2015 has been an amazing year for MoVernie! All the goals that I planned during end of 2014 had been achieved. In fact, the results were beyond my expectations, I would say there were a lot of unexpected positive surprises throughout the entire year, giving me an unbelievable MoVernie adventurous journey. The end result for the MoVernie Brand was 10 times greater than I anticipated.
I have never thought that I would be able to work with so many big global corporations throughout the entire year. I would not expect so many of these corporations such as McDonalds, New Balance, Booster Juice, Skittles and much more, want to partner with MoVernie, making MoVernie a Global Brand. I thank all the wonderful PRs, Agents, Advertising Agencies, Corporations and Event Planners for believing in my brand and willing to give MoVernie a lift.
I am humble, grateful and thankful for all the wonderful opportunities. One thing for certain, I am still the same genuine guy. I am still true to myself and true to everyone around me. It’s very important for me to be a solid guy and I will continue to be a solid guy.
Every year, I always look back and reflect on the happenings throughout the year. Then I set realistic goals for the New Year. I will continue to improve. I will continue to work hard to live my life to the fullest as well as continue to expand my MoVernie Brand.
Below are my Top 12 Best MoVernie Memories of 2015. Thank you for your continual support and traveling along with me on my MoVernie journey. Happy New Year! Best wishes to you all in 2016!
MoVernie Top #1 Memory of 2015 – Kia Gear Up Campaign
There were many great MoVernie memories throughout the year of 2015, but one particular event stood out from the rest of them. My top #1 memory of 2015 has to be the Kia Gear Up Campaign in which Kia Canada and Kia Motors flew me into Barcelona, Spain and participated in the Kia Gear Up Global Event.
Beating out hundreds of Canadian Social Media Influencers in the entire country, A panel of Kia Canada executives evaluated and decided to choose me to represent Kia Canada as the Canadian Global Ambassador, joining the other 12 Ambassadors from around the world to attend the Kia Gear Up Campaign. This trip was significant because I got to experience what a real celebrity would experience when staying at a 5-star hotel in Barcelona. Having my own assistants that helped you carry your bags, your belongings and taking care of you at all times. I got a taste of the paparazzi lifestyle when the camera crew of over 30 members snapping photos and videos of you at all times. It was quite an experience and I enjoyed it alot.
More importantly, I have always wanted to be a race car driver when I was a kid. Although it was only one day of being a race car driver at the Kia Gear Up Campaign, that was a dream come true. It was awesome especially when Kia Motors had thoughtfully presented the Global Ambassadors with their own personalized racing outfit and helmet. Having my name badge and the Canadian flag on both of my racing outfit and helmet was a touching moment.
Furthermore, this Kia Gear Up Campaign had elevated my MoVernie Brand into a global brand. Right after I returned from Barcelona, there were an instant spike of opportunities and partnerships with various corporations that I became so busy for the rest of the year. Thus, I am grateful and would like to thank you Kia Canada and Kia Motors for an once-in-a-lifetime experience that will forever live with me.
MoVernie Top #2 Memory of 2015 – Kissimmee, Florida: World Food Championships
The media trip to Kissimmee, Florida gave me a number of “firsts” during this journey. It was my first time checking out the Disney World. I had been to the Disneyland a few years ago in California, but Disney World was just so much bigger, lots to check out and the Epcot Theme Park created lots of entertainment & food tasting opportunities. The best part? We didn’t know we were attending Disney World until we arrived that day to know we were given access to it. That was a totally unexpected surprise. It doesn’t matter how old you are, whether you are a baby, a kid, a teenager or adult, Disney World was magical.
Covering the World Food Championships in Kissimmee was super special to me. A few years back when I was in Las Vegas, totally unplanned, I went to Fremont Experience and realized World Food Championships was happening there. Back then, I found it very interesting to have 50 different outdoor kitchen setup for chefs to compete in various food competitions. Never thought a few years later that I would be covering the World Food Championships in Kissimmee, Florida.
