Holla! When dreaming of a place for a celebration, especially a celebration in which you are leaving your 20s and entering your 30s, I thought Vancouver would be the perfect place to gallivant and celebrate.

The craziest part is that even though I had plans to fly to Vancouver, the celebrations started 2 weeks before the trip, with part of my family. They surprised me with gifts, cards, and a cake during a mini bowl session in Wisconsin. I was SO surprised that I didn’t even know that the party was for me until they told me. haha.

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Thanks so much guys!

Megan Teachout's 30th Birthday PresentIn addition I received some gifts in the mail, one of them from one of my best friends, was 30 of my favorite things, I mean she really knows me so well! I LOVED EVERYTHING IN THE BOX.

Champagne Tasting with Raven!In truth, I really like to be low key, especially because the older I get the more subtle I try to become, however, I received so much love on my birthday that Raven, a great friend in Monterey, took me to a fancy dinner for happy hour (CHAMPAGNE TASTING) and ended up buying me an extravagent dinner, complete with a little Birthday flare. I felt like the queen of the ball. Megan and Steamboat joined us and we went for a few drinks afterwards. Such a wonderful night.

Birthday surprise from RavenThe most delicious Birthday platter I’ve tried so far. So Fancy.

The next day I played a little hooky and was racing to the airport around noon to catch my flight to Vancouver. Everything went without a hitch, and I arrived on time, just in time for Jess to great me at the airport with a bouquet of flowers. STOP IT.

Liz was also on her way but would be a few hours later so Jess and I went and checked into the hotel and headed down the street to Notch 8 for some food and drinks. I was starving.

Notch8 Vancouver CandaThe theme for the weekend was Classy Cassey, so we were being excessively fancy, which was a lot of fun.
Oysters at Notch8 Vancouver BCI ordered some oysters to try because I had heard that the seafood in Vancouver is on point (IT’S TRUE), and of course a gin drink. What’s classier than gin? That was a trick question, the answer is nothing. Jess even provided unicorn straws, which were A-MAZING.
Flatbread at Notch8 Vancouver, CanadaFlatbread pizza. I probably could have eaten 3 of these but they closed the kitchen too quick. Dangit.

After dinner and one more drink, we walked back to our hotel and waited for Liz, she arrived just after midnight and we fell into bed because of a VERY EARLY start to the next morning.

We were taking Jess’s car to Victoria and the first stop would be the Butchart Gardens. And guess what else, we ended up going for quite the anomaly. It was snowing! & sticking on the ground, which hasn’t happened in a couple years. Although we couldn’t see all of the flowers as they were covered in a blanket of snow, it was quite the Winter Wonderland, and so beautiful none-the-less.

Cherry blossoms at Butchart Gardens, VictoriaDuring the winter season, they convert a summer restaurant into an alcove of flowers, and it was quite the place to be. We walked around admiring the orchids, cherry blossoms, and tulips. It was beautiful.

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Hot chocolate festival, Vancouver, BCSince we did not come prepared for such frigid weather, we stopped in the shop for some coffee/hot chocolate to warm our bones before we continued on our way.

Butchers Gardens, Victoria Canada 4Butchers Gardens, Victoria Canada 8A wreath made entirely of succulents.

Butchers Gardens, Victoria Canada 12In the summer, this area is the iconic photo you see of the gardens, with an Alice in Wonderland-like air of bright flowers spilling around the pathways. Today, it wasn’t so bright and colorful, but it was beautiful none the less.

Butchers Gardens, Victoria Canada 15We walked down along the path, trying to keep our fingers in our pockets to keep the cold at bay.

Butchers Gardens, Victoria Canada 16I took a little spin in the gardens, which definitely was reminiscent of “The Secret Garden” which Liz and I watched many times on VHS growing up, and she also mentioned the same thing.

Butchers Gardens, Victoria Canada 17Over at the lake, the fountains were not frozen over, although you could see ice across the front part of the lake.
Butchers Gardens, Victoria Canada 19Where are we?! It’s so beautiful.

Butchers Gardens, Victoria Canada 22There’s even a secret window in the hedges that look out at the larger lake down below. It is magical.

Butchers Gardens, Victoria Canada 23A woman who was walking by was nice enough to offer to take our picture without us even having to ask! What an anomaly. She was having a grand time in the gardens, jubilant, and full of life, and exclaiming how amazing it was that it had snowed here and that there was barely anyone else enjoying themselves. We agreed and then parted ways as our feet were truly starting to freeze by this time.

Butchers Gardens, Victoria Canada 24At the gift shop, we took a thorough look around and bought quite a few things, more than normal actually. Jess, who had been before, showed us the coasters with pressed flower pedals in them. They were gorgeous and we each bought 2. Couldn’t help it. You should have a look in the gift shop if you are visiting the gardens.

