hallo from vienna, austria!

if you’ve been following along on instagram, you know of the castles, palaces, and snacks sister and i have already discovered two and a half weeks into our five-week european getaway.

you would have also seen that pre-trip i gave up my condo in calgary. moving is always a stressful experience, but more so when you are moving your life across the country (again) and don’t have anywhere to settle. i’m using my dad’s place as a dumping ground home base and will be looking for a job and condo in toronto upon returning from overseas.

trying to figure out how to sell my furniture, pack up and ship my cherished belongings, and donate everything else got me anxious, but the most stress i felt was trying to figure out where i was going to live/sleep between giving up my condo, and leaving the city. i had friends so graciously offer, but i had an urge to be alone to process everything – plus, they didn’t live that close to the airport and my flight was leaving at 6 a.m. it would have made for an extra early morning, and a very expensive uber ride.

the day i sold my bed, i slept on the floor of my empty condo. it was uncomfortable and my body ached the whole day after. thankfully, i only had to do that for one night before checking into the Calgary Airport Marriott In-Terminal Hotel at YYC.

i’ve stayed at the hotel a few times before and knew it would be the perfect home, full of luxury and comfort before i headed east.

my two-night stay was all about relaxing. i had been go-go-go with getting my place packed, emptied, and cleaned; visiting with friends; and finishing up work. while there were still last-minute errands, there were fewer and a king-size bed is worth a great deal of procrastination.

upon check-in, i dropped my bags then dropped my clothes in favour of the robe inside the closet. is there anything better than hotel robes? it’s always the first thing i search for. i opened the drapes on the floor-to-ceiling windows to let in all the glorious sunshine and crawled into bed with a newspaper.

when i was in grad school, we had to get a subscription to the globe & mail and were tested regularly on current events. i canceled the subscription immediately after i graduated, being poor and all, but still like to pursue one when i can. it’s much more enjoyable when you’re not tested on it.

before i knew it, aka mostly through the life section, i had to jump out of bed and into the shower to get ready for dinner with my girls. since my first visit to this Marriott, i have raved about this shower. it checks all the boxes:

  • it’s huge! you and a few friends could all fit – if you’re into that
  • it has the most fantastic shower head
  • there is incredible water pressure

i gave myself plenty of time to enjoy and double-condition.

the next day, i woke at my leisure and headed down the hall to the M Club for breakfast. the seventh-floor concierge lounge serves a hot buffet breakfast, afternoon hors-d’oeuvres, and has a variety of self-serve drinks and snacks to enjoy 24-hours a day.

after another day of errands, i headed back to the hotel to do a little work, have a nap, and enjoy a simple dinner in the airport before retiring for the night.

that’s when it sunk in. it was my last night in calgary.

i watched the planes take off from my room – staring out to my old home, the downtown core, with the rockies as their background. over the last seven years, the city provided me with many opportunities, friendships, heartbreaks, and loneliness. it taught me boundaries, and it taught me the importance of self-care. it allowed me to miss my family and the first place i called home. it built me up and watched me break again.

i crawled back into that glorious bed and i cried. i cried happy tears, and sad tears, scared tears and hopeful tears. i cried until i exhausted myself to sleep.

i was already awake when my alarm sounded at 4:00 a.m. i double checked my bags, made sure my passport was handy and wiped the sleep from my eyes. instead of calling a cab or waiting for a shuttle, all i had to do was ride the elevator down seven flights to arrive at airport departures. the ease of this is one of the main reasons i decided to stay at the Calgary Airport Marriott In-Terminal Hotel before my flight, and the hospitality and luxury of the hotel is why i’ll always return!

and while i’m not going to wish away my time, i’m already looking forward to my next trip back to calgary, and my next stay at the Marriott.

but for now there is more europe to enjoy. we’re off to salzburg tomorrow – be sure to follow our travel instagram account.

auf wiedersehen!

this post was written in partnership with the Calgary Airport Marriott In-Terminal Hotel.

making: a new instagram account for sister and i’s travel adventures: @youandmegoeverywhere.

