February 29, 2012

The Fix by Jasmine Star.

I sat staring at my computer screen. Frozen in fear with my mouse hovering over the 'purchase' button.

Am I enough of a photographer to warrant going to this?

Jasmine Star was going to be in Phoenix putting on a speaking event. And yes, I was crippled with self doubt and extreme nervousness at the thought of being in a room with a hundred or so other photographers who, cleary, would all be more talented and further into their business than me.

In the end, my creepy blog stalking love of Jasmine Star and the desire to hear what she had to say won out. I bought a ticket.

I am so glad that I did.

The Fix was so much more than I could have ever expected. My mind was honestly blown. Jasmine shares her knowledge so openly and challenges you to push yourself and not settle. Plus, I got to give her a hug. In real life. She official knows that I exist!!

Thanks Sarah for the photo's!

The Fix was about identifying the weaknesses in YOUR own business and setting out ways to change that. This wasn't a one solution fits all - do what I do - type of talk, it was really about finding what works for you & your business.


Another large component to The Fix that Jasmine stressed as very important is making friends and allies within the photography industry. Banding together to make each other better. And honestly, that was my favourite part of the night. Other than the hug from Jasmine ;) I surprised myself by breaking out of my self conscious habits and actually going up to people and introducing myself.

I was so honoured and lucky to meet many great photographers and walk away with new friends. Amy, Jordan, & Vanessa - thank you for being so wonderful. I am so glad that when I had to start a new table at P.F. Changs, and feel like a total loner, you were the ones to sit next to me. I loved spending the evening with you all!


Oh, and sorry again Ashley & Sara for creeping hardcore. I really am not a stalker. I promise.

Thanks Ashley for taking a photo with me!

I left The Fix feeling motivated,inspired, and really - just high on life. There is so much more to come about what I learned at The Fix and changes I hope to implement; but, I have to sort through all the craziness going through my head first!

Yes, I had Jasmine sign my Exposed magazine - I felt like such a groupie! But it was totally worth it.

February 24, 2012


I remember my mom's special camera. Her good camera. The one that only came out for certain special occasions.

I remember being entranced by it. Sneaking into her room to look at it and sometimes even take pictures with it. Which, clearly, she would always find out about. There was - literally - photo evidence.


My first photo shoot was with this camera. I was probably 10 or 11 and I made my brothers pose in our backyard - by the tree, on the swing set, by the fence. I remember thinking there wasn't actually film in the camera so we were just playing around. Oh, but there was film. We still have those photo's.

This camera was my mom's first big purchase after graduating University. She wanted a nice camera. Something I didn't realize we had in common. So this camera, now considered 'vintage' I'm sure, has been in our family for a long time.


I asked her to bring it out when she came to visit. Film photography has been something I've wanted to try out for a while now. And I just happened to know someone with a nice film camera ;)

To be honest, film photography scares the crap out of me. Not being able to check the lcd display to see if you got a good shot. Only having one chance. But, it makes you really evaluate the photo you are wanting to take. To put more thought in before you click the shutter.

I don't know if anything good will come of this adventure with film. I'll just have to wait and see what develops ;)

February 22, 2012

Our Wedding Vendors: Part 2

And now for Part 2 of the vendors who made our wedding so amazing! Catch up with Part 1 here.


Scott & the groomsmen all wore tuxes from Tip Top. They were so great to deal with - especially since all of the groomsmen were from Winnipeg and were picking them up in Lethbridge! I'm so happy with our choice - they guys all looked so dashing, especially my groom ;)


I actually ordered my dress online! I lucked out big time and loved it :) Not for everyone but for the price it was worth the risk.


My hair piece was made by the fantastic Amanda from Add Love Accessories. I gave her a rough idea and she custom made exactly what I wanted. I loved it so much that I had her make a hair piece for the flower girl and a boutonniere for the ring bearer! Seriously, love her and her amazing products!


Remember my shoe glitterizing adventures? They were a big hit at the wedding! Also, my mom made my veil 5 days before the wedding - SO much more affordable then buying it from a bridal salon! My friend's mom lent me the crushed velvet cape she wore at her own November wedding twenty some years ago and it completed my outfit perfectly.



We were referred by a coworker to Executive 4Star Limo. They have such nice limo's and it was the perfect way to get around on the day! Dave, the owner, was great to work with and made sure all the details were taken care of. Our limo was even stocked with complimentary champagne! Cheer's to that!

The boys with our driver, Carl.


I am so lucky to have an Aunt who is a retired florist. I was able to cut costs drastically by ordering growers bunches of flowers from Grower Direct & Costco. My Aunt did such a good job - I loved all the florals!



