San Francisco, California | Travel Diary

Hello lovely readers!!!

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably noticed a lot of San Francisco pictures, since I was there a few weeks back. I started up at work again so my days have been pretty packed, but I had an incredible time and I wanted to share some of the highlights of my trip here on the blog. 

My mother and I landed in San Francisco in the late afternoon, so we spent the evening exploring the hotel and I got some amazing pictures of the lobby. We were also upgraded to a suite, compliments of the hotel, so we had way more space to move in and there was a makeup table. I cannot express how excited I was that I could do my makeup at an actual vanity. 

San Francisco 2017 Fairmont Hotel Plaque
San Francisco 2017 Fairmont Hotel Lobby 1
San Francisco 2017 Fairmont Hotel Lobby 2
San Francisco 2017 Fairmont Hotel Rivoli Suite 1
San Francisco 2017 Fairmont Hotel Rivoli Suite 2
San Francisco 2017 Fairmont Hotel Rivoli Suite 3
Sunday was almost entirely dominated by a baseball game at AT&T Park between the San Francisco Giants and the San Diego Padres (Obviously I am a Giants fan). The game went a whopping 12 INNINGS and in the blistering hot sun I was so grateful the elderly woman a few seats over shared her sunscreen with me. Otherwise I would have been a radish for the rest of the trip. The Giants lost 5:2, but it was still an incredible game. As an added bonus, the first 20000 fans into the park received a plush window cling of Hunter Pence, the San Francisco Giants’ right fielder. For dinner, we headed to the hotel’s famed Tonga Lounge and Hurricane Bar, which actually has a floating barge in the centre of it upon which live music is played. There are even sheets of rain” coming down around the barge sporadically. 

San Francisco 2017 AT&T Park
San Francisco 2017 AT&T Park Pence Plush
San Francisco 2017 Fairmont Hotel Tonga Lounge
Monday was the über busy sightseeing day of the trip. We started out by getting a little lost in Chinatown thanks to me turning the wrong way down Mason Street when we left the hotel. Luckily we corrected our path soon enough and still got to see some of the neat features of Chinatown. We then hopped on a cable car to Union Square, home to a massive Macy’s store. After exploring the square, we boarded another cable car and got off at Lombard Street, the crookedest street in the world with 8 hairpin turns!!! From there, we walked to Fisherman’s Wharf and wandered through all the shops and eateries. Despite all the fresh seafood we could have had for lunch, I convinced my mother to try an American institution with me: In-N-Out Burger. The burgers are actually so good!!! After refuelling, we headed over to Pier 39, and finished off the day with ice cream in the famous Ghirardelli Square. By the time we got back to the hotel, we were exhausted so we didn’t go into Grace Cathedral, but it was so beautiful that I had to snap a photo of it. 

San Francisco 2017 Powell and Hyde Cable Car
San Francisco 2017 Fisherman's Wharf
San Francisco 2017 In-N-Out Burger
San Francisco 2017 Pier 39
San Francisco 2017 Ghirardelli Square
San Francisco 2017 Ghirardelli Square Ice Cream
San Francisco 2017 Ghirardelli Square Landscape
San Francisco 2017 Grace Cathedral
On Tuesday, my mother and I went over to Alcatraz Island, which served as a Federal prison from 1934 to 1969. This prison was home to some of the most infamous criminals like Al Capone, Alvin “Creepy” Kari’s, Robert Franklin “Birdman” Stroud, and George “Machine Gun” Kelly. Interestingly, because the prison staff lived and worked on the island, many children called Alcatraz Island home and seldom ever knew prisoners were nearby. While several escape attempts were made, it is believed that no prisoner successfully escaped. 

San Francisco 2017 Alcatraz Island
San Francisco 2017 Alcatraz Island B Block
San Francisco 2017 Alcatraz Island D Block
San Francisco 2017 Alcatraz Island Standard Cell
San Francisco 2017 Alcatraz Island Seagull

San Francisco 2017 Alcatraz Island William Baker Book Signing
Wednesday and Thursday were dominated by shopping around Union Square and Westfield Centre, and I scored some incredible deals on dresses and shoes (even with the terrible exchange rate of the Canadian dollar). We also had some delicious Ghirardelli chocolate sundaes for lunch (healthy, I know). 

San Francisco 2017 Union Square Macy's Store
San Francisco 2017 Westfield Center
San Francisco 2017 Westfield Center Ghirardelli Sundaes

I was sad to say goodbye to San Francisco and it’s beautiful weather on Friday morning, but I was looking forward to sleeping in my own bed again and, of course, seeing my fur baby. 

I know this travel diary is extremely late, but I still wanted to share this trip on my blog and to showcase some of the incredible sights in San Franscico.

Have you ever been to San Francisco??? What were your favourite things to see and do???

Seattle, Washington | Travel Diary

Hello there all!!!

