5 Top Day Trips from Vancouver

Summer is right around the corner and so it is time to start planning those summer getaways, but here is the best part, I get to live where people vacation and so I don’t have to go far to plan a perfect trip. Here are some of my favourite places to escape that are just a short drive or ferry from Vancouver.

1. Squamish – 45 minute drive from Vancouver

Ok I might be a little biased here since I call Squamish home but this mountain town is the perfect getaway. Just a short 45 minute drive from Vancouver you can be in the Adventure Capital of Canada. For the daredevil in you there are incredible hikes, mountain bike trails, and of course climber routes at the tip of your finger. They also just opened up a new waterfront park so there is also access to the oceanfront. For those that are a little adventure adverse there are some incredible hidden gems in town. Great local restaurants and shops,  lakes to relax at, art exhibits, and the gondola is a must visit.

Must Do

  • Take in an epic view of the Sound: There are some pretty intense hikes in Squamish, but Murrin is one that the whole family can do – and it offers some of the most beautiful views in all of Squamish.
  • Enjoy Taco Tuesday: There are some delicious local restaurants, cafes, and breweries but one must visit is Luz Tacos. It is a very authentic spot.
  • Relax at the Lake: Cat and Alice Lake are beautiful spots, but if you want to get away from the crowds, make your way up to Levette Lake.
  • Go up the Gondola: The Sea to Sky Gondola is a must visit. There are so many different trails with incredible views of Squamish, delicious food, and activities for the whole family.

 

 

2. Whistler – 1.5 Hours from Vancouver

A little bit further up the Sea to Sky Highway is the famous Whistler Village. While it is famous for its winter skiing, you might be surprised to know that they actually get more visitors during their green seasons. I absolutely love Whistler in the summer time. From the world famous bike park, beautiful alpine hikes, gourmet restaurants, and stunning lakes to cool off on a hot day Whistler is perfect for adventure enthusiasts and families alike. I love that you can go up the gondola and explore the beautiful alpine terrain in the summer months.

Must Do

  • High Note Trail Hike: This is one of my absolute favourite hikes in all of BC. The best part is if you take the Peak Chair it takes a lot of the elevation out of the hike making it more accessible.
  • Visit Alta Lake: I love hanging out here in the summer. The park is beautiful and the mountain views are second to none
  • Sip on Sake Margaritas: I love Sushi Village, some of the best sushi I have ever tasted and it is such a  fun vibe.

3. Bowen Island – 1 Hour Ferry Ride

I love that B.C. is so connected via the ferry system that you can be on an epic adventure on an island in an hour. Bowen Island is such a charming place to visit. I love going paddle boarding or kayaking in the area – and make sure to look out for wildlife, I had a chance to swim with the seals. I love cycling around the island as well. They also have some delicious restaurants to check out.

Must Do

  • Go for a paddle: I love paddle boarding and I had so much fun going off the coast here
  • Visit the Snug: I love the fresh coffee and casual breakfast eats
  • Bowen Art Tour: Bowen is filled with incredible artists across the entire island.

4. Fraser Valley – 2 Hours From Vancouver

The beautiful Fraser Valley is located by the Coast and Cascade mountain ranges, offering lots of outdoor adventures, it is also home to the Fraser River, and lots of farmlands – which help nourish the restaurants, craft breweries, and wineries in the area. You can plan to explore the entire area by taking the Circle Farm Tour. This tour directs you to specialty farms, delicious treats, heritage sites, and other special events.

Must D0

  • Stay at the Sandpiper Resort: You will get the full R&R experience at this beautiful resort located right on the river, and if you are a golfer that is a bonus – the resort has a beautiful course. Oh and during the fall months you can spot hundreds and hundreds of eagles
  • Visit the beautiful flowers: The Laketown Flower Festival is the largest in Canada. Wonder among the tulips, lavender, and sunflowers all summer long.
  • Buzz over to Campbell’s Gold Honey Farm: learn about all things bees and honey and you have to sip some specialty honey wine.

5. Pemberton – 2.5 Hours From Vancouver

Pemberton is one of those places that is just too good to be true. Nestled at the base of the famous Mt. Currie. There is amazing hiking and biking in the area and lots of unique farm lands where you can sip local brews and visit some animals. There are also some amazing camping sites in the area, both provincial and recreational sites.

