Am I 82? Or 24?

I have a confession.

I am really an old lady. A very weird, eclectic old lady. I am the kind of old lady that lives in a small town and becomes the object of gossip and kids telling stories about you being a mythical creature.

You do not have to take my word for it though. I have reasons why I believe I am an old lady.

I like Antiques.

I mean, actually I love antiques. I love old furniture, I love the history, and I love the fact that the pieces basically have past lives, and that you are a part their lives, and the future owners if you take care of it. I also love the fact that the articles have survived through people, disasters, and ups and downs. They are objects with a history, like pieces of art, in and of themselves.

I like Vinyl.

I have my own growing collection, and a player that I clean and maintain. I love the old school quality and scratchiness. The fact that it sounds more like you are there in the recording studios uncut. It just feels better to put on a record and sitting back and listening to it. Records are a memory. CD’s are stolen moments of time, but I would rather have the true memory, than a stolen moment. Honestly if there was a way to do it, I would listen to records in my car…Bad idea.

I like eating dinner at 4.

I know I surprise myself, but I really have no reason for this. It just feels nice to be done another part of your day at 4.

I like Films older than I am.

My top 5 favourite movies (Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Roman Holiday, Singing in the Rain, White Christmas and Casablanca)
are all older than me. They are full of love and the way it was portrayed back then, and the simple brilliance of not just being romantic, but also better; at least in my opinion.

I actually own this photo thanks to a lady who knows me Very well. Thank you Birute Pilipaitis!

I actually own this photo thanks to a lady who knows me Very well.
Thank you Birute Pilipaitis!

I am an old lady in many ways, and that is why I truly believe I have a little old lady inside of me. She lets me be able to enjoy the more simple things, because the simple things in life are what makes life worth it.

~ Andreah

Moving mountains, never mind they are just boxes

Well, it’s been another 7 months, so guess what time it is? Yes, that’s right – it’s moving time. Joe and I are moving to our own place. Again. A decision that has not come lightly and I am both loving and hating it the same time.

I hate it because…

Packing. I hate packing. I absolutely despise labeling and putting stuff in boxes, and making lists, and throwing stuff out and deciding what to throw out and what to keep. I don’t like packing, and organizing, and EVERYTHING ABOUT PACKING.

The actual moving is HORRIBLE. Something always goes wrong, something is always forgotten, and someone usually gets upset at least once. It is always a long day, and it’s always so tired, and after things are moved into the house, it takes days, weeks, months to unpack every single box…and sometimes things never get unpacked.

Although it is time for Joe and me to move out, I am going to miss living with Hanna, Josh, and Justin. They are good people and are awesome for letting Joe and I have a landing spot for a while. So that does go on the hate list.

AH! I'M SURROUNDED!

AH! I’M SURROUNDED!

Things I love about moving?

I have missed being able to be financially responsible enough to be able to afford to move out again and being able to have a home again. I am not saying that our current house is not a home, but that’s the thing, it is a home. It just isn’t my home. Our home. This is going to be a home for just Joe and me and that is something that we have waited so long to have again. I can’t wait to have all our kitchen stuff in the places that we want it, to be able to move furniture at 2 o’clock in the morning and not disturb people (yes I do that).

I miss being able to walk around not fully clothed. I, like Jacqui, do not like pants, so they are generally the first thing that comes off when I get home. But you cannot just take your pants off when you walk into a house that has 3 other people living in it…it would get VERY awkward.

Overall I hate the process, but as someone who has moved A LOT this is going to be the last time for a while…or so I hope. Wish us luck – I’m going to go pack another box.

~ Andreah

Down the rabbit hole, and in my purse

I am a very random person. A free spirit my sisters call me. I have had a weird collection of clothes, weird collection of art hung up around my bed room/apartments, and most definitely a weird collection of things on my person. At any given time these things lurk in my purse, in my car, etc.

My friends and I used to play a game called “What’s NOT in Andreah’s Room.” There were few and far between things that were not located in my sanctuary. One friend jokingly said a kitchen sink one time. I then produced a small miniature kitchen sink from somewhere, and laughter of course ensued.

