where to stay, eat, & play in vancouver

A little over a week ago, I had the opportunity to visit a city that’s long been on my bucket list, Vancouver, British Columbia. It was a work trip promoting #VisitVancouver and I feel incredibly lucky that blogging allows me to see new places and make new friends along the way. I didn’t know much of what to expect this trip or what the city would be like, which made for a pleasant surprise in so many ways. The weather was glorious, the food was out of this world, and the city as a whole has this vibe that feels modern yet classic…a feeling that stays with you long after you leave. I’m already itching to get back with the boys because I know they’ll absolutely love it.

Accommodations: I had the opportunity to stay the fabulous JW Marriott Parq, which exceeded all expectations. Be sure and ask for a waterfront view, where you can watch the boats cruising around False Creek with the mountains in the distance. I highly recommend paying a little more to use the Executive Lounge, which offers all day snacking, desserts, happy hour, and an incredible breakfast spread. Have the itch to gamble? You’re in luck because while I didn’t take advantage, the Parq boasts a large casino between the two hotels (the Douglas Hotel is there, as well). The location of JW Marriott is excellent as well, as I walked all over the city with fellow bloggers and learned quickly that the Parq is ideal if you don’t plan on renting a car in Vancouver. You’re just a 5 minute walk from the gorgeous seawall, and only a 2 minute walk from the aqua bus dock that will take you over to Granville Island (a MUST do). You’re also walking distance from Gastown and CF Pacific Center, one of the biggest and most fabulous malls I’ve ever stepped foot in. The Nordstrom there is worth the walk alone as it’s one of only nine flagship stores and a shopper’s paradise.

Where to eat: Could ramble about this all day, because I got to try so much delicious food in Vancouver. Since the bloggers I got to spend time with were all Canadian and most local, they knew the best places in the city and we wined and dined our hearts out. A few of my favorites:
honey SALT- Located inside the Parq, this was an obvious choice for convenience but I’d also had so many recommendations to try it. I ordered pancakes and bacon at brunch and they were, no joke, the best pancakes I’ve ever tasted in my life. I’m craving them right now just thinking about it. Also recommend having tea here- such a fun way to spend an afternoon with girlfriends!
Banter Room- Located in the chic and trendy area of the city known as Yaletown, this is the perfect place to grab a tasty post-dinner cocktail and people watch from the patio. If you’re hungry, definitely order the nachos or pulled pork sliders. I’ve also heard brunch here is amazing.
Bella Gelateria- The line here is always way out the door, but it’s definitely worth the wait. A quick 5 minute walk from Gastown, you’ll want to order the Chocolate Belgian Brownie on a waffle cone and can thank me later.
The Sandbar- If you go over to Granville Island (which you totally should! Will share more on that below), request a table on the third story patio. You’ll have surreal views of the city that will take your breath away. Order the BBQ Rib Steak and Truffle Parmesan Fries that melt in your mouth.

What to do: Vancouver has SO many sights to see, it feels like there’s something fun and exciting everywhere you turn. I didn’t even make it up to Whistler, which I’m told is definitely bucket-list material. I feel like I walked all over Vancouver in 3 days and these were my favorite spots:
Walk along the Seawall: Grab brunch at a local restaurant along the Seawall and then take a leisurely stroll down the water’s edge where you’ll find enormous yachts docked, sailboats floating by, women practicing yoga, and some of the best people watching in the city. Grab a chocolate croissant from Giovane Cafe and enjoy a sunny afternoon sitting on the lawn overlooking the harbor.
Granville Island: I’d heard this was a bit touristy, but am so glad we made the boat ride over. For just a few dollars, you can hop on an Aqua Bus and ride down False Creek to Granville Island, one of the city’s most historic places that boasts a huge Farmer’s Market, eateries, and shops. There are also usually free outside shows going on, and the views here are some of the best in the city. The Aqua Buses run until 10:15pm in the summer, and will take you to all the big stops around the city with a day pass. This was one of my favorite ways to get around the city and I’m not usually a water person. Highly recommend!
Steam Clock in Gastown: Gastown charmed my socks off in every way. The brick-lined streets, endless shopping (both chic boutiques and souvenir), and the most famous spot there of all, the Steam Clock. This is a great place to grab dinner and souvenir shop. Eat at one of my all-time favorites, The Old Spaghetti Factory, and walk up W Waterfront Road for stunning views of the mountains surrounded by crystal blue water.
Shop in Yaletown: I could’ve spent all afternoon here and almost did; girlfriends and I shopped at The Cross Decor and Design which is one of the most beautiful stores I’ve ever seen. It’s like Anthopologie on crack, for lack of a better description. I also found myself making a second trip to Karameller after my friend Keisha introduced me to this sugar haven; y’all know I love my candy and this adorable Swedish candy shop had all my sour gummy favorites.
Visit Wander Van Dusen Botanical Gardens: 22 acres of gorgeous gardens await you here, perfect for finding a shady spot to picnic in the summer months. Be sure and bring your camera because the photo opportunities are endless.

