Category Archives: Pals

High School Eating Parties

It feels weird to be writing normal things right now. I’m devastated and terrified about what’s going on in the world and it doesn’t feel right to just be writing as usual. I don’t really know how to handle it and my blog seems so trivial right now, but I don’t currently have anything genuine to add to the conversation that will help bring about change. Or at least nothing that I feel comfortable writing an entire post about. But normal is comforting. So, I’m going to do some weekend recapping.

On Friday evening my high school friends and I had a dinner party with two of our former teachers turned friends, Marni and Mr. B (I still can’t call him anything but that!). We planned this back in November and it’s been a while since I’ve seen either of them so I’ve been looking forward to it. I was also really looking forward to talking to Mr. B about everything that’s been happening since Trump’s inauguration. He was our history teacher all through high school and many times lately I’ve wished I was back in his class discussing how NOT NORMAL (but unfortunately not unprecedented) this is. Mr. B was always a voice of reason and I had so many thought-provoking discussions in his class so I wanted to hear what he thought of this insanity.

We got those discussions out of the way early on and then had a really great night telling stories and reminiscing about our high school times.

My side of the table missed the memo about having a meatball prop.

Pretty similar picture to a dinner party we had at Mr. B’s a few years ago.

It was summer then, though, so we’re definitely all looking a bit brighter.

We went through all our old yearbooks, which is always a good time. Dawn and I in Grade 9!

I’ve really only ever had two hair styles, middle part and side part.

That picture isn’t in black and white because it was just soo long ago, but because our school was so small we didn’t have a big yearbook budget. Everything was black and white.

Also Grade 9, semi-formal.

You may recognize myself, Joel (back when he had luscious locks), my friend Beth, my bestie Lisa, Emily and Dawn. Just babies!

We had such a good night. I had a big love burst for this group.

Saturday morning I got up early and headed to an OrangeTheory class. I’m still loving it. I upped my membership to unlimited, so I’ve been going four times a week the last few weeks. I’m definitely seeing some results, too, which is nice. Mostly in my limbs and chest right now, which is the story of my life. Nungas are always the first to lose and first to gain (this is more annoying than it sounds). It takes a while for my midsection to catch up.

Saturday night Evan and I  had a dinner date with my pal CathRON (she’s appeared in my blog a few times, Kitten the Cat‘s owner for context) and her boyfriend Trevor.

That picture is from 2013, we need a new one. The flash on my phone at the time sure liked to make me look fluorescent. Anyway, Catherine and I met when we worked together at Diary Queen when we were in high school. It was a high school themed weekend. I also worked with Trevor at Dairy Queen, they recently reunited which makes me so happy!!!

We went to Loka on Queen West, which opened in 2016 and is known for having inventive, locally-sourced dishes. Our original plan was to do the Winterlicious prix fixe menu (Winterlicious is an event that runs for two weeks every year and gives Torontonians the chance to try a value menu at many of the city’s restaurants) but then we noticed we could taste the entire restaurant for only $12 more per person. That seemed to be the better value to me. Super small portions though. For example our first dish was a whitefish chowder, and while delicious it was literally one spoonful.

Afterwards Evan was all “I bet they had an entire giant vat of that chowder back in the kitchen, they couldn’t put a full ladle in our dishes?!” Yeah. I feel that. I should mention that Evan did not like this restaurant at all, it was just not his thing. On Sunday he said he had a nightmare Saturday night that we were back at the restaurant eating more food. We had a really good time because Catherine and Trevor are a good time and we LOVED our server (well I did) but I agree the food wasn’t anything to write home about. A few things were pretty good though. I liked these little sourdough toasts topped with preserved plums and goat milk jam.

And we all loved the pan roasted mushrooms with truffled potatoes and deer lichen. I think it was the stand out dish of the night.

Deer lichen is a moss that grows on trees, so we asked our server where the moss came from and he said they have a guy who is a local forager that they source it from. I thought that was interesting. I asked our server if I could become a forager and just bring them things that I find out in the wild but he didn’t make it seem like Loka would go for that…

We also tried the bone marrow. Both mine and Evan’s first time trying, but Catherine and Trevor had been telling us earlier how much they both loved it (not from here). As soon as it arrived at our table I saw Catherine side eye that bread. She said bone marrow was best served with soft bread as opposed to crusty bread, so she was not impressed.

