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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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


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!



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.


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.


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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STYLE | The Casa Grande Domes

STYLE | The Casa Grande Domes


The Casa Grande Domes

Sometimes the universe conspires in positive ways. Like when my parents decided to stop at a garage sale that just happened to have the most fabulous coat ever. A coat that is unfitting for the desert climate. A coat that is just so perfect for a person like me: obsessed with the 60s, interested in cults, and a natural born peacock. Add this cult leader coat to the mystery that is the Casa Grande Domes. That is what I like to call the ultimate Pretty Secrets style editorial. My essence distilled to its most potent point. I liken it to the magic I felt when we shot Dressed in Black, another desert editorial I still love. So keep scrolling to find out more about The Casa Grande Domes and get more deets on my outfit.


So Like, What Are The Casa Grande Domes?

The Casa Grande Domes have an interesting history. They were built in the early 80s as a computer manufacturing facility which never came to fruition. The acoustics within each cluster of domes sound so cacophonous it’s hard to imagine anyone manufacturing anything in there without going deaf. After that, it’s said that the next residents were local occult and witchcraft enthusiasts who used to the domes for satanic worship and rituals. From the many articles I have read about the Casa Grande Domes, there have been warnings about “the tunnels.” The majority have been filled in with the collapse of the eastern dome. Calling it a tunnel is a generous word. A more accurate word would be trough. The Domes are slated for demolition as per the order of city of Casa Grande.

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A Coat Fit For A Cult Leader

“I will start a fashion cult” was my first thought when I saw this coat in a text message from my mom as I frantically texted her back. My text read: “akjsfbdfjgbdkfjg BUY ITTTTT!!!!” This is everything I want in a coat. It’s made of a carpet like material. A carpet coat for Sandy Karpetz. The universe wants it to be! It has a pattern that is reminiscent of a velvet black light poster. These are the things in common with all of my favourite pieces of clothing.

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BAILEY’S OF HOLLYWOOD Renegade Hat – c/o
RAY-BAN aviators – c/o Shopbop
WASTED EFFORT copacabana earrings – c/o
TOM FORD roberto lipstick – c/o
VINTAGE carpet coat– c/o My Parents
H&M black t-shirt dress – c/o
ALDO cowboy ankle boots – c/o (similar here & here)

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The Casa Grande Domes

Despite the eeriness of the Casa Grande Domes, I will be sad to see them go. I wish someone would record an album in them. The acoustics are so strange and extra echoey. Calling all psych and chill wavey musicians: head to the desert fast! Would you ever go visit them?

photographs – Jesse Sand / Sandy Joe Karpetz

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ON THE ROAD | 5 Reasons to Visit Montana in the Winter

ON THE ROAD | 5 Reasons to Visit Montana in the Winter


5 Reasons to Visit Montana in the Winter

I have spent my fair share of time driving through Montana since it happens to be the bordering state below Alberta. This holiday break, however, I decided to make Montana my destination rather than a state to drive through. That turned out to be the best decision ever. Montana is the third least populated state in the US but what it lacks in population, it certainly makes up for in natural beauty. I would liken the terrain to that of Alberta’s – prairies, badlands, and of course the awe-inspiring Rocky Mountains. Keep scrolling for 5 reasons to visit Montana in the winter.


It’s Serene

I am the type of person that has issues with immense crowds for extended periods of time. I unfortunately learned about that when I went to Disneyland the day after Christmas last year. Big mistake. For those of us who shy away from crowds when we’re supposed to be on a relaxing vacation, then Montana is for you! There are notably fewer people around. Do you know what that means? Quiet hotels with ample rooms available. (Might I suggest the Sacajawea Hotel!) Waiting for a table to open up for the dinnertime rush is also not a thing. Breeze through the trip without being inconvenienced by high tourist season.

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Countless Outdoor Activities

A part of Montana’s charm is the wonderful outdoor experiences it has to offer. And those experiences aren’t limited to the weather being nice either. There are two National Parks in Montana: Glacier National Park and the infamous Yellowstone National Park. Although the roads leading into Yellowstone are closed during the snowy seasons, there are two ways to gain access to the park: snowmobile or snowcoach. Here’s a great overview of Yellowstone in the winter. Aside from just snowmobiling, the option to cross country ski, snowshoe, or downhill ski are all options. Or just catch the snowcoach to check out a massive geyser in the winter. Old Faithful is a year round spectacle.

