MONTHLY UPDATE…KELOWNA, JASPER, BANFF, ARIZONA, + GOLDEN, COLORADO
This edition of the Monthly Update includes…🤯
- West Kelowna, BC getting swallowed in flames
- Exploring breathtaking Jasper + Banff National Parks
- My whirlwind visit to my hometown in Arizona
- Cutting a rug at my cousin’s wedding in Golden, Colorado
WHERE ARE ASHLEY + CAMERON?!
AUGUST 15TH – 31ST | KELOWNA, JASPER + BANFF
I arrived the day the wildfire got REALLY BAD in Kelowna! On our way to dinner the fire was right behind the ridge + by the time we finished it was over the ridge + approaching the homes/lake in West Kelowna. We’ve never seen anything like it. It was so sad to witness, yet we couldn’t stop watching the trees burst into flames. Approximately 5 groups of friends were evacuated at 1:00AM, because the embers were crossing the lake + creating mini hot spots in Eastern Kelowna. Our hearts broke for the thousands of people who were displaced + lost their homes.
The next morning, we went for a nice bike ride where I accidentally dropped my phone through some train tracks into a steep ravine. Thankfully, Cameron rescued it for me. The crazy part…it happened on bridge 15 [my fave number] + it didn’t have a scratch or crack on it. So LUCKY!
When we arrived back in Kelowna, the air quality level was considered hazardous. So we made the tough call to evacuate, unraveled all our plans/resos, + made new ones. Little did we know Budget Rent-a-Car doesn’t operate across provinces + flying wasn’t an option since all flights out of Kelowna were canceled. So, we ended up taking the car out of the province without knowing how to get it back. More on that in a bit.
We decided to drive 10 hours to where it all began back in 2009…Edmonton, Alberta. And, to break up the drive time, we stayed in Golden, BC for one night. Driving into Edmonton after all these years felt surreal. I lived there in 2009 with my then partner. My body flooded with memories + emotions of all the great memories along with the not so great memories. I’m not going to lie, it was overwhelming + a lot to handle. The best part of the visit was having lunch + dinner with my best girlfriend who still lives in Edmonton + having dinner with the guy who actually introduced me to Cameron [aka our indirect matchmaker].
Next, we drove to Jasper. Just WOW! A natural wonderland full of wildlife + tall jagged mountains. I mean…the herds of elk were practically posing for us. And, the lil town of Jasper was so quaint + cute. My favorite part, making friends with a chipmunk at the top of the SkyTram. He climbed right on me! I was excited + scared all at the same time.
Unfortunately, our stay at the Fairmont Jasper was less than stellar. It was super run-down + tired yet ridiculously expensive. It took several hours after check-in for them to get our room ready. The next day it was freezing + rainy yet they refused to turn on the heat, so we fought hard for two space heaters which they tried to take back. The mini fridge caused the metal water bottles to freeze + subsequently explode + leak water everywhere as they thawed. The food in the main lobby was meh + extremely expensive [like $28 for a board of cut veggies + something resembling hummus]. They didn’t clean our room the day we requested it, + the young man they sent over last-minute reeked of BO so badly I had to move outside while he finished cleaning. Thankfully, they gave us a $150 credit + comped one night of our stay to try + make up for it, but I still wouldn’t recommend staying there.
The drive down to Banff was SO PRETTY! We made three pit stops along the way. 1. The Valley of 5 Lakes. 2. Athabasca Falls. 3. Columbia Icefields/Athabasca Glacier. I highly recommend all of them. And throw in Peyto Lake if you have time. The lookout at the top gives the best aerial shot of the lake!
We decided to stay in Canmore vs. Banff. The Banff vibe just doesn’t do it for me, whereas the Canmore charm completely draws me in. I absolutely love the cute lil trails, bridges, river crossings, elk, + cozy shops + restaurants downtown. We also had the pleasure of going to dinner with one of Cameron’s long time friends in Lake Louise. And, we roamed the streets of Banff in unicorn onesies to catch a double header…Barbie + Oppenheimer. I also tried my first + last beaver tail.
