Cocktails with Sandy – The Best Spicy Caesar

Cocktails with Sandy – The Best Spicy Caesar

Cocktails with Sandy – The Best Spicy Caesar

50th Anniversary Edition

CAN YOU BELIEVE THE CAESAR IS 50 YEARS OLD? It’s over the hill! It’s a Canadian Classic Cocktail and I want to share with you my favourite versions of it. Keep watching for some fun Caesar trivia and two delicious recipes to try out on this blessed holiday. So I present to you: Cocktails with Sandy – The Best Spicy Caesar 50th Anniversary Edition. If caesars aren’t your thing, check out some of my other cocktail recipes for a Cognac Crusta or a Reposado Margarita

Happy #NationalCaesarDay!

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Tips on Finding the Best Photo Locations

Tips on Finding the Best Photo Locations

Tips on Finding the Best Photo Locations

In this current climate of sameness of social media, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find new and creative ways to reinvent the wheel. The wheel, of course being an interesting feed with backdrops that haven’t been shot to death by everyone and their influencer dog. This is an issue for people in both small and large cities. Often I am asked “Where did you shoot that?” And while I am hesitant to giveaway specific locations as I spend a great deal of time differentiating my feed and finding unique spots no one has used; I am more than happy to give people the tools to discover their own hidden gems to shoot. Here are my Tips on Finding the Best Photo Locations.

Go Exploring

This is by far my most valuable way to spend time and it’s such an obvious way to find rad spots. Go for a drive with a friend, get some pizza, and cruise! You never know what you can discover in your own city. Also going for walks is the best way to see the city from multiple angles. Just because you’ve walked down a street a million times, doesn’t mean you’ve seen it. Have you actually walked it with the intention of seeing it with new eyes? Sometimes even walking down a street in a different direction will illuminate a different and flattering angle. 

Google Maps / My Maps

If you don’t want to spend the time driving around, fair enough. There’s always Google Street View which is basically the same thing. Sometimes when I’m flying to a new place, I will do a quick Google Street View virtual walk around the area we’re staying to get a sense of my surroundings. In addition to that, I have started different maps for cities of cool spots with the My Maps function on Google. 

Peep Those Geotags

One of the best features on Instagram, in my humble opinion, is the Geotagging service. There are so many amazing creators out there who are making the world a smaller place for us all. While I don’t take inspiration from popular oversaturated places that have been done to death (Tulum and Positano anyone?) I do follow more obscure accounts such as Atlas Obscura and Abandoned Places. Those are much more my speed when it comes to locations. 

Tips on Finding the Best Photo Locations

Sometimes finding a real gem requires a shift in perception. I truly encourage everyone to look at spaces they see every day to the point where they are unnoticeable and challenge yourself to work with those. To see the mundane in a new light. I think we often ignore great beauty because it’s so familiar. Chances are that view, that corner, or that building will be interesting to someone who has never seen it before. And capturing it in photos before it gets levelled by progress. Nothing is forever, just saying! Those are all the things that have helped me have different backdrops for shoots during my 10 years of blogging. Yes, ten whole years and I haven’t repeated too many places in that time. I must be doing something right? Am I? Let me know in the comments below!

Historical Societies Are Key

One of the best resources out there are historical societies. I find these to be extremely helpful when going places that are rich with architectural gems. Cities like Phoenix and Palm Springs have been opened up to me all thanks to information I have gathered from both their websites and Instagram accounts. I’m a midcentury modern hound so this is the quickest way for me to discover the plethora of buildings that suit my taste.

Outfit: bianco hat c/o BAILEY HATS // logo t shirt + trucker jacket c/o LEVIS // Mile high Skinnies – LEVIS // white Drerissa Boots c/o ALDO //

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COPS Doughnuts Toronto

COPS Doughnuts Toronto

COPS Doughnuts Toronto

Who can deny that a doughnut is the perfect dessert? Perfection is exceeded when said doughnut is mini and many in number. While I was in Toronto, I made a point of popping by COPS Doughnuts. It’s a coffee shop located on a dead end side street just off Adelaide Street West. That sounds ominous but I swear it’s not because the building is the perfect shade of millennial pink. Yes, I am still a full on sucker for a good pop of colour. Fortunately, they have the good goods and not just the aEsThEtIc. Keep scrolling for some mega facade eye candy that is COPS Doughnuts Toronto.


