(some of) my favourite spots in the annapolis valley. (pt.2)

I think that I could make about 20 parts of this series. I love my home so much and I refuse to stop talking about it! But this will be the end of the series until I go back home, see more spots, and take more photos! :D

4. Ettinger Fall, Three Mile Plains (just outside of Windsor).

This little gem is one that I had never heard of until this summer's visit back home. My sister-in-law showed us these falls and it has now become one of my new favourite spots! I have not spent much time in the Windsor or surrounding area, so it was really cool to go to a pretty secluded spot and enjoy the falls without a ton of people around (something that does not happen often in Ontario). 

5. Hall's Harbour. 

We will end our journey (for now) by the sea. Hall's Harbour is just the best place! The houses are cute, the water is crisp, the rocks are rocky (I am an avid rock collector), and the view is perfect.

My family and I would come here in the summer and have a KFC picnic (yep, we are those people) and just enjoy an afternoon drinking up that salty air. There is a fantastic restaurant where you can get some extremely sought after Atlantic lobster - I have been told that people fly all the way from British Columbia to have this lobster... what I am about to tell you may make you hate me, but... I am not a fan of lobster or many foods from the sea. Yes, I realize I am from the East Coast and apparently we are all supposed to love seafood, but that's not a thing. I'm sorry.

But anyway! Hall's Harbour is a MUST MUST MUST for me! I absolutely love it and I wish that I could live here!

6. Baxter's Harbour

This spot was a slightly random, googled, but had heard of before spot! Baxter's Harbour is a little gem that I had never heard anyone talk about. It is a 20-25 minute drive from Kentville and I am so stunned that I never knew about it before. I have come across photos of these falls in the Winter and man, they are GORGEOUS! I am so sad that we will not be going east this Christmas but if you get the chance to go here in the Winter, DO IT!

Such a great spot for a picnic, adventuring, a bit of rock climbing, fishing i'm sure, photos, and also whale watching! We were lucky enough to spot a whale off in the distance before we left - not my first time seeing a whale but it is always a special and very exciting moment when it happens!

There you have it! These are just a few of my favourite places to go when I am able to visit my home. I would love to know where you are from and where your favourite spots to go are when you are home! And, of all the places I have mentioned, where would you go and visit?

(some of) my favourite spots in the annapolis valley (pt.1)

This post is going to focus on some of favourite spots in the Annapolis Valley - where I was born and raised! If you ever get the chance to go to Nova Scotia, don't skip out on this beautiful part of the province! I know that the Halifax area is fun and gorgeous, and the Southern Shore is just stunning, and Cape Breton is just full of the friendliest folks - but the Annapolis Valley has all of that! Yes, I am biased, but I am also not wrong. Okay, cool!

Here we go!

1. Evangeline Beach, Grand Pre.

This place is like a second home to me. My grandparent's found a little slice of heaven right along the beach and plopped (built) a cottage (I call it a cabin) there and made a space for our family - the Woodworth's - to come together and make memories! The beach itself is a beautiful place to go and swim, walk along or have a bon fire on. It is a tad muddy but who goes to the beach to stay clean, am I right? 

And down the way from our cabin is a cute little campground and a canteen with an arcade and candy! We used to get penny candies there - yes, I am old enough to have been alive to get penny candies!

2. Blomidon Provincial Park, Canning (Cape Blomidon).

Now, let's take a look at another beautiful beach spot right across the same water from Evangeline Beach! 

This place is still quite new to me - my first time going to Blomidon was last year... yes, I have been looking at these cliff from my cabin for 27 years, and I had never been until last summer. Ridiculous. But, I digress. 

This beach is a stunner! It's not as muddy (still muddy but not as bad) and lined along it's coast are some freakin' amazing cliffs! This is a must-see spot - and enjoy the scenery along the country roads.

