Wednesday, November 20, 2013

happy anniversary my love!

To my amazing husband,

Thank you for upholding your vows to me. Protecting me from pain and sadness, taking out the garbage, and getting my puffer from the car after I'm all warm and tucked into bed. 

You are the best part of my life, I truly mean that. You make my happiness your every priority, without falter, and I love you everyday for it. 

I only wish we could go back to Punta Cana and do the whole thing over again!

I'm so excited to be celebrating this first anniversary with the most amazing gift we could have ever asked for: a little baby on the way. I love you with everything I have…

Happy Anniversary!

Monday, November 18, 2013

gift card day!

So here's the story: we found a ton of gift cards floating around our main floor and decided to organize them alphabetically, and take stock of what we had.

This activity lead to the amazing and glorious event that shall forever be known as: GIFT CARD DAY! (a day dedicated to spending as many gift cards as you can, while trying to spend as close to the gift card amount as humanly possible). 

The adventure began with Bulk Barn, simply because that's what we spotted first while we were out and about. And maybe we were all a little bit hungry…

CARD ONE: Bulk Barn - $5
My accountant shopping buddies quickly calculated that we each get $1.66 for our snacks, which lead to a vicious competition for accuracy. Results:

Chris' halloween jelly beans - $0.93
Ryan's chocolate covered pretzels - $1.58
Laura's peanut butter cups - $3.39 (FAIL)

This was pretty easy (except for me since I couldn't drink any of it…). A $9.95 bottle of wine ladies and gents!

What can you buy at Tim's for $3? A medium iced cap and 2 timbits. Score.

Why on earth was I holding onto an $80 Walmart card?! I think this was from a return we made a few years ago to be honest…curtains for the main floor or something…

Anyway, we first debated buying 80 air fresheners for $1 each…but quickly ended up with a big pile of stuff we actually needed. Including some Christmas shopping (Nathan, close your eyes). 

Christmas shopping galore, so I couldn't really show off my purchases…but what I CAN show you is something that Ryan claimed would be a "hit gift" for anyone and everyone: 

If you're up for a challenge, try going into Reitmans and spending $1.30.

We found a fair of earrings for $5.99 on clearance for 70% off. Trust the accountants of the group to tell me this was as close as we were ever going to get. Grand total owed at the cash register after using the card: $0.30.

Well call this too perfect for words because I am attending a Favourite Things Party in December where you're supposed to bring 5 items that are $7 each, and it turns into a really fun gift exchange. 

Kate Spade notebooks with gold embossed polka dots? I'll take 5. 

Ryan and I are actively collecting board games for our growing family, so Cranium for $19.99 was the perfect addition. I was a little too excited.

Rounded up the purchase to a perfect $25 by adding a bag of chips. No one said anything about counting calories on gift card day.

Shopping makes you hungry, so this card was burning a hole in our pockets. We were about to meet up with the other piece of our friendship puzzle (Andrew) so 2 large pizzas, 6 drinks, and 3 dips seemed like the perfect deal. 

A delicious way to end the night...

And to my great delight, pizza was followed by 2 rounds of Cranium...

I think we're sitting with about 15 more cards waiting to be spent…two of which total $150 at The Keg, and that sounds like the most perfect way to celebrate our wedding anniversary :)

Now when someone asks what my favourite holiday is, 
I may just have to say GIFT CARD DAY.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

write for your safety net people

When I think of my "core" as a person…I can easily boil everything 
that's bouncing around in my head down to this simple sentence:

I want to live a rich life. 

Not in terms of the money I have in my bank account, 
or the kind of car I drive. Instead, I want to live a life that's rich 
in friendships, family, and the good stuff that makes me happy. 

I want to spend my time and energy crafting a home that feels 
inviting and make sure I'm filling up the people 
around me with lots of love. 

I've been toying with writing a blog post about this very concept for quite awhile, and always stop myself short thinking of how I might get a comment on Facebook about how I've turned into some weird hippy spirit-loving weirdo and I should spend more time focusing on photography instead of this "nonsense."

This is what floats around in my head when I think of certain posts I'd love to write. 

But how crazy is that? Because really, the people who read my blog are my friends…they're clients who have shared their wedding day with me and still love checking in to see how I'm doing. The people who read my blog are the people who enjoy reading it, so why am I trying to write for those who might bring me down?

In a moment of reflection the other day, I wrote this:

caring about those who may not want to read this.
Write (and work) for the people who will love it. 

Write (and work) for those safety net people.

When I think about the doors that have been opened for me in this life, I see these amazing people who I swear must have been put there to be my support system (or my safety net). My safety net people are the ones who believe I can do absolutely anything I want to, and they're there in my life so that I can take leaps toward the things I want without being afraid. 

I have the most wonderful people in my life who say these things to me all the time. Kim. Sarah. Brittany. Loraleah. Chris. My mom. My husband. 

These are the people I should picture reading my posts as I write them, so that I can be brave and say what I feel, and take the next step in my business, and be unafraid of silly little things like Facebook comments. 

I get quite a few emails from people who have just started businesses and are toying with the idea of starting a blog, but struggling with wondering what to write. Well, in my own experience, once you know who you're writing for, the rest is easy. 

P.S. this photo is an oldie but a goodie, taken by the beautiful Jessica Brown
It has been included in this post because I wish this nervous/scared me from 2011 could have read it. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

little luca is here!