Kissimmee, Florida, only 15-20 minutes (by car) from Disney World offers so many cool activities for couples and families to do. First of all, luxurious gated home rentals such as Global Resort Homes are excellent alternatives than staying in resorts inside Walt Disney. Outdoor activities such as kayaking or peddle boarding in creeks were awesome. I got to kayak for my very first time. Sitting on a fast airboat checking out alligators and cows (yes, cows) in the water was quite fascinating. Did you know hot air balloons are a very popular in Kissimmee, Florida? I am always scared of heights but with other social media influencers with me during this trip, I had decided to give my “first” try on a hot air balloon. It was quite an experience and I was glad that I did. The peaceful and calm feeling of being “up in the air” was a memorable one.
MoVernie Top #3 Memory of 2015 – SW Virginia: Birthplace of Country Music & The Crooked Road
A lot of peeps know that I like to listen to hip-hop, R&B and EDM but as most peeps also know that I am open minded and always willing to learn and experience new things that are out of my normal boundaries. When I was invited on a media trip to SW Virginia, covering the birthplace of Country Music, I decided to be on the MOVE to check out what this region has to offer. Before this media trip, every time I think of country music, I always think of Nashville, but Nashville is not the birthplace of country music. It was a group of talented singers and bands who made a visit to Bristol, Virginia in 1927 and recorded a famous sessions recording, paving the way for the evolution of the country music. As we toured along “The Crooked Road”, I got to visit various historic venues and museums and got a chance to know the culture and the traditions country music had brought to the region of this area. The Appalachians, the mountain tops and beautiful landscapes created a unique experience of my visit. Did you know Bristol is also famous for NASCAR? The Bristol Speedway can sits over 100,000 people at the race. I hope to check that out in the near future. Also, SW Virginia is also famous for making Moonshine, a high-proofed distilled spirits that was originally an illegal product has now been legalized 5 years ago.
MoVernie Top #4 Memory of 2015 – Ford NAIAS (North American International Auto Show)
The Ford NAIAS (North American International Auto Show), aka Detroit Auto Show, was significant because it was my first media trip and it was a great way to kick starts the year of 2015. Growing up as a kid, I always love cars and Detroit Auto Show is one of the biggest auto shows in the world. Ford gave us an Exclusive VIP experience, they hosted parties at the historic Piquette Avenue Plant, birthplace of the Model T as well as showing us the manufacturing plant of where the award winning F-150 pickup was being built. My favourite part of this trip? That’s when we were all sitting in the front section of the Ford presentation when the CEO of Ford and his staff unveiled the Supercar GT right in front of our eyes. We are talking the precious opportunity for us to be sitting in the same venue with the heavy weights of various well-known publications and automobile journalists from around the world who got to see this supercar GT. We witnessed this car at the same time in person. That was an unbelievable experience.
Attending the Detroit Auto Show was an eye opener because many car manufacturers chose this event to unveil their latest technologies and vehicles to the world for the very first time. No offense to other auto shows, but many of those unveiled presentations at other auto shows were basically first seen from the Detroit Auto Show, so whatever we got to see in Detroit was definitely a first dip experience. Thank you to Ford Canada and Ford Motor Company for the kind hospitality.
MoVernie Top #5 Memory of 2015 – NBA Road Trip to the lone star state of Texas
I had travelled to many different parts of the United States but had never visited the lone star state of Texas. Since I am a huge NBA fan and I often wear my beloved Raptors gear tour around the world, I thought it was time for MoVernie to be on the MOVE to check out the state of Texas.
We landed in Dallas and moment we walked out of the airport, we couldn’t find any cowboys or saloon or ranches in sight. Dallas has changed so much over the years that it is one of the cities that support pharmaceutical companies as well as technological companies. Art museums and culinary restaurants are everywhere in Dallas. Make sure you check out “Uptown”, an area young professional’s who loves to party and chill in this area. Off we drove from Dallas and made our way south bound to Austin, Texas. We heard lots of buzz about the South by Southwest (SXSW) Film and Music Festival in Austin. The 6th Street is a historic place filled with live band music one store after another. Did you also know you can do bat watching in Austin? Now you know. Then, we made our road trip further south, arriving at San Antonio. We checked out the historic Alamo and the river walk. Watching Tim Duncan and his Spurs battling Stephen Curry and his Warriors at AT&T Center was awesome! For your record, the Spurs won that game.
