KELOWNA IN JUNE by Monique Pantel

I spent a quick but beautiful 3 days in Kelowna. The weather was spicy hot and views were just incredible!

I got to photograph an intimate vow exchange, a sweet elopement on a vineyard and two beautiful portrait sessions.

Lately, I’ve been travelling a lot. And when I do, I try to experience the most out of the city I’m visiting in the ways that bring me joy: eating, hiking, drinking, the great outdoors, meeting new people and photography.

As soon as I landed in Kelowna, I jumped into my rental car and bee-lined it for Naked Cafe. I was hungry AF. This place had such great vegan, local vibes and I had two really special interactions with really nice strangers over my lunchtime! I even made a new friend :-)

This weekend I hiked Knox Mountain (Paul’s Tomb Trail), Mount Boucherie (Boucherie Rush Trail) and hit the beach and trail at Kalamoir Regional Park on the west side of Kelowna.

I had a lavish 2.5 hour lunch (solo…my faveee!) at Indigenous World Winery, a $5 for 5 flight wine tasting at The Hatch (this place is so chill and has such a good vibe) and I also managed to check out Mission Hill, which has a gorgeous property, but a little on the stuffy side.

On the day of the elopement, my bride Nicola and I hit up a spin class and had the most epic brunch and mimosas at The Bohemian Cafe. Avocado crostini with chili oil, need I say more? The rest of the day was such a magic little whirlwind. Nicola and Mike tied the knot under a willow tree on a vineyard, overlooking the Okanagan valley at sunset. It was so special. A willow tree represents balance, learning, growth, and harmony - which we all thought was pretty perfect.

Enjoy the pics and I’ll be returning to Kelowna in September.

EDMONTON WITH LULULEMON by Monique Pantel

Where do I begin with lululemon.

They’ve been a dream client of mine forever. Last summer, they asked me to photograph their ambassador campaign. I cried. Then they asked me to BE an ambassador. You guessed it. Cried again.

Last weekend, 7 of us were flown to a regional ambassador on-boarding in Edmonton. Kails, Twila, Marisa, Monica, Quinn and Junel all got to experience a whirlwind of sweat, learning and growth, facilitated by the awesome leaders at lululemon.

We started the day with a hot yoga class, then a little breakfast while we got into the guts of the day. They fed us ice cream and lunch, too. And when the day was done we retired back to the Hotel Macdonald for a hot tub and a good nights sleep!

I also managed to catch up with an old friend before my flight home. We had lunch at Noorish (my fave veg spot in Edmonton) and walked around the botanical gardens at the Muttart Conservatory.

I’m excited for what the next two years have in store for each of us ambassadors and the way we can elevate our communities through our passion projects!

CABO SAN LUCAS IN APRIL by Monique Pantel

I’ve always wanted to photograph a wedding at Flora Farms in Cabo San Lucas. It’s been on my “goals list” for over 5 years. In April, my dream came true. Not only did I get to photograph a beautiful wedding at Flora Farms, the couple tying the knot was one of the sweetest I’ve ever met. There were just so many elements to this wedding that pulled at my heart. It was so beautiful.

I had 5 days in the Baja, a few were dedicated to travelling in and out of the country - and of course, the wedding. But, you know me, I’m an adventurous soul and in a last minute pinch, my best friend Sylvie booked a flight to join me in Mexico. IT WAS THE BEST.

Sylvie is a super-athlete. She races spartan/obstacle course races- and wins them. It’s insane and I’m so proud of her. So although we were in Mexico, we actually didn’t drink at all. Sylvie isn’t drinking alcohol in 2019, and well, I had a lot of work to get done, so it was a perfect match. The 2007 version of ourselves would have been likely disappointed in our granny approach to Mexico, but alas, it made the trip feel so long and we had such full days. Like I said - THE BEST.

Before a wedding, I like to scout the venue and area - so I treated Sylvie to Easter Brunch at Flora Farms. It was wild. The food was out of this world (the menu was prix fixe, but then also offered SO many buffet/charcuterie options). Aside from that, the people watching was extraordinary. If you wanna see grannies rocking Gucci fanny packs, hit up Flora Farms. It’s a treat. I don’t know why I keep talking about grannies.

Another highlight was chartering a private sunset boat tour of Lover’s Arch. It was just us and a few locals that owned a beautiful boat. We cranked 90s hip hop, fed fish to sea-lions off the back of the boat and watched the sun go down over beautiful Cabo San Lucas. Potentially one of the most romantic friend dates ever.

WAIT, AND we rented sea-doos. That was so funny, we tipped, thought we were going to die and then almost did die from laughing so hard.

I’ll follow up with a separate blog post, recapping Dan & Kendlee’s gorgeous Flora Farms Wedding, but for now, enjoy the lifestyle/behind the scenes of my life on the road via my iPhone!