2019 was the year of growth. A lot of amazing things happened this year for SapsOriginals and it has been such an incredible ride. A huge goal for me in 2019 was to find my style and aesthetic. I definitely feel I nailed that down and found a look that really represented the images I wanted to create. I've always loved Fall and the colors that make it so beautiful. Therefore, I wanted my aesthetic to be inspired by Fall. Something about warmer tones is so flattering on everyone, and I feel like it brings a sense of calmness.
I had so many returning clients and met so many more of you this year. My heart was so full. I had two beautiful weddings this year, a surprise engagement, a Sweet 16 birthday, and thats just some of the incredible highlights. I also got to photograph some amazing families and couples.
In 2020 I really want to provide more for my clients. I have some projects up my sleeve for this year that I'm excited about. I hope that 2020 is the best year yet and I'm looking forward to meeting a lot more of you! CHEERS!
So excited to share more about this incredible surprise engagement!!
Originally, Marie messaged me to book a Fall Mini Session for her and Josh. I’ve known Marie since High School and I love that I can connect with people even years down the road, and capture their amazing stories. A couple days after we booked, Josh reached out to me to ask if he could propose at our session. I was super excited, and did not hesitate to say yes!
I met with Josh the day before to plan the whole session around the proposal. The sign you see in the photos is a huge part of their love story and so it was so important for Josh to have it part of this special day.
On the day of the photo session I was full of adrenaline. I was super excited, but nervous because I wanted to make sure she didn’t find out anything before hand. I played it cool, shook Josh ‘s hand and introduced myself as if we never met. As we headed over to the memorable train tracks, I “conveniently” forgot the blanket in the car (which we never used haha) as I went back I collected the clip board and ring in my bag from Josh’s car and made my way back over to the train tracks.
After a couple photo poses. I told them that we were going to do something super fun for the next photo. I told them that I brought a sign in my bag and each of them would have to write something funny to each other and hold the sign with out the other one looking (so clever Julia….). Then when they received their pictures they could laugh at them together. We got Josh to go first and little did Marie know it was time for her to get engaged. I gave Josh the clip board, the ring, and took some pictures of him holding the sign behind her. Moments later josh proposed and it became one of the happiest days of their lives.....and mine haha.
In all honesty, it was so beautiful and I was so grateful I got to be part of it. It was truly one of the best things I’ve done this far in my photography journey. Cheers to you guys, and I wish you nothing but the best.
So excited to finally share Erin and Phil’s special day!
This was one of the most unique, and intimate weddings I’ve been too. Once again, I was so happy I got to capture these special moments for this couple.
They say that rain is good luck on your wedding day. With all the downpours this summer you can bet there was rain on this day as well! However, Nothing stopped us from getting beautiful photos.
Both the ceremony and reception took place at The Parlour Italian Kitchen in downtown Edmonton with Erin and Phil's closest family and friends. If you haven’t tried the food at the Parlour, I totally recommend! The day felt so relaxed, genuine, and was full of love. I am so grateful I got to be part of it. So thank you to Erin and Phil and I wish you both nothing but the best ♥️ cheers!
Here are some of the moments captured from Nancy and John’s amazing day! Congratulations to both of these amazing human beings! I was so happy to be part of this day.
The wedding ceremony and reception took place at the beautiful Chateau Louis Hotel and Conference Centre in Edmonton, AB. The Bridal party photographs were taken on the Northside of Edmonton at Patricia Lake in Griecbach. It was definitely the sunniest day Edmonton has seen in awhile with it being 27 degrees with very little clouds. Although it was hot, we did not have to worry about any rain. The hall was beautifully decorated, and had amazing little details that tied it all together.
Everything from the sunshine, to the heartfelt speeches, to the delicious meal, and all the love shared, couldn’t have made the day more perfect. All the best to both of you.
Want to know more?
A couple weeks ago I talked about How to Overcome Procrastination , and stay more productive. However, we are all human and sometimes we are not as productive as we want to be. Although, I found a more sustainable way that we can more productive without it feeling so overwhelming. The easiest way to do this is by focusing on systems more than goals. This is something that has really helped me in my personal and business life. In University, I would set many goals but I found that I didn't achieve many of them because there was no formative action plan. For instance, I wanted to get better grades so I told myself I was going to study harder, but how? What steps was I going to take to achieve this, and will it be sustainable? I began to understand that my results had little to do with the goals I set and everything to do with the systems I created to achieve my goals. Although, I still love goal setting and think its important what I have learned is that goals are good for planning progress where as systems are good for actually making progress.
