Paul and Britney: Chilliwack River BC Engagement Photographer

Britney and I tossed around ideas for a location for a few months. She said she wanted to go on an adventure and I was obviously up for that!! None of the ideas seemed to fit though, until Britney suggested the Chilliwack River…she grew up fishing there and the idea of a sentimental adventure was PERFECT!

We walked along the river, climbing over washed up logs and tree stumps and Paul and Brit trusted me enough to be truly themselves. The first photo below is the VERY first photo I took of the entire session!! Usually it takes awhile to warm up, but Brit and Paul dove right in, and took a risk! They both have goofy personalities, and are quick to laugh and tease each other. They are up for any adventure and Brit’s bold laugh lit up the photos the entire time. It would be impossible not to fall in love with these two within minutes of meeting them!

Brit is one of those women who I admire in every way! She isn’t afraid to be herself, show off her vibrant personality and take every opportunity to laugh and enjoy herself! She had no problem, mid engagement session, hugging Paul in the “backpack hug” and giving him a little hump. (I couldn’t stop laughing when she did this! I do this to Marco ALL the time whenever he does the dishes, or is ironing his shirts for work…which probably isn’t the safest, but that’s another post haha)

The only word I can think of to describe Paul and Brit together is vibrant! He makes her light up and laugh so easily, and she ADORES him. He made sure to grab her hand whenever they were walking together, and make sure she was always doing okay. I can only picture their marriage being full of food fights in the kitchen, tickle fights that turn into something more, and so much laughter!

I can’t WAIT for their Mexican themed wedding this summer at La Punta Norte in Summerland!!

 

Adam and Ashley: Sunrise Abbotsford Engagement Photos

I could tell from Ashley’s first facebook messages that we were going to get along fabulously. She uses lots of exclamation points, gave me tons of information about her and Adam, and her excitement for life was so obvious!!

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After throwing around some dates to try to get a sunset session in, I suggested a sunrise session! Not only are winter sunrises GORGEOUS, but the major plus is they happen at 7am. Rather than the Summer’s 4:30am sunrises!! BONUS!

We met along one of my favourite walking trails and again I wondered why I am not more of a morning person! It was so quiet and peaceful! We had timed the sunrise a bit too early, so we snuck in a few photos, then talked….about wedding planning, work, life, etc. These two make you feel like instant friends! Ashley even brought me wine and chocolate so she was a BFF from the start ;)

Ashley is so vibrant! Her huge grin rarely left her face, and everytime she talked Adam’s eyes would light up as he cuddled her. We spent the rest of the morning walking around the trail and exploring off the trail in the grass. When the sun rose it was AMAZING to watch everything go from purple to pink to orange. And these two just soaked it up and kept on cuddling!

There were hugs all around when we left!! It was SO great to meet you Adam and Ashley!!! I had the BEST time :)

Choose Adventure!

Since launching the new “brand” I’ve had a few people ask why I am so adventurous all of a sudden when I didn’t seem to be before? Why it seems I all of a sudden enjoy hiking and the outdoors, and why before I never seemed to embrace doing these things? Why this “risk going too far” attitude never came through before? I understand! It has definitely been a newer part of my life recently,  I even doubted using adventurous as part of my branding a few times because of how popular it is right now amongst photographers and other forms of media. But I assure you it’s always been a part of who I am.

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The honest truth is I am happiest when I choose adventure. My birthday is the perfect example of this. It was a gray, wet and chilly day. Trust me, that couch was calling to me LOUDLY. The idea of cuddling up with Marco on the couch and binge watching Netflix with coffee and chocolate all day was so much more appealing at 7am than doing a hike outside with a forecast of heavy rain! A thousand excuses to not go were going through my head. “It’s supposed to rain.” “Maybe we could go next week when the weather will be nicer?” “What if we waited and went in the summer when we could add in a swim?” “What if we aren’t back in time?” or the best one “think of how amazing an entire kid free day on the couch would be?! Cuddling! Catching up on our TV shows?! Let’s do that instead! pleeeeeeeaaaase?”

