How To Rock Your First Spin Class

I have always wanted to attend a spin class, and having a long time friend, Michelle, whom I haven’t seen in a few years instructing at Spoke(N)Spin here in Calgary – made for the perfect opportunity for a reunion and a workout.

The studio is quaint, and the space inside is utilized very well. I was amazed at how they fit all the equipment and people in a very comfortable fashion. 


Upon arrival, you get given your special cycling shoes to put on.


They have clips on the bottom, so you can clip onto your bike pedals.

Pretty freaken cool. I was feeling cool anyway. Although, come time to saddle up, I had to fiddle around with mine in the beginning to get them clipped in. 

Let’s do this! 

Of course Michelle being such a fabulous friend, she made me sit in the front row, so I could make an ass out of myself for all to see. Look at the newby!! Kidding.


But, I did try and sit in the back, and she wasn’t having any of it, and did tell me I had to get up there. Fine, fine, I don’t mind being a bit of a spectacle.

Guaranteed I wouldn’t have pushed as hard as I did if I was in the back. So I was actually really thankful she got me up front. Sometimes all you need is that swift kick in the ass.

Show time! The lights go down, the music goes up, and the instructor gets everyone pumped. The music was awesome, and so was Michelle.

There is a knob on the bike that gives and releases tension, and you proceed to go up and down, side to side, following the instructors lead, going for the cycle of a lifetime.

If you close your eyes you can totally pretend you are on some mountain terrain excursion. I myself though, couldn’t close my eyes very much, seeing as how I was still getting used to how to ride this darn bike, I most likely would have ended up seriously injuring myself.

A couple times my shoes un-clipped, and being the classy lady I am, I accidentally said ‘Oops, shit!’ out loud both times. Not to mention, I almost said shit again for saying shit the first time. Man, sometimes you can’t take me anywhere. I had to stay focused to keep portraying the illusion that I knew what I was doing, and also look as though I was naturally rocking it. I am sure once I do it a few more times, I will be rockin it. I have no doubt, practice makes perfect.

My legs were sore as heck already from all my Orange Theory work outs, and pushing through on that bike was not an easy feat. Actually it was tough as nails! To be honest, I never imagined spin class was going to be a hard workout.

Could have fooled me!  And it did, that’s for darn sure.

My legs seriously were just not cooperating as good as they normally would had they hadn’t have been going through my fitness challenge the whole week prior to this class.

I do absolutely love cycling, its one of my favorite sports, and back in Mallorca(Spain), I cycle 30km almost every day. This day however, was like a god send when we moved to the floor. I wasn’t sure how much longer my legs would take it, and I am the type of person that will push until I pretty much collapse. Which would just be fricken embarrassing if you ask me. ‘Oh is the new girl alright?! She doesn’t look alright.’

Excuse me while I peel myself off the floor.

Through it all, no matter how much pain I was feeling, I made sure to maintain a nice sweaty smile. At least I could keep rockin a smile.

They also have straps! I love working out on straps. 

In the end, we got a full body workout, using our own body weight, and finished off with some yoga stretches. Perfect!

Here’s a couple short clips of the sesh.


I broke a massive sweat, and was so stoked to watch my good friend in action. She is a fantastic and motivating instructor, but that goes for her as a person, so I wouldn’t have expected anything less. Oh the joys of checking things off my list in life, and even more so when I enjoyed doing the activity. I can’t wait to attend some more spin classes now and rock the heck out of it.

Spin class, the classy way to get an ass kicking.

 

How I rocked the Calgary Wine Festival Solo

Being a self proclaimed pro at sippin on vino. Obviously I couldn’t pass up the Calgary wine festival. Wine, wine and more wine. Sounds like heaven if you ask me. The picture I had in my mind was quaint tables set up from spectacular vineyards, all for my sampling pleasure. Well that mental picture wasn’t wrong, it was completely right. However, what I wasn’t prepared for was the masses of people, the line ups, the craziness of it all. Oh right, I am back in Calgary, the big busy ass city. A large stretch from the small tranquil(unless there is a festival, which is every other weekend in Spain) island of Mallorca, Spain, where I just moved back from. It was a bit daunting, and I am not into waiting in lines, so I mainly bee-lined for the tables with little to no lineups, unless I scoped something I HAD to try.

Trust me, if it wasn’t as crowded as it was, I would have HAD to have tried everything. Although, in that case, I most likely would have had to have been carried out of there in the end.

I had plans to go with my friends, but then due to a flu wreaking some havoc, everyone pulled out.

With my golden ticket to wine heaven in hand staring me in the eyes like a lost puppy wanting me to take it home – I just couldn’t deny it. How in the heck could I let something like this go to waste?!

