Alpine Social – Fairmont Lake Louise

Happy New Year!!!

I can’t believe that a year has gone by already…Can you!? Before diving into this week’s post, I’d like to wish you all a healthy and happy 2018. You only get to live once so enjoy your time and make 2018 count!

This week I would like to talk to you about our dinner at Alpine Social, a restaurant at the Fairmont Lake Louise that you do not want to miss out on if you’re ever travel out that way. In December 2017, we spent two amazing nights at the Fairmont Lake Lousie and enjoyed all of our meals at the hotel. They were fabulous!!!

The hotel offers six restaurants, a deli, in-room service and afternoon tea. The cool thing about Alpine Social is that a friend of Julien’s started working there a few years back and runs both Alpine Social and Poppy Brasserie so of course, we had to pop in and say hi. We probably hadn’t seen Jamie in over 10 years, since Julien last coached his basketball team, so it was nice to catch up and see him in his element. He created the fabulous menu at Alpine Social which is both delicious and decadent.


Unfortunately, when we arrived at the Fairmont Lake Louise, Julien had a full-fledged head cold but we made the best of it. We still went out to dinner, although earlier than planned ;). When we arrived at Alpin, we were so pleased with the atmosphere. It has a cool and laid back feel to it but still very beautiful. It also offers touches of the outdoors with its woodsy winter decor and live trees.

Jamie came to see us, as soon as we were seated, and kindly explained his delicious menu. Knowing that we liked meat, he took charge and suggested a few of dishes he knew we’d enjoy.


Lucky for us, he treated us to the Crispy Pork Ribs which were to die for! Julien is a major rib lover and I think that he’s officially turned me into one as well 😉 these were insane. Crunchy on the outside and super flavourful and tender on the inside. They were served with a delicious coleslaw which paired perfectly with the meat. At the same time, we were served the seared scallops. Check these out. I think they were the best scallops I have EVER eaten:


They were served on a curried cauliflower puree with a bacon jam, crispy leeks (OMG) charred cauliflower and chicharron! AMAZING!

Next were our mains courses: tenderloin and striploin. Each of the main courses are served with a blend of Canadian grains and a choice of two additional sides. Yep, I said two! We choose the sauteed rapini and maple glazed heirloom carrots:

I was never a huge fan of rapini, when I was younger, but I’ve really grown to love it. For those who haven’t tried it yet, it looks a bit like broccoli but it has a bitter taste. Also, the mashed potatoes that accompanied my beef were literally the best I’ve EVER eaten in my entire life and I like to think that we eat well. Jamie, I have no idea how you achieved the flavour and consistency but it was 100% on point. If you read this, please send me the recipe if you’re willing to share ;).

I’d also like to note that our waitress (whose name I, unfortunately, cannot remember) was fabulous. She was super sweet but also very knowledgeable about the menu and the wines offered at the restaurant. We loved her so much that Julien requested to be seated in her area the following evening. Why mess with a great thing, right!

Of course, our evening had to end with dessert. Unfortunately, Julien wasn’t feeling the hottest by the end of the meal so Jamie had dessert sent to our room. We got ready for bed, made some peppermint tea and our dessert arrived just as we got into our comfies. Jamie prepared a beautiful creme brulee for us. I never had a chance to ask him but I believe that it was prepared with quite a bit of lemon which made it unique. I was also surprised to find out, the next evening, that it was a cheesecake creme brulee. Why is this important, well because I HATE cheesecake…of course, Julien loved this 😉 this just shows you how good it was!

Dining at Alpine Social was a unique and tasty experience. The atmosphere, including a live band, was so relaxing and cozy and the food is exquisite. For those of you who are planning on heading to the Fairmont Lake Louise this year, I highly recommend that you stop by Alpine Social and taste some of the beautiful dishes on Jamie’s menu. You won’t regret it.

Have you stayed at the Fairmont Lake Louise? If so, what did you think? Did you have a favourite restaurant?

That’s all for now. Hope you have a fabulous weekend and for those of you who live in Ottawa, stay warm.






Our first two nights in Banff – Rim Rock Resort Hotel

Hi everyone,

I hope you had a VERY merry Christmas with your friends and families and that you were able to relax a but during the holidays.