What is a system?
A system is a repeatable process that allows you to focus on things you can control in order to fulfill a goal or objective. For example, losing weight is a goal, where as making a commitment to go to the gym 3 times a week is system. In one of my previous blog posts I talk about the idea of time blocking. Time blocking is a useful tool to maintain a system and it makes the process easier because you know exactly when you need to get things done. For example, scheduling the three times you want to go to the gym during the week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday). This will result in tasks seeming less overwhelming because they are broken down.
How to create a sustainable system?
In order to create a sustainable system you have focus on an output. That is an objective or action plan that sets you on the right track to achieving your goals. An output for example, if your a blogger, you can't control who subscribes to your blog but you can control the flow of posts and being consistent with them. After figuring out your output its important to create small repetitive tasks that help you stay consistent and on track. Remember the 80/20 Rule. 80% of the output/results will come from 20% of the input or action. Therefore, its the little things that count for majority of the results.
Example of a sustainable system
GOAL: Lose weight and get more toned
Output (What are you going to do?): Work out 3 times a week
Input /action (How you are going to do it?)- Work out Monday, Wednesday, Friday. Monday- Leg Day, Wednesday- Arms, Friday- abs .
Remember that the system can change as you change and grow. You can decide to break down tasks even more or you can decide to take on more. What I love about systems, is that they create positive habits. With the gym example, eventually you will be accustom to your routine and won't feel overwhelmed at all. Goals are a great way to provide direction but having a system is what matters. Committing to a process is what makes the difference.
As spring finally approaches us, I thought I would take the time to share some tips for preparing for your next photoshoot. Photo sessions can be overwhelming if you worry too much about how the photos will turn out. It can take from the experience and the fun of it. However, there are ways you can prepare for you photoshoot that will make you feel relaxed and excited for the day. Below I answer some common questions about photo sessions and some tips to make you feel at ease for your upcoming photoshoot.
2. Picking a location
If you have a special location that you and your family go to all the time, maybe consider having it as a background to your family photos. Whether its a park or your home, work with your photographer to find the perfect location. If you are unsure of where to go, ask your photographer for suggestions and google some top places for photoshoots to get an idea.
3. Communicate your vision for the shoot
At any point of time between the booking process and during the photoshoots communicate the type of photos you want, especially if you have any specifics. I always let my clients know that although i have poses and ideas planned, to let me know anytime if they have a certain picture in mind. In addition, I ask my clients if they find any photos they like online on Pinterest or Google to forward them to me so I can make sure to plan for those shots during the session.
4.Don’t worry about everyone looking at the camera all the time
Sometimes the best shots are candid ones. So feel free to laugh and talk amongst each other, because as a photographer those shots are golden. The silly and fun photos really capture families in their element. This also allows kids to feel more comfortable being in front of a camera, because they don’t notice it. As photographers, we want to capture who you guys are as a family and candid images are the best way to do this.
I am really excited to share with you Erin and Phil's winter engagement session! After a year or so, I caught up with Erin at Sportchek after finally getting scheduled the same shift. Naturally, we talked about our lives and what we've been up too. I found out she was getting married and she found out I was a photographer. I was super thrilled when my long time co-worker asked me to take her engagement pictures. Without hesitation, I said yes!
This session took place at one of my favourite places in St.Albert, Red Willow Park. I have shot many photos here, and it never disappoints. The weather could not have been any better and the golden light of the sun was perfect.
Erin and Phil were totally down to laugh and have fun. They didn't mind my overexcitement, weird jokes to make them laugh, and bursts of energy every time I caught a photo that was jaw dropping beautiful (which is like every photo, as you can tell...).
It was a such a pleasure to spend an afternoon with these amazing people! Thank you for trusting me and letting me capture all the love. I wish you two nothing but the best in the future.
