Road Tripping to Gabriola Island

Road Tripping to Gabriola Island

Road Tripping to Gabriola Island

If there is one thing I hold dear to my heart, it’s my annual trip out to the coast. Each and every summer I make a concerted effort to go to to the island and unwind. This year was no different except for the addition of an iPhone X. I always lug my Nikon D800 every where I go. At first it was out of obligation of my job to DOCUMENT EVERYTHING and then it was just out of sheer habit. This time I did bring the camera but it never left the depths of my backpack. Instead, I employed the use of my iPhone X for Road Tripping to Gabriola Island. I have to tell you, it did not disappoint. But hey, don’t take my word for it – just keep scrolling for hard evidence of its power.

Portrait Mode

One of the most fun features to use on the iPhone X camera is Portrait Mode. It’s basically like having a DSLR in hand but without the weight and bulkiness. This magical mode creates the sharpest looking photos with the sought after bokeh background effect. (When photos have a blurred out background). I went a little buck wild with this mode when I stalked the animals at the Alpaca Farm. I have no regrets about that because they were such charismatic critters and deserved all the attention they got. So cute.

COLOUR ACCURACY

Forget the arduous editing process, every photo I took was already worthy of being posted. I cannot even begin to formulate how much time this saves me. Every time I took a shot and looked at it later, I couldn’t help but exclaim “BLESS!” exuberantly as I scrolled through the photo album. Perhaps I might be a bit dramatic but I prefer to think of it as enthusiasm.

Jesse found some new friends to go for a drink with

This was the texture of a parking lot! Yes, the parking lot was a giant rock.

Drawing Comics & Apple Picking

Passing time on the island comes to me unnaturally. I’m so used to the go-go-go attitude of living in the city. Getting back on island time requires a little bit more finessing and letting go. Even though I had insanely good phone coverage thanks to Telus 🤳🏼it was to have the option to not feel obligated to my phone. We spent a considerable amount of time wandering the island’s many walking paths, eating blackberries off of bushes, and picking apples. Beyond that, I joked about starting a gossip rag to rival the local paper, The Gabriola Sounder. I called it, The Gabriola Gabber, and invented “juicy” stories. It brought me back to my childhood when I would spend most of my summer’s drawing comics and writing stories. While, my illustration skills have not matured, at least I still have some semblance of an imagination in this digital age.

Road Tripping to Gabriola Island

If you want to see more from this trip, be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel as a vlog is coming up soon and it was shot partially on the iPhone X as well! If you want to peep some island style from last year, check out The Great Escape. 🤙🏻

photographs – Jesse Sand + Sandy Joe Karpetz

Many thanks to Telus for providing me with the iPhone X 

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Sandy Joe Goes to the Stampede: A Memoir

Sandy Joe Goes to the Stampede: A Memoir

Sandy Joe Goes to the Stampede: A Memoir

Up until last year, I had never been to the Calgary Stampede. Which, if you’re from Alberta, is a highly unusual feat to have accomplished by 30. Imagine my surprise when, this year, I was asked to attend yet again. This time, GMC Canada extended an invite that sounded much too intriguing to refuse. The itinerary was stacked, so I drove down in a loaned GMC Terrain and never looked back. What ensued was three days of all things western and wild. I rode a horse for the first time, I ate 7/11 pizza at 3am and reviewed it (for your viewing pleasure), and I even drove a couple of trucks! If you want to know what a roadtrip with me is like, definitely watch: Sandy Joe Goes to the Stampede: A Memoir. Keep scrolling for photo highlights I managed to take while we were out and about. 🙂 Yehaw!

Gone Country

One cannot attend the Calgary Stampede without the proper attire. Despite being a country noob, I have been preparing to play the role of a country gal my entire life. (My collection of western belts tells that story eloquently) To top off my already cowpoke look, we popped by Lammle’s to boot up. I paired my Mae Cowgirl boots by Dan Post with my Bailey Cowboy hat.

Gourmet Cuisine

Describing the above photographs as Gourmet Cuisine is only half true. While we did dine at some insanely delightful places, (re: Pigeonhole, Proof) fair food and late night 7/11 was also on the menu. I regret nothing. Sandy Joe Goes to the Stampede: A Memoir would not be complete without a high / low dining experience. It’s a must. It’s a way of life. I also believe that one must specify both the circumstances and time of day a pizza from 7/11 is consumed because it provides much needed context for questionable choices.

