How Solo Travel Changed My Life

In the begining of my traveling days, I never thought I would turn into a full fledge solo traveler and take the term ‘the world is your oyster’ to such great lengths that it became my lifestyle.

As I write this I am on a solo trip in Spain. Last year I did participate in my first group trip in about 10 years, and then of course in true Petrena fashion, after the group trip, I was off on my solo adventures once again. Previously to all of this, I backpacked all around Central and South America, and completed a solo trip across Africa, from South Africa to Egypt, carrying a portable massage table. As much as I love traveling with people, I also love traveling alone for so many reasons. Solo travel enriched my life in countless ways.

My passion for travel and adventure also has me incredibly excited for this travel event coming up in Calgary on March 19th, 2020, hosted by Nomad Junkies called #Nomadtalks, showcasing and inspiring others like you to travel further, longer.

It got me thinking of the ways solo travel have impacted my life.

1. Pushed Me Into Growth

There is nothing like showing up to a country that you know nothing about, do not speak the language and are not familiar with the culture. It is exciting, nerve wracking, at times mentally exhausting, and the best way to uplevel your mindset in a very short period of time. You are in charge of navigating, communicating, keeping yourself safe and also finding the most epic adventures that the destination has to offer. Your intuition will become sharper and shaper as you continue to use its guidance to get you places. You will be challenged in so many ways, and suddenly the comforts of home are not an option. Through it all you, you will gain massive leadership skills, and I mean leadership of self. Which is priceless, as you can not be a great leader of others if you are not first a great leader of self.

2. Got To Know Myself Very Deeply

The best way to get to know yourself is to actually spend time with just yourself. Put yourself in new and foreign situations and you really start to see what makes you react and also what makes you tic. You have plenty of time to just be in your head and in your thoughts. You begin to discover things about yourself that you never knew, or perhaps forgot about since your early days. Passions new and old will arise. It is almost as if epiphany after epiphany happens. You return far more grounded in yourself, your values and who you are then you could have ever imagined. For this relationship with myself, I am forever grateful to my solo travel experiences.

3. More Connected With People As A Whole

This for me was so amazing. There was countless times where I have been in very remote places, and also very metropolitan places that I do not speak the language, and they also do not speak my language. Yet, through alot of charades, broken languages and at times frusteration as we had so much we wanted to say, we were still able to communicate. I formed deep bonds with people all over the globe not speaking the same language at all. Nowadays things are even easier as we have google translate. Last year when I was solo in Zanzibar, I met another solo female traveler from Russia who didn’t speak a word of English, and my Russian is also non-existent. Thanks to google translate we had the best time and lots of endless laughs. Picture the two of us having a cocktail at the bar and passing a phone back and forth cracking up. My biggest lesson in this respect is that no matter where we are in the world, people are people. We can be very different in values and beliefs, but at the end of the day we are all the same. When you realize that, you can connect with virtually anyone, and that is a beautiful feeling.

4. Greater Appreciation For The World

Unless we get out from our little bubble, we will never see all the endless beautiful and amazing things this world has to discover. Alot of times we can get stuck under the impression that the world is a very scary place, so we play it extra safe and don’t venture off too far. For myself, the further I have gone the further I want to go and the more beauty I find, the more beauty I want to discover. Of course there are dangers, and we must use our wits about things, but we should never let fear take over and stop us from discovering all of lifes splendors.

I have had the pleasure of staying with locals in the townships of South Africa, to rural villages across the continent and likewise in Central and South America. Places where most other travelers won’t go because they are told never to visit there unless you are on a tour. I prefer getting the real experience, so in my solo traveling history I have always made friends with locals and families who invited me to come and stay. When you are there with locals from the community, you are always well taken care of. Many times people endlessly thanked me for coming as that never happens. I have gained such an apprecation for everything this world has to offer. There is so much heart opening beauty.