The last couple months I have stepped back from social media to focus on my photography and realigning my goals for the following year. Its easy to get discouraged when things are not going how you want them too, or wondering if you'll ever be good enough to achieve your dream. I knew with these feelings I had to re-set and re-focus my energy. Thoughts have the power to destroy you if you don't know how to cope with them. My journey with meditation has given me my power back. It has taught me to control my emotions, feeling, and thoughts. I know there are a lot of skeptics, because in fact, I was one. A BIG one. I thought meditation was a bunch of BS. I thought I sucked at it because I couldn't sit still for more then a second. I was convinced it wasn’t for me. But last year I hit rock bottom. I went through some pretty big life changes with my parents separating, moving three times, and completing a new major in my last year in school. I felt small, not good enough, and I had anxiety attacks almost daily. 2017 was the worst year of my life and the best year for growth. That year I finally said enough is enough and I ACTUALLY made my self-care a priority. I researched, I downloaded apps, and read many books on meditation, self help, and positivity. Many of them in the past year have changed my life remarkably. I was the most negative person I knew and I hated that I continuously let myself feel that way. I kept it together enough to bring positivity to my family, friends, coworkers, and clients. However, I was broken inside. Meditation is a way to cope with my feelings so they do not have control over me anymore. It wasn’t until I learned that meditation was about changing your relationship with your thoughts and dealing with your emotions exactly as they are in the present moment.
Here is what I’ve learned about meditation, and how it has changed my life for the better:
1.Meditation is about stepping back, witnessing thoughts coming and going without resistance
Originally, I wanted to find out ways I could get rid of anxiety and negative feelings. I quickly realized it wasn’t going to happen. It was after I came to terms that my anxiety will probably never go away, so the best thing to do was change my relationship with it. Trying to get rid of my anxiety actually resulted in my anxiety being worse because I became mad at myself for saying I felt happy but not actually feeling good at all. It was exhausting. Fake it until you make it, doesn't always work. Meditation started working after I stopped resisting my feelings and coming to terms with them. I came to understand that my anxiety is part of who I am, and its okay as long as I don't let it control my life. Mindfulness, is the ability to completely be present without resisting or trying to change anything. Letting your feelings be exactly what they are, and being curious about them. This allows us to notice our feelings but restrain from acting out on them irrationally. So do I still feel anxious? Of course, everyday. It just doesn't control me like it use to. I am able to step out of my comfort zone and have courage towards the goals I want to achieve without the anxiety being too overwhelming, and controlling. It doesn’t control me as much anymore because I am aware of when I feel anxious and to just let myself feel. I basically tell myself these 3 things when I feel anxious
- “Ive been here before, Ive felt this feeling before”
- (Breathe in) feel whatever you feel (breathe out) “I let it go”
-“Its okay that you feel like this, you know it will pass”
2. The Importance of the breath
By focusing on the breath you become aware of the mind’s tendency to jump from one thing to another. A lot of people think they are meditating wrong when they get distracted. However, meditation is actually about getting distracted and finding your way back to the breath. That was definitely me. I gave up meditation the first week I started because I kept getting distracted. I would get bored and agitated. I felt I had to learn more about it and why breathing was so important in dealing with your feelings. Obviously the breath is really important in meditation, but why? Being mindful of the breath connects us to our body and helps to develop deep insight to enlightenment. The breathing is a tool to help ease and strengthen the mind.
Here are 4 reasons why mindful breathing can help:
3. Happiness is a trainable skill
This is something I really needed to hear to spark an interest in meditation. I was that person who always thought I would be happy after achieving the next thing. I thought that once I was successful and established then I would be happy. However, that would be impossible with my mindset. Everything I achieved, accomplished, and created was never enough and I was never happy. I was never proud of anything I did because I was always thinking of the next thing I should be doing. I slowly learned that happiness is actually a trainable skill. You have to exercise it like you would exercise your muscles at the gym. Like anything, practice makes perfect. Starting out small, I would meditate and think about at least one thing that I was genuinely happy about. The goal is to truly think about things that bring you happiness in your life right now. This could be something that happened during day, it could be thinking about people you love, it could be a memory, it could be your dog, or anything that brings you the purest joy in your life currently. The best way to find happiness is to express gratitude for the things in your life. Write a list and every time you find yourself in a rut or unhappy just read it and think about those things. I knew in order for me to be the person I wanted, to enjoy my accomplishments, and to fight for my dreams I had to learn how to be content with my life now. Its something I continue to work on, but it has changed my life so much since I've started. I read a post by Richard Branson, and he said that he became successful, wealthy, and connected because he was happy. He goes on to talk about how we are told to finish school, college, get a job, get married and reach all these mile stones just to reach happiness. But thats a lot of doing and not enough being. Remember we are human beings not human doings. happiness begins with where you are now in your life. Do not forget to be present, and finding something to be happy about in the moment. Right now, I am happy for how far I’ve come with myself, and how much I have to share in hopes to help others.