Must Do 

  • Visit North Arm Farm: The kids will absolutely love it. They can feed the animals, pick berries, and grab a bite while staring up at the beautiful mountains.
  • Sip at the Beer Farmers: I love enjoying a beer on this scenic farm
  • Enjoy an epic hike: Joffery Lakes is one of the most special hikes in B.C. visit all three glacier lakes.

We are so lucky to live in a place where every turn and trail leads to breathtaking views, epic adventures, and endless fun for the whole family. And the best part is, you don’t have to travel very far from Vancouver to experience some of the beauty this province has to offer.

Happy exploring my friends,

xo

Mia

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 

The most creative Christmas gifts in Vancouver

One of my favourite parts of the holiday season is finding the perfect gift to put under the tree. As much as I love opening up my own presents, there is something so satisfactory when someone you love opens up a gift that you found especially for them.

One of my least favourite parts of the holiday season is trying to deal with crowded malls, lines, and finding gifts that anyone can purchase. If you are like me, you pride yourself in finding that unique truly special gift.

Unique local gift ideas 

I wanted to share some of my favourite and creative finds in Vancouver  for this holiday season that are sure to impress everyone on your list.

ChopValue

I came across Chopvalue while on a work assignment. I was trying to find creative gifts that were made from recycled goods.

Chopvalue is a Vancouver based company that uses recycled chopsticks to create beautiful furniture and art. The company actually recycles more than 350,000 chopsticks weekly from Vancouver alone.

I was so impressed with the beautiful tables, shelves, and even coasters. I had to pick up a few pieces for myself and my boyfriend.

Price:  Depends on what you are looking for but you can spend between $20-$2000

Pangea Maps

This is actually a gift I received this year and I am absolutely in love with it. Pangea creates custom hand made 3D maps revealing iconic waterscapes.

The custom made map that I received marks where I live in Vancouver now, and where I will be living in Squamish as well as the important lakes, and of course Ocean that outline my home.

Price: from $480

The Liberty Distillery

There is something special about shopping at Granville Island, particularly around the holidays. The lights, the decorations, the spirit, it is all so amazing. I also love that a lot of the gifts here are hand crafted and one of a kind. You can get everything from beautiful ceramics to customized jewelry.

One of my favourite spots at Granville Island is is Liberty Distillery. When you step inside the doors you will automatically be enchanted by the 110 year old antique bar. In the back of the bar is the distillery, where you can see the spirits being made and you can even try samples.

While bringing a bottle of wine for the holiday parties is always a great idea, why not make your gift more unique award winning bottle of whiskey.

Price: $70

Saje Natural Wellness

I have been a huge fan of  the Vancouver company Saje for years now. I love their travel products that really helped me when I am on the road.

This holiday season I received the most amazing gift from Saje, a diffuser. The one I chose is from their partnership with Jillian Harris and I am actually obsessed. I love how amazing my house smells and how calm the natural oils make me feel during even the most stressful work days

Price: approx $90

Ufeast Vancouver 

Sure, gifts are great but experiences last a lifetime. One of my favourite gifts was actually a ufeast dinner. Ufeast is a company that partners with local restaurants to create unique dining experiences. They combine delicious meals and hand crafted cocktails for a fun night out.

Price: around $50

Happy holidays and happy shopping my friends,

xo

Mia

 

 

 

 

New Years Resolution with the Practice Studio

I know that a few of you followed along as I shared by journey with the Practice Studio. For three months I worked with the amazing during my Whole Life Practice Journey. The journey, as I have mentioned in a few of my previous blogs focuses on four main pillars; fitness, nutrition, meditation, and life coaching.

The Journey 

While I shared the journey along the way, the lessons I learned, the changes I made, and the obstacles I overcame. I have yet to share the actual results of the experience. You know, sometimes life gets in the way and all.

Pillar 1: Fitness

When I started my fitness journey I was taking three to four classes a week and one day of personal training. Before we started the journey we set aside some personal goals that we were going to work towards over the next three months.

  • Loose 5 pounds
  • Loose 2% body fat
  • Work out at least 4 x a week
  • get involved more in outdoor activities and workouts
  • tone arms and abs

During the three months we mixed up our training routines so that I wouldn’t get bored (something that tends to happen when I go to the gym). We did workouts outdoors in the sunshine, different classes, and cardio & weight training.

By the end of the experience not only did I find workouts that I enjoyed, get a variety of training through incredible classes, and find more confidence in myself but I also reached the majority of my goals.

