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!). 

lilac lovin'.

I looooooove lilacs! 

They smell amazing, they look amazing; they are just amazing!

So, when I heard that there was a Lilac Festival in Warkworth (just Northwest of Belleville, ON), I knew I had to check it out!

We didn't get to the festival until very close to the end of the first day - vendors were packing up -, but we were able to take a nice leisurely walk alongside the most beautiful creek that was surrounded by lush green grass, hills of trees, and some lilac bushes!

This was our first visit to Warkworth and it was an extremely short one (due to the thunderstorm that we just missed!) but I know that we will be visiting again very soon and a lot more often! Seriously, the cutest little town in a sort of valley of trees! I am in love!

And obviously I had to get some photos of myself, haha! I am the type of person who when she hears the plan, she thinks to herself, "will there be photo opportunities?" and then proceeds to get herself somewhat presentable. 

I swear I am not high-maintenance (says every person is probably high-maintenance)! I just like to feel confident! And my husband won't let me take nice photos of him, so someone needs to step up to the plate, right?! Haha!

My super cute jumpsuit (I am SO in love with red!) is from Garage Clothing :)

Question: What is your favourite flower? Mine is a toss-up between Lilacs and Peonies! Oh! And I love love LOVE Ranunculus! Ugh! They are all so beautiful! 

cheap dress and hairy legs.

Probably my favourite title for a post thus far! Hah!

I luuuurrrrrrvve a good deal - says every normal person. Seriously, who doesn't like paying less for something? If you don't, why? Haha!

I digress.

Whenever I am feeling like I need (want) to add something fresh to my wardrobe, I hit the one place that maybe a lot of people don't think about. No, not Value Village - that's my spot for random household knick-knacks. And no, not any other thrift store you are thinking of. I go to.... Winners! Yay! We did it!

Yes, Winners always has what I don't need and everything that I want or didn't know that I wanted. I get a lot of my 'filler' pieces and active wear at Winners. This dress? Winners!! How much you may be asking? $25.00. Yup! And it made me feel like a moody chick meets dark Little House on the Prairie. I never buy dresses this long - I have a strictly 'above the knees to make myself appear taller' policy when it comes to dresses - but this dress broke that policy! Now, I have a new love for long dresses and their ability to hide my pasty and probably unshaven legs in the Summer! (that was a nice way of saying 'hairy', just so you know).

Okay, I think that I am done with this very rambly and odd conversation about a cheap dress and my hairy legs.

If you gather anything from this post, it should be to check out Winners! They are constantly adding different pieces and allow you to freshen up your wardrobe without breaking the bank!

And no, this is not sponsored. I freaken' wish!

you'll want a second.

I don't know why, but I always feel obligated to write something on these posts. 

Like, how many times can I say I am weird before it becomes weird how many times i've said it? Wait... does that makes sense? 

But for this post, I want to leave you with a question (or a few - I have a feeling after I write this sentence, I will think of more questions).

What is your favourite dessert?

Mine is a tie between homemade apple/blueberry/cherry pie and glazed donuts (yes, I cheated with the pies. I couldn't choose between and I love them all, so I had to include each kind).

Also (see! another question has formed, haha!), does anyone else think to themselves 'after you have one dessertyou'll want a second' when they are spelling dessert? No? It's just me? Okay. Haha!

 

Outfit: Bottoms - American Eagle + Top - Garage Clothing