In the beginning 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.
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.
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.
This is something I will absolutely never forget. Hands down best concert of my life.
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.
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.
Daily wine sessions.
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.‘
Shakey was also there with us for our barn party.
Shakey was even playing in the background when I revived a tired Bee with sugar water.
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.
All went exactly how we anticipated. We got there in one piece, with a bit of a stagger, and the show was a GO.
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!
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.
Not a bad view.
It’s a great place, with great food. I was impressed with their little menu.
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 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.
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.
6 weeks and feeling stronger every day! It’s incredible really. I am loving the changes I am feeling in my body. It is almost like an addiction now. I am happy to report that I set out to do 4 Orange Theory workouts a week during this challenge, and so far I haven’t missed one. If anything, I feel like pushing that up to 5 a week. Yes, you can call me a keener if you want to.
In reality though, Orange Theory does become a part of you. When I leave there I always feel like I am on fire. Your so mentally and physically pumped from the whole experience.
The OT marathon has begun, and I started mine on Saturday. We have the month of April to complete it. I am in competition with no one but myself.
I am looking forward to pushing myself and seeing how far I get with it, Although there is one more reason I may push myself up to 5 workouts a week this month instead of 4, get those miles! I have never actually done a Marathon, so I truly wouldn’t mind completing one.
How about another challenge while I am on this challenge train?! Sounds good to me.
I started Monday off in Justin’s class at the Creekside location with strong determination and feeling on top of the world.
Once again, that excitement to get back in there was massive. Right now, I am feeling the best changes ever starting. So that being said, there is no way I want to slow down, I want to see where I can go with this.
It was my first time attending one of Justin’s classes, and as it goes at OT, he is another great trainer!
He was continually on top of providing awesome trainer support to everyone. Not only that, he was a great sport at helping me get material for this here blog. We had a nice chat about how much we love OT too, and how true it is that it does become something you would prefer not to live without.
Trust me, after first getting into OT in Florida 4 years ago, it was super hard for me to leave OT and head back to Spain. A bit heart wrenching really. So clearly I am over the moon to have it back in my life, and not have to leave it any time soon! Anyone who gets into OT feels the same way, so its always great to be amidst like minded people.
Tuesday I played hooky and didn’t go to OT. Kidding. Tuesday I had to work my butt off and couldn’t make it to OT.
Wednesday I was hauling ass to get to Matt’s class at Royal Oak. Traffic and work held me back. When I thought there was no way I was going to make it, I called in, and the awesome ladies at the front desk told me to still come and get in there(in one piece that is), as they were waiting for me. No was not at option. Now, you see just another reason I love OT so much. They love having you just as much as you love being there.
I got there just in the nick of time. I ran in, put my shoes on as fast as I could, ran past the desk while telling all the ladies how awesome they are, and straight in and on to the treadmill, where I continued to run my little heart out. Happy days! That is until my darn shoe laces came untied once again!!
‘Seriously shoe laces, we talked about you coming untied on the treadmill!’
It was a super busy class that day, and Matt was all business. He was making sure he kept everyone on top form. The class flew by because,
A) I was late, and so that meant straight into action.
B) It was super busy! It was a go, go , go kinda afternoon.
Thursday and it was full force once again in Cam’s class at Royal Oak. Actually we were also graced with Trish’s presence assistant coaching too as it was a fast paced and full session.
It was such an awesome class! We paired up with partners, and spent the class doing rotations between the treadmills, rowers and floor workout. I got teamed up with Khrista, and she was an absolutely awesome partner. If your gonna almost kick the bucket, sometimes it’s better to do it with someone else.
She was tons of fun to pair up with and full of team spirit.
I am growing more and more fond of the rowers. I think in the beginning the rowers were working so many muscles in my body(especially in my shoulders), and seeing as how my body was adapting, rowing was tough for me. Not to mention, some days I am a rock star, and some days my form on them is not on!
This day was no exception, and Cam and Trish kept catching me and correcting my form. It does make a massive difference, and I appreciate every correction I get. That’s the beauty of having trainers there to coach you.
Cam’s classes are always great, and he is full of fab energy that gets people moving.
