Kicked The Dirt Up VIP Style At The Calgary Stampede

Calgary Stampede, 10 days of Cowboy’s, rodeo’s, chuck wagon’s, party tent’s, rides, pancake breakfasts, and let’s not forget the mini donuts…..  I have not been in Calgary during the stampede in about 10 years, so when I got invited by the fabulous fashion designer Jean Michel, to attend a day of behind the scenes day of VIP treatment – I clearly hopped on that band wagon.

We had no idea what was entailed in a VIP stampede day, all we knew was that we were getting picked at 4 pm in a private stampede limo. In reality though, when something says VIP, you know you must be in for a good time. Our chariot arrived and we were off to our stampede adventure. The day started with a beer in the Stampede head quarter office.

Of course I was sporting a Jean Michel scarf, who doesn’t wear one on the farm?!

Obviously when you are at the stampede, you sip on Calgary Stampede Budweiser.

After we had got our party started in the office, we were then met by Roc, whom was our guide for the day. He is awesome(seriously, from the moment we were introduced to himself and his wife, they were just darn awesome)!


Not only has he been working the the stampede for 39 years, he is on the board of directors, and he is a fountain of stampede knowledge. He took us straight to the ‘actual’ Stampede Headquarters. Here we thought we were at the headquarters, but we were very pleasantly surprised to see the real deal.

We were served some bubbly in the private stampede headquarter lounge, where we sat and listened to Roc fill us with endless Stampede history. I love history, and delving deeper into things to gain a better understanding of where it all began. Being in there is a very special treat. Unless you are on the board of directors, or are someone very special, you ain’t gonna be hanging out in there.

From there we were whisked off to enjoy dinner with all the chuck wagon racers.

For one of these private tents, they pay about $10 000 a day, times that by 10 days, and you have got yourself one fine looking penny. Just to get in there you have to have a special card around your neck, a wristband, and not to mention a special invite. It’s one of those places that you only get into if you know the right people.

 

The dinner was delicious, and perfect for the circumstances. Definitely reminded me of good ‘ol home cooking.


Made me feel like I was back on the farm. It was so cool being among it all. I grew up out on the land, and had ample opportunities to be on farms, so this whole experience was a nice reconnect with my childhood.

After we were fueled up, we had a chance to meet and hang out a bit with world renowned chuck wagon racer, Rick Fraser, whom just the day before was in an accident on the track and luckily dusted himself off and walked away from it. No biggie for Rick though, he was just as awesome as ever, and was right ready to hop back on the chuck wagon and hit the races.

Before the races I had to grab a snap with the Cowboy Mountie. It just had to be done.

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Rain or shine, the show always goes on.

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Photo credit to Jean Michel

I never realized how cool chuck wagon races really are, but I now have a new found appreciation for it.

Just when we didn’t think our VIP day could get much better, we were taken behind the scenes of the Grand Spectacular show.

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Where we were treated to a walk through all of the dressing areas, and a look at all the action behind the scenes, before we went up to the box for our VIP seat for the show.

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Where we were served wine and cheese, and had an incredible view of the whole show. Clearly that was ticking all the boxes for me.  Although once I seen the actual show – I was blown away!

It was much much more then I expected!

Spectacular is absolutely the way to explain it.

We were spoiled as heck all day long, we also each grabbed a snap with the lead singer of the show afterwards.CanCalgarySampede2016267VIPGrandStandShowOdegard_modifié-1

You can check out a bit of video action from the day.


The whole day was amazing, and seeing the Stampede from that angle, was absolutely incredible. I am so appreciative to Roc for giving us such a special experience, and to Jean Michel and his fab crew for the invite on the VIP day, as well as some of the fabulous photos for this article.

There is something about seeing how things really go to pull it together that makes you have a much greater sense of awe and appreciation for it. Don’t you agree?

A Day Of Pampered Bliss At Soma Spa

Hammam massage. Just the name makes me feel like I am traveling once again. I was lucky enough to come across Soma Spa here in Calgary, and learned they are in fact the only spa in Calgary to offer Hammam massage. With that being said, I was in! In fact I was in for a few other things too…. Micro dermabrasion facial, pedicure, and a bit of a manicure(I say bit, because we ran out of time, so it was just partial). Now you tell me a women that wouldn’t love that experience.

From the moment I walked into Soma Spa I felt like I was already rejuvenating, and it was time to let go……

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It was bright, open, and very welcoming. I love that it’s minimally decorated, and classy as heck.

