June
2

Hang With MI OLA Girls

All around the world, from Tahiti to the Florida Keys, our MI OLA ambassadors #getoutthere. They surf, salute the sun, SUP, hike mountains, cycle cross country, to so much more and we love keeping up and supporting them with their adventures. Not surprisingly, several lead retreats and are instructors, from yoga to kite surfing. If you have a trip planned or need some inspiration for your next outdoor vacation, why not hang with the MI OLA girls? Check it out below!

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Do you love traveling to yoga vocations around the world? Then yogi and ambassador Jessica Bellofatto is your go-to mermaid! Jessica leads retreats all around the world, from Greece to Panama. Past retreats have been surfing in Costa Rica, Stand Up Paddleboarding in Mexico, hiking in Macchu Picchu or cycling through Tuscany. Her ultimate priority with her yoga retreat vacations is FUN. Get ready for your dream adventure: energizing yoga, cultural immersions, and delicious organic food are on the agenda. Jessica has upcoming retreats in York, Maine, Bocas del Toro, Panama, Rincon, Puerto Rico, Tulum, Mexico, Ithaca, Greece, and Umbria, Italy.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Jessica- @jessicabellofatto

 

Planning on exploring and road tripping through the Florida Keys? Be sure to stop in Marathon at ambassador Amanda’s yoga studio, Sol Shine Yoga. After a transformative trip and yoga teach training in India, Amanda founded Sol Shine Yoga Studio in Marathon. The studio is a community staple in Marathon where conchs, snowbirds, and spring breakers alike come to practice. And be sure to check out the studio’s great workshops, from full moon yoga to a Zen Sound session. Sign us up!

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Amanda – @mermanda_

 

 

Dreaming of escaping to a tropical island? Us too! Why not learn to kite board in Tahiti with ambassador Elise and her husband Mat? For all levels, from beginners to advanced, Wind Chasers Tahiti personalizes your lessons, making sure it’s safe and fun. Their school does lessons on the different spots of the main island of Tahiti so you can discover the most beautiful places for kitesurfing. Follow the wind with Wind Chasers Tahiti !

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Headed to the Hamptons this summer? Drop on in to ambassador Leslie Pearlman’s yoga studio, Good Ground Yoga in Hampton Bays.  The studio is a vibrant, creative center where people gather to embrace the spirit of yoga and holistic healing. Good Ground Yoga welcomes students from all walks of life– from first time students to seasoned practitioners. Throughout the year the studio offers teacher trainings and workshops. And don’t worry, you don’t have to plan to teach yoga to take yoga teacher training – – check out Leslie’s great insight!

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Leslie- @goodgroundyoga

 

 

Are you dreaming of a relaxing beach vacation? Then head out to the Outer Banks in North Carolina, 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, it’s one of the only places where the sun rises and sets on the water! The Outer Banks (OBX) also just so happens to be where ambassador Adrienne Kina lives and plays. From pristine beaches, fishing, museum hopping, shopping, hang gliding, world class surfing, kite boarding, windsurfing, SUP boarding, jet skiing, boating, kayaking and biking, the OBX is an outdoor enthusiasts dream. If you’re itching to learn to surf or kite board (or are in the market for a new surfboard!), head on over to REAL Watersports where Adrienne works.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Adrienne- @yokeens

May
12

How To Cope With An Injury

It’s true. If you do any physical activity long enough, there’s a good chance you’ll get injured, either from overuse, over-zealousness or just bad luck. Accidents do happen, and some of our favorite activities have inherent risks of injury.  Usually, the injuries are minor, and after a few days off, you’re back in the game.  But sometimes, the injury is significant, requiring a long layoff or possibly retiring from that sport completely.  It can be hard to get on with things when something you love to do isn’t an option any longer… So how do you cope when you’re an injured mermaid? Check out brand ambassador Jen P. (@flentil) tips for coping with injury below!

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Photo by MI OLA Brand Ambassador Jen P. @flentil

Dry Docked: Even Mermaids Get Injured Sometimes. How to Cope!

From Mermaid to Medusa

When you can’t get out there, Depression, Crankiness and all-around Crazy can result…but they don’t have to!!!

I have many sports and activities that I enjoy, but first and foremost, I’ve been a lifelong runner.  I didn’t just love it…I was good at it. Really good.  I was competitive right up until…I had major knee surgery this past March.  It was unexpected, and when the surgeon went in to fix me up, it was worse than they thought.  When I had my post-op visit with the surgeon, one of my first questions was “Can I run again? And when?”  I got a reluctant “Maybe” and a sobering discussion about the condition of the cartilage in my knee and my long-term prognosis for running and other high-impact activities.  It became rapidly apparent that if I did run again, it would very different from before.  No more hills. No more high mileage.  No more competitive training.  No more racing.

I used to be fast.  I was a good runner.  Even now, at age 47 (gulp! Am I really admitting my age in a public blog?) I could hold my own with runners half my age.  I loved the training.  I loved the racing.  I loved being outside.  I loved running with my running buds.

Just like that…gone. Over. No mas.

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Photo by MI OLA Brand Ambassador Jen P. @flentil

Don’t Just Drift With the Current…Start Swimming. Take Control!

The Universe had sent me a forceful message that it was time to start a new Chapter.  I could write it myself or let it be written for me.

OK, so I may or may not have cried most of the way home from that appointment with my surgeon.  But once I got that out of the way, it was time to think about the fact that I wasn’t going to spend the rest of my days sitting on my duff feeling sorry for myself, thinking about how I used to be a runner. Who was I going to be now?  Well, pretty much the same person as before, DUH! And that wasn’t a person that sat around sulking, that’s for sure! Let’s GO!

It was time to figure out what I COULD do, and get on with it!  Because any person who loves physical activity, starts to get a wee bit dodgy when they are cooped up and sitting around for too long.  It isn’t healthy, mentally OR physically.   I wasn’t going to be doing myself any good, and I certainly wasn’t going to be any good for my husband and son, either.

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Photo by MI OLA Brand Ambassador Jen P. @flentil

 

Don’t be a One-Trick Pony

Diversify Your Interests: Get Excited for the Next Big Thing!

Sometimes, it is easy to get all wrapped up in your fave activity to the exclusion of other sports and interests.  That was me for a long time.  I’m so thankful that I started paddling 4 years ago…it’s been a real gift since my injury.  It gives me that same long, steady, rhythmic outdoor experience that I loved with running and it’s an equally intense workout.  I’m so thankful that when I turned 40, I let my friend talk me into learning to surf, it’s given me a whole new way to have fun in the water.  When we were on spring break right after my surgery, I traded out my pre-dawn run for sunrise swims along Seven Mile Beach.  An hour of swimming goes by pretty fast when you are looking for sting rays and puffer fish!

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Photo by MI OLA Brand Ambassador Jen P. @flentil

 

Move On and Get Moving!

