Category Archives: Travel

Beachin’ it up

Evan and I were feeling pretty sluggish and gross after all our Orlando activities (read: eating and drinking) so on Tuesday morning we decided to go for a hike at Robinson Nature Preserve, a salt marsh in Bradenton. We still needed to eat, of course, so first we stopped and picked up bagels from Paradise Bagel Cafe on Anna Maria Island to bring with us for breakfast. I absolutely loved the bagels from there and we actually went twice, both times I got the asiago bagel toasted with spinach and garlic cream cheese. So, so good.

Anyway, the hike. We found the preserve when we were researching the area as it’s the top thing to do in Bradenton according to Trip Advisor. Since it was the morning it wasn’t too hot yet and we had a really nice walk. There are miles of trails through the marsh.

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People say we Canadians are really friendly but every single person we passed said good morning to us. Actually I found people we encountered in general to be really friendly, wherever we visited. Though it’s possible they’re all Canadians escaping winter…

We walked to the lookout tower and ate our bagels at the top.

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The marsh was on both sides of the boardwalk here and you could see tons of little black crabs scurrying around the mud. They legit looked like spiders though so…I didn’t love them.

The view from the top of the tower was spectacular.

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There were tons of fish (mullet) jumping out of the water too, so that was cool.

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It’s a beautiful spot. This is looking towards the Tampa Bay area. I did not realize you could also rent kayaks and explore the water areas. I would have loved that but next time! We had a good walk.

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Next up was the beach.

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First we went to Venice Beach, about half an hour south of Sarasota. It is the beach of Evan’s childhood (his grandparents used to take him here to hunt for shark teeth) and we found a lot of shells and shark teeth last time we were here so we knew we wanted to go back.

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It was not nearly as busy as the last time we were here, so that was nice. It was a bit windy, but a gorgeous, gorgeous day.

We explored the fishing pier…

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And then set up shop in the sand. Not many people were swimming in the ocean but you know I sure did! That Jaws marathon we had couldn’t scare me away.

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That water was not too shabby at all. After swimming I leisured around and read my book while Evan went on a shell hunt.

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I caught him mid throw in that one.

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He got a lot more after this but I forgot to get a picture.

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For lunch we went to Sharky’s on the Pier. We saw this place last time and had talked about how much of a good time it looked like and we should go back one day, so here we were.

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Super beautiful view of the water.

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We had big plans for dinner and didn’t want to spoil our appetite so we just ordered some peel and eat shrimp to tide us over.

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And beer.

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After Venice beach we drove over to Nokomis beach, about 10 minutes away. Another beach we went to last time we were here that we really enjoyed. It’s beauty!

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There was a group of guys skimboarding in front of us, so that was pretty entertaining.

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More swimming and leisuring went down here.

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What a lover I have.

I have to admit that one of my main reasons for wanting to go to Nokomis beach was to go back to Pop’s Sunset Grill for dinner. We came last time and absolutely loved it! So after beaching it up we quickly changed out of our wet bathing suits and hit that up.

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Home of the world’s friendliest people, apparently. And everyone was so friendly, I’m tellin’ ya! I mostly love this place because the patio is right on the water.

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At first our server asked us if we wanted to sit in a quiet area of the patio and we said okay, and it was quiet and nice…but too quiet. We could hear people having fun on the other part of the patio where the bar was, where a live band was playing Christmas songs that people were singing along to, and we felt like we were seriously missing out on the fun times. It was like that episode of Gilmore Girls when crazy Jason takes Lorelei to a restaurant for dinner and they’re in a private room and every time the door opens Lorelei can hear the craziness going on outside and wants to join. I remember when we watched that Evan said to me “that would be you.” He is not wrong. We felt like that, so eventually we moved and joined the party. We still sat on our own by the water, but we could see the shenanigans happening at the bar and hear the band, so it was pretty perfect. It was much more our speed.

We loved the steamship pot we got last time so much that we ordered it again.

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Twin pic from 2013!

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Just a bit more grey in the beard is the biggest difference there. And I am so glad the shirt Evan’s wearing in that picture went to the big laundry basket in the sky.

