Friday, December 30, 2011

Daily Doses of Joy

Only one more day left 'til this year reaches an end and I, like many, find myself contemplating the coming year.  I vacillate between feelings of utter excitement and sheer panic:  There’s so much to do, where do I start?  There are so many possibilities, isn’t life AMAZING!  How might I better myself, and the lives of those around me?  Will I be able to effectively manage being a wife, mother, and businesswoman?  Although the myriad of thoughts causes me simultaneous joy and fear, I do believe that the process of deciding on long-term goals a necessary and fulfilling one.  I also believe that it presents us ideas about smaller changes that might act as the stepping-stones to the bigger stuff.

One of my goals for this coming year is to spend a little more time each day ‘living in joy’.  I think I already sincerely enjoy moments in my day, but I think I could spend more time ‘there’.  Between one child in kindergarten, one in Grade 1, their extra-curricular activities, playdates, groceries, housecleaning, friends, family, marriage, working out, Bella Faccia, and my own yearning to learn more about my art and myself…geesh, the days fill up and, it seemed, there wasn’t much time to quietly be present in the moment...or maybe there was and is (this is a revelation I seem to have often but haven’t been able to fully integrate into my everyday!)

Over this past year I’ve been aware of (and inspired by) a number of people doing 365 projects…the projects I know about involve photography, whereby the person commits to taking and posting an image everyday.  Ian McKenzie, whom I met on a photography workshop, was the first person that I actively followed (he’s one helluva photog who posted pics from urban and rural settings, landscapes, architectural shots and portraits on his quest for a daily shot).  I follow another photographer’s blog, Richard Radstone (an instructor over at PPSOP), who took the idea up a notch (or three!) and has set out to photograph AND interview one STRANGER everyday – WOW!  Darwin Wiggett and Samantha Chrysanthou embarked on a year long project entitled “Fabulous Film Fridays” that I’ve really enjoyed (if you don’t already own a Holga you’ll want to after viewing their work!)  Another photographer, acclaimed artist Dewitt Jones, posts an image everyday with his tag line “Celebrate what’s right with the world!”  I don’t believe Dewitt has any set resolution; rather he simply enjoys sharing beauty, and a majority of the images he posts on Facebook were captured with his iPhone 4S. 

I was recently gifted an iPhone 4S and I have been LOVING having a camera along all the time (I don’t typically walk around with my full frame 5D Mark II but I almost always have my phone with me!)  In addition, there are a bunch of fun apps made specifically for taking, editing, and sharing the imagery captured with the phone’s camera.  I found myself playing around and posting photos as I went (mostly in an effort to understand how this new technology works!).  A friend sent me a note a week or two back saying that she wouldn’t object to me posting an image everyday and it occurred to me that a 365 project might be kind of fun!  But then I started to worry, “what if I can’t fit in a picture everyday?”  And then I thought, “who cares!”   


Over these past few weeks I’ve used my iPhone to create portraits of my kids and dogs, I’ve captured spectacular Alberta skies, I’ve snapped a few while making dinner (thank goodness for a patient husband and good-natured friends!), and even took one while at a red light one day!  Each time I created an image I felt inspired, renewed, and even, yes, joyful…joyful because I love making pictures!  When I’m working I feel a lot of joy; however it is, necessarily, tinged with the pressure of producing a portrait that, hopefully, captures my client’s true self – and, during my work, there is often an expensive full frame camera, studio lights, modifiers, wireless triggers, and people waiting for spectacular results.  When I’m taking pictures on my own time, and with any ol’ camera I choose, with no rules about what, who, or where, it is a totally freeing experience – I would say that, for me, it’s quasi meditative.

So here I go…I am officially beginning my 365’ish project (the ‘ish = me releasing myself of unnecessary pressure!)!  The images will be posted to my personal Facebook page, although I will likely share some on Bella Faccia’s page from time to time. 

I am excited about this small step I am taking toward a larger vision of increasing the joy in my life.  I hope that you too might find a little project that brings you daily joy – a new recipe a day if you love to cook, perhaps a ‘12 project’ where you read the top 12 books you’ve always wanted to read but never got around to, or anything that will have you joyfully looking forward to your daily ‘meditative moment’ in this chaotic lifestyle we lead.

I wish you a new year filled with JOY and the awareness that we sometimes (perhaps often) need to schedule it in!

Happy New Year!

Life is great!


* All photos included in this post were taken by me with the iPhone 4S using Instagram, Camera+, Snapseed, and sometimes both Camera+ and Snapseed!