4. Your mindset changes your entire perspective
Everyone has heard this a million times “a negative mind will never give you a positive life” 100% true, but a lot easier said then done. Anyone who deals with anxiety knows the struggle of trying to get out of your own negative head. A lot of us try to avoid, distract, and resist our thoughts, which only make them hit us harder later. We hold everything in, and then we break. . Once I let them pass, I sit still for awhile and explore my feelings. Why do I feel this way? Lets look at the other side of things? How can I handle the situation better next time? Meditation connects you to your feelings and helps you channel them differently. If I enter a meditation frustrated or anxious I simply call out what I am feeling. I focus on my breath and let the anxious or frustrated feeling fade in the background. Once the feeling is let go, you come to a place of stillness where you can rationalize your actions and change your perspective. Changing your perspective on your feelings and thoughts, changes your perspective on life and your reality. so although negative thoughts are still in the background, having a broader perspective on situations prevents the negative thoughts from having control of your reality.
5. Meditation helps you manifest the life you want
Clearing my mind and refocusing my energy has allowed me to align my goals and desires to fulfill the life I want. Every time I thought negatively about some aspect of my life I just thought I was being practical and understanding that its just the way life is. Thats the thing, people are so attached to the idea that “its just the way things are” and never dare to think big because its not realistic. However, your thoughts and emotions create your reality. Therefore, what you focus on you create more of. If I didn’t figure out a way to control or calm my thoughts I would have never pursued a lot things, especially starting a business or writing this blog post. Thats one of the most important things I’ve learned about the Law of Attraction, that you are what you think. I always use meditation to focus my energy and my thoughts so I can manifest the life I want. Ask anyone who has reached fulfilment in their life, whether its in their job, health, or their relationships and you’ll find that their thoughts had a lot to do with it. Your thoughts keep you motivated, and help you persevere through obstacles so you can be, and have anything you desire. Everything you manifest you have to truly want it, have purpose, and be willing to work for it. Getting discouraged or not feeling enough is part of the journey because your human and its impossible to be positive all the time. So feel what you need to feel in the moment. Scream, cry, or even punch a wall and then let it go. Sit down, close your eyes and remember why your doing everything your doing and why its worth it. Get excited about your life! Use your imagination to explore yourself living your best life and what that looks like. Then ask yourself how you can you live your best life in the present moment. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not the most positive person in the world now but seeing how much my life has changed really makes me believe in the power of meditation. and the Law of Attraction.
6.Its important to take care of yourself first so you can help others better
I think for a lot of us we spend most of our time helping others before ourselves, which is great until we feel burnt out. I found that meditation has helped me take care of myself which helps me take care of others better. Most of us see self-care as a luxury so we never make it a priority. But imagine how much better we would all be if we did one act of self-care a day. If you really want to help others effectively, it takes a certain amount of energy and clarity. Meditating once a day (between 1-5 minutes) has allowed me to be mindful of other perspectives, and to give advice clear and with purpose. Whether its meditation, taking a bath, painting, or whatever your self care is, I encourage you to practice it once a day
Meditation has brought so much peace in my life already, and I can't wait to grow with my practice and become a stronger person. There is nothing more liberating than overcoming something that you've felt was impossible to change. I've embraced my anxiety, and accepted that its part of who I am. Although, it may come with some struggles it has taught me to accept and understand others, as well as be more passionate. I am going into 2019 excited about what SapsOriginals has to offer. I'm looking forward to not only growing my business but also with myself.
