Thursday, January 31, 2013

My Little Lamb

This is my own little lamb.  She is the joy and sunshine in my life.  I have wanted a baby for so many years--especially a little girl.  I was finally blessed to give birth to her the end of 2011 when I was 38 years old.  She will be the only baby that I have, so I cherish every day that I have with her.  I thank the Lord every day that I have the honour to be her mother.  She truly fills my life with so much joy.

I am a portrait photographer, so I take A LOT of photos of my little girl.  I love to share them online with my friends and family, so be prepared to see a lot of photos of her on this blog.  Enjoy.








Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Stop Walmart from supporting animal cruelty

I just read an article by the Huffington Post titled, "Walmart: Harms Animals, Ignores Science".  I also saw a video about the gestation crates used on pigs by many pork farms in the US and Canada.  As you can see by this video the pigs are living in filthy, unhealthy conditions.  And the cruelty to the poor piglets!  I was close to tears watching the workers mercilessly cut off the piglets' tails and rip out their innards while removing their testicals.  And then the people bash the piglets against the concrete floor in order to get rid of them when they are sick or dying.  I am in utter shock and disgust by it all.  How can people and businesses be so mean and uncaring?!?!?!?  Do they not have a conscience?!?!?!

I am completely disgusted by the cruelty shown to these poor pigs.  All animals deserve respect, love and dignity in life.  I am just appalled at how awful these people treat these poor animals and I am just as disgusted in Walmart in supporting these kinds of farms.  Shame on Walmart.  I have been banning them for a number of months now and I feel even better in my decision.  I am really coming to realize why my cousin has banned them for years.  Walmart truly is a greedy corporation who only cares about their profits.  So utterly evil and offensive.

Learn how you can end this kind of cruelty by going to the anti Walmart Cruelty website.


Friday, January 18, 2013

Mamma's pretty baby

I just shot these cute shots of my little girl two days ago.  One of my friends posted a link on my Facebook page about a local baby photo contest.  It's a contest for the best baby smiles.  Of course, I just had to add my daughter's photos into the contest because she has the cutest little smile going.  I mean, all you have to do is look at her cute little, chubby face and that sunshine smile of hers that lights up any room.  

I have taken a brief look at the other babies in the contest and in my opinion they have nothing compared to the cuteness that my daughter possesses.  Perhaps I am just talking like a proud mamma (which I am, of course), but I think it's more because Lily is the star wherever she goes.  Maybe it's the red hair (which people complement wherever I take her); maybe it's those pretty eyes of hers (which I am afraid will attract the boys far too soon than I would like).  However, I think it's the whole package: eyes, smile, face, red hair and the fat goodness that makes her all that AND a bag of chips.  

The only way that I think that my daughter will not win is due to a popularity contest.  This is not judged by a panel of judges.  Instead, it will depend on how many votes the winner gets, which will completely depend on how many friends/relatives vote for that particular baby.  So when the voting opens on February 8th, you can bet that I will be pimping my baby's voting link out to anyone and everyone with a computer.  Ha!  Ha!  If my daughter at least makes the top 40, I will be happy.  However, I am counting on her cuteness to bring home the prize.  ($1000)

You can click on her contest link to see the photos that I entered. (They are supposed to be close ups of the face.)

UPDATE:  Lily has made it to the top 40 best baby smiles.  If anyone wants to vote for her, she is #29 on the website link.  Yahoo!!!!!










Friday, January 11, 2013

10 Things I would tell my 15-16 year old self

No one is perfect in this world.  We all make mistakes and we all have regrets. At least, I haven't met anyone who didn't have any regrets.  We all know that hind sight is 20/20.  Sometimes I think to myself that if I were able to go back in time, what would I do?  It always ends up that I would either try to steer my younger self in certain directions in order to avoid making certain mistakes or to put me on the right track of what I need to be doing in order to start doing it at an earlier time.

So here are 10 pieces of advice that I would tell my 15-16 year old self:

  1. Stay away from that loser.  He's not worth it in any way, shape or form.
  2. Don't worry about finding THE one.  You will find him and he will be wonderful.
  3. Don't wear so much makeup.
  4. Start seeing a chiropractor.  It's worth the early investment, instead of waiting until you're 27.
  5. Do NOT sit on your feet for that all nighter history assingment you end up doing.  It will crush the lymph nodes in your feet and give you a lifetime of swelling in your feet and ankles.
  6. You are worth so much more than you know.
  7. Make sure that you still go to Egypt on your 30th birthday, as planned, instead of opting for Italy & Greece because Sarita chickens out. 
  8. Be kind to your hair.  Don't bother with dying it so much because when you finally get to the age that you need to dye it, you will long for the days of your natural colour.
  9. When you go to college, make sure to take the final $1000 of your government student loan in your last year because it will be free money due to loan forgiveness of anything over $6000/year.
  10. Stay close to the Lord and don't slack off going to church because it will help to keep you on the straight and narrow and you will have fewer regrets.
I would love to hear about other people's advice that they would give their teenage selves.

