Tag Archives: experience

last day of Vancouver

legit this day happened August 16, 2015, but a TON has happened since then anddddddd here we are. I need to wrap up this last day so I can move on to everything else that I’ve been meaning to blog about. 2016, you WILL be the year I get my blogging on track. on the regular. as often as I can / want / feel the need to.

VANCOUVER, our Saturday was race day, run around, explore & finish up with a wicked float tank experience. The next morning, we slept in a little, but not too much knowing this was our last day in ‘Couve.

We woke and decided an impromptu photo shoot on the sweet roof of our airbnb was in order.  Somewhat coordinated tops and an hour later playing with the Camera Remote app on our Apple Watch’s produced these gems.

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He snagged me this simple triangle necklace at Pike’s Place back in Seattle.  Love it.

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the watch doesn’t fit well under the sleeves of this Lulu top when the thumbholes are in use… #priorities

We headed to 49th Parallel for a morning experience. I remember coming here the last few times I’ve been in town for the Lululemon Seawheeze weekend.  It’s all sorts of fantastic espresso and Lucky’s Doughnuts. On the weekends is insane. Lines out the door for this joint.  Wish there was one in Minnesota!

Any establishment with a line like that deserves to be experienced.  A garage-style door lifts up where we were sitting, fresh air when the weather wants to cooperate.

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Cool vibe and amazing peanut butter and jelly doughnuts like this one with the peanut crunchies.

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baby espresso / wild mane / wake me up

I purchase a large latte cup & saucer for a souvenir. There’s something about this blueish-teal that strikes me as necessary.

We walk around the city and explore the sights.  We have a photo shoot with the new cup and saucer. For nothing more than to kill time on a lazy Sunday afternoon in Vancouver. Reapplying more Peppermint Halo from Saje – an amazing essential oil + therapeutic shop in downtown Vancouver.

For lunch, we put our name on the list & wait another 45 minutes for a table at Medina Cafe. Now our favorite place for lunch on this side of the planet.  Gold goblets of fresh water and all.

We had the Avocado Toast (duh), Saumon Fumé and a few of their signature Liege-Style Waffles [White Chocolate Pistachio Rosewater + Salted Caramel].

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IMG_2591Everything about this spot was to die for. The bathroom had dimly lit displays nestled into the walls… their matchbox takeaways are square and the exact logo of their sign out front [obsessed, I took 3].

We slowly sauntered our way out of here and set out to explore more of the city. This was our last day, so we really wanted to take it all in!

When more directions are needed, we sit outside one of the many Starbucks available to us on every street corner (thanks!).

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We explore the art installations scattered throughout town. Old world, modern, metal & sky-high.  The sun is shining and we are traveling all over this town.  New sights, fresh air, this is the mantra of a “feeling like a million bucks” pair of Midwesterners.

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We got some Vegan Pudding & Co. from a tiny shop that took up all of 3feetwide street space between storefronts.  Be jammin’ out to your music and you might totally pass it by.  Shame. Keep your eyes open for these gems!

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I cannot remember what flavor we selected but I’ll bet all my Lululemon Vinyasa Scarves that it was the Coconut Milk & Sugar one.

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It was some sort of custardy-flany-syrupy-goodness dish and I wouldn’t hesitate to get another if given the chance. #seawheeze2016

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We get back to the airbnb to have a FaceTime chat about our upcoming wedding with The Adventures Of videography team.  A few hours of creative discussion and we are feeling very excited about our upcoming wedding video (to be delivered next week!).

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We head to Granville Island Public Market via the public bus and walk the aisles, look at art, have some snacks, talk on the river… pet the local dogs waiting for their humans.

 

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Who knows how much time passed.  We switch back to nice clothing and head to a date night.  We wanted a special spot, good food, awesome service, cool location… Yelp led us to Seasons in the Park.

The directions had us on a public transit bus for quite a while, headed somewhere into the suburban surrounding downtown Vancouver.  We got off in a large public park.  We hiked the sidewalks down, around, for what seemed like forever.  We took pictures + took our sweet time, happily enjoying a beautifully warm evening.

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We hiked a small, Mount Kilimanjaro-sized mountain to get to the restaurant.  Breaking a small sweat and feeling the burn in our quads.

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This was the first of 53 hills we climbed 🙂

Seasons on the Park has a view of all downtown Vancouver.  We were seated at a huge glass window.  As the sun set on the incredible view, you couldn’t help but feel like you were on another planet, looking at another colony, from a land far, far away. Gorgeous + galactic!

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After dinner (fantastic, not a clue what we ate… but damn was it good!)  We splurged and got espressos.  This happens rarely… who are we kidding, we’ve never gotten them before.  It seemed like a perfect idea for a day that has been one for the record books.

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Vancouver: until next time, you gorgeous city!

ejh

 

Listening to this song because I heard it on Peaky Blinders [watch it!]