COPS Doughnuts’ motto is that “too many options are a prison” – I couldn’t agree more. With that in mind, they have streamlined their menu down to the very basics. Not only does it make ordering a breeze, but it means that the two things they do make, they do it so well. Mini doughnuts and drip coffee. The latter is not my thing, I tried coffee for a short while and it made me borderline crazy but doughnuts I can consume responsibly. They offer three flavours: cinnamon & sugar, OG cops glaze, and a rotating weekly special. 


I’ve recently heard that IG Walls are “over” according to The Atlantic’s article: The Instagram Aesthetic Is Over. But like, are they *really*? I still think influencers and regular people alike will still be looking for *cool* backdrops to shoot with regardless of whether it’s in-the-moment or a heavily produced shot. (I would love to hear thoughts on this) In any case, COPS Doughnuts a great shade of pink but across the street is a shocking yellow wall too. Double whammy!


VINTAGE Mustard Mohair Coat
CLUB MONACO high gloves
FENDI BAG Vintage – similar here & here
VINTAGE Ultrasuede dress
WOLFORD tights – c/o
MATISSE  Caty Boots – c/o


Cops Doughnuts Toronto

Everyone needs to get some mini doughnuts now. And if you have a large enough party, might I suggest ordering The Stakeout if only for the genius name. Interested in more posts about Toronto? Head on over to all my Toronto Travel updates. Thanks so much for stopping by!

Photographs – CC Ruth

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My Bedroom Tour

My Bedroom Tour

My Bedroom Tour

Come one, come all for my bedroom tour! I’ve been in this space for almost 4 years and things are finally starting to take shape. And by that I mean I’m no longer living in a construction zone. Thank goodness. I’ve even made a little video to accompany this room tour. Feel free to subscribe to my YouTube Channel for more content like this. 🙂 Not every video gets its own blog post! Anyway, shall we begin?


Most of the pieces in my bedroom were either thrifted (hello second hand IKEA night table) or inherited from my family. The solo chair was bought from WINNERS quite a few years ago. I loved it because it’s a reproduction of the classic mid-century modern Barcelona chair. Drool. I’m not at a point in my life where I’m comfortable dropping some mad cash on an authentic 60s chair (one day!) so this one will suffice until then. My second night table is actually a laundry hamper that belonged to my Baba. I love that it’s covered in a soft pink velvet! The mirror I bought at Goodwill years ago, it’s actually supposed to sit horizontally on top of a dresser… but when have I ever followed any “supposed to’s” when it comes to style? The lamp is an art deco antique table light. This too I took from my parents when they sold my childhood home.

The Brass Bed

The brass bed is a particularly important piece to me because it was my mother’s. When she was 12 years old, she bought it second hand from a neighbour with money she saved babysitting. I just thinks that such an adorable story but also very my mom. Trust her to make an investment purchase at the tender age of 12! So practical. She likes to tell me about a Homes & Home Decorating course she took in High School. She flunked one project because she insisted on spending all her fictitious money on an expensive couch and leaving the rest of the house empty until she could “afford” to get the exact furniture she wanted. Her teacher did not agree with this way of thinking but it makes perfect sense to me. Maybe that’s why my place is still so empty? 🤔


I will admit, I have 3 major musts when it comes to my bedroom: 100% cotton sheets, a silk sleeping mask, and comfortable pjs. These are a few mainstays I have discovered and fallen in love with:

Muji Pajamas 

Whether flannel for winter or light cotton in summer, Muji makes THE BEST pjs of all time. I usually opt for the men’s versions because I love them oversized and prefer the patterns/colours they have available. They insanely comfortable. In addition to that, they also have reinforced seams on the crotch of the pants! And as a person who spends an absurd amount of time at home working in pjs, I’ve come to really appreciate this detail especially since I love sitting cross-legged. 

