Vancouvering All Over the Place

I was flabbergasted by the saran wrapped toilet seats at O’Hare. I wish EVERYWHERE had them!

So I already shared with you my wicked awesome packing skills and my dorky photo shoot of what I wore while I was in Vancouver. Now it’s time to talk about what I actually DID while I was there. Well, besides my work conference because that’s not very interesting to people outside of my industry.

Since the flights were so long (about 8 hours total) I arrived in Vancouver on Tuesday before the conference actually started. I stayed at the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre (1088 Burrard Street) right in downtown Vancouver. The hotel was gorgeous and I was pretty excited about having a room ALL TO MYSELF. Oh, and also a teeny bit apprehensive because I had never been away from Jack for four whole days before.

Living LARGE people.

I was exhausted by time I finally made my way to my hotel late Tuesday afternoon, so I just went out for sushi (Kamei Royale) and returned to my room for some much needed ‘me’ time. I squished myself into my big bed with FOUR fluffy pillows, caught up on my online life and finished reading the book that I started on the plane. The time difference was 3 hours, so I had to struggle to keep myself awake so I wouldn’t be up at the crack of dawn in the morning.

I had Wednesday free to explore until I had to check in for the conference at 3:00, so I started my day with a trip to Tim Hortons. I wasn’t really sure what I was supposed to order while I was there, so I went with the Canadian Maple doughnut and a regular coffee. I mean, I was in CANADA so a Canadian Maple doughnut makes sense, right?*

tim hortonsAfter scarfing my doughnut and coffee, I continued down Granville Street in search of the shopping. I passed lots of ‘cool kids shops’ and record stores and generally just felt very old. There were a couple stores I stopped in, but nothing exciting. I walked and walked and walked some more and eventually ended up in an area called Gastown.

I LOVED Gastown. There were all sorts of adorable little shops and restaurants. I picked up a Vancouver t-shirt for my husband (it’s a tradition that I always buy him a souvenir t-shirt when I travel) and a cute little stuffed moose wearing a Vancouver hoodie for Jack.

You can see one of the snazzy Gastown lights behind me in this picture.
fun IS awful
Apparently, in Gastown, fun is awful. Or maybe the band “fun.” is awful? I’m not quite sure…

bird pinEveryone was ridiculously nice and I ended up chatting with a bunch of shop workers/owners. One of my favorites was Casey, the co-owner of Meadow. Not only did I want to pack up EVERYTHING in that store to bring it home with me, I want her to be one of my new besties (and her 2 ½ year old twin sons can be Jack’s posse)!

I couldn’t leave without buying a necklace (made by either Casey or her sister) and a fantastic bird pin created by a Canadian artist named Genevieve Jodouin. After shopping up an appetite, I ate probably the best pulled pork sandwich I’ve ever had at a pub called Steamworks. And believe me; I’ve had A LOT of pulled pork sandwiches. So. Good.

I made my way back to the hotel just in time to change into my nice clothes for my conference activities. Once the last event was over, I ran back to my room to throw on some jeans and run back out to try my very first taste of poutine. According to Yelp, Fritz was the best poutine place around so I grabbed a small order and hoofed it back to my hotel.

Here’s my first bite.

first taste photo strip

I liked it, but I can’t say I LOVED it.*

After my lackluster poutine experience, I spent another night reveling in having the bed to myself and woke up bright and early Thursday morning. I was in the conference from 7am – 5pm, but as soon as it was over I did a quick change and went back out for a last chance shopping trip. I had heard that Robson Street was the place to go, so I walked a few blocks and picked up some treats for myself at a few Canada-only stores. I ended up with another t-shirt for my main man, 2 tops for myself, a pretty scarf and a cute heart necklace that broke before I could even wear it (it’s fixable though, I just need to get to a craft store).

I wasn’t super hungry, so I decided to give poutine another try. I stopped by Yelp’s #2 place, called Mean Poutine. The lady who worked in the tiny little shop was a total sweetheart (I didn’t get her name) and we chatted for a good 15 minutes while she cooked me up my batch. Once again, I retreated to my room so I could throw on some fat-pants (aka pajamas) and stuff my face.

And stuff my face I did.

Excuse me kind stranger, would you mind taking a picture of me kissing this horse?

Holy WOW. Now THIS is what I was expecting! Hot fries, peppery gravy and gooey cheese curds!*** I ate the ENTIRE thing, washed down with a root beer and then spent the next few hours feeling like I might explode. Totally worth it though. Even though I still have no idea how the heck a cheese curd is supposed to squeak…

It’s a good thing I carbo loaded, because Friday was the day from hell. I had my last conference sessions in the morning and then packed up to leave my hotel at 11:30. Between the taxi ride, security/customs, waiting for my flight, my layover, a plane delay, my last flight, the shuttle to my car and my drive home… it took me until 2:30 am to get home. Thank goodness Jack decided to let me sleep until 9:30 (Travis had to work), so I wasn’t too much of a zombie over the weekend.vancouver checklist

I really enjoyed the trip and love that I had the opportunity to do a little exploring around my work conference.

