For the eyes. For the heart. For the ears. For the feet. For the soul.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

I don't know what got into me today. Usually, I loathe the idea of Halloween. On any given day or night, I'm scared of my own shadow. I am tortured by scary movies or commercials and can't stand the feeling of fear. When I used to live on my own or with a roommate, I'm certain I called the police at least 20 times when suspecting a villain breaking in.

On this cold and dismal Sunday afternoon, I met with a colleague and friend who I was interested in shooting with and learning from. She took me to the Apps Mill in Brantford where there were trails and an old boarded up building that she said was always locked up. We rounded the corner and I shrieked in delight and fear that there was a window kicked in, and that we could enter through there. "You first," I encouraged her. There was a rusty old bucket that we were able to step down on as we entered the filthy, dusty, cobweb ridden place of the past.

Huge pieces of ancient machinery resided with stacks of wood, old signs and to my dismay, a dead carcass of some sort of maggot infested bird. My friend started ascending up the creaky and rickety old stairs to the second floor where the only signs of daylight crept in and danced as if taunting us through the cracks of the building as well as the dusty old window panes. My knees felt weak and the hairs stood up on the back of my neck but it was well worth the cool shots we got.

It was scary, but not near as scary as some of the costumes that came to our door tonight trick or treating. The kids are so cute but I hate clowns of all ages!!

Happy Halloween, 2010!!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Making a list, check it twice and then unplug.

I've often wondered if I have a bit of OCD when it comes to ensuring the doors are locked, the coffee maker is unplugged and my hair straightener is turned off. I once came home to a smoke engulfed apartment because I left my oscilating fan on all night one sweltering August evening.

I drive my husband crazy because like clockwork, we'll just get on the highway and I'll ask him if he shut the iron off. He looks at me and asks why I hadn't thought to check that small detail when we were actually still home.

Every morning, I ask him before he goes to work if his cell phone is charged, if he has his wallet, if he's taken his pills and if he's wearing his MedicAlert bracelet. Every evening I ask if he is sure we have locked all the doors, windows and let the cat inside.

Last night I was so damn tired that I forgot to ask any of the very important questions. I woke up this morning, started the coffee and started to clean the house. After taking the dog for a walk, I went to clean the stove and noticed that our gas burner was on. Replaying our evening last night, I knew that the water had been boiled at around 8pm and we ate shortly after that. It's noon on Saturday and this means that our gas stove was on for 16 hours and we are still alive to tell the story.

So the next time someone chides you about double checking something regarding your safety, it's definitely better to be safer than sorry and take the extra five minutes to check.

I literally think I'm going to create a checklist and photocopy about 100 of them and put it in my purse before I leave the house to ensure everything is turned off and unplugged. When you consider the alternative of losing your loved ones, pets and household of memories, it's probably not as crazy as it sounds.

Make a list, check it twice, and unplug.

Friday, October 29, 2010

I'm dreaming of a White Christmas....

I was on my way back from Woodstock today when I discovered a Winners and just had to take a gander and couldn't believe the Christmas displays are already in full force. I saw a white feathered Christmas Tree at Bouclair the other night, and decided that this year as our first Christmas in our new home, I would arrange a White Christmas theme throughout. I know it's only October, but it sure feels like winter out there today. Here are a few images to inspire, which range from a beach Christmas to cottage chic and also urban contemporary. I hope you're bundled up and enjoying your Friday!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Did you know that the product by Dr. Scholl's to remove those gross skin tags actually works?
I had two that were so annoying and bothered me forever. They are gone!

Just thought I would share this miraculous product that you can use in your own home without going to get them surgically removed.

You've seen the commercial. The little girl is telling her mother how beautiful she is and then says "Ewwwww mommy what's this?" and points to the skin tag. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with the way God created us; hair, moles and all, but the skin tags sometimes get in the way and are uncomfortable or painful.

Another product that works!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Ladies, I salute you.

This post is short, and to the point. Quite frankly, I've learned that the only possible reason that we go through B.S. in life, is to later learn and appreciate the exact opposite scenario.

To the amazing women in my life from the past and present, I thank you.

There are many forms of relationships that we place priority on. Of course, our relationship with parents, children, siblings and spouses are of utmost importance. There is something however to be said for keeping company with equally other amazing relationships; friends, neighbours, coworkers or associates.