Our pot included 24 shrimp, two lobster tails, kielbasa, red potatoes, corn on the cob, onions and celery. Amazing.

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Just amazing. We were pretty full afterwards but our server convinced us to go for the keylime pie so that happened.

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It was GOOD.

We watched the pelicans frolicking around in the water and saw the most beautiful sunset.

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It was a perfect Florida day.

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Pottering Around

After we left Paula and Fabian, Evan and I headed to Universal Studios Florida for our last Orlando adventure.

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Pic from last time!

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This was the Monday after Thanksgiving weekend and ended up being the BEST time to go. The park was dead.

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There were still people there and the Harry Potter areas were busy, but we basically walked onto every ride. The longest we waited was for the Simpsons ride and that was only 20 minutes. This was such a huge difference to the last time we were there in March 2013. That time the park was so busy it was almost not worth going. We spent a lot of money to wait in line all day. We couldn’t even get into the Harry Potter Hogsmeade area until 3pm and then it was so packed with people it was like walking through a mosh pit. It was ridiculous. I was SO HAPPY it wasn’t nearly as busy this time.

Diagon Alley and the Gringotts ride didn’t yet exist the last time we were there so that’s where we immediately headed. After a quick stop in the Jaws area…

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For some reason we had a Jaws marathon a couple weeks leading up to our vacation… I’m not sure how good of an idea it is to watch all the Jaws movies right before you plan on going swimming in the ocean but anyway. Evan was sad the Jaws ride is gone but was excited to see the Jaws shark.

The Knight Bus!

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The way the park is set up you walk through “London” first, and then through the iconic brick wall and into Diagon Alley

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I got the Universal app on my phone where you can check current wait times for rides and saw that Escape from Gringotts had a less than five minute wait, so we headed straight there in case it got busier later.

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You walk through the bank first and I loved all the detail. I felt like I was really in Gringotts.

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The goblins even moved and spoke. The ride itself is so well done and I loved every second of it. My new favourite ride of all time. We went on it twice, again in the afternoon, and I loved it even more the second time. The first time I was overwhelmed and found it hard to follow the story or take anything in, so I feel like I really needed that second time to soak it all up, it made me like the ride even more.

After Gringotts we explored Diagon Alley for a couple hours. The detail is CRAZY and it was so fun to explore!

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I love that you can actually go into a lot of the stores! In the Hogsmeade area there are only a couple that you can explore, so this felt like a free for all. I was in heaven. We hadn’t passed Ollivander’s wand shop yet so we dropped into Wands by Gregoravitch and bought an interactive wand.

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I spent a lot of time agonizing over which wand to buy, I wasn’t expecting them to have replicas of all the characters’ wands. I considered Luna Lovegood’s since I love her and am also a Ravenclaw, but in the end I went with classic Harry Potter’s. The wands are expensive but I think totally worth it. Who knows when we’re coming back so we needed to do our experience right, and the wand totally upped everything for me. The wand comes with a Marauders Map and it made exploring even more fun because there are interactive sites requiring spells with your wand that you can do in both the Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade areas. It was really cool and made me feel like I was actually doing magic. I got every site to work, though some took several tries, and one time a child had to show me how to do it (I was not the only adult with an interactive wand if you were wondering). I thought the spells were very clever and inventive, and the best ones were in Diagon Alley.

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In the above one if you flicked the wand a certain way the toilet would flush and the sign sticking out if it would spin around.

There are a few secret spots that aren’t on the map as well, so you gotta do your research!

I don’t know if the wand would have been worth it if the park was really busy though. I could see a lot of people (mostly kids) hanging around the interactive areas, but on the day we were there most of them were clear.

I also dropped into Quality Quidditch Supplies and picked up a Ravenclaw Quidditch Team shirt. I love it and am actually wearing it as I type this. Now I’ll have something to wear the next time I’m invited to a Harry Potter party!

Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes was a good time.

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And I’m still kicking myself for not buying an Extendable Ear, but I figured I had already spent enough money.

