julytwelveontwelve

I am writing this post late. Vacation and bad internet get in the way of doing anything properly in the summer. As it should.

And as I write this, I have no idea which photos I am choosing to share this month.

Rachel, the mom of #photographinghappiness, spoke about memorializing your life in photos after she and her family experienced a heartbreaking loss recently. For me that means capturing the people you love living and laughing and being. The big moments, the little moments, the special and the quiet. Even the mad and the sad and the disappointed.

In my group of friends, as in any large group of friends, there have been many life changing losses.  And when these terrible times happen, I always find myself scrambling for images – smiles, laughter, togetherness, love, humour – anything to not let that person go one more bit. And there are never enough photos. Never ever.

I think this is why I take so many damn photos. Even when I know it is not enough.

I don’t think that I really took anything outstanding this month, but what I am offering up is a ollection of life as it happen to us.

Edited to add: So even in selecting these images I realize I am missing so much and so many.

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JUNETWELVEONTWELVE

The #photographinghappiness theme this month revolves around food.

My month revolved around soccer and baseball and birthday parties and proms and more birthday parties, leaving little room for foodie-ness.

Instead, this month I have decided to indulge myself in a delicious walk down memory lane. It was actually food photography that led me to become a contributor for Dabble magazine several years ago…a little Quebec brie, a well worn wooden cutting board and some good natural light was enough to give me a chance to travel to France and capture food, wonderful food, from Albi to Honfleur. Fritons de canard, les bulots, coeur de neufchâtel cheese, canard à la rouennaise ( pressed duck ), racine des reglisses…and of course the custom of the trou normand.

So much to learn and so much to photograph. I am by nature rather shy in new situations but within a day, I found myself standing atop a chair in a restaurant in Toulouse, surrounded by amused patrons as I captured a beautifully presented soup…on the floor.

After ten days of extraordinary meals prepared by dedicated and talented chefs, a trip to a five hundred year old wine cellar, a Normandy cooking lesson in Le Havre, dining atop a hill in a medieval village, a renewed appreciation for apples and a love of Calvados and a magical dinner in a Michelin Starred restaurant, I was happily sated.

Well, until the next food adventure appeared. I always have room for just a little bit more.

I do love my food. I hope this comes through in my collection of twelve images this month.

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My friend Jen’s home

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L’Ancienne Auberge, Puycelsi, France

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Farmer’s Market, San Diego

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L’Ancienne Auberge, Puycelsi, France

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Mont Tremblant, Quebec

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Les Terras Neuvas ( closed ), Fecamp, France

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GoldenEye, Jamaica

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Le Bistro du Port, Honfleur, France

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Made with love

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Fairy Floss

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La bete a pain, Ahuntsic, Montreal

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My kitchen, carrot cake

 

Curious about any of the restaurants, dishes or details I mentioned? Here are the links:

L’Ancienne Auberge in Puycelsi, France

Le Bistro du Port in Honfleur, France

La Bete a pain in Ahuntsic, Montreal

GoldenEye in Oracabessa, Jamaica

For pressed duck, La Couronne in Rouen

For Calvados in Pays d’Auge, Normandy, France

 

On to July and a new month of images.

maytwelveontwelve

This month, the #photographinghappiness challenge is “faceless portraits”.

This was not a stretch for me. I love looking at portraits that are not traditional, expected or easy to read. I find them to be interesting and often able to tell a story much more effectively than a straight on, full face portrait. Take a peek through my photo albums ( yes, I still print almost everything ) and it is often not what you would expect. Backs of heads, tops of heads, blurred bodies, lots of feet ( what can I say? I can’t really explain that easily )…but hopefully always a story.

I was  not able to shoot twelve faceless portraits this month. I don’t even think that was the expectation. However,  I went back over the last few months and was able to find a definite pattern of images, one that has been present for a long time in my shooting. I think part of it developed early on, when we were forced ( happily ) as photography and art history students to not miss the details. Part of my appreciation of these images also emerged during my first 365 Project. You can only look at your face so many times before you need to look elsewhere for inspiration ( probably the same reason why there are so many Snapchat stickers and Instagram *from where I stand* collections. Or so I hope. ).

I have to say that, ironically,  when I do need a headshot for one of my kids for school, that I am often left scrambling, fully realizing that despite having hundreds of photos that hopefully share so much…that sometimes you actually need a head and a smile and a reliable gaze.

I wanted to delve deeper into the theories behind being faceless and presenting faceless to the world, as I imagine there are many…but that will have to wait for another time. For now? A collection of a few recent favourite faceless images from the last year.

 

 

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So soon!

The #photographinghappiness group certainly keeps me on my toes.