5. Proved To Me That The Only Cure For The Travel Bug Is To Travel More

Those of you who have gotten biten by it know – the travel bug is relentless. There is no real cure. You can simply put it into hibernation for a bit by giving it a taste of what it loves so much. I feel like I was born with the travel bug, it was engrained in my being. At times it calms down and I settle for awhile, but that never lasts forever as when he doesn’t get his travel fix he begins to awaken from his slumber demanding some adventure. The travel bugs appetite is insatiable. Of course I have also grown to love my travel bug, so I like to be a good host. I mean what else can I do, he seems to be with me for life. Plus, the cure also happens to be what sets my soul on fire. Why work against some things, when it is so much easier to work with them.

Has solo travel been something that you want to discover for yourself as well?

Something I didn’t have when I began my global travel was tools. Tools and knowledge that would have made the whole process even more smooth. I just jumped right in and went for it, which is also great. I love learning as I go, but it is even better to have some mental preperation and also know your options.

If you dream of traveling for 6 months or longer, then knowing your options and how to make it happen, will help immensely. If you are interested in learning more about the nomadic lifestyle then I definetely suggest checking the #Nomadtalks event that will be happening in Calgary. Nomad Junkies will be hosting their first ever event in Western Canada presented by International Experience Canada, and in partnership with Tourisme Alberta on March 19th. I am super excited to also announce that I will be a guest speaker at the event.

Tickets are available here.

I will also be hosting a giveaway on my facebook page, so go give that a follow if you want to be kept upto date on how to win your seats!

The event will consist of three talks, all of them travel related, and all full of amazing tools to get you on your way to treking the globe.

The first talk will be by David Xiao of Trailing Adventures. His talk is ‘Hiking from Mexico to Canada: Everything You Need to Know to Trek the Pacific Crest Trail‘. David is an adventure blogger and has great inspiration to share. This is an amazing trek that I would even love to do one day. I am very excited to learn about this.

The second talk will be by Safia & Emilie from Nomad Junkies. Their talk is ‘Work Your Way Around the World: How to Make the Most of Your Working Holiday Visa‘. Being the founders of Nomad Junkies, these two ladies have done loads of traveling and have a wealth of knowledge about how to work and travel. Working holiday visa’s are amazing. I have had one myself before. It is such a great way to travel further, longer. So if that is what you want, this talk will be for you.

The third talk will be by none other then myself! My talk is ‘ The Ultimate Guide to Solo Travel: Wild Stories from a Woman Who Travelled the World‘. Solo travel is my jam. I have had some insane and also completely magical experiences. I have learnt the right and wrong way to do things, and I am excited to share all the knowledge I have gained on my global adventures.

The MC for the event is Rudy Desjardins of Radio-Canada’s Le Cafe Show.

There is an incredible giveaway too!

You could win a 1 week surf & yoga retreat in El Transito, Nicaragua.

The winner will be randomly picked on stage at the event on March 19th. So get your ticket!!

See you there!

Massive thank you to Nomadjunkies for collaborating on this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own and I share from personal experience.

Time to pack our bags!

The Must-See Sights When Fall Makes A Brief Appearance In Calgary

Fall is such a spectacular time of year. With the leaves changing to hues of yellow, orange and red. The cooler crisp temperatures meaning more layers of style – which is always exciting. Plus Calgary’s skyline looks pretty picturesque from all of its colourful angles.

The only problem with fall is that it is far too short. It always feels that no sooner does it arrive, does it then finish. I make it a point to always be very mindful to get out and take it all in while I can. Especially being in Calgary, and knowing potentially fall will literally only make a peek-a-boo appearance.

The great thing about the city of Calgary is there are plenty of stunning spots to enjoy. It is so easy to take a leisurely stroll in the various areas of the city only to find yourself to get lost in it all and have suddenly spent the better portion of the day basking in its ambiance.

It is also very easy to take a couple short drives in a day to enjoy plenty of Calgary’s breathtaking beauty all in one go.

A great place to start is up at Cresent Heights. The view is spectacular.

You can park your car there for up to two hours, and then, take the stairs down, cross the bridge over the Bow River, where I highly suggest you stop for a moment to appreciate its beauty.

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Then you can head straight into Prince’s Island Park.

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I absolutely love Prince’s Island Park.

It has such various charming factors to it, and when you are strolling through you suddenly no longer feel you are in the middle of a city. Rather you are transferred to a magical little naturistic getaway.