MoVernie Top #6 Memory of 2015 – Blue Jays Playoffs Game #5: Jose Bautista “Bat Flip” Moment
The Toronto Blue Jays made the playoffs for the first time in 22 years. My bro (aka MoKenny) & I was very fortunate to attend playoff game #5 at SkyDome to witness Blue Jays Jose Bautista historic moment when he hit a 3-run blast out of the yard to help the Blue Jays win a come from behind series win over the Texas Rangers. And of course, now the infamous Bautista “bat flip” that will forever be a classic moment with the fans and Jose himself.
When I was young, I couldn’t attend any Blue Jays playoff games back in 92 or 93 because I was just a kid, I couldn’t afford to buy any playoff tickets. Besides, it was super difficult back then to even snatch a ticket or two. Fast track 22 years later, it was a great brother moment to remember for a lifetime when we got amazing seats over the 1st base and enjoy a memorable playoff win with my bro, MoKenny. That’s priceless!
More memorable was the fact that an inning earlier (before Jose hit his 3-run blast), the Blue Jays were down by 1 run due to a very rare misplay when Rangers scored a run on a baseball that was accidentally knocked off from Shin-Soo Choo’s bat. MoKenny & I feared that if the outcome was a Blue Jays lost that there would have been a major riot. Luckily, good things happen to a good team that the Blue Jays prevailed and beat the Texas Rangers fair and square with a comeback series victory to move on to the next round.
MoVernie Top #7 Memory of 2015 – My parents meeting MoPete for their first time
Alot of peeps know that my stage name “MoVernie” was originated from my favourite Raptors of all-time, Morris Peterson (aka MoPete). “Mo” + my nickname “Vernie” equal MoVernie. After the Raptors playoff game #1 versus the Washington Wizards, our whole family went to SOCO Kitchen + Bar (located inside Delta Toronto) to grab dinner. Sitting across me, my mom excitedly said “MoPete! MoPete!” At first, I wasn’t sure what she was referring as my seat was facing a wall, so I couldn’t see anything behind me. Then, my mom said it again, “MoPete! He is over there!” Immediately, I stood up, I turned around and saw MoPete from a far distance, in his awesome custom made blue suit. I walked towards him and said “MoPete!”. He noticed me and he recognized me as I interviewed him a few times in the past. He gave me a big hug and a warm smile. I told him that my parents spotted him. MoPete came over, dropped off his belongings and t-shirts and he greeted everyone of us at the table. He was so genuine, down-to-earth and chatted with everyone. MoPete spent the time chatting with my mom and my dad. You should see the happiness and the excitement on my parents’ faces. And of course, we took a family photo with MoPete which is now framed in our living room. Thank you MoPete for coming over and spending sometime chatting with my parents. It meant alot to them and it was definitely a highlight of the night!
MoVernie Top #8 Memory of 2015 – Taylor Swift 1989 Concert at SkyDome
I had attended to many concerts throughout my life but I have to say, Taylor Swift 1989 Concert at SkyDome was by far my favourite concert to date. Originally, I didn’t have any tickets and I was told by my friends that they purchased Taylor Swift concert tickets a year before. That is crazy! Anyhow, as the date of the concert was fast approaching, I did wonder what it’s like to watch her concert. A day after that thought, the dream came true! A sponsor called and asked if I like Taylor Swift, I was like “Hell ya! I like Taylor Swift”. The rest was history as I went to Taylor Swift Concert. What I didn’t know was how great the seats were, we were sitting 18 rows from the stage. That was huge as we all know, SkyDome sits 50,000 people, which means, you could be sitting at the nosebleed and far from the stage. Although, I would be happy to sit anywhere for Taylor, sitting 18 rows from the stage was totally unexpected. Each person received a special glow in the dark wrist band which will flash a different colour controlled by a central music rhythm system. My favourite moment was when the entire SkyDome was lit up with 50,000 of pink wristbands flashing in unison. That was quite a sight! Taylor Swift is just so talented and she can flat out sing. She is gorgeous and down-to-earth real. Her speech to motivate and encourage her fans “not to change” for the sake of impressing others was huge. She wanted her fans just to be happy and don’t let anyone changed the way they don’t want to become.
