Friday, August 31, 2012

My Life in Books :: The Kindle

I grew up running through the forest and watching 1960's sitcoms on TVLand. Literature wasn't exactly my 'thang' so I was a little surprised when I arrived at university and discovered that most of my new peers (Miggy included) were quite well versed in "the classics" — you know, all those books you're supposed to have read by the time you're 12 or 15 or 20? Books like Alice in WonderlandThe Chronicles of Narnia and The Hobbit. Needless to say, I felt slightly out-of-the-loop when when they slipped their witty references into our conversations. I wanted to sound cool too. Half way through my second year of university I decided to put an end to my ignorant smiling and nodding and actually pick up a book.
I started with Alice in Wonderland and moved on to To Kill a Mockingbird. I'm a big fan of checking things off of lists so it didn't take long before I decided to conquer the biggest list of all... "Top 100 Books to Read Before you Die"! Of course, that wasn't enough of a challenge for me so I'm simultaneously tackling "The Big Read: BBC's Top 100 Books". There are lots of repeats on these two lists (I'm not going to read them twice obviously :P); I just wanted to make sure I was fully covered. 
As you can imagine, books started piling up and when I'd finished one I would search "frantically" through Oxfam bookshops to find my next. What torture was this waiting period in between! Last week my mom FINALLY convinced me to buy a Kindle. Kindle readers really are the best Kindle advertisements. Anyway, I've been Kindle-ing for 2 weeks now and I LOVE IT!

Like everyone I know, I thought I would miss paper books. But I don't. Not at all! I can't believe it.

My Top 5 Favourite Things About My Kindle:
1) It's easy to read in bed — no tossing and turning or sore necks.
2) It's light and fits in my pocket & my purse.
3) I can highlight my favourite quotes and write notes in the 'margins' with the swipe of a finger — no more wobbly underlining and ink on my fingers. 
4) It compiles my favourite quotes & notes into a list — no more flicking through pages trying to find highlighted lines!
5) I can change the size of the font — classic books with tiny font are no longer intimidating or off-putting because I just make the print giant and I feel like I'm breezing through it!

Still not convinced...just give it a chance! Trust me, you'll love it! :D

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Marvellous Monday :: Three Good Things

"Three good things," said Mom. "You have to think of three good things that have come from this seemingly bad situation." 

This is how we deal with things and grow from them. It's too easy to focus on the negative, all the annoying, frustrating, sad and discouraging things. Those are all obvious. They're jumping and screaming in your face. Instead, turn your attention to the three positive things and suddenly the world becomes a brighter place. It may not solve the problem but it certainly lessons your suffering by offering a light at the end of a dark tunnel. If you struggle to think of the positive it never fails to close your eyes and imagine beautiful umbrellas dancing happily above the ancient streets of Portugal, wouldn't you agree?....

Apparently my mom was ill for the entire year after I was born. In the car this afternoon she told me how terrible it was. So I smiled to myself and asked her to list her 3 positives. This was her answer...

"1. I know that when I feel sick (unless it's terminal) I always get better. 
2. I developed compassion and sympathy for women who experience mourning sickness.
3. It didn't inhibit my ability to take care of and love you."

[Águeda, Portugal by photographer Patrícia Almeida.]

I've been in Seattle for the past 3 weeks and I'm starting to really miss Miggy who is still back in Scotland. Three positives...

1. I get to see him in 3 days!!
2. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
3. I realised how important it is to have "me time". I feel all rejuvenated and I have more to offer him when I see him.

Festival of Colors (previously) at Spanish Fork, Utah

[Paris-based photographer Cath Schneider]
[Brazilian photographer Mariane Borgomani]

Artist is Unknown — This Street Art Can be found in Birmingham, UK

So whatever challenged you encounter today, think of 3 good things about it...the world becomes a brighter place and your Monday can be more Marvellous!! 

*Yes I spell marvelous with two L's. I like it better that way.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Broken External Hard-Drive :: Back Up Everything!!

It tumbled in slow motion, off the table and down towards the cement floor. No smashing, no cracks, no splinters. Just a sickening silence. My external hard-drive lay there on the rock hard floor. My stomach turned over with a dread. I lifted the precious litte box and reattached it to my computer. BEEP BEEP BEEP WHHIRRR BEEP BEEP BEEP.

Everyone on Yahoo! Answers said the same thing..."If you drop your hard-drive and it starts beeping at're screwed." Oh fantastic. My guts were reeling as I phoned up the data-recovery guys. The Mac Store referred me to a fantastic company called DriveSavers. I recommend them 100%.  Just talking with them made me feel better. They were soft-spoken and very sympathetic as I explained my predicament. They emailed me a postage label and away flew my wounded wee hard-drive, down to it's check-up in California with these kind computer doctors. Yesterday they called me with the bad news...they weren't able to recover anything — not one thing. :(

So much hard word sucked down the drain — disappearing into a black hole...forever...gone! Thankfully, some of it was backed up (but not all of it because I hadn't bothered to get around to it yet — shame on me). My mom, a.k.a. Mrs. Super-Positive made me list three good things about this situation.