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The architectural masterpiece the Peace Bridge is a short walk through Prince’s Island Park.

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It was designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. Perhaps the fact that he is Spanish makes me a bit bias as to my grand appreciation for it. Spain is my other home.

That aside, it is a nice bridge to meander across.

While you are admiring bridges here in the city. It is also an easy and short trip to East Village, where there is another unique bridge surrounded by bike paths for you to cross.

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Climbing mountains and crossing bridges, that is what we do in life. Metaphorically speaking.

So go on then, what are you waiting for? Cross a few bridges in Calgary. You will not be disappointed.

From there it truly is only proper that you end the adventures by putting a cherry on top of your sightseeing day.

Or perhaps I should say a saddle. I mean this is Cowtown we are talking about.

Just another short jaunt from East village you will find yourself in the historic area of Inglewood. Where you will also easily find Scotsman’s Hill.

Here you get an unbelievable view of the Saddledome and Stampede Park, not to mention another angle to the shimmery city line.

The feeling up there is lush and serene. A whole mix of incredible things.

This is an extraordinary day of fall sights to take in, in Calgary. Believe me, it was a feast for the eyes the whole time.

Now let’s get back to the point about taking it in while you can. While it lasts. Within 24 hours of this day, winter arrived. With bountiful and colourful leaves still on the trees and fall begging to stay around longer. The snow just couldn’t resist flying.

It is amazing, in two days we experienced two seasons. Mother nature just loves pulling fast ones on everyone here in Calgary.

What can I say? Rain or shine, fall or winter – this city is a stunner.

A Day At The Derby – Packwood Grand

Derby’s and the idea of a derby just totally exudes class. At least to me, that is. I always see photos of my friends in England attending various derby’s and it has always seemed so appealing to me. The hats(fascinators), the dresses, the bubbly. After all, my blog wouldn’t be ‘Barefoot & High Heeled’ if I never donned some heels every now and then. I do love a reason to dress up!

Here in Calgary, Alberta, there is a yearly derby that began approximately 5 years ago. It is called Packwood Grand and is held at the Century Downs Racetrack & Casino. A classy event such as this in Calgary?! My attention was peaked a few years ago when I first caught wind of it. So, on the radar, it went!

This year as I am in Calgary, the time had come to attend.

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Of course, VIP was the only way to go, and so was taking the coach straight from downtown to the event.

Yes, I can honestly say, that is the first time in my life I have been on a bus that was totally full of people in their classy derby attire.

Upon arrival, it was all about the red carpet. There were a few different backdrops to choose from, and it felt fabulous to get our poses on.

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After the red carpet, we strolled across the track over to the VIP section where it was all about Veuve champagne, horse betting, and appreciating the endless amazing fashion.

The sun was beaming down, yet it did not feel unbearably hot, which was amazing! There would not have been anything worse than having all my hard work melt off of me in the scorching sun. The sweaty, shiny look – super attractive.

It was an afternoon event, from 1 – 6pm and the whole afternoon flew by! It was way too much fun. Mingling, laughing, sipping on classy cocktails and doing a bit of dabbling in some bets while gentlemen in their charming suits smoked cigars. It was as though I was transported to a totally different time and place.

I absolutely have a new found love for attending Derby’s. I was very impressed with Packwood Grand and if I happen to be in Calgary next year, you can bet I will attend this event again.

A Divine Dining Experience At One18Empire

Chic atmosphere, fine food, fab service, and beverages the entice the taste buds to wake up. That is exactly what you will find at Calgary’s One18Empire, a whiskey inspired bar and restaurant. With a selection of over 100 whiskeys, you could spend plenty of time sipping your little heart out. I do enjoy sipping on a fine whiskey myself. The focal point of their local inspired fare is shareable plates. The whole concept really intrigued me, so I had to go and experience it for myself.

Located in the Marriot Hotel downtown, One18Empire’s ambiance is very inviting.


The name is derived from where it was located on the original historic Atlantic Avenue in the early 1900’s known then as the Grand Central Hotel. There was a time the hotel nearly blew up way back when an old miner shoveled dynamite in the furnace. They now have a drink named after the event called ‘Near Miss‘.  A perfect place to unwind after work full of rich Calgary history.