The weird/strange/obscure things I have found on my person are the following:

Jars of dirt
I have a jar of dirt from Ireland, PEI and Nova Scotia, and for a while after I collected, or received them, I carried them around for a couple months. I know it’s weird, but it’s fun being able to carry around a piece of a far distant place that I either have been to or am dying to go to.

A beard
Yes. That’s right. I own a fake beard and used to carry it around and whip it out when certain situations called for it.
If you are currently asking yourself what situation would call for a beard, then you don’t understand life and the many simple complexities it involves. Or you are just not a strange person who used to carry around a beard.

Handcuffs.
I actually don’t want to explain this one, other than they are an interesting conversation piece. NOTHING SEXUAL. Just used to have them in my backpack.

My button collection
I have a button collection and used to carry around a few key ones that I loved to look at when I was in college. I even found use for some of them along the way.

I am a strange person. With strange things and a strange personality to match. Although I don’t find myself with these things on me on a normal basis, I still have all of them. I still am that strange girl with a beard in her bag, even if it is not a literal beard anymore.

Do you have strange things you used to do? Please tell me someone else has a fake beard.

~ Andreah

Just me

I don’t know if it is something that happens to every one, or even every woman, but at some point in this last bit of my 20’s, I’ve really grown to like me.

Just me, as I am. Right now.

I know it sounds silly, or like I am boasting, but I’m not. I have lots of demons and areas of myself that I know need a shit ton of work and things about my being that I would rather not have to face. But I do. And I am.

Constantly.

What I mean by really liking me, is that I really like who I am growing into. I really enjoy my own company and find myself craving more time alone. I am really comfortable with myself today, even more so than yesterday and even more so than the day before that.

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It’s an evolution I am enjoying the more and more I learn and understand about life from a spiritual perspective, a topic which is sometimes met with eye rolls and sighs. A few that are closest to me have started to referring to me as a hippie when I speak about being more conscious and awake or the adventures I get up to – a title I am fine with because I know what they mean and that they mean it with love. I have come to the realization that people can only meet you as far as they have grown themselves and that is okay. I have also noted on this journey that when some people cannot accept you for who you are or struggle with who you’ve grown into, it is okay to know their time in your story might be coming to an end.

I am okay with not being normal or what is expected. I am aware that I am a bit different and it feels good to me. I am enjoying being in a place where I can look back and say, I have come so far from who I was and I’m getting even closer to who I really am.

In fact, if you met me last year and then met me again today, I would bet you would say, “You’ve changed”, and I bet I would laugh and say “Thank you”. It would be even more apparent if we were close in a past life and you met me today…if you’ve not been here for the past few years, you definitely do not have a clue who I am anymore. And I am pretty cool with that.

This whole idea began spinning in my head this past holiday Monday. A last minute change in Michael’s schedule meant our plans for a few nights away were no longer an option, leaving me to find my own entertainment for what should have been a holiday Monday for him too. The let down of Michael not hanging out with me definitely bummed me out, but I was not against a day alone.

Now, early 20’s Toni, I will admit, would have panicked a bit about not having anything planned to fill my day with or people to hang out with and it would have been a scramble to try to fill the space with shenanigans with a girlfriend or sister. Late 20’s Toni though, she’s got this. Instantly I began to think of all of the places I have been wanting to explore but either hadn’t made the time or had a willing partner.

Michael started work at noon, so we spent a lazy morning together in bed, had breakfast and coffee and then off to work for him and upstairs to pack a bag for me.

I had no idea where I was going to head, so I threw in a sweater, a sports bra, shorts and extra tank, a bikini, book, towel, earphones, some water and snacks. I grabbed my hiking boots, a pair of sneakers and threw on my flip-flops.

Instead of worrying about directions or a GPS, I just got in the Runner and drove.

I drove myself straight to the coast of Lake Huron and parked there for hours. I read, wandered, laid out in the sun and grabbed a beer by myself in a small town along the way. I didn’t pay attention to my phone, I didn’t take a single picture to capture the beauty of my day and I barely spoke a word to another soul all day.

It was perfect and peaceful and my soul felt full by the end.

During the drive home I started to think of how many other people I know would do such a thing on a day of freedom. I also started to think about how much I had enjoyed my day. How much I needed my day, and my very own company.