3. The Look-off, Canning.

This is the iconic view of the Annapolis Valley! No, you cannot see all of the valley from this spot, but you see a lot of it! The Look-off is a spot that I, without a doubt, have to visit when I am home. I need to take in the beautiful place that I was born and raised in. This view keeps me humble and reminds me of who I am, where I came from, and what I have accomplished to be where I am at this point in my life!

It's a pretty outstanding view! And if you are an ice cream lover, there is a great spot across the street where you can grab a sweet treat to enjoy with this incredible view!

(some of) my favourite spots in nova scotia.

As I am sure you have figured out by now, I am from Nova Scotia... and I love it!

Every time I get to go home, there are a few spots that are on my list of places to go. Even though I have been to most of these spots a ton of times - I grew up going to these places - I still love them with all my heart!

So, I wanted to share these little Nova Scotia gems that I love so much with you all!

I have so many favourite spots in the Annapolis Valley (where I am from), so I am going to make a few posts of some of my favourite spots there! Stay tuned!

1. Lunenburg. 

Lunenburg is one of those spots that doesn't even seem real to me. It is such a unique little town on the water with so much happening. From boat tours, to a gorgeous landscape (so many hills - you will get a great workout visiting here!), to horse and carriage rides through town (yes, this is a real thing!!), and to unique little shops and great restaurants - check out Big Red's and the Salt Shaker Deli!

Fun little fact: Mark and I originally wanted to get married in Lunenburg but instead got married in the similarly landscaped province of Newfoundland!

2. Peggy's Cove Lighthouse.

Yes, I went there. Such a typical spot to mention but Peggy's Cove IS the landmark of Nova Scotia. People can identify our province by a photo of this lighthouse without having seen the lighthouse or been to the province. It is such a beautiful spot with a gorgeous landscape and the sounds of the waves crashing... it's just the perfect spot to go, pop-a-squat on a the rocks, and just take everything in. And if you are lucky enough (we weren't this time) you may get to hear the tied-for-first (with crashing waves) most beautiful sound in the world - bagpipes!

3. Bear River (Near Digby).

I found out about this place when I was just a young girl. My friend's Grandparents lived there and we stayed with them and at a cabin deep in the woods. Bear River is such a small town in this deep valley which makes it feel even smaller. Everyone there is so sweet and everyone knows everyone. It's a literal dream spot for me. On top of all of this dreaminess, they have been holding the Cherry Carnival for 125 years!!! I went to my first one yeeeeaaarrrrssss ago, and I ever since, I wanted to go back and watch the infamous "grease pole" - a greased up log that people pay a small amount to try and get the flag at the end of the pole without falling into the water. That's it. That is the "grease pole". And I love it! I find it so entertaining and I could watch it forever - if there was a Netflix series on it, I would be watching it!  

But yes, this place is magical! I haven't been that many times but it has a special spot in my heart!

the before - the charlotte letter

She has been feeling it for a while now - that sense of awakening. There is a gentle rage simmering inside her, and it is getting stronger by the day. She will hold it close to her - she will nurture it and let it grow. She won't let anyone take it away from her. It is her rocket fuel and finally, she is going places. She can feel it down to her very core - this is her time. She will not only climb mountains - she will move them too.

'Her Time'  by Lang Leav

 

There are many days I feel defeated. I feel run down, out of sorts, out of creativity. This age of social media presses us to show the best and most beautiful life. We are encouraged to share "the after" and not "the before". But it is the before that makes the after beautiful - worth sharing with Instagram. The before is the story - it is the plot that leads to the fairytale ending that the world gets to see. The before is the battle with the orcs, or the insane journey to Mordor (Jenn, I know you will appreciate these references!). Without the before, the after would not exist. There would be no lesson learned, no inspirational quote, and no growth.

I want to make it a goal of mine to embrace more of the before moments in my life. Where was I a month ago? A year ago? 5 years ago? What and who has made me into the person that I am today? What lessons have I learned? I want to look at how far I have come - both in life in general and in my photography. I want to embrace more of the storylines in my life. I want to figure out the pivotal moments that made me want to progress and make a difference in my life. I want to "climb mountains and move them too".