We all know the saying: Whoever is having the most fun, wins!  Truth be told, I’m having a great time getting better at a few things that I didn’t make as much time for previously.  And that has been awesome!  Instead of a marathon or a few 5Ks on the schedule, I have a couple of SUP races to look forward to this year!

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Photo by MI OLA Brand Ambassador Jen P. @flentil

The one sport that remains untested since my surgery is surfing…and the jury is still out on that one. I won’t know until summer. If it works out, I’ll be thrilled.  If not…I have my boogie board and fins ready to go!  And of course, my fave MI OLA bikinis!!

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Photo by MI OLA Brand Ambassador Jen P. @flentil

I wish you all good health and fitness! But if an injury does happen to set you back, don’t let it stop you! GET OUT THERE!

Do you have any tips for coping with a long-term or permanent injury that you’d like to share? Leave them in the comments!

April
21

How Whitewater Rafting Changed My Life

We love to support awesome mermaids that push the limits and #getoutthere. Like MI OLA brand ambassador Andrea (@andybabe88) who spends her weekends paddling some serious whitewater in her home state of Idaho. We caught up with Andrea recently and chatted about her passion for paddling – – what resulted was a beautiful dedication to the sport she loves. Check it out below!

“No man ever steps in the same river twice for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” – Heraclitus

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Photo courtesy Andrea @andybabe88

I frequently hear the same question again and again, “Why?”

Co-workers, family, old-friends and new non can’t seem to grasp my “why”.

Why do I spend every weekend, countless days and hours doing the same thing over and over? Why am I never in town? Why don’t I ever see my friends and family? Why do I put myself in harm’s way? Why do I paddle every chance I get?

I guess my response at this point is, “Why not?”

Why not utilize this life doing what I love and now?! Right now!  The future is something not guaranteed.  Spending these countless days and weekends adventuring and paddling as much as I do seems all but obvious.  Why not spend my time letting the river challenge me in new ways.  She is ever changing, can humble and bring elation all in the same trip. She’ll bring you closer to people than you have ever been.  So to answer their question of, “why”  – – the faces and places are my why.

Paddling has changed my life. 

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Photo courtesy Andrea @andybabe88

 

For better or worse, I’ve learned more about myself in one summer on the river than in all my time spent at home. Who you are currently and who you want to be… you can find it out there.  The river lives and breathes, and will get deep into your veins.  She teaches many lessons, most of all you that you cannot control everything in life.  Love the hole you’re in. In order to make it to the takeout unscathed, the river requires teamwork, respect, love, courage, patience, and self-worth.  There’s a saying you hear a lot from true dirt bag’s –  “The river doesn’t care about you”.  This may be true but the river also offers you a beautiful thing – the time to care, care about the moment, the people, and the places.

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Photo courtesy Andrea @andybabe88

A lot of activities bring people together, like the river.  The only difference I have seen is EVERY single person I have met on the river has been the most caring, loving, and genuine soul. I have met and made friends with some of the most remarkable people. I have gained lifelong friends I call FRAMILY, people who have absolutely made a difference in my life. I have had some of the best laughs, deepest conversations, wildest adventures and scariest moments of my life in the short time I have been paddling.  I love listening to people’s stories of adventure as well as am motivated by those stories.  I want to strive for more adventures, more days on the river.

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Photo courtesy Andrea @andybabe88

My heart grows more and more with each run, every stoke,  every boat flip, every booty beer!.  All while screaming at the top of my lungs because we just conquered what you thought was going to be the impossible.

So again, you may ask me – WHY?

Because I love the life we have been given. The people in it, the relationships with rad humans.  The places and the stunning canyons. I have never felt so at peace and so in control of the moment, past and present than when I am on the river. So, next time instead of asking why maybe come and find out. Who knows maybe it will change your life like it has mine.

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Photo courtesy Andrea @andybabe88

 

If you ever happen to be in Idaho and want to experience this all for yourself here are some great companies and guides to get in touch with.

PRC – Payette River Company
(208) 259-3702
Boise National Forest, 14 Memory Ln, Lowman, ID 83637
Guide – Jesse Delamotte  – Jesse will show you a great time and also help you stay cool on your trip down the river.

Cascade Raft & Kayak    
(208) 793-2221
7050 ID-55, Horseshoe Bend, ID 83629
Guide – Shane Ramasco (Head Guide for Cascade)

Bear Valley Rafting       
(208) 793-2272
Boise National Forest, 7864 ID-55, Banks, ID 83602
Kaylie Hoffman – Guide

Canyons River Company  
 (208) 634-4303  
160 Commerce St, McCall, ID 83638

Hells Canyon Raft
(208) 634-6366
1308 Roosevelt Ave, McCall, ID 83638

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Photo courtesy Andrea @andybabe88

If you’re looking to get hooked up with some sweet gear, PFD, drysuit, helmet anything you can think of that is need to be on the river to have a fun and safe time check out these local outfitters in Idaho.

Cascade River Gear – Ask for Renee Zettle

Aire –Ask for Sarah Ostberg

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Photo courtesy Andrea @andybabe88

 

April
1

#GetOutThere Guide Puerto Rico: Shacks Beach (Isabella)

When you’re looking for MI OLA ambassador Adrienne (@yokeens), you’ll find her in the water in the Outer Banks (OBX), or out traveling the world. In February, Adrienne traveled to Aguadilla, Puerto Rico for a tropical escape. Here’s her take on getting out there in Aguadilla.

 

#GetOutThere Guide Puerto Rico: Shacks Beach (Isabella)

Living in the Outer Banks offers months of beautiful weather, but during the winter it can get a little cold so it’s a perfect time to travel! Puerto Rico is the perfect get away as it offers awesome weather, great surf, and plenty of jungle to explore. Plus, it’s a quick and usually cheap flight! In February, I took off to Aguadilla in Puerto Rico for warm weather and to celebrate my 30th birthday!

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Adrienne- @yokeens

 

What to Do:

SURF!!!

There are multiple spots to surf in this area.  The surf spots here are point breaks, meaning the wave is breaking from a certain point each time, which is most likely over reef or rock.  Each spot, depending on the conditions, will vary in size. They will be listed in small to BIG (but of course this could all change depending on weather/swell).

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Adrienne- @yokeens

Playa Rompe Olas: This is a small break located in downtown Aguadilla.  It breaks from a rock, but is a sandy bottom! Paddle out and sit by the rock for the best ride. There is a line up so be sure to use surfer etiquette and be aware of the locals. Mid to long boards would work here nicely. There is a nice beach with a bar across the street. This beach tends to busy especially on a holiday Monday. Don’t leave anything on the beach unattended as it could get stolen and don’t leave anything important visible in your car.

