January
15

MI OLA is going to Antarctica!

Almost four years ago, we started the MI OLA Brand Ambassador Program for women who lead healthy, active lifestyles and #GetOutThere. We are so proud of how the program has developed to include active women from around the world. We love our ambassadors as much as they love us. And we are so proud for one of our (original!) ambassadors Ellen Moon (@artemis_eleven).

Ellen is headed to Antarctica next month as part of an awesome scientific research and leadership program called Homeward Bound. Pretty amazing. We can’t wait to follow Ellen during her journey and see photos.  To prep us all for her journey and learn why scientific research in Antarctica is so important, check out Ellen’s blog post below!

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Ellen- @artemis_eleven

 

MI OLA is going to Antarctica!

In one month, I will set sail as part of the largest ever all-female voyage to Antarctica. During our 23 days sailing around the Antarctic Peninsula, 80 female scientists from all over the world will learn about leadership, strategy and science communication as part of the Homeward Bound initiative. When we return to our day jobs we will be better equipped to influence environmental policy in our countries, and help address the lack of female leaders in science and politics.

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Photo courtesy Homeward Bound

So….a bit more about Homeward Bound and why I wanted to be a part of it:

In my spare time I love to be in the water – surfing, snorkeling and trying to improve my underwater photography skills. It was this passion for the ocean, and protecting the natural environment, that inspired me to become a scientist. I’m a geochemist (meaning I study the chemistry of the Earth), and my day job involves devising ways to clean up soils and natural waters that are contaminated with heavy metals. I also work at a university teaching undergraduate students and train the next generation of researchers in the art of scientific research.

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Photo by Girish Choppala of  MI OLA Ambassador Ellen- @artemis_eleven

Throughout my 10 years in science it has been obvious that there are a lack of women in senior positions in science. In the US, UK and Australia, only 17-19% are women at the professorial level. But this doesn’t just happen in science. If you look to the senior levels of any industry, the levels where the big decisions get made, you find a dearth of women. Only 20 % of the United States Congress are women. Only 6 % of Fortune 500 companies have female CEOs. In Australia, where I live, there are there are fewer women in top roles in our biggest 200 companies than there are men called John….or Peter or David.

This is a problem because research consistently show that diverse leadership groups make better decisions, not only because of the influx of new perspectives, but because diverse groups consider available information more thoroughly and more critically. We have evidence of this right here with Helena, the founder and CEO of MI OLA  — I doubt you’ve ever worn a swimsuit that fits you so well, and meets your needs as well, as a MI OLA suit that was designed by an active woman for active women. Women are the world’s untapped resource!

Like many scientists I’m deeply concerned by the inaction of our governments when it comes to climate change and environmental protection. I couldn’t help but wonder if we had more scientific women in those top positions, influencing policy, would we have made more progress by now? As the old adage goes, if you want something done, do it yourself! But I didn’t really know how to go about it.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Ellen- @artemis_eleven

So, at this time last year I came across the Homeward Bound initiative – a year-long development program specifically for women in science and I set about applying. To my great surprise, I was selected from hundreds of applicants around the world to take part, joining a team comprised of other earth scientists, as well as doctors, vets, sociologists, teachers, and even a navy pilot!

 

The program started last March, and since then we’ve had monthly online seminars where we’ve worked on the four main learning areas: leadership, strategy, visibility and science communication. We’ve delved into our own thinking and learning styles to understand how to make better decisions and quell the voice of doubt so many women hear in their minds. We’ve teamed up with other participants to explore cutting-edge research into the biggest environmental challenges we face. And we’ve been encouraged out of our comfort zones to raise the visibility of the program, ourselves and our science by talking to the media.

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Photo courtesy Homeward Bound

 

The program culminates in the Antarctic voyage in February 2018, where we’ll combine daily onboard learning sessions with landings at key locations with geological and biodiversity significance. Antarctica is symbolic of the two main themes of Homeward Bound: firstly, areas of Antarctica are demonstrating the most rapid response to climate change. Secondly, it is representative of the struggle for equality by women in science. As recently as the 1990s, female scientists were still prevented from over-wintering in Antarctica.

