Wake Up Call – Hanna Panda (first day of school)

When the alarm clock rang I had already been awake for 15 minutes. I let it ring anyway, needing something to drag me from my internal thoughts and out of bed. I looked at my myself in the mirror while I brushed my teeth barely recognizing myself. Sometimes it feels like that all this time has passed in the blink of an eye.

I picked up my camera and went back upstairs to where HP was still slumbering. I watched her sleep for a moment before I woke her. She smiled for a minute and said “I’m not ready yet” before she turned around and tried to ignore me. I don’t think I was ready yet either but up she got and off she went and so we both just had to be.

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Wake Up Call – Malloreigh

I walked the 40 minutes to Malloreigh’s relishing in the silence of the morning. The sun was coming up over the mountains and it warmed my back against the chill of the cool morning air as I meandered through alleys and empty parks. When I arrived at her house, the quiet of the morning on her porch was juxtaposed with the usual chaos at home of two small children screaming for breakfast and I breathed it in. She had left the door unlocked for me and it creaked loudly as I nudged it open. The old hardwood floor groaned under my feet with each careful tiptoe towards her bedroom door. In a gentle reverie, the early bright bathed her space in gold. She woke slowly as I started shooting, smiling and making sleepy conversation with her eyes still half closed.

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Wake Up Call – Jackie & Dan

Shortly after I decided to actually commit to the Wake Up Call project, I met Jackie. Jackie is also a photographer, a wonderfully creative woman who is always eager to help other creatives achieve their vision in anyway she can- a true example of building community. Most people thought the idea of someone taking photos of them waking up was strange, most were reluctant… but Jackie jumped right on board also volunteering her new (at the time) boyfriend Dan (also a photographer).

That morning, I quietly slipped into Jackie’s apartment building. At her front door the sharp click of the lock resonated down the hallway, the vibrations staying with me for a moment before I turned the knob slowly and entered. I held my breath and tried not to make a sound as I walked through the door. It reminded me of my grade school days of altar serving, being alone in the vestibule, slipping on my alb in silence before mass. The word reverent comes to mind.

The sound of my shutter was overwhelmingly loud in the stark silence of her apartment and I paused a moment, not ready for them yet to stir. As I watched them sleep, bodies intertwined, toes touching, the intimate energy of their new relationship overwhelmed me. I watched them move together delicately as they woke, in a comfortable but unfamiliar dance.

I had to smile at their smiles as they woke up beside eachother laughing. I laughed with them for a minute before I snuck back out and left them to their coffee.

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Ch-ch-ch-changes (a bit of truth)


I keep on opening the browser, writing a sentence and then closing the browser. I have 7 drafts saying things like “I’m overwhelmed by emotions.”, “There are lots of changes happening.”, “I don’t know if I’m ready to talk about this yet.”

And so I’ve walked away.

Some of you already know this but mostly I’ve kept my mouth pretty shut (if you don’t talk about it, you don’t have to deal with it, right?). For the past two years or so, Syx and I have seriously considered a move to Ontario. Over the past year the talk has turned to plans, and over the past 4 months, those plans have turned to action.

It sucks and it doesn’t suck. My heart is completely on the fence. It’s agonizing to leave the place I’ve grown up, the place I call home. But on the other side, we have friends and family welcoming us with open arms and over the past few years, I’ve found a second home in that place and in those relationships. I’m still scared shitless. I’m scared I won’t be able to find a job in my field, I’m scared we’re being over-optimistic about Syx being able to run photography workshops, I’m scared we won’t be able to break into the wedding photography market in the area.

But I look at the things we do have, the things we’re guaranteed, that’s what keeps me going. More family support and affordable child care, real homes, DREAM homes we can afford to buy, in another year, Armenie will have full time kindergarten available to her at age 4…. not to mention every. single. thing. costs significantly less than in Vancouver.

I’m not trying to diss you Vancouver, I’m really not. God knows how much I love your summer nights on the stoop that last well into September, your amazing population of weird and wonderful people, our days spent on your beaches with that view, and the millions of other intangible things that aren’t even possible to put into words. If a reasonable family home didn’t cost 1.3 million dollars, I might stay with you forever, but we ALL know that’s not the case.

