A little local love

I need to do some gushing.

I know, I know, what else is new?

But no, seriously. Have you heard about Heather Baker of Photography by Heather? If you haven’t, you need to check out her space.

If you have, then you’ve been let in on one of the best small business owners Galt, Ontario has to offer.

Heather is an incredible family, child and event photographer, working in the Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge and greater Toronto area. As a small business owner, she gives back to her community, promotes what she loves – especially other small business owners in the communities she works in – and really is just an all around kick-ass human being.

Between her heart, her gift for the perfect shot and her ability to put her subjects at ease, she’s an ace!

I have had the pleasure of working with Heather on multiple occasions, in many settings and she never ceases to impress me with her growth in her art.

She’s shot me (with a camera and lens of course) and my sisters, and caught one of our favourite moments to date in frame:

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I’ve worked with her in a more intimate setting as a gift for my future husband:

The 'Mike approved' blog shot - photo credit: Close Your Eyes Photography

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She’s captured Julia’s growing family at almost every stage since she opened her business:

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She was entrusted with Jacqui and Cody’s big day and once again caught some of the most memorable moments:

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I’ve known for a while that Heather would be trusted with many memories and milestones to come for my family.

Just a few weeks ago, she stole our hearts with her generosity with our engagement shoot. While we only have a sneak peak so far, I already know we will love every picture in our gallery.

When she offered to pull a mini-road trip to a special spot to get the kind of shoot we wanted, I was thrilled. While there were some cues, and a few tuckings of this hair and untucking of this shirt, it felt as though Michael and I were on a date, surrounded by love the whole time, instead of posing for a picture. I feel she invested in our relationship, in our memories and in her work.

From planning our session, right down to the very last shot, she took her time to make sure what she knew of Michael and I and how Michael and I feel about each other, would resonate through our photos and be very personal to us.

I am so very happy you were the one to mark a special milestone for Michael and I, Heather. I love our sneak peak:

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I could tell you more, but I really think you should just have a consult or book with her and find out for yourself. To contact Heather, please email her here. I also highly recommend following her here and making sure to like her here.

~ Toni

Sisterhood Spotlight: The Miniaturist

I am a bit of a snobby reader.

I personally blame my education – I have a degree in English, which was a learning path littered with literature and high-brow criticism, and hours upon hours upon hours of reading and dissecting said reading. In the end? I know what I like. I know what I don’t like. And it all comes crashing into the fact that I have very little time to actually read. When I choose a book I am really picky – I need it to be well-written, I need it to grab me, I need it to not be too graphic (or my very impressionable brain will run away with all the gory details), and I need it to be fairly straightforward (Fantasy? Sci-fi? If it’s based in a world like ours, I have a shot…build a completely new world with an entirely new vocabulary to name every piece of it?? Either give me a glossary or you’ll have to wait until I have all my faculties again…which will probably be never).

That’s why I LOVED The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton, a debut novelist who wowed me with her prowess, imagination, and finely spun tale.

The story is set in 1686 Amsterdam, where 18-year old Nella is newly married to her wealthy merchant husband. But when she arrives to her new life, where she expects to be the mistress of her domain, she is met with blow after blow, surprise after surprise, and in the midst of it all, a cabinet-sized replica of her new home.

This book pulled me in from the beginning, with writing that was strong, yet clear. Although it is set in the late 1600s, and in a different country, Jessie Burton does a superb job of bringing you right in the middle of the culture and world, without making you feel like you’re playing catch-up the whole time. And even though there is a glossary in the back (THANK YOU), I didn’t have to use it once while reading.

I loved the history, the opulence, the hardship, the class and race clashes, the clandestine love, the unrequited love, and the extraordinary, yet hidden, strength of the main character, Nella.

The writing was gorgeous and the story was thrilling. It was a book that was easy to read, made me never want to put it down, made me want it to end so I could figure out where we were going, yet made me wish it never ended so I didn’t have to leave the world. The last quarter of the book was so tense and emotionally taunt that when I finished reading, I had a lump in my chest that I had carried for days.

I fully recommend this book…and now I need to go write more of my own novel, because Jessie Burton? You’ve inspired me. Thank you.

~ Julia

Sisterhood Spotlight: Julia Nunes

So I have a huge love of music, and I know my sisters do too. And of course, we do not have the exact same taste of music – we each, like our personalities, are unique.