Taylor definitely had lots of great songs, hits after hits and her 1989 Album were full of great songs after another. It was a great evening! A night to remember! I will definitely go to another Taylor Swift concert in the near future!
MoVernie Top #9 Memory of 2015 – Winmar Toronto Buffalo Bills Tailgate Party
The last time I went to watch a Buffalo Bills game in Buffalo was 8 years ago, but that was just purely walked into the Ralph Wilson Stadium and enjoyed a Sunday afternoon game. 8 years later, I was back again to Buffalo to watch the Bills game. But this time, we arrived in Buffalo in style. Winmar Toronto, the property restoration specialist, hosted its annual Buffalo Bills Tailgate Road Trip to Buffalo.
At 5:30 am, Winmar Toronto booked a super long party limo bus and picked up its clients to Buffalo. On the bus, there was a luxurious washroom, a high-end bar counter and rows and rows of comfy sofas. Disco light fixtures were lit up across the bus. I had been to many party limo buses but there were nothing like Winmar Toronto party limo bus. This was by far the longest limo bus I had seen, it sat 40 peeps comfortably. In the middle of the corridor sat a super big cooler. Inside the cooler were tons of beer cans and water bottles. What made this road trip memorable for me was that I just attended an awesome Taylor Swift concert the night before. I only had 2 hours of sleep before I woke up at 5:30 am to be on the Winmar Toronto party limo bus. So….beer for breakfast!
When we arrived at the Ralph Wilson Stadium, our party limo bus parked at the parking lot across the stadium. Apparently, Winmar Toronto sent their team of staff ahead of time, to occupy the space for our arrival. The staff setup the tent and BBQ equipment and prepared all the food and drinks for us. That was a very nice touch. As I walked around, I saw the rear Winmar Toronto van door, there was like a pop up bar filled with all the goodies from Jack Daniels, Jagermeister, Grey Goose and all other kinds of hard liquor you could name, they had it! The staff began to fire up the BBQ grill, in came thick piece of top quality steak after steak that they brought in. Sautéed onions, desserts, salads, all top notch food. After a nice lunch, the entire crew walked over to Ralph Wilson Stadium to watch the game. The Bills didn’t play a good game, instead they had a horrible game against the New York Giants. Nevertheless, the score really didn’t matter as we all had a great time with our peeps.
After the game, we walked back to our Winmar Toronto tailgate HQ, I really thought we would be heading home. Instead, Winmar Toronto got its staff to assemble an old fashion oven. They had their staff transport the equipment over and built the oven on the spot. Honestly, I had not seen anything like it. They made fresh pizza as a post-game tailgate party. Let me tell you, Winmar Toronto has spoiled me now. Because they sure know how to throw a top notch tailgate party that I don’t think anyone can match. Now, they had raised my expectation to the very high level that I don’t know how to go to another NFL game without this type of Exclusive VIP tailgate party. Until next time, see you Winmar Toronto in 2016 for another awesome tailgate party!
MoVernie Top #10 Memory of 2015 – Yacht Ride
I had always wanted to go out in the water on a nice luxury yacht ride. Whether it’s in the lake or ocean, it’s fine with me. Out of the blue one evening at a friend’s place, I told him that it would be one of my bucket lists to sail out in the water on a nice luxurious yacht. He replied, “Hmmm, Vern….that actually is possible, let me arrange”. I have known my friend for a number of years now and I never knew his family owns a luxurious yacht. That’s how I roll, to me, it doesn’t matter who you are, whether you are rich or poor, or whoever you are, all I care is you as a friend. Besides, I don’t really ask anyone detail personal questions, so that’s why I have known him for so long, yet I didn’t know sailing out in the water was a possibility from my friend, it was just a pure spontaneous moment.