Paris was the last stop on my Europe adventure and the best way to end such an amazing journey. Although, we stayed for only a short time, we tried to see as much as we could for the time we had. We spent four days in the city exploring many iconic monuments and shopping. I feel that we went to a lot of popular spots in Paris in which many will be familiar with. However, if you are there for a short period and deciding what to do, here is my advice.
1. Effiel Tower at night
We arrived in Paris in the afternoon, but spent a lot of the day finding directions and getting settled at our BnB. However, we did see the Eiffel Tower at night, and what a beautiful site to see. Not only was it cool to see it lit up but the vibe in the area was really fun. Everything from little pop up shops, to food, and music. There was a DJ at one point that got everyone in the vicinity up and dancing. Although, the Eiffel Tower is beautiful to see at anytime, its definitely the best at night!
2. Champs-Elysees/Arc of Triumph
If you love shopping, you can’t miss all the shops down the Champs-Elysees. There is also, a number of restaurants down the strip where you can try some authentic French cuisine. Just to note, that Paris was the most expensive place on my trip so if your wanting to spend some money there make sure to set a little bit more a side. Down the Champs- Elysees is the well known Arc of Triumph where you can take great photos for instagram. You can also climb the Arc of Triumph to see the view from above.
3. Notre Dame/city exploring
The last iconic monument that we visited in Paris was Notre Dame. Dress code applies to go inside, if that is something your interested in doing. We just took the opportunity to visit Notre Dame on the outside, and spent the rest of our day walking around the city exploring little shops and eating delicious crepe’s.
Paris was a short journey but I honestly did not think that I would love it as much as I did. However, one piece of caution I recommend is being aware of pick pocketers and using a money belt to carry your belongings. Keep important documents such as your passport in the BnBs or Hotels because they will be safer there than with you. Although, its important to be cautious all around Europe, Paris is one of the top places for theft, especially for tourists. Other than that, Paris is beautiful and I recommend checking it out if your planning a vacation around Europe.
To finish off this travel series, I am so excited to announce that I am offering my Europe Photo canvases up for pre sale coming next week. More information will be available when the next blog is posted, so stay tuned!
Bongiorno Tutti! Today I am talking about my experience in Italy and some of the amazing things you can do there. If you don't know, I am full Italian and it was great to finally see the country my grandparents are from. Although, we explored northern Italy and my grandparents are from the south, it just means I will have to go back very soon to see the town they are from. I would have loved to do all around Italy, it just didn't quite fit in our travel route and it definitely a trip I would love to do on its own. This trip I got to see the oh so popular Rome, Tuscany, and Cinque Terre. I am going to break down all the activities and highlights in each place, to get an idea of some of things to check out in those places
1. Colosseum Tour
So if your traveling to Rome, seeing the iconic colosseum is an absolute must! If you do your research you can find some awesome walking tours that take you through the colosseum and Palatine Hill . We found one that was fair in price, and the only downfall was the day we booked it on. This was completely out of our control as there was a bike-a-thon happening in the area and they shut down all entrances to the Colosseum besides one for all the tour groups. So unfortunately there was a lot of waiting in line. Besides that the tour was enjoyable and we had a great tour guide. A recommendation is to research events that are happening before booking any excursions so that you can avoid the chaos we went through.
2. Trevi Fountain
This was something on my bucket list ever since I watched Hilary Duff make her wish in The Lizzie McGuire Movie. Depending on the time you go this place can be VERY crowded. It definitely was for us. Rome is a very touristy city with more than 30,000 visitors a day, so crowds should be expected. My recommendation is to see the Trevi Fountain at night, where there is less crowds and its lit up. Especially for those who get easily claustrophobic, this will be the better option. There are also cute little shops around the Trevi Fountain and ice cream in every corner, so make sure to check those out as well.
Entering the Vatican can be quite expensive, however walking outside in the vicinity is free. This is definitely an option for those that are price sensitive on activities. When we looked into getting into the Vatican it was close to 40 Euros a person. if your set on visiting the inside, I recommend buying your tickets at home instead of there because you might score a cheaper deal. Also, there is a dress code that some people weren’t aware of but they are strict about clothing in entering all the churches. You have to make sure your shoulders and knees are covered before entering the church.
