcorn. It was such a unique and tasty treat.

Overall experience 

After a delicious and filling dinner and a few cocktails, it was back up to the room for bed time. I couldn’t believe the amazing views at night time as well. The whole city lit up as far as the eye could see. It was a beautiful sight and the perfect way to end the day.

The next morning I woke up feeling rejuvenated and refreshed. Just what the doctor ordered. I wasn’t ready to leave the comforts of the room but was thankful for a relaxing and wonderful stay.

If you would like to find out more about what the Marriott Pinnacle has to offer make sure to visit their website.

xo,

Mia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Hair care tips I swear by

 

As a TV journalist my hair takes a serious beating. I am constantly colouring it, curling it, and straightening it, but yet somehow every time I go to my hairdresser she cannot believe how “relatively” healthy it is based on the damage (so sorry hair) I put it through on a daily basis.

I will be the first to tell you I am not happy with where my hair is right now. I have been trying to grow it out for the past eight years since an old news director forced me to cut it so I looked more professional during my news reporter days. I tried to buy a wig and fool her, it didn’t work, so chop it I did. While I may not think my hair has changed much, everyone that hasn’t seen me in a while comments on how much it has grown and how healthy it looks so I guess I am doing something right.

Right now I am more motivated than ever to get the silky locks, I mean I am getting married in Sept after all and I really want those lifelong pictures to look amazing so I have been following quite an interesting hair routine with tips I got from pros and other on air personalities and I decided to share my top 5 with you.

1) Find a low maintenance colour that fits you

The old saying goes everything is bigger in Texas. I also learned everything is blonder in Texas. However the blonder I went, the more frequent I would have to get my hair done. My ends were starting to frizz and my bank account started to feel the hit too. I figured there had to be a better way. I decided to stay blonde, but go a little darker and more of a balayage look. I was still blonde, but I had found a more happy (and affordable) medium. This means I only have to make a trip to my hairdresser for colour every 3-4 months instead of ever 4-6 weeks and my hair has been pretty thankful.

2) Take your vitamins

I have been taking vitamins since I was a child for things like bone health but little did I know there were also vitamins that would help my hair. For the past eight years I have been taking Biosil and fish oil every day. Biosil helps produce collagen, which is essential for smooth skin, strong nails, and thick hair. While taking this vitamin I have not only noticed stronger and healthier hair, but I have also seen improvements when it comes to the strength of my nails as well as the smoothness of my skin. This is truly my secret weapon.

3) Chose your weapon of style carefully

 

 Ok, this is one I definitely need to work on myself. I am not a morning person and so I usually wake up late and am forced to turn on the dreaded flat iron because that is the quickest method of styling my hair. However, I am really trying to make an effort to wake up a little earlier and turn on the curlers instead. I find they produce less heat and cover a larger volume of hair. I am also a firm believer in air drying my hair, who has time to blow dry nowadays anyway.

4) Hair masks for the win

At least once a week I throw on a hair mask on damp hair for at least 15 minutes before my shower. The masks are filled with nutrients that are so good for your hair and I will spend about 5 minutes rubbing it into my scalp and all the way down tot he ends. Also when I am done washing my hair, I throw on a good leave in conditioner and Aveda’s total repair daily hair serum. I find adding these elements to the routine has me waking up with silky smooth hair.

5) Skip the shampoo

Ok, it might not sound that attractive, especially if you try and get a workout in every day but I only wash my hair 1-2 times a week. Now, I mean really wash my hair with shampoo, conditioner, purple shampoo etc. If you shampoo everyday, it strips your hair of its natural nutrients.
These are just a few tips that I have for you when it comes to taking care of your hair, but I am sure there are hundreds of other amazing tips out there and would love if you would share some of them with me below.
xo
Mia

My experience with HelloFresh

Disclaimer, I should start off by telling you I am a terrible cook. I burn rice, I overcook fish, don’t even ask me what sauté is. My go to meal is mac and cheese.  I am hopeless in the kitchen, or at least that is what I thought.

This year, I decided that even though I am no Gordon Ramsey I wanted to start to develop some basic cooking skills. With an upcoming wedding I wanted to start eating healthier, with a new house I wanted to save money by cooking at home, and with a fiancé that is a whiz in the kitchen I wanted to contribute more. It was time.

However I was off to a bad start when I realized how overwhelming the dark web can be. Millions of “simple” recipes that require dozens of ingredients and endless marinating hours. Just when I had accepted that Uber Eats would continue bankrupting me monthly I was told by a friend to check out HelloFresh.

Discovering HelloFresh

HelloFresh delivers “cook from scratch” fresh meal plans straight to your door. What I liked about the idea of their meals, is that they also provide you with easy-to-follow recipe cards. The cards have step by step instructions and all the delicious ingredients pre-portioned ready to go. I also loved that the meals were quick to make (the ones I chose took about 30 minutes), and you know everything that is going into your meal so you know that it is not just delicious but also healthy.