Our server for the evening was Meredith, she was awesome from the get go. I was digging the uniforms which were that of workshop apparel too, and also the trays they use.

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Very fashionable workshop apparel I might add.

We got right in there with some Bourbon to start things off. The Black Walnut Old Fashioned – their signature cocktail. Which also happens to be one of the worlds first written down recipes.  I was instantly enamored by the large tennis size ball of ice in my glass. Not gonna lie, the ice sphere was pretty darn cool.

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Apparently it is not just for show either. It also has a purpose as I was informed. The ice melts slowly because of its shape and size, so that it maintains your drink at the perfect temperature while very minimally changing the taste, so as to keep it good until the last drop. That it was!! Delicious. I could get used to sipping on that.

My tastebuds were awakened, and seeing as how One18Empire’s focus is on shareable plates, we dug right into a charcuterie board.  I do love a good charcuterie board, it is a common staple back in Spain, so it almost brought me back home to Mallorca for a moment. I was very impressed with their personal touches on the board consisting of house made marmalade, house made pickles, and house made mustard. Those details always make a difference.

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Accompanied with that fine feast was the simple beet salad.

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Don’t let the name fool you, that salad was not so simple, it was more like divine.

With a chilled bottle of Reisling on the go, and even though we were feeling quite stuffed from the first course, we still went on to tuck into a couple of mains. Seeing as how we were already in sharing mode, we thought it best to stay on that train and choose a main each for the both of us to try.

We decided on the Seared duck breast and the Alberta grass fed petite tender .

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I would have to say my favorite of the two was the tenderloin, it was superb.

 

This was absolutely a divine experience, and we were provided with ample history of One18Empire by our knowledgeable and top notch server Meredith, her bubbly personality, and attentive service really made the experience a memorable one.

Unfortunately we didn’t do any whiskey sampling, or see the whole restaurant, but that is just more reason to go back sooner rather then later – and I absolutely will be going back for an extended experience. One18Empire, a historical sensory filled culinary journey not to be missed.

A Culinary Journey At The Workshop In YYC

Wining and dining is one of my favorite past times. A great group of friends having endless laughs and good chat while sharing fine food, and sipping on superb wine in a classy atmosphere. What culinary dreams are made of. The culinary scene in Calgary is pretty impressive and I am always on the hunt for unique places that stand out from the rest.

Recently I had the supreme pleasure of enjoying an incredible culinary journey at the WorkshopLocated in the heart of downtown Calgary right inside the Theater Junction Grand, boasting the perfect combination of the Arts Culture as well as Culinary Culture – it is a pure gem.


I love the feeling of walking into a theater, we all know it. It is a feeling of excitement, and cultural history, beckoning you inside with its antique feel. Yes, I was absolutely already diggin the feel of it when I reached the front doors.


The restaurant is very open and airy, split on either side of the entrance to the actual theater.

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With the decor being that of an actual workshop – and a classy one at that. Building things was a hobby of mine growing up, so the workshop feel was quite appealing to me.

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We were warmly welcomed and upon being seated we were then given a great in depth briefing about the history of the place.

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I was amazed to learn that the theater itself was built in 1912, being now just over 100 years old. At the time the theater was considered the biggest and best in the Pacific Northwest. It is now a place where art can be expressed in multiple forms, from all areas of life. The Workshop and the Theater are two separate outfits, yet combine perfectly as one.

We clearly got into the wine from the get go. There is no messing around when it comes to myself and my love of wine.


I decided on a bottle of French Rose. I do love a good Rose!

Red, white, rose, who am I to judge really?! I love them all. Particularly Rose from French vineyards, however I have enjoyed some very fine Rose’s from North America now as well. Three of us arrived prior to everyone else, and being famished, we just ‘had’ to get right in there with some sort of snack to get us going. I suppose the excitement was also getting the better of us.

Because of the high recommendation given to us, we chose the Fried Cauliflower with garlic, green olive and Harissa aoili.  As well as the Seared Scallop with pickled potato, pork cheek, charred radish and serrano broth.

