Contiki Holidays VIP Euro Bash

Last night I attended the Contiki Holidays VIP Euro Bash at V Lounge in Yaletown. What. A. Party! And I’m not just saying that because one of my best girlfriends, Sheralyn, was a huge factor in making it the success that it was. (And she did happen to be the one that invited me!) Contiki doesn’t mess around when they throw a party.

The lovely host, Sheralyn
Sheralyn, the lovely hostess for the evening. The girl can rock a red dress like it’s nobody’s business!

Table decorations

Greek God at the Contiki VIP Euro Bash

Everything from a custom cocktail list, a VIP section sponsored by the Spanish Tourism Board, tasty hors d’oeuvres (duck confit – wow, yum!), music by DJ Zu of ZUZU Productions, to a cabaret show by NY Jazz Company dancers, contributed to one impressive and memorable party to celebrate Contiki and their longtime supporters. And to top it all off, we were treated to an amazing performance by Canadian singer/songwriter Keshia Chanté. More photos can be viewed on Flickr here.

Drink Menu

Spanish Tourism Board VIP section

DJ Zu

Cabaret dancers

Contiki Holidays is in the process of re-branding itself to appeal more to their target market, which is 18-35 year olds. This party showcased some of that re-branding with a Euro and Burlesque theme. The photos can’t quite capture just how risqué the cabaret dancers were, saucily stripping down to their teeny tiny birthday suits. I applaud these girls!

Cabaret dancers

Cabaret dancers

Cabaret dancers

Part of this re-branding also includes Contiki launching their “Have You Done It?” campaign with a cheeky video spot that some of you may have seen online. Here’s the teaser that brings you to the website. And here’s the kicker:

Not your typical adventure travel company, eh?

The highlight of the evening, though, was definitely seeing Keshia Chanté perform. What a big sound coming from that tiny frame! I thought the windows of V Lounge might shatter from the force of her powerful voice. She sang about half a dozen songs, finishing off with her new single, “Set You Free,” which starts airing on the radio next week. This was only the second time she’s performed it live – the first time being at the Contiki Bash in Toronto last week. She even happened to name-drop Contiki in the song! That’s a PR dream come true. I smell a collaboration with Contiki & Keshia in the near future, no?

Keshia Chanté

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Keshia Chanté

Keshia Chanté

It’s always nice seeing some familiar faces at these kinds of events, and even making a few new friends, too!

Eric + Sheralyn

Earls Girls: Kate & Amanda

Flight Centre folks

Flight Centre folks

Sheralyn + Chris

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Oh yes, I can’t forget the swag bag I was given as I walked out the door. The Lady Dutch purse hook – you know that baby is going to go to good use!

Contiki swag bag

So Contiki… you can definitely feel free to invite me to more of your parties. Brad mentioned something about an anniversary party later on this year… yeah. Ok? Thanks.

Keshia with the Contiki crew
Keshia posing with the Contiki Holidays crew.

~

Happy Mother’s Day, Momsie

In honour of Mother’s day, I wanted to share some of my favourite moments I’ve had with my Mom.

This photo was taken in October of 2006, when my mother and I went on a backpacking trip through France and Italy. I still can’t believe she went backpacking, and neither can my Dad.

Above, we were sitting at a little restaurant on the ocean in Riomaggiore, Italy, which is part of the Cinque Terre (the five villages). These five little towns are all connected by a little trail, and there are very few, if any at all, vehicles in the towns. It’s one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. We sat there and had the most wonderful meal, and drank Prosecco (I’m pretty sure I got my Mom to love it just as much as I do), staring at this beautiful view.

The next day, we hiked the Cinque Terre trail through the five villages, jumped into the ocean to celebrate, and then took a little ferry from the last village, Monterosso, back to Riomaggiore, where we were staying. We traveled to Venice, Florence, Rome, Nice, Antibes, Cannes, Monaco, Eze, and Ville Franche sur Mer as well.

