Beautiful Banff

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Loren and I recently took a long weekend trip to Banff, Alberta to meet up with our friends for a weekend of skiing (the boys), chatting (the gals), and exploring the area. I'd seen Banff on an episode of Live with Regis and Kelly years ago, thought it was beautiful and have wanted to visit every since then. Here's a recap of our trip...beware there's a lot of photos.

We flew into Calgary which has a very nice airport and then made the easy drive to Banff (the drive is about an hour and twenty minutes). The hotel we chose to stay at was Banff Park Lodge. It was a great location, reasonably priced, and had a hot tub! The rooms were roomy enough and clean so I'd recommend it if you're looking for a place to stay.

The first day in town the boys went skiing and Ang and I caught up and had a yummy lunch. :) We picked them up at the end of the day so we could all go to Lake Louise to see the views. Unfortunately, it was snowing by the time we got to the lake so we didn't get to see the best views.

Loren took this picture while they were skiing. 

Photo Cred: Eric (& selfie stick)

Everywhere you look there is gorgeous scenery, we stopped for a couple pictures on the way down from Lake Louise.

The next day we went to check out the Cave and Basin National Historic Site. It was incredibly overrated. And smelly (mineral springs). After that 20-minute adventure we continued on to Johnston Canyon Trail. There are two waterfalls that you can see while you hike. The lower falls are considered to be an "easy" hike which I think would definitely be true if the trail wasn't covered in ice! The scenery was breathtaking but the trail was so slippery in some areas you just held the handrail and slid down the slope on your boot heels! We didn't make it to the second waterfall. Eric was ahead of us and said the trail was very difficult so I knew I wouldn't be able to manage it. The trail overall was a great experience and I'd say a must see if you're in the area.

After our hike we stopped at a pretty lake on the way back to town. I'm not totally sure but I think this was Lake Minnewanka, this is based on Googling and Instagram searches. It was super pretty (and windy!), I'm glad we spotted the sign and made the pit stop.

We spent the rest of the day relaxing and then decided to head out to visit the Upper Hot Springs. It's essentially a pool sized hot tub with mineral water. Worth a trip, but I wouldn't plan on spending more than 30 minutes there. They do have lockers and towel rental (swim suits too if you really need one!).

Photo cred: Eric
On our last day in town the boys returned to the ski slopes while Angela and I entertained ourselves by driving around and taking pictures of the scenery. We would literally just pull over on the side of the road whenever we saw a pretty spot...which was often! The beauty in Banff is so breathtaking and at the risk of sounding cheesy, it just made me feel so grateful that I was able to experience it.

Our last night we grabbed dinner and went out for a few drinks before heading to bed. 

It was such an incredible trip and such a fun time with good friends. Looking forward to a new adventure together soon! Thanks for sticking around through all these trip photos. :)


Life Lately

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Hi Friends! I figured since I've been a little MIA I'd do a quick update on what's been going on around here and then hopefully I can get back on a somewhat regular schedule.

I've been busy planning our kitchen renovation! Our cabinets and flooring have been ordered and I'm so excited/nervous! It's been months of getting price quotes from lots of different sources and a few tweaks in the design along the way too. Also, trying to find the flooring was a difficult task but I finally found the wood flooring that is the same as our wood that's installed on the rest of the first floor of our house. Our cabinets are being delivered this week and flooring next week so hopefully by the end of April the kitchen will be done! I'll be sure to post updates once I have them but for now here's a layout plan, it's going to end up a little different but this is an idea.

Loren and I also took a trip to Florida to visit family and friends. We started in Jacksonville and left from Fort Myers with a stop in Lakeland along the way. :) It's always nice to see family and spending some time in the warm sun during the Winter doesn't hurt either! While visiting my Aunt & Uncle in Jacksonville we took a drive to St. was mostly a driving tour but it looks like a cute town and we did get out and check out the beach quickly (it was a tiny bit windy!).

We visited my Grandparents in Lakeland and my parents actually were there for a portion of the time too. Mostly we spent our time there eating, swimming, and watching some good game shows. We also managed to get in a solid game of dominoes!

In Fort Myers we had lunch with Loren's Grandma and Aunt and then went to meet up with our friends that live in the area. We had so much fun exploring the area that they live in and they were all great hosts. We went to Captiva Island and to Fort Myers beach - lots of fun! And probably too many drinks!

That's pretty much all the fun stuff we've been up to. Loren and I both had colds - mine seemingly lasting longer than his but I seem to be on the mend. I binge watched Friday Night Lights and it's definitely one of my favorite shows of all time. So, so good!! If you haven't watched it, I can't recommend it enough. Just for fun here's a picture of Ruby on St. Patrick's Day. She's a total furball at the moment and getting a haircut today. :)

Ok, that's it; enough random updates for today. Hope all is well in your neck of the woods!


Valentine Decorations

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Hi there! Wanted to share a quick post of the Valentine decorations we have up at our house. I love Valentine's Day so I try to always decorate a little bit...a few hearts around the house never hurt anyone! 

The mantel has a few things up that are always there but I added a few free prints that I saved from several years ago, a glittery heart wreath, and the love sign and photo garland are from Target. My sister got me that garland and I love it so much! Before we moved we always had a Valentine party with our friends so I printed pictures from those parties and hung them up. We might not have our party anymore, but it's fun to have the memories up of our buddies. 

