Archive for Apr 2010

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April 28, 2010 Orchard Tea Party

This is the longest I’ve gone without blogging in ages! I had to switch my blog from one type to another… and the transition took a wee bit of time. Don’t worry.. I’ll make it up to you. Lots to blog about!

Way back in 1989, my family moved to Stoney Creek from Thunder Bay… and Cherie and Carolynn were some of the first people I met at the new youth group. Since then our friendships have grown – and we have been there for each other through the good and the bad. And our kids have known each other – well, practically since before they were born. I can remember taking Madi to meet Paige the day she was brought home from the hospital. And Carolynn and I sneaking into Cherie’s hospital room after visiting hours to offer our “congrats” on Caden in person. I am so glad our kids have grown to be friends also. We don’t see each other often – but I’ve learned good friends are the friends you can see a handful of times a year and each time feels like you never were apart.

I had invited Carolynn & Cherie over for a tea party (and photo shoot) – and then Cherie had the grand idea of us coming to her orchard! We waited for the call to say it was in bloom – and then we quickly picked a dry day and went! It’s a small window of opportunity that the blooms are there.

Here is the location.

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Here are the kids….

(My two kids)

Madison – this is as dressed up as she gets. She was a bit bummed I couldn’t find her clip on tie but soon forgot about it! (age: 7.5)

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Eden – in her glory! (age 5.5)

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(Carolynn’s two daughters)

Paige – who just turned 7 a couple days ago. I asked her how it felt to be 7 and she said “really, really great” (age: 7)

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Wee little Chloe – love this little muchkin. Always think she looks like “Cindy Loo Who” from the Grinch. (age: 4.5)

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(Cherie’s kids)

Aliah – she is full of spunk and personality!! (age: 6)

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And little Caden. The only boy. Poor guy. (age: 3.5)

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And let the tea party begin!!

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And then it was time to stroll the orchard, climb trees and explore!

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Future James Bond star…

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Typical Little Brother reaction to his Big Sister

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One of these things is not like the others…

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Yay for Tea Parties and Good friends!!!

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Celebrating life and love,


April 21, 2010 Nature Club

Madison’s second video for her “Nature Club”. So funny. If you haven’t joined her Facebook group you’re missing out – she answers all your comments and questions!

Celebrating life and love,

April 20, 2010 All I know…

The last couple days I have been thinking about my Grandma (“GG”) a lot. I think with photographing the 100th birthday celebration and then with gardening a lot lately – my mind turns to her. I have often said that my one regret with this home is GG never got to see it as it is so “her”. She was a big gardener and lover of nature. I always loved that GG had fresh flowers from her garden throughout the house.

Then yesterday I saw on my mom’s facebook status that it was two years ago yesterday GG passed away. So, I went back and looked up the entries on my blog from that time… it was good to look at the pictures of that trip and to read the memories. And so I thought I’d share what I learned from one of my favourite people ever.

GG taught me that it is important to give others the spotlight, and to sit in the audience cheering them on. Being a cheerleader and support is just as important (if not more) than being the star of the show.

GG taught me that love is more than words.

GG taught me the art of remembering…. names, what someone is going through, and what someone likes. To pick up on comments casually said in conversation of something the person needed, and remember it come Christmas. To inquire after people and their specific situation. To remember people by name. To stock the fridge with your guests favourite food.

GG taught me that life is full of simple joys – a garden in full bloom, a shore launch, fresh picked strawberries, catching a big walleye, a walk on a beautiful day.

GG taught me to laugh often and much. But never at someone’s expense.

GG taught me I am a part of the world I live in and need to be informed. Staying up to date on current affairs – both politically and culturally… from the evening news to Dancing with Stars.

GG taught me that it is better to listen than to speak. Then when you do speak, everyone is all ears.

GG taught me how to live life to the fullest.

And because we always need photos… here are a few from my garden. I’m clueless in the garden so I started a facebook album called “What’s in my Garden” and people who are good gardeners can help me identify the perennials popping up around my house and tell me what to do with them!)

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Celebrating life, love and GG,


April 19, 2010 100 Years Young

This weekend I was cleaning out a closet I store EVERYTHING in and found my old journal from when I was a kid. I was letting Madi read it and when she read the date “1983″ – she almost fell off her chair. “Is that the right date?!?” she asked shocked. Box after box was filled with journals and photos and keepsakes… but most importantly memories from the last (almost) 35 years. I laughed over the silliness of my youth – and the drama of a teenage girl. I smiled as I looked through letters and cards from loved ones.

