My Love Letter to Canada

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Dear Canada,

It is hard for me to find the right words but I guess I can start off with Happy Birthday, you look damn good for your age. I was born in this country exactly 28 years and 6 months ago, the first Canadian born member of my family. My family had moved to Toronto from South Africa in 1987 with maybe $1000 to their name. They made this move in hopes of a better life and more opportunities for the family. It was hard to know back then, but it was indeed the right move.

After a few years of finding their feet in Canada, my brother had the freedom of studying whatever he wanted at school, my parents had the freedom of starting their own business, I had freedom to roam around my neighbourhood safely, something uncommon in South Africa. All of the dreams that they sought out in Canada was starting to become a reality.

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Growing up I had the chance to follow dreams of my own. I made an incredible group of friends, I played competitive tennis, I studied interesting classes at school. Eventually I moved to the United States to pursue my tennis career and even received a full tennis scholarship to school in America. I got my first job as a news reporter in Texas. Yet Canada was always my home, and after a few years of exploring other places, it was time to return home.

Living in America, I was always asked why I loved Canada, what made it so special to me? I didn’t quite have the right words to say. It was an indescribable connection that made this place my home.

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Maybe because it had blessed my family and myself with so many opportunities. My dad became a successful director and was able to provide a life from my brother and myself. My brother graduated top of his class in chemical engineer from the University of Toronto and went on to become a professor at the University of Victoria. I, myself traveled around representing  Canada at various tournaments as a competitive tennis player. Yes, Canada had sure blessed our family with amazing opportunities.

Maybe it was the fact that Canada made me feel safe. I heard these horror stories from life in South Africa. Countless robberies, and shootings, and violent acts. Yet in Canada I felt safe and secure. Like I could walk down the street alone and not have to fear for my life. Something that I think I take for granted, but something that many places in this world do not have.

Maybe it was because Canada opened up my eyes. It is so multi culture and so welcoming, it taught me about acceptance, about sharing, about peace. I never grew up understanding discrimination, hatred, violence.

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Maybe it was your exterior beauty. Your mountains, oceans, landscapes. Your exciting cities, your wildlife. There is just so much to explore, to see, to do. There is no where else in the world like you.

I had the chance to follow my dreams, to pursue my goals. Something I too think I take for granted because how many countries still don’t allow women equal rights. Would I have been able to study broadcasting and become a sports reporter if my family had stayed in South Africa? Who knows, but what I do know is that here in Canada no matter what I dreamed for myself, I was given the chances, the education, the opportunities to follow those dreams.

Canada thank you, thank you for the lessons, thank you for the opportunities, thank you for welcoming my family with open arms. Thank you for your hospitality, your safe neighbourhoods, your history, your beauty, your peace, your love. For allowing me to leave, but always letting me back.

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On your birthday, I hope that every single Canadian takes a moment to say thank you, because I know there are many just like me, first generation Canadians who were given a chance thanks to you.

xo

Mia

Makeup Monday: Mary Kay Summer Makeup Review

While fellow Torontonians may argue that summer is not coming this year, I promise the warmer temperatures will be here soon. The beaming sun, the beach time, the patio weather, it is coming. With the change in the temps also comes a change to my skin. Warmer weather, humid air, it certainly has an effect on my skin. So with the change of the season also comes change to my skin care routine and the makeup that I use.

As an on air personality, I have to be really careful with the makeup products that I use. I wear a lot of makeup for work, but want to also make sure it is gentle on my skin. As you know I have been a fan of Mary Kay products for quite some time because of this, and yet again I have fallen in love with their summer line. I wanted to share with you some of their summer products that I absolutely love and why.

Clear proof Deep Cleansing Charcoal Mask- $26

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This is by far my favourite product of the entire summer line. Saying I am obsessed would be an understatement.  I use this mask about 3 times a week and I love, love, love it. I put the past on my skin and neck for about 10 minutes. How It works is it goes on creamy and then dries up, absorbing any dirt that may be on your skin. As a reporter, I wear a lot of makeup, and with the warmer temps the combination of makeup and sweat causes my skin to get oily. The mask works wonders by unclogging pores, absorbing excess oil, reducing shine, and just helping clean my skin overall. Plus I love the slight peppermint sent which just makes my skin feel refreshed.