All smiles await you upon entering. I was stoked! I had been wanting to do a spa day for like way too darn long, but I have been so busy, it just hadn’t happened. So this was a spa dream come true! After being warmly welcomed I was introduced to Shanti, my stairway to heaven for the day. She has this great energy, you can’t but help but feel relaxed around her.

First thing was first. Hammam massage time! It is a traditional Turkish bath concept with a bit of a westerner twist.

The ambiance of the room was perfect!

Not to mention the heated marble table that I had to lay on. Imagine – a heated, marble, table.

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Need I say more?!

Ok, well I am going to say more…..The music, and lighting was also perfectly relaxing. It’s the most incredible thing to have someone hosing you down, then exfoliating your whole body, not once, but twice over! Then a scalp massage, followed by massaging a body butter into your skin. That was one of the most awesome experiences ever!! I didn’t want it to end. I am officially a hammam believer!

Well after that pure bliss experience, I was en-route to my micro dermabrasion facial.

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I was in dire need of a facial….. Wrinkles and pores everywhere! At least it felt that way, possibly it didn’t appear as severe as it was feeling to myself. It was time to knock a couple years off my face. I was amazed at how non- invasive a professional micro dermabrasion treatment is. The at home micro dermabrasion treatments feel as though they are much harsher on your skin. As if I wasn’t already feeling ridiculously awesome after my Hammam treatment, the facial just took it up a while other level. I love when they massage all those fabulous creams into your face and chest. I was far away in some distant land loving life.

I floated out of that room…. And straight to my pedicure.

Radiantly Glowing!

I love pedicures! Particularly good ones. Shanti did such a great job! Very detailed.


She spiffed my feet right up, topped them off with some Shellac polish, and got them all summer ready.  We were really getting to know each other after 4 hours of treatments, not only that but we were also running out of time. I just wanted a small fix up of my hands, it was quite perfect I only got a wee manicure and some nice polish. Just the little dazzle my hands needed.

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I felt like I had barbie nails

Have yourself a little watch of my experience.


Man, I didn’t want the day to end. Alas…. All good things must come to an end. Or at least a pause. I am absolutely going back there soon for more treatments. Every aspect of that day was amazing, they took such amazing care of me, and I would highly suggest when in Calgary – a Hammam massage is absolutely in order! Thank you so much to Soma Spa for the incredible experience. Everyone deserves to pamper themselves. TLC is never over rated.

Epic Eats And Treats At the Corner House Cafe

We all know that I like a classy establishment where I can dress up and put on my heels, but I am a small town girl at heart, so sometimes I like those down to earth, home cooked flavors in a more rustic ambiance. I have driven by ‘The Corner House Cafe‘ many times and it always caught my eye – I knew I had to stop and check it out at some point.


Finally, long behold I was once again in the area visiting my family, and this time I made it a point to stop in! It had to happen. I am also the type of person that once I get something in my head, I will not be able to get it out of my head until I have tried it or done it. This situation was no different.

It has a charming, warm and inviting feel. There was just something about it. Clearly, otherwise it wouldn’t have been calling out to me for so long.


Upon entering I was pulled right in to the homey ambiance.

Not a bad view.


It’s family run, quaint, busy, and very friendly. Apparently from what I am told, they are always very busy, which doesn’t surprise me, I can absolutely see why.

It’s a great place, with great food.  I was impressed with their little menu.


We were all in need of some grub at this point.

Being Sunday they were only offering breakfast, which really was not a problem for me as a Sunday Breakfast was exactly what I was after.


I was stoked to see that they made smoothies, and the smoothie of the day had loads of green ingredients in it, and for me the greener the better! So I was one happy patron.

I made sure to share it with my nephew, I do believe it’s never to young to prepare for a life of health and vitality.


Train those taste buds as soon as you freaken can!

All in all, it was a pretty awesome experience, and I was finally able to check it off my list(let’s not forget how important that is to me). I will say – if you ever find yourself in the Millarville area and happen to come across ‘The Corner House Cafe‘, pull on over and treat yourself! It was pleasantly surprising, and I will absolutely return to try out their lunch menu.

Keeping it random, local and classy every day of the week.

Nature Inspired Fashion By Jean-Michel

Fashion, art, travel, nature, and scarves, are some of the most cherished things in my life. So clearly I was overjoyed when I had the pleasure of meeting Jean-Michel Gires, whom shares those cherished passions, and has combined them all to create some stunning wearable art in the form of scarves, leggings and fans.

