A Moroccan Inspired Supper

This afternoon supper orchestrated by Becky Wallace was a delight! Thanks to Nela of Nela's Kitchen, we ate a delicious Moroccan inspired stew over a small table full of pretty vines and limes sitting on comfy poofs in the beautiful store and showroom at Mae + Marrow. I met some lovely ladies for the first time as we gathered over food and shared our thoughts about the significance of making time to sit down and share meals together-- with old friends and new. I hope this inspires you to make time to gather with some people who inspire you.

oh! gezellig, eh?

Gezellig (heh-sell-ick) : "a dutch adjective for convivial, cozy or nice atmosphere, but also a belonging, general togetherness, or time spent with loved ones..."

Growing up, I heard this word a lot! My mum is Dutch, and it is a very common word used in Holland to describe all things cozy and wonderful. But cozy doesn't quite cover it. Gezellig is more of a lifestyle the encompasses beauty in simplicity, tradition and the people you share it with. When all the family is together, my mom will say, "Oh isn't this just so gezellig!" She'll say it when we get up early and enjoy a cup of tea outside on a cool summer morning while everything is still and quiet. It's also a very gezellig thing to have coffee time every day around 10am... this is a long standing tradition that I try to keep up myself.

I first met Becky Wallace (the voice and creative mind behind "Thinking Out Loud") back in May when I photographed her for her blog. Acquaintance blossomed into a friendship and creative partnership through the sharing of thoughts and ideas over a mutual love and appreciation of everything lovely. Months later, we've dreamed up so many fun ideas for shoots that combine our love of food, flowers and togetherness-- all things Gezellig.

So, on a very windy New Brunswick Day, we went to Black River where we hiked, ate, drank and were merry. The best thing about this day was that it wasn't limited to just creating moments and then documenting them, but rather living wholeheartedly in moments that were full of relaxation, deep belly laughs and genuine togetherness. Cheers to the little things in life! I hope you enjoy this very first post of what will hopefully be many more gezellig days to come.

Girl Band


 

Excuse me while I make this shameless plug for my band Ladd & Lasses. I've mentioned before that my life has been pretty full of music and this group of gals is one of the reasons why. Katie, Hilary and I have been playing in various bands together for the past 4 years. We became a group quite naturally and it all started with getting together for breakfasts and casually listening and playing around with Hilary's songs. This turned into a 2 year-long tradition until suddenly one day (not too long ago!) we just decided to continue as a group together. We're nearly finished recording the album "She Wanders" and hope to release in a couple of months.

This video was taken at one of our jams at the Sanctuary Theatre--- where we actually ended up recording the strings because they resonate so beautifully in that space.

So Long, Winter (2017)

I had forgotten how lovely it is to wake up early in the morning to the sound of birds singing. This, amongst other simple spring-time pleasures always brings me out of the cold and lethargic slump of Winter. In spite of the cold temps and flurries we've seen over the last few days, I can feel the renewal of my spirit and a little spark coming back to my mind. Lately, I've been focused on creating music and less focused on making photos (I will share more about that another day). I expect that to change with the warmer weather.

Last week, I received the scans from film shot throughout the winter. I love looking at my photos and seeing the ordinary moments of everyday life amidst the extraordinary. Looking back, it all seemed to have gone by so very fast. I'm dreaming of the day I can get back to New Zealand because 10 days was not nearly enough time. I often felt torn between taking in the experience and enjoying it with the people I was with vs. photographing it. Photographing with film forces me to be patient, to take in my surroundings and slow down. It was refreshing to photograph on film while traveling and in spite of the short time and the jet lag, it totally felt like a holiday! I didn't really take that many photos, but I'm quite happy with the ones I did make. Within a week we covered quite a bit of ground; crashing in Hahei for the first 3 days (so hot) and then heading to Taupo for the wedding. On our way back to Auckland we stopped in Roturua and on our last full day and night we stayed on Waiheke Island visiting vineyards and olive groves in the pouring rain. I had run out of film by then which is so sad, but... that's what iPhones are for, right?

Here is a little summary starting with my trip to New Zealand back in February until the most recent roll which was finished in early April. For film nerds out there, these photos were taken on 120mm and shot with Ektar 100 and Portra 160.

2017

I've never really been one to make New Year Resolutions, but I like to think that I am a goal-oriented person so it's safe to say I'm setting resolutions for myself all year long. Self-reflection is a healthy practice and it's something I try to do regularly. January 1st is just another day we all get the chance to refocus our minds, bodies and spirits to live graciously. I think it's important to take stock on what you have; to observe where you are now and where you've come from, to ask yourself how you have grown and where you still need to be stretched. Life doesn't seem to slow down the older we get and I expect this year to pass quickly with the expected challenges and joys of being human.

There is much to be thankful for. There is much to look forward to. Here are some things I have been thinking about and am working toward this year:

Self Employment. Well, technically I have been out on my own since September. I am both exhilarated and anxious about this but mostly very, very excited. I think jumping into the world of self-employment looks different for everyone so I'm figuring it out as I go along. It's been amazing to watch my business grow the past several years and I attribute much of that growth and my success to the kindness and generosity of others in this small, wonderful city. I have plans to expand my artistic practice visually and musically.

Self Portrait, Summer 2016

New Zealand. February- which is just one month away. I need to buy a bunch of new memory cards and a ton of film for this trip. I'll be flying to Auckland and driving to Taupo (on the other side of the road) to photograph Caitlin & Darren's wedding. Pinch me.

Make More Prints. Pretty self explanatory, but this is a massive undertaking. I've begun printing photos that I've taken with my iPhone and put them in an album. Next up will be making prints of photos I've posted to Instagram. Remember the days we used to flip through albums and reminisce? Yeah, I want more of that good stuff in my life.

Less Social Media, More Sharing. The conflict or struggle I have had with sharing on social media isn't the sharing itself but knowing how much to share. My hope is that I can be more intentional and disciplined by sharing on my website, without the subsequent follows and likes.

Angel B on 120mm

Angel B on 120mm

Writing Music. I've been dabbling with my violin to create some original music. I like where it is going and really enjoy the writing and recording process. So far, this mostly involves feeling and trusting my instincts but if I had to make an analogy, I would appear to be driving blindfolded on a very bumpy road. This involves so much more vulnerability than I expected but I'm taking that as a good sign and just going with it. Best case scenario, I manage to make some decent recordings that aren't just in my living room.

Irving Nature Park, January 2016 / Michael Milburn

Shoot more Film. Sometimes it exceeds my expectations and sometimes it disappoints, but getting my scans and negatives back is better than Christmas. Photographing with film just makes me happy.

35mm

Photo Projects. Well, if I say it on here then I have to commit to doing it. I've had a few ideas floating around in my head and one project underway. I'm still unsure of how and when it will be finished but I intend to share the process here.