I finished my 6th week off on Saturday in Deanne’s class. It had been awhile since I got to attend one of her classes, she is always happy, and so good at motivating you! I was tired as heck that day, and was seriously contemplating re-scheduling for Sunday, but when I seen there was a wait list for most of the classes, I figured I best push myself and just go for it. I didn’t want to take the chance of not getting in on Sunday. ‘Come on Petrena, get your ass moving’. Self talk, some of the best conversations I have are with myself.
Once again, those days you really don’t feel like doing it, are always the ones that turn out to be some of the best workouts!
Deanne’s class rocked my little Orange Theory going world! I felt ridiculously awesome afterwards, and was pepped right up to tackle the weekend. She rocks! And of course we high fived the heck out of it. There was just no other way. As per usual.
I was able to rock all 4 of my work outs last week, and consistently get my splat points in the Orange Zone. Every workout, my body shows me more and more of what it is capable of. Its actually more exciting then anything, where can I take my body and health? The sky is the limit and OT is my ladder.
My measurements have gone down once again after a week of stalling, and it feels great.
Week 5: Chest 36, Waist 36, Hips 40, Arms 10, Legs, 24.5
Week 6: Chest 35, Waist 36, Hips, 39, Arms 9.5, Legs 24
Here are some clips from the week
I can’t even tell you just how much I loved week 6. The best part about this whole 8 week challenge, is that yes it has been challenging, at times, VERY! But its a challenge in an environment that I love, which is what has kept me going. The support you receive at OT, and all the awesome energy, accompanied with the awesome workouts, just keep me going back. If you find something you love doing, then not only is it a challenge, but its also a reward. It’s one of my happy places, that’s for darn sure.
I have always wanted to attend a spin class, and having a long time friend, Michelle, whom I haven’t seen in a few years instructing at Spoke(N)Spin here in Calgary – made for the perfect opportunity for a reunion and a workout.
Of course Michelle being such a fabulous friend, she made me sit in the front row, so I could make an ass out of myself for all to see. Look at the newby!! Kidding.
Guaranteed I wouldn’t have pushed as hard as I did if I was in the back. So I was actually really thankful she got me up front. Sometimes all you need is that swift kick in the ass.
Show time! The lights go down, the music goes up, and the instructor gets everyone pumped. The music was awesome, and so was Michelle.
There is a knob on the bike that gives and releases tension, and you proceed to go up and down, side to side, following the instructors lead, going for the cycle of a lifetime.
If you close your eyes you can totally pretend you are on some mountain terrain excursion. I myself though, couldn’t close my eyes very much, seeing as how I was still getting used to how to ride this darn bike, I most likely would have ended up seriously injuring myself.
A couple times my shoes un-clipped, and being the classy lady I am, I accidentally said ‘Oops, shit!’ out loud both times. Not to mention, I almost said shit again for saying shit the first time. Man, sometimes you can’t take me anywhere. I had to stay focused to keep portraying the illusion that I knew what I was doing, and also look as though I was naturally rocking it. I am sure once I do it a few more times, I will be rockin it. I have no doubt, practice makes perfect.
My legs were sore as heck already from all my Orange Theory work outs, and pushing through on that bike was not an easy feat. Actually it was tough as nails! To be honest, I never imagined spin class was going to be a hard workout.
Could have fooled me! And it did, that’s for darn sure.
My legs seriously were just not cooperating as good as they normally would had they hadn’t have been going through my fitness challenge the whole week prior to this class.
I do absolutely love cycling, its one of my favorite sports, and back in Mallorca(Spain), I cycle 30km almost every day. This day however, was like a god send when we moved to the floor. I wasn’t sure how much longer my legs would take it, and I am the type of person that will push until I pretty much collapse. Which would just be fricken embarrassing if you ask me. ‘Oh is the new girl alright?! She doesn’t look alright.’
Excuse me while I peel myself off the floor.
Through it all, no matter how much pain I was feeling, I made sure to maintain a nice sweaty smile. At least I could keep rockin a smile.
In the end, we got a full body workout, using our own body weight, and finished off with some yoga stretches. Perfect!
Here’s a couple short clips of the sesh.
I broke a massive sweat, and was so stoked to watch my good friend in action. She is a fantastic and motivating instructor, but that goes for her as a person, so I wouldn’t have expected anything less. Oh the joys of checking things off my list in life, and even more so when I enjoyed doing the activity. I can’t wait to attend some more spin classes now and rock the heck out of it.