It definitely wasn’t Evan’s thing but I enjoyed it. I liked that it was all smooth and buttery. I do agree that it would be best served with a soft bread to sop up all that marrow goodness. The crusty bread was pretty useless. And we needed more of it!

We had eight courses in total, which sounds like a lot but they were so tiny that I left there barely full at all. We had a lot of beer though, so that helped. It was a good night and I’m excited to hang out with those two again!

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Holiday Eating Week and New Year’s Eve

My bestie Lisa was home for the holidays (I’ve mentioned this many times but she lives in Calgary) so last Wednesday, the day after Evan and I arrived home and exchanged our gifts, I went on a solo road trip up to her parents in the afternoon to get some quality visiting time in.

Such a beauty view they have. Though I prefer it in the summer.

Remember when I posted our Christmas card and said Evan wanted you to print it out and put it with the rest of your Christmas cards? Diane (Lisa’s mom) actually did this and then texted me this picture:

We’re front and centre! Warmed my heart.

I definitely associate Lisa’s parents place with good snacks – they usually have a wide variety of cheese and crackers and that is a quality that I admire. When I was growing up they had a Costco membership and we didn’t, so they had a lot of exotic (for me at the time) snack foods. The snacks didn’t disappoint this time, Lisa made us quite the spread of cheese and crackers, probably my favourite snack of all time.

It included Phil’s dills (her dad Phil’s dill pickles) which are the most garlicky and tangy pickles I have ever had, and they sent me home with a jar of them so I was pretty pumped about this.

A great addition to my own cheese and crackers spreads that Evan and I have been having for lunch lately.

I stayed for the afternoon and we hung out and caught up until dinner, which was delicious. We had a meat pie and this delicious squash soup that Lisa’s mom made.

So good!

After dinner Lisa and I headed to Dawn’s house for a night in with her, Emily and Joanna. And Dawn’s little daughter Scarlett until her bedtime, who just SLAYS me. She is on a big poopoo kick right now and it’s hilarious. I was changing into my pajama pants in front of her and she poked the cellulite on my thigh and said “Wow Lindsey, you’re old!” Thanks Scarlett. You can always count on an almost three year old to tell it like it is.

We ate more snacks and had drinks and hot tubbed it up and chatted – it was a really cute night. I only took two pictures of us the entire night, the midnight cheddar bay biscuits we made from a Red Lobster mix around midnight…

Probably not the best decision but OMG it was good. No regrets.

And the birthday card I got for Dawn back in December, still proudly displayed in her kitchen.

I guess I wanted to show it to you. My group of friends likes to get ridiculous cards for each other, and sometimes that includes cards for other holidays. That one was a good Urban Outfitters find.

The next morning Lisa and I woke up to these two in our bed.

Miyou (Dawn’s dog) and Marcus (Emily’s son). I could get used to waking up with snuggly things in my bed, as Tilly refuses to snuggle with me in the morning (only when I get home from somewhere, and I only have a 10 minute window!) It was a good wake up call.

Give me all the snuggly babies!

I have such a love burst for those two.

Look at that chunky chicken nugget!!

It snowed quite a lot during the night so we were not in a big hurry to get on the roads. Lis and I hung out and snuggled and Dawn made us pancakes. Pretty perfect morning.

On the way back to my place we were somehow still hungry so we stopped for all-you-can-eat-sushi, as we do.

We came home, napped, chatted and watched Grey’s Anatomy (which I have never seen and am only now getting into!) and then ordered tandoori chicken pizza for dinner. It was the week of eating, I’ll just say. After dinner we showered (so our hair in the below photo is wet, not greasy) and got into our jimjams for another night of leisure.

That would be my new Christmas onesie. We did face masks and watched trash TV that I can’t remember. It was an early night but it was a good night!

Lisa was leaving the next day so we went out for a late brunch to Uncle Betty’s around Yonge and Eglinton. I’ve heard good things but have never been there so I was excited to check it out. I ordered the donut breakfast sandwich because they make their donuts in-house and I could not resist.

I showed that picture to Evan later and his response was “That actually…doesn’t look very good,” but I think he’s crazy. It was delicious!

Then we just did more hanging out and Grey’s Anatomy watching before it was time to take Lisa to the airport. I was sad to see her go, however I am pretty excited about the next time I’ll see her ’cause it’ll be at our wedding in Cuba!!!! AHHHHH!!!!!