Beauty that Counts Baked Cheek Powder- $23

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the heart shaped powder made me automatically fall in love with it, but how it looked on my skin got me hooked. Adding a slight tint of shimmer is perfect for summer but also perfect for on camera.  It adds the perfect rosy colour to my cheeks without looking overpowering. What I also love is it looks great on all skin tones so even as my skin starts to get a tan, it still compliments me well.

Mary Kay Summer Time Jewel Kit- $89  

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The Jewel Kit comes with three eye shadows, a bronzer, lipstick and eyeliner and all of the colours are perfect for the sweet summertime. The eyeshadows include sweet cream ( a perfect highlighter) Hazelnut (a perfect base) and Emerald ( a perfect fun addition). What I love is that while I usually use deep browns, these colours help me transition to a more subtle summer look without losing the smokey eye look.

Another part of this kit I love is the bronzer. The colour that I have is Sunny Spice. What I love about this colour in particular is that it has a matte finish which is perfect for on air and it really helps define your cheekbone. I have yet to get rid of my baby fat chubby cheeks, but this bronzer helps out with that.

The best part is that both the eye shadows and the bronzer contain vitamin A, C, and E which helps protect against wrinkles. That is right, a makeup that not only makes you look great but does great things for your skin. Basically a win win situation

These are some of my favourite products for the upcoming season from Mary Kay, but of course the best way to make sure your skin is looking fresh and clean during the summer is wash off all that makeup and make sure you got your sun screen on in full force.

Happy summer time y’all

xo

Mia

Mia Goes M.I.A: The Festival Survival Guide

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One of my favourite summer activities has to be attending music festivals. There is something so special about being out in the sunshine, listening to some incredible music and artists, the unique culture of people from all around the world coming together, the beautiful art, the delicious food, and of course the fun camping.

If you are new to the festival scene, it can seem intimidating and overwhelming. Don’t worry, I am here to help. Having attended several music festivals in the past (5 to be exact) I have learned a few tricks to ensure a successful festival weekend. Today I wanted to share with you my music festival survival handbook.

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Comfort is Key

I know that Coachella’s instagram feed makes one believe music festivals are really fashion shows, but this is just not the case. Reality check, music festivals are hot, sweaty, dirty places. You are sleeping in a tent for days, there is a serious lack of showers, there is dirt everywhere, and it is hot hot hot! This is not the time to crack out your favourite designer duds.

Do not wear white, do not wear expensive, do not wear uncomfortable. In fact everything you do wear you must be ok with ruining or else do not bring.

So what should you bring? From past experience I promise the more comfortable you are, the more you are going to enjoy the experience.

  • Loose shirts: I know, the adorable tight fitting crop top is totally in right? Leave it at home in this case because you are not going to be happy walking around in that for 10 hours straight. Oversized yet stylish shirts for the win
  • Jean Shorts: If any clothing is going to survive the apocalypse it is jeans, so they can survive a simple festival weekend. Bring on the mud, the food, the drinks. None of these are a match for jeans, they will survive the elements.
  • Running Shoes/think sandals: I remember the worst day of my music festival life. I had just bought an adorable pair of fringe heels that would complete my perfect festival outfit. I was wrong. Half way through Kendrick Lamar’s set I needed to quit the dance party because my feet were killing me. Make sure the shoes you rock are made for walking because there will be a lot of walking, and dancing, potential dirt and mud. A music festival is no place for heels or any shoe that is uncomfortable.
  • A blanket scarf: This multi purpose accessory is perfect to add some flare to your outfit and also to sit on if you don’t want to be on the ground.
  • A sweater: This may seem unnecessary since it is the middle of summer but if it rains, or the temps drop at night, you are going to be glad you brought one with you.

So in recap, dress for comfort, don’t bring anything you don’t want ruined, and for god’s sake leave all the heels at home!