Well, I couldn’t. I just couldn’t. Having traveled the globe for the better of the last 10 years, and mainly solo(I mean I crossed the African continent alone), attending a wine fest alone was no freaken problem. Table for 1 please!

I wasn’t actually alone though. I was in my own awesome company. Which just so happens to be some of my fave company on this planet might I add. It was ‘me time‘ at its finest. Some of the best parties of my life have been alone.

So Cinderella called her chariot(Yellow cabs actually),and set off to attend her ball.

So how did I rock it exactly you may be wondering? 

Well, I walked right in with my head held high as if I had every intention of attending it alone from the get go, and smiled with the brightest smile I could find in my pocket.

The best way to rock any situation in life, is to just act freaken natural. Of course some self talk doesn’t hurt. ‘Your awesome Petrena, you got this, just go in there and keep on being  your awesome self.’ It was that damn easy.

The wine festival was set up pretty fantastic, and was very inviting when you entered.

Just follow the red carpet….


What the?! A table full of empty wine glasses? That is not on!
 Here, please allow me help you remedy this situation and fill one of those bad boys up! Being alone also gave me time to mingle with the event staff.

Off I went, wine glass in hand, gracefully into the event.

 

Woah, hello everybody!

I went straight up to one of the first tables I seen that didn’t have a massive line up to get the fresh grape juice flowing into my sad empty glass.  

It’s amazing how a small splash of wine makes a wine glass look so much more appealing. She was a quarter full now!

Funny enough, I kept zoning into the Spanish vineyards…. Call me bias, but Spain is my other home… So clearly I was going to see what lovely vino’s they had on offer from my other home turf.

It’s great when you make friends with the people working the table, because then you can just stand there and keep the samples coming, while making new friends. 

After an hour of this, I was already starting to feel a little tipsy. Who brought the lush out?

I knew I didn’t want to lose my classy composure, so I made sure to guzzle some water in between the samples.

Even though I was rocking this party for 1, when I unexpectedly got the message from my friend that she was kicking that flu bugs ass and coming anyway – I was super stoked! Being such a packed and busy event, it took work to do it alone, so it just made sense to enjoy it with some friends if I had the chance. 

The crowds seem far less overwhelming when you have company. Mind you I remember that time I was in Rio de Janeiro for New Years, lost all my friends, and was rocking it all alone in the middle of 2.5 million people on Copa Cabana beach. Talk about over whelming!

Ahhhh, good friends and good wine. I love life.

I can honestly say I did a very poor job of taking notes of what my favorites were at the wine festival. It was far too busy for that nonsense. At an event of this capacity it was just better for me to team up with my friends and drink as much wine as we could! Ok, well not exactly, I mean once again, I am classy. Lest we forget. That didn’t stop me from enjoying fairly copious amounts though.

The whole event was 3 hours. Funny how the 3 hours flies by! Literally, as soon as the 3 hours is up, they shut her down before the blink of an eye. Well faster then they opened up, that’s for darn sure. Understandably though, as if they didn’t, people would linger, and they wouldn’t be able to prepare for the next session.

To sum it all up, if you ever find yourself in a predicament to attend a wine fest solo, you just friggen go!

Put your best foot forward, act like you planned it that way, sip your little wine lovin’ heart out, all while secretly hoping that your friends will suddenly show up,but knowing you will still have fun if they don’t.

 

The Char Bar Experience

It was a ladies of leisure kind afternoon, and after driving around for sometime trying to make a decision, we ended up choosing to head into the Simmons building in East Village where we got all comfy in Char Bar.

It’s funny how there are so many fabulous restaurants that I want to try in the city, and for some reason when the time came to go out and dine somewhere – my mind went completely blank, and I couldn’t come to any sort of decision what-so-ever, nor could I even think of a name of an establishment that I wanted to visit.

Ahhh, where am I again?! Oh right! Calgary. The mind of a traveler. Although it was a last minute decision to head out, so we really didn’t put a game plan into action before hand. Had we have planned the lunch excursion the evening prior, I would have put some damn good thought into it. However that being said, spur of the moment spontaneity, does lead to some pretty favorable experiences. Not to mention, the ambiance in the Simmons Building is right up my alley. I love the fact that it’s a historic building that’s been restored, I am all about history, vintage, and recycling. The open concept of the Phil & Sebastian cafe, Sidewalk Citizen Bakery, and Char Bar that are inside, is also a winner. Three separate, local businesses, whom are like minded and working in union to create this wonderful culinary experience.