Monica Araya photo of Ushuaia mini

Photo courtesy Homeward Bound

As well as (finally!) meeting the other 79 women in person rather than online, I’m most looking forward to the immersive learning experience in such an inspirational setting. To think that we’ll be able to step foot in some of the same places as the adventurers of the Heroic Age of Antarctic exploration, like Scott and Shackleton, is particularly exciting for me. Of course, I’m looking forward to seeing the Antarctic wildlife – whales, seals and especially the penguins. And I wouldn’t be a true MI OLA ambassador unless I took a swimsuit with me, so keep an eye out for the first #MIOLAinAntarctica posts!

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Photo courtesy Homeward Bound

Seriously though, I firmly believe that programs like Homeward Bound, that teach women the leadership and strategy skills that they’ll need to carve their own path to the top, are the way forward in the push for gender equity. If what you’ve read here resonates with you I’d really appreciate you sponsoring my participation by heading to https://chuffed.org/project/100-days-to-Antarctica. The total cost of the program is US$20,000 – I’ve self-funded $15,000 and am hoping to raise the final US$5,000/AU$7,500 with your assistance. Every dollar helps, and there are some great perks to be had in exchange for sponsorship. Thank you!

 

Interested in joining the MI OLA Ambassador Program?

Know of anyone who should #GetOutThere with us?

Then shoot us an email at info@MI-OLA.com

 

 

January
11

Surf Guide: Nicaragua

Can you picture a place that has over 300 days of offshore winds, grooming perfect, surf-able warm waves?

Welcome to Nicaragua, the “Land Offshore Winds.” MI OLA brand ambassador Amanda (@Amanda_Strube) has spent a majority of the past five winters surfing in this country and has had countless “that was the best wave of my life” experiences. Check out her surf guide to her favorite spots to surf in Nicaragua below!

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Amanda – @Amanda_Strube

 

A Bit about Nicaragua:

Located in Central America, between Costa Rica and Honduras, Nicaragua is quickly becoming a top travel destination.

You may have heard Nicaragua is unsafe. This could be due to its turbulent history from the Nicaraguan Revolution, which ended almost 30 years ago, and which many people think of when they think of Nicaragua.  

The reality is much more pleasant.  Nicaragua is beautiful, tropical, safe, has good waves, offshore winds, and can be pretty darn inexpensive.

Nicaragua’s tourism business is starting to grow amongst surfers, hikers and history lovers. Nicaragua is mostly Catholic and is home to the biggest cathedral in Central America. The main language spoken is Spanish. Their currency is the Cordoba with 1 Cordoba equaling .032 of a USD. Most places will accept the American Dollar — but it has to be a small bill and not ripped or crinkled. Smaller towns and villages will not have ATMs or take credit cards so bring enough acceptable cash.

Nicaragua is accurately known as the Land of Lakes and Volcanos, but is also quickly becoming known to surfers as Land of the Offshore Winds.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Amanda – @Amanda_Strube

Where to Surf:

El Transíto
I have called El Transíto “home” for the past five winters. This place is a gem. There are not many tourists and the ones that are there are there to surf. El Transíto has some of the most consistent and fun waves all year long throwing out lefts and rights.  Most accommodations like SOLID Surf Adventure and Surf Hostel Nicaragua are located right on the beach, with at least 3 spots you can check while drinking your morning coffee. This spot is a beach break that works best mid to high tide. There is also a secret barreling wave within walking distance that you might get lucky enough to be told about! You’ll be surfing with more locals and fishermen than tourists. El Transíto is a quiet town with friendly locals and not much to do but surf. There are few restaurants in this town with authentic Nica food of rice and fresh fish, but more are popping up.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Amanda – @Amanda_Strube

Playa Colorado
This spot is very well known and can get crowded, for good reason. People flock to this wave for the barrel. However, it is located on a private beach and golf course called Hacienda Iguana so you either have to stay there or take a boat to get to it. You can score waves on any tide here, but nasty wipeouts are also a frequent occurrence.
Popoyo
This spot is super crowded, but powerful as it breaks both left and right over reef. You can also surf at any tide here, but always be aware of the reef. Popoyo is a great place to find a nice Air BnB, as well as surf camps and hotels/resorts. It is one of the more built up parts of Nicaragua with plenty of good places to eat.
Punta Miramar
A twenty-minute drive down the bumpy dirt road from El Transíto, this left point break has a steep and fast take off and barrels over rock. This spot works best on the incoming tide and is the spot to be when big south swell rolls through. As with any point break the paddle out is fairly easy. When it’s smaller there are a couple spots on the inside that are fun. Miramar is a bit more of a town than El Transíto and has some beautiful Air BnB’s as well as plenty of surf camps like Miramar Surf Camp, Puerto Sandino Surf Resort, Casa Sirena Surf Lodge and Surf Tours Nicaragua.
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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Amanda – @Amanda_Strube