I was so stoked to be finally visiting Lake Louise + Moraine Lake in the summertime. I had high hopes for both of them. Little did we know…they’ve become so popular it’s impossible to visit them by car anymore. Shuttles are mandatory + the towns have people + cones directing the flow of traffic all day everyday. On the only day we could go…we learned this the hard way which resulted in shuttle tickets costing us $187 CAD. Not to mention, the speeding that took place to get there on time.
So, did they live up to all the hype? The lakes were/are GORGEOUS, but the entire experience was diminished by the abundant amount of tourists EVERYWHERE! And, Moraine Lake was charging $140 CAD to rent a canoe for one hour. Insane! I’d rather canoe on a lake no one knows about. By the end of the day, we nicknamed them the Disneyland Lakes. Honestly, I suggest visiting other lakes in the surrounding area. They’re all fed by glacial run-off, so they all have that striking blue/green color…minus the million other people ruining your shot.
Okay…back to the rental car fiasco. Cameron took one for the team + drove 5 ½ hours to return the car in Kelowna, + I ended up taking a bus to Calgary Airport to catch my flight to sunny Arizona.
This bucket list trip definitely didn’t go as expected, but we checked it off nonetheless. ✅
SEPTEMBER 1ST – 15TH | SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA
I was not prepared to leave Alberta, Canada for 100+ degree heat in Arizona. Being in AZ grounds me immediately, but I don’t think I’ll ever get used to functioning in the oppressive heat [aka what I like to call Satan’s asshole].
Despite feeling grounded, there was nothing relaxing about my trip to Arizona. It’s my main hub, so all my appointments [health + cosmetic] + supply restocking happen here. And, I generally cram all of it into a very tight timeline. Plus, the prep time is quite intense leading up to my arrival. It takes a lot of forethought + planning [in 6 month intervals] to ensure all packages arrive before me. Thankfully, my sister acts as my Amazon Distribution Warehouse even though she hates it.
In 14 short days I knocked out…dissolving a lil lip filler, a doc apt + chasing around prescription refills across multiple pharmacies, a laser tattoo removal session, multiple biohacking sessions [compression, red light, infrared sauna, cryo/cold plunge, HOCATT], a dental cleaning, having an unexpected root canal [front right tooth], a permanent filling placed which had to fixed with a fourth appointment, my first 500mg NAD+ treatment, a pre-op appointment, buying a dress + shoes for my cousin’s wedding in Colorado [I hate shopping], two hair appointments [the first time was a disaster], having blood drawn to check my hormone levels + starting TRT, a Tixel treatment done on my face, an open system colonic, cleaning out the entire storage locker, visiting multiple sets of friends, hanging out with my sister + brother in-law, having lunch with my mom, visiting my 99 year old grandma who will be 100 in December, working on Ever Wander between errands + appointments, + logistically figuring out how to manage all my packing for 2 weddings, a viking Halloween party in Utah, festival in Austin, trip to Merida + Tulum, Mexico, + a ski trip to Niseko, Japan in February 2024. Phew! I’m tired just thinking about it. Honestly, it nearly broke me, because on top of all the craziness I wasn’t sleeping that well.
Holy smokes…the weather was insane while I was there as well. It was still monsoon season. So, I witnessed a giant thunderstorm one night + a haboob another night! And, one morning it started pouring cats + dogs with giant pieces of hail, which created a mini flood. To get into the car, I had to take off my shoes + socks, walk barefoot across a sea of murky brown water, + crawl through the passenger side to the driver’s seat. It was WILD!
It had been 6 months since my last trip to Arizona, so getting all this accomplished felt fulfilling + connecting with friends, family, + loved ones made my heart very very happy.
SEPTEMBER 15TH – 18TH | GOLDEN, COLORADO
After running around like a chicken with my head cut off in Arizona, I ventured to Golden, Colorado for my cousin’s wedding. And, Cameron flew in from Massachusetts to meet me there.
