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?

My Brand Spanken New You Tube Channel

I have been contemplating starting a YouTube channel for quite some time now – and I finally decided to put that thought into action. As much as I love writing about my awesome experiences, I also love telling them! So I figured if I added video blogs to this, then you all get the best of both worlds, not to mention you can really get to know me a lot better. The two blogs will just go hand in hand.

So please do have a little peak at my intro video……

 

I am super excited about this new venture and whats to come. Stayed tuned! And in the mean time, please do Subscribe, Like, Share, or whatever you feel really.

Cheers to being your most awesome self!

How to Abseil Like A Solo Rockstar Down Table Mountain

Sometimes that little nagging feeling for a good adrenaline rush get’s the better of you. Especially so when you wake up in Cape Town, South Africa. In reality, being there was pretty surreal, so I wanted to do something that made me feel damn well alive and ready to absorb my new surroundings to the max. No matter how long or how far I travel, the surreal feeling never fades. Life is just so darn precious, so I am always grateful for all new experiences. South Africa is known for it’s adrenaline activities, so it kind of is a no brainier.

I had just flown across the world to begin my solo trip to cross Africa, and before jet leg could even kick in, I was ready for action. Alright, flying business class the whole way did make for a pretty comfortable travel experience. I woke up and knew I wanted to do something that would provide a good adrenaline kick, I just wasn’t sure just what yet. So I decided to begin the day with a little mission to Table Mountain.

The majestic beauty of Cape Town and the whole surroundings – was rocking my freaken world.

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It was more beautiful then I could have imagined. It didn’t take much for me to instantly fall in love with South Africa. In the midst of running around the top of the mountain and checking things out, I came across some abseiling. I stood and watched the events taking place for a bit to see if it was the something I was looking for to provide that adrenaline rush for the day. Watching people step off the side of the cliff at 1000 meters above sea level, and having never experienced it before, definitely was looking like it was what I was on the hunt for.

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I watched as people went down in pairs, and if they rocked up alone, they would then get paired up with someone. So I figured what the heck, I am going to go sign up! When I got down to the ledge where you get roped up and sent on your abseiling way, there was only myself, and a couple behind me. ‘Ok, ok, I am sure one of the guys that work it will probably come with me’ I thought.

‘Who’s going to go first the guy asked?’ I turned around and looked at the couple, whom shook their heads no. So then I looked back at the guy and said, ‘I suppose I will’.

He then responded, ‘Well you know your going alone right?!’ Not being the type of person to act scared, I confidently responded, ‘yup’, even though I was really freaken out on the inside. ‘Alone?! Are you friggen kidding me?!’

Oh man Petrena, what the heck did you get yourself into?! I was questioning. You got this though! You can rock it. After traveling the globe like a solo rock star, I have mastered the art of self talk. Once I was roped up and ready for action, the first step was for me to lean back over the edge, stand literally on it, and put my arms out.

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Clearly I could still hold it together to make it look like I wasn’t nervous at all. That, and let’s not forget the fact that I was doing this damn thing alone. All I know how to do in life though, is be awesome, no matter what situation I am in. At least that is what I keep telling myself.

Off I went, one step at a time, shaking like a mofo, staring straight at the wall in front of me. Give a little rope, take another step. I had my rhythm down.  As I was making my way, one of the guys at the top shouted down to me, ‘Enjoy the surprise halfway down!’.

Dang, if I wasn’t so focused I may have responded. I was definitely thinking, ‘Oh shit, a surprise like that is not always a good thing.’ I kept on going though, I mean there really wasn’t any backing out at that point. After going a ways down, I knew it was time to stop, take a moment to look around, and take my eyes off the darn wall. I didn’t come this far to not take in the whole experience. Turning my head to take a glance, I suddenly went from feeling so big, to the size of an ant.

It was amazing to see the massive beauty that was surrounding me, and insane that I was hanging in the midst of it all. You are surrounded by some pretty spectacular sights from the 12 Apostles, to Camps Bay, the Atlantic Seaboard, and the beautiful blue ocean.