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With an absolutely incredible life story of his own, not only was I enamored by that, I felt instantly connected with his creations.

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I love the classy packaging!

Originally from France, Jean-Michel graced Calgary with his presence for an executive position in the Oil & Gas industry. After a few years, he decided he felt too tied down, and was craving his freedom once again.

Us travelers love our freedom, what can I say?!

With his extensive travel history, having visited 102 countries to date, and 15 years practicing digital photography under his belt, Jean-Michel has extraordinary photos of natural settings around the globe that he has impressively exhibited over 20 times in various countries such as France, Venezuela, Bolivia and China.

Jean-Michel decided it was time to find a way to share all the beauty he has captured in a capacity that not only just shares it, but brings its beauty to a whole other level. This is where his silk scarves, leggings, and fans came into play.

Initially when he began brainstorming, trying to find avenues where he can pull his passions together and expose his work, he thought perhaps to transfer his photos onto curtains, cushions, and table clothes – however, it was not quite creating that spark inside of him at that moment that he was looking for.

Jean-Michel decided that he wanted to showcase his photography using women as his canvas. What more beautiful canvas could you imagine really? After a year of trial and error, the vision he was looking for finally came into full fruition, and so began ByJeanMichel.

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His idea was to enhance women’s natural beauty with a wearable form of art, with vibrant colors, printed on only the best quality materials, and accessible to all. Jean-Michel was not only looking to enhance women’s beauty, but he wanted to see the women wearing his fashion, feeling absolutely stunning inside and out.

His long time fascination with impressionist art is where he gets his inspiration for his photos. He has taken his photos from Canada’s Lake Louise, Javanese Volcanoes, Paris Boulogne France, and the White Dessert in Egypt(just to name a few), and has turned them into dazzling motifs for his apparel.

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Not only do I love scarves myself, I love that each and every scarf and motif has a story behind it. They are beautiful to look at, feel beautiful to touch, and look beautiful on. I love that when I am wearing them my fashion piece is telling a story. Leave it to the French to continually create the most amazing fashion. For me and my favorite French designers, there is Chanel, and now ByJeanMichel.

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Here I am pictured wearing the Segovia scarf made of silk crinkle. The picture for the striking motif was taken from a creek in the historical town of Segovia, Spain. It’s the eloquent patterns of the trees and leaves that create the motif. I chose this one to begin with for the fact that Spain is my other home, I have spent the better of the last 5 years living in Mallorca, Spain, so it spoke straight to my heart. Not to mention, I absolutely love the colors! Talk about feeling beautiful and chic.

With these times in Calgary being grim in the Oil & Gas industry, Jean-Michel wants to inspire people, and show them that there is life after Oil & Gas.

From corporate world executive to fashion designer, Jean-Michel breaks the barriers, and goes to show that with some ingenuity and passion, anything is possible.

Having only launched in November 2015 here in Calgary, and with many retail opportunities opening up, this is just the beginning for Jean Michel’s brand. I know I will be showing off his pieces every chance I get. Don’t you just love feeling beautiful?

 

 

Why I Signed Up For A Library Card

First of all, intelligence makes people more attractive. Not to mention expanding your mind is cool. Don’t let anyone tell you different.

I love reading, you know, there is nothing like getting lost in a good page turner. As much as I appreciate the functionality of a kindle, the feeling of holding a real book in my hands is something special. There has even been numerous studies done, that have shown reading print helps you retain the information better, and a book is more easy to navigate, as you can very quickly turn flip between pages. Getting away from staring at screens also improves concentration.

Being a writer and blogger, I am staring at a computer screen far more then I would like. It just has become a major part of every day for me – and believe you me, I do feel it! You know those times when you have been staring at the screen so long that your brain starts to feel like mush, and your eyeballs are glued open. At which point you have to peel yourself away from it just to unmush your brain and lubricate your eyeballs. Ahhhh, its like a good stretch.

One of many articles I have read on the subject titled ‘Reading Books Instead of Kindles Can Improve Your Memory, Concentration and Good Looks‘ on a sight Mic.com, that I find very interesting, even stated ‘Reading is sexy and makes you a more empathetic person‘. See, I told yah so.