It is especially nice to have the fun of visiting someplace new without putting out much money (since work paid for my transportation, hotel and most food).

fountainSo how about you – are you a fan of poutine? Have you done any fun sightseeing while on a work trip to someplace new? Don’t you think the saran wrapped toilets at O’Hare are the best things ever?

* Fun Fact: even though you are IN Canada, they don’t know what you mean if you order a “maple” donut. You must call it by its full name of “Canadian Maple.” I don’t know why I found this hilarious, but I totally did and made an idiot of myself by laughing for WAY too long.

** Dear poutine lovers: don’t freak out on me yet, I’m going to try it again in another couple paragraphs.

*** I still don’t really know the difference between cheese and a cheese curd. I kinda don’t want to google it in case it’s something gross…

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I Rock at Packing

You know how I describe myself as a “recovering Type A overachiever?”* Well, I’m working hard to relax a bit more and leave some of that Type A stuff behind me. Except when it comes to packing… I am an AWESOME packer.

I’ve worked packing down to a science and I even have spreadsheets divided by the type of trip and who is coming with me. Oh, am I going on a cruise with the husband? No biggie. Taking a long weekend to the beach house with the baby? Bring it! Going to a different country for a work conference where I need to be dressy? I show that trip who’s in charge!

So how do I win at packing? Well, my goal is to pack EXACTLY what I need for the trip and not one extra thing. If I wear everything I’ve packed, I consider that a WIN at packing. And frankly a WIN at LIFE!

Want to see the method to my madness? Well, check out my packing list from last week’s trip to Vancouver:

breakdown 2

By planning out exactly what I need to wear each day, I can make sure I’m not just throwing in a bunch of stuff that doesn’t go together. I also include underclothes and pajamas, of course.

If I was short on space, I could have pared it down to just one pair of jeans and one sweater, but I like options. Also, with rain in the forecast for every day I didn’t want to end up trying to put on wet jeans if I was soaked on a sightseeing trip. Everything on this list (and everything I bought for my husband and Jack) all fit in just a backpack and small Heys carry-on suitcase.

So, you want to see a bunch of dorky pictures of all my outfits?

Tuesday: (jeans #1, t-shirt, sandals and scarf) I wore this on two planes, sightseeing and dinner.
Wednesday 1
Wednesday morning: (jeans #2, t-shirt, jacket, sneakers) I wore this for a ton of walking and sightseeing. I have no idea why Kid Rock is on TV…
Wednesday 2
Wednesday afternoon: (dress #1, sweater, sandals) – I wore this outfit for the conference check-in, one session and a welcome reception.
Thursday 1
Thursday: (dress #2, sweater, sandals) I wore this from 7am – 5pm for my conference.
Thursday 2
Thursday night: (jeans #2, t-shirt, scarf, sneakers) This is my ‘last chance at shopping’ outfit! It was raining outside, so I didn’t even bother with trying to keep my hair under control.
Friday morning: (jeans #1, t-shirt, sweater, sandals) – one last conference session and then a LONG plane ride. I finally got home at 2:30 am on Saturday!

Wait… did you not think these pictures were dorky enough? Well, how about THIS:

silly pics
Just in case you think I get American Next Top Model’s smizing perfection in every shot… here’s what the majority of the pictures looked like on my camera when I got home:

So how about you, do you like to pack JUST what you plan to wear on your trip or do you prefer throwing in your whole closet and sorting through it all later? Am I the only one who feels like I WIN at packing if I wear everything I packed?

* If you didn’t know that you can totally look up at my website header… see, it’s there.

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Our Beach Getaway to Fort Lauderdale

Did you guys realize that I was out of town last week? I tried to be all sneaky-like, because it’s never a good idea to announce to the world when your house is going to be empty. However, I did post a couple beachy shots on my Instagram account and told you about my bad mammajamma sunburn, so you MIGHT have had a little teensy bit of a clue.

In addition to sharing a few of my favorite pictures from our trip, I wanted to share what worked for us in the whole traveling with a one year old thang. Because doing the whole plane/taxi/hotel trip with an (almost) toddler is MUCH different than doing it with a 5 month old!

The blog post got SUPER long though, so I’m going to break it into a 2-parter. Today will be fun and pretty pictures (yay) and Thursday will be the tips on what worked for us.

Why not Wednesday, you ask? Well, Wednesday will be something super special… the Origami Owl giveaway! {cue insanely loud and obnoxious screaming and maybe even The Wave, which is really hard to do when it’s just you. Basically it just looks like I’m randomly standing up…}

So since this is going to be a super awesome week of posts, let’s get to the pretty pictures!










There you go, my vacation in an nutshell. I’ll have a couple more pictures on Thursday to go with my random tips and trips post on how we survived the plane with my angry octopus ninja! And, of course, tomorrow is the GIVEAWAY!*


*Imagine this in my Oprah voice. You know, like “YOU get a CAR, YOU get a CAR!” but with an awesome necklace and just one of you. Yeah. That.

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