eating: all the incredible food europe has to offer.

drinking: gassy water (as my grandma calls it) aka orange perrier.

wanting: my back to feel less achy.

looking: for all the suggestions to eat, drink (coffee), and play in europe.

enjoying: life.

crushing: on the one i left behind.

waiting: for september 5.

wondering: what happens now?

needing: one more pair of shoes.

hoping: i’ll be able to change my number to something i want. and that i don’t yell at Rogers in frustration.

smelling: campfires – and not in a sad, BC-is-burning type way.

wearing: hats.

knowing: these next few months are going to be a lot of fun.

watching: blue jays games with dad; yes, even if they suck.

listening: to dad’s older neighbours tell me about their travel adventures.

noticing: kindness.

planning: not too far in advance.

feeling: excited.

have you ever hosted a baby shower?

this concept is very new to me, but with many friends pregnant or with newborns (or even on baby #2), i’ve been introduced to the world of baby showers aggressively and all at once.

i had been a guest at a few, but when i found out that Katey was expecting a baby girl, i took the reigns and organized my first baby shower. with input from mama-to-be, some google searching, and a little bit of my very own creativity, i think the end result was a hit!

here are a few tips for planning a baby shower:

make it personal

a pretty, pinterest-worthy party is incredible, but it’s important to add personality and personal touches. this isn’t a magazine spread, after all (just a blog post). ask the mama about the theme of the nursery, if they have found out the sex of the baby, or if there is something specific they’d like to incorporate. knowing Katey’s decorating style, i made sure to have a soft, neutral colour palette that included blush pink, white, and wood. i also asked both grandma’s-to-be for baby pictures of their children. i had them framed and scattered around the house and paid specific attention to the photos that included parents and children. the bond both of them have with their parents is very strong and we were only able to have one grandma with us at the party.

lots of food

trying to appease everyone’s tastebuds can be really difficult. between preferences, allergies, and aversions, you could drive yourself a little bonkers menu planning. i combat this by providing a lot of food, and different types. make sure there is at least one thing for the vegans, vegetarians, gluten-frees, and meat lovers. when you do something like a tea or appetizers, it can become very easy to plan a menu full of different finger foods. everyone will be happy with choices. you also never know how hungry everyone will be. i aim to make more food than needed; leftovers are always better than hungry guests.

listen to mama

when we first talked about it, Katey was adamant on one thing: no ribbon hat. she felt indifferent about one other topic: opening gifts in front of others. there is something about a semi-circle of on-lookers that can be a little unsettling. so when friends started asking if we were going to open presents soon, i went straight to mama. was this something she wanted to do, or did i need to put out the cease and desist? during the party, she warmed up to the idea, and everyone enjoyed seeing the adorable baby girl clothes.

pay attention to the jealous

often this point refers to the other children that might be around. in our case, Katey’s cat Weasley was feeling very jealous that the room full of women was not for him. instead of him hiding away, or curling up in his bed, he had to be in the middle of everything. he was spoiled with many pats and cuddles, and i took a lot of adorable photos of him. i’m sure he got a few extra treats that day, too.

make it fun

baby showers aren’t usually considered “fun”. they are nice, and pretty, and sweet…but mostly, they are quite dry. i didn’t want bored guests, so i incorporated two games – that had nothing to do with dirty diapers or baby food. the first was reminiscent of a game we played at Katey’s bachelorette. i asked her husband a number of questions and made her guess what she thought he’d answer. the bachelorette version involved shots when she got an answer wrong; the shower version just saw me reading the correct answer. the second game was more interactive. i posted eight photos on a board and asked the group just one question: “is this photo labour, or is it porn?” the laughter, conversation and blushing that came next was my favourite part and made those awkward google searches all worth it. i made it hard on purpose, and everyone seems to have a great time guessing – we had 100% involvement.

mama, guests, and i were all happy at the end of the day. and as long as the first one is, that’s all that matters -an added bonus with the others. good luck if you’re throwing a baby shower in the future, and let me know if you want any of those google photos ;)