Stampede in 10 Photos or Less

I think this collection of photos accurately depicts the highlights of the Stampede for me. Above is a shot from Nashville North, a large bar tent playing a healthy mix of country and rock music. It’s hard to say, I recognized very little of it. I quickly learned that as long as you had some item of clothing signifying a western style, then you could easily blend in without actually knowing anything. Fortunately, line dancing did not come up so I avoided being revealed as the true western poseur I am.

Sandy Joe Goes to the Stampede: A Memoir

If this wasn’t enough Stampede realness for you, check out my other two posts from last year: Out & About Calgary Stampede and my style feature Sweetheart of the Rodeo – titled after a Gram Parsons tune for The Byrds.

Many thanks to GMC Canada for having me on this amazing trip!

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Camping in Kananaskis

Camping in Kananaskis

CAMPING IN KANANASKIS

Join me on a quick camping trip to Kananaskis, Alberta, a gorgeous place to go if you want to avoid tourists and National Park fees. We stayed at the Interlakes campground right on the Lower Kananaskis Lake. We hiked the Upper Kananaskis Lake loop for the better part of the day. I only packed a water bottle, a granola bar, and an orange. This was not nearly enough sustenance in case you were wondering. Click play to check out my camping in Kananaskis vlog! If you like what you’re seeing, feel free to subscribe to my YouTube Channel and peep my 24 Hours in Calgary vlog. 😉 THANKS SO MUCH FOR WATCHING!

Big thanks to Ford Canada for loaning us a 2018 Ford Explorer 🙂

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24 Hours in Calgary

24 Hours in Calgary

24 HOURS IN CALGARY

As a long time resident of Edmonton, it’s only natural that I make the trek down south to Calgary a few times a year. It’s a pit stop on the way to the boarder and the mountains. Not only by function of its location is it a place I frequent, but it’s also a pretty rad place to go as a destination. Every time I’m in town, there’s always somewhere new to eat or a piece of public art to discover. I even collaborated with Calgary Tourism a couple years back on an unforgettable weekend trip. (Read The Best Autumn Weekend in Calgary).  I’ve also spent a fair amount of time obsessing over Dinner at 10 Foot Henry. For this 24 Hours in Calgary though, I have a few specific highlights. With that said, join me for a quick jaunt to the city known for it’s Stampede.

DO

While there’s only so much one can do when driving in for the day, we were sure to check a couple of things off on our to-do list. First off, browsing the stacks of records at Recordland. If you only have 24 hours in Calgary and you love vinyl, this is a MUST. It’s easy to lose track of time flipping through new and old records. Inglewood, the neighbourhood it’s located in, is fun to stroll around too.

EAT

This whole trip started as an idea around getting a bowl of ramen at a place that came highly recommended to me. I was looking for an excuse to go to Calgary and almost as if it were meant to be, the stars aligned and a media trip fell into my lap. BOOM! My ramen quest was in full swing. Since going to Japan, I have found it hard to get excited about ramen in North America but Jinya really delivered with their Spicy Creamy Vegan Ramen. I can confirm it lives up to the statement “creamy.” It was incredible.

STAY

This quick trip was all thanks to the Hyatt Regency who so graciously showed us their newly renovated suites. I had the pleasure of staying there before a couple of years ago during Sled Island. Not only is it located right next to the c-train, it’s a walkable distance to all the best downtown has to offer. If you’re curious about my previous stay, check out my post from the Hyatt Regency Calgary. Spoiler alert: this hotel is what inspired my essential oil infused face cloths for my post 10 Ways to Make Your Home More Spa Like.

If you’re enjoying my videos be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel for all the latest & greatest.

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STYLE | Housecoat in the Desert

STYLE | Housecoat in the Desert

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Housecoat in the Desert

The desert heat is known to make a person go crazy. The listlessness of a quiet desert sunset is enough to make me restless. Once its gone down, then what? The anticipation of the setting sun’s blazing colours is followed by the stillness of dusk. The restlessness that supersedes all the possibility of magic hour. The whirlwind of emotions reminds me of the frantic tones and mood of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. A book I’ve never read and a film that has made me question the likeability of drugs. Wearing a housecoat in the desert creates the mood of a pill popping housewife who’s wandered off in her bathrobe. A classic trope. This is a style editorial where Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas meets Valley of the Dolls. If you haven’t seen either, add them to your list and then continue scrolling.

