trip down memory lane.

just a little warning: this post contains a lot of christmas memories and things that may only mean something to me -i just felt the need to get it out there. if you are not into reading about people’s live’s, please come back soon for a future post! :)

i also wanted to take a moment to remember all of my loved ones who are no longer around celebrate this time of year with their family. christmas for me has always been about traditions - but over time, i have lost them. this has been due to marriage which comes with a new family and new traditions, my parent’s separation, and of course, the loss of loved ones. this post is a way for me to bring my childhood and my loved back to life for a moment. you may not see the tears, but they are falling and the nose is definitely running.

in the spirit of the season and reminiscing, i wanted to share some of the traditions/ memories that i will i always cherish!

1. going out into the woods by our house with my dad and one or both of my brothers and cutting down a pretty ugly tree (my dad didn’t have the best taste).

2. fighting over who’s turn it was to put the angel on top of the tree with my brothers - which, by the way, that thing was treated like it was this amazing and delicate piece of art with it’s own box and tissue paper but it was plastic and looked so worn out but nevertheless, we fought over it.

3. going along with the tree, it would always be my brothers, my dad and i who would decorate the tree. our tree would always be covered in silver tinsel, homemade ornaments dating back to the late 80’s, and then just a bunch of random ornaments that we would receive as gifts or just liked. there was no colour scheme or theme which i kind of like better than the “perfect looking” christmas tree, if i’m being honest (no offence to the people who have perfect beautiful trees!).

4. christmas eve - my favourite day of the whole year! this was the day that, annie, my best friend in the entire world, and her family would come for christmas eve supper and we would eat, exchange gifts, and just spend an evening all together. fun fact: my mom and annie’s mom, pam, are best friends and that is how we met - annie was there the day i was born (that is 27 years of best friendery - that is now a word if it wasn’t already!) and the rest is history!

5. on christmas eve, most years, channel 37 (back in the day, haha!) would run the movie a christmas story for 24 hours. this, my friends, is my absolute favourite christmas movie! so, i would turn the tiny tv i had in my room to channel 37 and watch that movie at least 3 times, falling in and out of sleep. this tradition is still going strong but i bought the movie, haha!

6. christmas day would start off early, like crazy early. my oldest brother was notorious for waking up around 4am or even earlier some years, and he would come wake my other brother and i. we would walk out to see that our tree was hidden by a wall of presents - we were definitely spoiled children that didn’t realize it. we were not allowed to wake our parent’s that early, nor would we ever dare wake my mother up that early - she was like a sleeping dragon, and you never wake a sleeping dragon! so, while we waited for a reasonable time to wake them up (between 6am and 7am…) we would open our stockings.

7. after early morning presents - we would normally be done by 8am… - most of us would nap while mom and dad would slave away getting food ready for the woodworth’s annual christmas potluck lunch (it wasn’t officially called that but that’s what it was, haha). luckily for my family, we lived next-door to my grandparents! we always ate well there, it was always warm in their house and they had a big screen tv (like the chunky ones that first came out)! i loved my grandparent’s house - i would crawl under the table to get to the other side and always sit next to my poppy. whatever i didn’t finish, he would pick up and put on his plate. we were a pretty good team. my grammy, who was a beautiful and kind little lady (she was shorter than i am) who always wore dresses and made sure that her family was fed before she would sit in her little rocking chair on the other side of my poppy and eat her food. side note: we would have lunch at my grandparent’s house every sunday and it was the best thing ever!

8. boxing day in the east is treated like an actual holiday where most people do not work (not like here in onterrible… i mean, ontario, haha!) so we would hit the highway to the city (halifax area) most years and have boxing day supper with my mom’s side of the family. my nan, who i am named after, was a strict lady but she always treated me like a princess. she was a bit scary - my brother’s and i would say that she kind of looked and acted like ursula from little mermaid, but she was much more beautiful! she had a presence and i am lucky that my mom, who i used to scared of (refer to memory #5) is a lot like her mother. so, even though my nan is no longer here, i still have a little bit of her in living form through my mom!

i am sorry if this post seemed pointless, but every year, i think back to these memories that i have and hold so dearly in my heart and think of how many of these traditions will never happen again. but that is why traditions are also great - when some have to end, new ones can be made with new family and friends. traditions are what make christmas so special for me - it’s not the gifts or the giving (i LOVE giving gifts but that’s not my favourite part. please don’t hurt me!), it’s the old and new traditions that my husband, my family and his, and my friends have. this time of year for me is about loving who i have in my life and who i have lost. it’s about family and community.

i would love to know what your favourite tradition is or was! have you made any new ones? please share because i love hearing what other’s do around this time of year! :)

happy christmas, merry holidays, and happy december everyone! i hope that you are all making the most out of what time we have left of 2018 and be sure to hug or call your loved ones!

and remember, you do not know what others are going through, especially at this time of year, so please be kind to one another. <3




Fall 'Gotta-Do's' 2018

I am currently listening to Drake (my go-to when editing and also the only thing I can listen to when writing), witnessing the monsoon-like rain and wind take over the afternoon while sitting in a Starbucks with a tall strawberry acai, no lemonade - highly recommend!

