Category Archives: Adventure

Algonquin Park Minimoon

Since it’s freezing outside, let’s reminisce about things that happened back in the summer!

Okay, I’ve been meaning to write about this for months and just kept putting it off for whatever reason. But here I am. Back in July, Evan and I went on a mini honeymoon to celebrate that whole wedding thing we did in the spring (twice).

We initially wanted to go to Greece for our honeymoon (neither of us have been), but the timing wasn’t right for us to take an additional 1-2 weeks off after the 10 days we spent in Cuba for the wedding. And I can’t even say that Cuba was a wedding and a honeymoon all in one since we had 35 people with us and didn’t really spend any time just the two of us. So, we’ve decided to do Greece this May (I am so excited and basically spend all my free time right now planning that!) and instead we did a minimoon, a romantic three night vacay at the Couples Resort in Algonquin Park (not to be confused with a couples retreat!).

Ugh, summer. Come back to me.

The Couples Resort came highly recommended by several friends of ours so we figured we would give it a try. Even though it sounds sort of cheesy to me — actually the whole couples concept is sort of cheesy, but we just embraced it. It’s like a cottage resort, on the shore of Galeairy Lake in Whitney, Ontario, just outside of Algonquin Park (the biggest provincial park in Ontario if you are not familiar), right in the wilderness. And right up our alley! Give me all the swimming and hiking and leisuring. We had such a fun weekend. And thankfully weather-wise it was one of the best weekends of the entire summer.

The Couples Resort is technically a five star resort but it’s definitely on the rustic side and I can’t lie, it’s slightly past its glory years. We had read a bunch of reviews so we knew this going in. Truthfully it just added to the charm for us. We got the most basic room, the junior suite, which still had a king-sized bed, a huge double jacuzzi, a wood burning fireplace, and a full hot tub on the private balcony that overlooked the lake.

Yes, yes and yes. That’s pretty much all I need in life so I was a happy camper. Er, resorter.

Let’s break it down by all the things they have going on.


First of all, the food. This is what sold us on the resort. It has an on-site restaurant in the main lodge, and breakfast AND dinner are actually included in your booking price. It’s very handy, and the food is SO, SO good. Especially dinner. A five course meal with so many different options, and everything I tried was amazing. You can also bring in your own bottle of wine with no corkage fee (*when we went but I hear they’re implementing this), or you can buy drinks extra. We brought wine with us but we were honeymooning and I wanted cocktails!

I should also mention that dinner is fancy. They require cocktail attire in the dining room, and men have to wear ties (when we were there, I think recently they changed it to a dress shirt with a jacket). I actually loved this because it gave us a reason to dress up.

Dinner is a full two to three hour affair, you choose an amuse bouche, a soup or salad, an appetizer, a main and a dessert…each! Normally Evan and I speed right through eating, so it was nice to take our time and enjoy. And people watch (this resort was overall fantastic for people-watching — some of the best I’ve seen, but that’s a whole other story).

There is a staple menu and then Chef’s specials that change daily. They also have a huge garden on site where they grow their own fresh vegetables and herbs. Oh it was all so good. Here’s a sample of what we ordered.

Melted smoked gorgonzola and dried fig in a wafer cup.

Red beets, fennel, watercress with crumbled goat cheese and chive oil.

Tomato garden vegetable soup.

Oven roasted chicken supreme with a curry sauce, creamy coconut risotto, baked tomato.

Carrot cake. Maybe the best carrot cake I’ve ever eaten.

I also realllllly enjoyed their blueberry creme brulee.

On our second night Evan and I decided to stay in and order room service, so we could eat in our fluffy hotel robes. You order off the same menu, you just put your order in earlier in the day and let them know what time you want your meal delivered. We chose 7:30 and at 7:29 this deliciousness came knocking on our door:

Poached shrimp for our amuse; pork belly; watermelon salad with cress, cucumber, goat cheese cherry tomatoes, creamy cassis dressing; chicken supreme with basil dijon sauce; steak with a dark ale sauce, double smoked bacon confit potato, steamed broccolini; and for dessert citrus pie with blood orange cream in a graham tartlet and a mocha raspberry cheesecake. Again, amazing.

We ate sooo well and it was so nice that it was included because you could just go to town on whatever you wanted. I felt spoiled. Breakfast was great too, but the typical breakfast foods. Lunch was not included (though you could pay for lunch in the dining room) but I found I was never really hungry for lunch anyway. We brought good snacks (room had a fridge) and one day we went hiking so we brought a picnic lunch.

One thing I should mention… Before we left I read reviews on TripAdvisor and many mentioned the inexperience of the servers — that they were just high school kids who also did other jobs around the resort during the day, that they weren’t trained on fine dining and at a five star resort you should have higher calibre servers. This was true (I saw our server loaning out kayaks the next day), but didn’t bother us. I thought it was great that the resort had teenagers working there, because as someone who grew up in the middle of nowhere, I remember how hard it was to find a job near me! I thought our server was really sweet. Then at the end of our meal when I said I was full she nodded sympathetically and said “oh yeah, food baby?” and uhh, well, that kind of comment would probably really irritate the people who are writing about the servers being untrained on fine dining.