Another huge cost cutting for us was ordering all of our stationary - invites, programs, menu's - from Vistaprint. I loved the simple design we chose that fit with our colours and that we were able to customize everything. I was impressed with the quality of the product as well.



We ordered our cake from Edible Elegance Cake & Bake Shop. I was a little disappointed with their customer service and we had to do a last minute change of design because of a miscommunication. So, I didn't get exactly what I wanted but we did have a beautiful cake that tasted amazing.



Last, but definitely not least, a super big thank you to Corrie from Heavy Metal Design for designing our rings! The wedding rings are the outward symbol of your marriage and VERY important. I fell in love with my custom designed engagement ring and it was so great to work with Corrie to design our wedding bands. She made sure we got exactly what we wanted and was never annoyed with all of my emails :)


We had a lot of people come together to make our day amazing and I am so thankful to each and every one of them. We were blessed with such a great wedding.

I hope this helped even one bride; but, if not then I am just happy giving a shout out to those involved! THANK YOU!! You are all very, very appreciated.

February 20, 2012

Our Wedding Vendors: Part 1

Our amazing wedding wouldn't have been nearly as amazing if it wasn't for our wonderful vendors!

I hope that this helps even one bride planning her wedding; but, if not then I'm okay with this serving as a shout out to all of the people who we worked with. They deserve a HUGE thank you!

This is only Part 1 - there were a lot of people involved in making our wedding happen!


Our ceremony was at the Galt Museum & Archives. I loved all the natural light and the view - we got many compliments from our guests! Also, big thank you to Scott's cousin Ron Hermes for marrying us :)


The reception & dance was at the Coast Hotel and it was so perfect. We fell in love with the beautiful ballroom with its amazing chandelier but it was really the staff who made choosing this location so great. Tracy was so great to work with and they made sure every request was met. It didn't hurt that the food was UNREAl as well!


Sidenote: We were able to bring our own alcohol into the Coast and so we ordered everything from Petris Liquor and the service we received was amazing - Michelle was very knowledgable and helped us decide what and how much to order. The big plus for us was that it was all delivered - so stress free dealing with them!


Lily from Everything Beautiful Events is the best. Ever. She has many rental options and I was able to bring in my own decor elements as well. She made my vision for decor come to life and the best part - she did ALL the set up and take down. It made our day SO stress free and I didn't have to ask any family members to do it! I really cannot give enough praise to Lily for the amazing work she does. Any Lethbridge area brides - you NEED to get in touch with her! This by far the best decision we made regarding the wedding.




I am very lucky to call Genevieve Renee a friend and was even more lucky to have her capture my day. I just got my photo's back and they are so wonderful. All photo's in this post are her's!


Photo Booth:

Early on in the wedding planning Scott & I decided that we really wanted to have a photo booth at the reception and thanks to Shannon Pratt Photography it was a HUGE hit! All of our guests got to take home both photo strips from their trip into the booth and then we received a disc with ALL of the photo's taken! So much fun!



I am also very lucky to know a talented lady - Tremaine - who was thrilled at the idea of using my wedding as a chance to build her videography portfolio. Win - Win! Documenting the day on video was very important to me as there is so much happening and everything goes by so quickly that you can barely commit everything to memory! Also, thanks to her friend Steve for helping out.



I bullied Scott into hiring Karin from Simply Harp to do the music for our ceremony and we are both so happy with our choice! Yes, even Scott. It was the perfect, simple, lovely way to add music to our ceremony. Karin was so great to work with and made sure we got exactly the type of music that would fit our personalities and the feel of our wedding. And HUGE thanks to Cairo for doing an accompaniment on the violin :)


It was an easy decision to hire Sounds Unlimited to DJ our wedding reception. Cary & his team do everything they can to make sure your reception is exceptional. From our very first meeting I knew we were in good hands and they didn't disappoint. Definitely worth the investment. Our guests were on the dance floor the whole night!


More vendor love coming - Part 2 on Wednesday!

February 16, 2012

Learning to Crochet.

After almost 24 years of watching my mother crochet I finally asked her to teach me!

I was surprised with how easy it was to catch on - I started my scarf two days ago and I've already got lots done. It's actually quite relaxing to sit in front of the t.v. and crochet.

You could say that I'm hooked ;)


February 10, 2012

3 Ways to Improve Your Photo's.

Last May, I found myself looking at my photo's and feeling like something was missing. They just weren't up to the calibre that I wanted. So, I set out to learn as much as possible about my camera and photography in general to get the most out of my photo's.