As I looked over at the rope beside me, I realized just how totally alone I was, on a cliff, 1000 meters in the air, and with no one to say ‘Holy shit this is crazy’ too. But you better believe I said it to myself! Numerous times. Pretty much over and over again.

Long behold, half way down, the surprise happened- the wall disappeared. My initial reaction was to pump the rope as fast as I possibly could and get it over with. Then on second thought, I decided to stop myself with that good ol’ pep talk, ‘Slow down Petrena, your safe and you need to take in this moment to the fullest’. Works every time, a little ‘me time’ talk.

Once I got to the bottom of the portion that you abseil down there was a guy waiting for me – my legs touched the ground, and I could barely stand on them from all the adrenaline pumping through. It was a surge of pure incredible endorphin’s. It was like nothing I had experienced. I was loving life! As per usual.

At the end you have to hike back up to the top where you catch the gondola back down to the base of the mountain. I was on fire the whole way up, and the whole darn day after it all. The whole experience was awesome, and I totally recommend it if you find yourself in Cape Town and on Table Mountain looking for a little adrenaline fix.

So to sum it up, if you want to abseil like a solo rockstar down table mountain, all you gotta do is: Suck it up, remind yourself to just be awesome, and go for it! Doing it alone absolutely upped the surge of it all. Why the heck not?!

It’s amazing how every adrenaline sport I have done, always provides its own unique adrenaline rush. This was by far one of my faves. I can honestly say that I rocked that one in the most awesome fashion I knew how.  Come to think of it, adventure and being awesome abroad is calling my name! I can’t help that I just love it so darn much.

Shakey Graves, The Opening Act I Bought A Concert Ticket For

Have you ever in your life bought a concert ticket solely to see the opening act? Well neither had I until Shakey Graves just paid a visit to Calgary. He was here to open for City And Colour, whom also are totally awesome, but for me, they just ain’t Shakey.

You could almost say Shakey Graves was the musical ambiance of my summer last year(2015), he was always there in the background while I was having one of the best summers of my life. I spent it back home up in Northwest Territories, on my home soil, and home turf. I lucked out and had the best room mate EVER, Kyla. I decided to get a room mate just for fun, and it turned out to be better then I could have ever imagined.

Literally all we did was love life, laugh all damn day, listen to Shakey Graves relentlessly, and be awesome. For the whole darn summer. It was just as epic as it sounds – and yes, also a rarety to find people that you do those things so naturally with.

Shakey was there with us from the start of every day, right from the crack of dawn all the at till dusk.

And for dining on the deck.

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Daily wine sessions.

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Yes, I believe we drank more wine then water last summer. Trust me, my liver is reading this and thinking…..’Uh, yah you did. Tisk tisk. Took me awhile to bounce back.


Sorry liver, you really did take it like a rock star, and I did do a herbal liver cleanse just for you after it all.

Shakey was also there with us for our barn party.

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Shakey was even playing in the background when I revived a tired Bee with sugar water.

11427217_10153339985721063_4694045647920348824_n Trust me, I thought the Bee was a goner, but with some good beats and sugar, he sprang back to action.

Shakey was the star of every show. Ok, obviously we switched up the tunes every once and awhile – overkilling anything is never a good thing.

His toe tappin’ beats just made every moment of every situation that much better. By the end of if all we had a mission. A mission to make sure that we get to see Shakey LIVE. Unfortunately Spain beckoned me back last summer before we had a chance to see him. This time around, there was nothing stopping us!

I made sure to get floor seats so we could have the best view possible. Backstage passes would have been awesome, but that can wait for another time.

Excitement was high the day of the concert, almost on the verge of stressful high. As if we thought something may go horribly wrong and we wouldn’t make the show, or perhaps Shakey would come down with laryngitis and lose his voice.

Clearly we had no choice but to turn to wine to calm our nerves.


The view also helped the ol’ nerves immensely.

All went exactly how we anticipated. We got there in one piece, with a bit of a stagger, and the show was a GO.