Just me.

It made me very aware that while I do love the companionship of my man, my friends and especially my sisters, there are just some days when you need to sit alone with yourself for a bit and be comfortable with whatever you find, good or bad.

As I was finishing up with this post, the most suitable email from Elephant Journal floated across my screen and it read:

“No matter where you go or what you do you are always yourself.
There is nothing you can ever do, nothing you can wear,
no story you can tell that will change the basic fact of who you are.
Instead of running from it, accept it, trust it, embrace it,
love it because it’s all you’ve got.
” ~ Kino MacGregor

I am okay with me.

Just me, as I am. Right now.

~ Toni

When opportunity tackles you

This is definitely long overdue, and with everything that has been going on, I definitely do want to mention this. Our Brother (in-law) gave me an opportunity.

Ben plays Aussie Football. In Ontario. CANADA.

Now I have never heard about Aussie Football, I have never ever even heard about this sport before, and I am not even going to attempt to explain it to you.

What I can tell you is that it is an intense sport to watch, and I am betting an even more intense game to play.
DSC_4709I have known that Ben has played this game for the last year or so, and when I got an email from him, I was shocked, and super excited and touched by the opportunity he presented to me.
DSC_4939.1Ben sent me an email asking me if I would be interested in coming to his games and taking photos for them, the only thing he wanted to make sure is that I knew it was free.

Like that would stop me.

Honestly, I have not been able to touch my camera. I have gotten camera shy.

I don’t think my photos are any good, and I don’t think that I have any talent whatsoever, so it has scared me.

DSC_4730

It has scared me to have a camera in my hand, because what if I let someone down?

However, Ben has given me an incredible gift. He has given me a new kind of opportunity to put a camera back in my hand and get back to my passion and the thing that I love.

This blog is dedicated to you Ben. You are an awesome Big Brother, and I cannot thank you enough for getting me back to what is so me, and something that I have missed so much.
DSC_5006.1THANK YOU.

You should go over and check out more photos, and the game/players over at The Grand River Gargoyles website! If you are in the area for games as well, go check them out! They are great players and a great team and deserve a ton of support.

~ Andreah

Wonderful world of work

So there a couple things you should be 100% aware of when it comes to me… I am not normal. Working in an office environment is not normal for me.

This is so more me.

This is so more me. (Photo credit to UCS and their photo of their studio, which makes me miss college and the studio that I got to use there.)

I have never worked in a normal office environment, and I never thought I would ever be working in a cubicle, let alone being excited about it. I am more the type to have weird, in-between jobs that you never even thought someone would have, and I have had quite a few of those…

Have you ever heard of someone working in a turkey farm? Or know of anyone putting away books at the wee hours of the morning?

No? Of course not. Because no sane person decided that they would deal with turkeys, or put away heavy books at warp speed (or as fast as humanly possible) at 5 a.m. Besides the point of this post though, this is about my job now.

This is the most normal job I have ever had. I work roughly 8 hours a day. I come into work, use a punch clock and then punch out when I leave. I have never had a job like this, and although I have never seen myself in this kind of job, there is one thing I love about this job.

The people are AWESOME.

All of them are so unique, and I have made so many new friends that I can hardly count them all. Even my supervisors are awesome and very helpful people and my manager is really funny and nice.

Now, I haven’t told a lot of people at work about our blog at all, so I am so not trying to butter them up through this. It is just nice to be able to like the people you work with and work for. I have found some really good friends in my colleagues while I have been here, and although I am not going to mention any names, they know who they are and they know (from me telling them on a constant basis) how truly awesome and sweet they are.

They make it easier to come into work on my bad brain days because I know I will smile at least once from something ridiculous someone says or does, or that I say or do, and at work I am one of the more random people.

I am truly blessed to not only have a job but have a job where I actually get along with and like the people.

I know this is just a temporary position, but for the time being I have a found a place in the company full of awesome people, and that works just fine for me.

~ Andreah

Should I leave the lights on?