For those of you who follow me on Instagram at lovelylife.xo, you already know that Julien and I recently traveled to Banff and had a fabulous time. 2017 was both a great and challenging year and after not having traveled just the two of us in a few years, we decided to treat ourselves to a 4 night trip to Banff and it was worth every dollar and minute spent away. Yes, we missed the kids but it was SO nice to spend a chunk of time just the two of us. I’d like to start by saying a big thank you to our parents who kindly agreed to watch the kids while we were away. This trip wouldn’t have been possible with ya and we are so grateful for your help.

This trip was my first time traveling to Banff and I can’t wait to return, espcially with the kids. We had a direct flight to Calgary and then drove to Banff. The drive was stunning. Seeing the Rockies from afar was beautiful but driving towards and through them was quite the experience. Of course, you know that they are enormous but it’s totally different when you’re driving, hiking and/or climbing them.

We spent the first two nights at the Rim Rock Resort Hotel in Banff. Pulling up to the hotel it looked just ok but once we entered, we were really happy with the hotel. Their foyer opens onto a stunning living space with a large fireplace, cozy Christmas decor and floor to ceiling windows looking onto the Rockies. Needless to say, we were impressed from the start. On top of this, the resort’s service was impeccable and the staff were so nice. Our stay was amazing!

After getting our room keys, we made our way to our room which was breathtaking. It was a very large room with a beautiful view which we never grew sick of it. During the two days we were there, we often stood right in front of the windows, gazing in awe at the beauty that was outside.

After digesting the view, we noticed that the hotel had left us a card and chocolate covered strawberries as an anniversary gift. A big thank you to the Rim Rock for this sweet touch. It was greatly appreciated :).

We spent the next two days, relaxing, sleeping, eating, hot tubbing and touring around Banff. The first night we walked through Banff and I was pleasantly surprised by how small it is The town is quaint and the streets are covered in cute stores and restaurants. #love.

Our first dinner was at Saltlik. If you like steak and you’re going to Banff soon, I highly recommend that you eat here! The restaurant has two floors. The first is more laid back and cozy and the second floor has more of a fine dining experience. We were in a cozy mood so we opted for eating on the first floor. It had a beautiful fireplace, cozy booths and was beautifully decorated for Christmas. As for the food, it was delicious!!! Our tuna tartar was by far the best I’ve EVER eaten and it was beautifully presented. How gorgeous is this plate:

As for the steak, Julien ordered the 8oz Chipotle Prime Sirloin and I ordered the hanger steak. They were both delicious but the hanger steak was the best of the two. It was served with a jus and a balsamic sauce. Both paired extremely well with the meat. #delicious!


After dinner, we were full and exhausted from our travel day so we took the local bus up to our hotel and crashed early.

We spent the next day exploring Banff. We hiked from our hotel to the Fairmont and took in some of the hotel’s history and architecture. What a beautiful hotel.

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We then hiked into a Banff and stopped at Bear Street Tavern for lunch. We were seated about 10 minutes before their lunch rush and what a rush it was. This restaurant was packed with people and it’s obviously because they offer amazing pizzas. I ordered the Viva La Pizza and Julien had their special. Good news fellow GF eaters, their GF pizza was the best I’ve ever had at a restaurant. It may be because it was covered in delicious toppings and then dipped in their house-made garlic chili oil mixed with honey (YES, this sauce was UNREAL). Either way, I loved it! For those who know me, pizza is by far one of my favourite foods so it was nice to enjoy a GF pizza with a delicious crust.

When we left the restaurant, it was snowing lightly which was both beautiful and romantic. We spent the rest of our afternoon in the hot tub and resting after our day spent outdoors. We didn’t even leave the hotel for dinner. We decided to stay in and try Eden, the hotel’s five-diamond restaurant. Unfortunately, we didn’t love our experience at Eden. Although the service was good, the food was just ok. The meals we had eaten in town were much better. The dishes were beautifully presented though. Here are a few pics of some of the courses:

Overall, our experience at the Rim Rock hotel was fabulous. So much so that we missed it once we checked in at the Fairmont Lake Louise. Our hotel room was awesome, the views were stunning and the service was fabulous. They even went above and beyond and gave me bear spray for our hike since I have an irrational fear of bears 😉 silly, I know lol.

The next day, we checked out of the Rim Rock hotel as we were heading to the Fairmont Lake Louise for the last two nights. Before heading there though, we took the Banff gondola up Sulphur Mountain. Julien had already experienced this and said that it was an absolute must and he was right! The tickets cost about $100 and they were totally worth it. We spent over two hours walking along the ridgetop boardwalk and checking out the exhibits.