I did have a food baby though, thanks for sympathizing.


So many activities! These are all included in your booking price, you don’t have to pay extra. There are tons of bikes to borrow so we got our adventure on and took out a tandem bike.

Oh romaaaaaantic. There are many trails in the area and we took this puppy down an old railway trail for a couple hours. Things got a little hairy when we encountered deep sand we needed to ride through, but it was a good time. I just repeatedly sang “It won’t be a stylish marriage, I can’t afford a carriage, but you’ll look sweet upon the seat of a bicycle built for two!” Evan liked.

As far as watersports go, they had all the things. Stand up paddle boards, canoes, kayaks, paddle boats. etc. We took a kayak out and explored the lake for a few hours.

It really is a beautiful lake.

Equally fun was sitting on our balcony and watching some guy try to stand up on a paddle board for the first time.

They also have horseback riding (costs extra, we didn’t go for it), and in the winter snowshoeing and cross country skiing.

We of course spent a lot of time on our balcony, in that amazing hot tub, with a few drinks.

And leisuring by the pool, also with a few drinks.

And swimming!

The water was over my head at the end of the dock, which meant much diving.

Porpoising with the Porpoise 🐬

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There are also firepits by the lake, so we spent some time around those in the evening.

There’s also a big games room with shuffleboard, pool, foosball, etc. that we hit up a few times after dinner. Evan is a natural at shuffleboard, because of course he is.

One night we just sat in our in-room jacuzzi and watched The Great Outdoors on Netflix from there. It was great.

I should also mention there is an on-site museum, mostly filled with past hotel guestbooks and photos, but it’s been open since like the 50s or something, so it was interesting. There’s also an onsite gallery, where one of the owners, Gertrud Sorensen, does her landscape paintings. We wandered over there one day and Gertrud was actually in her gallery painting! We chatted with her for a bit while we looked at all her amazing work. She’s in her 80s and was so cute. She was saying that she was waiting for inspiration to strike her. Afterwards we went outside and the gallery happens to be located near the private villas and we could clearly hear a couple uh, loudly enjoying each other, so we were like “OH okay, this is where she gets her inspiration.” 😉 If you’re inspired by love I guess you can’t pick a better setting!


There are hiking trails right on the grounds of the Couples Resort, but your booking also includes passes to Algonquin Park, the creme de la creme of hiking! We took advantage of that and had a big hiking day. We started with the Lookout Trail.

Evan is all about the guidebooks.

He picked one up and read it aloud to me in his tour guide voice as we walked the trail.

It’s fairly easy but mostly uphill until you get up to what the trail is named for, the lookout!

It was quite the lookout, and maaaan this would be pretty in the fall.

After that hike we had our picnic lunch at Opeongo Lake before heading to the Spruce Bog Boardwalk Trail.

Pretty, pretty. I liked. Very easy and flat hike.

Overall we really enjoyed the Couples Resort. It is expensive but I think it’s pretty good value for money when you consider all the things that are included.

I would definitely recommend. And it would be fun in the winter with the fireplace, hot tub, and cross country skiing and snowshoeing included!


Beer Festing

I had been looking forward to last weekend for several months now, and it did not disappoint! Back in July, Evan heard about a craft beer festival happening about two and a half hours away from us in a really cute area of Ontario, so we decided to get tickets, book a hotel room and make a weekend out of it. On Saturday morning we headed to Picton in Prince Edward County for the first annual (I guess they’re planning for it to be a regular thing) Homegrown County Craft Brewing Festival.

We made a quick pit stop at Lake On The Mountain Park, since it’s only 10 minutes from Picton. I’ve been wanting to check it out for a while.

It’s a lake that’s not exactly on a mountain, since we don’t really have those here, but it apparently defies all geographical and geological theory because it’s definitely on a cliff.

And below the cliff is Picton Bay on Lake Ontario!

You can’t really tell what’s happening from pictures but it’s pretty bizarre seeing two large bodies of water right beside each other at completely different elevations.


It was nice, and a freakin’ gorgeous day for some lake time — a bit too cold for swimming but you know I had my emergency bathing suit with me just in case the opportunity arose.

After that we headed to Picton to get our beer fest on. We stayed at the Picton Harbour Inn and it was super cute, reasonably priced and I cannot say enough about the service. The lady working the front desk was extremely friendly and helpful, and she let us check into our room over two hours early, so that was nice. This inn really is right in the harbour so this was the view from our private balcony.

Well, there may have been a small parking lot before the dock but I still liked it. The beer fest was about a 10 minute walk from the hotel (convenient!) so we dropped our stuff off, relaxed for a minute and then walked on over. Picton is cuuuuute.