I make it a point to let people in my life, specifically women, know how special they are to me.
In the past six months of living in Brantford, I have had the sheer pleasure of interacting with some of the most amazing, kind and strong women I have ever met in my entire 34 years of life. I came home tonight from an evening full of laughs and jokes, and my husband shook his head and chuckled that women laugh at the stupidest things (yeah, like farting with the guys is so much more intelligently hilarious).

To the women who have touched my life either then, now or later, I salute you. Sometimes, there are moments, where everything just makes so much sense. People surprise you every step of the way. It truly warms my heart to see such sisterhood at times.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Out of the darkness - My personal journey from sadness to joy.

At the risk of exposing my most private of moments, comes the thought that perhaps this piece could help someone who may be enduring the same thing. I'm often coaxed by my loved ones to keep my personal information to myself. In a world where image is everything and pretenses and appearances are kept up, it's rare that you can actually figure out who people are behind closed doors. It is my wish for a more honest society. There are people dealing with issues every moment of every day and although I do believe there is a time and a place for personal information, I also believe that sometimes it's okay to tell the truth. After all, people are so fearful of judgement. Nobody wants to be talked about, whispered about, categorized or not belong. At the end of the day, it really doesn't matter as it's only people. It's not the end of the world if another human being does not agree with your choices or even like you for that matter.

For years I have battled with this thing. There is no name for it, no way for anyone to be able to understand since I don't understand myself. I once thought it was depression and asked a Doctor for help in which she prescribed me something so strong, I would fall asleep mid sentence and wake up in such a thick fog that I sometimes wonder how I managed to get dressed and go to work. A girlfriend of mine said that she would rather have the old me and deal with my up and down moods, rather than a robot who was just operating slightly just above functional. Nothing bothered me. My cat ran away and I sort of shrugged my shoulders and figured she would come back. BTP (Before the pill) I would have freaked. My animal was my buddy when I lived in Toronto. The cat came back and I started my life with Michael.

Michael, my boyfriend at the time would always wonder why I would fall asleep in the middle of a conversation we would be having. I explained to him that I was prescribed this particular medicine and how it made me feel. I was complaining about weight gain and how my clothes no longer fit. He looked up this particular drug, only to find out that a side effect of this particular medicine was approximately 30 - 50 pounds in weight gain. I guess everything has it's drawbacks but for someone who is supposedly depressed, a substantial gain in weight certainly isn't going to help that cause.

I decided on my own, to go off this medicine cold turkey. After all, I was not depressed, I was happy. I was in love. My troubles had seemed to vanish. For a woman my age, I have lived through situations that would shock you if I told you. Only those closest to me know the entire truth, and they, including the Doctor agreed that sometimes, it's okay to ask for help. My Doctor told me not to feel ashamed and that sometimes, through traumatic situations, anti- depressants will not make the problem go away, rather it will allow levels of coping so that a person is still able to go to work and operate at a high functioning level. She described it as "taking the edge off."

I have always been an anxious person. I've tried everything to deal with it and figure it out. I've read books. I've talked to specialists. I've taken pills. I ignored it. I prayed. I tried cognitive therapy where you change the way you think. After all, your thoughts become your reality. I've avoided events. I've faced events head on. I've cried several times. All the while, living in my own private world of grief and misery.

This confuses people as on the outside, I'm a bubbly, happy and fun person. I'm very much a people pleaser and always try to make sure that everyone feels comfortable in a social situation. With friends, I act like a silly fool, always able to poke fun at myself and tell embarassing stories to envoke an erruption of laughter. I am the life of the party and will start a conga line and dance until 4 in the morning. So, when I'm dealing with this thing, these same people will say "What's wrong?"

It creeps in at unexpected times. If I feel anxious before an event, in all certainty I will feel this way throughout the event, and then feel bad about it afterwards. I don't know what it is. I took all the blame and concluded that I must be losing my marbles. I would have panic attacks in the middle of the night and my heart would race in certain situations so badly, that I concluded I must be having a heart attack. I would need to flee that situation and get home to my safe zone.

One day, I started to cry at work. I simply could not get a grip. I told myself over and over "Pull it the fuck together, Wendy". My boss asked me what was wrong and I just shook my head over and over and told her I didn't know. She empathized and we had a long conversation where I realized I was not alone. I decided it was time for a change. I no longer wanted to endure this thing.