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We also enjoyed a well-deserved soup at Sky Bistro, a restaurant at the top of Sulphur Mountain, which offered affordable and hearty dishes with a view.

Guys, this trip was amazing! Every day brought new and exciting meals, views and experiences but, most importantly, it was very relaxing and so much fun to experience just the two of us. This trip was exactly what I was looking for as I was able to recharge. It was also an awesome way to kick start the holiday season.

Banff is by far one of the most beautiful places I’ve traveled to yet. Have you been? If so, what was your favourite part of your trip? and what would you recommend that we try next time?

As previously mentioned, our last two nights were spent at the Fairmont Lake Louise. Make sure to stop by the blog next Friday to see what we got up to there.

Hope you have a fabulous weekend!




Bananaquit House, St.Lucia

In February, my husband and I along with our daughter went on a group trip, with 8 other friends, to the Bananaquit House in St. Lucia. You are probably wondering why our son didn’t come. Well, when the trip was originally booked it was supposed to be a kids free trip but knowing that we were expecting we couldn’t agree to go unless we brought baby girl along. Lucky for us, we have amazing friends and they all agreed to let us bring our 6-month-old (thank you guys xo). Don’t worry though. Our son was happy to spend the week with his Mimi and Papi (my in-laws) and have them all to himself.

I am usually much more humble than this but I think that we stayed in the most breathtaking accommodations with the most spectacular view of the island’s pitons. The Bananaquit House was the very definition of luxury. We owe our stay/accommodations to our friends George and Chelsea who, once again, made this trip possible for the group. The villa had 7 bedrooms, a panoramic view of the ocean and pitons, 4 full-time staff, and a 36-foot infinity pool. It was heaven on earth.

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At the time of our departure, my mom was still in the hospital since she had just had her debulking surgery (following her ovarian cancer diagnosis). I was going to cancel the trip but she and urged me to go, get some rest (since I had been spending my days with the kids and evenings/nights at the hospital) and come back re-energized and ready to tackle the rest of her recovery/treatments. My gut was telling me to stay but I listened to mom and, before leaving, made sure that there were flights home available while we were there just in case I needed to return home. The good news is that I was able to speak with mom daily, which eased my guilt about being away, and that she did ok while I was gone. Luckily she had my sister with her and she took amazing care of her.

So, we packed our things last minute, boarded the flight to St. Lucia and I’m happy that we did. Before leaving I was SO overwhelmed with fear, sadness, and anxiety. I literally felt as though I couldn’t breathe. People often talk about feeling anxious but I could never relate. Until now. I was running between home and the hospital and felt guilty when I wasn’t at one or the other and trying to understand and cope with mom’s diagnosis. I was literally working on fumes. This trip allowed me to slow down, breathe and return home better equipped to tackle the road ahead.

Looking back at the trip, I think that St. Lucia may be one of the most beautiful spots that I will ever see in my life. We spent a week in our beautiful villa and the staff were incredible! The women that worked there were unbelievably kind and made the most amazing meals. We happened to have been there on Valentine’s Day and they made a special meal for those of us who didn’t go out for dinner. They also made us awesome snacks for us when we had beach days. Their crab cakes were insane!

Our days were spent enjoying the beautiful views that our villa had to offer, going on walks, eating good food, sipping on cocktails and relaxing.


Some other highlights of the trip are as follow:

  1. The “famous” Anse Chastenet beach: was about a 20-minute walk from our villa so we visited it on a few occasions. The walk to the beach was hilly but fun 🙂 and the beach was breathtaking and well worth the walk. There happened to be a fabulous restaurant on the beach that made the best hamburgers I have EVER eaten in my 32 years of existence. I believe the restaurant is owned by the Jade Mountain hotel. If you ever go to this beach, “you gotta eat here.”
  2. Jalousie beach: was is insane. We took a boat over to this beach and spent the afternoon and it was 100% worth it. The views were breath-taking and almost unbelievable. I am so grateful to have been able to spend just a few hours here. The beach was white as white (although we later found out that the sand is shipped in) and the water couldn’t have been clearer. There were a few stunning sailboats that were docked and it was a relatively quiet beach. It is also the location of the famous Sugar Beach resort. Once we arrived, we parked ourselves on the beach, enjoyed a couple cocktails and sucked in the views while we could.
  3. Dashene restaurant and bar: there were two dinners planned outside of the villa. I wasn’t able to make one of them, however, my daughter and I were able to make the first night out to the Dashene restaurant. The restaurant was part of the Ladera resort, a luxury resort in Soufriere, located on a volcano ridgeline which is also a UNESCO world heritage site. The evening views of the pitons were once again stunning. From what I understand, the restaurant’s chef used local ingredients to prepare his meals and his dishes were to die for. I highly recommend this restaurant if you’re looking to eat out while in Soufriere, Dashene is a must.