This month’s theme was to tell a story. I loved this theme. I pretty much shoot to tell a story every time I pick up my camera. Sometimes you get the tale in one shot, sometimes in twelve and sometimes not at all. I could have told this story in six photos ( and they would have been a different six than the ones that appear here ) but the challenge is twelve images and so be it, I am sharing a dozen. I could have shared all of them ( and probably did on Facebook already;)).

I did not shoot consciously with this theme in mind, and in some ways I wish I had. I would have taken more photos of the sugar pie and the maple beer. That is a pretty fair criticism of everything I photograph. Never enough pie and beer.

Ever.

Not even at three pieces of pie.

And so here is the story of Auntie Heidi’s birthday party. And how the Bloomfield family has never met a maple tree or a competition they did not rise to.

Okay, the maple part is absolutely the Auclair part of the family ( maple ) tree shining through:).

 

twelveontwelvemarch

What a whirlwind of a month that was. And now it is gone.

And here I am, April Fool’s Day, posting the photos I took ( kind of ) for #photographinghappiness on March 12th. Because I have issues with being late, I ended up once again ignoring the theme due to the fact that the internet I had that day would not cooperate with loading my *insert finger parentheses here* real photos and I went ahead and participated with my mobile images.

Which are really no less *insert finger parentheses here* real than any photos taken on my other camera. But I digress.

Apparently I do not have that many issues with being late, since its has taken me two weeks to get around to updating this space. But here I am.

I actually only remembered because I am cruising Montreal Fashion Blogs for who knows what reason. I actually have reasons but they are dumb so I will leave that there.

PHOTOS!

Once again, lucky girl that I am, I was away on sunnier shores for the twelfth of the month again. Let’s be honest, if I could be away for EVERY twelfth of every month, I would be. So, sunshine and bad internet ruled the day and here was my little piece of happiness in twelve.

Maybe I will just start writing about Sanibel. My fave photos are all from there. Getty is loving everything I submit from there. I am happy there. And I intend to be there more and more and more. Hmmmm.

If you are so inclined, please feel free to search out Sesame Ellis’ #photographinghappiness project on IG and Facebook. Just use the hashtag. You know what to do.

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twelveontwelvefebruary

Well look at me. Here I am again. I have to be honest. All twelve images this month could have been birds and beach. Since we last met, there has been nothing but winter, concussed kiddo, winter, sick kiddo, winter, beach ( thank frickin goodness ) and yes, more winter happening here. Ironically, there will be no photos of winter in my twelve this month. Perhaps tomorrow I will break down and try and find some wintry beauty to capture as we are receiving quite a bit of it this evening. But I still won’t like it. You can not find heart shaped anything in a snowbank no matter how hard you try.

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Just a monthly reminder that you too can join the #photographinghappiness group on Instagram and Facebook. Follow that hashtag;).

Perspective was the theme for February but I suck at self reflection and have a generally skewed sense of perspective, so I hope that covers me for the theme.

 

1.twelveontwelve

A long time ago, I used to post photos daily,  in a wonderful universe, surrounded by friends doing the same. It was a community that I adored.

But of course things change and sometimes beautiful things have their time and are outgrown.

And then, sometimes, you think that maybe, just maybe, it is time again to take a few moments and embrace them as your own.

A photographer I found all those years ago and have always followed quietly, recently shared an idea and it appealed to me in it’s simplicity and ease. Take time for the little moments. Regularly. And share.

And so I am.

Alex. Eight. Beach.

Alex. Eight. Beach.

Alex. Eight. Universal.

Alex. Eight. Universal.

Alex. Eight. Christmas Ball. Tradition.

Alex. Eight. Christmas Ball. Tradition.

Alex. Eight. Spellcasting.

Alex. Eight. Spellcasting.

Alex. Eight. Listening.

Alex. Eight. Listening.

Alex. Eight. Cousins.

Alex. Eight. Cousins.

Alex. Elliot. Eight. Nine. Waiting. Wands.

Alex. Elliot. Eight. Nine. Waiting. Wands.

Overhead.

Overhead.

Discovery.

Discovery.

Eat.

Eat.

Walk.

Walk.

Stand.

Stand.

Originally I had these ordered all differently, but it has been a long time since I posted and I mixed them all up…and then liked them better. So they stand, like my little bird friend.

 

You can find the creator of the 12on12 project here:

Sesame Ellis & Co. Photographing Happiness

#photographinghappiness on Instagram

There is a Facebook group as well. Let me know and I can get you there.

 

 

Bathroom Reno Update (Iphone Version)

Look, all Instagram pretty!

Look, all Instagram pretty!

A few months ago I posted about a renovation we were going to undertake…and how I feared it.

Well, the time is here. The leak that propelled us into the sphere of renovations would not stop, despite all our best attempts. The fact that the shower would only pour water into the downstairs hallway when I showered will forever be a sore spot for me.