So many times, I’ve wished I could go back to this moment. Oh, how I love the Mediterranean! It was the best Mother/Daughter bonding trip you could ever ask for. I would do it again in a heartbeat, Mom. Just tell me when.

Photo credit: Jordan Behan

Another one of my favourite moments was just this year. My Mom had the opportunity to carry the Olympic Torch through our hometown of Powell River, BC for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. When I watch the video that Jordan made of that early morning on Nootka Street, I still tear up, and I think I will continue to do so, every time I watch it. I am so happy I was there to witness your glorious moment in person, along with the rest of the Behan mafia. We were so proud of you, Mom! You are world class.

This Mother’s Day, we are running the Sun Run together, along with our favourite mother/daughter team, Leslie and Danica. We’ve been running the Sun Run as a foursome for the past few years, and I hope we will continue to do so for many years to come. On Thursday, May 6th, the four of us were featured in an article in the Vancouver Sun for this very reason. I am going to make a conscious effort to get a great group photo of us this year, because clearly we don’t have enough!

Ha ha. Circa 2005?

Happy Mothers Day, Momsie.

Love Big J
xoxo

The most beautiful Las Vegas Wedding

Photo credit: Cashman Pro Photography
Photo credit: Cashman Pro Photography

Just recently, I was fortunate enough to be a bridesmaid in the most amazing wedding I have ever experienced. My best friend, Jerra Pexton, married the love of her life, Dale Lupul, on Sunday, June 7, 2009, in a beautiful ceremony held at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Many of the guests were there for a few days arriving on June 5th or 6th, and departing on June 8th or 9th, so they had a chance to experience Las Vegas and all of its glitz and glamour.

Las Vegas experienced a small cold front while we were there – but a cold front in June in Las Vegas still means 25 degrees celsius! The only day where we really felt the heat was Sunday, on the day of the wedding (of course).

IMGP3138The tears were flowing as soon as us girls saw Jerra in her wedding dress. She looked so gorgeous! Then, to see her father walk her down the aisle… he was unbelievably proud of her, and didn’t hesitate to tell anyone who would listen! She walked up an aisle covered in pink rose petals to the sound of a violin, surrounded by palm trees, and her and Dale said their vows in front of a waterfall. Not exactly how you pictured a Vegas wedding, is it?

After the ceremony, the newly wed couple and the wedding party posed for pictures, and then took a limo trip to take photos in front of the Las Vegas sign. The reception afterward was a poolside cocktail party at Treasure Island. It was a very nontraditional wedding, filled with so many amazing moments, great new friends, and a reaffirmation in my belief that true love actually exists.

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Photo credit: Cashman Pro Photography
Photo credit: Cashman Pro Photography

Jerra and Dale, I truly wish you a “happily ever after” together, with a marriage full of love, and many offspring!! Thank you so much for letting me share your beautiful wedding day with you!

xo

**UPDATE: One thing I forgot to mention in this post – do you see that gorgeous dress? It was made by her VERY talented mother, Cathy Spreeuw. Also, a full set of photos are available to view here.**

Here is the video I made for Jerra and Dale, that includes the speeches from the Maid of Honour and Best Man at the reception. Please note: It is very long, but I made it for them, not for you. Enjoy!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

The Kidnapped Bachelorette

May long weekend, I went on what was by far, the best bachelorette party ever. It will not be topped in this lifetime, I guarantee it.

My good friend Liz is getting married on July 11, 2009, in our hometown of Powell River, BC. Her sister Deanna, and her mother Nancy (whom I’ve known forever), had been planning her bachelorette weekend for months, and I felt honoured just to be involved. They wanted to take her on a trip somewhere, because when Deanna got married, Liz and her Mom whisked her off to Las Vegas for the weekend, and also didn’t tell her where she was going! Well, we followed the same theme here.