From the minute he came out and starting singing his sweet songs, we were in AWE.



He was amazing live. Like you know how sometimes you see artist’s live, and they just don’t sound the same as on recording, and it’s a bit of a let down. Well this was the opposite. He sounded even freaken better! Music to our ears. Literally.


He played for nearly an hour, but it just wasn’t long enough. We could have listened to him all damn night. He rocked our little worlds, played all of our fave songs from his ‘And the war came’ album, and brought us straight back to our summer 2015, one of the best of our lives.


He was so good we decided there is no other way then to attend his concert in Texas when he is back there. Nothing like a home turf experience. Not only that, we were gutted he wasn’t selling any shirts at this concert. We want shirts! Well, and backstage passes, but we will settle for shirts.

In case you are wondering, we did totally enjoy the performance by City And Colour after Shakey was done his jam too. We all know they are awesome. But! Buying those tickets to see Shakey Graves, even if it was only an opening act – was worth every darn penny! I love live music and jam sessions, but it’s not so important to me to get to the biggest stars concerts, I appreciate talent from all walks of life. Shakey however was an exception. Oh and wait! Dolly Parton too, she is my childhood idol, she is coming here in September, you better believe I am sticking around Canada for that. Heck yes to being awesome, whatever that may be you- I say do it!

 

Palette Adventures in Golden, BC

Adventure and fine dining. Two things that go together like me and wine. Meant to be. One of my absolute favorite destinations ever, is Golden, British Columbia. Literally, I just love that place. The energy there is fantastic – as well as the natural charm. With the green river flowing through it, the majestic mountains surrounding, and the small quaint size of it. I just cant get enough.

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Golden has loads of activities on offer from, cycling, hiking, white water rafting, paragliding, and so on and so forth, I intend on spending quite a bit of time around there this summer. Endless excitement for my little adventure loving heart.

This time around, it was a weekend road trip with one of my long time gal pals.

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Even though it was raining, it didn’t stop us. I am a damn trooper, it takes a lot more then that to stop this gal. There is nothing like hitting the open road, cranking your tunes, and laughing with one of your nearest and dearest. It’s always a nice change for myself as I do tend to do a sufficient amount of solo travel. It’s not my fault I like spontaneous adventures, and I don’t always have the time to wait for anyone else to join. Besides, ‘me time‘ rocks too!

Obviously aside from physical activities, Golden does offer a fine little culinary scene. One I also need to explore more of. I ever so graciously received a gift certificate from Tourism Golden for The Island Restaurant, an establishment in which I had not yet had the pleasure of being acquainted with. I love trying new things! Clearly. I think that goes without saying.

The Island Restaurant is a beautiful log building, and the location was prime with a patio that was over looking the river. It has such a warm and inviting atmosphere that draws you right in.

Mother nature decided to be a gem and hold up on the rain for us so we could enjoy the splendid patio ambiance.


Yes, I was already in my happy place with the way things were progressing – and it was about to get a whole lot happier when the vino started flowing. Anyone who know’s me, know’s that wine is a hobby of mine. It’s an art, one that I like to enjoy.

Before I decided on the bottle, we were offered a sample. A generous one at that. She said these two mixed together would taste the equivalent of Summers night. So off I went to experience it.


Wait it was a bit difficult, so I tried another route.


Yup, sold! Pretty darn delicious. Bring on the Summers Night.

Clearly I am a total class act, 100% of the time.

The service was top notch! Super charismatic, and above and beyond. Right from the get go.

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We were having the best time ever. Having an awesome person taking care of you, always takes the experience way up as well!

Since you can’t live on Vino alone, it was time to begin our culinary journey.

I decided to try the Elk for my Entree. I like to keep things as local as possible no matter where in the world I am, so I figured you can’t get much more local then Elk. It was served as an Elk patty plated on top of rosti potatoes and roasted vegetables.


With a side of salad, and a pastry stuffed with cheese.

I love salad!! 