Spin class, the classy way to get an ass kicking.
Being a self proclaimed pro at sippin on vino. Obviously I couldn’t pass up the Calgary wine festival. Wine, wine and more wine. Sounds like heaven if you ask me. The picture I had in my mind was quaint tables set up from spectacular vineyards, all for my sampling pleasure. Well that mental picture wasn’t wrong, it was completely right. However, what I wasn’t prepared for was the masses of people, the line ups, the craziness of it all. Oh right, I am back in Calgary, the big busy ass city. A large stretch from the small tranquil(unless there is a festival, which is every other weekend in Spain) island of Mallorca, Spain, where I just moved back from. It was a bit daunting, and I am not into waiting in lines, so I mainly bee-lined for the tables with little to no lineups, unless I scoped something I HAD to try.
Trust me, if it wasn’t as crowded as it was, I would have HAD to have tried everything. Although, in that case, I most likely would have had to have been carried out of there in the end.
I had plans to go with my friends, but then due to a flu wreaking some havoc, everyone pulled out.
With my golden ticket to wine heaven in hand staring me in the eyes like a lost puppy wanting me to take it home – I just couldn’t deny it. How in the heck could I let something like this go to waste?!
Well, I couldn’t. I just couldn’t. Having traveled the globe for the better of the last 10 years, and mainly solo(I mean I crossed the African continent alone), attending a wine fest alone was no freaken problem. Table for 1 please!
I wasn’t actually alone though. I was in my own awesome company. Which just so happens to be some of my fave company on this planet might I add. It was ‘me time‘ at its finest. Some of the best parties of my life have been alone.
So Cinderella called her chariot(Yellow cabs actually),and set off to attend her ball.
So how did I rock it exactly you may be wondering?
Well, I walked right in with my head held high as if I had every intention of attending it alone from the get go, and smiled with the brightest smile I could find in my pocket.
The best way to rock any situation in life, is to just act freaken natural. Of course some self talk doesn’t hurt. ‘Your awesome Petrena, you got this, just go in there and keep on being your awesome self.’ It was that damn easy.
The wine festival was set up pretty fantastic, and was very inviting when you entered.
What the?! A table full of empty wine glasses? That is not on!
Here, please allow me help you remedy this situation and fill one of those bad boys up! Being alone also gave me time to mingle with the event staff.
Off I went, wine glass in hand, gracefully into the event.
It’s amazing how a small splash of wine makes a wine glass look so much more appealing. She was a quarter full now!
Funny enough, I kept zoning into the Spanish vineyards…. Call me bias, but Spain is my other home… So clearly I was going to see what lovely vino’s they had on offer from my other home turf.
After an hour of this, I was already starting to feel a little tipsy. Who brought the lush out?
I knew I didn’t want to lose my classy composure, so I made sure to guzzle some water in between the samples.
Even though I was rocking this party for 1, when I unexpectedly got the message from my friend that she was kicking that flu bugs ass and coming anyway – I was super stoked! Being such a packed and busy event, it took work to do it alone, so it just made sense to enjoy it with some friends if I had the chance.
The crowds seem far less overwhelming when you have company. Mind you I remember that time I was in Rio de Janeiro for New Years, lost all my friends, and was rocking it all alone in the middle of 2.5 million people on Copa Cabana beach. Talk about over whelming!
I can honestly say I did a very poor job of taking notes of what my favorites were at the wine festival. It was far too busy for that nonsense. At an event of this capacity it was just better for me to team up with my friends and drink as much wine as we could! Ok, well not exactly, I mean once again, I am classy. Lest we forget. That didn’t stop me from enjoying fairly copious amounts though.
The whole event was 3 hours. Funny how the 3 hours flies by! Literally, as soon as the 3 hours is up, they shut her down before the blink of an eye. Well faster then they opened up, that’s for darn sure. Understandably though, as if they didn’t, people would linger, and they wouldn’t be able to prepare for the next session.
To sum it all up, if you ever find yourself in a predicament to attend a wine fest solo, you just friggen go!
Put your best foot forward, act like you planned it that way, sip your little wine lovin’ heart out, all while secretly hoping that your friends will suddenly show up,but knowing you will still have fun if they don’t.