BANFF TRIP DAY 1 and 2 + June Freebie!

I am still nursing a vacation hangover from coming back from our trip from Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada. The scenery was some of the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen! We hiked hard every single day, which wasn’t easy given the altitude, but every hard hike was SO worth it!

On day one, Daniel and I got into Calgary in the afternoon, we picked up the rental car, checked into our hotel, made a stop at Cabela’s for some bear mace, then went into the city for a little exploring. Daniel and I are not city people and we don’t do super well with crowds for an extended period of time, so we tried to find a little neature in the city, but stumbled upon this awesome CANADA 150 sign! We always knew that Banff National Park was on our list of places to go, but when we found out (thanks to www.boptheblog.com) that it was Canada’s 150th birthday this year and that all the national parks were free, we made it a priority to hit it in 2017. So stumbling upon this sign was pretty neat.

Blogger talks about her trip to Canada to visit Banff National Park, Canada's 150th birthday, free to get into National Parks in 2017

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CAMPING MATS

You guys!!! We leave for Banff National Park later this week! Daniel and I are going with his best friend and his best friend’s girlfriend for a super duper double date. I am so so so excited! We will be in Canada for a full week and about half of our time spent there will be camping and then the other half in an Air bnb (read my post from a while back about alternatives to staying in hotels for more deets on that).

Since we are flying, we are trying to be really conscious about what we pack for the camping portion. We will have a vehicle with us so that makes things a bit easier but we still want to try and pack minimally while still being comfortable. We decided that each couple will have a checked bag to hold camping supplies and then the rest of our stuff will just go in carry ons. So the checked bag needs to hold Daniels Yeti Cooler (which we totally and completely swear by), both of our sleeping bags, the tent, and cooking utensils. But then I got to thinking, sleeping on the ground for – several nights in a row- might be a bit more pleasant if we had camping mats for under our sleeping bags. So, as always, I did a bunch of research and these are the options I am looking at:

Camping Mats

SEMOO Self-Inflating Camping Sleeping Mat/pad; camping mat

-Pros: self inflating, built in pillow, water repellant, can buckle up with another mat to make a larger surface to sleep on, and compresses into a pretty small pouch.

– Cons: A few reviews sad it didn’t inflate well or popped easily.

2017 TuTu Outdoors Lightweight Self-Inflating Sleeping Pad Mat With Inflatable Pillow; camping mats

– Pros: self inflating, built in pillow, water repellant, can buckle up with another mat to make a larger surface to sleep on, lightweight, only positive reviews.

– Cons: The only con I could find is that you have to manually inflate the pillow.

THN Outdoors Camping Mats

– Pros: they have a guarantee that you will love it, self inflating, water repellant, lightweight, insulated.

– Cons: doesn’t compress as small as others, no pillow, doesn’t buckle with other mats.

I typically try to stick with the middle of the road when I am buying products, not the cheapest but not the most expensive. These are all pretty comparable but I think I am leaning towards the TuTu Outdoors just because I definitely want the pillow and I didn’t see anything negative about it popping or tearing. Plus, I am getting one for both Daniel and I and I can see how it would be nice to buckle the two mats together. If you guys have any suggestions for camping mats send them my way! I will be sure to give a full report on the one that I go with! 🙂

UPDATE:

We did end up going with the TuTu Outdoors mats for the Banff trip and they worked out great! So much better than laying on the cold hard ground. BUT, we were car camping not backpacking in, so this was pretty much the only way these would work out. They roll up nicely and have a little bag they fit in but when rolled up they are really long and don’t get terribly small so I wouldn’t want to carry them into a campsite if it was a major hike. Otherwise, if you are car camping, these held up great! They inflated on their own but I had to give them a little boost just because I wanted them firmer. Overall, we were happy we had them, especially for the price.

Happy camping.

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MOVE LIVE TOUR

Move Live tour with Derek and Julianne Hough

Over Memorial weekend Derek and Julianne Hough stopped in Minnesota for a performance of their dance show, Move Live! Anyone who knows me knows that I have a major lady crush on Julianne Hough. I seriously think we would be great friends if we ever met in real life. She has a great personality, loaded with talent, and promotes kindness and good causes. I follow her pretttttty closely on social media. Its pretty stalker-ish really.

Anywho, for my mama’s birthday in March I bought two tickets to the show for us! She was so surprised! We both love watching Dancing with the Stars so I knew this is something she would love to see in person. We went out for apps and drinks ahead of time in Saint Paul at The Happy Gnome (totally recommend if you are in the Saint Paul area). Then I drove us to downtown Minneapolis to the State Theater! I had never been to any performance in the State Theater but I LOVED it. It is so beautiful and I love that all of the vintage history is still intact and preserved. It was a lot smaller than I was anticipating but I think that made everything more intimate and personal.

Since I am ballin’ on a budget I could only get me and mama tickets in the upper balcony. It would have been a totally different experience if we were down on the lower level because both Jules and Derek walked off stage and into the crowds to interact with people. I would have DIED if they came over to me but instead, we happily watched from afar.

The talent was undeniable. There were so many gifted dancers on the stage and everything flowed so smoothly. If they went off stage for a moment it was almost a guarantee they would dance right out wearing something new! So cool! There was a good mixture of older classic music with new fun songs from today. I think overall it is easily enjoyed by people of any age.

We had a great mother-daughter date and I highly recommend attending the show if it comes to your city this tour! Otherwise, consider it for next year, so entertaining!

Move Live Tour

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