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
1

Why a Life of Adventure Requires a Bikini

You never want to be caught without a bikini available on an adventure. Believe me, the first time you leave it at home, you’ll regret it when you happen upon a hot spring or a secluded cove.

Bikinis are really an indicator of a life of adventure.

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Photo by MI OLA ambassador Briana (@wanderlovebri)

Adventures start with a vision. Of you, on top of that mountain, or on the face of the wave, or on a board stand-up paddling with dolphins in the tropics. That dream drives you to make it happen, to plan, prepare, pack, and to get there.

However a life of adventure requires simplicity and clarity – especially when you’re packing. I’ve overpacked many times, only to repeat the same gear over and over, when I find what works.  When you are an adventurer, your wardrobe gets a makeover.  One thing I’m never without?  My bikini.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Ellen- @artemis_eleven

Here’s why a life of adventure requires a bikini:

  1. Simplicity
    Outdoor adventures require planning, but they do not require too many clothes.  Layers, possibly. If you’re headed to snowy climates, warm clothes, yes.  But different stylish options are often lost on the outdoor adventure crew. What’s best is finding an item that works in many instances, and repeating it.  (Either buying multiples, or just – egads! – wearing the same thing.)

    This lack of clothing benefits your psyche in many ways. You don’t have too many choices to consider, and your vanity just might take a break while you’re on your adventure.  But you want to be sure you have the right items for any trip.

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    Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Susi- @insta_susi

    Here’s where the perfect swimsuit comes in.  A bikini is straightforward, light, uncomplicated, easy, multipurpose and doesn’t take up much space in your pack.  You should bring it no matter your adventure. You never know when you’ll find a hot spring, hot tub, or pool to relax in. And if you’re headed somewhere warm, you’ll be hankering to get in the water often.

    The simplicity of not needing real clothes if you’re heading for a beach vacation is part of the fun. You simply toss your favorite bikinis in your suitcase with the only worry of whether your flip flops match.

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    Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Verena – @laa_sirenaa

    Even better?  When you’ve got the best swimwear, you can pack lighter.  You don’t need 1 swimsuit to relax in, and another to change in when you’re about to have some fun or an adventure.  MI OLA will look good, stay put, and you’re ready for anything, surfing, hiking, diving, kiteboarding, or just relaxing on the beach.

    Steve Jobs said it best: “Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”

 

  1. Stylish, fashionable and you can move in it.
    High fashion and high function are not mutually exclusive. What good are swimsuits that you can’t swim in?  And yet, those bikinis still get made…

    Sexy, chic performance swimwear allows you to do what you love. While we pride MI OLA on being fashionable, we are all about being active. We know you deserve a winning trifecta: You need your swimwear to look great, fit great, and feel great.

    And when you have a happy heart, you can truly live your life to the fullest.

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  1. Shift of mindset.
    Personal and social transformation go hand in hand. The idea that a woman’s value depends on how she looks is outdated. We’re leading the charge with the belief that the bikini is the uniform for the empowered woman. We’re no longer showing up and posing in photos just to look cute (though that never hurts). We’re here to redefine the rules because we believe women should live on their terms.

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    MI OLA Ambassador Ashley B. @ayeboulet

    As you’ll see across images on Instagram, our women are truly living a life of adventure. They may be wearing bikinis, but they are surfing, SUPing, skiing (yes, skiing!) doing yoga, discovering new beaches, and actively enjoying life. They are not waiting for anyone to save them. They are not waiting. They are doing.

 

Join us in our mission for living life to the fullest and looking fabulous while doing it. Invest in our mindset today on StartEngine.

 

November
10

Start Packing Your Bikinis – Our Top Winter Beach Getaways!

Just like that, summer flew on by and winter is knocking on the door in the Northern Hemisphere. With colder temperatures upon us, it’s perfect time to start planning a warm weather winter escape! Palm trees, warm sunshine, tropical drinks, and all the MI OLA bikinis you can fit into your suitcase – – yes please! Check out our top winter beach locations below!

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Ellen- @artemis_eleven

 

Vanuatu
Vanuatu is an archipelago made of more than 80 islands, on which 250,000 people live.  It’s located to the East of Northeast Australia and the west of Fiji and features great scuba-diving and wrecks, waterfalls, volcanos, surfing, and extraordinary cultural diversity – with over 1000 languages being spoke in the archipelago.

Check out our #GetOutThere Guide to Vanuatu!

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Ellen- @artemis_eleven

 

 

Jamaica
Jamaica has no shortage of beaches. The most famous, and well worth it, is ‘Seven Mile Beach’ in Negril. Endless white sand, turquoise water, and palms for days makes for one epic beach experience. Yes please!

Check out our #GetOutThere Guide to Jamaica!

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Photo by MI OLA Brand Ambassador Lauren – @rock3roll

 

Costa Rica – – MI OLA’s tropical home base!
Costa Rica has many direct flights from all over the continental US, perfect for a quick weekend getaway from freeing winter temperatures. Costa Rica is paradise for surfers and outdoor enthusiasts. Some of our favorite beaches to surf and explore included Tamarindo, Playa Avellanas, Playa Grande, and Playa Guiones.

Lifestyle photo shoot for Kim (@_thesunnyside_) at The Harmony Hotel in Nosara, Costa Rica. Kim is wearing a MI OLA surf bikini. Photographed by Kristen M. Brown, Samba to the Sea Photography.

Kim (@kimxmoore) photographed by MI OLA team rider Kristen M. Brown, Samba to the Sea (@sambatothesea).