I think I have officially become a legit blogger! Right? Coffee shops are where bloggers and novelists come to make magic. There are currently 3 other people with laptops and one with an iPad making, what I can only assume, will one day be masterpieces.

As for me, I am just writing out my Fall ‘Gotta-Do’s’. Masterpiece? No. But it’s fun! So here we go!

  1. Go apple picking. My first time apple picking was last year during a surprise engagement that I was photographing and I loved it! So, I must do it again.

  2. Make a pie. I have put the apples that I have just picked to good use, right? I have never made a homemade pie and should probably learn since pie is like my favourite thing to eat.

  3. Carve a pumpkin. I am the worst at thinking of something cool to carve, so I may just decide to steal the pumpkin seeds and leave it. But the plan is to carve! If you have any ideas for what to carve, let me know!

  4. Bake pumpkin seeds. Another thing that I have never done (I am not a kitchen person) but I LOVE eating pumpkin seeds!

  5. Go to a pumpkin patch. Do you see a theme for this list yet?

  6. Do a Fall photoshoot. I have many Fall sessions come October but I want to make sure that I put time aside to do one for Mark and I. I want cute Fall photos, too!

  7. Go on a hike. This is actually something that Mark and I have not done much since moving to Ontario 2 years ago and I have a huge hike-itch that needs scratching(?). If you have any hikes that we should check between Kingston and Port Hope, let me know!

  8. Watch all the Saw movies and/or IT. I LOVE horror movies! It has to be my favourite genre of movie. But, I am the type of person who will plug her ears while watching them because it is the sounds that scare me the most(?), haha! Also, I have been scared of clowns most of my life, and I saw the original IT movie back in the day and when Mark and I discussed watching the new IT last year, I had horrible nightmares about it before even watching it, so we decided to not watch it. But this year, I am determined. Wish me luck!

  9. Drink Apple Cider (with Fireball). I don’t drink often but when I do, I love me some cinnamon flavoured alcohol and paired with apple cider… perfection!

  10. Go to a corn maze. Back in the Annapolis Valley (Nova Scotia for those that don’t know), I would pass by the corn maze every fall and always wonder what it’s like to be lost in corn… but I was never curious enough to find out, haha!

  11. Go kayaking. Mark and I have both been so busy and haven’t had much time to get out on our kayaks, and what better time than when the air is crisp and the leaves are changing.

  12. Go stargazing. This seems really lame but when Mark and I started dating 8 years ago, most of our dates happened in the evening that led late into the night and we would stargaze at Evangeline Beach and make up star constellations that already had names. I miss that. So, this Fall, I want to make sure that we go somewhere, sit under the stars (maybe with some spiked apple cider? or not spiked seeing as Mark hates Fireball) and take a trip back to our 19 and 20 year old selves. <3

Well, that is my must-do, bucket list, gotta-do list for Fall! If you think that I should add something else to the list, let me know. And I want to know what you are hoping to do this Fall!

fwfg.

you may be thinking, "that's a weird title... it's just random letters. is this girl okay?"

and to that i say, thank you for your concern but those are not just any random letters! they stand for "find what feels good" - a community (and feeling) that one of my favourite yoga instructors and biggest inspirations, Adriene Mishler (Yoga with Adriene), conjured up!

i started following along with Adriene's youtube videos about 4 years ago (holy cow!) and i fell in LOVE with yoga instantly! after about a year of doing it off and on (i am the worst at consistency), i felt like i may have found a new dream/ goal of mine - to become a yoga instructor! 

well, as you can plainly see, it is three years later and i am not a yoga instructor. i stopped getting on my mat, taking time to connect with my body, and getting to know myself. i cannot tell why this happened because there are "so many" excuses, but the only excuse that is true is that there is no excuse.

i stopped making it a priority and i just gave up. i gave up because i saw how difficult becoming an instructor is. it takes so much time and dedication. i was scared. scared of failing... scared of disappointing people if i didn't do well. but in the end, the only person i disappointed was myself for not trying.

so, i am making a promise to myself to try! i am going to try my best to get back on my mat, find what feels good, and take the proper steps toward conquering a 3 year old goal!! 

what is a goal or dream of yours that you put on the back-burner? is there something that you have always wanted to do or try that you thought you could never do or just never made the time to do it? 