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OUTFIT DETAILS

RAY-BAN aviators – c/o Shopbop
TOM FORD roberto lipstick – c/o
VINTAGE housecoat – thrifted
ADORE ME olena bathing suit top – c/o
BIJOUX INDISCRETS maze x-harness – c/o
VINTAGE satin shorts – thrifted
ALDO cowboy ankle boots – c/o (similar here & here)

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Technicolor Dream World

If you don’t have a technicolor dream coat at your disposal, simply alter your photos to look otherworldly. I had this dream of looking like one of the aliens from Star Trek. It would be a perfect fit with the space themed playground we found on our travels. I simply added a green hue to photos to make it so. The colour explosion only enhanced the illusion of an acid trip gone wrong. As I continue to look at vibrant hued photographs, the more I want to indulge this colour crazed side of myself. This is one housecoat in the desert vibe I want to take with me wherever I go.

photographs – Jesse Sand

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WATCH | Weird Arizona – 5 Strange Places to Visit on a Trip to the Arizona Desert

WATCH | Weird Arizona – 5 Strange Places to Visit on a Trip to the Arizona Desert

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Weird Arizona – 5 Strange Places to Visit on a Trip to the Arizona Desert

One of my favourite places to travel is the Arizona desert. There seems to be no limit to the number of weird and wonderful places to discover there. On my most recent trip, there were 5 specific spots that really stood out to me. Watch my first YouTube video below to check out the spots. If you’re wanting more information on the spots, keep scrolling for a breakdown of Weird Arizona – 5 Strange Places to Visit on a Trip to the Arizona Desert! If you enjoy the video, subscribe to The Pretty Secrets YouTube channel as I’ll be updating frequently!

 

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Flintstones Bedrock City

This is top of the list of the creepiest theme parks I’ve ever seen in person, and I’ve been to the Spreepark in Berlin. It costs a whole $5USD to gain entry to the theme park time has forgotten. (Here’s a Flintstone Bedrock City coupon for a whole dollar off should you decided to visit.  It is located south of the Grand Canyon and also offers campground accomodations. I imagine it was quite the spectacle in its day. Now, it’s a grouping of slowly crumbling away faux rock facades. The dinosaur slide may have been the highlight. Check out the geocities esque website for Flintstones Bedrock City.

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Saguaro National Park

I think I’ve made my obsession about collecting National Park Junior Ranger badges well known. Between my excursion to Yellowstone National Park, 5 Reasons to Visit Montana in the Winter post and my style at the Saguaro post last year, it’s pretty clear.

The cactus are majestic in real life, towering over the smaller vegetation. I even upgraded my badge to a Not So Junior Ranger status this time around. There are a number of different hikes to check out. And the landscape looks ridiculously majestic at any time of day. It’s like a woman who just doesn’t have a bad angle. The Saguaro National Park is like a supermodel. You heard it here first.

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Taliesin West by Frank Lloyd Wright

If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you might also recognize this location as well. It’s a Pretty Secrets favourite. I have made no secret of my love of this architecture school/museum.

Perhaps you recall a little style post named after an amazing Cranberries song Linger. Or more recently, the aptly titled Taliesin West style post where I tried a new-to-me editorial direction that I think I need to adopt again.

If you haven’t visited this site, I highly suggest to add it to a must-see travel list of Phoenix. Here is some additional information on Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West.

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Pima Air & Space Museum

You may recognize this place from a previous style post: Pink Satin at the Pima Air Museum. A very inventive title indeed! It’s a massive graveyard of antique planes. It is quite an overwhelming spectacle to behold. It’s rows and rows of retired killing machines. I fortunately found the alternative corner of the museum where some artists painted over a couple of bombed out looking planes. That was much more my speed to be honest. Check out the Pima Air & Space Museum here.

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The Casa Grande Domes

These domes are very eerie to come upon. I recently wrote a whole post to accompany a style editorial, The Casa Grande Domes, should you want some more information on them. They have been slated for demolition by the city of Casa Grande so it is unclear how much longer they will be standing. Bonus: climb up the west side of the Casa Grande mountain on the hiking trail to get a more aerial view. Or…. get a drone? I should probably do that.

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Weird Arizona – 5 Strange Places to Visit on a Trip to the Arizona Desert

That concludes my list of Weird Arizona – 5 Strange Places to Visit on a Trip to the Arizona Desert. Do you have any spots in Arizona that you love too? I’d love to hear about them! If you enjoyed this video and post, please head on over to The Pretty Secrets YouTube channel for more upcoming travel posts! 🙂 This has been an experiment for me that took a lot of time. Any feedback is appreciated. Thanks so much for tuning in.

Photos & video all captured on a Google Pixel 2 (c/o Google)
Photographs & Video – Sandy Joe Karpetz & Jesse Sand

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