On Wednesday night, after a run with Liz, and a rained out beach volleyball game (and also an impromptu beer with our volleyball team that I couldn’t get out of!), I ran home to shower and change to get ready for Liz’ mom to come pick me up. She arrived from Powell River at around 8:00pm, before I even got out of the shower! I quickly grabbed my suitcase and we were on the road out to White Rock to surprise Liz. We had filled in her fiance, Chris, only a few days prior – because we didn’t think he could keep that big of a secret for so long! We called Chris when we arrived, and he let us into their apartment. Nancy walked in first, then me with a camera in my hand shooting video, and then there was Chris bringing up the rear. Liz had no idea what hit her. “What are YOU doing here?” she asked her Mom. “And what are you doing here all showered up?” she says to me. (I had only left her at the pub less than an hour ago.) Nancy just said casually, “I need someone to drive me to Seattle.”

“Yeah right,” she scoffed. We were serious. Nancy came down in her car and was going to make Liz drive. We told her to pull out her suitcase and passport, and start packing. We tell her that shorts, tank tops and bikinis should suffice. “Hmmm… it’s not that warm in Seattle!” Liz shouts, rather excitedly.

“Well, we might be catching a plane from Seattle tomorrow morning,” I tell her. She’s suspicious, but she’s happier than can be, because we told her to pack her bathing suit. There were some lame excuses about working the next day, but nope, Nancy had that covered weeks ago. It was a “bulletproof plan,” as Chris called it.

Before we knew it, we were in the car and cruising past the U.S. border. Even the border official obliged to our little game. He asked where we were going, and we said Seattle…. “Seattle is just the beginning”, Nancy told him. He didn’t seem to mind. He jokingly asked if we had any toys or strange things in the suitcases. Nope, and we were on our way!

After a very close flight connection and sprinting through the Phoenix airport, we endured our flights and arrived in Fort Lauderdale, Florida late in the evening. We are greeted by two screaming girls in a minivan – Liz’ sister Deanna who lives in Winnipeg, and her friend Christie who she played hockey with in College, and now lives in Sacramento, California. We arrived at the house, and Seanna, another friend and former teammate from College, arrived shortly after. She had already been in Lauderdale for a few days. She also used to live with Liz back when she was doing her teaching practicum in Fort Lauderdale, and back when I was working on boats and crashing at their place on the weekends I was in town. The next day, we picked up Jenny from the airport, another Powell Riverite, who was arriving from Toronto, and our crew was finally complete.

The weather wasn’t the best on Friday, there were rain showers on and off all day, so we spent most of it shopping. Later, it cleared up beautifully, and we cooked an amazing dinner at our pimpin’ house that we rented right on the intercoastal. If you’ve never been to South Florida before, they have these intercoastal waterways that weave throughout most of the area almost like streets. Residents who live on the waterway can dock their boat in their backyard. It’s a pretty sweet set-up. You can also catch water taxis on them that take you downtown and to other popular areas.

Saturday was the best day ever. We drove 2 hours south of Fort Lauderdale to Islamorada, in the Florida Keys, and we rented a boat. We were a little worried, as it started raining on our way down there, but the sun gods pulled through for a gorgeous sunny day in the Keys. We anchored our boat, along with about 50 others, on a sand bar in the middle of the ocean, where the water was only about waist deep. We drank beers, played frisbee, made some new friends, and had a football game in the water. It was pure awesomeness. The only minor setback – sunburns for everyone – but still the greatest day ever.

That night we dressed Liz up (nobody knows us, right?), went out for dinner, and then out on the town on Las Olas Boulevard in downtown Lauderdale. Vancouver really needs to follow Fort Lauderdale’s lead and just have all the bars open, with no cover, and no line up. Only at the really big clubs down there do you have to wait in line and pay cover. And even then, the club is at least worth the cover charge. There will be about 4 different rooms, with 4 different DJ’s playing all different kinds of music. We stuck to the main strip though, and just bar hopped, which was much more fun.

Sunday Funday was just a lazy day, lounging at the house in the morning, and sitting on the beach in the afternoon. A quick downpour late in the afternoon cleared the beach, so we ended up hitting a beach bar, and then headed back to the house for another delicious home-cooked meal.