Wilderness beach: Getting to Wilderness beach is a challenge as the road is dirt and has major pot holes. Use caution! (We did make it to the parking area in a rental Hyundai Elantra.) The first peak right after the old lighthouse building will look really nice and most likely uncrowded. Here the waves can break left or right.  There is sand walk in, but the rest is rock/reef.  Getting out of the water in the right spot is tricky (I got sea urchined).  There was a lot of current when we went, so we were paddling just to stay in the same spot.  The second and most popular peak will be bigger and more crowded.  Again, getting in and out is hard because there will be rock/reef with urchins. The third peak is a walk past the large dirt parking area is the smallest and best choice for fewer people and more manageable waves.

Shacks Beach: At Shacks, there is only a small parking area to access the beach.  There are two main breaks. The one in front of Villa Sessions is better for SUPers as it has less push.  For the other peak, walk down to the sandy point, hop in (watch for urchins), drift to the left of the exposed rock, and there is a point break that rips right.  Careful, the reef here can get shallow and even fully exposed during low tides!

Playa Jobos:  This is a popular spot. It’s located right off a busy road with plenty of bars!  Try to find parking on the road or in one of the lots where you pay $5.  The beach is popping.  There’s a really great rock to the right where the waves hit and spray/explode (awesome picture opportunity!)  To surf, get in near that rock and paddle out to the break – it breaks right.  It’s a bit deeper here, but it does go over a reef.  Beginners should stay on the inside and catch white water.

 

EXPLORE:

There is plenty to do in a short drive like explore downtown Isabella, Aguadilla and Rincon, with great road side food trucks along the way. The driving around here is fast with little rules so be alert!

Gozalandia Hiking Arena:  Pathways to waterfalls and hiking in the jungle.  The water is a little cold but you can jump from the waterfalls and a rope swing! Pay to park/enter.

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Gozalandia. Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Adrienne- @yokeens

Cabo Rojo: Located at the end of a dirt, pot hole filled road, this is a great way to spend the day! Bring water, picnic and set up on the beach after walking the trail that follows along the cliffs. Amazing views and the beach is white sand with beautiful flat warm water!

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Cabo Rojo. Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Adrienne- @yokeens

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Cabo Rojo. Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Adrienne- @yokeens

Snorkeling/diving, SUPing, yoga, jungle hikes, local eats and horseback rides are just a few other activities to enjoy in this area!  US currency is used. Most people speak English or can understand. There are plenty of familiar stores like Walgreens if you forget anything from home.  Be sure to stop at any gas station to try the Gasolina drink (adult juice box)!

How To Get There:

Fly into Aguadilla Airport (BQN).  Aguadilla is a tiny airport that pretty much only has flights that arrive at 1AM, BUT it will be cheap and literally 5 minutes to Shacks Beach.

How to Get Around:

There are rental cars here, but be sure to call and reserve ahead as there is a tendency to run out of cars!  Be prepared with travel plans because flights are often delayed. Otherwise you can fly into San Juan airport, which will have more options, but be a 2 hour drive. Also, bring surf straps to put boards on roof of car!

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f Sunset in Aguadilla. Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Adrienne- @yokeens

Where to Stay:

We stayed at Villa Sessions which is a condo right on Shacks Beach, steps away from a beautiful and fairly secluded beach. The condo is fully furnished, air conditioned, and safe! I took beach walks every morning, surfed, laid out and snorkeled here (crystal clear waters with tons of wildlife steps off shore).  This location offers great SUP, surf and snorkel sessions with a much smaller crowd/line up then other spots.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Adrienne- @yokeens

When to Go:

We went at the end of February and the weather was amazing! We actually got some rain at night which is unusual, but during the day it was sunny and warm with a slight breeze so we were never over heated. Average air temperatures are high 70s to low 80s, basically year round. It does get into the high 80s in summer months (May-Sept). So best time to go will be winter months (Nov-April).

 

March
17

#GetOutThere Guide: Jamaica

MI OLA brand ambassador Lauren @rock3roll was born in Houston (the birthplace of Beyoncé…) and spent time living in the Midwest before moving to NYC six years ago.  Now, she professionally wanders every four weeks, and is an incessant adventurer.  We caught up with this sandy mermaid and got the details on her latest #GetOutThere adventure to Jamaica.

 

#GetOutThere Guide: Jamaica

How to get there: I flew from JFK to Miami, and onward to Montego Bay. I would highly recommend flying into MBJ, as your trip from the airport to your hotel in the Montego area will be no more than 20 minutes!

Where to stay: I stayed at the SeaGarden Beach Resort. My intent in Jamaica was to explore (as is always!) The SeaGarden had great views (grab an ocean view room) and authentic Jamaican food. It was perfect for what we were looking for! If you’re looking for more of a “stay-put” type of vibe, I would definitely stay at one of the Sandals locations. Partly because of The Office, but also because they seem to have a lot of properties to choose from, and great reviews!

When to go: I traveled to the island in July and had great weather. It’s always good to be aware of the rainy seasons on any island. Jamaica has two main rainy seasons. May is the first, followed by October- November.  Also, keep Hurricane Season in mind from June through the end of a November. Island rain typically is brief and patchy (in my experience), but if this is your one and only escape for the year, better to not take your chances!!!

Negril:

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.

If you’re not staying in Negril, travel by cab or by catamaran. The Dreamer is a fun snorkel (booze) cruise that takes you from Montego Bay to Negril. If traveling by car, it’s best practice to rent a driver for the day (prices very from $100-$200, not including tip). Your driver will stay with you, affording you the flexibility to go and stop where you please!

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Photo by MI OLA Brand Ambassador Lauren – @rock3roll

While you’re in Negril, make sure you stop by The Cliffs, more specifically, Rick’s Café! There are multiple spots along the cliff where the brave can jump in from various heights. Not interested? No worries grab a drink at the bar and watch the professionals do what they do best: jump. If bar food isn’t up your alley, head to Ivan’s. Located not far up the road from Rick’s Café, Ivan’s is nestled within the cliff side, offering up stunning ocean views. It’s the perfect place to nom on jerk lobster and drink flaming rumrunners while the sun floats down.

 

 

Montego Bay:

Centrally located between tourist haunts Negril and Ocho Rios, Montego Bay is the perfect spot to find an all-inclusive for your stay. Walk down to Margaretville for a Bob Marley (your new favorite drink for all-of-time) and a bounce on their ocean trampolines and slides.

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Photo by MI OLA Brand Ambassador Lauren – @rock3roll

 

 

Ocho Rios:

Up the road roughly 1.5 hours from Montego Bay is a plethora of unique island experiences. Popular among locals and tourists, the Blue Hole is made up of a combination of waterfalls and swimming holes. Interested in cruising around the watery landscape solo? Take the paths, and wander. Looking to jump and swim? Hire a guide. Water shoes are recommended, and sold at the entrance for you to comfortably cruise around the falls. Have a GoPro? Your guide will happily become your professional photographer (just make sure you’ve got a waterproof case!) You’ll be able to jump off of falls as steep as around 20 feet. Expect to pay around $15 to enter, plus a little extra for a guide!

