September 12, 2014

Happy Friday!!!

Happy Friday Friends!!! What's on your line up this weekend? We're having a little mini adventure with my family, which I am so incredibly stoked for. I hope you're able to carve out some time for whatever makes you happiest. If someone gave you one single day for yourself to fill, what would the perfect day look like to you? I think I'd love to sleep in a bit, anytime past 5:30 feels luxurious. I'd brew up a giant mug of delicious coffee and enjoy a little bit of reading the news before the house woke up. I'd have a leisurely paced morning with my hubby and gal, savour a big breakfast, sneak out for a sunny run on the beach, join my family to explore somewhere we've never been or go on a beautiful hike and have dinner and vino with friends. What would your day look like? Now try to infuse some of that into your weekend. xoxo Here's a little comedy break for your weekend, I give you, the hilarious, Tom Papa. Check out his stand up on Netflix too, it's worth a watch.

September 5, 2014

Happy Friday!!

Hello friends! What have you got lined up for your weekend? We're both nursing colds, I'm working this weekend and we're starting potty training. So, yay. As I write this, my husband, dog and cat are all snoring at varying degrees of volume. Oh Friday night is alive and well in our house. It's funny because last weekend we had a big date night, went out with 18 friends to a baseball game and were out until 1 a.m afterwords.....and tonight I did a Frozen puzzle 6 times and my dog threw up wet wipes on me. It's all a balancing act friends.
The photos above were from a little fair we went to at Burnaby Village Museum. It was fantastic - everything was free. They had old timey games, free carousel rides (which she went bananas for, and so did I, let's be honest)...and a fascinating old fashioned town set up. We went through a tiny one room home that a family used to live in (third photo from the top). All of their meals were cooked on that mammoth of a stove, and they would all sleep in the loft above. We've gotten so soft in today's world, constantly whining about our square footage and ordering take out because we are simply too tired to cook. I'm pretty sure that the people who lived in the one room home used to have to find their own kindling to chop, just to get their stoves warmed up....and while the stove was warming up, they'd be milking the cows to make their own butter...then heading out in the farm fields killing some animal to eat....and then, they'd start dinner.  And some days I feel like the two minutes I wait for my oatmeal to cook in the microwave feels like forever. I'll pull it out after a minute and a half, not quite cooked because, come on already!!!  Yes, we've gotten soft.
I hope you have fun exploring new places this weekend!! xoxo

August 31, 2014

catching up, in photos....

 the age when running water is the most. fun. ever.
 the itsy bitsy spider, crawled up the water spout......
 not many kids get to see things from this dizzying height
 A kind woman stopped by to let my daughter feed her horse. Is there any creature more beautiful?
 I love this face.
 and this one...
 a beautiful lunch spot.....
 A truth about many parents I know: We care for our children, often collapsing into bed, but then we'll snuggle up with our spouse/mate and look over photos of our kids from the day...even though we Just put them to bed.
 If they could talk, they'd all be telling the little girl to simply Look, the frick Up. They couldn't be clearer about their desire for free snacks. One guy even has his tongue out.
I know that the Autumn doesn't officially kick off until Sept. 22, but the Labour Day weekend always feels like the end of Summer. I hope you have had many highlights over your Summer. What were your favourite moments? xoxo

August 22, 2014

10 simple tips to improve your photographs.....

Hello friends! Since photography is one of my biggest passions, I thought I'd share a few tips I've learned over the years that can really help improve your photos. Happy shooting!

Leading lines: a pathway that is easy for the eyes to follow. It draws us into the photograph. Look for roadways, bridges, train tracks, shorelines, logs, anything that help create a feeling of depth.

