Category Archives: Pals

Fremont Street Ziplining and Casino Dance Parties (Vegas Day 3)

(Just a note, I am switching my blog to self-hosted today [finally, I’ve been wanting to do this for about two years], so I am hoping it all goes smoothly and you do not experience any viewing issues…though knowing my luck there may be some technical difficulties. In that instance, please bear with me – I’m sure I’ll be able to figure it out within a couple days. I am also hoping that all you email followers will still be emailed my posts, but please let me know if it stops working!)

Our last day in Vegas started with us at the Mirage pool once again. It is so cold back here that I couldn’t pass up pool time in the sunshine. Lisa and I set up shop at 10am, got a sweet spot, sat back and waited for our friends to arrive.

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And arrive they did. The weather was just as beautiful as the day before, and our time was just as hilarious. Our entire group of 14 made it down for at least part of the day. We had a new server and she came over to us yelling “YAY, I get the Canadians today!!!!” she had apparently heard all about us the day before. Everyone wants the Canadians, I tell you what. We regaled her with all our stories from the previous two days, and she laughed quite heartily.

So, we spent the entire day at the pool, eventually breaking around 4pm for lupper. California Kitchen was conveniently located in our hotel. I know, we really went all out food-wise. Much pizza. Such foodie.

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I will do the food thing better next time. But, California Kitchen is not in Canada, as far as I know, so at least we were trying something new. And my pizza was delicious!

After eating, most of our group decided it was nap time, but since it was our last day Matt and I thought we should keep the party going, so we went on an adventure of our own. We played some blackjack and roulette in the Mirage (lost at Blackjack, won a bit at roulette), and then walked the strip in the opposite direction than the day before, the Treasure Island side.

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Yarrrrr

That side was not quite as fun, and there were less things to see (aside from the Treasure Island ship), but of course we still had a good time and we had a really great convo also. One of my favourite things about Matt is that he laughs at almost everything I say. I also probably laugh at everything he says. So we just spend the whole time laughing, and that makes me feel warm and funny.

Then, back to the hotel room to get ready with my equally funny bestie.

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Tonight, we take on Fremont Street, about 20 minutes from the strip (but if you are going to Vegas I cannot recommend Fremont Street enough, you HAVE to go there). 10 of us were going, so that means LIMO, hey ya!

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The limo was a time all on its own, and then we arrived, and my mind was immediately blown (I am not meaning to rhyme, but I guess it works).

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I mentioned the strip was stimulation overload, well Fremont Street was STIMULATION. OVERLOAD. I didn’t know where to look! So many things were going on! I read about it before I left, but nothing could have prepared me for it.

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I’m getting all cheesy here, but I love these girls like my family and I am so glad we did this together.

Fremont Street is original Vegas, the old strip, with all the famous casinos. I love that it is older and cheesier, with more characters around for us to talk to (/mildly harass). I wish we spent more time there so I could explore the whole thing, but I promise you I will be going back. Evan and I are going to explore every inch of this place one day. Maybe we’ll even eat here!

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For free! A girl can dream…

Aside from all the characters, and the character casinos, and the character bars, I especially enjoyed the light show on the ceiling of the street.

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Could not stop looking up.

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How ridiculous is it? I feel like the planners were all “Hey, what’s the craziest thing we could do to take this street to the next level? Light show on the ceiling? Okay then!”

Emily, Dawn, Lisa, Heather, Matt and I decided that we should do the Fremont Street Experience, which is ZIPLINING down the street. Because, when in Vegas. We were excited.

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Favourite picture of the trip probably.

Do you see the black lines above my head under the ceiling lights in the photo below?

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Those are the ziplines.

We bought our tickets electronically from a little store by the base of the ziplining tower and lined on up. Even just being in line was funny. We met this wonderful lady and her husband.

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I want to say she is from Texas? I could be wrong. I think everyone is from Texas. We liked her a lot, and I am going to assume that we are her favourite people as well. We may have called her mom.

And then we got all suited up in our ziplining gear.