 

Wow, it was truly delicious!! I love vegetables, and particularly cauliflower, and with the aoili(which we eat alot of in Spain), it was the perfect compliment. Seriously ridiculous. The scallop was perfectly flavored and melted in your mouth like butter.

So far this culinary journey was off to a dreamy start.

Literally it was so darn good we had to order seconds of the cauliflower. Along side some Albacore tuna poke and the Bulgogi beef tartare.

Both beautifully presented and flavored, I myself however was more partial to the Tuna. I love fish though.

The service was impeccable, and the wine was flowing like a river. Just the way we like it.

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Not only were we being provided with top notch service, we were also being entertained as heck by our server. He really was amazing.

I was pretty stuffed from all those appetizers we indulged in, so for the main, I shared an order of  the Parmesan Cream Gnocci and the Spicy Maple Brussel Sprouts. Two of my absolute favorite foods on this planet. img_5959

I loved every bite. Just when you thought the food couldn’t get better – it then it got better.

The others shared the BBQ pork loin and Pork Belly, accompanied with some cumin roasted yam.

img_5962 With the amount of ‘this is so good’ that was coming out of their mouths, I was pretty certain that they were enjoying tantalizing their taste buds. You can see the effort and taste the passion that goes into every dish there.

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Long behold just when we thought we were at capacity, dessert arrived, and so did the Chef.

We were treated to their three house made desserts. Fallen chocolate souffle with cherry compote, hazelnut crumble, and malted stout ice cream. Fresh berries with citrus genoise, muscat sabayon, and pink peppercorn shatter. Last but not least, Lemon semi freddo, with torched italian meringue, blueberry compote and sugar cookie.

img_4034 How in the heck can you say no to dessert when it’s put right in front of you and boasting with artistic fresheness?! Well, you can’t. You just can’t.

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I can’t express enough how fabulous this whole experience was. The food, atmosphere, service, and the the people, were amazing. You can check out the YouTube video about the incredible experience if your keen.

I am absolutely going to be visiting again, this time around I will also take in a show. If you find yourself in YYC, the Workshop is not to be missed.

 

 

Dolly Parton Concert – Legends And Dreams Come Alive

Dolly Parton. I think that is all I have to say. She is a legend.

I can’t just stop there though, so I shall go on. From a very young age, probably starting around 7, I fell in love with Dolly Parton. That was back in the days of VHS, yes remember those?! Well my grandparents were big Country fans, and they had loads of various Country concerts taped on VHS, including plenty from Dolly Parton. Back then we only got about 7 channels on TV, and that was using an antenna and tin foil on top of the TV, you know,the ones that look like bunny ears. So you taped whatever you could when you were getting good reception so you could replay it.

Yah, so I taped whatever I could of Dolly concerts and watched them all the darn time. I also bought her book ‘Dolly – My Life And Other Unfinished Business’ when I was 10, which I read about 100 times front to back.

I was enamored by everything about Dolly Parton. I thought she looked like a barbie, she sang like a dream, and had the best outlook on life ever. I set 3 goals back then. To see her live, go to Dollywood, and one day meet her in person. 20 years ago she came to Calgary, Alberta, to play at the stampede. I wanted to go so badly, but I couldn’t make it. I was absolutely gutted. I knew though that someday I would have another chance, I just wasn’t sure when…… Until now.

A few months ago, I seen that she was coming to Canada on her Pure and Simple Tour, and Calgary was one of those stops. Seeing as how it was in Calgary that I had the unfinished Dolly Parton concert business, it was a no brainer – I had to finish it there.

I am in the Northwest Territories at the moment for a couple of months of home time before I head back to Mallorca, Spain, and it is a 14 hour drive to Calgary from here. 14 hours to complete a childhood dream of 20+ years, is worth every darn kilometer. I booked myself into the classy Hotel Arts, and lucked out when I got 4th row seats to the concert. I couldn’t believe when they randomly came available. I scooped them up the minute I seen them.

Dolly started promptly at 7:30. I was busy getting myself a classy beverage thinking there would be an opening act. Nope there sure wasn’t though. Dang it! I didn’t want to miss one precious second of Dolly on stage.