Monday, sadly, it was time to leave. It was an unbelievable trip, and I want to thank all the girls that made it such a blast, especially you sneaky Betteridge girls. And Liz, thank you for being the awesome person that you are. We wouldn’t have been there if it weren’t for you. ‘Til next time, ladies! Well, July 11th in Powell River, for the wedding at least. xoxo

To finish things off, I’ll leave you with a little video I cooked up in honour of the weekend.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

A Peek into my Former Life

Sometimes I forget that I used to have this whole other life before I moved to Vancouver. And then I come across something like the video below.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “The Start of the Atlantic Crossing on…“, posted with vodpod

The voices in the background (other than mine) are the group of girls I worked with at the time – Carolina from Australia, Katarina from Sweden, and Sandra from South Africa. We called ourselves the “United Nations.” They were some of the best people I ever worked with.

I took this video in June of 2005, as the yacht that I worked on at the time was embarking on its estimated 2 and a half week journey across the Atlantic Ocean, enroute to France, or Spain, or Croatia – I can’t remember where we were headed. The funny part (or maybe not so funny part to me) is that we never made it to the Mediterranean as planned. A mere 8 to 12 hours or so into our Atlantic crossing – we had only reached the Bahamas – we realized that something was wrong with one of the engines. We later found out that the shaft to the propellor had been bent and cracked. The captain made the decision to turn around and head back to Florida using only one engine. We went reeeeally slow. It was painful. Especially since we were heading in the wrong direction!

Now, because we had given up our spot at the dock of the Fort Lauderdale Marriot (you can see it in the video, but it’s now called the Fort Lauderdale Grande), we had to find somewhere else to go. I guess during our many hours of travel back to the U.S., the captain had organized a space for us at the shipyard in Jacksonville, FL. At the time, we complained a little, because we knew there were many shipyards in Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, and West Palm Beach – why couldn’t we go to one of those? Ha! If only I knew then what I know now…

Now this next part gets a little interesting. I had never experienced anything like this in my life. The US Coast Guard requested to board our yacht as we neared the Jacksonville shipyard, because they were suspicious of this yacht that left U.S. waters for just a few hours, only to turn around and come back again to a different city. They must have seen us coming on the radar from miles away. This is a common problem for yachts that are registered under a foreign flag (our vessel was registered in the Cayman Islands), because you can only stay in the U.S. for up to 6 months I think it is, until you have to leave the country again to renew your U.S. Cruising License. The Coast Guard guys were very friendly, though. We asked if they would wear these little white cloth booties over their big boots so they wouldn’t trample dirt onto the teak decks and into the interior of the yacht which *I* so dutifully cleaned everyday, and they obliged. No big deal. No stains on the white carpet. Phew!

Then, when we came to dock at the Atlantic Marine Shipyard in Jacksonville, we had the U.S. Department of Homeland Security waiting for us in their brigade of black SUV’s. Wow. Talk about gobsmacked. There were probably a dozen of them that boarded the yacht, and I think it was a woman who was the one in charge. They did not wear the little white cloth booties, to say the least. They said it was too dangerous, that they might slip. (I would have loved to have seen that!) Our Chief Mate had to take them around the yacht while they opened up all of the cupboards and drawers, engine room hatches, and even *gasp!* my underwear drawer. How invasive! The rest of us had to assemble on the aft deck while they called each one of us forward and asked us questions about where we were from, all the while meticulously studying our passports. Cue sweat. Everywhere. I couldn’t even tell you what they asked me. I can’t remember.

Now, it wasn’t that bad. While I thought they were really conceited, overly serious (there were NO smiles coming from them, that’s for sure), and totally rude, we hadn’t done anything wrong, so they had no reason to be angry with us. Later, we had to admit that although it would have been courteous of them to wear the white booties or at least watch where they stepped while they trudged through someone else’s very expensive private property, it would have taken away from their “cool” factor, because as much as we despised them, we were kind of in awe of them.

