• Personal

    Why I Relay For Life

    We all have someone in our lives who has been affected by cancer.

    Plainly and simply put: Cancer makes me angry.

    Over the past couple of years, I have joined my good friend and amazing photog Hope Wall’s team to document the Edmonton Relay for Life.

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    Images above are copyright of the Canadian Cancer Society.

    I come from a long line of tough, headstrong, independent women.  My Aunt Lorraine embodied all of those attributes, along with a huge loving heart, a generous nature, and a vivacious spirit… she was an amazing woman.  She bravely fought cancer for years with the strength and determination she carried with her into all areas of her life.  She lived her life with purpose and always gave way more than she took.  She was an amazing wife, mother, sister, aunt, nurse, friend and daughter.

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    You wouldn’t know it to look at her that she was battling cancer because she was so very strong.

    On August 24th, 2008 my extended family met at my Aunty Gwen’s lake lot for a family camp out.  Something in my heart knew it was very important to attend.   That week-end at the lake, we laughed together, played together and prayed together.

    On the Sunday, we held our own family church service.  At the end we surrounded our Aunty Lorraine, along with my sister Janice who has MS, and layed hands on them and prayed for them.  I can’t even explain to you how emotional that experience was.  God was there all around us, and we came together as a family like never before.

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    Even as everyone was laying hands on my Aunt Lorraine, you can see her loving spirit here as she herself lays a hand on my sister.

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    Just before we left, my Aunts, Uncles, Grandma and my Mom and Dad (bottom left) gathered together for a family picture.  I’m so thankful they did.  (My Aunt Lorraine is pictured above with my Uncle Steve in the top row, middle.)

    A few weeks after this camp out, our family all came together again to mourn the loss of our amazing Lorraine.   She will never be forgotten.

    My Aunt Lorraine is the reason I relay.

    In the past I have attended the Relay for Life as a volunteer photographer.  This year, in addition to clicking pictures, I will be joining some great friends and walking in the Leduc Relay for Life on June 4th, 2010 as “Team Hope”.  I want to join the fight to make cancer history.

    You can help! I need your support!  This cause is an important one, and we can truly make a difference together. You can be part of a community that takes up the fight. Please pledge me now with whatever you can find it in your heart to give and help make cancer history.

    Online pledging is secure and it saves the Society money by reducing administrative costs – it means the money you give can go further to help the fight against cancer.

    Simply click the link below to go to my personal page.




    Fight Back.

    Thank you so much.

    From my heart to yours,




  • Children,  Newborns

    Welcome Sweet Baby O

    Meet little J.  She’s two years old and can now add “big sister” to her title!

    J. is funny, lively, smart, sweet, and so full of energy.  She blows the best kisses too.

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    J. also has an eagle eye, she noticed a sucker in my kitchen and we stopped for a little break so she could enjoy it.  It was so funny watching her eat it.

    Meet sweet baby O.  Isn’t she adorable?

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    Her sister thinks so too.

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    Such tiny feet!

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    This picture melts my heart…Grandma’s hand of protection on her precious grand daughter.  Love.

    Congratulations and welcome to the world little one.  I’m sure your big sister has so much to teach you!

  • Children

    Exploring with Addison

    I heart Addy.  I’ve been documenting her milestones since she was a baby, and it’s been amazing watching her grow and change.  Right from the time she was a baby, she showed so much character and was always so inquisitive.  Her inquisitive nature has grown right along with her as she is now three years old!

    We met to explore secret passages, investigate textures that were all around us, and of course to find treasures that she would give to her Mom every couple of minutes.  I believe her Mom’s van was weighed down with sticks, pine cones, and rocks by the end of the session.

    This session screams Addison and it’s a coin flip who enjoyed it more…me or her.  I also need to do this with my own daughter.  It was a great experience! Thanks for spending the morning with me!

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  • cake smashing,  Children

    Cake Smashing with Marley

    Mr. Marley is one already!   You may remember Marley from this session.   He still sports the BEST set of cheeks…the kind of cheeks you want to pinch!

    Marley came over to smash a cake to celebrate turning one.  A special cake that his Mom made for him.  She did a great job! What a special memento to document for his first birthday.  All that hard work put into the cake was taken apart in minutes, and Marley had fun doing it.

    The best part about capturing cake smashings is that each one is different.  Every child has their own personality that translates into how they destroy their cake.  I love it!

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    Happy birthday little man!


  • Just for fun,  Love,  Personal,  Photography,  Travel Eye Candy

    Couples Negril, Jamaica Part two

    A follow up from my first post about our time at “Couples Negril” in beautiful Jamaica.  You know when someone returns from a trip and they invite you over for a slide-show of pictures complete with stories for each one?  I’ve become that girl, only I’ll use this blog so you don’t even have to pretend to be listening to me if you don’t want to… 😉  I can’t help it, I’ve spent many months in a sea of white snow so seeing colour was mighty delicious.  I took so many pictures!  Every where I looked there were so many interesting lines, tones, colours, and character.   There was joy to my right, peace to my left, and love all around.

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    This group of men had so much character! They played during supper time with so much joy, and you couldn’t help but smile through every song they played.

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    In the morning, I would go sit on our little terrace and enjoy the yummy golden light of the morning while listening to the soft waves from the ocean.  Here’s some views that were only steps from our little terrace.

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    This is a lime tree.  The staff would come every morning to pick limes to add to the drinks.