 

 

Grand Cayman
Crystal clear, turquoise water, the sultry warm air and the amazing sea life — welcome to beautiful Grand Cayman! This island is an outdoor adventurer’s playground, from snorkeling, fishing, sailing, SUPing, diving, swimming with sting rays…and so much more!

Check out our #GetOutThere Guide to Grand Cayman!

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Photo by MI OLA Brand Ambassador Jen P. @flentil

 

Sanibel Island, FL
Sanibel Island on the southwest coast of Florida to explore one of Florida’s most pristine beaches. Known for its wide variety of beautiful shells, Sanibel Island is a beachcomber’s paradise and nothing short of magical. According to the Sanibel tourist board, there are 250 different type of shells, 230 types of birds, 15 miles of beaches, and zero traffic lights!

Check out our #GetOutThere Guide to Sanibel Island!

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Amanda- @mermanda_

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

October
6

End of Summer Road Trip

MI OLA Ambassador Leslie spent the past 2 years exploring New Zealand and now she’s back in the US.  After visiting her hometown in Minnesota, she’s moving to Bend, Oregon.  And has decided to road trip her way to Bend.  Here are her tips on a great end of summer road trip, with great recommendations on how to #getoutthere along the way!

After living abroad in New Zealand for the last two years, I am back stateside. After spending a few months with the family in Minnesota it was time to get back on the road again. We choose to move to Bend, Oregon for it’s proximity to a variety outdoor activities, small businesses, and breweries. We drove our new home Forrest (a 2004 mini school bus) which travels at a max of 65 mph. This slower style of road tripping was new to us, but very refreshing!

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Photo by MI OLA brand ambassador Leslie @lesnorberg.

We didn’t take the most direct route to get to Bend, but we made it an opportunity to hang out with friends both old and new. We took breaks to have epic hammock naps, trail run, hike, swim, jump, climb, eat good food, and enjoy life! Check out our road trip route below:

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Photo by MI OLA brand ambassador Leslie @lesnorberg.

 

Badlands National Park, South Dakota

Every time I visit here I am blown away by the scenery.  I stay at the Sage Creek Campground; it’s fairly basic with just a toilet and places to pitch a tent or pull up an RV. There is no water at the campground so come prepared. I recommend arriving with enough time to see the sunset as there’s a small hill behind the campsite that makes for good viewing. Look for prairie dogs and bison and listen for the coyotes at night.

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Photo by MI OLA brand ambassador Leslie @lesnorberg.

 

Lander, Wyoming

Lander is amazing, I’ve spent some time here and all I can say is there is no shortage of trails, all within an hour drive. I used rootsrated.com to give me ideas of where to trail run/hike.

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Photo by MI OLA brand ambassador Leslie @lesnorberg.

 

Fairfield Hill: If you are looking for a challenge! Starts with a steep lung busting incline, then mellows out once you reach the top.

Popo Agie (“Puh – Po Shuh”) Falls Hike: a moderate hike that leads to an epic waterfall slide.

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Photo by MI OLA brand ambassador Leslie @lesnorberg.

Red Canyon: short hike to see some amazing petroglyphs!

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Photo by MI OLA brand ambassador Leslie @lesnorberg.

 

Lander City Park: You are allowed to car camp or tent for up to 3 nights right by the river. It’s a 5 minute walk from the town and a 20 minute drive to Sinks Canyon.

Lander Bake Shop: I’m a sucker for anything “nitro” these days, whether it’s coffee or beer. The bake shop happens to have cold brew nitro coffee on tap. Pair this with a potato, egg burrito and you’re guaranteed a good start to the day.

Scream Shack (only open in summer): Get your ice cream fix! But be quick, the choke cherry shakes sell out fast!

Lander Bar: Looking for some local brews, burger, and live music? Look no further than Lander Bar. Live music most Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

Wild Iris: A popular climbing area and also a fantastic outdoor store in town. Camping is allowed, but there are limited facilities (a vault toilet but no water). Be respectful of the area and others. Be bear aware – make sure your food is locked in a bear proof container or your car. Check the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) website for more information.

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Photo by MI OLA brand ambassador Leslie @lesnorberg.

 

Boise, Idaho

We found the local climbing gym Urban Ascent. The staff were super helpful and friendly! This was a great spot to work the muscles, meet some locals, and have a shower.

Post climb meal: Boise Fry Co. This place was highly recommended to us. If you are a lover of fries then this place is a must visit! There is an entire menu board with different potato and sweet potato varieties. The burgers (and veggie burgers) were super great, and don’t even get me started on all of the different ketchup and sauce options that were available! Check out their website to get the taste buds flowing!

We parked the bus at the 8th Street Trail parking lot, which offers great views of Boise! Again this is a basic site, it’s essentially a parking lot with a toilet. It can be noisy and people do show up at odd hours of the night.

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Photo by MI OLA brand ambassador Leslie @lesnorberg.

Bend, Oregon

We are so excited to start our new chapter in Bend! Unfortunately it has been a super smoky start but we have already sampled a few local trails, a few local beers and adopted a dog. Stay tuned for more adventures!!!

 

Some Final Road Trip Tips:

  1. Maintain your vehicle. Have you had your oil changed? Checked your tire pressure? Know the location and status of the spare. Prevent roadside breakdowns before they happen!
  2. Make some playlists or check out podcasts.
  3. Plan where to stay for the night. I use the website freecampsites.com. They post both free and paid camp sites. I always feel more relaxed knowing I have somewhere safe to sleep.
  4. Pack plenty of nourishing snacks – you’ll feel better!
  5. Limit caffeine, yes I know weird right? You are actually better off having a power nap.
  6. Have a paper atlas/map. Cell service is non existent in some areas plus it’s nice to look at the big picture. Recreation area maps are great because they include 4 x 4 roads and potential BLM campsites.
  7. Say yes! Be open to changing plans on a whim. Meet new people. Visit old friends. Do something that scares you!
  8. Have fun!
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Photo by MI OLA brand ambassador Leslie @lesnorberg.