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Photo by MI OLA Brand Ambassador Lauren – @rock3roll

After the Blue Hole, take a car back down towards Montego Bay for an afternoon stop at Bamboo Blue. Located in Mammee Bay, you’ll get a first class beach seat and bright blue water, all for the cost of a Piña Colada. Rent a cabana, and sip on whatever frozen concoction floats your boat.

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Photo by MI OLA Brand Ambassador Lauren – @rock3roll

Finish up your trip back to Montego Bay, by stopping at the Luminous Lagoon in Falmouth, Jamaica. The brackish water in the Lagoon is home to millions of microorganisms called dinoflagellates, that when disturbed emit a light-blue GLOW.

YES. YOU CAN SWIM IN GLOW-IN-THE-DARK WATER!

Get to the Lagoon around 6-6:30 p.m. (in the Summer months; in the Winter, arrive an hour earlier,) to grab your free rum punch (included in the $25 USD per person tour) before the tour starts. It’s not enough just to go on the boat to look at the glow in the boat’s wake; you will want to swim, so wear your MI OLA suit and bring dry clothes to change into (I made that mistake; I swam in a dress…WORTH IT). There are four other places where this phenomenon exists: Indonesia, the Bahamas, and Puerto Rico. It is said that Jamaica is home to the brightest Lagoon out of the four!

 

Roadside Stops

If you do end up taking a cab to various places (or renting a car), make sure to stop for roadside soup and porridges. Some of the best porridge I’ve ever had was on the road (full disclosure, it was also the first time I’ve ever had porridge).  Jerk Chicken stands, and highway restaurants are frequent sights, so absolutely jerk the wheel to pull into any one you see. On your way out of town headed towards Ocho Rios, you’ll pass a few coconut stands. Stop at the LAST one that is nestled in the woods. The coconuts are known among locals as THE BEST.

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Photo by MI OLA Brand Ambassador Lauren – @rock3roll

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Photo by MI OLA Brand Ambassador Lauren – @rock3roll

 

Jamaica is home to beautiful people and culture. Get out there and have a blast!

 

 

 

September
23

#GetOutThereGuide: Sanibel Island

When brand ambassador Amanda (@mermanda_) isn’t teaching yoga, running her very own yoga studio, or getting out there in her town town of Marathon, Florida, she is exploring sandy beaches. Recently she took a trip with her boyfriend to 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. We just had to catch up with Amanda to get all the insider details on how to #GetOutThere in Sanibel Island!

#GetOutThereGuide: Sanibel Island

Sanibel Island is 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! I really felt drawn to this sea shell covered island and I guess most MI OLA mermaids would be too. Every store on the island sells tools for building sand castles – I liked that about it! You could still hear the ocean over everything else and there wasn’t anything in the way of connecting with nature and my sweet sweet boyfriend, Andy.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Amanda- @mermanda_

How to get there:

Sanibel Island is located off the coast of southwest Florida, just west of Fort Myers, Florida (between Naples and Tampa). The island is roughly 12 miles long and three miles across at its widest. The only road in and out of Sanibel is the Sanibel Causeway Road, which connects the island to the mainland.

What to do:

Every inch of beaches are covered in sea shells of all shapes and sizes, and species. We bought sifter shovels and buckets and spent hours between the beach and the ocean floor collecting and sorting the most precious pieces. Did you know the best time to shell is an hour before or after low tide?

I have always found my self deeply inspired by sand and the vast amounts of grains and speck that lie in a single square inch, but this was different. The creative inspiration flowed through my finger tips to my soul with ever shell I touched.

Ideas of shell art and shell inspired mandalas that I could hang in my home and my yoga studio to continue to be in awe of this place and this feeling.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Amanda- @mermanda_

Where to stay:

We stayed at a sweet little inn called the Parrots Nest, covered in shell decor and more romantic than a Ritz. The place was a sanctuary tucked away from the road, consumed in the most elegant way by moss, trees, and a deep connection to nature; and with in walking distance to the best breakfast and coffee shop on the island called Easy Over cafe.

We took our coffee to the Sanibel Island Lighthouse for a morning stroll along the trails and coast line of the south end of the Island.

What else to do:
Besides collect shells and build sandcastles, my boyfriend and I didn’t do much else! But, there is a plethora of other outdoor activities, like riding bikes all around the island, playing tennis, kayaking/canoeing, fishing, playing golf, practicing yoga, SUPin, and much more!

Go. Let yourself Relax. Be inspired.

For more information, check out Sanibel Captiva’s tourism website.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Amanda- @mermanda_

September
2

#GetOutThere Guide: Northern California Highway 1

 

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Becca.- @roamwildandfree

MI OLA ambassador Becca just spent over 3 weeks traveling up the coast of Northern California along Highway 1. She is in the middle of an 8 month journey around the American and Canadian West discovering the most incredible landscapes along the way. Read on to plan your own NorCal Highway 1 journey!

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Highway 1 twists and turns through massive Old Growth Redwood Forests, traverses across rocky shorelines and takes the traveler through vistas one can only imagine. Exploring Northern California along Highway 1 is not a quick 70mph drive. Although Google Maps says the 324 mile trip from Bodega Bay to Crescent City takes just over 7 hours, you’ll want at least 4 days! My husband and I spent over 3 weeks exploring the coastline by backpacking the Lost Coast Trail, hiking among the Redwoods and finding private beaches along the way. We narrowed down our favorite spots just for you!

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Backpacking along The Lost Coast. Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Becca.- @roamwildandfree

 

The Best Backpacking Trip

The Lost Coast Trail is located in the King Range National Conservation Area – which encompasses over 68,000 acres of wilderness along 35 miles of untouched shoreline. Enthusiastic backpackers enjoy a one-way, 25 mile trip along the shoreline with awe-inspiring views for the entire way. This backpacking trek does require a shuttle unless you would like to double the mileage. We backpacked a small portion of The Lost Coast Trail departing from Black Sands Beach. Don’t forget to register for a permit and rent a bear canister! If you want to spend more time on the Lost Coast Trail, check out our more in depth Lost Coast Trail #GetOutThere Guide by Ashley B.!

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Mountain biking in Jackson Demo State Forest. Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Becca.- @roamwildandfree

 

The Best Mountain Biking

A mountain biking paradise lies right outside one of the larger towns along HWY 1, Fort Bragg. The biking is in the Jackson Demo State Forest, just a few miles outside of town. There is enough singletrack that any biker will have fun for days and chances are you won’t see a soul! This area boasts soft trails through a towering Redwood Forest. What’s not to love?! Stop in Fort Bragg at Fort Bragg Cyclery for more info and directions.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Becca.- @roamwildandfree

 

The Best Beaches

EVERYWHERE! Literally everywhere. While we were traveling along the coast, we drove an average of about 30 miles/day stopping at every beach we saw along the road that looked promising. Our rule of thumb – If there’s a beach, stop and soak up the sun! Some of our favorites were in Salt Point State Park, Sonoma Coast State Park and MacKerricher State Park.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Becca.- @roamwildandfree

 

The Best Day Hikes

The Humboldt Redwoods in Northern California boasts the largest remaining old-growth forest of coast redwoods. It’s impossible not to be humbled and inspired all at the same time as you’re meandering through the forest. These trees live up to 2,000 years and can be over 200 ft tall. Stop at a visitor center to learn more about these impressive trees and find the right trail for you!