So many options to fit your needs 

After doing some more research I found out that there are so many different options with HelloFresh, so it is easy to find something that fits your food preferences and budget.  You can order the Pronto Plan, which provides you with 3-4 quick, easy, and delicious recipes for 2-4 people. For the vegetarians there is the Veggie Plan, which offers three amazing vegetarian recipes. The third option is one for the kids too, the Family Plan makes sure the little ones will enjoy their meals and maybe even want to help out in the kitchen. It offers 3-4 recipes for four people. 

I decided to give the Pronto Plan a try since I was planning to cook for just two people. Even though I don’t eat red meat, there was such a variety of options to chose from. Some of the options were a little outside of the box like the Roasted Veggie Tagine. Others, more simple like the Turkey Meatballs with Spaghetti and Parmesan.  I ended up choosing these two along with the Chili Chicken with Green Bell Pepper and Basmati Cumin Rice.

A few days later there it was right on my doorstep, a HelloFresh box. Inside the box I found icepacks that were there to keep the food fresh as well as all three of my meals. Just as advertised it came with simple instructions and perfect food portions ready for cooking. 

The Experience 

Meal #1 Roasted Veggie Tagine 

The first meal that I decided to make was the Roasted Veggie Tagine with Nutty Couscous Pilaf. While the cooking level for this one is only a 1 it was such a unique dish with such amazing flavours. I can’t say that slow cooked stews are my go to in the kitchen so I loved that I had a chance to try something new. The combination of the sweet potatoes, homemade fig jam, and the nuts was so different but they all fit together so perfectly. The best part of it all was that the portions were so big I had left overs for days.

Meal #2 Chili Chicken 

Next up was the Chili Chicken with Green Bell Pepper and Basmati Cumin Rice. I knew I would love this dish because it was described as ‘a spicy food lovers dream’ and I sure love spice. This dish consisted of the perfect combination of fresh peppers, chicken, ginger, and garlic to add a little extra flavour. The homemade sauce was mouth watering and the best part when you break it down the actual cooking time was only about 10 minutes.

Meal #3 Classic Turkey Meatballs with Spaghetti and Parmesan

Last up was the Classic Turkey Meatballs with Spaghetti and Parmesan. I loved the twist on this traditional meal. As I had mentioned one of my main goals was to start eating healthier and so by switching up the ground beef meatballs for turkey ones I could enjoy the pasta guilt free. The homemade tomato sauce was simple yet delicious.

I absolutely loved cooking with HelloFresh. Not only did it help keep my busy life a little less busy by delivering the food right to my door and providing me with easy and fast recipes, but the food was also delicious. I never thought I would be able to make a tasty Tagine dish, but thanks to the easy to follow directions of HelloFresh and their ever changing unique menu options I now feel like a bit of a whiz in the kitchen.

For more information and to check out some of the delicious recipes make sure to visit their website at HelloFresh.ca

Happy cooking my friends,

xo

Mia

My Vancouver staycation with JW Marriott

I was torn on what to do for my 30th birthday. From travel to Ontario for Christmas to heading to Whistler for New Years, I was exhausted. So there was nothing better I could think of doing than having a little staycation. 

The one thing I love about moving to Vancouver is the fact that I now live in a place where people vacation. From the ocean to the mountain it is absolutely stunning and so I just wanted to spend some time appreciating the city that I love. 

I also love gabling ( well I love the $5 limit tables). So I decided to put two and two together and decided to throw an Oceans 30 soiree. 

About Parq Vancouver 

All of my closest friends got dressed to the nines and headed down to Parq Vancouver.

Parq Vancouver is a new international entertainment destination located right in the heart of downtown Vancouver. It features two luxury hotels and a casino that will give Vegas a run for its money. 

I love that the tables are lively, the 24 diner serves delicious food, and the band plays some of the best live music I have ever heard. They will have you dancing and singing all night long. 

My experience 

What I was most impressed though was how amazing the JW Marriott treated us and also how amazing their hotel is. 

I was able to stay in one of their ocean view suites for my birthday (the perfect staycation if you ask me). 

When I came up to the room it was absolutely stunning. From the giant bed overlooking the ocean, a bathtub I could literally sleep in, a soft cozy couch to relax on, and the world’s biggest television. 

The icing on the cake though had to be well, the cake. The hotel staff surprised me with the most delicious birthday cake and offered me a complimentary breakfast in their executive lounge as a surprise present. I couldn’t believe how kind their staff was. 