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Overall, this trip was stunning and exceptionally planned by our friends. A HUGE thank you to them for this trip and for making it possible for all of us. For those thinking about traveling to St. Lucia I say “just do it.” You only get to live once so take advantage of the opportunities that arise.

Bon voyage!


Ash xo

Madeira Beach, Florida

This past spring, we took our first family trip. We rented our friend’s condo in Madeira Beach, Florida and had an awesome time. I think that the kids were at a perfect age for this kind of trip. Our son was almost 3.5 and our daughter almost 8 months old. Lucky for us, my lovely in-laws (Mami and Papi) joined us for the first week and flew down with us as well. I have to say that before leaving I was nervous about how our son was going to behave at the airport and how the flight was going to go with both kids. The good news is that they surprised us both and did very well. I don’t know about you but I sometimes worry about what “could” happen before something even happens. It is as though I am always trying to prepare for the worst case scenario but 9 times of out 10 the kids surprise me and I don’t have to. I guess this is something I have to work on ;).

As a kid, I had never been to Florida and grew up never really having a desire to go until our friends brought us down for a week over four years ago. After that first trip to Madeira (pre-kids), we were hooked. Madeira Beach sucked us into its beautiful weather and beaches. It is also just a short flight away from Ottawa which makes it even more appealing with two little ones.

We spent the two weeks exploring the area around our condo. Each day, after breakfast, we would pack our things and spend our entire mornings by the beach and our afternoons by the pool. Beach time was amazing. We literally spent hours playing in the ocean and sand. I don’t think that there is anything better for the soul than plain old playing and laughter. We built castles, buried our son (as per his request of course ;)), ate picnics on the beach and swam for hours. By the end of the morning, we were all covered in sand and literally had it everywhere. It was amazing!

This trip also allowed us to break free of our regular routines. By routines I mean meal routines, nap routines, outings etc. Rather than having our daughter nap in her crib in the mornings, and being stuck in the condo, she napped on the beach in her stroller. If she didn’t fall asleep, it was ok. She just ended up sleeping more in the afternoon. Also, half of our meals and snacks were on the go, by the beach or by the pool. We also took the kids out to a few restaurants for lunch and once for dinner. Ok. I need to be honest here. The lunches were great but we had to pack up a dinner and rush the kids home one evening. It wasn’t their faults though. I think we were getting too used to our new go with the flow lifestyle and thought that a dinner reservation at 630pm would turn out ok. Well, things didn’t end disastrously but the kids weren’t too interested and that was ok. We tried giving our son his iPad and our daughter all the toys in the world to play with but they were spent. In the end, we ended up taking our food home, put the kids down and enjoyed our French meal by candlelight at the condo.

One of the most memorable days of this trip was when one of our condo neighbours, D and J took us out on their boat. They have two young kids as well which was great for ours. I have to say that they were incredibly kind and generous. They took time out of their weekend to bring us to a breathtaking sandbar close to John’s Pass and I mean breathtaking. It was one of the coolest things I had ever done. I couldn’t believe that there were so many people at the sand bar and how organised and prepared everyone was. People brought volleyball nets, floating tables for food and drinks, their dogs, chairs etc. We spent the afternoon at the sandbar listening to music, watching the kids have a blast, people watching and just taking in the amazing view that the sandbar had to offer.

Some of my other favourite things about this trip are as follows:

  • Seeing the kids so happy
  • Playing
  • Watching our son fill his buckets with sand and water for hours
  • Afternoon naps (these were fabulous and I didn’t feel guilty about them because I wasn’t home and didn’t feel compelled to keep busy)
  • Touring around with the kids
  • Enjoying relaxing evenings with Julien and some bubbly 😉
  • Going with the flow
  • Watching our daughter become more mobile – she started dragging herself around during this trip
  • Beach yoga (this was the specific moment I fell in love with yoga)

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Overall, this was an amazing trip. After spending two weeks on holiday, we were relaxed and ready to return home to enjoy spring in Ottawa. For those who haven’t been and who are considering going, I highly recommend a family trip to Madeira Beach, Florida.

Ash xo

Do you have any favourite spots in Florida? If so, I would love to hear about them!