1. I don't have to spend $1000+ on data recovery. I could use that money to buy a sample album for my studio instead.

2. This will NEVER EVER (EVER EVER EVER) happen again. I've learned my lesson the hardway.

3. Nothing that was lost was urgent or expected by clients...just a bunch of personal & sentimental stuff. So it was sad but I didn't get me into trouble with anybody. **I did have a wedding on there that hadn't been delivered to the clients yet and all those edited photos were lost BUT thankfully I hadn't deleted the images from my Camera memory card yet. I was able to re-upload and re-edit everything but I can't imagine how sick I would feel had I not been so lucky. What a terrible phone call to make "Dear Mr & Mrs ____, I've just lost all of your wedding photos. Please forgive me." (Hang up & puke! Just horrendous!!!!)

How foolish I was to think myself invincible. How many times have I been told to back up everything to 3 separate locations? How many times had I told myself I would 'get around to it'? Well I suppose some lessons have to be learned the hardway. It's not worth the risk, I tell you. Even us invincible people will be beaten by the universe from time to to avoid heartache & lawsuits please BACK UP EVERYTHING!!!! Back up everything before you watch it crash to the cement floor one day, never to return.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Redhook Brewery Newlywed Shoot :: Sophie & Johnny

Redhook Brewery Engagement Shoot Woodinville, Washington fun playful happy 
"He's asked me to move to Chile to live with him. Should I stay here in America and get a graduate job or should I sacrifice that and go be with him? I don't know what to do. What do you think I should do?" Sophie had just finishing recounting her South American love story to me. There we were, sitting in my parent's living room, she was staring at me, twirling her gorgeous curly hair between nervous and excited fingers, and waiting for an answer. 
They'd fallen in love in Valparaiso, a colourful ocean-side city in Chile, which Johnny calls home. It wasn't an easy feat for a Chilean man to visit his girlfriend in America but he had jumped through all the govenments' hoops, paid the bank-breaking fees, called-in once-in-a-lifetime favours and made the long journey....all to see his love, my dear friend Sophie. With any other couple I would have felt unqualified and uncomfortable to give any advice but as I stared back at Sophie, my best friend from high school Spanish class, I could see the answer in her big blue eyes. She was overwhelmed and her vision was cloudy but I could see clearly for her. She didn't need my advice. She needed me to tell her what she knew deep down inside but was afraid to proclaim. So I said it without any hesitation..."Go."

She left my house that night bubbling with excitement — she couldn't wait to tell Johnny and her dad that she was moving to Chile! There was no doubt in my mind now that these two were meant to be together. Someday, I would get to meet her true love for myself.

Autumn of 2011 rolled around and the announcement was made....WE'RE GETTING MARRIED!!! "Yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" I hollered through a sketchy Skype connection. Then came the question, "Will you be our photographer?" This question was an easy one..... "HECK YESSSSSSSSS!!!!" and then the next question, "Will you be my bridesmaid?" and "YESSSSSSSS AGAIN!!!!!"

After the interviews and the paperwork Sophie & Johnny were together at last, married and in Seattle. I couldn't make it to their first wedding at the courthouse (I was in Scotland) but I've heard it was the most beautiful day of their lives. 
This coming Saturday, 25th August 2012, Sophie and Johnny are getting dressed up again, this time for their second wedding bash! It's a big one this time with all the family and friends, bridesmaids (myself included - woot woot!!) and a crazy cool cake! 

We never got the chance to snap their engagement photos so this week, before a funky night of Redhook Brewery trivia, we set aside an hour for their "newlywed shoot." I love photographing these two — they have the most beautiful happy smiles :D In this photo below they are practicing their first dance that they'll be performing on Saturday. It's a traditional Chilean Cueca.
Oh you two! I just love your guts! And Sophie - the Mrs. Gorgeous Award goes to you! 
Slam-dunk high-five!
Sophie & I predict that Johnny & Miggy will become best friends too! We'll all live happily ever after. That's the plan anyway. Fingers crossed :P 

Smoocharooo!! I'm seriously exited for Saturday you guys!!! It's going to be beautiful fun.

To see more photos from Sophie & Johnny's playful and smiley newlywed shoot at the Redhook Brewery in Woodinville, Washington, check out their slideshow below.
The groovy tunes are "Honesty" by Hannah Miller provided by

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

"You Park LIke an Ass" Note

"You park like an ass." 
Not exactly the lovely note you'd like to find on your car. Fair enough...I did a crappy parking job but in my defence... I was driving my grandma's massive Cadillac that has the turning radius of a blue whale. I'd thought I'd done a good enough job in that parking lot but some stranger felt differently and made sure I knew it. He'd written it on masking tape and stuck it to the trunk. What a loser thing to do.

Luckily, I was returning to my car after a fabulous date with my new photographer friend Cheryl Ford of Cheryl Ford Photography. We met at Starbucks, strolled through Molbaks and visited the Party Store (all while chatting about the wonderful world of running your own photography business — it's so nice to have someone to talk to who's in the same boat...finally). I was in a good mood so the nasty little note didn't phase me too badly but just imagine... if I'd been having a really bad day, that note could have been the last straw.