With so many good scientific backed reasons to pick up a paper print book and take your imagination on a nice excursion – plus its just a personal preference for my own enjoyment purposes, a library card only made sense. I don’t have a personal library at home where I can stack books to the ceilings, and I am on a book reading mission right now. I want to continually expand my mind, and gain more writing skills. So you can call me your everyday book worm. With a library card, not only can I go and be immersed in an environment with like minded people, but I can read my little heart out, and hold as many paper print books as I can take. Oh and another perk that I learned upon signage is that they give you free credit to print things off with every month. Ha! Since I don’t have a printer at home at the moment either, this is just über convenient.

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Well there you have it. That is why I made the leap, did something new for myself, and went and got a library card. I was excited as heck too, surely I was one of the most excited women they have ever seen over a new card. So on that note, does anyone have any good book recommendations for me?

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.

3 Steps to take when your locked in an Outhouse

First of all, how in the heck do I end up these situations?! Really now, the most random situations always seem to sneak up on me. It’s either the most incredibly amazing things, or the most ridiculously random. There seems to be no middle ground.

So yes, in case your wondering, I did get locked into a damn outhouse. I have been accustomed to outhouses all over the globe. Or at times shall I say versions of outhouses…. I mean the rotted wooden hole filled caving in ones that I had to use when I was working in the jungle’s of Central and South America were one version, oh and there was that one in very rural Mozambique which was 4 thatched walls, strung together, and inside is no hole in the ground, yet just a pile of boulders, in which you have to step on top of other people’s business and find a spot to do your business – and being the only foreign person these people have ever seen, you have a whole village just stand there watching you go inside and do your thing. Of course I maintained my classy composure, did it like a rockstar(literally rock-star), while smiling and waving at everyone while I entered and then preceded to try my best to hover over these rocks that you would rather not step on. When in Africa…. Sounds like pretty pleasant experiences don’t they?! They definitely weren’t the most glamorous loos that I have ever had the pleasure of using, nor did they smell like a bouquet of roses that some hunk bought me.  Trust me that’s only a couple of many outhouse stories.

Of course I prefer porcelain and marble, however in some circumstances, you just ain’t got that option – and if there is one thing that I am, it’s Adaptable. Whether I enjoy the experience or not, its still an experience that I am alive to feel, so I always maintain a smile, and a good sense of humor to the best of my ability.

So here I was yesterday morning, on my 15 hour drive from Northwest Territories to Calgary, in – 30 c weather, and ridiculously icy road conditions, when nature decided to call.


I should know better then to drink a coffee and a tea directly before hitting the highway, as there isn’t much of anything for the first few hours of the drive.

The first road side turn out with an out house that I came across and I immediately pulled over to try and answer natures call…..

Holy geez! Someone did their business all over the toilet seat rather then inside, and it was -30 so it was frozen to the seat. Let’s just say it wasn’t pretty – and I could darn well hold it and give nature a busy signal.

40 km later, and I reached the NWT/Alberta boarder, where there happened to be another outhouse. I pulled over once again, jumped out, looked inside, and was once again flabbergast at what I saw. Are you freaken kidding me?! Is it the new in thing to use the toilet seat rather then the toilet hole? Is there some sort of stomach bug in the area? So many questions. Yet I couldn’t stand looking at the sight, so I put nature on hold once again and hit the road. You and I both know, nature does not like being put on hold, and she was getting a bit antsy and starting kicking me in the bladder. Ok, ok, I promise not to ingest so many liquids before my road trips in the future.

20 kms down the road again, and I came up to a little place called Indian Cabins, where you get snacks and cheap alcohol in the middle of nowhere.


I seen the frozen out house and instead of going inside to see if they had a nice warm ladies room, ‘as there just wasn’t time for that’, I went straight to the outhouse and answered the call. I mean third times a charm right?


Mother nature was peeved though, and not so charming this time around. As soon as I found my relief and went to vacate the stall, I realized I was locked in. What the!? There is no way this is happening I thought. I rattled the door knob, and to no avail…. I kicked the door a couple times… Wearing my sneaker wedges weren’t exactly the most ideal for the job. I rattled the knob and pushed the door at the same time… Well it didn’t take me long to realize that Nature was obviously pissed at me, and was trying to hold me captive! In such brutally cold conditions, and not having mitts a hat, or proper boots, I could feel frosty starting to bite at my toes.

I dug in my jacket pockets and all I had with me was my car keys, and my bottle of Abundance essential oil…. I started calling for help, knowing that the one person that was inside would never hear me, and in that kind of weather people don’t go outside unless they have too. I also contemplated inhaling my abundance oil, although I wasn’t sure what kind of abundance it would bring me in that moment, but it would never fail to be relaxing.