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Hiking in Sinkyone Wilderness State Park. Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Becca.- @roamwildandfree

The Best Place to Get Off The Grid

If you’re looking for a place to get off the beaten path, Usal Beach at Sinkyone Wilderness State Park is your paradise! To get to this deserted beach and hiking paradise, visitors need to travel along a very steep, narrow and rough dirt road for 6 miles. From the trailhead, hike along the beautiful coast and through a Redwood grove for sweeping, 360-degree views. Don’t forget ample food and water as there aren’t any modern facilities. Usal Beach is camping only.

California is known for being sunny and 75 almost every day of the year. Lucky you, this means you can plan your road trip anytime you feel the need to get away! Be aware that this area can become quite crowded during the summer months because of families on vacations.

 

 

What to Bring and Where to Sleep

Your journey along HWY 1 will consist of a whole lot of gorgeous scenery and not a whole lot of amenities. The sleepy coastal towns that you’ll pass through will provide gas, one or two B&Bs, a local restaurant and the obligatory bar. First, decide if you’d like to camp (many people choose this option as there are a plethora of campgrounds along the route) or stay in a plush bed! You can’t go wrong with either! I’d recommend bringing the following whether camping or not.

• Reusable Water Bottles or a Water Jug – There aren’t too many public drinking sources along the way. Make sure you don’t get dehydrated and fill up along the way!

• Snacks, and lots of them! – As you’re traveling along HWY 1, you won’t see many options for quick eats. Pack a cooler with lunch food and snacks to avoid hanger!

• Athletic clothes to enjoy the outdoors, hiking boots or good walking shoes and plenty of SPF.

• Your favorite MI OLA bikini!

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Becca.- @roamwildandfree

 

May
13

#GetOutThere Guide: Whanganui River, New Zealand

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Leslie – @lesnorberg

New MI OLA ambassador to the sisterhood is canoer Leslie – @lesnorberg. Her past adventures include paddling the Canadian Arctic roughly 500 miles, with six other women in 50 days. Now she is spending the summer in New Zealand as a canoe trip leader.

For this week’s post explorer Leslie guides us on how to #GetOutThere on the Whanganui River in New Zealand.  The Whanganui is a major river on the North Island of New Zealand and is the country’s third-longest river.

The river and the land surrounding it have tremendous importance to the region’s Māori people of Aotearoa (New Zealand). They arrived in voyaging canoes from their ancestral homeland of Hawaiki over 1000 years ago.  An important route for communication and trade, the river was the primary way to reach the interior of the North Island.

The flora, fauna and land surrounding it is incredible. Wild and natural, draped by steep hills, you’ll feel the heart of the forest. Hear the songs of the outstanding native birdlife as your adventure flows through a breathtaking national park.

“Ko au te awa, Ko te awa ko.” – “I am the river and the river is me.” – Māori Tribes.

 

#GetOutThere Guide: Whanganui River, New Zealand by Leslie Norberg

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Leslie – @lesnorberg


Getting Started

You will need a canoe, paddles, life jacket, etc. Most people hire gear through an outfitter. There are several to choose from to suit all budgets. Before you choose, make sure you do a bit of research. Tripadvisor is great for this.

Ask your outfitter about transportation options, what equipment is included, if campsite bookings are included, and if you get a personal locator beacon.

If you don’t feel comfortable doing the river on your own, hire a guide.  The best time to visit is between October and April.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Leslie – @lesnorberg

 

The Journey

Most people choose to paddle for three days, starting in Whakahoro and ending in Pipiriki, covering roughly 90 kilometers (56 miles) in total. This is the most popular option.

Map compliments of Teara

Map by Teara

Another paddle is a five-day journey starting in Ohinepane (just north of Whakahoro) and ending in Pipiriki covering roughly 120 kilometers (74 miles).

Want to customize your own trip? Start as far north as Taumarunui and travel the entire length of the river all the way to Whanganui, where the river meets the sea. Check in with your outfitter to see what options they offer.

A must see and a highlight of many people’s trips is the Bridge to Nowhere – it’s literally a bridge in the middle of nowhere.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Leslie – @lesnorberg

 

What To Bring

Your outfitter will supply canoes, paddles, bailer, PFD’s (lifejackets), personal locator beacon, map, and waterproof barrels for your personal gear and food. 

Everything else is up to you!

Campsite bookings sheet  Either your outfitter or yourself will have to book campsites.

The basics  First aid kit, cooking and eating utensils, matches or a lighter, toilet paper.

A good tent  I’ve seen some pretty rainy nights on the Whanganui and was glad I had a solid tent to keep me dry and happy. Even if you book a hut bring a tent just in case.

Sleeping bag  Preferably not down as it does not keep you warm when wet.

Headlamp  Bring spare batteries.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Leslie – @lesnorberg

Paddling clothes  These are what you will wear during the day. You should be ok with getting them wet. I recommend my clients wear polyprops/thermals/merino on cooler days and quick dry material on warmer days. No Cotton!

Definitely, bring your MI OLA BIKINI.  This is a river and there are plenty of awesome places to swim and jump!

 

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Leslie – @lesnorberg

Camp clothes  These clothes should never be worn on the river. You need dry clothes at the end of the day. Again, these should be fleece, polyprop, or merino. Cotton takes forever to dry when wet and will not keep you warm.

Stove  Make sure you’ve tested it before your trip. Bring plenty of fuel for your stove.

Food  Take plenty of snacks to keep you going throughout the day, you will need them. For your meals, you can go as simple as “boil in a bag” or as complex as a 3-course meal with fresh veggies, bacon, etc. Bring an extra day’s worth of food as “emergency food”.

Garbage bag  Be tidy. Dedicate one of your barrels to garbage as animals can chew through the bag.

Water bottle / storage  Everyone should have their own water bottle. Stay hydrated! Every campsite has water tanks. In the beginning of the season, there is rainwater and it is safe to drink -at your own risk. As the season progresses, the water in the tanks becomes questionable.

Either boil all of your water or bring your choice of treatment system. I recommend you bring a larger container to store your treated water in so you can refill your water bottles during the day.

Sunscreen, Sun Hat & Glasses  New Zealand has a hole in the ozone layer. The sun is strong. We’re talking a ten minute burn time – yeow! Sunscreen or covering up is your best option. I wear tights on the river and a sun shirt or your MI OLA RASHGUARD. You’ll need a hat and sunglasses to protect your face.