A few years back I gave each of my parents and in-laws a “Father’s” or “Mother’s” journal. A journal with a series of questions such as “Tell me about your room as a child” or “What was the best invention of you lifetime” or “Tell me about your mother growing up” and so on. My dad is as sentimental as me… he finished his journal and gave it back to me the next Christmas all filled out. The next Christmas he had bought a blank journal and continued right on telling stories.
Growing up, I loved bedtime stories of my parents growing up. The first time they saw television, or had pizza. Of riding horse and buggy to their one room school house and of getting food from the ice box. Of mom working as a phone operator (and listening in on conversations). Of my Grandpa’s and Dad’s early bush piloting stories.
Simply put… I love memories. Stories. Personal history. What makes each of us unique.
Yesterday, I had the honour of photographing a 100th birthday celebration. I can’t help but wonder what her boxes of memories must hold. To have seen 100 years of life in Canada. What inventions and changes has she seen in her lifetime? How has her town changed and grown? How many memories with friends, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren… I wanted to sneak her aside and say “Tell me everything! Tell me about your memories… but more importantly… tell me what you have learned.”
I love all the recognition and letters of congratulations you get from provincial & federal government and even the Queen!
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But what I really love the most is the recognition of loved ones. There were so many loved ones right alongside her – all who absolutely adore her. Everyone loves “Grandma” and wanted their photos taken with Grandma – heck! I almost wanted to jump in too! Grandma took time to talk and chat withe each one.
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There was silliness all around…
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And lots of love…
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I adore these two….
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Look how he looks at her. Reminds me of the look I see on wedding days between bride and groom…
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And then there’s the guest of honour. Holding hands. Laughing. Sharing jokes.
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Happy 100th birthday!!!
Celebrating life, love and a century of memories,

April 17, 2010 Memories…

Just looking through photos to pull out some to enlarge to hang in our living room… and I found these two of my girls that just made me smile – thought I’d share. Eden of course is in dress up clothes – but it’s her cute little hair and face that warms my heart. For Madi – it’s her consistent love of all things nature – to the extreme. The photos are two years old… enjoy!

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April 16, 2010 A tad bit crazy

I love things and people that are a tad bit quirky. Crazy. Even irrational. I said “a tad” remember. I have a disclaimer in there.

This week Mark and I were debating summer holidays and what to do. I have booked a wedding in BC and then two weeks later in Cape Breton so we thought we would take our family summer vacation based around one of these weddings. Then… the crazy bug hit. And I’m so glad I married a guy who has that tad bit of quirky irrationality in him also. (Again – I said a “tad”)
Our plan is this… we’ll fly to BC… buy a car (and sell it later) and drive straight across this beautiful country of ours to Cape Breton over two weeks. I have done the drive from Ontario to the west, and from Ontario to the east… but to do it all at once… I’m excited! And especially to be able to show the girls our amazing country.
We had talked about this plan for awhile now but always ended with “that’s crazy” and dropped it. Today I emailed Mark and I said “It IS crazy… that’s why we should do it!” and he agreed. Love him.
So… later this summer watch for a cross-Canada photo tour care of the Jeffersons! woo hoo!!! And if there’s anyone reading who would be interested in photo shoots while we’re out gallivanting – just let me know!
And in the spirit of craziness…
Tonight we had a birthday party for Eden’s imaginary horse Black Beauty. It’s Black Beauty’s third or fourth birthday party this year alone. We had cake, sang Happy Birthday and reminisced about our favourite Black Beauty memories. Just a tad bit crazy.
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Celebrating life, love and craziness,

April 14, 2010 Moments of Pride

As a kid I remember three moments in my early school days (up to grade 2) that stick out as moments of pride.

