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Canadian Rockies Summer Vacation

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Canadian Rockies Summer Vacation

Snow-capped mountains, turquoise lakes, glacier-fed waterfalls, pristine rivers, scenic mountain roads with views around every corner, glacier-packed ice fields, an abundance of wildlife, and much more can be found in the Canadian Rockies; the Banff/Jasper area specifically. No filter needed. If anything, pictures do no justice to the natural beauty of the area. For years, a Canadian mountain vacation was at the top of my bucket list. I finally had the opportunity to go: I fell in love. The landscapes are picturesque, the days wonderfully long (5:30am sunrise and 10pm sunset), the weather heavenly, and the people genuinely friendly. As an additional perk, as if it were needed, national parks have free admission for 2017 in celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday. My only regret is that 6 days was certainly not enough to experience all this wonderful area had to offer. Below are some of my favorite pictures from our time in Canada.

We flew in on a Tuesday and the first day was spent handling travel logistics and getting acquainted with the area. Then the fun started! We spent our first day driving to Glacier National Park – Canada, did some hiking, then headed to Radium Hot Springs. The mountains were beyond beautiful and we saw a mountain goat! I was so excited and loved it so much we didn’t return to the hotel until 1:30 AM! I prefer the more isolated areas versus the more touristy areas so this was right up my alley.

The next day we hung around Banff. We caught a gondola ride up to Sulphur Mountain. The mountain is home to a variety of wildlife and offers great views of Banff.

We then made a trip down to Lake Louise. I will confess that Lake Louise is very beautiful, just as it is appears in photographs, but it is a bit touristy. I preferred Bow Lake. It was another fantastic day and we were able to capture some great family photos with this natural, gorgeous backdrop.

Then the most memorable day arrived! My husband and I did the Mt. Norquay via ferrata Ridgewalker mountain climb. It is definitely one of the best adventures of my life; right up there with scuba diving in Cozumel, snorkeling in West Bay Beach, Roatan, Honduras and rafting the Royal Gorge in Canon City, Colorado. The views were spectacular and the experience of the climb was exciting. Reaching the top, and then walking the mountain ridge, was beyond words. I highly recommend this experience to all who plan on traveling to the area.

norquay via ferrata

Even the roads up the mountain were beautiful!

We also spent a portion of that day checking out Bow Falls, the Banff Springs hotel and walking around Banff.

Our last day was spent driving the Icefields Parkway to the Athabasca Glacier at the Columbia Icefield. If there is only one thing you can do in the Canadian Rockies, I would suggest this. It is something everyone can do and you will experience all the beauty the Canadian Rockies are known for along the parkway. Besides the beautiful lakes: Bow and Peyto, the glaciers, mountain ranges and waterfalls, expect to see wildlife. We saw two bears (no worries we weren’t that close to the bear as we respect their space)!

icefields parkway bear

And here’s a photo of Calgary (where we stayed):
It went by way too fast, but I was able to capture at least a bit of it in photographs to forever be treasured. I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to visit such a beautiful place. God spent a little more time on Canada….and we share a birthday!!! Happy 150th Canada!! Thank you so much for an unbelievable week!

Pacific Coast – Southwestern Road Trip

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Pacific Coast – Southwestern Road Trip

Oh how I love road trips and nature! I was overjoyed when the opportunity arose to take this road trip. I had actually wanted to travel to Oregon and San Francisco for quite a while so when a financial matter arose that required us to fly northwest, I seized the moment and literally we came home from work and told the kids to pack their things because we were vacationing (they just so happened to be on Spring Break)! Because this was so last-minute, we weren’t able to carefully plan our routes and missed some of our original destinations (like Grand Canyon and a day drive through Yosemite) but I had a grand time!

We flew into Medford,Oregon and drove towards the Pacific Coast which we took to San Francisco. Coquille Point in Bandon,Oregon is a beautiful beach. There is a long wooden staircase that takes you down to the beach.

Myrtle Creek Oregon

Myrtle Creek, Oregon

Coquille Point in Bandon, Oregon

Coquille Point in Bandon, Oregon

Staircase at Coquille Point in Bandon, Oregon

Staircase at Coquille Point in Bandon, Oregon

San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge

San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge from the Bowers observation

Golden Gate Bridge from the Bowers observation

Cable Cars at the Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco

Cable Cars at the Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco

It was hard leaving San Francisco.It is such a beautiful city full of charm. When we got back on the road, we drove to San Gregorio Beach. The water is not as pretty as the water you would expect in California, but the rocks were lovely as was the drive to the beach from San Francisco.

San Gregorio Beach

San Gregorio Beach

San Gregorio Beach

San Gregorio Beach

San Gregorio

San Gregorio Beach

From here, we planned on driving through Yosemite park and coming through to Nevada to continue our trip to Vegas. The heavy traffic had us arriving just after dark so we couldn’t experience it’s full beauty. On top of that, the road we were going to use to cut through Nevada was closed.We ended up seeing more of Yosemite and familiarizing ourselves with the park but didn’t end up getting to Vegas until 5:30 am! We did end up getting upgraded to a suite room so that was really nice!

Day 2 Yosemite

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada

Day 3 Vegas 3

Day 3 Vegas 4

From here we were going to head to the Grand Canyon, but again because of delays we missed it. This ended up being a blessing in disguise. I will have other opportunities to see the Canyon but because of our detour, we stumbled across the gem Salt River Canyon.This is a stunning drive from Phoenix eastbound towards Pine Top. It was night time so I couldn’t capture it’s beauty in a photograph. The only thing I could get photographed was the sign at one of the lookouts.

Day 4 PineTop Arizona Must

A view of the Pine Top area as we were leaving (the drive south of Pine  Top is more scenic)

Day 4 Pine Top AZ

Our last stop was in White Sands, New Mexico.This is such a different experience! The sand is so soft and the landscape beautiful. We did some sledding as well.

White Sands, New Mexico

White Sands, New Mexico

White Sands, New Mexico

White Sands,New Mexico

White Sands nm8

White Sands, New Mexico

White Sands, New Mexico

We’ve been back home for a couple of weeks and I’m already planning our next getaway! Some of our other travel experiences can be seen here

 

Just an Update (cakes, clothes and more)!

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So last August I launched my cake business and it has been a great journey! At the time my husband was working 60+ hours a week and this little business allowed me to do something I loved while he worked. Well not long after I started up, he received a promotion and finally had the weekends off. It had been years since he had the weekends and now suddenly I was occupied pretty much every weekend with my cakes. So after much thought I decided to go back to doing it only as a hobby with an occasional sale here and there. I am happy that I will now be able to fully enjoy my weekends with my family again and get back into my workouts and playing “dress up”. Cake making is very rewarding when you see your final product but it is A LOT of work and very time consuming. There is so much involved (taking orders, offering suggestions, shopping for items, making the filling, baking the cakes, assembling the cakes, making the fondant and/or butter cream, decorating the cake, delivering the cake and then all the clean up). This little side business was on top of my regular day job and wife/mother duties. I want to thank all my great family and friends who have supported me throughout this adventure and I’m looking forward to baking y’alls birthday cakes 🙂 Much love to all! I will still be posting my creations and tips on here as well as occasional “fashion” things that my sweet friends have requested.

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