Meat Grinders/Hemorrhoids
This world-class spot is for experienced and advanced surfers only as it barrels over a shallow reef. It’s a left that is super-fast and hallow. This wave is best to get to by boat as it’s located in front of a private golf resort (Gran Pacifica) that charges per board if you drive and park there. If you find yourself in over your head at this wave you can surf the beach break a little further up the beach, known as Asuchillo. This wave occasionally barrels, but is less intimidating. However, it is near a river mouth so watch out for crocodiles and dirty water. This beach is completely empty as there is barely a town around, just the resort, so pack your lunch. There is a really good burrito place down a long dirt road owned by an American expat called Burrito Bandito, if you can find it.
Playa Maderas
Located just north of San Juan del Sur, this wave is a great spot to learn, as there are a lot of surf schools around the area. This wave also offers both lefts and rights and is fun for more advanced surfers if there is swell in the water. Another beach break, this wave works best on a medium to high tide and though it may get a little crowded by Nicaraguan standards, there are still plenty of waves to be had by everyone. Any of the hostels located in San Juan del Sur offers daily shuttles to this beach. If you’re looking for a fun night out, SJDS has plenty of fun restaurants and bars to go out dancing at. It is also infamous for Sunday Funday, basically and all-day hostel bar crawl that ultimately leaves the waves empty on Monday mornings. SJDS is a populated town with loads of places to eat and stay.
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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Amanda – @Amanda_Strube

Playa Hermosa
Also located near San Juan del Sur, this is another beach break that offers both lefts and rights with plenty of room to spread out. Rarely crowded, this break is perfect for any level of surfing and works best on a mid to high tide. Playa Hermosa Eco Lodge is located right in front of the break and is 100% owned and run by Nicaraguans with everything you need right there on the beach.
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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Amanda – @Amanda_Strube

Playa Santana
This break can offer everybody something and because of this is always crowded. Depending on the swell size the waves are either punchy and rampy or barreling. Rancho Santana and Buena Onda Beach Resort are great places to stay. This wave is most fun on a mid to high tide.
The Boom
Located near Chinadega, this wave is peaky and hallow. This beach break can turn into a heavy and powerful barrel, but is totally empty. You should only find locals and strong surfers out in the lineup. The best places to stay are Chancletas Surf Resort and Rise Up Surf Camp. These places offer their own menus as there is not much around town.

 

Not Just Surfing:

Nicaragua has over 19 volcanoes. Each volcano offers something fun to do like hiking, bird watching, zip lining and coffee tours. My favorite is Cerro Negro, located near the city of Leon. Cerro Negro is still active and is about a 45-minute hike to the top. However, instead of hiking back down, you sled down. Start your hike around 2 pm so you can be at the top for sunset.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Amanda – @Amanda_Strube

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Amanda – @Amanda_Strube

 

Leon is a fun city to spend the night as there are loads of bars and clubs for dancing, with both locals and tourists and plenty of good restaurants like Carnivero, El Sesteo, Pan y Paz, Azul Restaurante and Del Norte. The largest cathedral in Central America is located in the center of Leon and families, school kids and tourists all gather here.

Granada is another popular city to visit and has a very colorful city center and a lot of restaurants and cafes to choose from. There is also a very good leather shop called Soy Nica where you can watch everything being hand made. Nicaragua is definitely a place to come to surf but offers many other reasons to stay.

 

When to Go:

May through November is the rainy season and also the bigger wave season, leaving November through April as the dry season with smaller swells, but always fun waves. Nicaragua is hot all year long, with temperatures ranging from 25-28 C (77-82 F). The Pacific Ocean water temp hovers between 25-30 C (70s-80sF) — MI OLA bikini weather!! The sun is very strong so wear a lot of sunscreen or a rash guard to protect from the sun and wind. Also, be sure to pack a 1mm wetsuit top as the water can get a little chilly from the strong offshores!

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Amanda – @Amanda_Strube

How to Get There:

Nicaragua is easy to get to from the US with plenty of flights coming in through Fort Lauderdale, Florida and Houston, Texas. The airport in Managua is small and can easily be navigated. Most surf spots are easily accessible through rented cars, the chicken busses (the local buses), taxis or shuttles. However, some spots are better accessed by the local panga boats.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Amanda – @Amanda_Strube

Now go on and book your surf trip to Nicaragua already!