So on to Plan B, ‘Survival of the fittest’

I am pretty quick thinker, and I do have loads of wilderness first aid and survival training… So, I stayed calm, and rationally assessed my situation. Freaken Petrena…. How do you find yourself in these places. Here are the three steps I took, to free myself from Natures cold ass cage.

Step 1Call for help, I mean even if no one can here you. Call your little heart out. Not to mention it keeps your blood pumping, which keeps you warm, and keeps your vocals singing. Its darn cold outside, and I was about to turn into an ice princess. I have too many ambitions in life for that shit.

Step 2 – Use whatever you have in your pockets as a tool to help you. I realized that on my keys was the car alarm!! I know whomever was inside would never hear me calling for help, but perhaps they would hear the car alarm. So I sounded the high alarm! It would only go off for about 5 minutes at a time before I would have to press the button again, but I wasn’t giving up.

Step 3 – Look at other ways of escaping. Seeing as how my super human strength wasn’t happening when I tried to kick the door down, I looked up and seen there was a bit of openings going over to the other side. It was quite high, but I tried my best to shimmy up. I realized I could probably do it, I would have had to kick off my wedge heels though, and then figure out how I would get down on the other side without breaking a leg on the 6 foot drop. So I decided to wait it out bit longer before that attempt at being in Cirque De Solier.

45 minutes later, I was starting to lose hope and body heat…. But it was in that moment I heard someone come outside, and boot steps coming towards me. It’s always in the moment where you feel like you hit rock bottom that something amazing happens.


A man got to the door, unlocked it, opened it, and said, ‘What are you doing locked in the outhouse?!’

Oh you know, I was just hanging out for some shits and giggles, no big deal. Who doesn’t like a good outhouse sesh? NOT! Clearly I had to pee like a race horse and ran into the first clean looking outhouse I could find. Although sarcasm aside, he was my night in shining armor, and I wanted to through  my arms around him and thank him for saving my life. I didn’t though. I mean I did thank him, but I also kept my classy composure, and hands to myself.

He told me maybe I should go inside and freshen up in the nice warm washroom. Oh Petrena, you silly silly women, you shud have followed your gut in the beginning when it told you to go inside and look for a warm ladies room.

Moral of the story: Always listen to your gut – and when you fail to do that, then, be a survivor in the most awesome fashion possible.  An hour behind schedule, but I was back on the open road of adventure, and I have finally arrived in Calgary!


So here you go, keep this trusty little step-by-step guide handy to get yourself out of being locked in an outhouse, or you can use this guide to not do what I did, and just don’t get yourself locked in a darn outhouse.

Happy road tripping days!

Snow, and the shoes for the occasion.

Winter time entertainment. It come is all forms, shapes and sizes. I love a good ol’ winter adventure sesh, especially when you find yourself amidst a beautiful balmy winter day. Not to mention in the stunning Northwest Territories region of Canada. It’s not uncommon to find temperatures dipping down to -50c in January/February, yes freeze your limbs right off kinda weather, so -22 was feeling like a Arctic summer dream. I always say, once you get past -30c, its just friggen cold, and the number of it no longer matters.

That is where my fire place comes in handy, oh yes, a nice toasty warm fire. I get that bad boy blazing in the winter, so when you come in from the ridiculously cold conditions, and need to thaw your lungs since the air pretty much froze in there – your house is like a oven sent from heaven! I absolutely adore it. It’s a winter pleasure for sure. Every season has its perks, no matter what, you can always make the most of any situation, and this is an example of me looking on the the bright side of any circumstance.

Being a balmy winter day, my friend Krystina and myself decided that we needed to get out and enjoy some time with mother nature and all her winter glory. Gosh, its damn stunning out here in the winter. Sheer winter blanket beauty coating all the tree’s and landscape. So I kicked off my high heels, covered my bare feet and we dawned the best shoes for the wintry occasion, which happen to be none other then, snowshoes, and we hit the trails at the golf course just outside town, in Hay River, NWT.


Literally I hadn’t gone snowshoeing since high school, which was quite awhile ago now…. I mean at the very least it was 16 years since I had a pair on – which made this little excursion extra exciting. Not that snowshoeing is a great level of difficulty, its just a nice, relaxing form of winter exercise.