I was already fantasizing about moving there and opening my own brewery and/or kombucha and sauerkraut bottling business. It is a hipster paradise there!

The beer fest took place on the grounds of the Crystal Palace, an adorable building on the Picton Fairgrounds.

I don’t know if the plan was to originally have all the vendors inside (because it’s almost the end of October and weather-wise who knows what you’re going to get) but it was unseasonably warm and sunny and everyone was outside enjoying the day.

I got ID’d as we entered the grounds, which of course pleased me because I’m well over 19 (like WELL over), and the lady actually asked me to remove my sunglasses so she could study my face and compare it to my picture, and then she quizzed me about my middle name! I was surprised so I hesitated when I answered and I felt like that made me look suspicious. Oh well, they let me in. Evan did not get ID’d but I’m sure that grey beard of his is a 19+ alert.

They gave us pint mugs, which was a nice touch, and two beer tokens to get us started. One token filled your mug up halfway, which was just right. There were at least 25 brewers set up so we did a lap of the grounds first to see the beers we wanted to hit up. One of my colleagues is from the County and she recommended the MacKinnon Brothers Brewery in Bath, Ontario, so I thought I’d better start with them before I drank too much beer and forgot. They did actually end up being one of my favourite brewers there, and I also scored a pickle on a stick ’cause I’m doing life right.

That pickle was SO GOOD (from Pyramid Ferments and I am now obsessed with their entire line of delicious fermented things) — when we were leaving we bought an entire jar of pickles from them but unfortunately they were lost in a tragic accident while we were walking home later. The plastic bag they were in broke and the jar of pickles fell onto the sidewalk and shattered all over the place. I was devastated. I wanted those pickles so bad. But Pyramid Ferments is at Brickworks in Toronto every Saturday so this weekend I’m going on a serious mission to get another jar.

We hadn’t eaten lunch since we heard there would be food vendors, and eating was going to be a must for optimal beer drinking (meaning we could drink more beer without getting too sauced). We headed to a jerk chicken booth and scored some of that.

Delicious. Mine was sweet with a little bit of spicy and it was perfect.

And then more beer. Then a cocktail. I had a pine vodka (I know, weird right, pine vodka?) Caesar and it was pretty good.

But I was there for the beer.

Evan says it’s less classy to be holding a drink in a photo, but I strongly disagree.

We basically wandered around in the sunshine for six hours and drank beer. It was the best. Everyone, both vendors and guests, were EXTREMELY friendly, like way more than in the city, and we chatted people up and made new friends. And it was also never too busy, which I enjoyed. I think we waited in line for max five minutes, and that was for the one cocktail booth.

There was a great live band playing (they played a lot of Hip which was fitting and I was digging), and there were funny games like a potato sack race and keg throwing competition. Which I participated in.

As one does.

I had a whole stretching routine before the big throw and everything. You had to throw the keg straight up and over a rope that kept getting higher every round.

After that toss a guy near Evan said “Whoa, that was effortless.” and Evan yelled “THAT’S MY WIFE!!!” like the proud husband he is.

I unfortunately did not win the keg toss. I had a beer in between rounds that I thought was going to make me even better because at that point I felt like I was amazing at everything, but I think it was that beer that took me over the edge from being good to being crap, ’cause the next round I choked. You know how it happens. There’s a threshold. I could have been great! I did get pretty far though so I was proud of myself.

Okay, favourite beers. We tried every vendor (but not every single beer that each vendor had, that’s just crazy talk!) and picked out a few faves. The MacKinnon Brothers for sure. My coworker was right about that one. I tried a few of theirs and enjoyed them all. I also enjoyed KingsTown, Signal Brewing, and one of the cider places had a raspberry sour that I REALLY loved (sours are new to me and I’mma likin’). And Wolfe Island Spring near Kingston, they were a good time.

They have a cannonball ale that is brewed with a real cannonball, so hearing that story was quite impressive, and that beer may have been my favourite of all the beers. They had a picture of them with their little daughter at their booth and they are such a cute family. Totally living the craft beer dream.

So it was a pretty excellent beer drinking time with my lover.

And if it’s an annual festival I think it’s going to be annual for us, too.

Eventually we decided we probably should not drink any more beer and we headed out. We walked over to the Accoustic Grill in downtown Picton for dinner, solely because they had live music. It was busy but we scored a table right away so that was great. I remember eating deep fried pickles to make up for the lost pickles fiasco (it didn’t but they were good), and some sort of chicken thing, but the pickles were the most memorable part of my meal.

After leaving there we walked into the movie theatre, basically because it looked like a sweet old town movie theatre and we wanted to check it out (the picture below was taken the next day, it was dark by this point).

They gave us free popcorn for some reason and tried to invite us into a CCR tribute concert that was currently happening but we were in no shape for that. So, we took our free popcorn home and were in bed by 9:30pm. Perfect.

