Lifestyle

Alaskan Cruise

The Alaska Guide

Hey, Y'all! I hope everyone had a wonderful Fourth of July weekend and everyone is getting back into the grind this Monday! I am definitely adjusting to the time zone changes we went through and the whole more-than-four-hours-of-night time-thing! (Alaska had about 20 hours of daylight!). 

Just a heads up, this post is filled with pictures so I hope you're ready for a longer-ish post. Kollin and I were so excited for this trip since we both love the Pacific Northwest and all that Alaska had to offer! We started out boarding the ship in Seattle and left port in the afternoon.  

We had a full day of sailing all the way to Juneau, Alaska, but the views on the way there did not disappoint! Once we arrived in Juneau, we had our first excursion of whale watching. It was cold and rainy that day, but it made for some pretty ominous and epic pictures! We boarded a smaller boat and made our way to a lodge for a salmon bake prior to whale watching. After a delicious lunch, we hopped back on the boat and set out to find some whales. We saw about 5 humpback whales and it was so neat to be as close as we were to them! I think the whale watching excursion is great, but you will definitely see a ton of whales while on the cruise ship so keep that in mind if you are looking to do something else!

Following whale watching in Juneau, we boarded the ship and made our way to Skagway, Alaska (my favorite part of the trip!). Our day in Skagway consisted of taking a coach bus to the top of a mountain and boarding a train to take back down the mountain. This was by far the best day for visibility, as you can see in the pictures! We stopped several times during the bus ride up the mountain for some breathtaking views and then boarded the train to head back down. 

Over the next two hours, we cruised rode down the mountain and saw such breathtaking, amazing imagery. I wish we could've stayed in Skagway for a few more days, it was the cutest town and area! *Fun Fact* Skagway was rushed upon by miners in the late 1890s on the hunt for gold. With thousands of miners traveling to the area, it quickly became the hub for gold miners looking to strike it rich. However, this was because Skagway was the closest town to the gold fields, a difficult 600 miles away. Thousands of men and horses died on the passage from avalanches, illness, murder and hunger. This difficult journey was mostly unsuccessful for the majority of the travelers because the mines had been dug by so many that by the time they reached to field, the gold was gone.

The Alaska Guide _ Skagway

Jacket - old (Similar) | Boots 

After Skagway, we sailed on to Tracy Arm Fjords and Glacier and began to venture into icy waters, literally! Unfortunately, because of the ice we were not able to see the glacier and bypassed that part of the trip to continue onto the Canadian portion of the cruise.

During the sailing day between Skagway and Victoria, British Columbia, we celebrated the Fourth of July on the ship with a "street" party in the promenade and a festive dinner. This day was actually really beautiful with sunshine and warmer weather!

Sunglasses (use code "NewShades4You" for 10% off!) | Jacket | Shoes 

Our last stop on the cruise was Victoria, British Columbia. This was the best weather of the trip, sunny and a high of 80 was a great change of pace! We docked and jumped on a bus to go explore Victoria. We stopped at several shops and gathered some mementos, Canadian favorites (maple syrup) and some unique artwork to take home. It was the perfect ending to the trip before we headed back to Seattle. With gorgeous scenery, whales, delicious food and incredible memories, this trip is one we will never forget! Kollin is already asking to go back! lol

What I packed:

  • Jeans (several pairs)
  • Leggings / Yoga pants
  • Jean jacket, army green jacket, cold weather jacket, rain jacket
  • Sweaters
  • Baseball hat, would highly recommend a beanie as well for colder days!
  • Two dresses for dinner (one formal)
  • One pair of heels, flip flops, boots, tennis shoes
  • Tank tops for layering under cardigans
  • Sweatshirt or pullover for excursion days to layer under jackets (lived in this one!)

Thank you so much for stopping by & reading! 

We're Engaged!

Photography: Misty Winter

Even writing that title is so unbelievable to me! As I am writing this I can't help but stare at my ring and feel so crazy about this past weekend! Our proposal was featured on How He Asked but I couldn't wait to share the story with all of you from my perspective! 

Saturday, June 3rd, started out like any other Saturday morning. We got up, made breakfast and just hung out for a bit watching the news before I was heading out for a massage that Kollin got me for my birthday that was on May 31st. 