What compels people to be such jerks?! If they really wanted to speak their mind, they could have written, "I realise you're driving a big car but I'd really appreciate it if you could please park more carefully next time. Although I'm sure you had no intention of doing so, you seem to have taken up two parking spaces and it was difficult for me to park my car. I just wanted to let you know so you could be extra careful in the future. Thanks. Have a lovely day." What's so hard about that, eh?? Just be nice people! Honestly.

Anyway, I have a new photographer friend and I really like her :D I'm so excited to start working with her this fall!


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Emily's New *Bling* *Bling*

My beautiful maid-of-honour Emily is engaged!!!!!!!!! Her sweet boyfriend James proposed to her today with a picnic that included scrabble pieces :D We've been talking about this day for so long, wondering if/how/when he would propose— I can hardly believe it's finally here! So that's 3 of my 7 bridesmaids engaged/married this year!!! Kaitlyn, Sophie & Emily! Sophie's wedding is next weekend, Kaitlyn's is November 17, & I can't wait to hear Emily & James' plans!!!

Emily is such a supportive friend. She's a sporty girl (really into her korfball) and she loves being crafty — we have fun inventing Christmas gifts together. Two years ago we created homemade advent calendars and even went the extra mile to cook our own candy cane!! FIY :: unless you know what you're doing I don't recommend this. We basically made shards of sugary glass that were too painful to eat :P

Last month Em came to our house for a girly sleepover and the next morning she agreed to let me photograph her. What a cutie! Her laugh makes me so happy.

For the month of September, I'll be on a long business trip in the UK. I can't wait to swing by and check out Emily's new bling* bling* in person!! Yay! Congratulations girly! I'm so happy for you :D

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Yorkshire Wedding at Danby Castle :: Nick & Fire

Sitting there beneath the castle ruins I imagined all the people that had walked through these rooms hundreds of years ago. I stared down at the oldest known example of a sink with a drain. I laid on the grass as roosters strut by, children chased each other in all directions, and cats swished their tales as they basked in the much appreciated sunshine. Nick and Fire's wedding day in the heart of Yorkshire was such a relaxed day, full of children and laughter. The celebrations began with a traditional English tea party — vintage cucumber sandwiches all the way! Their outdoor ceremony was joined by a downpour of rain (perfectly timed of course — the thunder clapped and raindrops began to fall right after the celebrant read the verse about nature and rain!) and they danced the night away with a ceilidh.
Fire's wedding dress was designed by Jane Bourvis in Portobello, London and I really don't need to say that it was stunning (it speaks for itself) but IT WAS STUNNING! It was made of small bits of vintage fabrics saved from the 1800's and 1920's. How incredible is that?! She looked like she belonged in that castle. 
Up inside the castle throne room I found Fire and her mother. The wedding dress was slipping over Fire's head and her mom (who was helping her to dress) was struggling to figure out which way was up. On her first attempt, the train ended up in the front. ha! Five minutes later, in walked the best friends and Fire was being tugged, tucked and lifted — hands coming at her from all directions. 
The Father of the Bride.... (waiting) 
With such gorgeous red hair, no wonder she has the nickname "Fire". 
I'm still in love with these delicate details of Fire's dress. GoRG!!!!
Before the guests arrived I snuck into the vintage tea party marquee. Bunting and 100 teacups — so many of my girlfriends would walk into this room and instantly feel like they'd died and gone to heaven — it was the epitome of a British summer afternoon. High tea is Fire's favourite British tradition so that was the perfect touch to their day.
When the guests started to arrive the kids were EVERYWHERE bringing so much laughter and joy to the day. I love photographing children because they're so playful and pull such great faces.
The little munchin on the left side was cute but let me tell you about the other two — this little girl and the boy in the middle have been inseparable since he was  about 18 months  old.  They ran around together holding hands, hugging and dancing — my secret wish is that someday they get married and I can be their photographer!
Oh the years without teeth — how I seriously don't miss you! :P I love seeing women of different generations together — especially when they're laughing like this. It makes me so happy.
And then it was time for the ceremony. The violin began to play (with the help of some little hands) and the guests gathered round into a circle. Nick & Fire had a humanist ceremony that included hand-fasting! It was the first time I'd witnessed a hand-fasting ceremony.
Instead of a guest book, Nick & Fire had their guests signing the backs of puzzle pieces. When the puzzle is all assembled it mades a big wooden tree that will hang in their living room!
Every party needs a princess dress!!!!
To see more of Fire & Nick's wedding check out their slideshow below....

Fire & Nick :: Thank you so much for including me in your day. I loved meeting your families and being surrounded by the countryside left me feeling so happy and refreshed. Your day was so full of special details and reminded me in many ways of my own wedding. I hope your wedding celebrations in America go splendidly! 
PS: That little hole in the wall is the oldest known example of a sink with a drain — at least in England if not further afield. How cool is that?!?!