The next day we explored downtown Picton a bit and then checked out an apple orchard/pumpkin patch before heading back to the city. We got home just in time for a Sunday afternoon nap. Good times all around!


Emerald Bae (and eating)

After our skiing adventure, Cely and I dropped off our rental equipment, walked back to our hotel, cleaned ourselves up, changed into our best plaid and headed out on the town.

And by out on the town I mean into the casinos. Apparently gambling is illegal in California unless it’s on a First Nations reserve (like in Ontario, though I guess we’re able to have slot machines and racing off of reserves), but the good thing about South Lake Tahoe is it’s half in Nevada! Who knew! (I didn’t.) Obviously there is much gambling in Nevada, so there were several casinos around. Our hotel was in a casino, and Harrah’s Casino and the Hard Rock Cafe Casino were both within walking distance — everything was, it was so handy!

As we were walking to the casino we ran into a lady Cely used to work with, as well as her friend and their husbands so we found a $1 minimum Blackjack table and gambled and drank free drinks with them for a few hours. That was super fun. We met a very vocal Trump supporter at our table — the only one I encountered in California (that I know of) and she was from Texas. Her eyes burned with a fiery smugness and she kept loudly proclaiming that she lived in the real world because she lived on a ranch and had grandchildren. Alright. She definitely wanted to engage the rest of us special snowflake liberals about the current political situation but thankfully Cely was able to derail her.

Eventually we parted ways and Cely and I went off to Base Camp Pizza for dinner. There was a bit of a wait so we ordered beer from the bar, took it outside and watched a band playing old school rock on the patio next door. We ended up having to wait for about an hour but we were talking and listening to the band playing Neil Young while drinking beer so it was honestly one of my favourite hours.

Eventually Base Camp let us in. We started with the fried calamari.

It was crispy and delicious and I loved that it came with marinara sauce. For my pizza I went with the personal-sized (like a responsible eater) Base Camp pizza with pepperoni, Italian sausage, roasted peppers and onions and portabella mushrooms. It was perfect and I loved it all.

We had a really great conversation and really delicious pizza so, it was a good time all around.

After that it was back to the Blackjack tables. I was doing well for a while and then I started losing and then suddenly it was 4am and my money was gone. As Cely said, time sure flies when you’re losing money and drinking. I had a really good time but in hindsight we probably would have been okay leaving about an hour before we actually did — I would have been up about $200, I wouldn’t have knocked my beer over on the table (possibly more than once but in my defence there were no cup holders!), we may have dodged a hangover, and we would have avoided an altercation where we ended up being the Big Bad Man-Hating Feminists (Cely summed this up well)… But, live and learn, as I like to say (a lot).

The next morning we were not feeling our best but we dragged ourselves out of bed, got our stuff together and headed to breakfast at the Red Hut Cafe. It was SUPER CUTE and I was excited about my pancakes and bacon.

I don’t feel I appreciated those pancakes as much as I should have because my stomach was being a jerk. Thankfully, after breakfast Cely introduced me to the miracle that is Alka-Selzter and I felt like a new woman!

I still hadn’t seen Lake Tahoe which I had heard was in Lake Tahoe, so Cely took me on a mission to prove its existence. She couldn’t let me leave without seeing the lake and I really appreciate her determination on that. It was still overcast (it was actually nicer in Ontario than in California when I was away which is basically the story of my life) but the snow had stopped and we were able to drive over to Emerald Bay.

And hoooooly beautiful. I’ve seen Cely’s pictures and I know on a bright and beautiful day it has the potential to look like this:

From Wikipedia

But I loved it in all its dreariness! It is a gorgeous area.

I should mention that we were having trouble finding a parking spot by an actual trail so we had to do a bit of climbing to get to the view…

Getting off that thing was fun and we basically just rolled down the bank like watermelons. I also accidentally stepped off the packed snow and one of my legs was suddenly buried up to my hips.

Not sure if that picture does it justice but it was a real pickle. I didn’t fall off the mountain though, so that’s a success. Wouldn’t be the first mountain I’ve almost tumbled down. I do feel like I really embraced embarrassing myself on this trip and I think Cely appreciated that as I took the heat off of her.

Anyway, yeah, the area is gorgeous. I got a bunch of pictures.

After Emerald Bay we went back over to the main lake area.

And the clouds parted for almost a minute and I saw a sliver of blue sky!

After our Lake Tahoe adventure it was time to drive back to Sacramento. I was excited to see the view this time as when we were driving into Lake Tahoe it was dark and I couldn’t see much. We saw a few waterfalls and I loved the trees!

We were going to listen to the first episode of the My Favorite (American SIC) Murder podcast but then we got to talking and couldn’t stop so that didn’t happen. I’ve listened to a few episodes now though and I’m really enjoying it! Once we were back in Sacramento, Cely took me straight to Firestone Public House for lunch so she could introduce me to her favourite pretzel.