Anyway, moving on… the Jacksonville Shipyard. It’s actually kind of a lie to say that we were in Jacksonville, really, because we were about 40 minutes from downtown Jacksonville. We were in the boonies. Nothing but roadkill for miles. One bar down the road, and an entrance to the highway in the opposite direction. To say we were bored would have been an understatement. They had to take the boat out of the water to repair it, and because it was a Feadship, all of the parts had to be custom made and sent from Feadship, located in Holland. Plus, two engineers from Feadship had to fly in to do the job. Because this was not a planned shipyard, or “drydock” period, no one had organized for the crew to stay in temporary housing on land, and we had no idea how long it was going to take. Instead, we had to stay onboard the yacht, climbing a rickety staircase everyday, suffering through broken air conditioning, and the South Florida heat throughout June, July, and August. Ugh! I would be dripping sweat before I even stepped out the door.


The crew somehow found a way to get through it. We wakeboarded after work, we drove out to the beach on the weekends, and often drove or cabbed into town to enjoy some Jacksonville nightlife. We had BBQ’s when it was someone’s birthday, we played bocce, and I *tried* to keep up with my running to stay fit. It didn’t work. I got… let’s say, I got “healthy,” as my Grandfather would put it, during my time in Jacksonville. This is most likely the reason why every time I say the word “Jacksonville,” my friend Jerra says that I say it with complete and utter disgust. My dreams of sipping on cappuccinos, and drinking wine in St. Tropez… well, they were shattered. Instead, I was eating coconut shrimp and french fries while sipping a Budweiser at a bar called the Sand Dollar. This could explain how I got so “healthy.” No comments here, please!

Now, it was not as terrible as I make it out to be. After our new shaft and propellor were installed, and we succeeded in our sea trials, we were finally ready to leave Jacksonville. Woohoo! By this time though, the Summer Mediterranean season was basically over. Instead, we headed North to Savannah, Georgia and Charleston, South Carolina, because the owners were anxious to get some time in on their yacht. I actually really enjoyed Charleston, and I wish that we would have been able to spend more time there, but this was hurricane season. This was the year of the category 1 Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Lousiana, and many other tropical storms in the area. Every time we got comfortable somewhere, we had to pick up and leave again. We finally ended up back in Savannah, GA for a paint job (more shipyards!), and later on ended up back in Fort Lauderdale for the fall, and eventually the Bahamas and the Caribbean for the winter. So don’t shed too many tears for me.

And the next summer, the summer of 2006, I finally made it to Europe. It took 17 days to cross the Atlantic Ocean, and I can say that I have done it. I got to sip on cappuccinos, and drink wine in St. Tropez. All is well with the world again.

My BFF is getting married..

..And she’s doing it in VEGAS!

Myself & Jerra, November 2008
Myself & Jerra, November 2008

Yup, that’s right, I’m going to Las Vegas again… for the third time – and the second time this year. But hey, my best friend is getting married, and I, of course, am in the wedding party!

Originally, my friend Jerra was going to get married here in Vancouver, and even started planning the huge, traditional wedding for approximately 150-200 guests. She soon realized that she hated every second of planning this wedding, because it wasn’t what she wanted. I’m not sure whether it was the number of people that bothered her, all of the planning that had to go into it, or whether she just preferred to have an intimate group of people that she really loved share her special day with her.

Whatever the case, over Christmas she convinced her fiance that a small wedding with less than 50 guests in Las Vegas was the way to go. I couldn’t be more excited!

Although, I have to admit, at first I thought: “Really? Vegas? I mean.. really???” It took a while for Jerra to explain to me that no, she was not going to be married in a wedding chapel, and no, an Elvis impersonator would not be performing the ceremony. She showed me what she had in mind, and it absolutely took my breath away. The ceremony is going to be held at Mandalay Bay, and dinner afterwards will be held at Kahunaville in the Treasure Island hotel.

Mandalay Bay Weddings
Mandalay Bay Weddings

So, plans are in the works right now – booking flights and hotels, planning stags and stagettes, arranging details for the day of the wedding, etc. The wedding is to take place June 7, 2009, and it seems as if that date is creeping closer and faster(!) all the time. I may or may not write another entry closer to the date, but I will most definitely post some photos to share the experience after we get back!