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I feel like I need to tell you that Heather is flexing like a muscle man, but her arms got cut off it so unfortunately it just looks like she is awkward face. Contrary to her face, she is not angry or constipated, just flexing. I also need to tell you that if there is even the slightest chance that your night is going to take a turn for the zipline, do not wear a dress. When the guys were putting my harness on they accidentally lifted up the back of my dress and the entire lineup behind us saw my butt. They all clapped and cheered at least, so it could have been worse. Still slightly awkward, but what can ya do.

Emily is not a fan of heights so I didn’t think she was going to want to do this, but she was a serious trooper. She had a bit of a moment RIGHT before she launched off the platform, and there may have been a few tears, but the guy who was checking our harnesses was awesome. He came over to Emily, gave her a hug and a pep talk and actually wiped the tears from her eyes. It was a very touching moment.

No photos of the zipline experience because they are $20 and I spent my photo quota on the rollercoaster picture, but it was amazing and it only hurt my crotch a tiny bit. Here’s a video (not mine) of what it was like if you want to see. If you go there you gotta do it.

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Happy Zipliners.

After the ziplining, we met up with the rest of the group at D Casino.

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Brent was playing some killer $5 minimum blackjack so I immediately joined in on that, and we roped in Lisa and Elliott as well. We played for about an hour and although I was up a lot in the beginning I ended up losing $50, which is my gambling max. Oh well, when in Vegas. These casinos were definitely cheesier than the classy ones on the strip, and they played loud dance music. We were pretty hyped up from the ziplining and just the hilarity of the night in general, so we started a dance party in between the blackjack tables. Clubs aren’t my thing but I’ll tell you what is, dance parties between card tables in a Vegas casino. We were pulling people up from the tables, people were joining us when they walked in…it was very funny and it is one of my favourite moments of maybe my life. Oh Fremont Street. I could never live there, I would go crazy. But it sure was fun to visit.

And if you are souvenir hunting let it be known that everything is cheaper on Fremont Street than it is on the strip. I got the outfit below for a mere $30, and I saw those same pants on the strip for $50, so that was a huge score.

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That shirt is obviously the biggest score. Like silk but polyester. It was a gift for Evan and I really hope he wears it. You know who would definitely wear it, and not even as a joke? My dad.

And that was our Vegas experience. I’m still going to write about Divas, but otherwise, that was our trip. I loved our group and I just can’t even describe how funny everything was. Someone would branch off and have their own adventure and then come back and tell us about it, and we would all be on the floor laughing. I don’t even think a minute went by when I wasn’t laughing. I am so glad I went and was able to experience this with the people I did. Thank you for planning this and inviting me Heather!!!! Happy Dirty 30!

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The Canadian Experience (Vegas Day 2)

Day 2 in Vegas I woke up at 6am (don’t ask me why, I’m still upset about it) feeling less than wonderful. But a little room service eggs benny with a side of potatoes perked me riiiight up.

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Dawn and Emily called Lisa and I at 8 and asked if we would be in for renting a car and adventuring to the Grand Canyon for the day. It sounded like it would be an amazing time, but we declined. We were not feeling 2.5 hours in the car each way, and also, I wasn’t sure if this was the trip for that. Going into our Vegas trip I did really want to make it to the Grand Canyon one day, but once there I decided I was in this for the people we were with and I probably would not have the chance to hang out with them all together again, or at least for a very long time. I just wanted to experience the Strip with the group. It’s all good, I will go back with Evan FOR SURE, so when we do that we can have all the eating adventures (which I didn’t have very much of either, sadly), and also hit up that canyon.

Instead we went to the pool. We got there right when it opened at 10am, so that was beauty. Fun fact, apparently the Mirage is the only hotel on the strip that has an outdoor pool open in the “winter”. The main pool was closed for seasonal maintenance so we had to hang around the smaller one, but that was not too shabby at all.

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I will repeat, not too shabby at all. And it was sunny and actually warm.

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Tanning up my pale Canadian skin (but the Americans say not pale enough)

Maybe a little chilly for resident Las Vegans, but for us Canadians we thought it was beautifully balmy.

Lisa, Heather, and I ordered giant Caesars (they actually had Caesars and not just Bloody Mary’s!!!! We were so excited!) and I feel like it may have been the best decision of the day.

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Nothing like a Caesar in the morning to get you back into the swing of things (note: if you are not familiar with Caesars, believe me when I tell you they are the best and you need to get on that. You can find how to make them here).

We spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon in that beautiful pool.

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Caesars are done.

And at one point I nearly drowned because I was laughing too hard. I feel like we just laughed the entire time. My face was hurting from it. We made friends with our server Heather, who again told us we were the nicest people she had ever experienced. I didn’t see how this could be possible so I asked her if she truly could notice a difference in our group or if she was just saying that, and she said we genuinely are nicer and she knew immediately we were from Canada because we said please and thank you. Eh. It’s just ’cause we were all drunk (okay, we weren’t, but I’m trying to be funny).

In the mid afternoon Lisa and I split from the pool group to check out the Mirage buffet. In our bathing suits and cover-ups. I am a fan of the anything goes mentality in Vegas. My appetite was not up to snuff so I wasn’t able to take advantage of the all-you-can-eat (and drink!) as much as I would have liked, but it was good and I definitely got my money’s worth with the crabs legs alone.

Then, up to our room for a quick nap. I had JUST fallen asleep when I heard a knock on our door and giggling in the hallway. I assumed it was just Heather and Brent, so I got up to let them in, and 8 people paraded into our room screaming “HEYYYYYY IT’S STRIP TIME!!!!”

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So, we were up. It’s a good thing they’re fun. Lisa and I quickly changed out of our pajamas and headed outside with everyone.

We walked all the way from the Mirage to New York New York, which is a bit over a mile, but it took us about two hours. We stopped for many adventures along the way.

First stop, drinks.

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Yay, slushy drinks. My pink lemonade was delicious.

Chewbacca!

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And yes, you have to pay the characters on the strip if you take a photo with them. I learned that from this Buzzfeed article. If I ever run into dark times I might live on the Vegas strip. There seems to be a lot of ways to make money there if you can hustle and have some skills. Case in point:

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Not that this kind of activity would be an option for me… I’ll just play my flute and hand out lady caller cards.

Group photo!

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Matt, me, Corinna, Trevor, Jen, Heather, Brent, Lisa, We Dunno, Tonya bringing up the front (Tonya was making me laugh SO HARD)

If you think it looks like we’re having a good time, you are correct. That Heather sure knows how to pick her friends. They are all hilarious. I would like to point out that we do not know the man on the far right beside Lisa. None of us knew he was there. We were all yelling “HEYYYY” for the photo and Lisa said she heard this deep “heyyy.” in her ear and surprise, there was that guy. He was a nice addition.

There are so many things to look at on the strip. Everywhere I looked something was happening or one of our friends was doing something funny. It was a bit of stimulation overload, but I liked it.

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Elliot and his drink holder:

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And getting his skate shoes shined:

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We laughed at him, but his shoes did look brand new after that shining.

And looky looky what we found.

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The Grand Canyon Experience! Since Dawn and Em were at the actual Grand Canyon and probably having an amazing time, we decided to have our own Grand Canyon experience to make them jealous when they got back.

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Just like we’re actually there.

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I thought it was very well done actually…

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After that, we zig-zagged our way over to the MGM to see the MGM lion, which is no longer there (sad), so instead we all had a quick shot of Jager before heading to our final destination, New York New York. We wanted to go on the roller coaster.

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The coaster was about a hundred times more intense than I thought it was going to be. I feel like this picture sums up my terror:

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I didn’t expect it to be like a real rollercoaster. I thought it was going to be lame, but a big negative on that. It even goes upside down! My voice was messed up for about a week afterwards due to all my screaming on this thing (and probably my screaming in general).

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I loved it.

After our ride, Lisa and I split again from the group for dinner. We were meeting Dawn and Emily that evening for a show and we wanted to make sure we had dinner first. I didn’t want a repeat of the Friday night no eating. I hoped to last longer than 10:30. We went to the Italian restaurant inside New York New York, and this is where I went really crazy.

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Yeah, spaghetti. I know, right. Who goes to Vegas and orders spaghetti? I just really like it! I wanted carbs, and lots of them. So no regrets there. The spaghetti was the answer to my prayers.

After dinner we cabbed it back to the hotel, giving ourselves 37 minutes to shower and get ready for the show with the girls. We got ‘er done. I found this interesting balloon animal hat in our room…

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Thank you for leaving that with us, Brent. I’m sorry it got popped.