 

 

 

 

August
25

Top Five Labor Day Weekend Trips

With Labor Day next weekend, why not send off summer with a three-day weekend exploring the outdoors? Need some inspiration? You are in luck as we have you covered (literally!) with our top five trips to take before summer ends. Check it out below:

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Roadtrip in the Florida Keys

The Florida Keys are a collection of 43 islands connected by the 113 mile/42 bridge Overseas Highway. Follow our ambassador Amanda (@Mermanda_) on a mermaid style road trip down the Florida keys where she uncovers and discovers sunken treasures in her own backyard.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Amanda- @Mermanda_

 

Chase Waterfalls in Escalante, Utah

Escalante is the hub for all things outdoors in south central Utah where visitors can hike, rock climb, race around in ATVs, explore amazing slot canyons, and chase some gorgeous waterfalls. Check out ambassador Becca’s #GetOutThereGuide to Escalante, with over 3,000 square miles of pristine backcountry paradise.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Becca.- @roamwildandfree

 

Learn to Kiteboard in the Outer Banks

The Outer Banks in North Carolina is an outdoor lover’s playground, from fishing, hang gliding, world class surfing, windsurfing, SUP boarding, jet skiing, boating, kayaking, biking, or taking kiteboarding lessons with ambassador Adrienne (@yokeens). So go on hop in the car and head to the Outer Banks, a 200 mile long barrier island that sits off the coast of North Carolina in the Atlantic Ocean.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Adrienne- @yokeens

 

Explore Puerto Rico’s beautiful beaches

This tropical island paradise is the home of MI OLA ambassador Andrea (@mermaid.drea ). When she isn’t in the water – free-diving to 40 feet, surfing, fishing, lobstering or playing in the waves – she’s on land doing yoga and exploring the outdoors (like hiking El Yunque Rainforest). After you check out her guide to her top five beaches in Puerto Rico, you’ll be booking the next flight to Puerto Rico!

Playa Caza y Pesca, Arecibo, PR 2

Photo by Elvin of MI OLA Ambassador Andrea – @mermaid.drea

 

Surf trip to El Salvador

Are you feeling really adventurous and need to get off the grid for more than a couple of days? Head on down to El Salvador to catch some beautiful waves – – El Salvador’s coastline has 200 miles of beautiful beaches with magnificent, clean point breaks that are mostly right handers. Ambassador Verena has you covered with her Surf Guide to El Salvador!

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Verena – @laa_sirenaa

 

 

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

August
11

#GetOutThere Guide: Kesugi Ridge in Denali State Park

Our MI OLA brand ambassadors inspire us everyday to #GetOutThere – – these amazing women surf, paddle, hike, salute the sun, mountain bike, ski, kite surf,   and so much more. One of these amazing ambassadors is Ashley B. (@ayeboulet). Whether she is downhill skiing at her home base in Lake Tahoe, CA, hiking up a 14,000 footer White Mountain, beach hiking the coast in the Kalalau Valley on Kauaʻi, Hawaii, or exploring in the Turks and Caicos, we love following Ashley’s adventures. We caught up with this awesome mermaid and got the details on her latest #getoutthere adventure: hiking the Kesugi Ridge in Denali State park in Alaska.

(If you are in hiking shape and ready to tackle a challenge, read on and #GetOutThere.  BUT, if you are just starting out or need to refresh the basics, have another look at Hike Like a Girl, and work your way up to this challenge by doing shorter, less ambitious hikes.)

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MI OLA Ambassador Ashley B.

#GetOutThere Guide: Kesugi Ridge

The Kesugi Ridge trail is to date one of the best, most rewarding, and beautiful backpacking missions I have done.  Being a mountain girl from the Sierra Nevada’s I had high expectations for this backpacking trip, and this trail surpassed any preconceived notions I may have had.  I would highly recommend this trail for any intermediate backpacker wanting to explore the various terrain of Alaska.   Expect your jaw to drop around each bend on this one of a kind North American trail.

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MI OLA Ambassador Ashley B.

Kesugi Ridge- Denali State Park

This trail is located in the Denali State Park, bordering the Denali National Park. The state park and national park vary in regards to regulations, permits, trail access, etc.  The Kesugi Ridge is a well-defined 30 mile trail. Most backpackers will opt to hike the ridge one-way requiring the need for a shuttle to the trailhead, carpooling, or hitch hiking.

 

Getting there:

The trail is best accessed from Little Coal Creek Road.  I would recommend arranging a trail head shuttle with Byer Lake Campground.  A local family operates a daily shuttle from the day parking lot at Byer Lake to Little Coal Creek trailhead.  Call in advance and be sure to make a reservation.  Overnight parking in Byer Campground is $5 per night.

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MI OLA Ambassador Ashley B.

Distance and trail maps:

Byer Lake Campground is about a 2.5 hour drive from Anchorage. After arranging a trail shuttle, park in the campground day lot. Most backpackers prefer to hike from north to south as the vertical rise is less this way. Below are the maps we carried with us and used on this hike.