The Korean/Behan National Lampoon’s Vegas Family Vacation

If anyone knows me or my family, you know we get along pretty well and we like to have a good time. So it’s not a surprise that we might go on a family vacation together. But 2 families??

My sister-in-law Alex, who is married to my brother Jordan, had this crazy idea that her whole family and our whole family should go on a holiday together… to Vegas. I know, CRAZY, right? But somehow this crazy plan went from dream to reality very quickly. Flights got booked, rooms were reserved at Caesars Palace, and before I knew it, I was in a  cab on my way to the airport, waving goodbye to snowy Vancouver on the morning of January 4th, 2009.

Pretty Bellagio Christmas decorations
Pretty Bellagio Christmas decorations

6 Behan’s, 6 Lee’s, (including 2 babies!) and one Grandma Dot made the trip to sunny – but chilly – Las Vegas, Nevada for a 3-night getaway. We went to shows, we shopped, we walked the strip, we wined and we dined… we did just about everything!  It was a bit of a New Year’s celebration, as well as my Dad’s recent retirement/my Mom’s birthday/Alex’ Mom’s birthday celebration. That’s enough to toast, right?

Jord, Wes, Dad, Mom, Grandma Dot.
L-R: Jord, Wes, Dad, Mom, Grandma Dot.
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Bellagio decorations

The most amazing part is, though, nothing really went horribly wrong. The only upset was when we first arrived in the Las Vegas airport, and my brother Wes‘ golf clubs did not arrive with our luggage. To say he was choked, would be an understatement. ‘Cuz he was choked. The ironic thing is, both Wes and Jord went golfing the next morning at 9:30am, and when they returned in the afternoon, the clubs had arrived at the hotel. So he packed his golf clubs all the way there to play only one round of golf and ended up having to play with a rented set. But I think the round of golf was a memorable enough one, that hopefully he forgot about the clubs going missing – right, Wes?!? All in all, not a bad trip, I’d say!

Here’s a few pics I took of our two families, being all nice and stuff.

Dad, Wes & Mom
Dad, Wes & Mom
Alex, Jaxon & Helen waiting for the Bellagio fountain show.
Alex, Jaxon & Helen waiting for the Bellagio fountain show.
A day of shopping
A day of shopping
Anna banana
Anna banana
Grandma Dot playing the slots - Wheel of Fortune, her favourite!
Grandma Dot playing the slots - Wheel of Fortune, her favourite!
Tony with Jaxon & Anna
Tony with Jaxon & Anna

Photo courtesy of Alex Lee.

Siblings getting along.
Siblings getting along.

Mom (Grandma Behan) & Jaxon
Mom (Grandma Behan) & Jaxon in F.A.O. Schwarz
Wes & Dadot on the strip.
Wes & "Dadot" on the strip.
Probably my favourite shot.
Probably my favourite shot.
The whole gang
The whole gang

Photo courtesy of Alex Lee.

Happy 2009, Happy Retirement Dad, and Happy Birthday to Mom and Mrs. Lee!

*There may be some video to follow this, if I feel like it.

Stay Classy, San Diego!

I just had an amazing all-girls trip to San Diego, where six of us rented a house a few blocks from the beach and just shopped, relaxed on the beach, boogie boarded in the surf, and hit the town at night. It was a short little 3-night getaway, but sooooo what I needed. Thanks for an AMAZING weekend, ladies. I think I’ve finally caught up on my sleep!

Here’s a few pictures, courtesy of my traveling buddy, Emily:

We finally land in San Diego!
We finally land in San Diego!
We hit the beach immediately to meet up with the other girls.
We hit the beach immediately to meet up with the other girls.
This is when Emily said, "This just might be the best day of my life."
Emily: "This just might be the best day of my life."
Me, Jill, Kim, Sandra, Olivia, and Emily.
The crew L-R: Me, Jill, Kim, Sandra, Olivia, and Emily.
Palm tree paradise.
Palm tree paradise.
Beach that just goes on for miles...
Beach that just goes on for miles...