Dawn, Emily, Lisa and I headed to the Linq to see Divas, a drag show, which will be a story for another post as this is getting quite lengthy. For now just know that it was amazing and we all loved it.

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After the show we hit up Casino Royale (across from the Mirage) for one reason: $2 mixed drinks and $1.75 beer. One of my favourite moments of the day was when Emily spread a bunch of bills on the bar and was like “Look at all my money! I feel like I have so much money!” and the bartender was all “You have 6 dollars.” Ah, American money is so sneaky. If you are in Canada and you have 6 bills, you have at LEAST $30. Also, you guys need to change up the colour of your bills, just saying. I never knew how much money I had because everything looked the same. In Canada we have our helpful colour coding.

Canadian_bills2Just seems like common sense.

Emily had this Coors Light bucket from her beer at Divas, so we turned it into a prop. We filled it with ice, put a Loonie (Canadian $1 coin) in it, and then asked people if they wanted the Canadian Experience.

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The Canadian Experience was, you had to stick your hand in the bucket of ice and find the Loonie. People were surprisingly excited about participating. Everyone wanted the Canadian Experience.

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This man REALLY wanted the Canadian Experience and ended up dumping the entire bucket of ice on the floor in hopes of finding the Loonie (security liked it, and I am actually not being sarcastic with that, security was laughing harder than we were). This man was also wearing a Sons of Anarchy sweatshirt, a Sons of Anarchy hat, and a Sons of Anarchy ring. Do you think he likes Sons of Anarchy? We couldn’t tell.

We had some more adventures on the Strip, spent about 10 seconds in the Mirage club, 1 Oak, before deciding it was 100% not for us at all, and capped off our day with delicious grilled cheese and soup from the 24-hour restaurant Pantry in the Mirage (highly recommend).

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It was awesome.

Canucks do Vegas, Day One

As you may have seen from all my Instagram spamming, I went to Vegas for the weekend. About a year and a half ago my Bestie Lisa’s sister Heather approached all of her best friends about taking a trip somewhere for her dirty 30. Originally the idea of a cheap all-inclusive resort was tossed around, but then Vegas came up and that was that. We were going to Vegas. It ended up being quite the meeting of friends. Heather and her boyfriend Brent’s best friends, and Lisa and I talked to Dawn and Emily about it at Christmas and they were in, so suddenly it was our friends too. There ended up being 14 of us, from Ontario, Alberta, and BC. The ultimate Canadian party. I do not like to just throw this word around, but it was epic. There is really no other way to describe it. Best time ever. Do I wish I was still there? NOPE. Three days was enough time in Vegas. But it was amazing.

I had never been to Vegas before, so for my first time I really felt like I needed to do it right and this was THE trip to be on. I used to have this idea in my mind that Vegas was too fancy for me because I am not really into designer things, I don’t particularly enjoy wearing heels, and clubs are not my idea of a fun time. But it was completely the opposite of what I thought. Sure, people were fancy, it was a heel-party, and there were clubs everywhere, but it’s also very laid back. Everyone was just doing their own thing. And everyone we were with was laid back and just wanted to have fun, and that is my dream.

We left early last Friday morning, and I was delighted to find these bitches on my flight.

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Trevor and Matt, best friends of Heather’s, were coming to Vegas as well. For some reason we thought we were on different airlines, so when we found each other in the terminal we had a very excited group hug reunion and switched seats so we could be together on the plane. This was a plus because then I didn’t have to drink wine by myself!

We were talking about how we have only met a total of about three times but we consider each other kindred spirits (though the first time we did spend an entire weekend together, I was staying at their place when I [accidentally] locked Lisa’s cat in my suitcase and I just saw Matt over Christmas). They really are two of my favourite people.

Nearly five hours later (not a short flight, FYI), we landed and met Lisa, Heather, Brent, and their friend Elliot at the Vegas airport. Those four flew in together from Calgary. We decided we needed to get to our hotel in style, and that means limo, hey ya!

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Matt, Heather, Brent

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Bestie reunion!

Oh you know we cracked open that complimentary limo champagne. There may have been some Jager floating around as well, who can say for sure?