Northern section: http://dnr.alaska.gov/Assets/uploads/DNRPublic/parks/maps/kesuginorth.pdf

South section: http://dnr.alaska.gov/Assets/uploads/DNRPublic/parks/maps/kesugisouth.pdf

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MI OLA Ambassador Ashley B.

Pacing:

We hiked this trail in 3 nights/4 days.  We were hiking the duration of most days but wanted to make sure to allow ourselves enough time to enjoy the landscape and scenery. We camped alongside a small lake around mile 6 the first night.  The second night we camped near Ermine Hill junction around mile 15.  The third night we camped near Mini Skinny Lake around mile 25. Our last day (hiking out by way of Byer Lake) consisted of a mostly downhill hike for 4 or so miles.

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MI OLA Ambassador Ashley B.

Weather:

We were lucky when it came to weather on this trail. We had an opportune window of fairly dry weather for most of our days hiking.  Of course the highlight of clear sky day is seeing Denali (Mount McKinley) towering above the horizon.  This monstrosity of a mountain can be seen to the west for most of the trail.

I would imagine that certain sections of this trail would be much more challenging and difficult had it been raining.  If possible, leave yourself a window of time for hiking so you can plan according to the weather.

 

Wildlife aware:

Bears are a serious concern when it comes to hiking in the backcountry.  Be bear aware by packing smart, staying loud on the trails, and knowing what to do in case you come across a bear. There is other wildlife to be aware of in these areas as well, be sure to read up on what to do in case you come across any animals when hiking.

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MI OLA Ambassador Ashley B.

Decompression after hiking:

Talkeetna is a nearby mountaineering town where you can enjoy a Denali brewing company beer and burger while viewing Denali in the distance.   This is the ultimate stop for refueling and decompressing after hiking.  This small town has several patio restaurants, cafes, and shops to walk around. Live music can be heard from several restaurants or in the park on certain days of the week. I would recommend the Wildflower Café and Mountain High Pizza for something local and satisfying to eat. Couple that with a local beer, and you will be in mountain heaven.

Remember to stay hydrated and stretch after hiking to prevent sore muscles and cramping.

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MI OLA Ambassador Ashley B.

What to pack:

Backpack – I love my women’s 65L Osprey backpack. My pack is lightweight, has lots of compartments, and provides a great fit for my body. A good backpack is always worth the investment.

Water proof/water resistant hiking boots- The weather is variable in Alaska, especially in the mountains.  Be sure to pack water worthy hiking shoes as you will likely cross some creeks, muddy areas, and wetlands. Pack extra socks too!

Mole skin- In case of blisters you will want to be sure you have mole skin in your first aid kit. Happy feet is critical for long duration hiking!

First aid kit- Backpacking first aid kits are not only smaller size but also lightweight.  It is always wise to backpack with some basic medical items, just in case.

Bear mace/repellant- This is a must.  Although you cannot bring bear repellant in your checked luggage with most airlines, be sure to purchase some when arriving in Alaska.

Bear canister- This is mandatory in the National park, but not in the state park.  Regardless, I would highly recommend bringing one.  Be sure to place all scented items in the canister.  Aside from food items that would include sunscreens, toiletries, lotions, etc.

Flare Gun- We carried a flare gun in case we found ourselves face to face with a charging bear.  The flare gun supplements having a loaded gun with you.  The flare gun is much lighter and safer when it comes to protecting yourself.

Bear bells- This will help put your mind at ease when hiking in more lush areas where a bear, moose, or other animal may be near.  You do not want to sneak up on any of these animals, so be loud on the trail.

Bug spray- This is a MUST.  There are many flies and mosquitos in this area, especially in the wetlands.  Repellant is necessary to help prevent the likelihood of irritating bites while hiking.  That being said, Benadryl cream is a worthy item to pack in your first aid kit.

Sunscreen- Even if you’re lucky enough to get a clear sky day with lots of sun, you should always be protected.  Even with cloudy days, you will want to be sure to wear sunscreen to prevent any uncomfortable burns.

Meals- Backpacker meals are not only lightweight but packed with the protein necessary for hiking. Depending on the amount of time you plan to backpack, you will want to pack as lightly as possibly. Every pound counts when it comes to food within your bear canister. I would recommend freeze dried meals, rice, pasta, granola bars, oatmeal, jerky, etc.  Canned food products tend to weight more than other freeze dried meal options.  Fruits are difficult to pack and perish quickly.  Be sure to pack enough food and snacks to supply energy and satisfy hunger throughout your trip.

Jet boil (or similar cooking device) – The jet boil helps store the items necessary for cooking conveniently in your backpack.  I have a mini backpack burner, small propane, and pot which I also pack for the convenience of cooking a few items simultaneously. Be sure to pack a cook utensil, small sponge, and environmentally safe soap as well.

Water purifier- You will find yourself purifying stream or lake water several times a day.  The water is fairly clean, yet I would recommend treating the water before drinking. Be sure to always top off or fill your water containers when passing a water source.  You do not want to find yourself hiking without water or desperately searching for the next water source. Plan ahead.

Face/eye mask- Depending on when you plan to hike, the sun may be a bit of a nuisance.  In July, the sun was shining until after 11pm.  This in mind, if you are light sleeper I would recommend bringing an eye mask.

Binoculars- You will want binoculars to view Denali (Mount McKinley) in the distance.  You will also want these on hand for bird and animal watching.

Other miscellaneous items:  There are a few items that I like to bring to help lift my spirit when backpacking.  On this mission I brought the following items:

Peanut butter – this sweet treat and can be mixed into oatmeal in the morning, making breakfast that much better.

