My Stampin’ Up! Incentive Trip: Alaska

I’m baaaack! We returned this weekend from an amazing vacation to Seattle, followed by a week-long cruise through Alaska with visits to Alaska (Juneau, Skagway and Tracy Arm Fjord) and British Columbia (Victoria). What an amazing trip! I enjoyed every minute of it and am excited to share some of the fun with you today.

I earned the trip during the 2016-2017 stamping year and am so grateful to my customers and team members for receiving the love I share and returning it right back to me. This is my fifth trip in as many years, and I couldn’t be more fortunate. These trips make all the hard work with every ounce of energy.

Stampin' Up! Incentive Trip - Alaska

Seattle, Washington

We arrived in Seattle, Washington a few days early and enjoyed footing it around the beautiful town. We carried small umbrellas and cheap ponchos in case we were trapped in a rain storm (Seattle is famous for lots of rain), but we (gratefully) never encountered one drop of rain.

Our first night in Seattle, we had dinner with Michelle Last, my dear friend from the UK ( and her wonderful husband. Here’s how happy Michelle was to see me:

Seattle with Michelle Last, Brian KingWe visited Pike Place Market in Downtown Seattle. While there are tons of produce, groceries and flowers to see, there are also tons of people visiting the market on a Thursday morning. If you’ve never been there, you’ve likely seen videos of the fishmongers who toss (and successfully catch) big fish. What fun! Just outside the market is the first EVER Starbucks (you may have heard of it). We, of course, stopped in there for a look-see.

Seattle - Pike's Place, Brian KingI grew up with delicious seafood (my parents owned three restaurants on the coast of Georgia when I was young), but nothing prepared me for the delicious bowl of clam chowder I enjoyed at Ivar’s restaurant on the Seattle pier. It was amazing! The view was pretty spectacular, too.

Seattle - Ivar's, Brian KingExplorer of the Seas

When we left Seattle, we were bused to the port to board our amazing cruise ship – the Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas. Here’s a shot of the boat from the bus that carried us there. Fourteen stories of pure luxury.

Seattle - Explorer of the Seas, Brian KingAs the boat set sail on Friday, Mary Fish (who enjoyed having me at her side for much of the trip…), snapped this gorgeous photo of the sun setting over the ocean. What a beauty! And this photo she took ain’t so bad, either!

Alaskan Cruise - sunset by Mary FishOn board the boat, we were spoiled with daily prizes in the Stampin’ Up! Base Camp – we could spin for spectacular prizes each day. On this day, there were two new punches and an embossing folder to be won! I was anxious to see where the spinning wheel stopped.

Alaskan Cruise - winning is fun 2, Brian KingWe also had opportunities to win great prizes from the Holiday Catalog during Stampin’ Up!’s opening session onboard the boat. I won the Timeless Tidings stamp set and couldn’t have been happier about it. Carolyn Benny, one of my Australian friends, was pretty stoked about it, too (or maybe she just wanted to crash my photo).

Alaskan Cruise - winning is fun, Brian KingJuneau, Alaska

Our first stop along the way was Juneau, Alaska. While some of our stampin’ friends enjoyed excursions to cook salmon in the wilderness and fly across glaciers in helicopters, we walked into the city with friends to enjoy a delicious lunch of fish and chips. After popping into a few shops, we headed back to the boat. We set out to relax for much of the trip, so this was inline with our hopes and dreams.

Skagway, Alaska

What an amazing time we had in Skagway, our second stop on the trip. We boarded a train to take a journey up the mountain, taking in all the gorgeous nature along the way. Here’s gorgeous photo I snapped off the side of the train – the water was gorgeous and silty. Do you know what silty means? If not, you should travel to Skagway and take the train tour. <3

Skagway - lovely river, BrianThis is a waterfall I snapped from the train. I love how the light is captured off the window in this picture:

Skagway - waterfall, Brian KingThe train conductor told us that we’d likely not see wildlife along the three-hour train ride because the animals stayed hidden away from the loud train. It was explained that only the most trained photographers would capture pictures of animals along the way. I guess I’m an expert photographer because I caught this picture:

Skagway - wildlife…or maybe I’m really good at using Photo Shop on my cell phone. ๐Ÿ™‚

Tracy Arm Fjord

The morning after our amazing train ride in Skagway, the cruise ship made a slow travel down the Tracy Arm Fjord – another term I learned on this trip. A fjord is a deep, narrow passage of water. This one ended at a large opening with a huge glacier. Here’s a view (from 12 stories up) of the water in the fjord. The ice in the water is much bigger than it appears:Tracy Arm Fjord, Brian KingAnd here’s a view from the front of the boat. You can see the glacier in the center. The boat approached the glacier and then turned around in the opening for about four hours. Slowly. From the boat, you could hear the cracks of ice as they broke off from the glacier and fell into the water. What an amazing way to wake up early and spend a day!