 

 

Leave No Trace

Pack out what you pack in. Practice Leave No Trace at campsites and on the river.

Don’t chuck garbage into the bush, including organic waste. Keep your garbage in a garbage bag and put it in a barrel for the night. Animals will chew through anything else, including tents, so put food and garbage in your barrels overnight.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Leslie – @lesnorberg

Use the sinks provided by the campsites to do your dishes.  There are toilets at campsites. Use them to keep the river clean so others can enjoy it after you. You cannot get far enough away from the water to “do your business”.

Safety Tips

1.  Outfitters are required to give their clients a safety briefing before they get on the river. It is very important you listen carefully and ask questions.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Leslie – @lesnorberg

2.  Check the weather. metservice.com has a rain radar I use before I take a trip out.

3.  Have basic knowledge of rivers and paddling in current. Check the river level. If it is above 3.5 meters your outfitter will not let you start the trip.

4.  You must stay at a designated campsite. These are the best places to be in case the river rises.

5.  Flooding and heavy rainfall causes The Whanganui to rise and fall very quickly. If you see large logs floating down the river, your best option is to stay put at a campsite until the river drops. If a hut warden recommends you stay put, listen to them.

6.  Wear your PFD at all times. This is a big one. I see a lot of people paddling down the river with no lifejacket on. Wear it in the boat no exceptions! You are doing yourself and your fellow travelers a favor.

7.  There is no cell service on the river. You can find a radio at John Coull Hut and a phone at the Bridge to Nowhere lodge in case of an emergency.

8.  Canoes give way to jet boats. Move over to the side of the river and let them pass.

9.  Tell someone about your plans. Travel in groups even if they’re strangers. It is safer.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Leslie – @lesnorberg

10.  Be smart and swim in an eddy – still water with no current. Do not swim anywhere near logs or rocks.

GETTING HERE

Depending on the outfitter you have chosen, your journey will most likely start out of Ohakune, Raetihi, or Taumarunui. Traveling from Auckland or Wellington is easy, as they both have major international airports. The drive from either of these cities is roughly 4 hours.

Taking the bus is another option, just allow more travel time. Make sure you check in with your outfitter a couple of days out, or the night before your trip. They will be able to answer any last minute questions you have.

 

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

April
15

MI OLA’s Meditation Guide for Mermaids

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Photo by MI OLA  Ambassador Amanda – @mermanda_

Meditation has been practiced in eastern cultures for thousands of years.  In the last 15 years, meditation has moved from the fringe in western culture, to a practice that yogis, life coaches, scientists, Kate Hudson and even Oprah recommend as a way to a more mindful, creative and focused life with less anxiety and stress.

The concept is that by taking 10-20 minutes a day to sit with a clear and open mind, you are more effective, clear and present in your day.  The benefits of meditation are not only mental.  Meditation has also been shown to lower blood pressure,  make your immune system stronger, improve your sleep and much more – while improving your ability to concentrate.

So… sitting by yourself quietly… doesn’t seem hard, does it?   You would be surprised.   Starting a consistent practice can be a challenge.  So we have 4 great tips from our expert, MI OLA Ambassador Amanda Minton @mermanda_, on the best way to start your meditation practice.

 

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Photo by MI OLA  Ambassador Amanda – @mermanda_ in our Reversible Wrap Top and Thong Tha Thong Bottom, both in Galaxy

Amanda discovered her passion and completed her yoga teacher training in India. Amanda recently opened  Sol Shine Yoga Studio, in the Florida Keys.

 

 

 

Beginner Guide to Meditation by Amanda Minton –  @mermanda_

Meditate: focus the mind, become aware of the present moment, and connect to your truest being.

1)  Find a quiet spot where you won’t be disturbed, sit down and close your eyes. Do nothing else. Do not text. Do not rehearse conversations in your mind. Do not even make dinner plans. Just Sit.

Make sure you are comfortable. Wear comfortable clothes, or even your favorite MI OLA BIKINI, and sit somewhere quiet to avoid any distraction with your focus.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Amanda – @mermanda_

2)  Listen intently to the sound of your breath. Watch it as it moves through your lungs, over your ribs, and in and out of every space in your body.

At first, you may listen to only one breath and then be distracted by a thought. This is normal. When you notice you’ve been distracted by thinking, let go of that thought, set it down right where it is, and return to your breath. Do this over and over again. Meditation is a practice just like any other.

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Photo by MI OLA  Ambassador Amanda – @mermanda_

3)  Let the sensation of gratitude, joy, and love come over your entire being as you sit in stillness and silence; breathing and being a perfect part of the universe. Exactly as you are.

 

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Photo by MI OLA  Ambassador Amanda – @mermanda_

4) Be kind and accepting to yourself.  Meditation is a practice that takes work.  You  may only be able to do 5 minutes to start and then work your way up.   Even with a little meditation, you will feel the benefits.

 

Need more help or something to focus on? Try out a Mantra or Guided Meditation.

Mantra literally means “that which protects the mind,”. A mantra meditation is repeating a word or phrase in your mind over and over again. My favorite Sanskrit mantra is “So Hum,”  it means “I am” in Sanskrit. To me, it means that I simply am. Before I am a friend, a woman, or a thinker, I am a being of love and light.

Another mantra meditation I like is repeating the phrase “Let Go.” Think of the word “Let” as you inhale and “Go” as you exhale. The Mantra gives the mind something to focus on while you practice letting go.

Guided Meditation is when one or more participants meditate in response to the guidance provided by a trained practitioner or teacher. There are guided meditations that you can keep in your pocket or on your phone. There is an app HEADSPACE that I recommend.   Download it here:

headspace

Headspace is designed to bring guided meditation and mindfulness to you in an easy way, which you can access anytime and almost anywhere.   And you can try it for 10 days for free, to start your practice right away!   Headspace was started by Andy Puddicombe, a former Buddhist monk with over 10 years of teaching experience, and the UK’s foremost mindfulness meditation expert.

If you’re deeply curious about meditation and mindfulness, Mr. Puddicombe has an expert TED Talk that explains the importance and benefits of making meditation a part of your lifestyle.

Now… stop reading and focus inward, and let us know how it goes!

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

April
1

#GetOutThere Guide: Fiji


Anyone who’s been to Fiji raves about it.   So when MI OLA WORLD ambassador Ellen visited recently, we had to get the inside scoop on how to #GETOUTTHERE.

Originally from the tiny island of Jersey, UK, Ellen now lives in one of the most beautiful parts of Australia, the Northern Rivers, home to the world famous Byron Bay.  Ellen’s passion is being in or under the water. Fins, mask and underwater camera in hand, exploring the reefs and wrecks around Byron Bay is this adventurer’s game.

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Photo by Leigh Toovey

Hi bikini fans, I’m Ellen- a MI OLA Brand ambassador currently living in sunny Australia. I’m a Brit by birth, so growing up in a place that’s often cold, wet and windy ignited a passion for travel. There’s nothing I love more than a tropical adventure!