Ipod/small speaker- music is always nice when decompressing in camp or leisurely hiking along the trail.

Camp pillow/sleeping pad- although not necessary, they do help make for a more comfortable night of sleep.

Hot sauce- This will help add some much needed spice to any generic meal.

Sugar/sweet treat- Something sweet to look forward to while hiking such as a fruit snack, lollipop, snickers bar, etc.

Essential oil- I love my oils especially when outdoors.  A little goes a long way when it comes to aromatherapy.

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

 

June
23

MI OLA 2017 Summer Bucket List

Ahhhhh, summer 2017 is officially here! With the super long days and warm weather, we chatted with the awesome MI OLA mermaids + brand ambassadors to create one epic Summer 2017 Bucket List. Are you ready for this? Check it out below!

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The MI OLA 2017 Summer Bucket List

Do you love paddle boarding, hiking and biking? Then head out to Lake Tahoe with Briana @wanderlovebri ! She is planning to paddle board around Lake Tahoe (~75 miles) over 4 days in July. Then, she will bike around the lake in a day.

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Photo by Briana @wanderlovebri

Sunlight until midnight?! Yes, yes, yes! Head to the Lofoten Islands in Northern Norway above the arctic circle with Susu @insta_susi. The Lofoten Islands have been on her list for years and this summer it’s finally gonna happen! Picture road tripping, comfy tent, pristine white sand beaches, beautiful mountains, and even waves to surf! Check out Susi’s Surf Guide to Northern Norway.
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Photo by Susi @insta_susi

Ahhhhh Tahiti! Pristine beaches, crystal clear water, waves, tropical foliage, and our very own brand ambassador Elise @babeinthewaves who just so happens to have a kite surf school with her hubby. Yogi + ambassador Amanda @mermanda_ would LOVE to visit Tahiti this summer – – so connect with these two because you’ll definitely get great kite surfing lessons AND yoga sessions!
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Photo by Amanda @mermanda_

A yoga outdoor festival? Yes please! Check out Wanderlust, a favorite of several of the MI OLA brand ambassadors. With over 15 Wanderulust festivals in just North America alone this summer, you can stay as close to home OR have an adventure!. Briana @wanderlovebri will be attending and working Wanderlust in Vermont and California! Be sure to check out our guide to Wanderlust!
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Photo by Lauren @rock3roll

Do you love hiking as much as ambassador Ashley @ayeboulet? Ashley is heading to Alaska this summer for a two week road / backpack trip. She’ll be backpacking the Kesugi Ridge in Denali National Park. Or check out these hiking guides by our ambassadors: Na Pali Coast, White Mountain, El Yunque Rainforest, Columbia River Gorge, Glacier National Park, Lost Coast Trail, and our beginner’s guide to hiking ‘Hike Like a Girl‘.
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Photo by Ashley @ayeboulet

 What’s on your list this summer?  Let us know in the comments and inspire us!

 

January
6

Top Places to #GetOutThere in 2017

Oh hey there 2017, we are so excited to see you! One of our resolutions for 2017 at MI OLA is inspire you to #GetOutThere — and as always, keep you covered while doing it! With the help of our amazing brand ambassadors, we’ve rounded up the top places for you to #GetOutThere in 2017. Check ’em out below!

 

Hike through El Yunque Rainforest in Puerto Rico + hop on a puddle jumper to neighboring island Vieques!

Are you dreaming of hiking through a lush rainforest and exploring waterfalls?  Yeah, us too.  Be sure to check out our #GetOutThere Guide to hiking El Yunque in Puerto Rico!  Located about a 45 minute drive from San Juan, the El Yunque hike will take about four hours roundtrip to complete. When you finally reach the top you’ll enjoy the cold air from the mountains to cool you off! And on the way down, you get another refreshing reward:  ice cold waterfalls to cool off in! And while you are visiting Puerto Rico, why not hop over to beautiful neighboring island of Vieques to explore its pristine beaches?

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Brand ambassador Andrea at a waterfall in El Yunque.

 

Road trip through Southern France and Spain searching for waves!

There’s no better way to enjoy the beautiful beaches of France and Spain than a surf road trip.  If you have at least two weeks to explore and love to surf, brand ambassador Verena highly recommends road tripping through this beautiful region of Southern Europe. Not only will you be able to surf different breaks and explore the countryside, you’ll also get to eat and experience new things like gooseneck barnacles!  Check out Verena’s Surf Guide to Southern Europe.

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Brand ambassador Verena at Doniños in Spain.

 

Mermaid in swimming holes in Northern Rivers, Australia + surf in Byron Bay

If you have been dreaming of a trip to Australia to explore, 2017 is the year to do it! Australia based brand ambassador Ellen offers a wealth of information to exploring in her home state of New South Wales. Check out some of her favorite activities, like swimming in “wild” swimming holes in Northern Rivers, Australia and surfing Byron Bay.

Brand ambassador Ellen exploring a swimming hole in Northern Rivers, Australia.

 

Hike a 14er or start to hike!

If you love hiking 14ers (a mountain over 14,000 feet), one of brand ambassador Ashley B.’s favorite hikes is White Mountain in Northern California. This peak is the third highest in California and the highest peak outside of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Check out her #GetOutThere Guide to this beautiful hike.

Or, if you 2017 is the year you want to really learn how to hike or would love a refresher on the basics, we have you covered. Ashley B. offers some great advice on how to start out and work your way up to doing a 14er by doing shorter, less ambitious hikes. Check out her guide, Hike Like a Girl.

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Brand ambassador Ashley B. camping at White Mountain.