I have missed blogging these past few weeks but work has been über busy and I have started to prep for back-to-school and seeing friends before they head back to university so free time has been scarce.  However, before school starts back up on September 7th my mother and I wanted to go on a little trip somewhere. I have never been to Seattle but it is home to so many incredible landmarks (The Space Needle, for instance) and hasbeenthe setting of so many well-known and loved movies and TV shows (50 Shades of Grey, Sleepless in Seattle, Grey’s Anatomy, Frasier).  Fairmont Olympic Hotel sign

We left home on Monday, August 22nd, taking a local ferry down to Seattle Pier. I live near Vancouver, BC, and Seattle is so close but strangely enough I have never been there. We arrived and explored the hotel for a good hour or so because it was so gorgeous. We stayed in the Fairmont Olympic Hotel because of my mother’s love of Fairmont Hotels, and because of her amazing internet sleuthing skills when it comes to finding great hotel prices. We then headed into The Terrance, a nice little lounge and bar, for a drink. And this is when I learned, much to both my mother’s and my horror that, at 20, unlike in Canada, I am not of legal drinking age in the US. Thank goodness the server recognized the error and chalked it up to a simple mistake. Just imagine the headline “Tiny Canadian Girl Shuts Down Renowned Lounge and Bar for Serving Alcohol to Underage Minors.” That would have been bad. For dinner, we went to Shuckers, a well-known seafood restaurant attached to the hotel, and I had some of the tastiest fish and chips and THE BEST chocolate cake. Like ever. Ever ever.

On Tuesday, I got us very lost in downtown Seattle when I took a wrong turn. We ended up down near the courthouse but eventually we found our way back to the hotel, and then set out for Pike Place Market. The market was unlike anything I had ever seen, so many stores selling anything you could think of and all the walkways clogged with people. We also checked out the Gum Wall, which was an equally cool and gross sight. The Pike Place Market is also home to the first Starbucks so, of course, we went inside and picked up some drinks and a commemorative mug. For lunch, we stopped into Beecher’s, a local cheese maker, and had the best freshly made macaroni and cheese I have ever tried. I don’t know what import laws say about bringing American cheese across the Canadian border but I didn’t want to test it so I unfortunately did not fill my suitcase with the Beecher’s Flagship cheese. After lunch, we walked to Macy’s and had a quick browse before purchasing some incredibly warm and foldable down coats and heading off to Zara. Tuesday night my mother and I both checked an item off our bucket list: I got to see a National Baseball League game, the Seattle Mariners against the New York Yankees, and my mother got to see the Yankees play. The game started out slow but then the Yankees pulled way ahead of the Mariners, eventually beating them 5-1. A minor item on my bucket list was also checked off: eat a stadium hot dog and scoot by people to get to my seat while holding it. I have seen so many characters in movies do it that I just had to do it once. And I did. The hotdog was pretty tasty too.

We kicked off Wednesday morning with an early trip out to see the Space Needle. Apparently it completes one rotation every 47 minutes and, though I don’t want to sound like one of those people who claim to have superhuman perception, I feel like my sensitivity to motion was enough to feel it actually move so I got a little queasy. It was hands-down the best aerial view of the city and well worth the admission. We then made our way back to the hotel for Afternoon Tea, a lovely tradition we indulge in on our all trips together. The 1907 blend was classic and flavourful, and the first course of berries was divine. There were some strange flavour combinations in items on the tea tier though, such as a beet macaroon. Full of tea and goodies, we headed out to Nordstrom, an American department store I have always wanted to see because luxury brands like Louboutin and Prada are next to Highstreet brands like Guess and Vince Camuto. I fell in love with a $1000 pair of Vêtements platform boots and kept trying them on but there was no way I could afford them (now on the hunt for a dupe). We also visited Barnes & Noble, a bookstore I have heard so much about but never seen. It surpassed all my expectations and I picked up the September issue of Vogue. We then explored Pacific Place which turned out to be less exciting than I had hoped but it had a Kate Spade store and I spent a good hour in there talking to the lovely sales associate about Kate Spade’s retirement and the sale of the company, and how awesome some of the styles are (a cruise ship purse, for instance). To finish off the day we ordered macaroni and cheese, French fries, and cake from room service as a meal bundle. (I ended up keeping the cake in the fridge overnight and eating it at the pier the following morning because I know what a balanced breakfast is).

We left Seattle Thursday afternoon, but not before enjoying an amazing breakfast at The Georgian, yet another restaurant in the hotel. I had the to-die-for eggs benedict, which kept me going for the whole day (until the chocolate cake, that is, but I couldn’t bear to throw it out).

All in all, this was a fun and exciting little getaway before my mother and I go back to school and work, but I will definitely be hitting up the gym in my first week of classes to work off all the food I consumed. No idea why, but I always eat way more on vacation than I ever would at home.

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Packing for Banff

So today I started packing for my trip to Banff. What?! Yes indeed, I am off to Banff tomorrow morning on a 6am flight, which means I have to be awake by 3:30 and out at the airport by 4:30 . . . *groan*

I always seem to be the person who is “randomly” selected for a technology search or pat down every single time I travel so I like to get there early and plan for this: get in the security line ASAP and expect to be delayed, have my technology at the ready, and have my shoes already off and in-hand. 

Thanks to The Weather Network, my old fair and foul weather friend (pun intended), the weather in Banff for the coming week is as follows:

Picture 22

To some of you out there from warmer climates, this weather might seem cold, dreary, and unappealing, but for a Canadian Spring, this weather is quite lovely. I am packing mostly jeans and sweaters, but a dress or two for the sunny days and for afternoon tea. 

As you can see, my cat, Valentine, is exhibiting some symptoms of Separation Anxiety . . .

IMG_6416 And now for a few nifty facts about the Town of Banff:

  1. The Town of Banff has a population of 7,500.
  2. The Town of Banff has an elevation of 4,537 feet (1,383 metres), making it the highest town in Canada.
  3. Banff National Park was established in 1885 as Canada’s first National Park (third in the world), starting Canada’s national parks system.
  4. Mountains in Banff National Park are 45 to 120 million years old
  5. Castleguard Caves in the Northwest of Banff are Canada’s longest cave system.

Have any of you been to Banff before??? Let me know of any must-see places in the comments!!!

Picture 19