I was invited to attend and cover the 2016 Annual Jasper Park Lodge PJ Party, and before it started things just weren’t going my way… I would be flying solo which was scary as heck and totally out of my comfort zone, and then we had been fighting a stomach bug in our house all week… 2:00 am the day I was scheduled to leave, Cordelia started throwing up. I was just about to send a cancellation email when my amazing husband told me he was leaving work early and that I had to go – so off I went!
When I arrived at the beautiful Jasper Park Lodge I realized that I had forgotten to pack the most important thing… Pajamas! Thankfully, Cloud Nine set up a pop-up shop at the hotel so I was able to get what are seriously the most comfortable pajamas I’ve ever worn, as well as slippers – equally comfortable!
Once I was all settled in and changed, it was off to the party! There was a candy table, delicious cocktails, snacks, and a screen set up for the video dance which was to start later in the evening. I asked a table of ladies if I could sit with them and thankfully they agreed – they were so much fun! We laughed, we drank, we danced… it was amazing!
On Saturday I woke up to a beautiful sunny day, and some deer right outside my door! After a quick breakfast it was off to the scheduled sessions. We had four slots to choose from on Saturday, and one on Sunday. The first session I went to was a hair class hosted by the lovely ladies from The Beauty Parlour here in Edmonton. It’s not a salon I was familiar with, but one I will definitely check out! They use all organic hair products and did a wonderful job showing us two different easy-to-do hairstyles.
Next it was off to Hoop Class hosted by Infinity Hoopdance, which two of my new friends had convinced me to join in on. What a blast! We were laughing and having a fantastic time doing everything but successfully hula hooping. After 30 minutes of struggling… I did it – I hooped for a minute at least! Honestly I think I’m still feeling it…
After all that it was time for a delicious lunch (carrot & ginger soup with pesto and what I think was salmon and beluga lentils), and then we were off to learn more!
My first afternoon session was Kitchen Party with Julie Van Rosendaal. I had heard she was funny, but that was an understatement. In between hilarious anecdotes she showed us how to make Boozy Baileys & Bourbon Brownie Shooters and Baby Pavlova with Lemon Curd. I tried very hard to get a picture of her at work but she could sense the camera haha.
After indulging in those delicious desserts it was off to Florals with Marna – she has been the Head Gardener at the Jasper Park Lodge for 25 years! She walked us through making a terrarium step-by-step and it was so much easier than I expected. I love my little tropical paradise!
Stacey Brotzel (our host for the weekend) had mentioned at lunch that Hillberg & Berk were one of the sponsors this year, and that a gift would be waiting for all of us when we got back to our rooms… I don’t think anyone expected these beautiful sparkle-ball earrings! Of course I just had to wear them to the gala that evening, most of us did. (“Nice earrings!” “You too!!” was heard frequently!)
Next was dinner… salad, then chicken on a bed on the most delicious mashed potatoes I’ve ever had, and dessert which I forgot to take a picture of… honestly it looked so good I started eating it before I even thought to take a picture… it was like a tart with chocolate in it… so tasty.
After dinner, the main event… Chantal Kreviazuk. If you don’t know who she is, click here. After telling us that we should move our chairs right next to the stage (which I did quickly, and managed to snag a front row seat!), she spoke about motherhood, meeting her husband, the differences between men and women, and her experience in the entertainment industry. And then she sang… she has the voice of an angel and makes both the piano and singing look effortless. She told us about the meaning behind Surrounded, and that she wrote it after a friend who had committed suicide. (Not a dry eye in the lodge after that song.) Then things lightened up with an impromptu performance of Satisfaction by the Rolling Stones and Janis Joplin’s Piece of my Heart. She performed a new song that will be on her album released in June, and closed of course with Leaving on a Jet Plane. Not only was I lucky enough to be in the front row, she came and gave a few of us a hug! After her performance, she was available for a bit for photo opportunities… I missed it, but the memories will always be there!
Counterfitz, an amazing live band, took the stage after Chantal was done… I was so exhausted I skipped out on Karaoke and went to bed!
Sunday I told myself I was going to sleep in – I didn’t even set my alarm – so I was surprised when I woke up at 7:30. Then I remembered that the Spring-up Your Home session with Cory Christopher was starting at 10, and I instantly got up and got ready. He gave us some great tips… like filling a planter halfway with large bubble wrap or packing peanuts to save on soil, and using sheet moss to protect the roots of hanging plants. He made two beautiful wreaths, one with an old bike rim and the other with a garden hose. He also showed us how to put together a very simple coffee table vignette and a couple of terrariums from his new collection that will be coming out soon.
With a 45 minute break between the final session and brunch, it was time to take in the surroundings… the breeze was cold but the sun was warm, and that view was worth it!
Brunch was amazing… caesar salad, pasta, sausages, eggs benedict, pancakes… it had everything. There was even a caesar bar – but because drinks were included in the event all weekend, the last thing on my mind was alcohol and I stuck with the citrus infused water. During brunch they announced the winners of the silent auction – $3000 was raised for the Stollery Foundation – and the door prizes. After that it was time to say ‘See you next year!’.
I took my time leaving Jasper, stopping multiple times to take pictures… and then there was a bit of a traffic jam! A billy darted out right in front of me and then the mama and baby wandered down the road for a while.
I had such an amazing time at the Jasper Park Lodge PJ Party and I can’t thank them enough for inviting me to attend. 200 women all gathered together to lift each other up, have a great time and enjoy each other’s company… I’ve never experienced anything like it! If you were there, I’d love to hear what you thought… and if you weren’t… what the heck! You’re going next year right? I sure am!