I may have lost all of my money on craps, but I had so much fun dancing the night away and going to bed in the most comfortable bed. I also loved waking up the next morning to the most beautiful sunrise over the ocean. 

I will be back 

I have to say, having a relaxing and fun staycation in the beautiful city of Vancouver with the amazing team at the JW Marriott was the best way to celebrate turning 30. 

If you would like to find out more about Parq Vancouver click the link to head to their website. 

xo 

Mia 

30 Things I have learned by 30

This week I hit the 30 milestone. I must admit, it is weird saying goodbye to your 20’s. I mean they were there for a whole 9 years. During my 20’s I accomplished so much. I graduated university, started my career as a broadcaster, bought my first house, got engaged.

Before turning 30, I hate to say it, but I was a little scared. I was feeling old. Kind of like the best years were behind me. Did I accomplish enough? Did I miss out on opportunities? For the first time in my life I was questioning decisions.

It didn’t last long though. I slapped myself across the face and snapped right out of it. I realized just how blessed I am and how many amazing things I have accomplished. I bought a house with my future hubby, I have my dream career as a national broadcaster, I have an amazing family and friends that support me through thick and thin. The best years are still ahead.

It was during this epiphany that I decided to write down why I am thankful for my 30 previous years and some of the important lessons that I have learned along the way. I find that when it is down on paper I have a better understanding and appreciation. So here goes nothing, 30 things I have learned by 30…