The excuses filled my head to the point where I almost voiced them. I am so glad I bit my tongue and kept them in….because that was one of my favourite days of the year so far. It was the most fun I’ve had with Marco in awhile! It was one of my best birthdays, and I gained memories that I wouldn’t have gotten from spending the entire day on the couch.

I realized something profound over the last few months, happiness isn’t something that just happens. It’s not something that just hits you upside the head when you least expect it. It’s something you have to CHOOSE everyday. It’s something you have to actively pursue. (Remember the movie!?) It’s something that sometimes goes against what you actually want to do, but you still do it anyways because you know it will make you happy. It seems backwards, doing something you don’t really want to do at the time, but you do it anyway because it WILL bring happiness.

To me that’s living an active lifestyle that has me outdoors lots, exploring new places and trying new things. It’s choosing adventure, it’s risking going too far, it’s making the decision to go do something other than just staying home. It is freakin hard some most days, and somedays the couch does win, and I am learning that’s also okay! It’s glorious on those days when I am tired and grumpy. But that can’t be my life….and it slowly was becoming my life. The stay at home, never doing anything, giving into my excuses of “let’s do it another day” and then unhappiness DID hit me upside the head and I realized the ONLY way to get out of it was to change, to make better decisions, to make harder decisions, and to do the things that I didn’t really want to do.

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It is still a struggle every single day to choose to do what I know will make me happy, over what’s easiest, what’s most convenient. (#thestruggleisreal ;) But I believe through and through that happiness is worth it. I believe that I am worth having the life I dream of and I want to live in such a way that will inspire my kids to grow up knowing they can do the same.

I know I have many days where the couch wins and where I let the excuses be voiced, but my goal is to make those days fewer and further between and to embrace them when they do happen! There is only so much adventuring one can have before brain, and body need a rest.  It’s all part of living life fully….the mentality that wherever you are, you’re ALL THERE.

Kevin and Alicia: Langley BC Wedding Photographer

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She was so happy she was bouncing as she waited in the back room ready to walk down the aisle. There was a giddy smile that wouldn’t leave her face, and I have never seen her this pumped about anything before, even a volleyball game! Her Dad came in to see her, and the look of pride on his face had me a little teary! Her Mom was bustling around the church making sure all the last minute details were in place and her brothers were hovering in a protective way around their older sister.

As Alicia came out of the back room of the church the entire church silenced, she was STUNNING! For those of us who played college sports with her knew her as Volleyball player, Rower, and now Cyclist. We rarely saw her out of anything but athletic gear, she’s an athlete to the core. To get to see her like this, and absolutely GLOWING at the same time was the best.

I first met Alicia at UFV. She went from being a Basketball player, to a Volleyball player to a member of the rowing team while I knew her. She is passionate about whatever her current interest, or hobby is and not only does she experience it fully, she strives to be the best…and most often she succeeds! She follows her heart, no matter where it takes her, has a deep, and unwavering faith in God and His plan for her life, and she has always been one of those people that hasn’t feared away from boldly being herself. I’ve always admired her!

We got together for drinks a few days after Christmas, and she announced to us all that she was wanting to finally plan her wedding. We literally picked a date that night, and she planned her entire day in just over a month!

One of the many highlights of her day, was her younger brother and “bridesmans” speech to her. It summed her up perfectly and thankfully one of the girls got most of it on tape!

“When people ask if I have siblings, I get super excited to tell them.  I have a sister….she’s super old….and a crazy athlete. People always ask “what does she do?” and I would explain her as this. If my life were a sitcom, she would be the crazy sister who had a different persona every episode. One week she’s a volleyball player, next she’s travelling to China, or doing her hair in cornrows, next she’s in Mexico building houses for single mothers, or playing basketball, rowing, or going to Haiti. Next she’s an avid churchgoer. After each persona, she would learn a valuable lesson and get a little bit closer to the final Alicia – the series finale of the show. 

One day she started cycling and working at a bike shop. I’ve seen the pattern. “Oh great, I give it less than a year and she’ll be kickboxing.” 