Once we got out there and got ourselves together, it was GO time! Initially it was feeling cold ass out there with the wind chill. Even through my 3 pairs of socks my toes were feeling frozen, but we trooped on. Knowing that once we got our blood pumping we would warm up.


It really didn’t take long before frozen toe syndrome was a thing of the past.


The trails at the Hay River Golf Course are very well done. Full of snow shoe and cross country skiing tracks.


It’s apparent that these are pretty popular winter sports from all those tracks. We were in awe of the winter wonderland-esque beauty that we were surrounded by. Totally engulfed in it.

 There wasn’t the best path markings, and we did get lost in and amongst it all for awhile, not in a bad way though, in an adventurous way. As any good traveler knows, “It’s not always the destination that’s important, its the journey along the way”. Oh, and we did at one point find our way, or should I say, ‘Ricardo’s Way‘, so we followed the snowy brick road.


It was so peaceful, calm and serene. At many parts the snow was being blown off the branches giving the effect as if it was snowing. There was another area where there were birds chirping, and squirrels playing. It was majestic to say the least.

In the end we covered just shy of 6 km of distance, and killed a few hours, enjoying every moment, stopping to bask in the endless splendor, playing background music(when my phone was actually working), and held up trees….


  Oh, come on now, who doesn’t like to spend some time holding up a pine tree?!

I say when my phone was working because the darn thing kept freezing and shutting off on me….. So I would stick in my shirt and un-thaw it. It’s not as though I have loads down there, so there was plenty of room for it. Worked like a charm I tell yah. Iphones clearly aren’t built to brave arctic winter conditions, but she did well considering. We even had icecycles on our hair and eyelashes.

  Being awesome kept us warm though. It never fails.

We knew we found base again when we came into view of the club house.


Yes we were melting with enthusiastic joy of our accomplishment of the day.


Another afternoon of rocking my little world, and doing so with the epic company of a life long friend. It was a breath of fresh scenic air, and a bonding event with mother nature herself. So if your feeling like a nice chilled little winter adventure, slap on some snow shoes, grab a good friend, and get your asses out there.


I am already preparing for round two before I leave my Northern homeland, this time busting out cross country skis. Let’s put our best foot forward. Happy winter days!

Tunes, drinks, and epic times at Agua Bar

Live tunes, cold drinks, amazing people and an epic atmosphere. Sounds pretty darn awesome doesn’t?! That’s because those things are awesome! Agua Bar in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, is exactly where it’s at if those are things that are up your alley. Agua Bar has it all.

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That’s actually a fish tank in the window, and looks really cool when you are beside it. You know, makes sense as Agua translates in English to Water.

One of my absolute favorite water holes for years now – and for good reason.

Agua has been around for about 11 beautiful years. It makes Palma a better place. Even though Palma is generally ridiculously amazing, Agua is the cherry on top.

Throughout the week they offer lots of various excitement for you to enjoy. Monday’s are flip night, where you can try your luck at a coin toss to see if you can call the throw correctly to nail yourself a beverage on the house. Thursday’s are ladies night, where the ladies can indulge in free wine & cava, from 7 – 10:30. Wine & cava not your thing? Well in that case you can instead receive 50 percent off any other drink your little heart desires. Friday and Sunday are the famous ‘Open mic nights‘, and then there is Charity Saturdays, where the generous, thoughtful and awesome guy’s who run Agua, Rich & Lee, will donate 50 cents from every drink purchased throughout the night to a charity. So you can drink with a cause and not feel guilty about being a party animal.

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When in Palma, I frequent Agua bar on Friday and Sunday nights to take in their open mic nights. There is always some incredible talent to enjoy, and loads of Agua bar locals. Music feeds the soul, and makes my little world go round.

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Why not have a little listen for yourself.

The famous open mic nights are exactly that, so that means they are pretty popular and the place fills up. Everyone wants to either hear or be part of the epic jam sesh’s.

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You could say Agua is almost like a small community, its a place where everyone knows your name, and everyone just happens to be awesome. I am sure you agree that it’s rare and rad to find a bar that’s pretty much rammed with cool peeps. That would be Agua’s magnetism. It attracts exactly what it is. If you are good to the bar, they are just as good to you.

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One of the best things ever is the ‘went for a pee card‘. If for whatever reason you have to leave your drink, all you gotta do is grab a card and pop it on your glass. It works like a freaken charm. Being such a kick ass establishment, its totally legit, and no one tampers with your drink. Not many bars you can say that about now-a-days.

