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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STYLE | The Casa Grande Domes

STYLE | The Casa Grande Domes

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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.

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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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OUTFIT DETAILS

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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