So like I said, my heart is teetering on the fence here, but I’m opening myself and taking a chance. At this point my life, our lives – this is what’s best for my family. It’s sink or swim – now or never… we can’t keep treading water forever. As lovely as our little home on garden and grant was, it wasn’t ours… The truth is, we have dreams that are bigger than Vancouver and living here means this little family can’t afford them. We want to travel together, we want to have our own studio again, we want to be able to give our daughters the opportunities that they deserve. That we all deserve.

So for the next two and a half months we’re in Delta, living in my parents house with all our belongings in storage. I’m feeling a little displaced to say the least. We’ll be making the move at the end of August to have Hanna there in time for her to start kindergarten. Big changes coming, big changes have already happened.

Please send us your positive energy, we’re going to need some light and love on this new stage in our lives.

/end sigh.

Leamington Ontario – here we come!

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Hanna’s No 5

5 years ago on Mother’s Day I was giving birth to this creature who is now this amazing, intelligent, precocious, sensitive, thoughtful, emotional little woman. She’s blowing me away every single day as she presents these new thoughts and ideas that are so wise beyond her years. I see so much of myself in her which means I’m terrified for the years to come.

It meant so much to have everyone there to celebrate. It’s so special being able to watch these kids who I’ve held in my arms as babies now run around together and be friends by choice, not just because their moms want to have tea together.

Highlights of the day included my brother’s amazing pinata and the fact that we all forgot string so my dad took the laces out of his shoes, the amazing Laurel Burch style cat project that the kids completely rocked out on, and Hanna’s homemade pin-the-tail on the cat.

These photos don’t do the day justice. It’s hard to be a part of it all when you’re worried about holding a camera so I try not to get too caught up in but here’s some of the magic I was able to catch.

Thank you so so much everyone who made the day. I feel so blessed to have such amazing family and friends to share these milestones with us.

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Spanish Banks

This mama had a crazy birthday night out.. what better way to recover than the first beach day of the year? The first birthday Syx and I spent as a couple, we walked along this beach together.

Truly the most beautiful spot in Vancouver. There are no words for how perfect this day was.

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I met Zander for the first time when I was 18, the year I began to appreciate the taste of wine and had convinced myself I was an adult.

We met through an online community where we both had a lot of mutual friends. He went by Zander-fragile, and he was. He was this quiet blonde boy with a sad face and I wanted nothing more than to take care of him.  We were out for dinner with a group of friends when he grabbed my arm outside the bathroom and kissed me for the first time. I can still remember my knees going weak as touched my cheek and  pulled me into him for that kiss. Up to that point in my young life, I had never been kissed like that.

Every date with him was a grand adventure. We used to hold hands and laugh so hard as we skipped down Granville Street in the rain like it was our playground, like we owned the street. It was more than just the adventures, it was the hours we spent holed up in his bedroom talking, discussing, analyzing ourselves, the world, the people around us. Those hours of talking about who we were, what we were becoming. We were chrysalides.

I hadn’t talked to Zan in years,  like literally years and years and years.   It was the death of someone who was important to both of us that made me try to reach out and find him… it took awhile but I eventually did.

He was back in Vancouver over Easter for a short visit and we managed to connect. I watched him walk up the sidewalk toward my house with butterflies. Some people when they come into your life make such an imprint,  the time and space between you doesn’t seem to matter.

It was surreal to watch him play with my children.


We managed to talk seriously for a few moments about life and love and longing. It seems like a lot of people in my life (including myself) are going through major changes and transformations. As we talked he looked up at me and I snapped these two photos, which are so totally the Zander I remember that it makes actually question how much time has actually passed.

Love is so multifaceted, and I am so grateful to have the people I’ve loved so purely and intensely still be a part of my life and still allow me to love them. These people who we connect with on our journeys that help to shape the person we become.

So wonderful to see your face Zander T. Here comes the sun, here comes the sun.. and I say, it’s alright.

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Wake Up Call – Ted

Ted messaged me a few weeks ago and asked me if he could be a part of the Wake Up Call series but on the condition we shoot it on it a particular day. After a 20 year battle with alcohol, he was going into detox and he wanted me to be there on that morning. I was humbled to have been asked by this stranger to be a part of something so personal, but when I went to pick up his key the day before, he wasn’t a stranger anymore. Ted is one of those no bullshit kind of guys who gets to the meat of the conversation right away. Everything he says is raw and without guard.