I want to share something with you, or rather someone.

One of my all time favourite singers is Julia Nunes. She is short, she is wonderful, and she makes the best music.

I have even gotten to meet this wonderful eclectic artist twice (yes it was twice in one day, but it counts!).

First meeting!!!! (Photo Curtesy of a random stranger, using Elena's Camera)

First meeting!!!! (Photo Curtesy of a random stranger, using Elena’s Camera)

 

Later on that evening, and yes, Julia Nunes is grabbing my head. (Photo Curtesy of Elena)

Later on that evening, and yes, Julia Nunes is grabbing my head. (Photo Curtesy of Elena)

I was introduced to her by one of my best friends Elena. I walked by her room one day when we lived together and she was singing along to her, and I was pretty much hooked on Julia Nunes from then on.

I wanted to introduce you to her so that you know how wonderfully weird she is, and hopefully get to love her like I do!

From songs about pizza to songs that make you less and more nostalgic all at once…

… she writes amazing, catchy songs that just make you smile, dance, and belt it out in the car.

I want to share her with you, and I want you to show her love and the proper adoration, because everyone deserves to know how wonderful they are!

~ Andreah

Sisterhood Spotlight: Greatist.com

When it comes to finding support for leading a healthy lifestyle, it’s hard to find a reliable source that isn’t pushing their own agenda or selling their own brand of get-fit-quick propaganda. While information is accessible everywhere from Google to Pinterest, I’ve come to know and love one particular fitness blog that seems to satisfy all areas of a healthy me – mind, body and soul.

Greatist.com is a blog that covers all areas of living a healthy lifestyle. It’s not focused on being skinny, losing weight, pills, quick fixes or fads. Greatist.com strictly focuses on over all health be it mental, physical or spiritual.

Greatest.com home page, May 23, 2014

Greatest.com home page, May 23, 2014

This specific blog is suited for anyone who is looking to live and maintain a healthy, active lifestyle. Every post is vetted to make sure the facts are based on a legitimate scientific study, that they are fun and easy to read, and that the information you are receiving is real. If you are interested in yoga, crossfit, running, healthy recipes, tips on how to manage stress, depression, a bad stroke of luck, tools to train your brain and help you ace that test, or even a daily workout, greatest.com is the site for you.

Personally, I opted in for the daily email – it’s a daily digest of posts containing an array  of topics and I find it a great reminder to get up and do something physically active, everyday (yes, even though today’s daily email was about drinking…).

The daily email - May 23, 2014

The daily email – May 23, 2014

I recommend greatest.com to anyone looking for tips, tricks and support on their journey of improving their overall health – you won’t be disappointed!

Happy, happy Friday from the Sisterhood!

~Toni

Sisterhood Spotlight: Lainey Gossip

I have a dirty little secret: I love gossip.

Celebrity gossip, that is.

I love it. It’s more than a guilty-pleasure beach-read. I consume celebrity gossip.

I can tell you that Blake Lively is in Cannes right now. I can tell you that Johnny Depp has left his long-time girlfriend and mother of his children for someone much younger and obscure. I can tell you that the reigning bachelor has fallen into the marriage trap with a beautiful, powerful, successful lawyer, not starlet (the market will be emptier without you on it, George).

And the place that I love getting my gossip? My favourite place for curating the snafus, wins, fashion fails, and questionable behaviour of the rich and famous is Lainey Gossip.

Lainey

I love Lainey.

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She’s smart. She’s biting. She started from nothing and has built a business around smut. She has principles (like not covering reality stars and avoiding what she calls ‘sad smut’). And she’s a good writer.

I started reading her blog after I noticed she was a gossip correspondent on etalk, the first all-Canadian entertainment show, years ago. And I haven’t stopped.

She loves the royals. She avoids talking Kardashian. She now co-hosts my favourite daytime TV show, The Social, And she has given a TED Talk about gossip, arguing that gossip says more about us as a society, as a culture, than it does about the subjects of the gossip.

Lainey wants a school of gossip and culture studies.

Faculty of Celebrity Studies

Faculty of Celebrity Studies

I think it’s brilliant – celebrity culture has taken over our world in many, many ways. I adore that Lainey has an intellectual take on it, while serving up the guiltiest of pleasures.

If you’re looking for a smart read, a fun read, and a read that will make you come back for more, check out Lainey Gossip. Your appetite for smut will not be disappointed.

~ Julia