His name is Luca, and he's absolutely perfect!

The night I spent in the hospital with Loraleah and Bob and their families will go down as one of my favourite evenings ever. Seeing all of the excitement first hand and being able to document it…it makes me cry just thinking about it. 

I've never photographed a birth before, but I have attended one (take your daughter to work day when I was in Grade 8, because my mom was a labour and delivery nurse for all of my childhood). And it was so cool to be there witnessing all of this excitement knowing that I'd be going through it myself in about 6 months…

How insane!

I can't find the words to describe this experience, but the photos say it all :) 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

gillman family | fall session in barrhaven

What's better than a ginger family and a sunshiny day in late-fall?

Absolutely nothing. 

I'm obsessed with these images from the Gillman family's session last week, complete with matching accessories, little baby giggles, and lots of love. Enjoy! 

How adorable is little baby Keeping?

I found out on Facebook that she took her first steps alone only a day or two after our session!! 

Ethan and Brittany are lovely together. And I had to get a few photos of their tattoo tributes to their daughter...

And of course, I needed a few solo shots of the lovely Brittany, who happens to be a photographer also! 

Call it pregnancy hormones, but I'm so touched by this photo of just the girls. A perfect place to end my post :)

Thank you for a great afternoon, Gillmans!

Monday, November 4, 2013

why unplugged weddings make my heart happy

You've certainly heard this before...the concept of an "unplugged wedding" where guests are told they can't take photos during the ceremony. But it's one thing to hear that and another thing entirely to actually work some kind of "please don't take photos" announcement into your wedding day. 

So with this post I'm going to try to bridge that gap.

I hope to answer a few questions about why anyone would want to have an unplugged wedding, how to make that clear upon arrival at your wedding, and what your guests' reactions will be. 

But let me back up a bit because there's a photo I took on October 19th that broke my heart. I'm talking about Melissa & Mike's wedding (my last of the season), complete with a beautiful ceremony in a large church.

Brother of the Groom, and step-sister of the Bride.

And of the 3 photos I took of them before their procession passed by, this photo was the only one where all 4 eyes were open, and both Jade and Chris were looking toward the front of the church. 

This is a moment that I would have loved to deliver to Melissa and Mike but unfortunately, because of multiple flashes going off at once, it was beyond repair.

Now, let's skip ahead a few frames for Melissa's big entrance with her Dad and step-Dad. 

You guys, I'm not showing you these photos because they're the only ones like this from my whole season. I'm showing these photos because they're common. They happen at almost every single wedding. 

That being said, I'm also not showing them to say "look how difficult my working conditions are!" because as I said, this is a common occurrence  so it's something I've learned to work around. My clients have high expectations for their wedding collections based on how much they've invested into their package, and part of that fee includes me being able to politely tap on the Uncle's shoulder and ask if he wouldn't mind stepping back into the aisle. 

Trust me, I can handle Uncle Bob...this isn't my first rodeo ;)

But what truly concerns me with this photo above is Melissa's view of her husband-to-be down the aisle! While I was editing I was trying to figure out if she could actually see him with not one, but THREE people standing in the aisle taking photos. 

And this may just be my hopeless romantic heart talking...but are any of those wedding guests really experiencing the moment of Melissa walking down the aisle?

I know I'm not! I'm WORKING! This is my bottom-of-the-ninth right here...!

I'm thinking about how many shots I have left on my card, how long it will be before my flash recycles, and whether I'm getting the perfect focus on their eyes. 

And of course there's a little more that goes into taking a photo with a Nikon D800 than a little silver Canon Powershot, but when it came time to plan my own wedding, I knew one thing for sure: my wedding guests would be seeing my wedding with their own eyes, not the little clear plastic viewfinder on a $300 digital camera.

We're coming up on our first wedding anniversary on the 20th (amazing!!) so I am loving this excuse to relive this little piece of my wedding right now...

3:00pm on November 20th, 2012 in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. 

It was hot. 

So my ceremony fans were just what the doctor ordered. Take a look at that note from the bride...and if you can't read it, it says:

"speaking as someone who too often sees life through the 
viewfinder instead of my own eyes, I would ask that you sit back, 
and enjoy the ceremony without taking photos. 
I promise you're in good hands!"

I walked down the aisle toward this good looking guy, without a camera in sight. 

And the fact that all the people we cared about most were able to sit back and watch the happiest day of our lives unfold without a distraction...well that makes my heart very happy. 

And let me assure you...above all else, there's something magical about never seeing an unflattering photo of yourself after the wedding. 

Just try to find a record of us chomping down on steak and lobster at the dinner...or ugly crying at the reception. Try to find a photo where our eyes are closed or we have red-eye, or one where I'm looking angry at something in the background.

You won't find it...

Because we chose Lauren Wakefield and put her in charge of documenting our day in a way that we'd want to remember it. 

Eyes open, looking madly in love. 

I hope I've shed a bit of light on the benefits of an unplugged wedding. And if you're currently planning your 2014/2015 wedding, I really want this to be something you put some thought into! How do you want to remember your day, and what kind of experience do you want to provide for your guests?

And maybe you're a guest in an upcoming I'll just say: please don't be that guy...

Don't be that guy from Love Genre Films on Vimeo.