Our entryway got a little Valentine spruce too. Another free printable, some little heart sticks that I made years ago, heart paperweight, and a super cute felt garland that I picked up at Target. Oddly enough, I think the only time I feel like this entry table is decorated is when it has holiday things on it! 

Anyway, that's what we have going on here, thanks for stopping by and I hope you have a sweet Valentine's Day! Let me know in the comments if you decorate your house or have any special plans! 


2017: Year of Gratitude

Thursday, January 19, 2017

I've never chosen a "word of the year" before, but I figured now was a good time to start. To anyone that knows me personally I think it was pretty apparent that 2016 was not my best year. To say I struggled after moving would be the biggest understatement ever. But when I thought about it at the end of the year...trying to come up with an update (which I never posted because it was SO DEPRESSING), I realized that things could have been much better if I would have been able to focus on the good. Appreciate. Be grateful.

*Photo from Pinterest, original source unknown
This year I'm determined to be more aware of how fortunate I am in life. Not getting woo-woo about it, like "I don't miss my friends anymore because I'm so thankful that I have them." Just choosing to focus on being lucky that it's so easy to keep in touch because of social media, or texting and that I'm able to visit often etc. Obviously that's just an example but you get the idea.

I'm really hopeful that trying to adapt a new attitude will improve multiple areas in my life so keep your fingers crossed for me! :) What about you? Do you make a resolution or adopt a word of the year? Maybe you just skip the whole New Year fanfare?! Leave a comment and let me know.



Monday, January 16, 2017

Oh man, for the past week I've been on a roadtrip from Everett, Washington to Long Beach, California. My sister and her boyfriend are moving to Long Beach for a bit so I rode down with her, and it was an adventure.

We started our journey on Monday, January 9. The trip was going fine until we got into the Oregon mountains. First it was just raining...and then it was snowing. Big fat snow globs. Still, things were going okay...until traffic came to a stop. And didn't move again for two and a half hours. We literally just sat there while it continued to snow, and the road was freezing over. It was so, so scary. It was now dark out and finally the police drove by on the opposite side of the road and hollered at people to get back in their cars (some of the more brave/dumb people were getting out and walking around) because traffic was moving. Laura had figured out that there was a motel at the next exit so after traffic started moving 5-10 mph we decided we'd rather get off and stop for the night. It was the probably the dirtiest motel I've ever been in, but it felt safer than continuing to drive.

Tuesday the plan was to get from Sunny Valley, OR to Napa, CA. We managed but the weather was less than ideal. It was mostly heavy rains, with a little snow thrown into the mix for fun sometimes. Once we got to Napa, we checked into our hotel, had a comfort meal dinner at Applebee's and watched movies. It was so nice to relax in a clean place! The simple pleasures in life! :) Napa got a huge rain storm Tuesday night...we could hear it pouring from our room and were so happy to not be stuck on the road somewhere.

Wednesday was a fun day in Napa Valley! Laura and I were so grateful to not be driving and it was almost sunny! We started our day in Downtown Napa; attempting to wine taste and visiting the Oxbow Market. Several of the tasting rooms were closed due to the storms and flooding and Oxbow Market turned out to be a lot smaller than anticipated. Our favorite booth was Napa Valley Distillery. The guys working there were super fun and friendly and helped with all our questions. I was able to pick up a nice souvenir for Loren. The only wine tasting we ended up doing in Downtown Napa was at the Vintner's Collective. The guy working there was friendly and had lived in Washington for 15 years so that was a nice thing to have in common. There was a pretentious wine-o there also tasting that made for good entertainment. :)

Since wine tasting had so far been a bust, we headed to Yountville. It only took a few minutes to get there and I'm so glad we went. We visited three tasting rooms there: Hope & Grace Winery, Hill Family Estate, and Cornerstone Cellars. Hill Family Estate was definitely my favorite. Jean was so helpful and friendly, and the wine was yummy. But honestly, all three places had fantastic staff that were easy to chat with during our tastings. Also, Yountville was really cute!

Thursday was our last driving day. We were determined to get to Long Beach and be done with the car and crappy weather. Of course, it rained most of the drive and then we ended up getting into the Los Angeles area right at rush hour...but we made it! There was so gorgeous scenery in between Napa and LA, and I wasn't really expecting that since we'd taken the less scenic route. Plus we saw the one and only rainbow on our whole trip!

Friday we took our time getting going for the day and then headed to Huntington Beach to grab lunch, browse some shops, and then wait for sunset. We ended up getting lunch at Fred's Mexican Cafe and it was DELICIOUS! Good salsa, good tacos, and super yummy margaritas! After lunch we walked to Pacific City and looked through the shops there. It was a cute place, the shops were the same as any other place (Urban Outfitters, Francesca's, etc) but we had fun. There are little tables and steps outside that are perfect to sit and watch the sunset. It's pretty entertaining to look around and see everyone trying to get the perfect photo!

And that's a wrap on the trip. It was a fun week that I'm happy to have been invited along (or did I invite myself? That's a bit cloudy). The weekend was spent snuggling up on Loren and Ruby. <3 around="" for="" friends="" happy="" marathon="" monday="" nbsp="" p="" post="" sticking="" thanks="" this="">
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