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Knockturn Alley was also a really good time.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley at Universal Orlando Resort will bring even more of Harry Potter’s adventures to life. The new area will double the size of the sweeping land already found at Universal Orlando, expanding the spectacularly themed environment across both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. Guests will pass through London and the iconic brick wall archway into Diagon Alley – a bustling, wizarding hub within a Muggle city. Inside the land, guests will enjoy themed shops, dining experiences and the groundbreaking thrill ride – Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. HARRY POTTER, characters, names and related indicia are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © JKR. (s14)

Again the detail blew my mind.

We had lunch at the Leaky Cauldron, which was awesome. I took no pictures but it was really cool inside. I got the fish and chips and they were inexpensive and the fish portion was huge and delicious. Last time we went to the Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade and I remember really liking that also.

Then we headed over to Platform 9 3/4 to ride the Hogwarts Express to Hogsmeade!

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Harry Potter world was such a magical experience! Don't ask what I was doing with my arms, I was overwhelmed.

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Magical! If you have a park-to-park pass, riding the Hogwarts Express is free!

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I enjoyed the train experience, and it was handy to get over to the other park without having to walk, but if it wasn’t included in our pass I don’t know if I’d pay for it – not sure it’s worth $40. But I liked it! It dropped us off right in snowy Hogsmeade.

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Ah I felt like I was back in Canada with all that snow. Hogsmeade was way less busy than last time so we were actually able to explore the area without feeling crowded or rushed, and I did all the spells with my wand.

Got my butterbeer!

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Frozen is best. So good.

And then onto Hogwarts for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.

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Last time we waited for TWO AND A HALF HOURS to ride that thing, and I thought that wait was worth it. I was absolutely overjoyed to just walk right onto the ride this time. I actually wished there was more of a wait because I wanted to look around inside the castle more.

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^ Pic from last time

And the ride I loved just as much as the first time!

So after Pottering around for most of the day we hit up the Jurassic Park area and then rode the Hogwarts Express (it’s different if you take it the other way) back to the first park and explored the other parts, starting with the Simpsons.
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The Simpsons ride actually made me feel pretty sick. I get motion sickness sometimes and I think it was because what you see on the screen is not exactly the same movements that the car you’re sitting in is making. I still enjoyed it but I much prefer an old fashioned roller coaster. We also went on Terminator and The Mummy. Just walked right on both. I was surprised I got Evan to go on the Mummy as he is usually not a roller coaster enthusiast (or reptile enthusiast, or heights enthusiast, poor Evan) but he put on his brave pants and he actually really liked it! Maybe now he’ll come to Wonderland with me and go on all the coasters.

We had a really great day and I am so glad we came.
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After hitting up everything else we wanted to see we drove back to Bradenton and went to Fire & Stone for dinner, an AYCE pizza buffet. It was glorious.

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More adventures to come. Have a great weekend!

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Eye on Orlando

After gator fest we went back to Paula and Fabian’s, chilled by the pool (which they apparently don’t even use very often, I don’t know what they’re doing with their lives) and then headed out for a super touristy evening on International Drive. It was a whole other adventure and looking back on it I feel like it took place on a different day but nope, we just squeezed a lot of stuff in. Paula and Fabian wanted to take us for a ride on the Orlando Eye!

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At 400 feet tall it’s not your regular ferris wheel. Evan LOVES heights and was SUPER excited. /sarcasm

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I thought he might be curled up in a ball in a corner the entire time but once we got up there he was fine. Maybe he overcame his fear and will do the CN Tower Edge Walk with me one day! (doubtful). Instead of seats you are in a large air conditioned pod that plays music inside, and it takes about 30 minutes to do a full revolution. We went at night so we could pretty much only see the city lights, but I like lights so that was cool.

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Paula curled my hurr and it mostly lasted for a couple hours so that’s a win. My hair likes to be straight and it can be a real stubborn jerk about curling.

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The Orlando Eye was a time! I enjoyed it and I’m glad we did it, though it’s probably one of those things that you do once and you’re good. Similar to the CN Tower.