Our limo driver was wonderful, and was the first of many people who LOVED the fact that we were from Canada. I could not believe the number of people who were genuinely surprised we were Canadian. Someone actually commented that we couldn’t be from Canada because we weren’t pale enough. Okay then. Anyway, our limo driver enjoyed us quite a lot and said that we were the nicest people she had met, not the first time we heard that all weekend. Though I think we may have been extra nice to her because she made a stop at the liquor store for us.

And then…dun dun dun…we arrived at our hotel. The Mirage!

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I would highly recommend staying there. It seems to be in middle of all the action on the strip, and it is beautiful inside. And even though you can smoke everywhere in there, I actually thought it smelled good (this absolutely does not apply to the old casinos on Fremont Street, you can smell the 60 years of smoking in those).

It may have had something to do with the botanical garden.

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Just luxurious. Like a rain forest.

Lisa and I bunked together, and you will not hear either of us complaining about our room.

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I don’t know if this is standard Vegas hotel room, but we thought it was great.

We dropped off our stuff, changed out of our gross plane gear and immediately got out into that sunshine.

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The weather was gorgeous the entire time we were there. We could not have asked for better. About 20-25 degrees C and sunny. Beauty. Especially since Toronto was experiencing a snowstorm at the time. I will take it.

We found our group of peeps who had arrived so far and headed to the patio just outside the Mirage.

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Sorry for all the photos of just the three of us, I swear there were more of us on the trip…

We sat with a very friendly American couple, who again seemed to really enjoy the fact that we were from Canada. It really is inhabited here, I promise.

We did not stay on the patio very long, as we were sitting in the shade and we wanted sunshine and adventures along the strip.

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I love the all street activities that randomly broke out in front of us.

We wandered into the casino at Harrah’s, which happens to have a White Castle. We all decided we needed to eat something, so I had my very first White Castle experience. I would like to rave on about it, however it did not meet my expectations.

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And yes I blame you for that, Harold and Kumar.

Lisa and I split a meal because we didn’t think we needed four burgers each, but apparently we did because they are tiny (and taste like pâté). In hindsight, not the best idea because our dinner plans never ended up working out and, aside from my sandwich on the plane, that was all I really ate all day. Oh well, learned my lesson. When in Vegas, don’t go to White Castle. Go to a buffet!

When Dawn and Emily arrived Lis and I met them at the hotel and then we all hit up CVS where we bought cans of beer. That was an adventure on its own, again because we seemed to meet so many people. And it was weird that you could walk around drinking on the street. That is a pretty big fine here. No complaints though. Once the girls had their booze, we headed back to our rooms and got ready for a night on the town.

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Hi.

We met everyone in the lobby and then walked over to Margaritaville, conveniently located across from The Mirage.

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I couldn’t turn down the blended rum concoction.

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I was in bed by 10:30, but still no regrets (well, just about White Castle).

We made friends with people on the street. Like this young man…

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And this police officer…

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We also met two older bearded men from Texas who were both named Brian and were attending a concrete convention. They were a fun time. They enjoyed quizzing us about the ingredients in concrete. Water and sand, that’s all I know.

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One of the Brians. Dawn has pulled the ol’ glasses switch trickery.

The Flamingo was next for some general shenanigans…

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Basically just catch up time with everyone. And those are the last of my photos of the evening. Trevor escorted me home at 10pm. We were done. And I think our entire group was in bed by 11. We also walked in the total wrong direction of our hotel for a while, and I just have a tip: do not wear $2.50 pumps from Old Navy when you are going to walk 22,000 steps (according to my fitbit). I woke up with the biggest blisters of my life. And also a purse crammed with stripper cards, so, good times.

More stories to come 🙂

Em & Cork Tie the Knot

I got some photos from Emily and Corey’s wedding, so here we go! All photos in this post aside from my (very obvious) iPhone photos are by the incredibly talented Claire Dam, and can also be found (and more) on her blog.

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Beautiful Lovers

I’m sure I have mentioned this several times before, but Emily has been one of my best friends since early elementary school. We have attended many, many occasions for each other over the years. Birthdays from 9 right on up to 31.