By the end of the three months, I lost 3 pounds, was down 1.7% body fat (the majority of the weight loss was in my arms and abs), was working out 4 to 5 times a week,  and was doing more outdoor hikes and bike rides.

While I didn’t reach every goal, I came close and was definitely taking steps in the right direction. Most importantly though, I gained confidence that I never had before and learned skills that I can apply to my everyday workout routines.

Pillar 2: Nutrition 

Before starting my journey with the practice studio I can tell you I sure struggled in the nutrition department. Of course I would order french fires with my burger, and yes I will have the dessert menu.

I knew that this was going to be my biggest challenge of all, but in my first meeting with Jackie I was surprised that instead of telling me what I can and cannot eat, she told me to create a food diary and also helped me come up with some goals for our journey.

  • Cut down on carb and sugar intake
  • Loose 5 pounds and 2% body fat
  • Become more confident with my eating habits
  • Cook more meals at home

One of the most memorable moments of my experience was going to the grocery store with Jackie and actually reading the labels and ingredients. I have always been a visual learner and so going through the store and learning how to make better choices was a big part of my journey.

It was also amazing to have an entire team holding me accountable, but in the most positive way possible. I would keep my food journals, and when I would slip up or cheat I wasn’t yelled at, instead I was told it was ok to indulge as long as it wasn’t every meal.

This was the biggest change in my lifestyle. At the end of the day I came close to my weight loss goals, but I have been cooking more at home, making healthier choices, and feeling better about my overall well being. I have more energy and am once again more confident in myself. Oh and about the cooking, it has become one of my biggest hobbies.

Pillar 3: Mindfulness & Meditation

As someone who is constantly on the go between work, my blog, vlogs, and then trying to have a social life in between, I struggle to find a healthy balance. Focusing on mindfulness and meditation has never really been  a priority for me.

Through the practice studio program though, I realized how important it is to focus on this aspect of my life more. During the three month period we came up with a few goals when it came to mindfulness and meditation.

  • Meditate every morning for at least 10 minutes
  • practice breathing exercises to help keep me calm and relaxed in stressful situations
  • Journal daily

I was able to reach all of my goals that I set and I must say I saw an incredible difference in my lifestyle and overall health. With the help of calming meditation practices and breathing techniques I have found ways to relax even when I have stressful events going on in my life.

Pillar 4: Life Coaching

When I first sat down with Jackie for our coaching sessions, it was a huge wake up call for me. I had never really taken the time to evaluate my life and what I was doing and if it was making me happy.

In just one sessions, I realized it wasn’t. I was working none stop to make ends meet while neglecting relationships with friends, family, and myself. We started to come up with goals on how to change this.

  • See my parents at least once every two months
  • Spend time with friends at least once every two weeks
  • Take at least one full day off a week for myself (while freelancing)
  • Try and find a job that allows me to do what I love, but also have quality time for myself.

Right away we started working towards those goals by creating schedules and calendars and really allocate my time to the right areas of my life. I was practicing better communication skills, and taking the time to figure out my true passions.

By the end of my coaching, I was having a better time with my partner, I was feeling more rejuvenated because I was acually taking time for myself, and I landed my dream job with the Weather Network. It is amazing what you can achieve if you actually set your mind to it (cliche I know but oh so true).

Next Step: New Year’s Resolution 

Now that I have shared my results, it is time to share my goals, and there is no better time to set some new goals then the new year right?

Goal setting was a huge part of the Practice Studio Whole Life Program because it truly holds you accountable to reach your goals, and it is something that I want to continue to focus on now that my time in the actual program has ended.

With an upcoming wedding and career as a national weather reporter, my physical appearance is really important to me. My goals are of course to continue to be healthy, eat right, and hey if I do lose some body fat along the way that would be great too.

My true goal though is to continue to focus on my fitness more so for my overall confidence. When I am staying active, working out, and feeling healthy I feel better about myself overall. I tend to have more energy, and that confidence shines in other aspects of my life.

I want to continue to push myself in my fitness and in my career. Strive to continuously be a better version of myself. Continue to grow strong relationships, and learn to love and forgive myself even on tough days.

And the best part is, I won’t be working on reaching these goals all alone. I am excited to announce I will be working once again with the Practice studio. Hey, pushing yourself to workout harder and to be the best version of you is always more fun with friends by your side right.

Cannot wait to continue this journey in the New Year, but in the meantime would love to hear some of your New Year’s resolution.