FOUR experiences not to miss on your trip to Banff

It’s been about 4 weeks since we got back from our trip to Calgary & BC (more lovingly known by most as “the Banff trip”)

I’ve yet to go through all my photos, but I figured this would be a good way to start. I read a lot of travel guides and blog posts ahead of our trip about what to see and do on #TheBanffTrip.

So I figure it only fair that I share my tips too! (my way of paying it forward). And nooo this list does not include Lake Louise (a bit of let down in my opinion!).

I’m sharing FOUR experiences that you can’t miss when in Calgary & BC (aka on your own Banff trip). These are great options to add to your itinerary if you are travelling with family/kids or if you want to try things off the beaten path (without the need to extensive gear or training!)

I should say that most of these attractions technically are in BC but considering how close everything is to each other, most people would still consider these things on their Banff Trip.

I’ve also shared our travel vlog – hopefully it provides some inspiration for a future trip.

  • Glacier (paid) Tour

Most people will tell you to check out the Glacier field by taking a small hike to the base of the glacier (aka the snout…just doesn’t sound nice). If you just see the base, you will not get the magnificent views, history/information and fresh (drinkable) glacier water. This can only be experienced by paying for the tour.

  • Peyto Lake

A moderate hike uphill and you get views of a turquoise lake surrounded by mountains (both with trees and snow peaks). And although there were crowds, it was way better here than to be herded like cattle between Lake Louise and Moraine Lake. Make sure to detour and check out this lake.

  • Takakkaw Falls

This is an easy-moderate hike with a surprise ending! The cool (read: cold) spray from the waterfall. Getting to most waterfalls can be a trek, but this is mostly paved which made it easier for my kids.

  • Jasper Gondola

We didn’t do the popular Banff Gondola (to be honest didn’t even want to). I found this attraction by a simple google search …and I honestly think this was way better. The views are stunning and you can even hike further up the summit. It was windy up there so be sure to bring a touq and some layers. The mountains in the distance look unreal!

August Reset and Monthly Goals

I’m back with another tiktok inspired trend: monthly goals!

Well technically I’ve always been making monthly goals.  But even more so, I just back from a vacation… vacations have a way and making me more inspired to review my habits & goals. And sometimes you need to write down your intentions and get re-acclimatized to your dreams.

Here are my August Goals & my current status as of the first full week of the month.

Drink 3L of water: I added a habit tracker (little water drops to track every water bottle of 500mL) to my planner for every day.  So far I’ve gotten to 2.L a few days.

Make art daily: not hitting this one yet.  The plan was to either paint, photograph, use procreate or blog.  And so far all I have excuses.  Will try again this week.

Forrest walks: again not there yet. My workday is a little crazy (side note: talking to my leadership about that this week to make sure I’m putting my career goals and professional brand first – and to have more space in my day to take walks in a forrest)

Daily Journaling & Mediation: 7 for 8 so far!

Read 2 books: I recently finished Verity and I’m now reading The Secret.

Share my art weekly: Promising myself that I will share a procreate piece this week!

Our Experience at Valarie in the X Hotel

A few weeks ago we had the opportunity to check out the fantastic roof top patio at the X Hotel.

Valarie is boasted as Toronto’s newest nightlife concept with an innovative Japanese menu, inspired cocktails amidst unparalleled views the six.

What we ate:
Cocktails: Single Malt on the rocks, Espresso and Cosmo Martinis
Food: Truffle Fries, Maitake Mushroom (bowl) & Truffle Teardrop (sushi roll)
Food Menu

The mushroom item was delicious.  Crispy and with a truffle flavour. 

And the martinis were perfect (flavourfull and strong!)

The entire rooftop is lined with a glass balcony – so you get views of the lake, Mississauga, the downtown core and the lake of course.

And of course I only got pictures of the CN Tower.

The views and cocktails really made it for me, although I wish they had more food items.

Over all it was a great experience (we tried to ignore the early 2000s clique vibes between patrons and the restaurant staff).

We got reservations through OpenTable, but I think a walk in is worth a try!

The one about crystals and the power of the new moon

I’ve always been interested (read: obsessed) with the night sky.  However, since we’ve been home more the last few years, I found myself staring at the night sky more often.  I began to recognize the location of the moon in the sky at different seasons.  We as a family would appreciate the moon phases.  On clear nights, I’d also try to locate the constellations

And obviously with my eyes looking up, my camera and all my lenses soon followed.  

Learning about astronomy, naturally led me to astrology, which led me to other wellness tools (meditation, journalling).  Enter crystals. *nervous laughter*

I would normally not share something that is considered so woo woo, but with age comes wisdom (and the awareness that “everyone is more concerned with their own lives to care what you think” and I’m learning not to care about people’s opinions)

I recently learned that Jun 28th (10pm EST) is the new moon with influence from Jupiter.  The new moon itself is another time to set goals/intentions and just to generally harness new moon energy to support yourself (look it up: indigenous & asian culture, time keeping, and all things famine).  From an astronomy standpoint, the new moon occurs when the sun is positioned behind the moon so with no light on the moon, it is not visible on earth.

But with Jupiter: it’s all about bounty and abundance.

If you don’t believe/agree with any of this – just remember:  Energy is every where

So with this new moon I’m setting intentions/re-focusing on my goals, starting something new and make detailed list.  If there is good energy out there – why not tap into it :) 

Camera Settings Explained!

I’ve had my DSLR for about 10-11 years. And although you’ll find me with my “big camera” glued to my face – I’m embarrassed to admit that I don’t always [insert: *G A S P*] shoot in manual.

I did take a photography 101 course around the time I bought the camera, and the settings I learned about in that course are the most important and particularly the only ones I will use to this day.

So in the spirit of “sharing is caring” I’m sharing – here are the TOP TWO camera settings explained.

ISO – let there be light!

This setting is so great to create drama (less light) or to add more calm to a photo (more light). The ISO is a number, if you need more light select a higher number, when you lead less light, turn the number down.

Photography, Camera Settings, Artist, Creative, Creator, Camera Hacks, Camera Tips, ISO, Shutter Speed

Shutter: The thrill of speed

This is probably my favourite setting. I use it (with a tripod or steady hand) to capture motion (like water or fast lights) or even the craters of the moon. Here we are working with fractions of a number to large whole numbers (ie seconds). The higher the shutter speed (ie: a whole number) the more crisp the photo. The lower the number (ie: a small fraction) the more crisp the picture will be. You have to play around the ISO here, meaning if you want to keep the shutter open for longer, you may want to reduce the ISO to prevent overexposure.

Photography, Camera Settings, Artist, Creative, Creator, Camera Hacks, Camera Tips, ISO, Shutter Speed