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At my 31st birthday last year

She used to have these two goats (don’t ask), Chrissy and Missy, who lived in the barn in her backyard, and in the winter they would pull us on a toboggan around her property. I spent my very first all-nighter in her parents basement. In Grade 6 we went to art camp together. In Grade 8 (and also Grade 9) we went to Band Camp together. I played the flute (of course) and Emily played the trumpet.

Also in Grade 8, Emily and I performed a duet to Jingle Bell Rock in our school’s Christmas Concert.

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Except not like Mean Girls. By duet I mean that I played my flute and Emily played her trumpet, because that is how cool we were. And we were not in sexy Santa suits. I’m pretty sure I was wearing a sweatshirt from Northern Getaway.

One time we found a little black bat with an injured wing outside of her bedroom window, so we vowed to take care of him. We put him in a shoebox and named him Batman. We tried to give him a bath in Emily’s bathroom sink (I am sorry Darlene), and while doing this we discovered that he was not actually black…he was brown. He just had so many tiny wriggling bugs on him that he looked black (edit: I was talking to my mom about this and she said “Fleas Lindsey, those were fleas.” So that was the end of Batman. We immediately let him go. Bats we can do…bugs, no.

I could go on for days about our memories together. There have been so many good times.

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Grade 8 Grad

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Em’s 28th Birthday

So I can’t even describe how excited I was to watch my longtime pal marry her longtime lover.

As I mentioned in my last post, Em and Cork’s wedding took place at the lovely Briars Resort in Jackson Point, Ontario, where we were all staying for the weekend.

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Seriously, how cool does that place look? I think this picture really gets across how fun it was to explore.

I love that Emily and Corey chose to have a winter wedding. They are both very much winter people, so it is very fitting of them. Both of them enjoy being outside in the snow, hiking and doing other outdoorsy things.

The bridal party got up bright and early on Saturday morning and slipped into our matching robes to get our hair and makeup done.

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Our hair was done by the girls at Shagg’s, who are from our hometown of Port Perry. They have actually done my hair for basically every major event (and my Grade 8 grad in that photo above!), and they’ve always done a great job. Em’s wedding day was no exception. I thought we all looked beautiful.

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A few of us got our makeup done as well, and I cannot lie, I was pretty impressed with both my hair and makeup.

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That is definitely the best photo I’ve ever seen of myself and I’m pretty sure it’s going to be my Facebook profile picture forever. Maybe Instagram too. And whatever else I can use it for… That Claire is a talented cat!

I had such a fun morning hanging with the girls. So much love for them!

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After we were all prettified, we got into our dresses.

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I really liked that from the waist down all of our dresses were the same, but the tops of our dresses were just different enough.

But I am digressing all over the place here because this day is not about us. This is about our Emily, and Emily took the cake. She was gorgeous.

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Just the most beautiful. Only her sister and her mom had seen her dress before the big day, she kept it a secret from the rest of us. When she came out wearing it I had tears in my eyes. We all did. She was perfect. Her dress was such an Emily dress.

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The picture below is my favourite.

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Em and Cork did a first look, so we took most of the bridal party photos before the ceremony.

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I feel like this should be in a magazine.

The best thing about a winter wedding is the amazing winter photos.

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We were definitely not warm, but it was worth it. We were also wearing our winter boots because there was a light freezing rain happening and we didn’t want to slip on the ice in our heels. I feel like that was a very smart decision.

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I LOVE the pops of red all over the place!

The ceremony was gorgeous, and funny in the right places, and incredibly heartwarming. I may have had something in my eye…

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Isn’t Corey handsome? We tell him all the time that he is so classically handsome, like a movie star.

Big toast to the happy couple!

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We took a few more photos after the ceremony while the cocktail reception was happening. I feel like this one really captures Emily’s essence:

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And this one captures their love:

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After those photos we met up with the rest of our friends, and my hot dinner date!

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Except not really because I was at the head table. My good friend Sherrie took him over until after dinner, and they both said they had a really good time!

The reception was just as beautiful as the ceremony.

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There were little Emily touches on everyone’s seat, and Em and their family made the centerpieces themselves. I wish I had a close up of them because they were amazing!

Dinner was delicious. I chose the beef, and there was soup and salad and bread pudding, and I don’t know that I have ever had bread pudding before, but I loved it.