For New Year’s Eve Sherrie had a party so that’s where most of our friends headed. I love a good low key house party for New Year’s, it’s my favourite activity. I would much rather do that than have to worry about going out somewhere. The babies were in attendance!

2016 was definitely the year of babies – three arrived in our group of friends. Busy baby year.

We had a family-style dinner for 12 that Sherrie and her boyfriend Will made us and it was freakin’ good.

Roast beef, squash, glazed carrots, mashed potatoes and yorkshire pudding (Will is a chef and he is also British, I have mentioned this). There was SO MUCH FOOD the entire night – we had different snacks and dips coming out all night after this, and after midnight Will busted out his famous make-your-own poutine bar. I was absolutely stuffed. We all ate so much that no one actually got drunk, but that is probably for the best as we are old now and 2016 hangovers are much worse than 2006 hangovers.

We recreated this picture from Sherrie’s first New Year’s party four years ago in 2012 – just after I started dating Evan!

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I think those four years look pretty good on us. Photo credit to Emily for capturing that, it took a few tries!

It was a lovely New Year’s Eve with some of my favourite people!

Really love those girls.

And this guy.

The end of the holidays for another year.

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Jingling and Mingling

Only five days ’til Christmas!!!!!!!  Ahhhhhh! I’m excited. We have been back in a winter wonderland for a couple of weeks now and doing all the holiday things, so let’s talk about that!

You may remember just before I left for Florida I went to the Eaton Centre’s tree lighting with Choir! Choir! Choir! The video is up and it is just wonderful. It gives me all the feels.

Rachel and I have quite the closeup at 1:18.  I’ve said this before but it is so great to be a part of something so inclusive, where men, women, children, of all ages, of different colours and nationalities come together to sing the same song. It’s a beautiful thing.

The weekend we got back from Florida I went to see Nana to tell her all about our trip. Emily and little Marcus joined us and Nana was just thrilled about that.

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She looooves the babies. She loved meeting Marcus and he loved her, too. He was quite the little celebrity in the nursing home that afternoon. Everyone wanted to see him. Emily went to visit my Nana back when she was super pregnant and for a minute my Nana got confused and thought it was me and that I was the one who was pregnant. Um, nope. Then Emily explained she was pregnant with Corey’s child and my Nana was all “But what about Evan???” She was so embarrassed when she realized it was Emily and not me. I get it, we sort of look alike. She wasn’t the only one, the next time I went in there some lady was like “Oh you had your baby!” Sure. Anyway, I’m happy to report we didn’t have another mixup and Nana did not think Marcus was mine. We had a great visit.

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And my Nana continues to slay with her sassy nails.

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I still cannot get over that those are the hands of a 102 year old. She looks so fantastic.

We put our tree up!

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Tilly likes. We were concerned with how she was going to handle having a live tree in the house, since she is all over anything new that happens… Evan says whenever we talked about it I got a mad gleam in my eye like I wanted to see her get into shenanigans. It would be pretty funny… She’s been a good kitty though, she was all up in that tree at first but now she mostly just prefers to sleep under it.

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We have a lot more presents under there now and she just sort of wedges herself between them. It’s cute. I really thought she was going to attempt to climb it but so far so good. However, the night we got it up I left to go to choir (we sang Last Christmas and it was the best) and about 20 minutes later I got a text from Evan of a picture with water and decorations (some smashed) all over the floor. I of course immediately assumed Tilly knocked the tree over but Evan said she was innocently sleeping on the couch with him when it happened. I guess we didn’t secure it properly… It seems to be good now, thankfully.

Evan had to call a neighbour over to help him put it back up, and neighbour is in his 80s and really obsessed with the conspiracy theory that Michelle Obama was born a man and went on about that for a while so…I’m sure that was just as much fun to deal with as the toppled over tree (and if you ask my opinion on the Michelle Obama thing, I don’t think so but who cares if she was, good for her if she was, and I like her regardless.)

Last weekend was my friend Dawn’s mom’s 60th birthday party but first I hit up the Sunderland Santa Claus parade with Emily, Corey and Marcus. Evan was doing some tiling in their kitchen and needed to finish up before the party, so we left him to do that and paraded it up. I like to crash family parade parties.

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It was awesome, as all small town parades are. Many tractors and pick-up truck floats. There was actually a float that advertised parade floats, so a float that had a few different float options on it, should you be looking for a float designer. That was interesting.

After the parade we picked up Evan and headed to Dawn’s house for the party. It was a legit house party! An amazing food spread, and I took this before all the things were brought out.