Next we went to a tapas restaurant called Cafe Tu Tu Tango which was really cute. It is quite artsy in there, there is actually an artist painting on a canvas in the middle of the place and you can buy all the art that is hanging on the walls. I don’t know what happened here but I only took one picture and it’s blurry. We ate a lot though, it was all delicious and afterwards I was stuffed to the gills.

We were all full and not really feeling the drinks after this but we went to a bar anyway, to keep up appearances, you know. When on vacation. We went to a country bar down the street and what I really liked about it was that we could sit outside on the patio bar and directly watch all the action (like the mechanical bull) going on inside.

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^ Our view, and our seats were a hot commodity. My beer wasn’t going down great and around 11 we were thinking of leaving but then somehow we all got a second wind. Evan went to the bathroom and a couple stole his barstool for a minute and bought me a rum and coke as a thank you for letting them borrow it until he returned. I don’t like to mix rum with beer mostly because that combination hates me but this felt like a special occasion and I went with it. Then Kesha came on, more drinks were consumed, and we went from feeling full and sluggish to being ON FIRE!!!

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As Paula said, just doing our best Trump impression. And actually, wouldn’t be the first time…

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Found that puppy from 3.5 years ago. Still cheeky!

Eventually we wandered inside and played some electronic darts.

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Evan was getting all competitive and it was killing me. Turns out darts are not mine nor Fabian’s forte, so we just let Evan and Paula battle it out. There was also a giant Jenga game in the bar which got a lot of use from us.

It was a really fun night and I don’t have any regrets about that second wind, even though I certainly paid for it on Sunday.

I woke up on Sunday actually feeling pretty good (this deteriorated), and we headed out for an adventure on Lake Eola in downtown Orlando. I’ve always wanted to visit!

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Once we got here I started feeling like a giant bag of crap but I’m so happy we came. We walked around the lake and checked out all the sights. I think it might be the bird capital of the city.

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^ Impressive

I loved seeing all the birds around. Paula says the swans are mean but they look like they want to cuddle to me.

I need to tell you I have a crush on Paula’s hair.

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Look at it sparkling in the sunshine!

Speaking of sunshine, Christmas decorations were out in full force and it is so weird seeing them and hearing Christmas songs when it’s sunny and hot!

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I’m so used to it being cold and gray, so it was weird, but I can’t say I minded.

For lunch we went to Relax Grill, which I LOVED.

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It has a great atmosphere, a huge outdoor patio, and the people-watching was some of the best I’ve experienced. I also loved my dish.

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Though I wasn’t in the best shape and wasn’t able to fully appreciate it. I got a Bloody Mary though and that perked me up a bit (you know what I really needed was a Caesar!)

After lunch we continued our walk around the lake.

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We got all the touristy shots with the fountain.

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These two:

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Fabian always has the best shirts.

And then we checked out the farmer’s market which was pretty cool.

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I got a bag of hot candied nuts and they were pretty much the best things I’ve ever tasted. If I lived in Orlando I think this area would be a regular hangout spot for me.

After that we went back to Paula and Fabian’s, took a MUCH. NEEDED. nap, and hung out with my favourite one-eared bunny Pants!!!

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She let me snuggle her again, but just for a minute.

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And the very first time I forced a snuggle on her…

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She hasn’t aged one bit.

Paula made us brats in buns with sauerkraut for dinner and it was delicious even though I STILL wasn’t feeling well and couldn’t fully appreciate. My body is weird with booze lately, if I get any sort of hangover at all it seems to be at its worst in the evening of the next day. Really fun and convenient, thanks body. That evening we leisured around the couch watching Finding Dory and it was a beautiful end to a fantastic weekend. The next morning we got up and headed to Universal Studios to do the Harry Potter stuff, and though I was excited for that I was really sad to leave! Such good times with these two!

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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!!!

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And see the palm trees!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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!

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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!)

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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.

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He kills me.

And from the front.

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Then it was air boat time.

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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.

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Hair twins.

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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.

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

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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.

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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?

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

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Just a little muffin.

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

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Fabian and his beautiful smile.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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And that was just the beginning of our shenanigans!

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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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