The feel when you walk into the Simmons building is warm, chic and inviting, with plenty of aromas to savor, from the fresh ground coffee, to bakery delights, onto the culinary creations.

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Having spent the better of the last 5 years living on the island of Mallorca in Spain, and having that still as my home for half of every year, I have been quite spoiled with my luxury Mallorcan lifestyle and incredible dining experiences. So I suppose my bar is set pretty high. I myself very much enjoy atmosphere, setting the stage for my experience. Obviously having worked in the hospitality industry for many years, service is quite important to me as well. Natasha and myself got seated at the most perfect quaint little table, nicely tucked away, where we could have our photo shoot and laughs without being amidst loads of people. It was 2 in the afternoon as well, so there was not a massive crowd as it was.


Obviously first thing was first. Get on top of the vino situation. Yes, if you have followed my blog up until now, you know, I am a massive wine lover. Having traveled the world for 10 years and visited many vineyards around the globe, my palette is finely tuned and has a massive appreciation for fine wines.

Today the Rosé was jumping out at me. Mirabeau En Provence from France, was the wine of choice.



I absolutely adore French rosé, particularly rosé from the Provence region – where they are famous for their rosé. Producing it from as early as 600bc, so you could say they have had some practice. This one was a nice combination of wild strawberry, red cherry and raspberry. It went down beautifully.


We had a very fantastic server, Tyson, whom was extremely knowledgeable and very happy to give us any and all recommendations on what to try.


We were interested in just a few small things to share, and so decided on the vegetable ceviche, pistachio and avocado bruschetta, plantain chips, and a small portion of regular fries.


Wait! Before you dig in, let’s not forget to place your napkin.

Being classy makes you cool – and so does sipping on fine wine in a classy establishment.

The vegetable ceviche was super flavorful, and well prepared, I enjoyed every bit of it. The pistachio and avocado bruschetta was made with a different take, but I am a massive avocado lover, so there is no way I won’t enjoy some avo. The chips and fries where exactly that, chips and fries – as you would expect them to be. It was all very tasty.
We were treated to some dessert which was super nice.


In which I washed down with a nice steaming almond milk cappuccino.

Look how much love they put into that cup

 I was trying my darnedest to make the ol’ classic heart with my hands. For some reason though, I couldn’t quite do it. What the heck?! After struggling with it for a bit, I came to the conclusion that my hands just weren’t made to make a damn heart. Well I suppose my real heart is just big enough as it is.

Before our dining experience was concluded, we were also kindly offered to be taken on a tour of the building. To which we obviously accepted.

Tyson continued to wow us with his knowledge of the place.

That table happens to be 103 years old.
The flooring and brick are also completely original.
An original fire door. In case of a fire, the rope would burn and the door would automatically close, keeping all the money safe.
The room upstairs that I would book my private functions in.They do also have ample seating upstairs, as well as a patio in the summer.
Have I mentioned how much I love oysters?!
They take great care in dry-curing their meat.

We were feeling very knowledgeable after that tour. It’s always so nice to see people whom truly enjoy and take pride in their job. Very impressive. What was also impressive is that Tyson proudly hand crafts all his own bow ties. That’s a good stitch if you ask me.

Having had such a fabulous experience for the second time around at Char Bar, you can guarantee that I will be back again in the very near future. 

There is a couple of very satisfied customers.

So, if you happen to be scratching your noggin trying to decide where to take yourself for your next culinary experience in Calgary, then make sure to head down to Char Bar, and make it a memorable culinary delight.

 

Revitalizing myself in a Float Pod

I had never envisioned myself immersed in an enclosed pod containing 1200 pounds of Epsom salts and 11 inches of water? Nor was I aware of the health benefits of it until I discovered Float Life in Calgary.


Apparently floating has been around since 1954…. So where the heck have I been? Well other then having not graced the earth with my awesome presence for quite a while after that time frame….. It could very well be one scenario. Oh and I was working in the jungles of Central and South America for awhile, and busy crossing Africa. So I suppose I was a little out of touch. However, being into natural healing my whole life – I am really surprised I hadn’t crossed paths with it sooner. I love learning new things though! Every darn day. As ‘they‘ say. I still haven’t figured out who they are….

With such a large amount of salt in the water, it makes it completely buoyant, and you literally float right on top of it. Floating with isolation, and with no sensory input, is one of the fastest ways to put your body in a natural deep relaxation state, restoring its chemical and metabolic balance. It’s also said to promote stress release, pain relief, and enhance your creativity and focus.

The place itself is warm and welcoming, with a clean natural feel, and earthy colors. I could feel the healing already.


The customer service was equally as friendly and welcoming.