Shoot the red. Our eyes are naturally drawn to red, that's why we have red lights, red stop signs and magazine covers will most often shoot models wearing red. Red immediately adds some interest to your photos. 
The Rule of thirds. When you are shooting a photograph, think of your photo as being divided into a 3x3 grid. Where those lines intersect, is where you want to photograph your subject. Photos feel more static when the subject is placed square in the middle.
Composition. Allow your subject to move. If I had zoomed in and photographed her on one step, it wouldn't have the same energy as leaving the entire staircase in. If your subject is facing to the right, leave some space in the direction they are looking. The space you allow your subject to move within is just as important as the subject you are shooting. 
Adjust your perspective. This is particularly effective when shooting children and animals. Get down to their level. For the photo above, I was lying down on the slide. Lie down next to your pets. Stand on a chair looking down at your baby. Change up your perspective so that you aren't always staring at your subjects straight on. 
Balance: The weight holding the balloons helps balance out the angle they are creating. Photos are also more balanced when shooting in odd numbers. You can create symmetry through asymmetry. Odd numbers help balance out the central subject. It's a principle you'll also see carried through in interior design. Three vases of varying heights, are more interesting visually than a pair of matching vases. 
Patterns: Look for repetitious patterns to create a strong visual impact. I think it is also very effective if you find a strong repetitious pattern with one outlier. For example, if you photographed a close up shot of a bowl of red m&ms and stuck one purple one in the mix. 
Re-think the traditional family portrait: Some of my favourite photographs of our family are close ups of our hands intertwined, or our bare feet all together on a sandy beach. You don't always have to lean in for the smartphone selfies to create beautiful family portraits. 
Natural light: If you are photographing anyone indoors, my biggest tip is to have them face a window.  The natural light is so much softer than any camera flash, and let me tell you, it works wonders for hiding any lines. Here's a simple indoor photo shoot tip for parents: Turn your sofa around, so that the back of it faces the window. Drape a white or solid coloured sheet over it. Have your child sit on the floor, facing the window, leaning against the back of the sofa. It'll look like you photographed them in a studio with the beautiful lighting and simple backdrop.
Get Candid: When I'm photographing my daughter, I'll often just snap random shots while she is playing. I'm way more likely to get a variety of interesting facial expressions in the photographs, truly capturing her spirit than if I stand her in front of me for a "say cheese" moment. 

The beautiful thing about digital photography is that you can practice, practice, practice. 
Remember the days of film where every photo counted? You never knew if you had something completely wrong until you waited a week, dropped a wad of cash,  and reviewed your photographs.  I once had a little point and shoot camera and an entire role of film had my finger in every shot. Here's me and my finger skiing, here's me and my finger at the Canucks game.....

Happy shooting!

August 19, 2014

checking in....

*I included this last photo because it's not everyday you see a mail box nicer than your own home.

Hello friends!! How have you been? Life has been busy, but I wanted to catch a breath and write to you with a big mug of tea in hand.
Are you trying to cram in any last minute plans as the Summer winds down? I definitely don't want to rush things because we've been having such a gorgeous stretch of weather, but I always love it when it is back to school time. Not that I'm in school. It's been a couple of years now since I graduated. And by couple, I mean decades. But I love school supplies. Lined paper, folders, pens, post its, are you kidding me? I'll be elbowing all those moms for 10 cent packages of paper, even though it's just for my own personal "in case I need to make lists" collection or catch up with old pen pals.