1) In JK my friend and I built a tower really high and did such a good job the teacher took a photo of it. This was before people took 100 photos a day… so it was a big deal. I felt famous.
2) I was the only one who would draw people in art with a neck and shoulders and I can remember the teacher pointing this out. I loved to draw so for one of my drawings to be used as an example was glorious in deed.
3) I can remember sitting in a circle in my class and we’re reading one of the Mr. Mugs books out loud. It’s my turn to read and I used pauses and infliction in my voice. The teacher commended me on my reading with enthusiasm. This was probably one of the first times I remember realizing how much I loved to read.
Although I no longer build block towers, or draw people with any skill past those same early sketches (but they do have a neck and shoulders!)… I still love to read. I actually sleep with a flashlight under my pillow so I can sneak books without waking Mark. I can remember reading into the wee hours… or sometimes through the entire night. And that was just last week.
Eden has picked up on reading right away. It’s not uncommon for me to go to bed and still hear her flipping ages and sounding out words. Madi loves books – but did not have the same passion to read for herself. Bedtime stories read by Mark or me to the girls is our favourite time of day. We cuddle in one of their beds and read together. Mark does great voices for the characters, while I like to s top and talk about the pictures and what’s happening. The worst punishment we can give our girls is “no bedtime story”.
Last week, when we went to put the girls to bed one night Eden was lying in bed with the book of choice and there was no Madi. I peeked in her room and she said “I’m going to read by myself tonight”.
She might as well have said “I’m going to walk to Toronto by myself”… she sounded so grown up and mature. Mark and I stood there with open mouths. We were so proud of her, but we need warning before our baby goes and grows up overnight.
This last week though, Madi’s love of reading has taken off. I find her reading books late at night – and it’s hard to scold her when I’m going to bed to do the same.
Today after school, she came home with a library book. After she had a snack she started to read this chapter book she had brought home. That was 4pm. By supper time (around 6pm) she was finished the book.
The pride I felt in all three of those early school days does not match the pride I felt today when I saw Madi devouring a book.
Taking this photo of Eden I spotted something under the table….
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Do you see what I saw ?
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Yep, Madi on the floor reading. Not sure why – but I’ll take it.
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When Eden got too loud she moved to the couch.
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WIth all this talk of reading… anyone have any good book suggestions? I need something new to read!
Celebrating life, love & the joy of reading,

April 13, 2010 Anderson Family

Back in November I had the absolute honour of photographing James, Sarah and Maggie. Such a sweet family – absolutely in love with each other. So, I was more than happy to get an email to come and photograph Sarah’s extended family! People sometimes pity Mark having two daughters…. “just wait until they hit the teen years” they tell him. Look at this dad’s brood (and there is one more daughter as well).

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Just a side note… I always get asked what to wear for family photos. I liked this combo… white and black with denim – and then pops of purple. Looks great! (Notice even the dog’s collar is purple)
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Following this photo shoot I got the best email ever from Cindy (the mom) and had to share it:

I’m sitting here still in awe of the wonderful afternoon our family had with you! I knew that you were an excellent photographer – in the technical sense, but now I see better as to how and why! You were absolutely fantastic at making the day fun and enjoyable. My girls were so amazed that we made it through the whole shoot without any major issues and that they could actually enjoy themselves and have a great time! I overheard – “I never realized that having family photos didn’t have to be painful and could actually be FUN!”, “I vote that we definitely have ourselves a new family photographer! I don’t ever want anyone else to do our photos!”, “That was a great experience!” and many more positive comments. We are used to coming away from different kinds of experiences and then having the criticism pop through – there wasn’t any reason to have any criticism today and it made for a lovely evening. Everyone was beaming at dinner (and with a group of our size, there are often issues of some kind or other)!

Thank you, thank you, thank you! – Cindy
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Such a beautiful family!
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For these headshots I had asked people just to crouch down a bit as I took them. Maggie was hilarious. I don’t think she understood I didn’t mean “crouch as low as humanly possible”
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And Maggie as the only little one in the bunch – has everyone charmed.
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Maggie and dad are so cute together. And I almost thought this one was an error – but to me it just shows the perfect trust in daddy, and how little she is in comparison to her hero.
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This group also has it’s silly side for sure.
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Notice anything different?
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Their humour is a gift that they need right now as James is fighting cancer still. He i

s in the midst of chemo currently. I loved that the family showed their support with their “Live Strong” shirts and bracelets. Even one of the sisters had it tattooed on her wrist. In the mom’s email to me to organize this shoot she said that all the sisters adore James – and it shows!

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On Lance Armstrong’s LiveStrong website it says their purpose is to: “we unite people to fight cancer believing that unity is strength, knowledge is power and attitude is everything.” I think the same can be said for this family.
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We also took time to do some photos of James and Sarah together – these two just beam at each other!

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Now next Sunday I get to photograph their Grandma’s 100th birthday – can’t wait! What a reason to celebrate!!
Celebrating life and love,

As I have blogged before, I am honoured to shoot for “Smiling Eyes” – an organization where photographers donate time to families who’s lives have been touched by cancer. Another part of Smiling Eyes is having the opportunity to photograph families at the Ronald McDonald House (RMH) in Toronto. I love, love, love doing this!

On Saturday, I went to the RMH and met up with the lovely Melissa. Melissa is amazing – she is a child life specialist (did I get the title right, Melissa?) and does an incredible job of making sure the children who come into RMH lives are made richer, happier, and to help with some of the confusion and fears they may have. You can tell how much the kids (and parents) all adore Melissa.