Recently in the New York times they had a piece on the light pollution in New York City, and about a bill that seems to have caused a bit of discussion on light pollution. On one hand, having fewer lights in the New York skyline would be more beneficial to the environment, and the migratory and mating habits of birds and animals. Another upside to having dimmer lights would be a greater possibility to see what is actually up in the sky in the middle of the night in NYC.

This photo is by Thierry Cohen, and awesome artist, click the photo to be taken to his page!

This photo is by Thierry Cohen, an awesome artist.

However, New York is big and it is filled with crime – fewer lights would mean more cover for unseemly and horrible stuff to take place. It is a good idea, but in they end, they should take a deeper look into the different possibilities and scenarios surrounding the bill in question.

This photo is by Thierry Cohen, and awesome artist, click the photo to be taken to his page!

This photo is by Thierry Cohen, an awesome artist.

The reason that this story caught my eye was because it made me think of a road trip Joe, Elena, and I took up north to Sudbury and down and through Manitoulin Island. After about four to six hours of driving in the middle of the night, Elena told me to pull off to the side, we woke up Joe and stepped outside the car just to stare at the naked sky.

This photo is by Thierry Cohen, and awesome artist, click the photo to be taken to his page!

This photo is by Thierry Cohen, an awesome artist.

Now, I have lived in the country and have gotten some pretty epic views in my life of the night sky, including one birthday of mine in which the Northern Lights appeared above our house.

I have also seen beautiful pictures depicting the night sky without light pollution, and, let me tell you, the real thing…it is even better than you could have imagined.

I wish we lived in a world where we didn’t need lights on all the time and that we could look up at any moment and just see the Milky Way. I wish that everyone would get to experience the ethereal beauty of the night sky unpolluted, with the lights that we have deemed so necessary. I ultimately wish that we could have a world so full of peace and love that lights weren’t so necessary.

This photo is by Thierry Cohen, and awesome artist, click the photo to be taken to his page!

This photo is by Thierry Cohen, an awesome artist.

It is something to work towards, and something to aspire to. Hopefully it will be so…one day.

~ Andreah

The Roomie Awards

I have lived in a lot of different cities, and in those different cities I have had a lot of roommates, I counted it up and in total I have had a whopping 18 roommates. That is a lot of people I have lived with that aren’t family.

So I am going to give Roomie Awards to the people I currently live with! I live in a house with Joe and three other people, so I sat them down and had them nominate each other for things, and when we all agreed, here is what we came up with:

The winner of the BIG CHEESE/CHIEF AWARD is… Justin.

No I don't know what is happening behind the tree.

No I don’t know what is happening behind the tree.

It tends to be that whenever we are sitting around with nothing much to do, Justin comes up with stuff. He also is the main person of the house. He tends to also be like the big brother of the house and is always there to lend a hand when needed or just help out.

The winner of the SMEAGLE AWARD is…Ponee (a.k.a. Josh).

Isn't he a strange one?

Isn’t he a strange one?

Josh is a little strange, a little weird, and sometimes really annoying, but he knows this and owns it. Josh can also be really helpful and a good guy when the time calls for it. He also takes the guys harassment on a daily basis, and doesn’t really care that much about it.

The winner of the HYPERACTIVE AWARD is…Hanna.

She's so Pretty!

She’s so pretty!

It has been said that if we got a hamster wheel big enough, we could run the house off her energy. She is an awesome girl, an amazing friend, and just a little *cough* a lot *cough* crazy energetic! She is an overall amazing person, and a real best friend.

The winner of the SPEDCIAL AWARD is…Joe.

Handsom isn't he?

Handsome isn’t he?

I did not nominate Joe for this one, and yes the ‘D’ is really supposed to be there. Joe has the uncanny ability to get himself into the weirdest of situations, which makes sense as he did ask me to marry him!

The winner of the FUZZY/DINGO AWARD is…Cleo!
Cleo is the house puppy. She is adorable and crazy and is always up for snuggles.

The winner of the JELLY BEAN/BUG-EYED AWARD is…me.
Screen shot 2015-04-09 at 9.18.55 PM

This one was a weird description, but I am going along with it. Hanna said that I should get the Jelly Bean award because I am so colourful and random. Justin says that I get the Bug-Eyed award because I always have an interest, I am always doing something, and it is never the same thing. Ever.

