One Weekend in Iceland

One Weekend in Iceland

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One Weekend in Iceland

After spending two weeks between a very sunny Morocco and a cozy springtime London, it was quite a change to land in Iceland. It was exactly the type of weather I’m accustomed to in March – cold and windy. With that said, the coldness is part of the beauty of spring in Iceland. It makes the process of going from the door and straight into the Blue Lagoon hot springs that much more satisfying. Layering clothes is just a part of the one weekend in Iceland experience I had. So keep scrolling for the things I enjoyed doing in Iceland.

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Dessert First!

My first stop will always be for sweets. I have an insatiable appetite that I try to keep under control until I’m on vacation. Then, I will let the sugar rush take me. Iceland was no exception. Upon my arrival I made the short walk from Reykjavik Residence Suites to 17 Sortir. I enjoyed a cupcake and a quick snap of my shoes on their amazing tile work. I can confirm that a pair of vans and white cotton socks are NOT enough warmth for the month of March in Iceland. Pack according to anyone but me because I would rather freeze than carry too much excess clothing, apparently.

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Hotdog Heaven

When I went to Iceland, I still ate meat. I do not anymore. With that said, I did have a few hotdogs while I was there. I went to Pylsuhúsið which I recall being very good. Iceland is, after all, know for their hotdogs! However, I feel slightly strange talking about eating meat when I no longer do. This paragraph will have to suffice until I return to Iceland and can update on what vegetarian options are available there. Trust me, I will! So this section is to be continued. 🙂

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More Sweets But Also: Bread

What did else did I eat in Iceland? Aside from the amazing breakfast basket I had waiting for me every day in my hotel, I made sure to enjoy candy and bread. Lots of bread. The Sandholt Bakery was nearby and quite frankly, some of the best bread I’ve ever had. That’s unsurprising as it’s the oldest bakery in Iceland so it’s had a few years to perfect its product. Their use of the word “artisan” is not flippant, its an earned accolade. They have a little restaurant attached to the bakery that is definitely worth popping into.

Vínberið is the ultimate stop for the sweet lover. They stock every fathomable chocolate or sugar delight one might want. They are novelty hamburger gummies and chocolate from omNom, an Icelandic brand I still dream about nearly two years later. If the amazing packaging design isn’t enough to get excited about, the quality of chocolate should be!

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Blue Lagoon (of course)

One weekend in Iceland wouldn’t be complete without making the trek to the Blue Lagoon. While it’s a very touristy destination, it’s easy to get to during a quick stay. It’s located outside of town but easily accessible by bus via FlyBus / Reykjavik Excursions. Had I more time, I would’ve rented a vehicle to experience natural hot springs in the surrounding areas. However, that wasn’t the case this time. Booking ahead is recommended as the more popular times fill up fast. I went with the Premium ticket as I wanted access to a robe. It was, after all, March in Iceland and rather cold to be walking around in a bikini. With that package, I also had the pleasure of trying two different mud masks (how fancy!) It was quite busy but I enjoyed wandering around in the iconic blue water feeling the mud squish between my toes.

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I would like to note that I was wandering around the lagoon alone with my cellphone in a ziploc bag streaming one of my favourite CJSR shows Big A little a. The things you do when you travel alone. 😉

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One Weekend In Iceland

Thanks so much for scrolling along on my short adventure to Iceland! I spent the majority of my trip walking around without a plan and it served me well. I love stumbling across little shops and restaurants. Taking chances on the unknown is just one of the ways I open up to new places. As an anxious person, it’s a great exercise in letting go.

If you like to see more travel content, check out my On The Road section. To watch travel videos, head on over to the Sandy Joe Karpetz YouTube channel (and subscribe if you fancy it). It’s a new project for me so I’m learning as I go along and would love to hear any feedback or suggestions on things you’re interested in seeing!

photographs – Sandy Joe Karpetz

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It’s The Great Pumpkin Sandy Joe!

It’s The Great Pumpkin Sandy Joe!

It’s The Great Pumpkin Sandy Joe! | Smoky Lake Pumpkin Fair

Fall is upon us and with that comes one of my favourite annual spectacles: the Smoky Lake Pumpkin Fair! This was my third year attending and it did not disappoint. It was the 30th anniversary and boasted the heaviest pumpkin in the history of the festival! The pumpkin weighed in at a whopping 1884 lbs!!! But without further adieu, I present: It’s The Great Pumpkin Sandy Joe! Tune into the video above to get a vlog of the whole experience… right down to the infamous pumpkin drop!

A Real Sincere Pumpkin Patch

If this highlight reel didn’t sate the appetite for pumpkin related content, I suggest heading over to my Smoky Lake Pumpkin Festival post. There you can watch a few short clips of the infamous pumpkin drop, see some pumpkin spiced baked goods, and see me blending in with my camo wear. 🙂

It’s The Great Pumpkin Sandy Joe!

Thanks so much for joining me on yet another random road trip! It’s more than likely that I will be attending this fair next year – rain or shine, I’ll be there. In the meantime, if quirky road trips are an interest, check out my post and video about 5 weird places to visit in Arizona. Or my lengthy backlog list of travel articles I have been compiling over the years. As always, if you enjoyed this video and want to see me on the regular, subscribe to my YouTube channel – I appreciate each and every sub as I grow this new corner of my offbeat empire.

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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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