The Elk had a very interesting flavor to it. I mean the flavoring they added was great, but the meat itself has quite a different taste to me. I am not sure I would be ordering Elk myself again anytime soon. However, everything else I had was ridiculously good.

Natasha went for the Mozzarella & Grape Quasadilla.


She also loved hers, and couldn’t resist in finishing every last bit.

Clearly we had to top it off with dessert, and went for the Apple pie. Freshly baked and perfectly delicious. Party in my mouth. Ok, that was the wine.

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I can tell you one thing, if you come hungry, you absolutely will not be leaving hungry. They take very good care of that. Perhaps I should have worn sweat pants…..

I was also treated to a tour by the chef. I always love a behind the scenes look at things. We even hung out with the owner for a bit.


The whole experience was so much fun, it was hard to leave. ‘No, I don’t want to go!’

Although I did leave in the end, and I know one thing for a fact, well two things actually. Firstly, I am going to be back in Golden in no time. Secondly, I will be visiting The Island Restaurant again. It has the view, the ambiance, the service, and the cuisine. Everything you could ever ask for in a culinary experience. When you wake up in the Golden area, don’t miss out on the chance to heighten all your senses.

A ‘FashionBeautyPurpose’ Event By Studio15

Fashion, women empowerment, humanitarian work and social conscience. They are all things that speak straight to my heart. So does wine, but that’s a whole other story.

Recently I had the pleasure of attending a fashion event here in Calgary put on by an fashion forward online boutique shop based out of New York called Studio 15. The event was held at 80th & Ivory on trendy 17th avenue.

A chic location to showcase some very chic fashion, and yes, in case you were wondering, there was wine there too. Clearly, I had to indulge in a vino. Twist my little wine loving arm why don’t you?!

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I love the fun, chic and classy feel of every piece. They are all so versatile and can be worn on an everyday bases, whether you are looking to glam it up, or even just keep it tame – these outfits can suit any occasion. Studio15 has plenty must have pieces for every fashionista that will make sure you are dressed to kill no matter what the occasion.

The FashionBeautyPurpose event was so well put together, and had lots of fun little perks added to it.

There wasn’t solely fashion to be appreciated at the event, you could also see the lovely Kristen to get some Rodan & Fields products, specified to your skin type to get a radiant glow on. Chic fashion and glowing skin obviously compliment each other.

When I learned that the philosophy of Studio 15 was to not only create high quality fashion that is affordable to women from all walks of life, but also to give back by donating a portion of every sale to help fund women entrepreneurs in Uganda in starting their own business – my attention was instantly perked.

Collaborating with Kleos Microfinancing Group, Studio 15 has built a strong endeavor of philanthropy in fashion.

Upon meeting Jia Wertz ,the owner and founder of Studio 15, I was enamored and beyond impressed by her fashion, vision, character, and all that she stands for.

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Born in Africa, and growing up in Calgary, now based in New York, she has some very incredible history and experiences.

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Jia has had a life long love affair with fashion beginning about as soon as she could put one foot in front of the other. She is not only a designer, but a fashion writer and photographer, whom spent 16 very successful years having a career in corporate fashion for well known brands such as Aldo and Bebe.

After an inspiring trip to Gulu, Uganda, along side Kleos where she volunteered in helping local women develop sustainable businesses, Jia decided it was time to break away and begin her own venture, then seeing her vision come to fruition with Studio 15. She loves giving back, just as much as she loves fashion, and her soul wanted to combine the two passions.

Africa has been a large part of my life, I have spend almost 2.5 incredible years of my life in Africa. The first time visiting I completed over a year solo trip from South Africa to Egypt on local buses, and spending a couple of those months in Uganda, I also returned to Africa a second time for another year, it is an extremely special place to me. Africa changed my life forever. So the fact that we shared this, and the love of philanthropy, ignited my fire inside.

Not only did I love this little event, I loved even more learning about Jia, and what Studio15 stands for. Feeling beautiful in my apparel, and sharing the gift of success with other women whom wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity – is a winning combination if you ask me.

As Studio15 would say, ‘Giving back is always in style’.