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‘Tis the season for eating!

Dawn’s mom Brennie was looking beyond fabulous. We played this game that my brain is not feeling up to explaining right now but it ended with Brennie wearing a bunch of different clothing options. She embraced it.

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She embraced it hard. And she looked about 40 doing it.

It was a surprise party and she seriously had no idea! Her reaction was priceless, she actually screamed. I think Scarlett was upset the party wasn’t for her.

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But she got over it.

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I took very few pictures but it was a good time with all our friends!

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My friends for almost 20 years now (Emily for almost 30, which is crazy to say) – I hope to be partying it up with them when we all turn 60!

This past weekend Evan and I had my family Christmas with my dad and Mona and Mona’s fam – we usually do it the Saturday before Christmas since actual Christmas is so busy with everyone’s blended families. I made Nana’s cookies for the occasion!

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They are so good, and I know my dad loves them.

We had a DELICIOUS Christmas dinner.

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The first of many, I am very, very lucky. I don’t mind spreading out the good stuff over a week. We always open presents up after dinner (I got a onesie and I’ve hardly taken if off), and then we have dessert.

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My step sister-in-law (?) Lesley and I got our annual picture in front of the tree! I think it’s the third or fourth now.

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It was pretty chaotic at times with the kids and the giant golden retriever who thinks he’s a lap dog, but it is the kind of chaos I like.

And finally, Sunday was Emily and Corey’s annual “Jingle and Mingle”, a Christmas party that happened this year at their new and beautiful love shack, as they recently moved. Santa (Joel) made an appearance, so that was exciting.

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I like to crash family parades and pictures with Santa.

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Evan and I wore our festive sweaters for the occasion.

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I picked those up last week at Bluenotes for buy one get one 50% off, pretty sweet deal. They were a big hit.

Emily does a SERIOUS food spread, and this one is usually the highlight of the year.

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And once again that’s not even everything. I love Christmas for the parties! And I love parties for the eating! And hanging with the lads.

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Over 30 people ended up coming, which is an impressive turnout considering Em and Cork sort of live in the middle of nowhere and it was snowing on and off. It was so nice to see everyone. Another fun party day. And the holiday fun is just beginning!

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The Banff Bachelorette

As I mentioned, our last Saturday in Banff was my bachelorette party!

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Crystal, Dawn, Heather, me, Lisa, Sherrie, Emily, Kim

I am so happy these girls could make it. Also I LOVED the shirts and the sunglasses. Those were a surprise for me. I am drunk in love! They’re just drunk.

Since Evan and I are not actually getting married until the spring it was a bit early for your typical bachelorette party. I still have quite a while to sow my wild oats (ohh just kidding, you know Evan is my one and only, and we already live together so I feel like we’re already married). But it just worked out beautifully to have the bachelorette in Banff. Lisa lives in Calgary and as my obvious MOH since forever (she’s pretty much my sister), I would have felt really weird having a bachelorette in Ontario without her. Our good friends Crystal and Heather (Lisa’s actual sister) also live in Alberta, so having the bachelorette in Banff meant they would be able to make it, which was awesome. Sherrie and I were already out there and Emily happened to be going on a family vacation with Corey at the same time to the same area. Then we just convinced Dawn and Kim to fly out for it. I can’t believe that worked out, I was so glad to have them there. Obviously not everyone I would have wanted to come could be there but it was certainly the majority so…bachelorette across the country! We could not have picked a more beautiful place to do it.

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We already had Kim with us for our day adventuring so we met up with Dawn, Crystal and Emily at the Banff hot springs to get the festivities started.

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I wouldn’t necessarily tell you not to go to the Banff hot springs, but I wouldn’t recommend going to them on a Saturday… They were absolutely rammed with people and it was basically like sitting in human soup. Beautiful scenery though and we had a great group so we still had a good time. Just not a long time.

There were bathing suits available to rent in case you forgot yours and they had options to rent historical bathing suits. I should have known that Dawn, Emily and Crystal would show up in those… We found a man with the same suit, so, picture.

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Pretty attractive.

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After the hot springs we headed back to the hotel to get ready for our night out. On the way down we saw a woodland caribou! Proving once again that we were actually in a freakin’ Canadian safari.

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We spent a couple hours hanging at the hotel together, which was really nice.

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We already had our sweet outfits on and ready so we just needed to do our hair and makeup. Lisa curled my hair and Heather had brought their mom’s actual wedding veil so I felt like that was a good combination.

