Love affair | Calgary photographer02.10.11

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with food! I have been tweeting and talking a lot about food and new things that I have been trying lately so thought that I would add it here too:) Anyone who knows me, knows I like food…good food. Which by my definition means fresh, colourful, tasty and healthy food. This love affair started back when I was little and my mum would take my brother and I to the grocery store. Once in awhile we were given money for a treat. My brother headed straight to the chocolate bar display and I would head promptly to the produce section and choose a new fruit or veggie that I had not yet tried. I understand that this is not normal and I am not certain as to where this came from. My mum cooked very healthy and prepared everything from scratch – junk food was rarely brought into our house…so you would think that I would head to the junk aisle when given the opportunity. Amazingly though, no – although don’t get me wrong…I enjoy a bag of Miss Vickie’s every so often:) I am super happy to say that this weird trait has rubbed off on my 4 year old. She is the child yelling through the grocery store…”We need cilantro…we need quinoa”. Proud mommy!

So with that background in place, I am constantly looking to tweak or better my diet (with diet I do not mean weight-loss program…I mean what I feed my family everyday). I particularly get more inclined or have more time to think about this at the start of each year. During the busy fall/Christmas season our diet suffers a bit and a refocus is required in the new year. This year, based on a lot of discussions with friends and clients about cancer and other diseases my interest has been focussed on the link between our diet and our health. So when I came across an interview with Kris Carr, the author of Crazy Sexy Diet, on Danielle Laporte blog (a blog that I love and follow on Twitter), I knew I had found something interesting – the title in itself is fun:). I promptly purchased the e-book and blasted through it. Now I have not gone full force vegan or even really scratched the surface of what Kris discusses but the few things that I have done are making me feel pretty good. For me, I was looking to easily add more greens and plant-based proteins to our diet and to eliminate some of the dairy and meat. After watching Food Inc last year, this has been on my mind and I have been slowly incorporating more vegetarian meals to our menu. My introduction of black bean burritos and sweet and sour lentils went over well in the fall so I have decided to up it a bit this year. There has been a lot of green drinks, smoothies and salads that I have trialling here over the past month and it is going well. The kids are enjoying some of them and I am LOVING how I feel. The change in my energy level (yes, even I can have more energy:) and even the change to my skin has been neat to see. It is amazing how many people lives are affected by life-threatening disease and it is hard to know what the variable is that has the biggest effect but I personally believe that what we nourish our bodies with goes a long way…even if it is just to feeling better (which may be half the battle). Since this is a photography blog…
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Give of Yourself | Calgary Family Photographer02.02.11

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I was honoured to work with this incredible and loving family a couple of weeks ago. This family was referred through my Give of Yourself program that I started 3 years ago on the first anniversary of my mum’s passing (February 5th). Their daughter was diagnosed with osteosarcoma 4 years ago and needless to say the last four years have been extremely challenging for them. It is amazing to see the strength of faith and family shine through and I am honoured to be able to give this family a gift to capture their love and strength and funlovingness:) May your family continue on the road to recovery.
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CIBC Run for the Cure 2010 | Calgary Photographer11.01.10

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I have been holding back getting this post out to try to get the final total for the Tot Shots team for the CIBC Run for the Cure. I can’t wait any longer – I know they are SWAMPED with getting the last cheques and cash through. I am so very proud of our team of 22+. Once the final numbers come through I believe that Team Tot Shots raised just shy of $8,500 in support of Breast Cancer research this year. Thank you so very much to everyone that participated on the team and to everyone that supported us through donations. I know my mum is smiling down. I also want to thank everyone for the special emails that I received sharing your stories with me. The disease is CRAPPY and has affected too many people. But through all of that, I am proud to be part of this community that has amazing strength and WILL one day find a cure. Here are a couple of snapshots of most of the members of the team and then someone actually got a shot of me;) And the last one is my family and a family friend coming in after walking the full 5km. I guess I forgot to print off the 1km walking map…oops;) Next year my son will run with me as he just wanted to keep passing everyone.

Thank you again and I look forward to next year!
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Rollercoaster | Calgary Photographer09.28.10

This week started with a photo session where the music requested was the soundtrack to the Sound of Music. I love this movie! My mum and I would spend every Christmas eve watching this movie…I still do…and sing at the top of my lungs (to the rest of the household’s dismay).