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Suns out so protect the guns… and everything else 

Last year at Wayhome a dear friend of mine missed at least one full day because she was suffering form heat stroke. The second day she was still feeling sick. Don’t be that person who wastes your entire festival experience because you didn’t take care of yourself. Music festivals take place during summer, meaning hot temps. They take place all day, which means being outside in these hot temps for hours and hours. Make sure you are taking care of yourself.

  • SPF Yourself: Make sure that you are constantly applying SPF because the sun is not your friend when you are outside all day. Protect that skin!
  • Be the team’s waterboy: Wayhome was fantastic in the sense they had hydration stations laid out, but still so many people were experiencing dehydration. Sun and alcohol are not the best mix, so make sure to add some water to the combination. Even if you aren’t feeling thirsty drink up because when heat stroke sneaks up on you.
  • Bring a hat: Hat’s can be stylish and cool and they can also help keep you cool when you are outside all day.
  • Listen to your body: Despite looking forward to Third Eye Blind all day (yes I am dating myself here) I had to leave half way through their act at once festival because I wasn’t feeling great. Festival grounds do not offer a lot of shaded area, so if you need to, find a spot to take a break whether it be the camp site or a tented area.

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Create Your Own “Glamping” Experience 

This could be the most helpful tip I give you. I am not too keen on camping. Sleeping on the ground for three days straight surrounded by bugs  is not my idea of fun. This year at Wayhome we macgyvered a way to camp in style, and by camp I mean sleep in my car in comfort. I brought a blow up mattress, sheets, and bug nets so we could sleep with the windows down and it was as comfy as a 3.5 star hotel (as comfy as camping can get.)

If you like the idea of sleeping in a tent, I do highly recommend bringing a mattress of some sorts. It is not fun sleeping on the ground and I know this from personal experience.

Bring Snacks 

One of my favourite parts of festivals is the different and delicious food options. Food trucks upon food trucks line the festival grounds. The downside is long lines and expensive options. That is why I am always sure to pack breakfast options as well as snacks for during the day. You aren’t going to want to buy every meal because it is going to cost you and you definitely don’t want to leave your perfect spot right by the stage because your stomach is growling uncontrollably.

Splurge on the Showers 

I have experienced two different types of festivals. Festivals where I showered, and festivals where I didn’t and trust me the showering kind is far superior. Yes there will be hundreds of people on the grounds that haven’t seen a shower in three days, but you don’t want to be one of those people. Pay the extra $$ for a shower pass. It will help you feel more refreshed, energized, and ready for an exciting day of music.

Here are a list of some shower needs during a festival;

  • Dry Shampoo: Your hair will get dirty and greasy. Dry shampoo will be a lifesaver during the weekend
  • Less is more: Don’t go caking on makeup at a music festival. With the hot sun it will melt right off. This is the perfect time to give your skin a bit of a break and go for the natural look
  • Deodorant: Since showers are few and far between make sure you are going a little deodorant overboard to avoid the b/o

Pack a charger

Charing outlets are in high demand and difficult to come across at festivals and in a day and age where if it isn’t online it didn’t happen you want to make sure your phone is as ready as you are. A portable charger for the weekend is key!

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Buddy System

I haven’t really used the buddy system since grade 4, but in a festival environment it is key. When everyone is drinking and having fun it is also important to look out for one another because you never know what can happen. Cell service at festivals is pretty bad and you don’t want to get lost. Make sure you have a meeting point and a friend that you are with at all times because safety should be your number one priority. Safety and having a fun time that is.

And there you have it. My Music Festival Survival Handbook. Have you been to a music festival or are planning on going this summer? I would love to hear from you and for you to share some of your survival ideas.

That is all from now, until I go M.I.A again

xo

Mia

Product Review: Nivea

As an on air TV reporter and host, I wear a lot of makeup, and I mean a lot of makeup. Drag style is how I would describe my makeup application because now a days everything is HD and nothing is forgiving. Because of all the makeup I wear my face sure takes a beating. Concealer clogging pores, waterproof mascara sticking to my eyes, the list goes on.

On top of the ridiculous amounts of makeup I ware, I also love to travel in my free time. Trips to Cabo here and Whistler there means that my skin is constantly having to deal with changing climates. Does it have to deal with humidity or dry air? It can barely keep up.