And I encourage you all to take a moment and look at who you are. What is your story? What is a lesson you have learned that has helped to shape who you are at this moment? 

the memories we keep.

"sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory."

- Dr. Seuss - 

 

It is photos like these -  my husband and his nephew with some beautiful evening light in my sister-in-law's backyard forest in Nova Scotia; or of Mark sitting with my nephew in Bear River during the Cherry Carnival watching the grease pole (something I will go into more detail about in a future post, haha!); or of Mark sitting with my nephew and his cousin who also calls Mark "Uncle Mark" - it is photos like these ones, and so many more, why I got my first DSLR.

5 years ago, Mark got me my first DSLR - the wonderfully underrated Canon t3i. I had no intentions of using it to make a "career" (I still don't feel like I am at 'career status' yet with my photography). All I wanted it for was to document our life together. To capture moments like these. Moments that we can both cherish for the rest of our days. We can look at them and remember snippets of those particular days - the funny things that happened or were said (my nephew Wesson say "jamp" instead of "jump", "swamich" instead of "sandwich", and many other hilarious words that make him sound like Bubbles from 'The Trailer Park Boys' (he knows how to say the words correctly, he just thinks too quickly sometimes/ is just cute - and is also 5). 

I guess what I am getting at is it really does pay to have something more than just phone photos. Not that there is anything wrong with them - my phone is jam-packed with photos and videos that I love! But with my DSLR, I not only get to capture these moments, I then get to edit them - add a little magic - and as I am doing that, I think about those days. How we were feeling, the things that we learned, the people and views that we saw, and the ice cream that we ate (we ate SO much ice cream in Nova Scotia! It's a bit ridiculous.). 

Now, I not only capture my own memories, but I am able to capture so many other's! Complete strangers who trust me to capture the moments that mean the most to them. 

And that makes me feel pretty freakin' cool.

What are your favourite memories? What photos do you keep on your phone or computer because you just can't stand the thought of removing them? What is your desktop or phone background? 

the charlotte letter.

and just as the phoenix rose from the ashes, she too will rise. returning from the flames, clothed in nothing but her strength, more beautiful than ever.

- shannen heartzs -

It has been a while.. and if I am being honest, it has felt so great to be away!

I have been, and still am, feeling creatively drained. I don't want to work on photos, I don't want to write. I don't want to do anything really. But, I cannot be a hermit forever (or can it?). And after listening to one of my new favourite podcasts today (Nova Church Podcast), I am ready to get back, give back and rock this life!

I've recently been working on a bit of a project to help me get back to myself, my creativity, and what makes me happy.

I call it "the charlotte letter".

I want to dedicate one day a week (probably Sunday since I am posting this on a Sunday) to get a little deeper with you but also, and most importantly, with myself. Along with this, I will be using the red dress you see below (or different variations along the way) as sort of the "symbol" for this whole journey - hence the play on words with The Charlotte Letter  instead of 'The Scarlet Letter' (just incase you didn't get it - it's totally cool if you didn't!). 

I am really excited to dive deep with you all and get a little more personal (yes, I get even more personal than I already am)! If you are not into this type of thing, I will still be sharing other posts that may be a little more light and goofy. :)

 

Also, as I mentioned above, I am a big fan of the Nova Church Podcast! I was able to attend one of their services while on vacation in Nova Scotia and it has left such a huge imprint on my heart. The people were incredible, the music was incredible, and the message was incredible. I have never been to such a fun church or to a church where you not only see people's love for God and for being at church, but you feel it. I cried a few times from the overwhelming amount of love in the room - and I may be tearing up just thinking about it... my experience there changed my heart for the better.

Even if you are not a believer in God or you believe in something or someone else, I feel that this podcast could relate to everyone's life in some way. Maybe you just need a little encouragement, a little enlightenment, or maybe even a laugh - they are so funny! Definitely give it a listen or share it with someone you think would like it or need it!