On a nice warm sunny afternoon, off we went to meet his parents. We drove through a gated communities, parked our car in front of the nice yacht. It was cool to know each dock had its own piece of grass area that they can BBQ and a bon-fire area. The yacht was a beauty, multi-floors with a nice kitchen, a nice bedroom and a lounge area and a long L-shaped sofa. On the second level, that’s where the driver’s seat was situated and along with many comfy seats. My favourite spot was the front. As the yacht sailed out, I could see and peacefully soaked up the sun and enjoyed the breeze! Once the yacht was docked close to the beach shore, we had a nice lunch. Sipping Coronas and dipping my feet into the cool water was awesome! The best moment was when most of the time, beach goers will swim out into the water and they will have to swim back to the shore. In contrast, when we were on the yacht, we swam towards the beach shore and we had to swim back out to the lake to get back on to the yacht, that was quite a different perspective and experience.
MoVernie Top #11 Memory of 2015 – Hanging out with Hollywood Celebrity Daniel Bruhl at TIFF
(Photo: Tim Hollywood)
I had attended many TIFF parties and film screenings over the years but every year, there was always something new and exciting for me. As I told many of peeps, during TIFF, anything goes, you just go with the flow, anything can happen. This year at TIFF was no different; I attended a super private TIFF party that was hosted by the film company promoting the film “Colonia” starring Daniel Bruhl and Emma Watson. As we arrived at the private party, we got to meet all the solid film producers, directors, investors and Daniel Bruhl himself. Daniel, in case you wonder, is an up and rising German actor who starred in films such as Rush, playing as Niki Lauda. He will be starring in the much anticipating film “Captain America: Civil War”.
Daniel is a very genuine and down-to-earth type of guy! Never knew he is such a funny and hilarious guys. He told lots of jokes. It was definitely a great evening. He has a restaurant in Berlin and he told me that whenever I go to Berlin for a visit, he will make sure I am taken care of. During our long conversation, there was a long 15 second pause in my head. I was telling to myself “Wow! Daniel is standing in front of me, chatting, having a good time, he is standing even less than an arm’s length in front of me. Who would have thought celebrity can be this personable?” That was in my head. We were at the venue for such a long time that the owner had to tell us kindly that they were closing for the night. Most of the time, celebrities would leave the party early but we must had a good time that no one wants to leave. Good times! Definitely whatever being discussed at the private party, stay in the private party.
MoVernie Top #12 Memory of 2015 – The Sher Club: Private Party with Raptors GM Masai Ujiri
Drake, our Raptors Global Ambassador had quietly opened an exclusive sports club in Toronto’s Air Canada Centre. It’s called the “Sher Club,” in honour of his grandparents Rueben & Evelyn Sher. The Sher Club has been under the radar a bit as it’s a members-only club at the ACC. The club itself was a joint venture between Drake, MLSE, the ACC and high-end architectural designer Ferris Rafauli.
Last month, I was invited to attend a very Exclusive VIP Private Party at this intimate 4,000 sq. ft. space. Raptors GM Masai Ujiri invited 30 Raptors Season Ticket Holders and their plus ones to check out the Sher Club. What makes this club special is the fact that it’s members only. This means in most occasions, you have to be a member in order to have access to this Sher Club. The only other times you can access this establishment is by invite-only to a private event.
This place is definitely a hidden gem, a paradise I should say with beautiful classy servers along with beautiful red velvet booths and shinny smooth marble floors. My favourite spot? There is a very private circular VIP room behind the bar counter which you could reserve this room and enjoy a very private intimate night out with your friends. There is a big flat TV screen, white leather circular sofa and arm chairs. Bottles of champagne everywhere and beautiful chandeliers hanged up in the ceiling.
I am grateful and thankful to be one of the first to tour and party at The Sher Club as not many peeps have a chance to check this place out yet. If you have the dough, I highly recommend you to be a member. Imagine all the celebrities and top people hanging out here during the all-star game? You sure won’t be disappointed and you will sure want to become an elite member accessing this place!
Continue to follow my journey on Instagram (@RealMoVernie) and Twitter (@MoVernie) for more awesome pictures and videos in 2016.
And MoVernie is outta here!