 

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Right out of a movie

I’m going to give all credit to Carley on this one. She researched and booked the world’s most incredible brunch at Auberge du Soleil in Napa Valley.

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Let’s just say, this isn’t your standard 3-Michelin star restaurant. This place is, quite honestly, a friggin’ Swiss Family Robinson-style experience, complete with servers that have timed deliveries and round-table speeches to introduce each individual plate.

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Our brunch took place outdoors on the wraparound deck overlooking California’s Napa Valley. I was half expecting to have chimpanzees swing onto our shoulders during the dessert course.

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This is one of those, when in Rome, experiences – we all ordered a cocktail and cheers’ed to ending this first couple’s trip with a bang.

Bloody mary’s and mimosas all around! Of course, they were ordered using the table iPad in front of us.

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The brunch menu looked a little like this.  You choose a drink, a beginning, a sustenance, and a dessert.

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By memory, Brett and I shared the half dozen oysters, the cow’s milk burrata with grilled radicchio, a Maine lobster omelet, a Kurobuto pork chop, and two fantastic desserts from this menu.

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I know for sure we choose the Chocolate Peanut Butter one, and I couldn’t guess what the second one was. Let’s just say they both rocked our socks off. Finish up with a little cappuccino and we are ready to see that bill, server!

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Somewhere along the lines of $700 and vacation, we didn’t care what this meal cost. Once in a lifetime, eating on a beautifully exotic deck overlooking Napa, with some of the best friends life could give us.

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We took one more pano picture and all piled into the cars. Windows down, wind whipping our hair all over the place. We took the scenic route home. Along the rolling vineyards of Napa, promising ourselves we’ll be back some day.

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We stopped at the nearby grocery store on the way to Oliviera, to pick up dinner supplies (I know, we just had brunch… but we didn’t want to have to drive again once we got home.) We taste-tested some frosting, picked up some grilling materials and a quinoa salad or two – then we headed back.

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The rest of our last full day in paradise was spent laughing, listening to music, jumping in the hot tub, grilling and playing Cards Against Humanity.

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Without going into the details of our sad goodbyes the next morning, let’s just say this trip was a terrific first couple’s trip – one we won’t soon forget.

Where will the next one take us? Locations we have thrown around : Hawaii, Colorado Backcountry, to the coast of North Carolina…

The world really is our oyster. And traveling in groups allows for a more exotic lodging experience since we’re splitting it 8+ ways…

Thank you for a truly memorable trip : Carley & AJ, Katie & Scott, Molly & Chris, and the best traveler I know and love, Brett

Until next time,
e

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Sonoma recap : it’s about time

It’s time for a Sonoma recap! I have so many pictures, it’s taken a bit to edit them, filter them, put them away for awhile and then revisit.  Here we go!

A little pre-flight stretching while waiting for our early morning flight in MPLS. It doesn’t really matter where we go and for how long, I love traveling with this man. Nothing but memories and adventure!

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Brett and I arrived in San Francisco on Tuesday & planned to meet up with the rest of the crew Wednesday morning. In cost-effective fashion, we booked the cheapest hotel we could find.  Turns out the cheapest hotel in San Fran at that time was ten minutes from the airport, Hotel Focus. I’m not sure what they were focusing on because this was a less than basic hotel, and by basic I mean, not entirely sanitary.  There were mattresses leaned up against the wall along the hallway.  The “continental” breakfast had about 4 cheese danishes that may or may not have been expired.  I will say this, we knew going in that it was not going to be the average hotel experience.  I think we overestimated it, still.  We both slept with one eye open, wearing flip flops.  Our feet do not touch the ground while we are there.  Necessary precautions were taken.

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We hiked a few miles through an industrial area near our hotel to get to the closest Target.  Which coincidentally was connected to a mall.  We walked around, mostly people watching.  Came across a tiny nail salon and decided if their manicures were less than $25, we would both get one.  Low and behold, they were $20.  We got ’em. Yes, Brett enjoyed it.  After nail time we had happy hour at an awesome spot whose name escapes me.  For dessert, we hiked across the way and ended up at BJ’s Brewhouse.  It was crazy hoppin’ busy.  We easily decided on the Pizookie (pronounced pa-zoo-kee) Trio (cookies w/ an ice cream scoop) because who passes up the chance for a Pizookie?
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It was darker than dark and we weren’t interested in sprint walking back the way we came, so we cabbed home and called it a night.
xo,
em.j
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Next Chapter Vineyard

photo 1-1 photo 1-2 photo 1 photo 2-2 photo 3-1 photo 3-2 photo 3 photo 4-1 photo 5-1 wine dog photo 4 wine photo 2 wine photo 5We have found an excellent little vineyard.  Next Chapter Vineyard in New Prague, MN ran a LivingSocial a few months back.  We choose a weekend for the Vine Pruning Experience.  This vineyard was a super small family operation out in the middle of nowhere.  We took a road trip and fell in love with every aspect.  The tool shed turned wine-tasting space.  The wall of mismatched odds and ends that Tim, the owner, uses for his wine creating.  The beautiful German Shepard puppy that followed us around everywhere, and of course, the delicious wine!