Here are 3 ways to dress for outdoor adventures (with style)

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So Many Hot Springs

After a long day of traipsing in the snow, or even if winter sports are not a point of interest, the hot springs are a great way to conclude a day. Montana is a state of high thermal activity and thus is home to several hot springs. In fact, they are so prevalent that there is even a town in Montana called Hot Springs. Just saying. Chico, Norris, and Bozeman hot springs are all within a short drive of each other. The latter two even have stages for live musical performances. Plus, in the evening Bozeman has mood lighting – just peep those two photos for some visual confirmation of its awesomeness.

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Winter Junior Ranger

What’s a trip to a National Park without becoming a Not So Junior Ranger… or even just a Junior Ranger? It’s become a tradition of mine to discover new parks to get badges at whenever I’m in the US. I first discovered the program last year and had a blast getting my first badge at Saguaro National Park in Arizona. The best part about becoming a Yellowstone Junior Ranger is that it has two different badges – one for the summertime and one for winter! Double the fun.

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Those Montana Sunsets

Montana is unofficially known as Big Sky Country. Despite that name not being deemed official from the powers that be, it’s a very apt description of the state. I saw some of the most outrageously stunning sunsets set on the backdrop of freshly fallen glittering snow and pastel mountains. It is breathtaking.

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Plan That Road Trip!

Now that I’ve counted down my 5 reasons to visit Montana in the winter, every one needs to get their motors running and plan a trip out! Fear not, there’s still a couple snowy months left of this winter. 🙂

photographs – Jesse Sand / Sandy Joe Karpetz

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ON THE ROAD | Reykjavik Residence Suites

ON THE ROAD | Reykjavik Residence Suites


Reykjavik Residence Suites

Now that IcelandAir has resumed services to Edmonton, it’s a great time to start considering stopping there on the way to Europe! Reykjavik is a gorgeous city that I had the pleasure of spending three days in. While I was there, I stayed at the quaint and centrally located Reykjavik Residence Suites. To say I felt right at home is an understatement. The Reykjavik Residence Hotel has a plethora of housing options from studios to three bedroom suites. They can easily accommodate small and large parties. I was a party of one but was fortunate enough to get a taste of a spacious two bedroom with a red velvet couch. Sigh. Keep scrolling for the highlights of my stay at the Reykjavik Residence Suites.


Breakfast In A Basket

Every day while I was out, a basket was delivered to my fridge. It was full of delicious Icelandic made provisions as well as the basics to make a truly wonderful sandwich. A fresh loaf of bread from the Sandholt Bakery was hanging in a tote bag on my door handle every morning. Sandholt opened in 1920 and is the oldest bakery in Iceland; it’s still family run. I could have eaten a dozen slices plain. A bread so good it doesn’t need anything on it! Back to the breakfast basket, it has lava crackers, jam from native berries from Iceland, and tea! In addition to hard boiled eggs, cheese slices, fresh tomatoes etc. A perfect continental breakfast is just one thing to expect from the Reykavik Residence Suites! 🙂 They’re even able to accommodate food allergies or dietary preferences like vegans and vegetarians. How much do you love this hotel?

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In the Heart of Reykjavik

Reykjavik is a coastal town on the western part of Iceland. The majority of the city is on a peninsula and is incredibly walkable. If you’re unfamiliar with the city, then Reykjavik Residence Suites is a great place to begin your exploration. It’s central to everything! From the Hallgrimskirkja, the famous modern and foreboding cathedral, to several noteable museums, the Sandholt bakery, and all the boutique shops and cafes on street. It’s also two (short) blocks away from the water. The Blue Lagoon bus even stops right at the hotel too which made my jetlagged life so much easier. Getting stressed out about transportation is the last thing I want to do before going to relax in blue water.