Tracy Arm Fjord, Brian KingVictoria, British Columbia

After a day at sea, the boat arrived in beautiful Victoria where we had planned a culinary walking tour of the city. The “Eat Like a Canadian” tour was quite amazing. It kicked off in the quaint Fisherman’s Wharf – with little shops, great restaurants and adorable bed and breakfasts. There was a delightful energy in this wharf:

Victoria - Fisherman's Wharf, Brian KingHere are a few of the foods we ate along our awesome tour. This is a plate of heat-steamed salmon, candied salmon and cold-steamed tuna:

Eat Like a Canadian - Salmon and Tuna, Brian KingHave you ever had putine? This was a first for me. Putine is a bowl of french fries with cheese curds and gravy. While I’m guessing it would warm the soul on a cold day, it was 80 degrees in Victoria. I ate all of it, but I likely wouldn’t reach for it again. Eat Like a Canadian - putine, Brian KingAnd then there’s the new love of my life – the Nanaimo Bar. I can only tell you it was heaven on earth (and I’m not a big fan of chocolate). Every member of our tour will remember the name of this no-bake dessert. I’ll certainly be making it as soon as I whittle away at ounce (or two) I might have added on this non-stop food fest.

Eat Like a Canadian - Nanaimo Bar, Brian King

We tried so many amazing foods along the trip – I don’t want to bore you with all of them. The last stop was a beavertail. I was a bit nervous about this – until I learned it was a deep-fried dough with cinnamon and sugar. It derives it’s name from the shape of the dough. No beavers were harmed in the making of this dessert.

Eat Like a Canadian - beavertail, Brian KingThat was fun! Thank you for allowing me to share some of these personal photos and stories with you. It’s just a taste of the amazing trip. I’ll share the new goodies we received in a post later this week.

Two Amazing Promotions End Today

For the past month, I’ve been sharing two amazing promotions that Stampin’ Up! has been sharing in July. I don’t want you to miss these – because they are WONDERFUL!

Between July 1 and July 31, Stampin’ Up! is hosting an amazing promotion where you can get one pack of select papers when you buy three packs of select papers.

To help expand our family and create opportunities for even more meaningful relationships with fellow crafters, Stampin’ Up! is giving us a Stampin’ Pad Family Recruiting Promotion. During this promotion, new team members will receive a FREE assortment of Classic Stampin’ Pads (your choice!) with your Starter Kit!

If you are ready to join my team, please CLICK HERE. If you have questions, please email me at

Thanks for stopping by today!


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  1. Thanks Brian. I enjoyed your recap and the photos.

  2. We call the beavertail โ€œelephant earsโ€ in Indiana. My mom also made them with left over pie dough when I was growing up.

    • We call them elephant ears, too. It’s funny you mention it because I was explaining the dessert to a friend who was worried that I’d eaten beaver tail and said, “it’s more like elephant ears” – that wasn’t a point of reference for her, either. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Denise Ferguson

    Thanks SO much for sharing pictures of your wonderful trip! I love seeing them & now how an Alaskan cruise on my bucket list! I’d love to see more pictures!

  4. Shila Froehlich

    Loved reading about your cruise.

  5. We did an Alaskan cruise for our 40th wedding anniversary in 2014. Skagway had a horrible storm so no ships got in there. We went to Juneau early instead. It was an amazing experience!! We also did Ketchikan, with a Tlinglit Indian as a guide. That was the highlight of our trip.

    • That sounds pretty amazing, Karleen – except for the storm part. Some of the excursions were canceled on this trip because it was too warm. All-in-all I think everyone had an amazing time. <3

  6. Great Memories Brian,
    Thanks for sharing!

  7. Love hearing about your trip. Glad you enjoyed it!

  8. Welcome back Brian! Sounds like an amazing trip. Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos. So glad you had a wonderful time! <3

  9. Love your pictures, especially the one where you captured the wildlife while on the train (the photoshopped cat)!! Too funny! We loved our tour/cruise of Alaska several years ago. We’ve been to Victoria twice, but it has rained both times. The gardens are still on our bucket list! Your “grazing” tour in Victoria sounds amazing. I think I gained 5 lbs. just reading about all the good food you had. Enjoy your day!

    • …and you didn’t see half of the food we ate. ๐Ÿ™‚ It was a lovely trip, and Victoria was a highlight for us. Wish we could have spent more time there. <3

  10. Wonderful post! Thanks so much for sharing these highlights. Brought smiles and chuckles to my Tuesday morning.

  11. Thank you for sharing about what looks an amazing trip! Your pictures are great and your descriptions fun. I am glad you had such a good time! Looking forward to seeing and hearing about all the new goodies from the Holiday Catalog!

  12. Loved reliving all the beautiful scenery and time with you through these photos, with special “props” for the Nanaimo Bar!

  13. Thank you for sharing your photos. Looks like you had a great time. Iโ€™m a foodie so for sure that was fun.

    • We love to travel to farmer’s markets and grocery stores in the places we visit. There’s so much to be said for an area when you see the foods they eat. Loved the walking culinary tour! Thanks, Mary!