30 Things I have learned by 30 

  1. I guess I should start with I learned that 30 isn’t old: Yes, apparently I am older than half the population of the world but at the same time 30 isn’t old. It is the age where you are hopefully out of debt and figuring out your life. That sounds like the start and not the end to me. 
  2.  You can say no: Throughout my 20’s I felt like I had to please everyone, especially as a freelancer. I felt like I always had to be available for everything and I would constantly feel burned out. I have since learned that people won’t hate you if you decline an offer and trust me you will feel so much healthier and relaxed if you aren’t trying to fit a million things into one day.
  3. Hard work actually does pay off: This was something my mom and dad used to tell me to make sure I did my homework or practiced my tennis serve. During the 20’s I started to doubt this theory. I was struggling to make ends meet working 10 jobs. I was waking up at 5 to go work my TSN radio job and staying up until 3am bartending. I was considering giving up on broadcasting all together. However, I kept working and fighting for what I love and at the end of the day I landed my dream job and couldn’t be happier. 
  4. If you love what you do, it truly doesn’t feel like work: you know the old saying, if you love what you do you won’t work a day in your life. Well by 30, I have realized that while it may still feel like work at times, loving your career  will truly make you a happier person. Since landing my amazing job with the Weather Network work is actually fun and that has changed my attitude towards the rest of my life. It is amazing how your career can really impact your entire outlook on life.
  5. Work and life balance should be top priority: As much as I do love my career (in case you didn’t notice from the previous note) the one thing I really realized this past year is that at the end of the day, you aren’t going to remember a particular day at work but rather a particular moment and experience. Whether it is with friends, family, partners, yourself it is the moments in life that truly matter. It is so important to make yourself, your health, and your happiness a top priority.
  6. Listen to your body: In your college days and throughout your 20’s you feel like you are invincible. Work hard, party hard was the motto and many times I would burn the candle at both ends. As birthdays come and go, I have realized that I don’t gain anything by late nights, and my body loves me so much more when I get eight hours of sleep and it is balanced. 
  7. Not everyone has to love you: Listen, being loved is an amazing feeling, but at the end of the day not everyone is going to have the same opinions as you and that is ok. Working in media, I have a lot of people telling me just how they feel about me through social media. While most of it is amazing and supportive, I do get the odd individual who feels the need to critique me. While I used to let comments hurt me, I have quickly learned not to let the negativity into your life and rather focus on the people that do love you.
  8. Even at 30 you don’t have all the answers: I am pretty lucky with my life. I have a job I love, I am getting married to the man of my dreams, I have an incredible family and friend group supporting me, but during this time I have realized we all have our own path that we reach in our own time and if you aren’t where you want to be in life that is ok, because 30 is the new 20. 
  9. Friends will come and go: At 30 I have realized that everyone who enters your life will leave a mark, but sometimes the physical person doesn’t last in your life forever and that is also ok. As you grow, you find out more about your own values and sometimes they don’t match with everyone in your life. As I turned 30 I realized time is very valuable and it is important to spend it with the people that make you a better person.
  10. Wear sunscreen: At 30 I have realized that wrinkles are indeed real. I also realized that taking care of your body is so important both physically and mentally. It is important to put self care in your daily routine and sunscreen is a must.
  11. Never go to bed angry:  This is something I am still working on every day but every time we do fight I realize how petty and small it is in the grand scheme of things. Life really is too short to be upset over the small things.
  12. Communication is key: As a journalist and report, you think I would of learned this one a long time ago, but no it has indeed taken me a good 30 years. I have quickly realized how misunderstandings can turn into fights for no good reasons so if you have something on your mind figure out how to communicate that, it will be a weight off your shoulder.
  13. Kill them with kindness:  I know this is another cheesy cliche line but in 30 years I have realized just how true this is. Again, not everyone is going to like you, but there is no point in giving them the upper hand. Being kind to both the lovers and the haters is only going to make you a stronger person, and make others look weak.
  14. Collect moments not things:  I wear the same jeans every time I go out and I haven’t worn one of my 20 pairs of heels in years. I couldn’t tell you the last thing I bought, but I could tell you every amazing thing that happened on my last vacation. At the end of the day you won’t remember your favourite dress, you will remember your favourite moments and that is what counts in life.
  15. Don’t compare yourself to others: This is also something I am still working on everyday, especially working in media. However I am constantly reminding myself that I am exactly where I am supposed to be and this is my path in life. Instead of worrying about others success I am learning to be proud of and happy for them.
  16. Your parents are cool cats: I spent my teens and some of my 20’s avoiding my parents like the plague, but as I have grown older I am so much more appreciative of all of the sacrifices they made for me to make sure I had amazing opportunities in life. The older I get the more I want to be surrounded by their love and actually want to be seen with them in public.
  17. Guilty pleasures are ok, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise: I wrote this one while watching the Bachelor. At 30 I have realized you don’t have to be sorry for anything you do. Do you and be happy and that is what really matters.
  18. Look ahead not backwards: I constantly find myself getting upset or anxious about things that have happened in the past, but at 30 I am finally starting to realize that what really matters is what is ahead of you not what is behind.
  19. Being afraid will only hold you back: Listen, at the end of the day we are all going to die, but if we are afraid of going after the things we want in life we may never realize our true potential. Sure you will fail and you will fall, but you will never succeed unless you go for it whole heartedly.
  20. You cannot worry about the things you can’t control:  I am a bit of a perfectionist so every time things aren’t perfect I panic. At the age of 30 I am finally starting to learn that some things are out of your control and if you worry about them it is just going to drive you insane.
  21. Change isn’t as scary as you think & necessary to grow: At the age of 28 I made a big life change. I gave up my job  and moved across the country for the man I love. I was petrified of this unfamiliar territory. However everything worked out at the end of the day, and I am in a better place than I have ever been. Sometimes change is necessary and will help you better your life. 
  22. Loving yourself is the best thing you can do: When I was 20 I hated how I looked in pictures, now I look back and loved my strong athletic body. I realized that I am always going to have things to critique about myself, but one day I will look back and regret not enjoying how I looked and felt at a certain age.
  23. Wine is good for you:I don’t know if that is factual but hey I always feel a little better after a glass of pinot gris and I won’t deny myself a glass after a long day or a good day or a fun day.
  24. Competition is good in the right amount: Listen, constantly feeling like you are competing against someone isn’t good, but competing against yourself to better yourself and be the best version of yourself is a good thing if you ask me.
  25. Finding your passion is important: your job is one thing, but finding what your true passion is will make your life really matter. Having something you care about and enjoy (like my blog) will bring more meaning to your life.
  26. It is important to count our blessings: I have been so lucky to travel to some amazing places, but during my travels I have realized how lucky I am in to live in a Canada. We are truly fortunate here and realizing that our problems are so miniature in the grand scheme makes life so much more enjoyable.
  27. Pain is inevitable but necessary and even healing: In my 20’s I suffered plenty of heartbreak both in relationships and with losing loved ones. Yet every heart break taught me more about myself, my values, and my strength and made me realize what I deserve in my life.
  28. Do not settle for anyone or anything: I  dated a few guys in my 20’s that  I knew weren’t the right ones, but I just loved the idea of being in love. Thank God those relationships didn’t work out because it lead me to the right person for me. Whether it is your love life or your career you deserve to have it all, do not settle.
  29. Opening your heart is scary but important: I think I have always had an open heart, but as I turned 30 I realized just how important it is to be willing to let people in to your life to be truly happy. If you are closed off you will never be able to experience true love.
  30. You shouldn’t feel guilty to treat yourself: In my 20’s I would feel guilty for every single penny that I spent. In my 30’s I have realized life is all about balance. I have worked hard for my money and if I want to spend it and spoil myself (in reason) I shouldn’t feel guilty.



These are just a few of the lessons I have learned so far and trust me I know of the biggest lessons is you are always learning so I cannot wait to see what the next 10 years will teach me!

I would love to hear some of the lessons you have learned at this stage in your life. Leave a comment below and let me know!

Here is to growing my friends,

xo

Mia