We are in the middle of the job right this very minute, camped out in the boy’s bathroom, while our bathroom is being rejuvenated…renovated…reconfigured even. The dust and mess is not bad, our contractor and his team are great and thank goodness for the guiding design hands of the gang at Lux Decor because without them? This would be one fugly bathroom redo.

Things I have learned is that you never know what you are going to find when you open the walls up. In this case, at least we were assured that the renovation was justified as we discovered a ton of water damage, soggy wood and soaked concrete. Our shower was finished and heading to the point of mold and disaster.

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Also? When the walls are opened up, you do not want to close them. Let the sun shine in on our new shower space…and new glass and new doors. Yikes. Sunshine is expensive.

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We are totally going to just put it back the way we found it…

Oh wait...didn't there used to be a wall there?

Oh wait…didn’t there used to be a wall there?

We are still committed to the plan to update the existing cabinetry and keep our bath, toilet and vanity…but I have to be honest…the urge to change everything is strong.

Oh, well that is a half truth. Because if I had to actually make a design decision? It would never happen. Shopping for all the fun stuff? Is not fun for me. I suck at it. I went for a shower head and ended up like a dear in headlights. THE CHOICE. How do people decide? I had to leave the store. I could not handle it. I think shopping for a vehicle is easier than shopping for a new shower system. Who knew there was so…much…choice??? The best decision I made was letting someone else make the decisions using my somewhat paltry input (herringbone floors! Apparently that is all that I was able to share in my 200 Houzz master bathroom idea book) and elevating it with their innate design genius.

This one?

This one?

Or this one?

Or this one?

Or this one?

Or this one?

Or this one?

Or this one? ( Spoiler…it ended up being none of these )

Today some of the walls are being closed up, the shower floor has been poured, shower niche has been niched and a drain style chosen ( who knew drains had style???). We are getting closer! We have been lucky…our experience so far has been way more Bryan Baumler than Mike Holmes but it certainly is no Fixer Upper! This is a dirty job, with surprises around every corner…or rather under a ton of plywood and hiding in drain pipes. Ick. Ick. Ick.

Sometimes you have to deal with the ugly before you get the pretty, just like in real life I guess;)

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I will be prettier in a week, I swear…

 

The irony of this whole thing is that I was going to document every bit of this reno in high res, wide angle, hell maybe even HDR  interior photographer style. Well, that is not happening. When you are in it? You use your phone, you shoot at night and you do not see the creative beauty in the dust. Only dust.

 

 

This Way to the Magic View

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I feel really badly that I did not share a post about last year’s Ouareau’s Women’s Weekend before I left for this year’s Women’s Weekend.

It was just selfish of me. Maybe I just did not want to share my pumpkin spice cake, homemade and dripping with fresh icing. Or perhaps I feared having to share my nostalgically rustic yet oh so new cabin with anyone other than my sister.

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Or maybe it was the fact that I wanted to up my chances in winning next year’s weekend at the BINGO party. It didn’t happen, I remain a three time loser.

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Okay…I just did not want to share Laukie ( therapy dog and puller of wagons extraordinaire ) with anyone.

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I apologize. I am sorry you missed out on it all.

But, there is a bright side. There is another weekend coming up this weekend. If you move fast, there could be a spot for you in Haida or The Barn or UBG or even Cliffside!

Cliffside. Really.

Cliffside. Really.

And next year? Ouareau is celebrating 10 years of it’s Women’s Weekend! We have already been promised oodles of fun.

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I am wondering what more they can add? This year there was massage (thankyouthankyouthankyou Amber!), facials, archery, hiking, kayaking, swimming ( it was NOT too cold ), rug hooking, raw food demonstrations ( and eating ), fondant flowers on cupcakes ( and more eating ), time shared with Barbie and Laukie, her beautiful therapy dog discussing their experiences, Tanya from Village Cafe sharing her experience as a woman entrepreneur with life/ family balance, photography, ceramics and yoga, just to help you unwind from all the excitement.

And the dock. Really, what more do you need?

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Oh, and there was lots and lots and lots of eating. Meat eaters, vegetarians, lactose free, caffeine lovers, caffeine free types, mushroom connoisseurs…there was food galore for everyone.

I realize that in writing about camp this year, I have not even mentioned the fact that I owe my coming to this weekend to the fact that my daughter is the original Ouareau camper in the family. I have said for years that I feel that the freedom to be herself at camp, surrounded by unique minded, outspoken, capable women has played a huge part in developing my daughter’s beautiful independence.

I can only hope that something similar is rubbing off on me. Next year I am jumping in the lake.

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( For the record, I am totally not sponsored by Ouareau for any of this. Although I would pretty much kill for a Ouareau tuque if any higher ups are listening…)