We spent a few hours in the early morning all bundled up with our pruning sheers.  Tim showed us how to properly prune the vines for optimal growth.  It was an almost therapeutic movement, row by row, moving so much that our freezing bodies were soon warm and comfortable.  We drank mulled wine as we worked and enjoyed the winter silence around us.

After we pruned for what seemed like hours, we had a lunch in the large tool shed.  There were about 6 large barrels, some of which used to be filled with Jack Daniels, filled with fermenting wine.  We drank red wine and white, straight from the barrel as well as from wine bottles.  Tim was charismatic and happily shared his thoughts on the wine industry and how Next Chapter Vineyard came to be.  He explained how vines don’t really show for the first four years.  There are four or five years of nothing but picking weeds – hearing that almost made my small dream of one day having my own vineyard, sour.  Instant gratification doesn’t work too well in this industry, eh?  The best comes to those who wait.

It was refreshing to hear Tim talk about the crazy world of wine and how there is such a snobbery, pretentious air around it.  He spoke about the wine spectator and the judging of different wines, where sometimes a glass of two buck chuck wins over a glass of $200 wine.  I agree with him that it’s very much so a scam.  It was such a fun experience to bullshit with him in this giant shed where the wine he has created over the years sits fermenting.  We’re all drinking wine.  He’s opening new bottles.  He’s explaining the process, the bottling process, his thoughts on wine in general.  He’s wearing a one-piece winter getup as his baby German Shepard is curled up as his feet.

Many glasses of wine later, after length conversation and laughter, a lot of the other LivingSocial voucher-holders parted.  They had other things they wanted to get done.  The four of us stayed back and soaked (literally) the experience in.  At one point, Timothy thanked us for coming and that was the end of our LivingSocial adventure.  He went back out to the vines to keep pruning.  We decided to clean up the lunch mess the dozen or so left behind and then we filled up our cups with some more of that delicious wine and headed out to the vineyard to find him.  He helped us trim some vine pieces to bring home and plant on our own land.  What a great experience – and we all got to take 2 bottles home with us!

In September they have what’s called a harvest, where the grapes are picked and the great stomp happens.  We hope to be a part of it and to stomp grapes classier than this lady does.

Wine does the heart good,

Blue Bird Bake Shop

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A few weeks ago, I had one of the best customer service experiences ever. I went to surprise my girlfriend at work in an unknown suburb of Orlando. I got off the bus (that I rode for 2 hours) and started to walk towards her workplace. I wanted to surprise her with a treat but had no idea where to find one. I saw a little shop called, Blue Bird Bake Shop. I entered and the young girl working greeted me. It was near closing and the only flavor cupcake they had left was strawberry, so I took it off their hands. I told her the story of my public transportation voyage and who the cupcake was going to. I said goodbye and left on my way. Five steps out of the door and a gentlemen behind me yells “Hey, did you ride the bus to get here?!” I turned around to find someone leaning out the bake shop door.

I explained my reason for being in his neck of the woods. He said, “You came all this way and all we had was a strawberry cupcake left over?!” He motioned for me to follow him into the bakeshop and filled a bag with some of his favorite treats; a cookie, a scone, and a ridiculously amazing salted caramel brownie. I was amazed!

He explained to me that he was the owner of the little bakeshop and after hearing my story there was no way he could let me walk out with just one cupcake for my girlfriend. I thanked him for his generosity and told him I always try to shop at the small, local mom-and-pop places.

To my Orlando friends, you owe it to yourself to visit the Blue Bird Bake Shop at 3122 Corrine Drive!

What an adventure!,

xo

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inside my own head

I had an early morning float tank session today.  The float tank is a sensory-deprivation chamber at The Wellness Center.  It’s the only one in the Twin Cities.  Some float as a meditation ritual, some float to straighten their tense muscles, others float to get away from it all.  The chamber looks like a space-era pod from an alien movie.  Inside is about 8-inches of 93.1 degree water with 850 pounds of dissolved Epsom salts.  The salt keeps you bobbing on the surface, an awesome feeling in it’s own part.  There is a choice to have music or none, I choose none.  And light or no light, I choose no light.  I was searching for the complete, pitch-black silenced atmosphere of being inside my own head.

Work project after work project, after long run, after stressful day has me running on fumes.  A float tank session is exactly what I needed to get away from it all.  I had my eyes wide open in this completely dark chamber – the feeling was a cross between spinning around in a giant toilet bowl and performing drunken horizontal yoga in an attempt to relax and just be.  Just float.  And think about all the rampant unchained thoughts running around in my head.

A 60 minute session will set you back $50.  Money well spent to have silence, no distractions, and complete peace to sort through your thoughts as you bob like a human life-preserver.

I’d do it again.
xo
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