Downtown Victoria, CanadaAfter we finished touring Butchart, we drove down into the town of Victoria for an Afternoon Tea date at the Empress hotel. Like the white rabbit, we wanted to get there with plenty of time so we weren’t late for our reservation.

Deserts in Vancouver, CanadaJess recommended that we must stop at a place that serves fish and chips as it is similar to London’s award-winning dish. They were being sneaky and I received this just before we left to head over to the Empress.

DSC03517Wow. Look at this place. It is a hotel, and you can stay the night, but you’ll pay a pretty penny for one of the rooms here. The hotel opened in 1908 and has hosted quite a few celebrities and royal families since opening day. Interestingly, Jess and I ate at Notch 8 the night before located in the Fairmont hotel in Vancouver, the Empress Hotel is also part of the Fairmont series, which I did not know previously.

The Empress Hotel, Victoria 2 The Empress Hotel, Victoria 3Around to the right, is the sign for the afternoon tea.

The Empress Hotel, Victoria 4Upon entering, you can tell how classy the place is. The perfect item for an itinerary of a girl and her friends who are trying to be classy ;).

Afternoon Tea, Empress Hotel Victoria CanadaAfter our coats were whisked away and we were seated, we were offered quite the selection of teas. We all chose something different so we could try three different teas throughout the afternoon.

Afternoon Tea, Empress Hotel Victoria Canada 2But first, how about a glass of prosecco to wet the appetite. Yes please.

Afternoon Tea, Empress Hotel Victoria Canada 3Cheers ladies, to joining me for this adventure, for helping me say goodbye to my 20s and try to answer those questions that accompany you through life and need discussing every now and again.

Afternoon Tea, Empress Hotel Victoria Canada 4The most amazing pianist was just behind us providing light background music while we enjoyed our tea. How fitting.

Afternoon Tea, Empress Hotel Victoria Canada 5The lobby at the empress hotel, where you can enjoy afternoon tea to your heart’s content. I truly lovely and exotic place.

Afternoon Tea, Empress Hotel Victoria Canada 6Thank-you for the wonderful music, sir.

Afternoon Tea, Empress Hotel Victoria Canada 7Just a few pics while the tea is steeping. Depending on which teas were chosen there was a varying degree of minutes you had to wait before it was ready for drinking. Our waiter provided hour glasses to countdown the minutes for us before we were to remove the tea bags.

Afternoon Tea, Empress Hotel Victoria Canada 9Meanwhile, a tray of crumpets, desserts, finger sandwiches, and to Jess’s delight clotted cream arrived.

Afternoon Tea, Empress Hotel Victoria Canada 10Love, love, LOVE this place.

Afternoon Tea at the Empress Hotel, Victoria British ColumbiaThey even provided a white chocolate Happy Birthday banner when they found out it was my birthday. Subtle and elegant at the same time. Liz ended up choosing the best tea in my opinion, a rose tea which the waiter said used to be Princess Diana’s favorite tea, and a main reason why they have it on the menu. It was delicious and I tried to buy some in the gift shop afterward, but disappointingly they were out.

Parliament Building Victoria, CanadaWe actually had so much fun at the Empress hotel that we completely lost track of time, and ended up staying until the last possible minute. It was time to head back to the ferry station or check in otherwise they won’t let you on if you are late!

I took a quick snap of the parliament building as we exited the Empress and ran for the car. White rabbits racing against time. The Canadian flag is at half mast because of the Quebec City mosque shooting, which had occurred just a few days earlier, in case you are wondering. I was.

Arriving back in Vancouver we had quite the drive back to the hotel. It had snowed all day and the roads had not been cleared (I’m not sure if there was even a plan for that) and with many trucks and cars at the ferry terminals and along the 2 lane roads back to the city, it was slow-going and Jess was our valiant driver through this process. Thank the lord for her fwd car! We made it safely back to the hotel a little behind schedule so immediately prepared for dinner and ran out the door to catch a cab.

IMG_5917Dinner at the blue water cafe. If you enjoy seafood, this should definitely make your list.
Blue Water Cafe, Vancouver BC.

Seafood Pyramid at Blue Water Cafe, VancouverWe decided on a seafood tower, with a sushi roll, and I got the chef’s special an octopus dish served with a curry sauce over rice. Paired with a bottle of wine, it was so delicious.

Deserts in Vancouver, Canada 2Everywhere I went they also added a little subtle flare to the desert. It was actually quite nice without the singing and commotion, I like that much better.

Since we had gotten up so early, we made our way back to the hotel and again fell into bed with a harrumph.

The next morning we woke later, ate breakfast at the hotel, and set out to explore Vancouver.