 

Dive deeper into your yoga practice with a retreat or training!

Have you been thinking of attending a yoga retreat or a teacher training, but don’t know where to start? Our yogi brand ambassadors offer a wealth of information, from yoga retreats to teacher trainings.

How about attending an awesome yoga retreat + conference called Wanderlust? Ambassador Lauren offers some great tips to get the most out of your experience.

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Brand ambassador Lauren at Wanderlust in Hawaii

 

 

Or are you on the fence to attend a yoga teacher training because you just want to deepen your practice and not be a yoga teacher? Check out our awesome yoga teacher training tips + guide to why yoga teacher training is not just for yoga teachers.

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Jessica

Brand ambassador Jessica teaching Yoga Sup at a retreat in Puerto Rico.

If you are ready to jump on in to an intensive 200 hour, 2 week teacher training and want to know what it’s really like, check out ambassador Briana’s yoga teacher training guide to Yandara Yoga Institute in Mexico!

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Brand ambassador Briana at Yandara Yoga Institutie in Mexico.

 

So now you’ve got our bucket list for 2017.  We’ll see you out there!

 

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

August
26

Yoga Teacher Training Guide – Yandara Yoga Institute

Born and raised in Northern California, MI OLA brand ambassador Briana (@openheartadventure) is no stranger to the outdoors. She loves to hike up mountains, practice yoga in the beautiful outdoors, ski fresh powder, and mountain bike challenging trails. After practicing yoga for years, Briana took a month-long yoga teacher training in Mexico to deepen her yoga practice. With countless options for yoga teacher trainings, we caught up with Briana to get an in-depth perspective on a month long course.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Briana.- @openheartadventure

Yoga Teacher Training Guide – Yandara Yoga Institute – by Briana Valorosi
Yoga presented itself in my life at a time when I was experiencing a significant amount of personal growth. About seven years ago I started attended yoga classes across a broad spectrum – beach yoga, exercise-oriented yoga, meditation, and traditional asana practices at local studios. The physical aspect of non-competitive flow resonated with me. I’ve never really been excited about competitive sports, often finding myself engaged in an active lifestyle in the outdoors with individualized forms of recreation. Yoga offered a spiritual aspect which had been lacking in my life, a physical aspect that was non-competitive and really felt good in my body, and a meditation practice that calmed my anxieties. Through yoga, I developed an awareness of self-love, self-respect, and strength. I’ve been hooked ever since.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Briana.- @openheartadventure

Yandara Yoga Institute:
Three close friends of mine attended Yandara Yoga Institute over the past ten years, which initially sparked my interest. It had been a planted seed for many years before it aligned for me. I knew that I wanted an intensive program, as opposed to one weekend each month for example, and I was pretty set on a warm climate. Mexico for a month in the spring was the main enticement, and  then knowing three women who already attended, brought it all together. Honestly, I wasn’t as focused on the teachers or the style so much as the whole package, including the mission statement of the school.

Small community of yoga loving people on the beach, growing their food, truly connecting, and instructing from their place of personal and community connection.

The Yandara property is a beautiful off-grid gathering of yoga pavilions, partially enclosed bathrooms, and tent living. It’s simple living at its best. The sound of the waves soothed me to sleep each night. A diverse range of birds singing were my alarm clock. All of the food is vegetarian, local and organic if possible, with the option for fresh, local fish 1-2 times a week. They offered gluten free/ dairy free options upon request.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Briana.- @openheartadventure

Type of yoga teacher training:
Yandara Yoga Institute is a Hatha school that is heavily influenced by Iyengar. Hatha yoga is a broad categorization which pretty much umbrellas over all physical asana practices.  The program focused on asana as taught by Iyengar and his students, although we also learned about, vinyasa flows, Yin, Restorative, Bhakti, meditation, and philosophy. The program I did at Yandara was 26 days (200 Hour Yoga Alliance Certified), not including travel days. It was nearly a full month!

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Briana.- @openheartadventure

The Daily Routine:
Our days began at 7:30 AM with an hour and a half asana and meditation practice. I personally had a karma job to make tea before the sun rose, so my days began at 6:15 AM or earlier. Following our practice, we had a silent meditation breakfast, then two hours of class where we broke down each pose, the sequencing of poses, how to assist others in the pose, and how to support or modify it. We learned about philosophies of yoga during this morning class as well. Then we had lunch for a couple hours- the food was amazing! And there was plenty of time to hand wash laundry or lay on the beach- only a five-minute walk from my tent. The afternoons were packed with workshops, bhakti yoga, dinner, and counseling type circles. Each night ended around 9pm. The days were long but truly enjoyable and inspiring. The curriculum is presented in a way that is absorbable and tangible. The days were organized by chakra- moving from the root chakra to the crown chakra- with three days on each. During each set of chakra days, we learned about the poses that corresponded, meditations, and philosophies. It was incredibly well presented.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Briana.- @openheartadventure

How to Get There:
Yandara Yoga Institute is located in Baja Mexico, about 15 minutes south of Todos Santos on the Pacific Ocean. Travel was very simple with the organization of private shuttles to and from the San Jose Del Cabo airport. It is an hour drive from the airport- a beautiful road winding through the desert landscape, overlooking the ocean, crossing over river beds and washes.

I thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience. The simple living aligned with my personal goals of leading a sustainable lifestyle (as much as possible). All of the teachers became family, offering so much light and love toward their teachings and their connection to each of us. It is a beautiful community – the Yandara community and the yoga community at large. The yoga was taught in a comprehensible way that wasn’t overwhelming. The love that grew between each of us inspires me, to this very moment. We all supported each other through personal growth as well as through the process of becoming yoga teachers. I am eternally grateful for each and every individual at Yandara and in my group of trainees. The food was spectacularly nutritious and delicious. The landscape was humbling and beautiful. All in all, I wouldn’t trade that experience for any other. It was magical and perfect.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Briana.- @openheartadventure

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

August
19

Top 5 Summer Road Trips

Oh summer, you always fly by so fast! Your long days are already getting shorter. So we better get a move on those summer #getoutthere plans!

With Labor Day around the corner, make the most of a three-day weekend and go exploring outdoors. Need some inspiration? You are in luck as we have you covered (literally!) with our top five summer road trips.

Photo by Muse Marianna @mrskalabin

Top 5 Summer Road Trips

#1 The Outer Banks, North Carolina:  Hop in the car, and head to the Outer Banks, a 200 mile long barrier island that sits off the coast of North Carolina in the Atlantic Ocean. With ocean on one side and the Pamlico Sound on the other, the sun rises and sets on the water. Be sure to pack all of your outdoor gear, as the Outer Banks offers something for every outdoor enthusiast, fishing, hang gliding, world class surfing, kite boarding, windsurfing, SUP boarding, jet skiing, boating, kayaking, biking, or just relaxing on the beach!

Check out our guide to the Outer Banks.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Adrienne @yokeens

 

 

#2 Rockclimb + Hike + Mountain Bike Shawangunks, NY:  NYC #miolamermaids, grab a ZipCar, drive two hours north of the city, and you will find an awesome outdoor playground. You can rock climb, hike, mountain or road bike, kayak, fish, and even swim in a waterfall. To top off all the outdoor activities, Labor Day Weekend is the perfect time of year for fresh fruits and vegetables. Before you head back to the concrete jungle, be sure to stop at one of the  roadside farm stands to stock up.

Check out our guide to the ‘Gunks.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Meredith Drangin

 

 

#3 Hike Lost Coast Trail at Kings Range in Northern California: OK, this is not a simple road trip.  It’s  a multi-day 50 mile (roundtrip) hike along northern California’s coastline. If you want to do the hike only one way, there is a scenic 2.5 hour drive to take you back to your starting point. Brand Ambassador Ashley B. calls the Lost Coast Trails, “top rated, and one of California’s best kept secrets.” And when you finish the hike, drive and explore the magnificent California coastline and forest.

Check out our guide to the Lost Coast Trail!

 

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Photo by MI OLA Brand Ambassador Ashley B @ayeboulet

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Photo by MI OLA Brand Ambassador Ashley B @ayeboulet

 

 

#4 Stand Up Paddle at Spray Lakes, Canada: Head up north (up real north) and explore some of the most beautiful lakes in Canada:  Spray Lakes. Located 50 minutes outside of Calgary, Alberta, the lakes provides stunning views, are quiet, and absolutely serene. Activities include SUPing, hiking, golfing or even biking to Banff on backcountry trails! And for our wanderlusting #miolamermaids located in the US, we promise you will not be disappointed – hop on a plane to Calgary and take advantage of that three day weekend!

Check out our guide to Spray Lakes!

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Photo by Marianne @marienne.erika

 

 

#5 Surf in Canggu, Bali:  Do you have some extra vacation time and really want to #getoutthere? Instead of road-tripping in a car, how about road tripping on a scooter in Bali?  Book a ticket now, hop on a plane, and travel to one of the most beautiful tropical destinations. Canggu is known for its awesome surf available – for both beginner and advanced surfers – and has perfect warm water so you can rock your MI OLA bikini!

Check out our guide to Canggu, Bali!

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Photo by MI OLA Brand Ambassador Melissa @thecrystal_fairy

 

Interested in joining the MI OLA Ambassador Program?

Know of anyone who should #GetOutThere with us?

Shoot us an email at info@MI-OLA.com

 

 

 

July
29

Yoga Teacher Training – Tips from our brand ambassadors

If you want to become a certified yoga teacher or just want to deepen your yoga practice, you can find “yoga teacher trainings” available around the world: India, tropical escapes, your home town and possibly your home studio.

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Photo by MI OLA Influencer – @yoga_lovely

With so many choices, choosing one can be tough.  Should you pick the five-month module based training at your local studio or is a one-month intensive course in Mexico a better fit?  We can help.  Our awesome yogi brand ambassadors have some great advice to make the most out of your yoga teacher training experience.  Read on, brave yogi!

You can go to yoga teacher training whether you want to be a yoga teacher, or not.  If you want to deepen your yoga practice and nothing more, teacher training is a great way to do so!

I have had many students in my teacher trainings over the years that simply want to immerse themselves in the practice. Sometimes half-way through they decide they want to teach and that is awesome. The great thing about a teacher training program is that it allows you to dive in much deeper to the practice of yoga than a couple of 75 min yoga class a few days a week. – Jessica B., @jessicabellofatto

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Jessica – @jessicabellofatto

Consider your time commitment, availability and learning style? Some people thrive in intense training programs and others need more time to absorb information. 

What are your time constraints? Do you need to work around a work schedule and only can go to courses on weekends? Can you take two sets of weeklong vacations to do a module style training? Can you commit to a month or more away? This will be the main factor in narrowing down training options, as well as reflects your personal learning style. – Briana, @openheartadventure

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Briana.- @openheartadventure

Do you want to focus on one style of yoga, or all? 