I have had so many experiences living with people of all walks of life, and this one is just a new adventure. With all new good people…even if they all are slightly crazy.

~ Andreah

So you want to take indoor photos

Indoor photos are very simple, and pretty much similar to the outdoors in terms of rule, but when you are working an event and are taking more candid shots than posed, here are a few rules to guide you through an indoor event. I just photographed Jacqui’s bridal shower, so I am going to use a few of my favorites for examples.

Lighting
I can never stress this enough: make sure you have a decent light source. Flash is 100% acceptable if you like, but the problem there lies in washed out guests, and no one wanst to look like they haven’t seen the sun in over 100 years. Find a good source of light for posed shots, and work with what you have for the rest. I know this is going to go over some people’s head, especially since I am talking photography, and I tend to ramble using ‘photog jargon,’ but I am going to do my best here. If you use a flash, make sure you bounce it! That means either getting a diffuser for your flash, make your own, or learn to bounce your flash off the ceiling/walls so that the light caresses the faces of the people, and doesn’t end up blinding everyone in the process.

Excellent Light use, if I do say so myself!

Excellent light use, if I do say so myself!

Smiles
There are so many people who do not smile for pictures, and can I just say as a photographer it kind of sucks when the only photos you get of people are either closed-lipped smiles (which can really look like a grimace of pain), or no expression at all. It is best not to focus on them, but capture what you can of them when they’re as close to smiling as they’re going to get.

Toni always gives good smile.

Toni always gives good smile.

Posed
As always with posed shots, it can look boring, and people can also look crazy in them. Best thing to do is be comfortable taking the photos and they will be more comfortable getting the photos taken of them.

No cardboard cut outs here! The happy couple!

No cardboard cut outs here! The happy couple!

Candid
People can make amazing faces when you are watching them. Beautiful expressions and happy light-up-their-face smiles may only happen once in a while but catching them is always a blessing. Sometimes you can miss those moments and get the funny faces as well. Best thing to do for that person, who looks like they are trying to eject something from their nose using their mind, is to not have taken it at all. I call it the photographers code. Sort of a “Thou shall not post pictures of people if they look utterly ridiculous.”

At the end of the day, I caught this one of JQ. She is so beautiful!

At the end of the day, I caught this one of Jacqui. She is so beautiful!

Overall, for indoor photography just remember to focus on the light and that flashes can be tricky at times. Just smile, have fun, and watch for the moment.

~ Andreah

Knowing more

This past year has been a crazy one: moving away, finding new passions, trying new things, falling down, picking ourselves back up, engagements, wedding planning, moving back, and just generally trying to figure out what works.

This has been a year of learning for all of us with the blog, and in life. We are just living, and life always has a lesson to teach.

This has been an amazing, eye-opening experience for me.

I always knew my sisters were talented, amazing and beautiful women, but reading their thoughts has shown me new bits about each of the sisters.

I feel like you can find out a lot about people through their writing, and it holds true to this experience.

I mean, in all of our very first posts, there were timid steps as we each set foot into blogging, but we found our way, kept going, and the sisters and the readers all ended up inspiring me more than I had thought humanly possible.

This blog has been a new push through everything, and when I re-read all the posts, I realized how much we all changed, or at least I have changed. I realized how much I have been able to still keep pushing through all the negative that can come with change.

Change usually scares me, but this time, I’m not scared at all! I’m excited and can’t wait for the next blogging year for our sisterhood!

#WVSisterhood #Giveaway !!

#WVSisterhood #Giveaway !!

And now, without further ado, my giveaway is hand-crafted jewelry and a survivalist bracelet made from parachute cord made by my friend Kate, and a tea wallet so you can have that fresh tea anywhere made by Kate’s awesome Mama!

Survivalist bracelet, beautiful hand crafted ring, and necklace, and a tea wallet!

Survivalist bracelet, beautiful hand-crafted ring and necklace, and a tea wallet!

I want to thank you, dear readers. You have been a wonderful and captive audience, and we owe you lots of hugs for the past year! And my question I pose to you is: What is the one accessory that you’d feel naked without? 

~ Andreah