Thursday, July 7, 2016

Banff Springs!

This blog post is wayyyyy overdue, and I am so excited tell you all about our Canadian getaway to Banff Springs!

Let me back up...I earned an all-expense paid trip to Banff through my awesome work-from-home gig (HASHTAG SHAMELESS PLUG... but really, the best job ever).  At the time, I'd never even heard of the place.  When T and I started telling people we were going there, so many of them were like "Banff is on my bucket list!"  And now I know why.

It was ahhhh-mazing.  I've said it a million times, but pictures really do not do it justice.

Here is how we spent our four days in a Canadian wonderland...

 Up bright and early and at the airport by 4:30am... Banff, here we come!

 As soon as we landed I had to start snapping pictures of it all...

These were taken from the window of the bus, which met us at the airport in Calgary and drove us to Banff.

 We kicked off the trip at a Welcome Reception, where we were able to eat and drink to our hearts' content!

 Pictures taken from our hotel balcony.  Incredible!

The next day, we were off to the convention center, which was right across the street from the hotel.

We had TONS of free time... time to explore, time to go on some excursions, time to play - but there were a few information/inspiration sessions sprinkled in, which were SO awesome.

 Early morning picture in front of our hotel!

It really was like staying in a castle!!

After a full buffet breakfast and listening to some awesome speakers, T and I set off on one of the activities we'd chosen from the list they provided: massages!  Best part?  They had a big ol' pregnancy pillow with a hole cut out and I GOT TO LAY ON MY STOMACH.

After our massages we napped in our room for a bit.  When we were done being lazy, we showered and decided to walk to downtown Banff, where we explored and ate and shopped...

 Then we headed back to the hotel where we had dinner reservations at one of the twelve restaurants on site.  We decided to do a long, four-course meal of fondue, and it was DELICIOUS.  And yes, that's a big ol' non-alcoholic beer.

 After dinner, we explored some more around the grounds of the hotel, and found our way to the beautiful Bow Falls:

 And because we still didn't want the day to end, we went back to the spa for a late night dip in the mineral pools.  It was so awesome in there!  Being pregnant, I wasn't able to enjoy the pools as much as T, but they had these three different pools full of different minerals that were heated to different temperatures!  So cool.

And again, the VIEW!!

When we got back to our room late that night, we had surprises waiting for us - a North Face jacket for both T and me, courtesy of R+F!  And let me tell you, this was just the beginning of the constant gifts we were given throughout our trip.  Like I said, we were absolutely SPOILED!

The next morning, another full breakfast buffet.. with a view, of course!

And then we were bused out to Kananaskis Country to enjoy some barbecue on a ranch:
 The old ski slopes from the Olympics!  (Can't remember what year...)
 New friends!

 After lunch, it was time for a rafting trip through the Canadian Rockies!  Unfortunately, my pregnant belly and I had to sit this one out.  But T had a blast!

And while he rafted, I was back exploring the adorable downtown area.

 Once T was back from his adventure, we decided to venture back to town yet again for some dinner.  We ate at a yummy restaurant that overlooked one of the main streets:

And there was NO way I was leaving Canada without experiencing one of their signature pastries, also known as a Beaver Tail.  It was all kinds of delicious.

The next morning, I soaked up the king-sized bed, my cup of coffee, and the Today show as long as I possibly could!

 And then I went to our last session, where four of the most important people in the company sat on the stage and answered any and every question we wanted to ask them.  How cool is that?!

 It was our last day, and after talking to quite a few people we knew we couldn't leave Alberta without seeing Lake Louise.  So we buddied up with some new friends, rented a car, and set out on our road trip...  We grabbed lunch at a restaurant overlooking Lake Louise, then explored a little bit, even breaking into a room on the top floor so we could get a good view of it all.  The weather didn't exactly cooperate the way we'd hoped, but we were all still so glad we went.  It was breathtaking!  And we saw a bear on the way home, just hanging out on the side of the road. AND I think we all laughed harder than we'd laughed in a long, LONG time.  Love these people!

 Then it was back to Banff, where we got all dressed up for the Farewell Dinner...
 I only had a tiny sip, because, CHEERS.

The night ended with desserts overlooking the gorgeous mountains, and plenty of drinks (that I'll be able to enjoy NEXT TIME!), and lots of dancing.  I shook around this big ol' baby bump as much as I could until my body was like STOP.  And then I dragged TJ off of the dance floor and almost made him carry me back to our room, where we collapsed on the bed, reminiscing about our four days in a Canadian paradise...

And also, a HUGE thank you to MeMe, for keeping the kids alive and happy and fed and giggling while we were away...

We really and truly had the absolute best time.  We were sitting in the airport, waiting for our first flight to Canada when I said to T, "I feel like we've talked more in the past few hours than we have in the past few months!"  It was so nice to get away, just the two of us.  He is my absolute best friend, and it was such a good reminder of how awesome we are as a duo, just us two, sans the chaos of life.  We don't get to do stuff like this often (or, ever), and I don't think we took a single minute of it for granted.  <3

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