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Like Home But Better

Both rooms I had the pleasure of staying in were both cozy and spacious. It was like being at home but better. The beds were super cozy, the extra blankets were a nice touch. I was in Iceland after all and it was chilly, make no mistake. I made use of the extra blankets and bath robe while cozying up on my choice of couches. The red velvet was probably my favourite. Also, they were kind enough to include a full length mirror in the suite. This is a feature that is shockingly absent in many hotel rooms to my frustration and annoyance. The en suite kitchen and grande bathroom with the massive walk in shower was practical and decadent.


the infamous Sandholt Bakery bag delivered by some sweet bread elves 🙂

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Reykjavik Residence Suites

After that relaxing stay, I’m visualizing my next trip to Iceland hoping to manifest it sooner than later! This time I’ll have to check out their Early in the Morning restaurant and book their personal driver to squire me from the airport to the hotel. They offer all the most useful amenities to tired international travelers. For more information, head on over to their website here. And check back soon for my upcoming weekend in Reykjavik post!

photographs – Sandy Joe Karpetz

Many thanks to the Reykjavik Residence Suites for hosting us on this stay!

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ON THE ROAD | 10 Things to Bring on Your Next Road Trip

ON THE ROAD | 10 Things to Bring on Your Next Road Trip


10 Things to Bring on Your Next Road Trip

I’ve been on more than few road trips in my lifetime. In fact, many of my family trips were of the road variety. To say I’m a well seasoned car traveler might actually be an understatement. Since I can confidently say this, I feel as though it’s only fair to share what I have learned along the way. All of these items qualify as essentials to me, however, this is not a definitive list so don’t slide in to my dm’s to accuse me of traveling underwear-less and without a toothbrush. Some things are just obvious, like picking a good travel companion, to bother mentioning to you dear readers. If you’re here, it’s likely you have your basics covered. With that said, here are 10 things to bring on your next road trip:


The Baggage

Hopefully this trip doesn’t include baggage of the emotional variety. And even if it does, perhaps try traveling in style with some versatile luggage. My two favourite pieces that I use time and time again are my Burton Wheelie Sub Travel Bag and my the Away Carry-On. Both of these bags are the best for very different reasons.

Burton describes the Wheelie Sub as a “walk-in-closet on wheels” and they wouldn’t be wrong! It fits EVERYTHING in it. If that isn’t amazing enough, the suitcase actually splits into TWO. This is a feature I never thought would be important to me but it turns out, I can no longer live without it. Picture this: you’re driving forever and check into a motel but you don’t wanna cart in all your stuff. No problem, just grab the half of your suitcase with your essentials in it. Or say you’re staying in a small room? No biggie, split your suitcase in half and stack it on top of each other for easy access.

The Carry-On is as functional as it is beautiful. Not only does it have a TSA approved lock on it, it also comes with a mini usb charger for your phone! The charger is portable to so you are not tethered to your suitcase when you need to juice up your phone. The inside has a removable garment bag (I use it for dirty laundry).

Organized and multi functional baggage will take a lot of stress out of traveling. Everything has its place and there will be no more guessing where your dirty socks are when you need to do some laundry.


Stay Thirsty

Maybe it’s the inner camel in me, but I refuse to leave the house without a water bottle on hand. Even if I’m just going out running errands. The fear of being without water is REAL. That fun quirk began when I first moved to London and discovered the thrill of anxiety and panic. That’s a whole other story though. It is wise to have water because:

a) you need it to live
b) if you break down, you might get thirsty (especially if you happen to be in a desert climate)
c) if you’re singing loudly to Third Eye Blind’s Semi-Charmed Life, your throat is bound to get a little sore.

Lamose is my bottle of choice these days. They’re designed in Edmonton and are stainless steel. This means they keep water ICE COLD for 24 hours and HOT for 12. Plus they’re a great size for long haul drives.


That’s Entertainment!

At some point, the lively discussion that began during hour 1 might start to dwindle. Fear not, there are so many options to fill the time! Bring a book to read to your partner, download one, make a super special playlist of your favourite road trip songs, or listen to podcasts. I’m a bit of a true crime enthusiast, my childhood is ripe with examples of consuming media that was beyond inappropriate for my age. Perhaps that’s where the fascination started? In any case, here’s my Top 5 True Crime Podcasts should that intrigue you.



