Archive for Mar 2010

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After a long day of classes and heads full of information – we headed out for supper. Armed with our cameras as always…

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We went for a walk through the mall off the strip and found a Betsey Johnson store. I’ve loved her stuff since I was in high school drooling over magazines. Seriously – would these little numbers not look adorable as a wedding dress – or as a reception dress?

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We told the staff straight out that we weren’t buying anything – but could we try on some stuff? Not only did they say “yes” but helped us pick out outfits, shoes and accessories. Don’t all girls love playing dressup? And Nataschia is seriously mulling over going back there to make some purchases….

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Nataschia getting a wee bit excited

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Then we met our new friend Rian who insisted Nataschia needed a makeover. Now. He was hilarious. Almost had her convinced the trend is to wear eyeshadow all over your hand up to your elbow. “Really Rian? I’m not sure…”

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Doesn’t she look great?

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Our friend Rian…

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And then we met p with more friends who had just flown in – we suggested Hard Rock for their dinner of course… and we popped in to say “hi” to our newly arrived friends – Kathy and Barb.

We met back up with Marie who wanted some new photos of herself. Love this girl so much. We hope to do some photos of her and her daughters in the next couple days… when she isn’t out being the top server for all the worldwide Hard Rock restaurants or building houses for Habitat for Humanity….

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Such a fun night. And remember a couple days ago I blogged about listening? It’s been reinforced here. As we listen to our new friends stories that live here in Vegas we hear stories of miscarriage, death of loved ones, people walking out on them, big dreams and more. We are pleasantly surprised to discover the people of Vegas may have a tough exterior – but I think each one we spoke with told us about some charity they’re involved in, about people they love and adore. The people here are beautiful. Keep watching for their photos.

Celebrating life and love,


What a great couple of days!!

My classes with Cliff Mautner… wow. Seriously any photographers out there… HIGHLY suggest you go to one of his workshops or bootcamps. His control of light is phenomenal and he is born to teach. A GREAT couple of days of classes. Because I was there to learn and not to shoot… I actually don’t have much to show from class. I really was concentrating on learning the light and the techniques – not just snapping away in my usual fashion. I’ve taken a bunch of workshops – this might be the best one yet.

Couple from class though….

1:30pm Harsh sunlight in Vegas. Every photographer’s night mare, right? No way! Cliff showed us great ways to tackle what is normally thought of as “bad light” and control it to make it amazing light… naturally. No flashes.

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And a couple inside as well….

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And then out for supper with the girls.

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We wanted a nice quiet super to talk about all we had learned that day. Nothing crazy or fancy. SO we went to Hard Rock as it’s nice and close. And then we met our favourite server Christian… and well…. I have never laughed so hard in my life. Turns out what our souls needed was not a good quiet heart to heart that night but to laugh our stress away.

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Yeah – we also met Gene Simmons…. aka “Gary”.

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Nataschia challenged Christian to bring each of the staff over for their picture to be taken… hilarious. Check out her blog.

After we ate, Christian took us up to see the amazing third floor where they hold concerts and had amazing music memorabilia. And we did a mini photo shoot….

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Look at these great displays!

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And in the Beatles room….

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And down to the store to try to get us to buy cool stuff – like this hat.

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Laughing is so good…. so good. I’m so thankful for my great girl friends and our new Vegas friends! More hilarious pictures to follow of yesterday (day 3)… let’s just say Betsey Johnson is involved!

Celebrating life and love,


So yesterday we did our loooong day of travel to Las Vegas! We’re here – yay! Here’s some photos form day one of Rosita, Nataschia, Sandra and my adventure!

Nataschia and I have this funny thing… her company colour is turquoise and mine is yellow. We are always pointing out our colour… “Oh look… this entire magazine spread is yellow clothes… guess they love me more than you.” “Oh look at this adorable turquoise ring… guess I’m cooler than you…” and so on. Ridiculous. But when I was eating Mike and Ike’s (yum) and these two fell into my hand… reminded that yellow and turquoise actually look great together. icon smile Las Vegas... we're here!

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Rosita – love her. She hasn’t travelled a ton – we had so many laughs about her WAY overweight luggage, losing her passport, and on and on. She makes me laugh.

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And we’re there!!

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Sandra my constant travel companion to Vegas.. and I already confessed my love for N and Ro above. Love these girls.

Oh – and my new bangs. Thoughts??

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If you haven’t been to Vegas… this is what you see when you step into the airport. The grocery store. The pharmacy. The lobby. Anything. Slot machines. (not Nataschia – she’s not at all those places).

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Thought this was hilarious. A Best Buy vending machine. Buy an external drive or ipod or… just like you would a Coke. Crazy.

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We were completely bushed but needed supper. It was 8pm here – 11pm at home… but we needed some eats! So – we went to our favourite pub we frequented last year… the 9 Fine Irishmen!

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It’s loud but awesome. Great live Celtic Music!

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The view on the walk over to New York New York (where the pub is)

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And a couple of my gals…

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Finally – elevator back to our room and we’re out!

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Today I start my classes… can’t wait!

Celebrating life and love,


March 3, 2010 I'm a student!