Trust me when I say, no matter what day you go to Agua bar you are always guaranteed to have a damn good time. I have had many endless great times there.

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It has some pretty sweet decor, show casing all the amazing classics all over the walls. The place is warm, inviting, and air conditioned in the summer. Let’s not forget Palma is hot as hell in the summer, so why not go cool down in Agua. Good ol’ Agua, just consistently checking all the boxes. It’s definitely a bar not to be missed in Palma. It will reel you right in – just like it did me. The first time I visited it, magic happened, I felt right at home, and the rest is history.

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Sooo, see yah there this weekend? What are you waiting for?! Whether your there to play or just to listen, it will rock your socks off. Yup, that’s my kinda Jam.

 

 

Eating typically traditional in Palma at La Cueva

One thing to remember when embarking on a dinner mission in Spain – ‘Most restaurants don’t open before 8’. Freaken heck though, most westerner’s don’t like to eat after 8. It can be a tad bit of an adjustment. Seeing as how I am programmed to have dinner quite early in the evening, I always tend to forget this late dinner fact.

My friends and I had dinner plans, and we decided to just wing it – meet up, be spontaneous and just find a place. It just so happened to be about 6 pm, and the streets were quite and most restaurants chained up, dark and lifeless. Yes it was way to darn early. ‘Dang’ we thought, where the heck are we gonna get some chow?!’

Long behold, we came across ‘La Cueva’. With 20 people standing outside(well maybe 10, but in dead streets it looked like 20) we figured there was a good chance it was open. We took a peak inside – and damn straight, it was OPEN! Score! We were in there like flint.

Not before having a photo shoot in front of the door.

From the entrance we had to go down a few stairs(I know from the previous photo you would assume up, BUT, it was down), and enter into the restaurant which is very much like a cool ass little cave. With ‘La Cueva’ translating to ‘The Cave’ in English, it only made sense really.


 I am all about fresh and local ingredients, and they definitely had the fresh part going on. I didn’t have a chance to ask about the local part though.


My eyes were already liking what they were seeing. Although, once menu was in hand, and you are presented with what appears to be loads of delicious plates, it ain’t so darn easy anymore.


Oh geez, what the heck to choose?! How about just one of everything?

OK, ok, that’s excessive, it would be far too much…… So we each just chose 2 tapas each for the table.

It was still way too much in the end, but at least we got to try a bit of everything. They have their system down pat, and are ready to rock with the plates at any given moment. It was very good service. The only thing I did notice was the microwave.


We were a bit shocked at how incredibly fast it came, and not being someone whom uses microwaves myself, it was a small bit daunting, but being as hungry as we all were – we weren’t about to complain, and in reality, its not like they were hiding the fact they use a microwave for some things. Everything was made fresh, and I suppose it was necessary to keep up with the capacity of clients they receive. So really, it is what it is. No biggy what-so-ever.

We opted to choose a different Vino then the one on the table, and instead went for the Jose. L. Ferrer. One of my favorite vineyards in Mallorca . We tested out a bit of everything food wise. From olives and aioli,

onward to, potatoes with aioli, mushrooms, pepper padrons(one of my all time Mallorcan favorites), Mallorcan bread and cheese.



Not to mention, shrimps still sizzling.

Calamari, octopus, and shaved ham.

img_6227 Don’t forget to share – sharing is caring.

The food was all ridiculously good to be honest, and super traditional. If there is one thing I enjoy most in life, it’s taking in as much of the local cultures and traditions where ever in the world I may be. Even when it happens to be in my own Country of Canada.

Just when we thought we were having the time and feed of our lives – in came the live music. My little world would not turn without music, and I am ALL about live music, in any and all forms. So this rocked my darn world.

In came the cavalry.

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 Pucker up princess. They were freaken awesome! And such good sports. Not to mention, I do love the accordion oh so much! I am into the most random things. I also happen to play a few tunes on the harmonica. Bet you didn’t expect that.


My time was running short in Mallorca. Even though I am never gone that long, I like to end my time here with the most Mallorcan experiences as possible. Considering we thought we were outta luck unless we waited for places to open – we were pleasantly surprised. A feast for a king – a hungry king at that. This little gem of a restaurant was absolutely great, and I would go back to ‘La Cueva‘ in a heart beat.

Hungry for some traditional tapa’s before 8 pm? Well meet me at La Cueva.