Oh, hello lover!

I understand why it’s her favourite pretzel. It was the best giant pretzel I’ve ever eaten in my life and I still can’t stop thinking about it. It was so soft and pillowy and buttery and salty and had pimento cheese for dipping. Just a dream. I’m going to have to try to find a similar pretzel in Toronto. I don’t feel like that mission is going to be a success.

I also ordered the grilled cheese because, grilled cheese, but then it came and I was like WTF am I supposed to do with this monstrosity?

Is that an American grilled cheese? It was extreme. We both suddenly had no interest in eating anymore, which is a rare thing. We took our lunches home. We spent the rest of the day on the couch napping and watching movies which was GLORIOUS (we also may have ordered Chinese food). I met Cely’s sister Sari which was a California highlight for me! I loved her immediately. I had never even met her but I felt like I already knew her. She came in when we were sprawled out on the couch in our fat pants and I just felt so comfortable around her right away, like “hello Sari, I’m Cely’s internet friend and I live here now.”

We watched the Edge of Seventeen which I loved so much I wanted to watch it again immediately after. Instead we watched Fifty Shades of Grey which I hadn’t seen but both Cely and Sari had so they indulged me and eh. We should have just watched Edge of Seventeen again. Watch it!!!

The next morning the three of us went to brunch at Cafeteria 15L with their friends Tracy and Heather. They were both awesome and I also loved my bottomless mimosas and my fried chicken and waffles.

My stomach did not love the fried chicken and waffles and I paid for that later but THAT’S OK because when on vacation. That is PECAN BUTTER!!! Oh it was heavenly.

And then I got my stuff together and Cely took me to the train station so I could make my way to San Francisco. She actually parked and brought me straight to the train which I am so thankful for because guaranteed I would have gotten on the wrong one. Or at least waited in the wrong area for a train that was never coming (done that before).

It was such a fabulous weekend and I was so sad to leave Cely. And Sari. I felt like I had known both of them forever and I told Cely that I just wanted to stay forever and be their third sister. I made them promise to come visit me and I really bigged Ontario up so I feel like I lured them pretty good. They better!!!

If you don’t already read Cely’s blog you need to, she kills me and is my must-read every day. And not even a hate read, I love her! She is just as hilarious and smart in person.


Trouble in Lake Tahoe

I’m baaaaaaack!!! And I didn’t blog while I was away so you know what that means…endless vacation recapping! I have a lot to talk about so gird your loins.

I left last Thursday morning and happened to bump into my pal Dawnald at the airport!

She was headed to San Francisco for a conference and I was meeting up with her for the second half of my trip, coincidentally our flights out there were at the same time. It was nice to see her for a quick romantic rendezvous.

I was headed to Sacramento, however, and while she had a direct flight to SF, I had quick stopovers in Chicago and Denver. I actually didn’t mind those too much — it took me 10 hours to get there but the stopping broke up the flight time. The Chicago airport was super fancy, too. They had automatic rotating seat covers on the toilets in the bathroom which I thought was pretty cool but also probably unnecessary. They also had personal deep dish pizzas which I totally missed and only noticed after I had already grabbed a sandwich. Stupid. I made the wrong decision!!!

Anyway, I was on my way to meet my long time internet friend Cely for the first time! We have followed each other’s blogs for years (I actually just had my six year blogging anniversary — CRAZY!), and over that time we have emailed and texted a bunch, and we are Facebook friends (so that means we’re real friends) but we have never actually hung out in person. Just on the internet.

Cely was picking me up from the Sacramento airport and on my flight from Denver to Sacramento I started to get just a litttttle bit nervous about meeting her for the first time. We would be spending several days together, what if we didn’t like each other or had nothing in common? But I needn’t have worried. As soon as I saw her I felt like I was meeting one of my best friends. There was never any awkwardness (this is why exchanging long crazy emails for years before meeting is key!), our conversation flowed naturally right away and we spent most of our three+ days together just laughing. At one point we also had a good 20 minute conversation trading stories of falling down the stairs so, I feel like we are awkward kindred spirits.

Someone commented that the two of us meeting up felt like a TV crossover episode, which made us laugh hard. Just like when Steve Urkel was on Full House!

I get to be Uncle Jesse, sorry Cely.

There was one must-eat place for me in California, In-N-Out Burger. I’ve been hearing about it for years but have never had the chance to try it so we headed there after Cely picked me up.

I have to say I was underwhelmed… My burger was good but I didn’t find it to be the most spectacular fast food burger I’ve ever eaten. It was pretty onion-y. However, I heard I didn’t order correctly and I should have asked for my burger to be ‘animal style’. Cely even warned me about this and I didn’t listen. Oh well, you live and you learn. I’d go again and do it right next time.