Interested in joining the MI OLA Ambassador Program?

Know of anyone who should #GetOutThere with us?

Then shoot us an email at info@MI-OLA.com

 

December
31

Our Top Winter Surf Destinations

Brrrrrr, with winter upon us, are you dreaming of a surf vacation to warmer waters? Us too! Our tropical home base just so happens to be Costa Rica, but we also have eyes on some awesome surf breaks around the world. Check out our top winter surf destinations below!

Burgau, Portugal
The Algarve is the southernmost region of continental Portugal and it is the perfect year round surf destination with excellent waves and fantastic weather. It has two coasts, west coast and south coast, so you are able to find waves somewhere every day! Normally, the West Coast receives the majority of the swell, especially in summer. And when it gets really big, the South Coast starts working too. Check out our surf guide to Burgau!

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Giulia – @giuliamanfrini

El Salvador
El Salvador nicely stretches along the Pacific coast for about 200 miles. The coast has beautiful beaches with magnificent, clean point breaks that are mostly right handers. The climate is tropical and you can surf in warm water the whole year — heck yea to packing all of your MI OLA bikinis! Check out our surf guide to El Salvador!

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Verena – @laa_sirenaa

Morocco
Morocco boasts waves all year round, but the better, bigger waves are found in the winter months November-March. Even though the water temperatures require a wetsuit during the winter months, the air temperatures are warm and a really nice break from freezing cold temperatures! Check out our surf guide to Morocco!

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MI OLA Ambassador Susi – @insta_susi Photograph by @kkbrunvaer

Tahiti
Have you ever dreamed of visiting to Tahiti? How about surfing Tahiti? It’s on our bucket list, for sure. The best spots in Tahiti during the North swells, November – March. Warm water, gorgeous scenery, and awesome waves — we’re purchasing our plane tickets right now!

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Elise- @babeinthewaves

Costa Rica!
You didn’t think we’d leave out our tropical home base, did ya?! The surf in Costa Rica is very diverse.  Just about, every two miles there is another beach – and another surf spot. The surf pretty much goes all the way down to Panama. There are waves for all levels, from beginner to advanced, and there are beach breaks, point breaks, reefs, and river mouths. You can surf various spots all in one day. AND it’s MI OLA bikini weather year round! Check out our surf guides to Tamarindo, Playa Grande, Avellanas, and Guiones.

 

AND just in case you can’t escape, check out our top tips to surfing in cold water! Go on and #getoutthere!

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Susi – @insta_susi

 

December
22

Last Last Last Minute Holiday Gift Guide for your Mermaid!

MI OLA XMAS CARD

From our mermaid family here at MI OLA to yours, HAPPY HOLIDAYS! If you have been a tad bit too busy getting out there this holiday season and are just starting your shopping, we have you covered (literally and with our surf bikinis that stay on!) — check out our top seven last minute gift recommendations for the active mermaids in your life.

  1. Perfect for mermaids on the go, meal subscription services have options in different price ranges and dietary restrictions. Check out Money magazine and PC Mag’s top recommendations for meal subscription service.
  2. Spotify Premium or Apple Music subscription, because there is nothing like being in the groove and staying in the groove (no pesky ad interruptions!).
  3. If your mermaid LOVES good coffee, then she definitely will love a coffee subscription to Blue Bottle.
  4. She’ll breeze past the security lines at the airport in about five minutes with Clear! Currently at 19 airports (and expanding), Clear is TSA Precheck, but BETTER! Say goodbye to those lines! Some airlines are even offering a discount on Clear with air miles membership so be sure to check with your preferred airline!
  5. No more worrying about if her sunscreen will arrive in time before jetting off to a tropical paradise with a subscription to Amazon Prime. Two day shipping and special deals for members? Done.
  6. Does your mermaid love animals as much as we do? How about a donation to an animal or wildlife charity? Check out these 25 best animal charities to donate.
  7. A gift certificate to MI OLA so your mermaid can pick out exactly what she wants.

P.S. If you love Amazon as much as we do and really are a last minute shopper, in select cities if you order by 9:30AM local time on the 24th, you can have the gift delivered same day.

P.P.S. For some extra holiday cheer,  check out this video, Christmas Spectacular, featuring Rose Bertram wearing MI OLA!