I was wrong. She met a guy named Kevin at this bike shop. She hasn’t stopped cycling since. Today I believe it’s finally time for her teenage sitcom to have it’s season finale. She has learned many things, travelled many places and has many talents. From today on, when someone asks me what does your sister do I can say, “She cycles and she has a husband and she loves them both.”

 

 (A few photos of one of our memorable annual trips to 70 Mile in college!)

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Congratulations Alicia!!! I absolutely loved getting to see you walk down the aisle and see you and Kevin so happy!!!

 

Love their photos?!?! Let them know by “Liking” below!! :)

I’m afraid of the dark.

Confession time.  I am afraid of the dark. But a very specific kind of dark. The 5pm, middle of winter dark is totally fine. It’s safe…cozy even. But the 2am, home alone kinda dark?! Scared shitless. So much so that last week when Marco went out of town for work overnight, I packed up both kids and slept over at my parents house. At 30 years old, I still had to go sleep at my parents house because if I am left home alone, I don’t sleep. Every noise is a murderer trying to get in. Every creek is a robber in our house. I check 5x to make sure I turned off the stove. I check 10x to make sure all the doors are locked. I worry I won’t wake up if there’s an emergency (I’m the worlds deepest sleeper!)

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Marco usually laughs it off as a silly quirk of mine, but this time he finally asked, “what is it about the dark that scares you so much?”  I didn’t have an answer ready for him. Every answer I could give him, there was a situation I could name where I wasn’t afraid. The dark can be fun in large groups while camping. The dark makes Trick or Treating much more fun! It also makes sparkler photos at weddings so amazing!

BUUUT when you’re alone, at home, or camping (oh gosh especially in the woods!) there are murderers and cougars waiting around every single corner, or tree waiting. They know my fear, and they know I am finally alone and they’re waiting. Trust me, I know how full on ridiculous this sounds. The logical part of my brain constantly goes “what the heck is wrong with you?!”, but the non-logical part of my brain is TERRIFIED, and therefore fully dominates the entire thought process.

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Probably the most ridiculous and unreasonable part? Those murderers? They only try to get me when I try to go to sleep. If I were to stay up and watch movies all night I’m pretty much fine. The noises and creeks still make me nervous but nowhere close to the same degree that they do if I’m trying to go to sleep alone.

And don’t get me started on the forest at night. I LOVE camping. The week we go with my family is one of the highlights of my entire year! And honestly, I love it when it starts to get dark. The stars up there are AMAZING, the campfire is the best part of the day, and the kids go to bed! haha we all get a chance to wind down, have some wine, and relax while the kids sleep!

But once it’s time to go to bed. Even with Marco there it freaks me out a bit. I have to do a big long slow flashlight sweep of the forest surrounding the campsite to make sure there’s no cougars hiding and waiting for us to go to sleep. Once I’m snuggled inside the tent, safe I am fine. UNLESS….the dreaded 2am pee break happens. That’s the worst. I actually used to wakeup Marco so he would be awake and ready should I be attacked, but now I realize this is insane, and I suffer alone.

The campground we go to has a indoor, plumbed toilet literally less than 200m from our campsite, but there isn’t enough money in the world to get me to walk up there alone, at 2am. Forget it. I will get mauled by a cougar for sure. Or die of a panic attack from the fear haha. So I have learned to pee in the forest. Literally feet away from our tent to make sure that I can make a quick return should I need. And before I start to go, I always do the same slow sweep of the forest, just knowing one of these times there’s going to be a pair of eyes staring back at me.

Although I fully acknowledge how crazy, and hilarious this fear is I am convinced I am not alone in having a healthy, strong fear of something. I have seen how my brother in law reacts when a spider gets even in the same room as him, I have seen my sister react to watching a horror movie at a sleep over, and I have many many times seen my Dad’s reaction when you sneak up on him and jump out at him. So please, help me feel even more normal by sharing your deepest, most embarrassing fears!!

** because so many people have asked previously, I am not scared of bears at all for some reason. For two previous jobs I attended bear aware programs and training, and feel somewhat confident in how to react should I come across a bear. It’s never happened though where a bear has been dangerously close though so when the time comes, bears probably will be added to the cougar and murderers list haha ;)

 

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