  14. What picturesque writingโ€”along with the pictures! Thank you so much for sharing; that was a GREAT article. So happy for you to have that opportunity and for sharing with us.

  15. It was lovely to live vicariously through your wonderful pics – even the photoshopped one!!

  16. Great pics…so glad you enjoyed it and relaxed! How lucky you were to get a photo of the cat in its nature habitat!

  17. Brian: I just love reading your posts. You make the trips so much fun. I’m glad you had a good time on the trip.

    • Thanks so much, Gayle! I couldn’t begin to put all of the adventure into the post, so there’s a lot of picking-and-choosing here. Glad you like it. <3

  18. Thank you for sharing your trip with us! Stampin’ Up! can really put on a fabulous event. And I have already looked up the recipe for the Nanaimo Bars! But not the Beaver Tail or the Putine.

    • Thanks so much, Susan! I would have enjoyed sharing that food with you – no breakfast on vacation was as good as the one I had with you in St. Louis. ๐Ÿ™‚ Look forward to seeing you in November!

  19. I almost fell off the chair because I was laughing so hard at the wildlife photo. Only you would come up with that Brian. I’m so glad you were able to take this trip, you certainly work hard enough to reach the goal required to win it. You are THE BEST! Thanks for sharing, it sounds like you had a well deserved wonderful and relaxing time. Good for you.

    • Tee hee! I love that you engage with my silliness, Grace! I had lots of fun with that photo on the trip – to the point that my friends were tired of hearing me share with others. Always got a giggle, though. <3

  20. So jelly! Looks like such a good time!
    Thanks for sharing!

  21. Brian – great post – I have been there in 2009 on cruise and land tour – what a beautiful state. I laughed and laughed at your ‘wildlife’ picture. What a Hoot.

  22. Ooooh , thank you Brian for sharing your pictures, now Iโ€™m hungry and itโ€™s only 3:25 pm ,
    Those were beautiful scenes, only in my Dreams , lol
    Hugs Frenchie

  23. Welcome back Brian. I loved the pictures you took and a little story about each one. The scenery is beautiful. That chocolate cake/ice cream looks delicious. I am a big fan of chocolate. Hope to see you in November at Convention.

  24. Sounds like it was a perfect rip. My husband used to work with a Canadian and his wife always made Nanaimo Bars for us. Fabulous! I have a recipe if you need/want it!

    • Don’t think, for a minute, that I didn’t leave Canada with the recipe. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ll let you know how they turn out! <3 The trip was amazing!

  25. Alaska is beautiful- I have a friend that moved there a year or so ago and Iโ€™ve been green with envy whenever she posts pictures of her new home ( and thatโ€™s all the time!)
    What An amazing incentive trip!

  26. Loved your recap of the Alaska trip. Now you know some of the reasons we love it here in the Pacific Northwest. Happy you had a nice time !

    • It was unseasonably warm while we were there (despite packing lots of layers), but it was wonderful! I’d LOVE to live in an area like that. <3

  27. Your wildlife shot is the best! So glad you enjoyed your trip and shared it with the rest of us. Alaska is a beautiful state. Welcome home. Now gear up for cutting swatch books.. New papers look incredible. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Debbie – thanks! The new books are already on my mind. Might get to cutting this weekend. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for your comments – it was a great trip.

  28. Recipe for that dessert pls…. It looks heavenly!!!! You had me worried about the beaver tails till I kept reading. I guess elephant ears are in same company with them! Glad you had a great time!

    • Thanks for your comment, Bette! The dessert was heavenly. We ate the bar in a cafe by the water. A quick search of “Nanaimo bars” will get you a notebook of recipes – there are so many variations (some have almonds, some add coconut), so you will easily likely find one you love. Enjoy! My treat from Canada to me to you. <3 Thanks so much for your comments.

  29. Maria A Rodriguez

    Well my dear, you can add “Wild Life Photography” to your already extraordinary resume, that is one fabulous picture of this cute little kitty.
    Hahaha!! Awesome pictures of this fabulous trip Brian, I love them all but the shots of the delectable food made my mouth water.
    Thank you so much for sharing.

  30. Hi Brian, cannot believe you didn’t like the poutine (a rare indulgence because it’s a heart attack on a plate!) perhaps it wasn’t a very good one. Nanaimo bars are delish, so glad you enjoyed that wee bit of Canada.

    • Thanks for your comments, Lynne! Everything we ate that day was a treat. I’ll chalk up the “meh”-ness of the poutine to the fact that it was really warm that day. Because of you, I’ll give it another try sometime. <3 Thanks!

  31. LOVED reading about the trip! It was so amazing to meet you and I too wish we could go back โค๏ธ
    Ps the cat is back? Iโ€™m laughing again now that I see it for the second time?

  32. Thrilled you had nice weather and had a great time in our beautiful Pacific Northwest! Kills me that we were like ships passing in the night. ๐Ÿ™

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