After the session, I received an email informing me that one of the recipients of my “Give of Yourself” project had passed the night before. My client wanted me to know that she had witnessed first hand the gift that I had given as she and her friend had looked through the pictures that I had taken for them. I can’t even properly explain the flood of emotions that went through me as I read this… first, my heart goes out to the daughter in this situation. There are not a lot of people (and then at the same time there are too many) that have had to sit by a person’s bedside and watch them pass. I remember feeling so bad and so guilty that I was telling my mum that it was okay to go because I did not want her to be in anymore pain but on the other hand I COULD NOT let her go. She was my person! It is tough to live without a mother and I feel bad that someone else has to experience that.

Another emotion that I felt yesterday was pride (and this may come across wrong and I hope it does not). The pride came from feeling like a bit of my mum was carrying on. My mum was a nurse and an amazing nursing instructor. One of the nurses that came to the house in my mum’s last hours had been taught by my mum, she told me that night what an amazing person and teacher my mum was. This brought me to ask my mum, “How do you do that? How do you make an impression like that? How can I help too?” My mum’s very simple response was “Give of yourself”. This is where my program came from. It took me a little while to figure out what my role in “give of yourself” could be but then I knew. When I started it on the first anniversary of my mum’s passing, it was a way to give back as well as a way to help heal myself. So yesterday there was a bit of pride that I could give someone a gift, even if it is just a little gift to help.

Then another emotion came over me. Anger! And I wish that I was not still angry but I miss my mum and HATE this disease that takes too many people. This brought me to posting “Been reminded as to why we need to kick cancer in the A#$” on Twitter. It is the final week before the CIBC Run for the Cure and I ask you to support someone that you know in this cause. Sadly too many of us are affected by this disease!

I have received a lot of emails over the last few weeks of others’ stories. So as crappy as cancer is, it does bring people together. I am happy to be part of the community that will find a cure for this disease;)

With the rollercoaster of emotions this week, I am happy to add joy of family, friends, health and work (and gorgeous fall weather – my mum’s favourite season) to the mix;).
I promise the rest of the week will be filled with the fall fun that I have had over the past couple of weeks and not me kicking it in frustration.
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Someone forgot to tell me…|Calgary Children Photographer09.16.10

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…how hard and rewarding parenting was going to be…and all at the same time! This fall is bringing a lot of change in our household. My son started Gr. 1…at a new school. Although it was a change that we knew would happen and tried to prepare for…it came with a bit of a transition. He is pretty shy so working into a group of children that went to kindergarten together was a bit difficult. There have been a lot of trips to the school to make sure he is okay (even the ones where you just stand there just so they know you are there). As a parent it is hard to stand back (especially given my personality;) and watch them work through things on their own. But on the other hand is it super rewarding! I am happy to report that he is settling in, loving his teacher, enjoying homework (thank goodness as this is only the beginning, my friend!) and making friends.

The little one on the other hand has started preschool this year and COULD NOT WAIT TO START! She did not want to leave the orientation and then was very upset when she learned that I was the designated parent helper and would be attending the first class with her. Needless to say, she is having a blast!

She has also started dance this year. Aside from soccer last season this is really the first taste that we have had after school activities. Wow, it definitely adds to the planning. BUT is so much fun! I am not sure who is enjoying it more, me or her. It was so funny to see her in a dress (and happy to put it on). She has been a bit like her mother, in that dresses are typically worn with jeans;) Yep, we are fancy here!

So with new schools, new activities, new schedules,… It definitely has taken a little bit to get into the swing of things. Seriously the food planning that comes with all of this (particularly since I am a bit of a health nut as it is) – CRAZY! Coming up with healthy, energy sustaining, nut-free, low waste (from a packaging standpoint), variable meals and snacks that the children will eat is, let’s just say, FUN. I do get that this is a “stress” I add to myself but I rate this as a fairly high priority. Given the discussions that I have had with other moms lately I think that a lot of us do. I will be trying to share some of the ideas that I am come up or have heard from others because I have been getting a lot of feedback about it and hopefully we will get ideas back;) A few of my ideas that have been working so far is sending a smoothie or homemade muffins to school for a snack. I am finding that these seem to be getting eaten (as compared to the lunch). There seems to be too many distractions at lunch so snack time seems to be the “more substantial meal”. I have been sending a smoothie in a thermos and am adding hemp to get a little protein in. The muffins have a bunch of different flours and grains that seem to carry them through a bit longer. The recipes for the muffins are from Slice. The authors of this cookbook are from Calgary (it is always nice to support local;). I have been finding some great, easy recipes in this cookbook. I even tried the roasted red pepper hummus (featured recipe on their website) for my event last week and it got great reviews. It did from my children too paired with some homemade pita chips. Because, seriously, we all have time to make these;)

I hope that everyone else is settling into their fall nicely! Here are a few pictures from the last few weeks.
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