I was lucky enough to spend a week in Fiji recently. I’m loving I can share my insights to this beautiful place with you all.

 

#GetOutThere Guide: Fiji

Fiji is actually a collection of over 300 islands, ranging in size from a few square metres to 10,000 square kilometres. Pretty much all of these islands boast palm-fringed beaches of white sand, surrounded by turquoise waters teeming with corals and fish.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Ellen – @artemis_eleven

The larger islands boast dramatic mountain ranges and lush valleys, complete with rainforests and waterfalls. Anaconda, Castaway and Blue Lagoon were filmed here.

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Photo by Gavin Mills

My #GetOutThere Guide’s focus is on two groups of islands to the west of the mainland, the Mamanucas and the Yasawas.

Activities
Let’s face it, you don’t go to Fiji unless you like the ocean! Most of the activities available centre around the turquoise waters.

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Photo by Leigh Toovey

Snorkeling
Explore beautiful, healthy coral reefs close to shore. Swim right off the beach and see an array of soft and hard corals. There’s no missing the huge variety of small, colorful fish.

Prepared to venture out a little deeper? At 3-5 m (10 – 15 feet) deep, you’ll be rewarded with huge coral bombies every colour of the rainbow. Come across Fijian groupers up to 1.5 m (5 feet) long. If you’re there at the right time of the year, you might even see some Manta Rays!

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Photo by Leigh Toovey of @artemis_eleven in her Pin Up Top

Diving
SCUBA schools (PADI accredited) can be found on most of the islands. If you choose to dive I’d recommend the Yasawa Islands. The dramatic volcanic landscapes means the underwater rock formations are equally interesting with tunnels and caves to see.

Experienced guides will take you on excursions to see sharks and turtles.

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Photo by Matt Hall

Surfing
The island of Tavarua is at the southern end of the Mamanucas. It’s home to the famous Cloudbreak and Restaurants reef breaks. These breaks get very crowded. A better bet is the ‘Coral Coast’ which covers the southwest coast of Viti Levu, the main island. The hundreds of kilometers of reef breaks here mean you’re bound to find a wave to yourself!

Above-water
Most island resorts have paddle boards and kayaks for hire, as well as organizing typical beach activities such as volleyball.

A great thing to do is to take part in the local craft lessons and learn how to make hats, crowns and baskets from palm fronds.

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Photo by MI OLA

 

Where to Stay
The islands are pretty small. In the case of the Yasawas, if not small, then remote. Often there are only one or two resorts per island. I’d recommend you do your research.

Some islands cater to the party crowd, others to families or couples. Some resorts are luxury and others are budget. A good number of islands cater to everybody. They have three or four different accommodation options to suit every price range. Some offer more secluded accommodation or something nearer the bar.

Our favorite was Bounty Island in the Mamanucas. It was fairly basic, but we liked that! We had a beach hut to ourselves a stone throw away from the ocean. Every day we were able to find our own stretch of sand and often wouldn’t see another person all day! Perfect for that castaway, desert island experience.

 

Where and What to Eat
Here’s the (slight) catch to these beautiful islands: you’re a captive audience when it comes to food. All islands run a compulsory ‘all inclusive’ policy when it comes to food. This cost is often charged on top of your accommodation fee. When booking be sure to ask whether your price includes the ‘Resort Tax’ (a.k.a. your food charge) or not. It’s great value for money at around $30 per day for 3 beautiful meals, but it can be a bit of a shock to the system if you hadn’t budgeted to pay that on arrival.

Bear in mind that for each meal, you’ll probably only be presented with two or three options. If you’re a really fussy eater, an island hopping adventure may not be for you. However, if you love to try new things, and you’re a fan of fish, curries, and fruit (though not all together!) then you’ll be fine.

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Photo by Cloud 9

One place that has to be mentioned is a trip to ‘Cloud 9’ – it’s heaven! Cloud 9 is a floating 2-storey platform bar/restaurant/relaxation-station moored close to the Malolo Barrier Reef. There’s no better way to enjoy a cocktail (or two!) than under a cloudless sky with a 360° view of turquoise waters.

 

The Locals
What makes Fiji such a great place? The People! Fijians are such a warm, welcoming and friendly people. They go out their way to make sure your visit to their country is special and memorable. From the very first cry of ‘Bula’ (welcome) you feel like one of the family. Trust me, you’ll be sad to say ‘Moce’ (goodbye) to these beautiful islands, but you’ll definitely say ‘Vinaka’ (thank you) for one of the best trips of your life!

 

How to #GetOutThere

View from seaplane - Ellen Moon

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Ellen – @artemis_eleven

First stop is to get to Viti Levu, the largest island. The international airport is located in Nadi on the west coast. From here take a 15-minute taxi or bus ride to Port Denarau, where you can pick up a boat out to the islands.

Depending on your budget (and any time constraints like flight arrival times) you have a few options:

The Yasawa Flyer

This bright yellow catamaran offers the best value for money if you intend to island hop your way through the Mamanucas and Yasawas. The downside is the restricted schedule – one outward/northwest-bound and one inward/southeast-bound voyage per day.

Water Taxi
Your hotel should be able to arrange a 10-20 seater boat to cater for passengers arriving on similarly timed flights heading to nearby islands. You may have to wait for an hour or two at the marina, but this gives you a great chance to try the local beer (I recommend ‘Vonu’, which means ‘turtle’ in the local dialect).

Sea-plane
Arrive in style by booking a flight with Turtle Airways (sensing a theme yet?!). This way you dictate the schedule, and you get some amazing views of the coral reefs on your way to your chosen island. Landing on water is quite a thrill, but unsurprisingly, this is the most expensive travel option.

 

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

 

January
22

PREGNANCY: TO SURF OR NOT!

Can I surf when pregnant?  We’ve heard it asked many times.

Any extreme activity when pregnant can be controversial. It’s a personal decision on how active you want to be and how much risk you can handle while you’re pregnant.

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Photo by Dan Evans

Over the past couple of years, amazing women such as Bethany Hamilton and Holly Beck have been good examples of women surfing while pregnant. These mermaids are an inspiration to women who want to keep active while pregnant.

Bethany and Holly are professional surfers and know their bodies and limits. They consulted with their doctors and MI OLA highly recommend you do the same before hitting the waves with your bump.

MI OLA Ambassador, Elise is 5 months into her pregnancy and still surfing! We caught up with Elise to get her valuable tips on this questionable subject.

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MI OLA Ambassador Elise, @babeinthewaves

 

Surfing When Pregnant by Elise Fennollan

Bethany Hamilton is such an inspiration for me! I am not a pro like her but I will continue to surf if it doesn’t put my baby in danger and as long as I feel comfortable.