But enough of my breezy opener. Life had a few hiccups last week. There was one day in particular last week, which was one of the most stressful I've had in months. My dad had a surgical procedure on his heart called an Ablation and after a day or two at home, had a reaction to the procedure (heart started racing, shortness of breath and gained 11 pounds of water weight in a few short days) and had to be taken to emergency. He was then transported by ambulance to VGH so that they could run dye through his body to verify if there were blockages to his heart. If they found any, they'd have to perform bypass surgery right then and there. While Dad was getting his tests done,  Mom had to get her latest CT scan results to see how the cancer was growing. In my Dad's absence, I held her hand and could tell you, I was sick to my stomach waiting for the doctor to come in the room. Suddenly I felt like I had to be the parent, and I was petrified to the core, but I put on a brave face for Mom.
The results: the tumours are still stable so she gets a reprieve from Chemo for a few months. We leaned on one another and cried happy tears. I said,  "What do you want to do to celebrate!! I still have babysitting, we can go out!"  Her response? "Well, I do need a few things at Costco." And so life goes on.
 Then mom's phone rang, dad's scan was clear and they were transporting him back to our local hospital. We all celebrated in dad's hospital room that night and dad said it best, "it's been a really good day for our family." (My hubby also was in another hospital that day, having cysts removed from his head, that proved to be harmless). It was a three hospital day - we were definitely getting our money's worth of BC's medical care that day. During it all, I was thinking, we have all of these days where life just ticks along, and we get comfortable in the daily regimen of work/fitness/chores....but every so often, life throws you these days to challenge all that you know - that rock you to your core - where you're suddenly in the thick of Life, capital L. I was so grateful for the results we received that day, and know I won't always be so lucky. But I choose to stay focussed on the moment I'm in because nobody knows what lies ahead. They say our lives are marked by 10 defining moments where you've learned the most about life (and yourself) through your response to them. And when I say "they say" I may or may not mean Dr. Phil. But I digress.......
Looking back, what would be some of your life defining moments? Are they major events? Are they little events that somehow changed the course of your life? I'd love to ask my friends this question because I'm fascinated by the differences in everyone's lists.
Please feel free to leave comments below if you'd like to share some of your moments.

August 13, 2014

the weekend, in images.....

Hello friends! I hope you have been well. It has been a very busy week, I'll update you more on that soon! But it is late, and I have to rise early, so here are a few images from our little getaway to Parksville this past weekend. It really is an awesome place to take the family.

 One of the most amazing kites I've seen. It was mesmerizing.

Rathtrevor Beach - definitely a highlight from the trip.
 When the tide is out, Rathrevor's beautiful soft sand stretches out forever, well, obviously not forever, but you know what I mean. It's stunning. You can do a lot of baywatch running. 

Sand sculptors working their magic at the sandcastle competition. It put ours a little to shame, although, not to brag, but we did have a moat, as all good sand sculptures do. I don't see one here, just sayin'. 
 Our friends watched our little gal, giving the hubby & I an hour to run together through Rathtrevor Provincial Park. It was one of the most stunning spots I've ever ran - with trails weaving through the woods and along the waterfront. 
 The playground at Parksville Community Park is one of the biggest I've seen. It was a huge hit with the kiddos. 
 I'm already planning the wedding.
Morningstar Farm, one of my favourite spots to visit because they just let you walk around this amazing, working farm. We saw cows that were only two days old and got to feed goats, sheep and bunnies. Hey, maybe they were secretly putting us to work.

 tending to their property.

Heading home on the closest thing we have come to a cruise ship - good ol BC Ferries. 

August 7, 2014


Today's gratitude list pretty much writes itself.

  • My Dad pulling through his heart surgery. It was a lot longer than we anticipated and hearing his groggy voice was the best sound ever. I am also extremely grateful my team let me leave work early to be with my mom at the hospital. I'd also like to give a shout out to my Aunty Ann, who just might be the most amazing support system I have ever known/witnessed. She stayed with my mom from the early hours of the morning and was cooking with her at 9pm when I checked in. I love her to bits.
  • My hubby. 15 years married today and 20 years together. Marrying him is, without a shadow of a doubt, the single best decision I've ever made. Life is a beautiful adventure when travelled with your best friend. 
  • My friends. Supportive. Lovely. Ever so thoughtful with their kind calls/texts/check ins on dad. My friend Tricia showed up at my doorstep, with a giant, beautiful bouquet of flowers, blowing me away with her generosity. You know how people have a thing - hers is taking thoughtfulness to a whole new level. Craig and I often ask ourselves, what would Tricia do in this situation? Because we know it makes us better people.