They offer various kinds of tea and water as a complimentary service. I love tea, it’s a nice relaxing(let’s not forget healing) brew to sip on, so I clearly jumped right on the tea train.


After I poured my herbal concoction, it was time to check out las cabinas. Where I would head off to my float pod land oasis- the land of healing opportunities.

The rooms are fitted with all that you need for your floating experience to be a success.


Equipped with the Float Pod(obviously), a shower, that has shampoo & conditioner, body wash, fresh towels, ear buds, face wipes, and small packs of Vaseline to cover any open cuts. Time to get this show on the road.


Once I had my pre-shower, I was ready to dive in! Ok, don’t dive, its only 11 inches. Perhaps gracefully stepping in, is a better choice of wording for this situation. The water was warm, not hot, they keep it at the same temperature as your skin, so that you will become one with the water. Which if you can let go and just be, then you definitely do meld together. I closed the lid, and was ready to float any tensions away…..

It can take a bit to relax, I really just had to focus on just shutting my mind off and being present. I am usually very good at this, but this day I was quite exhausted so it took a bit more effort. At first I had a pink light on inside, and some very ambient and relaxing music, shortly into it though, I decided I would relax and clear my head easier in a complete dark, silent environment, and so I shut the lights and music off. That is when the real bliss began for me. I had just driven to Calgary the day before from NWT, which took me 15 hours, and I have a busy ass schedule of being awesome in Calgary – so some rejuvenating relaxation was exactly what my little soul needed.

Lying there, if you feel your skin, it almost feels slimy from the salt, although the water itself doesn’t feel slimy getting in. Once it dries, there is loads of flakes of salt on you, almost like little salt shards. I felt scaly ass. I did think it was pretty darn interesting though. As long as you don’t move yourself around inside, you lay pretty still, and 90 minutes goes by quite fast. Many people tend to fall asleep, and I am sure I could too, but I didn’t this time around.

At one point I made the mistake of scratching my face and getting salt in there. Dang it, exactly what they advised me not to do. However upon sitting up, I opened my eyes, and remembered it’s complete darkness, and not that kind of darkness that your eyes adjust to. It was total complete darkness, for a moment I though I could envision my hands(envision is key word), because I was probably just hallucinating from my brain being on float vacay.

Once your time is up, the lights will come on(in case your sleeping), which means its time to snap back to reality, get your bearings, get your butt up, and into the shower to wash all the salt off. I was feeling pretty freaken relaxed I tell yah. They have a nice little area set up to blow dry your hair and put your face back on, if you so choose. Or you can head on au naturel.


Now I have only done it once so far, so I can’t say I have had earth shattering changes. They say that it gets better and better, and you usually start feeling more profound affects around or after the third session. So that being said….. I went for it! And I signed up for a 3 month membership. I need to test this out, I am looking forward to seeing what comes once I get deeper into it. Maybe some profound effects.

Go ahead, give yourself a little pressie, and go enjoy some RnR in a float pod. You deserve it. Float on peeps.

My weekend stay at ‘Hotel Arts’ Calgary.

I had the pleasure of spending a weekend at Hotel Art’s in Calgary.

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It is a boutique hotel located downtown. The hotel has recently undergone a $7 million dollar face lift renovation.

I am not sure what it looked like previously – however the decor is very chic and contemporary as of now. It boast’s a little lushness about it, and I love the atmosphere itself when you walk in.

Well it definitely appealed to my eye’s. Let’s put it that way.

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Each staff member that I dealt with at the front desk, were all so extremely helpful, and friendly. Not to mention, I found they all had their own trendy style and character; Not something you come across everyday. The picture does not depict that so well.

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Don’t get me wrong – I love many things in life, however, not everything. As much as most of the experiences I write about seem to always be super positive; If I did in fact go somewhere or do something that was not up to my standards or expectations – I would absolutely give my honest opinion. I travel the world and I am privileged to visit many 5 star establishments around the globe. So as relaxed and chill as I am, I can be quite picky.  I mean that even goes if I am traveling a third world Country and eating street food. I know what I like, and I know quality.

My room was fabulous! Super comfortable and large beds!

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I could have rolled over for days. I didn’t though. I just stuck to one side – and that was plenty. If I wanted to though, I could have done some serious rolling. Just depends what your into.

IMG_3773 The only thing I was missing was a Mini Bar. Probably for the best though. ‘Hello room service!’.

I loved the vanity in the bathroom, as well as the lighting.  It was spacious and bright, made my make-up application that much easier(I mean of course I just roll out of bed and look like this every morning).

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The Aveda toiletries that they provide were a very fantastic touch.  I don’t myself buy Aveda products very often – but I do absolutely enjoy them, and their quality.