There is so much I didn’t get to see or do in Vancouver, which is why I can’t wait to get back. For such a large city, it has a very relaxed, safe, and clean feel. I’ve heard the Science Museum is amazing for kids, and hope to take Bear & Boone one day soon. If you’ve been to Vancouver, what was your favorite part? Would love to hear!
xo, Britt

splashway recap

Last weekend, we headed to one of our very favorite places, Splashway Waterpark and Campground. We went last year with my parents and had so much fun, we couldn’t wait to get back this summer (read a full review here). Bear really wanted to show Zach how he can do the big waterslides by himself, and we couldn’t wait to see Boonester in full force at the Waterpark this year since he was just 5 months old the last time we went. Sure enough, he lived his best life there. Sharing more below!

We arrived Friday afternoon around 1pm and were excited to hear that our cabin was already ready for us. We unloaded our bags and let the boys play for a bit because they both absolutely LOVED our cabin. Bear really thinks we’re “camping out” when we’re at Splashway, even though the cabins are nicer than a lot of hotels. The bed is like a cloud, you have your own kitchen, and can crank up the AC and much as needed on a hot Texas summer day. More like “glamping” and that’s my style.
We changed and headed to the waterpark, where we all did the Lazy River and Boone decided he needed a nap in the tube. We rented a cabana both days which we learned last year was totally worth it. The cabana gave me a private place to nurse Boone and let him nap, keep all of our things locked up in a safe, and order food/drinks at the push of a button. We had a blast before heading back to the campground for s’mores around the fire pit by the pond, a round of putt putt (Bear’s favorite), and watching Lion King on the lawn. I wish I could put into words how unique and special Splashway is; it’s truly like this magical place where I feel safe letting my boys run and play and they love it even more.

We all slept in on Saturday morning before making a donut run and hitting up the waterpark. We stayed in the park from 10:30am to 5pm and I think the boys would’ve never left if it had been up to them. Bear loved jumping over the waves in the wave pool, and there are at least 4 toddler areas that are perfect for Boone’s age. He had fun making little friends and going down the mini baby slides. Mama got a pretty good tan, so everyone was happy. Zach ended up floating around the Lazy River with Boone for almost an hour while he napped in a tube again; we laughed about how the River put him to sleep every time. It is relaxing…I could’ve taken a nap there, too.
Saturday night was probably my favorite part of the trip. We got back to the cabin and just relaxed, had burgers for dinner, and headed over for another round of putt putt per Bear’s request. We had laser tag tickets but Bear enjoyed putt putt so much the night before that we decided to do it again. Toward the end of the round, we heard music coming from over by the pond and looked over to see people had gathered and were listening to live music, some people dancing out on the “dance floor” under a giant oak tree. The sun was setting and turning the sky the prettiest cotton candy shades, and it just felt like such a beautiful moment with my boys. Bear convinced us to buy a net from the Camp Store, so he tried to catch fish and frogs while the sun was setting. We let the boys play on the playground and make some new friends before heading back to the cabin to roast marshmallows and make s’mores. Everyone went to bed with full bellies and full hearts.

We were sad to go on Sunday, but said goodbye to Splashway knowing that we’ll be back as soon as we can. When I shared stories on Instagram, so many of you messaged saying that your family loves Splashway too and plan to go this summer. If you haven’t already gotten your tickets, use code HONEY5 for $5 off here! If you’ve been to Splashway Waterpark and/or the Campground before, I’d love to hear about your experience! Bear couldn’t wait to get home and tell his friends all about it, and made my heart so happy to see how he’ll remember these “adventures” always.
xo, Britt

puerto vallarta recap

A little over a week ago, I jetted off to one of my favorite places in the world, Puerto Vallarta. Being only a short 2 hour & 15 minute flight from Houston, it’s a no-brainer when we locals want a tropical vacation without having to spend a ton of time traveling. I went to Puerto Vallarta exactly two years prior with my friend Shelbi and stayed at The Westin Resort & Spa, and was so excited to have the opportunity to partner with the hotel again this year. The trip came at the perfect time, honestly, because this mama needed a little break. Don’t get me wrong, I love my boys. I live to spend time with them. But with almost 13 months of nursing Boonester throughout the night and never once having a solid night’s sleep in over a year, my body desperately needed a rest. And there’s no better place to get that than The Westin in Puerto Vallarta.
I’m going to explain some of what I did there, why I love PV so much, and all about the hotel in case you’re interested in vacationing to this tropical paradise.

