LIFE LATELY: JANUARY-JUNE 2016

Since I began blogging more than 10 years ago, this is the longest I've gone between personal updates. Over six months have elapsed since I shared a little bit about what I've been up to. Perhaps it's because these past few months have kept me the busiest that I've been in a long time. Much has happened, and even as I write to you now, it's surrounded by a home full of stuff piled up and a mile-long list of tasks and goals, half-unpacked boxes and clothes strewn about, bags that were not yet emptied from my last trip that I need to begin re-packing. This is a time of transition, movement and deep changes.

Less than a year ago, we moved from Toronto to Edmonton, Alberta. I took to the city well, and I continue to love it. Its small town friendliness, abundant natural beauty and surprisingly great shopping and dining provide a cozy, simple lifestyle that I've long craved, while still offering lots of activities and entertainment for when I get an extra burst of energy. The air is fresh, there's no humidity, and the sun doesn't truly set until 11pm at this time of year. What's not to love?

Since we arrived, I've also spent about a quarter to a third of my time back in Ontario, honouring past commitments that were made before our move was planned, and about which I'm still so very excited. This will continue for the next few months, and then I'm hoping to travel a bit less and spend a bit more time nesting for the first time... ever. A cross-country move has affected my life much more significantly than did living in Montreal or even the midwestern US. Both were within a day's drive of home, family and long-time friends. I had a lovely client base (hi, guys!) that was centred around Toronto/Ottawa/Montreal, and travel between the cities was easy and frequent.

Constant travel while also building a life in a new place is a very difficult balance to strike, but one that I'm trying to do to the best of my ability. Some days I awake with boundless energy, and others I feel weighed down by it all. Looking forward to the next few years, I'm hoping to do most of my business in Western Canada and online, and travel more exclusively for special projects and leisure.

But in the midst of all the back and forth, a lot of exciting things have happened. Perhaps most notably, Brian and I bought our first home. It's a small, mid-century bungalow that I've nicknamed the #PeachStuccoPalace due to its bold, rather Miami-esque hue. It boasts gorgeous perennial gardens which I am scrambling to learn how to care for, as well as lots of flowering trees and shrubs. Perhaps best of all, it has a greenhouse, which its previous owner reportedly kept full to the window panes with his champion orchids. Meanwhile, I feel giddily proud if I manage to keep the weeds at bay at this point. I hope to share before and after photos as we begin to repair and transform the interior and backyard in the coming months and years.

Here are some photos of the apartment we just moved out of:

Barely anything on the walls and all our furniture refinishing projects on hold, because as soon as we knew we were moving, we stopped decorating and started packing!

Barely anything on the walls and all our furniture refinishing projects on hold, because as soon as we knew we were moving, we stopped decorating and started packing!

Here are some of the before photos of our new home:

Lots of 1950s-1980s design elements. Some we are most definitely keeping! Others will be lovingly updated over time.

Lots of 1950s-1980s design elements. Some we are most definitely keeping! Others will be lovingly updated over time.

On a business level, I've been quietly preparing to launch a second brand, am working on my next big personal photography project, and also have a big handful of ideas that are still in their seedling stage, but that I hope to nurture forward soon. I used my slower season to pursue a lot of education, from online classes in new editing techniques to finally taking a studio lighting course. It's so exciting to apply all the new things I've learned as I shoot portraits and weddings this year.

A few favourite/random/funny moments of the year so far:

  • Spending my birthday in Buffalo, NY with Brian and my brother, Jon. We ate giant wings and explored some of the coolest Art Deco buildings. My parents then surprised me by showing up at a bookstore and hiding behind magazines, then we had an impromptu party and my Grandma's home.
  • Celebrating my and Brian's fifth wedding anniversary. We still haven't done anything official to mark the occasion, but we did return to our wedding venue for a mini shoot, followed by a great lunch at Odin.
  • Getting the keys to our new home, drinking champagne and spinning around with glee on my own while Brian studiously wandered about, looking for defects in the architecture and creating a mental list of projects he would need to do, in order of urgency/priority.
  • Getting my first tattoo in my brother's living room by my cousin, Tara.
  • Received my first ever speeding ticket en route to the opera. Nerdiest excuse for driving too fast ever.
  • Explored a magnificent ice castle here in Edmonton.
  • Did a bespoke perfume session at Pura Botanicals.

So much more has happened, and there's a lot of cool things I'm looking forward to. I promise to share a bit more regularly going forward. Until then, have a wonderful week!