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There is a pool, however it was not quite up and running just yet. It is outdoor’s in a sort of open terrace area. Appeared as though it would be a great place to take a dip on a hot summers day.

The Hotel Arts also has 2 award winning restaurants, Yellow Door Bistro & Raw Bar.  As I had a busy schedule all weekend, I was not able to visit both unfortunately.  I did though enjoy a buffet style breakfast one morning, and a few glasses of Vino in the Yellow Door Bistro one evening.

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image1 (2)The breakfast was lovely, everything you could want to see for a great weekend breakfast indulgence, yet taken up a level with some very creative culinary flare. The decor of the restaurant was also very elegant and modern, With equally as unique and lovely staff as the front desk and housekeeping.

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Seeing as how I had such a wonderful and brag worthy stay at the the Hotel Arts, and I have not yet visited the Raw Bar(which I will indeed); It appears as though I have no other choice but to book there once again upon my next visit to Calgary.  Which is going to be very soon. If you are ever looking for a phenomenal place to stay while in Calgary, definitely put Hotel Art’s on your list.

 

Made in Canada! Me, and my new bicycle.

So there I was just having an epic day of random Calgary adventures.  When long behold I stumbled across this beauty of a little shop in Inglewood. The Uncommons.

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Now one thing that without a doubt peaks my interest, is absolutely something Uncommon, not to mention unexpected. Boasting a name like that, I had no choice but to let that gravitational flow pull me(gracefully of course)right on in the door.

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The first things that caught my attention was the selection of bicycles they had on display.

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Clearly even the window shoppers were liking what they were seeing.

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Being an avid cyclist and living a large portion of my time on the island of Mallorca, Spain the past few years – which is an island built for cycling, I knew I needed a new bike for my summer in Canada.  My world just doesn’t turn quite the same when I am not out enjoying the open road of cycling adventure. These bikes I stumbled across in this uncommon little place appealed to my eyes instantly.  So obviously the next plan of action was to ask some questions to Eric, one of the two awesome shop owners.

IMG_5091There were two different makes of bikes.  One was from the States, and the other was from my home soil!! Right here in Maple Leaf Country. ‘No freaken way?!’ is precisely what I thought when told this fact. The brand is Lochside, and the bike themselves are made in Victoria, BC.

No matter where I am in the world I always make it a point to drink locally; For instance, if I am in Canada, I drink Canadian Vino(for the most part, depends how long I am in Canada), and when I am in Spain I drink Spanish Vino, and so on and so forth. You catch my drift. This also goes for beer, food markets, etc.  I totally believe in supporting the local industry where ever I may be.  So obviously my eyes widened a bit more on learning about these Canadian made bikes. Drink locally and Cycle locally. That has Petrena written all over it!

Eric was so fantastic with telling me all the information about the bike as well.  He and Lisa(the other shop owner) definitely know their stuff.  I was intrigued, that’s for darn sure.

After perusing the shop a bit more and checking out all the other uncommon and very cool merchandise they had on offer,

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I walked into the back room of their shop, and there ‘She‘ was. Or ‘He‘?? Should a bike be a he or she?! I am not totally sure. Let’s go with she this time though. What a stunner of a bike! If I do say so myself.  I had no choice but to get on and get the feel of what the ride would be like.

IMG_5104Oh yes! Pretty comfy and cruise-y if you ask me.

‘Should I or shouldn’t I?’ was the next question. The vision of endless summer highway cycling together was flashing brightly in my mind; However it was not my intention to buy a bike that day… It also wasn’t my intention to come across a bike that I fell in love with that day either. Like they say – The best things come when you least expect it.  I am not one to pass up an awesome ‘not everyday’ type of deal.  It also made a world of difference that the shop owners Lisa and Eric were so friendly and exceptionally helpful.

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IMG_5114  Customer service at it’s finest. How could I not want to support their business, while also supporting a local Canadian made bike company. Tick, tick aaaaannd tick. That list was so naturally checked off, I just had to go with it.  A match made in Bicycle heaven. Being locally made it also made the price of the bike extremely reasonable, which I was told was one of the intentions of the company. SOLD.

I even love my bike seat.

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Since returning to the Northwest Territories, I have taken my bike out for some good cycle’s, and let me just say – She rides like a little dream!! I am so happy with my purchase, and the more I ride it, the more I love it. You could say that I see endless summer adventures with my new wheels.

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If you are around Calgary and find yourself in the Inglewood area, I absolutely suggest stopping in and checking out the fine shop called ‘The Uncommons’.

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Everything you wouldn’t expect to find, and a little more. Happy Days!