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    One morning a nice grounds keeper named Aaron asked if I wanted to try some coconut milk.  After nodding yes (while sporting sticky-uppy morning hair I might add) he climbed a tree and brought me a coconut.    He quickly whipped out his pocket knife and expertly cut away at the coconut until there was a nice little hole to sip the milk through a straw.  It was refreshing and sweet.  Little tip for future visitors to the resort: if you take your coconut to the bar, they will fill it with coconut Rum…Yummmm.

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    On our third day there, my hubby and I booked Swedish couple’s massages.  We chose to have our massages in the Tree House with views and sounds of the ocean.  I’ve secretly always wanted a tree house (as kids my little sister and I spent countless hours trying to build our own…it was pathetic) so the ambiance was greatly appreciated even though I had my relaxed eyes closed for most of it!  🙂

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    On the first day I walked by this tree stump, it was just a tree stump.  It magically grew a face by the next day.

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    This was another favourite view.

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    Mmmmmm…food.  There’s a reason I returned home and wasn’t hungry for days.

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    Another view of the stair case I fell in love with.  Love, love, love the lines.

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    One of the resort photographers who, if I remember correctly, told me she has been a resort photographer for over 15 years…now that’s a good gig!  🙂

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    Part of the all-inclusive package included at Couples Negril resort is the option to go on water excursions.  We booked the glass-bottom boat tour which was really interesting.

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    They took us to a choral reef which you can also visit via scuba diving (next trip we will scuba for sure).

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    Do you see the goat in the window?  A 1/2 hour later when our boat traveled by again he was still in the window.

    On our last night we booked a Catamaran excursion….a.k.a the “Booze Cruise”.  One rum punch will have you giggling if you can get through the initial sip.  Two rum punches will have you seeing double, and the third will knock you on your tanned tush.

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    I asked our bartender for the trip if I could take his picture and this is what he did.  Then he admired my hubby’s “Canadian” hat.  My hubby gave it to him.  I hope he wears it!

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    The boat stopped so we could swim into these caves or take a ride down the water slide on the boat.  For a small fee, you could climb up and jump from the top of the caves into the crystal clear waters below. I was not so brave.  See the splash to the right in the picture below?  I guess someone took the plunge, but I missed it.

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    I had hoped to see someone getting married at the resort.  As we were sitting on the wicker swing awaiting our taxi to take us to the airport to fly home, I looked down and there they were…a bride and groom just married.  Love, love, love.

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    This was the last picture I took.  The sun was setting as the airplane took off to return home.  The bright sunset shone through the plane window.  Ahhhhh…it was a great vacation.  Have you booked your trip yet?

  • Just for fun,  Love,  Personal

    Welcome Home “Couples Negril” Jamaica

    “Welcome Home”…that’s what they said to my hubby and I as we stepped out of the taxi after arriving at “Couples Negril” in Negril, Jamaica (thank you Mom and Dad Hopaluk for entertaining our kids! Love you!).  Negril boasts of 7 miles of white sandy heavenly beaches.  The resort, staff, and views exceeded any expectations we had.





    Several times during our vacation, I was overwhelmed by waves of happy.  The sort of happy that happens when you wake up as a kid on Christmas morning.  I would be sitting on my beach chair, drink in hand, soaking up the sights and sounds that is uniquely Jamaican and then I would be hit: whooooaaaa what was that? Extreme Happiness my friends.  That’s extremely awesome.

    What struck me most about Jamaica (besides the white sand, ocean of blue and green, flowy palm trees & the sounds of the steel drums wafting through the air) was the people of Jamaica.  They are cool.  For real. The are happy, chill, laid back.  No problem. Ya mon! The staff at “Couples Negril” are beyond amazing. They are beautiful, personable, kind, and interesting.  They smile A LOT…both when no one’s looking and when you are .

    It was magical. You must go to “Couples Negril”, but just with your significant other.  No going with other couples. Just the two of you. Your heart will beat to the rhythm of the steel drums, and you will most definitely catch yourself smiling when no one is looking.

    Click HERE for the link to “Couples Negril” all inclusive Resort and book yourself a little trip!

    In the mean time, here’s some photos to enjoy.  If you can’t be there, the next best thing is to transport yourself through photography.  As I was taking these pictures, my main goal was to find the best way to bring the feeling of Jamaica home to my friends and family. One Love.

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    One of the bartenders Carrie made the BEST Mojitos 🙂  I wish I had taken a good picture of Carrie, but on the night I had many mojitos, I wasn’t so good with my camera settings and I embraced the blur.

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    This is Amanda. She is such a beauty and her smile lit up the room.  She travels over 2 hours everyday to get to work. They are very lucky to have her working at their resort.

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    This is Davia.  She’s a delightful woman who flips a mean Omelette.

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    This is Kesia. She is super friendly and is always smiling.

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    I don’t know these dude’s names, but they were happy to let me take their picture 🙂

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    This is Sheryl.  She has her own special drink called the “Sheryl Special”.  I can’t tell you what’s in it. I’ve been sworn to secrecy.

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    Don’t you just love their attitude!

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    Chocolate Fondue at Sunset…amazing.

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    This is Alecia. She has a killer smile too.  🙂

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    This is super happy Charles.  He has a small injury from football  🙂

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    This is Garry.  He is so uplifting and always wore a big smile no matter when we saw him.

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    Yes, I do realize that my goggles are on upside down. You can’t take the nerd out of this girl.

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    Good-bye Jamaica, we will be back for sure.  Can’t wait!  As I’m typing this from here in Leduc, Alberta, Canada there is a snow/wind storm outside my window and I’m peeling from my sunburn.  But, NO PROBLEM! 🙂

    Read more about our time at “Couples Negril” in Part Two by clicking HERE.