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A big reason why I partnered with The Westin was because the day I arrived there, March 15th, was their “Sleep Well” day. The Westin motto is “Eat well, sleep well, be well” and the hotel prides itself on promoting well-being for each and every guest. “JOMO” was the overall theme of Sleep Well Day, meaning “joy of missing out” instead of the popular “fear of missing out” acronym. This encouraged guests to relax, unwind, and find joy in taking time to rest. This is a mantra I can certainly get behind, and I love that The Westin puts so much focus on health and wellness.
When I arrived Friday evening, there was a big Sleep Well event happening in the lobby area. I got to do an incredible meditation class, meet some of the sweetest local bloggers, reunite with friends from 2 years ago (that have kept in touch all this time!), eat delicious food prepared there at the hotel by one of the chefs, and just chill (something I rarely do anymore!). After the event, the bloggers all headed to dinner at Arrecifes Seafood & Steakhouse, arguably my favorite restaurant ever. In a weak attempt to explain the ambiance to you, the restaurant is settled right on the Pacific, with the waves crashing in beside you, lights of the city glistening on the bay, and shadows of mountains standing tall in the distance. Beautiful acoustic live music fills the air Wednesday-Saturday evenings, and you can often catch a firework show over the ocean right above you. It’s an atmosphere I truly can’t begin to do justice with words, and I haven’t even gotten to the food! More on that later.

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Saturday morning called for room service in bed (The Westin has the most delicious waffles!) followed by a massage at the Spa with another local blogger, Dulce of She Petite Blog. I am being completely honest when I tell y’all that I’ve had the two best massages of my life at the Spa at The Westin in Puerto Vallarta. I know there are other options in the city, but there’s like strolling downstairs at your hotel, getting the most incredible hour-long massage, hitting up the sauna for a bit, and then lounging by the pool the rest of the afternoon. I don’t know where they train these masseuse at The Westin but….they’re so talented at what they do and I left the Spa feeling so calm and recharged.

swimsuit | cover-up | sandals | sunglasses

The pools at The Westin Puerto Vallarta are absolutely out of this world. We’re talking swim-up bar, crystal blue water that’s the perfect refreshing yet not cold temperature, hot tub if that’s your thing, stand-alone beds in the pool for sunbathing, and so much more. I could live there…and basically did for the weekend.

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Saturday evening was spent back at Arrecife Seafood & Steakhouse with my friend Nicole. It was so wonderful getting to know her over the weekend, as we’ve followed each other on Instagram for awhile and already felt we were friends. Dinner that night was amazing- the seafood at Arrecife is so fresh, likely caught day-of, and prepared in the most delicious and beautiful way. I also love the chocolate volcano at Arrecife- it’s a must!

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Easy breezy style for afternoons by the ocean with friends. The Westin is nestled on 16 acres of oceanfront property, so you can imagine all the exploring there is to do while you’re there.

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And in case you’ve explored all 16 acres and want to see more of the city, you’re in luck. The Westin is located conveniently right down the street from the Marina, which is another gorgeous area of PV full of quaint little shops, cutest dining options, and a breathtaking view of boats resting on the water. Most days you can catch a view of an alligator swimming by (saw one over 7 ft. long this trip!) and iguanas sunbathing on the rocks. Definitely worth the walk over and great for souvenir shopping.
Sunday evening consisted of dinner at another one of The Westin’s fine dining establishments, El Palmar. I opted for salmon yet again (it’s just too good there) and had the most mouth watering appetizer of roasted and boiled corn. No secret I “slept well” that night.


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If you’re wanting to venture out a little farther than the Marina and see more of PV, I definitely recommend doing so. The city is stunning everywhere you look, nestled on the bluest bay surrounded by mountains. Take a drive over to Los Arcos and you’ll truly feel like one of the locals, immersed in nature. Don't forget to wear a swimsuit as endless inviting beaches will be calling your name along the way.

swimsuit | sunglasses

I had to spend my last morning soaking up the sun by the pool, and had the place basically to myself. Birds chirping in the distance, sounds of the ocean rolling in behind me, watching ships sail out into the vast blue water. Truly a slice of heaven on earth. My stay was so amazing and I loved meeting new friends, re-uniting with old ones, and getting some much needed R&R. I was ready to return home to my boys and it was so sweet seeing their smiling faces waiting for me at the airport.

I can’t begin to tell you how much I love staying at The Westin Resort and Spa, Puerto Vallarta. While I have worked with them, every word of my review has been honest and I even feel I’ve held back some (if that tells you anything). A question I’ve gotten quite a bit is whether or not the resort is all-inclusive and it is not. But in my opinion, it’s still a great deal. Rooms average around $120 per night and the restaurants are affordable yet world-class, so I feel it’s comparative to what you’d spend at an all-inclusive. I also think it’s important to see some of the city, as Puerto Vallarta is safe and there’s so much to do outside the walls of your hotel. The Westin is located 5 minutes from the airport and can easily send transportation to and from the hotel for your arrival and departure. Just don’t think too much about your departure, as you’ll never want to leave this beautiful place.

To my friends at The Westin Puerto Vallarta, thank you again for another dream vacation. I hope to be back very soon, and next time with the boys!
xo, Britt