Surfing pregnant is a very special feeling. It’s like sharing the wave and my pleasure with my baby. I think he feels everything inside my belly and that’s awesome! Moreover, it brings me confidence and serenity.

Now that I am five months pregnant, I feel better and better,  but my surf sessions are shorter. I get tired much faster than before I was pregnant.

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MI OLA Ambassador, Elise @babeinthewaves

1. Always Consult with your doctor. My doctor said, I can surf if I feel ok! He said also no big or powerful waves, no shore break, no big wipeout and beware of the reef. For the moment I continue with my shortboard because I can paddle on my belly, but if I start to feel pain I will stop. I think very soon I am going to need a longboard to paddle on the knees because of my growing belly!!

2. Surf waves that are gentle and easy to catch. I am much more selective with waves – I only paddle for waves I know I will not fall off of. If I am not sure I’ll catch the wave just right, I don’t paddle as I don’t want to risk it. Avoid wipeouts and try to limit falls and any contact with the ground or with the board!

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MI OLA Ambassador, Elise @babeinthewaves

3.  Work on your breath. An important thing for me is to practice breathing. I have less breath because the baby is taking a lot of my oxygen. Practicing yoga is helping me out a lot here.

4.  Only surf if you feel like it. If you are too tired or if you feel any pain, don’t go. Listen to your body! I am very thankful to be able to surf thus far in my pregnancy! It’s really a special feeling to surf with my baby. My core /sense of balance is not the same so I don’t try any tricks. I am just searching the good vibes and to follow the rhythm of the wave.

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MI OLA Ambassador, Elise @babeinthewaves with her babe in the waves.

5. Choose a board that is comfortable to surf with. I can still lay on my belly but not for a long time because it isn’t that comfortable. I try to do my best to keep paddling to a minimum. My 5’5″ shortboard is now too small for me. The waves I am surfing now are not as powerful and it is tiring to paddle. I am surfing on a 6’2″ Epoxy fish shape and it’s perfect for me. It floats me a lot and it is easy to catch waves. My husband and I also bought a longboard so that I can knee paddle in the future months when my belly is bigger.

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6’2″ Epoxy fish shape, Photo by MI OLA

 

MI OLA is not providing medical advice or suggesting that you get out there and rip while pregnant…this is your choice.  However, if we see you out there, we’ll definitely give a shaka to you and your belly!

MI OLA

Photo by MI OLA

January
15

10 TIPS TO STAY FIT DURING YOUR VACATION

We survived the holiday season! With all those festive parties, Christmas cookie tins and savory meals, staying fit and healthy was quite the challenge.

Although our goal is to lead an active, healthy, #GetOutThere lifestyle, sometimes we need a little kickstart. So we turn to our MI OLA Brand Ambassadors for inspiration.

This month we sat down with one of our Ambassadors, Catherine Marquis.

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MI OLA Ambassador @kathmarquis

I have always been active and involved in lots of sports. I was a personal trainer and kinesiologist, for 15 years in Montreal. After a surf trip to Costa Rica, I decided to move here.

I now live in Tamarindo and work as a personal trainer and Surfset instructor. Being active is my life!  Every day I wear my MI OLA bikini and I #GetOutThere to either surf, swim, hike, run, bike, do yoga, pilates or functional training.

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MI OLA Ambassador @kathmarquis

It’s Summer all year long here, so it’s no surprise Costa Rica is a popular vacation destination. So, for my first blog contribution, I thought it would be great to share tips for a keep fit holiday.

 

10 TIPS TO STAY FIT DURING YOUR VACATION

By Catherine Marquis, B.Sc.kinesiology

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Photo by MI OLA

1.  Staying at a resort or all inclusive hotel? Take advantage of all the sports and activities included in your package. Beware of the inviting buffet. Try having 3 small meals and 1-2 healthy snacks during the day. Remember, it takes 3500 extra calories to gain 1 pound.

2.  Most of us will indulge in a ‘Big Night Out’ when on vacation. Prep for this by eating lighter during the day or maybe having a snack before dinner. Try a good ceviche. You will avoid the starving sensation that makes you eat like there is no tomorrow! When mañana comes, cut on calories and try to eat only veggies and protein.

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Photo by MI OLA

3.  Drink water! And I mean a lot. You sweat more in a warm weather, so you need to drink more. Dehydration will result in water retention, which can then cause a bloated sensation making you feel heavy and uncomfortable. The last thing you want when wearing your MI OLA bikini!

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MI OLA Ambassador @kathmarquis

4.  Smoothies can be very tempting on hot, sweaty afternoons. I say yes to a smoothie, but pay attention to what it’s made with. They can be very high on calories. Ask for fresh fruits only, mixed with water or coconut water – delicious! Specify no sugar or honey and try adding ginger.

5.  Enjoy happy hour with your friends but stick to low sugar drinks. Sweet drinks can easily contain more than 350 calories. Good options are light beers or Micheladas – lemon juice, ice, spices or fruit mixed with light beer.  It’s delicious and will last you longer. A vodka or tequila with seltzer and a splash of fruit juice is nice too.

Happy Hour

Photo by MI OLA

6.  Get out of your comfort zone and move! Try new sports and enjoy being challenged. Surf, hike, rent a stand-up paddle board, play volleyball, do yoga! It’s a great way to meet new people and to improve your physical skills through other activities you would not normally do at home.

catherine 1

MI OLA Ambassador @kathmarquis

7.  Get up early. Early mornings are the best times to do a workout on the beach or to go for a run. Exercising outside is also a great way to explore the place you are visiting and to see the sights when it’s not too busy.

catherine 3

MI OLA Ambassador @kathmarquis

8.  For an even tan, walk on the beach instead of lying down with a drink.  You’ll be more active and you’ll avoid flipping around on a sandy towel.

MI-OLA-surf-bikini-tamarindo-costa-rica

MI OLA Ambassador @kathmarquis

9.  Sleep! Enjoy it and don’t feel guilty or lazy about it. You are on vacation, so please your body by getting the rest you need. A good nights of sleep and a little “siesta” (20-30 min.) will decrease your body stress and will help you avoid weight gain. It’s also a great way to cool the body and recharge your batteries to enjoy any other activity you might want to try!

sleep

Photo by MI OLA

10.  Short workouts are the best. Try to fit in a 20 min. metabolic circuit workout every day. You will get a boost of energy out of it and you will burn calories all day long! Do this workout outside and get ready to sweat!

 THE METABOLIC WORKOUT

Perform each exercise for 60 sec. with no rest between.  Follow the circuit with a 10 sec. sprint and take a 60 sec. rest. Repeat 4 times.  Total time: 25 min

1.  AIR SQUATS

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2. BURPS

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3. MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS

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4. ALTERNATED BACK LUNGES

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5. PIKE PUSH-UPS

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6. SPRINT FOR 10 sec. RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN!

beach sprint @kirstenrinck

Photo by @kirstenrinck

Now repeat 4 times!