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I just felt really pretty.

Got some solo shots with the bridal party.

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Oh and I received these… Sneaky!

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So you know my friends had props… They do on a regular night out so obviously a bachelorette is over the top. There were many items that were phallic in nature and you know I do like to stay pretty PG on here as I have chosen to take a (somewhat) professional path in life…so I have decided that if anything inappropriate appears it will just be covered by Evan. He is a-okay with this, I got his permission first. He did try to suggest maybe I could cover inappropriate things with pictures of cats but nope. Sorry. His face is more funny. Case in point:

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Before we left for dinner everyone went around and said something they loved about me, which I obviously loved. I was almost getting teary, it was a beautiful moment.

For dinner we walked to Block Kitchen and Bar, a new restaurant in Banff. It was mostly tapas and Heather took over ordering for the table, which was handy as there were so many of us it was confusing. I didn’t take any pictures of dinner so I can’t even remember what I ate, but I remember it being delicious and I definitely had a good time.

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(I’m wearing a veil attached to a headband, in case you are wondering what’s going on with my forehead)

While at dinner we played the how well do you know the bride/groom game, where Evan was asked questions and then I had to answer/state what his answer would be. My favourite was when asked what kind of animal I would be Evan said a dolphin because I want to swim free and wild in the ocean. That is correct! That or a cat. When asked what kind of animal Evan would be he said a harbour porpoise because he likes to stay close to home and be safe in the harbour. A harbour porpoise! I was dying. That really made me laugh.

After dinner it was bar time. We first hit up Wild Bill’s – it’s a pub and it was just the best time.

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People LOVED our antics. I had a list of missions to accomplish, as many bachelorettes do, but this was the first time I’ve experienced people coming up to us and asking what they could complete from the list. Well, let’s see. You can do a handstand!

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You can wear one of our shirts…

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You can do the Canadian experience (where you put your hand into a bucket filled with ice to try and find a Looney).

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You can let us make you a wedding dress out of toilet paper.

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You can buy us all a shot.

Etc. etc. etc.

Everywhere I looked something hilarious was happening. I was overstimulated with hilarity. It was wonderful.

At one point I looked towards the band and they had our friends hostage.

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I was dying laughing. Seeing the drummer playing his drums with a giant pecker really got me.

After that we went to a club called the Dancing Sasquatch. Yup, the DANCING SASQUATCH. Sounded like a dream. Apparently there is actually a sasquatch that comes out and starts dancing on certain nights, but he was elusive on that night. As sasquatches tend to be, I guess. It was a really good time over there too and we closed the place down and ended the night next door at McDonalds. As you do.

So, it was amazing. We all agreed that it was probably the best night out of all time. I lost my voice the next day from laughing too hard.

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Good, good times. I’m so glad it worked out!!! Thank you to my ladies for making it such a memorable bachelorette party. I felt so loved and just so happy.

On Sunday we all had breakfast together and then all headed home. And that is the end of my Alberta/BC trip. Went out with a bang for sure!

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BAM(nff)!!! and Lake Louise

On Friday morning we grabbed Tim Hortons (road trip essential) and said byeeeee to cute Jasper!

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Definitely going back someday.

And then we hit the road to Calgary to pick up our friend Kim from the airport – she was in for the weekend for my bachelorette party on Saturday! We were all excited to see a new face. Once again long drive, but once again mountains.

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The entire way.

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So y’know. It’s beautiful and it goes by quick!

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Yamina was still in rough shape. I guess we broke her. She was actually headed to the Vancouver area after our Banff weekend so she didn’t want to overdo it and make her injury worse. She decided to stay at Lisa’s place for the weekend, hang out with Charlie and rest up. I think it was a good call – our weekend ended up being pretty crazy, with a lot of walking which would have further killed her. So we dropped off Yamina, picked up Kim from the airport, and drove back to Banff for more mountain time. But first! Lake Louise. The quintessential Alberta vacation spot. I went a couple years ago with Evan, Eric and Kenya, but Kim and Sherrie had never been and you can’t go to Banff without checking out Lake Louise!

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It is gorgeous, and the water is the bluest of blues.

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Lake Louise is also home to the most expensive hotel in all the land!

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We didn’t have a ton of time for exploring as we wanted to check into our Banff hotel and go out for dinner, but we did a quick jaunt along the trail around the lake. So here’s a bunch of pictures without a lot of commentary because I don’t really know what I can say other than it’s beautiful. It’s beautiful!