We were ready for action

I was in awe from the moment I set eyes on her. Actually I was in tears.


Famous people don’t even phase me, ever. To me people are just people. However, Dolly Parton was someone whom shaped me growing up. Well her and Marilyn Monroe. I had no idea how touching seeing Dolly was going to be. Not only was her voice totally perfect, sitting there listening to all her stories that I read in her book, coming from her own mouth, was beyond words. For the first time in my life, watching someone live, brought tears straight to the ol’ peepers. Especially being in 4th row. Her energy was emanating. She was so damn amazing. Leave it to Dolly Parton to be as inspiring as always.

Man did she put on a good show. From 7:30 – 10:30 with a 20 minute intermission, she’s definitely a go getter that one.

She pretty much played every instrument under the sun.


Even after the show it was hard to leave.

And also hard to believe what we just experienced.

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This is something I will absolutely never forget. Hands down best concert of my life.

The closest I came to getting a photo with her.

What did I take from all of this? Don’t ever give up on your dreams. I waited 20+ years for this one, but gosh darn it, it happened – and it was unbelievable.


Next stop, Dollywood.

Trust me, once you start checking the boxes, you just can’t stop.

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.

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.

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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!

 

Nature Inspired Fashion By Jean Michel Wows At PARKSHOW 2016

Fashion and inspiration come in so many various forms. Not so long ago I introduced Jean Michel and his visionary motif’s that he prints on silk scarves, leggings, and fans. If you missed the article then have a little read to catch your self up to fashion speed.

Nature Inspired Fashion By Jean Michel

I am absolutely in love with his pieces. Being a women that rarely leaves home without a scarf, his silk crinkle scarves make my little world go round. I love the crinkle because it’s just that, crinkled, as I don’t have to worry about wrinkles, and I love they way they wear. He has an eye for finding the most remarkable scenes that nature has on offer in various places around the globe, and using those, he creates his motifs, that enhance any women’s features, and makes her feel undoubtedly amazing. You could very well say you feel like a proud peacock when you are adorned in one of Jean Michel’s pieces. It amplifies your natural beauty , and your glow – so you can’t help but be noticed for your effortless shine.

It really was only a matter of time before people began to catch on to his fashion phenomenon.

Jean Michel’s products are making there way into the mainstream Calgary fashion industry more and more every week.

This past weekend By Jean Michel was showcased at Calgary’s biggest fashion and art show, PARKSHOW 2016. Put on by PARK(Promoting Artists, Redefining Kulture), it is an event that is completely volunteer based, and is aimed and promoting and recognizing local emerging designers and artists.

 

As per Jean Michel style, he went above and beyond using his astounding creative ingenuity, to create a ‘Wall of scarves’.

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The first ever piece such as this to be seen in Calgary, and perhaps the world. It was sensational. The designers and patrons of the event were having a ball getting photo’s with his work of art.

Trust me, I was right in there too, in true Petrena fashion.

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Of course I had to wear my ‘Segovia, Spain’ motif scarf by Jean Michel for the event. There really was just no other way. I wanted to add that extra element of enhancement to my evening ensemble. I always feel wonderful in his fashion. These beauties can also attest to that I am sure.

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Park Show was very impressive, I had no idea we had such a fabulous and talented fashion industry right here in Calgary. The show was so well put together, I absolutely felt like I was in a mini Miami for the evening. Brought me back to my 6 months I spent Miami that’s for sure. With 15 emerging designers on two runway shows over the course of two evenings, it did not disappoint.

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I must give credit to Jean Michel for these fabulous photo’s of the event.

Not only did they have all the pop up booths with the designers products, you could also indulge in some bubbly, vino, and cocktails at the bar, there were plenty of snacks provided as well, and you could even pay a visit to Johnny’s Barber + Shop and get yourself spiffed up.

jm2 Looking good Jean Michel!

Without a doubt, this was an exceptional event, and a fabulous way to showcase and represent Jean Michel, while also appreciating so many other incredible designers. PARKSHOW 2016, bringing ever emerging designers together to promote and be seen.

I would call that a fashion success.

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.