After our burgers we drove to South Lake Tahoe for a skiing adventure. Cely had warned me the day before that this part of our trip might get delayed since that area of California had been experiencing some extreme weather lately, namely landslides. Apparently the highway we needed to drive on had been closed due to a mudslide and had only reopened the afternoon before. There was also a snowstorm in the area that was supposed to cause some trouble, but thankfully that wasn’t as bad as expected so we didn’t have to postpone our trip. And now since leaving, part of that highway has collapsed into the river. I feel very lucky that we were able to get in and out okay. I joked that the weather out there hated me but it truly could have been much worse.

It was super awesome to be traveling to Lake Tahoe with someone who knew the area. I was totally lazy in my travel research because of this and just let Cely choose where to stay, where to eat, where to ski, etc. since she knew area so well. She also brought a bunch of ski accessories and snow boots for me to borrow, which was great since I was traveling with just a carry-on.

We checked into our hotel (Harvey’s, which I would definitely recommend — our room was cute and surprisingly inexpensive) and then hit up the Stateline restaurant and brewery for a cheese plate.

And some beers.

I wanted to try them all.

I was really excited that Cely was always on the same eating page as me. It’s so nice to travel with someone who is just as food-oriented as you are!

After the cheese and beer we headed back to our hotel and hit da sheets. It was about 3am my time at that point and I was tired after sitting on the plane all day (traveling will really do that to ya).

The next morning we got up early, grabbed a leisurely breakfast (I had breakfast nachos and they were delightful), rented our equipment (we reserved it online in advance which was a good call, saved 25%!) and then took the gondola up to Heavenly.

I’m glad there was this photo of the mountain because it was snowing so hard I couldn’t actually see the mountain and that was disorienting. I had to rely on Cely to tell me about the views I would normally see up there. The snow made it difficult to even see the hill in front of us so I never got to see the lake! That was sad because I hear it’s a spectacular view. I just tried to imagine it.

So this is actually the first mountain I’ve ever skied on. I’ve cross country skied on a mountain in Revelstoke (wrote about that experience here) but never downhill skied. We don’t have any mountains in Ontario so my skiing experiences up until this point have been on very large hills. The biggest difference I noticed was that it takes so much longer to get down a run! I really liked that. It’s been about 7 years since the last time I skied, but thankfully it’s just like riding a bike and I still got it.

I was so thankful to Cely for letting me borrow a water pouch, goggles and that skeleton buff for my face. I felt so badass.

It was a bit more difficult than I expected though because of the weather. We were having some serious depth perception issues — the ground just looked like flat whiteness but there were big snow drifts that we would ski into that would mess things up. There were some struggles, but neither of us had a yard sale (when you fall on the mountain and all your equipment goes everywhere) or fell at all, so that’s a win.

We stuck to mainly long leisurely blues, which are my favourite so I was happy Cely was on the same page about that. Since she knew all the runs I was content to let her take the lead and just follow her red jacket down the mountain.

Unfortunately we got separated at one point and another girl with a red jacket and black pants somehow got in front of me so I blindly followed her for a while. In my head I remember noticing that her ski outfit just got super sleek all of a sudden, but I was concentrating on not falling so I didn’t register that it wasn’t Cely. At one point there was a portion of hill that levelled out and we had to work a bit harder to get across it so I was yelling some snarky comments at her about that, trying to be funny. She glanced at me over her shoulder but didn’t have a reaction other than that which I thought was weird. Then we stopped at the crest of another hill and I pulled up beside her and realized she was not actually Cely. I turned around and saw Cely coming up behind me dying laughing. Whoops. We laughed for a good half an hour about that. Cely said she was worried I was going to blindly follow this lady down a double black diamond or something. Sure glad that didn’t happen. Fake Cely may have lead me to my death.

We skied for a few hours and then took a break for lunch when the snow started coming down harder and the wind increased.

Eating after physical activity is my favourite. That was some damn good chili.

After lunch we headed back out hoping the weather would be better, but unfortunately no, it had gotten worse. The wind picked up, making the lifts (which are quite long) a pretty crappy time because it felt like little daggers of ice were hitting your face. We did a few more runs and then decided we were done. I loved it though and was so glad we skied!

The next day when it stopped snowing I could finally see that yes, we indeed skied on a mountain!

But I still hadn’t seen the lake. I’ll get to that next week though ’cause somehow this got long. In the meantime, Cely recapped all our adventures really well so you can check that out on her blog.

Have a great weekend!


Experiences of 2016

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!  I hope you had a great Christmas if you celebrate, and a wonderful holiday overall. Ours was a whirlwind of family and friends which pretty much did not stop until New Year’s Day, but it was a really good time. I have some recapping to do but first I want to talk about 2016.

Back in 2014 I started doing a recap post of all the activities I got up to over the year and it really made me appreciate my life. 2016 wasn’t all great – the world got super weird, we lost Evan’s grandmother, our little kitty Winnie and a lot of wonderful and talented people. But no year is all great, and I like having a spot on here of all the good things that happened. So, in keeping with my New Year recapping theme, here are my favourite experiences of 2016!