Slip Silk Sleeping Mask

I cannot even travel without this, let alone live my life in general without a sleep mask. When I become so sensitive to light pollution, I do not know. But the Slip Silk sleep mask has been my saviour. Perhaps you recall me gushing about this in my post about How to Have a Restful Sleep

Casper 100% Cotton Sheets

Fabric is key when it comes to having a comfortable sleep. I have converted my entire bed (aside from the mattress) to Casper. Currently I’m enjoying:
– breathable cotton sheet set (which is 100% cotton and currently on sale too),
– the pillows that make me feel like I’m snoozing at a 4-star hotel
– a super fluffy humidity fighting duvet cover 

*All of these items have been gifted to me but I actually use and love them + would not share otherwise*


My bedroom tour couldn’t be complete without a random smattering of precious little nothings. Of course there are pussywillows from the farmer’s market and peacock feathers I found on the ground on Gabriola Island. There are wild peacocks just traipsing through yards there! There will always be a touch of bohemian flare in my spaces thanks to a healthy dose of Stevie Nicks music and writings from Pamela Des Barres. It’s just my essence, okay?

Precious Details

My Bedroom Tour

Thanks so much for stopping by to take a peek at my bedroom tour! It’s one of my favourite places to be especially since my bed is such a cloud! If you have any candle suggestions, I’m all for that! Especially if said candles are earthy and musky! 

photographs – Sandy Joe Karpetz

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Night Time Skincare Routine

Night Time Skincare Routine

Night Time Skincare Routine

Some might believe this to be a arduous task, but there is nothing I love more than a thorough skincare routine. It’s my time to relax and wash the day off both literally and figuratively. Sometimes I’ll be accompanied by a podcast, or maybe even a YouTube tutorial (how meta) but I will always complete every step like it was my religion. Keep scrolling for the full Night Time Skincare Routine video + product listings.


The first step is cleansing. If I happen to wear makeup, I’ll use Bioderma Sensibio H2O or Vichy Makeup Wipes

Biossance Antioxidant Cleansing Oil*- I love using this on a heavy makeup day – it removes everything!
IMAGE Skincare Max Cell Cleanser* – This cleanser works well with my Clarisonic
Clarisonic with the sensitive brush head*  


Even after a double cleanse, I love to do a quick sweep of my face with toner and then add a refreshing spritz just for good measure. 

Wildcraft Clarify Toner in Bergamot & Rose*
Origins A Perfect World White Tea Lotion* – also part of the Clean at Sephora list!

Night Time Skincare Routine

And that’s the ~short~ list of all the products I use on my face in the evening. If anyone has any questions regarding this thorough routine, I am happy to answer them. And thank you for coming to my TED Talk 🙂


Photographs – Sandy Joe Karpetz

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10 Things to Accomplish in 2019

10 Things to Accomplish in 2019

10 Things to Accomplish in 2019

Here we are yet again. Another bookend to a chapter in my life. An arbitrary unit of time marking a closure and a beginning. I’m sure it’s cliché to say it feels like yesterday when I wrote 10 Things to Accomplish in 2018.  However, it certainly is the truth. Falling in line with last year, it almost took me a full month to digest the previous year and decide what I want 2019 to look like. Then I put off writing about it and decided that further reflection was necessary. Now my birthday is rolling around and it seems like the true beginning of the year for me. Forget the true yearly calendar, I’m going by my own set of time. So what will make the list of 10 Things to Accomplish in 2019?


Looking over my last list, there was some major gains and epic fails. For the wins:

  • I did read more
  • I continued working out regularly and even ran the Lululemon Edmonton 10K and didn’t die.
  • Eating mostly plant based happened.
  • My digital life is cleaner but I’m still a photo hoarder on my phone (when will I learn?)
  • I even improved my office organization sort of, at least when it came to my taxes.
  • I finally started that dang YouTube Channel I’ve been meaning to.
  • Stillness was found! I actually continued to meditate throughout the year 🙂

That’s a solid 7/10!

As for the fails:

  • My house in fact did not become a home. My dining room did but the other 4+ rooms were sad AF.
  • I didn’t stay inspired, in fact, I did the opposite and had a serious existential crisis/meltdown about my job and life.
  • I did a bit of travel but it was to places I had been before. Which is fine but not exactly what I was going for.