4. Iconic Monuments
There are so many other monuments and museums to check out in Rome, so just spending a day roaming the city is fun to do. We spent a whole day just taking the train to different places and exploring the area. We also ate A LOT of ice cream and pizza, as expected. The best pizza place was definitely just outside of the main area of Rome where are BnB was. It was called Pizza e Abbracci, and it was basically there version of fast food or “midnight food.” The place opened around 7pm and you could get a full pizza for only 4.00 Euros. It was honestly super cheap and amazing!
1. Full Wine Day Tour- Siena, San Gimignano, Monteriggioni
We explored other cities and towns in the Tuscany region through this tour including Siena, San Gimignano, and Monteriggioni. This tour included wine tasting a full authentic Italian meal. IT was beautiful to see these small towns, however I do wish we had more time in each place. The best part of the tour was definitely the meal and wine tasting in Siena. The tour was quite short and the tour guides weren’t the greatest, however the beauty of the towns and the food made up for it. This tour was about $60.00 per person, which was quite reasonable compared to many of the other wine tours in Tuscany. If you have some money to splurge in Tuscany I’ll leave some other recommendations for wine tours that we looked at, as well as the one we decided to book. Again, depending on when you are traveling prices can range. If your going to go on a wine tour, I definitely recommend somewhere in the Tuscany region!
2. Florence - Duomo, Ponte Vecchio, and more!
Florence is another place full of places to see, so it was hard to do everything in a day. We only had one full day in Florence, and spent it exploring as much of the city as we could. Highlights to check out were definitely the Duomo, which was my favourite and absolutely beautiful. Again, if you want to go inside dress code does apply. In addition, Ponte Vecchio which is one of the oldest bridges in Florence was amazing and makes for beautiful photos. Lastly, we saw the famous David sculpture made by the one and only Michelangelo.
3. Leather Market/Shopping
The leather market was one of my favourite things in Florence, where you can score amazing deals on beautiful European handbags. So all my ladies, this is definitely somewhere you want to check out if your heading to Florence There are many vendors at the market selling identical bags but be careful because some might be fake leather. Also, be open to bargaining so that you can score an even better deal.
4. BnB in Rigano Sull’Arno
We had a total of five days in Tuscany, and had two days for exploring. The other three days was spent relaxing as our vacation was very go go go until this point. I wanted to talk about the beautiful country house we stayed in because it was my favourite BnB we booked. The only downfall about this place is its on the outskirts about half hour way from Florence. There are also no trains by the place so I recommend having a vehicle if you plan on staying here. The closest town would be Pontassieve which is about a 10 min drive down. Since it was on the outskirts we decided to spend majority of the time relaxing by the pool and enjoying the panoramic views. I loved the quietness of the area, and the beautiful views I was waking up to. Bernardo was a great host and I would 10/10 recommend his place. I will leave a link below of his Air BnB.
1.Hike from Monterosso to Vernazza
This beautiful hike will expose your to amazing views and photo opportunities that will not get any other way. The the short hike is about 3 hours and full hike is about 9 hours. Both will give you great photo opportunities, you will just get more on the 9 hour hike. We did the shorter one and didn’t actually expect it to be as intense as it was. We thought it was more of a walk, however it was definitely a hike where you should wear good runners or hiking shoes and dress athletically. Its a great workout, and really worth it. This was the only hike we did in Cinque Terre however, there are hikes to the other towns as well. Due to time, we decided to just take the trains to other places. However, if you have the time and love hikes I would definitely do all of them.
2. Fried Fish In Riomaggiore
Riomaggiore which is the closest tow from La Spezia had the best fried fish to go. The food in Cinque Terre was more on the pricier side but the fried fish was decent and you got a lot for what you paid for. The place was called Il Pescato Cucinato and If you love fish, this would be a great place to try.
3. Monterosso Beach
One of our last days in Cinque Terre was spent at the beach in Monterosso. The water here unbelievably blue and beautiful. There are many shops and restaurants near by for lunch, but you can also bring your own like we did. We just packed some sandwiches and snacks for lunch and had a gelato for dessert. This would make for a great relaxing day during a busy vacation
If your planning to head to Italy I hope you found this helpful, and decide to check out these amazing places. Next week I talk about my last stop of my Europe Travels in Paris. <3