I made an appointment with a new Doctor that Michael and I started to see. I was initially irritated with her as she was always late for previous appointments. She gently advised that she was a different type of Doctor and didn't rush her patients and that if time was of my concern, perhaps we should find a different GP. It was my turn to see her. My husband came in with me. I calmly looked her straight in the eye. I knew I needed help, but I also know that Doctors are hesitant to just prescribe anything before seeking out different options or to really get a handle on the severity of the case.

With everything I had in me, I looked her straight in the eye. She needed to see my desperation. I needed her to understand that I was not leaving her office until she really heard me. I told her everything I had been through in the past 10 years. The woman looked stunned. She asked me how I could possibly think that any of this was my fault. She mentioned something that I had never thought of. She said that sometimes, a human being can only handle so much on their own. She said that sometimes, removing yourself from the bad people or situations that cause you stress, is enough to make you feel better on your own. She said that everyone handles things differently and that seeking help to deal with these shitty situations does not make you a bad person, it makes you an admirable person for wanting to rise above.

She also said that everyone experiences bouts of sadness and anxiety. It's when it trickles from one area of life into another that there is a problem. For example, if work related stress carries over into one's home life, then it's something that's a bigger issue than just a large workload.
She said that when anxiety or depression starts to mask who you really are as a person, it's time to try and resolve it. This is exactly how I felt. I felt so distracted by this thing, that it was getting in the way of who I really was at my core. How unfair to those around me who didn't get to see the real me. How unfair to myself to not get to be the real me.

She prescribed me something mild for anxiety. Hesitantly, I took my first pill. Psychologically, I wondered if I felt better for the mere fact that she said I would. Realistically, I know that's not true. Women are a complex batch of emotions with hormones running rampant and an increasing unattainable work/life balance. This quest for perfection is something that I'm slowly learning to let go. I cannot please everyone at all times, every day. In the past, if someone were to stop by my house and it wasn't perfectly clean, there is no way I would have enjoyed the visit. While chatting and smiling, in the background I would be thinking of the chores that need to be done. Now, even if I'm in a less than perfect mood, I still keep dates that have been planned. Like Marilyn once said, if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best.

It's a slow journey but I feel as if the clouds have parted and the sun is streaming in, warm on my face. I'm happy. I'm productive. My creativity is flourishing as I think it was pushed down for so many years because of this thing. I thought it important to share this information with all of you. At the expense of my own private journey and insecurities being exposed, perhaps this could help someone else. I'm often amazed how many people contact me, thanking me for writing in such an honest way. It helps people relate, and not feel ashamed for being any less than perfect.

I'm often asked if I want to have children. People think I'm selfish when I shrug my shoulders and assume I don't want them because of a disturbance in my seemingly perfect life. People ask me what I have to feel down about. I have a wonderful husband, my health, a brand new home and a lot of friends and family. The truth is, in order to be a good mother, and appreciate the blessings that I have, I need to be okay with myself first. What kind of mother would I be, if I was constantly distracted by this thing?

I'm getting there. I feel more myself than I have in years. Modern medicine is amazing. It's not something that I ever thought I would want to rely on. But like a broken bone or a skin rash or a visible physical ailment, sometimes there are things that no amount of time or patience will heal. Sometimes you need help, and it's okay to ask for help. Who knows, maybe in time, as the bad situations are behind me and I learn how to live with just being me, the medicine will drop away, naturally.

But for now, I'm sharing my story to let you know that it's okay to just be yourself. It's okay to not be perfect. It's okay to have down days.

It's okay to ask for help. I did, and the feel of the warm sun is so much nicer than the dark rain clouds above.

* Thank you to my loved ones who have supported me on this journey. You know who you are.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Today's stunning beauties

First of all, I would like to apologize to my readers for a lack of interesting content, as of late. It's been a busy couple of weeks and learning this new camera is absorbing a lot of my energy. Secondly, I would like to thank my two neighbours and friends who I begged to come and help me do my first photo shoot in my backyard today. These two women are simply amazing. One, a brand new mother who has overcome the unthinkable, and the other a mother of three, going back to school and making it all look easy, took the time out to help me photograph them.

I learned several things. One, I definitely need lessons in photography. Two, I cannot be a stylist, makeup artist, hair stylist, set creator and photographer all at once, although, I think I didn't do too bad, juggling roles. Three, it's the women who pick themselves apart the most, that are simply the most stunning.

I love you both! Here are some images from today (and a special guest appearance from little Matteo Hall!) xoxo

p.s. Moving to Brantford was the best thing that ever happened to us!


My first review

Thanks Mary!!!