Me at sixteen.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

25 Things that I am grateful for

I think that most people in first world nations think that if they have more than what they already have then they will be happier than they already are.  So many people (including myself at times) fall into the trap of: 'If I had more money, a bigger house, a nicer car, made X amount of dollars per year', etc., etc. that this would bring them the happiness that they want.  However, if this was true, why is it that so many people in poorer countries are happier than we are?  I think it's because they are truly grateful for the little that they do have.  You know the saying, "Money can't buy happiness".  Well, it is 100% true.  Happiness is not about what we own; it is about appreciating what we already have.  We need to have an attitude of gratitude.

In thinking about gratitude, I can't help but think of the song Count Your Blessings by Johnson Oatman Jr.:

When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.
Refrain:
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done.
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your many blessings, see what God hath done.

For anyone who really doesn't think that they have much to be happy about, I challenge you to take a pen and paper and think long and hard about what you are truly grateful for.  Perhaps you could hang this list somewhere where you will see it every day in order to remind you about all of the things that you already DO have so that you will not dwell so much on what you DO NOT have.  We are much happier when we look for the silver lining in our lives, instead of focusing on the cloudy skies.  And so, here is my list that I came up with of 25 things that I am grateful for.

  1. My Lord
  2. My life
  3. My health (if you don't have your health, money cannot help you)
  4. My family (my own family as well as extended family)
  5. My husband (It took me years to find someone as compatible & wonderful as him)
  6. My daughter (I waited a long time to have this little treasure in my life)
  7. My mother 
  8. My friends
  9. The gospel of Jesus Christ
  10. Being married and sealed in the temple
  11. Prayer
  12. Personal revelation
  13. The scriptures
  14. My eye sight (There was a time in my life when I was told that I may lose my sight)
  15. The beauty of nature
  16. Photography and my talent for it
  17. Growing up and living in a first world nation
  18. Being educated (the ability to read and write)
  19. The opportunities to travel (22 countries baby!)
  20. The opportunities to live/work abroad (South Korea & Japan)
  21. Having enough money for all of life's necessities (food, shelter, paying bills)
  22. Living in modern times (cars, washing machine/dryer, dish washer, heating, electricity)
  23. Four seasons
  24. The kindness of others
  25. *Growing up without a computer or the internet
*I am SO glad that I did not have the distraction of the internet or computer to keep me from doing real activities, like reading, writing in my journal, talking to friends on the phone or in person, playing outside, playing games and sports, dancing, hiking, actually going out and socializing with friends and the list goes on and on...


Monday, January 7, 2013

Adding Custom Social Buttons

Being a photographer, I like for my own artistic vision to come through so that people can see what I want to portray to them.  Designing a web template is no different for me.  I am not going to lie; Blogger is not the most user friendly website that I have tried to design the way I want.  Having created my own website from scratch back in 2006 using html code (it took me a year to learn & execute), I do understand basic html, so that is not too much of a problem for me to take code and then tweak it in order to make it how I want it to look, but I needed some code to tweak.

I wanted to not only add social buttons to my Blogger website, but I wanted to add my own custom looking ones and had no clue of how to do it.  I googled for days trying to find a website that had a 'how to' write up that would be relatively easy to follow.  I couldn't really find anything that was laid out well until I came across Farah Kilgo's website Think * Share * Teach that had a pretty simple step by step explanation.  If you would like to add your own custom buttons, or even if you want to add regular social buttons, you just need the icons (which you can get from google images) and then use Farah's instructions and code to add them to your own Blogger site.  I am not surprised that her instructions are quite easy to follow since she is a grade school teacher.  Yay for teachers!

These are my own social buttons that I made using Photoshop.  It involves using layers in order to create them, but that is a different post.  Perhaps some other time down the road.


If you want social media icons, but don't want to use the regular looking icons, just be creative in your google image search. There are plenty of places online that you can download your own unique social buttons for free.  Creattica has great coffee cup icons while Theme Cavern has tea cup as well as dessert style icons.  Pancake Ninja has pretty pastel coloured icons.  Smashing Apps has a huge selection of social media icons.  If none of these are your cup o' tea, I would suggest that you figure out what you want and then google the description of it.  For my portrait photography website, I wanted/needed pink social icons to go with my pink colour theme, so I googled free pink social icons.  I ended up getting some fantastic looking social icons from Pink Moustache.

I know that there are plenty of people who do not understand html.  So, if you want to make your own blog look more unique, but don't really know how, you can actually get a free website template from Leelou Blogs.  She designs websites for a fee, but she also has freebie templates too and they are very cute.  If I hadn't already designed my own template, I probably would have gone the route of using one of her creations.  Good luck in your website decorating adventures.  :)

Friday, January 4, 2013

My Pinterests

For anyone who may have possibly been living under a rock or under the ocean for the past few years, there is a fairly new online phenomenon called Pinterest. It is an online community in which people can pin things that interest them, hence the combination which made the name.