Try something new. <3

ride the wave.

"human beings are works in progress that mistakenly think they're finished. the person you are right now is as transient, as fleeting and temporary as al the people you've ever been. the one constant in our lives is change." - daniel gilbert

i am one of those people who constantly tries to figure out who she is. it's honestly annoying.

this quote sort of snapped me out of those thoughts the other day and reminded me that i am never the same person as i was 5 minutes ago. i am constantly growing (not literally..), learning, obtaining, observing, listening, discovering. i am constantly changing. 

and though this constant change brings many obstacles and annoyances (i just want to know who i am!), i want to learn to love it, to embrace it, and strive in the change. 

we are all going through this as i write this and as you read (if you are still reading, you are a real champ!). it's a struggle somedays, looking in the mirror, seeing the impurities, listening to my thoughts - "who are you? what do you bring to the world? what are you doing with your life? why are you so shy?". the most important question i ask myself, "who do you want to be?". i need to stop focusing on who i am in this moment, because she is already gone by the next moment. 

and that is what i want to work on amongst this constant change happening. i want to ride this wave of change and see where it will take me! 

first stop: Nova Scotia next week! bring on the new memories, the ocean air (waves!... ocean!), and some quality time with family, friends, and my other half! :)

 

dress/skort/dort(?) haha!: Winners.

27 going on 6.

Sometimes, it's just a good idea to dress like a 6 year old.

Be different. Stand out. Take in all the strange looks people give you as they rollerblade by (I want rollerblades SO bad!).

Since having Mark - my lovely, amazing, perfect and extremely attractive husband who doesn't like me taking photos of him - start taking my photos (I'm not going to lie, I force him to), my confidence has slowly but surely been going up! I care less about the looks I get and more about how I am feeling at that moment. If I am feeling happy, then by-golly-gee-whiz I am going to be happy! That's that.

So, if you are feeling a little down on yourself, get up, dress up, keep your head up and shoulders back, and smile! I guarantee your mood will boost and your confidence will, too.

Happy Tuesday, friends!

Overalls: American Eagle

Yellow top: Garage 

5 years your wife - in it for life.

I tried to think of something mushy and romantic to say about how much I love my husband. But when I start to think about how much I love him, I cry. 

My love for Mark is so strong that my body cannot contain it and starts to leak. The happiness that he brings into my life makes my heart beat so fast that I start to lose my breath and I feel like i've just run a 5k. 

He is just the greatest gift in mi lode... seriously eyes, you can stop crying now... my life. There we go!

We have come so far for being extremely immature adults who still cycle through watching Family Guy, American Dad, Archer, and Bob's Burgers when we go to bed. From the start of our marriage in Newfoundland, then to Nova Scotia, then to Ontario, then to Manitoba, and back to Ontario, adding three dogs and a cat to the mix, and buying our first house, I think we have come a long way. 

No, our marriage isn't all gumdrops and lollipops - or whatever the kids are saying these days. We bicker... and it's almost always my fault, haha! I am stubborn, but so is he. But we get through it. We listen to each other. We talk it out.

And, most importantly, we learn... that I am always right.

Just kidding (sort of)!

But in all seriousness, I love this man! He deals with my extreme emotions (did I mention I cry?) and my bossiness when it comes to taking photos of me (that I force.. I mean kindly ask him to take). He is not only fearless to be doing the job that he does, but he is also fearless for being with a wack-a-doo like me. And I will never be able to express how much I appreciate and love him for that and everything that he does for me. 

I love you, Marky Mark, Bay, stink-butt, Dah, Ding-dong, and all the other names that we come up with and will come up with - we are pretty much making up our own language.

 Happy Anniversary, Mark. <3

PS. Yes, I did make him go out and take photos with me a few days ago. He is away for our anniversary so I guilted him into this "anniversary session" that I set-up and "shot" myself (you can see Mark and I using the new remote I got in some shots, haha!).