 

also, if you are interested, i have made a fitness/lifestyle/mini-blog instagram - @charlottebuckleup - where i  document my fitness progress, my thoughts, my bad days and good, and just all the nitty-grittiness! 

(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

will you remember me?

I go through really weird funks where I just look in the mirror and make the "gross, what's that smell"** face at my own reflection. I point out all of my flaws - crooked nose, pimples, acne scarring, uneven skin tone... the list goes on, people!

But recently (like yesterday), I had a few thoughts come to mind: Are people actually looking at my "flaws"? Is that how people will remember me?

I want to be remembered for my sense of humour - for my terrible jokes and ability to lift spirits. I want to be the ‘positive paddy’ in the room, whipping out my sarcastic jokes accompanied by a weird scrunched face or silly voice to make the joke actually funny - I really feel my facial expressions and weird voices are the gateway to my comedy career. 

Those are the things that people are going to remember me by. Not my appearance (well, maybe the short and blonde things). 

I know this is a somewhat “morbid”(?) topic to talk about but it was an eye-opener for me. It reminded me of who I want to be as a person now, today. If you take anything from the rambling above, please let it be that people love you for you, not who see in the mirror (and make a stinky face at).

Finally, with these thoughts going through my mind, I found it time to have a mini photoshoot where I wear cute things and have a public dance party! That always makes me feel more confident and brings me back to loving who I am - you should give it a try! 

 

**I know that 'smell' has nothing to do with my reflection but I feel it gives you a better visualization of the face that I make.

happy mother's day.

I am so incredibly blessed to have two of the strongest and loving women in my life: my mom, Rebecca, and my mother-in-law, Carolyn. 

My mom is a one hard chick - like seriously, have you ever met a 'Rebecca' that didn't have some sort of an attitude? I didn't think so. She had her own dreams but when she had her first child, her dreams changed. She felt that she was meant to be a homemaker, and she was a great one! Growing up, it felt weird having a mom that didn't work - everyone's mother's had careers and here was my mom, the homemaker. As I grew, I learned to appreciate that! Being a stay at home mom with 3 annoying as heck children that bickered a lot (so sorry, mom!), and keeping on top of everything at home, it's a job and a half! I am so lucky to have had a mom that was there for everything! She was there for it all - for my brother's, for me, for my dad, for my friends, for my extended family, for strangers. Like, there is not one person she is not there for. No matter what you have done or what you are going through, she is always there. And for that, I am forever grateful and I try my best to be "my mom" for those in my life.

My mother-in-law, Carolyn, is like the polar opposite of my mom, but also similar. She worked her butt off working as a nurse while doing online school while caring for 3 children! Like, what?! If that doesn't sound like Superwoman, I don't know what does!! Along with her superpowers, she is the most selfless person I know. She is always caring for others, sending gifts "just because", praying for all who need, and always tries to see the bright side in all situations. I admire her love for God and how strongly she trusts in Him and His plans for us.  She is truly a woman that all girls (and boys) should look-up to. She is such a beautiful soul that just radiates love! (She also gave me the greatest gift of all, my incredible husband, Mark!)

If you didn't get it from above, I really love these women. I am SO thankful that they are my role models, my encouragers to keep striving for my dreams, and my MOM's! 

Happy Mother's Day, Mom and Carolyn! I love you both so much and I hope that you have the greatest day!

And Happy Mother's Day to every mom, mom-to-be, pet-mom, mom's who have lost, and mom's in Heaven! You are all AMAZING!

2 days til' B-Day.

 In 2 days, I say farewell to 26, and I am slightly sad about it. Not only because my age changes - only people turning 16, 19, and 21 like that - but also because of all of the incredible things that have come my way this past year.

Just to list a few things:

  1. I shot my first wedding and my first elopement. 
  2. I was published in the Bay of Quinte Tourism Guide - still on cloud nine from that one!
  3. I have built the greatest of friendships that I know will last a lifetime.
  4. I did two maternity sessions and got to meet both babies - seems like a strange thing to be excited about but it means a lot!
  5. I did a re-vamp of my website.
  6. I did an anniversary / family gathering shoot at the most beautiful spot in Tweed, Ontario!
  7. I went on a road-trip with my husband around PEI!
  8. My photos have been shared by brands that I love - ie. American Eagle (where you can find this BEAUTIFUL jumpsuit!), Eclipse, and My Home Apparel (a Nova Scotia company)!
  9. I have started getting into real estate photography - a secret thing that I haven't really shared!
  10. And I have come to love myself a little bit more.

There have been so many other amazing opportunities that I have been given as a 26 year old (one which I will spill in a few weeks!!). I am sad to call it quits on 26, but if 26 was this good, I cannot wait to see what 27 will be like!