Much like last year, a few those accomplishments are rolling over into this year in different forms. By posting this, I hope to achieve two things. 1 hold myself accountable for the duration of the year. And 2 help inspire someone else. It’s difficult to distill down which things are worthy of focus, so hopefully this will help you identify something you want to improve upon. With that, I give you my 10 Things to Accomplish in 2019.


As I previously mentioned, I really fell out of love with my job and life in general when I had my crisis last summer. Everything seemed pointless, as if I were just a cog in the capitalist machinery. And while, I kind of am since I need to pay my bills which requires me to take on carefully selected partnerships, I need more to feed my soul. Looking back on what used to bring me joy and inspiration (hint: it’s not scrolling Instagram mindlessly.) I remembered simpler things. Watching classic movies, sewing, taking walks, and going to museums. I NEED MORE OF THIS IN MY LIFE.

Action Items
  • Set aside time each week to “feed my soul”
  • Start thrifting more often (this always relaxes & inspires me)
  • Pull out my sewing machine and begin a new project 
  • Visit museums / art galleries while on trips 
  • Read more books on fashion / photograph / architecture 
  • Take my old half filled sketchbooks and make new collages, doodles, fabric swatches, pressed flowers, etc
  • Photograph other things than just clothing / beauty products


Truth be told, I have been putting this off for years. YEARS. The first idea I had for a book came to me while I was on a 26 hour train ride from Edmonton to Vancouver back in 2013. I WAS SO EXCITED ABOUT IT. And then I never started it. I let it marinate to the point where I wasn’t excited about it anymore. How big of a bummer is that? While I haven’t completely tossed the idea out, I have come up with another one. An idea that I am even more jazzed about and cannot risk losing momentum on. So this is it. This is the year Sandy Joe finally does what she’s been talking about doing for the last 6 years. I’m pushing aside the fear of beginning and going for it head on. 

Action Items
  • Pick 3 days a week that I devote an hour or more to intense writing
  • Make cue cards for each topic and write down the main points / stories associated with it
  • Create a schedule that include solid due dates with deliverables. Have someone hold me accountable (you know who you are)
  • Use my handy MiGoals journal*, weekly pad*, and get shit done notepad*. I mean business. I am a goal digger.


It’s truly the only way to grow as a person. Last year I climbed Cathedral Rock in Sedona and wedged between rocks I was petrified. But I did it and the view was unbelievable. It was 100% worth it. A lot of my fear stems from the fact that I never believe I’m good enough / can do anything right. When in reality I’ve clearly made it this far and haven’t died / created my job out of a creative outlet. Pretty sure I got some things under control. I digress. Over the years I’ve slowly become more of a recluse that shys away from putting myself out there in reality and sometimes online (I’m not the most forthcoming on my social channels either.) Guess what!? This year I’m working on it. 

Action Items
  • Say yes to asks that I would normally reject (public speaking!)
  • Be more open about myself on my social channels (ie next time I have a meltdown maybe mention it rather than disappear?)
  • Continue to go on hikes that scare me a little.
  • Dance in public? Maybe. We’ll see. 


It’s time to take it to the next level. I’m talking about sushi and baking. Not only that, but making homemade pasta is another dream of mine. These are things I talk about with the notion that one day they will just ~happen~. This just in: nothing ever *just happens* because we want it to. It happens with planning. If we learned anything from the book I never wrote years ago, homemade sushi and pasta will sink lower on this list if I don’t take action. 

Action Items
  • Make that sushi! 
  • Try a new baking recipe once a month (First Sunday of every month? That’s easy to manage)
  • Find my mixmaster with the pasta making attachment I received as a gift in 2008 and use it. 


Can you imagine me living in a finished condo? I certainly can’t. It feels like just yesterday I was picking up the boxes and boxes of makeup launches off my office floor and organizing them into my bathroom vanity. To have a decorated and functional home would be like Christmas come early. And maybe at this rate, I may have that completed by the holiday season. 