Top 3 Sights To See In A Day At Yoho & Banff National Parks

Road trips are one of the best past times of mine. They can give that feeling of spontaneity and adventure that our souls yearn for. Being in Calgary at the moment, and so close to Yoho & Banff National parks, it only makes sense to get out there and enjoy them as much as possible. Both parks offer unparalleled beauty. With lush forests, you have plenty of opportunity to see wildlife, while also enjoying the mountains, and stunning scenic views all around you. When you stop outside of your vehicle you get the intoxicating aroma of pure nature. It’s all nothing less than absolutely wonderful. Of course I prefer taking my time on my adventures, but sometimes you just ain’t got it.

Fortunately, if you only have a day to drive through the Yoho & Banff National parks, you can see a few sights that will be hard to compare to, and in a leisurely fashion. It is also quite easy to keep it inexpensive. You will need your park pass for the day, which is about $10 per person, gas in your car, and snacks if you don’t want to eat out. Fancy a picnic surrounded by raw nature?! Well here is your chance. Just be sure to clean up after yourself so you don’t attract or harm animals and their delicate eco-systems. Being out in nature is my happy place. That’s for darn sure.

So if you are taking a day to cruise through these stunning parks, and want to see some incredible sights, then here are my top 3 picks.

1 – Emerald Lake

Located in BC in the Yoho National Park, about 10 kms from the town of Field, you will find the stunning and pristine Emerald Lake.

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It’s surrounded by some of the most impressive peaks that the Rockies have on offer.

When the sun is shining, the lake lights up and becomes a bright emerald green(hence the name). Here you can canoe, hike, cross country ski, camp, picnic, or stay in a lodge and enjoy the pristine surroundings with that special someone if you want a romantic getaway. It is a great place to spot wildlife, and if your partial to a cold dip, then a chilly swim may be right up your alley.

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You can even just sit and lose yourself while taking it all in.

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There is a restaurant with a great little patio, and all the rental amenities that you could need.

2016-05-23 001 015 There is no cell service so the pay phone really does come in handy. It’s great and refreshing to disconnect from the world sometimes.


I love this place, its absolutely not to be missed.

2. Takakkaw Falls

Located again in Yoho National Park,  13 kms off the Trans Canada Highway at the end of Yoho valley road, not far off from Emerald Lake actually, you will find the awe inspiring Takakkaw Falls.

IMG_2868Having a free fall of 254 meters(same height as the bungy jump I did in South Africa), they stand to be one of the highest waterfalls in Canada.

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You can walk right up close to them, and feel the powerful energy, and super wet mist. Something about waterfalls is so majestic. They feel so raw, and fierce. Especially waterfalls of this measure. When you get so close to them, you can truly feel their power. There is also a campground right in the area if you fancy a sleepover. What ever the case may be, if you want to be pounding of the falls hitting the earth, and get drenched in mist, then this is a must see.

While you are in the area, I highly recommend to stop and hug a tree. Trust me, it’s good for you.

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3. Peyto Lake

Located on the Alberta side in Banff National Park near to Lake Louise, about 25 kms towards Jasper, and not a far drive away at all from the Emerald Lake and Takakkaw Falls, you will find one of the most magical places I have ever seen in my life. Peyto Lake.

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I had no idea what to expect when I first got there, I just knew I was told I had to go. With a short hike up the snowy peaks to the Bow summit where you get the best view, there she was, in all her glory.

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Due to the large amounts of glacier rock flour that flow into the lake, it is the suspended rock particles that give the lake its bright turquoise color. With that and the surrounding mountain peaks, it is a grand feast for the eyes. I could sit there all darn day and just bask in it.


Each one of these places are so unbelievably amazing, they will continue to blow you away one by one. If you want a day of epic proportion, and you just need  break away from it all and feel mother nature at her absolute finest, or perhaps your only in the area for a very short period of time, then be sure to check each of these destinations off your bucket list. After appreciating these three enchanting places you will feel on a natural high, that will ignite that fire deep inside yours soul.

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?