 

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One day I would like to continue to Moraine Lake in that area, but unfortunately we didn’t really have the time. We headed back to Banff, checked into our hotel and then went to the Magpie & Stump for Mexican!

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I think I could probably eat Mexican food every day. Highly, highly recommend Magpie & Stump if you’re in Banff. Freakin’ delicious tacos and a really great atmosphere in there.

After tacofest we walked back to our sweet hotel. I can’t even remember the name… Some-type-of-Canadian-animal Lodge, but that’s pretty much any hotel in Banff. Our hotel was great though, really nice, inexpensive, right on the main drag. And do you know how excited I was to see this after camping and the yurt after the last several nights? A real bed with actual blankets and sheets! No sleeping bag in sight!

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It was glorious. We had a pretty decent view from our balcony, too.

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And free breakfast in the morning!

We noticed we had two fluffy white bathrobes in our room so we requested two more and then slipped into those suckers for a robe party.

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We fancy!

We sat on our balcony in our robes and looked at the mountains and drank wine and told Kim all about our trip and laughed really hard. It was a dream night.

The next morning we decided to do the gondola on Sulphur Mountain before the rest of the girls arrived.

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I love a good gondola. I’ve done it a couple times before, once with just Lisa in the winter a few years ago and again the last time I was in Banff with Evan, Eric and Kenya, but I didn’t mind doing it again. Kim and Sherrie had never been up there, and again, it is a must-do Banff activity. One day I’d like to actually hike up the mountain, ’cause the gondola be expensive, but it was not the day for that.

We got to the top and blew Sherrie and Kim’s minds.

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You can see all of Banff and several mountain ranges, for ages and ages.

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Selfie stick for the win.

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So that was a time. So pretty! The lookout is quite an adventure in itself. It’s huge and wraps around Sulphur Mountain, and there are so many stairs that I felt like I was actually hiking a mountain.

After the gondola we did a little bit of the Banff touristy shopping thing, going in and out of the shops on the main strip. I got some souvenirs for my lover.

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We made friends, as we do.

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I think he may have been a mountie impostor…

And then we set up shop on a rooftop patio and grabbed some beers. Not a bad view and it was finally a beautiful day!

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About 16 degrees and sunny. After the 1 degree Banff weather I will take it.

It was a good start to bachelorette day. And then we met up with all the girls and the real shenanigans started, so actual bachelorette activities will be a separate post. Gird your loins.

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Yurt Sweet Yurt (Adventures in Jasper)

When I last left off we were leaving Revelstoke, BC and headed to Jasper, Alberta! Jasper is similar to Banff, but smaller, more rustic and less busy and touristy. Probably because it’s a bit of a hike. It was about a five and a half hour drive from where we were in Revelstoke, and three and a half hours north of Banff (you basically have to pass Banff if you are coming from either Revelstoke or Calgary directions). Jasper is so, so worth the drive though. It is beautiful, and you have to take the Icefields Parkway, which has the most stunning views I’ve ever seen while driving (and that is saying a lot because our entire road trip had stunning views). I had only been to Jasper once before, when I was about 10, but I remembered the beauty of it.

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We made a few pit stops because how can you not?! Once again the pictures do nothing justice. Absolutely nothing.

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Okay that one maybe you can get an idea of how beautiful it is to drive through. It is breathtaking, the entire way.

The icefields that the parkway was named for…

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That is the Athabasca Glacier that leads to the Columbia Icefield. You can do a tour on an Ice Explorer that will take you up to theglacier and you can get out and walk around on the ice and stuff. One day! I definitely want to come back here with Evan and do more hiking – there is SO MUCH to do. There are so many smaller mountain lakes all around Jasper that you can just drive to and hike around (I remember doing this when I was younger with my family). But by the time we arrived it was the early evening and we were exhausted from driving all day so we really only had one full day there.

The town of Jasper is cuuuuute.

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Just the cutest little mountain town. Actually the entire town is located inside Jasper National Park, just like in Banff. We were staying just outside of town in the Whistlers campground of Jasper National Park, two nights in this sweet yurt!

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I highly, highly recommend the yurt (actually it’s called an oTENTik officially). I’m so glad we weren’t actually camping here – the temperature had dropped even further to high of about 8 degrees C. On Thursday and Friday mornings it was only 1 degree! I brought a lot of layers and I was prepared for it to be chilly, but I was not prepared for winter. Luckily, our yurt was heated. Not full heat but enough to take the chill off and it was pretty comfortable in there. The inside was pretty awesome.