Needless to say, I have had skin issues my whole life and have used product after product to try and get rid of my redness, my pimples, and my dry skin. Nothing and I mean nothing worked until now.

I recently started using Nivea products. My skin felt instantly smoother and looked clearer after a week of using these products. I know I sound like a commercial, but I would never share a product with you that didn’t actually work for me.

I wanted to share with you the products that I have tried and why I love them so much

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Q10 Anti-Wrinkle Day Cream: I have been putting this cream on every morning and my skin has been feeling so soft as of late. It is an intense moisturizer that protects skin from external factors. This has been a huge help when it comes to traveling because the exterior factors are always changing, but this cream is strong enough to handle it.

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Q10 Anti-Wrinkle Nigh Care: I have been using this cream every night before I go to bed. It works with your skin during the repairing stage. Moisturizing while your skin is recovering, and you wake up with soft and silky skin.

 

Nivea Cream Care: This product is the ultimate! I have been using the lotion twice a day, even though you only have to use it once but it just feels so good on my skin. It is really gentle unlike a lot of cleansers I have tried in the past. It is designed to thoroughly remove makeup and it really works. It is also formed to protect the skins moisture balance. Good-bye too dry or too oily skin!

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Nivea Cream Care Facial Wipes: I am actually obsessed with these wipes. They are by far the softest wipes I have used to remove my makeup, but yet they don’t leave anything behind. For work I wear a lot of water-proof makeup, but it doesn’t stand a chance against these wipes. They also smell really fresh which is an added bonus.

For anyone who is in the same boat as me. Who is forced to wear more makeup that you would like, that loves to be outdoors, and that doesn’t want to shell out hundreds of dollars on really expensive skin care products I highly recommend giving Nivea a go!

 

Places in the 6: Mascot Brewery/Odd Thomas

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I have been living in Toronto for the last 5 years and during that time I have discovered my favourite restaurants and bars. I am a creature of habit and always seem to end up at the same handful, and so I am almost ashamed to say that I had never been to Mascot Brewery or Odd Thomas before a friend had invited me out for their V.I.P experience and how could I possibly turn that down.

I must say that I am so glad I decided to venture outside of my regular spots, because Mascot and Odd Thomas are truly hidden gems in this city (expect for the cool people who already knew about it and kept it hidden from me).

Mascot is located on the lower level with Odd Thomas upstairs. Their location is right in the heart of downtown Toronto but tucked away on the quieter and smaller Mercer St. therefore if you aren’t looking for it, it may be a little tough to stumble upon.

Mascot Brewery is the restaurant located on the lower level and it offers a delicious menu variety as well as a slew of tasty local beer options. The restaurant is a really laid back atmosphere, and quieter than I expected so it was easy to have a conversation with my friends. The menu offered shareable, appetizers, and main course so whether you are hungry or just want a nibble there is something for you. I tried the Fried Brussel Sprouts which were actually to die for ( I could of eaten 10 of them not a word of a lie) and the Buttermilk Fried Chicken which was finger licking good, I literally licked the hot sauce off my fingers.

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The beer menu has its own separate spot on their website because there are just so many amazing options. I wanted to try something local a little outside of my comfort zone and so I gave the Collingwood Saison a go. It was the perfect introduction to the Saison, light and easy to drink.

After finishing up dinner and drinks, we then went upstairs to a booth at Odd Thomas. The bar had two booths behind the DJ booth and then two on the side with a dance floor in the middle. What I loved about the space we had was it was big enough for all 12 of us, and we were also right by the dance floor because we all know I love to show off my finger dance moves.

The D.J. for the evening was one of my favourite in the city, Conor Cutz. He played an amazing mix of old school favourites. I don’t think there was one song that came on where I didn’t have my hands up in the air. In fact for the first time in a long time I actually stayed at a bar until it closed.

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Overall between the delicious food downstairs at Mascot combined with the great music and casual vibe upstairs at Odd Thomas this spot really impressed me. I will for sure be coming back for round two sometime soon.

I highly recommend Mascot and Odd Thomas for anyone who is looking for a more casual and laid back bar scene in downtown Toronto where you can wear your sneakers but also dance the night away.