Since my birthday was in the middle of the week, Kollin told me that we would be celebrating with my family the following weekend with dinner in the city. I woke up on my birthday and he gave me my certificate for the massage and said I would get the rest of my presents when we celebrated Saturday. 

I go to my massage and start heading back to the apartment (across the street) to eat some lunch and hang out before we had to leave for dinner. I get off the elevator and go to open the door only to see that it is locked. I found this weird because Kollin told me he would see me after. I unlock the door and as soon as I walk in I see rose petals covering the hallway all the way to our bedroom. 

I follow them into our bedroom and find two envelopes on the bed marked #1 and #2. I open the first letter to find a note from Kollin explaining what was going on - I was going on a scavenger hunt. Clue one said I would need to head up North back to where our Chicago journey began, our first apartment.

The rest of the letter said I needed to leave at 2:30 so I would make the dinner reservation by 4. My massage ran late and I only had about 20 minutes to get ready! I had gone shopping the night before for a birthday outfit and thankfully had everything in mind of what I wanted to wear! I scrambled to get ready trying not to cry from the realization of what was happening and ordered an Uber to take me to the first spot. 

I arrived at our first apartment and walked inside to find our favorite doorman standing with my cousin, Kate. We hugged, laughed and reminisced about living in the building and what had changed. Kate handed me clue two and it described a bridge near the zoo with a fantastic view of the city. I immediately knew the place as it was one of the first places we visited on move-in day. We jumped in the car and headed to Lincoln Park. 

We arrived at the bridge and I made my way through the several bridal parties there taking photos (it was perfect weather and so many people were out). At this point, I knew I should be looking for someone, but didn't know who it would be or where on the bridge they'd be standing. As I got closer, I saw my sister, Ashley, standing in the middle of the bridge holding clue three. We hugged and read clue three together after taking some pictures (the view is too good not to!). Clue three described a place not too far from the bridge that was very special to us and contained beautiful flowers. I immediately knew, the Lincoln Park Conservatory.  I was hoping this destination would be on the scavenger hunt, as Kollin and I loved coming here to escape the city and just enjoy some alone time.

Ashley and I walk into the conservatory to go to the orchid room where clue four was tapped to the back of a bench. We get to the room where he said the envelope was and start looking behind benches (there were four!). We found the envelope and inside was a penny taped to the letter. Kollin said to take the penny and make a wish in the pond I was next to and the next surprise would appear (I totally wished to get engaged!). 

I threw the penny into the pond, made a wish and turned around to find Kollin walking through the door. He came over to me, grabbed my hands, said the sweetest words and asked me to marry him and spend our lives together. 

After a few moments I realized there was a photographer standing by the door capturing the entire moment. After the proposal Kollin said we were going on an engagement shoot before heading to dinner. We went back to the bridge I was at earlier and then headed back to the apartment to take some pictures at our new home on the terrace with the skyline. 

We headed up to our apartment to wait for the photographer to arrive and I FaceTimed my best friend, Lindsey. I wanted to call everyone, but my sister said the photographer was here so I'd have to wait since the photographer was on a time crunch. We head downstairs to go to the patio and Kollin says, "I have one more surprise for you!" In my mind, I thought it was that Lindsey was in town and joining us for dinner. We walked across the patio, up the stairs and down a hallway (I had no idea where we were going!). Kollin opened a door and then this happened:

So many of our closest friends and family were there to celebrate us, several driving up from Kentucky! We spent the rest of the night having dinner, drinking champagne and catching up withe everyone. To say the least, it was the best day of my life and we both felt so incredibly loved! 

I later found out that Kollin had been planning all of this for six months! An entire Facebook page, tons of messages and a lot of sneaking around! I had no clue that starting from the night before people were coming into town trying to avoid being seen by me! Kollin had a schedule of where I would be and what would be happening by the hour (I only went off schedule once after work Friday to go shopping so you could say I'm predictable! lol). Everything went off perfectly and we had such a memorable and special weekend with everyone! I cannot wait to marry my soul mate! Thank you so much for reading, I can't wait to share wedding details and planning with y'all!