As you know, we just got back from Disney. We spent a day at Magic Kingdom, then Animal Kingdom and then Epcot. I have to say – I think Epcot was my favourite. Not only did it have the best rides (Soaring! Space Simulator!) but we learned so much! One thing my kids thrive on is learning random trivia. Madi could sit for ages and learn about animal facts or other cultures… she loves facts. So we try to incorporate this love of learning into our vacations and play. We want our girls to know learning is fun – not something to endure. You got to remember… I married someone who has spent wayyy too many years in school. Mark loves school, learning… and kicks my butt at Trivia Pursuit!

I also love learning – and as a photographer I know that I have to continue to learn to grow and to be inspired. So each year for 4 years in a row now I’ve made the trek to Vegas for the largest photography conference there is – WPPI. It’s an amazing week of learning, making new friends, being challenged, and coming away inspired.

This year I debated maybe not going. Is it the best use of my time and money… do I really want to leave my family for another week…

Then Mark set me straight. He reminded me yes, I could read books and learn through various forms.. but nothing inspires and encourages me like a week at WPPI. Each year I come back ready for the wedding season with a new passion and drive. I need to go.

So, tomorrow I head out for a week. This year I’m doing something new… I’m going a couple days early and attending “plus classes”. A small (25 students) class with some of the world’s best photographers! The teacher I chose is “Cliff Mautner“. I’m excited as I absolutely love how he controls light. Can’t wait to learn!

Oh… and I may have a bit of fun as well! With so many of my good friends also going (along with 10,000+ other photographers) a good time is always guaranteed!

Here’s a few photos from previous years.

2007 – the first year!! What a great trip! Sandra, Tracy, Melanie and myself headed out – going to the Grand Canyon and valley of Fire… I loved standing at the edge of the canyon at sunset and belting out songs with these gals I barely knew at the time.

Blog entries here and here, here and here (Grand Canyon!)

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2008 – This year my good friends Jen and Beth joined Sandra and I. So much fun as again we explored the Grand Canyon, Valley of Fire and even pulled an all-nighter to see the sunrise at the Valley of Fire. Oh yeah – and I may have lost Jen in the desert and had to call a park ranger to help find her.

Blog entry here

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2009 – This year Nataschia joined Sandra and I. We took time to walk teh strip this year and stil got out to my fave place… yep. Valley of Fire.

Blog entries here, here and here

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and 2010′s are soon to follow!!! This year Nataschia and Sandra are back… along with Rosita! I best get to bed – have to be meet them early in the morning for our flight. They won’t tell me the exact time of the flight… I have a habit of thinking we can squeeze in one more thing and maybe I’ll stop at the store on the way and oh! why don’t I go grab a drink and… then I’m late. So being left in suspense I best show up on time. Glad Sandra is there to keep Nataschia, Rosita and I in check…

I will be checking email while gone – just might not be as fast at responding!

Celebrating life and love,


March 2, 2010 Listening

If there’s one thing I love more than anything in a person, it’s a good listener. As I tell my girls frequently (as they interrupt over and over) – listening is loving. In today’s rush, rush, rush…. to have someone stop, and listen is a gift. Giving you that moment as yours alone.

One thing I always like to do when I first get to a wedding or photoshoot is just talk. I might not pull out my camera right away – instead I’ll ask the bride how she’s doing. And listen. And throughout the day, if I’m talking to the couple – I try to put down the camera and give them this moment just to listen.

My photos tell a story and share emotions. If people have only seen my lens all day, and have not connected with me – the trust isn’t there. Obviously I can’t do this all day – I’m there as the photographer not guest! But – if I take the time to listen, it creates a better image and it helps to calm the bride in a day full of frenzy!

Recently I got sent two images of myself at recent 2010 weddings – note… no camera in the bride’s faces. Just listening.

taken by Nataschia and Laszlo and Angela’s Ontario reception…

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And Andrea just sent me this one that a guest took at her wedding….

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Celebrating life and love,


March 2, 2010 Thankful

Tonight I am thankful.

Today I tried to clean this beast of a house (why can Mark and I never be practical? A 155 year old house with property for two people who are not handy….) I was grumbling. Maybe we made a mistake. Do we need this much house? DO we need this old of a house? Would it be better to have stayed in the city?

Basically I was grouchy.

Then, after supper Madi was begging for us to go out and make snowmen as a family. We all went out – but the snow wasn’t packing snow so instead we opted to tobboggan.

As I raced Madi down the hill and watched the sunset… or laid in the snow at the bottom of the hill and looked up at the stars… I knew.

March 1, 2010 We're Baaaaaack

So we are back from vacation!! We got back in time to see the hockey game of the century and enjoy the snow. When I left I wasn’t sure about our decision to do a road trip this year for our annual Florida trip… but as Madi said “Road trips are more fun! You get to see so much more and not just sit in a boring plane.” We had a great time!

And now we’re right back into reality with dentist’s appointments this morning and me leaving in two days to go to Vegas for a week. I hope to blog more soon – it was a great time away!! – but in the meantime here’s a couple favourites…

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There’s so much to share! Here’s more of my favourites in this Facebook album HERE.

Now off to reality….

Celebrating life and love,


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