I loved my program because it was incredibly open to ALL styles of Yoga. We were taught to teach what felt right to us. – Lauren, @rock3roll

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Lauren – @rock3roll

What is a good way to “test” out teaching yoga before making the financial and time commitment to a teacher training?

Try out teaching your friends first (with caution – every body is different and moves in different ways).  If you like teaching your friends and family, and it makes you happy and feel fulfilled, then start researching teacher trainings to see what fits best for you. – Lauren, @rock3roll

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Lauren – @rock3roll

Keep in mind, your first teacher training (200 hours) is only a start.

Many people will start teaching right out of a 200 hr program which is great!  However, first and foremost you should be a student for life. Take as many trainings as you can.  Study with as many teachers as you can who inspire you. Read books on yoga philosophy & anatomy.  Take a Sanskrit course! If you LOVE Yoga, immerse yourself, stay open, and maintain a beginner’s mind. The practice is so endless and so vast that it will only serve you as well as your students! – Jessica B., @jessicabellofatto

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Jessica – @jessicabellofatto

Before you start training, start practicing yoga at home:

Your home practice will be a vital part in integrating what you are learning and really being to know and understand it in your own body. Start cultivating a daily home practice, including an early morning pranayama (breathing practices) and meditation, along with asana practice. – Jessica B, @jessicabellofatto

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Jessica – @jessicabellofatto

It’s not just about what you will learn, it is also about the experience.

Commit and enjoy the process! An awesome part of teacher training is the experience. – Briana, Amanda, Jessica and Lauren

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Briana.- @openheartadventure

 

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

 

 

 

July
22

What’s it like to win a trip to Costa Rica?

Have you dreamed of getting away… on a free vacation to Costa Rica?  Sound too good to be true?   It’s not, if you win the MI OLA Grind TV sweepstakes!  Enter here.

Last July we were excited to give away a trip to one lucky winner and her guest to our tropical home base of Tamarindo, Costa Rica. There is nothing like sharing the stoke of our awesome surf town to new people. The lucky winner, Andrea, fell in love with Tamarindo just like we did ten years ago! We caught up with Andrea after her trip to get all the awesome details. This mermaid not only found the best spots in town to not only eat, but also went on some pretty awesome adventures. Check out her Tamarindo adventure below!

AND – if you missed it – we are giving away another trip to Tamarindo, Costa Rica. That’s right, a free trip to Costa Rica.  You’ll stay on the beach in paradise at the gorgeous Tamarindo Beach Diria Resort, travel with an airfare voucher up $750 per person, learn to surf, get $500 in the best swimwear for adventure from MI OLA, and 2 ultra-plush luxury beach towels from TIDE & POOL. Enter now!

 

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Photo by Andrea @andybabe88

My name is Andrea and I am from Boise, Idaho. I grew up in a small town 30 minutes outside of Boise called Emmett. I am a huge outdoors person; I snowboard, raft, hike, backpack, camp and just love to travel and see new places with my boyfriend Austin. We spend a lot of time seeking new adventures and learning new things. Last year, I won an amazing vacation to Tamarindo, Costa Rica from MI OLA. They flew us to Tamarindo, Costa Rica where we stayed at Cala Luna Boutique Hotel, our home base during the trip for all of our adventures.

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Photo by Andrea @andybabe88

Our adventures were endless; every day was something new and amazing. There was never a dull moment!

Austin and I went on some pretty amazing adventures. We rented a moped scooter and rode it everywhere all around Tamarindo – the back roads, beaches, anywhere we could manage to get the scooter! We even made it to the top of a mountain with an amazing view. We took surf lessons through Cala Luna, and also rented a board from Iguana Surf (they have super cheap rentals and awesome staff). We went on the Tamarindo Estuary Tour and got to see a lot of Howler Monkeys and Crocodiles! MI OLA also hooked us up with a catamaran sunset cruise, which was out of this world. The Marlin del Rey Catamaran was beautiful, the food was awesome, and drinks were never ending. Last, but not least of our adventures, was an ATV tour, where we went to a beautiful beach called Playa Grande.

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Photo by Andrea @andybabe88

Cala Luna Boutique Hotel was absolutely beautiful.

Cala Luna had so many great amenities! Our favorite part was their AMAZING daiquiris which they made with real fruit. Cala Luna also offers cocktails on the beach at sunset- YOU CAN’T BEAT THAT! The hotel had very romantic dinners every night in the restaurant, as well as the option to privately dine on the beach if you want to spice it up. The employees were always there to help us with anything we needed. The next time we go back to Costa Rica, we most definitely will stay there again.

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Photo by Andrea @andybabe88

 

COSTA RICA HAS AMAZING FOOD BOTTOM LINE!!!

We loved the food every place we ate at. It was just unbelievable and all so different. On top of that, the hospitality made our experience even better.  Shrimp Hole is a tiny little place that only seats around 12 people, but has such great food. Dragon Fly – holy wow, the best steak I have ever eaten! Witch’s Rock had a cool environment, very laid back, and also has a cool brewery and store. Roof Top Bar & Grill had an amazing view, awesome live bands, and a very low key restaurant. Patagonia was very romantic, with awesome argentine food and great service. Sprout had very healthy, light food and you get a lot of it! Bamboo Sushi Club was a really beautiful and open restaurant; it looks like it is indoors, but it’s completely open and you can look up to see the stars.

 

Everything about Tamarindo, Costa Rica is perfect – the people, beaches, tours, restaurants, hotels, bars, surfing, and night life. I fell in love with the town and I think about it every day. I truly feel like I left a piece of my heart there – it felt like home. I for sure will be returning very soon!! Thanks MI OLA for such a great trip!