I had heard of Pinterest when it first came out and one of my cousins was constantly bugging me to join. She kept telling me how "addictive" it was, so I actually resisted for a long time because I did not want another online addiction (Hello. Facebook anyone?). But then I decided to open up an account to help my photography business's SEO. For anyone who doesn't understand how Pinterest could help a website's SEO, in layman's terms people are able to pin various things from your website onto their pinterest boards. Then, if others like it too, they can also pin it to their own interest boards and so on and so on. Thus, you can get quite a few back links to your website, thus helping to boost your own website's search engine optimization.

Like I said, I initially opened up my Pinterest account purely for business purposes, but then I quickly became "addicted" too. I like that I have gotten quite a few great ideas for cooking and I have rediscovered avocados and how delicious they are. My two favourite Pinterest discoveries are a grilled avocado, goat cheese & lime sandwich as well as a grilled mozzerella & pestro sandwhich.

I also like that there are tonnes of Halloween, Christmas, Valentine's day ideas as well as many, many, many DIY projects. And they come from so many different websites. I sometimes click to go straight to a website to see what other great things they have on there.

Check it out if anyone is interested in looking at my Pinterest page.





Thursday, January 3, 2013

Happy Anniversary to Me

Today is my third wedding anniversary with my husband and I am SO happy that I am married to such a wonderful man. We met each other at church. At the time I was the secretary for our church area activities and he used to come to the activities. He was living in Gatineau and going to the French speaking ward (church), while I was living in Ottawa going to an English ward. We would see each other every few months at these church activities. One year later, he finally got enough courage to ask me out on a date. I had no desire to go on a date with him, but surprisingly I said yes. Yves was late in meeting me at the restaurant, and I was ready to leave just before he arrived. But then miraculously we hit it off. The conversation flowed so well all night. There were no awkward silent moments. It was just perfect. And six months later we were married.

I have lived in four provinces and two other countries besides Canada; I have met a lot of people along the way and I can honestly say that I could not find a man more suited to me than Yves if I tried. And the ironic part is that Yves seemed to be the opposite of what I thought I wanted my whole life. My list that I always had was that my future husband would have brown hair, brown eyes, English would be his first language and that he would not have any kids. However, Yves has red hair, blue eyes, French is his first language and he has two sons. I have learned from this experience that you really can’t judge a book by its cover. This is something that I plan on teaching my daughter so that she doesn’t miss out on finding the perfect person to marry.

I am so thankful for Yves, for his kindness and generosity to me. He is smart, and we have the same wacky humour. I mean, who else could I kid about hiding dead bodies in the basement on a third date? I know that he is definitely not perfect, but he is perfect for me. I am proud to call him my husband, my best friend and the father of my child. I love him dearly and always will.

Happy anniversary my love. You are always in my prayers and in my heart.

(Photo Credit: Marco P. Veltri)



Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Live in the Moment

Happy new year! As like most people, I try to come up with a few new year's resolutions to help me to be a better and happier person. I think that one of my 2013 New Year's resolutions will be to live more in the moment. That is no small task for me, but I think that it is very important so that I do not miss out on all of those wonderful moments with my precious baby girl and family. I will tell you how I came to make this decision.

This past Saturday afternoon I went out with my husband, stepson and daughter to go enjoy the beauty of winter. It was fairly warm with no wind. And with overcast skies, the photographer in me couldn't help but notice that it was perfect lighting conditions for photos. I was going to take out my professional camera, but the batteries were dead and needed to be recharged. So, instead, I took out my little point and shoot camera, slipped it into my coat pocket and went out to enjoy the winter wonderland with the family.

My husband got out an old sled so that he could pull our daughter around in the snow with it. Professional camera or not, I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to make a short video of my husband pulling my daughter on the sled for the first time. I began to make a video and a few seconds into it, my card registered as full. Crap! I immediately started to go through what I could quickly delete in order to make room to make another video or at least take some snap shots. While I was standing in the snow desperately deleting enough videos and photos to make more room on my memory card, my husband, stepson and daughter were moving farther and farther away from me. Then my husband shouted back at me, "Be in the moment!" He was right. Instead of living all of the great moments behind a camera trying to capture them, I should also learn to really LIVE in the moment too and so that I can also savour those precious moments WHILE they are happening--not try to live them through the photos later on once uploaded to my computer.

I think that all of us need to learn to be in the moment. We are all so wired in these days, whether it's our phones, internet, cameras, etc. that we are actually missing out on life's moments. They could be every day moments like a family outing or special occasion moments like wedding ceremonies. Either way, we are missing out on real moments that could have been genuine memories for us, instead of artificial moments that we look at later on a screen.

I am glad that I didn't end up taking my professional camera out with me, because then I would not have even been in any of the moments because all I would have been thinking about would have been what would be the best aperture, shutter speed and white balance to get the best shots of the moments. At least with a little point and shoot camera, I could just take snap shots here and there and also allow myself to actually be in the moment.

I hope that you too will learn to live in the moment too. Smell it. Taste it. Savour it because each one of those unique moments won't come around again.






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