The speeches were probably the best wedding speeches I have ever heard. Very personal, but also not too inside jokey. And so many people were involved. Dawn and Joel were the emcees. I edited a video for them featuring the entire bridal party and both their families. To get them to kiss, instead of clinking glasses our friends Joanna and Crystal set up a game with a trivia question at each table. If a representative from your table answered the question correctly, Emily and Corey had to kiss. Incorrectly and you had to kiss someone of your choice (Emily’s dad got kissed a bunch of times, so that was pretty entertaining). The best thing about the game was that everyone who came up to the podium to answer a trivia question threw in a little story about Emily and Corey. This made it feel really personal and unique and truly like the room was full of good friends.

They danced.

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We all danced. And then we partied with our friends.

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The photo booth was definitely the big hit of the evening.

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And then it snowed, and this magical picture happened:

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Just so beautiful. It makes me a little teary.

We closed out the night with everyone group dancing to (I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life, and it felt like Dirty Dancing and I will never forget it.

Congratulations to my beautiful friends Emily and Corey! I wish you the best, and I love you both!

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The Sweater Party

Evan and I hosted our very first party in the condo on Saturday night. I have lived here for over a year and some of my friends have never seen my place before (most of my friends do not live in the city and are about an hour away). So that needed to be rectified. And finally our kitchen is ready to be shown off.

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No Christmas holiday is complete without a tacky sweater party, and I haven’t actually been invited to another one this year, so that was our party theme. Or Santa suit, as you can see Evan is wearing in the above photo…

Evan picked me up a sweater cookie-cutter a few weeks ago, so I switched up my usual shortbread cookies (my Nana’s recipe) this year and made little sweaters for the occasion.

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Totally got the decoration idea from Pinterest, I can’t take all the credit there. But yes I did make the buttercream icing (the icing is THE BEST) and then all the colours, and yes it sure was time consuming and that was my Friday night and a few hours on Saturday.

Brotherman had mentioned to Evan that these cookies were all he wanted for Christmas, so while I was doing the sweater thing I decided to make some special for Brotherman. He really loves his Toronto Maple Leafs so…

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Little Leafs’ jerseys! He was pretty excited when I gave him those.

A bunch of friends were bringing food to the party, but we started with a pretty decent spread.

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I love hanging my Christmas cards on a string – such an easy way to display them. My mom used to do this every year when I was a kid.

I don’t know how well you can see in the above picture, but we made ravioli pasta skewers like we first had on Canada Day at my brother’s girlfriend’s mom’s place. And Evan also made bacon-wrapped cheddar smokies.

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Meaty and delicious.

Not a bad dessert table either…

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Onto the sweaters…

I made mine with a hot glue gun (and Evan’s help), and I was pretty proud of it.

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And a bow with jingly bells on the back…

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My friends enjoyed it, as I knew they would.

Evan’s Santa suit cost a total of $3 from the Dollar Store.

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That was a good find right there.

Our guests looked pretty great as well.

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Nothing says Christmas like a captain’s hat and Daniel Boone’s cap.

Corey and Emily were gorgeous in their matching Christmas vests…

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Dawn and Mark had matching festive balls.

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You can’t tell in this picture, but Dawn’s apron said “How To Keep Your Husband” and included much helpful advice from the 1950s such as Don’t Nag, Have Dinner Ready, Don’t Gossip On The Phone, etc. Thanks for that.

My friend Hannah and her friend Francine in their ugly sweaters spruced up with bows.

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And Sarah, Joanna and Sherrie in their beautiful sweaters.

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And a photobomb from Dawn and Emily…

Sarah’s sweater was from Northern Reflections, which I had pegged immediately. I had a very similar one in Grade 7.

There were intense games of air hockey…

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And we did a Secret Santa gift exchange…

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But not your typical Secret Santa… I asked everyone to wrap something they already owned and didn’t want, then we drew numbers from 1-12 (for everyone there), number 12 (me) got to open a gift first, then number 11…but number 11 had the option to trade for my gift or keep the one they opened, and so on. So by the time number 1 opened their gift, they could steal whatever they wanted.

This is what I opened.