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December
15

What the Male Gaze Means for Women Who Rock Bikinis

You’re on morning run on the beach, or doing a little yoga, or collecting shells with your toddler. And you’re rockin’ your MI OLA bikini – it fits, feels great, and stays put, just what you need because it’s summertime, you’re at the shore, and you’re on the move. You’re enjoying the sunshine and warm breezes.  Basically completely blissed out and in the moment.

Two men jog past. You see – no, you feel, the male gaze. We’ve all been there.

Although it’s a popular topic in today’s media, the idea of the male gaze was introduced in 1975 by filmmaker Laura Mulvey, a scholar, and filmmaker. She wrote an essay exploring how visual arts, especially films, sometimes frame women in provocative and sexualized situations. This perspective defines the woman as an object of desire – not only for the other characters in the film – but also for the viewer watching the scenes with a ‘male gaze.’

And today, while making memories on a beautiful summer day, you’ve been hit with the male gaze. What do you do?


Caption - Soaking us the sun at Grinnell Lake

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Becca.- @roamwildandfree

 

Remember why you’re wearing a bikini. You may have heard the phrase ‘clothes make the man (or woman).’ Your fashion choices give clues about who you are as a person and what you see as your role.

So why are you wearing a bikini?

  • Well, you are at the beach. What else are you going to wear, a snowsuit?
  • You’re confident in your skin. You feel good about you. You’re living your truth with power and purpose. You’ve created your own path and are making your way, head up and looking forward.

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    Kerri in Tamarindo.

  • With confidence comes ambition. You’re determined and committed to your health, your family, and a life lived fully. This includes meeting your seven-minute mile time, or just running the first mile.
  • And you respect yourself. You like the choices you’ve made, the plans you have, and yes, the clothes you wear to express your strength and your spirit.
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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Jen- @flentil

Your bikini may show your style, but it doesn’t tell your whole story. You are more than what you wear, and the male gaze doesn’t see it. Remind yourself of this.

  • You’re passionate about life. Always curious, on-the-go, and focused optimistically on what you can become.
  • You enjoy new experiences. Whether it’s traveling the world, going on the school camping trip, or finally tackling a paddle board, you’re eager to try and learn and grow – either on your own or with family and friends.
  • You have your own views about the world. You listen and watch and discuss. You don’t take social media, or any media at face value and go along, just because everyone else does. You form your own opinions and have reasons to back them up.

 

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Ellen- @artemis_eleven

You can find your voice in these strengths. You know what you know. You know what’s important to you. You know who you are today and where you want to go next. The male gaze may still be part of how some men interact with you, but we’re well past 1975.

Stereotypes are being challenged more frequently, and some changes are happening. Here’s how to be part of the change.

  • Talk about it. You are sexy, beautiful and delightful – and you’re also an athlete, an adventurer and a human being. It’s okay to be all of those and to tell people those truths.
  • Be a spark. Staying true to yourself makes you an example to other women. Seeing you confidently wearing a chic MI OLA bikini and moving forward on your adventures may inspire others to step up, think for themselves, and embrace their life.

Meet the male gaze with a direct look. Keep going. Your life awaits and you’re not going to be held back by anything.

Invest in the best swimsuit ever made.

 

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Luanna in Avellanas.

 

 

 

December
8

The President Stole Your Land

In an illegal move, President Trump this week just reduced the size of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments. This is the largest elimination of protected land in American history. WHAT?!?!

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Graphic Courtesy of Patagonia

Here at MI OLA, we believe in #GettingOutThere in nature, whether that be the oceans or in the mountains. We love supporting our brand ambassadors and you mermaids as you #GetOutThere. And we couldn’t be happier to share the local knowledge with our #GetOutThere Guides and Surf Guides. In fact, many of our #GetOutThere Guides by our brand ambassadors are for the National Parks, like Escalante. Yes, that Escalante that President Trump just reduced by roughly 45%!!!!

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Becca.- @roamwildandfree

Trump is fundamentally reshaping the two large national monuments. And we are sick to our stomachs. As Teddy Roosevelt said,

“We have fallen heirs to the most glorious heritage a people ever received, and each one must do his part if we wish to show that the nation is worthy of its good fortune.”

Act now. Don’t wait for Trump to do this again. CLICK HERE to TAKE ACTION NOW.

We couldn’t have said it any better than our very own brand ambassador Becca, “This land is sacred with incredibly preserved archeological sites. The fate of some of the most incredible landscapes is at a precipice and anyone who cares about the future of this lands needs to speak up.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Becca.- @roamwildandfree