This time when I got home and looked through the images, what stuck out for me was the parents. These moms and dads are doing such amazing jobs with keeping their children feeling loved, safe and happy.

The first family I met with lives in Ireland currently but are from South Africa. They came to Toronto last week with their son William. William turns one this coming Wednesday – happy birthday!! On Monday, due to eye cancer, William is having one eye removed. I was so thankful for the timing of this photo shoot to give William’s family photos before his surgery. He is such a happy little guy – with mischief just waiting to come out – you can see it in his face!

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William is so cute! And he knows he is cute too.

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This series cracks me up. He looks so innocent – until mom comes within reach.

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We then went outside to the parking lot. Again, I’ll say the location is not as important as you may think for a photo shoot. The love and connection is what you see in images. You can find a neutral background anywhere!

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Kids always let you know when they’re done – bye bye!

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Then I met with this sweet family from Nunavut. They are here with their sister who is in Sick Kids With two young active boys – they kept me on my toes. Definitely would need distractions!

First… play-dough!

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Then… puppet show!

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But this was the best… watch their expressions change in the next two. Can you guess what made the change?

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Silly String!!

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Melissa pulled out Silly String and they loved it!

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Then I showed them they had a “twin” in the window….

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ANd more silliness with Melissa!

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Such a sweet family!

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I can not imagine what it must be like for these boys coming from Nunavut where mom was saying there is still snow and they’re use to being outside all day long – to being downtown Toronto! The stories they’ll have for the folks back home!

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Then I went on to meet baby Harm. His mom went to the hospital at 27 weeks not feeling well… and next thing she knows, she is rushed to Mount SInai hospital and has a two pound preemie baby! Harm is doing awesome and is heading home this week hopefully! It was also funny as we talked, to discover we live in the same neck of the woods and Cassandra (Harm’s mom) knows all my neighbours (one was even her bridesmaid) and has even been over to my barn before. Small world!

When I got there, dad was just sitting admiring him. Mom is up at the ROnald McDOnald House all the time (11 weeks so far I think she said) while dad comes up on weekends. SO I’m sure he’s eager to hold his little guy as much as he can!

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I love when babies stretch and curl up like this!

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This is one loved little baby!

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Totally smiling.

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Why do you think “Mr. Muscles” is crying?

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He wanted to flex his muscles of course!!

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This was also my first time having to wear a gown and gloves as Harm is currently in isolation. Interesting to shoot this way!

I remember spending hours doing this – heck! I still love to watch my girls lie there! Look at Harm’s face… “are they still there?”

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Such a sweetheart!

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The last visit was to SIck Kids hospital to see little Kenna. She is two years old and is such a sweetheart! SHe is from Rainy River area – where I have family as well. Nestor Falls up near Rainy River is where my grandparents lived and is still probably my favourite place anywhere. Kenna and her mom have just arrived recently and getting settled. Kenna was so proud of her necklace and bracelet she had made!

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Isn’t she so sweet!

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I just loved how mom and Kenna interacted together. You can tell Kenna loves her mommy!

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And what kid doesn’t love being read to?

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As I looked through the images what caught my eye was the kids just wanting to hold on to mom and dad. For these young ones to face so much is hard to imagine. But if they had to do it without mom and dad’s presence is unthinkable. I am so thankful for Ronald McDonald House being there so mom and dads can be there to hold a hand and offer a cuddle.
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Celebrating life and love,


April 12, 2010 ThinkSpace

A couple months ago I photographed for ThinkSpace… a great new venture in Burlington. A cool meeting space where creativity is encouraged. A place for people to meet and have their business meetings that is outside of the cold, sterile board rooms.

You know how there are homes you visit, where each corner gives you a sneak peek to something more. A cool piece of furniture, a neat art piece, something intrigues you and draws you in to see more.

ThinkSpace is the same.

Each corner peaking your curiousity.

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Little ddetails in each corner catching your eye. Like this stone dating the home back to 1890 in one of the archways.

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Unique furniture and antiques.

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I love things like this – a cool chess set with big leather chairs. Love this. I would love to sit here and pretend I know how to play chess.

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Creativity is encouraged everywhere – crayons and pencil crayons on teh board table.

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There is details everywhere… even in the washroom!

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Look at this faucet!

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And besides all the beauty in the place – the technology is up to date with flat screen televisions and StarBoard for clients to use.

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My favourite spot in ThinkSpace is an unexpected surprise. To step outside and find this oasis…

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Even a fountain – I love the sounds of a fountain in the background. SO soothing.

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A gorgeous space – you definitely have to check out!

Celebrating life and love,


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