My intimacy coach happens to live in Boulder, Colorado so she was nice enough to come stay with me for a 1 ½ day immersion. She’s been helping me work through past sexual trauma, teaching me how to down regulate my nervous system through touch + connection, being more present with one another, how to create containers of safety, learning what consent really is, how to communicate exactly how I want to be touched, redefining what sex is + isn’t [because it definitely isn’t what we’ve been taught in the movies], + finding more time to connect with one another. It’s been instrumental in taking our relationship to the next level, + we’ve only scratched the surface of what’s possible.
Seeing my dad’s side of the family is always a great time! My aunts, uncles, + cousins are so funny, + we have the best time catching up. The wedding venue was on a ranch nestled 45 minutes outside of Golden, Colorado in the middle of nowhere. It was GORGEOUS! As a tradition, all of the girl cousin’s picked up the only boy cousin [youngest too] for a picture with the bride. It started when he was ~7 years old at our oldest cousin’s wedding + now he’s ~28 years old, so it gets progressively harder each time someone gets married. My sister and I helped pick one another’s dresses, + we bought matching sparkle sneakers for dancing at the reception. The best part…instead of a traditional wedding cake, they bought an assortment of Crumbl cookies. And, OMG! The Sea Salt + Toffee cookies were orgasmic. They were so good, Cameron and I smuggled 5 of them back to our Airbnb.
My heart feels so happy getting to connect with family, friends, + loved ones in the Western Hemisphere, since we aren’t over here that often anymore.
I can’t state it enough…you taking the time to read our monthly summary means the world to me, because I absolutely love writing them!
In the next 4 weeks, Cameron and I are going to explore colorful Merida, stay with our friends in Tulum in their newly built home, + dress up as Vikings for an epic Halloween party outside of Salt Lake City, Utah.
We can’t wait to tell you all about it!
Enjoy fall + the cooler weather while it lasts!
VIDEOS YOU’LL LOVE
VATICAN CITY + ST PETER’S BASILICA
TRAVEL HACK OF THE MONTH
TSA PRE-CHECK + CLEAR
If you travel a decent amount domestically in the United States, both of these programs are way worth the money. I have Global Entry [entering the US from other countries] + Nexus [US/CAN], which gives me TSA Pre-Check automatically. If you don’t travel internationally or to Canada very often, you can apply for TSA Pre-Check by itself. Note, the wait times are pretty freaking crazy right now…like up to 18 months. You can apply for Clear wherever you see the kiosks at an airport. It isn’t available everywhere just yet, but it’s nice not having to stand in the long TSA Pre-Check line or showing my ID or passport to the TSA security agents.
BIO HACK OF THE MONTH
BLUE LIGHT BLOCKING GLASSES
Last month, I shared the importance of tracking your sleep with Oura Ring in order to see how much light, deep, + REM sleep you’re getting each night. This month, we’re gonna learn about the dorky blue light blocking [aka orange, yellow, + clear] glasses. I never thought in a million years I’d wear these things as they have a negative cuteness score. But, I got a pair from FlyKitt [helps minimize jet lag on long haul flights] + decided to try them out at home before wearing them out in public. To my surprise, I felt a noticeable drop in energy shortly after putting them on. Did you know that all forms of light in the house suppress melatonin production? So now…I dim the lights super low a couple hours before bed, have been showering in the dark [I put the light on in the next room], + wearing my orange blue light blocking glasses. This helps increase my melatonin levels, eases me into bed + ultimately helps me fall asleep earlier. Switching to non-scented candles [scented candles can disrupt your endocrine system] vs. the harsh fluorescent lighting before bedtime is helpful as well. I also have blue light blocking built into my clear computer glasses + have night shift mode enabled on my iPhone + laptop 100% of the time. How do you lessen your exposure to the incessant blue light we’re exposed to this day in age? Comment below with some of your favorite hacks.
Next month, I’ll share two of my favorite sleep secrets for waking up fresh as a daisy.
Keep spreading love, compassion, kindness, + joy in the world.
Comment with your favorite part, questions, and/or constructive feedback on how I can provide even more value.
I can’t wait to see you next month!
You won’t want to miss it!