My 33rd birthday surprise dinner, that I actually had zero knowledge of. It was a very well executed surprise.

It was especially a surprise since I had already planned my own birthday dinner a week later at the Sultan’s Tent, a Moroccan restaurant with belly dancers. Also a good time.

It was the year of concerts. I kicked it off with Death Cab for Cutie and Metric at the ACC with Sherrie.

Then just a few days later Evan and I saw Garth Brooks with Emily and Corey.

Emily gave birth like a week later.

Then Mumford and Sons, again with Sherrie.

Bryan Adams with Evan!

The Lumineers for my bestie’s birthday.

Collective Soul and Goo Goo Dolls with Evan and my dad for my dad’s 65th birthday.

Blue Rodeo with Evan…

Sam Roberts and The Killers with Sherrie and Will.

And finally Our Lady Peace and I Mother Earth with a bunch of our friends.

That is 9 concerts! I don’t think I’ll be topping it this year, but I am seeing Kings of Leon in a few weeks and I have a gift card to Ticketmaster that is burning a hole in my pocket so there will at least be a couple more!

For Valentine’s Day I got Evan tickets for a birds of prey experience, and that did not disappoint.

We adopted little Tilly!

Who is just the best and is such a wonderful addition to our family.

I started going to Choir! Choir! Choir! and had some great times there, including singing Hallelujah with Rufus Wainwright.

I can’t believe that video has more than 5 million views. I’m not in it but I did make it in the holiday one!

And when I got my brother, Kenya, Dixon, Dawn and Emily to come out with me one night and we’re all in the Beatles – Tomorrow Never Knows video.

Evan and I went to my first Leafs Game.

They lost but I wasn’t expecting them to win so that’s a-okay.

We had THE BEST trip to Cuba.

Where Evan proposed to me while we were swimming in the ocean at sunset.

Getting engaged is obviously the highlight of my entire year but it was a really great trip aside from that also.

I ran my first 10k with my friend Melissa and my blogger friends Casey and Michelle.

Hoping to do that again in 2017!

My nana turned 102!

Just incredible.

My bestie and MOH threw me a fantastic bridal shower.

Which ended with a boat ride on the lake we grew up in and a hot tub party.

We had some really fun cottage times, the highlight being when we had our friends over and my brother and friends were visiting from out west and were able to make it. That was a really fun night.

And then we took my brother and friends for adventures around the city.

Evan and I went camping a few times this summer, including our annual friends camping trip near Algonquin Park. I don’t think I ever ended up blogging about that but it was a time!

I did the CN Tower Edge Walk for my friend Casey’s birthday!

Which was just as crazy and exhilarating as it looks.

I had the most amazing Alberta/BC road trip with Sherrie, Lisa and Yamina where we met up with my brother Eric, his girlfriend Kenya, his best friend Dixon and my mom in Kelowna…

Then camped at probably the most beautiful campsite on earth in Revelstoke.

Cheers to that.

Then there was the yurt camping and adventuring in Jasper.

And the trip ended with my bachelorette party in Banff!

Which was, I can’t lie, one of the most fun nights of my life.

And finally we have my and Evan’s trip to Florida, where we got to spend a whole weekend with Paula and Fabian.

And had some other adventuring thrown in too.

It was a year. I think one of the best of my life. And I am so excited for 2017 because aside from more concerts, it’s the year we’re getting married – TWICE!!!

Hope you all had a great year and if you didn’t, I hope next year is 10 times better!


Florida Gators

Ahoy! Evan and I are back from sunny Florida! I didn’t blog while I was away and we did a whole lot (and ate a WHOLE LOT) so I have a ton of adventure recapping I wanna do.

My dad and stepmom Mona have a condo/townhouse in Bradenton (gulf side) and they may not have it forever so Evan and I figured we should take advantage of not having to pay for a hotel while we can. The last time we did a Florida vacay was in March 2013 so we were due. It’s only about a two and a half hour flight from Toronto (if you fly direct, we had a stopover in Atlanta on the way over and in Detroit on the way back) and flights are also relatively cheap, so it’s an easy vacation. It cost less for both of us to fly, with a rental car, than it does for just me to fly to BC.

Anyway, we arrived around noon in Tampa last Friday, picked up our rental car (and we got a free upgrade with a sunroof so that was a nice bonus) and made our way south to Bradenton. I was so happy to be in the sunshine!!!


And see the palm trees!


We had wintry weather here the week before we left so I was excited to escape it (I heard it was beautiful here while we were gone though, of course).

Our first stop was Target.


We no longer have Target in Canada (it was only here for a year, just a taste!!) and I am sad about it. Even though it wasn’t quite the same as the US Target when it came to prices and selection (this is actually why I think Canadian Target failed – they were always low on stock) they still had stuff I liked that I couldn’t find anywhere else. I really like their purses, for example. We happened to be visiting on Black Friday and I got a great deal on a new Fitbit (the Alta), a new purse (which is the same as a black purse I already own from target but in brown) and some other random things and various trashy snacks including candy corn Oreos.