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Thank you Dawn and Mark. In case you are having a hard time making out my wonderful gifts, I received Depends, a cheesy poem about love, Pez, a 2nd place ribbon and an honourable mention ribbon, Mr Bean’s holiday, a teeth wind-up toy (which is broken), a generic Dion poster that isn’t even Maple Leafs branded, and informative pamphlets on elder abuse, drug facts for young people, and a teenage survival handbook. Very useful. No one stole this, so lucky me got to keep it all!

Here we have a Cosmo magazine from 2010 and expired (brown) Ketchup…

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So some pretty high quality gifts for sure.

Sherrie opened cranberry juice and a bottle of Grey Goose and we were all like “What?! Grey Goose! Fancy! That’s a good gift!”

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But then we noticed that the Grey Goose was less than half full.

The game was hilarious and the stealing really took it up a notch. We were all dying laughing. I think it might have to become a Christmas tradition. Party at our house! A bunch of people couldn’t make it, which was sad, but it was still such a good night.

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I can’t believe Christmas is in two days! I am officially on holidays until January 5th and I feel so thankful for such a break!!! I am lucky though and have always worked somewhere that gave employees two weeks off at Christmas. It is much appreciated. I could not be more excited for the holidays.

Merry Christmas Eve Eve!

New (Old) Floor & Dawnald’s Birthday Celebration

On Saturday we spent the day re-installing the laminate floor. Well, Evan spent the morning doing the floor, and I spent the morning Christmas shopping, grocery grabbing, and picking up the new over-the-range microwave for the kitchen (Black Friday Sears online special!). By the time I got home things were looking pretty promising floor-wise.

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I say REinstalling the laminate because this is the same laminate that was already installed in this same space. Evan and Brotherman had removed it to extend the kitchen tile and add the new area around the front door, and also because some of the pieces were damaged. Evan had extra of the laminate saved, so he replaced the damaged pieces with the new ones.

Winnie and I were installation helpers.

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Winnie is pretty useless, and tends to get in the way more than anything else, but she does really enjoy being part of the action.

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In addition to following Winnie around and taking pictures, I actually did help. And I am pretty sure Evan really enjoyed my help. He mainly did the cuts and the tricky areas, and I laid the underlay and helped click that laminate into place. We were a good team and we were able to finish the floor at 5:55pm, which was perfect because you can’t make noise on a Saturday in a condo building after 6pm. And the saw be noisy (even though we have it set up on the balcony).

The floor is back!

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Finished except for that tricky area on the left near the sunken living room part, as the natural floor seems to slant downwards there and Evan needs to build it up with concrete…

I didn’t realize how nice it was to have a floor until we didn’t have one. I can walk around in my bare feet again!

Not too bad at all for repurposed laminate.

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Evan had to be very accurate with those cuts that nudge up against the edging of the tile… I was impressed with his handiwork in this corner (and all over, really). Everything is perfectly aligned.

After the laminate party, we showered and got ready and headed to my friend Dawn’s to celebrate her birthday.

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Birthday Girl!

Evan and I had a late lunch of grocery store frozen pizza and sushi and did not eat dinner, so I stalked the substantial food area…

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I brought these cheese ball, but it was store bought so I take no credit.

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Plus unpictured fruit and veggies and dip. Dawn’s fabulous dip creamy cheese dip in the phallic pan wins the night once again.

Dawn got some great gift bags…

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Batman is my fave.

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Emily classed it up with her mini bottles of sparkling wine…

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And we all had a good ol’ time.

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If you are wondering what we are holding, that is a ring toss game.

There was cake!

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Which Dawn somehow ended up fisting…

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I just remembered that I meant to faceplant into the cake when we got home from the bar, but I completely forgot. This makes me sad now. Oh well. There will be more cake another time.

And we took festive photos by the Christmas tree with all our ladies.

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As we do every year! And as is tradition, we let Joel in the girls’ pic.

This might be a new tradition though:

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Romantic gift giving under the tree.

We ended up at the Tartan, because where else, and it was busy like the Tartan of yesteryear. We actually had to wait in line to get into the back room for the first time in…well, at least three years for me. It was a good time, but it made me feel a bit old. And the entire night reminded me that I cannot drink that much anymore. My body does not like it. So Sunday mostly looked like this:

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We had big plans to be productive but…oh well.

Also, Winnie has it good here and don’t let her tell you otherwise.