life lately, in pictures | june-august, 2015

Hi guys! This is my first personal post from my new home in Edmonton, Alberta.

This summer has gone by in a flurry, but as also been packed to the rafters with warm memories. Once I found out in April that we would be moving from Toronto to Edmonton, I took a few days to reconsider how to change my approach to the rest of my time before the move. Before finding out about our move, I had every intention of spending the rest of 2015 in Toronto, and I'd been making lots of plans that were based there. On a business level, I was meeting some awesome new peers and collaborators and getting serious about basing myself in Canada's biggest city. I had just put the finishing touches on a new business and marketing plan that was quite locally specific and I was looking forward to putting it into action. After about eight months of setting up projects and making connections, I felt I was just starting to gain a little bit of momentum.

Then we decided to move and things became official, which meant I had to scrap many of my plans, rework some ideas and even (my least favourite thing) bow out of a few projects that I'd hoped to do. After a great talk with one of my best pals, I decided to take it easy on the work front this summer and enjoy every moment with family and friends before we moved. I would continue doing any already booked work, which was wonderful, but I would have to ease up on actively pursuing new work during the summer. This went against every cell in my body as a business owner, but I see now that it was essential.

In June, Brian and I snuck away to Edmonton for our house-hunting trip and after seeing more than a dozen spots in two days, found an apartment that we loved. It was everything our Toronto place was not: spacious, bright, private and filled with giant windows and doors that let in the prairie air. Before this trip, I had very little awareness of Edmonton and the ideas I did have were not overly positive if I'm being honest. I had imagined a sprawling wasteland city of Brutalist architecture that was permanently chilly at best, and frozen most of the time.

What I found was a place where the summer sun stays aloft until 11pm, a lush river valley filled with majestic trees, a small but pleasant downtown that offered many conveniences with hardly any traffic, and endless charming neighbourhoods filled with every style of home you could dream of. We found restaurants that rivalled some of our Montreal favourites, coffee shops as good as any in the pacific northwest, and independent boutiques where I could picture myself shopping loyally. What we also found, which had been promised by my sister-in-law who had lived in Edmonton for a while, was a general attitude of extreme friendliness. Every place we ate, drank and shopped, we naturally fell into conversation with the people who worked there. I was taken aback by how welcome we felt. Some of the people we spoke to enthusiastically offered suggestions on which neighbourhood and even specific streets and buildings we should consider moving to. They were so helpful and encouraging. It was remarkable, really.

By the time we headed to the airport to fly back to Toronto, a lease for our new apartment tucked into our suitcase, I was feeling genuinely excited about the move. I had a good feeling about this place and the possibilities it might offer.

In July, we decided to take our long-awaited trip to Scotland. This was a trip nine years in the making, since we spent part of our European backpacking trip there and vowed to come back and explore it further. We called it our "Whisky and Tea Tour" and planned to let our days and nights revolve around consuming those two things. I'll be sharing detailed posts with photos and videos of the trip in the near future here, but for now I will just say that it was absolutely magical in every way.

The second half of July was consumed with preparing for the move itself, which would happen gradually. We and our stuff moved out of our Toronto place at the end of the month. While our possessions were in transit, we stayed with family and friends for the beginning of August.

I treasured this time, though there wasn't nearly enough of it. I stayed with my parents while Brian went on his annual camping trip. We went to the beach, markets, and on little road trips throughout their region. I worked from the road, shooting and editing in between schlepping our stuff around and watching movies. Then, suddenly, it was time to hit the road west.

Our boxes were en route with the moving company, but we had to drive our car across Canada, so we set out to do the trip over three days. On the first night, we stopped in Madison, Wisconsin. After living there for a year and a half during 2013/14, we'd grown attached to it! It was surreal to return to a place I had grown to adore but wasn't sure I'd ever have the chance to visit again. We drove through all our favourite parts of town, having dinner at our go-to restaurant and coffee shop that we sorely miss. It brought me great comfort to roam around in a place that I'd initially been reluctant to move to which became a place where we found peace and joy. I thought if a city I'd never previously heard of in the American midwest could steal my heart, perhaps a city of a million people in my own country could as well?

On the second night, we stayed with our friend Jessica at her home in Winnipeg and enjoyed her lovely hospitality. The third day was the prettiest drive, through western Manitoba and the golden prairies of Saskatchewan, finally arriving during the evening in the softly rolling hills of northern Alberta at our new home, Canada's most northerly metropolis. After getting our car thoroughly power washed twice in a row to remove all the, um, bug residue from the drive, we were ready to get set up!

We were lucky to have my brother, Jon and his girlfriend, Ida visit us at our new home right as we arrived. In fact, they got there before our furniture did! They were so generous and made the move-in so seamless with their help.

A few days later, we headed back to Winnipeg to photograph our friends Karen and Lee's wedding, and extended our stay by a few days to hang out with some of our best friends from Montreal. It was a fantastic reunion, and so very sweet to celebrate the marriage of two amazing people. Photos to come!

And now? Now we're back in our new place, finally with the internet up and running, slowly piecing it together and making almost daily trips to Ikea and HomeSense. I'm enjoying the time settling in and also looking forward to spending time in Ontario and BC this fall and winter.

It's been a wild ride and it's still kind of strange being here but I think the strangest part is how comfortable I feel. I mean, the weather is absolutely gorgeous and I'll probably eat my words once we're enduring the notorious nine month winters, but for now, things are great. 

It's going to be both daunting and invigorating to relaunch my business here in Alberta. As I've said before, I will be travelling back to Ontario regularly to shoot, but I will be basing myself here and adjusting my business branding accordingly. I've already started preparing to roll out some big and exciting changes. That's what I'm working on behind the scenes here, and I can't wait to share everything with you guys.

Lastly, I am so beyond grateful to my clients who have been so deeply supportive of these changes in my life both on a professional and personal level. Your emails, kind messages and even encouraging social media comments mean the world to me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.