It was almost 10am when I gently turned the key. I was breathless and my heart was beating loudly in my throat at I pulled the door open slowly. I had promised to arrive at 9:30 but when I reached into my camera bag for his keys half an hour prior, my search came up empty… I had forgotten the keys at home and had to race back to retrieve them. So when I started to climb the stairs towards the apartment I was slightly panicked, hoping that I would still find him asleep, hoping I hadn’t effed the whole thing up.

The apartment was dark when I creeped inside, except for a thin beam of light that escaped from the curtains, cutting across the floor and bed. I moved carefully through the room to the window and pulled it open a little wider and let the morning sun and it’s promise of a new day baptize the space.

I watched him sleep for awhile. Even in his sleep I could see his worry. The room was thick with his worry.

He wrestled in and out of sleep before he actually woke up.

We chatted intermittently but he was distracted, clearly there were other things on his mind. What is there to say really? It’s all been said, all that’s left is the doing. And before you can do, you wait.


I left him to collect his things and thoughts and he smiled at me as I left and gave me a crushing hug. And when I looked in his eyes I could see that he truly was awake, maybe for the first time.



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Wake Up Call – Holly & Eric

It was about this time last year that I started thinking seriously about photography. I started to get inspired by different photographers and projects and thought more about the images that interested me and what I wanted to create as an artist. It’s such a weird feeling to say that word outloud – ‘artist’. High school was the last time I fancied myself an artist, and between you and me – I wasn’t much of one.

I had seen these really lovely editorial style photos of a manic morning with a mom and her kids. It was clearly a staged photo but it got me thinking. I started to play with the idea of photographing people during their morning routine.

It started with my friends Holly and Eric.

We were staying with at their place in Niagara Falls during a working holiday and I mentioned the idea of photographing them in the morning as they were getting out of bed. They were reluctant, as most people would normally be – but lucky for me we’re good enough friends that I ignored their reluctance and did it anyway. At the time I had no idea what I was really going for but I liked what I saw in these images. I loved the sincerity of them, the voyeuristic feeling of being somewhere you shouldn’t really be.

I held on to the images for a long time not really sure what to do with them, but as I started to find my voice as a photographer I felt like I needed to revisit the idea. I put out a call for volunteers and was surprised at the amount of people interested in sharing such a personal part of themselves with me. So over the past couple of months I’ve been sneaking into people’s homes to photograph them as they’re waking up and I’m really excited to start sharing the images.

But like I said.. it all started with Holly & Eric.

I want to thank Holly & Eric a million times over for being open and stepping outside their comfort zone.

More of the Wake Up Call series to come…

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The Christmas Fairy House in April

One of the reasons I love my husband is that he always supports my ideas even if they are a pain in the ass. This is a bit of a Christmas story but it’s better late than never.

I’ll admit it – I got a little bah humbug during the season of giving this year. The older I get, the more disillusioned I get about these big box holidays and the cost at which they come – both financially and spiritually. All this erroneous stuff – is it really so good for our soul? My children have not for want – in fact they are so not for want that as they get older I’ve started to see a disturbing pattern of the gimme gimme gimmes.

So I got this brilliant idea. WHAT IF WE MADE OUR CHILDREN’S CHRISTMAS PRESENTS? Like with actual love and our own two hands and stuff! Super great idea right? In fact I already had the perfect blog tutorials and pinterest boards bookmarked.

I had seen this amazing fairy habitat over on Pink and Green Mama that I was determined to reproduce. I spent weeks searching for a decent source for log rounds to turn into a tree house for plastic fairies. The problem was, I wasn’t paying $30 a pop for a log round online, so I tried to source them locally – FOR WEEKS. I eventually found full logs (which is hard enough in suburban Vancouver), but it was next to impossible to find someone with the right tools to slice them.

So really to be fair – all I thought it would take to make this magical fairy home would be to screw some supporting sticks between some log rounds and voila! I wasn’t expecting that two days before Christmas it would be Syx out in the workshop shaping and sanding cedar planks into little floors.


I know he was a little bit grumpy about making my idea come to fruition in a cold workshop late at night with no time to spare before Christmas morning but seriously? Are you kidding me? Look how cool this thing is?

The fairies (and dogs, and dinosaurs, and kitties and sometimes even the ninja turtles) are very happy here.

Up next – furniture?!

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