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Three beds that each slept two, and a little table and chairs for chill time.

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We got subway for dinner as you can see. All we did Wednesday night was eat our subway dinner, locate a shower (it had been a while), and go to bed. We didn’t even have a campfire.

In the morning we got up bright and early and got started on our adventuring. We went out for breakfast at an Italian restaurant in town, and afterwards we explored the downtown a bit.

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I don’t usually enjoy shopping, but the exception is shopping in small towns because I like to explore all the kitschy shops and look at all the cute touristy things.

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I especially love touristy shopping in little Canadian towns because they have all the quintessential Canadian things – lots of bears, lots of moose, and lots of beavers. And usually Mounties.

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I guess that’s really what we’re all about.

After a couple hours in town we dropped Yamina off at the yurt (her hip was in a lot of pain from all the driving, she had an old snowboarding injury that acted up so unfortunately she had to skip out on a lot of our adventures) and Lisa, Sherrie and I headed to Athabasca Falls for a little hiking action.

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It was absolutely beautiful, even if it was rainy and foggy and we could barely see the mountains.

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I googled it and this is normally what that looks like.

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So, Mother Nature hated us but what can you do? We had a limited time so we made the best of the situation.

 

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And it was still real pretty!

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Much rushing.

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I loved all the limestone!

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Athabasca Falls are known for their strength more than their height, because of the crazy amount of water that comes rushing through there.

You walk down a path where the water used to come through, and it eventually leads to a beautiful river.

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That water is just crazy blue.

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Highly recommend checking out the falls if you go to Jasper. Hopefully you have nicer weather than we did!

After our rainy hike we were cold and wet so naturally we hit up the Miette hot springs!

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We went to the hot springs later in Banff also and I have to say, the Jasper ones are so much nicer. They’re larger – they have four pools, two hot and two cooler ones (so you can switch between if you are feeling ballsy, but it was cold out and we were not) – and the Jasper springs are not as rammed with people. Although, we did go to the Jasper hot springs on Thursday and the Banff ones on Saturday so that might have had something to do with it. But we really enjoyed. The view is gorgeous and it’s nice to just submerge yourself in hot water. There’s also a hike you can do on the mountain where the springs are located, but we were just in leisure mode. The drive there was a hike in itself, the road was SUPER windy through the mountains.

It was also like African Lion Safari: Canadian Edition. Like Canadian Bear Safari maybe. Animals everywhere! We saw an entire family of elk right by our campsite, so we got to watch them for a bit up close (up close from the car).

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It’s currently elk mating season so the rangers told us not to actually get too close to the elk or they may try to make sweet love to us (or charge at us, whatever). And we saw four giant male elk on the way to the hot springs, lying down on the side of the road.

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They’re pretty well camouflaged so I have circled them for you. We could see them pretty well from where we were standing and maaan their antlers are huge and crazy.

Then we drove a little further and saw a bunch of mountain goats just chilling on the side of the road.

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About a dozen of them. They were cute.

After the hot springs it was back to the yurt, sweet yurt. We had visitors coming! Our friends Emily and Corey happened to be doing a similar road trip and they were about a day behind us and also staying in Jasper Thursday night. Em and Cork were staying in a trailer in a different campground, no yurt for them, but they happened to drive by our campground on the way to theirs so of course we were all “COME OVER!!! YURT PARTY!!!” so they came and they brought their beautiful baby Marcus with them!

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Ahhh I just want to snuggle him. I can’t imagine driving for that long (or staying in a trailer for that matter) with a baby, but they said he was just being a little dream and was liking the traveling. I think he was happy to be out of the car and reunited with his aunties.

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I love his little Canada mitts.

We were talking about how crazy it was that we all happened to be in Jasper at the same time, clear across the country from where we live – a good few days drive or four hour plane ride, and in the middle of nowhere. Seeing them felt like being home, and after almost a week on the road I was feeling a little homesick. It was quite the party.

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Sherrie and Corey like to pretend they’re a happy couple together. From the above photo I’m thinking Emily doesn’t mind at all.

We made burgers over the fire and hung out with Em and Cork until it was time for them to leave and locate their trailer. We had a good fire that night and the next morning we headed to Banff, the last leg of our adventure!

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