Bathing Suit & Towel

You never know when you’re going to come across a hot spring or a refreshing roadside river in the dead heat of summer. Don’t let opportunity slip through your fingers because you didn’t think you’d “need” a swimsuit or a towel. You ALWAYS need them. The swimwear and yoga towels from Lululemon are the best for these occasions because they dry quickly. The last thing you want is a towel that feels like it’s been marinating in moisture all road trip long.

uncharted waters top & endless horizon bottom c/o Lululemon | the towel – Lululemon


Map It Out

My favourite thing to do when I go places is to make a Google Map of everything I want to hit along the way. Since you can personalize and save maps, you could make a specific one for each road trip. Then it’s easy to refer back to a west coast adventure in 2008 and verify that you did, in fact, hit up the Enchanted Forest and you’re due for another visit. Whether it be the most amazing sushi place like Sugarfish or a tiki bar supply store, I have it added it all to my online map. It comes in handy when I want to recall excellent photo locations too. If you’re worried about roaming, fear not, if you’ve opened the map with wifi it will still work when you’re on airplane mode. Pro tip!


Jump Start

Have you ever accidentally left the interior light on in your car only to discover your battery is dead the following day? Not all of us have AMA or even want to spend time on our vacation waiting for a jump. This compact battery can not only jump your care (it comes with jumper cable attachments) it can also charge your phone and is a flashlight. Talk about a roadside Mr. Gadget! My parents bought me this one from Costco. I looked online and can’t find the exact same model from Powerstation but I’m certain there are similar versions by other brands.


Good Vibrations

After a few hours of trapped recirculating air in a vehicle, you might desire a bit of a refresh. Fortunately Saje has created the Aromaroam, a usb charged portable diffuser. Pump that full of Mountain High oil and everything will smell like you’re walking outside in nature while you’re inside zooming along listening to podcasts about crime! It comes in handy too when you need to stay awake and can keep the air smelling zesty and fresh.


As I continue to get older and wiser, I’ve learned that finding healthy snacks on the road is not always possible. In fact, most of the time it’s an oxymoron. Rather than be stuck without a better option, I opt to pack some organic small bites from Elan, such as their goji berries, pumpkin seeds, and  my personal favourite, banana chips!

*healthy snacks should be at the top of the 10 things you bring on your next road trip list!*



Weather Appropriate Clothes

Never leave home on a road trip without some warm clothing. Car trouble is a real thing and can happen at anytime to anyone. I cannot stress this enough, especially if you’re going on a trip that includes driving through any mountain pass at any point in the year! Snow boots, a rain jacket, layers, and definitely gloves are all things you should be considering when packing your “just-in-case” items. I always opt for comfort over style on long haul drives as well. If you scroll up, you may notice I’m power clashing in pj bottoms and a plaid shirt that was buttoned up on the wrong holes. That’s me to a T.

Shenandoah Beanie / L.A.M.B Bomber Jacket / Snow leopard pants all c/o BURTON
Joan of Arctic x Celebration Boots – c/o SOREL
leather mitts  – c/o CANADA GOOSE


Seasonal Gear

I’ve already lectured on the importance of proper clothing, now let’s discuss the boring gear you should bring but isn’t that exciting. A tire iron, a spare tire, and a tire pressure gauge. If it’s winter, a shovel is a great thing to have should you need to dig yourself out of a ditch… or a parking spot, you never know. An extra litre of oil never hurt either. A flashlight and headlamp in case you find yourself in a pickle in the nighttime. Other miscellaneous just in case items might be a hatchet and a swiss-army knife.


10 Things to Bring on Your Next Road Trip

It’s not just about the junk you throw in your trunk that makes the trip! It has a lot to do with the people you choose to travel with. Sometimes the best way to find a new level of friendship and understanding is to be locked away in a car with another human for 10+ hours. Savour that time. Dig deeper. But always make sure to look out the window and catch a glimpse of everything passing by. Some of my favourite memories are of driving through a small town and wondering what it would be like to live there. After all, the road is loooong. What are your non negotiable 10 things to bring on your next road trip?

For more travel inspiration check out my On The Road section!

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