Laughing Statues, VancouverStarting with the laughing statues at English Bay. These guys fit my personality very well.

Laughing Statues, Vancouver Canada 6 Laughing Statues, Vancouver Canada Laughing Statues, Vancouver Canada 2They are having so much fun! I just wanted to join in.

Laughing Statues, Vancouver Canada 4Who laughs like that?! Apparently, Liz does, haha.

Laughing Statues, Vancouver Canada 3We all tried to imitate one of the guys and this is how it turned out. haha.

Vancouver Canada in the snowEnglish Bay is just by Stanely Park, which is where we headed next for a drive around.

DSC03572The Lion’s gate bridge, covered in snow. We found the lookout while driving around Stanley Park and stopped for a photo. There was a professional photographer there taking photos. I’m telling you, this snow thing was a huge deal.

Stanley Park, Vancouver Canada 2Down on the walking path.

Stanley Park, Vancouver CanadaThe city just across the way.

Stanley Park, Vancouver Canada 3 Tea House, Stanley Park Vancouver 8After our photo stops, we headed over to the teahouse for a quick snack, which was so quaint and full of windows. It was the perfect place to get warm after running around snapping photos in the snow.

Tea House, Stanley Park VancouverLove this photo. I bought the sweater I’m wearing the day before on the ferry!

IMG_5980Liz and Jess’s debut photo. Fast friends.

Parallel 49, VancouverThis day has a food theme. After the tea house we drove to the 49th parallel because we wanted to try some gourmet hot chocolate, which was part of the hot chocolate festival, and maybe taste a donut or two. Yummy.

After lunch, we headed into the city to take a look around.

Downtown Vancouver, Opera House, BCSome photos of the city. The opera house in downtown.

Downtown Vancouver, BCOn a walk about.
  Globe at the Convention Center, VancouverInside the convention center, there was a globe and the security guards let us in to take a few photos. This was Jess’s shot with the city buildings in the background. I stole it. They also told us that the Olympic flame would be lit that night at 6pm in honor of the victims from the Mosque shooting. We decided to stick around to see it.

Olympic Torch, Vancouver CanadaThe Olympic flame in downtown Vancouver was lit in honor of the victims as well as a protest for them and the immigration restrictions occurring in the U.S. We joined in for a few minutes and then headed back to the hotel to get ready for dinner.

Formal Night, Classy CasseyLiz’s husband Nic and I share the same Birthday, February 1st (although I’m a year older), what are the odds, and since he is currently deployed in Kuwait we brought him along for our fancy evening out.

Fancy dinner with Nic for our Birthday's!At the West restaurant with the girls and Nic. The dinner was great, champagne delicious, and dessert scrumptious.

Deserts in Vancouver, Canada 3It was after we went to a fancy hotel afterward for drinks that I realized that I wasn’t feeling well in a projectile vomiting sort of way. It totally sucked. Food poisoning. The first time I’ve ever had that on the traveling road. Our evening was cut a bit short and I somehow made it home in the cab and up to the room before I was sick for the third time. Classy Cassey did vomit during her Birthday weekend, and it had nothing to do with the alcohol.

In fact, 16 times in total throughout the night. The plans for our last day were cut short, we took a late checkout at the hotel (thank-you Marriott) and I had Jess drive me to the airport 4 hours early so I could just lay in the airport lounge and catch glimpses of the Super Bowl. When we arrived at the hotel, I walked in the front door of the airport and proceeded to vomit for the 17th time in a garbage can in the middle of the check-in lobby.

High winds in San Fran delayed my flight by 2 hours, and I ended up arriving near midnight and missing my other flight to Monterey by 5 minutes. Feeling so sick, I decided against renting a car and driving to Monterey myself, and the shuttle was already done for the day, which means I was stuck at the airport all night with no food or drink (inside security where everything was closed). Fuck you United for treating people so badly, and not even providing meal vouchers for an over 12 hour wait time.

BUT, THANK-YOU SO MUCH TO THE SAN FRAN USO. You saved my life. I remembered that there was one there and exited security to find it. There were snacks, drinks, a bathroom, and comfy reclining chairs to sleep on in a dark room. I slept on one of those chairs, amongst 10 dudes, all of whom had just joined the military I’m pretty sure. I actually slept relatively well for how sick I had been earlier and when I woke up the next morning to my alarm, pretty much everyone was already gone. I went back through security and got to Monterey around noon, at which point I

I went back through security and got to Monterey around noon, at which point I uber’d home and immediately showered (I FELT SO GROSS) and climbed into bed. Even though the weekend ended this way, I still had a great time. The transition from 20 to 30 was violent and involved a lot of vomit, I guess my 30s can only go up from here. 😉

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