There were 3 main changes I made that drastically improved my photo's.

#1 - I started to shoot in Manual Mode.

I had been coasting along using the Aperture Priority mode and it just wasn't cutting it. But, I have to admit, I was SO intimidated by the idea of shooting in Manual. It's kinda like putting together Ikea furniture without the instructions. Difficult, but it can be done! I put my camera in Manual and forced myself to take pictures ONLY in this mode. It meant I really had to learn how all the camera settings - aperture, shutter speed, & ISO - interplayed with each other and how to manipulate them to get the image I wanted. I can't even say how much this small change improved my photo's. Absolutely worth every minute of frustration!

#2 - I switched to back button focus.

I wrote about when I first made the switch to back button focus and I am still just as in love with it. I love the ease of pushing the button and being able to choose my own focal point instead of letting the camera try to figure out what exactly my focus is. Takes practice but again - so worth it!

#3 - RAW instead of Jpeg

This was the easiest change I made - switching from using Jpeg files to RAW files. It just takes one quick change in your camera menu and it made a HUGE difference to post processing and the overall quality of my photo's. Read a really great and more in depth article comparing RAW & Jpeg here. One note: You must have a computer program able to read RAW files and convert them to Jpeg - I use Lightroom (also where I do all of my editing).

Putting all 3 changes into use at Troy & Alison's wedding!

Hope that helps even just a tiny bit if you are wanting to learn more about your SLR camera and improve your photo's!

February 08, 2012

Backyard Beauty: Desert Botanical Gardens

My 'backyard' changes a lot. What doesn't though, is the beauty I'm able to find. I love how very different my current backyard is - prickly cactus and all.







Can you see it? I'll give you a hint - it's super tiny and beats its wings super fast!


All photo's taken at the Desert Botanical Gardens here in Phoenix.

February 07, 2012

Shtuff People Say to Photographers.

For all my photography friends...

Get ready to laugh. Hard. I'm talking tears people.

Can you photoshop my collar bone out? Bahahaha.

February 06, 2012

I Like.

I like watching live golf with Scott.

I like that I can actually ask him questions about the game unlike when we are the ones golfing.

I like pointing out different golfers clothes that we like.

I like how he rolls his eyes at the guys who shout "Get in the hole!"

I like when he insists on carrying my jacket for me.

I like sharing a bag of chips and a coke.

I like trying to keep up with his long strides.

I like when he looks over his shoulder and reaches for my hand.

Really, I just like making memories with my husband.




February 03, 2012

Seeing Stripes.

I have this problem. When I find a piece of clothing I love, say stripes for example, I buy the same style over and over.

Until I have, ummm, seven striped shirts.

Sure, they may be different colours, or cuts, or have different stripe widths. But that's just me grasping at straws. They are essentially the *same* shirt.

I just can't help it. I am seeing stripes. And I love it.


February 01, 2012

I love to read.

This past month, I had a lot of free time on my hands. With a 30 hour drive, no work, and a golfing husband it all added up to lots of 'Kari Time'.

Thankfully, I love to read.

I read 6 books in January and a few of them where so wonderful I thought I would write up a little review of each and share just how awesome they were. I'm not a book critic and know nothing at all about what makes 'good literature' - instead how much I like a book depends on how it makes me feel. 


The first book I read was Little Bee by Chris Cleave. This book was just so good. It is the story of a Nigerian refugee girl, who is in England illegally, and an English woman who's lives are intertwined. It opened my eyes to a world I knew existed but didn't think about much because it didn't effect me. It struck me deep in my soul. The story wraps itself around your heart and is almost impossible to put down.

My favourite line: "We must see all scars as beauty. Okay? This will be our secret. Because take it from me, a scar does not form on the dying. A scar means, I survived."

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford was a wonderful, touching, emotional story about a man being reminded of his past and the girl that went along with it. Set in Seattle during the Second World War this novel revolved around a very different side of the war that most probably try to forget - the Japanese internment. I was just captivated by the whole story.

My favourite line: "He'd learned long ago: perfection isn't what families are all about." & "He'd do what he always did, find the sweet among the bitter."

I finally get what all they hype is about - Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen was such a captivating, romantic love story. I was drawn in from the very beginning and ended up finishing it one night at 2 am because I just could not put it down. My favourite thing about this book though was that it was raw and real- not tied up with a pretty little bow - it was unexpected and very different.

My favourite lines: "The more distressing the memory, the more persistent it's presence." & "When two people are meant to be together, they will be together. It's fate." 

P.S. The Notebook? Just as good as the movie :) Now only if I could get Scott to watch it!