I can not believe how many different types of Oreos there were! We have a few now but nothing like that. We also stocked up on our beer for the week, which we hardly drank any of because we were so full from all our eating. Oh well, I’m sure my dad will appreciate arriving at the house this winter to a stocked beer fridge.

Our next stop was the Olive Garden!


GIVE ME ALL THE SALAD AND BREADSTICKS!! And once again, the Olive Garden used to be in Canada and is now gone. I miss it and was happy we were able to fit it in. We picked up Jimmy John’s for dinner and spent the rest of the afternoon unpacking and hanging around the house.

Saturday morning we were up early to drive to Orlando to meet up with Paula and Fabian. Paula and I met through our blogs and decided that we wanted to be real friends, so we met for the first time in 2013 when Evan and I were in Florida.


And Paula and Fabian also came out to visit us last spring.


I love how Paula has switched up her hair a bunch of times over the years, but mine is still the exact. same. She is an adventurous minx.

I was really excited to see them both. I freaking love Paula, Fabian too, but Paula is like my kindred spirit and I’m so glad our blogs brought us together. I’m sad she lives so far away, but it is a good excuse to visit Florida in the winter.

We first stopped at Bradenton Donuts because we heard they had the best donuts of all time and we didn’t want to show up empty handed.


Definitely a bit of a dive, but it’s the donuts that matter.


I actually do think they’re the best donuts I’ve ever had. They’re made with potato flour or something. I don’t know but they’re spectacular and I wish I was eating them right now.

If you read Paula’s blog the rest of this might be a repeat for you, but hopefully you still enjoy yourself. Since we showed Paula and Fabian such a great touristy time when they were here, they wanted to return the favour. We dropped our stuff off at their place and then we all headed out to Black Hammock to take an air boat ride on Lake Jessup, one of the most gator-infested lakes in Florida!




The lake was actually super beautiful and I wanted to swim SO BADLY, but I also didn’t want to die. Our tour guide was saying that problem gators are brought to this lake from other places in Florida so, much danger on the gator front. Fabian told us that some guy didn’t believe the gators in the lake were that big of a threat so he tried to go swimming and got his arm bitten off. I don’t know if that is just an urban legend but needless to say there was no swimming here.

We had some time before our boat left so we checked out the area a bit, had a drink, and took a bunch of pictures (another reason I love getting together with fellow bloggers, they are also all about the pictures!)




At first I didn’t understand how that gator cutout worked and I put my head between the gator’s jaws, which meant my chest area was sticking out directly above the head spot. Thankfully someone told me to get myself together before they got a picture so that embarrassing image of my nungas isn’t floating around.

But this embarrassing picture of Evan is.


He kills me.

And from the front.


Then it was air boat time.


I have always wanted to ride in one!!! Paula and Fabian were making my dreams come true. I did not realize that air boats are so loud you have to wear ear protection.


Hair twins.



We only saw a few gators, I guess because of the time of year, but still, the ride was awesome. I loved it. It is amazing the places you can go on an air boat that you wouldn’t be able to on a boat with a regular outboard motor. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been on a boat that had to stop to remove tangled weeds from the prop, but that was not a concern on this ride.


We were able to just go right in between the trees in the super swampy areas like it was nothing.


Our tour guide was awesome and very informative and told us a bunch of facts that I can’t remember now. He was also a character so I quite enjoyed him and his magnificent American accent.



Crossing the lake the boat went so fast that when I opened my mouth to say something to Evan a bunch of drool came flying out. Attractive.

Can you spot the sneaky gator in the grass?


Here’s a baby gator that was just chilling by the shore.


Just a little muffin.

After our ride we all got a chance to hold a baby gator.


Fabian and his beautiful smile.


Evan was a definite no on the gator holding. We had the chance to hold a crocodile in Cuba too and he took a hard pass on that also. Evan does not appreciate a reptile of any kind.

The Black Hammock restaurant is right there so afterwards we hit that up to eat some gator. I guess hanging around all the gators makes you hungry for gator. It was amazing in there, I felt like I was in Crocodile Dundee.


It was also two for one margaritas so you know that’s a good time. Evan got the catfish nuggets to start and I wasn’t sure if I was going to be a fan – I had some really terrible catfish once and haven’t tried it since, but I ended up really liking it!


10/10, would eat catfish again.

If you’re going to eat alligator I feel like this is the place to do it, so Evan and I ordered a two 1/4 pounds – blackened and cajun.


My first time trying gator and I have to tell you it was delicious. It tasted similar to chicken but was chewier. I really enjoyed it and would also eat it again. Though probably not in Canada ’cause I don’t think it would be our forte…

Fun, fun times with Paula and Fabian!


And that was just the beginning of our shenanigans!