Action Items
  • Hang my curtains, the apartments across the way don’t need to see me filming YouTube videos anymore.
  • Pictures on the walls would be a nice touch.
  • Remove the rest of the renovation stuff / tools / etc from my living space


It looks like we’re going to be together for a long time, a lifetime even, so we need to set some boundaries. Firm boundaries. I mentioned this book before in my How to Have a Restful Sleep post, but it has truly made me realize the negative effects of constantly being on my phone. NEWS FLASH people enjoy having your undivided attention and it’s pretty rude to be on the phone all the time. I’ve made a point to keep my phone in my bag whenever I’m spending face-to-face time with people. Why bother making plans to meet someone if you’re just paying attention to your phone anyway? That went off on a tangent, but basically…. I want to continue to monitor and cut my screen time down when I’m supposed to be off the clock. 

Action Items
  • Continue to leave my phone downstairs when I sleep
  • Limit my screen time to set business hours
  • When I have a spare moment, live in that space instead of filling it with mindless scrolling


This is the most important! Time is precious. Spending it with the people who mean the most to you is key. While making time to see my parents has proven difficult with their retired snowbird schedule, I always manage to find opportunities to see them. And when I do, I definitely try to keep my screen time at a minimum (see previous section.) Aside from family, my partner and good friends are on the list.

Action Items
  • Continue the weekly Saturday Farmer’s Market & Ramen date with Jesse and add to this QT repertoire
  • When my parents are in town, schedule weekly visits to play boardgames, have dinner, go for walks etc
  • Write more letters to my out-of-town buds! My snail mail game has slowed down over the years despite how much I love to send letters and postcards. I am the stationery queen after all. 👑 
  • Be on top of my WhatsApp voice memos from my out-of-town buds! It is, after all, the next best thing to having them live in the same city.
  • Take more candid photos for my own personal log


It was a long ass winter and for some reason *cough the endless -40 temperature cough* I could barely get myself to leave the house. And if I did, it certainly wasn’t to go work out. Thank goodness spring has hopefully arrived for good. 🤞I can get back into running outside because laps on a track in a gym is utterly uninspiring for anything over 20 minutes. 

Action Items
  • Get back into my running in the river valley 3+ times a week
  • Treat myself to those 💸pricey💸hot yoga classes because I love them and I need to stretch 


As a full-time person who shares their life on the internet, it’s hard to resist the photo opportunity that presents itself when traveling. It’s a prime time to get content. However, not EVERY vacation needs to be a working holiday. Last summer I took nearly two weeks off while visiting my parents on Gabriola Island. It was divine. We played the 1971 version of Mille Bornes (a french card game about road trips – it’s been a favourite of mine since I was a child.) We watched birds and ate fresh blackberries right off the bush! It was exactly what I needed and I plan to have that in my life again this summer. 

Action Items
  • Plan when I’m going to Gabriola.
  • Drive there.
  • Let the poor cell reception make my plans for the day.
  • Eat all the blackberries and take no photographic evidence of it.


I’m tired of reading stories written by men. More often than not, they’re completely unrelatable. I do hold David Sedaris in high regard and will continue to consume his hilarious books until I’ve read them all. There are countless books written by women that deserve my attention and I’ve decided that 85% of the books I read this year will be written by non-male authors. I’m already well on my way. 📚

Action Items
  • Consult my to-read list and select books that are not written by men
  • Read all of those books 
  • Keep an ongoing list of completed books


Of course I need a half added to the list because this is too ridiculous to be its own accomplishment. What can I say? I am no gardener. My thumb is so black, I’ve been known to kill a cactus. It pains me to admit how terrible I am in this arena, mostly because I LOVE PLANTS! Alas, it is a skill that eludes me; three jade plants and countless others have met their demise under my watch. No longer will this be the case! I am a 32-year-old and I can keep plants alive! I have access to the internet and own a water meter. This is my year to make a change.

Action Items
  • Actually use the water meter before I carelessly pour water into a plant pot
  • Take a minute to read about the plants I own and under what conditions they thrive under

10 Things to Accomplish in 2019

After reviewing this year’s list and comparing it to the past two years, it appears that many of the same things keep coming up. I guess some things continue to be a challenge within our lives. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the big picture and that’s why I find it so helpful to break each major thing into smaller steps. The process becomes more manageable when minor action items can be done and in turn those become the bigger whole. And if you really want to feel like your problems are insignificant, just take a look at a full super moon. Hot tip from a pro. 😎

xo Sandy Joe

photographs – Sandy Joe Karpetz / Jesse Sand

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All items with a * indicate gifted product.