~You may view Ian McKenzie’s work at
~Richard Radtsone’s blog is over at
~Darwin Wiggett and Samantha Chrysanthou just wrapped up their Fabulous Film Fridays and are now embarking on their new project…you can see their work, purchase their e-books, find out about their photography workshops, AND be inspired to live a life that’s a little lighter on our planet, over at
~Dewitt Jones website is

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Happy Holidays!

2011 has proven to be a year of change and transition for me.  There have been great times, good times, not so good times, and downright challenging times.  I wouldn’t change any of it.

As the year’s end draws near we tend to reflect, ponder the choices we’ve made and the ones we’re considering.  It can be difficult to know what value our mistakes and successes will have in the long term, but one thing is certain: if you tried, if you were sincere, if you were present, and even if you messed up…there was value. 

Last June I wrote a blog post that touched on ‘balance’…that elusive ‘thing’ that most of us, in this hectic and fast paced life, are craving.  During this year I had days in which I felt, whole heartedly, that I’d achieved that golden state of blissful balance.  During this year I had days in which I felt, whole heartedly, that I was miles from any sort of  ‘blissful state’ and not quite sure how I’d gotten there or how to get back.

What I know is that ‘balance’ is a moving target.  It is up to us to pursue, with vigor, our dreams while taking the pulse, often, of how our pursuit is impacting the other, and equally important, facets of our lives – our family, our home life, and our friendships.  Let us not throw in the towel just because the dishes aren’t getting done or the laundry is piling up; it is on those days, when we feel most at odds with our choices, that we must persevere and brainstorm ways of making it all work.  However, sometimes we are required to ‘take stock’ and recognize that we simply can’t do it all (this realization seems perfectly easy to say some days but is downright irritating on others!).  I've both persevered and have had to change my course slightly this year, and it's all felt wonderful and difficult (such is life!).

I am so grateful to the year 2011 for it has provided me with increased awareness of where I want to go, how I might get there, and who I’m going to be along the way.  I am so grateful for a husband who supports me unconditionally and who offers me the latitude to screw up knowing I’ll still be loved.  I’m grateful for two amazing children who make me laugh daily and who are growing up to be ‘great citizens of the world’ (which I consider my mandate as their mom).  I'm grateful for our two 'first born', Dylan and Dixie, who epitomize unconditional love! I’m grateful for my and my husband’s families who offer us love, support, and babysitting!  I'm grateful to have a passion of my own to pursue.  I’m grateful for my friends, old and new, who encourage and inspire me.  I’m grateful for my health and that I live in a peaceful country.  I’m simply grateful (although I’ll admit to needing to remind myself of this on occasion!).

As I meander this journey of motherhood, marriage, citizen, small business owner, and friend, I am cognizant of the opportunities afforded me and I am thankful.  To each of you who have offered me encouragement, advice, kindness, support, and business this year – my very sincere thanks!

May 2012 bring all of us closer to our dreams (with some balance along the way!)
Wishing you much love, peace, health, and goodwill.

Life is great!


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Birthday Gift

I was recently hired to do maternity photos for a lovely lady, whom we’ll call S.  She hoped to surprise her husband with beautiful photographs for his birthday…an amazing and personal gift from a very special time in a couple’s life together!

Copyright 2011 Bella Faccia Inc.
S. was referred to Bella Faccia through her friend/my client & friend and was hopeful that the shoot would be fun, comfortable, and that it would result in images that she was proud to gift her husband with.   I was thrilled that, by her own account, we accomplished all she’d hoped for!  Her words, upon seeing the private, on-line gallery, were:

“Thank you so, so much for a great shoot on Saturday! You are amazing at what you do and I appreciate so much how comfortable you made me. I have no doubt that this will be the best gift ever for C. (aside from the actual baby, haha)!”  (S. – I agree, that baby is going to be the best gift EVER but I’m happy that we managed to create a runner-up for the records!)

S. and Bella Faccia worked together (quickly, as the birthday was fast approaching) to create a number of beautiful prints, including a 3 image collage that she had framed in time for the birthday celebration.  When I enquired how the gift opening went, she said, “He LOVED the photos!! I actually surprised him! Thank you so, so much again!”  I was thrilled that the images were such a success that they placed an order for more!

Copyright 2011 Bella Faccia Inc.

 These shoots are so much fun…there is an abundance of collaboration, music, laughter, trust, and a shared dedication to getting the very best shots possible.  It’s always an honour to be trusted with someone’s portrait session; it’s especially meaningful when hired to do a session that will require the person to step well outside of their general, day to day, comfort level in order to create something really special.  S., you are AMAZING and I so appreciate your trust in me and in Bella Faccia, thank you!

Life is great!